Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (4)

    At last out of the cult of the Swamp Demon, we floated down the river in the boat.  We were not pursued, but even so I knew it was only a matter of time before the incompetence of the barbarians sank us.  I directed the Tall Man and the Giant to paddle, and even helped them myself so they could see what to do.  At first they wanted to paddle to the far shore -- it would have taken ages for us to reach it -- but I managed to convey to them that the near shore was so much closer.  Attempts to get the sails working were not successful, so we just waited for the large men to paddle us to shore.
    Once at shore, we were once again in the stinking city.  This time, even the barbarians seemed lost.  Finally they saw sense and followed close by the river upstream.  Knowing that the city was a sordid and dangerous place, I took to the rooftops so I could look out for Miyara's safety.
    To my great surprise we were not accosted.  To my greater surprise, it appeared to be the intent of the barbarians to leave the city right away.  While I welcomed the opportunity to get into healthier surroundings, I was concerned that the Tall Man might be trying to break his word by not delivering the stone in the box to the man who gave him the mission.  There is no accounting for the lack of honor of these people.
    The gate guards just let us leave the city.  Perhaps the stench of those who had been in the river and sewers had something to do with that.  It made little difference which water we had been in, as both were equally foul.  I don't know how these people avoid constant plague.
    It was a relief to walk through the farmlands and woods outside the city.  Upstream of the disgusting town, the river was much more pleasant, and after an hour or two of walking was clear enough to consider clean.  Miyara directed the others to rest, and convinced them to bathe.  I will no longer have to bear their stench, and can wash myself too.
    As we finished bathing, the Tall Man returned from a scouting patrol to report something.  Apparently he had a change of heart concerning his honor, and we were to go back to the city to complete his mission.  My heart sank at the prospect of having to return to such a depressing place, but I was encouraged that perhaps there might be hope for them to become civilized one day.
    Entering the foul city was harder than leaving it.  Why anyone remains within its walls I cannot imagine, and I simply do not understand how they can retain their people when they make it more difficult to get in than to leave.  Nevertheless, entry was achieved through the usual barbarian custom of arguing.
    Once inside, we proceeded directly to the official who had retained the Tall Man for the mission, and the box and its stone was handed over.  In return, the official gave us a large quantity of coins and what was almost certainly some paper currency.  I was surprised at such sophistication, but the barbarians did not understand the concept and demanded more coins.  The stone must have been very valuable -- everyone acted as if this was a large sum of money.
    For some reason, though, we apparently had to leave town in a hurry.  Perhaps the mission had not been honorable after all, and the Tall Man had difficulty in weighing the more honorable option -- to endure dishonor for breaking his word, or to complete a dishonorable mission.  His reluctance and indecision is understandable after all, although he of course did not deal with it in an effective way, dragging us on a long walk before calling us back.
    Leaving town was to be on yet another disgusting boat.  This time, however, I was travelling with Miyara and did not have to be subjected to the foul cattle pen under the decks.  I was surprised when Miyara did not choose to travel on the open deck in the fresh air, but that was explained when we were shown to private cabins below decks.  It was going to be a much better journey.
    The Elf offered to teach me the language of the barbarians.  Obviously I refused, as politely as I could.  I hope he did not take offense, but it seemed that he did not.

    The boat left soon after we boarded.  I have no idea where we are going.