And then, after the emissaries from the East had finally left, and while our party was preparing to make camp for the night, men dressed in strange garb – brightly mottled animal skins – stole silently from the brush, as if they were spirits. We had chosen the grounds to rest because they neighbored cool, flowing springs, and because they sat in a small valley that our native guide said would shelter us from the heavy, dangerous winds for which the region is known. As soon as these men appeared, our guides' women, who otherwise never spoke, wailed in unison, and, cowering fearfully, begged us not to touch them, lest, the women claimed, we become tainted by their strange and powerful sorcery. After much difficulty in finding a common tongue, we, however, were able to speak with these spirit-like men, who called themselves Jailun; they were interlopers just as we were, and had no plans to kill us for trespassing on sacred ground, as we had initially feared. They told us of their home in a mountainous region with many valleys that lay north of the lands of the Eastern emperor, whom they knew well, as he had tried, they said, repeatedly yet each time unsuccessfully, to subjugate them – first by warfare, then by bribery, and then by arranged marriages. Each time they had denied the emperor his advances, and stayed always free of the yoke of foreign rule – by warring with him, by refusing his gifts, and by putting to death the women he sent to live among them. While we were breaking bread with these quiet men, who were all armed with slender poles-axes and curious weighted throwing ropes, a male child – the son of a lesser guide – was carried off in the talons of a mighty eagle, and never seen again. All who had witnessed the event agreed that it was a bad omen, and a warning not to walk with a loping gait similar to that of the abducted child.
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