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[[ChronPavis Pavis]] [[ChronP36 back]]
====Abul takes initiatives====

Abul turned to Egil and muttered to his ear, but Graylor, being quite near, could probably hear too. " I'm bored with all your suppositions. Why don't you consult other sources external to your own circle, just to have more clues for your quest? I want to go to the Lankhor Mhy temple to learn more about the Dark Tongue... Why don't you come with me and ask there how they see the Vivamort/Humakt conflict? You may learn new facts and how to look to your problem under a new angle... And there is still this woman who seemed to have discovered a meaning to her empty life with this silly tutoring... I already talk about her, she knows about Death and perhaps about carmanian vampires..."

As Egil seemed reluctant or uninterested by his demand, Abul added with a light unconscious point of frank cruelty so typical of his fatherland.
"Well... do as you want, I will go there anyway, but I will have to carry your sword there, you remember?"

Egil shakes his head, "I am in enough bother with Illig as it is, running off now when we are about to undertake a quest will leave me headless. I'd rather not be without it so if its all the same to you I'll stay. Can I just say though if you are not near me when I need my sword and I survive, I will hurt you."

- "This sound more like unfair bullying than getting closer to humility... if I understand well who was punished by Illig and who get the responsability of the other, answered Abul coldly and apparently unmoved, but do as you want, If you try to hurt me, do it well because you will learn soon what the expression 'Carmanians always pay their debts' means..."

After this shameless boast, Abul didn't wait for any reaction and walked away hastily, inside him he was shaking and didn't want that anyone could see him afraid by Egil's brutal words.'Egil is a barbarian, Abul reminded himself trying to relax. He can't speak in any other way' but the small voice of Fear inside him answered '...and probably can't act in any other way too..'

===Lhankor Mhy===

As fast he could do without running too openly, Abul went to the main Lankhor Mhy Temple. There he asked for advice about trolls, trollish customs and language.
- "I've got just bought a trollkin slave, he explained, and I wonder if I could have done any worse investment than this one. I'm looking for a way to having him obeying me..."

From the acolyte, he just got an amused smile and a hand indication:
- "Go to the Grey Sage on your left, he is usually the one in our community dealing with trolls.Perhaps for a small price, he will find some time to give you the basic data you need for your trollkin..."

It happened that a long file of demanding people was already waiting. Taking a place in the queue, Abul sighed and put an hand on Egil's sword to get some of the Humakti's style, then from behind him, someone whistled with interest. A young bearded guard came closer.
- "What a strange blade you bear, guy! remarked the man with a typical sartarite accent. How dare you bear it here in this temple?"
- "Hu? It isn't mine... Abul tried to object. As you said I'm just bearing it. It belongs to a ferocious Humakti initiate..."
- "And he is probably dead if he allows you display it like that... laughed the guard."
- "Hmmm, he is just... incapacitated. That's why I have it in my possession. Order of the Warleader."

Suddenly the eyes of the guard glittered with passionate interest.
- "An humakti Warleader ordered that you bore the sword of an incapacitated initiate?! You seem young to be an initiate yourself..."
- "I will soon be..."
- "To Humakt? How interesting... I'm an initiate of Hevduran myself and always wondered how to get some sword teachings from the Death Cult..."
- "Well, to be exact I will be soon initiated to Hereward who isn't exactly Humakt."
- "Then your Warleader must be Illig Stargazer, I knew he was in town. A living legend... I have heard he was at the first battles of Whitewall."
- "Yes I can testify he was there..."
- "You can testify...? Be careful young lad, you are in the House of Truth, don't boast with me, you're too young to have fought there."

Abul put all his inner strength to stay calm under the inquisitorial questioning of the young guard.
- "I'm not boasting, I was there but, as you said, I was too young to really fight."

The guarded emitted an new whistle.
- "You were there... have you seen the... the Bat?"

Abul grimaced on this painful memory.
- "Well... yes, but if you had seen it yourself, you wouldn't speak about it so mindlessly..."

The guard whistled again this time with a respectful admiration tone but alas quite stronger than before, disturbing apparently all the assembly. With embarrassment, he pulled Abul out of the queue to a more isolated corner and presented himself:
- "I'm Sarger from Jonstown. I'm a defender of Truth and Knowledge. If you need something here I may help you, in return you may help me... As you may guess, this place isn't the best place for sword training."

Abul stayed cautious and suspicious:
- "Perhaps I will I trust a foreign whistling swordsman, but some of my business is my own and I will not share it with you unil I know you better."
- "Fair enough, admitted the Sartarite, but will you not tell me your name?"
- "Call me Abul, I'm from Carmania, but not a decadent moon lover."

The two young men chatted in a low voice while the queue of demanding people was progressing. Their discussion topics were mainly based on places they both had traveled and they exchanged their opinions about the different peoples living in the Dragon Pass. Of course they weren't always agreeing but at least as unexperienced but willing young men, they were sharing the ambition to achieve something in their life and soon a seed of friendship had sowed between them.

- "It will soon be your turn, remarked Sarger. What do you want to ask about? Is it private or can you tell me?"

- "Hmmm... Well I want to learn how to speak and read trollish! answered Abul annoyed to explain a little bit of his personnal mission."

- "What a strange hobby! Don't you want to spent your time training your swordplay?"

- "I don't have any good swordplay and I won't be much useful to my group with any swordplay, but I've got a trollkin slave and I want him to obey me and I want to know more about trolls..."

- "Do you have money to pay the gray Sage ?"

- "Not so much... I thought the place was dedicated to share knowledge..."

The young follower of Lankhor Mhy smiled with amusement.
- "This definition could be usefully explained to some of the priests here, but anyway sharing knowledge for nothing doesn't put bread on your table...."

Abul was then presented to the Grey Sage in charge of listenning and answering to the demands of the Pavis citizens. Learning trollish was possible but the price was considerable for Abul's means. He promised to come back later, when he would have gathered the sum.
His disappointment was visible when he get out. Sarger came to him to reconfort him.
- "It didn't work? asked softly the young bearded guard."

- "Yes and no, I can't afford such a price..."

- "Then let me make an offer : I will try to negociate a discount for you and in exchange you will help me to get sword lessons from an humakti initiate..."

- "Get the discount first and will get you a chance to be killed by an humakti... haggled Abul quite automatically."

- "I'm not a beginner! objected Sarger."

- "Every swordman is a beginner in front of Humakt, concluded Abul religiously."

But on that pact, both separated with the promise to share a drink soon. Abul wasn't so satisfied and his next step wasn't making him much happier. "Now, the old witch, he thought while walking in the streets of the city. I would have prefered to have Egil with me. This brute would have at least showed her that there are less educated people than me... but this guy is more stubborn than a mule."

Abul sighed, feeling anyway some affection for the lonely barbarian. He knew well that living outside any normal life wasn't so exciting and funny that it would seem to all normal people, those with a family, a variable sense of duty and a business which wasn't about killing people. The Carmanian kept walking, concentrating his thoughts on the discussion he wanted to have with Lady Jakkanna. "Graylor is subtle and would have probably asked clever questions but he isn't there. I wonder what could be the relationship between a vampire and Jamal."

===Jakkanna===

After a long walk, Abul arrived at Lady Jakkanna’s home in the Pavistic Estate of the Duke Raus. He waited for quite long before being introduced to the followers of St Abbassar of the Dry Bones.
- "Ah! Here is the young Abul appearing once again… The voice of Lady Jakkanna sounded sarcastic. Tell me, is the notion of remorse making its place into your own personal set of values or have you been ordered by your father to pay me a visit?"

Abul now quite used to the harsh manners of the aging woman tried to not give any new possibility for criticisms. He hid his own emotions and answered slowly and softly.
- "In fact, I came because I was looking for your wisdom…"

Lady Jakkanna frowned and kept silence for a while, probably surprised to find the young man in a positive mood instead of his usual surly opposing silence. She wondered if this attitude could be a new type a mockery clothed in flattery, but as Abul remained silent, she finally accepted the situation and asked with a more gentle tone.
- "What kind of help do you seek? Are you in troubles?"
- "Well, if we discard the fact that I was assigned by our General himself to be the sword-bearer of the most grumbling, susceptible and violent member of the Hereward’s legions based in Pavis, I’m out of trouble. No, my need was on very specific topic… Something is brewing at the Humakt temple, something so big that I can’t speak of it, but it is linked somehow to my father Jamal…"
- "I have often discussed with Jamal, mainly about you, but I’m not so familiar with him… but Iif can help you both, I will do it!"

Abul paused, wondering for a moment if he had the right to speak, but at the end Lady Jakkanna was introduced to him as his tutor, chosen to teach him the right ways of Idovanus. Certainly the matter was about Idovanus’s fight for truth...
- "Have you heard about my father meeting a vampire, a vampire pretending to be Carmanian, a vampire pretending to be from his relatives, thus pretending to be part of my own family? Could you tell me something about this? Any useful detail? Hint, clues or general advice?"
- "Your case is even worse than I feared, sighed the old woman, but it is perhaps Idovanus’ providence that made you come to me when I was wishing and praying for it."

She stood up and began to walk to leave the room.
- "Follow me Young Abul! I want to introduce you to a man of great honor who will be able to give you all the answers you need now but also many for the questions you may ask later…"

Both walked through the rooms of the Mansion to reach the central court where a man of authority was assigning orders in carmanian tongue to various guards. Visibly he was an experimented fighter and commander and Abul quivered when he saw the sacred runes of Hum’Akt. Lady Jakkanna waited patiently that the task was achieved and that the man turned toward them.
- "Master Daine? May I disturb you? Here is Abul the adoptive son of Jamal, we spoke about both men recently if you remember. He came to me with requests and from what I have heard I feel that you may help us even more than I thought before…"

The man’s face remained expressionless but his eyes examined Abul in details. Abul bore the examination without reaction, hiding his feeling in the deep well of his soul. Daine’s glance paused for a while on Abul’s both swords.
- "How goes Illig Stargazer your ultimate commander? He asked finally."
- "He has impressive projects but I suppose I’m not allowed to talk about it"
- "Who do you serve? Who is your enemy?"

The question was asked on a quite informal tone, but Abul recognized there a ritual question from a carmanian vizir to a lower caste member.
Abul answered quite automatically as his master and father as taught him in the past.
- "I serve Idovanus, the Enemy is my enemy."

And the swordsman called Daine answered as ritually:
- "So do I."

The man made a sign in direction of the building’s shadows and offered seats there.
- "Now tell me about your problems, I can spare a little time for a Lady Jakkanna’s protégé."
- "Master Daine is the chief of Duke Raus’ mercenaries, a true carmanian, a personal friend of our lord and a former Sword of Hum’Akt. Someone you can trust more than yourself, explained Lady Jakkanna. Someone who can help you to discern between the truths and the mistakes expressed by the barbarian followers of the Southern Death God."

With these words, Abul felt trapped in some sophisticated plot with no possible escape. Recovering from this news, he decided to be clear and frank.
- "I’m inquiring on a vampire who pretended to be carmanian and from my father’s ascendency…"
- "A dangerous quest for who isn’t even initiated to the mysteries of Life and Death, commented the mercenary."
- "That’s why I went to Lady Jakkanna…"
- "Is this linked to Illig Stargazer’s current business? Daine requested."
- "Yes Sir"
- "Then why not asking him or his followers from the Hereward’s legion?"
- "Because we were all searching for some clues and I felt that a different point of view could deliver different findings, perhaps precious findings…. but because of my ignorance, I couldn’t achieve this different point of view."
- "Which lead us to the last discussion we had, Master Daine, completed a concerned Lady Jakkanna. Abul is surrounded by southern ignorant barbarians. His education is polluted every day by heretic notions and his ways contaminated by erroneous teachings and lies of the Enemy. See now how his soul is grasping for help and pure untainted truth!"

The ex-hum’akti priest remained silent for a while and then announced to Lady Jakkanna:
- "Even if I have left my religious charge in our sacred lands, I may help you to train this young man, but my time is limited and I will not waste it with some unworthy dunce..."

Abul recapitulated all the duties which had recently fallen on his head and a horrible feeling of burden oppressed him suddenly.
- "It would be an honor and I will not disappoint you, Master Daine, but about the vampires..?"


[[ChronP38 Reporting back, pre-ritual]]
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