[This is a multi-part story. If you’d like to read it in order, follow this list. Thanks!
Everything was grey: the sky, the rocks, the sea. Liana’s mood was similar, though she told herself to be grateful she was alive. She’d survived a series of frightening incidents, but she was so terribly lonely. Her family and friends were gone, swallowed up in the hungry flames of the volcano. Tears trickled down her face as she prayed for their souls. Her home island would likely be a pile of rubble now. Liana had been spared though, along with the baby she carried. Ken’s baby.
The pirate warrior who’d rescued her had brought her before his Queen. That same day, another group of their pirate brothers had captured a ship laden with silks, coins, and jewels. The Queen had declared that Liana was also a gift.
“She is a daughter of the Storm God!” the Queen shouted to her people. “She has brought us good fortune and will remain our honored guest all her days!”
Female servants helped Liana, weakened from her ordeal at sea, to bathe and dress. She was given scented oils and fine clothes. Trays of delectable foods were set before her, along with cups of juice and wine. Her room overlooked the sea and faced west, so the rising sun did not disturb her slumber.
Surprisingly, she was allowed to do as she wished. She slept as much as she liked, ate whichever foods she fancied, and had all her needs attended to. It felt strange not having any work to occupy her days, and she began to explore, taking long walks alone and learning about the new plants she encountered by bringing back a sample to show Sura, her maid.
There was no way off the island of course, and even if Liana could manage to steal a canoe, where would she go? Still, as she gazed out at this grey morning, she knew this place would never feel like home. Home was love and smiling faces and coconut bread made with berries that didn’t grow here. She placed a hand on her belly, starting to swell now, and felt heartbroken for the baby who would only know this harsh place as home.
“Liana!” Sura called to her from the end of the beach. “A ship has returned. They have prisoners!”
Liana didn’t want to see prisoners, but Sura was motioning to her. “Hurry! The Queen wants everyone to thank the gods.”
Sighing, Liana accompanied Sura to the royal garden where five men were bound to poles. Some were too badly injured to stand. Liana shuddered and looked away as one caught her gaze. The doctor should be helping them, not standing to the side drinking wine. A surge of disgust rose up in her and she ran around the corner to retch in private.
She felt Sura patting her back. “Here, have some ginger juice. It will help.”
Liana sipped the juice as Sura patted her neck with a cool cloth. “Thank you.”
“The Queen will be so pleased,” Sura said. “You are giving her yet another gift.”
“What am I giving?” Liana straightened and gazed at Sura who was smiling confidently as a glass wing butterfly landed on a lily.
Sura pointed to Liana’s belly. “Your baby. The grandson of the Storm God!”
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