In Sector 9, Rhaenys receives visitors, while on Qoter Keira meets with friends new and old, and on Earth, Janus attempts to find himself. (FB)
About this creation
#6; The Word of God
Sector Nine, the Seat of House Arathon
Father Ajwain marched into the throne room, a pair of Deja’s Screamers flanking him.
From the throne at the far end of the room, Rhaenys glowered down at them. With each step, Ajwain tapped his cane on the stone floor, sounding like a rhythmic drum echoing up into the high, cavernous ceiling.
Rhaenys: “Priests. Why do you come?” Her voice was demanding, expectant of an immediate answer as Father Ajwain and his Brothers stopped before her.
Ajwain: “We are here on the orders of Her Grace Eris Arathon, to bring her brother Estern to The Spire.” He announced.
Rhaenys laughed, her eyes full of calm malice.
Rhaenys: “You fools. Didn’t you hear? He’s gone.” She said.
Ajwain: “Gone?,” he was taken aback, “gone where?”
Before Rhaenys could answer, the doors at the back of the throne room banged open, and a guard ran in, panting.
Guard: “Y-your grace,” he said, “we are under attack!”
Rhaenys frowned, disbelief evident on her face, etched into every line of her flesh.
Rhaenys: “Attack? Here? Who would dare assault the seat of the Archmage!”
Guard: “I…I don’t know Your Grace, they fly no flags, and have declared no intentions or allegiance.”
Iapra, the Iron Maiden’s fortress
Jace, Basher and Caesar stalked alone through the abandoned halls.
It hurt Caesar to come back here, to the place where his daughter had been torn away from him a second time, but it was the only lead they had. The only possible way they had of finding out what had happened to Sophia, who had done it, or where she’d gone now.
Jace: “Any idea what we’re looking for?” He asked, running his hands along the metal wall nonchalantly.
Caesar: “Anything,” Caesar replied, bluntly.
Basher glanced at his two companions. Things were uneasy between them, and had been ever since Keira had left. Despite his part in their victory on Etrion, Caesar remained reclusive, speaking in short grunts. He was single-minded, driven only by a need to find his daughter. Jace, on the other hand, was the same as ever, always quick with a joke or a quip. The fact he’d just fought a war against his thought-dead best friend didn’t seem to have changed him.
Basher: “How about this?” He suggested, poking open a door and pushing inside.
Caesar and Jace followed him, and they were inside a small bedroom. Along one wall was a small single bed, with plain covers; the owner clearly didn’t care about luxury. The only other piece of furniture was a metal desk, with a computer on top, and a thin, flimsy chair, that again emphasized the owner’s lack of care about comfort.
Basher: “Let’s see what this is then…” Basher turned to the desk and booted up the computer. He began searching through the files, fingers flying along the keyboard.
Basher: “Everything’s been deleted, whoever owned this was thorough. Just a few harmless supply manifests and guard schedules,” he read off the screen. “Wait…the supply manifests all come from one company. Nocturn Incorporated. That’s something to do some digging into, right?”
Qoter, The Fuyorian Embassy
The Fuyorian Embassy on Qoter was not the busiest, nor the grandest of the embassies on the planet, but it seemed to embody a reverence and a sense of power that the others lacked. Even some of the most opulent structures in Regentis or Knightborn did not conjure up the same feelings of respect as the Fuyorian Embassy.
Keira was sick and tired of waiting. She glared at the door, willing it to open. She’d been waiting for the Namori Ambassador for two days, in the hopes that she might be able to help her. She’d tried knocking several times, but nothing happened. The Ambassador ignored her.
Finally, she gave up. If the Ambassador was going to help, she’d have done it by now. Keira stood up and started making her away to the other door, the one that would lead her out into the bustling skylanes of Qoter.
And then she heard a voice.
Voice: “Keira Beck. Why do you leave?”
Wheeling around, Keira found the Namori Ambassador in the doorway, her eyes piercing, her presence illuminating.
Keira: “I…I..um…” Keira stammered, unable to find the words. “I…oh…”
Ambassador: “Please, come in.”
The Ambassador led Keira into a small room that seemed to serve as an office. It was sparsely furnished, with only a thin wooden desk and two chairs, as well as a small cabinet. The Namori produced two glasses, and a long bottle filled with a luminescent blue liquid. After pouring the glasses, she handed one to Keira.
Keira did as instructed, and the liquid filled her throat. It was strange; while it looked cold, it tasted warm, and Keira’s head swam for a moment.
Ambassador: “We call them Grace’s Tears.” The Namori explained, sipping her own drink.
Ambassador: “My name is Australis. Tell me, how can The Namori of Fuyoria assist you?”
Keira relayed the story. Of The Iron Maiden, of Kaira’s death. Of everything that had happened since, the hunt for Sophia, the final assault on the fortress. Of how she fled The Spire, abandoning her friends.
Keira: “I can’t live without her. Not in a fancy, romanticised way, I can’t. Not when I look in the mirror every day and see her face. I had to cut my hair, because it was her hair. We came into this world together, we should’ve left it together. And now she’s gone and I’m not, and it’s as if everything about me is punishing me for it.”
The Namori listened to her, taking in each word intently.
Australis: “And you want her back?”
Keira: “Of course I do. Is there anything you can do?”
Australis smiled serenely and sipped from her glass. Sensing a social cue, Keira did the same, but taking a smaller sip in order to quell the swimming in her vision. She looked at Australis, and the Namori’s eyes seemed to glow, big and bright.
Australis: “I will not lie to you, Keira Beck. We Namori are not the mystical beings many consider us to be – we are flesh and blood, the same as you. But there are others in this galaxy who can bend reality and shape the world. You know of whom I speak – you have had dealings with them.”
Keira: “The Collective.”
Janus huddled in the alley, little more than an old concrete-and-brick wall to protect him from the elements. The rain and the wind lashed around, and in the street outside his little hovel people hurried past, totally unaware of the downtrodden man. And the rare few that glanced his way, that saw him, did not know him. They did not know the good man he had tried to be, and the monster that he had become. To them he was just another deadbeat.
Two other men turned into the alley, but they did not seem to notice him – not many ever did. One had a knife to the other’s chest; the man being threatened seemed terrified. They exchanged hushed words, urgent and intense. Janus just watched, behind dark eyes.
Man: “I told you you’d pay, I warned you,” the knife wielding man growled.
His victim hesitated for one second; the man plunged the knife in.
The killer turned and ran; the victim collapsed, grasping at his chest desperately as it became wet with blood. Finally, Janus stirred, moving towards the dying man. The victim seemed surprised to him, but that was nothing new to Janus.
The man was already weak from loss of blood. He opened his mouth in a desperate attempt to speak, but all that came out was a rattling, rasping sound.
Seeing this man dying, bleeding out in the dirt, alone, reminded Janus of the people he had lost. It reminded him of why he’d been fighting – of the kind of galaxy the Imperium let fester. And it reminded him that he was still alive.
He would fight. For this man that he’d watched die, and for those that he’d lost, and for those that were still alive.
As the Mages filed out, Eris glanced wearily at the table before her.
Jay: “Pining for simpler times?” Jay asked, taking her hand and squeezing it gently.
She glanced up at him and returned the smile, leaning in and pecking him gently on the lips.
Eris: “I want to help our friends, Jay,” she explained, “I can sit here all day and deal with the bureaucrats, but I can’t use the resources of The Collective to help find Caesar’s daughter.”
Jay’s smile broke, and their eyes met.
Jay: “They’ll find her, Eris. And if we can help, we will, you know that.”
Her eyes seemed to visibly warm, showing how thankful she was for having him there.
Eris: “Thank you, Jay. I’m just so sick of being helpless…”
Jay: “Hey, don’t worry about it, put it out of your mind. How about we go watch another one of those human movies that confuse you so much?” Jay suggested.
She smiled, eager for a release.
Jay: “Go on, I’ll be with you in a second,” said Jay, and Eris began to make her way out of the Council Chamber.
Once Eris was gone, Jay doubled over in pain, grunting and clutching his stomach. Clouds of red swam in his vision, but he forced the power back down. Ever since he’d killed Samson Otarn, he’d felt a sickening, violent rush of power, and it was slowly becoming harder to ignore.
Fighting on Etrion, he’d been able to keep it suppressed with the war, but now the fighting was over and done, he found himself edging closer to eruption.
He’d have to face it eventually, but not now, not when Eris needed him.
Sector Nine, the Seat of House Arathon
Har’Buc strode across the courtyard, a squad of black-clad guards flanking him on either side. The courtyard was almost entirely empty; before the great doors that Har’Buc knew separated him from his prey stood only three Priests of Deja.
Har’Buc regarded them with intrigue. Screamers of Deja were an uncommon sight in The Colonies, but everyone knew their legends. Only the most formidable and the most pious were allowed to join their ranks.
Father Ajwain stepped forward to greet the newcomer, hand gripping his cane tightly.
Ajwain: “Halt. You may not enter.”
Har’Buc smiled a thin smile.
Har’Buc: “Leave, Priests. You do not need to die today. I have no quarrel with you. Deja is beyond our politics, is he not? So, too, should you be. I offer you one more chance. Leave, now.”
Ajwain: “The Screamers of Deja do not flee.” He declared.
Har’Buc: “And yet you were nowhere to be found as the city burned, as the fortress fell? If you have truly decided this place is worth defending…well, you’ve done a rather pitiful job of it.” He retorted, testing the priests, seeing how far he could push them.
Father Ajwain: “We have protected Her Grace Rhaenys Arathon, Widow of the Archmage. And we will continue to do so. This is the end for you and your insurrection.”
Har’Buc: “No,” he replied, shaking his head slightly, doing an impressive job of feigning genuine emotion, “this is just the beginning. Kill them all.” Har’Buc gestured to his guards and they marched forward.
Father Ajwain split his cane, and a pair of plasma swords blazed to life. He lunged, his two brothers shadowing him like eerie wraiths, all the fury of Deja behind them. As Har’Buc watched, the priests fought like the possessed, their plasma blades cutting through the blades of their attackers with ease.
One soldier took aim, and a bolt of plasma sped from his spear, striking one of the priests in the chest. He slowed for a brief moment, and a second bolt slammed into him, before another soldier took him in the gut with a spear. He went down, several blades rising and falling, filling him full of holes.
The soldiers kept coming. The two remaining priests kept fighting. The plasma hummed and moaned, slicing and hacking through anything that came into contact with it. But their enemies were too numerous, and finally, the second priest was slain.
Father Ajwain stood alone.
One man came at him, and he parried the blade, knocking it aside before ramming his sword through his attacker’s chest. No sooner had the first soldier fallen than another was there, charging angrily. Ajwain’s swords were a blur of green, sizzling and whirring through the advancing steel and flesh.
Eventually, the ranks of his enemies began to thin. Ajwain’s hands were growing tired, but he had more than enough strength for this. Finally, only two soldiers stood before him, each man clearly realising he was outmatched by the Priest.
And yet, dutifully, they took aim with the spears and marched on, hoping to snare him in a pincer. He twirled his blades so both was held in a reverse grip, and then drove them into the ground while muttering a spell.
Ajwain: “Rakatli rasille at’thra!”
At that command, waves of plasma shot out along the ground, incinerating the bodies of the fallen and the two that remained alive.
And then, only Har’Buc and Ajwain remained.
Father Ajwain flicked his wrists, spinning his swords.
Ajwain: “Come then, villain. Your men have fallen, and so too shall you. Draw your sword, and die with honour.”
But Har’Buc had no interest in a fight. He held up his hand, and muttered one word, one that reverberated and shook with power.
Suddenly, Ajwain felt the energy flowing from his limbs. He was stopped in his tracks. His throat went dry. His eyes fluttered.
Ajwain fell to the floor, dropping his swords, and Har’Buc stood over him. The kinslayer held out his open palm, and spoke again.
Ajwain’s chest went tight, his breathing became laboured. His ears thrummed with the sound of his blood slowing in his veins.
Har’Buc: “your god has abandoned you, priest. See, His word is mine now.”
And that’s it! This should be obvious really, but this episode was actually the original opener of the season. It opens a lot of plotlines that I left hanging last season, in ways that The War For Etrion Arc didn’t. I considered including the Etrion arc as its own mini-season, but I figure it worked better as this way, as a kind of cold open. But the season proper is here, so I hope you’re all excited to see what the future holds for Eris and the rest!
Good stuff! Even with the omission of 'that' scene. haha! I did find that a lot was left to the imagination though, so some more pictures would have been nice. But yes, good (supposed) season opener!