Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (42)

    I was still unconscious at the bottom of the stairs...

    I woke to Rabena treating me.  I asked her what happened, and she muttered something in barbarian.  I suppose Miyara must have led those remaining to victory, or surely the barbarians would have fled.  Rabena's eyes glowed a bright white, and a constant wind blew away from her in the calm of the underground cavern.  I would notice later that Carimera had flames sparking around her that would blaze briefly and flare out, while her eyes glowed bright red.  Their eyes would glow for several days.
    I would learn that the monastery was heavily damaged but survived.  The last resort area of the great hall and library was save, as Yazeran had designed.  A chaos deformed orc mage called Razzdog had lead the invaders, summoning many elementals, but eventually was defeated by our own magic workers.  At the fall of their leader, the orcs had fled.
    Jeison was dead.  He had fallen at the top of the stairs defending the courtyard against the earth elemental that had defeated me and the White Fairy.  He was our only casualty, and I was glad he had fallen so bravely.
    Of the monastery, all the guards except Scar, and several monks, had died in the early phases of the battle, mostly during the assault over the walls.  Hosei, Rabena, and Carimera had taken the fight to the army below, riding elementals down to the base, and that had stopped the orcs climbing.  They had then found the tunnel the earth elemental had dug up to the cavern, and thus outflanked the orcs who had made it up past the White Fairy and me.  It was on those stairs that the final battle with Razzdog had played out.
    The monks seemed disappointed in my performance.  I know I had fallen in battle and failed to prevent the earth demon from climbing the stairs, and I was ashamed for my failure.
    Ashu and Goru worked to help the monks start rebuilding while the rest of us recovered from our injuries.  The monastery would be forever changed, with a new entrance tunnel coming from the base of the tower up into the cavern.  They would build new defences for the new way in.
    Jeison would be laid to rest here, a hero of the monastery.  I promised him that I would return to honor his spirit as I could.  I apologized for being responsible for his death.
       Hosei spent some time with the Roost Master.  Perhaps he had found a deeper faith, as he directed research from the library too.  He then brought the Master to the sisters, to pray over them briefly for their chaos taint.  Rabena was still tended the wounded with her sister's help.  Rabena must have been affected by their ministrations, as she too prayed nightly.

    The matter came up of where to go next.  There is the rock inside the pillar, with instructions to follow so that we could recover that sogin roku.  That involved going to yet another fairy stronghold.  We knew roughly where it was, but the monks found its precise location among their books, and came back with a detailed map.
    Their research, however, was unable to help Miyara with her search for the dragon statue.

    Our journey would take us to the stronghold that Goru had seen in his vision.  We would have to leave soon if we were to avoid the problems of winter in the mountains.  I suggested that it would not be a problem if Carimera led us, melting the snow in front.  He was amused, but pointed out that it would then lead to us walking through mud all the time.  I told him I had enough of mud, to which he smiled in sympathy.

    Finally, one of the monks did find something about the elemental rocks for Hosei.  There was a story told by a merchant caravan that was travelling along the trade road here.  They were atttacked by orcs, who made off with the goods.  A small band of the survivors continued on, and that night came to a small farming village.  A cluster of rough buildings surrounded by a fence, and at one side a cliff to a deep river.  They were invited to stay.  After sunset the locals gathered to eat in the main hall.  Mother Katerina the matriarch blessed the food in the name of Tal.  The peasants seemed to be backwards in their knowledge of the world, believing the current emperor to be one deposed more than a century ago, and likewise with other recent history.  As the meal drew to a close, a man ran in announcing someone at the gate.  It was a young fairy, tired and bloody, with chainmail and a leather satchel.  His name was Gnarok and he had travelled avoiding the orcs who chased him.  The villagers took him in and fed him -- he was very hungry.  While he ate, the matriarch told the story of how the villagers left their tyrannical ruler and found this place to settle. Other stories followed.  When the fairy had eaten, he told his story.  "I don't know what the stones are, only what I've heard from others.  We dwarves made them thousands of years ago for those here in the Yetsin Valley.  They were called the doomstones.  They were split up so they could never be joined.  One went north, one stayed here, another given to elves who lost it.  Don't know where the other went.  Hadren ... etc... "  (to be filled in later)
    (Garnok was the first dwarf found inthe crevasse with the scroll, Hadren was in the first set of caves.)
    Story goes back to merchant party telling it. They set watches for the night.  They woke up the next morning to the sunlight rising.  Around them lay the stone ruins of a circular building the size of the meeting hall, covered with moss.  There was no sign of everyone around.  A fir tree at least 50 years old grew in the far side of the meeting hall.
    That story was taken from "Crossing the Border" an adventure available on the net, it leads into the next setting.  It wouold normally be the characters who find out about the doomstones first of all in this way.

Here it is:

Hosei asked one of the monks for some research into the stones, and I asked after the statue. Nothing about the statue was discovered. But one evening, Hosei called us all together and related the story. The people from the first group recognized some parts of the story, which tied together what we knew.

A few years ago, a trade caravan was travelling along the road at the base the of the mountain. The caravan was attacked by orcs, and the few survivors continued their way, looking for shelter. They reached a small farming village along the river. A rough stone wall protected the few stone buildings inside. The farmers, bringing in their animals for the night, welcomed the travellers. They also knew about the orcs marauding in the area. They all had dinner in the great hall, a circular stone building in the middle big enough to hold everyone. The village leader, Mother Katarina, said a blessing over the food. As they ate, news was passed, but the villagers seemed not to know anything that had passed in the previous hundred years.

When dinner was finished, one of the village youths ran into the hall, saying there was someone at the gate. Everyone rushed out to see, wondering if the orcs were there. However, they saw a young dwarf, tired and bloody. He said his name was Ganaroku and he had been travelling from the south for the past six days, paralleling the trade road but staying off it. He was attacked by orcs, whom he fought off. The villagers fed him, and he ate as though he had eaten nothing in the previous six days. While he ate, Mother Katarina told the story of the founding of the village by farmers who had been forced off their land by a greedy landlord. Other common tales were told as well, and the merchants told stories in their turn. When Ganaroku finished his dinner, he told his story.

"I don't know what the stones are, only what I've heard from the others. We Dwarfs made them thousands of years ago, four of them, here in the Yetzin Valley. Some called them Doom Stones. I don't know why, or whose doom, or what they were for, because they say the records of those times are lost. But whatever they were made for, it can’t have been a good thing, because them as made them decided to split them up so they could never be joined. Mayhap they were too powerful, too strong. But one went north, one stayed here, one was given to the Elves -- who lost it," he spat on the floor, "and I don't know about the fourth.

"But the stones as went away know their way home. Years ago, some engineers brought one of the stones to Loremaster Hadarin. They'd had it from a human bandit, who'd had it off the Elves.

"Weeks back, Hadarin saw that another of the stones was coming back here, and he knew it was with the Bloodaxe Alliance. He'd been learning all he could about the stones, but if the old Dwarfs thought it was best that the stones be apart, then Hadarin wasn't going to say he knew better. Two in the valley was bad enough; three would be worse, and three stones held by Bloodaxe Orcs -- Hadarin would stop that, or die trying.

"The leaders disagreed. They'd never studied the stones like Hadarin had. So Hadarin gave one stone to a mage he trusted, Yazeran, and took his books and his followers, and his son, and left. Even if the Orcs got the stones, he reckoned, without the learning he had, they'd not know how to use them.

"But the Orcs were cunning, and found him. He and his followers fought hard, but were beaten back into some caves, where the Orcs laid siege to them. So he sent out a messenger, his son, to find the mage and get his help. Because the stones must not fall to the Orcs."

He paused. "Before the messenger left, Hadarin told him that the books said there was a prophecy that only humans, Elves, and Dwarfs together could stop the Orcs getting the stones, and save the valley. That it was their destiny." There was a silence. He looked around awkwardly, and after a moment said, "The messenger is me. Ganaroku, son of Hadarin. I ask your protection and help in rescuing the stones from Chaos."

He was silent again. The silence persisted. Finally Mother Katarina rose." We are farmers," she said, "but we pledge you our help. Tomorrow, who will go north with Ganaroku?"

A few villagers and merchants agreed to accompany Ganaroku, and they all slept for the night. The next morning, the merchants awoke to sunlight in the very old ruins of a village. They reached the monastery later that day, where they told this story to the monks, who wrote it up and placed it in their library. The merchants learned from the monks that orcs had attacked and destroyed the village a hundred years ago, before Yazeran had arrived to build the monastery.

The first group had found Hadarin's corpse in the caves, and also Ganaroku's body and what he carried. They had heard of Yazeran as well, and guessed that he had the crystal. But it was not until the visitation of the Blue Faerie in their fire and out subsequent arrival in Iri that where Yazeran had gone became clear.

We have two of the four crystals that the faeries created long ago. We know where a third lies, and the White Faerie has his instructions on how we should reclaim it. We know nothing about the fourth.