Chapter 18: "The Ship"
The ship was like a city upon the sea; infinitely more sprawling than any vessel the travelers had imagined. Kori spent hours on that first day inspecting the mechanics, the machinery, and the weaponry that the H.S. Mightier had to offer. He disassembled everything that was permitted and then reassembled whatever he could figure out. He loved the magic that hid in function and construction. In that regard, even the ship itself was a marvel. The H.S. Mightier had apparently begun as a fleet of smaller ships, according to Admiral Earl Morton. Over the years, those ships had built up connections, conduits, and tethers to the other ships, ultimately creating the floating wonder that now ruled the waves.
Regina, Admiral Morton’s Boatswain’s Mate, rubbed sand between her palms. “It’s good to feel solid ground beneath us again; it’s been a very long time for some of us. Though this particular island is certainly…unusual. These monsters are native to this island?”
Asher frowned lightly, “I don’t think that’s quite it. I’d say that they are unique to this island. And I don’t believe that it was ever their choice to be here.”
“And that is why you are staying on this island?” Regina looked confused.
“In a way, yes. I’ve been identifying myself as a man of God for so long that I sometimes forget that comes with responsibility. I’m not like the others in my party…I wasn’t called to this journey. I’ve never been quite sure why I’m here; maybe I’m here to discover a purpose. It feels right to me. Purposeful. These creatures are not monsters, Regina. They were people once; people exactly like us. Called by an angel in a dream and then led astray by the Island King’s madness. The difference is that we were blessed with a guide who never lost faith. But these creatures…they had no such guide. Perhaps I can be that for them. Human or otherwise, they still have lives and homes and feelings. And now they are free to build their own world. Maybe they just need someone with a good heart to guide them.”
Regina nodded with understanding as Sorell approached. “What about you, Sorell. You a woman of God?”
Sorell laughed, “Not even a little bit. I’m staying because my friend needs support and he’s the bravest person I’ve ever known. So I can be brave too and do this with him. Honestly, I’ve been searching for a family my whole life. Calling these creatures family may sound strange but I know what it’s like to feel trapped and alone. For a very long time, I felt like I was on my own little island. It was a nightmare and all I needed was for someone to care. So I guess we can all grow together.”
Regina breathed deeply. “And I assume that’s why your mother is staying with you as well?”
Sorell and Asher exchanged glances. Asher answered, “Yes. That is exactly why Claire is staying with us. This is going to be our new home and our new family. For better or for worse, this is our destiny to pursue.”
After some tearful goodbyes, the H.S. Mightier left port from the island the following day with Kori, Marielle, Felix, Lesedi, and the Old Man in tow. Admiral Morton claimed that he knew the location of the lost land of Devona and that he would take them the rest of the way to their destination. All seemed right in the world at last.