The tiny dinghy wasn’t made for open ocean travel. Both Fynwyk and Grimston knew that. Grimston sat in the middle of the small vessel, his arms straining to keep the boat pointed in the right direction, while Fynwyk sat at the back, scowling at Zeddicus, who was huddled in the bow, trying his best not to throw up. The three had little time or energy for conversation, which probably was for the best given the current situation. The wind howled from what seemed like every direction, buffeting the small craft. Only Grimston’s muscles and Fynwyk’s expert sailing kept them on track.
The ocean was black, split with white caps that were visible even in the darkness. The three were lucky that the temperature was warm, otherwise they would have died hours ago given the fact that they were all drenched. Still, they were cold and weary and every minute felt like an hour. The fell into a routine so dull that they forgot what they were doing. Only when Fynwyk’s head began to nod did he realize that his burning anger at his long time friend, Zeddicus, had faded. He was certainly still angry at the lost loot but it didn’t seem to matter so much with death only one wave away. And for his part, Zeddicus was growing accustom to the nausea. He had long ago prayed to every god in the pantheon, asking for an extension to his life. Instead he had grabbed a small bucket that was tied to the boat and was methodically throwing sea water back where it belonged. Grimston’s eyes were half closed, and he sang a low song that the wind snatched away, making the words impossible for the other two occupants to make out. His back ached and his arms burned but the barbarian never considered quitting. It just wasn’t in his character.
The light of dawn did not burst across the sky in a blaze of glory. It seeped in. The seas slowly calmed until where there had once been imminent death, there was now silence, split only with the occasional swell. The sky lightened until it was the color of lead and the clouds still hung low. The wind faded to a light feathery breeze that did not bite so deeply. And the three members of the dinghy allowed themselves to sleep, overcome with exhaustion.
The methodical thumping sound woke Fynwyk first. His bleary eyes cracked open to reveal a line of rocks. He gave a yelp and grabbed the stout tiller but then realized that the boat had grounded itself on a thin beach of white sand. He could see a treeline not far away from the rocky point that had trapped the boat. Both Zeddicus and Grimston were still asleep. He couldn’t resist the grin that spread across his face. He grabbed the small bucket, now floating in the bottom of the boat and half filled it with sea water. He laughed and tossed the water at Zeddicus, enjoying the indignant yells that his friend unleashed, which woke the weary Grimston. Fynwyk might not have been angry but he didn’t mind a little harmless payback when he could find it.