|Image Source: http://franklinchan.deviantart.com/art/Discovery-599069677|
At last! My chest heaved as I gasped for the thin air and my weakened muscles trembled, threatening to pull me down and send me tumbling from whence I came, but at last I had found the monastery. I could see it with my own eyes, a glorious towering structure built out of the upward thrusting rock of a remote mountain peak. The last refuge for the long thought lost Brotherhood of the Trembling Hand.
I surveyed the way before me, I'd have to go down to go up, and the ascent to the structure did not seem to be aided in any way. Not for the first time I wondered if I would find an empty structure, guarded only by the long dead. I carefully sat, and took a precious few minutes as my body recovered some of my spent energy.
I regarded the flocks of birds that seemed to make this peak home, and the faint traces of greenery. Little more than scrub grass, lichen, and low shrubs. Could the monks have eked out a living here in isolation for so long? I began to doubt that they could.
The birds though... the birds gave me pause. Of course it was simple for them to access this place, flight would carry them here without the struggles of a difficult climb. If the birds could survive in this place perhaps the monks could. They may have secret gardens of edible plants and perhaps even hardy mountain goats that could forage the peak.
I struggled once more to my feet and set off, carefully picking my way. There was only one way to learn the truth.