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Exorcising the Demons

Freezeday, Illusion week, Fire season - morning

"I need Abul and Yenda - I want you two protected by the cohort wyter before you leave the camp."
..

"Aye Officer!" answers Abul without delay, then there is a short hesitation "... by the wyter, you mean Vivamort's Cloak? The Veil of Decency for the Dead? Is there any specific ritual for the still living like us?"

Dori seems divided between exasperation and amusement. "The new wyter of the Tenth, yes, Hereward's Cloak - come on Abul, you of all people really ought to remember it. We don't know any specific rituals for it as yet, but then ritual is always an optional extra."

Abul seems much more embarrassed than careless when he answers, exposing his cultural prejudices. "I understand your request, but isn't the Veil made to cover Death? By Initiation, Humakti are dead to the mortal world and surely the Veil will works well for them, but what about really living simple initiates of Herw'Ard. Wouldn't it be indecent to lay shamelessly under the shroud? Karmanos was very strict and clear on his rules for the living and the dead..."

"Well, that's a path to the Truth I'd never thought of." Dori considers it. "It's the Shadow Veil of the Death Guardian, used by Eurmal as well as Humakt - not that that tells us anything about decency. Then it was Hereward's Cloak, but he was Humakti, so that doesn't help. It was used as the wyter of the Tenth for centuries, and that's always meant the auxilia as well as the full Legionnaires. Plenty of them won't have been Humakti, or dead in any other way. We know two parts of what it does - it hides the user in shadows, and it disguises their nature in some way. My guess would be that the hiding in shadows would be fine, the second part... given the way we tested it, that could be just what you suggest, hiding Death."
She pauses, thinking. "I don't know. I'd suggest we introduce you to the wyter, and for the time being, you stick to using it for hiding in shadows, no more. How to find out if using the second part would be breaking Karmanos's rules.... pray? Ask someone with more expertise, perhaps - Jamal? Raus? You 're going into the New City anyway, maybe ask him for advice? I'm not going to ask you to break your vows, but it sounds as if you don't understand how they work in this case, so we find out."

"Hmm... Karmanos' laws aren't exactly vows, just the right and strict rules to be a good carmanian, a real human being aligned on the Good God and not on the Enemy..."(on mentioning this, Abul makes a small religious sign) "Although the two are never mentioned together in our traditions - and it would be unrefined and vulgar to so - the Hum'Akt is described by Karmanos as a paragon of rightly submitted force to Idovanus, while the Trickster is exactly the contrary: an eternal rebel and toy of the Enemy..."

Dori nods in agreement.

While visibly trying to stay unmoved, Abul betrays his anxiety somehow by small nervous movements. "My humble understanding is that both the Hum'Akt and Trickster went under the Death Shroud but each for exactly opposite reasons and acting this way, each incarnated and defined Rightness and Wrongness : the Hum'Akt invented hiding for decency while the Trickster invented hiding for deceit... You will understand that my wish is to follow the right path because I don't want to draw on me even more the attention of the Evil One..."

He has then a small worried smile. "Of course you're right, while waiting for to be sure and safe, I will follow your wise advice... and perhaps the Wyter knows the right rule and will explain it? After all it is the first interested..."

"Maybe," Dori says doubtfully. "Communication doesn't seem to be its strong point. It may have encountered Carmanians before, it may know how they responded to it in the past, but whether you can make it understand the question, and in turn understand any answer - well, good luck with that."

She starts to unfold the cloak over her arm, then stops. "Just a moment - you said "even more". You think you already have the attention of this Evil One? Something I should know about?"

Abul looks sincerely very surprised at Dori and while his left eye winks in a wild nervous tic, he answers with a very firm voice: "I beg your pardon? I didn't mention such thing... why the Evil One would have more interest in a someone like me than in anyone?"

Graylor looks long and hard at Abul. "I think there is something you don't want to or can't tell us Abul. Your mouth isn't lying however your whole body is screaming that you are evading something important. You are amongst friends here, there is nothing that you can say that would change that. However, if you know something that could have an effect on the rest of the cohort. We would be disappointed."

Graylor pauses for a moment, thinking. "You are still part of the Seventh. Braveheart can help you face any horror of recalling the past, and we can help you face the future."

Dori glances at him. "Self-deception, do you think, at such a deep level he doesn't even recognise it when it's pointed out? Or some sort of oath-binding that makes it impossible to speak? I've heard of such things being suggested as possible, never seen it myself, though. Or there's other, nastier ways of stealing memories.... but that Mirror's broken now, and he never encountered it when it was whole."

Under the scrutiny of his elders, Abul feels a deep discomfort, as if suddenly forced to observe in some place he doesn't wanted to even glance. At the same time an improper silly hope of an unexpected possible relief, inexplicably, also appears in him : a weird impression.

Stiff as never, his body seems locked while his mind furiously explores various possibilities of reactions: flight from the situation is unacceptable and denial is impossible as his tangible discomfort is the obvious proof that his examiners are right, while on the other hand, enduring duty is a life-long training and the only honest and fair remaining option. This statement made, Abul's eyes confront Dori and Graylor's ones, but soon they fade as he concentrates inside himself.

His voice betrays uncertainty while Abul sorts out facts from pure speculation. "Well... I don't lie and don't wish to lie... I have never sworn any oath to keep silence on any topic outside the Legion's ones... and I don't see anything in my life worth of the very specific attention of the Evil One" (once again his hand unconsciously does a propitiatory sign probably betraying his carmanian origins, alien beliefs and strange fears), "but yes.. I have to confess... if I inspect myself without self-complaisance... I really fear that the Evil One has a very specific plan against me... I understand that it is an enormous lack of humility and it is not easy to admit, but I really have the impression that it was always like this... as far as I can remember... even during my childhood... even before Jamal took me with him and taught me about the Enemy and his terrible deeds and intention."

He has an embarrassed smile. "Finally, after all, I may have said these words... I don't remember them but it would be logical: they fit with what I feel... yes I don't want to draw on me, even more, HIS attention... I regret this weakness coming from I don't know what delusion or superstition... I didn't want to appear disrespectful. I'm ready for your judgment."

But even after this sincere confession, Abul doesn't feel relieved: if it was just a superstition and a few mindless words, why this crazy and dire need to run away? Why all this emotional turmoil in him? For sure, lying or hiding things was a bad thing... especially within the Legion and even more to officers, but as Graylor remarked, he was among friends... This disturbing disproportion annoys him profoundly.

Graylor listens, then answers Dori. "Yes, some sort of deep suppression of memories. The Jalmari have seen it in some of the victims they have rescued. They lock away the bad experiences so deep in their minds that they believe that they never happened. It doesn't necessarily mean that, what ever it is, is a danger to the Legion though."

Dori nods. "Been there, done that - and if it's a danger to Abul, it's a danger to at least one member of the Legion. His subconscious thinks it's a danger, and I see no reason to disbelieve him. It doesn't sound as if it's anything new, but it also seems to have been triggered by the mention of joining him to the new wyter... let's postpone that until we have a better idea what we're dealing with. Do you think you can help him?"

"With Hereward's magic to cut through his self deception and Braveheart to support him it should be possible." Graylor turns to Abul.

"It all depends on what you want young man. As the warleader has already said cutting through self deception is not pleasant. I have no intention of forcing you to do this. You have to want to find this out and face the ensuing difficulties that it might present. We can do it later, the good from that will be that I will have better skills the bad will be that you wont have the support of Braveheart and will have to face the procedure on your own mettle. So what do you think?"

Listening carefully to Graylor's words and after a short introspection, Abul makes a small disgusted pout.
"I'm sorry Sir, but your request is impossible, I have no wish to solve a problem that I don't recognize... and if I apply logical thinking to what you are telling me, then my wish of self-deception would even be to escape inspection and to avoid cure...but by the way... "

Here his mind seems slowly to follow the implications of his words, uncompromising even with himself. "... that's exactly what I feel... so... I suppose... that... the right discipline would be to accept without delay."

For once, it's obvious to everyone that Abul's mind is at war.

"Good for you." Graylor clasps the young man firmly on the shoulder. "First let's all sit down as we don't know how long this might take."

"Just a minute," Dori intervenes. "Anything heading towards major magic is better done in the temple, not out here where we'll be interrupted and overheard. Outer chambers, since Abul isn't Humakti, and we'll illuminate it, but let's go there before you say any more. Yenda, come along as well if you think you can add anything."

They troop down the stairs, and into Dori's "office" and the chairs there. "Abul, you sit down, this is going to be hard on you and we don't want you falling over. Right, Graylor, go ahead."
As they all make themselves comfortable Graylor is thinking hard, entering the meditative state that helps him concentrate.

"Right here is how we are going to do this. Abul you will be in control, I will be the blade in the operation and Dori will provide the power."

"Dori if we join first, just like we did for the warleader."

The two minds meld, quicker and easier than before as they are familiar with the what needs to be done and are comfortable with the sensations caused by the linking of their magics.

"Now Abul, you come aboard. Release your Truewind and use it to feel the Truewind already present.. That's it now blow with us.. " A short while later the three are joined.

"Now see how you can direct the focus of the wind. That's you controlling us. Excellent, have a few minutes getting used to this before we try the difficult stuff."

Each of the participants now has a dual identity. One part is their normal selves and the other is the merged wind with a shared identity.

Abul does as requested but at first is quite ackward even for a beginner, his will seeming unsure and polluted by doubts. Then, emboldened by Dorinda and Graylor's support it improves slowly.

"Right now it's time. Call up Braveheart and all your determination to get this sorted. Now you have to direct us into your mind. I always imagine myself walking into a hillside stead. But use what imagery you need."

Abul's right hand is on his chest, nervously pressing his talisman under his white linen shirt. "Where should I begin? Where I don't want to go?"

After a short glimpse, they are in a weird foreign town at twilight. "I remember Kendensos," Abul comments simply with apparent difficulty.

"Excellent, now I'm going to change the Truewind from a wind to the power that cuts through self deception."

The wind hardens itself and turns into a two-edged blade in Abul's hand.

"My advice would be to look for the darkest parts, especially those that seem to not want to be explored. Good luck"

Abul closes his eyes and visibly makes efforts to remember: "I remember Kendesos, very often I dream of this place... but I never finish my dreams when they happen here... when I was younger they were all finishing in terrible nightmares but now... I'm progressing... the dream just wakes me up then I call up my tiny light in my hand and go back to normal sleep."

Abul looks suddenly embarrassed, he is 16 and speaking up makes him discover and admit that he still has some small child's habits... "Well I suppose this will also improve in time.. no?"

As Dorinda and Graylor remain silent, avoiding any negative comments, Abul is confronted by his own words and commitments...

He knows that weaknesses aren't excuses. Jamal has told him for years, Legion members and Legion hierarchy have told him for months and Lady Jakkanna and Sir Daine have recently repeated the message although with other words and intentions. Herw'Ardi are true, they have said. Legion members are true they have said. Carmanian are true they have said...

Abul feels the straight power of the Truewind in his mind, slicing walls of defense like melting butter. Forward there must be light!

"I hate thinking of this place" he adds finally. "If I think of it during daylight, people there seem to pity me, children call me with a mute voice and if I try to play with them I feel a real anguish... I'm alone in the middle of the crowd, weird and lost among my own family... but this is nothing compared with night time... "

Unconsciously his right hand goes to his chest to feel the reassuring presence of his medallion. "It is always at night that the Evil One strikes me with fear and guiltiness, if not terror. Shadows are creeping above me. People stare at me while suffocating in silence... Flesh tears... Blood spills..."

Now true panic can be read, pointing in Abul's eyes.

Abul surrounded by positive attitudes and smiling faces, tries to relax. He takes longer breaths. He closes his eyes and struggles to get a firmer tone. His voice comes back like a low deep voice rolling like a distant thunder, weirdness accentuated by this thick Carmanian accent. This voice tells a story: "The Evil Lord always comes at night, he delights in the Darkness and send His minions when everyone is asleep and unable to defend... to possess the weaklings... so it is written in our religious books..."

And if people around are thinking that some over-impressing Carmanian beliefs are the only cause of Abul's current state, a second vivid affirmation comes immediately to destroy this impression: "We were all sleeping this night, Aunt Kaldrassa, Uncle Sharmis, all the cousins, everyone... I had been worried during all evening about something I can't remember, but I'm sure this feeling was the cause of the attack this night, like an appeal to the Dark Lord..." (there is a long silence here), "because the Evil One always knows who is weak and can be caught..."

On his chest, Abul's right hand shakes, but the young man doesn't seems to be aware of it. "... When I woke up, some bodies were already dancing in the air, bouncing against the walls like grotesque puppets, corpses were torn apart like fragile fabric, torn by dark solid fangs, hooks or claws... I don't know exactly... out of nowhere, but impenetrable shades... Shapes were distinguishable only because of the spilled blood on them...Then I understood what was happening: it was the sound of the broken bones in the surrounding silence that had woken me up... this sound was still so familiar to my ears, how could I have forget it..? And... and some other child was probably also awake... because he screamed with pure terror when he was engulfed by the Darkness..."

Abul is now fixing something which isn't present but seems very real in his mind: "My bed was quite distant and this scream took me... I was alive... and I did what I was requested to do in this situation... at this exact moment... I didn't felt the shame... only later when I realized... but at this time, I wasn't a coward... it was more like obeying an order... I did it... I ran away..."

Abul lowers his eyes because he probably feels a quite intensive shame by now: "The rest is quite nebulous... my next memories are Jamal's hands, I can't remember exactly where and when, but he took me in his arms and the feeling of his arms around me never left me since..."

Yenda stiffles a sob as she hears Abul's pain. Hesitantly she reaches out a comforting hand but doesn't make contact, afraid that she might destroy what is happening. She does move to stand by Abul and the looks she directs at Graylor and Dori speak volumes, but can be summarised in two words "Do something".

Some tears roll on Abul's cheeks and his right hand is now relaxed on his chest, but focused on his inner visions, he doesn't seem to care: "I'm so sorry... it was my fault... they died and I'm alive... Since I have promised so many times to never be weak again and to never put mine in danger again..."

He looks blankly at the assembly: "You know now why I can't go in front of your Humakt or in front of the Carmanian Hum'Akt : I'm not deserving enough. Just as Herw'Ard made mistakes and spent the rest of his life trying to redeem himself... that's my way, I think... I hope... I just hope... you won't chase me away for my past sins... I promise, they usually don't drive me like your magic makes them drive me now again... I know it will not be useful to beg... but... If you want me to leave the Legion... I will be... outside, alone in the dark."

This time Yenda doesn't hesitate she takes posession of Abul's hand in a way that suggests that she will never let it go.

As the warmth of Yenda's hand infuses to Abul's hand, darkness in Abul's soul recedes more surely than any reassuring words. He gently presses her fingers in hope she will understand how important is her support for him.

Graylor snorts, not unkindly. "Abul my lad. Nobody has ever made the journey to the feet of their god without feeling unworthy,nor without feeling that elements of their past are so horrible that they should cast into the nether regions of hell and forgotten. I spent a dozen years running from Humakt. But he was patient and I am his now. If you are to be his, he will wait and send you signs that he wants you. Some so blatent that even I couldn't miss them."

Graylor glances at Dori for confirmation. "There is no way that the legion will give up on you Abul. You are part of it and as you have already seen if that means we fight gods to protect our own, then we will. For you, for anyone." The latter is spoken with fierce determinatio. Graylors eyes seem to spark and his nuckles are white on his sword hilt. He reminds the others of a mother alynx protecting her kittens.

Dori nods. "Honest mistakes will be punished, correction and education will be given where needed, and can be harsh, but it's only deliberate, knowing betrayal that would ever get you thrown out, and only for sins done now, not those far in the past. You're one of us, and that means we trust you and teach you, not abandon you, no matter how many honest mistakes you make or how stupid or weak you may think you are."

"But enough of that." Grayor's voice is back to his normal, gentle tones. "Three things immediately strike me. The first is that you did the right thing. Getting out of there was a good action. You were a very young boy and you had no other choice. It is not cowadice to escape from a fight that you couldn't possibly win, nor gain anything from. Your death at that point would have been a waste."

Dori nods again. "If everyone who'd ever retreated from a fight was kicked out, even when they left people to die in doing so, there'd be no-one left in the Legion - and that's adult Humakti we're talking about, not children."

"The second is the voice you heard is interesting. Have you ever thought that it could have been Humakt? It could have been the soul of one of your family wanting you to get out safely, a last warning before they took the paths of the dead. The order could have been given to you so that you culd grow up to be able to avenge the death of your family. If we can find out more about that voice then it might help."

"Finally these creatures of darkness. We definitely want to know more of them. You described them as shades. As we understand the word, shades are insubstantial, though they do cause the fear you describe. But they couldn't tear a corpse appart. It doesn't sound like trolls, they wouldn't bother with hiding their forms in that way. Some other demon from the darknes then. Dori, do you have any ideas?"

"Not trolls or shades, I agree," she says thoughtfully. "I'm trying to remember what Jamal said about it when I first knew him - that would have been about four years later, I think. He didn't say a lot, didn't want to talk about it, but I know he and other Hazars were called in to deal with it, because the local warriors couldn't cope. I got the impression it was horrific by his standards - he didn't want to remember it, either. I wish I had a memory for exact words like you Jalmari, but as far as I recall, what he said was "demons". I know some people class everything they don't like or understand as demons, but I think he meant precisely that."

Observing all this friendly support around him, Abul looks reassured, even his fear of being cast away appears a little bit ridiculous to him. "I don't know much about darkness demons myself, I just hate Spolite witchcraft. It's a forbidden practice, like all worship to the Evil One," he states simply.

"The Gloom Empire used them a lot to subdue the Pelandans and to fight Dara Happa. They could have won but the Good God sent Syranthir Forefront, Karmanos' father, and he destroyed the Evil Empire of the Great Enemy with his western mercenaries and barbarian followers..."

Graylor and Yenda look at one another for a long moment before Graylor speaks.

"Demons is it? Then you could be in the right place. One of the old Jalmar magics was a ritual for dispelling demons. Unfortunately the ritual was lost when we lost contact with this temple. It has been one of Yenda's tasks to find the ritual in the archives. We are hoping that General Vur's guardian will be able to speed up the search,because he was a member of the temple before it was closed and may be able to help pinpoint the document the ritual is hidden in."

"But that is for the future. Back in the present I can see that you have an attachment to that medallion. Everytime you talk about the demons you clutch it. Tell me about it." Graylor asks.

"Oh it's just a lucky charm given to me a long time ago..." Abul answers with an apparent nonchalance. "It protects me against the attention of the Dark One."

The tone is relaxed, but Abul doesn't move a finger to show the item under his shirt.

"If it's only a lucky charm then you wouldn't mind me seeing it then?" Graylor asks.

With a reluctant obedience, Abul reveals the medallion without taking it off.

It's an heavy thing at the end of a small chain, made in old silver with some darker lead inclusions, framed in a bronze firm support visibly worn and tarnished by years of constant use. The visible engravings are obviously foreign, but also strangely threatening and quite feminine with a delicate interlaced pattern. Some Inscriptions are visible but the words are in quite an unusual alphabet.

Anticipating the question and even if it doesn't please him, Abul comments with his usual direct frankness. "Lady Jakkanna, Jamal's Spolite adviser, recently learned me that this medallion was from her native land... it's really magical and she told me that she had read a name on it: Yaazinda Melch’Abukk, a girl name from Spol..."

He voice raises slightly with his irritation. "At first, she was insinuating that I could have stolen the thing... that's typical from a Spolite addressing to a Pelandan.... but I didn't... I swear it! I wear it since I can remember... it wasn't so worn when I was child and I have changed the chain in Tarsh when Jamal was fighting the Grazelanders, he can testifies."

"Hey, Abul. Nobody here is accusing you of stealing anything," says Graylor placatingly. "We are just trying to find out the source of your anxiety. Now this charm is obviously precious to you in that you have handled it a lot. Enough to wear away some of the metal. The lead in the construction suggests a link to the darkness rune. Do you know exactly what the amulet does?"

Abul cools down as he hears Graylor's appeasing words. "Sorry Sir...Yes this Medallion is precious to me. It's everything I have kept from both my homeland and my childhood... I don't know how it works and what it does exactly except that it is very useful against Darkness Demons. I never thought to study it and I will not take the risk to take it away to let it be studied... I was told to keep it always on me and have got reasons to trust this order. That's all I can say... "

"Reasons?" Dori repeats. "What are the reasons? Was the order given by someone you trusted and respected, or did you find evidence that disobeying it led to bad consequences?"

At first, Abul seems quite surprised by the question and the temptation of discarding it appears briefly on his face but the Truewind blows in him and Abul has never been known for escaping responsibilities. "Well, I don't know... both sound right to me... Yes the voice in me told me to run and I have always feared that I will hear it again in front of any danger, by the way becoming a coward for all the rest of my life... although I didn't heard it when i was in front of the Crimson Bat and accomplished my duty as required without running at all... there must be somewhere here..."

Abul seems lost again into introspection and his face keeps the emotionless mask that he usually wears, suddenly some disturbing thoughts break the ice. His mouth wrinkles as if each poor chosen word has a distasteful flavour: "The voice is very old, always been there but friendly and careful... and about evidence, well... that night, the talisman was in question but I can't remember how..."

Sorting his confused memories, Abul takes a pause. The Truewind blows strongly pushed by the combined wills of Graylor and Dorinda.

"It's like an old echo..." he continues. "I already heard it in the past, in a similar situation, at this time it was an order given by someone I... trusted and respected ? No someone I truly loved as a child... and during the attack in Kendesos I obeyed it because... Because I was certain that disobeying would led to bad consequences... very bad consequences..."

At this very precise moment, an impressive sob submerges Abul, leaving him at the same time devasted and amazed. Certainly the losses should have been terrible for the young Carmanian, but their exact nature remaining obscure to him, this feeling of despair without any obvious clear reason leaves him into mystery.

"I'm sorry, it's too hard... it's like paddling in a swamp... the more I work, the muddier become the water and the more the things are becoming difficult to understand... But there is one thing I know clearly now... at least the Truewind mades it distinct and sharp for me: the voice isn't calling me Abul but... Kovis... a Pelandan name, sounding strangely so familiar to my soul... and this is by this name that mute children in my dreams are trying to call me... Kovis... It means 'Princely Son' in Pelandan..."

Visibly Abul is shaken.his face and voice are pitiful. More than ever his right hand wrinkles on the weird medaillion but unconscioulsy, he has put his left one on Yenda's arm like a drowning man would look for all the firm supports he can get. "This didn't tell us why the Enemy would have a specific interest on me, but now this impression is even reinforced..."

Graylor takes a long pause before responding, even then it is almost like he is talking to himself.

"The voice, is it male or female? Narrowing that down will help. My guess is that it is a close family member, someone you lived with and trusted. I don't know if it could be a teacher, I would have thought that unlikely as you can rarely say that you truely love a teacher. The bad consequences indicate that the voice belonged to an authority figure not a brother or other childhood friend."

Graylor takes two steps to put himself at Abul's side and places a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Don't worry, we will get to the bottom of this. But as you say the waters are muddy and in that case the best option is to leave them to settle for a while so that they can run clear again. One final thought. Why do you think the enemy is after you? Perhaps it is after that amulet of yours? There certainly seems a connection, at least in your subconcious. You have spent much more time holding it this past hour than you have in the past several days. Maybe the origins of that amulet could provide the key."

Abul looks pitifully to Graylor. "I don't feel that I have answer to your questions, Graylor. I'm just sure that the medallion is here to protect me, like two and two make four. We are soon departing for the Lankhor Mhy temple, I may perhaps ask them there... and Lady Jakkanna showed a great interest in it too. I will ask her."

The young man has a long silent thought and adds: "I feel more streched and tired than after my fight with that scary white Humakti from the west who just joined us. If you agree, I would like to take some rest and prepare my bag before going to New Pavis. I deeply thank you all for your support, even if I feel now like a cornered animal in front of a great danger, at least I don't have to run while trying to imagine I'm not..."

"I think a rest is a good plan. Do remember that if you feel like a cornered animal, that you have the support of the pack behind you. At all times," Graylor reassures Abul.

"Dori, I think we should have Yenda link to the wyter and leave Abul for a while. At least until we better understanding of Shadow Veil."

"That sounds sensible Graylor," Dori replies and then addresses the two young legionaries. "Abul, you are probably feeling more out of it than you realise and certainly more than you would ever admit. For that reason I am assigning Yenda to look after you until she feels that you are back to normal."

Graylor nods at Dori's wise words and holds out Shadow Veil to Yenda.

"Here you need to put this on to present yourself to Shadow Veil. Then you can have a few minutes to practice its magic. it seems that is all you need before you can use the magic without wearing the cloak." Yenda gets the knack very quickly. Once she is satisfied she takes Abul back to quarters.

"Make sure you both get something to eat, and drink - clean water, and something plain but filling," Dori tells her. "That'll bring you back to ground. Magic takes more out of you than you think when you're not used to it, and Abul was channeling a lot more power than he's used to there."

"Who else now?" Graylor asks Dori. "I would think that Khan should be next. He needs to be part of a cohort, after all he is a full legionary now."

"Yes, he should be the last for this session." Dori replies. "Oh, and Santhis, if he's going into the New City."

"I'll fetch them now, hundredthane." Graylor says with a grin, knowing how difficult she finds the title at the monent.

She grins back ruefully. "For this session - then I have my other ten to deal with. Landros' troops, as trained by Seledd - they're going to love learning how to use darkness magic to be sneaky."
Then the teasing is dropped, as she slips back into her new rank. "Still, that's my problem, not yours. When you're done with your other duties, I'd like you to spend some time finding out what the Jalmari here, and the library, know about demons and magic for dealing with them. It looks as if that's going to be of more immediate relevance than we might have hoped. Borrow Vindana if you need to."

"As you wish, I was hoping to get some time to do that anyway. But having Vindana's help will be great.. I hope!"

Onward to mid-morning

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