The Sword Bridge

Abul in the Underworld

Date and time meaningless on this plane

The door closes behind him with a irrevocable firmness. Ahead, a corridor leads on, decorated in a style that he knows to be typical of a Carmanian Hazar's dwelling, with sets of armour on display, weapons and trophies on the walls. This is what Duke Raus' home tried to imitate. No daylight is visible, but it is well-lit, with lamps set into the walls that, perhaps disturbingly, do not flicker. The corridor bends a few times, and ahead is a junction, where he might go left or right. A knight stands there, in full iron armour, his visor down, and with a tabard of black and white stripes. He bows as Abul approaches, and indicates that he should go to the right.

Thinking himself still mute, Abul bows politely in response to the knight and nods to show that he has understood the request. He steps to the right, apparently calm but in fact quite curious.

The next corridor continues to an open courtyard with a fountain playing in the centre. There are exits from each of the four sides. Again, a knight in a tabard of white and black stripes stands next to the fountain, and bows on seeing Abul approach. A sweep of his arm indicates that Abul should take the exit on the left.

Politely Abul bows again and obediently takes the indicated direction. All these marks of attention make him feel confident and trusting.

A short walk along a passage leads into a large training room, with an arcade around all sides. More knights, still in those striped tabards, are here, some training, others watching. A board on the wall displays scores - one set for the Knights of the Day, the other for the Knights of the Night. It appears to be an even match.

In front of more people, Abul slows his steps and waits for a signal. As everyone seems busy, he progresses into the training room, waiting to get some attention, preferably from a Knight of the Day, but none cares.
Gathering his courage, he walks to the nearest Knight, touches his shoulder and as the knight looks at him, Abul's strict education makes the rest... without even thinking of it, Abul addresses to the knight and asks: "Excuse me, Sir, and sorry for disturbing you, but I'm new to this place and I was wondering what role I would have to follow to stay on the most honourable path? Could you enlighten me with your experience and knowledge?"

It is only when the words are spoken out clearly, that Abul realizes that even if his throat had been destroyed on the material plane, he will be able to communicate in the Afterlife. "Very handy!" He thinks to himself.

"A newcomer! Welcome, welcome. Well, next thing for you, young man, is to go to the armourer and get yourself equipped. Down at the end there, through the door on the right. Then you can come and join in!"

Somehow astounded by the lack of interest from the Knight for a newcomer, but suspecting that newcomers arrived everyday, Abul obediently goes to the armourer. The faster he will become accustomed to his role, the better it will be. Maybe the armourer will be more talkative.

Abul arrives at the indicated armourer.
"Good day, morning or night! Whatever it is at the moment here..." Abul salutes in an attempt to appear more sure of himself as he is. "I'm a newcomer and was asked to come here and get equipment. May I also request some indication on the local regulations? I wouldn't like to blunder like a fool..."

"Hmm. Not much to you, is there?" The armourer is perhaps an inch taller than Abul, but there's a wiry strength there. "Well, strip off, and we'll see what we've got that fits."
He turns to a rack of assorted breastplates to one side of the forge. "Regulations? Simple enough. Day time, the place is run by the Knights of the Day, night time it's run by the Knights of the Night. Do what you're told, you'll come to no harm."

"Simple enough" Abul answers quietly while striping off his outfit. "Should I join one side? Or should I just watch the battles first? Who is in charge and what's the hierarchy?" He asks when ready to receive his new equipment.

The armourer turns back with an arming jacket in his hands that is about Abul's size - the sort of padded undercoat that goes under heavy armour. Then he stops. "I said strip off - everything, and that includes that." He points at the amulet.

Abul has an hesitation, but what was his amulet worth anymore? Darkness demons have already found him and killed him. He is now to the safest place to be. However he has to fight for an instant with the old compulsion to keep it at whatever the cost. He has a very short glance at the armourer. Had his eyes a kind of glittering concupiscence for his medallion? More suspiciously this time, Abul stares at the man, obviously the armourer seems just a little too keen to get his hands on the amulet.
- "I wore this medaillion since my childhood." He explains with a polite smile. "It's almost now a part of me and is very precious for me. It will not hinder my fighting skills, quite the contrary, with it I feel more confident and become more effective... Don't worry, nobody will see it, I use to wear it under my shirt."

He casts then an apparent innocent and careless smile, but in fact studies the man attentively.

"You're not a child now - boy." The armourer seems impatient, almost aggressive. "New life, new start, leave the old toys behind, if you want to get anywhere. Give it here." He reaches out to pull it off.

"I don't like your command, Master Armorer!" Abul answers quite abruptly. His tone is firm, quiet and determined, just perhaps vibrating with a touch of hurt pride. "I'm Abul al'Kathoum, hazar and judged as one by Karmanos, I walked the godplane and I don't play with toys! If you want me to play I may use this..." He unsheathes his traditional western-styled straight sword. "This item bears the blessing of the Hum'Akt. Do you feel it? It is also said to have a keen edge for godlings and demons. Politness has limits, don't cross such borders by treating me like some stupid child..."

"Answer me Master Armorer, why do you want me to get rid especially of my medallion? Why not my sword, which is a far more dangerous item in a melee." He asks suspicously with a lower and deeper tone, almost like a growl.

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