1st day, 1st year

Things have happened real quickly here. I got a room with the rest of the cki, on the ground floor-third door on the left. Although the syer Anshal who's in charge of us and teaching us how to fight and stuff will kill me if he finds out I've noted locations in this book, so maybe I'll just stick to events from now on.

8th day, 1st year

I know, I know, I haven't written in this in ages, but it's really hard being a fighter. Anshal showed us some real cool moves though. There was one where he jumped up and kind of swung his leg around to hit the target. I can't wait to learn that!

11th day, 1st year

I don't think I'll ever manage to write in this every day so I'll just do it when I can. Not much happened today. Oh, except Likasha, who's a female that just arrived, was rude to syer Anshal, so he sent her across the room. I wonder if she has a bruise?

Yep. I just snuck over and looked.

21st day, 1st year

Anshal got promoted to liraq.

50th day, 1st year

An olix taker came into the area today. I don't know where the takers live. Maybe they're in that room just across the way. He wanted to know what being a fighter was like so I said it was real hard work. His is harder though. He has to work with Outsiders all the time he's on duty. I think his name was Nural. I'm not sure because at that moment liraq Anshal came over and split us up. What's the big deal about not talking to lures or takers, anyway?

3rd day, 2nd year

What do I write now? Well, to start with, liraq Anshal found out about this book on the 71st day. Boy, was he mad! I got extra chores for the rest of the year. I haven't found out who told him yet, but I think it was Likasha. I'll ask her tomorrow. Big news though-I just got promoted!!!!! I managed to beat olix Siral, so now I'm an olix!!! As my promotion favour I asked to get my book back. Liraq-oops, I mean kiet-Anshal was real mad but he couldn't refuse. He did manage to persuade the vasari to cut out some of the pages I'd written in, though. That's why there are so many missing.

Too tired now. I'll write more later.

13th day, 3rd year

I've decided I'll only use this for writing about really important things, like promotions. I don't want Anshal to take it away again. So, big news, I got another promotion! Now I'm an irar! And also, Nural, that taker I wrote about, recently got his promotion as well! I don't know why I'm still writing about him...I mean, he's a taker. But we both made irar on the same day, nonetheless.

30th day, 3rd year

Anshal got promoted to hol.

89th day, 3rd year

Vasari Ckusa died in a fight. Rasur Quen got promoted.

1st day, 4th year

Vasari Quen died in a fight. Wow...I wonder how he managed to survive so long in SKAN if he can't hold down his position for a year? Rasur Viuln got promoted.

9th day, 4th year

I got promoted again!! If I keep doing this, I'll be vasari before long. Right now my new rank is kerj.

15th day, 4th year

Nural got promoted.

2nd day, 5th year

Vasari Viuln died in a fight. Rasur Mvian got promoted.

5th day, 5th year

Anshal got promoted to hol.

37th day, 5th year

Anshal got demoted back to kiet again. I don't know why but I think it's cause he challenged vasari Mvian. Everyone knows you're not supposed to challenge a vasari unless you're a rasur.

90th day, 5th year

Anshal got promoted again. I don't know how but I think it's cause he kissed so much butt.

91st day, 5th year

I just read what I wrote last night. Now I really hope Anshal doesn't take my book away again.

8th day, 6th year

I got another promotion! Another one! Now I'm rank nas, which is only one away from syer. When I'm a syer, I get to teach cki how to fight!

2nd day, 7th year

Anshal got promoted to rasur.

3rd day, 7th year

Anshal challenged vasari Mvian. I don't think he's gonna win. Anshal, I mean.

19th day, 7th year

Nural got promoted. He snuck over to the rooms and asked if I'd show him how to fight. I showed him how to do a couple of things, but then he had to go cause Mvian was walking down the corridor. What's the vasari doing outside our rooms, I wonder?

34th day, 7th year

I'm writing this from my new rooms, which are smaller than the cki rooms but that's okay cause there's only three of us in there. The other two are Marul and Alyn and those two're too occupied with each other to take much notice of me. Yes, I finally made syer!

The only thing that's bugging me now is how Nural's gonna be able to sneak over if those two're in the room. I guess he can always wait til they're out.

50th day, 7th year

Hell, vasari Mvian died in a fight. And rasur Anshal got promoted. I don't think he'll be able to do ANYTHING! He's just too caught up in the status it brings.

35th day, 8th year

I made liraq! Had a little trouble earlier with a cki who thought they were a better fighter than I was, but soon sorted them out.

46th day, 9th year

I made kiet! So did Nural, although two days earlier. I forgot to write it down.

60th day, 10th year

Nural and I are a couple!!! I just had to write that down. It's kinda unusual, but there aren't any rules saying fighters can't be coupled with takers. Just a rule saying fighters can't be carriers.

78th day, 10th year

I got to hand it to vasari Anshal, he knows what he's doing. Well, he has to if he's managed to keep his rank as vasari for the better part of three years.

3rd day, 11th year

Damn! I take back what I said about vasari Anshal in the previous passage. The male's a self-opinionated coward. We got into a fight with a pack of Outsiders and the 'vasari' just fled to the safety of the carriers' rooms. Everyone let him past--they thought he must have some kind of plan or something. Still, the attack's probably nothing...but Anshal was responsible for the deaths of five SKAN today.

5th day, 11th year

I was wrong. It's not nothing. This attack has been going on for two days now, and ten times that number of SKAN have died. Anshal's no help-he just pretends it isn't happening. There weren't any rasurin left, so guess who had to take control? That's right; me. Me and Nural.

10th day, 11th year

Nural's dead.
There. I've written it down now. Maybe that'll help me cope with it.

I don't know what happened, exactly. We were fighting together, trying to protect the carriers, when something exploded next to us. When I looked around, he was lying there, dead.

I don't know what I'm going to do.

14th day, 11th year

I'll tell you something; any SKAN who's itching for the rank of vasari can have it as far as I'm concerned. That's right, the day after my mate's death, I took that final step. Now I have to deal with everyone else's problems and lives, as well as my own.
And the fact that Nural couldn't share in this procedure didn't help.

97th day, 13th year

Tya-shika.

Hell, I never thought I'd be writing that in here. For the benefit of anyone not fluent in my language, tya-shika is a combination of the word tyaru, friend and n'shika, enemy. It's a little like saying 'To Whom It May Concern' and is only used in times when SKAN are either sending a message to another pack, or when an entire lonil is in danger of being wiped out completely.

Yes, you read right. The Outsiders have only just let up their attack slightly. The surviving cki thought that was because they surrendered, but I knew better.

And I think they did, too.

I'm going to gather the whole lonil together and tell them to get the hell out. If the Outsiders want this building so badly they're prepared to keep killing or abducting SKAN and separating families for the hell of it, let them have it.

98th day, 13th year

I did it. I got everyone in the main rooms, including cubs and carriers. I told them what was happening and what I proposed. Everyone just kind of stared at me, like I was nuts. But I know what I'm doing. And I saw their expressions as they heard the next wave of Outsiders coming in for what will be the final attack, either way. They just froze, every head turned towards the sound.

Hoping.

Knowing better.

I just told them to go. I didn't have time to waste giving lengthy instructions. I did tell them to go in separate directions though. Some refused. Some wanted to stay and die fighting. I told them that was their choice, but only the lucky ones would get to die.

I think that decided them. Certainly there were fewer objections than before. Oh, some still wouldn't go, but they were ones who had lost everything over the years. The rest of them fled.

I didn't go. I couldn't face it. Nural pushed me out of the way to take the full force of that explosion. I know that now.

Nural voluntarily gave his life to save the lonil. I don't think I could live with myself if I wasn't prepared to make the same sacrifice. Even if he did fail.

It'll end soon. Either tomorrow or the day after. I'm too tired to be able to fight any longer, and I think the others are too.

We won't be taken, though. I noticed a kerj who had managed to get hold of some xiraim from somewhere-a lethal poison. I think I'll go and find him, maybe confiscate a few leaves, after I put this in the library. If another pack comes in here, I want them to know what happened to us.

Maybe I was weak, letting the other SKAN go like that.

Maybe not.

But at least there are SKAN alive to know-and remember-the difference. Vasari Tira


You close the diary and replace it on the shelf. In doing so, you notice a partially decomposed body of a SKAN, female and a vasari. This must be Tira, you think, and feel a slight pang of regret before turning back to the library.