Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (88)

    ((The others are mingling with the cultists.  Pito tries to convince them that they'd be better off clean, but it seems an unreasonable idea to those ready for the Great Change.  Miyara joins in, pointing out that sickness is a sign of Nurgle, and so Tzeentch wouldn't like that.
    MIyara asks then about how much honor accrues to the family of the girl who was sacrificed to Tzeetch.  They don't really get the concept of a family, but Miyara accepts that they are all one family in which case, the peasant says, they do get honor for it after all.

`   Soon after, a large muscular man in plate armor comes in.  He looks at me, looks around, and asks where Ashu is.
    Ashu turns and throws an axe at the man's face.  It slams home.
    The man falls.
    Everyone gasps.
    Ashu calmly walks up and chops off his head.
    No-one else does anything.

    Except Miyara.  She walks up to Ashu and the dead body, and tells him, "Well done."
    The man has a really nice set of plate mail, which Hosei says is Really Not Nice, magical and very evil.  He has a greatsword strapped across his back, and a warhammer strapped to his belt.  Hosei says that even though the sword is carved with the same evil symbols as the armor, it's not magical.  The man also has a dagger.
    Miyara wonders out loud what we could accomplish if we simply stormed the library.
    Ashu takes off the weapons and tosses the rest, including the head, over the edge.
    Sun suggests it would be easy to get to the Library, but getting out would be more difficult.  Then of course there's the demon that might make getting in difficult too.
    Miyara says that now there are two branches we can do.  We can continue to try to infiltrate, or we can forget everything and just let loose.  Goru agrees, picking up the warhammer.  Miyara hefts the weird barbarian sword, wondering what it would be like in battle.
    Hosei, however, wants to play the diplomacy longer, but that might be tougher now after killing this man.  Alternatively it might get us an interview.
    Ashu cleans up his axe.
    Miyara says that we should see what comes of this first.  It's afternoon, we should see what happens between today and tomorrow morning.

    Soon three snakeman slip off the net into the cave, coming fast and quiet at Ashu, reaching him before he notices.  Miyara is standing right by him, however, and has the strange sword ready.
    Rabena knows exactly what to do.  She rushes over to heal me while the fighting starts.))

    I come to with Rabena leaning over me.  Ahsu and Miyara are fighting several snakemen in the entrance to the cave.  I start to push myself to my feet as the fighting continues, watching helplessly as Miyara and Ashu are wounded.  Miyara is wielding a strange large sword, and doing so very effectively.
    As I stand up, one of the snakemen goes down to Ashu's axe, while the other two rush out of the cave as fast as possible.  Miyara and Ashu dive after them, striking them on their way to the net.  The snakemen shoot up the net much faster than we could chase them, so there is no choice but to let them go.
    Ashu, however, has in mind an entirely different option.  He shoots fire at them with the power of the sogin roku.
    This time the two of them simply burst into flame, burning with a lot of heat as they fall into the valley.  The net burns where they were; the flames die out fairly quickly, but it would hamper anyone else coming down.
    The bodies turn to ash before they hit the ground.  There is no sound as their remains reach the valley floor.

    It gets really quiet.  I look around, wondering what has happened, but no-one tells me.
    Everyone is staring at Ashu, who has flames coming from his head and shoulders.  We can feel the heat, but the flames are not burning him in any way.  The flickering light is reflected in his glowing red eyes.  Slurk looks on with awe, although without much fear.
    The remaining snakeman here has a broadsword, which we keep in case it is needed.  Miyara cuts off the head, throwing it and  the body into the valley.
    As she cuts the head off, we hear a gong from either another cave or the top of the cliff.  Miyara looks up, but can't tell where the sound came from.
    I offer to fly around and take a look.  Miyara accepts.

    I leave the cave, circling my flight up as I look around.  Looking out of most of the caves are people, now watching me.  A band of ten or so warriors in plate mail standing at the top of the cliff directly above our cave.  They seem as surprised by the situation as everyone else.  I don't see anyone I recognize.
    I circle around for a while.  As I get closer to the warriors at the top, one of them yells a question in a barbarian tongue.  I wave back.
    Now there is a second gong.  I'm not sure where it's coming from.  ((Miyara realizes it's coming from the GM's cave.))
    I see Pietra coming from one of the upper caves and head to the temple.
    I swoop back down to our cave and tell Miyara what I've seen, and she tells me where the gong noise came from.  It was a different tone from the first.  Ashu and Miyara have been healed in the meantime.

    About five minutes later, Pietra comes out of the temple cave and heads towards the cave that had the wooden room built into it, where the snakemen seem to live.  She spends a couple of minutes there, then heads up.  Where the net is missing, she climbs up to the top to talk to the warriors there.  She asks a question, and their answer seems complicated, perhaps a difference of opinion.  One of them finally points over the edge of the cliff, downwards towards our cave.  I fly down and report back to Miyara.

    As I take off again, I see Pietra working her way down to our cave.  I land again and tell Miyara, and step inside the cave to wait for her.
    Miyara and I are there to meet her.  Pietra ignores me, and asks Miyara what happened to Loric.
    Miyara asks "Who is Loric?"
    -- the one in the armor without the head.
    -- Tzeentch took him.
    -- I see that, honor to Tzeentch.  what was the manner of his demise.
    -- his face split in two.
    Pietra asks about the snakemen.
    -- Tz took them too, and about the same time his head started to flame.  It is a sign.
    -- Obviously.  You need to see the Great Master.
    - We are all ready to speak with the Great Master.
    -- Come along, says Pietra.
    Miyara whispers quickly to me what has happened, adding "It worked!"

    The others clamber up the net as I fly along.
    Miyara takes the broadsword too, even though it is too crude to use with the barbarian great sword.  She can always hand it to Sun to keep it out of the way.

    Pietra leads us to the temple cave.
    By now, Ashu's flames are still burning but are no longer hot.

    She takes us to the altar and tells us to wait.  She goes on through the curtains, leaving us here.
    The Great Master walks out.  He is no less impressive without the smoke and performance that normally accompanies his arrival.  He looks kindly if not blissful, and of course unshakeable in his convictions.  Like Pietra, he is certain that he is right and that the cultists are better for his treatment of them.
    He speaks for a while.  He is clearly crazy.  He welcomes us, all hail Tzeentch, and preaches a little.
    Every time someone hails Tzeentch, Ashu looks at Carimera.
    Finally, GM looks at Miyara and ask why she didn't let him know who we are.
    Miyara says it was something for him to discover.
    -- and have I discovered all there is to discover?
    -- only Txzeentch knows.
    -- let me formally welcome you to <town>: and ask you what you need of us?
    -- first we require the belongings we entrusted to your care.
    GM agrees.  He looks over at Pietra and tells her to take care of it.  She goes off.  At this point it occurs to us that includes the crystal they've been looking for.  Perhaps she will simply bring the sack.
    -- one thing we are here for is to study in your wonderful Library.
    -- really?  How did you learn of my library?
    -- Tz knows all.
    -- did he tell you about the library?
    -- doesn't he talk to you?
    he asks what else we need.
    -- after we have spent a short time in the library we will know what we need to do.
    he gives Miyara a funny look.

    Pietra returns with the sack and hands to the GM, who dumps it on the floor.  Several swords, a hammer, a few odds and ends, but the crystal is not there.
    We attuned to the crystal know it's where it was, in the cave that was the sleeping quarters of the men talking.
    The GM looks it over, but nothing seems to strike him as odd.  Everyone goes forward to claim their things.
    He says that he will show us the library in the morning, but in the meantime we are to move our residence to the finest quarters, in the Blessed Wheel.  Pietra will show us there.
    The GM walks away back behind the curtain.

    Pietra immediately takes up and away from the burned spot, to a high cavern at the opposite end from the filthy cave we were in.
    This is no different from the other sleeping quarters, with dirty peasants again, but more spiritually elevated peasants.  Living here is a great honor, Pietra explains.
    As Pietra takes us there, she points at about twenty people who are staying here, and each of them is reassigned to another place.  That reduces the number to about half.  The twenty grumble a little as they leave, but not a lot because there's a man with a flaming head.
    Pietra then leaves, without her characteristic fortune cookie.  Miyara, however, gives Pietra one herself.

    We make ourselves comfortable and make ourselves ready to cook up some fish.  The peasants are avoiding us -- the time for mixing is presumably over.
    Miyara says we can relax until he shows us the library or we can go ahead and collect the rock not.  She asks for opinions.
    I say I believe we should wait.
    Sun says, "All roads lead somewhere," in Nipponese.
    Hosei says we can risk waiting until tomorrow.
    Miyara nods and says we shall wait.

    Miyara now has four swords, and she has her statue back too.  We have everything except the sogin roku.
    We eat fish for dinner.
    The cultists avoid us.

    Night comes.  We keep watch, sitting and trying to look somewhat relaxed.
    I am on watch at 3 a.m., sitting at the edge of the cave looking out.  It's a pretty night.  I notice, coming down probably from the top of the cliff, are several beings, roughly humanoid, being quiet.  They are probably chaos warriors and well armored, and sound like it.  There are four of them.  I send my watch partner to wake the others quietly, while I continue to watch.
    They come down on the net, and just before they reach the top of the cave, they hesitate for maybe ten seconds, then continue on.  They come down to the level of the floor of the cave, clamber through the netting and enter the cave cautiously.
    We wait.
    All four come in, in full armor with faces closed, armed but sheated weapons.  They stand there, lined up in the cave, doing nothing.
    Then they prostrate themselves.
    I stand and bow to them, and sit back down.
    Miyara gives them a slight nod.  She lets them stay there for a minute or two, then tells them they may rise.
    They come up to their knees.  One of them speaks very slowly in a language none of us understand.
    Hosei casts his spell and gets the guy to repeat it, then tells us they wish to devote themselves to us.
    "Just the four of you?" asks Miyara.
    "So far."
    "You are welcome."
    They are speaking in common now, and the leader asks what she wants us to do now.
    "Lay down and rest for the night.  We need you to be ready for tomorrow."
    They thank her and head deeper into the cave.  They ask if she wants them to get rid of the people back there, but Miyara says they can stay.  The chaos warriors move some of them out of the way, and settle down for the night.

    Dawn comes.  Ashu's face still burns, and Hosei still drops fish.

    A little while after sunrise, the breakfast routine happens.  The difference now is the chaos warriors, who eat what fish we have left over after feeding ourselves.  They obviously would eat all the gruel, but Hosei, Rabena, and Baraku make sure the others are fed.

    Time passes.  Apparently we will be left alone until after the service.
    But the time of the service has come and gone, and no-one has gone to the service and no gong has announced it.
    Why would they need a service when the proof of Tzeentch is right here in this cave, I say to no-one in particular.

    It is approaching noon, and Miyara says it is time to go to him.  I suggest the Temple, and Miyara agrees.  She tells her chaos warriors to come with us.

    We enter the temple.  Laying across the altar is Pietra.  She appears to be alive.
    Miyara considers a moment, but does not chop Pietra's head off.
    Pietra is lying face up, not bound.  She is breathing and unhurt, but she has not reacted to our presence so far.
    Miyara walks right up to the altar and looks at her.
    Pito clearly thinks she might be sick, but it's obvious to anyone intelligent that she's doing it of her own free will.
    Pito and Rabena examine her anyway.  She is looking up, with a faraway look in her eyes.
    Miyara calls her name.  She does not react in any way.  Miyara wonders whether she should kill her or leave an enemy behind us.
    I say she has done us no harm.  But perhaps she wishes to be sacrificed, and we should sacrifice her?
    Miyara says we will continue on and steps towards the curtain.
    Pietra says no, he doesn't like that.  He doesn't let people into his room.  If he said he would come, he will.
    Miyara says that he said he would come in the morning, and it is no longer morning and he has not come.
    Ashu says it's past noon and there has been no prayer meeting.
    Pietra says that the GM is preparing.
    Ashu asks when she last saw him.
    She says last night, when we were here.
    Miyara says, "It is time to see him.  Let's go."
    I ask Miyara to let me go first in case there is a demon.
    "Certainly," she says.
    I step through the curtain.  It leads back to the room with the table where the others were first questioned, and there is another alcove beyond that.  I go on, while the others follow.
    Behind the second curtain is a very small alcove that consists only of a rope ladder going up.  It goes up a small tube.  Unlike the net outside, this is a well made, sturdy ladder.
    "Let's go," says Miyara.
    I nod and start to climb while Miyara follows.  We will go up by twos.
    The ladder goes up forty feet or so, and there is a trapdoor blocking the exit from the tube.  I tell Miyara.  She says to continue.  I keep climbing.
    It is indeed a trapdoor.  There is either a very heavy weight or bar holding it down.  We go back down.  I ask where Hosei was told by the little girl that the library was.  He says that she said that she had been to the GM's rooms, and among those rooms was the library.  Since there is no lock this side, the GM must have left it open when in the temple, and she could have sneaked past during a sacrifice.
    Miyara decides that we can simply break through.  Ashu has an axe and is a carpenter.  He can do that.
    Ashu hacks away a little and determines it is a wooden bar, hacks a little more and moves it out of the way.  He opens the trapdoor and sticks his head up.  In the light of his head, he looks around.

    The cave is oddly shaped, roughly 20 x 20 feet.  One "wall" is a curtain, and then around the rest of the room are racks.  The racks hold heads, hanging from their hair.  Occasionally a bald head is tied up with strings nailed to the head, but mostly the hair.
    Ashu clambers into the room and stutters that we should come up.
    I climb up next, with the others following two at a time.

    These heads would be the library.  We recognize none of them.  In one corner is a crate of junk.  I listen carefully.  I hear the sound of boiling coming from behind the curtain, but I hear nothing else.  This sounds like the room that I saw, and I tell Miyara so.
    There is room for more heads in the racks.  All of the heads have numbers, repeating for each rack.
    Miyara is surprised that the little girl's head is not up here.
    Most of the heads are human, but there are elves, halflings, dwarves, a goblin and an orc.   There are no signs of decay.
    They are all looking at us.  Now and then, one will moan.
    One of the heads, instead of a number, has the word "Index" written above it.