Stargate: 1889 19 July 2012
w/ Lady Cecile Featheringstonehaugh (“Fanshaw”), Adelaide “Addy” Edison, Capt Edouard “Ed” Roche, “Martha” Mbali (Zulu), Major Alexander Lycoll Marquisse of Waterford (& his Indian batman), Seamus O’Rourke & Emmeline Kelly O’Rourke (& her dog, Rowan)
We dragged one of the High Martians back into the caves. Mrs. O’Rourke woke it up so Cecile could question it; to learn the location of the enslaved Hill Martians. Mr. O’Rourke volunteered to wake it up, but Mrs. O’Rourke said she wanted it to wake up here, not in the afterlife. Oddly enough, it had no idea where the rest of the enslaved are; ‘they go down into the caves and come out with metals.’ When ordered, they bring food. However, it knows the location of the High Martian King; go out the door and fly straight up, he’s at the top of the highest tower. It soon becomes obvious, it’s oblivious to the underpassages used by the Hill Martians. If a slave vanishes, they push another slave out a door, so they fall to their deaths.
Apparently, we’ll need to take all of the slaves, or at least, as many as possible. I wonder if any of the Hill Martians know anything of that interesting dust.
We turned to the Hill Martians to lead us to their fellows and they know a non-flying route to the throne room. They don’t encourage us to go there; it’s a good way to get killed. They took us anyway. Apparently, we’re priests and we’re doing Set’s bidding. What?!Mrs. O’Rourke noted that the High Martians do not rely upon their wings to fly; it must be something internal. She reconsidered her earlier dissection of one; there were some unidentified organs. She took a look at one of the recently deceased; and it seems that there are organs that shift liquids between them. It appears that shifting the liquids enables them to fly. If they got hit there, it would disrupt their balance and possibly their flight. I examined the liquid and it appears to orichalc, suspended in liquid and it’s magnetic. Fascinating. It’s possible the locals have boats that float on or above the flowing dust; perhaps, relying on magnets. I had to explain magnets to Cecile, she was never strong in the sciences. Mrs. O’Rourke took the organs so we could test it on the sand once I have my lab and tools again.
The throne room is a cavern with one entire wall missing and open to the sky. The floors and walls are covered by assorted pelts; including some that look like Hill Martians. I wonder what they use to tan the hides?
Oh, apparently the king is arriving. He’s quite a bit larger and taller than the others and has presence. He starts barking….something at us. Cecile barked back. He looked uncomprehending, so she barked louder. And slower.
Capt Ed is behaving oddly and perhaps is running a fever since he’s unfastening his coat. Capt Ed is suffering seizures of some kind.
She tried to rephrase it. The king’s clothing is quite lovely fabric; silky, but doesn’t fit him properly. Perhaps he took it off someone else and it wasn’t properly tailored to fit him. Apparently, he asked if Cecile is the leader. He agreed to fight her; if she wins, we take the Hill Martians. Cecile nominated her champion to face him, Martha. The king declined and wanted the Major, since he has the proper nobility.
The Major pulled out a glove and threw it at the king’s feet. The king was baffled and Cecile had to explain it to him. They are to fight to unconsciousness, or something like that.
The other Martians drew a circle, about 10’ diameter around the two duelists. It’s the starting point. The Major pulled out his shotgun and fired it. At first, the king appeared to be shaken, but he shook it off and charged forward with his halberd. That halberd hit the Major quite hard, but the Major shook off the worst of it. Too bad the king hit him a second time. Fortunately, the Major is even tougher than he looks.
The king swung the halberd around for a third time, hitting just as hard. Finally, the halberd swung past Major Lycoll, instead of into him.
The king grew overconfident and missed again, but followed up with a solid blow. Major shook off the effects of the blow, regaining his feet.
Cecile yelled encouragement and the Major erupted into action. He fired his shotgun to hit the king again, catching the Martian in the face. A mob of Hill Martians erupted out of a tunnel and attacked the High Martians. How unexpected. The king screamed, “Dishonor!” and swung wildly. His backswing however was much better aimed and struck the Major. The Major gritted his teeth and held on.
I deployed my parasol, and it started sparking correctly. It worked in the lab, let’s see if it works in the field. That halberd wielding despot only landed one blow and not as well this time. Martha smacked a High Martian, knocking him aside. Mr. O’Rourke shot another High Martian, stunning him. There’s no sign of any females. Major Lycoll shot the king in the head, finishing the duel, with a dead king. Mrs. O’Rourke stabilized the king. Apparently, he wasn’t completely dead. The High Martians flew away.
We took the Hill Martians and left. They said the High Martian females are in the birthing caves. Mrs. O’Rourke really wanted to see those. The Hill Martians bowed to us and apparently were praising Set, an Egyptian God. According to Cecile it shows communication between our world and theirs.
They also identified the assorted pelts on the walls. One of them was killed by the king himself, a Vronag Vesh. Apparently, it’s a fearsome beast. Major got the king’s silks as the spoils of the duel. It’s quite light and functions as well as a buff coat.
The female High Martians look like males, but with mammaries. They are tending eggs by natural hot springs. Mrs. O’Rourke asked Cecile to convince one of the females to come with us, and bring an egg or two. None of them proved amenable, apparently. Mrs. O’Rourke did some sketching.
The Hill Martians want us to go with them to their tribe. They are the Barrex and live elsewhere. The city name is Erebus. They are quite willing to let Mrs. O’Rourke take their picture. They claim ‘the ancestors’ built the city. Erebus was built after the deserts and abandoned when the canals dried up. They apparently displeased Set and that’s why the canal dried up. They were wicked people and were Canal Martians. We left The Cebrenia Mountains. Oddly enough the area of flowing dust is called, the Sea of Dust. The Grey Martians are beyond the Trinaria mountains.
There’s also Typhon Beasts. Green Martians are feral Typhon Beasts; algae in their fur turned them green. They wander in the wastes, the Falin Reaches. We are apparently priests of Set, as opposed to Servants of Set. They warned us against traveling east, that’s where the Grey Martians are; they do experiments on other Martians. That intrigues Mrs. O’Rourke. Typhon Beasts are large, grey-furred creatures that live in the jungles beyond the Falin Reaches. They have triangular ears and long snouts; humanoid.
The Hill Martians looked at some hidden signs and found where the caravan was headed. Capt Ed entertained, or perhaps was entertained by, some of the Hill Martians, both male and female. How….educational?
Mrs. O’Rourke and the physician tended to the wounded. The Martians packed the wounds with algae, to prevent insects from laying eggs in the wounds. Mrs. O’Rourke took samples of the algae.
We found the caravan; wagons being pulled by very large animals. They resembled nothing so much as crocodile crossed with a hippo but with legs like an elephant. Some of the Martians are riding a beast called gashants. They have almost no front legs and are upright, like a chicken. Both seemed quite friendly. The big ones are slow but tough enough to be unafraid of anything but the very largest predators.
Our friends introduced to their chief, or as they called him The Ultor; his name is Estex Fren. He plans to hold a Feast of Thanksgiving in our honor. The caravan Martians are much hardier than the ones we rescued.