The Curiosities of Tsomgats for Merchants and Travelers. Part 1: The Best Way to Enter Tsomgats
This is an excerpt from the book “The Curiosities of Tsomgats for Merchants and Travellers” by the wool-merchant and writer Kero Ish Gelei. It remains the most comprehensive and widely translated travelogue regarding Sogadar available to the realms of the middle sea. Saghazeb himself is said to have ordered a translation of the work to learn about the countries of the world during his reign.
It is incorrect to assume that to reach the country of Tsomgats is in any way an easy endeavour. These days of course, we have the port of Bar Narsa to readily procure these goods and to travel up country. But even with this most harmonious port, the only port by which ships of the middle-sea can dock and trade in this country, the Ementsogats remain guarded to any foreigner - whom they all regard as ‘Daryayi’, meaning “regarding the sea” or “of the sea”.
It is no wonder why this country is so difficult to reach. These people do not have ports or docks beyond small fishing boats they drive up the shore, making any large landing almost impossible. And a large landing is required for any independent journey into the land, for the country is so devoid of resources along the coast that a great deal of provisions and supplies need to be carried by any landing party who arrives here.
If, with proper planning, a landing party succeeds, there will be locals to contend with. The people here are stocky and curious by nature, if cautious to anything new in their lands. But most of all, they are opportunistic; from their merchants down to the smallest of their children. When travelling up country, you will encounter bands of horsemen and “dune-walkers” who would stalk parties of travellers or merchants for days before attacking in successive waves so that the desert and their constant harassment would render even the largest expedition down to no more than food for the carrion birds.
The best way to enter the country safely and successfully is by transiting through Bar Narsa. Our merchants here are very well connected to the local officials who organise caravan parties as far south as the summer capital. With the proper fees and respects made, you could catch a ship to the mainland and travel as far south as they would take you. The Ementsogats appear to favour us Kohese, charging us 35% less on tariffs than other Daryayi merchants. To any readers that do not hail from our most harmonious Republic, this can be easily avoided by the recommendations of our merchants in Bar Narsa.
Once you have crossed the narrow sea between Bar Narsa and the mainland, which should take no more than an hour in good weather, you will be given accommodations in offices called “Caravanserais” while a caravan is organised. Here, you will be given your own room and attendants that will look after you for the duration of your stay. Slaves would come twice during the day and once during the night to serve you food and bathe you, among other things as per your request. There is a garden in the courtyard, cooled by the tall cedar trees and fountains, where you can spend the midday in study or prayers. You will find there is nothing lacking in luxury and comfort during your stays in these dwellings, of which there are plenty of along the way. You will be given your own mount and your own translator - for some Ementsogats have begun to learn our speech, if not flawlessly. Transiting here would take at the very most a week before you could travel further up the country. It took me a mere three days before I set off with a party of our merchants and the armed guards of the country.
It is by this way that I, Kero Ish Gelei, travelled to Tsomgats and returned to write this.