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In Alda-Chur, Silverquill has been trying to prevent the Ginunga Boys from risking red ruin by assaulting the Warriors of the Sun...

It seems that the duck's bold attempt at the word 'red' has affected Karli, for the humour immediately drains from the Jarl's eyes, his mouth disappearing into a thin line behind his beard. The whitening grip on the axe haft is a worrying sight, but the great man's eyes seem to be welling up with tears. Is the man about to cry? And what could possible cause such a man to cry?

Silverquill has to suspend his thoughts for a moment, for two things happen at once. The Danlarni Exile Aren suddenly appears in a cloud of dust behind the Storm Bulls, but equally suddenly halts as silence descends like a blanket over the square. A quick glance informs the sage that someone is about to appear from among the Warriors up on the steps to the Temple. The hold which the Man of the Sun has over these Lodrili farmers is such that the mere rumour of his arrival is enough to create an electric buzz and tension the sage has not witnessed before. Thinking to whip out his notebook, Karli's intense expression stays his hand.

Vizz, meanwhile, has been lost in his own world. Thinking of his walled friend, he has been recalling old songs he knows, which have been reworded in opposition to Harvar's reign. Coming back to the here and now, he perceuives with a jolt that he has let the tune out in a, now that all is quiet, loud hum. He has attracted the hostile attention of several of the Lodrili farmers. Shuffling towards him, the clubs which have appeared in their hands are menacing. His friends are nowhere to be seen and a chill strikes his spine and threatens to loosen his bowels. One of the farmers, though, seems as worried as Vizz. Attracting his attention by widening his eyes, this man makes a gesture to Vizz which he knows well and signals that he should turn about and walk away. He points to one of the closed longhouses which border the square and reinforces his intent with an expression of urgency.

Vizz takes the hint. He has some gumption even if not, in this particular instance, taking much notice of what was going on. The hideous simplicity of the "turn about and walk away" maneuver seems sensible even if lacking in tangible heroics. Nevertheless, and despite the mundane sensibility of the suggested path it is the one that Vizz chooses. Doing otherwise, he calculates, would be to endanger his fellows, to imperil himself, to risk the loss to his clan of such a fine fellow as he. Even in his private thoughts Vizz seems able to brag of his own self worth. Hew sidles backwards toward the longhouse in a curious stoop, as if not quite sure which way he is going, as if it is only chance that leads him towrds that particular longhouse, as if maybe he'll get a better view of the proceedings from there, or perhaps see if some interesting clouds might be bringing rain, or if a peculiar breeze from the south might smell of snoopleberries.


Silverquill takes it all in. He is mightily surprised to see Aren suddenly appearing, but then the hush attracts his attention. The small duck turns to watch the proceedings with interest. Aren moves over to him to find out what is happening.

Silverquill whispers: "Welcome, Master Awen - I'm most joyous to see you. What bwings you to Alda-Chur? I was just having a discussion with the Uwoxi about the folly of assaulting fire daimons with wegular weapons. Now it seems that the Man of the Sun is about to make an appeawance. Pway, could you lift me up on your shoulder that I might have a better look?"

"Glad I could make it in time for the main event," Aren says. "Things have come up at the stead that we need your advice on, but that tale can wait 'til later. By all means, please climb up. Though I would prefer you put THAT thing out first. I prefer fresh air. though no doubt it does help to cover the stench of this town."

Silverquill stubs out his cigar and clambers onto Aren's shoulder, wiggling his feathered bottom to get comfortable. Entislar looks round slowly, nods a welcome to Aren and moves so as to stand facing the temple close to Karli.


As Vizz glibly advances to his new retreat, as Aren lofts Silverquill a bit higher to improve the ducks view of the targets (or is that everyones view of the duck as a target?), as Entislar backs up Karli, as acorns explode and Yizar nocks up yet another score to be settled with the batbroo, Vurth slowly rides his horse along the dusty trail from the exiles stead to Alda Chur, subconsisciously making sure that the pack of shopping lists and messages that Rika gave him to deliver to assorted brethren (sistern he had thoughtlessly clarified and earned a lucky knuckle rap to the top of his head to help keep his mind on matters) was still there and assiduously avoiding the glares of every blossom he passed.

Vurth passes through the gates of Alda-chur, thinking on how nice it would be to meet his so called traveling companion again. Doubtless while he had been slogging it across the sunbaked trails Aren had been busy choking back beers and snorting about what a fine trip this had turned out to be. Well, they were supposed to meed at the big square so Vurth headed over that way to see if he could give the blighter a few choice words.

As he approached the square he noticed what appeared to be some kind of festivities going on they he didnt recall any in particular at this time of year. The Lodrili perhaps? He hastened forward. Maybe they were giving away beer?


Up above the steps, a tall man steps forth from among the Warriors, clad in a homespun cloak and clutching a roughly hewn staff. Despite his simple appearance, his frame is erect, his beard well groomed and his gracefully measured pace draws almost every eye in the square to him. Surveying the crowd with a beaming smile, he pauses for the perfect amount of time, before addressing them in a quiet yet firm voice which demands a straining attentiveness.

"A quiet word, my friends," he begins in unconventional fashion. "Before I leave you to tend the Lowfires." His gaze seems to rest on the Bulls and the Exiles for the briefest moment before he continues. "We meet in unhappy times, for our land is ravaged with a curse." The murmuring of agreement indicates that he has the crowd's full agreement. "Our grains are riddled with Mallia's agents, our cattle with Thed's. A new terror stalks our land and its name is Chaos."

The hefty warriors beside the Exiles shift uncomfortably as several of the Warriors of the Sun detach themselves from their file and begin to descend the stairs. Karli is not the only one now who's hand is clenched white on smooth wooden haft.

"But before you we stand. The Ideal." As he swiftly removes his cloak, the Man of the Sun's strong, tanned chest is revealed, casting the red of the many fires back off its oiled skin, his legs seemingly aflame with the bright yellow and orange feathers which adorn them. "Betrayed an Age ago by those we called friend and ally, we have been held this long time captive in a tomb of ice and of acid. But through our Virtue and our Purity, we have endured. We come now to deliver you from these ravages. We come, above all, to give your enemies a name, that you may know them."

Karli seems to be preparing for his moment, Silverquill's earlier frantic attempts to dissuade him from action seemingly forgotten. The crowd parts before the Warriors of the Sun, the Ideal, who now approach the Storm Bulls, and a confrontation seems to be awaiting only the slightest spark. But the speaker takes, suddenly, a softer tone, and the crowd are once more entirely absorbed by his words.

"I was once as you are, my friends, once part of a proud clan, the Laska. I too paid homage to Lodril, prayed for his blessing in all things. But I was brought low by those who eyed my bounteous crops with envy, and it is the sons of my ancient enemy who now seek to bring you low. All I have left of my family is my son. But even he they have taken from me, my little one, that they may seed his mind with their wormlike thoughts and schemes."

The Warriors of the Sun, half a dozen of them, are now placed but a few paces from the Bulls, but even the Bulls find it hard not to look at the Man of the Sun, his voice now rising in volume, his staff beginning to glow a deep rich red. The dust on Aren's clothing is now joined by a swirling wind at foot level as the Bulls' anger begins to rise. The foam and spittle from their mouths is drenching their arms as they build themselves up into a fury, mumbling half- worded imprecations to the Storm Bull.

"And I shall name them, these ancient foes of mine, these new foes of yours, steeped in Chaos though they claim to defend you from it; perpetrators of rape, though they would deny it; slayers of kin, though they claim a place in your tribes; and parasites crawling over our skins, though they claim to be foe to Mallia, not her agents..."

As his voice booms now across the square, the crowd is raging with an anger and beginning to bay like a pack of broo for blood. A rushing sound begins from behind the tops of the stairs and in a trice, the square is filled with a tremendous heat and a fierce red glow as the staff erupts in a fiery column of molten rock shooting into the sky, white ash flying off the sides and turning black in an instant...


As Vizz proceeds to stage left escorted by several burly farmers, we find Aren upholding Silverquills viewpoint whilst Entislar backs up Karlis staredown with the Man Of The Sun (and assorted Warriors Of The Sun). It is upon this scene that Vurth, waving his club about, comes barreling in with the exclamation:

"What no beer!? No matter. Karli we got real problems and we need your help. We found this weird Chaos infestation, stupid flittery gibbering things and maybe backed up by some hags and you know me, always willing to share a good brawl. What do you say?"

Karli looks Vurth over and opens his mouth to speak, but Vurth's enthusiasm knows no bounds. Affecting to notice the assorted chickenlegs for the first time, he addresses them as well.

"You guys talk pretty damn big. You want to show what you got with some real chaos instead of puling around in Alda-chur moaning about what happened to your wheat crop? Well??"

Vurth belatedly realizes that perhaps some sub-tle compliments might help sway these people to aid the exiles.

"Nice volcano you got there by the way. Does it cleanse chaos or only blow it around a bit?"

From horseback he stares down at the assembled and awaits a response, but his words are drowned out by the roar from atop the stairs.

Silverquill squints at the Man of the Sun, trying to ignore the pandemonium around him. Using his trained voice to cut through the noise, he tries to addresses the fiery lunatic.

"You speak of your beloved son. We know of him and he is safe - for now. But if you kill us, it might not go well for him. Is family not important to the twibe of the Sun?".

His words too have no way of reaching across the square, but as he bounces about, Karli tries to tap Aren's shoulder, pulling his hand back as Silverquill traps it beneath his downy rump.

"Noble words," he says. "But what in the Bull's name is going on?"

"These Wawwiors are dweadful foes, good sir Bull," Silverquill replies. "My fwiends have one of them in their stead at the moment - a little one. Maybe a wansom exhange can stop this wiot before it goes out of hand? But it is difficult to conduct the pwoper wituals here and now, with all this wabble- wousing. The cwowds must be calmed somehow. Oh, and kindly wemove your hand fwom my wump!"

Karli does so in disgust, having failed to attract Aren's attention, and turns to his gang.

Bellowing as best he can above the uproar and babble, Vurth sticks his oar in too.

"Lodi the little chicken leg kid? The one who eats all our grain and sits in the fire? Yeah, he does appear to be similar to this bunch here."

Turning to Karli, he distracts the Jarl but momentarily from his task.

"I took a good look and sniff at that kid and he was clean if a bit odd. If he's related to this lot." He gestures at nearby chickenlegs. "I suppose they might be clean as well."

Vurth takes a mighty sniff and checks his aching scars to see if he can localize the sourse of the pre-dark taint. Does it come from the immediate near area? A further point? Is it more diffuse? Vurth suspiciously eyes the ground. "Might be the same as that clearing," he mutters.

Karli leaves Vurth going over old ground, muttering about grandmothers and eggs, and turns to face the Warriors of the Sun, a wind picking the dust up off the floor behind him.

Meanwhile, Silverquill scans the crowd from his high vantage point. There - a durulz! And there, another one! A good few durulz are scattered amongst the humans, their innate curiosity having drawn them to the market place. Silverquill lifts his bill to the air and starts a tremendous quacking, hoping that his ducky friends will join in (as is their wont) and defuse the situtation somehow.

"Kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwakelikwakwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak kwak! Wakwakwakwakwakwakwakwakwakwakwakwakwakwakwakwakwak!"

His tremendous efforts, holding on until he runs out of his last gasp of breath, avail him nought, though. Perhaps he has spent too long away from his fellow ducks, or perhap it is his far-from humble portment and attire. Two of the younger Bulls step forward and bow before Karli for him to mark the death rune out above their heads.


At this point Entislar is seething. This jumped up Chaos loving son of Wakboth has apparently just suggested that the Exiles and by extension HE are followers of MALIA and not satisfied with this blasphemy has just polluted Orlanth's middle air kingdom with his foul overheated filth!

"Why the Chaos sucking, Wakboth licking, filthy little..." Entislar growls as he swings Shaper onto his shoulder and lurches forwards before stopping and narrowing his eyes at the luridly poisonous pillar of filth. "Mmm I wonder..."

As he pauses, he is almost bowled to one side as the Bulls surge forward, the younger two to the fore, a gale whipping up beside them. The noise of wild Umbroli is slight, though, before the roar from the Man of the Sun's staff. His words still hanging in the air, his staff glowing a deep red, a spear head forms at the tip out of glowing rock.


Aren's reply to the Man of the Sun's words is far from soft pitched.

"Ideal! Pha we too have had to endure too, only from you! We know you only for stealing grain from the mouths of our starving children and burning our fields of what you could not take. Is that your Ideal? Then abandoning your spawn for us to feed and raise. Is that your Ideal? Now you make claims to be a chaos seeker, well name your foe. Or is innuendo your Ideal as well?"

Finally, one of the Exiles has reached across the square with his voice. The roar in everyone's ears is tremendous as the rush of molten rock from the staff halts, leaving only the Umbroli to howl, but the Man of the Sun's voice is audible above them.

"And here they are, friends, begging me to name them! Well, so do I name you, Horsefal Danlarni and Ginunga's Gap...I name you Outrage. I name you Betrayers, Murderers and Rapists. I name your steads breeding grounds for plotting, mischief and chaos and I name you Outcast. Now begone from here and bury your False Winds in the Hollow."

As the entire square focuses its attention on the Exiles and the Storm Bulls, Karli steps forward, flanked by his two chosen warriors. The skies have turned to a seething mass of black ash and seething storm clouds, lit up by the bonfires and the flaming Ideal. Small black rocks begin to pepper the square, glowing and smoking from an infernal fire. The first of the Ideal are kneeling, set for a charge, while the rest have formed a phalanx in front of their leader above the stairs.

Shouting above the din, Karli calls his challenge. "I have many many more sons than you, Laska, this land is riddled with them, and they are waiting their turn. Here are two of them and they are on their way to graze with the Storm Bull and tell him all about you."

"You farmers," he shouts at the crowd in general, drawing his skirt about his belly to reveal his hairy legs. "I have studied long and hard this man's words, and I shall give you the benefit of a translation."

Crouching now a little way in front of the Warriors, he strains away, the results dropping steaming and copious to the floor. The assembled crowd seem a little relieved at this, but Karli's two sons chewing their axe hafts, the Umbroli barely restrained at their backs, hold the general tone.

Karli affects a look of surprise as he looks down, and stands up, "Who would have thought there was so much?" These words succeed in raising a laugh, led by the remaining Bulls, but Karli's look is nothing short of deathly as he turns to the Exiles one last time. "Anything else?" he enquires, as storm clouds begin to take form behind the Temple...


Silverquill, his voice even worse than normal, waves his Big Notebook in the air and quacks out: "I have allewgations here that the Waska twibe wowships Chaos! This whole thing should be twied at the City Wing - not in a market square!"

Karli will be restrained no more. Pausing only to whisper two words to Aren, "Jerra Hill", he waves his two sons forward. Pacing steadily forwards, the two advance on the Ideal before them, axes whirling above their heads and whipping the Umbroli which now surround them into a frenzy. Smoking rocks are flung in all directions as the dust devils fly forwards into the Ideal, scattering them like pins. Now the two rush, screaming in the Umbroli's wake, to mount the stairs. The crowd is stunned by the fury of the assault. The phalanx of bronzed Warriors holds as the Umbroli and the two Bulls crash into them, but as they advance to drive the men back, a giant shape swoops down from the skies at the isolated Man of the Sun.

The sky bull, its pitch black hide coated in a bloody sheen as rocks pound down upon it, piles head lowered and hooves ablur toward the now small figure. As the warriors stick the two Bulls full of spears, each sliding dead down one of the stairs, they spy too late their leader's peril. Raising his staff to defend himself, the Man of the Sun is impaled on twin horns and thrown a hundred yards off the edge of the platform to lie crumpled below. As the bull returns for a second pass, the Warriors jump off the stairs to surround their fallen leader, spears set at the bull, but it feints away and, bellowing in rage, pounds away to the east, followed by the two Umbroli-borne Storm Bulls.

As rocks rain down on the square, all present scurrying for cover, the Exiles are left to wonder at this madness... Karli and his gang are now nowhere to be seen, and Vizz has vanished.

"That humming hill man who disappeared must've been some sort've were-skybull demon or I'll be a dopey farmer," says one dopey farmer to another.

"Yep, shure be weird uns in them thar hills," replies the other dopey farmer.

Entislar cheers and applauds the sky bull, then still chuckling at the memory of the humbling of the man of the sun he leaves the square.


For once, Silverquill is speechless. Eyes wide open, he takes in all that has happened. He jumps down from his high shoulder perch and runs quickly for cover along with the rest of the crowd, Skullcleaver trotting along behind him. Once in reasonable safety, he shakes his feathers and lights up a cigar to calm his nerves.

Puffing on his cigar, the small duck looks over towards where the Man of the Sun fell. Is he still there? There are many unanswered questions left and the Laska seem to hold the answer to most of them. He is indeed, but is surrounded by a ring of Ideal, warning the crowd back. The forest of spears turns the crowd's mood sour and some of the plainsmen spit at the foot of the warriors before turning their backs and departing, the day's festivities ended. After a while, they edge towards the side entrance of the Temple, bearing their leader in their midst.

Silverquill would dearly love to have a snoop around in that temple! Announcing to the Exiles who are left that he plans a scouting mission in the temple later that night, he arranges to meet them all later in his favourite tavern, the Nobody Inn.

Returning to the Lhankhor Mhy temple, he asks around to see if any of his colleagues have any relevant information about the temple - and indeed any floor plans or detailed maps...