Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Illustration for article titled Narasen, Leopard Queen of Merh

I am so happy when a sketch works out. This is a character in Death's Master by Tanith Lee, one of my favorite books. Things don't go well for Narasen...

Published in 1979, Death's Master is the second in the Tales of Flat Earth series.


A brief synopsis of the first ten pages of the book: Death's Master begins with the story of Narasen, Queen of Merh. One day while hunting leopards, she is accosted by a magician named Issak, who vows that he will have his way with her that night and that she will not be able to prevent it. Despite her best efforts, the magician succeeds in entering her bed chamber, where Narasen, pretending to be cooperative, manages to kill him by stabbing him through the ear. Before dying, however, he pronounces a curse, according to which Narasen and Merh will both become barren. Although the curse can overcome if Narasen gives birth to a child, the curse includes a provision that prevents this solution: "Your reluctant womb will never quicken from the seed of living man." After endless attempts to conceive a child, Narasen decides to save her land by making a deal with Uhlume through his agent, Lylas, a witch living in a nearby dwelling known as the House of the Blue Dog. In return for helping her conceive a child from a dead man, she will spend a thousand years in Uhlume's kingdom after her death. Unfortunately for Narasen, she dies shortly after childbirth from a poison administered by her doctor on order of the general heading her army. http://www.phil.unt.edu/~hargrove/tale…

What that synopsis doesn't share is that Narasen is an obviously queer character. She rules as a man and chooses to share her bed with women. She is selected by this curse because of who she is. Even after death, Narasen won't be denied her justice.


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