The Pool of the Nir zisari
Ribi N’Aa has been good as his word and you were escorted
through his lands without mishap. For
4 days the tribesmen escorted you and the local villagers looked after you and
gave you food and lodgings. Their
healers have given you some salves and medicines that have increased the
recovery rate of Binky’s wound.
It has been 9 days now since leaving the highlands and your
escort. In that time you have been
heading towards Lhedu where Gerald’s old acquaintance is digging.
He is the Italian Professor Incontinente.
He has been there for years and Gerald reckons that he will know all
there is to know about strangers. He
does have some odd theories about the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans in
this area and into Morvalistan.
Since leaving the highlands you have not found a single
native. Only deserted villages and
the remains of an ambushed Arab caravan. Two
days ago you met a mixed patrol of Italian Colonial Cavalry and Penne di Falco.
They told you that brigands and Arab slavers are active in the region and
warned you to keep strong guards during the night.
The Arab Slaver terrorising the area calls himself “The Cobra”.
He wears a golden necklet that has a cobra engraved upon it and hence his
name. Although the Italians do not
know who he is folklore has it that he is a disinherited Arab from Snikabar.
He has a small but potent force of Baluchis and Zumali tribesmen.
He has captured artillery from a Snikabari expedition – so they say.
They advised you that the land ahead was suffering a longer
than usual dry season. The rivers
have dried up but in many cases it is possible to dig a shallow well and reach
water without difficulty. The
grass, however, is dried out and lacking in nutrition.
Such water holes as there are will be found in hollows or in rocky
natural cisterns in the hills. Wherever
they are you will find animals aplenty. Game
will be plentiful but so will the predators!
The drought has forced nearly all of the tribes out of the
region. When they move the Cobra
attacks them to take slaves and steal their surviving cattle.
They are, therefore, wary of strangers.
On the other hand they might look to white men for protection.
Water is really scarce and grazing has been very poor for
the last few days. The valley that
you are following just now has a dried up watercourse along its foot.
This afternoon as camp was being set Binky went ahead with Adrian and
found a long side valley. Away in the distance, about 5 or 6 miles was what looked like
a pool. Binky has examined it
through his field glass and is sure he saw game in small numbers at around dusk.
After dinner and a discussion it was decided to make for the pool
although it was off route. The horses need water and decent grazing.
And all could do with some freshly shot game on the menu!
Remember that the horses are weak and need to be led.
The evidence of the past few days is that the kidnappers
are not far ahead at all. A camp
fire was found two days ago and beside it was a short pencil note on a scrap of
cream coloured cotton. The note
“Heading for Blazzim’s village. Water there. CW”
The porters have been restless ever since leaving the
highlands. That is worrying but
even more worrying is the rapid decline in the horses’ health.
They can barely support a man and you have had to lead them for a day
Twice you have crossed the tracks of many men on foot
accompanied by herds of cattle. Along
the trails were the decomposing remains of animals and people.
It was difficult to say if they were slavers or migrating tribesmen.
Yesterday you went ahead with Adrian on a hunting
expedition. You went up a sidfe
valley and in the distance you saw a pool and a settlement. You have some doubts about whether or not the settlement is
inhabited but the land is greener there and there are several trees.
Even if the water is not on the surface a well should be easy enough to
dig. There were no cooking fires.
It is likely that there is surface water because of the
animals you saw – giraffe, zebra, antelope and gnu.
If there is a large pool there might even be hippo.
During the night you think that someone was in your tent
but you were in a very deep sleep for most of the night. Nothing very important is missing but a few items have been
moved around. The only missing item
is your silver hip flask but then, you cannot remember when you last used it.
Ramsden was late with your early morning tea!
1. Cynthia has been missing for nearly 6 weeks now.
2. The kidnappers would be 2 days ahead – maybe less.
3. You are still searching for – A gold inlaid funeral mask; three gold statues each about 18” tall of a Pharaoh, a queen and the god Horus; two regal collars; a box containing 12 scrolls; one mummified cat; one set of priest’s regalia (collar, arm bands, circlet (crown), staff head and 6 rings; a small chest containing 23 items of jewellery.
Someone or something was in your tent last night.
The ink was upset over the entries.
They were the ones concerning the discovery of the statue of Nekhebet.
The ring and necklace had been taken from their box and were lying on the
There was a scent in the tent. You recognise it but just cannot place it.
A soft sweet smell.
The statue has been “acting” a bit strangely.
It always seemed to “glow” when it faced south. The last two nights
it has definitely been turned to face southwards.
You always thought that someone was turning it and you tested it the last
two nights by facing it north. In
the morning it faced south. You had
surrounded it with sand and this was undisturbed.
It must have been turned exactly on the spot.
You have been studying the information that you have about
the statue, the book and comparing it with Egyptian Mythology.
The more you think the more you are beginning to think that the
“book” might actually be a casket or receptacle for something precious but
small. The item may not be physical
but knowledge or mystical.
You have had recurring dreams – always similar but never
identical – of two women and a dead man.
They are carrying the body through trees, not palm trees but large trees,
near a waterfall. Then there is
darkness and sparkling lights. A
great cliff with a small white city on the top is always at the end of the
dream. In between the journey
varies, there are battles between men and warriors wearing animal style armour,
there are processions and the women bring the body back to life.
Old Incontinente has a theory that the Egyptians, Greeks
and Romans all had colonies near Lhedu or to the south. Mainly, he says, they were trading exchange points for
civilised goods going south and slaves and animals going north. Much of the trade in Roman times was to supply the
ever-increasing needs of the Circus and the gladiatorial combats.
You are still searching for – A gold inlaid funeral mask; three gold statues each about 18” tall of a Pharaoh, a queen and the god Horus; two regal collars; a box containing 12 scrolls; one mummified cat; one set of priest’s regalia (collar, arm bands, circlet (crown), staff head and 6 rings; a small chest containing 23 items of jewellery.
Yesterday you were out ahead with Binky and saw the pool
using the sights on your rifle. You
are fairly certain that the pool is surface water and not just mud but you have
no idea how deep it might be. The
number of game animals that you saw would seem to confirm this.
Binky is quite sure that he saw an uninhabited settlement.
You saw some huts but there were no cooking fires or even a fence or wall
around it. Most unusual. You caught a glimpse of a herd of cattle and so you think
that there are at least some tribesmen around.
There are a number of game trails crossing the donga (dried
up stream) that you are following. The
tracks show zebra, eland, gnu and giraffe.
You are quite willing to shoot a few to supplement the dried rations of
the last few days. Before today all
of your hunting trips have yielded only a few small rodents barely big enough to
The native muleteers are very restless, maybe it is the lack of fresh food or
that they water is running low. None
will talk with the askaris or the Europeans.
You had a very restless night but you are not as tired as
You are sure that you heard something prowling around but
could not get up to investigate. Your
tent seemed full of a sweet smell that seemed to stop you from moving.
Your equipment is intact but the tent fastenings have been
opened and then closed by someone else. Mahmud
was still asleep across the tent entrance when you went out.
He was in a very deep sleep. Most unlike him.
Binky is still looking for Cynthia who was kidnapped in Cairo. Gerald is still searching for a gold inlaid funeral mask; three gold statues each about 18” tall of a Pharaoh, a queen and the god Horus; two regal collars; a box containing 12 scrolls; one mummified cat; one set of priest’s regalia (collar, arm bands, circlet (crown), staff head and 6 rings; a small chest containing 23 items of jewellery.
You have already gained acclamation in Egypt and with the
Royal Navy. This adventure is
proving most intriguing. The
traitor is still at large and you are still determined to track him down.
Your tame African is proving most invaluable and has found an old campsite with a message from CW. He reckons that the fire was only a couple of days old. You picked up a broken razor of German manufacture – made in Essen. He found a Mauser cartridge case.
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