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Lord Vivec's

Sword-Meeting with
Cyrus the Restless

Volume 4

You cannot go back. We must cast off. Captain, take us into this no more. A demon's mercy only comes once. Quit staring at your sword, sir. Yokuda was lost for a reason. Let's just go. Why not just send the crows an invitation in lights. Please, captain, let us cast off. I mean, we brought some from Akavir, they'd see 'em surely. You can't even move. We've heard the stories of Ansu-Gurleht, the raga among us at least; the gods say it's okay to hightail it. Great work, Haekele, those were right magicsome words. Go get the skooma-pipe and tell him it's a scalpel day again. Please let us just leave this haunted place. Cut up suits you, cap, pregnant don't; listen to the men. You cannot go back. With all due respect, sir, you're dumber than I look.


Now in his time asleep or under the knife, Cyrus didn't know that Coyle had set out with a few other sailors, all of them Yoku-speakers. Knowing his captain too well, the young man went to find the fabled ansus, the sword saints of orichalc. Coyle kept no hope that he should be so lucky - the ansus kept their citadels hidden, and komodos protected them under color of rock. In the village of Bu-tabar, which topples down the eltheric breaks like survivor pearls, Coyle learned that the ansus were seeking to hold counsel with Cyrus anyway. He met them on the Samarand Road and they were three as in tradition- a young one, an aged one, and a daughter of neither. They had a train of followers to carry their sword collections and their memories-in-stone. Seeing the crew of the Carrick, the daughter ansu reenacted the Falls of Diag-leeki with twin falchions, playing every part; since she did so in under a minute, it meant hello-don't-be-useless.

"I should warn you," Coyle told the elder in the old tongue, "Captain Cyrus doesn't know any Yoku at all."


Coyle brought the elder ansu and the young one to meet Cyrus in the surgeon's hold; the daughter stayed abovedecks with their train, to protect them and to warn the sailors with displays. The young ansu greeted the captain in Yoku, which Coyle translated for him. Cyrus merely nodded and lifted up, bandaged across his eight wounds, and the sugarcat hissed at the needless movement. Startled by the sound, the young ansu took a Walled Consequence stance. Coyle brushed the surgeon away quickly and finally the elder spoke.

"We know of you, Surahoon," he said in the captain's own speech, "And motions were multiplied the other morning on this beach, which is sword tremor, which we can feel, and that can only mean you encountered the Ansu-Gurleht."

Cyrus shrugged his shoulders. "If you mean the dunmer wizard, yeah, he was here. I almost had him. And no funny talk."

The young ansu dropped his stance. "He cannot be beaten," he told Cyrus, "We know every sword move created in history, and none of them would avail you, even if you learned them from our memories-in-stone, which we would be obliged to lend you if you asked. You killed the white king in the Hammerfell, after all."

"What?" Cyrus said. "The Emperor? I didn't kill him."

"Of course you did; you were the Hoon Ding."

"No I didn't and no I wasn't."

The young ansu refused to listen. Behind his stone-feather mask he smiled in admiration. "You disarmed him, even, and would not kill him until he showed another knife. That is ra gada honor. We do not fight the unprotected. Your stories have come-"

"That wasn't the Emperor," Cyrus said. "That was just-"

"Of course it was. That is why the Hammerfell stands. You were the Hoon Ding. In any case, the Ansu-Gurleht cannot be beaten. He was gifted by the Barons of Move Like This, who record sword moves from the future, as well."

"Right," Cyrus sighed. "Please remove yourself from my ship."

Coyle went to his captain. "Sura," he whispered, "nogo tur-"

"Not an option, Coyle." Cyrus turned to the ansu. "Now go. The fight with the dunmer is my own. I appreciate the advice but you're-"

"Will you not take our memories-in-stone, at least?"

"Why?" Cyrus said. He tried to keep his temper. "You've already said that they're useless against him."

The elder lifted a hand. "The Hoon Ding could-"

"Look, I am not-"

"The Hoon Ding could read the stones and show you what we say is true - that no move exists that will get past the Ansu-Gurleht."

The elder looked through the floor of the hold. "At least not now," he said, "The Hoon Ding would show you that he will not manifest in you in this fight."

"Good," Cyrus said. "He'd get in my way." And with that he lay back down. The elder looked up from the floor, and set his head to the side.

"Surahoon," he said, "We are the ansu, the greatest warriors that live in men. Our swords sent the Left-Handers into the oceans, whose empire was four times the size of the white king. When we fight, our swords can kill the laws of nature itself. Yokuda is as you see it because our hira-dirg swords can cut the atomos, the uncuttable, and we did. We are the ansu, and we tell you now that you cannot beat the Ansu-Gurleht. How do you think he came by that name? Who do you think was our finest student?"

Coyle stepped back. He shook his head. Cyrus for his part just shrugged again.

"Then your finest student is a painted hussy," he said, "And a foreign one at that. Great work. He's quick enough, sure, but I've cut down his kind before."

Cyrus lifted his head for a second, looking to Coyle. "He talks a lot, too, and seems to like that. Is there a God of Talk to Death here, too?"

"Yes," Coyle said, "But Ansu-Gurleht is the-"

"Of course there is," Cyrus said, "I can work with that, then. Hopefully he'll be holding his sword as he's yakking away so my Redguard honor will remain intact when I run my saber into his mouth mid-sentence."

The young ansu spoke with the elder's voice. "We are telling the Hoon Ding to run."

Cyrus smiled and closed his eyes.

"Where's the money in that?"

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