By: Erwin Stevens
To: Gail Baudino, (and the Elves of Malvern): Thanks for the Inspiration to get me writing again, and your book’s help and healing, “Alanae ea yolisi, Elthia!”
*Andy: "You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific?"
Andy: "They say it has no memory. That is where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory."
A lone traveler floated along amidst the blue gray waters of the Pacific Ocean, a lone life raft where a young Elven Harper named Natil Summerson-L'Theil and a young human named Katherine Grace lay in the bottom of the small craft. Together Natil and her companion are both survivors of a disaster at sea. One where the ship named the SS Salvadorian Hato exploded after its third night at sea, the damage severe enough to cripple it and later causing it to sink into the silent waves of the Pacific.
All but a few passengers were evacuated from their cabins to the deck, placed into the lifeboats as thunderous explosions continually hit the ship causing it to rock two and fro. No one had seen the young Harper thrown from the deck of the ship, clinging for her life on the side of a life raft that was blown free by the explosions. No one would see her pull herself into the lifeboat, or grab the collar of a life preserver containing Katherine Grace, the captain's youngest daughter into the craft. She had likewise found herself thrown from the deck of the ship to float in the inky cold Pacific waters. That had been four days ago.
The Harper's journey had started a few days before that. Together with Rijiin, her husband, they sat in the horse drawn carriage would take them down the streets of Denver to the limo company that would take them to the airport. Together from the airport, the Harper and Rijiin would both board a jet liner bound for Los Angeles and from there they would meet a medium sized cruise yacht chartered to take them and two hundred other people to Mexico on a spectacular honeymoon for two.
As the young Harper lay unconscious in the raft, she was seeing images of recent past, starting with her wedding day. It is a time of happiness for the young maiden, remembering the day like it was yesterday, staring at the gardens of the Tree Star building from one of the many corner offices and at the many guests who have gathered from near and far for their wedding.
Natil, as she waited for her day to start, her wedding to Rijiin, she paced the office back and forth like a caged animal. She is dressed in the long ruffled white wedding gown, her face made up and she wears her hair up in a neat bun. Natil is a young beautiful elf maiden but a very nervous bride to be. She held a wad of Kleenex in hand, as she dried her tears and nervously wept every few minutes. Her gaze fell upon a mirror in the office and transfixed as she stared at the radiant reflection of herself. The realization had hit her solidly that she was going to be wed today and never thought, centuries ago, that she would be with someone or find anyone in her travels she could love.
"Oh by the Goddess, are you ready for this Mistress? Do you know what you are doing?"
The Harper had said it aloud as she stared at the mirror, and she managed a confident nod to the reflection that she peered at in the mirror. The Harper smiled at the image of herself, a very youthful looking Elven woman, who is four point three billion years old, and one of the first borne Elves of Adria. A young maiden who is now clad in a magnificent white ruffled wedding gown of the period. Natil grimaced as she felt her eyes welling up with tears.
"Oh Mirya, Talla, Roxanne, Varden, Terrill, Charity," She said their names aloud. "I wish you could see me now." She had called out the names of those of four hundred years ago, her friends, and those whom she considered family who faded long ago from the world.
"We do." A voice said, echoing in her head, and she managed a smile, holding the Kleenex against her face. Turning her head, she sensed Heather and Kelly Blues, Hadden, and Laurie. She had not heard them enter the room behind her. All had heard her say those names, and they all stared at the magnificently clad Harper in stunned silence.
"Mommy is that Natil?" Kelly had asked, but Heather had been too stunned to answer right away. She cleared her throat, finding her voice.
"Yes Elfling that is Natil." She said in a choked voice, heavy with emotion. Kelly walked toward the Harper who had knelt down and the young girl embraced her around the neck. Kelly is dressed in a pink gown like her mother and the other elf maidens who make up the bride's maids.
"You are very pretty Natil," She said, holding her tightly.
"You are too Elfling." Natil replied and grunted at the tight embrace by the young girl.
"If I may tell you this Natil, you look…" Laurie had said, pausing to wipe her eyes "Fantastic." Hadden had a smile on his face as he stood there.
"You do, and quite radiant mistress Harper." He told her, "A stunning sight, I told you, you would make a beautiful bride." Natil felt her cheeks get hot as she blushed, fighting back the tears. Hadden wore a tuxedo, and he looked sharp, his eyes gleaming.
"Thank you Hadden." She replied, "Thank you Heather, Laurie, Kelly and you too Hadden." The Harper embraced each of them warmly, her friends from the beginning of her time at Elven Home.
"So Natil, are you ready for this?" Heather asked and Natil grimaced as she shook her head.
"I can bet you are nervous, I was when I married Marsh."
"I just now stopped crying." Natil admitted, "And I am very nervous. I am nervous for what I am getting myself into and wonder where life will take me from here."
"If you think this is a mistake, I doubt it Natil." Hadden said, "Rijiin is good and a decent person, who is one hundred percent in love with you. It shows very clearly between you two." Natil felt her eyes tear up and she wiped them, fighting the urge to start bawling her eyes out again.
"You and he both deserve all the happiness." He said, "Even after four billion years, you have, mistress Harper, found your moment. A moment, that when it comes, you should grab onto with both hands, and hold on tight."
"Damn." The Harper muttered, as she wiped her eyes. She gasped, hearing one of Rijiin's favorite words that he said often and a smile appeared on her face.
"Profound words Hadden." Laurie said, and he managed a broad grin.
"So tell me this Natil, why didn't you tell us about Rijiin?" Laurie asked, "And who is Varden, Talla, Roxanne, Terrill, Mirya and Charity?"
"Yea, I never heard those names before. Are they family or something?" Heather asked, her face showing the same question as Laurie. Questions bombarded the Harper who held up her hand.
"You didn't ask." Natil replied, "I had long forgotten about Rijiin until Mimi, and Becky had arrived at the college. As for the others, they are the first borne Elves, my family that perished into the winds of history. A young woman named Roxanne bore the named Sana back then and was my kinsman, Varden's lover."
"She was a very wise and a powerful witch during the times where she risked being burned at the stake for her beliefs." The group was speechless by Natil's vivid description of Roxanne, whose image in her brain made the Harper smile at such thoughts of a long time ago. Natil nodded her head three times.
"I was certainly surprised to see Mimi and Becky again." Natil replied solemnly, "I guess this is what the goddess had always meant by saying that not one of her children would be separated from her. The Goddess, I guess, had waited until everyone had come together before bringing me to Denver. Even if would take over four plus centuries to do so."
"That is a long time, Mistress Harper." Hadden admitted gravely, and she nodded. Natil felt her eyes welling up, as she picked out a tissue.
"Just relax." Hadden said, "You will be magnificent Natil." Glancing at his watch, he grimaced, realizing the time.
"It's time." He told them, and he put out his arm which the Harper reluctantly took. Outside, Natil could hear the music, thanks to Marsh and his band who had volunteered to pitch in and help for their wedding. The young Harper had butterflies in her stomach as she walked with Hadden, trying to keep her composure as they reached the doors where Ash stood waiting, basket in hand.
"If I must say you look incredible in that dress!" Ash exclaimed and Natil smiled.
"Thanks Ash." The Harper replied, embraced her in front of the other four before opening a glass door and stepping out into the light. Many murmurs, astonished faces, and smiles appeared on the guest's faces when they saw the bride. Marsh and the band had stopped playing when seeing the Harper and a low gasp echoed across the bandstand. Dell, Wheat, Fox, Raven, the other Elves turned when they had heard the low murmur through the audience. Their gazes had fallen upon the Harper dressed in white and respectfully, the audience stood as Hadden led her slowly down the aisle. The band, recovering from their surprise, began to play with Marsh Blues on the Guitar, TK on the Sax and Sana Joy on the Harp. The young woman played, her hands rippling across the harp strings. The song is a familiar one Rijiin heard before called 'The Wedding Song.' again by Kenny G and he managed an impressed gaze at the bandstand.
"Thank you Marsh." He thought, nodding slightly to a smiling Marsh and TK.
As Hadden led Natil toward Rijiin, the Harper's gaze fell upon the young man whom she loved dearly, standing at the gazebo. He stood with the Goddess, clad in the familiar green and gray leather, his sword at his side and his cloak. He openly wore the same garb that she wore a long time ago when she lived in Adria, the same time when a few Elves lived, to help and heal in the world. He looked the part, spit and polish, as he should be. Rijiin had let out a breath when he had turned to see the beautiful young Harper appear with Hadden. He stared at his lover, wearing the long white flowing wedding gown, and her long dark hair neatly put up in a bun. The young elf shook his head silently in amazement at her radiant beauty and a low murmur by the audience rippled through the seating again.
"Wow, she is beautiful." Rijiin thought grinning as the Harper continued approaching the gazebo with her friend Hadden. The elf turned as the Harper joined him, and stood beside him. Here he took up her strong hands to kiss them, before turning to lead her into the structure. Hadden took up his place on Rijiin's left side, joined by Marsh, TK, and Dell. Sana, TK and Marsh had dashed down the aisle from the bandstand. Heather, Ash, Kelly, Laurie and Sana took their places beside Natil on the right side.
Both Elves had turned to face the woman robed in blue and silver. Together they knelt before her. Elthia herself moved a hand over them as she blessed them, reading from the book in her hands. After a moment, the woman nodded and both opened their eyes, grinning at each other before meeting the smile of their Creatrix. The other Elves had been astonished to see the woman in blue and silver who blessed the couple. They knew her by name, as-if they knew her all their lives. They stared at her beauty and they openly were smiling.
"Arise thy son, arise thy daughter of starlight." The Lady said and she met the others who watched her intently. Rijiin and Natil stood facing each other. The audience with a shuffle retook their seats.
"Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life you have formed ties between each other. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony, you should strive to make real, the ideals that give meaning to both this ceremony. Also the institution of marriage," intoned the Lady. Here she paused and nodded a couple of times.
"With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be hand fasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers."
"The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth." She continued, and here she paused to glance at Rijiin and Natil.
"Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?"
"Yes, we seek to enter." Natil and Rijiin both replied together.
"In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions; East, South, West and North." explained the Lady, "It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony." She put her hand on the book and closed her eyes.
"Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East; Communication of the heart, mind, and body, fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun and the knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences."
"Blessed be, this union with the gifts of the South; Warmth of hearth and home, the heat of the heart's passion, the light created by both, and to lighten the darkest times."
"Blessed be, this union with the gifts of the West; The deep commitments of the lake, the swift excitement of the river, the refreshing cleansing of the rain, and the all encompassing passion of the sea."
“Blessed be, this union with the gifts of the North; Firm foundation on which to build Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives, and a stable home to which you may always return."
Natil and Rijiin caught their breaths, the starlight flashing around them both.
"Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union. Yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union." She paused as she glanced to the couple who held each other's hands.
"I bid thee to look into each others eyes." She instructed, and Natil and Rijiin, both turned to peer lovingly into each other's eyes.
"Rijiin L'Theil, Will you cause her pain?" asked the Goddess, as she turned to face him.
"Is that your intent?"
"No my Lady," Rijiin replied formally.
"Natil Summerson, Will you cause him pain?" asked the Goddess, as she turned to face her.
"Is that your intent?"
"No my Lady," Natil replied, flashing a grin at him.
"Will you share each other's pain and seek to ease it?" The goddess asked, standing between Natil and Rijiin who stood beside her.
"And so the binding is made." The Lady said solemnly, "Join thy hands."
The woman, robed in blue and silver, withdrew the first cord and she draped it across Rijiin and Natil's hands. The cord, heavily woven, colored a deep crimson red, and blended with a gold hint to it.
"Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home, and of Malvern. Will you share his laughter?" Asked the Lady and Natil glanced at Rijiin, smiling before she nodded her head.
"Aye," Natil replied, "With all my heart."
"Rijiin L'Theil, Elf of Elven Home, Will you share her laughter?" Asked the Goddess, turning to him and she paused as Rijiin met the young Harper's look silently.
He smiled, and a moment later, he too nodded his head.
"Aye," Rijiin intoned, "Till thee part at the end of time."
The Goddess turned her head from Natil to Rijiin who met her fair features, looking into her starlit eyes.
"Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?"
"Aye we shall." Replied the couple together.
"And so the binding is made."
The Goddess draped a second cord across their hands. The cord was this time was blue with a gold hint to it. Both turned their heads to the Lady who stood waiting.
"Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home and of Malvern, Will you burden him?"
"Is that your intent?"
"No, my lady," The Harper replied.
"Rijiin L'Theil, Elf of Elven Home, Traveler of Earth. Will you burden her?"
"Is that your intent?"
"No, my lady," Rijiin replied.
Again, the Goddess turned to face them both and she held another cord in her hands. The cord was brown with a gold hint to it this time. She placed the cord across their hands. Looking down the couple stared at the cords for a moment. Both shared a reality check.
"Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?"
"Aye," Rijiin and Natil replied together.
"And so the binding is made."
With that, The Goddess draped the third cord across their hands.
"Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home and of Malvern, will you share his dreams?"
"Rijiin L'Theil, Elf of Elven Home, will you share her dreams?" intoned the Goddess.
"Aye, me Lady," Rijiin replied.
Again, the Lady faced them both.
“Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes," asked the Goddess.
“Aye, we shall." Natil and Rijiin both replied together.
"And so the binding is made." Intoned the Goddess, and she withdrew a forth cord, draping it across their hands. The cord was white and gold interwoven. All four were heavy and multicolored.
"Rijiin L'Theil, Elf of Elven Home, will you cause her anger?
"Is that your intent?"
"Nay," He replied, "It is not."
"Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home, will you cause him anger?"
"Is that your intent?"
"No, my Goddess,"
Again, the woman clad in blue and silver turned to them, her eyes flashing as they met them and with a solemn look on her face.
"Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?"
"We will." replied the couple together.
"And so the binding is made."
This time the Goddess withdrew a bright silver cord, heavily woven and it seemed to glisten in the light. She lay it across Rijiin and Natil's hands and the couple managed to gasp at the almost luminance of the cord.
"Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home, Will you honor him?"
“Rijiin L'Theil, Elf of Elven Home, Will you honor her?"
The Lady met their looks, her gaze moving back and forth to both several times.
"Will you seek to never give cause to break that honor?"
"We shall never do so." The couple intoned together and they heard a gasp by all.
"And so the binding is made."
Finally, the Goddess draped a light blue cord across their hands. It was the same woven cord and it seemed to glow with a strange luminescence.
The Lady took up both ends and handed them to Rijiin and Natil.
"The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the cords, for as always you hold in your own hands the making of breaking of this union."
"Are there any objections?" The Lady asked, turning her head to meet the many faces of the crowd who had gathered here today. "Speak now or forever hold thy peace." She paused, waiting and when no one spoke up, the Lady, clad in the blue and silver garb, turned to tie the cords together. She made the knot quickly and letting go, the goddess smiled at the couple and embraced both of them.
"You come here on this day to be hand fasted, both of you showing your unbounded love for each other." With that, the Lady removed the knotted cord and she placed it on the small pedestal beside her. "I now declare you bound, as husband and wife."
"You may kiss the bride!" Raven had shouted, "And make sure it's a good one!"
Sprinkles of laughter from all, human and Elves alike moved through the audience. Natil and Rijiin laughed and he drew her into his arms. A cheer resounded through the open air as it echoed around them, and louder, when Natil and Rijiin embraced, passionately kissing each other in front of their guests. Applause sounded as they kissed rather heatedly. They held it over fifteen minutes, the same way in front of the other Elves at the home. Hadden, Marsh, TK, Dell, Sana, Heather, Ash, Kelly, and Laurie were smiling openly. The Elves glanced at their watches, shuffled their feet.
"Man that elf can kiss…!" TK muttered to Marsh, making him and Hadden chuckle openly. There were giggles by the Elf maidens when they heard Marsh's comment. When the couple broke their kiss, Rijiin laughed as Natil blushed, yelping and sarcastically fanning her face.
"He's a damn criminal!" Natil gasped, "Oh dear Lady." She fanned her blushing face and there was laughter by Hadden, Marsh, Sana, TK, Dell, Heather, Ash and Laurie. The other Elves laughed too along with the audience. Rijiin grinned ear to ear, as he turned to the goddess who stood with them. She laughed too.
The Harper's reminisces faded abruptly as she opened her eyes, hearing not cheers or applause, but the sound of lapping water. She did not feel the sprinkling of rice but water as spray cascaded over the side of the boat.
As Natil lay in the bottom of their boat, her blue eyes focused upon a partially cloudy sky in confusion, barely aware of what had happened for the last four days, and of the events of the accident that put her in this raft. Events that were called a disaster at sea by local news as rescue units from Mexico and the United States Coast Guard quickly arrived on the scene within a few hours of its departure from San Diego when a distress message was dispatched over the airwaves. Gingerly she sat up, placing a hand on her head, grunting as splitting pain radiated through her skull. It is pain from the debris that had hit her from behind and knocked her unconscious after rescuing Katherine Grace from the inky waters of the Pacific.
"Ugh." Natil muttered, slowly turning her head as she glanced at her surroundings in alarmed silence. Here, she stared out at the thin gray line and the open ocean all around her. Reality set in quickly and the Harper let out a gasp.
"What happened?" She asked herself, "Where am I?"
She then remembered the raft, clinging to its side as she stared at the ship as explosions echoed in the darkness and feeling the heat radiate across the expanse from the fire that swept across the ship. She had just pulled herself into the raft itself and turned to pull Katherine from the waters of the Pacific then everything went black.
Turning her head after sitting up, the young elf maiden had expected to see the coast of Mexico not far off, but only the open ocean expanded out on the horizon, in all directions. A warm wind whipped across the boat, fluttering her long hair, unbound and cascading down around her waist in thick curls. The young maiden squinted in the bright light, her face wind and sunburned, as the partial sun beat down on them both through the billowing clouds.
"I think I am in a trifle bit of trouble." murmured the Harper, and turned many times to stare at the open ocean around her. The young maiden hoped she was mistaken and desperately hoped she was hallucinating.
Turning her head, the maiden heard a groan, and her eyes fell upon the unconscious form on the raft with her. Natil recognized her as Katherine Grace, one of the ship's crew, the captain's youngest daughter. The Harper suddenly remembered plucking her from the cold sea after clambering into the raft then everything had gone black. She did not see a flying piece of debris coming toward her in the night sky, hitting her on the back of the head, knocking her out cold. Shaking her head, she crawled toward the young girl and in vain, quickly searched for a pulse. A wave of relief flooded Natil when she felt the steady heartbeat and it was hope that she did not have to endure this ordeal alone.
"She is alive," Murmured the Harper, sighing in relief, and had placed a hand on her shoulder to shake her.
"Miss Grace, can you hear me?" The young woman did not stir and Natil shook her head.
"By our lady," the Harper said aloud, "Thankfully alive, but unconscious."
Removing the life jacket the young woman wore, and the outer jacket, she made the young woman comfortable as possible. Here, she began checking her over for injuries. The first thing the Harper noted is the nasty blood spot on the girl’s inner shirt. Natil took it into her hands and ripped it with her bare hands, exposing the skin and a nasty looking puncture wound in her side. It was red and swollen, oozing blood and puss as her companion lay there. The young Harper frowned at the sight of it and turning to a nearby compartment to open it, was suddenly thankful for the well-stocked lifeboat in the way of provisions. Here, she examined the young woman quickly as she pulled out the medical kit.
"A broken leg, definitely." the Harper exclaimed quietly, staring at the young woman's leg in a crazy angle, "Hmmm, possible contusions, possibly some broken ribs, a few lacerations, even perhaps a dislocated shoulder, but very much alive for the moment. Oh, I wish Ash or even Rijiin were here. Or at least I wish I had my harp, I could at least heal.”
Even if she had her harp, she knew it would take much more to heal the young woman who lay in boat with her. Healing was something Natil had not thought of in recent months, but remembered it was she who had been able to mend the bloody paws of a Yorkshire terrier named Rags, the flowers outside Kingsley College and one Terry Angel. The Harper had vindicated Sana from her so called crime that had blinded Terry Angel who had tried to assault her.
“Rijiin where are you?” Natil thought, as she continued working on the battered body of the young girl. She paused pulling off the heavy sweater she wore to the shirt under it and felt suddenly cooler. The Harper turned to take up the jacket of her companion, her first activity to make bandages for the young woman’s wounds in her side. She took up the scissors, cutting, soaking and draining the pieces of her companion's ragged jacket in salt water before placing them on the wound. She first had cut it open more, pulling out the wood splinter fragment that had lodged in young Grace's side. Natil then quickly cleaned the wound before suturing it halfway, allowing the excess puss to drain from it. After she finished, the young Elven woman taped a gauze bandage over it.
The Harper paused after she was done and turned her head, hearing a moan from the young girl. Natil stared at the young woman in silence, thinking she might wake, but when she did not, managed to shake her head to begin work on her leg. Taking the scissors in the kit, she cut the pant leg up a ways and grimaced at the sight of the girl's leg before she sharply pulled on it. Natil heard a crack as she set the bones and even in an unconscious state, the young woman cried out loudly, her ragged voice echoing across the water. The Harper, taking up a few pieces of her companions' ragged jacket, cut it into a few more strips, quickly tying them to the piece of debris that had hit Natil the night the ship sank, keeping it immobile and straight.
Natil then went to the locker of provisions, finding the syringe from the med kit marked as morphine, she injected the clear liquid into the young woman's thigh. The Harper stared at the injured young woman in silence, and sighed. She suddenly sensed futility, just as her kinsman Varden had felt a long time ago, having done everything possible at this moment for her shipmate. Turning, the Elf maiden glanced up and stared out across the horizon at the open waters that crested in white caps, wondering where they were going to end up.
"She could still die from that nasty wound." Natil thought to herself, "If that happens I will only be the one they will find, if they find us at all."
Slowly she shook her head, as-if to clear the harsh thoughts and turning she took a quick inventory of the provisions to take her mind off her troubles.
"Rations, knife, flares and flare gun, matches, rope, med kit, water keg, magnifying glass, a piece of canvas and various drugs." Natil murmured, "Not a lot to work with but it is a start."
The first thing the Harper did was to put the ores in the edge of the raft, securing them and she proceeded to tie the canvas, the sweater, and her rest of her companion's ragged jacket together, making a makeshift shelter against the sunlight and occasional rain that sprinkled on them. Under it, the young Harper and her companion were considerably cooler as she felt the young woman shiver, moaning as she began to thrash in the semi darkness, beginning to regain partial consciousness.
"Peace." Natil said simply, placing a finger onto her forehead and with one touch, the young woman stopped thrashing. The Harper also forced water from their keg down the girl’s throat, making sure she had enough moisture in her system to keep her alive.
Here, Natil positioned her so Katherine was comfortable against the lifejackets she had piled up for her. After she was done, the young maiden glanced out to sea, at the clouds where she could hear the distant rumbling of thunder and seeing the flashes of lightning from them. As the Harper watched the sun fall on the western sky, it consisted of a spectacular array of color, deep crimson reds, burnt oranges, midnight blues and sinister violet colors. A unique patchwork of color as a sunset appeared on the western sky many hours later despite the partial cloud cover overhead.
"Rijiin, where are you?" The Harper thought again, hoping he was with the others, rescued, and hoped he was already on his way to find her. The maiden knew that her new husband, Rijiin, would go to great lengths if necessary and to the ends of the Earth to find her. She wondered how long it would take for their rescue, if it happened at all.
All that night she sat awake, Elves never sleeping, she waited, watched, listened for any sound or any sight that would indicate a rescue.
Natil gazed up at the starlight all night, gasping when she saw Mirya's star brightly overhead, the sight being something that she had not seen in a very long time, almost five hundred years. It had startled both she and her husband Rijiin as they sat at their wedding reception. They had glanced in disbelief at each other, both thinking the same thing, unable to believe what they were seeing. She smiled at the memory of their sitting together every night in Adria, peering up at the stars five hundred years ago, and at the different patterns that twinkled in the night sky. It was a different time for them, when things made sense for Natil and who they called family as they lived in Adria. A time when the Elves were fading, living in a hostile world and were only a handful of them left.
"I wonder if Rijiin could have been right." She thought, "Maybe Mirya, Terrill, Roxanne, Talla and Cara could have found renewal."
Here the pensive Harper shook her head, turning her attention back to her traveling companion, watching her sleep. Natil's gaze also turned upward again, and here she closed her eyes, letting the starlight bathe her body as she attempted to travel to the goddess using the starlight. But something kept her from traversing the fiery cornea and the white light to go to her Creatrix. Opening her eyes, she continued to watch Katherine sleep until the morning, as the raft traveled with the current taking them deeper into the Pacific Ocean. The Harper realized she was completely alone and found herself hating every minute of it.
Here they were, moving slowly along in the water, safe from the sharks, bobbing like a cork in the gray sea of the Pacific, moving to what Natil could sense was south, as it seemed to be following a path that way. The sunset had been on the left side, indicating and confirming their direction of travel. Natil tried to rest her eyes many times, and travel to the lady waiting to pass through the fires of the cornea of a star, and stand once more on the grassy meadow with the Creatrix of the elves, their makers. Strangely she could not go there.
“By the Lady, where are we and where are we going to end up.” Natil thought, “Why can’t I come to you now my lady, for your guidance and wisdom?”
Only silence replied to her, in the form of a stiff sea breeze to whip across the boat. When morning encroached, the sunrise was on the right, and it confirmed the Harper’s suspicion of where and what direction they were heading. She wished to know where they were going to end up, but again that was up to the current, the sea and Mother Nature to allow them to arrive safely at their destination.
Back in Denver Colorado, early in the morning, Sana Joy arrived at her job at Tree-Star Surveying. As she walked toward her small desk on a cold morning, the young woman sat with a heavy sigh at her desk. She is drenched in a cold sweat, as strong feeling of dread and fear washed over her. It is a feeling which she could not explain, save only her sense that something had indeed happened, and it would affect all of the Elves of Denver.
As the young woman sat waiting for her shift to start, she sat with her eyes closed and stared at the now strange starlight within. Sana desperately tried to calm herself, as her panic, her feeling of misunderstanding, seemed to be growing worse. She felt panicked and did not understand why.
The young elf maiden had felt a disturbance in the starlight. Something about today was going wrong and she knew it. Sana realized it had to do with Rijiin and Natil who by this time should have been enjoying their first day of their honeymoon in Mexico. The maiden had absolutely no idea about the explosion on board the ship, or its sinking, or the many displaced people who now fought for their very lives. Nor did she know that a lot of them were killed and left on-board when the ship went down.
“What is going on?” Sana thought, “Why the hell am I feeling this way? I don’t understand this.”
An orange light appeared on the switchboard as a buzzer sounded, indicating there was call, and the young Elven woman focused on it. She quickly reacted to it, adjusting her headset, and pushed a button with a shaking hand. Somehow, Sana dreaded to take this call for a reason she could not explain either.
"Tree Star Surveying," She answered, "How may I direct your call?"
"My name is Felipe Hernandez of the Cabo San Lucas Federalize." The voice said with a thick accent and with authority, "I need to speak with Hadden Morrison or Marsh Blues, now."
“Please wait a moment while I connect you.” She politely replied, hitting the other switch. Her eyes blurred, as tears began to form, and she fought to maintain control as she hit the button on her console. The young woman had to make a split decision, and she chose wisely to patch the call through to Hadden and Marsh. She blindly hunted for the button as she fought to see through the blinding tears that spilled down her face.
“Oh my god. Something has happened.” Sana thought, and a wave of emotion washed through her entire being. In her headset she could hear he phone ringing.
‘Ring, Ring.’ ‘Ring, Ring.’ The phone rang twice.
“By the Goddess, pick up Hadden or Marsh.” Sana thought.
In another part of the Tree Star Building, inside a conference room, Hadden stood working on some designs with Marsh Blues and TK Winters when the phone rang. All three stood around the long, smooth and shiny, granite table covered in papers. Hadden was standing next to his chair when the call came in.
"Excuse me, Hadden. You have a call on line two." She said and all three looked up, hearing the emotion heavy in her voice. There was apprehensiveness by the three men in the room.
"Who is it?" He asked politely, pushing the intercom button, "We're in a conference."
"Detective Felipe Hernandez," The maiden replied as her voice broke, "The Cabo San Lucas, Federalize."
"Detective Felipe Hernandez… of the Cabo San Lucas Federalize?" He repeated, and with a grimace, Hadden glanced at Marsh and TK who stood in the room with him. Both of his companions in the room had shown surprise by the announcement made by Sana. The other Elves, working in their offices peeked out of their doorways, glancing at each other when they overheard the announcement. They all had a look of concern on their faces.
"Okay Sana, pipe it through." Hadden instructed, "Thank you."
Here, he let up on the intercom button and pushed the button for the call on line two then pressed the speakerphone button next to it.
"Hello, Hadden Morrison here." Hadden said formally.
"Marsh Blues too."
"Mister Morrison, Mister Blues, this is Felipe Hernandez of the Cabo San Lucas Federalize." The voice said in an authoritative, but softening tone. "I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this is in regards to a couple of your family members. There has been a terrible accident and you were listed as next of kin."
"There was an accident?" Hadden murmured quietly, before opening them again and glanced at the door where Sana now stood. He saw a look of horror on her face and he sensed her fear. The other Elves listened in silence from the hallway.
"What is this all about detective?"
"Well it seems the ship that was bearing your friends aboard the SS Salvadoran Hato has sunk, and most all of the hands except for a few were located." He told them, "Rijiin and Natil L'Theil, who were passengers aboard this vessel, are not listed among the survivors. Currently their whereabouts are unknown, and/or presumed lost at sea. There is a life raft that was not accounted for, however. So there is hope."
There was a pause as a hush fell over the office. Hadden pondered the information at hand, and wondered how Natil, a first-born elf would allow herself to seek death, even if there was a small possibility of happening. He did not know if it were possible because she was immortal, and had been this way for a very long time. It is the same with Rijiin too, also from the same time as Natil and very much immortal like she was.
“Well it could be possible.” Hadden thought to himself, “Not very likely though.” Here, he managed a small shrug.
He glanced at Marsh and TK who had shocked looks on their faces. Ripples of conversation went through the office as everyone gathered at the door. The statement had shocked Hadden, and he sank into a chair, fighting to remain calm. He was, however, only silent for a moment. The Elf held up his hand, calling for silence.
"Nothing like being blunt," Thought Sana, and she grimaced at TK who moved to her side and embraced her.
"I-I think something happened TK." She sobbed, "They're gone!" TK shushed her, holding her against his broad shoulder. Sana had met his calm expression glad for his steadiness, despite everything that was going around them.
"A-are you sure?" Hadden asked, glancing at his surroundings, "Do you know the cause of the accident?"
"According to passengers we interviewed here, they indicated there was an explosion over the night in question, and the ship sustained heavy damage. Currently the cause is unknown and the US Coast Guard, Navy and Mexican Navy recovery teams, in a joint effort, are diving now to determine the cause." He paused, taking in a breath.
"The manifest shows them carrying a cargo for a manufacturer here locally in Cabo San Lucas. The explosion and chemicals listed are non-volatile and non-hazardous materials, according to the Captain of the liner, whom Rijiin rescued too. We suspect there was foul play involved."
"I see." Hadden replied again, and glanced at Marsh and TK.
"So far twenty eight have not been accounted for." The officer said, as papers shuffled in the background. "The Captain has given a good word that thirty more of the survivors were rescued by Mr. L'Theil single handedly, and including a lot of his staff. He will be receiving a very high commendation for his bravery and assistance."
There was a smile by the rest of the Elves in the office at the mention of courage and bravery. Rijiin certainly had shown that, when he told them of his wandering Earth for four hundred years across the world over before coming to Elven Home from the past. Times that which he had given help and healing when the world needed it the most, despite the turmoil happening during those many centuries.
"We will be in touch when we get more information, and if we are able to recover any more bodies. If it at all possible we will attempt to identify your kin, or call you to come down and identify them. Only then, we will send them home for burial." He paused a moment, "Unless you wish to request a burial at sea."
"Thank you for the call, Detective." Hadden said, his tone even, "We at Tree Star Surveying look forward to good, or bad, news from you very soon."
He hung up the phone, and all hands gathered in the office area as he announced the news to everyone. The office itself closed immediately. Like a familiar instance before, when the men who ran the crack house next to TK's apartment had shot Heather, the Elves and a few humans gathered at Elven Home. Sadness seemed to loom over the home, as they hoped and prayed to the Goddess, that Natil and Rijiin had not perished as the event clearly was shown before them. They had gathered in silence at the home, no usual laughter, crying or conversation echoed the living room this weekend, all hands worried for their family, hoping they were safe and sound somewhere together, looking for a way safely home.
Back on the raft, Natil sat alone as she stared at the horizon, hoping to see something in the way of a rescue. Her prayers were answered when she saw a looming form, shrouded in the low cover of clouds on the horizon. At first, The Harper was not sure what she was seeing, until they had moved closer with the current and the looming shape of an island was silhouetted against the blue horizon. What the Harper saw was what she had been wishing for a while now, reprieve, and solid land to come home to. Her wish seemed to be answered by the sight before her.
"Katherine, I see an island!" exclaimed the Harper, smiling broadly, as she excitedly turned to grab a paddle, knocking down part of their cover. “You see! I told you we would find something soon! By the Goddess I just knew it~”
Putting the oar in the water, with a bold splash, she made a makeshift rudder, and managed to turn the boat with the current toward the island. Natil let out a breath of relief, glad for the intervention this day, and glad that soon they would be able to go ashore and be on land rather than be upon the sea. It had only been four days at sea, and the strong currents of the Pacific had taken them far away from their starting point and farther away far from their destination for their honeymoon. They were completely cut off from the world.
“I hope we get ashore soon, I can make phone call and make sure to let people know we are safe.” Natil thought, as she turned the makeshift rudder slightly, guiding them to shore.
When the raft struck the beach, a few minutes later, and ended up on the soft black volcanic sand, the Harper was on her feet in a heartbeat. She had bounced literally off the raft into the water and immediately found herself struck by a large wave of the stormy sea, clambering for a foothold on smooth black sand. The warm water pulled at her, as another wave came ashore, causing her to lurch forward as it struck her from behind. The Harper immediately clambered for the mooring rope, gripping it tightly, and pulling with all her might, managed to drag the heavy boat further onto the beach. Quickly Natil tied it off against a heavy palm bordering the thick jungle that spread out before them.
Turning her head, Natil scanned the beach, at the smooth black volcanic sand, and the churning crystal-clear water as waves thundered, striking the beach. Her eyes fell on the thick overgrowth of bushes, and palms. There was no sound, save the thundering waves, the rustling palms and the sound of various birds. A pensive expression appeared on her face at her realization, on the one fact that she really did not want to face or deal with at this very moment. But it seemed to happen.
“By our Lady, this island appears to be deserted.” Natil murmured to herself and here she managed a deep sigh. The Harper turned to gather up her companion, carrying her gently toward the jungle, sitting her against a palm tree on the pile of lifejackets to help keep her comfortable.
"Where on Earth are we?" the Elf maiden thought, "We have to be somewhere in the South Pacific. The water is too clear unlike the northern oceans, except around Hawaii. I wonder if we are near any island chains near Australia.”
"And it looks like I need a dip to clean up." The Harper muttered, as she looked down at the grime-covered shorts and shirt. She quickly stripped them off, streaking naked into the waves. A natural reef made up a barrier about a hundred yards off shore, and diving under the water, the Harper inspected it. Here, she found many kinds of fish and langouste, a natural form of lobster in this part of the world. They at least had a steady food supply which could last them a while as needed.
"Excellent, we are in good shape." Natil thought as she inspected the reef, "If we can get a fire going we can have a good dinner."
The young Harper rose to the surface, running her hands back over her long red hair, streaked with much silver, and then to her narrow pale figure. She swam toward the beach, playing in the waves for a second before running back onto the beach, kneeling next to a tree as she struggled into a clean shirt she had borrowed from luggage recovered as they had floated near the wreck.
"Ms. L'Theil?" A voice asked, and Natil turned her head, smiling at the look of wonder on the young girl's face.
Katherine had watched the beautiful Harper skinny dip, unabashed in the waves, and she stared at her trim petite form in silence. The young human found she could not take her eyes off her, and her first reaction had been astonishment. It was the same feeling Katherine had the first night on board the ship when she first laid eyes upon the strange couple. She was completely curious about them, as they had boarded the ship and now even more so about the Harper as she sat alone with her on this uninhabited island.
"I am here Ms. Grace." Natil told her, as she sat nearby, looking diligently out to sea, "Welcome back and please, call me Natil."
"Okay Natil." The girl replied warmly, as she turned to take in her surroundings in silence, "Please call me Katherine."
"How do you feel?" Natil asked, pausing a moment to smile, "Katherine."
"Not bad." The young woman replied, and managed to sit up with a grunt. Her eyes fell upon the bandages. The young teenage woman winced at the pain that radiated in her leg as she tried to move it. She also winced at the one in her side. Katherine peered at the wound there, bandaged by Natil in the raft.
"A little weak still, where are we?" Katherine asked, “Was I was injured?”
"I am not sure where we are but we are on an island somewhere in the Pacific." Natil told her, "I am not sure exactly, as I have never seen anything like this place in my travels." The young girl turned her head, again taking in the surroundings.
"By the look of the sand and the water, this island looks like it might be in the Solomon Island Chain, or even perhaps further. I do not know for sure, without navigation instruments. How long was I out anyway?"
"It was a long time, several days. You were moderately injured." Katherine noted the splint on her leg, and she grimaced at the few bandages.
"Nice work, and my thanks, for bandaging me up." Katherine complimented, making Natil flash a quiet smile at the young woman.
"Have you looked around yet to see if we are alone?" Katherine asked, "Just so you know, there could be natives on these isolated islands, and let's hope they don't know we're here."
"Yes. I have not explored the island yet, other than gathering some food and wood locally for the fire." Natil replied absently, "I want to make sure we are prepared, and a passing ship can see our smoke signal if possible and signal fire.