Over the Horizon
It would be easy to describe their existence as idyllic, though this is inaccurate, and demonstrable to anything further than a superficial observation. Certainly, their natural habitat did seem edenic: an archipelago of green tropical isles isolated in the midst of a great vast sea, the trees loaded with edible fruits and the local waters abundant with fish. The locals eat their fill of the island’s bounty, and spend their days frolicking, bare-skinned and carefree, on the warm sandy beaches of their home.
But there was violence here, as well, of the kind which some might term “savage.” Tribes from the differing islands occasionally waged war with one another, wielding war clubs and spears festooned with shark’s teeth and sharpened whale bone. And for as much as they took from the sea, it took back in kind; entire fishing fleets would go missing in bad tides; mighty storms would raze their villages to the ground; someone enjoying a leisurely swim would become a hungry shark’s meal.
Rarest of all, the great god who lived within the islands would sometimes shake the very ground they stood upon, sending forth great plumes of smoke and fire. If theirs was an eden, it was one where death was ever-present.
Their wars were infrequent though, and more often resolved through competitive contests and dances than bloodshed, and peace was always celebrated with a grand feast between neighbors. As a people, they preferred play to violence, and it must be admitted that they had a surplus of time to enjoy themselves.
Their favorite game was to ride the offshore waves while astride on long planks hewn from the most robust and buoyant of trees. This was an activity not restricted to either men or women, but one open to all. The greatest riders were renowned for their ability to ride the great waves in the north, the ones like great hands of a sea-god, capable of crushing a rider with ease.
Save for the fishing canoes which occasionally ventured further to sea in search fresh catch, the waves marked the boundaries of their world. They gave no thought to ever spreading beyond them, and why should they? They had everything they needed and more, right where they were.
They ate when hungry, went to war when necessary, lived and loved freely, and always had the surf. This was their world, and if it was not a perfect one, it was a good one.
Until they day came that the great canoes were spotted far beyond the boundaries of the surf, unthinkably enormous vessels filled with strange men, and the people understood that their world was about to change.