“Why does he not sweep the area first, to gain a sight of His Highness?” Thimble wondered aloud as Captain Lafitte’s crew jumped to his orders.
“Make up for the lack,” Lord Jeneyeru answered him. “You saw the way the Mate pointed. Go and see what you see.”
“But, if your lordship pleases, what’s a killough-mitter?”
“Do not waste time,” the wizard snapped, and he flicked a hand as if to slap his faerie servant, though instead he appeared to be releasing a brown wren into the air as the little shape-shifter instantly changed and took wing.
Jeneyeru was not much slower. Within a few minutes, he was at the rail as the Calinda was being drawn down nearly to the ground with a great venting of air, almost like a dragon though without the fire. Under different circumstances, he might have taken more interest in the precise team work required for the maneuver — Peino would definitely have noted every detail of it — but Jeneyeru had more urgent matters on his mind.
He had changed his morning robe for a suit of huntsman’s red with soft boots and a dark green tricorn, and his wizard’s braids caught up in a green ribbon under it. All the chains and brooches of his amulets and charms were tucked within the pockets of his waistcoat, the Staff of Ghosts was in his hand, and a leather bag was slung across his body. He carried another coat and boots and a second bag.
“Come here, Mistress O’Tulvar,” he called to Lotye. “The rope has been harsh to you. Put some of this balm on your hands.” He lowered his voice as he handed her a little pocket pot of salve. The cold rain began to drip off the corners of his hat. “I’ve brought you some strong clothes and your bag. You’ll need them as well as your sharp wits. The fight with the dragons will have alerted the Masters to our presence. If luck is with us, Manawydden’s storm will stay with the god’s idol on this ship, and the Masters’ attention will stay on it and not on us as we move about. But I confess I’m quite burnt, and my head feels as if a hot poker has been drawn through my skull. It will be a good while before I can cast another spell. We must retrieve my brother and what he carries, and in these mountains, the instincts of a thief may have to do for us if the skill of a wizard cannot. Stay close and trust no one else on the ground.”