The Tékumel Foundation

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

Archive for the tag “Shényu”

Journey to the Naqsái Lands

21 Trantór 2371

We sighted Arghá. It is a small, muddy city with dense tropical foliage. When we pulled in some Shén officers came aboard. Mridék negotiated for a berth and after a while we went into town. It was just some scattered houses that were surrounded by dry hills beyond the jungle. I suggested to the commander that it might be a good idea to purchase some slaves who might know the waters and lands that will be ahead of us. Our first stop was to change money. Here they use a large copper coin called a krsh that is worth 1 ½ káitars. Twenty krsh got us a berth for the night and a fresh water supply.

The marketplace begins right at the wharf. Chrr melons were sold everywhere. The slave market consisted of a few ramshackle pens with five or six humans and a few ancient grey Shén. An old Shén came out to ask if we needed any help. Zagár was able to translate for us. An older slave approached us and said he had travelled in the west and spoke Tsolyáni in addition to some of the Naqsái dialects. He told us that there were about fifty languages spoken in those lands. He explained how he had been a prisoner for about seven years, and that he had once been an emperor of Tsolyánu, a tailor, and a sailor. The poor soul seemed crazy and depressed. We asked the Shén about any other slaves and found a younger Mu’ugalavyáni man who spoke Tsolyáni and some Naqsai. He had never been to Dalái and said that no one sane ever goes there. He told of how he had been captured by Shén when his ship was sunk. He was desperate to leave and promised to do whatever we wanted. We decided to take them both. The old Shén offered to sell us a mráchdach, which we soon learned was a red Ssú. The Shén keep them as pets and enjoy the high-pitched squealing, chiming noise they make when poked. The old Shén told us there were green ones, too. The creatures run wild in the forests of Súchel Head and the colour was enhanced by the food they eat. He told us the Chíma also keep them as pets. We got the slaves for a reasonable price and picked up a supply of chrr melons for the Shén on board.

When we showed the slaves to Vakúlaz, he said they might come in useful. The Mu’ugalavyáni slave is called Arámish and has skills as a shoemaker. The older slave made a grand show of recognising Davé, as if he was greeting a relative. The slave claims to be the former emperor Mridóbu. Davé liked the slave and bought him from Mridék for the rather large price of two large gems, and then ordered extra sleeping mats for his cabin. I don’t understand why Davé insists on humouring the crazy slave.

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Journey to the Naqsái Lands

6 Trantór 2371

We sighted Ssorvá. There were red-sailed Mu’ugalavyáni ships leaving the harbour and heading northeast. A ship of wild, drunken Shén passed us. Soon we could see the town constructed of low black stone buildings with insets of bright copper inscriptions. Shén buildings all look square-ish and build of crudely cut black rock and have oddly shaped doors. We were approached by a pair of Shén rowing what looked like a small, round, leather boat. When our Shén declared that they smelled all right, they were invited to be the guest of the harbourmaster. The captain made arrangements to stay three days.

After all this time it was good to get off the ship. There were all sorts of things for sale in the market. There were bags of black glass that the Shén grind down and use to polish their scales. There were brightly coloured bolts of cloth, and a lot of copper-work.

We stopped at the stall of a Shén jeweller. He showed me a crystal that glowed from within. He told me that it needed to be fed in order to glow, and recommended the head of a slave as proper food. I doubted the story, and even if it were true, it would be far too difficult to keep it fed on the voyage. I looked at the moonstones he offered, but he wanted too much for them. Davé left us to go to the Tsolyáni quarter to get some cash. Others went in different directions to look at other items that they were interested in. I looked at a few more stalls. The food looked particularly unappealing. I lost interest in the market and instead noticed that Shén have an unusual form of haggling. The set price of everything is 250 coins.  I wasn’t sure if they meant their coins or káitars, or if that even mattered. I felt annoyed and hot, it was oppressively hot for this time of year, so I decided to return to the ship to rest.

Later I learned that Mridék and the crew members had been told that I’d been kidnapped, either by Shén or bad humans. They spent some time looking for me before heading back to the ship. They also weren’t successful in the marketplace. Tékuna bought a copper sphere covered with inscriptions. He said that it was very valuable and it cost him 350 káitars, the equivalent of 200 of their coins.

Mridék had requested that the Shén hire on another one of their kind to replace the one who was lost when we rid the ship of the Naqsái sorceress. Apparently many of the Shén wanted the job and fights ensued. One of our Shén was badly wounded and I later heard that some of the Shén were killed in the riot that developed. I noted that Shén bleed green blood. There was talk of shámtla and impounding the ship. Mridék ordered the ship to set sail immediately. Not all of our Shén were on board, but they planned to catch up with us. We had to hurry because the Shén harbour watch were pulling an enormous chain across the entrance to the harbour to block all traffic. Our Shén managed to obtain a rowboat and caught up to us just outside the harbour. It looked as if a group of Shén ships were making ready to pursue us, so we quickly made for the Straits of Shéngalu.

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