Michelle Caza

is creating epic stories of the Peaceful Water People in podcast and print.
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About Michelle Caza

The Accounts of the Peaceful Water People begin in 1469 by the calendar of the east. A survivor from there is brought by the tides and currents to the shores of Three Rivers, and he brings treasures.  The Three Rivers folk care for the man and study his possessions while he is recovering. The fun begins when Healing Water interrogates him, for she is uncertain as to his motives. She is also concerned that others will follow. 

A series of historical stories takes a fair bit of research. As much as possible, I put that history into the stories, set the context and the setting, and draw upon familiar historical events. I can tell you about this research, and I think I will, for I sure find it intriguing. .

Some of the story-telling podcasts will tell you about Zero Water, the matriarch of Healing's family, and the woman who discovers zero with all its possibilities. These are stories within stories, told by Healing Water to the Survivor. They  are called the Journals of Zero Waters and were studied in the schools of Three Rivers and surrounding communities.

The Legends of the Water People are stories told, in 1469 at least, to children. These tales are of a great journey that began on the Day of Awakening at the Start of the World. It took people from the Start to the End. Three Rivers is the end. Beyond Three Rivers and across the sea is the starting point of the journey. 

I tell the stories as podcasts and publish them in print. I hope you enjoy to journey. I take you from the beginning of humanity to contemporary times.  Here's a table of contents...

The Legends of the Water People
The Legends were passed down for untold generations. Until Zero was discovered and a calendar developed to designate the start of time, these stories were the only oral history of the People. Zero Water gathered these stories and recorded them, but for almost two thousand years, no one believed them to be accurate.  The stories follow the People as they circumnavigate the globe. No one of the Water People know how long this took. No one knows to this day how long the population of the globe by humanity took. Most think it took hundreds of thousands of years. I vcompress that timeline to less than forty years. 

1. The Day of Awakening. On the day of awakening, 400 people woke. They were youthful, none reliant upon another for reasons of infirmity or infancy. They did as you and I do upon awakening: they had breakfast. They were an eminently practical people. The question they asked that first evening was "are we the only people?"

2. Preparing for the Journey. The place the People awoke was a paradise. The climate was mild, and they were nestled in the meadows and forests that lay between the desert of water and the desert of sand. All manner of foods were within reach, and reach they did. The wilderness gave them clues to what was edible and what was not, for the scent wafting from the forest's edge and into the strip of land was most delicious. Archaeologists would claim in later generations that this early survival time was rift with danger and took our ancestors a hundred thousand years. But in the early summer, when the days are longest, and the harvest is ripening, even a baboon knows how to determine which fruit is ripe and which is not. Stomachs full, they clustered in groups and wondered how they would find other people, if other people could be found. Where they should go was quickly determined, for to the south lay the desert, to the east, lay the desert, and to the west, lay the water. The only path was north, and it was an easy path. 

3. Fire. When the People awoke, they awoke in groups of twenty, arranged around a fire. Making fire was impossible, for the place of awakening, the edge of their world, had no rocks to produce the spark. The climate was mild and lightening storms a rare event. Such storms would come in the winter, but by then the People were further inland. It would be years before the People came upon volcanoes and the lava that gives fire. As I said before, these People were practical. The questions they asked of fire was not, where did it come from?" but "how do we carry it?"

4. The First Narrows. After several weeks of travelling to the north, the People came upon a narrowing of the water. They could see the land on the other side, but getting there was impossible. They had no boats. The water was angry, for it was being forced - and apparently against its will - into a tiny space between two landmasses, and it was white and loud and rough. Even if the People had knowledge of the boat, they had happened upon one of the most dangerous crossings in the world. Only the foolish would attempt a crossing here. The People had no fools. But that distant land mass across those angry waters caused them to wonder if people might live on the other side. 

5. The Place of Islands. A few days past the First Narros and due east of it, the People came upon the Place of Islands. Now, here was a place to experiment with boats, and swimming, and island hopping. It is thought by archaeologists that the People inherited the knowledge of boat-building from some proto-humanity, but it makes a better story to give this pleasure to the People themselves. It may have taken the People a hundred thousand years to figure out that wood floats and that it can be lashed together in sufficient size to support the weight of a person. I think it might only have taken fifteen minutes. Well, maybe an hour. 

6. The First Wide River. The People continued their eastward journey. They still were bounded by natural barriers, for water was to the north and sand to the south. No one could survive in the sand, and even the edges of the sand were treacherous places. What was completely absent from the journey thus far were animals large enough to eat people.  Indeed, the People had not encountered any large animals. At the First Wide River and on its eastern shores, the found an animal, and it was definately larger than they. Having never seen a persond, the animal felt no fear. It didn't feel aggression and it sounded no alarm to the fellows in its heard. This was a good thing, for the animals far outnumbered the People, and if the animals should charge, the People would be trampled. Instead, a boy approached the nearest animal and offered it some low-laying grass. The animal accepted and brought its ungainly body close to the ground. The boy clambered aboard, arranging his legs awkwardly between the two humps on the creature's back. The camel stood up and ran, and the boy shouted out in glee. With the camel, the journey back to the Edge of the World and their starting place took forty days. The world was their camel, and points east, south, and north became a journey of days, not of months. Certainly, these People, our ancestors, with brains as large as our own, didn't take a hundred thousand years to travel from the edge of the world and the Atlantic to the mountains of Northern India and the China Sea beyond.  Besides, it makes a better story to harness the power of the camel and map out the distances from the Nile to the Black Sea, to the Indris valley and the Persian Gulf, to the Dead Sea and south to the coasts of Africa and Arabia. By camel, these journeys take forty days. So it was that Alexandria became the center of the world. Once again, the only path of ease was to the east, for the plateaus and foothills of the Himalayas are home to a thousand rivers, one of which is the Yangtze which flows east and to the China Sea. If it took these ingenious ancesters a year, I would be surprised, indeed. 

7. Snow, a Thousand Rivers, and the Elephant. Halfway up the Indus River, the camels refused to proceed any further. The terrain had changed, you see, and the wide foot of the camel so suitable to sand was entirely unsuitable to the loamy soil of river valleys. But the elephant appeared and seemed entirely willing to do that which the camel refused. So it was the People rode into the plateuas of the mountains, white and massive in the northern sky, and in this valley, they discovered cold. The journey stopped for the winter, and the People regrouped at the Center fo the World, Alexandria, and made plans to follow the sun to its starting point. They still had not found any other people, and many were certain they never would. 

8. Nesting at the Center and the Birth of the First Camel. It was a good thing that the camels bore their young in the late months of the cold season. The growing bellies of the camels, and the shapes that projected from those bellies gave the women of the People a hint of what was happening to themselves. They watched eagerly as the camels gave birth, seeing what the mother did to care for the newborn, and they applied these lessons to the times of their own birthing. An almost irrational desire for cosy shelters took hold of many of the women, and men learned for the first time not to argue. Shelters were built. The first cold season gave the People time to reflect, for nothing aids reflection more than a full stomach, a cosy shelter, and a fire to keep strange things at bay. Food was plentiful, for in this part of the world the growing season is continuous. Little change in the natural world occurs to indicate a change in season. The nights grew shorter, and they were a bit chillier than in the warm days of the Awakening and the first journey, but snow seemed limited to the far eastern mountains and nothing froze here. I can think of a thousand things these People needed and invented to make their easy lives even easier, to satisfy their curiosity, and just for the plain fun of it. If we have these abilities, then so too did they, for they are our ancestors and their brains were at least as big as ours.

9. The Second Journey. As the days became warmer, those without babies continued the eastward journey. They sought our and found an east flowing river, for by now they were convinced the only path was the path to the sun.  They found the Yangtze River, from its origin in the mountains to its destination in the eastern seas. The current took their boats and the journey was swift. When they stood at its delta, all they could see was water and they thought they had reached the limits of the world.  Others felt the world was round and if they continued eastward and into the water, they would find more land and perhaps even more people.  It was this group that refined the boat and pushed into the salty waters and paddled eastward in search of land. When you think of it, the only technological difficulty mariners have to overcome is keeping a plentiful water supply. The boat needs to be large enough to carry water and the person paddling it. Food has a habit, in the deep sea, of leapoing into boats. These people discovered the ocean currents, an easy enough discovery, for you'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to notice the wide ocean currents with their own weather and speeding water through calm seas.  Maybe this took a hundred thousand years, but maybe it took as long as it would take to catch the North Pacific Drift and be taken to the next land mass on the journey. I favor the latter. 

10. The Night Skies. Soon after the Day of Awakening, severl People noticed the stars. What they noticed in particular was that the stars didn't apear to move. They don't appear to move. The North Star is always by the Big Dipper and that doesn't much matter what time of year nor what part of the northern hemisphere the star gaer happens to be. The moon, on the other hand, changed every night. Sometimes, it disappeared altogether. Because of its changing nature, the People used it movements for their first calendar. The sun always rose in the east and always set in the west. It never varied.  The star gazers noticed during the first cold season that the sun appeared to be closer to the world, but weren't entirely clear on what to do with this knowledge. It was a curious fact, but didn't seem to have the same practical value as the regular and predictable movements of the moon. So it was that ancient calendars were lunar calendars. And so it was that the People of ancient times counted their age by the moon's timetable.  A person of 800 lunar years is about 65 solar years old. Other than for the lunar calendar, time itself didn't exist. A person needs a watch to tell time, and watches weren't invented until the 1700s, by the European calendar. 

11. Volcanoes. Midway between Tokyo and Mexico stands the Hawaiian Islands. They are formed by volcanoes, and this is the first place the People found volcanoes. Like ocean currents, landmasses in the Pacific are easy to detect. The seascape changes, with different marine animals and flocks of birds hovering near the cloud formations that form over land. The Pacifc has millions of such land masses. In some parts, a sailor can island hop as easily in the pacific as in the Mediterranean. That isn't the case with the North Pacific Drift. But it takes a person due east, and the People had learned by experience that due east was the easiest path to follow. It had, afterall, taken them across the entire land mass from the western coast of Africa to the coast of Asia. I imagine they tested the waters over several years, determining how much fresh water they would need and how to harvest the sea. I imagine they would use a system of convoys, so one couple of sailors would never be more than a day from another. And I imagine they refined navigation by stars. The ancient art is still practiced by Hawaiians and other Polynesian peoples. The stars are so accurate and predicatble that a person can not get lost.  I imagine this third journey took several years, but certainly, it did not take a hundred thousand years. 

12. The End of the World. Three Rivers is the end of the world. Beyond it, lies another ocean and across that ocean is the startin point. Three Rivers is located where present-day Charleston is. A few days east and a sailor will come upon the island group known as Bermuda. A few more weeks on the ocean current that flows from Bermuda east and a sailor will come upon the Canaries. The Caries are 800 miles from the Starting Point. The journey was complete.  Legend tells the Peaceful Water People that this journey took forty years. The generation that awoke circumnavigated and populated the globe through this band of land that lies about thirty degrees north of the equator. 
In those forty years, the population had grown to over a million people. Disease was largely unknown, for the People ere healthy and well-fed and had all that they could want or need. It was paradise, this global band. No being ever expelled the People from it. 

These were legends, told as bed time stories to toddlers or reenacted in plays and songs and games. They were never taken as truth. Then, in 1770, by the calendar of Zero, a man from the east is brought to the shores of Three Rivers. By his calendar, it is 1469. The stories of this period are...

1. The Fair. The Survivors tale begins at the annual fall fair, outside Dieppe, in the Kingdom of Brittany. The man is called Peter and he is a book seller and an agent for writers. With the development of the movable press, people are discovering they can earn their living by writing. Peter's clients include Christine de Pezan, the first such professional writer. He books passage with a shady travel agent for Italy and carries with him the tools of his trade. Contracts, letters from writers and publishers, excerpts of books, and writing materials are carefully stowed on his person. He carries several complete books - the new bible, which he intends to use as enticement for foreign buyers; the tales of Marco Polo which Peter is reading for his own pleasure, and a miliatary text, the Bellaforte, which could cause his death should the King's men discover it upon him. He is transferring coded information to the King's enemies. The ship is destroyed in a Novemeber Atlantic storm, and the man is tossed into the sea with his possessions and in a small boat. 

2. The Interrogator. Peter washes up on the islands protecting the Three Rivers bay. 

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The goal of fiction is entertainment. The Grapes of Wrath and Schindler's List both have entertained people for generations and my fiction is often of unhappy people, people who fall through those cracks others talk of, and people who have been dislocated. Fiction doesn't offer solutions. At best, it can let people know that suffering exists and invite people to walk that mile in the shoes of someone else. Not all of my stories are of unhappy people, so come back often because I can make you smile and make you laugh.
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