Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (37)

  I expressed my concerns to Miyara and Hosei about the strategies of assaulting Eyrie.  The gate was very hard to attack, so that simply left assault from the air.  The guards had clearly only trained to defend the gate and were simply not useful against a proper attack.  Hosei suggested dropping burning blankets that would stay on catapults and not bounce, which was not a  bad idea.  On the other hand, the orcs could simply fire many snotlings until one of them runs into a corner, hides, and later lowers a rope.  Alternatively, they could use the snotlings as a distraction to bring in mages who can fly.

    Night approached.  There were guards on the towers, but the courtyard was not well lit.  Fortunately we would hear the catapults fire and so could be prepared,
    Hosei went to talk to Scar to inform him of our conclusions.  There were just nine guards total including the captain.  We were surely doomed.  They were not prepared or willing to defend against an attack from the air.
    Rabena sat down and studied her sogin roku.
    I pointed out that there was one more person we had not recruited.  I resolved to visit Yazeran in his tomb.
    It was now well into night.  Jeison and Hosei were on watch, walking around the courtyard.  Hosei had prepared many light pebbles and scattered them around, which would help the barbarians see.  There were two guards at the portcullis and one on each tower.  The monks had mixed reactions -- some were helpful and could be set to watch the catapults, while others had accepted their doom and were drinking.
    One of the guards on the tower suddenly yelled that there were no fires.  Clearly this was so we could not see what was going on in hte orcish encampments.  Hosei threw down a pebble to light up the scene a little.  All we could tell was that there were still orcs down there.  We discussed possibilities for attacking the catapults, but came up with no new ideas.  The mention of Carimera brought her to Rabena's side, to help her study the new sogin roku.  The two gems them fairly close together provided a lot of light.
    I went to visit Yazeran.  Pireseri went with me to let me in.  I approached with due respect and apologies while Pireseri watched me from the door.   I moved up to where Yazeran's head would be to talk with him.  The hawk was still a statue.  I ask him humbly to help us miserable and unworthy travellers, as the monks and guards were not prepared and he was the only suitable person who had not been recruited.
    Goru burst in and shouted.  Clearly the orcs were attacking and Goru had freaked out, but I had more important matters in hand.  I said I could beg for his help, but that we were working as hard as we could and could really use his help.  I apologized again profusely, and backed out respectfully.
    Hosei had calmed Goru, and said something about a vision that the fairy had about the orcs going through the portcullis.  The two of them went down, accompanied by Pireseri, but knowing that they would be unlikely to get in without traitors I went to the roof.
    Traitors... I ran down to talk with Hosei at the gate.  Traitors need not be willing in the world of mages.  We needed to fix the gate so it could not be opened from the inside.  I told Hosei emphatically but he could not understand me at first.  Goru knew how to achieve what I wanted -- there was a place where the rope could be cut, and a ceremonial axe was even provided.  Hosei agreed but said we did not have authority to do it.  I ran over and did it myself.  It was a good axe, sharpened over a century of bored guard watches.  The rope cut easily.
    Hosei had tossed a light pebble onto the bridge, about twenty feet out.  There was no possibility of getting a ram onto the bridge to break down the gate.  This side of the gate a fifty foot tunnel was only two orcs wide, and so could be well defended.  A room above looked down on the bridge, and oil and weapons could be dropped on the orcs if they came in.  I also suggested that we should break the bridge.
    Rabena quickly learned to connect with the sogin roku.  Apparently she had been a monk herself, and meditated until she could understand it.  The sogin roku was a powerful embodiment of Air, and she learned some things the object could do.  One thing she had learned was that the unbearable glow of the crystals together fades over time, and so eventually glow only at a level that could be hidden in a pocket.

    The orcs had no campfires tonight, but had on previous night.  They were clearly prepared to attack that night.  I took the second watch with the white fairy.  At intervals Hosei renewed his pebbles to bring light to the courtyard.
    I looked down at the encampment.  Most of it was just there in the dark, quiet, but on closer examination there was a small column winding its way slowly and thinly up the path in the direction of the bridge.  I immediately told Miyara.  I added that we should station the sogin roku pair in the room looking down on the bridge.  She thought that was a good idea, and praised me for it -- quite unexpected.  She added that since Goru's vision showed the orcs coming through, that would happen despite our attempts, so the girls needed to be able to be safe under those circumstances.  I said that once my watch was over, I would sleep in the tunnel.  Hosei had arranged a light arrow further along the bridge too, for better watch.
    Eventually the shift changed again, and I went to sleep in the tunnel.

    Morning arrived with no incident overnight.  We went on to breakfast at the appointed time.  Hosei questioned Rabena about the sogin roku.  She said that controlling it was difficult, and blowing someone off the cliff accidentally would be easy.  She had destroyed all but two of the barrels of oil in the overlook room in just such an incident.  At least it looked like she would use it and not just sit back and read while others fought.
    Goru's vision had shown the orcs coming through the gate during daylight, so once breakfast was done I planned to return to the tunnel.  First, however, since it was still dark, I went up to look at the orc column.  It had formed up at the top of the hill a little outside the glow of the arrow.  Some of them were looking up at me.  They did not appear to have any large equipment with them, although it was a large crowd.  I told Miyara what I'd seen and went on down to my position.  She said I could not fight a whole army there, but with Yazeran's architecture I could do just that.
    When I got down there, Scar and two of the guards were there waiting.  I explained that I could hold the tunnel if they just handle any that might slip by, but they seemed not to understand.

    As soon as it was light enough for the barbarians to see the orcs across the bridge, the guards starting shouting.  The orcs shouted back.  Next thing in barbarian etiquette is that they would break down the door.