[Due to the wonderful positive response to The Murmuration, I’ve decided to continue Liana’s story. Please read the linked post first, if you haven’t already. Thank you.]
Liana had an innate sense of direction, but when she’d paddled away from home, torn with grief over the fate of her loved ones as the volcano consumed the island’s only town, she had lost sense of time and space. If the night had been clear, she could have realigned her canoe with the stars, but a thick covering of clouds had blacked out any light. Helpless, she let the waves carry her where they would until dawn broke on the curve of the Eastern sky.
In the early light, she realized she was far from the destination island Benji had told her was safe. That was a sister island, one they had traded with for oil and cloth. It was now two days away and the clouds were still heavy, barely allowing the sun to peek through. Liana was afraid to turn around and double back through a storm.
There was a tiny island coming up. She had no knowledge what it was like or if the people would be friendly. Benji had told her she was carrying a baby, Ken’s baby, but how could he know that? He was an old blind man who babbled silliness… except he had been right about the volcano. What if he was right about the baby too? A cannon of thunder rolled through the air as if it were Benji warning her again from wherever he was now.
Liana felt duty bound to be extra careful, since she and the possible baby were the last survivors of her island people. She quietly drifted to the tiny new island and tied her canoe in a thicket of trees. As she began to cautiously explore the seemingly deserted island, the threatened storm broke through and poured down in sheets as lightning spiked the skies.
Flinging herself under a rock formation, Liana waited out the storm, hoping she’d tied her boat securely. Within a few minutes, the skies calmed and a subtle rainbow formed. She took that as a sign of good luck until she stepped out from the rock’s protection and realized what it was.
“Scorpion Rock!” Liana gasped. She’d ended up on one of the warrior training islands. This was where the pirate gangs came to train. She had to leave immed–
Except there were three warrior boats coming toward her now. The men had seen her and were pointing. One stopped rowing and dove into the water, swimming powerfully to the beach.
Liana turned and ran. Surely, she had time to dash across a few hundred yards of sand, untie her boat, and get lost in the maze of islands, maybe even make it to Fiji before her supplies ran out.
But as she approached the trees, three more warriors emerged. They formed a semi-circle around her. Liana glanced over her shoulder. The swimming warrior was 50 yards away, and his two companions a couple hundred yards behind him.
All she could do now was pray for a quick end. The volcano’s flames didn’t seem so terrible in comparison to this.
[to be continued]
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