Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (86)

   ((In the "hospital" where Rabena is imprisoned, she learns a few things.  The doctor -- Dr. Schwitzed --  in charge is evil, but not as indoctrinated.  The patients are clearly being used for experimentation, and he has a huge apothecary of various substances, which he regularly feeds to his patients in a kind of scientific experimental kind of way.  All of his patients, however, seem honored to be test subjects.  They seem to be hoping that these drugs are going to give them chaos mutations, or tumors as they call them.  One of the patients clearly has a tumor growing out of the side of his head, and is revelling in it.
    The doctor's room is a curtained off area.  He stays up late into the night doing things in his room with a light.  Also, late a women came to see him and satisfy him.
    Eventually the light goes out, and it's now really dark.  Moans ring through the night, with a little screaming.))

    Baraku is itching to help these people.  He says quietly that he can't not help them.  He has helped feed those weaker people who couldn't get food.  Some families here are helping their own too, so while they're afraid of Baraku, it's not alien behavior.
    Hosei offers to the rest of us to give us disfigurements or suchlike to help us look more in place.
    Sun wants to be uglied up, and thinks others might want it too.  Hosei quietly gives him boils and Baraku mange, while the cultists are busy with their feeding frenzy.  Ashu already naturally has a stutter.

    The room in which they were questioned originally was an anteroom to a church.  Every day, the cultists go to the church to listen to the Great Master preach.

    It is our first dawn here.  Soon after dawn is the now ritual screaming, going on for about 20 minutes in another cave, which we now realize is where they get the food.  Hosei has produced fish for us at night in the dark, which even the barbarians would eat raw.  He had some trouble with the spell, however, and only could pull one.
    Miyara says that if we don't get anywhere pretending to be chaotic, she wants to start killing these things.

    In the morning, there are four mackerel lying on the ground here.  No-one has seen them yet, and Baraku quickly throws them into the chasm.

    The breakfast meal ritual takes place, Baraku helping out the less able.
    After that, Pietra comes bouncing into our cave.  She is overflowing with joy this morning.  She says that Tzeentch conspires to bring us freedom.
    Hosei asks her what has happened.  As he does so, a mackeral falls out from under his coat.  She will take it to the cook -- "Hail Tzeentch!".
    Pietra is happy that Tzeentch here.  It's Change, and it brings us all closer to the Great Change.  She says to all of us that we should be encouraged not to be so cliquish, not to hang about together.
    Hosei asks her about the teachings today, and she says she'll find out.

    Half an hour later, Pietra again bounces in, this time with another snake-headed beastman.  She's still joyful.  She says she told the Great Master about the fish falling out of Hosei's jacket, and he'd like to see the inside of his jacket.  She indicates he should take it off, and hands it to the snake guy who looks through it.  Meanwhile, Pietra is looking admiringly at the naked Hosei from all angles.
    The snake guy doesn't seem to find much, and throws it back at him.
    Pietra smiles at Hosei, who has just caught it on his arm.  She then leaves, smiling, and then he puts his coat back on.  As she steps onto the net, she turns back and tells Hosei he's welcome at the service today.

    Soon after they left, another fish falls out.  We eat.
    As we do so, a girl comes up shyly asking for a piece of the fish.  Hosei gives her one, and she runs off with it back among the people.

    Everyone goes to the sermon except us, although Hosei too goes there too now.  Before leaving, the little girl comes back to Hosei and asks him for some more.  He tells her that next time he finds a fish, he will consider it, yes.
    She asks if we are really avatars of Tzeentch.
    He replies that we were not born as such.  The girl does not seem to understand.  He adds that we are not entirely sure.
    She asks us what we want.
    He says, to break something that we have.
    She asks why we don't just break it.
    Because Tz hasn't told us.
    She asks why we're here and if T talks to us too.  H says to break the thing, and not yet.  She suggests the GM's library.  THe GM makes blood, and has pots of it there.  She's sneaked into the library, in Malabus's private rooms, which you can get to from a tunnel on the back side of the church.  She wants to serve Tz, and if she's good and follows the rules she might become an avatar like us.
    The girl scurries off fast as Pietra bounces in.
    Pietra does something we've never seen her do before -- she tries to keep her voice down and talk to just us, especially Hosei.  She says that hte GM told her to be on the lookout for a group of chaos avatars carrying a large crystal -- have we seen them, she asks Hosei?
    Hosei says that we are not carrying a large crystal.
    She asks if he has seen it, and he says he can ask us.
    She asks us.  Not understanding a word, when she asks in my direction I nod and say "Hai".
     Hosei carefully dances around the subject to avoid telling the whole truth, and Miyara helps out too.
    She says the Master will be very pleased if we have seen it.  She says as she leaves, "Change has no limits, and is not circumscribed,"

    Right before Hosei leaves, Miyara asks him to look for a good place for one or more to hide in the church.

    ((Hosei goes to the temple.  It's a cave, largely unadorned filled with makeshift benches that will comfortably seat 50 worshippers.  At the very back of the cave is the front of the temple, a makeshift altar, a roughly hewn block of stone.  It's caked with dried blood, while the front has half completed carving depicting Tzeentch and his Lords of Change.  Behind the altar is a curtain, and behind that is alcove where they were questioned.  Behind that is another curtain which presumably leads to another room.
    As the temple starts to fill up, Hosei finds a seat.  He was expecting Pietra to accost him, or a little girl to find him.  He finds a spot close to the right hand wall, about 2/3 of the way to the front.
    The place soons runs out of seats.  It's packed shoulder to shoulder.
    Pietra shows up and begins leading a kind of chanting.  While that's going on, Hosei concentrates, and tries to detect any magic users or magical creatures nearby.  Straight up above him he detects one, about 25 yards away.
    The chanting goes on for a long time.  The rhythmic droning puts the worshipers in a receptive state of mind.  Some even go into trances and try to hop about wildly.  It goes on for about an hour.
    Pietra bangs on a small gong and lights a censor full of incense with big clouds of smoke.
    Malabus parts the smoke and steps forward.  He wears a purple robe.  He speaks, talking without interruption for a long time.  The GM clearly has charisma, which comes over in his sermon.  He comes across as a weirdly hypnotic charlatan.  He seems to be transported by bliss, as if Tzeentch intoxicates him.  He hops around with joy, sometimes switching into angry and malign as the god he serves.
    The watchers are fascinated.  Slack-jawed ones are in awe.  Fearful ones hope not to be caught out in their inadequacy.
    An hour and a half later, he stops.  He begins to ask questions of his flock, to see if they actually understood.  He points to individual people and pops questions at them.  An incorrect answer from the first one results in yelling at her for not listening, although she thought she had it right.  He explains clearly and precisely the correct answer.
    Another question, another wrong answer.  But the right answer he gave was exactly the same as the quizzed person said.
    "What do you sell when you sell a mirror?" GM asks Hosei.
    "A wrong image of yourself," says Hosei.
    It is wrong, and GM's answer is even more cryptic than the question.
    All worshipers are told they got it wrong.  Sometimes he yells and screams, sometimes explains kindly, sometimes yells and screams and metes out punishment.  All the cultists are terrified of being called upon.  In a few cases, he agrees that the answer was at least acceptable.
    During all this, Hosei looks for security ande finds none -- no snakeheads, no chaos warriors, no beastmen, just humanoids.  Some of them have tumors or diseases, but there are no complete  beastmen in this group.  He looks for how a little girl might have crawled through.  He'd have to go past the altar and would be in plain sight, he couldn't do it.  There are no other entrances in or out of this room.
    After half an hour of questioning, he gets tired.  He falls to the floor, prostrates himself, and prays.  Other do the same, as Malabus leaves back through the smoke.  Pietra leads a discussion from the front for half an hour or so.
    Of the 200 people here, a lot are just trying to survive.  Some are too far gone and appear to believe but don't care.  Then there are those who are trying to make sense of what GM says, and asks Pietra questions.  Pietra gives what would be a sensible answer if you didn't understand the words.
    The group breaks up.  Hosei avoids doing anything obvious, but as he leaves he climbs upwards towards a cave about 25 yards up.  He goes to another at that level, which turns out to be the hospital.
    He goes into the hospital.  He has a chat with the Doctor, who is curious about where the fish come from and what he feels and so on.  Hosei says he has no idea.  The doctor examines him, then talks about the patients.  Hosei is welcome to walk among the patients, but not the one in solitary in the back.  She is in solitary.
    Hosei asks what sign might show that Tzeentch has indicated she is ready to be released.  The doctor says to pray for her to fall out of hte attention of hte leaders here: GM, Loric, Pietra, and so on.
    Hosei returns back to our cave.))

    We have been all alone in the cave.  A few people in this cave are too ill to move, but otherwise there is no-one else here.
    Miyara goes off to look into other caves, while Ashu follows her to protect her.

    ((The nearest cave is the hospital.  She can talk to the doctor and patients, except for Rabena of course.  Miyara asks him about his patients, who he says are fine.  There are eight beds, six occupied.
    Miyara says it seems ot be against hte rule to cure people of their ills, so how is he helping them?
    He tries to make them comfortable, he says.
    Miyara takes her leave.  She goes down to the next one, which turns out to be a mushroomery.  It is indeed a mushroom garden.  There are a lot of faeces in piles around the room, and the mushrooms are growing on them.  Miyara is alone here.  The cave is Y-shaped, about 25 yards deep, 3-5 yards high.  She walks through it to see if there are any other entrances or anything, but there is nothing there.
    She goes on the next cave, off to the left and up.  This one turns out to be the temple.  She skips that one, and continues left to another sleeping chamber.  It's similar to ours, except that near the entrance someone has erected a makeshift room out of boards.  The sound of talking comes from within this room.
    Miyara gets closer and listens.  The snake guys are talking, nothing very interesting, just small talk.  She can't tell one from the other, just knows what they are from the accents.  There is one more human voice that she doesn't know that speaks occasionally.
    Miyara moves on to the next cave.  This is the kitchen.  There is no-one in here, not a first at least.  Except for hte lack of sanitation it looks like a normal kitchen.  There is a huge pot, crates of various vegetables, a little grain, and lots of mushrooms.  She pokes around to find out what might scream, and what they put into the gruel.
    In the very back of the cave, there is a guy.  He is big, maybe 800 lbs big.  He's sitting at the very back.  He smiles as Miyara comes into view.
    She asks him if he's the one who makes the gruel.
    "No," he says, "I'm Kurt."
    She asks him what he does.
    He says he sits there.  He sleeps at night.
    As Miyara gets closer, she sees him more clearly.  He has a lot of mushroom pieces and juice down his chin, neck, and chest.  Lying along his belly is a large cloth stained with red liquid.  She asks him if he enjoys the mushrooms.
    He does not, not at all.  He doesn't know what they taste like, or doesn't care.
    She asks if the cook is in the church, and if Kurt goes?
    Yes, and no -- it's hard to move at all.  He can't get up, and couldn't climb on the nets if he could.  He appears to be wedged into the back of the cave.  He's clearly in a lot of pain.
    Miyara wishes him well and she and Ashu start to leave.  He says to come back any time.
    The two of them now realize where the screaming and the meat come from.  Miyara is a little shaken, but Ashu seems to take it in stride.))