Mei Li trumped Sam who pulled us over to his palace. Or tried to pull us over, as it turned out. We ended up in a cave somewhere in some god-forsaken shadow. We got out of the cave and found some small big-headed natives. They did not seem to know how to speak properly, so Rhiannon started interrogating one of them. [Rhiannon: I did not interrogate him. I just took a small look into his mind - it was all very harmless. I hope.] Their leaders decided that we were hostile. Equipped with spears and firebreathing hats, they started to attack us. We all got a bit worried and started reaching for various implements of destruction but Quengh Chi apparently found some ki linchpin, because she managed to slaughter them all in the blink of an eye - single-handedly. I must admit to some surprise, though apparently not much compared to Qiengh Chi's. She looked utterly terrified by her own action.
The lack of informants left us stumped for some time but Mei Li found out that the natives had been busy cooking some enemy whose spirit she swiftly summoned. This was some kind of priestess who guided us back to her home village.
This is where the real wierdness started. Darien was mistaken for someone named Oberon who apparently had been gone for some time. The villagers and the Darien-lookalike Oberon had been fighting "the Evil Trinity." The villagers where horrified that he was not wearing any armour and immediately whipped out a full-plate armour with an infinity sign engraved with jewels on it. They also seemed to know Rhiannon and Mei Li and bestowed various magical artifacts on each of us. After a while, Darien finds out that "the Evil Trinity" is in fact Benedict, Eric and Corwin. The villagers also recognised various Chaos Valley inhabitants as being benefactors and allies.
I am a bit curious as to who was warring here. Apparently, Darien's armour was on a chest that contained a journal which indicated that "Oberon" had actually predicted that Darien would show up - or so he said.
We stayed the night in the hope of finding out more about the conflict but nothing much happened. During the night, there was something with Quengh Chi being afraid of some creatures, but nothing happened and so we left the following morning in order to get back to Hong Kong for a new attempt to reach Sam. The prospect of actually travelling the whole distance did not appeal to us.
Rhiannon and Mei Li decided to go talk to Brand about meddling in other people's trump calls so we steered the boat we had used for the last leg of our journey directly to the Monastery. Brand had little to say on the subject of trump - not his forte, apparently - but Deidre chose that exact moment to excercise her skills in trumping. She trumped all present simultaneously and a very confusing conversation followed. She did however get interested when she heard that we were trying to get to Sam - that Mei Li in fact had a trump on him. She decided that we should all go there.
I assume that whoever were interfering with us got burned when Deidre got us through to Sam. We arrived just outside the gate to the palace.
We found Sam in an excellent mood. He greeted us as cordially as ever and immediately started acting friendly towards Mei Li - they seemed to know each other rather well. Shortly afterwards Fiona showed up. Sam immediately disassociated himself with Mei Li and presently attached himself to Fiona in the same intimate manner. Deirdre and Fiona exchanges meaningful glances.
Our little welcoming ceremony soon broke up. Fiona whisked away Mei Li and Quengh Chi to have a serious talk with them; Mei Li seemed to try very hard to keep Fiona's overpowering arguments out of her ki. Darien goes looking for Bleys, while I distract Deidre with Sam's local pattern so I can get a few moments alone with Sam. Rhiannon beats me to it and they head out into the garden leaving me to ponder the building.
Darien has apparently gotten himself seriously beat up by Bleys. I find them both in terrible shape, being simultaneously harangued and cared for by Rhiannon. She throwed one over each shoulder and carried them off, while instructing the ever-present butler to bring the physician.
Rhiannon: I can't say I harangued them - I have more or less given up on understanding them. I found them in the training salle, just a moment before Bleys knocked out Darien and then collapsed himself. I don't know exactly what made them decide to try to kill each other, and somehow I think I'll never get to know. Darien was in a really bad shape, and didn't even regain conciousness while I carried him to the physician. No doubt he'll get all kinds of wierd ideas of what I did to his body when he was out cold - he always does - but I can't say any immoral thought even surfaced in my mind. Trust me, bloody and beat-up men are not my type.
The physician, by the way, was the kind of man I hope to employ one day. One touch of those tentacles and he healed up almost anything.I continued and came out into the front garden, where Deidre had burned the beautiful bushes forming Sam's pattern to the ground. She was in an excellent mood and spoke of new insights.
Some way distant, I noticed Quengh Chi and Mei Li walking through the garden. They had apparently gotten away from Fiona and particularly Quengh Chi were in a terrible mood. As I was looking, they bumped into Bleys and Rhiannon who were coming the other way, talking with their heads together. Quengh Chi seemed intent on picking a fight with Bleys and Bleys seemed happy to oblige her. Yes, he actually seemed happy. Rhiannon tried to talk him out of it. I distinctly heard him saying: "But she needs it." as if Quengh Chi was ill.
Rhiannon: Unless, of course, you take in mind the fact that it might have been Bleys who was ill.This is when it occured to me that we were all forming a Pattern. More than that even, we were walking our destiny. I started walking the halls and corridors of the temple in search for some hints to my own destiny. I found traces of my ki, faint imprints which spurred me on.
I came to a stair heading up. My path through the castle was growing more and more vivid. Slightly distracted, as if doing nothing more strange than walking down a corridor, I come to a powerful seal at the top of the stair. The seal is a strong Pattern set to keep everyone out, but my destiny was clearly inscribed in the pattern so I simply step through it and come into a simple, white room in the top of a tower.
"Are you the one sent to take care of me?"
A young boy dressed all in black was playing with some animals in the middle of the room.
It seemed so natural to me. "Yes, I have come to care for you."
He played a game of hide-and-seek with the animals among the gauzy draperies and sparse furniture. It was very obvious that he had some considerable abilities for his age.
I sat down on a bench by the fountain and lost myself in thought for a while. After a while, I asked: "What is your name?"
"I don't know." He came over to me. "What do you think I should be called?"
"To name someone, you need to know something about them. I know next to nothing of you." I grabbed a leopard who had come up to us by the scruff of its neck and held it up. "A leopard can always be named after the traits of its kind. who knows what -"
"A leopard. Is that what it is called?"
"Yes." The Pattern in the room shifted. The child started running around asking the names of things. After a short while, the names came to him without asking. He took great delight in this.
"I think you will acquire many names in time. One you will get from me: Kakumei."
He looked at me with his head to turned to one side, dark eyes inscrutable. He assumed the true lotus position in the middle of the room and levitated slightly.
I went over to the fountain and soaked my towel in water. I walked back and put my hand on his shoulder. "Do you see the Pattern that inhabits this room?" I asked. I held out the towel to him.
"Oh, but don't you see?" he replied. "There is no Pattern."
He was right. There was no longer a Pattern in the room. The views from the windows changed. A thousand scenes passed by them. The animals arranged themselves before Kakumei.
"Do you see why your parents had formed this pattern?"
"They were wrong. But then, you too are wrong." His piece and innocence was slowly crumbling. He looked up at me with a tear in his eye. I felt a tear burn my cheek.
"To grow up is painful" I said. I realized that I had thought of trying to kill him when I first getting into the room. This would have rid us of a dangerous future adversary in the Underworld and would have strengthened Deidre's position considerably. Killing him! How pathetic. Did I know so little of my destiny?
I walked out of the room through the impenetrable seal and down the stairs, unseeing. It now led down into room with the nexus well, situated at the center of the house.
The butler met me at the foot of the stair and informed me that Rhiannon wanted to talk to me. I went and talked to her, but I have no memory of what was said.
I finally gather my wits about me and seek out Sam to tell him that his son now have a name. He seems eager to hear how his son fares and obviously takes delight in his development. Strange to lock away your child so that not even you yourself can be with it. I also enquired about the mother, but he only laughed at me.
Fiona has heard about Mei Li's temple and wants to return to Hong Kong so both she, Deidre, Bleys and the rest of us returned.
Sam showed up a few days later and planted my garden. It was perfect. Such harmony and stillness as I had never before experienced.