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The Tale of Ani Suring (alternatively titled Le Conte d'Ani Suring) is a prequel to The National Service Journal. The events of Ani Suring's story take place ten years prior to The National Service Journal, and are set mainly in the province of Point-Neuf.
The Tale of Ani Suring tells of the exploits of Ani Suring and her friend Kanang Langkoi as they journey all over Sauveterre to search for ways to defeat Ankoù, who has wreaked havoc on Point-Neuf and the surrounding provinces.
The story begins when Ani Suring turns nineteen. Several friends of hers, particularly Kanang, turn up to greet her and celebrate the big day. Meanwhile, the entire atmosphere of the party is subdued. Rumours circulate in the village about a certain Ankoù, who was on the prowl looking for innocent victims. Many people put the statements aside, but Ani took them to heart.
The rumours are finally proven to be true when Kanang's best friend, Harris Bonaventure, is found dead with what looked like the blade of a scythe shoved into his chest. Harris' death sparks chaos throughout Point-Neuf, and many people are at a loss on what to do. Worse, the villages throughout Point-Neuf are infested with Mortmains. Within a few days, warriors from all over the province gather, and they decide to pick the strongest among them to defeat Ankoù. Kanang, interested by the movement, decides to join and see if he would be chosen.
Ani, who had been training all by herself, notices Kanang's inexperience and joined the warriors' guild. When the time came for them to pick the best among them, Ani boldly stood up and said that she would go and defeat him. The other warriors, who did not see any remarkable qualities in her, laughed at her and jeered, causing Ani to take Kanang, take up arms and leave Point-Neuf in a huff.
At Lumine, Ani discovers a village that had been burnt down. The area was uninhabited save for a young girl in rags who was beating her drum in a lonely corner. The girl only reveals her first name - Aimée. After spending some time with the young girl in the area, she takes the girl by the hand and leads her to the home of one of her acquaintances, Jeannette Durand. Ani pleads with Jeannette to take care of Aimée, as she says she might die before being able to ever accomplish that mission. Jeannette obliges, and she and her husband Thierry welcome the little girl into their home. It is from this point in time that Aimée is given the surname Durand, which she bears for ten years.
Ani and Kanang continue visiting the provinces, and in Nox, they find out that Ankoù has set his sights on Ani, and that there is a bond between them, which, under normal circumstances, is unbreakable. Ani's heart sinks when she discovers that in order to sever that bond, Ankoù must be defeated, and she must be killed too. Overcome by emotion, she rushes out of Nox in tears before Kanang can stop her.
Little do they know that the plan was part of the decision of the Point-Neuf Emergency Council, for which Daedalus Beaulieu was chairperson. Beaulieu sensed the bond between them and sought to forcibly break it, even if it meant taking the life of an innocent person.
Kanang searches for her and finds her in Eventails. Ani weeps, saying that she is not ready to die, and Kanang naturally embraces her. They both share a moment on the grassy hills overlooking the Great Field before moving on.
Upon Ani's and Kanang's return to Point-Neuf, the villagers are terror-stricken. Ankoù had already wiped out half of the residents of the village. He was now searching for Ani, who was already in a Catch-22 situation: regardless of the outcome of the fight between her and Ankoù, she would die. She had to make the choice between dying with dignity and saving the people, or dying in shame and perpetuating Ankoù's existence. Kanang finds a distraught Ani in her room a few days after their return, and it is then that she decides to defeat Ankoù and endure the suffering that follows.
Ani and Kanang confront Ankoù whilst he is hovering above the village. Ankoù looks lustfully at Ani but Ani is ever determined to take him down. After a series of heated battles, she manages to pin him down to the ground. The villagers dig a pit, haul Ankoù in and chain him. Soon after, they bludgeon Ani until she loses consciousness.
Ani wakes up, only to find herself in a cell in the middle of the night. Sitting by her side is Kanang, who realises that his time left with her is very limited, and he decides to spend these last few nights together with Ani. On the night before her execution, Kanang expresses his reluctance to leave the cell and sits by Ani's side until the guards take him away.
The next morning, Ani is brought out to the centre of the village for the last rites to be performed. As she is tied to the stake, she recounts how she met the young girl in rags in Lumine, and how she saw hope in that young girl. Faced with death, Ani is confident that she would be the one to save Sauveterre. Just as the fire is dropped, she mouths the girl's name — Aimée.
|The National Service Journal • The Black Journal • The National Service Journal: Day 68|
|Les Histoires Duchemin|
| Les Histoires Duchemin 1 • Les Histoires Duchemin 2 • Les Histoires Duchemin 3 • Les Histoires Duchemin 4 |
Les Histoires Duchemin 5 • The Tale of Ani Suring • Les Histoires Duchemin 6 • Les Histoires Duchemin 7
|Les Histoires Duchemin: Harmonie • Les Histoires Duchemin: Joie • Les Histoires Duchemin: Believe|