They have a long, long wait ahead of them. It won't be easy. They have much to learn.
Want to know what happened to these former dark warriors for the Black Coffin? You'll learn in Book III, which I'm writing right now!
They stood dripping on the rocky beach of the small island, the remains of their joined rafts churning in the high surf. They’d spied the island a week earlier and had paddled madly for it, the great waves curling into its shores eventually grabbing them and turning them over, their life rafts coming apart as they fought for air and a sea-bottom foothold. They held on to each other and let more waves push them to shore. When they could stand they left the sea altogether.
His friend had healed. The wound in his abdomen was but a dark green circle now, little more than a crusty scar. He had nursed him back to health over the weeks that had followed, and through the storms, and through the long hot days when the ocean was a flat, endless, sparkling mirror, and through the nights when he would have preferred to black but chose instead to see to his brother’s comfort.
His brother couldn't Transform either. And he too struggled to speak in the Mephas' Tongue.
The sea did not claim them. But by the time his brother could stand and feed himself he knew it never would—that it couldn’t, try as it might. It couldn’t because of those two words.
He almost knew what they were. He could feel them at the very edge of his mind, waiting for the right moment, waiting like hunters, ever patient. At some point he would wander close enough to their hiding place, and they would attack. And he’d have to let them take him or fight them off.
The island was perhaps two misons long by an unknown length wide. From where they stood it appeared as little more than a great pile of rocks out in the middle of nowhere, uninhabitable. A single barren mountain rose like a huge, gray, cracked finger from its approximate middle. At the crest of a jumble of boulders in the shadow of the sheer cliff that made up its western face stood a lone windswept tree. Under it was …
His brother looked with him. He bared his teeth in acknowledgement that he had seen the object, too. They started for it.
It was jammed between two trees just past a steplike jumble of large algae-covered rocks. At the tree he looked around. The island was little more than a long, thin strip, the ocean smashing into the mountain's vertical cliffs half a mison away. They’d come ashore during low tide. In high tide most of the island save the great rock finger must lie underwater.
They grinned big toothy grins at one another: the lifeboat appeared relatively undamaged. Together they stalked about it, examining it.
The bow had a rusting metal placard of some kind on it. He examined it. The lettering on it was unknown to him, alien, odd. He traced a finger on the lettering. It seemed to spell two words. The words were:
Two words …
And it was at that very moment his new life’s purpose came clear to him. The two words had attacked. They probably weren’t these two words, the foreign words on the boat, no. Not them. The first attacking word, in fact, he knew very well. The second, however … was a total mystery, not of the Mephas' Tongue. More than that, it sang inside him. The second word was an awesome mystery. Regardless, he understood that, should he choose it, he would have very long to wait for it to clarify itself completely to him, and much to learn in preparation of its fulfillment and understanding. He would have to wait, and find in himself the patience to wait; and he would have to find the place where this purpose would come into full focus. Because it was not here, on this barren, windswept, lonely island. It was somewhere very far away from here.
He chose. He let the two words claim him, defeat him. At that moment he knew he was truly changed, not one of the Brethren who had burned so many weeks ago. He was different. So was his brother beside him.
And he knew, in the end, and without doubt or question, what that would mean.
He looked up from the placard at his brother.
His voice a deep bass growl, he said in the language of an evil species he was no longer properly a member of:
His brother surprised him then, for, smiling a deadly grin of unspoken understanding, he uttered the second word, the mysterious word, the awesome word.“… Mel-o-dee.”