Heart of The Icy Seas
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fig 1.0 (Placeholder image of Endless Ocean Blue World's Artic Ocean map skybox at night)

An autobiography segment, written by John Eric, an ex-treasure hunter from Thalasso:

Salutations, my name is John Eric. I was a crew member of the S.S. Mouette1; a treasure-hunting vessel, which used to traverse the vast seas for ruins and wrecks. Anything salvageable we found, we traded with the Terraken towns2.

My last night on the job was years ago, but I still remember the waves of those cold and stormy seas, our S.S Mouette got caught off course from our next salvaging site by a wretched typhoon. Captain ordered the deckhands to batten down the hatches, the barrelman to reef the sails, and the rest of us to tie down anything not anchored to the deck. We did our best to endure the storm's wrath. The intense winds and rains of the typhoon soon became the icy winds of a bitter blizzard. By the time the storm resided, our S.S Mouette managed to drift herself into a previously uncharted, polar sea.

Our captain, Dr. Alfred Thornwrack, was a good man, bless his old soul. “In his past life as a landlubber, he was a well-esteemed doctor for various Terraken cities. Through his hard work, he gained the nickname “the surgeonfish” much to his dismay. Eventually, he decided to leave his old life behind, to follow his Calling to the sea. In addition to his pre-established medic expertise, he mastered the art of pelagic navigation and leadership during his new life on the sea. He took us, the crew, in when we had nothing going for us on the land, acting as a mentor and father figure in a way; he turned our rag-tag group of treasure hunters and sailors into a small family.

When we were in the clear and relatively calm waters, Captain Thornwrack gained his bearings and called everyone together for a group meeting. After a quick medical checkup making sure we weren't too bashed up and a sigh of relief, he noticed how shaken up we were from the sudden damned weather. He pondered how he could raise our spirits so that we could escape this peril with clear and open minds.

He asked me to uncover the thermapearl3 that we had chained to the middle of the deck; after pulling back the kelp-fiber cloth that cloaked the pearl, the stimuli of polar lights overhead kick-started the reaction, which warmed up the vessel. The crew fetched some more kelp-fiber cloth to cover their chilly backs with and gathered around the comforting heat of the pearl. Captain Thornwrack then began to sing a light-hearted sea shanty about the time we obtained our treasured thermapearl: it was a rather humorous tale, in which we found a crimson scallop within a limestone temple, and how we tried all sorts of ways to pry it open. With perseverance and cooperation, we finally managed to retrieve its warm pearl; a personal shanty we all knew well.

After the captain let out the first few words, we all began to follow suit. My dear crewmate, Jenna Enra took the lead in singing; her melodies were so beautiful and captivating that a bypassing sailor's ship would mistake her for a siren. That did happen once, funny story actually, heh. Our deckhand/repair woman, Stella Natica, on the other hand, wasn't as good at the vocals. The barrelman, Finley Ojoten, and I would always joke around with her that she sounded nasally, like a forceps butterflyfish. She would always chuckle back and say "at least my singing isn't like a blobfish's." Rather, her strong suit was in mathematics, ingenuity, and craftsmanship. Stella even constructed the sturdy S.S Mouette, herself. Her skill in repairing was unrivaled by any human on the ship. During the shanties, Finely would always pull out the accordion, as he was well-versed with the instrument from his upbringing as a musician, before he too took his Calling to the sea. Despite being mellowed out during the day, he would always get full of lively energy at night, allowing him to go crazy on the accordion during night shanties. He was also a great sentinel on the crowsnest during most nights; he was easily one of the most observant people among us. Usually, during shanties, I would input by creating makeshift drums by clattering shells and fish bones together, providing some percussion. Then there was our barnacle boy, Oscar Shucking. He was a young lad, probably no older than 17, who grew up in a fishery homestead, which specialized in raising and harvesting oysters. Captain Thornwrack offered him a job to scrape the hull and bow of the S.S Mouette and relieve her pesky barnacle ailments. As he was passionate about the practice of oyster shucking and longing for adventure on the open seas, he happily obliged; making him a relatively new member of our group. As he used his chisel to uproot barnacles, he would do it in sync with the shanty's rhythm. Together, we were a harmonic family that persevered against the harsh, bitter, and cold reality of the outside world.

When we finished up with the shanty, Captain Thornwrack returned back to the quarterdeck, content that he was able to retain high spirits. Eventually, the captain's sonar detected a vast deposit of precious metals under the icy waves, just waiting to be surfaced. As treasure hunters, we all figured that we would make the most out of an unexpected treasure route.

Trouble was, this sea was covered in mountainous sheets of glacier-like sea ice, making navigation difficult. Though, we were eventually able to locate a valley of unfrozen water to sail. The travel along the valley was a bumpy one as chunks of sea ice drifted into our way. With a vibrant wave of the Aurora Thalassis4 overhead, we nailed a rope onto the side of the thick ice, to dock the boat, and Captain Thornwrack tasked Jenna and me to check the S.S Mouette's cargo hold, to make sure we didn't spring a leak. With nothing but a dimly lit lantern, we walked together down into the cargo hold. Jenna held onto my arm as we stepped into the consuming dark. The cargo hold was a dark room, void of light, apart from our dimly-lit lantern glow. Crates, sacks, jugs, weathered wood furniture, and other supplies populated the space, creating walls and subcompartments from their placements. As we turned the corner around a wall of crates, slight scuttling was briefly heard before we were greeted by the sudden "boo!" shout and jumping of a Scav. Jenna let out an "eep!" and momentarily leaped behind me, before we all let out a little chuckle, and gave each other a proper greeting.

The scav's name was Decaco; a decade back, the captain found a young coconut crab Scav for sale at a Reef Market5; the poor little guy was apparently in a roughed-up state from his past owners, likely foul pirates who take pleasure in torturing innocent souls. Captain Thornwrack decided to adopt him, and give him a happier life. Stella and Finley took it upon themselves to act as his parental figures. Finely taught Decaco how to converse fluently with humans and passed along his musical knowledge. Decaco grew a soft spot in his carapace for kelp-string instruments. Stella gave Decaco the compassion and morals that any developing child needs to grow into a stable adult; she also passed on her inventive knowledge of construction, to a point where Decaco's craftsmanship could easily parallel hers. Over the years, Captain Thornwrack also would give him exercise lessons, to help enhance Decaco's natural crab skills: climbing, claw strength, spotting objects in the dark, and gradually increasing the amount of time that he could breathe underwater; these qualities made him quite the helpful member of our crew's diving team - composing of Jenna and me.

As a nocturnal crab, Decaco enjoyed working under the shade of the cargo hold. He informed us whenever he heard the sea ice bump against the hull. He had found a crack in the upper hull where the ice hit the hardest but he assured us that he fixed it before we bumped into him. We were relieved and informed him that it was night, in case he wanted to surface back to the deck with us, and he crawled his way up the stairs, as we followed suit behind him.
Back on the deck, we all gathered around as began to prepare for an undersea survey of the region; giving us an idea of what to expect whenever we start to extract the deposits of metal from the seabed. First, we decided to use our sounding line6 to test out the surrounding ocean depth, before we try plummeting ourselves into the frigid waters. Stella handed our 300ft sounding line to Finely and me. We began to carefully hold onto it, as we gradually lowered the rope into the sea. 10ft… 30ft… 90ft… 150ft… 260ft… eventually we ran out of line, without any indication that the lead weight hit the bottom. Decaco heartily proclaimed that his work was done, and slid back into the shadows of the cabin hold, to gather the supplies needed for Jenna and my dive; Decaco couldn't swim, and primarily relied on crawling along the seabed to get around, so a bottomless sea was the job of Jenna and me, alone. After Finely and I reeled to rope back up, Decaco momentarily came back up to hand us our supplies. Jenna and I prepared our insulated diving gear, oxygen tanks, spearguns, tool belts7, and waterproof bags of emergency supplies8. One such vital piece of diving equipment that often proved to help us out of trouble was the sea pen; when used, the pen would leave out a persistent trail of bioluminescent ink in the water column. No matter how lost Decaco, Jenna, or I would get in our underwater missions, the bioluminescence led the way a reunion. When we were finished getting ready for the oncoming dive, we were carefully lowered into the sea by the others.

Into The Icy Seas

The layout of the sea under the surface was bizarre, with a captivating beauty to it. The surrounding waters gave way to a deep expanse; rays of light blue rippled above a dark purple shadow of the abyssal seas. Small, transparent fish swam in large shoals around us, like a flurry of icy shards in a blizzard, while large seals with vacuumed snouts9 and sea birds with long necks10 snaked and swooped their way around, to take a taste of fresh, cold fish. Surrounding the hungry beasts were medium-sized fish with striking black-and-white stripes, and long purple fins that flowed like a calm stream into the marine11; it appeared like they were sneakily nibbling discarded pieces of fish from the frenzy. The ice glistened in faint, rainbow hues from the polarized light snow from above. What we thought were continental glaciers, which would eventually reach a seabed, seemed to float with no discernable ocean bottom below them; we were easily able to swim under them as if they were thin sheets of sea ice.

Below the floating glacial continents, Jenna alerted me of glistening outcroppings of shining tungsten and gold clusters, jutting from the undersides of the icy rocks; a flashy ceiling, just as luxurious as the rippling polar lights from the roof of sea ice prior. The precious metals were also mixed in with a mosaic of a cold-water reef; glass sponges glittered behind the tangled cloak of red algae, as feather and basket stars gave out sprawling branches with highlighted hues of yellow, orange, rose, and violet. During our dive, we left out a trail of blue-green bioluminescence from our sea pens, to lead us back to the crew, so we felt free to take in the beauty of these frosted seas for a brief while.

However, as we planned on heading back to the S.S. Mouette, to signal the others to begin the mining operations, things took a dark turn. A large, sprawling shadow emerged from below; an entanglement of tentacles grappled by limbs, and shark-like teeth punctured my oxygen tank. I tried what I could to struggle my way out of its bone-chilling grasp, but every moment that the tentacles squeezed harder on me, I felt an ever-intensifying frostbite on my flesh. Jenna tried her best to defend me from the biting cold grasp of the beast -a pierce of her spear gun's harpoon impaled deep into the bulbous snout of the beast. The beast let out an earth-shaking flurry of vibrations, causing the glacier from above to collapse under its grand weight. The cold bastard whipped Jenna unconscious with its quick, serpentine tail, in retaliation. Everything happened so quickly… I shouted out to Jenna, and icy water began to flood into my swimsuit, my throat, and my windpipe, putting my body into a vegetative shock; yet my eyes were still wide open.

Death, Purgatory, Rebirth

The scenery I once saw as an ethereal dream turned into a grim nightmare. Our motionless bodies slowly sank deeper, and deeper yet, into a dark, frigid, unforgiving abyssal expanse; even from being completely paralyzed within the frigid brine, I was more worried about Jenna. Throughout our lives, since childhood, we've been able to persevere through every unrelenting thing the seas of Thalasso threw at us together, yet this time seemed like our final farewell. The light vanished from the sea, as the life drained from our bodies. Minutes passed, then hours. Somehow, despite all odds - the bitter taste of hypothermia, the severe deficiency of oxygen left in my system - my eyes still remained as open as the ocean.

After what felt like an eternity in the frigid nothingness, a low, melancholic whalesong began to echo across the sea; like a call from the deep, beckoning my undivided attention. The sea pen that long since slipped from my driver's belt attracted a small, deepsea fish that cracked the pen open with its beaked jaws; from the damaged pen, an explosion of bioluminescent clouds burst out and the frightened fish darted away. Soon after, a quick, intense thud of a heartbeat pulsated with a mighty vitality around me. Somehow, my lungs were blessed with oxygen once again! Bioluminescent blue-green orbital jellyfish began to arrive in increasing numbers, as my whole body began to twitch erratically. From their intense lights, my vision began to become encompassed with an ice-blue glossy sheen, in a brief moment of blindness. Perhaps alerted by my fresh stimuli, these creatures began to follow me ever deeper into the freezing depths. Shortly after, I finally felt my body thud onto the coarse seabed, possibly miles below the surface at this point. Immediately afterward, the orbital jellies caught up, and let out a daunting spiritual choir, they began to cover me with their slimy tendrils. Their stings brought the feeling of thousands of icy daggers, followed by a comforting numbness against the painful cold, and I finally rested my eyes after an eternal stare into death.

Marooned on The Isle of Reflection


fig 2.0 (Interpretation of the Isle of Reflection)

Day 1:

When I awoke, I was face down on a rocky beach coast. I coughed up some salty seawater and tried to prop myself back to my feet. I noticed that my oxygen tank, tool belt, and bag of emergency supplies were nowhere to be seen, and my wetsuit suit was badly torn. I frantically glanced around in all directions, calling out for Jenna, yet to my dismay, she was also missing. Wherever I washed up, I would have to survive this on my own. I looked around and decided to scout my surroundings to gain my bearings and forage around for supplies to improve my situation.

The air was solemn and drab, cloaked in gray ocean mist. The shore was littered with gravel and fields of marram grass sprouting further onto the land. Within the rocky dunes of beach grass, shrubs and a handful of small spruce and pine took root. I clambered up the largest tree I could find, and realized that I was stranded on an island; four gravel banks that stretched far into the sea came together at a wide stone cliff, which gradually lowered back to shore level, creating a wide stretch of wooded shore, which was where I stood above, which then eventually tapered off to a point. The island resembled a human heart, in a way…

Whenever I lowered myself back to the ground, I kneeled down, and began to dig around in the gravel in search of granite rocks, pieces of flintstone, or shards of obsidian, anything that could be turned into primitive tools. After retrieving some, I chipped off some of the granite, and sharpened the flintstones with another rock I found, turning them into axe and spearheads. I cut down some beach grass for fibrous string, and broke chunks of wood off one of the young spruces' trunks to gather wooden handles; I splintered the wood with the stone tool heads and tied grass fiber threads around them to construct the tools I needed for the duration of my marooning. I proceeded to strip some branches off of the shrubbery and trees for tinder; I piled some rocks around my pile of firewood and scrapped flintstones together to construct a fire for the night. I rested my weary head down on a pile of cut grass, gazed at the night sky, and got some well-needed rest after the laborious day.

Day 2:

When the Great Lighthouse12 shinned over the glistening sea and lit up my tired face, I awoke with an insatiable hunger. I grabbed my obsidian fishing spear and decided to walk toward the shoreline in search of seafood. That was when I noticed something mixed within the washed-up sargassum. I picked it up, and my heart immediately sank deep; it was the soggy, feathered hat of the captain… Captain Thornwrack often wore a hat covered with the wing and tail feathers of laughing gulls, which was what inspired the S.S Mouette her namesake. I picked up the hat in my hands, hung my head in sorrow, and held it to my chest. I gasped and shook when the soggy hat crumbled under its weight, with a puff of feathers. In the aftermath, I noticed that something else was within the hat: a half-rotting Thompson's surgeonfish with globs of blood-red algae tangled around its gills; the algae somewhat resembled Captain Thornwrack's curly, ginger beard. I kept one of the hat's feathers, and gently lowered the fish back into the cold brine, as its final resting place.

Afterward, I tried to get myself back to a sober state, and waded into the sea in preparation for the hunt. The waves shot chills up my spine, but I persevered onwards until the water went shoulder-depth, and I began my plunge. The water brought a frosted tingle to my face, and the salty water stung my eyes. I maneuvered myself around the algae-covered rocks, in search of fish. First, I noticed small shoals of sardines, glassy sweepers, and sticklebacks, and tried to catch some; however, they out-maneuvered me at every turn, and darted far away before I could get my spear anywhere near one. Next, I noticed sand lances, gobies, and sculpins; they all immediately dug themselves deep into the sand and gravel the second I turned my attention towards them as if they knew what I was planning. I tried to use my fingers to shovel into the substrate to grab one, but it proved unsuccessful. After that, I noticed a juvenile lingcod in deeper waters nibbling on a half-eaten squid. I dove towards the unsuspecting fish, spear-first, impaled it between the gills, and wrapped my limbs around it as I tried to stun the back of its head with a jagged stone. I nearly succeeded, but out of nowhere, a damned chroma-shield rhami-rhami13 bashed into the fish and I, at full force. This allowed the fish to struggle and escape my grasp. I crashed into the rocky seabed below. The rhami-rhami proceeded to chase the lingcod far out to sea, as a trail of blood followed behind.

As I defeatedly swam my way back towards the shallows, I noticed a peculiar sight: next to the sunken, warped, algae-covered boards of the wrecked half of a rowboat, I saw a forceps butterflyfish, a highly unusual sight to find in cold seas, as they prefer warm reefs. Truly as lost as me. In sheer desperation, I darted at the poor fish, cornered it between a stony outcropping, and impaled it right in its core with the sharp obsidian blade of the spear. As I lifted the spear above the water, the forceps butterflyfish let out a long, shrill, and nasally shout, sounding much like Stella… as the jaws of the fish stretched out to unnatural proportions, its eyes went pale with a deathly white, black inky tar oozed like tears, and the sunny yellow hues of its scales turned a deep maroon coloration, as its body stiffened and rapidly bloated with gruesome festers. I stared at the appalling sight in absolute horror… With haste, I snatched the fish off of the end of my spear and flung it far into the ocean.

After that, I decided that I would never dive into the island's waters again, there was nothing good for me down there… Once I returned to the shore, I noticed a sark crab14 crawling along the pebbles, and stunned it with my stone hatchet. I also noticed a large scallop nestled between tidal stones, and I cut and pried open the scallop's shell with a flint knife, to retrieve the meat within. I also decided to make use of the hollowed-out shell as a rain-catcher, and by then a light rain had overcast the island; there were no freshwater ponds or lakes on the island, so rainwater would be vital for my survival.

Once the rain subsided in the evening, I drank the collected rainwater and prepared a fire to cook my crab and scallop meat. I made sure to give the meat a thorough roast, to avoid contracting a seaborne pathogen. As I finished my last morsel and laid my head back down on my grassy pillow, a frosty mist flushed over the shore, and a faint, eerie sound echoed across the sea: the sound of Finely's accordion. I turned my gaze to the ocean horizon, where a crows nest had begun to rise from the water—its railings were covered in sickly green kelp. When the nest had completed its ascension, two glowing eyes blinked from the railings… staring right are me. The faint echoes of the accordion began to intensify, well into an audible range. We must've spent the entire night staring at each other; in the morning, when the Great Lighthouse shun its light again, the crowsnest vanished in a cloud of mist and staring towards the lighthouse's light momentarily blinded me.

Day 5:

After a couple of days on the island, I began to fall into a routine of scavenging for resources - digging for rocks, cutting down grass and shrubbery, chopping up chunks of timber, hunting down sark crab-, drinking rainwater and morning condensation. However, on the fifth day, I started to see terrible visions, haunting reflections of my crew. As I was patrolling the shore in search of sark crabs, I came across a washed-up structure that wasn't present the previous day; a market stall made from weathered planks of wood, which were infested with clusters of barnacles and oysters, growing along the sides. Peculiarly in addition, on top of the market stall's counter lay an unattended nest of seagull eggs. On the island, all the nesting sites of gulls, terns, and shadow cormorants15 lay on the rocky cliff face. Harvesting eggs from the cliffs proved to be difficult because while one of the parents went hunting for shoals of fish, squid, or shrimp, the other would stay ever-diligent; squawking, swarming, and pecking was always a guarantee if I even dared to wander near the nesting grounds. I took the opportunity of a break from the constant shellfish diet and harvested the eggs. As I picked up the last egg, my peripheral vision spotted another anomaly further down the shore.

There was the wreckage of a small ship brought in by the waves. Near the wreckage, miscellaneous objects and construction supplies were strewn across the gravel; within the wreckage itself, something appeared to be rummaging inside, scavenging the site just as I was. Out of curiosity, I approached the broken hole along the hull, to take a peek at the fellow scavenger, and a wild coconut crab climbed out, wielding its treasure between its right claw. As this coconut crab was at least twice the size of the typical sark crabs I've been hunting for, I contemplated dispatching and eating it. However, as I kept my eye on the coconut crab, I began to think about Decaco, and couldn't bring myself to harm the poor crab. Instead, I resorted to chasing it off towards the pines, and it dropped the object it was holding onto, to relieve weight for running away.

I lifted the discarded item and inspected what it was, the item turned out to be a hammer with a rusted steelhead and a sturdy, though damp, oakwood handle; one of the strongest woods out there, truly a good find given my disparate survival state. I began to make use of the market stall, hammer, construction supplies, and wreckage boards by converting it into the basis of a simple wooden shack. Something to protect me from the outside elements. I also created some thatching with cut marram grass and used mud in an attempt to keep the boards stuck together. During the evening, I took a break from the construction of my makeshift hut and cooked the three eggs for supper; innocent young lives taken too soon.

Day 12:

During the week it took to complete my humble hut, I had a lot on my mind. Reflections, memories, loneliness, and ever-growing grief began to swim around and around again within my mind, like a fish stuck in a glass box. I thought back on childhood memories of Jenna and my past before Captain Thornwrack took us in on the S.S Mouette.

As a young lad, I worked and lived alongside my mother and older brother at a fishery manor16 along the coastal edges of the Terraken town, Prismartine Commonwealth, in the Pelactos Sea. The landowner of the fishery, Big Man Pescallo Enra, was Jenna's father; a wretched bastard indeed. During my experience with him, he was a hypocrite, a cunning otter, a cheapskate, and during the latter times a mad drunk. He would not only treat his workers, including my family, like grime between the docks, but he would also have violent drunk outbursts against his own wife and daughter, especially after returning home from subpar trading business at sea. I would've clocked him across the face long ago, but I was just a lad back then; I was once told by my older brother, much to the distress of my poor mother, that before I was born, the fishery's workers went on strike against Jenna's father for unjust payments and abysmal living conditions, and he responded by gunning some of them down with a flintlock clawback pistol17 until the workers submitted to his will. Apparently, my father was one of the lives lost that day. For the safety of me and my family, I too had to submit to the Big Man's cruelty; I longed to find a way to escape and find security somewhere better, as anywhere had to have been better than that damned fishery.

When we were young children, and while the Big Man was away on business trades, Jenna had a passion for the ocean and would often come down to the fishery docks, and visit me while we worked. We would always talk and play. She would often talk with me about musical and marine biology lessons she was previously taught by her private tutor; as I also had to be taught about fish and other marine life, to raise and maintain the aquatic livestock in the fishery, we ended up bonding over the wonders of the sea. Whenever our days went bad, we would also try to cheer each other up. Some days, we really needed that emotional support to avoid going crazy from our respective issues with the Big Man. As we grew older, our relationship did too. However, we were forbidden to express our love around either of our families, as there would've been serious consequences to be had if we were caught; that didn't stop us from sneaking off and meeting each other in private, though.

One night, when we were both 16, Jenna was in her roughest state, when her father went on another drunken tirade and tried to violently lash out at her. She ran away from her family manor and bolted towards my living compartment of the fishery, on the verge of tears. Neither of us could take it anymore, and that night we both decided that we'd sail away out to sea, together. I hastily packed what supplies I could into one of the fishing boats, and we got going briefly before her father got to the docks and stumbled overboard under the waves. Since it was late in the night, I don't believe anyone else was awake to hear him struggling in the water. Though, from what I heard long after the fact, the Big Man did reportedly drown that night. After a day or two of sailing, we ended up lost at sea, whenever a current put the fishing boat off course from the nearest Terraken town. We tried to fish for sustenance and ration our water, but things were beginning to look dire and we were beginning to regret our hastily, emotionally-charged decision to run off.

Miraculously, the S.S Mouette happened to be sailing a couple of hundred feet in the horizon, and gratefully Finely spotted our stranded vessel, then alerted the captain to sail the ship towards us. When the captain noticed that we were in dire need, tired, hungry, and dehydrated, he introduced himself along with the crew, and took us in with ever-caring hospitality; Captain Thornwrack got us back onto our feet. We each exchanged backstories, and he was made aware of our situations back home. He offered us to join his crew, and we accepted. Since then life was better for Jenna and me for the decade that we were in the S.S Mouette crew; Captain Thornwrack was for sure a better father figure to Jenna than the Big Man ever was, and Captain Thornwrack was like the father I never had. Alas, my mind flashed back to reality, marooned on an isolated isle of reflection.

Day 14:

After being stranded on the island for two weeks, I began to notice that the shoreline kept gradually creeping towards my campsite and hut as the days went on. I began to grow anxious as I realized that the tides were growing more intense, and eventually the island may end up completely submerged under the waves once the Lunar Pearl18 enters its full, encompassed glow. I paced around the campsite as I frantically evaluated what I should put into thatch bags and what should be left behind. I determined that in the emergency when the island sinks into the sea, I'd move to higher ground and construct a temporary campsite until the tides reside again after the Lunar Pearl begins its waxing glow phase. I began to trek up the coastal cliff, carrying chunks of stones and wicker baskets, filled with piles of tinder and bundles of cut grass, then I moved over my rain-catcher; the flocks of seafowl harassed me once again as I approached their nesting territory, but I figured that once the island sinks to cliff level, they might understand my reasoning for taking up residence within their roost. Once I placed a temporary campsite on top of the cliff, I began to make rounds carrying things from the unstable, soaked gravel shores to the solid, dry foundation of the cliff.

As evening approached, and The Great Lighthouse began to lower its light from the Horizon, I gazed at the Lunar Pearl in the sky and confirmed my fear to be true: it' was a full moon, and the tides were about to get messy. What's worse was that at the time, I was standing at the old campsite on the shoreline, trying to grab the last of what I needed, when large waves began hurling towards the island on all sides… I began to full-force sprint towards the cliff, a race against the tidal clock. As I was running towards the cliff, a thunderstorm began to brew with lightning, the sky glowed with a blue-green overcast, and I heard that low, melancholic whalesong ringing across the sea once again! The waves crashed into me, and my body got bashed into the gravel rocks, disorienting me and I struggled to surface. While still under the water, I saw the orbital jellyfish rising from the deep. Once I breached, I swam towards the cliff, and desperately tried to clamber up the rocks, as my head was still ringing, throbbing, and spinning.
As I stood at my campsite on top of the cliff, I could swear that the wreckage of the S.S Mouette crashed against the cliff, and the shockwave knocked me back down to the floor. My heart was racing, my adrenaline was pumping evermore, and my grief had reached its peak; I could no longer deny what happened to my crew, my family, I could see right in front of my eyes, the harsh, bitter, and cold reality of the outside world. The melancholy whalesong intensified with the sky's glow, as swarms of colossal orbital jellyfish towered over the clouds, and hovered their congregation all around the island. I began to furiously shout out in pure anger…

"Why did you give me a second life?"
"What did you do to Jenna?"
"Why didn't you bring back the others?"
"Why didn't you let me rest, and let me join them in the afterlife?"
"Please let me reunite with them…"

Tears rolled down my eyes, and I leaned over the edge of the cliff and glanced at waves crashing into the jagged rocks beneath, before facing back to the jellyfish in the sky. My mind began going into terrible places…

"Why am I even alive?"
"What stops me from ending it all now?
"What do I still have left to live for?!"

The orbital jellyfish heightened their choir to a deafening hymn, their light intensified into a blinding beam, yet somehow between all of the commotion.. I heard Jenna's awe-inspiring singing! The dreaded sky dispersed into a clear array of stars in the dark, a bloom of bioluminescent plankton illuminated a path out to the ocean's horizon like the line of an activated sea pen… The tide miraculously lowered and exposed the gravel shores once again, and swarms of coconut crabs darted toward the dry shore…

As day broke, The Great Lighthouse shined its brilliant light over The Heart of The Icy Seas, my own heart began to thaw from grief. I began to ponder many things, and finally after an eternity of marooned reflection, I've finally come to realizations and decisions. Could this be Thalasso's Calling? My purpose? My destiny? I've accepted this fate. Could Jenna and Decaco still be alive out there, against all of the odds of Thalasso's wrath? During our time of the S.S Mouette, no matter how lost Decaco, Jenna, or I would get in our underwater missions, the bioluminescence led the way for reunion. In this case, the bioluminescence wasn't from a sea pen, but instead I was lost in my own mind and the orbital jellyfish have brought me back on track. I don't know how yet, but somehow the orbital jellyfish will lead the way to reunion.

By noon, I noticed something else on the island: a fellow merchant vessel, the majestic S.S. Delfino19, made its way across the horizon. I began to shout, jump, and make a smoke signal, anything to gain their attention. Eventually, someone on the crowsnest took notice of the island's commotion and sailed closer to investigate. I sprinted down the cliff face full of excitement to reach the anchored ship upon the shore. They took me in with great hospitality, asked about my story, replenished me back to full health, and got me back on my feet. After so long in complete isolation, finally having company felt a little daunting at first, but I was just happy to not be alone for once. They've brought me back to a Terraken town and set me up with a humble job as a fisherman, so I could make a living to support myself in civilization once again until I'm ready to once again pursue my life's voyage of reuniting with Decaco and my beloved Jenna. My dreams, my visions, and my Calling will lead the way.

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