Aimi felt the familiar sensation of a tear rolling down her cheek. She sighed, desperately looking for something, anything, that she could hang on to. The sky was a dark shade of crimson, and Aimi was lost in it’s mysterious void. Where she was, she had no idea. All she remembered was the faint whisper of the wind as she floated farther and farther away from her homeland. All she could think of were the people she was leaving behind, betraying, for better words, and could do nothing to save.
For a short period of time, there was nothing but darkness as Aimi fell asleep being taken away by the waves in the dark, dark world she was now a part of. But that time was short lived, as Aimi was awoken quickly by a cold hand reaching towards her.
Out of instinct, Aimi took hold of the stranger’s hand, despite every bit of her mind telling her not to. She sighed heavily, and for the first time in what felt like a million years cracked a faint smile. Finally, Aimi looked up to see the face of a young woman, no older than 18, with dark brown hair and bluish eyes. Aimi’s weak legs gave out as the girl pulled her up, though she felt nothing but sadness as her own eyes wandered around her surroundings.
The girl seemed hopeful and cheery, with her bright smile and wide eyes. “I’m Pele,” she said. “And this is the Isle of Kore.”
The Isle of Kore. The Isle of Kora. Kora. Suddenly, all Aimi could feel was dread and sadness. Her heart grew heavy, and she moaned in pain. Pain of her travels by sea, but of her lost sister Kora, the one she had left behind, as well.
It’s alright, Mimi, she remembered Kora saying. I’ll see you again someday. Don’t worry. But all Aimi could feel was worry. Worry and dread and more worry.
“Who’s Kora?” The girl asked, innocently. Aimi realized she must have spoken the name out loud. “And who are you, castaway?”
Aimi thought then of the titan Calypso, who had been banished for siding with the ones she loved instead of with the gods. “I am Aimi Yamato,” she said, speaking of the name she was called back at home. “Or just Aimi, now.”
Aimi remembered the cold rush of the wind as she solemnly walked away from her home, wiping away sapphire colored tears as her sister Kora was held back. She remembered the faint warmth of the ocean as she walked away into the sea. Away from the land she knew.
“I’m not a Yamato anymore,” she whispered, freeing herself of the burden she had been carrying. “I was banished. I’m not a Yamato anymore. I-” Aimi broke off, as tears rolled down her chin.
“It’s alright,” the young women responded, with a faint smile. “I’m no Kahale anymore then you are a Yamato. Here in Kore, none of us are who we once were. We’ve formed our own new life. This is the Isle of Kore, not the Garden of Prosperpine. We’re all safe here, the young flowers surrounded by the sea that is the Underworld.”
But each time Pele spoke the island’s name, Aimi only heard her sister’s. All she could think of was Kora. Kora and her own sapphire tears as she was pulled away.
She searched through her own mind, thinking, looking for memories of Kora, but all that she could remember was the day they took her away to prison, and the day Aimi got her out.
She remembered the darkness of the prison, the faint smile of the moonlight as she picked the lock. After so many years defending her nation, Aimi knew a thing or two about breaking and entering. She remembered Kora’s hopeful look as she saw her sister again. She remembered the way Kora shook in surprise, and the way she begged for Aimi to leave her back and save herself.
Oh, Aimi remembered. She remembered everything now - the loud shouts of the wind as she pulled her sleeping sister out of the prison cell and back into their home. She remembered the day Kora was sent there, as they similarly carried her in the other direction. She remembered feeling the betrayal of the queen as she locked Kora up after all her years of service to the crown.
She remembered her rigid stance at her trial, where she waited for what seemed like forever to only be punished for crimes against the very same crown she had served for so long. She remembered her charges, and the strong voice that spoke them, and she remembered the sharp pain in her chest as they were spoken.
“Are you alright?” Pele asked, with caution in her tone. “I only meant to bring you comfort. We mean no harm here.”
Here. Here. This place where Aimi would no doubt end up spending the rest of her life, wondering what would have happened had she not betrayed the queen’s trust and gone behind her back. Had she not gotten her sister thrown in jail in the first place.
It was all Aimi’s fault. Her suffering, her sister’s suffering, it was all on her. There was no way around it - Aimi was the one at fault for ruining her own life.
“Everything you say reminds me of my past,” she said, looking Pele in the eye. “How can I move on if the past will always follow me?”
“You can’t,” the girl responded, her blue eyes blinking in surprise. “There is no way to move on completely. But here, you can be with others who know your struggle.”
“Oh, but no one would know my struggle,” Aimi responded coldly. “I was banished for killing the queen.”
“Did you do it?” Pele asked, her curiosity shining through eyes.
“No,” Aimi responded, coldly. “My sister did.”
And then Aimi cried. She cried and she cried, a flowing river of sapphire tears.