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.”
“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?"
Tûd, Invaswen and Kamilata all spoke at once:
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.
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.