277 The Whispers of Wayfarers
*Eldovian Era 1713, 22nd day of the 12th month*
"…you mean you haven't seen them come for food in three days?"
"I haven't even heard them, not even a peep".
"I knew they were very dedicated to their work but this seems a little extreme, perhaps someone should go to check on them".
Gelling had to pause in the doorway of the crew dining hall. He frowned at the conversation he'd heard and turned to the three maid staff who were finishing their breakfast to the side.
"Who is it?" he asked.
The maids looked up in surprise, then the most senior among them spoke up, "Those two Magicians. The Old man and the Young man. Lina was just saying that she hasn't seem them in the dining hall for three days".
"They usually come at odd times," said Lina, "But I checked with a few others who were on duty and they haven't seen them come in either".
Gelling frowned, "Do you know what rooms they're staying in?"
"No, sorry," Lina replied, "I think they were on Deck 5 but I don't know which room".
"It's room 28," said the third maid, "I clean those rooms, theirs is always so scattered with papers that I'm never quite sure what to do".
Gelling nodded, "I'll check on it. Send word if they show up".
"Of course," the maids nodded in agreement.
Gelling left the dining hall and made his way up towards passenger decks.
Passengers disappearing for a few days? He'd dealt with passengers finding their way into the staff areas, getting lost, a few staying in their rooms. But the staff had always been aware at some point or another. For passengers to go missing entirely for three days? Something was wrong.
Gelling found himself in front of the room in question ten minutes later after stopping to ask a few more staff. He raised a hand and knocked on the door.
"Hello? My name is Gelling, I'm one of the Security Personal on the Mariner," Gelling stated, he listened as he paused but heard no movement, "I'm sorry to disturb you but the staff were concerned about your safety and just wanted to make sure you were okay".
It remained silent on the other side of the door and Gelling frowned. He knocked again, a little louder this time.
"Apologies, but as a security guard on this vessel, I really must insist on seeing that you are safe," Gelling stated, "If you do not open the door I will open it instead".
Gelling waited nearly a minute, but there was no response. With a sigh, he retrieved his ring of keys and slotted the master key into the lock, "I'm coming in".
He turned the key and pushed the door open.
The room, as the maid had described, was scattered with papers. Maps, Charts, various texts. It covered both beds and the desk, and then any excess had been spread to the small amount of floor space. Gelling stepped through it as delicately as possible, but after a quick glance around the room, and poking his head into the bathroom, it became clear that the Magicians were not inside.
Gelling left immediately, locking the door behind him. As he turned to leave a woman with a curious and nosy gaze poked her head out, "Is everything alright, Sir?"
Gelling paused, then gave a small smile of reassurance, "I'm sure it's just a misunderstanding, do you happen to have seen the two Magicians staying here recently?"
"No..." the woman seemed to think a moment then a look of recognition crossed her face, "Ah, they spent quite a bit of time in the public lounge on Deck 8. There was a woman that was with them often".
"A woman?" asked Gelling with a raised eyebrow.
"Yes...a young woman. She is here with her lover, I believe, though it is rare that you see the two together outside of meal times. I believe they spend much of their time doing odd jobs for the crew as well," said the woman.
Gelling tried not to let his surprise show. There was only one couple that was doing odd jobs for the crew.
"Thank you, for letting me know," said Gelling.
Gelling left the woman before she could ask any more rumour mongering questions. If there were two missing passengers, it was only a matter of time before those on board knew. Keeping a secret from passengers on a long journey, even on a large ship like the Mariner, was next to impossible.
Gelling found the woman, Devina, an hour later taking a walk along the starboard side of the ship. Her eyes widened upon seeing him, but she calmed her expression quickly and gave him an awkward smile.
"Gelling," said Devina.
"Devina, I hear you were in contact with the two Magicians on board, Kel and Issa I believe their names were," said Gelling, getting straight to the point.
"Well, yes," said Devina, "They were hoping to study the existence of Dragons on the Western Continent. Quite an abstract topic".
"Have you seen them recently?" asked Gelling.
Devina shook her head, "No, not for a few days".
"Where was the last place you saw them?" asked Gelling, watching her closely
Devina frowned, seemingly in thought, "Well, we were in the public lounge when the two said they were headed back to their cabins before dinner. Seeing how much time they spend between their cabins and the lounge, I asked them to walk with me a little before dinner. They didn't protest and we went up towards the top deck. Once up there, Issa seemed particularly interested in a pod of whales, but I had to get back so that Aegin wouldn't worry, so I left them there. That was the last time I saw them".
Gelling frowned, "The top deck?"
Devina nodded, "Yes".
"And this was three days ago?"
Devina nodded again, "Yes. Is everything alright?"
Gelling frowned, "Did you harm them?"
Devina blanched, "What? Why...? How could you even ask that?"
Gelling stared at her a long moment before he sighed, "Apologies. Please let me know if you encounter them".
Gelling turned and walked away.
Devina, once he was out of earshot, breathed out in relief, she turned to the railing and looked out at the ocean below. She couldn't help feeling a little sea sick. She didn't want to lie. But she had no choice. Aegin had been clear on what he'd do if she told anyone. And she didn't doubt he'd do it to the whole ship if he needed to.
Still, even if she'd promised not to say anything, he hadn't spoken to her in three days. Done his best to avoid her in fact. Devina should have been relieved. Instead, no doubt due to the damned bond between them, she felt a sense of loss. Of sadness.
She did her utmost to ignore the voice that told her that she felt guilt too.