The Birth Of An Immortal
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Three Kingdoms were born one day
Shu, Wei and Wu, from the Han' weakened blood
Shaping their borders from the fire of the battles
Kuyang was still young,
And many were those following the path
The banks of the Yellow River were for a long time their refuge
In this haven far from the war
Where the tea ceremony was practiced
Thus in these distant times
Wei was protecting the sect
But the tumults of bloody China
Were blurring the mans' heart
One chose violence
His name has now been forgotten
War went through the sages' door
He took up arms and perverted his art
He was speaking well, some followed him
They wanted to die for their kingdom
The black smoke of the pyres was everything left
And hatred was born along with tears

[Unknown date]
I remember the first question he asked me. "Why are all immortals already dead?"
I answered it was in the world's order. He was already a smart child.
It has now been ten years since this question was asked, my disciple has grown well. I'm quite proud, I have to admit.

Year of the goat, thirtieth day of the third month
News of the last battle rumble at our door. A pitiful scrap of the army went through the sect's lands, yesterday during the entire rooster hour. Who knows which kingdom suffered from disgrace, neither how many men will never come back to their homes. Meon Zhi wanted to chase away these deserters because they shame our country. I strictly forbade him: our knowledge must not be used to punish some poor wretches preferring the sight of their children to those of guts and crows.

Year of the goat, fifteenth day of the fifth month
Today, Wei's men came. They wanted soldiers. We aren't soldiers.
The dean gave them rice from the northern pond. According to Lin Tze, who manages the stock, we will have to be thrifty to get past the year without hunger.

Year of the goat, seventh day of the sixth month
I had a debate with my disciple this morning. We talked until the sun started setting below the river. He wanted my opinion about China and the role of our knowledge in the conflicts. I answered according to our principles, here, at the wave house. Do not influence events, do not narrow from tradition. He didn't agree: for him, Taoism had to restore the world order by unifying China, as it was the case when the Han ruled over. He is still a child in his adult body, he will understand later what the word "war" really implies. I hope he won't repeat the same mistakes as me in my twenties, the loss of an arm would be a terrible price to pay for such a talented person.
The tea reflects thoughts. This evening, Meon Zhi's one was blurred. I lectured him with benevolence. He's a brilliant young man, he thinks a lot.

Year of the goat, fourth day of the seventh month
The soldiers came back, then left again. They don't dare defy the wave house, the powerful Kuiyang sect's fiefdom.

Year of the goat, twenty-sixth day of the seventh month
The Yellow River has been angry for a week. My bedstraw must have taken root again soaking that much in the mud. The dikes which had protected us from the last flood have collapsed one after the other, and the crop has been completely drowned.
Meon Zhi was furious none the masters did anything. I narrated him again the story of the man who wanted to stop the sea. He retorted that, unlike the old man in the tale, we had the knowledge to halt the flood, and got offended. I punished him two days for having reconsidered one of our principles and raised voice on his master.
This disaster was in the world order, we have to resign ourselves to it. Lao Tse was saying in the Dao De Jing, "we have to find the way", and not twist it by selfishness.
There is no worst thing than wanting to avoid misfortune, it only invariably brings a bigger one.

Year of the goat, tenth day of the eighth month
My disciple discreetly slipped away this night. He went through the old shaky plank to slip along the pilings. He lacks experience: the old Fu never lands with that drunk cow sound, even with an alcohol half-filled earthenware jar in the stomach.
I guess young Ming and Yon have the same fried carp look than him at this time.

Year of the goat, ninth day of the ninth month
There is smoke in the direction of Xi'an, at around sixty Li from here. It's way closer this time. The rumors circulate at the wave house. A whisper stopped near my ear: "what if we had to fight?"

Year of the goat, twentieth day of the tenth month
It has been three nightly getaway in one week. I would like this young imprudent to stop taking the study of the founding texts as a nap and his writing case as a convenient way of resting his forehead. Although he is especially talented, that doesn't dispense him to be studious.
I have nailed the plank, sorry for the old Fu. A slight pain in the right foot remains, but who never hit his fingers on such a work? For an armless person, I consider myself quite skilled.

Year of the goat, twentieth day of the tenth month
Lin Tze has been brought back the head covered in blood. Farmers found him on the path, five Li away from here. He had went to resupply us, alone like he was used to, and had run into robbers.
The region is less sure since the fights got closer. The dean has forbidden anyone to go beyond the protective gate. But we will still have an exemption for going and selling the result of our work, whose we won't pass the season without.

Year of the goat, eighth day of the tenth month
The plank is unsealed again, and the nail box has mysteriously been transformed into a magnificent block of veined blue jade. Impressive, one needs a great alchemist knowledge to get a result like this. But this exploit won't prevent a remarkable remonstrance.

Year of the goat, fourteenth day of the eleventh month
Staw hats sell out quite well at the market: numerous travelers pass through the river. Everyone participates a bit in the evening, after dinner. Masters and disciples have their hands calloused, but that’s what allows us to eat, so everyone gets down to it willingly. I, who only have one hand left, feel despicable for eating the result of such a hard work. So, to give them strength, I sing the old times exploits.

Appeared one day under the sky
The dragons and the powers
That was then the legends era
Next came the yellow emperor
So begins the Shiji's history
Listen to this tale from the times when magic ruled

Year of the goat, twenty-second day of the twelfth month
Remote members of the sect asked for hospitality. What have they come to do? They are a bit strange. I think they come from Shu.
Nobody knows how long they plan to stay.

Year of the goat, twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month
Meon Zhi beat me at the game of weiqi. He is, of course, boasting all along the banks.
Despite the names of "old" and "infirm killjoy" he gives me, I’m feeling a dash of pride. It isn’t completely the child I had been given anymore.

Year of the monkey, first day of the first month
A new year begins. Something changed between the two cycles. I wouldn’t be able to tell what.

Year of the monkey, twenty-first day of the first month
It's been an entire moon the visitors are under our roof. Discontentment grows among us, we don't get to eat at our fill anymore. Rumors say they were sent to weaken us. I rather think they are seeking some secrets.
The Han' old legacy never had safer guardian than the wave house. It has now been lost for centuries, and everything is better this way.

Words of this forgotten song get back into my head:
Spin the time and weave the fire
You, the legacy of the lost kingdoms
Accomplish the request from the depths of time
Death and desolation

Year of the monkey, third day of the second month
There was a quarrel outside, during the lesson time. Shouts in the bamboos high leaves bordering the river. My disciple seemed worried. More exactly, he seems elsewhere since this morning. Something I don't know happened.

Year of the monkey, sixth day of the second month
Some of our community members chased away the strangers this night. At the morning, only some quickly-abandoned possessions and reddish purple splashes soiling the purity of the enclosure of spirits remained. How anyone following the Way would have made themselves guilty of such an abject act? Who dared to stain the round room of blood? Who could ever have let violence enter into the very image of the world from which we pull off our knowledge? I have never seen the dean that furious. His too numerous years haven't allowed him to end his diatribe. We all have heavy hearts seeing this disaster weighting that much on the old sage's chest.
The next three cycles will be dedicated to the purification of the enclosure of spirits. I don't have the right to participate since it's usually crucial rituals. From all the masters, I will be the only one to stay outside of the ceremonies. The infirmity makes me an impure being.
I will help as I can.

Year of the monkey, eighteenth day of the fourth month
A salesman dropped in today. We bought him some scented resin for the rites. He told us about his journeys along the silk road, between two merchant sales-talk. The young were fascinated to learn that far, where the sun was setting, people spoke and used magic differently. I had knowledge of these strange traditions from my youth adventures, thanks to a soldier five years older than me who prayed, before every battle, for a deity which stopped living and dying by awakening itself. He had a little figurine made of painted wood and had laughed hard when I made him notice his "Buddha" seemed rather sleepy with his half-closed eyelids.
Now that I have gray hair, what I used to consider a funny superstition seems to take a brand new sense. I come to tell myself this distant religion is the skewed interpretation of the instructions guiding Kuyiang. Wouldn’t the Awakening be a different way to consider immortality? The very fact that the salesman reports mages' existence proves there is an element of truth. Else, how to explain they can channel the flows without even knowing their existence?
In fifteen times four seasons, I am, of course, far from wisdom, but I have understood many things.

Year of the monkey, sixteenth day of the fifth month
I have heard troubling things. At the usual rumors of victory or defeat of one faction or another has been added a weird martial atmosphere. Among the young, above all, I hear increasingly more people wondering if our place isn't at war, like every man of the country of Wei.
The more the dean stays in his sleep, the more these ideas spread themselves. But will he wake up one day?

Year of the monkey, twentieth day of the seventh month
Meon Zhi announced to me his wish to fight in Wei's army if the situation continues to worsen.
He had prepared what he wanted to tell me, I think he has been thinking about it for a long time. He told me about dignity, cowardice, and also of China, a lot. The ember usually brewing in his eyes became a flame. I have never seen him being shaky, this is why his ideas make me afraid. I am seeing my former self in this young man.
Where was he the night when the strangers were chased away?

Year of the monkey, third day of the eighth month
I, Huang Chenzen, Tao master at the wave house, only am a stupid winkle. Meon Zhi is misleading himself. At the rabbit hour, this morning, he turned away from my teaching, pretexting his knowledge of alchemy oversteps mine. He is right.
This young man worries me. Nobody ever has shown such skills so quickly. Can I still teach him my experience if he knows more than me?
I think he is disappointed. He has discovered people could be coward by conviction. He will have to question his worldview one day: the honor, the "people of China", I would not be ready to fight for this. There was a time when I was thinking like that too, but I have stopped beguiling myself in illusions a long while ago.
Sorry, Little Zhi, I am not one of these heroes the Shiji is full of.
Sorry if I shame you.
What a pitiful master is the one who can't guide his disciple.

Year of the monkey, twelfth day of the eighth month
There is not a single Wu Zhu in our tills anymore.
When money lacks, it is rarely a good foretell.

Year of the monkey, tenth day of the tenth month
Hunger has reached us. The offerings, the ceremonies all day long and the bad season which has installed itself dig a chasm in our bodies and spirits. The smallest seed in our now dusty granaries has been cherished like the last treasure of a past of abundance. Our masters have been droning, we have been excavating the soil, searching for anything eatable it could give us. Lessons don't take place any more.

Year of the rooster, nineteenth day of the first month
The little Sen has joined his ancestors, praised be they and could their memory stay with us forever. Could deities and immortals look after him through his journey to the hidden world of spirits.
We mourned him a lot. From the height his six years, he was the youngest among us, and we are now giving back his body to his native soil.

Year of the rooster, fourth day of the second month
Madness lurks into our hungriness. Several times, the dean's ration has been stolen or not even given. Nobody wants to give in their portion anymore.
I sometimes have the feeling of being an animal myself, seeing how food is obsessing me.
Meon Zhi uses his control over the flows to hunt, I know it. Everybody knows it, everybody does it. But he is, by far, the best. Without him, we would probably be bits of skin on very thin bones already.
Disputes are numerous. Screams are thrown, and the wave house is not a home anymore, but a tight spot where avoiding others is a permanent challenge.
We are realizing, day after day, how terrifying hunger is.

Year of the rooster, thirteenth day of the second month
An army of Wei passed near our lands' borders. Some have followed them.
Quin Hao has left.
Lin Tze has left.
Ya Nam has left.
Ming Li has left.
Kon Chen has left.
Yu Fan has left.
Tian Wei has left.
Hou Zi has left.
Qin Yi has left.
Liang Jun has left.
Nyu En has left.

Meon Zhi has left.

I have stayed.

Year of the rooster, thirteenth day of the third month
It’s been entire lunar cycle since half of our people went to war. It is easier to eat your fill when there are fewer mouths to feed, and the rice grows vigorously. Gradually, hope came back.

Year of the rooster, seventeenth day of the sixth month
The harvest is in full swing. There is a cloud of thick smoke, several Li away, from the other side of the river. Other fields are burning out there, but those of the Yellow River meander are prospering.

Year of the rooster, tenth day of the seventh month
Huge battles are fought, far away from here. Their echo resonates everywhere, and the countryside quakes as much from the whisperings as from the sound of the wind in the rice fields.

Year of the rooster, twenty-fifth day of the ninth month
The Shu has surrendered. Maybe the dream you had wasn't that crazy, little Zhi.

Year of the rooster, first day of the eleventh month
There has been a secret interview between the new dean and a man in armor yesterday. He set off again on his fast horse a bit before the tiger hour.

Year of the rooster, fourth day of the eleventh month
Sima Zhao, who has guided the Wei, came back to his ancestors. His son, now called Wudi, has been proclaimed king. Jin is now the name of this country. This is what I know.
It takes a long time to hear what must be known, in these far regions.

Year of the rooster, ninth day of the twelfth month
A big procession of soldiers came yesterday and stopped at the wave house. An officer, covered from the glory of his victories, requested a hearing to the Kuyang sect. In his pomp armor embellished of precious yarns, he bent over. Then, he removed the heavy helmet. Meon Zhi was back.
A child has left the wave house, he went back as a man.

He would tell later what happened. For now, it was the time to celebrate the return of a son of Kuyang. The return of my son, not from blood, but from heart and spirit.

Year of the rooster, tenth day of the twelfth month
A lot of alcohol has been drunk during the last two days. Many songs, tales, laughs. We have been celebrating the return of those who had left.
We were forgetting those who weren't back.
Out of twenty, only seven had got back. The fierce fights of the Shu-Han campaign had taken five of them. The counter-attack of the Wu sages, four. One had been dead by the rot which had poisoned his blood. Another had got sick. Two had simply been missing, and it was with a big shame the remaining ones were mentioning them.
But the deaths weren't occupying the livings' spirits and the night was only jubilation and songs learned under the tents canvas and the comforting women' skirts.
The dean wasn't participating in the celebration, and I have seen him exchanging some words with some well sober masters for such an occasion. The situation had to be delicate for him: the former dean's orders being the withdrawal of our community, he obviously couldn't greet those who have clearly broken these, however glorious they may be.
Careless of all of this, the warriors, happy for getting back home, simply had a feast and did a big racket all night long.

Year of the rooster, twelfth day of the twelfth month
I woke up this night, it was a terribly frightening dream.
I usually don't get frightened by sleep omens by nature, because their sense is often hidden. Yet, if I'm so shaken that my only refuge is the characters my brush is now drawing, it is that what my eyes just showed me is the freezing reflection of what my soul showed me. And reflection is often far crueler.
There is a dye, in the outbuilding. I saw it, wet. In the twilight, blackened at a cubit size. The smell was soft, the dye was heavy. Tepid.
The odor still remains, like a lingering past smell.
I have to go back to sleep. It must be a dream again. It had to be a dream.
At the rabbit hour, the puddle will have disappeared.

Year of the rooster, thirteenth day of the twelfth month
They have killed the little dream-filled child. They have taken the proud man's head who went greeting his family back. They have thrown him in the water with his foster brothers in arms. They have shredded their own family's blood.

They have assassinated my son.

Year of the rooster, sixteenth day of the twelfth month
I will avenge Meon Zhi, Yu Fan, Liang Jun, Quin Yi, Lin Tze, Qin Hao.
Kuyang in not on the Way anymore since it has accepted Jin to forget its existence, in exchange of a few Wu Zhu and the head of the fearsome Taoist fighters who were so fierce during the Shu-Han attack.
Jin feared Kuyang and the wave house feared Jin.
They have betrayed everything that makes our pride. They are despicable.
The perjury of our house will never be erased.
The tiger in my chest roars anew. Unlike the little Zhi's flame, it has neither pity nor illusions.
Hate, it is its name. It has been fifteen years he hasn't visited me.
He knows the wave house secrets.
Woe betides the traitors.

Year of the rooster, last day
I will execute the ritual at the center of the enclosure of spirits. Here is the world center, and the flows tie themselves. Here is Kuyang's greater terror.
I will offer my solitary arm to the cursed forces. He won't likely be useful in the future.
I will walk on the path of the mythic periods' elders, where the alchemist knowledge was still used to wage war and when China had never been united. Like them, I will spread chaos. Like theirs, my blood will draw the men' fears. Like theirs, my last breath will bring fear at the edge of the world.
Let them shiver at the forbidden knowledge sealed by the ancient Han.
They won't be able to stop me with the sharp edge of a blade.

It's the way it goes, after all.

Every immortal died one day.

In the part of the forget coat
Where no time exists and never will
Where we have sealed his gravestone
Of the one who broke the Way
May the name be cursed a thousand times
And China forever remember
Kuyang's sacrifice to save it
There has never been darker day in our history.
May any memory of the renegade be ashes.

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