Episode 1: Introduction
Emma would have me tell you that this is my story. That, in fact, I should make it my story, and more about me than it is about anyone else. She would say, ‘Hasn’t everyone heard enough from the men of Kherishdar? What about the women? You deserve a voice!’ And ‘Why do you have to share the spotlight’—she had to explain that concept to me, aunera
, ‘—with anyone else? You are important, too!’
Laurence would sneer at her and say that of course this story is all about me, and call it proof of our hypocrisy. And then they would argue and leave me to listen and sift the truth from the space between their barbs.
They are both right. They’re both wrong. I know my own importance, and my own insignificance, and those things can live together without contradiction.
I like my aunera
. Emma, Laurence, the others. I imagine you will too, even seen through the lens of an Ai-Naidari eye. But they are what they are, and they are you: alien. Even after knowing me so long, they still don’t understand here, in the heart, what it is to be Ai-Naidari. They understand in their heads, you perceive, but the in the place where poetry is grasped, in the space between heart-beats, that makes sense of a heart-beat, they still don’t know, and never will. We are too different, you and I, aunera
And I am all right with that. Perhaps you know enough of Ai-Naidar to know what an extraordinary statement that is, and yet I make it.
This, then, is not my story, any more than any story about an Ai-Naidari is about that Ai-Naidari. It is particularly not my story because it’s also Farren’s, and Kor’s, and Ajan’s, and Qevellen’s. It’s about Thirukedi and the Exception and all the Shames and Exceptions that have been. It is about Kherishdar, because there is no such thing as an Ai-Naidari outside the context of her society.
And it is also, a little, about me, and the choice I made. But I am not aunerai, and I know that my choice was as much a result of other people’s as it was of mine. There is no ‘I’ without ‘we.’
I think that may be what this story is about… to you. It is hard for me to know your minds, aunera, any more than you seem to be able to understand ours.
So then. Here is our story.
Emma thinks it’s about me. Laurence is sure it is.
We’ll see what you think, when it’s done.
It is time to resume this work… and I am glad to have you all with me for the ride. *bows* As usual, the serial is brought to us by devoted patrons! Ad hoc donations also gladly accepted. For a bit, we’ll be repeating material you’ve seen (but that is no longer available because my livejournal is down)… but all that was posted two years ago, so it’s unlikely that most of you will remember it well. Starting from the beginning seemed a good idea.
I’ll be posting every Wednesday. Comments are open to everyone! And Wednesday there’ll also be a ‘let’s discuss the serial’ day on my Patreon Discord server.
Welcome to Kherishdar 4!