Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (47)

    Ostahar wanted stories but no help fighting the orcs with whom he was feuding.  We spent the day in storytelling, interspersed with questions from us.  Miyara prompted him to tell a story about fighting the orcs, and he told us one.
    It's a story about how he found K.O. after a long time searching (not clear how long, months or years), and at first he thought it was less infested than he had expected.  After some time (again not clear) he discovered the existence of the Grey Mountain Clan and for many years now they had hunted him, and he had hunted them.  It was now his life's work to outlive the GMC.
    We had earlier given him the prophecy already about KO having lost it's way and we were supposed to help find it, and he had been unimpressed.
    As evening approached, he said something about finding us a place to sleep.  He apologized for the primitive facilities.  He took us to a block of rooms or small apartments.  For security we shared several of these, although he insisted it had been many many years since the GMC had the audacity to come up to this level.  Hosei checked the area, and found that while KO himself was high in magic gear, there was nothing here.
    Hosei asked him about where the stairs down were located, and he said he'd show us but we should not go down.  We were free to explore this level and the city outside, but we should not go downstairs.  The main stairs down were at the northern end of this level, but there were minor stairs at the midpoint as well.
    Hosei asked him the last time he met the GMC, and he said that he went on regular patrols and encountered them often.
    Hosei cooked supper for us.  KO continued to tell stories, all of battles in which he took part, against creatures of chaos.  He had spent a lot of time the World's Edge Mountains between the barbarians and chaos lands.

    The night passed uneventfully.

    Hosei continued as cook, relishing an actual kitchen of sorts, and provided us with good food.
    Ashu left the city to go hunting.  Hosei set off to search for any mage's study; I went with him along with Pireseri.  Baraku went out to explore the city itself.
    Hosei and Pireseri lead us out into the city first, while it was light.  We wandered around many places, but notable was the tallest building in the city, an inn called the Familiar Spot, up against the wall.  We found the entertainers' guild, along with an amphitheater.  Various other guilds were around the Old City too, like the provisioner's, the smith's, the soldiers', clothing-makers', furniture-makers', the stonemasons'.  There was a library.  We had not yet entered any buildings, just looked at the outside.  There was one building labelled Verena's Hall, which pleased Hosei greatly.
    First we entered the library.  It had been emptied, but at one time had been a large and high quality library.  It was one where the public could walk around and examine books freely themselves.  There were no secret areas that any of us could find.
    Next was the Hall of Verena, which seemed to be a hostel.  It had some symbol of the goddess, but was in no way a temple.  Hosei noted that there were no temples at all out here, but just the one inside dedicated to many gods.
    There were no basements in this city, it seemed.
    The Smiths' guild covered all kinds of smiths, weapon makers and jewellry makers.  Again, it had been stripped, and no tools remained.  It contained a great many rooms for residents.
    The Soldiers' guild had a strange little building off to the side.  Again, the guild was largely devoted to housing, but also had meeting rooms and training rooms, and a kitchen and dining area.  It too had been stripped.  The building attached to it was sized for humans in doors and halls, but all the rooms were very small in area (not height) and the only common areas reminded us of a small tavern and cooking area.  Despite the small area of the rooms, the countertops were normal human height.
    Pireseri noticed many X motifs in the carvings, which Hosei said was a good luck symbol in the Empire.  The origin of this symbol is as the symbol of the god of theives and tricksters is the crossed fingers, often drawn as an X.  Here were many passages and secret places, all empty.
    The artists and entertainers guilds, next to each other, followed a similar pattern to the others.  Lodging for a largely transient population, all stripped of moveable items.

    In the evening we all gathered and told each other what we'd found.  Hosei was distracted and burned supper.  Ashu had come back from the woods with a ram.
    The others had all gone on their own searching trips, but they all found nothing special.  They did find the main stairs down, which descended into the dark.  They also found some minor stairs.
    After dinner, Lord O excused himself.  He explained it was time for his rounds, and he refused our help.  I asked if I could observe his technique, but he refused that too.  He left with a lantern, obviously unable to see in the dark -- or wished us to believe he could not.  He had a curious neck guard which had a mark on it which according to Goru was an insignia that might have been the mark of a member of the royal family.  His arms and armor were good workmanship and certainly magical.
    While others wished to follow, Miyara spoke the wisdom that we should not.  We had to gain his trust.

    Miyara took us to see an arena she had found, with stone columns decorated with a common dwarvish motif.  She then took us on to another empty library.
    We then went on to the big stairs, fifty feet wide and 150 feet onwards, which Hosei revealed with a magicked copper coin to shed light.  I suggested to Miyara that I could describe them, but as she wisely pointed out it might attract orcs which would be a good thing.
    The smaller set of stairs went out four hundred feet and was steeper.  Again we saw no sign of life.
    We settled back to wait for Lord O to return.  We did want to find out which stairs he had used, too.