Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (35)

    We were getting no further understanding what Yazeran meant to tell us.

    We had gathered at the mill.  The miller himself was not there, but the others had joined me, no doubt admiring how the Nipponese had succeeded where the barbarians could not.  Deiter offered to take us to the miller, who was at his meditation and studying.  We did not want to interrupt him, so started by looking around ourselves.  We found nothing of significance.
    The barbarians then wanted to go to the kitchen again, and Miyara told me that the clue meant something about bread to them.  I observed to her that the barbarians had no clue.  We of course found nothing in the kitchens either, although we searched for a long time.
    As we ended our search, a large man came in and yelled at the barbarians.  They all argued loudly.  Hosei showed him a card and they talked loudly some more.  We left.
    Next fruitless search for the barbarians to suggest was the smithy.  I examined the last card, and wondered if there was barbarian writing on the wheel-like objects.  If so, they would probably not be mill wheels.  The consensus was that they were indeed coins, seven of them.  That had them thinking that it was not the smithy for the next clue, and they tried to come up with other suggestions.  After some talk with Deiter we went through the smithy to Yazeran's old workshop where the money was kept.  All we needed was to have Pireseri look into the monastery's chest, which he did while the rest of us searched the rest of the room.
    Yazeran's old workshop was now just used as a storeroom.  There was a small forge, and the ropes for the well passed through.  Nothing else of interest was here.
    In the chest were many coins, some gems, some table silverware, a pair of silver candelabras, and a small silver statuette of a knight kneeling.
    I mentioned to Miyara that Yazeran's death ritual involved seven coins, which he paid to the stonemason to cut his tomb.  Deiter said that the last stonemason had died and had not been replaced.  The boy did not know why they did not have a stonemason, but he did know that the last one did not have a shop but worked wherever he was needed.
    Then we searched the smithy and of course found nothing out of place.
    By now it was approaching dinnertime.  I mentioned to Miyara idly that they serve bread at dinner.  She replied that if we were lucky, perhaps we would break open some bread and find the next card.  By now the barbarians were fixated on the stonemason, like perhaps where he was buried, since he was also the mortician as well as the stonemason.
    Suddenly Pireseri suggested that someone climb the tallest flagpole.  I said I could do it, but the flagpoles entered into Norbert's rooms, and we would need permission.
    But then it was time for dinner.  That night, aside from the direct questions, we found out that the meat they served was from the yakyak birds that flew around the monastery.  They were medium sized crow-like birds that the monks often caught like fish with lines and hooks.  Ashu was disgusted at that thought.  We also heard that the orcs were on their way, but it was not certain how soon they would be here.  They were certain the orcs would not be here tonight.  No-one was particularly concerned about the impending attack -- the guards thought of it as useful practice, while the monks considered it an interesting distraction.
    At the end of dinner, Hosei went into the kitchen to help the chef clean up and to ask him about the clues.  This was turning into a totally disorganized mess.  We needed to understand what the old fairy meant, not just wander around aimlessly.
    Suddenly Goru had a vision.  He saw the west face of Yazeran's statue's base.  It showed the deathbed, and the stonemason Georgi who took the seven coins and laid him in his grave, "scribing this stave."  I examined the statue base myself, but of course there was nothing here.  Now we needed to find the stonemason himself, perhaps.
    We went to Norbert's room and knocked on his door.  Hosei talked to him for a while about Georgi the stonemason and his tools.  The conversation revolved around the last stonemason being dead and not needing one now the place was built, and that just one stonemason followed GeorgiNorbert lead us to his grave among the tombs, conversing pleasantly with Miyara on the way.
    Down the stairs we went, to the crypt chambers were the dead were placed.  The bodies had metal plates in front of them, and the one for Georgi said "33" according to Norbert, the number of this tomb in classical Imperial script.  Pireseri ignored respect for the ancestors of those above, and brazenly  looked into the chamber.  The body was a fairly large human, in a state that one would expect after being dead for ten years.  There was also a card.  Cueing off Pireseri's subtle signals, Hosei asked Norbert for permission to look inside.  He was about to send for the smith, but Goru of course had his own metalworking tools with him.
    Goru respectfully pulled the plate clear.  Hosei respectfully reached in and pulled out a small wooden box, and opened it to reveal the next card.  The message said "ATOP the mountain comes the dawn."  The illustration was the Two of Swords; the swords crossed with a triangle and a mobius strip symbol below it, with a "II" symbol that apparently represented the number 2 in the script of the grave numbers.
    Norbert took us to the grave that was "II" and according to Pireseri there was nothing in there.  The flagmaster said that the strip represented a number of things, such as infinity, or a strip with one side.  I suggested to Miyara that we ask the monks to look up these symbols, and she presented that to the barbarians.  We would wait until morning rather than interrupting the monks' rest.
    The night passed quietly, so we met again at breakfast.  Hosei showed the card to the armorer and asked him some questions.  It looked exactly like the two swords on the wall in the armory.
    After breakfast we went to the armory to look at the swords.  Hosei took them off the wall and examined them, as we all looked around.  This time there seemed to be a card rolled up in the hilt of one of the swords.  This one said "FLAG not the weary will conquer" and showed a knight in armor with a chest at his feet, and bore the symbol of the Knave of Coins.  Now the words read "ONLY SEEK TALLEST STAFF ATOP FLAG.".  The figure of the knight was exactly that in the chest of the monastery, said Pireseri.
    Klaus the armorer talked with us about the cards and what they represent.  He said he had one of those cards, which he got from the previous armorer.  We went to his room while Pireseri and Goru went to check the chest in the storage room surreptitiously.
    As I would later be told, Pireseri and Goru reached the chest.  Deiter was with them, and Pireseri told him the next clue was in the chest.  Deiter suggested getting Norbert for permission to open it and insisted they could not open it without him present.  They waited patiently.
    The next half card said "last is not" and showed a cup pouring water into a well.  It had the "II" symbol as well.  Klaus said the card was made by Yazeran, and passed on through the generations.  He said his brother the tailor, Siggi, had the other half, and so we went to talk with him.  Nicholas the potter opened the door, obviously visiting the tailor.  Miyara asked if Siggi had the other half of the card.  Siggi looked at his brother, then back at Miyara and shook his head.  Miyara then spoke to Klaus, who said that Yazeran gave strict instructions as to what was to happen with the cards.  Apparently Siggi was concerned about getting into trouble, so Hosei said something about giving it back afterwards, at which the man became belligerent.  Miyara continued to insist politely, and Klaus suggested we leave his brother to his studies and let him consider his words.
    Back at the chest, Norbert opened the chest for them.  The base of the statue was the same shape as a card, and hidden in it was a card.  This one said "THE first is always the nearest."  It was the Three of Wands, similar in pattern to the Ace of Wands which was our first card.
    We met the others in the courtyard, and we showed each other the cards and told our stories.  The armorer had left our company, and Norbert had moved on too.  That left us with only Deiter to oversee us.  Hosei mentioned that Norbert seemed shocked when they ignored the rest of the chest as they put the statue back.  In response to that Hosei had searched the rest of the stuff in the chest and found nothing, and that had seemed to satisfy the flagmaster's expectations.
    While we were considering what to do, Nicholas the potter presented Miyara with one.  It was special because the typeface was in italics.  It was the Four of Cups, and said, "BIRDS of a feather flock together" while the four cups radiated out from a central happy faced sun.  Hosei laughed that the birds had grabbed the shiny stone and carried it off to their nest, perhaps on top of the flagpole.  The potter said that Yazeran himself had given him this card when he first became a potter here.
    We retired to lunch while Siggi ruminated on his issues.  Goru, our own smith, took up station near his door, not intruding but being present.  Some time after we'd left, Klaus visited and left shortly after.  Siggi came out to go to lunch.
    As we walked into lunch, Klaus quietly slipped Miyara the other half.  It was now clear the card read "THE last is not the least" and the assembled picture was of the Two of Cups pouring into a well.
   At the beginning of lunch, when all had assembled, Scar announced that the orcs had arrived, and that the guards were now on full alert.
    After lunch, we went to Norbert to get permission to look from the top of the flagpoles.  The flag room was attached to his rooms, with a separate door.  The room was long and thin; the flagpoles started from the floor and went up through the roof, while there was storage of lots of flags.  Hosei asked if it was permitted to get on top of the room, and permission was given.
    Hosei wanted to go first, but he planned to use magic while I would simply climb.  Hosei cast his spell while we waited for the ladder.  He took off into the air.  Up to the top of the tallest flagpole he went, and on top of it was some sort of decorative ball.  From this place, he started to look for yakyak nests, of which there were many on all the roofs.
    iInally the ladder arrived, and I climbed up onto the roof.  It was a little slippery, but I was up to the challenge.  I clambered over to where the poles came through the roof.  Climbing this pole would be hard, but I had no problem.  I climbed to the top, way, way up in the air.  The pole top itself was uninteresting; I looked around carefully for anything else I could see.
    I had a great view of the orcs' order of battle.  At the base, 600 feet down, their armies were arranged with several catapults.  Miyara told me that Hosei suggested I reach and feel in the air itself since the stone was of air; I did so but felt nothing.  I came back down; Miyara suggested that I do so carefully, but I could not resist a backflip off the lower section of pole onto the roof on my way down.

The phrases for our consideration were as follows:

ONLY whole when one is over.
SEEK the source find the cause.
TALLEST and shortest provide the range.
STAFF of life rod of iron.
ATOP the mountain comes the dawn.
THE first is always the nearest.
FLAG not the weary will conquer.
THE last is not the least.
BIRDS of a feather flock together.