:: The Battle of Leuia ::
:: Jamio's Lament ::
:: The Leuian Diarie of Jhessail Jahanael ::
:: The Waystation of the Road to Honor ::
:: Paradise Lost ::
:: Tale of the Wayfarer ::
:: A History of Leuian Pride ::
:: Badge of Honor ::
:: Leuia ::
:: The Journey ::
:: Isle of Paladimar ::
The Battle of Leuia
[Note: This story first appeared in the Volume 4, Issue No. 3 DFC on 28th day of the 11th month of the 97th year in Spur, titled: The Battle of Leuia by Azark Demarest.]
The great city of Leuia: ahh.... how splendid it was. The clean cobblestone streets, and bronze lamp holders at every corner. All the homes and shops were well kept, with fresh paint and well-manicured flower beds. Why, even the dock area was free of filth and grime. Kept well lit at all times, the light from the lamps brightly shined from the brass fittings of the sleek Leuian ships. One avenue was always especially bright. Known only as The Way of Justice, it was broader by half than any other street in the city. It led from the docks, through the city and up a nearby mountain to the halls of Justice.
The Halls of Justice, by far the most magnificent building on the Isle, far greater than the Khatyr's humble home, was a thing of unsurpassed wonder. Set atop Mt. Arrya, the Halls were built of the finest marble. Rinanni's Temple lay close by and whether it was natural or a gift of the White Lady, the walls were covered with Ivy. Not enough to cover windows, just enough to add beauty. Large public gardens surrounded the Halls, where every color in the world could be found in one flower or another. Roses and tulips, daisies and daffodils and many others the names of which I know not. The aromas which filled the air were enough to lighten the heart of even the most hardened Leuian warrior. And right in the middle of the front lawn, directly in front of the massive entry doors, a portrait, painted in flowers, of the Founder of the Isle of Leuia, Elandrias Telloriad.
Entering through the main doors, into the entry hall was enough to take one's breath away. Polished marble, in many colors, set into the shape of the Isle itself. A constant reminder that here could be found justice for all the Isle, not only the city itself. The crystal and gold chandelier hanging above the floor sparkled as the light from the lamps refracted through the hundreds of small crystals and cast shimmering rainbows on the walls of the entry hall.
At the rear of the hall were three doors, one large in the center and two smaller ones on either side. The smaller ones led to the offices and meeting rooms of the Khatyr(a) and the clawmasters. The large double door led in to one of the largest roofed chambers in the world. The main audience chamber was rarely used. Seldom did the Leuian people need to make use of it, for disputes involving so many people as to need *the* Hall of Justice were few. Disputes were routinely settled before they grew large. The most common use for *the* Hall, was in time of war. There, Elias Northbane gathered the people for the last audience that chamber was ever to see.
Seven months before, the Taathian cult of Leuia had been caught in a rite too heinous for even the most open-minded Leuian to bear. Elias was called upon to outlaw the worship of Taath and cast these devils from the Isle. Elias hesitated, he was disgusted and saddened by the activities of the Taathians, but was sure that it could be solved without restricting the personal freedom of all Leuians. He remembered the Seventh Precept, embrace Diversity. But, the High Priests and Priestesses of the other religion saw their chance. They took every opportunity to preach against Taath. Elias, seeing that the people were beginning to lean toward violence, stalled for time. He ordered the round-up of all known Taathian church officials. He was too late - none were to be found. All had gone into hiding. And oddly enough, shortly thereafter messages from some of the outlying areas on the Isle stopped.
Still Elias continued the search but he believed that the Taathians had left the Isle since several ships had also disappeared, and after checking the titles of those ships found them to be owned by Taathians. This rumor began to spread and the people began to settle down....
Until word got through to the city that Lord Ferdain had been run out of his home and was living in the mountains and many of the people of the area were with him. A band of Taathians had taken the town, killed several folks and forced the retreat of the remaining forces.
Upon hearing this, Elias sent a force to investigate and free the town if necessary. Upon reaching the town, they were hotly resisted but finally killed or ran off the Taathians. But soon after this was accomplished, reinforcements arrived from the Taathian camp and slaughtered Elias's forces before word could get to Lord Ferdain. By the time Lord got the news that his city had been retaken, the smoke had begun to rise as the new Taathian force burnt the bodies of the dead.
Elias had no choice now, Lord Ferdain was a well loved figure in Leuia. And it seemed the Taathians had declared war in any case. He gathered the people in the Hall of Justice. And to the sound of thousands of Leuian voices crying as one, he declared war on Taath and his followers. They were to be destroyed to the last one, justice would be served.
But before the preparations for sending the forces out were completed, the Taathians, already prepared, sailed into the Harbor with 3 times more ships than it had been thought they had. They set torch to the ships in the harbor, landed at the docks, and burnt their own ships as if they had already decided all or nothing. Large forces also came from the north and south as the sun began to rise, and the smoke from the burning of outlying farms and villages began to be seen.
For the first time since Jalaka founded the Seven Precepts which rule Leuians daily life, Leuian fought Leuian and the blood flowed in the city streets. The worst fighting was seen near the Temples of Rinanni and Elindale, but Odarous, Sa, and Unknown by no means escaped the battle.
The forces of Rinanni, ever preaching love not war, fought like nothing this world has ever seen. Outnumbered 5 to 1 they kept the Taathians from entering the temple proper. Although it later burned due to the raging fire which consumed the nearby Halls, the altar was not defiled and the temple could therefore be rebuilt. The High Priest himself, Arenial Shekatiel, fought alongside his Brothers of the Sword. Karnar Nighteye, a fighter and formerly the Khatyr of the leuians in The Spur, set himself at the top of the steps leading to the entry doors, alongside another Spurrian notable, Bartholomeow Purrfect. Karnar's two handed greatsword swept the steps clean while Bartholomeow danced on either side to keep the enemy from Karnar's flanks. Together, they kept any from gaining entrance to the temple.
Unfortunately, as the Taathians retreated, Bartholomeow was struck on the head and abducted. To this day none know his whereabouts.
The other temples were not so lucky. The Rinannians had been gathered for a ceremony praying for peace and had fortunately been together. The other temples are now nothing but blackened stone and ashes, their altars broken.
But the worst blow to the proud Leuians was the burning of the Halls of Justice. It seems a band of Taathians entered the city disguised as traders from the city of Haldar on the other side of the Isle. They killed several guards, and set the Halls on fire before the rest of the forces had been sighted yet. By the time the alarm was raised, the fire was beyond stopping. And the fire spread. Homes and businesses to the southwest of the Halls, caught the sparks blown by the freakish wind and burned to the ground. All who might have helped in putting out the fire were involved in the fighting. The city of Leuia burned.
This proved to be a bad move on the part of the Taathians. For the anger which rose in each and every Leuian when the news reached them forced all caution aside. There was no longer any quarter given to any of the Taathian forces. Yet it mattered not. That day the Forces of Taath were victorious. The people of Leuia retreated into the surrounding hills, their homes nothing but ashes.
The next day's orange and hazy sun cast an eery light on the streets of Leuia. The blood shown in pools of red. And the bodies of the dead lay twisted and still in the orange light. No sound could be heard but the weeping of those who had lost loved ones, and the cries of the wounded as they were found and carried off to be healed by the few remaining clerics. It was not until late afternoon that an organized effort to gather the dead was begun. It seems that Elias Northbane was injured in the fighting and had been buried under others. He was not found until noon. Two Clawmasters were dead, the others wounded.
But, although, the forces of the dark one are now outnumbered and forced to fight a guerilla war, neither have the Leuians returned to their once proud city. For Elias declared that he would not return to rebuild until the fear of the Taathians was removed from the Isle.
Three winters have gone by, and still the tents remain. Many people determined to rebuild, but not yet able to, live in a tent city southeast of the city. The Halls of Justice will not be rebuilt. In fact, they lay untouched and unentered, except those who entered to search for the survivors of the fire and or the dead. That is how it stands now. Elias is homeless, leading the army which seeks to serve justice. The people are homeless, following Elias while their need for justice burns in their hearts, and keeps them alive. But still they dream, and in so doing, keep remembrance alive.
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Come dear friends and gather near
To this tale I ask ye lend your tears
A story of love, of honor too, come sit with me and hear it through
For the memory of heart be long and its promises be true
From Leuia came a warriress bold
Her heart and mind in battle forged
Love she used in but one phrase, "Love of battle!" she cried with pride to her race
But her warrior's heart was unprepared for the day she met her Tarmit.
Unable to speak aloud her desire
In the hunt she found joy at his side
Her duty to family and her brother dear did call her home to Leuia one year
When at last she returned she found, her Tarmit had chosen another
Honor the Leuian warrior's cry
Love the silent heart replies
The heart makes promises none can tell
And keeps those thought forgotten
Though she spoke naught of her inner cries
Her brother did read the truth in her eyes
"Forbid... Forbid," to her brother she said. "Of this I forbid you to speak again!"
"Another's 'sara I do not love. I will live my life with honor."
Time does heal all wounds, tis told
And so it seemed with this warriress bold
In the hunt again did proudly soar, her triumphant cry, her battle roar
Til one dark day the news was heard, that death had taken Tarmit
Paw upon her chest, a pallid look
Jamio faltered as though herself was struck
And as her brother did see her plight, with tears the truth he realized
That though itd been in honor buried, her love had never died
Honor the Leuian warriors cry
Love the silent heart replies
The heart makes promises none can tell
And keeps those thought forgotten.
To home, to home, to Leuia they sped.
Her brother filled with concern and dread.
Their ship was fast, but their journey long, as he entreated for her to hang on
But their shores of home at last in site, Jamio did finally fall
A whispered name upon the wind
Her final words of love to him
And as she lay cradled within her devoted brothers arms
Jamio's heart, strong though it was, did quietly beat its last
To rest, to rest, she was laid to rest, this Fighter for Elindale.
And through the journal of her brother dear have we come to learn this tale
For true to her word she had spoken to none of the love she'd kept inside
But the Leuian heart will love but one, e'en though it be denied
Honor the Leuian warrior's cry
Love the silent heart replies
For the heart makes promises none can tell
And keeps those thought forgotten.
Wrote and sang for the Leuian festival in Meetpoint
during the 7th month in the year 318 (8/04)
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The Leuian Diarie of Jhessail Jahanael ...
To Jalaka, my Leuian friend,
I beg you to keep take this copy of Jhessail's journal. Expand on it, clarify it, as only a Leuian can. Also, keep it in remembrance of me, along your journey. Pray that my age catches me before the knowledge mistress finds out I have given to you the original.
THE LEUIAN CHRONICLES OF JHESSAIL JAHANAEL
Upon Commission of the Usil House of Knowledge
Sixth Month, Sixth Day of the Year 93
Sixth Month, Eighth Day
I arrived in the coastal areas today, in midsummer, and very quickly found a community of Leuians living near the sea. This community is made of more than forty adults and some twenty children of various ages. None seem to speak or understand the Common tongue. This may be more difficult than I had thought.
Sixth Month, Tenth Day
These Leuians are polite and concerned for my welfare, yet they seem indifferent to my attempts to learn about them. For two days have I tried to have these Leuians speak the words for the objects around us. I have gestured and made signs until my hands and fingers feel as if made of iron. They ensure my comfort, but do not address me or touch me. They talk together quietly in the Leuian tongue, making no attempt to aid my understanding.
Sixth Month, Twelfth Day
At morningsun, the Leuian whom I think leads this community came to me and, by use of gestures, made me understand I was to leave them and go with two of her people to some unknown place. It has been a day of walking upon soft sands as my two female guides and I travel south along the ocean shore. Many times today, I looked up and caught them staring at me with their fascinating amber eyes - eyes which see as well in darkness as they do in the light.
Sixth Month, Thirteenth Day
We still walk by the ocean, but the soft sands have turned into rocky cliffs and stony beaches. I am weary and bruised. I observe my two guides closely...their features still amaze me. Leuians are such physically powerful beings, taller than many other races. I try to discern why nature would leave the face and general form as the humankynd, but cover them with sleek, beautiful fur. Their bodies are strong and agile. Also..there is something peculiar about their tails...
Sixth Month, Sixteenth Day
All morning, my guides' feline ears twitched to and fro atop their heads, as if listening for something or someone. At noonfeast, my guides gestured to me and pointed to the top of the cliffs. They smiled as more Leuians appeared above and began to come down rocky paths to meet our company. There were six of them, four female and two male. At setting sun, we ascended the cliff face and I saw the dwellings of another Leuian community just behind the cliffs in rolling, green grasslands. Tonight, my two guides were honored guests as we sat by firelight and ate the eveningfeast. I hoped to be the object of curiosity, but these Leuians also seem indifferent to my presence. I close this chronicle tonight in frustration and exhaustion.
Sixth Month, Seventeenth Day
This Leuian community is somewhat larger, about one hundred adults and sixty children. Except for a few hours sleep each 'eve and time for eating, there is a Leuian female with me at all times.
Sixth Month, Eighteenth Day
Progress! After noonfeast, as I sat alone near the door of the dwelling in which I am a guest, a male Leuian came to me. In flawless commontongue, he asked if I was comfortable. I would suppose the amazed look upon my face was what made him laugh heartily. He sat with me into the night, explaining that his duty was now to teach me their tongue. He would not answer questions about his people now, saying that I could have answers as I gain fluency in the Leuian tongue. His name is Lormaka. He is very tall and has black fur, like the panthers that sometimes wander into the Spur.
Sixth Month, Twentieth Day
Lormaka sat with me patiently today, beginning my teaching of Leuiantongue. Already, I have learned that each Leuian community is called a "Pride", and the children are called "kits". Even though they form themselves into Prides, all Leuians everywhere consider themselves part of one whole. They refer to the entire Leuian race as simply "Our People". From what I see in the settlement, Leuians love their kits very much, and are quite fierce in their pride and protection of them. Lormaka tells me it is one of the most dangerous acts possible to harm or attempt to harm a Leuian kit.
Sixth Month, Twenty Fourth Day
Between lessons, I wandered through the settlement today. I did notice the kits are very physical, even the youngest ones. The adults seem to encourage them to be so. Lormaka explained that kits reach the same size and maturity as human children of twelve years in only six cycles of the moon. Also, I begin to see all the work required in daily life is performed by both the male and female Leuians of the Pride. There appears to be no separation of work based upon whether or not the Leuian is male or female. Lormaka is wonderfully patient and kind. He is a good teacher.
Sixth Month, Twenty Sixth Day
The Leuians are very expressive. I watch their treatment of one another and there is much hugging and greeting and smiling. This day, I realized I had been here for eleven days and have seen no scuffles, arguments or disharmony among these people. I asked Lormaka of other greetings, such as the kiss and caress, but he gently told me such actions were customary only between betrothed or lifemates. Lormaka said that kissing or improperly touching the betrothed or lifemate of a Leuian was considered to be one of the highest insults.
Sixth Month, Twenty Seventh Day
Lormaka is happy with my lessons. I can now speak most sentences of everyday greeting, such as "Good morning" and "Good 'eve" and such things. Also, I am able to speak simple requests regarding meals, clothes and the like. When not prepared for battle, these people seem to prefer loose, flowing robes which tie or which have beautiful belts. There are work robes used for daily activities, and which are made from sturdy fabrics. Then, there are also robes for the feasts, and occasions and worship which are made from colorfully dyed, soft fabrics. Each day I walk through the Pride between lessons and see interesting sights. Today, I saw a small group of Leuians in what appeared to be prayer. When I pointed to them and spoke the Leuian word for "What?", Lormaka spoke the Leuian pronunciation for the name "Rinanni". Good Elindale, there is religion here!
Sixth Month, Twenty Ninth Day
Today, I told Lormaka I wished to learn seven new Leuian words. When he gestured to continue, I named each of the commontongue names of the Gods and Goddesses of Spur. Smiling, he repeated the Leuian word for each name..except that of the God Set. He shook his head solemnly and said there was no such word spoken by honorable Leuians. Lormaka said that his Pride did not permit the presence of a Leuian who worshipped Set. I have thought upon this most of the day...and have decided their feeling must stem from the belief that thievery is one of the greatest affronts to honor.
Sixth Month, Thirtieth Day
This day, Lormaka began teaching me Leuian words and meanings for beliefs and emotions, such as "love", "anger", "honor" and such. Honor appears to be the most important belief of the Leuian people. Nearly everything they do is part of their honor. I begin to see that the belief Leuians are a hot-tempered people truly comes from their sense of justice. Wrongs must be righted without delay, and an affront to their honor is taken as seriously as a physical assault.
Seventh Month, Second Day
Before the morningfeast, I thought again upon Set-worship, and did decide to query Lormaka further. In the morning lesson, I asked Lormaka if the Leuians of the Pride shared their belongings in common. He gestured for me to follow and walked with me to the settlement's council chamber. He told me in Leuiantongue the chamber belonged to all the Leuians. On the way back, Lormaka gestured to many other dwellings and belongings but called out a Leuian name as he pointed to each. I understood. All possessions and lands except the meeting place belong to individual Leuians. Lormaka said to me that right of ownership is one of the Leuian's most sacred laws.
Seventh Month, Third Day
As I close the chronicles this 'eve, my heart is distressed, as Lormaka became very angry with me at this eveningfeast. Unknowingly did I offend him by playfully grasping his tail. He quickly jumped from the table, sending the eating bowls crashing to the floor. All the Leuians at table halted their meal and eyed me with a certain suspicious stare. My teacher told me in commontongue to follow him outside the home in which we were eating. Once there, he sternly told me that the tail of a Leuian is very sensitive, and is not casually touched by anyone. I felt it better to let my lingering questions pass.
Seventh Month, Fifth Day
The story of the matter at eveningfeast has been told all over the Pride. I know this because the femalekynd have not taken their eyes from me all this day. Yet, near eveningfeast, the lifemate of the settlement's leader came to me and comforted me. She told me to worry not, that it was difficult to learn strange ways.
Lormaka returned today, and taught me concerning the Khatyr and the Clawmasters. These are high offices of leadership in the Pride. The Clawmasters are the Pride's council of elders, chosen by the vote of all the grown khatkynd in the Pride. The Khatyr is the Pride's leader, and is chosen by the Clawmasters, or elders, from among their own. To be a Clawmaster is a very great honor, as great as to become Khatyr. The Clawmasters teach the kits concerning the ways of honor and of a warrior's skills. If the People are asked to go to war or to accept a peace, it may be done so only upon agreement among all the Clawmasters. I asked Lormaka if any femalekynd serve as such leaders. He smiled and said to me many Clawmasters were femalekynd, and some Khatyrs, as well. Lormaka said that all Leuians are judged only upon their honor, wisdom, accomplishment and courage.. whether malekynd or femalekynd. This equality between malekynd and femalekynd is most unusual among all the races.
Seventh Month, Tenth Day
Seventh Month, Eleventh Day
Despite all the stories I heard as a child, today I saw kits sitting in the forest reading a tome! I asked Lormaka of this, and he replied that most Leuians could read and write quite well, and many understood the science of numbers, and the ways of the land, water, wind and animals about us. My face must have shown my disbelief, as Lormaka took my hand and gently led me to where the kits sat reading to one another. Their text was concerning the proper way to trade and to keep account of their dealings. In amazement did I realize that the tome used by the kits was written in a script unlike any I had ever seen. Before my query could pass my lips, Lormaka smiled and nodded, saying the tome was written down in Leuian. This did amaze me greatly, and I have thought upon it all evening and into this night.
I asked Lormaka why many believe the Leuians to be a plain and uneducated people, when it appeared they were quite educated and full of knowledge. He explained that, since the Leuians mostly stayed to themselves, other races made up simple tales concerning his people. He shrugged and said it really mattered not to the Leuian People what others thought of them. He smiled and left my mind swirling.
This evening, he brought to me a small tome. I opened it and, lo, there was a commontongue text which explained the Leuian glyphs and how to read them. Lormaka told me it was not enough to speak Leuian, but I must begin to learn to read and write it, also. I hugged him tightly, and he smiled.
Seventh Month, Fourteenth Day
After the acceptance words are spoken, the fatherkynd and motherkynd come forward and take the kit back into their arms and a big celebration will follow. At the celebration, the motherkynd announces the name of her kit. Lormaka tells me only a Leuian mother is able to give a name for her kit. Allowing her this right is to honor her labors in bringing the kit to life. These customs are, indeed, quite wonderful.
Seventh Month, Sixteenth Day
I am upon my third day learning the Leuian glyphs. This 'eve, there was a stir in the settlement as a Leuian femalekynd named Lymaia gave birth to a little malekynd kit. Newborn kits are taken before the Clawmasters who accept it into the Pride on behalf of the People. I asked Lormaka why this was done, and he said to me the Clawmasters are making a promise to the parents that, should some ill befall them, the kit shall not be orphaned but shall be cared for by their brothers and sisters.
Seventh Month, Seventeenth Day
This day was a puzzlement. A company of Leuians passed through the settlement area and stopped for water and rest. During the noonfeast, one said that next moon they were to set sail for the Leuian homeland. I heard stories of such a place while while under the Usil masterteachers, but none knew much knowledge concerning it. I asked Lormaka where the homeland lay. He whispered to me that I would not gain such knowledge from a Leuian. This did upset me greatly, that a secret would be held from me after all this time.
Seventh Month, Eighteenth Day
This day, I asked Lormaka why he spent such time with me to teach me all the knowledge I had learned. He said to me that I was the first to come with an honorable desire to learn. He told me of a Leuian Priestess who had brought the religion of Rinanni to the Leuians of the coastlands. Her name was Arrya. Arrya taught that any who come to the Pride seeking to learn the Leuian way, if their heart is pure and honor plain, should be provided with such teaching. "Blood alone doth not a Leuian make." was one of her favorite teachings. I continue to study the Leuian glyphs very hard, and my Leuian speech becomes more skilled each day.
Seventh Month, Nineteenth Day
After eveningfeast, Lormaka came to me and requested my presence at a special gathering. The malekynd Muragi and femalekynd Cirra had announced their vows as lifemates, and the Pride now surrounded them with song and celebration. I asked Lormaka where was the Priestess to perform the marriage rite? He said to me that Leuians,usually make their vows to each other in private and later announce them to the Pride. This comes after a period of betrothal and at a time chosen by only the couple. More questions came from me like a fountain, but Lormaka asked me to simply enjoy the celebration and he would explain these customs to me on the 'morrow.
What a celebration was there! First, there was a big feast of many foods prepared by the friends and family of Muragi and Cirra. Afterward, the couple sat in the center of council chamber, their brothers and sisters ringed about them. One by one, members of the Pride came to them and offered them blessings and wishes, each from his or her own heart. At the end, there was much storytelling, and singing of Leuian songs and dancing. Many of the Pride stayed until the sunrise, although Muragi and Cirra left quietly for their dwelling sometime during the 'eve. I close the chronicle just before dawn with happiness in my heart for them.
Seventh Month, Twenty-Second Day
Lormaki told me today, between glyph lessons, concerning the betrothal custom of the Leuian People. It is called the "Custom of the One Moon" and is very ancient. This custom may be begun by either malekynd or femalekynd, as it is considered most proper for a femalekynd to approach a malekynd chosen as a lifemate. When a Leuian asks another to become his or her lifemate, the Leuian takes a special gift to the intended. The gift may be anything. Some Leuians offer ornamentation and jewelry..others offer a very special personal item of great sentimental value. The gift is offered with a request to pledge as lifemates. The intended takes the gift to safekeep for a time equal to one moon, and looks into his or her heart to find the answer, knowing it is a pledge beyond death, as divorce is totally unknown in Leuian culture, and another lifemate is never taken even after the death of one's lifemate. If at the end of the one moon the intended returns the gift, he or she has decided not to become the lifemate of the offeror. There is no dishonor or shame in this. If the intended keeps the gift, the couple has pledged to become lifemates. The couple privately says the formal marriage vow and contract between them at a time and place of their choosing.
I asked Lormaka if any Leuians received marriage by the Temples. He didst say that most Leuian marriages take place first by the private vows. Later, many may choose to have Temple rites, as well, but these rites be considered more of a blessing than a marriage rite. Lormaka didst say this is the Leuian way, as no Temple or civil authority can forge a Leuian marriage bond greater than that forged by their own honorable word to one another. I have much to think on this 'eve.
Seventh Month Thirty-First Day
This morning I was very much confused, and during glyph lessons Lormaka asked my troubles. I asked him of something I had seen before morningfeast. While waiting for Lormaka, an Anthian malekynd came into the settlement and went to the dwelling place of Kuri, a femalekynd. Kuri came to her archway and smiled warmly, embracing the Anthian and kissing him gently. She waved to me as they disappeared into the dwelling. With his kind smile, Lormaka told me that Kuri and the Anthian were lifemates, and had been so for two sets of seasons. He reminded me of Arrya's teaching. Lormaka said there are times when other races become part of the Pride. It is the Leuian way to accept them as a blood Leuian, yet only if the other kynd renounces all other ways except that of the Leuian People. This renouncement must happen before the Clawmasters themselves. The Anthian had done this because of his love for Kuri, and lived as honorably as any Leuian of the Pride. Lormaka said this was not a common thing, as most races cannot live the Leuian way.
Eighth Month, First Day
Today I didst see a curious sight as I walked in the cool forest. Therein, I saw a Leuian couple curled together in the leaves of the forest floor, tails entwined, in complete silence. I softly retraced my steps, not wishing to disturb their slumber.
Eighth Month, Fourth Day
I mentioned to my teacher the sight in the forest. He explained that a Leuian's tail is very sensitive (how well I remember!), but the sensitivity is primarily in emotions and thoughts, nearly telepathic in nature. He said that lifemates often entwine in this fashion as an "interweaving of souls," a close mental, emotional and spiritual bond. He didst say it refreshed and cleansed the spirits of lifemates and brought them closer together. I did have more questions, but Lormaka said he could not explain more, as the interweaving was a very special knowledge which is taught from generation to generation, from Leuian to Leuian. There is no written word concerning it, and it is considered quite unseemly to speak of it publicly. I could not concentrate upon my glyph lessons this day, after hearing Lormaka's words.
Eighth Month, Seventh Day
Today, Lormaka took me into the forest to the place where the kits train their bodies in combat and their hearts in honor. The Clawmasters seem to allow little room for error in either training. I told Lormaka that their treatment distressed me, but he smiled gently and didst say that the Clawmasters loved the kits as their own, and only sought to ensure the future wellbeing of them, in body as well as soul. At eveningfeast, I looked up thrice and caught Lormaka staring at me with a look I had not seen before.
Eighth Month, Tenth Day
This day I was permitted to worship with the Leuians who follow Elindale, yet it was much different than any worship of Elindale these eyes have seen. I begin to see the Leuian worshipers have fit Elindale's religion to their own codes of honor and behaviors as opposed to the reverse. I could not help but chuckle at the irritations these wonderful worshipers would cause the ordered priests and priestesses of Elindale's Temple in the Spur. Their unorthodoxy would drive the Temple puffins to despair!
Eighth Month, Eleventh Day
The Pride is in great sorrow. One named Puraffa has lost his life in the forests near the settlement, having fallen from the swords wielded by a passing band of thieves. Even though death is absent in the world, there are times when the dead do not resurrect, and the spirit remains departed from the living. It is said by some of the religious in the settlement that some Leuians cannot resist the beauty of what is found on the other side, whether it be Rinanni's Portal or the House of Odarous. Others say a flaw in magick allows death to claim a Leuian from time to time. Whichever the case may be, Lormaka was close friend to Puraffa, so he could not teach me this day. Instead, he and other of Puraffa's friends spent the day preparing Puraffa's body for the Rite of Release.
Eighth Month, Twelfth Day
As the sun neared the end of its daily journey this 'eve, those who knew and loved Puraffa went into the forest..to a special glade. There, upon a large, flat stone, was the body of Puraffa. His leather armor gleamed from special oils...his crossbow upon his chest and covered by once strong arms. All about the stonework was laid large braided wreaths of elwyn grasses, and dried herbs of many kinds. The assembled Leuians ringed the great stone and each was allowed to say words regarding the life of Puraffa. Each spoke from the heart. I looked about, but did not see the lifemate of Puraffa, and whispered so to Lormaka. Lormaka took my hand into his paw and squeezed softly. He did not reply. When all who wished had spoken their hearts, the Khatyr set the herbs and elwyn grasses ablaze. There was a quick and powerful flame which took Puraffa's form to smoke and scattered his essence upon the winds. Upon our return to the settlement, Lormaka sat in the doorway of my dwelling and stared at the stars for all that 'eve...until the morningsun appeared.
Eighth Month, Eighteenth Day
As I sat with others at morningfeast, the lifemate of the Khatyr came to us and didst say that Janee had joined Puraffa during the night. I queried as to whether the lifemate of Puraffa had been ill, and had that been the reason of her absence in the glade. The lifemate of the Khatyr nodded to me and murmured that yes, Janee had been ill-- from a heart sick with grief. The others simply looked downward with saddened face, but none seemed dismayed. Seeing my confusion, the lifemate of the Khatyr whispered to me that it was very common for this to happen. Janee had not "taken" her own life, but her lifeforce had simply failed her after the death of her lifemate. Such love exists between the bonded couples here! Never have I heard of such devotion.
Eighth Month, Nineteenth Day
Upon the setting sun, Lormaka came to my dwelling and told me we were to go to the Khatyr without delay. Curiously, I followed him. The Khatyr did tell us that he had received request from another Leuian community for me to come and live with them. He asked if I wished to go, as my will was free in the matter. I looked to Lormaka for counsel, but his face showed no sign. For the first time, I didst feel as if I belonged in this place, as my heart was heavy at the thought of leaving this community. I must pray to Elindale for guidance in this.
Eighth Month, Twentieth Day
If I am to learn as much of the Leuians as possible, I should travel to this community. Such a chance may not come again. And yet. I asked if Lormaka could be made my guide to this new home. Lormaka turned to me with a smile, but the Khatyr slowly shook his head that such could not be. Gently he explained that Lormaka was to leave soon to take a special parchment and a precious artifact to a Leuian teacher who lived in the Spur. I would suppose the sadness in my face was most evident, as the Khatyr looked into my face and told me Lormaka would be permitted to join me in the new community upon his return.
Eighth Month, Twenty-Second Day
I asked Lormaka for what purpose did he travel to Spur. He gently explained that for many cycles of the moon, the Prides of the coastlands had sent teachers to different parts of the world to help the Leuians of the cities remember the old ways and customs. He didst say that the Spur was a most dangerous place, and that some crisis had arisen for the Leuians there. He was to take something to the teacher as quickly as possible, but he knew not what it was. I sensed this journey involved some danger, and I now worry for Lormaka each of my waking hours.
Eighth Month, Twenty-Fourth Day
The two days previous have been most full of activity, as I have had many visitations and have made many farewells.
Soon the Leuian company aboard anchored their proud ships and began coming ashore. Their leather armor shone in the sea spray as they greeted the splashing kits in the shallow water, giving to each a small gift from foreign lands. The sailors were honored this 'eve at the eveningfeast, and there was much laughing, singing, dancing and the telling of tales from far away places. As he walked me to my dwelling, Lormaka told me on the morrow I shall be taken by one of the ships for many days up to the northern coast. From there, a company of Leuians shall take me by horse to the mountain families of the Leuians in this land. Lormaka hugged me and told me to be well during my continued search, then was gone quickly.
I close the chronicle late in the night, my hands trembling at the thought of the journey ahead.
Eighth Month, Twenty Fifth Day
Just after noonfeast, the whole settlement suddenly buzzed as a hive of bees as a great horn was heard coming from the seashore. Beginning with the kits, the community rushed toward the rocky ledges. I ran quickly and, looking down from the high cliffs, could hardly believe the sight which filled by eyes. Ships. Leuian ships! There were three of them, long ships with oars pointed proudly to the sky on either side. From two masts flowed colorful sails, and I turned to Lormaka in amazement. He smiled and touched my shoulder..saying that the Leuian people were very accomplished sailors and had sailed and traded the world.
Eighth Month, Twenty Sixth Day
I stood upon the bow of the long ship, desiring to maintain my dignity as it backed away from the stony beaches. Behind me, Leuian sailors dropped their skilled oars and began to turn the ship to sail along the shoreline. The wind blew through my hair and my cape as I watched Lormaka silently walk his horse along the seashore...keeping pace with the ship. He rode as far as he could before our ship turned out to sea and he could see me no more.
Eighth Month, Twenty-Seventh Day
The ship is quiet, as is the wind. I scribe by the light of a small candle. Never shall I forget Lormaka's face yestermorn as our ship passed a rock point upon the shoreline, and he halted upon it, able to go no further. Though the wind is quiet, the helmswoman is alert. She is able to move our ship northward on only the slightest of breezes. Patiently, she showed me to steer by the constellation the Leuians call the "Circle of the Promise", or sometimes, simply "Rinanni's Circle". In our portion of the world, it is in the northeast during the first hours of night. I lay upon the bow of the ship in cool breezes, looking upward into the night skies.
Before dawn, the Shipmistress and company awoke to prepare for a day of difficult sailing. We are no longer able to see the coastlands north of Spur. The wind is much stronger and the currents more powerful. A strong and lithe Leuianess, she sat with me upon the bow, eating morningfeast. I thanked her for the kindness of her helmswoman, and her teaching me of the stars. She smiled and queried if the helmswoman had also spoken of the ancient Tale of the Circle. Upon seeing I was unaware of this Tale, she shared with me...
Eighth Month, Twenty-Ninth Day
It concerned the time of the mysterious arrival in their homeland of Arrya the Priestess. Arrya is revered by the Leuians, a gentle cleric who brought the religion of Rinannism to their people. It is said the then Khatyr of Leuia was the first to embrace Rinanni's ways. Yet, soon after, a tragedy fell upon his house. His lifemate was lost upon the coastal reefs of Leuia as she sailed the southwestern passage.
The Khatyr Jalaka's new faith was battered. He wandered the seaside cliffs for days upon days, looking seaward, neither taking food or closing his eyes in sleep. Then the Tale turns, and it is said Rinanni herself appeared to Jalaka. At Her side were the Seraphs which do her bidding upon this plane, foremost being the Selena. The tale speaks of Rinanni querying the distraught Khatyr if it were not the belief and custom of his people that the loving bond of lifemates survived even death. Kneeling upon the rocky crags of Leuia's cliffs, the Khatyr proclaimed again his everlasting vow to his lifemate.
It is said Rinanni was so moved by the depths of his binding, deep love, She caused the Selena to set four of the five stars of the Circle of Promise in the night skies before his very eyes. Selena spoke to Jalaka, saying four of the stars were for the passages of every Leuian life: birth, troth, first kit and death. Smiling down upon the griefstricken Khatyr, Rinanni then touched the night sky Herself with gentle hand, and the brightest star of the Circle ignited in shimmering blue-white. This fifth star signified Her promise that lifemates shall always see one another again in the Otherworld.
I have discovered the Leuian people hold dear many such tales as this one, and faithfully pass them from generation to generation.
Eighth Month, Thirtieth Day
For four days have we sailed, and there is no land upon any horizon. I am able to apply the new skills graciously taught me each night by the helmswoman. We now sail northeast, rather than north.
Elindale be praised, for land was seen from our port side all this day. We sail eastward now, through very strong currents. At times, the ship's company must put oars to the task. The Shipmistress urged me to sleep after eveningfeast for we would be arising long before dawn. She appears burdened with worry, though I know not for what cause.
Eighth Month, Thirty-First Day
The seafaring skill of the Leuians who navigate the oceans of our world is surely proven. Perhaps three candlemarks before the sunrise, all were awakened and told to prepare our vessel for rough seas. Soon I was to understand. I had believed our ship to be mistress of the waters, but no more, for my eyes have now seen the furies of a place the Shipmistress called Karasanda's Passage. It is truly a hellish place, of many reefs and waves taller than many ship masts. The wind screams as a wounded demon and dark clouds cover the skies. Alas, three Leuian souls were lost to the Otherworld during our passage. I pray Elindale my scribe is legible, my hands shake so at the remembrance of this day.
Ninth Month, Second Day
Much calmer seas prevail now, and we sail northward again with coastlands sighted at all times. The Shipmistress watches those lands intently, speaking of rumors it is the land of the San Elf. One of the ships company, a kindly Leuian who prepares our feasts each day, teaches me the Leuian calendar. It is quite logical and fascinating. There are many days of celebration and holiness. He told me his people have a holy day set aside for all religions. Mischievously, I queried him as to which day of the calendar was set aside for the holy day of Set. With a scowl he took leave of me, muttering a Leuian word "lakar ", which I did not understand. The Shipmistress chuckled when I inquired of her, as the commontongue word most resembling it in meaning is the word "outrace".
Ninth Month, Fifth Day
Judging from the rising and setting of the sun, our vessel has sailed far north of those lands known to fall within any influence of Spur.
Ninth Month, Sixth Day
A great excitement rushed through the ship's company this day, for a mystery was seen. Startled, we watched as four, gleaming white ships appeared but for a moment on the horizon. The Shipmistress spoke of many such sightings upon the oceans in recent moons. She nor any other ship's company possessed more than a glimpse of these strange vessels, and none had ever been able to determine the origins of those aboard them. All who had made such attempts marveled at the fleetness of the strange vessels, which moved as gracefully through the winds as a falcon.
Ninth Month, Seventh Day
I handsomely complimented the dish of goats cheese and sausages prepared by the old Leuian for our noonfeast, and he has forgiven my impertinent question from three days previous. The Shipmistress warns me I shall likely leave her vessel on the morrow.
Ninth Month, Eighth Day
After the setting sun, our Shipmistress turned the vessel to flow with the tides moving toward the shoreline and thereupon anchored. Seeing my puzzlement, she told me these lands were newly settled by Leuians, and there were many dangerous outraces and wild creatures about. She awaited a signal from comrades ashore, which soon came... an amethyst-colored trail from an arrow fired high into the night sky.
Ninth Month, Ninth Day
Leaping into cool waters, our company waded cautiously through the waves and set foot upon the beach. Awaiting us there were four Leuian males who were quite delighted at the sight of the Shipmistress. Lords and ladies, they sat upon the largest horses ever seen by these eyes! One of the Leuians gestured from me to yet another of the beasts which had no rider. With some apprehension I mounted this creature, which are called X'cha. He smiled at my hesitation.
The Shipmistress introduced him to me as Surkaran Stonepaw, whereupon, ending amenities, she bade me farewell, and returned through the moonlit waves to her vessel. With fond heart, I watched the longship glide silently into the night. Soon, we rode quietly into vast forestlands down trails I could not even see. Yet, my new guides seemed to know exactly where we traveled at all times. Remembering a healer's trick taught by Erin Arescain, I scribe tonight by use of a very tiny fire dart which just lights the page.
These are not simple forestlands through which we journey. I am unsure as to whether my guides know of these unseen energies. There are tremendous forces of magick which run deep in this place. I feel the powers of the land surrounding us at all times. Surkaran speaks that we journey deep into the forestlands, which they call the Ramshakas. The riding is most difficult, for there is lush and dense plant life everywhere. Yet, the canopies of branches and leaves above us are quietly beautiful to behold.
A portion of the trees are of fifteen Usil-heights or higher. All day we have ridden slowly and warily. I cannot guess what dangers would lurk in such beauty, but my guides are vigilant. Surkaran tells me I shall stay with these Leuians for a time, and will then be guided to the mountain Pride before winter.
Ninth Month, Tenth Day
At morningfeast, I queried Surkaran, saying his Pride must be hardy indeed to tame and live within such a wild place as these Ramshakas. His eyes sparkled in laughter, and he told me many of his brothers and sisters were anything but of the hardier Leuian cull. Most were engaged in the scholarly pursuits. This amazed me greatly, for though I knew the Leuian people to be considerably more learned than most thought, never would I have thought to see scholars such as the kynd known among the Usilin.
Surkaran sensed my thoughts, saying, indeed, in the home isle, there were imposing schools for the learning of many Leuian arts. I queried him as to why Leuian mages would come to this place. Turning his face away, he spoke briefly of their hunting of ancient artifacts. It seemed he did not wish to speak upon the matter further. Whereon, I laid my further questioning aside.
Ninth Month, Twelfth Day
There is little to scribe, except of an accursed rain which has fallen upon us for these previous two days' travel. Both day and night, the forest is almost unbearably warm, though the sun reaches few places here upon its floor. My guides say little, and the hours upon the beasts are plodding, wet and of abject boredom.
Ninth Month, Fifteenth Day
Ninth Month, Sixteenth Day
Elindale be praised! This day we reached the dwelling place of the Leuian Pride in the Ramshakas, though, my reception was very unlike the one in the coastlands. It seems everyone here knows of me. Eveningfeast was held in my honor. Surkaran's lifemate, Aikyra, blessed me by preparing Usilin dishes. Oh, how long it has been since I have tasted the food of our own people! I gorged until nearly asleep. Proven true this night were the Leuian traditions regarding strangers. Those who come to the Leuian people with open hearts and honor are received with polite hospitality.
Ninth Month, Seventeenth Day
This Pride makes its home in the high canopy, upon platforms of hewn hardwoods and thatched roofs. I discover this idea to be most delightful, for it is much cooler within the treetops of the forest and I sleep well, caressed by breezes. I hear the X'cha beasts playing in their makeshift stable and chuckle that such innocent sounds could arise from such animals of fearsome appearance.
Ninth Month, Twenty Third Day
I observe perhaps a score of adult Leuians in this place, but no kits of less than twelve summers age. Aikyra tells me the young kits are with families in Leuia. Smiling, she reminds me the Leuian will never knowingly allow a kit into danger, even if he or she must forfeit life to protect a little from harm. Truly, then, there must be more danger here than I suspected for this Pride to forgo its kits... and their reason for abiding here more important.
It was then I remembered the words of some female Leuians living in Spur, and how they fiercely declared their firstborns would not enter life within Spur. Those who felt so, journeyed to Leuia for the birthing of their kits.
Ninth Month, Twenty Fifth Day
I have watched this Pride in fascination. Their tasks are backbreaking. Many are the sites in the nearby forest where Leuians carefully search for long buried objects. Surkaran is unquestionably the Khatyr, though no one has spoken such a title in his presence. I queried Surkaran of this. He simply said the others follow him because they wish to do so, not because he carries the title of Khatyr. Then, it were as if a passionate fire took hold of his soul.
Surkaran warned true power flows only from those who wish to follow and not the one who leads. A Clawmaster serves as steadily and nourishingly as a river, holding and channeling the waters of love and respect given freely by those who follow. His voice low, Surkaran declared a true leader is not intolerant, and shall never force others to his personal will. Those who do are not leaders, he rebuked, but tyrants. As I laid upon my pallet in high canopy, I sense his words are true not only for his people, but for others also. Fondly, I remember the dragon known as Rime, and how his aura of kind and steady leadership among the dragonkynd prove Surkaran's words.
Ninth Month, Twenty Seventh Day
This day I was asked to help unearth an artifact within a digging pit nearest the Pride's living place. All day, we worked in smothering heat. Beside me was a female Leuian scholar, Cara. Her duty to this Pride is Lawmistress, an office most closely known to Usilins as "judge". My astonishment was so great that a duty such as this would exist among such an ordered and honorable people, I suspected there was failure of my translation properly from Leuiantongue to Commontongue. I raised not the questions wandering in my thoughts, though, preferring for a time this occasional pleasure of physical exertion. Alas, I fear I have become physically deficient during my journeys.
Ninth Month, Twenty Eighth Day
Two days have I worked beside Cara in the digging pit, and was no longer able to still my burning questions. I queried her as to why an ordered people would have need of what the Usilins know as judges. As we dug, Cara patiently corrected my ignorance, saying all peoples have need of her office, in diverse form, for there is no such thing as a perfect people. She spoke of the office of Lawmaster or Lawmistress as dating through the centuries to the founding of the home isle itself. Of that time, there was a dire need of precepts to smooth the everyday life of her people. With this revelation, the shape of the Leuian world is changed for me.
Ninth Month, Thirtieth Day
During noonfeast I queried Cara, asking to be taught the Leuian precepts of which she had spoken. Laughing musically, Cara touched my shoulder, saying that such should not and must not be done hurriedly... and certainly not in the midst of a digging pit. Yet, she promised when our duty was done there, and rest days were forthcoming, she would teach me.
It was no longer difficult to return to the digging pit, with such a prize awaiting me.
This day there was great excitement in the digging pit, as we unearthed the artifact for which the scholars had searched in this area... a most bizarre object, of a quicksilver coloring. Disc shaped, an inscription in an unknown scribe circled its circumference, which was about an arm length. Within its center was a very large and beautiful opal stone. The artifact was encrusted with mud and root parts. Even so, a celestial radiance awaited to shine through once again. Those of us in the pit were awed by its undertones of power. Surkaran hugged us all, and spoke of a task completed well. The artifact was taken for study by two mages and we thereupon bathed together in a nearby river. At last, the following four days are now ours for resting.
Tenth Month, Second Day
Cara began her gentle teaching with the highest precept, "Remain a Free People". Passionately, she declared none of the other precepts had practical meaning if the people were ruled by a tyrant... whether outrace or not. I didst understand this immediately and recognized the wisdom of it. She looked upon me with somber amber eyes and told frightening tales concerning the wars before Leuia's founding, whereupon she asked me to contemplate the First Precept with open heart.. counting the cost of submission to it. This I did, embraced by the leaves in the high canopy, far into the night.
Tenth Month, Third Day
For the morn hours. After noonfeast, Cara began her teaching of me in the Leuian Precepts. There are seven....
The First Precept - "Remain a Free People"
The Second Precept - "Deal With One Another In Honor and Truth"
The Third Precept - "No Leuian Shall Spill Innocent Blood"
The Fourth Precept - "Leuian Shall Not Kill Leuian"
The Fifth Precept - "Honor Demands No Unjust Punishments"
The Sixth Precept - "Cherish the Land"
The Seventh Precept - "Embrace Diversity"
Tenth Month, Fourth Day
This day, Cara taught me of the Second Precept, being the cornerstone of relations among all Leuians. Cara spoke of the Precept as a cleansing one, eliminating many ills which beset other peoples. Leuians were not to lie, steal or otherways defraud one another. They were not to falsely accuse or misrepresent events.
Yet, the importance of the Second Precept did not fall only among the Leuian people, but for their relations with other peoples, also. For it is due to this precept that Leuians are known to be honorable throughout our world. The Leuian's word is true, and they are known as honest traders. I queried her as to circumstances where there is a dispute of fact or event between Leuians. Cara spoke humbly, saying her people demand such a dispute be settled by laying it before the pride's Lawmaster or Lawmistress, who shall then determine the truth of the facts at paw. It is upon this judgment of the truth which the Clawmasters shall consider the deeds which must be performed to bring the dispute to an end.
Tenth Month, Fifth Day
In the morn hours, Cara discoursed upon the Third Precept, "No Leuian Shall Spill Innocent Blood". She spoke of a time before the home isle, when Leuians were no more than savage bands of wandering marauders, whose passions for bloodletting led to unspeakable crimes against other peoples and Leuians alike. Following, there were years of anarchy upon the home isle itself. Those whose lusted for violence warred with those who sought a higher calling for the Leuian people. Finally, upon the mesa-like peak in Leuia her people now call Mt. Arrya, the forces of the bloodlust were vanquished by those who followed Jalaka. Victorious, Jalaka declared a new dawn had come to their people, and never again would Leuians raise a paw against innocents..wether outrace or not.
After eveningfeast, I further queried Cara as to the meaning of "innocents". She spoke of carefully discerning between obvious circumstance and those in the twilight. Those who had no portion of a quarrel or were unarmed, are "innocents" by circumstance. Of other events, requiring discernment, she spoke of an ancient conflagration between Leuian mages and those of a barbarian clan. The barbarians fortified themselves within a walled city of another people. The Leuian mages would not spellcast against the city as the innocents within would have been brought to harm. Had the unarmed inhabitants aided the barbarians in their violence, the Leuian mages would have spellcast against the city. Cara smiled knowingly as I observed the difficulty of living with such a precept, given as there are many events in the twilight, requiring careful examination. Still, it appears her people have determined its value in honor far outweighs its disadvantages in practice.
Tenth Month, Sixth Day
Cara declared the Fourth Precept, "Leuian Shall Not Kill Leuian", was added to the law from Arrya's teachings. She admonished a Leuian shall not kill another save in an act of personal self-defense or the defense of an innocent or upon a judgment and decree by the Lawmistress and Clawmasters. My understanding was clouded. I queried if words of limited provocation, or lesser crimes were not sufficient to warrant death. Cara shook her head gently, and instead spoke of the higher sacredness of life. Whereupon, she reminded me of the Fifth Precept concerning punishments. With low voice, Cara spoke of rare events of Leuian murder. Her face clouded with sadness, and she warned that, as in all other disputes, a determining of the truth was of first concern. A Lawmaster or Lawmistress must first judge there was murder in deed. Only then could the Clawmasters, being true and just, decree the death of the one who murdered. Yet, the Clawmasters might instead declare the one who murdered an Outcast. If so decided, the Outcast must not receive sustenance from and no words may ever again be spoken between Outcast and the Pride's members.
After noonfeast, there was happy respite from the digging pits. Surkaran agreed Cara should continue my instruction for a few days more.
Tenth Month, Seventh Day
Cara did not teach me this day, as there was announcement by the young scholars Meritos and Zura the Custom of the One Moon had been completed between them. The Pride celebrated this happy event all day and well into the night.
Tenth Month, Eighth Day
The Fifth Precept interests me, as Cara talks of punishments meted out should a rare event of wrongdoing occur by Leuian paw. Cara oft spoke of "balance". Punishments set by the Clawmasters must seek to restore the wronged to wholeness as much as punish the wrongdoer. If one Leuian defrauds or steals from another, the punishment must first have as its aim a restitution for the wronged. Provocation by ill words is oft punished by a Pride shunning the one seeking to "cook a pot of discord" as Cara said of it. Shunning is similar to decreeing one Outcast, though the offensive one still retains prideship and, if the behavior is corrected, the shunning ends after a time. Of Cara, I queried as to the practice of dueling which I had seen with mine own eyes in Spur. She sighed sadly. It was true, she offered. Duels are permissible under the ancient traditions as a way of settling disputes between Leuians. Yet, she declared such duels were also subject to the Precepts. In grave voice, she spoke of duels requiring a mutual consent. And, by such ancient and strict Leuian traditions, duels were by claw only. Should a Leuian consent to duel, and therein produce a weapon of magecraft or steel or power of a diety or martial art, the duel is forfeit for that Leuian. Further, should the Leuian use such weapon to harm the other, the act is given the same intent as an attack upon an unarmed innocent. Cara inquired of me as to whether such duels were common in Spur. I spoke of seeing an increasing number of them before my departure. Her face seemed to turn to a faraway place. Her ambereyes closed in thought, she poke of the rarity of dueling upon the home isle. The brothers and sisters there took disputes to the Lawmistress or Lawmaster, considering violence to settle a small dispute with another Leuian to be kittish. Laying on my pallet this night, I chuckle as I remember her words.
Tenth Month, Ninth Day
Cara brought to me a kit of some fourteen summers, called Kymyrrl. To my amazement, Cara said the kit would teach me of the Sixth Precept. Beaming up at me, Kymyrrl took my hand within her little paw and led me to a part of the forest I had not yet visited. Along the way she spoke of the Leuian's love of the land and its waters and creatures. Even of the Leuian crafts she was knowledgeable. I complimented her own handiwork, for she wore a sandalwood amulet. The Leuians waste nothing in their sojourn in the world. They prefer to build with natural elements, such as woods, stone and earth. Their dwellings are not cluttered with useless possessions. There are many openings for sunlight and breezes. The little one knows of nearly all the plants and flowers we see during our walk, many of which have healing powers. I ask her if she is different, or if all littles know so much of the land. Her words convince me it is natural for the littles to know of such things. At times, it would seem better to deliver our world into the paws of these littles, they are so full of hope.ΉΉ
Tenth Month, Tenth Day
Elindale's Forest! The world has turned upside down this day! During noonfeast, two Leuians from the coastal pride appeared from the forest... one of them Lormaka! Alas, my joy was mixed with bitterness as he brought news of a terrible event in their homeland. All day, the pride met amongst themselves. Of respect for them, I took to the high canopy and did not intrude. Then, upon evening, all gathered together upon the forest ground, surrounding a small pridefire. They spoke quietly in the firelight, whereupon there was a most strange occurrence. From beneath his cloak, Lormaka lifted a small, coppery sphere. Fascinated, I watched as he gently laid it in the earth. All in the pride sat quietly, focusing upon the sphere, as if awaiting some great event. For many moments, the forest seemed as if all life was in quietude. Then, a mist arose from the sphere, gathering over their heads. The mist became swirling colors, and the colors formed a vision. There was a great city, built upon the hills of a fine land. Its dwellings and temples were of fine woods and gleaming marbles. The city embraced a blue-green ocean, and a harbor there contained many, many ships. A great boulevard wound its way from the seaside seaside inland to the hills, and up into a great mountain. Upon the mountain was a mighty structure, and beside it a temple whose walls were of a substance I could not determine. The ivies and vines gently covered both, protecting and shading the fine crafting. There were mists also in the eyes of the pride, for they stared into the vision with a longing. Nay, more than that.. a deep love. Hues of orange flooded into the mists... the city was changed now. Portions were aflame. The temple upon the mountain was charred and scattered. Night had come. The flames burned in the city and alighted the heavens. Shadowy figures, faces hidden, rode horseback upon the streets, blades drawn and dripping. The vision altered..weary figures strode up rocky clefts into other hills, barren hills. Their faces were not covered. Dearest Elindale, their forms were now plain.. Leuians.. all Leuians. Some carried littles within their arms, others helped those who carried no more than wounds. Upon the ridge, in the night skies, two stood side by side, extending paw to those below nearing the rocky summit. Their faces were turned toward the fires below.. and I knew the faces, have seen them. It was the Khatyr of Leuia and his lifemate. Below, tears mix with a rage whose energies I feel even here, in the high canopy. It was then the vision faded.
Tenth Month, Fourteenth Day
Most were asleep at morningfeast. Quietly, I worked alone preparing the foods, for the Pride counseled until Rinanni's Circle had journeyed low upon the western horizon. Turning from the cooking pit, I see Lormaka's eyes fixed upon me and I wish to hold him, to take the vision away. Later this day, the Pride gathers again to counsel. I sit in the high canopy until the night enfolds me. Yet, the pain willnot fly from me.
The rest dispute otherways, saying the risk of delay is too great. If Leuia is lost, then all the people outside the home isle will be scattered to the four winds forever. These are for returning home. I weep for the strained faces of those in the company who have littles upon the home isle. And also for Surkaran, whose tensions and spirit-struggles have increased each day.
Tenth Month, Sixteenth Day
The four days previous have been of the same pattern. The Pride counsels long into the night. This I know from Lormaka..what he is permitted to tell... There has been treachery and evil within their homeland. I cannot understand the name of the one who has caused the travails. In Commontongue, I believe its closest meaning to be "the dark one". The Khatyr and those with him live in barren, farflung places, and there is a great civil war in the land. This Pride of scholars and healers and accomplished mages counsels whether to return home or to continue this work. Some declare the artifacts here are too precious to leave behind in the earth. If the conflagration is long, perhaps what is found within this forest may be of great importance.
Tenth Month, Seventeenth Day
Two more days of tortuous counsel have passed, and this night Surkaran asked the company to hear his words. The artifacts already unearthed must first be protected. These are to be taken to the Pride in the Jarondi Mountains far to the northwest. For this, Surkaran implores Lormaka to lead, and those few scholars with no kits or littles in the homeland. Cara is one of these. He pleads the rest to follow him to the home isle, where they shall join the struggle of the Khatyr. Surkaran stares into the pridefire, having laid his decision before the other Clawmasters, for it is a decision concerning war. The Clawmasters hold in their paws hardwood branches from the canopy. Those who shall hold the branch before their face wish the branch to become an arrow, and are for Surkaran's words. Those who shall place the branch upon the earth in front of them are for the Pride staying in this place to complete its tasks. Surkaran looks from one face to the next. No Clawmaster lays his branch upon the ground. His word seems wise to the Pride, and I shall journey with Lormaka.
Tenth Month, Twenty Eighth Day
Many are the eyes which are misted after noonfeast. Ours is a small company.. Lormaka, myself, Cara, Meritos, Zura and an old mage called Dackas. As one more than twelve summers, Kymyrrl is given her own choice by Surkaran. She declares to go with our company. Lormaka sends the X'cha with Surkaran, for it will speed their journey to the coastlands. Surkaran looks back upon us, waving farewell, and soon the vivid colors of the forest hide he and his companions from sight. Taking packs upon our shoulders, Lormaka leads us toward the distant peaks of the Jarondi mountains.
Tenth Month, Thirtieth Day
We stop not at all during the day, and this is the first eve there is enough energy within me to weave the tiny fire dart to scribe in the darkness. The forest is too dense for cooking fires... or the light they provide. Each day is the same... arise with the dawning.. and move quietly through the forest. The heat is less, perhaps by season, perhaps by direction. As we journey, I think deeply upon this people, and pray to Elindale many times each day for their wellbeing.
Eleventh Month, Second Day
Though it should exhaust me, I have promised to reveal all of importance, so I scribe breathlessly and awkwardly as we journey in the lateday sun. I do not understand how such could come so swiftly to me. Yet, I find I love Lormaka with all my soul.
Eleventh Month, Sixth Day
The forest thins greatly and our journey is speeded. The air is cooler, and our energies greater during the daylight. I discover my curiosity grows concerning the artifacts we take into the mountains. Kymyrrl carries many of the smaller objects in her pack, with those of us of larger stature carrying the remainder. Most are of a shape and substance which do not lend knowledge of their purpose. Yet, I feel the essence of them. As if discerning my thoughts, Dackas looks in my direction and smiles. And there is something about Surkaran's worries to remove them with haste to the mountains. Later in the day, I decide we have abandoned the digging pits for a deadly reason, and wonder when the followers of this dark one shall begin to track our fading trail.
Eleventh Month, Ninth Day
We emerged from the forest this day onto a marsh which lay all to the horizon upon the west. Yet, the mountains which Lormaka seeks are seen now to the northwest. The way is difficult. Muds and waters cover our feet in many places. As we journey, I query Lormaka as to his homeland. Shall the Khatyr and his followers be subjugated? Lormaka reminds me of the First Precept... and I discern there shall be no such event. The Khatyr and those who follow him shall regain their homeland...or shall rest in the permanent sleep.
Eleventh Month, Tenth Day
For three days previous, we have journeyed across the great marsh which drains the rainwaters from the Jarondi before us and the Ramshakas behind. Upon this day, we found ourselves within the foothills of the Jarondi. Elindale be praised, for the insects of the great marsh plagued us day and night. I must remember in prayers to query Her as to Her purpose in the creation of such winged tormentors.
Eleventh Month, Twelfth Day
The foothills are most beautiful. Though the season turns cooler now, they are still carpeted in green grasses and mountain flowers. Within the meeting place of two hills, a stream flows downward to mingle with other waters which had bubbled from a steamhole nearby. Upon their mingling was a pool, warm but not hot. Lormaka halted our weary company to enjoy a bathing. Such a good feeling it was to wash the marshland from our bodies! I queried Lormaka further. If the Khatyr is victorious, will there be mercy for the followers of this dark one? Frowning, he queries in return.. Should there be? It appears Leuian justice shall be sure for those found by Cara's profession to have murdered brothers and sisters.
Eleventh Month, Thirteenth Day
The way is more rocky and difficult for we now travel upon the upper foothills of the Jarondis. I help Dackas at the difficult points, and am rewarded by wonderful tales of Leuian magecraft. The evening is now cool, requiring a fire whose coals can warm us through the night, though I observe Meritos and Zura need no such coals. I find myself smiling upon them often. I long for Lormaka to put his arms about me, as well, but he is like a trance-seer, swerving in no way from his purpose to reach the Jarondi pride to relay the travails of Leuia. Before sleep embraces me, Cara whispers to me that I should not worry, for Lormaka's heart is full of love for me, as well. Blushing, this thought warms me far greater than the coals of the cooking pit.
Eleventh Month, Fourteenth Day
Just after noonfeast, we came to the lower pass Lormaka sought, yet it was barred by a fall of large rocks from above. Lormaka scouted until settingsun but found no second path. His heart was heavy, for he sensed snow in the night, and worried for our lives. Taking my hand within his paw, Lormaka led me again into the slide, as I cast small fire darts to light our way. Soon, upon another route, we discovered a small cave and had brought the others into protection with us. I look into the night from the mouth of the cave but see no stars. Soon, the snow falls. Some I melt and fill my waterskin for drink during the difficult way ahead.
Eleventh Month, Fifteenth Day
Before dawn, Lormaka left our cave, and the warmth provided by one of Dacka's magespells. After morningfeast, he returned with diverse Xeber hides. The remainder of this day was spent fashioning crude hidecoats to keep us warm in the snows. All day it snowed, yet ceased around settingsun. Gazing upon a wondrous sunset beside me, Lormaka seemed happy for the first time in many days.
Eleventh Month, Sixteenth Day
We set forth for the higher pass, wherein there is yet another path to the dwellings of the Jarondi pride. It seems so near in sight, yet so far in the climbing. Hand in paw, Lormaka and I climb together. I ask him if it is common for his people to abide in such untame regions. He smiled, saying Leuians fear no untame land, and prefer those places which yield those things of which they which they have need, but are little settled by outraces. How then, did his people come into Spur? Lormaka is unsure of this, saying only that there are diverse tales concerning the Leuian origins in Spur, and it is not common for his people to live within cities outside the homeland.
Eleventh Month, Twenty Sixth Day
So foolish do I feel. So near is the upper pass, yet I found myself unable to journey further after noonfeast, feeling most ill. We have turned aside from the path into an overhang. Dackas casts a small fireball before us for warmth, yet it drains him terribly. Much as I try, there is no strength within me to assist him.
Eleventh Month, Twenty Eighth Day
Barely can I remember the previous days... only burning fever and pain of body. There is a dim awareness of bitter herbs and teas from Zura and Cara's paws. I hear the Pride's nearby healers talk... they speak of me, and their treatments of my sickness, which they call "marshfever". I am told that, in some way, Lormaka carried me to the upper pass, and there our company was met by out-watchers of the Jarondi Pride. I am so very weary, and have no energy to scribe further.
All day didst I remain at rest. For many candlemarks didst the healers come and go today, and fuss over me. Lormaka counseled with the Jarondi Clawmasters concerning Leuia. Such was good, for he did not see in the healers' eyes that which I know they do not wish to say. This night I sat wearily beside the pridefire, Lormaka behind me. I whispered to him a bold request, and he readily complied, encircling me with his arms. I leaned back into him, content for the moment.
Eleventh Month, Thirtieth Day
I was given comfort last night, by the warmth and light of a wonderful pridefire near which I had been laid. The Khatyra of this mountain Pride is snow white, her fur streaked with silvers and grays. Lormaka whispered to me she is nearly two hundred summers in age, and has lived in the Jarondi for nearly sixty of those. I gazed about the vast cavern. Shimmering crystals embedded within the rock above me reflected the firelight and appeared as stars in a night sky. After the pride took morningfeast, Lormaka fed me a hearty broth and we talked quietly. His eyes tell me he slept little these last days. I queried him hoarsely, suddenly curious. What do his people say of death? He was startled, and turned his face. Perhaps we shall speak of it later. He now admonishes me to cease my scribing and rest until eveningfeast.
Twelfth Month, Second Day
The snows fell heavily outside the caverns all this day, clearing near eveningfeast. Lormaka is cheered for I summon all my magepowers to appear stronger for him. Alas, I cannot deceive my healers, who disapprove terribly with their glances, but say nothing. I ask old Dackas to prepare a glyphstone for me, so that my scribing might continue despite weakening hand and dimming eye. With kindness, he slips one unnoticed into my hands during taletelling at pridefire.
Twelfth Month, Third Day
This night, Lormaka queried me as to my strength.. was it sufficient to visit the mouth of the cavern? Frightened, the gentle healer called Lhysia was at my pallet quickly, yet her eyes met the unspoken pleading of mine own. Sighing, she placed a fur cloak about me and scolded Lormaka that I must not be taken outside the cavern. His arm about me, together we walked.. he strongly and me haltingly, to the cavern mouth. Upon the ledge outside, kits tussled in the snow playfully. Lormaka gazed at the moonlit mountains around us, and upon the kits..then looked upward at the new full moon. I followed his eyes, and pressed closely to him... and in that moment I felt pressed within my palm an actar amulet. Startled, I looked into his face, whereupon he whispered when I saw the moon as this again, he would come to ask if I wished to keep it. Beloved Elindale, you bless your unworthy servants, even to the end of their days.
Lhysia sat quietly beside my pallet during the morn hours, examining a scroll concerning the healing arts of the humankynd. She is very beautiful and of great empathic power. I queried if she were lifemated, and she happily nodded. I observed a bracelet of Rinannism upon her wrist. Smiling, she held it for me to examine, whereupon she seemed to sense my thoughts. I queried her as to what her religion says of death... curious as to her beliefs. With glowing eyes, she spoke of a safe passage over the House of the Dead... to come before a portal. From this portal flows Rinanni's peaceful emerald lightwinds which draw one's spirit within, there to dwell in Her House. It is within Rinanni's House that lifemates are rejoined forever. Such teaching is a wondrous hope for all lifemated Leuians, and I found myself thinking upon it deeply until the time of pridefire.
Twelfth Month, Ninth Day
From the Knowledgemistress of the Usil House of Knowledge,
To Those Within the House:
I scribe now an entry to close this tome, Knowledgemistress, and pray your gracious pardon. Alas, strength has left me altogether, and this shall be my last attempt to cast my thoughts into the glyphstone. I dare not ask Lhysia or another to scribe, for Lormaka shall surely hear of such. So much has he borne, and I shall not add to his burdens. I entreat you, Knowledgemistress... continue to send your emissaries to this good people, and perhaps a strong bond shall someday grow between Usilin and Leuian. Were that I could appear before you, and speak of so many more things than scribed within these pages. As for me, I await the kind and just judgments of Elindale, as I have throughout all my days. For whatever comes, I am readied.
The small leather tome of Jhessail Jahanael was brought to the doors of the House of Knowledge during the Feast of Summer, on the Thirtieth Day of the Fifth Month, Year 94. Its bearer was a lone Leuian child, who presented it to Garanjon the Librarian along with a sandalwood amulet. Jhessail Jahanael, sister and servant, passed from our plane upon the Third Day of the First Month, Year 94.
[Go To Top]
The Waystations of the Road to Honor ...
While searching the bazaar for some bits of parchment to rework for my notes and odd bits of verse, I came across something of interest. I know the Leuian script, though I cannot yet read it, and this was such. Burdened with that curse 'curiosity', as you're well aware, I took the parchment to the sages of Rinanni's temple and they made translation to much excitement and mumured astonishment. It seems what follows is a long lost work of one Mhwanelon Kanamara, a Leuian sage of antiquity.
As kits, the first words we hear, and the ones most
remembered - often with a twinge - are "You should be
ashamed!" Why? Why should one feel ashamed? Shame is the
polar opposite of honor!
Ah, but how can one know light without darkness? How can
one know honor if one knows not shame? How can one know what
is honorable if one knows not what is dishonorable?
And so our first lesson, from parent and Clawmaster, is
this: To learn to feel shame; to learn when to feel shame; to
learn how to avoid situations which cause the feeling of
shame. This lesson is the seed of the tree which will become
honor with maturity. As a sage said in days long by, "Shame
is the rich soil in which the tree of honor roots."
From this lesson we kits emerge with a b sense of shame,
one which henceforth serves to steer our steps as we walk the
path of honor. A misstep is immediately announced to our
inner selves by that twinge, that bolt of feeling, shame.
Upon being sent into the world, to seek ourselves, to seek
honor, we take with us little but this b sense of shame and
the examples the Clawmasters lived for us. Our quest is to
learn what is honor. To guide us we have our shame.
As mere students - toddlers as it were - upon the long
road that leads to honor, we immediately become confused. The
lessons are not lost; the seed has been planted... but now
the weather of the outside world beats upon our souls,
unprotected but for our flimsy shield of budding honor and
boistered by the inward pressure of our b sense of shame.
There is no balance. The shame presses outward and we see it
in the faces of those that look upon us. If we are cowards,
we turn from it, and perhaps forever lose the path. If we
have the spark of courage, and if it was well nourished by
the Clawmasters, we face our shame and challenge it.
It is the challenging of our shame that presents the next
obstacle on the road. Most all mistake the looks of others,
as the object of challenge, rather than as the mirror of the
soul. Rather than reaching inward, we strike out. Taught to
feel shame and to avoid that feeling at any cost, we explode
at its touch and strike at the hand we perceive delivering
No, there are indeed cases where is is just and honorable
to strike out: at those who would to ourselves or our way
harm, or do harm to others incapable of protecting themselves.
But in the time of seeking honor, we often confuse our
feeling of shame with the guilty motives of others. We often
confuse our pride with our sense of honor. In our pride, we
see any action which causes us to feel that twinge of shame
as an affront to our small but growing honor. And so we
strike out at that which we see as the source.
It is in this phase that we as a race earn our reputation
for shortness of temper, and prickliness of temperment. It is
also in this phase that we most often venture where the world
might see us.
We tell ourselves our scars are the badges of our battle
for respect, for honor, from others. We do not see that they
are the scars of our battle for control of ourselves.
We begin to learn control and balance. By now we have come a long way on the path and have learned that what most often troubles us is our inner self. We begin to turn inward and cease to be as occupied with what others think or say about us.
By now we bear the scars of our shame, and by now we begin to see our scars as reminders of our failures, rather than as badges of our success. We begin to recognise our pride for what it is. We strive to remove our pride from ourselves, that honor might find a place to abide.
We begin to study patience, to offer forgiveness, rather than to attack that which tests us. For surely it is we who test ourselves.
The battles with others over perceived slurs abate. The battles for others who cannot do battle for themselves increase.
Oddly, this process feeds on itself and each battle fought for another in need results in fewer instances of what would have been considered cause for battle to defend one's honor.
One does not reach the end of the path of honor. We are content to merely remain upon the path all our days. We achieve a balance wherein shame is a comfort that we are yet upon the path, even as a fence bounds our fields. Our pride is a reminder that we have not yet reached the end of our path.
Here is the balance of shame and pride: the constant reminders that we are less than we might be.
Here is acceptance that what matters is one's inner balance, acceptance of what must be and willingness to change that which must change, with no regard for personal cost.
Here is inner peace regardless of strife surrounding.
But now we cannot rest, for with the perspective our
distance brings comes the responsibility to use it to
straighten the path for those that follow. For each step
saved for those that follow, is one step forward for the
whole. After turning inward and finding ourselves, we now
turn outward to offer what aid we might in helping others
While farther back on the path we might say "This is
honorable, that is not", now we smile and ask, "Do
you feel this is right?" For what we think of others is
not what matters, but only what they inside know of
themselves. We only help them see themselves as they know
they truly are.
We yet must needs do battle at times, for there are those
that follow not the path, and indeed would see its start lost.
We are more willing to exhaust other means before resorting
We live and die only to serve our people.
attributed to Mhwanelon Kanamara
[Go To Top]
Paradise Lost ...
[Note: This story first appeared in the Volume 4, Issue No. 2, on the 17th day of the 9th month of the 97th year in Spur (March 25, 1994), DFC, Entitled: The Paradise Lost by Breaker Fastclaw.]
Arelyn leans against me as I gently massage her shoulders, while nearby the others take their seats near the fire. Like me, she has sleek black fur and auburn eyes but that's where the similarities end. She is a priestess of Rinanni and I was a dark night tiger of Set. Back in Spur I was known as Breaker Fastclaw and for countless years I have sought adventure in numerous lands always searching, always seeking something but never finding it until now. The small Leuian community is paradise to me and a dream come true; I settle back, smiling at the members of the Pride, feeling content for the first time in ages. Soon the Pride will accept me as a member and I will be Arelyn's lifemate. At long last my quest is over, my adventures end.
The stars shine overhead as the storyteller
starts his tale, but I am only half listening as Arelyn purrs
softly in my ear. I think back to my days in Spur expecting
the storyteller's tale to reawaken the call of the night and
adventure, but it doesn't. Instead, I only feel at peace as I
hold the beautiful priestess.
These past two months have been pure heaven.
I'm glad Arelyn asked me to come home with her. She had once
told me that she couldn't give me the prize I had sought, but
now she has done much more than that. I gaze at my future
lifemate, sharing a secret joke, as the storyteller tells a
humorous tale of one of my earlier misadventures. Though the
tale makes fun of my recklessness and curiosity - which
serves as a warning to all the little kits - in my defense
the storyteller mentions some of my better qualities, and
everyone gets a good laugh out of the story. A few of the our
people joke about how they could take me on as we retire to
our cottage but they will never get the chance.
I spend most of the mornings tending a small
field while Arelyn teaches the kits runes and history. Then
in the afternoon I head out to hunt with only my natural
claws to bring my prey down. The moment I wore or used any of
the stuff I used when I had been an adventurer and legend, I
would go from an unremarkable warrior to notorious thief, so
I only wear a simple grey tunic belted about my waist and
carry a dagger. My silvery steel claws and shield lay hidden
under the bed I share with my lover, while my black silk
tunic, the red coral necklace and my trademark battered black
leather hat sit in the top of the closet. The rest of my
equipment is gathering dust in my locker right now.
The deer falls easily and I start on my way
back to the village with my catch when my keen senses smell
smoke. At first I only quicken my pace. Then, as I see a
small plume of smoke from the village I break into an all out
Some of the buildings are still burning when
I get back but the fighting seems to be over. I look
carefully at the men guarding their Leuian prisoners and I
growl softly to myself. These men are slavers, for I
recognize their symbol. They must have gotten hold of the
kits somehow and blackmailed the rest of the village into
surrendering. My keen eyes scan the raiding party. Most of
the slavers are human and dressed in leather armor, carrying
a variety of weapons, but the leader was big even for an
He wore a suit of full plate mail and carried
a large halberd. From the looks of the bodies littering the
area he must be real good with it.
Well, from the looks of things I have no
choice but to go get my equipment. If I am to win I'll need
my claws and armor to give me an edge. I wait till nightfall
so that I can use the shadows to my advantage. I avoid the
small campfire where the slavers sit as I enter the cottage.
Most of the Pride are being held there but there was no sign
of the kits or Arelyn. If I am to win I must free them first
otherwise, the kits will be in danger. I quickly don the
black silk tunic and red coral necklace before strapping on
my shield and claws. Finally I reach for my black leather hat
before I slip into the shadows. If I am to come out of
retirement I may as well do it with a bang. After all, Arelyn
and I could always return to Spur.
It doesn't take me long to search the village
until only one place remains where the kits could be. I enter
the shrine to Rinanni, sneaking past four bored guards to
find Arelyn and the kits. The shrine has been defiled and
Taath's symbol has been scrawled on the altar in blood - the
blood of my lover. I emerge from the shadows and rush to my
lady's side hoping that she is still alive, but I'm too late.
The kits are here as well but I ignore them as I weep for
Arelyn. Behind me the guards move towards me, as they plan to
split my stuff up among themselves. I close my lover's eyes
and kiss her one last time before I stand.
Three men die in seconds as I slash the life
from them, but I leave one alive so he can tell me who killed
her, before he goes to join his friends in hell. The kits
remember the tale from last night and keep their distance.
They are afraid of me but at least they are safe, and now the
others can fight back. I leave the shrine and Arelyn's body,
once more becoming Set's dark night tiger.
I roam the streets like an angel of death,
striking from the shadows and killing silently. I use my
runes and claws to do my work - extinguishing the lives of
these men who have destroyed paradise. There is no mercy as I
move from shadow to shadow bringing oblivion to those who
have turned my world to darkness. The members of the Pride
watch in shock as they realize who their savior is. Soon the
only one left is the Oogra, who is too stupid to know he is
beaten and smart enough to know I'm not taking any prisoners.
I move forward as the others stand back and watch. They know
what he has done and leave him all to me.
He swings the halberd in a tremendous arc but
to me the pole weapon is slow and clumsy. I duck inside of
his guard, striking sparks from his platemail. The armor
stops my cautious blow as the slaver laughs, smashing me with
his gauntlet, but my shield stops his fist from caving in my
head. He knows how to fight, and takes a step back before he
hurtles towards me seeking to impale me. My leap carries me
up and over the Oogra as my claws strike his back. The slaver
laughs even though he is wounded and I growl 'Let's finish
this'. I stop my dodging and blocking, concentrating solely
on hitting him as hard as I can. The halberd crushes me,
sending me flying while my claws section the slaver like a
grapefruit. He lies in pieces as my eyes close and I go to
There is darkness lit only by one small star,
and a voice speaks to me, one that I haven't heard since
"My son, I feel your loss and pain, but
this is not your destiny. You are the dark night tiger and
for now you must live and grow. Now, go back to your world
for I have restored you like so many times in the past."
The members of the Pride surround me as I
stand up. Most of them had thought me dead, but now that I am
alive they have a problem. I can tell they are grateful the
kits have been rescued and the slavers have been defeated,
but others view me with suspicion and anger. The Khatyral
steps forward, but she is not smiling. Instead, she seems sad
for what she must do, but I already know what she is going to
"Breaker Fastclaw, legendary dark night
tiger, you must leave this place. Though you fight better
than our finest warriors you do not belong here and can not
stay till you renounce your patron. Even though he is not as
bad as the lord of demons we can't allow you to stay among
our kits for, you would be a bad influence on them. Breaker,
despite who you serve, we are honored to have known you, and
some shall even call you friend for your work here today, but
you can not stay."
I look around at all the others but there is
no mercy in their eyes. I am a dark night tiger and to them I
have no place among them. I nod to the Khatyral and let the
shadows claim me, leaving the Pride.
The shadows cloak me as I gaze at the funeral
pyre. Arelyn looks at peace atop the flat stone as each
member of the Pride speaks his or her heart. There is nothing
left to be said and so, someone I used to call a friend and
neighbor, lights the funeral pyre. The flames suddenly rush
to engulf her body, sending her essence to Rinnani's embrace.
I wait for the Pride to leave before emerging from the
shadows. Maybe I will never earn the prize but I have had a
taste of happiness and that is more than some will ever know.
I reach down and scatter the ashes to the wind, thinking of
the paradise lost before letting my necklace transport me
back to Spur.
Tale of the Wayfarer ...
[Note: This story first appeared in the FIRE IN THE SKY: The Spurian Chronicle, Vol. 5, Issue 2, titled: Tale of the Wayfarer by Wayfarer the Unknown]
[Note: This story first appeared in the
FIRE IN THE SKY: The Spurian Chronicle, Vol. 5, Issue 2,
titled: Tale of the Wayfarer by Wayfarer the Unknown]
Dusk had just fallen when I walked into Town
Square. Flurries of snow whisked their way about the shelter,
and as I sat down to watch the nightly antics of Spur, he
walked out of the shadows. His black cloak flowed back gently
across his slim shoulders. I saw two hazel eyes look down at
me from the depths of his hood. Elendron isn't the stuff that
legends are made out of, but he is enigmatic, shrouded in
mystery and controversy. Some say he is one of the most
honorable Leuians they know, others despise him. Some claim
him to be a fighter, cleric, thief, once I even heard a cold
little Drag-al call him a Forester. I don't know. But I knew
it was him when his blade sparked as it brushed against the
bench, a deep blue, crackling, lightning rapier. I was new to
this town, and I had heard that this Khat had been known to
take the heads of young adventurers because of the mildest
slights. But when I saw the Symbol of Unknown engraved upon
his mail, I relaxed. We both followed the same path.
"So, yer new here." He asked, or
stated, as he took a seat and withdrew a coin from a pouch.
"Um, yeah . . . Heh. Got in a couple of
weeks ago. Some call me Wayfarer; I'm a Champion of Unknown,"
I replied, watching him as he caused the coin to dance across
"Pleased to meet, you. I'm Elendron. Let
me give you some advice: as long as you follow the path of
Honor you can call on me for help. Stray from that, and I
will be one of the many roots that trip you. That bein' said,
I run a business here . . ." And so he went off, talking
about his arms business, and about how he hasn't named it; I
just let him go on until he wore himself out.
After talking to him for about half an hour,
I grew curious and decided to ask him a question. Being a
Priest of Unknown, I have a penchant for the mysterious, and
uncovering the truths that lie behind those mysteries. "Um,
Elendron, your last name, Mantricker, that doesn't sound like
a Leuian surname." And then he cocked an eyebrow at me
with a look that made me think that, being a human, I was
about to find out. Then his cold dark face broke a flash of
white as he smiled.
I settled back into my seat, knowing I was in
for a long story. "Well, It isn't. I earned this moniker.
I don't remember Leuia at all. My earliest memory is that of
bein' ecstatic that my father was allowin' me to go on a run
with him. He was first mate on a sailing vessel. I was about
five years old." His eyes glazed over as he played with
a rumbling second weapon, a thunder main-gauche. "I ran
'round on the rigging, perched on the crow's nest, and was a
constant pain. We stopped in a couple of ports, and one night
went to a rowdy li'l tavern. I'll never forget that. The
Broken Mast it was called. My father, I can't even remember
his name, but he had this deep silvery-black coat that always
smelled like the salt, I loved that smell. Oh, yeah, he was
very protective of his crew. The inns were usually filled
with men, but Leuian women are just as adept as the males of
our kind. They sure don't stay home with the kits, making
stew.. Anyway, this man, he had long ragged hair and a beard
that covered a twisted yellow mouth, he started making
'advances' on one of our crew. Pop told him to back off a
couple o' times, before the girl laid him on the ground.
Yellow-mouth grabbed her, but instead of a mouthful o' Leuian
lip, he got a facefull of Leuian claw. Snarling, he struck
the woman. That's when my father, in a flash, dropped the
human so hard he flew back and crashed into one of the tables
. . . Heheheh, one of the funniest sights I e'er saw. The man
had been defeated. He lost face, the fight was over. My sire
didn't want to destroy him and cause even more trouble. But
apparently the bastard thought otherwise and scrambled to his
feet, planting a hooked knife in my father's back. I snarled
and leapt at him - I was always slight, pretty weak actually,
but I was agile, I could dodge arrows, still can," he
said as he grinned and winked at me, " - anyways, to cut
a long story short the next thing I knew I was in a dark run-down
underground building. Gettin' nursed back to health by, by, a
Setite . . . "The Khat shuddered as he recalled this
memory. His armor had cracked, and for a second I peeked into
his soul, and it was tumultuous, confused, and tinged with
"I grew up under the hood of Set. It was
the only way I could survive. I was told my shipmates had
abandoned me, and that they didn't want me anymore. I
believed 'em, the temple was the closest thing to 'love' I
could find.. I was filled with a violent hatred for humans.
The city was riddled with rival thieves' guilds. The Jian'yar
used me, and Iused them to get at humans every way I could. I
never fought toe to toe, I stalked, hunted, tricked -owned
the night as it owned me. Set promised me power, vengeance,
strength, and I believed the snake. As I grew older, 'bout
the age of ten, I realized that I had lost sight of Honor, in
fact, I believed it so far gone I could never recover it... I
ignored that longing to become Leuian again. I was a Setite.
The snake wound tightly around me, his grip was strong, I
eventually had no longing to return to the way I had been.
Leuia had discarded me, there was no room left for 'er in my
life of intrigue, sabotage, guile, and darkness. All I cared
for was power. I would rule that city. I climbed the
infrastructure slowly but steadily, eliminating the humans
that stood in my way. I was fourteen when for the first time
I was truly defeated.. A target turned on me and left me for
dead. I cried out to Set . . . He didn't answer. As I lay in
a dank room, the serpent spewed comforting words from his
forked tongue, but as with all forked tongues, it wagged in
two directions. Set had promised me strength, yet I was still
sickly and weak. So I paid my tithing and lip service to the
Nameless One, waiting for my day.
I was wandering around the docks when the
clan Crimsonclaw came into my life. Kal-threk Crimsonclaw was
a High Priest of Unknown, an Enforcer , and Khatyr of his
local, oh, um -ye' know, I shouldn't be tellin' you this.
Zara doesn't like people to know about her lineage. She has
something to prove to her father or some such."
Nodding quickly I eased his worry, "Don't
worry, between us and the wind" I said with a smile.
"but who is this Zara, I've never heard of her before,
she a friend of yours?"
Blinking, he looked at me quizzically, "You
haven't heard of her? You must be new! I'm even more
surprised you haven't heard her, usually ye' can hear her
arrogance from quite a distance," he said with a wink.
"But you better not say a word to her! Anyway, when she
stepped out from behind the deep orange robes of her father,
her carefully groomed white fur contrasting with her blood-red
silk, I was smitten. For the first time in my life there was
something more important than revenge in my life. She was
about fourteen at the time, I was aroun' sixteen. Strolling
up to them with a charming boyish grin, I greeted them with
mock friendliness, and an overbearing charm. I chattered
away, grinning and winking at Zara'sheen, all but skipping
alongside them as they walked to the temple. Unknown had
always intrigued me. He too uses the shadows of the night and
intrigue, but --oh, yeah, anyway, all of a sudden my face was
in the dirt and I could feel and even hear my arm cracking
behind me as Kal-threk said in a low growl, 'I'll have my
pouch back if you please', sheepishly I handed it back. As I
stood up Kal-threk saw the entwined serpent medallion I was
wearing and muttered 'Setite . . . " I slunk away into
the night, Zara'sheen watching me as I disappeared into the
Well, as luck would have it my next
assignment was to find out as much as I could about the
Crimsonclaws as possible. They posed a threat to the temple
of my 'master', the snake. Kal-Threk and his wife didn't
treat me with the revulsion I expected from Leuians, me being
Setite 'n all. They must have pitied me, he allowed me into
his den, and taught me about Unknown and his mysteries; maybe
he hoped to save me before it was to late. Zara was always
busy with her training, but in the two years we were together
we grew as close as a Setite and Priestess-to-be of Unknown
could be. I would even venture to say that she admired me -the
experienced older boy, wise in the ways of the world, oh the
stories I had to tell." His fingers traced the hilt of
his main-gauche as he smirked, "I even began to train in
blades just to be in the training hall with her. We had grown
out of our kitling love, we had, well, I dunno, ye know what
"Well, I was to turn eighteen, and be
baptized in Venom. It was time for me to truly dedicate
myself to Set. The night before the ceremony I was with the
clan, and Kal-threk's wife, Shilan, who was far more leery of
me than the others, hugged me, and gave me one last look
before she left the room. They didn't come out and say it,
but they knew that this would be the last I would see of them
the way we had been for two years. I could have turn'd from
the snake then, but I didn't think I had the strength, and I
feared that the wrath of the serpent would crash upon the
Clan Crimsonclaw. Zara didn't say a word either, making it a
point t' maintain a healthy emotional distance from me that
night. Kal-threk told me I could turn to them, but I refused.
Sighing, he offered me a long bundle of oil rags. Opening
them up I found a huge two handed scimitar, ebony black, with
the symbol for Unknown engraved upon it. 'When you go out
into the world, and stand on your own two feet, not supported
by the scales of the serpent, you will be able to heft this
blade. And know, it is Unknown that protects you . . . '"
"I hid the scimitar away in a chest and
went to the temple to prepare. Set didn't care if I was only
paying him silver and lipservice, as long as I served him he
was satisfied. My soul belonged to Unknown. Time went by and
I ne'er really saw the Crimsonclaws again. About a year later
I heard that they had moved away to establish a new temple in
a small Leuian colony. I continued my life with Set, servin'
him well. I started serving on merchant vessels, my
reputation as 'Mantricker' limited my capabilities within
that city. At about the age of 25 I was ordered to join the
Merc's Guild, and to gather information about it. Well, one
of my missions took me far from that town, to a place known
as The Spur. Amazed by the diversity here, I soon realized
that I had a chance to slip away from the Serpent. I was
still very weak and sickly, but I began to establish myself.
I took a quick jaunt through the Temple of Taath, but quickly
scurried back to Set. Then I spat in his face, I knew it was
my last chance to leave him. As I called Unknown to me I felt
Set's venom writhe within me, ripping not only what he gave
me, but what I was born with, that which I prided myself on:
my dexterity. Then, from nowhere stepped an Elder, one of
those mythical creatures that seem to prefer this city above
all others, Gamester was his name, he drove Set back into the
slimy hole he came from, and forced him to return that which
"I was now of Unknown. With the scimitar
by my side my strength and health quickly improved. Unknown
did not keep them dangling like a carrot before me. But the
path was not easy. Two powerful Setites, ironically also
Leuians, hunted me for not joining their 'Brotherhood of Set'.
But Unknown gave me the power to defy them. Eventually one of
them, Derk, was run out of town by a dragon named Maldreadior
"So now you and Zara were reunited, and
a sweet ending to troubled story?" I asked, my mouth
moving a slight faster than my brain.
Glaring at me for a moment, his voice lowered.
"Not exactly. Things aren't so, eh, simple as that. Evil
creatures such as Shadows, [the text here became smugged and
unreadable here for a number of lines, and the author was no
where to be found once the error was found-- Editor] Zara'
sheen was shocked to see me here when she came to prove her
worth to Unknown. She almost refuses to acknowledge that we
were any more than friends, but that's ok with me. Her father
is apparently happy to hear of my progress, and sent me word
that I was t' keep an eye on the little fireball, and to
protect her. But not a word you hear?"
"Oh, sure thing! I'm certainly not going
to tell her!"
"Well, anyway, here I am. Loved by some,
hated by even more. Some people don't like what they see when
they look into their reflection in my eyes," he said
shrugging as he stood up, wrapping his cloak around his
shoulders as if he was hurrying to leave before he said
anything more. "Oh, by the way, if you see a Glowbug by
the name of Andrella, everything she says about me is a lie,
well. . .it's true, but not. . .Ah, figure it out yerself.
And with that dear sirs, he slipped into the
snowy night, and it seemed to me that he was joined by a huge
3-headed beast. I don't know, must have been the light.
Anyway, I thought that you might be interested in this story.
Like I said earlier, I enjoy a mystery, but unveiling them is
Wayfarer, Sword Cleric of Unknown
[Go To Top]
A History of the Leuian Pride ...
[This article was originally presented in the April 1, 1997 Issue of the Dragon Fire Chronicles, entitled "A History of Leuian Pride" by Skratchnar.]
"Before there was Time, the gods looked
down upon the world and noticed that Dragons had come into
existence without the gods involvement in the process. The
gods were impressed with these powerful creatures, and looked
at each other in wonder. And then the gods looked again, and
said "We can do better." Odarous gifted the new
being with powerful natural weapons of attack, and devised
for it a unique and fearsome roar for battle. Sa blessed the
creature with natural resistance to the attacks of others
creatures. Elindale made the creature a being of nature, able
to move easily without being noticed, and also with fur to
protect in the harshest of climes. Rinanni made it so that
its nature was to bond together in groups for nurturing and
protection. Taath wished the creature to be lacking in fear,
and gifted them with the ability to see without light.
Unknown blessed them with a thirst for knowledge and greater
understanding. The gods then looked at what they had made,
and once again looked at each other and said a single word:
"Leuian", which in the language of the gods means
"complete" to indicate that they had, indeed, done
what they had set out to do."
Oral Leuian Tradition
While the rest of the races have been busy
changing and evolving, the Leuian has remained as the gods
originally created, evolving instead in wisdom, culture, and
social structure. Prior to the time of the Great Change, as
it is referred to by many, Leuians had developed into a
culture of warlike nomads. They were also widely known as
shrewd traders, who were always willing to back an offer
which had been rejected as insufficient with a sword.
Many generations prior to the onset of the
Penthanian War, Leuians had become skilled sailors, and the
discovery of celestial navigation made possible exploration
of the seas. The discovery of a large uninhabited island two
generations before the beginning of the Penthanian War was to
have a profound impact upon the Leuian way of life. Very
quickly the island was adopted as the first fixed base of
operations for Leuians worldwide, and was named for the
People. The Penthanian Wars began as the last who remembered
a time before there being a homeland passed on.
The events outside Leuia began to trouble
some who stayed on the island, and some who still made their
lives traveling in the world. One group recognized the value
of our island home, and that to retain it, we would need to
protect it, cherish, and respect the things belonging to
other peoples. The other group recognized in the coming war
an opportunity, and meant to continue as before. While the
war was increasing in the rest of the world, our own first
civil war was being fought at home. This war at home was the
reason that no Leuian was outside of Leuia when the Unmagick
was released. In a distant part of the world that none knew
of, the Leuian race remained Complete as the gods designed.
Well before the unleashing of the force of
Unmagick which ended the Penthanian War and caused the Great
Change, though, The First Civil War was won by the forces of
Jalaka, who became the founder and first Khatyr of the Leuian
Pride. It was he who established the basic Precepts that all
Members of the Pride strive to live by.
Despite having survived another civil war
since then, which is only recently concluded and will not be
discussed here, these Precepts still survive and are the
ideals which unite and define The Pride and its Members.
First among these is to remain Free. The
Leaders of the Pride Lead because the Pride chooses to
follow, and the Pride will never be made subordinate to a
Members of the Pride are expected to deal
with one another openly and in truth. When disputes arise,
they are expected to state them openly, and to resolve them
without violence. Often this requires the assistance of a
Council Member, and in rare cases will result in a
traditional duel. Such dueling between Pride Members is rare,
however, as it is considered kittish for two Pride Members to
be unable to resolve their differences otherwise. Such
dueling carries the risk of one Pride Member killing another,
which would be a disgrace in any circumstance short of self-defense,
or protecting an innocent.
The group which founded the Pride did so out
of a recognition that all property belongs to a specific
individual. Only the place of meeting is the property of all.
It is for this reason that a thief is unacceptable, the act
of deliberately taking another's property for one's own is
intolerable for a Pride Member.
The Leuians have many customs and traditions
which are often not understood by outsiders. One of the first
is that of Khat'Sara. While this custom of mating for life
has long been a part of the culture, it was not until shortly
after the Pride's founding that it became as sacred as it is
today. Shortly after the founding, the Khatyr Jalaka lost his
own Lifemate in a shipwreck, and was distraught at his loss.
Rinanni appeared to him then, and he repeated his vows to be
one with his Khat'Sara for all eternity. It was then that
Rinanni herself promised Jalaka that those who were united by
Khat'Sara would be reunited in the afterlife. It is for this
reason that the custom has survived, and is taken very
seriously. Those that declare themselves before their kyn in
the Pride to be Khat'Sara are recognized as destined to be
together for all eternity. It is for this reason that it has
become common for our people to simply die after learning of
the death of their Khat'Sara; they cannot bear to be parted,
and know that their love awaits them on the other side.
Finally, a word about Honor. No discussion of
Leuians would be complete without this. Honor is the goal to
which we strive. At times we all fall short, whether because
of a lack of perception of the nature of things, poor
judgement, or being overtaken by our emotions.
Before one will seek this goal, one must
first know Honor. The feeling of Shame is the sign that one
knows Honor. Only those who recognize that they have fallen
short will feel shame, and only they will take the steps to
become Honorable. Without the Humility required to recognize
and admit error when appropriate, one cannot recognize Honor,
much less become Honorable.
After learning of an error, the person who
would be Honorable person will seek Honor by attempting to
correct the cause of shame. This generally consists of
acknowledging error and attempting to restore the balance
which the mistake may have undone.
Only those who correct their faults in this
manner can truly learn not to repeat them. The learning
becomes a part of who we are, rather than merely an image we
wish to project, and we can apply lessons learned from one
shameful error to guide us away from a different error. This
is how one may become Honorable, as differentiated from
merely wearing Honor like a cloak.
The goal is to actually Be Honor. As we may
all err and find ourselves once again at the beginning
feeling shame, this is the Ideal, but one we must constantly
strive for, without ever truly and finally attaining.
This is the meaning behind our traditional
words of parting. It is a wish that our beloved kyn well ever
be companions of Honor, but a recognition that none of us
shall ever truly BE Honor.
May Honor be with you all of your days.
Skratchnar Mistoffeles, O.G.M.
[Go To Top]
Badge of Honor ...
:::A small form sits hidden amidst the pillows within the secian tree, her tiny hand enveloping a
long and feathered quill... as the sun slips past the horizon, she pauses only to light a small candle with which
to see as she scribes...:::
"In attendance that day, among others, were Kara, Pilar, and Kassandra the Leuians... Narcisuss the Flerian... Lord Meqetlh the Hithual, Balin the Thugian, and Chasdity and I, the Secians, as we listened intently as Clawmaster Masai wove the tale of how he bravely earned his Badge of Honor at the Sundown Reach..."
Masai hums softly to himself as he fiddles
with the white rose.
Masai squints at the pure white rose.
Oake says, "oooh..."
Oake says, "I bet Allie would like that.."
Masai places a pure white rose on his right
Masai looks like a 7'6" standard middle-aged
average boned, muscular bodied Leuian.
He has very long, tied back, fine bluish
black fur, with dark gray eyes, and looks casual.
He appears to be in a confused mood right now.
He bears the mark of Odarous.
He can be attacked by other players.
He appears to be in perfect health.
An eagle embossed leather mail (armor)
An exquisitely carved ivory Claw of Leuia (around
Some calf-high spidersilk boots (on feet)
A silver-trimmed sharkskin cloak (over armor)
A pure white rose (ring (right))
A soft grey cloth breeches (pants)
A storm grey silk tunic (shirt)
A worn leather weapons harness (on belt)
He has been bestowed the following title(s):
Noble of the Realm
Medal of Honor recipient
Oake asks Masai, "Medal of Honor?"
Oake listens intently.
Masai smiles at Oake.
Masai rubs his exquisitely carved ivory Claw
Masai says to Oake, "I received it after
the battle of Sundown's Reach."
Oake asks Masai, "feel like telling the
Oake snuggles with Masai.
Oake bats her eyes at Masai.
Masai says, "It was long ago, before I
was honored to be named a Clawmaster."
Masai ponders the meaning of the universe for
Masai says, "I was the cleric on a
Leuian navy longship, we would patrol the merchant sealanes
between leuian outposts in the Great Sea."
Masai smiles as he gazes off into the
distance, seeing sights from long ago.
You beam softly.
Masai says, "There is a small trading
community on the Sundown river to the far south of the
landmass Spur sits on, really just a place for ships to
Masai says, "A 'Reach' is a section of
river that runs straight for a goodly length of time,
Sundown's Reach is the town's name as it sits in the midst of
one. A good natural harbour, with easy access to the sea."
The gentle tolling of the night bells marks
the eleventh hour.
Masai says, "We had just been in a
storm, the boat had taken a beating as had some of the crew."
Masai says, "But our most dire need was
water, the storm had fouled all of our watercasks with the
Masai says, "So the captain decided to
make for Sundown's Reach."
Masai says, "It's not a leuian town, but
they were accustomed to our ships making port there from time
to time. Mostly humans and fir elves, but if one looked hard
enough you could find kyn."
Masai says, "When we limped into port,
the townsfolk ran to greet us. Most were brandishing anything
that could be used as a weapon."
Masai says, "Seems they had been preyed
upon by pirates, raided for supplies and for slaves."
Masai says, "The townsfolk weren't meant
for war, their weapons were mostly kitchen knives or hastly
Masai says, "Our boat did not carry a
large crew, at most during times of war we would have a
compliment of 20 sailors and 10 or 15 soldiers. At the time,
we were crewed with half that many."
Masai says, "And our boat was in sorry
shape to engage any enemy at sea."
Masai says to Kassandra, "The ship was
called The Zephyr."
Masai says, "Aye, a good ship she was."
Masai says, "The townsfolk begged us to
help them, they were in bad shape. Most had wounds, and the
food they had was mostly gone."
Masai says, "The captain, Tadev
Mistmane, gave every leuian the option of staying to help or
Masai says, "But she made it known she
would defend the city."
Masai says, "Every last one of the crew
chose to stay, it was an honor to be a part of such a brave
Masai says, "We made preparations. The
captain ordered us to scavenge all we could from the Zephyr
for defending and garrisoning the town. After stripping her
of all useable equipment, we scuttled her in the harbour's
entrance to keep the raider's boats offshore"
Masai says, "I tended to the townsfolk
as best I could, and some of the crew helped teach them a few
rudimentary skills for the coming battle."
Masai says, "Most we sent to hide in the
woods near the town, and the most able-bodied townsman we
could find was sent for help."
Masai says, "Captain Tadev was
everywhere giving encouragement and lending a helping paw
where she could. I think her actions in that time gave the
crew courage and heart for what came next. None wanted to let
Masai says, "At sunrise the next day
they came. Four grey ships flying black flags. Each one
packed with seasoned cuthroats hungry for plunder."
Masai says, "When they could not dock
their ships, they fired ballistae at the town. The tips
coated with pitch and set aflame."
Masai sighs and closes his eyes
Masai says, "The townsfolk did their
best to keep the flames from consuming their town, a few of
the crew pitched in. We would not be able to fight if
everything burned around us."
Masai says, "During the confusion, the
ships set out their landing boats."
Masai says, "Captain Tadev took some of
the crew and ran down to meet them on the shore, from my
vantage point I could see the glint of the sun on the blades
as they clashed. Spells sizzled the air, the cries of the
wounded and dying forming a ghastly chorus."
Masai says, "Soon the water near the
shore was ruddy with blood, the defenders pushed back from
the shore by the tide of bodies massed against them."
Masai says, "Captain Tadev managed to
pull some of the wounded to relative safety, her own fur
matted with blood. Both hers and the pirates. Her scimitar
was dented and dull from the fight."
Masai says, "I was supposed to stay back
and take care of the wounded, not involve myself in the fight.
The wounded could be healed to help fight again the Captain
Masai shuffles his feet.
Masai says, "But I couldn't sit by while
the others fought and died. I saw the captain surge into the
fight again, soon she was surrounded by a sea of raiders.
Each one howling for her head."
Masai says, "She was cut off from
support, the crew began to loose heart as she started to
falter. The wounds she had taken had ebbed her strength."
Masai says, "I'm still not sure what
happened next. I just remember feeling rage, everything was
tinted red to my eyes."
Masai says, "Some told me I roared like
a demon as I ran into the fight, pulling pirates down with my
claws as I struggled to get to the captain."
The silence of midnight is broken by the
sound of the clock tower.
Masai says, "Even half-dead as she was,
she was still a vision to see fight. Her blade wasn't a tool,
it was part of her. She didn't move, she flowed.."
Masai says, "The raiders picked at her
like dogs, each one afraid to face her blade head-on."
Masai says, "I soon gained her side and
did what I could in the chaos of battle to bolster her
flagging strenght. I called upon Odarous many times that day."
Masai says, "By that time the raiders
had done for most of the crew and townsfolk that remained."
Masai says, "Perhaps if I had stayed at
the healing station, more would be alive today."
Masai says, "But those of us who
remained alive managed to band together."
Masai says, "The captain, myself, Stron
Twitchtail, Mactor Rufflefur and Flora Whiteclaw managed to
band together with some of the townfolk near one of the
Masai says, "The raiders had pulled back
momentarily, they hadn't expected any resistance."
Masai says, "Their captain shrieked
curses at them and us as he came ashore, we who remained
alive had held his pirates at bay for most of the morning.
The sun was nearing midday as they charged us again."
Masai says, "I spent the last of my
runes in the first few moments of that fierce clash. Stron
flung himself at the pirates to buy a moment for a wounded
townsman to get out of harm's way."
Masai says, "A blow from one of the
pirates took him in the side and lifted him into the air. His
life was gone before he touched the ground again."
Masai closes his eyes again.
Masai says, "Captain Tadev tried to cut
her way to the pirate leader, hoping it might end the fight.
I tried to help, but the chaos of the battle pulled us apart
and soon I lost sight of her as I struggled for my own life."
Masai says, "A mighty howl split through
the din of the battle."
Masai says, "Captain Tadev had found the
Masai says, "All battle ceased except
for the two of them."
Masai says, "The pirate captain was a
huge man, his weapon a cruel serrated blade that ripped the
flesh from his foes in great gouges when he connected."
Masai says, "And he had not fought for
his life all day as our captain had. His first swing was
blocked by Captain Tadev, but she slumped to one knee from
the force of it."
Masai says, "The pirate crew began to
place bets on the fight, shouting odds to each other on how
many blows it would take and if their captain would cleave
ours in two."
Masai says, "During the fight, Flora
moved most of our grieviously wounded into the shack and we
all did our best to catch our breath."
Masai says, "I think the Captain knew
she was buying us time, she did her best to defend herself
and never pressed an attack."
Masai says, "Her weariness took its toll.
The pirate captain disarmed her, all she could do was dodge
his blows and wait for an opening for her claws."
Masai says, "She leaped at him, her
claws straining to rip out his throat."
Masai says, "But he was quicker, she
landed on his blade."
Masai shakes his head from side to side sadly.
Masai says, "There were four of us still
standing to face the rest of the pirates."
Masai says, "They called for us to
surrender, and in that moment we might have."
Masai says, "But with her last breath,
Captain Tadev spat defiance at the pirate captain."
Masai says, "We couldn't give up after
that. We retreated into the shack, making the pirates come at
us through the doorway."
Masai says, "They couldn't get at us in
great numbers, soon they were pulling the dead and wounded
from the doorway to get at us. Our bodies tired, the blades
became heavy as the day wore on."
Masai says, "They set fire to the shack,
but some god above smiled down upon us. Before the fire could
take hold, a storm broke. The downpour doused the flames."
Masai says, "Soon Flora and I were the
only ones standing. Mactor leaned against a chair for support
as he fought."
The Spur bell gongs loudly once, announcing
Masai says, "My blade broke, I fought
with my claws until I could grab another."
Masai says, "Flora roared like a woman
possessed throughout the fight."
Masai says, "But we could still hear the
curses of the captain driving his men on."
Masai says, "The townsman we sent for
help had found a party of fir elf foresters in the woods."
Masai says, "Soon the pirates began to
fall, the fir's arrows falling like rain into them."
Masai says, "The pirate captain went
berserk. His prize was being denied him. He charged into the
shack, bulling over Flora as she tried to stop him."
Masai says, "Somehow in the fight, I had
gained Captain Tadev's scimitar. I guess one of the raiders
picked it up as a trophy."
Masai says, "He came at me, his blade
swinging in great arcs."
Masai says, "Out of self-preservation, I
fell to the ground to avoid one of his blows."
Masai says, "Thrusting upwards with the
captain's scimitar and all my remaining strength, I ran him
Masai says, "He fell on top of me, stone
dead. I passed out from exhaustion."
Masai says, "When the fir elves found
me, I still had the hilt of Captain Tadev's scimitar clutched
tightly in my paw, though the blade had snapped off in the
pirate captain's belly."
Masai readies a horn hilt.
Masai rubs his horn hilt.
Kara beams at Masai.
Masai says, "I still have it to remind me of that day."
Masai returns his horn hilt.
Masai says, "Of our crew, only myself and Flora survived the day."
Masai says, "Fortunately, most were able to be restored to life."
Masai says, "But not our brave Captain. She'd spent her last gaining us the time we needed for
Masai smiles sadly at Kara.
Masai says, "We raised and repaired our boat. The Zephyr never looked better."
Masai says, "Once she was seaworthy again, we prepared the Captain's body and placed her on the boat. We then cast the Zephyr out to sea, setting her aflame so the ship and the captain would sail forever."
Masai says, "When the fire was blazing, we saw an eagle of flame circle around the boat before soaring into the sky and disappearing."
Masai says to Kara, "Flora is now a captain of a leuian warship."
:::The candle flickers with its last breath
of life as the tiny form gathers her things and flitters off
to make way to the dusty shelves of lore:::
[Go To Top]
An account of the Isle of Leuia, as seen from the studies, travels, and life of Kruses J. Kunimalla- Leuian Sword of Sa, of the Kunimalla Klan of Jhyhan.
The Floating Isle of Leuia is an object of myth and wonder throughout the known world. It's location, while ever changing, is still guarded fiercely by the Leuians. No Honorable khat would divulge its whereabouts, and ingrained within Leuians is a sense of where the Isle lies, it whispers to them, deep within their hearts. Those of other races are rare to the Isle, and if by some twist of fate they come to Leuia, they will not be met with great welcome. Leuians are a sensible folk, however, and will aide those in need, usually pursuing that course which will get the strangers off the Isle as quickly as possible. Very rare is the case in which a person of another race will be invited to Leuia. If others are foolish enough to come to Leuia with hostility, their fate is settled quickly, though this has happened only once in history. The ferocity with which a Leuian protecting their home and Leuia battles, is a force completely unparalleled.
Rising up steeply from the beautiful, sandy beaches and coves, to a short lowland area, then thrusting into the higher plains, on to the uplands, and continuing upwards, the center of this sharp and massive rise from the sea is the most predominant feature of Leuia, Mount Fang. In its grandeur, its sheer faces and its nearly overwhelming presence, it is equal to any other peak in the known world. The abrupt cliffs and rises of the peak of Mount Fang come to summit in such a way that it curves dramatically from the center, as if a massive upturned Leuian fang were rising from the sea. The peak of Mount Fang is often shrouded in a thick blue hued mist. In this way Mount Fang, even in all of its immensity, will remain hidden from ships and eyes at sea.
Fang has, upon Leuia, a deified presence, and is a demigod of the Leuians. Many cults, sacrifices, festivals and colorful ceremonies have arisen in homage to Fang, the great protector. Leuians believe that it protects the Isle, and themselves, and none question its power nor test its wrath. Fang, like Leuians themselves, has proven to have a quick temper and a sinister wrath, which if tested will most often prove ill-fated for those whom dare tread where Fang does not want them. On the western slope, or the Western Krags, of Mount Fang there is a sub peak, The Black, and these dark cliffs and crags continue all the way down to the sea cliffs of Fel. Here it is said that Fang keeps one foot in the sea, and one ear to the sky, and listens to, and speaks with all the world.
Only a single trek surmounts the Western Krags of Leuia, Khachakan Pass. Winding through the jagged rock of the Krags, it is used only when absolutely necessary. While Fang allows it to remain, not all that attempt to surmount it are allowed passage by Fang. Many climb Khachakan never to return. Further out from the Sea Cliffs of Fel lies the one mysterious companion island to Leuia, known as the Isle of Light. The Isle of Light is a very sacred place, and thusly not a great deal is shared about it, except that this is where the Kythes of legend are held, once in a generation and in times of great need. The Isle of Light appears like a castle of white rock set upon the writhing western waters, and surrounded by gleaming white beaches. Beyond this, only legends, fables, and those who have been there know what else may be found on the isle; and of these things they never speak.
The northern side of Leuia offers a more barren and sparsely populated view. An arid region with parched desert expanses, and odd rock outcroppings that arise throughout. It is known to the Leuians as the Greylands. Within the Greylands is the Valley of the Lost. This area has a great many rock outcroppings that is one of the only places upon the Isle that Mount Fang is lost to sight, and therefore folk can become hopelessly lost amid the cloned rocks and dull sand of the Valley. Those that may accidentally come into that valley may wander for days and weeks before the sands finally take them.
The eastern slope of Leuia is lush and rich, often deluged with incredible amounts of rain. Deep jungles smother the coast and clog the narrow valleys of the eastern wash. Upon the highlands are the fertile rises which the Leuians are able to farm with ease. Seemingly endless lush fields of crops are touched by Fang's crystal waters and grow at amazing rates, and to equally astounding sizes, providing sustenance to much of Leuia. The small city of Rhenn lies in a shallow bay on the Eastern Cape, surrounded by great fields and jungles.
The southern tier of Leuia is where the majority of the population dwells, and where the great city of Leuia lies. Like an enormous funnel between the Western Krags and the Eastern Rise, down the center of the Southern Tier flows the great river, Ki, embracing the city at its mouth. From the mists of Fang, over the White Falls, through the Silent Canyon, and across the land Ki flows unstoppable to the sea. Just before meeting the ocean, Ki splits in two, and continues its journey in the West Wash and the East Wash. Nestled here, in the middle of these expanses of lowland is the great bay. There lies, upon the fork of Ki, the legendary city of Jhyhan.
Despite its mystery and legend, Jhyhan is a city of simple elegance and proficient beauty. With astounding gardens of native plants and flora, and grand fountains gracing the wide, cobbled avenues. Enormous Koy trees, native only to Leuia, shade Jhyhan, hiding the simple, yet elegant homes and buildings beneath their wide expanses of leaves and sky blue flowers. Jhyhan is practical in its beauty, and proficient in its layout; truly a Leuian city. The main avenue, Justice Way, leads from the busy docks of the harbor through the city rising up Khan Hill. Where atop it lay the fountains of Rinanni, and loom the great Halls of Honor and Justice. Leuian homes spread out from Justice Way to either side, and continue all the way to the East and West Washes. The Bay of Jhyhan is a bustling harbor, with the swift Leuian Ships coming and going from all corners of the great waters. Despite this worldly influence and influx, Jhyhan remains much as it always h! as for innumerable generations, unchanged, whole, and truly Leuian.
Penned, 310, K.J.K.
[Go To Top]
Greetings, kyn. As most of you know, my father has been gone these many days on a journey he felt he must make to answer honor. I made him promise before he left to hire a Usil Scribe to accompany him, as he never was a student of the quill. This fellow will record his journey and send as he can news of what comes of my father's travels. As circumstance would have it, I received both copies of the scholar's journal entries today. I am posting them as per my father's request.
Greetings to you who read this. My name is Jondolar Tongolath of the Aradath Association of Scribes and Messengers. Meldin Greyhand has retained me through our service, to record the events of a journey he plans to undertake, as well as to serve as correspondent to those he leaves behind. My certifications are, of course, impeccable; I speak the Leuian tongue as well as several other racial dialects. I vow to record the fact of what I witness, though as a student of mortal psyche, I have been given license by my employer to speak of more than the simple bones of what I see to better relay the mood and tenor of these travels we undertake.
Our journey begins in Spur, where I have met my employer at the docks before the gracious Leuian vessel called 'The Star of Leuia' .
We are met at the gangplank by the ship captain, who is introduced to me as one Ansel Tygereyed. He is a large khat the size in fact of my employer, the two being among the largest examples of their race I have ever seen. I watched as the two of them exchanged a smile, but it seems there is a weight upon them, and a tangible sadness in both their expressions.
As we began our ascent up the walkway my employer stopped, a thoughtful expression on his face as he intently scanned the shadows amongst the crates of the dock.
"Ansel, have you checked for stow-aways as of yet?" My employer asked.
The golden furred captain shrugged his broad shoulders. "It is a standard practice, of course, but if you are expecting trouble, I will assure the search is more thorough. You are expecting company?" Ansel asked with a close look at Meldin.
"Humor me please." My employer pressed.
With a nod from his captain, a mate disappeared below decks. We boarded the ship, Ansel taking the time to point out many features of the small, swift craft with obvious pride.
We were interrupted shortly into our tour as two sailors reappeared escorting a third leuian, a female, who looked in turns shamefaced and rebellious. Her chin had a stubborn angle and her eyes a glint as they stared at Meldin. As she was brought forward, I was surprised to see her manner fall into one of gracious politeness as she curtsied to the Captain and apologized with a humble eloquence after introducing herself as my employer's daughter, Gabrielle Greyhand. A quick look at the large white khat showed he was in no small part amused at her looks toward him, even as he seemed to be attempting a stern visage. My employer frowned as the young khatress finally turned her attention to him.
"Gabby, what did I tell you?" he asked her.
The youngster stubbornly gazed at my employer before finally sighing and looking away. She reached out to him, grasping his arm, her eyes pleading, then admitting, "Poppa, I know you told me to stay. But I told you it was not wise to go on this hunt alone. I can help."
My employer chuckled softly, a warm smile curving his lips as he pulled the red furred khatress into a hug and nuzzled her in the way of this race. He excused himself, his arm over her shoulders as he guided her off the ship, his head lowered to speak quietly to her as they walked down the gang- plank, with her reluctantly following.
He returned alone, and I looked as she stood quietly on the docks, very still, and I was surprised to note a glow periodically suffusing her head. A khat with the gift of mind powers is not a common thing.
The small one watched us as we pulled from the docks, and I am sure I could feel her watching even after we had slipped out on the tide and were beyond sight.
The rest of the evening was uneventful, and I spent a large amount of time acclimating my stomach to the movements of the ocean. My employer met with Captain Tygereyed for several hours, then returned as I was already abed. He took to his bunk quietly, but I could hear him toss restively upon it until the dawn once more colored the sky outside our porthole.
Today, I was informed in more depth about the details of our mission. It seems we are on no simple sea cruise, but a mission of vengeance and reprisal. I have reason now to understand the stern expressions of the leuian sailors that go so efficiently about their tasks, and why I observe the same expression on my employers face. Between his words and those of some of the crew, I have pieced together a sad tale indeed.
Not long ago a merchant ship from the island of Leuia was attacked and pirated, most of the crew and two passengers lost in the fray. It seems we now hunt the ocean thieves to repay the grievous loss of life. Among those killed were the brother of my employer, Furious Soulreaver, and his daughter Ashes Tygereyed, a young healer of the God Odarous, niece of Meldin and Ansel Tygereyed.
Late in the day, as the sun floated in crimson clouds, we landed on the island where Furious' and Ashes' bodies had washed ashore and were where laid to rest. We took the short trek inland to the gravesite to pay our respects, the first time for all of us, it seemed. We came to a high bluff overlooking wind tossed waves; a lonely place, where the wind whipped at our cloaks and ran furrows through wild sea grasses. The air was thick with salt and the smell of the roses that tangled along the edge of the rocky path.
My employer and the good Captain knelt beside each grave in grief and prayer. On the white marble headstone bearing the name Ashes, he laid a small Leuian doll. I saw his lips move, and the wind brought to me his words as I saw tears escape his closed eyes.
"Ashes, I am sorry, little one."
Somewhat awkward with what I had overheard, I stepped back a good distance to allow Captain Tygereyed and Meldin to say their farewells with more privacy. We returned to the ship without a word spoken. I had nothing to say to either of them, and indeed I was reluctant to interrupt the keening of the wind and cry of seabirds. I was eager to return to the ship and leave behind this haunted isle. I would swear to you the mood of the place had me believing that twice when I looked back, I glimpsed some fleeting image before it melted into shadow.
We stayed in the small cove that gained us some shelter from the waves that night, and I spent my time alone as this private people closed ranks in their grief, speaking quietly to each other and paying me no heed other than the barest courtesy while I was served my meal.
I chose to remain below decks that evening as a memorial service was given, though I left my porthole open. The winds had died down, and the sea was still as if in respect as they gathered above decks. I listened as all came forward and spoke of the dead. Small stories remembered by these rough lived legions, of a khit full of life and an incredible gentleness of spirit; A happy khatress with an innocence that was untainted by the world around her. They spoke also of her father, a powerful khat who had loved her and her mother with all his great heart.
When the stories were finished, the songs began, and the tales of the families left behind. And so it continued late into the night until Meldin came quietly into our cabin seeking what sleep he could find. I remembered thinking he would find none, as every time my eyes found the shadow of his face, his glowing khat's eyes seemed to be staring up at the ceiling.
I must have lost my battle to sleep some time during the night. At some point I was forced out of restless dreams when I awoke to a low, mournful wail. As I blinked the sleep from my eyes, I saw my employer out of his hammock, wicked claws unsheathed as he crouched in a battle stance. In the low light, I saw every hair on his neck was raised as the keening cry came to an end.
I stood, grabbing for my rapier, sure we were being visited by some unholy terror as he ran toward the door. We heard the thud of feet above us, and a few shouts as he yanked open the door, nearly falling upon the crewman standing there with hand raised to knock. Staggering back several steps, and stammering at the murderous look on my employers face, he bowed hastily then relayed a message from our captain. He sent his regrets for the rude awakening, and wished to assure us the noise was nothing other than a passing sea harpy. He bade us return to sleep, as we would shortly be underway, and that the decks would be an awkward place for us.
I couldn't help but notice that the crewman seemed to remain tense even after Meldin apologized for nearly trampling him and had regained his usual easygoing countenance. I wondered if the sleepless nights had not added up that he did not notice as he closed the door and returned to his bunk. I suppose the eerie sound had had more of an effect on me. It had seemed to carry in it all the rage and grief of the world, and echoed yet in my soul. Yet even as I crawl back into my blankets, I can't help but wonder why I hear so much activity in the ship's hold below us.
The next morning we awoke to find the winds had returned, and with them, heavy rains. We were far out to sea, and it seemed we had made good time from our position the evening before.
As we exited our berth we were met by Captain Tygereyed. It seemed my employer was not the only one who had not found sleep the night before. His face was drawn, even though he smiled warmly and greeted us. He seemed ill at ease today, and seemed to have lost some of his assurance for some reason. He nodded, clapping Meldin on the back after leading us into the ships mess.
"We make good time. The winds are with us this day."
I asked about the harpy the night before as I had never seen one of the creatures outside of a species preserve. It was with surprise that I noted our companion's conversation with my employer faltered. He shrugged his broad shoulders, remarking it away casually, then stood claiming duties elsewhere. My employer stood with him, and I believe he too noted the captain's recaltrance.
"I will take watch." Meldin spoke firmly leaving no room for arguments. Captain Ansel simply nodded, seeming to sense that Meldin needed to occupy himself. They left me to my own devices, and I returned to the cabin for a good part of the day, catching up on my journal. Later, as the rain abated, I took some fresh air above decks.
As I mulled through my thoughts during my rounds, feeling extremely out of place, I overheard two of the mates talking. I have found from past experience that many are unwary around me when speaking their native tongue...very few have my particular gift with dialect.
"I begin to fear this is a fool's mission... the trail is cold by now. I can't see how they can expect to find one group of cutthroats in an entire sea of them," the first spoke, in a tone just above a whisper.
"Mind what you say Brogun, we all signed on to this one as volunteers. This weren't gonna be a day cruise. Gonna be a long hard haul if I got the reckonin' of it. Every one of us knew the odds. The captain will find 'em...sure as we'll eat hardtack for dinner tonight. There will be a payback to them lot for killin' kyn...and not an entire ocean can hide them from the Tygereyed clan. I reckon that Greyhand fella be a demon from one a Taath's hells, and just as unlikely to give up the hunt. Now hand me some more rope."
found myself shudder at the conversation as a premonition crept upon me. I knew in that moment our quarry would be found. For a second, I had a slight twinge of pity for those we chased. Then I recalled the image of those two graves we had left behind, and the thought was lost.
As morning blended into afternoon, and noon into evening, I returned to deck several times to watch the legendary sailors work, seeing to the thousand things that had to be done on a sailing vessel.
Each time I looked, I saw Meldin standing his post at the bow of the ship, a massive Leuian figurehead of blazing white fur and stern visage. His khat's eyes scanned the horizon ahead of us, as if he knew what he sought lay just over the next wave.
Dinner, such as it was, came and went without him in attendance. I had long since settled in my bunk for the night when my employer finally joined me, falling at long last into an exhausted sleep.
The night was eventless as far as I knew and when I awoke, my cabin mate was already gone. There were more private discussions between my employer and the good captain, and I occupied myself by observing the interactions of those Leuian crewmembers I was coming to recognize.
For the most part, they seemed to ignore me, though I was not insulted, as I had learned something of their culture in my studies. When they did interact with me, they were polite and did not tend to linger. I saw several of the crew fishing during their off duty time, and they allowed me to join them when I showed an interest. I counted this
Two of them even spoke to me at some length of angling technique and the species of fish to be had in this area. I am afraid that in my eagerness, I encroached too far on our fragile camaraderie, and I asked them to tell me what they believed our plan of action was once we found the pirates.
The smiles were abruptly gone and they exchanged looks. The taller of the two, Mercurus, bowed to me and excused himself to take our catch to the galley. Zallus stayed, collecting our gear, then paused before he left, glancing at me.
"Then we kill them. All of them."
I watched him walk away, my gaze catching two still figures at the front of the ship. Ansel and Meldin stood their posts unwavering, eyes tirelessly scanning the gray seas. The sea thieves had one less day to their lives. I knew that beyond a doubt as I took to my bunk that night.
Today I was asked to join the daily meeting between my employer and our captain. As if I were not simply a hired member of the party, I was asked to assist them with something well within the scope of my duties. I must admit, it was such a small matter; I was rather surprised they seemed so uncomfortable with asking me.
As per my agreement, I was to act as emissary for the ship and serve as an unbiased negotiator with some fellows at our next port. It seemed they had in their possession some information that was vital to our mission. I will say I was eager to do this thing for them. By this time, there was a part of me that felt very involved with these legions on a personal level.
It was revealed to me that those I would deal with were less than paragons of society. This explained much as I was familiar with the Leuian outlook on those who pursued certain paths to monetary stability. Even with such dire need, it seems they could not bring themselves to do this on their own. For the first time I felt necessary here, and reassured them as I could that this posed no obstacle to one of my skills. I was told then that the item was a map that would lead us to an island surrounded by treacherous reefs. Only with its aid would we be able to find then put to shore at another port, our goal in this journey.
Tonight I will sleep little, as my restlessness matches that of the white khat across from me.
Our ship put in at a port in the southern ocean this afternoon. I know not that I could call this place a city in truth, as it was a miserable cluster of buildings bordering a great swamp. The reek of the miasma reached us far before we saw land, and I found myself reluctant to put ashore...an alien situation for me. But of course, as my task had it, I did so as soon as the port 'official' cleared us for entry, a bag of gold clanking in his pocket as he darted into a far alleyway.
My stomach is in knots, the tension of my shipmates taking its toll on me. They are ill pleased to be here, and have drawn a good bit of attention. Insults are lobbed from the shore, along with an occasional rotten bit of vegetable, yet my companions hold aloof from it all.
I find I am eager to be about this task so as to leave this place far behind. As I depart the ship with the white khat following me closely, I am brusquely directed into a hovel at the far right of the docks. I am near overwhelmed with the stench of old liquor and vomit, a brimming chamber pot lending its own particular aroma to our meeting place.
An old man lies on a straw stuffed mattress, a bottle of Saldean Rum within reach. Both legs are missing below the knee, and I can smell the sickening sweetness of rotting flesh beneath the odor of the room. A hag of a woman tends a cook fire, and I look away from what it is she prepares for a meal, my stomach heaving. A san elf leans in a corner, watching me, idly cleaning his nails with a stiletto. I could not have thought of a more fitting place for one of his kind.
"Ye have the askin' price for me map?" The old man spoke up, eyes bright with fever, avarice or both.
"Yes I do." I responded as levelly as I could.
He scratched at himself, eyeing the white khat that stood behind me with a gloating expression.
"Well me and the old lady been talkin' it over and we want double now."
"You... You want double the agreed upon price?" I asked.
"Aye double, now go tell your boss what I said. It is double the price or no map."
The khat behind me moved, tossing a bag onto the dirt floor at the old man's side. His expression was a blend of contempt and disgust. The old man grabbed at it, clutching it to his bony chest as the old woman scuttled to his side. Cunning eyes went to my employer's face, but something there must have raised a note of caution. The old man nodded to the San, and a rolled parchment was tossed over to us. I retrieved it from the muck in which it landed, ignoring the dark elf as he laughed at me.
As we turned to leave, the old man yelled after us. "You tell em ole' Jayke Munters sends his regards! You make sure they know was me that sent 'em hell! Ya hear me?! You make sure they know!"
We left quickly, returning to the ship, the sound of his laughter quickly overcome with a bout of phlegm thickened coughing.
The ship set sail the moment we boarded, and my employer and Ansel again went into the captain's quarters, the ship's navigator now in possession of the map and included in the meeting. Before they left, both thanked me, and Captain Tygereyed gifted me with a generous bonus. I was almost embarrassed to accept it.
The sharp pitch of the ship awakened us as it was mauled by severe weather and high seas. I was unsure of the time though I felt it to be early. A storm has found us and everyone works to keep the ship's course true. I fear much of this day was lost to me, as I remained in my bunk, very ill from the rough seas. The messenger birds will not fly in this weather in any case.
Today is a better day, though the sky is still dark and rain pours over the ship. I was able to rouse myself from my bunk and found I was able to eat, gaining some measure of strength from it. Meldin returned to our quarters and pulled out a sea trunk from under his bunk. He informed me the island we sought was in sight as he removed from it some worn brigadine armor, strapping it on with practiced ease.
I learned that as I had lain ill the previous day we had been joined by company. Another of the ships owned by the Tygereyed family had found us in the storm, and though he said little on it, I took it that the meeting had been as stormy as the weather.
When I expressed my surprise that they had not joined us, Meldin explained that he and Ansel had decided to overlook an element of their culture in order to lay claim to the map. It had been a grave choice, but one they both had agreed was necessary in order to find those responsible for their family's deaths. Ansel's kyn did not agree with him and would not take action on what he had gained through these means.
I enquired of my employer if I should not mention the events surrounding the procurement of the chart in my journal, but he assured me he did not regret the choice and had chosen his path. He accepted what consequences came of it.
Above decks I hear longboats being made ready. The ship was to remain in the bay while the captain and my employer row ashore. I heard myself volunteer to accompany them, somewhat amazed at myself. I pointed out that my knowledge of languages would come in handy if we were to listen for information on those they hunted. Reluctantly, he finally agreed.
As he donned an enveloping cloak to obscure his God mark, he looked at me and smiled, the tension in his visage easing a moment. I found that small gesture of approval suddenly meant a great deal to me.
I will finish this here and give it to a crewmember to send off in the morning in case we are not back. As I write this I look over the ship's rail towards the pirate town, watching as lights come on in the windows and darkness falls. I will try not to think on what it will mean if I am indeed not the one to send off this final scroll.
We came ashore under cover of night. It seemed it was a common practice and we were paid little heed. Both my companions were thickly garbed in dark clothing, and as there were others in this place of their race, much to the disgust of my small party, no one stopped us or gave us a second glance.
We entered a small tavern charmingly christened 'The Bloated Dragon'. I believe I was more nervous as a result of my company's uneasiness than the very real threat of the low lives that congregated here. It seemed to me both were radiating tension, and I noted clenched fists on either as well as cold, stony gazes. I was sure at any moment an alarm would go up as we would be noticed as outsiders, or they would lose control and react to some of what we saw going on in this place.
We found a table and took our seats, all of us watching the crowd, though I was not sure for what. For my part, I listened to various conversations hoping for mention of the ill-fated Leuian merchant ship. We sat for some time before a small group made its way in from the streets, the crowd parting for them. Two humans, an Oogra and a gobbie took seats at the bar, and by the ready way they were served, I took them to be of some importance here.
Meldin's eyes seemed drawn to the large burly human, or more precisely, to the sword he wore on his belt. If possible, his tension increased, and I had to restrain myself from backing away from the rage that lit his eyes. With a nudge of his elbow, he drew Ansel's attention as well, though I believe the captain had already noticed by the way his hand dropped to the hilt of his sword. A quick nod of his head and the two large khats stood, and this time the purpose in their movements drew the attention I had feared.
"That blade-- where did ye get it? Meldin asked in a voice that cut through the noise of the tavern.
The newcomers at the bar turned their full attention on the large khat.
The owner of the weapon smirked a bit as he turned his attention to the large stranger, rubbing the ornate hilt of the blade.
"Oh this? You admire me blade do ya? Well...quite a tale it is...one that makes the teller dry for the speakin' of it..." He grinned, baring a mouth full of rotten teeth as he tapped his empty glass.
A glance at my employer encouraged me to toss a gold coin on the bar, nodding to the 'tender as the crowd gathered, obviously ready for a favorite tale. The impromptu bard grinned wider, nodding as he tossed back the rum, then rubbed his belly appreciatively, enjoying his time in the lime- light. Several shouts rang out encouraging the fellow to tell his tale.
"A fair prize we won that day...and a rare one indeed as this bit of a blade can testify...." He gazed at my two companions, nodding slowly. "A ship that sailed reg'lar in the Absyentine straight...sure as the tides. We had her pegged as a merchantman and we was right. We waited till the weather was in our favor and jumped 'er...she never saw us comin'." Several shouts and cheers filed the room at this point and he waited a moment with a wide grin before he continued.
"This sword here...it came from one a yer kind. He was giving us a spot a trouble, he was... killed four a my best men in that fight. Had some little slip of a female healing and energizin' im...mighta turned the outcome if I hadn't acted quick." There was a smattering of boo's and hisses from the audience. The gobbie next to the storyteller cackled and danced a bit of a jig, waving a whiskey bottle around. "But hez gotz her! Oh yez he didz!" it cackled.
The human grinned, nodding. "I did at that. Got her from behind when I saw she was good an tired...the other one didn't see at first. The wench clawed me." He frowned at this point, rubbing a set of scars on his cheek. "Overboard she went for that bit a viciousness." He smirked and the gobbie squealed, rolling about on the floor as if in imitation of the drowning khit. The big man laughed as did the others, the Oog kicking the gobbie who growled and snapped at his foot.
"Now I have heard your kind hates the water but this little one, she sunk like a stone
mustah been that purdy morbious armor she had on..." The little goblin-al echoed his words, cackling gleefully. "A stone..sunk like a fur covered stone, she did!" he howled.
Involved in their tale, they did not notice as the two large khats deliberately removed their cloaks, the eagle God marks on their arms seeming to flare in the low light.
Adding fuel to the rage in their eyes, the walking dead man continued. "A pity too, I always wanted to try me one of them furry females of yers..." He guffawed loudly, those in the tavern laughing with him as the gobbie sashayed around the room fluttering its eyes and purring like a khat.
A low rumbled growling stilled the laughter and the crowd's eyes turned to the two khats, who were both moving toward the taleteller with slow deliberation. For a moment there was a wave of uneasiness in the tavern as eyes alighted on the flaring god marks and the menace of the two burly khats registered. The pirate glanced around, and I think he felt the shadow of death brush across him before he reasserted himself, his joviality turning ugly.
"Lookie here lads, we have ourselves a couple of real live heroes," he said with a chuckle, leaning back against the bar, his arms crossed. His words had the desired effect and the cutthroats in the bar snickered, taunting the two khats. The human sneered, brave with the backing of his fellows.
"Now go away heroes before ye become dead heroes." Before his words were completely spoken, half of the forty or so men that sat in the tavern rallied to his side, coming between him and the two legions. Ansel's hand fell to the tigerseye hilt of his cutlass, and my employer extended his razor like claws. In unison they took a battle stance, back to back.
"Looks like the two a ye want to join yer kyn...to bad they be at the bottom of the sea er it ud be a right nice family reunion..." The captain broke into a gale of laughter, which two murderous roars that I pray could be heard back on our ship drowned a moment later out.
For a long moment there was nothing but quiet as the mob was taken aback, then Taath's hell opened wide. Twenty pirates encircled them, wielding an array of weapons, grinning widely.
My employer nodded as the circle closed in around them. "Fight well brother, may many of them fall at your feet," he said quietly to Ansel.
"Odarous guide your claws, may them strike true!" Ansel bellowed as he tossed tables and kicked chairs out of their way.
What I saw next was both the most beautiful and stomach turning display I had ever seen. Meldin and Ansel moved as if they where one body, striking and slashing in a lethal dance. Ansel's cutlass flashed in a series of lightening thrusts and parries as it cut into the press of bodies. Before I could react to what was happening, three raiders lay dead at his feet. My gaze focused on Meldin then, and I watched in dreadful fascination as the once white khat was splattered with blood, though none his own. I saw two pirates fall in the space of a moment, one a human whom he gutted with a stroke of a massive clawed hand.
I watched, cursing my inability to help, seeing them tire though half the room lay dead or wounded on the blood slicked floor. I who had no god found myself praying that some deity would take notice of these two great warriors and assist them. I could see their doom just around the corner.
The attack pressed harder now as they faltered and the pirates sensed victory. They forced my employer and Ansel out the door and onto the walkway. One of them struck out at Meldin with a nasty whip covered in thorns. It bit deep into his flesh tearing him from his forehead to jaw line and forced him to a knee. I heard my voice cry out, though it was lost in the din as Ansel stepped in front of him to bring his cutlass down on yet another foe, but his angle of attack left him open, proving his undoing. With Meldin down for that split second, the good captain was vulnerable, and the opening was not missed.
A wickedly barbed spear erupted from Ansel's back spraying my employer with gore. The oog wielding the spear lifted Ansel off his feet and tossed him over his shoulder, the limp form landing with a sickening thud, and I cried out in despair.
As they closed in on Meldin, another roar sounded from the rear of the attacking mob. It seemed I somehow recognized the sound though I could not quite place it. It was rage and hatred and unbearable pain given a voice, and for a moment, it caused the attack to falter.
Bodies seemed to fall and the press of mortal flesh gave way as what seemed the darkness of the streets themselves cut into the mob. I could not register at first what I saw, then realized this demon of the night was another leuian, small and quick, her fur gold, though dripping blood and sea water as she waded through her foes. The figure moved so fast I had a hard time seeing her face, but when I did I recoiled from what I saw there. Rage, I had seen before, and sorrow, as well as hatred. But never had I seen death in living eyes.
She fought to the side of the wounded and exhausted khat, her lip curling as she stood before him, snarling at those she faced in wordless threat. Many turned and ran as a dark glow seemed to emanate from her revitalizing her, making her tireless as she rained bone crushing kicks and punches on those that did engage her.
I was beginning to believe we had won, when an alarm went off in the city and more came running. My heart sunk for I knew this was the end no matter what demons drove the khatress. She would drown under the new wave of attackers.
I picked up a rusty blade, determined these two would not fall alone. Even as I did so I heard a shout and then the distant sound of screams and yells, battle engaged down the street from us. The thud of booted feet came nearer, and my heart leapt as what seemed a hundred leuian sailors flooded out of the darkness, sending the last knot of attackers fleeing.
"Could ye use a paw, kyn?" grinned the Star's first mate, his eyes sliding away from the khatress, faltering before focusing on Meldin. My employer slowly got to his feet, fatigued and sorely injured. I quickly moved to help him though he shrugged off my assistance with a distracted and pained smile, his stare on the khatress who had appeared out of the night.
Another group of our ship's crew entered, dragging the human with the sword and a shrieking gobbie. A tall, wiry, gray furred khatress spoke. "We found em hiding in a basement with a few others. The sword looked familiar....."
The small honey furred khatress turned her attention on the struggling human, eyes dropping to his sword. Her face tightened then a soft sinister hiss escaped her that froze my blood. She reached out, slowly tracing above the Setite God mark on his arm. There was an uneasy silence, the crew standing respectfully back from her. Meldin stared at the white-faced man.
"Please tell her how her daughter sank like a stone. You tell the mother and mate of those you murdered how you take pride in the fact that you and yours ended their lives. I promise you will find her quite a responsive audience." My employer smiled slightly as the man fell to his knees and turned away as the khatress began to move. I found I could not watch, and followed Meldin as he walked from that place toward the docks.
We heard the screams long after we left there, long after the begging had stopped. We heard later she had kept them alive by making them drink healing potions and telling them to call on their god until he had stopped answering their cries and ceased healing them. Only then did she kill them. My employer sighed wearily as we headed up the gangplank.
"Have they arrived yet?" he asked.
"Have what arrived?" I asked, puzzled
He gazed up at the sky, the first gray light of dawn stealing into the dark of night.
I looked up then and saw it as I looked back. Vultures spun in lazy circles where no birds had been, ignoring the dead this once, their intent this time on one still alive.
"It is done" Meldin said sadly as he tiredly entered the captain's quarters. I followed closely behind for I too wished to pay my last respects to Ansel. It is with great relief I discovered it was not to be so, for laying on his bed with a Rinannian healer hovering over him was the captain, restored once more to us.
"Odarous be praised." Meldin smiled, even as the efficient and firm priestess forced him into a chair and began to heal him. "I knew the Lord would nae let you fall to those beasts."
"I think our work is done here." Ansel looked out his port window, watching as flames filled the dawn sky. "This nest of vermin is gone. No more innocents shall fall to them."
"Aye that, but Purrl...."
"I know my friend but she has chosen her path as is her right. Now all we can do is be there for her."
The three of us exited the cabin. Staring out at the burning town was Purrl. After a nod to her brother, she turned her gaze on Meldin, the flames reflected in her eyes. She took a gore-matted object from her tunic, and took his hand, placing the worn and soiled stuffed toy tiger in his paw. Without a word, she turned and descended into the bowels of the ship. Ansel looked after her with a great sadness on his face as he explained quietly to us.
"She was with us all this time. She made me promise not to tell you. I am sorry."
The trip back has been made quickly with no untoward events. Even as I write these final words, I see Spur in the distance. I have not sent this final scroll out, as our ship would be there before it would. I have seen nothing of Purrl since that night, but a single vulture has followed us unerringly. It has made many uneasy. Many times I have caught my employer looking down at the stuffed tiger and I would wonder at his expression. It seems somehow to give him peace. I shall end my journal on this note, and shall give this final page to my employer's daughter as I have been asked.
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The Isle of Paladimar ...
As the good Khatyr commands on the 17th day of the 4th month, year 218, I, Lawmaster Jirav Resar have left Leuia this day for the isle of Paladimar, to investigate the case of Rekogor Falvor and his violation of the 3rd precept. The information I have thus far is marked as follows. 3 days ago the sailing vessel Windstar's Pride returned to Leuia minus one of it's deckhands, a seaman by the name Kethro Valer. Captain Elivar Rostan reported that Kethro had been clawed to death by Rekogor as Kethro made his way back to the docks from the town proper. Captain Elivar maintains that he immediately sought out the local Pride to bring Rekogor to justice, and was appalled to discover that the local Pride claimed no crime had been committed. I admit to being shocked and appalled that such could be claimed. I observed Kethro's body myself, and from my examinations, he died of a wound to the throat, inflicted by claws. I found a wound on his left paw that appears to have been incurred after Kethro was deceased. Part of the skin on the back of his paw is missing. Captain Elivar could not explain that, and states that it is likely the wound occurred as Kethro's body was being returned to the ship.
I wrote a scroll to an old friend of mine who used to be a seaman, Yariv Gorn, who during his career traded many times with the inhabitants of Paladimar, to give me his thoughts on why the Pride of Paladimar would refuse to investigate Rekogor. His reply follows : Paladimar is a bit strange. You'd be hard pressed to find one there that wasn't Taathian, and they aren't forgiving types. About a century or so ago there was a large cult of serpent worshippers hidden out in the jungle there. When the Taathians finally caught up with them, they executed every serpent-follower there, and built a monument to Taath out of their skulls. The khits who hadn't yet had taken their vows to the serpent and received the mark were all sent here to Leuia. They treat their families' honor as their own you see. If one member of the family chooses the path of a tarr, their own blood comes hunting them, and ensures they don't die easy. Last time they took a serpent worshiper into the temple there, it took him twelve days to die. Serpent worshipers are abominations true, but even I felt pity. They are kinder to the animals they sacrifice then they are to the serpent-followers they catch. You recall when those lakar pirates caught up with my old ship. They were shouting about having found Leuia, and my entire crew was prepared to sink both ships to prevent the isle from being found, but two Paladimar vessels, those light fast ones, came out of nowhere, and had that entire lakar crew prisoner in a matter of seconds. My next voyage out there I received a gift from the captain of one of those ships. They made a belt pouch out of one of those lakar's heads. I threw the thing into the sea and decided I was getting to old for the trader business. If you can show that someone there violated a precept, Rinanni have mercy on them. Paladimar won't.
The local Lawmaster met me at the docks and greeted me politely, introducing himself as Taldrake Vidar tal'Disidious ay'Kizerdi. He offered me a tour of the city and some refreshments before we got down to the matter at paw. I readily agreed. Curious, I inquired about his name, and he replied that each Leuian of Paladimar bears the name of their mother's clan as their birthright, their father's clan out of respect, and their khat'sara's clan out of love. His father was Mider Disidious tal'Minos ay'Vidir, and his mother was Nivera Vidir tal'Corinth ay'Disidious. His own khat'sara was Jezmena Kizerdi tal'Nonsoth ay'Disidious. Unsaraed khits take their grandmother's name as their last until they are 'saraed. Every inhabitant of Paladimar can trace their lineage back to the first settlers of Paladimar.
Taldrake then begin showing me around the city of Nis'Ryhir, telling me a bit about the island and gifting me with a map. Paladimar is a good-sized island approximately 30 miles from the coast of Leuia. It is shaped as a crescent moon, with reefs nearly completely enclosing the lagoon in the center. With the exception of the eastern tip, Paladimar is covered with dense jungle, nearly impassable in some regions. The eastern tip is a savannah, on which is located the city of Nis'Ryhir, the only major city on the island. Nis'Ryhir was built around an ancient temple, which is held by legend to have been built by Taath himself. It was a frightful place, chilling me enough that I declined when Taldrake offered to show me the inside. The doors were carved with the words "Through blood we find honor". I questioned Taldrake as to what faith he followed, and his eyes took on a fanatic light. He was Taathian, he proclaimed proudly, worshiper of the mighty god of strength and courage, and had taken the oath to defend the ancient ways of Leuia whether the blood spilled doing so was his own or Leuia's enemies. He would shrink from no pain, he would feel no fear, and he would never surrender, for Taath had blessed him as a warrior. I kept repeated in my head the words of the seventh precept, for I admit to being a bit repulsed. But even that did not prepare me for the sight of the Hall.
Like all Leuians, Paladimar's inhabitants send off their dead on funeral pyres. However, they remove the skull from the pyre before the flames have damaged it, and used them to build the walls of Pride Hall. Another wall surrounded the gardens outside the hall, also built of skulls. Taldrake proudly took me to his grandfather's skull, where he left a small offering and asked his grandfather's spirit to guide him on the path of honor. The empty, starring eyes of all those skulls gave me a chill. Glancing to my right and left, I noticed other leuians making offerings to the spirits of ancestors. One young leuian, scarcely more than a khit, cut open his paw and allowed some of his blood to dribble onto a skull. I heard him say "Guide my claws, Father, on the sacred hunt." The beauty of the gardens was a stark counterpoint to staring skulls that watched it.
I was invited to stay in the guesthouses for visiting Leuians, located just outside the hall. I said a silent prayer to Rinanni that it was constructed of wood. Taldrake's khat'sara had prepared a wonderful smelling meal for me, and I feel guilty in that I have no appetite tonight.
I awoke this morning to the sounds of khits. Stepping outside, I followed the voices to the garden, where I found an elderly leuianess reading aloud to a group of four very young khits. I was pleased to hear that she was reading the diaries, and quietly I listened. After she was done reading one of the passages, she asked the first of the khits to stand up. I listened, slightly amazed, as a khit of no more than three summers recited the words she'd written back to her, perfectly. So on she continued, as each khit made their recitation, and she alternated the order in which they spoke, so as to give none an advantage. When each had been given the chance to speak first, she released them to play, and they immediately ran through the gardens, laughing and pouncing each other joyfully. The elderly leuianess introduced herself to me as Renisa Nomitan tal'Zgord ay'Falvor. I repeated the name Falvor back to her, and she replied, yes, she was Rekogor's mother. Before I could ask her questions about Rekogor, she pointed in the direction of the khits, and said, we teach them the diaries by route so that they are always first and foremost in their memories, and they never have an excuse to disobey the teachings of their ancestors. I nodded in reply, and asked her to tell me what she knew of Rekogor's killing of a Leuian. She replied plainly, Rekogor killed no Leuian. I answered her that I had examined the body myself. She glared at me coolly, and stated, serpent-followers are not Leuian. My son executed a tarr'khat for the crime of setting foot on Leuian soil. If you examined the body, then you saw the mark on its hand. I was about to deny any such mark when I remembered the strange injury to Kethro's hand. I now had to acknowledge the possibility that Kethro was indeed a serpent follower, and that a member of his crew knew that and had taken steps to hide it. But how could Rekogor have known? I thanked Renisa, and left to seek out Taldrake.
Taldrake met me as I stepped out of the gates. With him was a tall, massively built leuian that he introduced as Rekogor. The three of us sat down on some of the benches in the garden. There, I asked Rekogor what led him to believe Kethro was a follower of the serpent. Rekogor replied that he was a member of the Nog'ithar, who patrolled the ruins of the old cult temples to ensure none were attempting to resurrect them. While patrolling the fire-blackened remains of one of the temples, he and his fellows had spotted Kethro and another leuian trying to open the seal that had been placed on the temple catacombs. The catacombs were reputed to hide a library containing artifacts of the serpent and of the lords of chaos. Inside were many magickal and nonmagickal traps, and rather than order many leuians to their death in searching them, the Nog'ithar had sealed the catacombs and maintained a guard. He and his comrades had given chase, but Kethro and the other leuian had summoned up shadows to hide them, and fled. By chance, Rekogor had returned to the city the next day to witness the kit'ra of his grandson. While walking along the docks, he had come face to face with Kethro, and they both recognized each other immediately. Kethro clawed at Rekogor, missing, and Rekogor had torn out his throat. Rekogor sounded a tad regretful, and said that he wished he had taken Kethro alive to face the temple's justice. I deliberately refrained from imagining what the temple's justice would consist of. I took out the sketch I had made of Kethro, and asked Rekogor if this was the one he had slain. He replied that yes, it was. Taldrake informed me that the witness on the dock who had come to fetch him had told the same story. Kethro had struck at Rekogor first. I asked if any other had seen the mark, and Taldrake replied that he did not know, though the one who had come to fetch him stated that Kethro had worn gloves minus the tips, which both protected and hid his paws, but left his claws free. That itself was odd, and I had seen no such gloves in Kethro's personal belongings. I asked Rekogor about the gloves, and Rekogor said he had removed them to examine Kethro's paws, but had tucked them into Kethro's vest. I asked if any of Rekogor's comrades had returned, and Taldrake said yes. I told Rekogor I had no more questions for him tonight and had Taldrake show me to the others. Four leuians awaited me in Taldrake's office, happily eating one of Taldrake's khat'sara's fine meals. I took out the sketch of Kethro, and three other sketches I had made of other leuians with similar fur and eye colors. I asked them to please identify the leuian they had seen in the woods. They all identified Kethro. I thanked them, and let them go back to their meal.
The next morning I went to speak with Captain Elivar. I asked about the gloves. Captain Elivar replied that Kethro did indeed wear such gloves, as did several of the deckhands. The gloves protected them from rope damage to their paws. I told him of the mark on Kethro's hand, and his eyes grew narrow. We went up to the deck and he told the crew to gather round. I asked those wearing gloves to remove one by one. Curious, they obeyed, and I examined their paws. The fifth leuian wanted to know what I was looking for. I did not answer, asking again to see his paws. He frowned and asked again why. Captain Elivar ordered him to obey, and without warning the fifth Leuian kicked my knee, knocking me to the deck. Before his surprised crewmates could react, he had leapt into the water and swum beneath the docks. The crew of the ship joined with the dockhands of Paladimar to search for the leuian, who used the name Garton Delik. We were unable to locate him. Captain Elivar and Taldrake helped me to the healer, and I told Taldrake of my conclusions regarding Rekogor. I told him that although it had turned out that Kethro was a tarr'khat, Rekogor had not been able to ascertain that until he had examined the corpse. In spite of the fact that Kethro had struck first and had acted suspiciously, Rekogor had no way of knowing he was a serpent follower and as such was in volition of the precept. However, taking the circumstances into account, I would suggest sentencing him to a year of solitude to meditate on the wrongness of hasty action and why Leuian should not kill Leuian. Taldrake agreed with my recommendation, and informed Rekogor. Rekogor thanked me for my efforts, wished me a safe journey on the path of honor, and left to seek solitude in the jungle.
After the healer was certain that I had sustained no lasting damage, Taldrake invited me go with him to find out if we could discover what Kethro and Garton had been looking for. It was a seven-hour journey to the remains of the temple, and I was grateful that mounts had been provided. The rugged Pethdeers were surefooted and carried us with ease. Accompanying us was Bina, a fellow Rinannian, one of the few non-Taathians on the island. I was surprised to learn she was Taldrake's eldest daughter. He spoke of her highly, saying that she knew more of the history of Paladimar than those who had lived it. She told me the story of the war of Paladimar, in which her great-grandparents had fought. A cult had sprung up in the hidden reaches of the jungle, combining worship of the serpent with the worship of two of the chaos lords, Evoloch and Arioch. They had practiced in secret for years, recruiting under the veil of secrecy. Those who refused to take the vows to the temple or who discovered its existence simply disappeared. It was not until Vyther, an acolyte in the temple, had given himself to shame at his betrayal of Leuian beliefs and returned to the city, falling on his knees in the temple and confessing all to the stunned warriors of Taath. No sooner had he finished his recital, he had removed a dagger from inside his robes and plunged it into his heart, saying 'my soul is cleansed, I go to my ancestors.' In respect for Vyther's redemption, he had been given a Leuian funeral, and his skull joined those of the garden wall.
The angry warriors had marched on the cult strongholds, and the battles had been fierce. After the cultists had been destroyed, the temples had been blasted by firemages to prevent them ever from being used again. There had been trouble identifying the corpses, because no honorable leuian would identify one who served the foul gods as kyn, for they had turned their back on the precepts and on the traditions of Leuia. Paladimar's grief over the leuians murdered by the cult was great, and all mourned. The khits of the cultists were sent to Leuia to learn the ways of Leuians, and as they grew up, many had returned and joined the Nog'ithar, to stand above the crimes of their parents. All khits whose parents had been part of the cult used Ithar for their clan name, and refused to acknowledge their parents as kyn. The cultists were lakar, for blood alone doth not a leuian make.
We reached the temple just as Bina finished her story. There, we found twenty Nog'ithar waiting for us. After Taldrake and I gave our permission, they preceded to bury the seal under the stone of the ruins. For four days and nights we worked, scarcely stopping to rest, until the seal was buried under the weight of a mountain. They then vanished into the jungle, to fulfill their oath to prevent the cult from ever rising again.
The next day I again listened in on the khit's lessons. It did not seem so odd to me this day to hear the story of Rinanni's promise told in the shadow of the wall of skulls. I to was guilty of judging to hastily. In spite our differing religions, I had come to realize that both Taldrake and I shared many of the same beliefs. We both placed everything second to the traditions of Leuia. In that, we were truly kyn.
I have no idea as to the whereabouts of Galton, but he will find no sanctuary on Paladimar. I close this case on the 12th day, of the 5th month, year 218.
Lawmaster of Leuia
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