Just a Little ProblemÖ

Just a Little Problem

Notes: Eh, I don't know, someone had to write an Earthsea fanfic sooner or later, only mine is soonera mite on the odd side, as usual in one of my dreaded ficsSet right after The Tombs of Atuan.

Disclaimer: Earthsea, all languages, landmasses, people, animals, other inanimate but equally usual things, other animate but equally useful things, all belong to Ursula Kroeber LeGuin. Not to me. *sob*

Just a Little Problem

He was nearing Gont; the white thrusting peak of Gont Mountain could be seen distinctly, for it was a lovely clear day. As he sat back from adjusting the sail, he found his companion at his side, looking for something.

"What is it, Tenar?" he spoke her true name, as the broad bright waters were quite empty of ships. She looked up at him in incomprehension, and he realized he'd spoken in Hardic. Slowly, he repeated the question in his thick Kargish, and prepared for the girl's quick reply.

"I'm hungry," she told him, "and I can't find any food. Nor anything for drinking."

"Oh," he grinned. "Here." He reached into the far end of the little vessel and murmured some words of revelation in his head. The Lookfar was crafty yet; he smiled and patted her side. They sat a few minutes later on one of the planks serving as bench and table, and ate the good white bread and even better mutton that some lords of Havnor had seen fit to gift them with. And that was all they yet had from the bringing of the Ring to Great Port, because Ged had refused any other of the many gifts he'd been offered, and Tenar had seen no use for most of the strange trinkets or gowns or whatever else. Part, thought Ged, of the reason why she's going to Gont.

After lunch Tenar reverted to her pastime of watching the sea, and Ged steered Lookfar. For several hours it was quiet and warm, and, not to Ged's surprise, the girl fell asleep. He himself was drowsy, and so called a faint magewind into the faded red sail and settled himself securely against the mast.

He was awoken by a shriek, and immediately sat up, alarmed. Tenar was crouched low between two of the bench-planks, and she held both hands cupped to the side of Lookfar protectively. "What--" Ged began, and saw that there was a large hole in the wood. For a sickening moment, he thought of how long it might take to swim to Gont Port, and then discarded the idea. Perhaps he could fix the hole. Stooping as Tenar had, he put his hand over the gap and thought of wholeness, solidity. The seawater gushed over his shins, and to his fear it continued to rise. Soon it would capsize Lookfarhis hands gave a great wrench, and the water stopped moving.

Opening the eyes he'd unconsciously closed, he found a panel of wood where the hole had been. Getting to his knees, he discovered, to his startlement, that the water was gone. In fact, the bottom of the boat and his clothes were perfectly dry. He looked at Tenar--or, rather, at her back, for she had turned around--and said, slower than usual with his Kargish, "What happened?How did the water"

Tenar turned a weary face to him. "It was me."

"Howwhat did you do?"

"I made a seeming of the hole." She looked ashamed. " Like you did, in thein the Tombs. With the gown."

Ged was gaping. "How did you do that?" He had certainly not taught her, and no one else could have shown her how to work an illusion in the few days they'd spent in Havnor.

"I don't know." Now she was defensive. "I just did."

The man who would one day be Archmage was wholly astounded. He'd spent more than a little effort trying to repair what he, a Roke-trained wizard, had thought was a real hole in the hull of his boat. Magical boat, at that. He glanced at her, the white-skinned girl who had contained the Old Powers, and was thoughtful.

"Tenarwhere would you go, once we reach Gont?"

"I don't know." She shrugged.

"Would youwould you like to go to live with one of my old masters? He is a very quiet man, he lives in a house on the mountainsidehe keeps goats" Ged trailed off. The unreadable look Tenar had was rather unsettling.

"What would I do there?" She asked in return, in her straightforward way.

"He would teach you things, teach you Hardic, the runes, maybe some spells such as you have done here." Ged fought the urge to look away from the inscrutable dark of her eyes. "Only, only you would have to learn them."

She considered. "I will go there." Then, "Will you stay too?"

He was once again startled. "I--I have--things to do--on Roke, in other places. I might stay for a little, but I'll go to Ogion's house to visit if I ever come to Gont--"

"Ah." The conversation was ended, and she leaned over the side of Lookfar, not watching the sea but lifting her face to the looming peak of Gont.


Well, what did you think? It's very short, I know, but I think it's actually kind of interesting to have one of those "moment in time" fics. *Shrug* Review please!