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|December 8 2009, 06:13 PM||#1|
Location: Portland, OR (Kaziarl)
The flitter glided effortlessly through the air as K'met handled the control while his comrades drank blood wine and sang songs.
'Typical,' he thought as a glanced of them. 'They get to enjoy themselves while I pilot.'
K'met had to admit that he did an entirely mind piloting to the great hall. The five great houses, two of which sat above the others, met in the council chambers of the great hall once every forty sun rises; and this was one such occasion that gave K'met the chance to see the grand architecture, and feel the history within its walls.
The two Ruling Houses are set on either side of the victory gardens, which stretched out from the steps of the great hall. If the great hall show with Varna Colony could do with a single goal, the two houses on either side showed what they could do when split by rivalry. Both houses, Mok'ju to the west of the gardens and Kalgot to the east, had been embroiled in a blood feud for longer than anyone outside the two houses could remember. In truth, some wondered if even they knew she was about.
Still, as strained as it was, the two houses cooperated from honor of the colony. Aside from the occasional skirmish, there was order; the governor of colony saw to that.
Even with the governor's orders, K'met still kept one eye over his shoulder on these trips to the city. Being the only the son of a minor house to call if you need worry, however since his sister married into the house of Mok'ju their feuds were down his. He couldn't help but think about it every time he sat down one of the landing pads.
After securing the controls are down the engines, he turned forth the others.
"Give me that cask before I take it," he said in a low growl. "And your arm along with it."
"I welcome you to try," replied one with a fierce laugh. "But take the blood wine anyway; it wouldn't be right to be sober among friends."
K'met took the cask and drank as they exited the craft, letting the spiced liquid warm is hearts. It was raining, which wasn't unusual. Yet today there was also a strange chill in the air moments before his eyes fell on Jod'chu, a senior member of the house of Kalgot; and one well known for starting fights for no honor.
"Look here," muttered one of K'met's companions as his eyes fell on Jod'chu. "It's that bastard targ pup."
"Hold your tongue Mallak," snapped K'met.
"Only long enough to bare my teeth," he replied. "It's only a challenge if he has any honor."
K'met glared at him, but to no avail as Mallak did as he promised. As he turned back towards the other Klingon he had what he once heard a terran trader call an 'oh shit' moment. Almost on cue, Jod'chu turned to see Mallak's insult and returned with a snarling expression of his own as he rushed towards them.
"Here he comes," said Natesh. "With fire in his eyes."
"Let him come," Mallak replied.
"No," K'met interrupted. "There is no honor in this, not on the day of council."
Jod'chu, it seemed, had other plans as he approached with D'k tahg already in hand. The already tall Klingon raised his shoulders back and lifted his body, making himself look as intimidating as he could; although Mallak had the distinct impression that he looked like a Krelarian ground bird, all top heavy and no balance.
"Do you bare teeth at me?" he demanded, gripping the hilt of the dagger tighter.
"You had better make it a battle of wit," K'met muttered. "You'll win easily, and you know what the guards will do otherwise."
"I ask again," Jod'chu said more fiercely. "Do you bare teeth at me?"
"I do for the sake of honor," Mallak replied.
"But do you bare teeth at me!" Jod'chu looked like he was about to lash out without an answer even as more from his house joined him.
"I bare my teeth at those with honor," Mallak said again. "Therefore I do not see how I could be baring them at you."
"Careful with your words p'taQ," said one of the newcomers from the house of Kalgot. "Lest you imply we have no honor."
"What need is there to imply what is common knowledge?"
"Watch your tongue before I cut it out!" exclaimed another as he drew his own dagger. "We are of a noble house!"
"As are we," Natesh said confidently. "As noble as any."
"Oh, but not better?" jested one of the Kalgot."
"Better, and more honorable then yours every day," Mallak said.
That had been the final blow in their battle of wits, or as K'met thought ruefully their witless battle. Jod'chu lunged at Mallak, leading with the point of his blade. Mallak pivoted to his right, dodging out of the way as K'met and Natesh dealt with their own combatants. Dodge, parry, thrust, again; all these steps were as familiar to them as their own heartbeats. When blades were knocked away, fists were used; when knuckles were bloodied, feet began to fly in a flurry of blows. If all else failed, they would throw their entire body weight into the attack to try and get the upper hand.
Eventually the guards arrived, watching for a moment, and then finally pulled them apart. The scene was eventually cleared, and most of the observers had moved on. K'met, however, knew they wouldn't be simply moving on.
The office of the governor was an intimidating place, filled with trophies of great hunts and relics of valiant battles. However, the most intimidating thing in the room was what almost seemed to be a bone-crushing presence one felt upon walking through the doors. This, of course, was the commanding will of the governor himself as he watched K'met and the others brought in. K'met's nerves also were not eased when he saw Lord Mok'ju and Lord Kalgot were there as well.
"What is the meaning of this," Lord Mok'ju bellowed as he looked at the group bruised and bloodied warriors.
"Isn't it obvious Mok'ju," Lord Kalgot said gruffly. "Your warriors tried to dishonor mine."
"As if any effort need be put to the task."
"That is enough out of both of you," the governor stated, commanding the attention of the whole room. "These constant disruptions of order are becoming tiresome."
Several mouths opened, but none dared to speak against him. His word was as commanding as honor itself, and even the two ruling houses paled in comparison. So when he spoke again it was quieter, more subdued, but no less authoritative.
"I will only say this once, so listen well," he said as he watched each of them. "Your feud, as honorable as it may have once been, has lost meaning. You don't even know what, in the name of Kheless, you're fighting for anymore! And now, by continuing it, you challenge my honor, and the honor of the world I govern."
Kalgot looked as though he was about to speak, but a quick glance from the battle scarred warrior made him think twice.
"Your petty disputes," he continued. "Leave me no choice but to pass a new edict. Any fighting in relation to this feud will be met with death."
"Governor, you can't be serious!" Jod'chu exclaimed, wincing as one of the guards struck him for speaking out of turn.
"I am quite serious, and I suggest you don't forget it. Now get out of my sight!"
After the council meetings that day K'met, Mallak, and Natesh made their way towards the southern edge of Victory Park, where the autumnal festival was being held. There they purchased some Wyvrek shanks, a couple tankards of ale, and met with two more comrades while discussing the events of the day.
Mok'ju's son, Korum, and Garthen, the only member of the house of Kalgot with even a shred of honor joined the others after a time. There were two reasons this group welcomed Garthen into their midst; first, he had fought alongside them when pirates tried to raid their world. And second, he thought this feud was becoming as much a waste as the governor did.
"The warriors of my house," he said after hearing their story. "Have little more sense than the snarling of a half brained targ; and that is an insult only to the targ."
"And even still gives those warriors too much credit," Korum replied as he banged a goblet of ale on the table they had gathered around.
They talked of great battles, and quests for honor; even traded insults about each other and others around them. Insulting speech was, after all, and art form among the Klingon Empire. They talked of many things before the subject finally turned towards Korum's love life.
"Are you still trying to court Serilla?" Natesh asked.
"By the fires, I wish," he replied. "I can't get her out of my mind. That face of beauty-"
"As flat as a terrans," Garthen muttered through stifled laughter.
"That long heir, black as night," Korum continued, dismissing Garthens comment with a warning look.
"Hiding the ears of a Vulcan!"
"And the beauty of her voice-"
"As shrill as a Ferangi," Garthen said, breaking out into full laughter along with the rest of the group. "I swear my friend; you could find beauty in a Horta!"
"Bah! What does it matter?" he replied angrily. "She will not even hear me anymore."
"If you have eyes for a beast, then even a blind man can see there is much more worthy game out there."
"Enough of you," he said, waving Garthen away. "Drive your blade deeper, show mercer to your friend and finish me off!"
"Oh no, I have a worse fate for you," Garthen said slyly. "And worse still for you all, a test of your restraint."
Garthen revealed four small data-chits he had been carrying and handed them to his comrades.
"What are they?" asked K'met as he elbowed Mallak to wake him up.
"Invitations my friend," he replied with a smile. "We shall ride like the warriors we are, infiltrate the enemy stronghold during their masked festivities tonight, and make way with wine, food, and if all goes well enough, beautiful women to ease our good friends aching hearts; and right from under Kalgots nose. What say you Korum?"
"Will you leave me be if I say no?" Korum asked, not really needing to hear the answer to know what it is.
"Of course not," the warrior replied as he placed a hand on his friends shoulder. "I would be remiss in my duty as your brother in battle to do so."
"Well... in that case," he replied as he grabbed his goblet and hoisted it into the air. "To Victory!"
"To Victory!" they cried out as they met his oath with theirs.
The party was extravagant by Klingon standards. Lord Kalgot had his servants raise a fire in the great open courtyard that was so large; one might swear the flames reached high enough to burn new stars into the sky. Spoils of the days hunt and placed around the fire and several tables circumferenced the area with wine, ale, mead, and food. As was traditional for many of Kalgots feasts, the guests donned ceremonial masks and garments agent Klingon heroes.
"Jahlaya!" Lady Kalgot beckoned as she moved about the house. "You there, servant!"
The servant jumped, nearly dropping the blood pie.
"Yes my Lady?" she asked calmly.
"Where is my daughter?"
"I believe she is still getting ready my Lady."
"Very well," she said as she waved the servant away. "Be gone."
The servant scurried away and out of sight, determined to get the blood pie to its destination before anyone else interrupted.
'That insufferable girl,' Lady Kalgot thought as she made her way to her daughter's room. 'What is taking her so long?'
There were so many things to plan, it wasn't right for Jahlaya to be late; not if this marriage of houses was to go forth.
Lady Kalgot thought about her own marriage to lord Kalgot, arranged by their parents. She was not fond of the man at first, a fine warrior, and honorable to be sure, but there was no drums of passion in her hearts for several years. Then again, she supposed it was better than a fiery love grown cold; she hoped her daughter was as lucky.
"Jahlaya," she said as she stood in her daughter's doorway. "Are you in here daughter?"
"Yes mother," came a voice from the back room.
"Why do you delay?" she asked as she followed the voice. "There is something important I must speak to you about."
"What is it?" asked the young girl as she looked up from amidst a swarm of servants busily getting their mistress ready; focusing on even the most miniscule bit of detail.
'Not that it matters,' Lady Kalgot thought as she looked fondly at her daughter. 'It is difficult to improve on perfect beauty.'
"It's about your future," she said with an air of authority. "And it's about time you start to think on it."
"Mother, I'm still young. I have a great deal of future to think at my leisure."
"Battle women younger then you have taken husbands. Your cousin has three given three strong children to her mate."
"Yes, yes... for the sake of honor," he replied, returning her attention to the servants. "But what of the honor of battle? My cousin scarcely has time for that."
"That is something to discuss with your future husband."
"You make it sound like you've already decided," Jahlaya replied casually. Then with sudden clarity in her eyes, she glared at her mother. "You didn't! Did you? Oh, mother, how could you make such a decision without speaking to me first?"
"Jahlaya, calm down," her mother demanded. "There is more to it than that. We told Pak'chu that yours would be the final word, and that he would have to court you."
"Mistress," one of the servants said. "Even I have heard that Pak'chu is a handsome warrior, and honorable too."
"Then I want nothing of him Sahja," Jahlaya replied smugly. "For if he claims to be both, then he is neither. An honorable warrior would have too many scars to be handsome, and a handsome warrior would have to few to be honorable."
"At least meet him Jahlaya," Lady Kalgot said, smirking at the sharp blade of her daughter's wit. "I'm sure the act of courting you will be as honorable as any great challenge."
She didn't add 'and if I know my daughter, he'll have just as many scars for his effort.' But she thought it... very loudly.
"Very well mother," Jahlaya said finally. "I will meet him, but I will promise nothing else."
The servants finished helping her, and with the exception of Sahja who was still messing with minor details, they left to go about other duties.
Sahja, whom had been the master servant for many years, and many more years a simple servant of the House of Kalgot, stood there smiling at her mistress.
"Sahja, why do you look at me that way?" asked Jahlaya with a puzzled expression.
"Oh mistress, I am sorry," she replied, smiling all the same. "It is just pride for a child not my own, yet who I love as though she were."
"You speak in riddles," Jahlaya said as she smiled back.
"By my soul, mistress, if that is so then I blame an aged mind," Sahja said as she placed her hands on Jahlaya's shoulders. "I've known you since the day you fought your way out of your mother's womb, although I was not the master servant then."
"And I was no end of trouble the way I hear it told."
"Yes mistress and more than the whole staff could handle at times. But I would not trade those years for the sword of Kahless," she replied proudly. "But go now, they are waiting for you!"
|December 8 2009, 06:17 PM||#2|
Location: Portland, OR (Kaziarl)
"Come Korum," Garthen urged again. "Court the women!"
"No friend, I say none are of the same level as Serilla."
"Open your eyes look at the woman there," he replied as he pointed into the crowd. "The one here as the Warrior Queen Ma'ab."
"The short one? She's not even six feet."
"So she shall have to look up to you, nothing wrong with that," he jested. "And it gives you a better view of her... 'Aesthetic qualities?"
"Of course that would be the only thing on your mind."
"Just being true to myself," Garthen said calmly as he looked off into the distance. "And I believe I see a worthy pray now. Good luck my friend, I must take my leave of you now."
Korum shook his head as his friend wandered off, noting the irony of a man like that giving him advice. 'Although if my ears are full of more than rumors, he would be an expert on the subject.'
He walked among the people, although he didn't feel very social. The fact that he was in the den of the enemy didn't help, and it certainly kept him on his guard.
'If nothing else, I may as well enjoy the food.' he thought as a servant walked by with a tray. As he took some food from the servant something else stood out against the crowd, drawing his attention. It was a woman, wearing white battle armor and the mask of The Warrior of T'Galla.
"Servant, who is that vision of honor and beauty?" he asked, ignoring the voice of subconscious thoughts in his mind.
"That is my lady, Jahlaya," the servant replied. "Daughter of Kalgot."
"What? Are you sure?"
"Of course sir, I have served this family for several years. I would know her even if my eyes were plucked from my skull."
"Frel'k" he muttered, unbelieving the servants words. "That such an angel could be surrounded by such darkness. It is as if I have been blind all these years, and only now given vision by the power of her honor and beauty."
"Nothing, leave me," Korum said as he walked off, leaving a very confused servant in his wake.
Behind the servant stood a less confused man, one whose ears burned at what he heard. He knew that voice, recognized the words, and was overcome with anger that this p'taQ had the nerve to come here.
"Jod'chu, why do you wear a mask of anger?" asked his uncle as he approached.
"Lord Kalgot, it is for the sake of your honor that I am angered." he replied as he moved his hand to his D'k tahg. "That son of Mok'ju is here, and my blade will find him."
"Stay your hand for a moment," ordered Kalgot. "Korum is respected by many, and the governor's orders still stand."
"My lord, I can't stand aside while he is here."
"Oh can't you?" Are you the lord of this house now?" Kalgots temper faired as he stared Jod'chu down. "Or are you so much more important that you would risk dishonor on this house?"
"No my lord, I only -"
"Enough get away before I decide to unleash my anger."
Jahlaya moved around the courtyard, greeting people, laughing at their jokes, and being respectful to her father's guests. That was, after all, her duty as a daughter of this house. Even so, these events bored her. It was usually the same thing, old windbags boasting of great battles that happened so long ago that the stories had grown beyond belief. She had just finished listening to her eleventh, 'or is that twelfth' story when she felt a hand on hers.
"My lady, if my hand dishonors yours I shall remove it from my arm, but allow it to remain a moment that your beauty may reforged my skin to a more honorable metal."
"Honorable sir, you give my hand and my beauty to much credit. You skin feels like it has a very honorable texture."
"Only made so by the fires of your hearts."
She couldn't help but smile at the masked warrior's words; most men couldn't come up with such things.
"Good warrior," she said, still smiling. "Give my ears the honor of hearing the name of the one who speaks to me this way."
"That, I fear, would be a dishonor to your ears, and on that I believe my continued presence will do the same."
The warrior left, leaving Jahlaya standing there in the middle of the crowd. Sahja, noticing the look of confusion, walked up to her mistress.
"My lady, is something troubling you?"
"Only that I am not sure what this feeling is," she replied. "Who is that there, leaving just now?
"I believe that is Garthen and K'met," Sahja replied. "They are often seen together."
"I am sorry my lady, I have no answer for you."
"Please go find out, and quickly."
And she stood there again, alone in the middle of a crowd while she waited for her servant to return from her task. It seemed, to her, like an eternity went by with each heartbeat until Sahja finally returned.
"My lady, I had no idea that man was here," Sahja said quickly. "If he has offended you-"
"His name will be quite enough."
"It is Korum my lady, the son of Mok'ju, your father's rival."
"You are sure?"
"Yes my lady."
'How can this be?' she wondered as she watched him leave. 'Why do my hearts betray me? Why do I feel this way for my father's enemy?'
"Thank you Sahja," she said slowly. "I feel fatigued; I think I shall return to my bed chambers."
"Yes my lady."
After the party Korum vanished, separating from his friends to seek the vision of beauty he had seen before. He thought about the fact that it would likely be a bad idea, but he could not seem to stop himself as he climbed over the walls of Kalgots property.
Slowly, he made his way towards her balcony knowing full well she would probably still be at the party. However, reason seemed to escape him for the time being as he just pressed on.
'Light? And movement?' he thought has he concealed himself behind a plant. 'Is she in there?'
Korum became excited at the idea of getting to see the woman again, even for a brief instant as he strained to hear what was going on.
"How can this be?" Jahlaya asked of no one as she stepped onto the balcony. "Why have the fates tempted my hearts with the son of the enemy?"
"Is that a question you truly want the answer too?" he asked as he slowly revealed himself.
"Who's there? Korum? What are you doing, they'll kill you if they find you here!"
"I had to, and if what you just say is true then I will feel nothing of what they inflict upon me."
"I... I don't know if it is," she replied, turning away for a moment. "I don't even know you, yet my hearts feel they've known you for years."
"Your words give me strength my lady, you do me too much honor."
"I am only sorry I cannot give you more."
"Such as what?"
"Oh, do not ask me that! It doesn't matter, our families are at odds and we dishonor them just by talking!"
"Fek'lr can have it!"
"Korum, you don't mean that!"
"There is no honor in a meaningless death, and that is all this is; a meaningless, living death."
"It brings me sorrow to know I have given you this pain," she said.
"And it brings me pain to know I've given you cause for sorrow," he replied.
"Oh, stop!" she exclaimed, "There is no point in circling ourselves, it solves nothing."
"Give me something else to say that may provide some better feeling."
"Nothing can," she replied. "I must protect my families honor."
"And what about personal honor?" he asked. "Honor to ourselves and our hearts? The hearts that are telling me to take you from here."
"Leave with me, we can build our own house, find our own honor."
"But how can we do that?"
"I can make the arrangements," he replied. "My sense of honor tells me this is right, and if you see the same then send your most trusted servant to find me tomorrow."
"Until tomorrow then, I have much to consider. Now go, before you are seen."
"Reluctantly, I shall go," he replied as he disappeared into the shadows.
Inside one of the oldest buildings within the capitol city was the temple of the Dahar Masters. Ancient warriors came to these places to learn, and to teach about honor, glory, Kahless, and molar. Some of the first Klingon opera's were written in a temple, just like this on, in the First City on Qo'nos. There places were respected almost as much, if not more than the Emperors Palace.
'So why am I drawn from my bed chambers before first light?' wondered Master Conaing as he made his way towards the banging on the temple door.
"Whoever is there," he stated as he slowly opened the door. "Had better be near death."
"Very close indeed master," Korum replied as he entered. "Although I may not look it."
"No, you certainly don't," Conaing said calmly as he looked at Korum. "So then what brings you here?"
"I need your advice, then upon that advice I may need your help."
"Well get on with it then, speak."
Korum told his story, about how his comrades had taken him to the party. How they had tried to take his mind of Serilla, and had succeeded more than they had bargained for. Now it seemed his hearts yearned for another, and he was sure she felt the same.
"But who is the woman? Conaing asked. "Who is the one that seems to have captivated you?"
"None other than the daughter of my father's enemy," he replied in a solemn tone. "That is why I need your advice; to honor my house I feel I dishonor myself."
Conaing was at a loss for words as he thought about what had just been said; muttering something Korum didn't quite catch.
"And so you cease to go after one unattainable woman to seek another?"
"I know master, and you'll probably tell me I had too much ale. But what can I do? My own sense of honor tells me I should pursue this."
"To what end? To lose interest in her as well?"
"Your words wound me; I don't believe I could lose interest in Jahlaya."
"I suppose you'll find out."
"I will help you," he replied with a sigh. "Against my better judgment, but I believe it may put a stop to this honorless feud."
Korum thanked the man, and they proceeded to make plans. Shortly after first light came, Jahlaya's servant Sahja arrived at the temple door. After the three of them discussed the plans and agreed to meet again at an appointed time.
Ever since Sahja left, Jahlaya paced her bedchambers waiting for her servant to return. It had seemed much longer then it had been, although Jahlaya suspected that was due to the fact she hadn't slept yet. She glanced up at the clock, seeing it was only five hours past first light. She could have sworn it was past high sun by now.
When Jahlaya finally heard footsteps she didn't dare hope it was Sahja. Then when she heard the old woman's haggard breathing she rushed towards her door to greet her servant.
"Oh my," Sahja muttered as she walked in. "I'm getting to old to run around the city like this."
"Have you come from meeting Korum?"
"Korum? Oh, yes," she replied. "Allow me to catch my breath."
"Oh, please tell me, I must know!"
"How these ancient bones of mine ache..."
"You're stalling," Jahlaya stated as she looked at the old woman. "You can rest all you want, but please tell me what was said."
"Ah, the fiery impatience of youth."
"Alright, settle down mistress," she said as she took a breath and calmed her expression. "I have been asked to tell you that, should you wish, you should take yourself to the Dahar temple to be bonded with Korum."
"Are you sure?" she asked, scarcely able to believe her ears. "When?"
"Seventh hour past high sun," Sahja replied. "Hurry, you must get ready."
That evening Korum, Jahlaya, the Dahar Master, and Sahja met once more at the temple. There was a brief bonding ritual, with few words being said. Although this was not how any of them would have preferred it, they decided that this was the best way considering the situation. Again, they parted ways while Korum made arrangements for them to find their way to a new world, where they could found their own house away from the animosity of their two families.
Korum was careful about not being seen by anyone, sticking to less used routes and area's he wouldn't normally go to so that he wouldn't be asked any unwelcome questions. Even still, he couldn't keep the inevitable from happening as he turned a corner to come face to face with Garthen and K'met.
"Korum, where have you been?" Garthen asked.
"Busy, I am sorry brothers but I must go."
"But you only just got here," K'met replied, stopping Korum from leaving. "Come, let's go get a drink."
"Yes, indeed," Garthen agreed. "We want to hear what happened at Kalgot's estate last night. Were you captured?"
"In a way," he answered slowly. "But I am fine, and I must go."
"Is your house so terrible that even he runs from you?" interrupted another voice. The three of them turned to see Jod'chu was now standing nearby, an arrogant smile on his face.
"Jod'chu, get out of here," Garthen spouted. "You are not wanted here."
"What is the matter? Does the truth hurt?" Jod'chu asked. "And you who associate with these animals. You begin to smell like them."
"Watch it; the governor has said no fighting between the two houses, but nothing about me and you!"
"Enough of this," Korum interrupted. "Garthen, you are like my brother, I won't let you do this. And you Jod'chu, I cannot tell you why but I have reason to see you differently then I once did."
"Differently? You think you can calm me with words?" he asked gruffly. "I have nothing but hate for you and yours; I can never see you 'differently.'"
"Don't worry Korum," Garthen said as he stepped forward. "I have no problem answering his challenge."
"Come at me then, p'taQ!" Jod'chu yelled as he pulled his dagger and lunged at Garthen. Korum reacted quickly, trying to get between them, but it was too late. Jod'chu brought the dagger around Korum, and drove it into Garthens chest. At first, Korum thought he saw surprise in his friends face; surprise that Jod'chu was that fast perhaps, but then there was realization in his eyes. As the Klingon fell he tried to speak through strained and gargled breathing.
"Garthen, do not speak," Korum said calmly as he knelt beside him. "You must conserve your strength."
All else was silent as Garthen reached for Korum, pulling him closer.
"A curse," he whispered. "Damn both your houses to Gre'thor."
The 'r' was drawn out as the last bit of air escaped his lungs. Korum pealed his eyes open and stared into them as a deep, guttural growl grew within him before he let out a terrible howl, alerting the watchmen in Sto'vo'Kor that a warrior was on his way. Then, seeing the blade still in his chest, he reached for it.
"This is what your mindless anger has come to Jod'chu," he said in a cold voice. "It is not enough for you to hate my father's house, now you kill your own for no honorable reason?"
"He befriended you, that is reason enough."
Korum was overcome with rage as he stood up, dagger in hand. There was an icy flame in his gaze that even Jod'chu faltered before. He took two brief steps towards Jod'chu, then stood there locking eyes with him.
"You want a challenge Jod'chu?" he asked calmly. "You want to fight like a wild Kara beast? Then so be it, I will take honor in avenging Garthen."
Korum lunged forward to strike Jod'chu, who at first dodged out of the way. It was a quick battle before Korum finally drove the blade home. Again, he watched a man realize he was about to breath his last breath; again, he opened the fallen warrior's eyes to announce his passing.
"Korum," K'met said, getting his attention away from the two fallen warriors. "The guards are on their way, you have to go."
"I can't leave, not yet."
"You've heard the governor's orders; it'll be death for you."
"You're right, I don't like it, but you're right," he said quietly as he turned towards K'met. "I need you to do something for me, but there isn't time right now. I will send you a message later."
"Fine, fine... Now go. Qapla' brother."
Shortly after Korum disappeared around a corner the city guards showed up, finding K'met standing there by the two bodies. After questioning him, they took K'met to the governor's office.
|December 8 2009, 06:20 PM||#3|
Location: Portland, OR (Kaziarl)
K'met stood there, taken aback once again by the crushing presence in the room as he formulated his response.
"Well, sir, we had just met up with Korum," he replied. "That is, Garthen and I met up with him and were talking. After a few minutes Jod'chu arrived and instigated a conflict with Garthen; and for reasons I don't know Korum tried to stop them. Unfortunately he was unable to do so before Garthen fell."
"I see, and then what happened?"
"Korum's vision filled with blood as he attacked Jod'chu to avenge Garthens death. After that, he left."
"I do not know governor."
The governor sat for a moment as he looked at the man before him. Kalgot, the governor knew, would cry for blood and a new feud would be born. And if Korum was pursued the Mok'ju family would demand the same thing.
"Very well, for the time being Korum is exiled from this colony," he stated finally. "If he returns, my prior orders stand. I do not want to hear any more about this."
After the binding ceremony Jahlaya returned home to gather her belongings, thinking fondly of Korum as she did so. She still felt a bit of regret for going against her families honor, yet at the same time she knew this was right. Still, she hoped nothing bad would come of this.
"My Lady! News from the city!" Sahja exclaimed as she practically ran into the bed chambers.
"What is it? Did Korum send a message?"
"No my lady, but it is about him," she replied. "He is dead."
"What? Are you sure?" he asked in shock. "If this is some joke you will not like the outcome."
"I am sorry my lady, I am only repeating what I have heard. Earlier today there was a skirmish between Garthen and Jod'chu in which Garthen was killed. From what was heard later, Korum was overcome with fury and challenged Jod'chu, in turn killing him, and then fled. The governor has decreed that if Korum returns he will be put to death. He's probably halfway to the home world by now."
Jahlaya sat down on her bed, clearly unsure what to think. Her cousin, Jod'chu was dead; and Korum in exile. She could possible leave too, but to where? She had no way of knowing where Korum fled to. Would he come back for her? Should he? It would mean his death if he did.
'And so what if he does come back?' she thought solemnly. 'He killed my cousin, and I should hate him for that. Yet I don't. Do my hearts betray me? Or my honor?'
There was a knock on her door that brought her out of thought, another servant standing there.
"My lady, you have a visitor."
"I don't want to see anyone right now, tell them to come back later."
"Yes my lady, but..." the servant hesitated, wondering if he should continue and risk her wrath."They say it's important, about your visit to the Dahar temple yesterday."
"Very well, send them in." 'Perhaps they know something about Korum.'
The servant turned and left, and then a few moments later returned with her visitor in tow. He looked around nervously, as though he knew it was not a wise place to be, and then removed his hood to reveal his face.
"Mistress Jahlaya," he started as he bowed respectfully. "I must admit I am uneasy about being here, however I owe it to the one who sent this."
He reached out, giving her a data chit and feeling a slight bit of relief as it left his hands.
"I do not know if I have the strength to watch it right now," she said as she noticed how heavy things seemed to be at the moment. "What is on it?"
"Two messages my lady," replied K'met. "One from the Dahar master you met yesterday and one from my comrade, Korum."
"Do you know where he is?"
"No my lady," he said quietly. "Only that he has left Varna, but not gone as far as some have said. If I am not overstepping my bounds, might I suggest the message from the Dahar Master is of particular importance?"
Jahlaya moved over to her desk terminal and placed the data chit in the reader, accessing the information on it. On the screen the old man's face appeared, looking very tired. She wondered if he had looked that way the day before as the message began to play.
"Jahlaya, daughter of Kalgot, it is with heavy heart I send this message to you. I am sure you have already heard of the death of two members of your house. The first slain by the other; the second by Korum. What I am about to tell you could cause Korum much harm, but I believe you will do what is right by the both of you."
The recording continued, explaining to her how Korum had arrived at the temple and the master had helped him escape. He even told her where he had fled to, and told her that should she feel the need for revenge to simply give the information to her father. But if, as he suspected, her hearts still beat for him, then she should come to the temple that evening to offer tribute to the fallen warriors so that they could discuss another path.
Jahlaya sat for a while after the recording ended, forgetting entirely that Sahja and K'met were still in the room as she thought about what the master had said do her. What did she feel for Korum now? Did she still see her as her husband? Or as the man who had slain her kin? From the message she learned he had fought Jod'chu to avenge Garthen, could she consider faulting him for that?
"I need time to consider this, tell the Dahar Master I will visit him later today."
"Yes my lady." K'met replied before the servant was called back to show him out.
After he left, Jahlaya stared at the blank screen before finally playing the message from Korum. She focused on his face, the details in his ridges, and found herself even more confused as Sahja approached her.
"Sahja, what shall I do?"
"It would be presumptuous of the servant to give the master advice."
"Then be my friend Sahja, as you quite well know you always have been."
"My lady, when I was young; if anyone my age truly remembers being so; I had a chance to leave with a man who had captured my attention. I turned him down, and some years later he was killed in battle," she paused, as though remembering the man fondly before she finished. "I do not regret the way things have gone since then, however even today I find myself wondering how they might have been different."
"So you think I should go with him?" Jahlaya asked.
"No my lady," replied the old woman. "I am saying that I regret not taking the chance. Forever questioning myself about it has taking its toll; I'm not quite as old as I look."
"Very well, I'll need my rain cover, the clouds look ominous today."
"Of course my lady."
|December 8 2009, 06:20 PM||#4|
Location: Portland, OR (Kaziarl)
"Master?" one of the younger acolytes inquired, bringing him out of thought. "Jahlaya of Kalgot is here to see you."
"Very well, show her in," he ordered. He watched her as she walked in, seeing that she was certainly heavy of heart and torn as to what she should do. He only hoped that she had made a choice, as there was unfortunately little time.
"Master Conaing," she said, respectfully bowing her head. "I believe we have something to discuss."
"Yes, indeed we do," he replied as he handed her a hypospray. "A 10mg vial of nanites, programmed to slow your body so much that you will seem dead, but will maintain your body until the time they are set to revive you."
"Where did you get these?" she asked in astonishment.
"They are from my past life, before I came to the temple. I guess after that they became a hobby."
"You surprise me," she commented as she took the hypo. "But how will this help?"
"I am going to send a message to Korum after you leave here, telling him of the truth behind what will be your assumed death. It will also contain a time for him to come to the burial grounds, and retrieve you from your family tomb. After that, you two can leave and go wherever you want freely."
"There is one thing that I still do not understand."
"What is it?"
"Why help us? You may come to great harm because of this act."
"Because there is more to honor then doing as you are told," he replied. "And there is more to life than just honor alone."
Jahlaya nodded, unsure if she understood completely but she felt some clarity in it. That night she took the hypo and injected herself. To her relief there was no pain, in fact there was no difference from falling asleep. Her last thoughts were of Korum, glad he would be there when she awoke.
Near the edge of the solar system that contained Varna colony, a trading station slowly drifted in a long orbit around the distant adopted star. Some eons ago a rouge planetoid, cast off from its own star, had made a long journey here before being captured by Varna's sun. It was an oddly stable orbit for a rogue and rich in dilithium when it was discovered. The world was not suitable for a true colony, so a small mining compound was established and thanks to the dilithium lodes had become a center for trade in the sector. Korum couldn't help but feel a certain connection with the rogue, cast out from his home to the cold space and leaving the warmth behind. He wasn't sure what he would do from here on, but he was glad of one thing; he had received a message saying that Mallak would be making his usual trip out to the trading station, and would have time to share a bottle of blood wine.
As he moved towards the airlock he thought about Jahlaya, about not being able to see her again, wishing there was more than just a simple message for him to leave behind. Unfortunately, after speaking to the Dahar master, there was little time. Conaing had told him not to worry, that he would take care of things and send a message to Korum soon. But no message came, not yet anyway. Perhaps Mallak had something.
"Mallak, my friend," he said as he embraced his comrade. "How are you?"
"I am well, did well in the market this season as well," Mallak replied. "I suppose it helps that the people on this station can't do much more for themselves than dig through the rock."
"I would imagine so, how are things at home?"
"As well as can be expected," Mallak said slowly. "Your family misses you; Lady Mok'ju hasn't been the same since the governor announced your exile. And with the loss within the House of Kalgot, no one seems to have the desire to feud anymore."
"Loss, you mean that idiot Jod'chu?"
"No, you haven't heard?"
"I get very little news out here"
"Jahlaya, daughter of Kalgot is dead."
Korum stopped walking, almost loosing strength in his legs. Mallak looked concerned for his friend as he moved to help him.
"What is it Korum? What ails you?"
"I had hoped you were bringing news of her, but of a brighter sort."
"What do you mean?"
"Before the battle with Jod'chu, Jahlaya and I had been bonded at the Dahar temple," he explained. "Master Conaing said he had a plan to help us avoid the feud, and I thought maybe he had sent it with you."
"I am sorry," Mallak said solemnly. "I didn't know."
"There was no way for you to have known my friend," he replied with a crooked smile. "I am sorry; I do not feel like drinking right now, I think I will return to my quarters."
"Very well, my ship could use some attention anyway. I'll be returning to Varna in the morning."
Conaing paced the temple while he awaited word that Korum had received his message, beginning to fear the worst. He should have heard something by now, anything, either from Korum or the acolyte he had sent to deliver the message. And with only an hour before Jahlaya would revive, he thought he would jump out of his skin in excitement when the acolyte finally walked through the door.
"What news Jho'nas?" he asked eagerly.
"I am sorry Master; I was not able to make it to the trading station."
"What? Explain yourself."
"The transport was hit by an ion storm," the acolyte replied. "The engines were knocked out, and once they were repaired the captain of the vessel decided to return to Varna, I only just arrived."
"Damn it all to Gre'thor," he muttered. "We must hurry to the Kalgot tomb, we'll figure out a new plan later."
Although Pak'chu had not had a chance to meet Jahlaya, he felt he should visit the tomb in either case. The Kalgots were a predominant family, and as the governors nephew it was his duty to show respect to their loss. He had also been promised her hand, and even though that was now never to happen it seemed the right thing to do. At this hour he expected there to be no one around, other than himself and his servant. What he didn't expect was the entrance to the tomb to be open.
"Who is there?" he called out as he stood by the opening. "You are desecrating the tomb of a noble house, show yourself now."
There was no response, although he knew the tomb to be very deep indeed. 'Looters most likely,' he thought as he turned towards his servant.
"Go find the night watch; I am going to find out who is in there."
"Yes my lord."
Pak'chu drew a mek'leth and entered the tomb, keeping his guard up. There was no telling how many looters were inside, and like many of the older family tombs the inside was like a maze with many possible angles of attack. As he went farther he was beginning to wonder if he had missed the looters, then found a man kneeling before Jahlaya's body.
"You there, who are you?" he demanded.
The figure turned towards him, revealing his face. Pak'chu recognized the man instantly, it was Korum.
"How dare you come here, killing Jod'chu wasn't enough? Now you violate Jahlaya on her death bed?"
"You wouldn't understand," Korum replied as he turned back towards Jahlaya. "Just leave."
"I will not leave," Pak'chu stated as he stepped closer. "Instead I think I'll deliver your head to Kalgot."
"You will only be wasting your life," Korum said flatly, still not moving. "It would be in your best interest to leave."
"I already said I would not be doing that," he replied. "Now face me coward."
Korum stood slowly, gripping a bat'leth in his hand as he did so, and turned to face Pak'chu. There were no words, no insults, and barely any warning as he attacked. The bat'leth sung through the air as it came down towards Korum's opponent, who blocked it with his own weapon. Korum struck again, not giving Pak'chu an opportunity to retaliate. A sweep at the legs followed by a slash at the gut. Finally Korum's blade got through, digging itself into his opponents chest as Pak'chu's blade buried itself into Korum's gut.
Pak'chu fell to the ground, dead before his head made contact. Korum, on the other hand didn't feel so lucky. His wound would kill him, he knew that, but it would be slow. He also knew that he would not make it outside of the tomb, so instead he resigned himself to lie beside Jahlaya. At least in death they would be together, if not in life. He placed his hand on hers and for a moment thought he felt warmth.
'Must be the blood loss playing tricks on me,' he thought as his mind drifted away.
A few moments after his life left him, Jahlaya's nanites began to revive her. Her first thoughts were of Korum, expecting him to be here and to take her from here. But what she saw when she opened her eyes it was almost like a nightmare. She was still in the tomb, and Korum was there, but there was also someone else. A dead warrior, and if she wasn't mistaken it was Pak'chu. Her attention returned to Korum as she realized that he too was dead.
'What terror is this,' she wondered in shock. 'To be promised light, but be sworn to darkness.'
She took Korum's Dk'tagh from its sheath, holding it delicately as she looked around. Her family thought she was dead, and her new life from that death was destroyed.
'There is nothing for me outside this tomb,' she decided. 'So I shall never leave it.'
The dagger plunged into her chest, piercing her hearts as she felt her life once again drain away. The second time wasn't as easy as the one the nanites had given her. She laid back down as she began to drift into darkness, her final thoughts wishing it had been different.
"Hurry!" Conaing called to the acolyte following him." The tomb is open; it may already be too late."
"Yes Master Conaing," he replied as he tried keeping up. For an old man, Conaing was still fast.
Conaing rushed into the tomb, nearly tripping over Pak'chu's body. His eyes studied the fallen Klingon as he questioned the scene before him. Korum and Jahlaya were here as well, both appearing to be dead as well.
"What happened here?" he muttered as he heard movement. He spun around to see Jho'nas followed by two guards, and to his dismay followed by the governor, Kalgot, and Mok'ju as well.
"What happened?" asked the governor as he looked around. "That... Pak'chu, my nephew. Master Conaing, do you have an explanation for any of this?"
"No governor, unfortunately I do not," he replied as he looked around once more. "I may have a guess though."
"Korum?" Mok'ju asked once he had a better view. "What is he doing here?"
"I believe Master Conaing was about to give us some idea," Kalgot replied.
Conaing took a deep breath as he gathered his thoughts, and then began to explain.
"Several nights ago I preformed a ceremony to bind Jahlaya and Korum together. I was hesitant at first, but I thought perhaps it would put an end to the feud. Afterwards Korum and Garthen had the run in with Jod'chu, during which the last two were slain. I came up with a plan for the two here to be able to leave, which necessitated a ruse of death, but I was unable to get word to Korum in time. I suspect he heard of Jahlaya's death and came to pay his respects, and while doing so Pak'chu came upon him.
Both their wounds look to be battle related, and I believe they killed each other. As misfortune would have it, Jahlaya awoke to find both of them dead, and from the shock of arousing within a tomb I think it's likely she took her own life."
Everyone listened intently, some finding all of it hard to believe even with the evidence there before them. Kalgot was the first one to move as he stepped closer to his daughter and Korum who was still beside her.
"Mok'ju," he said quietly. "I feel there has been more than enough blood to settle this feud."
"Yes, there has been quite a bit of loss," replied Mok'ju as he stepped closer. "If it hadn't been for this pointless fighting between us, our children could still be breathing."
"And my nephew as well," the governor interrupted. "Perhaps you should finally put an end to it, before I deal with it myself. You have both had a hand in all of their deaths."
"He's right," Mok'ju said as he looked at Kalgot.
"I know," he replied. "I've made a decision Mok'ju; in the morning I am going to commission a statue of Korum to be placed in the great hall, I believe putting an end to our feud is reason enough to warrant one."
"One of your daughter, Jahlaya, too," Mok'ju said with a nod. "It is only fitting that they be placed together."
"Do not think this is the end of this," the governor stated. "I will ensure that you recompense for this. For now, go home. Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day."
|December 8 2009, 06:26 PM||#5|
Location: Portland, OR (Kaziarl)
I'd like to clean it up a bit at some point, strengthen some of the weaker scenes, so any comments and constructive criticism is much appreciated.
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