"That's fine, Errand," she said, raising one hand slightly. Then she looked into the boy's face. After a moment, one of her eyebrows shot up. "Tell me," she said, very carefully choosing her words, "do you know what's wrong between Garion and Ce'Nedra?"
"Yes," Errand replied.
"Would you tell me?"
"If you want. Ce'Nedra did something that made Garion very angry, and then he did something that embarrassed her in public, and that made her angry. She thinks that he doesn't pay enough attention to her and that he spends all his time on his work so that he won't have to spend any with her.
He thinks that she's selfish and spoiled and doesn't think about anybody but herself. They're both wrong, but they've had a lot of arguments about it and they've hurt each other so much with some of the things they've said that they've both given up on being married to each other. They're terribly unhappy."
"Thank you, Errand," she said. Then she turned to Durnik. "We'll need to pack a few things," she said.
"Oh?" He looked a bit surprised.
"We're going to Riva," she said quite firmly.
At Camaar, Belgarath ran across an old friend in a tavern near the harbor. When he brought the bearded, furclad Cherek to the inn where they were staying, Polgara gave the swaying sailor a penetrating look. "How long have you been drunk, Captain Greldik?" she asked bluntly."What day is it?" His reply was vague.
She told him.
"Astonishing." He belched. "Par'n me," he apologized.
"I appear to have lost track of several days somewhere. Do you know by any chance what week it is?"
"Greldik," she said, "do you absolutely have to get drunk every time you're in port?"
Greldik looked thoughtfully at the ceiling, scratching at his beard. "Now that you mention it, Polgara, I believe I do. I hadn't really thought about it that way before, but now that you suggest it-"
She gave him a hard stare, but the look he returned was deliberately impudent.
"Don't waste your time, Polgara," he suggested. "I'm not married; I've never been married; and I'm not ever going to get married. I'm not ruining any woman's life by the way I behave, and it's absolutely certain that no woman is ever going to ruin mine. Now, Belgarath says that you want to go to Riva. I'll round up my crew, and we'll leave on the morning tide."
"Will your crew be sober enough to find their way out of the harbor?"
He shrugged. "We might bump into a Tolnedran merchantman or two on the way out, but we'll find our way to the open sea eventually. Drunk or sober, my crew is the best afloat. We'll put you on the quay at Riva by midafternoon on the day after tomorrow -unless the sea freezes solid between now and then, in which case it might take a couple hours longer." He belched again. "Par'n me," he said, swaying back and forth and peering at her with his bleary eyes.
"Greldik," Belgarath said admiringly, "you're the bravest man alive."
"The sea doesn't frighten me," Greldik replied.
"I wasn't talking about the sea."
About noon of the following day, Greldik's ship was running before a freshening breeze through foaming whitecaps.
A few of the less indisposed members of his crew lurched about the deck tending the lines and keeping a more or less alert eye on the stern where Greldik, puffy-eyed and obviously suffering, clung to the tiller.
"Aren't you going to shorten your sail?" Belgarath asked him.
"Because if you leave full sail up in this kind of wind, you'll uproot your mast."
"You stick to your sorcery, Belgarath," Greldik told him, "and leave the sailing to me. We're making good time, and the deck-planking starts to buckle up long before the mast is in any danger."
"How long before?"
Greldik shrugged. " Almost a minute or so -most of the time."
Belgarath stared at him. "I think I'll go below"' he said at last.
"That's a good idea."
By evening the wind had abated, and Greldik's ship continued across a quieter sea as night fell. There were only occasional glimpses of the stars, but they were sufficient; when the sun rose the next morning, it was, as the wayward captain had predicted, dead astern. By midmorning, the dark, rocky crags and jagged peaks that formed the crest of the Isle of the Winds were poked above the western horizon, and their ship was once again plunging like a spirited horse through the whitecaps under a crisp blue sky. A broad grin split Greldik's bearded face as his ship swooped and lurched and shuddered her way through the hammering seas, throwing out great sheets of sparkling spray each time she knifed into a wave.
"That's a very unreliable man," Polgara said, giving the captain a disapproving stare.
"He really seems to be a good sailor, Pol," Durnik said mildly.
"That's not what I was talking about, Durnik."
The ship tacked smoothly between two rocky headlands and into the sheltered harbor of the city of Riva. The gray stone buildings mounted steeply upward toward the grim, menacing battlements of the Citadel which brooded over the city and the harbor below.
"This place always looks so bleak," Durnik noted. "Bleak and uninviting."
"That was sort of the idea when they built it, Durnik," Belgarath replied. "They didn't really want many visitors."
Then, at the end of a starboard tack, Greldik swung his tiller hard over, and his ship, her prow knifing through the dark water, ran directly at the stone quay jutting out from the foot of the city. At the last possible moment he swung his tiller again. To the flapping of her patched sails, the ship coasted the last few yards and bumped gently against the salt-crusted stones of the quay.
"Do you think anybody saw us coming and told Garion?" Durnik asked.
"Evidently so," Belgarath replied, pointing toward the arched gate that had just swung open to reveal the broad flight of stone stairs mounting upward within the thick, high walls protecting the seaward side of Riva. A number of official-looking men were coming through the gate; in the center of the group strode a tall young man with sandy-colored hair and a serious expression on his face.
"Let's step over to the other side of the ship," Belgarath suggested to Durnik and Errand. "I want to surprise him."
"Welcome to Riva, Captain Greldik." Errand recognized Garion's voice, even though it sounded older, more sure now.
Greldik squinted appraisingly over the rail. "You've grown, boy," he said to the King of Riva. A man as free as Greldik almost never felt the need for using customary terms of respect.