The Mists are Clearing.

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The Mists are Clearing.

Post by Thelos on Thu May 31, 2012 7:26 am

DISCLAIMER: None of the events in this thread's stories are considered real. They are hypothetical scenarios based on what we know of Pandaren lore at the time of writing. I repeat - none of this is real in the roleplaying canon. None of this has occured or will occur. You have been warned.


Day 9: Kun-Lai summit.

The mists have cleared.

When I had first heard these words, I could scarcely imagine the breadth of their meaning, and what sort of new adventures and experiences they promised. I had read about the fabled continent of Pandaria before, but I had always thought these tales to be Elven fancies fit for children. A mythological far-off land conveniently cloaked in mists that was the home to a race of super-furbolgs seemed to me to function as a moralistic fairytale, designed to teach night elf children to treat the very real furbolgs that they had to share their forests with the respect they were due. I always discarded rumors about Pandaren adventurers as fancies that sustained and re-invigorated this myth. White furbolgs, perhaps with one or two black spots around the eye, perhaps, but nothing more. Was I foolish, was I thickheaded? Should I have seen the truth trough opaque mysteries? No, I don’t think truly did, safe for some drunken Dwarves. Fantastical stories of hidden utopia build by ancient civilizations are a common mythological motif, seen in many different cultures across a manifold of lands and worlds. Pandaria’s rise from the world of legends into the world of history has made me seriously doubt the fictionality of some of these myths. Do they not say that there is often a core of truth in mythology? Perhaps the hidden continent of Elekkania will soon rise from deep beneath the bowels of Nagrand. Probably not, but it might be worth looking in to. That’s me: Thelos, Draenei adventurer, exploring the world of Fables one continent at a time.

Of course the collapsing of myth into reality drained almost all of the romance out of the Pandaren dream. The first envoys of the real world that arrived on fairytale shores were shipwrecked warships. Reality had set the land of dreams on fire as both Horde and Alliance alike rushed to claim their unfair share of the continent’s not-so-imaginary treasures and rich resources for their own designs. But not I. I have not journeyed halfway across creation to drag yet another innocent species into the Nether. I had followed the Alliance vanguard not as a healer or a soldier, but as an anchorite, and have been given the noble task to journey far into the Pandarian mainland with the not-so-noble task to curry favor with the Pandaren monastic caste. The reasoning was sound. Temples house the soul of a people, and he who is favored by the soul, is favored by the body, and he who wins the support of the majority of Pandaren clans would no doubt win the momentum in the battle for Pandaria. This was one of the mission objectives, given to me by Alliance officers. But I am not only a soldier of the Alliance, but an agent of Light also, and its battlefield always takes priority over any other. So it was with the intention to enlist the Pandaren in two wars, one material and fickle; one spiritual and eternal, that I braved the snowy slopes of the Kun-Lai summit.

We traveled with a party of six. First I think I should mention our two invaluable Pandaren guides, without whom we would have no doubt lost our way amongst the many peaks and valleys of Kun-Lai: Pyong-Huan of the White Tiger Clan, and Quing-Zi of the Tushui Clan. King, (he allows us to call him King) as a member of the Tushui Clan, is a Pandaren defined by what the mainlanders call “Wanderlust”. Having spend most of his life traveling on the back of the massive island-sized sea turtle Shen-zin Su, he dedicated himself to the Alliance cause shortly after the mists cleared and Azeroth’s eyes fell on Pandaria. Like any member of the Alliance, he has some mastery over the Common language, though his strong sing-song accent takes some getting used to. The Pandaren language sounds unlike anything I have ever heard before. It rises and falls in rapid succession and is very rich in tone fluctuation. I’ve been told that the annunciation or volume alone can change the meaning of a word, which would explain the Pandaren tendency to fluctuate their tone so much, even when speaking Common. Qing’s Common is certainly good enough to act as our translator. As a Pandaren of the Wandering Isle restless with the titular Wanderlust, King is considered somewhat of an eccentric amongst the mainlanders, who until recently were perfectly content to stay hidden and never set a foot on the rest of Azeroth. He barely seems to know the lay of the land any better than we do, so we have come to rely on Pyong-Huan for navigation. In spite of his eccentricity, he can only be seen as a true Pandaren like any other. No frowns or grimaces ever crack King’s impeccable smile, and his laugh, which is heard frequently, is highly infectious.

The Pandaren people are incredibly hospitable. It is considered very rude not to invite stranger in for a luxurious dinner, and guests are not allowed to leave the dinner table before they are absolutely stuffed. Every meal, even breakfast, is an event, and is always washed down with copious amounts of brew. Pandaren have so many mealtimes that I have not yet memorized them all and am often taken by surprise, being that they are so close to each other that by the time a new meal is being served I am still stuffed from the last, and considering my eating habits and considerable weight, that is saying something.

Like his Tushui brother, Pyong-Huan seems to be incapable of complaint. Even though he carries the most weight out of any of us by far and is unable to properly communicate with any one besides King, Pyong-Huan dedicates himself to his given tasks with rare zest. He speaks trough his cooking and drinking, a practice much to the liking of our Dwarven companion. It seems that the Dwarves and Pandaren share the common language of stout, lager and beer; and all of the merry culture that goes along with it. Seamus Hammertoe, an old retired mountaineer who, after suffering a crippling knee injury in the second war, dedicated himself to the scholastic yet adventures life of archeology, is our Dwarf for this expedition. As the Dwarves unearthed more and more secrets about their past and creators, scholastics became religion, and Seamus became one of the first priests to preach devotion to the Titans. Though now a spiritual and pious man, Seamus is still very much a Dwarf, and he prefers to preach at the bar, rather than in church, and in merry song rather than with long-winded lectures. ‘Ol Seamus still knows how to drink the young ‘uns under the table, though he seems to have met his match in the Pandaren Brewmasters, with whom he spends every night in joyous drinking. I sometimes join this wild habit of spending over half of the night drinking and shouting, but most nights I am too tired and do not have the heart for it. When I join in I inevitable get lifted up by their strong spirits, singing and louder than the best of them, though of course not nearly drinking as much.

Even though the this mad cycle of a long day’s travel and a long night’s drinking never once delayed the departure the morrow after, our two elven companions seem to be too stern and stoic to appreciate this eccentric aspect of Pandaren culture. As the Night Elves were the only race to have any sort of history with the Pandaren prior to the clearing of the mists, it seemed only natural to let the Elves lead the diplomatic efforts. Though their knowledge is vast and their wisdom is sound, it is Seamus that seems to have the most success so far. It seems to me the Pandaren heart is closer to the belly than the head. The older of the two sisters is an elder Priestess of the Moon, said to have been born before the Shattering, and with some vague reminiscence of the Pandaren who once shared a world with the Night Elves. The fair-headed dark-skinned Elf does not speak much and communicates chiefly trough frowns and snubs. The Elves caused immediate tension when they refused a meticulously glazed slice of pork, a tension that King thankfully diffused, but not without some difficulty. I do not think the Pandaren have a word for “Vegeterian” in their language. I should mention that “tension” for the Pandaren people never takes the form of overt aggression, but rather of a harrowing absence of their normal joy. I have yet to see a Pandaren get angry.

The elder priestess is accompanied by a green-haired sentinel bodyguard who always, even while resting comfortably in an inn, holds her warglaive at the ready. Like her sister, she speaks very little, and only in Darnassian. I do not think I have yet told them that I can understand Darnassian perfectly, and I am fairly certain that they do not know that I do, since they keep talking ill of their companions, chiefly about the Dwarf. I think I will keep this to myself to keep the peace. I think their names are Mairande and Teya.

As I mentioned before, meals are always an event in Pandaren society. Pandaren often eat outdoors with as big of a company as possible. As such, Pandaren taverns and restaurants are always very well stocked and appear in the most unexpected places. Even during our climb of this steep and barren mountain, there seems to be a tavern on every other plateau. The idea of building a tavern in such a desolate place may seem absurd to us, but for a Pandaren for whom not only the meal is a simple event, but one that is to be held everywhere, at any time, preferably at exotic locations, it is perfectly natural. I learned from King that the tavern we are spending the night in was build to accommodate the pilgrims that wish to pay tribute to the mountain spirits on the way to the Temple of the White Tiger. Scattered all across the land of Pandaria, in the most unexpected and deserted places, there are shrines dedicated to the various spirits of the land, and every one of these shrines is well tended to. It is said great unfortunate will overcome a traveler that passes a shrine without paying proper tribute to it. At walking distance of almost every one of these shrines there is a tavern to quench the thirsts of the pilgrims. Our tavern is in fact build around the shrine of the mountain spirit, effectively placing the shrine in a courtyard. Though this may seem disrespectful to the spirits, I have been told that the contrary is true – it is seen as a great tribute to them. This way every single round and every meal is a tribute to the spirits of the mountain. Every toast is made in their name – and Pandaren toast with almost every other drink. This is just one of the many ways in which the Pandaren combine their epicurean culture with spirituality.

We are still a long way from the White Tiger Temple, and we have plenty of time to sample Pandaren culture to get a better feel for it. For now, I will do exactly that and join Seamus, Pyong-Huan and King at the bar.

All in the name of diplomacy, of course.


Last edited by Thelos on Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:06 am; edited 4 times in total

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Re: The Mists are Clearing.

Post by Odgan / Keag on Thu May 31, 2012 9:40 am

*Drools.* Awesome, Thelly!

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Re: The Mists are Clearing.

Post by Thelos on Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:06 am

DISCLAIMER: None of the events in this thread's stories are considered real. They are hypothetical scenarios based on what we know of Pandaren lore at the time of writing. I repeat - none of this is real in the roleplaying canon. None of this has occured or will occur. You have been warned.


Pandaren Cuisine

After months of gruesome travels, Exaythe the Abjurer arrives at the foot of the Jade Serpent Temple. Though the Horde and the Alliance shake the lands in all cardinal directions, the Temple stands perfectly still, strangely serene, as the great jade serpent statues stay their solemn stares. Her traveling guide, Zhao, is quick to hurry her on inside, where an old zen-master of the Jade Serpent Clan awaits her audience. As Exaythe is lead trough the jaden halls, the sharp echoes of her hooves disturbs the soft padding of pandaren paws that scurry to and fro. The quiet of their tread was one of the more remarkable of many strange things that Exaythe had taken note of during our journey to the temple.

Zhao leads Exaythe to enter the Zen-master's chambers without knocking. Another note is quickly scribbled down in the Abjurer's diary: Pandearen seldom knock. The master, a tiny and crooked. Pandaren, seems to be enjoying a large bowl of thick noodle-soup. Streaks of stark gray cut trough his rippled white face. The Master's fur was a flurry of many shades of black and white.

Zhao ran up to the master and started chattering excitedly in the Pandaren's characteristic sing-song twitter. When the young guide had finished, the old master simply nodded, put aside the bowl in which the wooden chopsticks drifted, and beckoned Exaythe to step forward with his claws.

Exaythe had long anticipated this moment. She was shaking underneath her skin with anxiety. She had read about Pandaren spirituality before seeking an audience, like an decent scholar would have done - and she knew of the evil spirits called the "Sha". What sort of Sha would dominate her thoughts? No matter what or how many of them they were, the old master could no see them in her shadow. His crusted eyes narrowed as he scanned the thin Draenei woman, making her feel even more uncomfortable. Was he seeing doubt? She had certainly know her share of doubt. Or was it perhaps fear he saw, since that was all she was feeling at the moment?

"By the Celestials!" the old Pandaren suddenly blurts out in Common.

Here it comes. It was fear – no, doubt! He must be seeing doubt!

"Zhao! You imbecile!" the old master suddenly snaps at the young guide, "Have you seen this one?! To the kitchens with you! At the double! And do not come back without a feast worthy of the Emperor's elite!”

The young guide bows his head deeply and scurries out of sight in a whipped gallop.

"By the Celestials!" the master repeats, "What is wrong with you, child?"

Exaythe blushed in a deep purple. Her glaring doubt must be as obvious to this age-old Pandaren as a pulsing pimple would be for a self-conscious teenager staring into a mirror. There was no sense in hiding anything. Not to this Pandaren.

"I know my heart is full of Doubt, O wise Pandaren Master, but-"

"Bollocks to the doubt!" the Master shrieked, "Have you looked in the mirror lately?"

Exaythe blinks sheepishly, dumbfounded. Did she hear that correctly?

"A mirror, you daft cow! Have you looked into a mirror lately? They have mirrors where you come form, yes?"

"Y-yes, b-but-"

"You're all but bones! By the Celestials, what are they feeding you back home?! Horse-chow?! Come! Sit! You must drink with me. Eat with me!"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Even you blue-elves need to eat! Look at you! If you were a Pandaren, no man would as much as give you a second glance! Come! Sit! Eat with me!"

The Master offers Exaythe his treasured bowl of noodle-soup. It started dawning upon Exaythe that this may just be an important part of Pandaren culture. She could not reject this offering - if a spiritual master asked you to eat with him, you eat with him. A sacred contract; one that seals the hallowed bond between teacher and student. Exaythe solemnly sits down before the master, keeping her head lowered and attempting to mimic his stature as closely as possible. She takes the bowl and starts to scarf down the noodles as quick as she can, as to not disappoint the Master.

"No! What are you doing!" the Master shrieks in a panic as he reaches for a long bamboo-stick, which he swiftly swings down to slap Exaythe on the crown of her head, right between her horns. She reels over in pain and spits some noodles back into the bowl.

"What are you doing?!" the Master asks again.

"I'-I'm eating the...The noodles?" said Exaythe confusedly.

"No you're not!" the Master says, slowly calming down. "You're not eating. You are flapping your gums up and down and swallowing. You are not eating! You do not taste! Here. Let me show you."

The Pandaren master gently takes the bowl and expertly snaps up a single noodle, slowly sucking it into his mouth. He closes his eyes and chews very loudly. After what must have been at least thirty seconds, the Master swallows, and hands back the bowl with a solemn gesture.

"Now, try again - but this time you must taste, and chew! Chew!"

Exaythe attempts to slurp up a single noddle like the Master had, but since she lacked his experience with chopsticks, could only manage a bundle. She started chewing extra loudly, flapping her gums with exaggerated sounds, puffing her cheeks and summoning up extra saliva by snapping and rolling her tongue. After a good minute, Exaythe swallows.

"Now, what do you...Taste?" the Master asked.

"It's...Delicious," Exaythe says excitedly, "It's really delicious! You were right, Master, I-"

"Delicious!" the master interrupts her, "Pah! A Hozen chef could have cooked up a better soup."

The Master takes the bowl from Exaythe again and throws it against the wall, which causes Exaythe to startle and gasp.

"This soup is much too salty! A great noodle soup must be in harmony! A balance of salt and pepper! Too much salt - it makes one thirsty! Too much pepper - it makes one sneeze!"

"I...I think I understand..." Exaythe exclaims, "You are saying that, rather than only looking towards the Light, I should look for harmony...A balance of Light and Shadow! The Salt, the White - is the Light, and the Pepper, the Black, is Shadow! Too much Light makes you thirsty, for it is only about giving without receiving, yet, too much pepper makes you sneeze - violently tearing and hurting your nose! I...It makes so much sense!"

Exaythe jumps up ecstaticly, throwing her arms up in celebration. Before she could dart off to revel in her new-found revelation, the Master seizes her by the robes and pulls her down.

"What are you talking about, you daft cow?! I was talking about noodles! Now, sit here and finish the meal that is coming. One does do not leave a Pandaren home without eating his meals and drinking his brews down to the last empty bowl and keg!"

Exaythe sits back down and bows deeply, touching the cold Jade-colored stone with her forehead. She did not have to prostate for long, as Zhao, as well as several Pandaren attendants wearing tall white hats came bursting in, carrying with them several richly decorated trays and many kegs of exotic brews. Now it was the Master that jumped up ecstaticly, rubbing his paws together with glee.

“Now, blue-elf, starts your real education!"

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Re: The Mists are Clearing.

Post by Drustai on Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:52 pm

((As usual, Exaythe over thinking everything. Very Happy))

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—The Iron Law of Bureaucracy

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Re: The Mists are Clearing.

Post by Skarain on Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:26 am

((I laughed, i enjoyed and i simply love it!))

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Re: The Mists are Clearing.

Post by Thelos on Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:25 am

DISCLAIMER: None of the events in this thread's stories are considered real. They are hypothetical scenarios based on what we know of Pandaren lore at the time of writing. I repeat - none of this is real in the roleplaying canon. None of this has occured or will occur. You have been warned.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Lo

A Friendly Game of Go.

She had been down this shit-hole for Light knows how long. It was too far underground for the sun to reach down, and they did not allow her any clocks. Fel if she knew why they didn't allow her any clocks.

Ever since she had set foot on this accursed land, the pandaren in the black hats had been stalking her. Wherever she went, the Shado-pan followed, like an invisible shadow. Oh, they had introduced themselves first, of course. They were very polite like that. The Shado-pan were nothing if not polite. They had told her that she was on something called the Black List. Told her that, while they were terribly sorry for it, they could not allow her to roam free without surveillance.

Even down here, she could feel their little beady beetle-like eyes observing her from the shadows of her cell. Since bringing her down here, they had only ever spoken once to tell her a single thing: that, if she could beat their best player in a game of Go, they would release her. At the time, she did not even know what Go was, and they never bothered to explain it to her, though they no doubt would have if she had asked. Luckily, the game was fairly self-explanatory. It was a little like chess or checkers: there was a board divided into spaces by horizontal and vertical lines, there were black tiles, and there were white tiles. They never allowed her to play with black.

At first, she had refused to play their game. She had refused to make any compromises with these beasts. And why would she? They had her in their power; and they expected her to dance to their tunes? To do tricks like a tamed monkey? Fail at their games so they moch and laugh at her? She would have none of it. But every few hours or so, the pandaren monk still loyally shuffled in on his padded claw-feet and set up the board, patiently putting all the little tiles in place and waiting for her to make the first move. Still she refused. She would not break and play along with their little games. They would break first.

They always break first.

At this time, she kept her sanity thanks to her imagination. She fantasized in which brutal ways she would torture her captors upon her inevitable escape. They would break before she ever would. This was certain. They would not be able to keep her down forever. Her allies would come for her. They would rescue her.

Yet, the large wooden board with the black-and-white stones intrigued her. In spite of the fact that she knew that they wanted her to play, and that they kept stoically offering it to her for exactly the reason that it would start to creep up in her mind and distract her thoughts from her just vengeance, she could not help herself. Down here, in the deep dark, there was very little else to do, and after what seemed to have been a very long time, only for it to later be revealed to be a very short while indeed, she placed one of the stones on the board. Instantly the black-and-white pandaren paw shot forward and shifted her stone just a little teensy bit to the left so that it was placed on an intersection of two lines, rather than on one of the squares in between of them. Filled with an inexplicable shame, she refused to play any further, even as the pandaren placed a single black stone somewhere down the board, his face still hidden in the shadows of that black hat of his. And, after some time, just like always, the pandaren cleaned up the board and left her cell, leaving her with a dumb sense of longing. In spite of her searing hatred, she found herself anxiously awaiting his return

She refused the next few games, but she knew that they knew that this was only a hollow gesture. They had begun to break her. She had started to play, and, now that the pandaren had corrected one of her faulty moves, she could not help herself from trying to figure out what the right kind of moves were. So she played. If she was being forced to play their game, then she would be damned to lose it. They would be sorry for their mischievousness when their clever tricks would be turned against them.

So she began learning. She placed her white stones randomly across the board, wherever the lines intersected, and read the pandaren's responses. She soon noticed that, once her stones were surrounded by the opponent's, he would remove them from the game. Her fist loss was due to her thinking that the goal of the game was to just wipe out as many of your foe's units as possible. It did not take much imagination to figure out that, by placing your stones closely huddled together, the opponent would not be able to capture them, thus ensuring a solid defense against being captured. As a response, the pandaren would scatter his stones across the playing board, placing them as far apart as possible; and, after not too many turns, spoke his first words since bringing his opponent down here:

“You lose”.

Next time, she tried to mimic the pandaren's strategy, by scattering her stones all across the board, as far apart as possible. In response to that however, the pandaren quite easily captured her fleeting stones with a tighter formation. She lost again, this time learning a lesson that should have been obvious: neither an all-out offensive, nor an absolute defense, would earn her a victory.

Though she realized that spending all her thinking-time on a childish game, rather than on figuring out a way to escape, was probably precisely what they had intended she would be doing, she no longer found herself caring. She started spending her time in between games strategizing, thinking about the game, figuring out new ways in which to play the game and ultimately beat the pandaren. She would envision past games in her mind, in which she would counter the pandaren's moves in such a way that she would nullify his petty plans and come out victorious. Every move had a counter-move. She would just have to figure out every single one – luckily, she was blessed with an excellent memory.

When asked about it, she would later hesitantly admit that at the time she had forgotten all about the Shado-pan's promise to release her once she beat them in a game of Go. And why should she have remembered? All that mattered was to beat the stuck-up beast in his own game. Though she could not see his face, hidden as it was in shadow, she fantasized often about a scowling, feral face that snarled at every move that she made, prowling like a savage beast. She could see his eyes become more feral, his frown more vicious, as she got better at the game and the matches lasted longer and longer. The matches, indeed, felt like they flowed in to one another. She found that she could no longer figure out when the previous match had ended, or when she bad begun her current one. The in-between time seemed to melt and fade away, as all she could think of was Go. Soon she would have this pathetic mongrel growling for mercy, as she would turn that one sentence he was so found off back at him:

You lose.

Yet, no matter how many strategies she thought out, no matter how well she played, no matter how clever her tricks and how well-thought out her counters were – the pandaren seemed to be always two moves ahead of her, always having the counter to the counter prepared well in advance, revealing her strategy to be childish and naïve. Every way in which she thought she could gain an advantage, the pandaren would turn against her and warp in to a disadvantage.

After all those games, she could not even manage to get the softest whimper or sigh out of that accursed hidden head. All she heard, repeated, endlessly, always in the same voice, the same damned monotone:

“You lose”.

She began flipping the board when she lost. Punching it. Breaking it. Splitting it in two, three, four pieces. She almost launched herself at the smug pandaren's neck, in order to crush his windpipe and forever silence him, so that he may never again usher that damned sentence. You lose. It was maddening. After what seemed like a thousand-thousand losses, all she wanted for that blasted pandaren to be silent; that, just for once, she was the one to say:

You lose.

All this time she had remained silent. After all, what did she have to say? She could curse and damn this blasted pandaren, but that would just shame her as a poor loser. She could ask him for advice and help on how to play the game, but that would mean she loses the unspoken game. It would mean that she would have to succumb and acknowledge the superiority of this dirty backwards fur-ball. It would mean all of those games in which she taught herself how to play would be meaningless and silly. All she had to do was ask. But she could not. She would not. She mustn’t.

She still had her dignity.

Do you have any tips on how to play this game?

“You are too focused on your opponent,” the pandaren answered slowly and without bile, “you waste most of your energy trying to disrupt my strategy, rather than to working on progressing your own”.

“The most efficient way to defeat your opponent is to ensure that he is unable to execute his strategy.”

“So it is.” The pandaren lifted his hat just slightly, showing a gentle smile underneath eyes still hid in shadow. “And yet – is beating your opponent all there is to winning, I wonder...?”

“To win and to have your opponent lose, is the very same thing. So yes. That is all there is to winning. It is the same”.

“So it is”.

After this short exchange, the ice had been broken. Though neither of them appeared to be of the talkative kind, they started to leisurely discuss the game while playing it. When requested, the pandaren would comment on his moves, and on hers, as she now started to improve more rapidly thanks to the pandaren's insights in to the game. She learned the specific terms for the ideas that drifted around her head in want of a concept; she was vindicated in some of her tactics, as they were revealed to be standard strategies; and the rule-set she had formulated for herself was all but confirmed. All of this helped her to improve greatly. As the games lasted longer and longer, the conversations became more casual and pleasant. Soon, topics that had little to do with the game were being discussed. Where she had come from. Why she had come to Pandaria. About some of her dreams and ideals. About the war. About his family, his sons, and his daughters. Soon, the pandaren had taken off his hat completely, and revealed his kindly old face. Eventually, the pandaren would stay with her even after the games had been concluded.

One day, when the pandaren was setting up the board like he always did, she said:

“Can I play with black today?”

The pandaren smiled his goofy grin as he picked up both pouches that held the stones, holding them out as if he were a scale and jingling them merrily. “Why, my friend, why would you want to do that? We have discussed this. White begins, giving it half a percent advantage. It is not much, but I figured you could use whatever edge you can get, no?”

“Black is my color”.

“You do not mind the disadvantage, tiny though as it may be?”

She shrugged. “Pao, we both know that I am never going to win any of these games. Not in this century at least. So I might as well play in the color that I like the most”.

The pandaren stopped jingling the stones and gently put them aside. “You would play, knowing that you have no chance at winning?”

“I do not think I ever had one to begin with”.

“Yet, still – you play. Why?”

She fell silent for a while, gathering her thoughts. The pandaren smiled kindly as always, patient, though something in his demeanor betrayed a certain anxiety.

“I guess...It is the most fun I'll have while I am stuck down here.”

“...Fun?” The pandaren asked.

“Fun, or something else, I don't know,” she snapped, a little bitter, “I just...I like it, I suppose. I like playing the game.”

“You enjoy playing the game, no matter whether you win or lose?”

She hesitated.

“Yes.”

Pao gestured to an invisible guardsman with a subtle hand-sign. Instantly, two Shado-pan warriors, dressed in their familiar black guise and hats, emerged from the shadows, one holding a set of keys.

“I think that we have played enough. I do not know about you, but I have been getting a little bored with it. I think you are ready to re-enter the game played above. You have spend enough time in the penalty-box.”

The guardsman unlocked the shackles around her wrists. The accursed chains, after having held her for so long, dropped to the ground with an anti-climactic thud.

“Go on, then. Go. Play the game.”

She rubbed her wrists, looking dumbstruck. After having fantasized about this moment for so long during the early days of her imprisonment, she now suddenly appeared woefully unprepared for it.

“But...Why?” she stumbled, “Why now? What's changed? Why are you releasing me?”

None of the pandaren answered. The guardsmen unlocked the cell-door and returned to the shadows, invisible. Pao remained silent.

“You never even asked for my name”.

“Nor will I ever.” the pandaren said. “Now go.”

That was the last she had ever heard of Pao. She sometimes returned to the monastery, looking to play another game with the old pandaren, but he was never there to be found. Once she was released, the Shado-pan removed her from their so-called blacklist, and she never again felt the presence of their beady beetle-like eyes looking at her from the shadows. The war carried on, as if she had never been away from it at all. Her life continued, as if it was never interrupted in the first place. When enough time passed, her imprisonment seemed to only have lasted a fleeting moment. A single breath. In the biography of her life, there would scarcely be place for it, except perhaps for a short footnote. Nothing had changed. Everything remained same.

And in the end, she had never did beat Pao at Go.

Not even once.


Last edited by Thelos on Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:53 am; edited 3 times in total

Thelos

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Re: The Mists are Clearing.

Post by Odgan / Keag on Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:55 am

Awesome, once again!

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Re: The Mists are Clearing.

Post by erwtenpeller on Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:38 am

Goosebumps!

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Re: The Mists are Clearing.

Post by erwtenpeller on Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:26 am

Now I read the first two too. They are epic. O_O

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Re: The Mists are Clearing.

Post by Drustai on Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:19 am

I like this.

_____________________________________________________
[I] Drustai the Necromancer - Outcast
[A] RADM Areyah Conover - Missing in Action
[L] Saphra Emberstone - Felsworn
[H] Atsenkha - Former Kor'kron, Red Blade Tribesorc


"...in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself... In all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions."

—The Iron Law of Bureaucracy

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Re: The Mists are Clearing.

Post by Sponsored content Today at 4:57 am


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