Tariq stared at nothing in particular, reflecting on the sorrows of his life. So far, he had played the roles of orphan, warrior, outcast, scholar, and wanderer. Now, it appeared it was time for him to resume his position as warrior.
He stood up from the cot in his cabin on the strange vessel called an air-rider and walked out to the main deck. On his way, he saw the human girl, Tailla, looking distressed. He was immediately concerned, having taken the most immediate liking to her over the others. When he asked her if she was alright, she responded that she had had a dizzy spell, and Tariq recommended that she get some rest.
Upon arriving on the main deck, Tariq found his other crewmates - Ziyous and Hopwil. He joined them in discussing plans for arrival and further action.
"How nice of you to join us, Pridean," the Aethian said arrogantly.
"Yes," Tariq answered, "well, I thought that if your kind had planned this little venture, then perhaps I'd best see the planning over for myself." Tariq hoped that comment stung. If this Aethian wanted a fight, Tariq would give him a war.
They discussed plans briefly, and then Tariq wandered the ship for a short time before returning to his quarters. There, he prepared for sleep and then sat at the foot of his bed. Quietly, so as not to disturb anyone else around, he began to call the spirits. He called Maj'aikh, his now-exterminated tribe's shaman; he called his father and mother; he called his sister who died in the burning of his tent; and he called Assyra, the woman who was meant to be his wife. None of them answered. He was not surprised. His gift of communicating with the dead seemed to have forsaken him in recent times.
Just as he lay down and began drifting off to sleep, he heard a voice.
Tariq paused for a moment, but then shrugged it off and continued to sleep. It must have been nothing more than his imagination.