My poor Zann,
When I write these letters to you I never think about what you know and what you don’t know. Like I’ll mention “the Great Nap” without even bothering to think about whether you would know what that is or not. Because it’s uncomfortable for me. But that’s exactly what I have to write about. And I’m uncomfortable about so much.
It hurts. Every day I write to you it hurts. And it’s uncomfortable because it doesn’t hurt enough. I’m so sorry. I love you and I’m so sorry.
And that’s because of the Great Nap. Partly.
Five years ago the laurans decided to make Crideon their new home. Before that, they were infrequent visitors. There are stories of them coming here in small groups, or all alone, for very short times. We never thought they liked this country. They didn’t act like they did.
But they took it anyway. One spring morning, all the people of Crideon didn’t wake up. The wizards and merchants in the great city, the marketwives of the towns, the drunks of the villages, the farmers’ children of the fields, the eccentrics of the woods… we opened our eyes but continued to drowse. We did all the things we normally do, but we didn’t think about it, and we mostly didn’t remember it.
And we stayed that way for two and a half years. If it rained, we put our hats on but didn’t remember it. If someone’s wagon broke down outside our roost we helped them fix it and didn’t think about it and didn’t remember it. That was the Great Nap.
If a family of laurans came to magically raise a castle on our land, we let them do it and didn’t think about it and found a new place to live and maybe we didn’t remember why we did that. If the Valnelatar family entered the city and threw down Crideon Castle and made King Diopell and his family disappear and grew their own palace outside the city, we let them do that and didn’t think about it and don’t remember much about how it all happened.
And then we woke up. When I woke up, I was a soldier in an army trying to starve our enemies out of Sugarside Castle. I knew I had joined that army myself. I remembered most of the things I had done to become that soldier. I even remembered why. I had had a great many adventures during the Great Nap, and from talking to people, I believe I remember an unusual amount about my life in those years. But it still isn’t very much. A few minutes here, a few minutes there.
We woke up to a new Crideon, a lauran Crideon. The laurans had never been our enemies before this; there were as many stories about them helping people as harming them. But I think we would have fought if they had tried to conquer the country with their armies. We probably would have lost, because of their great magic. But after the Nap… there was nothing to fight. For a couple of years, we dreamed that they were our lords, and when we woke up, they were. And we had all had years to get used to the idea, while the laurans settled in.
It would be easier if they were cruel. We could rally ourselves around their cruelty. But what they are is much more dangerous than that.
They’re better than we are.