As I walked in the merchant district looking for a moneychanger, I noticed a richly decorated palanquin that appeared to be following us discreetly. Our curiosity aroused, I addressed the occupants, politely requesting that they inform us of their intentions and the reason for their surveillance. To my surprise I was met with the playful chuckle of a woman of refined bearing, and was given no further reply save a lotus blossom dropped at my feet. While we had been warned that such flirtations from a noblewoman might provoke the wrath of someone we might not wish to anger, I found myself oddly pleased and intrigued by this encounter.
Having decided that the best time to return home with our souvenirs was in a later season, and that we would be spending a significant amount of time in Stygia, I deemed it necessary to purchase a residence more befitting my worth. From the priests of Set I found a bargain, a house well-situated in an area inhabited mainly by the few other aliens allowed to reside within Khemi proper. The suite included a number of slaves and some furniture, which I found adequate for my needs and those of my fellow Nemedians. Using my Sight beyond Sight on a rack found in a hidden cellar room I discovered that whoever had dwelled here before had met his entertainingly painful demise at the hands of masked men bearing the mark of Skelos.
No sooner had we settled in that we were invited to festivities in the noble quarter of the City, by a noblewoman by the name of Yunet. My inquiries into her revealed that she was the wife of a Stygian prince, who apparently hunted her many lovers for sport. Intrigued by the possibilities inherent in such a potential resource within my grasp, I did not hesitate to graciously accept the invitation. The festivities were somewhat disappointing, as while the entertainment and refreshments were more than adequate, the highest-ranking local nobles proved quite distant and difficult to reach. The woman Yunet seemed to be quite besotted with me, and it was soon apparent that the soft, malleable wax of her heart stood no chance against my wiles; I was certain that she would prove to be quite useful while we remained in Khemi.
From the Memoirs of Tyrus the First
It had come to pass that we were invited to socializing occasion by Yunet, a Stygian noblewoman known for her influence. She had taken peculiar interest in Dionysos, perhaps for his Acheronian features. I have to admit, that the morbid sense of humor and sadism of the stygian culture did not bode well for the feast, but as the son of a merchant, I was more than aware that we should establish connections. Indeed, we had the trade permits, but using them might be difficult, had we no-one to buy from.
Evening came and we set foot to a lavish apartment. The food was good and wine plentiful, and I recall that no more than an hour passed by before Alcemides was blitheringly drunk. The entertainment consisted of erotic dances between snakes and women, and humorous plays by midget jesters that the locals found quite amusing. One of the midgets got bit and turned black under the very eyes of the crowd, but it seems I was the only one really bothered by this. Oh well.
Fed up with the entertainment and emboldened with the wine, Dionysos and I decided to talk to… and later interrogate Yunet. I was interested in the mercantile practices of silk trade, and once the wine got the best of me, also in Nefertari and Thotmekri’s master. Of the latter, I heard little, but I was told about Nefertari’s enigmatic cruelty and unusually large build. Yunet was a good listener and I have to say that conversing with her was indeed a rare pleasure. Perhaps a little too rare, as I tolerated her inquisitiveness about our past undertakings. Dionysos claims I slipped something about the scrolls, yet I can remember no such thing. That blasted fool probably couldn’t shut his mouth and tries to mount the blame on me. I shouldn’t have left him to the wiles of that wench, but tiredness was getting the best of me and I wanted to find Alcemides and Noam.
Had the pict passed out, it was only temporary. I found all the others in the lotus pit getting accustomed to a new vice. I had never tried the smoke myself, since they say that it rots the mind, but these accusations are false. Having the benefit of experience, I must affirm that Lotus brightens your spirit and awakens your inner strength. The smell is also quite enjoyable. If it only were cheaper, I might grow a habit.
Anyway, the smoke had gotten the best of Noam, and it seemed that the manhoods of both him and some turanian noble were being called into question. I feared that it would become a fight, but my intervention was not welcome and ‘everything was all right and friendly’. Both then proceeded to inhale the smoke in turns for quite some time. Before long everybody else had passed out and I didn’t fancy the streets alone at night. It was best to accept the hospitality of our hostess.
In the morning Noam displayed a gold ring he had supposedly won from the turanian. In my memory, it was more of a tie, but no matter. At least he wasn’t that as loud about his success than Alcemides. Which remids me that I have to reason with him about dividing the profits from the silk trade. That blasted pict has somehow hoarded more capital than the rest of us combined, but refuses to acknowledge that personal risk is an integral part of the investment.
Bel’s balls, this was the most tiresome party ever. I don’t even know why we attend these things unless we’re planning to kill some stiff noble bastard. I got drunk on some Stygian hard stuff and my memories are somewhat shaky. I recall that weak-wristed Noam ripping off some Turanian lotus-fiend and taking his fat gold ring. I think I’ll add it to my collection later.