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Water day, Harmony Week, Fire Season, 1621

The arrival of two Humakti and a young girl at the city gates had produced no alarm. A troop of thirty, some very strange and obviously dangerous, inspires more reaction. But there is still no question of the Herewardi being refused entry. When a Sword of Humakt gives his word that he does not intend to cause trouble, no cautious person expresses disbelief. Relief, yes. And this time a messenger is sent scurrying off. But the group pass into the city unhindered.

Several of them already know their way to the Humakti temple, hidden as it is down narrow alleys and well away from Temple Court. As they approach, raised voices can be heard within: and Elendala recognises one of them. "That's Karrath." Indeed, the voice and style of the
leader of the Pavis Humakti they had met on the Cradle is very recognisable, and is apparently in full flow.

"Ernalda's tits, woman, anyone would think you'd never had a friendly pat on the behind before! You're as bad as them Unicorn bitches that go with their own kind if not their own horses!"

Dori nods in wry agreement. "That's Karrath. But what's talking is probably the mead."

He hasn't finished yet, though. "I thought that stuck-up bint on the Cradle was bad, but at least she could fight. By the gods, she and her men could fight! All you can do is pick quarrels with trolls and lose, so you can shut your mouth around me if you can't even be scabbard to my sword. Or if you think you're so good, prove it!"

And as the first few of the group enter, those in the Legion can see who he's addressing. Seledd. She has her back to them, and five of her men are with her - all bear the marks of recent battle. Facing her is, as they thought, Karrath Sing-and-die, and perhaps twenty of
his gang from Sartar. And swords are already being loosened in their scabbards....

Those closest to Vastyr can hear him whisper, "Oh bloody shit," right before he bellows in that reaching voice of his... "KARRATH, YOU OLD RASCAL!! Have you been putting a dent to the mead barrels of Gimpy's again? I sure hope you brought a flask or two for me too..."

With some hurried striding he puts himself between the two parties, saying to Seledd as he passes her from a respectful distance, "Sir, let
me handle this, sir..."

Then he comes to a halt between Karrath and Seledd, but sideways so that he can see both of them...

Like Vastyr, Jamal curses roundly under his breath. The woman seems to have a talent for trouble.

Thinking quickly, though probably slightly slower than Vastyr, he grabs Dorinda saying "Follow my lead" and hastens to the prospective melee pulling Dorinda with him....

"Seledd", he says loudly, "this is Yodi's Cohort reporting for muster...." then he feigns a double-take.

..."why Karrath as I live and breath....I'm glad to see you made it back here in one piece. He extends a hand make sure that the ring that Garrath Sharp-sword had given him is visible.

With two loud voices greeting him, and other half-familiar faces crowding in, Karrath stops with his hand on his sword-grip, without drawing, and with recognition dawning. "It's the flying Carmanian! And Scar-face, and... Oh." He stops as he sees Dori, perhaps replaying what he had just said, and realising what she must have heard. "I didn’t mean..."

Dori regards him with amused exasperation, no more. "Which didn't you mean? "Stuck-up bint", or "at least she could fight"?" She doesn’t wait for an answer, though, just murmurs "Men!" under her breath as she and Elendala move past him to greet the rest. "Helgan, how's that arm doing?" And Elendala, too, is greeting old friends.

Behind them the rest of the "ten" file in, filling the temple and especially the gap between Seledd and her men and Karrath's group. What was twenty to five has now become twenty to thirty, and even those not distracted from potential combat by the influx of conversation find the odds less inviting. The hubbub of noise in the enclosed space makes it hard to pick out individuals, but Kaylee's clear young voice is both recognisable and predictable. "Oh, you're hurt! Here, let me..."

The moment when any answer to Karrath's challenge might even have been heard is gone, amd he realises it as he looks around. "Women! Ah well, she'd've been as much fun as Inora herself, anyway." He spits, dismissing Seledd as unworthy of any further attention, and turns to the new faces. "So, the last I heard you were going to Horn Gate, and I see you found healing." He nods at Aelf and Enfrew, both of whom look very different from when he had last met them. "There's mead in the hall - come, tell us what kept you so long, and then we can plan how we can kick out the few Moon-loving bastards left in this town. Now you're here beside us, one good fight should do it."

The Far Walker's demeanor visibly brightens as he steps over thethreshold of the Swordhall. Was this the talk of cleaving the moon, or a chance to drink and boast of skirmishes in the desert? Or was it that he would find the little death inside these walls, for he was geased and had slept under the sky for over a season.

Greeting Karrath as a he would a fyrd brother, the Kargani laughs out loud.

"There are great tales to be told my friend, and much mead to be drunk! Lets go to Gimpy's tavern and tell us more of this plan to cut down the moon."

Jamal grins at the earthy Heortling, "We made it there, and we found healing, and a quite a bit more besides, just ask ask Aelf about dragons and really scarey females"

As the group thins and splits off Jamal moves to talk to Seledd. She like Dorinda, was another Solar, but unlike Dori still retained their tendency for arrogance, authoritarianism and inflexibility.

"Seledd," he says nodding a short but formal bow, "we have arrived for muster. A little early perhaps, but it has been an eventful period." He smiles, looking her directly in the eye.

"Brenna has undergone somewhat of a conversion and is no longer suited to position of Ten Thane. I am acting-Ten of our group. What news from the Legion ?"

Seledd looks him up and down somewhat disdainfully. "Acting Ten-thane. I see. I believe you were supposed to be guarding a caravan,
not getting involved in - eventful - activities. Still, Yodi will soon be here, and once he has recovered from the effects of his impromptu ambush, no doubt he will take you in hand." Her expression makes it clear that if Yodi had not been about to arrive, she would have enjoyed imposing a little discipline herself.

"You did stay with your orders so far as to travel through Sun County, I hope? What military presence did you observe there? Were any Lunar units in the area? Or were you too busy with - eventful - matters to notice?"

Jamal steps forward slightly, just to the edge of her comfort zone, and regards her directly but evenly straight in the eye....

<general dig>
"I am acting Ten-yes, luckily the Herewardi value the self reliance that allows those of us to step into the breach should the need require it"
</general dig>

He says this without any trace of rancor, but equally letting her know that he is in no way intimidated by her tone of voice. A high caste Carmanian would never be brow beatebn by a mere Darra Happan.

"The caravan was safely accompanied to its destinaton, thus maintaining the honour of the Legion. Alas Brenna fell to a combined assault a broo raiders and a servant of the Wounded God, despite our successful defence of the Caravan."

<whitewall dig>
"As we do not abandon our fallen, she was dispatched to the White Ladies of Horned Gate, where the spirit of Lord Humakt left her, hence her current situation"
</whitewall dig>

"I have also to report the sad passing into the Halls of Humakt of Sir Herric who gave his life during the Legion's successful defence of Gonn Orta's Child."

She frowns slightly, possibly trying to remember which legionary was called Herric.

"The recompense from the Giant Cradle expedition will be paid directly into the Legion's coffers. We have passed through Sun County both by river and one foot, with good chance to observe and take a hand in the depletion of the lunar forces inthe area. There is a good deal of Heartland activity in the area, mainly of Rinliddi origin from what we observed."

<general dig>
"In summation, our events have enhanced the reputation of the legion in this area." Jamal smiles. "Let's hope that nothing happens here to undermine that."
</general dig>

"What of our Centurion, what befell him and is he recovered?"

"Rinliddi? An odd deployment, in Sun County. An experiment, I suppose. It will be interesting to see what reaction they get from the Templars.

"As for Yodi, he paid the price of excessively independent action. As we first travelled along the Pavis road, we were ambushed at the Plinth by perhaps two to three times our numbers of Lunars, who pulled Illig into their rituals. He and their champion fought, we held off the infantry. Just as Illig was about to kill their champion, Yodi interrupted, attacking the Lunar ritualists. It seems that he had known about the Lunar plans well in advance, but instead of sending a reliable messenger to us, had chosen to ambush the ambush." Her lip curls in disgust at such dishonourable tactics.

"Yodi was injured by a sorceress of some description, he says, though none such was found after the battle. It was one of his ten-thanes who led his troops, and with the Lunar champion dead and some coordination possible again, we dealt with the rest of the Lunars without too much difficulty. There were sufficient casualties, however, that Illig ordered a return to Adari and the healers there. Once Yodi the others are recovered, they will be joining us here. Quite soon, I would hope, assuming the duck can waddle at a reasonable marching speed for once."

Jamal regards Seledd's account of Yodi's actions with a look of mild scepticism. He is rather used to her partial accounts of events.

Blackbeak's feathers bristle upon hearing Seledd's remarks, and he is about to speak but Hrolf quickly reaches over and clamps his beak shut.

"Now, who are all these people you have brought into the temple? I do not recall even Yodi allowing quite so many Auxilia in his unit - many of these are not even Humakti."

Jamal replies, in clipped but polite terms, and with a nod at the glowing spear she carries: "The last I saw, the legion did not solely recruit sword-carrying Humakti."

"This one is."

Heads turn towards the doorway, where yet another crowd of five Humakti are now standing. Their leader is a young man of medium build, dressed in the simple style of a legionnaire. Upon his armour are the insignia of a senior tenthane, and in his left hand he carries the standard of the VII Cohort. A carefully trimmed beard and spotlessly clean appearance show no signs of a long and dusty march, and his one good eye gleams in the temple's half-light, whilst a patch covers the left side of his face. Behind him crowd Shrev, Egil, Fasten-Spear and Hrodar, who look on the scene with interest. They grin as they make eye contact with various members of Yodi's cohort, whom they have not seen since Tourney Altar. They appear to have been standing there for sometime, certainly long enough to overhear Seledd's unwise remarks.

"Hundred Thane, legionnaires - greetings!" says Siggyr in a rousing voice. "You will be pleased to hear that Lord Illig shall be with us within the day. Yodi is at present resting in a nearby hostelry - he still suffers grievously from wounds suffered in the glorious act of saving the remnants of our temple. I am sure none here would think of criticising him for not proceeding directly to pay his respects at the temple, but to wait until he is able to competently attend the God. As you are well aware, regulations stipulate that I am in nominal command of the VII Cohort until Yodi returns to duty, so it falls to me to manage accounts, enforce discipline, settle matters of honour relating to our company, and so on."

Quite confident that this little speech has let Seledd know what the potential consequences of further slurs on the VII will be, Siggyr allows
the tone of his voice to drop. "Hundred Thane, might I be so bold as to suggest that you attend to the affairs for which Lord Illig will require a report upon his arrival. He instructed me to inform you that he is keen to hear of your progress.

"Legionnaires of the VII - I shall require a full report, and then I have duties to assign. Let us repair to some corner of this temple so we shall not disturb the Hundred Thane in the execution of her duties, eh lads?"

Jamal turns at the sound of his thanes voice. As he finishes he nods formally to Seledd and turns to stiffly walk over to Siggyr. He performs a salute (of the sort prescribed in the Carmanian Military regulations for greeting a commanding officer).

"Jamal bin Jaran al'Wara reporting for muster sir, with the warriors of Brenna's detachment. I am currently in the position of acting Ten"

With the formalities passed, Jamal breaks out into a broad grin. "Siggyr, you old rogue, how are you doing?"

And here the threads split. Go onward with:
Siggyr and Jamal, Aelf and Vastyr in a bar or Landros talking to Seledd
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