It was the one hundred and first day since we had arrived in Ther’avare, two and a half months since I had joined the warriors. The Dvara’ka fell upon us without warning. In the desperate battle than ensued, I led my squad and a second in retaking the watchtower we had built on the Chelian edge of our cavern. We pursued them into the city, fighting a few minor skirmishes to no effect before we returned. My zeal for revenge, and for our clan, was surpassed by none. It took Shiir’s level head to restrain me from killing those few whom we had taken alive. So affronted by this attack upon our settlement, the clan spoke with a rare unanimity, we would go to war.
The moment of clarity was not to last, however. As it always had, the clan descended into petty squabbles and divisions about how to go about our task. You, Lady An’jhali, carried this weight in your countenance, and it served to fuel the fiery rage I bore to new heights. Only our clan could mess this up, and it looked as though we were trying our hardest to do it. The warriors lost themselves in their training, trying not to notice the politics that daily weakened your resolve. I was now convinced beyond all doubt; we were more dangerous to our own survival than the Dvara'ka ever could be.
If it were only the political turmoil, I might have endured it. I had issues of a more personal nature at the same time. You remember well the falling-out between Shiir and Tali; I was at the center of it, trying to remain friends with both of them, and through my bumbling I alienated Tali. She had been my tutor among the warriors, and my first friend in Ther’avare. Though she found a new place as our Mana Specialist, our friendship was never recovered. You may recall I had a lover, Serielle. The flame we had had grown cold before Ther’avare was attacked, a casualty of my nearly tireless efforts to persuade, coerce, and otherwise affect better decision-making within the clan by sheer force of personality. You may recall the words I spoke and things I did, Lady, and how forceful and zealous I was to advance the clan. Your safety and the clan’s survival consumed me, and though I made a few new friends, I lost more. Jan’telle despised me, and I think all of the overseers did too. I could name all those whom I wronged along the way, but it would only serve as a waste of your generously offered time and writing materials after this many years.
Last but not least were the many members of the clan younger than I, who did not listen to the words of their elders. They deemed themselves wise and disregarded my reasoning, often ignoring me entirely, despite events that time and again proved me right. ‘I told you so’ has no good effect on a person, and it only made me more stubborn and easier to detest. Now they had a reason not to listen, one that I continuously made more compelling by my deeds.
And so, even I was to blame for the impending capitulation of the clan. Knowing the right answer is useless if you can only make it disagreeable to your peers. I could not bear to see you harmed, Ill’haress, not after the pain preceding the exile. I had come to the conclusion that the clan was bent on its own destruction, bent on getting you killed. So on the eve of battle I took a walk, leaving all of my gear behind.
I did not know where I was going; it was not travel, just movement. There was nothing in Ther’avare that did not remind me of our doom, so I went outside. There, on the empty rock, I sat. I did not even want a solution at this point, my direction had turned within me, and out of a weird sense of self-preservation I ceased to care what happened to the clan because I believed I could never handle what was about to take place.
Just then, the strangest thing happened. The cavern seemed to light up, with a light so bright and so far beyond any light I had ever seen that I buried my face against the ground to escape it. I could neither move, nor speak, nor think; only tremble. And then a still, small voice spoke. “Go into the city. Someone will meet you there.” I call it still and small because it was, and yet the words seemed to shake my bones themselves as the beating of a drum might.
The light was gone. I got up and walked. I’m still not sure in what part of Chel I ended up. In an alley, hungry and tired, I sat down to think. I didn’t get any thinking done, though. A human male, elderly by their estimation, gave me a scroll. “I was sent to give you this” said he. Though I am certain he did not know our language, his speech was perfect. When I looked up from the scroll to question him, he was gone.
I know what you must be thinking. This former warrior of mine is as crazy as can be. He must want me to execute him, for telling me these ridiculous tales when I have asked where he went. I must beg your indulgence Lady An’jhali, for if I stop the tale at this point, your precious time will have been forever wasted on this matter, and the many trials I have endured waiting to see you again be for nothing. Please permit me to finish, that I might attempt, even if unsuccessfully, to repay you for delivering my life.