The fair-haired boy third from the end had no fear of the Battlegames. There were one-and-twenty youths present, from beardless and ungrown child to full man, and the priest of Tempus third from the end was neither tallest nor shortest.
Upon the road with Stolny she had been taken for a boy at times, Branwen reminded herself; if clothing was grimy and loose-fitting enough few troubled to look further. She had the shape of a woman, but with Tempus' strength man or woman mattered not. More worrying was that she had spent the past two days and the early part of this one in escaping Stolny's eye to practise; she could still not fully believe that at her prayer to the Battlelord the ice-blue hammer appeared from thin air to rest in her hands, and yet had all the substance of iron and the strength to place cracks in stone. This she had also not told the old priest of.
She saw five priests of Tempus in full holy vestment: they wore dyed crimson robes that blew cleanly about their shoulders, gold and silver glittered at the edging of their yellow-and-white sleeves, and the hammers and maces and flails they carried shone like the sun. Their leader carried a carved and gilded wooden staff and his symbol of the shield glowed with flames, and it was he who spoke to those who would receive initiation in public. Vjorl Jormansson: the high priest to the chieftain, and the subject of almost too many warriors'legends for one man himself.
"Tempus does not win battles," the high priest spoke, "he helps the deserving warrior win battles!" And to that came a cheer, for it was of the creed. "The Lord of Battles has no use for those who fail to fight valiantly. Many men may try to enter his service. Few will be chosen. This is the time now for boys tied to their mothers' aprons to leave lest they fall; the time now for any with doubts to speak and withdraw. The shame to leave now is far less than the shame of failure later. Which of you has not heart and soul to serve Tempus?"
And then Branwen felt and saw his power: for the eyes of the high priest flashed red-gold, and like a hawk his piercing stare swept across the full assembly of boys. She straightened her back and met the eyes, for had Tempus himself not called her to this? Her gaze held for a long moment as if he had the power to seek inside her, but either he sought only for her prayers to Tempus or Tempus himself shielded her from discovery. Then one of the younger boys cried out.
"I see—I see blackness! Please stop—I am not meant—"
An armoured guard took the boy firmly, laying a gauntleted hand on his shoulder; he wept as he was removed from the arena. That gaze of the high priest had caused that; he was powerful. But you should not bow to power simply because it was power, for that was the way of the deceitful toad-servant, and none of Tempus ought to expect it.
The tall boy beside her looked down, his face serious. "I tried the year before," he whispered. "There were three then sent away at the beginning. Whose son are you?" His clothes were good, thick and small-stitched, though none here wore any ornamentation to show or hide the position of their family.
"My father was a warrior in Seawolf's service," Branwen returned. Then it went quiet once more; the morning sun glittered sharply against the holy symbol borne by the high priest. His eyes still held a trace of that red-and-gold vision that searched for the right spirit turned toward the deity; he spoke further of the priesthood.
"You are not here because you know nothing. You are not here from weakness. You fight for strength. Tempus cannot accept those who flee battle. The games test more than one form of strength: of the arm, of the soul, of the blood, and of the liver." The seat of courage in the body; Branwen felt her heart beat, the red blood of warfare coursing about her shape. "Chance governs warfare; skill governs warfare. Learn to face both."
One of the priests by Vjorl came forward with a black-coloured sack in hand. He offered it to the first boy, who reached within and drew a grey tile marked by lettering, too far-off for Branwen to decipher it. It was followed until all possessed a marking numbered by a rune inscribed in the older language of their people, one that she knew only the principal letters and symbols—and was grateful to Stolny for that, and hoped that he would approve of her deeds this day.
It was a matching for the purpose of duelling. Her token was found closest to a boy of her age or so; he had a weapon of his own, a plain but fine-made warhammer; she had been given an iron-banded club, almost weighty as a mace. Better to honour the rules of the trials rather than to summon that other hammer. He nodded to her.
"I am Thorst Asavilsson, freeborn and jarl-born, and in this fight I declare my right to serve Tempus." His voice had not quite finished breaking; but he set his chin fiercely. He wore his black hair loose and cut to his chin.
"Bran, child and sibling of warriors," Branwen said, taking up her own weapon assigned. "I would say...may Tempus look upon both of us with favour as earned." She had not intended to say too much, lest voice give her away. To try to hurt one who aimed at the same purpose—no, these Battlegames were to select those worthy, not to harm those of equal will and honourable ways.
"Bran? You are misnamed, then," he said, with a grin she had seen in the past—Bran, raven, darkness—and their fight began.
He came, deer-fast, ready to strike quickly. She blocked, then swung away the club to fight back. The warhammer of Tempus— Her practice-fights with Vidar came back to her. You had to not lose your footing, as dreams had taught her. You had to use range—though here their reach was less than an inch's difference.
Below their feet lay flat sands, easy to stand balanced upon. Branwen shifted herself forward. That was—she knew some of Asavilsson's strategies, had practiced them first as improvised, in the past days as learned from dreams. Then one she did not know, a spinning blow that came from below and ended in her ribcage.
She felt the sands below her body, thrown to her back. She kept moving, throwing herself aside, but he had stopped fighting—
"Do you yield?" the boy said; fairly and honourably. Branwen stood. She'd lost, but not failed; hadn't stopped where she lay, had not been thrown from the arena.
"Thank you," she said, meaning it, "but I would as much as you."
Then again they fought. Attack rather than defence, because the purpose was not to run from a fight. Then Thorst's hammer swung forward, out of her field of vision; Branwen knew it could find the back of her head as if she saw it in a dream, or that the hammer's end could turn from blunt to spiked when it met her bone.
But by range Asavilsson was close; she hit his stomach in the vulnerable place by the ribs. He flew back. Branwen waited as he'd done, expecting him to get up; but he lay still and gasped for breath. His face was twisted in pain. Before she could think about it she was kneeling down beside the boy, for Tempus' sake helping an honourable fight by placing hands on his chest and praying— Blue light soaked through her hands, and then he was breathing properly once more.
He started at her. "You—cast—?"
"Continue," rang the low voice of one of the priests in supervision.
Thorst had recovered his balance quickly; he seemed fit for it. In the end she was able to hit his right shoulder, and he stepped back.
"That is two for you," he said; "my arm does not lift properly..." He couldn't fight like that; did she dare pray again?
"Two from three," the priest spoke; he laid his own hands over Thorst's shoulders, pronouncing a prayer in formal words and older language. "I judge Bran the victor, but both to remain in the trials."
In the second of the games far fewer of the one-and-twenty novices remained. There was a circle marked below a low, black-wooded, thorn-laid roof that cast shade; sand marked with a circle and subtler lines; and a flask that smelled of goats' blood. Branwen gagged at the taste of it.
"Follow me," the robed priest chanted, "follow to full battles. Test strength on the past. Test strength where it cannot be disguised. Dream of Tempus himself..."
Branwen flew into dark air; her head spun, and it was a night without stars or moon. The isle of Seawolf was a distant outline below, and then she could see other isles scattered in the sea, shapes she barely knew. Once Stolny had sketched a rough map on the ground, a crescent for Isleifsvarn and a round plum of Ehrlasst, long Otkelholm and wide Varlslake. She spiralled further up into the air and dark clouds blocked the vision of the isles entirely, and then she was so far into the black sky that even the clouds were no longer visible.
Then she plummeted downward like a falling stone.
Come to witness, a voice said, come to prove yourself.
The harbour curved inward like a bird's wing reversed. She blinked and saw in light; it was dawn, the sky blood-red where the sun rose from the eastern seas. Smoke rose from wooden cottages and fishers' boats surged through the water. She still saw it as a bird would see, and then she realised that it was the village that she and Stolny had seen from within. And she saw that three warships were distant black dots upon the horizon, like large toothed seals darting through deep waters.
Then the warriors of Thrudmul would have come here upon a longship of their own. She searched with her eyes, seeing the ground opened from above to her: it was already moored and half-concealed in a cavern to the lower side of the coast, painted by the eyes of the All-Seeing. Her brother was already here; and because she could see none of them, they must not know of the enemy's approach. She watched: the doom came.
A fisher-boy was first to see. Branwen watched him, small from above, running to call for others. The warriors were surprised: the first of them ran half-naked from their lodgings, shaking his loose red hair behind his back. They grasped for bows, throwing-spears in rough haste. She saw them standing about the beach. Already the enemy were close enough for arrows to be loosed against the approaching ships. There were priests among her brother's warriors, one of the shield of Tempus worn in brilliant scarlet on his chest, one of the lightning-bolt cloud of Valkur of the seas. There had been a priest of Tyr of the village in addition, Branwen knew. He stood behind them, wearing grey plain robes, his right hand bandaged in symbol of the god.
The invaders' ships were separated; the defenders split themselves alike in a line. That weakened them, Branwen thought, sadly. Perhaps they would have been stronger in a single unit. She knew what approached.
The first of the ships came close and disgorged its men, while the archers beyond still loosed arrows. Branwen saw Seawolf's warriors raising shields, protecting themselves. An arrow broke through into a man's shoulder; he clawed at it, and blood marked his armour. The priest of Tyr stepped forward and clutched the wound, speaking words over it that she couldn't hear or decipher.
The invaders broke through the line. Branwen saw their destruction, hunting for what they could take. Stores of coin—small as they might be, in this place that did not deserve such a raid; stores of food; crops to set afire; weaponry to seize from fallen enemies. Then she saw her brother; he carried a sword, running quickly, fighting one of the enemy. He had changed since her last memories of him, but he looked like her father and like Ingvi; unmistakably Alfden, tall and strong and valiantly winning his battle. Then he was hit by an arrow, and screamed although she heard no sound. The progress of the battle seemed to waver before her eyes, and she could not heal him.
When she blinked again, the battle was at its worst; the enemy's ships were all landed, and smoke filled the air. It stung her eyes. The priest of Tyr had his holy symbol raised high, and spoke words above the screaming crowd; this time she thought she could read one phrase that passed his lips, to heal. He stood by a wounded—boy, not man, too young, bleeding; he placed his hands across a deep red wound. And it was then he fell, as she had known he would, to the blade of an axeman who cut him down from behind. Dishonourable—Lokispawn—!
Then the raiders sought their ships once more, achieving for what they had come. Another young one stood to try to stop them; a shepherd, perhaps, for that was more crook than quarterstaff he carried. A tall, broad man ran; around his neck glinted something coloured crudely yellow; then in watching what she thought couldn't be stopped, Branwen saw the shield of Tempus about the neck of an enemy. She expected him to murder the boy, for he was unmistakably a warrior of Isleifsvarn; but he did not, and took time to run around him while the defenders sought to kill them. Then he raised his large shield to catch an arrow; pushed down the Seawolf child, and retreated—
Their ships were leaving. The Thrudmul longship lay bobbing in the waters, its men trying to tend their wounded or still loosing hopeless arrows after those who fled. Had it been retained by even a small group, perhaps it could have at least rammed one of the fleeing ships, or come close for arrowfire; as perhaps if the defenders had remained together...
The air rippled before her, as if by a heavy fog. Branwen saw it dance in front of her eyes as if the grey smoke had turned to that invisible, distorting effect of a clear fire close by. Then she saw it begin a second time, but it was changed. The warrior with red hair raised his spear in a rallying-cry; she saw the fighters gather in a phalanx. Yet again there were cries and the clash of weapons, priests chanting, the whole moving too quickly for her to fully understand. There was her brother; one of his companions raised a shield, she saw, and a black-fletched arrow of the enemy plunged to it. Perhaps of that wound he was free; but though she saw in this vision that they held together, they were outnumbered by fighters who were—equal, she had to acknowledge. The houses and crops burned, though she thought that perhaps losses were lessened. Different men died this time—
A small group of three broke from their defence while the raiders left, to take the ship to bring down one of the enemy by any means. It skimmed through the waves; all it could to was to ram. There was a great noise of colliding wood, as a thunderclap; splintered logs breaking and falling to the sea; the enemy priest bearing the symbol of Tempus within the Sea-Queen's waves. Branwen could see his face closely, then; a black beard and a smoke-scorched face, fighting against the waves. Then it seemed as if she was close enough to lay a hand to the cloth and light mail across his shoulders; to see the slick oil that held down his hair. She was close now to the glint of his shield-symbol at his neck, red stone and glittering false-gold, and for a moment she touched him to pull him free from the waves—
He saw the boy in his path and held back; to kill the defenceless was against everything in the creed—
He was a boy; the foreign warriors tore at his village and he heard his mother's scream—
Enemy, always the enemy, better to fight fair-armed enemy, Seawolf was the enemy who slew children of his—
Tempus take me to your halls when I perish!
The blue waves fell around him. Water blocked her vision, and then instead of bright sunlit sea she could see a small patch of sky through a knothole to the sun above her head. Branwen's head ached. She could feel a pain in her throat: she thirsted, her voice too blocked to speak yet. She could hear the voices of the priests talking, but it was not to her.
"Divinations—" one spoke. "How many of these show signs of battlevision?"
"Some. I know the second one in his sleep muttered the name of Karsi; perhaps Karsi Kaifriksson, or else who knows what visions of war? Now those sons were fighters of the past—"
"The third is silent," the other priest said, "I doubt he will be granted. But his father will find something—"
"The fair-haired one is woken. He saw, at least," said the first of the priests of Tempus. "Perhaps Tempus will favour still more than the year before."
Hours of the day had passed; though the dream-visions had seemed to take little time. Branwen could stand on her feet once more, her thirst quenched through water. The sun was red in the sky. It was almost the sixteenth hour, she judged by the summer. Asavilsson stood not far from her; eight remained in these trials. Tempus does not win battles unearned...
There were armoured men of the chieftain's household watching from afar, besides the priest. She glanced over their faces, the colours of insignia on their cloaks. Thrudmul, she saw the grey-and-red colours, at least three of them mingled with other warriors; but at the distance she could not tell if her brother was here. It was no strangeness that warriors celebrated the summer festivals and came to battlegames.
It was a challenge of fighting once more; this time for endurance above simple ability. She had the hammer she had won in the first trial, and she drew a match against a youth taller than she. Fetaln Rafniksson: a family name, he said, that even boy peasants who wished to pretend to be priests ought to know.
"This I won in fair battle," he said, bearing a mace that glimmered with that slight sheen stronger than metal Branwen had seen only rarely. "It will be right to use to defeat you."
"Are you a witch, that you know the outcome beforehand?" Branwen said, and stepped upon the wide raised wheel of wood that marked this ground. It was edged by a rope strung to upwards slats at its rim, and raised slightly above the sands. By the rules of the challenge they remained atop it for as long as they could endure; to throw the opponent from it was forbidden. To face the fair-armed opponent and to refuse to turn away. She thought she knew how to wield the weight of the hammer in her hands.
It began. Branwen learned quickly he was older, stronger, years-practiced. There were counters to the hammer's strikes she knew; his arms were stronger and by the dweomer he moved as if he carried a lighter weapon that struck with more force.
Then Rafniksson's mace was aimed for her left shoulder, and she knew she could not block in time. She retreated, weaving back, and felt the glancing blow rather than the shattering hurt her. By the terms to retreat from injury was a fair strategy. Then an underarm blow with the mace that she was barely able to defend against, and from his height above he directed a blow at her skull.
For endurance; for a warrior is not rewarded for fleeing when there is duty to hold. Words were too easy to say, and it was largely without words that Branwen continued. She drew in breath to her lungs; the day's light reddened above; her bones jarred with the force of meeting the dweomered mace. She could walk with bruises against thorns that barred her path. Time wore on. If that blow landed on her forehead, it would kill her; she distrusted Rafniksson's honour. Then when the hammer met the mace directly, it shuddered in her hand, the iron and wood weakening. He saw the weakness clearly. For a time she tried to avoid with hands and body rather than risk the weapon, but he left her no choice, backing her to the ropes that confined their arena to halt her movement. The mace's head met her hammer on its head. It sprung apart in her hand. The useless remains fell to the ground below her feet.
"Yield to leave this place, boy," Rafniksson said, "or be harmed."
Branwen felt next that tears had sprung to her eyes. She was falling aside, skimming across the wooden wheel, and then she felt the pain in her chest, her ribs from his blow. He'd left her no time in his offer. While she stood within this he had allowance of means to make her surrender.
She spoke to show honour of her own, though her voice wheezed. He steeped slowly across to her, the mace raised for another painful blow. "Might I...use weapon I have fairly...earned?" She had begun to reach for it with the prayer.
"If you can find one here—" Rafniksson agreed in mockery, raising his mace, and then the blue-glowing hammer appeared for her.
This was the weapon with which she had practiced.
They came together, clashing, and with it she was as good as the opponent. She should learn enough to be better. Tempus' hammer was strong and light, and she pulled her blows in case of injury too far. Branwen had seen her opponent's surprise; like a warrior he hadn't stopped fighting. She hit a returned blow to his ribs, and because her blood was up she could ignore her own aches. She was faster, now, Tempus' hammer light in her hands, and though Rafniksson still returned her blows at times she understood his movements. Both gave as much as they had to the test of endurance; both weapons still in rough equality. The speed of it was furious.
The mace whirled past her skull. Branwen stepped below it, closer in, drawing back her right arm. Then she returned the blow to the ribs; he fell back, and she saw that she had hurt him. He gasped for breath, his tunic sweat-stained and torn. She could feel the materialised hammer ice-cold in her hand, the effort of holding it and standing upright despite her own pains. She felt herself breathing harshly, and wondered if he would get up once more—
"I...yield," Rafniksson said bitterly; he had looked aside, and spat to the ground. Branwen followed the direction of his gaze and saw that the other trials had completed already. Only they had still fought, and the eyes of the priests and the novices rested upon them. She reached a hand to her head; she realised then that had she not stopped those blows he had not pulled them. It was over, anyway. The sun had begun to dip below the horizon. She looked at Vjorl the high priest, marvelling that he watched, expecting that she had earned the right to stand as a priest of Tempus. With still more wonderment she saw more clearly the Thrudmul emblem upon her own brother, who stood as if he was hale and healthy now.
"It is done," one of the priests who had spoken over the seeing-test said. "There is a victor accepted by Tempus; there is one who fought as if he belonged to Garagos. Bran Hakonsson is fit to be ordained—"
Her brother glanced upward at the name of their father; it was not an uncommon name. Branwen dismissed the ice-blue hammer with a thought, the aches and pains settling into her skin. Asavilsson stood there also, by his stance triumphant too; they had earned their will to follow the god of war.
Then Rafniksson got to his feet once more. "No," he said. "This is no boy—a girl who cheated—look at her!"
He staggered toward her; her tunic caught in his thick hands. Branwen pulled away and heard the cloth part. She leaned upon the ropes slung about the wheel.
"I am a priestess of Tempus," she heard herself say, "and I was told to come to this circle to demand the initiation."
There was a whirling in her ears, as the sound of many voices or of an approaching storm. A gathering of whispers and shock.
Vjorl spoke, his voice cold iron. "Women cannot be priests," he said. He raised his staff before the assembly; Branwen could see the sun's light upon his shining and polished symbol of the shield, and envied. Priests used such symbols to focus their casting. "Liar; cheat; girl, you may return to your family—"
"My family is here," Branwen said, and pointed to her brother in the crowd. Rafniksson pushed her from behind; she fell on hands and knees to the sand below the arena, but stumbled to her feet near to Vjorl. "Hakonsdottir; my father and brother are warriors both; Alfden, in vision I saw your arrow-wound in your shoulder; I am glad you were healed of it—"
Instead of welcoming her, her brother's face was cold. "I knew nothing of this," he said. "My sister was said to be mad in my father's village; a hearer of voices; a follower of an ecstatic madman. Her dishonour is not mine; cast her from this place."
Alfden's blue eyes were like those of her father and like Ingvi, but neither of those had ever looked with such hatred upon her. She looked next at Asavilsson; he only looked sadly away, refusing to meet her eyes. Then to the five priests of Tempus once more.
"—Banished from this sacred ground," Vjorl said, "for trying to make mockery of these ceremonies. For—blasphemy; sacrilege of our traditions; take her far from here—"
"Does Tempus say that to you?" Branwen said. "Pray; I—"
"I need not ask my god once more what we all know!" Vjorl the high priest of Seawolf said, and to his staff came an angry red sheen. He pointed it to her. "Hakonsson, your wayward sister; remove the treacherous child."
"Valour...blazes in all..." Tempus himself did not appear to win this battle for her. Armed, grown men came on either side of her. "You are wrong, Alfden."
Then came the first blow, hastening her removal. "No sister of mine," she heard her brother's cold voice. "No...shame to our family; I will be head of the family one day and I call you outcast. Nameless. Be gone as a nithing to the family. Never dare to blaspheme again; by dawn tomorrow you will be outlaw—"
Then she was beyond the compound's gates, thrust into the crowd of people by the guards. Her brother turned his back on her for the last time. Rough stone scraped a line of blood on her knee. They threw after her the splinters of the club she had used, the weapon tainted by woman's touch. Then she was limping across the way, bruised, lost in the darkness. Now she was too weak to summon the hammer.
I was told to go to that circle—I was not told, exactly, but I believed it was a sign—I am still a priestess of Tempus, I know he is with me— Branwen stumbled in the Wolfstooth streets not knowing where she was; it grew dark. Then she was walking by Stolny's side, a splinter of club clutched in her right hand and tipped with blood.
"They—" Her lungs barely formed words. "Cast me out. Alfden. My brother. I saw—"
The weight slowly lifted from her legs; she walked almost as usual, with the old priest leaning upon her though her ribs and arms ached still. It seemed important to tell him all but the order of it was upside-wrong in her head like broken yarn inextricably tangled.
"A vision in the thornhouse. The arrow to Alfden. Another priest of Tempus—this war. Could there be a war fought to end war? I wanted to save my brother when I went to fight, then from the vision there are other priests of Tempus for the isles thought enemies for the same raids and to fight to stop it all—"
Stolny seemed not surprised at all. "For years I told you the same: that is the nature of these wars. It took you great time to learn."
"I thought that might be the duty Tempus wanted of me. Honour, Asavilsson not Rafniksson. War ended by fighting for it. My brother home. The other priest of Tempus not drowned. But they forced me away," Branwen said.
She did not know where Stolny led. This part of the chieftain's town was not where they had stayed.
"And they will hunt you down once more if you remain here, for your humiliation of them," Stolny said.
"I do not even have symbol," Branwen said. "Vjorl is powerful, all of them powerful. I fought them. I could not try to fight my brother. They will not let me be a priest to their sight." Now the air smelled strongly of salt and old fish, and was loud with the sounds of the cracking of wood on wood and the washing of sea waves. Sails and masts became part of the dark horizon, rising higher than houses. These were the docks of Wolfstooth, the longboats of chieftain and warriors. There were also crafts built for trade with the wares of other regions.
"You must leave before dawn," Stolny said. He marched through the docks like a man far younger. His staff hit harshly against the ground. "Do you know the least of this isle? No, of course you do not. Seawolf itself is the size of what cities elsewhere would call a town; all the people upon all warring islands are smaller in number than single cities across the Realms; beyond our isles and beyond even Ruathym there is Waterdeep and Amn and Chult and a vast eastern continent and still other continents unknown. In my time I travelled long enough to understand this. And to our endless wars there are armies five times greater who would pierce through all we had in hours."
Ruathym was as distant a place as Hel's realm and the only named place she had heard of: and it was so far a southern isle that it might as well have been the other side of the world or halfway down the fall from one of its edges. Branwen was hard pressed to imagine further than that while her head ached with it all. Stolny led her to a travelling ship, smooth-lined and foreign, crewed by a short bearded man atop the deck: a dwarf, only heard of in the past. By him a female sailor—a foreign ship most certainly. She stepped in front of a lamplight on her deck, and her ears were lightly pointed. Her steps held an unusual rolling grace; Branwen could see only one picture at a time, exhausted as she was.
"Their ship has come and gone before," Stolny said. Branwen did not think to ask of his knowledge. "An eight-man crew; they take and vary. And at times face pirates," he added quietly. "Ask passage from them for labour."
Branwen's head spun still. The sun had set; she was not a priest in the eyes of her people; she would soon be outlaw.
"I owe you two years of our contract still," she said, unbelieving, soft-voiced.
"No; an exchange," Stolny said. "You won that club you carry in Tempus' sight?"
The splinters of it dug into her hand still.
"Then trade a weapon earned in a holy ceremony to purchase the contract," he said.
Branwen heard him speak in words she did not know. Certain of the syllables she did. She would know this herself one day. Then her right hand was pink-fleshed and whole, and Stolny held the weapon he had traded. It had been her only possession earned by law of contract.
"Go," the old priest said. The dwarf on the deck of the boat was called Harglims, and the half-elf Vaenna the Silvershot. They promised a worked passage.
On the ship that carried her away from her homeland she served as a deckhand, scrubbing the rough planks until her body grew as weary as it had ever done in trials or wanderings. When her feet touched solid ground, she swore her priest's services to the first adventuring group she met; and walked her path in irregular patterns as she believed Tempus was there to guide her, by gradual degrees turning southwards.