The first night at the gyptians boat was very different from the ones George used to spent in the large ship he had worked.
The sky has only a few stars, thanks to the season; summer in the North means the sun shined all through the day and night. He laid his arms on the boat's border to talk to his daemon. They were stopped, as all the gyptians were asleep, so, for the first time in years, he and Carol would have a proper night sleep, without her needing to keep up with a ship during the night.
"Are you scared?" he asked Carol, already knowing the answer.
"Terribly scared. You?"
They were silent for a few seconds.
"But... I think it will be good. I mean, I already feel better here, with you outside of that ship."
George smiled faintly.
"And this will be the first night in what? Twenty years you will get some real sleep?"
She rolled her eyes, but he could feel her satisfaction.
"Yes. And I will do it now, if you allow me. I am pretty tired, we've had a long day."
He smiled again.
"Good night Carol."
"Good night George."
"Wake up young man!"
George opened his eyes and found Theo Neyre , the fat gyptian that owned the boat poking him with his index finger.
"Time to go on. We have more two days until Lake Enara."
The sky was not much different from the time he went to sleep, but he had enough sailing experience to know it must be around 6 a.m or not much after it.
"Thanks for waking me up, Theo Neyre." He answered, streching his arms and sitting on the deck. "How can I help you?"
A woman's voice came from wood house's door.
"First you can help me eating some of this breakfast I've done for you, then my husband can decide what you will do next."
Her name was Lana Neyre and she was as fat as her husband, with her cheeks coloured of light pink and a mother-like smile on her face, her daemon was a beautiful koala, with fur in a very light shade of grey, mixed with some dark black stripes on his tail.
George smiled. He stood up and walked to the house, feeling that Carol was already awake and rested.
"Thank you Mrs. Neyre. I don't want to abuse of your hospitality."
"I would feel offended if you don't eat my food!" she answered with a frown and hushed him inside, not looking at Theo Neyre's face as he rolled his eyes.
George fineshed his breakfest in less than 5 minutes, it has been more than 20 years since he last had a proper breakfest.
"Thank you very much Mrs. Neyre." he said as he finished the last piece of his bread.
Inexplicabily, he was feeling grateful towards this gyptian family. He was a stranger and they were helping him in exchange only for his works at the boat. He had always heard awful stories about gyptians, that they sold their kids as slaves for the turkish merchants. But that was nothing like that what he was seeing in that family.
Theo and Lana Neyre had two kids; a girl, Molly and a boy, Charlie, they shouldn't have more than 8 years-old. The two kids were loved by their parents. And George could see that the stories he had heard his entire life were wrong.
"Daddy said that you want to see the witches!" said Molly, with her daemon quickly changing from a tiny guinea pig to a bright green parrot, whose eyes stared curiously at him. "Why's that?"
"Hush! Molly!" shouted Lana Neyre, clearly not liking the direction that the subject was going.
"But I want to know, mummy!"
The women rolled her eyes.
"George, you don't need to answer her." She said it as if it was an order rather than a request.
And he decided it was better that way. He stood up from the table, gave his plate to Lana Neyre and walked to the door, saying to the chid, as an answer:
"We will talk later, all right Molly? I have to work right now."
The little gril looked upset, but soon her attention turned to her older brother and she started to pinch him on the shoulder, laughing at his irritation.
George walked to the deck, he grabed a wet broom and started cleaning the very dirt wood.
The day passed slowly and soon all the work that was need to be done at the boat was over. George had already cleaned the deck and the outside windows of the small house, he had organised all ropes and other sailing materials that were thrown all over the deck. He had also asked to clean the insides of the house, but Lana Neyre had not allowed.
"Now you go outside and spend some time with that daemon of yours!"She had said, sending him away with a 'choo' "The insides are my business, my obligation, as the outsides are Theo's. If he contracted you to help him that is what you should do, to me you are a guest!"
He decided not to argue with her and go to her husband to see if there was any more work for him, but Theo Neyre dispensed him without paying much attention, concentrated in some maps, so George went to the border and, following Lana's advice, went talk to Carol.
"Do you think they will be willing to help us?" she asked, and he knew full well what she was talking about.
"I hope... Actually, I think they will. Think about it, if we had asked to anyone they would have said it is impossible for us to go this far, but look at us!" he answerd, optimistic. "Here we are!"
The dolphin frown.
"We are not there yet, George."
"Yes, you are right. But we need to think positive now."
"Yeah... I will give you that."
They smiled. The sun was high but the deck clock was showing 5 p.m. Soon Lana Neyre would call the family for dinner.
George looked at the stem and found the young Charlie looking to the ocean as if trying to solve it's enigma. George remembered him having the same look on his face when he was that age, and for a second, feared what could happen to the boy and his daemon.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" he realised that he had walked in the boy's direction.
Charlie looked at him as if he had two heads.
"The sea." George continued. "It looks endless."
The child smiled.
"Yeah... it does."
They were quiet for a moment. The boy's daemon changed to dolphin form and dived in the middle of the waves, swimming along with Carol.
George frowned and Charlie smiled when he saw it.
"I am not afraid that she stays this way." He said, as if answering his thoughts. "Or that she choses any water animal form."
The man couldn't understand the reason. The boy was only a child, he probably had no idea of what would happen if he had a water daemon.
"You say that now, when your daemon can change as she pleases, but look at me." He looked to the waves, to the place where Carol was. "Look at us, child. We are stuck. I don't touch her ever since she settled and we went work on the ship."
"Why? Why don't you simply go with her for a swim? My father never let me swim when we are traveling, but I bet he would if my daemon was settled as a dolphin."
George laughed shyly.
"You and I can't swim in the artic sea, we would die with cold. Probably that is why your father don't let you do it! But even when I was in warmer waters, back then when I used to work at the ship, the Captain never allowed the sailors to swim."
"But that would never happend with me. You see sir, you are a landloper, and I am a gyptian." He said the last part proud of himself. "I am a water creature and one day I will have my own boat. I will never have to answer a captain."
The man sighted. Charlie was right, it would be no problem for him to have a water daemon, but for George things were different, and the only chance he and Carol had to be together as they once were was to find a way to be appart.
"What an irony." thought George.