I could not stay in the palace. I am sure there were those that would have wished me to do so, but my personal guard understood that it was inevitable that I left the relative safety and walked the streets of Vas’Noth. I may not be decisive to the detriment of all Narn, but I do act when I know what needs to be done. I had to see the repercussions of my stupidity.
I do not often speak of those who wander with me, ensuring my safety. So few still are with me from the beginning, trained by Pa’Koth my truest friend. It is understood that this is a service that will eventually bring you to madness. I am well known for ignoring those who have my best thoughts in their hearts. Every uprising I have met personally. Not every person with death in their heart seeks the service of an assassin for my death. You are as likely to die from eating my lukrol as you are from a blade meant for me. It doesn’t happen often, but it always has the capacity to happen.
It is also a service that all too often seems a religious experience. I distrust a Narn that would consider me one to worship. I who do not trust the gods have no wish to become one. The level of sycophancy required to make me an item of worship is a level of delusion that is not healthy in a person devoted to the safety of another. I appreciate the safety such devotion might provide. I do not believe that such religious affection will end well. Inevitably I will be a Narn, not a god. A weak vessel full of all of our foibles. What happens to a zealot when the gods fail?
Most are from my household. At one time or another three of Pa’Kalon’s children have been among my personal guard. Many a foundling or orphan has come to my care and taken that path. Almost all eventually move into service to our People. Couriers, members of the Kha’Ri, diplomats, and emissaries. Even Warriors though we have no need of an army in these relatively peaceful days.
A WarLeader cannot sway a plague.
I had watched my city burn all night. I sent out the order with the couriers to do the same in other large cities.
There is no help for the villages. Either they will survive or they will fall. They are too small to isolate the sick. The virulent nature of this contagion is such that it will be unlikely for an infected village to survive more than a few weeks.
In a mockery of my nightmares the streets were empty. The effect of the strictures placed on movement in these times. Strictures I was willfully ignoring. The yearning to go to the Weavers and see G’Meri. To see the couriers. To see my own loved ones. To know they were at least safe. I haven’t talked to G’Meri since before the sickness came upon us. Since before her brother brought me to the Temple of D’Bok. Seemingly years ago. Yet only a scant quarter year has passed.
The scent of burning was pervasive. Not just the smell of smoke. The smell of wooden structures, cloth… and flesh.
Worse were those places not yet ablaze. The silence hung in the air. The air a miasma of decay at worst. A miasma of fear at best.
How long will we stand on the ka’toc’s blade waiting for the next day? Waiting for this horrible chapter to be over?
Are all Narn doomed? Have I acted too late to save my people? Today I do not see an end.