I am finally back to uploading on the weekends! I have been working hard on a few other projects and I just needed to step away for a little bit but I am back. This is a longer episode with a few unforeseen twists so hopefully you all enjoy! Make sure to follow me on my social medias which have changed slightly! You can listen to this chapter on iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud!
The Journey of Emeline: Chapter 6
Oga had been traveling for a day now, retracing the steps that her mother may have taken. She put her head in her hands and screamed. The icy wind was whipping at her face and her boots were tattered and letting in snow. Without thinking, Oga took a left turn off of the main path and into a small cave. There she sat, tears freezing on her face, holding the Box of Recollection her mother had left her in case something like this happened. She rolled it around in her hand, feeling the cold wooden texture in her frozen fingertips. The box had small, elaborate carvings on the top, and the sides. On the inside of the box, was the word Elme. Many times Oga had opened this box, and ran her fingers over the word. The box did nothing when Oga opened it. It was still her mothers, and only her mother’s memories would appear. She had seen her mother open the box many times, secretly of course. A few years ago her father died, and this was a way for her to see him again, and to hear his voice in memories that only they shared.
Oga wish she too could see her father again, but when she opened the box, she held her breath. If her mother was still alive, the box would sparkle and shine, and allow her to recall any memory. If the box was silent, there would still be some hope. She opened her eyes, and looked into the Tiger Eye stone that was in the center of the box. At first the stone did nothing. But soon the wind picked up, and the cave grew dark, all except one little light that shone from the back of the cavern. Oga thought that an avalanche was happening, but she could feel a pull of energy from the small light. Getting up from the ground, slowly and cautiously Oga made her to to the back of the cave. The light had disappeared but the Tiger Eye was sparkling every few seconds. With her free hand, Oga pushed against the cave wall until all of a sudden a small boulder rolled away. The light appeared again, and taking a deep breath, she walked through the opening.
The sand was cool this morning. It crunched underneath Emelines toes and she waited for Hadrian to ready his boat. They had waited until the other fishers had left for the day before they set sail. Emeline inched closer to the shore and felt the cool water hit her ankles. She had borrowed a dress from one of Hadrian’s sisters who no longer lived at the family home. The dress fit her well enough, and was a nice breezy texture. She lifted the dress slightly and moved further into the water, getting used to the temperature. After awhile, Emeline walked over to the edge of the dock and sat down, dangling her feet over the edge. She couldn’t believe how much warmer it was over on this side of the mountain. This would be the last day of warmth for awhile and she was going to soak it in, rest, and then head back into the Mazas. She had made up her mind, and even though she felt that Hadrian disapproved, or that he wanted to go along, she needed to go alone, tonight.
“You ready to board, my lady?” Emeline giggled as she looked at what Hadrian had set up. It was a small row boat, big enough for four people. There was one set of paddles and a blanket over one of the benches, most likely for her to sit on.
“I was picturing something bigger, but this should do.” Emeline got up and walked towards where Hadrian was standing, his child-like smile was contagious.
“Oh you think this is the boat? This isn’t the boat.” He took her hand and pointed about ten docks down to the massive vessel that was being loaded with goods and exports. Emeline gasped and felt herself become nervous. She thought today was going to be a day of just the two of them. She had no idea of how to act around other members of Gazdag and the people of Fekete may recognize her accent.
Emeline pleaded with Hadrian, “Please, I think I am feeling light headed again. Let’s just go back to the library and you can show me all the places you’ve been again.”
“It’ll be just fine. It is a small crew of people I’ve known for a long time, who mind their business. I know the concerns you have, and I think you’ll find today to be worth more than you think.” Hadrian then handed her the slippers that she’d taken off to wade into the water, and they walked down the dock, and up the boarding plank. She smiled at some of the crew members as she passed them, but kept her head down. Hadrian explained that this was the main deck, but there was a cargo deck that kept all the exports safely below.
They began leaving the port, leaving Fekete and Gazdag long behind. The stood on the Forecastle and she took in nothing but blue seas and sunny skies. If she wasn’t mistaken, she would’ve thought that she was actually happier than she’d ever felt in a long time.
The two spent the next few hours laughing, exchanging childhood stories, sharing secrets, and eating and drinking wine that Hadrian’s mother packed for them. The salty air cleansed her lungs and she felt as light as a feather. Hadrian looked carefree, too. At times during their conversation, a crew member would come, asking him a serious question and his expression would change for a second, answering quickly and concise, then going back to looking at Emeline with an expression he saved only for her. Hadrian informed her that they were heading to a neighboring port that stands between High Ground and Sungel, one of the places on the map they looked at the other evening. The port they were traveling to was called Kikoto. It wasn’t really a civilization of people, but rather a place where sailors and the like would go to trade, to find work, or to relax before their next trip.
Emeline could see the outline of the port as they reached it just before lunch. Hadrian, Emeline, and two crew members used a small boat to get onto the port so they wouldn’t be caught in the unloading of the vessel. People pushed by her, glared at her, and she didn’t realize why. They finally made it to a quiet spot off of the port where the sand and a tree line met. Emeline leaned against one tree, while Hadrian propped himself up on one elbow, picking grass casually as they spoke.
“We’ll leave here in a few hours and we’ll make it back by dinner. The thing is that we really aren’t that far from Kikoto, but we don’t consider her to be a sister port. It’s something I’ve been trying to work with as I can.” Emeline was surprised that Hadrian was talking so freely about the work he does. All she had ever known him for was a peace keeper, but really she didn’t understand why. She didn’t press him on it, but let me share as he wanted to. There were things that she too couldn’t share until she was ready, and she understood.
“There are things, forces, people with power that we can’t ever understand. All I do know is that there was a war that affected High Ground too. It seems like we sit up in our protected homes and we never feel the pain that other Grounds do, but it isn’t that way.” He tensed up and returned to picking grass silently.
Emeline let it go for another day. Then she remembered. There wouldn’t be more days like this. There would be no more sailing and peaceful moments in the library and endless wine and bread. There would only be reality. Cold, hard, terrifying reality. There was nothing for her at this port, nothing for her on that boat, and nothing for her in Gazdag. They sat in silence for a while, both thinking of nothing and everything all at once. The crew was boarding back up again so Hadrian and Emeline headed back as well. The air between the two was tense. It was their last day as friends. Were they friends? There was a phrase that was used often in Boldog: “elítélt barátok.” It means “condemned friends.” Hadrian was a few paces ahead of her, but she couldn’t help but feel exactly that. Absolutely condemned without him.
They boarded again and as they did Hadrian was pulled aside to talk logistics of the export. He told her to go on alone and she hurried herself back to the forecastle where she felt most comfortable. Hadrian didn’t seem to be returning anytime soon so Emeline sat herself against the wall of the ship and looked through the rest of the pack that they had brought along. Inside she found a letter addressed to her. It was sealed with a certain mark. It appeared to be two scaled fish, jumping out of the sea at the same time. This must be the seal of Hadrian’s family. That’s what she had seen on some of the other scrolls in the library. Could this be a letter from Hadrian? She wanted to open it, but he hadn’t directly given this to her, so she began to put it back into the pack but hesitated as she felt the ship slow and heard what seemed like a thousand voices. She stood up and saw a hundred tiny boats surrounding them, all coming in the the Fekete port. The time really had gone quicker on their way back, and she knew she needed to find Hadrian. She pulled up the pack and walked to the edge of the forecastle and looked out.
She looked out past their vessel and watched as the workers brought in the small boats and hauled off the fish to the market. She had heard this before from the window of Hadrian’s family home, but never saw it in person. She wondered if any of them were from Boldog. She wondered if any of them knew what was going on just over the mountain. All of a sudden, as if by no accident at all, a small, slim, curly haired girl appeared in Emeline’s eyesight. She was wearing a blue dress, it was wet at the bottom as she pulled in and tied boats up, dock after dock. She felt her knees go weak. She whispered the name she had pushed to the back of her mind long ago,
Emeline ran down the forecastle steps, pushed through the crew members who were getting the ship ready for port. She ran down the boarding plank and began running towards her sister. Tears were running down her face. She wanted to scream, but she had no voice. People were looking at her as she pushed passed them.
She began calling out for her sister. Four rows down she could see her clearly. She looked happy. She was talking to a younger man, nearly Aleidas age. Emeline stopped. What was she thinking. Emeline had to leave tonight. Aleida would ask to come along, and would insist upon it. She couldn’t risk bringing her sister along on such an unsafe travel. Emeline backed away, a feeling of complete condemnation reached her. She began to run away, away from Aleida and Dain.