At Namesh’s urging, Tugarin calls a shamans’ council to discuss Lamashtu’s long absence.
The Shamans’ Council
Several days later, when Namesh received his invitation to attend the shamans’ council, he was delighted that events were moving forward as he’d hoped. The first step, creating enough anxiety in the council to warrant a meeting, was complete. And he’d done it without drawing any attention to himself. Tugarin, he was sure, had been drunk enough not to remember the details of their conversation or where he’d gotten the idea to call a council meeting, so Namesh would remain an obscure, low-level shaman until the time was right for him to come forward. He questioned the messenger closely, but was unable to learn anything new from the man. Just and insignificant pawn, Namesh thought.
The council was scheduled for the rise of the next full moon, three days away. During that time, he casually questioned the customers of his wine shop in an attempt to gauge the sentiments of the community. It quickly became clear that he was not the only person with concerns about the consequences of Lamashtu’s undertaking and his long absence. He shared samples of his inventory with every shaman who visited the shop. Their lips loosened by the wine, they were far more communicative than they might have been, but after all, Namesh was also a shaman, so what was the harm in a little wine and casual conversation. By the time of the council, Namesh had a pretty good idea of how the meeting would go and it pleased him, especially when he discovered that Pitka had not been invited to attend.
As the full moon rose, Namesh joined the other shamans making their way to the council hall. The whispered conversations reinforced his hopes that the council would make decisions that would eventually be in his favor.
He arrived at the hall and, after presenting the appropriate signs and symbols, was admitted to the dimly lit chamber. All of the senior shamans had already arrived and were seated close to the altar at the far end of the room. Several torches were mounted in sconces around the altar and a few more, on each side of the room, provided dim illumination. Namesh found a secluded place near the back and away from the sputtering torches. A few more shamans arrived, then the guards pushed the heavy wooden doors shut and dropped the crossbars into place, sealing the room.