“Make the sun go away,” I groan in frustration as the light of the morning makes its way through the shutters and across the bed. I scoot backwards into the warm fur of Dassam’s arms and pull the blanket over my eyes. “It’s not morning until I wake up,” I protest, “and I refuse to open my eyes.”
“I agree,” Dassam mutters as he pulls me closer and nuzzles my neck. “I would sleep forever if I could make this dream last… for I have dreamt of it for so long.”
“The Gods can keep their predictions… they don’t need me to help save all of existence, right? Tell me I can just stay here… with you… and be happy,” I whisper as I clutch his arms to me.
A shiver runs down my spine as he sighs into my hair and gently turns me to face him. “I cannot make such a decision for you, despite what my heart tells me.” He cups my cheek and raises my eyes to his. “You have touched the Gods, love… and they have seen what I have; that underneath all of the fur and frivolity burns a pure heart.”
I stare into his eyes and sniff as I fight the tears that want to fall. “Damn you for being so…so…” I whisper as I pull him to me and hide my face in his shoulder.
Dassam sighs as he holds me close. “All dreams have to end sometime.”
When I finally make it back to the docks I find that the Helm has finally been repaired, and that a new “paddle” ship has been lashed to the deck. Emergency vessel, maybe? I can only guess, as I’ve never seen one in use. As I make my way back to my quarters I see that not everything is running smoothly, however; It seems that our new guests have arrived.
The first is a rather austere looking female Elf named Kora in the grey bodysuit of an EIN engineer. Apparently she is the Elven gods gift to spelljammers, because she’s demanding her own quarters.
“We’re not exactly a luxury ship here,” I say in Elven with a raised brow and hands on my hips. “If you want a room to yourself so badly, you can go sleep in the stalls with Elliwinkle!” Her eyes widen in disgust and she walks away in a huff. Besides, if I wanted to deal with people with their noses in the air, I’d have stayed home. Her desire for being alone does make her suspicious, however.
The next is a tall, thin human with yellowish skin and billowing purple robes. Oh great… a Shu. That’s a red flag for me there, I’m ashamed to admit. Just because Takero doesn’t want to kill me doesn’t mean that the rest of his people don’t. Shusaka Iki will bear watching as well.
The last is a strange sight indeed as a short and squat Elf named Tolvin with a load of boxes shuffles in. Apparently he is a biology expert who is going to conduct some experiments while onboard. Just so long as he keeps them away from our animals…
Thankfully Vedis and Ef Utan have the quarters arranging under control… because after having to leave Dassam this morning, I am in no mood for annoyances such as this. I shake my head and head up on deck to get a last look at Refuge before we embark. Who knows when I’ll be able to come back next… even the simplest mission could end up in chaos when it comes to our fates. I peer into the distance and search for his black furred form in some vain hope that I might see him one last time… despite how much it might hurt. Sighing, I turn from the rail but stop short when I hear a voice calling in the distance.
“Wait! Wait for me!”
Illustration by Syreene
I throw myself against the rail as I watch the dark form of Dassam running towards the ship with a duffelbag over his shoulder and his hand waving in the air. I leap over the rail with a smile and launch myself into his arms as he drops his bag. “What do you think you’re doing, you crazy fool? The places we’re going, there’s no telling what might happen to us!”
“Exactly,” Dassam replies when I let him come up for air. “I would rather take the risk and spend another day with you then wait here wondering if I’ll ever see you again. Gods forgive, Kenari… but I don’t think my heart can take another 15 years.”
“Well then,” I say as I tug his hand with a grin and wipe a tear from my cheek with the other, “Let me show you where you’ll be staying! I hope you like hammocks…”
We board the ship together and I grin at the others talking to a rather flamboyantly dressed messenger boy about Tain. “I’m just going to show Dassam where he’ll be sleeping,” I say over my shoulder as we walk down the hall towards our rooms.
“Heh… I doubt sleeping will have anything to do with it,” I hear Ef Utan mutter.
A few hours later I hear a knock on the door interrupting my story to Dassam of how we all met. Damn, I was just getting to the fight with the werewolves, too!
“Tain invited us to dinner at 10 bells, Kenari,” Lenata informed softly before walking down the hall.
I sighed as I traced patterns through the fur on Dassam’s chest. “When your patron buys a ship for you and is kind enough to arrange repairs, you kind of need to show up when they ask,” I say with a pout.
“I will be here when you return,” he replies with a kiss to the top of my head. “When you see him, thank him again for throwing that party so long ago,” he says with a smile as he helps me out of the hammock. “In the meantime, I will see what I can do to help the crew.”
I slip the shiftweave on over my head and with a shake it turns into my frillier outfit that I had designed for “stepping out.” I run my hands through my hair and turn to smile before leaving to join the others. “I’ll be back before you know it.”