Hand over hand, I climbed the knotted rope. I don’t know how long I climbed, but the ground fell away under me. Difficult work, but my prey was a difficult man.
Looking up, I examined my progress. The rope disappeared into clouds that hugged the cliff. I felt my spirit sag, and reflected on an old Sidu mantra.
“I draw my power from the four corners of the universe. The five elements are mine to command. Six steps mark the paths of enlightenment. Seven prophets illuminated the past. Eight virtues embody perfection. Nine obstacles bar the blind… and… I have… overcome them… all.” I wheezed.
I claimed the strength of the universe as my strength and while climbing still required effort, it did get easier.
I passed through the clouds, thankful that my new uniform insulated as much as it revealed.
The rope dead-ended outside of a cave. A voice rang out.
“Good, now that you’re here, your test can truly start.”
My patternblade appeared in my hand and I tell myself, all I have to do is survive.