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

Archive for the tag “Tsámra”

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.

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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.

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