Category: Narns

I have no idea how long I have been here.  I have marked when I have been fed – eight times.  I know that I have not been fed every day.  I feel my strength ebbing.  This is what they want of course.  They want me to be weak.  

I have sat in this room and laid in this room and walked around one way and the other.  Today I spent laying on the floor looking up into the darkness.  My hands have searched every crevice for a crack, a fault in the rock.  For dirt that may lead to an escape.  My hands are bloody from my attempts.  I cannot see my fingers, but I can taste the blood when I eat.  

Over the years I have faced the option of death many times.  I lived through the War Against the Darkness.  I survived the various warleaders and assassins.  I survived battles that I should not have won.  I escaped fate many times.  It occurs to me that perhaps this time I will not.  No one who loves me knows where I am.  I am deep in the ground far from the light.  Any who would come to find me would have to be able to come through the barrier which still kills everything but me.  Survive the creatures that live in this place.  And find me.  It seems impossible.

Heroes are supposed to die in glorious battle or live happily ever after.  So, I must not be a hero.  Politicians are supposed to be assassinated or live a luxurious life and die in their sleep.  I could consider this a form of assassination.  Not one to which I am accustomed.  I still might die in my sleep, but I wish I had thought ahead to have that luxurious life.

There is a certain irony that G’Quan. The one who fought Darkness.  Who made it the mission of his life.  Would die in an alcove so deep in the ground that no light could find him.

I think of all of the things I missed in my life.  Decisions made one way when another option could have turned my life differently.  I could have fathered children.  I could have sailed the sea.  I could have done so much.  Yes I gave my life to Nar’Shal.  I wish I had given part of my time to myself.  

As I lay on the floor I think these sad thoughts.  Now I realize that for every one of things I missed I had something I had experienced.  How many people can say that they have left an everlasting impression on their society?

My name will last one thousand years.  Others will come.  They will save Nar’Shal.  Perhaps the entire universe.  The purpose lives on even if one dies.  In my vanity I wanted to be important.  I thought I would survive.  That the universe would save me.  Now I realize that every moment was my gift.  My reward.

“Where are you, mother?” I croak.  My throat is rough and dry. “Trusted friend?  Where is your counsel now?  I followed your advice into folly.  At least you can give me a dream.  A moment of peace.”  I waste my energy and bodily fluids on useless tears. I am truly alone.

“I am sorry, G’Lan.  You have always wanted to see me be wrong.  Yet you have missed your chance.  I will attempt to feel proper disappointment in your stead.”

For the first time I feel the oppressive weight of the rock around me.  Feel the room close around me. A 4x6x6 box in which I was entombed.  The song in my head is a dirge.  

I am going to die.

I have no idea how long I have been here.  I have marked when I have been fed – eight times.  I know that I have not been fed every day.  I feel my strength ebbing.  This is what they want of course.  They want me to be weak.  

I have sat in this room and laid in this room and walked around one way and the other.  Today I spent laying on the floor looking up into the darkness.  My hands have searched every crevice for a crack, a fault in the rock.  For dirt that may lead to an escape.  My hands are bloody from my attempts.  I cannot see my fingers, but I can taste the blood when I eat.  

Over the years I have faced the option of death many times.  I lived through the War Against the Darkness.  I survived the various warleaders and assassins.  I survived battles that I should not have won.  I escaped fate many times.  It occurs to me that perhaps this time I will not.  No one who loves me knows where I am.  I am deep in the ground far from the light.  Any who would come to find me would have to be able to come through the barrier which still kills everything but me.  Survive the creatures that live in this place.  And find me.  It seems impossible.

Heroes are supposed to die in glorious battle or live happily ever after.  So, I must not be a hero.  Politicians are supposed to be assassinated or live a luxurious life and die in their sleep.  I could consider this a form of assassination.  Not one to which I am accustomed.  I still might die in my sleep, but I wish I had thought ahead to have that luxurious life.

There is a certain irony that G’Quan. The one who fought Darkness.  Who made it the mission of his life.  Would die in an alcove so deep in the ground that no light could find him.

I think of all of the things I missed in my life.  Decisions made one way when another option could have turned my life differently.  I could have fathered children.  I could have sailed the sea.  I could have done so much.  Yes I gave my life to Nar’Shal.  I wish I had given part of my time to myself.  

As I lay on the floor I think these sad thoughts.  Now I realize that for every one of things I missed I had something I had experienced.  How many people can say that they have left an everlasting impression on their society?

My name will last one thousand years.  Others will come.  They will save Nar’Shal.  Perhaps the entire universe.  The purpose lives on even if one dies.  In my vanity I wanted to be important.  I thought I would survive.  That the universe would save me.  Now I realize that every moment was my gift.  My reward.

“Where are you, mother?” I croak.  My throat is rough and dry. “Trusted friend?  Where is your counsel now?  I followed your advice into folly.  At least you can give me a dream.  A moment of peace.”  I waste my energy and bodily fluids on useless tears. I am truly alone.

“I am sorry, G’Lan.  You have always wanted to see me be wrong.  Yet you have missed your chance.  I will attempt to feel proper disappointment in your stead.”

For the first time I feel the oppressive weight of the rock around me.  Feel the room close around me. A 4x6x6 box in which I was entombed.  The song in my head is a dirge.  

I am going to die.


What does one do when they are stuck in the dark, alone in the hands of the enemy?

I can’t write.  I can’t see.  It will look like gibberish.  To write this small missive is taking all of my abilities and I still believe it will be almost impossible to read.  Maybe someone will find this and learn what happened to me.  It is the only reason I am continuing it at this point.  Of course, it may only prove to them I went insane.  These things cannot be avoided.

I have occupied myself other ways.  I have searched the walls for flaws.  I have sung happy songs to keep up my courage.  Told the walls heroic tales from my youth.  I especially enjoyed regaling the walls with the battles from the War Against the Darkness.

It is all to keep up my waning spirits.  I am hungry and tired.  My fingers are raw from searching.  My eyes strained from trying to see in the absolute darkness.  

This is my private torture chamber.  Utterly alone in the dark.  Left to rot far from all I call my own.  I will become a legend.  A warning.  A tale told to pouchlings as they lay in their beds.  If my enemies and their friends have their way my story will at best be whispered among my people.  Or my people will cease to be.

 The Darkness would enjoy that.  The grubby Narn being destroyed from within.  

Enemies come in many forms, but the enemy with the face of a friend is the most insidious and evokes betrayal beyond any other foe.  I have spent time listening to the Narn collaborator in my mind.  If I meet him outside of this cave he will shortly be missing his throat and I will be preparing Phroomis.  

I will not show the enemy weakness.  I will sing and tell stories and laugh in their faces until my tongue rots from my mouth.  I will not show them my sadness, my horror.  I won’t let it touch my face.  I won’t let it into my heart.  If I die in this place, I die a Narn.


What does one do when they are stuck in the dark, alone in the hands of the enemy?

I can’t write.  I can’t see.  It will look like gibberish.  To write this small missive is taking all of my abilities and I still believe it will be almost impossible to read.  Maybe someone will find this and learn what happened to me.  It is the only reason I am continuing it at this point.  Of course, it may only prove to them I went insane.  These things cannot be avoided.

I have occupied myself other ways.  I have searched the walls for flaws.  I have sung happy songs to keep up my courage.  Told the walls heroic tales from my youth.  I especially enjoyed regaling the walls with the battles from the War Against the Darkness.

It is all to keep up my waning spirits.  I am hungry and tired.  My fingers are raw from searching.  My eyes strained from trying to see in the absolute darkness.  

This is my private torture chamber.  Utterly alone in the dark.  Left to rot far from all I call my own.  I will become a legend.  A warning.  A tale told to pouchlings as they lay in their beds.  If my enemies and their friends have their way my story will at best be whispered among my people.  Or my people will cease to be.

 The Darkness would enjoy that.  The grubby Narn being destroyed from within.  

Enemies come in many forms, but the enemy with the face of a friend is the most insidious and evokes betrayal beyond any other foe.  I have spent time listening to the Narn collaborator in my mind.  If I meet him outside of this cave he will shortly be missing his throat and I will be preparing Phroomis.  

I will not show the enemy weakness.  I will sing and tell stories and laugh in their faces until my tongue rots from my mouth.  I will not show them my sadness, my horror.  I won’t let it touch my face.  I won’t let it into my heart.  If I die in this place, I die a Narn.

I stood outside the cavern again today.  The whispering was more distinct.  It had a sibilance that felt alien to my ears.  Not Narn.  I would like to say that I leaped into action and explored the cavern.  

But I do not lie to you, Dear Reader.

I left.  I went back to the village as if willing people to be there would make Narn sprout from the ground.  I explored the village thoroughly.  The people moved on as a choice, not hurried in any way.  You can tell because the remnants of the village are neatly placed in the town square.  Looters would not have been so polite.  What is left is not worth keeping.  I looked through the trash to excuse my resistance to the path I needed to take.  As if long forgotten, broken crockery is the reason I am here.

Now I look down on the ruined base.  From here it seems so innocent.  Yet the people left.  Was it a feeling of oppression?  Dread?  Malice?

I can remember running for my life as the base exploded around me.  Could there be something there?  Is it like the other base with the underground caverns as well as the city above Dare I leave it for someone else to finish?  

Was my dream correct?  Have I become an old man?

My name is G’Quan and I am a fool.  I am a doddering idiot.

Yes, there are creatures in this ruined base.  They are creatures of Darkness.  And they have captured me.   I thought I was going to surprise them. I was the one surprised.  It is as if they knew I was here.  They were waiting for me to come into the structure. They are so alien from us.  They captured me and tossed me in here with much regard at all.  I do not see any others here.  I have not seen them either.

I do not even know how long I have been here.  I know it cannot have been weeks because I still live though I am starting to weaken.  I have liquid from the walls, but I have not eaten in a while and my stomach is cramping from the emptiness.  They have not brought any food or drink to me.  I am not a prisoner in their eyes.  I am a pest that was trapped.  Like a pest, there is no plan to keep me alive. I can find no escape.  The walls are solid bedrock.  The opening is shut with some force that will not allow me to pass through.  Not just painful  Pain I would endure to escape.  Somehow the empty air just refuses my exit.  

I spent hours trying to get out.  I screamed to get their attention, but they ignore me.  Why would anyone care about the complaints of vermin?  

No one will ever find me.  My bones will mold in this cage, unsung.  Ironic ending to my story, is ti not?  To go from a simple farmer to the Leader of the Narn people, only to die unremembered in the prison of my enemies.  Lost forever.  

I laugh at the idea despite myself.  Why not?  When the options are to laugh or cry, I always choose the former.  This time I may be laughing myself to death.  

I stood outside the cavern again today.  The whispering was more distinct.  It had a sibilance that felt alien to my ears.  Not Narn.  I would like to say that I leaped into action and explored the cavern.  

But I do not lie to you, Dear Reader.

I left.  I went back to the village as if willing people to be there would make Narn sprout from the ground.  I explored the village thoroughly.  The people moved on as a choice, not hurried in any way.  You can tell because the remnants of the village are neatly placed in the town square.  Looters would not have been so polite.  What is left is not worth keeping.  I looked through the trash to excuse my resistance to the path I needed to take.  As if long forgotten, broken crockery is the reason I am here.

Now I look down on the ruined base.  From here it seems so innocent.  Yet the people left.  Was it a feeling of oppression?  Dread?  Malice?

I can remember running for my life as the base exploded around me.  Could there be something there?  Is it like the other base with the underground caverns as well as the city above Dare I leave it for someone else to finish?  

Was my dream correct?  Have I become an old man?

My name is G’Quan and I am a fool.  I am a doddering idiot.

Yes, there are creatures in this ruined base.  They are creatures of Darkness.  And they have captured me.   I thought I was going to surprise them. I was the one surprised.  It is as if they knew I was here.  They were waiting for me to come into the structure. They are so alien from us.  They captured me and tossed me in here with much regard at all.  I do not see any others here.  I have not seen them either.

I do not even know how long I have been here.  I know it cannot have been weeks because I still live though I am starting to weaken.  I have liquid from the walls, but I have not eaten in a while and my stomach is cramping from the emptiness.  They have not brought any food or drink to me.  I am not a prisoner in their eyes.  I am a pest that was trapped.  Like a pest, there is no plan to keep me alive. I can find no escape.  The walls are solid bedrock.  The opening is shut with some force that will not allow me to pass through.  Not just painful  Pain I would endure to escape.  Somehow the empty air just refuses my exit.  

I spent hours trying to get out.  I screamed to get their attention, but they ignore me.  Why would anyone care about the complaints of vermin?  

No one will ever find me.  My bones will mold in this cage, unsung.  Ironic ending to my story, is ti not?  To go from a simple farmer to the Leader of the Narn people, only to die unremembered in the prison of my enemies.  Lost forever.  

I laugh at the idea despite myself.  Why not?  When the options are to laugh or cry, I always choose the former.  This time I may be laughing myself to death.  

When I woke I found Pa’Koth looking at me across the embers of my campfire.  His eyes could cut strips of skin from my body.

So I had not woke after all.  Only my conscience was awake.  And it was not pleased.  I sat up, resigned.

He stood with a snarl on his features. “So this is what I died for?  This is the mewling old man I protected with my very Chad’Rasha.  If you were going to die inside I could have just let you die.  I would have gone on to be useful for many more years.”

It was his unconditional love of me that hurt the most.  I always depended on that love.  It was the reason he died.  We both knew that one day his love for me would be the cause of his death.  The loss was still an open wound in my heart. Truthfully, dear Reader, it is a wound I do not believe will ever heal.  I explain this so you understand how deeply his rebuke cut.   I would have given my life to have him still alive, even in his Darkened state.  

All I said was, “That is unfair, Pa’Koth.  I have cared for our people in all things for almost 50 years.  I have served my people unfailingly.”  Tears stung my eyes, but I pulled them back.  They would never change what had happened.  I assumed that my conscience did not come to me just to complain about being dead.

Pa’Koth relented.  Even in death he could never stay angry at me.   He sat beside me.  “You know you need to go to that place of Darkness, G’Quan.  There is no other.  If you do not go there, no one will go there.”

“Why me?”  I asked, “Why is it always me.”

“You have always been here, G’Quan.”  He pat me fondly, “This is your time.  This is your place.”

We sat in companionable silence for a few minutes as I looked to the ruins below.  “Will I die?” I asked finally.

“What do you think the answer should be?”

“You should say no!” I responded hotly.

“What is this preoccupation with death?” Pa’Koth scoffed, “Are you really such an old man?”

“I feel the closeness of death.  Sava rides the air these days.”

“I will always be here, G’Quan.  And so shall you.”

“That gives me very little comfort.”

“I do not know the future.  I only know that this task is yours.  Something you know as well.”

“Will this end?”

“Yes”

“When?”

“I am no Seer, G’Quan.  I am not your mother.  The future will unfold either way.  It is you that must make the choice.”  He looked me in the eye.  “What do you want?”

When I woke I found Pa’Koth looking at me across the embers of my campfire.  His eyes could cut strips of skin from my body.

So I had not woke after all.  Only my conscience was awake.  And it was not pleased.  I sat up, resigned.

He stood with a snarl on his features. “So this is what I died for?  This is the mewling old man I protected with my very Chad’Rasha.  If you were going to die inside I could have just let you die.  I would have gone on to be useful for many more years.”

It was his unconditional love of me that hurt the most.  I always depended on that love.  It was the reason he died.  We both knew that one day his love for me would be the cause of his death.  The loss was still an open wound in my heart. Truthfully, dear Reader, it is a wound I do not believe will ever heal.  I explain this so you understand how deeply his rebuke cut.   I would have given my life to have him still alive, even in his Darkened state.  

All I said was, “That is unfair, Pa’Koth.  I have cared for our people in all things for almost 50 years.  I have served my people unfailingly.”  Tears stung my eyes, but I pulled them back.  They would never change what had happened.  I assumed that my conscience did not come to me just to complain about being dead.

Pa’Koth relented.  Even in death he could never stay angry at me.   He sat beside me.  “You know you need to go to that place of Darkness, G’Quan.  There is no other.  If you do not go there, no one will go there.”

“Why me?”  I asked, “Why is it always me.”

“You have always been here, G’Quan.”  He pat me fondly, “This is your time.  This is your place.”

We sat in companionable silence for a few minutes as I looked to the ruins below.  “Will I die?” I asked finally.

“What do you think the answer should be?”

“You should say no!” I responded hotly.

“What is this preoccupation with death?” Pa’Koth scoffed, “Are you really such an old man?”

“I feel the closeness of death.  Sava rides the air these days.”

“I will always be here, G’Quan.  And so shall you.”

“That gives me very little comfort.”

“I do not know the future.  I only know that this task is yours.  Something you know as well.”

“Will this end?”

“Yes”

“When?”

“I am no Seer, G’Quan.  I am not your mother.  The future will unfold either way.  It is you that must make the choice.”  He looked me in the eye.  “What do you want?”

I had stayed behind yesterday as the team went to the South.  Today I left with the other team going North, leaving G’Lan in charge of those who would be going the next day, assuming the team from the South returned.  At one time there was a cavern this direction.  It had been full of the creatures of Darkness.  I remember feeling such dread that they had this force so close to Nar’Shal.  We Narn had not even known they were there.

I remembered running through the cavern as the creatures exploded, certain I was going to fall and perish for my foolishness.  No one but me could enter, but I do not think the Darkness wished me to ever be able to exit.  I had always wondered what allowed me into the Darkness.

I told the rest to leave me here.  There is no one that lives in this place any longer.

I think of the times in my life where I seem to have power beyond that of a normal Narn.  Like when I went into the cavern.  Most had not been able to pass.  The very grass and animals, even insects were killed by a force of the Darkness that had protected the cavern.  At the time I wondered why I could enter but focused more on the fact that I could.  There was the lost child (who was never found) otherwise no one could enter.  There was no resistance to my entrance then.

Why?

Why was I different?  I have been sitting here looking down at the place where the stones collapsed, where I was almost crushed under their weight with all of the creatures of Darkness.  Thinking about my life.   Wondering who I am.

It seems such a simple question.

I am G’Quan.  An answer that seems to satisfy the question immediately.  But does my name define me?  We Narn seek to make the name match the Narn but language is imperfect and a name cannot fit all aspects of even one Narn.  The name is defined by me and who I am.  So answering G’Quan is a circular argument.

I am a Narn but that answer is too broad.

I am the Leader of the Kha’Ri.  Even as the first of the series that does not suffice to describe who I am.  That is a profession, not an identity.  I chose that role because of who I am, but it is not me.

I am my mother’s son, named by her.  Defaulting to an older generation does not bring more weight to the answer.  

The thought of who I am requires words that do not exist in my limited language.  Language as my tool leaves me tongue tied.  The thought goes beyond words, beyond the common senses.  

I am male but only a simpleton believe that having a penis defines me.

I am different than my brethren not because of what I am.  No.  It is who I am.  Who I am makes me do these things.  And allows me to do these things.

So what will I do now?

As I look over the plans for the building out of the new central marketplace I feel a sense of timelessness.  

I can see it built out in my mind’s eye.  In the center will be a fountain.  The warm shopper can rest there on a bench and smell the sweet scent of the tarlek-eth trees.   Children will play in the trees and on the fort that will be built among the trees. Full of little rooms and games, it will be.  I hear the water splashing.  I hear the laughter.

Outside the marketplace is the Street of Inns.  So recently demolished.  The plague hit the area hard. Now it is built to heights previously unimagined.  The engineers say that they can build into the sky. Three, maybe even four stories tall. Enough for a public house and places for travelers to stay for business.  

Temple row was hit hard as well.  Frightened people often look to the gods for assistance.  Even now, after the War.  If the gods were going to intervene it would have been then.  

Temple row is changed.  The gods do not have the same influence they had before the War.  People do not meet in the temples.  People meet in the markets now.  So the markets are larger and the temples are smaller.  There is a new Ka’Kar’Ri that holds many temples.  In my mind I walk through the stone halls into the center.  The room is shared between the various temples able to be used by any.  I look to the sky and the light comes through the windows like liquid gems.  

Homes fill the empty places.  Homes of every type.  Homes with shops below.  Homes with many rooms.  Tiny homes. Large homes.  

I find myself wandering the streets amazed at the glory of the all of this beauty. Realizing that I find beauty in homes well built.  In shops full of goods and a marketplace full of things from everywhere.  A port full of koronok and roads full of travelers. In my mind the world is teeming with life.  As if I am expanding to the extent of Nar’Shal.  Full of promise.  Cradled at the bosom of the universe.  Reaching out to the universe in friendship.

Then I remember it is all in my head.  There is so much to do.  These homes do not exist.  This temple is an area of scorched land.  The marketplace is still a half burned out wreck, deserted.  The shops are only in my mind’s eye.  The roads empty.  My port destroyed.  My glorious city only plans in my hand.

The universe is not to be mine.  Only Nar’Shal.  Born too early to be walking through the star lit sky like Vas.  Knowing that one day a Narn will walk among the stars.  I believe that they will find it much like Nar’Shal.  They will find friends.  They will see beauty I can only imagine.  Tears will fill their eyes from joy.

And they will see the Darkness. The old enemy will not forget my people.  My people will not forget the Darkness.  It is our Purpose.  We maintain.