Journey to the Naqsái Lands
21 Fésru 2371
I’d heard there was a temple of Thúmis on this island, so I rose early and took my servants into the town. The weather was damp and cloudy. It was quite a hike since the temple was located at the top of the peak. When we got there we found that it was a simple pavilion, covered in vines and surrounded by fragrant tetél flowers. We sat on a garden bench, grateful for a rest. Presently we were met by an old woman who said she was the caretaker. I complemented her on how she maintained such a beautiful garden. It must not be easy at her age, especially since it looked as though there are few to help her in her work here. After resting and chatting for a bit, I gave her 5 káitars as a donation to the temple. She was very grateful and considered it a generous sum, although back in Jakálla it would be almost an insult.
We both heard voices and she ushered us into her little hut just beyond the pavillion. I didn’t understand the language, but I assumed that it was Mu’ugalavyáni. The men looked in the window and spoke to the old woman. The old woman understood them and said that I was a worshipper at the temple. It turned out that they were scouts watching for a ship that was supposed to arrive soon. They were on patrol and would return every kíren until the ship arrived. I was afraid of what they might do to us or the temple, but fortunately they were not as bad as I have heard the Mu’ugalavyáni can be. They tossed some of their coins in the window and left.
I needed to meet the ship’s officers back in town at the Tsolyáni commandant’s office, but I was afraid for the old woman and her beautiful little temple. She assured me that the Mu’ugalavyáni have no interest in her or vandalism. She did warn me that they do have agents in the marketplace and that even the harbourmaster is suspect.
When we got back to the town I realised that reaching the Tsolyáni commandant’s building would take far too long. Instead I headed straight to the ship and told the captain what I’d learned. He sent people off to assemble all the officers and I was sent down to the refectory to gather anyone I can find there. We had a brief meeting in the captain’s quarters where I repeated my story about the Mu’ugalavyáni and how they expected a ship any moment. The last of the fresh water had just been loaded. We made plans to sail immediately. The plan was to head south of Ssámris in order to avoid any Mu’ugalavyáni that might come from the north.
We set sail without incident.
Arogái told me that there was nothing worthwhile in the marketplace. Even the fruit was bad. So, I missed nothing.
Three kíren before sunset ships were sighted north of us. We were headed west now. Everything was tense and quiet. A couple more ships were sighted, so we turned the ship farther south to avoid any ships from Ssámris. The cook and his hands brought food up to the deck so that everyone could be on watch. It was a spiced mush, actually quite good.
Everything was intense and rather exciting. The night was clear and we were able to navigate easily by watching the planets. I took the first watch as navigator so Arogái could go below decks and get some rest. Soon we heard a peculiar hooting noise. The captain looked very worried. He spotted a Hlúss ship to the north-west. We bore to the south-west and were told not to stray from out course.