The pacifist monk
Upon awaking from the slumber brought about by the initial fragmentation of the Living Gate, Kalpa was alone. Everything was new and ancient simultaneously.
Kalpa was taken in by an order of pacifist monks. Never seeing a being like this before the monks give him the name Kalpa, meaning millions of year, an eternity. They felt it was an apt description.
Kalpa learned the totality of his social interaction from participating in the monk’s rituals. All but a few monks took a vow of silence, so he grew stoic. The monks took a vow of poverty, so he had few possessions or wants. Kalpa did not understand the true meaning behind many of the acts that the monks did; eating, drinking, bathing, breathing, sleeping, praying, laughing were all very strange.
But in the ritual of flagellation and the art of reason Kalpa felt at home. In flagellation he found something in which he excelled beyond all the monks. No matter how much abuse he heaped on himself, it never seemed to hurt as bad as the admiration from the monks felt good. In reason he found something he understood. He would study a situation for hours, even days before he acted upon it. Time held little importance to him, but making the correct decision meant everything.
Every so often a stranger would wonder into the remote monastery with tales of the outside world. At first the stories were filled with beauty and magic, dragons and heroes that captivated Kalpa’s imagination, but as time wore on the stories slowly shifted into grim tales of a rapidly approaching apocalypse.
The monks that had initially taken Kalpa in have long since died of age, and the new monks were morphing into harsh echoes of the tragedy unfolding beyond their walls.
One day Kalpa overheard a story about a place to the North where a little bit of the old majesty still lived, a place called Bishma. Kalpa set off at once to see this beauty before it was perverted like the monks had been.
When he arrived in Bishma he entered the first building that reminded him of his monastery, the gladiatorial arena, and he was instantly hooked. He had never witnessed violence perpetrated against another person before, but it looked much more enjoyable then hitting oneself. Decades of meditation, reasoning and flagellation had made him lethargic but tough. As he studied it, fighting looked wonderfully complex and fun. Kalpa had found a new group emulate.