After 1937 BC, The South Seas, Kairos 55: Feilo Broken.
They should have guessed when the time gate was in the middle of the river. They had to tie everything down, wrap up all their equipment in fairy weave to make it waterproof, and then they had to nudge their horses to swim out while they hung on as well as they could.
Nuwa dragon said good-bye and good luck, which was far less noise than Pluckman and his crowd, even when Nuwa was in her dragon form. To be honest, the dragon kind of hurried them along. They finished the three-day journey in two-and-a-half days, and Nuwa begged them to not wait until morning. No one complained. They knew Nuwa was anxious to get back to Thalia so Thalia did not have to face the sorcerer alone.
“Good-bye,” Boston yelled from the back of the group where she straggled with Mingus.
“I smell salt,” Mingus said, and that was it.
They went through the gate and found themselves swimming in the Pacific Ocean.
“Hera’s butt. Mitra’s fires in the hole,” Boston practiced her hob-goblin swearing and Mingus scolded her. “Criminy,” Boston held her tongue. The horse was swimming for its life and she had to hang on.
“I see an island. The others are already moving in that direction,” Mingus encouraged her. He gave his horse the reigns and bent forward, both to hold on and to speak soothing words to keep his horse from panic.
“That’s a long way,” Boston complained, and turned her head to see if she could glimpse the time gate. She wondered if they could go back and build rafts. She saw something else and swore. “Crap.”
Mingus turned his head. “Young lady,” he said before he agreed. “Crap.”
It caught up Boston and Mingus, scooped up Lincoln and Alexis. Decker and Elder Stow were next, and Lockhart and Katie were the last to be picked up by the rushing wave. People grabbed on to their saddles, gripped with their legs, and prayed, but it turned out to not be so bad. They got to the island shore in almost no time. The water did not churn at all, so they had no trouble holding on. The wave slowly died as it came to shallower water, and it deposited their horses on their feet and them in the saddle like nothing happened.
Lockhart and Katie quickly rode to the back of the beach and turned. The others followed. There was a woman, fifteen feet tall, made of water, staring at them, hard. She did not appear to be scowling, but it was near enough.
“This is one of the only clear beaches on the island. Most are mangrove beaches.” The woman spoke in a voice that hinted of the roar of the sea. “You are protected by a hedge of the gods. I would rather you had not come here, but I suppose it was inevitable. I was not going to let you die on my watch, but what you do on land is your business. Perhaps the creatures from the stars will eat you. If by chance you see my daughter, you might mention she could visit her mother once in a while.” The woman threw her arms out and the water that made up her body broke apart and fell to the sand to blend back into the surf. The travelers stared in silence for a moment.
“What creatures from the stars?” Lincoln asked, though there was no one to answer. He got out the database to see if he could find some information on the subject. Boston and Katie got out their amulets to check direction. Lockhart called for them to set up camp.
“We appear to be in a lagoon,” Alexis said, with a good look back the way they came. “No telling, though, how much it might protect us from the tides and weather.” Elder Stow engaged his anti-gravity device and floated up to take a good look.
Decker spoke up. “Normally, I would recommend avoiding the interior rainforest filled with who knows what. I would say travel around the shoreline, but if most of the shore is filled with mangrove swamps, we don’t want to go there. The horses probably can’t go there.”
“Can you…” Lockhart did not spell it out.
Decker nodded and found a place to sit and meditate. He would rise up in his spirit, carried by his eagle totem, and he would try to map out the area, not that he could see much under the rainforest canopy.
Katie found a fresh water stream that came out of the jungle and soaked into the sand on its way to the sea. She and Lockhart explored up the water for a short way, and found a ten-foot waterfall where a small pool formed. The immediate area there was full of boulders, like the rocky hill collapsed when the waterfall was made. A large grassy area, appeared like a small meadow around the water with only a few trees, surrounded the pool.
“If the water is drinkable,” Lockhart crushed the moment as Elder Stow floated down from overhead. He had his scanner in his hand but kept shaking his head.
“There is too much biodiversity on the island. I cannot make out what our creatures from the stars may be, or where they might be.” He spoke as he landed. “Lots of birds, but not much else. Not many mammals. Some lizards, but I am not sure about snakes. Mostly insects.” He looked up.
Lockhart nodded. “We have to check the water and move everyone to this place. Your shield is stronger the less you stretch it?” he asked.
“It is a personal shield, designed to surround my person, but I can make it cover an area. It can keep the horses in and the creatures out, but I will have to work it to not interrupt the flow of water if we include the stream and waterfall. I also need to check the charging equipment I got back in Yadinel’s day. It is now a hundred years old and probably wet, hopefully not ruined from our swim.”
They waited while Elder Stow took a water sample and ran it through his equipment. He pronounced it clean, so they returned to collect the others.
Alexis met them on the beach. “We have fish,” Alexis announced with glee. “No need to hunt for deer, thank god. The sea goddess brought the fish and said she didn’t want us to starve on her account. Wasn’t that nice?”
“Very nice,” Lockhart agreed, but as he pulled his knife he added, “I’m not very good at butchering fish, much less such a big… tuna?… what is this?”
“Tuna. Yellow fin,” Mingus interrupted. “I tried to get in touch with whatever spirits might inhabit this island. I thought we could use a guide. There are plenty of spirits around. You can tell by the lush vegetation. But they appear to be in hiding and not interested.” Mingus shrugged.
“I don’t know,” Boston said. “I never cut up anything bigger than a rainbow trout.”
“Let me,” Mingus stepped up to the tuna. He looked at the others and confessed. “Where do you think Roland learned?” The others appreciated him taking the job.
It took a couple of hours to get inland, and a couple more to smoke as much of the fish as they could. They would have fresh tuna steaks that evening, but after that, they had no way of catching any more. Elder Stow finally concluded that the island had rats and bats, so there was nothing to hunt, even if they wanted to.
“Of course, some of the lizards might be tasty,” he said. “Or maybe the birds.”
“Maybe birds,” Lockhart agreed. He did not want to think about eating lizard.
“Pohnpei,” Lincoln announced as he and Boston came back to the fire after seeing the horses settled. Alexis and Katie were just coming in from scouring the area for anything that might suffice for fruits and vegetables. “Ponape,” Lincoln repeated. He read a bit to himself, and everyone waited patiently for his report.
Katie sat beside Lockhart as Alexis sat by Lincoln. Boston went to sit beside Mingus. Decker ignored everyone while Elder Stow fiddled with his scanner, checking on the shield he placed around the camp and looking for signs of life, particularly star creatures that might eat them.
“Okay,” Lincoln started. “The Kairos is named Feilo, a male. Blah, blah blah…a south pacific love story, romance novel kind of thing. Her name was Lelani, heavenly flower or something. She died in a typhoon. She got swept out to sea, and he spent the rest of his life building her a memorial, the first structure at Nan Madol, two thousand years before the Shemsu showed up to build a bunch more. Blah, blah, blah…some of the Shemsu escape when the war-like Deleur arrived about 1100 AD. They went on to colonize Easter island…well; we know what happened there.”
“All those statues of the Agdaline,” Katie nodded.
“Mass insanity,” Mingus added. “Too much in-breeding.”
“What about the aliens?” Decker asked.
“What?” Lincoln looked up before he returned to the database. “Oh, crap.”
“Quite all right. That appears to be the word for this time zone.”
“Jell-O blobs,” Lincoln said. “At least three.”
“Crap,” Alexis agreed.
“But what happened to Felio?” Boston wanted to know.
“Feilo,” Lincoln corrected her. “It says he took up with Soun Nan-Leng, the reef of heaven, the naiad daughter of Caroline, the sea goddess.”
“My guess would be our savior on the beach was Caroline,” Katie said, and looked at Lockhart to see what he thought.
“More than likely,” Mingus responded.
“Soun Nan-Leng?” Boston spoke carefully. She wanted to get it right.
Lincoln nodded. “There is a note. It says see The Little Mermaid.”
“I liked that movie.” Boston perked up.
“I don’t know,” Alexis said. “Hans Christian Anderson’s original story did not have a happy ending.”
Elder Stow shook his head. “I scanned the blob in Rebecca’s time zone, but did not get a good reading. It was all too brief. Here, it is impossible to pick out one life in the midst of so many. I can only guess that they are some distance away so I am not picking up their signature. But it is only a guess.”
Lockhart nodded. “Standard watch, even with Elder Stow’s force field activated. We don’t wat to be surprised in the middle of the night.”