January 20, 2016 at 11:46 am #1688
The great pomp and circumstance with which you return to Fanlu begins well before you reach it’s ancient western gate. It begins at Hanginghold, where the burly monks their insist on subjecting you to a lavish ritual of purification, to wash away any evil spirits that might have trailed behind you on your long passage through darkness and struggle.
You are bathed in the subterranean hot springs beneath the small hanging monastery. Each of you receive a barrage of 8 different massages, each with a different kind of rare oil. All the while, your gear and clothing is treated to a good cleaning as needed. At first it is awkward for heroes such as yourselves, ones accustomed to discomfort, the defensive importance of personal space, and self control…but the monks work their magic, and before long, even you are relaxed. As long treatments pass the trauma’s of what you have seen recede, and the fullness of the good memories and triumphs seems to push to the fore of your thoughts. There are also thoughts of the future, for surely, there is much to decide.
You are each set upon a finely groomed donkey you’re told was sent ahead especially for you. The reins of each neatly cropped beast are intertwined with flowers, and their mains have been washed and shined to a gleaming black, and twined into braids with ribbons of smoke grey and emerald green silk.
You are each given a volumous cream colored robe of fine linen trimed in red, which hang about you loosely like a great blankets with sleeves. Even Hroth and his bulky armor is contained within the robes. They are awkward at first, but in time, a welcome friend against the chill mountain winds upon the road back to Fanlu. Your “Proper Heroes’ Attirement”, as the head monk of Hanginghold calls it, is completed with a broad-brimmed black hat with bright red dingle balls of silk hanging from it’s brim.
Down the road you head, some of you wanting to ditch the strange outfits as soon as you’re out of sight of the Hanginghold, some of you enjoying the oddity and warmth of the outfits. You are accompanied by four monks who march a good distance ahead of you. Each bears a lacquered wooden board about the size of a 2×4 engraved with gold painted symbols held in one hand and over the shoulder, and in the other hand, a heavy looking staff set with bells and chimes that ring and sing with metallic glee with every step. Behind you a good ways you are followed by 4 more muscle bound monks. Each bears a drum in a shoulder harness and a hanging brass incense burner the gives off thick trails of purple grey smoke. Your party has grown quite large: The five donkeys you originally took with you, laden with equipment and the spoils of your quest, the five donkey’s you ride on, loan bear and his donkey and barrel cart, and 8 monks.
In Sunset, you are greeted with the humble fanfare a tiny mountain town is able to muster, and the Constable eager to hear tales of your adventure. The last 10 miles of road to Fanlu have been dressed in style to receive you. Hundreds of Monks have worked for more than a week in anticipation of your arrival, crafting thousands of flower and ivy wreaths that decorate the roadside. Every tenth mile a squared off archway made of 3 wooden poles has been raised. Silk streamers descend from each and brush against you as you pass underneath. Each one is attended by a pair of armored warrior-monks who symbolically bar your passage briefly before standing aside to let you pass, and as you pass each pair, they sound a horn that alerts the next pair of your approach.January 21, 2016 at 11:50 am #1691
Hrothgard watches all the fanfare with a slight smile. Taking it all in. Nodding at each person he passes. He leans over towards Caris, with a smile. Rotating his head around and enjoying the feel of his worked over neck muscles and circling his loose-muscled shoulders…
“I could get quite used to living like this…” he says with a deep laugh, sitting back up straight and enjoying the scenery.January 21, 2016 at 12:24 pm #1692
Grey, respectfully declines the lavish robes and head gear, accepting the bare minimum of the nice donkey to ride.
Even then, he returns the donkey to the accompanying monks with much thanks and proceeds the last five miles to fan lu on foot.
An old family tradition, based in gratitude for being welcome in such a wonderful sanctuary as fan lu, a reminder of humbler time and A time of introspection of the road behind.January 21, 2016 at 7:13 pm #1693
“Of course, Grey declines the ceremonial bath and robes” Caris laughs to herself.
Caris giggles at the sight of Hroth precariously perched upon his donkey and fine robes. Yes the massage and cleansing was divine. It feels as if they all have been anointed and set to path, recharged and ready for new things.
She finds herself quite pleased and at peace now, currently among her comrades. Thoughts of Shen Ling and it’s Lord still cloud her mind and draw her to return soon. The connection still pulling at her heart. But for now, she clears those thoughts, and sets eyes on the path ahead.
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