Here at last, was the great city of Jakalla, famed throughout the five
Empires. Here was the traditional first port of call for those new to
the great Empire of Tsolyanu. Here country bumpkins (like yourself)
could rub shoulders in the street with noblemen and priests, soldiers
Through the morning haze, beyond the buildings that crowded the shore,
you can see the tops of mighty pyramids, vast temples dedicated to one
of the Lords of Change or Stability. And the throngs of people! A boy
from a small fishing village could scarcely imagine that there could be
so many people gathered in one place. The wharfs were thronged with
stall holders selling goods, beggars crawling through the dust, slaves
running errands ... there, a palanquin holding a fat nobleman bobbed
above the heads of the crowd. There, members of a Tsolyani legion,
dressed in blue and gold lacquered Chlen hide, tramped efficiently
along the shore, the crowd parting before them. Their scalloped
Chlen-hide swords clacked against their thighs as they walked. Kogush's
eyes smarted with so many wonders. His nostrils, too, were filled with
exotic odors he could not identify, mixed in with the sharp scent of
sweat and the dry dust the crowds kicked up.
Kogush climbed out of the small boat they had arrived in and turned to Puutan.
"I've never seen so many people. Have you?"
"No, never. Even with our whole clan gathered back home, there would not be this many."
"Guess we should try to find a place to stay. You coming with me?" asked Kogush.
"I think it is a good idea if we stay together. At least until we get to know people here," answered Puutan.
With that, they began winding their way up the dock.
Soon the way was blocked by a crowd milling in confusion before a row of
wooden tables, behind which sit several officious looking
functionaries. Here was the place, where newcomers to Jakalla were
quizzed about their future plans, and non-residents were directed to
suitable accommodations within the Foreigner's Quarter. They had been
warned of the procedure.
From their belt pouches they drew much-folded documents, their
recommendation from the Old One at the Clan of the Onyx Anchor back in
Miyel on Llurura Isle.
Before long each was the subject of a piercing black-eyed stare through
heavy brows. The official, dressed in a stained white tunic with an
eloborate pectoral and leather skullcap, looked bored and hot. Behind
him a looming hulk of a man in Chlen-hide armor stood ready to back up
"Name and clan?" asked the official, bending his head over a parchment crowded with writing.
Though he did not appear to be listening, each answered him in turn.
The official scowled in a dismissive fashion. "Do you have papers?"
Each hurriedly handed over their parchments and the official unfolded
and read the characters. After making a note on his parchment, he
shoved theirs back.
Though distracted by the sight of a hulking reptilian Shen conversing
with a market seller, they still had the presence of mind to ask where
they might find lodging.
"The Tower of the Red Dome can provide you accommodations during your stay in Jakalla. Next"
Kogush suggested to Puutan that they join with the other new arrivals that have
been directed to the Red Dome. Kogush tried to stay with them as they moved
through the milling throng of people while memorizing the surroundings.
Puutan agreed with Kogush and followed him and the others.
The press of people was almost overwhelming and Puutan tried not to gape like a
fish out of water at all the new sights while still staying close to
The Tower of the Red Dome was easy to find since it was directly to the
right of the Gates they had entered. The plaza full of marketstalls
and crowds of people was bordered by the Palace of Mruthri, Resthouse of
Foreigners and Visitors of Upper Status directly across from the gates
and the walled compound of The Tower of the Red Dome, Resthouse for
Poor and Indigent Foreigners and Visitors of No Status. To either side of
these establishments were the heaped clanhouses of those that had
residence here. Four and five story buildings casting their shade on
the streets between them.
(They find this out by questioning the members of the group that appeared to know were they are going.)
The massive doors were open and the door guards stood at either side as the group entered the courtyard of the complex.
The doorman entered the courtyard from a doorway on the left and
introduced himself as Shrakan hi Mailawi. It is clear from the clothing
and ornaments that he was wearing, that he was of third rank and not the
head of the establishment.
He requested that they join him in refreshments and led the way to a
covered porch at the back of the courtyard. There were many
threadbare mats on the floor with small tables in their middles. A
stack of mats were piled in one corner for adding height as a visitor's
rank indicates a need.
When everyone was seated on a mat at the proper level, one of their group
was second rank and the rest were first, servants entered with earthenware
cups and jugs. Each guest was offered a cup and a servant filled it with
water from the jugs.
From his three mat seat, Shrakan thanked everyone for coming to his
establishment and extolled its virtues. While Shrakan was talking, one of
your group placed a stack of 10 Kaitars on the table beside his cup.
Kogush notices the 10 Kaitar "gift" and decided to follow this example.
Carefully extracting 10 gold from his belt pouch, he placed it on the
table beside his cup.
He thought that even though the mats were threadbare, they were still of a
finer workmanship then those found in his village. The cups on the
other hand were very plain.
Puutan followed the lead of the others and also placed 10 gold beside his cup.
He thought that the water, while cool, had a strange taste, not at all like the water back home.
When Shrakan noticed that all five of his new guests had placed their
gold on the tables, he exclaimed, "I see that you are all men of means
and you are welcome to stay with us."
With that he rattled a clapper and another, first ranked, man joined them.
"This is Dadayel, he will lead you to suitable accomodations."
Shrakan then collected the gold from the tables and left the porch.
"Please follow me"
Dadayel led them upstairs to a large room divided by screens with
racks of beds three high. He then introduced them to a man sitting in a
corner area by the stairs. As the man stood and approached them
Dadayel said, "This is Tajqol, he is in charge of The Chamber of
Restful Slumber." To Tajqol he said, "Shrakan has sent us. You are
requested to find beds for them"
Tajqol greeted everyone properly and looked them over. He then led them
through a maze of screened areas, past several fine single sleeping
mats to a screened area with a single stack of nice quality mats. He
directed the second rank member of your group to a middle bunk.
The rest he led to two racks with thin worn looking mats. They are crowded together right next to the main walkway.
"This should do for you." he said, looking them over again with disdain.
"Food is served at the next bell."
He departed without waiting for a reply.