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Tensions are rising in Tacea after the destruction of their Territory Court at the hands of its Queen. Unable to continue their traditional cycle of succession because of accusations of treason, Tacea must find a Queen capable of uniting the land while building bridges to the world outside its borders.
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Author Topic: From up the mountain, down to the river  (Read 400 times)

Description: Lung-tan

Offline Seung Corro

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From up the mountain, down to the river
« on: Jan 27, 19, 03:33:32 AM »
When Seung first arrived in Tacea, the monasteries had been established for some fifteen generations, but the name of their progenitor, the monk who'd established them, had not yet been forgotten. Then, the monasteries were a place of mystery, whispered about politely behind fans. Few people knew any male that had chosen to go up the mountain 'to live among the clouds,' let alone ever saw a monk. As all things, the population of those mountain fastnesses had waxed and waned, never higher than after wars, never lower than during long periods of peace. With a war so recently over, another one lurking just out of view, the population of the monasteries, the number of males it commanded and contained, would be on the rise. Once or twice, he had been one of those males, seeking out the solace of solitude and hard work... but the last time was a hundred years ago now, just before he met Myung-Hye's mother.

Accordingly, the Abbot of the mountain monasteries was not a man to summon wantonly to the Starred City. He felt uniquely qualified to understand the pressures of the position, having been close to an abbot or two in his time. Had he a need less severe than the one he already knew, if he didn't hold the position he did, he would have abstained. The Abbot did come down the mountains to Ito every so often, when a Priestess or Healer willing to serve was required for one of the temples. Goryu-an, maybe, or Zazen-ji, the major temples, did maintain a Healer's house. Such Healers were always... popular women.

The mountain monks maintained their isolation in the high ranges where no one was able to live, swore to give up earthly life and political concerns in favor of service to Mother Night. Seung was loathe to ask them to come down into the mess of the inheritance of the Dragon Throne. At the same time, they did represent a powerful and neutral force, and he would be remiss to leave them out of it entirely. They did boast Priests and a unique view of the Tacea cosmology; the Abbot may know things that Seung was not yet aware of.

So he had written to Lung-tan, the Dragon of the Mountains, requesting--not commanding--his presence in the capital city. 'Though I have no desire to tear you from your meditations, I also feel it would be remiss of me to leave you and yours entirely out of the matter.'

That was what he'd written.

Now what remained was waiting to see if Lung-tan would accept the invitation.

Offline Lung-tan Zazen-ji

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Re: From up the mountain, down to the river
« Reply #1 on: Feb 05, 19, 11:08:37 AM »
”Again.”  The Abbot commanded serenely.

Four Monks slithered forward as one man.  They were learned men, senior brothers selected for the skill and their speed specifically for this demonstration.  If they were smart, and the Dragon of the Mountain knew that they were, their minds were joined, allowing them to move in concert, each with the other.  They understood, as the Abbot did, that they were at a disadvantage despite their greater numbers.  They had to be careful not to get in each other’s way, while Lung-Tan, their Abbot, had no one to worry about save for himself and there was a likely target in every direction, approaching for four cardinal points.  The monks had to move as one man, they had to attack and defend in unison, and unlike most in their situation, they had trained to do so.  One monk alone could be dangerous, but two trained to fight as one, or three, or four?  They were a nearly unstoppable force, a few brigands here and there have learned.

The Abbot met one man directly, choosing the monk in front of him.  There was a subtle rush of air as shields slammed into place in the shape of a V, with Lung-tan safely near the point.  With one flex of Craft, he had denied the four their unity, and engaged only one monk in direct close-quarters hand to hand.  There was a flurry of strikes and footwork, kicks that landed so hard student spectators winced without realizing they were doing so.  There was a sudden pause, as a mistake made by the monk had him caught up in a joint-lock, and then he was suddenly flipped to the earth.  The monk slapped out to absorb the impact of the fall, but the Abbot struck him opened handed direct on the solar plexus, and air exploded from the man in a a loud ‘OOF!’.  The students knew that meant he was down, even without Craft, such a blow could put a combatant down or even kill them.

The Abbot pivoted, and suddenly pushed out the walls of his shields, scattering the three monks, and he leapt forward to the man on his left moving with enough speed to pull a gasp from the youngsters.  Then, a bell sounded, and the monks and the Abbot became perfect still, and then after a moment, bowed to each other.  Lung-Tan turned and gestured, and a boy ran up bearing a message with a recognizable seal.  At a glance, it was easy for the Abbot to see why his class had been interrupted.  He gestured for one of the senior monk to take over, and then moved over to the side, kneeling on the grass to read his message.  He read the message twice.  He had traveled on more than one occasion, in part to check on his charge, Kei, from time to time, but this was a very different set of circumstances.  He rose to his feet, and summoned the senior monks to him.  There was no chance that he would refuse.  He was the Abbot, and while the monastery would not become embroiled in politics, it would be foolish to pretend they were not a part of the greater world of Tacea. 

The Dragon came down out of the mountains.  He was dressed plainly, with a simple sack over his shoulder, and a walking stick in one hand.  He would check the temples, and see if there were any priestesses interested in returning with him, when he did return, barring that he would take communion in their presence.  He could use such a moment of peace after his journey.  As it was, he had come to the residence of the Regent, and declared himself to the household guard.  ”Lung-tan of Zazen-ji has come at the request of Prince Corro, please inform him of my presence.”  He showed the guard the message he had been given, and then closed his eyes to patiently wait for the Prince or one of his immediate subordinates.  The Abbot was perfectly still, but the guard shifted slightly where they stood, the presence of the elder monk affecting their subconscious in a way that put them slightly on edge.

Offline Seung Corro

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Re: From up the mountain, down to the river
« Reply #2 on: Mar 08, 19, 08:31:13 PM »
Lung-tan did not come immediately, which didn't surprise or bother Seung. The monasteries were difficult places to reach on purpose, and he attributed the delay largely to the struggle the messenger had surely confronted on his journey. There would also, no doubt, be preparations for the abbot to make, not unlike Seung's responsibilities should he decide to leave Ito. He kept an ear to the ground, though, as a Sapphire Warlord Prince was not a common sight. A monk bearing those Jewels and that Caste was even rarer than might have otherwise been expected.

When Lung-tan arrived, it was on a blessedly calm day. Seung fobbed off a meeting on Hinata--insofar as one could fob something off on the venerable Unifier of Tacea when she practically forced one to hand the meeting over--to clear his schedule to meet with the Abbot. It wasn't difficult to suss out where the man was, even without the young woman guiding Seung to him. The presence of a strange Dark-Jeweled Warlord Prince in the same complex as a vulnerable Queen was one that led many of the guards to stand off-kilter and on-edge. Seung could empathize; he felt the same way, though his reasoning was the bond between himself and the woman who'd once been the Dragon Mother of all Tacea.

"Prince," said Seung, sketching the short bow of one Dark male to another. Lung-tan bore more powerful Jewels than Seung, but Seung currently held the throne of Tacea. As uncomfortable as he was with his role, he wouldn't dishonor it by demanding any less than the seat was due. That would set a poor precedent for the Dragon Mother he selected. That changed much in the usual interactions of two Warlord Princes. "Thank you for coming."

They left the entrance of the Territory Court behind, and spoke of trivialities as they walked. But once they were in Seung's office, he raised aural and psychic shields to ensure the privacy of this critical conversation. "Prince Lung-tan," he said, "I'm sure the troubles of the secular world have reached you, even in the mountain fastnesses. I've requested your presence to ask your opinion on the matter of the election of the Dragon Mother.

"I know that your order refuses involvement in the matters of the material." How could he not? He'd come close to making that vow more than once. "Yet this selection will affect your monasteries as well. I thought I ought to at least tender the offer, and request your advice from the viewpoint of one who bears no interest in the political aspirations of one Queen or another."

Offline Lung-tan Zazen-ji

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Re: From up the mountain, down to the river
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 19, 02:01:55 PM »
Lung-tan was not unfamiliar with the sort of stir his presence could cause.  It did not really matter that he was the Abbot, it was more important to the Males here that he was a Sapphire Warlord Prince, and there was a Queen to serve and protect.  There was a quiet part of him that envied their service.  It used to speak much more loudly in his youth, even if he foolishly ignored it.  Any other Warlord Prince could say what they wished, but their purpose was to serve, and in service, one could find fulfillment.  As true as that was, Lung-tan had long since surrendered the urges of his youth to the pragmatism of his age.  He still had them, of course, he was what he was, but he was the master of them now, not the other way around.  The Abbot did not mask his presence, but he he took to using a set of prayer beads around his wrist to enumerate the various needs of Protocol, whispering the old words under his breath as he waited.  It kept his aura calm and even.

He was pleased to meet the Regent, and paid proper attention to both Protocol, and the depth of his formal bow.  Lung-tan had nothing to prove, and so making allowances for Prince Corro’s leading role in the Territory.  ”Prince Regent.  It is an honor to meet you.”  The Abbot smiled slightly and shook his head, ”No thanks are necessary.  I am happy to be remembered, and more happy to be of service.”  He fell into step easily beside Prince Corro as they moved inot the Court.  He sensed shields rise around them once they reached the Regent’s offices, and inside the aural shields, the soft and subtle clatter of beads still moving through the old monk’s fingers could be discerned.  ”You are correct, of course, my Prince.  I am certainly away of what is happening in Tacea.  As much as solitude refines the mind, it is my duty to understand and support the people.”

Lung-tan inclined his head, ”I am honored that you value our opinion, and the work of our monasteries enough to consider including us in any fashion.”  He tilted his head slightly at the idea that the Queen would impact the monasteries.  He had been a monk for some time now, since he had abandoned the path of senseless violence.  He had believed the monks and their homes a bit too removed to be of any concern to a new Queen.  ”If you have need of the gathered wisdom of the monastery, I am certainly at your service, Prince Regent.  In truth, it was time for me to leave the monastery, and seek the further ends of my office.”  The Abbot smiled, ”Many hands makes for lighter work, one of my predecessors used to say.  What must I know to be of service to you and to Tacea?”

Offline Seung Corro

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Re: From up the mountain, down to the river
« Reply #4 on: Jul 01, 19, 05:16:29 AM »
Seung folded his hands before him on the low table where he knelt across from Lung-tan. Perhaps the abbot spoke the truth in the matter of the timing of his visit to the lowlands, perhaps he didn't. Either way, it wasn't Seung's place to call him out. That would be rude, and when he was asking such a massive favor from Lung-tan he didn't have much call to lean on the protection of his office. It was true that the monasteries required Healers to see to the men's wounds and Priestesses to sate their need for connection; there were monastery brothers throughout the Territory, traveling and representing their mountain home. Let the abbot's real purpose for his journey be that. He was available when Seung required him, and he would not bite a hand offered in friendship.

"The field has rather narrowed from the beginning, when we had fifteen candidates or more, Abbot," he said, once the tea service and its array of snacks was delivered. "You remember the Warring Dragons. This Queen is our only chance to avoid the Shingetsu and the Izayoi going to war once more--and with numbers so severely culled among the leaders of men, you know that pressure will rise upon your brothers to return to the fold." The Great Clans would need fodder for the war machine. There had been, in the past, attacks on the monasteries in an attempt to render the men homeless and conscript them. Seung had no desire to see those dark times return to the monks of Zazen-ji, or indeed of any temple in the mountains that criss-crossed Tacea.

But the Territory did not boast many male leaders, and the Territory Guard was not well-developed enough to end a true war between two dragons.

"I speak to you as one who knows the will of the Darkness," he said, "a man who knows the Abyss as intimately as a man can know the Darkness. There are two strong candidates: a Sapphire Healer Queen of the Shingetsu, and a Green Queen of the Tang. You were once a man of the Four Clans, Abbot. If I name a Queen of the tribes to the Dragon Throne, do you believe the men like you once were will kneel to her authority?"