Unfortunate Night

Written by a Zoraï copywriter in 2536(JY):

Heading for the prison quarters, Sorrow's head was filled with questions which he knew would remain unanswered. He greeted the guards and nodded at them to open the door of the cell behind them.

"Sage Sorrow, the prisoner is particularly agitated today. Should one of us come in with you while you question him?"

"Do not worry about me, Dai-Nug, the Kamis watch over me."

"As you wish. We are here if you need assistance."

"I shall not hesitate, but I am sure that will not be necessary."

The sage entered the cell of Nuo Tong, who was sitting down with his back to the wall, his mask cradled in his hands. "Nuo, how are you today? I was told that you are disturbed?"

The other Zoraï did not answer, oblivious in his confusion to Sorrow's attempts to calm him. Sorrow continued, "I assume you know why I am here."

"Yes," the other homin spoke to the mask in his hands.

"You must answer me, Nuo. We need to know. I will ask you again... Who are the True Sons of Jena? Why did you speak about Goo at Jen-Laï? Why do so many homins seek you out? Please..."

"Why do you still ask me these questions? I will not answer them and you know it. It is already too late. A fate much worse than death is reserved for me..."

"Well then, let me try to help you," said the Zoraï Sage, as he seated himself in front of the other homin. "Nuo, you put your people at great risk. I have told you so many times."

Nuo Tung would not answer the sage's questions. "All I ask is to be forgiven," Nuo sobbed, "I am so afraid... They deceived me. I realize that they...," he choked on the words as if speaking of the mystery sucked the air from his lungs.

"But who are 'they'? I am sure that if they had been able to kill you, they would have already done so. But they cannot, as we protect you."

The Sage remained for several hours, as he did each time he visited Nuo Tong, trying to make him speak through gentle reassurance and patience. At last, Sorrow emerged from the cell, once again without answers. The Zorai Sage was worried about Nuo, worried that he might be sick, although he wasn't delerious and seemed to know his own mind.

"Did he say anything?" asked one of the guards. Sorrow breathed deeply before answering, "No, he was in his own world as usual."

"Perhaps he's just crazy," the other guard said as he glanced at his partner.

"Is it possible that a crime is so heinous that its burden cannot be relieved by a confession?" countered the first guard.

The Sage left the prison quarter to return to his work. "Always the same; questions and never any answers," he muttered, so quietly that no-one could have heard him.

The guards remained outside the prisoner's door all day and all night, as much to keep him contained as to ward against attack. That night, Nuo Tong's sobs were much louder than usual. It was painful for the guards to hear him in such a state and they moved a little away from the cell door. He cried all night, muttering alone in his cell, but as dawn approached, the sounds coming from his cell subsided.

"He does not cry any more. Perhaps the dawn has put him to sleep."

"You think so? I find that a bit strange. I think we should take a quick look."

The other guard hesitated a moment, looking at the door of the cell anxiously, and then he opened it. Inside, Nuo Tong lay splayed out on his back, with wide open eyes and clenched fists. It was clear that Nuo Tong was no longer among the living.

"He's dead!" shouted the guard, "Dai-Nug, go and get help!"

In the end, there was nothing to be done. The healers could only say that the seed of life had broken and that Nuo Tong died without apparent cause.

=====

Sorrow decided to brief the Council of the Sages as soon as possible about Nuo Tong's death. The people must be told, but also, an important decision had to be made. A new Curator of the Jen-Lai Archives had to be appointed: someone who could be trusted to shed light on the mysterious situation in Jen-Laï but who was also open-minded enough to hold a position involving controversial knowledge.

The Zoraï Council met at the first hour. "We need someone with a great heart for the Kamis and the people, in whom we can place our trust: a Kamist believer with a fresh approach, young enough to learn and study all the numerous important archives."

They reviewed the list of candidates. "What about Lingi-Chon Vao? She is still a little young for the position of Curator, I grant you, but she is trustworthy, from a family faithful to the people and loyal in their ways. Unquestionably, time will make her a fervent maidservant of Atys. What say you all?" asked one of the members of the Council.

"She is very young, in my view. She will not be able to handle the position," said one of the others.

All eyes turned to Sorrow for his opinion. "Lingi-Chon Vao. I know the girl. I could not have found a better replacement. We will make her responsible for announcing the death of Nuo Tong to the people. I am sure that she will be able to bring support and consolation to the people during this difficult time," he said confidently.

The Council parted ways, but not without some whispers.

Sorrow left to inform Lingi-Chon's father immediately, and although the appointment honoured Lingi-Chon's family, her father was deeply worried by the mystery surrounding Jen-Laï. "Sage, I would request that Lingi not be alone during the symbolic trip between Zora and Jen-Laï."

"Of course, I understand. We are going to ask the people to accompany the new Curator there."

"Thank you, Sorrow, thank you very much."

And so that all could read, it was posted at the entrance of Zora and all the other towns of the Witherings:

"Zoraï Citizens!

The new Jen-Laï Curator is to be named on Quarta, 4th Winderly, 4th AC 2536(JY).

You are called to join her in her journey between Zora and Jen-Laï to show your support of her in her new position.

May the Kamis keep you!

Sorrow, Sage and member of the Council of the Sages."

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