Chapter 26 – Evacuation
I raced back to my lizards, fearful of the presence I had witnessed. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but it filled me with dread, almost as if there were something wrong with it. A part of me was morbidly curious about it, but mostly, I wanted to be away from it. It frightened me.
When I felt myself enter the area of the forest my lizards were in, I felt a wave of relief. I did not realize just how frantic I was to get away until I reached safety. I wanted to hide away, far away from the eyes of the hills. Away from its unblinking stare and what its presence might mean. I wanted to deny its existence though I knew I could not, to pretend I had not been seen. I did not know why being seen caused such fear in me.
But I couldn’t hide, not from the presence, and certainly not from the volcano biding its time until it erupted in a fiery fury. For now, I would forget the eyes of the hills. I had no time to spare to deal with it, nor even ponder it. My only job now was to ensure the safety of my lizards, so that they may continue for many generations to come. I would deal with the eyes of the hills when the time was right.
I formulated my plan as night fell over the region and most lizards retired to their homes for rest. I chose one lizard from each colony, and sent them each the same two pictures. First, a vision of a sky aflame, trees turned to ash, and, as much as it pained me, the burnt corpses of lizards littering the ground; a vision of death and destruction. But next, a vision of the grand wide river and the riverside mountains just beyond offering sanctuary to any who came; a vision of hope.
There were many colonies, and even just two images was incredibly draining. Much of the energy I’d saved for tending the wings was funneled into my warning. It woke all my chosen ones with a start, a cold sweat causing their bodies to shiver despite the warmth of their family. Through the family heart, I sent them feelings of panic and urgency, so that they would know it was not only a dream.
Nearly all of them understood the message, a mere three not heeding the warning. But that was fine, they would get warnings from the others and then they would know the premonition was true. The forest lizards explained to their families, and eventually the rest of their colony members, about a great and terrible forest fire that would cover the sky, making allusions to the calamity of old. The mountainside colonies delivered much the same message, highlighting the fear with mentions of the calamitous rockslides. And for the shore colonies, they found assurance in escape by the waterways.
Messengers were sent around to each colony, confirming that a lizard from every colony had received the same premonition, further verifying the dream’s validity. To those who remained skeptical, I sent the same feelings of panic and urgency to convince them of the truth.
For the first time in the history of the lizards, a representative of every colony came together in a great conference to discuss the coming danger and form a plan. My heart fluttered with pride at their growing rational thinking. Some representatives were my chosen revelators, some seasoned and knowledgeable elders, others active community members.
The shore colony representatives relayed their ability to swim away from the danger, but that they would still assist their landbound brethren. The others were thankful for the offered aid. Thanks to the image of the riverside mountains, they decided very quickly to make that their destination, as they felt their family heart trying to lead them there. The next big question was how to actually go about the evacuation. I could not give them any ideas this time, what influence I had left needed to be saved for any emergency that might occur. It would be up to them now to determine their path, I had simply provided them with the destination.
They conferred for the rest of the day, and decided to produce many baskets to carry personal items, food, and essential materials to their new destination. But just carry baskets wouldn’t allow for much to be taken. One of the few defenders at the conference suggested using the field stretchers they had recently begun using to transport injured lizards back to the colonies. It was a crude creation, much like the baskets, with the basket-like weaves around two poles with thick twine at one end to drag, or both ends to carry. The idea was greatly praised, and solved both the problem of transporting larger quantities of items and lizards unable to walk themselves. They couldn’t make as many stretchers as baskets, they simply took much time to craft and not many were well-versed in their creation yet, but both would serve as valuable transports.
The plan was coming together. They would enlist as many lizards as possible to start crafting the baskets and stretchers, while others would work on sorting out what communal foods and items to bring along. Families would chose which personal effects they would bring in their family baskets, but at least one member of each family, if not more, would be needed to contribute manpower to carrying the communal items.
It was a good, solid plan. I was incredibly pleased with the conclusion of their conference.
Everyone would have a part to play, and in just a few days’ time they could begin their trek to the river and beyond.