Hissi Isle: Part One
Part I - Splosive
The thick fog was surreal. The quiet slapping of the waves against the ship's sides gave the only indication that anything existed beyond the mist. From where she stood at the wheel Captain Splosive, the pirate Hissi, couldn't even see the base of the ship's mast. "Keep yer eyes peeled, laddies," Splosive called out. "We be nearing land soon." The fog seemed to swallow her words but she knew the crew heard her.
Within a few moments the voice of Lightning, the pirate Quiggle, cut through the mists. "The fog is clearing, Captain!"
"Land ahoy!" Dare, the faerie Kougra, called from above. Splosive couldn't see a thing yet, but that's why Dare was up in the crow's nest. His Kougra eyes were ideal for spotting things the others couldn't see. Splosive flickered her tongue; she could definitely smell land.
Beams of light began penetrating through the fog, which was clearing quickly. Before long Splosive saw the island dead ahead, as she knew it would be. What else she saw, though, she wasn't happy about. The island was covered in snow despite the fact that out here in the ocean it was warm. In fact, it looked worse than the last time she was here; not good news. As the ship got closer, Splosive could tell it was snowing more even as she watched. More disturbing, though, she couldn't even see the coastal town she knew to be there. "All right, that be close enough, mates, drop anchor here. Shadow, ye prep the dingy so we can go take a look around."
"Aye, Captain," the twin voices of the large mutant Hissi replied. Splosive shook her head, Shadow was a very useful crew member but she feared she'd never get used to the two-headed Hissi.
A sudden thump next to her startled Splosive from her thoughts. "Captain," Dare said, "do you think I could go across with you?"
Splosive looked up towards the crow's nest; apparently Dare had jumped all the way down. Splosive smiled a bit to herself, Dare hadn't been with them too long but she rather liked him. "Aye Dare, ye may come across with Shadow and meself." The trio settled themselves into the small boat for the trip over. As they got closer, Splosive could feel Dare shiver a bit behind her. The air was getting colder and as they approached shore, Splosive could hear the thin layer of ice breaking apart as the boat pushed through.
"I d-don't s-see anyone," Dare chattered behind her.
Splosive nodded; it was concerning but hopefully everyone was just so holed up in their homes that they hadn't noticed Splosive's ship, The Surzard, arriving. "Well, if anyone be there, this ought to get their attention," Splosive said and pulled a rather large bottle rocket out of her coat.
Dare looked at her with wide eyes. "You're not seriously going to light that here, are you?"
"Well, of course I am," Splosive said with a grin.
"B-but Captain, we're in a wooden boat!" Dare replied in alarm.
"Have ye so little faith in your captain, Dare?" Splosive said, striking a match. She quickly lit the rocket and carefully aimed it over the town that was hidden beneath the snow. The boat rocked slightly as Dare ducked behind her, covering his ears with his paws. After a few seconds the rocket shot up into the sky and burst into a glittering orb of color over the city with a bang.
Shadow hadn't even flinched but was carefully chipping away at the ice near the shore so they could pull out onto the beach. Just as they reached shore, Splosive glanced up, relieved to see the figure of a White Hissi headed towards them. "Ahoy there, Sentrosi," Splosive called out.
"Captain Splosive! Am I ever glad to see you've made it through once again," came the white Hissi's reply.
"Why haven't ye gotten rid of all this snow yet?" Splosive inquired.
"That's a long story," Sentrosi replied, "and a big problem. Perhaps you'd best come inside for it."
"Aye," Splosive agreed. "Dare, ye're coming with me. Shadow, get ye back to the ship and help the others start unloading supplies and bringing em ashore."
"Aye, Captain Splosive," Shadow acknowledged in his eerie twin voices.
"Well, come along then," Sentrosi beckoned them.
Trudging through the deep snow was difficult and not at all what Splosive was used to. Soon enough they were ushered inside the town's small coffee shop. "Hey, Nyall, best get some people together, Captain Splosive has arrived!" Sentrosi called out as they entered.
"Captain Splosive! How very good it is to see you!" the large blue Skeith named Nyall replied cheerfully. "Hope you're not too abject to having some nice hot tea! We're pretty low on supplies."
"Ye best be gettin' your men out to the shore then! Ye will find supplies awaitin'," Splosive answered. Splosive may have been a pirate captain, but she never tired of this little place in the world that always welcomed her. A glance to Dare told her that he was more than a little surprised at the welcome. "Sentrosi," Splosive gestured to Dare, "This lad be Dare. He be new aboard me ship but he's a good one."
Sentrosi shook Dare's paw, "Welcome then Dare to Hissi Isle. May not be much to look at now but it's a wonderful place."
"Hissi Isle?" Dare asked, "Do only Hissi live here?"
Sentrosi chuckled, "Not at all, there's lots of neopets here. Though it is true the majority of us are Hissi."
"I thought Hissi only liked warm places? Why are you here where it's all snow and cold?"
Sentrosi smiled, a little sadly it seemed, "Well, as I was saying, it hasn't always been this way. It's bit of a story but sit down, have some tea, and I'll fill you in on our history." Dare nodded and he, Splosive, and Sentrosi sat at a table, warm tea already waiting for them.
Dare and Splosive watched Sentrosi intently through the swirling steam rising off their tea. "This island," Sentrosi began, "has a long history of monarchs going further back than anyone today knows. Our kingdom's ruler, however, is not chosen they way most rulers are. There's an artifact, as old as the island itself, called the King's Amulet. The amulet itself chooses each ruler and when the current one should step down. Nobody knows where the amulet got its magic but it has always chosen well. In addition to choosing the rulers, the amulet has further powers. The King, through the amulet, controls the very island itself. How well the crops grow, the weather, and sometimes even the landscape itself changes by the King's will. When the former king, Nightfire, stepped down from his reign the amulet chose a new king, King Kamedyc. Tragically on his coronation night his younger sister Ryikea was kidnapped by a sorceress. Myself, the king's guard, and most of the village has been searching high and low for her ever since. It has gotten difficult, though, as the King grows sadder the Island grows colder and the snow deeper. As you can see, it's gotten so bad I can't even send the guard out anymore to search."
"You send the guard out?" Dare interrupted.
Sentrosi chuckled, "Splosive isn't the only captain at this table. I am Captain of the Guard here."
Dare's eyes went a bit wide and Splosive flicked her tongue. "Aye ye be a captain but there's not much for ye to be guardin' against out here. Ye welcomed a Pirate and her crew in many a time."
Sentrosi grinned. "You may very well be the best castaway we've ever taken in. It is true though, I am more of Kamedyc's advisor than anything."
"Castaway?" Dare inquired, looking to Splosive.
"Aye, Dare, long before ye came aboard we happened upon this place by accident. Nasty storms cast me ship upon the rocky, mountainous shore on the other side of the island. These good folk took me whole crew in, fed us, gave us warm beds to lie on and even helped repair me ship."
"We all thought you were crazy, wanting to sail back out into the storms, fog and whirlpools that surround the island," Sentrosi added. "Most that happen upon our island stay for fear of getting lost out there."
Dare turned a curious face to Sentrosi. "Does the King make those nasty whirlpools and oppressive fog?"
"No, the king only controls the island. Lucky for you or it'd have been even harder getting to shore. It would probably be frozen quite a ways out. Those whirlpools, the fog, and even the raging storms have surrounded our island again for as long as anyone can remember. It leaves us pretty isolated. Captain Splosive here is the only one brave enough to sail to and from here."
"And ye be lucky I do," Splosive added with a smile. "Seems a few months after I left the island ye needed me back. When we first left ye there wasn't a lick of snow to be seen on the island."
Sentrosi nodded. "It only just seemed like autumn when you were here. But the snow set in and soon we realized we wouldn't be able to grow food. All searches for Ryikea seem in vain so it's just been a steady decline ever since. The King has tried to change the weather for the sake of his people but to no avail. The amulet can see his sadness and reflects it. Were it not for Splosive getting the message we sent out we'd have had no hope. She's like the island's guardian angel."
Splosive gave a snort of laughter. "Ye be the angels for saving me crew and me ship. I just be returnin' the favor."
"So what are you going to do?" Dare asked.
Sentrosi frowned. "We're not sure. If we can't find Ryikea it may be this way forever, or at least until the amulet chooses a new King or Queen."
"Why not ask Queen Fyora for help?" Dare inquired.
"Queen what?" Sentrosi replied looking rather bewildered.
Splosive laughed a bit more before responding. "Queen Fyora, Queen of the faeries," Splosive stated with an air of sarcasm. "Dare here once lived in Faerieland before it met with disaster. Dare was a refugee of sorts when he came to be on me crew."
Dare nodded, adding, "She's a powerful queen and knows a lot about magical items like your amulet. Since the fall of Faerieland we can even reach it by ship. Perhaps she can help you."
Splosive seemed to nod in agreement. "As much as me be findin' the Faerieland a nauseating place I'd be willing to take ye there."
Sentrosi considered this for a few minutes, finally agreeing. "I will have to let the king know, I doubt he will mind, anything to find his sister."
"Right then," Splosive stated. "Ye go talk to yer king and we will head out and see if the supplies be all unloaded. Meet us at the shore when ye be ready."
To be continued...