Pavis back

First thing next morning

Freezeday, Illusion week, Fire season - early morning

What had happened the previous night hadn't exactly been a party, but it had certainly involved a lot of beer, date wine, and various other interesting liquids available to those in Pavis with cash and a low sense of self-preservation. As a result, several of Graylor's ten are somewhat bleary-eyed at dawn the next morning, though their new Hundred-thane, as usual, has already been on the practice ground for the last half-hour. They are taking over guard duty from Landros' Ten, with the change-over occuring at the same time that the effects of the overnight Starwatch ritual come to an end. While none of Dori's Ten have formally been transferred to Graylor yet, discussion the previous night has made it clear what's intended, and several of them are also present.

They have only just taken up position when a signal comes in from the outer perimeter scouts - a cavalry group approaching along the road from the north-east, again. Once in sight, it's clear that this is the same group as the previous day, though this time they don't all stop. Once in sight of the camp, three riders continue to approach, the rest wheel back, their escort duty over. This time, there is no careful dismounting or elaborate demonstrations of peaceful intent, they simply ride up to the gate.

Graylor halts them 20 yards from the gate with the traditional military challenge. "Halt. Who goes there?"

Kallyr's reply is calm and measured. "You know us, your warleader ordered my presence here at this time."

"Advance and be recognised."

As they approach closer Graylor can finally see beneath their hoods and recognises Kallyr, Insterid and Offir. He flicks the sign to stand down to others manning the gate. The three visitors ride into the Legion's camp. Graylor takes Kallyr's horse's bridle as she dismounts.

"Welcome back Kallyr," he says in a gentle tone. "The warleader is waiting for you. We are to escort you to him immediately. Irnar will look after your horses."

Irnar, whose attempt to graciously hand Insterid down from her mount was rebuffed, replies "Of course, Graylor." Though, as he reaches out for Kallyr's reins they are intercepted by Offir's large hand.

"I'll look after the horses, this rascal can show me the way to the stables." Offirs tone brooks no argument.

Irnar's look is one of amusement. "Whatever you wish good sir," he replies obsequiously and starts to lead Insterid's horse away. Offir harrumphs loudly, as if he wants to find fault but can't. After a moment's hesitation he follows Irnar's retreating back.

Graylor issues a few quick orders about the manning of the gate while he is absent. He returns his attention to Kallyr.

"If you would follow me. Then I will take you to Illig now."

Unlike the previous night, when all private discussion had taken place in the underground temple, Illig is in his quarters in one of the better-repaired buildings: "better-repaired" meaning that only half of it is still a tent. Siggyr, Yodi, and Vur are with him, seated round a table near the entrance, and as they approach, Graylor notices that while he can see their lips moving, he can't hear any sound. This changes as he crosses the threshold, and it comes as no surprise to see Yodi's marker sticks for the Silence of Separation in the corners of the tent. Kallyr has also clearly noticed the effect. "A lot of secrecy for the location of the new latrine trench?"

"I believe I said that was one job I was not going to assign to you?" Illig motions her to the unoccupied chair at the table, where a fifth cup of tea is already poured and steaming.

"You did - that's why I didn't bother bringing a shovel." She sips her tea. "Mint and ginger - how very refreshing." She glances at Siggyr, who is looking somewhat the worse for wear. "Milk thistle is supposed to be good, too, but I've never been convinced by the arguments in favour of rue, myself, that's more prevention than cure."

"I did not intend to employ you as a herbalist, either." Illig is, of course, showing no signs of the previous night at all. "I believe you claim to have some ability at enchantments - in particular, setting up permanent enchanted defences."

"Some, yes."

Siggyr snorts. "'Some' isn't something I'm going to trust my defences to."

"That rather depends on the meaning of the word in this context. Would you care to be more precise?"

"There hasn't been a full-scale test of the results against serious opposition yet, but you're not going to find anyone better in Dragon Pass, and certainly not in Prax."

"That would appear to be adequate for our purpose, then."

"If it's true." For some reason, Siggyr seems to be in a bad mood this morning.

"She thinks it is - and even if you discount half of the estimate, that is still adequate for the purpose."

"The purpose being the defences of the camp here?" Kallyr is serious now, dropping the teasing, possibly because Siggyr is proving to be too easy a target.

"Yes. When we leave, our usual providers of defensive magic will be going with us, and I want adequate provision made for those who remain. Some sort of permanent enchantment to detect and warn of intrusion, keyed to the officers who remain here and to the temple defences, and using whatever they can add to it."

"A smaller and simpler version of what I'm setting up at Whitewall, then?"

"Yes. To start with, I want a plan of what can be done, and an estimate of how long it will take, and any extra resources required. For various reasons, I want to be gone within a few days."

She nods. "Four nodes, then, that's quite enough for an area this size. The longest part will be the physical crafting of the anchor points - that's heavy masonry work, we'd usually tie them to the physical fortifications, but you've barely got any here. This used to be a temple, though, didn't it - is there anything left we could use?"

Graylor is slightly reluctant to speak up, seeing as how he should have probably already left. "Sirs, Egil was training some of the new legionaries in stealth matters yesterday. I believe his intention was to map the camp and surroundings. They may have discovered something useful. Shall I go and get them?"

Illig just looks at Graylor who initially looks confused then he gets it. "On my way sir." He turns and exits the "building". Jogging round the camp he collects Egil, Abul, Yenda and Irnar. Once again he rearranges the watch. Creating a few owed favours in the process. He has just enough time to brief the quartet before reentering Illig's office.

"Sir, here is the scouting party. I have already let them know that you are looking for pieces of the old temple."

"OK, guys can you remember seeing anything like that in the rubble you were mapping?"

Irnar speaks first. "That depends exactly what you are looking for. There are lots of bits of rubble out there only some of which belongs to the temple."

"That's true, but what I need for this is pieces that have significance. All temples, when they are dedicated, have a ceremony that essentially what is the temple. This defines the area that the temple wyter can operate in. Given that this is a Humakti temple, this will also have a strong defensive element too. What I want is any of these original markers. It is easier to reuse existing markers than to create new ones." Kally explains.

"Oh, I know of one then," Yenda pipes up. She takes the map she is holding and spreads it on Illig's desk.

"I was under a bush here. When I scraped my knee on a sharp stone. The only reason I remembered it was that it bore a Jalmar mark. I thought that I would investigate it properly later. I made sure it was marked on the map so that I could come back to it. Here." She points to a location on the map marked with the rune for Jalmar.

Graylor coughs loudly. "I don't know if you know about Jalmar, Kallyr?"

"I didn't until a few minutes ago." Kallyr admits. "I did know of General Vur, but not who he worshiped. I have been sworn to secrecy on his request so you can rest assured that nothing of the Jalmari will be said to outsiders. Though there might be uses for your abilities in Whitewall that may require King Broyan's knowledge."

"In which case I would suggest that our chaos sensing and chaos harming magics should be woven into your defensive magics for this camp." Graylor proposes. "But, first more on the finds of the scouts."

"There is another rune-marked stone by the gateway, it marks 50 yards from the wall. The bowmen find it useful as it has a distinctive shape but isn't out of place for any hostiles," Irnar adds.

Egil reaches into his pack and pulls out a folded piece of parchment. He opens it up and spreads it on the ground in front of the commanders. Then he begins to explain the detail of it, "Right, as you can see we mapped a lot of the area, not in as much detail as I would like, but time hasn't been kind to us on that point. Anyway, here you can see where the perimeter wall was, some of it still remains but not so much that you could stop a concerted attack. Also at these marked points large obelisks have been raised and inscribed with various matrices, one appears to be missing. The base remains but the main body has either been stolen or destroyed. Now we come to the inner courtyard and buildings. Here you can see what, I would assume, used to be the temple headquarters. The walls of this extend beyond..."

"Yes, I think that'll do for now Egil," Illig cuts in: despite Egil having severed from his parents, the Warlord knows the normally quiet man could talk the hind legs off a donkey on the subject of digging up old buildings.

"I wonder if the pieces that Irnar and Yenda have found are from your obelisks?"  Graylor asks.  "It's worth trying to marry the pieces together."

"It sounds likely," Kallyr agrees. "Mark those on Egil's map, and if I can borrow it, and him, let's take a look and see what we can use." She stands, draining her tea. "Caspian, if you could come with us to look out for specifically Jalmari magic, Siggyr can catch up when he's feeling better. Illig, what priority do you want put on the three defence aspects - detection, warning, defence?"

Illig leans back in his chair. "That is a decision for the Warlord here."

Anyone who had about to place bets on the chance of Siggyr exploding would be disappointed. "Detection as primary, then alert, next to nothing on defence. We can handle that ourselves once we know what we're facing."

"Fine, we'll see what the existing matrices are set up for and come back with some ideas."

As the group leave the tent, Offir returns, the horses presumably settled to his satisfaction, and she nods to him. "You remembered you had a delivery to make?"

"I remembered, but you wanted me to ask Dorinda's permission, and noone seems to know where she is."

Earlier, Dori had been visible on the practice grounds, but she isn't there now.

"I'll go and see if she is in her office." Graylor offers.

As he steps outside a sudden thought occurs to him. "Illig told Dori to take up the Tenth and that means getting acquainted with the wyter. She has already completed her normal weapon practice. I wonder if she has moved onto practicing with the new wyter? In the godsplane it was used to hide, let's see if Dori is doing the same." He takes a good look round using his new-found power of penetrating illusions.

A quick look round shows nothing, but a more careful scan reveals that one of the shadows thrown by the early sun on a nearby wall isn't a shadow at all, it's a cloak. A glance back at the rest of the group shows him that Kallyr is looking over Offir's shoulder in exactly the same direction, and smiling slightly.

Not wanting to upset Dori, Graylor walks towards her in such a way that he and Yenda are blocking Offir's view of her. Quietly he says.

"Offir is looking for you, but can't find you. Unfortunately Kallyr has spotted you. So I guess that you had better come out now. We're blocking their vision, so your materialisation won't be noticed."

The shadow resolves into Dori, and she smiles. "So you spotted me, but no-one else did, from what I heard? And Kallyr, of course. Good enough. Time to introduce my ten-thanes to our new wyter then, but let's see what she's up to first."

She follows the short distance back to the rest of the group, still wearing that non-descript grey cloak - but now, it's just a cloak.

"I gather you wanted my permission for something?"

"It seemed safest to ask first, yes, since this is for you in any case. A combined "thanks" and "congratulations", but I know better than to offer gifts to you directly, you only take them from your commanding officer. A new hundred-thane, though, really should have properly equipped Storms. Would I be allowed to give them a few things to help them protect you, or do they have the same geas?"

"I see. Clever, and thanks - but no, none of them have that geas that I know of. You'll find them either in my quarters or in the office - Yenda, Abul, would you show Offir where that is, before you go off for the day, please?"

Abul just makes a short acceptation sign with his head and remains silent, waiting for Yenda before leaving with Offir. Yenda smiles at Offir.

"If you would follow us. I think that we will try the quarters first before going underground."

"They're not wondering where their boss has vanished to, then? Hiding behind illusion magic - that's new for you, isn't it?"

"I told them before I did the experiment. Which seems to have worked nicely, with the expected exceptions. Did you even realise I was trying to hide, until Offir said he couldn't see me?"

"Well, no.... but then I've had practice at seeing through Trickster illusions."

"Trickster?" Dori does look surprised at that. "Is that what it looked like?"

"As a first impression, yes, but now I think about it, not quite. Do it again?"

Dori concentrates, then blurs into what little shadow there is, Kallyr watching her intently.

"No - it's similar, but there's something else behind it, and whatever the something is, that's familar as well, only I can't pin down from where. It's illusion, yes, but not quite the same. Sorry, can't help. Surely you know where your magic's from, though?"

"I thought I did.... but then, where did he get it from, before that? Something to find out about." Dori shrugs, dismissing the problem for now. "Graylor, if you're ready?"

"Yes of course. Should we do this in the temple?"

"Yes, full protection and support. We'll pick up Landros on the way."

Starting the Tenth

Egil is delayed in picking up his map and following Kallyr outside, as Vur is studying it. "Very nice work, young man, very scholarly. " Clearly he means this as a compliment. "Now this," and he pulls out what is not so much a map as a diagram, "shows what the magical defences would have looked like in the heyday of the temple, according to an ally who was there at the time. If we compare the two, even given that you did not have time to note the exact runes on the remains you found, we should be able to ensure that everything is in the intended place."

Egil registers a look of surprise before he poses a question to the General, "Excuse me, sir but this ally of yours, do you think they might happen to know much about magically inclined weapons from the City? I have a few questions for anyone who does."

"Since the gentleman is a former Humakti with an interest in magic, he may well be able to help you, though I should warn you that his memories have become vague over the years. What did you want to know? I, or other of our cult, will have to ask on your behalf, but encouraging knowledge is always a pleasure."

Egil nods his thanks, "I have a sword," he pats Barzaad's Tooth on his hip, "and while I know one of its powers I would like to know if it has any others and if so how are they accessed. The one power I do know is that it cuts through stone as if it is made of butter."

"Cuts through stone?" Vur considers that. "It might be from the old Pavis cult, but that sounds more like nomad work to me. They talked about teeth biting the walls. We can ask, later. There's other people you could ask, given the right contacts. The Sages could tell you more about any object, for a price."

There are a lot of relevant questions. For once, Egil has an interested audience for his knowledge of archaeology. Siggyr stands back, a little bemused by the apparent usefulness and intelligence of his ex-protegee, looking rather like a hen who has hatched a duckling and is watching it swim away. Yodi, too, stays detached and enigmatically amused, but Kallyr and Vur are both enthusiastic. They follow the map around the site, inspecting and testing every relevant carving, and Vern joins them, adding his own knowledge of Humakti temple architecture and treating Egil as a colleague and an equal. Egil's own perception of what magic is inherent in the stones, and what could be enchanted into them, is vague where it exists at all, but those who know more seem to be very pleased indeed, though any comments made out here where they can be overheard are deliberately cryptic.

After perhaps an hour of this, with Insterid getting edgy every time they get towards the outer perimeter and in theoretical missile range of any equally theoretical enemy, and Vur getting edgy any time the cryptic comments get
sufficiently un-cryptic that any of this group, never mind listeners, could understand them, they run out of things to look at and return to the command building/tent, and Siggyr's growing irritation at the whole situation can find a vent.

"Right, if we can finally speak the plain truth instead of dodging around it, would one of you oh-so-clever people like to tell me whether we've got what we need, or not?"

Vern starts to speak, but Vur stops him with the lift of a finger and turns to Kallyr.

"I've got what I need, as long as that missing obelisk can be put back in place. They're not in ideal condition, but good enough that I can drop a Rigsdali daemon in each, and they'll sort it out from there. Caspian, it looked like you had enough for at least some Jalmari work?"

"Some, yes," Vur answers cautiously, "though we seem to have the remains of three different enchantments, none of them complete on all four obelisks."

"Some repair work needed there, then. Siggyr, you recognised something yourself, but I couldn't tell what?" Egil had read the Swordspeech that said "Honour magic, ambush detection", but no translation had been given then, and none is given now. Siggyr simply grunts. "Incomplete, again."

"And those very odd ones that Vern was getting excited about - those will be from the other aspect of Humakt here, the one no-one wants to talk about?" Again, Vern starts to answer, and Vur stops him. "Yes. Of no use to us, even if
they were complete."

Siggyr nods. "So, we can do about half the job, but we need a stonecarver for the rest. Egil? Vern? Can either of you carve stone, or do you just talk about it?"

Egil shakes his head forlornly "Sadly not, I've had a think though shouldn't one of those posts have some kind of death magic on it? This is Humakt after all."

Siggyr's raised eyebrow is all the rebuke that Egil needs "What is it that you propose is used for this magic? After all the temple has no face, so a Visage of Fear is of no use." Then there is a slight pause while Siggyr mulls this over, "Ah, but of course the is another aspect that may work in this place, and Terrify Opponent seems apt indeed. You might be on to something after all young man. I'll even give you the benefit of ignorance because you are not tied into this aspect and so wouldn't recognise the signs."

"Some of those from the other aspect had the feel of Death," Vur remarks. "Someone who worships Humakt through something approximating to that aspect could tell us more, but what is left of the matrices is still so alien that attempting to reuse them would pose too great a risk for the possible gain."

"Maybe. We'll make it a lower priority than the others, at least, do the safe and simple ones first."

"Thank you, sir." Egil replies "I did think of another possibility, but it might be a bit wild. What if it contains Humakt's secret? You wouldn't want the shadow of that pillar to fall on you then. And if you worked it right and had a powerful enough source of deathlight it could work at night or under cloud and only we could see where to avoid."

"Bugger that! If we find any such thing, we leave it alone. I'll have this thing telling me what's out there, but we do our own defence, and no way do we have something that kills us as easily as the enemy."

"It does sound most unwise," Vur agrees. "I can check if any such thing existed, but it seems unlikely even for a group as.. unusual... as this other aspect."

"Well, sir. The other thing we could use would possibly be Truth on the Wind. You know you could use it to alert the defenders if someone has crossed the perimeter and where. The QRF could be dispatched rapidly to the location of the intrusion. For the marker posts I have a question. Does the size of the post matter? What I mean is the small posts I used for some of my rituals are easily stored in my pack and only took a few hours to carve. If we can used similar sized ones for the spells we are proposing they could be placed inside the stone markers, that way the missing marker wouldn't need to be found either."

Siggyr nods. "Adding in Hereward's magic is good, though we'll need to make the matrices from scratch. They don't need to be big, no, but we want all of this to work together, and to last, we can't have a bundle of sticks waiting to be trodden on."

"We found all the parts of the missing marker," Vur adds. "It just needs moving and reassembling. Heavy work to move the larger parts, and some skill with stone needed, but better than making something new. Once we have the main obelisks in place, we could fasten something smaller to them, I suppose, set into it perhaps. We'd need to activate all the magic at the same time, though, I think?" He glances at Kallyr for confirmation, and she nods.

Vur has one more question, though. "These rituals you speak of, young man - what would those be? If it's a question you can answer, that is."

Without malice or any kind of hostile sting to his voice Egil replies, "They're to do with silence and some of the uses that can be put to in a military unit. My officers know of them and how to make use of them and that's all I want to say about it for now, General. If the 100 thanes and warleader wish to pass that on to you that is their choice."

Siggyr's eyebrows rise at that. "Your discretion is noted: but since General Vur is now a nominal hundred-thane within the Legion, and the Master of Ceremonies here in Pavis, I think we can trust him. Are we talking about the Silence of Separation that Yodi has put around this tent, and you have learnt in the last few days?"

"That's the one,sir. We could if you like add it to the four marker posts. Then no noise would pass outside of the temple area. I'm sure you don't need me to spell out the benefits of that. I can tell the masons what runes to carve but I don't know how you'd persuade a demon or spirit to do the magic if you don't have a ghost from that aspect." Egil seems to deflate as he adds the second part.

"We don't. No need."

Yodi, who has been silent up till now, shakes his head sadly. "Much to learn, you still have, and muddled your thinking is. No need for daimons is there when remains here one who the magic knows."

"Or even if they don't," Siggyr agrees. "It's better that way, we get more control, so we'll stick to magic the three of us know well and know how to use to best effect. Putting the runes into the same obelisks that hold those daimons just means it can all work together, and it's easier to get going when we need it. No fancy rituals needed, no pompous farting about, no delay. It just takes time and skill to get the carving done, and I will assume," his tone becomes slightly sarcastic at this point, "that that, rather than the liking of any individuals for the chance to show off, is why it has not been done before."

Yodi snorts at that: Vur stays carefully impassive. "For the masonry work, we have a solution of sorts. Many of my men are natives of Pavis, and one was an initiate of Flintnail before he died. Given a master to copy, he should be able to restore the missing and damaged matrices. He may even find that stone-cutting tool mentioned earlier to be of use."

"Right." Siggyr considers that. "If we keep purely to using the existing matrices, then, we've got ambush detection, and three Jalmari tricks - what're those?"

"Sense Chaos, Know Chaos, Undetectable to Chaos," Vur replies. "Two to detect and identify attackers, and one protective, to prevent them knowing the temple and camp are here."

Siggyr grunts. "Sounds good as long as it's only chaos attacking. All right, what's Rigsdal going to add?"

Kallyr smiles. "This is the beauty of working with daimons rather than individual enchantments, I can add in anything they know or I can teach them. I was going to use the basic Vigilance-enhanced senses, plus the ability to sense an approaching enemy - any approaching enemy - and to see past illusions. If you want a general alarm rather than just through the existing temple guardians, I can add an Awakening Shout, but that isn't exactly subtle. There's also illuminating the battlefield as an option, but again you'd probably prefer to have that only happen on command, you often have an advantage fighting in the dark yourselves."

Siggyr nods. "Sounds complete enough. All right, timings. We'd usually take maybe half a season over something like this, longer if Our Lord guided us to auspicious days we had to wait for. Having the carving work only needing repair will speed that up a lot."
He rubs his eye socket, calculating. "Clay day, two days time, would be good for the carving work, right? Fire day for your daimons. Put it all together on Godsday, we could be done in a week. Possible?"

Vur looks doubtful "Maybe. I would prefer to take this slowly and cautiously, avoiding any errors. At the very least, this is Illusion week, next week is Truth week, that would be a better time."

"That isn't quite the timing I had in mind, either," Kallyr agrees. "Illig, you did say you wanted to be gone in a few days, right?"

He nods, that slightly amused smile back. "If possible, yes. What did you have in mind?"

"It depends on how fast we can get that missing obelisk back in place. It's only a simple job, shouldn't take too long. Assuming you can get that done in the next few hours, I'll make that the last one to drop a daimon into. Your carver can be sorting out the matrices on the other three while that's happening."

"Few hours?" Siggyr looks at her in disbellief. "And what did you plan on doing after lunch?"

"After lunch, I get the daimons linked up and instructed, and you and Caspian use the matrices as soon as they're ready. He and I link the ring to the temple guardian - the one he knows, that is - and we activate the lot at sunset."

Onward to mid-morning

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