(Part of) Chapter 19
Sea and Island
Gray left the fortress of Fao that night around one o’clock.
For a lander, the journey from Lukas’s stronghold to the southern coast and then on to the South Islands took at least a week. Often longer. The journey would have been relatively decent, but according to the gods’ design, the winds blew hard from the south, wrestling with every ship that endeavored to reach the islands.
Gray, of course, didn’t have to worry about headwinds.
So the journey took him two days.
About four miles from the coastline he desired, he stepped out onto the surface of the sea and stood there, his arms folded, a frown he could feel between his brows. If Tell were here, the boy would surely laugh at him, but Gray couldn’t help himself; he needed just a moment to put together his thoughts.
He focused on the main island.
This was the home of the chief, Nari’s father. It was the largest island among many sisters, which lay stretched across several miles. Mountains covered with snow stood on the eastern end of the island, casting a long, deep shadow across the waves as the sun began its evening departure. An army of palm trees covered the lower slopes, the hills, and much of the flatlands, but they left plenty of room for the blindingly white sand clinging to the shoreline.
Gray knew this coastline and the rise and fall of the peaks quite well, even though the king’s business had never brought him this far south. His knowledge of these shores existed because every artist with any talent had tried to capture this scene that lay before him. He had seen pencil sketches, oils, rush paints, carvings—all of them quite good. But it was a common saying in Theraine that no artist could copy what the gods had created, and today Gray understood what that meant at a deeper level.
The chief’s island was called Haletist, which meant “fire” in the tongue of the sea. Though many years had passed since the sea had spewed the islands into being, the Islanders remembered the heritage of their land and wished to honor the Creator and the way he had fashioned their home. Dal’los, the island’s highest peak, still puffed smoke into the sky from time to time. Shel’s book had warned that the island itself often shook with enough force to topple trees and cause rock slides. A dangerous land.
Gray could not say that any of those things interested him, but this was the island were Nari was born. This was her history, her home, what she loved. Her father was here. This meant that for the rest of Gray’s life, this island would have meaning for him. Indeed, it would seem like the birthplace of the world. Because that was what it was for Nari.
As the wind blew against his wet clothing and tugged at the salt water that dripped from his hair, Gray considered Shel’s words.
You will need to prove your passion.
Gray grunted. He had been thinking about this moment for days, and he had an idea.
He smiled as he dropped back into the sea.
TO BE CONTINUED…
– H –
Comment below or click here to find us on Facebook. The next chapter will (probably) be posted on Friday, a week from today. Sign up for our mailing list below so you won't miss an installment.
Copyright notice: © 2019 by Lauren Stinton. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.