The Life of Siribahta Dhal, Director, Dept G
Director of Department ‘G’, aka “The Guardians”
Born: Nepal, 1736
Parents: Pradhan Dhal (father) and Sirima Dhal nee Thom (mother)
Fifth son and ninth child of twelve.
In early adulthood (1752), Siribahta Dhal began training as an archer. He became a warrior for the local warlord in 1761, remaining with him until his death in 1798. Refusing the role for himself, Siribahta left Nepal and made his way south, entering Calcutta in 1803. He became a sepoy (native soldier) in the British Army almost immediately. He married Nasira Jairana in June 1815 (on the very day that the Battle of Waterloo was fought). They were to have seven children. Tragically, he lost his wife and all his children during a cholera outbreak, while he was away with an army column, suppressing unrest in northern Punjab. Grief stricken, he didn’t renew his enlistment. Also, it had become necessary for him to leave Calcutta, as his extreme longevity would soon be noticed.
Siribahta left India, travelling north, to a remote monastery in Tibet. Here, in 1832, he became a novice. He became a monk in 1838. His nature was recognised, both his longevity and his then almost dormant Psych abilities. For the next fifty-odd years he received special training. Ultimately, however, he found Tibetan teachings too narrow and spiritually focussed. He therefore left the monastery, in 1899, and returned to Nepal, where he entered a very secretive, isolated monastery. Here, he was reunited with his maternal grandfather, the Lama Bradhiman Thom, who became his Master. Siribahta was an apt student, and became a Grand Master by 1949, in line to achieve the rank of Lama.
During 1954, he was sent to replace the Lama of another extremely remote monastery. When he arrived, with his three pupils, he found the monks dead, missing, or apparently insane. He learnt, through long, patient interviews with the deeply disturbed survivors, that a new warlord had attacked the monastery, something unheard of. This warlord was served by three men who dressed like monks but who possessed extraordinary powers. They were, it was discovered, disciples of some dark master. Their first victim was the Lama himself, who was discovered one morning, in his Spartan cell, with his body torn to pieces. The remaining Masters immediately sent word to other monasteries, begging for help, even as they tried to prepare the Brothers and Acolytes for the defence of the monastery. Even as they readied themselves, however, vile creatures came in place of the warlord’s small army. None could withstand the creatures, which couldn’t, it appeared, be slain by any means owned by those of the monastery. Dozens of Masters and other ranks perished in the first attack. Dozens more, seeking to flee to the ancient sanctuary above the monastery, were not seen again. The creatures were free to do as they wished to those who remained. Many died, horribly, but others were attacked psychically, which concluded only when their minds collapsed, unhinged.
Siribahta used arcane powers to contact Bradhiman, reporting all he had learnt. The Lama wanted his grandson to abandon the place immediately but Siribahta refused. Instead, he ordered his pupils to go up to the hidden sanctuary and find out whether any survivors had reached it. If not, then the pupils were to remain there until they heard from him. While the pupils objected, all were loyal and obedient. Even so, there was no certainty that they could make it to the sanctuary safely. With Siribahta’s blessing upon them, the pupils left. Siribahta himself went to the small temple. He recited several prayers before venturing into the inner sanctum, used only by the few temple priests.
In the holiest part of the temple, he searched for, and found, the sacred Rod. Upon the short artefact was engraved the history of the monastery, which could be read only by one who knew how, for it far exceeded the space available upon the rod of polished jade, and only revealed itself as the artefact was rotated in a particular way, using the proper words. Siribahta read that history, all four hundred years and more, in ten hours. When he was done, he uttered a phrase and the Rod was transformed, appearing to be nothing more than a very ordinary string of meditation beads. He hung the beads on a wooden peg and left the temple, going into the monastery proper.
The monastery was a drab place, with nothing to suggest that it was worth the attentions of even the most desperate brigands. Going to the accommodation area, Siribahta examined the Lama’s cell. There was nothing to be discovered there, with the simple cot and a washstand the only furnishings. Siribahta ignored the dark bloodstains. From there he went to the Lama’s small office, which contained no more of comfort than the cell. It was a place to perform his administrative duties – nothing else.
In the temple again, a further search revealed a hidden door. Siribahta opened the door, exposing a dark, narrow passage. Taking a lamp, he followed the passage several hundred yards, until he came to another door. This had no obvious handle or lock. Concentrating, he suggested that the door was open. There was a dull creak and the heavy wooden door swung slowly on hinges that hadn’t been used for a very long time. Beyond, barely lit by the small lamp, was a dark chamber. Siribahta found a larger lamp, a great lantern made of bright crystal and intricately patterned brass. He lit this and light flooded the chamber.
It was carved from rock, the walls still uneven where the ancient bones of the Earth were harder or softer in canted strata. The place was some kind of storage centre, with a wide assortment of objects. Some looked ordinary, some looked out of place. Siribahta, however, could feel a seething stew of powers, many dark and deadly, some neutral, and a few radiant with goodness. He knew that it was this cache which attracted the warlord and his magician-priests, or something specific held here, hidden from the world. He had no doubt that, whatever it was, it would be something of dark power. Standing in the centre of the chamber, he suddenly felt weak and nauseous. The powers of evil that roiled in the air were assailing him. He closed his eyes and let himself relax. A faint golden loom surrounded his whole body and he felt the cessation of the blended dark powers attacking him. It helped, but it was draining. He turned and left the chamber, suggesting that the door close behind him. He heard it thud into place and the light from the great crystal lamp vanished.
Siribahta considered his options. He couldn’t allow the warlord to loot the chamber. That the secret tunnel would be found was certain. What, then, was there to stop a disaster? He made his decision. He began to chant as he walked back along the passage. The chant was odd, the tones off-key, warped, somehow. Any listener would have felt sickened by the way the chant twisted and clashed with itself, a discordance that could make a person weep. Then he was back to the entrance. He closed and hid it carefully, just as he had found it. He moved to a dark corner and breathed out softly. Wherever there was the slightest trace of his having been there, it disappeared. The shadows of the corner he stood in seemed to weave a web of impenetrability. His breathing grew shallow and his heart slowed until it was almost non-existent.
The warlord and his men entered the monastery. Those insane monks they found, they slew. The warlord ordered his men to search everywhere, but he and his magicians went into the small temple, taking none with them. There, in the sanctum, the magicians discovered the hidden door. With the warlord following them, they entered the passage. Something over two hundred yards along, the warlord was startled to hear the door at the entrance slam shut. Then a voice came from all around the four, a hideous sound laden with a power that was not of dark or light. It hurt them, but that wasn’t its true intent. A grinding, creaking, snapping echoed along the passage, almost drowning out the disembodied voice. Suddenly, the whole passage collapsed in on itself, and the four hapless men.
Siribahta felt the temple shudder, and gongs and bells rang softly in reaction to the vibrations. Men burst into the temple, shouting for their leader. From his concealment, Siribahta focussed his essence and sent it out. To the brigands, it seemed that a small golden figure, seated in the ancient lotus position, floated out of the shadows of the heavily beamed ceiling, drifting down to hang in front of a statue of the Buddha. Shocked, they hesitated, but then they attacked the figure, to no effect. The figure’s eyes opened and a gentle smile curved the mouth.
“Leave,” the figure said. “Leave while you still have life. Your master and his dark ones are dead.”
After another futile attack, the now thoroughly frightened men fled. And, however fast they ran, the small golden man was just behind them, smiling and untouchable.
The incident at the monastery became legend. Few knew the full truth, of course. Siribahta spent several months getting the monastery back into order. He had, however, discovered a truth about himself. Putting one of his pupils in charge, he returned alone to the monastery of his grandfather, travelling in the depths of winter, when such a journey was considered to be most dangerous. Despite all perils, he finally climbed to the high pass and the narrow rock bridge that leapt across a chasm the depth of which had never been measured. Crossing the barrierless bridge, he came to the huge gates of the monastery lands, eighty feet tall and closing a gap between soaring rockfaces. He took a small hammer from where it hung on the left gate and struck a disc of polished gold on the right gate. A single perfect tone sounded and drifted away in unblurred echoes. The great gates opened soundlessly.
Stepping over the threshold of purest jade, Siribahta passed from winter into summer, as he entered that place named Chiangri Lao, a name changed by other tongues into the famed, mythical Shangri La. A full two days remained for Siribahta to walk before he would reach the monastery itself.
“So, grandson,” Bradhiman said quietly, sadly, “you will leave us and go far from here.”
“I will, grandfather,” Siribahta said, bowing his head briefly. “I am not meant to be here. I have found the Path that is mine to walk and it is a great duty to Humanity, though few will know of that which is done to their benefit.”
“The years will be long indeed before we meet again, and longer still before you return to this, your home. But I see this Path of yours and, though the trials before you make your grandfather terrified, the Lama of Chiangri Lao accept that it must be. Go then, with my blessing. Become the nemesis of Evil.”
Thus, Siribahta departed that place of bliss and wisdom. Long he wandered in the wide world, gathering knowledge. Many dangers he faced and fled more often than triumphed. This was not the time to do battle, if it could be avoided. Then, in time he entered the jungle hid mysteries of the ancient Khmer Empire, though that proud people were long vanished. Many, many perilous places were there, and rumours of relics that should have been destroyed many ages past. Steaming jungles and great rivers, empty cities and temples of stone hid in the green depths. But there were people living there, simple people who asked nothing more than the liberty to live as they always had. Sadly, they had. instead, seen a vicious, cruel war rage through their homeland, with atrocities more common than peace. Many, indeed, still bore the scars: missing limbs, chemical burns, blindness.
Several times, Siribahta was almost caught by the roaming bands of soldiers that enforced the repressive regime which now controlled this land. He turned back north. By the early 1970s, he had crossed into China. Then there is a long silence as to his wanderings and discoveries. He will say nothing of the next fifteen years. His story doesn’t resume until 1985, when he managed to obtain secret passage on a freighter leaving China for the distant British port of Felixstowe.
In Britain, having evaded discovery by the application of his Psych powers, he discovered that organisation which had drawn him from the bliss of his monastery home, years before. Hidden away in a rundown country estate, occupying a one-time stately home now known only as The Manse, a peculiar gathering of folk had found sanctuary, and a cause. Calling themselves ‘the Guardians’, they acted as defenders of Humanity against the ceaseless intrusions of Evil into our world. Poorly equipped in material terms, many of them were strong Psychs and these were at the forefront of the war. When Siribahta had satisfied the aged leader of these folk, Thomas Allen, that he was exactly what he claimed to be, he was welcomed with great enthusiasm.
Allen, recognising the superior qualities of the Nepalese monk, made him his deputy and his designated successor. During the ensuing years, Siribahta trained the Psychs and introduced many new ideas. He demonstrated organisational genius, too. The Guardians became more efficient and more effective, suffering far fewer losses than they had previously. Clearly, Allen had chosen well. When the old man died, in 2016, Siribahta assumed the heavy responsibility of full leadership.
Though there were some in the Guardians who wished to intervene when the politico-economic collapse struck Britain, especially when the old United Kingdom fragmented back into the realms it had once combined. Siribahta, wisest of them all, barred any intervention. When the country hit bottom, Evil began to seek to gain the advantage. Now, Siribahta launched his teams against the ancient foe! Terrible battles were fought, and losses were suffered. Still, they fought on, a thin line of defence against fearful powers.
After decades of tragedy and triumph, two teams were sent against a potent evil that had emerged in the garden County of Kent. That evil struck first in an estate that stood where there had been powerful leaders since time immemorial. The teams arrived and battle commenced, witnessed by the young man then master of the estate. The Guardians very nearly lost the battle, and six of them lost their lives. All seemed hopeless, until Siribahta himself arrived! He led, now, and the evil was overthrown. Much of the great mansion at the heart of the estate was ruined and, sadly, the elderly lady who had been the matriarch of the family perished, bravely defying the evil. Yet the young man, who was a leader in the corridors of power, swore his eternal gratitude.
In long private meetings, after all the Guardians but Siribahta had returned to The Manse, the young an and the Nepalese forged an alliance. The Guardians were not promised support – they were guaranteed it! The young man revealed his place in the new order then establishing itself in England. Through him, the Guardians were given protection and powers undreamt of. The two men, in something over four days of long discussion, Department G of the Ministry was born. Within a month, materiel poured into The Manse, equipping the Guardians as they had never before enjoyed.
Siribahta was appointed as Director of Department G, at the insistence of the benefactor of the Guardians, a man who walked the corridors of power in the English Government. Nobody but Siribahta and the Cabinet Ministers sitting at the time of Dept G’s inception. At least, so it was believed. In fact, Kate Wellesley, co-leader of Team G1, had stumbled upon the secret, though none would ever learn it from her – including Siribahta!
And there we shall leave this biography of one of the most important men in the world, for none of the works of the Director are available to be made public, being Classified Category A under the State Secrets Act.