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Clutch the wheel in your hand and spin, spin. Propel us off the shore and far, far away – anywhere but here. I want to see the blue moon rise over the sea, to hear the waves churning in perfect melody. I want to see the great white sail unfurling to spread across the sky, filling its lungs with the salty air, pushing us on.
Do not fail us, Eru. We wish to return. We cannot stay here much longer.
The smell of brine is heavy in the air. I inhale deeply, sick of the scent that flows through me but relishing the cold air and thrashing wind.
The boat is our biggest secret, forged in the shelter of the steep cliffs along one nook of the island. It is small but can hold five grown men and me. We spent months inconspicuously gathering wood and fashioning awls to pull together old clothes. Our sail is a dirty rag and our boat is a piece of driftwood on the sapphire sea.
If the king's men knew, we would be dead, struck down like so many before us. We are meant to carry on as slaves, not as free men. We were abducted long before I came into the world, screaming as we were forced from our blessed isle onto another.
The moon smiles down at us, large and tinged with ethereal blue and silver, the same kind Hari would have wanted to see. As he spoke such words to me on the night of his death, my face had been streaked with tears saltier than the sea. The ones flowing now are joyful – in memory of Hari and the people of this island who have been trapped under rule. They are shed for the ones who were born and died here, who will never return to our blessed isle.
I take the wheel and spin, spin. We fly off the shore, drifting away. I look back over my shoulder for half a moment, catching a view of the pale white sheen of faded white crosses spiked in the sand. I bow my head and look to the moon, the sign of promise for the future, tears spilling brilliantly down my face, ruining the cold, commanding demeanor I had perfected in order to be captain of this journey home.
Yes, Hari. We're going home. We will be free.
I want to see the blue moon rise over the sea, to hear the waves churning in perfect melody.
Here they are, Hari.
We cannot stay here for much longer.
From behind us come shouts of recognition. The king's men are on their feet, grabbing their weapons.
The boat whisks us away into the night, and soon the angry torches are just twinkling lights in the distance. We do not celebrate yet, for it is far from over. We are far from home, and we may not survive the sea. But it is all right, for we are free.
Propel us off the shore and far, far away – anywhere but here.
These tears are for your liberation.