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nijineko's world

chapter twenty: sidetreks.... (or, over an hundred and twenty years old, and i still can't drink, drive, or vote!)

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It is the dusk of Fireday, 7th month of the Year of the Emberhound. We travel in the cool of the dusk and dawn. As we leave my tribal homeland, I reflect upon the events of the last month. We sent messages to the Duke, upraising him of the finishing events, and our suspicions and intentions. We retained the peculiar enchanted chain, and sent our information by secured courier.

We had decided not to take the overland route. In the heat of summer, this would be most difficult for our companions. The journey by ship was mostly uneventful. Ship-sickness beset some of us, Gramblin and Sabriel most severely. I overcame it quickly-surprising myself. Nadem was deeply uncomfortable most of the time. Being surrounded by the element opposite his nature and inclination kept him on edge. Pik was mostly unaffected.

Once we made port and began our trek into the wilderness abutting our desert homeland, we successfully hunted numerous animals for gifts of food and for gifts of skins. It took a few days to find and catch up with our people. We were well received by our tribe. The many gifts we brought assured that. Pik and I were able to meet with many friends. Our stories were gladly heard, as was news of the surrounding lands we had passed through. Our companions found themselves celebrated and welcomed... especially after our announcement to adopt them as our clutch.

The ceremony was splendid. At last, I thought, I am about to be considered a full adult by my first-kin. Quick upon the heals of that satisfaction came the thought that it would be another century before I would be regarded as such by my second-kin. The differences between my short-lived first-kin, and long-lived second-kin yawn vast, at times. According to the ancient customs, a quest was layed upon me. It is not so often that such a thing is done these days. But in doing so, the elder has cunningly removed any remaining dissention concerning the legitimacy of my tribe-hood. Should I succeed in this endeavor, none will contest ever again. And it will become quite the story to be told around the clutch-fires.

The elders said that I have found my present, and are growing well into the future (and off-hand reference to my having outlived five, almost six, generations of tribal elders). I have been charged with discovering the secrets of my past. To that end, we have left the tribe, and headed into the desert to seek out the Deathhaunt Oasis. It is not taboo by our tribe, but there are others who impose a taboo on any who seek it.

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