Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (91)

    The night passes uneventfully.

    Early, but not very early, the community begins to wake.  Soon after that, Grandon's wife comes over with a daughter and son bringing food.  There is lots of it, and it tastes good.
    Miyara is in pain in the corner, as is Pito.
    Gsw is clearly cautious of me and perhaps a little frightened.  I bow politely, of course.
    After the food is laid out, the children leave and Hosei approaches her.  He begins talking to her.  She listens intently to what Hosei says about hte Chaos Storm.  She seems ot understand, but doesn't react much.  She asks H some questions about what he needs Grandon to do.  H says they need to borrow the Leatherhawk and G and perhaps some others to help fly it.  She explains that's G's decision, but she understands that H wants her to talk to G to impress on him the danger of hte situation.  She says she will do that, but it does not sound like she's in any hurry or has any sense of urgency.
    We asks if there's anything we can do to help her convince him, but she declines.  She acknowledges that G can have his head in the clouds and sometimes misses the trees for the forest.
    We offer to help with the village, reinforce for the storm and so on, and she says she'll pass it on.

    Breakfast passes uneventfully.  I make sure that Pietra is looking after herself, eating properly, and so on, and she seems to be doing fine.  She is clearly not her old self, but she is doing ok.
    The chaos warriors are having a hard time.  This is not what they are used to.  They are sitting very still and doing only what they are told, including to eat breakfast.  Sun brings them breakfast.
    Slurk's two heads are having difficulties.  The finch head is just fine, like Pietra, but the vulture head is more like the chaos warriors except he knows what's going on and doesn't like it at all.  The two heads argue frequently.  Physically the finch is in charge, but emotionally the vulture is.  The finch has taken to strangling the vulture whenever necessary, which quietens it down.

    After breakfast, an hour or so later, G comes back with the son and daughter who collect up the pots and leave.  G waits for them to go, then sits down to a quiet private talk with Hosei.  Whatever he is saying seems very to the point and earnest.  Hosei asks a question and gets a short specific answer, and then the conversation is over and G leaves.
    Hosei turns to talk with us, and tells us that G didn't say anything about lending the leatherhawk, but would very much like it if H and the human members -- not visibly tainted -- would come on a test run of the leatherhawk this morning, right now.
    Hosei must go, of course, as will Miyara and Rabena, Carimera, and Sun.  I could fly alongside, but Miyara dismisses that with conviction.

    Despite her stabbing headache, Miyara makes it up the rope.  Everyone else manages with difficulty.  I watch the Leatherhawk take off in the same way it did last time, and leave on the flight.

    ((Once they're moving, G comes over to them.  His aim is clearly to show off the ship, how wonderful it is, how much work went into it, and so on.  He goes into great detail about how the gas lifts the ship up, about how the wings do actually cause it to fly without flapping them, provided the engine runs above a certain speed.  He shows how the engine works, both the engineering issues and the more practical issues of what each lever does.
    He explains it well, although the engineering is beyond the barbarians of course.
    G shows the wheelhouse, and then the rest of the ship which is pretty basic.
    By the time that is all done, three hours have gone by.  Miyara feels much better.
    The machine returns to East Egg.
    As the crew are tying it up, G explains that his wife came to him and told him about the storm, and that we believe the only way to stop it is to use this ship.  He says he is very sorry, but he cannot throw away the life's work of all these people to risk it in any way at all.  He feels bad that the Empire will be destroyed, but it's always muddled through in the past and will muddle through again.
    There were about ten dwarves on the ship to help run it.  Some have left now, but one or two are still around.  Most of those ten were not needed, apparently.  One person on the engine adjusted the speed, the person on the wheel was there and alert but didn't have to do much.  The other guys only helped at takeoff and landing, when they worked the ropes.
    Two dwarves are still messing around with the engine.  The one in the wheelhouse is still there.  All the others have already disembarked or are on their way to getting off.
    Four ropes hold the machine down, one at each corner.
    No-one is paying much attention to the guests.  Quietly Miyara tells them to stay on the ship for a few minutes, wandering around as if interested in things.  Sun goes to the engine, which seems to really fascinate him.
    Five minutes go by, and the one in the wheelhouse climbs out and leaves, smiling at the guests and asking them if they liked the trip.  Miyara says it was amazing.  He leaves the ship.
    The last two at the engine get up about five minutes later, walking across the ship in deep technical discussion.  Right before they leave, they look at Miyara and tell her that the ropes are secure, but if she prefers they can stay on the ship.
    She thanks them, but declines as they seem to be busy.
    The dwarves leave, deep in discussion again, and leave the ship.

    Our group is left alone on board.  Miyara gathers everyone and asks if they were paying attention and can fly this thing.  Sun thinks he can run the engines, as long as nothing goes wrong.  The wheel seems simple enough.  No-one is sure how they made it go down, but that can be handled later.
    Miyara gives the word.  Sun starts the engines while Hosei takes the wheel, and Miyara cuts the ropes.  It lurches into the air as she runs around cutting them.))

    We have been watching, wait for the return.  As soon as it starts up and Miyara starts cutting ropes, I make a dash for it to join them.  Ashu starts loosening the ropes from ground level to help out, as it's clear to him what will happen when Miyara cuts them.  He shouts something at me as I take off to try to reach the deck.
    I land on the deck as Ashu climbs over the side and onto the ship as it shoots into the air.
    The dwarves come out of the village yelling, at first thinking it was an accident but quickly realizing it was not as the engine speeds up.

    The Leatherhawk moves a little forward.  Sun feeds in more power and the machine gathers speed.  Hosei tries out the steering and can steer, as well as figuring out how to go up and down, by moving the post on which the wheel is mounted.
    I go to the wheelhouse to learn how to do it from Hosei.  Rabena learns the engine from Sun.
    Miyara would very much like to return the ship to them when we are done.  It was not polite to steal it.

    As soon as we clear the top of the mountains, the approaching storm comes right into view.  Hosei steers us to where we think the hole is.  The wind increases, rattling the balloon and ropes, making it vibrate with ominous humming.  If it isn't calmed down, it will shake itslef free.
    I say we need to head for the hole as fast as possible to get past the demon, and suggest cutting the balloon free.
    We are still going slowly.  Miyara says we need to steady the ropes for the time.  We do that until we go faster, Carimera and Rabena sharing a rope while Miyara, Ashu, and I take one each.
    Carimera and Rabena's rope jerks out of their hands and start whipping around in the wind.  Ashu calls them over to grab his rope, while he runs over to stabilize the other one.  He succeeds.
    Slurk is climbing up the outside of the ship, climbing over the gunwhale and onto the deck.
    I tell him to take Carimera and Rabena's rope, pointing at it.  He goes over and takes the rope, clearly very strong and able to handle it with ease.
    We are getting steadily deeper into the cloud bank.  I call Carimera and Rabena to be ready to take over my rope if we see the demon.  I intend to distract the demon long enough to let the others past it.
    Miyara calls back to Sun to speed up.  He increases speed.
    The balloons slowly start to drag back towards the rear.  When it gets close, we know we will be fast enough to release them.  They are tied to be easy to release.
    We hear a high pitched screaming and screeching.  It's the demon, and I see it.  I signal to the two women to take my rope, and I take off and head for the demon.
    It's just the disc, the skyshark.  I warn Miyara to watch for the other, and head straight for it.  I keep an eye for the other one as well, hoping it was not able to fly by itself.

    I strike at it to get its attention, but it dodges.  It strikes, I dodge.  I land a heavy blow and dodge its return strike.  Instead of turning to attack again now, it heads straight for the ship.  I chase it and have to use the power of the sogin roku to catch up, but it dodges my blow.  It veers upwards over the ship with me on its tail.
    Below me, the balloon is released.  It smacks into the disc which slices the bag open, and it bursts into flame.  The demon burned spectacularly for a moment, then disappeared in a puff of smoke.  The remains of the balloon fall below as I rush to catch up to the ship.  Fire splashes across the back of the ship.  Slurk screams in pain and the ship is scorched, but nothing catches fire.
    The ship begins to dive.  Sun cranks up the motor and speeds up the ship as it starts to even out.  Hosei finds he can make the ship climb and dive much more easily.  Rabena treats Slurk's injuries, although he looks at her a little fearfully as she approaches.  The healing dispels that fear quickly.
    Suddenly Slurk's two heads start screaming at each other.  This time the fight is at top volume, with the vulture grabbing the finch head with its beak.  He falls to the deck, fighting with himself, screaming and yelling.  Soon the finch manages to get a hand free, pulls a knife, and cuts off the vulture head.  The head flops around, cursing everyone and saying Tzeentch wil triumph and we will all die.
    Miyara kicks it off the side.
    Slurk lies with a big gash in his chest.  Rabena rushes over to heal him.  Slurk says he did it for all of us, he doesn't serve Tzeentch but he does follow us.  He passes out while Rabena does her work.  She sits and rests for a while after healing him.

    I see this as I approach and sweep forwards over the ship.

    I hear, off in the distance, a sound I have never heard before.  Into view comes a swarm of <gyrocopters just slightly large enough to hold a dwarf>, with a blade swinging just above their heads.  They are still fairly distant, about 300 yards away.  They are about 50 feet apart, maybe less, and there are probably 15 or so of them.  They are coming from the northwest, not directly from the hole but the opposite direction from East Egg.