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Phoebe arrives

The heart of a champion
Must first journey through fire/ To give it the strength to endure
And then through water/ To give it the wisdom to prosper
And then through air/ To give it the will to act
And finally through earth/ To give it the nourishment to survive
In the arena of the world/ Darkness fights Light
In the eternal struggle/ Our champions are the Thirty-Six.
The Fate of the World, 1936


Phoebe is not happy. Why does she have to go to visit Grandpa Jake on this stupid island? At least the water here off the coast of Maine is as calm as the ocean can be, especially now in the fall. She can hear the two men in the sailboat muttering how hungry they are after missing breakfast.

Phoebe remembers her mother's last words to her. "Phoebe, there's a lot to tell you now that you are thirteen years old, but there's no time. Your father and I agreed. Getting to your grandfather is best for you right now."

Phoebe recalls the tremble in her mothers voice as well. What did her mother mean by "a lot to tell" and "no time"? And why the rush? Grandpa Jake will have extra clothes for her. But they are island clothes, nothing really nice. It's 1937 and a modern young lady like her needs to look her best.

One of the men suddenly shouts to his partner and points to the Acadia dock appearing before them in the early morning light. The sailboat gently drifts to the rickety structure, and one of the men leaps off to secure it with ropes. "Here you go Miss," the man tells Phoebe as he offers his hand. She takes it and steps over the railing and on to the rocking dock.

The man nimbly undoes the rope, tosses it into the boat, and jumps back on-board. "You know the way, Miss. Just follow the path." Then the two men shove off from the dock, and the sailboat begins its return to the coast, leaving Phoebe behind... and alone.