The nature of the boats around you have slowly changed. While before there were many bright colors and active families, now the boats look worn and aged. There are more men with appraising looks following your moves. They look hungry and tired. Their loincloths are threadbare and some have none at all.
Just when you get the feeling that you may be being lead astray, you see men in the Silver Net colors ahead. They look armed but not well dressed.
A quick glance behind tells you that men with Silver Net colors have removed the planks you just crossed on a couple of boats back. Your remaining tail of children have piled up there unable to get closer.
You are on a boat that is more of a barge than anything. The footing is not solid as the wood has rotted some from exposure over the years. Crowding towards the stern and giving you a wide berth, are a couple of old women and a bedraggled child. You have a body length from the low curved roof supported by three poles on each side. The deck of the boat is cluttered with busted and poorly repaired baskets. Rags and gourds hang about. The water here is slightly less thick with sewage than within the mass of boats but still smells and looks nasty.
Before you can grab him your guide sprints towards the waiting warriors. "That's them," he says and points back towards you. "I lead them just where you said."
"Quick Kumahl, pull in all planks connecting this boat to others and try to push us away from them, then I think we best be ready to fight any who make it onto this boat."
Kumahl with lightning reflexes, begins hooking the board behind him with his fishing staff. Using the flattened edges to tip the board then the hook to flip the boards in the air.
"My brother, any that dare too close will need a swift end. Any that find their way to our boat will be skinned alive."
When he has removed the last board, he will use the staff to shove off the hunk of junk.
"Well done Kumahl!" "Any who make it onto this boat are sure to die." Huruyan tries to grab some of the planks instead of just shoving them into the sea. Then he uses his spear to shove off from the other boats that are connected to their foes.
One of the closest men in a loin cloth with a Silver Net emblem at his waist, makes a quick toss of his net. A flipping board tangles it's edge and the net falls into the water off the port side of your barge.
"Hold your casts until I say," commanded one of the men while gesturing to those around him. "Spread out around them!"
He was wearing a cloth sash and his skirt of chlen hide was well lacquered both were in pale blue. There was a small net emblem on the sash.
"This doesn't have to be hard. Life as a slave will be easier than you had it where ever you came from," the man that seemed to be their leader cajoled. "Fine strong men like you go to the best clans." "I am Troop Leader Bozhrul of the Silver Net and I will ensure we treat you well."
While he talked, his men moved slowly across the boats to either side of your's. There are ten of them. They are wearing loin cloths and equipped with nets and spears.
It was clear that your barge had never been moved since it had been moored. There were no paddles or long enough poles to move it that you could see. The out going tide was causing all the boats to slowly drift but they were moving together as much as their mooring allowed.
You hear some shouts a ways behind your opponents, in the direction of the city. A couple of your tail of children head off in that direction.
Whispering to Huruyan, "light the barge on fire I will provide cover."
Kumahl begins pulling boards into the barge, keeping an eye on the net casters. "Judging by their looks, your clan's slaves would be better off dead."
"Kumahl, their nets can be a problem. I think if we stay under the roof and behind one of the support poles they will have a tough time catching us in their nets. Continue trying to get us away from them." Huruyan begins trying to get a fire started. Whispering to Kumahl, "maybe we should light some of these old baskets and try to get them on fire instead of us."
Huruyan continues to whisper, "I mean lighting rags and or baskets and flinging them onto the boats they are on."
Kumahl nods in agreement and tries to position himself and Huruyan behind poles and under anything that will prevent nets from catching them.
As he sees old baskets in other boats he snags them with his fishing staff and puts them in reach of Huruyan and his fire. As baskets are lit, he uses his staff to fling them into the crowd or onto other boats.
It would be easy to jump between boats if one had a running start but there is barely room to move without stepping on a pile of trash.
As Huruyan crouches down and digs the firestarter from the basket, Troop Leader Bozhrul calls out, "You can't hide from us like that. Might as well come forward and save yourself a good beating."
"Come on little fishies, let us scoop you up." "We'll save you from the sea." "You can't get away from our shiny nets," called a few of the men on either side as they sidled their way along the nearby boats.
On each side a couple of the men have pulled boards from other boats and are feeding them through the tangle in preparation to thrust over to your barge.
In response to the heckling Kumahl flings a newly lit basket towards one of the men with a board almost in position.
The ruckus in the distance is getting closer. Some of your opponents are glancing that way.
Kumahl: Shouting loud enough for all near the docks to hear, "It appears that the Silver Net have no honor. They resort to stealing other men's freedoms as well as their goods. To be your slaves would make being Nakome a privilege. May Thumis and all the gods and cohorts curse your nets and leave them as barren as your women."
Kumahl must have hit a nerve because Troop Leader Bozhrul face colored and he yells to his men, "Now! Cast!"
Three nets from each side flew toward the barge, most snagging on the many hanging obstacles. With a deft twist Kumahl dodged a close cast but Huruyan, focusing on making the fire, was not so lucky. The corner of a net fell over his head.
Post by greentongue on Aug 9, 2015 14:32:07 GMT -6
Still maneuvering boards, the next one Kumahl positions against the boat and inside the netting. "Huruyan continue making the fire."
Kumahl grabs another of the lit baskets and flings at the mob. Hopefully the distractions on both sides will discourage the slave-taking activities.
Huruyan pulls the net off his head and continues to fling burning baskets, rags and anything else he can get to burn. Huruyan yells to the Silver nets, "Better run and hide like the cowards you are!"
From either side a board is thrust over to your barge and men with spears race across while ducking the hastily flung baskets. Behind them is the flicker of fire as the burning basket parts spread their flames to the hanging dried seaweed and ancient baskets on the nearby boats. The people on them start screaming "Fire! Fire!"
Coming from the direction of the city is a small crowd of people. Some in the pale blue you recognize and many others in a forest green and blue check. These last are in the lead and one is wearing a breast plate.
Troop Leader Bozhrul has noticed the arrivals and has stopped haranguing his men to capture you. "The fire! Put out the fire," he calls to them.
Post by greentongue on Aug 9, 2015 14:33:29 GMT -6
Huruyan stops throwing flaming baskets and grabs his spear. He readies himself to fight. "I am ready you scurvy dog!" he yells at the nearest fighter.
With an array of spearmen in his checkered colors around him, the man in the breastplate announced,"I am Guard Captain Sakza of the Silver Kangal. I demand to know what is going on here!"
Troop Leader Bozhrul quickly responded, "We are trying to stop those barbarians from setting fire to these boats." He pointed in Huruyan and Kumahl's direction. "Luckily my patrol arrived in time."
On the barge, the closest man kicked the remaining burning refuse over the side of the barge while keeping Huruyan at bay with his spear. Those rushing across the board on Kumahl's side split their attention between keeping him at spear-point and the new arrivals.
In a hushed breath that only those on his side of the barge can hear, "Thumis Thumis in the minds of those I hold before your eternal gaze I now have control." [Waves hands and stares intently at the spearmen nearest him.].
Post by greentongue on Aug 14, 2015 11:46:15 GMT -6
Huruyan: "These scum have been trying to capture and enslave us, many people around here should have heard them trying."
"Guard Captain Sakza," Bozhrul responds, "Clearly we are trying to stop them spreading a fire. You can see that with your own eyes." "We will deliver them to the Imperial authorities, he continues. "You do not need to waste your valuable time on the likes of them. If they give us any trouble we can dump their bodies in the river."
One of the warriors that came with Sakza brings a kid forward. "Is that them?" he asks the boy.
"Yes Sir! Them is the ones I saw being lead away," the boy stammered.
Huruyan and Kumahl both recognize the boy as one of the two that had volunteered to lead them and had then run off when they hired Messenger Dosuri instead.
Confronting Bozhrul, Sakza said, "Troop Leader Bozhrul, this child informed us that you had those men lead here. While starting a fire is a serious crime, they did not do it unprovoked." "They are cousins of my cousin Huntsman Chodo of the Emerald Fishers and I do not take kindly to them being led astray."
With that another man, with Emerald Fisher clan insignia, steps forward. He has a short side shaved hair cut. His skirt looks to be of nice material. There is a Bola tucked in his waist and a bow in one hand.
Post by greentongue on Aug 14, 2015 11:47:26 GMT -6
Huruyan: "Greetings, Huntsman Chodo. It is wonderful to see a fellow clansman in this strange place," and with that Huruyan gave a wide smile and a small bow to Chodo.
The man near Kumahl got a concerned look and made a warding gesture with one hand while glancing at his leader.
Kumahl: "I second my clan-brother, and thank the young one who informed you of our presence." Keeping his staff in front of him, Kumahl bows before Huntsman Chodo.
"I'm sure this is all just a misunderstanding," said Bozhrul. "How was I to know that these apparent barbarians were related to you?" "If you can take them away, I can overlook the fire they started," he said in a conciliatory tone. "Help them over here!" he commanded his men.
"As no harm seems to have been done, I will let this pass," said Sakza. "Huntsman Chodo, take care of your clansmen," he said as he turned away.
Bozhrul's men offer to carry your basket, a sure sign that they were trying to placate you.
Post by greentongue on Aug 14, 2015 11:48:02 GMT -6
Khumal nods to Huruyan as he grabs his end of the basket, looking Nozhul squarely in the eyes, he says, "Make sure you at least deal honorably with the messenger boy and pay him his due."
Huruyan just glares at the Silver Net clansmen as he picks up his end of their large basket.
As you follow behind Guard Captain Sakza of the Silver Kangal and his entourage the men in pale blue scrutinize you. Bozhrul's face is impassive but his eyes follow your every move. They will remember your faces.
Huntsman Chodo welcomes you. "I came as soon as Little Yuniwu told me that you were being lead by a boy allied with Silver Net and not towards our area. Silver Net is known for enslaving strangers when they can. Glad we got to you when we did and were able to claim you without a fight."
As your group moves along the walkways between boats you notice a shift in mood in the surrounding boats. There are more chattering children and laughing adults. Some are even singing while they busy themselves with their handicrafts.
"What brings you to the great city of Jakalla?" asks Huntsman Chodo.
Post by greentongue on Aug 14, 2015 11:49:29 GMT -6
Huruyan: "We are looking for adventure, excitement, and of course treasure," Huruyan answers.
Khumal: "The great waters moved us here. It seems for now we are meant to be here. I am Kumahl and this is Huruyan."
Huntsman Chodo: "Kumahl and Huruyan. It is good to have more clan members here. We are few and without our alliance with the Silver Kangal, our competitors would make things even more difficult."
"You seem to have found excitement soon enough and we do see a lot of treasures. Finding and returning things of value is what the Silver Kangal and our clan do. If it was lost into the water, we Emerald Fishers can return it. If lost on or under the land, the Silver Kangal will get it."
"For compensation of course," he adds with a smile.
Post by greentongue on Aug 14, 2015 11:51:56 GMT -6
Huruyan: "We have been fishing and diving all of our lives, and I have the ability to stay underwater for long periods. Of course we have waterproof goggles as well."
Khumal: "I am a fair diver, my talents are more in crafting. I stuff souvenirs for display. Make a large catch, I will mount it for you. I also tinker and improve armor, weapons, and equipment." With that he flourishes his fishing staff and takes a step back and does a few maneuvers with it.
Huntsman Chodo: To Huruyan he says, "Goggles? The clan can certainly use those. We have a Helm of Walking Among Fish but only one old member knows how to use it properly. He is getting to be too old for the really dangerous dives. I had hoped one of you would be able to assist since there is great reward to be gained."
In response to Kumahl, "We can always use another skilled craft person. If you can restore a damaged item before we return it, the reward will be higher."
He appraises Kumahl's staff dance. "If you are a little more supple in your moves and add some silver bells to your pole, Dlamelish may smile on us and make our clients more generous." His leer is full of suggestiveness.
Huruyan: "That's a great idea, I can just imagine Kumahl with bells on his pole!"
Huntsman Chodo laughs at Huruyan's comment.
Kumahl: Laughing with Huruyan and Huntsman Chodo, Kumahl wipes tears from his eyes. "I am certain my brother and I could adapt to the needs of the clan. Let us see this device."
Post by greentongue on Aug 14, 2015 11:52:49 GMT -6
You have arrived at a place where several barges have been lashed together to form a floating pavilion. The emblem of the Emerald Fisher is displayed prominently and there is a festive aspect to the decorations. While slightly faded, the hangings that separate off sections of the barges are of good quality. A small shrine to Dlamelish is clearly visible. The few guards in clan colors are at the perimeter and are attentive to your arrival.
Still straggling along behind you are the kids that have watched you since the beginning. Among them is the boy that had alerted your clan of your predicament.
Huntsman Chodo: "I will introduce you to the elders before I go to my wife's clan house," said Huntsman Chodo. "This is where I stayed when I first arrived. Since then I have married an Aridani of the Silver Kangal, I now live with her clan."
"It is lucky that Little Yuniwu arrived while Guard Captain Sakz was here for business so I could ask him to help." "While I owe him a big favor, I am glad I could save follow clansmen from the Silver Nets. They will sell anything they can catch and it would have been very embarrassing to have had members of my family enslaved."
Post by greentongue on Aug 14, 2015 19:27:23 GMT -6
Nodding in understanding, Kumahl turns to Little Yuniwu, "Please excuse our confusion, Little Yuniwu, you acted most honorably." Extending his hand to shake Yuniwu's, he slips Yuniwu 10 Hlash, then looks to the gathering of youngsters, "Take care of your brothers and sisters. Family first."