Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Upon their return to Gom Dalat, Chen retires to a modest and quiet hotel suite to contemplate what they have wrought. Gazing into the mirror, shaving his head, he meditates on the release of the Pit Fiend into Fissa.

Of course he wanted the Balance restored - he and his friends had done too much Good in recent times... Stopping an evil monk and restoring warring factions to peace, helping to halt a Dragonborn invasion fleet, the list goes on. Of course, then, it is only right that some Evil is done to redress this state of affairs...

But a Pit Fiend loose in the world?! This is too much...

Chen makes the decision to take a leave of absence from his friends and return to his monastery. News of this magnitude can not be delivered by carrier pigeon. He says his goodbyes and departs.

The journey is long, but uneventful and swift, and he soon arrives back at the monastery to lay himself prostrate at the feet of his Sifus. He explains what came to pass in the mountains near Gom Dalat - how the elves failed to warn him of the dangers the Black Cloaks threatened though he had tried on numerous occasions to communicate with them, and how the elves instead had formed an unlikely alliance with an ork army. He admits his role in holding off the orks until the Pit Fiend appeared, only then knowing the full depths of the Black Cloaks' betrayal.

As a penance the elders order him to clear the Great Courtyard free of all the cherry blossoms with nothing but a pair of chopsticks. As soon as one blossom is collected, another falls to the ground in its stead. It is an impossible task. The days and weeks pass slowly in backbreaking labour, but Chen's mind is free to wander - free to explore the possibilities that are now laid out in front him. Eventually, one of the masters bids him to stop and walk a while.

"Why did we give you an impossible task Chen?"
"The task was meaningless, Sifu. But the time it gave me to think was invaluable."
"Just so, Chen. You learn quickly... Now tell me, of what did you think?"
"I thought on how to restore the Balance. On how to send the Pit Fiend back to the Hell from whence it came."
"Just so. Just so. And how do you intend to do this?"
"I... I don't know."
"Just so. The other masters and I have reached the same conclusion. We do not possess the answer to this problem. We understand that you will not learn how to do this by clearing the courtyard of cherry blossoms. You have let a great Evil into this world Chen, and it is your responsibility to right this wrong.
"Yes, Sifu."
"You will return to your band of adventurers; you will grow stronger; you will learn how to combat the daemon; and you will banish him from this land forever...

"Then, and only then, will you be permitted to return to us here."

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