Back/up Starwatch Pavis overall

After the Starwatch

Jamal relaxes as the Starwatch comes to an end. It looks like the presence of the Legion is having a positive effect on this place already.

That's good, as the Lunar rot has to be halted somewhere, and this place is as good a place as any.

Jamal stops for a second and lets the sights and sounds of the place soak in. It's hot, very hot, and the dirt and noise and smell of Pavis seem to float in the atmosphere like a ghost, just beyond the edges of Jamal's perception.

Suddenly Jamal feels a very long way from home.

Although the he has accepted the path that Idovanus has laid out for him, there are times, when the burden of duty is momentarily lifted, that Jamals longs for the high, lonely vastness of Worian.

Of the hills where he hunted with his father and brothers, of the sight of the Pilgrims to Bindle in the rough garments required of the pilgrimage, following the holy route and abasing themselves at the required stations...

Jamal eyes wander the assembled crowd of the temple, there are friends there yes, comrades even, but even as well as he knows them, it is obvious that they still regard his culture and standards as alien and incomprehensible.

Then his eyes are caught a glimse of a half remembered figure approaching him quickly.

"Sire Jamal, I had hoped to find you here eventually..." the man says quickly in Carmanian, then stopping, as if remembering himself.

"Greetings and the blessing of Idovanus be on you and your family" the man says bowing slightly.

"And also upon yours", Jamal replies politely. "But you are a long way from home, Abyad bin Taher, at least that's where you were headed last time we met."

"Yes, that was my plan, but it would appear that Idovanus the All-Knowing has other plans for my life."


"On my way out of this place, I mused on what you said when we left the Battle of the Cradle, which affected me greatly."

He sighs.

"I was visited in my dreams by one of the blessed. He did not state his name, but he carried a sword that could not be broken. He spoke of you and that Lord Idovanus would need the strength of the wind of truth in the great battles to come. Since then I have sought you out to ask what this may mean?"

Jamal smiles, "The one you saw was indeed one of the blessed, Herw'Ard he is, and I will speak of him to you, but..." he claps Abyad on the back "...right now I could do with a drink and some stories of home", he says leading the way to the nearest hostelry.

A lot happens over the next few days, and everyone is kept busy.

Those non-Herewardi Humakti who have asked to join the cult and the Legion are being taught, questioned, and tested, partly by their
sponsors, and partly by the few Devotees of Hereward (that's Illig himself, Siggyr, Dori, Uljar Breaknose, and anyone else?)

Yodi remains too badly injured to be able to take an active part in all this.

Most of you will be being questioned about your activities over the last few weeks by various superior officers, and you're aware that the
answers will affect Illig's plans to reorganise the Legion. (But don't think "office politics" too hard. Absolute honesty is the norm here.)

Jamal is off talking to the Carmanians in the city, and finding Abul.

Dori spends some time talking to Benlan Whitehands, and one evening the two of them go for a walk around Sun Town, visiting the area she used to live in. She returns looking much happier and more confident than she has for a long time.

Most of you are staying in that Riverside tenement Malan found for you.

There are no overt moves from the Lunars in general or the Marble Phalanx in particular during this time, but everyone is being careful, and is aware that this is unlikely to last.

And after a few days, some news - passed on quietly, but everyone now in the Legion will hear about it. There are other Humakti living out in the Rubble, being in serious Lunar disfavour. One of them is the former commander of the Pavis Royal Guard, Caspian Vur, and his followers. He suggests that given the Legion's reputation for being anti-Lunar, a base in the Rubble might be better suited - and is willing to help find one. His own base is in Manside. No doubt Illig will soon order something to be done about this - and also the eagerly-anticipated news of who is going to be promoted to 10-thane.

For purposes of finding somewhere in the Rubble, the Ingillis have recommended one of their "sponsored" Sages - a woman who grew up as a Rubble brat, but got put through a LM apprenticeship by them once it was clear just how good at maths and statistics in particular she was. She also developed an interest in mapping, and got part-way through mapping the Puzzle Canal at one point. Unfortunately she's at least as arrogant as she is intelligent (something like double masteries in each), and so left Pavis a while back with several powerful people and a lot of annoyed sages throwing things at her (someone didn't want the Puzzle Canal mapped, for one thing). She hopes things have quietened down a bit since then - and if they haven't, well, you lot can handle trouble, can't you?

I know, most of you with any sense would have politely turned her down. But by one of those odd coincidences, the place she'd run off to for those missing years was Nochet. And Dori knew her there. They used to have arguments about gambling odds. Dori knows just how intelligent she is, and thinks she could be an asset, if you can put up with the ego. She does know the Rubble and has contacts there (several large big brothers). And as I say, mapping is her main interest in life. So, Vindana has joined Dori's Ten.

Hrolf wanders among the Riverfolk in search of Humakti who might make good candidates for the Legion. There are few; the Riverfolk are mostly peaceful. Nevertheless, he wins over an expatriate Duck bandit, Kalf the Crow (for his pointy beak), and some newtlings introduce him to a a down-on-his luck Sartari exile named Amund the Low (almost as tall as a Durulz). His healer Venharl finds a young apprentice, Gerda Holdfast.

When all the recruits are back at the camp, Hrolf organizes a day of indoctrination for the Legionaires-to-be as well as the more experienced juniors. Hrolf knows Siggyr will have to be given his due, but after an hour or 2 of shouting and spittle the recruits would surely benefit from Dorinda's quieter teachings. He plans to finish the day with his own inspirational lecture.

It was a hot and sticky night in the tenement. No, thinks Jamal, it's another hot and sticky night in the tenement, Pavis seems to specialise in them.
Jamal tosses and turns in his small and quite remarkably uncomfortable bunk. If he could he would either sleep out in the street or up on the roof. But as the former risks a summary dispatching by the Legion's enemies, and as for the latter, Jamal is rather dubious that the jerry-built structure that is the roof would bear Jamal's weight for any amount of time and he didn't fancy literally dropping in on one of the other tenants.
He smiles at this thought, turns, and drifts off into a fitful sleep.....

It's raining, it's cold, Jamal is outside on what looks like the plains of Prax which he has just spent the last few weeks traversing, but somehow less substantial and more real at the same time. Jamal castes his eyes to the leaden sky, the lightning flashes across the firmament, but Jamal is sure that the lightning had form of a laughing and dancing figure, followed in his wake by the oppressive shape of a huge steppe eagle of the type which can sometimes been seen circling the Praxian wastes.

Jamal shrugs, throughout his life he has come across enough strange occurrences not to be phased by something like this. This definitely only counts as mildly interesting on the weird-shit scale. Realising how these "imaginary vistas " usually work, Jamal starts walking, the direction isn't really that important, it just seems that the act of moving forces on the narrative.

Jamal walks on through the hyper-real landscape towards the distant mountains. They never seem to get any closer, but then again, he never really expected them to. As he rounds a small hillock, Jamal is confronted with a strange looking figure, he appear attired in a very similar fashion to most of the tribes-men which inhabit Prax, mainly a mixture of leather, cured and un-cured animal skins. But rather unusually the figure seems to be wearing what looks like a woven blanket, and he carried a sword also his face seems to be darkened and blotted out. Jamal hears a cawing sound, and looks up to see the dark shape of a Raven circling over the figure's head.

The man raises his sword, and Jamal, finding that Bulls-spike has followed him into this scene, does likewise.
"I'll assume that this is my test then," he says evenly at this figure.
Even though the figure his no head he appears to nod, and launches into an attack.
The contest, is relatively short, although his opponent is skilled, strong and energetic, Jamal finds his tactics and movement to be strangely naive, and Jamal soon has the figure disarmed and sprawling.

The scene fades......

Jamal awakes back on his bunk, the room in dark, as before, it is hot, as before, but this time there is a figure, shrouded by the shadows standing a short distance from the resting warrior.

Jamal immediately launches himself at the figure, apparently taking him completely by surprise, crashing him into the back wall and knocking the wind out of him.

"Now what," he says stepping back slightly "was all that about?"

The figure stoops and recovers his breath, then speaks in heavily accented Tradetalk. He is obviously Praxian in origin, but rather than carrying the usual tribal insignia and weapons, he carries sword and wears a woven blanket over his shoulders.

"I Seeker-of-Righteous-Death, I follower of Iron Man, I seeking you for long time."

The figure seems to have no hostile intent. "And why would you be doing that ?" Jamal asks.
"Storm Bull men speak of you, they say of strange bull-man from afar. Him strong with Iron Man, and follower of Truth with Death."

Jamal remembers his conversations with the Praxian Storm Bull mercenaries while guarding the caravan. But that seems like an eternity ago now.

"Yes, well I am he, but why search me out, and why that charade of a test?"
"ShaaarAde" Seeker replies, not understanding the word, but trying out the syllables for size. "Storm Bull's say that you friend of Praxians, that you speak of truth and honour, that you strong warrior. Seeker wants to see if that is true. Seeker wants to learn more of such things which he cannot from his plains-brothers."

"Seeker would follow you" he says emphatically.

"Tell me, if I told you to go away, would it stop you following me?"

Seeker shakes his head.
"In fact, short of dispatching you to the 'Iron Man' is there any way I'm going to get rid of you"

"No" Seeker replies, grinning.

"In that case, welcome to the legion" he says offering the Praxian his hand.
Well, you never know, he might even prove useful......

The last week has been somewhat wearing on Egil: while still absolutely loyal to his mentor, he desires to make a greater voice
for himself in the Legion and determines to push himself forward at any opportunity in a bid to gain promotion. He is a good scout: why
not take that path, it still gave opportunities to kill foul Lunars.

Pondering this while walking through the dusty streets he feels the need for a refreshing beer and maybe a chat with his top-knotted
friend from the zebra riders, Gerras. In a short time he finds himself in 'Loud Lilinas', beer in hand, but Gerras is not to be seen. Propping himself against the bar Egil sips on his contemplating the best way to put himself forward when he feels something pushing into his back. A vaguely familiar voice whispers into his ear, "Don't move squaddie, give me all your cash and jewellery."

Falling forward and away from what he assumes is a dagger Egil quickly spins, grabbing his assailant's arm and throwing him to the floor. He is about to stamp on his throat when the light of recognition crosses his face. His cousin, Mauvin, lies on the floor smiling weakly at him. "Orlanth's Spear Egil, I thought you were going to kill me."

"And so I was until I recognised you. What are you doing here? Should you not be with the craven traitors your clan has become?"

"Maybe I should but I decided you were right, better to be dead than a slave. I left them 2 years ago to search for you and you have led
me a merry chase indeed, all across that stinking cloudless waste so I couldn't even fly. I had to bloody well walk. Imagine that, a man of my position walking!"

Egil snorts a gruff laugh "Ha well, that'll stop you getting to big for your boots. Anyway you've found me now, what do you intend?"

"Can I join you? Help you in your task?"

"Hmmm, that could be difficult. I'm part of the legion, you won't be able to join but I'll take you back to meet my friends and we'll see
what we can do. A word of advice though, you great eejit, don't pretend to rob any of them. Its only because we're in the middle of Pavis that I didn't gut you and then check who was trying to rob me. Ah here comes Gerras, he wanted to meet the Legionaries too."

"Gerras my friend, come with me, I'm just taking my cousin to meet Siggyr."

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