The Strange History and Legend of the Moran Moor
Extract Nine, The Lake
Ever since leaving the beach the trial had followed with some small deviations a parallel course to the edge of the huge sweeping bay that had seen Julien’s landfall. The trail was positioned atop a high false flat that wound through the stacked jagged outcrops of black/gray rock that protruded at intervals almost like the serrations on a well-honed knifes edge. Several times Julien’s feet slipped upon the vivid green lichen than adorned every centimeter of the exposed strata and wondered once more at the remarkable sure footedness of his companions.
Just wide enough to permit the occasional double file the trail showed decidedly obvious signs of human clearing. In the rather stilted manual language the two new acquaintances were mutually assimilating Julien came to appreciate that far from being but an occasionally habitated area the island had a more or less constant flow of visitors for hunting and fishing as well as a multitude of ceremonial usages. The island and its connecting chain were considered neutral territory by all the many surrounding tribes which Two Moons indicated were quite numerous. The neutrality however was highly fragile and a matter of very recent dispute, leading on several occasions to virtual open conflict. Two Moons prospective marriage was part of an exceptionally long and tediously complicated peace process, all sides naturally insisting upon quite impossible terms and improbable stipulations. Julien pointed to himself and shrugged, as good a sign for ‘well what do you expect when men negotiate’ as any. Two Moon’s reciprocating nod and grin quite reduced Julien’s knees to the consistency of calf foot jelly. Before this burgeoning relationship could complicate any further a sharp turn right, an almost vertical descent. then a turn left brought the party quite suddenly out of what had seeds to Julien an endless forest into a clear view of the tail of a breathtakingly pristine lagoon. The sight of water brought joy to Julien’s heart and soul, but his excitement was quickly tempered by the sight of four large canoes beached on the far side of the rippling surface. Two Moons sent two of her companions to scout the canoes location, just in case they had been in any recent use.
With a quite startling suddenness what had been a bright blue clear sky clouded prodigiously and with one warning crack of thunder a downpour of soaking rain began to fall vertically, bouncing upwards from ground and lagoon surface alike. The party, gathering their cloaks and coats tight around themselves huddled together under the shelter of a particularly expansive and thickly branched evergreen.
The scouts reported back good news, no recent activity around the canoe location. All took a deep breath, whilst Two Moons or her companions had any qualms about another murder or two things would go far easier without further bodies to secrete.