In these bodies we will live; in these bodies we will die,
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Chapter one: a mysterious book
Eliza walked down the sandy street in Skull Island, eyeing all of the vendors at their shops. She just came back from visiting her father over in Scrimshaw, and now she was visiting the shops in Skull Island. Travis told her something about a mysterious traveling vendor who was stopping somewhere in Skull Island with a cart full of books…
As Eliza walked, she noticed Clyde talking angrily to Andrew. Clyde, Andrew, and Travis were just three of her friends (she had no clue where Madeline was), but sometimes Clyde would get into an argument with Andrew. The fight wouldn’t last long though-Andrew had possibly a 3-second attention span, and he’d completely forget what’s going on, making Clyde look like an imbecile. Whatever they’re arguing about now won’t last for very long.
“Ok guys, what’s the matter now?” Eliza asked, walking over.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Andrew said. “I think Clyde’s mad because of some book I bought before him or something…”
Clyde’s face grew red with fury, and his ears flattened down behind his head. Clyde was a young cat rogue, and he used to live in Marleybone until he got into some trouble with some guards, so he stole some unfortunate fellow’s skiff and sailed into Skull Island. Travis and his younger brother Andrew met Clyde hiding in the abandoned shack over by the tide pools, and they agreed to help him out. Travis was 24 anyway, so he was practically an adult anyway.
“Andrew, you bought the last journal that the vendor had!” Clyde yelled, causing Eliza and Andrew to jolt. “I need a journal so I can write down prices for awesome weapons, because I really need a new weapon.”
“Didn’t he buy a new weapon a week ago?” Andrew whispered to Eliza.
“What is with all the yelling?” a familiar voice asked. The three turned to see Travis and Madeline standing on the other side of the vendor’s wagon. Travis was wearing a long overcoat and holding a stack of books while Madeline wore a waistcoat and long tartan skirt. She had a notebook in her hand and a small ancient-looking camera hanging around her neck.
“Clyde’s journal was bought by your brother Andrew,” Eliza explained. “It’s just another pointless argument.”
“It’s not pointless!” Clyde complained angrily.
“I still have a lot of books left over, young man,” the vendor said. “You don’t have to be stubborn, especially in public.”
Clyde grumbled in protest but fingered through the books anyway. Travis paid the vendor, and Madeline took out a comb and combed the fur on her tail (Madeline was a fox person, also from Marleybone, only she wasn’t a criminal). Andrew sat on a stump looking obviously bored. Might as well find myself a book, Eliza thought.
She looked through all of the books, reading the description on the back of each story. The vendor had tons of books, but none of them seemed interesting. Eliza looked through a horizontal stack of books, but then saw something strange shoved into the back of the stack.
She pulled it out and examined it. It was an ancient book, with a withered binder and gray-colored cover. The book was very thick and titled Adrift, with a small ship (possibly a skiff or frigate) under the title. The book had to be more than a century old.
“Excuse me sir, but where did you get this?” Eliza asked the vendor. “This book is older than the rest of your merchandise.”
“I can’t remember at all,” the vendor replied with a shrug. “The story seemed to fall from the sky the day I found it, whatever day that was. It might’ve come from someone’s ship, because that would have to be the only logical explanation.”
“How much should I pay you for?” Eliza asked.
“You can have it for free, lass,” the vendor said. “No one has ever paid attention to that thing, so…it’s yours if you really want it.”
Eliza put the book away in her bag, her mind flooded with thoughts on the mysterious book. Clyde and Andrew got into another argument until Travis finally decided to push everyone along so there wouldn’t be a scene.
“Seriously Andrew, I was going to buy that book too!” Clyde complained, tearing off bits of the feather in his tricorne.
“Well, you snooze, you lose,” Andrew retorted.
Clyde appeared as if he would explode with anger, but Travis put a hand on his shoulder. “Relax Clyde; it’s just a book-not the end of the Spiral. You’ll be fine.”
“Speaking of books, I was given this one for free,” Eliza announced, pulling out the Adrift book. “The vendor said that this book fell from the sky when he found it.”
“Adrift, huh..? That sounds pretty weird,” Madeline commented. “Have you even read it yet?”
“No, but I plan on reading it,” Eliza responded. “Maybe I can show it to my dad…”
“Whoa, hold on Eliza, you shouldn’t do that!” Clyde exclaimed. “You got that book for free…your dad wouldn’t believe you if you told him! Besides, we’re your friends, and you can totally stay over with Travis, Andrew and I-we won’t mind at all!”
“I want to stay over too!” Madeline agreed. “My grandfather doesn’t mind when I hang out with trustworthy friends-partly because he’s blind.”
“Hey, I can’t take care of all of you…” Travis began, but was interrupted as Andrew yanked his arm and pulled him towards the small jungle patch opposite of the docks, with everyone else laughing behind him.
Travis and Andrew were orphans, but that didn’t bother them at all. They had a secret tree house in the little jungle patch behind the docks, way high up in the palm trees. The nice Water Mole tribe living in Skull Island helped them build it, since they helped the tribe by fighting off Cutthroats and troublesome Batacudas. The tree house had three rooms-one very large main room where Travis and Andrew slept, one kitchen where Travis cooked, and another large bedroom for guests, mostly his friends. The tree house was hidden by dense palm leaves and the rooms connected by sturdy bridges made of wooden planks and thick rope.
Travis stood patiently at the foot of the ladder leading to the house. “Start climbing guys-the sun’s starting to set.”
“Yay sleepover!!!” Andrew cheered, racing up the ladder.
Madeline and Clyde climbed after him, leaving Eliza at the bottom. Carefully clutching her bag, she climbed after the others.
The inside of the main room was huge, a lot bigger of a space than what Travis and Andrew really needed. Lanterns were perched on each corner, and a couple of dream catchers hung from the ceiling. There was a bunk bed, a really large table, a few Batacudas mounted on the walls, a potted cactus, five wooden chairs, one plush couch, a duelist sword, two Armada roses, and a basket of scrolls. Carpets and rugs covered the floor except in a few places, and a wanted poster of someone over in Cooper’s Roost hung from the wall next to the bunk bed.
“Wow, this place has a lot of…stuff,” Clyde commented dryly. “You guys sure know how to decorate…heh.”
“The wanted poster is completely accidental,” Andrew commented. “Some Frogerale gave it to us…he was all angry and such, yelling up a storm…good thing he left Skull Island and went back to Santo Pollo.”
“Are we going to investigate this book or what, people?!” Clyde complained. “I want to find out what the deal is with this Adrift book.”
“Calm down Clyde…here, let’s sit at the table,” Eliza suggested, pulling up a chair. Everyone else did likewise, and Eliza withdrew the book from her bag.
She flipped it open to the first page…which was apparently blank. Nothing was written on the page at all…except for a single phrase-Omniz Veron.
“Omniz Veron..? What in the Spiral is that supposed to mean?” Andrew asked.
“I don’t know, I-I’ve never seen this kind of language before…” Eliza said, ready to turn the page.
When she tried to flip the paper over, it tore out of the book. Right behind the torn bits of page was a journal entry of some sort.
“Be careful, you’ll ruin the book!” Travis warned her. “Who knows how old it is.”
“I’m going to read what it says, so calm down,” Eliza growled before looking back at the page and then began to read:
I, Sirius, have paid the ultimate price.
The great injustice all began when I had finished my great Adrift book. The island worlds and various ages that I have created are being destroyed-devastated-by someone’s greed or possible jealousy, I cannot be sure. Possibly it is one of my sons, Dominique or Aaron, but they would never do such a thing…they would never break their father’s heart. My assistant Lió is still too young to care for my book, but I’ve travelled to the many worlds, and I’ve seen what has occurred-people have gone missing, completely vanished. People who I’ve come to know and love are gone, with no trace of blood, bone, or death anywhere. Possibly they have been kidnapped, but still there is no evidence. Is this revenge they want..?
-I must go, for the sake of my worlds, and Adrift.
“Whoa, what a creepy entry!” Madeline said. “So, this Sirius guy is the author of this book?”
“It appears so…I’ll read one more entry,” Eliza announced. “You know…this page isn’t actually attached to the book…that’s odd…”
My sons aren’t the cause for the destruction of Adrift and its worlds, as I’ve come to learn. The worlds are in even worse condition now, with only one world still containing inhabitants-the Aerodynamics Age. I went there, and there are few inhabitants left. I’ve tried to talk to the Nocmurs there, but they are deeply traumatized by something, and therefore won’t speak. I fear for Lió’s safety, for she is only 13…and for the safety of my wife Catherine.
…I realized the moment that I threw the book into the fissure it would not be destroyed as I had planned. I tried to speculate where it might land, but I must admit such a guess is futile. I fear for whoever finds my book, and for what will happen to them.
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