“They sail with sails of darkness,
They sail with sails of light,
They sail across the endless seas,
Beyond the moonless night.
They sail for dreams of glory,
They dream of making right.
They sail to tell their story,
Before their dreams take flight.”
The finely dressed man at the bar showed no appreciation for the song. “Who are they, then?”
The singer smiled. “Why, you’ve met them, milord, met them many a time before.”
“Never met any sailors. You promised me a story that meant something.”
“And I told you one.”
“That wasn’t a story. That was some lines of doggerel. Absolute nonsense.”
“There’s a tale there, behind the words. You just have to listen.”
“I’m not paying you for a riddle. You want coin from me? Give me something worth my while.”
The singer’s smile widened and became sly. “Something worth your while. Right.” He hummed a tune.
The other man stirred. “I’ve heard that tune before.”
“In your dreams, yes. You dream of the endless seas beyond the moonless night, where the lost souls sail. You dream of ghostly ships moving soundless across unmoving waves. You dream of the sea between. You dream this for a reason. Things are not as they seem.”
The man stared at the singer. “Go on.”
The singer hummed a few more notes before continuing. “You dream because you are called there. Someone waits for you to join. Someone you knew. You once sought treasure together. You might seek it again.”
“Donaris!” The man slammed his fist into the table. “I knew it. I never believed he really died. He was the sort that could do the impossible.”
“He sails for dreams of glory now.”
“And is he close to treasure?”
“Very close. So close and yet he cannot see, for the darkness lies close around him.”
“I must find a way to tell him. Can I get to that place? To him?”
“The path is difficult, and open only to the very wise. You must seek the dreaded secrets in the deepest depths. The cursed tomes of the library of all knowledge.”
The man stood up abruptly. “I remember. Donaris showed me the secret parts of the library long ago.” He turned to go.
“My lord.” The singer held out a hand. “Was that a story worth your coin?”
The man pulled out a pouch and thrust the whole thing into the singer’s hand. “I thank you.” With that, he went out the door into the night.
The singer turned back to the bar and pulled a few coins out of his new pouch. “Some stew, if you please, and something warming to drink.”
He hummed to himself as the tavern keeper took his coins. Under his breath, he sang another verse:
“And those that sail to meet them,
They’ll sail through veils of black,
They’ll find their long-sought treasure,
Then find there’s no way back.”