PP and R try to preach the word of cleanliness and health. After all, death may be desired, but disease comes from Nergel. They are unimpressed. The great change comes when Tzeentch wills it, and if he wills death at Nergel's hand, so be it. But they don't think it is. If he thought he was dying of a disease, he would throw himself off the cliff, or attack a warrior of Nergel. MM considers her weapons, and decides a stone elemental, should it find her swords, would be able to bring them to her. While mingling with the filthy, disgusting peasants, she asks what sort of honor accrues to the family of the young girl who was chosen as a noble sacrifice to Tzeentch. Their is no family here, to her disgust and horror. THere is individuals and community. MM rallies, so you are all a family. Yeah, sure, in that sense, we are. ("What does accrue mean?") [shudder] As we mingle, into the cave steps a short but large (in teh slab of beef sense, not fat) man. Well armored and armed. MM feels entirely naked. Whole cave quiets and all look at him. People clear out of his way. He sees MK (the winged beastman) laying unconscious. Ashe is also mingling, albeit silently. Ashe is far in, MM middling. Armed dude yells out haughtily and angrily, Where Is Ashe?!? And he looks around. Ashe turns around and wings an axe at the dude's face. He splits it down the middle, and the guy falls back, dead. The whole cave gasps. Ashe chops the dude's head off. MM is impressed. MM goes up to Ashe, nodes a bow, and says well done. She turns to look at the dude. Looks like really nice plate mail, but Hosei says it's magic; it's not good mail, and is evil. He has a great sword and a war hammer. MM asks Jose about the sword, and it's carved with evil symbols, but it's not magical. MM wonders aloud what they might accomplish by storming the library. We keep the sword, hammer, and his dagger, and shove the rest over the cliff. Sun suggests it would be easy enough to get to the library, but coming back out again is another story. There is the demon issue as well. Ashe and MM are ready to move, and so is WD. Hosei still wants to play the diplomacy angle a little longer, although the death might make it harder. Or maybe not. Ashe cleans his axe. MM decides to wait and see what comes of this. MM and Ashe and R see 3 snakemen slip off the net and come fast and quiet, straight at Ashe. R mves to MK to heal him. MM stands there with the greatsword. ## MM hits one, Ashe draws. R reaches MK. ## Ashe hits. MM gets dodged. R heals MK full up and is now at 7 FP (of 14). It will take MK 2 rounds to ready himself. Ashe fails his dodge. MM fails and takes 7 points (7/14). She misses even her crappy leather armor. ## Ashe hits. #1 falls down. MM crits and does 18hp. R looks for PP, who is right there. We will stick together until we are needed. MK is awake and sitting down. ## they run away, and we hit as they leave, but they dodge us both, Ashe and I chase after them, but they jump up the net and they're a lot faster. We can't follow them. Ashe considers throwing an axe, but decides to flame them inside. They both burst into flame, burn with a high heat. The net burns and they fall like flaming meteors. Parts of the net burn out, but not the entire thing. MM is satisfied. She prefers action. THe cave behind us is quiet. R sits down and rests. She will recover in 14 minutes. Everyone stares at Ashe. He's got little flames all around his head and shoulders. He is hot. He burns for a while. Slurk reacts with less fear, but some amount of awe. MM cuts his head off. He's also carrying a broadsword. MM keeps it and throws the body off the cliff. We hear a gong from another cave. She can't tell where the single bong came from. She says I expect it's for us. MK asks if I'd like him to fly out and scout aroun, and she says yes. He does so. The net is still in front of our cave. MK sees: A bunch or a few people are looking out of most caves, looking down where the flaming bodies went. Now they look at MK, too. There's a band of 10-ish warriors in plate mail (les ornate than the dude Ashe killed) at the top of the cliff, directly above our cave (which is well down from the top). He doesn't see anyone he recognizes (except of us course). The warriors appears to be equally surprised by the screaming falling burning bodies as everyone else. HE circles around, keeping an eye on things. As he gets closer to the warriors, one yells up Oy! what;s going on? MK waves. The warrior mutters stupid beastman. A second gong, and MM stick her head out the cave. She determines it's from the GM's cave, where MK met the demon. She informs the other. MK sees Peytra come out of one of the upper caves and head over to the temple cave. MK swoops down and tells us. I share my knowledge of the gong. It was a different tone than the first one. 4-5 minutes later, Peytra emerges from the temple cave and head to the sleeping quarters with the wodden baricade (and where we heard the snakemen voices). She carries nothing. Another 1-2 minutes, then she goes to where the net is missing, gerts stuck, and goes to the top. She talks to the warriors. MK an tell she asks a question, and the anwer is not a simple one. There seems to be a diference of opinion. One point sover the edge of the cliff. Just down, and towards our cave of course. MK reports, then returns to his flight. He sees Paytra going down the other side of the burnt net towards our cave. MK returns, tells us and stays. She gets there, looks around, looks serious. MM is there to meet her. She ignores MK. She asks what happened to Loric? Who? THe one in plate. How? Tzeentch took him. How? His face split in two. And the snakemen (she names them). Tzeentch took them, too. And when they flamed, Ashe's head started, too. It is a sign, MM says. Peytra says yes, we must speak to the GM. MM says we are all ready to see GM. She beckons us to follow. I murmur a quick explanation to MK, and we all go. We are staying to gether. Ashe needs to try not to burn th e net as we climb up it. Sun is ready to carry the extra sword. MM arms herself with both sword for now, for principle's sake. Should battle commence, she will hand the extra one to Sun to hold for her (and to keep from the enemies). MK flies up. We all climb carefully. R healed MM and Ashe, and had recovered fully before, so she is now at -4 FP. She takes us to the temple (MM is a little disapointed, but we can still get there form here.) Everytime some one praises Tzeentch, Ashe looks at Carmella. Ashe's flames are still ther, but they are now cool and he lights nothing on fire. We go to the alter and tells us to wait here. She goes through the curtains. Mario Malusalbus himself appears. He seems less impressive, but no less crazy. He's calm and unshakable in his convictions. He's certain the cultists benefit from his treatment of them. He waits for the banishment of the old corrupt world. He speaks at us for a while. He welcomes us. Good to meet us. ALl hail Tzeentch. He preaches a little but not much. Mostly he talks, small talk. But he's crazy, and sure he's participating in the world. MM thinks, yes we;ll end your world for you. He asks MM why we didn't tell us who e were. It was for him to discover. Is that all> Onlyt TZ knows. Let me formally welcome you to this place. What do you need of us? First we require our belongings that we entrusted to our care. OK. He looks to Peytra and says to take care of it. He returns his attention to us. One thing we are here for is to study in your wonderful library. You know of that? TZ knows all. He told you> Doesn;t he speak to you? Yes. WHat else do you need? I think that once we have spent some time in your library, we will know what we need to do. He gives me a funny look. Paytra brings the sack and gives it to Malusalbus, who dumps it on the floor. We see all our stuff, which isn't really very much. Weapons and odds and ends. We've lost most of our crap. THe crystal is not here, but MM knows where it is, and it is where it was. It's still in the cave behind the voices we heard. He looks it over, and he lets us claim our things. He will show us his library tomorrow. In the meantime, please move your residence to our finest quarters, in the Blessed Wheel. He asks Peytra to show us there. He walks away. We follow Paytra up to (and around burned spot) to the other side of the cliff face and high up. This cave still really isn't much different, save this is where the creme of he crop live. Paytra explains to us that this is a great honor. MM Thanks her. She points at 20 or the 40 people here and tells them to go elsewhere. They grumble, but not much. Ashe's head is still flaming. The ones that stayed look a little unsure whether they got the good end of the bargain or the bad. She leaves, without even a fortune cookie statement. She's a little off her game. MM comes up with an off-the-cuff inscrutable poem, which translates all right (9/12). The cultists avoid us. MM asks opinions: wait until tomorrow and library, or get the rock now? MK opines we should wait. Sun says all roads lead somewhere. (We think) Hosei says we have the time to wait until tomorrow, so why ont? a few hours will make little difference. MM decides we shall wait. MM now has few clothes, no armor, but she does have 4 swords, a dagger, and her precious statue. She gives the two barbarian swords to Sun to take care of for her. We eat fish for dinner. Again. Mealtime is pretty much the same here. Just fewer people. Hosei helps those who need. R helps, Sun helps, Bar helps. But they don't want food from us. Night time comes quietly tonight. We set the usual watches. 4 watches of one warrior and one non warrior. At around 3am, MK is on watch, sitting at the edge of the cave looking out. It's a pretty night. (the 2 nipponese enjoyed looking out). Coming down from the top of the cliff are several humanoid beings, pretty quietly. MK believes they are the chaos warriors. There's 4 of them. He tells his partner to wake the others quietly while MK continues watching. THey get to just above our cave. They hesitate for maybe 10 seconds, then continue on to the floor level. They enter through the netting cautiously. MM is behind MK. They do nothing, so she waits. They come in, all in full armor with faceplates closed. The weapons are sheathed. They stand before us in a line. We wait. They bow down before us, prostrating themselves, their faces to the floor. MK stands, bws, sits. MM nods slightly. THey stare at the ground. She lets them sit there for a minute or two, then she says they may rise. They come up to their knees. One speaks slowly, and none of us understand him. Hosei had taken the snakeman's tongue, so he takes a minute to cast his spel. Then he asks the guy to repeat. He said they wish to devote themselves to us. Just the 4? So far/ MM says welcome. The speaker says in common now. He asks what we need them to do? I tell them to lay down and rest, so they will be ready for tomorrow. Would you like us to get rid of these (the 20 people). No, they can stay. The warriors make them move out of the way and they settled down. Nothing else happens. Dawn arrives. Ashe still flames. Hosei still creates random fish. We still have 4 chaos warriors following us. MK's wings are still with him. The Sun rises, the breakfast routine happens, we have plenty of raw fish. The warriors are willing to share our fish, if we offer. We share some fish with them. Hosei, R, and Bark make sure they share the mush with the cultists. MK and MM couldn't care less about them, of course. Nasty stupid barbarian eta. We wait. He doesn't come to fetch us, and we think the time for the service has come and gone. Nobody has gone, and the gong hasn't sounded. MM knows the rock has not moved. It is noon: he promised to get us in the morning. It is no longer morning, so it is time to go to him. MM decides we start at the temple, and she tells her new chaos warriors to follow us. We reach the temple. Laying across the alter is Peytra. She's alive. MM considers for a moment, but does not chop her head. She is not bound. She lies there face up. She is breathing and appears uninjured. She does not react to our presence. MM walks up to the alter and looks at her. R and PP follow to check her out. Alive, breathing, normal pulse. She is looking up, a far away look in her eyes. MM says "Peytra". She does not react. MM says let's go on. Peytra says no, he doesn't that. What? People coming to his room. He will come, he didn't, he wil, he promised morning and he didn't, and she has no answer. That does not compute. PP asks why there has been no servce. She says the GM is preparing. When did you last see him? last night, when you were here. MM says it's time to see him, let's go. MM steps forward, and MK touches her arm and ask to be first, in case there's a demon. She considers that he has a lot of honor to regain, sk she let him. THere's an alcove, and another alcove. He continues. We follow. 4 guards at bak, with WD> A rope ladder going up a small tube. It's a well-made sturdy ladder. MK leads the way up the ladder. About 40 feet up. MK can see in the dim light of Ashe's head. MM says we go up in twos. Order: MK, MM, Ashe, R, Other noncombatants, 4 guards, WD. At the top is a trap door, wooden, going up. It's closed. MK tells me, and I say lets go, we can open it one way or another. It's locked, some sort of heavy weight or bar on the other side. We try to remember where the little girl said the library was. Hosei says she said she had been to the GM's rooms and part of those room were the library. His rooms are certainly up that tunnel. MK says it's either very heavy or a snug bar. Ashe can make a hole: he's a carpenter and has axes. He can find a way. He hacks away, determines it's a bar, hacks a little more, slides the wodden bar out of the way, and opens the door. He sticks his head up and he's in a cave. His head lights his way. The cave is roughtly 20 ft by 20 ftish. It's odd shaped. One wall is a curtain. The other walls are racks. The rack hold heads hanging from their hair. The occasional bald head is held up by strings and nails. He climbs up. He stammers to the rest of us to come up. MK goes, MM follows, and the rest 2 at a time. We are unbothered by the heads. We recognize none of the heads. MM hear bubbling comes from beyond the curtain. Sounds like the room MK saw. MK says that. The curtain is in the direction of the cliff face. The racks are not full. All the heads are numbered sequentially and repeat for each rack. The little girl's head is not here. Most of the heads are human, some dwarves, halflings and elves, one gobln and an orc. All different ages. No signs of decay. They all look at us, and their eyes follor our movemebts. Occasionally they roll their eyes, or moan. One head, instead of a number, has the word Index above.

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 ~