"The world is starved for change." - Melchizedek, Shuso of Gat Shiem

My name is Famine.

I come from a temple enclosure  (secured by enormous moonstone walls) known throughout the world of Sol as Gat Shiem.

My youngest brother, Pesti, and I share a room on the ground floor of the temple's dull-stone four story dorm block. 

Next to our room, is where our two elder brothers sleep. Although, most of the time they are cooped up with their work in the temple's library and archive towers; those two gigantic moonstone pillar towers on either side of our dorm block and the kitchen hall.

Pesti and I keep the grounds around the senior monks' alder log cabins, their private rock gardens, the main worship grounds and gardens (around the shimmering sand-white splendor of the central worship hall) in an impeccable order and cleanliness.

The four of us are looked after by a gruff old monk we call Bulldog because of his wrinkly face and lack of teeth that had set his mouth inward so his cheeks puffed out. Despite his look and stern mannerisms, he is kind-hearted and akin to a father for us.

Regarding outside the enclosure. Bulldog claims that the temple is the apex of a snowy mountain and all the lands of Sol converge around the mountain's edges making it the center of the world.

The center of my world is within the enclosure with the place's peaceful nostalgia, soothing sensation of woody incense and the stern but considerate nurture given by monks festering in crusty samue and formal kimonos.  

The option of taking leave of the place had never crossed my mind. Gat Shiem was my home of all homes.

"Life's good so please allow it to stay this way." I whispered my innocent thought aloud and sealed it with a clap before a glorious gold and earth stone Buddha enshrined within nature's splendor at the top of the worship hall.

It was my mid-morning habit of paying respects to Buddha and placing a want in his care after I had purified myself at the temizuya stone basin next to the worship hall in the central courtyard.

"Tee hee, I'm glad to hear such earnest prayers from youngsters." I heard a papery voice behind me.

I greeted the temple's Shuso with a respectful bow as he approached me from the other end of the hall.

"Famine. The pink angels are smiling down on us from the sky this morning. Looks like an eventful day awaits us. I saw your brothers at the kuin earlier with bellies crying for food. Aah such youth." The elderly monk chuckled.

I acknowledged his metaphorical words with a cordial bow then sprinted through the temple grounds to the kitchen hall. The benches and long tables were sure to be crowded with monks at this time of day. If I wasn't quick, I'd miss out on the meat – again. My brothers would find it a hilarious lark to see a meat lover as myself go wholly vegetarian for forever and a day.

Seeds of frustration pulled the strings of my sensitive heart when I spied only bread and cheese remaining on the buffet tables upon my arrival.

"Goddamn it!" I hissed at the revelation of no meat. " Don't blame me if my afternoon duties are shoddy due to delirium."

"Watch your manners Famine. Do not sully your innocent face with such foul complaints," said a shaven head monk whose droopy-dog eyes were set with a cranky expression making his otherwise handsome features go to waste.

"But I need protein that only roast meat can give!" I pouted with desperation and yelped at the curt slap I felt to my shoulders.

"Eek - sorry Monk Adams." I apologized with a bow and hurried to the row of tables and benches near the back of the hall where my three brothers occupied.

"That's what yah get for prayin too long Famisto." Teased my elder brother War with choice bits of sausage dangling between his chopsticks that he swayed purposely in my view.

I growled at his smug face. I could never tell his thoughts behind his bright green eyes. It didn't help that his soft chiseled features topped with a spiky crop of flaming red hair further encouraged his uncouth appearance. His mouth always seemed stretched with a cocky grin. Of all my brothers, War seemed to find teasing me the most fun.

He shoved the sausage into his mouth before I had a chance to steal it.

"Mean!" I moaned as I slumped down on the bench next to Pesti who seemed disinterested in War's raillery.

"There, there, Onii-san, take mine. I saved this for you anyway," said Pesti as he gently offloaded his large bacon portion to my poor plate.

I smiled at the serene face of my baby brother. Unlike War, Pesti was a stoic beauty whose dainty features would surpass any princess. Rarely did his gray eyes waver with emotion nor the fine strands of his silver hair seemed out of place. His countenance was as an image of still water, which was both delicate and unassailable.

"You're the best Pesti!" I hugged him so tight and immediately released him when I felt his body tense.

"Urgh! Fine - take meh morsels. Better give meh bloody thanks." War grumbled, guiltily, as he offloaded his remaining two fat sausages to my plate.

I felt my heart sway with forgiveness and responded with a hearty kiss to his cheek that would surely make him blush like a maiden. My payback.

"Grrgh. " He muttered as he lowered his head and shuffled out of his seat to take his leave.

"Oh deary me. Once again, our younger brothers have the upper hand. " Chuckled our eldest named Death.

Death maybe our eldest by three years but he carried a natural air of regal authority and wisdom that made him appear much older in our eyes. By the laws of Sol, he was already of age and purporting himself with the airs and concerns of an adult.

Of course, his body would be the most mature with a firmness that betrayed both strength and grace beneath his uniform of sackcloth tunic and long pants that ran the length of his height. My other brothers and I wore the same uniform but we looked like school kids in comparison.

Monk Adams had mentioned a few times that a lot of woman would find his stylish sweep of blond hair, symmetrical features and smiling blue eyes fetching.

I personally found it difficult to envision women swooning at the sight of Death. I mean, he'd only need to open his mouth and utter his lectures on Magism to turn a person off.

"I too shall hand you my last pieces of meat with my blessings." Death kindly offloaded his remaining three sausages and pieces of bacon to my plate.

I renigged on my earlier, childish, thoughts. Buddha had definitely blessed me with three kind brothers.

"Make sure you chew thirty times before swallowing," he said as he wiped off some sausage debris from my face before he removed himself from the bench with dirty plates in hand.

I thanked my brothers and shoveled the rest of my food down my throat, cleaned up my mess and raced out of the kitchen to complete the rest of my chores for that day.

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