The Night Marchers

Jason Langlois

The Night Marchers

Him? Oh, yes. I remember him.

He came here, much like you are now. Asking questions. Demanding answers. Looking at me with his disbelieving, arrogant eyes.

I told him, it is not for /haole/ ears to hear. He could not understand the /Kane/ any more than a child could understand the mysteries of Death itself.

I admit now, looking back, I should have spoken with more caution.

He was more insistent after this. Demanding to see with his own eyes. Hear with his own ears. I warned him again. He would not listen. /Kane/ was soon, I knew. He would not be persuaded to leave it be. In a way, I understood, but I had seen for myself, and wanted to spare him terror. He would not listen.

We went to Oahu, to a /heiau/ nearby. The night air was damp. The sky dark. There was no moon. There never is on /Kane/. Though it was warm, there were clouds in the sky. We stayed at the edge of the road, the wind to our face. I knew they would come.

He squatted next to me. Quiet. Watching. For one as arrogant as he was, he at least did not scoff. A sign of a warrior. Demand, but do not underestimate. My fear may have been unfounded.

The drums sounded, and I quaked.

You misunderstand me. I did not want to see. I had seen before, when I was a young warrior. I knew my limits. He insisted. I felt it unwise to let him go alone. But I did not want to see it again.

The Night Marchers. I thought that was why you were here. It is why he came.

The drums sounded. The marchers chanted. We could only hear them, but then they appeared, in the clouded moonlight, as if through a fog. I quaked.

The warrior gibbered. My fear melted because of his.

No, you misunderstand again. It was shock that drove my fear from me. I recognized him as a warrior. As a man unaccustomed to fear. And yet he was barely in control as they came, pale in the moonlight, walking steadily, slowly marching to the /heiau/. The King, the great warrior kind was among them, and his /ilamuku/, watching.

Something made the warrior start, and before I could stop him, he bolted. No, I do not think him a coward, child. It is a supernatural fear that caused him to run. He had never known true fear. It overwhelmed him, and he ran from it, to his cost.

The /ilamuku/ looked up. Hissed. I heard it, as plainly as I hear you. "/Oia/!". Kill him. The others also looked, and repeated the chant. The /ilamuku/ raised his club, and the marchers...

It chills me to see it in my minds eye even now. They were on him as swiftly as wind is on the waters. Whirling around him. I heard him scream. I watched him until he disappeared. I could do nothing. They would have killed me the same way.

Yes. There is a new moon this month. Yes. The night of /Kane/ will happen again this month. No. I will not go with you. I do not wish to tempt the spirits a third time. If you wish, go to this place. But keep the wind to your face, or they will smell you. For them to see you is death.

Your young friend will be there, Lady Une. Perhaps, if he favored you, and he sees you, he will put the spell on you to protect you. But do not put your faith in that. It is just as possible he will bring you to join the Marchers as he, himself, was brought.


/haole/: Caucasian
/heiau/: a hawaiian holy place, marked by stones.
/ilimaku/: Master of Ceremonies, for kings. (The Great King mentioned here is King Kamehameha the Great.)

For information on the night of /Kane/