Lunch becomes an Adventure
12/22 – 12/24/380 A.L.*
In a rare show of generosity, our Slaar Clan superior, Captain Kapena, has given a day pass to the hybrids Stilgar, Daitya, and Svetovid. Svetovid, in particular, is not allowed out of the compound without escort and he is swathed in desert robes to conceal his obvious changes. Haru and I, as their friends, have escort duty. We swing by my half brother’s place, and head to Aki’s.
Lunch at Aki’s. Summer is here and the seas are teeming with fish, so Aki’s is open. Perched above-ground between the fishing fleet docks and the trade ship docks, Aki’s serves the absolute best fish here in Nar Ram Mar. Sushi, sashimi, fried, broiled, you name it he prepares it. The break from our duties in compound is more needed than I thought, and I can sense long ignored tensions seep away with each bite of Aki’s sublime creations.
Our respite does not last long. The trade vessel, Tempest, pulls into the nearest dock. The passengers and much of the crew are all on deck, some thrilled and some anxious. I’m a guard, so I can’t ignore the excitement. Sheridan, my half brother, of course, is the first to head to the ship to find out what’s going on – perhaps it’s something he can profit from!
The passengers and crew report a strange anomaly along the south coast the the greater hook, on the approach to Nar Ram Mar’s harbor on the lesser hook – a concentrated, unmoving, area of dense fog. I insist that Daitya contact Captain Kapena with emerald magic to report the incident, and that’s the end of our day off. We’re told to gather our gear and meet a Slaar quick boat at the eastern dock – our task, investigate the anomaly.
The pedal-powered quick boat does indeed make travel quick, we cover the ten miles to the object in less than an hour. Even from a distance we can see that it – nearly two miles in diameter, perhaps a half mile tall – a flattened dome, filled with swirling grey fog. Daitya’s emerald magic scan reveals no life within its circumference, although the surrounding seas are filled with an unusual number of dolphins and whales.
Abruptly, Daitya becomes aware of people in the water – people whose emerald aura are like none she has ever seen. She reaches to contact them, and discovers powerful users of a strange magic, who speak common, in enigmatic declarations. We are told to wait, that now is not the time, and can get nothing more from them. We are frustrated, and Daitya reports back to Captain Kapena. We are given orders to go ashore to conduct further reconnaissance.
The crew of the quick boat drop us and our gear on the closest navigable shore to the west of the dome, and return to town. Traveling over the badlands toward the dome is challenging. We quickly discover the dome is broadcasting an area emerald magic effect of fear, forcing anything that can, to move away from it. Shielding ourselves from its effects, we get to within 150 feet it, at which point we hear a voice, in many languages, telling us to “Wait, your lives depend upon it.”
So, we will wait. We set up camp at the edge of the effect so that Stilgar’s dog, Dixie, does not feel the fear. We set watches, and feed Svetovid and Daitya. Their need is high and I hope that we are not forced to use our magic energy reserves for other purposes. Unfed changed who cannot hold to honor are a danger and the action required is not one I relish taking against friends.
The night passes uneventfully. In the morning, Sheridan and Svetovid lead the scouting of the circumference of the dome. They find nothing of note. While we set camp on the east side of the dome, we spot a boat offshore, and with our telescopes and Daitya’s emerald scans, we identify one high level Marked Plajet man, traveling with a high ranked Marked Feeshan woman and her three scout companions. They too seem to be investigating the dome. They sail west and we can no longer see them. We make sure we are unseen, and report to Captain Kapena.
Another night of monotony, and we head eastward, back around the landside of the dome. There is nothing for me to do, no traps to disarm, no locks to open. How long must we wait? We skirt as close to the dome as we can, keeping an eye out for the other group, incase they made landfall to the west of the dome. We spot them near noon, they are near the outer edge of the fear effect.
Suddenly the dome vanishes with a gust of wind in all directions, and we see the badlands changed beyond recognition. A smooth strip of fine grass, bisected by a short creator-stone road, circles a harbor! We move quickly and as cautiously as possible to reach the edge of a one hundred foot tall cliff surrounding of the harbor. We must reach it before the Marked group, this new harbor is in the Land Between, it falls under our jurisdiction, not that of the Creators.
The harbor is hard to comprehend. It did not exist three days ago, and now it is revealed, completed, with docks, warehouses, streets, Temples for six of the seven Creators, four other buildings – one which is half on land and half in the harbor – and areas for many more buildings.
As we stand, stunned, at the edge of the cliff, observing this miracle, we hear the footfalls of the Marked approaching.
– B. Thomas
*After Lore – the time of the Rogue-ing and the beginning of the Rogue Culture – 1000 years from the creation of the World of Abantey.