Thursday, September 06, 2001

Koifin's Journey

Part One: Awakening

The sea was inky black as Koifin Renflorr awoke to the horrible realization of his predicament. Carefully, he pried himself from beneath the shattered coral ruins. No longer in the comforting realms of sleep Koifin looked around him, mournfully surveying the damage. The great whirlpool had destroyed everything in its path: homes, shops, offices... The whirlpool's wrath had certainly not been discriminative; rubble surrounded him and seemed to stretch on for miles. Never before had he seen the grand city of Maraqua so deserted, if it could even be called a city anymore. His home? Destroyed, like all the others that surrounded it. Koifin knew that it was by sheer chance that he had not perished, an inch in any direction and his fate would have been the same as the others. But even in the complete destruction, Koifin had to wonder... was he alone?

Alone or not, Koifin knew the first thing that had to be done was to leave the city. There was nothing for him there and it was only a matter of time before the scavengers would come to pick through the ruins. No, he wasn't going to just give up and die. What if he was the only survivor? Would he let his family and friends die in vain without anyone knowing the true story? No.

Glancing around him, Koifin threw back his head and yelled triumphantly, "Marquans! You will not be forgotten. I will make sure that all of Neopia remembers you for the wonderful creatures you were."

And with that he collapsed onto the sea floor. Hardly an adult Koi and already on his own. His mother, father and sister vanquished in the disaster. The realization hit him hard like a bolt of lightening. Suddenly, his dorsal fin stood on end; he could feel eyes on him, watching.

"Ya know, young one, you needn't yell... I'm the only one out here and... well... I'm not that hard of hearing yet!" A voice called from nowhere.

Startled, Koifin turned quickly, just in time to see a hunched figure forming from the shadows. A very old koi appeared wearing a long silver robe and carrying a stout staff.

"Wh-wh-who are you?" he stuttered, ashamed that an elder had seen him crying.

"Well sonny, they call me Maximus the Drifter… but most call me Maxim… erm… with the occasional ‘HEY, ould fishy fins!!’… hehe."

Maxim continued on in his quaint, friendly fashion, but Koifin wasn’t paying much attention. Instead, he stared at the old fish in disbelief. Unlike Koifin the ancient Koi was completely untouched, no scratches blemished his graying scales. And with his congenial mood, he seemed immune to the destruction that surrounded him.

"Umm… sorry t’have startled ya ma boy. Are you all right over there? Did ya bonk yore noggin mayhaps? If I’d been in a whirlpool like that ya can bet yore scales I’d not be the sharpest scissorfish in the drawer… haha… ho no!"

Maxim swam feebly over to Koifin and placed an arthritic fin on his shoulder.

"Com’on laddie, we best be moving along…there’s nuthin’ more t’do here now is there?"

Koifin nodded his head and slowly rose to his fins. Of course he was right, the ancient fish’s comment had only confirmed what he had known all along. And now with nothing but the cloak on his back he was to journey out into the wide oceans, leaving the memories of home behind him.

After journeying in silence for what seemed to be an eternity Maxim decided to make a little friendly conversation.

"Ya know Mr. Fins, I don’t even know yore name… could have the decency to oblige an old fish young’un"

"Oh, of course, I’m so very sorry I guess with… with… everything I just wasn’t thinking. Anyway… I’m Koifin Renflorr."

Still shaken up, he barely managed to keep up with Maxim’s endless banter, although, he would have to admit that company was definitely welcome. However, several questions kept drifting through his mind… Where were they going? What would they do when they got there? And above all, who was Maxim the Drifter and where did he come from?

To Be Continued

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