“It’s time,” he said.
Sigourney looked at him in a groggy state of confusion. Then, she remembered. She was waiting to see a boy god in a monastery somewhere in the mountains of Tibet.
Sukhang handed her a white scarf. “When you see Karmapa, you give this.”
She took the scarf and followed her guide into the courtyard. A number of people were entering and leaving through the main gate. She glanced nervously at the soldiers, but they paid no attention to her. A broad stairway led to the monastery’s entrance, where a monk waited at the top of the stairs. He greeted Sukhang and led them inside. They passed the deserted assembly hall and climbed a steep, wooden stairway to a small audience chamber on the second floor.
When they entered the chamber, Sigourney saw a teenage boy placidly eyeing them from his seat on a raised platform. Sukhang immediately fell to the floor and prostrated himself. Sigourney wasn’t sure what she should do, until she noticed a number of white scarves draped on the railing in front of the platform. She walked forward and added her scarf to the others. The boy stared at her without blinking, his face as impervious as a stone chorten protecting a mountain pass. Only his dark eyes moved as he observed his visitors.
A monk in flowing robes strode into the room just as Sukhang stood up. The monk began talking to him in a strident voice. Sukhang nodded several times before turning to Sigourney.
“Karmapa wishes to know why you come here. Say you bring soldiers. Cause much trouble.”
Sigourney looked at the boy in surprise. His eyes burned into hers with such astonishing force, it took all her strength to hold his gaze. Hadn’t he been told about her mission, she wondered? About her flight from those very same soldiers? An unexpected tension darted helter-skelter through the room like a wayward spirit. She had expected to be greeted with warmth, or at least understanding. Not such a confrontational remark. She paused for a moment to gather her thoughts. He must know why I’m here, she thought. Perhaps, he wants to hear from me. I must show strength, if I expect his help.
Sigourney's Quest - Excerpt
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