This is my rough draft completely unedited. For a full explanation go to Part I.

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Today – Part XXI – Rough Draft

That night Kael lay awake not out of excitement but out of deep regret. Sometime the person that he thoght he was didn’t quite match up to the reality. He thought surely he could trick a girl, so that he could get away and not cause him a bit of worry. To be honest at the start of it it didn’t seem to bother Kael. It’s after something happens that Kael actually realizes the consequence. He felt horrible and laying there in his bed rethinking the situation over and over wasn’t helping.

He knew that time would make it fade but he hated how horrible he felt and couldn’t get his mind off of it. Bannon didn’t stay with him in his yurt this night. He stayed with his Mother. The seamstress didn’t seem overly concerned about her son leaving on some adventure with so short of notice. Luna had probably talked to her is all that Kael could think.

The next morning could come soon enough. Kael did fall asleep and stayed that way until sunrise but when his eyes cracked open they were not rested. He felt bleary and lee he hadn’t really slept much. It was like his body was self inflicting pain on him for punishment for his behavior.

Kael got up and went to his parents yurt. They already had breakfast prepared. They ate in mostly silence. There was not much left to say. The food revitalized Kael and he began to think more about what lay ahead then what lay behind. He gobbled up a second helping and made quick goodbyes to his parents.

“What’s the hurry son?” Robik asked after giving Kael a bear hug.

“I’ve got to take care of something before we go.” Kael replied.

His mother’s goodbye had quite a few more tears. Kael was more relieved than anything. The odd way she had been acting like it wasn’t affecting her lately made him feel like something was off.

“You don’t have to go you know. Nobody will care, they will forget you even said you were going in a few months.” Luna reasoned through tears.

It was scary how those thoughts reflected just what Kael was thinking. Yes he was excited, but he was also nervous beyond belief. The easier option would be to stay, but maybe that’s why he had to go. Also his pride at looking at people who knew he didn’t have the guts to do it, kept him pushing forward.

“I won’t be gone too long.” Kael reassured her. Although in honesty he had no idea when he would coming back. With travel time and such he doubted it would be under a year.

With his pack ready to swing on his back Kael rushed back to his Yurt and grabbed it and was on his way. His stomach made somersaults and a grin cracked across his face. Before going to meet with Bannon he went around town and found himself quickly at Jillian doorstep. He had picked a few wild flowers on the way and tied them with a bit of straw from the cattle pasture. Leaving them on her doorstep he left, hoping she would know who it was from and that he was sincerely sorry.

With that off his chest he excitedly made his way back to the town center to get Bannon. He tried to play it cool, but Kael could see the glee that played on the corner of his lips. Kael surely knew that he had seen more of the world than him, but he was only a young boy when they came to this island, so it couldn’t have been too much more. He also probably didn’t remember. Kael just let it go though. He was not too proud to show how excited he was to be actually doing what he had dreamed of doing for so long. What’s so funny is that this always seemed out of reach but when he actually just decided to do it, it only took a few days to prepare. It seemed as though everything was falling just right into place.

“Slow down will ya, my legs aren’t near as long as yours.” Bannon didn’t seem like he was tired, but his legs were pumping to keep up with Kael’s long quick strides.

“What’s that I couldn’t hear you.” Kael called back as he broke into a jog towards the ferry station. He was laughing as he looked back and saw the wry twist to Bannon’s face. He began to jog after him.

Kael swung his head forward and his legs slowed him down to a stop. They were close to the edge of the island where the ferry station was. But the ferry was just arriving.

When he was young with nothing else to do he would come out here at the whisper of a ferry coming in. They didn’t come very frequently to their island. It always had taken his breath away to sea the giant floating creature. They didn’t fly really although there flippers did make gentle motions up and down. A bird flew. A bird overcame the force of gravity through sheer will power and beating of their wings. The ferry turtles were just unaffected by gravity. Or so it seemed. They glided with such ease and grace.

Kael had always thought if they could speak to these turtles they would offer such wisdom. They outlived humans, and were protected beyond any other animal Kael knew of. Even if you were a poacher you left the turtles alone. It wasn’t that they were sacred, it’s that they were a necessary part of life.

Bannon slammed into Kael’s shoulder. “Gotcha.” He wasn’t the least out of breath. Kael didn’t seem to notice him and Bannon looked up to see what had his friends attention.

The two boys sat there in silent reverence for a while.

The turtle sunk below the trees and out of sight. They both realized that they had stopped progressing and both started walking forward again.

“I’m gonna get me my own turtle.” Bannon declared almost to himself.

“Psh, where are you going to find enough sheckles to get your own turtle?” Kael couldn’t even fathom it. Only the richest had personal turtles not for business just for their own enjoyment.

“I’ll find it.” Bannon did laugh he was serious.

Kael immediately regretted doubting his friend. Who knew what could happen. “I’ve heard since they have started farming them more heavily, the price has dropped quite a bit.” Kael tried to make up for his doubt.

“Yeah, I’ll find me a way.” Bannon didn’t say much after that. To be honest now that the thought had been brought up, Kael wouldn’t mind his own turtle. In fact if he wanted to discover the remaining unknown islands he would have to have his own turtle.

When he was young he dreamed of surfing this sky with his personal turtle, but he hadn’t let himself dream about that in a long time. It seemed so far fetched. Somebody has to own the turtles he though to himself.

The got to the large wooden platform in the middle of the a clearing of trees. The large turtle sat with it’s flippers out to the side and it’s head resting on the platform.

It’s large eyes were open and alert, contrary to it’s resting position. They looked completely black. Kael walked up as close as he could dare. The animal seemed gentle but the sheer size of him made Kael wary of him. One slap from his flipper could seriously injure or even kill Kael.

“I’ll be need your fare price.” The ferry man stood just behind Kael. Kael had all but ignored him in the presence of this majestic animal.

“Oh yeah sorry.” Kael dug the exact amount out of his money bag that he kept tied to his belt under his cloak. The man checked the money with shrewd eyes.

“And your friend?” The man nodded towards Bannon who looked like he was about to just jump on the turtle and ride.

How had Kael forgotten? A seamstress and a farm hand probably had little to spare. The price of the ferry was not exorbitant but neither was it cheap. As a leather worker he had been saving back the sheckles for years. He brought all that he had, knowing that he would need most of it.

“Yeah I’ll cover him as well,” Kael began to reach into his second purse that he kept tucked inside his pants. This is where he kept most of the wealth he had been saving.

“I’ll be paying for me own passages thanks,” Bannon was dropping the coins into the ferryman’s hands before Kael had dug his second purse out.

Kael just nodded at him and they both acted as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

Forgetting about the fare Kael and Bannon began to approach the turtle and try to climb up his shell. The shell wasn’t smooth and would probably give good purchase to their hands and boots. The saddle where the boys would sit was about as high as Kaels head.

“Use the steps!” The ferryman must’ve seen what they were about to do. Straightening Kael could just see the hand rails a wooden steps made with just the purpose of getting them on the back of the turtle.

“Of course.” Kael played it cool all the while his face turning a bit red from how naive they must seems.

Once on the saddle Kael felt right at home. He and his father had made dozens of these saddles. They were the most frequent projects they had. Turtles never stopped growing so once they got a turtle owner as a customer they seldom lost their business and every couple years they would need a new larger and more expensive saddle.

Kael and his father only stopped making them when they saddles were just too large for their shop. They had a relationship with leatherworkers with more shop space who they would send their customer too.

Kael couldn’t imagine the size of the turtles that used the largest saddles they made. This one was almost small.

Looking up out over the edge of the island Kael forgot about leather working. He saw open sky. He had seen this sky everyday, but this time it was different. They would be traveling into it, with little intention of coming back soon.

Kael caught Bannon’s eye and any pretense at playing it cool on his friends behalf was gone. A grin stretched so wide on his face it made his eyes squint and wrinkle at the corner’s. Kael was sure he didn’t look much different.

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