Kumori - Journal Entry 14
While imprisoned in the Lamp Kumori had not allowed himself to give up hope that he would one day find a way back to Kaidan. He had held fast to faith in the Bosatsu and focused his energy on maintaining his skills. When he had emerged to the shock of finding a thousand years had passed and Kaidan was a sunken legend to the people of the modern world, his faith had been shaken briefly. The people of the West were self-interested, corrupt and barbaric, with no understanding of the meaningful order of society or of the harmony of the Great Wheel. Even his companions, who he had come to trust with his life, still shocked him sometimes with their selfishness and lack of propriety. He had coped by dreaming of Kaidan and its people, and took solace in memories of home.
So it was that he fought desperately to maintain his composure when he found himself standing on a mountain path staring at a fortified monastery of sohei. The tolling of the temple bell, sonorous and slightly melancholy, nearly brought tears to his eyes. He was torn between wariness, for he and his companions had been deposited in this place by the Lamp, which was not ever to be trusted completely, and elation, for the sounds of voices speaking Kaidanese carried to his ears from beyond the gates.
As they were taken to the dining hall, he let himself be comforted by the smell of food. The fare was plain, befitting monks, but it was the food of his childhood, and the chance to eat it with chopsticks like a civilized man warmed his heart. He was surprised to see Dorak take to civilized eating more quickly than the others, and was impressed with Smriti’s poise whilst learning, not without errors, to do likewise. He was in such a good mood he didn’t even get annoyed by Iz’alma’s disparaging remarks about how “weird” and “stupid” the whole thing seemed to her. Nothing could take away the joy he felt at being home, and nothing made him feel at home like the taste and the smell of rice. Rice cooked properly, so it was sticky and held together on chopsticks. Rice with a plain, vaguely nutty flavor and a hint of sweetness to it, served with roasted radishes and pickled greens. This was proof he was in Kaidan.
He could not know how long it would last, nor could he foresee the horrors that lay ahead that night. For the length of the meal, none of that mattered. He was surrounded by his allies, and he was home. Whatever came next, he could face.