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Dragon's Mouth's nights were always breezy in the Autumn season. The breeze made it easier and fast to leave port and get out on the open waters of the ocean. Tirkit had loaded, unloaded, inventoried, manned, serviced, slept on, and launched many ships in his lifetime on nights like this, the weather was just too good. Tonight he was only preparing for himself and the small crew he would retrieve elsewhere. He had received word from his nephew that their Brotherhood had become trapped in the Wyld infested southeastern edge of Creation, and now he was on a mission to find them.

In the hold of First Glory of the Sea Tirket organized his supplies. When he heard the footsteps of his sifu above, on deck, he stopped. Quickly he dashed up the crude ladder to greet the elder Exalt. "Sifu," he bowed, "I was not expecting you this late."

The elder, a man late in age and life whose face was crossed with deep creases dipping into pale blue eyes and turning away from cracked, pink lips, merely grunted at his prodigy's excuse. He took a seat on the port railing. For a moment he simply sat and enjoyed the slow rocking of the boat, the soft scent of salt, and the cool breeze. He finally recognized Tirkit's previous statement, "I know."

A moment passed. "Sifu, why..."

He cut off his mentee. "Because I wanted to. I saw you today, you seemed like you were getting ready to go, so I wanted to see where you went."

"Oh. I am going on a vacation, to the south east. I think the jungle would be a nice change of setting."

"Oh really?" Dubiously, the teacher continued, "The Empress has returned, you aren't jostling for favor like the other Dynasts of the Realm? Are you scared you may get drafted into service for her new war?"

"No, sifu"




Each stared at the other for minutes. The ship creaked, bobbing in the ocean's chop. The master finally edged himself off the railing and back to his feet. He began shuffling off the ship. As he passed Tirkit he spoke, "I hope you find what you are looking for. We will need it when you get back."

And he was gone. He walked off the ship and into the shadows of the warf.

What his sifu knew, and what Tirkit hoped he didn't know, was that earlier that day he had gotten a message from Myar. They had gone back to the Site of Scarlet Return, falsified Imperial orders, entered the portal, and then made a deal with the Rahska to escape the Wyld. Now they were outlaws and probably changed by the Wyld. However, blood is blood and it was his duty to save them.

"Sifu, I hope we meet again. I still have much to learn." His ship pulled of out the port, silently headed for Myar.

His sifu turned on the pier, "Tirkit, we will meet again. I still have much to teach."

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