Related Characters


Image: Jack Barleycorn, The Guardian - Click to enlarge

n'Gnung is the first person he meets on the Island, excluding Jien Noi. He becomes best friends with n'Gnung.


Image: n'Gue - Click to enlarge

n'Gnung's brother is the fastest runner in the land, and also the most enduring.

Second Marriage

n'Gnung breaks new ground when he asks permission of Jien Noi to marry Gung Loi.

The Islanders knew divorce was not allowed, so presumed a second marriage was illegal. In fact, there was no law against it, if both were single; the question had never been asked before.

Solving Problems

n'Gnung's gift is of finding answers to seemingly intractable problems. Many times he finds solutions, and Jack comes to rely on him.

Gung Loi

Image: Gung Loi - Click to enlarge

She marries n'Gnung in Book Three, and they have four children.

They are also the first widow and widower to marry since before The Dark Time.


Feature: The Second


n'Gnung - First Warrior of the Second


n'Gnung grew up in Forest Meade, and followed in the footsteps of his father and older brother, n'Gue; all were messengers to the Queen. This was the family's traditional employment, and their clan's bodies were ideally suited to long distance running.

He grew to be one of the tallest Second, and perhaps due to the notoriety this brought, he learned how to be relaxed with others.

In the distant past, their family came from Gu Long Dux, and the names given to him and his brother are traditional family names.

His elder brother began serious training before n'Gnung, and he was left with free time as he aged, before also beginning training.

His grandmother was from Gu Long Dux, although a part of their greater family, and she sometimes sent him on errands to her people. This was somewhat in playful training for his later role as messenger.

  Image: n'Gnung, First Warrior of the Second - Click to enlarge

n'Gnung was made wholly welcome when he visited, and often stayed overnight, coming to learn more about the town, his family heritage, but mostly to play with the other kids. Unlike n'Gue, he became widely known in both towns, and made a lot of friends. This was partly due to him learning the haka under tutelage of their elders, and he became very good at it. Regards Island life of those times, this was seen as a dying art few were interested in. Because he was, he garnered much respect.

During early adolescence, when he was in training, he would have set tasks to accomplish, some taking him back to Gu Long Dux. He still stayed the night, and came to respect a girl of their clan, Gung Loi. She was four years younger than him, but a challenging person who loved play-fighting. She was more of a boy than most of the young men her age, and they became friends.

However, that friendship was put on hold when at age fourteen, he became an official messenger of the Queen. However, fate intervened, and he spent most of his time running messages for the King, who looked upon him favourably.

About the Man
n'Gnung, and his elder brother n'Gue, come from a long line of messengers. Their bodies are naturally attuned to run several marathon distances per day, which they often do. They both married women from the town of Forest Meade, but n'Gnung's wife died during childbirth, and for a long time, he regretted the loss of her, and their stillborn son.

He was drifting through life until The Guardian appeared; the stranger brought new purpose to his existence, and from their initial interactions, an unlikely bond formed between the pair; both emotionally lost, both needing salve. Although from different branches of the tree of humanity, their innate understanding of each other was based upon the original meetings; and so looking in specific ways, raised eye-brows, and intuitive comprehension always featured largely in their communications - they often preferring those to spoken words.

n'Gnung is also highly intelligent and masters everything thrown at him with ease. He becomes Jack's trusted Second in all things and they think of themselves as 'Brothers'.

From this small beginning, a greater whole of stalwart companions emerges, the clique regarding the shore of the Outlands as their true home. It is there n'Gnung meets an old friend; a girl that will change his life, Gung Loi, but he fears they will never be allowed to marry. Jack and Kay gang up on him, assisted by Aroweena, and he asks the Empress for Gung Loi's hand in marriage. This is approved, and creates a new precedent; widows and widowers are from then on, expressly allowed to remarry any single person of age. This brings a small, but greatly appreciated change to the Islanders culture; and even greater and renewed respect for Gung Loi, n'Gnung, and their Empress, Zhao Jien Noi.

During their time together, Jack learns the language of the Second, and n'Gnung learns some English, later he develops good conversational level, but not quite fluency. He also takes the Ancestors language learning program on the spacecraft, and does become fluent in that, and also develops telepathy skills.

n'Gnung is given The Signature of The Guardian by Jack, but the office is not his destiny to fulfil. However, his children are destined to become the next line of Guardian, and unknown to them, they are directly related to the original line.

Speech Pattern
Although Jack and n'Gnung often do not use spoken language to communicate, when they do, n'Gnung's speech pattern is distinctive. He always says, 'Guardian' in the first sentence, when speaking to Jack.

Only three times does he use Jack's name, and each time it is a personal sharing between them.




Sex: Male.
Born: 1984.
Eyes: Black.
Hair: Black, often henna'd and worn in dreadlocks.
Height: 5'4".
Marital status: Widower, no children (Wife died in childbirth). Marries Gung Loi, also a widow.


Typical Island clothing until Book Two, where he begins to wear clothes of the Last.

Ceremonial dress:
Male tunic/vest.
Henna dyed red hair as warrior, his hair resembling collar-length dreadlocks. Weird body paint of natural substances, similar to Maori body art.


He is adorned by natural trinkets; coloured rocks, anything unusual. He also wears the messenger armband of Forest Meade on his upper left arm.

He wears an advanced Ring of the Ancestor (Taris), less powerful than Jack’s. He also wears a Return Bracelet, being one of the few needing regular and immediate access to the control centre.


Second, English, Ancestor. Learns a little of other languages, and becomes telepathic.


Bow and arrows, spear, long stone dagger, and tomahawk on his belt.

Later: mercenary and Ancestral weapons.


· One of only three people alive, to complete the Trials of Passage in one day; the others being n'Gue and Jack.

• Was Second messenger to the King of Forest Meade.
• Becomes First Warrior of the Second, Jack’s Number One.

• One of few islanders that can perform the Haka.

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