We are now five weeks out of Pisofia. Here we must leave the river behind to strike out overland for the Nigella.
Three of our number, including poor Captain Anderat, are down with the mouldarea. There is after all a reason this quarter of Afri has become known as “The Uropian’s Grave” when even the stout yoeorcs of the Royale Marines can succumb to such Malefactroal Vapours. The malady leaves the victim weak as a kitten and probably not half so tasty. I have been told that if an orc dies of this fell disease it is not even safe to eat him! Od’s Fish! Demmned inconvenient that. We’d have to do something else with the body and quick I dare say, lest more of the boys come a cropper due to it.
Fortunately Dear Captain Park has been putting his years as a ship’s Doctor to good use ministering to the ill, and so far none of our party has Pierced the Veil so to speak.
Yesterday, as we proceeded up the Gumbia, we were met by the Du Bi Du Bi Doo people. They came at us on the river with Great Ferocity, and I would have had them fired on had it not been for Goode Captain Park, “Belaying” that order. “Belaying” is some sort of thing those Shyppey types say when they really mean “Knock it Off” or just “Shut It”. Takes a bit of getting used to I must say.
Well, in any event, the Captain had me “Belay” my order to open fire and I thought us all lost for a Halfling’s stew pot! Turns out the Du Bi Du Bi Doo are right Splendid chaps and good friends with our dear leader.
They had us round their village for some sort of parlay with a good deal of Puffery and I dare say Mummery as well! Lot’s of singing and dancing. Only unlike the halflings of the Naal who sort of dance and sing together, these fellahs had only their Headhalfling sing. Chap goes by the name of Franksen Atra, and is apparently a bit of Rake with the lady Halflings by Sentinel!
As he sang, Dear Park was good enough to translate. Atra likened our expedition and his tribe to Strangers who pass one another in the Night, and yet become Bally Good friends. Throughout he was accompanied by his Ministers who played a variety of native musical Thingamajubers. The whole was led by one Nel, Son of Rid El and the performance was really quite moving.
Once we got down to, well one hates to say it, but, well “Business”, it turned out the Du Bi Du Bi Doo are keen traders that would do any Londinium shop keeper proud! We handed over quite a lot of Hongo, simply for the privilege of traversing their territory. “Hongo” is another one of those Words dear Park is so fond of only this one is not so Shyppey as much as it is Halflingy. It basically means, well, whatever the Halfling’s happen to fancy taking from one in return for whatever it is, if anything, they wish to Bestow upon one.
In the end we couldn’t get quite as many mules as we should have liked, did get a fine fellah to guide us cross country, and were regaled with tales of the mysterious Whig El people.
Seems these chappies live in the middle of Sentinel Knows Where and worship a great big Lizardy Goddess known as Doro Tee. In fact the reason these bally fellahs were mentioned at all is by way of forewarning. Apparently they are said to cut a caper that leads to un-gentleorcly sacrifice. They lure in prospective victims by mimicking the Du Bi Du Bi Doo with their chant of “Do the Oooby Doo, with Doro Tee”. Any Traveler so bemused by the chant as to participate in their Savage Rite, will soon find himself in pieces, if not also in some Ritual Dish called “Newt Salad”. They say it is yummy yummy but I nearly wretch even at its contemplation from this safe distance.
Well time to bid you all a most Fond Farewell for we must depart early in the morning.
I am leaving this missive in the hands of a Caravan, or as the natives say, Koffle, bound to Pisofia for trading. Will write again as opportunity allows.
Your Obedient Servant
Giglamps, Capt (brvt), Halflingland Rifles
P.S. I have sent a letter to my Dear Uncle Rogipoos under separate cover along with a copy of this dispatch. Should you not hear of it from Him do please send word to Willorcs Hall that I have been most fortunate to have received his gifts of Gin and Tonic to see me Proof against the Most Dreadful Maladies of the Gumbian region. Also do tell him that although I have not seen any Elehumps as yet there have been plentiful and well Large, grey cherry trees in plenty. Such a Bountious Land! Huzzah! The Native chappies we have encountered all evinced a great fear of travelling under said trees due to some Absurd and Regrettable Taboo. Silly custom I dare say!