Journal of Miyara Kyosuke (22)
After dinner, Rabena treated Omi's broken arm -- he
stayed in the
girls' room that night to be close to the healer.
I was to be on the first watch with Miyara, but
plans changed when we received unexpected help from the townsfolk.
Benito Sangiovese and his wife,
along with his brother Guido Sangiovese entered the
Black Eagle after the dinner had been cleared away. These people
were Tai Lins; Benito owned and operated the Red Bull Inn,
which I have previously pointed out was a much superior place to the
one in which we were staying. The inn immediately fell quiet, as Johann
the landlord welcomed them loudly and started to chat amicably.
Soon, all three of them arrived at our table. Benito
bowed and enthusiastically greeted each one of us. Miyara
translated for me -- he thanked us for the services we had rendered to
the town, and expressed his dismay that so many others in the town had
been so cowardly. He offered his assistance to us this evening,
and said that he would stand watch all night if need be, although his
brother was too young for that. Miyara and I exchanged glances --
Guido was certainly old enough at 20 to do his duty.
Benito himself was dressed in ostenstatious
gear, but had all the right equipment. I turned a calculating eye
to him and judged him to be too overweight to be the Tai Lin assassin
that assisted in Bastia's death -- although Guido could
possible fit the requirements.
They all chattered for a while, and determined that Benito
would stand second watch; the three of them then left.
Immediately the Lady Murderer (as Miyara described Dagoma Tausika to
me) stood up and volunteered for the third watch, and started a wave of
"me too" volunteers as the other barbarians in the inn childishly did
not want to be left out. It was with much relief to them that
Miyara chose a couple of obviously qualified people from among them,
and told the rest to remain in reserve if needed.
The first watch passed quietly, observing the
drunken bargement wandering around on their way back to their
boats. There was no traffic of town regulars tonight -- all
probably frightened of the imaginary beastmen. We returned to the
inn to rest; our group also maintained a watch over our rooms.
Immediately after dawn, Jeison woke us all in some
distress. He dragged us all to the rvier, where we could see that
the water was red, up and downstream as far as we could see. The
people from the town were also starting to gather, and the more elderly
among them began to wail something.
Miyara told me they were saying "the curse of the Reichenbachs."
This was referring to an incident many years ago in which that family
was killed by a mob of barbarians from the town. The curse
apparently calls for beastmen, the river running red with blood, and
the dead waking. A vampire walked in Krutzhofen then,
along with these events, and that is when Sigi's grandfather left town.
Ashu and Hosei were quick to respond to this new
development, and they left town quickly, headed upstream.
In the meantime, the superstitious barbarians were
looking at us fearfully. There was widespread panic and despair
as no doubt outrageous and ridiculous explanations were invented.
It was clear that they blamed this Curse, and also the two men who went
into the Ghostwood.
Eventually Hosei and Ashu came back, and told us
that the red color started about a mile upstream, with no indication of
what it was or why. There was also no sign of anyone having been
there on this side of the river. They suggested that someone had
simply poured something in the river, and that it would clear
soon. Ashu stated with certainty that it was not blood.
They then crossed the river at the bridge, and repeated their trip on
the opposite bank. There too they found nothing, and came back to
wonder if it was the Tai Lin barge that left in the early morning.
We had all returned to the Black Eagle when Hosei
came in with a somewhat confused expression. He had been to talk
to Gretchen, who looked after the docks with her son, and had
found that a barge called the Canaglia had left this morning
after staying only one night. It had lots of rowers and carried
no cargo, riding high in the water. Hosei had followed up by
talking to Peitra, the waitress in the Red Bull, and Benito's
wife Elenora. They had told him that two had arrived from
the boat, but three returned to it, the extra man being carried as if
drunk. No-one thought this was unusual, although Hosei wondered
if this was how the Tai Lin assassin escaped.
In mid morning, we discovered the truth of the
matter. Benito stormed out of the Red Bull cursing, while
Elenora yelled, screamed, and shouted. Of course I thought
this nothing unusual for barbarians, but Miyara told me that this was a
serious matter -- Guido was missing. She added that Benito
had headed for the wharfs, and thought that some of his enemies from
Tai Lia had taken him. Miyara had agreed to help, yeilding to Elenora's
begging, and so we rushed off to the docks too after confirming with
the Dorufurikata that we were permitted to assist in this matter.
Benito was acting very effectively for a
barbarian -- perhaps the Tai Lins are more intelligent than is usual
here -- but dashing around in a frantic manner. He quickly hired
a barge and rowers, and several of us went on board to help his mission.
Pireseri and Jeison stayed behind to look after the
chest, while Miyara, myself, Omi, Carimera, Rabena, Hosei, Goru, and
Ashu hurried on board the barge.
It was now about four hours after dawn, and the red
water had cleared out quite some time ago. The barge set off at a
rapid pace, Benito rowing like a man possessed until he was
eventually dragged off the oars as fresh rowers replaced the first
Benito moved to the front of the boat, where
Hosei approached him for a conversation. I could tell that
emotional subjects were being discussed, but of course they were
talking in a barbarian tongue. Miyara told me later that Guido
was really the sole survivor of a Tai Lin family called the Fulvini,
who ruled a place called Merigliano until the Duke was murdered
with his family by the Cornutti family. Since then, the
new rulers had been searching for Guido to capture him and
bring him back to be killed -- only then could they be certain they had
seen the last Fulvini killed. The Feccia family
were assigned the task, and it was presumably them who had performed
the abduction. Guido was not of course therefore Benito's
After about six hours, we caught up to another boat
on the river. Although they initially sped up to outrun us, we
soon overtook them. When we'd closed to about 50 yards, the
captain of the other barge and Benito had a conversation, and
it was clear that this was not the barge we sought.
We kept rowing through the night, not slowing down
at all. When I offered to help see our way in the dark, Miyara
told me that they knew the river and didn't need help. She added
that we would reach something called the River of Echoes at around
Indeed, at midnight we approached a rock face ahead,
out of which emerged the river. This was a tunnel that goes
through the mountain, and is apparently maintained by the Syndicate
and their syndicalistas. Navigational lanterns marked the
way; again I offered to help see the way, but again I was
declined. We turned to the hold to sleep while the rowers
continued their efforts.
Later we were awoken by Benito and all went
up to the deck quietly to see the lights of another barge a couple of
hundred yards away from us. It seemed he was sure this was the
one we had been pursuing, as the crew were handing out crossbows to all
who would take them. We were to fight in the darkness of the