The Path of The Eastern Wind

Read it in Latvian here - thanks to Arija Liepkalnietis!

One afternoon Ramon finds a message under his door from Ghadfah, a young and usually fun resident of the block of appartments that Ramon lives in. It invites him to a residents meeting, notoriously dull affairs, but Ramon gives Ghadfah the benefit of the doubt and attends. Ghadfah is fed up with using lanterns for light at night and, after all this is the 1920s, suggests they all get together and purchase an electric generator. He has flyers from a company called HORUS Electricity Generators who are offering trials. The more reluctant and conservative residents are talked into it when Ramon points out how much easier studying the Koran at night will now be! They'll get a trial in tomorrow then.

Defanuh is still living at Maryam's house on guard duty. This afternoon she drags him off as the muscle to confront a debtor. A gentleman running a bar has bought some French drapery in an attempt to make his establishment more cosmopolitan. The bar frankly looks ridiculous and more importantly the owner hasn't paid by the agreed date. Maryam protests and the owner is rather disdainful of a woman telling him what's what. Defanuh steps and thumps him a bit until he lets Maryam rifle his till for half of the owed money. They return home.

Sarah has been helping Ib's' preparations for the fall of the meteor prophesied in the stars. Ib's is excited because it should fall close to Cairo and represents something from outside the world as they know it. Hence it is an opportunity for new magic. He is hopeful of constructing an astral work place outside normal space where Set, chaos storms and so forth will be less of a bother. In any case they must make precise measurements of where the meteor is. Ib's wants to try a photographic technique so will need a large glass hemisphere and some photographic plates. Sarah supposes Ramon might know about such things and heads off to discuss it.

Mirriam has been living in absolute luxury; Darb has more money than she'd realized. The marriage is working out fine too. Darb ponders about going into investment as a replacement for gambling. Mirriam hasn't seen the other cats in a while so suggests she'll go see them. Darb seems unperturbed and lets her head off.

The cats meet up at the temple and discuss various matters. Everyone wants to come and see the electricity generator at Ramon's the next day and Mirriam plans to drag Darb along to see whether it's investible in. Sarah tries to convince everyone including herself that she's getting bigger as a cat - apparently she wants to be a lioness.

Ramon and Sarah go to the Street of Glassblowers and organise the dome for Ib's. They also visit a photographic shop and buy some large plates. Ramon heads off to a dancing club. Sarah goes to discuss being a lioness with Lady Cephelene who, whilst not wanting to be discouraging, says that nature tends to deal what nature deals. As Sarah heads back home, a local woman walks straight into her. She apologises in immaculate English. That's all right, says Sarah and continues on.

Defanuh gets back to Maryam's after visting Abdul. Matyam thanks him for his help earlier, whatever would she do without him? Learn self defense Defanuh suggests whcih leads to some rather improper rough and tumble in the courtyard which Maryam seems to enjoy if not take too seriously.

Mirriam discusses the electricity business with Darb before they head off to the silken sheets of their four poster bed. Mirriam dreams about her wedding but when the priest asks if there are any objections the door of the room flies open and a dirt covered hag comes in and accuses Darb of burying his former wife to take another. Mirriam wakes up flushed - a nightmare, no more Turkish delight just before bed!

Ramon is woken by the generator - it is very loud. Ghadfah proudly describes it as the sound of progress. Wires ending at lightbulbs are trailed into everyones appartements. Ramon had been hoping for lightning a la Frankenstein (a movie he saw) but the man assures him that would be too dangerous. A crowd gathers and with it the cats and Darb. Ramon is keen to resurrect dead mice or make new people out of old body parts. Discussion of whether cooked or raw mice taste better sends Darb scurrying away to discuss the electricity business with the salesman. Well the light is nice but it's very noisy.

Sarah goes off to pick up the glass hemisphere and along the way happens by the woman from yesterday again. Oh goodness, fancy that! I'm Sarah, I'm Fatima... erm.. would you like coffee? Sarah is busy but they arrange to meet next day somewhere public. Ib's is pleased with the glass and magics it to take pictures. They try it out and sort out matters of exposure times.

Defanuh returns to find Maryam in deep consultation with Mustafa. After, she reveals that a wealthy noble man, Harith Mamun, is going to come by to propose to her! She thinks it might be an attempt to wrestle her business off her but she's clearly torn by the desire for company. Defanuh, without actually admitting any fealings on the matter to himself, agrees that it sounds like a dreadful idea. Later Harith turns up, well oiled and smelling of rich perfume in his expensive clothing. Maryam and he go through the usual polite nothings and intimations of the suggestion of a proposal. Everything is socially preplanned so Maryam doesn't have to commit herself too much. The next move along is for Harith to discuss a dowry with Mustafa so he heads away after polite good byes.

Defanuh follows Harith into a taxi and to an expensive gentlemans club where he meets some friends and is entertained by a number of disreputable women. They discuss his marriage proposal and Maryam's business jovially with out revealing any particularly dastardly designs. However, Defanuh has noticed that Inspector Na'ib is also on Hariths trail. A delicate discussion is held between them - occasionally there are short investigations of Harith because he seems to spend considerable more than his income might be expected to be. The investigations are always called off from high up in the Police office very quickly. The Inspector seems to like the idea of Defanuh and Ramon privately investigating him.

Ramon has been thinking about Kimet being released from the ka trap by Horus light bringer.. well now.. on bringing the gem out into the electric light it shatters. I'm free! Kimet is indeed. That Mirriam! That Defanuh! I need a new body! Ramon proposes a subtle approach on all these matters so that nobody knows Kimet is free. Well maybe. Kimet heads off to look for a new body.

Mirriam and Darb return home. They'll have to clear the office of all the old gambling notes. Darb can't quite bring himself to do it so Mirriam does the job putting them in the attic. Then off to bed again where she again dreams of her marriage. This time Drab doesn't turn up and she wakes up paniced. He seems happy to cuddle her in his sleep though so a little less concerned goes back to sleep.

Sarah spends the night on the roof of Ib's house vigilantly watching the sky with him and changing photographic plates. Eventually the large fireball scoots across the sky and they rush to note down where they saw it start and end. Hopefully they got it on film as well.

That evening Defanuh finds Ramon and fills him in on the Maryam disaster. They go off and investigate the Mamun house - lavishly decorated, no signs of any work or business, a harem with two wives and four children, but nothing incriminating. Ramon offers to watch the place over night.

************** Session 2 **************

Ramon and Defanuh continue their investigation of Harith. He gets up late, goes shopping, takes a bath and visits friends, casting money aside the whole way. Ramon tries to catch the police cancelling their observation but it seems to already of happened. Harith visits Mustafa and they seem very pleased with the various monetary payments each other is offering for Maryam's hand.

Sarah is supposed to meet Fatima today but is a little suspicious of her so calls by Mirriam. They leave Darb reading the paper and go off shopping for hats. Then Sarah and her cat meet up with Fatima at the coffee shop. Fatima is pleasant and chatty and explains that she is recently divorced and looking to make new friends. She speaks good English because she worked for a minor ambassador in the British embassy before her marriage. After coffee Fatima suggests they visit a local fountain. It is tucked well off the main thoroughfares in a little courtyard and appears ordinary until seen with the sun behind it when rainbows fill the air! Very pretty. They agree to meet for lunch tomorrow and part ways.

Ramon has lost track of Defanuh and wanders round the usual haunts including dropping by Mirriam's where he discusses shopping with Darb. Darb is keen to show Mirriam a newspaper article asking for donations for a fun to rebuild the library at Alexandria. Ramon finally catches up with Defanuh when Harith goes to meet his friends with the same courtesans as the day before. They haven't learnt much but Ramon promises to keep watch tonight too.

Mirriam returns home and learns about the library project. It is apparently being organised by a Prof Hassan al-Fadan at the Unversity who Mirriam remembers as being close to retirement and a bit doddering. Still it would be interesting to hear more about the plan. They head off to bed. Mirriam dreams of her marriage again where this time her father objects to the marriage. Darb consoles her when she wakes up.

Sarah goes home too and Samuel comments to her that two Chinese junks docked today. It's unimaginable that they sailed from China in those isn't it? Sarah thinks hse'll go and look at them tomorrow.

Ramon is visited while on watch by Kimet who looks concerned. He brings Ramon the money for the generator. His concern though is that the Shadow winds have grown stronger and he can feel his will being sapped. All the ghosts are listless, lifeless creatures now - what if he ends up that way? Inanimate objects don't work as bodies presumably because they lack important bits of the soul. He could steal all that lot from someone but doesn't want to kill anyone which that would entail. What should he do? Ramon wonders if Raphael could help out and goes to find him. Raphael has moved and is now living as an apprentice to a Rabbi in the Jewish quarter. He seems much mellower than previously but can't really help with reincarnation. Erm.. maybe Lady Cephelene might have some idea? Ramon is persuaded to go and put the case.

Lady Cephelene is very concerned that Kimet is loose and not so happy that Ramon was involved in his release. Yes the Shadows have become a more hostile place without Sethos' ordering influence. Timeh, who is brought into the conversation, is apparently protected by the statue of Bast. Kimet is brought across and introduced then left, to see if the temple helps, with Timeh.

In the morning Mustafa visits Maryam to discuss the wedding. Mustafa is very much for it. Maryam mutters about a possible shady side to Harith's character but doesn't have any real evidence. Mustafa gets upset with her and has a little rant about her embarrassing the family by running the business. Maryam gets upset back. Mustafa escalates things by threatening Maryam's use of the A'meer bank reserves (which she still uses when making large upfront purchases). They part on bad terms and Maryam throws a vase against a wall when he's gone.

Sarah drops by Ib's who is busy calculating where the meteor fell - apparently a long business. She picks up Mirriam again and they go for lunch with Fatima. Pleasant social chit chat and then they go to look at the junks. There they are, very small craft (apparently they carried about 40 china men) with pretty Peacock adorned sails. Very odd. The three part exchanging addressses and agreeing to get together soon.

Ramon eager to find out where Harith gets his money slips in and empties his purse (putting the money under the bed). Harith gets off and goes first to his bank where he takes out more money without a thought before continuing on with his leisurely lifestyle. Defanuh sneeks in to the bank and checks out his bank account details. See 1000 pounds a month is paid into it but from where?

Maryam drops by Lady Cephelene and discusses her dreams. Cephelene gives her a warding eye amulet which hopefully will help. The Mirriam goes back to Darb and they visit the museum. Prof al-Fadan is as woolly as expected. It was an idea he had over lunch with a banker friend but they have collected almost 1000 pounds and have their eye on a plot of land in Alexandria.

************** Session 3 **************

Sarah gets the feeling Ib's wants to talk to her. Lady Cephelene is there too and they look concerned. They ask Sarah to go and find Ramon and his "friend" and bring them here for a discussion. Gosh, OK. Ramon and Defanuh have given up following Harith for the day since he doesn't seem to do anything very exciting. Sarah finds Ramon at home and communicates that he's wanted. Ramon guesses why and sneeks off for a few minutes to talk to Kimet (who is looking very tired). Ramon will negotitate.

Mirriam and Darb notice large groups of people walking along the street and go to find out where they're going. A group has gathered a few blocks away. Apparently the Chinamen who arrived in the junks have bought an alley of houses. There are paper lanterns some yellow-orange robed guards at each end of the alley and some workmen are erecting iron gatings. The crowd is mildly hostile to foriegners setting up in the middle of Cairo. Mirriam tries to cat into the alley but finds that as she approaches she somehow crosses into the Shadows. The Shadow version of the street has a large cairn erected in the middle with tattered flags flying from it enscribed with chinese characters. She can't get back out of the Shadows within the confines of the alley.

Ib's expresses displeasure that Ramon freed Kimet (Sarah is horrified) but he is willing to help Kimet if it will stop him causing more trouble. Kimet comes in and Ib's asks him to recite the first few lines of a book from Ani's library and the titles of a few more. He can easily so Ib's goes on to say that he can help with a body but that he will have to show a desire to develop discipline. In fact Ib's wants him to become his apprentice and do as he's told. What exactly is Ib's planning? Well a body must be suitably close to human to have human like soul parts and the next best thing is a baboon. A BABOON! screams Kimet YOU STUPID OLD COOT! and disappears.

Outside a car crashes into a wall apparently because Kimet possessed the driver. Ib's charges the cats with bringing Kimet round before he causes more harm though Ramon isn't entirely convinced Ib's isn't just after Ani's library. Sarah heads off to see if Gemma can make contact with Kimet. She's convinced to give it a go and gets her show together. Kimet are you out there? Yes of course I am! He appears, thumbs his nose at them and leaves.

Meanwhile Defanuh has returned home and is training in the yard. In the middle of the afternoon he is disturbed by the locals who want him to come and subdue a rabid boy who is attacking everyone on the street. When the boy sees Defanuh he shouts "you again - you spoil all my fun" and the possessing spirit apparently leaves the boy. The boy appears fine. The locals decide that the new Chinese group must be responsible and try to convince Defanuh to come with them to beat them out of town. Defanuh is having none of it but goes to investigate the Chinese anyway. He finds much of what Sarah did and further sees a siamese cat watching him closely. He tries to communicate but the strange cat refuses to respond so Defanuh heads off with a shrug.

Sarah goes over to find Mirriam, who has just got back home, in the hope she can help find Kimet in the Shadows. Kimet free! Mirriam is very worried and insists they get Defanuh and his Shadow sword. On their way they spot a crowd laughing at a preacher who insists Carribean bannannas are the food of Allah. It's Kimet. From the Shadows they shout to him to stop possessing people and strike a deal with Ib's. Kimet is rude, he particularly doesn't like Mirriam, and preaches that they are bannanna stealing devils! They suggest he talks to Ramon and Kimet runs off.

Ramon searches for Kimet finally resorting to screeching his name from a minaret. Kimet eventually shows up and Ramon tries to convince him baboons aren't so bad and that the library is a bargaining chip. Kimet is very tired and starting to think he has no choice but insists on winning concessions - sundays off, no sweeping, all he can eat bannannas and a spell that will let him be human sometimes. Ramon says he'll see what he can do.

Mirriam and Sarah make it to Defanuh and explain Kimet is free. Defanuh is livid and gets his Shadow sword. They go off to convince Ib's not to help Kimet out. At Ib's house they bump into Ramon and get into an argument. Ramon defends Kimet and says he isn't planning any harm but Defanuh won't have any of it. They talk to Ib's, who is getting tired of having his calculations interrupted. Fruit, sundays and no sweeping are fine but a human spell is difficult and will require Kimet to develop first. After Ramon has gone to pass that on, Defanuh attempts to warn Ib's about foolish deals with powerful ghosts but Ib's gets annoyed at being lectured too and dismisses them.

Kimet has gone missing again. Mirriam returns to find news of an accident in the Museum which means there are pots to be reconstructed. At the museum she talks to Kalatanit who assures he saw off the spirit that possessed the statue of Sebek. She spends the afternoon reglueing pot shards. Evening comes and she returns to bed clutching Lady Cephelene's dream protector. She has a refreshingly quiet night's sleep.

Ramon is woken up by Kimet who is almost asleep on his feet. The baboon seems the only option and he can always kill himself and be back to being a ghost anyway. They go and buy a young baboon from a sleepy animal merchant. It smells so they take it home and put it in the shower which doesn't seem to help too much. Then to Ib's house where Ib's casts a spell while Kimet possesses the baboon. Kimet is a baboon though he has a little trouble getting all the limbs to work and speaking. he'll get used to it he's assured. Sulkily he rolls up and goes to sleep.

In the morning Ramon and Defanuh put aside their differences to try to trigger a development on the Harith front. Maryam meanwhile is going to try to smooth things out with Mustafa. Ramon telephones Harith and threatens him and swears he won't take any of his money ever again! Harith sounds confused but does proceed to arrange lunch with his banker. Over lunch the banker, Uman, and harith exchange veiled discussion of the call and some addition visitors will be arranged. The finances are also apparently fine. This is going to be a difficult web to penetrate clearly but Uman is in on it!

Darb and Mirriam deside to go to Alexandria the next day for three days and go to buy railway tickets and swimwear.

************** Session 4 **************

Sarah checks on Ib's who is still calculating (in fact he's started from scratch having discovered one too many sign error in his first attempt). Kimet has been set the task of learning to write by writing out a book of his choice from the library - he's chosen Wishful Thoughts by Al-al Feharrara apparently though there is mainly just ink everywhere. Sarah beats a retreat, muttering and visits Lady Cephelene at the temple. Lady Cephelene is wondering who left cherry blossom on the altar - Ramon perhaps.

Mirriam spends the afternoon reading up on Alexandria. She too visits the temple and suggests Ramon as a source of blossom. Sarah and Mirriam exchange gossip about Kimet and wonder what's become of the other two. Mirriam heads off to pack and finds a note at home from Fatima inviting her to dinner the next day. She pens a note explaining she'll be away. Sarah returns home to a similar invite whihc she accepts.

Ramon and Defanuh continue to dog Harith's footsteps and now Ramon splits off to follow his banker, Uman. Defanuh ends up taking a constituional up the citadel, Ramon watching banking discussion. They learn little and regather in the evening at Harith's house. Two low life thugs are guarding the house. Ramon steals a tobacco pouch and lures them into an alley where Defanuh threatens them. A guy who collects money from local buskers paid them to come here and guard. They head off to investigate but it seems like there's a long chain of criminal types between Uman and Harith and these two - presumably Uman slipped a note to someone in the bank about it. It's late so Defanuh heads home and Ramon stays watching the house.

Maryam has been distraught ever since she returned this morning from seeing her brother. Defanuh slips in as a cat and offers some comfort but can't work out exactly what's happened. In the morning she doesn't get up and ignores important business meetings. Finally Defanuh decides to just go ask what's the matter. Maryam doesn't seem to notice the impropriety and explains that Mustafa has acted out his threat and cut her A'meer credit - no more business. She'll have to marry now or starve.

Mirriam and Darb get up and head for the train. They ride in aluxurious lounge car and eat lunch while watching the desert sweep by. Alexandria had become a poor town until the French reinvigorated it. Darb's summer house is on Rue de Paris with views out across the east harbour. They settle in then head off to see the proposed site of the new library. A very nice plot of residential land with views of both bays but not really a place for an inspiring library. The locals say the plot was recently reposessed by a bank. The banker friend of the professor is probably just trying to palm it off!

Defanuh and Ramon keep up their vigil but find out little. Ramon takes some time out to visit Kimet. They discuss what Ib's is up to and Kimet catches on very fast to the importance of a meteor if it could be found. His writing is getting a little better. Ramon drops by the temple too and suggests the blossoms might be a result of Sarah's new friend who can make junks appear, or something.

Sarah goes for dinner with Fatima. There's a very pretty stainglass window in one of the Coptic tombs whcih perhaps Sarah would like to see? Or might it be dangerous just before dusk? No! They go and it is indeed very beautiful but they also do get jumped by two local vagabonds. Sarah throws her purse at them and the two women run. Fatima is distraught and apologetic, Sarah blaise but comforting. They go back to Sarah's for a comforting cup of tea.

Mirriam has a fitful night's sleep. Sarah is woken by an alarming feeling about Ib's. Rushing over there Kimet is rushing about hooting and banging pillars with a stick. Sarah starts to get annoyed but the Ib's appears saying some spirit attempted to enter the house and triggered the wards before fleeing. Kimet says it was very black and Sarah can smell old, dusty, corpse like smell on the roofs. It does seem to have gone whatever it was. Ib's strengthens the wards.

Ramon and Defanuh continue to wrack their brains about how to work out what Harith is about. They get themselves locked in with the bank records again over lunch and do a more detailed analysis of the accounts. Harith's account has 5-6 payments and withdrawals a day! Apparently other people are using his account. The bank system is set up so it's hard for them to see exactly who is paying into which account by just watching. Defanuh goes to see Inspector Na'ib and explains. Ah - Harith is providing an account with an air of legitimacy too some nefarious business! Of course if accused he could claim the banker was doing it without his knowledge. Useful information if not proof of anything.

Mirriam and Darb visit the Pillar of Pompey that marks the sight of the old library but there's not much left to see. The tombs of Kom es Chogata look more promising. Three levels of interesting mixed Eygptian and Roman tombs descend into the ground, hot and steamy. The lowest level is flooded but they peak down anyway. Their lantern illuminates a horned skull with a long face that suddenly moves and rushes past them in a cloak of Shadows. They both fall but soon recovered a little flustered - it must have been a ghost they disturbed. They retreat to the beach.

Sarah searches Cairo with last nights encounter in mind. Lady Cephelene says Timeh saw something sniffing about the temple and is worried, possibly it's interest was in the blossoms. What's this about a new friend? Ramon was confused... but Sarah goes to check out the junks which smell of the corpse smell too. She also discovers the oriental conclave and that trying to enter it projects her into the Shadows. She tells all to Ib's - presumably the spirits are in the control of the Orientals. Best to stay away and hope the wards were strong enough to warn them off.

************** Session 5 **************

Evening settles over Alexandria and Mirriam goes to bed. Tonight an experiment, she leaves the dream ward off. She is first disturbed by the shouts of fearful ghosts running the streets. The skull headed shadowy creature is upsetting the ghostly residents apparently in a search. It doesn't seem to be achieving much though. Mirriam returns to bed and dreams of another disrupted wedding - this time Darb has a twin brother and they end up duelling over her. Mirriam puts the dream ward back on.

In Cairo Defanuh and Ramon have decided they need Mirriam to pursue the investigation further. Ramon goes to the temple and discusses the ghosts Sarah was supposed to have seen with Lady Cephelene and learns about the Chinese. He goes to investigate and finds the strange relation between Shadows and the alley the others had before. The Siamese is there too but won't communicate. Ramon sleeps on a roof top and sees his first skull headed Shadow. He follows it to the docks where six of the things hang batlike from the junks.

Defanuh goes home to sleep and is awakened by the sense of an intruder. He sees a strange shadow flying over the roof tops and away and returns home none the wiser.

Sarah goes for lunch with Fatima the next day, over which she explains she may have to go away in the next day or two though she's not sure where yet. Then she checks in on Ib's who is close to finished on his calculation. Ramon tries to talk with the Chinese about the ghosts and draws them a picture. They seem troubled and take down their lanterns and put cloths across the gates so now nobody can see in the alley. They don't seem to want to communicate more though.

Sarah, Ramon and Defanuh finally get together and discuss everything that's happening. Well Darb was looking to invest in a company so maybe he could support Maryam's business without the A'meer family? Lady Cephelene wonders who removed the cherry blossoms? ramon and Defanuh go off to look at the junks only to find a skeleton crew taking them out sailing. They've employed a local felucca to follow them though the boatman isn't sure where they're going. For 30 pence he lets Ramon and Defanuh tag along in the felucca. The Chinese sail out of town and set fire to the junks and then scuttle what remains. The felucca carries them home. They speak no English and seem wary of communicating with the cats.

Mirriam and Darb spend a pleasant day in Alexandria then take the train home in the evening. A mass of notes for help await Mirriam from the other cats. She goes off to find them and bumps into Sarah. They exchange ghost stories and Mirriam agrees to help out on the Maryam front including talk to Darb about the business possibilities. Darb when told is quite keen to hear what Maryam has to say.

Everyone retires except Sarah who goes ghost watching. They chase back and forth across Cairo before finally all heading for the dock. There a Nile sail boat has come in and parked in the centre of the river. Four or so men are doing something with a bright flickering light and the ghosts are gathered round them. After a while the ghosts disperse and three of the men come ashore. They are Chinese too but covered in tatoos (oriental characters) and looking somewhat beat up with bandaged wounds. They carry rifles and head in to the city. She follows and they head straight to the temple! They circle the park and then the temple before leaving. Sarah rushes off to find Defanuh in case they intend to come back and do more harm anf they come back to the temple. The orientals do not return though.

Defanuh returns home at dawn and tells Maryam about Darb possibly wanting to invest in her business. Surprised Maryam goes off to prepare a presentation and Defanuh goes to pick up Mirriam and Darb. Darb is imprssed by the profits shown and further egged on by tails of an evil brother trying to steal Maryam's business from her agrees to put up money so she can continue. Mirriam is convinced by Defanuh to spend a day at Harith's bank watching from the Shadows to see who is depositing to his account.

They find Ramon and head off to the bank. Soon a gentleman come sin with a deposite before he returns, followed, to a seedy prostitute den int he northern slums. His room is full of the accounts of 5-10 such places. Ramon goes off to tell Inspector Na'ib who is interested, but the problem remains how to implicate Harith directly.

Defanuh returns home to a hug from Maryam who is starting to plan a big snub for her brother. They think about calling the business Horus Cloth Importers and dropping the A'meer name completely.

Meanwhile Sarah talks to Ib's who has determined that the meteor fell 20 miles from Luxor though he is engrossed in a lost minus sign that if taken honestly would put the meteor in Greece (which is clearly wrong). Still they should start to think about a train trip south. Sarah heads off to the temple and again spies a Chinese ruffian checking the place out. She follows him to his two companions who are on a roof top overlooking the other Chinese group's alley. Shortly two servant types leave the alley and the three follow. The two stop in the baen market to negotiate over the price of two very large bags of broadbeans. Sarah steps in and tries to warn them of the group following them. They don't understand and are quick to leave with their bean bags. The three following are clearly preparing to ambush them so when they draw pistols Sarah leaps up and points at them yelling "robbers!". Bean bags are dropped and Chinamen scatter in all directions (unhurt).

The cats meet up at the temple and discuss the strange business. How can you tell which are the good guys? A siamese cat approaches, changes to the form of a petite young oriental woman and demurely introduces herself as Tai Li. Well hello. She is part of the Chinese group in the alley who are from She Lu province in China. A neighbouring warlord recently attacked and defeated their province and the alley group fled with their mistress along the Wind Path of the East Dragon apparently. Since they were followed closely they couldn't close the gate to the Path but instead threw the guide stone along the path where they hoped it would be blown so far their point of departure could never be found. Alas it seems it must have fallen close enough that the first bounty hunters with their "search machines", the shadowy ghosts, have found them. Now they must find where the guide stone fell and do the job correctly not to mention defeat the forces sent after them. Well says Sarah I might just know where the meteor fell. Oh really? You must tell our Wind Wizard, Huang!

************** Session 6 **************

Sarah heads off to brief Ib's and Rajiv turns up after a long an unexplained absence. Recent events are recapped somewhat haphazardly. Sarah returns saying Ib's wants to speak to this wizard Huang. They head to the Chinese's alley. Defanuh and Ramon sneek up onto the roof tops and take shots at the other Chinese group lying in ambush. They kill one, seriously maime another but the third escapes.

Tai Li talks to Huang who performs some magic with incense to allow the bodies to be dragged into the alley. Tai Li expalins that she's found an ally who knows where the guide stone fell. She gets permission from the tea drinking Duchess to make good on the knowledge with Huang. Then Huang and tai Li rejoin the cats outside to see Ib's.

Ib's and Huang, after Ib's produces an enchanted stone that allows them to understand each other, review their postions on the meteor. The Wind Dragon Realms appear to be the Shadows. Sealing up the gate would stop the raiding orientals and liberate the guide stone whcih Ib's could keep. The search engines are made from a magical transformation of a shadow but can only spy not do much physical harm - the shadows have to be extinguished to destroy them. The wizards determine to head to Luxor then out into the desert where Ib's believes the meteor landed. The cats would be very useful since they can move into the Shadows so everyone agrees to go and Sarah is sent off to buy tickets for the overnight train tomorrow. Kimet wants to go but is sent back to scribing books.

Tai Li, Defanuh and 5 oriental guards go off to hunt down the remaining chinese assassins. They row out to the boats in the middle of the Nile and spy one with a search ghost hanging from it. As they approach someone comes out on deck and takes up a sniper position. Defanuh cats along the row of boats and sneaks behind him to knock him out. Inside the boat is an ill, semi-concious chinaman. They take them back to the alley for safe keeping. Huang suspects the ill man of being their over starined wind wizard. They are apparently the lead bounty hunters after the alley residents.

Ramon searches for an example of Defanuh's handwriting finally obtaining the note he left Mirriam. She suspects Ramon is up to no good but they both agree that Defanuh is hardly likely to write Maryam a letter. Ramon heads off and forges a certain document nonetheless...

Rajiv heads off to the university and reads up a little on oriental matters. The flags on the cairn in the Shadows are presumably prayer flags. An oriental theme rather suits his latest composition. He also takes the time to visit Raphael who is still being reasonable and reflective in the Rabbi's school.

In the morning after they all sleep late they gather provisions for the train trip. Ramon waits until Defanuh has left Maryam's house then drops his forged letter in her room. They (the cats, Huang, 5 guards and Ib's) all meet at Ib's house where Sarah produces first class tickets and the first sneeze of a cold.

The train has 8 carriages (in order from the front, 2 first class, a dining car, three second class and 2 third class). They claim their three first class boxes, doen out in red leather and brass fittings. Rajiv helps an Austrian Lady, Madelene Maltz, with her hat boxes (she's travelling to Luxor to take the boat back). he then discusses crocodile hunting and shot drinking with a Scottish gentleman in the bar. The rest of the group settles down for the journey.

The dining car is overly full at dinner time and they order food to be brought to their boxes. Ramon spies a smartly dressed postal worker he'd seen trying to look conspicuous earlier - he turns out to be a very self important man who thinks carrying mail to Luxor should earn him respect. After dinner a number of the train passengers play poker in the dining car but the group settles down for sleep. rajiv feeling out of place in first class retreats to third class for a while and makes friends with a banjo player and a cow. sarah has long since curled up with her cold and is oblivious to the world.

Mirriam is just falling asleep when a shiver passes up her spine and she catches a glimpse of something outside. Almost immediately Madelene lets out a scream and declares she saw a ghost. Just a bat, Ramon and the ticket inspector assure her. Meanwhile Mirriam has discovered that four or five search ghosts are hanging off the engine unfortuanetly out of easy reach of Deafnuh's Shadows sword. Huang declares that whilst there at least they know where they are and hopefully those they report to were already dispatched. They leave them be.

Sometime in the middle of the night the train's breaks suddenly screech on waking everyone. The train slows to practically a stop when they spot a log knocked aside by the train from the tracks. The train resumes its giddying top speed. Somebody could have got on the train though! Rajiv heads back down the train to look. He encounters the scottish gentleman somewhat drunkenly searching second class for someone. Suspicious Rajiv watches until the man enters a box and seems to be about to steal something from a man in a top hat - Rajiv as a cat scratches someone and the box erupts. The Scottish gentleman starts making excuses but it becomes clear it's a matter between the poker players from earlier.

Meanwhile the cats in the boxes wait tensely for an attack. Suddenly oriental assassins come swinging into the carriages from the roof outside. Glass from the windows flies, knives are thrown, shots let off and the two assailants in each box are dispatched! Defanuh goes to see if there are more on the roof - yes two! He fires expertly knocking one down then the other, they slide off the train. Did one catch the side of the train - Defanuh works his way along the roof to check but the man isn't there. A knife lands in his shoulder from behind where he has climbed back up further along the train. Defanuh spins round to shoot but with his injured arm manages to loose the gun off the side of the train. The oriental bares down on him a knife in each hand. They struggle, exchange blows, then Defanuh sinks his knife into the toihers stomach and he falls away off the fast moving train.

Meanwhile proceeding further down the train a Chinaman comes off the roof between two carriages near him and immediately throws a knife at his catty form. Rajiv runs for third class and hides behind the cow. When pursuit doesn't follow hw switches abck to human form and recruits help from the third class passengers. They proceed back up to first class without encountering any orientals.

The ticket inspector is horrified that an attack occured on his train. When it becomes clear that there may be more assailants somewhere on the train he heads off to look with two of the guards. Mirriam helps bind Defanuh's knife wound and that of one of the Chinese guards.

************** Session 7 **************

No assassins are found in the train, on the roof of the train or hanging to the sides so it's assumed they have disembarked. The group claims a new second box and tries to resettle for sleep. Mirriam gets the first watch and starts to hear some sort of tapping noise. Ramon is woken up but they can't locate where it's coming from. They open the window (waking everyone else) but there's no one without. Then they realize it's coming from underneath their compartment. Defanuh is too wounded to investigate so they prevaricate.

The postal worker turns up and immediately heads off to investigate this new threat to his mail. Rajiv goes to find the conductor and Ramon to fill in the Chinese contingent in the other box. The postal worker lifts the footplates between two carriages and lowers himself out to look below - he starts to shout at someone under there he says is planting dynamite. You parcel stealing scoundrel! Mirriam mocks panic infront of the conductor who Rajiv has brought from the bar. Ramon at the other end of the carriage looks under the train too. He tries to throw shoes at the man under there. Finally one of the chinese guards sent along to help by Tai Li gets out his gun and takes a few shots, knocking the man from the under carriage.

The conductor stops the train to check the underside for dynamite. Mirriam has a go at getting at the search ghosts with the Shadows sword but they just flee into the air. The all clear is given and the train resumes. The conductor offers them a refund on the tickets and suggests there's no need to worry the other passengers with stories of dynamite.

Mirriam dreams in what remains of the night of her wedding again. This time a black panther with baleful yellow eyes attacks Darb after crashing in through a window. She wakes as breakfast arrives. Outside they have entered a sandstorm.

They arrive at Luxor where visibility is low (the temples are all lost in the blowing sands) but the train is nevertheless mobbed by eager locals with things to sell - guides, mummies, antiquities, camels, or anything else anyone might want. Ib's and Huang want to get on with things so haggling for camels and provisions occurs. They eventually head off to a back street of town where their camels await them.

They set out east into the desert much to the confusion of the guides who were expecting the Valley of the Kings or some such. They ride until dark falls when they strike camp in the gloom. Huang tries to magic the location of the open gate but is unsuccessful in the conditions. They sleep. Sometime in the night the search ghosts gather about the camp and then begin to swoop through it. Huang encourages people to present solid objects at them whcih makes them fade back into the Shadows rather then leaving a chilling feeling as they pass through people's bodies. The guides set up a scared chant of prayers to Allah. The mysteriously ineffective attack lasts through dawn when the ghosts dissapear off into the sandstorm.

They continue on on camel back into the wind. Sand and heat plague them as they chase this way and that through the morning. Then a figure approaches, huddled and with a broken shoulder. The natives almost flee in terror when they realize it is the ghost of a window cleaner from Luxor who died recently in a fall. They must be near the gate since the dead are escaping from the Shadows. Huang instructs Tai Li to tell it to go find its correct place from the Celestial Beauracracy ratehr than hanging around here. The cats urge it to look for a gate to Tuat and folornly the ghost staggers off.

They head on towards where the ghost came from and soon the Shadow's mists gather about them. Then a building looms up before them, a cross over head and flickering red light above. Ah it's a junk stuck in the sand! Ramon and the guards climb aboard and find the cabin full of stakes driven into the floor with water buffalo skulls on top, dressed below with black cloaks. the red coals of the stove cats their shadows on the walls - the source of the search ghosts! They dismantle the arrangement and put out the stove.

Below the others have circled the junk and found it lies by the edge of a crater. Burnt sand and fused glass mark the edges. On the far side a tunnel of storming Shadow wind touches the ground blowing sand into the sky. Rajiv heads down with a spade and with help from the guards digs into the centre of the crater. They eventually get down to a smokey black, smooth glass finished surfaced stone. Ib's and Huang gather close but Huang grabs it to begin his gate closing ritual. He flies a kite of prayer flags in the wind tunnel and sets up incense to blow likewise. Then He settles down with the guide stone in hand to close the gate by meditative magic.

The others stand about for 3-4 hours while slowly the fogs fade and the winds drop. Finally the sands start to fall down from the sky and the storm is over. Ib's is presented with the guide stone/meteor and they prepare to return to Luxor. Ramon laments the absence of a dragon.

They travel until dusk then make camp and sleep. In the dark of night again a disturbance. The guard has fallen asleep and a hyena has entered the camp and bitten Ib's. A shot is fired and the hyena flees. Back to sleep.. but wait where is Sarah? Gone! The guide stone too! Hyena tracks exit the camp but none enter. Ramon follows and shortly they become human tracks again but then further on stop short unexplained.

Ib's casts a cantrip to see where Sarah is - Cairo! The cold ridden Sarah was perhaps someone else? A doppleganger? Ib's ponders the coincidence - his previous apprentice, Kumina, stole and used a shape changing spell. Taking the form of an animal imposes the animals limited thoughts on the shapechanger and she was nearly mad when he confronted her. She fled him as a mouse and he never found her but assumed her taken over by an animal form. Could she have returned, become a doppleganger? Ramon proposes Fatima as the culprit. Ib's wonders if she was befriending Sarah to study her before becoming her?

A shape changer can not assume animal form for too long or risk becoem the animal so if they head fast for the Nile perhaps they can intercept the thief.

************** Session 8 **************

Meanwhile in Cairo Sarah wakes up. She remembers going to bed after buying the train tickets and packing. Then a message boy arrived with a message that Fatima's house was on fire. Eugene and Sarah headed off to help but the house wasn't on fire. The front door was open and they entered to investigate. Eugene went off to the back of the house and Sarah turned into a cat but as she passed under the stairwell a net had been thrown over her and then she remembers a man attacking her and some chemical on a cloth that knocked her out.

Now she is on a bed with a built around cage. It's pretty solid so Sarh struggles through to the Shadows to escape. She vists Darb who is surprised she's back so early - Mirriam hasn't returned yet. She visits Ib's but only Kimet is there sulking because they've been gone two days. Kimet gets very excited when he realizes that Sarah was kidnapped and replaced by a copy. He declares that they must go to Luxor and tell Ib's. Sarah agrees to meet him at the train station and heads home. Eugene is in bed after apparently hitting his head on something during the investigation two nights ago. Everyone there thinks she's been gone with Mirriam for the past two days. She heads off to the station and buys a ticket to Luxor (and a child's ticket for her baboon). Kimet turns up with a huge pile of arcane books he thinks might be useful and then proceeds to talk all the way to Luxor.

The main group return to Luxor without seeing a sign of the doppleganger. They are met by the Sheik and an armed militia group who proceed to arrest them for murdering some unknown woman. Apparently a group of orientals were seen perpetrating the act and how amny oriental can there be. They're taken back to Luxor and thrown in the dungeon-cellar of the police station. The cats can get out easily but the rest escaping without causing a scene is more difficult.

Sarah and Kimet arrive at Luxor station and Sarah decides that the olice station is the best place to start a search for Ib's. They arrive just as the others are starting to plan something serious. Ib's checks she's the real one this time and tells her to go inside and get the Sheik to let them go. Leaving Kimet outside doing handstands while juggling the books she enters. Eventually the Sheik and his servants work out that this is The Sarah Beckenshaw and begin back tracking, being polite and even rush to let everyone out (after some confusion about whether tai Li and Huang's group are the real murderers). They all have tea and discuss Luxors wonderful new postal service. The sheik advises them not to go to the Valley of the Kings until he's had a chance to arrest the real murderers who are believed to ahve headed that way.

Ramon, Defanuh and Sarah take a look in the makeshift morque at the murdered woman. It's Fatima! The other Chinese group must have caught her and killed her for the meteor. Sarah gets briefed by Ib's on the previous apprentice - he seems to think she was part mad and was probably after vengeance for what she'd become. The Chinese contingent are very confused by all these events but Huang realizes that if the other group have the guide stone they're probably intending to reopen the gate to reestablish communication with China. he finds a quiet square and sets up a windcharm that he uses to locate the stone - they've gone west!

They reprovision and mount up on their camels again and head west from the other side of the Nile. They make for the Valley of the Kings. The entry is through a deep pharoah cut gorge and Defanuh worries about ambushes. He scouts ahead but there are none. The valley rises up on each side with terraces before tomb entrances in many places. An encampment at the far end on a platform is soon identified as a group of ten or more orientals. they toos eem to have seen the new comers and are gathering up rifles. The cats' group retreats out of the valley and the Chinese are seen taking up precisely the ambush points Defanuh has worried about before.

Huang suggests that Tai Li goes in and steals the guidestone back from the Wind Dragon realm. Mirriam offers to help. They head off in the Shadows. The Chinese are trying to dig through a rockfall in a tomb. From the Shadows it's clear that the tomb crosses a wind path further in - in the Shadows much of the rock cliff face has collapsed and they can just clamber over whilst those in the real world must dig through. They have another wind wizard who looks to be carrying the guide stone in a bag on his belt. Tai Li and Mirriam start to formulate a plan.

Meanwhile Huang has had an idea. He draws a picture of a dragon and then thumbs his nose at it to try to communicate his plan. He hands out pieces of prayer cloth on which he begins writing things, chortling all the while. Kimet joins in writing rude things about the East Wind dragon on some of the pieces of cloth. Ramon lends a hand too but the rest aren't convinced it's a good plan. When they run out of cloth Huang starts to string them on a line.

Mirriam stands on the far side of the blockage and starts shouting that she's a trapped archaeologist. The Chinese can't understand her but are rather startled. Tai Li takes advantage to leap out of the Shadows and pull the bag off the wizard's belt. It's a bit of a struggle and someone lands a pretty solid blow on her back with a spade before she escapes with it back to the Shadows. They have the meteor again and return to the main group.

The Chinese at the tomb start to gather their things to persue the cat's group. Huang wants to summon a wind dragon but everyone else votes to flee so he just leaves the prayer flag wrapped round a rock. They head back at high speed for Luxor. On the Nile's banks they meet the Sheik and 20 militia heading west to arrest the Chinese murderers. Defanuh briefs them about what they'll face before the cats' group heads for the train station.

The train journey home is more or less uneventful. Kimet has a bit of a moan that no one has thanked him for encouraging Sarah to come to their aid. Mirriam has another dream of her wedding with a black panther again wreaking havoc. She starts to suspect her annoyed panther sister. Huang notices her dreamy discomfort and in the morning, through Tai Li's translation, offers to concoct something that will help from Panda's toenail. They agree to discuss it later.

When they arrive in Cairo they all return home. Sarah, Kimet and Ib's take the meteor back for further research and Sarah borrows the translation pendulum for the Chinese. Tai Li and Hunag report in at the Chinese quarter. Duchess So Ya is pleased with their success though she's so out of touch with what real conflict is it's not clear she really appreciates the import. The priest Po has a long debrief session with the guards.

Defanuh returns to a very attentive and bouncy Maryam who helps him a litle with his knife wound. He prefers to deal with it himself. As Maryam leaves him to it she commenst that "just maryam is fine". Huh? A crumpled piece of paper has been smoothed out, neatly folded and left on his desk. It's in a forged attempt at his handwriting and says:

Ramon is immediately suspected and Defanuh heads off to tell him off. Ramon has got home to a note from Inspector Na'ib saying he'd like to see Ramon and Defanuh. Before he can do anyhting about it though a enmaddened Defanuh turns up and thumps him a few times. It worked then! Ramon keeps on at him even after he leaves for all the details. Defanuh is planning on telling maryam it's a practical joke but ramon points out that that would offend her honour. Defanuh has to agree so instead tricks Ramon in to further punishment. He buys a pot of honey, apparently as something sweet for Maryam and asks Ramon to help him put a ribbon on it. Falling for it, Ramon gets close enough that Defanuh can grab him and dunk him in the honey. A sticky Ramon heads home for a shower.

Rajiv's attempts to get some sleep are interrupted by his poet friend, Daniel. He's distraught because the daughter of the noble Jafar Al Ofer, Banugua, is going to be declared of marriagable age at her birthday coming up. He says she's the most beautiful woman in Cairo and he was planning on being the world's leading poet by now so he could marry her. His attempts at world leading poetry are not so far up to much. Rajiv suggests he might be inspired by the correct background music but a trail attempt doesn't seem to be overcoming his inate inabilities. Rajiv sends him off to gather his best poems in the hope they can find him a sponsor. They agree to meet tonight.

************** Session 9 **************

The cats slowly gather at the temple. Sarah, Mirriam and Tai Li head off to discuss dreams with Huang. Huang disapproves of suppressing dreams because they are a source of information about unconcious, uncontrollable aspects of future fate. He prescribes panda toenail unction to be spread on the forehead before sleep to make the dreams more lucid. Huang also enquires whether anyone can play Mahjong? An instrument? Sarah discovers So Ya is a Duchess and is horrified she hasn't been for dinner with her father yet.

Tai Li pays a visit on the Duchess. The Duchess attempts to instruct her not to become a cat. This is apparently the priest Po's doing - he has told her that it is sorcery which undermines their faith which is precarious enough already amongst the heathens. Tai Li contradicts Po outright saying how ridculous it is to suppose actions further from the centre of the world count more than near the centre. Besides it's one of their few tools to keep the heathens at bay. Well try to not do it unneccesarily concedes the Duchess. tai Li mentions the possible dinner with the Governor. The Duchess is worried that the heathens don't eat correctly, have face paint and too much body hair. Tai Li soothes each of these issues and the Duchess thinks a meeting afte rher pregnancy is over would be possible.

Ramon cautiously approaches Defanuh about Inspector Na'ib and they head off to see him. The inspector is beaming - he produces a letter signed by Harith agreeing that he has checked and all the transactions of his account are with his knowledge and consent for the past month. To get it he pretended that a compalint had been made against the bank and so choose some random account holders to ask to check their accounts and sign these forms. As he hoped harith signed rather than bring attention to his account. Now if a complaint is made against Harith the inspector can go straight to the brithel and extract incriminating evidence! He needs a respecatble person to compalin and Maryam was his thought. Maryam is soon convinced to write a waffly complaint to start the investigation and Inspector Na'ib is left looking forwards to bringing Harith down.

Sarah talks to her father and they suggest a date for inviting the Duchess to dinner. Invitations are sent out.

Daniel doesn't turn up at Rajiv's that evening and it turns out he's very drunk at home. He's decided he doesn't have a chance at Banugua. Rajiv tries to pick up his spirits and says he'll try to get him a sponsor. He drops by Maryam's to seek her sponsorship but the doorman puts him off until the next day.

Tai Li vists Po and tells him to mind his own business. Po wants her to stop polluting the Duchess' spiritual wellbeing. You could at least bring your complaints directly to me storms Tai Li. They part on bad terms. Huang intercepts Tai Li to get her to play Mahjong. She agrees to play later.

Mirriam tries the ungent before bed - it smells very bad. She does though dream:

Mirriam is queen of the Palace and the Realm which she rules benevolently. This matter surrounds the waking and escape of the Panther-Demon. The story of the Panther-Demon's capture is well known - in ages past the warrior hero Nebwanhah defeated the Panther-Demon and reduced it to immobility in a cage in the south wing. It has since been regarded as somewhat of a symbol of the triumph of good over ill and so forth. Unfortunately last wednesday it woke up, escaped it's rather rusted iron cage, and has been harrassing the Realm ever since. The matter has come to the good Queen's notice and the people afflicted, advisors and so forth have been summoned in order that she can sort it all out.

The Dependents of the Realm report on events first. The Realm is full of many and varied inhabitants who look to Queen Mirriam for support and protection - folks such as the Soup Dragon, the Gnomes, the Ghosts of the Antipodes, the croquet team, the ministry of farming, Brian, and so forth. Some report that they are afflicted by the Panther-Demon and are suffering unimaginable horrors like loss of limbs, rising damp, too much of a good thing, nightmares, orangutan infestation, lotteries... others though have been blessed in many ways such as extra hands, a month of sundays, satin drapery, a new catchy popular song. Others have begun a Panther-Demon marketing campaign and one poor Salamander has been turned into a newt.

The Brujah is a young free rebellious spirit. He serves the queen by making sure all her stuffy advisors don't make her lose her sense of wonder and perspective. He wears ripped shirts but is not dirty. He is impulsive. He argues that the Panther-Demon represents a change for the better. Now all the moaning Dependents just don't realize they're having the time of their lives because they're so stuck in their ways! He has numerous examples of good the Panther-Demon has brought such as plagues of raspberry jelly, the fact that it's only ever sunday now in parts of the Realm, and so on. Generally the place needed to be shaken up and now here's the Panther-Demon doing the good service. The Queen should embrace it and let it have a reasonable say in how the Realm is run.

The Hunter is the Achilles of the Realm right down to the shining helmet and spear. He has been awaiting the opportunity to hunt down and kill the Panther-Demon since it escaped. There's no question but that it is a foul, evil thing that must be stopped - just look at the number of people it's eaten, towns lost to earthquake, endless nights and rotten cabbages! If you want it dead in half an hour, just say the word!

The Royal Advisor wears a long star covered cape and a very tall pointed hat. He is an elderly, wise and perhaps a little waffly voice of reason to the Queen. The Panther-Demon is not a clear cut matter you have to understand - think of it more as a metaphysical paradox needing to be resolved for the betterment of all. Now, since the Panther-Demon is an aspect of the Realm (connected that is you see in a deeply integral fashion) a simple resolution jumped to too fast may result in, well, cost to the Realm. A process of dialogue with the Dependents (the people who live in the Realm) and the Demon may lead to a structured understanding of the conundrum. In the absence of a clearly dictated resolution perhaps a holding pattern of returning the Panther-Demon to its previously alotted abode might allow the continued benevolent aspects to remain whilst the undoubted hostile elements may be further contained after study?

The Queen sends a page to bring the Panther-Demon to her. He returns looking somewhat harrassed and explains that the Panther-Demon was on the tennis court but said the Queen would have to go to it. Right then. The royal court processes down the marble stairs to the tennis court which is covered in dismembered limbs and broken rackets. The Panther Demon headed off for the swamp. The entourage follows. The swamp is damp and gloomy. The Panther-Demon sits on a tree branch and looks balefully at the Queen. Her advisors and people slowly fade away from her as the Panther-Demon stalks down on her. It leaps at her and becomes part of her then moves through her using her the Queen is certain as a gate to the Palace.

The entourage returns and they hurry back to the Palace. The thrown room is a mess with courtiers' bodies left and right. The Royal toddlers play party games through the macbre scene. The Panther-Demon sits curled on the throne. The Queen demands to know why it is behaving in this fashion and what it wants. It growls that it has been locked up for 1000 years and now it and the Queen should trade places. Not a chance! The Hunter hefts his spear menacingly. The Queen offers restricted free range in the swamps to the Panther-Demon. And the biggest mountain bargains the Panther. Very well. The Panther-Demon stalks out.

Mirriam awakes. The next time she goes to the Shadows she finds that she has become a panther there ratehr than a small cat.

Which point represents in some ways of thinking an end to one set of events or perhaps the beginning of another set.