We leave Omari and follow the river north for a ways before turning east toward the coast. The next settlement we reach is Vivima. This is the largest town you’ve seen on Linea so far, yet it’s still significantly smaller than anything you saw on Bursna. Vivima also happens to be the oldest settlement on Linea.
Once we’ve settled into our inn for the night, I tell you the story of Vivima’s establishment.
* * * * *
Kamila and her friends were swimming in Tuem Lake. Some of her friends would manipulate water, sending waves toward each other. Kamila’s elemental power was air, so she was able to create waves, too, by blowing wind across the water’s surface. The young women laughed as they played in the water.
Kamila felt a tug on her ankle. She tried pulling away, but it grew stronger. She was farther out into the lake than she had ever been before. Was there some sort of aquatic predator attacking her? She called out to her friends for help, and she blasted wind at the water in an attempt to push herself out of the liquid depths. But the thing tugging her was too strong. Now it had hold of her other ankle, and she was pulled under the surface.
The water was too dark for her to see, but she kicked and struggled in an attempt to get back to the surface. She was pulled down even further, and then everything went black.
Then Kamila could see. The water was lighter and clearer, and she swam to the surface. The tugging sensation was gone now. Her head broke the surface, and she gasped for air. She scolded herself for not thinking to put an air bubble around her head to keep herself from drowning.
All around her was water, stretching farther than it should for a lake. And she tasted salt. She was in an ocean, but what ocean? Could she have been carried out to the Great Sea? But how could she have done so that quickly? What was going on?
She knew she needed to find land—and quickly. She wouldn’t be able to swim forever. For now she treaded water, taking in her surroundings. What direction did she want to swim in? She noticed the sun was setting to one side. She would follow it.
As she swam, she kept an eye out for a piece of driftwood or something she could hold onto, so she could rest for a while. She’s not sure how long it took for her to find some, but she finally did. She threw her arms over it and let it keep her afloat, occasionally using her magic to create waves that helped her along. Would she ever find land?
She was beginning to despair when the sun reached the horizon. It would be dark soon, and any number of strange creatures could come out then. She wished she could communicate with animals like so many of her friends could, but she had the power of telepathy instead.
Then in the distance, she saw something. Was that land? While keeping hold of the driftwood, she kicked her feet, moving herself closer to it. As it grew nearer, she could tell it was something large rising out of the water. It looked like a long strip of beach. Land! She kept kicking, and her efforts paid off. She reached the island just as the sun set.
Kamila used her magic to dry herself off. She didn’t need to freeze to death, though it was decently warm out. Beyond the beach was a dark forest of tropical plants. Should she stay on the beach tonight, or should she find shelter in the trees?
Being on the beach meant being exposed, but there might be dangerous animals in the forest. Normally she didn’t fear animals because her people had a positive relationship with them, but this was a foreign place. She didn’t know if she was still on Linea or if she was elsewhere.
She decided to take a middle-ground approach and find shelter along the edge of the forest. It was getting somewhat difficult for her to see. Elvira can see in the dark, but the ability has its limits. She found a hollow at the base of a tree, and after checking it for occupants, she curled up and tried to sleep.
Strange noises kept her up most of the night. She heard rustling in the foliage and various animal sounds as the nocturnal creatures came out to eat. She hoped none of them wanted to eat her.
When the sun rose, Kamila was tired and sore, not to mention hungry and thirsty. She would have to find sustenance. She found rain water on some of the leaves, which she drank, and she found a variety of fruit trees. She had no way of telling if they were poisonous, so she ate what she could find and hoped it wouldn’t make her sick. It quickly grew hot out, and Kamila wasn’t used to so much heat. She wanted to go home.
She continued walking along the beach, keeping to the shade of the trees. Maybe she could find someone who could help her. If anyone lived here.
When she did find people, they weren’t what she was expecting. At first, she thought they were elvira from the south due to their dark skin and black hair, but something was different about them. She realized it was their language. She didn’t understand a word they were saying. She kept to the trees, using her magic to camouflage herself, while she observed them. They couldn’t be elvira because all elvira spoke Ahnchanti. They also couldn’t be elvira because she noticed none of them used magic. What was this strange place? How had she gotten here?
Would these people be able to help her? How would she communicate with them? She wasn’t sure. What if they didn’t like having a foreigner in their land? Kamila decided to find another way home.
The people used canoes to go out to sea and fish. Could she use one of those to return to the place she came from? Would she even be able to find it again? If she did, would it take her home? There was so much she didn’t know, but she had to try something. She wasn’t going to just give up.
Kamila wandered around the trees, collecting fruits and stashing them near the beach. As she was wandering, she found a small clearing, and inside the clearing were structures. They weren’t lean-tos like she was used to on Linea. They were buildings made of thatch, and it didn’t look like they were easy to move. How did they transport them from place to place? What if they didn’t? What if they stayed in the same place year-round?
The concept was foreign to Kamila. Her people were nomadic and always had been, travelling far and wide across Linea. They preferred the southern rainforests and savannahs in the winter and the northern temperate forests and grasslands in the summer. What would it be like to stay in one place?
Kamila hid in the shadows and used her camouflage, so she could observe the people further. She saw them making baskets and clay pots. They also made shiny items they wore on their bodies, often around their necks or wrists. What were all these new things?
Kamila would have a lot to tell her tribe members when she got home. If she got home. She resumed her search for food. One of the trees produced a round, fuzzy thing that she thought might be a nut. Except it was the largest nut she had ever seen in her life. She cracked one open and found liquid inside. It smelled okay, and it tasted okay. She collected many of those for her journey. She filled the one she opened with water from the leaves.
When night fell, Kamila moved all of her supplies into one of the canoes and pushed it out to sea. She felt bad for whomever she stole the boat from, but she needed it to get home. There was a paddle on the floor of the canoe, which she used in alteration with her magic. She headed in the opposite direction of the sunset.
Kamila was tired from being up all day, and she hadn’t slept well the night before. She dozed off and on, and she always woke up in a panic because she wasn’t sure if she was still paddling in the correct direction. When the sun rose, she found she was off course, and she had to correct herself. She tried to remember what the ocean looked like where she had first come to this planet. She was worried she wouldn’t find it again.
It had only taken her part of a day to get from the ocean to the land, and she had been rowing all night. She had probably passed the place she was looking for. So, she turned around and kept searching.
She spent three days at sea when she felt something. She wasn’t really sure what it was. It just felt right. She kept rowing, and the sensation grew stronger. It felt like something was tugging her in a certain direction. Then she saw it: a round area with lighter water. This is what she was looking for. She was sure of it.
She maneuvered the canoe over the light patch and jumped into the water. This time she placed an air bubble around her head when she submerged. She felt something grab her ankles and tug her downward. Then the blackness returned. Everything was black, but Kamila kicked upwards. Her head broke the surface, and it was still dark, but a different kind of dark. She could see the stars in the sky, and she recognized the constellations. She was home.
She swam to shore and dried herself off before walking to her village. She had only been gone a few days, so they hadn’t left the northern forests yet. Everyone was asleep, and Kamila found her hammock and joined them.
The next morning, Kamila woke up to the sound of rejoicing. Her friends and family were grateful she had returned. They feared she had drowned and hadn’t expected her to still be alive. She told everyone in her tribe about her adventure and the strange things she had seen. Some of them didn’t believe her, but others were curious. A group of older, more seasoned elvira decided to investigate.
They returned several days later with proof of Kamila’s tale. They brought back clay pots and the shiny body adornments. Some of the people in Kamila’s village wanted to try these new things, but some didn’t. Kamila and the elvira who wanted to try a sedentary lifestyle travelled south to find a suitable location.
They settled in a spot on the coast where the Preva Bay was. It was still temperate forest, but it was far enough south that they wouldn’t get too cold in the winter. The Zeera River was nearby and would provide access to Tuem Lake where the others were.
Kamila and the others built sturdy, wooden homes and established the first permanent village on Linea. They named it Vivima, and it’s still inhabited today, nearly one thousand years later.