Chapter 63: Keravista, Faerie Queen
Gloom, despair, and death.
Desecration and hatred.
There is no peace here.
~ Miyara Miwa
I looked around. Ravena was bruised and bloodied and lay on the floor unconscious. The White Faerie was still lost in the Stone of Stones, but within a few seconds, he, too, passed out from his many bloody wounds. Kyosuke had been battered by the statues and cut to shreds as well. He staggered a few steps and sat down abruptly. Ashe was injured and weak, but still awake. He, too, sat down rather quickly. Hosei and Sun also unconscious.
Caramela was fine, although she hovered worriedly over her sister. Baku was unhurt, only having lost his footing and fallen on the floor. Res Li was injured only a little, and I had only a single small cut.
We watched the three Air Elementals continue to pulverize the dead statues until there was nothing left at all. Then they whirled around the room, causing tremendous destruction yet coming nowhere near us. Without ever bothering us, they left through the door. I'm sure they're somewhere down below, wreaking havoc.
I rather clumsily tried to clean up Res Li's wounds, but it is not something I'm used to doing. I don't think I accomplished anything helpful. We're so used to Ravena being there, and we try to keep her safe. But there she lay on the floor, white and weak-looking.
Hosei collected the scroll from Kyosuke, and we spent an hour gathering all the papers the Air Spirits had blown all over the room. Ravena woke up. She wished to begin healing the worst of the others, but Res Li and I convinced her to care for herself first, and she did so. Res Li busied himself making traps.
Ravena can now heal someone greatly in a mere second, but at the end she's as white as a sheet and can barely stand. It takes her some while to recover. Still, it takes her no longer to heal us after a great battle than it did before. I don't think any of us minded a chance to rest for a few hours. The faeries didn't appear, and Ravena restored us all to health again.
While he waited, Hosei and the White Faerie sorted through the scrolls that were in the case that caused us so much trouble. Three of them were pages from Sundurimu's journal.
Keda Ravaning, Third Day. Fragment found in first search. "The roaring of the lion brings fear to the heart of the most fearless. The singing of the birds call all to stand in wonderment. The fall into the darkness is a never-ending journey and there shall all who cross their path return."
Keda Ravaning, Fifth Day. Which tomb is Hagurim's? More continue to be discovered. When will we know all have been found? The tomb opposite the throne seems likely, but opening every tomb would waste time and lives. And Ranegu stresses the importance of both. And the master trap still eludes us.
Keda Ravaning, Seventh Day. Established: three scrolls exist, to be read in a certain order. We have the first and third, and the second is missing. Surmised: to enter a tomb without first completing the ritual is dangerous. Inscriptions may be interpreted as cave-in. Conclusion: it is imperative that we find the second scroll. It is not logical it would be hidden near the tombs, but every hole must be searched. We dare not risk destroying the hold and burying the crown.
The other two were very ancient scrolls; obviously the first and third scroll. So we have the second.
Res Li and I looked around a bit. Res Li found an empty side room, and he removed the trap he'd set for it. There were no other traps, but the door was locked. He opened it without difficulty and it still appeared empty. Hosei checked it carefully. He said there was nothing specifically magic, but it reeked of death and frustration. Even the light that entered the room seemed dimmer than it should be.
Kyosuke came over and took a look. He pointed to what was clearly an ancient and large spatter of blood on the far wall, staining the otherwise light wall. Orcs have scrawled their ugly excuse for a script all over the walls. They were partially rubbed off, as if the faeries were trying to clean them off, but they were still visible.
I felt a sense of dread: an ugly death had occurred here. Feeling it best to avoid such misfortune, I stepped away. But Kyosuke, ever curious, wanted to investigate, and called into the room, asking if anyone was there.
We had an uncharacteristic, although short and polite, argument. I think we were influenced by the evil inside. However, I gave him permission, against my better judgement, to enter the room. Of course, i could not let him enter by himself, so I stepped in with him. Res Li followed us.
Although nothing initially happened, we could all feel gloom weighing us down. The room seemed dim. Kyosuke bowed respectfully to the wall.
Out of the bloody stain stepped what I can only describe as the raging ghost of a long-dead faerie queen, screaming terrifyingly at the two of us. Kyosuke stood stunned a moment as the faerie queen attacked him. Her terrible blow caused him no physical damage.
As an offering of peace, I pulled out the first piece of origami from my pouch. Bowing respectfully, I offered her the small paper representation of a laurel flower, common in the mountains here. Res Li pulled out his dagger and ran up to stab her in the back. I yelled, "Stop! Don't attack!"
She continued her voracious attack on Kyosuke. She went right through him and disappeared on the other side of him. She was gone.
I laid my piece of origami on the floor under the stain and back away respectfully. Kyosuke came back to himself and apologized politely to the stain for having disturbed her. Res Li shot an evil look at the stain, but didn't offer it any damage as both Kyosuke and I looked disapprovingly at him. Res Li suggested we leave. Kyosuke offered another apology, and we backed out respectfully, bowing.
We were not done with her, however. On emerging from the small room of death, we saw the White Faerie, who had been trying to decipher the ancient language of the all-important scrolls, dropped everything and walked to another door. Res Li called out, "Wait, it's trapped!"
I touched him on the shoulder, but he did notice. I tried to stop him, and failed. Res Li tried to throw him to the floor and also failed. I called out to everyone else to help us try to stop the White Faerie from walking into a trap. I repeated the call for help to Kyosuke.
Although Res Li did manage to throw him to the floor on his second attempt, he merely stood back up and continued single-mindedly to the door. Kyosuke and I grabbed him and hung on, dragging him to a stop while Res Li disarmed the trap he'd placed on the door. He looked through it quickly and said there wasn't anyone else on the other side, but this passage leads to the front entrance, where the faeries are sure to be. A bad place for the White Faerie to go.
Res Li tried to hypnotize him while Kyosuke and I held him still. It didn't work. Hosei tried talking to him in Faerie. He was ignored. Kyosuke suggested holing him up in the small room of death. I thought we could just knock him out carefully. Kyosuke theorized the White Faerie was possessed by the ghost.
Hosei said, "Wait, let me try one more thing." He cast the spell that makes other feel friendly to him and spoke quietly with the ghost he also believed had possessed the White Faerie. He cast a couple of spells, and seemed to be making some progress. The White Faerie began listening to Hosei, and then answered in faerie.
We heard Hosei's side of the conversation, and he quickly told us the other side.
The dead queen has possessed the White Faerie. She is desperate to find her body, because she needs a proper burial. Kyosuke and I were horrified and vowed to do so.
Hosei promised her for us that the whole party will help her find her body if she will stop trying to walk off by herself and come with us instead. The White Faerie nodded her agreement, with a wild-eyed stare. His eyes were still glowing black, although both Ashe's and Ravena's eyes had returned to normal.
Kyosuke wished to offer his body for the queen, as he felt responsible. Hosei and I believe she'll be much more comfortably in the WHite Faerie's body. I asked Hosei to see if the queen could translated the scrolls for us. She took them from Hosei and looked at them, then began sobbing uncontrollably.
Kyosuke said we should tell her the truth. As we had not lied to her, I asked what truth? He said the whole thing, including finding the Pearl of the Lake to fight chaos, as Yazeran had called it. I nodded my agreement. Of course we should.
I looked at Hosei expectantly: he was the one who needed to speak with her. He explained the entire thing, and she refused outright to help us raid the hero's tomb. I understood her point. In her position, I would do the same.
Kyosuke bowed his understanding to her as well. Through Hosei, I asked her if she had died in that room, and she said yes. I asked if she knew where he body had been moved to, but no, she hadn't. Hosei said she said, as best as he could translated it, that she couldn't bear the thought of entering death without her body.
I asked if anyone had any ideas on how to find the queen's remains, missing for a hundred years. Hosei could only think of asking her what she knew, but she remembered only the fight, then death, and being locked in the room for a very long time. She didn't remember what happened to her body and doesn't know why it's not there anymore. We asked her name and who she was with at the time.
The dead queen's name was Keravista, and she died alone in that room. She assumed that her husband the king, the guards, and everyone else died defending her room.
She said that if we approach near her body, she thinks she will probably feel it. She didn't really know where she was going when she stopped her: just to look desperately for her body.
We haven't seen any old rubble from the battle a hundred years ago. The only faerie remains we've seen so far was the skeleton down the ubulyet. We had little hope of that proving useful, but it was a place to start, so we all escorted the queen there. Perhaps she could find something useful from him.
Ravena quickly figured a way there that didn't take us near where we thought the faeries probably were.
Once there, she said nothing felt familiar. I suggested the ghost may know something and may talk to her, his queen. The White Faerie looked down cautiously, and the ghost screamed up at her. She screamed back, and we listened to what was probably a blistering screaming match between the two of them. Hosei paraphrased a little for us. He blamed her for leaving him in the pit to die forgotten; she blamed him for the scum that he was and not helping with the faerie attack. (Of course, he was stuck in the hole at the time.) The orcs never found this place, and he died slowly of starvation in this hole. Hosei steered the WHite Faerie away from the hole and looked at me with a "What next?" look. Problem was, I had no idea.
We could sort of tell where the orcs had been and where they never went. The octagonal room that we need to go through by reading the runes and the scrolls does have orc skeletons, but no faerie skeletons. We showed her the bit of map that we couldn't make work with what we knew, but she didn't recognize it. We haven't been to the lake room yet, but we know how to get there. Through the octagonal room, of course. And that will have to wait until we lay the queen to rest.
Looking at Ravena's map, we tried to figure out where the orcs had and had not been. We realized we had missed a bit that was nearby -- the kitchen, dining hall, storerooms, and such. Also, we hadn't finished the upper part, having been distracted by statues and a ghost. Finally, there's one other area that we can only get to from the front area where there's probably faeries fighting. There's also the area around the lake, once we get there.
So, start at the kitchen area first. It's almost certainly not the right place, but we're already here. The kitchen storeroom held only empty crates and boxes. Res Li looked through the door and pointed out the kitchen.
On the butcher block were the remains of several faerie skeletons that were clearly chopped up with butcher's knives, still there. Res Li said in the ovens were the charred remains of other faeries. This was horrific, especially for the queen. Yet, perhaps she might recognize something in there. I asked Hosei to gently describe the room and its contents before we opened the door and walked in. I knew it was likely to upset her.
The description did upset her, but she set herself and said she was ready. We opened the door, and it was worse than she thought. She began weeping horribly again. Hosei tried to calm her down and seemed to be helping. The Kyosuke tried to comfort her. When Hosei translated his words, she became much more upset and started wailing much louder. Kyosuke seems to have the knack of doing or saying exactly what upsets her most.
I asked her if she thought her body was in there somewhere. She became a little more stressed, but thought about it and said no, she didn't think so. I hadn't either, but it was worth asking, just in case.
Res Li looked into the dining hall, past the kitchen. It had been sealed by the expedition because of the horror within. The orcs had strung up the rest of the still-living faeries and used them for target practice while they feasted on the brethren. The bodies were still there, some hanging, some fallen and eaten by animals. The door had been ordered locked as there was no time for a proper burial.
We knew faeries were probably on the other side of the sealed-up room. Hosei cast a spell that created an area of perfect silence, in case she couldn't control her weeping again. Then we entered the dining room through the kitchen door.
She wept quietly throughout, but she kept her composure while looking around at the desecrated bodies of those she knew. She said she pretty sure her body wasn't in there. She looked around one last time, deeply saddened, recognizing the clothing and armor of a few she knew personally.
Enough. We left.