"To our most august Emperor's most admirable servant, Exarch Twelve-Buttons-and-four, from your most humble servant, scribe Wi-stilted-crane-brush!
The barbarian ship that carried your most humble servant, four guards and 12 menials across the terrors of the southwestern antigods of the seas, has finally returned to a modicum of civilization after weeks hugging insect-infested marshy shores, with only a few stops in dismal coastal hovels right before the end of our journey here.
The town of No-Che-Ti is a decently sized market graced by almost impressive if starkly rude stonework defenses and a series of docks jutting out into the bay and river mouth. The river valley is pleasant, rather lightly inhabited with almost one third of the land undeveloped, but to the east there looms a 600 men high plateau of unseemly black volcanic rock, inhabited by the same race of antigods as the benighted regions to the north of our Empire of Splendor. These things are even counted among the ruling dynasties of consorts to the ritual queens they have here.
Using the diplomatic letters of introduction we have found entry with one of the noble houses of the city, but to my shame your most humble servant has not yet made progress to get to the lord of the house. The people who negotiate with us are the eunuchs and concubines of the hidden lords. Apparently the aging concubines and wives are given respected roles as advisors and shield the true rulers from contact with the outside world.
Negotiations are hard and difficult, as our supply of Melibian slaves who can translate the traders pidgin we encountered at Do-Sa-Ka-Yo dwindles due to necessary punishments for disrespect, transgressions or tardiness. Fortunately, another avenue of communication might be found with the local order of scribes, a few of which profess a modicum of a barbarous dialect of the dragonewt tongue. Your most humble servant will pursue this avenue further, even though those scribes with their excess of facial hair are a meagre reminiscence of the civilized discourse among the truly educated in the Realm of Splendour.
Local customs require a lot of patience and gracious commiseration with the barbarians. Our naval exarchs might be interested in the fact that huge numbers of animated dead shamble through the country on certain days - this might be a fertile recruitment ground for rowers. Inexplicably, those undead are permitted into the houses and even hold court over the natives. If these people have anything like a pill of immortality, the side effects are horrendous. Your humble servant is developing the theory that the true lords are too horrifying to behold in their vain attempts at bodily immortality without transcendance, and therefore shielded from visitors' eyes."
Add lots of flourishes and other misunderstandings...
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