Chapter 77: Dust to Dust
Life leads to death, then
to the next life, as deserved.
Even for barbarians.
~ Miyara Miwa
GET INFO FROM KYOSUKE'S LOG. Miyara has nothing left: she is wearing rags that once belonged to Ravena, having lost hers to fire.
After seeing what the dust-spirits of the faeries have to show us, it is obvious that the faerie Egmeld was the cause of the trouble, and the one responsible for creating the flawed and chaotic Crystals.
As Hosei states this observation out loud, a vortex formed and whirled all the dust around. When it stopped, we saw the dusty figures now very clearly. Egmeld joined them, standing before them. They looked surprised as we felt, and we heard unseen choirs. Egmeld spoke aloud, "Yes it was I who did this. Thank you for freeing us."
Hosei asked if they could help us destroy what they made, and he said he didn't know how. Only Tzeentch knows. Kyosuke told them the crystals were now fused together, and Egmeld said that was a bad thing. Egmeld has had 4000 years to dwell and regret on what he did. Now he is free. The wind began again, became another vortex, and swirled the faeries. Briefly, they shined in five faerie-shaped pulses of light. Then four headed down into the faerie afterlife. The fifth tried to follow, glowed more brightly for a moment, turned black, and shrank away. As it faded away, we heard Egmeld's voice, "You must destroy the crystals, but only Tzeentch knows how!"
The chamber began to shake and pitch, and filled with steam. We ran to the door, and the stronghold shook itself apart, and corroded as we passed through it. Hosei tripped and fell, and Kyosuke picked him up, and we ran. The chamber behind us filled with lava, and the stairs began to melt away. We just cleared the complex, and ground vibrated under us, and lava blew Grugni's head far into the air. We kept running. We moved quickly, ceaselessly, for about six hours to get away from the volcano. Then thunderstorms arrive and put the fire out, and drenched us, in the few rags we had left.
Safe, we made camp. Ashe and Bark went hunting, and Ravena foraged. Kyosuke said he believes that Egmeld was telling the truth and only Tzeentch knows. Hosei believes that's what Tzeentch wants us to believe because he wants the rock back. I don't know what to believe anymore.
Hosei says The Feathered Lord (the tutor from Egmeld's last vision) was probably a servant of Tzeentch. The one who knew how to make the corrupted crystal likely knew how to unmake it. Ravenna said, "You know the name of a demon." He suggested we could go and speak with the priests of Varena, who collect knowledge. I do not know why, but I feel that we are running out of time. The time for research is past. And yet, even with all we have learned, we know so little.
We camped for a few days, making clothes, and recovering our health. Kyosuke said that Meitila almost certainly saw that volcano and was probably on her way to find us. We were not actually that dar from the Druidess' temple. She would re-provision us with few questions, and we had nothing left. On the fourth morning, Baku alerted us of beastmen. Suluruku. I called him forward.
He cast himself down to the ground and groveled. "I apologize I have been away so long." Where was he, I asked. "I have been following you." Where are the others? "They have not yet caught up." And the knights from empire? "They went down the mountain." I told him we were not ready to leave yet, and I directed him to go make a camp and wait for us.
We could not possibly take the beastmen to the Druidess with us: she would never let us near with them. The Druidess was about two weeks travel away, and Ravena said that storms are on the way. Bad ones. The Memory Faeries will be looking for us to kill us. The beastmen want to serve us because they think we're avatars of Tzeentch. The Cold Fire Knights are looking for us to kill us and take the Crystal. My head hurt.
We had much to do, and we needed provisions. I told Suluruku to gather his gang go look for the knights. They were just to find them and, if possible, discover where they were headed. Then meets us at the tower in the middle of the Yetsin Valley, in about two to two and a half weeks. He left. That would keep him away while we re-provisioned at the Druidess'. Kyosuke felt strongly Suluruku had a part to play. I was not sure, but was unwilling to send them away, in case Kyosuke was right.
We packed up what little that remained, and started south.