Back/up Humakts Hall Pavis overall

Something Jalmari This Way Comes

Graylor has overcome his initial surprise about the fecundity of the rubble he had expected the rubble to be barren like the surrounding deserts. He was on his way to the Real City where to meet with General Vur, a known old style soldier, everything by the book, but he must not fall into the trap of dismissing a person before his strengths were known. Graylor’s old scouting habits were on full alert, constantly assessing the terrain for hiding places, and of course for danger.

However, these were mainly automatic and his mind wanders over the events of the morning. They had entered New Pavis shortly after first light and made their way to the Humakt temple. He had met with the Jalmari initiate N’krun who had briefed him on the current situation. General Vur still hadn’t located the old temple to Jalmar. The Herewardi were here though some were out in the Big Rubble exploring. N’krun gave Graylor descriptions of the Herewardi leaders that had gone to the rubble. One seemed to match a figure that had been haunting his dreams for the last few days. Graylor makes himself known to Aurel Gutter, and informs Aurel of his plans to pass straight on to the rubble to deliver a message.

Graylor’s musings are interrupted. He vision is flicks to the image of a temple rising from the sands. The temple of Jalmar has been opened! Who could have done this? Wasn’t I supposed to be there? Graylor looks round for a vantage point. From the top of a small mound he spies a group of soldiers entering into a hole they had excavated. The had no insignia but the key descriptions N’krun supplied these were the Herewardi. How did they get to the temple before the Jalmari? Now it was imperative to get to them immediately! Looking further away he spots two other groups, text book military observation units, though one is heavily involved with a game they are playing and they aren’t watching. Good! He could use this to get to the temple quickly.

Graylor signalled to his companions to wait and watch. Irnar would signal to him if there were any unforeseen dangers. Graylor moved with all the stealth he could muster. The years of being a scout blending well with the body control taught by the Jalmari, keeping to the areas of low scrub allowed him to utilise his cloak as camouflage. Checking on the dice playing watchers Graylor noted with relief that they were Jalmari, their every move spoke of the Jalmari training. It should work out OK now. Only when Graylor was on top of the lookouts did he step into the open.

"What do you think you are you doing? Since when have the Brotherhood of Jalmar dropped its vigilance? You were sent out to watch and you have failed in that simple task. You will consider yourselves on report until I have had a chance to speak to General Vur. Now I’m going to investigate what is happening over there. You will wait here for me to return.” With these words Graylor summoned his followers and makes his way over to the diggings, taking care that the natural terrain blockes his movements from the other group of observers.

As he approaches Graylor receives a shock. There *is* the woman from his dreams, the pale haired death-maiden! What has she got to do with this?

Graylor approaches the Herewardi carefully. He holds out his empty hands in a sign of peace. As soon as he can be seen he uses swordspeach to communicate. “I come peacefully, with a message for your ten-thane. We are being watched by possibly hostile forces.” He hopes that this silent message was not seen by the observers and would be well received by the Herewardi.

The first man to see him - a dark, bearded, fellow - glances towards the group of Jalmari he had just reprimanded. Who would not be visible from where he was... Interesting. At his motion, a woman next to him gets up and heads back towards the temple entrance and the group gathered there.

The Swordspeech reply is as he had hoped: "approach in peace". But a low growl from behind him is unexpected. Glancing back, he sees a huge wolf next to the bushes where Irnar is supposedly hidden. Where had that come from? It isn't attacking, but it isn't friendly, either. Not to the Yinkini.

Graylor calls out. “Make yourselves known. There is little chance of concealment against a wolf’s senses!” Three figures emerge; with the wolf keeping a close watch on them all. The first male hunter, who is looking decidedly worried; for Yinkin and wolves had a long history, not much of it friendly. The second a warrior covered with Orlanthi tattoos, seems indifferent to the wolf, however he does keep a close eye on the beast. The final figure is of a death-maiden, who is delighted with the wolf’s presence. She holds out her hand, palm upwards, to the wolf by way of greeting. The wolf ignores the offered friendship; though it pierces Yenda with a long look from those all too wise eyes. Yenda steps back with a small, stifled cry, she looks quite shaken.

The Herewardi guard repeats his message, but with a slightly different final hand movement. "Approach *alone*".

Once they can talk quietly Graylor repeats. "I need to speak to your ten-thane. You are being watched by General Vur's men and I need to be able to make my introductions without any fuss. Here are my swords as a token of my honourable intentions."

"We know about Vur." The man seems quietly amused, rather than worried. "But if you know more, our ten-thane Dorinda will be interested to hear it. Come." He takes the swords, examines them with respect. "She'll likely return these to you, but that decision's not mine to make."

"I'm not surprised you know already. You have shown my men that they need to concentrate more on their training. With a wolf as your ears and nose I would expect them to be found but not so quickly!" He bows with respect to the wolf. “Irnar.” Graylor speaks quietly. “Put your claws away. You will have time to play with your new friend when we have been formally introduced.”

Turning back to the guard Graylor continues. "One thing you may find helpful to pass to your comrades. Vur is an old school, by-the-book commander. I wouldn't expect to see any imagination from him."

Beyond him, the blonde woman Graylor had seen in his dreams is already approaching.

"Hail ten-thane, I am Graylor Bladedancer and I bring a greeting, a warning, a question and possibly a reaffirmation of a vow."

“My greeting is from Hereward, who met me whilst I quested. The warning is that General Vur almost certainly has you surrounded and is not going to be pleased with you. He has spent 10 years trying to find this temple. The question is why are you haunting my dreams when I have never seen you before. The vow must wait until we are in a quieter place with trusted friends.”

"You." There is startled recognition in the tall blonde woman's expression though she hides it fast. "If Hereward sends you, that should answer the question of why we share dreams. Though what his intent or meaning may be...Well, no doubt we will find out. And others who know him better may know more. For now, enough that he tells me to trust you. Oddus..." she nods, and the dark-haired man hands the swords back gravely.

"We know Vur is watching us, we know he's been looking for something here. If you know more, we will welcome it. But this explanation, unless very urgent, is perhaps better given once, to all concerned."

She looks north, through the bushes that happen to be there rather than at them, and a cold gust of wind blows towards her. "Siggyr", she says quietly, "we have friendly company, and a source of information. I'm bringing him down."

The wind blows her words away as they are spoken, then dies down.

"Come. Let's make sure our senior ten-thane hears your news as well, since he commands this expedition." And she leads the way towards the hole the others had gone down - the steps down to the temple he had come so far to find. The temple that *should* have been guarded against all non-Jalmari.

With the mix of emotions passing through his mind Greylor forgets his companions for a brief period. “A moment Ten-thane Dorinda. Will you let my men enter your camp? I fear that yon wolf has taken a fancy to my hunter! I fear though he wouldn’t make more than a snack, he is too thin and stringy! It also looks like Yenda has taken a shine to your wolf too. She spent some time with the Telmori in her youth and has a love for all things lupine. Though she has never reacted like that to one before. That must be some wolf.”

"Oh, he is." Dorinda smiles thinly. "Not that we know any more about him than he chooses to tell, of course.
"Your companions..." she shrugs. "Since you vouch for them, they may enter."

Leaving Fasten Spear in command of those in the Inner Sanctum, Siggyr and the other senior Herewardi emerge into the cellar room as Dorinda clatters down the stairs accompanied by a sturdy-looking stranger.

Finding himself alone for the time being Egil wanders across to where Vern is stood. Grasping his arm firmly Egil virtually drags the man to a quiet part of the chamber, "Listen to me, my boss is going to ask you some questions shortly. Beware of lying or concealing your answers. Should you do either I will remove your writing hand. As I know not the hand you write with you'll lose both." he warns sternly.

Then he releases his grip on the man's arm before striding after Siggyr.

With a dangerous looking mass of warriors behind him, Siggyr peeks quickly up the stairwell before rapidly scanning the newcomer. "I am Siggyr, called One-Eye, and I bear the Standard of this Cohort," he announces. "This place is ours and is not for everyone, and I salute your bravery in meeting us here."

"Hail Siggyr One-Eye. I am Graylor also known as Bladedancer. I salute your skills in finding this place. However, I for one will never feel fear in a place where my god resides. As to your claims, there are those outside this chamber that would dispute your right of ownership! Though I will not dispute your claim 'that this place is not for everyone'. In fact, a few seasons ago, I would have been amazed to hear of anyone, without the favour of my god, being able to find and enter this place." Graylor grins as he says the last piece to show he means no offence.

Siggyr's eye flinches to meet Dorinda's momentarily before snapping back to regard the warrior. He speaks slowly, "welcome to this place then, Graylor. Those outside this chamber are free to take up their claims with my Lord Illig, or against our assembled swords if they are unwilling to brook delays. We were guided and brought to this place by Humakt himself - so who is the God of which you speak?"

Jamal, torn from his Vern induced reverie, stands steely eyed and alert at Siggyrs right. His hand resting lightly on Bull-Spikes pommel.

He waits for Siggyr to finish

" 'Ware your words Sir, for Sir Herw'Ard has a way of uncovering the Decietful"

"Sir! I have never uttered falshood to *any* being since I first visited Humakt's halls." Graylor responds somewhat testily.

Jamal regards the new comer evenly, unperturbed by the tone of his response.

"Well, then you should have naught to be anxious about, Sir"

"Waleesha," Jamal says to Dorinda with a slight reprooving tone "how did this one slip past your guard ?"

Dorinda has been standing back, letting Graylor conduct his own defence, watching him as if assessing a potential new recruit.

"He walked straight up to us, completely openly, and disarmed himself as a sign of good faith. Not a bad start. And leaving his followers supposedly hidden showed a certain amount of intelligence, too. As for why I trusted him and brought him down here...." ignoring Jamal now, her eyes meet Siggyr's, Devotee to Devotee. "Hereward told me to. A dream, when I was sleeping in the temple a few nights back. I wasn't given a name, or a reason, just a picture and the message to go with it. 'Trust your sword-brother'. Not a comment I understand, myself, in that context."

"Thank you sword-brother. My dreams have been haunted by your image this last week! I too recieved no information except that we would meet." Graylor replies to Dorinda's explanation.

Graylor then returns to Siggyr's original question.

"The information you ask of me is secret from all but followers of my god. Normally I am bound by solemn oaths never to reveal even my god's name to an outsider. However, I have been granted permission to speak with the finders of this temple. Unfortunately, I need to bind you all with oaths never to pass on information about my cult. Will you bind yourselves to such an oath?"

Graylor pauses in thought for a moment or two. "I can see that this is a lot to take from a stranger. Evasive answers and then oath taking before the promise of answers. I can tell you this. I have recently spoken with Hereward Truewind! It is because of that conversation that I stand within this chamber, and not outside considering the appropriate action to evict trespassers!"

Siggyr looks once more at Dorinda, then Jamal, Aelfwyrd, Egil, and the other assembled senior Legionnaires. He scratches his head. It was too much to expected, he supposes, that a simple expedition in to the Rubble to locate a base would pass off with nothing more than military decisions. No, instead he must be called upon to tackle major policy issues. Siggyr is rapidly coming to appreciate the difficulties a Hundred Thane can face: the most senior person in the room, yet still answerable to a higher temporal authority. Still, he has known Illig for long enough to become adept at anticipating the Warleader's views on things.

"Well, Graylor, you certainly seem to know who we are, and you ask for a heavy price to exact the same courtesy from you. In this Temple we hold no secrets from each other, for ours is the Lord of the Truthwind. In this Legion, we hold secrets against outsiders, but not from each other. I am willing to swear this - I will swear that the Temple of Hereward will not share the name or nature of your cult with outsiders. I will swear that we will hold your secrets as our own, whether you prove friend, or whether we bury you as foes." He looks again at his comrades, seeking their approval. "You must know, Graylor, that we cannot hold a secret from our Warlord. That is the best I can offer you. If it is enough, then we will swear on Hrolf Truthspeaker's sword."

"I know I ask a lot from a first meeting. Once again I salute you for your forbarance and honour." Graylor inclines his head appreciatively towards Siggyr. "Yes, the oath you propose will be sufficient. Let us so swear then I can give my tale."

Graylor moves to stand next to Hrolf, he watches each person carefully as they place their oaths on Hrolf's sword. Rapidly the light of the purity of their honour builds up on the sword. As the last few add their oaths the blade becomes too bright to look at. It is a wonder that mere metal can hold so much power. Finally Graylor steps over to the sword and intones the concluding words. "Jalmar receive this oath of silence, watch over those who keep their bond and punish any who break their word." The energies in the sword are released and flash round the room, touching each individual and then into the inner sanctum where they coaless on the sword of the hooded statue. A voice echoes in the heads of all the oath makers "Done".

Graylor, turns to the gathered Herewardi and speaks again. "Thank you my brothers. I am truly sorry to have had to put you through this. I can now speak freely. But, first I must ask you a final boon. It is centuries since Jalmar has been greeted in this place. I ask for your patience whilst I greet my god." Without really waiting for a response Graylor walks over to the statue of Jalmar; kneeling before it he prays silently for several moments. Finally he reverently holds the blade of the statue’s sword and asks. "Lord is it truly time?" He returns to face the expectant Herewardi.

"Now is the time for a more complete introduction. My name is Graylor Bladedancer and I am a Knight of Jalmar. These are my companions. Irnar a hunter of some renown, Elgan a warrior of the fighting storm and my apprentice Yenda." At the mention of their names the two men and one woman nod their heads in acknowledgement.

"First I will say this. The cult of Jalmar has survived only because it has kept itself hidden from view, we all take vows never to reveal the nature of our cult; Vern knows of the Jalmari but can’t tell you anything directly as, I sense that, he has already taken the vow of silence. I have been given explicit freedom to talk to you so I can answer your questions. This was my reason for needing your vows. For many the knowledge of Jalmar comes only with their dying breath." He pauses trying to assemble the information he has to give in a proper order.

"Were you aware that Jalmar and Hereward were sword brothers? I was by chance that I discovered this. I was questing on the god plane as Jalmar when Hereward spoke to me. He spoke of their brotherhood and of renewing their old vows of friendship and mutual protection. So I came to find you and discover what that meant. When I arrive I find that you have found that which the Jalmari have been searching for since 1550! For this I feel that all Jalmari will thank you!"

Graylor suddenly grins cheerfully. "However, I don't think that General Vur will be as happy. He has spent the last 10 years personally looking for this temple, and what's more I bet you didn't use proper established military procedure to do it! I wonder which will irritate him the most?"

"I think that to honour the spirit of Hereward's and Jalmar's reunion we should declare that the temple be in joint ownership. I already notice that the temple has been defiled by the unworthy, who have been brought to justice. All we need to do now is to encourage General Vur that he is too late and the temple has already got it's new and permanent management!"

Egil steps up behind Siggyr and says quietly, "It would seem that Vern is a traitor to us Sir. He appears to be a spy for General Vur. It would be my honour to relieve him of the burden unless you wish Aelf to do it." He reaches down and half pulls Evergleam from its scabbard.

Siggyr stays Egil's swordarm. "No, not yet. We do not wish war with Vur, I think. And Vern is no traitor, as he is not one of us. He is a spy, no doubt, but it may be that he is a spy for a friendly cult. At the moment we need treat him as no more or less than an honoured guest, and a bargaining piece in our negotiations with Lord Vur."

Jamal growls at the mention that Vern may have had traitorous intent.

"Sir, I have a personal issue with the Sage. If he is an agent of the Lie, then I need to know his intent and motives"

"Perhaps our Jalmari-brother here can help in his interrogation, either that or I could use my own methods..."

Graylor interjects. "I may be of assistance here. The vow of silence usually only covers passing information to non-Jalmari. I should be able to talk to Vern in private and then be able to tell you what he knows."

Siggyr replies to Graylor he says, "I have heard rumours of the Jalmari, but I never knew Jalmar was a swordbrother of Hereward. Truth be told, that means little. Arkat and Maklamann were both swordbrothers of Hereward, yet they betrayed and tried to slay him. It may be that this explains Dorinda's vision, but we will need to seek guidance from Hereward, and meditate on the nature of Jalmar, before jumping to any conclusions. You bring intelligence of importance, and it would be churlish and foolish to act hastily on a matter of such profundity as to whom this temple might be dedicated."

Gravely Graylor considers Siggyrs words before replying. "I know not of any betrayal between Jalmar and Hereward and certainly there was only joy in Jalmars mind when they met. As I understand it both Jalmar and Hereward were disgusted with Arkat's excesses and left him. Each pursued their own path there after. Jalmar is now, as he always was, dedicated to removing the stain of the Deceiver from this land." He spits on the floor before continuing. "Jalmar gave his life in the final battle with Gabji. We have been dedicated to the destruction of the followers of the ways of the Deceiver ever since. We have had to maintain secrecy to be able to be effective against the hidden agents of chaos."

Siggyr continues "Now I have a question for you - how close are Vur's men, and what is their intent?"

"From what I've seen Vur lacks imagination. If it's not in the book then it doesn't exist. My assessment would be that he wants to have the temple, but first he would be likely to send emissaries to see if he can avoid conflict. Then he may well resort to violence. That means that we have one shot to convince him that he should withdraw."

Graylor then takes Vern to one side and confers with him at length, returning to pass on what he has learnt.

The tale Vern has to tell, via Graylor, surprises many. The impression he had originally given of being new to Pavis is, to put it mildly, misleading. Vern had, during the course of philosophical studies in the past, learnt rather more about the Jalmari in Pavis than was good for him. Rather than simply killing him, though, Vur had recognised his potential use as a source of information, and bound him with oaths never to reveal what he had learned. From then on, Vern was in Vur's employ, investigating people Vur deemed suspect, and looking for any information on the missing temple.

When he met the Legion, with the caravan from Sartar to Prax, Vern overheard mention of the Unbreakable Sword, and knew that Vur and the other Jalmari would be interested, since many of their powers derived from the same Sword. He attached himself to the group in the hope of learning more, and of checking whether they might be sufficiently reliable and honourable to be considered as allies.

What he found impressed him considerably, and he took the opportunity to improve the philosophical awareness of those of the group that would listen to him.

After the incident at Horn Gate and his experience of their somewhat experimental heroquesting there, he left the group while they detoured to Sun County, and reported back to Vur. Not only did he regard them as being of the highest possible honour (with a few feathered exceptions!), the magic they could apparently derive from the Sword was more powerful and flexible than anything he had ever seen the Jalmari use, and the way they were prepared to swap paths on the HeroPlane and force it to their will seemed to prove their links with Arkat. He felt that as allies, Vur was about to bite off rather more than he could chew, but that the rewards would probably be worth it.

Vur dismissed much of what Vern told him, unimpressed by what he saw as the sloppy military basis of many of the battles described. Since they arrived in Pavis, he's been cautious, sounding them out, still dismissing much of what he's told as mere hear-say and exaggeration. He has other agents in Pavis, and is using them. Despite them all giving roughly the same story, he still refuses to believe in successes that depend on such non-standard tactics, ascribing much of what has been reported to "mere" luck.

Vern got a message to him that the Herewardi were about to investigate the ruins of the temple, but again Vur did not take information gained by such non-standard means (aerial surveys???) as being reliable. Vern's attempt to reach him to report further during the day was unsuccessful.

Siggyr listens impassively to Graylar's recitation and nods, sombrely. "Right, listen up Legionnaires. Hrolf, Dorinda - take the Cohort up top and reinforce the defensive fortifications around the entry. Where possible exaggerate our numbers; put helmets on spears with a cloak to pad it out - that kind of thing. In the dark it is easy for spies to be misled. We must look strong and be vigilant. Dorinda - signal Lord Illig with what has transpired. We shall most likely be wanting reinforcements by dawn."

"Jamal, Egil, Aelfwyrd - come with me. We should ensure the temple area is secured to the rear before we must face Vur. Graylar, you come with us - you are no doubt keen to see the rest, and will be of assistance in decoding the Temple's symbols. Jamal - Vern is your problem for the time being. Keep him close."

Jamal nods, glad for some action to distract him from some awkward thoughts. "Vern will not leave my sight for a second" he says striding over to the Grey sage, seizing him firmly by the scruff of the neck and throwing him to Abul, Elnor and Jakkanna. "He speaks with the honeyed words of the Deceiver, do not listen to him. There will be a reckoning later, once this business has passed. He orders Boltar, Fufold, Abyd and Seeker above ground to join the defense. That done he rejoins the discussion.

Graylor looks at the scene gravely. "I do not know the history between you. However, I must point out that there are always two sides the same is true of illumination. It has its bright side, commonly known as Nysalor, and the dark aspect that is Gabji. We that Jalmari know the signs of both. Any tainted by Gabji are destroyed, whist the others are watched carefully for the first signs of taint. I can do this only imperfectly, the guardians in our temples are rarely wrong! If you doubt him let him enter the temple and Jalmar will judge him." Suddenly he lets out a short barking laugh. "And round here I gather that retribution is quick and somewhat messy. By the way, what did happen to that pile of meat I saw outside?"

Jamal looks up at Graylor. "We can discuss the finer theological points of this later. Suffice to say Vern has not only sold himself as a friend of the legion, but has had another master. This is a grave offense to the Herewardi. But also he has sold himself as my friend, yet has lead me down the path of the Lie. Whether he is an agent of Ganesatarus the Deceiver we have yet to establish. But as he as shown himself to be unreliable he should be kept until is movtives can be established..." He pauses. "And believe me, I could have left him to Aelfwyrd, and in fact I still might, but that would not get me the answers I'm after..."

"True, for those crimes he must have a reckoning. I have been resident in our temple for too long and forget the was of other men. I look for the stains in the soul and pass the simple lie. Thank you for the lesson friend Jalmal."

Dorinda nods quietly at Siggyr's orders. "My inquiries suggested Vur had perhaps twenty men in total - Graylor, does that agree with what you know of him?

"Yes, but how many others he has oath bound like Vern wasn't included in his last report." Graylor looks slightly pensive as if thinking hard. "I may have a winning card that will pull Vur's fangs."

She grins. "Reinforcements. That'll be the Second. And it sounds as if Vur and Seledd will get on well together: they have so much in common. I may be able to get us a little more support overnight, in any case, but it will be a little unorthodox. Are we more interested in confirming Vur's low opinion of us, or avoiding annoying our senior Hundred-thane?"

Siggyr grins back. "I dread to think what that might be, if you think it's unorthodox. Let's keep that in the background for now - better not to reveal all our cards in one go."

"Egil, following behind, speaks up, "I could send Gerras out to see if he can locate any of his clan or tribe, we'd have cavalry back up by dawn that way or Mauvin could fly back to Lord Illig although I don't hold much hope there as I saw no clouds earlier."

Siggyr shakes his head. "They're good tactical suggestions, Egil, but are too likely to lead to other complications. Dorinda has lines of communication open to Lord Illig, and I don't want to risk the Lunars seeing a flying Orlanthi crossing the walls. That would really stir up the hornet's nest. As for the Zebra Riders - I don't want to end up owing them any favours. We can handle this ourselves - it would be unseemly to involve outsiders."

Dori nods in complete agreement. "We want to limit the number of people who know where we are and what we're doing. I know we can trust Gerras, but all his tribe as well? By dawn I hope the rest of the Legion can be here - it's the time until then that worries me. I was considering asking an old friend of Aelf's to come and join us for the night - and considering that statue," she nods towards the trollish-looking representation of Kargan, "contacting him may well give us more information, at some point. But for now - fine, we'll handle this ourselves. I won't get Geran any further involved."

"I'll send a runner back, this time, as well as the faster message. Our reinforcements may find a guide useful. Any other messages, or objects, to go back? I'll get Vindana to do a sketch map of the area, at least."

Nodding reverently at Uz stone effigy the Kargani stands, his duties seemingly at an end. Absently running a gore-splattered hand through his hair he appears oblivious to what had passed.

Recovering a black leather cloth from his pack Aelfwyrd begins to clean his strange Kralorean weapon. The horrific combination of sword, spear, trident and staff had a host of sharp twisted blades front and back, all running to a razor sharp point. Starting with the ebony and ivory haft he begins to wipe the weapon clean

Looking across the Hall he scowling in silence at the newcomer.

His tribal markings made him a Bluefoot Orlanthi and he looked the part of a young, proud and fierce clan warrior. Yet there was something altogether dark about his demeanor for one so young.

It lurked there, just below the surface.

Graylor returned the Kargani's look with all the calm he could muster. As the Kargani bent to the gruesome work of cleaning his fearsome weapon. Graylor muttered to Siggyr. "By Humakt's black beard what is that thing that young man is cleaning! Does he have to actually fight that often? I suspect that most foes would run screaming when they see him waving that about."

"He's perfectly harmless if you don't annoy him," returns Siggyr good-humouredly. "Of course, he is easily irritated by things like breathing, talking, movement...."

Graylor smiles. "I'll remember that!" All serious now, he continues. "Now, you were asking about the temple. My knowledge of the temple is somewhat patchy. The temple records are poorly kept. We seem to have a problem with recruiting reliable sages to keep them in order." His eyes flick to Vern, and he shrugs. "When Pavis was completed two temples to Humakt were built one on Temple Hill and another by the original city. Naturally some Jalmari were involved and it was they that constructed this temple. Our records state that it was dedicated jointly to Jalmar and Kargan. Though there was no mention of this trollish aspect of Kargan." Again he shrugs. "Perhaps this was information that was lost or even deliberately suppressed. The last reports from the temple are in 1237 just before the trolls invaded and we have heard nothing since." He grins. "The troll armies also were easily irritated by things like breathing, talking, movement.... especially in humans! An attempt to locate the temple was made when New Pavis was built, and there have been repeated attempts since then." He looks round studying faces. "As to what is rumoured to be here, well your guess is as good as mine. Anything from knowledge of how to become a god, to treasure enough to buy a kingdom, down to nothing because the trolls would have raided the place whilst they had the chance. Take your pick."

He does not mention the rumours that it held details of incredibly powerful hero-quests, now all lost, of course. Plus a dragon's hoard of gold, Balastor's Axe, the original Unbreakable Sword, and a written copy of the God Learners Secret. All obvious silliness and exaggeration :)

Siggyr considers this. "That's interesting. The stone here is apparently inscribed 'Constructed in the year 1244 by Orphus Kir, Master Mason of Pavis'. So the undertemple was either rebuilt, or extended during the troll occupation. I was thinking that it was first constructed then."

"I wonder whether there was some alliance made with the trolls. Does anyone know of troll relations with Humakt. I have not the experience of these things. As an Indrodar worshipper I was focused on the unlife in the Upland Marsh and as a Jalmar worshipper I have studied the ways of chaos. Who is the master mason? Most of the masons round Pavis were dwarfs weren't they? What would a dwarf be doing building a temple connected with trolls?"

Vindana shakes her head. "The Kirs are not Mostali, they're one of the noble families of Pavis. The funny thing is that they disappeared during the Troll Occupation, the whole family vanished in the year 1244 and didn't re-emerge until 1550. They've never explained where they went, or what they were doing, and they've developed a reputation as shirkers as a result."

Graylor looks at Siggyr and gestures to the inner temple. "But enough speculation, I'm beginning to sound too much like a grey beard. There is only one way to find out. Shall we go and look?"

Siggyr nods.

Historical speculation and politics is not Egil's forte, this however was something he could grasp, "I'll take point, I'll try and catch any incoming arrows for you." he calls cheerily before he moves off quickly into the darkness.

A few moments later he trots back with a strange look on his face, "I've been thinking. I remember now where I've heard the name Kir before, the zebras have a tale about them they like to tell. Back in the days when the darkmen came the Kir family fled their beautiful home and took refuge in a building near to the home of the Lord of Death. They were discovered there by rampaging warriors of the trollish war god Kaarg. Finding a temple consecrated to death they claimed it as their own and wanted to use the unfortunate Kirs as a sacrifice but the head of the house, Hestar, pleaded for their lives. He successfully bargained with the trolls that he would carved a statue of their god to adorn their temple in return for the lives of his family. The pact was sealed and he set to work. It took 2 seasons to create the statue during which time, Hestar managed to get a lot of his family away from the trolls to relative safety elsewhere in the Rubble. The trolls were mightly pleased with their new statue and gave it happily to their god with Hestar as a sacrifice. Soon after most of the Kir women gave birth to hideous half-troll monsters. These children were abandoned by the family but grew big and strong anyway, they escaped the confines of the rubble and fled into the wastes. Where they formed their own clan of tusk-riders, the Kirnagea." he then shrugs his shoulders, "How true this is I cannot say but the zebra riders believe it."

Vern sniffs disparagingly. "A likely tale. Think, young man! Did you hear nothing of what Graylor told you? This temple was built at the same time as the rest of the city. The date on that - test - was in 1244. Look at those statues - do you really think an extra one was added centuries after the temple was founded? No, Orphus Kir may well have built this later addition, but not the statue. That was here from the start."

Graylor starts musing. "So if only the entrance to the temple was constructed in 1244. That means that the temple security was boosted,
probably to keep the trolls out.... obviously not all trolls, because of the statues, but at least those not enlightened by Karag and/or Jalmar. This rather means that there must be something of worth to be found here. I for one can't wait to find what has been hidden for all these years."

Onward... In the depths of the temple
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