Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (3)

    The rats had some sort of unholy drive to kill us.  There were thousands of them, an unending stream so that no matter how many we killed there was no end in sight.  Miyara of course immediately took charge, and led the barbarians on while I held the rear against the rats.  The Giant leapt into the stream of effluent and used his torch to try to keep them back, but was of limited use.  We retreated covering the others, still following the direction of the trail of blood.
    Where the sewer passage opened up, the flow of waste went off in another direction.  In this more open area was a mining railway with a cart.  The rails led down into a small tunnel.  Miyara led the barbarians into the cart, and one of them smashed the brake mechanism.  The Giant and I grabbed onto the back of the cart as it hurtled down into the tunnel.  We left the rats behind at the top -- I wondered what evil lay down here that not even rats would follow?
    After a short trip at ever increasing speed, it was apparent the end of the rail was upon us.  I leapt from the cart, landing ready to fight, but there was no need.  The room was empty.  Fortunately all within the cart survived the crash without much injury, even the Elf who had been severely injured by the rats.
    There were sounds coming from a tunnel leading down from this room, but nothing demanded our immediate attention.  Instead, the original contents of the cart were of importance.  Aside from Miyara, of course, the others had not noticed that there was a body already in the cart.  It was immediately apparent that this was the assassin, as he was still clutching the severed head of the gang leader.  The killer had died from rat bites -- clearly unskilled in his trade.  A true assassin would have never allowed such an eventuality to go unplanned.  The incompetence of these barbarians continues to amaze me.
    The Elf looted the assassin's body.  He found something, obviously, because the others were clamoring at him to deliver his loot.  Eventually after much prodding he handed over a stone, such as might have been set in a ring.  By their reactions, this was clearly the item the Tall Man had been sent to collect.  He placed it securely in his box, as if scared of it.  The barbarians are a superstitious lot, given to unreasonable fear of things they don't understand.

    We had achieved our goal, and Miyara now directed us to explore further in order to leave that way.  I checked down the tunnel, and saw that in the larger cave beyond some gang members were building barricades against some unseen threat.  Surely it was not against us -- we would so easily pass over the barricade and kill them as they were trapped by their own defenses -- so there must be some threat further down.
    Here in the small room, in addition to the rail by which we entered, was another rail and cart heading through the large room and beyond it.  That would provide us defense against the tendency of the barbarians to throw things at people, so we could pass through safely.  This time the rougher members of our group were convinced not to destroy the brake; Miyara must have explained the operation of this simple mechanism in terms they could understand.
     Most of the group climbed into the cart.  The White Fairy pushed it to start it rolling, and leapt onto it, clinging for his life.  The Giant and I again took the defense of the group seriously -- I am beginning to get a grudging respect for his crude sense of honor -- and held onto the back corners, to draw any fire and to respond to new threats.  He took the side away from the barricades, while I took the right side.
    We rolled rapidly through the large room, with still no indication of why the rabble were so frightened.  Beyond that room, the tunnel continued down.  Soon the cart approached a cave that led to the river.  A wooden pier jutted into the water; the rail ended there.  Boats were pulled up onto the short either side.
    But first, two guards were at the entrance to this cave.  The Giant swung ineffectually at one of them as the cart went by, but I saw the need to protect our rear so I jumped off to engage them in combat.  It was not a difficult fight, but took precious time.
    The cart was brought to a stop and all disembarked.  Four figures were to the left of the cave, and the Giant went after them.  Three were in the black robes that distinguished the two I was fighting, while the fourth was a deathly white priest surrounded by a cloud of flies.  The Giant immediately recognized that the main threat was the priest, and ignoring his own safety tried to push through to him.
    The priest had been chanting, however, and suddenly he succeeded in summoning a swamp demon to the cave.  The beast was hideous, and seemed intent on devouring our group.  The Tall Man and the White Fairy distracted it so that Miyara could get the boy and the injured Elf onto a boat.
    Now I had dispatched the two guards, and with our rear safe I joined the fight in the cave.  Being more educated than the ignorant barbarians, I knew that the summoner was the priority, not the summoned demon.  Killing the priest might dismiss the demon; if not, then at least he could summon no more, and we could concentrate on dispatching the horrific creature.
    With myself and the Giant in the fight, we quickly overcame the priest and his three acolytes.  With the death of the priest, the demon vanished.  We were safe to leave by boat.
    First, though, I had two duties to perform.  Knowing the barbarians would be looting the bodies of their foes, and abandoning to die any who had survived, I first went around and made sure all were dead and thus freed from the torture, suffering, and dishonor that were about to be committed on them.  Then I returned to the large room, and told the cowering rabble that I had dispatched the demon, and they need no longer fear it or the priest.
    We then left by boat over the stinking river.

    I hate this city.