Archive for April, 2015

Yellow Horn seed

 

Summer 50 Bear

With the south-east breathe blowing moderately, Bloodgrue enjoys the light of Stonewire and Imvor through the clear sphere, having delivered yet another happy client to their destination.

The jal couple wanted to be taken to the family barge on Dock C, Berth 7 of Man’s House ward. Bloodgrue braved the dock, bolstering his will to overcome his fear of the waters he took them out to Dock C.

Now on dry land again Bloodgrue sighs deeply.

He spots a jalfem frantically searching behind large items. So, Bloodgrue does what Bloodgrue does. He walks over to her and in his jal speech he greets the forty year old jalfem. “God’s grace and good fate Master, may I be of service to you?”

She stop from looking down an alley and turns to Bloodgrue. Her face red with anger; tears streaming down her face, she utters under controlled breathing. “Those little thieves made off with my most valuable seed. I was holding it to take to Garret and the little devils stole it half an hour ago and I can’t find then. It’s worth fifty Flairs. You find the devils and the seed and I will pay you a commission.” 

Bloodgrue pauses then offers. “I am Journeyman Dragoman Bloodgrue of North Docks. I will gladly be of service master. Tell me, what we are looking for and do you have a description of who we are looking for?” 

She straightens and gaining better control, looks about, and then directs her statement at Bloodgrue. “You are looking for my children; my twelve year old son Mel and my eleven year old daughter Linna. They took my Yellow Horn plant seed. It’s rare; they only produce seeds every ten years. They grow in the hills of Littleton only, naturally. I was bartering with the horticulturist at Pennies Rosary, it’s worth fifty Flairs. If you can get it back from those devils I will pay you two Dyns, dragoman.” 

Bloodgrue chuckles thinking two Dyns compared to fifty Flairs, but then knows the profit may be light on the seed.

“Five Dyns upon recovery and you have a deal.” 

The woman extends her arm. They clasp. Bloodgrue smiles and asks. “Did the girl happen to be wearing a faded blue wool dress and the boy black leggings with red tunic, both bare feet?” 

The woman looks confused but nods yes. Again Bloodgrue continues. “What is your name? You know mine and I know the children’s, but I don’t know yours master.” 

The woman smacks her forehead, and then she offers meekly. “Sorry my name is Maskel. How do you know what my children are wearing, if you don’t know then before I asked you?” 

Bloodgrue chuckles loudly. “I know devils running when I see them. Follow me Maskel.” 

Bloodgrue leads Maskel to number one, Bay Street.

Walking into the office of Last House warehouse, Bloodgrue addresses the jalfem at the desk. “Excuse me, god’s grace and good fate, master. Are you the warehouse foreman?”

She nods and responds. “God’s grace and good fate master. Yes I am Meya, warehouse master. How may I be of service?”

Bloodgrue places a silver Dyns on the desk next to her, speaking in clear jal he asks. “I saw two young children run in here, to your warehouse about three-quarters of an hour ago. I ask permission to fetch them. Their names are Mel and Linna, the children of Master Barterer Maskel. We wish to retrieve them before they cause you trouble.” 

Meya quickly stands and calls to two others working the freight. “You two come with us.” 

Turning to Bloodgrue and Maskel she continues with. “The Dyns will suffice and thank you for having conscience to retrieve the children. We will help you look for them. How old are they and what are they wearing?” 

Bloodgrue nods. “Thank you master, they are a boy and girl of twelve and eleven. The girl has a faded blue dress and the boy has a red tunic and black leggings.” 

The two freight handlers nod having heard all the information, the four spread out and start searching, moving from the front towards the back.

Bloodgrue has the south aisle nearest the wall. Half way along he hears giggling among a group of barrels. Using his hard gained thief skills of silent movement he sneaks over and peers among the barrels.

Spotting the two children nestled down in-between three large barrels he sighs. Speaking softly Bloodgrue says. “You’re mama’s worried about you. She fears you fell into the river and the Spertan ate you.” 

Both children jerked horrified and screeched under their breath. Mel wraps his arms around Linna.

Bloodgrue drops down in the little cave.

“You have you mama upset you know. Do you run away often?” 

Linna stammers slowly. “N… no. we … d … did ..n’t … ruunn away.” 

Bloodgrue nods and sighs. “Then are you captive or stuck here?” 

Mel takes a bolder answer. “No. mama is angry; we are hiding until she’s not angry anymore.”

Bloodgrue nods. “Oh, okay. Cause she’s upset, thinking you fell into the river and got ate by the Spertan. That she will never see you again. Is that right? To scare her like that.” 

Linna shakes her head no. Tears start rolling down her cheeks.

Mel grunts haughtily. “You’re lying. Mama’s upset because she’s mad.” 

Bloodgrue feigns surprise, opening his mouth and eyes wide. “But why would she be mad. You didn’t do anything wrong. Did you?”

Linna’s tears start to roll even freer. She opens her hand revealing a large crescent shaped, nut like seed. “We took this … as a joke … but mama got so mad … we ran away … to hide.”

Bloodgrue looks at the seed with curiosity. Then he looks at the children. “May I handle that? I will give it back to your mama. You will apologize to her. I think she will forgive you. Just don’t do it again. Okay?” 

Linna hands Bloodgrue the seed. Bloodgrue accepts it then stands up. “Are you ready?” 

They both stand and Bloodgrue helps them up and out.

Together they walk to the central aisle. Bloodgrue shoot “I found them. They are safe.” His voice echoes throughout the warehouse. A stifled screech is heard at the far end. “Ok, let’s walk to the front and wait for your mama.” Bloodgrue says softly.

Waiting up front, they hear the foreman and Maskel arrive together.

Maskel rushes in gushing affection with hugs and kisses for both children. Then she stands back. “You can’t be doing these things.”

In unison they both utter softly. “I know.” 

Bloodgrue extends his hand palm up, and open, with the prize waiting on top.

Maskel looks at it and then into Bloodgrue’s face she leans in and kisses him. Then taking her coin pouch from her belt, she pulls free five Dyns and hands them to Bloodgrue. Then she takes the Yellow Horn seed.

“Thank you so much Bloodgrue.” 

Bloodgrue smiles his grin. “No worries, you are welcome Maskel. But I must leave now to head home.” 

Turning to the children; Bloodgrue ads. “Good-bye you two, remember what you learned today.” 

With that Bloodgrue salutes Meya and exits Last House warehouse to walk home

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Innocent emerald fire-place

Winter 28 Pine 

Bloodgrue left the Inn twenty minutes ago, on this partially clouded over morning, he feels the heat rising already as the east breath of the god’s blows mildly, scattering cloud cover and dust.

As he passes the Duck tavern, on 234 Wendel Avenue, Bloodgrue spots something he doesn’t like, through the window. A young jalmal is trying to pry the house symbol off the fire-place mantel. Now that irks Bloodgrue. That Emerald has been there as long as Bloodgrue has visited the tavern. So action is required.

Entering the Duck, Bloodgrue addresses the man in jal speech. “Hey, friend. Are you a Pandora?” 

The man turns and looking hungrily at Bloodgrue, confused he says. “What’s a Pandora? I am taking this and you can’t stop me. I haven’t eaten in three days and this stone is worth three times the value of this building. I can get at least three thousand in the gem market, for it.” 

Bloodgrue draws his short-sword while saying. “No … No, you’re not. It stays there and it’s worth five thousand in the market … So, you would be underselling. Also, this is Pandora territory, so if you don’t know what Pandora is, you’re in the wrong place my friend. Let’s leave and forget about this foolish idea. The jewel is trapped anyway, you’re going to burst into flames, with where you touched the jewel, after the poison on it starts to blur your vision and you start to convulse in horrid pain.”

The man having walked close to Bloodgrue, strikes out lightening quick with his fists, striking Bloodgrue’s left upper arm and then chest, hard, knocking Bloodgrue back, as he says. “You get out of here. This is my gem and I’m taking it. You’re not stopping me, no matter who you think you are.”

Bloodgrue attempts a counter strike with his short-sword, but the man is too quick. The thief, looking for openings in Bloodgrue’s defenses strikes out rapidly with both fist, one missing wildly, the other connecting with Bloodgrue’s chest. Again knock Bloodgrue off balance slightly.

Bloodgrue, having learned from long practice and experience comes back, stabbing the man’s left leg and before the thief can recover, Bloodgrue stabs his right leg. Drawing enough blood and causing shock such that the thief falls unconscious. In less than three minutes of the man being seen by Bloodgrue attempting to pry the innocent emerald from its place on the Duck’s fire-place, Bloodgrue has apprehended him, and he is unconscious on the floor of the Duck.

Four minutes later, the man starts to convulse and his fingers burst into blue flames with acrid smoke billows briefly from the tips. The flames burn for less than twenty seconds and he convulses for around thirty seconds. His heart stops and he has no flesh on the fingers, where the flames were burning.

Bloodgrue sighs as he looks at the jewel on the mantle. “You my friend, have proven yet again, how you are not so innocent.”

Gena walks into the tavern proper, from her rooms above. She looks at the body then at Bloodgrue. “Who got him first? You or me?”

Bloodgrue shrugs non-committed and then answers. “Neither of us is innocent my friend.” 

Gena nods and replies sadly. “I will ask for Pandora, to record and deal with him. They may let the City Watch record and deal with the thief just for show. You should go Blood. Thanks for stopping in. Have an ale before you leave. Dark, right?” 

Bloodgrue nods affirmative. “Yes, dark but no thanks, I have to be going Gena. He was so desperate to have the Emerald, but thought it was only worth three thousand. It turned out to cost him his life. Your emerald fire-place is not so innocent as thieves think. God’s grace and good fates, my friend Gena.” 

With that Bloodgrue leaves Gena and the Duck.

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Black dove dress

Summer 34 Pine

The citizens gather for the funeral procession of Councilman Garner, of North Dock District Council. This day is clear and hot already, with the breath of the gods blowing eastward moderately. The man died eight days ago while working at his leather workshop in the Anchor’s Rest Dock ward.

Everyone is gathering at his house as the body is on display on the funeral wagon with the best four black horses that could be found and teamed together on such short noticed. Of course the family had seven days to get everything in order for the funeral as is the case in most jalnoric death customs. The Rights of Passage takes seven days from death to burial. But there had been a delay of a day as the widow wanted to wait a full day to confirm Garner was in fact dead, before starting the process.

1242 – Yarrow Street is modest for upper middle class standards, Garner was a known miser and spent little on his family. Though many are sure he has chests of coins stashed away for when he passed on, for his children and life-companion to continue with a comfortable life for a long while.

Bloodgrue observes the crowd, then stops, taking a second look at the strange bird bobbing its way down the street towards the wagon. Bloodgrue sees a large black dove and when Bloodgrue sees large, it’s really a human size large bird. He checks for a fever by placing the back of his hand across his forehead … No, that is not it, he is fine, perhaps he needs more water, as maybe he is hallucinating from dehydration or overheating today?

Bloodgrue makes his way inside and drinks a litre of cool well water, letting it take effect, cooling and saturating his body before going back outside.

Exiting the house Bloodgrue curses.

Walking over to another spectator, Bloodgrue asks. “Excuse me a moment.”

The jalfem nods and wipes away a tear. “Yes. How may I Help.”

Almost embarrassed, Bloodgrue fumbles out his question. “Do you see a large black dove next to the funeral wagon and Councilman Garner’s body?”

The woman bursts out moaning, when she calms she replies. “That is his estranged sister, Enilda Lee. She is a fashion designer for nobles. She is eccentric to the extreme. They never got along. I don’t know why she’s here.

Bloodgrue sigh, realizing he hasn’t gone mad, that it’s a woman in a black dove dress.

The Priestess of Stonewire calls the people to attention. “Okay gentlemen and ladies, we will begin the march. We are going along south, and will then parade through Teptun’s Square & Market, then south along Fifth Street Road South, down the five kilometres to Garet Cemetery, where final ceremonies will be had. The burial will take place then the Will, will be read. Any contesting the Will, then have two days to file with the Temple, on Fifth Street Road South. Following that if no one contests the Will, the Will shall be binding and carried through.” 

She looks over the throng gathered about. “Let us begin.” 

The drover cracks his whip and releases the wagon’s brake. Slowly the team begins the climb up the slope of Yarrow Street towards Osmo Road.

They follow Osmo Road, slowly around to Elmer Road and down to Teptun’s Square & Market. All the while, the bobbing Black human dove is distracting Bloodgrue.

Finally having had curiosity rise to a peak, Bloodgrue approaches the woman as the procession is winding through the Teptun’s Square. Near the fountain, Bloodgrue address the woman. “God’s Grace and good fates, dear Lady. May I speak with you?” He asks in Jalnoric.

She doesn’t turn to respond, simply speaking to the air in front of her. “If you must.” 

Bloodgrue takes this as an open invitation. “I am wondering, who designed and created your wondrous dress you are wearing today? 

The woman frowns as she answers. “Of course I did. I am certainly glad you like it. It took me seven days to build, and two hours to put on to get here today. I appreciate your informing me you like it. At least someone noticed.” 

Bloodgrue smiles, while trying not to sound sarcastic. “Of course it is very unique, one has to notice it. You created it. Do you make others like it?” 

She nods her head, and the feathered head dress bobs with her motion. “Yes, I design for Clan Metarn frequently, for their Balls.” 

Bloodgrue has to step away, before say what he is thinking and saying it in the way he is thinking. Telling the upper class sarcastic things, rudely never goes well.

Stepping back farther into the crowd, Bloodgrue spots the woman he talked to, who recognizes the black dove woman. He approaches her and asks eagerly. “I don’t recall if you mention the black bird’s name, you said she is Garner’s sister. But I don’t recall if you mentioned her name.” 

“Oh yes, her name is Enilda Lee, his younger sister. Like I said, they never got along. I’m Roise. You are dragoman Bloodgrue. I’ve seen you around, it is nice to finally meet you Bloodgrue. Don’t anger Enilda Lee though, as she’s friends with Metarn Clan, who have a lot of connections in the City Watch. It gets messy if you anger her, messy for a very long time.”

Bloodgrue sighs happy he held his words back.

Eventually through the Square, they embark on the long stretch, the five kilometres south on Fifth Street Road South, to the Garet Cemetery.

The heat drives many to pull off the procession, but as is Bloodgrue’s custom, he has a full waterskin, and today he shares with social lady. Then an idea strikes Bloodgrue. He walks to an obviously suffering Enilda Lee. “Excuse me Enilda Lee, perhaps you could use some water, being out in this heat in your inspired dress?” 

Enilda Lee finally looks at Bloodgrue, and she actually breaks a smile. “Yes, please. What did you say your name is?”

Bloodgrue uncorks his waterskin that is about three quarters full, he hands it to the woman. “I am apprentice dragoman Bloodgrue. Lady Enilda Lee, drink slowly it is better that way, the body absorbs more.”

Enilda Lee looks at the waterskin and then at Bloodgrue and slowly drinks a third of a litre of water, then hands the waterskin back. “Thank you.” From lips unaccustomed to saying thank you.

They walk side by side in silence, the last kilometre to the cemetery.

Less than a third who started out in the procession arrived at the cemetery. Bloodgrue stands at the gates watching and counting, walking in last, counting him as forty-two, arriving to bury Garner, Bloodgrue nods approving. Wondering how many will see Bloodgrue off when he passes on.

The last spade of dirt is placed on the grave, the Priestess of Stonewire moves to the head of the gathered crowd. “The will is quite a simple really. It has two parts; Garner divided his estate equally in two. One part goes to his life-companion and one part goes to his sister Enilda Lee. Enilda Lee’s part is conditional. She must show up in conventional dress wear, to receive her part. If she shows up to the funeral in any of her outlandish garb, she forfeits the right to any of Garners estate. Now Enilda Lee showed up in a Black Dove Dress that is very non-conventional. Because of this, according to Garners will, she forfeits her share of the estate. This means it rolls over to the second provision. Enilda Lee’s portion gets lumped in with the second part that goes to Garner’s life companion. Meaning Gena, you get the entire estate of North Docks District Councilman Garner. It is yours in two days if there is no successful contesting of the will … Enilda Lee … no contesting of the will can be made on your behalf. It has been made very clear, the terms of the will in this regard.”

Enilda Lee screams and begins tearing apart her dress, until all that remains are the black under garments and riding boots. The crowd gives her room to throw her fit, no one moves to calm her.

Gena is in tears, but realizes her situation has come full circle.

Social lady taps Bloodgrue’s shoulder. “This should be interesting, because Enilda Lee was getting an allowance from the family every thirty days. I think that just ended.” 

The funeral over Bloodgrue waits in case any business crops up.

The last three left are social lady, Enilda Lee and Bloodgrue.

Bloodgrue looks at social Lady. “Tea in the Market before gods-set? And what was your name?”

She laughs. “You’re having trouble with names today Bloodgrue. I’m Roise, and yes, tea will be fine. I owe you for the water anyway.” 

Bloodgrue offers his arm and Roise clasps. Bloodgrue states quickly. “One moment Roise.” 

Walking over to Enilda Lee, Bloodgrue addresses her. ”You can find your way out?” 

Enilda Lee looks up with tear stained cheeks. “No, can you show me home?” 

Bloodgrue pauses … then says. “My price is two dusters per kilometre … or a Dyns a day, can you afford to pay?” 

“I don’t have my coin pouch with me, but they will pay you when we get home.”

Bloodgrue shacks his head. “No, I need to see coins now. Sorry … The local City Watch is two Kilometers south. Stay on the road … you’ll find them. Avoid the ruffians and you’ll be fine … Good day Enilda Lee, God’s grace and good fates.”

Going back to Roise, Bloodgrue smiles as he addresses her. “Shall we? It’s on me today, my treat. I actually had a good day and Master Onar promised I get a meal even without a paying fare today, because of the Councilman’s funeral, so a couple of coins for tea, for helping me isn’t a hardship. Let’s go Roise.”

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Green torture rod

 

 

 

Autumn 56 Pine

The sphere is clear over head as Bloodgrue drums the docks looking for his first client today. The warm day and barely noticeable breathing of the gods, has lulled everyone into calm it seems.

That is Bloodgrue’s thought, until he notices thrashing feet on a barge, sticking out from the cabin. Bare feet are thrashing as if trying to escape something but are unable to. There is no other sound. This draws Bloodgrue’s curiosity. Is it a dental barge, or something more sinister? Checking quickly, Bloodgrue confirms his dagger is ready for easy access.

He carefully steps onto the barely bobbing barge, swallowing gingerly. It’s moored, it’s not going anywhere. It’s okay. Good thing you didn’t eat today yet. Easy Blood, steady, one foot, then the other.’ 

Bloodgrue rounds the end of the cabin and looks in, as the feet give a particularly violent thrashing. There lying on the cabin deck is a twenty something jalmal of no fetching appearance. A short rope is wrapped around his skull and the ends are attached to a green metal rod and twisted around each other. There are two men kneeling over the victim, both are toymal, twisting the rope with the use of the rod, putting pressure on the jalmal’s skull.

Bloodgrue recognizes both men. “Ferris what’s up here? Why torture a jal in broad gods-light on such an open location. I saw his feet thrashing about from the dock. I could have been the watch.” 

Ferris smiles his toothless grin. “There will be no watch for two more hours. We paid them. Anyone else we will look after Blood. You best leave.” 

Bloodgrue hesitates, his guts still green with nausea at walking over water. “Auh! but does Pandora know you are working here? They won’t like you in their territory; you know that as well as I do.” 

Jenner chokes out angrily. “I said that Ferris. The watch cost us three Dyns, this outter better pay good, cause I ain’t getting caught by no Pandora folk for nothin.” 

Ferris slaps Jenner’s face hard. “Shut up! Blood don’t need to know why we’re here.” 

Bloodgrue sighs, knowing these two are out of Western Madison, and they can get the ward in to a world of no good. “Does Noah know you are out here?” 

“Shit, now he’s gonna tell Noah we’re freelancing. Noah’s gonna skin us alive.” Squeals Jenner.

Again Ferris back hands Jenner across the face. “SHUT UP! Stupid, he doesn’t know nothin yet. Neither will Noah, if you shut up.”

“Ferris, spill it. I won’t tell, but the warden’s will have seen you leave, so Noah will want to know what you were doing out of Western. Spill, and I might figure you a way out of this.” 

The jalmal is squirming less as the pressure has been released slightly by Ferris, as Ferris is no longer focused on him as much.

“You won’t tell Noah, Blood?” 

“Not if you’re straight with me, and you’re being legit.” responds Bloodgrue as he is trying to keep calm, while a wave shifts the barge up and down a couple inches.

“Well, it’s like this, this here is an explorer from Velan District, been out north two season. He came back last season and we heard he is headed back to some site he found. WE want to know where he’s goin and what he found and we want his coins. That’s all Blood. Don’t tell Noah. Please!” 

Bloodgrue considers the tale, and then smiling tells Ferris. “Release him, but Jenner tie his hands and hold him tight. I will show you two a secret language I know, and this fellow likely knows and keeps on board. This is his barge right?” 

The man quivering answers, “Yes! It’s my barge. It’s the ‘The Royal Lilac’. I don’t know any secret languages my friend.”

Bloodgrue bends down. “That is a shame, because if I am wrong about this, these two will kill you and feed you to the spertan swimming hungrily to the west of your barge, then they will sell your barge and keep the money. Your family won’t get even one duster, which by the way, you are going to give up your coin pouch to the skinny little slow talking toy holding you. That is, unless you want to be fish food. So cooperate, I am saving your life and saving your families barge for them.” 

Ferris and Jenner look to each other confused, as they realise they lost this situation to an apprentice dragoman and a jal to boot. Like always in life, when they leave Western Madison, just like they keep getting told will always happen. They got nothing to show for spending their life’s savings on this job, yet again as normal.

The jalmal cooperates, as Ferris removes the tourniquet and Jenner binds his wrists behind him, and then holds his hands. The rope burns on his head will eventually heal, the pain will eventually subside, but the coin purse he handed over is gone. All five Flairs, seven Dyns and six dusters in it are in the greedy palms of two destitute toydon from a desperate ward of the North Docks district.

Bloodgrue is touring the barge cabin, unsteadily looking for a tube or case. Finding a sealed case, he smiles and walks back over to the trio, Bloodgrue sits on the undulating cabin deck.

“Okay, this holds secrets the man would guard from demons. I will show them to you. But you will leave them with him. You will only take those coins with you. Understood Ferris? Jenner?” 

Both men are wide eyed and nod slowly. The jalmal has paled. “You can’t let them touch those. Seriously, they are my life’s work. Please man, have compassion.” 

Bloodgrue nods to the jalmal while winking. He smiles as he unbuckles the four steel buckles carefully. Flipping open the cover, Bloodgrue reveals several large folded sheaf’s of parchment. On each is a carefully crafted map. Bloodgrue carefully displays each and explains them to the two toymal’s. The captive seems amazed with Bloodgrue’s clear knowledge and understanding of cartography. He remains silent the whole time. Finished, Bloodgrue reverently places all the maps back in the case and seals it again. With the case sealed, Bloodgrue places the case back in its container on the deck by the bunk.

Returning to the trio, he looks each in the eye in turn. Bloodgrue jolting in shocked fear, when a wave causes undulating of the barge yet again. Bloodgrue reaches out grasping on for anything solid, unfortunately the closest thing being Ferris’s shoulder. The grip is so tight Ferris screeches in pain and desperately tries to peel Bloodgrue’s hands off.

Soon, Bloodgrue gets himself back under control. He looks at the jalmal, having no concern for Ferris or Jenner, but not wanting the jalmal to know Bloodgrue’s fear.

“Okay, release the man. You have his coins, you saw his real secret. He has nothing else to offer you, unless you want to sail as his crew and you two would make shit poor sailors. You would be gone for at least two seasons, if he didn’t feed you to the fish.”

Jenner unties the jalmal, then the two toy scurry off the barge, like rats out of a burning building.

Bloodgrue looks at the man. “You better talk less when on land in the future. Someone you spoke to has a big tongue; it went far that you have treasure. There will be more after you. Best you get your crew and get out of here before tomorrow night, or get some mercenaries while docked. That’s my advice, buck. You’re not even an outter and you don’t know this? You’re safe again in an hour or so, but don’t press your fates. They lost two Flairs from your pouch. One for you and one for me, they’re not the swiftest fish, and a good dragoman has a few more skills than walking” 

“Thank you Bloodgrue, my name …”

“I don’t want to know your name … We never met, understood. Get a healer to look at those rope burns and hope they didn’t crack anything inside your skull.” 

Bloodgrue stands and tosses the explorer one of the two confiscated Flairs, then puts the second in his own pouch. Walking off the barge, Bloodgrue nods to Watch Private Dennin as they pass each other, and wanders towards shore.

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