The temples grew around the mountain pools. Streams from the high Himalayan peaks brought the coldest clearest water through the valley. The pools shimmered in the sunlight of the clear day.
The young monk, Lei Fan, got up from his perch at the base of the tower. The mountain air bit at his cheeks. His red and saffron robes billowed in the winds. In his hands he clutched a dime novel from the lowlands. He had no possessions, but the abbot, ever the radical, encouraged taking joy in simple things.
The temple gong echoed.
Lei Fan continued.
The gong echoed thrice more times. Someone had arrived.
He rushed down the trail between the needle-covered trees. His beaded necklace clattered against his chest. His slippers scrapped against the step stones.
When he arrived at the temple-complex, activity could be seen with monks rushing towards the gates. An immense structure of galleries, shrines and chambers with sloped tired roofs. Lei Fan rushed through the gates and into the courtyard.
From the entrance, one could see the main temple and the shrine to Buddha. The holy visage of the calm golden titan, his hands held in perfect form. Trails of incense like grey ribbons floating past the Holy Buddha’s face.
In the courtyard, the Abbot stood with the Stranger.
A nine foot tall giant had arrived. Wrapped in a grey velvet tunic lined with fur. A face as rugged as the mountainside with eyes as clear blue as water.
The Jotunn from the far north, beyond the steppe and valleys. He leaned on a curved bladed spear, the haft the size of a tree. His fists of marbled blue-grey and tanned skin.
Lei Fan gulped, slid the book into his robes and hurried to join the welcoming party. As was expected.
They bowed to the Jotunn, offered their blessings and services.
What is a Jotunn doing here?