v) Night falls as the boat drifts

Night falls as the boat drifts. Fassn’s gentle snooze has turned into a virulent snore, but now, his boot twitches against the boat. Abia, who had been deep in meditation, returns to the world, lays a hand on Fassn’s shoulder.

He blinks, coughs, sits up.

“Old Ajralan, may you have your fill,” Abia says to him.

Fassn coughs again. “May he have yours, too,” he says, a grin breaking over his face before peering over the edge of the boat. “Was I down there?”

“Shyan saved you,” Abia says.

“You did,” Shyan protests.

“We all did,” adds Cang.

“Well that’s real nice of you,” Fassn says. “Was kinda pretty down there though. Dark, warm. Like I was with Old Ajralan, tasting the most delicious marinara sauce.”

“In that case,” Shyan says, “I’m sorry to have interrupted you.”

“No, no,” Fassn says, running a hand through his messy hair, still drying. “I’m glad to be here.” He takes in the swiftly falling darkness and the featureless water around them. “Wherever here is.”

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