The statues that attacked still seemed to be solid stone, armed with solid stone battle-axes. And no weak spots. I suspected that ordinary weapons would shatter against them. Who mines stone with swords, after all? And they attacked Kyuskay first, who was unarmed. He would batter himself against his solid rocky opponents and do more damage to himself than to them. Five of them. With a sigh, I took out the Crystal of Air, which seemed glad to see me. Distastefully, I prepared to use it. Perhaps I could use the air elementals to pick up the living statues and shatter them against the walls and floor. It was the only thing I could think of, anyway.

I was reluctant to ask Goldrim to try the Stone of Stones. Although it would have been the perfect tool to use against stone creatures attacking us, I still think using these crystals only makes things worse. And then, these things are ultimately corrupting: I wish one upon no-one.

Of course, the crystals worm their way into everything. As I sat down in the far corner, I saw Goldrim take out the Stone of Stones and prepare likewise. The rest set themselves in their various ways to do battle, which I was sure would fail. Bark readied his staff in front of us in the back, and Sun and Carmella joined us there.

As the statues split and attacked, only Kyuskay actively attacked back. The rest fought a defensive holding action, probably waiting for us with crystals to make our moves. As I sank into the Crystal, I heard José begin to chant.

I conjured an air spirit first, having the most practice and success with them, and I sent it to attack one of the three statues arrayed against Kyuskay. I told it to pick up one of the statues and throw it against the wall. As it moved forwards, I asked the crystal for another such air spirit, and hoped I could control two at once. Actually, I hoped I could control more than that: I planned on conjuring at least three.

As the second air spirit formed in front of me, the air was all at once full of razor-sharp shards of stone, slicing us all to ribbons. Blood poured from two deep wounds, but I had no time for it: I couldn't lose control of two air spirits, adding their attacks to those of the five statues. I commanded the second one to also select one of the statues attacking Kyuskay and throw it against the wall.

I began to feel a little weak, and although I maintained my control over the first two spirits, I was not strong enough to conjure a third. The first one did indeed remove two of the three statues fighting Kyuskay and dashed them against the back wall. This was a working strategy: I could see the damage it did. I told the first one to do it again while the second was busy; the statue had somehow dodged its grasping winds.

As I tried again for a third spirit, the first one picked up a statue and again threw it against the wall, and the second one again failed to grab one at all. The third air spirit arrived, but the second one slipped from my control. The first one continued with its mission, and its chosen foe was badly damaged by this time. Although I could not regain control of the second one, it continued to try (and fail) to attack its statue. I almost immediately lost control of the third one, before I could even give it its instructions. However, Prestley's statue decided to attack the third air spirit instead, and it fought back, even without my direction.

Woozy by now, I kept control of the first spirit, and regained the second. The third was on its own, but it was fighting effectively on its own behalf and this aiding us anyway. Ashe had apparently decided to use the Zoggin Rock, as I saw three massive balls of fire fly out towards the statues from his position. One of them hit the statue that my first air spirit was damaging, and the other two hit the two that were together attacking the third one. This, too, had its damaging effects, as portions of the chipped statues melted and dripped.

Concentrating as hard as I could, I shut the rest of the room out. I regained control of all three air spirits, and had them press their attacks. Others were working as well, but I saw little of it for the next few seconds. There were blinding flashes, crumbling stone, and melting and even burning stone. I lost and regained spirits.

I realized that the statues were actually attacking themselves, under Goldrim's command. I told my air spirits to help them along instead of picking them up and throwing them. And so the remaining statues hurled themselves at one another, accelerated by the air spirits, and blasted by balls of fire from Ashe.

The world turned red, and then black, and I did not awaken for a long time.

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 ~