Enderal:The Path, Tome 5: The Hunger Days
The Hunger Days
After eight moons the famine began. Even though they had packed plentiful wheat, water, and salted meat, no one had known how long the journey would last. The vassals became restless and some of them became dubious. “What if this was a ruse?” one of them exclaimed to Selna. She remained vigilant, for she has not forgotten the sight of the Light-Born Malphas. And whilst he was not aboard, she sensed that he was watching them and each of their words and every single deed.
But not all the vassals had faith. And so it happened that twenty-four of them connived against the rest. They schemed a pathless plan: In the coming night they were to split up — A dozen to creep onto the other ship and to plunder their food storage; the other dozen, to stab the rest of the crew on their own ship in their sleep. Then they would sail away alone.
And the plan worked. — No guards were stationed in front of the storerooms, for no one could have conceived of such treason from their own ranks. And so on the very next day, Selna found her ship alone on the high sea, their supplies robbed to the last piece of salted meat.
Chaos broke out! The remaining survivors raised their hands heavenwards frantically and begged Malphas, as they saw their destinies set in stone. Yet again Selna and Ketaron remained calm and prayed. “We tread on the righteous path,” they said full of dignity. “And we will find the red star and the holy land as well.”
So weeks of agony followed, which are known today as “The Hunger Days” in the moon calendar. Malphas did not appear, in spite of the vassals' numerous prayers. Querulous voices were heard: “The gods have abandoned us,” they sobbed. “And our fate is to die on the high seas!” And this time Ketaron answered: “Do not lose your faith, brothers and sisters! Malphas augured to gift us eternity, if we abide upon the righteous path — his path! And he will do so.” He paused for a moment and then spoke words of wisdom: “What worth does path-abiding have, adhering to veracity, if there are no hurdles to overcome?”
And Selna recognized the divinity of the words. “To be unwavering and to never forget the omnipotence of the gods. - That is what distinguishes a strong spirit from a weak one, a true believer from a heretic!”