From the Journal of Aframos Longjourney, Pilgrim
With notes by Avos Torr, Scholar of Rheve Library
Erevday, Eighteenth Cycle, Seventh Year, 81st Turn
Fortieth Day in the Trees
I had not expected to find anyone living in this terrible swamp, but today we have found an entire town.
The town is called Pella Veypal1, and it has over five hundred inhabitants. The ones who live here are well suited to their home. They are scaled, as I am, but they look much more like fish, with fins along their sides and back, and webbed hands and feet. They walk upright, but seem much more comfortable in the water. Despite this, they built a number of structures that, like the path, hang from the trees.
These buildings are comfortable enough. There is an inn, two other places for meals, and a place for trading. There are also two buildings belonging to a family of creatures unlike the other inhabitants, being furred rather than scaled.
The majority of the town, however, is below. At least, that is what they have told us, and I see no reason to doubt their word. They swim from one part of the town to the other. They prefer to live in their homes below, but take their meals on the surface, preferring their food cooked. They grow some sort of foods below, plants and "molluscs." These are strange foods, but they do not taste poorly.
They say that they can take others down below as well, using metal spheres, to buildings where they have trapped bubbles of air. Torne wishes to see this, but I am nervous. To have so much water below us is bad enough. To have it surrounding us from all sides? Still, I am curious. I wish to know what sort of buildings they have, and they have promised that many surfacers (their term for those who live above the water) have made the descent and that all have returned to breath air again. I must trust them that I will survive it.
We are paying for all of this with Torne's stories and my metal work. I am not a smith, but my first-father taught me enough to be a decent feirbok2. The people of this village have kept us both very busy. Torne tells them of things that have happened far away. He is telling them now of a war between two nations, started by, of all things, an animal. Apparently one of these nations had a very special animal called a "bull." The other nation wanted this creature, and they fought over it. It ended in the death of a powerful hero, who in the end fought while tied to a boulder until he finally expired.
Outsiders are so very strange.