BLACKSAND LANDER 262011-12-18 at 01:31 pm Blog RSS
Hair washed, Alar shook the water from him and gathered his thoughts. The past two days had brought many changes into his life. He now discovered Mara had more of a family and that they were looking for her. Mara had spent most of her life on the Crankboats of Elder Marcus. For Alar, she had been there all his life, and according to Marcus, since she was a child.
Alar got his pouch and net. The shells needed to be open he cleaned them saving the pearls in his collection box. He cleaned the coral, several pieces were of good trading quality. He cleaned and rubbed them. He took the shells and set them out on the deck making sure the bottoms sat flat so they wouldn’t tip. He scraped the bottom of the more rounded one until it remained steady.
He separated the colorful plants taking great care with the blue. It would have to dry good. He hoped he remembered how Mara did it. Was it string them ,,, no that wasn’t right. He smiled. Squeeze them ! That was it Squeeze the juices into the shells then dry the plant and dissolve it in boiling water. Alar worked on the plants pressing the juices from them into the shells. The colors staining his fingers. He stopped. A thought occurred to him. Something Abby had said. He got the glass containers now glad she had given him nearly a dozen of them.
With great care, he poured the dyes into the different glasses and hung then by the door of the cabin. The plants were drying and he could crumble them soon then boil them to a thicker die adding them to the dye in the containers. Mara had hated when the boaters wasted the dye plants only using the liquid. When the plant was dried and boiled the color became richer and it stayed in the flail fibers.
Alar looked at the purple one, he had never seen such deep color except in the skins of some fish far to the south. He was anxious, there was so much he had to do.
He had thought of what Elder Marcus had said, if he were the Blacksand Lander, then he would rebuild the people. This puzzled Alar, he had no clue what that meant. But he had been forming ideas in his head of what to do with the History crank and his cabin as well. He would trade for more flail as soon as he could. He had several bundles at the moment and knew there were plenty of flail beds to the south. He was going to be pounding and cutting flail forever but he would make bigger platforms on the History dock and anchor them too. They would be covered in blacksand and the darksand he could make. The two had begun to blend together in the box with the plant he could hardly tell the difference between the two. This excited him to no end. If he could make blacksand he could grow more of the plants!
Alar let the plants dry in the sun as he grabbed his tork and pouch now empty. He dove beneath the bow boat and made his way to the bottom. There was no time like the present to start gathering dark sand, it would take time to make it right anyway.
He reached a rock out cropping and then moved the rocks slowly one at a time exposing the dark rich sand beneath them. He scooped them into his pouch gathering bits of seaweed and dead matter as well. The first time he had avoided it unsure if it would be worth the effort, now he realized it was what made the sand dark. He surfaced and moved the sand in his box to make room for more of the dark sand, then dumped his pouch and dove again. He was not going deep and the excitement of the outcome made him not mind the twinge he felt as he dove a fourth and fifth time. At last on the sixth run, he decided he had dove too much.
He sat there breathing hard but happy as he stared at the huge amount of soil he had collected. He glanced over at the shell with the scraps in it. They were forgotten by the bird. She had had fresh fish from the sea. He would need these scraps.
He took one of the water containers and the turtle shell and stopped wondering where he had put the torn cloth he had been using. He got it from under his mat and spread it out scooping the sand into it. He poured the gill water into the shell and set the bag of sand into it and began the washing process. Over and over he washed piles of sand until they dried with very little salt crust on them, he took the rest and tossed it into the water, at last it had all been washed.. He sighed. If the crank boat people saw him doing this they would have thought he was daft wasting fresh water on sand.
He took the remaining uneaten scraps and dumped them into the sand. He went into the cabin and retrieved the many fish bones he had saved. They were dry, he got his grinding stone and pounded them into powder adding them to the sand as well. He mixed the mixture many times over and then let the sun dry it a bit and mixed it again. It was truing darker but still coarse, he knew it would turn like the rest in a few days, maybe sooner since he had crushed the bones and fish to mush.
Satisfied he had enough he spread it out and let it set then washed his hands in the ocean. They looked odd and multi colored. He knew it was safe though the dye plants weren’t poisonous. At least he hoped that purple one wasn’t. the sun shining through the glass gently from the shadow of the cabin door, sent colors across the deck.
Mara would have a blue gown for her wedding.
Alar took some of the shell meat and roasted it on a stick over his torch. He wanted a clean tork shell for tomorrow’s dive. He had stopped cutting the knots off his day minder. And laughed he had no idea how long it was before Mara would prepare for her wedding but he knew she would already be thinking of it as she set food in for the winter.
Food for the winter was a great concern for Alar but so was water. Though his gill worked. He wanted to store the cave water too. Perhaps the glass with lighters would light the area he needed to see the other drawings too. He was angry at him self, he should have been diving to do more drawings now not making more darksand.
He wondered if when the water froze if he would be able to get back to the cave anyway. It was something he had to decide on . He knew Minsk would keep the boys and who ever constructed the craft from finding out about the opening. He considered Minsk a wise man.
“It would be great if I could..” Alar looked at the dyes in the glass bottles and smiled. He hurried to the stack of pictures and took some of them out to the deck. The small shells still had small amounts of the dye in them. He pulled a feather from the bird’s nest and dipped it in the dye. It didn’t do well. He split the end of the quil and mashed it until it was brush like then touched it to the dye. The dye went into the brushes and he touched it to the pictures he had drawn carefully.
An hour later he put the quill down looking at the fifteen pictures he had done. Each with the colors he remembered from the cave. He wondered if he should have some kind of order as he arranged them. Then stopped. The pictures told a story. He had not seen it before. Trying so hard to copy the plants and the things he had not seen the story.
People were standing as water fell from the sky. They dug in the dark sand putting in the pellets,, he now knew were seeds, they worked in the gardens tending them as the plants progressed in age. They became the fields of tall grasses! There color once green,, now yellow! His plant would turn yellow. He got the rest of the pictures and laid them out on the deck. Rearranging them .
The men went back into the fields when the plants had flowered with bumps! Then cut the plants. Some of the plants were different not all was cut, but the ones like Minsk had liked with the slender pods, were taken in baskets and set aside.
Alar’s excitement grew. This was the story of how it all was done! He needed more pictures. He would need to watch the pods too. And see if the pictures explained what to do with the bumpy flowers and the pods this was exciting . He had seen and he could remember the men taking the green bulbs,, the color had been washed away but maybe the pods had turned color like his plant would! It all seemed so important.
Alar gathered the pictures and put them back in the book then tied it . They were now in order. He got his journal and wrote what his thoughts on all this were. He spoke of the men in the drawings and what each were doing.
He told of the differences in the plants, each were with purpose.
Alar wondered if maybe he would need a second journal by the end of summer. This one was filling up fast with all he was discovering.
He had already separated his personal writes about the day from the ones about the cave and drawings. He had just realized he was doing it as he reached for a different husk to add to the information about the plants.
By the time the History Crank was made, he would have many books. At least that was a thought. He would perhaps add to his books with things about Torking too. Perhaps ask other torker’s what they could contribute. He wondered if Mara would do one on divers and deep divers so that the younger children would learn.
Alar wondered if Abby would be staying for a while now that she had found Mara. Or would Mara be angry that she had been found. That too could be possible since Mara hadn’t mentioned her family at all.
Alar looked at the tower, it was crusted with salt from the spray again. He got the brush and laughed.
‘I’m free.” then decided to do it anyway since the bow boat was important for people to find. Should it go into decay the marker would not be seen. Alar brushed it clean and rinsed it down.
“Hey Little Bird, your gonna fly soon! Look at you.” he said noticing the small bird now perched on the rung of the tower, not in the nest.
He squawked at Alar then hopped to the deck and to his feet looking for a bit of fish. Alar laughed and touched the bird gently.
“You have to start hunting your self soon. But , here, have a fish.” Alar laughed tossing him a small one out of his stock.
Alar took some of the flail out and stripped it for easier pounding. He gathered up the piles and tied them he could pound them later after getting them all stripped.
After getting several bundles of strips Alar checked the colored plants they were nearly completely dry. He was debating if he should make that fire or keep the tork clean. He decided to pound the flail first and let the plants dry more .
He started the piles and continued only eating a bit and then continuing to pound and comb and roll the fibers. He left the strands of fiber in small lengthy rolls. He wondered if he was being silly making as much as he did.
Using his medium shell he began to crush the yellow plants, they had dried first. He used his small pounding stone and it made the plants a powder yellow and rich in color. He laid the powder in a huge flail leaf and tied it. Then started crushing the other colors too. The blue became deep and rich, it felt smooth it would be a good dye. He set it in a flail leaf too tying it with a piece of fiber.
He finished the colors. There was not much of the purple but there was still enough to be impressive.
Alar moved all the dyes inside. The sun had warmed them in the glass. He knew the heat might break the glass so he took them into the cabin. He was unsure at first where to set them then remembered how Abby had had them surrounded in the flail leaves and coils of rope. He tucked them around the glasses of dye gently and rolled leaves and stopped the containers.
He set the packs of color in with them. He would heat them later and blend them. He would have more to do then after doing pictures tomorrow he would also have moist colors to paint them with too. If it worked as dye for clothing, it should work for painting.
The fibers of flail he wound around his arm so they would not tangle tying them at each end to keep them wound he wanted to dye several of them himself. Perhaps Mara would make him some shirts too. Or new pants if she had time.
He remembered Minsk had promised to make Mara a larger loom. Alar grinned, where would she put it on such a tiny craft? Mara had been to other crank communities and a few had large looms. She had stared for hours at the amount of cloth it made in just a few passes.
He made a mental note to make Mara a loom when he had more platforms made. He had been thinking if he had several he could connect them and then fill the cracks with the darksand. It was something he wanted to show Minsk too. As an extra thought, Alar went to check the cracks of his cabin. The wall still felt smooth but bumpy. The crack sand had filled the cracks to keep the air out. It was still there after two days of sun.
He wrote in his journal how to make the crack filler. And set the journal aside. The light was dim now and his torch brighter. Mother gull had come from the cranks and was feeding her chick water off her feathers.
Alar closed the door as she settled in the next. He watched them for a bit in the dim light as they shifted in the nest. The nest was getting small , the chick, getting bigger. Soon she would teach him to fly, he was learning to attack his food as well.
Alar gathered up the loose fiber he had been using. Several strips of it that had dried laying on the deck. He shredded them, he would need several torches, his husks, a scraper, the brush and a bit of string.
He knew the scraps he had collected and shredded would make several good torches, he would put the large flail staffs in the shallow part and then dive. Pick them up from below and then make torches for the cave it would be easy to see more of what might be down there.
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