Posted by: Cherno Hazelnut | April 6, 2011

Disaster on the Isles, part V

The water kept rising.  Now the flood waters threatened the Tauroi home, and the inside of the wine tent was damp and muddy.  Everyone decided to move their valuables to higher ground, and helped one another with the moving.

Moving wine barrels to higher ground

Save the wine!

Friends worked all day, into the dark of night, hauling belongings uphill.  Finally when it was finished, everyone agreed that a nice swim would be most refreshing, and would also rinse off the day’s sweat.  Cherno, owen, and Satyroi dove in from the rope bridge.  Eaken and Korinna dove in from the cliffs.

Diving from the rope bridge

Once everyone had had a nice rinse, they swam to shallower waters to get back onto land.  And it was there, at the mouth of the island cave, that they caught a glimpse of the will o’ wisps and began looking for another shard.

Will o' wisps in the cave

Korinna searched high, Satyroi searched low.  Cherno looked under pillows, and owen searched deep into the cave.  But Eaken found a tan-orange tile fragment stuck between rocks at the front of the cave.  “Here it is!” he exclaimed, and everyone crowded around to see.

Eaken finds a fragment

“What kind of shrine could this be?” they all wondered.  Some speculated that it could be a shrine of Body magic, because of the restorative properties of the mineral waters.  Others concluded that it could be a shrine of the Mind, since it was a favourite place of meditation for many.  Only a mage could tell for certain which element was associated with each fragment.

After bringing the new fragment to the mage’s tower where the others were being kept, it was agreed that some rest would do everyone good.  It was a long day of hauling things uphill, after all!  Before Satyroi could depart for the children’s clubhouse/treehouse where he had been sleeping, Cherno tried to warn him as best as she could without scaring him, that perhaps the rickety old treehouse was not the safest place to be in the event of an earthquake.  Ever since Cunnos, Ezzera, and Yilix had mentioned the pattern of the disasters following the elements, Cherno had been preparing for an earthquake and sleeping outside in the open.

Cherno's tent in the cemetery

Satyroi agreed to camp outside that night.  They both decided that the meadow was not a good campsite because of the threat of rising flood waters, and the graveyard was the next best option, being a large open area as well as high ground.  They brought pillows and blankets from the treehouse and Cherno’s home, and settled into the tent for the night.

Satyroi and Cherno in a tent

Early the next morning, with the first rays of sunlight, the Seven Isles were rocked by an earthquake like no one had ever experienced before.  A sound like thunder roared through the ground, rather than the sky.  The once-stable earth now shook like a tambourine.  Rocks tumbled from high places…

Rocks falling from the top of the old waterfall

…caves crumbled…

A vacant cave collapses

Luckily the Tauroi family moved a few weeks ago.

The dragon's cave collapses into rubble

A rocky protrusion previously serving as a dragons nest collapses and is reduced to rubble.

…and as feared, the children’s clubhouse fell apart.

The treehouse in ruins

Small aftershocks continued to shake the land and its inhabitants, but once the worst was over, Satyroi and Cherno emerged from their tent to inspect the damage.  Satyroi immediately dashed off in a panic, shouting “Baby Twig!!” and running in the direction of the Tauroi home.

The Tauroi home after the earthquake

Inside the Tauroi home, after the earthquake, and invaded by flood waters.

Cherno caught up to him finally, and he was frantically searching every room of the cave for any sign of Kraneia or anyone at all.  “Her crib is gone!!  Avry’s bed is floating in the living room!!”  Satyroi was nearly hysterical, with tears streaming down his face.  Cherno hugged him tightly and tried to tell him that they had moved out yesterday and were safe in a tent around the drum circle, but through his sobs it took a while before he heard her.

Outside the vacant Tauroi home, owen and Fadrienne discussed a fissure they had seen between the orchard and the tea house.  “What’s a fisher?” Satyroi asked.  Knowing what it was, and not wanting Satyroi to be afraid of it, Cherno replied, “It’s really neat, you’ll like it!  Come on, let’s go see.”

A crack in the ground

There, running through the heart of the island, was a long crevasse deeper than the height of a man.  Cherno carefully lowered herself into the crack, to demonstrate to Satyroi that it was safe.  He followed suit.  And while they were exploring the fissure, little Daro came along.  He and Satyroi became friends, and Satyroi gave him one of his treasured crayons as a token of friendship.  Then they all decided to continue up the hill to see that Baby Twig and the Tauroi family were safe in their new tent.  Cherno was about to suggest another route (one that wouldn’t take the boys near the ruined treehouse) but it was too late—they ran ahead too fast, and were met with the tragic sight.

Kids see the ruined treehouse in the distance

Daro and Satyroi see the ruined treehouse in the distance.

As if Satyroi hadn’t already been through enough!  Seeing his only shelter in shambles crushed his spirits flat.  “My colours were in there!” he sniffed, as he fought back tears.  Sweetly, young little Daro held out the crayon Satyroi had given him earlier, offering it back to him.  Of course material goods could be replaced, and the treehouse could probably be repaired, but even temporarily losing a home is never easy for anyone of any age.

Everyone relaxing in the temporary residence of the Tauroi

But it made everyone feel better to see that the Tauroi family were safe and well in their new temporary dwelling.  There were cookies and goat’s milk, and owen and Fadrienne joined Korinna, Twig, Daro, Cherno, and Satyroi in the tent.  Cherno retrieved her doublepipes from the drum circle, and lightened the mood with a melody.  Yes, times were hard.  But hard times only strengthened the bonds between neighbours, friends, and family, and that’s something no disaster could wipe out.

To be continued.



  1. […] To be continued. […]

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