[Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby dskod1 » 24 Oct 2013, 22:06

Xiang Li turned and bowed equally to the young boy. He then turned to the front and began walking again with the two. Xiang Li turned his attention to the master eager to learn these four noble truths in the hope that they could ease his mind. When Shigao gave the responsibility over to the student Xiang Li was surprised for the sudden embrace of this man. The embrace made xiang Li feel uncomfortable as he was not used to be touched in such a way however he decided to tolerate it due to the situation.

"Yes, there is much suffering in the land."

Said Xiang Li knowing that truth simply will not help his mind cope with the situation.

"And the other 3?"

Asked Xiang Li eagerly.
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby Kongming999 » 28 Oct 2013, 23:28

((OOC: Sorry for late reply, a combination of lowly inspiration and having to write an extremely lengthy research paper kinda killed my muse for the past few days...))

An Shigao nodded approvingly at the minister’s eager acceptance of the first truth, for this is the one most have trouble comprehending, especially in times of economic and cultural prosperity. However, in such turbulent eras as the current, many more individuals become willing to seek shelter within the confidence of religion. This is precisely why the Khotanese monk chose this particular year to visit the Middle Kingdom.

Taking over for his bumbling disciple, Shigao continued to explain the Four Noble Truths to the Han man.

"Xuan was completely correct in his iterance on the Truth of suffering," he began in his calming voice. "We Buddhists call this dukkha. Such a concept encompasses not only physical pain, but also psychological and emotional suffering: anxieties, stress, dissatisfaction with the world... all fall under this unfortunate umbrella of misery.

The Second Truth is that all dukkha in this world is caused by misplaced desire. The desire for power, known as ambition; for wealth, called greed; for sexual gratification, named lust. All such wants are fueled by the inherently human nature to wish for more than can be given. Take yourself, for example. You desire to become a productive member and protector of a peaceful dynastic empire. Such a condition simply cannot be achieved, not because of your personal lack of productivity or benevolence, but because that the worldly situation has no hope of becoming one suitable for an individual like yourself.

Your desire is unquenchable, your wish unfulfillable, by no fault of your own. As long as you possess such longings, you cannot be happy. The only solution is to eliminate the offending culprit. To remove yourself from the burden of desire."

Here, Shigao stopped and looked directly at his companion.

"Is that not so, Master Xiang?"
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby dskod1 » 29 Oct 2013, 21:34

Xiang Li had some trouble with this second truth where he was asked to remove himself from his greatest desire of all. He thought for a moment on this and then stopped in his tracks, turning to the monk.

"What if it is my desire that is helping to end the suffering of others? I would more then gladly carry the burden and pain of desire if it helped but two others receive far less pain either physically or spiritually. I would forego even that of spiritual happiness with whatever consequences it might bring in order to bring happiness to people."

Xiang Li just could not let go of this desire so easily and would even go so far as to fight anyone or anything who tried to put a stop to his desire. Xiang Li turned toward the front once more beginning to move and looking ahead of him as he does so
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby Kongming999 » 06 Nov 2013, 01:51

An Shigao nodded understandingly, aware of the difficulty that many encounter when trying to accept the concept of "letting go."

"Aye sir, you raise a good point," the monk agreed, "We all have our hopes for this world. Some seek to gain power, some seek to destroy, and some, among whose number you are one, seek to salvage.

You are well intentioned in your wishes to end the suffering of others. However, this only makes you the most victimized among the sufferers."

Before expounding on this comment, the Khotanese master beckoned to his disciple, who proceeded to rummage around in his knapsack, eventually emerging with a canteen of water and a small clay cup. Shigao took the drinking utensils from his apprentice and held out the cup towards Xiang Li.

"Minister Xiang, would you mind holding this for me, for just a second?"
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby dskod1 » 08 Nov 2013, 06:36

Xiang gives a short bow and takes the cup thinking closely on the words of Shigao. Xiang Li continued on his current course of staying true to his own virtues and continued.

"But I know it is impossible to destroy all suffering, in fact I do not even wish such a thing for suffering is a necessary part of this world. Without suffering we could not punish the wicked and without suffering our achievements would feel of nothing. The wicked free themselves of suffering but enslave the people to more suffering. I wish to instead take the unnecessary and unjust burden of this kind of suffering off the people and suffer it myself. In a way my suffering is not selfless at all as whatever I achieve after all this suffering will be that much better for me."

Xiang Li hoped he got his point across about not wishing to destroy suffering and still held the cup as he walked. Xiang Li walked slower however in order to keep the cup as balance as possible.
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby Kongming999 » 09 Nov 2013, 16:30

In response to Xiang's eloquent and selfless words, the Khotanese monk gave only a slight nod and a quiet "Mmm." of agreement.

Upon the conclusion of the minister's speech, Shigao shook his canteen of water, gesturing at the cup that was still in Xiang's hands. "Those are wise words, good sir. You must be thirsty after uttering so many. Allow me to pour you a drink."

Without waiting for a reply, the monk popped the cork that stoppered the canteen and tilted it so that a thin stream of liquid fell towards the cup. It was not a large cup, about as deep and as wide as an average man's little finger, and filled quickly. However, Shigao did not stop pouring, even when the dainty porcelain thing had been filled to its brim. The water spilled over the sides of the cup like the ocean breaching a seawall.

Liquid splattered on the dry cracked ground, offering the first hints of moisture since the drought and famine that had brought about the rise of the Yellow Turbans in the first place...flowing, flowing, never stopping Still, Shigao did not stop. It seemed like the canteen was endless... On and on the monk poured, calmly and without changing his countenance. In mid-pour, Shigao glanced up at the minister, whose long robes had been wet by the rampantly running liquid, waiting for a response.
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby dskod1 » 10 Nov 2013, 11:01

Xiang Li gave a small smile and even a chuckle to the Monk's comment about his speech. It had been a long time since Xiang Li had been outside court and it was clearly showing. Xiang Li continued trying to explain himself with a smile as the Monk began to pour the water.

"I am sorry, it is in my nature to take opposing sides in anything in order to better understand things. It was how I...."

Xiang Li was interrupted by the overflow of the water which had begun to pour over Xiang Li's hands and onto the ground. It was a cool sensation and his hands certainly welcomed the touch of moisture however Xiang Li was instantly shocked to the situation and took a small jump back stopping in his place. He looked down noticing the water had quenched the bottom of his robe.

"Too much, too much."

Was Xiang Li's plea to the monk in order to try and stem the flow of the water. Xiang Li however could not move his hands without losing grip of the cup and so stood there in the hope the monk would stop pouring on his own. Xiang's face was one of confusion more then anything not considering if these actions actually meant something and more concerned with stopping the water.
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby Kongming999 » 10 Nov 2013, 17:10

Smiling slightly, Shigao complied with Xiang Li’s request to stop the pouring. He re-stoppered the canteen and handed it back to his disciple who had been watching attentively all this while at the strange procession of events.

Gesturing to the cup that was still in the minister’s hands, the Buddhist spoke:

"Like this cup, Master Xiang, you are so full of your pre-conceived opinions that nothing else can go in. All the water in the world can do you no good if it ends up outside your cup."

These words were uttered earnestly and without any hint of scolding; instead, they sounded like those spoken by a concerned friend. Shigao again smiled gently towards the Han official.

"I ask you, dear sir, to empty your cup of the past. Whatever happened there cannot be repeated; nor can it be changed. We can only look to fill ourselves with the drought of the future."
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby dskod1 » 10 Nov 2013, 21:50

Whilst Xiang Li no longer had the puzzled look on his face his face was now rather anxious about all of this. Xiang Li looked down at the cup momentarily and then back up at the old monk. He gave a brief smiled and continued walking with the monk.

"Ahh but Emptying the cup is the most easiest solution however...."

Xiang Li gripped the cup with his left hand rather hard as he removed his right hand. After a brief browsing in his horse's satchel he pulls out a cup bigger than that of the cup that laid in his left hand. Placing the cups next to each other Xiang Li carefully poured the water in the smaller cup to the bigger cup.

"If we attain a bigger cup not only can we keep our preconceptions and experiences of the past but we can expand on them and ultimately change them for the better. It may be a longer route then simply emptying the small cup but it is far more rewarding in the long run."

The small cup was now empty and Xiang Li Offered it back to the monk with a bow of his head.
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby Kongming999 » 10 Nov 2013, 23:21

Surprised that the minister was able to produce a counter-argument (and counter-metaphor) so quickly, Shigao began to cough; such a deviation from his usual philosophical routine was not something that the elderly monk had prepared for.

"But-ahem-you see, good sir," Shigao began, half sputtering over his own words. The phrase "good sir" now carried none of the benevolence that it had in the monk’s previous utterances; rather, the syllables were spat out from a tongue that was obviously annoyed. "The cup represents... your body. You cannot dispose of your body, good sir. Likewise, you cannot exchange my cup for a larger one."

Shigao yanked his smaller cup away from the minister, who was left to hold the larger of the two. The elderly monk began to speak faster and faster, as if afraid that another interruption would occur. "Yes, that’s it. You cheated, didn’t you? I tried to explain a parable to you, but nooo, you had to go ahead and ruin the metaphor. Get a new cup, ha! The day you’re able to get a new cup is the day I grow wings. Why yes, that’ll be the day when I-"

"Master, please stop."

This came from the young disciple, who had stayed silent throughout his master’s angry tirade.

"What?" demanded the elder, "You say something to me kid?"

"Yes, Master," the "kid" responded respectfully but forcefully, "Please stop saying these senseless words. Minister Xiang is obviously content in his current situation. He wishes to dedicate his life to saving the sufferers of this world. Like us, Minister Xiang seeks to lead the world’s peoples away from the sea of dukkha. Right now, it is you who needs to empty your cup... or get a new one, as the case may be." With these last words, the younger monk nodded understandingly towards Xiang Li.

After a brief pause, Shigao grunted, fell silent, and walked himself over to the opposite side of the road, arms crossed and brow furrowed heavily. The younger monk was thus left to converse with Xiang at their leisure.

"Hehe... Sorry about that minister," said the lad, grinning sheepishly, "I dunno what came over me."
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby dskod1 » 11 Nov 2013, 01:14

Xiang Li was at first taken by surprise by the Monk's reaction to Xiang Li's counter. He walked slowly speechless to the unfolding events of the Monk at first attempting to debunk what Xiang Li had said and then having a slight argument with his disciple. Xiang Li stopped walking perplexed by what had just happened. He quickly drank the water so as to put the cup back in the horses's Satchel. Xiang Li then turned to the Disciple giving a short bow with his hands in front of him.

"I apologies if I have been rude to your master and if I offended him."

Said Xiang remaining in bowing position until his apology had been accepted by the boy. He also wished to go over to the monk and make his apology in person to the man.
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby Kongming999 » 11 Nov 2013, 01:47

"Oh no, no," quipped the youngster, hurriedly bending himself to help Xiang Li straighten from his bowed posture. "You haven’t hurt him or anything! Master’s a little temperamental at times, but he calms down quite quickly. I daresay he’ll be fine come dinnertime."

The lad ran a hand over his shaved scalp and rubbed the back of his neck guiltily. His chubby face shone with concern towards the minister. "If anything, it is I who owe you an apology, for startling you so... Amitabha, may Buddha forgive my sins."

Unless Xiang Li was uncannily observant, this would be the first time that the Han official got a decent look at the lad, who had preferred to stay hidden behind his master until now. The boy was built rather roundly, of average height but more than average girth, clothed in simple cloth robes that provided shelter to his considerably sized belly. Oddly, the garments were clean and tidy, unlike the costumes of most other refugees on this path. His young face was nearly always decorated by a contented grin, as if the youngster had just ate a delicious meal and was sitting back to savor its lingering flavor. Over his shoulder the boy carried a large cloth bag that had seen obviously seen better times: the old thing had been patched in so many places that it was difficult to discern the original fabric from the additional layers. It was out of this bag that the drinking utensils had appeared, and the chubby lad hung onto it as if it were his greatest treasure.

As the situation became less awkward, the young monk’s features once again rearranged themselves into his signature grin. Had Xiang Li looked closely, he would have felt a sort of warmth emanating from the youth... a slightly glowing aura generated by those who still have hope for humankind in this desolate world...

"My name is An Xuan, by the way! Nice to meet you, Minister Xiang."
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby dskod1 » 11 Nov 2013, 10:04

Xiang Li pulls himself up from his bow taking some time to have a look at the young man who up until now he has neglected. He then went back to bowing when the man introduced himself.

"Greetings An Xuan, I am Xiang Li."

Finished Xiang coming up from his bowing position and taking another short look at the man before turning to continue walking along the path. Xaing Motioned with his left arm over to where the old monk was now walking.

"Whilst you do say that I have not offended or done any wrong I can not help feel responsible for this tension. In order for me to make amends I offer you to my residence in the new capital."

Xiang Li placed his arm down hoping to get a positive reply more for his satisfaction then his new acquaintances. It had been a long time since Xiang Li had spent time outside the court with anyone, and these people would bring him more than that of fresh air. Xiang once more turned his head to Xuan as he continued his walking.

"I am sorry to ask but what are two monks such as yourself doing in the cap....."

Xiang stopped himself just remembering the entire incident that caused him to take this path with the other refugees. Xian looks around himself once more noticing the refugees that the conversation had managed to distract himself from. His mind saddened once more as he tried to continue.

"in Louyang?"
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby Kongming999 » 11 Nov 2013, 21:33

Seeing the minister bow for a second time, An Xuan couldn’t help but to reach out and pat the man on his head. "Hehe you certainly like to bow a lot. Don’t you ever get tired of always bending at the waist?"

The boy didn’t mean to be disrespectful if it came across that way. It was simply a reflective action, a sign that he had started seeing Xiang as a friend.

After hearing that Xiang was willing to share his residence in Chang’an, Xuan was delighted. "Wow, that’s awesome! I didn’t know you had a place over there. You must be pretty wealthy to have two houses, huh?" Xuan giggled slightly, causing his voluminous belly to shake up and down as the minister asked him for his history.

"Well," Xuan replied slowly, as if thinking hard about events in the distant past, "When I was small, like, ye big..." Here, the young monk held up his hand to about waist height for a visual representation of exactly how big.

"...My pop and mum were farmers. Real good farmers too, always kept me well fed." This was obviously true.

"We didn’t have too much land, but we worked hard. I had two twin brothers and a sister that I had to take care of... Heh, they were a handful sometimes." Xuan’s eyes grew distant as he chuckled to himself, visibly nostalgic about his past country life.

"Anyways," he continued after a brief pause, "I grew up living off of the land. Might’ve learned a few things from it too. But my daddy, he always wanted me to be a scholar. Every harvest, when he got some money from selling his grains to the market people, he would spend a silver ingot to buy books for me. Analects, poems, the Thousand Word Verse, I learned 'em all. Got pretty good at 'em too, judging from what the other townsfolk would tell me."

"About one two three four... eight months ago," the boy had to get out the corresponding number of fingers for this part, "daddy sent me to the capital with all his life’s savings to take the imperial examination thingy so that I can hopefully become a big smart scholar person.

So yeah, I took the test. Did pretty well too, I thought. I’ll never know for sure though. The imperial examination grader official guy said that if I didn’t give him a gold ingot he wouldn’t grade my test. All I had was two silver ones left from the trip to the capital, so I guess it wasn’t enough. He took my test and ripped in in half. I think I got a little mad at him...

I didn’t really know what to do then. I didn’t have enough to travel back home, and I didn’t become an official. I figured that once I spent my two ingots I’d have to go look for labor work somewhere, since nobody would believe a country boy like me can be smart."

Xuan trailed off, looking mopey. But just as suddenly, his face lit up again. "But it never came to that! When I was in Luoyang I met Master! He said he was there, working with the Royal Library to translate some Buddhist scriptures from a place called Een-dee-ya. Master took me in and taught me the ways of Buddhism... But then all that stuff with the warlords and the Dong Zhuos and the fighting happened so we had to leave... And here I am!"

After concluding his oddly cheery summary of how he came into these dark times, Xuan scratched his chin, thinking of whether he had missed anything important.

"Yup, that’s it. Sorry for talking so much... I really like talking hehe. What about you minister? What’s your story?"
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Re: [Pre-game] Dong Zhuo's Kingdom Roleplay Thread

Postby dskod1 » 12 Nov 2013, 00:26

"Oh no no no no no"

Was Xiang's rather quick reply to the comment of him opening two houses.

"I am yet to buy a house in the new capital."

Xiang gave a sigh as he started thinking about this rather dull prospect. Still he turned his head an listen closely to the man. Xiang sighed once more upon hearing the story of the man and the corruptness of the examination.

"Corruption in the central administration is unfortunately abundant. The administration is so willing to blame other people for this problem, the yellow turbans, the eunuchs, and even there own mothers. The sooner we can stop trying to get others to take responsibility, the sooner this chaos will end. Despite this sadness I truly did enjoy your story."

Xiang Gave another bow of his head to the man in thanks for sharing his tale. It was a welcomed site among the refugees and truly did shine bright in the darkness. Xiang than turned his head to the young man and was about to start talking but stopped himself instead choosing to give a small smile and turning his head back to the front.

"My story is not one of struggle, it is not some epic you would see in a story or tale. It is but a simple one, I would wish to tell you it, if only because you told me yours however my mind is one of near chaos at the moment with this very conversation the only thing keeping me sane."

And yet another sigh manages to find its way from Xiang's mouth, his troubles not only caused chaos internally but were obviously seen floating around him. Xiang Looks down at the ground as he walks.

"There is nothing to do but keep going."

Said Xiang with slight determination as he rose his head once more.
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