A lone Matoran sails at night on the open ocean. She watches the Red Star over the prow of her boat as it bobs over the shallow seas, unsure of where it is exactly leading her. She smiles though, eager to be cruising over such calm waters. The Matoran does not know her destination, but she hopes that instinct will not lead her astray.
A figure emerges from the trees the same night, on an island far north from the sailor. They look out to sea, where various sandbars can be seen rising from the shallows in the low tide. “Not that there is anything but low tide anymore,” They said to themselves. Walking down the sand, the figure passes several sticks of bamboo buried deep into the beach, not taller than the figure’s knee. They carries an identical one, to which is stabbed into the receding sea water at the bottom of the beach. The water does nothing, merely ebbs and flows around the stick. Still, the figure frowns. They watch the still water for a while, before walking back to the top of the beach. Each of the markers passed the figure observes with concern. The expression does not leave their mask as they retreat back into the forest from which they came, much on their mind.
Unbeknownst to both parties, a beam of light casts itself against the isles of the northern shallow seas, observing all that is happening. It is not recognized by either of the figures, for it is there only a second. But it is there, silently observing what is going on in the all too quiet night.
The Island to the North
My eyes were half open to the sky, squinting into the heavenly shade of deep blue that faded to white over the ocean. A light rumble of waves carried on a gentle breeze, making its way up the sand. Held against the sky, my bronze forearm reached toward the early afternoon sunlight, the white and yellow rays that streamed between the houses like the reins of an island Rahi. If only those reins could be held, so the summer wouldn’t always slip away…
“Ready?” the voice of the Ta-Matoran called. I sat up to see the figure of Tiribomba at the water’s edge, coiling a rope attached to the prow of the boat. A Ga-Matoran, Nireta her name if I recalled, rummaged through the contents of the boat, triple checking to make sure we were stocked enough. Behind them, beyond the long rolling crests of whitewater, lay the distant ocean, mysterious and calling. A pier reaching out into the ocean was not far down island, and I wondered if launching from here would be a good idea. I closed my journal beside me, satisfied with the words I had written, and picked myself up from the sand. It was time to go.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” I replied, jumping into the bow with Nireta. Tiribomba nodded approval of my words, shoving the boat into deeper waters. Running through the shallows, he jumped, and I pulled him in. Once settled, together we grabbed the oars and began to row in time.
The undertow was stronger than we thought. It immediately swept us once we cut through the water beyond the breakers, sweeping us toward the pier. Yanking on our oars to correct the course, Tiri’s head turned, a little too wary of the oncoming pier. “We’ll get through it, Tiri!” I yelped at him.
(“The Skeleton”, by Colleen Smith. From collsmith.weebly.com ; used with permission.)
And we did. I focused on the pulling, until my attention snapped back as our boat was drifting on the open ocean. The edge of the pier was in front of us, several yards inland. Tiribomba and I were bent over, exhausted from the sudden sprint, and we pulled in our oars for a moment’s recovery.
“Aren’t navigators supposed to know what way the ocean is going?” Tiribomba asked. “I’m pretty sure the last thing Bour wants to do is go swimming around the pier.”
“The currents are faster along there,” the Ga-Matoran insisted. “They won’t push us into the pier. I’ve done it dozens of times.”
“Regardless if they do, there won’t be a next time that we do that,” I said. I looked at my Ta-Matoran friend. Yes, better to continue with her. Maybe it was a bumpy start, but it’ll be a smooth trip the rest of the way to wherever we were going, we both hoped. “Just remember to steer us north,” I joked as we continued to row.
(Photo of myself– front, and my partner, Evan, back– in an ocean race in a Van Duyne boat, similar to what Nireta, Tiri, and Bour are in. Photo courtesy of mom.)
“I’m a navigator for a reason,” Nireta countered, steering the boat northward as we paddled onward. The land soon became a silhouette in the distance, our home drifting further as we rowed. It soon dissipated into the horizon, and we were gone. The sound of the waves had ceased, and all that could be heard was the dip of the oars and the sliding of the boat as we pulled over the ocean.
“What are we going up here for anyways?” Tiri asked. My friend’s voice brought me back into the boat, my eyes having wandered out onto the flat ocean. The landless seas surrounded us, clear and never-ending. No breeze blew in the air, leaving the Ta-Matoran’s question to hang over us.
“I was exploring an island I found,” Nireta explained. “And I was forced to turn around for more supplies, and some company to get me up there faster. I asked Peck, and he said I could take you two.”
“What did you find?” I asked.
“There were these forests… and some Rahi,” Nireta said, her voice quiet as she watched the oceans to the north come closer with each stroke. “They were unlike any I had ever seen around here, but they were harmless.”
The seas shallowed on the third day.
We had cut through the ocean for two days, observing nothing but the sky. No clouds existed, and the sun seemed elusive, yet it still illuminated the air. It was surreal, being the dot that broke the endless horizon. I would look over the boat at times, the depths of the ocean clear and blue, never darkening.
And early on the third morning something changed. Bottomless blue was suddenly white, the rays of the sunlight rippling the sand beneath the water. I smiled as I witnessed the ocean bottom glide beneath us. Further along our travels rose a sandbar that stretched toward the horizon. The sights of land granted me hope; we were close. The idea fueled my mind, and I dug my paddle deeper, my strokes increasing in power.
“This couldn’t be what you brought us up here for,” Tiri said to Nireta, exhausted as he observed the shallows. “Are we close to the island?”
“Look around and maybe you’ll see,” Nireta suggested, a grin on her mask. Sure enough, I followed her advice, and my Akaku’s telescope focused upon a black dot in the distance.
The island to the north.
As we grew closer to the island, currents pulled our boat back to sea. Tiri and I fought them, our oars bending as dug in. Soon enough our strength beat the ocean’s, and we rolled onto the beach. Nireta threw a pack on the sand and climbed out as the Ta-Matoran and I guided our boat to shore, small waves knocking it back and forth.
A thin strip of white sand separated the water from an assembly of tropical trees that extended the run of the beach. Spotting shade, the three of us sought rest, plopping under a tree. Nireta plucked fruit from the branches, distributing it amongst us. I dug into one as my eyepiece observed the curved coastline, where the trees overlapped the edge of the island. A rock rose several bio over the water from the shallows of the island, a deep black stone covered in sea junk which attracted my attention.
“Interesting rock,” Nireta said, following the gaze of my eyepiece. She began to say something else, but the words became distant as my eyes closed.
Was I awake? I asked myself, uncertain if it were true. But hadn’t I just fallen asleep? I was still underneath the trees I had sat with my companions, but of them there was no trace. Getting to my feet, I figured I would walk along the beach to search for them, but a voice in my mind told me Nireta and Tiribomba would not be found.
The sky was pinkish red, darkening all that lay below it. Sunset! Had I been asleep that long? Hopefully I could find the others before nightfall. I walked beside the forest, but the shadows of sunset prevented me from glimpsing its depths. The strip of sand was no longer white, but a yellow of the day’s last rays; the ocean had become black and as smooth as glass, so smooth that I believed it would support me if I walked on it.
A movement up ahead caught my eye. Someone else was on the beach! At first I thought it was Tiribomba, but the shade of the armor wasn’t right. It then came to me- ahead of me was me! How was that possible? I shook my head, convinced the action would dispel the illusion, but when I looked again, I was still there. My interest in the scene grew as a shape formed in the crimson sky. The blob took shape, and there I was again; my arms were spread across the sky, as if I were preaching. Myself, preaching? It must be a joke, I thought, but there was no smile coming to my lips.
The world misted away. The sand under my feet was replaced by the floor of a giant cavern, where the walls, covered in strange symbols, extended to an unfathomably high ceiling. On the floor lay a symbol of the three virtues, within rested a liquid into which I knew I would not survive a plunge.
“You are not a Toa!” a voice rang. I whirled around, failing to find the source. “Who are you, stranger?”
“Indeed, I am not a Toa,” came my answer as I searched for the voice. Could it be hidden within the shadows from the shimmering protodermis? “I am Bour, a Po-Matoran. But why is a Toa necessary? Why can’t a Matoran be enough?”
“Power,” was the reply. “Power, greater than the philosophies and emotional, ‘moving’ speeches of the Matoran. Only the power of a Toa will help the Great Spirit of Civilization.” I frowned at the term. Mata Nui was the Great Spirit, and he had died thousands of years ago. How could a Toa help him now?
Gazing into the shadows, I gestured to the pool of protodermis. “But you have all the power you could need right here,” my voice echoed. “This is the ultimate source! Think of what it could do!”
“True,” the voice murmured, suddenly directly behind me. I whirled around to see a figure in the shadows, only their hands visible as they shoved me into the pool. “I never considered that an option.”
I began to sink, feeling the protodermis rise up my body. Knowing I wouldn’t survive, a scream rose from my lips. Whispers of the figure, however cut through my single syllable.
“Remember me when you wake, Bour. Remember the words of the Steel Visionary—“
“Have a nice nap, Bour?” Tiribomba smirked.
We hiked our way up the grassy hill, the rustle of the dunes the only noise interrupting the silence. No sound rose from the forest, or within the grasses, or even carried along the wind that buffeted over our ears. A stick would break underfoot, snapping the silence, but it would resume once more as our feet treaded the soil. I waded through the grasses with my eyes intently on Nireta, while I paced rather close to Tiribomba. That dream was still on my mind- I could not shake it off and carry on, like I did with every other dream. I felt as if the two of them walked too far away, they would disappear, and I would find myself encountering that shadowy being once again.
We reached the summit, where a pond was nestled into a plateau that gave an uninhibited view of the land in all directions. I crouched on the edge of the water, my eyes scanning for the slightest ripple of movement; a crab scaling the coral, fish treading between the seaweed, anything. But not even the intensity of my stare could make the water ripple.
This is too odd, I thought. First an abandoned Rahi burrow on the beach, a lifeless jungle and now an empty lake? This island should be teeming with Rahi, but there is nothing living anywhere. What is happening on this island? Drawing away from the lake, I walked over to where Tiri kneeled, his hand reaching over a ledge. Nireta sat cross legged where the soil gave way to a purple rock, scribbling the long crescent of the land into her maps. Her compass sat open on the ground, its dial pointed toward the “south” symbol. Were we at true north?
Tiri’s head popped up, warning of the ledge that was only a few paces beyond. The rock suddenly ended, as if a portion of the land had been sliced away. Stains of the ocean’s salt travelled the length of the rock, yet the water was nowhere near that high. Plummeting down, the rock face met the shallows that trailed off where this spit and several others circled a deep lagoon. One island stood out from the rest, covered in bamboo, as opposed to the palm trees on all others. I looked hard for any sign of movement on the other islands, but it was like searching for a cloud in the desert sky.
“It’s smooth,” Tiri informed, his hand brushing the face of the rock. “Like it’s been weathered by a wave.”
“Interesting,” Nireta commented, joining us at the edge. We bent over the edge, looking down the wall of purple that dropped ten, twenty, thirty, at least forty feet to the shallows within the ring of islands. What the Ta-Matoran said was true, but no waves could reach high enough to rub the stone. It was old, unnaturally smooth, adding to the list of things unnatural about this island. We lingered only a moment, and then stood up with Tiri to look out at the islands. “What made you come up here in the first place?” I asked the explorer who led us. To these islands, I mean.”
“An old friend who lives close to Utywa told me to sail north, and see what I would find,” Nireta said, and I saw Tiri furrow his brow at her vagueness. “He said it would be worth the trip.”
“Well there’s nothing here but scenery,” I noted. I’d picked a sample of the rock from the cliffside, and set the sample in my pack, to study once we returned home to Utywa. Perhaps looking at it there could solve one mystery of this place. “Not even Rahi like you said. What’s going on with this island? You were up here before, you must have found something.”
“I was studying the ecology of the place, and then something happened,” Nireta confessed. “The Rahi were acting weird, and I felt as if I should have some company, so I came back to get whoever else would come, which happened to be you two. I don’t know where they all went.”
“There must be something, something we haven’t found yet…” I said.
“Mata Nui!” Tiribomba exclaimed, pointing toward the other side of the lagoon. I spun on him, curious at his choice of words. “What is that?” My eyes darted to where he pointed, only in time to see a figure flee into the woods.
The bamboo must have thwacked my mask a hundred times already as we ran through the forest. Light came down from the canopy in shafts, intermingling with the shadows that we weaved through. Ahead of me, Tiribomba’s and Nireta’s arms flailed in front of them, parting the branches to make a path, and somehow my hands missed the branches when they let the bamboo fly freely, my clumsiness allowing them to speed ahead. “Stupid Po-Matoran limbs,” I growled, knowing it was that which slowed me down.
The island did not look large from the cliffside, but it was deep, and we wound further into the forest with each stride. There were a million places here that the being could have hid. There were no footprints we could follow, and for all I knew, they could be crouching nearby, or even on any of the several strips surrounding the lagoon.
I stumbled into a clearing, where Tiri and Nireta stood in the quiet. The being was nowhere to be found, but we had discovered something else: A bunker sat upon the detritus, a dull silver arc rising above the fallen bamboo leaves. A set of stairs led down the side to a doorway that sat in the shadows. “Did you find this when you were here?”
“No,” Nireta breathed. “I’d not been on this isle before. It looked like there was no room for anything but the bamboo…” She looked down towards the steps. “Do you think they went down there?”
“Even if they are, I don’t like this. Too many mysteries for one island,” I said firmly, crossing my arms.
Tiribomba jumped down to the doorway and wrenched on the iron handle. It swung open to reveal a staircase leading into the darkness below. “Maybe some answers are down here,” he said, holding the door for us.
The heat of the island vanished as Tiri closed the door, the last bit of my confidence going with it. Our feet calmly descended to each cool step, but something inside me was beginning to panic; I was creeped out by the shadows and the narrowness of the staircase – if it weren’t for Nireta leading the way and Tiribomba behind, I would have bolted right back to the lagoon. I could guess at what was at the bottom, yet I didn’t want to be right.
The darkness gave way to a shimmering light, and my fear faded to fascination as we looked at the chamber of my dreams. This place was real, exactly as my sleeping mind had conceived. Though the light of the protodermis shone on the walls, the symbols that stretched to the ceiling were still impossible to decipher. The other Matoran voiced their amazement, but I remained quiet, my brow darkening at the sound of a door opening.
“Who goes?” Tiribomba cried, whirling as we looked for the source of the noise, but no walls gave way to a doorway.
“I told you to remember me when you woke, Bour,” a voice called, coming from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. “Our dreams do more than entertain us during our sleep, Po-Matoran. They do far more than that.”
“Show yourself, Steel Visionary!” I managed to yell out, my companions casting looks of surprise at the being’s mention of my name. “Explain your riddles- exploring this island has brought no answers to my questions.”
The voice came from behind, an echo that floated into my ear like a whisper. “You need search only a while longer,” the Visionary cooed. Remembering my dream, I spun, but there were no hands to push me into the pool. From a shadowy, almost invisible doorway glimpsed yellow eyes, the protodermis shimmering on the figure’s armor; the Visionary lingered only for a moment, beckoning for us to follow as she retreated to a chamber in a ghostlike manner. Nynrah…it suddenly dawned on me. I wanted to follow, but I realized Tiribomba and Nireta were hanging back, reluctant to advance.
“When I was asleep, on the beach,” I stammered, trying to explain. “This place came to me, in a dream. I was looking for you, and wound up here. She- the Steel Visionary, said something about us Matoran and the Great Spirit, but I woke up before I could learn more.” It wasn’t much of an explanation, but it was all I could give. They were quiet as clarity trickled into their eyes, but I could not completely meet their gaze. The weight of which the Visionary addressed me as “Matoran” perturbed me, as if she were disappointed that we weren’t Toa. There would be no telling of that part, I decided- I would let events play out; see if it had any significance. Maybe it was just an element of the dream, I hoped as we followed into the room.
Every detail of the atoll was illustrated in the maps pinned on the walls in the room we entered; aerial views of the lagoon were set next to cross sections of the purple cliffs. Even the black rock I had observed was carefully diagrammed, labeled down to the cavities worn by the ocean. For what purpose? Came to mind as I watched Nireta become drawn to the maps.
“‘Cipituez’,” she read aloud, a caption on the largest map.
“The Great Spirit of Civilization,” said the Steel Visionary, who stood in a corner we explored the room of maps. The other two repeated the phrase, while I raised my brow with skepticism.
“Mata Nui was the Great Spirit, and he has been dead for millennia,” I reminded everyone. “And you claimed that we Matoran can’t help him.”
“A little private joke for myself,” the Visionary explained. “The island of Mata Nui was named after the Great Spirit, so I simply made up a spirit name for this place. It means civilization.”
“An island of isolation, named after some imaginary deity who patrons community,” Tiri scoffed.
“You speak of unity, and live in isolation,” I noted, “yet we are brought here for some duty.”
“The seas have been shallower in recent months, lower than considered abnormal,” she pointed to a chart that displayed the cliffs; I nodded, remembering waterlines along the base of the wall.
“You made the markers I saw when I first came here,” Nireta gasped. The Steel Visionary nodded. “We didn’t walk that part of the island, but there is another area of beach, where there are bamboo markers everywhere,” she explained to us. “I wasn’t sure what it was for, and it spooked me.”
“Not as spooked as the island and I have been,” the Visionary said. “I don’t know how it is south of here, but there is something out on the horizon, and it has brought a tension to the island. The animals have felt it, having simply disappeared, as they do when a storm is near. I know not where they have gone, be it their dens or some other islet they can wade to. Even the island itself has grown tense, and if whatever is out there keeps escalating, there could be disaster here.” Handing us three bags, she ushered us back into the main chamber.
“What do we do with these?” Tiri asked.
“Your duty here is to relieve the tension; the objects in each bag need to go somewhere where only your kind will reach. I myself cannot go where you will, and that is why the three of you are here. Find the spots on your maps, and stop whatever is happening to this island.”
“You’re saying we can stop a disaster?” I asked. “We don’t have the powers of—“
In the blink of an eye, we found ourselves at the edge of the lagoon once more; whether I had finished my sentence or not, in addition to how we had so suddenly gotten here, I was unsure. “How did—?” I exclaimed as I felt the water around my ankles.
“What do we do with these now?” asked Tiribomba, having fished some sort of stone out of his bag.
“There’s maps!” Nireta said excitedly, pulling emptying her bag. Tiri double checked his, to come out with a map as well; my bag held nearly identical artifacts as the others. Each of us held an oddly shaped stone, but what were we to do with them?
“They’re some sort of keystones,” Nireta informed us, having read over her map. “We need to follow our maps and put them where the maps say.”
“How do we know this isn’t some sort of trap?” the Ta-Matoran asked. “That Visionary… we barely know who she is! Why is she up here on her own? And does your friend outside of Utywa know about this person?”
“I don’t know,” she confessed. “But she’s right though, you two have to believe me.” The Ga-Matoran looked in both of our eyes. “Something’s amiss about the tides, about the ocean. Currents have been going in directions they’ve never gone before, the tide is lower than normal at home nowadays— it’s a longer walk from the beach to the ocean these past few months, if you haven’t noticed. And there is something off about how the ocean is… too calm. You both need to trust me… but I think that this person knows what they’re doing.”
“But what will a few rocks do to help the entire ocean?” I asked her.
“I don’t know,” Nireta said.
“We’ll do it,” Tiri cut in. “We’ll put these rocks wherever the Steel Visionary needs them to go, but she owes us answers afterwards. And if she shows any funny business, we immediately set sail for Utywa.” I nodded in agreement, and Nireta reluctantly nodded hers. Together we clanked fists, wishing each other well before we went where the maps would lead us.
I found myself back where we landed, staring out at the black rock I had been intrigued by before my slumber. The map… I did not believe it at first, but there were handholds on the rock, covered by ages of seaweed and shells. Up they led to a cave in the rock, where darkness was not shrinking to the high sun. Glancing further inward, I struggled to see what was in there, until I slipped. Cringing, I waited for my body to hit the inner stone of the giant rock.
Instead I tumbled.
The sloping tunnel gave no sign of its presence from the outside of the rock, and I was unprepared for the spill I took. I tumbled, each part of me colliding hard with the tunnel, only to fall more. I grunted with each impact, and wanted to yell in shock as I fell some more, but there was no time. The dirt caking the walls, rich with ocean moisture, was practically mud, slicking them to where digging my hands in had no effect. I groaned as I waited for the fall to never end…
…and then I was lying on my back, the dark hole of the tunnel staring back at me. I wanted to lay there, the wind knocked out of me, but a light reflected off of the rock’s face. Curious, picking myself up, I turned to see some sort of suva sitting in the center of the chamber, lined by three lightstones as tall as myself. “What is this place?” I asked aloud.
“You have a rough fall as well?” Nireta’s voice came from behind the light. Tiribomba yelped from somewhere else, and my eyes were drawn to the floor; a carved trench of lava flowed around the suva and lightstones…but was it carved? I asked myself. There was a small pathway in front of me across the substance, and I could see two others by my companions. But the path seemed to being covered, as I could see the lava coming up through the channel…
“It’s a volcano,” I breathed. “Guys, the lava— what do we do?”
“The keystones!” Tiribomba said, jumping into the ring of rock around the suva. “Put them in!”
I did not hesitate to follow the only sensible direction that had been given, and thrust my keystone into the suva. Immediately a hum began to sound in the chamber, and the lightstones dimmed slightly. Something underneath of us shifted, and we were being raised away from the lava.
“So do you call this funny business?” I called across the chamber to my Ta-Matoran friend.
“Let’s just get out of here!” was his reply. Somewhere within the suva, a continuous rumble shook the entire cavern.
“Any ideas on how to do that?” Nireta asked us both.
“Behind you!” I yelled over the rumble. The wall behind Nireta was sliding back, to reveal a shimmering pool. We leapt over to where she was, and saw the pool. Water was sloshing into where we stood, and I could see a light from somewhere beyond its edges. “It’s salt! The ocean!” Nireta said, the rumbling becoming deafening. “This is our way out!”
“How do you know?” I asked her. As a Po-Matoran, I was not eager to go for a swim, but a gesture towards still rising lava was enough to convince me otherwise.
The pool was deep, and the three of us looked through our masks in wonder. Using my telescopic lens, I could see the way it led us, and gestured for Nireta to keep going that way. Fish frantically swam around us, feeling the rumble of whatever was happening in that chamber. This was where all of the Rahi in the lake had gone, I supposed, wondering if there was some connection between that pool at the top of the island and wherever this was. No, I told myself, suddenly aware of Nireta and Tiri slowly advancing ahead of me. I let out a scream underwater, frantically paddling underwater. But my Po-Matoran limbs were getting the best of me…
The next thing I remember, I was breathing air again, and looked up to see Nireta and Tiri pulling me through some hole in the rock into the shallows between the islands. “We have to go, Bour!” my friend coughed. I jumped to my feet, feeling the rumbling of the island, coughing and sprinting with them as fast as we could toward the Steel Visionary’s fort in the bamboo forest. We didn’t get far, however, before a rumble coursed through the ground. “Duck! Duck!” I screamed as a boom came from behind, and a wave of power sent us through the air. My call came too late, and we came crashing down on the sandbar, slipping into the sand as unconsciousness overtook us.
The soreness in my shoulders brought me to consciousness, my muscles rotating to work out the tightness in them. My eyelids remained shut, still feeling the force of the explosion. I just wanted to lay there, awake but shut eyed, and allow my muscles to sink into whatever I lay on.
Wait. My muscles could feel the bed? That wasn’t right. I cracked my eyelids, only to find a horrifying sight.
I was naked.
“What in the name–” I began to shout as I bolted upright. My chest and torso armor were gone from my body, leaving my organic parts exposed. The Steel Visionary sat in front of me, my armor in her hands, held against a larger, black chest plate. “What are you doing?” I cried. “Why do you have that?”
“I simply wanted to make a comparison…” she trailed off, looking at the two pieces. “This is most peculiar.” I turned my head, and a sense of foreboding entered my mind at what I saw. Tiribomba sat on the bed next to me, but he was no longer the Ta-Matoran I knew. Taller, his armored torso now crimson and his mask changed, he was a Toa. With shocked silence he accepted his new chest plate, Nireta, the Visionary and I astounded as we eyed his form. My eyes slid to meet the Nynrah’s, who with a stoic face read the questions in my eyes: Why was it necessary? Why him? Tiri looked at himself with confusion, no doubt thinking the same questions.
On the surface, the island was destroyed. The forests had been blown away, bamboo uprooted and laying on the ground around the bunker. A dark crack ran deep into the cliffside, from where the explosion had leaked out, unable to contain the power underneath unleashed. Other islet’s plant life had been warped beyond all recognition, between being burnt away by the lava that had emerged from the ground, and the strange energy source that had turned Tiribomba into what he was. I watched the lava cool in the salt water as we walked, assessing the damage, knowing that it would eventually harden and create new land. But the island, as well as us visitors and its sole inhabitant, were not the same things we had all been a few days ago.
We wanted to help the visionary clean up the disaster, but she insisted that we returned home. Out boat had been destroyed, and she helped us craft from the fallen bamboo a new one for our departure.
(No clue where this image is from, found it years ago, so credit to Google Images)
“Ready?” The voice called. My eyes flicked upward from my journal to see the figure of Tiribomba standing at the water’s edge, coiling a rope attached to the prow of the boat. Nireta sat in the craft, rummaging through her packs. Behind her, beyond the waves, lay the distant ocean, mysterious and calling. I glanced down at my journal, rereading what I had written. Satisfied with the words, I closed the book and picked myself up from the sand. It was time to go.