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Khakhanate

Book II

The Crow

Copyright © 2009 Thomas Lankenau

Smashwords Edition

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For Deena

1

Amona Island, 118 K

(Mona Is., PR, 1487)

My name is Crow. My name is also Karl Waldman, although I am never called that. Only my parents and sometimes my siblings called me Karl, to everyone else I am, in various languages, the Crow. I suppose it is presumptuous of me to think to carry on my grandfather’s narrative, since I share few of his attributes. Still, among those few attributes I do share with him are a good memory and enough patience to ferret out the truth from the official version of events. These qualities would have long ago gotten me killed had I not eventually learned discretion. As it is, they did get me exiled three times (so far), and I now find myself with a lot of time and little to keep me busy. I am now (in my third exile) living on a small island named Amona that lies between the much larger islands of Aiti and Boriquen. It is about eighteen li long and twelve li wide, and is little more than a limestone slab rising about two hundred feet above the surface of the sea. It is riddled with caves and alive with innumerable birds. I am not allowed off the island, but I can receive visitors, and a most attentive staff of two Tainos from Boriquen meets all my needs. They grow, gather, hunt or catch and prepare whatever we eat, and keep my small house clean and cheerful. They are a very warm, friendly couple who make every effort to keep my spirits up. They even insist that they do not mind staying here with me and indeed, they only rarely return home. All this even though I was a complete stranger to them when their cacique ordered them to attend me in exile (in defiance of official instructions that I be left alone on the island) and make sure I live long and well. Their cacique, Behechio, does know me and feels indebted to me, but more on that at the proper time.

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