Three years it has taken you. You hope it will be worth it. You hope they will be worth it.
You tweak the equations on your device and the sigil on the floor glows a little brighter. As you stride towards the bow of your boat, your foot catches on a scuba mask. You pick it up. It belonged to Nikos. He lasted the longest before deserting you. Jumped ship in Siciliy, cursing your name and your obsession.
At the bow, you close your eyes and take a few deep breaths of the crisp morning air, lick a few crystals of salt from your lips. The air around you crackles as the elements of the sigil start to twirl and spin like the cogs inside a watch: you’ve found them.
You toss the mask overboard as you bound down the deck to the mast and the coil of nylon rope you’ve had sitting there since you set out three years and seven shipmates ago. You throw yourself against the carbon fibre and start lashing yourself to it in a bluster; you can’t be sure how much warning the sigil gives. As you pull the last knot tight, burning your shin, your hear them. Hear their song.
Beautiful. The most beautiful thing you have ever heard. Tears form in your eyes. You have found them.
Wings and lithe limbs form out of spray and twinkling reflections. Their faces are radiant, smiling beatifically at you. The spray whips against your cheek, harder, then forms into claws and teeth; their smiles turn. You realise your mistake. You are glad to be alone as the claws start digging into your flesh. Your screams do not drown out their song.