The Transfer – Part 1 | 30 January 4/685

A teenager and his grandfather fly fishing in a lake, at the foot of a volcano.
Izak Jnr and Dennis

Dearest Jowan, Cora, and patrons of the Unarkida

Framed and hung on the wall of my office is a seminal piece of work by a Second Age philosopher, B. Pinok. It was gifted to me by my predecessor and uncle, Thomas Vartis.

Pinok always claimed the story was true. Whether you believe that or not, it is quoted often by scientists, philosophers and cultists alike in explaining the nature of life in our world.

Izak Snr, son of Dennis, sometime in the Second Age, The Black Island.

As I approach I see a familiar sight, the shimmer of a wetted line coiling through the air. Set against the backdrop of the sleeping mountain, it catches the sun as it unfurls. A puff of droplets scatter as the feathered fly stops gently, the line fully extended. Then, easily and in one smooth motion the line is driven forward by the tip of a long stiff rod, coiling over itself once more and drifting out over the surface of the melt-water lake.

The line begins to settle on the water, and a gentle ripple radiates outward, interrupted by the next, and then more, falling in a straight line. When the fly finally lands on the surface, the ripples are capped by one perfectly circular wave.

Standing at its source, holding the rod, is my father. A small way to his left is my son. He holds his own rod, but his attention is locked on his grandfather in an attempt to absorb all the slightest motions and nuances of this fine art.

Junior pulls in his line, keeping his rod tip down. I stop some distance away to observe as he relaxes his shoulders. He lifts his rod, allowing the line to slack into the water before catching it with his left hand. He lifts and throws the slack over his shoulder in a jerky and far less graceful movement. The tangled mess is strewn behind him.

He whips the line forward with a loud snap, and I see droplets scatter on the wind. Junior does his best to allow it to unfold forwards before he casts it back again, but he manages only to yank the line directly into his body. Narrowly, he avoids his woollen jumper being his first catch of the day.

I smile and approach.

“Be patient, you’ll get it.” I hear as I get within earshot.

“Don’t yank it. What’s the rush?” I add, still smiling.

“Yeah, thanks,” says Junior, looking everywhere but at either of his seniors.

“It’s time Dad,” I say to my father.

“Ah, just a few more casts Buppa?” Junior pleads.

“It’s time for your father and me to go to work. Take a rest, then have a few more casts. I’ll come back with you first thing in the morning,” Father assures.

“Ok Buppa.”

Junior reels in his line before taking his Buppa’s rod. Then he heads over to sit beneath an old Family Tree.

As Father and I walk towards the harbour, he speaks, “I’ve told you, have I not, that every fisher-man or -woman has seen their death at Sea?”

“You have. In nightmares.”

“Yes, in nightmares. Ripped to the depths, terrorised and devoured by Cyne’s gnashing teeth.”

“The Cultists say that it is ‘only in being given to the blackened depths that he can return you, to be delivered as new life on Arian’s shores’,” I recount a speech by the local fanatic.

“Been listening to too many crackpots you have,” Father looks at me with a smile, shaking his head. “There’s something else. I’ve told you of the nightmares, yes. What I have not yet told you is that at some point, as we grow old and weary, when our dues are paid—,” Father pauses and looks at me, asking for my full attention.


“—Those nightmares, they become dreams, hopeful. Not so much ripped and devoured, but embraced and released.” Father casts his gaze out to the east, where dark clouds build on the horizon.

As we approach the Dorian Nor, our vessel, I stare at my father. There is something different about him, a lightness that I hadn’t seen in years.

Some hours later, having already taken our first haul of the day, we set our heading for home. The decision is made on account of the inclement weather, but a plentiful catch makes it easier.

Father has seen to the stowing of our bounty, as well as the rigging and nets. We race the sky as it darkens to stern.

The Dorian Nor is soon overrun, the clouds off the bow grow dark and the water begins to boil and swell. I look to my father who stands next to me on the bridge. We are both keenly aware of the severity of the storm as it takes us.

The sea is as black as the sky above, clouds sweep over, and the wind breaks the frothing swell-caps over our deck. All my attention is gripped in steering into and over the peaks and rolling slopes.

I did not notice, at first, when the full might of the black mass struck the hull. I only saw the gantry jack-knife over the side, pulling us over with it.

I did notice my father running from the bridge, down the stairs and out on deck to attempt to catch the rigging in an effort to secure it. I watch, unable to leave my post, as he barely manages to wrestle the gantry back to its resting position and lash it into place.

From behind the wheel, I call below for sailors to assist him and continue to steer as best I can.

As I hear men and women shuffling below, pulling on waterproofs, I can only watch. The Dorian Nor bucks again as another black fist strikes the hull. She snaps like a pennant in the wind—this way, then that.

Another mighty swell masses, attacks, and drowns the deck.

For the last time, I can only watch as my father is swept into the sea. I steer with an absent mind—driven by memory and experience—as I glimpse my father’s bright yellow coat flash against a black mountain of water, then disappear forever.

Continued in The Transfer – Part 2.

If you’re interested in a longer story from Unara, read Ankit and the Uncle of Refuge, or consider something else from the Journal of G.G. Bailey.

Illustration by Midjourney & G.G.B.

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