“Peri, you are the one deserving life the most.”
A sentence of my infancy I never forgot, and I don’t think I’ll ever will.
“This has gone about for too long. Sister.”
“Periergeia, what you’re about to do is extremely dangerous! Do you even realize that?”
“No? If so, then let me explain it to you; you are about to risk your own life, riding a death vehicle with a bunch of outcasts, just for a mere dream of yours!”
“Listen. This is the last time I’ll tell you this, so lend me your ears and listen closely. This world doesn’t owe me a thing, I don’t need to succumb to any of you people’svalues.As for the ‘outcasts’, I find them a better society than the one you want me to live in, and it’s not a dream, well, not ONLY a dream, it’s also a hypothesis, and a very probable one too, and nothing is true or false until proven right or wrong, don’t you agree?”
“...Look, it’s because I care about you, I told you what I told, I only want your safety an-”
“Done packing the luggage, alright, so long, Sis!”
“YOU INSOLENT UNGRATFUL BRAT! AND AFTER ALL MY EFFORTS TO RAISE YOU!*sobs*...dammit! Just...*sobs*ugh, stay safe! *sobs*... at least try to stay safe,Alright?”
“... Alright, I’m going now.”
After one last hug from my big sister, I left her in tears along with my old home. My name is Periergeia Anthrozel,I was born, and have been living in‘The Island’ for the whole 18 years of my life. ‘The Island’ is really the one name I can refer to this land, after all, why would people who never knew other land but theirs need a name for it?
‘The island’ is a tiny piece of dull land that in its entirety composes a small village. It is inhabited by an also small population, the ‘elders’ being at the top of the hierarchy, this due to the religion shared among the people that puts them as the mediators of the gods, meaning that every time the gods desire to communicate, they do it by the mouths of the elders, and should you ever disobey their say, you are to never reincarnate again.
Reincarnation, that. Well, the nameless religion, likewise to the land, explains the world history such as this: ‘it all begun when the gods, omnipotent and omniscient beings, decided that instead of everywhere and nowhere, there should be somewhere, instead of everywhen and nowhen, there should somewhen, there should be creation and destruction, there should be heavens and earth, there should be day and night, and there should be life and death, thus, it was all made, and we were made, they made us such as that we found our happiness and achieved our purpose if we obeyed their words, and so they chose their best works of us to command the rest, since the rest of us were not as good as them to fathom their presence. And should they face their mortality, the ones to inherit their holy position of their breed, for they are of the perfect seed.’
Unbelievable bullcrap as it is, it’s why the elders are what they are. Going back to the subject, the elders are the governors of this land, they hold absolute authority over the rest. But, as expected, as the time passed by, the elders developed to hold no regard to anything else but their own pleasures. The people of the land were upset about their apparent slavery and wanted to quit the land. And so, to assure the continuation of their free service, the elders spoke as such: "Ye people of this land, by the name of the gods we say, that you are to never try to quit the land, for there is nothing behind the vast sea but punishment for the disobedient, ye people of the land, remain as you are by the word of the gods."
They then started a whole mythology composed of legends to scare the villagers into submission. And it worked, because that was the only source of information about what behind the sea. Those legends are known as the teachings of the Island.
I was a child of this land, and needless to say that I was very discontent with my state; ‘Is that all there is to this world? This?’, this question troubled me for a while, until, soon enough, Imet a group of dreamers.They believed that there was land other that this one. And that, was what I needed the most.
The group was struggling to build a legendary vehicle called the “Safina”, it’s a vehicle said to be able to roam the sea, which was their ambition. Of course, that intrigued me, and I helped building it with what I had of wit, waiting for the day it’s finished so I get to ride it so to uncover the truth.
And now, that day has finally made its entrance.
“Peri! What took you so long? We almost thought you quitted!”
“I said goodbye to my sister.”
“I thought you were keeping it a secret from her.”
“Well, I only did, so as to spare myself from her constant nagging, I had to tell her eventually, she’ll go crazy if I disappeared without a notice. I wouldn’t want that to happen.”
“Well, that’s not so bad, you’re here anyway!”
“The vehicle, finally made.”
“Yes, and we couldn’t have done it without you! You knew everything about everything about it! And because of you, our chances of success are the highest they can be!”
“Well, don’t be, I didn’t do it for any but myself after all.”
“Honest and blunt as always. Enough lip now! Let’s sail!!! That’s the right wording, is it?”
“It is, you’re learning.”
This wrinkled, pitiful, loud woman is called Issi Lumberyax, she was the founder of this group, you see, everyone here are outcasts (orphans, widows, thieves...), including herself, she gathered those fellow outcasts, who had lost any hope in life, and brought them together, she told them that there may be land other than this one, somewhere to start anew. ‘we can’t be sure of a thing if just said to us!’, those were her iconic words.
She gave them hope. But very false it was, that hope…
The ‘Safina’ was perfectly made, just as I theorized, the nutrition for even months was provided, and everything was on point, although they were outcasts, they had it in them. Or, it may be because they were outcasts, that they had it in them. They had to.
“LISTEN UP YOU BUNCH! THIS IS THE DAY WE WORKED FOR SO HARD, AND WAITED FOR SO LONG!! IT HAS FINNALY COME UPON US!!
SINCE WE ARE NOW ON THE VERGE OF THIS CURSED LAND!!! TELL ME, PEOPLE!! CAN YOU SEE THE VERGE OF OUR HOPE??”
As they cheered to Issi’s health, we set off. The vehicle was floating gracefully, which increased their cheerfulness all the more, they cheered to my health, andI cheered to their diligence and hardwork.
After some time, we actually got quite far, the island was getting smaller and smaller, until it disappeared in the wide sea.
“LOOK!! THE ISLAND DISAPPERED LIKE IT NEVER EXISTED!! AND YET IT EXISTS!! WHY, IT IS UTTER FOOLISHNESS TO RELY ONLY ON EYES TO SEE!!”
It has been probably a month and a half since we left, we found nothing similar to a land yet, but surprisingly, the crew haven’t lost their excitement, Issi had done a great job with them, not that they have to worry about anything for the moment, we still have food and drinks, and, along the way, we’ve seen creatures of the sea we’ve never saw before, which motivated me all the more.
We are still going, it is night, and the windis perfect.
Suddenly, the very same wind started to get stronger, violently stronger, the night was getting darker as the sky was getting covered by darkening clouds, and then it hits me...
It was somewhat similar to a ‘storm’.
Storms, as I remember, were described by the teachings of the island as the wrath of the gods of the sea upon those who dare disturb their territory, they are certainly deadly, and are inescapable.
Of course, I didn’t believe it, so and not anything else of those morbid teachings, but when the ‘Rain’, drops of water from the sky, descended heavily, along with spears of light called ‘Lightning’, and ‘Thunder’, said the howls of the gods, was heard, I got scared, ‘it IS a storm. Just as I read!!!’, I thought. ‘I’ll die.’
I had to act.
I went to Issi’s office, I told her all about it.
“So, we are all certainly dead, huh?”
As I was talking, she had been taking it in calmly, and just as I finished, she, not disappointing my expectations, smirked, although she tried to hide it with her hand, I saw it. I smirked myself, then laughed back at her, that surprised her a little.
“You seem surprised, oh, MY smirk, right, it’s because you make such an interesting character.”
“What do you mean?”
“Come now, I know who you are.”
“Well, yes Peri, of course you do, I’m Issi Lumberyax!”
“Issi Lumberyax, I don’t know if that’s your real name or not, I don’t care, but I know about this fake persona of yours. You were a murderer, and a very sly one too, but eventually you were captured, then you were informed by the elders that the gods are angry with you, judged you to never reincarnate again, only if you swear this life of yours to kill this land its burdens and demons, which are of course, the likes of the people outside, who are now worshipping you as their goddess, in order for them to reincarnate into proper, helping, and kind humans. That resonated with you, didn’t it?”
“Do you even know what you’re saying?!”
I knew well what I was saying, she only confirmed it with her agitation, an agitation that was never apparent even in the chaos of the storm.
“Well, you continued with much more enthusiasm, and as the time went by, age and sickness got you bad, so you made this plan to kill all the outcasts, by making them believe in this legend, that there is other land to be found in the sea, whereas, you’re using their trust for you to kill them along with yourself, reincarnating afterwards, sickness and age burdened you anyways!”
“Won’t you cease this nonsense already?!”
Her agitation increased dramatically.
“Honestly it’s an impress-”
I was interrupted by the heavy shaking of the ship; the storm was working its way on to it.
“I said it’s an impressive plan, really, but what if I told you that actually there is a way to survive the storm, and that, is to sacrifice a soul in the name of the gods of the sea after uttering this prayer which of course I won’t tell you, the same prayer I’ve already ordered the crewmates just a bit before to utter as they act as I told them, in order to deal with the storm just to make them busy, they do trust me mind you, also, I’m armed. In other words, I can kill you here, I can ruin your whole plan, and I won’t be disturbed by anyone as I do so. so not only you will die, but your mission will fail, and you won’t be reincarnated ever again, forever resting in your worst nightmare, even for you that’s harsh! Now drop the damned act!”
This was all a ruse, I did in fact order the crewmates to utter some words and to perform some actions so they can handle the storm, but there is not such thing as a ‘way to survive the storm’ in that, I wanted to keep them busy so that even if she was to scream for help, which she did by the way, didn’t hold a damn breath, she’ll go unnoticed, also, I wanted to plant hesitation and fear in her mind, I’m known and trusted for my smarts, and in the midst of this situation, she’ll most likely buy into it, that way, I’ll have her comply, what I wanted was to get all the possible information available about the Storm, since as I said before, I gave the teachings of the island no mind.
“...What do you want? In the midst of this chaos?”
“Well, I trust that you may have thought of the plan on your OWN- “
The shaking was getting more violent.
“Look, believe me when I say that I agree with your cause, I won’t kill you before the storm if you state to me the legends whole!! Hurry!! Tell me all about them!!! They appear to be true!!! I regret not knowing!!! Tell me more!!! I want to survive!!!”
“…The legend has it that-”
A gigantic wave destroyed the whole ship, next thing I know, I drowned, and lost consciousness.
I woke up, pained, bruised, but no fatalities, I was alive so to say, I struggled to stand, then I took a look to see if anyone was alive, and as I turned my head to the left, I saw Issi with a wood pillar planted in her back, I dragged my body to her, she was already a pale stable corpse.
“You... you asked me how... it’s simple... 16 years ago... you killed my mother...a widow... your type... you befriended her... then in a moment of her weakness... as she was giving birth... you... being the midwife... killed her along with her...unborn offspring...my sibling”
“You got captured by my sister’s... husband... he was visiting as regularly... I got lucky... you would have finished me...”
My condition was annoyingly awful.
“He... he was a son of one of the elders... I overheard him go all about you to my sister...about your sentence... to dispose of the outcasts...”
I got on my knees.
“... I remembered...those memories... they were burned inside my head... But I didn’t expect tofind you where my passion is... age... sickness... they messed you up so bad...your appearance changed completely... It fooled me... but you know what gave you up... ‘Peri’... you called me Peri even when I told my full first name...”
“...this nickname...mother was the only one to call me by this nickname... you accompanied her...so I guess that stuck to you... even though you forgot all about her and me...heh heh...”
“That raised my doubt... the same doubt to be confirmed by the type of people around you... I deduced all that...”
“I had no problem with you whatsoever...”
I laid down on the ground as I said that.
“I was genuinely excited for this journey...if the storm didn’t come...you weren’t going to do athing...your plan would fail... you were weak, blind, slow, deaf... there was nothing you could do... you couldn’t poison us... we gave you food... you couldn’t burn us... we gave you light and warmness... I was on the way to my goal…Now I don’t know what real anymore…”
“...Having subordinates is surely helpful... and since they made you their goddess... these outcasts... I thought of keeping you alive and controlling them from and by you...by gaining your trust and influencing you that is...”
“It was a month and a half, I ultimately disbelieved that the storm was real thing only for it to prove me wrong... a lesson I learnt, never to be forgotten.”
“I used your trust for me... the intensity of the situation... and of course... your own beliefs and morals for my sake...Just like what you did with the outcasts...There was nothing such a sacrifice method...”
“I had to do that...or else you’ll just keep denying...And I would run out of time...All to your benefit...”
I stayed low on the ground, fatigued. I made sure to raise my voice, I wanted all of it to be heard…
People on the extremes will always stay on the extremes, they loved her extremely, and when they’ll learn the truth, they’ll hate her extremely, and team up with me hopefully.
I heard someone crying, I then rested for some time...