As the sun sets over the rock-ringed harbor of Bara Gairo, the small fishing fleet are throwing their hawsers to the docks and starting to unload a day's worth of catch--dolphin fish, tuna from beyond the shoals, jacks, snooks, and even an occasional marlin. Dinner for tomorrow at Lima's Spirits will be excellent, and after such a bountiful harvest, a week's worth of fish for markets and inns in nearby Porto Liure will be assured as well, putting the villagers into a fair bit of money that they will be sure to enjoy before having to hit their fishing boats again in a few days to start the cycle all over again. The large, slow chugger of a boat, Mirabel's Fanny supposedly shares the tub-like, round-bottom form of Alfonso's deceased wife, Mirabel, after which she is named. It sits idly in the harbor, but Alfonso and his son Éttiene supervise some of the other villagers who are loading their cargo of the sea's bounty on board for the run to Porto Liure. The dark-haired and sun-burnt forms of the villagers wave at you as you look at the boat. Despite it's main purpose as a conveyance of fishy cargo, Alfonso is one of the most reliable ferries between the village and the city--a boatride of some 10 hours on his slow-moving tub, and he'll be leaving tomorrow morning after the ship is fully loaded.

Some of the reasonably friendly villagers greet you at the end of the day. A few express some startlement at seeing you. "Oh, are you back? It seems soon to see you again."

These comments are fairly odd, given that for most of you, you only arrived a day or two ago and haven't gone anywhere since. Most of you have also never been to Bara Gairo before, and certainly none of you have recently.

In the sky you see a tiny sliver of a waxing crescent moon. That's odd. When you arrived, it was nearly full. The moon seems to be out of whack--some three-weeks more advanced than it should be.

What's going on?

You'll probably be staying at Lima's Spirits; it's the only real inn in town. You may have come and gone a bit during the day, but as we begin, let's have all of you in the common room. Inés Peixoto is the woman behind the counter today; she is almost always seen at the bar. She is eyeing you appraisingly, although she keeps to herself. The fat owner, balding Braz Vargas, is studiouly trying to ignore you. He sits at a table nearby going over his ledger books--although if he truly wanted to ignore you, he'd be better served by doing his accounting in his small office rather than in the open where he can see what is going on in the common room. Other than the two of them, only a handful of patrons have finished their day's work and come in for a drink and dinner, although in the next couple of hours, you expect that the common room will completely fill.