Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Tuesday, March 2, 1651
With clear skies and cool temperatures, and a gentle breeze blowing from the south.
Assuming the main party has left on the 1st, and that after that Enrico and Sofia solidify their relationship with Necklan and Kismet, together you hire the boat driven by Arkemis the night of the 1st. It is Tuesday morning, therefore, when you set forth. The recent full moon has shown the night before to be turning to one that is gibbous and waning, so at night the landscape should be well lit up if the sky is clear.
The extending eastern shore of Lesser Koufonisia, that Arkemis simply calls 'Pino,' is in fact not more than a third of a mile from Greater Koufonisia (which Arkemis calls 'Fakousa'). The water between is clear, down at least thirty feet, but Arkemis points out as he ferries you across that there are places where the current is fast and dangerous. He points out a whirlpool to Carlito that lasts just a few moments, that the hireling describes as barely a foot across.
Deftly, Arkemis maneuvers the boat around some impressive pillars rising out of the water, ten or twelve feet in diameter and twenty feet high, spaced along Pino's shoreline. Pino on this end shows a cliff that is about as high as the pillars, and along the base of this cliff are small caves, where the waves turn into and make rushing hollow sounds; the caves occasionally spray water back towards the sea, and Arkemis tells of how swimmers have drowned here, unable to free themselves from the pools around the caves.
He says that the island is indeed dangerous, that no one lives there. He has explored only part of it, near the beach and the spring where he's taking you. He says there are places where groves could be planted in the soil, but that most who have tried to settle there in the last century left behind the beginnings of their construction, but they themselves were missing.
He has seen a set of footprints on the beach that were as large as a giant, that were so heavy that they compressed the sand, so that when the tide rolled in the footprints rose up from the sand, like a foot-shaped hump. This tale strikes Neklan, as he had read the book about cyclops and that is a phenomenon that was mentioned in the book. He most likely mentions this to Arkemis, who laughs, saying the prints were not as big as that! "This couldn't have been bigger than 8 feet," he says. Still, he has not been back since seeing that, because he did not want to go alone.
You land on a wide, U-shaped beach, if the bottom of the 'U' were somewhat squared. The spring is near the water, just fifty or so feet above it, and there is a two foot stream that steadily pours through the sand. An immense tree, like a willow, with no central trunk but with hundreds of branches, rises a hundred feet in the air and is a hundred feet at its widest part, just above the spring, obviously fed by it.
Arkemis pulls the boat twenty feet up onto the shore, saying it will be safe there.
Above you rises a gentle slope, to a crest some two hundred feet high, scattered with wild olive, stunted oak and scrub.