Sorry for the double post, but I really want to finish the Tsoti and Dzanya stories before this RP comes to a close, and there is quite a long road ahead, even if the pacing should start to grow a bit faster in the next few posts. I also can't make the posts too big since that is too exhausting, I have no pretty pictures for most of the dusklander and mesathalassan cultures and I do need the khookies to justify a lot of the tech and social advancement.
- After spending might on this almost a year ago, I finally show a flitterling. This one is named Lilul, and she is capable of flying at high speeds, which Trisana used to deliver Mavadzugji’s texts to the Dusklands. - Tura is on her mission to spread writing among the dusklands, while visiting a village she discovers they have “pet” owls they use to hunt mice and snakes. - Mavadzugji is doing good progress in translating texts, and after covering some of the Mesthalassa stuff, he starts aiming for things from more distant lands. - However, this makes him realize the Denolyo’s Abbey is a bit too complex to have been built like it was. Denolyo tells some context into it and shows the source of his religion, the Elysium portrait the divas drew to bait Allure. - Batsami starts to teach writing to the clan chiefs and lords of the dusklands. Starts to notice a lot of intrigues and meets a mysterious girl who runs away. - In Mesathalassa, the current chief of one of the clans who left particularly early is raging at Mavadzugji and everyone who supports him, as he believes this is all a plan to cause discord among the ranks of the dusklander lords already established in the sunlands.
16 Initial prestige
+10 from the post
-2 candlemaking -2 oil lamps -2 medicine advancements -2 pulley -2 cloud pattern reading -2 local traditions for emblems -2 pet owls (-14)
12 prestige remaining
TSOTI 5 (63 PR)
“Thing has been delivered, Tris.”
“Thank you Lilul.” the human said, picking up a small bag and taking a shard of glass out of it. The little humanoid creature reached forward and took it, buzzing its dragonfly wings as it observed its shininess… and sharpness.
From the other side of the room, Mavadzugji watched the scene with curiosity. The last thing he would have expected to witness in the south was to meet creatures who were typical of Dzanya folklore. Tales of humanoid creatures with insect wings had been popular as of late, typically called Fadja, though the priest had recently discovered that word was borrowed from a different creature, with butterfly wings as well but as far from a humanoid as one could be. Fittlerling was the name Trisana used.
”Llillulle… uhm, I mean.” he took a deep breath and tried to contain his accent. ”Lillul” Tris smirked while the little humanoid looked up at him, tilting its head.
”Are you somehow related to the oddlands?” he had observed long ago how the tales of such creatures were tied to the borders of the oddlands.
Lilul was confused, opening its mouth slightly and looking up at Tris for help.
“The lands to the north, Lilul, a bit beyond where you took the papers.”
“Ah! The Glam. Yeah! Lilul is made from that stuff!”
Now it was Mavadzugji’s turn to be confused as to what Lilul meant, ‘made from that stuff’. Did it mean she was made from the same energies that were turning the dusklands into the oddlands?
”And from where does ‘that stuff’ come from? What is it?”
“Uhhhh. Its… energy.” the humanoid couldn’t really answer past that. “Once Lilul lived in another world, but thanks to that energy, she made it here.”
Tris sighed. “The world of dreams.”
”Huh? The world of dreams?”
“Yes, it is a world beyond this one, we all go to it when we sleep, but shamans like my mother can access it at will and manipulate it.”
”So Lilul came from the dream world? Why is it leaking into ours?”
“Only the gods know,” Trisana told. “I imagine the Dusklands, or The Spires to its east, are some sort of… a meeting point of worlds. In the ancient times the Dusk was brought from there, but now…”
”I see.” he looked to the side and pressed his lips together.
“I am sorry,” she said.
”Huh? For what?”
“I know what you were going for, if there was a way to save your homeland.”
”Do not fret. It is not like you are at fault for explaining things how they are.”
Tura sighed as she stepped out of the boat. It was a hot day, even if always covered under the dark, sometimes the tropical Dusklands became unbearably hot. As the Tsefo (the council of priests allied to Mavadzugji) had decided, spreading reading and writing was the most crucial task at the moment. Tura was to meet a priest in a nearby village and teach him how to write so he could pass on the knowledge.
Distracted by the view of the town, she barely noticed when she stepped on an ‘odd looking branch’. The true nature of the branch was soon revealed, as it hissed. The priestess barely had a moment to gasp when the snake lunged forward. Tura closed her eyes and expected the worse… but that never came.
Opening her eyes slowly she looked down and met the gaze of huge yellow eyes. An owl had caught the snake the moment it rose from the tall grass. It then moved away without a care, it had just taken the snake to feed itself and its family. Nevertheless, Tura couldn’t help but say “Thanks…”
A few steps later, into the town, she noticed other owls, not one or two but whole parliaments. The village followed the classical ring house shape of the Dzanya, but near the altars, or sometimes in the roof, some homes had nest-like shapes, and many trees, the shape of an araucaria but much smaller, were planted near the doors of the home.
When Tura walked past the carved pillars, into the hut that was the village’s temple, the first thing she had to discuss with the priests was that odd sight of the many owls.
‘Over two generations ago a family had noticed an owl nest on the ground near where they wanted to build their home. Not wanting to disturb the creatures, they changed the whole project and built a smaller home, giving space for the nest. This was the start of an odd sort of friendship between the couple and the animals. They would feed it during the day, but never during the night, they built fences to protect newborn owlets, and soon the owls had learned they were safe to stay around. The owls, in turn, would hunt mice, snakes and other vermins.
As time passed, more homes started to take the animals, never as a pet, more like associates, giving protection and some extra, better quality food, in exchange for the owls to hunt down the critters that plagued the village. With time, this led to the current situation. And never had the village lost any crop season to grasshoppers and rats ever since.’
Tura was enthralled with the story, she always found it amazing how it was possible to find something so amazing in such a small village. She also started to understand Mavadzugji’s worries far better, soon, this land would be overtaken by the oddlands, and the village and its story would be gone. Perhaps she could work to save it and the act of housing owls, but… she couldn’t help but wonder about what other villages she would never meet, what the world had already lost. Nevertheless, she was a practical person, she would do what she could, saving one was better than saving none.
The first texts Mavadzugji focused on was, without much surprise, those about Queen Runza Thanfong. He had always admired the queen for her ability to craft a realm in a mere decade, even though her life was so short, the entirety of South-West Mesathalassa, even as it broke back into city-states, was changed by her. Ayisi, a woman of the ethnicity of the deer riders of from the cold south, who became Runza’s loyal assistant, had made amazing and well detailed, if not almost confidential, accounts of her years under Runza, from her rise to her death, as well as all the queen had told her. It was an intimate and factual take on power and kingship, so it was no wonder Ayisi had to run away from Imga, thankfully, to a place not too far from Denolyo’s abbey.
Ayisi’ writings eventually branched out from just Runza and Imga, she had noticed Mesathalassa knew little about lands out of their own, so she wrote all that she knew from her travels as a deer rider in the salt road. Tales of lands half a world away, of wicked Tzertzeh and its demon king Hamartsiha. Of the Rovahike. Of mysterious Metsera. Of the luxurious lives of the Korallara in Tsarano Nonyir.
The library of the abbey went far beyond just Ayisi’s writings, however. It had many sources from the harbour kingdoms of the west, as well as an impressive wealth of texts from further beyond Mesathalassa. Of course, this had one problem, the fact he did not know how to speak or read anything from across the oceans. Thankfully, Denolyo had been willing to help him out with the basics and Trisana would answer a few questions, albeit she lacked the patience for any long explanation.
While working down on his language skills, he focused on more specific matters of what he had access to. Describing in details the process of candlemaking within the abbey, Mavadzugji also adding his own musing about beeswax, organized beekeeping instead of foraging being something exclusive to the dusklands, who had the knowledge in clothmaking to prepare proper gear for the task. He had also noticed the use of oil for lamps, something he would also describe. Anything within the realm of medicine was a must for him, medicine in the dusklands, despite the strong herbalistic knowledge of the region, was not all that well developed, mostly due to how people preferred to ‘take care of themselves’ over seeking the help of others.
The more he studied, the more he realized he had to study. The world was not becoming smaller and easier to understand, as he expected, instead, it became more and more complex, harder to understand… and scarier.
‘Every sense of wonder is followed by a sense of inadequacy. You see the towering mountain and look in awe at its immensity, then comes that creeping thought, of just how small you are.’ he wrote.
The world felt old, older than he imagined, he learned about distant cities much larger than the ones he had imagined so far, entire kingdom and empires, great wars, great people, technologies beyond his comprehension. If so far his plan to maintain and fortify his culture in the troubling times ahead seemed hard, now it seemed impossible… and sometimes futile. Would his effort, like those of the people in Fals, be buried by the sands of time?
Nevertheless, he continued searching, he would not flinch and he would do all he could, he had to, not doing that was against all he stood for.
Eventually he noticed something, The construction was far more complex than anything he had ever seen and the only things similar in scale and complexity were found in societies more complex than anything within the realm of Mesathalassa.
“Hah, I thought you would notice this one day or another,” Denolyo said, upon the question being brought up to him by Mavadzugji. “Come with me.”
They walked deeper into the abbey’s central building, going downstairs until a very simple room, with plain walls and blocky pillars. “I have never shown you it, have I?”
He walked towards the end of the room, where a picture of a woman was displayed. It was not simply a drawing, it was something else, the colours, the lifelike semblance, the… everything, even the priest who had not bought the sailor’s talks about the goddess Yekoloria.
“I found this in an abandoned temple, it was a hain temple, in a land that never had hain for longer than anyone could remember.”
”That picture is of a human woman however.”
“It is...Curious, is it not? Did humans even exist back then?”
”And how does this answer my question?”
“Well, upon finding the picture, my life changed. I had left Fals for a while, my art was just not the same, but this… it gave me inspiration. First I continued my journeys, here, and on other lands, for a long time I helped settlements out, I had a temple in The Great Ring, then I returned to Fals, and despite the people there only believing in different gods, I stood my ground, and often added aspects inspired by this picture to my work. I grew in popularity, in the homeland and with foreigners. And as such, I was soon one of the names that made Fals what it was.”
He stopped. “Then I had a vision, and I was tasked with drawing a temple.”
The sailor smiled and nodded. “I was told to return to my old wilderness home… and it was here, the whole abbey.”
”So a goddess built this place for you to worship her?”
“Initially that is what I thought, but… perhaps not,” he smirked now.
”Now you are just not making any sense.”
He called the priest to the side and picked up a box hidden behind a pillar. “This was forgotten here.”
Inside, there were picks, saws, ropes… and some weird round object.
“The one you don’t know what the name of I had to search for a while. It is called a pulley. It seems to be originated from the hainlands east”
”Oh… so the Hain built this… it does not look like Hain architecture though.”
“It does not. Correct. It is the perfect mirror of what I drew. Yet they built this… and then they left, they did not live here for a single moment.”
”This… must be a miracle after all.”
“Yet it had to be done like this… Curious, is it not? Something for you to think about, priest. Now, do you want me to explain a bit more about how these tools were used? Surely this will be another valuable addition to your texts.”
Batsami stepped out of the boat along with three other priests, who all carried crates with important texts, but not the Manyadjir, who was dressing the best of her dresses and the most adorable of her hats.
Mutaraka’s home was one of the largest homes in the entire world, she assumed, though from what she heard the distant lands, far beyond the sunlands, had even larger buildings. Nevertheless, the warrior merchant’s three-storey house was something else. It was also decorated with many mirrors as well as delicate paints, a tall entrance and the clan’s Gjatze, a mask that represented the family’s guardian spirit, often being used as a clan emblem by some cultures, was carved in rare wood and looked heavier than the boat Batsami had used to travel.
Despite all that, it was still a ring-shaped home, meant to be used as much as a social gathering point for the clan as it was used as a private sleeping quarter. Clay and adobe had substituted many of the planks and grass used in simpler homes, and although the roof was built from the same material as most houses, Mutaraka could afford to build it far thicker with no worries about costs. The central fire which kept the home illuminated was built in a far more elegant and complex manner, with a proper dugout and structure instead of just being a glorified campfire.
The tall man soon appeared, greeting everyone himself with his typical warmth and forwardness. “Hah! Let’s see what you people are all about,” he said almost in a tease to the priests while hugging the Manyadjir. “You as well, Batsami, always believed you would make a name for yourself. Heard you have been gaining quite some wealth from all of this.”
“Oh no no, everything I received are donations for the Tsefo and the temple in general.”
“Right, haha.” he patted her shoulder. “Well then, come in, come in. The boys are eager to meet you.”
The boys, in question, were some of the most powerful armed troop leaders in all of the Dusklands, Llapur Dyetzu, surely, but others as well. Tsilluhan Dyetzu, remained by his side, though he still looked what Batsami would describe using a paradoxical mix of the word boy/kid/brat and the suffix for young/hatchling, too shy and distracted to be around man such as the ones close to him. The Tsir clan was being represented by an elder, not its Elder, just an old man of the family. The Huro clan was present and led by the young Funmih, its future leader, most likely. The Nyotehe clan had a woman in there, probably doing the same role as the Tsir elder. Tzeba, a famous local warrior, was in there. There were a few more she did not recognise, but she was sure she saw the emblem of the Tzollotsihlle and the Ruhtseke.
“Whoa, you were not lying! This is such an illustrious crowd,” she whispered to Mutaraka.
“When have I ever overpromoted something?”
“Well, not to say you exaggerate but… you do typically say words prettier than the reality.”
Mutaraka just laughed and pushed Batsami to the front of the crowd. “This is Batsami, Manyadjir of the Tsefo.” the wording here did not only cause the group of warriors to look confused but Batsami as well. She was Manyadjir to Mavadzugji.
“How does that even work, Tsefo isn’t a family, it cannot adopt a girl. She also looks way older than the Tsefo, despite being just a girl-ling.” At that Batsami gasped, there was no justified reason to use the word of child/girl and the suffix for a young / hatchling to describe her. She wasn’t shy, she wasn’t a silly dreamer.
Nevertheless, she swallowed her pride and answered softly. “Well, you see…” she had to think what Mutaraka meant by describing her like that. In the end, it seemed he had used the word as loosely as she had used to declare herself Mavadzugji’s Manyadjir. “The group is formed by priests, so I am an outsider, and I was brought in, much like an adopted person. Yet, I was picked for my neutrality but also for my skills, as I am expected to help with the organization of tasks, create deals and, uhm...” she tried to explain.
“That is clever.” Llapur noticed. “It seems you people really love to play around with words.”
“Oh, hehe… I guess.” Batsami blushed.
“So, you will teach us how to read these… things.” another man said.
“Of course, it is simple, I wouldn’t want to eat too much of the time of such important people.”
“And is it true that it describes the great fights of the sunlands?”
“And what does that differ from the stories we already have told to us.”
“Because any storyteller can go around saying things, even if they are not speaking untruths, the stories still had to make a long travel, across, uhm, time and space.”
“Time and Space? What do you mean Batsami.”
“Well, there is a great space between where the fights happened and here, the stories are retold many times surely some things are lost on the way. The same thing happens with time, some events happened long ago and no living person was there to see it, so we just hear stories retold by multiple generations, also losing accuracy on the way. Writing, however, does not change on the path and does not change with time, this makes the written words true and accurate. I have texts written by people who walked side-to-side with the great people they write about.”
Llapur pondered over those words but did not say anything. It also seemed like Batsami had fully swayed the group to make an honest attempt at learning how to read, even if everyone there had an interest in the topic, some were just looking for the flaws in the rising Tsefo group.
However, despite the tense political situation which was being discretely handled by Mutaraka during the ‘class’, the actual teaching advanced quickly. Perhaps because those who were truly interested were quick to whisper about the tales of the warriors of the sunny lands, or because Batsami had managed to sell the idea of reading as an advantage not only to current power, but to a lasting legacy, a sudden and recent worry of many of the affluent families that controlled the Dzanya lands. It was also helpful that Tzevami’s work in making writing more inclusive and easy to understand, creating the guideline on how to teach new readers, had been very successful so far.
Despite having allowed the priests to handle the teaching, Batsami had to keep the role as the overall leader, going to talk with all groups, speaking about concerns and ideas of the clan leaders, which mostly had been to endure rantings of the older and more traditional of those who were present. Soon, the sun was setting and the day was over.
“Eh, I thought we were going to hear about battles and soldiers! Not just talk about flowers.”
“I am sorry and I am must ask for your patience, it's hard to convey complex strategies without using all the sounds of our vocabulary,” Batsami answered. The priests had initially agreed to teach them by telling the stories of the south they already had, but Batsami wouldn’t allow that. She wanted to keep those stories dangling in front of them like mice to an owl, furthermore, she guessed a bunch of seasoned soldiers or young blood burning warriors wouldn’t take nicely to a priest sitting down and telling them those stories. if allowed to read by themselves, they would create their own pace and imagery, furthering the effect those writings had on them.
After a small moment of scowling, the old soldier gave up and retreated across the empty central space of the home to one of the many rooms in the building. Of course, clan leaders and such had closed rooms, but unlike most wealthy man, Mutaraka liked to have his house more open than usual, either to promote unity… or just to keep an ear at any intrigue going into the rooms.
“As expected, you did well today, girl.” The old clan leader told Batsami, she hated to be called a girl, and for a long time disliked Mutaraka’s forwardness and casualty, now, however, seeing so many other clan leaders at once, she was becoming fond of the openness of the man. His ways she once called primitive were certainly refreshing over the excessive prudence of this new culture increasingly influenced by the south ever since the mercenaries returned from that big war that happened in the sunlands.
“Absolutely, I expected many to drop out, but you held out very well.”
“Hah, let’s hope they all stay. But say, I expected this to be more intimate, like, you and the two nearby clans at most, this class was quite a collection of important figures.”
“Well… I reckon its best to not play favourites, we need to keep peace within the valley for as long as we can. It was that peace that allowed the flourishing of things such as the Tsefo on the first place.”
His tone was far more serious, and weirdly, more personal. Batsami gulped at that, recognizing this is what importance looked like, he was not talking frivolities or just stating facts, he was making a demand, telling Batsami the role she would need to take.
“I do not understand much about what people like you and Mavadzugji do, but I knew your parents well, and I trust them, so I will trust you as well, as the carriers of the light which will guide all of our people.” with a nod, he withdrew from the room, and Batsami was left a bit shocked, letting it all sink in.
It was very curious to her, that the most traditional of the man in the room, the one who walked around without a shirt and preferred game and forage to anything using crops, was also the one the most interested in promoting a young group of people with ideas and values that caused a certain discomfort to the more established members of their society.
Turning around and sighing, really needing a long bath and a nice night of rest, the young woman turned around and blinked, behind a crate she saw a foot, small, belonging to a child, thankfully still attached to it, as the foot shook as she stepped closer staring at the crate, all the sudden, the child hiding behind the crate jumped away, starting to run. It was a girl, wearing very tattered clothes, yet recognizable immediately since she had light orange hair.
“Hey, wait!” Batsami told, giving chase, but she was an untrained woman in a fancy dress, she could not match the speed of a kid who was faster than usual, without a moment of hesitation, the girl left the room through a window and Batsami followed, by the time she stopped to realize it was quite a drop until the ground below, albeit too late, as she started to lose her balance.
“Thief?” a voice said behind her, running and grabbing her before ended up hurting herself.
“Huh? Huh!” She saw, seeing Llapur so close to her side.
Seeing that babbling as a yes, Llapur took out his bow, despite being blinded by love, the idea of what Llapur could do immediately shook Batsami out of the charm.
“Wait! No, it's just a child. I don’t even think she stole anything.”
The warrior stopped and looked to his side, sighing. “So you saw her? Say what she looked like and we can discover later.”
“Uhm… well, it was a girl, and she had short hair, looked kinda foreign, but not really... it was pale orange“
Llapur stopped. “Well, that was an unique description, I am sure we can track her,” he said, and immediately stopped following the girl with his eyes. “Are you fine? You almost fell.”
“I am just not used to houses so big the windows are not close to the floor.”
“Hah, that is cute. You better get used to it though. Certainly, an influential woman such as yourself will not be sleeping on thatch hovels for long.”
“Eh… I don’t think they are too bed, clay gets too hot at times. And… you think I am influential?”
“Think? I would say that is a bit of a fact. The Tsefo keeps growing as a group, and the local thought is slowly starting to gravitate around it. Soon your friend Mavadzugji shall have what he wished.”
“Mmm, but I do not have anything to do with that…” the bait was thrown.
“Do you truly think so? I think you are also a bit of a rebellious thinker. Better yet, you are the sort who easily sells their ideas.” he smiled. “Did you not see what you did today? The use of the title Manyadjir in such a weird way, it is quite subversive. You take one the structural positions of clan society and place it in a different context, furthermore, manyadjir are often used as servants, yet you justified it as a role of leadership. There were more than a few frowns in the room.”
“It was not entirely within my intention to cause such a reaction.”
She laughed. But then she became a bit more serious. “Should I be worried? I know the Tsefo has a been growing a bit of a reputation, especially Mavadzugji’s comments about the high clans made so long ago…” “Yes. I would say there is a lot of suspicions. But the Tsefo is just a small part of the whole, and in the end, no clan has the authority to persecute any of you except Mutaraka’s, and he has made it clear he supports you.”
She nodded. “I know… Uhm, but, Mavadzugji really changed his opinions as time went by, I do not think he is…”
“It does not matter. Have you ever learnt the basics of cloud patterns?”
Batsami blinked, confused. “Uhm… no.”
“Hah, I guess most do not. I did, however. My mother used to run a farm before she married my father. I learned it from her. The basics are simple, and I do not mean the recognition of patterns and coming rain, but how you act when you see the storm brewing. You take measures because while the storm might disperse, you will surely be the safest if you acknowledge it, storm arriving or not. Mavadzugji sees the storm and acknowledges it and acts accordingly, I do not agree with certain objectives of his, but at least he acts, something the many clan masters of these lands fail to do, instead just resting on their silk sheeted beds all day while presenting no alternative solution of their own.”
He sighed. “So, I can understand from where the disgust towards the clans comes from. In the face of the oddlands, we have nothing.”
This caused Batsami to blink. “Uhm... “ she stopped to reflect about all the Tsefo talking points, nothing about the oddlands seemed to come up in her mind. She really wished to not look slow in front of Llapur, but she wouldn’t worsen the situation by feigning knowledge. “The oddlands?”
“Yes. You have not noticed it, I take? Well, it is understandable, you are sharp, but you must have far less information than even the daftest of clan lords. Perhaps, it is best if you do not think about the wars and intrigues that haunt us men of the banner and sword. Nevertheless, understand that the oddlands created the situation for groups such as Tsefo to rise, but Tsefo is not the only group. I do believe one day or another the local clans will get their act together and provide a better, more experienced solution to our situation.”
Batsami tilted her head slightly. “But let’s say they do not…”
“Well, that would be quite a disaster, would it not? Then Mavadzugji’s criticism would be true, the clans were not worth their status… and we will have to pray that there will be, what do you people say again… Dzanya people left to gather the potsherds.”
“Well, that was bleak.” Batsami thought, also not liking that some information was being withheld from her, surely she could put some thought into the matter and help Llapur out with whatever was stressing him. But instead, he patted her shoulder and turned his face.
“I think this is enough intrigue, go enjoy your free time, not all of us need to waste their youth with babbling old soldiers.” he laughed as he left. “Oh, and please, do not mention the girl you saw earlier to anyone. It will just cause more problems.”
Northwest of Susah, South of Pictaraika, stood a wooden building. It was built like most North Mesathalassa lodges, albeit not very traditional and well tuned to the latest architectural developments of the central town of Susah, even with some Hain influence, albeit rarely were humans capable of replicating Hainland technology. One would need to have a sharp eye to notice the subtle eastern duskland influence on the buildings.
“Disgusting Dzatsu Kafu, do not think your crimes will be forgotten.” Said a bound man, forced to bend his knees in front of the throne.
“Crimes?” The chief questioned, rubbing his chin and looking at his guests. “What crimes did I commit… hmm,” he wondered what to call the man, “Dzadje Kafu? Oh, perhaps Re Kafu.” his subjects in the room laughed at that.
“You attacked your own people while they were defenceless.”
The chief shook his head. “My people?” he looked to his side. “My wife, Muvemi, do you remember those people being subject to my banner? No? Well, then you must be mistaken, I did not attack my people, just a bunch of poachers and trespassers.”
“They were refugees from your own homeland! They lost everything to the oddlands.”
“And that is their lord’s problem, not mine. If perhaps they had said they wanted to serve me, I would have… considered giving them a few hovels and some tools, the ones who proved themselves they could even join the charging lines of my army.”
“They had no lord.”
“What? Do not be silly. You are saying to me that whatever place they had settled just had no chieftain?”
Realizing he was talking too much, the man stopped talking, it didn’t take long for the chief to order one of the captors to beat the words out of him.
“Tsonya Kafumi has no chieftain, no clan owns the settlement, though a few clans have houses in there.”
The chief looked confused, and so did his men, albeit, some thoughts that crossed the men’s head as doubt, or perhaps a possibility, crossed the chief’s like an arrow. “Well, I will not doubt you, after all, its people were left to be preyed upon. The price you pay for forsaking tradition.”
This was received with nods. The chief sighed in relief.
“Bah! Looks who says that. You who rest in a sunlander palace has no right to utter the word tradition.”
“Being born in the dusk is not a distinction and not worthy of special treatment. I survive, I thrive, I do my duty as a clan leader and make sure my people are safe and fed. I will not create war with my neighbours just because they come from the sunlands, I will not deny a warrior’s skill because he uses bow and arrow instead of lance and sword and I will not allow people to consume my lands like locusts just because we speak the same tongue.”
The man was about to answer but his attempt was cut short as the chief ordered him carried away.
“Drown him later, accursed fiend, took down three farmsteads before we caught him.”
“Yes, my master.” his most loyal warrior said, before noticing the chief was still pensive over what had been said. “Do not mind his words, his heart is filled with insane ideas.”
“I do not know, Dzubi. It seems to me these people are becoming more and more insane as the day goes by.” the chief sighs “This is the acts of snakes such as Mutaraka, the Dyetzu, the Ruhtseke… They want to hold to these people no matter what, they fear what will happen if they become servants to my clan instead.”
“And they hold no barriers when it comes to their power grab, the number of lies they tell is absurd. We just had to fight the refugees because hidden soldiers such as that man you talked with kept creating panic among them. I would not doubt he was also the one leading the pillaging.”
“So you do not think it is true.” The chief pondered.
“Of course not, I have never seen a Kafumi before, but, surely they must be ruled, either openly or by the shadows. This has always been Mutaraka’s way.”
“I do not. This whole situation, this Dzanya talk… They would rather collapse our own society than to lose their power.” Dzubi added. “And here I thought that ancient talk of Djodjewadjodje was already insanity…”
“I do not know. Chieftain of chieftains was just a dream… but it seems they have a lot of structures along with this Tsefo talk.”
“That Mavadzugji snake is much like his father, a troublemaker, leading young men to their death on the pretext of dusklander superiority. We should make an incursion back into the Dusklands and end this for once and for all.”
“That is too much.” the chief waved his second hand to calm down. “We will be at an disadvantage by crossing the border, the only safe crossing is held tightly by Mutaraka. The oddlands are advancing anyway, one day or another the snakes will need to leave, the best we can do is to make sure we continue to ensure the prestige and power of clan Mudjara, as we have done since my grandfather crossed into the sunlands sixty winters ago.”
This story is set on the dusklands, land to the north of Mesathalassa, which has been shrinking since the darkened spires east of it were destroyed. Ironically, this has led the land into a small renascence of thought and culture.
In the center of this turmoil is Mavadzugji, a radical priest and son of a famous general, deeply influenced by the more advanced south while paradoxically being very fervent in his devotion to Dzanya, the culture of the people who live in the Dusklands.
After inventing a writing system fit for the Dzanya, he journeyed south, past the dusklands, in the company of the foreign sailor Danolyo and his wife Karcelli. Meanwhile, at home, Batsami, a friend of his and self-declared Manyadjir (manager) of the priest, is working to spread his writings, in particular, the ones that people have interest in, like accounts of foreign lands and wars.
Denolyo, Mavadzugji, and Karcelli go deeper into the south. The priest notices Karcelli has some super natural skills, but the woman won't tell a thing about them. On his way to Denolyo's abbey, he finds a building which has an architecture similar to that of his homeland, this leads to some wacky assumptions on his part about his people once owning this place.
Arriving at the abbey, the priest makes some notes on architecture and writes a text, which he sends home in a mysterious way after talking with Karcelli and Denolyo's daughter, Trisana.
Back at home, Batsami's marketing skills and use of decorated clay pots work well and there is a crowd after those mysterious "text" things, despite most of them not knowing how to write. Then a local leader, Mutaraka, shows up, saying he got a text sent from the south by Mavadzugji and also that he wants Batsami to give private lessons on writing to his kids and the noble who happens to be her crush, she accepts it hard.
Mavadzugji 12 initial prestige -2 to figure out the basics of architecture -2 to compile observations of the culture of north mesathalassa into a text -2 for standardized text production +10 from the post
16 prestige remains.
TSOTI 4 (63 PR)
Gentle light entered the room through the window, piercing the dimly lit area like a spear, outside, a variety of birds sang in a cacophony, many voices were heard from under and to the sides of the room whilst the sound of plates and utensils clinking and tinkling started to intensify. Mavadzugji rose up from his bed rubbing his head, he had not rested well since he entered the sunlands.
On the other side of the room, Denolyo was sleeping soundly, no issue on his side. His wife had left a while ago, the priest still remembered the moment very well, they were walking down a path when suddenly a woman clad in white with blank hair of a color that was neither Dzanya white or old person white appeared, walking on a similarly pale horse. She whispered something in an unknown language and Karcelli nodded apprehensively, 'well, it seems we will need to part ways, I will meet you on the approach of the abbey' and off she went.
With a rumbling stomach, he had little option but to get dressed properly and walk down towards the main hall of the inn. Inns in Mesathalassa were typically well organized to the point of being a bit intimidating, it was also one of the few places were barter was simplified and standardized, that was amazing to Mavadzugji, who could not tell apart the worth of gold from the worth of dirt and was often on the losing end of a bargain.
The big problem was food, everything down south was so greasy and overpowering. Boar meat, Gorgon mazard meat, even the fish were extremely oily. It seemed Mesathalassans not only had no sense of grace in their music, but also in their food, they did not know how to prepare delicate dishes and instead just added more and more meat and salt to their steaks and sausages, the wine was said to be great, but it seemed that was a West Mesathalassa thing, here in the north it tasted like spicy juice. To make the whole thing enjoyable, the priest would boil cassava he bought himself and add to the meat dishes as a neutral counter-measure to the strongly flavored meat.
It was said innkeepers were the defacto leaders in some places near the central mountains, not here though, the leader here was a brutish man, beardless, like most Eveman, which was thankful, one could only imagine the filth that would get stuck in there if he had one.
Mavadzugji always disliked his land's own nobles, but he was starting to see that while they had their own failures, they also had their own merits. The Dusklands were so old, no matter what an Elysianist might tell you, that everyone was part of one clan or another, especially with the habit of larger group marriages inherited from Hain influence, this created an odd situation where everyone was noble to an extent, but few had the power and wealth to truly act on it. This had interesting ripples in their society: Etiquette, complex speaking, the constant showcase of wealth and the manutention of traditions were all manners to separate classes, actions made with the intention of being hard to act upon unless you sat on so much comfort you did not need to fight for survival every day of an epoch-week.
Of course, this led to pettiness, but it also did make the upper class more... pretty? The priest did not know the word, but it gave them something to work towards and created work opportunities for many, including tailors and priests. Meanwhile, southern nobles were born on it and had no reason to justify their situation, they owned the place, move along or face the consequences, as such, so far, every single noble he had met was a brute of worse quality than many of the peasants, addicted to the rawest of activities and with no interest in refinement. In his mind, Mavadzugji prayed the Mesathalassan nobles he admired, such as Sheru or Runza, were more graceful than men such as the hog sitting on the largest table of the inn.
After eating his breakfast, always well incremented in the typical Dzanya style of strong early day meals but fasting during the night, he walked past the crowds of this inn made popular by good weather and nice trade locations, and moved onto the nearby village. Many houses were tents, meant to be moved later at during the year, this was curious because the system of centering temporary housing near a larger permanent building was also part of Dzanya culture, as much as he was having a cultural shock from how different the sunlands were, he also could not help but see the similarities.
This was his second day in his area, in the first day he was typically fine, but on the second, merchants would hear about how easy it was to squeeze out a bargain from the young dusklander man, so three steps out, and a young huntress girl was already upon him. "Hey! Would you like to help us by exchanging some goods for these leather prints amulet? It would really help us out, and it is all for the local temple." she almost yelled, surrounding him like a wolf intimidating a deer. "You have a pretty face... but... it could be better, for a small fee..." a sculptor said. "Quara goods from across the ocean! Sparkling stones, singing plants, eternal flowers! This is a one in a lifetime opportunity my friend." another human added, the priest was sweating, he had no interest in any of the services, but the expecting and/or intimidating eyes, froze him, as if he would be morally wrong in not at least buying something.
"Shoo! Shoo! Go away pigeons." Denolyo arrives just as the young man was reaching for his coin purse. "Come on now boy, you need to do better than this." the ex-sailor said with a sigh. "You are almost out of valuables, all spent on useless trinkets." he reprehended.
Mavadzugji sighed, feeling bad about the whole situation. At least this time Denolyo had arrived in time, on some other day the dusklander had given a palm-sized silver piece to a man pretending to be a dying beggar.
"You need to learn how to resist this sort of influence. You are too manipulable." the sailor added. "Anyway, let us get going, we are almost at the abbey."
The topography of north mesathalassa was always somewhat broken by hills and valleys, but in the last few days the increasing heights had become a constant. This made the travel more tiring, but, according to Denolyo, this would be the last time they set up camp in the wild.
Mavadzugji typically woke up earlier than anyone, his body confused the earliest lights of the breaking down with the faint change in light that the sun at its full height brought to the Dusklands. This typically left him with plenty of time to spare, which led to him always searching for something to do. Exploration was typically out of hand, as he feared most things that one could find while wandering around the wildlands, yet, sometimes boredom and curiosity got the best of him.
He had seen a building hidden by the trees and tall grass, it was not particularly fancy but it was somewhat large, which is why it stood out among on the overgrowth in the first place. While later in his journey the priest would discover many interesting new things, what he found on that morning would shake his worldview.
A ring-like stone home, two stories tall, in the middle of a series of long-forgotten home foundations. The priest stood on that visage for a long time, not believing his eyes or that he was awake and this was not the superimposition of different memories. These sorts of buildings were typical of earlier Dzanya settlements but had gone out of use centuries ago, as populations increased and each the normal homes took the ring shame. What could something like that be doing this far here? It made no sense! There were no records of that architecture being used by sunlanders or of dzanya settlements away from the dusklands.
"Ah, there you are," Denolyo said.
Mavadzugji blinked at his sudden appearance, he wondered how the man had found him so fast considering he had walked quite a bit to arrive on this area, his answer was standing behind him, Karcelli had returned, so had the person clad in white, but now the person was clad in green and brown, the once colorless hair and clothes now made to match the color of the location.
"Why are you here, priest?" Denolyo continued, walking to his side.
"This fortress... Why does it exist?"
"I would say it was made to keep the inhabitants safe and consolidate the power of a ruler." The sailor laughed.
"No, the architecture... are there any locals who make houses like this?"
"Not that I know off, but I have seen many ruins such as this while traveling, I think we saw one in the south as well, didn't we, love?" the sailor looked to his side.
Karcelli sighs. "Perhaps." she told, as unwilling to help the priest, or anyone, as always.
"In the south? Past these mountains, near the harbor kingdoms?" his mind raced at the possibilities of such a finding. What could it mean in the context of the history of his people? No, this was deeper than that, it changed the whole question, he was now asking himself what changed in the history of his people in the context of this discovery.
Any thoughts would end up delayed, however, as the clash of humidity and warmth of the early morning started to brew together into rain. It was time to finish the journey, but the priest knew this would not be the last he saw of this place.
To the amazement of many, Batsami had picked up on read and writing fast. Of course, being familiarized with the flower language it was an easy jump to learn the written version of that, even if sometimes the connection between flowers and symbol was awfully abstract. Not so surprising, was her commandeering tone and ability to center things around her, at least not to those who knew her.
Mavadzugji's Manyadjir was already at work, even before the first parchment from the priest in the south arrived. He had an extensive personal collection of sunlander works and some of his own writings, it had been set that those would be translated first, to test ground for the future, more serious, work the group of priests wanted to do.
Batsami obviously had not read it all, she had better things to do with her life, but, she had had Tura summarize it to her, the poor priestess being forced to follow the manyadjir around telling her all she knew multiple times so the girl could get an idea of what she would be working with.
"These works have a big problem inherent to them." Said Batsami.
"Oh? Well, I would agree. In the end the scope is very limited and Mavadzugji works too much on the notion the clay tablets contain proper representations of reality when in truth..."
"No, wrong. If people cannot read, how will they trust there is truly something interesting contained in that paper? I mean, for all you know, it could be blabbering."
"Uhm, if we are to distribute it for free... I am pretty sure we are not supposed to charge for knowledge."
Batsami gasped. "Charging for it? Oh no, absolutely not. I am impressed you can even think of such things."
Tura's eyes went wide. "What? No I did not..."
"Nevertheless, there is a point to that. Whilst we of course are charging for the writings, we cannot ignore the truth that hete paper costs us a lot of time and there is not enough ink in the world to write texts for everyone in the dusklands." she tapped her chin, smirking. "So, my great idea is to accept donations, paper and ink, for example, but also, you know, goods in general would be good."
The manyadjir then shook her head, killing that topic before any flaws could be noticed. "But that is detail, we missed the main topic, how do we make it interesting, Tura?"
"I am sure the words of a priest would be taken as proof it is a worthwhile reading."
"Ideally yes, practically, well, not everyone goes to the temple, do they?"
Tura stared at the woman for a moment and slowly nodded. Batsami echoed that gesture in response, it was thankful she had had a solution to that situation even before she presented the issue at hand.
"See, I have friends, many friends. Hirike is one of them, and her family works with pottery." she started.
"Oh, are they not the ones who make those expensive vases?"
"Exactly! Despite having the same use as any other jar, they charge way more, and that is because there is a differential to their craft."
"The little drawings?"
"The ornaments, yes. People love the imagery, people love the color, and they love, you know, interesting things, as opposed to poor things... I mean, plain things. The same way the outer walls of our houses have ornaments to them..."
"Those are not ornaments, they are wards and glyphs, to bring fortune and peace to the families, to protect the home from wicked spirits and..."
"Yes yes, I know, it was an example." it always impressed Batsami how the priestess focused so much on what things were supposed to be, instead of how they really were. "Albeit, in a way, the ornaments of the jars are also wards that bring fortune to Hirike's family, hah."
"I do not see how."
"That is fine. Anyway, we should stop sidetracking from what I want to say, which is, I will get Hirike to do murals representing each of the works we are translating. There is interesting imagery in these things, I think, great cities, fierce battles, gods doing godly things, I trust Hirike and her family can convert these in quite luring ornaments."
Tura pondered over what the manyadjir was proposing, it indeed seemed like a sound plan even if she had trouble fully believing Batsami's commitment to the actual cause. "And how much would it cost? Even for your family, who sees controls great wealth, it seems a bit excessive. One mural is a thing, but we are talking about many."
"Oh, do not worry, I will do the talking and I will get Hirike to help us. I am sure there is room for compromise, and the cause is such a noble one, to safeguard our past and our future, how could anyone say no?" Batsami giggled.
The abbey itself was a complex of structures built from marble, which was simply abundant in the region. It was possible to see the history of the settlement if one paid attention, an older wooden house, now repurposed as a storage room, signaling the first arrival of Denolyo on the region. From what the sailor told him, that structure was likely made in his first visit to Mesathalassa, he could clearly see the outlines of the wooden palisades he had built with his friend Yan. Then there was the first stone house, it was built outside of the walls, that was made way later than the wooden home, and it was made with purpose, it was a stepping stone to the building of the abbey and to this day it was still a workshop used to prepare the building materials to repair the building. The building proper was a series of large weird mixes of home and temple, built sparsely from one another but connected by covered walkways, the tallest of all buildings was a tall tower with what looked like a bell, larger than most Mavadzugji had seen, with a golden shine to it.
Design wise it was entirely alien to him. Admittedly, he only knew a small fraction of the styles popular in north Mesathalassa as well as the duskland's, yet even conceptually it felt different from what he knew in terms of shape, room distribution, which areas were shared and which were private, event the way it dealt with the environment, be it trapping the heat and or letting the air flow. It was no wonder, Denolyo had traveled the world and knew lands far beyond the limits of most people's imagination.
Across the travels, he had talked a lot with the sailor. Discovering much about his past, as the son of a trader who fell in love with the city of Fals on the Firewind coast, a harbor market city which was famous, and a bit infamous, for its art and stories. To the priest' surprise, Denolyo had spent almost forty years in the town, even if he did not look much like a man in his fifties, almost sixties. It was also to his knowledge that Fals had long lived past its prime and was now either gone or decadent.
Another odd detail of the story was Karcelli. The supposedly older wife of the sailor, unlike him who had a masked age, she outright looked young, a woman in her thirties. It was clear she was involved with something in the realm of the occult or the mystical, she had weird skills and was followed around by weird companions such as that person who wore clothes that made them hard to see against the foliage of the forests. The problem was that Karcelli did not cooperate with his questions, on the contrary, she seemed keen to keep him on the dark, even if she did seem to want to help others with the skills she had. One day, when asked for a reasoning of her actions, she simply answered that a gifted flame will keep a person warm, but the gift of flame making will make a person burn. This was perhaps more alien to Mavadzugji than the very architecture, to withhold information seemed to be the very opposite of what his culture and religion believed, it almost seemed mean spirited, even if he saw Karcelli as a good person.
This was not only troubling to the dusklander priest, the one who had the most trouble with Karcelli's insistence on not passing on knowledge was her and Denolyo's daugther, Trisana. The young woman had the adventurous spirit of her father, but was clearly interested in the hunting abilities of her mother. Sadly, even that was not enough to make Karcelli change her mind, leaving Trisana to figure out things by herself. The young woman had amazing skills, her aim, her balance, her endurance, it was all far beyond what most had, still, while skilfull, it was a far call from the supernatural-like skills of her mother.
Mavadzugji wanted to get to know more about the family and the abbey, however, it was clear to him that at least the first week would need to be dedicated entirely to recording his journey from the dusklands to the abbey. Along the path, he had made many notes of things he had learned, from local culture to rumors he would hear on the taverns. Furthermore, he felt like he needed to communicate with Batsami and his fellow priests, his heart was still full of insecurities towards their overall approach, even if the path was now clear to him.
The priest was impressed at how fast he managed to compile his notes into text. His initial idea of spending a week had turned into two days and a half. The abbey's very architecture seemed to work in favor of his endeavors, there were very few interruptions, the sunlight would always be present in his room and never become overpowering, the paper was more accessible and less crumbly and the ink and quill available to him made what he had previously used look quite primitive.
Of course, after that, there was the business of sending what he wrote back home. It was a bit late to reach for Denolyo, and he also wanted to take a closer look into the abbey grounds to take notes of how it was built and the way the rooms and yards influenced the people who lived there, so the priest decided to leave these matters for the next day and instead just explore the building for the rest of the night.
Most of the walk was peaceful, as most of life in the abbey was, as it was designed to be. However, while walking over one of the gardens of the building complex, the sudden sound of something flying across the night sky took his attention. It landed on a wooden log, and upon closer inspection, it was an arrow.
"What are you doing? Get out of there before you end up a hit. Stupid foreigner." Trisana told, and the priest was startled by the sudden voice, he had not seen anyone. Looking up he saw her, wearing a dark green outfit with a black fabric covering her arms and legs, upside down on a rope that extended between the roofs of two buildings, supported and balanced by the back of her knees. With ease and grace, she spun on the rope and stood on it, walking back to the building and dropping from window to window until she was on the floor.
"It did not hit you, right? No. That is good. I guess that is enough training for today."
"You really do train a lot, do you not, I saw you running around when I woke up, and even now in the deep dark you are doing something else."
"I need to perfect my nightly senses. My mom can see the slightest of movements deep into the night, I want to develop something like that."
"I see... Shame she does not help you with these lessons."
"Eh, it cannot be helped. But there is no problem... With a lot of effort, I am sure I can rediscover such techniques."
The priest pondered over that for a moment, he wasn't sure of what she said, but he tried to be respectful. To no avail, as she noticed his doubt.
"What? You don't think so? Even if somehow mom's abilities are done by magic, surely that magic must come from somewhere..."
"Not so much that. More that... Well... Most of the things I invented, I did it based on the works of others. And to me, it seems clear they too based it on someone else's work. For me to make the duskland writing I need paper, which could only be invented in the dusklands because the creators lived near hete farmer, for that farmer to learn how to farm hete, he had to learn from others, from previous farmers of the plant, who in turn just started planting is based on the fact other people were cultivating other plants. If I lived back when such things did not exist, even if I had twice the motivation and intelligence I would still not be able to create it."
Trisana sighed. "Hmm... Well... most of what I learn I just emulate nature... and well, mother as well. Furthermore, there is someone else who seems to come from the same group as mother who gave me a few tips, even if I do not see her much anymore."
The young woman laughed. "The person is a woman who lives in a village over... there." she pointed towards the horizon, as the abbey was high up in the mountains it was possible to even see the faint glimmer of the village's main fire source. "I sensed you wanted to know more about whoever it was."
"That is kind of you, albeit, I doubt I will have the time to go after a distant village in less than... ten days."
"Dad told me you are some sort of priest-scholar."
"That is a fitting description, I guess? I just see myself as a priest, all else is just me taking record of things that exist, writing down what they are."
"What you think they are," Trisana answered with a teasing smile. "That is cool though, must be a lot of pressure."
The priest nodded and sighed.
"And what is it with your bag? There is far too much parchment in it."
"Oh? Yeah... I was searching for a way to send them up north to the Dusklands, I imagine a trader would be the one to go for. I also wrote a few copies so I can increase the chances of at least one reaching my homeland."
"Oh... Got it." she pondered then smiled. "Hey, I might have a solution to this. But you will have to promise to keep it a secret."
Tzevami, the poet-priest, sighed as he saw the crowd in his way. He needed to be there in this instant, but from the looks of it, it would be late into the night before the crowd dispersed. Looking around, he saw a cart, and pulling it closer, he climbed it, then walked on the roof for a bit, making sure he was stepping on the support beams and not on the pure thatch, and then slid as gently as he could down, falling into the central area of the potter's family home.
"What are you doing!?" Batsami questioned, gasping as he saw him do that.
"Oh, do not worry, nothing I had not done before." the priest said with a smile.
"Probably while breaking the rules of the temple!" Tura said, her tone making it unclear if it was a joke or a true reprehension of his ways.
"Indeed. Now, is it just me or is half the region here?"
"Yes!" Tura agreed, perhaps complaining. "Batsami said she would do things to bring more people over, but I think she may have done it too much."
"Oh, do not be a baby, this is good... on the long term. On the short, we might be murdered when the stories about the Imga War are all sold."
"You are selling the parchments already?" The priest questioned, incredulous. "It is too soon! Most do not even read yet."
"It will be an incentive for them to learn already. " the Manyadjir answered.
"Maybe once we are almost out of parchments we should turn the vase to the side without the image. Since I guess its too heavy to bring inside while navigating the crowd."
"Good thinking Tura. Go do it right now."
"Me? Oh... fine."
The poet then smiled. "I have never seen you so tired before..." he said, looking at Batsami.
"Well... I had to do so much! Day after day, going around, moving clay vases around, pretending I was moving them when in truth I just wanted to spark people's interest. Going to feasts and whispering about this as if it was a hidden truth. Creating drama among the priests to add that inflammatory edge..." she sighed.
"You did great with this. Perhaps you too should pick up writing, eh? Surely the world we are trying to create will need your wits."
"Eh? If everyone becomes as savvy as me the world will devolve into chaos. One of me is more than what the world can take~" she laughed. "Speaking of more than what I can take, so... how did the meeting go? Please tell me for once you priests have come up with a sensible solution and I won't need to brute force results."
He unveiled a parchment. "Well, Mavadzugji did greatly, this time. Even if the main export of our town is arguments about religion and culture, his writing has been mostly accepted by all. Of course, there are those worried about their pet dialect not getting properly represented, but they are a minority and will eventually bow to us, of this new united dzanya people."
"Yes, yes, go preach to someone else. Do you have what I need?" It was no overstatement that they needed to work on making more people able to read the texts. Mohavumika was a cultural hub, and reading was spreading fast within it, but Batsami knew without better techniques than sending a priest to people's home they would have trouble spreading within the town, imagine across the region.
"Its right in front of you."
"You know I do not know how to read too well and..." she said, before squinting. "Ra... lli... nye?" she tilted her head. The parchment had been done in a very different manner than any other, it did not use simple black ink but a whole range of colors, flowers were pressed into the paper and the very letters had been written in a non-standard manner to resemble objects.
"It feels... easier to read. I can almost figure it all out by myself."
"Each syllable is a flower, so I composed a poem which uses all the sounds of our language. I also did that while focusing on the most iconic objects related to the sound, I think this will help people remember the words the best. It almost works like a guessing game."
"How did you write something so big with so many conditions??"
"Well... Huh. I will give you this, Tsevami. Typically you only boast, but I think this time you have done it."
"Manyadjir!" Tura entered, going to Batsami. "Mutaraka is just out here! He wants to talk with you!"
"Mutaraka?" she gasped, that was a big name, she kinda had been expecting her to be noticed, but that was fast.
She ran to the entrance and exposition area, where a bunch of priests and the whole family of potters struggled to keep up with the crowd, albeit now everyone had stopped to see the warrior looking at the images in the vases.
"Hmmm. This is... this is... Ah! It's the sunland west coast. It has that Kivico Ruby on it and down here is Tri-Harbor. Wouldn't have guessed from the way you painted the coast."
"Sorry! I did not know much, only what was written."
"Not your fault, but I am not interested in this one." he looked around.
"Oh! Look at this! This has to be... Runza! On the throne, the deer riders dead or bowing to her. Good work. They will love this back at home, I will take it."
"The vase. Whole."
"Batsami!" he said, patting the woman on the head as if she was a child. "What a mess have you made, eh? Always believed in the boy, seems like he will make a name quite like his father."
"Seems so, I am his manyadjir, did you know?"
"No? He is your family's manyadjir."
"Well, yes, but, not on the literal meaning of the word, on the... uhm, conceptual way. I am keeping up with his tasks, organizing his work, helping him around."
"So you are a great manyadjir then."
Batsami smiled in response. "I try~ But, uhm, do you know how to read? And you do know all parchments in the vase are the same text, correct?"
"I do not! And I do. I want to have the boys at my home to learn both to read and also the tales of warrior of the past. Weird the boy has not written about his own dad..."
"Oh. I see."
"Ah, I also have some letters for you." he laughed.
"What?" she looked confused.
"Manner of speaking, I was going to say I have some words for you, but that sounds like a threat. A few days ago a strange small humanoid creature gave us some parchments, said to be from Mavadzugji straight from the sunlands. Why not come with me to gather them personally? Someone will need to bring the texts home anyway. Furthermore, you know how to write well, right? You could teach my boys as well as the warriors who stay near my home, such as Llapur Dyetzu and other nobles."
Batsami's eyes shone. "Oh, surely, I am a master writer myself, I will teach them personally!" she turned around and rose her hands up "Everyone, the event is over, thanks for your donations, I need to leave with haste!"
I have no hopes of doing something like the epic-like nature of Yorum or Eskandar stuff, I simply don't have the skill or flair to do something like that riddle battle (which was great). Beyond skill, I also don't have much of the interest, since I don't think the stories of Mesathalassa fit the style anyway.
That said, I hope I can at least make something slightly memorable. I have spent a lot of time worldbuilding the region, and I am satisfied with what I have done so far, even though much of it has yet to be explored.