By the glorious feathers of Vucub-Caquix, the great Seven Macaw, and by his blessed numeral, saluting the mighty Emperor-Across-the-Sea, Montezuma the Seventh, may he live forever, I, the Obsidian Warrior, begin the chronicle of my adventures in the barbarous lands of the East. Our great Emperor’s armies had not yet vanquished the Ghanan barbarians (though no one doubted they would) when I received a strange letter from my esteemed colleague, Tecolotl, who was in the war zone. This letter was followed by news that Tecolotl had disappeared while on an expedition. Thus, after getting permission from the proper authorities, myself, my valued slave Bada, my creation Mongo, and my dogsbody Bob set sail for the land of Biloko, which in the Imperial Tongue is rendered by “Dwarfwood”. This, I am told, is due to a bizarre native legend concerning arboreal dwarves.
After more than a month on the high seas—an ordeal for all of us—we reached Biloko Port. On landing, we received the joyous news that the war with Ghana was over, and that this territory was now a colony recognizing the overlordship of our Emperor. Though the plants were unfamiliar, hardly a native was to be seen in the port, and it seemed as though a somewhat rustic village from home had been uprooted and dropped intact into this strange new country. The Emperor’s deputy in Biloko, General Huacatl, directed us to Tecolotl’s simple lodgings. It was at once obvious to me that Tecolotl’s disappearance was not premeditated. No man, however eccentric, would abandon the entire contents of his house on leaving for good. Some interesting-looking but indecipherable manuscipts, artifacts (some of them magical), and shrunken heads had been left behind, though the entire contents of Tecolotl’s pantry were missing, presumably having been used as rations for his last, ill-fated expedition. I loaded all these items into my cart. There’s no sense in leaving these things for people who can’t appreciate them.
A thorough search of the house revealed no secret panels, false-bottomed drawers, or valuables concealed in mattresses, much to my disappointment. Tecolotl’s mattress was stuffed with seven colours of feathers, however, which I took as a good omen for my expedition. I felt sure there must be something else, and wondered if the mundane-looking contents of Tecolotl’s desk might hold darker secrets. Bob gallantly volunteered to drink some ink, which made him sick, but no more than reason. Then I had a flash of inspiration. Holding the top sheet of paper up to the light, I was rewarded by the sight of secret writing! I immediately confiscated these deceptive papers. Clearly Tecolotl was worried that his enemies might steal his research. Indeed, I feel a little nervous committing this information to paper now, and regret that that ignoramus Bob drank the entire bottle of invisible ink. There is such a thing as above the call of duty, but that was not it.
Further inquiries led us to the nearby native village of Oronga. To attract the natives, I performed further experiments on my rodents. I have been told that natives are overawed by displays of magical ability, but I believe my sources were mistaken. I achieved human hair patterns in my last rat, though sadly it did not grow as Mongo did. What a specimen my Mongo is! I must keep trying and make a bride for him. It would be a shame for him to remain the only member of his race. Sadly, I did not get to test the intelligence of this rat, as Bob later lost him.
While this display of my talents did not result in the clear admiration and gifts of native wares and food I had been expecting, the natives were sufficiently impressed to direct me to an abandoned fort outside their village as a fit object for my studies. Nearby, we encountered a contingent of fine Imperial soldiers, who were investigating a nest of bandits in the fort. I volunteered to scout it out for them, and we soon reached it.