We are in a twisty valley. surrounded by mountains. trees and shrubs. a dry trickle of a stream. mid-winter, so it's frozen. snow on grond, wind is blowing. The storm that was following us everywhere has abated somewhat. We look off to the northwest; that's where the storm is, a line of thunderclouds is almost upon us. southeast is the monastery jose is going, but considering what we are and what we bring with us, he is not thrilled aboutvisiting at the moent. We need to find the leather hawk of the east egg. So, east? Peytra is tranquil, back in her near-trance. R believes that the previosu trance was a calm acceptance of her fate. This calm acceptance now is more resigned: things never go right. MK asks for a babel fish, and Sun translates fo him. I rescued her from an attack by the Knights of the Cold Fire who are chasing us because they are trying to destroy all choas and tzeetnch related peple/things, and he could not let them kill her. Peytra seems to have hear him, but she doesn't react. East is up: we go up. It's just a hike. Peytra walks with us. JOse asks about dragons, but she doesn't know. MK tells Sun to tell her he will look out for her safety because he is now responsible for her since he rescued her. ANd she should learn to speak Nipponese. MM smiles. That is honorable. MK asks jose to teach her some rudimenatary Nipponese. Peytra looks at MK for quite some time. MM says quietly to MK that was well done. We lose 2 FP per hour and it takes us 4 hours to get up. We take breaks to mitigate that, so we reach the summit with no ill effects. R searches for herbs and vegetaion, but finds nothing. Bark hunts, paralleling us along the walk but finds nothing. Jose drops fish which we pick up. Ashe concurs: this mountain is curiously animal-free. As we crest the mountain adnlook down into the next valley, it is shockingly green. THe mountain we just climbed, was grey, depressing, gloam and doom. We are now looking down into Happy Valley, with pretty and fluffly snow. THere's a village down there, maybe 2-3 hours away. It's very inviting, and we all feel so much better. We're instantly suspicious, despite our happier outlook. There's a large contraption in the air. Some cross between a dirigible, boat, and airplane (not that we know that). Holy Crap! We have found the Leather Hawk of the East Egg! And it's descending slowly towards the valley. Jose does a detect magic. Peytra is not magical. In fact, nothing within his range (besides us) is. THe valye/hawk/village are out of his range. So how are they keeping all the other weirdness away? And damn we look bad. The most normal among us: MM, Peter, Sun go to negotiate. MM leaves the Rock with Jose. The rest of the group will wait behind. If needed, MM will call the rock, and the others can follow. THe two can hunt will do so. It's evening now. So we go down an hour to camp, and we 3 will continue into the village in the morning. From inside the valley, we cannot see the storm. THe Hawk lands quietly. MM is struck: we have something precious to negotiate with for their precious item: the statue. But it is not hers to negotiate with. Impasse of honor. Family honor is more important than anything and transcends death, and even the death of this world: Family will least into the next world. THe soldiers with us follow orders as proper soldiers do. They seem completely in awe of us. Keep their mouts shut, do what we tell them. The night is quiet, its a beautiful morning. We arrive. It is a tiny village, more like a compound. The buildings are quickly made, and has not been here for ages. THey are well constructed, but not intended to last for ever. 10 buildings, workshops, outhouses, houses, etc. THe Hawk is tied up to a huge roundish rock on the other side of the village from us. It's clean. THe people seem happy. As soon as we are noticed, the people wave hello and greet us. They are dwarves. We see maybe 10, and the palce looks like it might support 30. Mothers and kids. A dwarf comes out, older, and greets us with a smile. SHakes MM's hand. Welcomes us to East Egg. His name is Granden Airtalker. We exchange pleasantries, and he's very proud of his Leather Hawk. He expresses concern over our conidtion and calls over a few women to bring us some coats while he shows us his pride and joy. He has been working on this 40 years. PP asks how high it goes, and he says so high the air becomes to thin to breathe. THe intent was to build a ship that could carry heavy loads across large distances. We are rbought very thick warm coats. Ah. We walk up to the Hawk. He talks continuously about it. He tells us all about its history, design flaws, cost overruns. Any damage to it right ow would be disastrou, because in a month their backer from Altdorf is coming to see their progress (way over schedule). He takes us right up into it up the ladder. It's much like a boat inside, with dwarves working on it here and there. The balloon is tied to it with ropes He says it could in theory fly without the balloon, but that's what takes it up and he hasn't tried it yet. He tels us all about the controls and what each one does. MM has no clue how to make it work, but this dwarf obviously does. MM asks again about the problem they've been having. The ballon i sneeed to get it up in the air and to gently land it. But once it's in the air, the machine could run without the balloon, if it went fast. WHich it can't because of the balloon, which it can't let of because then it can't land. MM asks for a ride. THere are significant risks to ride in it now. He doesn't think it's a good idea. But they are taking it for a test run tonight, and we can wathc. In the meantime it's time for lucn, come on1! We go. He takes us to his house. We meet his wife and kids. THey have laid out food, and it's packed with food, us, and the dwarves. We squish in and have the best meal we've had in a very long time. We chat with his wife mostly, as Grandon eats and writes in a book. P asks him how far they can see up there. ON a clear day, miles. Over the other side of the mountain? Of course. This is so much nicer than where we came from. Ah the storm, it will probably be her in the next few days. Must batten everything down. He says he forgot to tell her, and she thinks about the taks to do. The kds talk, the wife interacts with them, it's a typical racusu family lunch. But polite. PP wonders about sing the machine to disperse storms, and that gets his attention, and he starts wondering about it. But he can't think of a way to build the engine strong enough. A fully safe crew is 10 engineers. You could probably run it with just oen or two, if you're desperate, and he starts thikning of ways to move the wheel back so just one person could easily care for the egnine and steer and everything... After lunch, the wife suggests that we could be set up with a place to spend the night. Sure, MM agrees. We want to watch the test flight. Back at the camp, they hunt/forage and move to within a half hour of the village. They find no animals, but see signs that they are there but are staying very far away from us. R finds some vaguely edible plants to improve the taste and nutritional value of the fish. Jose cooks them up and makes OK food out of it. Bark moves in stealthily to observe the village in mid-late afternoon. Back in the village. She clears out a house for us, and we get ourselves settled. Fresh bed linens, food, we are welcome at their table for all meals. PP asks if we can repay her hospitality, and she says no, it's but a trifle! MM asks about passengers, but no, never been done. Dangerous. MM asks about a bath, and oh yes, we get a tub and water. And the water is heated at the fireplace! The son and daughter bring in snow from the outside to melt. We get a lovely hot bath! Big fluffy towels. Strange dwarf soap. We take turns in the same water, and it's wonderful. PP and I discuss how we can convince him to take us to get rid of the crystal. Mid-afternoon. PP and Sun and I go find Grandon again. He's hard at work, preparing to get the thing launched now. They're getting it started. He climbs up the ladder. MM contemplates climbing up after him, but decides antagonizing him is not a good idea prior to convincing him to risk his preciosu life's work on a fool's errand. The thing lifts up and goes on a gentle cruise. It goes out of sight, eastward, moving slowly. About an hour after it disappeared, i reappears. THey do a pass near the village, trying for a speed run (without cutting the balloon loose) and the balloon shifts back a bit. They slow it down and bring it in for a gentle ladning. The storm is getting close, so he calls for help to break it down. They put the whole thing in the hanger, and we help out. Then dinner time. We eat with Grandon's family again. MM asks about the flihgt, it went well and then he gets technical. The storm will be here tomorrow, maybe the next day. It's a big storm. PP says we're concerned, but Grandon is worried. MM asks if we can have a private conversation after dinner. MM's vegetarianism gains notice and wife asks. MM says she cannot eat meat, and wife tries to come up with alternatives. This happened at lunch, and at dinner there's actually decent vegeatable dishes for MM. After dinner, he will say we'll have more privacy at the hanger, and we follow him there. He gets right to work fiddling with things, makignnotes and adjustemnts. Oh yeah, you wante dto talk about something. I tell story aided by PP. Grandon is interested in the story at first, wants details about them that I don't have. And he's not really interested in the end of the story. MM asks PP if he's got any ideas when Grandon's attention wanders. His idea is the same as hers: bring in the group, the crystal, and show him. We make our goodbyes and return to the house. MM says we should bring the party and the crystal in, to show them. And, we can take the tack of offering to use the power of the crystal of air to augemt the Hawk, and of course we would have to be in the Hawk ourselves to accomplish this. MM waits for them (with glowing eyes) at the edge of the village where she entered. They bring the whole group, of course. And hey arrive within half an hour. She tells the story quickly. Granson's wife arrives, and welcomes the group happily. She then sees my group and becomes terrrified and yells beastman! She freaks out over Slurk. People come running, including Grandon. Slurk speaks, yelling about how he used to bea devotee o chaos, but he followed these great warriors for may months now, and he is now a loyal servant of law, and will give his life for law, and will devoe his life to law (and he keeps his hands over the struggling vulture's heaad). Down on his knees, pleading with the wife to believe him. That he's not a terrible beastmnet. We have quite an audience. Jose announces himself as a priest of Varena, Grandon asks MM if they're with us, MM says yes. Are they OK? Yes. That's good enough for me. He tells everyone to relax and go about their busines. He suggests we set ourselves up in the house and asks if they need food. He will bring us some food. Looking at Ashe, Grandon suggests we get otu of the night air. We go to the house, His wife is saying something to G, and she seems concerned. G brings us some stew. Jose talks with him about the Crystals. He's forgotten most of it, and doesn't really get the Stones-Chaos-storm connection. He tries... Name in history, use machine to carry us to the center of the storm so we can destroy both the stone and the storm at the same time. Oh no, never. Jose keeps trying. He's good, but Grandon doesn't really get it. He leaves, and Jose considers talking to the wife tonight. She's much more down-to-earth and practical, if now frightened of us. There's a keg in "our" house, so Jose uses it to cast his friendliness spell. He tries to speak to the lady, but she insists on doing so tomorrow. He comes back and we set watches and sleep for the night.

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 ~