Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (21)

    Miyara had arranged our release so that we could fight the beastmen that threatened the town.  This pleased me in several ways -- not only could I now fight alongside my cousin, but I would be released from the burden of hearing Hosei snore loudly each night.  Still, my search of the area revealed no sign of these supposed foes.  Indeed, while we took watches at night, there was no attack.
    This day, however, we were to do a more thorough search of the area where the beastmen had been seen.  Ashu was no doubt going to sniff like a dog again.  Miyara remained behind, as the Dorufurikata was concerned about the whole party going out at once, and with her stayed Carimera, Rabena, and Pireseri.  That left myself, Ashu, Jeison, Goru, and Hosei to explore the woods.
    We left the town by the road heading north, then set out across fields and entered the woods in the area where the two wood-gatherers reported seeing beastmen in the Ghostwood.
    Ashu sniffed the ground, as I had expected, and Hosei was kind enough to explain what he had found.  He had picked up the scents of us, the two woodsmen, and one other person to the north.  We went about 40-50 yards to the north, and again Ashu put his nose to the ground.  Here he picked up the scent of someone who passed quickly by in late afternoon or early evening, travelling from the east, across not to the town.  There had also been someone who stayed in one spot for a long time about 24 hours ago, but left no scent of coming or going.  There was definitely no scent of beastmen.
    We followed the one trail to the west.  We came to a place where the person stopped for a while, moved on, and followed the trail of another human.  A short way again, and we found a body of a villager, some peasant or other.
    Hosei checked the body, but much to my surprise nobody looted it.  Perhaps this was because they expected to find nothing of value, but perhaps also it is a civlizing influence coming across at last.  There were no obvious marks on the body, but he did have a terrified expression on his face.
    Hosei was immediately concerned that we would be blamed for the death if we told them in the city; I said we should report the body, even though it is only a peasant.  Hosei finally agreed, and said we should take the body back very soon.
    Hosei and Goru improvised a litter, and placed the body on it.  We set off, with the two of them loudly demonstrating their lack of skill in moving quietly.
    We followed the trail of the woodsmen backwards, and then one forked off heading mostly westwards.  Suddenly Ashu stopped, and cast about as if the trail had ended.  Hosei pointed at a person on the ground and dropped the litter.
    The person said something at sat up out of the leaves.  He was half elf, and half something else I could not identify.  He greeted me in Nipponese, but with a terrible accent.  His name was Omi, and he had a broken arm.
    Hosei and Omi talked for a while, about what I have no idea.
    After that, Omi and I had a pleasant conversation ourselves.  Omi said he did not hurt him.  We did discuss the slow and uneven justice of the Dorufurikata, and the arbitrary way the peasants seem to want to apply their own form of barbarian justice.  I suggested that he get healed by Rabena, and that Omi ask Hosei for safety until healed.  Hosei seemed unsure about this, but did agree to guarantee safety for Omi until he was healed.
    On the other hand, Hosei wanted to report Omi to the townsfolk.  Afraid of summary judgement by the barbarians, I pointed out that we don't have to report him since he didn't kill the peasant.  For one thing, Omi had a broken arm; for another, there were no marks on the body.
    Then, of course, the barbarians had to interfere with a perfectly fine situation.  They described how people always die in this town, which of course prompted Omi to want to stay here while help was fetched.
    Hosei suggested that Omi return to town with me as escort, and then he could be released into the forest once healed.  He did add that if someone asked him, he would tell them where we found Omi.  In yet another conversation I pointed out that Omi was not found with the body.  The discussion continued for a while.
    Suddenly Omi stood up.  He was dressed in full buckskins with a very large cloak, shaking leaves out of it as he straightened up.  He walked over to Hosei and me, and wes set off into town with Hosei and Goru carrying the dead man.
    Back in town, I found Miyara with the watch captain.  I told her I'm taking Omi to Rabena, who it turns out was now awake.  To my surprise, Omi treated her with respect.
    Hosei then spent a while talking to the watch captain.  Of course I suspected he was telling the whole story; Miyara's translated for me.  The captain told him that the dead man was Otto Limo from Wilerburg.  He lived not far from the Ghostwood, but of course was as superstitious as barbarians are, and would not normally go there.  Hosei then said that we had also found Omi with a broken arm, sleeping in the woods, but he did not volunteer his theory that there was a connection.
    Hosei and Goru then took Otto's body to the doctor to find out why he died.  I accompanied Omi to the inn to see Rabena.  On the way, Omi made a strange comment that Otto's soul had been torn from his body; I told him that we thought there was a magician who was creating an illusion of beastmen.
    In the inn, I introduced Omi to Rabena, Pireseri, and Carimera, Queen of Yetsin Valley.  Unfortunately it turned out that Rabena was not yet well enough to heal Omi yet, but they did have a bed for him so he could rest until she could treat him.  I made a polite exit and returned to Miyara.
    The remainder of the day passed uneventfully, until it was time for dinner.  The inn was crowded, with the local barbarians nervous and not talking much.  The only notable addition to the regulars was Dagoma Tausika, who Boris Hippler the gravedigger had claimed had killed Sigi because he knew that she had killed Bastia.
    Goru left our table and went over to talk to Tausika.  After a few words, she quickly pulled a knife and held it to his eye.  The White Fairy quickly talked his way out of it, however, and came back to our table.  Apparently Tausika had admitted killing Bastia because he didn't pay off a debt.  Now we only need to find out who delivered the dart and the blow to the head.
    The room was very quiet, but no-one around us had reacted to this scene.
    A few minutes later, a very large Imperial woman walked into the inn.  This was the owner of the local general store (who ran it with her sister), Brunhilde.  She was carrying a large staff.
    This woman walked up to our table and (as Miyara translated) that Boris Hippler had told her that we thought Dagoma had killed Bastia, and that it was not true.  She said that Bastia was a sick man who had a child with her sister and ran off to leave her with a miscarriage.  She said, "When I saw him I could not help myself."  Hosei had a few words with her in the barbarian tongue, walking off with her as she left the table.
    Before Hosei could return to the table, an elderly gentleman sitting at another table said something to us.  Apparently he saw who killed Bastia, and it was a Tai Lin assassin.  The man saw him climbing up to Bastia's window, and climb back down.  Miyara explained to me that the Tai Lins are known for their assassins as part of their politics.
    On this, Jeison took a lantern outside to the base of the wall to look for marks of someone climbing, but of course found nothing.
    This meant that all causes of death were now accounted for.  We could then report to the dorufurikata about the death of Bastia, and can return to the druidess and tell her too.  It was not possible to tell which of the attempts actually killed him, not that we should care, of course.
    Miyara took Hosei with her to report to the dorufurikata.  She later explained that she told him of the five attempts, and that they established a rough timeline of Bastia's last hours: first the doctor, then Reefugo, Brunhilde hit him while outside, he climbed upstairs, where he was stabbed and darted in the room.  There was no reason to believe that any one of these were fatal by themselves, but it was clear that there were several legitimate justifications for the peasant's death.  The dorufurikata ruled officially that the man had been killed by a Tai Lin assassin for reasons unknown: thus is justice in the barbarian way.
    The matter of Sir Theodocius had still not been resolved, of course, and so we still needed to remain in town.  We were to stand watch that night under the direction of the watch captain, and if nothing happened the matter was to be discussed the next day.
    Hosei suggested that Otto may have seen what stalked the young men from the Black Eagle, but was not physically able to handle it and was frightened to death.
    I suggested that the bread, which smelled funny to Ashu, contained a hallucinogen.  The baker was sick, and his wife was perhaps putting the wrong mushrooms in it, since she had taken over the bakery in the meantime.  She certainly hasn't been taking the pig out into the woods.
    Beastmen do not attack at night.  Lots of things might attack tonight, of course, but each person will see their own phantasm.