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The only way the Water Dragon can restore you to life is if you first cleanse the taint corrupting her holy temple at Dirge. To begin the cleansing process, you must restore the waters of two fountains. The first of the fountains lies here in the temple's outer courtyard.
1 - Arrival
After being teleported from the Spirit Plain by the Water Dragon, you'll find yourself in the southeast corner of her temple's outer courtyard.
2 - Ceramic Urn
Search this single urn to uncover a Gem of Premonition.
3 - Horse Demon and Rat Demon
As you begin to ascend these decrepit stairs, you'll be jumped by a Horse Demon and a Rat Demon. Prepare accordingly.
4 - Abbot Song
After watching a quick cutscene of Abbot Song battling an Imperial Soldier, you'll be able to speak with him on the other side of this bridge. Abbot Song was the head of the Spirit Monk order twenty years ago, back when Emperor Sun Hai and his brothers attacked Dirge. After he fills you in on the motives behind the attack, you're treated to a cutscene of the events that transpired that day. Although it is similar to the one you watched at the beginning of the game, this one demonstrates Master/Sun Li's full betrayal. It also details Prince Kin's betrayal alongside Li, though he wasn't lucky enough to escape from Dirge with his life. Instead, the Emperor bound his spirit to Sun Li's armor and Death's Hand was born.
Abbot Song will also explain why you're still able to use essence gems even though the Glorious Strategist has taken your Dragon Amulet. Apparently the artifact is only a tool to focus the gem and you are now powerful enough to no longer need it. Sun Li needs it, though, in order to ciphen the Water Dragon's power to his own.
As you are the last of the Spirit Monks, Abbot Song wants nothing more than to see you succeed in restoring the fountains of Dirge, returning to the land of the living, and putting a stop to Sun Li once and for all. He offers to join as your follower in death, which you'll find to be surprisingly helpful. If you set Abbot to his "Support" mode, he will cause your Chi, Focus, and Health to continually regenerate. It's far more useful than having him fight.
5 - Scrollstand
The text on this scrollstand is entitled The Ritual of Binding.
6 - Xian Wu and the First Fountain
Xian was once a member of the Spirit Monk order, but she was lured by Sun Li's promises of wealth and power. She betrayed the Spirit Monks by tainting the fountains, which made Dirge susceptible to the Imperial Army's attacks. Her corrupted spirit is now bound to this fountain, and you'll have to fight through Xian and two other betrayers to get the waters flowing once more.
Once defeated, Abbot Song will tell you about the ritual of binding and how great of a crime it is to bind a spirit or living creature. Emperor Sun Hai was the one responsible for binding Xian Wu, and Abbot strongly suggests that you never attempt such a dastardly deed.
When he's finished lecturing, you'll receive the first of two Dirge Fountain Seals. Place the seal on the fountain and it will immediately be restored to its former glory. This will cause the gates at area #8 to open.
7 - Ancient Battlefield
Long-dead Spirit Monks and Imperial Soldiers still fight for Dirge. They cannot rest and are trapped here for eternity, or at least until you're able to cleanse the Water Dragon's temple. Luckily, none of them seem to mind your presence here.
8 - Exit
Once the waters in the fountain to the south are flowing again, these gates will grant you access to the Inner Courtyard. Before you can pass through, the Water Dragon appears to reiterate the importance of your quest. When she's finished speaking, a cutscene will display that shows your former Master summoning Death's Hand from the destroyed Lotus Assassin Fortress.