Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (46)
I recovered soon and first aided myself, silent in
my shame at being so easily tossed aside by the demons. Balaku
suggested we move camp, including the wounded and the distressed
Carimera -- too distressed to notice Ashu trying to give her back the
sogin roku -- away from the bodies and so on that might attract
scavengers or worse. Miyara collapsed soon after being treated by
first aid. Goru, Hosei, and Pireseri were still up. We
moved camp just a few hundred yards. Baluku looted a few of the
swords and weapons and brought them with him to the new camp.
The sun rose an hour after we had shifted
camp. A wonderous sight greeted us. Up the mountain was a
steep hill to a cliff, and on the cliff, set back a little, was a wall
as of a city.
Several of us went to forage and scout out the
path. We returned with food, and reported that the walls were
only an hour away of fairly easy travelling. We stayed at camp
until everyone was recovered enough to travel under their own
strength. Rabena healed many of us. Carimera was better,
but not fully recovered. Ashu retained the sogin roku.
Balaku found the weapons all to be of very poor
quality, even on searching the battlefield again, and just recovered
his throwing sticks.
We set out towards the walled city. As we
approached the wall itself, we noticed that this path had been
abandoned for a long time. It had once been maintained, but no
At the top of the cliff, the wall was about twenty
feet high with a small space between it and the cliff edge. The
cliff we were on was a step, with the cliff continuing up behind the
city. The city backed up onto the rising mountain behind it a few
hundred yards past the wall. Presumably the walled city continued
into the mountain, like it would back in Nippon. Perhaps the
builders here had been civilized, or had learned from someone who had
been to Nippon.
As we went around the wall, we came to the
gate. The sign above the open gates said, in the language of the
white fairy, Karak Ostahar. There were no signs that this
had been occupied in many years.
The barbarians drew their weapons, and immediately
Miyara took charge and organized us. Goru lead, with Miyara and I
behind, and the other barbarians following. We advanced into the
The city still seemed uninhabited. The
buildings seemed to have been constructed for humans. Hosei said
something to Goru, who pointed at the mountain. We walked on
towards the back among the plants that tried to establish themselves
among the rock.
The path lead to a second curtain wall, where there
was another gate open. A reflecting pool lay beyond, surrounded
by other buildings. Trees grew in what may have been a
park. Beyond was another gate into the mountain, also open.
Miyara decided we should camp, while those
experienced in the wild would forage for food for a trip into the
tunnels. So while she selected a defensible camp, we went out to
collect provisions. Goru pointed at a building that was the
banker's guild. In surprise, we followed the white fairy and his
The door took an effort to open, but only through
disuse. A huge front hall ran right and left. Goru walked
straight across to the other side, and stopped in front of a blank
wall, in which there was a small alcove.
This was the alcove of the dragon vision.
Miyara stared at it with great disappointment. She searched it
minutely, but found nothing. The dragon statue was not where it
should have been.
We looked for a defensible room, and looked into
other buildings too. We found that the city had been abandoned in
an organized manner, everything taken away.
The bankers' building, on the other hand, showed
signs of much more recent habitation. It was clean on the inside,
the fireplaces had been used, and cots were set up in many of the
rooms. There were even a few personal belongings, but definitely
Chin style. This area had been occupied perhaps fifteen years
ago, but had been here for a long time and then just left without
taking everything, as if they had left intending to come back but never
did. It was disturbing to find signs of our tradtional rivals
Ashu, Baluku, Rabena, and myself left to
forage. We returned with plenty of food, Ashu and Baluku coming
back having hunted animals. There was a full kitchen the Chin had
used, and Hosei prepared the food for us there.
We needed another day to forage for the trip, and so
we stayed here.
In our absence, the others had looked around some
more. This inner curtain wall was around the Old City, with the
New City in the area between it and the outermost wall.
Miyara discovered that the Chin had been using this
place as a monastery. At least in part it was devoted to the
study of the martial arts. There was, however, no sign of Shishei
Godanji or the dragon statue. They had come all this way just to
set up a monastery in an ancient dwarven city.
I looked around too, and found a scroll with Chin
writing and pictures. I immediately handed it to Miyara, but she
handed it back as I seemed to grasp the meaning more readily. It
was about Clown Fighting. She said I should keep it. It was
a beginner's guide.
The next day we went to the gate to the underground
part of the city, into the mountain. The tunnel went in for about
fifty feet, and opened up into a large hallway, wide and tall, heading
into the distance for a thousand feet. The tunnel was a hundred
feet wide and high. There were many doorways and hallways off
this main hallway. Dust covered the floor, but there were no
tracks except ours. There was, however, the sound of a lone
person chanting in dwarven. It sounded like an elderly person.
We set out in search of the voice. About two
hundred feet in, to the west was a hallway from which the voice
came. Goru told us that the signs showed it was a temple or
shrine, and we should not go in with weapons drawn.
Almost immediatley the hallway opened into a large
room, the walls of which were angled off from the hallway. The
chanting was coming from an elderly dwarf on his knees in front of a
small altar on the other side of the room. There were many altars
around the room to different gods. Hosei would tell us that they
were varied, but no chaos gods or forbidden gods, and many were older
versions of common western gods now. He walked over and
worshipped at one appropriate for him.
The dwarf worshipped in front of the altar of a
dwarven god. We waited for him to finish his devotions.
Suddenly he stopped, looked around, saw us and
pulled out his axe in surprise. I bowed to him, as did
Goru. Hosei introduced himself. Goru stammered out
something in his language, to which the other dwarf responded
sarcastically. He put away his axe and walked to the doorway, and
said something in barbarian and walked out.
We followed him. He went back into the large
hallway, across it, and back up towards the main entrance. He
came to a doorway, and led us into the small apartment beyond. We
were welcomed in, but Baluku stayed outside in the hall.
We sat where we could in the small apartment.
He offered us drinks, but left the apartment briefly and came back with
more glasses for the rest of us. The dwarves talked, mentioning
something about the Grey Mountain Clan of orcs that were below, that he
continued to anjoy fighting. Hosei explained
we were here to help Karak Ostahar find its way again. He
was here to do that, and had been here for at least ten years. He
was the last dwarf of Karak Ostahar and would defend it as long
as he could. Hosei asked him about the dragon statue that would
have been in the bank, but the dwarf had never been in that
building. Hosei told him about the humans that had lived there.,
but it was before he had arrived. The orcs arrived about the time
he came here.
Hosei introduced us and our skills. He offered
to cook, and the dwarf was pleased that we were entertainers.
Shon told the story of the seige of Aerie, the story of King
Og, the story of the four stones. I put on a clown performance; I
was not satisfied with it, but it seemed to entertain.
The dwarf said that he was the last Lord of Ostahar,
and thus we should call him Ostahar.
Gavin's email says:
Our heroes have found Karak Ostahar, and met it's leader, and
aparently only remaining inhabitant and defender. They have
learned from this leader, who wants you to call him "Ostahar" as befits
the leader of Karak Ostahar, that Ostahar is currently in a long
running, or perhaps periodically running, battle with it's long time
enemy, a orc clan who's name translated from orcish is "Grey Mountian"
clan. Ostahar does not want your help against the orcs, Ostahar
claims that as his right and responsibility. He would like
you to trade stories with him. BTW, the reason you came to Karak
Ostahar is because the Piller that held the "Stone of Stones" told you
that "Karak Ostahar has lost it's way, help them find it and you will
know how to retrieve the Stone of Stones".