Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (43)

    We would have to leave soon if we were to avoid being caught by winter.  We needed to go to Karak-Ostohar, a fairy fortress, as the first step in finding out how to get the stone out of the place of mud.  We were to "help them find their way again" as they had lost their way, and if we did that we would then "know what to do."  We even had a map to the place, found by the monks in their library.
    On reflection, it would be better to winter here and then set out again in spring.  Others suggested wintering with the Druidess.  Hosei suggested that the glowing eyes of Rabena and Carimera, while now faded, were disturbing the people here and they might be inspired to pass on an account of the events here -- in great detail -- to the church.  Once they did, that might then pass on to people in the Empire, which could cause the barbarians to come after us in a savage mob.
    So we had a choice of back to Curutusofen, on to Mortensholm the other side of the Yetsin Valley, or to the Druidess in the Yetsin Valley itself.  I suggest the most pleasant would be the place with the least barbarians.  The barbarians discuss it amongst themselves in their typical argumentative fashion, loudly and vehemently.
    The monks of course now hold us in great awe.  They are not happy about the state of their fortress, but that doesn't seem as important especially as we have been helping.  Hosei had asked around carefully and tactfully and found that they did not associate us with the concept of Chaos, so we should be safe here.  The Roostmaster himself seemed to have spent the battle in a detached state of mind, not noticing any details.  Flagmaster Norbert's attitude of suppressed suspicion had changed to acceptance, belief in the prophecy, and gratitude.  We would definitely be welcome here.
    The biggest objections the barbarians seemed to have to staying here over the winter is the lack of alcohol, since it was apparently used in the battle in various ways.  Even so, repairs are in progress and they have sent out for dwarves to do the building.  Hosei had several useful suggestions to restore the defensive nature of the fortress.  In fact, now that the sogin roku isn't here, that leaves only the library that is so valuable.  But, as I said, perhaps the fortress nature was important to the isolation of the monks.

    We decided to winter here after all.  Norbert told us that he had ordered supplies from Ty Lia, which would arrive by boat. The food supplies were fine, and the wine supplies would be restored in time.  Most of it used to be sold anyway, so the supply was not wholly intended for personal consumption.

    The winter passed uneventfully.  Miyara again offered to teach me the language of the barbarians, but I politely declined, explaining that I had enough dishonor.  Some of the barbarians, however, worked on picking up a small amount of Nipponese.  Goru suggested it, and Son was also learning.  Miyara was happy to teach anyone to speak properly, and several of the monks joined too.  By the end of the winter, Goru could speak the language haltingly.  Hosei also managed it at the same level.
    The White Fairy had another vision of the dragon statue in an alcove.  He believed that it meant that the dragon statue, of silver metal, is at Ostohar.  We had been told so many times that the statue which Shishei Godanji had been seeking, which Miyara now pursued, would be at our next place.  It was hard to believe that this would come true this time.  It was easier to think that once again Goru had misinterpreted his vision and it lay far in our future.
    Miyara told me that the statue was a family heirloom.  When Godanji was a young man, he left Nippon taking hte statue with him, and while he did not leave under disgraceful circumstances, his leaving was itself dishonorable -- as mine, in fact.  Only later when he returned did anyone know where he went.  He went west, and took the statue with him along with lots of money and enough supplies to travel.  He spent on the order of five years -- maybe more, as many as ten -- years gone.  When he returned, he did so without the heirloom or the money.  He was mostly unwilling to talk about what he had done or where he had been.  This itself left a cloud that he did not have success on the trip.  He did however learn Clown Fighting, enough to teach me at least.  It had always seemed to Miyara that the recovery was to be easy, although there was a deeper more complicated cost, and Godanji had some guilt about it.  I was coming to learn more clown fighting, and Miyara had said that the master Og would lead her to the statue, and so she would lead me to the master Og.

    The night before we were due to leave, the White Fairy had another vision.  He saw Shon, pouring the orc magic box out, intentionally pouring it carefully into some kind of bowl.  The liquid continued to burn in the bowl, and seemed to flame more in the wider container.

    We left the next morning into the spring mountain air.  Although our stay had been useful, and I had been able to spend long hours practicing my clown fighting and karate skills, it was good to be on the road again.
    Our choices were to go by boat all the way north to Nuln and back down almost to the Black Fire Pass where Karak-Ostohar would be, or we could go south and along the foothills.
    As soon as we reached the road itself, however, we were met by Shon being led by a young man of about my age.  This newcomer was about 5'10" and 160 lbs, dressed head to foot in leather (patched together from peices) with a hood laced up under the chin.  He had a heavy beard of curly reddish-brown hair, up to and onto the cheekbones.  He was wearing gloves, carrying a staff, and also a bundle on his back.  Shaped sticks dangled from the leather cord that served as his belt.  Goodness knows where Shon had picked up such an obvious barbarian.  The only thing he had not apparently made himself was the knife with which he made the rest.
    Shon had come to meet Miyara, told to do so by the Druidess.  He introduced to this new person everyone who had spoken -- not including me, of course, as I had not spoken.  He mentioned my name, and I said "Hai", whereupon he introduced me too.  Shon and Hosei chatted a little as they had not met.  Miyara told him that Jeison had died a hero.  The newcomer had been assigned to Shon by the Druidess.  His name was Bark and rudely refuted Miyara's suggestion that his job was done, and insisted on accompanying us.  Now that we were closer, we could see that his beard was very unusually hairy.
    Miyara decided we would travel the route along the foothills.  We would start by visiting Curutsuhofen and set out from there.  Along the way she told me she had a quiet word with Bark and had asked him to continue the duties that the Druidess had assigned him, looking after Shon.