Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (90)

   We are a few miles away from the bottom of the cliff.  We are in a valley in the mountains, with trees and shrubs growing around.  We should be well hidden from the Knights of the Cold Fire.  The river is a dry trickle.  There is a layer of snow on the ground, and a cold wind blows.  Off to the north and west of here, a line of thunderclouds have gathered, looking like a hurricane.  It is almost upon us.
    Miyara and Hosei say we must keep running.  East is away from here, and if we go south east along these mountains, Hosei says, we will come to the monastery where he was trained.  Hosei studies the map with Rabena.  He then says that would take months.  The discuss the Leather Hawk, and decide it has to be a dragon.
    Hosei asks Slurk where we would find dragons or someone who knows about them.,

    Pietra is in somewhat the same shape she was before, somewhat trance-like.  Rabena believed that the previous trance was calm acceptance of what fate or Tzeentch would bring here, while this one is more resigned than calm.  I tell her, while Sun translates, that I rescued her from the KotCF who were chasing us because they are destroying things of chaos and of Tzeentch, and I could not allow them to destroy her that way.
    Hosei asks her where dragons are, or who might know about them, but she says she does not know.
    I ask Sun to tell her that since I rescued her I will look after her safety, since I am responsible for her.  She should also learn Nipponese.
    I ask Hosei to teach Pietra Nipponese.  He says he doesn't know much himself, but he will teach her some.
    Miyara says quietly to me that that was well done.  I thank her.

    Following this valley would take us north, but that would take us towards the storm.  Miyara wants us to go east, out of the valley.  We start out in that direction.  It's an uphill walk, but not a climb as such.  It is a tiring hike, but we take frequent breaks so we stay fresh.

    It takes us four hours to climb to the top of the mountain, so we can start to descend to the east.  Baraku stays a few hundred yards behind us, looking for prey to hunt, but the area seems strangely -- unnaturally -- clear of animals.
    Rabena looks closely at the plants we pass, trying to identify something useful or unusual.  She also keeps an eye on our group to spot anyone who might need a rest.

    As we crest the saddle of the mountain and look down onto the next valley, it looks very green and fresh and happy.  There is still snow on the ground, but it's not depressing, it's pretty and fluffy and sparkly.  It boosts all our spirits.  There's a village down at the bottom, a couple of hours away.
    There is a large contraption in the air.  ((It looks like a cross between a dirigible, a boat, and an airplane.))  It's a boat with wings and a giant balloon above it.  The bladder is leathery, and the balloon looks like an egg.  It's descending towards the village.
    This must be the Leather Hawk of the East Egg.
    Hosei thinks we will not get a good reception because of the way we look.  Several of us look like beastmen, and many of us have glowing eyes.  Slurk is a beastman, and of course Baraku might be one too.
    Miyara, Pito, and Sun are the only ones who look reasonably normal.  They will go on down to the village, leaving the sogin roku with Hosei.
    We all go down about an hour into the valley, looking for somewhere to camp.  We will spend the night here, and the three will go down in the morning.  On the way we get glimpses of the machine landing at the village.
    Suddenly, Miyara says, "Oh dear.  This thing of theirs is obviously a great treasure, and we have nothing to negotiate with.  I have this precious statue but I cannot negotiate with it, as it is not mine."  Hosei says we could come up with something valuable, probably.
    We camp the night and eat fish.  It is still uncomfortable, but it is adequate.
    The chaos warriors are still completely in awe of us, staying silent and following orders.

    The next day is beautiful.  Miyara, Pito, and Sun go on their two-hour walk to the village while the rest of us stay here, some hunting.  I spend the time trying to help Pietra with Nipponese.

    ((The village is very small.  The building are quickly made, not intended to last for ages, but reasonably well constructed.  There are around ten buildings, covering everything that might be needed in a small village.  It is clean, and the people seem happy.  There are families, children playing, and so on.
    The machine is tied up to a huge roundish rock on the other side of the village.
    As soon as the arrivals are noticed, the people great them pleasantly.  They are all dwarves.  Soon a dwarf comes out of a building, walks right up to them with a smile, and reaches out to shake Miyara's hand.
    She looks for a moment, and remembers, and reaches out her hand.
    The dwarf says, "Welcome to East Egg."  It is named after the large rock.  His name is Grandon Airtalker.
    Miyara smiles and says the name is appropriate.
    He says the machine is the Leather Hawk, and is his life's work.  He asks if they want to see it, and if they are hungry or cold.
    She says they have eaten, but are cold, as they have been travelling a long time and their clothes are ragged.
    Coats are brought for them, and Grandon leads them to the Leather Hawk.  He explains he's been working on this project for 40 years, and many of his colleagues have been along for decades.
    Pito asks how high it can go, and Grandon replies that it should be able to go so high that the air becomes too thin to breathe.  He goes on to say that his intent was to build a ship that could carry heavy loads over large distances.
    Miyara and Pito keep asking questions, apparently amazed at this thing, to get as much information from him in addition to what he volunteers.
    Backers for the project in Altdorf are getting nervous about overruns and are threatening to cancel down.  An emissary is due in about a month and expects to see it working, which it doesn't really yet.  As long as it's not damaged, it should be fine in that time.  The major design problem is that the balloon slows it down, and is not needed for flight, but is needed to take off or land.  To go too fast would push the balloon into the engine, or the trail of sparks and dust, or tangle it in something.  But to fly without the balloon it must go fast, which it cannot do with the balloon which it needs to take off.
    He leads them right up the ladder, and the three follow without hesitation.  It looks like a barge with wings, an engine in the open at the back.  There is a wheelhouse towards the front.  It is the weirdest thing they have ever seen.  There are dwarves working on it.  The balloon is tied to the hull with ropes, and is over most of the length of the craft, except for the engine which hangs out the back.  He even shows them the controls in response to Miyara's enthusiastic questioning.  She still has no clear how to make it work, but it's clear that Grandon does.  Steering has a big wheel like a ship, but running the engine is a mystery.
    Pito tells him he could make money just giving people rides.
    Miyara asks him to explain the problem again, and he goes through the issue with the balloon.  He explains there's a special gas in there, a special concentration of cow dung.  They have a plant for making the gas in the village.
    Miyara asks for a ride.  Grandon says there are significant risks at the present, but he will be taking it out this evening for another test, and they can watch then.  But now it is time for lunch!
    He takes them back down and over to what is clearly his own house.  He introduces them to his wife and children.  The table is cramped with the three extra visitors, but they are squished in and fed the best meal they have had in a very long time.
    His wife asks them what brings them to East Egg.
    Miyara says they've been wandering for a long time, and saw the machine last night and followed it to hte village.  They don't know quite where they are at the moment.  Grandon's wife says he should take them back to civilization.
    Grandon is distracted with his food and notebooks, but says he should, yes.  When Pito asks him and his wife gets his attention, he says he can see for miles.
    Pito says this side of the mountains is much better than the other side where they came from.
    Grandon says he's seen the storm and it will be here in a couple of days, and the village will need to prepare.
    Pito says we came over the mountain faster than we should have because of the terrible storm approaching.
    The meal is raucous with the children and the chatter, but everyone is polite and very friendly.
    Miyara is picking at the food, of course, and G's wife asks her about it.  M says she cannot eat meat, and G's wife comes up with some alternatives.
    Pito wonders if a machine like that could be used to disperse storms.
    That gets G's attention, and he goes off into gobbledigook about the possibilities.  He's not sure the engine could be build powerful enough to affect the storm.
    Miyara asks how many people it takes to run it.  G says that for a fully safe crew it takes ten engineers.  Miyara follows up with what would be the minimum, and he says one or two if you were completely desperate.  He goes back to his calculations figuring how to move the while back to the engine so it could be done by one person.
    After lunch, G's wife suggests it is a good time to set up somewhere to stay for the night.  She sets them up in a house with fresh linens, makes sure there's food while assuring them that they're welcome at her table, and asks if there's anything they might need.  She says she'll send her daughter along later with some more clothes.
    Miyara thanks her gratefully.  She asks if her husband ever takes any of the villagers up in it, and the dwarf lady replies that only engineers go up because it's too dangerous.
    Pito asks if there's anything they can do to repay her hospitality, but she brushes it off as a mere trifle.
    Miyara asks about a bath, and G's wife says she'll send her son and daughter along with a tub and water.
    When the tub arrives, the son then brings a big pot to hang on the fireplace, and the son and daughter melt snow in it to hot water for the bath.  There are fluffy towels, and some sort of dwarf soap.
    When they are alone again, they discuss how they could convince the dwarves to take them on this mission.  They need Grandon to run it at least, plus engineers.  They must convince him.  Miyara says they could perhaps simply tell him the truth.))

    Hunting is not good.  There are no animals to be found, but Baraku sees signs that there are animals around but they are staying away from us.
    Rabena looks around for anything vaguely edible to supplement the taste and nutritional value of the fish, and is quite successful at it.
    Hosei cooks for us, and does well.  Compared with what we've been eating, it's a great feast.
    Baraku moves in stealthily to observe the village in mid-late afternoon, after he's given up on hunting.
    Over lunch I point out that the Knights of the Cold Fire will be here eventually, and we'll have to move fairly quickly.

    ((Miyara leads the three of them to seek out Grandon.  He's on the ground, yelling up directions at the crew on the ship.  It's clear he's preparing to launch a test run right now.  He climbs up the rope ladder to the Leatherhawk.  (There are two ladders -- one up the rock, and the other from the machine, lowered to the top of the rock.)
    Miyara decides it's best not to antagonize him by trying to get on board.  They watch from the ground.
    It looks like a gentle cruise.  After about 20 minutes they go out of sight to the east.
    An hour later it comes back in sight, and lands an hour later.  They first do a pass near the village in a speed run to see how it goes, but the balloon shifts back as expected.
    After landing, they break it down and tie it away carefully as the storm will be here tomorrow.  The whole village helps, and our three are put to work too.  It's stored in a large hangar.  The whole process takes another hour, which takes them to dinner time.
    The three are invited to another excellent meal at Grandon's.  G's wife has produced vegetable stew for Miyara, who is very grateful.
    Miyara asks about the flight.
    G says it went well, and goes off into technical talk.
    Pito asks about the storm, and G says it will be here tomorrow or the next day, P says we are really concerned about the storm.  G says not to worry, the village will be safe.  P asks M if she wants to tell him more about the storm, and she asks for a private conversation after dinner.
    After dinner, G suggest the hangar for more privacy, and they all go there for their private conversation.))

    Baraku has come back and reported that the village was friendly dwarves, and they gave Miyrara and the others food and clothes.

    ((G works on the machine for a while, and then remembers Miyara wanted to talk about something.  While listening, he continues with his work, making sure the machine is secure.
    M asks him if he's ever heard of the dwarven crystals of power.
    G says he hasn't, and asks what they are.
    M tells the story.  She does not tell it well, but Pito helps it along.  She emphasizes the brilliant dwarves making this wonderful thing and what they intended.  She tells how chaos interfered and they ended up as a power of Tzeentch.  They have been lost for thousands of years, resurfaced, and been brought together.  It has caused this storm, a chaos storm, that is growing and will sweep over the whole world.  They must be destroyed, and the only way is to take them up into the storm and throw them into the eye.
    G asks some probing technical questions about the stones and how they were made, but M can't answer any of them.  He takes some notes, and says it might be useful to use similar powers for flight.  He seems far less interested in the rest of it, and just listens politely while he works on his engine.
    When it is clear that G's attention is wandering, M looks at P and asks for ideas.  P suggests bringing in more of the party, and even giving a demonstration of the crystal's power.
    As M stops talking, G starts up about the engine and details of what he's working on.
    M thanks him for listening, and says they are tired and would like to retire for the evening.  They return to their lodgings.
    Back there, she says that P has a good idea to bring the rest of hte party in.  Another way is to use the power of the air to augment his ship, and can only do so when they are on board.  She goes to the edge of the village where they came in, and calls the crystal.))

    The crystal starts to move, as Hosei tells us.  We jump up and head down the mountain towards the village.
    We approach the village and are greeted by Miyara, who tells us what happened and her thoughts on what we should do next.
    A short while after that, G's wife comes over and welcomes us.  She asks M if she has companions, and M says she has, and now they have arrived.  G'sw is at first concerned where we would stay, and M says there is plenty of room in the house.
    Then she sees Slurk and freaks out, screaming "Beastman!" and backing away.  People start running out to see what's going on.
    Slurk speaks up, and starts yelling how he used to be a devotee of chaos, but has been following these warriors for several months and has learned their ways, and now devotes his life to Law and will die for it.  He is muffling the vulture head which seems to be trying to say the opposite, while he drops to his knees and pleads with Gsw.
    The other dwarves have gathered.  Hosei speaks out and says that he is a priest of Verena, and we are on a quest for knowledge.
    G addresses M, asks if we are with her and OK, and when M says we are, and G accepts that and tells everyone else to disperse.  I of course don't understand a word, and no-one translates for me.
    G turns back to M and asks her to put her guests up in the house she's staying in, and asks if we're hungry.  He suggests we all move out of the night air, and we move back into the village where he says he'll bring her some stew in a while.
    Gsw seems to still have some concerns, but G has everything under control.
    We enter the house.  It is warm and dry and smells fresh.  There is a bath tub, and a pot to melt snow into warm water.
    About half an hour later, G comes over with a huge pot of hot stew.
    Hosei says that we've been discussing the knowledge they've been trying to pass on, and the importance of the mission.  The storm coming will not be ok for hte village, but is a chaos storm.  We need G's help to save the world, and his name will go down in history.  We need his help and the leatherhawk to ride into the storm and throw the crystals in.
    G balks at this.
    H says there's a prophecy that the leatherhawk will do this.  And if the survival is important, G should help us.
    G says after the test flight in a month, it should be ok.
    H tells him it will be much sooner.  The world will be destroyed by then.
    G says they'll need to get more timber and brace the hangar.  Perhaps we could help?
    H says that would be possible.
    G walks out the door, wondering aloud if he should cut trees tonight.

    H wonders if he should go over and return the pot to his wife this evening, and talk to her at the same time.  She can relate more to the world being destroyed.  G will probably be off strengthening the hangar.  Miyara agrees.

    After we eat, and give time for G to get involved in something, H leaves to take the pot back to Gsw.  There is a keg of ale here, and H uses that to cast his spell, Zone of Friendliness, before going to talk to Gsw.

    ((Hosei goes to G's house.  A young bow opens the door.  H asks him to take the pot back, and to have a word with the lady of the house.  The boy goes off and closes the door.
    A minute later, Gsw opens the door.  Hosei introduces himself as a priest of Verena.  He explains that he tried to pass on some knowledge of their problem to G, but he was rather focussed, and asks for Gsw's help.  He wants to tell her the story.
    She thinks it's too late tonight, and can it wait until tomorrow?
    H says it can wait until morning to tell her of the storm of chaos.))

    Hosei comes back, and keeps a poured pot of ale handy at all times to be able to cast his spell if anyone comes by.

    We sleep, but set up watches anyway.