Angelo asked to stay on the island, to create a port here, and start a village for any who wanted to stay with him. He plans to fix the Raging Bull a little at a time, but mainly use the great ship to protect the island from any who would challenge him.
When Phineas, Audrey, Gracie, and Barnaby heard about the new colony being started, they were torn. Phineas had a mind to return to Skyfell and present a thesis on time magic. He said he wanted to take Audrey out to the finest restaurants and show her that the time spent on the island wasn’t a total waste.
She said he was a fool, and that she’d be happy anywhere he was.
In the end, the four of them decided to stay and help Angelo. Of the conscripts, twenty agreed to stay as well, glad to give up the sea for a life on land.
And just like that, as the gibbous moon rose above the horizon, Bob and I were saying our good-byes once more. He would go with Borcus on the Waverunner. Gobbledygook was going to stay at the island, repairing the Battle Toad and helping get the colony established. She said they needed a strong croaker contingency if they wanted to survive. She was also interested in the temple, and investigating She Who Rules the Waves. Each to their own.
The new captain of the xebec Tempest, is a croaker named Warble. He offered Jorge Dunwater a place on his ship, which surprised the old veteran. He refused at first, but after a bit of a chat, he accepted.
“Time to make up for my sins,” he offered before he shook the croaker’s outstretched hand.
The significance of this is amazing, Father. The Hand of the One True God are xenophobes by writ. They espouse that there are none equal but humans. All others are beneath the true race. For Jorge to accept his new commission under Warble, gives me hope for the future.
We stocked up on various fruits and nuts from the island, mainly foraged with the help of Emad and Scrabble. All the ships restocked their fresh water and went their separate ways. Bob has an army to get back to. He needs to recover from the loss he’d suffered at the Hand of the One True God. Old One Eye rescuing him is not likely a regular occurrence, though I think the crotchety god was glad for the company, at least for a little while.
Scrabble and I had a hard decision to make. His people had been wiped out, but the island remained his home. I sat with him, explaining how I was leaving on the ship, and going to find Liz and her new friends. He seemed to understand everything I told him, and he really thought about his decision. In the end, I am happy to report that he decided to go with me on the boat. He and I have shared a lot of pain together. The fact he made me laugh went a long way to sealing my decision. I think he expected to be too lonely here without the rest of his people. We are his new people and the crew was joyous about the decision. Especially Dorn, whom Scrabble had taken a shine to.
And just like that, with the rising of a new day, we sailed out of the bay and onward to find Liz. It felt like a lifetime since I’d seen her last. I just hope she’d processed her anger enough to allow me a chance to redeem myself in her eyes.
I recall Old One Eye’s exact heading, but Dorn scoffed when I asked her if she needed reminding.
“We’d nearly made it there with the ravagers onboard in any case,” she said, shaking her head at the irony of the world. “They’d only killed one or two of those of us that remained on the boat, and the rest did as we were told. That is until Borcus and his lot came over the horizon. Half of the ravagers had been reveling in the ale they found in the hold, so that helped a bit as well.” She leaned toward me and whispered. “Your old dwarf god put that ale in our hold, I can guarantee you. We’d been dead out of anything more powerful than water for a long while. Once the leader of those animals saw the Leaping Tadpole and Battle Toad approaching, they tried to kill a bunch of us. That’s when the captain managed to free herself from the irons they had her clapped in. She’d been chained to the main mast for going on two days, where they taunted her. How she got out of those irons, I can’t rightly say. But once she killed a few of the worst ones, the rest were no problem. You should’ve seen the captain. She was a mad woman. Killed seven men on her own with a broken cutlass and a boarding hook. It was glorious. I’d been chained near the wheel since they didn’t have a navigator worth his salt. I saw the whole thing. Once she fought herself to the lower levels and began freeing the remainder of our crew, Borcus and Gobbledygook were busy taking out that other ship. They scuttled her. I don’t know what they found onboard, and they would never say. But we cheered when that boat burned.”
Turns out the ravagers were heading to an archipelago where they had once had a base. That island chain is where Liz and her people now resided. Once they’d rid themselves of the ravagers, and joined up with the other two ships, they turned the Rasa back and headed here to look for survivors. The rest, you know.
I stood on the prow of the ship with Scrabble squealing and capering with Dorn back near the wheel. The spray that filled the air seemed to wash away the last of the crazy from the Isle of Time.
Liz wait for me to return. I can feel it in my bones. Losing the rings had been a blessing.
I was lost in thoughts of her when Scrabble leapt onto me and scrambled up my body. I hadn’t even set down my pack when I boarded, just walked to the prow and watched the sea unfold in front of me.
It wasn’t until I realized that Scrabble wasn’t visiting as much as looting, that I shrugged off the pack and set in on the deck at my feet.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
Scrabble popped out from amidst the detritus and screamed triumphantly. It was the book he’d stolen from Phineas.
I’d given it a cursory glance at the time, but had been preoccupied with other things. He thrust it at me over and over until I took it from him and sat on the deck with it in my lap.
From the moment, I turned aside the cloth wrapping that had covered it, I forgot to breathe. Somehow in all this chaos, this was the book I needed. This was the very thing my father had gone off to find twenty plus years ago. I’d hoped to find it with him, instead I found my friend here who proved invaluable in more than one way.
The writing on the first page was difficult to read, mainly because it was written in a language I did not know. Luckily, some student or scribe had written a translation in the margin: The Esoteric Tome of the Latus Rectum.