Author's Note: This is part two of my other story "Banished", so it would probably make more sense if you read part one first. Part two is in the perspective of Lisha's brother.
Everyone thinks we’re dead. Everyone also thinks that the mainland is the only land left. Well, they’re wrong- on both accounts.
The island where we live is small, forgotten by explorers and cartographers. It is a miracle for those who find it, because in order to get there you have to have been banished from the mainland. When we were each pushed off the shore, into what we thought was certain death, we had no hope. We had all accepted that this was the end. As we drifted away on that boat, after saying final goodbyes to our loved ones, we had given up. That is, if we hadn’t already given up long before we became criminals. This island gave us hope.
We built our own world from the ground up. Each of us is said to be dangerous, they say we throw off the balance of a structured life. But now we have our own structure, our own life. We are a group of outcasts that was able to start over in a new place. When we are here, we come up with the rules. And we have one belief that we base everything on: Everyone should get a chance to redeem themselves.
Life is better here. This place is home, because when we’re here, we’re finally free.
Making it through the day wasn’t always this easy, though. There were times when I had no idea what tomorrow held. That can be an exciting feeling, full of possibility, but the uncertainty wears on you after a while. Without any time to breath, you slowly grow more faint and feeble.
When I was banished out to sea, my need for justice is what drove my resolve to live. I wasn’t going to give a power-hungry king the right to decide whether or not I deserved to live. No one should ever have that right.
The long-lost island I was lucky enough to come upon was something to be immensely thankful for. I knew that. So, in the beginning, I thought only of how fortunate we were to have it. But, soon, it became apparent that an island inhabited by an anarchy of vengeful criminals was not something meant to last.
If we wanted a chance, we needed change.
The first people that made it to the long-lost island lived in solitude. They left each other alone, as if they had an unspoken agreement not to fight. The island didn’t know a true leader. That is, not until Thayer.
From the moment he arrived on shore, he was the magnetic that pulled our island together. He rose from the masses, like any good leader, which made him all the more likable. But, the real reason people gathered behind him went deeper than that. They loved Thayer because he hated the king just as much as they did, he wanted to ensure that no man would rule the world again. They knew they would always be by his side, not at his feet.
Second chances became everything to us. Because, after all, without the option to turn our lives around that we were given, we wouldn’t be alive today. On our new island, it doesn’t matter who you were on the mainland. Or what you were banished for. All that matters is how intent you are on making our new society a better place, here and now.
Even our island was a second chance. Another chance for mankind to live in peace.
I’m not entirely sure why he picked me. Maybe it was because he admired my loyalty, not to him but to everyone on the island. Maybe it was because he thought the people would respect me. Most of all, though, I believe he picked me because he knew I cared about preserving our home.
I make my way down the winding paths toward the center of the island. Thayer has called a gathering. A small one judging by the fact that he only invited five people, but an important one, nonetheless.
When I push open the door to the cabin, the room is nearly empty. Only one seat is filled at the wooden oval table.
“You’re early, Beck,” Thayer states, glancing at his worn watch. His eyes then flick upward and meet mine. I’ve known him for a while now, but I don’t know if I will ever get used to the intensity of his gaze. His eyes are a dark brown, almost black, that makes them stand out.
“Well, you made this sound so important. I figured it would be best to arrive a few minutes beforehand,” I reply, pulling out a chair from the table and taking a seat. Thayer nods and goes back to watching the island from his seat near the window.
More people slowly trickle in, people who have played a big part in piecing the society together.
There is Katarina, Kat for short, a kind girl who always saw the best in us and the future. She fought for us not because she hated the king, but because she believed that the end result would be worth it. Nothing could dim the girl’s shine or expectations
There is Benny, and honest warrior more than a scheming politician. Full of bare passion and fighting for justice. He honestly doesn’t have it in him to rule over people.
There is May, a gentle guardian to all those torn apart by anger, loss, and grief. Strong in battle but soft around those she cares about. A protector of all people on the island.
There is Dune, a brave leader. Never hesitating to speak his mind, no matter how controversial his thoughts might be. He shares his ideas openly and views things in ways no one else does.
There is Zola, deadly smart in politics. Always calculating, examining, observing, ready to strike. Like a snake.
Then there is me, Beck.
We are all here today to help Thayer in any way we can, because we truly care how this twisted story ends.
“I have gathered each of you here today to discuss matters regarding the leadership on this island,” Thayer begins, “I believe it necessary for me to appoint all five of you as my advisors. Your job will be to suggest ways to improve the lives of the people on our island and make decisions as a team. This will help ensure no one person on the island has absolute control.”
“Like a separation of powers,” Zola rephrases, her hand tapping out a rhythm on the table.
We all nod, thinking through the benefits of this suggestion silently. I know, without a doubt, every candidate sitting around this table will step up and take the role. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t
“You understand the importance of the job, yes?” Thayer questions, his dark eyes penetrating each of us, “We are responsible for uniting a group of criminals who hate authority. We are the last thing keeping this stroke of good fortune from crumbling back into the sea, like everything else before it. We are responsible for protecting the last sanctuary for all of mankind.”
“I understand,” I promise him, “I will protect their freedom with my life.”