Initial Enquiries I

After patiently listening, you ask about the need for such rules. What is wrong with wandering around naked, your body covered in tattoos and pierced full of holes? Why should you drink tea instead of coffee, and only reference Hellenic and Chinese antiquity?

The two men smile and attempt to answer your concerns.

Like any other institution or society, we have rules that prohibit dangerous and disruptive behaviour. We would also like to create a sense of mutual identity and familiarity. We feel this is conducive to the harmony and success of our society. Hence we have created a few rules that one might consider a matter of taste.

We could formulate some explanation for why tea is the superior beverage, or cite some injunction against the consumption of beans, but that's not the point. We were raised to prefer tea and would like to encourage its consumption, and we hope that people will be brought together by their shared appreciation for it. The world will reflect our will, and our members will share common ground. Not to mention the health benefits inherent to tea consumption.

Most of the rules also uphold classical standards and give people an opportunity to display their membership in our society. In antiquity, what sort of man willingly scarred his body with tattoos and excessive piercings? Within the traditions we appreciate, that sort of thing was only fit for barbarians, slaves, and criminals. I have also heard it said that, "Our bodies - to every hair and bit of skin - are received by us from our parents, and we must not presume to injure or wound them. This is the beginning of filial piety."

If you absolutely insist on drinking coffee and engaging in other unwise behaviour, I suppose you can still go in. There's no shortage of philosophers who want to buck the trend, and most of us can appreciate that outsiders have different ideas. Some of our own members like to gather in the grove and push social boundaries. Perhaps they'll give you a favourable reception if you catch them at the right time.

You thank the men for the explanation and continue on to the Temple.


You approach the temple doors...