Catechist - A Triumph Of Souls Part 6

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"Coffee."

"What?" Simna and Stanager blurted simultaneously.

"It says it wants coffee. Not too hot, if you please. Tepid will do fine. With sugar. Lots of sugar."

It was the Captain who replied. "You're joking, landsman. I know it must be you because nothing that looks like that is capable of making jokes."

"On the contrary, though this is the first Kraken to come to my personal acquaintance, I know from experience in the shallow waters below my village that squid have a very highly developed sense of humor. But it is not joking. It wants coffee. I admit that it is a request that puzzles me as well."



"Well, that's something, anyway, if you're as bemused as I am."

"Yes," he admitted. "What exactly is 'coffee'? I gather from the description that it is some kind of food."

While Simna slowly and carefully elucidated to his tall friend the nature of coffee, explaining that it was a warm beverage not unlike tea, Stanager conferred with the s.h.i.+p's cook. They had tea and coffee both.

Not being an addict, the Captain had no difficulty with agreeing to sacrifice their store of the darker beverage. Parting with an entire sack of sugar, more than half the s.h.i.+p's supply, was another matter. The alternative, however, was surely more dispiriting still.

"Have you a cauldron?" Ehomba asked her. "Perhaps for rendering out seal blubber?"

"This is not a fis.h.i.+ng boat. Cook will use her largest kettle to prepare the brew." Stanager peered past him, to where the Kraken continued to hover like a mariner's worst nightmare hard by the port bow of theGromsketter. "It will have to be big enough."

As matters developed, the iron kettle was more than sufficient to hold the multiple gallons of dark, aromatic liquid. After the sugar was added and stirred in and when it had cooled to a temperature Ehomba thought appropriate, it was presented with some ceremony to the waiting cephalopod.

A tentacle powerful enough to rip a s.h.i.+p's mainmast right out of its footing reached over the railing. The prehensile tip hooked beneath the kettle's st.u.r.dy handle. Without spilling a drop, the Kraken lifted the heavy iron over the side. Ehomba's companions rushed to the railing, expecting to see the contents of the kettle vanish down that clacking beak in a single prodigious swallow. Instead, the monster tipped the kettle ever so slightly forward, and sipped. A vast, invertebrate sigh rose from within, and the Kraken seemed to slip a little lower into the sea. As it drank, other tentacles dipped and waved.

"What's it saying, bruther?" An enchanted Simna looked on as his friend strove to communicate with the many-armed visitant.

"It is wondering why it is drinking alone, and why we do not join it."

Stanager replied absently. "It was our entire supply of coffee that went into that kettle."

"Tea will do," Ehomba a.s.sured her. "I could do with a cup myself. This has been thirsty work."

"Hoy, and I'll have a cup as well, Captain!" Simna grinned broadly.

"Just remember that I am the master here," she growled back at him, "and not some serving wench put aboard for your amus.e.m.e.nt." Muttering to herself, she went once again to confer with the cook.

So it was that Etjole Ehomba and Simna ibn Sind came to sit on the railing near the bow of the graceful sailing vessel, their sandaled feet braced against the rigging, delicately sipping tea while the herdsman conversed on matters of wind and weather, tide and current, the nature and flavor of various seafoods, and the vagaries of men who set forth to travel upon the surface of the sea, with as intimidating and alien a beast as ever plied the deep green waters.

In the course of their conversation the Kraken's skin would undergo dramatic s.h.i.+fts not only in color but of pattern. Merely by willing it so, it could generate the most captivating designs and schematics utilizing its own body as a canvas. By the time it was reproducing intensely colorful herringbones and checkerboards, the crew had abandoned its initial fear in favor of spontaneous bursts of applause.

"Just how," Stanager asked Ehomba as she stood nearby sipping her own tea, "does the Kraken develop a taste for something as foreign to the ocean as coffee?"

Putting the reasonable question to the multiple-limbed sea beast, the herdsman received an immediate and unequivocal answer. "It was once dozing on the surface at night when it collided with a merchant s.h.i.+p cruising down the eastern coast that now lies far behind us. Furious and alarmed, it reacted instinctively, and attacked. The merchantman was slow but well laid up, and fully loaded from a trading expedition to the eastern reaches of the Aboqua. Included among its cargo were several tons of coffee. The smell, I am told, was quite powerful.

"Aboard the merchantman was another like myself who speaks the tentacle-claw-finger language of the sea. Attempting to convince their enormous a.s.sailant to grant them their lives and allow them to continue on their way, they plied it with every manner of goods on board. Some the Kraken accepted, like a pair of live bullocks. Others it rejected. None carried the weight of persuasion until it tasted the coffee one crewman brought on deck for the agitated Captain. It also ate the crewman, but apparently humans go well with coffee, and so the overall effect was not significantly diminished." Ehomba drained the last of his tea.

"It held the merchantman in its grasp and its galley busily brewing until there was no more coffee to be had from its stores and cargo. Only then, with both its taste and anger a.s.suaged, did it allow the s.h.i.+p to depart. Ever since, whenever a vessel has sailed near, it has risen from the depths in hopes of encountering that dark brown liquid again. Until now, it was always disappointed."

Stanager nodded understandingly. "In every country that I know of, tea and wine are far more common libations than coffee. It is a luxury." She made a face. "One that will now be denied to us for the duration of our journey across the Semordria."

"Better to complete that journey with thirst unslaked than perish with full cup in hand," the herdsman admonished her sagely.

"I agree, but I know of drinkers of this beverage who would not. To them it is not a refreshment, but an obsession." Looking past him, she watched the monster gingerly drain the last drops from the iron kettle.

"Who would have thought to count the Kraken among their number. I hope," she added at a sudden afterthought, "that having quenched its fancy it will not now request someone to munch upon. I am fond of every member of my crew, and would not willingly give the least of them over to such a fate."

"The Kraken was angry with the s.h.i.+p that ran into it." Ehomba did his best to rea.s.sure her. "It is not angry at us." Long, supple fingers moved rapidly. "On the contrary, it is delighted to have received the best coffee it has ever tasted."

As if to underscore the herdsman's observations, a ma.s.sive tentacle reached back over the railing to place the empty kettle conscientiously on the deck. Sending a surge against the side of the s.h.i.+p, the Kraken slowly moved away as its tentacles wove a complex pattern in the air. A pattern only one man aboard theGromsketter could unravel.

"We are free to go, with thanks and in friends.h.i.+p."

Nodding tersely, Stanager turned and shouted orders. Shorn of their many-armed source of wonder and entertainment, sailors snapped out of their phantasmagoric reverie and back to work. Sails were made ready, lines drawn taut.

"Several days we lost because of the winds you freed from the old fisherman's bottle, and several more from making repairs and waiting down in the valley in the sea." Achieving only partial success, she tried to keep the irritation and impatience out of her voice as she spoke to her tall pa.s.senger. "If the winds are favorable we might make some of it up. If not, the lost time will see certain of our stores sorely thinned."

"Maybe there is a way to regain a little of the time we have lost." Turning back to the rail, Ehomba wagged his fingers energetically at the drifting Kraken. Simna paid little heed, certain that his friend was bidding their exotic erstwhile drinking companion good-bye. In point of fact, the herdsman had something different in mind.

Strikingly different.

Returning to the s.h.i.+p, the immense cephalopod promptly wrapped all ten of its tentacles one after the other around the vessel's st.u.r.dy sides. Startled seamen were shaken loose from the lower rigging or knocked off their feet by the repeated impacts. With its arrow-like tail pointing westward and its beak hard up against the prow of the s.h.i.+p, the Kraken held her in an unbreakable t.i.tan's grasp.

A gasping Stanager had instantly stopped handing out orders and directives to stumble back to Ehomba's side.

"What's going on? What went wrong?"

"Wrong?" Utterly unperturbed, Ehomba was as calm as the heavens. "Nothing has gone wrong, Captain." He gestured at the mammoth-eyed beast that even as they spoke continued to tighten its grip on the s.h.i.+p. "You expressed a desire to recover some of our lost travel time. I have coaxed our new friend into a.s.sisting us in this enterprise. See?" He gestured forward.

Seeing that he was trying to point out something beyond the bow, Stanager moved warily forward and looked down. At the base of the Kraken's mantle, a pale yellow tube had emerged. The translucent organ was pulsing slightly, as if readying itself to perform some unknown function. Having eaten many a squid, Stanager Rose was more than familiar with the organ, but not with its function. This was about to be made clear to her and to the rest of theGromsketter 's crew.

"I suggest you grab something and hold on to it." Looking past her, Ehomba repeated the warning even as he took a firm grip on a nearby stay. "Everyone hold on tight!" Noticing the stocky helmswoman still standing at her post far back on the helm deck, he added as loudly as he could, "You too, Priget!"

"Just a minute." Stanager put a restraining hand on his arm. "If Priget steps down, who's to steer the s.h.i.+p?"

The herdsman nodded once more at the bulbous bulk that now blocked much of the view forward. "I have already given our friend a heading. You see, Captain, I have been watching you these past many days, and have learned much. It is my nature to be curious about everything, including the operation and navigation of a vessel like this." Looking down, he saw the cylindrical yellow organ contract slightly.

"Hang on. I am going to." So saying, he turned away from her and made sure his fingers were wrapped tightly around the stays.

"Why?" she snapped. "What's going to hap-"

Impelled forward by the stream of water ejected by the Kraken from its rearward-facing siphon, the great sea beast shot westward across the surface of the sea. Held firm in its tentacular grasp, the Gromsketter went with it. Several sailors who had failed to fully heed Ehomba's warning were nearly left behind as the deck was all but yanked out from under them. The term "jet propulsion" was one that was as yet unknown to Stanager Rose and her crew, even as it applied to squid of all sizes and species, but the practical effects of the process were abundantly evident in their astoundingly swift progress across the water.

Her bow lifted largely clear of the surface, s.h.i.+p and squid shot across the sea at a velocity no sailing craft, however well crewed and captained, could ever hope to match. Once she was convinced of the stability of the arrangement, Stanager Rose ordered all sails reefed and pennants and flags broken out and hauled aloft, determined to show the Kraken that it was not the only one that could alter the color and design of its appearance.

How much lost time this astonis.h.i.+ng tandem journey recovered Stanager was not prepared to say, though it was evident from her expression when the Kraken, tiring of the game, finally let them go, that it was significant. Flas.h.i.+ng a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns at them as it sank beneath the swells, the sea's most intimidating monster disappeared back into the depths from which the king of crabs had originally called it forth.

The lesson of the extraordinary encounter was not lost on the members of theGromsketter 's crew. To wit: Never wag an unknowing finger at a squid, and when crossing those stretches of ocean that are endlessly wide and eternally deep, always carry a sufficiency of coffee.

VI.

The Land of the Faceless People People invariably fight with their neighbors. How often and how seriously is just a matter of degree. It did not start out that way in the Tilo Islands. Originally, it is said, in the days when settlers first arrived, necessity compelled everyone to cooperate. Survival took precedence over the usual petty human squabbles and disputes. Imposing predators lived on several of the islands, notably Greater Tilo and Hookk. Dealing with them was a matter of concern for the entire community.

Eventually, farms spread across all the islands, of which there were six that boasted cultivatable land.

Towns were raised, and fishermen set forth in small boats to net the silversides that gathered in substantial numbers in the shallows. A few hearty folk even settled the rock-strewn smaller islets. They could not farm there, but individual gardens were made possible by soil patiently carried boatload by boatload from Greater Tilo, Hookk, and Gyre. And there were always the eggs of nesting seabirds to collect and sell in season.

The settlers of the Tilos prospered. So isolated were the islands that they were never threatened by seafaring raiders. The climate was congenial, with only occasional severe winters and drenching summers.

No one much minded, as long as the fields continued to yield significant crops. With the use of guano hauled from the seabird rookeries, the fertility of the land was not only maintained but enhanced. There was even a modest deposit of dragonet guano, which as any farmer knows makes by far the best fertilizer due to the eclectic nature of dragon diet.

How and when the disputes began no one can say. History being a succession of individual memories clouded by lies and personal agendas, it was impossible to ascribe blame. Some insist it all started when a rogue from Greater Tilo stole away the love of a Gyre man's wife. Others believe it had something to do with cheating involving a load of potatoes from Basweath, potatoes being the staple food crop and therefore a matter of some gravity among the Tiloeans. Still others insisted the arguments began when a group of villagers on Middle Tilo took to calling an old woman by the name of Granni Scork a witch.

Disagreements soon gave way to fighting. s.h.i.+fting alliances between islands and even between individual villages were made and broken. Fights occasionally escalated into full-blown battles. Crops were carried off or destroyed, fis.h.i.+ng nets stolen or shredded, young women treated with less than the respect that had formerly been accorded to them. Given the vagaries of weather that seasonally a.s.saulted the islands, these clashes drew much-needed muscle and energy away from the business of growing and gathering food, repairing and building homes and shops, and generally maintaining the seemly level of civilization that the Tiloeans had hitherto enjoyed.

It was at this point (though no one can put a precise date to it) that a fed-up Granni Scork revealed to one and all that she was actually truly indeed a witch, as had been claimed all along but had since been forgotten by neighbors more interested in slaughtering one another than in following up on such hazy accusations. Observing the chaos that was consuming her beloved islands and threatening the very fabric of civilized society there, she resolved to deal with it in her own particular peculiar manner.

Seeing the faces all around her distorted with hate, and suspicion, and fear of one's neighbors, she dealt with the problem in a manner most admirably straightforward. From that point on, she declared, faces would be banned from the islands. Unable to narrow their eyes and draw up their noses and twist their mouths in expressions of animosity and dislike, the people of the Tilos would not be able to provoke reactions among their fellows. It would no longer be possible to flash looks of envy, of loathing, of disgust or dismay.

Of course, the absence of faces also eliminated any expressions of love, or caring, or just casual interest, but that was the price of peace among people too embittered to deal with the situation that had arisen and gotten out of hand in any other way.

At first there was panic, general and profound. But as soon as the initial pandemonium died down and people discovered that they could go on with their lives much as before, it was generally agreed that life was far better without the incessant fighting and conflict. Despite the absence of faces, people found that they were somehow able to perceive their surroundings sufficiently to carry out every activity that was necessary to life. To a certain extent they could still somehow see, hear, and smell. These senses were much muted, but not entirely absent. This impossible contradiction was generally ascribed to the magic of Granni Scork.

As for that redoubtable old lady, she saw to it that her own countenance traveled the same path as those of her neighbors. The loss didn't bother her. She had never particularly liked her face, and had in fact ceased caring for it very much some forty years earlier. When queried about its absence, she readily admitted that she was glad to be rid of the d.a.m.ned thing.

Much to the Tiloeans' surprise, they discovered that many of them agreed with her. One unexpected consequence of the loss of face (so to speak) was that within the society of islanders, all jealousy was eliminated. Without a face, no one could be accounted beautiful on sight or, more importantly, ugly. With everyone possessed of the same flat, blank visage, other qualities came to define a person's worth.

Kindness, intelligence, good humor, skill at work replaced the superficialities of beauty when it came to judging another individual. With nothing to covet, covetousness too vanished among the Tiloeans.

Gradually they came not only to resign themselves to their loss of face but to give thanks for it. Fighting not only vanished as a social component of island society, but life among the Tiloeans was better than ever. They returned to the tending of their farms, to their harvests and gathering, and to the cordial neighborly relations that had prevailed when the islands were first settled.

So convinced did they become on the subject that a special corps was designated to make the rounds of all Tiloean buildings. It was their job to remove faces from every piece of art, sculpture, and craftwork in the islands, so that these artifices would appropriately reflect the new look of the inhabitants and the restored peace it had brought them. Only one problem remained.

What to do with all those expunged human facades.

For while Granni Scork had been able to remove them, her skills did not extend to obliterating them entirely. For many months, dislodged eyes, noses, ears and mouths drifted like clouds of fleshy b.u.t.terflies over the islands, fitfully seeking places to rest. After Granni Scork's death, the now faceless people debated what to do with these persisting flocks of aimless facial components. While they did not want them to threaten the wonderful peace that had settled over the islands, neither could they quite bring themselves to extirpate something that had, after all, until recently comprised an intimate part of their individual selves.

There was much debate on the matter. Friendly debate, since it could not be disrupted by angry expressions among the partic.i.p.ants. Eventually it was decided to make a celebration of the business at hand. Fishermen busied themselves weaving more of those ultrafine nets that were used to catch the very smallest fish. An islands-wide party was held, following which there was a great roundup of face parts in which every citizen partic.i.p.ated.

With much shouting and yelling and waving of hands and reed screens, the emanc.i.p.ated noses and mouths, eyes and ears were herded together to be caught in the mesh nets. These were then taken to a small but secure central repository that had been built into the mountainside of Greater Tilo, where they were stored in a large locked chamber with no exit. And everyone was satisfied.

People pa.s.sed on, and when they died their respective facial components perished with them. As part of the ritual attendant on the birth of a new child, that infant's face was ceremonially expunged and evacuated to the repository, there to join hundreds of similar floating bits. Each year a festival was held to commemorate the original gathering of the emanc.i.p.ated faces, with the celebration terminating at the repository in the presence of much good food and drink. For the islanders were still able to eat, pa.s.sing sustenance through narrow, inexpressive slits in the lower portions of their faces where lips and teeth had once reposed.

Similarly, they could hear through tiny dots in the sides of their heads, and smell through dots in the center, and see, after a fas.h.i.+on, through dots situated higher up. The arrangement was too minimal to be called a face, and each was utterly identical to that of its neighbor. These openings only manifested themselves when they were required. When a person did not need to smell, for example, no dots were present in the center of his or her head.

Occasionally, visitors arrived in boats that pulled up on the sh.o.r.es of the Tilos. They were immediately taken in hand lest they disturb the delicate faceless balance that made life in the islands so agreeable.

Their faces were removed and placed in the repository with all the others. After an initial period of anguish and despair (but no screaming, in the absence of mouths), these unwilling immigrants slowly adapted to their new lives, blending in successfully with the original islanders and adding vigor and energy to what otherwise might have become a decadent and inbred stock. Because of this, the Tiloeans actually looked forward to the rare visitations from representatives of the outside world.

There came a day when a much larger vessel than usual arrived in the archipelago, sailing on a westerly heading between Greater Tilo and Hookk. It did not run up onto a beach but instead anch.o.r.ed offsh.o.r.e.

This was understandable, the local fisherfolk knew, due to the visitor's size and the water she drew. As was standard procedure in such cases, a formal greeting committee was chosen from among the most respected islanders and given the task of visiting the s.h.i.+p preparatory to welcoming its occupants into Tiloean society.

There was no reason for those on board the visiting vessel to suspect treachery. From experience, the Tiloeans knew that craft that called at the islands were usually in search of replenishments for their stores.

So the fis.h.i.+ng boats that sailed out to greet the newcomers were loaded down with the best the islands had to offer: marvelously fresh vegetables and fruits, baskets of sh.e.l.led nuts, racks of filleted fish, and cooked carca.s.ses of the eocardia and isocromys and other strange rodents and rabbitoids that roamed the islands' rocky reaches.

Observing this approaching bounty, those on board the vessel overcame their initial revulsion at the sight of the people without faces. Their queasiness quickly gave way to camaraderie as the Tiloeans boarded the craft and announced their intention to supply the visitors with whatever they might require in the way of food and water. This was not a lie. The islanders thoroughly enjoyed sharing the munificence of their harvest with callers from the outside world. It was a way of introducing them to the good life that Tiloean society had to offer.

Through their subdued senses the islanders wandered about the s.h.i.+p, finding much to admire in its construction and design. As experienced sailors, the crew of such a vessel would find plenty of work on the islands. It was a bit of surprise to find that they came not from the west, as was commonly the case for those who found themselves in the Tilos, but from much farther away, from the distant eastern lands that lay far across the open reaches of the Semordria.

No matter. They would make good citizens one and all, as soon as their initiation was complete. A feast was decreed to celebrate their arrival. It would take place on the deck of the s.h.i.+p that very evening. The Captain proved agreeable to this offer, and her crew positively enthusiastic. In the calm, safe anchorage formed by the two islands, it would be possible to enjoy the promised festivities on a steady deck.

Everything was supplied by the islanders: food, drink, and entertainment. Their excitement was infectious, and they quickly had the crew relaxing and enjoying themselves. And why not? The enthusiasm of the Tiloeans was genuine, reflecting their delight at the imminent prospect of so many new bloodlines from outside joining with their own. Indifferent to all the noise and human activity, Ahlitah promptly abandoned the main deck in search of a quiet place below where he could sleep undisturbed.

Engulfed by such a sea of open and honest conviviality, the sailors let themselves go with an abandon they had not felt since their last days on the mainland. The upper deck of the s.h.i.+p became a scene of riotous exuberance, lit by the lamps hung in the rigging and marred only by the inability of the islanders to laugh in concert with their new friends. For that, real lips and mouths were required.

But the Tiloeans managed to convey their pleasure in other ways that readily communicated themselves to the exhilarated sailors. Among other things, the islanders had become masters of dance. When several of the extremely comely men and women who had come aboard for the celebration proceeded to divest themselves of their attire, a corresponding number of mariners happily joined them in mutual dishabille.

The party went on well into the early hours of morning, by which time nearly all the celebrants had fallen unconscious either through the effects of strong drink or simple contented exhaustion. Nothing was suspected by the crew since the visiting islanders had eaten and drunk of the same victuals as they.

Unbeknownst to them, subtle seasonings that affected a person's consciousness had been cooked into all the food. As a consequence, they slept harder than would normally have been the case.

A small flotilla of fis.h.i.+ng boats soon surrounded the visitor. From within, islanders ready with ropes and nets boarded the silent s.h.i.+p. The carousing citizens who had partaken of the night's celebration would be returned to their homes to recover from the effects of the soporific seasonings in their own beds. As for the somniferous members of the crew, they were carried one by one into the fis.h.i.+ng boats and taken ash.o.r.e.

Zealous, willing hands affectionately unloaded them onto waiting wagons for the brief journey to the repository. There they were lovingly placed on clean cots, one for each man or woman. When the last had been transferred from the wagons, the priests entered. These were the heirs of Granni Scork, insofar as she had any. They were there to bless the transformation of the sailors from irritable, anxious folk capable of such primitive emotions as rage and envy and mistrust into serene, gracious residents of the Tilos.

When the priests had finished their work, bestowing their benedictions on the new citizens-to-be, they relinquished the repository to a solemn line of villagers carrying ropes and soft leather cuffs. Among them were many fishermen, these being the best and most knowledgeable people when it came to the securing of bindings and knots.

One by one they tied the visitors to their beds. Not to make prisoners of these nascent friends and neighbors, but for their own good. Tradition held that travelers newly deprived of their faces were not always immediately receptive to the painless transformation, and tended to go on wild, mad rampages of despair and self-destruction, injuring themselves and sometimes other unwary Tiloeans. So they would be kept secured until they came, each in his or her own fas.h.i.+on, to accept the inevitability of their new lives.

Earnest attendants maintained a watch until the faces of the visitors began to reflect their new surroundings and the work of the priests. Ears were usually the first to go, followed by nostrils and then the rest. As these rose like newborn moths from the faces of their sleeping owners, they were shooed and herded into the back of the repository and into the great domed chamber where hundreds of other facial elements waited to greet them. One by one, the sleeping countenances of the newcomers were reduced to smooth, featureless blanks.

Commotion filled the room when they began to wake and discover themselves faceless. Instantly, gentling attendants were at the newcomers' sides, soothing them with soft, wordless sounds and rea.s.suring touches. These would be needed in quant.i.ty over the next few days, until the panicked sailors began to exhaust themselves or otherwise calm down.

All of the frenzy and hysteria was physical. The newly faceless tried to scream, but in the absence of lips and mouths could utter only terse, noncommittal sounds. They tried to cry; an impossibility in the absence of eyes. Communication with one another and with their new benefactors would have to wait until they were taught the language of soft utterances and signs.

The largest among them, a great hairy creature who was as much beast as man, had required the largest chains on the islands to restrain him. His oversized cot rocked and bounced with his struggles, but strive as he might, he was unable to free himself. The Tiloeans took no chances, and had overbound the s.h.a.ggy mountain just to be sure. In his frantic, undisciplined exertions he was nearly matched by several of his much smaller s.h.i.+pmates. None succeeded in breaking free, though a number continued to exert themselves well into the later part of the day.

With nightfall came a certain calm as the newly defaced company realized the hopelessness of continuing to struggle. The watch within the outer repository was changed and new islanders (if not new faces) arrived to replace the first attendants. These murmured soothingly to the bound guests, striving to a.s.suage their understandable distress. After all, one does not lose one's face every day. But they would all be the better for it; they would see. Or rather, perceive, seeing in the old sense being one more unnecessary apt.i.tude that had been painlessly excised from their personages.

No lights were lit in the chamber. None were needed, since those within perceived rather than saw, and for perceiving, light was not necessary.

The Tiloeans were much taken with their new residents. Nearly every one was of sound, hearty physical stock. They would const.i.tute a wonderful addition to the general population. Already, eligible young men and women from all the islands were choosing favorites in hopes of striking an acceptable match. There were many to pick from, since every member of the s.h.i.+p's crew had been brought onto Greater Tilo from the fine s.h.i.+p now bobbing unattended at anchor in the little harbor.

Catechist - A Triumph Of Souls Part 6

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Catechist - A Triumph Of Souls Part 6 summary

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