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The Navigator`s Secret

by  joegill

Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Word Count: 732
Summary: In which Kaviri Arjuna, doctor of Christian Studies at the University of Amarivati, introduces the journals of Percy Blanchard.

“Ever since almighty God commanded Adam to subdue the earth, there have not wanted in all ages, some historical spirits which, in obedience to that high mandate, either from manifest reason alluring them, or by secret instinct enforcing them thereunto, have expended their wealth, employed their times and adventured their persons to find the true circuit thereof.”
Sir Walter Raleigh, The World Encompassed

By Joe Gill

Notes on Blanchard's Journal by Dr K. Arjuna.
382 Anno Deluge

I first met Percy Blanchard when he was a yavana - as we used to call Christian slaves - on my mother's estate some 50 years ago. He was a young, not unhandsome man then. At first I paid him no attention as he was just a servant to me. Since I was young I had been taught that Christians were ignorant, violent and dirty, in a word, barbarians. In those days Percy had the perfume of manure, which he could not help as he was a livestock hand. He cleaned out the stables and stock yards on my mother's estate. He did not speak to me unprompted, for to do so would have invited punishment from his overseer. All I noticed was his pale skin and unusual facial hair - a longish moustache and tapered beard, unlike either Amarivatians or the natives who worked alongside him - each of our races had faces naturally free of hair, and saw the yavanas' hair growth as a sign of their ape-like ancestry.
Naturally, I had no idea that he had travelled thousands of miles to Amarivati from the capital of the Christian commonwealth of England. Yavana came from lands that were by all accounts primitive and cruel, with climates inhospitable, and the same characteristics could be found in the individuals of that race. Or so we believed in those days. Later, he and his crew would help to embroil my people in a war amongst the Europeans and the Mongols, that bloody conflict in which all nations were drawn into, and which did so much to destroy the world herein described. When we met all those years ago our country was at peace and my life was of untroubled routine, as might be expected for someone of my privileged caste and sheltered existence.
Percy bears no responsibility for what came afterward, for all the misfortune that befell him and those around him resulted, perhaps, from his birth under an ill-cast heaven. Thanks to him an unfamiliar world would be revealed to me, and I would eventually make the journey in the opposite direction to Europe, far from the Republic of Amarivati. But that is another story.

I have come to the end of the task of rescuing his adventures from the accounts he left behind. Forgive me, Percy, for any errors that have crept in as a result of some inattention on my behalf. I tried to salvage all I could from your original journals. I hope you can appreciate my modest endeavour.
In Percy's testimony I played the smallest of roles. If I learned anything from knowing him, it is that the although we inhabit the same earth, it is as if we were living in different historical epochs, or inhabiting worlds divided from one another by vast space. By your coming to Amarivati, and to me, you brought our universes together.
I later realised that instead of ours being the only great civilisation on the planet, it was just one way to live among the many that people have invented. It seems that what separates all the tribes and nations of women (and their men should I forget), across oceans and aeons of time, is less than the smallest, most precious thing that unites them, if they can only see it. I could be wrong. So stubbornly do people cleave to their myths, rituals, delusions and their belief in their own divinely ordained social order, that the evidence of our preference for war has almost defeated my thesis that at base we are as one.
The story told here began a year before I even knew of Percy's existence and the circumstances that would compel him to take a ship in search of a colony called Virginia, one that the English race remembered only as a memory from another age.

Dr Kaviri Arjuna, Faculty of Christian Studies, University of Central Amarivati.