The Lost Legion
Supplementary Adventure Log
It has been told how, on the eighth day of the first month of the year 769, what remained of the Eleventh Legion entered the Shadowlands of Pyrron. It has been told how a driving rain sent them below deck of Lord Fang’s ships, how Tanheart Leesa was harassed by a brute named Trask, and how in the ensuing fight she slew his companion, Odun. As night fell, fearsome sounds in the dark caused them to retreat below deck again.
While below deck, they spoke of past and present to stay awake. Temür, the Marukan, told his tale of plague and exile, but it is not relevant to this account.
As dawn came, they permitted themselves to sleep. Yet at this time, Lord Fang emerged from her quarters and roused Tanheart Leesa. She informed the girl that, for her own safety – and as a punishment for murder – she would be locked in the isolation box during the hours of the day. Leesa, who was a pious and obedient girl, accepted this punishment without complaint. She reported to Indra, the slaver, and was placed in the pitch-black box at the bottom of the ship. Indra put a stone upon the lid, and sealed it further with a chain. This box smelled of filth and urine, and was flooded by unclean river-water, and was scarcely large enough for a child such as Leesa to fit in. In misery, she remained there for the day’s fleeting hours.
Of this day, the following is to be told: That Peleps Dyvim and Harkon stood up after a few hours of uneasy sleep, ate their breakfast and wet their throats. Having been asleep when Leesa was shut in, they did not know, where she had gone. Each went to search for her; Dyvim sought in the cargo, while Harkon and Temür went up on deck. Temür nearly got in trouble with the guardsmen, but Harkon made him calm down.
Dyvim learned from the slaver – who still lusted for him – that Leesa had been sealed in the box. He went to speak with her, but she said little.
Now, meanwhile, down in the priests’ cabin, Odun’s soul departed from his body. Hearing his death-rattle, Old Crow shut his eyes, wrapped him in a linen blanket, and went to up to Lord Fang’s quarters. He pressed his palms together, and gave a solemn bow.
“My Lord; as I feared, the man’s injuries were too great. His blood gathered in his head, making no room for his Essence. Therefore his life force leaked out of his nose, and he is departed.”
“Shall we throw him overboard, then?”
Old Crow gave another bow, this one deeper and more humble.
“If this man is thrown overboard, his ghost will walk the Underworld for five hundred years! My Lord, as he is guilty of no crime, it would be an affront to Heaven to treat him this way.”
Lord Fang shook her head. She was unmoved. Old Crow thought quietly in his heart: Compassion and appeals to Heaven do not bite not upon this woman!
“If his spirit rises from the dead, Lord Fang, it may seek to haunt the location of his death. Truly this would bring misfortune to us all! I therefore suggest we ask Mother Elsinore to open the porcelain seal, and have fire and flame consume the body – for this, we need but an hour of time!”
Lord Fang, who was a cautious woman, saw this plan to be good. She told Renzo to bring the ships ashore, and summoned Mother Elsinore, the scarred priestess, from her quarters. Dyvim and Harkon went ashore with some men to cut wood.
Soon, an unlit pyre had been built. Trask and his friends now came bearing Odun’s body, and placed it upon the wood, and cast hateful glances upon Dyvim, whose wife had been his slayer. Then they retreated to the ship.
Harkon went indoors, but Dyvim – who was curious – stayed to watch the ceremony. Out came Mother Elsinore, carrying the inlaid box in which fire and flame was contained. She spoke in a loud voice:
“I will see that this man’s soul is sent to Heaven, borne by fire and smoke. But you must all avert your eyes!”
The men on the ship feared Mother Elsinore, and dared not disobey her. But Peleps Dyvim thought quietly in his heart: It is not every day a man beholds sorcery. What harm is there to look?
Presently Mother Elsinore invoked the Five Maidens, and spoke the secret words of binding placed upon Malfeas at the dawn of time. With her right hand, she held the box of fire and flame, and with her left hand she undid the seal.
Lo! From the box leapt a column of silver flame, a demon of Malfean lineage, which is called Gilmyne by the scholars of heaven, and is sometimes named Rosh-Hashana by those who know not better. The demon leapt to the pyre, and ate the flesh and bone, and boiled the four fluids of the body! As it did its grisly work, it laughed and leapt and twisted in the forbidden dances of Saigoth!
Now, listener – the forbidden dances of Saigoth are such, that any man or woman who beholds them falls instantly in love! And as you’ll recall, Peleps Dyvim had chanced to sneak a peek! His heart was inflamed with desire, and he forgot all about Legion and Leesa and life itself! Jumping to the shore with a single leap, he crawled toward the demon to grasp it with his hands!
Presently Mother Elsinore spoke a Word of Power, and the demon disappeared! But its evil influence had taken root in Dyvim’s heart, and he thrust his hands into the fire! His palms were burned, and Mother Elsinore took him and put them in the river, but he would not see reason. Again he threw himself toward the fire!
Words cannot describe how fast it happened! Harkon, hearing the commotion, stormed out from the ship. In a single leap, he jumped from the ship and into the water, grasping Dyvim’s arms! Trask, the big brute, rained blow upon blow to Dyvim’s head, but the possessed man didn’t seem to feel the pain! He threw off Harkon, pushed aside Trask, and crawled toward the fire with all the strength he could muster. Harkon, grabbing his feet, could not pull him back before his face had been badly burned!
Dyvim now surrendered to his injuries, and was dragged into the river, his beard still aflame. Listener, such was the injury, that one-half of his beard had disappeared! Only blisters and black flesh remained behind.
Old Crow took him to his chamber, and placed him on the dead man’s bed. He took a paste made from willow and cow eye, and placed it on the wounds; then he wrapped Dyvim’s hands in white linen and his face in brown linen, and said a prayer over his body. Of this, nothing more is to be told. Harkon came to sit by his side, watching over the sleeping soldier, worrying in his heart that Dyvim might not recover.
Now, Temür – who had heard the commotion – had been told to inform Leesa what had happened. He went into the slave hold, and knocked on the lid of the box.
“What’s happened?” asked Leesa.
“Dyvim has been burned!”
Now, Leesa had also heard shouting, even locked as she was in her box. And she had heard Trask gloat about how Dyvim had been injured, and thought in her heart: That bastard must have struck him, or pushed him into the fire!
“Was it Trask?”
Temür was a simple man. He did not understand how a demon might twist a man’s heart. Hearing this suggestion, he thought it must be true.
“It may well have been!”
“Let me out!” cried Leesa, with such force that Temür dared nothing but obey. He undid the heavy chain, and lifted the heavy stone, and out of the box shot Leesa, like an angry wasp from under a goblet! Up the stairs she ran, and over the deck, until she spotted Trask, talking with his friends. Words cannot describe how fast it happened! Leesa jumped into the air like a pouncing tiger, and her fist – as hard as copper – rang into his skull! He fell onto the corner of a crate, so that blood burst from his forehead.
Now, his friends turned to fight. Before they could rain their fists upon Leesa in revenge, Harkon came running. He shouted with a voice of thunder, so fearsome that the soldiers nearly emptied their bowels!
“Stand! What is this?”
Leesa, her anger somewhat soothed by the downfall of her enemy, explained what she had heard. Harkon was made angry, and sad, and desperate all at once, and ordered her to be locked into the box once more. She obeyed without question.
Presently Harkon and Marissa went down to Old Crow’s quarters, to have wine with him in solitude and watch over Dyvim. Of this, there is nothing to be told. But in Dyvim’s mad mind, evil dreams were taking root.
A night passed. In the night, a slave spoke to Leesa, saying that for murder, she would surely become a slave, like him. And that was precisely what Lord Fang intended! When dawn broke, she went down into the hold. She ordered the heavy stone lifted and the heavy chain removed.
“Twice now, you have assaulted my men with deadly intent. It is just luck that the second has survived!”
“I’m sorry,” said Leesa, holding back tears.
Lord Fang shook her head. “An apology will not do. You must choose: Either you become a slave upon my ship, to pay back the debt of this man’s life – or you and your companions will be thrown ashore as soon as we reach Creation.”
“Is there no third way?” asked Leesa, whose memories of Great Forks were still bitter in her mind. “You spoke before of an interest in my injuries, and the manner of their healing – here, see,” she said, and showed the black marking on her shoulder. “You may cut me open, if you wish! Just don’t take me back to Great Forks!”
Lord Fang thought in her heart: Those black markings are surely some rare and precious metal, and the manner of their placing must hold some great wisdom.
“Perhaps I will vivisect you and see,” said Lord Fang.
She departed to her room. Leesa ate rice and drank water, for she had been deprived of these things for a full night and a day.
Having filled her stomach, Leesa went to see how Dyvim fared. She told Harkon about what Lord Fang had said. Then, a thought occurred to her – and her clothes still dripping with the filth of the box, she went to knock on Lord Fang’s door.
Leesa entered. “Lord Fang, I have something I must tell you. While I was locked in the box, the girl Sunflower came to visit me. She embraced me and stayed with me in the box for some hours.”
“Impossible!” laughed Lord Fang. “A child could not lift the heavy stone, or remove the heavy chain! What nonsense is this?”
“Yet she somehow did enter the box. I believe she is no normal child. She says she hears the voices of the dead, and that they whispered about the third ship in our convoy.”
Lord Fang stood up straight. “What did they say?”
“That the dead snuck aboard it last night, while we were hiding below deck, and the third ship drifted closely to the shore! When night falls, they will kill every man on that ship!”
Lord Fang was very interested, both in the girl and these dire news of murder. She and Leesa conversed about what must be done, but in the end, Lord Fang decided to leave the third ship behind, and let her men die. With this, she dismissed the Legionnaire.
Now, Leesa went to look for Temür. She heard from Renzo, that there had been a fight in the common room over Leesa’s possessions. Trask and his friends had wished to claim them, and Temür had defended them, and been beated and dragged aboard the third ship in the convoy. This caused her some anxiety, and she petitioned Renzo to go and release him. Renzo said he would, by the time he had finished organizing the cargo, which had been knocked about when Harkon rearranged the boxes two nights prior.
As Leesa waited up on deck, night was rapidly approaching. When darkness fell, she recalled that Sunflower had spoken of the ghosts singing – and not knowing what else to do, she took tone, hoping she might appease them…