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Pavis

Siggyr and Jamal


Out of earshot of Seledd, Siggyr relaxes somewhat. "Passing well, Jamal bin Jaran al'Wara. It appears we have both had interesting times since last we were together. As you are acting Ten, I would appreciate a concise report of what exactly you have been up to since we parted company at Tourney Altar - the Warleader arrives, and I will have to account for the Cohort's activities to him, as well as the various... acquaintances you appear to have gathered around you. His mood of late has been....uneven."

Siggyr now takes a moment to greet and salute by name those known to him, Hrolf, Dorinda, Malan, Aelfwyrd, and Blackbeak amongst others, looking in their eye to confirm their health and morale.

Jamal quickly lauches into a precis of the Legion's activities since Siggyr left Tourney Altar. Trying to keep his voice low so that Seledd cannot overhear:

"After Sir Herric successfully defended the honour of Lord Humakt against an Yanafal pretender, the legion successfully escorted the Caravan we were protecting to Sun County. During this time we were assaulted by broo and a servant of the Wounded God, this injured Brenna severely, and we only escaped with the ain of Elmeh Saif, a River godling trapped by vile god learner devices but partially freed by Sir Herric.

Dori took the Ten, as we were called to the aid of the Child of Gonn Orta, which we formed the vanguard, later to be joined by Garrath Sharpsword, who acknowledged the legion as equals. We were victorious in this, and our reward will fill the Legions coffers. Unfortunately, Sir Herric fell in the defence, and his soul now lives in the Halls of Humakt. We have also found clues as to the existance of one of the Legions lost standards, this I have not mentioned to Seledd"

"On leaving the Cradle, we travelled to Horn Gate for healing and recuperation. Here we were re-aquainted with Brenna, who had left the ways of Death to join the White Healers. And also found the community dying of thirst. The godling Elmah Saif had watered the areas, but as we had partially freed him the waters were running dry."

"To fulfill both our oath to fully free Elmeh Saif and to restore the waters to Horn Gate, we fully freed the river godling, and also freed one of his cousins from Draconic entrapment on the condition that Horn gate did not do without.

"On out travels back through Sun Countym the legion was captured by false Solars. We destroyed both them and their power base, but Dori was sorely affected by this, and could not continue to be Ten. I took up this burden.

"In summary, we have both enriched the Legion both by coin, and also by enhancing its reputation in ths place."

As Jamal reports, Siggyr listens with attentive concentration, and then asks for a few clarifications - the extent of Brenna's injuries, whether Efridel had granted leave for the Herewardi to pursue the Cradle Quest, the nature of these clues to the lost standard, and the identity of the new followers the little band has attracted during the last season. As the replies come, Siggyr appears increasingly satisfied.

"Jamal, Dorinda - it is clear there is nothing you have done that has not brought credit and honour to our Cohort and to the Legion. Building relations with new allies, filling the Temple coffers, and attracting new recruits is more than any other file has done to prepare the ground for reforging the Legion, and any information regarding the location of a lost standard is far more than could be hoped for. Lord Illig will be pleased, and I promise I shall do all I can to see your unit properly rewarded - Lord Illig and Yodi shall both hear my commendation. As the Legion rebuilds there will be a need for capable officers, and I think your mettle has been well tested.

"Let me tell you quickly the true version of events upon which Seledd was just commenting, for they have some bearing upon the mood of the rest of the Legion, a mood which your news will surely raise.

"Having left you at Tourney Altar, Yodi led us back to Day's Rest, and from there we aimed north into No Man's March, headed for Moonbroth. No man would lead us in to that territory, and it was a risky journey. After two days forced march Yodi detected and defeated some form of scrying, and ordered us to bear northeast, into the Dead Place. We reached the Winter Ruins and set up camp. There we meet a witch-doctor of the Bison people and traded with him for water, and arranged for a warning to be sent to Lord Illig in Farpoint."
Siggyr makes a wry face at this point. "It appears the message never arrived."

"Several of us scouted around Moonbroth over the coming days, but the Imperials were watchful and the work was slow and difficult, and not a task which I, for one, am well suited. Lunar heroes arrived, and shortly after set off north towards the Pavis road accompanied by 60 soldiers. We followed them to near a place called the Obscure Plinth, where they camped and began preparing with rituals. We hid ourselves nearby, and began our own preparations with Yodi as the focus.

"When Illig led the legion towards the Plinth several days later, the Lunars had set an ambush, with sorcery hiding their soldiers. Illig strode forth to meet the heroquesters guarding the road and duelled with a Yanafali. Seledd's Godgift failed her, and as the legion supported Yodi, the Lunar soldiers surprised them in the flank. Yodi then led us to attack the heroquesters, but was sorely wounded by a sorceress with a ruined face who then fled out of this world. We scattered and killed the other questers, Illig dispatched the Yanafali, and then together we went to the rescue of Seledd's company.

Jamal pipes in here "This scarred sorceress I think we may have seen at the Tourney Altar after Sir Herric defeated their champion."

"Then, as you have heard, we retired to Adari for healing, for many were wounded. Sometime later Seledd set out for Pavis to see how things lay, and shortly later sent word for us. Many warriors remain injured, some were lost. Yodi is still wounded, but heals. Seledd's ill-feeling for our Cohort has grown for revealing her own shortcomings. May the God forgive me for saying so, but even Lord Illig has not been himself since the ambush. In short the morale of the Legion is low and our muster is in a sorry state. This is why your own news is so welcome, and I salute it."

Siggyr pauses for a moment, ensuring his words have been understood. "Let's to order. Lord Illig will be here shortly, and I would soon be prepared for him. Jamal - prepare your ten and auxiliaries for inspection, and gather up that coin you were talking about for it may be just about all the Temple has. Malan - the Cohort will need billets, this will be your task; make them cheap. Lord Illig will make his own arrangements, and Yodi is already staying in a nearby inn, so only worry about the rest of us. And Hrolf - try to find out what Seledd's been up to, I'd rather not have any surprises when we are reporting to Lord Illig. Dorinda - I believe this is your neck of the woods, so why don't you come along and introduce me to the Pavis Temple Warleader. Aelfwyrd.... for the time being try not to kill anyone who doesn't deserve it."

"Any questions?"

The Far Walker shrugs theatrically, "It's a gift, what can I say?" then gesturing at Malan "So, I say we take a close look at Gimpys, cheap billets and plenty of mead and song I hear....."

Hrolf registers Siggyr's command with a curt nod, and turns to Blackbeak. "You guys see what you can find out here; I'll go with Karrath and hear what he has to say."

A knowing look crosses Blackbeak's face. "Riiiight. Sure thing, boss. Don't strain your drinking elbow."

Dori, too, catches on almost immediately and with a certain air of resignation. "Just the beer, Hrolf. Not the date wine. Please?" There's a protective note in her voice that hadn't been there when Siggyr had last met this group. And then she turns back to him.

"This was my neck of the woods, sir, but the last time I was in this temple was when I was initiated, and things have changed in thirteen years. I've never met the current Warleader, but I know of him.

"Ah, my mistake. Of course."

"Derenx, known as the "Handsome"." She wrinkles her nose slightly. "Darra Happan. Strong Lunar sympathies, in fact the Lunars here regard him as one of their leaders, though he only has about ten men under his direct command. A duellist rather than a warrior, but a very good one. He seems to have some sort of private income - at least, he maintains that big residence right next to the temple, and has rooms shared with some other Lunar leaders near the Silk'n'Plume as well. My guess would be Lunar backing, but I haven't managed to confirm that yet.

"The High Priest has less power here, but may be of more use to us. Aurel Gutter - ex-adventurer, though he's getting on a bit now. Anti-Lunar, but with more sense and caution than Karrath. From what I've heard, his aims may be more in line with ours.

"Elendala, you spent some time here with Karrath's mob - did I miss anything?"

Elendala is staring as if she's never seen her before. "You know more than I do - how did you find out all that lot?"

Dori smiles slightly. "Listening. I've been one of the Raven's Eyes for ten years, some habits just become automatic."

"And as well they do," says Siggyr. "Gutter would seem to be our man. All I seek is to notify the Temple of Lord Illig's arrival - I had not realised the Temple Master was a different office to Warleader in the Pavis Temple." He frowns briefly, as though bothered by something. "Well, I'll do that myself then - there's no need to make a big hoohah over it."

Turning to Shrev and his comrades, the Tenthane says, "right lads, you're at liberty for the rest of the day. I want you back here and presentable by sunset, when Lord Illig arrives." Taking his leave of the yard, Siggyr then heads further into the temple to find its Master.

Jamal calls after Aelf and Vastyr.... "Illig will be here by sunset for muster, be here and let's put on a good show"

With that he turns to the rest of Brenna's detachment: his detachment, at least for the rest of the day. "It looks like our commanding officer's arrival is immanent, let's get everything sorted military fashion. We have done a good job for the Legion, let's not fall at the final hurdle"

He glances over to Seledd and Landros in deep conversation and sighs, that's another good one lost. He knows that solars tend to stick together, but she does have a way with a certain type of male. Probably something about women in authority.

As Siggyr walks off into the temple, Jamal follows him. "I know that Seledd has been here for a while,and been talking to the temple hierarchy. But to whom and about what I do not know."

Dori glances across at the group going to a rowdy bar to drink alcohol, mentally debates the attractions of that or listening in on more information for perhaps a whole tenth of a second, and follows the two of them.

Striding through the corridors of the Temple, dimly lit by cunning artifice of oft-reflected sunlight, Siggyr leads Jamal and Dorinda to the offices of the Pavis Master. Ushered in by a secretary, the Herewardi are brought before Aurel Gutter, where they offer a crisp salute and announce their names and titles.

Jamal nods a format bow to the aging warrior. "I'm called Jamal bin'Jaran al'Wara of the 7th Cohort of the Legion of Hereward, greetings to you..." he says respectfully.

Siggyr's initial impression is that Gutter is past his prime, and not just physically. The priest's manner is that of the vaguely confused but well-meaning elderly everywhere, and Siggyr is far too canny himself to believe it for one moment. "Siggyr, Senior Ten Thane and Standard Bearer of the Seventh Cohort of Hereward's Temple, Lord Aurel. Hail. This is Dorinda, a native of Pavis and warrior of our Temple."

"Come in, come in, sit down, no need to stand on ceremony. Heltyr, fetch some ale, and make sure it's properly chilled this time."

"More of the Herewardi, eh? Like young Seledd? A most formidable lady. It's going to be very interesting to see how her arguments with Derenx are resolved - have you met our Warleader yet? No? Of course, he's a busy man these days. With so many of the Lunar leadership either dead or disgraced, he's trying to move up in the world there. I expect he'll hope to have some influence over the choice of the new commander of the Marble Phalanx, and that could be very useful for him. But of course, while he plays Lunar politics, temple politics are ignored, and that may be to his disadvantage.

"Herewardi... I hear tell you follow Humakt as the North Wind, is that right?"

"Just so, Lord Aurel," affirms Siggyr.

"Ay, well, now. It's probably a coincidence, of course, but speaking of the Marble Phalanx as we were, they say they're very keen on finding out about a group they fought on the Cradle who used the North Wind in their battles. They all seem to have worn masks, so they won't be easy to identify, but there were several warriors there who stood out.

"A tall blonde man with a strange multi-bladed weapon and enchanted leather armour - they don't seem so bothered by him, but he sounds recognisable. Some ducks." He dismisses them with a flick of his crippled left hand. "There's plenty of ducks."

"The one they really want to meet is a man with a black axe who killed their commander, Hucipites. There's a few of them vowed vengeance there.
[OOC - Malan got lucky. Or unlucky.]

"And - well, I'm sure there are many blonde women bearing Esrolian rapiers in the world." The shrewd blue eyes study Dori thoughtfully. "Not many who could challenge their champion to single combat and kill him, though.
[OOC - she got very lucky.]

Jamal stifles a grins at the dismay that that Cradle adventure has caused in the ranks of the fabled Marble Phalanx.

"They're less keen on meeting her in fair combat, and I can't say I blame them. Word of someone that good gets around. A knife in the back, though, or a meeting in a dark alley - well, you never know with Lunars, do you? I wouldn't like to suggest that they'd do anything so dishonourable, but they're not Humakti."

"Well, Lord, I am sure that these..." Siggyr begins.

He raises a hand for silence. "Of course, if I knew who these people were, I'd be bound to tell my good friends, and allies in defence of our city, all about them, d'ye see? If I knew for certain, that is. I'm not one to bother them with guesses and gossip."

"Lord," Siggyr bows his head.

Jamal takes the hint. "Of course, this wouldn't apply to any member of the Legion, but if course should anyone make the mistake of hounding or threatening one of our members, that would swiftly find that the Legion looks after its own."

"Now, I believe you had some news for me?"

"Yes, Lord Aurel. My Lord Illig Stargazer, Master and Warleader of Hereward's Temple, will arrive in Pavis this evening. He sends his brotherly greetings to Lord Aurel Gutter, High Priest and Sword of Humakt, and Master of the Pavis Temple, and asks leave to attend Lord Gutter upon his arrival. He asked me to communicate to you his earnest thanks for your hospitality shown to those of his Temple who precede him, and his expectation that they have brought no distress to your Sword Hall.

"Lord Illig is desirous of reaching an understanding with you regarding the unusual position of there being two Temples in the city, and invites you to join him in meditation to seek the God's guidance. This is the message that was entrusted to me."

Without changing his formal tone of voice, and with no warning to Jamal or Dorinda, Siggyr goes on to say, "and unofficially, I am to offer my sword and those of my Cohort in your service until My Lord Illig instructs me otherwise. I am led to understand that these are interesting times in Pavis, and a man of consequence may occasionally be in need of extra support."

This is more than just a wild guess on Siggyr's part, but he still prickles with excitement at the gamble, despite his impassive face. Illig's actual instructions had been to make friendly overtures to the most senior temple officer likely to support the Herewardi in Pavis. Siggyr is keenly aware that offering the Cohort's services is overstepping these instructions somewhat, but he has always been good at anticipating orders and preparing the way for senior officers. Siggyr fancies he sees a small flash of surprise and recalculation in Aurel's eyes, and offers a silent prayer that his offer has hit its mark.

But Aurel does not comment on it immediately. "Lord Illig would appear to be a wise man," he says slowly. "Two Temples in one city is unusual indeed, and has not been known here for many years. And for those two Temples to find themselves in the same temple - " his eyes crinkle slightly at the near-pun, for "temple" can refer to the organisation or the building, " - can cause misunderstandings. Two Warlords under one roof would not be easy, and I fear Derenx would not make it any easier.

"Young Seledd seems to believe that finding a different roof would be a solution. Well, the temple in the Old City lacks a roof, but the walls there still stand. There are the trolls, of course, but I told the lads to give her directions and a guide, and I'm sure they will have made her aware of the dangers."

"If I may beg your Lord's pardon, for a moment." Siggyr withdraws slightly and murmurs in his servant's ear, "Wyredd, go to Malan and Aelfwyrd, and any others of the Seventh you can find. Warn them to be careful in the city, that their descriptions are known to the Imperials in Pavis, and that they are to avoid trouble for the moment - and especially any chance meetings with the Marble Phalanx". Wyredd nods, bows to the assembled warriors, and quietly leaves the room.

There is a moment of silence after Wyredd's departure, then Siggyr says, "Lord Aurel, are there any commands you have for my Cohort, or is there anything you feel we should know?"

Jamal has kept his face the picture of grim Carmanian Stoicism during Siggyr's surprising offer, but at this he pipes up. "Sir, may I have a word? "

He leans close to Siggyr and hisses under his breath, "I don't know what orders you carry from Illig, but beware Hereward's code. Don't promise anything that we cannot deliver."

If Siggyr is put out by Jamal's impertinence he hides it very well. He merely looks the Carmanian long and hard in the eye, and nods slowly. "An astute observation, indeed. My thanks. After ten years in the Legion that kind of thing has a habit of slipping my mind."

He then slowly turns back to Aurel. "Lord, Jamal just reminded me to ask you whether the Pavis Temple retains the custom of the Star Watch at dusk. We are quite used to it, but I understand that some temples maintain other traditions."

Aurel considers Siggyr's words carefully. "Indeed, the Star Watch. Well, there you certainly appear to have the nail on the head. Hmmph. Y'see, it is the Warleader's right to call the Star Watch, not mine. Derenx claims that in Darra Happa the Dusk Muster is called First Death, and this apparently involves all of us banging our heads on the ground and apologising for the Death of Yelm."

The High Priest pauses whilst Siggyr and Dorinda looked scandalised and Jamal winces in sympathy. "Yes, I know... it hasn't proved a very
popular innovation in this temple, I can tell you. Your lady Seledd was most put out by this, as I understand that the Star Watch is an important rite in the observances of Rigsdal, and so I encouraged her to take the matter up with Derenx. I gather she set about that discussion with a... umm, a minimum of diplomacy."

The three Herewardi can't help themselves but exchange glances: they can imagine all too well what that conversation looked like.

"Your own arrival may put a different light on the matter, however. As High Priest I do have some authority on ritual matters, and it may be that with some support we might, ummm, encourage Derenx to adopt a more flexible attitude towards the conduct of rites that are more in keeping with the native traditions and sensibilities of our temple, as an Imperial bureaucrat might say, ha ha. If you could arrange for your cohort to be present on the left side of the sanctum a quarter hour before First D..., excuse me, Star Watch, then we shall put forward our position to Derenx. I think that should be all for now - I'm sure we all have much to do before then, and I must prepare the arrival of your Lord Illig."

"Lord," the Herewardi bow and make to withdraw, but as they do so, Aurel begins to speak once more.

"You might also talk to Seledd. Since her argument with Derenx she has taken to performing her own rites and boycotting the Dusk Muster. I have a feeling she may be interested in attending this evening."

"Yes, Lord," replies Siggyr, and makes his way back to the temple yard.

As they emerge into the Temple courtyard Jamal breaks his silence... "If they think that I'm banging my head on the ground, then they can shove it where the light of Yelm doesn't illuminate!" he exclaims. "No Darra Happan will ever force this son of Carmanos to kneel."

Then remembering other slights, his eye narrow... "Siggyr, did Illig really offer the 7th in service to Aurel here, or are you winging it again? You got pretty close to breaking the code there. Try that too often and you'll get your wings clipped."

Siggyr faces Jamal, and for a moment it looks as though he will take the Carmanian to task for questioning his authority - and then he shrugs and grins, evidently pleased that his gamble seems to have worked. "Lord Illig told me to find a candidate within the temple and support him, which I did, and it appears I supported him in a way that he finds useful. This will make Lord Illig's path smoother when he arrives, and so it serves the temple. Don't forget, Jamal, I offered service - no oaths of loyalty - until Lord Illig commanded me otherwise. That is within my prerogative as Acting Cohort Commander, and far from the edges of what the Code permits."

Nodding in the direction of Seledd, Siggyr goes on to say, "now I'd better have a word with Seledd. If she will turn up at the Star Watch then she can have a hand in defeating Derenx, and hopefully won't feel yet more enmity towards the Seventh for winning her battles for her." He grins again at that. "Coming, or shall I see you down at the tavern?"

Jamal looks over to Seledd and grimaces, he wasn't in the mood for another run in with her at the moment.

"Right now an ale seems like an excellent idea, besides we have to make sure that Aelf and Vasytr haven't decided to overthrow the empire singlehandedly before muster."

Onward to Siggyr talking to Seledd
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