The Mists of Paoru
Back to main page of Guntur Gunadi’s Conversations With a Bird
First Conversation: 20th day of the Pig (Stone Day), year 3458 of Heavenly Fire
[Two crows fly in the Rosewylds as sounds of battle reach them from over a nearby ridge]
Guntur: Do you hear what I hear?
Utari: Probably. It’s probably whatever’s been leaving such a mess of tracks around here.
Guntur: Yes, but I’m somewhat afraid I know what it is.
Utari: Indeed. Given the racket on the breeze, I doubt we’re going to find that a gathering of caravans have decided to settle here and grow birdseed for us.
[The crows reach the top of the ridge. A large warcamp is established. To the front a steady but irregular force of animate trees emerge from the woods and waves of them are wasted by wand wielding wizards]
Guntur: I don’t believe I was quite expecting this.
Utari: You know you have to stop them, right?
Guntur: I know.
Utari: It sort of goes along with the whole ‘magically empowered defender of the natural order’ thing you have going on.
Guntur: I know.
Utari: Which puts you in a difficult position because I watched you meditate this morning so I know you are not prepared to unleash the wrath of nature today.
Guntur: YES! I know! Thank you…..
Utari: So………………… You got a plan, boss?
Guntur: I believe that if those wood yokai could close the gap, they could take care of the problem themselves. We simply need to interrupt those fireblasts so the yokai can reach melee range.
Utari: Ahh, so you will conjure a wall of stone in front of the Onmyoji, blocking their ranged attacks completely.
Utari: Wall of fire?
Utari: Wall of thorns?
Guntur: Working along a different line of thought here.
Utari: How so?
[Guntur puffs his chest feathers out a little]
Guntur: I will summon a windstorm to assail the front line of the warcamp!
Utari: You do realize there is absolutely no wind blowing right now, and if your past efforts have any predictive value regarding your future results, you’re going to ‘assail’ them with a stiff breeze.
Guntur: It’s pretty much either that or turn you into a dog-sized bird and let you deal with them.
Utari: Alright. Wind it is.
[Guntur summons a screen of fog to mask his casting and a wind begins to blow in front of the camp, taking the casters by surprise.]
Guntur: That actually worked better than I expected it to.
Utari: I guess that’s the downside to wearing robes like that. A stiff wind puts them over your head and you lose all concentration on the task at hand. Speaking of which…
Guntur: Yes, what next…. Perhaps I can ruin that tower they’re building.
Utari: You’re a little far away for that fireball of yours.
Guntur: I’m thinking the opposite tack. Let’s try this…
[The water in the stream that runs through the camp rises over 20 feet and begins to flood the area]
Utari: Not bad. Now what?
Guntur: Now I’m out of long-range spells so we have to fly all the way over there before I can do anything else.
[The crows fly in silence for a half-minute or so]
Utari: Guntur, you know I’m your biggest fan, but I’m not sure this whole tactical mastermind role really suits you.
Guntur: I did really well with the negotiator, mediator, cultural appreciation, and animal charmer jobs. It’s not like I’ve ever had to sabotage an actual army before.
Utari: I suppose we all have to start somewhere.
[The crows notice both that an exceptionally long wall of fire surrounds the camp as well as that a preposterously large wood yokai has appeared in the forest beyond the camp]
Guntur: Looks like whoever’s running the Wyld’s side is pulling out the stops. Let’s see if we can’t get rid of those flames for it. I actually have a dispel magic ready for today.
[As the crows get nearer, they see the fancy cloaked caster who summoned the wall turn into a giant dragon, they also note a shiny magic crystal hovering in the air.]
Guntur: On second thought, let’s reprioritize things. The dragon over there looks like he’s the type to tip a battle. Let’s not distract him by tearing down his firewall. We’ll get up close, I’ll turn him into a newt, you grab him, I’ll grab the magic crystal, and then we’ll take down the firewall.
Utari: Think you can actually do all that?
Guntur: Hey. Trust me.
[The crows fly over the fire wall, just as the giant wood yokai and associated hangers-on jump the wall from the other side. The groups meet in the middle and the yokai battles the dragon.]
Guntur: Slight adjustment to plan, looks like the yokai have some new friends. I don’t know who would be crazy enough to ride a charging yokai into the middle of an enemy warcamp, but I have to help these people survive long enough so I can meet them. Can you go grab that crystal while I deal with this?
Utari: The second I grab that crystal, every archer and wizard is going to start flinging things at me, and I just don’t fly fast enough to get away with it.
Guntur: Point taken.
[Guntur summons a trio of giant eagles and sends them after the crystals]
Utari: Better… But you know you could have just summoned them directly on top of the crystal rather than making them fly there?
Guntur: Noted for next time. Now let me focus.
[The dragon breathes fire and mortally wounds the wood yokai. The people it carries are apparently winning a magic duel with the casters rushing to the battle. The Asta whispers something to the yokai and it flings her at the dragon]
Utari: It swallowed her! Did she mean to do that?
Utari: Hey, what are you doing?
Guntur: Either something stupid or something really clever.
[Guntur dispels the dragon transformation, and the person it almost changed back into was not capable of holding a full grown Asta in its stomach]
Guntur: That’s nasty.
[One of the eagles explodes as it tries to grab the crystal]
Guntur: Abort! Abort!
[Just before the wood yokai collapses, a Notta appears out of nowhere and shatters the crystal with a spell. Guntur overhears her call the Blomb ‘Yun’. A fierce windstorm emerges from the shattered crystal, during which almost all of the unknown wizards teleport away, except for the one who had been casting the flame strikes, who struggles in the wind]
Guntur: Good fortune! We will introduce ourselves as rescuers, ensuring their good will. I’ll ask the eagles to grab some of those unconscious people on the ground there, and we’ll figure out what this is all about.
Utari: The wind stopped.
[They introduce themselves anyway, the floating wizard doesn’t understand Utari’s greeting but casts a spell letting them all understand each other. Only one of the eagles retrieved its target. Then the whole group flew off toward the woods]