My name is Elaine Caine, and I come from a long line of a very dedicated family. We are special in a way that no other family is … because our ancestor, Austin Caine, received a Vision just before he became a Young Adult. You see? Austin came from a reputed Magic family, but possessed few talents. He was, in fact, considered untrainable.
And then the Vision came.
He was shown two cities in shambles, destroyed utterly, and told that it was to be his Mission – our family Mission – to rebuild them. To fix what was destroyed. To bring new life and new hope.
Every generation, the heir to this Mission receives a Vision and sets off on a journey to fulfill their part.
That’s where I come in. Elaine Caine. Four generations of my family have come before me. Their Visions set them out alone… some in desert, some not, most of them like Austin, living in tents and growing plants to eat and to study.
My mother was a scientist. She was paid good money to study rocks, minerals, and to explore the connection between our world and that of the Celestials.
She could do Magic, opted to follow the path of science. I later learned that early in her pursuit of Magic, she had been cursed in such a way that simple spells backfired on her often. So she never did the things that others in her family could do.
This I learned… maybe a few days before my birthday and transition into young adulthood. You see? My parents had adopted a son. My new brother Leon. They moved me into the newly renovated garage/lab… now called a ‘spare room’ and it was there, on the Murphy bed, that first night… that my Vision came to me.
I was encouraged to seek out a plot of land in Oasis Springs… but not alone. The Vision made it clear that I was to place an ad in the newspaper and accept the person who called to be my roommate and helper on this journey.
His name is Angel Douglas, and he hails from the shores of Sulani.
Immediately, I knew there was something different about Angel. It was kind of difficult not to see, when you looked at his eyes. He wasn’t a Celestials, either, but a Mermaid… Merman. So when he said he came from the shores of Sulani… he meant it, literally.
I soon learned that the Merpeople had a vested interest in healing the scarred land. The Sulani Islands were a sacred place that often suffered from man’s pollution.
What did that have to do with the plight of Willow Creek and Oasis Springs?
The people who fled those regions had to go somewhere. Their displacement left the whole world out of balance. The Merpeople could feel it. Had for years, every since an unknown Mage came to their shores seeking solace and peace.
My grandfather, Caden. He’d always wished to live in Sulani. Said it ‘called to him’ but when the time came, he received the Vision and not his twin sister. When he finally did go to Sulani, it had been a visitor. He’d sat on the beach and made a wish for a better life.
His plea reached the Spirits of Sulani, and what was set in motion led Angel to me.
I kind of feel sorry for him, because a desert is no place for a man who’s also half fish.
Like my ancestors before me, Angel and I started out on an empty plot of land.
The first day, we spent it collecting specimens and fishing. Angel is adept at it, though he said he felt awkward selling the fish for money because, for one thing, Merpeople don’t use money, and for another… fish are fellow sea creatures.
The first night, we slept on benches in the park, and as I struggled to fall asleep, I decided to find another way for Angel and I to make our money.
In the morning, I asked him a simple question, “what do you like to do?”
He looked… sheepish.
“I’m an artist,” he mumbled.
I tilted my head and looked confused because I wasn’t sure I’d heard him at all, he was talking so low.
Then the whole story spilled out. Angel had spent some time as a child and a teenager, or the Mer-equivalent to those ages, watching the people who came to Sulani. Some played in the water, some fished… some lay on the beached baking their skin. But others stood back with wooden frames to hold up canvas – easels – and bright colors. He’d watched them and watched them… and then one day he made the decision to approach one of them and ask if he could learn to do that too.
“My people have no need for your art, but I find it to be the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It’s all I want to do is make art, to share its beauty with the world.”
And that’s when I knew why the Vision had sent Angel to me. We shared a common passion, and I told him so.
We spent the day discussing a new plan… how to fund our home and our life… and how to bring a different kind of beauty to a world that had once been devastated.
We would paint. It was something we could do almost anywhere. Sell the paintings to collectors and museums. Use the money for the Good of the people and not just for gain.
We could paint.