Have you ever had hundreds of voices whispering in your head at once? A thousand? Try millions. In fact, try billions. Picture every animal on the planet, from seagulls, to mammals, to ants; all of them shouting into your brain simultaneously. Think you’ve got an idea yet? Well times whatever you’re imagining by a zillion, and that might be close to how it actually feels to be me.
My name is Chianna Kye, and I can speak to animals.
I was born this way. People from my planet think I’m some kind of prophet; a peacekeeper born every three generations has this ability, this “gift”. A gift in the eyes of others, perhaps, but not to me. I am simply a tool used by the armies of our ruler to win wars. There is no peace involved. I convince the strongest of creatures to join our cause, and they slaughter our enemies. What would take a normal human years of training and loyalty, I can achieve in a matter of minutes. I am no prophet. If anything, I am a murderer.
Do you think you know what it feels like to be me?
When I was younger, when the voices only came to me one at a time, I often ventured out into the wilderness surrounding my home. I studied our strange inhabitants, with their vast differentiating personalities and odd shapes. Odd to you, that is. Animals from our planet are as wise as people, only slightly more savage. More moody, fierce, and impressionable. Your most feared creature would be the most beloved of ours. In spite of that, I loved every animal I encountered. I was young, na´ve, and oblivious to the fact that despite my parents’ best efforts in hiding me, my days of freedom were numbered.
I was only eight years old when the soldiers found us, imprisoned my family for their “crime” and burned my home to the ground. I was spared, but taken away in chains. If that is what sparing is. Perhaps it was the trauma, or perhaps just coincidence, but that was the very day when the voices all crashed into my thoughts. All of them. At once. I was driven insane.
Have you any idea what it feels like?
My memory fades in the years that followed. They kept me in a stone-walled room in an army base. It was constantly guarded and I was not allowed to leave, even if my condition hadn’t prevented that already. I was on any and all of the medicical remedies of our planet related to my condition. The only ones with any effect were those that made me unconscious. It would have been in the government’s best interest to kill me then. It would have saved them a lot of suffering. But, I suppose I was too valuable. And they were right. What they were wrong about was that I would not be valuable to them
. But I am getting ahead of myself, that part of the story happened much later.
What eventually ended up saving my sanity was the only other living Ka’Zahn at the time. “Ka’Zahn” is what we call those who can speak to animals. It is what they call me
. The Ka’Zahn they brought before me must have been pushing seventy years of age. He had clearly been tortured. I could barely make out his eyes behind a battered face and blood-soaked skin. They were black. He must have been refusing to teach me his knowledge for all that time. He must have known what they had planned for me. But they had finally, apparently, broke him. Perhaps they threatened to kill his family, perhaps they already had. I wasn’t concerned for his well being at the time; I was mad, remember. Regardless, his lessons lasted only a few months. Once he taught me how to tame and decipher the voices, when my mind was calmed, I never saw him again.
Would you really like to know?
The next phase in my life was little improvement, but at least my mind was its own. I went from being a crazed patient to a slave. I was forced to go out with a small group of soldiers and an advisor and recruit creatures for the army. If I returned with less than three at the end of the day, I was not fed. If I did not eat, I was beaten. I learned to lie to the animals, and to not become attached. I learned this after I watched the first batch of them die in the front line of battle. When the last enemy sword found itself lodged into the hide of the young bear I’d recruited, my favorite, something inside of me died also. I no longer cared. There was no hope for me; I was not even allowed to die.
And so I obeyed for some time to follow. I recruited hundreds, watched them all perish, then recruited hundreds more. I became a soulless machine, just what everyone wanted. We won territory, defended our lands, invaded cities and all could be credited to the success of my endeavors. All was well for my leaders, as short-lived as it may have been for them.
I was fourteen years old when I was stolen.
If you think you can imagine what life would be like as me, I would think again. This tale has not yet started. If you’re reading this, congratulations, your life is worlds better than mine. I’ve heard that humans from other planets read for pleasure. If that is the case for you, I’d think carefully on whether or not you’d like to keep reading. My story is not a light heartened one. I cannot guarantee a happy ending; if there is, I have not lived it yet.