The word had gone ahead of him.
Birds sang of him, breathlessly from every treetop, darting on the wing, perching on eaves, knowing the People of Light craved to know if and when he would return. Sentries ran all day, skipping across rivers on light boats, and then more tireless sprinting to the capital. Refusing water, the messengers pushed their way into the Yel Rakinne to tell, before the council, between gasps for air, of the news of his return.
They told how a corsair ship, with three enormous red sails, coming from the west of the Mere Lanis, had pulled into the narrow bight made by the Flume of Rith. The leethan soldiers at Gillalliath, protecting the gigantic battleships being built there, had warned the corsair vessel to sail away with loud shouts using the Voice and waving their spears and swords.
A single individual dropped over the side of the ship with the billowing red sails. As he swam for the port, Merebroder had played about him, leaping and sporting in the water, blowing happy spouts from the holes in the tops of their sleek heads. The swimmer seemed to be clutching a long staff as he thrashed the water towards the pier of Gillalliath.
The corsair ship came about and pulled out onto the shimmering horizon of the Mere, disappearing into the glare of the golden, setting sun.
“And then? And then?” The eldest of the leethan council asked, clutching his white beard.
“It was him.”
The elders of the Yel Rakinne fell together furiously whispering until a tall leethan wearing a large sword at his side entered the chamber. He strode to the messengers.
“It is true?”
“He has returned.”
The tall leeth put his strong hand to his mouth and quietly thought, and then he looked up. Was that a tear in his eye that he would not let fall? “Let no one hinder the progress of Berand Brave,” said Kelasael, first general of the leethan armies.