Hello and welcome to part 2 of Song of the Air Whale. It's been a few weeks coming now. I was sorry to leave part 2 song long. I had a nasty ear infection that lasted a week. After that I went to visit my family in Wales. I'm back now and full Steeming ahead. Please check out my Part 1 post if you haven't already. it's a nice quick one where I did an detailed illustration of Shanda, the protagonist of the story.
It was time for Shanda’s first hunt. She began to make her way down to the sky dock with the villagers in her wake. The dock was essentially a narrow wooden landing that extended out from the island. The island that Shanda and her people lived on wasn’t like an island on Earth that was surrounded by water. It was a floating island in a sea of clouds and wind. The Cloud Void had no visible bottom or upper atmosphere. Shanda’s world had similar gravity and laws of physics that we have here on Earth but there was no planet and no outer space. If you fell off of the edge of an island, you would fall down through the clouds. No oen knew where you would eventually end up. Some believed that you would be in an endless skydive. Others believed that you would be devoured by the great barrier shark who gradually consumed the world.
Many creatures inhabited the Cloud Void. Colourful birdlike creatures and flying reptiles made their homes on the myriad of small islands that dotted the void. Gas propelled jellyfish and floating sentient fungus bobbed around like buoys on the surface of an Earth ocean. And off course the Cloud Krill inhabited to the skies but they were disappearing. Shanda’s people didn’t know what was happening to the krill. Many suspected that over hunting was the cause. Cloud Krill were one of the few sources of food that her people had left. And then there were the Air Whales.
Shanda’s people had hunted the great whales for hundreds of years. Just one whale could feed a whole village for a month. Song Hunters used the power of their voices to lure whales into nets or pacify them so that they could easily be harpooned. Some folk thought that hunting whales was cruel and unnecessary. Others believed that in days past, man and whale both lived together in harmony. The majority of people laughed at such notions and considered them to be pure fantasy. Most believed that the gods had created whales for but one reason, to be food for man.
Shanda reached the sky dock with her people in tow. On the old wooden landing was her Sky Ski. It was the only technological device that existed on the island. The flying machine was over five hundred years old. Each island village had only one craft. The only other mode of transportation was by whale skin glider. A few had managed to briefly mount and ride the flying reptiles that lived in the area but they were far too wild.
Modern technology was an enigma and it was forbidden for anyone to attempt to engineer machinery or conduct scientific research. The elders teach that people once lived on a vast floating continent and that it was technology that eventually sundered the land. They say that the small floating islands are all that remain of their ancestral land. Shanda’s people choose to live a more primitive existence to ensure that a second cataclysm will never come to pass. They relied on the mystical power of the voice to the shamanistic site of the elders.
Shanda made the final preparations before she took off on the Sky Ski. The villagers sang songs and prayed for her to bring back a huge whale. They were all counting on her. If she failed as song hunter her village would starve and eventually perish. She mounted the Sky Ski and activated the engine. With a deep humming sound it lifted a few inches up above the landing. She took one last look back at her people gathered around the dock. They all cheered for her and sang triumphant songs and danced around the edge of the island. She began to cry as waves of emotion took hold of her. Best not dilly dally any longer she thought.
With a hunters cry she rocketed off the landing and accelerated away from the island at a terrific speed. Her hunt had begun. Some of her friends and family believed that she would be the most gifted song hunter that had ever lived. Her father believed that her voice was extraordinary and that she was born to save her people. Only one thing was bothering her now. She was thinking about the moment when she would have to let fly the Sky Ski harpoon. It made her sad thinking about killing an Air Whale. They were graceful, majestic creatures that were highly intelligent. She didn’t like it but there was no other way. Without whale meat, her people had no future…