A Visit from Minari

by Cynthia A Shettle

"Tor-T'Mari is real," Jullien T'Riva protested to his friend. "My grandfather saw one of their ships once."

Nigel's eyes widened. "Really?"

Jullien nodded. "He even saw people come out of it. Come on, I'm sure he'll tell the story, if we ask nicely."

The two youngsters ran to Cantor T'Riva's house. "Please tell Nigel the story about the ship T'Minari," Jullien begged his grandfather.

Cantor looked at the eager faces of the children and smiled. "All right," he grumbled, pretending to be reluctant to give in. But his eyes took on a distant look as they settled down. "It happened a long time ago, when I was just a little older than you are now. The ship T'Minari was made of silver. It looked like it had an open deck, but there was actually an invisible second hull, upside down on top of the first, like a giant bubble. This was because they had to hold air inside their ship. If they didn't, they wouldn't be able to breath after left Minari and before they reached Marut."

"There's something between Marut and Minari?" Nigel asked. "Is it a realm most people don't know about yet?"

"No, there's nothing between Marut and Minari, but it's a special kind of nothingness that the people T'Minari call a vacumn. Out there, above Marut, the nothingness cannot shield them from the heat of Agni during the day or maintain it during the night. To make the trip safely, they have to enchant their ship to maintain a constant temperature. Since there is no wind above Marut, they use special metal sails which catch the light T'Minari instead of wind. They are drawn towards Minari when it is waning and away from Minari when it is waxing. This means that they can only reach T'Phon when Minari is full and may only stay a short time. Otherwise they will be stuck here for a full cycle of Minari."

"So, they were only here a few hours?"

"Not quite that short. It was two days. They arrived one night near dawn, stayed the night Minari was exactly full, and left shortly after dusk the next night. They were the most beautiful creatures I've ever seen, like kareen with silver-white fur, and wings as well."

Nigel nodded. "Like the naitor."

"Not exactly. Naitor have leathery wings, like a bat. But the people T'Minari have feathered wings, like a bird. One of the pair that came on the ship had silvery feathers. The other had feathers of pale yellow, that shone like gold in the light. But they do have to be careful around fire, because their feathers burn easily. And they can't see in the dark like kareen can, though they all learn enough magic to summon beams of light at will."

"I wish I could see one," Nigel said whistfully, as Jullien's mother entered the room.

Cantor smiled. "Unfortunately, they don't visit very often. The few that do come are usually wealthy traders or curiosity seekers. The two that I saw bought some of my mother's fine cloth with silver ingots. She was famous in these parts for her skill at weaving. The silver T'Minari was what she used to register our family name."

"If they won't come to me, I'll go to them," Nigel decided. "I'll attend the Academy, and study the realm T' Minari, and become a mage, and then I'll figure out how to travel to Tor-T'Mira, all by myself."

Jullien's mother ruffled Nigels hair. "I wouldn't recommend planning the rest of your life around an old man's stories," she chided affectionately.

"Please forgive my daughter-in-law for not believing in Tor-T'Mira," Cantor told Nigel, with a wink. "She wasn't here when they came."

"I wasn't even alive when they came, but I believe you," Nigel swore softly. "And one day I am going to go there."

Author's note: This is only one of many stories about Tor-T'Mari and the people and ships from there. If a GM wishes to consider this the accurate version, the following can be used as a racial description:

BODY            1-2       MIND        1-8
COORDINATION    1-8       LIFT        1-2
PERCEPTION      1-8       SPIRIT      1-8
TOUGHNESS       0-2       POWER       1-10
HEALTH          1-6       WEALTH      1-8

Height range primarily 4'5 to 5'5. 6 limbs (wings), tail, 2 sexes, Warm-blooded. Feline like. Can hear into the ultrasonic range. +1 Toughness vs COLD Damage (Light soft body fur).

Flies with feathered wings. -4 Toughness vs fire (but not heat) due to flamable feathers. Any fire-based limb cripple automatically affects both wings. (Unless wings have already been burned, in which case damage is determined normally.)

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