Back up Pavis overall

Vampire alert!


Egil makes his way back to the encampment with as much haste as he can muster. Once there he goes to look for Siggyr, Dori and anyone else who is in a position of authority.

"I think we have a problem. The zebra rider, who have been helping me excavate the site by the temple asked for my help. Something has been sneaking into their camp at night and attacking the womenfolk. From the description of the wounds it sounds like a vile abomination of Vivamort. I have said I will help them but wondered if any you want to come along too. After all if this place is now to be our home we can't very well have a vampire living in the same neighbourhood. I am going to go back before nightfall and scout the area and maybe see where it is coming from. Oh one other thing before I forget, Siggyr I found this box," holding the 'burger' machine up to show everyone, "it is some kind of magical device. When you put a substance, and so far it seems to be any substance, in the horn here something like food comes out of that little slot there. We might be able to use it to feed ourselves on the march."

Jamal, who has been tutoring Abul in the finer points of Carmanian duelling etiquette, looks up sharply at Egil's report. "Did the zebra riders report hearing the Wounded one's voice, or rather his accent?"

"His accent?" Graylor queries. "Why are you interested in his accent? It matters not how it speaks all that matters is that the beast be dispatched as soon as we can. I have a debt to these riders it is good that I have a chance to repay so soon."

Jamal's eyes narrow slightly. "You have not been long in the legion, so you will not have heard the tales of the 7th's journey to Pavis. Suffice to say we have met with a follower of the Wounded One, we bested him with the aid of a great river, but he swore his revenge on the Legion of Hereward. In this his accent would be of great import.."

"Ah, I see. The one That got away!" Graylor grins teasingly. He hastily adds before any protests are voiced, "Though, from what I have heard, in trying to catch up with you, this implies that the creature must have some power. You have left a good reputation behind you, especially at Horn Gate. You must tell me the tales when we have the time. Anyway what did you learn of it from your last encounter? It hurts us not to be over prepared for this meeting."

Egil turns and gestures to the rider who came with him. "You can ask him directly, he has come to tell you the tale as he knows it better than I."

Thus prompted, the zebra rider tells his tale (with some help from the same side-kick) in almost the same words as before.

Further questioning shows that none of those present had heard the suspected Vampire's voice, but it seems possible that the women who were attacked (and survived) might have done. If so, they had not reported either the words or any accent.

Jamal sits and looks into the distance for a while, thoughtfully fingering the edge of the Dark/Light sword.

"This all seems an age ago, so many comrades lost in such a little time" he says wistfully.

"The caravan we were guarding was beset by Broos, the nasty beasts did for Brenna, our ten, and provided the perfect distraction for the Wounded One to enter the sparsely guarded camp and attack friend Hrolf"

"The undead withdrew at that point, but we learnt from his followers, who had infiltrated the camp, that he planned to return, feeding on us to sustain him across the plains to Pavis"

"We put up as many wardings as we could that night, but what tipped the balance in our favour was the when Sir Herric " he pauses at that point and glances sorrowfully at Elnor, "partially freed a river Godling bound by the vile God Learners, Elmeh Saif aided in our protection and we were able to drive the beast away.

He swore undying emnity to the legion then, and in a dialect of Carmanian that has not been spoken for centuries ."

He stops there to think for a while, then continues: "I think that we have subsequently come across the beast on the Hero Plane, where he lay in ambush for us. There he stripped friend Hrolf of his powers to combat others of his ilk."

"There, that is all I can recall, although perhaps the Waleesha can flesh out the details a little more."

But Dori is not there, away somewhere in the New City, and it is Graylor who replies. "I know little of such ancient vampires, the ones I have faced in the marshes were young and of little experience. For these my blades were sufficient, they have strong enchantments against unlife and vampires. They come from Li Phanaquann's country and carry his feats, more than just the Destroy Vampire one that we know well." Suddenly he grins broadly. "If nothing else Elgan can try to lasso the beast to hold him still while we attack!"

Graylor having been thoughtful for some time finds Siggyr. "I have been thinking on the problem of finding this vampire. Back in the marshes we used those that had received Li Phanquann's gift to sense unlife as we patrolled. I don't know if we have such people here, what I do know is that followers of the wounded one are filled with the taint of chaos and many Jalmari have the ability to find chaos. We could station some of Vur's men round the Zebra camp so that we have a warning of when the creature attacks and from what direction. Less than a dozen men could cover the whole length of the stockade wall and have two men detect the vampires point of attack. Men who have detected the presence of chaos need only hold their swords aloft and we will see the deathlight and know where the attack comes from."

Jamal nods, "the plan is sound,but we must be wary not the cast the net too wide, else our fish may slide through the holes. I can offer my vassal Boltar, he is a follower of the bull god Urox, and may help in the patrolling. Also may I suggest that we have 2-3 teams of reserves situated a different end of the camp. That should help cut down and time needed to respond to an alert."

"Sage advice friend Jalmar. The Jalmari will not let him slip through unnoticed. This is their training and vocation, the discovery of hidden chaos and the reporting of the same. They will not break ranks to chase down this foe, thus we will know by what route it enters and leaves." Graylor defends his fellow Jalmari forcibly.

"Boltar would be a welcome addition. Followers of the Bull are always useful when chaos is about. Each of the teams should have at least one person that can detect unlife or chaos, even better that each group should have both."

A plan is formed: Siggyr will lead them to the zebra pens via the Jalmari headquarters. There they will recruit as many Jalmari warriors as they can, since they can all sense Chaos, and Vampires are known to be chaotic. With these plus Bolthor on watch, they should detect the approach of their enemy. Once that has been achieved, they will use a half-remembered myth of Li Phanquann, who once wounded a vampire and then tracked it to its lair by following the trail of blood. Egil, bearing Graylor's swords, will lead in this, with others assisting him with the ritual preparations, and Graylor himself will use his bow and the arrows blessed by Yelm.

Tactics contest - suggest players don't read this unless they want to know all the Vampire's plans before their characters do.

For players only: Gavain's layout map

As they discuss this, a runner comes up to Jamal. Dori just sent a message (Yes, she's got someone sitting there ready to receive Truth on the Wind messages at all times). She'd asked Vindana to check whose name Cavos' house was in - presumably not his own, since he's Wanted on pain of... well, pain. She's found out. The name is "Zeoluz". Same as the odd Sundomer who was asking Raus about Carmanian history. Jamal, if Cavos Gilthelm is asking questions about you, Be Careful! Dori is off to investigate further, it seems...

Ignoring this, Jamal suggests that when Herric had fought a duel at Tourney Altar - and how long ago that seemed now! - they had used a myth of Humakt and Kargan to prepare and arm him. Since they already knew a ritual for this, why not do so again? And here they have a temple dedicated to Kargan for the purpose! They retire to the sacred areas of the temple to prepare Egil for his quest to track the vampire: while with so little preparation they cannot expect to achieve a full Hero Quest, they may at least gain benefits from arming him and carrying out the first part of Li Phanquann's myth at the Practice level. And since in such cases the opposition is provided by the surrounding world, the vampire may just get a surprise...

Egil bows gravely to Graylor as he receives his swords, "Thank you, I will endeavor to return these to you either tonight or at some time when we meet in Humakt's Halls."

The young Sartarite them moves over to a nearby fire, he removes a piece of char from it and begins to draw death runes on himself. Firstly on the back of each hand, then one on each cheek, then finally a large one that goes down the centre of his face from forehead to chin and crosses his face over his eyes. Two of the other initiates tie charms around his arms and legs. "Let us begin."

He moves to the centre of the ground that has been prepared, Aelf stands behind him as the first part of the hilt, two other Herewardi stand behind Aelf and the hilt is formed. Two more men stand either side of Egil forming the cross-guard. Graylor takes his place just in front of Egil and then the rest of the Humakti do the same forming a blade ten men long.

Aelf calls out, "Mighty Humakt, Lord of Death and Truth, aid us now we beseech thee and let your servant, Egil, pass into your realm to do your work as he fights a servant of the wounded one."

The other humakti chant "Our Lord, aid us in our plight. Grant us strength to do thy will!"

Then the sword shape breaks up as a circle is formed around Aelf and Egil. Egil stands motionless as Aelf whirls his multi-bladed sword past him slicing off the charms.

The two initiates draw a new rune on Egil’s face, a truth rune. Then new charms are tied onto his arms and legs.

The Herewardi stand in the formation of a truth and again Aelf calls out, "Mighty Humakt, Lord of Death and Truth, aid us now we beseech thee and let your servant, Egil, pass into your realm to do your work as he fights a servant of the wounded one."

The other humakti chant "Our Lord, aid us in our plight. Grant us strength to do thy will!"

Again a circle forms around Aelf and Egil, this time when Aelf attacks Egil defends himself but the charms are still cut from him.

For Egil the air around his companions seems to have become some what misty or vague and he sees a landscape that is somehow different than before. He says to his companions in a voice that is dead and flat, "I see the way, it is ready, douse the flames to attract the wounded one."

Another initiate steps forward, he stands a carved wooden statue in front of Egil/Li Phaquann. The statue shows the mishapen form of the wounded one in all its horror. On the hero plane it looks as if Vivamort himself is stood there. Whirling Graylor's blades Egil/Li Phaquann slices 4 times into the figure before it disappears into a cloud of mist and appears to blow away on Orlanth's breath.

Li Phaquann is frustrated as he attempts to give chase but finds the mist impossible to follow, he sits on an old tree stump, slouched forward with his head in his hands. Suddenly he hears a voice "Why so glum soldier?" Looking up he sees a large fierce looking Shadow Cat sat in front of him. "Ah, Yinkin! I'm having a problem with a vampire, I can't kill him. Each time I lay a sword on him he turns to mist and escapes and I can't track thin air."

The cat moves in close, to have its ears tickled "Next time you meet it watch its blood. Very small bits of it fly off leaving a trail you can follow if you watch right. They glow like Yelm's light when you see them."

The next stage in the myth, and hence the hero-quest, will be for Li Phanquann to hunt the vampire again, and this time wound it. And so the group prepare to leave for the Zebra camp, dropping in at Vur's residence on the way to recruit as many Jalmari as can be spared to help them guard the palisade.

The light is dimming now: that hazy time between day and night when all boundaries are weakened. Perhaps that had helped Egil cross over? It is very obvious now that he is only partially "here" - the Humakti in particular, looking at him, sometimes see the youth they know, and sometimes an older man with the eyes of the East. They skirt the Real City, the old Pavis Temple there shimmering in the light of sunset, and come to Vur's headquarters. A hasty summons, and several of the Jalmari come to join them, mumbling prayers as they pull on full armour.

And there are the zebra pens, and the palisade, roughly as the zebra riders they had spoken to had described. Siggyr's plan, as detailed by Graylor, is put into action: the Jalmari spead out along the palisade, Egil and Yenda take shelter in a building near the Temple Gate, Siggyr and Graylor in one near the centre of the pens, and Jamal and Boltar are nearest the river.

It is dark, and the Deathlight is visible from any Humakti swords drawn - it will be bright enough to be used as a signal, as they had hoped. It is also apparent that Egil's entire body is glowing with the Deathlight! The zebra riders mutter to themselves and edge away from him, but seem reassured that such a magical warrior is there to defend them.

On the walk to the zebra pens Egil contemplates what has just happened. He is filled with deathlight and this brings him closer to Li Phaquann. Being on this plane is fantastic and the feeling of oneness he has with the god at this moment is like nothing he has ever felt before. He wonders who did Li Phaquann follow in life, which aspect of Humakt did he serve to kill the servants of the wounded one? Certainly the beautiful iron swords he carries may give a clue. Each is a perfect representation of a death rune, maybe Li Phaquann followed Hu before he became a god too. So to serve Li Phaquann ultimately is to serve Hu. Egil decides he wants his life to be like this forever he wants to be one of Hu's chosen, to fight and die in the service of the lord of death. When this is done if Hu hasn't already called him he will talk to Siggyr about devoting himself to his god.

Darkness falls. The herds are no longer visible in the gloom, the brightly painted tents are only visible where the cooking fires light them. The Jalmari stand watch on the palisade, the Herewardi in their more central groups, and the Zebra riders clutch their weapons nervously as they ring the tents where their most precious possessions: the women: shelter.

Food is brought out to the watchers, but those bearing it return to the light of their campfires as soon as they can.

The Rubble is not like other places. The night is not silent here: trolls dominate, and many other inhabitants are nocturnal. Sounds of movement are normal: being able to see what causes those sounds is not, and the combination is unnerving to those used to relying on sight. But all those on watch are well used to this, and while wary, are not disconcerted by it. Silence is what would worry them, for it shows the normal denizens driven out by fear of something more dangerous than they.

It is perhaps three hours past sunset when a Jalmari sword flashes with the Deathlight - and is then sheathed again. The guard, on Egil's side of the palisade, is uncertain. "I thought I saw something, for a moment - a shadow. It felt like chaos, but not, and then it was gone. Probably nothing?"

"'Ware then, some of the others say it can move swifter than Mastakos. Have your blade ready and if you see or feel it again make the signal and I will come." Egil feels the thrill of his blood coursing through him as he prepares to fight the deadly vampire, he grimaces in the darkness but holds the two blades ready to deal final death to the servant of the wounded one. After talking to the guard Egil is left feeling slightly bemused, hadn't Graylor said they gave a sign of when the undead were close? Maybe he wasn't using them right, he checks his grip and the hilt to ensure there is nothing wrong there. He tries crossing and uncrossing the blades but no sign is received. Well maybe it was nothing and his sword brother merely heard a rubble runner scurry past.

Looking out of the building at the Temple Gate, waiting for the vampire, gives Egil more time to think. He has magic available that he uses for scouting, it could be useful here. As he looks to the focus carved onto the leather band he wears round his wrist, to call his magical perceptions into effect, something strange happens. As he focuses on each rune in turn his vision blurs and each one appears as a death rune. This takes a little time for the young warrior to absorb but suddenly he sees. Hu does not require this other magic. Hu requires the sword in all its purity. It is its own magic and will give him all he requires to do Hu's work.

The waiting give Graylor time to think. "At least hunting undead here is dryer than the marshes. Though in all else it is the same." It reminds him of friends lost, and rekindles his old hatred for unlife.

The camp sinks back into a wary silence. The guards at the west end are particularly watchful, as are Egil's companions, knowing that the plan is for him to lead any assault on what may appear. But the shout that breaks the tension comes from the other end, near the river - Boltar, the Uroxi. "Here! Bloody hell, how did it...?"

All Jamal saw was a flicker of movement behind him, faster than the eye could follow. And then a knee in his back, a sudden twisting pain in his sword-arm, and an arm slamming into his throat. His yell is choked off by inhuman strength - strength that has him in a very effective arm-lock. A dry voice whispers in his ear, in the ancient Carmanian dialect he remembers too well. "I promised you revenge, did I not? Ah, this will be sooo sweet..." And the pressure on his throat shifts - but before he can think about freeing himself, he feels teeth sink in.

On hearing a shout from Jamal Graylor reaches out with Hereward's Truewind combined with Jalmar's chaos perception to pinpoint the vampire. Though there is not enough light to see targets clearly. Graylor realises that the only way he can see what is happening is to use one of Yelms arrows to light the area. Taking rough aim high over the building that Jamal was in. Graylor draws back his bow and mutters the invocation and lets fly. Immediately he nocks the next arrow ready to strike at any target revealed.

The arrow soars up into the night sky, bursting into light as bright as day. Shot almost vertically from a powerful bow, it goes high, and seems to hang motionless at the peak of its arc for an impossible time before it starts to fall toward the west. Sunlight bursts forth, blindingly bright to eyes that had been straining to see shadows in darkness. There are cries from the great wall above them as guards there raise the alarm - trouble in the Rubble is normal and ignored, but trouble that may reach the City forces them to take notice.

But the Herewardi and Jalmari know better than to look directly at the sudden light. For a few brief seconds that seem an age, they see the zebra pens as if by daylight. The shacks where Jamal and his companions had been sheltering. Bolthar, his axe raised, looking round wildly for his target. And Jamal himself, with a dark figure close behind him - a figure that looses one hand from its victim to cover its eyes from the blinding, burning, light of the Sun.

As the night sky lights up Egil sees Jamal's predicament. Looking for the quickest route he can take he begins sprinting towards his stricken comrade. He makes no sound as he does this, gives the vampire no warning. To others watching it seems as if Li Phaquann himself is tearing towards the vampire, deadly blades held aloft ready to strike out the undeath.

Jamal reels from the shock of the speed of the vampire's attack, an old and half forgotten fear, first inspired by Aelf's mortal foe rears and threatens to engulf him. Time slows to a dawdle and the vampire's foul fangs seem to descend slowly. Jamal can smell the creature's fetid breath.

There is a flash, Jamal is momentarily snatched from his morbid revere. Then he hears it, somewhere and nowhere, and an insistent voice, quiet at first, but growing in strength and rancour. "Corruption...deceit, corruption .... Deceit........Is this the way your house falls..... CORRUPTION ..... DECEIT..... fear is good ..... USE IT... STRIKE DOWN THE DECEIVER!!!!!"

With that Jamal struggles against the vampire grasp with all his might, the black/white sword glowing at his side.

But Jamal's struggles to free himself are in vain - the few blows he lands are ignored, and that terrible inhuman strength drags him round to act as a shield from the direction of the last fiery arrow. Jamal can see Egil racing towards him, the Herolight visible even to his non-Humakti eyes, and no doubt so can the vampire, since he too is now facing that way.

And the fangs come closer again. He does not flinch, of course, but something must have shown, for the vampire pauses, teeth inches from his throat. "You fear me, boy? You should. I have waited for that fear, and it is sweet... as sweet as your blood will be. Ah, the anticipation... had we but a few more minutes or even hours to enjoy your terror, for you to break, whimper and beg for mercy, but your friends are hasty. That pleasure will have to be deferred, but this will not." And those fangs come closer, and closer - and sink in. The slight pain is nothing to the horror Jamal feels at the sheer joy on the ancient face as his blood is sucked from him.

And then the teeth withdraw, and the vampire pushes him away, ecstacy turned to shock. Spins him round, still gripping his shoulders in an iron grasp that almost crushes them. The hiss, still in that ancient Carmanian dialect, is barely human. "What is thy lineage, boy?"

For some reason the words of the black/white sword come back to Jamal's mind.

"Corruption...deceit, corruption .... Deceit........Is this the way your house falls....."

Jamal stares up at the beast dismayed, the urgings in his head for now quietened, and a sickly trickle of blood running down his neck.

But for some reason, be it the effects of the Vampire's bite, or perhaps the instinctive Carmanian deference, drilled into him on the playing fields and training grounds of his home land, he reels off the classical recitation of his house in impeccable formal Carmanian.

"I am Jamal son of Jamar son of Arziz of the house of al'Kathoum, may it be blessed by the eternal light and truth of Idovanus, his name be praised."

"House al'Kathoum? That house is dead." The dry hiss makes the word seem so final: dead, ashes, dust, dead. The eyes pin him, staring through him. "But you have the look, boy. Mazar, or his younger son - yessss... and you have the blood." The eyes release him, and he is thrown backwards to the ground, stunned. "So live, boy. For now."

The vampire starts to fade into the blackness, changing, fading....

Graylor watches intensely the struggle taking place. He sees Jamal turned and thrown to the ground, as soon as this happens he lets fly. He activates Yelm's power in the arrow, adding a prayer to Jalmar that it slows the vampire enough for Egil to get to it in time.

Egil charges on, his legs driven harder as his anger boils inside him seeing a comrade wounded and befouled by one of Vivamort's demons.

Graylor's arrow flies through the air, flaming against the night sky as it does so, but by the time it arrives the vampire is mist: and mist does not burn. The arrow falls harmlessly to the ground.

Egil arrives to see the mist swirl, about to depart.

As Egil is running he begins to chant a prayer to Hu, "Lord strengthen my arm, fill it with your righteous power, let me strike death to the undead. Let me cut it deeply, no matter what form it may take." The two swords he has borrowed from Graylor start to glow as he gets closer, one with fire, the other with the blue/white light of extreme cold. He remembers that these are enchanted to injure vampires above all undead. And that both are of course in the form of Death runes, as all swords are. The reason why the Sword is the perfect weapon, as Hu teaches. Death: the implacable opposite of Undeath, which cannot exist in its presence.

As he charges up to the misty form of the vampire he can only think of protecting a comrade. Another of the Seventh: and as he realises that, he remembers the traditions of the Seventh, and feels his courage strengthened. The Seventh does not run from any horror, not even this. Long before he was old enough to fight, the Seventh was the last to leave when the Bat caused the entire army of Sartar to flee in panic. He does not fear this lesser horror, now.

Jamal seems stunned, and not a little crumpled by what the vampire had to say, but despite this, the ingrained urge to support his fellow
legionaires comes to the fore as he calls for the True Wind of Her'ward the blessed to aid Egil's strike.

Jakkanna and Boltar seen to have much greater prescence on mind, and the Wizard of St Abbassar calls on her strongest banishment against the fiend, while Boltar does what Uroxi do best, bellow and channel the anger of his god at the follower of the Wounded One.

Meanwhile, far behind Graylor drops his bow and starts to run to aid his comrade. Then his brain kicks in, the wind is far swifter than he is. "Elgan, can you send a wind to confine that vampire mist Egil needs time to get close."

"Where to, boss? I can't see a thing now that arrow has gone out!"

"Sorry, I forgot about that." grinned Graylor. "I'll send my own wind then. Come on Yenda let's go and help Egil with the blessings of Jalmar." With that he sped off with Yenda, sending out Hereward's Truewind to protect the truth represented by his companions Jamal and Egil.

Just as they departed Irnar sniffed the air. "We've got other company, smells almost like rats to me."

Siggyr looks thoughtful. "The only almost rats round here would be rubble runners. There are too many of us they shouldn't attack."

"Obviously they can't count! Watch out Elgan!" Irnar shouted and leaped at the same moment. Before he landed long claws had grown from his fingers and they sliced through a large scaly body.

Siggyr's lifetime of soldiering kicks in. "Right form a ring everyone. Those who can't see get in the middle, and make some light. Everyone else let's clear out these vermin."

The fight was short and vicious. The runners seemed to have too many teeth to fit in their huge mouths and an unquenchable hatred. Still they were no match for the soldiers. Irnar seemed more alynx than man and the blades of the Humakti were unstoppable. As soon as a torch or two were lit Helamakt's winds, guided by Elgan, sent runner bodies flying into the darkness. Eventually the rubble runners gave up and disappeared into the black from whence they had come.

"What in all the hells was that about?" Siggyr fumed. "Never seen that before. Any casualties?" There were none serious though none had escaped scratch and bite free.

Across the open ground where Egil charged from stand Mauvin and Gerras, they prepare spells and cast them as he swings his sword to strike. Gerras' Killstick spirits rend at the vampire's being while Mauvin sends an ice cold windy blast straight into the vampire. Egil strikes with Kogoeshinu, plunging it into the misty form. "You bastard, you can't hide from Hu in there."

The icy wind whines, the various spells try to freeze the mist into solidity. That Pavis, in Fireseason, could be bitterly cold seems beyond belief, and yet it is so. The mist reforms into human shape: a shape just beyond the strike of Egil's sword, away from where Jamal lies. Human, not ice. Or what had been human once...

"You think to attack me, child? Alone?" It's hard to tell if that dry hiss is laughter, but it sees likely. "To defend my great-grand-nephew there. How charming - how foolish. Well then, child, if combat is what you wish, how could I refuse you?" And he leaps towards Egil, almost faster than the eye can see, teeth and clawed hands reaching for him.

Egil stands before the vampire, the twin blades blazing in defiance. "Be afraid, I bring a message from Hu."

Holding the blades in a death rune in front of him, they throb with power as their magic bursts into life, Enjou glowing like Yelm at dusk, Kogoeshinu as brilliant white as Valind's cloak. The light intertwining with the deathlight making a hypnotic display.

"DEATH!"

Egil swings the blades with all the skill he can muster, aiming for the vampire's head and his black heart. As the swords swing they seem to coalesce, Enjou blazes like a living flame, searing at the vampire while Kogoeshinu becomes a hard, bitter icicle freezing its severed soul.

Numbers

Astonishingly the vampire moves so swiftly that the strike almost missed. Instead of decapitation the only result was a nasty cut on the side of its skull that bleeds heavily. The vampire moves in close to Egil but is unable to get enough of a grip on him to be able to bite. However, since it is close it tries another tack. He looks deeply into Egil's eyes and suddenly Egil finds that he is no longer in control of his own actions. Reluctantly he finds that he is dropping Graylor's swords.

Graylor sees Egil's body go slack; he has seen this too many times in the marshes, the cursed vampire has Egil in his control. Next he sees his swords fall from nerveless fingers. Thinking quickly he sprints ahead of Yenda he has to get those swords that represent the best defence against the vampire.

"Cover me Yenda!" He shouts over his shoulder. "Protect me!" He calls on the Legion wyter.

Calling on all his Jalmari training and natural agility, he knows that he has this one attempt to get the blades. This is something he has done a thousand times in training; but now with a twice hated vampire to avoid, he forces himself back into the discipline of the training room. Bravely Graylor dives at the vampire's feet and rolls over the dropped swords his hands reach out for the familiar hilts....

... and grasp them, unopposed. Perhaps alarmed by the sudden attack, the vampire has retreated, dragging Egil with him. He seems uninterested in maintaining the eye contact Graylor had thought was essential, and in fact slings Egil's limp body over his shoulder before vanishing into the darkness.

The glow from the twin swords dies down.

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