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DESTINY AWAITS

PART 1

By Lady Sahara

Bryn was happily wandering her way through the port of Narima. It was mid-afternoon and the sun was shining. She and the crew had docked there that morning to deliver cargo and re-stock on supplies. After the work was done, Sinbad had generously given each of them the afternoon off to do with as they pleased. Narima was a fascinating, bustling place, and Bryn took the opportunity to do a bit of exploring on her own. She would meet the crew back at the docks in time to sail on the evening tide.

She made her way through the marketplace, which was buzzing with activity. There were shops and peddlers everywhere, selling everything from the cheapest trinkets to fine silks and gold. A group of musicians played loudly in the square. Bryn smiled at the excitement as she may her way along, just doing her best not to get her toes stepped on in the crowd. Several vendors tried to sell her fine fabrics and jewellery. The items were all extremely beautiful, she had to admit, but they cost way more than she could afford, and really were too rich for her tastes anyway.

As she was browsing she soon came to a tent with a small sign outside that read, "Andaria’s Fortune Telling and Magical Supplies". "Hmm," thought Bryn to herself, staring indecisively at violet curtains that covered the entrance to the tent. "Should I?" She remembered with a chuckle the last fortune-teller she had parted money with. That one had told Bryn she would in the next week marry a king, and later have ten sons. That was about six months ago.

She was still wondering if to go in when a hand reached out from behind the curtains and parted them. Bryn was startled as a little old lady peeked through. "Ooh, a customer!" she said, stepping out and clapping her hands together with excitement. Bryn smiled nervously at her. "Hello," she managed.

"Hello, pretty one," said the old woman through a toothless smile. "Come in, come in!". She wore a dark green shawl and had gray frizzy hair, and stepped aside for Bryn to walk in. Bryn was still hesitant, but for some reason thought it hard to refuse her. She entered the tent and the old lady shuffled in behind.

The tent seemed bigger on the inside. There was a single table with two chairs, and laid out on other small tables to the side, all kinds of curiosities: crystals and semi-precious stones, a few old magic books, and bottles of various potions… all presumably for sale.

"You’ve come to get your fortune told, pretty one?" said the old lady to Bryn, distracting her attention from the curios by tapping her on the shoulder.

"My fortune?" said Bryn turning around suddenly to face her. "Oh….yes, I suppose so," she said, smiling nervously again.

"Very good then," said the old lady. "I am Lady Andaria, the greatest fortune-teller and mystic in the world." She opened her arms majestically and curtsied, teetering slightly on her ankles. Bryn was a little amused at her but tried not to let it show.

"Pleased to meet you," Bryn said politely.

"Likewise," said Andaria, smiling her toothless smile. "What is your name, child?" she asked.

"Bryn."

"Lovely. Well come now, Bryn, let’s see what fate has in store for you," she said, pulling Bryn towards the table to take a seat.

"This is going to be interesting," Bryn thought to herself with a quiet chuckle as she eased into a chair.

Andaria sat also. For a moment she appeared to study Bryn’s face. "Hmm," she said with eyes narrowed, nodding critically. "I see many questions in your eyes."

Bryn wanted to giggle. She was sure the old lady was a fake, but decided to play along.

"Give me your palm," said Andaria. Bryn gave her her left palm. The old lady held it in her cool wrinkled hands, feeling the fingers and general shape, and tracing the delicate lines.

"Mmm-hmm," said Andaria, nodding again. "Yes. You are kind, compassionate, loyal and trustworthy. There are people to whom you are very dear," she said.

Bryn fought a smile. I’m sure she tells this to everyone.

"Ahhh…..," then said the old woman with eyebrows raised as she studied Bryn’s palm further. "I see there is one who cares for you very deeply." She closed her eyes as she squeezed Bryn’s hand between her own. "Very deeply indeed."

That got Bryn’s attention. "Uh…tell me more about this person," she said, trying not to appear too eager.

"A young man," said Andaria suspensefully. "One with you whom you work and share much of your time. There is a very deep connection between the two of you." She concentrated more. "Aye, it is deep….," she reaffirmed, her voice trailing off. Her eyes were still closed, but her fingers slid to feel the bracelet on Bryn’s wrist.

"Yes," admitted Bryn carefully, watching the old woman’s movements. "I suppose you could say there is someone." The image of Sinbad played in her mind. She couldn’t remember any of her past, but she knew in her heart that her friendship with Sinbad was the most special relationship of her life. There was some unspoken connection between them that she couldn’t define. She knew it the first moment she saw him.

Still, Andaria hadn’t really told her anything anyone couldn’t have just made up.

The old lady rubbed the rainbow bracelet again. "This binds you to him," she said. "Your destinies are linked….your souls…" she closed her eyes as she continued to stroke the bracelet. After a while it began to glow faintly under her touch. Bryn was surprised, she had never seen it react this way outside of times of danger. It tingled on her skin.

"It’s speaking to me," Andaria whispered. "It says you….you and…and…." Further lines marked her old face as she struggled for a name. Bryn listened with her heart quickening. Did the old woman really have powers? Somehow, she realized that secretly, she hoped she could tell her something real.

"Sinbad!" Andaria finally ejected. Bryn gulped. She knew his name! She couldn’t believe it.

Andaria continued. "It says you and Sinbad…that’s his name….your souls were created together. Before time began. Your soul is half of his, and his is half of yours. You are like two candles Allah lit from one flame."

Bryn was quiet as she listened. It was true that when she was with Sinbad, she felt complete. Even her missing past didn’t seem to matter that much when she was with him. She wondered how he felt about her…

Andaria opened her eyes and looked into Bryn’s deeply.

"You and this Sinbad…you are lovers?" she asked bluntly.

Bryn blushed brightly. "Uh…no…," she said, shifting uncomfortably in her chair. "We’re not."

"Not yet," said Andaria with a wink of her old eye. "But soon enough. Your souls already love each other, the rest will follow shortly."

Bryn’s heart skipped a beat. She squirmed a little and tried to move the conversation in a slightly different direction.

"Can you tell me anything of my past?" she asked.

The old lady looked perplexed. "Your past?"

"My past is unknown to me," said Bryn with a sigh. She tried to make the long story as short as possible. "I’ve lost all my memory, I don’t remember anything before a year ago."

Andaria closed her eyes. After a few moments of intense concentration she opened them. "I’m sorry, Bryn," she said. "It won’t reveal itself to me. Somehow, deliberately so. But I feel a power in you that will make your destiny known to you in time. And whatever that destiny is, Sinbad will be an important part of it."

Just then the town bell rang five times.

"Oh, I’ve got to get going," said Bryn suddenly. She hadn’t realized how much time had gone. "My ship is due to sail soon." She asked Andaria how much she owed her.

"Nonsense," said the old woman said with a dismissive wave of her hand. "You are special one, Bryn. You owe me nothing for the reading. And as a personal gift, take this." She went to one of the tables and selected a large quartz gazing-crystal. It was set in a brass foundation so that it could stand upright. She handed it to Bryn.

"Oh it’s beautiful, I couldn’t…" said Bryn, examining the beautiful object. But Andaria insisted, so she gratefully accepted the crystal. "One more thing," the old lady said. "Always remember, moonlight makes the heart confess." She winked. Bryn didn’t quite understand, but thanked her with a hug. She bade her goodbye and set out for the docks.

She arrived at the Nomad a few minutes later. "I’m back!" she called out as she hopped onto the deck.

"About time," said Doubar, relieved. "We were beginning to worry."

"Sorry," said Bryn. "Narima is a fascinating place," she added. She didn’t mention her meeting with the fortune-teller. What she had been told seemed too personal to share with anyone.

"Had a good time?" asked a strong voice behind her. She turned around. Sinbad was standing there, smiling. His eyes were as warm and blue as a tropical sea.

"Aye, Captain," she said, returning his smile. She blushed a little remembering Andaria’s words about them being lovers soon.

"I’m glad you did," he said. "We’ll probably be at sea for three weeks after we cast off. Speaking of which…" He called to Moor who was standing nearby. "We’re ready, Rongar. Cast her off." Rongar untied the ropes that bound the Nomad to the dock and the ship began to move out to sea.

It was late evening, but there were still a few things that needed to be done. Bryn busied herself with helping Doubar mend a sail, tidying up the deck with Firouz, and sharpening all the weapons with Rongar. By nightfall she was quite tired, and retired to her cabin early.

She set the crystal Andaria had given her on a small night-table before climbing into her bunk. As she lay down she propped herself up on one elbow and looked at it thoughtfully. It was perfectly clear and flawless, with six smooth, even sides.

"Your soul is half of his, and his is half of yours."

Andaria’s words echoed in Bryn’s mind. It was a beautiful thought, to say the least. Her heart certainly felt like it was true. It was difficult for Bryn to imagine a day in her life without Sinbad. He seemed to sense her moods, to know intuitively when she was happy or sad. And whenever he looked at her with those sea-blue eyes, she felt like he already knew all the secrets of her heart. She wondered again how he really felt about her. She knew he cared deeply, she didn’t need a fortune-teller to tell her that. But did he feel as she did, that there was only one person in the world for him? That she was half of his soul?

Be quiet and go to sleep, you silly infatuated girl, she eventually said to herself.

She put out the lamp, curled on her side and went to sleep thinking of him.

 

DESTINY AWAITS

PART 2

 

Sometime in the middle of the night, Bryn awoke and couldn’t get back to sleep. She tried reading, she tried meditating, she tried just lying there, but nothing seemed to work. Sinbad weighed heavily on her mind. So finally she dressed and went up on deck to see if some fresh air might help. When she got there Doubar was at the tiller. The night air was cool and crisp, and the night was softly lit by a partially-clouded moon.

"Hey, Doubar," Bryn said casually, stretching herself out. "Lovely night," she added. She took a deep breath of the cool night air and leaned next to him on the railing of the stern.

Doubar greeted her with a kind smile. "Hello, little lady," he said cheerfully. "What are you doing up at this hour? You’re not due to take the tiller. You should be getting your beauty sleep."

"Thanks," Bryn answered with a smile. "I know…but I just woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep."

"What’s wrong?" he asked with friendly concern. "Are you troubled?"

"No…yes…I mean, not really. Well, I mean…," she began, fumbling for words.

"Just as I thought," he said, nodding knowingly. "Tell Uncle Doubar what’s wrong."

Bryn sighed. "I really don’t know, Doubar. It’s not a problem, as such. Nothing’s wrong. I just….I don’t know," she said, looking at the floor and shaking her head in frustration. She felt like she really needed someone to talk to, but bringing this up with Doubar was a bit awkward. She wished she had a female friend to talk to.

"Sinbad," Doubar said bluntly. "There, does that help?"

"Oh no," sighed Bryn. "Is it that obvious?"

"Yup."

"Well," she sighed again, finally deciding to tell the story. "Where should I begin…you see, I saw a fortune teller in the city today…."

 

But she didn’t finish her sentence as she suddenly saw Sinbad coming towards them. "Ready to hand that tiller over, big brother?" he said cheerfully as he approached.

Doubar looked apologetically at Bryn, and then back at Sinbad. "But I thought Firouz was to have it next…."

"He was," said Sinbad, the sea-breeze blowing his shoulder-length brown hair. "But he’s busy inventing some contraption, and begged me to take his shift."

"Oh, well, okay then," said Doubar. "Sorry," he whispered to Bryn as he gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "Good luck, whatever it is." He left the tiller and Sinbad took it over. He bade Bryn and his younger brother goodnight and went below.

Bryn felt a little awkward seeing Sinbad just then. He was the cause of her swirling emotions, and now she was left all alone with him. She would have liked to go back to her cabin to try to sort herself out, but leaving too quickly would tell him something was wrong.

"Why do I get the feeling I interrupted something?" asked Sinbad.

"Don’t worry, you didn’t really," said Bryn, trying to sound casual. "We were just chatting."

"Did I hear something about a fortune-teller?"

Bryn swallowed hard. Oh no, he heard. She chuckled nervously and shrugged. "Oh, that was nothing," she said, smoothing back her hair as the wind blew it across her face. "I was just telling Doubar saw one in Narima today."

"Uh-oh," said Sinbad playfully. "Let me guess, you’re going to marry a king, right? And have fifty sons? I thought you swore off of fortune tellers after the last time."

Bryn giggled. "I did. I didn’t set out looking for it, but I just sort of found her. And she was okay, she seemed genuine. Didn’t charge me either."

"So what did she tell you?" he asked her with his eyebrows raised expectantly.

Bryn knew he was going to ask. She caught his gaze for a moment. His blue eyes were sparkling, and the light of a nearby lamp colored his perfect complexion like candlelight. Her eyes flickered away as she thought how she might answer his question without becoming too deep.

"Mmm…well, she said I was kind, compassionate, loyal and trustworthy."

"But I could have told you that!" said Sinbad matter-of-factly.

"Yeah, I suppose so," said Bryn. She felt dumb.

"So what else did she say?"

That you’re my soulmate and that’s why I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with you, Bryn wished she had the nerve to tell him. She was running out of ways to skirt around the issue. She twisted a lock of her hair.

"Well, she knew your name, for one thing," she divulged.

Sinbad was surprised. "She did? That’s interesting."

"Yes. And she knew that we’re somehow linked by our bracelets. She said we we’re very close." I’m telling him too much, I’m telling him too much…

"How close?" Sinbad asked curiously.

"Uh, well…she said….we’ve been together much longer than we’ve actually been together."

"Huh???"

Bryn sighed at herself. What am I doing????

"Sinbad, do you believe in a soul?"

He nodded. "Yes, I do."

"Well, from what Andaria – that was her name – told me, it’s possible for two people to be part of each other’s soul. They’re that way from the time the Creator makes them. So, when they meet in real life, they feel whole, complete, like they’ve found part of themselves." Please, someone, save me from myself…

"You mean, like a soulmate?"

Bryn nodded emphatically. "Yes! I didn’t know you knew about that."

"Guess I’m not just a dumb sailor," Sinbad grinned.

Bryn smiled back. "So…have you ever wondered about yours?" she asked him carefully. "I mean, if you’ll ever meet her and all?" I’m going to die…

She tried to appear relaxed, but out of his view she dug her nails into the wooden railing.

Sinbad took a deep breath as he thought carefully. He looked at her directly with intense blue eyes. "Yes…many times. Everyone hopes they’ll find true love. For a while, I thought it might be Maeve. But somehow, with her, it didn’t go deep enough. I was close to her, but she wasn’t the one."

He paused to reflect for a moment. "Certain things have shown me that quite clearly…." He trailed off and looked into the distance. Silence followed, and Bryn felt like she was falling off a cliff.

Please my love, please…… please tell me what you mean by that. I need to know so badly…

After a few moments, he let go of the tiller and drew close to her.

"Sinbad, the tiller!"

"Forget about it for a moment."

"W-what are you doing?"

He gently took both her hands. They were strong and warm and amazingly tender for a man who had spent nearly all his life at sea. Her hands fit perfectly into them. "Sometimes, Bryn," he said quietly, "you have to take a chance. You have to let go of everything you know and do what your soul tells you."

Bryn’s heart was pounding in her ears. She hoped only she could hear it. She looked into his eyes expectantly. The full moon, previously obscured by clouds, came into view. The sea was suddenly alive with flecks of silver.

"You’ve been a new beginning in my life, Bryn," he continued. "And if what you’re trying to tell me is that you think I’m your soulmate….the fact is that I already know. I’ve always known. I feel it every time I see you, every time you smile at me, every time you call my name. It goes deeper than rainbow bracelets, deeper than our common cause to fight evil in the world. I can’t imagine a day without you, and even though I only met you a year ago, I can hardly remember a time when I didn’t know you."

Bryn listened but couldn’t say a word. She wanted to cry, she wanted to laugh with joy, she wanted to pinch herself just to be sure she wasn’t dreaming. But before she could think any further, Sinbad’s arms had encircled her small waist. He pulled her close against his chest. His hand gently cupped her chin and his lips found hers. Suddenly her whole body was flooded with warmth from his kiss. An electric tingle replaced the chill of the night air on her skin. His lips lingered and lingered on hers, sweeter than anything she had ever known.

It was so unlike their first kiss. This time they were alone in the peace of the night, many miles from land, without evil forces to battle, without anyone to save. Time just seemed to stand still, until at last Sinbad lifted his lips from hers. He smiled down at her.

"Oh Sinbad," Bryn said, her voice full with emotion, "I’ve wanted to tell you all these things too. How right it feels to me when were together. Like it was meant to be. How even though a part of my life is missing, nothing seems to be missing when I’m with you."

For a while they stood together in silence, holding each other close and listening to the sound of the waves. The Nomad was probably going in circles, but it didn’t matter. Their lives were about to take its own new direction.

"You know," Sinbad finally whispered into her hair. "They say moonlight makes the heart confess." Bryn smiled as their faces drew close.

"The soul too, it would seem," she whispered back as his lips touched hers again.

*****My beloved loves me…he loves me.*****

THE END

Lady Sahara