By Ryan St and Rob Harper
You do not know of us? Where are you from? Pon, fleeing Zeium Dalat? I hope you will tell me more of that. Of us?
I am a Sea Speaker of the seaborne Uunri. We are born, live and die upon wave. We pay no tithe or tax and answer to no god. We have paid forever in our ancestors' blood and pay no more. Do not threaten an Uunri. We did not bow to a god, do you think we will to mortal? "Lands are ruled by gods on thrones but the sea hath no ruler but Fate alone."
Once we were of the city of Uun. Centuries ago, Abross demanded the tithe of our ancestors and Uun's god Rogun, the Tidelord. Abross said pay or see destruction. We refused to debase ourselves. Abross destroyed Uun and Rogun but was forced by Fate to accept that in trade he relinquished all demand for himself or other gods upon us.
Cities of the Halcyon refuse to let us dock and trade directly but they come quickly to our floating markets. All manner of goods may so secured and we do not object to quiet discussions of sensitive matters. We offer much sought after ambergris and whale oil. Some think we know of hidden isles and lands from which come the exotic birds we offer. Understand that the seas are ours and when you land-born come to our realm, you pay tribute to us. We are not pirates, pay the tenth of your cargo and you pass.
Let me tell you why I seek your aid. Recently, Ocean-Chief Elamzashi had been meeting with the Living God of Emjou, Meccon, in secret from the Uunri. He planned to negotiate allowing Meccon to forego Emjou ship-tribute to the Uunri in exchange for Meccon’s permission to dock in his city.
As Fate decreed, the Wave-Chief Lorimat had vessels near Emjou while this was occurring. To to stop the secret bargain, Lorimat abducted the fairest of Emjou women and one of Meccon’s favorites: Uzisha. With Uzisha in his hands, Lorimat disbanded his floating market and took his ships to the safety of the open sea. In his fury, Meccon now plans to send a fleet upon all of we Uunri until the fair Uzisha is returned. Shamed before his people and blamed for Meccon’s rage, Elamzashi’s time as Ocean-Chief is short.
Uzisha persuaded Lorismat of her innocence and a respect grew between them. It may be more than that… an old Sea-Speaker won't speculate further. Soon, Lorimat planned to release Uzisha.
However, the ships returning Uzisha to her people were attacked by Balohn's ships, to forment war between percieved enemies (or, perhaps, just because the people of Balohn are as crazy as their god). Lorimat is a man of honour who put Uzisha's safety ahead of his own, alllowing her to escape but becoming a prisoner, taken to Balohn.
Know that we do not sleep upon the land and seldom travel far enough inland to lose sight and smell of the sea. To sleep upon dry land is cease to be a true Sea-borne until one faces the Return tests of wave and wind. To perish facing these tests means dying land-bound, bones to merge with the earth, and is to be imprisoned and accursed. Such is the fate Lorimat may meet if not soon released.
We have no armies, bend no others to our will and land-borne account us weak. Yet we bear no yoke, bend no knee and our souls wander forever free in the deep when we pass this life. We possess magics of wind and wave different from those of the land. The land-borne look upon us and say, "See the wages of defiance"; we look upon the land-borne as they send their ships of living tributes west and say "See the wages of servitude".
I beseach you to go to Uzisha in Emjou, where Uunri are currently not welcome, speak with her, and seek her aid in a plan of action to rescue Lorimat. You may call upon our warriors if action be near the waves.
May Fate bless you in this endeavor and be sure if your flight from the east would take you further, our ships would bear you whence you will.