30 Jan

We searched all over the island for him. 


Rak and I split up and searched the skyline, but the fluffy white clouds infuriatingly gave no clues as to where Arlo had gone. They uselessly drifted overhead and away with the wind, without a care in the world. 

Damn it.  

Eventually all clouds in the sky had cleared, and there was no way in hell he was on the island. I cursed myself for letting Rak-Li drag me away, for not finishing the bastard off when I had the chance. 

Damn it!!

I was seeing red, a rage building with such ferocity in my chest that even I was frightened. How could this much intensity be coming from me? I could hardly make sense of it.

Fire spewed from my hands with no restraint, growing hotter and hotter. The mark given to me by the rainbow woman glowed brighter than ever, searing the flesh all over my body. I was burning. 


I was fire.  

The flames spread up the rest of my arms as a guttural scream burst from my mouth. 

I couldn't hold it in anymore. This, I knew, was beyond controlling.

I pounded the ground repeatedly, and the earth itself melted to magma underneath my flaming fists. There was so much pent up inside me, burning me, eating me alive. 

I had to release it. 

I couldn't tell for how long I kept going, but by the time Rak-li found me and drenched me with water, I had made a hole so deep the top ledge cast me completely in shadow. 

“What in the- how did you even manage to do this?” 

I looked at him. I didn’t have the words. 

He ran off again and brought more water, using it to lift me out of the hole.

“You need to get a hold of yourself. Do you realize we could have found out where he was going by now if we had left instead of punching holes in the ground?” Rak-li grabbed my shoulders and stared at me, but I wouldn't look back. 

I knew he was right. Even I didn't understand how I did that. 

My ability could only produce tiny flames, nothing capable of melting myself so deep in the ground. That stunt I pulled fighting Arlo was an exception. 

I studied the symbol on my arm; the flame now wrapped around my arm like a band. Somehow, I think, my ability had advanced, due to my rage. 

Rak saw what I was looking at. “Wait- your mark changed?!” 

He grabbed my arm and examined it, looking as if something else would change right before his eyes. 

“Is that what happened? How you managed to do this?” 

I shrugged. 

Rak-Li dropped my arm and got up, helping me to my feet. But when I stood, my knees buckled. I fell into Rak’s arms, and he lifted me onto his back. 

“Looks like you’ve finally run out of energy,” he said sympathetically. 

“I think… I think I’ve been running on empty for a while now,” I replied weakly. 

Rak carried me back to shore and sat me down on a rock. I winced as all of the aches of the day came back into focus.

“Alright,” Rak-Li began, “so now that we’ve gotten that out of your system. Are you ready to get back to avenging your tribe?”

I looked at him for a minute, putting my thoughts together more coherently.  

“Yeah, sorry. It’s just-” I sighed. “He was right there. I had him- It felt like I had my people’s killer right in my hands. But really, it wasn't him. I know that, believe me, I do.”

I watched Rak-Li’s expression. “All this rage just… It charged out of me like some kind of ravenous beast, sparked on at even the slightest chance at avenging my people. I would have killed him if you hadn’t stepped in. I don’t know which would be worse though, him being dead or him escaping.”

“You do have a point,” Rak conceded. “I’d say it’s safe to assume that Goltri will see us as a threat from now on, thanks to Arlo.”

“Good. He should know what’s going to hit him,” I said dangerously. 

“Hrmph,” Rak-Li said worriedly. “Why’d I have to give Arlo my name, they’ll come after me specifically now!”

I reached out and patted his arm. “Guess that’s what you get for being so diplomatic about it.”

Rak pouted, but I could tell it lacked sincerity.

“Arlo is just a man following the orders of his leader, a leader out to conquer our entire world. We can’t let that happen. We have to stop Goltri at all costs. So that our world can finally be at peace, so that men won't be forced to live, kill, and die in the name of another.” 

Rak smiled at my words of conviction. “I’m with you. But first, we need to heal. I'll collect food, water, and various other supplies for the night. Tomorrow, we will build a boat capable of sustaining us for the time we will remain at sea. Though I’m not sure how much longer that will be.” 

The night was pretty uneventful.

After eating and drinking an entire tribe's worth of resources, we fell asleep almost immediately, exhausted from the events of the day. 

My last thoughts were of my tribe. For the first time, I looked back at the good times from my days on my home land. Festivals, fishing with my father as the sun rose, mother teaching me to swim. Things went black as I remembered her smiling face.

The last two days went by in a blur as Rak and I worked to get everything together. It took a while, but several failed attempts later, we finally reached something that floated and was relatively water-tight. We wrapped and weaved palm leaves together to make a long and sturdy enough floor, and used more to build the walls. We used slender, lightweight stalks of the segmented trees that grew here, since it was sturdy yet easy to break off. I sealed the walls by coating it with the resinous sap from a tree I knew from back on my native island. Then we built a roof to protect us from the sun and other various elements.

It came out looking something like a big green canoe about as wide as I was tall, and three times as long as my height; not a far cry from the vessels I’d seen the people in my village use. Built into the floor we made space to store supplies for the journey. Together, this made a well enough vessel to get us from here toward the mainland.

I awoke to Rak-li shaking me, the sun having just risen not too long ago. 

“It's time,” he said, then yawned.

After taking a minute to let my mind wake up as well, I let Rak guide me to the boat, which was ready to be pushed into the water. Inside already was plenty more fruit and fresh water. 

“You ready?” Rak asked me. 

“Let’s do this.”

Together we grabbed the back of the boat, and pushed it into the sea.

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