Kara Swift-Fox

Human Female Monk


It was almost dawn. The first few rays of the sun’s light could be seen over the distant mountains. A gong struck in the belfry of the Temple of Kylth. The sensei were out in the garden, beginning their morning meditation. The air smelled of the cooking fires of the mess hall with a faint scent of the mountain breeze.

Usually, the Gong means it is time to begin the morning training. However, it was a special day. It was the last day of the season, meaning it was the day Kara must say goodbye to all she’s known for the past eight years. She had finished all of her training at that time, so there was nothing to do. She looked around her sleeping quarters in a daze, looking for Pavel. As she kept panning around to look, she got a sharp spurt of panic. Then her mind kicked in that they are no longer on the streets, that there was no need to worry. She rose out of bed and walked to the balcony facing the rising sun. She took her place and meditated.

After some time, her stomach told her it was time to finish meditation when a new breeze blew in the smell of mutton, her favorite. She got up and changed into her usual monastery attire, a flowing robe with a sash with the symbol of the elements emblazoned on the front.

As she waited in line for the mutton, she spotted her friend, Lia, handing out the delicacies. When Kara reached the mutton station, Lia looked up from her work. First she’s taken aback, then a large smile formed across her face.
“Well, well, well. Looks like the princess decides to grace us with her presence. What can I do for you, your Majesty?” she said sarcastically, with a bow.

“Oh shut it” Kara replied, with a chuckle.

“Well, what else would I call you? You sleep in so late and now you want us lowly peasants to give you food?”

“Alright, but I’m no princess. Call me Empress Kara.”

“Aye, my liege.”

And with that, they both bust into laughter. Annoyed, the man behind Kara chastised, “Can you two get a move on? You’re holding up the line!”

“Yes sir,” Lia said, as she turned her head slightly behind her and shouts, “HEY ERRICH! Mind manning my station for a few?”

“Yeah, sure!” came a small voice from in the kitchen.

Kara gathered the rest of her meal and joined Lia at the table she was sitting at.
“So, ready to start on your big adventure?” Lia asked, with a little more seriousness.

“Well, all of my things are packed and ready to go. I’m just worried about Pavel.”

“Pavel? Are you really worried about him? Look, he has friends, he’s doing well in training, and he at least seems to be fine with you going. But if it really worries you that much, I’ll keep my eye on him. I’m not going to leave for some time now, because I want to stay and help with the livestock. You go on with your life, it’s not like you’re never going to see him again. Aren’t you two planning on meeting when he leaves on his trip?”

“Yeah, but that’s years from now. Much could change in that much time.”

“Oh please, he’ll always be that annoying little twerp that idolizes you.”

“You really think?”

“I really do.”

A shout came from the catering area, “LIA! GET YOUR ARSE BACK OVER HERE AND DO YOUR JOB!!”

“Well, gotta go. Farewell, my liege” she said with a bow.

Kara finished her meal and handed the remainders to the dishwasher. Her belly full, she decided to go back to her room and grab her flute. After some consideration, she decided it would be best to play it in her special place near the animals pens.

At the animal pens, she played a heartfelt melody she came up with, herself. Her tunes always attracted a bird of two, who usually chime in with their own variation of the piece. Today, there were three. It must be a blessing, she thought.

When she finished her tune, she stood up and bowed to the three members of the audience and then noticed there were actually four. A small pup from the kennel must’ve squeezed its way out of the kennel and was roaming free.
“Hey there little guy” she said as she bent over to the pup, “you shouldn’t be out here.”
With the friendly gesture, the pup bowed playfully, tail wagging furiously.
“Oh no you don’t, you need to go back in your home. It’s too dangerous. Come here.” With that, the pup came closer and started sniffing her hand. “Alright… and… up you go” she said while picking up the little thing. She brought it back to the kennel master, who was very grateful.

After that, she began wandering around the monastery, taking in the sights one last time. It was only an hour when the gong struck, signaling the end of morning training; it was midday. It was also time for her to finish preparations and start saying goodbye to loved ones.

First were her friends. She met with each one in person where they would wish each other safe travels and to see each other again. The hardest was saying goodbye to Lia and Errich, who were her first friends when Pavel and her arrived at the monastery.

Next saw her sensei, Sensei Galanodel. He was the one that found them on the streets eight years ago and became almost a second father to Pavel and her. They sat in Galanodel’s room in each other’s presence for an hour. This was a long-standing tradtion, where the teacher and student sit across from each other, looking into each other’s eyes. It is meant for each partaker to experience the Ki emanating in and around the other. At the conclusion of this hour, they recited the Kylthian Mantra. Then they stood up and had a long, tearful hug.
“May we see each other again in this life, or the next” he said.

“Preferably this one” Kara said and they both laughed a bit.

The sun was midway through its descent into the horizon when Pavel finished his training for the day. Kara met with him outside the dojo. The two spent the rest of the final hours of daylight together. They played old games that they hadn’t played since they were younger. Kara felt that she needed to unload all of her wisdom to the boy, much to his dismay. And then it was time for Kara to go. Pavel, tears in his eyes, said “five years isn’t too long, right?”

“No it isn’t. And stop crying, you big baby” replied Kara with a chuckle.

“I’m going to miss so very badly” said Pavel.

“Face it. You’re going to forget about me as soon as you see an attractive woman.”

“No I’m not. I could never forget my big sister.”

“If you do, I’ll haunt yo in your sleep.”
The gong struck for the final time for the day.
“Well, I guess I’m off.”

“Goodbye, big sis.”

“Goodbye, squirt.”

She ruffles his hair and shoulders her bag before setting out into the world.

Kara Swift-Fox

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