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By Sarah Hapgood

“We’re drifting”, said Bardin, at supper-time “I wish to God we had a plan”.

A flash of lightning briefly lit up the room. Thunder was rumbling in the distance.

“How can we expect to have a plan?” said Hillyard “With the world in the state it’s in? Anyway, we arrive everywhere new, not knowing a damn thing about it. Stands to reason we’re going to ‘drift’ as you call it”.

“And we didn’t know it was gonna get this hot here, Bardy”, said Bengo “Otherwise we’d be staying”.

“We keep travelling”, said Julian “Until we FINALLY find a place of refuge, or we can find a way to sort all this mess out”.

“Huh”, said Bardin “Fat chance of that!”

“Now don’t be like that”, said KIeran, from the other end of the table “Even if we can’t find a solution, well the Lord may take a hand”.

The table went silent, and everyone turned to look at Kieran suspiciously.

“And what’s that supposed to mean?” Julian barked.

“Nothing”, said KIeran “Other than that you should all stop looking for a solution, and glide with the flow of Fate. You’re not leaving enough in the Lord’s hands”.

“Well He hasn’t been much help so far has He!” said Julian.

“You’ve been trying to control too much that’s why”, said Kieran, serenely getting to his feet “You need to trust in the Universe more. And if that means drifting then it means drifting. I’m off to the heads”.

“What IS he up to?” said Julian.

“Don’t look at me”, said Joby “But he might have a point I spose”.

Adam went into Julian’s cabin for a quick night-cap. The storm was still rolling around, almost aimlessly it would seem.

“What’s that mad Irishman up to?” said Julian, pouring out sherry, and handing a glass to Adam, who was sitting on the windowseat “One minute he’s quoting Revelations everywhere, now he’s saying we should put everything into the hands of the Almighty”.

“He was just trying to get Bardin to take his foot off the throttle a bit that’s all”, said Adam “And anyway, he’s allowed to mention God if he wants to. We are meant to be a religious order after all”.

“No, we are meant to be a SPIRITUAL order”, said Julian “There’s a difference. I just hope he’s not planning to do another LIxix”.

“I haven’t seen any indication of that whatsoever”, said Adam.

“Yes well, keep an eye on him”.

“Gladly”, said Adam “Always a pleasure to keep an eye on Patsy. I must turn in. It’s been a long day”.

“I don’t know how you cook in this heat”, said Julian.

“We’re not really”, said Adam, getting to his feet “You’re all living off bread and cheese”.

They embraced.

“If you see Hoowie on your travels”, said Julian “Send him along to me”.

“Will do”, said Adam.

Bardin spent a restless night. The heat, the storm (which never escalated to anything), and chaotic plans all conspired to make him edgy and uncomfortable.

After breakfast, he went along to Kieran’s cabin for a private chat.

“I calmed down immediately”, he said, sitting on the sofa “Is that your influence?”

“More likely Umbert’s piano-playing”, said Kieran.

In the dining-room Umbert was expertly playing a Schubert piano sonata.

“He is brilliant”, said Bardin “Professional standard. We could’ve done with him at the Cabaret”.

“We have a lot of unspoken talent round here”, said Kieran, sitting down next to him “Hillyard’s pretty good on the old joanna too. What can I do for you anyway?”

“Not sure”, said Bardin “I think I’m putting off announcing that we should move on. I know Ransey wants to head back to Snow Lake, and we will, eventually, but I think we should keep going in the direction we are. We can’t keep trying to prepare ourselves for things which we don’t know are there”.

“So let’s do it”, Kieran smiled.

“We’ve got to wait for Toppy to get back”, said Bardin “He’s gone over there to advise them on something. Probably polishing spoons. When he gets back I’ll send him over again, to tell them we’re leaving”.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m just the errand boy around here, Captain”, Toppy complained.

“Oh just get on with it”, said Bardin “And don’t take this as an excuse to spend the rest of the day there. We want to get off as soon as possible”.

“What if they decide they don’t want to move on though?” said Toppy.

“I don’t care!” said Bardin.

There was some grumbling from the yacht about him, but as it was quite apparent that Bardin wouldn’t give a toss if they came with them or not, they came.

They sailed out of the Great Plain, and into a maze of rivers dotted by wooded islands. Bardin took the decision to keep ploughing eastwards, in spite of Ransey going on about heading back to Snow Lake up north.

“It’s not the time for that yet”, said Bardin “It will be one day, but not quite yet”.

“Do you ever think of Midnight Castle?” asked Hillyard, chatting to him on the main deck.

“Sometimes”, said Bardin “Why? What brought that on?”

“Oh just thinking of all the places we’ve lived in over the years”, said Hillyard.

“There have been a few”, said Bardin “The Town House in Toondor Lanpin”.

“Loved that place”, said Hillyard “We almost lived like normal people there”.

“We can make a home anywhere”, said Bardin “Even if something happened to this ship - God forbid - we’d manage. The important thing is each other. I guess that’s what makes us vulnerable”.

“It always did”, said Hillyard.

“I’m amazed They’ve not tried that”, said Bardin “Splitting us up”.

“Perhaps They’re worried it’d make us too ruthless”, said Hillyard “Sounds daft I know, but anyway, don’t go giving Them ideas!”

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