Seoc insisted that Fern stay for dinner, so she sat in silence at the table with Cedric for a while. Soon, though, she grew tired of staring at the wall while Cedric glared at her, so she got to her feet and went outside to where Seoc was cooking their meal on an open fire. He was making soup.
He smiled at her when she joined him, his expression friendly. It was quite a change from that morning, and she recalled Seymour's words about Seoc's emotional instability. She had a feeling that Seoc's mood could worsen drastically at the slightest provocation.
"What happened in the desert?" he asked. "Seymour wouldna tell me. He seemed unusually bothered."
She frowned and sat down on a driftwood log. "Nothing happened, exactly. There was just a very sinister feeling about it, so we made a rather undignified retreat."
Seoc tipped diced chicken meat into the pot and pushed it about with a wooden spoon. "He does no' scare easily. It must have been exceptionally unsettling."
"He might have noticed more than I did. I'd expect his senses would be sharper than mine are."
"True. Since you mentioned it, what did you notice?"
"I felt watched. And the wind sounded like voices."
Seoc set about slicing carrots. Contemplatively, he added them to the soup with a pinch of oregano. "Out o' curiosity, did they seem ta be saying anythin' in particular?"
She shrugged. "Not in any language I know. Unless 'shar ah' means anything to you."
The man stopped stirring abruptly. "What did you say?"
He seized a potato and began to peel it somewhat more aggressively than was necessary. "That almost sounds like...no, I should not speak the name here in the open." He looked left and right, cursing under his breath.
"What is it?"
"I think my ald friend Seymour de Winter may be out of his depth."
"Why do you say that?"
He did not reply for a while, instead turning his full concentration to the potato he was chopping. Only after he had slid it off the board and into the pot did he look up at her. "Have you read much mythology, Fern?"