12th day of the 10th moon in the year 4512 of the Noruz reckoning, early afternoon.
Kalahn Al-Fest arrived in Kahnul late the night before with a band of Yazd refugees. As he approached, he noticed a flickering light as if a section of the city were afire. He and the rest of the refugees were turned away at the gate for arriving too late, so they spent the night in the refugee camp just outside the eastern gate. Seems the authorities don’t want vagrants camping in the city streets, so they shepherd everyone out who looks destitute at nightfall. Kalahn decided to explore Kahnul before heading to Aval City and completing his delivery. While standing in one of the squares wondering what to do, he’s approached by a friendly-looking half-elf who introduces himself as Jongo. ‘Welcome to Kahnul! You look like you’ve just arrived and have come from far away! Saahel desert, I would guess. What brings you all the way to Kahnul? Can I buy you a drink? I always try to help out fellow half elves. We need to look out for each other because nobody else will.’
Kalahn gives Jongo an amused, slightly surprised smile. “You ask many questions of a perfect stranger. You are very astute and must have traveled far. I am, indeed, from the Saahel. I’d tell you my tribe, though I’m sure you know that as well.” Kalahn offers his hand in greeting. “I am Kalahn Al-Fest. A pleasure to meet you, Jongo. Kahnul is one of my final stops before continuing to the Aval Library. As for the drink, I must tell you that I do not consume alcohol, but would greatly appreciate the company.”
Jongo replies, “Well, then let me give you a tour of this city.” As the pair progresses through the major sites (ducal palace, Sacred Aval temple, temple to Nentu, temple to Kaikias, temple to Anahita, hunter’s square, butcher’s quarter, Shipwright’s chapter house, etc.), Jongo probes, ‘The Aval Library? Do you seek knowledge there? You should know they only give up their secrets for contributions in kind. You must reveal something they do not already know.’
Kalahn enjoys the tour thoroughly, especially the temples. He is an avid student of religion and is always interested to learn about the ways of other faiths. Kalahn thinks for a moment and replies to Jongo, “Hm. I may have something they would be interested in, though I’m not certain. I have been sent to Aval by the elders of my tribe to deliver a parcel. The nature of the package is still beyond my knowledge as I have been strictly instructed not to open it. I must admit I am at an impasse as to how to proceed. I have only been told to deliver my charge to the Library and not to open it. I have full confidence in my mentor, the priest who chose me for the journey, however . . .” Kalahn trails off, lost in thought. He absently plays with his holy symbol, circular bone amulet with a white, round ember in the middle surrounded by blackened carvings of flame.
Jongo says, “Well, I won’t lie and say I’m not curious. I’d love to have a peak at your parcel.”
As the day draws to a close, Jongo suggests one last stop on the tour. ‘If you’re looking for a good place to stay, you should check out the Great Oak Boarding House. It’s common room sleeping, but the owner remembers troublemakers and keeps them out. Rates are reasonable and the food is ok. Mostly Claacos hunters stay there between hunts. The coolest thing about the inn, though, is the giant oak stump in the middle of the ground floor dining hall. The rest of the tree was used to build the inn itself. Pity, it must have been a glorious tree.’
Jongo and Kalahn repair to the Great Oak Boarding House. On the way, they run into Relana and Corvis who join them.