The sea looked calm and peaceful – perfect for the long journey ahead.
The sails of the huge and overpowering vessel, Sidonie, were already prepared for flight – ready for the strongest winds and practically anticipating the guide the vessel to Sandur. The crew had been that thorough for a safe journey.
From the docks, the shouts of the crew could be heard, demanding for instructions, details from the higher-ranked members, regarding their first long and major voyage in a very long time – this time, concerning vital members of Sollus, the students and the teachers of Avenes Falkswain School of Sealing Magic.
Some citizens of Sollus had gathered at the docks, curious to see what would happen there. This event, after all, would alter the lives of many of them.
The young, meanwhile, occupied themselves with eyeing the seagulls gracing the darkening. Some of them, the boys especially, got as close as they could to Sidonie, pestering the crew with questions about the ship.
The perfect setting for parting.
With his hands clasped behind his back, his dark cloak swirling about him, the headmaster observed all these, his colleagues beside him.
"Everyone has finished their dinner, Headmaster." Goldia Junebear informed him.
Elyzaar nodded. "Has someone already told them to gather here?"
Beside him, Ceisyia nodded. "Yes, the last time I saw them, they were already on their way here." She looked around and saw that most of the students were already there.
Elyzaar turned to Arnoee Weckiz and Kalil Feningham, who had just arrived. "Please go to the ship and make sure that things are in order." The headmaster took a deep breath. "We cannot afford to dawdle any longer once we are aboard."
In response, the two professors nodded and hurried to board the ship.
The remaining professors turned when they heard voices and footsteps behind them.
The students had arrived, carrying their luggages, and had gathered in a small group, ready to say their farewells.
Standing by his luggages, Croise sighed. There was no sign of Larinya. He already expected that the short farewell he and his cousin had in his room when she came for him earlier was all he could get for a farewell. He would miss her...That cousin of his...
He turned and he smiled when he saw Kierlan and Celestyn. He already knew they were not going and although it saddened him, he is also relieved that at least, the two would be together. They loved each other. They would be alright.
"We would just like to say goodbye." Celestyn told him. "Thank you for everything, Croise." She smiled. "I wish you a good life in Sandur."
Croise shook the hand Kierlan offered him. "I know both of you will be fine here because you are together." He grinned at both of them and because he feared for Celestyn, he looked at her with concerned eyes. "Take care of yourself, Celestyn..."
"She will. I'll make sure of that." Kierlan assured him kindly.
They all looked up when they saw Luciine and Milsheen approaching.
"Kierlan...Celestyn...We heard that you are not going with us to Sandur." It was Milsheen who said this with a sad smile.
Celestyn nodded. "No, we won't." She smiled at Milsheen. "I am glad to have known you, Milsheen. You are very good to work with in the play. I admire you as a director and a playwright. I hope we can work together again soon." She told him sincerely.
Milsheen smiled. "Same here. I promise to offer you a position in my next play...And I promise, it won't be as an actress." He said with a wink.
All of them chuckled. Then Milsheen turned to Kierlan and held out a hand. "Goodbye Kierlan. It's been a pleasure knowing you."
Kierlan shook Milsheen's hand. "It's been a pleasure knowing you too."
Beside Milsheen, Kierlan saw Luciine smiling at him a bit shyly and immediately he knew the cause. "You did what you have to do, Luciine. Let me tell you something. First, there are no hard feelings on my part. Second, that's quite powerful magic you have there." He said good-naturedly.
At that, Luciine laughed then sobered. "Thanks Kierlan. I'm glad you took what I did well enough." She looked at Celestyn and Kierlan as she continued: "It will be different without you two. We might not be close and I regret that. But I do admire you both. Perhaps someday, when we see each other again, we will get closer." She said with a hopeful smile.
Celestyn nodded with a smile. "I trust we will."
It was then that Foine arrived, effortlessly carrying her luggages. She was not as sentimental as the others in her farewells and she grinned at Kierlan and Celestyn. "It might be a while before we see each other again so I want to let you know...That I want you to kick the ass of the bad guys while we are not around."
Celestyn chuckled. "For you, we'll try our best." She said dryly. "Take care of yourself, Foine."
Kierlan laughed. "I'm sure you'll do some ass-kicking yourself in Sandur, Foine."
Standing close to Onyx, Meara looked at Celestyn and Kierlan sadly. She would miss them, these two friends who had done so much for her.
Celestyn looked at the young woman who had been one of her first friends and once again, she felt that lump in her throat. She felt so hesitant to approach Meara now, afraid that she would break down if she did...
Kierlan felt her sadness and with a gentle smile, held her hand tightly and led her towards Meara. "Take care of yourself, Meara. We will see each other again soon." He told her with a grin. He looked at Onyx and held out a hand. "I trust you will take care of Meara, Dremischee. It was nice knowing you."
Onyx took the hand Kierlan offered and although the two men were not close, Onyx found himself retorting good-naturedly: "As much as you will take care of Lady Hearthwell, your highness. It was nice knowing you too."
Meara smiled back at Kierlan. "I will." Her voice shook as she added. "Thanks so much...for everything you've~"
She was interrupted as Kierlan playfully ruffled her hair. "Shut up, Meara." He said mildly, his eyes glinting laughingly. "There was nothing to it. I couldn't have helped you if you did not help yourself."
Meara smiled back shakily and it took considerable strength to face Celestyn.
For a while, they just stood there together. Then Celestyn took a hesitant step forward and before they knew it, the two women were hugging. "Fates...I'll miss you, Meara." Celestyn held back the tears as she held Meara at arm's length. "Take care of yourself, alright?"
Tears falling down from her face, Meara nodded. "We'll write, alright?" She pleaded. "Let me know what is going on with you, please?"
Celestyn nodded. "I promise I will write." She replied gently. She turned to the man Meara loved. "Take care, both of you." She murmured.
Onyx nodded. He and Celestyn might not have been close but he himself had known how much she had done for Meara – and for him. "You too."
From a distance, watching them, Arderith Calligraphy and Marguerite Kallesburg looked at each other sadly. "This is hard for them." Arderith sighed.
Marguerite nodded. "Yes. But they would be better off in Sandur...After everything that has happened here...Fates, the murder of those three innocent women..." She murmured, with much distress in her voice.
Omedus reached the two remaining women just in time to hear the last remark. "The Headmaster has asked me to lead the students into the ship. It is time to leave."
Arderith nodded, holding back tears. She pointed towards the group of young people. Such a mixture of emotions – sadness, confusion, fear...They all looked so unbearably young that moment, making a hole in Arderith's soft heart.
Omedus saw that and patted her shoulder. "They would adjust, Arderith." He assured her, then he walked towards the small group gathered near the ship.
"It's time to go." Omedus announced to the group.
Everyone nodded. After hugging Celestyn one last time, Meara walked away with Onyx, afraid that if she looked back, she would cry even more
There was another round of "goodbye"s, shaking of hands, until finally, everyone turned towards the ship to board.
There was a sturdy, wooden plank propped up so that they could ascend to the ship. Elyzaar Carmichean, Ceisyia Dalintri, Goldia Junebear, Kalil Feningham and Arnoee Weckiz stood there, waiting for the students led by Omedus to alight.
On the other side, Arderith Calligraphy and Marguerite Kallesburg stood, feeling a mixture of sadness and hope for their students who were about to start new lives on a faraway land.
A horn sounded out signaling departure, interrupting the silence of the early night.
As Sidonie gracefully moved through the sea's peaceful currents, Elyzaar stood at the deck, watching Sollus that was getting smaller and smaller until it was nothing more than a speck in the horizon.
It was time for new beginnings for all of them.
Away from Sollus – the town that had once been, their home but will soon be a distant memory for some....
For the others however, it would always be a home that would welcome them back with open arms...