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Heroes of Mystara - Chapter 9by Jesper Andersen
Not a wind was blowing on the calm blue surface of the Sea of Dread. The sun was shining mercilessly from a clear sky and there was no sight neither of beaches nor birds or trails of smoke from faraway volcanoes. This sea, which had claimed the lives of so many mariners over the centuries, was now like a quiet blanket of death.
The sound of a long, loud fart broke the silence in the tightly packed lifeboat, followed by a quiet 'mi scusi'.
'Aw, man!! How can he keep that up?' Whitemane said. Ikaros schussed him. 'He hasn't eaten in three days!! None of us have!!' the dwarf shouted angrily.
'Ai am terri-bly sorri, signor Whitemane', Luigi began, 'it iss...' 'di gas - we know!' Petja sighed and nodded as he put a hand on the agitated dwarf's shoulder.
They had survived largely due to Eveil's ability to magically produce fresh drinking water but after three days of drifting around in the sea, the sun was beginning to give them headaches and see things. At one point, Wulfgar was so hungry he thought Thomas was a delicious turkey and he nearly tipped the boat over wanting to cut him up. After that the young minstrel stayed as far up the other end of the lifeboat as he could - away from the Ostland barbarian.
Those of them who knew anything about navigation, that is to say Eveil and Wulfgar, were beginning to worry a little. According to their best estimates the current should take them between the southern tip of Safari Island and the northern coast of Utter Island. But if they figured wrong, the current could take them past the islands without them even knowing it or maybe even south and into the great expanse of the ocean beyond. Not even all the fresh water in the world could make them survive that kind of a voyage.
Madame Sorelli's remaining bodyguard had faithfully put his cloak up as a sunscreen for her to sit and rest under. Thomas tried a few times to lift everyone's spirits with a song or a poem but most of the time their thoughts drifted back to the valiant people left behind on the Goodhope. Through the fog they had heard the pirates board the ship and slowly the clamour of battle had died away in the distance. They all shuddered at the thought of being taken to the holds of the Iron Ring and sold off into slavery.
Especially Wulfgar remembered the feeling of the whip of his former masters. It was more than two years since he had earned his freedom but he still remembered with bitterness and hatred the jailors at Habbu Aibib prison and the painful scars across his back. Spending time in that hellhole had given him a new perspective on the life of the thralls in his own village. In Ostland, the existence of the thralls were a fact of life, and one that he had never questioned, but his own experiences in captivity had changed his perspective. He had wowed, Odin help him, never to live in shackles again.
Most of them had dosed off in the afternoon sun when suddenly the exited squall of Eveil's parrot got their attention. Looking up, they saw a dark line on the southern horizon. Quickly, they manned the oars and within an hour they could distinctly see white beaches, lush tropical forests and a mountainous volcano rising in the air.
After yet another hour's worth of hard rowing they exhaustedly waded ashore on a beautiful sandy beach. A hundred feet further inland the sand gave way to dense plant growth and exotic trees. Everywhere there was the sound of waves breaking and tropical birdcalls.
They set up a camp on the beach and turned the lifeboat over on one side leaning against a few large sticks from the jungle to provide shade. They still had plenty of water, so Wulfgar, Thaminor and Eveil went looking for food while Petja got a fire going and Whitemane remained with the bodyguard to watch over the severely fatigued Thomas, Madame Sorelli and Signor Luigi.
As they came closer to the trees, Eveil whispered a few words into the ear of her parrot which then flew off in the direction of the volcano.
Slowly, they went into the damp darkness of the jungle.
Next chapter: The hunt