Write up 13th July 2023 – Journey from Babilim – Part 9

Illustration of two Haxamanis guardsThe morning for murdered Ambassador Mirnusz proceeds, pointless as it seems to some of the mourners, who know his spirit is banished, cursed to wander the world as a hungry ghost.

The evidence points to Ambassador Rumekebu of Merem as the one who orchestrated it, though his motivations seem opaque to the group, even the more experienced Agents in their number.

It looks like the investigation has come to the stage where an accusation must soon be made, and Magistrate Niralha wants no part of it, as someone in her position making such an accusation has severe political implications, instead she refuses to relieve Utana of his position as Steward of Nashwa, the responsibility of administration of the palace, and justice for crimes committed here, remains with Utana Uxarra.

Fetnah wonders if the curses can be broken, if Mirnusz’s spirit can be recalled, but first Smersh seeks to expel the spirit of disease that has been weakening him. To bring him back from the dead, if at all possible, would only be possible with a quest worthy of several epic poems, tales of advice from wise hermits, wrestling with demons, asking favours of the gods and journeys to the heart of the Underworld. Possible, but a bit tricky.

It cannot be said that Smersh is an observant and devoted priest of the Cold Ones, but he is a priest nonetheless, and used to exorcising spirits, though usually on Fetnah if she encounters a spirit too strong for her. This time his patient was himself, and luckily he was able to expel it.

Next came Fetnah’s endeavours. With the greatest preparations she could make she sought the shadow world of spirits for one with the knowledge of how she might banish the curse so that Mirnush would find his way back to the vicinity of his body.

The ritual proved successful, an answer came. Strike the inscription from the blade that embodied the curse, banish the sprit that inhabits the blade, and the curse is lifted, but the tool that does this must be blessed.

The group headed to the area of artisans, and were met by a craftsman who welcomed them with open arms, Karzahdar, the chief artificer, at a banquet had offered to create a new body for the crow spirit that Farshad imaginatively calls Aaribu, as well as an earring for Utana. The news was that the body was ready and, his design for this marvellously articulated body even incorporated some of the naive, as he called them, designs of Fetnah. Wish a sigh and a heavy heart, Fetnah helped Aaribu transfer bodies, and the bird flew around and settled back on Farshad.

Karzahdar was also able to provide chisels for the group for their task, and the smiths from the work area sharpened them. Also a hammer, an old hammer that had served him well and lasted many decades of service, only needing the head replaced twice and the haft three times. It was time to get them blessed. At the temple, the most senior priest was receptive, although Mirnusz was a follower of the Three, as a person in position of power, she knew the truth of the curse.

She led them to an area of the temple with two of the other priests, but insisted that, as one close to Fetnah and the dread weapon, that Smersh was the right person to , conduct the blessing, aided by the other three priests. With their help, Smersh succeeded, and the way was clear to perform the deed.

However, the senior priest did not want this done in the Temple, given the profane nature of the weapon, Instead she recommended a shrine built into the wall of the southern watchtower as a suitable place and, with sacrifices ready, Fetnah, marshalling all her experience as a bone carver, and hoping it transferred, struck the first blow, and itt wa true, striking all the script in one fluid movement. The evil spirit within was so surprised that it did not get a chance to attack Fetnah, and it fled the vicinity, howling in frustration.

Fetnah was able to reach out to Mirnusz, briefly, before that spirit attended his own funeral. Mirnusz, killed in a drugged stupor, knew little of the actual murder. When asked about the possible motive for his killing, he did offer a hypothesis. With Ishtir, Kutin and Idym in turmoil, with suspicions and accusations flying, the rebellion in western Idym that Merem is supporting would grow stronger, and Merem could take the territory.

In the discussion, Fetnah and Smersh recalled the area, how once it was part of a growing power, apparently it was once part of a greater empire, till it fell and was supplanted. It appears that some in Merem dreamed of achieving that power again. With Ishtir over-stretched militarily, they might see possibilities.


Pausing only to inform Mirnusz’s cousin Ctesiphon that the soul was free and that the rituals of mourning now had meaning, it was back to achieving justice!

However, the evidence so far was circumstantial. A lie about a sick aide and having the murderer foisted on him could be explained away as embarrassment, or distancing himself. Helping someone to the roof, could the witness be sure it was Rumekebu? More proof was needed.

And so a banquets was organised, a small, intimate one, only the Ambassadors, their aides and the Agents of Haraxa. Whilst all were there, then Farshad could sneak into the Meremite ambassador’s quarters. I was surprised that it  wasn’t Smersh doing this, I out that down to Scott having left the room and still catching up.

In the banquets, to one side of Ambassador Rumekebu, Fetnah was being engaging and charming, and Juan José was being silent and imposing, as fully armoured as diplomacy would allow, the guards on station were those he trusted.

Elsewhere, Farshad wandered over to the Ishtiri ambassadorial building, where he was known, and proceeded to the roof. There he found a pole and deftly vaulted to the Metemite embassy. Clambering down to the balcony of the ambassador’s quarters, he found the door and curtain shielded the inside. He slipped in to find a rather simply furnished room, frame bed, two chests, third chest upended like a portmanteau or dresser, a small, plain table and stool, and a smaller table with a drawer by the bed. Luckily lit by lamps, so he need not find his own light

Searching revealed mostly the expected. Clothes, makeup, some jewellery and accessories, writing materials, some personal items. More interestingly in the bedside table was a small fancy flask with a curious smell, but, more importantly, in a secret compartment in one chest, was a rack with three phials of liquid, and space for two more.

This was Gadanishz, the same sleeping poison used to drug Ambassador Mirnusz. This was evidence. Farshad left that as he found it, but he pocketed the flask. After a cursory check that outside the room was as he expected it, Farshad left the way he came, and to the banquet.

Entering the banquet, Farshad caught the eye of Juan José and Fetnah, and nodded. Wish every fibre of his being, Farshad resisted a Belgian accent and twirling his waxed moustache. Rumekebu maintained his composure as he was accused of orchestrating the murder of Mirnusz. The other ambassadors quickly regained themselves after the initial shock and, as Rumekebu poured scorn on the notion, the other Ambassadors heard the story and agreed to be witnesses to the proof, and Rumekebu was persuaded to go along by the prescience of Juan José and two of his less sympathetic guards.

Rumekebu’s room was crowded as Farshad revealed the poison. Inspired, Farshad checked the same spot on the other chest, and found another dagger, this one with Haraxan design motifs. The case seemed made.

Rumekebu had been sidling over to his bedside table, he pulled it open as a triumphant grin stole to his lips, but that soon fell to despair as the flask he expected to be there was gone. Desperate, he made a break for the balcony.  But Smersh blocked his way and the vice-like grip of Juan José landed on his shoulder.

The only thing missing was Juan José saying “You are blooming nicked, my old beauty!”

Ambassador Rumekebu was put under guarded arrest. Tomorrow there would be a trial.

The group prepared to rest the night when a messenger, dressed in plain brown tunic, kilt and with an brown, close fitting skull cap appeared, shouting for Smersh. Reluctantly Smersh identified himself, somewhat surprised as to who would be wanting him, as he and Fetnah had been gone for 1500 years.

Messenger: Mr. Smersh?

Smersh: Huh?

Messenger: Is your name Smersh?

Marsh: Yeah.

Messenger: I’ve got somethin’ for you [pulls an sealed box from his bag]: It’s a message.

Smersh: A message for me? That’s impossible! Who in all the hells are you?

Messenger: Union of Messengers. Actually a bunch of us at the local were hoping that you could shed a little light on the subject. You see, we’ve had this envelope in our possession for centuries. It was given to us with explicit instructions that it be delivered to a man of your description answering to the name of Smersh at this exact location, at this rough time, give or take. We had a little bet to see if this “Smersh” would actually be here. Looks like I lost.

And there we left it.

This entry was posted in none yet. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Write up 13th July 2023 – Journey from Babilim – Part 9

  1. Scott Mayo says:

    Looks like my ex found me after all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.