Dear readers, tonight we meet a supporting character, right before they met the protagonist at the opening of her book. He’s here to tell us about his war-altered world , and about the prison from city ruins where he met the protagonist.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
My mother, Fenna, was a prostitute.
I never knew my father, but Fenna said that he was a military man, and some even alleged that he was a noble. Regardless, my life began in Girion, the greatest Illiri city in western Illirium. Fenna and I did not stay in one place for long, however. She sought to change her life by becoming the mistress of Lord Goreb who resided in Tïrmen. At that time, I was still young, but old enough to recognize the dangers of his character. Goreb’s persistent abuse of my mother drove me to rise up on her behalf. She did not want me to, but I could not stand the man. At first, I challenged him with words; yet a disease clung to my throat, reducing my voice to a quiet, raspy sound. Therefore, I learned action is the truest measure of strength. Though we had to ultimately flee from Goreb’s estate, I felt greater liberation from the thought that he would never again be able to walk properly.
Meandering from one terrible relationship to the next, my mother stood tall at first, never letting anyone see how tired and lost she felt. I admired her for that. She was a survivor in spirit. Yet, she also never fought for herself, and for that I nurtured resentment. Dragged from place to place, I tried to learn all I could, such as from the baker who showed me the care and strength necessary to bake bread—the timing, the kneading—or the blacksmith who taught me about the focus and power needed to shape iron.
When Fenna and I eventually found ourselves living on the streets of Girion, I did all I could to provide for us. She came to both rely on and scorn my presence. “It is because of you that we are here,” she would say, acting like the trappings of Lord Goreb were worth all the pain. At other times, she desperately wanted me to hold her close. Her unpredictability taught me patience, while at the same time gnawed at it. When I reached manhood and could tolerate her madness no more, I left. I never saw her again, but suspect that she died on the street.Continue reading “Nabilak (of There was Music, by J.D. Grubb)”