Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (36)

    We were still at a loss as to the message in the cards.  The barbarians spent a lot of time rearranging them in patterns according to arbitrary whims.  They need to apply some sense to this, not just cast about for answers.  Miyara suggested taking the monks up on their offer of library research, and put them to work finding out about tarot -- the order of suits, the general meaning of the suits and of each individual card, the patterns in which they tend to be laid out (especially those for nine cards).
    Jeison mentioned the orcish catapults, and expressed doubt that they could reach the top of the mountain.  Scar scoffed at that too, but I thought otherwise.  I suspected they had not set them up without a means of using them effectively..
    Suddenly we noticed that the monks were gathering as if for a meal, but it was not mealtime.  Almost immediately a monk brought a message that Gregor the Roost Master had called an emergency meeting and that we were invited.
    The seating was identical to a meal.  The master slowly called the meeting to order, and then passed it over to Scar.  Miyara told me that they were spending much time on procedural issues, and whether classes should be cancelled, and then an argument broke out which almost came to blows.  As they discussed the impregnable nature of the place, I mentioned to Miyara my thoughts on the catapults.  She agreed, and voiced her frustration at the ridiculous nature of the discussions.  The debate became interminable, and all of us -- and Scar -- slipped out.  Hosei chatted with the guard captain on the way out.
    The monk doing the research had now returned.  He presented his results.  The order of the suits is cups, swords, batons, coins.  The approximate meaning of each is: cups represents the feminine, swords the masculine, batons power, and coins money.  The symbolism of each of the cards was not helpful.  He did find a nine card pattern, which he shows us -- it too was not helpful.
    It was time to review all the clues, not just the cards.  There was of course the letter first, but the prophecy was probably irrelevant to our search.  Hosei then pointed out the diagrams on the letter, which actually included drawings of a layout of seven and then eight cards.  The barbarians tried laying them out, leaving out one or two cards, trying both patterns according to various whims and superstitions.  We tried many things, but nothing helped.
    Suddenly a ball of rags landed near us, it was about a foot and a half in diameter.  It started wriggling.  Jeison pulled out his swords and called out at the top of his voice for Scar.  Goru attacked the ball with his hammer, as two legs popped out and it ran away.  Jeison tried to slash it as did Miyara, while I ran after it too.  It was clearly a snotling wrapped in rags and catapulted up here.  The head had not emerged, but it started to speak.  Hosei indicated he could understand it.
    "Give us the crystal, you're all going to die!" it kept chattering, as Hosei told us.
    We tried to kill it, but all missed it.  Its head popped out, so I started Clown Fighting.  Ashu killed it.
    I said we should throw it back.  Miyara agreed.  We soaked it in oil and lit it, and Jeison threw it down at the catapult, six hundred feet below.  It missed the catapult, but it did hit something.
    While we were doing that, the monks who were preparing the peace offering were starting to lower a young monk, Yorgi (named after the stonemason), to the ground below.  He reached the ground and the orcs gathered around him.  Some of the older monks were muttering in complaint at the hasty action, which should have taken weeks to discuss.
    The monk bowed to the orcs and hands the message to the nearest orc, who eats it.  There were screams and a scuffle, and orcs started to climb the rope.  All that remained of Yorgi was a bloodstain on the ground.
    We all helped hold the rope hoping to get the orcs high off the ground.  The goblins were fastest, climbing quickly, and we let go the rope when about twenty of them were high off the ground.  Several bounced, but we killed many.
    There were six or seven obvious catapults.  I made sure, through Miyara, that the guards would keep constant watch for objects launched upwards.  I was concerned that they were concentrating on the gate, when that would probably not be the place of attack.
    We needed the crystal.  We returned to playing with the cards, as Hosei put it.  The one card that was not really in the chain of clues was the one the tailor gave us, the four of cups with the phrase about birds of a feather.  It does not look the same, and did seem false.  We also decided that the order we found the cards did not matter.
    Also with the first card, the clue would be that we have the pile of cards and then pull one.  We pull the one that told us to do this, the first one.  The other seven would make up the true tessalatede pattern.  The pictures don't matter, as they were the clues to find the cards.  So now we needed to find the pattern.  The thing about first the nearest put the capital words in the middle.  The phrase has to be "SEEK ATOP THE TALLEST FLAG STAFF" so we tried again.
    I was convinced I could find it if I go up again.  The others allowed me to do so.  I found nothing.  Miyara pointed out that the pole was not old enough.  We needed to find the old flagpoles where they would have put the tallest one back then.
    We suddenly noticed Carimera was not among us.
    We went to the lumber room, and Carimera was there.  Her bosom was glowing, and she was holding, clutched, the top section of a flagstaff with a ball.  The ball glowed palely.  She would only give it up to her sister Rabena, so while I thought I or Miyara should have it, that was not how it was to be, not yet.  A barbarian would not know how to use it, and all Rabena did in a fight anyway was read her book.  Unfortunately there was nothing we could do about that yet, and Miyara told me that she believed Rabena was fated to carry that crystal.
    Rabena unscrewed the top and retrieved the stone.  The crystal was clear, with many triangular faces each with a symbol carved upon it.
    Now all we need to do is save Eyrie.