Aelf and Gralor chat

Aelf finds Graylor as he walks back to change. He is still wearing a puzzled expression, one that is not often seen on his young face.

"I've been trying to place why the mention of Vivamort's cloak seemed to trigger a spark in my mind. It must be in the dark time I was a gladiator or in my youth before that. There is not much memory of those times. My mind was in a fog of self imposed numbness or I suppose drug induced by my keepers. Either way it matters not. I need your help to unlock the memories."

"Of course, I will do what I can. Jalmar has some teachings that can help, he was a great advocate of meditation to release hidden facts, used of course to identify the servants of the Deceiver." Graylor smiles at Aelf's look of consternation. "Don't worry meditation can be as easily achieved on the training ground as sitting still contemplating your navel."

As they walk to the training ground Aelf talked about his time as a gladiator, the arenas filled with screaming people. The endless, pointless killing. Friends, rivals all slaughtered for entertainment. But, worst of all were the private shows for the wealthy or deranged who liked to feel the blood splatter over them, hidden from the eyes of society. Graylor somewhat sickened by this talk still makes a mental note to suggest, to the Grand Master, that sending a few Knights to Furthest would prove productive.

At the training ground Graylor instructs Aelf to start working with the novice forms. "Before you take insult, this isn't because you can't do the advanced forms it is so that you can use the exercise to free your mind. Using the advanced forms take too much concentration and your mind."

A few minutes of this is enough to show Graylor that it isn't achieving anything except frustrating Aelf. He switches tack. "How about half-speed combat? In the tent over there, it should be closer to the dark and cramped conditions that you were describing earlier."

"Why not. Should be fun!" Aelf grins and whirls his dragon blade expertly round his body in slow motion.

"You didn't use that in the arena." Graylor comments dryly. "How about this?" He tosses Aelf a pair of short swords to match his own. Aelf grunts non-committedly and swings the blades a few times to get their feel.

"I suppose so. Let's go!"

"Remember, keep Vivamort's cloak in your mind as we spar." Graylor cautions and then mutters a silent prayer to Hereward. He gently lays his magic to let Aelf cut through any self-deceptions he has created in his mind.

The tent is dark and cold compared to the conditions outside. The two face off and start to spar, at half-pace the whole act takes on the form of a dance. Careful attacks matched by considered counters, but at half speed plenty of time for the mind to make connections. Aelf's mind is totally on Graylor's blades at first, then as the heat in the tent becomes more intense he is aware of faces watching with fascination. Legion members attracted to the noise of blade on blade have come into the tent and are now watching. Aelf's mind makes one connection.

The tent disappears and he is now following a figure in long black cloak with cowl pulled up to cover the face within… a cave lit with flaming torches… long blacThe stench of too much human flesh in a small space… Sweat in his eyes… A brute of a man wielding two wickedly hooked cleavers… A body falling… The press of people… Black cloaks… Not round him, the victor, but round the vanquished… Hunger in their eyes… Hurriedly being rushed out of the cave… A distant chant "Praise his mantle"… A name: Cold-light Cowl was that Club, Companions? Something beginning with C.

Aelf breaks off the sparing with a grin. "Wot do ya know it works!" As the onlookers depart he tells Graylor about what he has just remembered. At the end of the telling Wyredd appears, his old frame bent double appearing to shuffle, but actually covering the ground quite quickly. A distant look comes into Aelf's eyes. Graylor holds up his hand and the old man pauses.

"What do you see Aelf?" Graylor asks quietly.

"I've not yet earned that name. I see my grandfather sitting by the fire in our homestead. He is teaching us ancient lore, false cults of the sun from over 100 years ago and how to recognise them. He is laughing about one sect he calls the Black Cowls. What sort of sun lovers wear black hoods he mocks. That's all." Aelf returns to the present. "I hope that helps with the Oilamley hunt. Not too sure that it makes much sense to me. I'd better go and see what Siggyr wants." He waves at Wyredd. "Alright I'm coming now."

Graylor makes his way back to his billet and strips off his dusty and sweaty shirt, a full training session and the extra workout with Aelf was more exercise than he would have liked on a hot day in Fire season. He decides to sneak a few minutes relaxing before he reports back to Dori, and to Illig. As soon as he lies down a wind blows through, carrying with it a summons from Dori. "Yes maam" he replies before he realises that the Dori won't be able to hear him. He smiles ruefully and buckles up his armour as he makes his way to his ten-thane.

And onwards
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