Soleria-4, Day 1
We awoke in a hut, a year before our journey began, with a strange man watching us. Just another day on this odd adventure.
Again, more time has passed for our muscle memory, but not for our perception of the past. Feng has mused that, perhaps we have been having adventures that we had forgotten. Sehera disagreed, but was unable to offer a counter-hypothesis. Whatever the truth, we do not have enough information to accurately discern it. With only a few blank sides left to the Glass Artifact, hopefully we’ll get some answers soon…
The hut was in a Khonoman village called Mji Mkuu, in the Jua Nyasi savannah. We had appeared not far from this village and were brought here before waking up. Troublingly, Maisha and Nessisus were not with us.
It was here that we met Abbet Bhujem, the Bu’ade warrior-monk who had found us with the aid of his spirit ally Kupata, a lunar crane-spirit. He seemed trustworthy, so we told him as much of our story as we could while the village shared a feast with us.
He too had a troubling concern, for a Khedive, Kiso Mngani, and his honor guard Mikelebasah Ulehte, had gone missing on the way to some critical peace talks. We suspected our problems may have been connected, and so we agreed to help each other.
The Glass Artifact resonated with Abbet but, as he touched it, the reaction stopped. This had not happened before. Perhaps there is an order to this that we must follow?
Abbet revealed one more thing to us when we described our companions to him; he had been receiving dreams of Maisha for some time now, and in his dreams, she was dying…
After the meal, we set on our journey, heading towards the location we were found in hopes of finding some trace of our friends. Instead, we found traces of the Blighters, a radical splinter of the Maasi, an opposition faction to Khonoma’s ruling spirit council. These corrupt shamans drain the energy from the Earth, leaving lifeless patches behind. This confirmed some of Abbet’s suspicions regarding the missing Elder.
Upon reaching the location we were found, we were attacked by a ferocious leonine spirit, a water spirit cursed to live on land. Though it fought viciously, I ultimately slew it with a thrust of my rapier.
We then discovered some tracks, stretching far into the distance, which we followed for the remainder of the day.
I write this later, having obtained the story from our then-errant companions.
Nessisus and Maisha awoke, bound together in a large cauldron, filled with warm blood, a Xamuss Mchawi—a wise woman—sprinkling them with a strange powder, perhaps in some form of ritual, or perhaps as a seasoning.
Now, dear reader, you may suspect what they related to me to be nothing but hallucinations brought on by the powder, but I assure you this is as true as everything else I have documented.
In the midst of this strange scene, down from the moon came the great spirit Anansi, and he triggered in Nessisus a strange, dire vision that has left him shaken and questioning his very nature. Then, for reasons of his own, the great spider ordered the Mchawi to set our companions free and allow them to go on their way. He said they were “not doombringers,” as she had apparently thought. And, as a final boon, he left with Maisha one of his own legs, hardened into a deadly spear.
The Mchawi then told Maisha that was dying, for a part of her soul was missing, having been separated from her as she was from us. And so Maisha and Nessisus set off on their own journey, venturing West to find this lost piece, delayed only by a short, unpleasant encounter with some wild spirits of the wilderness.
After breaking camp, we continued after the tracks, which ultimately led to the Mbaya Mahali, a region devoid of life—probably destroyed some time ago by the Blighters, or a force much like them. Kupata could accompany us no further, but we felt confident that we could continue on the path without him.
Our desert-made clothing proved a thankful boon, for the region’s only form of surviving life were billowing clouds of biting insects. Abbet was not so dressed, but his determination led him onward.
We spotted and approached a group of strange individuals, four men completely covered in cloth and speaking in eerie, sibilant voices. Between them they carried a long, ornate box, like a coffin for a snake. They were reluctant to provide us aid, nor to tarry with us for long, but we learned something quite interesting. Their leader was Mikelebasah Ulehte, one of the very men we sought.
We followed these people at a short distance—they made no effort to discourage our pursuit—and, in time, we began to see more groups, all nearing the same location.
When we arrived, we beheld some manner of ritual being prepared. More of the long boxes were lain out in a fan before a fire by these mysterious beings. And, enthroned beyond the fire was Mikelebasah Ulehte, with the missing Elder, Kiso Mngani, tied beside him.
Amazingly, arriving simultaneous to us were Maisha and Nessisus, who were alive, but not necessarily well. They had apparently also encountered box-carriers on their own journey and followed them to the same location.
We approached Mikelebasha, questioning his actions. My companions may find my formality in such situations strange. I suspect they would have been just as happy to run in, arrows flying, but there are too many unknowns in our situation to lose any chance to gain answers, even ones that may seem inconsequential at the time. I do not believe the artifact is sending us to these various locations at the times it does by chance. Additionally, Khayyam always said one should try to get the measure of a man before fighting him; that battle can be won before they begin.
Admittedly, I need to get better at that, for as soon as battle did begin, our opponent very nearly killed me. If it were not for the timely application of a healing potion, I might not be alive to record this journal.
Mikelebasah and his two Blighter guards were very nearly more than a match for us, even with the strength and chivalry of Abbet. Fortunately, Feng and Sehera freed Kiso before taking any other action, and the Elder revealed himself to be a powerful healer, pulling us back from the brink of defeat.
Feng also had him touch the Glass Artifact, which reacted in its usual fashion.
Once our foes were defeated, we tried to solve the puzzle of the boxes, for we suspected one of them contained the fragment of Maisha’s soul. Fortunately, Kiso was able to pinpoint the correct one and she was reunited with the absent part of her. At least, that is what she tells me happened.
It was then that Anansi showed himself again. As much of a surprise it was to Maisha and Nessisus, it was an even greater surprise to we who had not encountered him previously. I have seen many strange things in the past days, but few so strange as Anansi.
He took back his arm from Maisha—it had served its purpose in wounding Mikelebasha—and, to the shock of all, touched the Glass Artifact, causing it to react to him instead of, as we had predicted, the noble Abbet.
He laughed as he vanished with Kiso, calling us “Doombringers…”