JOURNEY TO MIRANGA ISLAND
Part X: Where To?
“The lads are ready master,” Balric said as he approached Declan wearing his trademark satchel and backpack.
“Excellent Balric. It’s past time we cast off and left this miserable place,” Declan said with a sigh.
“Where are we bound sir?”
“I don’t know yet,” Declan replied. “Home, I suppose. Not much point in sailing the globe aimlessly, is there?”
“No sir,” Balric agreed.
“I’m tired Balric. For the four hundredth time on this quest, I know I shouldn’t give up. But for the first time, I just don’t know if I can go on.”
“I don’t blame you. You’ve no direction. Which is why I made you this,” Balric said as he pulled a tied scroll from his satchel and handed it to his master.
“What is this? A doodle? Oh Balric, I don’t know where we’re going to hang this one,” Declan said.
“No need to hang it sir. See for yourself,” Balric said.
The young lord let out a small, exasperated sigh and untied the string around the parchment. He unrolled it and pulled it flat. He squinted, then looked up, then looked back down and squinted harder.
“This can’t be…” Declan simply stopped talking, clearly taken up with a newfound fervor.
“It is sir. Took me the better part of last night, but it is,” Balric answered.
“But…it looks like an exact copy of the map to Miranga Island!” Declan cried in disbelief. “Did you doodle this?”
“Well, doodle don’t quite describe the effort, but if we’re simplifyin,” Balric couldn’t hold back a smile. “Aye sir, I drew it. Had to do it right when we got back too. I’m terrible at drawin from memory. I didn’t get everything, but all the important bits are there.”
“Drawing from memory?” Declan asked, more to himself as though he had heard Balric mention this before; but it must have been long ago. “That’s why you were looking at the map on the run from Mad Murphy’s to the skiff. You were studying it!”
“You knew the ferryman would want it,” Declan said at the same moment he realized it.
“Well, I didn’t know for sure. But I guessed he’d want somethin,” Balric said as his cheeks began to redden.
“Balric, I can’t thank you enough,” Declan put a hand on his manservant’s shoulder. Then he looked at his hand, removed it, and gave the fellow a big hug.
Balric, wide eyed and weepy, hugged his master back. They released each other and Declan ran quickly to his navigator.
“Stanley, have ye slept?” Declan bellowed.
“No!” Stanley replied dreamily.
“Nor will you,” Declan shoved the map into his hands and clapped him on the shoulder. “That goes for all of you! We have what we came for. We know our course. Ready the sails and prepare yourselves. We’re off to Miranga Island!”