8. The Third Gate…

In the frenzied fight, you exhaust every last trick; every bit of luck and knowhow yet it is not enough. You feel a cold numbness in your knees – your heart fights but your body lags behind. You claw to the very end and the figure stops, holding the killing blow.

“Still you persist…and not once asking for mercy or quarter. A fool would pursue and ask for mercy or try to talk his way out so I am left to believe you a child – impressionable, immature, but teachable. The third gate is that Harmony is a choice and not found through passive contemplation but action. Action, not as the Huojin believe, muddying things by jabbing their impatient paws everywhere passion and fear lead. No, the Jing-Xi decides precisely when and where to act…two forces together – Chaos and Choice to bring Harmony.”

He ignites a small lamp and sets a pot of kettle, larger than the one Shing Sing had; this was meant for two. As he sets, taking a deep breath, he reaches into the fold of his garment to produce a soulstone.

“If you wish to continue…take this stone and make a choice – death or life. Both lead to the same path: Harmony. Your next step will be your last as who you are or your first as a Jing-Xi.

  • Choose to use the Soulstone…
    The figure strikes you with a killing blow. There is a moment of panic and confusion as you feel yourself dying but pulled back into your body revived, renewed, and alive.

As you recover, he sits meditating. “I believe you have some herbs to prepare…” he whispers, his tone softer, more civilized.

You prepare the lotus as shown and he plucks a few of the Lantern blossoms, carefully removing the poisonous outer leaves from the base and dropping them into the teapot. He nods for you to do the same with the lotus.

The combination is a wonderfully floral and spicy aroma. He carefully pours two cups and hands yours first. Raising his own cup, he nods, “Harmony is a choice between two forces. Overcoming cowardice, surpassing sacrifice, and making a choice – together.” You drink together and feel differently from the first tea – as if you were your old self only more clear minded.

9. The First Step…

 

7. The Second Gate…

Having gathered the Lantern Blossoms you take a moment to catch your breath – exhilarating! Your pulse still racing from the near death experience you sense you are being watched. Squinting, you see a still form, eyes glittering in the shadow like golden flames.

“Death is a precarious consort: seductive and fickle. You have passed the second gate – sacrifice.”

You take a step closer when the voice calmly speaks from beside you, “Come, we must see whether you possess the fire or you are merely smoke upon the wind.”

You follow through the verdant green branches as they become thicker, almost solid. A small, crumbled opening – very old looking, sits in the side of the hill where it slopes upwards sharply.

“Here… it is easily overlooked as most things of great power should be”, the hooded Pandaren says echoing slightly as he disappears into the dark crevice.

Down a short winding way it opens to a stone clad room. A few lanterns sit flickering full of fireflies bathing it in an eerie yellow green glow.

You lay the lotus offering before him and the lantern blossoms which still glimmer with their own light. “You seek that which the Shado Pan call forbidden – the penalty is death. I wonder why you would risk your life; what do you hope to find down this path?”

“Harmony…” you reply. The word almost echoes in the silence.

The figure stops and eyes you carefully – strange considering you cannot see any natural eye; only the slow, pulsing gout of a flame from each socket as if he was tasting the words with them.

“You could have joined the Shado Pan for that. Hunted down our kind as they have for centuries, ensuring ‘Harmony’. I judge you with your word – what IS harmony?”

“To work together, compliment one an-”

The figure grumbles, “Does ONE voice make harmony? Can ONE come into agreement with ONEself? That is for children and fools. Let us see which you are!” The figure’s hands light up with golden-green fel flame.

  • Survive 0/1

8. The Third Gate…

6. Illuminating the Way

The tea is bitter at first, it feels as though something grabbed you by the face and the world twists for a moment. Your vision clears and you head to the dark bamboo forest of the Paoquan Hollow. It was light out but now it seems night is falling. Larger, dangerous Zijin Hornets hover near stalks of dimly flickering ball-shaped flowers – the Lantern Blossoms. You will have to fend them off somehow unless you feel confident in your martial prowess.

  • Gather 6 Lantern Blossom stalks 0/6
  • Use your minion to taunt the Zijin flies and stay alive 0/1

7. The Second Gate…

5. The First Gate…

 

The road to Stoneplow is still broken only with a gentle breeze amid the tone of buzzing insects in the distance. As you venture off the old cobbled road, the black goats seem to take notice of you – one by one they stop, look up and stare.

As you come to the altar at the foot of the mountain, everything has become quiet. Looking over the altar itself, you see some old scraps of silken paper faded from exposure. No one has been here for a while. A goat bleats and Seedbearer Sing stands, seemingly out of thin air, beside two black goats.

“You passed the first gate…cowardice. Don’t be too impressed with yourself, few make it this far, fewer still reach farther. The lotus blossoms must be bruised to bring forth all the chi – just as you must prevail bruising to have any chance of becoming a Jing-Xi. You will need lantern blossoms and they can only be found by being attuned to the Shadows.”

She lights a small fire by the altar with a bundle of twigs and grass she pulled from her satchel; she was prepared. A equally small iron pot filled with some dry purple herbs and water from a skin sits to boil – enough for one. She pours it into a  pestle-looking ceramic cup and defiantly hands it to you with the slow, cautious precision as if repeated countless times.

“There is another ‘Hidden Master’ who dwells in the Paoquan Hollow. You will bring an offering of Lantern Blossom along with some of the Lotus now that I’ve shown you how to prepare it. The rest is your choice.”

“Don’t you mean fate…destiny?”

She laughs. “Destiny and fate are mere currents and those who accomplish anything by riding their current are the laziest of fools. A Jing-Xi chooses their path, working WITH destiny when it suits them. We will see how badly you desire this path.”

  • Drink Shadow Lotus Tea 0/1
  • Find Lantern Blossom grove 0/1

6. Illuminating the Way

4. Shingled Out…

q4

Returning, you find Seedbearer Sing is nowhere to be found, although one of the villagers makes a point of saying she left something for you with Spicemaster Jin Jao…
if you returned.

Jin Jao seems pre-occupied with a new bundle of goods and, barely paying notice to you, grunts as he motions to a note on the table. His icy stare hints that you should probably read it elsewhere – privately.

Finding such a spot, you carefully unfold the parchment which reads:
“I’m headed out to get things prepared. Assuming you were able to gather what I asked, head towards Stoneplow near the base of the mountain. There is an altar there – I’ll find you.”

  • Find the Altar near Stoneplow 0/1

5. The First Gate…

3. No Turning Back

q3

The Pools of Purity cascade serenely, their waters sparkling with an almost otherworldly quality. The lotus blossoms in the pool closest to the waterfall seem ideal for Shing Sing’s request. As you approach, you notice the other lotus farmers inconspicuously keep their distance. As you reach for the first glistening flower you find it seems stuck in the water until, looking up, you are met with an evil gaze.

  • Kill the Guardian Nofu-de-xin

4. Shingled Out…

2. Blossoming Curiousity

quest2.jpg

Coming to Halfhill, there is an older Pandaren known as the ‘Seedbearer’ by the name of Shing Sing. Upon meeting you she eyes you carefully and seeing the scrip looks perplexed. “Lotus Lantern Brew…”, she pauses looking around, “an old recipe…you will need Lotus petals – young ones bursting with chi. Since you will be heading that way, bring me about twenty blossoms and I will show you how to prepare them.”

  • Go to the Pools of Purity and gather 24 Young Lotus Blossoms

3. No Turning Back

1. Strange Introductions

quest1

After weeks of discreet inquiry and searching, a raven drops an ominous gift at your feet. Cawing annoyingly, it beckons you to take the small, sweetened biscuit wrapped in a silken braid.

Upon further inspection, the braid is baked into the crumbly morsel and bears a phrase in Pandaren: “seek the Seedbearer for the Lotus Lantern brew…”

  • Find Seedbearer Shing Sing in Halfhill 0/1

2. Blossoming Curiosity