Tuesday, June 21, 2011


  I shall be very frank. I wanted to write this post because then, in my list of posts, this post would appear as  'Tatteredemalion by Tatteredemalion.' I like the sound of that. Oh don't worry, I'm not a pretentious, self obsessed wierdo. Well no one has said anything to that effect to me at least. This is not an autobiography. I don't think I'll qualify as autobiographical material. I haven't come on TV. My story is not a particularly inspiring one. Unless this blog inspires someone to invent a virus that hacks into nonsensical blogs and hits delete. Nor do I  have any scandalous insights into the lives of someone famous that I can use to sell my life story. Well, not yet anyway.

This post is about a series of books wrtten by Chris Wooding and titled Broken Sky. The story focuses on twins, Kia and Ryushi, whose idyllic life is shattered when their village is destroyed by the forces of their king. Then it has follows the usual hero and heroine joining the rebels to destroy the evil king. But the twist here is that the king, Macaan rules two worlds and not just their own. And of course, since its fantasy and has to involve special powers, the people in their world have access to spirit stones, which when augmented into a persons body, gives him or her the power to manipulate nature, heal sicknesses, or augment skills - depending on the colour of the stones.

The two worlds, Kirin Taq and the Dominions have only one link bonding them - the Resonants. They are people with the ability to shift across the boundary between the worlds. The name 'Broken Sky' comes from the myth which says that both worlds were once one before the sky was split and they became two. Macaan maintains his iron fisted rule with the help of his army and his secret police, the Jachyra. They are former Resonants who have been forcibly augmented with technology, distorting their power. Though they are now extremely fast and agile killing macines, they cannot travel between worlds anymore; but now have the abilty to travel between mirrors. Yeah, i know, pretty stupid, but its kind of cool too. This allows them to effectively spy for Macaan from any reflective surface.

Tatteredemalion is the head of the Jachyra. His identity before the change is never revealed in the books. What we do know is that the Jachyra hate Macaan for what he did to them, stripping away their humanity and turning them into machines. But to ensure their loyalty and of every other subordinate in his employ, Macaan has implanted a certain type of spirit stone in each of them, that is attuned to a trigger stone set in his forehead. This enables him to kill any one of them or everyone of them with a single thought. Inspite of this, Tatteredemalion joins forces with the rebels in the end, even faking his own death to fool Macaan.

He convinces his fellow Jachyra to join him and aids the rebels in the final battle, only to die. No blaze of glory, no valiant last stand, no fighting off a hundred foes, no taking a bullet for love and honour. One minute he was alive and the other minute dead and noone even notices his death because its so sudden and quiet. One of the bravest people in the entire series and he dies for nothing except a token display of defiance.

I read this series in classes four, five and six. I really enjoyed it, desperately searching through the endless multicolured tomes in the school library trying to find the next book. Small books, the size of your typical Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, with a lot more to it than many of the modern fantasy, thriller series. My favourite charecter, by the end was Tatteredmallion. Even after he died and the world was saved, I just could not get him out of my mind. He was one of the bad guys till the very end, but I felt he deserved much more. From what is quite obvious in the book, from the way Macaan is killed in the end, it was a hair's breadth of a win for a good guys. The Jachyra being with them didn't help them very much. But their absence from his side definitely hurt Macaan.

And if they had been with him, and he had won, obviously there would have been no fulfilling end to the story and this post would never have happened, but they would have remained as some of the most powerful and feared entities in their worlds. But instead, they renounced it all and turned against their master for nothing to look forward to except death. Nothing else awaited them. How do you take such a decision? How can you give up everything you have for a cause when you know that when you start fighting, all that will happen is that you will keel over and die. And even if by some Jupiter sized quirk of fate they did live through it, what is it they had to look forward to. Reviled and hated by the people, they were the beasts and monsters that haunted tales told by mothers to scare children into obeying them. Less than human and no more than animated machines, they would have been shunned and stoned by the very people who they helped. Is it worth dying for this. To be abandoned on the field of battle, lying in the corner of a room, forgotten by all except a one character - a traitor and a scoundrel - who says "I kinda liked that Tatteredemalion guy."

Tatteredemalion did that. And he was one of my biggest childhood heroes. Everytime I come to a situation where I have to either do something very tough or take the easy way out, I think of Tatteredemalion. I dont always do the right thing. Atleast, when I think of it, I am shamed into accepting that a lesser than human mechanical assasin turned out to be better at this than me. Someday, maybe I will get the courage to become idealistic again. Someday, maybe I can go back to adoring Tatteredemalion and believing I can take decisions like that too. Someday, maybe I can stop stop hiding behind his name and actually do something like he did because I believed in something.

But not today. Today I tell myself I'm a fool to try and emulate a figment of someone's imagination. I tell myself that I'm not acting my age, that I need to grow up and start thinking like the 20 year old I am. Today I tell myself the real world has no place for idealism; that it too lies dead and forgotten in the corner of a room. Today I shall go to bed thinking why I cant go back to being 11 years old.

(Btw a tatterdemalion is a child  or a tramp wearing tattered or ragged clothing. Kind of fitting as all the Jachyra wear rags. And if you are curious, he's the little blue guy with the red eye on the cover of book #2 in the picture above)