Aside : First day back at work today, after ten days off. Be gentle with me.
Plus I’m a year older.
Anyway – these are first world problems.
Lone Wolf enters the naval quarter, and is on the cusp of thinking that he might get taken seriously for a change.
Luckily, one of my first sights is the familiar flag of Sommerlund, flying over my country’s consulate.
I climb the steps and am recognised (!!!!) by the guards at the front door.
Aside : What??? I can only assume that they mean that the guards recognise my Kai outfit, because the idea that these guards, and no-one else on this adventure, has received details of my dashing facial features isn’t really sustainable.
In all seriousness, it must be the outfit, because when the consulate official comes down the steps, his ‘anguished expression’ changes to a ‘smile of joy’ when he sees my Kai garments.
Secondary aside : But if the Kai outfit is that distinctive, why didn’t the people in Ragadorn and on the coach instantly recognise me as a member of the Kai order, rather than accepting my vague cover story of being a ‘simple peasant’??
In my head-canon, I am going to assume that my Kai outfit was reversible, and that I wore the ‘non-distinctive’ side when in the Wildlands, but resumed the distinctive Kai green when I reached Port Bax.
Anyway, back to the diplomatic adventure!
The official mentions that the ‘scant news’ from Sommerlund has filled them with alarm, and then promptly takes me to an audience with the envoy, being Lord-Lieutenant Rhygar.
The book then pauses to give me a brief biography of Rhygar, so you just know that this guy is probably going to die heroically some time in the near future.
Aside : Seriously, one thing I do remember about this series is that whenever Lone Wolf gets a travelling companion, you can pretty much assume that they are..
Ah, Steven Seagal, we miss your tiny ponytail and nutbag conspiracy theories.
Rhygar’s biography :
- Born of one Sommlending parent and one Durenese parent;
- Led an alliance of nations to defeat the Ice Barbarians in some place named Kalte (*cough* Book 3 *ahem*)
- ‘Wise in peace, fierce in war’.
I think Mr Dever might have a little man-crush here.
There is a meal and a visit from Rhygar’s personal doctor, which would restore considerable Endurance if my Healing skill hadn’t already done the job.
We leave the next morning with Rhygar and three of his best soldiers, so you just know that there’s going to be trouble in order to pick off some of these redshirts.
The journey to Hammerdal is 230 miles.
After three (comparatively) uneventful days of riding, I can only assume that Rhygar and I have exchanged notes on favourite West Wing episodes, complained about the cancellation of Forever Knight, and rated the various Spice Girls.
Aside : Emma Bunton, all the way.
On the fourth morning (also the fourteenth morning since leaving Holmgard) six cloaked strangers arrive at our camp, with horses which must have been exceptionally sneaky. When challenged, they draw their swords.
My Sixth Sense helps me realise that these ‘strangers’ are in fact Helghast, soldiers of the Darklords who are immune to non-magical weapons and to Mindblast (not that the latter affects me).
Realising that I (we) have no chance in a fight, I flee, shouting a warning to Rhygar as I go. I trip and fall, but am luckily unharmed. Rhygar joins me, and agrees that fighting will do us no good. We quickly flee, and the Helghast slaughter his three men.
Aside : Wouldn’t the Helghast sort of notice that two of their five enemies had fled? Also, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of agonising over leaving three trusted soldiers to certain death as, essentially, bait.
We race off down the hillside in a rather undignified manner.
Stats : CS : 17, E : 20, GC 50
Weapons : Broadsword, Mace
Backpack : Meal (x4), Healing Potion (+3 E)
Special Items : Map, Crystal Star, Shield (+2 to CS), Seal of Hammerdal, Red Pass
Final paragraph :299