Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (11)

    We rested in the Library while considered our course of action.  The barbarians, of course, could not discuss matters calmly, and were animated in their arguments.
    Miyara told me that Stoiko had yet again offered to teach me their language, and perhaps learn a little Nipponese in return.  I certainly don't mind them learning Nipponese -- it would indeed make things easier -- but I still felt no need to corrupt my mind with their barbaric utterings.  I was encouraged by Stoiko's concession to our culture, however -- he may indeed yet turn out to be one of the more civilized people of this land.
    I offered to go up and distract the Ogres with clown fighting while they broke down the portcullism but as Miyara pointed out there may be twenty of them, and it takes too long to break down the portcullis.
    It is apparent that the plinth with the cage is the one mentioned in the ritual, so we proceded to that hall to examine it further.  Periseri in fact used his special sight to look under the mud, and found the faces that were also described in the ritual.  The very small faces with eyes that lie on the face of the bottom step are no doubt the ones that have to be blinded with blood.
    Fortunately, the barbarians were talked into using the goblin bodies for a source of blood, rather than sacrifice one of our own, so we fetched a couple of them to be on the safe side.  Meanwhile, others built a coffer dam around the dais, and cleared out the mud so we had access to the faces.  The faces were identical; there were three on each short side, and five on each long side.  They were exactly like the ones on the "door" we hoped would open.
    One goblin should be sufficient for the ritual.  We planned to throw down the body from high up, so it would hit the plinth and bleed as required by the ritual, which stated "the body must be cast."  Rawena chose the body which in her opinion had the most blood remaining.
    It was decided that Mongo could lift a body high enough to drop it effectively, but we would still have to get it through the bars.  I suggested using the metal leeches to eat through the bars so we could move them enough for that.
    I also volunteered to take the statue for Miyara, should it be the item that the barbarian god would protect.  I merely wished to protect her from harm, but she pointed out to my shame that she was the one who had the duty to retrieve the item Shishei Godanji had been seeking.  It is indeed hers to perform.
    Before starting the ritual, we tried to organize the barbarians.  They actually seemed to comprehend what we were attempting, and for once everything went smoothly.  Mongo picked up the goblin body, shoved it past the bars, lifted it high, and dropped it so its head split open on the plinth.  I made sure the top of the plinth and the upper edge were smeared with blood, while Miyara, Stoiko, and Pireseri smeared blood on the eyes.  Goru struck the faces on the door three times and read something in his ugly language.
    There was a groaning sound, and the floor of the cage vanished.  A shaft was revealed, and the goblin body dropped into its depths.  The shaft slowly closed, the rock flowing together, to a deep grinding sound from below.  There was a hissing from the brass plating as the doors formed themselves from the rock and opened into the next hall.

    The next room and hallway were still, of course, flooded with mud.  We all moved carefully through.  The hallway was lined with half pillars lining the sides, and with more of the hideous faces.  The doors we had opened folded back into the wall itself, and there was another pair of now opened doors leading to an octagonal room.
    This room had steps down into the floor, as in a theater, and a corresponding shape to the ceiling.  We estimated that there was about ten feet depth of mud at the center of the room.  Set back from the center, rising about three feet out of the mud, was a pillar of rough rock carved with runes and other designs.  We had entered the room from the south, and on the southeast wall was a pair of doors -- already open -- that lead to two passages to another room; between these passages was some kind of stylized image of the three-peaked mountain, the landmark that led us here.
    The walls of the octagonal room were a deep mottled red, as if very old, or some drawing hard to see.  After some examination it appeared to be an eight foot tall humanoid figure.
    Pireseri climbed on Ashu's shoulders, and the three of us walked around examining the room, the small elf using his special sight.
    When we reached the north end of the room, the tentacle monster attacked, coming up out of the wall through the mud.
    The fight was brutal.  Pireseri started by saying something calmly and loudly as we fought.  Jeison and Miyara started around the room from the other direction.  Goru shouted something in his own language.  Rawena just stood there reading her book, as she does most of the times we fight.
    Ashu was badly hurt very quickly, while I dodged the multitude of tentacles attacking me.  He started to back away towards Rawena as Jeison and Miyara joined the battle.  Mongo picked up Goru and started into the mud towards the pillar.  Stoiko moved in to fight also, and Carimera threw her dagger and started her heating magic.
    Despite being carried, Goru shouted at his bearer, and they sensibly moved to the north side of the pillar where the mud was not so deep.  I asked Miyara to tell the white fairy to petition the god to remove the mud, but he was intent on whatever his plan was instead.
    Ashu collapsed at Rawena's feet.  Those near him floated him the right way up so he would not drown while she attended him.
    Goru reads some runes off the pillar, and Pireseri immediately went off into the side room, apparently to look for whatever Goru had said.  Miyara told me they were looking for the "stone of stones," to which I responded that they probably had already smashed it.  Goru continued to rave, this time in his own gutteral language.
    We were beginning to win the fight, although I was badly hurt too.  Goru will not shut up, and just continued his rant.  I remembered hearing his voice, still shouting, as I passed out.

    When I recovered, we were in a dry room.  This was apparently up a hallway and stairs from the side room Pireseri had investigated.  Many of us were severely hurt, and we spent a long time while Rawena went from one to the other, healing us with her craft.
    It turned out that we had defeated the tentacle demon.  In the meantime Pireseri had explored these rooms.  This one had been used by the ogres; there were robes, furs, and bedding materials, and crude pots and containers with salves and herbs.  He also found a key that turned out to be to a small box in a hidden compartment in this room.  The box contained money, gems, and a scroll case.
    The scroll case contained two pieces of parchment.  The first described a ritual concerning a stone circle, which the barbarians said was to get to the temple where their druid now lives.  The second was a fragment of another religious text of the white fairies.
    We would now have a back door to defeat the ogres.  Once we were rested, we could then recover the barbarians' possessions that the creatures had stolen.