She sat at the end of the pier, visible only by her loose blonde hair in the dark. The breeze lifted her hair away from her shoulders, tugged at the long lines her jacket which was unbuttoned and unnecessary in the warm summer night. She barely moved otherwise. She breathed, and she idly kicked her feet in the water. Boots still on. Sleep-walking again.
Seeing her, Danail left his rounds immediately, and hurried to the end of the pier. Carefully, he sat down beside her, and then, he paused.
A long time ago, he had been told – by someone he could not name, but who apparently held sway – that it was wrong to wake a sleeper. He had worked out for himself that it would be wrong to let a sleeper drown. Between the two, it usually left him sitting cross-legged beside her for a few minutes while he tried to find a way to convince a person in a dream to get out of it.
“Agate,” he murmured, proud that he had finally managed to ask her name the last time he walked her home.
She faced him. Her eyes focused on his, then unfocused, slid just to the right toward something that didn’t quite exist.
There was something that didn’t exist in the water as well.
Danail took a breath, slowly working his way around to trying again.
“It’s necessary,” Agate said.
He hesitated. “What is?”
She waited too long a moment for him to believe that she was answering him. “If you tell the ferrets they’ll never give you the ship.”
“The ferrets own a ship now?” Danail asked.
She looked him in the eye. “Don’t put them in your nose.”
Danail smiled in the face of her seriousness, trying hard not to laugh. “You are a wise, wise woman,” he murmured. “Do you have any advice about waking someone up?”