Ice Island - Opening pages

Ice Island

Morgan’s Knot – A Serial Fantasy

Episode III

Adrian stood alone on the bow of the Jasmine as it plowed through deep swells in the North Atlantic. Sunlight shimmered across surging whitecaps spewing froth on a frigid northerly gale and seagulls swooped and soared hopefully around the stern of the hardy fishing boat. A squadron of pelicans, coasting in graceful formation, crossed their bow a few feet above the waves searching for a school of fish near the surface.

The old trawler was crammed to overflowing with the original crew and his parents, as well as Sammy and Simian, who joined the voyage in Jamaica. He wondered whether George had already returned to Morgan’s Knot from the Island of the Children. He loved them all but this was the only place on the ship where he could be alone with his thoughts.

He leaned out to gaze down the sturdy curve of the bow slicing through the sea. The two dolphins, Spot and Dusty, were playing tag and guiding them home through icy black waters. They were close to Morgan’s Knot and he wanted to watch it rise out of the horizon.

The last time he approached the island on his parents’ sloop, the Sparrow, he was a homesick boy on his way to visit his aunt and uncle for the summer. So much had happened in the past months and he felt that the lessons learned were merely preparation for the next twist along a path that was relentlessly drawing him into this strange and mysterious culture. The ordinary boy daydreaming about summer adventures, as he awaited the final seconds of the last day of school at the Heritage Academy, seemed an innocent apparition from another lifetime.

He flashed on the battle on the mountain, rescuing Ester, the journey to find his parents, and panicked pirates fleeing the Island of the Children. Raffe’s enthusiasm, as they viewed the history of the descendants of Protus inscribed on the chamber within the pyramid, proved that there could be other allies around the world. The new seer wanted to learn everything there was to know about the history of his ancestors, the powers of the Crystals, and secrets yet to be discovered in the Book of Natural Balance. And then he found Sammy and Simian.

In reflection, it seemed that Adrian’s experience with the Books and the Crystals was confined to solving mysteries, overcoming obstacles, and finding the means of saving their way of life. He wondered whether there was more depth in the Books chronicling the ancients who first ignited the torch to defend all that is right and true. As Raffe pointed out, they contained the history of his ancestors and all those who struggled to maintain The Balance but he had yet to find insightful references to those who mastered the Black Crystals and there was the most intriguing question of whether the Books could predict the future. There was so much that he wanted to learn and he looked forward to spending time in Ponte’s observatory, studying the texts with his friend, Alius. He missed her on this journey and wondered what she learned in his absence.

A screech from Magnus, circling several hundred feet above the old trawler, roused him from Spot and Dusty to scan the horizon to the north where a dark lump was beginning to rise from the sea. He turned to yell, “Land Ho!”

Suddenly, everyone on the boat was moving to find a spot where they could see the island and an anxious air of anticipation broke into smiles and cheers, as they closed on Morgan’s Knot.

Morgan wandered over to Adrian and draped a long arm around his shoulders. He looked up into her beautiful eyes. “You seem a bit withdrawn,” she said quietly. “I’ve been worried about you.”

“It’s nothing,” replied Adrian shyly. “I guess I’ve been feeling kind of squashed with all the people on the boat. I needed to find a place to be alone for a while, just to have a chance to think about all that we’ve been through in the past few months.”

“I know how you feel,” whispered Morgan, tilting her head slightly forward. “Am I interrupting?”

“Oh, no,” smiled Adrian, as he put his arm around her waist. It still annoyed him that she was taller and more mature but she was genuinely kind and caring…and smart. She looked beautiful with her hair flowing in the wind, her skin tanned by the tropical sun, and those gorgeous green eyes. “It’s not you or anyone in particular, for that matter. I just feel…restless.”

“Me too, it’s been a long voyage.” Morgan hugged him gently, “It’ll be good to be on dry land at home.”

“It’s funny, but after these few months, Morgan’s Knot is home. When I arrived on the island, all I could think about was how to make the time go faster, so I could join my parents in Vancouver.” He paused, gazing across the black water to the island. “That seems a very long time ago.”

“I think that everyone on the island is grateful for all you’ve done and we’re all proud of the person you’ve become.”

Adrian blushed, “I only did what I had to do.”

“Most of us wouldn’t have known what to do, let alone found the courage to try some of the things you’ve tackled.”

“I almost wish that everyone didn’t know,” sighed Adrian, as he watched Magnus circling ahead of the old trawler.

“The first time I met you on the beach, I thought you were kind of shy,” said Morgan quietly. “But there isn’t one person, North or South, on Morgan’s Knot and, now on The Island of the Children, who isn’t thankful that you stepped up at the critical moment. You’re a celebrity.”

“I know but that position includes an expectation of the person they want me to be. Sometimes, I wonder whether I really am that person.” Tears welled in his eyes.

Morgan pulled him close, with a gentle smile graced in sincere kindness, and wiped the tears from his cheeks with her thumb. “Listen to me. You’re a boy who’s been asked to do things that grown men would hesitate to try. You’ve been pushed beyond your years and still managed to save a way of life for hundreds, no - thousands of people.” She kissed him on the forehead, “Perhaps, you just need some time to be a boy again.”


“You can’t go back to being the person you were when you arrived on the island and you can’t stop being famous for the things that you’ve done. All you can do is be the best you can be. Everything else will fall into place.”

“To tell you the truth, I’m kind of looking forward to going back to school, taking classes, and having some time to play.”

“I know how you feel,” smiled Morgan. “If you need someone to talk with about all of this, I’ll be happy to listen.”

“Thanks,” said Adrian quietly, with a hug.

Everyone hustled around the trawler, stowing gear and packing the last of their things, as Kelly idled the ship around the point into the entrance to the harbor. It would be good to be home.

rick stiller 2019