Summary: Ged receives a summons that he cannot refuse. This is the first chapter. Read and review, please.

Disclaimer: Earthsea, all the Reaches, Ged, Estarriol, the Lookfar, and anything else I might have forgotten belong to Ursula K. LeGuin. My true name belongs to me.

The dancing of the waves bobbed the boat up and down as she waited tethered at the end of the pier, her painted eyes staring out wisely if sightlessly into the fog-shrouded gloom of the deepening twilight. A wind blew from the inland fields, sweet-scented with the memory of sunshine on wildflowers. But now the light was gone, along with the birdsong, leaving but the hollow sound of the waves against pier and quay and shore. Steps changed the near-silence, a steady but light tread, human, yet somehow keeping in pattern with the dancing rhythm of the sea. Two men appeared out of the darkness, walking side by side, with lights glimmering above their heads like small stars, yet not stars, the magelight called. They advanced to the end of the pier, and one of the pair bent to the boat, lowering into it a bundle as shrouded by oilcloth as by the fog.


The younger mage lifted up his head, and the werelight was answered with a gleam in his eyes, though he smiled at his friend. "Estarriol, you know I must leave. I promised I would go to him… and I mean to keep my word." He shrugged and stepped lightly into the 'Lookfar', though he did not yet loose the tethers that held her fast. "What would you have me do?"

As if in echo of his friend, Vetch's broad shoulders rose and fell in a halfhearted shrug, and he ran his hand through his dark hair. "I have no answer to that, my friend, but at least let me come with you. I don't trust---"

"I don't either," came the answer, half-sad and half-amused. "All the same, I have to go. You have your place here, and they need you. Thank your sister again for me." He inhaled deeply; from the bundle he had set down, the odor of fresh-baked wheatcakes was rising. "I dreamed I'd see you again, if that is a comfort. They say such dreams don't come lightly." A smile broke the harshness of the scars on Ged's face, and he lifted up his hand in farewell. "Take care, my friend; we'll meet again." Without another word the man unbound the ropes that tied the boat to the pier, and he raised up the sail to catch the wind of the world. Darkness came, darkness and fog, swirling about him, and Vetch was left alone to stare into the empty night into which his friend had gone.

The wind was not strong, but it billowed the sail, and though Ged might wish for more speed he set no magewind into the cloth, content for now to let the boat go by the ways of the world. An hour from Iffish, the fog thinned and blew away, and he gazed up at the stars shimmering in the blue-black sky. They danced in their constellations, unthinkingly part of the Pattern that he had to strive to maintain. A wry smile twitched across his lips, and he named in his mind the nearer stars, as if he were still a schoolboy on Roke. Then, feeling sleepy, he spoke a soft word to his crafty ship, and lay down, wrapping himself in his cloak and pillowing his head against his arms.

It was just after dawn when he woke, and Ged rubbed the sleep from his eyes, looking about him to see where he was. The open sea surrounded him, and he shivered slightly, knowing at least, where he ought to be. Iffish had receded and was lost to sight, but other isles of the Reach should have been visible, at least on the far horizon. But for all his looking, and for all that the day was clear, he could see nothing, save for the glimmer and flash of sunrays playing on the rippling waves. Soft words came from his lips, and where the man had been, a hawk now hovered, and it lifted itself into the airs and the sea-winds, to look about with its far-seeing eyes. At the horizon, darkness hovered, like a shadow of night that still clung to the ocean, a shadow that did not pass even as the day drew on. One hour, two, the hawk circled, before coming to rest in the boat, a man once more. He frowned, troubled, and spoke once more to the boat, then wove the words to bring the magewind into the sail. Foam flew back from the prow as the 'Lookfar' leapt through the waves like a playful dolphin, and for all his concern Ged laughed, sharing in the joy of the craft and the play of the sea. 'Lookfar' knew where they were, even if Ged himself did not, and he would trust her as he had before, to guide him where he would go, even if it led through the strange shadow. And so he traveled with the wind in his sails, from the East Reach heading to the North, where the grey seas are cold.