Galen settled back on the grass and looked out over the beach. Behind him, the starflowers danced in the wind. In front, the waves lapped rhythmically at the shore. All at once he heard soft footsteps behind him.

He turned slowly toward the sound and was surprised to find Captain Lithanos approaching him. Ribbons held her hair in twin ponytails. Her uniform, like Captain Floros’, was bedecked with lace and ribbons. Unaccountably, he felt his face grow hot.

“Hello, Captain Ceraunos,” she greeted. “May I join you?”

“Of course,” he replied softly. He looked down at his lap and fiddled with the hem of his cape. “I figured I’d be the only one awake at this hour – besides those on watch, that is.”

“I came to gather starflowers,” she said. “The only time that blossom is in the twilight. It’s been weeks since we could actually get out of the compound. I was getting a little… stir-crazy.”

“The commander said no one can remember the wolves being as bad as they have been lately,” Galen murmured. “Maybe it’s because of the influence of the wolf masters. I went from being the lowest officer in my division to being the captain in a matter of years, rather than decades. Sometimes I wonder if I’m ready.”

“You’re doing fine,” Captain Lithanos assured him. “You’re very focused and intelligent and you do have a control over the full release of your sword.” She looked away, toward the blowing starflowers and added, “You aren’t the only recently made captain. Half of us only made captain in the past year and most due to the turmoil caused by the wolves.”

Galen nodded and smiled. “Thanks, Captain Lithanos.”

“Call me Tindara,” she corrected. She stood as he did. “Shall we walk back together?”

“Certainly,” he replied. “You may call me Galen, if you wish.”

She smiled and walked with him back toward the Compound. It might take some time, but she would certainly be able to draw the shy captain out of his shell.