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Monday, June 22

Naoke: Part 13 – Desperation Island

Before the Nǎoké lay an idyllic scene: smooth beaches of fine, white sand, tall palms swaying in the breeze, the clear blue, placid seas rolling to the inviting shores. The gentle sloping landscape promised hidden grottoes with bubbling springs and tropical fruits falling from the trees.

“We’re anchoring here for some shore leave!” shouted Baldric.

The crowd gave a wild cheer. It had been twenty days since they left Nyambe.

Ilmarė sat with crossed arms on deck. With the advent of her pregnancy it had become difficult for her to stand for long periods of time. “This is a mistake. The island is too perfect.”

“It’s all we’ve got,” said Kham. “Besides, live a little! The weather is perfect!”

Most of the crew took rowboats out to the island. When they arrived, they discovered the island WAS perfect.

Bananas, mangoes, and papayas grew in abundance. Along the hillside were a number of different shallow caves.

“I’ll take a look around,” said Beldin. The dwarf led a team of men into the caves.

Each of the caves was no more than a slight depression, affording any occupants scant but adequate protection from any squall in the area. Only one, some thirty feet in diameter, could be properly called a cavern.

“There are markings here. Bring the torch over.” While Beldin could see in the dark, he couldn’t make out the markings on the wall. A sailor held a torch aloft.

Along the walls of the cave were various tribal markings, hieroglyphs of a long lost native population. It didn’t require any skill to read the tale, however. It proceeded from a quiet, peaceful existence, to tragedy and sorrow, resulting in the eventual death of the entire tribe.

Beldin hustled out of the cave to find the others. They were at the highest point of the island.

“I think we should leave,” he said gruffly. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:33 AM


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