The Founding of Stronghaven, Part I

(May 30, 2004; written for A Dark Portal)
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This is not really a 'journal,' as you may know the style - I have tried to reproduce events in the order they occurred, according to our new calendar, but am writing all of this after the fact. It is now three years after the founding, and we have decided to record this for our new library, so that future citizens understand how their city began. Our people's songs are detailed and we sing them often, so this is taken from them, and is as accurate a record as it can be. I hope we do not stop keeping them now that we have begun to write in this way.
- Graie-da, one of the first Highman Scribes (Zsyoupas), 26 AF

20 AF, midway through The Cooling
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Plainswalkers travel the land in sects, large groups of families; the entire race moves together yet divided, so that each group can take care of itself. My sect is Ba Baareouch Wuiybaa (The Weeping Kyurtee in common), named for a song only we could sing properly - but that is a story for another narrative. One month into The Cooling, we had just reached the Ayb River, which runs along the northeastern edge of our plains, and were waiting for the other sects to arrive so that we could begin preparing for the winter. I was a young man, barely old enough to wear the kyurtee pelt that gave me the right to hunt alone, and was fond of exploring with my sister, Zi-Zwu. We always thought that if we could discover something new, defend our family's camp single-handedly, or catch the largest al-we, the glory of the All would be ours. So we wandered each evening, after cleaning up but before setre-grouya zace (the time of singing around the fire), and so one evening we came upon the Teyouay.

There were five of them. Four were men, one a woman, and all looked equally strange to us, covered as they were in cloth and decorations we'd never seen. They spoke a language that flowed like water, quiet and rushed, and repeated the same three words over and over: Psah-ret-ish-spy-trit-si. Yet-bi-pul-uir-tyt-retsi. Puy-tah-yit. They spell them differently, as I now know, but this is how they sounded to me. I know now also that they mean, "Mariners. Peace. Explorers.," but at the time, we knew only that they seemed friendly. We could see no weapons, though I am certain they would have had them in hand the moment we looked dangerous - but two younglings dressed in furs and our traditional wuiybaa makeup are not the most threatening people.

I attempted to hail them as I had been taught by my mother: "Ba wuiybaa debsaz iz, lab baya pa zboullazz." (The kyurtee watches, let there be stillness). One of the men, a spare type with hair the colour of a hawk's yellow-white underfeathers, moved toward me, his eyes narrowed in thought. We then had a most awkward conversation, broken as any could be, as he attempted to speak to me with a mixture of the plains tongue and his own.

"You ahrtyt Plainsiyahl, yes? We ahrtyt from Havena, ahrtuisi od northern sea, and have been... yitbepului... exploring. We ahrtyt peaceful, and iyish to learn. I ahp Amene E'Saebaesan." He paused to tap an embroidered spot on his jacket which looked rather like a snake, wearing an expression of obvious pride; I had no idea why, but since I thought I understood his message well enough, I smiled and replied anyway.

"I am Graie'da, brother of Zi-Zwu -" I gestured to her, noticing the look of awe on her face as I did, "- and son of Ba Daareouch Wuiybaa sect. Welcome to Ayb. My family is friendly, but only with those who are friendly toward us." I gathered myself up, attempting to look fierce, but Amene merely frowned for several long moments, then grinned.

"We ahrtyt friends with Ba Buyee sect. We met odytps east of here, and spent" - he raised two long fingers - "oiyui months. That is where I learned siuipsyt of your speech. Would you take us to your people?" His last sentence was obviously well-practiced; perhaps they had expected to find a large and angry group of us, and asked our kin for advice on how best to avoid our spears. I looked at Zi-Zwu; she shrugged, though her eyes were excited, then she said, "Let us go." I made the call of slight alarm - two quick cries, followed by a longer chant - so that our family would be ready, and beckoned to Amene and the four standing nervously behind him.

So it was that Ba Daareouch Wuiybaa met the Mariners.