Voyage To The Four Seasons; The Bejewelled Staff

Young Kirren, a boy living in winter, aware of no other life beyond the Scee Ocean, has a father who's power get's to his head after being told to be the new leader of their small neglected Village. Mika (father) is presented the token of their season, The Bejewelled Staff and puts his family after his promise to keep their village safe from dangerous predators like the notorious leopard seals. When Mika goes missing along with the Bejewelled Staff out of the blue, Kirren feels betrayed and disappointed that his father supposedly left with the Bejewelled Staff and it's magic. Determined, Kirren embarks on an extradordinary adventure in search of his traitorous father who has in fact been kidnapped by the knavish but cowardly King Vidgen a leopard seal of their time who decides to invent a fifth season, Rechim in a desert of snow and ice. In Kirren's journey he learns of the other four seaons besides his winter wonderland. The clock is ticking and ice is melting, can he do it?

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1. A fair beginning

 

 

1                                        

The fisherman paraded the clammy snow toward the red apple horizon amongst a forest of cloud to get to the Scee Ocean. Mika waved solemnly to his village. “We will not fail! We will not beseech those who put their trust in our spears!” He squalled past his shoulder. “Lasli! Be quick now!”   
Lasli defiled through the crowd cradling nets and tools.
Their journey was far, their shoes chiselled and etched footprints in the chalky snow, and their spears were poised proud above their ears. As they came to a clearing where a bridge man-made across one dewy cliff side to the other, divided up the trees and the ocean; Mika was interrupted by a tug on his elbow.
“Please!” Came a small voice. It was Kirren, raw-boned and his hair like soused raincoat on his head, not because the shape but because it’s sun-reflected shine. Mike sighed.
“Don’t take it personally Kirren, but we mustn’t put you in any danger.”
“But I’ve grown almost two inches since yesterday...”
“Sorry – we just need bigger men. Braver men. Stronger men. I am sorry son, but I would like you to go back to Alberta. You’re mother would be too worried if you came along.”
Kirren wavered back through the forest, shadowed by the green canopy. Light did shaft down to glow on the sauntering path that twisted to the village; carpeted in black ice. Kirren sunk down into his shoulders. How he felt so small.
Mika led the way to the Scee Ocean. He stabbed the air with his spear. “Let’s kill it!”
There was a roar of excitement rippling through the entire crowd of men from the village. Mika footed the foaming edge of the ocean.
“I can hear something in there. Something very hungry men!”
“Must we do this?” Lasli pointed. “This – whatever it is – hasn’t done anything and killing it won’t do much good.”
Mika gave a hard withering stare. “This beast has claimed lives and you suggest it doesn’t deserve its own penalty?”
“There are many more leopard seals around.”
“I want to make it suffer! I want to burn it! I want to eat it! And you, Lasli, believe we shan’t do this? What gibberish! What complete, utter rubbish from your lips!”
There was a clamorous moan from the beneath the lapping surface of the Scee. A head, then a body, then a tail all shot out at once and crashed upon the shore. There were screams and shouts and instructions and cries.
“There he is!”
“Holy Noko!” Lasli uttered.
The leopard seal was a monstrously large mammal, with charcoal skin and raven eyes. It roared almost super-naturally with a breath so ripe. There were spears flying like rockets.
Mika ran at the beast and stabbed severely at its side.
The snapping of its jaws was quite a loud thud, thud, and thud.
It slid helplessly back down into its dark, watery kingdom, first disappearing its tail, then its body, then finally its head swallowed by the waves.
“Blast!” screamed Mika. He threw down his spear. “No!”
“We shouldn’t have put all our hope into this.”
“No!” repeated Mika. “It has to come back.”
“But...”
“Shut up Lasli! This was wrong.”
Lasli was silent. The fisherman paused an hour then slouched back through the forest to their village beneath an oyster sky matching the snow beneath their boots.
Alberta and Mika emerged from their tents and toiled into Mika’s arms. Alberta gave a yellow smile.
“It’s been a long morning, huh?”
Mika gave a sorrowful grin.
Alberta licked her finger and rubbed away a bloody scratch on his cheek. “Now how do you get a wound like that from fishing?”
Alberta looked back at the crowd of fisherman who dotted around, scuffing the ground bruised and tired. “Golly – must have been one heck of a fish. Did you ever catch anything?”
“They were hunting the leopard seal!” blustered Kirren. Mika shot him an angry stare.
Mika!” Alberta drivelled. “You told me you were fishing as normal! How dare you do this behind my back? Do we not have breakfast? You do know you could have been killed, let alone risking the lives of every other man we depend on...”
“Alberta!” Mika kissed at her knuckles. “Yet we are all alive.”
“I don’t care, Mika. I don’t care!”
“You need to sit down dear, or you’ll have a stroke.”
“I’ll die if you do that again! That beast belongs beneath the water, he shan’t hurt anyone here.”
Mika looked at Kirren. There was a sparkly glow in his eyes. “Have I ever told you about the story of Noko?”
“Huh?”
“Mika!” Alberta protested. “I don’t want to hear you going about telling stories like those.”
“Calm down dear, it is just a legend. Although many say it is true.”
“Nonsense,” laughed Alberta. “No one in Withwole has ever managed a successful hunt like Noko.”
“Noko has.”
“No he has not. I’ve read the books – I’ve finished my education.”
“Which school was that dear?”
“Oh shoosh!” Alberta grinned and left the two alone.
Mika led Kirren onto the snow, their backs against a fallen log. The sun winked through the mountains.
“Noko was a man very brave.”
“Like you?”
Mika laughed. “Much braver than me. Never mind what you’re mother says, this is a story for believers.”
“Did Noko kill a beast?”
“Yes he did.”
“Which one was that?”
“Let me talk boy!” Mika smiled. Kirren slipped down onto his back, listening quietly but impatiently.
“Noko’s village was under attack one day. He was chosen to stay back and fight whatever was threatening the life of their village.”
Kirren gasped.
“Now what Noko was up against was large, hairy, black as night, its eyes were blood-red with evil. It was a dun bear. Have you ever heard of those?”
“No.”
“Well a dun bear is much larger than the polar bears we get here and normal sized brown bears. But no matter how big this thing was, Noko could defeat it.”
“Did he?”
“Let’s just say he lived to tell his story.”
“So he did defeat it?”
“Yes he did. They still have the bear’s skin in their village. Miles from here, though.”
“Then it isn’t just a legend, it’s true!”
“It is very much true, no matter how much your mother is against it.”
Kirren beamed.
The morning had just begun.
“Can I go for a walk?”
“Sure. But you must be here for the ritual tonight. Jokino says it will be special.”
Jokino was the present leader.
“Yes father. I’ll be back by then.”
When Kirren said ‘walk’, he meant ‘explore’. He padded around for a bit, tracing his shoe with a stick. The sun went down early in Withwole. Kirren was half-excited for Jokino’s ritual. It wasn’t a joke; although Alberta had pressed it was just a silly superstition that old Eskimo’s once believed in.

There was bon fire offshore, fractured moonlight on the ocean. Kirren sat wedged like salami between two pieces of bread, between Mika and Alberta. Jokino was a scrawny man, hunched over with a cauldron heating above the fire, boiling ocean water inside it.
Kirren looked at his father.
“Psst!” He shook Mika’s shoulder. 
“Quiet, it’s about to start.”
Jokino swooped around from person to person, making a mark on their wrist with ashes from the fire. First, with his eyes shut he would hover above their hand then draw something. The evening fell deeper into the pitch-black night when the air got draughty and bleak.
Jokino got to Kirren, as he marked him, the fire roared and spat. Kirren shuddered.
Then Jokino came around and splashed everyone’s wrist with ocean water.
“Look upon your skin and tell yourself what your eyes will reveal to you! If there is a single stroke, you are a true warrior, born for bloodshed and victory. If you find a dot, you are not worthless but calm in a manor than you shan’t receive but give more. Not in war or hard labour. You have many things yet to learn and many tasks yet to complete. I have disturbing news, might I add. I have had a vision one day death will meet us. Death will feed on the living flesh of our people. An evil has clouded among us. My dreams are disturbed by nightmares and my love is replaced by lust. My only wish is to choose a leader who is good. A wise leader who is not easily weakened and does not hide away from the dangers he might face.”
Kirren looked at his mother and noticed the swelling of tears. She was looking down at her wrist. The stellar night sky looked like a wall of clustered dots and aurora lights.
“Mika.” Jokino’s voice was firm. His hair snaked down his front that crimped thickly in ropes.
Mika’s eyes were on Jokino. He was speechless.
“I must give you the token of Withwole. Our token is regarded our lives. We are putting our trust in you.”
Mika stood up and received the token in sweaty hands. It was The Bejewelled Staff.
“Our season is the richest out of all four mysteries yet our village in its neglected position will survive another year and maybe more with a new leader.” Mika’s cheeks were scarlet with honour. The fire rusted them to orange.
“Thank you.” He muttered, tongue-tied with surprise. “Thank you.”

On the walk home, Kirren was staring at his father’s staff. “Can I touch it?”
Mika looked at him funny. “This is a very important token Kirren. All of Withwole has trusted us – me – with this and I suggest you do not play with it.”
“Okay.” Kirren’s obedient voice came. The Bejewelled Staff glowed in colour, motley painted and tall like a staff should be.
“Do the other three seasons have this?”
“They have things of their own.”
“What sort of things.”
“I don’t know. I’ve never left Withwole. You won’t get answers from me.” 

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