The Bear stood onto hind legs and walked towards us as a woman in suede clothing and a bearskin cloak. Her bare feet stepped lightly in the sand as she moved towards us. “You must find your powers and save our people.”
“Are they all bears?”Ord asked. The woman laughed, “No.”
“The sea-born are keeping the sharks away as best they can but they won’t last much longer and the air born have been bound and are unable to turn. Forest born and mountain born have been betrayed and are bound. You must break their bonds.”
“Why did the pirates take them?” Kal shifted closer to me with the boys behind him.
“Wind born have no reason. They collect and feed off suffering.”
“If all these are changelings,”I said, “then what will prevent them from harming us?”
“Tree warriors are most sacred.”
“Tree…” Vity mouthed “warriors” without any sound. The bear woman smiled at her and pointed to us. “What about the Yeti?” Vity stepped out away from me. The woman looked at her strangely. Vity pointed to the snow-capped mountains. The woman laughed, “snow born do not change. Like tree warriors. Always one form.”
“Why aren’t we tree born? Why are we tree warriors?” asked Ord. I had wondered myself. Smiling the woman walked near the water and stepped in looking out to the ship at sea. “Tree warriors are not born in our world. Creator sends them. Always different.”
“How many have come here before us? Are they always families?”
“Who built the tree house?”
Just off shore I saw several fins…dolphins or porpoises I wasn’t sure, but they were chattering.
“They will take you to dead tree.”
“The ship?”Kal turned slightly.
“Go now.” She pointed to the dolphins. We walked towards the water. When we stepped in, our suits turned into wet suits with tanks. We had never snorkeled or scuba dived but we had seen it on tv so we put the mouth piece in, our masks had already turned into scuba masks. I was terrified and I could see that my whole family was too. I had nightmares about the ocean and sharks. Now I was supposed to head towards them. I wanted to throw up and I could feel a panic attack coming on. “Ann. Ann…keep it together. Deep Breaths.” Kal put his arm around me and moved me closer to our transports. I grabbed onto the fin and tried to breathe normal. Looking at Ord and Reas light up and Vity didn’t seem scared either. We didn’t head straight for the ship but followed the coast a bit before heading out to sea. I wanted to close my eyes but I felt I shouldn’t. We dipped down under the ship and up to the other side. The dolphins twisted and dove we couldn’t hang on. Two of them seemed to nose us up. Ord’s swim skills were not the strongest and one of the dolphins seemed to sense it and supported him up to the top until we all came above water on the back side of the ship. Our gloves had grips on them and our wet suits changed to dry, scuba gear deflated into nothing, as we climbed the ship like crabs.
The sun was setting and I felt so tired as if it were Christmas morning and I’d been up with a baby for days. My arms burned and I worried if any of us fell what would wait below. Vity was next to me then Kal, Ord, and Reas. Reas reached the top first and peered over the side very carefully. The children seemed to sense they needed to be quiet. Kal peered over the edge and looked all around. He looked at me and held up one finger as if to say wait. He faced the boys and did the same then he hoisted himself up and onto the railing before he climbed over. I heard the smack and thud of fighting and peered over to see Kal dragging…something with boots and pants. If they are all changelings who knows what they turn into. What did bear woman say… wind born collect.
Kal looked and saw my eyes and motioned. I directed the kids up and Kal helped Vity and the boys and finally me on deck. we crept around the side and saw another…wind born, who looked like a fisherman, regular human to me. Out of Kal’s glove came a rod and he shocked the man who fell to the deck with a thud. Soon several men resembling fisherman came to us and all of us had a rod come out of our glove. We each had the opportunity to down several, Kal and I trying to protect the kids who were fearless with their electric swords. Soon a very tall man came out wearing Khakis and a polo shirt. “you the captain?” I asked. He nodded. These windborn fisherman made no sound. Eerily they never spoke, grunted or yelled out. Silence was only interrupted by our breathing and communication followed by the shock sound and thud.
Kal asked the captain, “Where are your captives?” The captain pointed to a hatch that led below. He stood on the hatch. “We don’t want to hurt you. We simply want to return the…captives to their home.”
Reas was not where I could see him. Then his head popped out slightly behind a boat before he stealthily moved behind the captain aiming his electirc sword at the captain’s legs. The captain was about to turn so Kal and I charged.
“Don’t mess with a mother bear old man.” I was very charged up and struck several blows to his torso before he flung me across the deck. Kal and Ord had Him to his knees when Vity aimed for his spine towards his head like the hole in a dragons scale armor. He was out. It took all of us to move him off the hatch. Kal opened it and stepped down. I stayed on deck to watch out for any revived pirate fisherman or any other crises that might arise. Soon people of all ages came up rubbing their hands and ankles, limping, helping others. A young woman who looked to be about nineteen came towards me. “Thank you. Did Bess show you where we were tree warrior?”
“If Bess turns into a Bear then Yes.”
“I am Mayor of Luna Cove, Tara Key.”
“I’m Ann. Aren’t you a little young to be mayor?” She laughed and stretched forth her arms towards the rising moon.
“I am 7851 cool seasons. We wear the face that feels most wise. Tree warriors do not understand true age, like infants.”
“You may be right. How do we get back to land?” Tara smiled and stretched her neck before turning into a wolf and howling. Soon we were surrounded by creatures. Kal came to my side and the children joined us. The boat seemed to sail on it’s own towards a cove left of Luna Cove Beach. It was much easier getting off the boat near a dock than it was getting on. A great celebration took place on the beach as the Luna Cove residents turned into human form and began making fires and roasting fruits and vegetables. After eating and shaking the mayor’s hand we walked back to the treehouse and collapsed on the beds exhausted.
Bright morning light penetrated the inner room of the tree house I woke and went to a window opening it up to the breeze and sweet air. Something was cooking and I turned to see bear woman, Bess, cooking something at the stove that smelled like pancakes. “You must change and eat.”
My headache was just as bad as yesterday and the thought of food nauseated me. Bess brought me a steaming mug, “drink.”
“What’s in it?”
“Sun kissed herb. Good for head.” How did she know? I took a bath in the copper mother of pearl bath tub before everyone got up for breakfast.
She left as everyone was getting up and eating. We put our tree warrior armor away and put on the clothes we came in. We returned to the slide where we found steep stairs up to the tree door. We went single file into the corridor and up the under-basement stairs through the basement floor door and into the laundry room where Kal mentioned chores to the kids while they each hiked up the basement steps and I started another load of laundry and watched the floor door disappear wondering what face would I wear that seemed the most wise.