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Star Hopping

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Part XIII | The Scarlet Macaw | One for Each Hour We Keep

By sunset, Tala had secured a bunk in The Scarlet Macaw's cabin. The ship's captain had wanted more than she could pay for with otter skins, so she'd had to go back and collect the rest of her belongings from a hidden cove on the other side of the island. Tala added two baskets of abalone, including the shells, as well as a small collection of beaded necklaces and earrings she had made herself during her time on the island. This, together with a trunk of otter skins, The Scarlet Macaw's captain assured her would provide her passage for the entire length of the journey.

Tala and a small pirate child loaded her belongings onto the ship and as soon as her trunks were stowed away in her cabin, she headed to the upper deck to watch the night sky as the ship pulled anchor and headed out to sea. Tala looked straight up at the sparkling starry night sky and found Altair, the bluish jewel of the eagle, or the brightest star in the constellation Aquila (Aquila is Latin for eagle). [13] Altair is Arabic for "flying eagle" and was the eagle favored by Zeus. Aquila also torments Prometheus until Hercules shoots the eagle with poisoned arrows.

From Altair, Tala's eyes followed the stars' path through the Milky Way and found the eagle's tailfeathers. From there, she could star hop across the night sky from Scutum the Shield, all the way to Ara [15],a small constellation whose name means “the altar” in Latin. The Ara constellation represents the altar used by Zeus and other Greek gods to swear a vow of allegiance before they went to war against Cronus and the Titans.

Tala saw blue dolphins swimming under the starry night sky and she wondered how long their journey would take. The small child found her again and led her by the hand down a short set of stairs leading into The Scarlet Macaw's lantern-lit galley where she found a light supper of salted fish, seaweed, abalone and wine waiting.

After dinner, Tala discovered that her key opened the door to the wrong room. Instead of her bunk, baskets, clothing and trunks, Tala had accidentally opened the door to the ship's alchemy studio. Before Tala had a chance to turn around, go back and find her own cabin, the door quickly slammed shut. Tala stood in the middle of the alchemist's studio staring at an old paper scroll left on the floor by whoever had been there before her.

Written across the top of the scroll it said: "Greetings from The Compass Rose: A Brief History of the Salt and Sea Company." Tala sat down to read.




When Tala finished reading, she grabbed the scrolls and made her way back to her own cabin. She lit a candle at the writing desk, dipped a quill in the small, black ink bottle and thought of Ikram. She wondered if they would ever have a life together in their new kingdom. All of a sudden, outside the ship's porthole, Tala saw a brilliant, bright, white light flash like lightning in the night sky. The shining light lit up the darkness. The ship's compass pointed towards the northeast. That was the direction they were headed.

Tala saw a golden oil lamp near the ship's porthole and she rubbed it a few times first before trying to light it with her candle. She realized there wasn't any oil in the lamp and left her cabin to find lamp oil. As soon as Tala stepped outside her room, a large dark-skinned man grabbed her from behind, bound her wrists and gagged her mouth. When Tala woke up, they had reached India.


[1] On the Buddha's Prophecy []

[2] Altair []

[3] Scutum []

[4] Ara []

[5] Ciro Marchetti's Tarot of Dreams Deck & Book Set 2015 []

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