The Blue Dolphin was a cargo ship for ten years and then she was fitted out for taking immigrants to the New World. She had a crew of about 20 men and her most outstanding difference was the fact that every time she left or entered a port, the crew put on clean blue sails! On her very last trip, the Blue Dolphin left from London as usual and was bound straight for Port Royal in the New World with no stops in between. She had aboard her about 70 immigrants from England as well as a group of amateur scientists headed for New London, the scientific capital not far from Port Royal. The scientists took aboard with them a large crate with breathing holes. Inside the crate there was a wolf that the scientists had captured on the Green Isle and they were taking it to New London because they were amazed at its highly intelligent actions. They regularly went down to where it was placed in the hold and fed it. When they said that there was a wolf in the crate, they were partly right and partly wrong. They believed that it was a wolf and nothing more, except for the fact of its extremely high intelligence, but this wolf was in reality a young girl who could take on the form of a wolf and was sometimes more at home in that form than her human one. She was NOT a werewolf and there were others like her.
The wolf-girl's name is Eara. She lives with her mother and the rest of her pack-family on the Green Isle, a large and mysterious island filled with many beautiful and secret places. When Eara turns into a wolf, her fur is reddish-brown, the same colour as her hair when she is a human. She has chocolate brown eyes. Her birthday is the 10th of February and she is twelve years old. As well as being able to turn into wolves, her people can talk to birds of prey. Eara's best friend is a gyrfalcon named Tyrfen and the two of them love to wander off and explore by themselves. Eara's people live in the wild places of the Green Isle and they seldom venture near the small corner of the island that is inhabited by farmers and ordinary folk who have come across the Syrinian Sea. When Eara was five, her father was captured by some pirates when he was in his human form and he hadn't been seen since. Eara's most fervent wish is that her father is alive and that she will see him again.
Surrounded by the Syrinian Sea(which hasn't been discovered yet), the Green Isle is separated into two halves, North and South, by the Telar Mountains. Eara's tribe crosses through the Telar Mountains twice a year, every fall and spring, going to and coming from Summerhaven in the Northern Valleys of the Green Isle, where they spend their summers among the warm fields and forests. They cross back to the Southern Forests when the leaves fall from the trees to spend most of the cold, snowy winter in the sheltered pine forests near Sunset Bay. When the snow starts to melt, Eara and her tribe go visit their other camps around the island, always avoiding the corner where the ordinary folk live, and finally they end up back at Summerhaven and stay there for the rest of the summer.
The Green Isle has a special kind of tree, the Alnair tree, which grows all over the island, especially in Summerhaven. The leaves of the Alnair tree are shaped like stars with six points and in the summer are a wonderful greeny-blue colour. When the leaves start to change colour in the fall, the blue gets darker and the green turns to orange so that when the leaves have finally fallen, they are a bright orange speckled with deep blue. Alnair trees have a peculiar way of growing: they grow in such a way that even the youngest sapling and its branches may be much thicker and sturdier than your legs will ever be. The oldest ones are thousands of feet high and yet you may climb them to the very top and you need not fear falling because there are no weak or rotten limbs and there is always a branch in the place where you need it. Alnair trees have smooth gray bark and the fruit is a bit like an apple.
The story takes place around 1880.
Tirfen is a grey phase gyrfalcon and has been Eara's best friend ever since they met when she found him on the bank of a swift, cold river flowing out into Sunset bay. He had fallen into the river after being mobbed by a bunch of big crows and when she had found him, Eara had taken him back to her pack-family and helped him get better. As he recovered from his ordeal, Tirfen and Eara became fast friends and he decided to stay with her and her family. He loves to swoop onto Eara's shoulder, or when she is in her wolf form, onto her back, and ride there while they explore all the wonderful places on the Green Isle. Even though Tirfen's colouring is called grey phase, he is actually a beautiful reddish brown colour. His chest has white with reddish streaks and his back is mottled reddish brown. Tirfen is clever and sensible and almost always optimistic, although he finds it impossible to do things under pressure; he always needs time to think things over.
It was early morning and Eara was in an unfamiliar wood that she knew could not possibly be on the Green Isle, for there were no Alnair trees in sight. As she listened to the birds waking up in the trees around her, she looked about, wondering where she was. Just then, she saw a glint of something shiny reflecting off from the sun behind her. Her curiosity aroused, Eara made her way through the trees towards it. As she got closer, she heard the sound of running water and coming out into a small round clearing ahead of her, she saw what had been reflecting the morning sun. It was a beautiful and crystal clear little stream running down a rocky incline to Eara's left. As she stood there on the edge of the clearing, Eara heard another sound mingling with the birdsong and the splashing water. It sounded like the flapping of wings. Puzzled, Eara looked around to see where the sound was coming from, and she saw the figure of a gyrfalcon flying through the trees straight towards her. Suddenly, she realised who it was.
"Tirfen! I'm so glad you're here!" With his wings whirring, Tyrfen landed on her shoulder and said, "Me too," and then he cocked his head and added, "What's that? It sounds like someone singing." Eara listened hard for a minute, and then she said, "Yes, someone is singing. It sounds like it's coming from over there." She pointed across the clearing a bit to the right. "Let's go see who it is." Without waiting for Tirfen to answer her, she jumped across the stream and set off through the trees towards the sound. A moment later she caught sight of a little thatched house made of wood scraps and stones. The singing was louder now, and she could hear the words, "Come little birds and have some seeds, come little birds and eat from here, come little birds and stay away, stay away from my garden." As Eara came around the corner of the house she saw a girl about four years older than her and wearing a bow and a quiver of arrows on her back, pouring some birdseed on the ground a few feet away from the front of the house. "Hello," said Eara. The girl jumped in surprise, for Eara had come up very quietly, and turned around. She looked at Eara for a moment, and then smiled, "Hi, I'm Alicia. Who are you and where did you come from?" "I'm Eara. I'm from the Green Isle. This wood isn't on the Green Isle, is it?" "No. What is the Green Isle?" asked Alicia. Eara explained that the Green Isle was her home, and that she did not know where she was, or how she had gotten there. "I don't know how you got here, but I do know where we are. This wood is one of many owned by the royal family of Scotland. Actually, I am the princess, but my stepmother hates me, and I have taken refuge from her here." said Alicia.
"I built this house myself, out of odds and ends that I either found or bought. Speaking of buying, I have run out of food and must go to buy some more from the village. Do you want to come with me?" Eara said yes, and followed Alicia along a narrow little path winding through the green wood. Alicia told Eara that it was her secret shortcut to the main road that went towards the village, and that she had made it herself. After walking for several minutes, Eara could see a clear space in front of them through the trees, and she quickly realised was the road.
Alicia and Eara turned to go left down the road, when they heard a rasping voice from behind them, "Aha, the crown princess and a friend. The Queen Regent and the French King will be happy to pay a fine ransom for you." Before his words could sink in, he grabbed Alicia and dumped a bag over her head, before pulling the drawstring tight over her arms. Eara turned around in surprise to look at the tall bearded man who grunted, "Better take you too, to keep you quiet." and then grabbed and trussed her up the same way as Alicia before she even had time to scream. He quickly dumped them over the back of his horse and rode into the woods on the other side of the road. With almost no hope of being rescued, the two girls lay there, jolting and uncomfortable for a few minutes until hope came back in the form of a hawk. Tirfen came diving down towards them with a piercing cry, and after swiping through the drawstring that secured Eara's bag with a talon, he started clawing at the man's face. Eara freed her hands and quickly untied Alicia. Frightened, and not daring to look back at the fight between Tirfen and the man, they ran all the way back to Alicia's house as fast as they could. After they had calmed down a bit, Eara began to worry about Tirfen. Alicia tried to distract her from her worries by wondering out loud, "What did that man mean by the King of France being happy to pay a ransom for me? I've never met him in my life." "I'm sure I don't know." said Eara, and then her face brightened, "Tirfen! He's all right!" He came flapping towards them through the trees and alighted on Eara's shoulder.
Alicia watched the happy reunion, and then she said, "Thank you ever so much for saving us from that horrid man. Is there anything I can do to repay you?" "I just want to go home to the Green Isle, but I don't see how you could do that." answered Tirfen. Eara nodded her head and murmured, "Me too." And then she woke up and, as she looked out over Sunset Bay, she wondered how she could possibly even think about a place other than the Green Isle.