The next day was a busy one; Perian and Ilo were down among the wharves soon after breakfast, prospecting for a likely craft, and settling at last for an old but still seaworthy sailing-boat called Islander.

“That’s a good name, Ilo. What do you think of her?”

“She’s strong-looking, my lord, not fancy but she’ll get us there.”

“I’ll take your word for it, Ilo. Do you think we can handle her?”

“Oh yes, Sir, if you follow my lead.”

The boat’s former owner watched with interest while Ilo kept Perian beating about within hailing distance of Skyrholm until the tide started running out too fast to continue. A stiff and weary crewman staggered back to the inn with his still energetic young skipper, to swallow a welcome draught of ale and to dry out before the huge fire in the parlour.

“I don’t know!” scolded Anna. “One crazy idea after another!”

“It’s all right, Anna. I shall take care this time, you’ll see. No foolish venture this, but the journey I set out to make when I left my home.”

“Hmm! A fine pair you are to be setting sail in the autumn. You won’t convince me there’s any sense in it.”



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