Rose washes up on the beach alone in The Burgeoning, the morning after their ship went down. When she starts a frantic search for him, she ends up lost in a mangrove swamp in The Reaper Witch. As evening approaches, she is at last discovered by Inney and Fuzz. The next morning, she wakes up beside him on the beach in Chapter 2…
The sudden cries of a tern directly overhead woke Rose. She opened her eyes to see a tiny hermit crab dragging a striped whelk shell toward her face through the white sand and found herself warm and snug against Fuzz under a silky feather-light Elven quilt. “I’ve never felt so wonderful in my life, waking up next to you,” she thought as she gently put her arm across him, “even if I’ve never been so stiff and sore.”
“Mmmp?” he said, rolling onto his back. “Rose?” He grabbed up her hand and kissed it as he opened his eyes.
“Fuzz, look at this little creature,” she said, holding the crab over his face.”Augh!” he said, sitting up at once to grind his fists into his eyes. “My word, that salty sand stings.”
“Augh!” he said, sitting up at once to grind his fists into his eyes. “My word, that salty sand stings.”
“Oh no! I’m so sorry.”
“Fiddlesticks!” he said, wincing and blinking as he grabbed her into a hug. “You can put sand in my eyes any ol’ day you want, just as long as I get to wake up beside you.”
“You can’t imagine how relieved I am to see the pair of you together this morning,” said Karl-Veur, coming up behind them with a strange Elf.
“Oh yes I can,” said Rose, looking up with delight. “Can you imagine our having to tell Yuna that we’d lost you? And here we are, putting you at Demonica’s mercy at the very least. Did you just get here?”
“We’ve been here since just after you two fell asleep, last night,” he said. “Rose, this is Obbree.”
Obbree gave a shy bow and a toothless smile.
“Obbree’s an austringa, just like Tramman and me,” said Inney, rushing over from where she and Tramman were fixing breakfast. “He’s bondmates with Aalid. Aalid’s the shawk spoogh ‘way down the beach, hunting crabs.” And with that, she dashed back to the fire.
“And Rose,” said Karl-Veur, taking her hand and giving it a squeeze, “You sound a bit like Yann-Ber at times. Please remember that this is entirely my doing. This risk with Demonica I gladly take for the House of Dark and for the House of Niarg.”
“Well there may be nothing come of it anyway,” said Fuzz as he got to his feet and stared out over the water, “depending on just how marooned we happen to be.”
“Why are we marooned?” said Rose as Fuzz helped her up. “Gwael is on the east coast, right? How far is that?”
Obbree nodded then immediately shook his head.
“I don’t know about Gwael,” said Fuzz. “I suppose we need to keep it in mind…”
“They have the only ports, right?” said Rose, “so what’s the problem?”
“Maybe Demonica herself,” said Karl-Veur. “King Vortigern and Demonica have a connection that comes up frequently when dealing with either one of them. If we leave
here by one of their ports, it will take some wary planning at the very least. Right, Fuzz?”
“Sounds like you know more than I do, but I was aware of Demonica having some sort of connection in Gwael which went back to the Razzorbauch days. If she and Spitemorta are trying to start a war with Niarg, I don’t know where that would put us when we try to get passage on a ship.”
“You’ll at least need breakfast first,” said Tramman as he tapped on the lip of the pan he was stirring.
“Inney,” said Rose, “just what is that tasty aroma?”
“Wild rice and a big mess of crabs.”
“If you’re considering following the coast to Gwael from here, I wouldn’t,” said Tramman. “You’d at least need preparations you won’t have, and going by way of Balley Cheerey is almost as close. And besides, I know some elders who’d give an argid mooar to trade tales with you ones. And you’re more than quite welcome to come.”
Fuzz, Rose and Karl-Veur traded looks. “If we’re not too much of a burden, we’d certainly appreciate being able to tag along,” said Fuzz.
Obbree smiled grandly at this and at once gave a little sprint across the sand, ending in a cartwheel.
The Reaper Witch
Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps