It was a very long night. The orcs didn't attack us, preferring to wait until dawn. We prepared the best we could. Some people were placed downstairs to guard the gate, and the rest of us remained upstairs.

A feeling of doom had come upon me. I was certain that this crystal, which my own sister had forced me to take, would be important in the defense of ourselves and Eyrie. So I sat down to ready myself for several distasteful things. I would have to learn to use this cursed rock, and hope I could fight its lures. Power corrupts, always, no matter if you start with good intentions. Also, I might be breaking my order's precepts in using this object to cause harm to others. Finally, I would have to fight, which I try to avoid unless absolutely necessary. I am a physician. But, we are very few, and the army is very large: it is necessary for us all to fight in any way we can to save ourselves and the peaceful monks of Eyrie.

I remembered that Carmella had learned the most in simple meditation, in a sort of communion with the rock. So that is what I did. I found an empty place in the courtyard and sat and meditated upon the thing. It was depressingly easy to make contact with the presence within the rock. It seemed as though it would teach me to do things it knows how to do, rather than the rock performing magic through me. I'm sure it knows just what to tell me to make me willing to use it, but for now I will take that as the truth. If I survive this battle, I will revisit things later.

I now have a very clear, deep understanding of this thing: it is the Crystal of Air, the very embodiment of the element of Air. It is indeed a powerful thing. As long as I merely hold the Crystal, it will protect me from the effects of the element of air, and even earth elementals will not come near me. Although both crystals are glowing brightly now, they will become accustomed to being near each other and the light will dim after a while. I continued communing with the Crystal, to learn what I can do against others with its powers.

The Crystal is completely alien in some way, and it took me an hour to simply get the hang of connecting with it. After a while, I learned more inherent properties that affect me, but nothing I could use against orcs. While I hold it, I can breathe anywhere, even in places with no air, like under water. I also inadvertantly discovered that I can fly, although it came as a surprise to me, and I dashed myself into the wall. An interesting thing is that I don't get tired using the Crystal's powers, as José does when he works his magic. Carmella told me that by this time, my eyes were glowing whitely, as hers glow redly when she uses the Crystal. Disquieting, but I expected it. Miara came to us and suggested that we move ourselves into the murder room, as both a protected, safer place as well as a place that would grant us both the opportunity to work against the orcs who will come against the gate.

Although it was late at night, I decided learning to use the Crystal was more important than sleep: I can sleep when and if we defeat the army. Nothing else matters until then. I learned to produce a light wind that I could move light-weight objects with. In experimenting with it, I accidentally produced a quite strong gust and knocked Carmella to the floor. My next attempt was disastrous, rather like Carmella's propensity to produce fireballs when she wishes faerie fire once in a while.

A full tornado appeared in the room. It was a curious feeling to stand in the middle of it, unaffected in any way, while it wreaked havoc all around me. While not a strand of my hair moved in the powerful winds, four of the six barrels of oil were picked up and smashed to pieces, and Carmella was also flung through the air and against the walls and the floor. I was unable to control it in any way, but it only lasted a few minutes, thankfully.

I was horrifed at having caused harm to my sister, although a small and completely reprehensible piece of me thought perhaps it served her right after having set me on fire several times. I took the time to heal her, of course, and she was not badly injured.

However, that tornado could come in quite handy, so I decided to try it out from one of the towers. I told the guard to stand aside a bit, and Carmella too, as she insisted on accompanying me. I knew I would be immune from whatever I might conjure up, but I didn't want to blow either of them off the tower.

I didn't figure out how to produce a torndao on purpose, but I did create that strong gust of wind again, and it blew down the ladder and across the courtyard, blowing objects and people nearby around, but not doing any damage this time. The guard was impressed, but I thought it could have been more useful if I'd conjured it down where the army was, rather than up here.

Since I had recently learned quite a few things, but my control had deteriorated, I decided perhaps some rest was in order after all. Although using the Crystal itself did not tire me out, it was the middle of the night and I was just plain tired. Carmella and I returned to the murder room, to be ready just in case, and napped until breakfast. At breakfast, José asked if I would loan him my book of symbols. Since I would not have time to study it, I agreed.

As the sky began lightening, the gutteral cries of the orcs floated up to us, and the guards at the gate yelled up that it was about to start. Carmella, Prestley, José, and I readied ourselves in the murder room for the coming battle.

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 ~