Today's sun, just the one as in most years, beat relentlessly down on Kamkarra, giving it an almost washed out look. Up here, at the very top of Sentinel Mount beside the High Shrine of Enkarra, it was cooler than down in the harbour but the heat from below made the whole vista shimmer. Air from the warm sea was heated even more by the white rock and buildings of the harbour town and it rose swiftly to Jibrith and Hevne, pressing into their faces like warm flannels. Jibrith squeezed his eyes closed and rubbed them gently with his hand.
Silkarra, barely an hours sail away, sank forever beneath the surging sea. More distant islands drowned without sinking as the sea raised its head and cleansed them each time the angry earth hit out.
Previous Second Suns, too, blazed upheaval in their wake. History told of the House Of Ngante, rulers of the Bronze Islands, the whole family killing themselves in some unexplained, bizarre pact. Before that, the Island Wars, an eight year conflict, began under the madness radiating from the Second Sun.
Hevne knew the past.
She also knew what was required in the present to protect the future.
"Hevne, you were not yet born at the last Second Sun, nor did you see the destruction wrought by an angry earth for years after its passing!"
There was an added tone to Jibrith's counsel. It was anger.
Hevne did not want to anger her friend, so she closed her thoughts and considered Jibrith's words.
Thirty years ago the land quaked and reared like a wild horse. Over the weeks of the Second Sun's passing the island of Kamkarra, Jibrith's home, Hevne's people's home, had thrown off docility and roared not once but many times. Islands nearby fared no better.
"I'm afraid for you," Jibrith admitted in thought. "You know well that this year is the year of a Second Sun, and that always foreshadows evil."
Hevne put her hand over Jibrith's: "It is actions that foreshadow evil, good Jibrith. Our actions, not the passing of our visitor Sun."
"Every thirty years, Hevne, the return of the Second Sun brings with it... calamity."
"But we cannot wait on folklore and superstition when our island is threatened. Folklore and superstition are better forgotten."
"Folklore and superstition would be forgotten if it they did not harbour truth, Hevne. As you know well."
Outside in the midday sunlight Hevne and Jibrith bowed to the closing door of the High Shrine and turned to look down into the expanse of the bay. Jibrith especially found the transition from the dark interior to the bright outside difficult: his old eyes stung and he shaded them with one hand as they slowly grew accustomed to the intensity of the day.
One hand protecting his eyes, his other protected Hevne: he held her wrist, reinforcing the silent thoughts he offered into Hevne's mind. Hevne received them graciously, but she was determined and argued against the older man.
Hevne waited before the High Shrine of Enkarra. As befitted her honour, she was privileged to wear her sword here; as befitting the person, she had lain it down at the Warrior’s Entrance.
“Sorry I’m late, Hevne.”
Jibrith, dressing as he ran, greeted her.
Hevne giggled. “Look at you, my wise old friend, still can’t dress yourself?”
“I would rather miss a few clothes than miss you,” Jibrith laughed.
They stood in silence then as thoughts, fully formed and lucid, passed between them.
Hevne’s face grew dark with anger, Jibrith counselled restraint.
But Hevne retrieved her sword. It would begin.