I will try my best to keep things in order, Diary, but apologize in advance if I begin to ramble. This day was so full of strange and new occurrences that I barely know where to begin!
The first unusual thing I suppose that happened on this day was early in the morning. I had woken early, and had felt a great urge to greet the day with song. It has been so long since I have been home that it perhaps made me a bit homesick to once again share a room, and I began to sing the waking song that Willow often asked me to wake her with. I hope it did not wake Piper too quickly, but my roommate did not seem to disturbed by my song. The feeling here is somewhat more still than in the City of the Steel Lotus, but the sea air in Volivat still sends my thoughts to home.
My singing wasn’t the unusual occurrence, though, Diary. It was Piper allowing me to view what he looks like without a guise on. Or… she? I confess that I am still not entirely sure if I should think of Piper as male or female, though I feel more sisterly feelings I think than brotherly. Although this could be because I have never had a brother.
…Again I have left my topic.
Piper allowed me to view his/herself without disguise. Given the unease Piper showed us the first time we viewed it, I feel… privileged. I think Piper has truly begun to see me as a friend. I hope that this is true, as I worry sometimes that Piper does not have any. And that would be so terribly unfortunate. I will strive to continue to be worthy of Piper’s trust and friendship.
When Piper was re-disguised, and had put a more mundane disguise over that disguise, we joined the other two for breakfast. It was decided that we would head for the Fish Market next, as it was on our way to the Prison’s area, both places of which might have more information if we were to find out about this Stryx syndicate.
My heart leapt with the wave of nostalgia over entering this familiar (and yet, of course, entirely new) place. I would have burst into joyous song, if it were not for the unusual silence that seemed to settle over the market. Not a supernatural one, Diary; there were still murmurs and soft voices, but it was nothing like the roar of sound from hawkers and sea birds that I remember from the afternoons in the market at home. Wandering the stalls, basket in hand slowly filling with sea creatures and fragrant teas from far off shores as Mother Belle haggled with merchants.
It is perhaps for the best that I refrained from expressing myself in such a way, as it seems there are some laws here against uproarious noise. I am not sure yet why, but it does make Volivat somewhat more… peaceful, at least.
Piper once again seemed alarmed by someone when we were moving in amoungst the stalls. Whoever this is that thinks Piper is someone they wish to interact with is very strange. Why would they not speak plainly to us? Do they wish to cause Piper distress? I dearly hope this is not the case, but this does seem to be the effect they are having. I hope they either discover that Piper is not in fact who they are looking for, or that they overcome whatever shyness has caused them to attempt to contact us indirectly so that we can put this to rest, if only for Piper’s sake. I am terribly concerned.
While making our inquiries, we stopped off at a cart selling strange sea creatures that seemed far too large, but tantalizing smelling. Saiten seemed pleased with their taste as well, and finished a whole one by himself! I am pleased that there is something that he seems to enjoy perhaps as much as he does battle. Piper and I shared another sea-treat from the cart that seemed to be tiny fried fish that one could eat in a single bite!
The man who ran the cart (oh! the people here are so different from at home! So tall, and dark and big!) it seems had seen Playton, the man we were searching for! What a stroke of luck! He pointed us towards the Prison’s area, and we were off again to continue our quest.
Since we only had the direction that Playton had headed in, we stopped off at a tavern in that area to ask for more information. It did not have any new or unusual instruments being played inside it like the Steam Kettle did, but since we weren’t planning on staying there long, it was probably for the best. Saiten asked the barkeep if he had seen a man matching Playton’s description, and it seems he had even heard of the Stryx syndicate, which is the first we have found someone knowing of them in Volivat! We thought that perhaps our luck was turning for the better.
The next strange occurrence was about to happen, however, Diary. A man stopped us on our way to the door. He told us that he had never heard of the syndicate, or the tattoo, but that it was something that the barkeep had been speaking of frequently in recent days. I suppose this would not be too strange if the syndicate had just recently begun to make its mark in this city, but it also seemed a bit odd. We carried on, cautious, but unwavering in our determination.
The barkeep had directed us towards a warehouse near to the prison, which we were able to find fairly easily, thanks to his directions. Just as we neared it, Saiten proclaimed that he had seen Playton enter through its door! This was surely the place where we would help him to gain the answers he so desperately sought.
Piper took this moment to mention to us that the little flute could be dangerous if, perhaps, played in the right/wrong way? I am unsure as to the details, but Piper told us to cover our ears if it was brandished during battle. I did not think that it would come to that yet, as we clearly just intended to speak with the inhabitants of the warehouse, but it is probably best to be safe, rather than injured.
Dasadi prudently volunteered to watch our backs from a distance as we approached the door, which was heavy, and metal, and shut, but had a slot through which one might speak. We knocked on the door, and it slid open.
“Fat I am slow, thin I am quick, wind is my enemy.” a voice intoned. Some sort of entrance riddle? I adore riddles. Before she left for her apprenticeship, Lavender used to come up with all sorts that she would test us with. I could only guess about half of them, but this one leapt to my tongue: a candle. The slot slid closed, and the door open.
This is where our next surprise greeted us, Diary, and though it was an unfortunate one, it was not perhaps the most unfortunate. When we fully stepped over the threshold, the door slammed shut behind us, and dozens of soldiers poured out.
The battle was bloody and quick. Saiten quickly unhinged the door with a blow, allowing Dasadi entrance into the fray, and even with their superior numbers, the poor warriors stood little chance. Even reason could not sway them, and my pleas for a cease in their attack met with some cessation, but it did not last long. It seems as though some terrible beast had threatened their lives, and they were truly stuck between it and my companions’ weapons.
There were some more… well, let us call them surprises during the fight which were not entirely bad. We did learn more information once they began to flee and we were able to begin patching them up. Though much of that information was gruesome and horrible…. I will get to that in a minute.
The much more pleasant surprise came just after the fight had ended: Dasadi is also a Solar! During the fight, the effort Saiten used caused his light to shine through, the mark on his forehead glowing in the way that it seems Solars’ only do, which of course Dasadi saw. I feared for a moment that he might become frightened of us because of it, but he responded by lighting up his own mark! It is different from any of the others I have seen before, and he says that is because he is a different ‘caste’ than us. He seems to know quite a bit more than us about what it is we are, although he has not yet heard from the Unconquered Sun. I am so pleased to have found another whose light can shine in the darkness in such a way :D
If I am continue as events unfolded, I must speak more on this later. For this wonderfully welcome event was followed by a whole terrible one. One of those who attacked us informed us of more of what had happened, and more detail as to their motives in their attack. He told us that they had been prisoners in the nearby Jailhouse, and that a strange and terrible creature had clawed its way into it, slaughtering the guards and promising to do the same to the poor prisoners if they did not “Kill the group of four that entered the warehouse”. It seems to meant for them to attack us , though I am at a loss as to why. I understand that there are some who see our kind as monsters, but I do not think that anyone who would feel so would be here and also either in command of or themselves a monstrous creature.
We decided that it was right that we should investigate this further, and entered out the back of the warehouse towards the prison. There was a crude hallway connecting the two, in which a terrifying hole had been clawed. We entered the prison, and found ourselves greeted with death and despair.
We did, however, get to see some of Dasadi’s exorcist powers in action: he looked for and located a ghost! It seems that it was not terribly informative, but it does speak to his fascinating talents that he is even able to do that much!
This was the only bright spot in this building, though, Diary. We did not see the bodies of the guards until we entered the yard, but it seems as though something dragged them to the parapets to make it seem as though they were still at their posts…. what a gruesome, horrible thing to do to another creature. what torment must this beast have gone through to make it feel as though this is the way it must behave.
We were unable to help the poor souls here, however, because Piper soon heard the voices of oncoming investigation. One even seemed to be a Dragon Blood, so it seemed we would be unable to stay to help with the inquiries. At least someone would be there now to send these poor unfortunates to their rest.
We knew we would have to lay low for a bit now, if for no other reason than to gather our barrings and plan our next course of action. We decided to find another Inn, fearing for the safety of those at the Steam Kettle, should the beast seek to attack us directly, and found one near enough that we could arrive there before dusk. A strange alarm of sorts sounded through the city, which hopefully means that the bodies are now being tended to. We found lodging at the Clan’s Respite, and were able to discuss further our newfound similarities.
It seems Dasadi discovered his light while aiding another that he would not otherwise have been able to help. It brings me great joy to hear that he is so willing to help another. He was fairly vague, but it seems as though one’s ‘Second Breath’, as Broken Walls is fond of calling it, is a deeply personal experience. Saiten was quite forthcoming with the story of his, though I feel perhaps this was because it helped us to understand the quest we were undertaking with him, and I have never really asked after Piper’s; If seeing ones given form is so personal, I can imagine such a glimpse into Piper’s past would be far too uncomfortable a subject as yet.
Dasadi asked after my own enlightenment, and I found myself for a moment nervous about speaking to it. In some ways it was an indescribable occurrence, which makes speaking of it difficult, but it is also something which brings back to me memories of home, and how I left it, which bring bitter-sweet thoughts to mind. I muddled through it as best I could, but perhaps I will write it down for you in some more detail later.
In the morning, I suspect we will have to find a way to discover the true motive behind our attack, and both if and how it may be related to the Stryx Syndicate, Playton, and Saiten’s past.