Return

 The massive, jutting figure of the Gamut stood defiantly against the horizon before Tibi. It was an ancient building, said to be crafted by the gods out of a mountain of stone. He was on a wide, level dirt road, the most-used road in the Strangelands, and close ahead of him a rickety wooden wagon full of a dirt-smeared family of Volucerians filled the air with their thick hopeful voices.

In the dusty yards around the Gamut a line of fence marked the training grounds of the Knights. One was training, dueling with a spindly Taskling with special ferocity. Tibi deciding not to greet the man, as he was of an unpleasant disposition. Merchants shouted at people around Tibi, advertising their exotic or necessary wares from their tents.

 "I have ceramics here!" "Missuz, you'll want these!" "HEY. Look at- no, come back!"

 

As he approached the Gamut's huge entrance he admired the seamless grey arch that stretched around him.  High on the arch an engraving was etched, stating:

The Gamut

Established Centere of Advisement in

 matters of Governeance over

the political bodies of the Strangelands.

~Moderation, Individualism, and Reason~

Tibi frowned at the words. They were not there when he had left two weeks ago, and he found it presumptuous of his colleagues at the Gamut to call themselves 'established.' He suddenly became aware of the Keeper sitting against the arch next to him.

"Keeper," he called to the old, dusty man. He wore an ancient garb traditional to the line of Gamut-Keepers, a jingling vest of loose ornamental brass chainmail. It looked faintly ridiculous on him, but Tibi respected the Keeper as a part of Strangeland traditional heritage.

"Sir Tibi. Welcome back." The Keeper grunted, throwing his hands out in a gesture of welcome. He looked Tibi over, saw the dents in his helm, the long scratches along his chest plate, the jeweled pommel sticking from a nobleman's scabbard at his side, the embroidered cloth he carried wrapped in his arms.

"You look well."

"As do you."

"I fare the same as usual, I'm afraid." The Keeper sighed, leaning on his spear and hoisting himself up.

"That engraving up there," Tibi pointed to the words on the wall above them.

"Ah, I was against it. If I had my way you lot couldn't make a scratch on these walls. After you left, Rugart's faction pushed the motion to carve the damn thing. "

"Hmm. I'd like to speak with that man after I'm settled in." Tibi said, with a touch of concern.

The Gamutkeeper looked imploringly at the impersonal metal face of Tibi's helm.

"Things have changed while you were gone, Knight. Do study your surroundings carefully."

"I always do, Keeper."  They nodded to each other and Tibi entered the Gamut. 

The End

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