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It Wasn't Tea

Pretty sure people on pilgrimages don't usually do that. ... Or that. ... Not that either. ... How did you even do that, anyway?

He shook his head hard enough to make his tattered ears flap. Memories had a nasty habit of cropping up at the worst possible time to be thinking about them, and this one was persistent, especially since it had only happened yesterday afternoon. And last night. And a little bit that morning...Cambor bit his tongue. Shaking his head clearly wasn't working.

How were you supposed to know Firie would be here? It's not like you had any idea where you were going, or where you actually were at the time. And you certainly weren't planning on anything like that, least of all with her... Did she really have to put the dress back on? And insist on walking in front? She has pants, you know she does, what happened to those? ...DOWN, boy! Is she doing this on purpose, or are you just that easy?

A long sigh escaped from the worgen. At this rate, he was pretty sure he'd have to slap himself, and that would definitely warrant explanation, if the head-shaky hadn't already. Fortunately, as he and Crackers followed Firie out of the trees, he was presented with a suitable distraction.

He thought Paw'don had been impressive, but the Temple of the Jade Serpent was downright breathtaking, and its sheer size only added to the feeling of hushed awe that fell on him the instant his eye focused fully. For a brief moment he lamented never studying masonry or architecture; he would have been proud to have merely shaped the bricks for a place like this. And here, too, the consideration of beauty was in full effect, as he realized every tree and flower had been placed and shaped with deliberate care. His inner druid was ecstatic.

Could probably spend a week just finding all the carvings on the walls here. Wonder if you could build a house in this style in Zangarmarsh...probably cost more gold than I'd come across in ten years just to get all the right materials there intact...not to mention getting enough supports set up to keep it from sinking right into the murk...

Walking directly into a Pandaren was, Cambor would reflect later, not unlike walking into a round brick wall covered in plush, furry pillows. If walls laughed, anyway. He didn't stumble, and the Pandaren barely flinched, but he still apologized rapidly enough that it was a wonder anybody understood him. Firie had already stepped aside, and was doing a poor enough job at hiding a laugh that he was almost certain she wasn't actually trying all that hard to hide it. The hug that followed the collision was unexpected, as was the small groan of protest from his own ribs, but he rallied enough to introduce himself. The fuzzy brick wall, apparently called Jianyu, declared it time for the tour and led the way into the temple proper.

******

"... and it doesn't matter what I've been doing, whether I'm alone, rested, stressed, nothing. I just... it's like everything presses in on me, or-or I'm suddenly aware that everything around me has been waiting for that precise moment to pounce, and I can't do anything about it. Just... back to tooth and nail again."

They'd wandered the temple for hours until they'd gotten to the Arboretum. At that point, Cambor had become so simultaneously giddy and relaxed that Jianyu had laid out a blanket and asked someone to bring them tea. After they'd gotten the curious puppy under control again and he'd been able to sit still a while, Jianyu had finally asked why Firie had brought him along. Though he'd come to Pandaria specifically to address his problem, Cambor had been hesitant to explain, and the conversation had meandered for quite some time before actually getting to the heart of the matter. Jianyu was mercifully patient, and well-versed in the art of asking questions and actually listening to the answers.

"You describe a situation not unfamiliar to this temple, my friend. We have seen many troubled people come and go, some worse than others, and some for whom there was no answer." He stroked his thin beard with one burly hand, then smiled. "But, all left in better shape than when they arrived. I believe I may know someone well-suited to your particular problem." Jianyu rose to his feet, then raised a brow at the still seated worgen. "That is, of course, if you are able to tear yourself away from the trees for but a few moments."

Sheepishly, Cambor stood and followed the Pandaren back inside, letting him lead the way down the halls. Jianyu seemed very disinclined toward walking in silence, but he kept his voice low out of respect for those who were engaged in things a bit more serious than walking the worgen. "I believe you are in desperate need of a mentor; someone to show you the way back to yourself. Fortunate for you that we have just such a person visiting our temple this very night!" Jianyu paused for a moment at a crossing, muttering under his breath, then snapped his fingers and continued walking. "Ah yes, this way... As I was saying, you are very lucky to have chosen now to seek guidance. And," and here he paused in front of a door, knocking gently, "You will find in this one a most eager teacher."

Cambor was understandably intrigued, ears standing straight and facing forward as the door opened and a female Pandaren, brown-furred and stern, stood within. She took one look at the worgen, smiled, shook her head and said, "You read my mind, Jianny." Then she stepped aside to allow them both through, calling through the open doorway, "Your pupil has arrived."

Seated at a small table and sipping a cup of tea was a human woman, dark-skinned, white-haired, and blinking owlishly at him. The door clicked shut behind the one-eyed worgen just as he realized neither Pandaren had remained in the room with them.

Both Cambor and Firie spoke at the same time.

"...Wait, what?"

Comments

Firie's picture

(( I love this.  Fi` is less

(( I love this.  Fi` is less sure about this.  And somewhere in another setting, Karina is laughing and laughing. ))

Kistra's picture

I like the way you use your

I like the way you use your words. Everything flows from inside an active and curious mind, and it feels like the story meanders around close to Cambor's own point of view!  That's great.  It's almost perfect, and for this particular character, I think it IS perfect.  I always enjoyed seeing the narrative written in a way that was tailored directly to the voice character, whereas some others prefer more omnicient.  

This gives a distinct flavor, and I feel Cambor's impact as a character would be lost without this tone in your writing. ^-^ b

Lirriel's picture

((It's called "close 3rd

((It's called "close 3rd person" or "limited 3rd person" and it's pretty much 1st person but using the 3rd perspective. It's not omnicient, and it definitely gets in a character's head and perception. They were pushing it heavily in my later writing classes as it's become pretty prevalent recently, particularly in YA writing. GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire mostly sticks to this, with events told through the eyes/emotions/experiences of the POV character of that chapter. Most times he stays very much IC. This also allows for character bias and unreliable narration, much as in first person, but it's more subtle. People are used to 3rd person being more objective, but close 3rd has the same prejudices and benefits as 1st. The trick is keeping it to that character's voice, much like in 1st, and keeping to only what they know and see.))