VALIANT SPOTLIGHT
THE CHAOS EFFECT
LETTER FROM LADAKH: THE HEART OF CHAOS

June 21, 1994 Ladakh, Tibet

My Dear Brother Numptse,
    I write this to you on the eve of the most terrifying day of my life, with no idea of how this letter will reach you. Nevertheless, I pray that you will live to receive this - that you weren't in an airplane or elevator when the chaos wave struck. And I pray that this letter helps us both to make sense of the carnage that occurred this morning plunging the world into darkness.
    I was there, working in the temple garden, when it happened. For a moment, a sound almost too high-pitched to hear filled the air. Then, a brilliant ring of light appeared roughly two-hundred meters from the main temple. Like the maw of a dragon, it opened wide with a shriek that I later learned was the sound of time itself being ripped! As soon as it opened, the portal disgorged a man into our midst. He fell to the earth, a limp, broken wreck. And, following close behind him, came a wave of...how can I describe it...evil, that washed across us all like a fetid wind from the dragon's jaws. We learned later that what we felt was the energy wave that is causing this global blackout. Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself.
    I was among those monks who rushed out to meet the stranger from the portal. Though apparently mortally wounded, the stranger somehow clung to life. We brought him inside and tended to his injuries, but he lapsed into unconsciousness before we could learn more about him and the unnerving gateway that still hung in the sky. Immediately, I summoned the enigmatic 'Visitor' who has recently been studying with us. In short order, the Visitor gleaned the stranger's secrets.
    It seems that the man who fell from the eerie portal is named Ivar. Furthermore, this Ivar is accustomed to traveling through time! In his travels, Ivar had arrived at a point in history when human affairs were ruled by necromancy - the same arcane force that empowers our deadly enemy, Master Darque. To think that people would actually embrace this power based on death energy! I can only hope that I will transcend the wheel of karma and reincarnation before such dark times prevail. In any case, Ivar was the sole survivor of a necromantic cataclysm that had wiped out the denizens of this cursed era. Seeking to escape this carnage, Ivar fled through a portal called a 'time-arc'. However, the lingering death energy of the entire population unexpectedly followed Ivar through the time-arc which brought him here. Now, that same vast source of necromantic energy keeps the portal open, spilling into our time. It is this energy that has caused the global catastrophes we are now experiencing.
    Soon after Ivar's arrival, we received three more guests who had traveled here on foot. One of them, named Archer, was already known to us. A former student at this very monastery, Archer is well remembered for his purity of spirit and amazing martial abilities. Archer's companion, Armstrong, is a huge bear of a man. As it happens, Armstrong is also the brother of Ivar the time traveler. The third of our western guests is a young man named Geoff, whom Master Tenzing referred to as a Geomancer. I have never met someone so in tune with the Tao. Truly, this Geomancer is a holy man on the level of the Dalai Lama himself!
    When the portal first opened, all electronic mechanisms in the temple were rendered inoperable. We had hoped that this was due to our proximity to the necromantic portal. However, our three new guests confirmed that this electronic 'freeze' is worldwide. Airplanes plunged from the skies while basic telecommunications are no more. I only hope that you and Mother are safe in Katmandu, for our guests say that riots have flared up in many of the world's great cities.
    In a short while, Geoff, Archer and Armstrong will attempt to somehow close the portal. I must go now and attend a prayer ceremony to bless these three courageous men in their effort. Three months ago, when I first came to Ladakh to study, I thought I would find inner peace. Now I wish I had stayed with you and Mother. At least then we could face death together in a world so tightly gripped by this evil wind. But I pray that, no matter what happens, we will one day rise above this veil of tears and ascend to Nirvana to join the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas.

                                        Your Humble and Loving Brother,
                                        Chan