Hilde awoke on slick stone floor, lying face down. She was still weak from the unexpected swim, slowly regaining her vision. She looked up to see a shimmering dome of energy, the veil of the spirit world,shaped like a dome. The Guardian's sea was beyond it, and the silhouettes of sea creatures swam lazily on the stone. Statuary of sea creatures, sand, coral and stone tiles littered the otherwise barren ground.
"Welcome, warrior." An old voice spoke, and Hilde turned around. In the foreground was a temple in the style of ancient Ionia, built of stone and coral- but the speaker's presence held Hilde's attention.
Standing ten feet tall, the turtle-sage was an imposing figure, holding a staff of orange coral. Beside him were two Naga warriors. Each warrior was a blue humanoid from the waist up, with a serpentine head and four arms of whipcord muscle. Waist down, they were serpents- and at their waists was a heavy sash, carrying four masterfully crafted katana.
"Greetings, master Gong Jong. I am honored to finally see the Coral Temple." Hilde's politeness and bow was automatic, knowing the spirits to be easily offended by mortal brashness. The three spirit creatures returned the greeting with bows as well.
"...Now... I know well you have affairs in the mortal world waiting, Daughter of Raven." Gong Jong began, and at his subtlest gesture the two Naga warriors drew their four katanas each. Hilde was slightly surprised, expecting a long discussion before the lesson. It seemed, however, they were eager to begin immediately.
"...Four Waves style, first form. Wave strikes!" The Naga spoke, declaring his technique to empower it with ki. He and his fellow kensei slithered in a whip-like speed, four swords coming at the paladin from different angles. Hilde drew her sword immediately. It looked liked the lesson was going to begin now, and the Naga were very eager to teach.