The snow was quite deep on the ridge above the Norbay Monastery, and Tirseng stood looking down at the walled complex, waiting for Curioso and Annette to catch up to him. The snow tapered off into patches as the path wound down into the valley, where it crossed a deep chasm through which the River Aleph flowed. The area on the other side of the suspension bridge was somehow lush, perhaps from the melting snows, and shone emerald as a carpet. Fields of brown broke the even green, fields where monks were already laying in the fast-growing fields of grain. Amid the tones of green and the dark brown of freshly-turned earth stood the monastery itself, shining white as the snow filed on which the three travellers now stood.
As Tirseng led them down along the path, a long, low moan of horns was heard from the monastery, and the repeated, echoing peal of gongs. A figure clad in bright yellow was seen upon the parapet that overlooked the valley from the highest part of the temple. Tirseng turned with a smile, saying "see there? It is the High Lama. We are welcomed."