WOSSNAME -- AUGUST 2007 -- part 5 of 7
- WOSSNAME - AUGUST 2007 -- PART 5 OF 7 (continued)
====Part 5 - WEIRD ALICE, CONTINUED
19) THE CLACKS LOG OF WEIRD ALICE LANCREVIC (PART 2)
19) THE CLACKS LOG OF WEIRD ALICE LANCREVIC, CONTINUED
Our destination was the oasis of Phati D'oun. It's well known among
the D'regs as the Place of Herbs; here can be found the powerful
stimulant qat and the powerful hallucinogen qit. Mixed together,
they're known as qat-qit, and their effect can keep you up for days
while making you see enough strange visions that you won't even
*think* of the sleep you're losing. Once you've tried qat-qit it's
hard to quit -- one of the common cries of D'reg hunter-gatherer
groups translates as "Have a qat-qit, have a break!" -- and there
was plenty of qat-qit use in evidence at Phati D'oun. As the sun set
redly over the dunes and the baking hot desert day turned to bloody
freezing desert night, we joined in the festivities. Oh boy, did we
join in the festivities. I was designated Other Special Guest (since
there was already a Special Guest, namely the Alchemical Brothers,
from the valley of Great Sand); the masters of ceremonies were the
handsome twins Fahim and Faher, and they accompanied me on camelskin
drums with some pulse-pounding percussion as I played Loose in the
Burnoose, Smells Like Tent Spirit, Camel Chameleon, You Dry Up My
Life, an all-rocking rendition of Deeper and Dune, and an ode to
Seven-Handed Sek, patron god of the Dehydrated Ocean, that I called
Bringing Sek's Sea Back. Cert had got his mojo back by then and used
his Technomancer training to put on a light show; the camels
calculated trajectories and spat out their cuds at high speed, and
Cert turned each cud missile into a ball of sparkling flame that
landed harmlessly on the far side of the oasis. We partied and drank
and watched the dancing houris and ate dates and no, I didn't try
the sheep's eyes. And as the slow desert dawnlight rolled slowly
across the dawn desert, we staggered off to our tents with a slurred
chorus of "I'm going to Great Sand, Great Sand, down in Elharib, I'm
going to Great Sand...proud D'regs our patrons in desert breeze, and
we are going to Great Sand..."
On the following day, we, that is to say the D'regs, were attacked
by the Misplaced Tribe of Unreal. I'd believed they were only a
legend, and when they first crested the dunes I thought they were a
leftover hallucination from my qat-qit hangover, but no. The
Misplaced Tribe are descendants of a lost cadre of Klatchian Foreign
Legionnaires who joined the KFL to forget and then forgot they were
in it; now they wander the trackless desert, pillaging passing
caravans and plundering pilgrims on the paths. They were no match
for al-Rhaiva's D'regs though, and the survivors willingly joined
our lads (though not in as, um, unfettered a capacity as ours). They
were led by a pale-skinned, pale-eyed young man called Sojar ibn
Sheri, aka the Lyon of the Dessert (fierce wanderers aren't so good
with the spelling), who thinks he came originally from Ankh-Morpork,
or possibly Muntab, but has long since forgotten. He's quite good
with camels though. The Misplaced Tribe will no doubt continue to
exist -- they can't remember if they were the whole Tribe or if
there were others who forgot to come along.
We pitched our tents on yet another featureless expanse of sand
which, I was told, was near the Djelibeybian border. It seems we can
get transport down the Djel to the Circle Sea. I always did want to
visit Djelibeybi; any nation that lists garlic as one of its primary
exports gets my vote. Remember, my mother's side of the family were
The story so far, in song:
Travellin' on a flyblown carpet
With a whiffy smell, like Nobby's armpit
I met a D'reg houri in Klatch's service
She mixed me up like a whirling dervish
And she said,
Do you burn from the sand down under?
Hot rash below? - well, no wonder
Do you feel, do you feel quite sundered?
Your tender bum you better keep covered!
Half-dead in a D'regs-filled place is
Even worse by far with no oasis
I said, "Is the coastline that way?"
They just grinned and gave me some scorpion sorbet
And they said,
We run with the sand down under
Where thirst can kill if you blunder
Do you feel, do you feel encumbered?
Beware the sun - you better keep covered!
Flying in a windblown quand'ry
With a sick Imp and no clean laundry
I said to the D'regs, "Let us leave this country
"Because I long for a land that's tent-free!"
And we said,
Sinkin' in the sand down yonder
Where camels plod and D'regs wander
Do you feel like you're bleaching blonder?
You're turning brown, you better seek cover!
Second Clog: "Not lost, just cartographically variable"
The Lost City of Ee materialised next to our tent during the night.
This is not as unusual as it sounds. According to the history books
I've read, the Lost City of Ee is a brigadoon, a magickal node of
placeness that disappears and reappears at various places on the
Disc (or sometimes elsewhere in the multiverse). My Mapp placed it
well rimwards of Elharib, but it was published in the Century of the
Fruitbat and is obviously out of date. We were also obviously out of
dates, and thirsty again, so we packed up and set off inside the
strangely carved walls in search of breakfast; we couldn't ask the
D'regs, because every one of them, man, woman camel and prisoner,
had mysteriously disappeared without a trace. So had the inhabitants
of Ee, by the look of it. Everything was covered by a fine layer of
dust -- not all of it desert dust by any means -- and the streets
were paved with very old-looking mud, but the fountains in city
centre were still running and the water was cool and delicious. And
there were fruit trees! With fruit on them! Cert insisted on
muttering a few poison-detecting spells over our "found meal" before
we ate, but they came up clean. I thought I noticed a funny shadow
at the edge of the market square when he was spell-saying, but it
was probably just a heat hallucination, or the last effects of the
When we were well fruited, I decided to have a bath in the fountain
while Cert explored...after all, there's been a lot of geography
between here and the last bath I had in Genua...and after bath came
nap. By the time I woke up, it was late afternoon and Cert was back.
He'd found some old grimoires (he was well chuffed about that, since
if you remember he'd thrown his own ones overboard just before
Captain Aie's pirates captured us) and some fresh clothes (for a
"probably centuries old, but at least they look like no-one's died
in them" value of "fresh") and a couple of fine-looking ceremonial
daggers (in case anything new and exciting attacks us), but no
people and no food, so we've had some more fruit. He's also found
what he thinks is a collection of sapient pearwood figurines, but
said it was getting dark fast in that part of the city and he'd
rather rest and go back in the morning. We gathered some old
furniture and made a fire because the temperature was dropping
again. I swear the shadows look funny around the edges of the
square. Must be the firelight. But in the end we decided to go back
outside the walls and pitch our tent in the open desert, in case the
city decided to leave with us in it while we were asleep.
We've made a pact to sleep on separate sides of the tent until we
get back to someplace less, well, lost.
On a side note, Gimpy has been acting funny. I've been getting him
to read back my posts before he sends them, and I keep having to
make corrections to the spelling and grammar and sometimes ask him
to delete whole passages he's copied down twice. He says his
processor spell needs a flush. I don't even want to think about what
that entails. Cert says he can fix Gimpy but he needs some
specialist supplies including something I think he called a daemon-
magnitiser and something about a hard drive. But I don't drive my
Imp too hard! Hopefully, the next time we're near someplace vaguely
civilised, we can sort this out.
Tired now. Here endeth this post.
End of Part 5, continued on Part 6 of 7.
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Copyright (c) 2007 by Klatchian Foreign Legion