Related Characters


Image: n'Gnung is Jack's closest friend - Click to enlarge

n'Gnung and Gung Loi set a new precedent, when he asks the Empress for permission to marry, something thought to be illegal.

The wedding is allowed, the first of widow and widower since before the Dark Time, and they are held in deep respect.


Image: Jack Barleycorn, The Guardian - Click to enlarge

is impressed by Gung Loi's natural leadership and fighting talent; he promotes her several times, on merit.


Image: Kay - Click to enlarge

As the trilogy develops, Gung Loi often works with Kay, acting as her second.

Gung Loi's control room skills are honed by Kay, who calls on her to take over when Kay is needed elsewhere. This was not planned, Gung Loi proving to be the most naturally talented.

Jien Noi

Image: Empress and Gatekeeper Jien Noi - Click to enlarge

Approved the marriage of Gung Loi and n'Gnung. The population believed second marriages were not legal.

Divorce was, and remains illegal, but remarriage passed into law. This became a problem when Gung Loi fell pregnant, and she badgered n'Gnung to ask for dispensation. By doing so, the changed the lives of many widows and widowers.


Feature: The Second


Gung Loi - Second Warrior of the Second


Gung Loi was born and raised in Gu Long Dux, the smallest of the towns, and the least visited. The other children of her age were mainly boys, and she learnt from an early age to hold her own against them.

This included learning to fight like the boys, and she was very good at it, often training to refine her skills. She started challenging the older boys to fights, and indulged at first, soon began to beat them.

She had seen a distant cousin visiting often, and they became friends. n'Gnung was four years older than her, and always beat her in challenges. However, he also coached her, and showing great promise, he invited her to return with him to Forest Meade.

After meeting distant relations, n'Gnung introduced her to Xi Xah, who was training to be a ninja. The two got along well, and Xi Xah was amazed how good Gung Loi was. She persuaded the girl to join their female fight training, which delighted Gung Loi.

  Image: Gung Loi, Second Warrior of the Second - Click to enlarge

At first, Gung Loi attended martial arts classes one day per week, her parents approving of her spending time with her relatives; they did not know the full extent of her training until much later. She dedicated her free time to learning ninja skills, visiting for further instruction and practice as often as she was able. In time she was able to push the more advanced girls, including Xi Xah, and she even won on occasions.

The stealth of ninja was complemented by the furtive crafts of her parents, who specialised in catching delicacies in the waters of Long Lake. In her early teen years she spent much of her time helping her parents, and learning all the tricks of the profession. One day she met n'Gnung, who visited less rarely since he had married, and she complained:

"I want to be the greatest ninja warrior, but instead I have to work in the water, catching what the nobility require. It's so unfair."
n'Gnung was thoughtful before replying, "Ninja and your work require similar skills. Why not apply ninja techniques when working, and vice verse."

Gung Loi did just that, and soon discovered that swapping techniques helped her excel in both fields. And, by completing her work quicker, she was able to spent more time practicing ninja.

As age sixteen approached she needed to find a husband, and the only person who measured up to her expectations was n'Gnung, who was already married. Without great heart, she married a good man from their clan whom her parents proposed suitable. They were wed when she became sixteen, and he proved to be a good husband and homemaker.

She grew to respect him, and even love him in small ways, and their life settled into a routine. They had two children, boy first, and then a girl.

They usually worked as a team, but with a small order one day, her husband volunteered to do the work, leaving her free to practice in Forest Meade, her parents taking the opportunity to travel with her. Towards evening, a messenger appeared and informed them her husband had suffered an accident, and had been badly injured; although he was being cared for by greater family, and would in time, recover.

Gung Loi was devastated, cursing herself for not being there, and blamed herself for the tragedy. She had one more bout to complete that day, but was given leave to return home. n'Gnung comforted her, and said a strange thing; "It is wrong to blame yourself, Gung Loi. Take your frustrations out on others instead, and win the match."

It was a test of skill against the master ninja, and she attacked with fury, and won. She was immediately promoted to master ninja, but still had much to learn; she lost the next four bouts to her master, before her techniques improved, and she became his equal.

About the Woman
Gung Loi joins the story when Jack tasks n'Gnung with recruiting fishermen. The warrior knows of an extended family in Gu Long Dux, related to that of his late wife, who possessed the relevant skills. Gung Loi was also recruited, she insisting on joining the new team. Through endeavour and natural talent, she became their un-elected leader.

She settled to her new life, based mainly on the shore, but was always a tomboy at heart. One of her favourite pastimes was to take on any challenger at unarmed, no rules, combat. She remains undefeated, except for Aroweena, who is her equal, but not her better.

Because of her fighting skills, she was chosen to lead the first of the Island's black ops platoons, eventually becoming an army General. She proved to have a natural flair for stealth warfare, and was the first to raise the alarm concerning the invasion by Theodosius Quinn, immediately counterattacking with dedicated purpose.

She loses her husband and children due to the invasion at the end of Book One, and this triggered a natural response within her to fight back against any, and all oppressors; this becomes her form of self-healing and emotional protection. In Book Two, she makes an unlikely bond with Aroweena of the Ddwyrth, the only person to match her in physical contact sport. She also bonds deeply with n'Gnung, the pair marrying at the end of that book.

During Book Three she produces several children, who grow up in the strangely mixed environment Jack's hamlet has become. Later, she becomes the effective third in command of the control centre, if simply because she is there when others are not.

Her name literally means "Working Girl," which in Cantonese, refers to a professional female of high rank, like a leading government official or board member of an international company. It has no connotations with the western meaning whatsoever. In Cantonese, the police are referred to as 'Gung An', or "workers of the people".

Languages: Second and good Ancestor.



Sex: Female.
Born: 1988.
Eyes: Black.
Hair: Long, black.
Height: 5'2".
Marital status: Widow, her family massacred in Book 1, marries n'Gnung in Book 2.
Children: Four. Only the eldest are named: Zhong Zhi (m) and Ah Tien (f).


Woven grass bodice and short skirt.
Sandals made of natural materials.
Later: Camouflage army clothes captured from the mercenaries.


Various pendants and bangles. Controllers ring and return Bracelet.


Paring knife, short dagger, spear, cordage nets. Later bow and arrows, and
Captured weapons of the mercenaries, especially a sub-machine gun.


• Becomes Second Warrior of the Second, a General, expert in black ops

• Senior control room operator, and in practice, third in command after Jack and Kay.


Image: Aroweena, the Keeper of Hearts - Click to enlarge

Aroweena becomes great friends with Gung Loi. This began on the battlefield as mutual respect, but gained momentum when they practiced unarmed, no-rules fighting on the Shore.


Image: Horovitz - Click to enlarge

The soldier comes to respect Gung Loi's talents and skills. They often work closely together, supported by Captain Stewart, planning tactics and honing their skills.

War Games

Not expressly written in the text, but Horovitz and Gung Loi's forces, with others, often sharpen their fighting skills playing war games, of which she is master.

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