To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
100 messages

BS: (Another Classic Gem) In Search of Shangri-La

08 May 01 - 12:06 PM (#457922)
Subject: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

If the horse took one step forward, she knew she would plunge to her death down the steep, never-ending ravine. Cold wind swept across the barren mountainside, finding its way under her hat, coat, and scarf. Holding back on the reins, she slowly slipped off the pony and turned to look back.

Ringing round her in a stark kalaidascope of blinding white light was the Himilaya. She squinted her eyes and focussed right behind her. "Respected Holy One, Gungzin Dharmalazu, *maintenant se que? En haut et terminé ou revenir?." Fortunately the Benevolent One understood her mangled French because she wasn't getting anywhere with web-based Tibetan translation.

*what the heck do we do now?*

Tears from the wind and frustration stung her eyes. Her entire life, all Dearly Beloved Rypinski had ever wanted was to see Shangri-La. Despite her growing up in Brooklyn, she'd been raised by flower-children parents and, instead of rebelling, she'd gone beyond the hype and drugs of their culture, to a real study and embracing of Eastern spirituality. Now, here she was, tantalisingly close, with a respected Holy Man to guide her and a huge landslide made passage impossible. What was she to do?

08 May 01 - 12:29 PM (#457940)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: MMario

Justified Homicide Burke - ("Johnny" to his friends) looked up at the magnificent mountain peaks in front of him. This trip to the Himalayan range as an archeological geologist was accomplishing more then just adding massive quantities of credit to his accounts. Besides the fact that he truly expected to uncover previously unknown data regarding various legends, there owould also be the oppurtunity to meet and learn from mystics in the region. He knew it was backlash against his parents no nonsense methods of child rearing that made him yearn for enlightenment, but yearning still continued.

So as he had hiked through forests ancient as the hills, enfolding sunny spots of greenery; past the incense like scent of the blossemoing trees, and the many local gardens with the sinous rills of irrigation ditches running through them he had looked forward to the river. Though he had gone thorugh and past many walls and towers - and hiked the twice five miles of fertile ground that comprised the floodplain, finally he gazed on the waters of the river he was certain; cetain was the Alph, the sacred river of legend, the river he believed would lead him to the source of many another legend; and perhaps even peace for his own mind.

08 May 01 - 07:13 PM (#458315)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R

And this night, among many, the yetis were restless.

09 May 01 - 11:01 AM (#458678)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Caitrin

"She's going to die if we don't do something!" Mara said desperately.
"You know the rules, Mara." her father, the high priest, replied. "We do not interfere."
"But we have to!" Mara cried. "She'll die!" The girl was on the verge of tears. "She's been searching forever. She wouldn't betray us. Please, Father." Mara didn't know why this young woman's quest meant so much to her; it was enough for her to simply know that it did, and to do what she could to help.

09 May 01 - 11:10 AM (#458684)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

What is that sound on the wind? Seems like someone chanting "walking in the sand".
RtS (oh, you mean the other Shangri la!)

09 May 01 - 11:16 AM (#458688)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

(Down Rogerzorba, down, man, I say!**BG**)

09 May 01 - 11:30 AM (#458695)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La

HMMMM She mused juggling travel brochures and maps while the tour guide frantically tried to shepherd her troops into a manageable flock. "Do I join the group going to the Tantric Temple in Shigatse? Or go back to Lhasa for a day of shopping and bartering? Of course, there is always the yakskin boat ride but that is SO touristy and the humidity will wilt my hair."

09 May 01 - 11:33 AM (#458699)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

OK, kat, I won't mention the yak who was the leader of the pack then, I'll leave the real creative geniuses (genii?) to get on with the story!

09 May 01 - 11:37 AM (#458702)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: GUEST,grannyjan

As she lsot control of the maps, they became clear, white pieces of silk.

She did not know what to do with them, until a passing, hunched old woman said:

09 May 01 - 11:46 AM (#458714)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Naemanson

Ezra Coffin sat heavily in his kitchen chair and stared, aghast, at his daughter. "TIBET?" he roared. "You want to find yawself in Tibet?"

It had been a long day. He typically rose early to catch the tide. He ran three strings of lobster traps in the Gulf Of Maine and that meant he had his work cut out for him. That day he had engine trouble, some tourists propellor had cut three buoys loose, and a significant number of his traps had been empty. That meant someone was stealing from the traps.

And now this!

Liza Coffin was, he thought, a typical teenager. She was lazy and self centered. He got no real work out of her and no respect either. And now this, this, trip to Tibet of all places to "find herself". He suspected she didn't even know where Tibet was.

He sighed as he listened to her. He really loved his daughter and respected her for the young woman she was becoming but this was too much. Yet, as he listened he had to admit she had thought out the trip carefully. At least there wasn't a boyfriend involved.

Later that evening he sat in the kitchen, coffee mug on the table while he softly played the fiddle his grandfather had built from old ship timbers taken from the bay. Outside the summer breezes sighed around the corner of the house. The moon shone its diamonds on the bay and the lights twinkled on the mainland.

How long, he mused, had it been since he had left the island for pleasure? He couldn't remember but it had been long before Marthat died. He regretted not taking her on more vacation trips. Life was hard on the island but it was also good. Liza couldn't see that. She only compared it to life as it was lived on TV and with that comparison it came up short.

What to do...?

09 May 01 - 12:05 PM (#458732)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: MMario

J.H. retraced his steps along yet another tributary of the river. Once again the waters had led to nothing more then an obscure beginning in a trickle of springwater. He was certain that one of the many streamlets would lead him to the source of legend, but which one? The grant the company was working under wouldn't last forever - and if he produced no results they would probably try to replace him anyway. Still - in his honest opinon, there was no one better then he at reading geological clues to archeological discoveries.

Of course, if he did get canned, he could spend some time trying to track down another branch of the family from which his parents had so thoroughly disconnected themselves. The Coffins of Notquiteright Island, Maine were among the addresses listed in his mothers old diary as among those cousins who had refused wedding invitations.

09 May 01 - 12:18 PM (#458741)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R

Clouds roll by and hide the sun
Raindrops fall on everyone
So sad...
I'm getting out of love

My Shangri-La has gone away
Faded like The Beatles on "Hey Jude"
She seemed to drift out on the rain
That came in somewhere softly from the blue

And I will repair to Shangri-La...

09 May 01 - 12:24 PM (#458750)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

(No, no, no, Rogerzorba! Play on, I say! Everyone welcome!!**BG**)

09 May 01 - 12:24 PM (#458751)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La

The old woman said "Find the Holy Man. Give the first scarf to him who finds those who are lost, the second to the one who is lost and must find herself, and the third to the man who finds lost things but is in fact lost himself."

With a baffled look and a grab at the brochures which were still brochures she sputtered "BUT I'M HERE ON VACATION!"

09 May 01 - 12:49 PM (#458764)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

Tirseng found a small recess in the face of the cliff and collapsed into it. The wind howled across the opening, full of angry demons. Snow had partly drifted across the opening, and this was good, but Tirseng felt the warm inclination to sleep rise into his body and that was bad. If he nodded off, he could be entombed in a matter of an hour. He pulled off his goggles and gloves and rubbed his eyes. This was the danger of Pengandu Pass : Sudden storms that brought blinding snow and wind, and the rush of the avalanche.

From below, all had seemed peaceful "upstairs". He had paused at the Penaghay Monastery to sip tea from his flask, and the sun had forced him to remove his hat and coat. When he had spun the great prayer wheel there, the banners of red and yellow had spun a bright orange circle against the blue sky, and he had prayed for safe passage. But as he climbed the high trail, the white clouds had bloomed on the flank of Kanchenchunga and come slowly down to engulf him.

He sat in the cave and considered what to do. It was three hours until dark, but he could make it down into the valley where his village lay in less than two, if he could hold the path. It was then he heard the Kanchengalta, the Roar of the Mountain, and a wall of snow slid across the entrance to his cave, shutting him in complete darkness. When the rumble stopped,he took his ice ax and began to dig at the snow, chanting om manne padme um to calm his spirit.

In an hour, Tirseng had made a hole large enough to crawl through, and he passed out into the storm. The avalanche had obliterated the trail, but he prayed for the Buddha's hand to lead him, and started plunging forward waste deep in the fresh snow. He had traveled almost two hours in this manner, but had yet to pass the Leopard Rock which signalled the end of the pass. He felt that the path was entirely too steep in it's descent, and that he must have lost the trail above him, so he began to climb. It was very steep, and he began to use his ax. With his right hand grasping for a hold, the ax broke loose in some rotten ice, and Tirseng felt himself sliding at high speed into the ravine below. He fought to use the ax blade to break his fall, but the snow was crusty and fragile as he plunged through it. At last, he felt nothing solid below him, and knew that he was falling, the flake of snow seemed suspended although the wind howled in his ears.

When he struck, he found that Buddha had pitied him, and allowed him to fall upon the soft run-out of the avalanche. He struggled out of the snow, wincing with pain. He had lost both gloves, and he felt his right leg was certainly broken. He staggered vaguely in the direction of his valley, but found the way blocked by a huge fall of boulders. He went in the opposite direction, and he saw through the blizzard a dark shape, and he made for the shape. He fell at the foot of the object, and looked up to see that it was a statue of the Buddha, carved in dark stone, with an inscription in a language he could not read. He touched the statue, and moved past it into a narrow passage way in the cliff. It was like a long tunnel, roofed with stone, but dry and, somehow, warm.

Tirseng found that the rock floor was smooth, and he lay down upon it, and slept.

09 May 01 - 09:36 PM (#459167)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

"Tirseng, wake up," he said, and shook him. Tirseng was deep in sleep, but he knew that he was deep in sleep, and so he willed himself awake. If only enlightenment were that easy. He sat up and saw a face he had not seen in many a year. "Curioso!!"
"Hello, Tirseng, how is the path? Bad thing we happened along, or you might be in a newer and better incarnation. And before you answer that, come over to the fire and meet my comrade."
And there was a fire blazing. And, half encircled in fur, a formidable woman , stirring some yak butter into a canister.
Tirseng who was shy, like all mountain people, came forward slowly. Curioso said: "Annette, this is Tirseng. An old friend from mountaineering days with Mallory."
"No longer, Curioso, I gave it up."
"This may explain why the next 7 attempts failed. Anyway, sit and eat. You will be amazed at what she can do with simple ingredients. Lord Buddha only knows what she can do with yak butter."
After an hour or two of talking and eating an extraordinary stew that materialized magically out of the canister, Tirseng politely burped, and Curioso said, "I know, why are we here? It is a convoluted story, involving a failed submarine rendezvous, a battle royal through the Topkapi Palace, the turning of the Turkish government against the British government, the kidnapping of the lady here on behalf of the Japanese government that landed her in Persia where I tracked her down, followed by a secret long distance plane ride that was to end in Manchuria, except that I happened to be on the plane; and apart from 3 dead airmen, one airplane that ran out of petrol, and a long hike to these parts crowded with incident, not much happened worth dwelling upon."
"Ah," said Tirseng.
"How is the High Lama?"
"Beset, Curioso, beset. There are Germans and Russians everywhere seeking something."
"Enlightenment perhaps?"
"I think not. They speak much of something called uranium."
"Ah," said Curioso. "And what do they say?"
"They speak of the sacred White Mountain, the place where their machines speak of what they call radiosomething."
"What is the White Mountain?" Annette asked.
"It is the mountain of Shangri-La." replied Curioso.
Tirseng touched him on the hand: "You must come, the High Lama will wish to see you again."
"I don't think so, Tirseng. We need to escape to India, and fast. The war is coming, coming fast. We have wasted much time already."
"Hmm," replied Tirseng after a few moments. "There is no choice. You must come to the Monastery. Where I came from is impassible. Robert Conway was lost there last month, forever."
Curioso looked at the fire, and then at Annette. Then he smiled. "Well, His Holiness has never seen anything like her. It might be amusing. But we can only stay briefly."
"Of course," said Tirseng, "that is understood." He yawned again. Outside the wind howled. It was warm in the cave. They bedded down, close to the fire. Tirseng was amused to see his old friend and his new friend lying together, like furry spoons. He fell asleep.
And then after awhile he had a dream, or what appeared to be a dream, in which Curioso got up stealthily from where he lay, kissed the sleeping head of his lady, wrapped himself in a big fur, picked up a rifle, and went to the entrance to the cave. There he sat down in the way of the icy wind, in lotus position, but with the gun ready on his lap, looking, looking, at the way they had come up the frightening mountain path.

09 May 01 - 10:02 PM (#459189)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

(Bravo!! Great additions, all!! Keep going, this is wonderful. I will try to add more of Dearly Beloved and her plight, tomorrow.)

09 May 01 - 10:47 PM (#459214)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC

(*dimension shift alert*)

[We've got two different time frames going here. Which one are we going to follow?]

09 May 01 - 10:57 PM (#459224)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

I could say that we are in Tibet so who cares, but so far it could easily be in January 1939, except that the tourist brochures are a little too jazzy....yours, Peter T.

09 May 01 - 11:07 PM (#459233)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

(Sounds good to me, yak butter tea, anyone?

10 May 01 - 08:51 AM (#459452)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: MMario

it's Tibet - land of Mystics - hey - maybe we DO have two time frames going, and maybe they will collide - who knows?

10 May 01 - 08:59 AM (#459461)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La

Meantime, care for a little tsampa?

10 May 01 - 09:41 AM (#459496)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: catspaw49

The fair haired young man looked upon the people sleeping in the cave, but he did not disturb them. A quick glance at their belongings told him it was 1939. "Simply amazing," he thought. He was now 37 but looked only 22. On another of his hikes he had encountered seekers from the year 2001 and although in their time he was 98, even then he looked but 22.

He knew what they were seeking and occasionally he had seen others before them, like the ones from 2001. For many years his hikes had been in partnership with his friend. Sadly though, and for reasons he didn't understand, his friend was now gone. They had been hiking together at the base of the Rongbuk Glacier, a favorite spot, and had stopped to rest when they encountered a small group of men in tents. This was not unusual as many came here. They didn't disturb these souls either as they rarely did more than see what time they were from and take a picture. A few days later, his friend disappeared and had not been seen since. The young man wondered if the '99 group had stolen him away.

Looking back at the sleeping ones in the cave, he felt no threat. He removed a small Kodak Model B from his pocket, snapped it open, unfolded the bellows, and snapped a picture. The camera had belonged to his friend, but he always carried it as he was far more technically able.......a born tinkerer. He'd develop the film back at Shangri-La. Sometimes the people he encountered would come there, most did not. There was a secret to getting there and he knew it, but the handsome young man did not know the secret of why his friend and some others had left.

He would find the Holy Man and then perhaps..........


10 May 01 - 10:48 PM (#460128)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: GUEST,Caitrin @ Home

Mara went running from the temple, down the stairs to her room. She sat in lotus on the floor, focusing on the avalance blocking Dearly Beloved's way. Mara knew somehow that DB had to get to Shangri-la. It was necessary. Mara had a gift for helping the necessary happen, so she put this gift to use.
Slowly, as Mara closed her eyes and concentrated, a path began to melt through the snow.

11 May 01 - 12:57 AM (#460197)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

Annette fought sleep for as long as possible- but the combines forces of stillness, warmth, and food finally defeated her. Her last conscious thoughts were of the three around the fire, Tirseng watching her with continual amusement, and Curioso's solid form burrowing in beside her- the rhythmic rise and fall of his breathing hypnotizing her into slumber.
She must have felt the cold rush of air as he left with the rifle- for she gasped slightly and pulled the fur in tight- but she slept on until warm breath entered her ear carrying the words, "Chere, rise and shine.." She grudgingly woke, and Curioso gently smiled at her, but his face still held the haggard shadow of the trip behind them.
Tirseng sat by the fire, and as she moved closer to warm herself, he gave her and enormous gap-toothed grin. When he offered her a cup of tea, she thankfully drank the brew, and the proceeded to squat down between the men to plan their trip to sanctuary. Both Yamada and the Black one had been spurned too many times, nothing would be spared now in the effort to destroy these two. They would have to be very careful.

Tirseng's patience with the tired flatlanders was as endless as the sky. Still favoring his leg somewhat, he made no complaints about the more and more frequent stops the pair requested on their way to the top of the world. Tirseng led them, a small brown dot in the distance, followed by Annette- looking in her bundled furs like a hybrid yak/gazelle. Curioso, was close in behind her, throwing the rifle over one shoulder and his glances over the other. There had been no evidence of Yamada's pursuit of the pair for many days now, but this did little to calm them.
Late that afternoon, the trio found themselves in a small clearing. When Tirseng told them that this was where they would be spending the night, the pair breathed a sigh of relief and crumbled to the ground. Tirseng started a small fire, while Annette prepared the small canister of tea. Tirseng watched with concern as Annette went to Curioso, took the rifle from him and muttered, "J'observerai. Vous, dormez." her voice sounded like the wind through chimes, and whatever she had said, it had caused his friend to curl up with his pack under his head, and close his eyes. Tirseng marveled at the fur covered Green Tara, as tired as she was herself, sitting with her leg extended, ready to rise should her services be necessary. Tirseng motioned to her that the tea was ready, and the two crouched near the fire to talk.
"We should reach the monastary tomorrow," Tirseng told her, "You will be safe there, safe to rest and meditate on your path."
"Mer..ahhh...thank you." she replied, "Curioso has told me of the beauty of the gompa, and I would be grateful to see it for myself, although I wish the circumstances were different, non?"
Tirseng smiled at the woman, noticing her eyes were the color of the mid-day sky, the lama would no doubt be delighted to see a creature such as this. His gaze then drifted to the sleeping Curioso, "Circumstances, yes, Nyingma...I have a feeling all will be discovered at the time when you can best understand it.." With this, Annette reached over and squeezed his hand in thanks, took her tea, and began her watch of the path behind.

11 May 01 - 09:43 AM (#460380)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

It was cold in Curioso's dream. They were struggling through the whiteness, and every hour or so, the swirl would clear briefly and they would stop and breathe. In those few brief seconds of openness he would see -- or think he would see -- a slight movement of white against the white, at the edge of vision. It would almost certainly be Yamada, who was less surefooted than his Master, who was the master of whiteness, when he chose. And then the swirl would descend again, and they would struggle on.

"Homage to Vajradhara
Holder of the adamantine sceptre
Homage to the Spiritual Master
Holder of the lineage."

And he was young again, and beside him sat his brother, Dominic, and they were in the swirl of snow except it was now incense, and before them was the walnut wrinkled and coloured face of the beloved Geshe. And they were seeding Vajrusattvas throughout the universe, and bodhisattvas in the ten directions bowed towards them. But when they came in the mantra, the highest mantra, to the seed syllable PAMH, Dominic's mouth bled, and the white petalled lotus with the yellow corolla descended into dust.

And then it was after the betrayal, and he knocks on the grim door in Kathmandu, and there Dominic sits, as he has sat for the last year since Curioso brought him down catatonic from the mountain cave, and Curioso spoons soup into his mouth. And the whiteness is everywhere.

Curioso wakes, or thinks he wakes, sees Annette on guard, and then in his dream he sits up in terror, frozen. Beside her, his hair tied up in a three-tier hair knot, and wearing the 8 precious ornaments, emanating darkness, now hovers the White God Vajrasattva with Dominic's face; and the emanation reaches out over her, and she becomes a version of Dorje Nyemma, holding in her right hand the curved blade and in her left a blackened skull filled with blood.

And Curioso invokes Amoghasiddhi to his aid, but even the Conqueror Buddha is of no avail to one who is so lost, so powerful in darkness. He calls out for the compassionate traces of his Beloved Teacher, the Murdered Geshe, the Stain that can never be eradicated, but there is nothing. There is not even emptiness. He knows that the universe flees from a being who has committed mtsamsmdelas, the unbounded actions. In desperation, he picks up his rifle, and shoots the White God, and the God breaks up into fragments, and then into ice, and then into squalling snow, and then it is just the two of them again, struggling inthe storm up the creviced path, and then they find Tirseng.

And then Curioso wakes up for real. He almost screams in relief, but only shakes himself. He comes over to where Annette is on guard, and quietly sits beside her, on the edge of the morning.

"Chere?" she says.

"He is out there, close. He seems to be feeding off the primal Bon energy in this region, it is very strong. We should not have come here."

She smiled. "You forget that we had no choice. When your plane dies, it dies." And besides, we would have missed this --"

She gestured out beyond the ledge, and the storm had gone. It was a beautiful morning in all the ten directions. The sky of pure blue crystal emanated over the distant greyblue peaks and the rippled snow dunes below their feet. The air was penetrated with clear wind and high sunlight. They sat and looked at it for a few moments, the vigorous cold breeze in their faces.

"Breakfast, I think" he said. "Let me see what I can do."

11 May 01 - 10:02 AM (#460390)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R

(electric guitar sounds)

Govinda jaya jaya
Gopala jaya jaya
Govinda jaya jaya

Govinda jaya jaya
Gopala jaya jaya
Govinda jaya jaya

Govinda ram janakhada

Govinda jaya jaya
Gopala jaya jaya
Govinda jaya jaya

Govinda jaya jaya
Gopala jaya jaya
Govinda jaya jaya

Nrsingadeva jaya nrsingadeva
Nrsingadeva jaya nrsingadeva
Nrsingadeva jaya nrsingadeva

Gaura gaura gaura hari
Gaura gaura gaura hari
Gaura gaura gaura hari

11 May 01 - 12:22 PM (#460503)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

(BRAVO!! Caitrin, thanks for the great lead-in I am sorry I haven't been able to get to this. Perhaps tonight. Do what you will with Dearly Beloved et alia, please. I'll be back!)

11 May 01 - 01:18 PM (#460549)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Naemanson

Ezra thought about Liza's plan for the next few days. Finally, he made up his mind. Liza met him at the dock as he brought in his last load of traps. Her eyes opened wide as she studied the pile of traps on the dock.

"It looks like you've left off fishin' for a while," she said. "What's going on?"

"Liza, I been working these waters since before I was your age. I ain't never took no vacation and I sorely wish I'd done so when your mother was alive." He sighed and studied the water in the bay, thinking how it matched the color of Martha's eyes. "I'm thinking of going with you to this magic land of yours."

"Dad?" She stared at him, "You're serious aren't you?

"Yup, I guess I am."

"When do we leave?" Suddenly the reality of going hit her with a feeling akin to fear.

"I guess now is as good a time as any." He smiled, "Let's get packed.

11 May 01 - 01:44 PM (#460564)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: mousethief

Prayer flags whipped and snapped in the fresh breeze. Timyin Tim gathered his robe around him with one hand as he went along the perimeter of the monastery grounds, turning the prayer wheels with his free hand. From the temple, the sound of chanting rose and fell, carried in stoccato snatches on the inconstant wind.

Timyin stopped and looked at the flags. One of them was his. He could never remember which. The flags hung limp for a second, then leapt up again as the breeze was renewed.

Outside the walls of the monastery was the trail that some said led to Shangri-La. Timyin Tim didn't believe in Shangri-La. "Paradise -- what is this but a word for the stillness we could find within ourselves, if we only knew how to look?" the master had said.

Timyin believed everything the master said, until the master died and his family buried his body by the banks of the river. Then Timyin was cut free from his entire motherless past, floating and snapping on the breeze like the prayer flags on the monastery walls. He wandered the highlands for weeks, until his soft shoes wore through and fell off.

When he came to the monastery, he was in rags, hair long and bedraggled, dripping with rain, shivering in the wind. The Lama took him in and gave him a cell, a hot meal, a robe, and a purpose. His purpose was to weed the garden, and turn the wheels. Throughout the pale light of day he pulled weeds from the garden which fed all the monks of the Lost Way Monastery. Timyin hated pulling the weeds. He knew the monks (including himself) needed food, and if the weeds were allowed to grow unchecked, they would choke out the food crops, and the monks would go hungry. But somehow he felt the weeds had a purpose, too. If he could just figure out what it was.

And at sunrise, and sunset, and noon, and two other times in-between, he rose from the garden, and walked the perimeter of the compound, turning the prayer wheels. Some monasteries were located on a river, where the waters were harnessed to turn the prayer wheels. The Lost Way Monastery was not, but it had Timyin Tim.

The chanting had stopped some time ago; Timyin just now noticed it was missing. He turned the last wheel, as the pale night sky was turning to a deep black-blue. Some of the monks complained that Timyin turned the wheels too slowly, but he liked to feel the prayers inside against the palm of his hand. He believed that the power of the prayers might flow through to him through the sides of the wheels. The Lama did not criticize anything he did, and that was good enough for Timyin Tim.

He stood and watched a single star blink in the blackening east. It seemed to beckon him, somehow. An unease -- such as he had never known since he had come to Lost Way, suddenly leapt into his heart.

Fighting it, he yawned, stretched, and shuffled off to his cell to sleep for the night.

11 May 01 - 02:34 PM (#460584)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

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."

11 May 01 - 04:26 PM (#460647)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

Annette walked the mountain path, and heard Curioso's footsteps falling further and further behind. She did not want to look over her shoulder for fear of what she might see in his eyes. Upon awakening, his face had held such terror that she could hardly maintain her own calm. So instead, she shuffled a bit faster to reach Tirseng.
"Tirseng, mon ami, a word? What happened this morning?"
"Curioso? It is difficult to explain. He is, or was, a tulku. Both he and his brother were being prepared for leadership when his path took him from our valley." he gazed at her and raised his eyebrows, "Perhaps this was not the incarnation? Life is full of suffering, and I can see by both of your faces that your pain has not been light. But, life is also full of many wonders, a snowflake, a blade of grass, or perhaps a lightskin woman who can make yak stew..."
Annette paused a moment, and saw the smile break across Tirseng's face. The two laughed gently together, as they came over the rise.
"See..", Tirseng pointed, "see there? It is the High Lama. We are welcomed."
As Tirseng made his way into the valley, Annette waited at the top of the trail. A woman could stand here for a lifetime and still not see all the beauty contained within these mountains. It wasn't until Curioso came behind her, wrapping his arms around her shoulders and resting his chin on her head, that she realized she was holding her breath.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" he murmured "But come, there is someone I want you to meet."

11 May 01 - 05:23 PM (#460678)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

Patil stood smiling at the other end of the suspension bridge, and Tirseng called to him, "hello little brother!" He hurried forward, placing each foot in front of the other to keep the bridge from swaying. He caught Patil's hands in his, then gave him a bear hug. "It is good to see you Snowleopard! Why are you limping, though?"

Tirseng smiled. "I found the climbing difficult through the snow, and so I tried to fly down, and was punished for being foolhardy," he said. "I thought it was broken, but now it's better." He stood with the little monk, watching Tirseng's companions cross the bridge. "The Lama said you were bringing strangers. Are they in trouble?" Tirseng was never surprised by the Lama's seeming second-sight, but it always made him laugh. "They may be, little brother." He could see that Patil was concerned. "Don't worry," continued Tirseng, "I believe they have something to offer the Lama, just as he can give them sanctuary." Timyin approached them, calling "welcome snowleopard. I am to conduct the travelers to their lodging." Curioso and Annette stepped gingerly from the swaying suspension bridge to the solid ground."Welcome," said Timyin, but without a smile. "You will bathe, if you wish, and a supper will be prepared. After, the High Lama desires an audience with you. All three of you," he said giving Tirseng a curt nod. The five walked on through the high gates of the Norbay Temple, the Monastery of the Lost Way.

11 May 01 - 11:20 PM (#460853)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC

Liza Coffin walked along the shoreline deep in thought. She loved this island. She knew and loved every blueberry covered hill, every sandy beach, and every rock and pebble of this place, the only home she ever knew.

Why couldn't it be enough for her? She was the wild child of the island. The shore-birds and land mammals were her friends and constant companions. The salty sea-air nourished her body and her spirit. She was happy here. This island was her whole world. But there was something missing. She didn't know what it was, but she knew it was an important something.

Her trip to New York City with Gladys was when she found out. There, in a little street vendor's booth, she saw the old man. He was tiny and wrinkled. He sat cross-legged on a cushion, wrapped in a fraying robe that was embroidered with strange symbols and designs unlike anything she had ever seen before. He was hunched over a bowl of something hot. But it was his eyes that riveted her attention to him. One eye was milky with cataracts. The other eye wandered about as if it had a mind of its own. He was difficult to look at, and she was just about to turn away from him when, in one strange and unsettling moment, the clear eye with the mind of its own fixed itself upon her, and met her gaze. She wanted to turn away, but she couldn't. Her eyes were locked in place. She couldn't even move her head to free herself from the penetrating gaze of the old man's eye.
Then, she felt the tingle in her spine. It started at the base of the spine, and gradually moved up toward the top of her head. It was a warm tingle, and somewhat pleasant, but it was also overwhelming. She was afraid she would be lost in the sensation, like she would lose her sense of herself if she allowed it to continue. But she had no choice. When it reached the top of her head, it burst out the top like water out of a fountain. She felt a rushing sensation going up her spine and out the top of her head, and as she felt this, she also felt like she was getting bigger. Like she was expanding and becoming more spacious, and she breathed more deeply, and more fully. And her senses became sharper. And she became aware that she could feel everything around her as though she were touching it, even though she was not touching anything except the ground upon which she stood. More than just touching, even. She felt the edges of herself merging with the edges of everything else.

Just when she felt she could take no more of it, that she would surely be obliterated, the old man looked away. He carried on eating from his bowl as if she wasn't even there.

Liza stood, stunned, not knowing what to do when Gladys said, "Liza! Come on. Mother's waiting."

Nothing in her world was the same after that...

11 May 01 - 11:53 PM (#460867)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

Dearly Beloved could scarcely believe her eyes. There before them, the avalanche of snow and rocks and dirt began to melt away; a path was opening up. Gungzin Dharmalazu smiled in his usual enigmatic way and sent a silent mesage, "You have done well, my little Mara."

"Oh, Holy One, let us go...the Way has opened! Let's go now, before anything else happens!"

Smiling with supreme patience the Holy One took the reins of his horse and led the way. When he was just a young disciple this day had been foretold. He was in complete harmony with his surroundings and the arduous trek, for he knew what awaited him at the end...Nirvana, for his patience, his many incarnations of strife and learning. For his bringing this child of the West to the Holiest One in the fabled lands. Who knew the ways of the Buddha? That this child and the others should be the ones to bring the Outer and Inner worlds together in a Harmonic Convergence of Supreme Peace?

Inscribing the air about them with arcane symbols, intoning ancient syllabic protection, he led the way. Dearly Beloved, relief washing across her face, felt a surge of energy and warmth rush through her. She felt hope and endurance were on her side, once again, in the quest she'd been born to. Leading her horse across, she followed the bent back of the monk, carefully placing her feet where his had touched the ground, knowing the way was safe, once again.

12 May 01 - 02:13 AM (#460897)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

Patil watched the woman who's walk moved her like a blade of grass in the wind. He led her to a cell in the tower, and opened the door. The stone floor was swept clean, and upon the floor rested a pitcher of steaming water and a sleeping pallet. The window was an open hole cut in the stone wall, and the scent of the growing fields drifted into the window. He smiled and motioned to her to enter the room, and as she did, he sat on the floor by the door and closed his eyes.

Annette stood in the center in the room, sizing it and it's contents, including the small human doorstop. She took a deep breath and began peeling off the layers of yak-fur, neatly folding each garment and setting it by the pallet. Each movement mindful and deliberate, she washed herself and dressed in a robe that had been set out for her. She then walked over towards Patil, waved her hand in front of his face, and getting no reaction, sat down in front of him. She studied the small man as she braided her hair into one long plait. When she tied the end with a piece of string, and sighed, Patil slowly opened his eyes.

"You are ready then?"

"I am not sure what I am ready for," she thought as Patil led her to a large open courtyard where Tirseng waited patiently. He smiled as she approached. Patil hugged his brother, then excused himself. When Tirseng motioned for her to sit on the ground, she curled her feet beneath her and sat. The sun and sounds were beginning to lull her into tranquility, but inside her, a fire raged.

"Close your eyes, lady-friend" said Tirseng, "Breathe and listen." She did as he said, and within minutes, she had the strangest sensation of light entering the top of her head, travelling down her neck, and filling her heart with white. All of it, the running, the fighting, the killing, the fear and anger, being replaced with light.

She heard Patil returning with Curioso, and opened her eyes. Tirseng was looking at her, still smiling his warm smile, as she wiped her tear-stained cheeks on her robe and stood to greet the men.

12 May 01 - 05:28 AM (#460920)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC

In geography class, they were studying Asia. On the Wednesday after Liza got back from New York, the teacher brought to class a piece of clothing that she said was from Tibet. Since her encounter with the old man, Liza had been having a hard time concentrating on things. She felt like she was living in a haze. She managed to do her chores and get herself to and from school, but that was about all.

When the garment was passed around the class, Liza didn't notice anything interesting about it at first. Just as she was about to hand it over to the boy who sat in front of her, something on the front of it caught her attention. It was a small symbol, embroidered in metalic thread. She stared blankly at it as the realization slowly washed over her that she had seen this symbol before.

After school that afternoon, Liza neglected her chores. She spent the time making a nuisance of herself in the library instead.

12 May 01 - 09:42 AM (#460975)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

"Well," said Curioso, himself now washed and robed, "It is time to meet His Holiness. " He frowned, for no good reason. Behind him Tirseng, in his purplered robe, gestured them towards a large curlicued entrance door. At that instant, the door was opened from the inside by two monks, and a slow deepthroated chant could be heard far off in the recesses. Strangely enough, Curioso was more hesitant in moving forward in what was naturally his own terrain than Annette, who marched forward with no appearance of trepidation. He smiled, and followed her.
In the antechamber were vast concourses of Buddhas painted in purples and oranges and greens over the wooden walls, themselves glowing in the banks of candlelight. Wafts of incense became intermingled with the deep chanting. They came to an opening in what was increasingly growing in size above them into rafts and rafts of darkwood ceilings. Curioso touched the arm of Annette's garment and whispered: "Just do what I do. We have to do prostrations."
He flung himself down, and prostrated himself, jumped up again, and prostrated himself, and after a few seconds, she got the hang of it, and joined in. After the first 10 she thought that that was pretty good, and after 50 she thought enough, and after 100, 101, 102, 103, she was exhausted, 108. They staggered back up, and she looked at him, and whispered: "I think you are out of breath, O tulku."
"Haven't done that in a long time, I am out of shape, mountain climbing or no mountain climbing." Tirseng looked sternly at them; and properly chastened, they moved forward.
The vast audience chamber was filled with row upon row of chanting monks, purple and gold, cymbals and horns now completing the panoply of sound. Ahead a vast statue of Vairocana, the Great Wisdom Buddha, seemingly hovered above a gilded lotus, and multiple lesser statues and figures clustered about over the altar. A tall imposing figure, draped in gold tinged robes, stood awaiting them. He seemed to emanate compassion and wisdom, and gestured the two figures forward through the swelling throng. They gulped, and moved towards him. Curioso prostrated himself, followed immediately by Annette, and lay there.
"Arise," said the figure,"and let us go see His Holiness."
It was a little pokey room off to one corner of the audience chamber, and they stooped to go in. At the far end of the room sat two figures, one ancient, bespectacled and gaunt, and the other slightly younger and more solid. There was a small portrait of Chenrezig, listening to the sins of the world, hanging on the glowing brown wall, and the rest of the room was filled with stacks of manuscripts.
The newcomers bowed again, and were signalled forward. Tirseng smiled and said a few words in Tibetan.
There was a brief exchange between the two elders, and then the older who sat with power, began to speak. He had a sweet voice, wavering but full of strength. To their surprise, he spoke in English.
"So, thou hast come to visit me at last, disciple of Geshe Kyantse."
At the mention of that name, tears came unbidden into Curioso's eyes. He bowed his head as if he had been beaten with a whip.
"We speak to thee with great compassion, great sorrow, for it is an unhealed grief, yea, to us all."
Curioso said nothing.
"But it remains a joy to us that thou art come, for his treasure is thine, my son. We long to hear his voice again through you, his student."
Curioso looked up quietly, and said:
"Every word you say reminds me of how I have wasted his teaching."
The old Lama looked at him sternly, and then turned abruptly to the other figure sitting beside him. They spoke in Tibetan for a few moments. He turned back.
"We shall speak of this and thy smonlam, what is it in English, thy wish path, on another occasion. We will celebrate him together this evening in the late service. But now thou shouldst introduce me to thy --."
Curioso blushed. "Companion, your Holiness. Her name is Annette. Annette Marceau. "
The Lama looked at her, and bowed. "I am pleased to make thy acquaintance. I am led to believe by Tirseng that thou art of France. Thou shalt be forgiving then of my travails in the speaking of English. I have no time to practice, and my Junior Tutor, who was an Englishman, died many, many years ago."
"Perhaps you might learn some French, " Annette replied. "It is a far superior language. "
Tirseng looked completely horrified. The Lama smiled for the first time in the audience, and replied, "I am far too old to learn a new language. But", and he looked sideways, "Thubten Zopa Rinpoche upon my left would be a willing pupil, I am sure." Thubten bowed.
The Lama looked back at Curioso. "To be sure, we have many things to speak of, but there are matters of urgency. We have 3 questions that, if thou couldst be of assistance, would clarify certain problems that have plagued us for some time."
Curioso bowed.
He turned to Thubten, who produced a sheet of paper. The Lama adjusted his glasses. "Could you tell us:
One, Was Elagabalus emperor of Rome before or after Hadrian?
Two, Was Hamlet king of England before or after William the Conqueror?
Three, We will come to three.

You see, Thubten is the director of the school system here, and we have so few books that we are afraid that mistakes are creeping into the teachings. We have argued over these questions for many years."
Curioso frowned. "I can answer the second question. Hamlet is actually a fictional character, though I believe he is based on an actual king of Denmark. He was never king of England, but in a play by Shakespeare. " There were nods and smiles of relief. "But as to the first, I was bad at Roman history."
Annette spoke up: "After, your Holiness. The Antonine line of kings ended with Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, who were followed by Septimus Severus, and Elagabalus, though I confess that there may have been one or two brief emperors in between. It was a troubled time in Rome."
The Lama beamed and rubbed the top of his head. "thank you, thank you." Thubten beamed and wrote down what she had said.
The Lama then said, "It is a troubled time here, and after lunch we will speak of the Black Master, and the new unbounded actions that threaten. But let us now have some lunch." Thubten whispered to him. "Oh yes," said the Lama, "I forgot. I am very old. Question 3. Canst thou tell me what this beautiful tune is? I long to know. It came in a caravan a few years ago, and was given to me." And he brought forward a light blue music box, with a painting of a city on it. With his long fingers, he pried it open, and it began to play a tune.
Curioso smiled. "Yes, your Holiness. It is a famous American jazz tune. The words are" -- and he began to sing along with the chiming notes -- "I can't give you anything but love, baby, that's the only thing I've plenty of, baby, dream awhile, scheme awhile, you're sure to find, happiness, and I guess, all those things you've always pined for." They listened to the song for a few more moments as it tinkled through the air. The Lama closed the box.
"Wise words," he said after a moment. "The essence of Buddhist teachings." And then the helpers brought forward lunch.

12 May 01 - 02:49 PM (#461071)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

Annette was famished, and the vegetarian feast put before them was savory. She was a bit surprised that most of the ceremonial stiffness of their introduction to the High Lama had been set aside, and now conversation was widespread among the monks around the low table. Finally, she made bold to broach the topic that had been on her mind. "Your Holiness...are you familiar with a place called Shangri La?"

At once, all conversation stopped around the table, although the Lama himself merely buttered a large slab of bread, and broke it in two pieces passing one to Annette and one to Curioso. "You are aware that this world is turning like a wheel. There are those who inhabit the outer edge of the wheel. Their goal is power on this earth, and they dominate it with power or cunning. We here are like a hare that dwells among elephants. They are so concerned with one another and their jostlings, that they do not bother with us. Perhaps they cannot even see us."

He poured tea for his guests, and sat smiling into Annette's eyes for what seemed like several minutes. "Our goal is to move toward the center of the wheel, to where the revolutions begin to slow. We seek the central axis, the Place that Never Turns. Some might call this, in a spiritual sense, Nirvana. It is a state of grace and integration with the Holy. You may find this anywhere on Earth." He smiled at both of them. "You may find it here." Again he paused, peering into Annette's eyes, and then into Curioso's. "And some speak of Shangri La, for those words mean the same...The Place that never Turns, the Wheel's Center. And some say that it lies within these mountains, a place of changeless contentment, a physical counterpart to Nirvana." He suddenly stood up. "It has been great joy to sup with you. I must retire now. Your needs will be seen to." And the Lama turned ,as all of his guests stood to watch him depart, and was lost in the chambers of the temple.

12 May 01 - 05:35 PM (#461128)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: GUEST,Caitrin

Mara breathed a sigh of relief as she felt Gungzin's message. The path was there--they would reach Shangri-la. And as long as she kept a watchful eye, they would reach the Wheel's Center in time to save it from the peril which threatened it.
"Keep your spirit in focus, Dearly Beloved." Mara murmured. If the young western girl was listening, she would hear. "Your journey is long, but you shall perservere." Little did Dearly Beloved know that the journey to Shangri-la was only the beginning.
But what of the other Two? Yes, the French. She could not feel them the way she could Dearly Beloved, but Mara knew they were coming and that they, too, were Necessary in their own way.

13 May 01 - 03:44 AM (#461291)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

After the noon meal, Annette walked out in the sunlight to explore the monastary. The stone walls spoke of the earth, while the brightly coloured flags and statues bloomed in the fashion of the flowers. This man-made place seemed to spring from the mountain itself, and she was anxious to know more of it.

Near the gates of the monastary, a carving in the stone caught her eye and she paused to try and make sense of it. She startled a bit when a voice behind her spoke, "It is a prayer of refuge." Thubten walked over and placed his hand on the wall, "I take refuge until I am enlightened in the buddhas, the dharma, and the sangha. Through the merit I create by practicing giving and the other perfections, may I attain buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings.."
"That is beautiful," whispered Annette.
"That is the way." replied Thubten.

He lightly touched her arm, and turned her once again towards the monastary, and leading her through a small doorway. There she saw the Lama seated at a low table.
"Ah, Annette. We have much to learn!"
Yes, the superior language? Come, sit.." he motioned to a pillow on the floor beside him. "I could see in your face that we have much to speak of."

She sat beside him, mind scrambling to make sense of it all. Her 'past life' in the lower world spoke to her, that these men were very clever, seating her beside one and across from the other made a neat little triangle that would not speak of interrogation, would it? For the first time since entering these walls, she possessed the urge to flee.
"Child, rest," he said as he grasped her hands, "We do not take that which is not freely given." The words did little to soothe her, yet he continued, "I have questions for you, as well. Please, tell me about France.."
She began slowly; the politics, the climate, measuring every word. Thubten scribbled quickly on a piece of paper while the Lama watched in fascination. Before long she found herself grasping the Lama's hand in return and talking about her brothers stealing grapes from a neighboring vineyard to make a jug of wine that went neglected so long it eventually exploded in her Mere's pantry...

The peals of laughter issuing from the room brought curious on-lookers, including Tirseng and Curioso, to peer cautiously inside the door. This only served to seed the storm of mirth that brewed around the low table, and the three clutched their sides in delicious agony. When the storm subsided, as all storms do, Tirseng took the opportunity to call Annette from the room to continue a tour of the grounds. Reluctantly, she rose from the table, but not before kissing the Lama's cheek.
"Merci, bon homme." she chuckled. To which he replied, "Merci, bonne dame." Thubten only shook his head in mock annoyance, then blushed as her lips grazed his cheek as well.

A few minutes later, Thubten and the Lama looked out of the window to see Tirseng leading the pair, arms interlaced, they dutifully followed.
"Ah," sighed the Lama, looking at Thubten ruefully, "Two flames from the same fire, this will be a task indeed."

13 May 01 - 12:27 PM (#461413)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

After the celebration ceremony in memory of his lost teacher, which went on past midnight, Curioso went away. Annette waited for him, fell asleep, woke, fell asleep again. In the light before dawn, he came in, drawn. He embraced her, and then went and sat in the window overlooking the valley. It was very quiet.
"Not to pry, mon cher, but what did happen that went so wrong?"
He smiled grimly and stretched his arms out to loosen his muscles. "Well, it is a bit complicated. Do you remember the monks we saw on the sheltered terrace, just before night fell?"
"Yes, they were making a painting, a mandala, yes?"
"Yes, it is a sand painting. It is a meditative form. It is a world you create, and then you brush it away. The brushing away is the important part."
"Because of impermanence?"
He looked out at the quiet space beginning to unfold again in the early morning, and then said, "Because it is dangerous."
He sighed and continued. "For some teachings, there is the idea of eliminating all temptations, all forms of delusion. For others, there is the idea of using the energies generated by those delusions, because they are so powerful, primal forces."
"Like sex," Annette said.
He looked in at her. "Absolument. These primal energies should not be shunned, that would be foolish, they will erupt again. What one must do is learn to handle them, like a surfer on a crashing wave. And then eliminate them. And one way of handling them is to learn to live in the world created by them. So that is a method, a very powerful, very dangerous method. When you become a student along this very powerful path, you are taught how to create vast worlds in the mind, the world of compassion, say, or the world of strength, or the world of anger. You create each world, its Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, its temples, its buildings, its animals and plants, its roads and cities, all of it, and you live in it. You learn its ways, its powers. And then you must destroy it like a sand painting, or --"
"Or you get locked into it."
"Yes. Or you get locked into it. You are pretty good, ma chere."
"Oh," she shrugged. "It is like the French and Paris. It takes you a long time to realise that there are other places in the world."
He laughed. "Yes. Only we are trying to save Paris, I hope. Anyway, so dangerous is this method and so powerful in the energies it releases, far more dangerous than those scrawlings of Lise Meitner's and yours, that that is why you need a guru, a teacher, for one can spend many years in building one imagined world of enrgy, and eventually lose oneself in it. The teacher is there to make you destroy it, to move you from that lesson in imagining to your next lesson, your next world, from power to compassion, say. I had -- have -- a brother, who came with me to another monastery, after the loss of Mallory, and we embarked together on the teachings, to cope, to learn. After long study, when he was far far ahead of me, he went into retreat in a cave far from where we were studying, and began to build a world, a world of pure whitehot anger. It happened that at that time I had to return to England for some time, and while I was gone the Geshe became deathly ill, he sent assistants, but no one could find him, so no one came to rescue my brother until it was too late. He had gone into the world he had created, and could not come back again. I came back, rescued his body, but the rest of him was gone."
The light of dawn flooded into the window.
"And now he is the Black Master. He is bound on creating the world of whitehot anger in reality that he created in vision and that overwhelmed him. He feeds off it. And he grows in his power every day that the world succumbs."
Annette got up and came to the window. It looked so peaceful below. "Ah, mon cher, and so hard, your own brother. And he killed your beloved master too."
Curioso put his hand up against the edge of the open window, as if to keep himself from falling into the depths below. "No, my darling, no. It was I. I was the one who killed him."

14 May 01 - 06:39 PM (#462353)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

Annette studied Curioso's face in the growing light. He had not slept, that was certain, and the dark patches beneath his eyes spoke of tears as well. This wound she could not reach. It explained so much, her capture by the Japanese, and Curioso's ability to find and rescue her. Who better to know those dealings than your own flesh and blood?
"Come, chere" She brushed her hand along his cheek and then grabbed his wrist. "To bed."
"'Nets... I can't...I shouldn't be in here.." he looked from her to the pallet and back again.
She stood firm. "Do not anger me in such a peaceful place as this. You need to rest, I need to think."
He walked reluctantly to the pallet with her, and she sat with her back against the wall. He lay beside her, facing the wall, but his ragged breath told her that sleep was not coming. When she lightly tapped his shoulder and said, "Chere, enough.." he rolled over and curled himself to place his head in her lap. The tears that flowed onto her became in liquid form, a solid resolution that she would break this brother's neck with her bare hands should she have the chance. As the moment passed, she began to run her fingers from his hairline down to the base of his neck, and his breathing gradually became regular once again. Quietly she began to sing
"Sous le ciel de Paris
S'envole une chanson
Elle est nee d'aujord'hui
Dans le coeur d'un garcon
Sous le ciel de Paris
Marchant les amoureux
Leur bonheur se construit
Sur un air fait pour eux"
His breathing told her that, however fitfully, he slept. With this, she carefully slid from beneath him, and left the room in search of answers.

At the bottom of the stairs, she saw Tirseng standing, as if waiting for her. "Ah, phra ma! You must come along," he smiled, "This morning you may walk with me." The two walked to the gates of the monastary, and Tirseng gave reproachful glances to the pair of monks who muttered "buyr sdud ma" behind Annette as she passed.
"What is this?" she asked him.
"You will have to forgive my brothers from time to time, they only whisper that you are a shameful woman, but what they know of women they only know from books.."
Annette smiled at the bashful little man, delighted in his honesty, and wondering to herself just which books he had been reading.
When they reached the top of the rise, Tirseng gave a short whistle, and two of the largest dogs that Annette had ever seen, rose from the grasses and walked over to them. Tirseng brought bits of food out from his robes, squatted down and fed the beasts, as Annette watched from what she hoped ws a safe distance.
"What are these," she whispered, "certainment..not the parents of the little ones inside?"
Tirseng chuckled. "I thought you might like to see these two. My 'mdza'snying du sdug pa'i bshes'--the friends and lovers. They were never content inside the monastary walls, but have always lived just outside to warn us of danger." he gave her a sly sideways glance and proceeded to break up the food. "Curioso was much like this when I knew him last. As a young man, he grasped the teaching quickly, but ah, so many questions, such desire...his brother learned the teachings, but turned them against the good of all. I ask you, what is worse? When it came to pass that Curioso felt it necessary to leave us," he sighed, "his brother took the opportunity to gang dga'byed, to as he pleased?...and you know quite well the result of that." He stood and brushed the crumbs from his hands.
Annette nodded her head, remembering the shadow hovering in the corner of her cell in Kyoto. The fear in the moment of holding one's breath, the silence before the wave crashes down, that very terror drawn out in weeks of darkness in Japan. She knew it well. "But what of now?" she urgently asked. "Do you know he thinks that he killed his own teacher? Did you see his face at the celebration last night? That was no celebration to him. He walked all night, and even in sleep cries out about these five poisons. I cannot believe him to do this. A protector? Oui. A murderer? Non."
They returned to the monastary, and upon reaching the stairs, Tirseng touched her arm and promised to speak again soon. She thanked him and returned to the window seat in her room. There she waited, alternately watching the increasing activity in the courtyard, and Curioso's slumbering form until he drowsily opened an eye to her.
"You were gone," he started.
"Yes chere, walking with Tirseng. He explained to me about the friends and lovers."
Curioso's haggard face managed a half-smile, "I'll bet he did.." "Cretin," she replied, walking to the pallet, "Now you must explain to me about last night."

14 May 01 - 06:53 PM (#462362)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

At that moment the sound of a bansuri flute was heard, off in the distance. Curioso turned his head and began to sing along:

"Seba alaso trodje,
Seba alaso trodje".

"An old Tibetan song," he then said. "Means the dew dries up by midday."

15 May 01 - 02:31 AM (#462554)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

Annette worked in the gardens with Patil for a better part of the morning. When she decided to forego the noon meal for a chance to sit in solitude, the tiny monk nodded his approval and left her sitting folded beneath a tree, hugging her knees. As the sun reached it's highest and started to descend, Thubten approached and sat beside her.
"May we continue our discussion of yesterday?" he cautiously asked.
"Yes," she replied, "but this time I am the one asking the questions....So, little man, tell me, why does Curioso do this? Do you know? Everywhere around this world now, people are starved for bliss, and yet he tortures himself here and has no happiness? Why?"
"It is a rocky path, dear lady-friend, that he has chosen. The path that embraces what most would normally avoid." Annette looks up at him, puzzled. "For example then? You are standing here, and a horse is running towards you. You have three options. You could stand here and be trampled, or you could move to avoid it -but the horse may return."
"...And the third choice is?" she asks
"To embrace. Leap upon the horse and go for a ride. It would be the only way you could hope to turn it."
"Go for a ride?" she erupts, "And the chances of this turning out well are what?"
"Well, I would say significantly better than if one sat or ran. Now, dear woman, my question for you. What are you thinking of?"
She pauses, sighs, and drops her chin to her knees before answering him. "My life changing, perhaps? Once upon a time my life was at a school, I had my work and my passion- finding ways to explain what cannot be seen, and speaking to others who studied of the same. When I met Curioso, we spoke as if we'd known each other forever. Talking late into the night of all the new things, and waking up intertwined. All futures and dreams. I had begun a new project, that unknown to me at the time, would change my world forever. Curioso helped to hide it from some very bad people, but I think he began hiding more from me. He is evading, I am afraid, and not allowing me to understand. It is very hard to take these frustrations for a ride, non?"
Thubten gave her a confused look, and she continued, "Explanation for you? Oui. Not so very long ago, I was resting in a hotel. We were supposed to meet a fellow traveler, but I fell ill. Curioso went out, and later that evening, as I napped, I heard the door open. Hearing the quiet footfall, I assumed it was Curioso returning and did not rise. I felt a cold hand upon the back of my neck, but by then it was too late. All I remember of Japan is the cold and the dark- no better than German prisons- and my captor, Yamada, who remained an ignorant man asking ignorant questions while his shadow lingered in the dark corners. That shadow was what I feared, really"
"And what became of this fear? You ran away?"
"Yes", she quietly spoke, "But only because one cannot conquer a shadow. Now the shadow has a face."
At this, Thubten sighed and stood. He placed his hand on the top of Annette's head for a moment, then left his lady-friend alone with her thoughts.

15 May 01 - 08:40 AM (#462661)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R

Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva

Like the flower and the scent of summer
Like the sun and the shine
Well the truth may come in strange disguises
Send the message to your mind

Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva

At the moment that you wake from sleeping
And you know it's all a dream
Well the truth may come in strange disguises
Never knowing what it means.

Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva
Tattva, acintya bheda bheda Tattva

For you shall be tomorrow
Like you have been today
If this was never ending
What more can you say?

15 May 01 - 09:48 AM (#462701)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

He came out to the place where she was sitting. Somewhere in the distance the herder was still playing on his flute, up and down the near hills.
"Well," he said, "it is midday. " Around them flowed the entire miniature world, great chunks of white buildings, fluttering flags of all colours disseminating their prayers into the wind, welltended fields bright in the almost hot sun. They got up and moved under a wooden shelter, with a grey stone ledge curving down to the floor of the valley below, and the wall of mountains in front of them. He started with his arms around her, and then slowly disengaged as the story continued.
"Brothers. Dominic was older, wiser than me, but more adventurous. Come on, he would say, as he teetered along some river bank, over some railway bridge, into some new thing. Come on. We chimed together, a bit like duet singers, where they just know what the next note is going to be. But he was always the lead. And then we started on the mountains. It does not have to be brothers -- you climb together, you are roped together, you need each other -- you are in danger together, you save each other. But we were, brothers, more intense. And sometimes he saved me, and sometimes I saved him. That is what you do. "
"That is what you do," Annette echoed.
"Yes. And then I did something that to him broke the bond for awhile. He said he never blamed me, but he did. He had sprained his ankle on a climb, and was almost healed when Mallory came to Everest base camp. He wanted Dominic to come along as a third, because he was unsure of Irvine, who was, not a novice, but not Dominic's class. And I persuaded him that he wasn't strong enough. And they went on without him. And when we lost Mallory, all the life went out of it. He always believed that he should have gone with Mallory, not Irvine."
"Should he have?"
"No, "Curioso said, definitely. "Anyway. He said to me, "Come on, we are going to climb this mountain instead" -- the mountain of Buddhism. And we grappled with it, flung our ropes, dug in our feet, up the glass mountain of delusion, hand over hand. And finally -- this part you know -- he got caught in the whirlpool of worlds. " The flute music, off in the distance, darkened as if in sympathy. He listened for a moment, then went on.
"And I returned from my voyage, and he was lost. He had gone from the mountain cave where he had begun off elsewhere. He was unfindeable. I interrogated everyone, sent out expeditions, trekked endlessly. And thanks to Tirseng, who was with me until near the end, I found him at last. I got him down off the bleak virtually inaccessible mountain where he had been captured by his own creation; and though he was paralysed in mind and body, I got him down." The music moved low, far lower than one might think possible from a flute.
Curioso went into himself. The sun shone brilliantly in the richness. The music floated, darkened, became shriller, extended itself.
"So. So when someone is lost, marooned in the mountains, you must go after them. Take the route they have taken. I had to bring him back, get him down off that mountain."
Annette said: "And so you went up his mountain, his mountain of anger."
"It was so beautiful, not black and muddy and confused as you might think, but pure, like the White Sacred Mountain. All white, intense. The kind of pure white anger that urges you on to slice through something, to sweep away things, people, children, lives, just because THEY ARE IN YOUR WAY." He began to grow into the anger."THEY WILL NOT OBEY. THEY WILL NOT LEARN. Righteous anger, unrighteous anger. Simplifying."
There was a pure hard sound in the air, coming from somewhere. The flute?
"Yes," he continued, quickening: "Clear, bright, no obstacles. Except one. Except the one. " His face now changed. "The one who betrayed him." And his voice hardened, his body stiffened. "The one who abandoned him on that mountain, the one who appeared to help, the one who seemed so saintly, the one who led him onto the mountain, and left him to die, the --"
Annette yelled. "Stop!! Stop!! Stop!!! It's him!!!" She leapt up. Curioso looked at her, confused. She cried: "Who's playing that music? Who is it?"
Curioso pulled out of his trance, and came to his feet. "Dominic!!" He howled off into the hills. From all directions monks and peasants came running. "Dominic!!!?" And the music did a ghostly sprightly dance, and disappeared. "BROTHER!!?!?!?"

15 May 01 - 01:21 PM (#462892)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

Tirseng leapt to the cap of the rim rock and scanned the surrounding ridge, seeing no one. "Dominic," he said quietly. Just below him, the woman and Curioso were embracing, unsteady, surrounded by the confused monks. And then he saw the Lama ascending the path from the Monastery, saw the monks and peasants drop to their knees at his approach. The Lama motioned Tirseng to descend, and instructed all others to go back to their duties. He took Annette and Curioso gently by the hands and walked with them, calling to Tirseng "come with us snowleopard." He walked with them to a high point where stood a prayer wheel, which the Lama softly turned.

"You are a kind of magnet," he said to Curioso. "You are pulling forces to us here, forces which can destroy the peace and sanctity of this place." He turned and smiled. "I realize that much of this journey began with us, disciple of Geshe Kyantse, and we will not abandon you. But I fear the great fountain of anger which you have summoned must be directed away. You must leave tonight for the Last Sanctuary. Tirseng will guide you, for he knows the way although he has never set foot within the valley itself. Buddha dwell with you, children." The Lama turned and descended as they watched.

"Where does he wish us to go Tirseng?" said Annette. Tirseng stared after the diminishing figure of the Lama and said "it is the place you have spoken of. It is the Wheel's Center. Shangri La." Tirseng started down the path, saying "come, we must prepare. It is a difficult journey, and we must set out tonight to cross the Khumba Snowfield while it is still firm."

15 May 01 - 01:55 PM (#462929)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

They turned up the path, confused, and Curioso stumbled on the steep walk. When he got up, he looked back towards the figure of the Lama descending. At the bottom of the steps leading away into the monastery, a new figure appeared beside His Holiness, wearing what looked like a green army uniform, dusty from great travel. He bowed, and he and the High Lama continued what appeared to have been an extensive discussion.
"Who is the visitor,Tirseng?" said Curioso, recovering himself.
"From the east. A representative from the Chinese Communist Party. They have been requesting assistance in their fight against the Kuomintang, which of course we stay out of, but there have been some incidents that need diplomatic resolution. But come, we have to hurry. We are under orders now." Curioso looked once more at the two now distant figures talking in the sunshine, then put his arm around Annette's shoulder. The small party moved up the path, towards the requisition larder.

15 May 01 - 10:17 PM (#463307)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

The Khumba Snowfield stretched out before the climbers, a broad plain of white that glinted in the illumination of the full moon. At the far side, the black cliffs of Pyanapa towered, unreadable, but there lay the narrow path that wound up and over the escarpment to the Kanchenchunga Pass. Tirseng stepped out onto the snow, felt it hold solid beneath his feet, and motione dthe others to follow. They were roped 25 feet apart at the Sherpa's insistence: In some places the solid sheet of snow was no more than a half-inch thick shell over a deep crevass. They moved in total silence, except for the slight crunch of the crust beneath their boots. Annette watched her breath crystallize into ice in the air in front of her, and breathed in the total silence around her. The figure of Tirseng was clearly cut against the moonlit snow in front of her, a shadow thrown back from him. She turned to see Curioso whose parka was cinched tightly across his face.. he might have been anyone, a specter tied to her by a length of cord. She felt a tear fall across her cheek, and realized that she was, this night, truly alive. The night, the placed possessed an enchantment that gave her life meaning, a significance that even the uncertainty and danger could not erase. She saw Tirseng pause, turn and look at her. "Are you alright, Annette?" He looked about him. "The way is beautiful," he said. As he stepped forward, she heard a sound like the crack of a pistol, and all three stopped instantly. Tirseng turned and laughed quietly. "It is only the ice" he said.

They had travelled another quarter mile, when the sound came again, more like a muffled explosion this time, and simultaneously she felt the rope tighten, pulling her forward. She sat upon the snow, staring forward to where Tirseng had been. "Annette!" Curioso called, "take your ice ax and sink the point under the crust, then place your feet against the broadside of the blade. I need some slack to secure this end." She fought off the urge to panic. "But where is Tirseng?" she gasped.

"In the crevass," said Curioso. "We've got to pull him out. Dead or alive."

16 May 01 - 12:27 AM (#463399)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

Gungzin Dharmalazu watched over his sleeping charge with a weary eye. His years were many and the travails of the harsh climate and long journey were telling on him. He closed his eyes for a moment, silently praying for strength and energy, for the blessings of Buddha.

After traveling across the snowslide, he and Dearly Beloved were able to ride their horses for only a short while, until it became necessary to turn them loose. They had to climb down steep cliffs, with crevasses of snow and ice. Many times he wished to be a snow leopard, but knew that was a vain wish. His was the plodding, steady sure way of the yaks.

He was grateful that as they climed down, the vast valley before them became warmer and warmer, until finally, half way down, the ice and snow had melted. Small rivulets of ice-cold water ran down the sides, finding purchase around, under, and over the rocks of the cliffs. He was grateful for the respite, as they stopped to rest among a small grove of trees.

While this end of the valley, in the south, near the east entrance, was calm and cheerful, he knew more darkness, of a different kind lay before them, before they would reach the center of Shangri-La.

16 May 01 - 12:32 AM (#463407)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: catspaw49

Waking up with an uncomfortable feeling, the Yeti discovered he had become an egg storage unit on a runaway train.


16 May 01 - 12:41 AM (#463422)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

which is why they called him the Abdominal Stowman. Now stop it.

16 May 01 - 02:03 AM (#463512)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

*** lunkheads...*bg***

Annette climbed the stairs to her room in the daze of a sleepwalker. She took off her robes, undid the braid in her hair, and climbed back into her traveling clothes with hardly a conscious thought other than "encore...nous allons...."

She met Tirseng and Curioso at the gates of the monastary, the pair had collected packs, ropes, and axes, and they shared her same grim face. The sun was slowly setting as the three left the gates. She turned her head to look back, all of the monks were going about their evening with hardly a care about the path of the three, but Thubten looked at them out of his high window, and raised a hand to the travelers. Annette slowly raised her hand in return, then followed Tirseng down the mountain path.

As they left the peaceful valley and started their climb, so started the cold. Annette shivered at the first blast down her collar, and pulled her parka tighter around her. The moon hung it's pale circle in the sky, too anxious for the sun to set before it made it's appearance. It made her think of this Dominic and her Curioso, the dark and the light, sharing the same sky. They stopped briefly at dusk, checking their packs and lines before crossing the snowfield. Tirseng looked up at Annette, motioning for her to turn so he could attach her lines. She turned and saw Curioso glances, apologetic, and trying vainly to read her thoughts. He managed a half-hearted smile, muttering something about frosted eyelashes, and went back to checking his own lines.

The moon was high in the heavens when the three reached the snowfield. Annette stopped still. The field glinted blue, a solid river of tiny diamonds in the moonlight. Tirseng stood beside her, "It is the Khumba.." he said. To Annette, it was la plus belle. "Wait here...I will go ahead, then call for you." he said, as he crept out onto the river of light.
Curioso came up beside her, his breath a dense fog between them. "Do as he says, and you'll be fine. These ropes will anchor all of us." Annette thought to herself that she needed an anchor, with her head spinning, all she wanted to do fling herself to the ground and hold on. "Now chere, go." She looked up to see Tirseng's silouhette waving in the blue in front of her.

Gingerly, she stepped onto the ice, feeling the diamonds crushed to dust beneath her boots. She stayed a cautious distance behind Tirseng, breathing slowly, and taking in the night. The further they walked into the field, the more enraptured she became. The perfect silence, the perfect night. A single tear burned a path down her cheek. She choked back a breath, and was suprised when Tirseng turned back towards her.
"Are you all right, Annette?" he whispered, "This way is beautiful..." As he stepped again, she heard the first crack. Tirseng's smiling face told her it was only the ice, but for her, the spell was broken. There is danger everywhere, even on the river of diamonds.

If it hadn't been for this, she surely would have followed Tirseng into the crevasse. As it was, the second jolt forced her to her seat, staring blindly into the night for Tirseng. When Curioso called to her, she could barely resist the urge to scramble into the dark after the little man. She placed her axe as she had been shown, forcing her feet against the blade, and began pulling on the rope at her middle. Behind her, Curioso struggled to secure them to the ice. She could hear her own heartbeat in her ears as she attempted to wrap her fingers around the line. She took her clumsy gloves off with her teeth, and winced and the cold bit into her hands. She began to pull, fighting the urge to cry out in pain as the line sliced her palms. Curioso dug in beside her, "Pull!!" he shouted in her ear, and she leaned back against the line. "Oui," she gasped, "mais il est coincé!!!" Curioso lay on his stomach and slid across the field to the ragged hole. From the edge, he carefully manuevered the line as she pulled.

It seemed an eternity to Annette, before the crevasse produced the léopard de neige. As Curioso pulled his lifeless form back from the edge, Annette scrambled to untie herself. Still seated at the axe when Curioso returned, she grabbed the edges of Tirseng's parka and pulled him towards her. They quickly felt his arms and legs for breaks, and breathed relief to find none. The soft blue light of the moon gave Tirseng's bleeding face an otherworldly glow, and once again, Annette fought the urge to break into mad sobs. So cold!, she undid her parka and tried as best she could to tuck the little man inside.

In the dark edges of the field, the dark brother smiled at this sight. The murderer standing watch over the madwoman, clutching the sherpa to her chest, and rocking in the blue light. They fall like dominos, one into the other, so neatly, so completely. He began to hum a song, a song he'd heard before, from that fever-struck woman, in her prison cell.
The girls in Paris are so fine
If you've got the money they've got the time
If you want another little roll in the hay
Smile real sweet, say 'lagniappe'
Down le petite carre
All you got to say is 'lagniappe'
When you want just a little bit more
Than you have bargained for

16 May 01 - 03:00 AM (#463523)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC

Liza's arms were weighed down with books, maps, brochures and the big atlas from the geography classroom at school. The librarian wouldn't let her take the atlas from the library, but her geography teacher said she might take the classroom atlas home for one night. The teacher was surprised with Liza's sudden interest in geography, but was pleased to do anything she could to encourage it.

Liza barely noticed the weight during the long walk home from school. Her mind was consumed with thoughts of what she had found while researching Tibet in the library. Pictures of strange and mysterious temples and monasteries, mind bogglingly huge mountain ranges, snow capped peaks, and exotic looking people all competed in her mind for attention. It was good that her feet knew their way home by themselves, because she was barely aware of where she was going or what she was doing.

No plan had formed in her mind about what she wanted to do. She just knew she had to find out more about this place. She had even stopped by Gladys' house and asked Gladys' mother about travel to Asia. Before settling in rural Maine with her minister husband to raise her family, Gladys' mother and her parents had traveled the world as a missionary family. She knew just about everything there was to know about travel.

Liza unloaded the pile of books and maps onto the table with a heavy thump. She was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and looking at the atlas when her father returned from his hard day of working on the water. He stared at her and the heaping mound of books with mild astonishment. She looked back at him, almost without recognition for just a moment. And then, in an instant, all of the tumblers clicked into place. She had a plan...

16 May 01 - 03:26 AM (#463530)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC

"But Father," Liza said. (Ezra knew he was in trouble when Liza called him 'Father'.) "I'll be eighteen when I graduate. I'm old enough, I promise. I know I can do it."

Ezra was stumped. He thought he knew his daughter very well, but he never could have forseen this. And what was this she was on about anyway? Tibet? TIBET? But he knew he couldn't stop her. She was a child with a mind of her own. A wild thing who could not be contained. Not by the water surrounding the island, and not by family ties, either. She would go. He knew that. He needed to think.

16 May 01 - 08:44 AM (#463642)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R

Sri nanda-nandanastakam

Sucaru-vaktra-mandalam sukarna-ratna-kundalam
Sucarcitanga-candanam namami-nandanam

Vrajangana-sunayakam sada sukha pradayakam
Jaganmanah pralobhanam namami nanda-nandanam

Namami nanda-nandanam
Namami nanda-nandanam
Namami nanda-nandanam
Namami nanda-nandanam

16 May 01 - 02:22 PM (#464005)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

[We interrupt this story with an announcement: the Black Master and some buddies of his now have their very own web page! here! (Make sure that you click on the images, and check out the weapons descriptions for each of the action figures! A student showed me this this morning)And now, back to our story!]

16 May 01 - 03:22 PM (#464056)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing


Dearly Beloved awoke with a start. It was so warm she'd thrown off her parka and boots. Sunlight filtered down through the canopy of green leaves overhead. She heard a small murmur, a sort of hum. Sitting up, slowly, she glanced around and saw Gungzin Dharmalazu sitting across the glade, intoning the ancient prayers to Budhha.

Quietly making her way to the edge of the woods, she glanced up valley, at the vast region before her, deep, so deep that she could barely make out the tops of the cliffs. A rushing river bore a channel through the valley, mellowing to a wide and lazy flow near the center. But what caught her eye was the sky in the roiled with dark and silent clouds, eerily lit with flashes of sinister lightening. A sickly glow ate up the light which would normally reflect off anything natural in the area. As near as she could tell, all of the trees in the north were stunted, twisted horribly and blackened with decay.

Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye and much closer to where she and Gungzin were resting, a huge, lumbering white animal bent to take a sip of water from the river. Holding her breath, lest it hear her, she watched as it drank, then sniffed the air, and seemingly looked directly at her. Willing herself not to move, to even breath, she held still. The creature was most odd, standing on two legs like a man, but much bigger than any human she'd ever seen. Also it seemed to be covered in hair. As she watched, it settled its gaze on the praying monk. Giving a slight shake of its head, it carefully reached into a pouch of some sort and carefully laid four small oval objects on the ground, then walked away. Gone in an instant, with no sound. She let her shoulders drop and took in a big gulp of air. Gungzin was walking towards her.

Good morning, my dear one. Would you like some breakfast? I have made yak-butter tea and our friend, he gestured where the creature had been, has left us some treats.

Scarcely believing her eyes, Dearly Beloved followed the monk, then gasped in amazement when she saw the presents the Silent One had left....four beautiful, delicious looking eggs.

Walking back to their camp, Gungzin squatted by the fire, broke the eggs into a pan and began cooking them.

My Most Revered Teacher, may I ask what that was? That creature? It was so huge. I would not want it for an enemy!

16 May 01 - 03:53 PM (#464075)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Little Hawk

Bomba's solitary musings were interrupted by a hideous shriek! The jungle boy sprang to his feet, siezing his trusty knife in clenched fingers and hurled himself through a tangle of vines, creepers, eggplants, and nastertiums...or is that nasturtia? His heart was pounding as he burst into a small clearing. Dopi was in the clutches of a gigantic anaconda! The serpent's glowing eyes glittered wickedly as its coils tightened around the struggling native boy!

"Release Dopi or die!" shouted Bomba.

"What'll you offer me for him?" retorted the anaconda, squeezing harder. Poor Dopi gasped desperately as the coils began crushing the breath out of his little dusky body! This was the 35th time Dopi had been siezed by an Anaconda in the last 5 days, and he was beginning to think it just wasn't worth being Bomba's sidekick any longer.

"I'll give you a chance to escape alive," offered Bomba, glaring back with flashing eyes (swoon, reader, swoon!)!

"Phooey," said the anaconda. "I was expecting at least a year's subscription to Cosmopolitan for my troubles. Well, I guess I'll juat have to eat you too, after I finish with your friend!"

"That does it!" yelled Bomba, and he hurled himself at the dreadful snake, driving his dagger between its baleful eyes! What a struggle! Snake, black boy, and white boy whirled around in a battle to the death, a tornado of flashing teeth, writhing coils, stabbing knife, and struggling limbs!

At last all was still. Too still. The snake was dead. So was Dopi.


Bomba had somehow managed to stab Dopi as well as the snake...right through the heart in fact.

"Bomba's aim is still the deadliest in the jungle," he said sadly, as he buried poor Dopi and prepared to roast the anaconda over an open fire.

It wasn't easy being a jungle boy, and sidekicks were getting SO hard to find...

There. That should do is the Bomba the Jungle Boy story thread, right?

It isn't???

Oh, dear, I am so terribly sorry!

- LH

p.s. Matt, what are you up to?

16 May 01 - 04:10 PM (#464094)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

Well...there goes the goddam Pulitzer.

16 May 01 - 04:14 PM (#464098)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

No shit, LeeJ! I thought MattR was doing a nice job of background chants, m'self.

16 May 01 - 04:17 PM (#464100)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

Aw, Leej...s'okay.
Just when I thought I'd regained my composure after the Abdominal Stowman, I get "Sorry, We are out of Christians..." Gonna take some time to recover from that, I'm afraid...

16 May 01 - 04:22 PM (#464104)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

C'mon MATT! Chant us back into focus! For the love of God, man! Chant! Chant as you have never chanted before!!!

16 May 01 - 04:27 PM (#464105)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Little Hawk

LEJ - Thanks! I didn't realize it was quite that good. :-)

p.s. Shangri-La story seems to be shaping up nicely, with some pretty impressive writing.

- LH

16 May 01 - 04:59 PM (#464130)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

not that good?! Let's just say that Spielberg has been in touch.

16 May 01 - 07:43 PM (#464263)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

Tirseng floated in his dream. As he rested, cradled in warmth, the blue one came to him. Vajrapani rose from the blue diamonds and spoke to him:
Meditate upon me, for my life is virtuous and my mind is free
Like this frozen river
No illusion may exhist around me
I am the shining jewel where no dust may settle
I do not scatter my energies in wasteful forms
Nor do I allow clouds to rest before me
I am clarity and wisdom
I inspire the strong and the noble
Who shun deception and favor truth
For the world is full of lies
And the clear sword of truth is needed
To pierce the darkness....

When he found the strength to open his eyes, he found himself cradled against Curioso's shakti herself. Annette stared intently into his face, as by thought alone willing him to wake. When he finally did, she yelled for Curioso, who was trying to secure lines to take them around the crevasse. The wind had picked up, bringing with it not only the tiny ice crystals that blistered their skin, but a shrill melody that Annette knew too well. She and Curioso were as human crutches on either side of Tirseng when she first heard it. She stiffened, and there it was again, the flute.
Curioso yelled to her through the swirling ice "What is it?"
Annette howled back across Tirseng's head "La lagniappe! The bastard is toying with us!" her panic melted swiftly into anger. The glimpse she caught of Curioso's face between the blasts of snow was tense, "We have to Tirseng out of here!" And into the swirling snow they walked.

17 May 01 - 04:09 AM (#464478)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC

The thunder of the waves crashing in the small rocky cove echoed the thunder crashing in Liza's head. She knew what she had to do, but she was filled with grief over the idea of leaving the island, and especially, over the idea of leaving her father behind. She had taken care of him since her mother died. She was all he had. "How can I do this?" she thought. And, as if in answer to her question, a fish appeared in the shallows of the cove, staring at her with one penetrating eye. Instantly, her mind was back in New York City, her gaze locked into place with that of the old man.

Liza shivered and she tried to shake off the memory. She could not. It lived within her, as real in its way as the rock upon which she sat. Why did it have to boil down to such a terrible choice?

She looked up and saw her father's boat coming in. She ran to meet him on the dock. Liza wanted to give her father an enormous hug. Who could know when she would see him again? Then she saw the traps. Everything after that was a blur, but she was acutely aware of one thing. She heard her father say, "I'm thinking of going with you to this magic land of yours."

17 May 01 - 05:19 AM (#464501)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC

The trip across the ocean was the most amazing thing Liza ever experienced. She loved watching the ship's crew, and she was especially intrigued by all of the different kinds of people who were sharing this experience with her. And of course, she loved the ocean. Liza had never been very far from the ocean. She couldn't imagine what it would be like in Tibet where she would have to travel for days before she could see her beloved ocean again.

"The wind that lives upon the ocean also lives upon the peaks of the highest mountains." Liza started, and spun around to try to find the source of the voice. It was a small, hoarse voice, almost indistinguishable from the sound of the wind passing across the deck where she stood. She saw the hunched over form of an old man wearing frayed robes as he hurried away from her, disappearing into the crowd.

She thought she saw the old man several times on the train as they journeyed through India on their way to Tibet. Each time, she barely caught a glimpse of him before he disappeared. She thought it seemed as though he wanted her to know that he was there, even though he apparently didn't want to talk with her. Liza tried to tell her father about it, but when the words came out, they sounded like nonsense, even to her. She gave up on it. Wonders were piling up, one on top of another, in her growing reservoir of experiences. She would wait to deal with this one until she could not do otherwise.

That opportunity arose as Liza and her father disembarked the train at their destination in Tibet. They stood together on the platform, breathing in the strange smells, and trying to make sense of the strange sounds. Although they didn't realize it, they were taking in the feel of the place. In a simultaneous maneuver, Liza's heart began to race, and her gut tightened into a knot. And then he was there. The wizened little old man with the one good (but wayward) eye. "I can help you," he said. "Things are not always as they seem, but I can help you find the way that lies between the illusions. Come with me."

And with those words, their journey had begun.

17 May 01 - 08:37 AM (#464550)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R

Mere korlsi ek rani
Ja, shart me kernar
Orde korlai me
Orne orda kumera dukalis
He nee eh huchae
Norwegian lukri
Orne kyar rela
Tha be ja
Jitte bi teri marji
Me alle dwalle deklar
Kay ohte korsee nee si
Ma duri te be gle
Sume sorcheke
Ordi sharab pyike
Use dar buhjeh tac galla kitia
Fa ome kuy-ar
Sohn da suma horgiar

Orne dusia ke swernu karnte, jandi he
Tha hassna shooru karditha
Me ornu dusia, me nee-jarna
Tha bathe betch solhm cha-leg-lar
Jad me jargian
Me kul-ar se
Eh chirey beergh gey
Fer me aag jug ay see
He nee eh huchee
Norwegian lukri

17 May 01 - 01:12 PM (#464786)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

Carol and Kat...I like the idea of the three story lines coming together in Shangri La.

Matt...Norwegian lukri?? Is this some chant of the East Oslo Tibetan Community?

17 May 01 - 01:38 PM (#464814)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R

Nutz EJ, you busted me!

Ok, the first three, "Govinda," "Tattva," "Nandana" are songs by the British rock band Kula Shaker who are obsessed with ethnic rock-outs of Hindi prayers. The last one is Indian/British band Cornershop's Hindi version of "Norweigan Wood".

Just adding a little culture...

17 May 01 - 01:46 PM (#464830)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

Me, too, LeeJ. Keep it up, MattR, yer doin' good! Awright, Liza and her dad made it to the high country!! On their way!!

17 May 01 - 06:04 PM (#465059)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC

My role as a writer has been to get Naemanson's Maine lobsterman to Tibet. Naemanson is taking over from here. And more power to him, I say. What a novel idea... a Maine lobsterman in Tibet just prior to WWII.

17 May 01 - 07:03 PM (#465095)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: GUEST,Caitrin

Curses to my computer and it's sketchy connection! I haven't been able to get online for days! On the bright side, though, i did get to see Seven Nations in Raleigh last night. But back to the story...

"Thank you, Rek-shin." Mara whispered across the mountains. She'd sent the beast to look after Dearly Beloved and Gengzhin. They needed all the help they could get, she thought as she looked to the black northern sky. The darkness came closer to her cherished Shangri-la with every passing moment. Thank the Heavens that the light came closer, as well.

18 May 01 - 12:54 AM (#465252)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

The storm raged on, surrounding the three in cacophanous white. Curioso used a length of the line to tie them all together, and they walked. Annette had pulled the hood of her parka closed over her face, and followed blindly. Wherever they went now, they went together. Either to safety, or to death. Each time the rope pulled around her waist, she stepped. Tirseng hung slack between them, and whatever life she had left in her, she put in Curioso's hands. There was no where else to go.

She could no longer feel the legs she commanded, and the total lack of sight or sound that wasn't storm...naturellement....the deprivation was slowly lending itself to the madness. The same childhood song crept back into her head over and over again;
For the thirteenth donut in the bakers dozen
To give it to your pretty little cousin
Pull on the baker's sleeve and say
"Sil vous plait, monsieur, lagniappe"
Down in le petite carre
All you got to say is lagniappe
When you want just a little bit more
Than you have bargained for
She fought it with everything she me rappelle...every colour of the rainbow?...every country in the world?..take your mind out of the song ma chere and leave it in the cold and white....

She would not have noticed them reaching the cavern at the base of the Pyanapa, except for that the fierce wind had stopped, and her forward momentum carried her to the ground. Her last thought before losing consciousness was that she was sure that this was death, "Je suis mort et suis allé au ciel..."
The open mouth of the cavern behind them was a sheet of solid white, almost liquid, and most certainly alive in it's anger.

When she awoke, Annette found herself sitting braced against the wall of the cavern. Ah, la douleur!! The bruised bones, aching muscles, and frozen skin all howled in harmony with the storm. There was a fire. "Ce n'est pas ciel, ceci est enfer," she thought...and as she opened her eyes she saw the devil himself was moving towards her!...
"Nets...chéri..." the demon crooned...she screamed and scrambled up against the wall, but the demon claws at her shoulder forced her down again.
"Femme! Détendez!"
She hit the ground hard, and when she opened her eyes, there was no spectre, only Curioso kneeling beside her.

"Oh, mon amour, mon dieu...what happened to you?" she stuttered as she pulled his face to hers.
His face was red, the skin around his eyes turning dark, and he grimaced as he gently removed her hands from his cheeks, "The cold, chere...I kept opening my hood, trying to see, but there was nothing. I walked until I felt the wall in front of me, then I dragged my hand along it until I felt this opening."
"And Tirseng?" she asked
"Over there." In a tidy warm bundle of furs lay the sherpa.

18 May 01 - 01:52 AM (#465281)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

(But Carol, Liza has come along, too? You've been doing a great job with both of them!)

18 May 01 - 02:02 AM (#465283)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC

(Thanks kat/katlaughing. I feel like I'm a bit out of my depth here. I don't know anything about Tibet or about Buddism. I could work with Liza if Naemanson feeds me the necessary info, but I'll leave that up to him.)

18 May 01 - 09:44 AM (#465451)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R

Don't sit under the Pipal tree
With anyone else but me
Anyone else but me
Anyone else but me...

18 May 01 - 09:48 AM (#465457)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

(LOL@Matt...the pipal tree, indeed!*bg* No problem, Carol, appreciate it. I am just making it up as I go along, the Shangra-La part, esp., so if you feel like jumping back in when we get there, please do.)

18 May 01 - 09:49 AM (#465463)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

Later, when the other two slept, Curioso sat towards the front of the cave, rifle in hand, watching the rippling white curtain of snow, angry and demented in storm. Annette's cry of panic upon awakening had struck something in him, and he sat and watched and thought. And then it came to him, and he realized that he was carrying her and Tirseng and Shangri-La down to their doom. The Black Master was using him as the magnet to lead the darkness to the still centre. They had been up the mountain together, and were still tied together -- one pressed up against the sheer cliff, the other far down in the abyss, pulling him down by the weight of his evil. There was no choice.

He stood up. It was a terrible gamble. How could he know whether as soon as he left them, Yamada might somehow come again? But Tirseng, Annette, they could cope with Yamada, maybe. No one could cope with the howling whiteness except -- well, he could grapple with him, Jacob and his brother angel, and at least try to end it all.

He went over to where Annette lay, lovely in sleep. He always seemed to be watching her, asleep. Maybe it was easier that way. He bent over and lightly kissed her hair: "Beloved," he whispered, "I'll be back", and then went over to Tirseng, and covered his mouth, and woke him.
Tirseng started, and Curioso pointed to the cave mouth.
"I'm going to him, Tirseng. We can't go on like this."
Tirseng shook his head. But Curioso nodded yes. Tirseng shrugged his shoulders, and they briefly embraced. Then Curioso walked out through the curtain into the storm.
And there was no storm. Beyond the curtain of white there was only the blackblue of night, gleaming blackblue ice everywhere, and the clear stars. Curioso spun around, but the curtain had gone, and the cave entrance was black. He began to run across the ice field. The air crackled with cold. He ran for an hour in silence and then stopped. His eyes scanned the horizon. In daytime it was hard enough: the Black Master could cloak himself in white, and the only part he ironically could not control was his lack of shadow, so one looked for a white anomaly. In night, there was nothing. And at that moment, above, the sky suddenly exploded in fury, vast curtains of aurora borealis howling and swooping across the Tibetan plateau. Curioso nearly fell backward against the sweep of colour and the whine, but kept moving. Follow me, you bastard, he whispered, follow me, follow me. We are going to die together, brother of mine." And the night howled.
When the first howling began, Annette awoke. "What the hell is going on?" she cried," Where is Curioso?"
Tirseng shouted back: "He has gone to fight his brother alone, out there."
Annette got up and went over to him. "Give me your gun. I'm going after them."
Tirseng replied: "No, it is what he has to do."
Annette looked at him and spoke in a slow voice: "This is not a boy's comic book. This is not the strong silent man going out into the snow for his friends. That is merde. Give me that gun. I am going to deal with that Black Master. Then I am going to deal with that primadonna Curioso playing games with the woman in his life. And then I am going to come back and deal with you. Comprienne?"
He handed her the gun. She thanked him politely, told him to kill Yamada with his bare hands if he got the chance, and then raced off into the night.

18 May 01 - 10:10 AM (#465484)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Matt_R

I think I'm goin to Katmandu
I think it's really where I'm going to
Hey if I ever get out of here
That's what I'm gonna do

I think it's really where I'm going to
Hey if I ever get out of here
I'm goin to Katmandu

I got no kick against the West Coast
Warner Brothers are such good hosts
I raise my whiskey glass, and give 'em a toast
I'm sure they know it's true

I got no rap against the Southern states
Every time I've been there it's been great
But now I'm leavin' and I can't be late
And to myself be true

That's why I'm goin to Katmandu
Up to the mountains where I'm going to

I ain't got nothin' against the East coast
You want some people well they got the most
New York City's like a friendly old ghost
You seem to cruise right through

I know I'm gonna miss the USA
I guess I'll miss it every single day
But no one loves me here anyway
I know my plane is due...

The one that's goin to Katmandu !

I think I'm goin to Katmandu
I think it's really where I'm going to
Hey if I ever get out of here
That's what I'm gonna do

I think it's really where I'm going to
Hey if I ever get out of here
I'm goin to Katmandu

18 May 01 - 04:40 PM (#465830)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

In her sleep, the dreams had been of the whale. She was seven years old, and the family had gone to the shore for holiday. As she had come over the dunes, there it lay, bloated and decaying. The seagulls swarmed over the feast in a living shroud. As she continued to dream, the carcass became smaller and smaller, the gulls larger, until their cries came in an unending howl. She tried to run, but the sand seemed to hold her feet. Louder and louder, until she woke.

In those first scant seconds of comprehension, she realized she was not at the shore, but in a cave. Tirseng sat solidly awake by the firecan. Curioso? The screaming of the gulls came thought the cavern door. Annette crawled to where Tirseng sat.
"What the hell is going on? Where is Curioso?" The solemn sherpa told her of Curioso's flight into the dark. The anger rose in her again, as if she were seven, madly running the beach to chase the gulls away from the fallen one.

She knelt, taking Tirseng's rifle and the few cartridges he carried in his pack. All the while, trying to remain calm in the face of this dear little man. She told him her plans, and left him repeating his oath to break Yamada into tiny pieces, should the opportunity arise. She stood and ran out of the cavern. The moon was hidden among the dancing lights in the sky, but she could faintly make the trail of scuff marks on the icy ground. He was running...the cuts were deep and far apart...she slung the rifle over her shoulder and followed them.

The cold wind, and her tired muscles, made her want to cry out in agony, but she would not cry. Her beloved, her love. Love? The way the English spoke it, Luff. Just as the sailors claimed, a spot where the wind refused to fill your sails. Is this the wonderment of which they spoke with such reverence?? These thoughts fueling her legs, she ran.

19 May 01 - 09:47 AM (#466196)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

The sky twisted inside out, stars warping like melting diamonds flung off a black blanket, and the air howled, crackled like the wanton burning of time. Curioso kept running, dodging boulders, leaping cracks, heading towards the rift they had been struggling towards all day. Somewhere behind him, around him, gaining, somewhere, his brother followed, with the unleashed pack of hell.
There was a break in the starfalling ahead, and he saw the break in the wall of rock. Again the sky whined, and he hurtled on, come on, come on, brother, come on. Howls of rage began to fill his mind, he was closer now, he could feel the white anger rising in him. He felt himself losing control, and at that instant he remembered the teaching of his beloved master, and he grappled to his lifeline, his breathing, his thread through the darkness. His body shrieked at him, his breathing came thick and fast, and it was not like sitting in placid meditation, but he persevered, and had a moment of respite. And then a great red wave hit him, and knocked him down.
"Hello brother," said Dominic. The voice was ahead of him, at the opening through the wall.
"I'm here. It is time." said Curioso grimly.
"Oh, brother," said Dominic, "you are so naive. Do you think a murderer like you, a man with blood on his hands, can do this? "
"No," said Curioso," No. I have no expectation. I have come here to be killed, to break into your world."
"You were always an idiot. Do you think that I care? Do you have any idea where I am getting all this power from? You aren't anything."
"I know. I know that you are an anger-sucking beast, that the world is descending into war, that you bathe in the pure bliss of the marching of armies, of the eradication of beings, and that I have been a part of that. But there are things you are blind to. You did not get through all the worlds of power. There are other worlds of power."
There was a thickening in the darkness ahead. Dominic was coming to roost.
"But not now," gloated Dominic, " not now."
"Always," replied Curioso, "Always. You know nothing of powerlessness. I cannot fight you on spiritual terrain, because I have failed, but I can try what I can try here." And he hurled himself on his brother's wraithlike form. The touch stung like grappling an electric eel, and he was shrugged off forward into the snow. His hands burned. Dominic laughed.
"What was the point of that, baby brother?"
"This," yelled Curioso, tumbled ahead, got to his feet, and raced for the cleft in the wall ahead. Dominic howled, and came after him.
There was a tight labyrinth for a few feet, and then Curioso broke out. In his pain, even he staggered and slowed. For ahead lay the Sacred White Mountain. They had come into the realm of Shangri La, of Mount Meru. It was so gigantic, that the star and moonlight glimmering off it illuminated the vast ridges and valleys below, descending seemingly forever until they reached the valley floor below. Curioso found himself on an infinitesimal ledge along the opposite ridge wall, and after the initial horrible realization that he had done exactly what Dominic had wished, he had no choice but to move as fast as he could away along the ledge. Behind him, his brother now appeared, who he could just see in the mountain glow. Where this ledge went, and how long it went, he did not know, but he had no choice. It curved and undulated, and the two brothers inched their way along the face. On the other side, the Sacred White Mountain watched dispassionately as the tiny dots moved through the night.
Finally the ledge widened out onto a shelf, enough room for a stand. Curioso stopped, and caught his breath. He was helpless. His brother was physically stronger than he was, and he was blocked against using spiritual weapons because of his great sin. And he could not bring himself to kill his brother. His rifle remained on his shoulder. He could only die. The ghostly form of his brother arrived.
"Thank you, baby brother. You have been a great help to me. I would not have found it without you."
"What do you intend to do now, Dominic?"
"You see that mountain? It is a vast unknown form of radiation. It is what keeps the people here young, warms the region, lights up the night. It is not sacred: it is like me: it is whitehot, pure radiation, condensed anger. It will make weapons, wield destruction, blast everything. I will use it to destroy this whole country, first, and then whatever else takes my fancy!!"
"It will not work, Dominic."
"Oh, no? You should ask that woman about it. She knows. She is on track to build the bomb, she and her friends, those wise, oh so peaceful, Nobel prize winners and bomb builders. It is coming, baby brother, it is coming. I can feel it!"
"Well," Curioso said, "You will have to kill me first. "
"Nothing would give me greater pleasure."
"May I have a moment to pray?"
"What right have you to pray, murderer?"
"I am not praying for myself. I am praying for someone I love. And for all beings. But especially for someone."
"You should pray for her, baby brother. Yamada will deal with her, the way he dealt with her before. Then maybe I will, oh, who knows, come in and mop up afterwards. "
"I am not praying for her. Love is prayer, always, daily, endlessly, you cannot know. No, I am praying for the soul of my lost Geshe, that in the next life I may atone to him for what I have done." And the tears came into his eyes.
There was a bitter cry from the darkness opposite. "Baby brother, you are such a fool. Do you really think that it was you who murdered that monster? That you can take credit for it? It was a game I have played with you. I deluded you, drugged you with that idea, on that awful night when he and I fought for my soul, and I won and he lost. You were nothing, you were my pawn, I did it. I did it. I did it. I did it all!!"
"That is all he really needed to know, espece de cochon. I am not your damned brother, and not your damned sister either, Grace de Dieu." Annette's dark figure stood behind Dominic on the edge of the perilous shelf, with the rifle pointed at him. She shot three times, bursts of light in the darkness, and Dominic staggered forward. He fell across the abyss, clutched the crumbling edge of rock, and then fell forever.
There was a moment of silence. The two figures came together, and embraced.
"You know, a little extra prayer for me would have been nice." Annette said at last.

19 May 01 - 02:52 PM (#466309)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

Tirseng felt his way along the path until he heard the gunshot, then two more. Now he hurried, taking from the scabbard a thin long-bladed knife, one his Father and his Grandfather had had before him. He would die with it in his hand. When he turned the last corner, he beheld Curioso and Annette standing there and was at first amazed, then overjoyed. Smiling, he dealt his thumb a small cut with the blade, smearing the blood along the metal edge, then plunging it in the snow, and finally into the scabbard again. "You have beaten him. I might have wagered against that," Tirseng said. "Have you seen the hounds?" he then stated cryptically, and motioned the pair to stand by him. Far below, as the first rays of Sun crept onto the peaks around them, a group of armed figures were following their track across the Khumba Snowfield. "They are Siping, he said, using the Sherpa slang for Chinese. "We will continue to the Wheel's Center. But first we must bury the trail. I know another way."

The three climbed above the trail, and began to dislodge boulders to tumble down. At last, Tirseng started a scree-slide that entirely obscured the trail. "Now, quickly," he said, and began to lope across the ridge. At the base of the sheer face, obscured by a chimney of granite, a vertical crack ascended the peak. Ancient rusted pitons and remnants of rope adorned the crack. "Rope up, " said Tirseng. He smiled at the pair. "Don't worry, I've been up here before. Of course, all this hardware was new then. " They started up the precipice.

19 May 01 - 03:02 PM (#466310)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Little Hawk

Wow! Pretty dramatic stuff.

- LH

19 May 01 - 03:48 PM (#466346)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Caitrin

"They come." Mara whispered, her eyes flying open. They had held off the Dark One, for now. Annette and Curiouso had struck a mighty blow, but the fight was not yet over. Mara could still see the twisted sky, lightning breaking across the dark, the stars spun in mad spirals. The clouds flashed white in the deadly storm, signalling Mara that the evil which threatened her land was not yet defeated.
Mara stood, straightening her red and gold wrapped skirt. She would go to greet the new arrivals; the others would soon follow.

19 May 01 - 03:51 PM (#466350)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

Tirseng tapped each piton as he reached it, making sure the metal was still solid before clipping in the climbing rope. He looked up to see a shelf about sixteen feet above him and called down "need ten more feet of rope!" Annette, in the middle, let the line slide through her hitch as Curioso fed more out. She was tense against the rock, as might be expected of a novice climber, but she grinned up to Tirseng. "You are like a lizard, Annette" Tirseng said, and Curioso laughed, saying "and I've got her by the tail!"

The sky was deep blue, although stars still peppered it. Tirseng said a prayer to the Buddha, in thanks for the cloudless sky. He reached the shelf, sitting with his legs dangling over, and said "come up, little lizard." He wrapped the rope around his forearm and gazed out over the valley, and suddenly felt the eagle-spirit of climbing joy come into his chest. Softly, he sang.

The mountains give us life
Until we come to them we are not born
When leaving them we fall again to sleep
I praise you Kanchenchunga
Hold me close as I hold thee

19 May 01 - 04:51 PM (#466389)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

The large creature had returned. Motioning to Gungzin Dharmalazu to hurry, it turned and started out at a fast pace, up the valley, straight into the storm.

Do not worry, my child. Rek-shin has been sent to help us reach the Centre of the World. All Forces converge there now. We must follow and hurry! Come, Dearly Beloved!

Dearly followed as fast as she could, watching where she placed each step. Suddenly they heard a huge roar and saw large boulders bouncing down from so high up they could only see a slip of the sky. Immediately after they heard a faint "pop-pop." The sky roiled with turmoil, greenish-yellow lightening struck trees, setting them on fire, splitting them down the middle. The grass, tinder-dry around them, caught fire. Picking up their pace, now, running and dodging bolts of white-hot fire, they followed on, Rek-shin, the Giant leading the way.

Ahead was all smoke, illuminated only by flashes of sickenly coloured light. Rek-shin twisted, suddenly, and went down.

Oh no! Rek-shin!

Dearly ran to his side with Gungzin reaching him a moment before. The beautiful and gentle giant was hit, his fur scorched with raw flesh showing on his side. Closing his eyes and groaning with pain and anger, he motioned them to go on. They were not far from some of the tumbled rocks at the base of the cliffs.

Dearly yelled at Gungzin Let's get him over by those rocks. We have to help him!

Tugging and praying with all their will, they huffed and pulled, until finally Rek-shin was propped against a large boulder giving scant protection from the battle raging above.

Gungzin motioned to Dearly to sit in lotus and focus with him. He lightly placed his open hand above Rek-shin's wound. White light formed a swirl around them, entered the tops of their heads and ran through Gungzin's arm into the wound. Breathing deeply and letting it out slowly, in a syncopation of healing, Dearly and Gungzin "cleared" the wound of evil's stain, filling it with a purple glow of Light. Chanting all the while, in unison they then "knit" the large gash shut with their concentrated energy. The Sworl of Light above them quivered slightly, then Rek-shin, feeling some respite, added a feeble thread of energy and the globe held steady.

So mote it be Dearly Beloved muttered under her breath, as she and Gungzin broke their concentration.
We must rest, dear one, you have done well in helping. Most Honourable Rek-shin, we are humbly grateful to you for your assistance. We will rest here, with you, then travel along, as soon as you are able to move.

With that, Gungzin reached into his long sleeves, pulled out a skinbag of water and some dried berries and hard bread. He offered equal amounts to Dearly and Rek-shin, taking only a small amount for himself.

While Gungzin maintained the globe of protective energy, Rek-shin sighed and closed his eyes with a grimace. Dearly beloved felt very comfortable with him and snuggled up next to him. Weary and worn, she realised she was once again falling asleep among the Chaos of the World.

19 May 01 - 06:29 PM (#466442)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC

A tall finger of rock jutted up from the side of the white mountain. On top of it stood a man and a woman. Cloaked in a mantle of shimmering light, their etherial presence was barely distinguishable from that of the mountain itself. They watched the conflict unfolding on the ledge of the far mountain.

"This world of opposites is a place of great beauty and of great horror." The man looked at the woman with a wistful smile that was but a ripple upon the surface of a deep well of understanding.

The pair watched until the light grew dim. As the woman turned her gaze away from the view, a single tear fell from her eye. And where it fell, a flower appeared, growing out of the very rock itself. And it gave off a beautiful scent that was new to the world, and yet very, very old.

19 May 01 - 06:45 PM (#466458)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

(Beautiful, Carol! Love that phrase a wistful smile that was but a ripple upon the surface of a deep well of understanding)

19 May 01 - 07:08 PM (#466482)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

"Un lézard, eh? I feel more like une mouche!" Annette laughed as she finally threw her leg over the top of the rise. She scrambled to set herself beside Tirseng as Curioso finished the climb.
"Tirseng, " she said, while still trying to regain her breath, "How did you know where to find us?"
"Ah," said the little man, "It was not difficult. When you left following the lights, I followed you. When the lights in the sky stopped, there was still the glow of your 'khong khro 'bar ba' to light my way...dear lady, remind me to never make you angry!" He sat smiling at her.
"Then you saw Yamada as well..." her voice trailed off softly into the growing light of morning.
He nodded, staring off into sunrise with her.

Curioso completed the climb, and after helping Tirseng gather the rest of the ropes, he sat beside Annette on the cliff's edge. He gently brushed the errant hairs away from her face before draping his arm around her shoulders. Tirseng sat, not far away, intently winding the ropes and being careful not to pay any attention to what was going on.
"Tirseng spoke of Yamada, " he started. He felt her tense beneath his touch.
"Yamada will not be a problem any longer." she tersely answered.
"Chérie femme," he asked "que s'est produit??"

Annette gave a deep shuddering sigh before she continued. "I left the cavern, following your footprints in the snow. Yamada was waiting. He followed me. I was so worried, chere, that I didn't even notice him. All of the howling in the sky, I didn't hear him..."
Curioso leaned back and gazed at her, "You killed him?"
"Aucun mon aimé, much worse than that." Her eyes filled up with tears. "He caught up with me, at that shallow ravine where you slid?" Curioso nodded. "Yes, I slid down it too. While I was trying to regain my feet, I look up, and there he is. He had a sword drawn to me, chere. I could not reach the rifle, I could not run.

He told me what your brother had given him, the omiyage. Opening of the doors that should not be opened. In return, all of his work at the university was to go to Dominic first. Yamada thought that that would be his o kaeshi, but Dominic had une autre idée. Your brother told him to kill me, chere. The repayment of that debt was to be my blood, merveilleux, non? Your brother wins on all counts. He gets the plans, takes me from you, and destroys you as well."

"What happened, Nets. What did you do?" Curioso asked again, as she paused and stared coldly at the mountains.
"I did nothing. I sat, I listened. This lunatic man with eyes like piss-holes in the snow is waving a sword at me and telling me to sit? I sit." she answered angrily. "He told me of your brother's world, chere. There are no souls there, everyone lives to do the bidding of the BlackOne. That there were others like him, maybe not so strong, but out there all the same. The world is changing.....He knelt in front of me, and I was sure that c'était la fin....but he turned the sword on himself. While his blood was pouring onto the snow, I scratched my way up the far side of the ravine, and I ran. You know, chere, that his eyes? they didn't change. There was less life in them alive than dead."

Curioso turned her face to his and gently kissed her. "You know," he started, "You may be the le lézard des montagnes, but I don't think even you could have helped him..."
"But.." she stammered, "I didn't even try.."
"There is always the next incarnation, chere. He'll have the chance to redeem himself, let's just hope that he does."

The two sat for a few moments more in silence before Tirseng loudly cleared his throat and told them it was time to go.

19 May 01 - 07:43 PM (#466503)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Lonesome EJ

Tirseng made his way methodically up the granite until the way above was blocked by a massive overhang. He glanced to the right, both hands and feet wedged in the vertical crack. There was the faded, frayed 30 foot length of cord that he had left there 12 years ago, affixed to a rusty piton. By grabbing the fixed line and swinging pendulum fashion, the escape from under the overhang could be executed, reaching another shelf some 40 feet to his right. But first, he had to grab the line. He took a second free piece of cord from his pack, climbed several feet higher on what appeared to be perfectly smooth and flawless rock, and placing the cord end between his teeth, freed his ice axe and began tapping at a small fissure in the stone. He found a piton and tapped it home, then securing the cord in it.

"Belay me, Curioso," he said, looking down the face at his friend, and Curioso took a wrap in the rope and nodded, saying "Annette, make sure the piton by you is strong. Put your weight on it." Trembling, she leaned backward from the piton, watching the cord snap taut. It held. Above, the Snowleopard grinned and lunged away from the rock and to his left. The rope tightened, then swung him over to the old rope, which he grasped in his right hand, then back to his original perch. "Tres bon!" shouted Curioso. Tirseng released the temporary rope, and gave the end of the old one a wrap around his waist."I will need about 50 feet of slack, Curioso, "he said."I will tie this old rope in a loop around my stomach, then jump hard out and left. I will swing over there to where the shelf is. Do you see it?" Annette was feeling queasy, but she nodded. "When I reach it, I will swing past it a little and then drop back to it. Then I will tie my ax to the bottom and swing it back to Annette. Annette.."

"Yes, Tirseng"

"You must catch the rope when I swing it, otherwise it would be very bad."

"I understand."

"Now climb up to me Annette, just below."

Her mouth dry, she did as instructed, Curioso climbing to her spot. Tirseng was smiling down at her."You will do exactly as I do, little lizard. Make peace in your head."

And he pushed out, swinging in a wide arc, the rope stretching, brushing the stone at a high point half-way over so that Tirseng had to take several steps against the face, then he reached the outermost boundary of the arc, and he was on the shelf. He tapped in a piton and tied the safety rope to it."Are you ready, Annette?" He called, and he swung the rope across, the ice ax striking stone with a sharp metal note, then spinning toward her.

19 May 01 - 08:18 PM (#466523)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: JenEllen

"Paix? Dans ma tête?" she thought to herself. This snowleopard must have frozen his senses in the cold, non?

She gave a quick backward glance to Curioso, waiting below, and turned to see the ice axe leaving Tirseng's hands. She grabbed at the axe, her heart stopping for the second it took her to fumble, then latch onto the line.

"There, little lizard!" Tirseng shouted "Now, Curioso, we get to see a lizard fly!" He laughed from his perch on the shelf. Annette held to the thought that she would surely die. She looked back again to Curioso, and he gave her a wink. As she looked back towards Tirseng, she saw him giving her a mockingly comical wink of his own.

A tug came at the rope behind her, and her thoughts returned to Curioso, who called up to her, "Just like falling in love, chere. Go out to the edge, then push yourself out, and trust yourself to land."
"Oui," she thought, "Just like l'amour. Ending up a greasy spot at the bottom of this cliff.. Bon chance."

She kissed her hand and put it to the stone wall, in the off chance that this was au revior, and then she pushed away. She held her breath throughout the swing, and felt a rush of gratitude when Tirseng's hand grasped the back of her parka and pulled her to the shelf. Shaking like a leaf, she stumbled to right herself. Graceful? Non. Alive? Oui!! Laughing, she hugged Tirseng, and the two turned to await Curioso.

19 May 01 - 10:03 PM (#466559)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: CarolC

(thanks, kat/katlaughing)

19 May 01 - 10:41 PM (#466591)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Naemanson

Ezra stood in the crowd and considered his surroundings. It had been a long trip to this point. In the distance were some of the biggest mountains he had ever seen in his life. The people around him swirled in a mixture of bright colors, strange languages, unusual luggage and bright smiles. "Friendliest damn country I've ever seen!" he thought to himself.

He hefted his suitcase and turned to see Liza talking with an old man. The man looked vaguely familiar. Ezra was startled from his musings when the old man turned and addressed him. "And what do you seek, Mr. Coffin."

"Damn!" he thought, almost startled into a verbal exclamation. "How…" he started to ask when Liza interrupted him. It's Mister Po, Daddy. He was with us on the ship." She smiled, a dazzling happy smile that convinced him this trip had been the right thing to do.

Ezra felt the stirrings of suspicion as he studied the old man before him. "What do you want, Mister Po!" he asked, a hint of steel in his voice.

"The same as you, Mr. Coffin." Mr. Po showed no hint of resentment at his tone. "Enlightenment." Po had a soft voice with a strong accent. His face was wrinkled up like an apple doll and he was missing a few teeth. Those that remained were stained and brown. Yet, there was a indefinable quality of security and satisfaction about him that relaxed Ezra's suspicion.

Mr. Po introduced them to the city. He acted as a kind and gracious host though they could not tell if he lived anywhere in the city. Each morning he greeted them as they left the hotel and showed them the sights. He introduced them to a people who seemed to take live in stride. People for whom life could have been a burden but who worked through it and bore it with a stubborn serenity.

Ezra came to like these people for they reminded him of life on the island. Life was hard there too and had few luxuries. Yet it was good and if you worked hard you could be sure of a relative happiness. He watched Liza as the city stole her heart and knew that the trip had been a good idea.

One day Mr. Po introduced them to a very old a wizened man. He sat at a street corner with his begging bowl before him.

"This is Li Chen," Mr. Po whispered. "He is a very wise and knowledgeable monk." It was obvious that Mr. Po was very impressed with the old man. Ezra and Liza squatted next to him to talk but before they could speak the old man reached out to Liza's auburn hair.

"You are a seeker." The old man's voice was soft and lisped around missing teeth. "You should leave this place and go there." He pointed to the great mountains that formed the horizon. "It is there you will find what you seek."

"That's all very well, Mr. Li, but Liza is going nowhere. In a few days we will be returning to where we came from."

Li Chen studied Ezra for a few minutes. "You are not a seeker. You're daughter is. You have found your truth but do not yet recognize it. She seeks her truth and will find it there." This one," He indicated Mr. Po, "He has done you a great service but he cannot guide you to the Center Of The World." He spoke rapidly to Mr. Po in what Ezra was coming to call Not-English. He had not yet been able to distinguish between the various dialects of Hindi, Chinese, and Tibetan swirling around him. It had astonished him to see how quickly Liza picked up the tongue.

The old man finished with Mr. Po and turned back to them. "Mr. Po will introduce you to a sherpa who will guide you to the high lama. When you get there your answers will be waiting."

At that the old man settled back against the wall and brushed a fly away from his cheek. They could elicit no other response from him.

19 May 01 - 11:05 PM (#466607)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Naemanson

The sherpas were laughing. They were too damn happy. Ezra was grouchy. He was halfway up into the biggest damn mountains he had ever seen, the sun wasn't up yet, and there was no coffee.

He hadn't wanted to believe that these people were doing so much to help him and Liza get into the mountains. He searched for the suspicion that they might want to do harm but it wouldn't come to him. There was an innocence about them that left him puzzled and secure. These were hard working men and women and they were in their place in the world.

And he wasn't in his place.

Liza came out of the tent and hugged him in a silent "Good Morning". He grunted at her. "What are you so happy about?"

"All of it!" She grinned. "The mountains, the snow, the fresh air… all of it!"

"Yeah, no coffee, it's cold, and all there is to eat is some leftover yak meat." It was hard to stay grumpy when Liza was so happy but he was damn sure determined to do it.

And then the sun came up. The light, pink and soft, hit the peaks behind them and turned the dark forms to living flame. Even the sherpas sat silent and watched the light creep down the flanks of the mountains. The silence was everywhere and nowhere. Ezra thought he could hear the rustle of the light sliding on the snow.

The sherpas watched the dawn and then with a nod, as if to say they were satisfied with how the day had begun, they turned to break camp.

Ezra thought he knew cold. He had lived on the coast of Maine all his life. He had seen days where the ocean froze clear across the bay. He had seen the sea smoke and worked with ice dripping from his mittens.

But this was different. This was cold with a vengeance. This cold robbed him of his already short breath and left him weak. As he struggled along behind the sherpas he realized that he was so cold he couldn't even break a sweat.

And the thin air in the mountains left him gasping for air. The sherpas knew of his difficulty and had had not loaded him or liza with much to carry.

And they climbed. This was a trading journey or they were carrying in supplies or something. When Mr. Po introduced them to Bobby (his name was Babba-something or other) he had explained that the old man had said they were to take these people to Shan Greel La. To Ezra's surprise Bobby had immediately conceded, undertaking to outfit them with clothing and equipment. He had refused payment (to Ezra's relief). Unfortunately none of the sherpas spoke any English and Mr. Po, once the deal was settled, had wished them well and gone on his way.

And so they climbed….

20 May 01 - 12:01 AM (#466641)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: katlaughing

Slipping into a deep state of sleep, Dearly Beloved left her tired body behind and traveled to Other Realms. At first it was pleasant, as when she trained to astral travel with Her Respected Teacher, Gungzin, but gradually she noticed a change in her surroundings. Instead of the light and calm effect of floating above her body, surveying all of that below her, she was propelled to another Plane.

Dark shadows hid each corner as she ran down a long and twisted corridor. It opened up into a huge cavern inky black save for one small flame which flickered.

Hello?! she cried. Master, are you there?

She could hear water lapping at her feet. She knelt down and felt it with her hand. It was warm and sticky. Grabbing a small stone by her foot, she tossed it into the water, wondering at its depth and expanse. The splash of it was swallowed quickly. Dipping her hand once more, she brought her fingers up to her lips and tasted the "water."

Ugh! Why, it tastes like a scratch when I suck the drop of blood away! Oh, Master, help me, please!

As she felt her way along the wall behind her, just edging the lake of blood, small rustling sounds echoed from behind and across the wide cavern. Heading towards the light, she willed herself to be calm and began intoning Guru Padmasambhava's mantra to dispel all negativities from her mind,


As she chanted, the light grew a little stronger.

20 May 01 - 11:14 AM (#466787)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangi-La
From: Peter T.

And moved here!

16 Aug 04 - 11:12 AM (#1248672)
Subject: RE: BS: New Story - In Search of Shangri-La
From: katlaughing

Another nostalgic refresh...enjoy!