Defying the evil spirits of contrary winds, the gallant Il-Am-Hakim directed his vessel through to the deserted isle. The crew lay half dead from sun-sickness, having exhausted their supplies more than a fortnight before. Il-Am-Hakim looked to the officer at his right hand, who anxiously searched the shore for some sign of habitation.
"None to be seen," she announced, both relieved and disappointed.
"Strike the bells, then. Rouse those who still can stand." To be crippled and unmanned would mean the end of their voyage. He would return with their cargo, or he would return not at all.
Soon, all had left the bare decks and fled to the open shores of the island. The trees yielded fruit, and the men, drunk from those heady sugars, fell into a stupor not unlike death.
Il-Am-Hakim took no comfort in the rich nectars as he kept watch over his vessel. The very air shivered with anticipation.
"Sir, you must rest." A hand fell on his spyglass, drawing it away. He nodded, and took to a pauper's bed in the sand. But a moment after his eyes closed, he heard the familiar sound of oars upon the waves.
"We are set upon!" he cried, drawing his sword from its sheath. All eyes turned toward him, the midday sun signaling a new day. The sand coursed out of his beard like so much water.
"I thought it best not to wake you." The officer looked away, unwilling to allow him to see her smirk. That did not stop the workers rowing back provisions from starting a raucous din. Il-Am-Hakim could not begrudge them that.
|The Voyages of Il-Am-Hakim, Vol. 3|
|The Voyages of Il-Am-Hakim, Vol. 3||The Voyages of Il-Am-Hakim, Vol. 7|