My kingdom for an arrow!


*following the narrative you will find a small glossary*


Sweat swathed Kailifae’s brow, and exhaustion settled in. But she refused to stop, for to stop the drill would be tantamount to telling Sigung Li-Li that this elf couldn’t hack the training.

Li-Li, sigung of the Meteor-Hand Labyrinth style, glared impassively at Kailifae. The elf was thinking she would be cut from training, cut from the promise of more, cut from a stab at seniority. True, the style Li-Li sigung now presided over favored large shoulders and large fists, it could in theory benefit a slim, emaciated elf monk as well. It had worked for Li-Li, and Li-Li was a mere halfling, a mere tough-as-nails halfling.

“Stop,” Li-Li said, her voice shrill and sharp. “Drink water, then stand on the stumps.”

Kailifae nodded obediently, reserving the frown for herself. She knew what that meant: “the stumps.” Constitution training. Climb up the first pole of sixteen and balance there on one foot, ignoring the ground ten feet below. And while she was hoping to be ordered to stand in the old horse-of-iron posture (feet out to left and right, your bottom  sinking to the ground as if you were riding a horse), Kailifae knew it wouldn’t be that simple.

“White Crane” Li-Li said even as Kailifae turned her head for orders. Kailifae nodded, shifting easily to her left leg while tucking her right foot up and over her left knee in a sweeping posture; simultaneously, her right arm swept up straight, pointing to the sky while her left, straight and rigid, shot out palm first at shoulder level.

Kailifae shivered in the wind.

“Your brothers and sisters tell me you think you are worthless to our lineage,” Li-Li said, “and that you expect to be cut.”

“This is true,” Kailifae said, her brows arching in surprise.

“True, you are no half-orc, and while you move like lightning, your arms are not strong enough to harness all the power of your waist. A shame really, for if you had as much strength as speed, you could be a titan of our lineage…in hand-to-hand combat that is.”

“I am ashamed, sigung.” Kailifae’s voice was firm, but Li-Li knew different.

“And yet you outrun even Kragga, our strongest. What does this tell you?” Li-Li asked.

“That I can be a swift messenger monk?” The reply was dipped in enough sarcasm to make even Li-Li smile…slightly.

“That arrow has already passed me by,” was Li-Li’s formal response that meant Kailifae’s sarcasm was noted, but it had no power. “Stay there for one-hundred breaths, and then climb down. You are to report to your cell for early meditation apart from your brothers and sisters. Meditate there on this problem of yours until I knock.”

“It will be as you say, sigung,” Kailifae said, bolstering her faltering one-legged stance.

Because she felt like punishing herself for not being human or even half-orc, Kailifae stood in the White Crane posture for two hundred breath cycles until she felt like a pair of lungs shivering and sweating on top of the pole–it was the least she could do for her sigung.

And when she did allow herself to dismount, she fell, rounding off into a ball, rolling off the impact diligently like a novice acrobat.


Her cell was bare except for a blanket and a bucket of water just like any other monk of their lineage, and that’s what made the book’s presence very odd. She slumped onto her blanket, examining the book’s red cover, running her fingers across the fine parchment.

Instead of meditating like she was ordered, she fell into the strange book, examining the illustrations, admiring the cadence of the words, the strength of their wisdom. Never in her life had heard of such a tome, a tome simply entitled, The Order of Syncletica.

1. Sigung: a classic Chinese title for the elder-father of a style’s lineage, not to be confused with Sijo, creator of the style.

2. Kailifae is a respelling of Cai Li Fo, which we moderns recognize as Choi Li Fut, a southern Chinese kung fu system.

3. The Order of Syncletica: A grand site devoted to monks, especially monks of an elvish flavor. I owe the site big time for bringing me back to DDO.

Author’s Note:
So where have I been for two years?
Working, studying, writing. Never satisfied, I have burned through a few drafts of my proposed novel. It’s in this journal, it’s in that journal over there on the shelf, and it’s up here in my head. Sure, I thought I’d be finished by now, but things change. 75 pages becomes a hundred, and a hundred becomes twenty again.

Will I ever finish this damned thing?
I sure hope so.
Sorry for the absence.



7 Responses to “My kingdom for an arrow!”

  1. Welcome back to DDO!

  2. That was an impressive tale of a young Monk in training. Lots of flavor and depth. If you aren’t already writing fiction professionally, you should consider it.

    I’m happy that you’re back in the game and that the Monk guide is helping you out. I was flattered when I saw your character reading it.

    Since you’ve last played, there’s a lot of changes and it’s always a struggle to keep up. I’ve added two unique builds. One, the Zen Archer, would fit your Elven character perfectly as it relies on very high DEX and leverages the race’s natural archer prowess while still being a full Monk. A second, the Poison Master, is a Drow with high DPS, excellent stealth, and a very nasty Ppison DOT thanks to poisoned weapons, Ninja Poison, Venomed Blades enhancement and items. Let me know what you think about them.

    • Excuse me as I get over my dose of fan freak-out over your commentary.

      There, I’m fine now.

      Seriously, I am more than flattered by your commentary. As for writing, the same could be said of you:)

      I crawled over your site looking at those builds, and I am actively comparing again to what I have now. I think I might be close to following your detailed instructions:) Ironically, I did not stumble upon the drow/poison build due to my fever for your Zen build, however, I shall do so this weekend.

      Thank you for the builds, the comments, and the Zen wisdom. I am having a blast in DDO thanks to you. 🙂

      • The Zen Archer build is on the DDO forums in the Monk section, I think. It’s also its own section in the guide as a Ninja Spy sub chapter. The Poison Master also resides there but I suspect the chapter is missing the build details. I’ll get to updating that for you and others.

        Thanks for your praise, but I’m just good at assembling the knowledge of many other players and game mechanics into a digestible format. Save the two builds, i don’t have any special talent but share the same enthusiasm as you have. Hit me up if you have any questions.

  3. Thank you very much for your reply.

    Please know that your wisdom is valued by me, and I am thankful for it. Unlike power gamers, I–and I suspect this is the same for you–require as much role play from my computer game as I can squeeze out (results may vary per player of course).

    I am very much taken by a drow poison master, and I am tempted to roll one this very minute:)

    Monk questions? Oh my, I do have have them, so thank you for the invitation of asking a couple:) Look forward to some this weekend, LOL!

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