Journey to the Naqsái Lands
15 Pardán 2371
Near dawn a red-sailed cutter crossed our bow, and the Mu’ugalavyáni sailors told us to heave to. After they boarded they asked if we were carrying Livyáni agents or contraband. When they saw our Shén, the Mu’ugalavyáni checked them carefully. Mu’ugalavyá was having problems with Shényu and the told us that our Shén will be interred when we reached Tsámra. We had heard rumours in Foshaá that a new Mu’ugalavyá was being built on the southern continent and that Linyaró was impressing Shén to work as road labourers. The Mu’ugalavyáni put two of their sailors on board to “help” us navigate into Tsámra. We could see the mountains that are north of Kápranoi Bay. The little Mu’ugalavyáni ship left to the south.
Later Mridék called a meeting. I attended along with one of the Shén, Chatán, and Vakúlaz. The commander believed that the invisible being was the Naqsái girl that we assumed had jumped off the ship. Our plan was first to enlist the help of Moróch, the Naqsái man to see if he could help flush out the girl. Marines were sent to bring him.
Having had little sleep for the past couple days, I went to my cabin to get some rest. Near dinner time one of my servants woke me and told me that I was wanted by the commander. Mridék had set extra guards on the food stores on the chance that invisible creatures might need food. One of the guards heard a disturbance in the chamber with the water casks. He found Moróch tied up and nearly drowned. Moróch said that he’d been struck and carried down there. After he’d recovered for a bit he told us that Tikhá was a powerful sorceress in his land. He knew that the murders were not done by Tikhá, but by her evil shade. In life she was a follower of the goddess, and while her goddess would have more power in their land, he still didn’t know how to stop her. Moróch believed that the evil shade possessed Tikhá’s body when they were captured and escaped on the dinghy. The transformation took place slowly and she was still new to this state of being. This could be to our advantage. Unfortunately she might soon be done with murdering our crew and may try to take over a new body. I wondered if she wasn’t murdering to kill, but was just unsuccessful at incorporating herself into a new body. Moróch had no idea how we could stop her. Mridék sent one of the Shén down to guard Davé. It was going to be another long night.
I went up on deck to see if the captain needed some help. One of the Mu’ugalavyáni was in the mood to proposition me. Even if our countries were on friendly terms, I would have still rebuffed the ugly thing. I could not wait to be rid of them. As I turned away there was a loud splintering crash. One of the Shén had buried his axe in the boards of the deck. He said that he saw a “rippely” thing and took a chop at it. He said that the rippely thing went over the side. Chatán looked where the Shén pointed, but saw nothing. As the Shén started to leave, he yelled. He swore that he’d just seen Arogái in the companionway and then Arogái dissolved. Just then the Shén and Chatán both saw the rippely thing; it looked almost like a disturbance in the air, or like looking through a clear, shallow stream. There was no time to consider what we saw because explosions were coming from the cabin below. Chatán and I both ran down. The atmosphere was cloying with magical energy. I readied myself for the Gate of the Grey Pentacle. When we reached Davé’s cabin the Shén guarding the door would not let us in under any circumstances. Chatán had to run and fetch the commander, the only person the stubborn Shén would listen to. Once Mridék arrived, the door was opened. Inside the room was a tall grey cylinder and scorch marks on the wall. I attempted an elicitation spell, but couldn’t concentrate in the confusion. Suddenly the cylinder opened and Davé stepped out. He told us that something crawled through the window. Tékuna examined the window and found a slick, dry membrane on the wall just below it. He pried the substance loose and we took it to Moróch, since none of us could identify it. Moróch said that it was a piece of the body of the servant of the goddess. He said that it was useless and that she will have mutated. Tikhá could take whatever form she wishes to imitate now. I asked Saíb if she would be able to tell if a person was true or a semblance made by this demoness. Before she could answer we heard screams from Davé’s cabin. We ran to find a Shén fighting with a gooey sleeping mat. He bashed it into the wall, but it rebounded and attempted to wrap itself around the Shén. Chatán grabbed a lamp from its holder and threw it at the gooey mass. I pulled myself together, reached out to the power available in the planes beyond while making the gestures I’d practiced day and night. For a moment my senses were overwhelmed by roiling pearly grey mists. When I could focus my vision on this plane again, the room was normal. The fire was out, the entity was gone and so was the Shén. I asked Saíb if I was successful. I was. The thing was gone.