Ch. 319. Common Interests Well Met

Temple of Flidais, Ogil Valley

“The Temple is already at war!”, shouted the leader of the Brownies, only to be shushed by the priestess.

As Y’lanna was provided with a warmed, absorbent drying robe to cure the chill of the cold underground stream, the faerie priestess explained.

“Listen,” she began, pointing up towards the cavern roof. Very faintly through the echoing music of water, one could make out the music of pipes and drums and the shouting of voices.

“The bandit army of Baugl of Caernith, who calls himself lord over these hills and passes — without the least authorization, I might add — invaded the sacred Ogil Valley a few days ago. He even made so bold as to claim the Temple of Our Lady Flidais for his stronghold. Even now he and his ruffians use the place like a bawdy-house. Pray, do not mistake me,” the ethereal creature held up a pale and delicate hand, “the Beast Mother is never one to object to a bit of a rut in good season, but these blasphemous criminals merely barged in without so much as a by-your-leave, never mind a thought towards an offering in thanks, and cast us, the goddess’s servants, from our healing retreat. Worse yet, they are using the Temple as a base from which to wage war against the wizards of Mt. Isolla. I suppose they think the wizards would never dare to attack this place, and so far they have not. Still, Flidais’s anger over this insult will not spare them. Her curse upon them has already awakened the dragons — but dragons are so capricious. Once they get started…”

She waved a mournful hand as if to express an unfortunate turn of events.  “We are the keepers of this Temple, and we must drive these invaders out and restore the Lady’s harmony, before much of Raurugia is burnt to a crisp. We tried to send a plea to the Floating Throne and to the Raurugian Parliament, but our scouts were murdered by Baugl’s thugs, so we must do it ourselves. That is why we seek weapons and warriors.”

“But,” the priestess beamed as she smiled at the elf beside her, “those worries may be a thing of the past, as this noble lord holds the cure to our ills.”

“Oh?” said the Brownie leader, eying the elf suspiciously, “and how’s that, then?”

“Letter of marque, old sprat,” Peino replied distractedly, “authority of the Floating Throne to summon the Garrison of the North.”

All the while the priestess had been talking, Peino had been looking Y’lanna over in the lantern light. He had taken note of her unusual complexion, her strangely compelling eyes, and the fascinating ridges that adorned her bald head, and he had drawn a private conclusion about her.

“Oh, where are my manners,” the priestess said. “I do beg your pardon.  I am Moonrain, Second Adept, Priestess of the White Birch Grove Shrine of Flidais. This gentleman is Peino Starhand, Master of the Marsh King’s Daughter, Champion of Lyrion.”

The fleeting glance between Peino and Priestess Moonrain may have hinted at a prior agreement as to how much of his bona fides were to be declared publicly. It was enough to prompt the Brownie leader to send one of his men scurrying into the shadows, probably to find a tiny little copy of the Social Register, or possibly the Maritime Gazette if one was to be found so far inland. Hopefully, he would not find either book in time make things awkward.

Peino smiled and bowed to Y’lanna. “I also have business with the wizards at Isolla on a matter supported by the Throne. My journey was interrupted due to dragon activity — now I know why. Ultimately, I found myself here, where Lady Moonrain has received me most graciously. But what of you, milady? ‘Tis clear enough you are not of the Swartsalf tribe.” He ignored the protests that it had been dark with a fight going on at the time. “What are your name and your house? Where are you from, and what brings you here, aside from Brownies?”

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