Thursday, November 05, 2020

Talyn Orak and the East Pirate clans year 66

 After his brother Christopher left North out of Ravenna, with his bride Marybelle (Allen), Talyn stayed with his parents Iago and Tasha (Benson) Orak for a few years, working in the mines, fishing and the different products of Cod Bay.  He learned a bit about the deep mining techniques from Bram Trent, and Steven Pembry of the Cod Bay Clockworks.  His father, Iago Orak, was a pirate from the old pirate tradition of the East, and he would sit on the docks of Cod Bay and listen to stories of ships, fishing and epic battles, like he did with his brother Christopher when he was small.

His father would recount to him the day his mother, Izmi, lit a fire on a far off Eastern beach, to wait for his father Goffey to come home.  It was year 26 and he had went off to North City because mother Izmi had had a terrible dream.

She had dreamed that in the middle of North City a WorldEater had come and shook the entire world.  It had not happened yet.  She was afraid for her daughter, Prizla, who had been studying Chemistry at the University there.  Prizla had been smarter than any other girl in the Eastern Pirate village, and had always been experimenting with dyes, clays and herbs.  She had done things with metals and redstone that frankly, no one had thought to do before.  She had made glass beakers and combined strange things that no one could tell what possible use they might be.  But, Prizla had her ideas.  And then when the Wandering Trader had come through with some of the even stranger things in his inventory, she had listened with huge eyes about North City, the University, and the classes taught there.

 East Pirate Shores, east of Cod Bay over the Sea

Goffey, her father, had brightened up in a way Izmi had never seen him do, before.  He had dug down in his pirate stores and brought up bars of iron and gold, and several compasses.  He talked with the Trader far into the Night, by the torchlight of the Great Hall, where Izmi's sister Maza was training to be the next Giyen (knowing one) of the village.  Then, Goffey had arranged for Izmi to say her goodbye to Prizla 'only for a year'.. and taken off across the South Bay to North City.

Izmi had been angry.  She was even more angry when he returned and the 'year' was going to be four.  But things seemed to be alright, for the time being.  She would go to the beach and light her fire, hold their younger son, Iago, in her arms and sing.  She knew Prizla, now calling her self Priscilla, was doing well, and was happy.

Then Izmi had the dream in Year 26.  Prizla had sent a letter back saying she was deciding on whether to come home for a year or to spend another four at the University and expand her knowledge.  She said there was very important work being done with some strange stones - things she had never ever seen before, and round green pearls that glowed even in the dark.  Izmi had the dream the next night about the WorldEater.  She was so terrified she prodded Goffey until he loaded his ship.  He said goodbye to Izmi and Iago, and rowed off to fetch Prizla as if his life depended on it.  When he looked in Izmi's eyes.. he was sure it did.  He could see she had seen something real.

The year passed.  Goffey should have been back with Prizla.  She had received his letter from the Wandering Trader more than three months ago that they were 'headed out soon, will stop by small ports if the weather gets bad, trade and be on the way home'...  One night Izmi woke up with a terrible flash through her mind.  Something was wrong, she knew.  She lit torches and left Iago with her sister, Maza, and went to the shore.  There were monsters all around in the distance, but the sun was coming up.  She lit her fire and sat there and waited.  It seemed like everything was going to be fine.  Iago came and brought her breakfast.  He was 16, nearly a man.  He had wanted to be out there protecting his mother in the night, since his father was away.  But she had said 'No', and she was a stubborn woman.

The south side of the village where the water runs down

Iago handed her the bowl of sweetened pumpkin and sank down beside her in the sand.  She turned and looked him in the eyes, as she unfastened the sinew cord from her neck.  It held a single blue bead.  'Your father is dead, Iago.  I can feel it in my bones.'  She refastened the sinew around his neck, and told him : "You wear this.  Prizla will need to see it, someday.   She will not know you until she looks close.  I will sit here a bit longer.  I hope she will be happy."  

Iago said "Mother, I can go find her!  I can bring them back.. I can sail a boat as well as Pop."  Izmi smiled sadly and knew that this was not the time.  Things were going to happen in the world, and Prizla was going to have to make her way just as surely as Iago was going to have to make his.  "No, Iago.. now is the time for growing, and learning.  Sail your ship one day .. there.. to the West..."  Izmi pointed to the west over Spruce Trees rising in front of the mountain.  "Your sister will know you by that bead.  It will be like drinking good water to see her, again, then.  But for now, she must learn to be happy.  She was never happy, here."  Izmi put out her fire and walked up the steep hills to their house.  Iago stood and looked out over that mountain.  His mother was right, there was something there, but not yet, not for him.

The next few years were indeed rough.  The world shook in year 30.  Tidal waves came and battered the shores, washing away years of agricultural land that had been built up on the North side of the island.  The people moved their huts up further into the steppe, under the trees that swayed, and waited.  Crops grew slowly at first, but then returned to their normal vigor.  Maza became the new Giyen of the village, and she helped direct the people in their efforts to feed themselves and protect themselves from the monsters that poured out of the holes in the Earth.

 the village at East Pirate Shores

Iago had remembered what Izmi had said about sailing to the West.  One day, a year after his beloved mother had died in her sleep, Iago made preparations to leave the Eastern Pirate clan.  He told his Aunt Maza that he was not coming back, but maybe someday, some of his children or grandchildren would.  Maza nodded, fingering the matching blue bead around her own neck.  Iago nodded, now a man of 28, strong and proven in both battle and sailing.  He set up his boat and his compass, and set out to the West, following the dolphins who spoke to him of fish and a warm place with people.  Only a few people talked to the dolphins there, but it was enough that they wanted Iago to go there.  

Three days later he sailed into Cod Bay, and saw, after an afternoon of talking fish and sugarcane with the old fisherman there (Callum Barham), a woman walking from one house to another that looked like drinking good water.  He knew what his mother had meant, even though it made no sense as words.  He felt he knew exactly who she was.  Yet, at the same time he would have said he had never seen her before.  She had changed, and yet something down deep about her had not.  That was what Iago saw and recognized.

 He stayed down at the shoreline for several days, discussing things with Niko Otrio, and Callum Barham, who had been some of the first settlers of this area.  Then Niko brought Thaddeus Pippington down to meet him, and later, his wife Priscilla.  Prizla did not know him at first, but the blue bead around his neck drew her eyes several times.  It was then that she knew who he was - his having been just a child of seven or eight when she last saw him.  That had been another life, it felt, in that long-ago time, before she went to study at North City.  Her son Argent was ten years old, now, and the resemblance between him and Iago was actually quite striking.  Even her younger daughter, Serena, had the same straight nose as their family, although she had inherited the Pippington red color to her hair.  

Iago chose a place across the bay to build a house.  He liked having found his family.  It felt right.  And father's grave was on the beach here.. he must have felt this was a good place.  From the story that had been told his illness came on him so sudden, his heart perhaps, that he simply grabbed Thaddeus' hand and spit on it, and put it over Priscilla's.   Goffey Orak had died there on the beach, in Year 27, before he could bring Priscilla home to mother Izmi.  Callum, the fisherman,  knowing a little about Eastern Pirates, had to tell the shocked young couple that they were now married, unless they denied it.  They had not denied it.  And that, perhaps, was what Iago's mother Izmi had sensed with her Sight.. that Priscilla would make her way, despite all the dangers that were happening in the world.

Now Iago had decided to live here, too.  He wanted to know his sister again, and to watch these children grow up on this beach.  He liked having the old fisherman to talk to, the one who did not ignore the dolphins when they came up to discuss the weather.  Callum told Iago it was both a serious question and a hilarious joke when dolphins ask humans about the weather.  It is a question they get no answer at all from when talking to fish.  A year after he set the roof on his house, Iago made his journey through some of the nearby towns to see where Thaddeus and Niko had come from.  He made his way West, but stopped in the center of Rivertown and began to trace his way back.  He did not like how it felt crossing the Straty River in the middle of town.  He belonged to the East.

It was on his way back from the town of Rivertown, through Benson's Pointe, that he had seen Tasha sitting on the dock there and combing her hair.  She had been humming a song that worked with the water.  He had sat down beside her with no introduction.  It was a strange thing to do, perhaps in some circumstances a little scary.  But Tasha had turned and looked at him with huge green eyes and smiled.  And she had continued humming.  And he had sat there whittling with his knife in the sun.  

He had stayed the night in the City Hall and proposed to her father and mother in the morning.  Tasha had agreed so easily he was almost worried.  David and Penny Benson had actually never seen her so calm.  She usually fidgeted and paced, as if she could not settle down in one spot.  But standing near Iago she was as calm as sitting on the dock.  Her parents agreed to go with them to Cod Bay, as it was just over the hill.  They wanted to see for themselves that Iago meant to stay.  They came with him and saw the strong wooden house he had built, and his easy rapport with the residents.  David Benson especially liked the way the young man stood on the dock of Cod Bay smiling as the young children played and ran through the sand. He agreed to the marriage and Tasha said goodbye to her parents.  Iago had been happy with Tasha there in that house, living a simple life,  They had two sons, Christopher and Talyn.  

the camp and farm Talyn built on the West shore of the island

Now, Talyn was making his way.  He wore the blue bead his father gave him.  Iago said 'You will need this, and when you need it, you will know why.'  Cryptic, true - but Pirate ways often are.  Talyn sailed East with the sunrise and went around the mountain, through islands of Spruce that looked interesting, but not 'the thing' he was looking for.  Then he saw the trees he had heard about on the beaches at night.  They leaned with the wind.  They were red like blood.  And there was torchlight up in the hills.  Talyn could not believe he had found his Father's clans so easily?  Could it truly be them?  He set up a small camp on the West side of the island, quickly mining some stone for a fireplace, and making torches to fend off the monsters at night.  Then, when the sun rose again, he climbed the hills.

Everyone in the village shied away from him at first.  They saw his foreign clothes and he did not use the words they expected to hear.  When he came to the center of the village he remembered his father's words 'Seeing them will be like drinking good water.'  And when he saw a man sitting outside the center house tending the fire, it was true.  He sat down beside the man and took out his father's knife to whittle on the little piece of driftwood he had brought with him.  He took a glance up at the man after a moment, and the man was beaming at him.  He shook his hand and said 'Talyn Orak.  I've come home, instead of my father.'  The man was Pagri Orak, his cousin, and he grabbed Talyn up in a bearhug so hard he almost dropped him into the fire.

 The islander homes

An old woman came out of the center house then and Pagri settled down as if he had been bitten behind the ear.  He straightened and smoothed his clothes and then, as if he could not contain his composure any longer, he stepped to the side a bit and pointed at Talyn.  'He's an Orak!  It's written all over him.'  Maza sat down on the other side of the fire and stared at them.  She could see the resemblance between them, having herself married Goffey's younger brother, Kurim.  Both men sat down and waited for her words.  Pagri was her youngest son, and actually Iago's first cousin.  'Orak, son of an Orak?', she asked.  Talyn nodded.  'Show me.', the old woman said.  Talyn felt the blue bead around his neck become ice-cold, as if it was affected by a magic spell.  He pulled it out of his clothing and looked at it.  Pagri and Maza looked at it, too.  Maza pulled the bead out from her own shirt collar and showed Talyn.  'You ARE home, young one.  Iago had completed the circle.'  

The tension melted away and others that had been hanging back from the fire came and crowded the log benches so tightly Talyn wondered if they even remembered he was there.  Fish soup and a strongly flavored brown bread was passed around.  Pumpkin and chicken stew was poured next, along with small grainy sweetened cakes.  Talyn went back to his little shelter that night, with Pagri hanging back to watch him from the top of the Hills.  He raised a hand to his cousin and received a similar gesture in return.  

Over the next month he built a little house on the beach there, pulling stone out of the ground and even capturing a few sheep and cows after they wandered through the sand and began to eat in his garden.  He made a large well for kelp and began to harvest it every day, and dry it in his furnaces.  Every bit of wheat he harvested for months he fed to the sheep and cows, and seeds to the chickens that wandered through, leaving their eggs at his doorstep.  He found a pumpkin washed down one of the hillsides and planted the seeds in his garden.

His cousin would bring people by every once in a while, to see how he was doing and to have a sit at the wooden dock.  They still did not have too much to talk about, even after all of this, but it still felt good to be in a place where he felt he could belong.   It seemed they didn't need as many words as some people.  The sea spoke for them, the wood and the fish and the water.  Talyn finally turned his whittling stick into a flute and would sit there trying to mimic the tones of the dolphins as they circled the point and talked about the weather.  Every night he went to sleep hearing the music of both the Ocean and of his people in the hillsides above.

 the inside of Talyn's house when the old ladies came to visit

Winter in the East Pirate Shores was very mild.  Talyn had never seen a 'cold season' as warm as this.  The people of the village complained about the cold and put extra weavings on their doors and wore their hoods to keep off the wind.  Talyn was silently amused but continued to work out in his gardens, shear his sheep and expand his fences all through the wet clammy time.  He finally had enough wheat and pumpkins that he didn't need to save every seed, and he could begin to make bread and still feed the hungry calves and lambs that came in profusion.  He had planted crops up the terraced side of the hill all year, and was now always bringing in a few sheaves every day, as the wheat did not come in all in one flush, like it did in Cod Bay.

One day he had been out to the South shore of the island, combing for whatever he could find on the shore, and he returned to his little house to find a gaggle of elderly women waiting for him.  Some of them brought him food including watermelon seeds, others were going through the chests in his house seeing what food he had, and in what condition, and checking his floors and windows and even inspecting his boat at the dock.  He started counting but the women just kept moving from one thing to another and eventually he gave up trying  Talyn almost felt offended at first.. but then the Sea washed over his anger.  They were not hurting anything and he felt as if the rhythm was all as it should be.  He sat down and listened to the rhythm and wondered where his place in it all would be.

Maza poked her head up out of the crowd and came forward to him.  She made a motion to him to put out his hands and put two small beads into his palm.  One was blue, and one was red.  She told him he would give them to his children when they were born.  He sputtered a bit, the calm feeling almost entirely leaving him.. 'But.. I'm not even married!'  Maza smiled.  The entire gaggle of old women laughed at him.  'Not yet!'.  Talyn opened his mouth, shut it, and then just stared at the beads.  The women all stood for a moment and then as if all in one decision, they lined up to go out the door.  Talyn watched them all leave out of his house and sat down on his bed and stared at the precious beads.  They were unlike anything else in the world, and yet so very the same as the one he wore around his neck.  Then he laughed.  And he laughed, and he laughed.  He laughed so hard his sheep were scared outside and began to bleat.

Talyn went out to the dock and sat down at the water.  He did this every night for a week, watching the sun go down in the West and then returning to his bed as the darkness came over the island.  One evening a long-legged, long-haired girl paddled up in a boat from the South.  Talyn did not know what to say, except Hello.  She tied up her boat, barely acknowledging him at first, and then stared at him hard.  She looked him up and down, and then decided he was who she had been sent to see.  She had beautiful green eyes like his mother.  When he looked at her, she seemed to shine all over.  Talyn was even more at a loss for words than he had ever been before.  Around her neck she wore a sinew like his, with a single red bead.  

She sat down on his dock and took out some braided colored wool from the bag around her waist.  She began to sort out strands and braid and pattern a cord, as if that was all she had come here for.  Talyn sat down beside her, took out his flute, and began to play with the notes of the water.  'Nymi', she said, 'is the name to call me.'  She then got up and began to untie her boat from the dock.  Talyn reached out and gently put his hand on her arm, not holding her but letting her see his concern.  At that moment he didn't know if anything would say what he felt in his heart.  'Stay, if you want?' he said, then stepped back and looked at her imploringly.  She smiled a huge smile at him. and she retied her boat.

Talyn and Nymi were married in year 67.5 at the East Pirate Shores, by Giyen Maza. 

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