Having piqued Evalieh’s interest, Mishavlo put her hands around him and looked into his eyes. “Will you help us—we need an answer? Without you, the Shaman Clan will try to take over and without our crystal bloom we have no way to repel their darkness,” she said.
Evalieh rolled his eyes and nodded to hurry her along. “Yes, yes, I’ll think about it, but where does the magic come in?” Before Mishavlo could speak, Evalieh tugged on his antennas and pointed them at her. “How about these? Can you help get rid of these?” Everyone looked at one another and shrugged, making Evalieh frown with disappointment.
Mishavlo looked towards the sky. “The island has a strange way of doing things that even I cannot fathom.”
“Not the answer I was looking for.” Evalieh turned towards the sky and looked at the twinkling stars. Taking a moment to think things over, he realized it had been a long time since he saw the stars in the sky. In flashes, he remembered his third birthday, when the ADAM Corporation finally took over his region. The corporation wanted to unify the earth after experiencing decay for so long. After filling in the gaps with artificial life and controlled living, Evalieh and others were taught to forget everything they ever knew in hopes of living a brighter future. A flower appeared and lights flashed, making Evalieh wince and be drawn out of his daze. “What will happen to my family while I’m away?”
From behind the bushes, a dark shadow ran along the ground and stopped at Evalieh’s feet, causing everyone to gasp. The shadow took on the shape of a tall man, yet only a bat appeared. It looked like a big gumdrop with long pointy ears.
Mishavlo yanked Evalieh behind her and pulled out a wide, jeweled blade. “Begone, shaman!” she said.
“So, you caused the earthquake?” the bat said. His posh voice squeaked between the flaps of his wings.
Evalieh latched onto Mishalvo’s leg before he realized what he was doing. Trembling, he peeked up at the bat as it began to dance in the moonlight. He rubbed his eyes and blinked, trying to figure out if he was tired or not.
Purple glyphs and symbols floated through the air around the bat. He muttered a foreign language, causing the glyphs to spark and glitch. His eyes grew wide, and his fangs appeared in a smile. Then, like a smoky tailpipe, the glyphs backfired and fizzled out. “Blast it! It seems this infernal hotline is still disconnected,” said the bat. He fell to the ground and slumped over in defeat. “And here I thought you were someone special.”
Feeling Mishavlo’s body rumble with rage, Evalieh’s eyes widened when he saw a sprawling dragon tattoo move along her body. It slithered onto her arm where she gripped her sword. Evalieh loosened his grip and backed away. Then, the bat pulled out an ivory whistle and blew a piercing tune that only Evalieh seemed to hear. He covered his ears and fell to his knees, writhing in pain. A hot tingly feeling struck him, it felt like electrified needles poking and biting at his skin.
A big shadowy gorilla jumped out of the jungle leaves, it had a skeletal face and oozed a black sludge. Mishavlo guarded Evalieh and her clan members rallied around Evalieh; they pulled him out of the way. She then grabbed ahold of the monster and headbutted it into the trees. The two disappeared behind the leaves but the ground quaked from their rumble, causing Evalieh and the others to stumble and fall.
The tiny bat flew over to Evalieh and looked into his sapphire eyes. “Interesting, little butterfly, I can see it in your eyes, you’re far from home.” The bat cocked his head and smiled a toothy grin. “Perhaps I was wrong—if you give me your heart, instead of them, maybe we could strike a deal.”
Evalieh swatted the bat away and accidentally smacked him out of the air like a crashing plane. He gasped and reached for the bat, but the clan members stopped him.
“The dark one will hear about this,” said the bat. He then backflipped along the ground and sank into the shadows.
A wailing screech echoed from the jungle leaves and a big plume of black dust rose into the moonlight. Mishavlo returned, covered in blotches of black goop. “It is done, everything is fine,” she said.
“Everything is fine?!” Evalieh spang up from the group, his body was hot with rage. “Wh-what was that—that thing?! I’ve barely been here a day and saw more trouble than I care to deal with,” he said. Mishavlo tried to answer him, but he threw his hand up and walked away. He regretted how he acted back home, causing him to be thrown into this weird and confusing world.
“Sun child,” Mishavlo said.
Evalieh whirled around, pointing his finger at the woman. “Sun child?! I never agreed to any of this. I’m no divine hero, I’m just someone who wants to go home!” He shot Mishavlo a sharp look. “I’m only sticking around because I want to hear about this magic you mentioned,” he said.
Mishavlo put her hands on her hips and laughed, causing everyone else to laugh. She then grabbed Evalieh and sat him in her lap. “Listen to me.” She plucked a golden pendant from her chest. It was shaped like a sun and held a bright flame inside a crystal case. She dangled the object in front of his face as he reached for it. She said, “This is my magic, the power of the sun, the power of our god.”
Evalieh’s sapphire eyes locked onto the pendant. It reminded him of his mother’s broach. His eyes began to well up with tears as he reached for the pendant. “Can I have this?”
Mishavlo immediately buried it in her bosom and laughed. “No, no—this is my necklace. We’ll have to get you your own.”
The clan members pulled out their necklaces and showed Evalieh.
Mishavlo said, “Under the light of our glorious sun, we proudly show off our flame.” She then stood tall and proud, with her fist along her chest. “Here on Starfall Island, the six clans grant us one of their powers. We of the Sun Clan are a ragtag group of misfits—but our hearts and eyes for adventure are stronger than any other. With me as their leader, this Clan shall never fall,” she said.
Evalieh raised a brow and smirked. Oh yes, you’re quite the misfits alright, he thought.
“Now that you’ve come to our island, you must pick a clan to survive. Unlike us natives, outsiders are strangely unfamiliar with our ways.”
“Yeah, I think I can survive on my own, thank you.”
“Oh, this is not a privilege but a demand from the island. You must pick a clan.”
Evalieh frowned and stepped away from Mishavlo, putting some distance between them. He looked down and drew a fist, his arm trembled. “Orders, from an island? I don’t think so—I’ve taken enough orders,” he said.
Interrupting the two, one of the bean ladies scurried over to Evalieh. “Which will it be?!” She ruffled her feathered dress and twirled around, dropping petals everywhere. “Who will you join?” she asked.
A bean boy came forward and danced around. “In the name of the light, we of the Sun Clan deal with the outside world, go fishing, bask in the sun, and venture across the island. We like to broaden our experience and keep the peace. We are the first to welcome anyone to the island, for their goods, their knowledge, and their companionship.”
Another man came forward. “The Moon Clan lives to the far north, hidden behind those volcanic snowcapped mountains. Unlike us, they are a group of women, led by a man, Sir Alderic. Their skin is as fair as the snow they walk on, and their features are narrow and long. They are excellent miners who craft the finest jewelry,” he said. He had to fix his golden bracelets before sitting down.
Another wobbled forward, straightening his puffy pants. “Uhm—to the northeast, above our clan is the sunken cities and waterways of the Earth and Water Clan. They’re duty bound and very traditional while tackling most of their affairs under the sea. However, they are amazing at utilizing the water in various ways, making them excellent healers.”
Mishavlo patted Evalieh on the head. “Lady Floressa, of the earth, and King Sardine, of the water are dear friends,” she said.
Then another lady came forward. “To the west of us, in the desert valleys and meteor plains, is the Warrior Clan. They are incredible hunter-gatherers and brutal sparing partners. Their robust behavior makes them stubborn to reason with, and yet, like pups of the wolf tribe, they are more loyal than family,” she said.
A young bean bounced forward and pointed towards the sky. “Sitting above us, beyond the stary sky, is the mirror city of the Sky Clan. They’re otherworldly and prefer to remain neutral in the name of purity.”
Mishavlo clapped her hands, and they echoed a boom, silencing everyone. “Alright. That’s enough. You know our members don’t decide until the ceremony of flames,” she said.
Evalieh rubbed his head, trying to take in all this information. “Listen, this is all fascinating, but I should try and find my way home!”
“Sun child, we will help you get home—you are one of us. What more do you want?”