Renee quickly centered herself, a skill she learned from Sporia, and spoke the words of the ancient incantation. It was a prayer to the oldest of the gods, calling upon the help of those who ruled over the sea and guarded the maiden. She watched as the ship floundered, then gradually turned it’s prow toward the shore. She smiled. The current had caught it, and the waves would bring it gently into the harbor.

Sporia watched as well, powerless to stop the tides.

As the ship approached the shore, Renee tried to walk calmly, but her self control broke and she ran. At the harbor, she watched the men haul the heavy, wet ropes around the mooring posts. The sailors shoved a long wooden plank over the side of the ship, and one by one they came. Finally, the last man to leave the ship was Renee’s captain. He was no older than most of his men, and younger than some, but he had the bearing of a man who had been to both heaven and hell and lived to tell the tale.

He stopped at the top of the plank and scanned the harbor until he found Renee. He took three steps down the plank, then leaped to solid ground.

Renee stood, watching. Another man would not have made that leap, but he did it effortlessly. He was soaked with the sea, and a battered from his struggle with the broken mast.    Her eyes took in every detail, every bruise, every drop of blood spilled. Six inches away from her, he stopped and reached out his hands to frame her face. His hands were warm and his lips even warmer.

His kiss was too short, just a hint, a promise of things to come. Renee took a deep breath as her eyes refocused and her brain grudgingly returned to reality.

*****

This is the third installment in the story. Missed parts one and two? Start here: Falling Sand. I’d love your feedback on the story so far – leave your thoughts in the comments below!