Adah-kah sat silently above the vast basin which had once been a great pool of water. The hood of his cloak, so often worn up to hide his features in shadow, was thrown back and his legs dangled over the edge. Below, other Nekhanj milled about, regaining their strength and agility after years in stasis. Many of them were nude, having entered stasis that way and not yet having gathered clothes. The nudity didn’t bother him so much, he knew what the anatomy of his race was and he’d had years to practice an understanding of separating sexual urges from his moment-to-moment motivations.
Still, he was disquieted. For a decade and a half he’d been alone. His race a mystery and illusion, Adah-kah himself the only representative most of the people he’d met had known. He felt more brotherhood for the other members of Ioun’s religion than for the Nekhanj around him. I’m not sure what I imagined. Did I think I’d be connected to them?
The luminescence above the cavern twinkled and flickered, almost like near stars. Adah-kah stared out into the dusky light. Did they think they’d be connected to me?
It was an uncomfortable thought. Like his companions, he was generally thought to be the last of his race. And in proving that untrue, Metkin had named him “chosen” and “waited for.” He was a key figure to a race he’d never known. Their culture had very little to do with his. And does it have any semblance to what Nekhanj culture had been before? These warriors who trained over and over to fight an enemy they’d never seen? Who are, as a rule, little older than me? What will they do when the fight is won?
Glancing down at his hands, Adah-kah sighed. Will they look to me to lead? Am I ready to surrender my studies now that I’ve found their goal, the people who I’d searched for? And if they turn once more to conquest?
Below, some of the Nekhanj saluted him and moved to climb out of the basin. I would be forced to fight them. The world has suffered enough war. It’s time for peace, even if it cannot last. Regardless of all else, that I know.
Resolve returned, he sat once more in silence, meditating on the questions he’d confronted himself with. He sat there until someone came to retrieve him.