We are now some 19 weeks out of Pisofia, and have reached the town of Bemako where we must take on some much needed stores and enjoy some much needed rest.
It pleases me to announce that we have found the source of the Nigella, as well as that of the Gumbia! Alas this has not been without loss.
Shortly after my last dispatch to your Gentle Selves, it was decided that rather than retrace the reverse of Mungorc's route from Bemako to the Gumbia, by which means he returned to Pisofia after his last foray, that we should rather Skirt south of that Route. This allowed us to skirt some rather Unpleasant Stretches of desert and rough mountainous terrain.
Our guide from the Du Bi Du Bi Doo people, Vikda Moan, assured us that such a deviation from our projected course would save us time and no little exposure to evil spirits! Od's Fish! Let Afri's evil spirits appear and we shall give them such a Thrashing as they shall never forget!! However, saving time is always a good thing, especially when one is reduced to eating Mania. Have I mentioned the sweet corn, "Mania" before? It is a variety, common in this region, but I believe, unknown outside Afri. Ripping good it is too although one does tend to run about a bit and sometimes scream "woodle doodle pyang" after partaking of the pasty meal.
But I digress. Veering south we followed the course of the Gumbia to its head waters, which Mungorc duly christened "The Source of the Gumbia". Fine rat is Mungorc but perhaps not the most taken with fancy eh? Stout fellah none the less and wouldn't want to be traipsing about in the middle of Sentinel knows where with any other!
We rested there a bit to regain our collective strength. Sadly it was here that dear Anderat breathed his last and shed his mortal coil. Two of the Marines were laid to rest here as well. All three victims of the dread Mouldarea for which this region is too well known. Mungorc himself has already suffered several attacks of the malady and I fear for his continued well being but more on that later.
From our camp at the Source of the Gumbia, we struck out overland into a region Vikda Moan styled "Chavo", This is the home of a loose confederation of halfling tribes who pride themselves on their fierce appearance and willingness to plunder travelers we were told. Their traditional garment, the "Burrbeery" is frequently adorned with chains of gold and other such frip froppery and it is said they are easy prey for the local lions being so well weighted down by their "bling"!
As such Vkda Moan told us to be on our guard in camp and on the march lest we fall prey to either looters or lions. How right he was too! One night one of our sentries was carried off. We found the poor chap next day, nearly done for, well chewed and that sort of thing. We took him back to camp of course where he later died of infection.
Immediately I set Lt. Martyn gathering a few of the Marines for a hunt! Bally fun it was too. I had three of the lads out beating before us as Pine and I followed, guns at the ready.
These lions are quite crafty. Quite indeed! One of the things sprang out of a bush at the lead beater, took a chunk out of him, and vanished back into the bush before we could take a shot! Well that "will not stand" I says and took off after it. They say following a lion into the bush is the act of a fool. I am here to tell you that I was just the fool for the work too.
The lion soon turned and leapt out at me.
I raised my pistol just in time only to have the demned thing mis-fire! Down I went, with a great big angry cat for a blanket. Dare say I must have blacked out for moment. Martyn and the rest of the boyz fired a volley at the feroucious beast before it could finish me off. Dem me for a school orcling if they did not all miss! Apparently this got the cat really angry. Ripped out the throat of one of my orcs before I recovered meself!
I dare say that lion deserved a good thrashing! I mean one of my chaps wounded and another slain by ..an animal? Not even a rascally Elf should dare such an thing in my presence.
Drawing my heavy cavalry sword, I charged! Half expected the lion to scarper off into the bush again. Unwisely he chose to charge me...
I am sending you the pelt via courier. Please see that it is stuffed and displayed in a suitably life-like pose, in the main hall of the Club.
About a week after our beastly encounter we heard a tremendous rumbling ahead. Turned out be another water fall, only this river headed south. We decided to follow its course for a bit to see if it would indeed change course and bring us closer to our goal.
Along the way we neared a small halfling village. What passed for the local militia turned out and in no uncertain terms made it clear our presence was unwelcome. I urged Park to let me lead the boyz forward to teach the jollyjipjabs some manners and force them to give us a proper welcome. Park consulted Vikda Moan who again proved his worth, pointing out that the locals probably feared we were slavers like the Othari and associated halfling who ply that odious trade in these parts.
In the end we took a detour around the village and there was an end to it.
The river soon turned northwestwards and we can now say with certainty that it is indeed the Nigella!!
We now sit in council with the King of Bemako. His Highness is an acquaintance of Park's from his first journey and is urging the good rat to head home to the hills and glens of fair Joccia lest Afri become his grave.
Undaunted, brave Mungorc Park, is insisting we make our way down river in search of the fabled city of Timsbucktoof.
For my part I am ready to follow the Nigella to its very mouth...
Your Obedient Servant,
Giglamps, Capt (brvt), Halflingland Rifles
PS: Do please tell me dear Uncle Rogipoos that we have finally seen the Elehump. Quite a few of them as it happens. As well as something called a Rhinosaurus and Potohipamee. This is truly a land chock a block full of wonder!