Вавилон 5: Г’Кар
Babylon 5: G’Kar
Вавилон 5: Г’Кар
Babylon 5: G’Kar
I found my feet following the old path to the ruined village today. Everyone has moved away long ago. The Darkness had destroyed their peaceful lives.
Over my life I have wondered why the Darkness came to my world. Why they wanted to destroy such an insignificant people. We’re we meant for greatness in the future? Maybe we only have the potential for greatness. Perhaps that is enough in this time. In this place.
The being that was my mother. Was it an ally or an observer? She rarely gave me advice. Any useful advice. Only puzzles. Who was that one? What did it want? Why did it come to my world?
The more I think, the more questions I have.
There was no one in the village. I had thought that people may have come here because it was empty. It is even too empty to be used in desperation. I felt drawn to the place of Darkness. Maybe that is why people stay away. Even as a ruin it pulls you toward it. Requiring your attention.
As I approached it I almost felt I could hear a murmur. A hum of voices. Could people have used the ruin as a shelter? Why when the village itself was available? My guard came up and my hand reached for my ka’toc. I felt watched, but there was sudden silence. “Who is there?” I called. I expected no response. My expectations were met.
There were no Narn here.
Age has taught me caution. I did not go in the breach. Instead I stood like an idiot dodderer. Unsure what I should do.
Heroes should never grow old.
When I saw this trip in my mind’s eye it did not include G’Lan.
G’Lan and his old cart and his old urlot plodding along. He is the old storyteller again. And I am his foundling again.
I have been the Leader of the Kha’Ri most of my life. I have led Narn into battle. I have lived the majority of my life as an independent creature. Why do I still find myself in a secondary role the moment I am with this Narn?
I suppose I envisioned something more of my youth. Like the days when Pa’Koth and I travelled. When the Union was young and the people scattered. Now the people are ravaged by sickness, but they expect succor from the Union. I must provide what I can and call those who are able to go to those who are in need.
I have stayed in this inn in Vas’Hon many times. I stayed here when I first left my fragile government afraid of what might happen without my watchful eye. I stayed here when the creatures attacked and we and the innkeeper fought for our lives. It is a convenient day’s travel from Vas’Noth.
Vas’Hon’s very closeness is its asset and its loss. So many of the sick stayed in this village. Tonight I stay in the inn, but there is no innkeeper. No warm hearth welcomed us. The tareee was available but no bustling server brought it to me. We broached the keg ourselves. The stores had not been plundered. There are not even brigands available here.
Only corpses. I recognized the innkeeper. She was still as sturdy as the day she fought with us so long ago against the creatures from the City of Darkness. We burned all we found. I Sang the Songs for the brave innkeeper. She wouldn’t have turned them away. Even if she knew it meant her life. I wept for this village since so few who knew them were alive to do so.
This I do remember from my previous trips. Burning that which is diseased or misshaped. This comes back to me like a nightmare. Yet I am not that callow youth that traveled before. I understand my role in this world more fully than I did then. Mine is the hard road. The road others do not travel because it is hard and rocky and so many more pleasant roads beckon.
At times I envy those who were horrified today. I think back to my youth. When I was horrified to come across a dead village. Then it was G’Lan that lent me strength. Now I realize it wasn’t strength at all. That the fortitude he owned was only the will to not stop. Because you couldn’t be weak.
So I organized teams and we cleansed the village. We set the inn as headquarters and started our job, not as an act of charity but as an act of necessity.
It is still a nice little village area. It is still a convenient day’s ride from Vas’Noth. The people will come back. We die, but Nar’Shal continues.
The words hung in the air like a miasma. I felt my temple vents flutter. Anger would do me no good at this moment. I would just look like a manic oldster, doddering in my dotage. Furious that my day had come and gone.
“I am quite aware of the passage of time, Ti’Rel.” I responded to more laughter. “I am not aged, my mind is clear and I am stubborn enough to last at least another 70 years.
“I appreciate the concern this body has for my wellbeing, It would indeed be unfortunate if I died in some freak accident on the road. I am quite sure this will not happen. There is my bodyguard which have never have failed me as well as an entire caravan of Healers, builders and other guilds.” I smiled sourly, “Surely all of these Narn can take care of an old fool like myself.”
“The guilds have agreed with me and my assessment. Several key members of each guild will be on this trip. It is considered important to them as well.”
I stood at this point.
“I can no longer sit in my office and wonder what goes on beyond these walls. If I am the heart of the Narn people, then I must go be with my people. Vas’Noth is a lovely place, more lovely by the day. Yet… how many people outside of this place have food enough and running water? How fares the places between the towns? Have the desperate taken to banditry? I can read all of the answers and know it here” I proclaimed with a finger to my temple. Then with a wave my hand fell to my chest. “But what about here? Can I know my people without seeing them with my own eyes?”
I looked at the body. But the Ka’Rhi is not a single body. It is an amalgamation of individuals. All with their own motivations and urges.
“In this my mind is quite made up and I will leave in the morning with the caravan. G’Lan has also decided to see the lay of the land and will be with me.”
At the gasps and renewed complaints I raised a hand, “There will be a day when this will come to pass.” I murmured. The Ka’Rhi strained to hear me after my booming proclamations. “There will be a day when G’Lan and I are dust in the breeze. These days will be the lore of our people. When that time comes, do you really believe that it will be written ‘Then the Ka’Rhi fell to chaos and despair?’ The governance of our people is no different than the waged war. People fall to the wayside. But Nar’Shal endures. Perhaps this is an opportunity for the Ka’Rhi. A chance to try your own mettle.”
The room filled with murmurs and mutters. This was something they had not thought of. The opportunity to take my precious world in their hands. This world is like one of my children. I have nurtured it and watched it grow. Now it totters out into the fields without me. What if a wild law is passed while I am traipsing about? How much damage could they inflict upon my child. Yet how will they learn wisdom if they are not given a chance to experience success and failure?
Any disasters will be dealt with as required.
Or am I truly concerned that I will be unnecessary? That without my guiding hand the world runs better. That I was a hindrance. Will that day come?
Will I be wise enough to recognize that day if it comes? How I hope it will be so.
“G’Quan, it has been decided. You cannot go!”
From this side I did not expect such resistance. The Kha’Ri had said nothing when I stated my decision to travel. Since they had conferred amongst themselves and obviously decided to overrule me.
“What do you mean?” I responded at the time. I realize now that for the first time in quite a while the Kha’Ri was disagreeing with me. It is allowed, but I was angry not because of the reason. Even before I asked the question I knew the answer. “Am I not a free Narn able to go as I please? I have traveled in the past and Nar’Shal maintains.”
The one who spoke for the whole cringed as I spoke. The unspoken words in the air, but not voiced. No one wanted to say it aloud.
“Do you believe that the world is more dangerous today than it was right after the War? During the War?” I prodded. I wanted to words spoken aloud. I wanted to see them on the floor and stomp them into the bedrock.
“It has been several years since you last left.”
“It has been five.”
Another stood, “You are the heart of the Narn people, G’Quan. What would we do if we were to lose our heart?”
This from an organization that has often sought my death. Now I am a treasure of Nar’Shal?
“Do you expect something to happen? This is a trip to the towns of Nar’Shal with an entire company of builders, stone masons, priests, healers and even a few cooks. I am hardly going on a trip alone into the mountains to fight dar with a stick.” I stood then and gave them my full attention. “I assure you if I did, the dar would be the ones running down the mountain in fear.”
I allowed the moment of laughter. A beat. “So, colleagues, what is the reason, the true reason, for your concern.”
Вавилон 5: Г’Кар
Babylon 5: G’Kar
I hadn’t talked to G’Lan for over a week. He was angry at me. I was furious at him. He has always attacked me based on my childhood. How can he consider himself a friend of my mother while he attacks her decision of how to raise her children?
How can he consider me a friend if he still thinks of me as a creature so far beneath him? I thought I was his friend. His opinion of me changes with the breeze.
I had a meeting with the Guilds today. I have more plans. They involve taking some of builders with me into the world. I have focused too much on Vas’Noth. How do other cities and town fared since we closed our gates? They are open now, but the trickle from outside… It is as if the whole world has disappeared.
I told the Kha’Ri of my decision earlier today as well. I had planned to have G’Lan take my place on the Ka’Rhi as I traveled. Unfortunately I had not been able to talk to him about it. If I went to his quarters, would that not have been an admission of weakness on my part?
In the end he came to me. A bottle of taree and two mugs.
“I hear you plan to leave Vas’Noth.” He said as he sat at my table, pouring taree for us both.
“Yes,” I said, wary of this new mellow mood. “our world needs to be rebuilt.”
“And you must do it alone?” G’Lan replied sipping from his mug. “The couriers have been telling you of the world’s progress, have they not?”
“I’m not going to be alone. The builders and the priests and the couriers. All of them will help the people of this world.”
“No, I think your party needs one more. I will go with you. It has been too long since we have traveled together.”
“G’Lan!” I responded, “Who will be in charge of the Kha’Ri?”
“I expect that they can do fine without us both for a while. I thought that is why you have all those couriers. You will continue to be the Leader even as you travel. You do not need me here.” He waved his hands as if the place were a dump instead of a palace. He leaned forward and looked me in the eye.
“I miss the road. We haven’t been out together since before the War. I want to remove the dust of this town from my feet and see my world. It has been too long.”
And so I have an extra companion on my trip into the world An old officious Narn.
If there are gods, G’Lan is my punishment.
“Do you have to build every home yourself?”
G’Lan does not understand. I want to build every home, every business, even every temple myself. I want to touch each building. I want to plant every tree. If I could I would do everything.
But I can’t tell him that. His old bones are creaking these days. His spots dull with lack of sunlight. If it weren’t for his followers he probably wouldn’t ever leave the castle. I do not know his age, but he is probably near 100 years of age. An age at which many Narn would have been left in the forest in the days of my youth.
I wonder if he thinks of that as well.
But, I did have to respond to his chiding. He was reminding me that I too am past “middle age” and approaching that time of my life where I will start to be considered “old G’Quan.”
I feel in my own bones the start of age. Little pains that as a youth I would never have had. Stiffness.
Maybe my interest in building homes and making parks is more to ensure that I do so when I can. Recognizing that there will be a day when I will watch the world instead of acting upon it.
But that day is not today.
“G’Lan, I believe as the Leader of the Kha’Ri I should be overseeing the implementation of our plans.”
“No, you just want to play.”
“Is that such a bad thing? Shouldn’t work be something you can enjoy?”
The pause in the conversation makes me realize that I have hit upon the issue at the heart. Perhaps G’Lan has never found work to be enjoyable.
Or maybe he has not found joy in it most recently. I remember before the War he seemed to be in his element in his special role within the government. Chosen by the gods. God Named. He was special. Now – in this world – a G’ name is no longer special. He is no longer special.
Except for living in a castle and being a Leader of the world. Yes, except for that.
“You enjoy getting dirty,” he asked accusingly, “You enjoy working yourself to exhaustion?”
“I still enjoy a good day’s work” I replied hotly.
“Yes, I forgot.” he noted bitterly. “You were a member of the tenth circle once. They aren’t useful for much more than manual labor.”
In shock I just left him there. I had nothing more to say.
With the decision to rebuild comes the inevitable next decision is how. Cities are built upon organic guidelines. Some like the ni’pshe grow in lobes as expansion is required. Flowing from one space to the other through the path of least resistance. Others are like the colonies of kar’ni organized in grids within their hives.
More practically this allows us the opportunity to add sewer systems and running water. To bring modern comforts to some parts of the city that had to have less advanced systems in the past. Some will be displaced by the improvements in infrastructure, at least for a time, but the overall improvement should easily make this burden worth temporary inconvenience.
The previous city was made as a fungus spreading through the valley as it grew without purpose. With no goal in the structures. Made for nothing but the whim of the builder. Those structures that exist with a purpose have been outstripped in their purpose. High walls stand in the middle of the city from the days before the Unity. Now the city has outstripped the walls and they serve no purpose. They could be razed and allow more room for homes and businesses. Many homes are of an old style. Would the new world raze these as well and make a modern city?
Or do we leave the old town within untouched merely building around it? The old within the new. Old and new intermingling as has been the way of the world up to this point.
Do we lose history or make history? Is history written in our books or in our streets? What of the future? Is a people defined by how a city is built?