alpha - ⚔️ The #Island
New beginnings are rising before every beginning and more ends are setting beyond every end.
Elessyos of Miletus
Timeless and mysterious like a beautiful woman, the Island lured and enchanted the imagination of many nations. Her main urban center, dominating the sea from the high slopes of a rocky shore, displayed the elegant and stern style of the Greek cities from Antiquity. The locals, almost always looking young and handsome, lived in imposing houses two or three storeys high, made of blue and pink marble blocks. Most of the buildings were decorated with Doric columns, often wrapped in green ivy tendrils.
Streets paved with hexagonal blocks of granite were intersecting each other at right angles, dividing the city in regular segments. At well-defined intervals, plazas with statues, silver wells, and exotic trees filled the landscape with even more color and diversity. Tall ivory towers, made of an unknown type of stone, guarded the metropolis at its fringes.
Yet, more than anything else that defined her, the main source of the Island’s fame and prosperity, the real cause that attracted, like a powerful magnet, people from everywhere, was the gold. It could be found in huge quantities in every place, from her shores to the mountains nearby. The gold, in various alloys, made up the roof tiles, the frames and hinges for doors or windows, plates and cups, most tools, some weapons, and pretty much everything else that needed the use of a cheap metal.
In spite of having this place called in one way or another by different cultures who entered or left at some point the center stage of history, the names faded away under the relentless flow of time. The only one that endured was the simple, somewhat trivial appellation of “the Island”.
You are not going to see the Island on any map, be it old or contemporary. When setting sail across the vast, rough seas, the sailors only knew her approximate direction and no one could say exactly how large or how far away she was. Still hundreds of kilometers off her beaches, the ships’ compasses would begin spinning quickly, the constellations would appear completely changed, and the Sun would rise every day from an unexpected direction.
The only way to maintain the vessel’s course was to launch periodically a chip log in the water and monitor its direction of movement. While this worked satisfactorily when navigating on a calm sea, powerful storms haunted this part of the Ocean during most of the year, making the method almost useless. In fact, the ships could never find the Island by themselves, it was the Island who would eventually allow some of them to reach her shore.
For this reason, only a few dozens vessels in all history of mankind could ever visit this fascinating place. Most of those fortunate adventurers came safely back to their home ports, giving detailed accounts about their unusual experiences. Had they not returned loaded with huge amounts of gold, the rest of the world would have thought of the Island as being only a myth.
Decades flew by, then centuries passed. The human race evolved, the technology improved. Faster, more advanced ships began crossing the Ocean back and forth, cataloging and mapping every single piece of land, every single rock rising above the immense, restless fields of foamy waves. However, no island was ever found in the part of the world where the legends placed her existence.
And so, a region of the Ocean that used to be shrouded in mystery became quickly a common transit route for commercial and military vessels. Nobody could explain what had really happened. The common opinion that emerged later among the scholars was that the Island had submerged completely inside the blue liquid abyss during a powerful earthquake that occurred near her shores at the beginning of the modern times.
The current year was 1795. Excelsior, a military brig with a crew of one hundred and twenty, was sailing along the coast, carrying weapons and ammunition for the northernmost fort of her country. The weather was good and the trip promised to be short and enjoyable. However, the ship disappeared without a trace around the date of June 12, failing to reach her destination.
Preliminary searches found no wreckage or survivors and it was assumed that Excelsior must have hit an unmapped underwater rock. Perhaps the accident happened at night, the ship sank too fast and the crew could not launch the boats in time. Or maybe the vessel had encountered a rare and unusually powerful water tornado and was completely destroyed in a few minutes, before anyone had a chance to escape.
Nonetheless, three months later, on September 14, <i>Excelsior</i> appeared unexpectedly at the entrance of her base harbor. She was in good condition and soon dropped her anchor at the pier. Thirty one members of the crew were missing, but the survivors were in good health and ready to tell the world a most unusual story. A story from a strange realm, from a different space and time.
(excerpt from "Butterfly's Dream", a novel by Marian C. Ghilea; photo by Marian C. Ghilea: The #Parliament's #Palace from #Bangkok, #Thailand)
12 sample chapters (pre-final draft) are available here: http://nivitx.blogspot.ro/2017/08/final-proof-reading-novel-almost-done.html
#scifi #literature #amwriting #romance #adventure #books #writing #fantasy #novel #comingsoon #ya #novel #chapter #prose #history #photography #nature #landscape #palmtrees #architecture
@ellowrites @ellowriting @gardenlovepoet