THE BARBARIAN ON THE SHORE by Andrew Patrick In the days of Gazer's waning, when she readied to pass herself into the acolyte whom the gods, in all their names, chose, she started to become unstuck in herself. She started to stop remembering herself in all the lives holding all the knowledge that she, as an immortal soul holding court in a multitude of lives, should recall. She kept recalling herself as Falla, the skinny girl from a fishing village on the Warsian coast who had to be rescued by a barbarian. "What barbarian?" said Fredegunna, her favorite acolyte and dearest friend, who would never have the stamina to be Gazer. That made Gazer very sad. Fredegunna had such wisdom and kindness within her. Gazer looked out from the Great Stone Spire on the Isle of Long Light, Gazer's Isle, and she could see deep into the bosom of the water. She saw happy fish and great sharks moving in a grand dance of life, and she knew the Great Mother was pleased. "The barbarian on the shore" Gazer said. "There's no visitors today. Will there be visitors?" asked Fredegunna. Gazer smiled. There would always be visitors, so long as the Light came down upon the Isle. The Light that made Gazer Gazer. The Light that showed men how the gods looked down on them. "This one visited long ago. He has passed on to his small reward by now, and his woman with him. But the thread..." She felt the time slide and... Falla's body snapped up like the end of a trebuchet. The dark world swum around her, and she felt like she was spinning. Her mind caught up with her body and she discovered that part of the spinning was due to being in a hammock. The light from a single dirty porthole flashed the sun at her and dazzled her eyes. She felt sick for a moment, but closed her eyes and it passed.