Montreyo was technically a spotty chain of islands off the coast of Garadar. Montreyo also had a great walled city and some plains on Garadar’s coast. As Cathal stood up and looked around him, he could see other islands in the distance, but did not recognize Edmendcha, Montreyo’s largest island and capital. That meant the island he stood on was most likely at the end of the chain. He noticed the ship had turned towards his island and was was now lowering longboats into the water. Men sat at the oars and they rowed towards him. With half a hope, Cathal tried to will himself to his father. He remained. He tried his own temple, he remained. He then tried to feel the nearest flame, to will himself to it. He could not. Cathal had wondered what Nix had meant when he said Cathal was little more than human. Cathal certainly felt human.
Cathal tried to summon flame to him. If he could not go to it, it would come to him. Nothing happened. The long boat was almost to the shore. Men got out and approached him.
“Did ye shipwreck here, bucko?” asked the lead man. He had a coat of red and a tricorn hat on his greasy hair. “No one lives here on ‘tis island. ‘Tis cursed. Ye’re lucky we saw ye.”
“By a witch, they say. ‘Tis okay during th’ day, but at nightfall, no one gunna come near here. Was hard that be all I can take to get th’ men to row here fer ye. I be Cap’n Iarak o’ th’ Ess’ild.”
“Cathal,” the fire god introduced himself.
“Named after th’ god o’ fire. Better avoid Cathalia, that name be sacred to them,” Captain Iarak stated. The people of Montreyo did not worship Cathal as the people of Cathalia did, but they were aware of him. They worshipped Tikhon, spirit of fortune. He was a mischievous spirit, and he did bring eventual good fortune to those that worshipped, but often he played tricks on them first. Tikhon was still not like Cathal, Tikhon was among the humans when he got bored. Cathal was among his people because he loved them.
“Cap’n,” spoke one of the men behind Iarad. Iarad turned. The man was pointing west. The sun was beginning to set.
“We’re headed to Nysy. If ye wish to come wit’ us, ye may. Ye’ll have to earn ye’re passage though.”
“Thank you,” Cathal agreed. Nysy was the coastal city of Montreyo. The ships traveled between the islands trading, then eventually all went to Nysy. From there caravans would be loaded and the goods carried and sold to Garadar, Cathalia, Cylia and the Nomadra. They would buy goods from the kingdoms and bring them back to Nysy. Cathal felt his luck was increasing. He could get a horse and if he had to, and ride to the western barrier.
The men scrambled into the boat and Cathal took up an oar. He was used to hard labor, he’d been in the fields plowing, he’d helped build houses, chopped firewood, but usually it was effortless to him. There was a splash behind them. A man screamed and Cathal turned to see a massive suckered tentacle wrapped around the waist of one of the oarsmen. More men screamed, Iarad drew the revolver tucked into the sash about his waist and fired upon the tentacle. Men dove into the water as another tentacle smashed down on the longboat, breaking it in two. Some men tried to swim to the ship, others tried to swim back to the island. Captain Iarad, Cathal and two others made it to the shore. They watched as the tentacles gripped the men in the water, some jerking them down, others dragged up into the air before being pulled back down. Captain Iarad’s ship was turning. Cathal could see men working on the deck to raise the anchor, and adjust the sails.
“That be th’ problem wit’ seamen. They can sword fight any scurvy pirate without battin’ an eyelash. Gift them a monster ‘n they flee.” Cathal noticed the two oarsmen who’d made it to the island with them were nearly huddled together. The sun had set and the stars were beginning to shine. Cathal looked up at them. His mother, Aluna, the moon goddess was not with them tonight. “We’ll need a fire. We can slumber on th’ beach. Wit’ any luck, th’ ship gunna come back fer us to’morrow.”
“Y-y-yar, but th’ witch gunna come fer us t’night!” Said one of the frightened men. Captain Iarad, a man in his fifties, with gray in his beard gave a huff.
Cathal liked the idea of a fire. He was weary from rowing then swimming. He missed the comfort and re-engergizing of his flames. Cathal normally had the ability to make anything burst into flames, had to sit idly as Iarad struck a match and held it to the kindling. The fire caught and the wood they had gathered fueled it. Cathal could feel the warmth of the flames and was dazzled by their flickering. Cathal put his hand in the fire and immediately jerked it back. A searing pain in his palm. The fire had burned him.
“Ye mother never taught ye not to play wit’ fire?” Iarad asked rather seriously. Cathal held his burned hand to him.
“The flames have never harmed me before,” Cathal said cautiously. He really had no intentions of actually saying he was the god of fire, or rather had been the god of fire.