Back up Pavis overall

So, Mr. Bond....


Light starts to creep in through the cracks in the roof - dull grey light, but the light of dawn nonetheless. Egil can see a little better now, though the layout of this underground ruin is still confusing.

Time passes: a few hours, perhaps? It’s hard to tell. The zombie broos have finished their labours for now, and all is quiet. Possibly the vampire is still in the vicinity, but out of sight: he always moves silently in any case.

Heavy footsteps on the entrance stairs, and a grunted challenge. The vampire comes back into Egil’s line of sight, and pauses, waiting for the new arrival to come to him. His air is almost of a king about to give audience, and the big man who enters responds the same way: though somehow Egil gets the impression that the veneer of submission is not from choice. "Lord Parus." The inclination of the head is slight, but exists.

The vampire does not answer immediately, watching him with the absolute dominance of a cat over a mouse. "Blood on your lips, little Cavos?" he says softly. He is shorter and slighter than the other man, but the diminutive does not seem out of place. "Did the craving become too much for you to bear again? Really, you should know by now that simple blood will not satisfy your thirst until you learn how to drink the soul that comes with it. I think I may have to further delay your final transformation until you have demonstrated the basics of self-control. I had hoped to complete it today, since our dear friends have been so obliging in providing not one but two of the necessary opponents: a Death representative already enchanted for us, and running water. But perhaps not. Perhaps we will wait a little longer. You will enjoy the anticipation, will you not?"

Cavos licks his lips, but says nothing, and the vampire goes on. "But then, the ritual cannot occur until you provide the right sacrifice. One of your blood kin, Cavos. The first soul you take must come from your own blood."

"If you had said that earlier...!"

"Yes, I know. Then you would have acquired your sacrifice in advance, and the time in which you were tormented by hunger would have been measured in hours, not weeks. Tell me, little Cavos, why would I deprive myself of the pleasure of watching you suffer?"

"You need me. If you want to gain Oilamley's powers over Death and over the Sun, you need me."

"I have you. As long as you know that the only way your craving can be satisfied depends on my whim, I have you, do I not? And it will keep increasing, until I choose to end it. Eventually your soul will drain away completely, sucked into the Void, and then you will be beyond all need and pain, but that will not be anything like as fast as you might hope."

Almost a whisper: "You need me sane."

"Do I? When you could still keep your promise, to force your young initiate to challenge me and to lose, giving me his magic, then I might have needed you sane to control the ceremony. But you let him escape. Careless, Cavos. You should not allow mere hunger to allow you to become careless. Now, I will have to take that magic in some other way, and from some other source. You do not have to be sane for me to take your magic directly from you, through my own ceremony. Why should I be satisfied with the apprentice when I can have the master, and when I can anticipate the delight of your begging me to take your spells if I will only end your suffering? You broke your promise to me, Cavos. You will pay for that."

"You broke yours to me! You broke yours first!"

"Did I? I promised you the powers of one of my most trusted servants, and you have them. There may have been a few side-effects I failed to mention in advance, but you have them. I promised you that I would give you the full powers of a vampire, as soon as I could, and I will. Your failure to pass the most basic tests can hardly be blamed on me. No, Cavos, I am a Carmanian gentleman, and I keep my promises. All of them."

Egil listens, with growing horror, to the vampire's plan. So he is to be part of Cavos' initiation rites. Meaning he must defeat him. There are 2 ways this could go, defeat him but make sure he is defeated utterly. It may doom Egil's own soul but it has to be a fight with little or no honour, show no mercy and if the foe is helpless do not relent until he is dead.

The other way is bad for Egil but he could make sure he loses, allow Cavos' sword to run through his heart. His quest will go awry if it doesn't happen correctly, the only problem with that is there is a whole legion of humakti out there so a replacement is easily found. If that is his path so be it but some moving air is needed, enough that he can send warning using Truth on the Wind.

His thoughts are interrupted by the sound of more arrivals, dressed in the Yelmalian style. Cavos regains some of his composure as support appears. “Ah, here they are, and with the rest of the requirements for the ritual. As you say – Master – our mutual friends have been very obliging. The Sun component.”

The first man is holding a sack, and at Cavo’s gesture he tips the contents onto the floor, being careful not to touch. A sword. A familiar sword, to Egil – an Esrolian rapier, covered in runes. “An interesting little toy I noticed in my last encounter with them. I think a daemon of Yelmalio should prove adequate for our purpose?”

“That thing!” The vampire’s cool self-possession is replaced for a moment by anger and revulsion, then returns. “A shame our purposes today do not require its destruction, and that of its owner.”

“A shame,” Cavos agrees smoothly. Egil can almost see his thought – was that a weakness showing there? “But if that is your wish – Master – then I think you will approve of the sacrifice I have obtained.” He beckons the next man forward from the shadows by the entrance. “My daughter. My Humakti daughter. I understand that you have already met?”

And Dori is dropped on the floor in front of them. She’s bruised and pale, but alive. Disarmed, her hands and legs tied – no, the wrists are bound in metal. Some sort of bracelets? No, surely it couldn’t be…? The still watchfulness of her expression doesn’t change as her head hits the ground, but does flicker into recognition as she sees Parus. “We’ve met, yes,” she says. A trifle hoarsely, but she seems to be basically unhurt. “I don’t think we were ever formally introduced, though.”

“It was a regrettably informal meeting,” the vampire agrees, looking down at her with a decidedly predatory smile. “Cavos, what are you thinking of? This is no way to treat a lady. You, fetch a chair.” The underling does so, though obviously baffled by the order, and the vampire picks her up and drops her into it. “There. So, the lady with whom I was discussing philosophy while her friends were giving me their magic. We meet again. A shame our conversation was interrupted, but this time it need not be.”

Dori raises a cynical eyebrow. “By you screaming and running away, you mean?” Her tone refuses to acknowledge his dominance, and again that anger shows through.

Cavos slaps her across the face, casually. “She was always ill-mannered as a child. Being sacrificed will be a fitting lesson in the value of silence in front of her betters.”

“What, sacrificed again?” Dori is almost laughing at him. “What is this, hoping that the third time you might get it right?” She sounds so confident, so in control. But she’s disarmed, bound, those bracelets stopping her magic.

Seeing Dori being slapped brings Egil's anger boiling through "Hey you! The shit on the vampire's shoe! I can't wait until our little dance. It'll be interesting seeing how well you'll cope as a vampire. After all how're you going to suck blood with no f..king teeth?" He almost regrets it as he's broken his effort to remain as Hu the silent but he wants to fight them and now.

The two turn and face him, Parus gives a contemptuous snort. "Deal with him and then come to me in the chamber, we must prepare for the ceremony."

The vampire turns and moves out of sight.

Cavos stalks across to Egil and swiftly kicks him in the ribs.

"You"
--kick--
"Will"
--kick--
"Be"
--kick--
"Silent"
--kick--

"You, little man, will rue this day. Dorinda here will at least suffer a swift and relatively painless end. You on the other hand will be kept alive for as many years as I can manage while I devour your soul and body slowly. You will soon beg for the end." But there was no force behind the words, no meaning, only petty spitefulness. This was a mere shadow of his master's obvious delight in pain, a weak imitation, perhaps even a desperate attempt to distract himself from his own agony, and Egil could not fear it.

Egil almost laughs but just manages to suppress it "Do as you will with me but remember Humakt already owns my soul and in time all things come to him. When I die I will go to his hall to fight for Him. When you die, and you WILL die, be it tomorrow or in 200 years He will watch as Arachne Solara rends your soul into nothingness and you won't even be as good as dead."

"SHUT UP! You insolent scum!" Cavos gives Egil a final, vicious kick to the face before he storms off after Parus.

Dori grins at him. "I think you upset him. That's good, if he's angry, he's not thinking. Just remember that works both ways."

Egil spits out a mouthful of blood and a newly dislodged tooth. His face now has a bright red weal which is rapidly turning livid purple. He smiles weakly at Dori and whispers "They are going to recreate Vivamort's creation myth. I am to be Humakt and beat him in fight, he has to lose but not die I suppose. If what I hear is correct, he must kill one of his own kin as well. Hopefully Hu will strengthen my arm so I can destroy him him with that sword there. It can cut through stone."

Dori smiles back "When you get it in your hand call on the wyter to strengthen it. When you do, pull at the wyter's spirit. It will howl its anguish and Illig will know."

She falls quickly silent as a shambling zombie broo enters the chamber and retrieves the sword. It turns slowly and shambles back out.

"In the ritual, they want you to be Hu. Do that. Be Hu, as hard as you can, then you know what you're doing must be right. You'd know the Hu side of it better than I would, but from what I found out about Vivamort, he tries to sneak and plead his way back across the Sword Bridge to Life, and Hu stops him and makes him fear Death. It's a weird myth, he loses power at every station. You make sure he ends up fearing Death, we don't want him loose without that. I'll help as I can on the mundane, but these things stop me even seeing the Other Side."

Again she falls silent as Parus enters the chamber flanked by 4 zombies broos. "Bring them both, the time for their fates is nearly upon us."

He grins wickedly before he again turns and leaves.

The zombies grab the two Herewardi roughly, freeing Egil from the pillar before they carry them forwards and towards the chamber's exit.

The area they are dragged into has obviously been prepared for a ceremony, though not one Egil recognises. Side-chambers lead off from the room, with symbols drawn on the exits, and much is in darkness. But he is still seeing both Sides. The statues, the symbols drawn on the floor, but also the places they represented. Latent. The places they would become, as the ceremony invested them with power.

So as he is dropped next to a pillar, and chained to it again, this time with his hands in front of him, he recognises that he is at a boundary between two places. But, now there is a third part of his mind being nudged into wakefulness. He does not recognise this as Egil. He only partly recognises it as Li Phanquan. But as Hu… yes. This is where he should be. Guarding the boundary between Life and Death.

Dori is dropped casually on the floor behind him, and he turns slightly. Ahead of him, darkness, though he can see doorways marked with the signs of Earth, of Water, and other strange things. The Underworld. Behind him, Light: Life. And another zombie shuffles in, carrying two swords. One, Dori’s, it drops in the Light circle – no surprises there. And the other – yes! The plain, unassuming sword he had seen earlier, sliding from a pile of discarded trash.

Dori tries to reach for her sword as it passes her, though she has no chance of success, and the vampire laughs. “I think not, my dear – though then again, why not? You cannot use it. And presenting your dear father with a choice of targets may well be interesting. Yes, why not?” He picks her up, drops her in the same area as her sword, though not close enough to reach it. All she can see is symbols and a sword, that is clear. But to Egil, the area glows with the hint of grass, flowers, Light. He can see her torn clothes and battered armour, but also a hint of paler robes, and a younger face – a more innocent face, with no runes tattooed into it. Life… Dorinda is hardly the ideal fit for the role of a helpless and innocent victim, but the magic here has some effect even on her.

Cavos enters, now dressed in darker robes. Or, to Egil/Hu’s eyes, a weak, young, version of Vivamort approaches, coming towards him, past the Sun. And the area activates - it is the Daylight, now. And the Daylight has no love for a traitor and creature of Darkness. The sword flares in answer as he approaches. Egil had seen it in action before, but never this bright, never this angry. Cavos would have to pass it to continue, and it did not seem possible. He seemed confident, though, as he raised his hands and chanted in a harsh tongue. The Light flared towards him – and where it touched his hands, changed. It became dim – dark, if that could be so. Reaching out, again, seeking… something.

Dori, beyond him, was back to that still watchfulness. “Egil. He did this before, at Yellow Sky. He turns the sun to his own ends, to drain his victims. But there has to be a victim, the sun finds its own path if not grounded. So…”

“A most observant lady.” Parus strolled forward, a casual observer, one might think. “So he needs a victim. Well, little girl? Do you think your father’s love for you will protect you?”

Dori is white, all too obviously remembering the last time she had faced that unholy radiance. “Not a hope in hell. But… if I understand any of this, his sense of self-preservation might, for now?”

“It might, yes, if he had any choice. He needs you alive – for now. I think I had better preserve him from his own rash actions again. And protect you, of course. A gentleman should always protect a helpless woman, should he not?”

Dori’s revulsion shows on her face, but the vampire strolls forward, between her and her father, presenting himself as a target. “A challenge, Cavos. Your ability to use the light to drain, against mine to resist it. You know what will happen if you lose – do you understand what will happen if you win? You are a Servant of the highest degree – if your Master is injured, you suffer the same injury yourself.”

Cavos is struggling with the Light already, barely keeping it from turning on himself. “If I refuse the challenge?”

“Then the ritual does not continue. You will be left as a Servant – half-completed. With the needs of a vampire, but no more. I suggest you accept the challenge, and your inevitable defeat.”

Egil watches the contest, weighing up the benefits of defeat for either party. Then the truth becomes clear, as it always does when Hu helps make the decision, the living are infinitely easier to kill than the dead. "Come on Cavos, destroy him or you will live the rest of your existence as his slave, pandering to his every whim."

Meanwhile Dori, behind the vampire, seems to have reached the same conclusion. And she knows her former father. "Go on, kill the stuck-up bastard - you know you want to!"

And she seems to be right - the sheer hatred on Cavos' face as he turns the withering light on his tormentor suggests that he may regard the injuries he will undoubtedly take himself as a small price to pay.

The strange dark light that flows from his hands floods round the vampire, more strongly than perhaps Parus had been expecting, for he staggers back, almost stumbling over Dori. She kicks at him as he comes within range, and for a moment the distraction disrupts his defences - he clutches at his chest. But as he does so, Cavos mirrors the movement. It seems that Parus' warning that any injury he himself takes is also felt by his Servants has some truth behind it. Cavos is wheezing now - vampires of course have no need to breath. The attack weakens, slows. The dark light is forced back. There is a moment of recovery, then Cavos' control of it collapses. The pure Daylight blazes again, and as it does so, Parus reaches towards his opponent and takes - something. Cavos screams hoarsely, one hand over his eyes, shielding himself from the blinding light.

Parus laughs. "Well. Shall we see how this works?" He in turn catches the light - and changes it. His control is not as careful as Cavos' had been at first, but it is good enough. "Now... your ungrateful daughter, perhaps? No, we need her alive, for now. This vulgar young man? No, again we need him alive, and able to fight. There is only one person present who is supposed to come out of this dead..." And he turns the dark light back on Cavos. He tries to dodge, but it swirls around him, sucking at him. Egil can see his skin turning white with cold where it touches. He falls, crawling away, and Parus strolls after him, letting the withering light die down as he goes out of range of the Daylight from which it is formed.

"Flee, then, from the Light, and fear it hereafter, for your defence from it is mine, now. You have other opponents to meet. Next, the water, to cool those burns, perhaps?"

They go on, deeper into the chambers of the ritual, and out of Egil's sight.

When they have gone Egil turns to Dori and says "I've got to fight your old man, I hope you don't mind if I kill him before you get the chance?" She shakes her head in reply. "He's not my father, remember? Just make it clean. But he's almost irrelevant anyway: concentrate on Parus."

"And what about your pretty new bracelets, any idea how we can get you out of those with killing you? Your magic would be really useful here."

"From what I've heard, whoever put them on can take them off, no problem. Trouble is, I was out cold when it was done, so I don't know who it was. One of the underlings, I expect. Let's keep them alive if we can. And if all else fails: if you get a tourniquet on fast enough, having your hand cut off doesn't kill you. I can't say losing my sword hand is a preferred option, though."

"Sorry. When it comes to magic, you're on your own - or nearly. Remember the wyters."

"Ignore the live one, kill the monster. If he gets close enough while you have the blade in your hands. I'll distract him. You will be Hu. He only thinks he has power over you. Hu and Humakt know this is untrue. Think of the sword, be the sword destroy him." This time Egil is silent and nods his head.

Then she adds, slowly, thinking it through: "But are you Hu? They think so, but they don't know what you did before you got here. Are you Hu, and in their story, guard the Sword Bridge and merely drive intruders away? Or are you Li Phanquann, who has his own story? Egil, there's a trick Hereward teaches, you can choose which story you're in. You choose it, and you force it to go your way, to fit your vision. I can't explain it, I can't even see it like this, but if you can force them into your story, instead of you being in theirs, you might get an advantage."

As he considered that, they heard sounds from the darkness beyond. Dorinda strained to listen: “Splashing? He said water, didn’t he?” But what Egil heard was the voice of the Styx, and her anger at an ancient betrayal. A scream, and then Cavos staggered back into the centre of the chamber, his feet burnt as if by acid.

Parus followed, watching with amusement. “You will prefer the next encounter. A more gentle lady, who may even help you under certain conditions.” They passed out of sight again, under an archway marked with runes. Dori frowned at them: “Healing? Surely not? No, it’s been defaced – oh. Malia. And Earth. I suppose it makes sense?"

To Egil, the archway was a dolmen, leading into darkness, and the smell of wet, stale earth was strong. From beyond it, a cold, implacable female voice, in a language he did not know. Then a sound of falling earth, and a muffled groan. The vampire again: “No, not yet. No healing or rest for you until this is over.”

And a cruel laugh. "Not that you would rest in any case. When did the craving last let you sleep, little Cavos? Come now, you are almost there. Just sneak past the guardian under cover of darkness, and find your way back to Life - her Life, all ready for you to devour. You want that, do you not? You understand, now you have experienced it, that being injured makes the hunger more urgent, as your need for their strength to replace your own increases."

"Yes". The word is almost a sob of longing.

"Go on, then. Concentrate, Cavos - this should be easy for you, you have done it often enough before."

It is growing darker in the room - the little light creeping in through the cracks is dimmed, and the sword that shone wth Daylight earlier has long since ceased to glow. To Egil's eyes, the Underworld is becoming more real. Darkness lives down there, the real Darkness of which mere Night is but an imitation. Somewhere in that Darkness, Cavos was creeping towards and past him.

The vampire joined him, standing carefully behind him, out of reach. "Well, boy? Do you think you will spot him? Or will I have to help you?"

Egil is still consumed by Hu, he fixes Parus a stern glare but holds his tongue. He thinks back to his scouting expeditions and his many guard duties. What were the tell tale signs of approach? Those times seem distant now and at least he had a glimmer of deathlight from a dagger to help him see, this blackness was darker than Kyger Litor's arsehole. His scouting skills seemed useless here. Nothing could be seen and nothing could be heard except a quiet contented hum from Parus. "He'll soon be here boy. Soon I'll have to step in."

From the darkness he hears Dori's voice in a urgent whisper. "Be Hu and remember Ashar can give you eyes!" "Silence, girl!" But the vampire does not move to strike her - all his attention, an almost hungry anticipation, is on Egil and the blank darkness before him.

Egil remembers now, here he is Hu, here he must do as Hu does. Before he sinks too far into Hu's idiom his mind calls out to the wyter "Give Me Deathlight, tell Illig!" The spirit releases the power and suddenly the whole cavern is basked in the glorious light of Humakt as he retreats back to his own body he is aware of blackness encompassing the blade, he hopes Lord Illig will be well warned by the sign.

Now that he can see he takes his time to glance around calling on other magics to aid his search for Cavos, he drifts into being Hu, his honour, his determination to carry through this task. He listens to the small eddys of air in the cave, even that small amount of air can overcome deception to those who can hear. Thinking of the dire straits Dori may be in should he fail he redoubles his efforts, his comrade should not be shamefully murdered by a cowardly vampire. He throws Parus a hateful glare "A boy am I, useless am I?" he thinks to himself. He concentrates hard before his anger can mount and then he hears it, the truth on the wind guides him, looking to his left he sees a shadow flitting towards Dori, it begins to pick up speed and is no more than 10 meters away when Egil speaks. His voice sounds of thunder in the mountains and hammers in the smithies and swords on shields. Parus' smug chuckling is abruptly cut short.

*"HALT! VIVAMORT YOU CAN NOT PASS HERE! TURN AND FLEE FROM WHENCE YOU HAVE COME OR I SHALL FETCH THE SWORD DEATH AND FORCE YOU BACK!"*

Cavos cringes back, and Parus wheels to face Egil, a snarl of fury breaking the previous mask of superior condescension.

"That was a mistake, boy. You have deprived me of what was rightfully mine. I had no reason to hate you, before. These, yes. The woman who shattered my mirror, and this oaf who gave her the opportunity to do so. But not you, not until now."

Cavos is shaken out of his hopeless terror by this, his retort full of incredulity at the vampire's arrogance. "Your mirror? It was mine - mine for years! You never even saw it!"

"And you never even knew what it was. "Oilamley" indeed. A fine name for a daemon to hide behind. The greatest of Our Lord's servants, if the most disobedient. His learning, his magic, his tools of power, that I came to this forsaken place to find - broken! Broken due to your stupidity! You will suffer for years, eons, for that, and this girl with you."

Egil chortles "So Oilamley is just another scummy parasitic bloodsucking louse like you? That figures really. I fear your chance to make anyone suffer for even a week never mind eons is passing. *The Sword* is coming and nothing I have seen here is quick enough or strong enough to withstand it."

"Your friends are coming to try to rescue you, are they? Oh, I do hope so. Luring them here, where I can extract a proper revenge, was one of the main reasons for keeping you alive so long."

Parus is concentrating on Egil, and so does not see Cavos' look of surprise, then of calculation.

"Still, it is time for the second reason for your presence. You know what you, as Humakt, must do here."

He steps back from Egil, picks up the discarded sword from the floor, and throws it across to land at Egil's feet, whle staying well out of reach. "You may as well have this as a prop."

"I would have expected more wisdom from one so old. How can I tell if anyone is coming to rescue us, you have us held prisoner here? One thing I do know though, it only takes one of us to destroy you."

He bends down and scoops up the blade. As he does Hu's power surges from him to the blade, it glows enhancing the deathlight already filling the room. Again his mind reaches out, calling to Ashar to make the blade unbreakable. Then he probes the blade trying to find its hidden strength that can cut stone and Hu knows what else.

He has little time to take in the strangeness in the blade: his overriding feeling is simply that this is a sword. A Humakti sword, both symbol and tool: and that he is also the Sword. Hu.... who guards the Sword Bridge, who controls who enters the Underworld, and how. And who leaves it..

There is one approaching now. With that part of his mind that is still Egil, he recognises him, understands the references he makes. But on another level, he is Hu, now, and judges who comes on that basis.

A creeping, crawling thing. He had been tall, strong, once - not now. Now he is wavering, half-blinded, wheezing, barely coherent.

"You beat me. You beat me. Not him." He is in tears, and not just from the damage to his eyes. "Thank you - thank you. Knew I could trust... mercy. He tricked me. Wasn't meant to be... like this. I said - her - if I'd known - not like this. He lied. He lied. Not my fault. Help me - please? Hurts - can't, not any more, please - mercy? Let me live? Got to - can't - got to... please? past? help?"

"Is that really the best you can do? You expect him to believe such nonsense? That you trusted the very people you have been trying to kill, and who you know are trying to kill you? And that I lied - as if a Carmanian gentleman would lie!" (*) Parus shakes his head in mock sadness. "Really, Cavos, this pose as a helpless and innocent victim is hardly likely to fool anyone."

(*) The ability Parus is using to augment this contest is in fact "lie 5W2"

The voice penetrates into Egil's mind. Cavos was right, these thing weren't his fault, he was tricked. The vampire led him on but no, Egil's human mind alone was maybe too feeble for this task. He opened himself and called on Hu to show him the truth, called on Illig and his comrades to aid his choice. Resolve like iron flooded through him, Illig seem to brush away the whining sound, the Herewardi truthful to a man filling him with certainty and then it became clear. From somewhere came a vision of Cavos and the vampire, almost friendly but definitely conspiritorial.

Where once a lie would have Egil's blood boiling now it had the opposite effect. It froze in his veins, all compassion and sympathy Cavos was looking for was gone. Now only the cold, hard, sword of truth was there.

"You would come before me and plead for mercy with a LIE!" No outward sign of his contempt is visible except the twitching of his blade. "You may have been deceived in the particulars of this ceremony but you came to it willingly, wanted to sell your soul to Wakboth so you could live forever. This is the TRUTH. Now get gone from here or the judgement passed on you will be swift and final." Egil raises the blade making ready to strike.

Dori is no doubt seeing something different from him, but she has heard what all three have said. Oddly enough to Egil's mind, she does not seem to be showing any hatred or contempt for the lying, whining thing that has abused her in the past and wants to kill her now, only - pity? "Cavos, he cannot grant you life, not now," she says, almost gently. "But he could grant you death. You still have that choice, and it might well be the better option."

For a moment Cavos hesitates, seems about to step towards Egil and in reach of his blade, agonised longing warring with terror in his face, then steps back. "No. Not giving up - now. Can still - no."

Egil summons his Visage of Fear and though he cannot see it he knows it is now different, his face does not feel the same. A living skull faces outward with eye sockets blacker than Subere's cloak and at the centre of each a small blue ball of light glows fiercely. Its rictus grin terrifying to those who face it.

Cavos' resolve and stubborn endurance last only moments: he looks into Egil's - no, Hu's - face, and flinches away. "Nooo...!" He flees back, into what remains of the shadows, and Parus follows him.

Seemingly satisfied with his work Egil turns and faces the pillar he is tethered to regarding it thoughtfully for a moment. He flashes as
message in sword speech to Dori "Just one moment and I will be free, Then we will kill the vampire."

Turning his attention back to the pillar he creates a well of silence as Hu's Silence of the Grave spell is cast. Then he raises the sword, for
some reason the name Barzaad's Tooth drifts through his mind, and he strikes as hard as he can against the pillar. Cutting down through the stone at a slant, driving the sword on until it breaks through the other side of the column. Then he raises the blade again and delivers a similar stroke so it seems he has drawn an 'X' onto the column. Two large triangles of stone slide out and fall noiselessly to the floor, Egil yanks his chain through the gap created.

Dori's signal back is not SwordSpeech - it's the same one known by any child. A delighted grin, and thumbs up - "nice sword!"

Small stones begin to fall around him as the weight of the ceiling is no longer supported. Moving swiftly he dashes to where Dori sits, grabbing her sword as he passes, he neatly slices her bonds. Again the Swordspeech flickers across his fingers: "Now let's kill that bastard!"

But she stops, listening to what can be heard beyond the compass of his spell, within which stone continues to fall in an eerie silence. Egil can hear the sounds of the Underworld, and, very faintly, footsteps going away. She shakes her head, flicks her fingers again: "enemy not in sight". Then, impatient with the restrictions of the silent battle-language, draws him away from the area of silence. "He's gone away - gone deeper into the HeroPlane, not on the mundane at all now. You can follow him there - maybe, if you know the myth, and have a place in it. I can't. We can still wait for them here, on the mundane. Unless you've got some means of being sure you can find him, don't just wander the HeroPlane blindly."

ChronP23TR - the happy reunion
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