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Chimes of Silver

By Geem-Shah, Singing Mouth of the Naka-Desh Tribe
Many dryskins blame us for killing the Kothringi. They twist their faces and spit dry words like "murder," and "conspiracy," and "witchcraft." Even now, long seasons later, people still believe the Saxhleel conjured up the Knahaten Flu. I wish they could peel the hate from their eyes and look up-river to the days when I was a hatchling. Back then, the people of the root and the silver-skin tribes walked hand-in-hand, bound by mud, good food, and cheerful dancing.
I have many memories of the silver-skins. When I shut my mortal eyes, I can still smell Kuusa's heel-snail kabobs drawn fresh from a clay oven. I can hear the tin-chimes sing as they jangle at Dassil's waist. I can feel Old Haduk's rootfoam scrape down my throat and warm my belly. But what I remember most of all is the music. The shimmering songs without end. I miss those songs most of all.
We Saxhleel have a multitude of musical instruments, both simple and not-so-simple. The Kothringi, however, had many, many more. Indeed, my egg-sister and I used to joke about how anything could be an instrument in the hand of a Kothringi. Their tree cutters turned hollow logs into wamasu-sized drums. They plucked the sinew from cliffstriders to make low humming bow harps. The instruments they loved best, however, were their chimes.
Unlike people of the root, Kothringi had no distaste for metal. While they rarely wore clothes, they did wear bits of metal on thin strands of rope that tinkled and jangled as they walked. Their metal-tamer, Baelah, would cast lumps of tin and copper into his great fire pit and draw them out hot, twisting and molding them with a stone mallet until they took the right shape. After the metal rods cooled, he would hang them from tree boughs and strike each in time to take the measure of its song. Baelah made hundreds of these chimes, intent on taming every sound that metal could make.
One warm night in Nushmeeko, he summoned the tribes to his village for a feast. I do not know why they feasted, but we did not care. When the feasting was through, we all gathered around his great singing cypress and listened to his family play the chimes. Eight Kothringi—his wife, uncle, and five sons—leaped from root to branch like sure-footed treefrogs, tapping the chimes with their song-sticks. The sound it made echoed in my chest like the gentle child of a thunderclap. Each of us felt our hearts burn bright as a torch, and many of the silver-skins wept joyful tears.
When dryskins say we killed the Kothringi, I think of that night in Nushmeeko. Had they heard what I heard and saw what I saw as a hatchling, they would know that no child of the Hist would destroy something so beautiful.

Knahaten Flu Confirmed

Shaman Chirah

My worst fears are confirmed. Despite our isolation, Stillrise Village experienced its first outbreaks of Knahaten Flu. It began with the traders' twin apprentices, Abaaleb and Sana, a day after their return from Mud Tree Village.

Abaaleb succumbed first. His master noticed a bright, red rash on the boy's forearms. Sana's sickness went undetected for another day, until her mother found her coughing up blood.

Both apprentices passed within two days of discovering their first symptoms. Now, many of us show the signs. I've noticed an ache in my joints. It feels as though penning this short entry was like writing a volume.

None of the usual treatments have any effect. I begin to think the ancient shrine may be our only hope, but Chieftain Suhlak resists. Perhaps War Chief Helushk can convince her.

Shaman Chirah
13th of Sun's Dawn, 2E 561

Pirates of the Abecean


The storm threw an unexpected twist in Captain Saraja's plan. She eyed the pirate sloop's torn sails and broken mast. Not only had their most recent haul washed overboard, but now they'd be becalmed until they could afford repairs.

"We're as good as grounded," First Mate Huruz said grimly.

"If we see another ship, I'm sure we can talk them out of it," the captain replied with a throaty chuckle. "We're disabled, but still afloat. You're always thinking about disasters."

"Better safe than … is that another ship?"

Saraja turned and grinned. "Our future ship, you mean."

Huruz eyed the distance and said thoughtfully, "It's not that far. Let's lower the dinghy."

Within moments, the Khajiiti crew prepared themselves to row to the other vessel. It was anchored near a sandbar and appeared undamaged. As they approached, Saraja scanned the line between the ship and sky, looking for movement. All quiet. Ripe for the plunder.

Huruz climbed up, slowly digging into the ship's dark hull. He had to overpower any guard on this side, enabling the rest of the crew to secure lines and board. Landing softly on the deck, Huruz glanced quickly fore and aft. No guards. He leaned over the rail and signaled the crew.

One by one, the pirates boarded, padding along the deck silently with weapons drawn until they were all aboard the silent ship.

"Too big a ship to be on a pleasure cruise," Huruz murmured to the captain. "And too quiet to be well-armed."
Saraja nodded, gesturing toward the cabin's door. "They're hiding in there," she whispered. "Time for them to get off my ship."

With a loud battle cry, Huruz kicked open the cabin door. The pirates, claws unsheathed and weapons high, pushed in after him before coming to a stop not ten paces into the quiet, dark space.
"What's amiss?"

"Quick! Get me a light!"

One of the pirates slammed tinder and flint together. He raised the torch slowly, its warm glow reflecting across dozens of mirrors strewn throughout the cabin.

"By Jone and Jode, Kothringi!"

"Dead Kothringi!"

Saraja ordered everyone back to their crippled ship, though it was already too late. No one who'd seen the Crimson Ship ever lived to tell the tale, and her crew had done more than see it.