Oklan, Chapter 4

Yes, I know, it is Saturday, not Friday. But I have a good excuse! I was procrastinating.

Well, not quite. I was finishing a television show and that took a while. But I finished chapter four today. I also worked out a plan for the rest of this story. Hope you enjoy!

Chapter 4

 

Oklan viewed the newcomer, who was knee-deep in the pool. While, yes, the fabric he wore did look worn, now that Oklan looked at it more closely, it seemed like a very durable weave and thread. Painted onto both the fabric and the man’s forehead was a strange symbol.

The man beckoned to Oklan.

“Come, we welcome you who can move the cloud across the sky. Come!” Though it was a demand, it was said warmly and Oklan felt compelled to follow. He made his way across the moss to the edge of the pool. He walked into the surprisingly warm water. The mist from the falling water dampened Oklan’s clothing. When he saw that the water got deeper towards the middle, he controlled the water around him, pushing it away to keep him from getting wetter than needed.

He absentmindedly glanced up at the man. His eyes widened when he saw what Oklan did, and soon enough broke into a grin. He walked closer to the edge of the pool, then started through the waterfall. Oklan grasped control of the waterfall, creating a gap of air for the man to pass through. Once he got to the waterfall himself, he did the same.

Behind the waterfall was not just a cave, but a tunnel leading down into the mountain. It was well-lit with torches placed regularly in niches in the wall. They burned a clean yellow flame. As they walked, the man, who Oklan saw was probably around seventy, with dark tan skin and pale brown hair, talked to Oklan and asked him questions that Oklan only knew the answers to a few of.

“I have been watching you since yesterday. Your power…it is amazing. How do you do it?”

“I’m not entirely sure. I chose water…and…and… I’m not sure.”

“Where did you come from?”

“I’m not sure of that, either. I awoke in the ocean, out there.” Oklan gestured vaguely in the direction that he thought the ocean was.

“Ah, yes, the Ecene Sea. But how did you not drown? And how did you “awake” in the ocean?”

“I really don’t know. I’m not sure of anything. But some food other than bananas, coconuts, and dates would be very appreciated if you have any.”

“Oh yes!” the man said excitedly. “We have prepared a great feast for you. Come, come, we are nearing the Great Hall!”

As they walked, Oklan started thinking again about the potential extent of his powers. Then a thought popped into his mind.

I wonder…could I control the temperature of the water as well?

Forgetting what he was doing and who he was with, he created a small sphere of water in front of himself, while still continuing walking. He flattened it out into a bar, then focused on the temperature. He lowered it until he saw frost creeping around the edge. He kept going until the entire thing was frozen into a block of ice. Then he quickly brought up the temperature and watched the entire thing dissolve into steam.

The old man by his side walked with his eyes wide open in amazement. He looked up at Oklan. Oklan looked down at him and smiled.

“How long have you been doing this?” The old man gestured vaguely.

“About…four days, I think.” Oklan frowned. He couldn’t quite remember how long he had been on the island.

The old man’s eyes widened even further. “You learned all of that in a few days? With no problem at all?”

“Well,” Oklan thought for a moment before continuing. “Not really. Odd, actually, now that I think about it.”

Another thought came into his mind. “What is your name?”

The old man stopped and turned towards Oklan. “I am Uibel, one of the three elders on this island.”

The two of them walked for around two minutes before the passageway suddenly opened up into a massive hall. The ceiling was thirty or so feet above the tables that had been laid out with food of all sorts. Oklan noticed that it was strangely well-lit for being this deep underground. He looked up and understood why. The ground above the hall was made almost entirely of crystal of the clearest kind. They had kept this ground as a roof, allowing the sunlight to come in. There were several stone pillars placed around fifteen or so feet apart to support the heavy ceiling.

Oklan looked back down, and saw that around one-hundred and twenty pairs of eyes were focused intently on him. Uibel gestured toward a empty chair close to Oklan. He took a seat. The others, who had been standing, also sat down, but didn’t start eating. Oklan glanced at Uibel questioningly.

The elder spread his hands. “May all eat.” He then took a seat across from Oklan. The others had begun eating and passing around dishes mounded with food. Once Oklan had served himself and begun eating, he asked Uibel a question.

“Do all of you live in here, under the ground?” Oklan asked.

“Yes. And so we have lived for as long back as our records go, and further.” Uibel answered.

Ah, Oklan thought, that’s why there were no fires visible.

 

***

 

After dinner, most people shuffled out to their respective lodgings. Eventually the only people left in the great hall were Oklan, Uibel, and two other similarly aged men.

“Oklan, this is Henix,” Uibel said, pointing to one man, “and this is Grethe,” pointing to the other. “They are the other two of the three elders I mentioned earlier. We will be talking about your purpose for coming here.”

“My purpose?” Oklan asked incredulously.

“Yes. There have been no prophecies about your coming. In fact, there have been no prophecies about the time we are in now at all. It is very concerning. Henix, you should tell him more, as you know the most about the prophecies.”

Henix, who also wore the cloth with the symbol, as well as having it painted on his forehead like Uibel, spoke. “The prophecies were given to us many, many years ago. But there was a gap in them, a missing section. That is where we are right now. And all is not good. A darkness has spread itself over the land. Several of our tribe have disappeared, only for us to find their bodies in various places over the island. Always their hands and feet have turned black. We fear for what will happen to us. And that,” he said conclusively, “must be why you have come to us. We would be forever grateful if you would help us.”

“I don’t know. I mean, all I can remember is four days. I awoke in the sea.” Oklan saw Uibel nod gravely.

“We will talk on what you must do. For now, can you, Grethe, show Oklan to where he can stay the night?”

“Yes, Uibel.” Grethe got up, as did Oklan. He started walking in one direction and Oklan followed.

Together they walked down a stone tunnel for a few minutes, then Grethe led Oklan down a side tunnel and pulled a lever on the wall. Part of the stone wall slid to the side and Oklan saw a sparsely-furnished room consisting of a small bed and a table that had a few drawers underneath it.

“You can stay here as long as you want.” Grethe said. “Breakfast is at eight o’clock.” He gestured towards something Oklan hadn’t initially noticed on the wall, a small crystal panel with what looked like water behind it. Small notches were next to it.

With that, he left Oklan, pulling the lever as he left, closing the wall. Oklan wondered where the light came from, seeing that there were no windows, and looked around. He found a niche in the wall, similar to those he saw in his walk through the tunnels, in which a flame cleanly burnt. He then realized that he was very tired. He looked around for a way to turn off the flame. He found a small lever and pulled it. A thin slab of stone slid in front of the flame, flooding the room in absolute darkness. He lay down on the small bed and quickly fell asleep.

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