i) Lavender breaks through grey clouds

Lavender breaks through grey clouds and paints Gabjeoš with the cold light of morning.

The gang hurries like mad. Their grip on the cookpot’s rim is tenuous; their improvised leather hand protectors shift and shimmy against the slick iron of the cookpot as they lumber towards the town.

The gold mushroom soup has stopped bubbling, its heat source long abandoned. The thick liquid splashes from the pot, coating the team’s clothes, leaving a curious trail along the road to Gabjeoš.

Labourers and fisherfolk, up with the dawn to start on their work, turn and gape at the peculiar scene: four ragged people running with a cookpot.

Spotting them, Shyan shouts, breathless, “Wizard! Wizard, wizard, wizard!”

Two of the fisherfolk share a startled glance.

Cang, himself wheezing with the exertion, says, “Can not you yokels hear her? Where lives the wizard?”

After another look, one of the fisherfolk points to a lighthouse at the rocky edge where the town meets the sea, easily half a kim through winding port town streets.

His toothless gums flapping, Fassn moans. “Why can’t we just eat this stuff, again?”

Panting like a pack of dogs pushed far past their limit, the band hurries toward the lighthouse.

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