In the days that passed, the island chief or katib, sailed to Malé; the capital of Maldivas. He paid a courtesy call to the Sultan at the palace and told about a seafarer picked on the beach. “He’s from…Ushbûn,” he wheezed.
Sultan Hassan IX was in company of two envoys and enjoying a sip of red wine, “What was his name?”
“Marinheiro koì” replied Murdur.
The young king chuckled, “But katib, that is not a name. What happened to his ship?”
“It sank,” said Murdur, “his ship is called Flor…” he coughed again, “I can’t remember.”
“Flor do Mar!” a Portuguese messenger uttered.
“Exactly,” cried Murdur, “that’s it.”
“Your Highness!” said Adrianus, “It is of utmost importance that we find him. Flor do Mar was carrying an immense treasure. We must find where she went down.”
Another herald added, “She was lost in a violent storm near Pasé in Sumatra while returning home under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque.”
“When was it?” asked the king.
“Some years ago,” answered Vincent uncertainly, “How does this chap look like?”
“He has brown eyes,” Murdur croaked, “a beard and moustache, long brown hair, tall and in his thirties,” he described the age inaccurately.
“Handègiri!” called the Sultan, “Say! Is it not my right to have this man brought here?”
“By law of the seas and the thousand islands, it is indeed, my lord,” responded the minister, “every wreck found and every soul saved belongs to the Sultan.”
“Then bring him here,” ordered the king.
Karanfu was so furious that he threatened to kill katib’s family one by one in spelling black magic.
“Impossible,” said Murdur, “I wouldn’t be called Murdur, if so.” Murdur – Death Distant.
Karanfu commenced with a sihr – witchcraft – to stop him from taking away Koì from his family. One night he came running home. This little dark man who looked like a clove was exhausted.
His bountiful wife asked, “Fu, what happened to you?”
“It’s rajal stalking me,” he said out of breath, “I think it backfired. I did to cloak him to catch a fever.” He referred to a ghost without a body draped in a black cloak often sighted by the island folks but usually invisible. It would linger behind a cursed subject to cloak the prey to fall sick.
The Divas strongly believe in spirits and fear of demons entwined with every aspect of life from illness to misconduct that resulted in the relevance of the sorcerer. Islanders live in a world of fear and intrigue.
Koì actually saw the rajal with his own eyes. As to Karanfu’s mother, it could never enter Clitoria garden. One night he witnessed the black cloak lingering on three feet behind Karanfu as he turned up a corner. This black cloak folded its lapels and vanished before Karanfu could see it.
Koì learned that there were Portuguese ships in Malé waters. He was very keen to go but showed no sign to his wife or Karanfu. Mala was ready to go with him. He began to think too much and it caused him a setback. He sat on the beach with a rajal wrapped around his body to keep warm. He was stranded. He quit fishing.
One night when Karanfu left for his boat, a tall thick shadow that looked like a black cloak slipped into the câmera in the dark. The bed began to creak, the walls squeaked, the roof rumbled and the earth shook. On top of the noises, Koì was listening to bronchitis coughs. He gave a sharp eye to the person who left the chamber after mating with Kamana. He was no doubt a tall figure with a bald head.
Koì sat on the beach gazing at the sky turning to an orange gold. Lagoon waters changed murky and angry to trouble with a surge of rising tide and waves hit hard on the shore echoing clamours along the island sweep.
Suddenly, he caught sight of the sails of a ship due north. He got up on his feet and ran to the northern tip – a haunted place folks believe not to be disturbed. He watched a carrack enter the waters of Borah and slowly fading behind the wooded skyline in the hue of a setting sun. Koì assumed the ship entered the lagoon.
Borah shaped like a sickle – or precisely like the letter ‘C’ – has its own natural inlet harbour. When you stand on one end of the island, you can see the other end like seeing another island.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a single rowing boat or a sailing doni in the lagoon that night. Karanfu was in Otheme to meet Katib Hussen, believed to be the greatest sorcerer in the north, to redeem himself from a curse he pledged on Murdur.
After dinner, Koì climbed the northern tip and gave no chance for a second thought. He tucked his wrap under the crotch to secure in the rear, dropped his shoes and entered the water. No big lagoon at this end and the sea was rough. He began to swim across the channel two and half miles to Borah.
He climbed Borah and reached the inlet lagoon. This water could be entered in high tide. He looked up at the big carrack with lights on; a Portuguese nau – 22 guns and 600 metric tons of payload. He was in the brink of a plausible escape. Koì swam to the ship.
“Olá!” he shouted, “Posso falar com o capitão!”
“Who are you?” called back a crew.
“Luís… Luís from Flor do Leste…”
“Esperar!” called the crew, “until you get a word. Don’t come any closer. You’ll be shot.” Two muskets were drawn on him.
Ship’s captain appeared on the deck and ordered to bring him aboard. Koì had his first glass of wine since he stepped foot on the sand in Maldivas.
Koì told his adventure. Captain Viggo of the ship called Vela de Deus promised to help. This ship passed through inlet seas of the archipelago and hit a shoal to damage its rudder. It would be in anchor for three or two weeks to undergo an underwater repair. Bad luck for Koì since he expected Malé trip to begin next week.
“Fall sick,” said the captain, “pretend you’re sick and try to delay by a week. My ship will be ready by then. We will not leave without you.
“Luís! You must go back and wait. We will come to pick you. I don’t want any trouble with the Divas until we fix the boat by diving. We cannot pull out if they strike unexpectedly.”
Koì was thrilled to talk to some folks from home, dined with them and shared some stories. Overwhelmed to think about an escape comfortably on this ship.
He passed Huvan’s house and realised it after he passed the gate. He turned back and entered the cottage. His eyesight cleared in the glow of a coconut oil lamp. He picked it and searched for the girl sleeping on the ashi. He blew out the flame and climbed on the deck. She tried to show some reluctance but soon surrendered and made no noise.
Finally, Koì climbed down and left the house at dawn. He began to fight the waves to cross the ocean.
Huvan woke up in the morning to find strands of hair on her body. Strange! Nobody could spread brown hair that turn golden under the sunlight. Could it be Koì, she wondered. However, she realised that a nau arrived last night and anchored in the lagoon. She wasn’t happy knowing it was a Portuguese ship.
Sailors would enter the girls but the Portuguese were cruel.