Pavis

Egil goes to Dori


Like all members of the legion not on duty, Abul goes to see the ritual fight between Aelf and Graylor. Once again Abul couldn't help but admire the double-sword style of the two men.

"One day I should master this too," he thinks " if a man has two hands to fight, he should use both of them to attack, a shield has no use if your oppoment is already down..."

Anyway, for the moment, Abul keeps bearing a shield, knowing the value of defense for an inferior warrior like him.

Egil sits and ponders before he comes to a decision about his future.

"Abul, can you spare some time? I need to go and speak with Dori and you have my sword. I like to be close to it."

He gets up and strides off towards where Dori's 10 have made their home. After a bit of asking around he is finally pointed towards Dori's quarters. He knocks and waits to be called in.

"Yes?" she says rather more sternly than she had intended.

"Uh! Ma'am I was wondering if you had any room in your ten for an idiot? Siggyr has thrown me out of his and Abul here thinks Jamal probably won't have my on account of my being stupid. I know I'm not making a great case for myself but if I haven't got a ten then I can't see how I can stay in the legion which is worse that anything else I can imagine."

"You could join the auxilia..." then she looks at him, and Abul, again. "Why's he got... ah. Siggyr's idea, at a guess? Clever... well, you won't be doing any front-line fighting without a sword immediately to hand, so let's see what else you're useful for. You're probably meant to learn to think before you act, and removing your ability to act should help with that. This should force you to learn to use your magic more, too - yes, very clever, all round. That's Siggyr for you. Yes, given that you can't be thrown into fights as Legion or auxilia, if only because we won't send Abul in half-trained, this is probably the ten that can make best use of you, so let's find out how. To start with, what can you think of about Oilamley that might help us?"

"I've been trying to remember anything I might have heard about Oilamley and something you said sprang to mind, you know about the draining light needing a target? If I go over it again maybe we could spot something else that happened down there or even in Humakt's halls."

"Maybe we could, though that was mostly a Vivamort quest, not an Oilamley one. You're right, though, we need to go back over everything we know, examine it again. And, as the only one who's been through not just one but three Oilamley ceremonies, my memories need examining more than most. It's a shame they're such a mess..."

Her gaze is not longer on Egil, but beyond him, somewhere in the past - an unpleasant bit of past. Then she pulls herself back to the present.

"Let's do that: but not just the two of us, the full team. As many different viewpoints as we can get, as many people trained - or in training! - to spot discrepancies as we can get. Graylor, Yenda, Abul, Vindana - anyone else? Who else was there at that shrine in Sun County who's available - is Jamal around? Kristen and Elendala - yes, I know, but Kristen's brighter than she looks."

Stiff as a piece of wood, Abuls then clears up slightly his throat before speaking.

"Excuse my request, Ma'am," this title being given with quite the same accent than given by Egil a few moment ago, "It is probably the wrong time for asking but the answer will help me to sort my own priorities among the different requests I have received recently... I' m not very clear with my current status. If I'm Egil's swordbearer and him becoming part of your ten, what is my own status in your ten, knowing that I'm not initiated to Hereward yet? Servant of Egil? Your Servant? Full member of the ten? Somehow mentor of Egil? Trainee in swordplay? still a legion's appointed researcher on Darktongue.. ? "

As usual, the face of Abul seems impassible at a first glance, but for who knows him well, a slight slope of his eyesbrows betrays his embarrasment.

"That's a good question." Dori stops, gives it serious consideration. "We've let the formalities slide, as usual, and in this case, slide too far. My apologies: we've thought of you as a child for so long, and you're an adult now. Let's see, we can't have you as a full member of the Legion until you're initiated into Hereward's secrets. "Servant" seems completely wrong, for many reasons. Auxilia, I'd say, currently seconded to this Cohort and my Ten, and potential Legionary in training. You can give the Auxilia oath to anyone in the Legion, there's not much to it, and it won't ask any more of you than you've already been doing for years. The only difference is that you'll swear it in your own right, rather than having Jamal take responsibility for your actions. Fair enough?"

Abul smiled faintly on the announcement of his advancement.

"Thanks Ma'am, I will take the oath in my name and do my best to to support your ten and your projects."

"In terms of priorities, I'm afraid you'll have to do the same as the rest of us: look at who out-ranks who, who you owe loyalty to, and who shouts the loudest. There isn't a simple answer: but simple answers are for children, not adults. You'll cope."

Graylor takes this moment to arrive, after having caught up on the news of Abul and Egil's transfer to Dori's ten. He welcomes them both whilst diplomatically ignoring Egil's loss of status.

"Yenda will be happy not to be the youngest member of the ten!" Graylor comments dryly. "Will you be looking to joining Hereward too? If so Yenda and Santhis are about to start along that road and would enjoy your company."

"That should be interesting, " Dori says reflectively. "The three of you will be approaching Hereward from different directions, and wanting different things from him. You may well learn a lot from each other: and the rest of us may well learn from these different points of view, too."

"Yeah quite," Graylor agrees.

"While I think of it I have a couple of new pieces of information about Oilamley…" He proceeds to tell the company about the stuff he learned from Santhis and Aelf and his meeting with Illig. He concludes with "… I'm not sure how this is supposed to fit together, but if Illig can't pull it all together I will lead him through the start of the Jalmari unbreakable blade quest. That should allow him to ask the Flame of Truth. If that doesn’t' get the answer then I don't know what will."

When Graylor stopped to talk and when a pause permitted to someone from a lower rank to speak, Abul proposed.

"With first Egil and then Graylor, we were wondering also about the carmanian vampires topic, perhaps we may ask Jamal and... hmmm... also the person he found to teach me the traditional carmanian customs, she is following some carmanian death cult and, I think, will be pleased to have an interview with some southern Humakt followers. I'm not sure that we will find anything useful but we will never know if we don't try... and... that's my best possible contribution anyway..."

After that Abul kept silent, showing nothing but the idea of getting closer to Yenda was occupying all his mind space.

Graylor had been trying to recollect a memory while Abul was talking. "Sorry this is completely unrelated. Don't I recall that the gold armour below had a message about the Flame of Truth? Perhaps we can check that out at the same time."

""Seek knowledge through the Flame of Truth", or something like that," Vindana agrees. "This Oilamley doesn't seem to have any connection to the Flame or Truth, but that might be something to do with your god's rituals. That reminds me though, Dori, did you tell them about that link from the written form of the name?"

"No, and that links to something else we should look out for while we're searching back through old legends and unpleasant memories."

Dori looks round the room: most of the people she'd invited are here, and the rest can filter in later, or not.

"How many of you can read, or at least know how it works?"

The number of blank looks apparently confirms her guess.

"Well, a name, like Oilamley, is written down in a series of symbols, rather like runes. We all know that if you write a rune upside down, or crossed, or with other runes, that has power. Apparently if you take the symbols for Oilamley, and write them backwards, it makes another name: Yelmalio. Oilamley is Yelmalio reversed."

Abul seems to hesitate and then with cautious words makes a comment.

"Probably a stupid idea from me but in Carmania, wise people use to say that Light is linked to Darkness, because even if Light defeats Darkness, every light creates a shadow, except Idovanus. I find strange that a vampire sub-cult of Vivamort, ex-darkness god refers to Yelmalio even if reversed. Is this name a pure mockery or does it make sense?"

Yenda is fascinated. "Hey that's neat! I think it does make sense as the reversing of Yelmalio defines his powers. Oilamley is defining himself as anti-Yelmalio and thus has anti-light and anti-truth powers. I guess that you could call that darkness and deception, but in truth darkness is not truely the opposite of light, so anti-light remains the most appropriate description. We all know Vivamorts opposition to death. No the whole fits together very well."

"I wonder how that fits with the Black Cowls or Cold-Light Cowl Club that Aelf was remembering?" Graylor comments.

"I suppose there could be a connection.. Abul you said the opposite of light is darkness or blackness. All the lights we have give of heat so an anti-light could give off cold I suppose," he says without conviction.

Dori nods. "The anti-light - and that's a good word for it - did feel cold. It sucked heat away, among other things. Yelmalio deals in Light without Fire, he's famous for having lost Fire at the Hill of Gold, but there's a difference between not having Fire, and having its opposite."

Perplexed, Abul tries to gather his memories.

"Hu... there was this lesson with Lady Jakkanna about the holiness of Subere, Grand Master of Darkness. When Pure Darkness was confrontated to the surface world, it declined into Cold and Shadow, as Fire declined into Heat and Light when it hit the ground. Cold opposed to Heat and Shadow opposed to Light."

With an imperceptible audacity, Abul looked at the Zebra girl. "Isn't Shadow sounding like your anti-Light, Yenda? I'm pretty sure that Lady Jakkanna drawed these runes this day, but I have to admit that the list was so long and seemed so unuseful to me, that I didn't keep it in mind... Could it be that Vivamort declined into Cold Vampires and Shadow Vampires when he reached the Surface World looking for Death? Perhaps if Aelf could learn what is the Shadow Rune, he would be able to remember more details?"

Before Yenda could answer, Abul's eyes were flickering away...

"Could be to both points." Graylor replies for Yenda. "However, that was a dark time for Aelf, both literally and figuratively. I think he did well to remember that much."

After a thoughtful pause Graylor continues. "Both groups Aelf mentioned were associated with cowls, this must be significant but no idea why."

"A cowl hides your face," Dori says, doubtfully. "It puts it in shadow... seems a bit of a stretch to me. It's usually part of a cloak, if that helps at all. The connection to the Shadow rune sounds good, though, Abul's got a good idea there. I can't remember exactly what runes the Oilamleyians had on their robes, other than that they weren't the right ones for Yelmalio. Kristen?"

"Sorry - I was concentrating on what they were trying to do to the women, not on what they were wearing."

ChronSM5 scroll down to the bottom

"I wonder if it's significant at all that the magical relic they were using took the form of a mirror? Reflecting things, turning them into their opposites?"

"Tell you what it does show us, though, and this is tying things down, not opening up yet more possibilities. To start with, the human who became the Hero of Vivamort wasn't originally called Oilamley. He took that name later. The next thing is that Yelmalio was important to him - not Elmal, not any other variant on the name. Yelmalio, and written in cat-scratchings, too. That limits where he came from quite a lot. Sun County to our south, possibly the Sun County in Dragon Pass, Far Point - where did the missionaries that spread Yelmalio there come from? Probably not here, now I come to think of it, they'd have written in Firespeech. I bet Oilamley came from Far Point, or at least, started his path there. I don't know much about the place, but I gather there's a lot of animosity between Elmal and Yelmalio up there, they've fought wars over it. Come to think of it, the Legion's fought in them..."

"Aelf said this cult's been there over a hundred years... I wish I knew their history that far back, but I don't. The Light list, yes, but not much outside Sun County."

Abul tries to follow his elders but in fact he keeps reminding the lessons he got from Jamal when, years ago, the carmanian hazar was trying to break any sign of pelandan vanity in him.

"Hmmm... A mirror could be first seen as an illusion device, but if Light is reflected by it, playing tricks, it also means that it goes away, leaving only Shadow and Emptiness behind the mirror, in fact exactly where the Oilamley cultist were standing... it sounds just like another type of cloaking device, no?"

Graylor shakes his head at the depths of the youngster. He was sure that he wasn't that philosophical when he was that age. In fact the year of his manhood was the year he was besotted with that lass Tana. She had just gotten all curvy and interesting... But those thoughts won't help solve the topic in hand.

"If it is part of the Legion's history then Illig and Ashar will know. Perhaps we should take it to them rather than spend too much time speculating here?" Graylor asks the assembled group.

"You're probably right," Dori agrees regretfully. "I'd hoped to take Illig a rather more complete solution than this, but we need someone who knows Far Point history to get much further: and he's from Aldachur."

The group troop upstairs and outside, blinking as the strong sun of Fire Season hits them, the cool of the underground temple replaced by dust and sweat within seconds. Illig's tent, however, is also cool - cooled by a gentle northern breeze that wasn't blowing outside the canvas walls.

Dori summarises their findings so far - the Shadow rune, the spelling, the likelihood of a link with the Yelmalio of Far Point - and Illig listens without any visible reaction. "I had hoped," he says thoughtfully, "that the link to Vivamort's cloak was coincidence, but it seems not. Dorinda, you see the connection? - no, perhaps not. The full story was never widely known."

"I'm afraid not, sir. I'm sorry." She's trying to hide her dejection at failure, and almost succeeding.

Illig eyes her sharply. "Dorinda, any lack in your knowledge of Legion history is due to my failure, and that of any others who should have taught you, not your own. Tell us now, then: what do you know of the Tenth Cohort?"

"The Tenth? That was a long time ago... in Arming order, they come last. Hereward's Cloak. They were the scouts. Lost at... the Dancing Sisters, wasn't it? Over a hundred years ago - and in Far Point? That's the right place, and the right time, but I don't see the connection. Unless Hereward's cloak was also Vivamort's - oh, it was, wasn't it? That's right, that's why the Tenth were the scouts, it gave powers of concealment."

She raises an eyebrow. "That fits rather too well for comfort. What am I missing?"

"You're missing how and why the Tenth was lost. Sit down, all of you: this story goes no further, but you need to know it, now."

(insert how you end up sitting comfortably before he begins)

"The wyter of the Tenth was, as Dorinda says, Hereward's Cloak. Quite how Hereward obtained the cloak Humakt took from Vivamort is not relevant here, but that is what it was, with the powers you might expect as a result. Hereward never used most of them. We only used the powers of concealment, and those with caution. There is always the question of when concealment becomes either ambush or deception, and when either of these becomes dishonour. Fedarkor Cairn-breaker, the last Hundred-thane of that cohort, went past that point, though he no doubt thought his reasons were good when he used the Cloak to deceive the rest of the Legion. What he sought to hide was the fact that in an earlier combat with a vampire, he had lost: he had been bitten, and infected. As far as is known, he had never harmed any of his comrades as a result, but his deception was revealed when a Yelmalian force attacked him with Sun magic. His nature became clear, and, forced into using all his powers for immediate survival, he destroyed most of his own cohort before fleeing, taking the wyter with him. It seems likely that the proximity of his vampiric powers to its own had interacted in some way. Now, perhaps, we know what he became."

"Vivamort's cloak! Wow, are you really allowed to use something tainted with undeath and chaos! That must have been some undertaking." Graylor splutters and quite forgetting Illig's suggestion that the details should wait for another occasion. He continues searching for details by asking Illig. "How did you manage to secure the cloak's loyalty? My old clan wyters used to work co-operatively. But they were bound to the people and couldn't leave."

Suddenly Graylor's eyes open wide with astonishment; thoughts can almost be seen to be running through his head. "Except if the community dies. That's why the tenth were slaughtered so that the cloak could escape from its oaths to support the tenth."

Barely pausing for breath he continues. "So killing Oilamley will have multiple benefits. First returning Egil's lost powers, second removing an unpleasant cult, third regaining the lost wyter and regalia of the Tenth and finally reclaiming the soul of Fedarkor for Hereward."

Egil, standing silently at the back hoping Illig doesn't see him, turns crimson at Graylor's words. He drops his head in shame at the dishonour he has brought upon the legion. A thought occurs to him at this point but he needs to ask Illig or Dori for advice and guidance.

"I suppose now that we have information about the enemy we could really do with a plan to defeat him. Does the history of the Legion have any knowledge about the cloak? If that is the source of Oilamley's powers if we can counter the cloak, perhaps bring it back to the Legion control, then much of his powers will have been removed." Graylor finishes with an offer to Illig. "I am willing to walk through the Flame of Truth to find answers if you wish it."

Abul remains silent and still. In his head, questions and statements turn wildly. "The common people isn't aware about such secret wars waging between the forces of the Enemy and Idovanus" he thinks. Slowly a resolution grows in his soul : he wants to be part of this fight, siding along the Legion, feeling that not only it could be the safer place to be for him, but also that his long and intimate race with Evil may procure some unexpected and original resources.

For the first time in his life and to his great surprise, he feels a urge to go to Lady Jakkanna and to get from her some information. This unbelievable discovery puts some amusement in his eyes and his lips turn into a faint smile.

Putting his hand on Graylor's muscled arm, he speaks softly to him. "This doesn't tell us how a carmanian vampire from Jamal's ascendency was linked to the cult of Oilamley from Far Point. I still think we can win an new asset by asking the right questions to people with different knowledge. If all the answers were here, we would have found it now, no?"

"That is true and interesting, however I feel becoming less relevant. What we need is a myth or myths to be able to achieve our objectives." Graylor looks to Illig for confirmation before continuing. "The myth of how Humakt gains Death covers two objectives. Gaining Death and removing Vivamort's cloak. But I can't think of a myth where Humakt kills Yelm or his equivalent."

Graylor pauses for a moment thinking. Then continues hesitantly. "I recall a myth about Humakt killing a hydra whose heads kept on growing back. He eventually only succeedes with the help of the storm tribe. But might this work? Yes the symbolism is good, for a god is never truely dead until all his worshipers are also dead. The each head could represent each group of worshipers all groups have to be wiped out simultaneously to allow Oilamley to be killed."

Illig waits for the excited babbling to die down before replying. "Graylor, think for a moment. Yes, that myth may well be useful in certain circumstances, but do you really want us to have to trace down every member of a secretive cult, possibly spread over several countries, in order to destroy it?

"Your question about how one can use a cloak captured from our enemy is also easily answered, if you stop and think. A captured weapon, a captured power: this is not an uncommon thing. The Orlanthi you speak of use the Sandals of Darkness, and even the lightning wielded by the Storm is taken from the Fire Tribe. A captured tool does not usually turn in one's hand of its own accord, though it may be forced to do so by another, if its original master or one with similar powers is encountered." There's a touch of bitterness creeping into the unemotional tones towards the end of that last sentence.

"I agree that we need a plan, and a myth to work with. The tale of Humakti slaying Yelm is easily found - what sword do you think Orlanth was using? but I am not convinced that that is the correct myth. A vampire identifying with Yelm seems odd, and wrong. Dorinda?"

"Cavos thought of Oilamley as the sun undefeated by death," Dori says thoughtfully. "But he didn't know that he was Vivamorti - that was news to him when Parus told him, we could see that. His magic seemed more to do with controlling the sun than being the sun, too. That's the trouble, so much of what we know is inconsistent. I'm starting to wonder if Oilamley lied to his own worshippers as much as he did to everyone else. If so, most of what we think we know is probably untrue, and misleading. Somehow, we need to get rid of the lies, and only look at the parts of the story that are true."

"Shall we take a look at what we think happened, in order? We have Fedarkor, a good Humakti and Herewardi, turned into a vampire against his will and forced to reveal himself by Yelm. So he has reasons to hate Vivamort, and Yelm, and possibly Humakt, and has powers from Vivamort - I assume Humakt would have left him? And he has the cloak... he'd have risen fast in the cult, though without any parent or sponsor to guide him.

"Parus was from Carmania, and knew of Oilamley as a rebel against Vivamort. So, we can deduce that Oilamley went there, gained power, and eventually broke away from Vivamort, developing his own powers. The ability to even resist sunlight, much less control it, is not normal for vampires, that may have been the turning point. I wonder if something he learnt in Carmania provided that? The ability to resist and reflect Death magic, too: that's another weakness of vampires. It's all about reflection, turning something into its opposite... I don't know much about Carmania, but that seems to fit, to me.

"Then, as a Hero in his own right, he came back to the Far Place, and started seducing renegade Yelmalians to his service. Presumably he spread to Prax from there.

"A myth that would defeat him, remove his power... I think we'd want to look at the ones he twisted away from Vivamort, that gave him un-vampiric powers over Light and Death. Especially Death... we know enough about Vivamort facing Death, and losing, he must have twisted one of those. Jamal? Abul? Do you know anything that might be used to defend against Death, in Carmanian mythology?"

Graylor was thinking hard about the myths he knew and the stuff in the library with that blasted dragonewt. Suddenly something clicked, dragonewts always seem to turn things on their head. Didn't Dori mention a dragonewt in one of the earlier encounters?

"I've just had a thought Dori. In one of your previous encounters with the Oilamley lot, wasn't there a dragonewt as well as a mirror?"

"Yes, there was, but how does that help us?" she replied.

"Well everything here is backwards. From the way the name is spelt, to Humakti falling into the ways of unlife, to Oilamley's powers and even to Fathers who take from their daughters." The latter is said with a sympathetic acknowledgement of Dori's pain. It is obvious that Graylor's brain is full of ideas that he is having problems expressing. But after a short pause he tries.

"Mirrors and dragonewts, its all upsidedown. I know that it looks Carmanian with the focus on opposites but even in this it is wrong. As I understand it Carmanians are all about balance. Sure they have opposites but they are all defined as positives. Truth and Lie, Light and Dark each distinct entities. This is death and undeath, light and anti-light. It is more than an opposite. The whole cult is defined as a negative. It doesn't stand for anything, only against things. If normal people were to want to oppose death they would tie themselves to the life rune not an anti-death rune." He pauses to see if anyone has understood, but then decides to continue anyway.

"What if under the influence of dragonewt and Hereward magic he was able to manipulate the Vivamort facing Humakt myth to run it backwards. He would end up with Vivamort in possession of his cloak and also once again guardian of death. Only the reversing effect gave him anti-death. Must have been quite a shock!" A short bark of laughter breaks Graylor's monologue.

"If we run the myth forwards for Oilamley then we should reverse the damage. I'm betting that we will have better powers to keep the myth to our path." He seems to have run out of energy and looks hopefully round his friends and companions. "Am I mad or does this make sense to anyone else?"

Abul sniffed then disparagingly.

"Dragonewt ? Oh Carmania knows about Dragonewts, Carmania was one of the first nations to fight the evil Empire of the Wyrms Friends... Our blood was generously poured by the barbaric king Alakoring and somes say that there would still be in Carmania a sacred rite of Hum' Akt to break the draconic specie... but I think you're right, Graylor, Oilamey isn't an opposite, he is reversed..."

Egil seems unusually thoughtful "If I understand what you're saying he will take an ability and reverse it it. What we need now is to find a Hu or Hereward myth that will give him a power useful to us. How about if we used the Unbreakable Sword myth? Then he would find the power he bent would be Breakable sword or something like that."

Abul smiled. "I like the idea, find a reversed power that will weaken him..."

"It's a great idea," Dori agrees. "I don't see how we'd put it into practice, though - most Hu and Herewardi myths don't have Vivamort in them, and we can hardly ask him nicely to carry out one of our heroquests when he knows even better than we do that he'd lose by it."

"That idea of him running myths backwards, though - that's clever. We'll need to watch out for him trying to reverse the Cloak one, if that's what we're doing. If Graylor's right about him using draconic magic to do the reversal: well, we have ways of dealing with dragons. Subtle ways, like hitting them very hard with a sword. I've still got the Water Sword, the one Elmeh Saif gave us to help us kill a dragon. Using a power given to us by a river seems rather appropriate, under the circumstances."

"Sounds good to me." Graylor grins. "Speaking of which, I was always taught that Styx water was lethal to vampires. Perhaps we can prepare getting a vial of water from the River Styx would also be a useful defense."

"Well then, what about Vivamort's cloak?" Egil muses "If it is normally a cloak of hiding then surely Oily would make it a cloak of revealing or a cloak of screaming: 'Here I am you bastards come and get me.' That must give us a bit of an edge over someone who prefers to stay in the shadows."

Graylor snorts with mirth. "He probably would have got that if he tried it. However, he didn't need to get the cloak, he already had the cloak because it was the regalia of the Tenth Cohort."

Slowly but surely Abul was getting lost. People around him were mentioning myths and legends as if they were living in. The sensation that they were weird and initiated to other realities was filling him up to the point he finished feeling himself as the one not living in true reality.
Was he so void and poor of soul that he couldn't follow the speeches around him? This question reminded him Lady Jakkanna's sarcastic comments about his own ignorance and careless education.
"Bloody face of the Moron's Moon!" he thought with some violence. "The old goat was right! Yerck, should I really have to listen more to her? Do I really understand that Dorinda is planning for me an improvised initiation to Herw'Ard during a crazy trip on the Godplane? Karmanos Bless Me!"

Somehow, Illig's silence draws their attention and calls the meeting to order. "So, we have the start of a plan. The quest whereby Hereward gains Vivamort's cloak, expecting Oilamley to be drawn into Vivamort's role. We will need to do more preparation, and find out what variations on the myth our enemy may seek to impose on us, but carrying it out on Godsday would seem to give us enough time, and to be auspicious. There are questions of which roles should be carried out by people and which by symbols, but some can easily be established now. Myself as Humakt. Wolf and Raven, who track Vivamort and then lose him - Egil, and Graylor. The young Hereward, a spear-carrier for his Lord - Abul." He smiles at him encouragingly. "Dorinda will need to go over the details of the quest for you, but you could hardly ask for more support for your initiation than this."

"Then of the other Arming roles, the Styx water should be personified here, since rivers are enemies to dragons as well as to vampires. Yodi, bearing the Water Sword."

"We have a few days to be sure we understand our roles, and find anything extra about our enemy and this myth. In particular, Abul, try to find out what Carmanian versions of it there may be: your tutor may be able to help you there."

He looks round at the group. "If there is nothing more that needs clarification: dismissed."

"Perhaps if I go over the outline of the myth now, sir?" Dori suggests. "Then you can correct any mistakes I make, and we can all look out for local variations, especially those Fedarkor might have known before he changed his name."

Illig nods, and she continues. "Right.... to grossly over-simplify, the basic Humakti myth is that Humakt was hunting Vivamort, but Vivamort was hiding in his Cloak of Deception so that Humakt (and his various scouts) couldn't find him, or possibly knew roughly where he was but not accurately enough to hit him. Humakt cut off the cloak, could then see Vivamort, and hit him. The results were not good for Vivamort.

"The Hereward version goes into more detail about the cloak being cut off: it was cut by the North Wind, as wielded by Hereward, who then kept the cloak. Other versions emphasize different things. Sir, is there any version specific to the Far Place that Fedarkor might have picked up after he had become Oilamley?"

"There are a few.... mostly based on the quarrels between Yelmalio and Elmal in those parts. Some say that one of those two shone a light that showed the shadowy cloak, others that part of the problem was being blinded by Yelmalio's light. None are particularly strong myths, but they do exist."

"Yes, all of you, look for any variations that may exist. We will not be using them ourselves, I hope, but it is as well to know what we may be facing."

With that the meeting breaks up.



Abul takes initiatives
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