Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (87)

   ((Miyara and Ashu leave Kurt in the back of the cave and go on outside, heading for another cave.
    This one is another sleeping chamber, very similar to our cave.  There are no structures or other openings in this one.  They move on to the next one.

    Now they are at the highest cave with the smallest entrance.  The net here has been cut away so that no-one can get to it easily.  It might be possible to climb to it on the cliff face, about five yards of free climbing.  It's obvious that this is intended to deter visitors.  Miyara and Ashu set off across the cliff face anyway.
    Ashu slips and falls, trying desperately to catch himself.  He manages to grab the net, but it rips away in his hand and he falls again.  This second time the net holds, and he comes to a halt some distance below Miyara.  He climbs back up to where she is.  Once up there, he tries to climb across again.
    Miyara steps into the cave while Ashu is only half way there.  The floor of the cave crumbles beneath her weight, dumping her out of the cave, falling down the cliff.  She grabs for the net, which tears terribly but fortunately doesn't break.
    Ashu almost makes it to the cave, but slips and falls again.  He too catches himself.

    The two of them are twenty feet below that cave entrance.  They decide to try it again later, and go on to another cave now.

    This next cave is another sleeping chamber, but at the back of this one is an opening with the sound of a large number of voices coming from inside.  It's just small talk, and from their voices it's clear it's the chaos warriors who are the guards around here.  Miyara and Ashu can sense that is where the crystal is too.
    Miyara decides they should return back to our cave.  They leave this one and set out across the nets.))

    Eventually Miyara and Ashu return.
    There are a few cultists in this cave who did not go to the service, probably because they were too infirm.  Nevertheless, in relative terms we are pretty much alone, although Slurk is here too.
    Miyara in Nipponese tells everything she's seen, not wanting Slurk to understand.  She'll just have to tell the rest of the barbarians later.
    Slurk still has a reverence for us, but since arriving here he's been less effusive in his grovelling.  He knows we're here incognito, not announcing ourselves as avatars yet, so he hasn't wanted to give it away.  When Pietra asked about the crystals, it was clear Slurk had a kind of look in his eye, but he said nothing.

    I remind everyone that we are here for a purpose.
    Sun takes up the subject in Nipponse.  We are here to talk to the Great Master about Tzeentch, so one or more of us have to get onto the GM's invite list.  He looks at Miyara as he says this.
    Miyara agrees.  She recalls it was Hosei's spontaneous fish creation that got him invited to the service.

    Later, cultists start arriving from the service, looking more tired and listless.  Some time after, Hosei comes back too and passes on what he found out, including that he doesn't believe that the little girl could sneak in like she said.
    Miyara would like to see the library, although she can't read what's in it.  Hosei, as a priest of his religion, very much wants to see the knowledge that's in there.  Unfortunately it's clear that sneaking in while the service is in progress will not be possible.
    Miyara believes that the cave at the top and the library probably connect in the back somewhere.  Her plan is that during the next service, we should start from one of the plain sleeping quarters and tunnel up in the direction of the GM's quarters.  Then we could reach the library from his quarters.  We would need Hosei with us, so he'd need a reason to skip the service tomorrow -- perhaps he could be taken ill by a mushroom.  Alternatively Rabena should be released tomorrow, and she could do the reading while Hosei continues to try to get on their good side.

    Dinner proceeds as before, with Sun helping feed the sicker people too.

    The fish continue to fall out of Hosei's shirt at irregular intervals.  A boy has been assigned to follow Hosei around, collecting the fish, putting them in a basket, and taking them off to the kitchen every now and again.  Hosei is unable to produce the fish deliberately.

    An hour or two after dinner, Pietra and a snakeman release Rabena from her cell.  A short encouraging lecture, and a bright talk on the way back to us, and she's in our sleeping cave.  Rabena seems to have been cooperating, and Pietra is still being bright and cheerful when she comes in.
    Pietra first talks to Rabena and Carimera, telling them both that they are invited to the service tomorrow.  She then talks privately to Goru for a little while, then also to Miyara and then Pito Popo.  She talks a long time to Hosei, and a short time to Sun.  She talked to them about how they were doing, and invited them to the service.  In addition, she asked Hosei how he felt about it, what he learned, and so on.  Hosei spouted back some of Malabus's lines to her, and she liked that a lot.
    Miyara is taught a little about the ways of Tzeentch, and then is invited to the service tomorrow.
    As Pietra leaves, she reminds us that we are expected to expand our social horizons, and not remain so cliquish.  We must talk to other members of the cult so we might learn.  She reminds us also that those who have invitations to the service will be expected to attend.  As her final words, she says, "Hail change!  Hail Tzeentch!"

    I go around the cave, talking to people in Nipponese, trying to be friendly.  A few people listen very carefully to me, but it's hard to tell whether they understand.  None of them react in any partifcular way to anything I say.  Some avoid me, some seem interested in what I'm saying.

    The invitations cause Miyara to reconsider her plans for tomorrow.  She says that we should go -- those who were invited -- and spread out rather than sit together.  The only uninvited people are myself, Ashu, Baraku, and Slurk.

    The next day, after the usual breakfast procedure, Hosei tells the boy that this basket of fish will not go to the kitchen.  He takes the fish around, ripping them up, and feeds them to people.  We of course get some too.

    Everyone heads off to service, leaving the few of us behind.  Miyara leads the rest off to the temple, to disperse among the crowd when they get there in the hope of gathering more information.

    ((The service is pretty much the same as yesterday, but with a significant difference.  Towards the climax of the lecturing part of the sermon, GM tells a short story about how a member of the community was sneaking around in places they were not supposed to be, and that was a flagrant violation of millions of rules and not acceptable.  The purpose here is of contemplation and preparation, not exploring and gathering.  He calls out a name, and it's the little girl Hosei talked to.
    He calls her forward -- she is pleased to step up -- and continues his story about why everyone is here.  Two of the snakemen come from behind the altar, grab her, and carry her screaming to altar.  Malasabus raises his voice and reiterates the purpose of preparing for the Great Change that will come to the world when Tzeentch decides, and he sacrifices the girl on the altar.  The blood runs down accompanied by screaming, chanting, people pressing forward for a better view.
    After he kills her with a big knife, he chops off her head, all the time talking about the great purpose and that Tzeentch will be coming soon.
    The next difference between this one and the day before is that he does not do a question and answer period, GM just disappears into the smoke while the girl's torso continues to bleed.
    After a while, everyone leaves.))

    While everyone's gone, I fly up and glide quietly to the cave that Miyara fell out of.  I come in to land a little ways inside the entrance.  A curtain blocks the cave a couple of yards in, with nothing on this side.  The ground begins to crumble, and I lift up with the power of the sogin roku.  I don't rise up, however, and step forward quickly with the help of my wings until I have a solid footing.
    Behind the curtain is the sound of boiling, some kind of liquid slowly boiling.  I move to the edge of the curtain, pull it aside a little, and look in.
    The cave continues.  It is divided into yet more parts by curtains.  The "room" I am looking into has three sides of curtains.  It is pretty large, filled with alchemical equipment.  There's a small iron furnace, workbenches, chemicals, stuff.
    I plan to move on in, following the wall of the cave towards the back.  I would move as quietly as I can, listening intently for any kind of noise.
    Suddenly, however, it feels like I've been hit my a sword, slicing into my back, and as I spin around and see for a moment a shimmering outline of a demon.
    I dive for the cave entrance, hoping my wings will carry me as I leap out into open air.  I swoop for the sleeping chamber as fast as I can before I pass out.
    I make it to the net outside the cave, and clamber through it into relative safety.  Ashu helps me as I come in, first aiding me.  I quickly write in the dirt what I've seen, including the invisible demon, and gesture to Ashu to make sure Miyara reads it.

    ((After I pass out, Ashu puts some of my blood on his axe, planning to pretend that we had a fight.  Even though it doesn't look like an axe wound -- he guesses a scythe or similar hooked weapon --  if anyone challenges him he'll demonstrate on some random person and show that an axe can make that kind of wound.

    The service lets out, while Ashu stands guard over the message.  Miyara reads the message beside the unconscious Kyosuke.  Ashu stands there with a bloody axe.  Ashu explains that I flew in myself, having gone there alone.
    The cave is full of cultists again, all staying away from Ashu and his axe.  Rabena looks over the wound.  She sees I am not in any immediate danger of dying, but am severely wounded.  They don't want me to heal quickly, or it will look like magic healing again.  They can, however, make sure I heal cleanly.
    They can't hide the damage, as all the cultists have seen it.
    Rabena cleans up around it, readjusts the bandages, and heals me just a little.  I will hear just (one point) a very little each day, with her help.
    Ashu makes a show of cleaning his axe and putting it back where it belongs.

    Miyara suggests that everyone should mingle with the filthy nasty dirty cultists for a while.