Chapter Eleven of The Gateway (and a couple more giggles)

China, Russia, and Poland venture to space. China says they’ll go to Pluto because it’s the farthest. Russia says they’ll go to Jupiter because it’s the biggest. Poland says they’ll go to the Sun. Russia and China warn that they’ll melt. They reply, “We’ll go at night.”

A view through an arrow slit in Castle Mantovar (Castell Coch)
A view through an arrow slit in Castle Mantovar (Castell Coch)


That night Anders lay awake on a palliasse on the floor, anxious, staring at the deckhead, the ceiling above him, waiting for the next vision, or portent, or nightmare whatever, to strike Aidan. He lay listening to every board creak alongside his head, jumping every time Aidan took a deep breath or snored. But exhaustion won in the end and in the small hours his young body succumbed to the need for sleep.

Anders left Aidan in bed and went to fetch Locklear’s breakfast and washing water. On returning, he found the apprentice had not risen. ‘Not getting up today?’            Aidan, at first, lay on the bed tossing and turning. He was tense and very afraid of contacting their enemy in his sleep. Debating with himself, he preferred to be aware of the unknown foe whilst awake; he’d have more control perhaps. Giving in to temptation he attempted to mindmeld, searching him out, a very dangerous strategy he could so easily be discovered—and he knew in his heart of hearts that he needed to keep his presence a secret. The enemy knowing of one wizard would take protective measures to nullify Tragen’s abilities. If the enemy succeeded in disabling Tragen then having another wizard nearby could seriously upset his plans. But, of course, there was now a third wizard on board and her safety was paramount—she had to be kept hidden at all costs. Aidan was restless far into the small hours, eventually falling asleep as dawn was breaking. He had no visions that night but his lack of sleep still meant he woke bleary eyed and still tired when Anders rose next morning.

‘Did I dream?’


‘Did you hear me say anything…anything at all?’

‘No, all I heard was you snoring.’ He paused and gazed at his friend. ‘Come on, me and the girls have got us all breakfast so move quickly or it’ll get cold. Mind you it was going cold anyway; Dolly was showing us his knife juggling tricks,’ Anders said, a look of pure pleasure appearing on his face. ‘That man is a true artist throwing the blades around, you know. He showed us this trick with a misericorde that was really amazing. He frightened the life out of Leash,’ his grin widening at the memory, ‘he threw one at him and it nearly parted his hair when it stuck in the pillar behind him. Everyone laughed, except Leash of course, he snarled and stormed off.’

‘What’s a misericorde?’

‘Oh, a small dagger used to finish off your opponent.’ Aidan asked, mystified. But his look changed to horror as Anders concluded.

‘It’s thrust into the neck to sever the windpipe.’

‘Bloody hell, Anders…no more!’ Aidan shuddered. ‘Leash, he’s the one who was near me when I fell the other day on the quarterdeck. Come to think of it he never made a move to help me, did he?’

‘Nah,’ said Anders, ‘he’s a very strange one he is. You know, I don’t think he has any friends at all.’

Aidan sat very pensive. ‘Aye, there’s something about that man that’s not quite right. Have you noticed his eyes? He’s always staring into space as if he’s seeing someone else and I’ve heard him talking to himself a lot.’

‘Agh…maybe he’s just very lonely,’ Anders shrugged, after all he was also guilty of just that lately, thinking of Beatrix. ‘He’s a loner sure enough. Now, come on shift, let’s see what the girls have planned for us today.’

What they had planned was lesson time, Aidan being the teacher, Augusta his pupil and the other two eavesdropping.

Strolling up on deck they encountered the sun for the first time in days. No rain or drizzle, bright sunlight, calm seas and a warm breeze greeting them as they settled themselves amidships at the foot of the demolished mainmast. Trumper had been busy and his work had thwarted their attempt to relax on the foc’s’le. The bo’sun had spread several canvases across the deck and was preparing to sew them together to make a larger sail to replace the mainsail. Not that the four wanted to be anywhere near the canvases—they were mouldy and smelled abominably having been submerged in the sail locker for days. As it was, a team of sailors were washing it down, sloshing buckets of seawater everywhere.

It wasn’t long before Aidan stretched out in his usual position, flat on his back with his head resting on Augusta’s lap, she didn’t seem to mind. Anders and Beatrix were also in their favourite position, seated together automatically reaching for each other’s hand. They savoured the balmy weather, relaxing silently just soaking up the sun and listening to the shrill voices of a family of dolphins swimming alongside, their sleek shiny bodies glistening as they leapt and dived amongst the shoal of herring that was providing them with nourishment.

They weren’t allowed to remain at peace for long, though; a flurry of activity disturbed them as a party of sailors flung a small net over the side to catch the remaining fish before they disappeared down the throats of the large mammals. The net went into the water twice more before the shoal took the hint and fled, along with the dolphins.

‘Frigging fish! I suppose that’s all we’ll live off for weeks now,’ moaned Dolly.

Aidan opened his eyes and looked around, noticing the ship’s cook for the first time. With a very forlorn look on his face Dolly stared as each heavy load of fish was swung inboard using a temporary davit.

On the quarterdeck, Locklear and Tragen also watched the fishing, so did Leash at the wheel, seething. His mind a turmoil, he’d just heard Locklear thank the Gods for this fresh food. Leash’s plans fell apart; hiding contraband food in the wizard’s cabin had been a pure waste of time. He was going to have to think of something else—maybe hide fresh water instead?

‘Catching enough fish to supplement the rations is a godsend, Tragen,’ said Locklear. ‘If we can make landfall within the next week, and if the shoals are as plentiful as this, we will have no fear of starving.’ He clapped Tragen on the shoulders, wearing the first smile on his face for days. ‘The only concern I have now is that the drinking water will not last.’

‘My friend, you can be very dense on times,’ he smiled. ‘Your best friend is a wizard, is he not? One of the easiest spells to conjure is that of extracting water from the very air we breathe. And just as easy is the conjuration to summon fish,’ he watched as comprehension dawned in Locklear’s eyes.

‘You mean I worry for naught?’ said Locklear.

‘Aye, my friend,’ and the wizard laughed. ‘There is no water or food shortage, I and my staff will see to that,’ and he tapped it as it lay snug against his neck. ‘Even Aidan can conjure the water, only at a slower pace as he has not yet his own staff. And he is quite adept at summoning fish, although he does tend to find the wrong kind. No, my friend, what we have to worry about is our destination.’

The ship shuddered as Leash’s hands convulsed on the wheel, disappointment a physical pain.

‘Careful helmsman, keep your mind on your job,’ chided the captain as he turned to the wizard. ‘Come; let us go to my cabin. We can discuss our course as we take refreshment. I’ll send for Hopper.’

‘Dolly, how come you hate fish so much?’ Aidan asked as the others sat idly by listening. Aidan stood beside the short, fat man and joined him in staring out over the clear blue ocean, the dolphins barely in sight at the horizon.

The cook glanced at the young boy and wondered if he could trust him. Dolly’s natural caginess when talking to wizards seemed to lift with this boy, this young one had never posed a threat. Yet Dolly knew that wizards should be avoided until needed, at least the ones he’d met previously. But Aidan had an open face, no guile in his manner and moreover his reputation for healing was the best. Dolly sighed, his need to talk of it after all this time, overwhelming. He had bottled it up for years and it was eating him up inside. This young healer and his friends had always shown him kindness; never ridiculed him…did they have a sympathetic ear? There was only one way to find out and perhaps speaking of the tragedy would help ease his pain.

He said very seriously, tears started welling in his eyes. ‘My ma…she was et by a fish…years ago.’

The four friends stared at the cook disbelieving their hearing but as the import of his words sunk in Beatrix had to kick Anders to stop him laughing out loud. Augusta stood; biting her lip to stop smiling she went and stood the other side of the little man.

‘What do you mean, Dolly…et…I mean eaten…by a real fish?’ Augusta asked.

‘Aye, o’ course it were real!’ he paused. ‘It were a whale as big as our ship what did eat her. I saw it when I were little. I saw it gobble her up and…and ever since, every time I handle a fish, every time I get ready to gut it I expect to find bits o’ me ma inside.’ And the little cook stared into Augusta’s face the tears now brimming in his eyes. ‘I never told anyone afore,’ he said, his voice cracking. ‘They all think I’m barmy cos I don’t like fish,’ and he rubbed his eyes with his rough red hands, ‘an’ I don’ wan’ them to know, alrigh’.’

‘Okay, we won’t let on,’ said Aidan, having great difficulty in keeping a straight face. ‘But how did it happen?’

Dolly gazed around at them through watery eyes, and he sniffed. ‘I blame me da…it were his fault he…he shouldn’t have asked her how many candles she’d bought that week.’

‘Candles…’ said Anders, his mouth agape. ‘What’s it to do with candles?’

‘Well it were coming on to night and he needed more light to cook by in the galley. He always did the cooking. He taught me all I know about it, did me dada, see. So, this one night, he stuck his head up through the hatchway and asked me ma how many candles she’d bought cos he wanted to light an extra one. Well that did it…me ma did her nut.’ He turned his head for a moment and spat phlegm over the side.

Beatrix trying not to grimace at the cook’s gross behaviour couldn’t help but ask. ‘What has that got to do with your ma…I mean your mother being eaten by a fish?’

‘Ah, she were drunk on account of feeling a bit guilty, see, and she were in a bad mood cos of it. She shouted at me da and asked him what he meant by that remark. Well me da was truly flummoxed at that. Cos what he didn’t know, but as everyone else did…me ma was getting more than candles off the candlemaker. If you know what I mean,’ and he winked.

‘Go on Dolly, what happened next?’ Augusta asked intrigued and puzzled at the same time…what else did candlemakers sell? The others were no longer laughing either, all totally immersed in the emerging story.

‘Well, there was me da, his head sticking up out of the hatchway…a perfect target, so me ma musta thought. She picked up a belaying pin alongside her and took a huge swing at his head,’ as he said this Dolly started weeping again. ‘Me da saw the pin coming and ducked…and that’s when it happened. Me ma couldn’t stop her swing and she lost her balance, slipped and fell overboard.’ He put his hands over his face and continued, bereft. ‘There was this enormous great whale swimming alongside us, and…and she fell straight into its mouth.’ He sniffed and looked up at the four friends. ‘We never saw her again.’

Aidan looked at him, astounded at the thought of someone having the extraordinary bad fortune to fall to such an unbelievable death. And he was bewildered at how Dolly thought it was his father’s fault.

‘I’m sorry Dolly but I don’t understand…how was your father to blame?’

‘He shouldn’t have ducked! Her swing would have stopped if he hadn’t dropped his head. Instead…’ and he burst into tears again.

Augusta and Beatrix put their arms around his shoulders, comforting him and at the same time trying not to look at each other in case they burst into laughter. The boys turned away desperately attempting to keep silent but turned back sharply when Augusta spoke.

‘Dolly, we’re so sorry. I tell you what…we’ll help you. We’ll gut the fish and you can cook them, all right?’

The ship’s cook looked at her with a glimmer in his eyes, and then stared around at the others. ‘Would you really…I could manage if you did that.’

Aidan, Anders and Beatrix were aghast but it was already too late to get out of it.

Augusta what are you saying. That’s a horrible, stinking job. It’s backbreaking and we’ll smell for days and days,’ Aidan complained.

Oh, she replied, ‘I never thought of that. Still, we’ll manage…the poor man!’ She continued loudly so all could hear. ‘We don’t mind Dolly, we understand how you feel. You just tell us when you want us to start and we’ll be there.’

‘Good,’ he said, and pulling himself together, he smiled. ‘You had better start right away. The fish will need cleaning as soon as possible or they’ll go off. I have to salt them before they go into the bins…come on.’

And before the friends knew it, they were up to their armpits in fish guts, everyone else keeping their distance, and sharks swimming alongside making a feast of the entrails.

Tragen and Hopper, sitting opposite Locklear in his cabin, were imbibing Locklear’s best Gilian. The stern gallery window was open and a cooling sea breeze played amongst the captain’s papers, riffling them gently, not enough to blow them to the floor.

‘Hugo, do you have any idea now of where we are?’ Tragen asked, relaxing for the first time in days.

‘Aye, man,’ replied Hugo, his deep-set eyes twinkling, as he sipped the brandy. ‘Ah, that’s good!’ He rolled it around his mouth anticipating the warm feeling he would get as it trickled slowly down his throat to hit his stomach. ‘Hopper and I took sightings of the stars as soon as they appeared last night. We confirmed our position at noon, today. We are a very long way off course somewhere to the south and west of Drakka. Aye, my friend,’ he said to the dismayed Tragen. ‘We are now farther from home than when we set out.’

Hopper broke in. ‘And in answer to your next question we have estimated we are now about four weeks normal sailing from where the storm first hit us. And if we can turn about and make it back to that point we would still have another three weeks to the river into Mantovar.’

‘By the Gods,’ Tragen pulled at his beard. ‘Seven weeks from home and we still have to make landfall first to affect repairs. I never thought the storm would have driven us at such a speed.’

‘Neither did I, ‘said the captain, ‘but Hopper and I are agreed on our position. It confirms what we thought at the outset…our unknown antagonist must be very powerful indeed.  We have pulled the charts, such as they are for this area, and we have several options before us.’

Hugo rose from his chair carrying his brandy and walked to the chart table, the others followed. A large, mostly blank parchment, held open at each corner by various objects from Hugo’s desk, lay on the table. Their destination, the river mouth in Mantovar, was inked in at the top right hand corner easily recognizable. A little way south of there a heavy line was drawn, its direction southwest. The line started at a point just off the coast of Drakka in the east where a large cross indicating the point at which they’d encountered the storm had also been inked in. There were islands situated in the bottom left hand corner and midway to the north, opposite the coast of Mantovar another smaller set of islands, these looked to be at an equal distance from Mantovar as the Grim was now. Taking all the space at the top of the chart was the land of the frozen desert, a vast area dwarfing Mantovar and Drakka. All three men bent over the map taking in its lack of detail.

‘This is the course we have been blown along,’ said Hugo, running his finger along the line south-westwards from the storm. ‘To the east of us lies the southern coast of Drakka, to the north of Drakka is Mantovar. Between us and home is the storm.’ He looked up at his companions. ‘We obviously cannot attempt Mantovar in the ship’s present state.’

‘These islands ahead of us, Hugo, what are they?’ asked Tragen.

‘They are the Griffin Islands…Hopper knows them better than me.’

‘I’ve only been there once, Milord, for a period of a few weeks, the ship I was on stopped in for repairs.’ Hopper grimaced and went on, not very happily. ‘There are about forty or fifty islands scattered over about a thousand leagues. The vast majority of the islands are too small for people to live on but there are other, larger islands that are inhabited. There are fisher folk on most of the islands, of course, and some of the larger are home to farmers and also to ironworkers. The largest island, Griffin, is huge and has its own iron mines and foundries. Surplus ore and raw iron is exported to markets all over the world.

‘There is a monastery on Sanctity, the next largest island. The monks from there used to roam all over the isles, they were the local healers, but for some reason they ceased their travelling and I never knew why,’ Hopper frowned. ‘There is talk of islands disappearing and then reappearing. I could not get to the bottom of that tale and I must admit I did not heed the stories much; they seemed to be used as a threat to get children to behave. But people do disappear on Griffin and each time there is a link to green devils. Who they are I’ve no idea…it’s probably just another local superstition.’

‘Green devils? I wonder if they mean the Green People,’ interrupted Tragen, scratching his head.

‘Who are they?’ asked Locklear.

‘I can’t, for the life of me, remember anything much about them, except that they were supposedly the guardians of nature and that they disappeared from the face of the earth along with the elves.’

‘Are any islands wooded, Hopper?’ asked Locklear, losing interest.

‘There are trees suitable to supply many masts. They are all on Sanctity.’

‘Good, good,’ Locklear’s eyes gleamed, ‘if we agree on the Griffin Islands as our destination then we’ll head for Sanctity as soon as possible.’

‘How about these islands to the north,’ Tragen prodded the point on the map to the west of Mantovar, ‘are these the Onyx isles?’

Hugo nodded. ‘Those we both know, eh Hopper?’

‘Aye, the isles of plenty…plenty of wine and women. The Pleasure Isles some name them.’

‘Home to brigands, a nastier, more terrible set of pirates you could not meet anywhere else in the world.’ Locklear straightened his back and paced the floor a moment before returning to stare at the chart. ‘I have fought them many times, they are a relentless foe. The worst of them are led by Captain Jos Osvaldo in his ship the Lobos. They do not surrender…ever, but they will to the Grim—one day. Once Osvaldo is engaged in conflict, it is a battle to the death…the death of the ship. The victims, whatever’s left of them, are overpowered and taken into slavery and the ship disappears, sunk or taken for purposes of their own, its name changed. We have fought him many times and he has always found us too strong, but it doesn’t stop him wanting the Grim.’ He looked at Tragen, purposefully. ‘That is the last place we should make for with the Grim in this condition, and with Augusta aboard.’

‘Where then, return to Drakka and await the storm’s ending?’

‘How do we know it hasn’t ended already? How do we know that it’s not awaiting our next move home?’ The ship’s master was troubled. ‘Besides, Drakka is as far away as Mantovar. No, Tragen, we gain nothing by returning there.’

‘Unless we were to take Augusta home on the overland trek up the Great Northern Road,’ said Tragen, ‘it is an option that is also open to us.’

‘Aye, but that would mean passing through the Drikander and the inhabitants of that forest have no love for the emperor. Besides it wouldn’t solve the problem of getting the Grim to Mantovar, and I will not leave my ship behind,’ stated Locklear in no uncertain terms.

‘Where then? You’ve ruled out Mantovar and Drakka, you say the Onyx Isles are too dangerous for Augusta. I rule out the frozen wastes of the north…’

‘Why do that, Milord? If we proceed from Griffin straight north to the frozen desert, we avoid the brigands and the storm. We can sail southwards from there following the coast and enter the river from the north. I know it will take us months once we have our masts, but it seems the safer route to me,’ Hopper said, staring curiously at the wizard.

Tragen stared out of the cabin window at the ship’s white wake, it was a pleasing sight after the black violence of the previous days…a pity his thoughts weren’t so pleasant. Should I tell them all of it, he reflected. The frozen desert frightened him to death, not because of what it was, but because of what was hidden there.

On the shores of the cold north lived the greatest warriors in the known world. They were giants, an ancient people, older than the elves and dragons and green people. The giants and their families followed the more peaceful occupations of whalers and seal hunters, but they never forgot their primary purpose. They patrolled the rugged terrain from one end of the coast to the other, continuously. Working out of harbours that froze solid in winter the Giants were a people that thrived in isolation, making contact with the outside world only to trade for grain and metal goods. They did not welcome strangers in their homeland and were truly savage when riled.

The giants, though, did not scare the wizard; they weren’t the reason for his anxiety. He could handle them easily enough after all the wizards had placed them there originally, though it was so long ago most wizards had forgotten it.

However, leagues inland in the midst of the glaciers and broken ice plateaux, was a place he could never handle. He shuddered remembering the legends. Legends he knew to be true.

He turned from the window and looked at the two big men for a moment. ‘No, my friends, the cold north holds something that no mortal man should even acknowledge exists let alone approach. It is the habitat of the Ringwold.’

Hopper sucked breath through his teeth. ‘They are a tale of nightmares surely…stories to frighten children. Are you saying that it really exists?’ he asked, incredulously.

‘Ah, my friends, it seems that I must confirm your worst fears concerning wizards.’ At their quizzical looks he continued. ‘Wizards have always been highly secretive and this makes us doubly suspicious in your eyes,’ he paused a moment to collect his thoughts.

‘I must tell of a responsibility that wizards took upon themselves without thought of consulting others. An action that we deemed so vital to protect the earth that we dared not trust anyone else, except for the elves as we needed the dragons. We arrogantly thought ourselves to be so superior there was no need to inform those of lesser abilities…a belief that has, inevitably, led to our downfall. No-one trusts us now.’ He went and sat in his seat at Hugo’s desk.

‘Exasperated mothers, to quell the noise made by their offspring, have often used the Ringwold as a deterrent. I don’t know why this is so, I have never been able to understand how frightening a child to death will bring that loving child comfort. The tales are horrendous of course, bogeymen, witches, trolls and demons, “they will all come and eat you up if you don’t go to sleep”. By the Gods, how can anyone sleep if they know of those vile creatures?’

Tragen sat in his chair and with his elbows resting on the arms he placed his fingertips together and pursed his lips in thought. ‘Legends are born from facts that have become distorted over the centuries, and if no new concepts emerge then old ideas become even more coloured. This suited us wizards we used it to ensure your safety.’ He stared at his friends’ consternation.

‘We had to find a means to ensure that mortals stayed away from the interior of the icy wastes. Aeons ago we asked volunteers to live on the shores of the desert. These volunteers would live by hunting and fishing the great mammals that abounded there. The main objective of these people however, was to turn all others away…deter any who wished to journey inland. The only ones to come forward were the giants, unsurprising really as they love the sea and are impervious to the cold. Apparently this strategy has succeeded so well that the volunteers have now become indigenous to that part of the world. They have settled in so deeply that their purpose of deterrence has become ingrained. No-one can get past them.’

‘Aye, that’s true enough,’ said Locklear, ‘I know men that have tried…they barely escaped with their lives.’ He gazed at the troubled wizard. ‘All right, you have told us that we should not go there. I know something of what’s up there, or at least dark rumours of the place, enough to worry me profoundly, can you tell us more? Can you tell us of the Ringwold inhabitants?’

‘I wish I could but I cannot. Wait!’ and he waved his hands to silence both his companions. ‘Please let me explain before shouting me down…I am talking of a thousand years ago…or more. The sorcerers of that time knew the Ringwold intimately.’ He blanched at how well they did know it. It had been the Black Sorcerers that had created the place; the White Wizards – with the help of dragons – had enclosed it. He could never tell these the whole truth.

‘We have known, for what seems forever, that knowledge of the inhabitants was too dangerous to document and so the lore was handed down by word of mouth, wizard to wizard. We know now that was also a mistake. The time has now been so long that even we wizards have forgotten the salient facts.

‘Except for one unassailable truth—if the inhabitants of the Ringwold ever come south then the world as we know it ends.’

Tragen stood and stared long and hard at both of his comrades. ‘We must never think of going north to the wastes. If you do, then I will do all in my considerable power to stop you.’

Hugo stared up at him silently; he had never heard that tone from the wizard in all their years together. ‘Then you believe all these nightmare figures of trolls and bogeymen, goblins and ghouls, to be true, my friend?’

‘Not as stated in threats by irate mothers, no…but they are based on indisputable fact. Whatever is in the Ringwold is devastating for mankind.’

‘But surely,’ Hopper interrupted, ‘we need not go that far north. I’m not on about making landfall; I’m talking about following the coastline.’

‘We do not know for sure the origin of this storm. If it stems from the Ringwold then it would be likely we’d encounter the storm again in that region. We may even be forced to land. We cannot risk it!’ Tragen, his stare implacable, silenced them both.

‘Then that makes the decision easier, I suppose,’ and at their looks Locklear continued. ‘There is only one option…the Griffin Islands. Let us hope and pray that young Beatrix is wrong and that whoever created that storm is not before us. What else can you tell us of the islands, Hopper?’

‘Before I do, you haven’t mentioned Blackfire, that’s only five days sailing due south of here.’

‘I would rather not go anywhere near the Siren with only three masts. If we were rigged as we should be I’d take a chance. But, of course, if we were there’d be no need to consider the option at all. The Griffin islands are our best bet, they’re roughly the same distance, and they have food, water and masts. We’ll leave Blackfire as a last resort.’ Locklear sighed, tugging at his beard he stared out the open window.

‘Tell us of the islands, Hopper,’ Tragen asked breaking the silence.

‘The only one I landed on was Griffin. It has an enclosed deep-water harbour, very busy, mainly used by the large ocean-going vessels carrying iron-ore and coke. But it also has a very healthy trade in other goods, usually those from farther west; they also trade in fertilizer and some say slaves from the south, the Dark Continent, I believe…not that I ever saw any of those poor people. But like all successful ports it has a cross-section of people, a fair share of them on the seedier side of life. There are two clans on that island and they, if not in actual open warfare, carry out a clandestine violence—they detest each other and people do die.’

‘Do they have any military?’ Locklear asked.

‘Not as such, armed militia certainly and a small, highly professional navy is needed to protect against the brigands from the north and to deter smugglers…it is rife. The Portolans, the clan in the south, have full control over both the militia and the navy and they have a giant of a man leading them. The Montetors of the north have their own forces, from what I could gather at the time, more covert than overt.’

‘Do we have cause to worry, if we ask for aid?’ Tragen asked.

‘I believe not, Milord. But circumstances can change in ten years.’

‘Then we will play it by ear,’ and with that Locklear took up the flagon of brandy and poured them all a new and larger mug of the amber nectar.

Tragen mulled over these new concerns, and then his mind recalled the worries that Beatrix had voiced. Was she correct? Was the foe on Griffin or perhaps on Sanctity or any other of the smaller islands? If she was right—he had no idea how to proceed.

A Polish man, a German guy, and an American dude, climb a mountain because they each want to make a wish from the genie on the top. When they make it to the top, they find the lamp and all rub it. The genie appears and says, “For your wish to be granted, you must yell it out while you are jumping off of this mountain.” So the German jumps off and yells, “I wish to be a fighter plane!” “So be it,” the genie says, and the German becomes a plane. The American jumps off and yells, “I wish to be an eagle!” “So be it,” the genie says, and the American becomes an eagle and flies away. The Polish man runs to the edge, accidentally trips on a rock, and yells, “I wish to b- oh S**t!”

Have a nice day!

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