Chapter 11

Uungluk and Wet Zet were the first to be ready to depart for the trip to the peninsula and arrived at the path before everyone else. Chief Oholohono, his wife Ro’Ana, and their daughter Jo’Ana showed up shortly after. After they waited a few minutes, Uungluk spoke. “Where is Commander Onoromo?”

“I would have expected him to be ready by now,” the Chief replied.

Twenty minutes later, the Commander arrived. “Sorry I’m late, but I decided to bring my wife along,” he said, pointing to the woman with him. “It took an extra two hours of packing.”

Chief Oholohono laughed. “It’s a good thing we aren’t in any hurry, and now my wife will have someone to talk to while you, Wet Zet, and I discuss various matters.”

“What about me?” Uungluk asked.

The Chief smiled. “We’ll be walking at a slow pace, so Captain Uungluk, you and Jo’Ana can run on ahead and get better acquainted.”

Feeling slightly embarrassed, Uungluk lifted his spear and rested it against his shoulder. “Do you need me to carry anything for you?” he asked the girl.

She smiled and shook her head. “You know what happens to people’s belongings when pirates get their hands on it... Besides, I’m not bringing much.”

“Let’s go,” he said to the girl. He turned and began to walk down the path with Jo’Ana following beside him.

They walked in silence until they were out of earshot of the others. “I offered the use of my ship so we could get there faster without walking,” Uungluk said, “but your father decided it would be unwise.”

“I can understand his reasons,” Jo’Ana said, “but I think it would be interesting. I’ve never been on a ship before.”

“Sailing near the shore is very different from sailing across the open sea,” Uungluk said. “When you’re near the shore you can always go to shore for new supplies. When you’re far out to sea, you have to be more careful with what you have or you’ll run into problems.”

“What sort of problems?”

Uungluk grinned. “When I was first on a ship far from shore, I made the mistake of using drinking water instead of seawater for cooking. If I had not been stopped, we could have run out of water to drink before we reached land.”

“I bet the Captain was angry about that,” Jo’Ana guessed.

“He decided then that I was a lousy sailor,” Uungluk replied. “He then asked if I was a better fighter and challenged me to a practice sword duel on the deck.”

“Did you win?”

Uungluk nodded. “I did win, although I was not very interested in fighting at the time. After he taunted my efforts, I tossed him to the deck and told him I didn’t want to fight for his profit.”

“I bet he didn’t like that,” Jo’Ana said.

Uungluk shook his head and sighed. “Twenty lashes for disrespect, and I never spoke back to him again.”

“You make it sound as if the life of a pirate is very hard,” Jo’Ana said. “Is there anything good about it?”

“It’s not that bad,” Uungluk said. “As with any other profession, there are challenges to overcome and deal with. Back when I was a prince...”

“Ha!” Jo’Ana’s laugh cut him short. “There is no way you were ever a prince!” She looked at him and noticed he was serious. “Wait, were you really?”

“At one time, yes,” he answered. “I used to be known as Prince Turos, but now I am Captain Uungluk. I hope this does not change your opinion of me.”

She shook her head. “My opinion of you remains unchanged, but it does explain why you said women were only interested in the benefits of your position, and why my father would have been so quick to accept you the following day.”

“I am sure you also realize why I need to keep my true name a secret,” Uungluk said. “I may be innocent, but Prince Turos is wanted throughout the world for a crime he did not commit. I am called Uungluk now, but a day will come when I will once again be known as Turos and will return to Atalan where I belong.” He lowered his voice. “I only fled because the Lunari told me to flee when my brother died, and there is no way I would dare to refuse their commands.”

“Can you prove you are Prince Turos?” Jo’Ana asked.

Uungluk nodded. “I showed your father the two arrows that were taken from my body when the pirates found me in the sea. I can also show the scars on my shoulder and thigh if necessary.”

“It would not be proper for you to show them to me,” Jo’Ana said. “I am curious, what are the Lunari like?”

Uungluk thought about it for a moment. “Imagine the light of the silver moon, only much brighter, and with the warmth of the sun, all coming from the same figure. They can walk like you or I, but they can also move like the wind and easily pass unharmed through any rock or steel of our world. The powers of the Lunari are great, and many who are fortunate enough to see even a glimpse of a Lunari run in fright. They wrote the prophecies and we are their minions. I have never heard of anyone being mistreated by a Lunari, but I would not dare to give them a reason to do so.”

“You make them sound so beautiful, and frightening at the same time.” Jo’Ana said. “I think I’d have to see one to fully understand.”

“They are definitely worth seeing if you get the chance,” Uungluk said. “Now that I’ve told you about life as a pirate, I’d like to hear about life in Olo.”

“There isn’t much to talk about,” she said. “We grow crops and that’s about it, while you’ve been around the world and have seen many more things.”

“I’ve never grown crops,” Uungluk said. “In Atalan everything is provided for the royal family, and as a pirate I still had all my supplies purchased by the Captain who found me and put me in charge of my current crew. Here in Olo you grow your own crops. You worry about attacks from the Overlord. You live in a jungle filled with beasts and plants that have never seen before. Despite all this, your people now control a massive territory with many villages in this land. I consider that to be an impressive feat with the many hardships.”

“Much of what has happened in my lifetime was always far away,” Jo’Ana said, “but my mother says that we have things easy compared to when she was my age.”

Uungluk laughed. “Parents always say that, and never realize that we just have different problems to deal with.”

“And what are your problems?”

“A little bit of everything,” Uungluk said. “I am accused of murdering my brother. I have a ship and a crew to care for. I have to remember to keep my true name a secret. I have to prepare for an assault against the Overlord.” He looked over at Jo’Ana. “I have a battle in my future, and if I were to be killed, I have no heir to continue the line of the Great Kings. If that isn’t a problem to worry about, then I don’t know what is.”

“Why wouldn’t they just do like we do and elect a new Great King like we elect a new chief when the line is broken?” Jo’Ana asked.

“I don’t think the Lunari would permit that,” Uungluk said. “The line has continued through the firstborn son since the first man, and I am the first where it will go to the second born. Also, if the line was broken, I think the Lunari would be the ones to choose who would be next.”

“What exactly does the Great King do?” Jo’Ana wondered. “I’ve heard my father mention the Great King, but he never seemed to be subservient in any way.”

“There are many nations throughout the world, and many kings and rulers, but the Great King is the one who brings those nations together and leads them in the struggle to fulfill the prophecies of the Lunari,” Uungluk explained.

“Why hasn’t the Great King ever bothered asking our land to join?”

“I don’t know,” Uungluk said. “To be honest, I never knew this land existed until I arrived here on a pirate ship, and even now, I only know the names of various coastal regions and not the entire land, or even the whole shape of this land.”

Jo’Ana’s eyes widened. “I never knew of any areas beyond where the Overlord is in Irata. How large is this land?”

“I’m not sure,” Uungluk answered. “But sailing here from where I first saw this land was probably about nine hundred nura and took about seven months, not including the time spent stopping for supplies.”

“I suddenly feel as if I’ve never been anywhere,” Jo’Ana said. “This land must be massive, and I only heard of a very small portion of it, and have barely seen much of that.”

“It’s a big world, and I’ve only seen a small portion of it too,” Uungluk said. “There are many lands I’ve heard of that would be very interesting to visit. Someday I’d like to visit Lajolaine, the secret land of the Barbidons. They claim that their land has the most impressive structures ever built in this world, and that only the light of the Lunari makes Atalan more impressive.”

“I’ve never heard of the Barbidons,” Jo’Ana said.

“They are not at all like us,” Uungluk said. “They are almost twice as tall as us and have blue skin. Their faces are also completely different. It was frightening when I first saw one, but after getting to know a few of the Barbidon ambassadors in Atalan, I realized that they share most of the same concerns as us.”

Jo’Ana stopped walking. “If you keep talking about all these places to see and people to meet, you’re going to have to let me on your ship and take me there.”

Uungluk also stopped walking and laughed as he turned around to face her. “If I did that, your father would have the entire Olo army building ships and hunting for me. I’d be a wanted man in two lands without having committed any actual crimes!”

“It would be better than staying here,” Jo’Ana said. “Here I have limited options. Who I am allowed to marry is determined by my father since he is very choosy about who should be allowed to succeed him. At least somewhere else I would be free to choose my own husband and my father would not be troubled with trying to please me and the tribe at the same time.”

“What sort of a man would you look for?” Uungluk asked.

“I’d look for someone that’s honest, loyal, and caring,” she answered.

“Well I’m a pirate,” Uungluk replied. “That means I’m dishonest, double-crossing, and I really don’t care!”

“But you already said that being a pirate was only a charade,” she said. “Is the real you not honest, loyal, and caring?”

“I’ll let you decide for yourself,” Uungluk said.

They continued walking along the path. That evening, they stopped and built a small fire. The rest of the group caught up and joined them for the night. The next day, they continued on their journey, with Jo’Ana and Uungluk walking ahead of everyone else. It was late afternoon when they reached their destination.

The next morning, Uungluk was out gathering firewood when he heard Wet Zet calling him. He rushed back to the camp. “What is it?” he asked.

“Look,” Wet Zet said, pointing toward the sea to the east.

Uungluk noticed a fleet of ships in the distance, sailing toward the south. Most of the ships were flying the white flag of Tanarad, but then he noticed the flag of the lead ship had the image of a golden helmet. “That’s my father’s ship,” Uungluk said. “I don’t know what he would be bringing the royal fleet to this land for. As soon as we return to our base, I’ll have to send my attendant to go find out.”

“It’s too bad you don’t have your own flag or you could signal him, and find out now” Wet Zet said.

“What would I have on my flag?” Uungluk asked.

“Two arrows, what else?” Wet Zet answered.

“That would be a bold design to be using when I need to hide from that reputation, Uungluk said.

Wet Zet shook his head. “Think about it, Captain. Prince Turos fell off a cliff and was never seen again. Likewise, Captain Uungluk went to fight a monster and was never seen again. Suddenly appearing with the recognizable two arrows as your symbol would make people wonder is he or is he not, and if so, what is his intent?”

Uungluk thought about it for a moment. “Yes, the symbol of two arrows would cause hesitation in everyone that saw it.”

They watched the ships in the distance until they disappeared from sight several hours later.

On the final morning of the trip to the peninsula, Uungluk and Jo’Ana sat together at the top of the peak, watching the sunrise.

“This is a beautiful land,” she said.

Uungluk smiled. “It is, and as the future Great King, I think it should be named Jo’Ana after you.”

“That is quite an honor,” she said. “Now you’ll have to reveal your true name and send out messengers telling all the people of this land what to call it.”

“That might take awhile,” Uungluk said, “but I’ll see about getting to it one of these days.”

They then returned to the village of the Olo.