The Tékumel Foundation

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

Archive for the tag “Ssú”

Journey to the Naqsái Lands

24 Dohála 2371

Along the shore we saw ruined farms, and in the distance we could see groups of vaguely humanoid creatures that appeared to shine and glitter. They rode on six-legged beasts. I was told that these were Hokún riding on mutated versions of their own race. We kept well away from the shore.

Earlier we saw a long, flat, black creature that made for the ship. It looked like a large sheet of glossy black fabric. A sailor told me it was a nró and that it was actually composed of hundreds of tiny creatures. We did our best to avoid it.

Today we reached a rather large river. The slave Aramísh said that the Hokún avoid the area because of the Ssú that live there. Needless to say, we did not put in there. We continued on past dunes and scrubby palms. At night we anchored and kept a special watch for anything unusual. There was no sign of the seven lights from the night before.

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Journey to the Naqsái Lands

19 Dohála 2371

We continued along the coast in search of fresh water. This  morning another ship approached us. We made to manoeuvre around them, but they hailed us. We slowed down and lowered a dinghy manned by Chatán, Tékuna, and one of the Shén. When they returned they said that the captain looked to be a Livyáni trader. We had little interest in trading, but he did tell them that there was a river ahead, but to watch out for dangerous creatures. From his descriptions it sounded like the Ssú.

Journey to the Naqsái Lands

28 Trantór 2371

We passed Súchel Head. These are the lands of the coloured Ssú. To be on the safe side we stayed well out in the channel, although most of us spent at least a little time gazing south into the jungle hoping to catch a glimpse of the creatures. After we left Súchel Head we were in open waters. Our supplies were still in good shape. The Shén have a wonderful melon, which when kept in a water barrel, will keep the water potable and free of parasites, but it does give the water a slightly acidic taste.

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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