Chapter Three

Ferrin and Glelir searched the whole ship with the help of Genith and found nothing out of the ordinary and no one they didn't know. Korcila and Vialia were sound asleep in one of the bunk rooms below. Genith was perched on the sail on deck with Ferrin sitting below her on the railing of the deck. He had a map in his hand as he looked out at the sea. There was nothing out before the ship or behind it but the crystal blue water. A few dolphins chased the ship along its sides as it flew through the water. A few sea faring birds fluttered around the ship from time to time yet the ship was getting too far out to sea. Many of the birds that would follow ships out to sea normally stayed close to land but today there were a few brave birds who continued to follow the ship even after land was far from sight. Humming softly to himself, Glelir walked over to find the Prince still staring out at the ocean waves breaking on the rapidly disappearing shoreline and what was left of the town.
"Hello Prince. How you feeling?" the dwarf sat down a short distance away from the half elf, holding a small flute in his hand. The Prince glanced at the dwarf and then looked towards the setting sun.
"I'm all right. I think Vialia is a little sick. She acted like it anyway." Said the prince, his arm resting on his bent knee. He had a piece of bread in his hand, which he took a bite of before he continued, "I can't understand this. I kept getting letters from someone I was supposed to met on this ship yet there is no one here but us. That sailor just disappeared once we aboard the ship. There isn't a place we could have gone that we didn't check." Glelir nodded slowly and then sighed.
"Maybe Lady Korcy knows a way" commented the dwarf. He put the flute to his lips and began to play. A soft yet somehow sad melody filled the air as the dwarf continued to play the small flute. Ferrin closed his eyes and turned his face towards the sky as he listened to the melody. As the Prince listened to the music, memories flooded through his mind.

A woman and her son walked along the sandy shore of the ocean. The roar of the waves was soft and soothing. A gentle breeze played through the woman's hair and caused it to hide much of her face. An elderly man standing next to her smiled kindly and brushed the hair from her face for her. The little boy laughed and wanted to pull away from his mother's loving hand. She finally let him and he raced off down the edge of the water, jumping in the waves and running after the birds. The woman smiled with a shake of her head as she watched her son run and play. Gently, the man tapped her shoulder as he watched he lad play in the waves and on the rocks. She glanced at him then back to her son.
"He must be told one day Mapila. He can't live in the dark his whole life," said the man kindly.
"I know Detnor but can't it wait, just until he is old enough to understand. He is so young right now. He has no reason to know. I will tell him when the time comes. Until then, "She turned to look at the man as she continued much more softly," Please don't bring this up again. I tire of this conversation" the boy looked back at his mother and the man with a giggle as he held up his prize; a crab he had caught on the rocks on which he was standing. The mother smiled brightly at her son. With a chuckle, the man shook his head with a grin.
"Good work my little angel." The child raced over to his mother and jumped into her waiting arms. She twirled around with him and smiled. "My little Ferrin. You'll be great one day my son." Little Ferrin smiled and shoved the crab into his mother's face. She gasped sharply and then laughed. "Whatever am I going to do with such a smart little angel?" Detnor smiled and shook his head slowly.
"He will become something wonderful when he is older. Nothing would be greater than that..." He trailed off when he received a look from Mapila. She gave a warning look then set her son down once more. He immediately dashed back into the water for more fun. Detnor took the crab and put it back into the surf to be washed out Ferrin giggled as the wave tickled his feet and the sand stuck between his toes. Mapila rest her head against Detnor's shoulder as they both watched the child play. Absently, the man wrapped his arm about her waist.
"Everything will work out in time."
"I know but why does he have to live like this? And what about little Korcy and her father? I don't think I could forgive myself if harm came to either one of them"
"Listen to yourself. You have Ferrin to worry about. I'm sure they are fine. Besides, Mart is cleaver and he would be harder to find than you are right now. Release that Ferrin won't be safe here forever. One day they will come for him." Mapila pulled away from Detnor and sighed.
"I know that but I don't want to think about." Detnor rubbed her shoulders and sighed..

Ferrin opened his eyes and sighed before standing. He ran his fingers through his hair as he watched the water. Glelir continued to play the song he had come to know so well yet the tune had changed somehow. The tones and general way it was played seemed to change the longer the Prince listened. He was no longer on this ship, bound for who knows where. He was walking along the edge of the water with his mother and Detnor like they had so many times in the past. Detnor would take Ferrin fishing and hunting while his mother would teach Ferrin who to cook and care for the garden. By the time Ferrin had turned 10, he could have taken care of himself very well without help. The nurturing support of his mother combined with the hard work and self-motivation instilled by Detnor proved to aid the young boy in more ways then one. One night, Ferrin's mother failed to come home. The next day, word was received that she had been killed.
"Ferrin?" asked a soft voice to his left. Turning, the Prince saw Vialia standing there. Giving a soft smile, she spoke again.
"Are you all right? You seem a little out of it" Ferrin nodded as he sighed once again.
"I'm all right. Just memories of the past coming back. Nothing to be worried over," he put on a smile for her benefit and then walked swiftly away towards the stairs leading to the lower decks. Vialia watched him walk away while shaking her head.
"He has lot on mind Miss Vialia." Said the dwarf before he collapsed to the deck, face down.
"Glelir!!!!" Vialia knelt beside the dwarf before she too joined him in sleep. The mysterious stranger from before grinned as he slowly followed after the unsuspecting Prince.
Ferrin found Korcila in the room she shared with Vialia. She appeared to be asleep yet she was on her side with her back to the door, which made it hard to determine. Silently closing the door, Ferrin sat on the chair next to her bed and simply watched her for a while. By the time he stood up and was about to leave, there came a knock at the door. Korcila moved and opened her eyes. She smiled a little to Ferrin, which he returned, before opening the door. Ferrin's body blocked Korcila's view of the door so she did not see the man standing there. Suddenly her childhood friend stumbled back and hit the wall across from where Korcila was resting. Korcila sat up and was about to move to his side when a very cold hand caught her arm. She shuddered as she looked back at her captor. The eyes that looked down on her were cold and fierce. Korcila looked first at the sight of her friend on the ground then to the figure in the doorway. The figure smiled slightly before extending his palm to her. Her eyes felt heavy and soon she was asleep once more. Ferrin groaned before looking up at the figure.
"Well met, Prince," said a raspy voice.
"Wish I could say the same" mumbled the Prince. "Did you send me those letters?"
"Aye I did and now I see that I did rightly in sending them. Your friends will awaken soon" the figure stepped back and then extended his hand. "I am called Pru" Ferrin though still wary, accepted the hand of this stranger. Once one his feet, it occurred to the youth that this figure was not human.
"What are you Pru?"
"I am a shape shifter. Exiled from my country because I dare speak on the Prophecy, which regards you. "
"Prophecy?"
"The Prophecy of the one who will save the lands of this world" it now made sense to Ferrin. The odd notes. the strange occurrences.the empty ship.
"Where is everyone else?"
"They are still where I first found them. No harm has befallen them." Pru's eyes unnerved the young man the most. Without much more said, Pru led Ferrin to the top deck of the ship. Vialia and Glelir were slumped against the side of the ship but were unharmed. Just as Pru turned to Ferrin, Theril appeared from his right.
"Don't try to do that again!" to make his point known, the nymph mage sent a shock wave at the shapeshifter. Pru had no chance of avoiding the blast as he cried out in pain.
"Theril stop!" yelled Ferrin. "He's a friend!" the nymph looked to his Prince then reluctantly let the shifter go. In return, Pru sank to the ground holding his chest and trying to regain his stolen breath. Sandii rubbed her head as she leaned against her brother gently.
"Why did you save him Prince? He did knock us all out and who knows what else he was going to do" Sandii blinked several times then shook her head to clear it. Pru, by this time, was on his knees and one hand on the side of the ship. Slowly and shakily he got to his feet.
"It.. Is unlikely that those two. would trust me" Pru choked out as he coughed. A soft groan came from Theril's right. Vialia and Glelir were slowly coming to.
"What happened.?" mumbled Vialia as she pushed off the deck and away from Glelir. The dwarf cursed something as he rubbed his sore head before looking around. Ferrin sighed and went over to Pru who semi roughly shoved him away.
"I am fine." He said harshly as he pulled himself to his feet.
"Why is there no one else on this ship?" asked Vialia as she stood up. Pru looked at her blandly a moment.
"Well, I would suspect it had something to do with me since I know your nymph friends read the captain's log."
"Look, you don't have to be rude about it!" she snapped back which caught Pru off guard.
"You would do well to watch your tongue!" He hissed back at her. Ferrin tugged the fortuneteller away from Pru.
"Why don't you and Sandii go see if you can wake up Korcila." The Prince gently shoved the two females towards the stairs. Casting a last glance at the shifter, Vialia and Sandii went down below deck. With a sigh, he turned back to the others.
"So, what may I ask did you want me on this ship for Pru?"
"I asked you hear because you are needed in other lands. They have long awaited your arrival. Should you decide not to meet with them, fine. I'll just get off the ship now and head to what I call a home now. " Pru leaned back against the side of the ship, his hand still on his chest as if it still hurt him.
"How far away from shore are we?" asked Theril as he cautiously watched the shifter.
"We are about half a day away from the nearest land which is where we are headed" replied the shifter softly.
"All right. Then I suppose I'll meet with these people you are talking about," said Ferrin after some moments of silence. Glelir looked at the Prince with a questioningly but said nothing and kept his thoughts to himself. Pru nodded deftly with a small smile as he glanced towards the stairs.
"Your friends are coming back." Sure enough, a moment later Korcila, Vialia, and Sandii were back on deck with the rest of them. Korcy shook her head and looked at Ferrin.
"What happened?" Pru looked to Ferrin.
"You explain it. I have something that needs to be done" and with that, the shape shifter walked past them and down below decks. Silence fell between the friends before Ferrin spoke.
"I believe it in our best interests to get off this ship as soon as possible. The weather doesn't look like it is going to be easy for the last leg of this trip but we can't help that." Theril nodded slowly as he studied the sky.
"Prince, what will we do if the storm hits and we lose our way? I don't really trust that shape shifter," said Sandilian with a look at her brother. Vialia sighed.
"I don't see why he would even try this. He must really want you to help his people Ferrin."
"That may be so but he no nice guy" said Glelir who could no longer remain silent. "He bad right Lady Korcila?" Korcy looked at the dwarf then to Ferrin and he others.
"I'm not so sure. I mean, sure his means are off but I believe he has a good and valid reason for doing this to us."
"Korcila's right. We can't just judge Pru by what he's done right now." Said Ferrin as he fingered the medallions in his pouch. Theril groaned.
"The storm will be on us anytime. It is going to be a rough one as well."
"What are we going to do then brother?"
"I don't know Sandii. This storm could ripe this ship apart or it could throw us off course."
"More than likely, it will ripe this ship apart" Pru had returned from below deck. "I would suggest collecting your packs and weaponry before it hits. You won't have a chance to later."
"You can't just boss us around all the time" snapped Sandii. Theril placed a hand on her shoulder.
"No, he is right this time" Theril did not want to give Pru the credit but he saw no other choice in the matter. Slowly but surely, everyone had collected their packs and weapons. Pru was casually leaning against the side of the ship with his arms crossed and eyes closed. Vialia was the first one back on deck and she approached the shifter.
"How can you be so calm?"
"Easy. I know the ship will be destroyed but I also know I will be fine just like everyone else on this ship" he opened his eyes and looked at her as he spoke. A steady rain began to fall by the time the rest of the companions came up on deck. Vialia was still talking to Pru. The ship lurched to one side, causing the fortuneteller to colloid with the shifter. Ferrin kept a hold of Korcila's hand as well as the side of the ship. Both nymphs fell to the ground but where picked up by Glelir so they wouldn't be washed over.
"This is not good," yelled Theril above the crash of the waves and over Glelir's protective arm that was the only thing keeping Theril and his sister on the ship. Sandii was clinging to her brother as the ship lurched once again. Pru looked briefly at Vialia to make sure she was at least not scared to badly, before he looked out to the sea. The waves were coming up stronger and soon the ship would be nothing but scrap wood and metal. He leaned close to the woman and told her to go over to Ferrin quickly. She nodded and made for Ferrin and Korcila slowly and carefully. Pru then started to chant a spell that may save the ship from destruction. He held his hands out before him and his eyes were closed. A hard wave crashed into the ship, throwing Vialia back into Pru. Neither had a chance to grab a hold of anything solid before they went over the side of the ship.
"Vialia! Pru!" yelled Ferrin as he watched the two fall over the side of the ship. They didn't have long to wait before both surfaced once more. Pru had his arm around Vialia to keep her above the water. He waved his other hand to Ferrin to signal they were all right just as another wave crashed over them. Korcila pulled Ferrin back as the mast cracked and broke off into the water. Theril and Sandii gasped as Glelir was washed overboard by a wave that he had shoved them away from. Without much time to prepare, the two nymphs continued to dodge the waves with Ferrin and Korcila. The half-elves were still clinging to the side of the ship when a rather hard wave took both nymphs over the side. Korcy looked at Ferrin and said something but it was lost over the sound of the wind and waves. Ferrin went to ask what she said but the wave that hit the ship next toppled it completely, sending Ferrin and Korcila into the watery depths below just like their friends had been thrown overboard by the fierce waves. The thought of losing Korcila flooded Ferrin's mind as he fought to stay afloat. He couldn't see anyone or anything but waves.
"Oh please don't let it happen again," he said softly as he was consumed by blackness.

Years before, little Ferrin, now 10, was standing on a shore fishing. He wasn't too far from his home and his mother was picking flowers and herbs for dinner. Just as the youth was reeling in a fish, a scream pierced the silent surrounding. Looking about, Ferrin cast a willful glance towards where his mother had been picking the flowers.
"Mother.?" Ferrin, forgetting about the fish, took off in the direction of the scream. He stayed hidden among the foliage. Before him was his mother, held by four guards while another stood before her. the guards looked less than happy since she wasn't answering the questions she was asked. With a growl, the leader backhanded the woman hard before drawing his sword.
"Answer me woman! Where is the child or you die!"
"I would rather die than let you have my son!" she yelled back. A determined look appeared on her face as the leader drove the sword through her stomach. She gasped but did nothing more as the guards at her sides let her go. Her hands fell on the sword as she fell to her knees. With a pained smile, she looked at her captor and then, much to the surprise of her son, right at Ferrin with a smile that said more than words could say. Ferrin's eyes went wide as the image of his dying mother buried its image into his mind forever. Mapila died that day at the hands of the guards that once protected his father. Watching his mother's lifeless body fall to the ground gave Ferrin enough strength to run back to where Detnor lived. He pounded on the door until it was opened.
"What is it?" asked Detnor as he held the crying child. Between the cries, he made out
"Mother. Killed" before the child went into total shock. Detnor pulled the child into the house and there Ferrin remained for 10 years longer until their parting day at the hands of the same guards.

Ferrin...

Come to me my little Ferrin.

Wake up Ferrin.

Ferrin.