Friday, March 19, 2010

Return to House of Lord Jourdain (Part I)

Since their arrival in Khanbaliq roughly six months ago, both Gwinch and Beatriss have heard rumors that there are people “like them” in the city. When they heard this in Zipang, the people “like them” turned out to be simply foreigners from Zhou-dang, or even “barbarians” from the far north of the country. But Khanbaliq is cosmopolitan city. Most of the people are native to northern Zhou-dang or have emigrated from the “Horselands,” but besides the Zipang contingent, there are representatives from most every known empire, kingdom, nation between the Sea of Zipang and the Western Mountains.
And, rumor has it, even beyond. But while Beatriss has met someone who swears that she knew another woman who looked just like her—pale skin, pale hair, wide eyes, she had not met another Cynadicean. Likewise, Gwinch has not met another traveler from Alyan.
Enter Myrrha and Cair.

Myrrha tried to speak to Beatriss in a couple different languages, one of which sounded somewhat like Cynidicean, but was functionally unintelligible to Beatriss. (So they were forced to communicate in Zhou-dang.) Her features were similar to those of a Cynidicean, but her skin was darker than a Cynadicean's, and her hair nearly as dark as anyone in Zhou-dang or Zipang.
And Cair (the same shadowy man who had pointed out to Beatriss where to find Myrrha’s apartment) was also from a distant continent. According to Cair, he was in fact related to Lord Jourdain. Their common ancestor had visited Zhou-dang, and started a family in the predecessor city to Khanbaliq, but then had chosen a second wife to take back with him to his own country. Thus, while Cair stood out as a foreigner in Khanbaliq, he was also regarded as an outsider in the city of his birth. Although, overall, he had been disappointed to have not found a “real home” in Zho-dang, he was interested in paying his respects at the house of his long lost relative.
And so an agreement was soon reached. Beatriss, Tetsukichi, and Hatsu would be joined by Myrrha and Cair in making a follow-up visit to the House of Jourdain. Cair and Myrrha needed special permission to exit the forbidden city but the House of Mehwa was able to arrange this. Su-Laing’s relatives seemed to understand Cair’s sense of filial duty was at least partly pretextual, but they were also interested in getting a share of the wicked old foreigner’s fabled loot. Askaa and Ganbold would join the party to represent the family’s interests.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a good introduction to meeting these characters.