Master Ping

Dear master, I write to you this day the 15th of March on a troubling matter of a recent battle that we were involved in and the the behaviour of one of our party during it. Perhaps you will be able to advise me on how I should view this act.

Only when the battle was finally over and we were compelled to drain our small reserves of healing magic and potions did we realise the full extent of Talen's cowardice and the extreme heroism of the others that had allowed us to survive a fight whose odds were far against us. Had it not been for Father Alex's valient defence of the doorway out of the chamber Talen's flight might well have weakened our rear so much that escape was impossible. As it was the passage was held by a strong warrior spirit and much skill, preventing our adversaries from surprising us from behind.

When Tigers fight, mangy dogs make the most of it

Clearly the rest of our group shared this assesment of the tactical advisability of Talen's actions. While every dog is strong in his own midden he puts his tail between his legs when his master comes. I was too weak to confront Talen then, but my eyes were opened to see that he certainly was one who had a long way to go till enlightenment. Pavel, very wise for a northener, attempted to use the tried and tested technique of sudden shock that many techers have used to bring enlightenment but even a broken nose didn't show Talen the way. Indeed it seemed to me that he manifested many more signs of unenlightenment that I had not seen before, I am sure that in his lust for power, for example, he injured one of the poor unfortunates who was trapped in the temple, but I couldn't prove it. The wicked hand is always the slippiest lord Slumbor once said.

Who is born to be hanged will never be drowned

A little hole will sink a big ship

Leaving Talen to his villany I attended to my comrades and then to the drugged people. These we took from that place of horror and conducted to my home where I made them as comfortable as their weakened state would allow. Better a dead priest than one that knows no charity for the hand that gives is the hand that gets. Seeing I could do little for them I called upon the skills of a wise woman. Though she seemed horrible to sight one cannot judge the mountain by its snows and I trusted her herbs to have powers. These it seemed they did, and I was honoured to watch as she made infusions to bring them strength and health. These things perhaps I too should one day learn to further my enlightenment.

No man ever broke his bow but another man found a use for the string

The most important things immediatly taken care of, I sought to once again improve my tools and weapons with spells and base currency. Though good tools do not a craftsman make I can see that they are worthy in our hands as we attempt to be worthy in Lord Slumbor's. Nevertheless my skills failed me in battle. Even proving once again that my skills were better than Kazir's Parsee immitations did not remove that shame. I must practice harder and become stronger because only the master is truely one with the way. I have let my mind slip to incedental things when I should have concentrated on the teachings my Master would have given. I endevoured to concentrate on the learning of magic approved by Lord Slumbor and to the exercise of my body, but even this did not take my mind off the problem of Talen. It seemed to me that he needed to be reminded that where theives dispute honest men get their own, for it is better to embrace the blackbird than to scorn the swallow. Thus I prepared a detailed account of all his earnings to date and gave them to one of Talen's honoured collegues in the stableboys guild to peruse.

The hand that gives is the hand that gets

A few days having passed one of my guests was much recovered, but Lord Slumbor had sen fit to hide the mind of the other in dreams from which he may never recover. I must dedicate myself to the punishment of those that did this to an innocent man as is a monks duty. Eager to hear what the man had to say the others gathered at my dojo to question him, even Talen, no doubt eager to learn of dangers he might avoid, was there.

The poor man told us a tale of horror, kidnapped, drugged and carried far from his home he told us of a strange complex in the woods, of spider statues and beautiful sorceresses. This was indeed a tangled web, and as we realised what villany the daughter of our master might be involved in we became fearful of learning more. The steps of the chief's house are always slippy as the very enlightened Sun Zhan once said. We risk now angering our master with this news and stirring up a nest of hornets bigger than we can manage. Nevertheless we decided to tell our employer all, as seemed fated.

It seems that most of the rest of the party did much the same as I. They rested and they purchased equipment to bring them strength. Clearly our near defeat brought close the shadow of death to us all, but was it the weakness of our arms or the weakness of our allies that nearly brought us down?

Your servant

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