Curing a town of its fever
As far as I can, Lenyas is a fairly quiet barony, the road towards Lenay was mostly empty, the scenery spotless, the weather awesome, the scenery astounding. I’d seen this river bank from the other side of the river coming down, so it wasn’t all new to me, but it was to Moyri, Moryn and Maile, and Moryn was, at one point, quite nervous — these cliffs, this gorge, is that like what it should be?
Well, it was. It’s impressive as anything, and you can see the bridge over the Valda that’s actually the center of Lenay from very far.
Lenay is well known to be a tough place. The Order of the Sworn has to more or less hide there, and at the same time, it would for sure be the only safe place for us to stay. Anywhere else we’d be harassed or maybe even grabbed and kicked out of the town. This is Lenay, where the Guild of the Nameless is strong.
Well, before we entered the town, Moyri put back on her uniform, I warned our apprentices, and we went to the west-bank gate.
The guards were finicky to a fault, but we got in, after paying seven shillings (four for us, three for the horses), and then we wended our way to the Order House. We’d already decided not to make a surely futile attempt at hiding ourselves, so we went forth, blazing Anshen from top to toe.
This made some people throw stones and dung at us, but we managed to reach the Order House unscathed, thanks to some of us — well, actually all of us — having good reflexes, and Moyri being pretty good with shielding.
Imri, the local Commander, welcomed us heartily. She wasn’t fazed by the arrival of the soon-to-be-ex Commander of the Order of the Sworn in her bailiwick, and she predicted that there would be another attempt at setting fire to the Order House that night.
Are these servants of the Nameless crazy, or what? Arson in a closely-built town?
And yes, Imri nodded, they’d commit arson, and even use fireworks for it, the most uncontrollable incendiary device yet invented!
So we were bathed, fed and put on guard. Our apprentices were only allowed to look on, but since I was a Master, I was allowed to join the fun!
And fun it was. Soon we heard the noise of a mob gathering, and a quick look around with our minds showed two parties, one going to attack us at the front door, one at the back door, the alley leading to the stables.
It had been hot, very hot, for about five, six days, here in Lenay. The weather had been much nicer down, but we had gained a lot of altitude, and up here, it felt like warm winds from the west were bringing a fever to the town. The very mud in the streets felt feverish — warm, yet goopy, not dried out to dust. It stank, too.
So I had this idea… I started feeling nasty. When I fight, I will fight NASTY. I’m invisible, I’m a foreigner, I’m… I might… Fit in better with the Nameless, because rules? Pfui!
But I’m with Anshen, and with the gift he’d given me, I started asking the others to help me. We’d cure this town of its fever! We’d take the head from the mud in front of the house, and transport it to the back.
One of the journeymen had a great idea, and she emptied many, many, oh! so many! buckets of horse dung in the alley, and the heat we took from the front made the dung boil at the back. And in the front, the mud actually froze up!
It froze up so much that the mob started slipping and slithering. They ended up on their behinds or fronts, some with broken bones, others with their skin frozen to the frozen mud. Yay! And the mob at the back, they slipped in super-hot mud with shit, and that was not nice for them at all, either.
Their leader, she was frozen to the mud with her buttocks — that actually is the best argument for wearing a loincloth, which she wasn’t that I’ve ever heard — I made her swear on her allegiance to the Name of the Nameless that she wasn’t going to use fire inside Lenay, near any built-up place, for a year. And she swore! She added a few niggling little addenda that I don’t quite remember, but it was quite the victory all the same!
And then we called the people from the hospital that had been built outside down, on the hill-side, to collect the wounded — and we had peace again.
I don’t mind much being a victim myself, but if you’re trying to get at my people, I’m going to be NASTY. Also, I was feeling kind of like lashing out at someone? The servants of the Nameless are good for that…
(Moyri had ticked me off, the day before, for whining about missing Aldan. And I… I should not whine, or talk about it. But if I don’t talk about it, I won’t figure out what went wrong there, and I’m still not sure I got it. First time since we landed in Essle that I was afraid someone was going to beat me, though.)