This morning started with the most brilliant sunrise I’ve seen since our first morning out of the Shavlod Jungle. Armbranch woke me and led up out on deck as the first thin streaks of orange crept across the horizon. Within twenty minutes or so the entire horizon appeared to be ablaze with a stunning array of reds and oranges that were almost painful to look directly at.
At times I thought I saw great flames rise up, but I guess it was nothing but waves distorted by the light. Jaeran joined us after a while. He said that not many ever got a chance to see a Cladrod sunrise. It was a phenomena strictly limited to these waters, he told us, though he couldn’t explain it. It was something to do with the path of the current. Somehow it managed to twist the horizon and draw the light across it.
It was then I asked him about the net sails. To be honest, it was the last thing on my mind. The words sort of tumbled out of my mouth before I could catch them. Jaeran laughed, glanced up at the masts, and laughed again. He said there were plenty of other things apart from fish in the Empty Sea that could be caught. And not all of them lived below water. I didn’t ask any more about it. Nor did Jaeran seem inclined to elaborate. Probably for the best. We’ve enough to worry about already.
Jaeran came to our cabin shortly after noon. He said we’d be leaving the Cladrod this evening and if we were lucky we’d reach Tracen by dawn tomorrow if the weather held favourable. I’ll be glad to leave these waters. They’re too empty. We haven’t spotted as much as a scrap of seaweed or dead fish for days. And, though the journey isn’t as rough as I’d expected, I sense a great power beneath the waves, a power that tugs occasionally at the hull like a great hand. At times the entire frame of the boat creaks and vibrates from the pressure.
Wouldn’t take much to drag us down. No. Not much at all.
When I quizzed Jaeran about the next leg of our journey, he assured me we’d be okay. Everything’s arranged, and he’ll be coming with us to Gund to ensure everything goes smoothly. We’ll be travelling the Storm Road to the city. Jaeran laughed when I asked him why it was called that. All he said was that we’d enjoy the trip.
The Storm Road! The very name makes me shiver.