Lords of Being
Chapter 36: The Island of Illusion
Our heroes are looking at the satellite image of an island that should not be present, to the northwest of the Hawaiian islands. Rosamond recognizes it and exclaims, “That’s Nuumealani. It sank ages and ages ago!”
Hellgrammite checks seismic monitors in Hawaii, Japan, and other places around the Pacific. There’s no alarms. So the island didn’t arise. It just appeared.
Catalyst asks, “Can you zoom in?”
Hellgrammite replies, “Sure.” He taps a few keys on his laptop and the image zooms in on the island. It’s all green, lush and tropical. Not what one would expect if the island had just come up from the depths. There’s a patch of square objects. “Does anybody know what those are?”
Rosamund replies, “There were Fay folk living on this island when I had a garden on the island. But they haven’t been there since it vanished. That might have been their palace.”
Glass asks, “Does anybody remember how it went away? Was it gradually worn away by the sea, or did it just mysteriously vanish?”
“Gradually,” replies Rosamund, “but that does complicate matters. If it came as an instance of itself, complete with population, if we remove the anomaly, we may have to deal with the people. Or if we remove the anomaly and it remains, that’s also a problem. The Fay there may not know about people.”
Glass muses, “And this is a military satellite. They may know about the island too.”
Captain Barron notes, “It doesn’t follow that anyone is has noticed the images yet.”
Glass hacks the satellite to change the frequency it broadcasts on, encrypts the signal, and then starts chasing any images that may have been reported. He then contacts Zabeth, tells her what’s up and finds out what satellites she’s been using and starts hacking every satellite that’s likely to be over that patch of the Pacific. He has them point somewhere else, or at clouds, or else has them do realtime Photoshopping to remove the island from the images.
While Glass’ fingers are flying over the keyboard, Captain Barron asks Rosamund, “Fay?”
“They’re still here. They just lie low.”
The Captain looks at her, and then shrugs. After seeing ghosts, people who enter an airplane cruising at 30,000 feet, Pages that entwine themselves inside of airplane panels and giant dragonflies that transform into black helicopters, he’s willing to accept that Fay live among us.
Neville suggests, “Perhaps we should be on our way before someone else notices?”
Hellgrammite does a quick review of the plane. It’s all charged up and ready to go, as he expected.
Captain Barron goes and starts his pre-flight checks, and files a flight plan from Michigan to LA, and from there to Honolulu. We’ll worry about the leg from Hawaii to the anomaly when we get there. The rest of us board and prepare for departure.
As the plane accelerates down the runway, Glass and Hellgrammite start chasing down and removing any previously downloaded images of the island. Once that is completed, or can be left in the “hands” of their online agents, Hellgrammite analyzes the images from the islands from the satellite we’ve suborned. There are people moving around down there. He manages to zoom in and enhance the images enough to determine that the people have black hair and brown skins.
Rosamund has Hellgrammite pan the image into the valley where she planted her garden. It’s evolved, but she planned for it to evolve over time. She can still recognize it. But it’s as if it’s aged a century or two. Not the ages the island has been missing. Nuumealani formed about 35 million years ago. It subsided 10 million years ago. The flora and fauna on it should be reasonably modern looking.
Glass calls Mona. “Do you remember the island of Nuumealani, and can you get there?” Mona certainly remembers it, and fondly, at that. She could probably track it down in a little bit. And now we know where to get more Babylon candles…
After completing the call with Mona, Glass pulls out a small glass sphere and hands it to Rosamund, saying, “If you and Mona manage to find a way to get there, please take this with you.” He then goes into the head, and refreshes himself in the mirror.
Hellgrammite calls Ragnison to ask if he has any contacts among the Fay. Ragnison replies that he hasn’t met with his Fay contacts in many years, and they’re European. He’ll see what he can drum up. He’ll call back when he has any information.
An hour or so later, Ragnison calls back. He hasn’t had any luck with his contacts. Hellgrammite asks Ragnison if any of the Courtiers who are trusted collaborationists have fay contacts. Ragnison comes up with four who might:
Hellgrammite calls Mohamed, “Jonathan how nice to hear from you again. How are you progressing?”
“We’re heading towards the anomaly, but it appears to be an island that has fay on it.
“An island. Full of Fay?”
“We believe that they’ll go away with the anomaly. But if not, we want to be sure that their people are ready to receive them.
“What kind of fay would these be?”
“10 million year old fay from the Pacific.”
“You’re probably dealing with the Menehune or the Nawao. They are not unusual as Fay go. They have the usual range of magical talents. They are no more pugnacious than your usual wilderness fay. You think they have been transported from 10 million years ago?”
“We’re not sure. The island appears to have aged a couple of hundred years since any of us where there. We haven’t arrived yet.”
“I will contact my Fay and Djinnish friends to see what can be done. They may know something. I should think that they would remember an incident like this. It would be a great story, though 10 million years is a long time, even among the Fay. I will inquire. I will be happy to help in any way I can.”
“Thank you for your assistance.” Hellgrammite ends the call, and then pulls out his Deck and thumbs through it. Unfortunately nothing jumps out at him as useful.
Neville searches the web for information on the island and the two groups of fay.
He finds one mention of Nuumealani that describes it as ten days sail from Kauai Island. Nuumalani means “High Altar.” According to legend, Namaka, the sea-goddess watched from Nuumalani as her sister Pele created volcano after volcano, until the two goddesses clashed in mortal combat.
Menehune are basically Hawaiian hobbits; child-sized fay who live in the forests. They are said to do remarkable amounts of work at their whim, like brownies. Many temples are said to have been built overnight by the Menehune.
The Nawao are wood elves. They are very beautiful and sometimes take human lovers. It is said that the Nawao sometimes take their human lovers away them, never to be seen again.
Of course, this is the internet, so take what was found with a grain of salt.
Mona calls Rosamund. “You may not have the problem you think you have. I decided to demanifest since I was going to be scouting about over sea and land and it was a good thing I did, because I left my bags and clothes in a locker in Tokyo and went flitting across the Pacific. I found Midway, and then doubled back. And I saw the island. And it was beautiful, just like I remember it. There were Polynesian Fay lounging on the beach. I wondered if they’d notice me - some Fay can sense us when we’re demanifested - but they didn’t. Since they were naked, I remanifested on the beach. And fell right through the beach into the water.”
“It’s an image?”
“I paddled around under the beach for quite some time. I manifested and demanifested an couple of times to make sure that it was all hollow. I’m in Tokyo and I’m going to find one of those locker hotels and rest up.”
“Thank you. I’ll let them know.”
Rosamund reports to us. There’s no there there.
Hellgrammite muses, “I’ll have to let Mohammed know.”
After telling the rest of us, Rosamund goes to the head and knocks on the mirror to wake Glass. “It’s an image. Mona went there and it’s an image.”
Glass walks out of the mirror, “It’s a temporal optical illusion? I really should go check it out before we make it go away.” After all, both temporal magic and optical magic are specialties of his.
“At least we don’t have to worry about dumping them into the drink.”
The remainder of the flight to Hawaii is uneventful.
After refueling, we depart Honolulu for Nuuamealani. About 30 minutes into the flight, all of the non-humans in the group feel very tired.
The Courtiers and Knights find themselves in a room with white walls. In addition to the crew from the plane, Neon and Zabeth are there. A youngish looking oriental man in a long red silk robe is standing in front of them with a card. It’s the Ace of Cats and has a VII on it. “How do you do. My name is Dr. Fu. And I hope you can help us.”
Glass steps forward holding out her hand and introduces herself as, “Sylvia deVerre.” Apparently this instance is female.
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2010
©2009 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved