Chapter Twelve – Crossing the Sea

" You're joking," Hermione gasped, a horrified look on her face, " That's interfering with the timeline!"

" Not really," Harry responded with a shrug, " I didn't free the slaves, I just gave them some options."

" But you messed around with history! It could have consequences!" Hermione raged, her face turning an interesting shade of magenta.

" Yes, it does have consequences," Harry said with a sharp edge to his voice, " In about ten thousand years, Dobby will be freed from his miserable existence with the Malfoys!"

" And Winky will become an alcoholic!"

" But how many other house elves will be saved from abusive masters in the meantime!"

" Probably fewer than will have nervous breakdowns from having to leave masters they love!"

" Hermione, this is a pointless argument," Harry said, deflating, " What happened to S.P.E.W?"

Hermione fell silent, a conflicted look on her face. Harry could tell her inner sense of morality was fighting with her common sense. Morally, she felt obliged to help the house elves in any way she could, meaning freedom from their wizarding masters. However, intellectually, she didn't want to interfere with the timeline. It was an internal debate she could never win.

" So, have you chosen a room yet?" she eventually asked, deciding to drop the subject of the Ash'ren for now.

" I've not really seen them," Harry said, moving over to the trap door leading down to the bowels of the ship, " I suppose I'd better find Ginny so we can choose one."

Once he was down the wooden ladder, he found himself in a long corridor. The ladder went further down, but he knew that below him was the storage area of the ship, which they would eventually fill with supplies they gathered along the way. Making his way down the corridor, he saw room after identical room, each small with six bunks, three against each wall. They were obviously meant to house the warriors on the way to battle. As he went, he mentally planned some modifications he could make to the floor, making it more comfortable for habitation. He would have to be careful not to compromise the structural integrity of the whole boat, but he thought it could be done.

After perusing the identical rooms and finding none out of the ordinary, Harry made his way back up to the deck to see how far out of the harbour they were. As he ascended the ladder, he could hear a loud argument. Rolling his eyes, he quickened his pace and emerged from the trap door to a scene of chaos. Hermione and Ginny were arguing about how to decorate the interior of the ship, Glen and Ron were heatedly debating defences the ship needed, and Sirius and Severus were practically punching each other. Deeming that the situation with the older men was the most serious, Harry made his way over to a rather frazzled looking Remus, who seemed ready to jump out of the nearest porthole.

" What's going on this time?" Harry asked, with a long suffering sigh.

" They realised that neither of them can sail a boat, and they're blaming each other for their shortcomings."

" What a surprise," Harry muttered, before lazily casting Impedimenta at each of his friends.

" Right, you two, I have had about enough of this. What's the issue here?" he demanded glaring first at his godfather and then at his best friend. They both had the good sense to look sheepish. Releasing them from the jinx, Harry crossed his arms and tapped his foot, waiting for an answer. The two shot glares at each other before simultaneously pointing at each other and yelling, " It was his fault!"

Harry rolled his eyes and shot a look at Remus.

" Alright, what were you arguing about? Severus?"

" The mutt can't sail a boat, and he seems to think it's my fault," Severus growled, his arms crossed.

" What! Like Hell! The greasy git's the one who can't sail a boat! I could if I wanted to!" Sirius exclaimed.

" Of course, Black. I'm sure with you at the helm, we'll sink in no time."

" At least I'm not scared of water. I seem to remember you refused to get in the boat at the start of our first year. Said something about the giant squid wanting to eat you."

" As if! I knew you had a miniscule brain, Black, but I didn't realise you were delusional."

" Delusional! This from the person who kissed the Dark Lord's stinking feet for most of his adult life!"

" That's as may be, but at least Dumbledore trusted me enough to let me into the Order. I seem to recall, after you attempted to murder me, it took a long time for you to regain the headmaster's trust."

" He only trusted you because of Harry! No-one would ever trust a stinking Slytherin without a weighty character reference."

" As I recall, Harry was a 'stinking Slytherin' at the time!"

" But that's only because it was the only House he hadn't been in! He was a Gryffindor first!"

" But the Sorting Hat wanted to put him in Slytherin in his first year. He had to beg it to put him in Gryffindor."

" You lying, treacherous little Death Eater!" Sirius screamed, lunging at Severus once again. Harry, who had been watching the pair wordlessly, stunned them both before they could damage each other further.

" Put them in one of the rooms, will you, please, Remus," he asked the werewolf wearily, before wandering off to see what the others were doing.

" Are you sure that's wise?" Remus asked.

" Lock them in and put up a silencing charm," Harry called over his shoulder, " With any luck, they'll kill each other."

The rest of the day, what little was left of it, was spent trying to organise the rooms. Hermione and Ginny had come to an agreement about the decorating, deciding that the communal areas should be painted in pure white and lemon. The bedrooms would be decorated according to individual taste, so everyone would at least be happy with their personal space.

By the time the sun set, the whole floor had been converted into a comfortable apartment. Dampening charms had been placed on the whole level, to prevent the residents feeling the swaying of the ship. Eight spacious bedrooms had been created, and with the couples sharing it left one free in case they had any guests. Four of the bedrooms were located at each end of the ship, with the central area split into a kitchen, living room, library and study. Each of the two sets of bedrooms had a large bathroom to share.

For obvious reasons, Severus and Sirius had been given rooms at opposite ends of the ship. Harry didn't want to be woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of arguing. Merlin forbid they have rooms which shared a wall. By dinner time, everyone had chosen their rooms, and had settled in as best they could. Ginny and Hermione had taken over the kitchen, preparing a rich soup from some rabbits they had caught that morning. When it was ready the whole group seated themselves around a large round dining table.

" This is really good," Glen commented, helping himself to seconds.

" We did the best with what we had," Ginny said, blushing slightly. She had never been the best cook, despite her mother's best efforts to teach her. She just didn't have the patience to prepare complicated meals.

" We really need to see about some supplies," Ron mentioned, shoveling the food into his mouth. Hermione shot him an admonishing look.

" Ron, don't speak with your mouth full," she said with a scowl. Ron just glared back.

" We should stop soon and see if we can trade," Remus suggested, " I'm sure not all of the natives are as hostile as the Marine Elves were."

" Well, I doubt we'd get a warm welcome anywhere," Glen said, " We're in an inhospitable environment with primitive peoples. If I remember my history classes correctly, they're not used to outsiders. Just look at the trouble we had with the Elementals. We certainly don't want a repeat of that incident."

" Glen has a point," Remus agreed, " We can't count on people helping us."

" Which kind of makes this whole trip a little pointless, then, doesn't it?" Sirius grumbled, " I mean, if everyone's so primitive and hostile, why are we going to all this trouble to meet up with them?"

" The Egyptians are different," Ron defended, " Harry said we'd be able to communicate with them, and stay there. Right, mate?"

Harry looked at his best friend like a deer caught in headlights. The rest of the group were all watching him intently, waiting for his response. After an uncomfortable few minutes, he let out a long sigh.

" I doubt they'll be friendly. As I mentioned before, they're not likely to welcome us with open arms. As we have a means of communicating with them, we should be able to stop them from killing us on sight…"

" What! Harry, tell me you're joking," Ron yelped, paling considerably, " You said they were a sure bet!"

" No I didn't, you're twisting my words," Harry replied with a scowl, " I said they were our best bet, not a sure bet. They're wizards, so they're more likely to respond positively to us than other beings. I can talk to them, which is a plus. And you have to remember that they're the most advanced civilisation around at this time. They'll be around when we change times as well, so we're guaranteed not to be stuck in the middle of nowhere again, like we were this time. I don't know about you, but I don't want to spend the next few years living in a tent in the middle of a forest."

Slowly the others nodded their agreement. Egypt was still their best option, even though they didn't know what they'd be facing when they got there. In the meantime, they would have to find some food source, as they were fast nearing the open sea, where stopping for supplies would no longer be an option.

A couple of days later, the opportunity to find some food stores finally presented itself. The sighting of civilisation had been completely by chance, something all of the crew was grateful for. It had been Glenadade who, while on lookout duty, had spotted a curious sight above the nearby coastline. They had stayed close to the shore in the hopes of seeing some sign of life, and it seemed their measures had been effective. The land to their right was a pale brown, covered in short, parched grass, and with the odd olive tree here and there. Rising from the otherwise plain ground was a curious sight. Plumes of smoke escaped from small holes in the ground, rising high above the landscape. In an area with a lot of volcanic activity, this was not an uncommon sight, but fortunately Glenadade recognised it for what it was.

" Dad!", he shouted down from his perch on the mast. Harry, who had been working on the rigging below him, looked up sharply at his son's excited voice.

" What is it, Glen?" he asked.

" Look at the land! I think we've found a Dwarf colony!"

Harry looked across immediately, taking in what his son had spotted. A large grin spread across his features and he beamed at Glen.

" Great work, Glen. I'll let the others know."

That said, Harry quickly leapt down from the mast onto the deck below, making his way to a large metal bell. It was made of an elven alloy and gleamed in the afternoon sun. Reaching up, Harry rang the bell as loud as he could, and waited for the rest of the group to appear. It had been decided early on that the bell, used by the elves to signal an enemy approach or attack, would be ideal as a way of calling everyone together if something important happened. Sure enough, the rest of the time travellers soon started appearing from various areas of the ship, where they had all been engaged in their own tasks. The initial looks of alarm on most of their faces soon disappeared when they saw Harry's large grin.

" What's happened, mate?" Ron asked when he saw the expression on his best friend's face.

" I think Glen may have found something," he told them, " You see the plumes of smoke over there?"

Harry pointed over the bow of the ship at the wisps on the landscape. Sirius and Ron had somewhat puzzled looks on their faces, but Hermione immediately brightened.

" A Dwarf colony! That's just what we need!" she said excitedly.

" Dwarf colony? Where?" Ron asked, confused, " All I see is smoke."

" Those are the vent holes. The colony is underground," she explained.

" Dwarves are known for their forging skills," Remus added, " They have deep, expansive mines, with their settlements centred around their forges. The vent holes are created to let out the steam from the metal cooling process."

" And how do you know it's not just a volcano?" Sirius asked.

" Because of the arrangement of the vents, you flea bitten mutt," Severus growled. Sirius narrowed his eyes as the Potions Master, and was about to say something when Harry quickly intervened.

" Stop, now, before you even start!" he snapped. The pair had the grace to look sheepish.

" How receptive do you think they'll be to visitors?" Glen asked as he joined the group on the deck.

" They should be reasonably friendly," Hermione said, " Dwarves usually are. At least they are in our time."

" Dwarf – they the small ones?" Myleidi asked, a small frown marring her brow.

" Yes, small ones with long beards. They work with metal," Severus explained to her, helping her with the new English word.

" My people, we know of them," She said, shyly, " We trade. Can speak their tongue."

" That's great!" Ron exclaimed, " I knew there was a reason we brought her along."

Hermione deemed to whack him over the head for that comment, an outraged look on her face. The rest of the group just laughed at their antics.

" I guess we'd better lower the anchor, then," Remus said, " It looks like we'll be visiting the Dwarves."

As soon as the small rowboat reached the shore, Harry leapt out and guided it onto the black, volcanic beach. Looking back at the anchored ship not far away, he waved to Sirius, who was waiting for a signal that the group had arrived safely. That done, the young vampire helped his elven friend out of the boat and onto the beach, watching Glen do the same for Ginny. They had decided not to send a large delegation to the Dwarves, as they didn't know what sort of a reception they would get. After all, the Dwarves in their own time may be friendly, but these Dwarves were an unknown quantity.

Once the boat was secured on the beach, the small group headed for the rising smoke, the nearest outlet not being very far away. When they reached it, however, they looked down the large, smooth hole in confusion.

" How do we get down there?" Glen asked, looking all around for some kind of entry to the Dwarf settlement.

" Well, one thing's for sure, we won't be climbing down the hole," Ginny replied, " If the steam didn't scorch us, the sides would ensure we fell to our deaths. We'll have to try and find another way in. There must be one."

" There's sure to be an entry, but no doubt it will be well concealed. The Dwarves of our own time are more than a little paranoid, so I can only imaging these ones being worse," Harry added, a frown marring his brow. Much to his chagrin, he didn't know very much about Dwarves. He knew as much as any Hogwarts graduate would, but he had never taken the time to study them as a society. There had always been more important things on his mind, such as defensive and offensive magic.

For the next twenty minutes, the four searched the ground in the area for an entry point, finding nothing but the vent holes and a barren landscape. Close to giving up, Glen dropped heavily to the ground and put his head in his hands.

" This is useless," he muttered to himself, before punching the ground to his right in a bout of frustration. Much to his amazement, and a little concern, he felt the ground beneath him begin to tremble.

" Erm, Dad!" he yelled, as the shaking became more pronounced and the small shards of rock around him started to bounce up and down.

At the call from Glen, the other three had quickly made their way in his direction, hoping he had found something. They could feel the earth moving beneath their feet, and decided to move a little more quickly. When they reached Glen's position, they immediately noticed his pale face and fearful eyes, looking at something off to one side. Following his line of sight, they spotted what it must have been he was looking at.

Out of the ground, a large boulder was rapidly erupting. When it finally came to a stop, the ground ceased its shaking, and the group cautiously walked towards it. At its final height, it came up to the middle of Harry's chest. It was quite broad, as well as deep. On the front, strange markings appeared in lines.

" I'm guessing I found our way in," Glen said with a nervous laugh.

" I'd say you did," Ginny agreed, peering closely at the markings, " I think it's Dwarven writing, but I can't read it. Any ideas?"

" I can read," Myleidi said, squinting her eyes slightly to read the tiny script, " It is being story of Dwarf legend. But not right."

" What do you mean, not right?" Harry asked her in elvish. He didn't want to others to feel left out, but on the other hand he didn't want to have to wait for Myleidi to try and express herself in English.

" I'm not sure," she explained to him, " My people know of the small ones, and we have been known to trade with them in the past, but I am unfamiliar with much of their culture. As trading partners, we learn their tongue at a young age, but I know little about their history. I can read the writing, though. It tells of Growalda, a great queen of their mines, who battled the dragon Eliswith. The story follows her journey to the dragon's lair, where she found a great treasure of metals and ores. Her adventures along the way are recorded meticulously. However, it's not quite right."

" Not right how?"

" The story, it's not in the right order."

" How can you tell?" Harry asked, confused.

" Well, it starts at the top, here," she said, pointing to the first line of text, " And it tells of how she travelled through the Mines of Hess, a dangerous region controlled by the hags. It then describes the dragon Eliswith and his lair, in great detail. After that, she leaves her home in search of a great treasure. The story continues in such a disjointed manner. It's wrong."

" But that doesn't make sense," Harry agreed, " Why write a historical record with the story in the wrong order. What would be the point?"

" Does anyone care to fill us in," Ginny interrupted, impatiently. She had watched the conversation between the pair in growing frustration. She understood the need for rapid communication, but was starting to feel rather left out. Harry gave her an apologetic look and quickly translated the gist of the conversation.

" So, it's in the wrong order, and we suspect this is the entrance to the Dwarven mines?" Glen summarised.

" That's about the measure of it, yes," his father agreed.

" Then it's obviously a test," the ancient boy concluded, " The Dwarves won't want just anyone wandering into their domain, so they put this…riddle, I suppose you would call it…at the entrance to control who could and couldn't get in. You probably have to rearrange the story and put it in the right order. Only someone familiar with their history would know the right combination."

The other three mulled over Glen's words, nodding as they reached their own conclusions. His explanation was sound, and it would make sense to use something so imbedded in their culture to protect them from unfriendly visitors.

" The question is," Ginny said, " How do we know what the right order is? None of us are really familiar with Dwarven culture."

" Or maybe a more important question would be if there are any consequences to entering the wrong combination?" Glen asked, " A failsafe to prevent people simply trying random combinations in the hope of getting the right one."

" That's a good point," Harry agreed, " I think the best thing we can do is make a copy of the text and take it back to the ship. Nine heads, after all, are better than four. Hermione might have some valuable input."

The others nodded their agreement, and with a wave of his hand, Harry conjured a long scroll of parchment. Seconds later he had used a copying spell to fill the scroll with tiny Dwarven text.

" Let's head back," he said, tucking the parchment into his robe pocket, " The sooner we get started, the sooner we get some food."

" This is impossible!" Hermione raged after four hours of working on the story. It had taken the group a good while to get the text translated. A few translation charms from their book had been helpful, as the Dwarven language hadn't evolved much in the last ten thousand years, but there were still some rather large gaps where the charms had encountered archaic terms.

" Have some patience, 'Mione," Ron soothed, rubbing small circles on her back, " I thought you were usually the calm and logical one!"

" I am," she sighed, " But this is near impossible. Without knowing the mythology, we have no way of knowing the correct sequence of events. Some of it's obvious, but other parts could go anywhere!"

" Well, your best guess will have to do. I have confidence in you."

" That's all well and good, Ron, but I don't have confidence in myself," she said.

" You should," he vehemently objected, " Look at all the times you got us out of a tight spot. You're the brightest witch of our age, if anyone can give us a possible solution, it's you!"

Hermione spared her boyfriend a small smile and a light kiss.

" You can be really sweet when you want to be, Ronald Weasley."

Hermione spent the rest of the day working on the problem of the Dwarven myth. Valuable input from Remus, Severus and Glen gave her some insights into Dwarven culture, and by nightfall she had come up with the most logical order of the story. Calling everyone into the dining room, she prepared go present her findings.

" Told you you would get there in the end," Ron piped up when she'd finished explaining her reasoning and suggested story order.

" You did, Ron, thank you," she said with a blush.

" So, we have a way in," Severus commented, " Are we going to approach them tomorrow morning?"

" I'd say so, Sev," Harry agreed, " We want to get food as soon as possible so we can be on our way. I suggest Ginny, Glen, Myleidi and I go first thing in the morning and see what we can do. Any objections?"

The silence that followed was all the confirmation Harry needed. Closing the meeting and bidding each other good night, the group dispersed to have a decent night's sleep. The next day would be trying, as they didn't know what sort of reception they would be getting from the Dwarves.

The following morning found Glen, Ginny, Harry and Myleidi making their way back towards the Dwarven vents. When they reached the site from the day before, they looked at the barren landscape in concern.

" Can anyone remember where the entrance was?" Ginny asked, looking for the protruding rock.

" It must have disappeared back into the ground," Glen commented, " I'm not sure where it was. I think it was over near that tree."

Everyone followed where Glen was pointing and saw a clump of small trees.

" Are you sure?" Harry asked, " I thought it was more to the right."

The next twenty minutes was spent kicking the ground in various places, trying to find the entrance once again. Finally, Myleidi let out a triumphant cry, alerting the others to her discovery. When they made their way over to her, they could see the dust settling around the newly risen stone entrance.

" I find," she said triumphantly, a grin on her face.

" Well done, Myleidi," Ginny said, returning the smile.

" All we have to do now is input the correct sequence," Glen said, pulling a piece of parchment out of his robe pocket and unfolding it. Passing it to his father, he watched as he looked at the parchment, pressing his hands on the relevant pieces of text. Every time Harry touched a section, the etchings would light up. When he was finished, the text disappeared in a bright flash of light.

" Did we do it wrong?" Ginny asked, frowning.

" I hope not," Glen said as the ground beneath their feet began to rumble and vibrate. The quartet stepped back several paces as the stone entrance split open with a large booming crack. A winding staircase appeared through the hole, disappearing into the ground.

" Shall we go, then?" Harry asked, raising his hand and casing a quick Lumos. The others nodded and followed the vampire into the hole. It made sense to let Harry go first. After all, he had vampire eyesight, and could see in the dark a lot better than the rest of them. As they made their way down the passage, they grumbled endlessly about the height. Dwarves, of course, were rather shorter than the average human or elf, meaning the group had to stoop. After ten minutes, their backs were starting to ache.

" Are we nearly there yet, Dad?" Glen asked.

" I can see a faint red glow up ahead, so I don't think it's too much farther," he replied.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, the passage emptied out into a large cavern. The heat from the furnaces scorched the newcomers, making their eyes water and their skin sting. It didn't take long for their group to be noticed, and a chorus of guttural voices started shouting out to each others. Ginny managed to pry her eyes open and saw three important looking Dwarves heading in their direction. With a great deal of effort, she waved her hand, creating a heat barrier around their group. Immediately, the others recovered, blinking their eyes and rubbing their skin.

" Thanks, Gin," her husband said, giving her a brief one armed hug, before turning towards the newcomers.

" Myleidi, do you think you could talk to them," he asked the elf in elven.

" I hope so," she replied, before turning to the three Dwarves and speaking to them in the same guttural tones as they had heard before. The Dwarves seemed surprised when she spoke to them, but were soon nodding and gesturing for the group to follow them.

They were led into what appeared to be a conference room. The ceiling was high, much to the humans' relief, and there was a large, round stone table in the centre of the room. Their hosts led them to the table and gestured for them to take a seat. Once everyone was comfortable, Myleidi began to rapidly explain their situation and their need for food supplies. The Dwarves listened quietly, nodding occasionally. Eventually Myleidi fell silent, and the Dwarves had a hushed conversation amongst themselves. The elf turned to her companions, also whispering.

" They ask, what we to them give."

" We don't have much to trade with," Glen pointed out, " I know for a fact that Dwarves don't trade knowledge or magic. They only trade in material goods."

" You're right, we don't have much to trade. We have our weapons, but we can't trade those, and we have our books, which will be useless to them," Ginny mused, " The only thing we have of real material value is our boat, but that's out of the question. Anyway, Dwarves don't cross water, so they would have no need for it."

" I think our best bet is to see what they want and try to work around that. It's all we can do," Harry concluded.

The group fell silent and waited for their hosts to finish their discussion. When the short beings seemed to come to a conclusion, they began speaking with Myleidi once again. The conversation was brief, and Myleidi had a troubled look on her face.

" They want know, we have stones of red and white," she said with a frown, unsure of the English words.

" Red and white?" Glen asked.

" Red and white," she confirmed, " Shine, not seen much."

" Rubies and diamonds," Harry concluded, " They'll be after precious stones for their metal work.

" But we don't have any," Ginny pointed out, " Is there anything else they would trade for?"

" I ask," Myleidi replied.

The negotiations continued in the same manner for a further three hours. The humans were getting decidedly bored. After the first hour, they had started a telepathic game of 'I spy', but that became boring very quickly. After all, there wasn't much to 'spy' in a stone cavern. The games had become increasingly childish as the time passed, and it was during the third round of 'Anywhere But Here' that Ginny suddenly sat up straight and began muttering, gaining the attention of everyone in the room. One Dwarf asked Myleidi something, which she quickly translated.

" He ask, what she do."

" I think she's having a vision," Harry explained, and moved closer to his wife, ready to hear what she had to say. He didn't have to wait long.

" The time of strife approaches,

The enemy rises in the east,

Borne of blood and hate,

To fight those who mine the earth,

For the wealth of Mother Nature,

And those who are her children,

As the new moon dawns,

Let the enemy come,

And the children of the earth shall prevail,

As the new moon dawns."

Ginny collapsed against Harry, her piece said. The Dwarves were looking at her in awe, rapidly chattering to each other in excited tones. Myleidi also looked rather surprised.

" What happened?" she asked Harry.

" She had a vision. She's quite a powerful Seer, and sometimes makes prophecies. I think this was one of them. Why are the Dwarves so excited?"

" Seers are rare amongst the Dwarves," she explained in elven, " They feel privileged to be present during the telling of a prophecy. At least I think that's what they're saying."

A couple of minutes later, the Dwarves stopped their discussion and asked Myleidi a question. She quickly translated, becoming rather excited.

" They want trade," she said, " Prophecy for food."

" That's all they want?" Glen asked, surprised.

" Yes."

Harry looked up from where he was tending to his unconscious wife.

" That seems a little strange. They don't even know what it's about."

" I tell them, say about Dwarves."

Harry pondered this, thinking over the words of Ginny's prophecy. The description did seem to fit the Dwarves.

" How valuable is it to them?" Harry asked, " If we can get more than food out of them, then that would be great."

" I wouldn't push our luck," Glen said, " We don't want to offend them."

" Yes, but if the prophecy's worth a lot to them, and we don't ask for much, we won't gain their respect as trading partners," Harry pointed out.

" That's true," Glen conceded, " Myleidi, why don't you ask them?"

The elf nodded and went back to negotiating. By the time the group left an hour later, they had agreed upon a large supply of food, as well as a chest full of gold coins.

After trading with the Dwarves, the time travellers sailed their boat along the coast to the heel of Italy, following one of their numerous maps. After one and a half weeks of sailing, they finally turned to the open sea and headed for the Greek coast. Crossing the open sea was dangerous, especially with such a primitive boat, and they wanted to stay as close to land as possible. They were making good time, having created a magical wind to fill their sails. The Greek coast didn't take as long to navigate, and before they knew it they were sailing away from Crete and out across the Mediterranean, nothing but water between them and Egypt.

Just under two weeks before Christmas, Severus spotted a small speck on the horizon. Swinging down from his lookout perch on the mast, he raced to the warning bell, ringing it with all his might. When the rest of the scattered crew came running, asking him what he had seen, an uncharacteristic grin spread across his face.

" I saw land."