- Southwest of S'ren-Ja Wayshrine, west of the northwestern end of the lake on the hilltop, Reaper's March
"I stifled back my gasp at the mer's impertinence, to even suggest that he would be worthy to fight with those of us who had trained so hard. To my surprise, the archpriest agreed, adding the name Taren Omathan to the roster at the beginners' level. I was eager to whisper the news to my fellow elite students, but my first bout was scheduled to begin in a few minutes' time.
"I fought eighteen competitions in a row, besting all. The crowd gathered in the arena knew of my prowess, and gave polite, unsurprised applause at the end of each fight. As much as I focused on my own battles, I could not help noticing that other competitions were receiving more and more attention in the arena. The spectators whispered among themselves, and more began drifting away to see something that was evidently more spectacular and unusual than my unbroken string of victories.
"One of the most important lessons we teach from the Two-Moons Dance is the lesson of rejecting one's vanity. I understood then the importance of achieving a personal synchronicity with one's body and mind, of rebuffing outside influences of no importance, but I admit I had not accepted the lesson in my heart. I knew I was good, but my pride was hurt.
"It came down to a contest of champions, and I was one of the two. When I saw who the other fighter would be, my mood turned from one of wounded dignity to complete disbelief. My adversary was the servant, Taren.
"It must be a joke, or some final philosophical test, I reasoned. Then I looked into the crowd, and saw anticipation of a great battle to come in every eye. We gave one another the sign of respect, I stiffly and he with great elegance and modesty. The fight began.
"Initially, I sought to end it quickly, still thinking that he was unworthy to be cleaning the arena, let alone fighting in it. In retrospect, I was being illogical, as I must have known he had bested as many students as I had to reach that final level. He offered simple counterblows to my attacks, and responded in kind. His style was expansive, encompassing sophisticated arcane foot play one moment and simple jabs and kicks the next. I tried assailments intended to dazzle, but his face never showed either fear or contempt of my abilities.
"The fight lasted for a long time. I don't recall when I realized I was destined to lose, but when it ended, I was not surprised with the outcome. With a sense of unusual and true modesty, I bowed to him. But I could not resist asking him as we left the arena to the sound of thunderous applause how he had so secretly grown to become a Master.
"'I never had a choice to rise in the Temple,' Taren replied. 'Every day, I cleaned the training chambers of the elite classes and then the beginners'. So you see, I never had the misfortune to forget those early mistakes, lessons, and techniques while observing and learning the ways of the Masters.'
"He left Torval early the next morning to return to his homeland, and I never saw him again, though I've heard people saw that he's become a priest and a teacher. I became a teacher as well, for children just beginning their training in the Two-Moons, as well as the elite. And I make certain to bring my best pupils to see the how the unlearned fight, so that they might never forget."
|Master Zoaraym's Tale|
|Master Zoaraym's Tale, Part 1||Master Zoaraym's Tale, Part 2||N/A|