Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (85)

    ((Miyara, Pito, and Ashu grab the net as they fall; Rabena flies with the power of the sogin roku.  Ashu's part of the net shreds and he falls again.  He grabs again, and dangles with both hands from the last rung of the net.  Miyara's net also rips, but she also grabs it again and hangs with one hand from the bottom.  Everyone else manages to grab on.
    All start climbing back into the cave.  This is the village of F'thaktoi B'kah.))

    I see Miyara hanging from the bottom of a net.  I glide down towards her.  I practice hovering, but it's more of a controlled fall.  I'll have to use the power of the stone to hover, not my wings.  I make a couple of passes first so we can both assess the situation.  There is a handful of other people on the net as well, but as I make one of the passes, I see a four-legged man-sized snake, or perhaps a man with the head of a snake, rapidly moving across the net headed for their cave.  The whole group seems to be alive.  Rabena floats in the air outside the cave.
    The beastman steps smoothly into the cave with everyone else.  He has arm and leg banding armor, with a sword at his side and some wicked fangs which he shows menacingly.  He points out the window at me and says something.  It looks like there's probably a brief unpleasant conversation.
    Then the beast turns to Rabena, stepping up to the cave, and points to her.  They too have a conversation.  The beast leaps to the net and slithers quickly away and down to the far lowest side, entering a cave over there.
    Once he's gone, Rabena goes into the cave.

    The group shares this cave with a large number of other cultists ((maybe 50)) standing around.

    I come down to the cave and hover in front.  Miyara has been waiting for me, and Rabena has just landed.  The others are near the front too.
    I address Miyara.  I tell her about the flight, the fight, and that I lost and failed, but since it's protected it miht be vulnerable, and that I have been following the signal here.  Hosei points out that the hole might just be a hole to where demons live and it might have been there by accident. It was trying to keep me away from the hole, and it it was by accident, it would surely be loose on the land.  I ask if she knows where what I had with me might be, and she says that they brought it here after it returned to them, and that they had to hand it over because it is not allowed.  They had no particular interest, and she is sure she can recover them.
    The other cultists have moved back.  Lots of stares at Baraku, and at the people conversing in Nipponese -- fearful stares.  The people are in various states of ill health and disease, malnutrition, frostbite, fever, open sores.  It stinks.  WIthin the cave near the entrance is an alcove piled with human feces, with flies and maggors and rats, and smell.

    "I have failed in my mission, and I am becoming a creature of chaos.  I must restore the honor of our family."

    I take the dagger, plunge it into my abdomen, draw it across, and stop flying.  I fall, but an air elemental catches me and starts to carry me up.  I add a vertical stroke, and pass out.  I hope this will be the end.

    ((Rabena puts everything she has into it and heals me, almost passing out from the effort.  I am completely healed.))

    I wake up looking into Rabena's eyes.  I am completely healed.
    She says, "Please don't do that again, your mission is not finished."
    "Please don't do that again.  You have no concept of honor."
    "You are not done.  You cannot leave yet."
    I sigh and shake my head.

    Miyara tells me that she does not think it was a large failure, just a small one.  I am becoming a beastman, however, and that is a problem.  She says that we still have the stone and can yet succeed, and that may solve the problem.  If not, Miyara will give me her wakasashi and we can go off somewhere quiet away from the barbarians.  I am satisfied with this.  I observe that the barbarians are so very cruel in their ignorance.

    I look around.  The others have backed away even further, if that were possible.

    A woman steps off the net, less smoothly than the snakeman.  She was clearly once a reasonably beautiful woman, but time in this place has ruined her clothing and marred her skin.  She has lost all her teeth.  Tall and with matted blond hair, and with sickening facial lesions.  She is still full figured and the clothes cling to her emphasizing it.
    She introduces herself as Adrianna.  She probably had a beautiful voice once, too.  She looks around at the group.  She ignores those with beastman characteristics like me and Baraku and Slurk, and ignores the obvious warriors like Goru and Ashu.  She speaks to the others in tones from motherly for Sun and Rabena and Carimera, to alluring for Hosei and Pito, with slight competitivness for Miyara.  She is here to tell us some of the rules of the place and how things are done so that they can more quickly rise in the glory of Tzeench.
    She pauses as if trying her best to explain something to us, preparing to speak.  She is very emotional about it, beginning in a rapturous voice.  Everything will die or crumble or burn, tumors will grow, chaos mutations will occur, and death will come.  Every member has a rank.  Sleeping arrangement are awarded by rank.  As new members, they are all of hte lowest rank and sleep here.  If they follow the rules are are seen in the right light by the eyes of Tzeentch, they will rise quickly in the cult through new ranks, and as they rise so their sleeping quarters and privileges will improve.  Life is hard, they struggle to follow the wishes of Tzeentch in all things.  The quickest way to rise in rank are to follow immediately and without question the rules.
    The rules are: to obey the great Master Mauro Malusalbus.  To throw off false doctine for the teaching of hte great master.  To spend one's time in contemplation of these teachings.  To cast off love.  To embrace change, including the Great Change, death.  to abandon material things.  To wait in ecstacy for the moment when all will be changed forever.
    She looks around to make sure everyone heard.  She smiles alluringly at Hosei, and turns and leaves.  She climbs up the net.
    Miyara translates for me what the woman had said.  She adds a thought -- we can by the power of the stone, make things happen away from us that no-one would believe we are doing and they might believe it is Tzeentch himself.  In case we need to sow confusion or kill anyone.

    A young bow, one of the less sick ones, very cautiously is trying to get around us and out of the door.  Pito steps aside to let him go.  The boy scampers up the net.

    I ask Miyara, if this is an appropriate time, if she could tell me what happened and why we are here.  She explains.  She adds that Slurk was not allowed in the confessional, but was chased out and was in this cave when we got here.
    Miyara asks Slurk for hte best way to talk to Marusarabu as soon as possible.  Slurk says to follow his teachings, and to avoid being a threat while coming across as interesting, he might ask to see us.  But if he believes we are a threat, he will never see us willingly.  He says conspiratorially that it is best to call him the Great Master here.

    Yet another cultist tries to leave the cave.  He carefully walks around us, but I step in his way and stare him down.  He's a hobbit.  He grins, and for a moment I have an impending sense of doom, but then I realise he has no teeth.  He says "Hai".
    "What are you doing?" I say in Nipponese.
    Sun translates when the hobbit looks around for help.
    The hobbit says he needs to report to Primo Grigiovermi.  Sun continutes translating.
    "How do you know?"
    He has to go see him every day at this time.
    "What for?"
    "To make sure my son is doing what he is supposed to do."
    "And what is that?"
    The hobbit says something like, "He is recording the words of Primo Grigiovermi's tumor."  Sun stumbles the translation.
    I step aside.  "Very well, you may continue."
    The hobbit says, "Thank you," and quickly goes out of the cave.

    Miyara goes to the cave mouth and watches where he goes.  The cave we are in is farthest to the right facing the cliff wall.  The cave he heads for is slightly to the left and towards the top of the cliff.  Miyara says in Nipponese, "I suppose the first thing to try is to try to appear non-threatening, and as devoted to the strange ideas this cult has as possible.  If that gets us nowhere we'll have to take a more direct approach."  She takes those who don't speak a proper language to the entrance and whispers that quietly to them, while the rest of us keep the others cowering.

    We sit down and contemplate the glory that is Tzeentch.  People continue to come and go occasionally -- Miyara in particular studies the movements and times.  Occasionally someone comes over with a handful of faeces and throws it on the pile.  The crowd that had been watching us with interest and fear calm down a little.
    Back in the crowd are other beastmen, and the crowd seems to give them a little more space.  The ones with more obivous chaos mutations have the crowd part before them, in something between fear and appreciation.
    As time passes, some of the younger cultists come to talk with Slurk.  It's clear they know him, and don't fear him as much as the others.  They want to know where he's been.  Slurk says he's been helping these great avatars of.... and the vulture head hisses and the finch and he says he's been guiding these acolytes to join them here.  He says we want help in the final destruction of the world.  They continue with small talk for a while.
    After an hour or so, the snakeman returns and he has another one with him.  They are clearly here for Rabena.  One of them says she needs to go with them.  She stands and looks around desperately for someone to speak up, but she says "All right."
    Ashu stands up.  One of the snakemen turns to him, waiting for Ashu to make the next move.
    The other says, "Come" to Rabena, turns and walks to the entrance with Rabena following.
    Ashu moves to go too, but the one facing him steps in his way.  Ashu prepares to fight, but Miyara tells him to sit down and wait, which Ashu does immediately.
    The snakemen, one following and one leading Rabena, go out onto the net.  They take her to a cave close to the middle of the netting.

    ((They have brought her to a man standing just inside the cave.  It's empty of other people except the four of them.  He introduces himself as Loic.  As a devoted servant of Tzeentch and the Great Master, he helps new acolytes to learn to follow the rules.
    He is a big man, wearing a very large suit of black armor, engraving with many horrible symbols of chaos.  He has a horrible sickly green pallor to his skin.  He looks down into Rabena's face, and she can smell the stench of decay on his breath.  He says, "Magical healing is strictly forbidden.  Do you understand?"
    "Yes," she says.  Quietly she says, "Yes, I understand."
    He looks at one of the snakeman and says, "Two days penitance."
    One of the snakemen grabs her by the shoulder and takes her to the net, escorting her somewhere else, mostly back in the direction of the sleeping cave "The All Perceiving Eye."  But it's a different cave, a little smaller.  This one is filled with cots with a curtained off area towards the back.  The cots are occupied by people in various stages of dying.  She is lead to the back of this natural cave, which is full of beds maybe half of which are occupied.  The beds are sickening but better than the other cave.  The curtained off area she can't see into.
    Rabena herself is lead to a very small cave in the back with an iron grill.  She is shoved into it since she doesn't respond quickly enough, and is locked in.  One of the snakemen sits down on the ground, leaning against the wall looking across the grill, while the other leaves.
    She cannot stand up in here, but there is enough room to sit.  She settles down, closes her eyes, and meditates.  Of course she is meditating on Bianca, not Tzeentch, but the guard can't know that.
    From time to time she hears painful cries from those on the beds.  She prays to Bianca to take care of those poor desperate people out there.))

    Rabena's fate is unknown to us.  After a while, Miyara asks Slurk where they might have taken her -- she will be unhappy if she has to avenge her death.  Slurk is surprised, but says that healing Miyara's cousin was a mistake, but he doesn't believe they will ask her to make the Great Change right away.  It's more likely they will require some sort of penitence of her, and if she is properly contrite, they will use her as necessary.

    About 20 minutes after Rabena was taken ((five minutes after Rabena's imprisonment)) there is a horrible screaming noise -- someone is being killed very painfully, but clearly not Rabena.  It goes on for about a minute then begins to die off, another minute to fade away.  None of the other cultists even seem to notice it.
    Ashu meditates on every time he's used the sogin roku to call down fire, and how it felt, and prepares himself to use it in the near future here.

    Another 45 minutes, and a bunch of boys from the cultists come running towards the mouth of the cave.  They have rough yokes tied to their shoulders, and empty buckets on the ends.  They ignore us, and go scrambling across the net.
    Ten minutes later they come struggling back with buckets of probably gruel.  They walk past us.  The crowd has moved forward and as the boys put the buckets down and dive out of the way, there is a mad free-for-all as the cultists here try to get a handful of the gruel into their mouth before being trampled or pushed out of the way.  The strongest get one or two handfuls, the weakest none.  The youngest lick the buckets clean.  It's all over in ten minutes, and the boys with the buckets merge back into the crowd.