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fanfiction Florian's Journal Chapter 8 (A Life on the Sea)


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So...by now some of you may have been reading my chapters, and may have been wanting Florian to just get a basic shelter set up and get going with the actual adventure already! If this is you, then I feel you; because this is how I was feeling at this point in my time playing the game. Also; you may have noticed that I've been throwing a lot of secondary characters at you over the last few chapters, some named and some unnamed, but none have really stuck yet for any real length of time. Well; as those who have played Ark Survival Evolved on official servers for more than a few days, especially on PVP servers, knows...it's best not to get too attached to any buildings, tames, or even friends. A harsh world awaits those who appear on the Arks; especially for the ones who persevere. Still; this only makes every rare moment of peace that much more wonderful, and every rare moment of reunion that much sweeter.

To Celebrate the Existence of This Game, and to Mourn the approach of its Death, lets take a voyage out into ever deepening waters. 

FIRSTLY: I would like to state that this story is NONFICTION, meaning that every event is completely true and really did happen. wildcard did not provide a nonfiction prefix for me to choose, only a fanfiction one, so I guess that's what I have to go with...



                    The events of this story are Very Heavily based upon the true life events experienced through the perspective of the player character Florian, Nine, Wind. The events are marginally smoothed to convert video game aspects into real life description, and ever so slightly dramatized for entertainment purposes; to make the story more enjoyable.

                      These events occurred within the online video game “Ark Survival Evolved” which is owned by “Studio Wildcard”. So…while the original life events occurred through Florian and the other player characters mentioned within this story; the world scenery and visual assets, as well as the in-game story elements, were created by and are owned by “Studio Wildcard”.

                   These events occurred majoritively upon the “Official The Island Server 39”, with only the very ending occurring upon the “Official The Island Server 2”; and the planned Epilogue on the “Official Ragnarok Server 65”; all of which no longer exist. Server 39 and 2 would be considered "Legacy Servers" if they still existed. Server 65 would be considered a "Modern Server Soon To Be Ended" if it also still existed.

                   The player created events of this story occurred between the time period of the game’s early access launch, on the online video-game hosting service “Steam” owned by “Valve”, which debuted on June 2, 2015; and just slightly beyond the game’s "full 1.0 release" on August 29, 2017. More specifically; the story of Florian’s journey, which would be depicted within the completed version of this book(If I ever manage to fully complete it), transpired approximately between November 28, 2015 and November 4, 2017.

                    I am hoping that this story will be a way for people who love Ark; that have friends that don't like playing video games; or not open world sand box video games; but who may like to read; to show those friends what the game Ark Survival Evolved is really like; or at least what it CAN be. I am also hoping to convey to those who may read it what This Video Game Has Meant To Me Personally.

                  So...Without Further ADO...I Hope You Enjoy! :D           

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Chapter 8

A Life on the Sea

                I had spent the last day and a half rushing from one green pillar of light, in the surrounding area, to the next; swiftly plucking berries off bushes between them for sustenance. It had been absolutely exhausting work; due to the many tall, steeply forested hills in the region. However, it had been worth it; as I now had a sizable pile of fiber, thatch, wood, and pre-tanned hide which I hadn’t needed to go through the longer; more work-intensive; and additionally dangerous means of collecting by hand!

              I had also been fortunate, in that I hadn’t come across anything deadly…aside from a few Dillos and Raptors, which I’d seen far in the distance…then carefully avoided.

              All throughout my hill climbing, a plan had slowly been taking form within me…and now, I figured, I finally had enough material to see if it would actually work. ‘If I wasn’t able to keep a shelter standing on the land…then I would build one on the sea!’

            Coming down from the hill country, with the latest batch of fiber and thatch loot-bundles cradled firmly in my arms…I felt more skeptical about my plan than optimistic. Still; with a hopeful enthusiasm I quickly crossed over a large sandy hill-of-a-beach, sparsely covered with bushes and small trees, then made my way over to the hiding spot where I’d been stashing my acquired materials.

              I’d buried the items in the sand near a large wall of boulders; which extended a short ways out into the sea, about a mile or two up the coast from Dab City. The shoreline here was scattered with massive rocks, as it sloped upwards into a large sandy knoll; a mostly deserted place, which I’d found ideal for keeping my activities out of sight…both from hungry carnivores, as well as from prying eyes.

               From my vantage point near the water…I had noticed earlier, I could see yet another enormously floating tower; far off in the distance, in what I presumed was a Northerly direction…this one glowing with a blue, rather than a red, energy.

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                 I still hadn’t discovered their significance…if any.

                The spire hovered authoritatively above the peak of a massive snow-capped mountain; its form diminished and hazy with the distance between us. There were many smaller, forested mountains before it; which gradually transitioned into the steep, rolling hill country I had been searching within for supply drops.

                  The colossal obelisk, which pulsed with red energy, itself loomed almost expectantly a few miles down the coast in an opposite direction from Dab City; seeming as though it were keeping watch of the settlement…and silently judging its progress.

                 Though I was certain they’d be the same size up close, the red tower of course appeared much larger; with its vastly nearer proximity. Despite its imminence, to many of the locations at which I had recently revived, however…I’d decided to stay clear of the area for now; unsure of the towers’ importance…or usage…with all these good-sized human communities nearby appearing to hold little, if any interest in them. I had largely come to the conclusion, that it was the humans I needed to investigate first; ‘but to do that…I needed a secure and safe shelter, at which to rest and regroup.’

                Dragging the materials out from their hiding spot…I spread them out onto the beach; organizing them into separate piles, so I could get a visual sense of what I had…and what I might yet need.

               I had plenty of thatch for insulating and reinforcing…plenty of fiber for lashing…plenty of wood for the upper framework…and most importantly; plenty of hide, which I planned to sew into a great sail, so as to harness the traveling power of wind! ‘I would still need to cut down a few larger trees for the pieces on the bottom…but otherwise, it looked like I was finally ready to get working!’

               As I was planning my next steps, I suddenly heard the swift scrunching sounds of feet moving quickly across the sand behind me! “FLLLOOOOOORRRRRRIIIAANNNNNN!!”

              I turned in surprise, just as a large human body slammed into me; its arms tightly wrapping around in a fierce hug, as we fell to the sand amidst a flailing of golden locks! Seeing the man’s blue-eyed face, my terror-filled surprise quickly turned to a shocked relief; “Pqpe?!”

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                 Standing up, and offering me a hand which I firmly grasped, Pqpe laughed heartily as he pulled me to my feet saying; “I thought I’d never see you again my friend! Giglieth and I…we died! We were in that void place you talked about! Well…that is…we weren’t in there together... I mean…neither of us noticed anyone else around. We were alone like you said, but were in there at the same time…somewhere.”

                   For a moment, Pqpe took on an expression which seemed to suggest he were trying to comprehend something difficult to understand; then shook his head, as if to dispel the confusing thoughts, and continued; “Anyway, we both managed to revive near the wooden shelter somehow, and got there at about the same time, but we couldn’t find you anywhere! I thought we should wait for you or try calling out, but Giglieth…. Well, after losing two hard days of work right in a row like that…; he just couldn’t take it.”

               Pqpe lifted his hands and shrugged, as he continued in a sorrowful tone; “I tried to stop him…but he’d made up his mind. After a fit of loud cursing, and something about how it was; ‘unfair that the strong trampled on the little guy without a second thought!’, he just rushed into the forest without warning! I chased after him…trying to get him to calm down, and come back to the beach so we could think things through…but he just kept saying that; ‘it’d be better to be in the void!’. Well…I guess there’s a large swamp behind the hill we built near; cause before I could reach him, he had gotten himself between the jaws of the largest Alligator I’ve ever seen! …Suppose he got what he wanted...”

               Glad to have regained an ally…though saddened from having heard the fate of the other…I simply asked; “So then…I take it you and him saw the wooden sign our attacker left us?”

               Pqpe reached his right hand around to the back of his head and scratched resignedly; “Yeah…we did. Think that’s why he got so upset and ran off to kill himself…haven’t been sure of what to do since then. I’ve been dying to various things, and reviving around the island for the past day or so... Seen a lot of human-made structures… Tried my best to stay distanced from their occupants… Met a larger variety of terrifying creatures than I’d have ever wanted to imagine were real...”

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               Pqpe’s eyes then flashed with momentary excitement as he stated; “Found that floating tower you mentioned! I made it up the path you talked about, and got underneath it! There was just a large, metal platform with a small metal stand in its center; where the beam of light came from and shot up through its middle... I couldn’t figure out what to do with it…or how to get up to the tower itself…so I just left.”

                Pqpe scratched his beard thoughtfully while continuing; “I figure someone in one of these towns has got to know something, but I’m wary of just knocking on their front doors ya know... I think it might be easier to have a place of my own, and invite them over for a chat…so they’re the ones coming to me! Not sure how that’s going to be possible though…with them destroying every unfamiliar shack they see.”

                With a bright smile on my face, I placed my hands firmly on Pqpe’s shoulders and optimistically declared; “I think I’ve found a solution to that problem!”

                 I described to Pqpe how I’d discovered the strange supply containers that dropped from the sky, and how to unlock them. Then I showed him the materials I’d managed to gather; and told him about my plan to build a house-boat…raft…of sorts, so that I’d have a safe place from which to venture forth far from anyone else on the island; “Also, with the help of the wind and a sail, it’d be somewhat mobile; so if we did run into any problems, there’d be the chance of being able to move to a new location; and hopefully avoid any issues! So, what do you think?”

              Pqpe looked a bit skeptical that we could get such a thing to float properly with such primitive tools…but with no better plan in mind, he grabbed my right hand with his and shook it saying; “It’s worth a try, my friend. I’m not so sure such a thing would work out long term…especially if the ocean’s currents here turn out to be strong, or if the water ever got choppy in a storm…but I can’t think of any better tactic to put a roof over my head, while staying out of everyone’s way.” With the parting of our hands, the long day of constructing began!

              Working together, we quickly fashioned a couple of simple hatchets from the wood and fiber I’d collected; along with some sharp rocks picked up from the sand nearby. We then located a few large trees, and swiftly cut them down with alternating chops; segmenting their felled trunks into logs of even length, which were then dragged to the water to form the raft’s base.

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             From there, it was merely a matter of taking the materials that I’d already collected; and using them to form the rest of the structure.

             We tied the large, buoyant logs together with strong fiber cords; and secured a relatively even floor of wooden boards to their tops; making a foundation that was about eighteen feet, by eighteen feet square. Using the thatch for insulation, as well as to plug up any holes which might let in water, we built a six foot tall wall of wooden planks; lashed together by fiber threads, all along the edge of this eighteen by eighteen foot base.

             We then placed a wood door held by fiber hinges at the back; as well as a few wooden windows secured with fiber latches, spaced evenly around the other three sides, so that we’d be able to see in every direction while steering the awkward vessel. A sloped roof of wooden boards was built over the top; which rose to about twelve feet high at the peak in its center, so as to give us plenty of headspace.

               Next, we secured a large mast on the front; and tied a huge sail, made from hide sewn together with fiber threads, onto its support beams; using strategically placed fiber ropes, as a means to open or close the sail from inside the house-boat structure.

              Finally; we lashed a wooden ramp onto the back, under the door, so it would be easier to climb aboard from the open water; and a wood rudder, connected to a steering lever, to provide basic directional control.

              After a day and night of unrelenting hard-work…at last it was finished!

               With the left-over materials, we made a couple of thatch-stuffed beds with wooden frames and hide blankets; some simple wooden crates to store supplies in; and some basic fiber-cloth clothing to conceal our nakedness from the burning sun.

                Our work still far from being done, however, we spent the entire next day collecting resources from the surrounding area; cutting down the smaller trees for wood and thatch; uprooting bushes for plant fiber and berries; gathering what flint we could from the rocky shoreline, for starting fires to warm ourselves on the chilly open sea; and even hunting down a few naïve Dodos with our bare hands for meat and hide. We stuffed all of these resources into the storage crates; as we were certain that we’d need this extra preparation, before beginning the long journey ahead.

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               That evening…after a meal of fire-roasted Dodo…we finally took our rest; both of us keeping watch in shifts throughout the night, in fear that we might lose yet another hard-sought shelter.

               Then…with the slow rise of dawn…it was finally time to set sail.


               Pqpe stood on the sand with his arms crossed over his chest; “I hope this craft of yours will stay afloat, Florian. I’ve died a few different ways since waking up on this island, but I think I’d prefer not to try drowning; if I have a choice.”

               A cool breeze drifted off the ocean water, amidst the golden rays of early morning, as I smiled timidly at our rough patch-work vessel; “I’m sure it will. And, if it doesn’t, we can always try something else right?” With a shallow sense of confidence; we unhooked the fiber-rope mooring tethers, which we’d used to make sure the raft-house didn’t drift away on tidal currents, and unfurled the sails!

                 The raft-house lurched sluggishly into motion, as the sail caught hold of a strong wind. I grabbed the rudder control, while Pqpe kept track of the sail’s roping and visual navigation through the open windows.

                Skirting carefully around the large boulders near the shoreline, I steered the craft in what I assumed was a Southerly direction. I figured that; ‘traveling south would be the safer option, considering all the snow I could see up the coast in the other direction. There might be more people living on the southern side of the island, rather than the north, due to this very reason; but right now it’d be far easier to survive in a warmer climate, versus a colder one.’

               The raft-house glided fairly smoothly, with an occasional bobbing from the ocean’s waves, as we floated silently by the back-side of Dab City. From here, the town was just a large wall of stone; casting its back defiantly towards the open sea, as if rejecting its very existence. The people of the city seemed to be entirely focused upon what lay inland, rather than hoping for rescue from the direction of the open ocean; ‘a potentially important thing to take note of, perhaps.’

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                We continued sailing a few miles down the coast…keeping at a distance of about forty yards from the beach…until we reached the curve of land which was dominated by the overbearing form of that gargantuan, glowing-red, metal tower. It floated there silently…aside from the quiet hum of pulsating energy…seeming to take no interest in our presence.

                 The area was just as I had seen it before…excluding the absence of a Dillo, blocking the pathway up. For a moment, I considered landing the vessel…and heading up that trail to have a look around for myself; or at least steer through one of the wide passages, which brought ocean water in to flood the deep hole beneath, so that I could get a closer look. ‘But no; Pqpe had said that there was nothing of importance up there... For now, we need to get a better look of the island as a whole; while we still have light to see by…and find a good place to secure our floating shelter.’

                  I directed the slow-moving craft to the left…skimming around the large, separated hill of land; which held the single, giant claw-like spire of rock on the tower’s ocean side. As we came around, we found ourselves drifting into a large yet shallow river; which looked to be about eighty feet wide, and twelve feet deep. I thought for a moment…to try turning around, so as to keep our course along the island’s outer shore…but the current seemed determined to pull us in this direction.

               The land on our right rose to a great, forested, mountain of a hill; while the riverbank to our left sloped up into a shorter, milder incline. Variously sized herds of Trikes, Stegos, and Parasaurs could be seen all along the water’s edge; as well as a few Brontos, sticking their long necks out from between the nearby treetops.

                 About a half mile in, we passed by a little waterfall; which tumbled precariously over a small rocky outcrop, spilling its contents into the larger river. Another half mile or so, and the waterway became split by an elevated sheer point of stone; bending off into the inner parts of the island to our left, while curving back out into the open sea on our right.

                 With a spirit of adventurous exploration welling up inside me, I unconsciously began to angle our movement towards the left…but pulled hard on the rudder control, sending us turning sharply to the right, when Pqpe shouted in warning; “There’s a huge Spinosaurus down the river a ways to our left!”

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               ‘Spinosaurus…a terrifying alpha predator to be sure…and one which I’d sincerely hoped I wouldn’t encounter on this deadly isle of supposedly long extinct monstrosities...’

                Arguably stronger than even the more familiar Tyrannosaurus-Rex, the Spinosaurus was definitely far superior when it came to swimming speed and agility; which meant there was no way I was going anywhere near one in a boat!

                 From this distance we couldn’t get a very good look, as it hunted fish several tens of yards down the river; sending towering waves of water into the air with every pouncing splash!

                  Based upon the other creatures running away from its general location, I estimated that it appeared to be about twenty-three feet high; with a large five foot tall, sail-like fin curving in a half-circle down the length of its back. The beast stood on four powerful looking legs with three long, deadly clawed, webbed toes or fingers upon each. It looked to be about fifty-two feet long from its lengthy crocodilian-like mouth, filled with sharp pointed teeth, down to the tip of its muscular propelling tail. There seemed to be a smaller fin running along the top of its head, between its two menacing eyes, and down the back of its neck as well as one on each of its front elbows; one behind each of its thighs; and a few on its tail. All of these details caused it to look truly threatening in its thick green hide, covered with orange splashes.

                 Moving as swiftly away from the potential danger as possible, the waterway quickly widened and deepened significantly; as we found ourselves back along the island’s outer coast. Glancing in the direction we’d come, it looked as though the canal we had traveled along separated a substantial piece of land from the main island; turning it seemingly into a miniature islet of its own. Gazing upon its beach, we could see a wide scattering of dilapidated thatch huts…though no people were seen moving between them. ‘How often do new people like us wind up…confused and flailing…on the beach’, I wondered.

                     Steering away from the islet, and continuing our course along the main shoreline, we rounded a steeply cliff-covered jut of land; and found ourselves sailing by the Republic of Mongo fort area. Out of curiosity, I looked to see if there was anyone staying at the courtesy shelter…I couldn’t tell if there were anyone inside the building, but the penned-up area was empty.

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                A short distance later, we passed by the beach where we’d built our first hovels…only to have them almost immediately crushed by a more well-equipped human, and their large mount; asserting an apparent territorial authority over the otherwise empty seaside...

                A wave of sadness washed over us at the sight, as a pit of anger formed silently in our stomachs…but there was nothing we could do about the past.

                 Sailing speedily onwards, with a strong wind at our backs, we soon passed by the mouth of a large river; and almost immediately after came upon a long stretch of barren sand, covered in great crumbling towers of rock! The place seemed completely abandoned, aside from a few minor collapsing ruins betwixt the cracking pillars. About a mile or so of this; and the beach once again returned to a gently sloping, densely forested shoreline; with the occasional river flowing calmly into the unending ocean.

                We then came to a fairly large section, of relatively flat coastline; where it appeared as though a few different groups of people had built large stone-walled forts, nearly all along its length. Some had wooden docks poking a short ways out into the water, with empty rafts tied beside them; and a few even looked as though they had walled-off areas curving a good distance out into the ocean, for some reason.

                  With no-one in sight to notice our passage, we decided to keep it that way as we quietly slipped by; making sure to remember this location for possible future investigation.

               By this time; the sun had begun to sink beyond the point of afternoon, into the early evening. Seeing as we were coming to a calm, open, empty area of ocean with the beach curving inward away from our position; we decided to close the sail, and let the raft-house float adrift…hoping that it wouldn’t move too much without the aid of an anchor.


              Grabbing a few handfuls of berries each from the storage containers, we sat around a carefully designed fire-pit in the center of our apparently sea-worthy vessel; and had a mid-day meal.

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              His mouth still full…Pqpe began messing with the diamond-shaped implant below his left wrist, while loudly mumbling; “I’d been listening…to other people…speak through this thing…on rare occasion…while we were separated. I’ve even heard people say things like, ‘Ops, Wrong Chat!’…as if they could talk on multiple channels with it.”

                Finally…he swallowed, and then continued with his observation; “I’ve been doing some testing during our voyage, and I think I’ve figured it out! Normally…if you put your ear close enough to it…you can always hear an almost non-existent fuzzy hissing; kind-of like a hand-held radio that’s always turned on. But…if you press down on the white diamond hard enough, and keep it pressed, then it stops! And then…if I talk into it?”

               “Florian, can you hear me?!” ‘Florian, can you hear me?!’ Pqpe’s voice echoed from the implant below my own left wrist, just a split second behind his direct speech! Surprised…I pressed down on mine and responded; “Yep, I sure can! …This is amazing!” Almost directly after, an angry and unfamiliar male voice blurted from both our implants; “Stay Off The Island-Wide Chat You Noobs! We need to keep the channel open for Important Stuff!” Stunned…we just sat there…

                 …I could hardly believe it…our first real reaching out into the mysteries around us; and someone had even responded! Though…it had been a somewhat irritated reception.

                Pqpe then raised his implant towards me, so that I could see it clearly, and resumed excitedly; “And look at this! If I press down on the white diamond, then slide my fingers lengthwise, the color changes slightly! It’s really difficult to notice…it still looks white, right? But look really closely! If you keep swiping, it goes from being a pure white…to having an extremely slight green tint…to having a barely noticeable blue one…then a light red coloring…and back to a pure white. I think these are the chat channels people keep talking about! White must be this Island Wide Chat…green something else…blue another one…and red... Here…let’s test it!”

              Pqpe grabbed my left wrist and brushed his fingers firmly across the white diamond, so that it acquired an almost entirely unnoticeable green tint; almost unnoticeable…but I could see what he meant, as my white diamond now had just the slightest hint of a light green coloring.

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                He then set his own to the same hue…pressed down hard…and talked into it; “Can you hear me now?!” This time……only silence came from my implant; and no-one else responded either. Curiously…I wondered aloud; “What would happen if you double tapped it?”

               I firmly pressed the white diamond of my implant twice in rapid succession and, ‘VROOOM!’, to my immense shock; a holographic panel approximately one foot by one foot square, materialized horizontally a couple inches above my left arm!

              Astonished…Pqpe did the same, and another holographic panel materialized above his implant!

              Examining mine closely, I saw that it had a large amount of what appeared to be personal statistical information on it; fortunately written in English lettering. ‘Specimen Implant; Sample Number: Eight-One-One-Zero-Six-Six-Five-One-Five, Male; Vernacular ID: Florian, Nine, Wind; Species: Homo-Sapiens; Epoch: Seventy-Four; Attributes: Intelligence, Dexterity, Adaptability; Survival Quotient: Sixteen; Tribe Affiliation: None; Ark Variant: The Island, Thirty-Nine; Day: Six-Thousand Four-Hundred Fifty-One; Time: Sixteen-Hours and Forty-Five-Minutes; Temp: Twenty Degrees Celsius; Health: Good; Stamina: Excellent; Oxygen: Excellent; Hunger: Sated; Thirst: Moderate; Weight: Average; Strength: Common; Agility: Good; Fortitude: Poor; Crafting Expertise: Poor; Torpor: None.’

              The more I read…the more my mind swirled into a dazed confusion… …dumbfounded by the information I was reading. ‘Specimen Implant? …Sample Number? …Was I just some kind of lab experiment? …Tribe affiliation? …Ark Variant……Thirty-Nine? The number I’d remembered when I first awoke…a location marker? …Were there more places like this? …Day Six-Thousand Four-Hundred and…’

                 I pressed down on my implant for a moment…covering the holographic projection…and let go. ‘VRUUP!’ The holographic panel disappeared back into my arm…

               I looked over at Pqpe……he just sat there starring at his panel, with a blank expression. I reached across the fire-pit…placing my right hand on his shoulder…and said gently; “Don’t worry…we’ll figure this all out…Okay?” Pqpe…shaken from his stunned state…pressed down on his implant, causing his own panel to fizzle away...

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              After a brief moment, he slowly stood; speaking in a gradually increasing volume; “Yeah… Yeah. Let’s get moving, so we can see more of the island before nightfall… Feeling the cool ocean breeze on my face, should clear my head.”


              A quick tugging of ropes and the sail swiftly opened, to welcome the wind once more!

              As we continued on our course along the coast, which I had guessed to have been in an Easterly direction for a while now, we soon noticed a small islet of land coming up on our right; which was separated from the main island by a large expanse of deep ocean water.

              Sailing closer, we could see that the isle appeared to be in a crescent shape; with the side facing the main island being open to the sea, so that it filled a shallow inlet lake in its center. The two pointed ends of the crescent were made of an extremely flat, sand-covered beach; which rose slowly into a sparsely treed, rocky hill in the middle of the islet’s curve.

                On first glance…I wondered if it might be a good spot to dock the raft-house for the night, and make camp. As we drew closer however…we could see that passed the inlet lake, at the base of the hill, was the formidable walled form of a large metal fortress. Furthermore; there looked to be two small points of land, barely poking above the water’s surface, a short distance in front of the inlet’s mouth; each of which had a tall metal turret tower built upon it…with banners draped down their sides, sporting the letters ‘WB’ in large white font; amidst a surrounding design of black and green.

                 Steering well-clear of these forward turret towers…I knew for certain, we wouldn’t be stopping there for the night.

                To our left, we passed by a massive cliff wall…which I guessed to be about a hundred and twenty feet high…that towered over a large rock-covered beach. As we moved beyond the cliffs, the shoreline opened into a little bay area; with a large cliff-covered peninsula curving around its other side; which sloped gently to the water’s surface, as it pointed out towards the small islet on our right.

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               Built against the peninsula’s cliffs, facing the miniature bay, was an enormous rectangular stone structure; nearly as tall as the cliffs themselves! Surrounding the structure, at a good distance along the beach, was a wooden spiked-wall barricade; with a large wood gate on either side, to allow entrance into the fortified area.

                A fair distance down the peninsula’s point from this structure, positioned as though it were purposefully facing the direction of the small islet, was a large construction of wooden scaffolding about thirty-six feet high and forty-eight feet wide; which appeared to form the letters, ‘FU’.

                Of course…I couldn’t have known the true meaning behind this erected edifice. However…if the letters meant what I thought they meant…then judging by the surrounding scene, I gathered there must be something of a feud going on between the group living on the islet; and the one on the peninsula. Regardless of this being the case; I had a sense that the nearby area wouldn’t be a good place to hang around for long.

              Remaining distant from either side, we quickly navigated around the rocky peninsula; and headed up the steeply cliff-covered coastline in what I guessed was a Northerly direction, seeing as how we had now followed the shoreline in something of a half-circle route.

             Continuing onwards, the cliffs quickly turned into a dense forest of tall trees; which gave way to a small open grassland, before itself transitioning into an even denser swamp of mangroves. Gazing far into the distance…I could see an ever growing series of mountains, as the beach persisted into the frigid North.

            Finally…deciding this to be a good place to end our voyage for the day…with the slow dimming of the sun bringing on a calming twilight; there was one final thing that I wanted to see before closing the sail. Pulling hard on the rudder, I angled our course in a ninety degree path; straight away from the island’s coast!

            The vessel rocked violently with the sudden, and sharp change in direction; “What are you doing Florian?!” Pqpe wobbled slightly as he tried to keep his balance; “Sorry Pqpe! I should’ve shouted a warning first! …Since we don’t need to worry so much about dying…there’s something that’s been nagging at me this whole time…and I want to test it out before we close the sail for today!”

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              Attempting to find the words to clearly convey my train of thought, I continued; “See…with all these large groups of people living around the island…you’d think that at least some of them would have tried to build a boat and sail away right?”

              Taking just a moment’s pause to gather my thoughts, I persisted; “If nothing else; you’d think the ones who lived on the coast would have built some large fishing vessels to make use of the ocean’s resources... But, I’ve barely even seen a tiny raft tied to a rickety little dock; much less anything I could call a real ship! Almost all the fortifications we’ve seen today have had their focus entirely turned inland, despite being built near the beach! I’ve been wondering……just how far could we sail from the island’s edge?”

               With Pqpe returning to his look-out position near the front windows, we started by moving at a fairly fast pace. However…the farther away from the island we went…the slower we began to travel.

               The winds suddenly changed so that they blew towards the island, rather than away from; causing the sail itself to become an obstacle to our progress! I even felt the raft-house shift beneath me, as the underwater currents switched direction; pulling us back towards land!

               No-matter how I angled the craft, or from where I began moving away from the coast, we seemed only able to get about a mile or so out from the island’s shore; before being forced back by a combination of the wind and water currents.

             After an hour of fighting these natural forces…I finally concluded my theory; that leaving the island by boat…or at least by raft…would be impossible.

             At last, it made sense why little focus was being given to the ocean by the other humans living on the island. The small pit of despair growing ever larger in my gut…as this fact meant that rescue, or escape, from the island would be even more unlikely…still, at least one good thing did come of it; ‘floating out in the ocean would indeed be a perfect place to hide…

               With the oncoming darkness of night…we closed up the sail, and readied ourselves for slumber; while the gentle rocking of our house-boat sang us to sleep, with the calm splashing of ocean waves.

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              Both of us having become far too tired by the day’s journey to care about keeping watch in shifts…we merely hoped that the raft wouldn’t drift too far from its present location during the night.

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