Horsed, and in the company of (evidently), one of the High Lords of Ternyn, they sped across the well-ordered, clean country. On good roads, they made their way along the wide path of the Ribbon toward the sea. Two days they spent thundering across the plains, the younger nights occasionally riding ahead to clear the road for the travelers of farmers and sheep.

Their journy reached the Afon Toniad, the river that separates Cahál from Ternyn, and which, paradoxically, shelters the (new) capitol of Ternyn, Aberafon. The old capitol in the east was destroyed in the Separation, when wizards from Arddbyn decided to level the rebellious capitol cities.

On the ride up the black rivers of the Afon Toniad, Caerdwyn and Llewer talked about what was to come, about the unexpected ascension of Llewer beyond his brother Clain to the high seat of Rhys, the house of the falcon. Llewer asked Caerdwyn, in spite of his repudiation of his position of Questioner, to present their inconclusive but disturbing findings to the 7 High Lords of Ternyn to warn them of a growing and undefined threat. Reluctantly,  Caerdwyn agreed.

The city of Aberafon is a kind of island between two branches of the Afon Toniad, called Afonton and Afonad. Two great, beautiful, blue-white Builder bridges arch across the rivers – one on the north and one on the south side of the city, joining Aberafon to the rest of Mawr with an unbreakable bond.

Making their way through the ordered city, the people made way for the lordling. Arriving at the great fountained courtyard that stands before the Warren (the colloquial name for the House of Lords in Ternyn), they were ‘welcomed’ by Bwyr ap Agyrr of the Shark House, who offered a humiliating politcal machination that the new Lord Llewer ap Rhys dealt with in a modicum of grace. As he turned to introduce the Questioner from Teuhál, Caerdwyn embraced his unwillingness to get involved in the politics of the realms, and shook his head, leaving Llewer to face his life to come alone.

 

That evening, Bayeo left the company to attend the Warren and see if he could connect with the young prince Elair, that he had met (and saved) many years ago on the shores of Ternyn. In the private chambers of Elair an Láin ap Pensaran, he discovered that the young lord had also been elevated to the position of Head of House. The gay lordling who has burgeoned from waif to warrior cultivated an image of effeminate indulgence with his manservants clad revealingly and his open lover, Dubel of Cahál a frequent public visitor. In private, Elair was masculine (well, more or less), competent and bright. He shared with Bayeo that war was being stirred with Arddbyn – that an Arddbyn wizard had assassinated Lord Rhys in public, and that the assumption was it was they who were responsible for the profound shipping disasters Ternyn had suffered. Bayeo shared his doubts about that and some of their experiences traveling north, urging the young lord to caution. Before being called to the Council of Seven, Elair pressed a Ternyn silver wave (high value coin) onto Bayeo as an “insufficient token of gratitude for all the amazing sex you have enabled me to continue having” – the latter to scandalize his overly-involved Aunts.

Outside, past the fire roaring in the fountains, and the foreign dancers amusing the many, many troops in the courtyard, Bayeo re-met up with the man who’d followed him up from the docks, one Killian of Arddbyn – presumably an Arddbyn spy. The spy asked quite politely and repeatedly to meet with Bayeo’s friends. Amused, Bayeo agreed.

Meanwhile, Caerdwyn reconsidered his position, and had gone to the Warren to meet with Llewer, apologize, and make an anonymous (masked and formal) presentation to the Council of Seven. WIth some obvious emotional pain, Llewer greeted Caerdwyn and forgave him for his apparent last-minute betrayal. Together, they went to the Council, and after some talk, Caerdwyn presented his doubts that the kingdom of Arddbyn indeed had anything to do with the disruption of Ternyn, but rather offering that there were other, as-yet-unmet forces involved. The Lords of the Shark and Manta house were unmoved. The other houses pressed him with questions, and then thanked him to retire to private counsel. In the morning, Caerdwyn would hear that his testimony (and, presumably, title and rank) convinced enough of the Lords that something strange was afoot to sway the vote of the Council to temporary peace.

At the Inn late that night, they met with Killian, who reveled he was a Walker of Ursean, that the One Who Stands Apart had come to him in his adolescence and inspired him to walk the byways of the world in service of the Great Traveler, which he has done. He warned them that they would have 2 important meetings on the road, and that a town they came upon would be troubled. He professed he had thought he was to accompany them but a sudden urge came upon him to go elsewhere. He wished them well and hoped they had good journeys along their path, which seemed to him somehow terribly important.

Feeling both disappointed and relieved, they retired for the night, preparing for a long journey across Cahál.