Halis had been running so fast, he’d barely made the turn from the narrow lane to the doorway only just catching himself on the frame.
     “Morwin! A ship…from the west…has entered the harbor!” He panted, his eyes bright with excitement. Morwin’s frown was instantly replaced with pleased shock. He stood slowly staring into his friend’s grinning face. The leather work fell to the floor forgotten. At the same moment they both glanced at the carefully preserved wooden casket on the high shelf, its three wax seals covered in dust.
     “Then the day has come,” Morwin whispered. “I…I can hardly believe it.” Halis nodded eagerly.
     Wonder reigned but momentarily.
     “Go!” ordered Morwin briskly. “Awaken Sarli. If marks on the portal indicate she’s…engaged, do not hesitate to interrupt her. Her wrath will be ten times more terrible if she thinks she’s not been told of this in a timely manner.”
     “Oh, do not worry,” Halis smiled, as if the idea of interrupting even a hedge majai in full Weave was something he did daily. “It will be my pleasure.”
     “Do not antagonize her, Halis,” Morwin warned placing his warn handled tools quickly yet carefully in their storage box. “If we are to be successful, much depends on her.”
     “I? Antagonize?” Halis feigned shock and hurt. “But she is my love, my life, my one and only–”
     “—only she doesn’t view you quite the same way,” said Morwin wryly, untying his heavy leather apron and hanging it on its peg.
     “Is there anything so sad as unrequited love?,” mourned the dog catcher mockingly.
     Morwin chuckled in reply and shook his head, but instantly sobered taking a long look about the room that had been his life for so long now. But a ship, a western ship, has come, he thought to himself.
     “Away with you,” he said shaking way the false nostalgia. “We have much to do.”
     Halis grinned again, nodded and disappeared.
     Morwin contemplated the empty frame where his friend had stood but a moment before. He hoped Halis would forgive him when the night’s events unfolded as unexpectedly as Morwin had planned they would.
     “It is for the best…” he reminded himself as he turned toward the shelf—were his fingers trembling, ever so slightly, he wondered—and reached for the damned casket.