Sunrise Reflections

He needed time to think. To reflect.

Of course, for Pippin even finding a way to do that would be dangerous. He had been exiled from Lopan for his crimes, and though he returned once before under the secretive protection of the Church his sudden, unexpected return now would put him in great danger if he were discovered. His first order of business was to disappear; then he could find somewhere to process recent events.

Getting away was easy. The commotion CrIsis caused upon suddenly appearing in Sekti-Abtu with Sunder Blackrock, and then slaughtering him in cold blood after he surrendered and willingly relinquished the left arm of Osiris, made it easy to slip away. He deftly weaved his way unnoticed through the halls and out into the busy streets, where his skills allowed him to disappear into the city crowds and in short order leave the city itself behind.

It was some time later before Pippin finally found a place where he could relax his guard enough to run through his forms and devote his thoughts to Ra and the events with CrIsis. He began shortly before the sunrise as the sky began to show the colors of the day. Simple practice exercises they would seem to anyone watching, but to Pippin these were the method of his worship towards Ra. With every mock weapon thrust, with every step, supplications to the god were silently formed by his lips. Though the ritual was rote it contained just as much devotion and fervor as ever. Pippin took this time to finally go back over those last few minutes he shared with CrIsis.

Those final moments with the heroes known as CrIsis were dangerously eye-opening. "Are these really the heroes of legend whose deeds the world anxiously follows,” he wondered? Upon reflection their actions belied an inexperience and desperation he did not expect.

Thrust. Parry. Step. Turn. “Oh RA, You God of Life, you Lord of Love, All men live when you shine.”

"Their eagerness and recklessness nearly killed us all. Rushing into Blackrock Stronghold. Engaging all those enemies at once. Did they really have no plan, no reconnaissance, and expect to succeed? Or… was this where I failed them, and failed Great Ra? Had I stepped forward with my skills to acquire such details, would things have gone differently?” This was a burning question in Pippin’s mind. It was a realization he came to not long after the battle, and it had gnawed at him ever since.

Dodge. Step. Parry. Throw. “You are the crowned King of the Gods. The goddess Isis embraces you, and enfolds you in all seasons.”

"This was to be my redemption. The Lightbringer himself, in visions to the Pontiff, directed that I accompany CrIsis along with others. By failing to step forward with my skills, with everything I could do for them, did I fail CrIsis? Have I failed Ra and the Gods of Light?”

Block. Throw. Twist. Thrust. “Those who follow you sing to you with joy, and they bow down their foreheads to the earth in gratitude for your radiant blessings.”

"Right after we were overwhelmed and the man-bear Ursus had fallen, the Golden One Xerx’ses used his magic to teleport us all to Sunder Blackrock directly. He had the power to do that the entire time, but did not. Was it something he could only do once? Have I, by my inaction, caused CrIsis to lose a powerful ability they kept in reserve? Have I not just failed CrIsis… have I weakened them?”

Swipe. Sidestep. Twist. Thrust. “O RA, You the King of Truth, the Lord of Eternity, The Prince of Everlastingness, You Sovereign of all Gods,”

"But surely, even if I had better prepared and scouted a better path through the castle, even if the Golden One had not used his phenomenal magic, the final fight with the Sunder Blackrock would have ended the same way. By cold-blooded assassination. That The Man With No Name would act in such a manner and yet be endorsed by the gods on this quest… Is this what Great Ra intended me to see?” As if in answer, the morning sun finally broke over the horizon, bathing the hillside where Pippin was in its warm light.

Parry. Parry. Twist. Thrust. “You God of Life, you Creator of Eternity, You Maker of Heaven. All the Gods rejoice at your rising.”

"Of course, Great Ra. I see now. I must embrace who I have become in order to redeem myself. My skills were gained and used to commit crimes against those who may have been innocent and undeserving. But those same skills must be embraced and used if I am to be redeemed – as long as I use them for the Light. As your instruments of CrIsis do.”

Step. Parry. Thrust. Thrust. “O RA God of Life, you Lord of Love, All men live when you shine.”

Pippin ended his prayer/form and stood stoically on the hill, bathed in the light of the morning sun. Silently he thanked Ra for providing him this opportunity with CrIsis, which opened his eyes to the path to his redemption at last. “In your name I will serve the Light,” he whispered to the rising sun. Then he folded back into the shadows and disappeared again, to continue this journey which he now knew had only just begun.

Image Credits:
Karate at Sunrise
Reservoir Hill Sunrise

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