There were many attempts to cross the Anir Ocean in the early days of flight, before disaster after disaster saw the concept nearly abandoned altogether. Though most of the men and women onboard those first flights were never seen again, there was one particular pilot who lived to find enough adventure and stories to tell for the whole missing rest of them.
Parcen Ellt had only taken the assignment because there was so little other work for a pilot back then. He would have done anything to fly, and here was the chance to make history, to fly clear around Alm, to gaze upon unseen sights and garnish acclaim unknown! A storm popped both his and the dreams of his crew out of their bubbles, though, and into the frothing ocean. It claimed nearly all of them, except for Parcen, who didn't know why he had lived, or wondered if maybe he was the only one who had died. Looking out into the pitch-black storm raging along the pebbly beach he had been cast onto, it wasn't certain that he was alive at all.
After the storm ceased and the sky turned purple and red as it lost its temper, Parcen could see that he was in fact on an island, and that there were dozens if not more islands all around his. He stayed for a day and a night nearly motionless on the beach where he had been saved, by chance or fate, and wondered if maybe all of his crew got to have their own islands, too.
The next morning, Parcen Ellt awoke to the sunlight, orange in his closed eyelids. Slits of white blighted his thoughts and vision as he opened his eyes. He held out both hands in an attempt to stop the glare, turning away to hide in shadow. His vision slowly returned, and he released his tension as the warmth of the sun poured over his body.
"It feels good," he said to no one. He thought no one, anyhow, until he heard a response from a furry, black creature that sounded as if it agreed with him.
"You think it feels good, too?" he asked the creature, who was really more of a critter, who answered in the affirmative once again.
"I must be dead or dreaming," Parcen said. He was a little disappointing when the critter didn't say anything to that.
"Critter, where am I?" he asked. The furry black thing then started to groom its undercarriage, which confirmed to Parcen that it was not supernatural.
"Ask a stupid question..." Parcen mumbled. "I suppose I'll have to find out for myself what kind of place this is. And if there's anything to eat?" This got a response from the critter.
"Food, that's right," Parcen said. "Know any good places?"
After the critter scampered away for no good reason, Parcen began to move down the beach, scanning the hills above for signs of sustenance. When he saw some dangling purple fruit, he left the beach for an easy climb up a rock face to get some of it. It was terribly bitter, however, and Parcen spit his bite out. He hawked spat and wiped his tongue on his shirt, but nothing would take away the taste. "Definitely reality," he said with a sigh.
The castaway kept some of the bitter fruit, to see if boiling it later wouldn't make it more palatable, and began to head back down to the beach, when he saw a small opening to a cave, nearly overgrown with grass, alongside the road. Something about it piqued Parcen's interest, and so he ducked down to peer inside. He was amazed to see that the small opening was a window into a huge space, illuminated in dots of light cast by similar small holes all over the nearby island terrain.
"I wonder..." Parcen began, but his wonder was answered quickly when the ground below him gave out, and he tumbled down into the great cave below in a rush of rock and dirt.
END OF PART I