Session Four: The First Convert

Session Date: August 18, 2007

Note: Many of the scenes (at least the early ones) in Session 4 are 'flashbacks' — i.e. they recount events that had taken place before the close of Session 3. This is a product of the fact that two players who had not been able to attend that session needed to have their characters get 'caught up' to the other PCs in game time.

Bowdyn & Hillay: An Argument & a Promise
16 Nolus 720 TR (Morning)
[Flashback scene]

On the morning of the 16th, Bowdyn and Hillay got into an argument while eating a breakfast of bacon, and oatcakes prepared by their new slave Nur. Hillay promised Bowdyn that she would try and make the best of things and that she would not try to prevent him from achieving his religious goals. However, she did ask him to promise, in return, that if he was not able to successfully establish his busines by autumn, that they would return to Tashal.

Bowdyn was reluctant to make such a commitment, especially as he knew how difficult it could be to persuade the Mason's Guild to grant him a franchise and let him set up his own shop in shuch a short time. Hillay pressed him, though, and their words (particularly hers) grew increasingly hotter and more accusing, such as when she told him that it wouldn't take him solong to get his business going if he spent more time working, and less time “with those so-called missionaries. And what are they!?: A crazy priest who thinks he has visions, an even crazier woman who tries to tell the future with animal bones, that manipulative mercantyler-bitch, and a pair of thugs.”

For the sake of domestic tranquility, Bowdyn bit his tongue and reluctantly promised Hillay that that if he couldn't get his business established securely by Shesneala Day (a Halean holiday on the 7th of Halane, in mid-autumn), then yes, they would return to Tashal.

Plying the Mason's Guild & Another Argument with Hillay
16 Nolus 720 TR (Morning, Afternoon & Evening)

[Flashback scene]

After finishing his morning repast, Bowdyn returned to the shop of Jorak of Asarn, which he had visited the day before. On this visit, he gave a suitable 'gift' of coin to Jorak's journeyman, who in turn, was much more inclined to be helpful.

The two discussed various guild matters. Bowdyn learned that Jorak himself was away in Telen, seeing to his stone quarries, which he owned and operated in conjunction with a Senator. Apparently, Jorak's main activity was the mining, cutting, and shipping of fine-quality stone, rather than actual construction or building.

He also learned a bit about the other master masons in the city, particularly Punat of Khonary, who was supposedly pompous and full-of-himself, but also extremely well-connected. (One of his cousins was a Senator.) Punat, he learned, handled most big construction projections— temples, palaces, villas. Bowdyn also learnes that the Mason Lowyn of Hul mostly handled 'ordinary' dwellings (small houses, tenements, etc.) and shops, while Corwyn of Duhl specialized in sculpture, reliefs, and fine stonework. Along with two 'lesser' masters who handled miscellaneous projects, these six masters ran the guild in the city. The journeyman told Bowdyn that if he truly wished to get his own franchise, he'd need to persuade them that it would be in their best interest to allow a seventh franchise in the city.

Bowdyn, having taken the journeyman's advice to heart, sought out Punat of Khonary at his house/office/shop in the Merchant District. [Note: This is the same mason whose house/office Judyn, Maban, and Kara visited in Session 3; however their visit actually took place a day later, on the 17th.] Bowdyn was told, however, that Master Punat's shop was cloed for the holiday and that he was not receiving visitors, as he was entetaining. Bowdyn gave the slave he spoke with a small bribe/gift to ensure that he would remember to let his master know that he had visited.

Bowdyn then wentto the shop of Corwyn of Duhl, who, unlike Punat, was willing to meet with him on short notice. Corwyn related that he had little need of an architect, but that he could use some assistance with engraving work on the pedestals of several statues he had made. (“I specialize in making the forms of the figures; I find it tedious to carve out the lettering.”) Although Corwyn's shop was not actual open for work that day (it still being a holiday), he gave Bowdyn a tour of the shop and showed him his current commissions. Arrangements are made for Bowdyn to come the next day to do some lettering work. The two men seem to get along well enough and Bowdyn stays for lunch and wine, while they talk about various guild matters, both locally and in Kaldor.

That evening, after Bowdyn has returned home, word was brought to him of the feast being served by Jaroud. Though the two had both eaten, he asked Hillay to go to it with him, but she declined insultingly: “You wish me to sup againin a muck-filled alley with wastrels and sweetsweepers?. Tempting as that sounds, I think I shall pass.”

He then left and headed through the dangerous streets of the western city to Jaroud's.

Jaroud's Morning
17 Nolus 720 TR (Late Morning)
[Flashback scene]

The morning after the feast, Jaroud awoke at dawn. Mykel was still sprawled on the floor, asleep, lying in a pool of his own vomit. Jaroud woke him by throwing a bucket of water on him. When the young man only partially stirred, Jaroud threw another. Eventually Mykel got up.

Though clearly hungover. Mykel was told by Jaroud to go water the dogs. Mykel, a bit confused, said that had to go somewhere. However, when Jaroud asked where, Mykel, seeming even more confused, muttered, “Nowhere, nowhere,” and painfully reached for the bucket and shuffled off towards the nearest well. He eventually brought water to all the dogs, while Jaroud watched, but had several bouts of dry heaves in the process.

After the dogs were all give water, Jaroud told Mykel he could leave, but ordered him to come back the next day— \ at the crack of dawn. Mykel, his head still hanging low, left and headed out the alley. As he left, Jaroud got the distinct impression that the young man was going to just go to sleep in another alley.

Though Jaroud recalls the plans made at last night's feast to meet with the other missionaries in the morning and to join up with Kalrun in going to the Glaive & Sickle, he was so excited about training his new wolf that he forgot, and instead took the wolf out to a small wood in the vilage just south of the city to train him. Though obviously a wild animal, rather than a domestic dog, the wolf seems strangely sociable and inclined to learn how to obey. Jaroud worked with him for several hours.

Morning Conversations with Bowdyn and Hilay & Work at Corwyn's Shop
17 Nolus 720 TR ( Morning/Early Afternoon)
[Flashback scene]

The morning after the feast, Bowdyn has a chilly conversation with Hillay ,during a breakfeast of porridge and pickled eels prepared by Nur. At the end, Bowdyn told her, “I am going to see this temple built, I would rather have you with me, as I do it. But I will do it— with or without you.”

He then went to work in the shop of Corwyn, for the rest of the morning. Corwyn was impressed by his work and offers to continue to pay him, at a senior journeyman's wages on a per-day basis.

[NOTE: This marks the end of the 'Flashback' scenes. All of the events described below take place (in game time) after the events of session three.]

The Artistry of Doctor Qyg
17 Nolus 720 TR (Afternoon)

Following their omen-inspired visit to the shop and home of the mason Punat of Khonary, Judyn and Maban discussed what they should do for the rest of the day. Judyn told Maban that she wanted to visit the litigant Vurnt of Masane to give him the gift she had purchased and to discuss arrangements for ensuring that their offer on the shop of Hondash of Amsyn could be made without Hondash knowing who the buyer was. She also indicated that she really ought to go to Kuseme to see how her mother, Gwelen, was doing and to take her the fish that she bought at the market. She invited Maban and Kara to accompany her, but Maban declined, indicating that she would like to continue exploring the market and commercial distract of this huge city, and that she could continue to watch Kara. Though a bit hesitant about letting Maban go around alone in the city with Kara, Judyn agreed and took her leave.

Maban then asked Kara what she would like to do. The girl indicated that she had seen sailors and other people with tattooes in the city and she'd like to see how those tattoes were made. “I like drawing and painting, but I only know how to do it on parchment and wood. I'd like to learn how it's done on people. They never tought us that back in the Yellow Hand temple.”

To Maban, this seemed a perfectly reasonable request from a girl of fourteen, so she began asking around on where they could find someone who performed tattoos. She was told that she should seek physician named Qyg of Drym, who had a small shop in the Agrikan Distinct, not too far from the Pamesani arena. With little difficulty, the soothsayer and the young girl found their way to his shop.

Inside, they were greeted by grisly site. Two tall men— obviously warriors— were holding down a third man in a chair, while a fourth man, older, and with long stringy hair (presumably Qyg himself) was moving a fine-edged knife over the man's obviously pain-contorted face. As blood dribbled down from the man's forehead and cheeks, a lad wearing a brown-stained apron dabbed it off and the stringy-haired man took out a brush and began dipping what apeared to be dyies into the cuts, which caused the seated man to wince and squirm. One of the men holding the seated man told him, “Now don't you scream! If you scream, all the strength the sign gives you will get lost. You need to keep it inside”. The stringy haired man then began to work on the man's face with a series of needles. The shop itself was decorated with a number of hides and skins, decorated with various tattoos and other markings. Some seemed to represent people, objects, and heralidc devices. Others were more abstract and unknown to either woman.

After a while, the man in the chair passed out, and the stringy-haired man, said, “Well, it would go faster now, but I assume you want to wait till he comes to?” The two standing men nodded assent.

The stringy-haired man washed the blood from his hands and, for the first time, acknowledged Maban and Kara. He introduced himself as Qyg, a Master Physician, and indicated that, rather than focusing on the healing of the body, he was interested in marking and strengthening it with tattoos, scarrification, and branding— and that he was surprised to see two young ladies in his shop, as he worked almost solely with Agrikan Terahni from the Order of the Cohorts of Gashang.

Maban explained that Kara was interested in tatooing and wanted to see how it was done. Qyg, perhaps misunderstanding Maban's words, or perhaps simply speaking his thoughts aloud, said, “Hmm.... a female apprentice. That could be useful. I might get more Eight Demons in here I had a girl assistant. Perhaps your daughter would be perfect. Hmm...hmm.”

Before Maban could explain that Kara was not her daughter, Kara began asking Qyg a host of questions about what he was doing and how he did it, which he answered at quite length, explaining that a properly placed tattoo was not a mere painting on the body, but a symbol of magic and power that changed the body and soul of the one who bore it. Kara went closer to the seated man who had just come to. Out of pure curiosity, she poked him on his still bloody cheek, while saying “Does this hurt?” This, in turn, elicited a loud scream from the man, whose companions shook their head in frustration that he could handle the knives and needles without crying out, but that a single touch from a girl could cause him to yell.

Maban told Qyg that Kara was a skilled drawer and painter, and asked the girl to show her drawing book to the physician. She nervously showed Qyg a piece of parchment on which she had drawn a sketch of the Aklash in the arena. He looked at it briefly and frowned. “Keep practicing, and maybe we can talk about apprenticeship in a year.”

After they left, Kara told Maban that she thought that Qyg was a failry 'creepy' fellow and that she wasn't sure she wanted to be an apprentice for him— although she conceded that his work was 'really neat'. They then planned to return to the market district.

Afternoon Reunions
17 Nolus 720 TR (Mid-Afternoon)

Meanwhile, back at the Glaive & Sickle, Bowdyn had been invited to join in a game of dice with two fellows named Willet and Jynt. As no-one else in the inn hads shown any interest in speaking with him, he joined them. Nonetheless, as the two fellows had an unsavory look about them, gave his name as “Nurlak”. He did quite well in the game, winning over a shilling in silver.

At length, he was joined by Bowdyn and Jaroud, who had met and remembered plans to scope out the Glaive & Sickle for news of Tiny. (Jaroud, so thrilled with how his morning training of his wolf had gone— and the wolf's seeming obedience— decided to take the beast with him. He was met with many stares as the huge beast entered the inn. It bristled its fur briefly and started growling, but a quick word from Jaroud mad ehim stop.) Conveniently, just as Bowdyn and Jaroud were entering the inn, Maban and Kara were passing by on their way to the market district, so Maban decided to go in as well.

Once inside Bowdyn greeted Kalrun warmly and inadvertantly 'blew his cover', much to the soldier's frustration. Willet and Jynt, at this time, decided to take their leave anyway, so Kalrun joined the other missionaries at a table over in the corner. There, they discussed what they have been doing and what they have learned. While speaking, they noticed that one of the Agrikan priestesses who was still in the inn— a rather slight, short-haired woman, had moved closer to them and was rather obviously eavesdropping. They reduced their conversations to a subdued level.

Duglan's Tale
17 Nolus 720 TR (Mid-Afternoon)

Not long thereafter, three men wearing the colors of a local mercenary company entered the inn. One of the men, upon looking around the room and seeing Kalrun, greeted him warmly. This mercenary, who identified his name as Duglan of Pohn, took leave of his fellows and joined the Ilvirans at the table, explaining that he had heard Kalrun's and Olrau's speeches outside of the arena and had been moved by them.

Seeming a bit nervous, Duglan then told the missionaries— looking mostly at Kalrun— a strange story:

Several years ago, when I was a soldier in the Ramala legion, I was stationed at the fort of Taztos. Once, on a long range patrol deep in the Athul Hills, my company was ambushed by a group of Tulwyn. Somehow, during the battle I was wouned and passed out.

When I came to, there were bodies all around— some Tulwyn, but most were my fellow soldiers. It looked like our whole company had been massacred. To my horror, their bodies had also been mutiliated— huge chunks of flesh had been torn from their faces, arms, and legs. I cursed the Tulwyn for their savagery, but then realized that the same had been done to the fallen barbarians. I also noticed signs of a bloody body having been dragged through the woods away from the ambush site. I followed the tracks to a cave in the side of a hill. From within, I could hear strange noises that sounded like an animal eating.

Though a feeling of ice gripped my spine, I drew my sword and shield and entered the cave, expecting to find some terrible animal lurking within. The inside of the cave was dark and foul-smelling and from the tiny bit of light at his back, I could just barely make out what seemed to be a large creature hunged over a human body. The creature seemed to have a man's body— but bigger— atop of which sat a muscular neck that was several feet long, and which moved sinuously like a great serpent. At the neck's end was a small horned head that I could not see well, but there appeared to be a number of snake-like eyes on it. Liquid dripped from what appeared to be a mouth that was still chewing meat from a human body below it.

The creature turned and looked at me and I dropped my weapons and shield— not out of fear, but rather out of a kind of awe. It was the strangest thing, I tell you, I wasn't afraid that it might kill me— although I knew it could easily. It was more— it was more that— I just felt like it would have been wrong for me to do harm to it. I've never told anyone this before, but what I really wanted to do was to fall on my knees and worship it.

I didn't actually do so. Instead I— I just turned and left— leaving my weapons behind on the floor. I eventually made his way back to Taztos, but never told anyone there— or anywhere else— about the creature till this day.

The missionaries listened to this tale, rapt with attention. After the man had finished, there was a lengthy silence, after which Maban spoke thoughtfully: “It was one of the Elder Brood, that you saw!”

The others looked at her quizzically. She explained that the Elder Brood were the first 'race' of Ivashu whom Ilvir had created back during the Dark Years— and they were much greater than the Younger Brood, the “ordinary” Ivashu whom He creates now. The Elder Brood, she further elaborated, were themselves divine— or at least, they were closer to god than to mortal. They thus demanded worship and sacrifice from humans and other lesser beings. “This sounds like one of them, to be sure. But I did not know that any still walked the earth!”

Duglan, his tale having been told, appeared troubled and seemed embarasse. Kalrun reassured him, insisting that he had been blessed by his encounter with this creature, and told him that he had obviously been spared by it for some great purpose. He suggested to Duglan that tey go and speak to Brother Olrau. Duglan was initially hesitant, but after some persuasion by Kalrun, he agreed to go. Kalrun, Kara, Maban and he left to head back to the Scroll & Quill.

A Long Route Back to the Inn
17 Nolus 720 TR (Mid-Late Afternoon)

On their way back to the Scroll & Quill, Kalrun and Maban noticed that they were being followed by the same Agrikan priestess who had been eavesdropping on them at the Gliave & Sickle. Kalrun pointed this out to Duglan, who quickly glanced black and mentioned that he knew the woman following them. She was a priestess of the Order of the Eight Demons and the daughter of a former Senator and provincial marshall. She was a kind of 'spy' for the Order, he explained, then added that she frequented the inn to meet her informants.

Kalrun, who resented being followed, suggested to Duglan that they duck into an alley, and when she came round the corner, ambush and subdue her. Duglan counseled caution, explaining that the woman was member of an influential temple and a member of a powerful family. Using force on her would be sure to bring retribution, he added, especially if there was a chance others would see.

Kalru, slightly disappointed by Duglan's apparent lack of spirit, grudgingly decided against such an ambush. Instead, he led the group on a circuitous path throughought the city to see if the woman continued to follow. She did. He led Kara and Duglan out of the city throught he Impaler's Gate into the village of Omagil and began heading towards the village wood. The priestess, however, did not follow them into the village itself but headed back into the city.

After a suitable period of time, Kalrun, Kara, Maban, and Duglan left the city and re-entered through another gate, finally returning to the Scroll & Quill to meet brother Olrau.

The First Convert
17 Nolus 720 TR (Early Evening)

When they arrived at the Scroll & Quill, they found Brother Olrau downstairs in the common room, talking animatedly with a group of K'norran and Laranian priests. He greeted them warmly, and Kalrun introduced him to Duglan. He explained that Duglan had something he wanted to tell Olrau in private.

Olrau excused himself from his conversation and asked Duglan and Kalrun to both follow him upstairs. They did so. Maban spoke briefly with the K'norran priests and, for the sake of Kara, asked them what they knew about tattoos. The priests responded politely, but seemed to have little interest in discussing the matter. They excused themselves, giving Maban and Kara a brief blessing, “May Uhla's unseen light illuminate your path.” Maban responded with her own blessing, “And may you be reborn among the mold.”

Upstairs, Duglan, with much prompting, recounted for Olrau the story he had told the other missionaries earlier. Olrau listened attentively and, at the end, told the mercenary that there is no doubt that he was been greatly blessed and that there must be some great purpose for which he was both permitted to see this elder creature and to return to tell others about it. “You may not know what that purpose is yet, and I do not either. But perhaps together we can help you to discover it.” Duglan nervously agreed.

Brother Olrau then told him, “I can see your soul is troubled. You are feeling torn between what you were and what you are meant to be. We should go the banks of the holy Thard and baptize you, to wash away your old self so that you may become what you need to be. After some mild protests of, “I'm not sure,” and “I'm a good Peonian... my whole family has always been,” Duglan consented to the baptism. Kalrun, who had never heard of Olrau ever baptizing anyone before, was puzzled, but said nothing as Olrau led Duglan downstairs, gathered up Maban and Kara, and headed out the city gate and towards the muddy bank of the river.

Once there, Olrau told Duglan to stand on the side of the river, with his toes just touching the water. He then cupped his hands, reached down and scooped up some water in them, and then dripped it over Duglan's head. After a brief prayer asking Ilvir to illuminate their paths, Olrau reached down again, and dipped his fingers in the mud. He then streaked mud on either side of Duglan's face, and said another prayer, asking Ilvir to help clean away the debris of the past so that the signs leading to the future could be made more clear. He again cupped his hands and filled them with the river's water, and then used it to wash the mud off of Duglan's face.

“You now may walk proudly on Ilvir's path, without old obstructions in your way,” he proclaimed to Duglan, whom he then gave a quick chaste kiss on the forehead. Duglan's former restless nervousness seemed suddenly gone, replaced by a reassured and confident calm.

At this point, Maban interjected, “And now I shall baptize you as well, for you must be baptized by all of us”. Olrau and the other missionaries were surprised by her assertion, but Olrau quickly agreed, “Yes, we must all baptize you to welcome you into the community of the faithful.” So, Maban, Kalrun, and then Kara all repeated the procedure that Olrau had just performed. By the time they had all finished, the sun was nearing the horizon, so they hastened back into the city before the gates closed. En route, Kalrun observed wryly that as their church grows, it would take increasingly long to baptize converts.

Once back in the city, the group dined at the Scroll & Quill together. Master Innkeeper Goris proudly served them a huge wedge of a cheese he had bought at the market that day. The cheese was Ochrynn Green, made by the priests of the Ochre Womb and aged in the caves of Araka-Kalai so that it developed a growth of pungent green mold in it.

After dinner, Duglan said that he was on duty that evening (guarding a house) and needed to leave. Olrau told him to return the next day for instruction, and Duglan agreed. Before leaving, he thanked them all for having brought him to Olrau and for the baptism.

Olrau indicated that he was going to go back to his room to thank Ilvir for having given the mission its first convert. After he ascended, Kalrun, Maban, and Kara discussed the strange events of the evening. They all admit that they were surprised by the ritual of the baptism, as none of them had ever seen Olrau— or another Ilviran priest— ever perform such a ceremony before.

A Meeting with 'Tiny'
17 Nolus 720 TR (Early Evening)

Back at the Glaive & Sickle, Jaroud and Bowdyn continued to drink and eventually took dinner. At length, a very tall and enormously fat man entered the inn, flanked by two tough-looking fellows. They quickly surmised that this man must be 'Tiny'. The large man looked around casually, his eyes lingering on Jaroud's wolf, and then headed back towards the inn's kichen, where he was greeted graciously by the innkeeper, and then he and his two men were taken into the kitchen.

A few minutes later, the innkeeper told Jaroud that the fellow who had just arrived was very interested in dogs and would like to speak with him in a bit. Jaroud indicated that he would be happy to do so. After an hour or so, the innkeeper came out and told Jaroud that “Master Rabyn” would see him— and that he'd like to see his wolf as well. Jaroud, the wolf, and Bowdyn were escorted back through the kitchen into a small private dining area.

Inside, at a large table, sat the giant man, surrounded, by the remnants of a whole roast chicken, a large ham, two loaves of bread, several eggs, and the shells of several dozen cockles and clamThere is also a large pitcher of some sort of drink, which is lying on its side empty.

The large man introduced himself as Rabyn of Tevor, but said that everyone called him “Tiny”. He explained that he was an enthusiast of dogs and dogfighting and knew many people who shared his interest locally. He had heard that Jaroud was an accomplished dog breeder and trainer, and proposed an arrangement where he would help but Jaroud in contact with people who wanted dogs for breeding or fighting, and that in exchange, he would take a 'finder's fee' for having facilitated the transaction.

Jaroud, sensing both the opportunity offered by Tiny— as well as the likelihood that Tiny would make him agree if he didn't do so voluntarily— expressed interest in such an arrangement. The two men, with occasional interjection by Bowdyn, worked out a deal where Tiny would get 10% of all moneys earned by Jaroud from his trade, in exchange for putting him contact with appropriate customers. The arrangement would be exclusive— i.e. Jaroud is not to make other sales on the side without Tiny's approval, or at least without giving him the 10%. Additionally, Tiny would provide Jaroud, on loan, several dogs for breeding purposes to increase his stock more quickly, with the cost of the dogs to be paid back by Jaroud later, when he was able to do so.

Once the deal was concluded, Tiny and Jaroud shook hands. Tiny then gave Bowdyn and Jaroud two wooden 'tokens' with marks carved on the back, which he explained would give them a free visit to a brothel he owns not far away.

A Visit to Tiny's Brothel & the Next Morning
17 Nolus 720 TR (Night) & 18 Nolus 720 (Early Morning)

Bowdyn and Jaroud both went to Tiny's brothel, located just a short walk from Jaroud's home. They both amused themselves well enough, despite the relatively shabby condition of the place and the poor health of many of the girls working there.

When he got home, Bowdyn was confronted by Hillay, who smelled cheap perfume on him. He lied to her, sayin that it was Jaroud who wanted to go to a brothel and that he had merely accompanied him to ensure that he didn't get into trouble— but that he did not indulge himself. Hillay seemed highly skeptical of this explaination, but nonetheless appeared to accept it— or at least to drop the subject for the evening.

In the morning, Bowdyn woke up a bit late, and when he came down, he discovered that Hillay was already up and was wearing one of her finer outfits. She told him that she was goign to go the Halean temple so that she could pray and sacrifice to the goddess. Bodwyn sensed that she was deliberately trying to provoke a fight and resisted the urge to chide her, and instead simply wished her well, while very intently eating the bland porridge made by Nur.

Over at Jaroud's, Mykel showed up at dawn, as expected— looking much more functional that the previous morning. Jaroud told him to water the dogs and to clean up there pens. He then headed out. As he departed, he added, “And if Tiny brings some dogs by, get them in the pens and take care of them.”

Mykel is clearly confused and perplexed by this last comment and a question is obviously on the tip of his tongue, but he decided not to ask, and Jaroud did not do so. Jaroud left, leaving Mykel in his home and kennel.

A Visitor from the Darkness
18 Nolus 720 (Early Morning)

In the morning, after the missionaries staying at the Quill & Scroll had had breakfast, Maban started to go upstairs for another bath when a short, dark-haired man in a grungy tunic touched her by the arm gently and spoke to her in Old Jarinese, a language she recognized but could not speak.

After an uncomfortable silence, this stranger said, in halting Ivashi, “You spoke to the blessed one, on the roof.” Maban, in exceedingly fluent Ivashi, replied, “Yes, I did. I spoke with Umbathri on the roof of the shop in the main square. But if he heard me, he paid no heed.”

The stranger introduced himself as Cranor, and explained that he was a fellow Ilviran. He asked if they might speak in private and Maban, thoughly slightly suspicious, invited him up to the private room in which she was staying.

There, Cranor (who spoke with a distinctly Jarinese accent) and Maban discussed (in Hârnic) the holiness of Ivashu and the blasphemous and abominable Agrikan practice of capturing them and making them fight in the arenas. Maban found herself in complete agreement with Cranor on this point. Cranor was pleased to here this, but warned her, “There are some who claim to follow Ilvir, but who particpate in this evil trade. ”He told her about the Temple of the Seafarer Ibenis in Siran, and how they are actively involved in capturing Ivashu and selling them to the Agrikans for money, solely so that they could be killed in the arena. He denounced them in the worst possible terms, as blasphemers, as traitors, and as wrong-believers. Maban told Cranor that it was unthinkable to her that any Ilvirans could treat Ivashu so— and that she believed it to be her duty to do what ever she could to help her Ivashu sisters.

Cranor told her that he was a member of a group of Ilvirans who working to bring an end to the capture and enslavement of Ivashu. He explained that some of their order worked in Tharda and Rethem to subvert the established system of Ivashu trading and slaughter. Others, he explained, dwelt in the darkness of the tunnels under Araka-Kalai, where they gained wisdom and power. His words recalled to Maban some of the words of her old cult in Kaldor, and that its elder members had left to travel east to go to “the dark place”.

Cranor then told Maban that she should find out whether her fellow missionaries shared her— and his— views on Ivashu and their use in the Pamesani games. At first, she expressed dismay at the thought that any might feel otherwise than her, but under prodding from Cranor, she agreed that some might not. He told her that she must seek out those among her fellows those whom she knew to be “pure of heart and belief in their devotion to the Ivashu” and then reveal his and his order's existence only to them, and not to all of the missionary group. Maban promised that she would so.

Cranor then left. Maban descended a few minutes later to rejoin her fellows. Kalrun asked her: “What did that man want?” Maban's only response was, “He was lost.”