I grew up in Tipa. I had never left the village before I joined the caravan. I remember watching the caravan depart as a child and waving as they slowly disappeared into the horizon. Sometimes, they don't all come back. It was then that I started to hope that I'd never have to join the caravan. My parents would berated me for my selfishness when I naively told them about my wish.
I never spoke of my wish to them again. I became the perfect daughter of the blacksmith Zeh Gatt and his wife Rah Sie. My younger sister Momo Phiy constantly expressed her desire to have me in the caravan since our older sister Foo Kloo never joined.
It seems that my destiny did not lie in Tipa.
When I was sixteen, our caravan returned early. Everyone was cheerful as we saw it getting closer to the village, we all gathered on the bridge and watched it move closer to the town. But as it got closer, everyone's excited conversations started to die down.
I craned my neck. I couldn't see past the tall yuke in front of me, a few lilty children next to me were jumping repeatedly, knocking into each other and other people in an attempt to see.
Finally, the entire crowd was hushed. I guessed that the caravan had reached the bridge. The next thing I knew, I heard crying mixed with a rush of adults coming and herding their children back home.
People pushed past me frantically. I just stood there, still craning my neck. I slowly started pushing forward, gradually making my way to the caravan.
It was empty.
I stood in shock and stared. There were a few others near me in a similar state, though I could faintly hear some people crying; probably the parents of the lost caravanners.
Moving forward slowly, I gave the beast hitched to the caravan a pat. I then made my way around the beast and hauled myself inside the wooden carriage. I reached out and tentatively touched one of the packs still inside before opening it with shaking hands.
Food, long since rotted though, a journal, some schematics or weapons and accessories. I pulled out the journal and turned. Some worn out and slightly rusted weapons remained on the floor on the other side of the caravan. I shuddered at the sight of them and quickly moved into the driver's seat of the carriage.
I brushed the cover of the journal with my hand, feeling the grooves and scars in the worn leather. I opened it and read the first page, then the second, before skipping to the latest entry.
We have had little luck finding myrrh this year. Though we dread the idea, we all agreed that we must risk going West and crossing the river. We hope to make it to Conall Curach and collect a drop of myrrh before heading North to Rebena Te Ra. With any luck, we will return home with two drops of myrrh before heading out in search of one more.
I took a shuddering breath, before slowly sliding off the caravan, the journal in hand. I passed by the weeping families on the bridge and sought out Roland.
He was standing in his usual spot near the village crystal. He was staring up at his, contemplative, though his face was etched with deep sorrow.
"Roland. I found this in the caravan. You should read the last entry."
Roland blinked once and turned to me. He gave me a sad smile and reached out a hand for the journal.
"Thank you, Ly Phie."
Roland turned back to the crystal and reverently stoked the spin of the journal before opening it and turning to the last few entries. Silence permeated the atmosphere as Roland read.
Finally, he closed the journal and turned back to me.
"This is a problem. I will be calling a village meeting tonight. It is very important that you and everyone else in the village be there, Ly Phie. We need more caravanners, I do not want Tipa to end up like Tida."
I nodded and started to walk away from Roland, heading across the street to the blacksmith. My father had his head in his hands, my mother and older sister were beside him, attempting to ease his fears.
"I found their journal. Roland has it now. He says there will be a town meeting tonight, and we all must attend, he says that he doesn't want us to end up like Tida. Though I don't understand what he means."
Both my mother and my sister's head shoot up and they glared at me. My father seemed to sink further into his hands at my words.
I gave a sigh and headed into the house, making my way upstairs into the room I shared with Momo Phiy. I brushed some of her toys off my bed and laid down. I could hear Momo outside playing in the street with her magicite and the alchemists son. They didn't seem to understand the implications of what happened.
I stared at the ceiling and shifted so my arms were beneath my head. My top pulled a bit uncomfortably on my breasts and my gloves rubbed against my ears. I watched the sun move across the ceiling and then the wall.
Everyone formed a circle around the crystal, as though we were going to celebrate the end of year festival. Solemn and teary faces were dotted in the circle of faces.
Finally, Roland stepped forward, the journal tucked carefully in his arms.
"Our caravanners have failed. Tipa is on the brink. Unless we send out another caravan soon, we may not make it another year."
There were hushed gasps and quiet whispers as Roland paused.
"I know that there are not many people of age left in Tipa, but we need you to make a sacrifice for the good of the village."
I gulped. Not many young people left was a dramatic overstatement. I was the only one of age, everyone else had left with the caravan the previous year.
"Ly Phie, you must go forward and begin your search for myrrh." Roland handed me the journal back. I looked up at him from under my bangs; I was scared.
Roland turned and harvested a small piece of the village crystal, he then turned and bowed as he handed it to me.
"Tomorrow, your journey will begin. We wish you the best of luck. Someone will deliver the traditional outfit to your home later tonight."
The crowd began to disperse, a few people came over and patted my shoulder. I don't know if it was in pity or to try and instill some courage in me.
My family moved didn't move to comfort me. I stood stalk still in the middle of the clearing, I could hear my family move back to our house.
I don't know how long I stood there clutching the worn journal and the crystal shard, but at some point, someone hurried over to me and pushed some material into my arms.
It was only then that I numbly walked back home. Momo Phiy wasn't in her bed, so I dumped everything on her bed. I picked up the material and shook it out. My traditional selkie outfit that I would wear from now on.
It was a deep red color, with black thread making up the trim. The tights and top reminded me of those that my friend Wolfie used to wear.
I could tell already that the tights would be a pain, since I'd have to try hard not to rip them. And the top didn't look like it would be able to support my breasts very well. I would miss wearing my casual clothes, even if they were hand-me-downs from Foo Kloo. I packed a few of my casual clothes into a bag, just in case, along with some pens and paper. I decided I would grab some food in the morning.
I pulled the clip out of my hair and ran my hands through it to get rid of any residual knots. I then changed into another set of clothes and went to bed, dreading tomorrow.
My parents didn't say anything to me as I gathered food from our kitchen, or when I left to grab some more supplies from the lilty who owned the market down the street.
It was only as I set off to leave the only home I knew, that my family bid me farewell. They all wished me good luck and made me promise to send any supplies I find back to them. I nodded feebly in agreement.
My father presented me a new racket. It wasn't very great, but as he told me, "It's better then what was left in the caravan."
Roland stopped me at the bridge. He wished me luck as well and gave me some more pages to add to the journal. Apparently, this journal had been in use since the first Tipa caravanners began their search for myrrh generations ago.
I wrote my first entry immediately after Roland gave me the pages, expressing my feelings from last night.
I then tugged gently on the reins of the beast who pulled the caravan and the two of us began our journey.
I turned back a few times, trying to catch my last glimpses of the town I'd grown up in. Slowly, it faded from sight, becoming merely a shadow on the horizon.
I eventually dismounted from the caravan and walked just in front of the Papaopamus. I was surprised. The traditional selkie outfit wasn't as bad as I previously thought. Though it did show some unnecessary cleavage and was very short, I could see how it was very functional. Well… except if I ever go someplace where it snows a lot…
As it got closer to my first destination, River Belle Path, I was stopped by a group of lilties.
A/N: So, originally I had planned to start updating this again after I finished my Hetalia fanfic. But since that is coming to a close, and I discovered that I actually have fans who like this fic *cough cough* keikilanidraws *cough cough* on tumblr. And considering I have been working hard this summer on my female Wolfie cosplay and I've been rather into Crystal Chronicles again, it's about time I started this fic again. ^^