A Supplicant at Galghida

White cherry blossoms danced in the wind, falling from the stunted trees clinging to the rocky slopes of the mountain.  The white fragrant petals swirled in the buffeting winds, falling toward the ring of clouds that embraced the mountain beneath its peak.  Near the summit, an ancient stone monestary was perched impossibly upon the steep slope.  A narrow stairway wound down the mountain from the stone monestary, the work of a score of generations of men.  One inattentive step, or a slip upon the stone, would send a climber to their death on the rocks thousands of feet below.

The stone of the monestary was worn by wind, and rain, and time itself.  The love of the stonemasons for their work was evident in every aspect of the construction.  The large stone blocks were shaped to precision, and the detailing and ornamentation was as beautiful as any work of art in a more mundane medium.  And all of this wonder had been accomplished with hammer and chisel at the top of the tallest mountain of Lornki...Mount Balghida.


The courtyard of the monastery was quiet.  In their small lonely rooms, monks on their knees, their eyes clenched shut, mouthed unvoiced prayers to unseen powers.  The thick greasy smoke of powerful incense rose from ancient braziers, twisting and turning through the monks' chambers, until it found its freedom and scattered to the winds buffeting the mountain.

At the center of the courtyard stood a small stone building upon a dais.  The building's roof was perched upon four stone pillars, and its sides were otherwise open in all directions.  At the center of this building was a flat jade altar, stained with centuries of offerings left there by the monks.  Even now, the surface of the table was cluttered with fruits, meats, grains, sticks of burning incense, carved wooden figures, ornate handmade jewelry, and other gifts to the Great Powers.

A lone figure knelt by the altar, his arms hanging at his sides.  His head hung low.  On his right side his hooded cloak clung to him in the stiff winds, only to flutter madly on his left side like a flag raised high in battle.  There was a sense of sadness, and perhaps torment, in the posture of the supplicant at the altar.  There was a sense of finality to his being here.  As if this was the end of a long journey, rather than the beginning of one.

A monk approached the supplicant, hands together and head bowed.  He spoke Imperial Common with an exotic accent.  "It has been three days since you arrived, Brother.  Here you have knelt for three days, refusing food and shelter from the winds of Balghida.  Please, brother, if you are to stay here with us, we should know your name and purpose.  We should feed and clothe you.  You should join us in our quiet prayers, and live amongst us in simple comfort.  If you are but a visitor seeking respite from the outside world, then you are also welcome.  But, let us know you and care for you."

The kneeling figure said nothing.  It was though he had not heard a single word that had been said.  As if he was unaware that the monk had even approached him.  

The monk stepped forward, and stood just behind the supplicant.  Very gently he laid a hand upon the kneeling man's shoulder.  Then and only then the supplicant answered his question.  "I seek peace."

The monk patted the man's shoulder.  "If peace is what you seek, then Balghida will bestow peace.  I am sure of it."

The supplicant answered.  "I don't deserve peace.  Of all the people of Kempin, I am probably the least deserving of such a boon.  A hundred thousand men have died violently in the wars I've led.  All of my loved ones and family are either dead or hold a deep hatred for me.  I've wielded the mad sword twice...TWICE!  And it has brought nothing but death and destruction upon the world.  What I truly deserve is punishment.  But, it is my selfish nature to demand more than I deserve.  So, here I kneel, asking for your help.  Help me find the peace I seek."

The monk helped the supplicant stand.  When they came face to face, and the monk could see within the supplicant's hood, his eyes opened wide.  The words, "Ige Museun agmaya?" spilled unintentionally from his mouth.

Moments passed, with only the sound of the wind gusting across the mountain.  The monk took a deep breath and calmed himself.  "No matter.  If you seek peace, we will show you the way.  What is your name, Brother?"

The supplicant seemed to be thinking about how to answer, but finally he did.  "I am nameless."

The monk smiled.  "Then we will call you Brother Jang-gun.  Come, you must rest."


    • Mark Stinson

      LOL.  He was last seen walking North along the body-strewn shoreline after the final battle of the Nameless War.  He was heavily damaged, and nearly dead, after wielding the mad sword Savior one last time to save the people of the Mainland from the Souless One and their Barbarian allies.  But, he was not yet dead...oh no...not yet dead.  :-)

      • Jay

        He’s Dead!!!