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Destiny (命运) was born in the late 9th century, during the Tang Dynasty, in the village of Xiahe in Shaanxi Province of central China. Her parents were forced to work in the local coal mines.

Buddhism in the Tang Dynasty began when Empress Wu Zhao make it the state religion. She built many monasteries and funded the monks’ activities.

When Destiny was twelve years old, an accumulation of methane gas in one of the mines exploded, killing her mother. Her grieving father, unable to care for his daughter, sent her to the Buddhist monastery Shao Dingxiang (Stability and Fortune) there to serve as a kitchen helper.

At the age of fourteen, she was assigned to assist a monk named Kang Qiaolian (Clever Always).

In Qiaolian’s primitive laboratory, he was relentless in his quest for a life-extending elixir.

Destiny collected and pulverized various compounds for Qiaolian’s experiments.

Exercising her insatiable curiosity, she mixed unusual materials to see what would happen.

One night she worked near the hearth of the fireplace for light. She combined bat guano, sulfur, and charcoal into a dark powder. To her astonishment, a spark from the fire ignited the mixture where it exploded, knocking her back on her heels.  

Destiny had discovered a compound that would change the art and science of warfare; gunpowder!