Ah, the ocean. It's powerful, and vast. It isolates much from all. As for some isolated victims...well, they've been isolated for so long, that the mainland's probably forgotten all about them.
And when the mainland forgets something...that's a VERY big deal.
These are the Otomanguean Islands. They're uninhabited. If you were here a few years ago, the same wouldn't have applied. But a society can go crazy, when it's cut off from the rest of the world...and when someone offers to ferry them to the mainland, they often get so excited, that they lend little, if any, thought to what...or WHO, rather...they leave behind.
Once, a few of these islands were home to the great Otomi race. With their talents, they wove. They lashed. They thatched. They hammered. They tanned. They fished. They hunted. They gathered. They potted. They cleaved. They stewed. They grew. They tamed. They hung. They beat. And the women spent much time preparing themselves for public display.
And as for the jaguarondis on this island, they went "fiddle-I-fee, fiddle-I-fee, fiddle-I-fee, (yee-haw!), and a-fiddle-I-fee!" (Sorry; had to do that.)
For the Otomi, it was a monotonous existence...if not slightly serene. Much of it, Karana remembers fondly...although these days, she's less sure why.
From the open sea, after dawn one morning, three ships arrived. They flew Christian colors.
Offshore, they dropped anchors. From derricks, they lowered boats into the water.
One by one, they helped the Otomi pack. Some had a few items to add to their packs. These items were mostly white, and branded with a red cross.
All Karana packed was one bag...a bit bigger than a clutch, but not much so. She's not sure how, but her boat was amongst the last to get to one of the three ships. They took her aboard the smallest one in the flotilla: the Japheth. (And yes, the biggest and moderate one's names were the Shem and the Ham, if that's your next question...)
With the last Otomi aboard, the ships began making way. They weighed their anchors, and began their long trek into the big blue.
Most of the crew were either Greek, Armenian, Irish, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Croat, or Slovene. If this was the crew of the Japheth, Karana would've hated to see what the crews of the Shem and Ham were like.
It was a big ocean. In formation, the Shem took point. The Ham took the right flank, and the Japheth straggled, while taking the left flank.
As the ships get farter out, the waves get bigger. Up ahead, the skies thunder more. Here and there, they flash lightning. The sun's just about set...
In a tank in the cargo hold, a blue-ringed octopus dwells. He's rather large, for a member of his species.
Karana comes down the ladder, in a G-string. For anybody else, Christian sailors wouldn't be so liberal, as far as how they'd require their crews to dress. But Karana is an Otomi, and is used to more revealing attire. Most of the Christian men aboard WISH they were used to it. These, however, seem to have good discipline...despite not being able to stop staring at Karana, and a lot of the other younger Otomi women...who're all only a little more covered-up than Karana is.
She's drawn to the blue-ringed devil. He hunches in his tank, disguised as the bottom. Karana's always envied the blue-ringed devil's supernatural abilities of invisibility and shapeshifting. Funny; if you asked the blue-ringed devil, he'd say he envies Karana...in other ways.
This guy may look like an octopus; but Karana must not be fooled. He's an envy devil in disguise. He envies many, at the expense of himself. He's so invisible, he should be translucent. And he shapeshifts so much, he shouldn't even have a default shape.
On the bottom decks, many Christians slumber. Some of them are priests. On the top decks, many Otomis slumber. Karana is still not among them...if she ever was, or will be.
In the cargo hold, the Karana still peers through the glass, at the blue-ringed devil. She just can't seem to move past him...
He can't move past her, either. It's bound to happen...and it does. His rings light up, with bright blue light. Simultaneously, and in-sync, Karana's eyes light up the same color.
Around them, time slows. Some of the cargo is tied, or chained in place; even so, it sways when the ship does. Some of it is frozen, mid-sway. Neither Karana nor the blue-ringed devil can stop staring at each other...
At last, the creature's blue rings dim...and he blends in with the floor of his room. Karana blinks...the strange light having left her eyes.
Up many ladders, she staggers. That spell has got her feeling weaker than usual...
Up a few ladders, she slips. Not a single master-at-arms comes to her aid. Very few masters-at-arms are on duty, at this hour. So much for the vigilance of the night watch...
Karana takes a hatch through the poop deck. All around, it's started raining. The waves are even bigger than before. And the lightning bolts get too close, each time they flash.
Back and forth across the poop deck, an empty bottle of red wine rolls around. In bare feet, Karana steps on this, and slips. Away from her, the red bottle rolls over the gunwale, and into the deep.
Karana feels dizzy...and wet. Her G-string fits looser and looser around her. She's in a tight spot. It's about to get even tighter.
It's bound to happen...and it does. A giant wave rises, and submerges the entire poop deck. Karana gets submerged too.
Inside, the quarterdeck takes on a flood, too. The crew becomes so obsessed with it, that if any of them were aware of Karana's presence on the poop deck before, they've forgotten about her.
As Karana's submerged, she goes through a transformation. All around her, everything gets over a thousand times bigger. The rails do, too. And hence, as the wave descends, she, and the waters she's trapped in, flow right through the scuppers, down the freeboard, and into the deep...away from the Japheth's stern.
Like a wall/mountain, the Japheth's stern towers over Karana. And it's getting farther and farther away, as she struggles to swim towards it...
The Japheth is now far from the other two ships. And Karana's getting farther and farther from all three, as the ocean currents take her back towards the Otomanguean archipelago.
Like a bug on the water, Karana's stranded. She's not sure for how long she can stay afloat...
From above, something big approaches. It's red, and it's headed straight for her feet...
She screams, as a red bottle comes up all around her, trapping her inside. Floating right-side-up, the bottle rides the waves, and takes her across the open ocean...back towards Otomanguey.
Inside, and across the glass floor, Karana is tossed all around, by the waves. Sometimes, the bottle takes on water, and she nearly drowns.
This goes on all night. Lucky for Karana, most pelagic predators don't hunt at night.
Back aboard the Japheth, in the cargo hold, the blue-ringed devil's tank is empty. If anyone came below, they wouldn't be able to tell that the blue-ringed devil isn't trying to camouflage himself against the tank bottom...or even in there...
Through the passageways, a schipperke scurries down the halls. He's the little black watchdog of the night watch. He topples several mop buckets, and causes several deckhands to slip, as he makes his way up the ladder leading to the topside poop deck.
Aboard, one of the Christian bosun's mates scoffs. "Dutch Christians," he mutters. "The Catholics could sure teach them a thing or two..."
Once topside, the schipperke stands boldly...for as long as he can. As he gets rained on, and his fur gets wet...he shapeshifts back into the blue-ringed devil. From here, the blue-ringed devil rides the next wave into the ocean. From there, he becomes a blue dolphin, and super-swims and breaches his way to Otomanguey.
From the ship's taffrail, Christian colors fly...but not for much longer. A storm blows past, and causes the ship's colors to take off across the sky, like a parachute. It rises higher, and flies farther away from its ex-host...
Across the stormy skies, three bolts of lightning flash...and thunder, while doing so. For many Otomi and Christians alike, these are omens of doom...