We returned to camp after three days in the field and we were informed that supply trains had not been reaching Saventh-Yi. Worried that a rival faction was plundering our booty, we decided to venture down river. While scouting ahead of us in eagle form, I-Da-Dak spotted some suspects. A veritable army of meatbags was moving slowly upstream in barges. They certainly had the means to waylay our shipments, but we had not yet established motive. I suppose if they bore some ill will towards us; that would prove it. Still, my companions were not interested in investigating these possible pilferers, though paradoxically, that is the reason why we were moving downstream to begin with. Truly, they possess a dizzying intellect.
I Smell Pussy
At my companion’s insistence, we gave the army a wide berth. Keeping hundreds of yards between us and the river, we could only hear the occasional yell from the meatbags. Our mission unclear, we pressed on past one barge, and then another. The opportunity to punish the cat burglars responsible for our missing caravan seemed to be quickly fading away. But, fortune seemed determined to push us towards the resolution that my companions were seeking to avoid. As luck would have it, two catfolk, scouting the flanks of the barges, intercepted us. I took my weapon in hand and prepared to slay these pussies with it. I had the endurance to take on two at once, but I had to tame my excitement because I didn’t want the fun to end prematurely. I approached with a steady, methodical rhythm. Not too fast and not too slow. They demanded I surrender to them, but I don’t swing that way. Someone was going to get dominated and it wasn’t going to be me. They yelled for help and backed away, but still I approached. In the distance, two more were coming… their heavy breathing giving their position away. I had the confidence to take on two, but the physical demands of four, was going to be a challenge. I suppose I could think about baseball.
This moist patch of tangled vines was about to get much more exciting, when my companions suddenly sounded the retreat. I couldn’t believe it! Without even asking about the missing convoy, they faltered and prepared to run. I did my best to convince them to stay, but they insisted we leave. Remembering back to the mess hall stories that the Azlanti soldiers told, of the epic quantities of pussy that they slew, I could not help but think that this is exactly what they were talking about. My moment to make them proud was handed to me by fortune, and I was being asked to reject. My companions made their points, but honor and courage were not amongst them. Still, it was the abject fear in their eyes that moved me to action. I-Da-Dak said he did not feel safe returning without me guarding his rear. He always seems very keen on someone guarding his rear. He must have had a bad experience.
In the end, unable to rally my companions, I chose to go with them. There would surely be a day in the future when I would be able to get my licks in on these pussies.
Do you want some Brelish with that?
Guarding the approaches to Saventh-Yi is the Brelish encampment. These vile creatures clear cut the jungle to erect their tents and surround themselves with a palisade. Their massacre of my fellow plants did not go unnoticed and will not go unpunished. So, as we parted ways with our catfolk pursuers, I issued them a challenge; “find me at the camp just ahead on the river and fight me!” That should set things on the right path. Maybe fortune was still smiling upon me after all.
We returned to Captain Llewyn and informed him of the approaching army. He seemed concerned, so I recommended that we move our camp to the fort in the military district. He liked my recommendation, so I decided to return to the fort and clear away any remaining inhabitants. I’ve seen how contagious fear can be, so I didn’t want it to sweep through camp. Therefore, I thought it best to bring Iyum Kreshton and I-Da-Dak with me. Putting them to work will distract their minds.
When we first arrived in Saventh-Yi, a member of the Pathfinder tribe attempted to kill us. He came darn close in succeeding. Fortunately, we were saved by a burning man that wandered nearby. At that time, that was the only member of the Pathfinder tribe in the area. Now, there is an entire clan of them holed up in an area of the city that we had just cleared out. I suggested we clear out this new infestation, but again, my companions demurred. Sure, one of their members had recently tried to kill us. And sure, they were squatting on land that we spilled blood to make safe. And sure, they continued to be downright unfriendly, but I’m told time and time again that they are our friends. Perhaps that word doesn’t mean the same thing any more.
When I was young, people would say that the future was bright. The dark lords of Thassilonia were losing the war and everyone thought there were going to be better days ahead. Sadly, they were all mistaken. I went to sleep in the hopes that I would wake up to those promised better days, but the future is just as confounding as the past. In this age, adversaries spit in your face, but everyone politely ignores it. If the commander were alive today, Saventh-Yi would already be restored to its full glory. These catfolk, monkeyfolk, serpentfolk, Brelishfolk, Pathfinderkin, and all the rest would be trodden under foot for their slights against us. The banners would be flying high and everywhere, the sound of soldiers marching in lock step, singing songs in praise of the victorious dead. Alas, that is all nothing but a faded memory. And when I look around at the world today, it is with that same sad and faded tinge that I see current events unfolding.
We made safe the fortress atop the hill overlooking the military district. I tried my best to make it presentable. It certainly wouldn’t pass inspection, but the Lieutenant isn’t here to give us a lashing, so my bark can take comfort in that.
I was right about the work distracting my comrades. Busying them with household chores seems to have put them at rest. They even recovered a bit of their courage. After a days rest, they were itching to get back out into the wilds.
A Gentleman and a Scholar
The next area we were going to explore was the chain of small islands adjoining the large central island of the government district. Unfortunately, the Pathfinder tribe had moved onto the largest (and most interesting) of the islands. Still, there were a few choice spots left to scout on the smaller isles. Of particular note, a large rotunda with brilliant columns inscribed with Azlanti writing. I was excited to find something that wasn’t covered in monkey feces. Approaching the rotunda, I realized that a retinue of humans were diligently cleaning the structure. Finally! Someone with the correct amount of respect for this place. They weren’t plundering or squatting, but caring for the ruins of this magnificent monument. If there was ever a time to make friends, this was it. I approached cautiously, but with my weapon sheathed. I called to the humans with the traditional Azlanti greeting and they approached me with open arms. They were certainly a bit on the touchy-feely side, but I can appreciate their enthusiasm. The leader of the humans was a squat fellow. I didn’t speak the same language as him, but I could tell he was truly a cultured individual. Besides inspiring this group to clean the rotunda, he also attempted to communicate with me through the universal medium of music. He played a whooshing note on his flute and I responded with a thunderous tone from my signal whistle. The leader seemed confused, but interested and I was optimistic. Then things went sideways. Apparently, Iyum Kreshton is quite the music critic. Displeased with the dulcet tones that the leader was producing, Iyum Kreshton began casting spells. Threatened, the leader responded with magic of his own. The situation spiraled out of control and the end result was as predictable as it was sad. The peaceful caretakers stood no chance as Iyum Kreshton, filled with bloodlust, slew them two at a time. All the while, he kept exhorting me to join in the massacre. I did as I was asked because a soldier does not question his orders in the midst of battle, but I’m beginning to wonder if I’m on the right side. Are these people here to restore Saventh-Yi to its former glory, or deliver the killing blow that will finally send the ruins crashing down?