Sunday, 25 January 2015

ACT 4 SCENE 1: Updates from the Ringmaster

Good day, everyone!
Happy New Year! (I know, it's already the 25th but we get to celebrate the new year twice!)

Apologies for the super late update! It's been almost a month and a half since I updated the blog.
I will probably say this all throughout the year.
It's going to be a very busy year for L and I. We are determined to make alot of new things for our readers! :)

I know it's extremely ambitious but you know, you got to dream big. ;)

I will finish off the posting the last NaNoWriMo I did although it seemed unfinished....

Laters! :D

Much love,

ACT 4 SCENE 1:The Ark (Chapter 15)

Chapter 15

When Piscine resurfaced, all was quiet in the calm warm waters. The coconut duck, along with Alder and Oak holding on behind its back, resurfaced not long after, creating a large splash.
‘That was so hot!’ Alder says excitedly, fist bumping his brother who looked as excited as he is.
‘Good coconut duck!’ Oak praised the coconut duck who meeped happily.
‘We should give it a name,’ Piscine said as she held out her hand to be helped up to climb the coconut duck’s back. Alder helped her up, ‘But we don’t know whether it’s a boy or a girl.’
‘Give it a unisex name,’ Oak suggested.
‘Zod!’ Alder said as he looked at the coconut duck for approval. The coconut duck turned its head away. ‘I swear this coconut duck understands every word we say.’
‘Doz!’ Piscine said, looking contemplative.
The twins laugh in unison. ‘You just turned it around,’ Alder says, still laughing.
‘What about Coupe?’ Oak suggested, looking at the coconut’s reaction to the name. ‘What do you think, Coupe?’ The coconut duck looks at him and meeps happily.
Alder and Piscine shake their head. ‘I told you that coconut duck likes him,’ Piscine tells them.
‘Coupe it is!’ Alder says excitedly. ‘Oh man! This is the first time we’ve ever encountered anything like this! And it’s the first animal that we know that’s not predatory. I mean, let’s face it. Even those tiny fishes want you for food.’
‘The chutahs are not predatory!’ Oak defended.
‘Besides the chutahs, brod. They’d never hurt anything. So, where were we?’ Alder looked around the calm waters with a worried expression. ‘You know, we shouldn’t be out here at this hour. Well, we’ve never been out here at this hour.’ And as if on cue, the weather started to change. It suddenly became cooler.
‘Ahhh not good,’ Oak says as he can feel the temperature drop quickly.
‘Be a good coconut duck, Coupe. You swim around first, okay?’ Piscine tells the coconut duck as she takes out a small box in her waterproof pouch. Coupe meeps sadly. ‘Please hide, okay? Don’t let anyone see you,’ she instructs Coupe. Piscine pressed a series of buttons and they hear something above them. Alder and Oak look up and they see a cloud going down slowly.
‘What’s that cloud doing?’ Alder says, gritting his teeth because of the cold.
‘You’ll feel better in there,’ Piscine tells the twins as she looks at them concerned.
‘Why are you not cold, Piscine?’ Oak asked, his teeth started chattering.
‘Oh. Ahh, I don’t actually get affected by temperature changes, drastic or gradual. A gift but also a curse because we don’t know whether the cold or the heat will harm us – I think I told you this before. Anyway, we don’t have that kind of reaction.’ The cloud lands on the water, just beside Coupe and the twins finally managed to focus on the cloud.

‘Your ride?’ Alder asked.

‘Home, actually. It is home. Now, get on and get in there,’ Piscine commands and without any hesitation, the twins shuffled into the ship and straight to the navigation deck. It was so much warmer here and the warmth was a welcoming sensation. The twins collapsed on the floor in a heap. It’s been a while since they felt that cold and it’s not something that they ever wanted to feel again in a long time.
‘That…that was too cold,’ Oak said as he stayed on the floor, recovering.
‘It was never that cold. Nothing we could remember of…or maybe we just don’t have enough clothes, I don’t know,’ Alder said, a little confused. He was also on the floor, recovering like his brother, still shivering from the sudden cold spell.
Piscine came into the navigation deck, blankets in hand and a very worried look on her face. She covered Alder with the thick blanket and then Oak.
‘Wow, Piscine, you’re really not cold at all, huh?’ Oak told her, quite impressed, covering himself with the blanket.
‘I have already told you. I am immune to this.’ Piscine tells him gently. She was quite worried about them; they seem to have gone into a mild shock. ‘It is quite dangerous for us, as I mentioned. My people are not aware of it that it hurts us or kills us. There’s just no other way to undo it, it’s more or less like cooking. We eat our food raw, that’s just how it is. If we probably ate something cooked, we won’t be feeling too good either.’
Alder gets up first, but kept the covers around him. ‘You are right. We have never ever seen you eat anything cooked. You’d always snack on whatever you come across when we’re swimming.’
‘Hey, that’s not true! I have self-control on my food consumption, thank you very much for not noticing,’ Piscine said, a little defensive.
‘Have you not tried?’
‘No,’ Piscine answered, shaking her head.
‘Were you not ever curious?’ Oak asked, curious himself.
‘I was but I did not want to change my ways. And besides, I am scared that I may contract something that I would not understand and could probably avoid if I did not try eating something that is not meant for me or my body. But don’t get me wrong, I do think about these things. What if I ate something that you cooked? Or what if I ate the fruit that you can find around Krakatoa? Will it poison me? Make me sick? There are several things, even traditions of my people that I do not comprehend and of course, there are a number of things and ways that we still do have similarities with. All is not lost, as long as both the city people and the Freedom clans breathe through their nose, I guess,’ she tells them as she gives them her best tooth smile.
‘Has anyone tried it before? Cooked food, I mean.’ Oak asked, still lying on the floor of the navigation deck.
‘There are some but there were changes. Some got sick eating cooked food, we did try to evaluate the problem but we always come to a conclusion that we are just not meant for cooking. If we were, we’d have a feast at your table. But the feast for us Freedom clans is always in the sea. Everything is there. It would be frightening if everything that we know of is gone from the sea.’
‘I still think your clans are quite a mystery,’ Alder says, shaking his head, ‘But you know a lot about the city people, don’t you?’
‘Not really,’ Piscine admitted. ‘I know some things but I am not as well versed on these things like the elders, like my father or my mother. My brothers have been studying about different things and my sister is a genius. I think so anyway.’
Alder and Oak look over at each other quickly. They already knew what the other is thinking. They both realize that they know very little about Piscine. She taught them how to sing, to swim, to hunt, to salvage, how to breathe under water but she rarely talks about herself or her family.
‘Piscine, where are your family?’ Oak asked, gently enquiring, hoping not to scare her off in any way.
Piscine sighs. She is quite aware that she has not spoken about her family or anything about her clans, she did hint some of their ways but she knows that it is not the same.
‘My family is gone,’ she says sadly.
‘Gone?’ Alder and Oak ask in unison.
‘I don’t know where they are,’ and then, Piscine did what she has not done in a very, very, very, very long time in front of anyone.
She cried.
Piscine felt tears in her face and she was as surprised as Alder and Oak at what is happening to her.
‘We don’t - ’ Alder was cut off by Piscine, holding up her hand.
‘Please give me a minute,’ she pleads. The twins wait for her to recover, concerned that they might have scared her off. Alder and Oak give each other looks that can only be translated into the following: 

Alder: Why did you ask her that?

Oak: I just wanted to ask a question!

Alder: You don’t ask her anything personal, omg she is crying what are we going to do?

Oak: We wait for her to stop crying.

Alder: That is not good enough. Do something.

Oak: What do I do?

Alder: Anything. Don’t cough. That’s not going to make her feel better.

Oak: I am on the floor. I am cold. I can’t move.

Alder: Do something or I will take off your shorts.

Oak: You can’t take off my shorts.

Alder: Dare me.

Oak: I don’t know what to do.

Alder: Sing.

Oak: I can’t sing, I can’t even move.

Alder: Toot! (rolling his eyes at his brother)

Oak: Hug her?

Alder: No!

Oak: Well I can’t hug her. I am on the floor.

Alder: Move then.

Oak: Oh she’s looking up, stop looking at me.

Alder: I am going to take off your shorts!

Alder and Oak look like they did something wrong when Piscine looked up at them.
‘Are you guys talking to each other again?’ a toothy smile emerges from the crestfallen face.
‘No,’ Alder says.
‘Yes,’ Oak confesses.

Alder closes his eyes slowly. Oak can never lie. Ever, ever, ever, ever, never.

Piscine smiles at this and starts wiping her face. ‘I am okay,’ she tells them.
Oak starts to crawl towards Piscine with the blanket around him so he looks like a caterpillar. Alder just stares at his brother crawling his way to Piscine.
‘I’d sing if I can but I’m on the floor. And I am still a little bit cold. I hope you feel better, Piscine and I am sorry,’ Oak tells her, his face full of concern.
‘It’s quite alright,’ Piscine smiles at Oak.
‘I’d hug you but…’ Alder says, not looking at them, ‘…I got distracted,’ Alder starts to fake cough. ‘Good thing I didn’t coz I think I’m going to get sick,’ Alder says as he continues to fake cough and Oak shakes his head in disbelief.
‘I’m sorry,’ Piscine says suddenly. ‘I should have talked about myself as well. I just never thought that I’m that interesting nor my family.’
‘That’s nonsense! Everyone is interesting!’ Alder tells her.
‘That’s true! I agree with brod!’ Oak says.
‘You can tell us what you want to tell us, Piscine, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you are comfortable with,’ Alder tells her.
‘I guess I have to start from the very beginning,’ Piscine says. ‘This is going to be a very long story. Don’t interrupt or I will lose my train of thought and I won’t continue,’ Piscine warns. Alder and Oak nod in unison.

‘The Freedom clans are salvagers, as you already know. But we don’t just salvage things. We salvage technology. It has been like this for hundreds of years for us. We use the technology that we salvage, study them, try to improve them but since resources are scarce, we just make do. So far, we’ve made engines that can run electricity using sea water as fuel. We just had to modify some parts here and there. One day, I will show you both how it looks like. I am still learning how to make one from scratch. Oh, this ship is run by sea water. That reminds me…’ Piscine stood up and went straight to the ship controls. She pulled a lever up and suddenly the ship started to ascend slowly. Alder and Oak started to look panicky. The sensation of ascending like this is new to them.

‘Permission to speak!’ Alder says with an urgent tone in his voice.
‘Yes?’ Piscine asked, turning to face the twins.
‘Is this safe?’ Alder asked, looking a little sweaty.
‘Nothing is safe,’ she answered truthfully. ‘But this is quiet safe,’ and as if on cue, the engine stalls for a second and it shakes the ship a bit.
‘Woahhhh,’ Oak eyes wide open and Alder doesn’t move.
‘I feel very helpless right now,’ Alder says, still not moving.
‘It’s very stable.’ Piscine tells them then proceeded to jump up and down.
‘No, don’t do that!’ Alder and Oak pleaded as Piscine continued to jump up and down with a toothy grin on her face. She stopped jumping when she saw the colour from both the twins drain.
‘I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I forget that you are not used to this.’ She sits back down in front of them and waits for them to calm down. ‘Believe me when I say that it’s the safest place you can ever be if you travel around the seas.’
Piscine waits for another minute to ask, ‘Are you both alright?’ The twins nodded in reply and she continued, ‘As I mentioned, we tried to modify things that we salvaged. It was not something that they planned on. From what I remember from the stories, is that they wanted to get the technology back from what they had before all this,’ she waves her arms to prove the point. It started with the ones that floated back up or was left floating. As time passed, they started to swim for what they needed and here we are. I have one eldest sister and nine brothers. My brothers have a group name, ‘The Nines’. They are great. It’d be nice if you both meet them. They would love to meet you both.’
Oak raised his hand. Piscine acknowledges him by raising both her eyebrows. ‘They know about us?’
‘Yes,’ she confessed, smiling at the memory. ‘When I rescued you that day, I had second thoughts because we’re not allowed to associate with city dwellers but as you can see, I didn’t actually follow the rules. When I got home that night, I was scared out of my wits. I am not very good with lying especially with my family because they can tell whether I am telling a lie or not. It was also the first day that I got permission to swim further than my usual perimeter. Anyway, it was quite a day. I avoided speaking, eye contact, anything that can thwart any suspicion but maybe I was being too careful because my sister and my brothers felt something was wrong with me but they did not push me to speak to them or say anything. I was the one who eventually confessed or maybe that’s not the word, it’s more about opening up to them. It took me months to find the courage. They did not blame or judge me or tell me what I did was wrong. But maybe the other clans will say otherwise because they are pretty strict. For weeks, I was scared that Huginn and Muninn will find out about me doing a rescue to two city dwellers.’
Alder raised his hand but did not wait for Piscine to acknowledge him, ‘Huginn and Muninn?’
‘Yes. They fly around the seas. They are the Sage’s, Sebleng’s right hand man but he controls them all the same. They show him what happens everywhere. He’s been the leader of the Freedom clans for a hundred years so you can understand the power he holds. He’s a good leader but I’ve never actually met him.’
‘They fly?’ Alder asked, confused. ‘I don’t follow nor does Oak,’ Piscine looked at Oak who already has a confused look on his face as well.
‘They’re not birds,’ Piscine says, trying to make them understand.
‘We know what birds are, Grandpa Melon told us about them,’ Oak says, satisfied that they actually have some knowledge on creatures that don’t exist in this world anymore. ‘If they aren’t birds,’ Oak continued, ‘then what are they?’
‘Machines? How big are these machines?’ Alder asked this time.
‘Small, like a bird. Actually, they look like ravens. They have this device to record anything they come across and the feedback goes back to the Sage and then he reports directly to Sebleng. Do you get it?’ Piscine asked the rather confused looking twins.
‘More or less, yes,’ Alder says, looking down at Oak in agreement. ‘Does he know what you are doing now?’
‘So far, I actually do not know. We have not heard anything from them concerning my misadventures. All they have been focusing on since I was ten was the Ark.’
‘The ark??!’ the twins exclaim.
‘Yes, the ark,’ Piscine answered, stammering. The twins took her by surprise. ‘What do you both know about it?’
‘We got a map,’ Oak answered.
‘A land map, to be exact,’ Alder added.
Piscine went quiet. She looks like she was concentrating on a decision. ‘I must see this map. Where is it?’
‘At home,’ the twins answered in unison. ‘What happened to your parents?’ Alder asked this time.
‘The ark happened to them. I went back there two days ago because I have not heard from them for three years. It didn’t occur to me that it has been that long since we’ve communicated and with the situation at hand getting worse, I wondered what had happened to them so I went back but I found nothing,’ Piscine reveals.
‘Nothing?’ Alder asked, confused. ‘You did not find them?’
‘The scan says differently. My ship can detect my family’s ship but it detected it where I can’t find it. Either it is below in the deeps or above, which is quite impossible,’ Piscine says shaking her head, trying to control her emotions.
‘So far, with what we’ve seen, nothing is impossible,’ Oak tells her, ‘We will find them eventually. Mamu and Papi always said that you have to have faith in order for things to flow.’
Piscine nods in agreement with the twins. ‘Yes, we will. Thank you both!’
‘Wait, which ark are we talking about? The ark of cove or Noa’s ark?’ Oak asked, making sure they are talking about the same thing.
‘Oh, you both know about that too?’ Piscine is surprised that they are well versed with mythology.
‘Our relatives have their own thing, collection and such,’ Oak tells her, smiling.
‘Collection of what?’ Piscine is smiling. Wide, toothy smile of smiles. It did not occur to her that there are still things that she doesn’t know about the twins. Three years of seeing them almost every day too.
‘Artefacts that they have salvaged. Your family is not the only ones that salvage schtuff. But not as serious as your salvaging. Ours is just little things like plastic stool and what not, little things,’ Oak says, becoming a little shy, not sure if anything that they do have in the collection is worth anything as grand as Piscine’s clan members.
‘They do know a great deal about mythology and history. The family isn’t actually very popular with the common city dwellers. We know what they think of us and we keep our distance, just to be safe.’ Alder replied.
‘That’s nice! So you will know what I’m talking about if I do bring up some mythology?’ Piscine asked excited.
‘Maybe. I hope we do,’ Oak answered, looking at Alder for help.
‘Anyway, onwards to the mysterious ark. The one that I am speaking of is Noa’s ark. The legendary circus trainer who wanted to catch all the creatures of the world. Except there’s a twist to the story.
‘So it is true!’ Oak exclaimed, ‘Wait a second, a twist?’
‘They say Noa is actually not a legendary trainer but a scientist. He collected animals of all sorts and cloned them, made them into different animals but he had a purpose from what I heard that it was for medicine. He managed to fund his obsession back in the old world and he built the facility. What we don’t understand is how the creatures managed to survive all this time. You see, when we found out its location, we wanted to get the technology. We were hoping to advance slightly with medical technology. When we checked the area, we didn’t get anything on radar which of course, is not accurate. When we opened the gates, all these creatures came out. At first, they were of the small variety and then they grew in size. We closed off the gates but they manage to get out, no matter what we try doing. We made a mistake and now they have infested the waters.
‘How are they getting out of the gates if they are closed?’ Alder asked, confused.
‘That’s what we were trying to find out. As far as we know, all the known gates are all closed off. But what we don’t understand is, these creatures are still getting out somewhere,’ Piscine said, shaking her head. ‘We’ve been looking for these gates for years.’
‘How long have you been doing this?’
Piscine shrugs. ‘I was ten when the elders of the clan spoke about the Ark. The Freedom clans assembled at a meeting point at the Other Waters. We were passing by this area to check on some schtuff we can salvage, parts that we needed for the ship for my brother Un’s wedding which sadly did not happen,’ Piscine remembered.
‘Wedding?’ Alder asked.
‘Yes. It’s a ceremony. I believe the city dwellers stopped the practice but it used to be a ceremony when two people who want to be each other’s companion and they will have this ceremony to celebrate the unity.’ Piscine explained.
‘Oh! Brod, I read something about that! Something about gathering all your family and friends together and the other person’s family and friends together in one big banquet.’ Oak recalls. ‘There are more things that they have to do but I do not understand why we stopped it. There was a lot of food involved.’
‘I think it’s pretty obvious why…I mean, there isn’t much land to work with…’ Oak gave his brother a disapproving look. ‘It’s true! Most of the city people are related one way or another except our family.’ Alder shrugs. ‘I heard our ancestor did not approve or such things – this is probably one of the million reasons why we are not very popular.’
‘Why was the wedding cancelled?’ Oak asked.
‘She died.’ Piscine said, without pausing.
Alder and Oak look mortified. ‘Oh toot! I’m sorry, Piscine. I shouldn’t have asked…’ Oak said apologetic. He doesn’t understand why he keeps doing this.
‘It’s quite alright. It was a long time ago. My brother named this ship after her and he’s given this to me so hopefully, it’s a good sign that he’s doing better. Anyway, when the elders first met, they were speaking of something about a large facility where we can get better equipment to make medicine and better research for everything else. It was promising and it was something new that we can work on. Everything was positive and they calculated every possibility. But they did not foresee the creatures.’ Piscine trailed off, her gaze on the ship’s floor, staring into space; sweat beads can be seen on her delicate face. ‘The creatures got bigger and much smarter. Even with the Freedom clans’ skilled swimmers and hunters, they were no match for them. They just didn’t know what they were and to them, they were unpredictable. But we got by.’ Piscine stood up to look outside the windows. It is snowing heavily. She watched her ship enveloped by the white snow which wasn’t there just a few minutes ago. Her ship is sturdy, warm and she knows she’s safe here, right now. ‘They studied them carefully over time. We had to learn to outsmart them quickly. Soon, we learnt how they moved, they defended, they breed, and what they ate, their mannerisms, everything you can think of. But the problem is not the creatures, it’s the variety. Once we’re done studying one, there will be another species, and then another, and soon, another. It was a very frustrating time and it still is. I know this because my siblings tell me how they struggle with training every day but they do not complain outwardly. They follow orders, it is all about survival. Our survival.’ Piscine checked the meters one by one if everything is functioning as normal. This is the only ship she’s seen after she went to the other waters, she must be careful with it. She noted in her mind that she has to keep fuel with her, just in case.
‘Creatures that we’ve never seen before or even heard of are coming out of that facility. We’ve estimated the scale of the facility to be more or less half the size of the globe.’
Alder and Oak, despite the cold, started to sweat. The gravity of the situation is becoming more serious as they hear more about it. ‘Have any of your clans gone in the facility?’
‘No. We couldn’t. Many tried to go past but none has come out alive. You have to understand, different creatures come out from wherever it is from that Ark. The Redoctop came from there.’
‘Redoctop?’ Alder asked.
‘The one that got Oak three years ago. It was called Redoctop. I thought they have killed or contained it in the Other Waters until I saw it that day. I killed it on the day,’ she told them reassuringly.
‘You killed it?’ Alder said, pointing at her. The twins were shocked at how casual she made it sound like.
‘Yes. It wasn’t as difficult for me but the ones that you helped me out with would be impossible to defeat just by myself. I have to thank you both for being so helpful.’
The twins look at each other, smiling. ‘No big deal,’ Oak tells her shyly.
‘I have been meaning to ask…’
‘Maybe its booby trapped!’ Oak half shouts, wide eyed with anxiety and a little excitement. Oak can hear his heart thumping in his ear. Adventure is all he can hear being whispered to his ears. Alder, on the other hand, has adventure and glory being whispered to his ears. His heart is thumping as hard and as loud as Oak.
Alder and Oak look at each other. The exchange is not what people normally do but this has been quite a normal means of communication with the twins. Perhaps any twins but we would not know that but what we do know is that these brothers use this as a means of communication on a daily basis, especially when they need to get out of trouble, escape things and debates, to name a few. Translation of their ‘communication’ is as follows:

Alder: We can do this!

Oak: We can!

Alder: What are we going to do about Mamu and Papi?

Oak: I don’t even think we can just get permission…(shaking his head, wide eyes, petrified look)

Alder: We could just go.

Oak: That is even worse, what are you thinking?

Alder: Do you want to leave a note?

Oak: No!

Alder: They will find us.

Oak: Of course they will.

Alder: Wait.

Oak: We can’t go yet.

Alder and Oak: The road map!

(Written for 2013 NaNoWriMo.)

ACT 4 SCENE 1: The Ark (Chapter 14)

Chapter 14

A lone and unlucky smuggler is swimming not far from them, minding his own business as he repairs his already leaking ship. He is unaware of the chase that is happening. Alder, Oak and Piscine notice him and jumped off the current to avoid getting too close. On the other hand, the creature was not fast enough to follow them. It managed to get out in time but its tail smashed towards the smuggler’s ship. There was a crash and his ship collapses right before him. He screamed out loud in such a high pitch that you’d think it was a lady in distress. He did not notice the trio nor did he see what initially broke his ship. Twice.Yes, it was the very same creature and it was a very unlucky day.When the creature stealthily followed Piscine back to Krakatoa, it managed to swing its large bottom on to the very ship it finally destroyed. It was not as good in stealth as it presumed.At present, the trio swam the other direction, carefully avoiding other predators’ attention. Alder felt something coming behind him and just as he turns to move away, it lightly scraped him on his left hand. He did not know what it was and when he looked back, he instantly saw that the creature was the one throwing it. It kept throwing a ball like thing at them and they kept dodging it. The twins have been under the water for so long so they had to go up for air. They have to be quick. I quick inhale and dive back down again. Once they resurfaced, just as they are about to dive back down, they can see the creature resurfacing at exactly where they are. They immediately swam away but it was too late. The creature managed to throw them up into the air, along with Piscine.‘Wait! Don’t panic! It’s so zheng!’ Piscine shouts in mid-air, looking excited which did not make sense to the twins at all. Did she just call the creature zheng?As they were about to fall back into the water, they were tossed back up again and they can hear Piscine laughing a little too happily. Alder and Oak look at each other, worried for Piscine. Has she gone mad? Before they noticed it, they landed on something soft, and rather slimy.Alder and Oak looked around them and realized they landed on a shell of some sort. It looks like a shell but it’s quite soft to touch. Piscine is already standing beside its long neck and she’s telling something to it. It has a long neck, with a beak, gigantic sparkling eyes and two webbed feet and is orange and yellow in colour.‘What is that?’ Alder asked, finally able to speak, pointing at the creature, just staring at it.‘It’s a coconut duck!’ Piscine tells them, quite excited.‘A what?’ Oak asked, unsure of what Piscine just called the creature.‘It’s a baby coconut duck!’ and as if on cue, the coconut duck meeps at them. ‘It was playing!’‘What? Playing?’ Alder said confused. He almost lost an arm but then, if it’s still a baby, it doesn’t know what it is doing.‘Where did it come from?’ Oak asked and the baby coconut duck’s head went straight to him and it meeped happily at him.‘It likes you!’ Piscine told Oak, quite delighted.‘There, there that’s a good coconut duck,’ Oak says as he holds out his hand slowly towards the coconut duck’s head. ‘Where did it come from again?’ Oak asked as he felt relieved when the coconut duck let him touch its face.Piscine gave a long sigh. This is as good as a time as ever. She has to tell them about what’s happening. ‘Perhaps, we should feed our friend here first?’ she suggested. ‘Wait here,’ she tells Alder, Oak and the coconut duck. The coconut duck looks at the water, worried, as if its mother left it.‘It’s okay, yob. She’ll be back,’ Alder reassures the coconut duck. After a few minutes, Piscine resurfaces with a fish half of her size and some vegetation.‘Here ya go!’ she said to the coconut duck, offering the food. The coconut duck looked at it for a few seconds and it turned its head away. ‘What’s wrong? You don’t like it?’ Piscine asked the coconut duck. It meeped in sad reply. ‘But this is really good,’ Piscine tells the coconut duck, looking at the struggling fish with a frown. ‘I’d eat it if you don’t want it.’ Piscine shrugs. But the coconut duck did not flinch. It did not want to eat whatever she brought.‘Maybe its not hungry?’ Oak tells Piscine, trying to help both her and the coconut duck. They hear something from not so far off.‘Ahh…I think it’s that smuggler…’ Alder assumed.
‘We better move,’ Piscine says, ‘here...follow me coconut duck!’ as she swam away, the coconut duck, seeming to understand her, followed her. When Piscine went under, it went under as well. Alder and Oak held on to its back as it swam. And how it swam! It seemed to be the happiest, just following Piscine. The stars are twinkling as brightly as any night and the calm warm seas reflected its glory.

(Written for 2013 NaNoWriMo.)

Sunday, 2 November 2014

ACT 3 SCENE 11: Halloween and All Souls' Day Post - ENGKANTO

L and I made this comic back in 2011 for Gurukitty's Ghost Tales Comic Anthology.
This was before :EPOCH Files too.

The story is about a local myth from the Philippines and is loosely based on a story in my family.
Messed up, I know.
Please click here for the complete comic. :)

I hope you guys enjoy it.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

ACT 3 SCENE 9:The Ark (Chapter 13)

Chapter 13

Months quickly passed. Piscine tried to communicate with her family but she did not hear from anyone and she has grown quite worried.
More creatures have appeared in the Warmer Waters and this caused Piscine great distress. She understands that the warmer waters are appealing to these creatures and they sometimes come in groups.
She decided to train Alder and Oak, who insisted on helping her dealing with the situation when they realize that there are different, more aggressive marine life showing up from the waters and she did plan to. She let them help her deal with the bigger creatures, depending on how much they trained. There are sometimes spoils and she lets them take it to the Labs to sell with their parents. The twins have asked her if they can introduce her to their parents but she insisted to remain anonymous. Piscine wished she could contain some of the creatures somewhere but there are no safe areas anywhere.
As much as she is worried about her family, Piscine has grown to love the area around Krakatoa more. She watched from the waters the flowers that bloom around the island. She’s sure that her mother and Mer would appreciate them as much as she does. Her brothers would probably too. She thought it was a shame that they will not see this but with all the changes that is happening now, who knows and the peaceful people of the island. She did not understand why the Freedom clans refuse to associate with the city dwellers. And her answer to her question came to her one night while she is having a quiet time, wondering about her family, she heard a ruckus from a few miles out. She has not actually seen smugglers but she knows what they are like from the stories of the clans. She watched the smugglers come and go around the area where her ship is, studying their much different ways than the Krakatoa city dwellers. Over the next few months, she has seen some ships go down because some of them tried to kill a creature or two, sometimes three at the same time. She knows that they don’t think about the consequences much and sometimes, it’s just really bad luck on their part. As much as she hated not being able to help, she valued being not known to be around. There is one smuggler ship that has been quite successful with harvesting the new marine life. She has seen the ship, Jupiter, several times over the course of a few months and she realized how efficient the crew is on this ship. She also felt that it was a big advantage to her and the twins that they are able to defeat some creatures that need more than three people to handle. She was in the waters one night, scavenging for parts that the creatures may have swallowed and are now scattered about when she saw a bunch of swimmers a few meters away from her. They were wearing something that looks quite tight that it looked like they were wrapped in something and they had tanks on their back that are connected to mouthpieces. They were not fast swimmers like her but they had some sort of machine to boost their speed on their legs. It was pure luck that she was behind some rocks and that her hair is much shorter than it was or they would have seen her for sure. She watched them prepare large nettings and swam opposite each other. She felt the waters current change and she heard something whine loudly, she can hear it attacking anything that got in its way, marine life or rocks alike. The suited men were preparing to attack the larger creature, and as it got closer, Piscine thought that it looks like a Narwhale and it was angry.
It didn’t care about the net before it and went straight at it, slamming itself against it but something happened and it crashed against it, stopping its seemingly destructive head on charge. It opened its mouth and just as quickly, the men threw something in its mouth and boosted themselves away from it. There was a gigantic boom and the Narwhale started to bleed from all sides. It started to float up the surface and the men quickly went to towards it. Piscine saw her chance to flee but she did not. She swam towards the ship which she is sure is Jupiter. The Jupiter is a stern trawler, a modern fishing boat by the old world standards. Piscine resurfaced slowly and cautiously. She can hear the crew cheering because of another successful hunt.
‘Good job men!’ A voice boomed from above. Piscine was wide eyed in surprise. She did not expect that and she almost screamed. She was never good at this stealth business. ‘Let’s bring her up, cut it up, have a feast, sell whatever we can at the Labs and you can go home again to your family!’ he roars in delighted laugh and the his crew cheered him on. ‘Our dear Krakatoa will be safe again. We’ll sail in a fortnight.’
Piscine was surprised that he mentioned Krakatoa. Who is this man, she thought as she slid back down slowly to the waters.
Suddenly, someone is looking down at her who is as surprised as she is. He’s got slick back black hair, grey eyes and a large trimmed beard. She estimated him to be the same age as Mer. By the time he saw Piscine, the only thing you can see is her green rimmed goggles.
‘What in the…’ he starts to say, his large eyebrows, furrowing.
‘Captain Nay! They’re here!’ he looks back at his crew and when he looked back down at where Piscine was, she was already gone. He shakes his head in disbelief. ‘I may have eaten too many of that damn mutated frog delights,’ he tells his crew and laughed out loud.
Piscine’s heart was going to come out of her chest. That was too close, too close. She was reckless and she almost got caught by a smuggler, by a very skilled captain of a smuggler’s group to be exact.
Her curiosity almost got her in so much trouble but she is still wondering what he meant about Krakatoa. Does he live there? Does he have family? Is that why they are there? What do they know about the creatures and how did they get so skilled in their hunting skills. Piscine swam to Krakatoa, the safest place for her right now. They are too close to her ship and she hopes that it is too far up to be seen even by the sharp eye of the Captain of the Jupiter.
The months turned into a year, and she watched how the Jupiter crew managed to take down as many as five larger creatures that she and the twins will not be able to take down on their own. She has not seen any of the crew sail to Krakatoa which puzzled her immensely. It took every bit of her being to control herself and not go near the Jupiter again ever since that incident. She continued to train Alder and Oak on swimming deeper in the deeps and in water combat. Soon another few months turned into another year. She continued watching the crew of the Jupiter and grew respect for the hard working efforts to keep Krakatoa safe. Many times, she felt compelled to go to Vesuvius to see the island for herself but she knows it’s too dangerous even if she blended in. She still has not come across Pelee or Vesuvius. She tried to study the weather changes outside the perimeter of Krakatoa. Weather changes is as constant as sneezing and when it starts, it won’t stop until it goes back to spring. It could snow, rain, suddenly clear with the sun out, then there will be hail and then rain and then snow again, it goes on and on. She realized after a few months that there is no way she can actually learn how it works unless she has more sophisticated machines or tools. Anything to read the weather, like they do in the old world, she thought. She remembers her mother talking about it once in a while with them after family dinner or family outings. As Piscine worked out that morning, she realized that she has not seen her family for almost three long years.
Piscine decided to just go back. She has not heard from them at all. She has not detected Huginn or Muginn. She will be gone for a few days, stay for a few days and then come back. Surely Alder and Oak can take care of themselves in the waters now. And Krakatoa is safe with Captain Nay’s efforts. There has been no radio contact not even messenger birds. She needs to make sure her family is safe and then she can come back to Krakatoa. Perhaps her findings in these waters will prove useful for them since they haven’t communicated since she got here. Perhaps they will be more to learn when she gets there.
Piscine set down her weights and went straight to the navigation deck. She pushed some buttons and checked the dials. Arya started to move towards the direction of the Other Waters. She will not say goodbye to the twins because she will be back in no time. She’s sure of it.
In a day, she was halfway to her destination. She was glad she decided to fly instead. Readings from the radars could detect various different creatures of sizes in her route. The waters are raging as if a storm is brewing. The Other Waters seemed suddenly even more enormous than she remembered. She felt uneasy and hoped that it did not get any worse. But we never get what we hope for.

A sudden beeping sound went off in the deck which took Piscine by surprise that she dropped her fish on the floor, which she always does. She looked out at the never ending Other Waters. She knows she is close. By the time she got to where her family’s ship was supposed to be, it was already nightfall and the beeping sound intensified, the light turned green and it stops. She turns it off and went straight to look around the surrounding areas but she couldn’t find any other ships. She found it strange since their ship is the only one that is bugged that way so she can find it easily. All she could see is water from as far as she can see. She pondered on the idea whether to go low to check or go down to the waters by herself instead to investigate. She watched the creature infested waters below. A quick dip should be sufficient. She went back to navigation deck and pushed up the lever half way and the ship floated down slowly. When it stopped going down, she looked for supplies she needed to bring and wondered whether she needs to be wary of bigger creatures. Just as she thought of it, she felt she is being watched. She can see large eyes blinking and watching her from her right side, outside the window. She does not move and pretended to be blissfully unaware of its presence. She started to whistle and its eyes went wide. She stepped on a button on the floor and held on to dear life. The ship shot up almost immediately which startled the large long necked creature. It kept snapping at the ship but it is too high up to reach. Piscine is on the floor with more or less everything else. She gets up and the thick manual of the ship that has been carefully written and drawn by Un fell on her head. She groaned with pain and stayed on the floor to recuperate. She was almost cool. Almost, she thought. She looked over the manual next to her and felt glad she’s learned how to read and re-read everything. She stood up and thought that was the stupidest idea she ever came up with. Swim with the creatures, more like swim with the fishes, she thought, shaking her head. She went out of the deck and she looked around the empty skies. Not one ship in sight. She looked down, using her binoculars, hoping to see what kind of creature it was earlier but all she saw was the stormy waters below. Where could her family be? The scan found them at this exact same spot where she is. She went back to the navigation deck and turned on the scan. It was still green and it was not beeping. She did not realize that she held on to the manual and tears started falling from her eyes. She doesn’t want to think it but there’s a possibility they are all gone. Where could they be? Why did she wait this long to come back, she asked herself wanting to kick herself for being so inconsiderate. She should have come back when she did not get any feedback from them for the first few months. Why oh why did she think that it was going to be alright?

There are two possibilities:

It’s that Ark. It’s all those monsters from that Ark. But there are so many of them, how could they be so easily defeated?


It’s Sebleng. They found out about her but if they did, they would have tried to find her.

How long were her family gone? Ever since she tried to contact them? Has it been that long?
She wiped her face and breathed in and out. She has to focus. They can’t just be gone. She’s talking about her family.
The Freedom Clans. They are good at what they do and one of the best things they excel at is hiding. They cannot just disappear and be defeated, she assured herself. She wondered where the other ships are. The Bons, The Rinks, the Onis, the Rells, the Kuats, the Aces, to name a few. There were more than thirty ships in total; surely they cannot just disappear into thin air.
She held on to that spark of hope that her family is out there, flying with the other Freedom clans even if she can hear the beep that seemed like the heartbeat of her family’s ship.
She checked her fuel and she calculated that she just has enough to fly back to the warmer climate of Krakatoa. There she will be able to think and plan.
As the ship Arya headed back to the warmer waters, Piscine did not notice a certain long necked creature following her from below, mesmerized by the faint light of her ship. It meeped and it followed.
After a day, she arrived at the Warmer Waters, she landed back to the water, almost immediately. She did not want to completely run out of fuel and crash into the water. That happened once with one of the people of the clans. He was nervous as derp when he got his own ship that he completely forgot about having to refill it and he crashed his first boat on his first day. She took a hose from the side of the deck and immediately refilled the tank with sea water. She has to be quick. It’s going to take a while and she did not want to be floating around at night nor did she want to encounter Jupiter. Piscine suddenly had a flashback. She remembered how her brothers used to tell her how machines, boats, ships, basic transportation needed diesel fuel. She smiled at the thought. She remembered never hearing the word before and when she asked her brothers what it was, they told her they weren’t actually sure either which made her mad because she thought that they were just teasing her, which they basically always did. It was their mother that explained that it was found deep in the earths when the waters were much, much lower and mankind consumed it without any thought for the eco system or themselves. It actually harmed them but even armed with this knowledge, that did not stop them from continuing to use it and it slowly killed them by using it in an almost abusive way. Every time she refilled their cargo or any ships of their ships, she wondered why they didn’t just use the water that is there – right in front of them. You use it as fuel and it evaporates and it goes back to the waters, all clean.
Right after she finished filling up her tank, she ran to the navigation deck quickly and pulled the lever down and the ship went up with a balloon once again. She felt a little nervous suddenly, she was unsure of that little panic attack. She shook it off. She thought that she probably needs to extend her morning preps, maybe making it more a little intense. It slowly ascended and she went outside and watched her surroundings carefully, then she started checking the boat’s exterior. She was afraid Arya might have sustained some injuries during that little incident back in the Other Waters. Just as she was checking her boat, a shadow loomed oh so quietly behind her and when she turned around to check the ropes behind her, it disappeared just as quickly. Piscine is completely unaware of the long neck creature that followed her to Krakatoa and is now watching her every move. If Piscine wasn’t distracted from her current circumstances, she would have noticed it. It took all her will to pay attention to every nook and cranny in her boat.
She checked the radio aerial, the radar unit that her three older brothers worked on, the radio, the radar screen, the compass, the barometer, the engines, the rudder, the engine exhaust pipe, the handrails, the storage, the upper deck, the pulleys, the kitchen, her room, the navigation deck; everything is in order.
So far, so good.
Finally, she checked her surroundings again. She knows no one would spot the boat because the exterior looks like a large cloud. One of the few neat tricks of the Freedom clan. They are tricky indeed. Piscine adjusted her goggles and jumps off her boat, going in smoothly into the water. As heavy as her heart is, she knows that seeing Alder and Oak will make her feel better. If the long neck creature moved, Piscine would have seen it. Piscine would detect even the slightest movement in the water, not because Piscine is that good; it’s because one move from the creature will make quite a movement in the water. But this creature is as tricky as any person from the Freedom clans. It did not move and it can’t be seen because it is in silhouette. But if it was day time, it would stick out like a sore thumb but let’s not forget, it really does believe that it’s tricky. Piscine, like the rest of the Freedom clans, can see in the dark, in colour but they’re not as good as you would think. But enough to see everything that is needed to see. It waited for Piscine to be as far from it as possible. Very tricky indeed. It finally moved its gigantic body and swam towards the direction of Piscine’s new found home.
Not far from where the creature swam, the Jupiter floated still with no Sigurs on, behind a large rock that went up years ago after a sea earthquake. Captain Nay was watching from his periscope.
‘What do we do, Captain?’ Brick asked Captain Nay as he finished looking at what just transpired before them.
‘Nothing,’ he smiled at his first mate and laughed. ‘It’s obvious that girl is the one of the Freedom clans but she is harmless. She’s probably a runaway – what spunk!’ he says as he clasps his hands together.
‘What about the creature?’ Brick asked worried. Brick is Captain Nay’s first mate, a giant of a man with a large white Mohawk and stern brown eyes.
‘Sebleng has not given any word about it, perhaps it’s harmless but ask some of the men to follow them, just in case,’ he ordered as he made his way to the radio room.
‘I do not like this man, Sebleng. I will keep saying it until it gets into your head,’ Brick says, disapproving of their association with the Freedom clan leader.
‘He told us about these creatures, surely he means no harm. Tales is doing well protecting Pelee with his aid on incoming creatures as well. There should not be any of this negativity,’ Captain Nay tells his disapproving first mate.
‘I don’t like his voice. It sounds like he inhaled something,’ Brick says, shaking his head.
Captain Nay laughs out loud at his first mate’s reasoning. ‘Surely you can’t be serious. Look old friend, if he did not tell us about the creatures, we would not be able to defend our home,’ he turns a button on and a faint radio frequency could be heard. He tapped on of the smaller bottle of Sigurs next to him and the light flooded the dark radio room.
‘He told us that he will tell us where they came from but until now, he has not offered an explanation. There are too many questions, Captain. We have been very lucky not to have lost any men – ,’
‘Thanks to you and Nickets and the crew,’ Captain Nay interrupts, ‘At best, we are safe. We are lowly smugglers to the eyes of many people and whatever we do; we do not need to be hailed anything more than that. We are here to protect the only lands left. And then, we can go on with our lives. At least, for once, we are doing something for everyone and not just ourselves. Now, let’s see what Tales is up to in Pelee besides killing creatures and womanizing!’
‘I still find it odd that Vesuvius is not being pestered by these creatures,’ Brick says as he looks outside the unusually calm waters.
‘That’s because Vesuvius is filthy and always drunk with people! It’s too loud! Nobody wants to live there, not even those creatures, there’s your proof!’ Captain Nay laughed wholeheartedly. Brick grinned as the Captain because he was right.
‘What about the girl?’ Brick asked, ‘We’ve been watching her for years now.’
‘Aye. She’s harmless. She just likes those twins from Krakatoa. Sons of Wilnoix,’ he says as he turns the knob to get the right radio frequency.
‘Everything doesn’t make sense,’ Brick says, shaking his head.
‘Nothing makes sense, especially when it comes to lurvveee,’ Captain Nay answered, one of his eyebrows up, listening intently to the radio frequency.
Piscine arrived at the rocks, humming to the tune of a hum that her brothers used to whistle or hum, whatever they feel like. In the beginning, it annoyed her but it finally grew on her and now, humming it makes her feel closer to her lost family. If she was to travel back to the old times, she’ll find out that this certain song that makes the family happy is called, ‘Mmbop’ by the Hansons. If you asked any of her brothers what is the name of the song that makes them happy, they will tell you that it’s called Bop by The Crash Test Dummies.
She heard footprints and she already knew it was Alder and Oak; they have a different way of walking. She’s sure there’s something about that, how you can tell who is coming from the stairs or through the door or wading by the waters by the sounds of their mannerisms. She looks behind her and when she sees the brothers and held up her triangle. She will sing something that Cinq usually sing, something that she has grown to like as well. It was one of the songs that she taught them years back.
‘Let’s dance…put on your red shoes and dance the blues…’ she sang, hitting the triangle.
‘Let‘s dance to the song they’re playing on the radio,’ Piscine knows that Oak seems more like who is shy but that all disappears when he starts to sing a tune. This thought actually makes her happy because she does believe that singing is a universal language.
‘Oak, Alder!’ she calls out happily.
‘Piscine! Where have you been?’ Alder asked her as they walk towards her, ‘We actually had a surprise for you this morning and we wanted to introduce you to Re & Mi.’ Oak is blushing right next to Alder but she doesn’t say anything because she’s afraid that if she teases him, he’d stop singing with her. She believes he has trouble breathing when he’s in land but he seems okay when he’s in the water so she’s not very worried. Just worried the air may not be good for him so that’s why he’s red in the face all the time.
‘You were?!’ she was genuinely surprised. ‘I have never thought about meeting them. You both keep mentioning them but honestly, I am afraid that I may smell like food to them,’ she says, feeling a little worried at the thought.
‘No! They like kowfish!’ Oak tells her, shaking his head, ‘they are the sweetest, very calm. A little hyperactive when they smell a certain kind of herb but they’re hot,’ Oak assures Piscine.
‘Why would they be hot?’ Piscine shakes her head, ‘I still don’t understand your language. It’s been three years…’ Piscine shakes her head in amusement.
Oak had always had a little daydream where he would ride Mi with Piscine and he will take her around the island and he will put flowers in her hair and she would giggle at the gesture. This thought made Oak giggle a little bit then he stops with a mortified look on his face.
‘What’s so funny?’ Piscine asks Oak, smiling. Alder is behind Piscine making funny faces at his younger brother.
‘Nothing,’ he says nodding nervously at her, ‘Chutahs are funny. So funny,’ he tells her.
‘Oh I see!’ she says, trying to understand him.
‘Are you alright, Piscine?’ Oak asked, feeling that Piscine seems a little distracted.
Piscine feels uneasy. She doesn’t understand it. She felt alarms buzzing in her mind. ‘Alder, Oak, would you both like to take a midnight swim?’ Piscine adjust her goggles and jumps in the water. ‘Hurry!’ she says, swimming away. The twins look at each other, confused and jump into the water without asking any questions. They swam after her as quickly as they possibly can.
As they dived in the waters to swim faster, that’s when Alder, Oak and Piscine spotted the creature. It was gigantic and it was swimming towards them. Piscine realized that it was the creature she saw that was watching her ship at the Other Waters and she was horrified. She swam faster along with the twins, getting on the nearest current to get away more quickly and get the creature away from Krakatoa as far as they can possibly can.
As the creature swam after them, it got swept up by the same current which made it go as fast as they were going. When Oak looked back, that’s when he realized it and kicked faster towards Alder and Piscine, pointing behind them frantically. Piscine and Alder didn’t need to look back to understand Oak’s frenzied body language, they swam faster than they have ever swam in their lives.
The boat carrying Captain Nay’s men stayed in one spot, witnessing all that just transpired.
‘Well that was weird,’ one of them said after a while.
‘Yep,’ one of the men who sat next to him replied. ‘I guess we row back, someone tell Brick that they might be on their way back to them. Better to hide, somewhere further maybe.’
‘Aye, got it,’ the third man answered. He took out a small box with buttons on it and when he switched it on, it buzzed back to life. ‘Brick, sir, they’re on their way back there.’
‘What? Anything happened?’ Brick says, his voice a little static.
‘They’re being chased by the creature. The gigantic harmless one that you told us of. I would like to respectfully suggest that we move the ship a little further away. There may be a possibility of a fight. I repeat. Suggesting to move the ship further away from original coordinates, possibility of a fight. Please inform us of new coordinates,’ he reports.
‘Thank you. South east, four miles from original coordinates, we’ll meet you there, Moe, Larry and Curly. Over and out,’ Brick transmission ends.
‘And we just got here,’ Moe complains as they start to row back to their ship.
‘Where’s south east again?’ Curly asks and Moe hits him on the head with the map.
‘To the right!’ Larry answered and Moe hits him on the head with the same map.
‘Use the compass!’ Moe tells them both.

‘What compass?’ Larry and Curly both asked.

(Written for 2013 NaNoWriMo.)

ACT 3 SCENE 9:The Ark (Chapter 12)

Chapter 12

Piscine did not plan on being away for so long.
But she had a feeling that it was going to be a long time before she saw the twins again. When she got back to warmer waters, it was becoming as dangerous as the other ocean. There were many consequences to decisions made during those years by the clan. There was no other way so she requested to be emancipated from the clan.
‘Unless you do not plan on seeing Alder and Oak, there is no way that you are going to be emancipated from the Freedom clans,’ her father tells her a matter-of-factly.
Her parents told her that she may be punished for it but they will try to explain her actions by telling the others that she is doing it for research for the Ark which Mer has been compiling together ever since they went to the Other Waters.
‘Are you worried about not being able to see Alder and Oak again?’ her mother asked her as she packed supplies with her.
‘Constantly, to be honest. Now that the creatures are coming out of the Ark, they will be everywhere and the people from the cities are never going to be prepared for it. At least, I will be able to save some of them,’ she tells her mother. If she was being completely honest with herself, she is actually not sure that she will be able to help the people of the cities but she knows what she’s doing is really for Alder and Oak. They are selfish reasons but its reason enough for her to go back for them; even it means punishment from the Freedom clan leader, Sebleng.
Sebleng has been the Freedom clan’s leader for a hundred years. He is not someone that you can call, kind but he is a great strategist and leader. He has managed to keep an eye out with his machines Huginn and Muninn for any danger. If any unsuspecting and unlucky smuggler boat does come across one of the clans by accident, I am willing to bet all my money that the unlucky smuggler boat and its crew will be sleeping with the fishes before word gets out anywhere. He manages to keep track of what his clans are up to, most of the time. Sometimes, you have lucky days but not all days are lucky so caution is your best friend. If Sebleng finds out that Piscine is associated with the city dwellers and the fact that her family knows of this association and interaction will not end well. It may also lead to swimming with the fishes.
Before Piscine left, she promised her family that she will be safe from harm, exercise caution, and that she will let them know if any kinds of changes are happening in the Warmer Waters. Piscine said her goodbyes to her family and left as quickly as she can before her tears fell. She did not want to leave them but she feels she has a duty to fulfil.
As she sailed away that night, with more weight in her heart, she looked back at the family ship that’s been the Vembers home all their life. She will be back, she told herself. It’s not as if I am never going to come back to see them again, she thought to herself, assuring herself is not the same as being assured by someone else. She knows what she must do. Piscine pulled the lever and sailed away into the night. Little did she know that it’s the last time she will ever see her family’s ship sail again.
She expected the journey to be long even with her ship’s more modern capabilities. It is smaller than her family’s ship but it still quite fast. Her ship’s name is Arya and is originally Un’s ship, coloured in white everywhere. This boat was so rundown when they found it years ago but Un fixed it up nicely, adding engines and other specific modifications that are necessary to run this kind of ship in this world. Piscine was actually shocked and grateful that Un gave her the ship. He explained to Piscine that he felt that she needed the Arya more than he did so he passed it on to her to use – Piscine thought it was a spur of the moment decision because Un often thinks over big or small decisions for a good amount of time. The siblings even have an inside joke that Un has to think about where to go to toilet beforehand even if he was as desperate as a child with loose motion. Piscine thought about renaming it before she left but went against her own idea when she remembered that Arya is the name of the girl that Un was going to marry. She died from the bends, which is a rare case for the clans since they are good swimmers by nature. Un remains unmarried to this day. Piscine hopes that Un giving Arya to her is a sign that he is finally going to be able to move on.
‘You need to give her the freedom I can’t have,’ he told her as he looks at the ship lovingly when he gave her the keys.
It took her three days to finally reach her destination and she found the peaceful warmer waters are not as welcoming as before. Back in the days, you would not normally encounter predators in broad daylight. This time, they were everywhere and it was only noon. But this did not deter Piscine from her mission to find Alder and Oak.
Piscine wasted no time. She packed supplies with her, spears and her knives. She checked engines, fuel, so far so good. She had to remind herself that she was alone this time. Her family is at the other side of the Other Waters. She chose this life and she will make them proud somehow. She went back to the navigation deck and pulled a lever. There was a growing noise from the bottom of the boat. From the middle of the boat, a gigantic hole opened to make way for an inflating balloon. In a few minutes, Arya was in the air, floating so calmly, blending in with the sky. Piscine punched a few buttons and made sure she will be able to find Arya when she gets back. This is after all, her new home.
After checking everything in her ship for the third time, she decided that it was time to head out. She looked at the sky to check for the time. It was approximately four in the afternoon. She went to check proper coordinates to reach Krakatoa fast and how to get back to where her ship is parked just as quickly from at least six different points in the map. Finally prepared, she stood at the edge of the ship adjusting goggles that her mother has given her to use. Then, she jumped into the waters, creating no splash or sound. Once she was in the water, she studied the new eco system of the Warm Waters and she still was not prepared for what she saw. There were more creatures around of various sizes but not one of them took any notice of her. She went past a gigantic fish that had small arms with a gigantic head and small tail, a school of piranenas which eats almost anything when hungry or even when not hungry and a group of jellishes to name a few. As she slowly took in to account how much different the Warm Waters are, she noticed half a boat sunk not too far from where she is. She wasted no time to think and swam towards the sunken boat to investigate and suddenly, she noticed the red ink surrounding the area. She felt mortified. It was the Redoctop. The last time she saw it was a few months ago. She thought the clans managed to catch it or made it go back to sleep, that’s why she did not see it. She shook her head in disbelief with herself. She was completely distracted with coming back that she didn’t even ask anyone from her family whether it was dead or asleep. She did not waste time and followed the red ink trail. It was one of the first larger creatures that escaped the Ark.
As Piscine went further to follow the trail, the more the ink faded. Perhaps finally diluted by the sea waters, she thought, but she still was not sure. She felt as if all the lessons and whatever she remembers about creatures went flying off her brain log. She was conflicted on whether to feel relieved or dread at this moment. Caution, she tells herself.  A few more metres ahead, she realized she lost the trail but she saw an array of different marine creatures swimming towards the same direction. Either they are running away from something, a bigger predator or they found something to eat. Piscine did not lose a beat and decided to check anyway. She swam swiftly through the current that can take her ahead of the creatures. The sea predators do not take notice of her at all. Soon, she realized that that the latter was the answer to her question.
The marine creatures found fish food.
Just as she was about to swim towards the new fish food, something caught her by the hair. Without thinking, she unsheathed her knives, cut the part of her hair which the tentacles grabbed, flipped around quickly and managed to cut off the part of the tentacles. The tentacle wiggled violently. She knew it was the Redoctop. She swam after it and slashed away its flesh at every opportunity she got. She noticed different marine creatures following them, following the red ink and following the free flow of food. When she managed to catch up to it, she cleanly cut its gigantic head to six different parts. Piscine did not wait for it to react. She already knows it is dead and she thought for a moment that it’s a shame that she couldn’t just return it to the Ark. But in any case, she will have to eventually kill it if she finds out that it brought any harm to anyone. She swam away quickly, leaving it to the marine creatures to feast on.
As she swam back towards the direction of the ‘fish food’ as quickly as she could. She could see two pairs of legs kicking not far from her. She will have to do another rescue, she thought, not hesitating but swam on. She will have to be swift and hopefully, they won’t see her. As she saw the crystal tooth barabara jump up; she threw a spear up with a confident precise throw. She threw another for a good measure. She also decided from there that the crystal tooth barabara will be her dinner that night. She deserved it and they were delicious.
Piscine resurfaced slowly. Only half of her head, until only her green rimmed goggles are above the water. She looked like part of periscope, looking out of the water, checking if any bigger predators like the Redoctop will come after she killed the barabara. Piscine turns around and she had the shock of her life when she saw Alder and Oak. There are no mistaking their faces.
‘My water babies!’ she screamed in excitement. They looked more mature but she knows it’s them. There can be only one, or more like two, who looks like themselves. The twins were so shocked that they thought she was some sort of mirage or they believed it was most probably a trap. They have not seen each other in six years, she can’t blame them. She probably looks more mature now than the last time they saw her.
What made her smile is when they insisted to sing one of the songs that she taught them six years ago. Her heart began to feel like it is filling up again.

 ‘Won’t you come see about me? I’ll be alone, dancing you know it baby...’ Oak started to sing. Piscine felt her heart strings tug, how beautiful his voice has become. Being such a stocky boy, you would not imagine a voice like that in him exists. Her siblings, especially Huit would have the best time singing with him, she was sure of this.
‘Tell me your troubles and doubts, giving me everything inside and out and…’ Piscine sings, imagining how the song would have been with musical instruments, imagining her family is singing along.
‘Love’s strange so real in the dark, think of the tender things that we were working on…’ Piscine can hear the emotions from Oak’s voice and she felt that they were not in dangerous waters anymore. They were singing this song at the rocks were they met and she is playing a ukelele as they sing together.
‘Slow change may pull us apart…’
‘when the light gets into your heart, baby…’

And when they swam towards each other, hugging and laughing together out of relief and happiness that she found them in such unexpected, almost impossible circumstances, she knew that she was home.

‘Don’t You forget about meeeee….don’t don’t don’t don’t!’ they continued singing in unison.

As she reassured them of the waters being safe, although her thoughts were on how to keep it safe went into overdrive. How she will do this on her own, she thought. She had a feeling that Alder and Oak were unfamiliar with the waters in the current line they are at, so she told them that the creatures are quite the norm around these waters. Although it is not as safe as it was before they meddled with the Ark. She felt pleased that she decided to bring the inflatable boat along. This was one of the these she found in her early days of scavenging and she can finally put it to good use since none of her clans felt that they needed such things. She also managed to find wooden oars floating about earlier that she found a little strange but she shook off the feeling and decided to use it anyway. She will have to investigate later. Right there and then is a good day. She will not have it any other way.

As she swam next to the inflatable boat carrying Alder and Oak. She took off her goggles for a good measure so she can see the twins more clearly. She noticed that many things did change, not just to her but to the boys as well. Their voices are deeper, their faces more angular and mature, they are much taller than she remembered too. She remembers being able to hug them and her hands will meet but this time, it doesn’t. Perhaps there are more changes that she does not know but there is time. She finally noticed that she cut off her hair during the fight. Her mother loves her hair and she would most probably get a lecture on it later on. She realized how much better they are at swimming, which makes sense since they managed to survive the attack of those predators. The thought of the boys getting better at singing warms her heart immensely. She will teach them more songs, making a mental note of it. When Alder asked her how long she’s going to stay this time, she wanted to tell him that she’s home but she felt that it would be inappropriate and she did not want to discuss what is going on with her family right now so she told them she would be around for quite a while. There is no need to elaborate. There will be time.

As she makes her way back to her ship, she told herself that she will tell the twins about what is happening eventually. Perhaps she may not have to if she found manages to contain the creatures’ migration which is most likely impossible but she will have to try. She wondered how her clan fares in the Other Waters. When she got back on board, she went to back to the navigation deck, checking the codes. No messages so far. They should be fine, she thought. She will not tell them about the red ink giant called the Redoctop. She did not think it was appropriate to worry her family over something she’s sure she can handle. But she will write an assessment report for Mer.

Time quickly passed as it always does, and after many moons, at the Other Waters, the family’s boat sinks slowly towards the deep end. The Vember clan never named their ship; her parents always thought it was a mere superstition that didn’t need attention despite many who spoke to them about their error.

The nameless ship disappears into the darkness at the bottomless waste of the Other Waters while Huginn and Muninn flies over the spot where it sank.

(Written for 2013 NaNoWriMo.)

ACT 3 SCENE 9:The Ark (Chapter 11)

Chapter 11

Piscine is ready to go out with permission granted by her parents to seek out the boys whom offered their friendship to her.

‘Anak, please be careful. They may be young but who knows whom they’ve told about you,’ her mother tells her as she does her warm ups. ‘It would benefit us to know how the city people fare now but it will be a great disadvantage if any of our clan members know about this. Be especially aware of the iron birds. There are no other but them.’

‘I will, Mom,’ she assures her, ‘If in doubt, swim back home,’ she repeated what her mother told her all these years, every day as she adjusted her industrial goggles.

‘Precisely. Seek them out, find out what you need to and get back here before dawn. Now go before I change my mind,’ her mother tells her and as quick as a fish, Piscine jumps off the boat, enters the water feet first and makes no sound or splash.

The waters in this area are definitely different from the other ocean. The ocean is not something you would call safe but this is the closest to safe that you can get here. As she swam closer to her destination, she checked water temperatures as instructed by her mother, she checked the marine life as instructed by her father and she snacked on some small fishes here and there and when she got closer to Krakatoa, she checked the perimeter of the island before getting any closer.

Piscine did not know where to start looking for them or how to look for them. Will they be on a boat out? Will they be still living in the island? She followed her intuition and went to the last place she saw them. As she swam towards her destination, she saw two figures by the rocks. They were sitting by the rocks where she left the boys the last time. She was not sure if it was them. What if there were other twins in the island? She swam towards them very slowly; she needs to exercise caution, just like what Quatre taught her. The figures finally see her as she gets closer to them. Only one way to find out if it is them, she thought.

‘My water babies! How much have you grown?!’ she calls out to them as she swam closer. The boys stood up quickly from where they were sitting and were looking around them cautiously. Piscine stopped swimming and looked around again. Caution, Piscine. Caution, she can hear Quatre saying it in her head.

‘Piscine!’ they call out to her. She gave them the widest smile she had and swam closer to them. How much have they changed since the last time she saw them?

After finding out what they have done all these years, catching up a little bit and finding out that they didn’t tell anyone about her, she felt even more relieved. The reunion was highlighted with the knowledge of their names. Alder and Oak but they will always be her water babies. She told them a little about their ways in the Clan, as Mer instructed her to do and hoped that they agree to a little secrecy when it comes to her.

As she swam back home for the night, she thought of how short of a time frame she will only spend here but it’s for the best and she will not waste a single moment.

Another highlight of the day is the marriage token. She did not plan it. She believes it was the fates that led her to find that pearl. There is a saying in their clan that if you find a pearl in the waters, and someone is very important to you, you are destined for that person. It just so happens that she found two of the same person and she thought it was magic. She will tell her family about this one day. For now, it is her own secret.

When she got back to the boat, the only question anybody asked her is that if she found the twins which she happily reported that she did. She told them how they did not tell anyone about her, how much they have grown, how much she told them about their customs and what they know as instructed by Mer, what they plan to do in the next few days before they sail out again. Her siblings were so happy to hear her stories. As she lay in bed that night, all she could think about is how happy she was, teaching them how to sing. Her heart felt full and she went to sleep with pleasant singing dreams of the twins.
When she got up the next morning, she thought of the things that she needed to teach them before she left again for the other ocean. Singing, swimming, fishing, stories from the other ocean and more singing. She must not forget to tell her family about every detail on what she taught them. Mer will keep a record.
Happy times always seems so short. Soon, it was the third sunset. Piscine helped prepare for the journey back to the other ocean and her heart, overflowing with happiness, feels mighty heavier.
As she made her way to their meeting place, she kept telling herself that she will not feel sad. She won’t show sadness to Alder and Oak. She must not. She is older. She will not be weak.
Piscine arrived at the rocks and even as hard as she tried to mask her sadness, she couldn’t help but feel the overwhelming feeling of separation. Suddenly, the twins did a salute – something she’s seen in books that they have at home but they were awkward but practiced salutes. They thanked her for saving their lives, that she will be their best friend forever, that they would always think of her and that they will wait for her.

Piscine felt her ears go hot and she squealed, feeling all the love she has burst in her chest. She cannot wait to go back. She will teach them more skills and she will teach them more songs to sing with her. She took them in her arms and it was the warmest feeling she ever felt.

(Written for 2013 NaNoWriMo.)