BLACKSAND LANDER 252011-12-15 at 11:21 am Blog RSS
He opened his eyes to the morning light realizing that he had slept on the dock. He jumped up and ran to check on the tork and torch. He sighed seeing he had not burned down the cabin or his craft.
It had been a careless thing to do, leaving the fire unattended. He decided he would pay more attention to what he was doing, and less on daydreaming.
Bird squawked from the other side of the deck. He looked in her direction and groaned. Another boat was fast approaching the dock and he hadn’t even gotten breakfast. He hurried to store his torch and went to tie up the new craft.
“Alar Mock?” the woman questioned.
“That’s me, how can I help you , this is the North East ..”
“I know where I am… they said you needed someone to connect a gill system up. Are you setting it in the bow boat?” she asked with uncertainty.
“No, my craft, but wait a second, don’t board her for a moment.” Alar said thinking of what happen to Marcus.
Alar went into the cabin and came out carrying the chick in his arms. It seemed the little guy was gaining weight, he was heavy. He set him by his mother and returned to the gaping mouth woman.
“There, now you can board the craft. That Gull gets testy if you get near the chick.” Alar said and tossed a fish to the bird.
“Do you have a healthy gill?” the woman with tied back hair and loose shirt asked.
“You might want to look at it , and tell me.” Alar said knowing he had tried to keep it moist and in salt water.
The woman went in the cabin and gazed at its sparse surroundings.
“Not much in here. “ she laughed.
Alar got the Bask gills and showed her them.
“mmm seems to be of good size, and still useful, good thing you kept them moist.” she added. “Question, where do you want them set up?”
Alar lead the way to the outer platform and noticed the woman had stopped following him. Her eyes now glued to the green plant in the center of the dark sand.
“What is that!?” she gasped and edged closer first lightly touching the dark sand then the black sand. As she did, her eyes never left the plant.
“That is a plant of the ancients. I am caring for it. It will be with the History house for all to see. But for now I would appreciate you not mentioning it in the community just yet, it might get damaged if too many want to come and touch.” Alar said and watched as she pulled her hand back from the plant not wanting to damage it.
“I would like the gill installed here. “ Alar said pointing to the back of the craft where he had made a bit of room. “I don’t have enough flail for a structure to hold it.
‘Don’t worry on that, I have them they have to be made just right or it breaks in a heavy storm. Let me see what size I need. “ She said and pulled a ball of string from her pocket.
She measured the area, then frowned and measured the other direction.
‘Ok, it will fit, but just.” she said satisfied that the measure worked. She went back to her craft. It was holding two cabins and as Alar observed, it looked as if the first one might have been a private one for her living quarters, it had various shells and mats by the door.
The second cabin contained poles struts and platforms of all sized. Alar stepped back away from the woman as she came and went. He noticed she stopped ever few trips to look again at the plant and try to see it from every angle. He smiled, he had done the same thing in the cave.
Alar ate a piece of salted fish as he watched the gill structure come to life. He was amazed at how skillful this woman was as she constructed it and then rinsed the gill in the ocean several times.
“Might want to be careful ma’am, the there are Bask shadows in the water.” Alar called seeing the danger.
“I saw that thank you .” she replied and slung the wet gills to the other side of the platform and began connecting them into the structure.
Alar had never seen this done before and stood watching intently. He had seen the gill boats working constantly as a child and as he grew up but had never seen one made or installed. It was fascinating as the boat even move gently in the wind the wheel turned causing the gill to touch the water.
“I have to cast off the craft to see if it moves before I put the trough in, is this ok with you Mr. Mock?” she questioned and untied the ropes before he could agree.
“Sure, the name is Alar.” He said and jumped on to his craft adjusting the sail.
She kept her eyes on the gill as it turned adjusting it a bit here and there then setting a tiny spike of a stick in place to hold the adjustment.
She then took charge of the sail and hoisted it until it caught the wind.
Alar watched as the gill moved easily with each movement of the boat. It scooped up the water that ran through it and into the main gill then dribbled out the other side. Alar figured that was where the trough would be placed.
As he watched her re-dock, and tie the boat, his suspicions were confirmed as she brought out several panels and connected them until they formed a trough in the place where the dribble had been.
“You might want to drink from the gill of the cranks for the first few hours, that gill was out of use for a while, it might take time to filter the salt.” she said and shifted the boat. The gill turned slowly and water came down the chute. She caught some and tasted it then spit it out.
“Can we take it for a test run, I want to be sure it will work. “ Alar said wondering if the gill might be too old.
“Sure, cast off that line and we’ll go south.” she said.
“Great, I might take a quick dive while were out that way too if you don’t mind.” he said.
“You a deep diver?” she asked with surprise.
“No, I Tork..” he said and showed her the tork he rinsed the ashes out of as the boat went southward.
“My brother torked,, he died.” she said softly. “You watch them shadows Alar.” she said.
Alar suspected her brother had been caught unaware by a shark or even a Bask, but he didn’t ask.
“I will thank you . If I see a shell of some trinket down there I will get one for you if you like.” he said.
“Not needed, but thank you.” she smiled and tasted the water again coming from the chute.
“It’s improving , not quite pure yet.” she said again spitting it out.
Alar gave her a bit of water to rinse her mouth.
She tasted it and looked at him oddly.
“Where did you get this gill water from.” she said.
Alar swallowed hard. He had given her water from the cave.
“Elder Marcus gave it to me,, is it tainted?” he asked pretending to taste it. “Taste ok,, I left it in the sun it taste a bit clearer than usual.” he said.
I have to check them gills over there, see if I can make that improvement on my set ups.” she said and looked toward the water.
Alar nodded. “There are many of them in the southern waters, they sometimes come toward the east and the bow but not often.” he said pointing to a place where a patch of light green filled the water.
He turned the sail to push them in that direction
“I’ll return shortly,, you don’t worry now, I am a good Torker and watch for shadows, and I can dive deeper than most.. So it might be a while.”
Alar said so she wouldn’t worry .
He tied his rope to his waist and made sure he had both his knives and pouch. He tied his net to his side and tork tight to his head and then took a breath and jumped in.
The water felt warm from the sunlight that had been beating down on it for some time now. He went down slowly watching for markers. His eyes to the darkened shadows of the patch of Flail. He held his body still in the water as a shark went past and on its way. It had not seen him blending in with the kelp leaves floating beside him.
He made his way to the edge of the flail and kelp, small stones here and there with creatures living around and under them were outcropped from the stacks of flat stones rising from the bottom. Alar gazed with wonder taking short breaths of air as he went deeper.
Far below he saw color. Tiny fish flickered in and out of the plants as they moved in the water. The coral here had not been touched for some time, there was new growth on it in all directions.
He gathered the bits and pieces that had dropped to the bottom and then several small shells avoiding a small tentacle reaching out from under a rock toward his hand. He smiled. It was small but he knew it would grow bigger in time. The food for life was abundant in this area.
Below he saw the plants, rich in color. He swam back and cut several flail leaves and went back to the coral outcropping . Working quickly and carefully, Alar cut two red plants and rolled them in the flail leaves, stuffing them in his pouch. He then cut several of the bright deep yellow, storing them as well. His eyes followed the line of coral. These were ordinary colors,
Further on he moved down into the deeper area, something moved in the shadow but it was more afraid of Alar than he was of it. He kicked toward a path of color, carefully moving the thick groups aside, taking a bit of the dark green. He stared wondering if what he saw would make a dye or not.
The plant was purple, not blue like he was looking for. It’s deep rich color like the neon fish he had seen so often in the darkness filled the area. He removed the thick stocks and several leaves then rolled it in the flail. As he turned in the water he saw it. A patch of blue, unlike any he had ever seen. Blue dye plants were hard to locate and few in number, a rare find if there were more that twenty in one place. Alar saw at least fifteen.
He carefully selected eight of them and cut them low on the stock their color filled the water. And he quickly rolled them to prevent much color loss.
Wedged deep within the center of this color Alar saw a medium shell, it’s color not white but pink. He wondered if the color plants in this area caused this effect on the shell or if the animal had been eating of the plants. Several pinchers came out to great his hand as he tried to get the shell.
“Nasty crabs.” Alar thought to himself knocking them away with his knife. He had to hurry his air was getting low. His chest too still hurt a bit from the last deep dive. He dug deep into the sand and lifted the shell out of the plants then grasp it and put in in his net.
With a swift kick upward. Alar followed the markers he had seen and went toward the surface. He surfaced with a gasp for air. It had been deeper than he thought.
“You okay there Alar?” A worried girl asked reaching out her hand to help him back to the deck.
“Yes,, fine.” he said with a smile and took off his Tork shell setting it in the cabin. He returned and she looked at him and then down at the deck.
“I’m sorry,,, I .. I touched the plant!” she said and let out her breath.
Alar looked quickly at the plant, had she damaged it that she was sorry? He checked it out carefully. It seemed to be fine.
“I don’t mine if you touch gently, that Is ok, just don’t pinch it and things. “ he said. “No harm done to it relax. How is the water coming ?” he asked pointing to the gill still turning as the boat bobbed in the water.
“It’s better, bit fishy but not salty any more.” she said handing him a small shell of it.
“mm.. ya I can taste the fish,, but that will pass.. It will be ok then, thanks.” he said “Oh here I found this for you.”
He opened his net.” Thought the color match your cheeks. “ he said and handed her the shell.
“It’s beautiful,,do you think you could open it for me, I usually break them some how.” she said shyly.
Alar nodded sliding his bask knife into the edge and to the back of the shell.
“wow no wonder I break them.. I do it from the front!” she laughed and looked at the contents of the shell.
“Wow, lucky you! A pearl with rainbows in it!” Alar exclaimed and handed her the medium glossy pearl.
“Oh no that’s your’s for diving…”
Alar shook his head, he wanted to pay for that gill construction.
“You tell Elder Marcus the community doesn’t need to pay for the Gill install. You can have that and some white coral if you like. “ Alar said handing her a small piece he had taken from his pouch.
“I will tell him Alar, and thank you ,, the pearl or shell would have been fine,, but I love coral too. “ she said and tucked the treasures in her pocket taking the shell and putting the meat in a shell on the deck.
“You keep the meat, im allergic.” she said.. Makes me stomach sick every time.”
Alar’s eyebrows raised. An ocean person allergic to shell meat, that was a first for even him.
“Sure, if I don’t eat it I know a chick that will straight on.” Alar laughed remembering he had set his shell on the deck and the chick had stolen his meat from it in the blink of an eye.
Gill working fine and dye plants gotten, Alar felt good. He had talked with another human being too not bad for one day. He raised the sail and headed back to the bow boat.
After a second thank you , the woman packed up her bits and pieces back into the shed and took her shell to the first cabin. She returned and handed Alar something.
He stared at the glass bubble in his hand.
Glass? Can’t accept it that’s too expensive!” he said handing it back.
“Come here.” She laughed and motioned for him to follow her into the cabin on her deck.
He did and gasped as what he saw shelves of glass bulbs secured with flail to prevent them from breaking or falling in the motion of the craft.
“My father was a Sander! He had so many glass he didn’t know what to do with them, when he died, I got them. I thought maybe you could store the water or something in it… or some of that black sand.. Its beautiful.
Alar smiled and went back to his craft . Using a small shell he scooped up some of the black sand and put it in the small glass bubble.
“Here, this is a part of your history. Keep it moist with gill water. Perhaps one day I will have a plant for you to put in it if you are around.” he said.
“How many shells would you take for say six glass?” he asked.
“None. Take them take ten,, you didn’t see my shed! She laughed, “ its full in the keeper bin.”
“I think if you talk to Minsk at the Markus crank boats, you could sell a few of them glass if they aren’t too costly.” Alar said . He watched as she chose several of different sizes and gave them to him.
“I am well off and my provisions are stocked. I would charge very little for them. I just wonder if that black sand would glass up.” she said.
“No, I don’t think so, mama Mara said it was too soft for sanders to use.” Alar said.
“Mara,, Wickers” the girl asked suddenly.
Alar frowned, he had not heard anyone call Mara that for a long time.
“yes, but we all just call her Mara.” he said perplexed.
“Are you her son?” the girl asked as a girlish grin spread across her face.
“Adopted, son. She claims me as son.” Alar said proudly.
“Then we are cousins! I am Abby, my dad was Mara’s brother, I have been trying to find her forever! It is sad news I have to tell her about her brother and nephew.”
“She is at the Marcus crank boats, watch for red tie lines and that would be her crank!” Alar said. “She will marry this winter.. Hope you come too.” Alar added.
He wondered why Mara rarely said anything of her family, this girl Abby seemed a great woman and extremely smart, like Mara. Had he looked he might have even recognized the eyes. Those were Mara’s eyes he had been looking into.
“How is it your on a bow boat for the summer Alar?” she asked suddenly making Alar’s face turn bright red.
“I dint like what someone said about Mara.” Alar said.
“We are much the same you and I ,,,, I spent two summers on one. Learned all about gills from that summer.” she laughed. “But, I survived, and dad nearly killed me for the fight too.” She laughed and raised her sail.
Alar watched as she sailed off toward the crank boats. He hoped she would find Mara and Minsk and there would be no trouble.
He laughed as he turned and caught the chick stealing the shell meat off the deck.
“You little theif!” he said and carried his glass to the corner tucking it in the flail bundles that Minsk had left. He hung his pouch up and rinsed his tork out better. He had to wash his hair, it was full of soot.
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