Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DISCUSSION - Nice After Action Report From U-CON!!

As posted by George Harnish to the Tekumel Yahoo Group:


Greetings to my friends from Minnesotanyálu, land of many waters.

We left our clansmen in the north, travelling an unusual path, by following
the Guiding Eye of Phoné. It lead us to the Library of Noble Knights in
Wisconsinélya, and past most of the toll stations along the sakbe roads
surrounding the Windy City. The librarians of Noble Knights decried a
backlog of archive activities and would be unable to attend the Convocation
of U this year although they did locate an aged and prized tome of
logistics, battles, diplomacy and economy which my clansmen eagerly await
back home. A night of rest in one of Thúmis' House of Six left us with
still a long, long day on the sakbe road to reach the Convocation. One of
my bearers referred to it as U'Con, and I promptly corrected him. I heard
that abbreviated form of the Convocation a few other times, but resigned
myself to their ignorance.

We arrived early enough to rest and watch the arrival of many others and
the final set up of the vendor hall. Several servants struggled to move a
potted tree through a doorway too small for the purpose, but managed to
succeed with no damage to property and a minimum of cursing. I was given a
black and silver ribbon as we waited for the Ritual of Joyous Sitting Among
Friends, which I wore with pride for the full duration of
this auspicious event. I was told it meant congenial and pleasant, and I'm
sure you'll agree it was a most fitting award.

During the Joyous Sitting Among Friends, after exchanging greetings, we
were each presented with a beautiful miniaturized figurine depicting a
warrior Shen in soft grey metal! Many other tiny sculptures were also
displayed and shared with admiring exclamations from all who picked them
up. Hlakka smaller than the tip of my thumb with delicate wings and even
tiny slaves awaiting sacrifice were among the treasures. The craftsmanship
is exquisite. Small paintings of Chlen were also among the gifts, and were
generously shared with all who asked to view them. The artisan guild who
crafted these works must feel great pride in their skill. It was truly a
joy to again see the travelers from afar and remember those who were unable
to join us this year. We shared news and stories, much of which I'm sure
you've already heard by now. My servant seems to have misplaced my journal,
so I will relate from memory some of what transpired.

One of our friends who travelled very far to join us, and has worked with
the Guardians of Order to codify many epic tales, shared one of the
adventures of the Broken Reed clan, an exciting tale of avenging the deaths
of clansmen, and preserving the honor of the clan and their patrons. It was
sad to see their famed archer return with a broken spirit, despite such a
grand performance and display of skill. He certainly had no intention to
shoot his cousin, and it only took a few months for the poor man to sit up
on his own again. I hear he is already able to eat stewed vegetables, and
may soon enjoy chewing meat. I hope the archer continues his legendary
training school. They are a tough and hardy group, and I'm sure anyone
would be secure under their protection.

The following morning I sat in on the discusion of the historic Building of
the City of Eternal Beginnings. I know the scholar compiling this work, and
look forward to the final manuscript with great anticipation. Many of us
shared our research, and the contributions of the other scholars was of
indisputable quality. I will only say this much for now, we have only
scratched the surface of this unusual municipality. I am tempted to mount
an expedition and travel there in person one day.

Interestingly (at the risk of sounding ironic), the next group
of travelers I sat with shared a tale of a temple of Drá. In fact, it was
the very temple adorning the rocky promontory in the City of Eternal
Beginnings. The tale was a light hearted, mysterious, somewhat free-form
narrative involving a group of young acolytes of Drá, much in the style of
Imsayfu niMautsshlo. I won't spoil the ending, in case you haven't heard
the story, but you may be able to imagine the last day of a group of young
(teen) adults, about to give up all to enter the lifelong duties as priests
and priestesses of Drá.

That evening we heard the account of a clan of tomb gardians, embalmers and
grave diggers, entitled Night Moves. It's a monograph by Tsámsas hiSsomru
and shouldn't be difficult to locate. You might be as surprised as I to
learn how treachery and intrigue happens even among the lower clans of our
land! I guess clan rivalry can motivate even the uneducated into both
dishonor and honorable acts. A fascinating allegorical read, especially if
you have a long hot journey and the curtains of your palinquin must remain

That reminds me! I am sending along a spare flask of that purple ink you
expressed interest in. You will find it flows very smoothly and dries with
an uncommon iridescent sheen. My last scribe told me it even has a pleasant
taste. It's tempting to use it extravagantly, but I advise you to use it
sparingly, perhaps for illumination or other special projects. I am told it
is becoming difficult to acquire, though the Victorious Globe is rather
tight-lipped about the reasons behind it's sudden sacristy.

The morning of the final day contained a pleasant surprise. I expected
the Elucidations Upon the History of the Three Kingdoms to be rather dry
and tedious, except for my own contributions, of course. The detail and
amount of research was overflowing in abundance. My own clansman will be
compiling the documents and dissertations of this small conference, yet the
tomb will be remarkable. We discussed some of the structure on our journey
home. Of course, much of the information disclosed is preliminary and
founded on fragmentary evidence and even folklore. Still, some of the
positions put forward are quite compelling. One scholar shows pottery
remnants suggesting Chürstálli made their home near Urmesh! Another ancient
document depicts a climactic two week denden game (unfinished) complete
with notes (translation still questionable) on the negotiation of the
stakes of the game which appears to have broken down into a debate over the
purity of the game vs. the complexity. The translation is sketchy and many
symbols are still unknown, but how often have we personally re-enacted that
debate in late hours after enjoying some Mághz powder? And the recent
discovery of two skeletons and a device of the ancients near Jakalla seems
to be evidence that only two Tinalíya brought down the Floating Towers
seems to corroborate the Ancient Journal of Akthma Lloir. The Saga of the
Battle of Hollow Voice nearly brought silence to the entire room. The
scholar even sang a short, chilling passage in Aí Chì! The woman next to me
whispered that it sounded like a call to "The One Other", but I was too
distracted at the time to ask her more. I am beginning to suspect that the
ruins near the City of Eternal Beginnings may well be on the site of that
battle. I will need to develop this theory in depth, so please keep it only
between us for now. Debates raged, sometimes over minutia, and some
conjectures were extremely wild. Near the end of the conference, the
speakers were all but racing against time to include their research. I'm
sure my clansman will announce the completion of this great scholarly work
when he has finished.

Our final event was unannounced in the official schedule, but was a heroic
tale of travel, ancient devices and magic which would have left many wide
eyed with excitement. I may retell this story myself some evening among
some of my younger clans-kin. Time was unkind enough to pass far more
quickly than the telling of the story desired, and we had to be escorted
from the Convocation Hall by a very pleasant elder who wanted to secure the
wing for the evening and release the servants to begin cleanup and
preparation for the next group of travelers.

Our return from the Convocation of U was uneventful but for one. We noted a
surprising presence of the Omnipotent Azure Legion, who had stopped a
number of travelers for questioning. Apparently we were deemed of little
interest to their inquiry and allowed to proceed without delay. For a brief
time the winds picked up, causing our palanquin to sway, and a number of
brief rains showered us with great force. I thought I saw tiny white stones
striking the sakbe roads, bouncing and skittering in the rain, and thought
I overheard onf of the bearers exclaim something about "the cold". We had
stayed at the "U'Con" to the last, it was late and we still had far to go,
so we did not stop to investigate. The remaining venture home was broken
only by a rest at a curious, small temple dormitory of Hnálla on the
outskirts of the Windy City, surrounded by training grounds and halls for
the dancing rites of Avánthe.

The remainder of our trip took place off the sakbe roads and was both rapid
and unremarkable. I've decided to place my tiny metal Shen on an eastern
window sill to catch the light of sunrise. My clansman is commissioning a
local artisan to paint the metal. I am of mixed feelings on this subject,
but may agree to do the same if the work is suitably praiseworthy. Perhaps
I'll have it moved to a western window for the setting sun. I believe this
will require some experimentation. I hope this letter finds you well and
all the usual pleasantries.

Yours, as always..


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