From the Blue: A Novel

From the Blue: A Novel

by Paul Allen Roberts

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Overview

A loving, primitive society discovers their unbelievable past.

Set in the year 1528AD

an island nation is invaded, overcomes the odds, and finds they are not alone in the world.

But they were never alone.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504959544
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 01/31/2017
Pages: 318
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.71(d)

Read an Excerpt

From the Blue

A Novel


By Paul Allen Roberts

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2017 Paul Allen Roberts
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5049-5954-4


CHAPTER 1

"There were so many questions and too few answers," Ihilani said to herself. Her toes sampled the soft sand as she walked on the beach on the northwestern tip of her island home. She loved the early morning hours of calm breezes on her skin and her hair. This beach was always her favorite. She sat in the shade of the palms and reflected on the island's history she knew so well.

Her mother, Iliakahani, was greatly admired and respected. She had lived a truly inspired life and had evolved into a real mother figure for almost all residents on the island — always loving, always humble, always smiling, and always caring for all others. Her father, Pohii, the adored leader of the islands, was ill, although it was not a life-threatening illness. His pain progressed slowly, and he rarely talked about his stiffening joints until recently.

Still, Ihilani worried with gut-wrenching sorrow every time she looked into her father's eyes. She forced elevated courage each time she talked to him. She had been there when he took over as the leader of the island nation when she was just eight years old. She barely remembered her grandmother. Her grandfather's death when she was just seven — and his traditional weeklong funeral — sent her into a spiral of sorrow that she could not forget. It was such a harsh time for her. Life itself was still a mystery to her, and at eighteen, she was just discovering a broader meaning of truth and honesty, of life and death, love and trust. She and her brother had been groomed in their early childhood to be upright citizens.

But she was not sure what her place was.

Now she had to face the prospect that her brother, Kai, would succeed their father. She loved him, but she couldn't bring herself to fully trust him. Her mother tried to reassure her that God would guide him to greatness, and at twenty-three, he was a respected son, brother, husband and father of two. Still, Ihilani had her doubts.

The ancestral council had discussed Pohii's current health at the last two meetings. At forty-six, his rise to power, his status as leader, father, and grandfather was a testament to his true calling in life. But now, Pohii had to set all that aside.


* * *

Since the three other island factions united and invaded Condonte (and were soundly defeated just after Ihilani was born), the island had not been prepared for war.

That war, the second in a decade, had seen wave after wave of raids. And for Pohii, even in the shadow of his father, those times of horror and death on both sides forced a buildup of defenses and spears. It was his leadership that caused the enemy to cease without surrender. His subsequent invitations to his enemies finally persuaded them to unite under his father's leadership — but not without caution.

The ancestral council's lifetime members came from all four islands, two each from the other islands and three from Condonte Island. It was a sacrifice the others agreed to, not in defeat but because Condonte Island's population was twice that of all the others combined.

In proposing this option, Pohii masterfully convinced the others to join him in peace. He explained the benefits of acting together and ending the fighting forever. With a greater population, he made it clear that their ambitions would be easily defeated once more even if all three acted in unison against Condonte again.

Pohii, in one of his frequent moments of diplomacy, conceded that the Council of Elders, as they were initially called, would be the place where the other islands would be heard and respected.

Since the council's creation, Pohii had honored that commitment. His decisions were his alone — not out of vanity or overconfidence, but duty as he saw it.

Just before the day's first meal, a ship arrived just off the western shore of Condonte. The anchor was dropped, and a small boat was lowered and rowed to shore. The men aboard had never seen these islands before. It was their first excursion to a landing. The island guards, hidden in the foliage, saw them coming.

Ihilani was farther north on the beach, sitting in the palm shadows as she felt a break in her thoughts. As she calmly turned to look south along the beach, she saw the large vessel and the rowboat. Terror gripped her soul. She bolted up to assess, quickly walked into the shadows of the palms, and ran up the hill to the compound she knew. She hoped she hadn't been seen. Two of the guards ran up the trail to the center of the community, where Pohii was already awake. The guards were ordered to capture the invading force alive and bring them to the outdoor compound just below the ceremonial grounds.

Condonteans had developed a sort of sixth sense about invasions. The alarm sounded with incredible speed throughout the island. Four guards were sent by canoe to the other islands to alert them.

Pohii arrived in the shadows near the beach. Eighty warriors with spears were ready. Hundreds more hid in the darkened jungle. They were armed with spears and blow darts and standing to hear the orders from him. Pohii thought that with such a large vessel, other invaders might be hiding within the ship, but he couldn't be sure. He had known deception from others in the earlier raids between islands.

The Islanders watched as Pohii whispered the command to his guards who swiftly surrounded the eight invaders with spears, ready to defend the island.

The intruders instantly knew the odds were against them and wished they had brought hand cannons. They dropped their daggers and long knives into the sand. Surrender seemed the only option.

Pohii ordered that the invaders be tied to the trees just below the ceremonial grounds.

Their weapons were confiscated and would not be returned, he ordered. That's what he had always done in times of conflict.

After the nearly incoherent interview and shouts for death from the assembled crowd and his son, Pohii proclaimed that he would voice the fate of the outsiders in three days' time.

He needed time and God's guidance. He hoped that his decision would follow history and protect his subjects, but for the first time, the future — along with the past-challenged him. He ordered his guards to remain on the beach and watch the vessel offshore. It silently rocked in the waves all day without further sightings of warriors aboard. They knew from experience that complacency could be an unstoppable advantage to the enemy, especially with such an enormous and strange vessel. The small caravel was among the first to be built for the Spanish Armada.

But if they were invading, why would the entire force come ashore in such a small number?

In times like these, Pohii's subjects and his family knew to trust his judgment. They left him alone for such a monumental decision. One by one, he pondered each element. Then he made his choice.


* * *

As dawn broke on the third morning, the Islanders grew anxious to hear their beloved leader's announcement. Rain could be seen crossing an adjacent island across the eastern channel; it threatened a deluge here. The overwhelming reverence they felt for the weather was deeply steeped in their culture. The weather was a deterrent to a ceremony, especially if lightning could be seen in the approaching storm.

Weather observation, although primitive, was the responsibility of the palace guard. No lightning was seen.

Kai had voiced his absolute hatred for these invaders to his father. "How dare they come to this island?" Kai had not been allowed to fight in the raids between the islands almost a decade ago, but he had always said he would defend his island home to the death.

Pohii made considerable effort to calm his son. He asked him to wait for the decision he would make.

Kai's blood pressure remained at maximum.

Pohii left the only home he had ever known. As he walked, he went through the list of his duties for the day. The reclining guards jumped as he stood in the doorway.

His wife moved quickly across the room to stand behind him, on his left and in the sunshine. "What must you do today?" Iliakahani asked with deep love and respect.

"Feel the power of the sun," he said, "and then kill or not kill."

As Pohii took several steps forward, the morning sun wrapped him in warmth.

A breeze from the east seemed a bit irregular. An ominous sign, he thought before discarding the notion. Inspiration from the sun, the moon, the stars, and the rain were critical and masculine. That was emphasized from the beginning in all forms of education, training, and most importantly, raising a child. The ground they walked on was of equal importance. They took a slight pause to honor the earth as feminine. The sun, moon, and stars were powerful reminders to the women of the island that the men were always above them in physical strength, prestige, and law.

Ah, but the wind, the wind was female. It was calming and soothing but only rarely had might.

An elder from the eastern island appeared in the sunlight. He saw Pohii pondering his duties. He slowly moved closer and said, "It is now. It is you. We are waiting."

Pohii, the pleasure of the moment broken, said, "And you, my priest, what must you decide?"

"You will hear it, but you must be patient, Pohii. Your duties, your decision, and your wishes must come before mine."

His confidence with his announcement was never in doubt; Pohii walked along the path to the gathering in the ceremonial grounds. The entire population of Condonte Island and a contingent from the three other islands had arrived overnight to hear his decision. They had been given a signal that he was on his way from the palace. Everyone was silent when he strode to the center of the vast grounds. His guards had assembled near the six others astride the restrained prisoners.

His wife took a position with the other women next to all the children in the outer circle — to protect the children's eyes from the spectacle if the men so wished it.

Pohii's personal guards were ready. The priest gave him the nod. "The prisoners may speak!" Pohii said.

Fairness to all was a familiar hallmark. The apparent leader of the prisoners was walked several paces forward and forcefully stopped.

"Majesty, I've come to explore, to learn from you, to introduce the world to you!" he said with a nervous stammer.

His interpreter finished the translation.

"What have you learned?" Pohii said. He had known the man for only three days. He had heard it all before; it was a blatant plea for leniency.

"Your Majesty, I have learned just a few words in your language, but I hope to respect you and your people."

Pohii remained unmoved. "Are you ready to hear my decision?" he said with his customary calm.

With all the humility he could muster, the prisoner spoke. It was a calculated risk that he hoped would save them from death. "Your majesty, your history, your people, your family — 1 respect them all, and I will respect your decision."

Pohii paused. He was surprised by the prisoners narrowing of fate and understanding of the morality that had been violated.

A beach guard ran into the ceremonial ring and shouted, "More canoes come, big canoes!"

CHAPTER 2

After learning that larger vessels were moving into position, Pohii looked at the lead prisoner with an intensity no one had seen before. "How many warriors are on these canoes? How many more canoes are coming?" He tried to suppress his anger.

"Majesty, I have told you the truth! We are not warriors! We are explorers!" the anxious prisoner said.

"Tell me the difference," Pohii said bluntly.

"Majesty, we are explorers who have been looking for new countries to trade with, to learn from, and grow with ... nothing more," the prisoner said.

The unfamiliar words didn't sway Pohii.

Iliakahani watched the interrogation. She wondered about the stark differences between the Islanders and the invaders. The majority of the islanders typically wore one garment regardless of gender. The invaders, all but two, wore something on their feet she had not seen before. Their clothing was different also. Multiple items, one for the chest, another for the hips and legs, finally the feet. It was evident that their clothing was in need of cleaning, but their facial hair was what fascinated her. She had not known of male facial hair, certainly not among the islanders.

"You have kept one truth from me: more canoes arrived this morning," Pohii said with mounting anger. "I do not believe you!"

"Your Majesty, they will patiently wait for me to tell them we are welcome here or must leave at once. I regret that I didn't tell you," said the prisoner.

"You haven't answered my question. How many remain on your big canoe and the others?" Pohii asked.

"Twenty-eight remain on my ship, and four hundred are on the four others. They will all wait for my word," the prisoner said.

"When will they act if no words come from you?" Pohii asked.

"They will come today when the sun is at its highest, Majesty," he murmured.

"How many and for what reason?" Pohii demanded.

"Two boats of fifteen men each from one of the four other ships, and they will search for us," he said.

The morning shadows were still long, Pohii observed. Not much time. He had seen the unusual weapons that had been seized from the prisoners. The capture of the prisoners had been all too easy. No one had been injured.

Distant claps of thunder were heard from the East. The audience gasped. It was an unmistakable omen.

Iliakahani sat in the outer ring and could hardly suppress her smile. She had seen Pohii in action many times, but this was different. Pohii had changed course. Her smile had not gone unnoticed.

Ihilani saw her mother fidget and asked, "What is it, Mother?" "Just wait. You'll see," Iliakahani said.

The storm moved northwest over the open channel in an apparent course that would just touch the north coast of Condonte. It would bring increasing winds to the center of the island.

Ah, the wind, the power, the omen, the feminine, Iliakahani thought.

Iliakahani knew that Ihilani felt the emotional jump. She also knew it would take time for her daughter to understand it like she did. She would be patient.


* * *

Pohii stood silently for what seemed like an eternity. The dramatic events were racing through his mind. He knew his silence added considerable tension to the moment — a classic way to induce meaning to his decisions in the past.

Iliakahani stood from her seat. The wind had boosted her confidence to break the protocol. Slowly, all in the audience stood in support for Pohii. He was moved to think they had known his decision before his lips parted.

Addressing the population as a whole, he said, "We may be standing on the edge of a cliff. If we surrender to the past, we invite God in war. If we allow the prisoners to convince us of the present without question, we may be ending our families and all our tomorrows. But if we listen to the men bound before us, we may see our tomorrows. I believe this is not safe without trust and respect. So, to avoid war is true. To use caution is also true. We shall welcome these men with caution and watch them carefully. They will each have a palace guard as they talk to us and as we listen. They will not have free movement, but they will remain with us until we trust them or leave unharmed. We now go to the western beach and watch the others come to our land. We will be ready to protect ourselves."

The silence lasted for several moments.

The elder from the eastern island entered the ring, and all eyes remained upon Pohii. "We shall prevail. We shall continue, but now we learn."

With the protocols observed, Pohii exited the ceremonial ring.

The audience began to whisper to one another out of respect for him. The ring emptied in a quiet, orderly fashion, but Iliakahani noticed the wind picking up.

Eight hundred warriors took their positions in the shoreline foliage out of sight, and fifty guards waited on the beach for the invaders. Pohii and the thirty palace guards stood in the shadow of the trees on the beach.

The prisoners remained bound with their hands behind them. They watched intently as nothing happened.

Pohii reassured them. He gazed up, and the time wasn't quite right yet.

In the distance, two boats were lowered from one of the larger ships. The crossing would be difficult with the winds and ocean swells. The boats seemed as though they vanished when they reached the bottom of the swells, but they reappeared when the waves crested.

Three of the bigger ships raised their sails and begin to creep to the south-away from the storm.

Three leaving, but two remain, Pohii thought. They will return. His warriors would stay in position.

Pohii started to believe some of what the lead prisoner had said. He was getting used to half-truths from this man. Pohii asked that the lead prisoner be brought forward. "Remove his bindings," he said.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from From the Blue by Paul Allen Roberts. Copyright © 2017 Paul Allen Roberts. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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