by Max Barry

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Region: Dione


The sun peeked over the icy peak of the Aga glacier. Sedna looked out into the vastness of the ocean, and sighed as she watched her people carry the last few boxes of fish and seal hides up on the Sivudlerk, the fishing ship the Uvla delegation would use to travel south to the Kalidora coronation.

The ship was a sight to behold, truly. Its hull, the calming blue of the Uvlagiaq flag, broke the waves with a bobbing, rhythmic motion. Coiled rope and fishing nets decorated the bridge, and seagulls adorned the upper parts of the mast. The Sivudlerk was tall and mighty, bearing a string of multicolored flags with the insignia of all the tribes in the nation. Sedna felt an overwhelming feeling of comfort looking at the flags, as would any Uvla with some minimum amount of patriotism.

Sedna's thoughts about the ship were interrupted by a relatively short but quite plump man running around the icy pier restlessly, his eyes inquisitive. He seemed to be frantically looking for something else to do. He was dressed in a taupe jacket, lined with white fur, matching his boots.
"Maybe you should just take a break, relax, and have a cup of tea, Malik." Sedna shouted.
"I'm not sure how you want me to even think about relaxing, honorable Angakkuq - there's just so much that needs to get done! Have you even seen the box of herring? It's missing from the inventory. I just cannot seem to find it anywhere at all!"
"Ah, yes- the herring. I assume word wasn't sent out quickly enough. This year's supply was deemed of insufficient quality for our Kalidoran friends, so we will not be taking it on our journey anymore."
"Insufficient quality? How did that happen? Our fish is our pride and joy here in Uvlagiaq!"
"Well, I suppose one could blame the weather, or the fishing spirits, or one thing or the other - but rest assured that it does not matter. We have plenty of salmon and cod to please our new friends. I'm sure our many gifts will go a long way in setting up good relations with Kalidora. And besides, our goal is hardly to present ourselves as fishmongers. If there is a spirit of oratory and charisma - well, I hope she is listening..."
"I hope so too, esteemed Angakkuq. Very well then, I will proceed to contact your second in command, see if he has got any pressing issues or last minute remarks, otherwise we seem to be ready for departure."

Sedna stepped aboard the ship and took a deep breath, the salty air filling her lungs and the cold breeze chapping her lips. The chief engineer of the ship gave the green light for the technical check-ups, and the horn of the ship blared through the air three times, as customary for Uvlagi ships departing from the pier. She did not know what to expect of her first diplomatic mission as leader of Uvlagiaq, but the thought of it filled her with excitement.

"Ellam yua, weather be on our side," she thought to herself one last time before the ship started to slowly crawl through the icy water.