Mol, the 23rd of Aryth
I could not believe my ears. Coming from the river bank ahead I could hear the splashing of water and the laughter of women. Were my ears deceiving me knowing that I had been longing for the sound of a female’s voice after so long of only hearing the gruff voices of my companions?
The time we had spent in Kalabuto was only a short blur and I only had the chance to observe a few women there. In fact, I’m not sure why I took that dwarf Chieton’s advice to hide out in his home. We were attacked there by assassins and I was gravely wounded. As I had done in Eleder and Stormreach, I should have been in the bed of some chambermaid or lounging in some high priced whorehouse instead where I could have spent the night enjoying the sins of the flesh and maybe had avoided the beating.
Now, on the riverbank ahead, might finally be some female companionship. Pol saw that I was eager to talk to these women and motioned me to go ahead and be the group’s spokesman. I advanced towards them and raised my voice as I came nearer as to not alarm them. When I shouted my greeting, the four dark skinned beauties frolicking in the wide river ceased their play. As three of them rushed to their discarded clothing on the riverbank, their leader rose from the water with a broad smile on her face; I could not help but to admire the way the water rolled down her body. She slowly strutted up the bank and donned her robe over her still wet body. I stared entranced but finally, with my best bow (something I practiced for hours as a child to my tutor’s exacting standards), I introduced myself and my friends. I tried to allay their fear of us with the story of the Zenj village where we destroyed the Chomiset plaguing it. Finally their leader, a beautiful Drow woman, Zakayya gave her name and the name of her companions – Lahlalah, Masozi, and Osumare – along with an invitation to spend the night at their humble hut.
As we moved up the bank, Zakayya was a gracious hostess. She moved amongst us all, speaking one on one to Pol, Dadak, Ja’Redd, N’Ketchi and myself. Everywhere she went, we all had our eyes on her; she was an exquisite creature, full of grace and charm. Her and her friends were Spirit Dancers from a nearby Drow village, she said. Once a year, the four journeyed to these huts to practice their art away from prying eyes so that every year they would have a new dance to perform for the joy of the village. I mentioned that I was somewhat of a good dancer myself and that I would be honored to watch them and perhaps teach them a dance or two from the courts of Zilargo. Zakayya said, “Perhaps.” and the other three women just smiled placidly. I was tripping over myself trying to be of service.
Zakayya’s three companions followed behind us to their little camp and single hut. I hope that we weren’t rude; it seemed all our eyes were on their leader, but the three other women seemed less forward than Zakayya. They did flirt some but not with the gusto that Zakayya had. Once at camp, the four began their dances and we were all enthralled. I could not keep my eyes off of their bodies in movement. When their dance was over, they came forward with drink and the offer to show us our Spirit Totem. I was eager, along with Ja’Redd and N’Ketchi, but Pol and Dadak were reluctant. Pol was satisfied with his trip into the spirit world with N’Ketchi months ago and Dadak claimed he was still recovering from the effect of the poison he overcame four days ago.
To my disappointment, Zakayya took Ja’Redd by the hand and helped him drink. Then she rose with him and took him into the hut. In a surprising short time, they came back out. Ja’Redd had a distant look on his face; no doubt from what he and Zakayya shared. It was a look of not quite ecstasy and he seemed to sway on his feet. I hastily drank my portion of the drink and waited for my turn. Instead, Zakayya turned to Pol and bade him to drink with a little dance; to my surprise, knowing that he had earlier refused; Pol picked up a gourd and drank deeply. A brief wave of annoyance crossed my mind and I was determined to stand and confront them, but I felt a wave of sleepiness and peace pass through me and I stayed there where I was. Dreams of Zakayya filled my head.
I lay where I was for a time. I could hear muffled shouting but I had no desire to turn my head and seek out its source. The three women came in and out of my view briefly and once I felt Kylia rush past me. The heat of the campfire beat upon my side with unusual ferocity for a moment and then was gone. The shadow of wings crossed my eyes a time or two, but it must have been bats leaving their caves in the early evening.
Slowly, the world began to come into focus. I could hear Dadak casting spells in battle and the sweep of large leathery wings. I turned my head and watched Kylia savaging one of the women and Ja’Redd near her scanning the sky with his unfocused eyes, crossbow at the ready. The hot splash of blood falling onto my face woke me the rest of the way. I could see Dadak slowly descending from the sky battling a winged Zakayya with a tail – Zakayya was a monstrous succubus! One of the two spirit dancers was armed with a blowgun, aimed at Dadak and waiting for him to come into range; the other held a whip at the ready. I leapt to my feet and covered myself with invisibility while I rushed to my belongings to grab my trusty rapier.
Now, I was ready to do some “dancing”!
—From the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra