Dear Master Gouken,
I am writing you from the port city of Merab, in Thuvia. It’s been a while since I wrote and I am afraid it may only get more sporadic from here, considering.
However, I did want you to know I passed my second test! Master Syzoth said I “would not be able to brute force” the third, though, and he said some… other things I feel the need to meditate on. They got under my skin. His teaching style is very different from yours, but I do feel like it was time well spent…. though I am glad I do not have to return. Also, Saito says hello, and that he is doing well.
He will be there for a while, still. Master Syzoth had us spar, to “see if our friendship would survive the fight,” and the loser had to stay for another year at the island. I won- though Saito punched through my rock walls! It was very impressive! The match was close. I was a little worried he would be mad, but he said something very wise: that he really didn’t like it there and he really wanted to leave, but that was the reason that he probably ought to stay. I… originally, I thought about letting him win- but that’s no victory at all, and honestly I would be incredibly insulted and hurt if someone did that to me. Win or lose, you should do it honestly, or you can’t learn anything from it.
Our friendship did indeed survive, hehe.
My trial with Master Syzoth was… intense, like much of his teaching methodology, and an all or nothing flat out fight to survive style match. It could have gone very badly for me very easily. I could definitely see why he’s the Master of the School of the West.
Oh! That reminds me! We saw Grand Master Shao, and that’s not all we saw either.
So we got to the island and apparently there was this… thing going down, in the arena there. And Master Syzoth was there, and so were a bunch of students I didn’t know and a bunch of students from the School of the West, and this smirking wrinkly old lady on the arena floor with Master Syzoth. And he’s saying something about how he wished differences could have been resolved peacefully or something, and then onto the floor walks GRAND MASTER SHAO and apparently the wrinkly lady was the Grand Master of the House of Unblinking Flame, who like, followed her here or something? And brought all her students? Here’s the kicker though: Grand Master Shao actually looked kinda- well, for lack of a better term, pissed off. I’ve only ever seen her smile a few times and she actually was scowling. And the other lady, Grand Master Anadala, I think it was? She was all smirking and stuff like she had Grand Master Shao right where she wanted.
It did NOT turn out that way.
The match began, and Grand Master Anadala did something, I have no idea what- the floor and the pillars all exploded, sending spikes of rock and shrapnel and stuff flying everywhere and shrouding the area in dust.
But when it cleared, Grand Master Shao had her pinned to the floor. And the Houses of Perfection students sort of lost their minds over it, booing and yelling and everything. Grand Master Anadala got them under control eventually. I guess I might do the same though if I saw Grand Master Shao defeated in one move but still.
It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my entire life. I had no idea that level of… of skill even existed.
But it does make me wonder (and please tell me if this is not, perhaps, my business; I have learned a little about poking my nose where it maybe doesn’t belong since I have left the school) what the big deal was. I guess I get that Grand Master Shao probably has like three people on her level on like, the planet or something but this seemed… more personal. Or at least, less professional. I mean, carting yourself and your students all the way over from Jalmeray to Thuvia and the Isle of Wyverns is a long way! And Grand Master Shao was actually scowling, I did see that, and Grand Master Anadala sort of… made some kinda snide comment about her age that Lini overheard. (This brings me to the other point of this letter: I told Grand Master Shao about that, because that isn’t easily explained, and they were asking me and I wanted to know what to do. I guess she talked to them and told them. So they know, now, but only because Grand Master Shao wants them to.)
Do the Schools of the Four Winds not get along with the Houses of Perfection? I know our philosophies differ but I didn’t think it was, well, as… hostile as it seemed. What’s going on there?
Having passed my Trial and with the entire group kinda sick of the jungle, we are leaving Merab to go to Absolom, the greatest city in the Inner Sea and maybe even Golarion. I’m excited! I can’t imagine anything bigger than Sothis but this makes Sothis look like a country village, apparently. There’s so much to do there- I heard of the Irorium, and ooooh that sounds fun!! From there, we will likely be traveling overland to Varisia. I have some business regarding that journal I found there. It will be a long walk, but quite the adventure, and at least I can’t get seasick on land. That being said my letters will probably come really late, if they make it there. Hopefully they will.
I haven’t written to Mum in forever, so I need to do that, but know that I am doing well and practicing hard, and always pursuing my own perfection. I’ll send you a souvenir from Absolom!