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Isa Silverhair: The Next Quest

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Day 16 of Þionad / 3rd day of Nonomen

Maybe I wasn't as fine as I thought. Eta tells me I passed out pretty much as soon as I stopped writing. I probably should be worried about that, but it gave me time to get used to the feel of the Rock. It's glorious. And I think I know what I need to do.

While I slept. Eta and Jayvyn returned to Jayvyn's home and bright her chair and bed here. Our Rook has acquired some furniture, and Vyn is making more. I think beds are a little ambitious, but one says she has enough wood to make more chairs. I'm told that Astrid is helping by scouring the rough edges so that they can be rubbed smooth by a more gentle hand.

While they work, I am under strict instructions to rest. It seems they have conspired while I was sleeping, and Vyn said in no uncertain terms that I kept them safe, so now it is their turn to keep me safe. From myself, if need be. They're more than a little terrifying, if I'm honest. So here I will stay, on Vyn's bed (for the time being - it will be hers again when I am allowed to rise from it), soaking in the energy of this Rook. It's so unlike the energy of either of my Helms: I expected it to be different to the Ice Helm, but I thought that it might be similar to the Electric


Isa is foolish and needs to rest


That's me told! It seems Eta has been paying more attention to my writing than I realised. I didn't even know she could read Common well enough to write it! She's learned so fast, And it seems that I fell asleep again, with this journal open on my lap. Even mid-sentence.

She's now fussing about a bump to my head. Honestly my head doesn't even hurt - I didn't think I’d hurt it - but she says that's probably why I keep falling asleep. I really need to look into whether I can pad a Helm or not. I forgot all about it.

Vyn is now calling me an idiot. She thinks I'm doing too much, even though I'm literally just sitting here, writing and eating.

She glared like she things I’m doing more. I think it’s probably because Kwame was Armed, and they say that is work. Once you’ve synched with the magic, it’s easy for us. And I’m honestly just breathing all of this in. It’s not


You are deluded. I see you with electric magic. It is hard firstly.


She's literally arguing with me in my own journal. Unbelievable. What else am I supposed to do?

Jayvyn decided that the obvious solution was to tell me about how she came to the Battlements, the adventures she and Kwame had. She told me about how he had always had a reputation, ever since he had arrived in her town, Galleria. It's big enough to have a true name!

It seems that Kwame was said to be light-fingered: an irony that he arrived toting a great, clawed Arm, seeking someone capable of fitting it. Their local stone worker assisted him, and the unusual occurrence piqued Jayryn's interest. By the time Kwame was ready to leave, Jayvyn had talked her way into accompanying him.

It's more than a little obvious that Vyn was besotted with Kwame, but nothing she has said so far leads me to believe that he returned her affections. I don’t know if I should feel bad about that or not, since he’s no longer with us.

They had a couple of encounters with the odd, robed folk. One seemed harmless enough, but the other - an older woman with grey in her hair and more than a few scars (Vyn may no longer be naïve, but she certainly has a gift for spinning a yarn) - tried her luck. Her experience clearly counted for something, because as much as Vyn continues to emphasise Kwame's strength and physique, the fight was neither won nor lost; both parties walked away unscathed. It seemed as though Kwame's pride had taken quite the dent, though, and had caused him not to engage with the next robed figure.

She told me about being held captive by a tribe of Folk, deep in a jungle in the east of their home Room, Kawderoom. These Folk had dark green skin, hair like moss, and were not particularly fond of humans venturing into their territory.

Eventually though, they came to trust - probably more Vyn than Kwame. Even now, after everything she has experienced, it would be hard to think of her as anything other than friendly and earnest. And her knowing how to repair a mechanism that controlled their water distribution very likely aided that opinion.

They were obviously very close, even if it never could have been what Vyn wanted. Assuming I'm interpreting that correctly, anyway. I might not be.

She hasn't told me about times that surely existed - the hard times. When things didn't go to plan. About their time here on the Battlements. About that final battle, and Vyn having to set up a home on her own.

It's good though, to see her eyes sparkle as she talks about him. He seems like a real character, the kind of person who could probably talk his way into anything... And then back out of the trouble he caused by doing the thing.

And he cared about her enough that he hauled her up here on his back. He wanted her with him.


Day 18 of Þionad / 5th day of Nonomen (apparently)

She has sketches too - a lot of Kwame as I expected, but of others too. People, places, Rooks. A Rookling - she hasn't mentioned one! But she also wasn't surprised to see Astrid.

They didn't name it, it transpires, and it didn't bond with them like Astrid has with us. It stayed with the jungle Folk.

They have allowed me to rise from this infernal bed - albeit briefly. The pair of them have created a kitchen, where I was allowed to supervise their preparation of a meal (I sat and they talked). Vyn had caught a pair of rabbits, and they were very pleased with the fireplace they had set up to cook our supper on.

I dare not say yet that I can see how to create a range in that space, and a cold storage would also be easily possible once am fit for such things.

See, Eta? I know I have limits. And I know I wouldn't last five minutes trying to rock-craft. But I can still think about it... Just like I can plan a water course to have a functional bathing chamber, with hot water. Probably.... I know the theory, and creating heat from this rock should be easy.

It's hard to believe just how much they have done while I have been recovering. We now each have a bedchamber, although having enough fabric and rope to complete actual beds is a touch beyond our current means. They will be on the lookout, though.

They're genuinely a little bit terrifying together. I should just let then get on with things.


Day 19 of Þioned / 6th day of Nonomen

Eta was yelling as soon as I opened my eyes. I'm actually surprised she hasn't added another entry of her own here.

It seems that while I was sleeping, the Rook has done some rearranging of itself. The range and cold storage I had envisioned now exist, and there is a pool in the room I had idly considered turning into a bathing chamber.

The water is even warm! I can feel the flow of magic that keeps it so, but Vyn slapped my hand away when I tried to trace the water course.

I'll do it later, when I'm not being watched like a hawk.

I can't deny that I did this, but not consciously! And I'm not feeling any after-effects of... whatever happened. In fact, I feel better than I have for some time. I could take on the entire Battlements!

Except that they bullied me into taking the first bath, and it's perfection.

Maybe I can hold off for a while.

Oh, that plumbing is clever! I can see it now - there's a tank on the roof that collects water and will continually feed and refill the pool for as long as we have water. A second tank is feeding a bowl in the kitchen. The magic keeps the water hot enough that it is safe to drink, but by the time it reaches the kitchen, it's cool enough to be palatable.

I think it might even be possible to set up a privy that will flush from a similar tank, if only we can work out a mechanism to flush it, and not ditch the effluvia either down the walls, or in any vital mechanism.

I'll have to take a good look at those because, while I can feel them, I'm not confident of how they work. I'm nowhere near as educated about the mechanics as I am the magic. I don't even know how, or even if Rooks repair themselves.

That task, though, I will leave for another day.

Today I need to make sure that the parts of the Rook I do understand are useable by Eta and Vyn. And add some lighting, because at the moment they're using torches. I really should have tried to make a lantern Eta can use too.

Well, I say they are using torches - I mean Vyn mostly - Eta isn't bothered by the dark at all. In fact, I think she's finding it comforting.

Even so, given she's apparently learning to read and write, she could probably do with some light.

I never asked if they have a way of writing in the caves.

Apparently not. They recorded numbers using formations of beads, but nothing more. Everything else was passed down orally. My recording of language is something completely new for her, and yet she still learned – by herself! – how to read. That’s amazing.

And she's making me peel some kind of root that apparently grows up here. It's got quite a pungent aroma: I think I've eaten this before, in the soups pair of them have been forcing me to drink.

I remember something Vyn said while she was trying to distract me - that she'd fixed the Jungle Folk's watercourse.

She was apprenticed to Galleria's Rooksmith! She doesn't have the ability to see the astrid like me, but she sees an art in how the mechanisms work, in how they fit together. That was how she met Kwame - while he was having his Arm fitted by her master.

I ran the idea of a valve for waterflow by her, and she thinks it should be simple. She has also suggested something similar for the kitchen basin, rather than the continuously running bowl we currently have. Hmm.

She says this is how it should be - a Rooksmith and a Lapidarist working together. Apparently that's the proper word for a crystal worker! I had no idea, Savio never said, and I have to believe he knew.

But what she's saying makes sense - Rooks might be magical, but everything happens because of the mechanics. It'll take both of us to make a Rook work.

I can't believe I'm actually thinking about this. An Arm, a Mound, a Helm, they're one thing (or three, I suppose), but to have an entire Rook? One that functions? That's madness.


Day 20 of Þionad / 7th day of Nonomen

Madness, maybe, but also a reality! It actually still flies!

There's some damage that I apparently did to one of the right arm joints, but Vyn is confident that she can fix that fairly soon. But that doesn't affect the Rock's ability to fly.

Vyn went outside to check that we actually did leave the ground. She was alarmed when she came back in, and suggested I try to move us a short distance away, because there was something wrong with the stone the Rook was resting on.

She was right there is something wrong with the stones below the Rook - most of them aren't there! It seems that there was a fair amount of damage done by the crash, and there is a hole now. The Room below is open to the astrid. I wonder if they know?

I hope no-one was killed when those stores fell! What a disaster that would have been for anyone below.

That is a sobering thought, and has dampened what had been jubilant spirits. And we now have a decision to make - do we descend through the hole to the relative safety of whatever Room is below us or do we remain up here in our new home and explore some more.

If we go down, there's a chance that Vyn or I could get lucky and find our home Rooms, I know that Vyn is desperate to return to the Roomlands. But I can't help but think that if Vyn is right, if there are so many others struggling to survive the Battlements, shouldn't we try to help them?

I talked to over with Eta before raising the subject with Vyn, although it wasn't the most helpful. conversation: Eta is happy just to be seeing the world - she doesn't care where as long as we are relatively safe. After her own experiences, though, she entirely understands the urge to help others.

There is a third option, of course – I transport Vyn down on an ice platform, and come back up here. Eta just shook her head and said she knows me well enough to know that I would never just abandon someone.

And she's right - I couldn't do that. Even if Vyn wasn't potentially traumatised by her time on the Battlements, leaving someone alone in an unknown Room, to face goodness knows what, is not something I could actually do.

We will leave the decision to Vyn - we're only been here a few days, so there's no feeling of being a prisoner on the Battlements. Vyn will undoubtedly feel differently about this place.

Eta suggested sleeping on it just so that no one (Vyn) ends up regretting a kneejerk decision. I suppose it will also give us both time to make sure that we don't have any strong feelings we haven't yet realised.


Day 21 of Þionad / 8th day of Nonomen

Vyn wants to stay! I have to admit, I honestly didn't expect that!

It's for exactly the reasons Eta and I discussed yesterday - she now has a place of safety and wants to try to find others to help.

She also believes that she isn't lucky enough for the Room below us to be one that's known, and for her to be able to make her way home.

So, we're staying. Our quest is now an operation to rescue the trapped denizens of the Battlements, and hopefully return at least some people back to the Roomlands below.

Vyn showed me the designs she had come up with for both the privy and the kitchen bowl. They are both very detailed, and she made absolutely sure that I understand them.

That is my task for today - making upgrades to the Rook. Eta and Vyn are ensuring that we have plentiful supplies - we have no idea how long it will be before there is another forest with its plentiful food supply.

Vyn has also stripped her little house of everything furniture, art, clothing, tools. - everything that can be removed has been. Eta says she hesitated at the door when they left for the last time, but once she started to walk away she never looked back.

She must have some very mixed feelings about that house: as much as she hates it up here, that house has been her home for a couple of years, she thinks.

Once she had stored everything, she asked if it would be possible to create an allotment inside the Rook - a Colostle in miniature (but without the people or animals). I can't see why not - it shouldn't be the difficult to persuade a room to brighten and dim on a schedule, nor to run some water in, as long as we can get a thick enough layer of earth in. I'd have to have a good check of the room's surroundings too, to make sure that there would be no chance of any mechanisms being damaged by water seepage or escaped roots. And, I suppose, that the Rock can tolerate the additional weight, since soil is a lot heavier than it looks.

We're waiting a few extra days after all - there's no sense in waiting when we have a forest filled with what we would need to start off with.

After we ate, Vyn and I took a walk through the lowest level - the least likely to cause any issues with seepage - while Eta considered what we should focus on gathering up, besides us carefully transplanting Vyn's vegetable patch.

Typically, the rooms that would be most receptive and suitable for what we want include our bed chambers. Vyn and I both agreed that we would rather relocate our chambers upstairs than abandon the idea. Because it is an excellent idea which will not only help us when it starts to bear fruit (ha!), but others for many years to come. Possibly even generations! Wouldn't that be something to be proud of leaving behind us?

Eta had drawn up - literally in some cases - a list of medicinal plants we should include. The nettles and thistles could be interesting, but otherwise it's an excellent plan.


Day 22 of Þionad / 9th day of Nonomen

We spent the morning choosing new chambers and moving our things into them. They then went out to find a place to harvest our soil from while I worked on the modifications to the Rock.

I sorted out our new chambers first - Vyn at least will appreciate the lighting and temperature control, even if it wasn’t strictly what I'm supposed to be doing. I also added another bathing chamber and privy, since the originals are now not altogether convenient for our chambers. I am, however, leaving the originals, since I imagine we will spend most of our time either in the kitchen or the allotments, and it would be good to be able to clear up downstairs and not track dirt everywhere we go.

The water was the next issue. The Rook and I are rather adept at plumbing by now, but this is a very different kind of endeavour. The entire uppermost level is now water reservoirs of one kind or another to collect rain in. I only hope it's enough, and we don't make the thing too heavy to fly,

They think they've found a good spot, relatively close to the boundary, so we moved the Rook as close as possible to it.

They have made me a special chair for flying, so that I can sit high enough to see out of a window easily and see where we are going. They hadn't quite thought through the possibility of one of them needing to navigate for me, so Vyn and I stood together, and we got to where we needed to be.

From what I can tell, it does seem to be a good spot - there's some of the herbs that Eta wants there, but mostly nothing truly vital for the forest.

I wonder? We've discussed using ice platforms to transport things since we don't have the equipment that would normally be used for such an endeavour, but now we and our one shovel are here, another idea occurs. Can I form a shelf from moisture in the ground and just lift the whole thing?

Yes. Yes, I can. Although, it's more difficult than creating water closets in the Rook! It takes a lot of concentration to get the water to freeze just right.

I'm sure I'll have to do it again sometime, but at least we have a start. We'll lift Vyn's vegetable patch the same way tomorrow. They'll likely want more soil at some point, but hopefully that's enough for today.

The Rook helped out by heating the floor and melting the ice right away. Hopefully it will be enough to not traumatise the plants too badly.