Rage

Na'toth's imprisonment changed her, and not for the better.


The first year she spent most of her time sharpening her teeth and nails. She wanted to be ready when the opportunity came to slit the throat of her guard. At least this week she dreamed of throat-slitting. At other times it had been eye-gouging, disembowelment, castration...there were so many ways to kill a Centauri. It was difficult to choose the best. Quick, effective, satisfying: it would be hard to achieve all three. But the guard never spoke, never entered her cell, never came close. Once a day a small panel in the door opened, a packet of food and a squeeze bulb of water was pitched inside, and another opportunity for vengeance was lost. Making the choice, over and over, kept her alive. It kept her anger as sharp as her nails. It could not keep her sane.

The second year she prayed. In the past, she had not followed the path laid down by G'Quan. But since her own gods had deserted her, it was time to try those of others. Candles were not available to her; neither was the incense that contained the essence of Narn's lost forests, nor the ritual robes so much softer and warmer than the rags to which her clothing had been reduced. Inset high in the wall, the sole faint light in the room served to focus her thoughts, but no amount of mental effort could disguise the rank dampness surrounding her. She could not find the words to call down vengeance or summon insight. There was no epiphany waiting in the darkness of her cell, no revelation except that time passed. An eternity passed.

The third year she went mad. Food came less and less often, and she hoarded water, scraping drops of moisture from the walls with plastic sheets fashioned from the packaging of her meager rations. Her eyesight faltered, blurring at the edges, the blankness then moving inward. The one light dimmed and failed before she knew for sure if she was blind. The etched calendar on the far wall was abandoned. Her voice croaked and dried in her throat. She could no longer sing the old songs, the ones her father had crooned to her in the pouch. All memory of home, of life, of war faded. All that was left was a small coal of rage, banked with the ashes of her hate and her prayers. She hoarded that last flicker of inner fire, stubbornly determined it would last till the end.

With the slightest whisper of hope, Na'Toth's wrath would flare, ready to burn, anew and forever.