Anik now has a reliable way to get home again from distant lands. Observing the arc of the stars the world-god Sokal spread across the sky, as with all the other things that are fixed and unchanging like the mountains and moon, Anik realized that he could see it in the stars when he moved north or south on the ships. Sokal's design truly is a wonder. There is so much hidden meaning, hidden usefulness. It would be impossible for something this grand and perfect to be natural, surely.
He could not convince anyone to sail to the far north with him at first, even as he demonstrated the idea, so he traded much of his accumulated wealth, half his herd of pigs, for a small catamaran. Trade with Gova, on the coasts, is always good - they have curious foods, strange kinds of wood, and beautiful stone, and happily exchange those for pigs, cowrie shells, weaving and clothes, and spices.
He set out, alone, straight north, carrying all those things that the Gova like and hoping to return with stories and goods of other people. He found ocean sailing surprisingly difficult - perhaps the most difficult task of his life. He thought he could sail forever and never find more people - perhaps the sea was unending emptiness to the north, like so many claimed?
But then he found land. A place called Tunnas. He proved a quick study with their strange way of speaking, and they were fascinated by the woven goods - baskets, furniture, and hats - and the spices. Sailing back was equally difficult. He was blessed that the one storm that threatened him passed quickly, and only cost him some goods, not his life. So, he came back a month later, with several baskets full of silphium, with cleverly made sandals, with curious kinds of food, with a few strong timbers of wood the like of which does not grow in his home.
His wife, despondent and anxious about his first trip, welcomed him back very enthusiastically. So enthusiastically, he joked, that he'd probably be getting another kid soon, since she didn't like the taste of silphium. He rested some more, he spoke excitedly with everyone about the strange land he'd found and how he got home. He was a big man, a hero. Suddenly, everyone wanted to learn how to find the way home by the stars - to sail south or north until they align, and east until you return to the home islands. They wrote songs about him and held feasts. He could probably have gotten another wife, cemented the burst of fame into real importance, maybe even become a contender to be the next king, if he wanted to, but he didn't bother.
Instead, he built a larger, better boat, using those strong lengths of wood purchased from Tunnas. He designed it to tolerate the rolling swell of the ocean, to be tolerable to live on for weeks at a time with fresh water in sealed leather bags and clay-lined compartments keeping trade-things dry. He practiced sailing it with the help of a few other men, mostly the youngest who were strong enough for it, wife-less and eager to join him in his next adventure, and he practiced finding his way by the stars.
He went back to Tunnas twice more. Other men started sailing other boats from Kisla to Tunnas, sailing the known route that Anik had charted and bringing more trade back and forth. So Anik took the name 'Sovan', making it up from nowhere and declaring that it meant 'explorer', and set out again with his small crew of young adventurers, bringing his wife Salas and their son with him. He stocked well with more food and water at Tunnas, and went further and further north.
Sonas and Lia and Niazon were all interesting. He does relatively little trading, yet, planning to come back to these places once he is satisfied with his northerly progress and trade knowing more about what everyone has to offer, and thus get as much wealth as possible from this venture. They gave him strange warnings about this next place: Azan.
He sails slowly after passing the mouth of the river, looking for a likely place to put ashore.