Ian Jout stood as if transfixed before the boiling sea. The offshore storm had driven it to a frenzy, and though the clouds and blinding rains did not extend to the shores of Lok, the waves did. Each towered like a God’s vengence as it relentlessly sought to invoke its will upon the jagged rocks that protected the coast. Each of them failed, making way for the next to have its turn.

“You should be working.” It was Geela Yarnin who had come up from behind Ian. Not a difficult task given the thunderous surf.

Ian glanced at her, taking in her wind-blown, black hair dancing in the wind about her delicate, pale face. “For what…?” He asked, looking back at the water.

“To keep from the dungeons.”

“It makes little difference.”

“At least there is sky out here.”

Ian turned his gaze upwards to an angry, low-hanging, wall of clouds racing northward. “It is suitable,” he agreed.

“Come, help me with the pots,” the girl urged, doing her best to save her friend from the wrath of the Masters. “I’ll make you some fried apples when we are through.”

Ian’s thoughts were momentarily diverted from the stench of the chamber pots. “You have apples?”

She smiled and nodded, holding up four fingers. “I’ll share, if you will help me.”

Jout nodded gratefully, wondering how such a beautiful girl could find any interest at all in him. ‘In another place and time,’ he thought wistfully. “Chamber pots it is. But you get to take care of Blogan’s chamber,” he chuckled.

“How many apples did I say you could have?” She teased him, but took his hand and pulled him towards the castle.


Kneelland Gruntskokk