The camp The travellers


Freezeday, Illusion week, Fire season - evening

Siggyr's sharp bark interrupts her. "That's Egil!" He drops the magic, turning towards his own quarters. "Wyredd, my gear, and fast! Shrev, Hrodar, Aelf, on me, we're doing a rescue."

Kallyr grabs his arm. "No you're not. You're the warlord. You're staying right here." She flashes a grin of sympathy at him. "Boring, isn't it?"

"It's fu.... all right." Sense prevails fast. "Graylor, your scouting ten, get out there, fast! We'll back you up, but find out what we're facing, get them out of it! Someone rouse the cavalry, too."

"Yes Sir!" Graylor immediately turns and starts calling orders. Irnar is dispatched to the stables to get horses and Elgan is sent to collect the rest of the ten. Graylor is about to head off with them when he hesitates and turns back.

"I have three requests. Warleader, keep listening, that way I can keep you informed. Seledd, Landros can you generate some real light on top of those trolls. It will serve two functions, one to give the trolls pause and two to let the men out there know that someone is coming. Dori, can you talk to Santhis to let him know that help is on the way and that he is should look for a choke point that we can use to restrict the movements of the trolls."

He turns to depart and as he does so Siggyr reconnects with the defences and clearly a third voice has joined the singing, a soprano voice that Graylor instantly recognises as Yenda's and singing the song that no Humakti wants to hear a comrade singing. He pauses a moment and his fists clench tightly, his face darkens and he sets of at a run.

Kallyr's back in the magic, studying it again., "That's Abul, too."

Dori, still listening, nods. "I can hear at this range, just, but that's about it. They're not going to be in time, not even riding. Damn, maybe we should have put some attack magic into the defences."

While the discussions go on about what magic to use and so forth, Mauvin climbs to the highest spot he can find and sends a powerful blast of wind towards the trolls where his cousin is fighting. It's a very long way, and with no way of seeing what he's aiming at, he doesn't have much hope of success.

As the dark troll falls and Abul joins the frightening figure of Egil Death-Bearer, he feels a curious mix of various emotions. Still a terror reigns on his own heart like a dark shadow, just constrained by pure military obediance and an inculcated sense of duty, but too soon to be analyzed, there is also a new feeling made of pride and hope : Darkness Demons can fall! They can be wounded and overcome!

A new resolution borns in Abul's soul. "They can 't see me because I'm protected by some spolite talisman and I can wound them because of my blessed hum'akti sword..."

"Saddly this evening, we weren't introduced to Ajax' trio fighting..." He jokes in a mutter to cover his own fear.

The trolls approach the strange, singing humans. Egils's blade whirling in a pattern that spells death to the unwary. The first rushes at him and finds the blade slicing through his thigh, making him drop to the ground. After some hesitation and observation another charges in at the smaller human but he fends off the swinging maul before thrusting through the troll's upper arm. As it seems that usual nocturnal tactics don't work as easily as usual, with angry growls the trolls take time to cautiously coordinate and then the trolls surge in larger numbers with trollkin darting in between them making lunging prods with their small maces. Yenda tries to defend a powerful swipe by a big troll but only manages to divert the blow away from her head and onto her shoulder, she winces and sucks in her breath.

This is the first moment that real doubt creeps into Yenda's mind and she starts having regrets about friendships she would miss. Abul, Graylor and Dori flash through her mind. All of which only sharpens her determination to survive. Her friendships drive away the pain and she raises sword and shield again.

Egil has no defence and is purely concentrating on killing trolls, his song continues unabated. He launches a deadly attack aimed at decapitating the troll in front of him, at the last instant the troll ducks and a powerful thrust of its maul into Egil's chest sends him staggering backwards into Yenda and Abul. Seizing the opportunity the trolls launch multiple attacks making Yenda and Abul defend desperately, still with no defence Egil stumbles as a maul crunches against his hip, knocking him against Yenda. Her defence opens up allowing another troll to swipe at her legs, the blow is minor but she knows there will be a large bruise there in the morning. If there is a morning.

She decides that it is time, it seems silly to worry about the morning, when dying is now. She focuses her dedication to Humakt into her final moments and joins in with Egil's song. Her soprano voice a counterpoint to his tenor and Abul's base. She focuses for one last time on her friends and hopes simply that they will be proud of her efforts in the end. She discards her shield and taking a two handed grip on her sword, sings her defiance at the circle of trolls.

The trolls, having worked out where the weak points are fall back a little and move round so that Egil and Yenda are in front of them. Probably impeded by his magical talisman, they seems to ignore or at least to minimize Abul's presence, especially the trollkin who now surge in first to weaken the humans some more before the real attack comes in. Unfortunately for them they are neither as skilled or as strong as the uz and a double swipe from Egil dispatches three, while Yenda sends two more to hell and Abul's sword strikes as an unexpected threat, disturbing their ranks and breaking their attack on his side. Then the trolls begin to charge, as they do the wind picks up and it seems like it has teeth in it, striking against the charging trolls but it is poorly directed and provides more of an annoyance than a threat.

Landros looks with concern as those gathered sort themselves out into two groups, those who go and save their friends and thos who stay. He is torn. His duty, the man he is now would already be speeding out into the dark to come the aid of those beset by that darkness. However, he was told to aid and learn from the Queen - and few opportunities greater than this would provide that.

He turns to Kallyr, white cloak gently swishing with the movement. "My Queen," he begins not so softly this time as when he spoke to Seledd, but still not loudly. "May I be of service to you in this?"

"With the Warlord's permission, yes, please. No matter how good your scouts are, they're not going to get there in time, but if I can take over what we've set up here and use that as support...?"

Siggyr frowns, but his glance at Landros and Seledd shows that he's also aware of Illig's orders. "If you can do something useful, then do it - but keep me informed of what it is."

"Right!" The careful restraint is dropped with almost visible relief as her star gem lights up. "Landros, link in, be ready to support with Rigsdal's Vigilance - we're looking a long way and need all the support we can get. Insterid, come in with the javelin magic - forget that shield, there's no physical risk here (*). Anyone watching on the magical planes will see that she's now not just alongside Siggyr in the defence magics, but has taken control back from him. "Siggyr, remember I said there were combat options we didn't put in here, but that any Rigsdali can still command the daemons to do anything they know? Let me demonstrate... starting with the fact that Graylor's right, we need more light on the subject."

Something flashes through the defensive web, and suddenly the fight half a mile away lights up as if it were in daylight. "Battlefield illuminated. Now I leave one daemon running that, and we take a look at what we've got, and deal with it."

"Of course, sir." The former Yelmalion nods to Siggyr uncertain if his request was for him and Seledd, Kallyr or all. He then turns his full attention to the queen, mundane and magical as she begins.

At her request for him to link with her, he asks for Rigsdal's Vigilance and the See Far feat to aid her. He tries to follow her workings with the daemons, knowing there is much to learn from this. He is again impressed by her way of working magic, to him it seems almost intuitive flowing from her personality such as he has glimpsed it. Hesitantly, he tries to follow her, lending his skill and stability, his own personality to hers. He is a beacon, a light in the dark, a torch atop the watchtower. The Cold Sun. And he gasps as the distant field is revealed in brightness.

Seledd is firmly ignoring this, getting the Second ready to repel any attackers on the camp itself. Yrsga, however, has been watching with almost wide-eyed awe, in quite a contrast to her usual detached cynicism, and steps up to Landros' side nervously.

"Can I do anything? I'm only an initiate, though, so it won't be much."

Kallyr flashes a smile of welcome at her. "Me too, so don't worry about that. If you can help us see further, you do that."

Hearing this brief exchange, a slight young man by the name of Karkos, one of Landros' new Rigsdali follows Yrsga's example. If she had been wide-eyed, Karkos had been utterly speechless. Hailing from one of the small one-clan half-hidden settlements near the Real City he had led a harsh but not very interesting life. Part bandit, part scout, part scavenger he had wanted more. He'd seen the Herewardi in Pavis, then in the Rubble passing by and sought them out. He knew how to fight, had sworn the oaths and been assigned to this white-cloaked fellow with his too long sermons about Rigsdal. Lots of talk about watchtowers, shields and staying awake.

Well, he knew all about stuff like that, he'd spent all his life in the Rubble after all. He had his protection spell and his spirit light which was plenty of magic to him.

Except, perhaps he didn't and it wasn't.

Swallowing hard, he stepped up on Landros' other side and squeaked, "Me too."

When the light suddenly blossomed over the battlefield Landros can feel the God in him, his drawn sword glimmers faintly of blue starlight, his shield is a tower. Vaguely, he felt those under his command who also stood watch. He looked briefly at the woman beside him and smiled affectionately, then turned to assess the battle. It was not going well, the darkmen would carry the battle if nothing was done.

"A relief force will be too late," he said calmly. "Can you do anything, dea - my Queen?"

A dark shape above the fight fluttered into view and descended onto one of the fallen trollkin. It picked an eye and let it slide down with a contented sigh.

For those battling the trolls time ceases to have any meaning, other than the trading of blows and the rhythm of the song they are singing together.

The trollkin have learned to be cautious of the blows of the Humakti. The sudden appearance of light causes them extreme distress, some stand still gawping and these are cut down. Others flee and are either bodily grabbed and thrown back into the fight by their larger brethren, who although surprised by the light recover more quickly, or are lucky and escape to find comfort in the nearest dark hole. For Egil and Yenda there is neither respite nor any real recognition of the new light. They are locked into their song and killing the enemy is their single, unified thought. The thinning of the trollkin ranks allows them to take the fight to the larger trolls. Yenda lunges at the nearest and is happy to exchange a mace to the arm in order shove her sword deep into the gut of the troll. She yanks out her sword and continues to fight one-handed until the feeling returns to her left arm.

A flutter of feathers nearby elicits little response other than the exaltation that Humakt's companion, Raven, has joined the fray looking for the spoils of battle that are rightfully his.

In the middle of the fighting savagery, only Abul seems to care for life, his arm is becoming very heavy and his strikes less and less precise. Now envisaging the perspective to die protecting the rears of the two berserks, he commends his soul to the Good God when suddenly the unexpected stellar light illuminates the landscape.

Seeing the darkness demons receding and Hum'akt's Raven showing the retreat way is for him like a direct answer to his prayers, a short but intense ecstatic moment driving away all his night terrors and strengthening his faith and courage. "Thanks for your care my Lord," he thinks with immense gratitude, mixing in the same praise the Good God's supposed permament attention to him and all the circumstancies of his short life which led him within the awesome Legion of Her'ward.

Why his companions don't consider retreat as the most evident option and keep fighting is then his next thought and concern. "The encirclement is broken, we must leave the battleground! Now!" he shouts, trying to cover the berserk song. "Lord Illig wants you alive at Whitewall, not dead in the Rubble!"

Back at the camp, Kallyr glances back at Landros, her expression going neutral and distant for a moment, then back to full alertness.

"Can and will. Remember what I was saying about Rigsdal and Vinga working well together? Insterid..."

The younger red-head is at her shield-side, right hand poised as if holding a javelin. "That's never full range?"

"No, almost exactly half. I'll adjust for that, you back me up, daemons do the actual shooting once they can get that far. Everyone else concentrate on seeing far enough to be able to aim accurately."

There's an adjustment in the web of magic - Kallyr's role in it shifts slightly, and her hair looks more red than before. "Warlord, that's Egil, Abul and Yenda, back to back, facing a dozen trolls."

The magical power surges, and what appears to the dazzled onlookers to be three bolts of lightning flash from the sky, hitting the distant conflict.

"Make that nine trolls."

Three more bolts - no, javelins. Star javelins, but with Vinga's help, thrown a mile, with deadly effect.


And again.

"Three - no, that's Egil, Abul and Yenda, back to back, and three trolls running away."

The first flashes of light are ignored by Yenda, the next causes the troll she is fighting to disappear, then suddenly there are no trolls and only fleeing trollkin. She looks round angrily to see who has taken her opponents. She considers running down the fleeing trollkin, just to have something to kill. Or perhaps these men next to her, but no they are friends. Then suddenly it hits her, the fight is over! The killing frenzy departs, she is sorry to see it go, there was a strange kind of peace in the middle of the carnage.

With the trolls fleeing Egil's song ends, the rage drains out of his body and he falls to his knees. The anger that was in him now turns to exhaustion and he takes a few moments to gather himself before he stands. He nods to Abul and Yenda in acknowledgement of their courage before he mutters "Probably better to have died here than get the bollocking I'm about to get from Dori, Illig and anyone else who fancies a yell." He leans against a nearby wall with a rather morose expression on his face, Barzaad's Tooth is still in his hand as he is too tired to worry about sheathing it at present.

Suddenly panic rises unbidden within Yenda. She shouldn't be here. Her respite should be in the Halls of Humakt. Why wasn't she there! Did HE think she was unworthy of entering those halls?

"Probably," comes the distressing answer from within, and she abandons herself to morose introspection.

The young Carmanian offers his canteen, lets Egil drink all the water he likes and then goes to look after Yenda.

"Are you all-right, Yenda? Remember me to never upset you," he says with a serious tone but caring eyes. "Look around on the mess done. Women shouldn't carry sword, it's unnatural..."

His voice raises her from the depths. Huskily she responds, "What is unnatural is that I should be here. I consigned my soul to Humakt and he rejected me!"

As Yenda begins to wave weakly her hand in a sign of protest, he adds, "Ah! I see you still have some energy. Let me help you, let's go away from this slaughter before anything unpleasant appears. I know the way home, my magic will guide us without error."

Supporting both Humakti alternately, he feels that this time he's up to his commitment to the Legion. "Hum'Akt, your followers saved me, I will protect them as I promised you," he prays.

It's limping slowly on the path to the camp, leaning on the shoulder of a staggering Abul that the rescuers find the three fighters.

In the temple Mauvin leaps down and begin haring across the Rubble to his cousin. Meeting Gerras on the way he grabs the Praxian's arm. "Come on he's not dead yet. We'd better bring the little runt home."

Gerras waves the others towards the camp before turning and following Mauvin.

Graylor and his ten are first on the scene. He leaps from his saddle barking orders. "Irnar take the men and secure the area. Yarran fetch me bandages and water for these warriors. I'll check on their injuries. Then we'll put them on horses and lead them home, they look too exhausted to walk."

He quickly assesses the damage and is astonished that there is really only minor damage to the trio. Though it won't feel like it in the morning. He lifts his head finally letting a smile wipe away the worried expression he has worn since hearing the fight.

"Warleader," he calls to the empty air. "They are all three alive with no serious injuries. I am bringing them back now."

He bodily picks up Yenda and deposits her on the back of his own mount, despite her protesting, "Nobody has put me on the back of any animal since I was six. I can manage on my own."

He turns to aid Abul and Egil to mount when Gerras and Mauvin arrive.

Other than Mauvin's departure, the tension in the camp drops: though various people are now eyeing Kallyr in a slightly new light. They’ve had it demonstrated that she’s good at ritual magic, but that ‘s just magic, not killing, and the current absence of any armour or weapons makes her look like a non-warrior, despite what they might have heard. But anyone who can kill nine trolls in as many seconds is a warrior, and a warrior to be respected: and to be glad that she is now, it seems, on their side.

Others react rather differently.
On first being introduced to Aelfwyrd most would comment on his athletic frame, youthful good looks and that strangely talismanic presence. But those than spent time with the young Humakti soon felt a much darker side, just beneath the surface. His formative years as an Exile and gladiator in Furthest Arena made him hard. But even for a Kargan Devotee he was spectacularly violent, unruly and arrogant. On the plus side most in the Legion were thankful to have him fight at their side. Many of them might have called him a madman, but rarely to his face. Some knew of his past, his Far Walker heritage, but they were sensible enough to not to bring it up in casual conversation. And who was this standing before him? That Starbrow bitch. She who led the Righteous Wind Rebellion. The "Queen" that singlehandedly wrecked his tribe, his clan and his life. Aelfwyrd stares coldly as she orchestrates the arcane defences. His mind’s eye returns to those dark days. He remembers, whispering at first. "I remember the fallen stone steads of the Youf, green with moss and rank with ancient treachery. I remember the twisted towers of the dragonewts, and the shining white-glass walls of Alda Chur. Towering above them all, I remember Kero Fin, the Goddess Mountain, our ancient mother.”

But the Legion are used to ignoring Aelf muttering to himself, and even those less familiar with him take little notice. The immediate pressure to use the defences aggressively has gone, but Kallyr is taking the opportunity to show Yrsga and Karkos exactly what they were helping with, and how Rigsdal’s ability to see far, and see in the dark, can be used, given a little more power than either of them normally possess alone. Together, they watch as Graylor reaches the youngsters.

It’s perhaps in the same mood of practising that Siggyr is monitoring on a more general level, but what he finds is less reassuring. "Approaching enemy, same direction."

Kallyr comes back into the full web alongside him. "That’s the same trolls that ran away, coming back, and coming fast."

Siggyr glances at her. "Met something they’re more scared of than they are of you, did they?"

The comment had been sarcastic, but she takes it seriously. "Yes, that’s what it looks like. Let’s see how far we can push this out, see if we can find it. Once it gets as the battlefield it’ll be easier, that’s still lit – oh."
It takes no magical vision to notice the aforementioned battlefield dimming, flickering, and going out.

A fact that is not lost on the rescue party. Irnar breaks up Egil's reunion. "Boss they're back! The trolls are back and coming for us!"

"Right. Archers to me. The rest of you mount up and get out of here. We'll provide cover for your exit. Gerras and Irnar ready their bows whilst Bofrost and Hilord pull out slings.

"We'll have two teams: I'll take Bofrost and Hilord as team one, Gerras and Irnar will be team two. One team moving whilst the other team provides cover. We'll use thirty meter maximum spacing. We don't want to engage, just get home, but if they get close we need to buy everyone enough time to get safely into camp. Understood?" All nod.

"OK, team two get moving. Team one cover."

Siggyr remains unimpressed. "Daemon got bored? Or just realised that isn’t a battlefield any more?

"No. Feel it – ask it. That’s our approaching enemy, and it just overpowered my magic. We’ve got a problem."

"Approaching, you say? And half a mile away? Right – you’re getting back into armour." Offir should in theory be taking orders, not giving them, but he doesn’t seem to have noticed this as he goes to collect the large pile of iron.

Almost everyone is listening in by now, and Dori is speaking on the wind to Graylor. "There’s more trouble out there – get back as fast as you can, please."

"We saw them. And are coming back as quickly as we can. Four of us are on foot covering the retreat, the others are mounted." Graylor talks back to the wind, knowing that Dori will pick up his words. Though his actions attract some strange looks from Hilord and Bofrost.

Well, almost everyone. There’s still some muttering going on. "I remember the spear music of the weapontake, the laughter of the thanes and the gentle chiding of the women. I remember the shining of cuk feathers by firelight as our mightiest champions prepared to fight with beak and spur." Quite what cock-fighting has to do with this isn’t clear to anyone else, but Aelf being on a different lozenge to everyone around him is pretty normal, and ignored.

"We know where it is now, anyway, the detection should be able to pin-point it. Let’s take a look – even if it’s shrouded in darkness, Rigsdal will be able to see."

There’s a pause. "Got it – him. Death Lord. Full lead kit, black and crimson, the works – oh, and he seems to be on fire. Lovely. Warlord, permission to hit him?"

"Get on with it!"

"Right – team, back into places, please. It’ll be one javelin not three this time, but it’s harder to see to aim in the dark. Ready?"

The web reforms, if rather raggedly – some of the team are now being slightly distracted by the shouting from behind them. "All this I remember. This I can never forget. It is my heart song, my being, my blood...." If that’s still about cock-fighting, Aelf is taking it far too seriously.

This time, the flash from the sky is noticeably bigger and brighter than the last few – but rather than ending in a decisive bang, it seems to fizzle out into darkness. Kallyr stares out at its supposed landing point, almost unbelieving. "He ate it! That thing ate my javelin! What is that?"

A sharp question from Dori cuts through the resulting babble of confused alarm. "Did he have lead teeth?"

The response is equally clear and sharp. "Yes."

"Right, I know who that is. Where’s Aelf?"

That question answers itself, as he approaches, shouting incoherently, and the crowd parts to let the troll-killer through. It takes a moment for them to realise that what’s annoyed him isn’t the attacking troll.
"I had never ventured from the Gors until this Vingan HAG gutted Far Point, betrayed the Snakepipe Dancers, and led her doomed revolt. Generations of thanes lost. Ironfist and his gibbering moonies pissing over their corpses. Lagerwater, Jaskors Hold and Lost Man Hills all gone, forever!"

He stalks over to Kallyr, Yrsga moving aside for him, but rather than cooperation, he sends her sprawling. Shock written large across her face, she lands in a heap on the stone floor. "My clan is sundered, my marrs are broken, and the tattoos of my belonging are broken and bloodied. Who is to blame for this? Who led the ill rebellion? Who left my people dead and clan dishonoured?" Aelfwyrd visibly shakes with fury now, flecks of spittle around his mouth, eyes bulging. "This whore has my kins’ blood on her hands. And we will have our vengeance now, and before the eyes of the god."

With that the Kargani tosses a sword at the prostrate and rather stunned warrior Queen. Kralorean Seven Dragon Blade in hand he adopts the duelling stance and begins to mouth the ritual words.

Within a few moments, he isn’t facing Kallyr, but a whole row of people who’ve decided to intervene, Dori in the middle. "Aelf, later! Later if you must, but not now – that’s Barefang out there!"

Landros had only been barely aware of the Far Walker's mutterings as an irritating background interference to what they were attempting to do in the ritual. He was still too caught up with the God's presence to react quickly enough to this unexpected threat to his lov, to the queen, but once Aelf had shoved her to the ground he did move.
"Kaylee, stay!" he said firmly then with a peremptory gesture to the members of his ten present, he interposed himself between the madman and Kallyr,forming a light screen between them. His bared sword still glinted faintly of the star magic as he held it in a defensive position. Not threatening.
"Legionnaire. Stand down!"

Kaylee's face was a mix of worry, astonishment and irritation and she found herself ignoring Landros' command not to interfere. Terrified, but somehow moving anyway she stepped up to Aelf thinking he was even worse than a Storm Bully. She faced him, swallowed hard and put a hand gently to his lips just as he was about to say the last words of the challenge.

"No, Aelfie. Not now.", she says in as soft a tone of voice as she can manage.

Not for the first time his sword brothers are seriously considering killing the lunatic Far Walker. Perhaps it's the softly spoken healer girl that makes him pause, or the mention of the Death Lord. Who knows? but stop he does and then there is an eerie silence.

Aelf regards the collective throng, faces of legionaries, sword brothers. Some angry, others shocked, and the odd few knowing looks.

His stare becomes cold as it finally rests on Kallyr. "How deep the dishonour? How large the deceit? How many innocent must die before you know justice?" He hawks nosily and spits disdainfully at her feet. "You may have duped some in this Legion but I know your truth. Before the end we shall have a reckoning, you and I. On Styx herself I swear this oath.

The Far Walker turns his back and stalks off, pushing his way through the crowd. Passing Dori he stops to salute, a collector item for him in the Legion for sure. "I am oathed, and Barefang must die."

With that he lopes off into the distance, towards the billowing darkness and the retreating legionnaires.

Kallyr stares at his retreating back. "Oh, fine. Any time." She gets up, and starts putting on the armour Offir hands her without any of the protests he obviously expects. "Is he really going to attack this Barefang alone?"

"He's sworn an oath to kill him," Dori answers, "and yes, he probably expects to just go out and do so." She too is accepting the helmet and shield Elendala is handing her. "I think a few of us might go troll-hunting, though. Want to come along?"

Insterid almost yelps in dismay. "No, she does not! She's.."

"Probably going to do it anyway," Dori completes. She turns to Siggyr. "Sir, if you already know where Barefang is from the defences, and I go with the attackers, can you guide us to him? We can leave you some of the young Rigsdali as support, and any Herewardi can help you out with the winds. Barefang's magic concentrates on fear and darkness, and I'd like to have a counter to that with us, not half a mile away."

Siggyr considers that. "Don't see why not. You'll pick up the rest of your cohort part-way there, and there's plenty of Rigsdali in the Second to help out here."

"Oh... yes, of course." Dori looks a little startled at the thought.

"Well, get on with it, then."

"Yes, sir!" She turns to the rest of the group, stopping at Kaylee and putting a hand on her shoulder. "Well done. It's hard enough facing Aelf down when you're armed and ready for him, doing it without even a dagger - well, I don't think I'd have the nerve to try it."

Kaylee has turned a bit white and just nods at Dori's praise, seemingly a bit too dazed at the moment to speak.

"Healers do that sort of thing all the time," Kallyr agrees, "and that's why I always say they've got more courage than any warrior."

"They do," Landros comments with an odd expression before he slowly steps up to his protegee. "Are you all right?" he asks her gently as he looks at her searchingly. Again she nods, but her face has gone even paler and she hugs herself to keep the trembling from being too obvious. With a small shake of his head, Landros gathers her in a safe embrace, just holding her until she has relaxed a bit.

"That was a very, very brave thing to do. Idiot," he finally comments and plants a kiss on the top of her head. "And in a way it makes you even scarier than he is," he adds in an amused voice and is rewarded with a sound that might have been a giggle and a soft kick in the shin.

He releases her then and turns to Siggyr. "My Lord. Where do you want me and my ten?"

Siggyr nods to Dori. "You'll want them troll-hunting, I take it?"

"I'd take the entire Legion if I could," Dori agrees. "Barefang's tough."

"Right then, off you go. One full cohort and your extras should do it, but we'll send rescue if you need it."

"Yes, sir. I'll call if I need to, and I'll be keeping you informed anyway - you realise with Master Yodi's Silence in place, I won't be able to listen out for you the way I usually would?"

"Huh. Yes. Well, not a problem, not for me. Nor for you, once we get you into the ways of Efrodar."

"No, sir." Dori doesn't seem particularly enthralled with that prospect. She turns back to Landros. "Get your men together, and if any of you have any special powers against trolls or undead, tell me about them on the way."

A few minutes later there's another message on the wind. "Three dark trolls coming your way, running scared. Barefang is following, Aelf is heading out to find him - keep him with you if you can. Reinforcements on the way."

Immediately Graylor signs to the archers to halt their progress back to camp and set themselves to repel the dark trolls. He also cautions them to be aware of Barefang coming up behind and Dori's request for Aelf. Soon the trolls can be heard and Graylor calls on Ashar to illuminate the battlefield so the archers can see their targets. The trolls are caught in the middle of the area but hardly notice the change in illumination as they heedlessly run on.

Graylor gives the command and three bows sing out simultaneously and three arrows hit their targets. Irnar's easily penetrates the troll armour whilst the other two cause big dents. Sling stones bounce off helmets and the trolls decide that a change of direction is needed. They cut away from the road heading south west towards the troll stronghold in the Rubble. A final flurry of missiles help them on their way. Irnar curses as he sees one of his precious arrows running off, still stuck in the troll!

Moments later Irnar's sharp ears hear the sounds of running feet, coming from the direction of camp. A minute later Aelf runs into sight and Graylor steps out to greet him.

"Hail Aelfwyrd. Dori has asked that you wait a moment with us while reinforcements catch up."

Egil waves wearily to Aelf, "I should get ready to join in with this, I think, as I brought it upon us tonight. If I get to Humakt's Halls first I might find a good place to hide before Dori comes to kick my behind." He slides down off the horse and draws his sword.

Seeing Gerras and Mauvin arriving he nods to them, "Glad to see you to here for the troll bashing, apparently they still want some more even after Vinga fried them."

A faint frown wrinkles Landros' forehead and he gives a short shake of his head in negation. "I don't think any of us have special talents in that regard, Ma'am. Swords will have to suffice, with the God's favour."

"Form up.", he says then turning to those of his ten present. They do so with practiced ease now, even those new to the legion and he gives them a short satisfied nod of approval. They are still a few bodies short of a complete ten, but they are getting there slowly he hopes. Though if this Barefang is as dangerous as the others seem to think, that may take a while yet after this. He hopes the Lord doesn't summon too many of them to his hall tonight.

His eyes suddenly narrow as he first sees supressed grins on their faces, then something white and small glinting on their shoulders. 'What now'? he thinks and takes a step closer to Caerl who is in front. A small white brooch or pin in the shape of a shield adorns his cloak.

"What is that on your shoulder, soldier?"

"This sir, don't know sir. It was in my kit so I puts it on."

Similar answers from all of them.

Kaylee pipes up. "I think they're supposed to be cloaks, nots shields actually." At his startled look she grins openly. "The White Ten, sir. Or the White Cloaks perhaps."

No time for this now, which on reflection was probably why they put them on now, but he turns to Dorinda.

"Ma'am.", indicating the readiness of his ten.

She glances over the group. "Very smart." Her eyes stop at Kaylee for a moment, move on to Kallyr's little group, where Ernaldesta has just joined them. "The healers go with us as far as picking up the injured, but no further. I'll take you into some fights, but not this one. Aelf stopped for a healer, Barefang won't. Right, swords out, make them Unbreakable while we have the time, and I'll be lighting our way a little, since not all of us can see by the Deathlight."

(OOC: Wyter Blessing Function 18W: Illuminate Darkness)

It isn't as easy to see by that eerie black light as it would have been by daylight, but it's still only a minute or so before they meet Gerras, Santhis, Yaren and Sextus making their way towards them. A quick inspection shows no damage on any of them, and given the opportunity to fight without being blind, Santhis turns round and joins their group, tagging on the end of Landros' Ten.

"Siggyr's guiding you that accurately, then?" Kallyr sounds almost surprised. "He learnt fast."

"I'm being guided accurately, yes," Dori replies, with a slight smile. The rest of the group can just about hear the voice that's murmuring in her ear, but only just, not enough to recognise it, or to make out words.

Kallyr laughs. "He got Seledd in there the moment I was out of the way, did he?"

That slightly enigmatic smile deepens a little. "No."

The guidance, whoever's doing it, is clearly good, as they meet the rest of the group coming towards them and on to where Graylor and his team are keeping watch.

Graylor leaves his position to give Dori an update. "Aelf passed through a few minutes ago but didn't stop. There has been no sighting of Barefang, but three dark trolls were engaged and fled just before Aelf arrived. What's the plan of attack?"

The plan, and the attack

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