I get told that we ‘lug the rocky coast’ for some days, which I guess means that I sit on the deck, playing poker and practicing ninja moves, hopefully not at the same time. I also get to recover the endurance I lost in our little tussle with the pirates.
Glaivas ‘freely’ tells me that he doesn’t worship Kwon, but rather some bleeding-heart lefty (I’m sure) goddess called the ‘Allmother, Preserver of Life’. There is also a dark (foreshadowing!) moment when I ask about cities which lie along the ‘Greybones’ river and he refuses to respond.
In any event, Glaivas serves as exposition fairy for the time being, telling me that :
- Doomover, our port of call, has 400,000 people and is ruled by the ‘Legion of the Sword of Doom’ (another awesome name! I get comic book chills just thinking about it!)
- The Legion’s leader is Honoric, a ‘blackheart’ who has ‘never been defeated in combat’. Not to worry, I’m sure we’ll never come across him.
- Those who follow Yaemon’s way of the Scarlet Mantis (the anti-Way of the Tiger) have a symbol which consists of the cross of Avatar (apparently the squeaky-clean good God) with a snake wrapped around it.
We initially get stopped at the harbour, but Glaivas shows he’s not a complete goody-two-shoes by spinning a smooth story about selling slaves, which gets us into the harbour. Nice one!
Glaivas then really gets on my good side by giving me 10 gold pieces. He then leaves to prepare defences ‘should your mission fail’.
No pressure or anything.
I (finally!) get to make a choice between entering the city through the Obsidian Gate or the Portal of the Gods. Feeling holy, I choose the latter. I then get to watch a horrific sight, as a priest who attempts to aid a wounded warrior is beheaded by a guard, apparently from the Legion. This moment is captured in a lovely illustration.
Yes, this was intended as a kid’s book, why do you ask?
Don’t worry about me. My twelve-year-old self was riveted.
An old man, calling himself a Seer, then does a really appropriate song-and-dance routine about how he ‘told them so’. Mate, wait till after the funeral, surely?
I decide discretion is the better part of valour and change my entrance to the Obsidian Gate. This appears to be the entrance to the city proper, and a town crier attempts to recruit me into the army. Well, since every other war which involved the recruiting of callow and naive youth has gone so well, I guess I’ll……NOT DAMN LIKELY, SUNSHINE!
I walk on through town and see the temple to Vasch-Ro, along with the temple to Vile, my god’s ‘twisted half brother’.
Aside : How can a god be another god’s half brother? Did their father do the nasty with the nanny on the side? Is that why the half-brother god was disinherited and therefore became twisted? Did their mother give one god more worlds to play with in the nursery? These are the things that keep me up at night.
In any event, I get the option to use ninja skills to sneak into Vile’s monastery, and you know I’m going to be all over that.
Awesome names : The Legion of the Sword of Doom is all kinds of bad-ass, with Beatan the Free a distant second.