Grandmother Dialogue: Dagath's Hollow story

In Dagath's Hollow in the Dojo, the pillar next to the altar can be interacted with, triggering a Naberus tale told by Grandmother Entrati.

"There was once a Dax cavalrywoman, the lover of an Orokin couple named Corphel and Irilia. What was her name? We do not know, for they never used it. They called her by many pet names, though, for an exotic pet she was to them. Little Sweetness. Tender Petal. Wild Rider.

"Had a mere Dax been known to be engaging in relations with her betters, she would have been executed on the spot. But the couple's power and influence were such that the affair would never be publicly addressed. Still, they feared to use her name, for names have power.

"Many gifts they gave her. Fine armour. Rubedo rings. And a horse of her own, on the condition that she never, ever named it. Names were for people, not possessions. So long as it remained a mere nameless thing, she would never love it more than them. But the rider could not bear to deny her friend the simple kindness of a name. So she whispered into its ear: 'You are Rakhali, freshness-after-rain.' And just as the couple had feared, she came to love the horse dearly.

"This was intolerable to them. The horse had to go. An accidental impalement was arranged. But fate played a cruel trick, and both rider and horse were impaled. Corphel and Irilia hastened to her side. Ignoring the dying horse, they fretted over their lover as she coughed blood. Continuity was out of the question. In desperation, they turned to a certain… expert, and pleaded with him to let her live forever. He returned the rider to them, transformed to a warrior of living steel. Her sweet and pretty face looked upon them with a smile that would never fade.

"For all their talk of 'forever', they wearied of her immediately. Now that the relationship was no longer taboo, they abandoned it. Parties became awkward when the rider stood vacantly by, useless as an abandoned doll. She had to go, they agreed. So arrangements were made with a master of industry, and the rider – all unknowing – accompanied the couple to a facility. She lay down obediently when instructed, showed no emotion when the restraints clamped her limbs, and made not a sound when the full force of the dissolution beam blazed through her head and out of the back of her steel skull.

"The couple were satisfied. Their sentimental mistake was dead, and furthermore, the smiling doll's face was erased. Now they could erase it from their memory.

"I doubt I need to tell you what faceless thing clambered jerkily from the facility's waste disposal heap, in the still of a Naberus night. How she sought for her Dax nikana, and found only the overseer's whip-blade. Confused, vacant, she wandered. Why was she alone? Where was her loyal Rakhali? She reached deep into despair and memory, and summoned up a ghost-horse to run alongside her on the night winds. Now, at least, she was no longer alone.

"She groped for other memories, came up with hands overflowing with betrayal. When the morning sun rose on Corphel and Irilia, they were faceless too, and quite still. After that, she wandered without purpose, and the legend of the hollow rider grew.

"And so we come to my part in her story. You must understand, dear, that it is terribly bad luck to be out on Naberus with no gift to give a reveller. And yet that was my plight as I stood, my old bones aching, before the dreadful figure on the road, many years ago.

"'I have no face,' the figure before me seemed to say, in a whispering voice that spoke in my mind. 'I have no name. Only a need. And you come before me empty-handed this Naberus night?'

"'I do have one thing to give, if it please you,' I said to her. 'My name. When you ride away, you shall be Dagath. And I shall be only Grandmother.'

"And that is the story of how I lost my name, and kept my head, [chuckle] though many others have since lost theirs. For with her name came a new purpose. Dagath, you see, means 'the mirror that accuses'. They say that none can now look into the gulf where once her face was, without their own sins rising to accuse them, and a swift, sharp sentence following. [laugh]

"A happy Naberus to you all!"

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