Of the Sea (version 2)

Prompt: “I’ll come meet you where the stars meet the sea” alternate version of previous post. Feel free to let me know which you prefer. Written 8 September 2020

It was the last thing he’d said to me, before he left with them, in the middle of the night. They didn’t look at me, only flanked him as if he were very valuable. Or very dangerous.

I hadn’t known what he’d meant, that night as he leaned down and kissed me goodbye. But the moment they left I shot out of bed and got to work.

I had seen enough of the world that I knew it wasn’t as simple as finding a boat and sailing towards the horizon. I started by studying the path the stars follow, charting each constellation’s steady crawl over the sky. I called on every contact I had, presenting the words as a riddle. I was told about the rise and fall of the waves, of ocean currents and moon phases. When I thought to map the currents in relation to the movement of the constellations, I thought I had cracked it. I was wrong. I had examined every possible convergence of these things, and still did not find him.

I did not stay put. I sailed to each promising set of coordinates, and personally visited anyone in the world who I thought could give me the information that would allow me to find him. I sought out spellweavers who taught me how to pull magic from the night, scholars who showed me exactly how each current swept its course, and found myself in the company of gentleman and pirates, shades and ogres and a sphinx. I learned much of the world and of magic, but still I did not know how to reach the one place in the world I desperately wanted to go. I sat at the feet of dragons, fought back to back with things not quite human, and made many friends and enemies.

Still I did not find him.

Years passed as I searched, with no true answer in sight. Then I met the moonsmith, and a glimmer of hope returned.

She was remarkably young, maybe fourteen years old, with long, thin fingers and thin hair. I was travelling alone when I met her in the forest on a moonless night.

I was following a rumor of a spirit said to grant wisdom. Instead I ran into her. More specifically, I nearly stepped on her as she crawled out from under a bush. I tripped over myself in my effort to miss her, and yelped as I crashed to the ground. She had a knife in her hand as she helped me up.

She led me to her home, and I found myself telling her my tale, her eyes a gold that bordered on orange. Had they been that color a moment ago? Surely, if they had glowed that brightly I would have seen her sooner.

Her eyes turned gray as I finished my tale. I stared, but she offered no explanation, instead handing me a steaming mug. Her house was warm and organized, beads and string and wire of every color lining the walls. She snipped a length of wire as she sat down, and twisted it in her fingers, occasionally reaching for a bead or delicate tool. I watched in silence, entranced.

In mere moments, she held a delicate pendant in the shape of a rolling wave, wrapped around a moonstone, and held it out to me. I took it lightly.

She stood. “I’ll get you a cord for it. I’d keep it around your neck, if I were you. Though your wrist would work almost as well.”

“Neck is fine.” I said hesitantly. “I trust your judgement.”

She chuckled. “Welcome to the home of the Moonsmith. Crafter of amulets and ambassador to stars.”

I nearly dropped the pendant. “What?”

She took the pendant from my open palm, tied the cord to it, and settled it around my neck before answering. “I make amulets for the stars. And I can help you find where they meet the sea.”

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