The Tékumel Foundation

News about the World of Tékumel® – the creation of Prof. M.A.R. Barker

Archive for the tag “Livyanu”

New projects in 2016

This is a second follow-up to our earlier blog post about plans for 2016 – we want to expand  and explain in more detail plans for new products for the upcoming year.  If you have suggestions or would like to be more involved, please let us know!

One of the important aspects of presenting the world of Tékumel is adding to the materials which have already been produced.  Quite rightly, fans are interested in creations from Professor Barker which expand their knowledge of this intricate and absorbing setting.  Here are some of the projects the Foundation is working to produce in 2016:

  • The original “mimeo” Empire of the Petal Throne is available in PDF form, but we want to make it available in a print-on-demand format, as well.  There are subtle differences between the playtest rules and the edition published by TSR, Inc.
  • The Jakállan Underworld, including maps and a reproduction of the key – this project has been in the works for some time, as we have been deciding what would be the best way to present it.  We now have a plan for that – and we think you will like it.
  • The Dlash Gazetteer and maps of the city in southern Livyanu, which features so prominently in The Lords of Tsámra.
  • Speaking of which, Flamesong and The Lords of Tsámra, in eBook and print forms.  Having Professor Barker’s novels available is something many of you have asked for – and we want to fulfill your request.
  • If we can fit it in, Armies of the Five Empires.  This would include information from the original army lists, as well as the military articles published in various periodicals.

There are other projects waiting in the wings: a Stability companion volume to The Book of Ebon Bindings, the Northeast Frontier maps and gazetteer, and other source material useful for gaming.  We will get to these as time and resources allow.  Help spread the word – run games, blog about your adventures, and share them with your friends.  The more source material people buy, the easier it is for the Foundation to produce new material.

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Journey to the Naqsái Lands

9 Halír 2371

We passed point Alhajár. One of the Shén spotted a flat, blanket-like thing in the water. We assumed it was something that we wouldn’t want on board. Tékuna told us that they were usually seen in deeper waters and that large ones can envelop a ship. The underside has hundreds of tiny feet that it uses to creep up the side of a ship. We took care to avoid any, especially at night. To ensure this we assigned a special night watch who would keep an eye out for these creatures. Tékuna said that they can be driven off by fire, but it was best to avoid them.

 

Journey to the Naqsái Lands

23 Pardán 2371

We sighted plumes of smoke on shore. Vakúlaz said that we should put in if we needed supplies, but everything seemed to be fine. There was a small island off the end of Point Sarír, but we didn’t stop there. The land was rocky, mountainous, and bitter looking. Chatán fished, more for something to do than for food. He pulled out a monstrous thing covered in spikes. Tékuna hit it with an oar and after we examined it we threw it back into the ocean.

fish 2

 

Journey to the Naqsái Lands

20 Pardán 2371

Another quiet day. We weighed anchor in the evening and slowly pulled out into the bay. I went to Vakúlaz and asked him about the route we would take from here. The points are covered in steep mountains and some of them are volcanoes. There are some isolated tribal villages there that sell black volcanic glass. We might stop and get some since the glass is valued by some members of the Dark Trinity.

The weather continues to get warmer.

Journey to the Naqsái Lands

19 Pardán 2371

I had little desire to see more of Tsámra and stayed on board the ship for most of the time we were here. The days passed while supplies were loaded. I was bored. It seemed that either everything was too exciting, or that nothing happened for long stretches.

Journey to the Naqsái Lands

16 Pardán 2371

We were approaching Tsámra. The commander was concerned about hiding our remaining Shén. There was also talk of adjusting our manifests. When we neared the harbour our Mu’ugalavyáni “navigators” went ashore and the Shén disappeared.  The harbourmasters boarded, searched the ship, but found no sign of the Shén. I had no idea where they went to, but they were nowhere to be found.

We entered Kápranoi Bay. Originally Tsámra was known as Tsámra Larís. In ancient times huge storms nearly destroyed the city, sinking the half of the city known as Larís. It is said that if the waters of the bay are clear, one can look down and see the ancient streets and rooftops of Larís. It was a beautiful day with a good breeze. I leaned on the railings and watched as the ship was towed into the crowded harbour, but could not see fabled Larís.

Most of us were glad of the opportunity to get off the ship. On shore we didn’t see many people. The Livyáni probably preferred to keep out of sight. There were groups of Mu’ugalavyáni standing around drinking the reddish dná grain beer.

Chatán decided that he wanted to buy a new pleasure slave to replace the one who was most probably murdered by the Naqsái girl and finished off by the Shén. First Chatán, Tékuna, and I had to go and change our Tsolyáni káitars for Livyáni shídoz. Chatán asked where he might find a good pleasure slave. The money changers indicated that the slaves would be more expensive than Chatán thought. They told him to avoid the shops where slaves were chained to poles, since those were usually of the poorest quality. The owner of the exchange recommended that we go to the shop of Morkúnuz. He also suggested that it would be better if Chatán paid for a slave with a clan writ. This was especially valued since the Mu’ugalavyáni did not recognise or tax writ transactions Chatán tipped him well.

We walked along to the markets where we saw long lines of poles set in cement with slaves chained to them. They were of all ages and obviously mostly labourers. Merchants came out, eager to sell, but we moved on. Further on we saw slaves in penned areas with sheds with overseers keeping an eye on them. Chatán asked one about Morkúnuz. The slaver came out and began to talk to Chatán. I was a little surprised. After all Chatán was well-born and shouldn’t have to talk to one so low as this. When I mentioned this Chatán explained that it would take too long to haggle while speaking by way of a servant. I said nothing but hoped that he wouldn’t take such a casual an attitude when we got back in the civilised world.

The slaver told a huge Nlúss overseer to haul out a filthy girl of about 13 years. Chatán said he preferred to see another; it would not be good to select the first slave offered – no matter how hurried one was. The next slave was a younger one, maybe 11 years, bound in a wooden rack. That one would obviously cause too much trouble, although she was better looking and had long glossy hair. Chatán asked for another one. The third slave was an adult, tall with a fair complexion and a well-shaped triangular face. Obviously she was Livyáni; her back was covered in tattoos. Chatán looked her over, checked her teeth and asked the price. The slaver replied 700 shíduk. Chatán countered with 300 allótish and the haggling began in earnest. Eventually the slaver turned to Tékuna and offered the girl to him for 600 shíduk. Tékuna answered 600 for that one and the dirty one. They finally settled on 550 for both. The transaction was completed. Chatán’s new pleasure slave announced that she was high born and a priestess of Quyá, and that she would run away as soon as possible. Apparently Morkúnuz uses her as bait. He sells her and then has her recaptured and sells her repeatedly. Her name is Otenéb. Tékuna’s slave is Me’eléth. She was Naqsái and said that she was here on a mission. She was supposed to go to Tsámra to meet the Livyáni rebellion leaders. Tékuna originally had her thrown into the bargain just to give her to the Shén, but being Naqsái, she would be more valuable alive. I was happy that we would be spared the smell of the Shén’s miserable cooking.

Soon after we returned to the ship there was a commotion. Apparently our commander offended one of the Mu’ugalavyáni guards and ended up having some of them chase him back to the docks. There was much shouting and gesturing, but they finally allowed him to return to the ship.

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.

Journey to the Naqsái Lands

14 Pardán 2371

The past two days were uneventful. We continued down the coast with little change in the landscape. Tonight was very dark with no moons. I am glad to have the faint light of the ships lights and the coast to navigate by.

I decided to retire early and as I was arranging my blankets, I found something sharp in my mat. It was a knife fixed with the point up. I backed away without touching anything relevant and did my best to calm myself. Then I called up a spell of elicitation to see who put the knife there. In the vision, I saw the knife float into place by itself. I recalled the story of the invisible stowaway and in my mind I apologised for any malformed thoughts I had regarding our commander, and hurried to his cabin.

I asked him to come and see what I had found and explained the story to him. We questioned my servants. They had not seen anyone come or go from the cabin. No one we asked could identify the knife. Fromm that point on I decided to keep one of my servants with me at all times.

I went back to my room and fixed my mat as well as I could and was nearly asleep when I heard a scream. I raced out to find that Arogái had been bitten by a “crunchie”. The Shén had bought a barrel of crustaceans that they ate as snacks. Apparently one of the crunchies chewed its way out of the barrel and now the things were loose on the ship. I performed a heal spell on Arogái. Afterwards I was too agitated to sleep, so I calmed myself by watching the glowing green phosphorescent sea for a while. Eventually I returned to my sleeping mat.

It felt like I was barely asleep when Chatán, the first mate came to fetch me. Another body, or part of one, was found. The story was rushed and unclear as we headed for the deck. Still no moons, so I created a small light spell. There was an obvious attempt to wash away a quantity of blood off the deck. An elicitation spell revealed only that the cabin boy had been there. After a search, he was nowhere to be found, and was most likely to be the source of all the blood. The whole time we were at this we were annoyed by the little crabs with which the Shén had cursed our ship.

A call went up saying that something was pacing our ship off the port. We could all easily see the phosphorescent wake, but nothing that created it. Chatán got out his longbow. As he was about to fire, one of the accursed crabs bit him and he lost the shot. Zagár managed to stomp the thing. The missing cabin boy was forgotten in the excitement as the crew now concentrated on the phosphorescent trail. One sailor speculated that it was a Tsó gú, the swimming undead. If one got aboard it would attack and suck out the brains of its victims. Other crew members thought that it was another form of sea life, or maybe the ghosts of sailors. Tékuna was summoned and asked if he could identify it. He’d never seen this before, but one of his servants said it might be a vé fish.

Mridék and I decided to talk to the Shén. One of them confessed that they had found a part of a torso or a leg. At that point our commander lost his temper, something I never thought I would see. The shouting match centred on the previous promise not to eat any crew members and it was uncertain as to whether a cabin boy constituted a true crew member. The argument continued until the commander extracted a promise from the Shén that they would not eat anyone, or part of anyone, without getting prior permission from the commander. The Shén swore that they did not kill the cabin boy, but only found a couple parts. I dreaded that tomorrow morning we would be greeted by more stench coming from the canvas shanty that they have rigged up on the forecastle.

While all that was happening Chatán had been trying to get another shot off at whatever it was off the port side. Now that Mridék was done with the Shén, he tried to get Chatán to stop. Some confusion ensued and Chatán was struck. By whom, it’s uncertain, but I was left to heal the first mate’s head while the commander went below to meditate on the situation.

After a while the commander returned with a woman I hadn’t seen before. There were rumours that he had his own private companion, but I assumed they were only rumours since no one had seen her.

She immediately pointed at Chatán and yelled that the invisible being was behind him. Chatán slashed and lunged, but it was too quick for him. Something grabbed his wrist and whipped him overboard. Poor Chatán managed to grab the rudder and climb up the ropes that the sailors threw down to him.

I felt I knew what needed to be done and told Mridék that I was going below to get supplies. In my cabin, I pulled out my old notes from when I was a student. I’d practised the spell of the Gate of the Grey Pentacle, but never actually used the spell. At temple school we carefully prepared and warded the rooms to practise the creation and casting of spells. There we had all the proper supplies, plenty of time, and a calm atmosphere to prepare our minds and effectively cast the spells. I was a competent student then, but I never thought I’d have to duplicate my efforts on a rocking ship surrounded by panicking sailors and an invisible target.

I pulled out another box and began to choose bottles of powders, inks, and chalks. A piece of grey chalk flew out of my hand! I retrieved it and bundled up the supplies, and then hurried to the commander’s cabin. Neither he nor his companion was there. I found them up on the deck and we quickly put together a plan. I would ready the spell while Mridék’s companion, Saíb would walk alongside me until she could point out the creature. As we began to search the deck we heard a moan from the crow’s nest. One of the marines went up and found Arogái. He had been badly injured. A couple more sailors went up with ropes and lowered him down while the Keténgku priest was summoned. Arogái said that he had been struck by something unseen and that he managed to hit it. Even though he couldn’t see it, he felt his fist connect. Davé did his best to cast a healing spell, but was unsuccessful. Arogái, our senior navigator died on the deck.

Tékuna said that he had the means to preserve Arogái’s body until we reached Tsámra, a few days from now. He and the sailors carried the body below. I thought about how I would miss Arogái. Although we shared a cabin, we didn’t see much of each other since I often took the night watch, learning to navigate by the moons and planets, while he worked during the day. Most of our time together was spent at our dawn meetings with Vakúlaz, learning as much as we could about the waters we were sailing and the lands toward which we were headed. Arogái always had a quick wit and a bright smile. He was clever without being mean and had a generous soul. I prayed that he had an easy voyage to the Isles of Taratané.

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.

Journey to the Naqsái Lands

4-9 Pardán 2371

Mu’ugalavyáni must navigate differently than Tsolyáni. We have yet to catch sight of Foshaá.

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