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 longer.
    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 city.
    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 vision.
    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 here.
    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".