Dieter showed us all around, taking us wherever we wished to go. This place is truly ingenious, and it's no wonder they venerate Yazerin so deeply.

The building in the middle of the — I don't know whether to call this place a temple, a monastery, or a compound — is very interesting. It's two stories up and another story below ground. The ground floor houses the mill and the smithy. The second story houses the brewery, a woodshop, and a pottery. The basement is what used to be the workshop of Yazerin and was also the resting place for our chest. On the roof is a windmill, which powers the mill, the well, a lathe, and a few other things. The rope for the well runs continuously, though slowly, and it has buckets every few feet. The well is a very long way down: beneath the floor of the cavern through which we entered. Prestley later told us that there was a bunch of pipes underneath the smithy somewhere, and a short hallway.

The four towers are very similar: each is three stories. The bottom floor holds a lavatory, the second a huge cistern, and the top is covered by an open roof that funnels water into the cistern. The sides are open and it's used as a lookout post. Each has its own name, as they are not completely alike: Foul corner, rowdy corner, windy corner, and sleepy corner.

The open area in front of Yazerin's staute is called the Square of Joy. As the monks pass through, they take on an air of reverence, even when they don't stop.

The large hall is the dining hall, with six long tables in a rough U shape. The bottom of the U is on the opposite side from the entrance and is raised a bit. The hall itself is ornate and well-decorated. The walls are hung with exquisite tapestries. There are also carvings that Goldrim remarked are dwarven and large statues around the perimeter. A balcony overlooks the table, and Dieter said that's where the library is. We peeked in, but there was a class of some sort so we ducked out again quickly.

In front of the smithy is the Square of Anger, and guards were practicing there. Dieter said this is the only place where anger (and weapons-training) was allowed, and it must be left there.

Most of the rooms around the edges were sleeping quarters. He showed us the few that weren't. One had a shrine to Varina with a plain wooden altar at the west end. Prestley later told us that there was a place in the stone floor that was fake and under it was a sarcophagus. We jumped to the (true, we later discovered) conclusion that it was Yazerin's resting place.

José remarked that if he was now "officially" one of us, he would have to donate his share of any "worldy goods" to Varina, as he had taken a vow of poverty. Although he's certainly part of our group, as that damned prophecy made quite clear, I hope Varina isn't counting on him to fill her treasury, as we often have to sing for our supper, so to speak.

Up above the kitchen, next to the Roostmaster's rooms is also the Flagmaster's. On his roof are the flagpoles.

Between our rooms was a surprising stretch of blank wall: Prestley said it hid a door and the wineceller was between the rooms themselves. Across the alley was another hidden door into the dining hall.

Dieter said there was something he wanted to show us downstairs. We trudged down to the cavern, and he led us to the catacombs, which held two layers of crypts. In each, the walls were covered with square-foot plaques. The writing on them all was an unfamiliar script: none of us recognized it.

We spent little time there, as it was close to dinner. By the time we climbed all the way back up, monks and guards were streaming into the dinner hall. We had somewhere else to go, according to the prophecy. We stood in front of the statue and tried to figure out where his plumb bob would point.

The shadow of the plumb bob was close to the bottom of the wall of the dining hall. Prestley and José exclaimed at the same time: they saw one brick that appeared a bit loose. José carefully pulled it loose and assured the rather concerned-looking Dieter that he would just as carefully replace it shortly.

Sure enough, behind it was the second playing card. It showed an anvil with seven swords above it, pointing down. Around the edge were the words "Seek the source find the cause". José replaced the brick and we filed into the dining hall, last but not late.

Miara was escorted to the bottom of the table, where she sat on the dais with the Roostmaster, the Flagmaster, the Captain of the Guard (as we were told when we asked), and several of the senior monks. The rest of us were led to a group of seats on one of the sides, where we were able to both sit together and have monks and guards to speak with.

Dinner was simple, basic monastery fare: rice, some rather unremarkable vegetables, and if you asked for it, a few small pieces of indeterminate meat.

Over dinner, discussing the cards, we realized that the style of the cards was somewhat similar to tarot cards, and that we had the two of wands and the seven of swords.

Dinner was otherwise uneventful and ended about an hour later, around the ninth hour of the evening.

Miara informed the group that the warriors among us have the permission of both the Captain of the Guard and the Flagmaster to practice in the square of anger. On the way out, José held Prestley behind for a moment.

Dieter finally left us alone, as we headed for our rooms for the night. It was then that Prestley told us of the things he had seen behind walls and under floors. José remarked that the left statue of Varina in the dining hall was very strange: she was holding her sword up, rather than down. Apparently down is the customary direction.

As Miara, Carmella, and I prepared for bed, we couldn't help but notice a faint red glow from Carmella. I could only assume that the zoggin rock knows one of its siblings is nearby. Alas, the glow was very faint and not enough to chase away the demons I see the dark. I had to sleep by the light of a candle as always, which seems to annoy Miara, although she said nothing. I do wish that José could make his little magical coins glow for more than an hour. One would be enough, I think, and would also be less annoying to others. Not to mention less of a target when we sleep outside in the open.

The night passed very quietly, a blessing after the goings-on in Kreutzhofen. In the morning, it turned out, no one had been killed or hurt in any way, no crimes had been committed, and no one had mysteriously disappeared. What a lovely place.

Dieter knocked on our door in the morning to awaken us for breakfast. Morning being a loose term describing something after midnight but hours before dawn.

Breakfast was more rice and vegetables, although we were also offered fresh eggs, which were delicious.

Miara and her shadow decided to spend these early hours in the Square of Anger, and Goldrim and Ash joined them. I was torn: I had not been following the physical routines prescribed for Biancan monks in altogether too long a time, but some quiet time away from everyone else in meditation would also be pleasant.

Instead of either of those two options, I followed Dieter, José, and Prestley as they looked for the door in the floor of the mill. Carmella said she was going to stroll around the monastery. I wasn't fooled: I knew she was going to see if she could use her rock to find the other. But I thought she would come into little trouble here, so with only a slight pang of worry I left her alone.

We went into to the workshop of Yazarin and José asked Dieter what was behind the door? Dieter started to say that he didn't know, but Prestley had the door open before he could even finish. He was as surprised as we were: it really was a room full of pipes. Prestley and I eventually figured out what it must have been. After staring at the contraption, we realized it reminded us a bit of a calliope. Its form here could mean that was a pipe organ. I only knew of one other, and had certainly never seen it. I've heard that the great Temple of Varina in Couronne has one.

José and I spoke with Dieter about it, pointing at interesting pieces and trying to figure out how it worked. Behind us, Prestley looked around and found another hidden door, which he immediately opened, saying out loud, "Hey, there's another door here!"

We spun around, and Dieter was completely shocked, either by the door or our audacity in finding and opening it. I didn't think he knew it was there.

José made a coin glow and rolled it into the room, while Dieter was sputtering about haveing to get permission before entering. The coin rolled up against the door on the other side of the short hallway. Ignoring Dieter, we followed the coin. Dieter ran off in agitation, and we knew we had only a short time before he fetched someone to reprimand us. Prestley looked carefully behind everything, but saw nothing, either in the hall or in the room on the other side.

We didn't enter the room, but just looked in from the doorway. It held the sarcophagus, as I had figured, and we were beneath the shrine. This was the same type of finished room as they all are here, Dwarven workmanship, I'm sure. It was completely plain except for the sarcophagus. At the head was a stone statue of a hawk, which José said was magical in some way. At the foot was a chest, which Prestley said contained lots of gold and jewels.

We closed the door and returned to the organ room. There was a place to put water, but no stove to heat it up. As we heard Dieter and the Flagmaster climbing down the ladder, we were discussing what would power the pipes if not steam, and if steam then how would you make it?

Norbert looked frustrated and disgruntled. He seemed surprised by the organ room. The seat was dwarf-sized, and the pipes were metal: copper or brass, yet they were not corroded. José said the whole thing was magical in some way. So perhaps it really did need only water to make it work.

The Flagmaster said we should leave immediately, as it was for Yazerin. I asked him if he didn't think it would honor Yazerin to able to play this properly instead of just keeping it hidden from everyone. He allowed that was possible. He and José then got into a debate about the cost of knowledge, and the Flagmaster certainly out-debated him. I agree with the Roostmaster that there's always a cost to knowledge, but often the cost is outweighted by the gain. Dieter was silent, watching them argue in the traditional manner of followers of the Lady of Knowledge.

José did mention that we had found the place of Yazarin's tomb, which the Flagmaster of course already knew of. The debate had diffused his frustration, and he asked if we had the need to enter the tomb. José told him that we looked upon the tomb and then closed the door without entering. He said he would strongly prefer that we don't open doors without asking him first. He would grant us complete access, but we should ask first.

On out way back up, we asked him why Yazerin built this place, and he said no one knew. Before he came and built this place, there were only some wooden huts up here.

All at once, Prestly and I remembered why Yazerin's name was familiar: we had read it before. When we first entered the Yetsin Valley, we had found deep in the cave behind a strong ward a dead wizard. He had a note that indicated he was protecting something from the orcs. One sentence we remembered clearly was, "They must think the crystal of air is with us and not Yazerin." He had nothing with him. Obviously he had played a delaying game, keeping the orcs busy until he died so they wouldn't chase Yazerin and find the crystal he was carrying to safety. That had been about a hundred years ago, right about the time Yazerin appeared here and started building this place. Again I was angry at being nothing more than a pawn for higher powers than myself. Long before I was born, Yazerin built this place to hide and keep safe the crystal, building in these clues expressly for us, knowing we would be here. Not only in the abstract, but us in particular.

We all gathered back together again, as the others had finished their activity. We told them everything we had seen and what Prestley and I had remembered. We puzzled over the second clue. José and Prestley thought the well would be the place to look. It fit the "source", but I couldn't see how it fit the "cause". Surely the crystal of air was the cause. But Prestley said he could ride a bucket down into the well with a lantern to help him see. He started at the top so he wouldn't miss anything, and he figured he could just grab a bucket on the other side at the bottom before plunging into the water.

When he returned, he had indeed found the third clue in a small wooden box jammed behind brick below the floor of the cavern below. The third card was the King of cups. It pictured a small man in a bucket of water that looked a bit like Prestley, and the king next to him. Its suggestion was "Tallest and shortest provide the range." Our thoughts leapt instantly to the organ: play the lowest and highest note? Maybe play the entire range of notes? Or something completely unrelated to the organ?

As we were pulling him out, we heard some commotion from one of the towers. José called out, asking what they saw. An army was the answer. Miara asked how far away, and they said still a long, long way. The enemey Yazerin had mentioned were on their way. We trooped up to the nearest tower and looked down: orcs coming around a mountain, so we couldn't see them all. But there were hundreds at the least.

Ravenna, A Monk of the Biancan Order

Part the First:
Blood and Mud

Part the Second:
Murder and Mayhem

Part the Third:
Puzzles and Crystals

Part the Fourth:
Dwarves and Rocks

Part the Fifth:
Diplomacy and Daggers

Part the Sixth:
Crystal and Chaos

Part the Seventh:
Sheer Insanity

~ The End ~