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=====Pavis=====
===Landros talking to Seledd===

Landros has been watching this disgraceful rivalry without changing expression apart from a slight frown creasing his otherwise perfectly
smooth brow. What is it with these people? As soon as one potentially ugly situation blows over another starts. He flicks his fingers quickly in a silent command and his two followers fall in behind him in a relaxed but ready pose. As Siggyr and the others of the 7th move away from Seledd, he approaches her and snaps a perfect salute.

"Landros Goldheart, Ma'am. Permission to speak."

He continues in a crisp but respectful voice.

"Ma'am, The God spoke to me, said to search for the Unbreakable Sword. I know not His purpose in this, but I ask to join the Herewardi. What must I do?"

"The God spoke to you?" She turns her entire attention to the newcomer, black-flecked brown eyes searching his, drilling deep into his soul. Not a big woman, but with an intensity that makes her the focus of any group. "So I see. His mark is on you. There is a truth you seek, and another you will find unwanted and unsought, and both come through the Sword, for it has two edges." Had he thought her eyes were brown? Black, surely? It's hard to see anything else: stars whirl at the edges of his vision.

And then she releases him, and steps back. "Well. Whether the God has spoken or not, there is more to joining the Herewardi than simply asking, as I am sure you realise. There are tests - and then, if you pass, the Warleader and the Standardbearer will take your oath. If you have been travelling with the Seventh Cohort, I am sure they told you //something// of our purposes and the Code, but probably not all
you will need. Though anyone who sees with Humakt's Eye is already well on the way to understanding the importance of Truth and the
necessity of guarding against Illusion."

Landros practically staggers as she lets go, as if she had been holding him physically. The words drawn from her Sight swirl and tumble in his mind and he has to take a deep breath to focus on what she says now. Tests. Yes, of course there would be tests, but he had little doubt that he would succeed to pass them easily and swear his oath soon, and it is with a concious effort that he manages not to shrug at the thought. Instead he nods gravely. "One must wield Vigilance like a sword to rend the veil of Illusion if one seeks Truth." Where did //that// come from? He'd always thought things like that sounded a little silly, but it was popular in some circles, not least in Esrolia.

"The Seventh has not spoken much of the Legion, no doubt leaving that decision to their betters. But hearing that I spoke of the Unbroken
Sword, the acting ten-thane sought guidance through divination, and subsequently invited me to accompany them here, only confirming that the Legion is indeed the Unbroken Sword." As before his voice is crisp and respectful, unhurried. Were her eyes really black? No. Of course not, that had been her Sight. She was powerful in the God.

"Out of respect, I have not pressed for answers. Indeed, I have spoken to few, other than the acting ten-thane." He hesitates briefly then
continues. "The young southern girl, Yrsga seems drawn to the Night Watchman though."

Behind her, there is a yelp as Kaylee tugs firmly on a previously dislocated shoulder, and one of Seledd's men looks rather embarrassed at the involuntary noise. She turns, frowning, and Landros realises that she, too, is limping slightly.

"Kaylee is usually the gentlest of healers, unless complimented on her beauty while performing her duties." Sythar makes a faint sound in the background. Landros smiles affectionately as he looks at his protege, a smile that softens the military mask he had adopted speaking to the Hundred Thane. Noticing Seledd's limp though, he quickly reverts back to his soldier role.
"Are you hurt Ma'am, do you require assistance?" There is genuine concern in his voice. He looks around as if he was about to give orders, but then simply turns back to her.

She looks slightly irritated. "A minor matter. My duties to the Legion come first." The limp vanishes - the trickle of blood down her leg does not.

"Yes, Ma'am. I mean no disrespect, but the Legion needs you in fighting condition." But he has no intention of making an issue of this - it
really is none of his concern. He's made his point.

The faintest hint of a smile plays across her lips as she watches her men trying to pretend that the healer treating them is //not// an attractive teenager. "I wonder how well your Kaylee would get on with Karrath? No, she is a little young to subject her to that. This young southerner you mentioned - Yrsga? Which one is she?"

(And assuming he points her out...)

"Oh, no! Not the one attached to that appalling Kargani?* I dread to think what she's learning from him." She frowns, thinking, mentally shuffling positions and roles. "I had hoped to have you join my own cohort, but that girl will need a mentor, and she will not find one among Yodi's current troops. If they failed even to teach you the basics of the Code, they cannot be entrusted with her education. Ultimately, it will be the Warlord's decision, but that would be my recommendation." She watches as the Seventh split up, most very obviously heading for the nearest source of beer.

"Aelf, I think his name is. He does seem a bit protective of her. Gave me a very long look, just for saying a few words to the girl. Can't imagine what he thought I'd do to her" This comment is followed by a brief smile as he watches the girl for a moment before he muses half-aloud. "It is wise to spread the Lord's gifts among the cohorts. The Seventh does not seem to have been blessed by Rigsdal like the second. Your own duties preclude training the young girl. I will teach the girl." His voice is thoughtful as if he was weighing the different options and came to the same conclusion Seledd had. While there is no hint of insubordination or cheek, he clearly does not act like a grunt. This is a man used to having a command of his own and it shows sometimes when he forgets himself among his superiors.

She simply nods, accepting the agreement. "Siggyr should be able to give you most of the instruction you require, though our Standard-bearer, Uljar Breaknose, will complete it. Even young Dorinda should be able to teach you //something//, though she seems to alternate between evangelism and neglecting her duties in favour of idle curiosity and gambling."

His face registers honest surprise, this was not his impression of Dorinda at all, but simply replies to all this with a short nod. "Yes, Ma'am."

"Well, if the Warlord will be here within the day, I had better prepare a report on our findings so far. Truth has been sought, and found, even if the results may not entirely to his liking.

"Do you know if any of the various hangers-on the Seventh seems to have acquired have any mapping skills? My own scribe - will no doubt
be replaced in due course. We did, after all, manage to explore enough of the area that a map will be worth drawing up, even if the opposition was rather more numerous than had been reported."

The former templar looks interested, wondering what sort of scouting had been performed.

"Yes, Ma'am, you want Vern. A sage of some skill I understand, if a little... preoccupied at times."
During the road to Pavis the sage had cornered him as he was about to go off and stand guard one evening. The man had been impossible to get rid of and they had spent the better part of the night discussing star lore and Tarshite building styles. Of all things. They were still in Sun County, so guard duty was more a formality than a response to possible threats. He'd seemed happy enough though and positively beamed as he tried to take notes in the darkness while Landros revealed some little known details about the movements of some stars. Vern had been very friendly since.

"I'll send Kaylee for him." The young healer was standing a little way off, obviously finished with her tasks and stretching with her fists in
the small of her back. Landros motions to her and shouts, "Find Vern, Kaylee." Again she mouths something under her breath before she goes to find the sage.

"Ma'am, if you need aid in scouting, I may be of some assistance. The God has gifted me with a companion, a raven who has served me well many times scouting the land from above."

"A useful companion indeed, especially here," she remarks drily. "If the locals who claim to know the area offer you the benefit of their expert knowledge, I would recommend distrusting it even more than usual. In this case at least, they appear to have been sadly mistaken. I am sure their Warlord will be delighted to have an accurate map of part of his own Rubble - it may help him improve the training of his troops." She's smiling, but not in a friendly way. Not at all.

After a little while Kaylee returns with Vern. The man is holding a creased parchment in an ink-stained hand, a sword strapped carelessly to
his side slaps his leg with each stride he takes. He is talking animatedly with the girl. "... and you can see how they have kept to the
original shape and layout in this temple, quite similar to most in this part of the world. There are some very interesting and subtle differences, only obvious to a scholar of superior skill and knowledge. The joins are very different, see there? not at all like Nochet, of
course that is a much larger structure, different materials too, so that would naturally affect the method of construction as well. But note how the roof is much flatter here, the rains in Nochet require a steeper roof to allow for a more efficient run off to avoid seepage into the
building itself and the risk of rot, while the dryer climate here in Prax..." He stops suddenly as Kaylee puts a hand on his arm. "we're
here Vern." She turns to Landros. "Your servant has returned, sir, her mission accomplished." and with that she turns abruptly and vanishes in the crowd.

Landros blinks in surprise, but recovers quickly. "Ma'am, this is Vern, the Sage I mentioned. I believe he will be of great value."

"And a follower of Chernan, the Seeker of Truth, I see." So that was what those runes meant - Landros had not recognised them himself.

"Yes - " he changes tone rapidly as he realises who he's talking to - "yes, my Lady. Not a Gray Mapmaker, which is believe is what you require."

"I think an expert on Humakti temple architecture may be of more use, in this case. A fortunate coincidence. Are you familiar with the Temple Hill area at all?"

"Why, yes." He blinks in surprise. "A little, that is - access is of course extremely dangerous, and accurate maps hard to come by. A chalk sketch first, then..."

He pulls a few chalks from a pouch, and utilises the nearest bit of wall for the purpose. "The old wall here.... Main path round there... The old Humakt temple - I'm told it's in the shape of a Death rune? And the Kygor Litor temple, of course, that's better known..."

He continues to sketch, with increasing contributions from Seledd and her men as the details fill in. "Guard-post there." "And another there - slingers watch the path from above."

A second map fills in the interior layout of the temple, and rapidly degenerates into a discussion of the construction methods of the walls. The roof angle, sadly, cannot be determined, due to being missing for the last few centuries.

Landros stands back, studies the overall map. That can't be right, surely? With all watchposts and guards marked in, that made... about forty trolls to get past? In both directions? But she only had five men with her!


* See, Aelf does have a reputation in the Legion!

Onward to [[ChronP4A Siggyr returning]]
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