Journey to the Naqsái Lands
11 Pardán 2371
Foshaá at last! In the distance we could see the tall, white pyramidal towers that are dedicated to the gods of the Livyáni. When we got closer we could see the small, neat houses with flat-topped roofs. It looked peaceful and a little crowded. There were many red hulled ships in the harbour. We were met by two harbourmasters, one Livyáni and one Mu’ugalavyáni. In their interview with our commander they tried to hire the Shén off our ship. They need Shén as labourers. The commander stood firm and said that the Shén stayed with us.
Arrangements were made for re-provisioning and we were told that if we wanted to buy anything that we must obtain certificates that we must present when we leave.
It was a perfect day with a light breeze. I accompanied Zagár in to town along with my servants. As we walked he pointed out that some of the temples were shut and locked. Other buildings have been razed and ploughed under. But despite the changes, he had no problem finding his way around. There were Mu’ugalavyáni everywhere, but they were relaxed and casual. Most of the Livyáni we saw kept to the background.
Zagár ran into a Livyáni he knew and was warned against going into some of the older neighbourhoods. There are Livyáni partisans in the city led by a woman called Fireface. Trading was difficult here. The Mu’ugalavyáni confiscate anything they want. If Zagár was interested, his friend could connect him with some black market dealers who could provide him with antiquities looted from the Opal Palace and the Obsidian Palace. It was clear to me that Zagár had no interest in this, but politely explained that he may consider obtaining such items when we returned on our way back to Tsolyánu.
As we walked back to the ship Zagár and I speculated as to whether our Naqsái passenger would leave us here or continue on with us until we reached his country. Moróch had been sullen and withdrawn, no doubt feeling out of place among so many foreign people.
Once back at the ship we spoke to Vakuláz. We were to head to Tsámra, then Yrá and then a long trip around the twin points of Alhjjár and Sarír. From there we will make port at Ssorvá on the extreme south of the continent.
In the afternoon we had all noticed a horrid stench. Prohibitions or no, I was compelled to cast a “control self” spell on myself to keep from retching. It turned out to be the Shén cooking their miserable stew that they enjoy so much. Demons of the nether planes only know what noxious bottom feeding creatures they pulled out of the harbour to put in their stew pot. Later the reptiles all left for the marketplace.
A little later the commander took the ships papers and sufficient money (40 shidóc equals 80 káitars) so that we may officially leave. We left port in the late afternoon. Once in the open water we took out the oars to turn the ship around. In the evening I watched the coast. It was so pretty in the late sunset with the lights on the shore and the small craft passing us. It was hard to believe that there was so much misery and destruction here.
There has been a problem with the Shén. Apparently their noxious stew was not some carrion fish, but human flesh. They admitted that they found a human body and ate it. They said they couldn’t identify it because it was headless. Our commander made the reptiles agree that they will not eat any crew members. Mridék later told me that a skull had been found in the bilge along with a clay pipe similar to the ones used for sipping drugs in Haída Pakála. He had no idea if the Shén had anything to do with it. In spite of all that the night passed peacefully.