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A Castrovel Adventure: Part 4, Chapter 6

In which Lady Vaeol recounts their arrival at Lea, including some unexpected excitement.

From the Daylog of Vaeol-Zheieveil Yaranevae be’Son
12. Vinelae, 24,543 - Lea   I now gladly write of our hitherfare to Lea, which befell six days ago on the Sixth, less than a month after Tae’s birth to little Yaraess. We had fared slowly, unleastly from Tae’s babe and also Vosaeth’s burdensome thickness, under much good mood, though little thrillsome. Vosaeth had the good thought to send riders ahead with word of our furtherness. Elsewise, Erymi spoke a new law in readiness for our coming: she bade that Oshis should dally with no Lea citywives, but keep his lust within our household (inmeaning both us and Vosaeth’s), for, said she, he has quite enough children already, and we need no more fatherkin. At his whine we laughed ruthlessly. For my share, I have left him to his wifemate since my bechildness, for I bethought fitting that he should yield her some worship.   Lea is almost the same size as Son, gathering fifteen thousand souls within the city and another sixty thousand within the neighborlands. It stands on the western shoremarshes of Mother Arasane, which lake holds the midmost stead within Asana, The city rises over the lakeshore, sitting upon an island cliff. Along with the lake’s wealth, it trades much with the Retaea clans who wander the shore and becomes the eastern end of the tradeway with Son. Legend tells that not only was Lea Son’s first daughter-city founded to break the Moqeva’s hold on the Retaea, but also that the Moqeva had also first dwelt here.   At a stronghold set among the marshwoods, a welcome-bode from Lea met us. Among them we found not only her Highness Lady Zhaene, who is Son’s ambassador, but also her Highness Lady Nimizi, Lea’s High Matron, who forecaught us, for we had wholly forelooked her to await in the city. They stood upon the road, and when we unsteeded, did not kneel. Yet Lady Nimizi spoke the elder greeting: ~Tolloda Son,~ - “Eldest is Son,” which word has almost not shifted over time. Unthinkingly Taiase gave the wontsome answer: ~O’stimi ama Lea.~ - “And ever faithful is Lea.”   Her Highness took Taiase’s hands and bade her welcome back to Lea. She then said she had gotten good word (with nod to Lady Zhaene) that Lady Taiase came with no worship more than as priest and grandmother. Yet she added Lea beheld in Taiase’s hitherfare a good omen, for which they could not help but worship. Blithely Taiase asked what befell.   Here first the High Matron answered not, though her mouth, Lady Zhaene’s, and all their thanes’ mouths split with grins. At last Lady Nimizi could withhold no longer. ~Oezho-so nelomi komo,~ - “Your bridge is almost done,” she answered merrily.   Dumbness overtook Taiase’s face. Then in understanding shock her eyes bulged. ~O’ahi shoalya?~ - “Can it truly be so?” she asked.   Bywardly I learned they overspoke the great Bridge of Lea, which I behappened to know is also named ~Oezho-Taiaso~ - the Ruby Bridge, or even rightly Taiase’s Bridge. It outcame that, upon her princess-fare here, Taiase had, as Son’s gift to Lea, made a bequest to have a bridge built, and also had hired a buildwright to draw the plan. Ere then, the only way out to the city’s isle had been by ferry. Taiase had come home to Son without the bridge built, for indeed work had barely begun on the foot-shafts. Also, we learned that buildwork had not been ongoing for these many yearthousands, since it had first taken less than three hundred years to build. Only in the last yearhundred had the city’s Matrons deemed the bridge needed mend ere it threatened to crumble, and so had begun the nowward buildwork. Even so, they could not help but beware Taiase’s timeliness and beheld it a highest omen.   Taiase, for her share, was likewise overwhelmed. Clutching the High Matron’s hand, she outspoke that, of all her elder life’s misdeeds, if she had played some bit in Lea’s welfare, then she would reckon herself redeemed. She begged leave to see the bridge, even to setting aside the welcome-rites, to which Her Highness laughingly yaysaid.   Here, however, we met another problem, for Vosaeth had unmeetly withheld that she was banned from Lea. She outshrove that, ere our warfare to Valmaeyana, she had feuded with another clanwife, which had overseethed to weapon-trial within the city’s streets. For this sin they both were banned, since which she had not come back to the city. Sorrowfully (and also rather shamefully, since if Vosaeth had shared word, we could have forereadied) we must beseech Lea to let our oath-sister intread. Taiase knelt and asked Her Highness to lift the ban on one who had welcomed her into the clan and made her kin. I joined her on my knees, telling that not only is Vosaeth my sworn oath-sister, but has gotten Son’s worship from Lady-Mother’s own hand. Then I offered myself as bond-guest for her good behavior. Happily Lady Zhaene came to our side and spoke that Lady Vosaeth holds Son’s full worship, and for that sake would offer a bond-geld of a thousand silvermarks.   Lady Nimizi reckoned this all, and then deemed that, for both my freedom’s and the silver’s bond, she would lift Vosaeth’s ban, though with warning that she must also lift it from the clanwife whomwith Vosaeth had held feud. Then she saw Semuane’s elf-sword at my waist, and bade she would have both the sword and my Shotalashu in token. Thus I yielded it and unlucky Ess, against his wantsome howls, to her thane, and caught ride to the city on Leief’s Shieldhead.   Under Taiase’s will, we went straight to the bridge, whose head lies in Lea’s mainland Outfarthing. She hardly gave while for the matrons to yell her showforth, but unsteeded and ran onto the span, which was full of workers laying flagstones and setting the siderails. She made some bother until Her Highness outnamed their guest and called Mistress Veiemi the head buildwright, who bowed worshipfully and greeted in fair Elder Speech.   Mistress Veiemi then brought forth a bode-glass and yielded it to Taiase, who, on its sight, shivered and wept. She took it, shut eyes, and gathered some soul-might, whereat the glass glowed. A dwimmer-sight opened forth of boughs, spans, feet, and notes: the bridge’s first draft that Taiase had hired twelve thousand years ago, along with all the writs as first forethought.   I took Taiase’s hand as her mood-throe wobbled her. For lack of better seat, a worker brought a footstone, on which she sat while Mistress Veiemi knelt beside. The head buildwright told she forelooks the work’s end within a half-year, for they had done the foot-shafts and boughs and were even now setting the span. She asked Taiase to take guesthood and ease with the matrons, and that when she settled, she should come again, and Veiemi would give the bridgework’s full show. Meekly she took leave while Taiase soothed. Then at the High Matron’s beseech we headed to the city.   With the bridge still shut, we took ferry to the island, which, even against the bridge’s great length, lies unfar. Taiase recked not, for the boatfare rowed along the bridge’s foot-shafts and thus gave near sight of this work. She stared hard while we went, and I could read her matching whits against the draft-whits we had seen in the bode-glass. Istae held her wifelove’s breast to keep her from overleaning and falling from the boat.   After the harbor, we came by a small shrouded shape walking with a staff. I first bethought it a slim Korasha until I saw a tail hanging under its hem. More blithely than I wished, I asked Her Highness what kind this was. She answered it is a ~Sealnea~, one of the wise, speechsome monkeyfolk, whose homeland overlies the northern Voliahu Rainwood and Mother Arasene’s eastern shore. Quoth Her Highness, Sealnea pilgrims sometimes come hither, since Lea holds a shrine to Sealnearas, the Golden Monkey Hero.   Also quoth she, Sealnearas is a hero-sage dolefully beloved here in Lea, forwhy he helped free the city from the Thief-Queens ere he went southward and became Holy Yaraesa’s loreling.   The island whereon Lea stands is an oddness, a great stone that juts from the lake but a hundred steedstrides from shore, where all else along the mainland is marsh-woods until it yields to the moors. Thus its worth as a stronghold over the neighborlands stands unmatched. We rowed to a small dock but busy, owing to the bridge’s shutness, unboarded, and were hosted to the uppertown, where Lady Zhaene yielded us rooms in Son’s Embassy and more dearly, baths. We wallowed richly for far longer than we needed, after months on the moorlands with only rain to wash.   Laterward, I stood hugging Remaue upon our room’s windowdeck, overlooking Mother Arasene, which is so broad as sea-like. From my worldlore, the island of Lamishu, a name that looms high in our folk’s oldest yore-tales, stands at its midst, and furtherward the lake’s eastern shore, which stead even today is widely unknown, though my brother Devaeas told he had gone Qoelu-hunting there, and as I but lately learned, holds the Sealnea’s homeland. While I kissed my wifemate’s shoulder, I could not help thinking a great and wonderful canniness stretches forth.   I have more to write, but Kaure calls, and there is a meeting with a lorewarden beseeching. More shall come forth.
Lashunta Terms & Phrases:
  • Lea: Lashunta city-state in north-central Asana, on the western shore of Lake Arasene, bordering the Southern Retaea Moors.
 
  • ~Tolloda Son~ - "Eldest is Son." An ancient ritual greeting given to dignitaries hailing from the city of Son.
 
  • ~O'stimi ama Lea~ - "And ever faithful is Lea." An ancient ritual greeting, often used by Sonna dignitaries in answer to Lea's.
 
  • ~Oezho-so nelomi komo.~ - “Your bridge is almost done."
 
  • ~O’ahi shoalya?~ "Can it be true?"
 
  • ~Oezho-Taiaso~ - The Ruby Bridge, the great Bridge of Lea connecting the island city to the mainland. (the name bears a stark resemblance to ~Oezho-Taiaseo~: Taiase's Bridge.)
 
  • ~Sealnea~ - Golden Monkeyfolk: an intelligent, talking monkey species of Castrovel, strongly resembling Golarion's Vanaras.
 
  • Sealnearas - the Golden Monkey Hero. Legendary Trickster-Sage who lived toward the end of the Age of the Thief-Queens, reportedly the Sealnea's first ruler, hero of Lea, and student of the god Yaraesa.

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Cover image: by Damie-M

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