Bog's World

Altogether elsewhere

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Unexpected Visitor

Swevre, one of Haldor Perens ilin arrived in the afternoon. It was drizzling, just turning to rain. He was given a warming cup of tea and ushered into the darkened empty Lyrond. Kamilata came in to meet him, as did Tûd. They briefly discussed the road down to Badhabhisra; it would need quite a lot of work in the spring.

Presently Forgileill entered with Invaswen a step behind her. Swevre bowed his head until she halted and bowed in acknowledgement. He passed over a note from his Lyio. Haldor had scribbled a note warning that another stray from the Assembly was passing through and intended to call upon Forgileill to pay her respects. Normally Haldor would not bother with such things. As persons travelled around the empire they would write in person to the next Lyio, warning of their imminent arrival and in essence, inviting themselves in.

This visitor would be sending Forgileill such a letter tomorrow. Kamilata and Tûd stood by expectantly. Who was this august presence?

“Katamaya will be here the day after tomorrow.” Forgileill was staring ahead, wringing the life out of the note that Haldor had sent. Invaswen liked to keep her records in order, and the letter would take quite a lot of flattening.

The ilin were waiting on tenterhooks. Eventually Tûd had enough of the anticipation and broke the silence: “If this is a bad thing Lyio, perhaps you should be ready to tell her not to come.”
Invaswen wrinkled her nose “And loose face? It is one’s duty to succour those who require it. The code demands it.”
“Even an enemy?” asked Tûd. Forgileill turned away from the conversation.
“Even an enemy.”
Kamilata held his hand up. “Pray silence, we do not yet know if Katamaya is an enemy.”
Tûd settled in to wait.
Facing away from them, Forgileill looked up into the wan light that made it into the Lyrond despite the weather. She waved her free hand almost absently and the candles and torches in the Lyrond spluttered into life, lending the place a warmer, more welcoming atmosphere. Swevre knew that she was a Blackrobe and was pleased that he had retained his composure and not reacted. Very ilin, he thought himself.

“She is a member of the Shindrick Society.” Tûd nodded as if that was all that needed saying. He was about to move when Forgileill, who had not finished, continued; “I do not want her in here, as she will be assessing our strengths and weaknesses. I cannot refuse her as that would be rude. Not just under the code Invaswen, but a rudeness that a woman like her would not forgive. If she is not yet an enemy then surely refusing her would make one of her. I cannot entertain her in Lauren’s Glade as the Greys are those put most at risk by her presence.”

Kamilata offered “That she writes means that she is the principal in her party. When the letter comes it will tell us who travels with her and thus…” “Whether she is Grey or Black.” Finished Forgileill.

“Your pardon," Swevre said, “She wears Black before Ravon.” The torches and candles flared violently but Forgileill showed no reaction herself. Shadows thickened and swirled in the rafters. Swevre stuttered before going on, “There are four Greys with her, six mundane servants and four empty suits of apparel. There are two suits of Yichduroh and two gowns; these act as if they are ilin and gwen and are the cause of much fear and speculation in Badhabhisra.”

Forgileill turned back to face them. “Cheap tricks to impress those with no imagination.” The look on Swevre’s face told them that he was unconvinced. “Tell him.” Tûd acquiesced with a nod “Lyio.” He turned to Swevre. “If you were made invisible, by a spell, would that make you a better ilin?"
There was a pause. “Your rocca would not see you and would take fright at your voice and smell. Your invisibility would only work when you are naked. Without Yichduroh you would be pierced by many arrows and without clothing you would perish in the wilds. And your Lyio would not be able to see into your heart by looking into your face. Invisibility such as that displayed is no increase in capability.” Tûd finished with a nod to Swevre, who returned the gesture.

Tûd, Invaswen and Kamilata all spoke at once:
“But if she wastes power on such things….”
“It could be bluff.”
“Or she might really have gained in her abilities….”
“Have friends in low places more like.”
“Either way, we do not really want her here.”
“But do we have a choice?"
“She has an entourage of ten, we’d barely have room.”
“Let alone enough food.”

Forgileill raised a hand, cutting off any further discussion. “She will come here. She will be made welcome.” She passed the crumpled and scorched letter to Invaswen. “Fetch Erlini. Give her a hundred arphel. She is to use the spiral to go to Alcant to get enough for a feast, the rest of the money goes on firewood from Sharifika and two sheep from Jorrasse. Fetch my ink block and parchment, Swevre will take back a note of thanks for Haldor’s trouble.” Invaswen bobbed and scurried away.
He bowed, “Yes lady.”
“I will not write it, and you will not say it, but whilst Katamaya is there, the Carnc and the Princes are in danger. Not for their lives, but certainly for their futures.” She held up a hand to stay his reply. “I can imagine that everyone in Badhabhisra is in awe of her beauty and many feel a fierce love for her. Know that they are beguiled by her ways and that their feelings can be put aside for reality if they exercise their moral fibre. The sooner she is here, the less harm she can do there.”

She turned to the ilin. “Send Hobhi to me, and roll out the mats on your way out.” All bowed and left. Invaswen wordlessly brought back the stationary needed and took the completed letter out with her. Alone, the candles and torches spluttered and died as the Lyio of Nereth sank to the floor.

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