Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (79)
I have to mention the death, several days
before, of Pipo. He will not be missed, at least, not by me.
The same fate has not befallen Zockri, who wants us
to leave him to be eaten by hawks, impaled on the remains of his own
house, and with an axe wound in his head. I say we should leave
him, as he is paying for his dishonor the only way he can.
Pito wants to heal him, at least. I ask him if
he has no concept of honor. The barbarians have no concept of
honor. They pull him off the shard, and pull him clear of the
hawks. He does not seem to heal, but he also does not die.
Rabena and Pito work together on healing him.
With everyone healed and fed, we rest overnight and
set out fresh and healthy the next morning. Zockri does not want
to go with us. I say that having healed him, he should come with
us. He could help us at Karack Vagnal if there is anything we can
do to the stones. I try to talk him into coming, but he backs
away and leaves. I will never understand barbarians, thank
So now we have to backtrack through Yetsin
Valley. We are west of there now. Kadar Gravning is in
Winter's Teeth Pass, so we have to return to Yetsin Valley, then to
Winter's Teeth, to KG, and then north towards where we think Karak
Vagnal is. We think it will take ten days to get to Kadar
Gravning, including foraging and hunting along the way. Of
course, Kadar Gravning itself is now a ruin after what we did to
it. It should then be another for days, Rabena tells us, to Karak
The journey passes uneventfully. We assume
that Mathilde is likely to be on our trail.
As we get closer to KV, we find the remains of what
might once have been a well travelled road. We follow it through
woods in a valley. As we begin to come out the other side, coming
out into a clearing, we have arrived. There is a
large bronze dwarven head with a double door in it. There is a
tower on one side of the clearing, and a stream runs down another edge
of the area. Stone columns, now fallen and simply missing, would
have decorated the area.
First we investigate the tower. But on the way
over there, the ground suddenly gets very soft and turns to
quicksand. I leap away to safety quite easily. Everyone
flailed around, but most of them slipped under. Ashu managed to
get mostly out of it and thought he was ok, until it suddenly became
dirt again, trapping him at the knees and everyone else underground.
I try to summon an earth elemental to rescue
everyone, but can't make it work.
Suddenly a crossbow bolt slams into my back.
It seems to have come from the top of the tower. I run for the
tower as the nearest cover, and look for a way to the top. On the
way I get a clear sight of three dwarves leaning over aiming at
me. I dodge their shots while shouting that we are not enemies,
that they buried a dwarf.
The top of the tower erupts in flame -- perhaps Ashu
caused that from the stone. There is screaming from the
top. It only lasts briefly, then Ashu tries to pull himself out
of the ground.
I've shouted, I'm about to break down a door, we
will surely be friends soon in the barbarian fashion.
I kick the door open, which slams into the wall
behind it. I fly through and land gracefully on the first floor
of the tower. There is no-one else here. I climb quickly up
the ladder built into the stones.
On the top are three screaming dwarves, badly
burned. I first aid them all. They stop sceaming at me, but
two are clearly in intense pain. I tell them that their trap
buried our healer.
Meanwhile, Ashu has controlled an elemental to pull
the others from the earth. Under the influence of the stone of
earth, they cannot be hurt by it. I am ashamed to have forgotten
Rabena and Pito heal the dwarves before they
question them. I believe they should be alllowed to be free, and
should not ask them to leave their post, and this is what we do.
Ashu says that he incinerated two more dwarves who attacked him from
The dwarves say there were five of them and ask
about the others. I apologetically say that Ashu killed them when
they attacked him.
They are here to guard this dwarven hold, just the
few of them. There is nobody else here.
We're here to investigate a certain event in dwarven
history. Would they mind if we look around respectfully? We
don't want to disturb anything or offend any spirits.
The one who's been talking doesn't answer those
questions. She points to the head as the way in.
I ask if there are any dangers we should watch out
She says there are, but she doesn't know what they
I ask what she can tell us about Karak Vagnal.
She says something in dwarven to Goru, who says in
Nipponese that she says that honor forbids her from saying.
I bow, say I understand, and apologize. I ask
them if honor permits them to allow us to investigate.
Ashu invites them to come, but she says no.
If we investigate and go inside, are you going to
She says no, and I thank her.
Goru asks in common who sent them. She thinks
about it a long time, then in dwarven gives a long speech. Goru
paraphrases that they are members of a secret dwarven society, called
the Brotherhood of Memory, whose task this last 4000 years is to look
for the reuniting of the crystals, prevent it happening, and if they do
reunite them, then destroy them and/or their bearers.
Ashu asks if they have knowledge of these crystals,
and can they describe them? What happened to them? Where
are they now?
She seems confused by the questions. Ashu asks
her what the history of the crystals is.
4000 years ago they were made here, originally
intended to be crystals of power, but something went very wrong and
powers of chaos now hold them.
Powers of chaos? I ask.
Ashu asks what she would do if she had one, and she
says that deciding what to do with them is not her job. Ashu asks
if her job is to make sure they don't come here, and she says yes.
I ask what would happen if they did, but she doesn't
know. I ask if she is willing to show us where they were made,
and she says no.
Ashu asks why she thinks the crystal bearers would
come here. She doesn't know. Then why guard here?
Because it was where they were created. So chaos has them now.
Apparently. How did chaos get their hands on them, does the use
of the crystal cause a person to be bent to the will of chaos?
She believes you have to be under the will of chaos to possess them.
Aren't they just scientific instruments? How
does chaos come into it? That was the intent of the creators, it
didn't happen that way. What does a scientific experiemtn gone
horribly wrong have to do with ancient dead gods?
She says apparently they are no longer ancient and
How do we know they're not agents of chaos?
How do we know you're really who you say you are?
In common, she says, "I am Moira Surestrike, dwarven
warrior of Karak Heirn, member of the Brotherhood of Memory, daughter
of --, son of ---, son of --- (going back 10 generations)."
"Very well, I apologize, I am sorry. Thank
you," I bow. Barbarians don't have the imagination to make that
stuff up. I believe it.
"If you will allow my companions to go free, I will
unlock the doors and show you how to disarm the first trap."
I say yes, and thank her. I let them get their
weapons and go out of the tower, of course. They seem uncertain
that we would do that. But I have shouted and broken down a door,
and she seems honest and honorable.
The other two take their weapons and run into the
woods, while Moira remains here.
I ask if she wants to accompany us. It would
help us respect all the traditions, as we do not want to offend.
She says, "With respect, the only way to avoid
offending is not to enter. I must therefore decline to accompnay
you past hte first trap."
"You deserve to know why here. We are here to
fight chaos by learning about how the stones were made."
With anger, she says, "Then you are either fools or
"Then I am a fool."
"Let's get it over with."
This is one of the best and most honorable people I
have met in this barbarian land.
She walks over to the large bronze head She
walks up the steps, takes out her war axe, smacks the brand new
padlock. It pops open. She pushes open the doors, walks
down a short narrow hallway. It is covered in dust, gravel, and
sand, and what used to be mosaic walls before it was looted and
plundered. It ends in a heavily rusted spiral metal staircase
heading down. She begins descending.
I continue to to follow closely but not right on her
back, with the others behind me.
One of the steps gives way under her feet, dropping
a large sack of rocks from the ceiling. She stands still while
the rocks smack her on the head. She stumbles a little further
down the stairs and falls. She pulls a knife from her sheath,
which she lays on the stairway, and stabs herself in the stomach.
I go over to her, and thank her. I tell her
she is the most honorable person I have met since leaving my
homeland. She drags the blade through her guts, spilling them on
the stairs. I tell the others to stay back, as I kneel
respectfully before Moira. I tell her that her honorable death
will not be forgotten.
The others, not paying attention to Moira, see that
the metal stairway is at one end of a very long wide hallway, 30' wide,
and extends off as far as their light can show. It is about 250'
long. The entire floor is covered with pumice, and it is clear
from the wall markings and height of the ceiling that the cooled lava
is pretty deep. The petrified remains of a number of individuals
are frozen in agony clearly attempting to escape, dwarves all.
I honor Moira's spirit for a while.
I then proceed down a little ways so all can pass
Sun suggests that the lava destroyed all the
traps. I say that while the lava is consistent with the failed
experiement with the stones, it could also be a trap waiting for us to
trigger the next layer.