Meeting Vur

Back/up In the depths of the temple Pavis overall

A few hours later, Dori comes quietly down the stairs again.
"Vur's building up his forces out there. Still no move to approach us, but it looks as if every man he's got is watching this place.

"I sent word to Illig a while back, and his runner just came in. We're getting our reinforcements. Seledd should be in the area by dawn. It's going to be hard to make contact with her once she's on the move, though, so she's going to stop just outside where we know Vur's headquarters is, take a look, and then she'll be in a known position so I can use the wind to give her the latest information at our end. I can't see any easy way of her getting orders back to us at that point, but she'll have all the information, and if she can't handle the strategy, it can't be done. Maybe Landros' raven can carry a message to us, or something."

(and assuming someone asks the obvious question)

"Well, yes, I could send a runner to find her, and to carry a message back. But I'm using trollkin, at night. And if we wait for daylight, it'll be far too easy for Vur's men to spot a messenger."

Jamal grimaces at Dorinda's news.

"So we have Vur and his assorted Jalmari's watching us from outside, Waleesha, do we have any idea of numbers ? Or maybe Graylor can help with that ?"

"My own investigations and Graylor's news from his Sartarite friends agree. About twenty to twenty-five."

He pauses. "And to make the situation even better, the relief is that glory-hound Seledd. I bet by the time Illig gets her report back, she would have discovered the temple, single-handedly beating back its guardians, and securing a base for the legion while the 7th trail in her wake."

He glances at Siggyr for a second, then continues. "Let's see if we can present her with a fait-accomplie. Graylor, you know this Vur the best, would he be amenable to a parley ?"

"I'm sure that he would. If nothing else he would welcome the opportunity to request our surrender!"

Siggyr nods, "there is no need for this to be dragged out any further. Let us go down and deal with Vur, and leave him in no doubt that he is not in a superior position. Dorinda, Graylor, Jamal, let us approach him in open. Hrolf - you have command here."

"Before we go out to meet Vur. There are a few things that I need to make you aware of just so that there are no misunderstandings out there." Graylor laughs. "I'd hate to end up like the poor unworthy who tried to enter the temple."

"OK. First of all Yenda and I will be expected to greet General Vur formally. We have never met before and he is more senior than I am. This will involve a ritual exchange of magics, a sort of purity test. Secondly I have communications for Vur from the head of our order. Naturally I don't know the contents. But I bet that they will be to do with my mission to find you guys and explore the possibilities to make our cults closer together."

"Well, let's hope so," Siggyr doesn't need to add what he thinks of hopes. He considers for a moment before nodding decisively. "Right, this is all good. We are polite neighbours being introduced by kin, and we outnumber him, most likely. Graylor - you lead the way and do the first talking. We'll be right behind you."

"As you wish. Yenda, it is time to leave those scrolls and meet with General Vur. Irnar, Elgan stay in the camp and help where you can. OK Siggyr we're ready. Shall we see if Vur wants to play?"

"If its OK with you I'm going to do a quick scout around his position. I don't think a rearguard waiting to surprise us needs to go unnoticed," Egil remarks. He then begins to go through his pack to remove the black gauze cloak he uses to hide the reflective surfaces on his gear. "Watch the skies, if I find something Mauvin will make a signal."

Jamal sheaths Bull Spike and hefts his new sword. He nods at Siggyr. "There is a saying in my homeland, 'Travel with an open heart, but keep your sword sharp'. Abul, you are with me, Elnor Jakkanna keep an eye on Vern." He indicates that Abul should collect some torches. "Let's go and greet our new 'kin'."

Graylor adds. "It occurs to me Dorinda that much time would be saved if we can go directly to General Vur. Do know where he actually is or should I go and ask the three scouts I passed on the way here?"

"We suspect he's with the largest group to the west of us, but we can't be sure. By all means check with your scouts. But of course, if we know where Proper Military Procedure says he should be - that's where he is! What does Jalmari doctrine say on the subject?"

"Of course he would be with the largest group. He will probably have his runners, scribe and personal guard round him. He hasn't that many men to work with so he'll have 4-5 scout groups of three men and his own command group of six or seven men. Does that fit the situation Dorinda?"

"That's what we've seen, yes, and fits the assumptions I was making about his deployment."

Graylor turns to Egil. "Egil scouting may be a good idea. However, Vur will be reluctant to call on non-Jalmari support for this. He's been working in secret on finding this temple for the last ten years; so he's not going to blow that by allowing the temple to be known to all Humakti in the region. Anyway the only source of reinforcements will be the New Pavis temple, where, I believe, your reinforcements are coming from. If there are more coming to help Vur then they will be bumping into the Herewardi all the way here!"

“Let’s get this over with then.” Graylor strides confidently towards General Vur’s position with Yenda a step behind. In a smooth display of their discipline they draw their swords simultaneously and flip them over so that they are holding them by the blades. Their swords now look like death runes shine brightly with the deathlight of Humakt. Shortly after this display they are challenged by Vur’s men. “Halt, who approaches?”

Calmly Graylor responds. “One who wears the tribanded gloves of Jalmar, his apprentice and friends. We would speak with your master, General Vur.” The guards are momentarily taken aback by the response. “Approach sir knight, and I will summon the General.” The second guard is dispatched to General Vur.

Vur takes his several minutes to arrive during which time neither Graylor nor Yenda move as much as a muscle. The swords held out in front of them never waver. Eventually General Vur arrives. Graylor and Yenda lower their swords and bow to Vur. “Salutations General Vur. I am Graylor, also known as Bladedancer. I have felt the flame of truth and wear the tribanded glove. My mind and heart belong only to the truth.”

Start of extended contest, round 1.

General Vur responds with the following words. “Salutations Graylor welcome to domain of the Silent Swords. We are in the presence of strangers; perhaps we should test our truth in private?”

“Sir I would prefer to finish our ceremonies in the open as these are not strangers but oath bound friends, who I would present to you. They are the reason for my journeying to this place at this time. I have messages from the Grand Master for your perusal.”

Siggyr clears his throat. "Lord Vur, we have sworn on our swords to protect the secrets of your cult as our own - you may depend on our word."

Jamal stands behind Siggyr and nods solemly, "That is our oath, and with the strength of Idovanus the True and Mercifal, it will always be so."

Dori adds her agreement. "Hereward has ordered me to trust Graylor as I would my sword brother. I would no more betray him than I would one of the Legion."

(and we roll dice, and Vur loses 25 AP)

General Vur grunts sourly. “If you insist, though it’s not normal procedure that others should see our rituals.” Vur starts to chant quietly and reaches over his shoulder as if drawing a large sword from a back scabbard. None but the Jalmari can see anything in General Vur’s hands; what they see is a huge, palely glowing bastard sword. Graylor places both his hands on the blade. His testing has begun….

Round 2, Vur's "attack" on Graylor

and the PCs lose 100 AP due to a fumble!

Almost immediately Graylor starts to grimace. His lips curl back and his face starts to run with sweat. The watching Herewardi are left wondering what is going on, it’s certainly causing Graylor some trouble.

The sensations passing through Graylor when he held the Sword of Truth were most unpleasant. He’d been through the ritual many times, but these had been with friends and had been done gently. Vur was annoyed that he had been forced into being open with the ritual and was not concerned with being gentle; he wanted to teach this upstart a lesson. Graylor could sense through the connection they shared that Vur was edgy as he was not in control of the situation; he needed information to be able to deal with the situation. Vur was thorough he stomped his way through Graylor’s life from start to end. His sister’s death and Graylor’s failed attempt at being a healer.. Leaving home and rejecting of all cults while he was a member of the Whispering Swords.. The switch from healer to scout that the Swords fostered.. The destruction of the Swords in Kallyr’s rebellion.. Graylor's final acceptance of Humakt.. Life in the Upland Marsh and entry into Jalmar.. Moving to the Jalmari Headquarters and his devotion to Jalmar.. What was that? You met Hereward on a Jalmar quest.. Balderdash! Hereward knew Jalmar and wanted a return to friendship.. Stuff and nonsense that sort of poppycock doesn’t really happen. The Grand Master did what?? With this the connection was broken.

Graylor was left with the impression of a powerful man who was not quite the hide-bound thinker he was made out to be. He was a keen tactician, astute with his analysis, but most of all he was a soldier and was good at military operations, a thing he desperately missed. He understood the secrecy needed for the Jalmari to survive but he preferred the opportunity for an open fight which was why he was so obvious in the fight against the red empire. Here was definitely a man he could follow into battle. What if the Jalmari had a purely military section Vur would be a great commander. Something sparked in Graylor’s head; a dawning comprehension spread its light through his mind.

Eventually the contact is broken and Graylor staggers, but quickly his training reasserts itself. Graylor once again bows to vur, only this time it is noticed that the bow is lower, and more respectful than before. “My lord Vur, my apologies I have been mistaken about you. I have communications from the Grand Master of our order. He asked that you give the contents your immediate and careful consideration.” He hands over the documents with a crisp salute.

“Uh.” Vur grunts acknowledgement. “I say, what is going on here soldier? Why would the Grand Master release you from your vow of fealty to him? Highly irregular, never been done before. Why now? I sense a great oppressiveness in the air. The rules are about to change aren’t they?” With those words Vur opens the letter from the Grand Master.

"General, I'm not sure what is going on. What I do know is that our god and theirs are calling for our two cults to act as one. Hereward Truewind has some presence you can see why his followers fight so hard and well with a man like that as leader. Not surprising that the legion is still together after all this time. With the cults aligned then it becomes possible for a Jalmari to lead men into battle under the banner of the Herewardi." Graylor lapses into silence. "Continue." General Vur orders.

"Sorry sir. It seems that as I was the first Jalmari to know of this intention the Grand Master has sent me as an emmisary to the Herewardi. Both our cults are suspicious of outsiders. We won't even name Jalmar without binding oaths and they acknowledge no leaders other than their own. I have been asked to choose the best way to forge this relationship our gods desire. If this means joining the ranks of the Herewardi then I am willing. However, my oaths to the Grand Master preclude this arrangement so he has released me from them."

Round 3, the Letter
Jamal grunts, "It seems the coming of the Herewardi has affected many since coming the this area. Since taking the Van on the Cradle at the request of Garrath, the one they call Sharpsword, our reputation has gone before us."

A quick glance from Dori, as she realises what he's trying to do. Vur, after all, is known for his anti-Lunar stance. "The Marble Phalanx did seem rather upset," she murmurs. "Not to mention leaderless."

You can see Vur taking it in - this is the group who have done more damage to the Lunars in the last few weeks than he'd managed in ten years. Just the allies he needs. And then there's Siggyr. Who was not with them when all this happened. Who is treated with wary respect by his own troops. And who by reputation is ruthless, cunning, and far too competent for anyone else's good. Honourable, yes, but... and he's the one in charge here.

As Vur raises the letter, squinting in the flickering torchlight, Siggyr clears his throat. "Allow me, Lord Vur," he mutters, "to illuminate things for you." He chants lowly, briefly, and a soft glow begins to emanate from the very air itself.

As the light shines on the letter, Vur stops reading and stares at it with an appalled expression. "Graylor". He beckons him forward, points a finger at the first few lines. "Explain this." Most of the letter still can't be seen, but he's pointing at some codes in the margin that are rapidly decoding themselves.

"Ah. Yes sir. While I was in the temple I noticed this effect. They have a magic granted from the Legion’s wyter called ‘Illuminate Darkness’. It has properties similar to our ‘Illuminate Manuscript’ though their version does considerably more, as you can see it truly lights up a place. We thought that we were the only ones with a link to the Light of Truth. However, it appears that their connection is even stronger than ours. This has got to mean that these are friends, at least in magic. Vur grunts non-committedly and starts to read the letters properly. His face pales, and the look of confidence he wore at the start of the meeting was profoundly shaken. "Balderdash. Is this all true, Graylor?" Vur asked in a shaking voice.

"Aye sir it is," responds Graylor after a brief glance at the message.

"It’s a poor show, but I will not go against the word of the Grand Master." Vur bows to Siggyr. "Sir, it appears that I have been ah.. requested to offer you some assistance." Vur coughs uncomfortably. "Sir, I find myself in a slightly unpleasant position. I have misjudged the Jalmari position with respect to you chaps. My apologies. General Caspian Vur, at your service."

And meanwhile, Egil is trying first of all to get outside the circle of Vur's guards, and then to check out what may be going on behind them.
Round 4, sneaking

Quickly climbing the steps that lead from the temple, Egil checks the straps on his equipment, he makes a couple of test jumps up and down to ensure there are no rattles or clanks when he moves quickly. Satisfied that he is as silent as he can be he sets of at a trot seemingly in the wrong direction. After he has gone maybe half a mile he veers off to the left and begins the long process of circling Vur's position, now he should be far enough out that he won't be easily spotted by the guards on the perimeter. A sudden noise to his right brings him to a sudden halt; peering through the gloom he spots a small owl feeding on its newly caught prey. Smiling he continues on with his task. When he has skirted right around the position he stops for a moment before he slowly begins to work his way towards Vur's rear. As he closes he sees the owl again, for the fourth or fifth time; is it a sign? He treads with extra care to remain silent but continues to move closer until he can see or hear any of Vur's men. Then he finds himself a good hiding place to try and watch them from.

(No direct effect, unrelated action, no AP change)

Meanwhile Graylor is not gloating at all, but remembering his manners.

"Ah. General, it appears that I have been impolite and not introduced my companions. May I present Siggyr One-Eye Standard bearer of the Seventh Cohort, Dorinda and Jamal bin Jaran al'Awara both ten-thanes in the Seventh."

Graylor introduces each in turn as they exchange ritual greetings.

"General, they have a slight problem. They have established a certain reputation with the Lunar authorities in New Pavis and like you they need a discreet place to use as a base away from the eyes of the Lunars. It is because of this that they came looking for the old temple. I'm sure that if we combine our efforts..."

"We owe our profound thanks to Graylor for providing us with open lines of communication to you, Lord Vur," breaks in Siggyr smoothly. "There are three Temples in Pavis now. Yours, that in the New City, and now ours. Your reputation in the war against the Empire precedes you famously, and the Legion has made some small sacrifices in that struggle ourselves, from Mirin's Cross to Whitewall. As you know, the New City Temple now stands united, free of the seditious influence of that cur Derenx. There is opportunity at last to prepare a strike against the Empire, and in this - and else besides - our three temples will be strongest acting in harmony. It seems to me there are many ways we can benefit each other."

Jamal nods "It would seem to be standard procedure for like-minded units to search for a common purpose"

"A good point Jamal, and we have the wishes of the Grand Master to consider. He wants our mutual co-operation. What better way to start." Graylor quietly reminds General Vur.

Round 5, "our" temple

Round 6, Egil watching Vur's place

Vur's place is a house within a walled yard. The outer wall was originally about 6 feet high, and in a few places still is. There's been some repair work done, but mainly to tidy things up rather than to restore it to its full height. One big main entrance, with the main door to the house opposite it, a smaller entrance round the "back" - the door there is closed. It's far too dark to make any sensible attempt at looking for tracks leading to either entrance without getting much closer than would seem prudent.

There are a few visible windows in the main house. Single storey, flat roof. No lights are showing. And it's a dark night.

Egil can't see any guards - but then if they're any good, he wouldn't. On the other hand, no-one's shot him yet, so presumably they haven't seen him, either.

Egil lies still and silent, watching Vur's headquarters intently. Perhaps when the guard changes or even moves, he will get some clue as to numbers. A sound behind him - behind him? and he turns, to see a dark figure looming over him, and a weapon descending towards his head.

Cursing under his breath, Egil rolls swiftly to his right and onto his knee, at the same time pulls Evergleam from its sheath. Taking a moment to cast a spell he sweeps his sword at his opponents head.

He misses - but so does his opponent. A troll, he realises. As the club comes down, realising the situation is desperate and that his sword unlikely to save him in the instance, Egil hurls himself at the troll's legs hoping to take it unawares so its blow will miss the mark and maybe even knock the beast over if he is lucky. He isn't - but he finds himself on his feet, and uninjured, whch is more than he had hoped for at first.

Realising stealth is impossible while fighting Egil calls upon the Legion wyter to Illuminate the darkness before hefting Evergleam and Sedenya's Bluff and wading into the fray.

"Your point on mutual cooperation is well-taken," Vur responds. "But I would question your use of the word "our" with respect to a temple of Jalmar."

Round 7, sez you and whose army?

Siggyr smiles, thinly. "With the greatest respect, Lord, it is a temple of Humakt, and Humakt guided *us* to find it. It is the God's gift to Lord Illig, and therefore is the demesne of the Temple of the Unbreakable Sword by right of the God's blessing as well as the right of possession."

"It seems that our good fortune has the mark of Sir Hum'Akt upon it", comments Jamal.

Thinking quickly Graylor adds. "General they have the right to the name, they really have access to the magic of the Unbreakable Blade. It seems somehow suitable for them to be guardians of the temple."

Graylor surveys both groups and notices the subtle signs of preparations for combat. "You know as a soldier independent of both groups it would serve no one to try and fight for possession of the temple. It would be a nightmare to try and get the Herewardi out of the temple. General there is only the one entrance that will only take one warrior at a time. Your men would be cut to pieces before they could land a blow. By Humakt's black beard this would be no honourable fight, and our gods have spoken 'WE ARE TO BE FRIENDS'."

Siggyr demurs. "Graylor, I'm sure Lord Vur has not even considered such a thing. We are not enemies, and, God willing, shall be allies. Our cults alone understand the true secret of Humakt's Blade. Dorinda?"

She nods, drawing her Esrolian blade carefully and formally, making it clear that this is without threat. A black light, like the shadow of a sword, flickers between her hands as she calls on the power of the wyter, and sinks into the blade. She glances around, sees a suitable wall, and pushes the first few inches of the long narrow blade between two stones, well above her own head. Then, still keeping her grip on the hilt, pulls herself off the ground, all her weight on that slender blade - which does not even start to bend.
"Not the most respectful use of the power, perhaps," she remarks, "but useful at times."

Siggyr nods his thanks for her demonstration, while Vur simply watches, aghast. The Tenthane considers for a moment, trying to anticipate what Lord Illig would do at this point. Then he adds, "as I was saying, Lord Vur, our cults alone understand the true secret of the Unbreakable Sword, but only one of us possesses it. And we intend that temple up there to be its new home."

"What... "


"Bah! THE SWORD you say... Humbug. I have been looking for the temple for ten years believing that the sword was in the temple." The General deflates just as completely as if Orlanth himself had sucked all the wind out of him. All that is left is the husk of an aging and tired man. But the General is a soldier of Humakt and this lack of discipline could not be tolerated long, especially in front of the men. He visibly picked himself up and reasserts his normal air. "I say, I was nearly right though just a small discrepancy in the timing. Yes, I agree that you should hold the temple and that it is fitting place for THE SWORD to rest. I hope that you will let me see inside the temple; long have I waited to see it."

Still trying to get his balance Egil thrusts weakly at the troll. It easily deflects the blow with its mace, knocking Egil slightly sideways
as a result and leaving him open as the mace sweeps back, it hammers into Egil's left shoulder and he staggers backwards cursing as he does. The rage seems to pour off of him as he become furious with his own ineptness but strangely it makes him fight better, standing his ground he waits for the troll to come to him. "Come on you bastard, I'll gut you like a Creekstream salmon! Damn coward sneaking up on a man but I wouldn't expect anything less of your kind!"

Egil begins to circle the troll looking for his next opportunity to strike. He calls out to Mauvin, "Mav! Tell Siggyr it's troll attack." He then using his best technique slashes at the troll's midriff.

Mauvin calls on Helamakt and in a voice that booms like Orlanth's thunder in the mountains calls out "SIGGYR! TROLLS ARE ATTACKING TO VUR'S REAR!" (Storm Voice)

Gerras is immediately on the alert, "Come on Mav, Egil will need some help." and the pair begin to dash towards the spot where Egil battles the troll.
Quickly covering the ground Mauvin, the strangely naked blue man, hangs back as he calls on Helemakt "Wind howl, blow the troll over!"
Gerras joins straight into the fray, running in at the troll's flank thrusting with his spear. Various charms about his person twitch and shimmer as they activate.

Dorinda, however, is staring at her blade, and listening to it. A very faint hum comes from a rune just below the crossguard. "Trolls," she says softly. "Not too close, but not all that far away, either."

Onward to Trolls!
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