Mirrored from Sythyry.
[This seemed like a good Thanksgiving post. -bb]
I (Tllith) did my best to interfere! Like this!
Dear Baron Johand,
Please forgive my omission of the customary salutations of your people. I do not know these salutations. I write on a matter of urgency to yourself and your brigade, and many other people as well.
You should be aware that the Duku Thoik tribes are planning a mass rebellion against you in the next few days. The sorcerer-chieftan Kuur Molk Hasp has used magical wiles to unite and inspire the thoiks, and they are ablaze with eagerness and hope.
The sorcery in question is the summoning of a couatl, named Cleiestis, from the world Gemgaru. I am writing on behalf of Cleiestis. She is being held in a box in the totem to Gongonhong, behind a velvet curtain.
Cleiestis is in all respects a victim here. She and her eggs were kidnapped from their own world, and she is bound by magic and by her eggs as hostages. One was crushed while she watched — what more horrible fate could any parent endure?
If you rip the totem’s curtain aside and reveal her to the thoiks, Kuur’s wicked magic will be revealed too, and the rebellion will fail.
I hope that you find it with your best nature to aid Cleiestis.
Tllith of the world Yirien.
This being read for Tllith of Yirien, Princess of Septoulny Swamp, «Language»-mage, «Cuisine»-mage. This being written by Cleiestis of Gemgaru. Layer of six fertilized eggs is she. Priestess of the third florescence is she, mistress of seven spells and three visible and four invisible potencies. Wife of Tomolrouc is she, who is the assistant administrator of flying insects to the Hoouthgala district. Kidnapped and word-knotted by Kuur Molk Hasp is she, who is worthy of every curse and suffering. The hope from here is that you are in a state of delighted, and that three happinesses and four contentments are on you.
No! — Three hundred and four hundred — three million and four millions! For — I am out of that cursed box! I am free of Kuur’s cursed words! I am reunited with my eggs!
It is this way:
Kuur — demagoguing, haranging, preaching. Each day — several times he does this. Each time — A hand is thrust beneath my curtain. Each hand — I must heal a thoik, to persuade him to follow Kuur.
Many thoiks — by now, they follow Kuur.
I infer: This time — more than thoiks watched!
[Cleiestis's language has particles indicating states of knowledge. Most of this is told neutrally, as if she observed it. She uses the "I infer" particle to emphasize that she couldn't see what was happening. -bb and tll]
Kuur: Yawb Dwel Bwin, come forth, receive the blessing of Gongonhong!
I infer: A Scorthman steps from behind a hut!
Johand: Kuur, this is disobedience against the Scorth Provisional Authority over Duku. I call upon you to stand down, deliver your totem into my safekeeping, and cease your rabblerousing.
Kuur: You are a brave man, Baron Johand, to come among the Duku Thoik alone, after all you have done to us. You force our hand, this is true. But we will take you now. Thoiks, brave thoiks! This is Baron Johand, who shits forth sufferings upon you all! Take him now!
Johand: I did not come alone. Musketeers, emerge!
A short battle roared and boomed outside of my box. Humans wailed; guns spoke like thunders; swords sang simple songs; humans wailed more.
I infer: Scorthmen — victorious!
Johand: Now, Kuur! Let us see what it is you call Gongonhong!
Johand’s sword-tip — as sharp as any fang, slicing the top of the velvet curtain! Which — fell off the totem. Which — revealed me to thoiks and Scorthmen alike! And — them to me! Easy to tell which was which! Scorthmen — wearing velvet coats and pointed hats in the heat of Duku’s summer! Carrying swords and guns! Thoiks — wearing sensible loincloths! Carrying not much! Many wounded! Some dead!
Thoiks: A couatl! A mystical demon from an astral hell! In the altar of Gongonhong! KUUR! You are no priest, no king! You are sorcerer and wrongulus and blasphemarch! You have conjured a wicked monster from the depths of awful Gemgaru to imitate divine Gongonhong!
A Scorthman: It’s a bloody couatl, like in the stories my nurse used to tell me! I never thought they were real, couatls. I thought they were like leprechauns and daphnillies, just from fairy stories, flitting around sprinking little blessings on poor woodland animals! But there’s a couatl in there, a whole live couatl! Wait ’til I tell my children that I saw a couatl in the flesh with my own eyes. That I bloody rescued one!
Johand — chuckled. Kuur, it seems that your Gongonhong is not quite what you made it out to be, what? Not above a bit of deception to go with your sorcery, are you? Or is it, a bit of sorcery to go with your deception?
Kuur: You are a tun-tuller, a Scorthman. You cannot understand.
Woon: Am I too a tun-tuller and a Scorthman? I know the legends and the old chants! That monster, it is a couatl — a terror of evil and damnation worse than the Scorth! You have brought it to sacred Mount Duku! It must be slain, and you too! Better to slave for shit-hearted Scorthmen than consort with that!
Douk: My father…! What have you done? … It healed my arm. Johand! With your sword, cut my arm from my body now! Better to be maimed than to live with perdition thus attached to me!
Johand: Silence! Silence — did not come. Johand — his pistol boomed. A vassallo burst from the bullet, fragments of fruit showered the thoiks. Silence! Silence — came. This is a matter of Scorthman law. We will take charge of Kuur and the couatl. There will be no hasty maimings or lynchings. We impose the rule of law here, and we will enforce it with swords and guns if we must. Now, disperse!
Thoiks — after slashes with Scorthian whips and Scorthian sabres, they dispersed.
Johand: Now. There is the matter of this Cleiestis that you kidnapped. He reached into the box and pulled me out. I curled around his forearm, and tried to thank him, but Kuur’s words clogged my mouth again. Give back her eggs, free her from your spell.
Kuur: You know nothing of the perils of couatls. If she is unbound she will slay us all.
Johand: I am three heartbeats away from slaying you all myself. I do not take kindly to insurrections and disobedience.
Kuur — Produces forth a few more argues! Johand — Denies them!
Kuur’s chamber of sorcery — We return. In a corner — a box, a jar, are picked from the muddle and litter of items and tools! In the box — three eggs! They look like mine, but are not — are painted! In the jar — four eggs! They are mine!
Kuur’s words of binding — Slip out of my mouth like vomiting! Break on the floor! Gone forever like regular words!
Me: All four eggs of mine! How can this be? Kuur smashed one! Did you take another from my home on Gemgaru?
Kuur: Bah, it is nothing. I smashed a fake egg. It is the ritual in The Green Toad: a fake egg is smashed at the beginning, then all eggs are revealed unharmed at the end. You have no cause to hate me, couatl.
Johand: Aside, perhaps, from the small matter of kidnapping her and her eggs, terrorizing her, enchanting her, and enslaving her.
Kuur: And what do you do, tun-tuller of a Scorthman, heart-shitter lord? You come here, you kill and kidnap some of us, you terrorize us, you bind us with your laws, you enslave us into your mines. Every crime I commit upon a wicked demon, you commit ten thousand fold upon other humans! Any punishment you make upon me, you should inflict upon yourselves ten thousand times as much!
Johand: I see no reason to play at freshman philosophy with you. What we have done, we have done for a very good reason. What you have done, you have done out of wickedness and malice!
Kuur: Malice to the barbarians who come conquering and enslaving us!
Scorthmen — Johand nodded to one. The one struck Kuur with the pommel of his sword. Kuur’s blood fell to the floor, and he held his cheek with blood dripping between his fingers.
Johand: A straightforward response, if not the most sophisticated one philosophically. Now — O couatl, please forgive us for the crudity of your rescue, and for the long delay before it occurred. We were only recently made aware that you had come to grace us, even under these most extremely unfortunate circumstances.
Me: … Thank you. Coiling around his arm! Raised high. The Scorthmen cheered in unison: Tam, Tam, Tamtamterry! To Scorthmen I am no demon. The thoiks who watched, watched in fear. To them I am a demon.