Na'Tiel's story is the result of a roleplaying scenario run by Matt Coad. My favourite Babylon 5 races are the Narn and the Minbari. I thought that a religious caste Minbari would not necessarily be the best sort of character to find wandering the galaxy (True Seekers aside) - fun for roleplaying, would have hidden talents, but let's face it, basically a gentle soul. Gentle souls are lovely, but I think that for roleplaying you need a couple of fiery types.
So I chose to be a Narn. It wasn't hard - I have been having a big Na'Toth stage for a while (a while that has been ongoing for about 9 months now...). You can probably guess who the pc I have is based on... only Na'Tiel is not a diplomat ;-) I like playing big strong females who know what they want and by goshdammit will go and get it. None of this shillyshallying around and being dainty little flowers. As a friend puts it - wish fulfilment Lynne? Na'Tiel does incorporate many aspects of me - I brought her to life every Thursday evening, but she does have some parts that are uniquely her own. Like I wouldn't kill a being just to stop him bleeding all over the place in zero-G. I do not enjoy violence. Most perfumes make me sneeze. I don't have a pouchling, and I am not particularly fond of children. If I had a partner, I could not walk out and leave him (and our child) behind, even if I did mean to return. In those ways and some others, I am definitely not Na'Tiel and she is not me. She is amazingly courageous and will persevere despite the odds stacked against her. She believes in herself. She is possessed of great physical and mental strength and is absolutely gorgeous. That just goes to show that she is not me.
When I look at what I have written above, I shake my head. What a woman! Matt doesn't want the characters to be heroes (not at this stage), but as you have discovered, it has taken heroic efforts to keep Na'Tiel alive and functional through what she has endured.
The introduction, the bar scene aboard the carrier, the briefing, the ambush, Na'Tal's death - this all happened in one session of roleplaying. One of my best mates, a chap whom I love like a brother, played Na'Tiel's beloved pouchbrother Na'Tal. It was good casting on the part of Matt, who had dreamed up this little retrospective to help us "feel" the characters more. By the end of the session, I was nearly in tears (only thing that stopped me was that I am not sure if Narns actually shed tears). So was my friend. It was practically like Rob had died. I was an emotional wreck - trembling all over. I couldn't get to sleep for hours after it, and when I did had nightmares. All the next day, I was obsessing over it. I started writing Na'Tiel's story after that - it was the only way I could let it go, yet in writing it down, it became further ingrained into me.
Some people don't get attached to their roleplaying characters. I do, particularly if they get to hang around for a while. In actually living Na'Tal's death, you could say that I fell in love with Na'Tiel. This was her defining moment - the moment her whole world changed irretrievably for the worse.
Or had it?
After one roleplaying session, where Na'Tiel met Kimmini, I sat at home thinking about Na'Tiel. There had to be some reason why she was still alive. Her pouchbrother was dead, long dead, and she could not have survived his death alone. Something had kept her alive. Call me mad, call me crazy, but that is when she told me "I have a pouchling, you know." Yes, my roleplaying character spoke to me.
Then the story of Na'Tiel and So'Kath and Na'Kath came pouring out of my head. None of it formed any part of a roleplaying session. It is an out and out love story - have no doubt. I am a romantic after all, though you'll normally not get me to admit it. So'Kath was the means of Na'Tiel's redemption. Without him she would have continued on her downward slide and would have killed herself one way or another within a few weeks. Instead, he gave her a place to live and space to rediscover a will to live.
But you can blame all that came after on Matt :-)
This is Na'Tiel's Story. I hope you like it.
Djikiden (the Pak'ma'ra) - Rob Rendell
Nar'Bon (the other Narn) - Olav Kuhn
Russell T. Moore (the Human) - Damien Wise
From a story written and game mastered by Matt Coad.
Na'Tiel's Story | Lynne's home page