Knome: The Forbidden Zone

Reads: 5434  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 16 (v.1) - Chapter Fifteen

Submitted: March 03, 2017

Reads: 118

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 03, 2017

A A A

A A A

Maessa (Knome)

Krestlin Palace

 

Anya stood at the entrance of her father’s meditation room.  She had prevented her father’s guards from announcing her presence. She didn’t want to disrupt his session, she didn’t mind waiting.  As she quietly entered, she watched him, his eyes were closed, his breathing was slow and steady and she was pleased.  He needed a place of solitude just as she did, even more than she did.  She loved him, and she has never felt closer to him as she does now, since she was a child.  Considering the heavy load, he had to carry as Knome’s ruler, and the manner in which he tried to exercise his authority, that, has aroused admiration for him, in her.  Especially since her visit to the Children’s camp.  She felt like a spoiled petulant child, when she recalled her recent conduct with her father.  Even though she was still skeptical of his plans, mostly due to the Myans involvement, she understood the reasons behind them, and those reasons were legitimate.  

Yuri’s eyes opened and he was pleased to see the face of his daughter.  There was a softness in her face, he sensed compassion in her eyes and there was gentleness in her disposition as she approached him.  He had missed his little Anna.

“Father,” Anya approached Yuri as he stood up, she kissed his cheek and embraced him for some time.  He returned her embrace.

“My Anna.”

“Papa,” They continued to embrace silently.

“My dear, I don’t know why you’re here, but I’m just happy you are,” He embraced her again.

“I wanted to speak with you,” she replied as she left his embrace.

“Should we sit?”

Oh no, I am fine, and you’ve been sitting for some time.  I just wanted to tell you that I read your report and I really appreciate all the work you put into it just for me.”

“Well, I wanted you to.”

“I also,” She interrupted him, “I wanted you to know that I visited Amodi yesterday.”

“You did, how? I wanted to take care of that for you.”

“No, it was fine, I mean it was horrible. Sorry, I mean to say, that the arrangements were fine, but the experience was horrible.”

“I’m sorry for that.”

“It’s not your fault father.” 

“Well, for me it feels like a major flaw in my character has been exposed,”

“I’m sorry father, but I think I know how you feel.  I found out about something that was happening to some young women in the camp, and I rather harshly, brought it to the attention of the Camp Administrator.  And he, exposed my flaw.”

“What?”

“Oh, father please, leave it, don’t do anything.  I deserved it.  He, has to oversee that camp day after day, trying to resolve the myriad of issues that arise there daily, and here I come, my first visit, and I come making demands, righteously indignant.” Anya paused, she was, sincerely ashamed of her behavior. “But what have I done, what have I ever done, for our people.”

“Don’t be too hard on yourself my dear,”

“That’s the problem pa, it’s been too easy for me.  I looked at those young girls and you know, it could have easily been me standing there.  What if you weren’t chosen to be Knome’s ruler. It could have been me.

“Well, we can’t change the past, but there is always the future.”

“Yes, and your right pa, it is time for me to do something for my people. All of my life, all I've ever been concerned about is me.  I promise you pa, I'm going to change that.

Yuri was pleased to hear his daughter’s words, especially since he had some very sensitive information that he needed to tell her, some information regarding changes that would involve her.  And, If she is as willing to live for her people as she confesses, then the impact of his news won't be so hard.

“Anya, there is something very important that I need to discuss with you.”

“what is it?”

“Please come sit down.”

Yuri's request for her to sit down unnerved her.

“I don’t want to sit down, what is it?  

“I need you to sit, please,”

“Pa, your frightening me, what is it, just tell me.”  The softness in Anya's face had changed, she began wringing her hands.

Yuri suddenly felt sick for what he was about to do to his daughter and had to sit.  “Well, I, need to sit down.”

Anya was now extremely concerned about what Yuri was about to reveal to her.  As he took a seat, she came and sat beside him.  “ok, I’m sitting, now what is it.”

Yuri couldn’t do it, he couldn’t do this to his precious daughter, he tried to think of something else, and it came to him.

“Prince Wilhelm has disappeared,” he replied, relieved that he didn’t have to shatter her world, just yet.

“What do you mean he’s disappeared, how do you know this,”

“The Akadian government has contacted us about the issue,”

“Why would Akadia contact us, if he was missing in Akadia,”

Anya’s question disturbed Wilhelm.  Since Anya’s return home, she had said little regarding Wilhelm.  Yuri had hoped that she had come to the realization that their relationship was impossible.  But now, this news, about Wilhelm may rekindle her dormant feelings.  He cursed himself for revealing it at all.

“Father, why are they contacting you.”

“Well, they suspected that Wilhelm somehow acquired passage on the Corbellis in an effort to come here and they wanted us to check all of our arrivals from the Corbellis.”

Anya was in shock.

“They suspect, that Wilhelm is here, on Knome?  Why would he.  Pa?  Why do they suspect that he’s come here?”

Yuri was thoroughly disgusted with himself, with his cowardliness. He should have told Anya the truth, had he done so, the issue regarding Wilhelm would have remained hidden.

“Pa, why do they suspect that Wilhelm has come here,” Anya was now insistent.

“They suspect that he was trying to come here to see you,” He confessed.

Anya could barely contain her breathing and her emotions began to flood over her, everything that she had been suppressing since she had come home began to burst out upon her, she had no control over it.  Her eyes began to flood with tears.

“Pa, Wilhelm is here on Knome? He’s come here for me? Oh Pa!”

“Anya, you need to breathe.  Breathe darling.  Anya, Wilhelm is not here.”

“He’s not?”

“No, we’ve checked all of our arrivals, no Wilhelm.  The Corbellis had no record of him as a passenger.  We relayed that information back to Akadia. He’s probably still on Akadia and this was just a mix-up,”

With that news, Anya began to calm down. “But, something made them believe that he was coming here. I need to speak with May.” Anya rose to her feet and began to leave.

“Anya,” Yuri stood and called out after her.

“Yes.”

“The Myan Ambassador has arrived, and he will be dining with us tonight, I want you to look your best,”

“Why,”

“Please Anna,” Yuri begged.

“Alright.”  Anya left the chamber emotionally jumbled.  Yuri sat morning over a wasted opportunity and the possibility that he had just complicated things even further.

 

Basin Lake (Knome)

 

It stood like a wall, obscuring the horizon from land to sky, as it devoured the light in its advance.  Never had Jasen, Teric or Kore, seen anything like it, they debated on what to do. The day began with clear skies and within a standard hour the whole environment had changed. The air was warmer and the winds had fled, absorbed into the massive sandstorm in their path.  They knew that they could not out run the advancing storm and they had considered waiting it out, but there was nothing or no place that they could run to for protection. As they debated, a huge thunderclap shook the landscape, causing the ja-raks to jump about, startled they began to gallop away, while their riders struggled to rein them in.  As each regained control of their ja-raks they rode back and met up to continue their debate.  But the debate was now mute.

A strong gust of wind joined with the oncoming sandstorm as Jasen, Teric and Kore were overtaken by it.  Obscuring the light, the hot red clouds of sand and dust made it nearly impossible for them to breathe.  Visibility was near zero, for them, it was, zero, they could not open their eyes as they slowly advanced into the oncoming winds.  The deafening roar of those winds made it difficult for them to communicate with one another.  The blowing particles of sand, dirt and small rocks pummeled them relentlessly, lodging into an eye, nose, and throat. Trying to shield sensitive body parts from the persistent flogging was proving to be a challenge as they were woefully unprepared for the storm.

They had been traveling through this wrath of nature, for what seemed like hours, not sure of the direction they were heading or how far they traveled.  The intensity of the storm began to weaken as their range of visibility increased.  In fact, they all saw it.  The contours of something large and massive just ahead of them. Liam gestured towards the object, trying to communicate his concerns unsuccessfully.  Teric reached for his pistol, uncertain of what good it would do in this storm.  They continued to move forward towards the object, and the closer they got, the easier their journey became as the massive object became a shield for them against the storm.

The appearance of the object became clearer, a massive mound protruding up from the flat plains, with a large ancient castle atop.  The men huddled together.  

“We should make for the fortress until the storm passes, Liam offered.  

“I agree,” Kore added.  

“Since we’re all in agreement, let’s proceed, Teric added, gesturing in the direction of the mound. 

They began advancing, now, with a destination in sight and with purpose, to get relief from the storm.


They each found a place to tie off their ja-racks and then they began to climb the mound, which actually turned out to be a stone wall, with its edges sandblasted away.  Unlike Teric and Jason, Kore was finding it difficult to climb. Teric help back, assisting Kore, from time to time, while Jasen reaching the top of the mound, waited for them.  As soon as they were all upon the mound, they proceeded to investigate the ancient castle on top.  Most of the edifice had collapsed, one wing however stood firm.  They entered one of the entrances and walked into what must have been at one time a grand hall.  There was a huge staircase directly in front of them.  

“This is magnificent!” Jasen said as he turned around taking it all in.

“When do you suppose this was built?  Kore asked as he began ascending the stairs.

“I have no idea,” Jasen replied as he began following Kore up the stairs.

Teric was cautiously investigating the ground level rooms, entering each, verifying that they were empty.

Reaching the first landing, Kore turned, looking down the half flight of stairs.  “I imagine it was grand in its time.”

Jasen reaching the landing continued to walk up the stairs to the first floor. He walked over to the railing that looked down on the grand staircase.  “Hey Teric, Jasen yelled as his echo returned his cry.  “Come and look at this?”

Teric had checked all the rooms that it was possible to enter, and then he rushed to the staircase, looking up from the stairs below, he gestured for Jasen to keep quiet.

“Surely you don’t believe anyone’s here,” Jasen said not bothering to lower his voice.

“No, but we better make sure,” Teric whispered as loud as he could, while ascending the flight of stairs.  

Kore exited out of one of the first-floor rooms as Teric reached the first floor.  “I think we should wait out the storm here,” Kore suggested.

“I think that was the idea,” Jasen added. 

Teric walked over to the railing overlooking the staircase and then he walked back to the others.

“I think we should camp out on this floor,” Teric advised as he took off his pack and gear.

“So, who gets what room?” Kore asked in all seriousness.

 

Maessa (Knome)

Krestlin Palace 

 

The gathering was intimate. Less than a dozen individuals occupied one of Krestlin Palace’s minor dining halls.  Yuri was at one end of the oval dining table, with his wife and daughter, Korah, on either side of him. At the other end, sat the Myan Ambassador, Etian Salinid, and his wife, along with several personal envoys. Filling in other spaces were a few of Yuri’s trusted advisors. The atmosphere was pleasant and light, as the attendees engaged in casual conversation, avoiding the obvious absence, of the guest of honor.  The empty chair at the Myan Ambassadors right, was like a scar that marred the beautiful settings and arrangement of this special meal.  Yuri, nervously raised his hand to summon an attendant.  

“Has Anya been located,” Yuri asked for the second time.  The attendant left the room to inquire on behalf of Yuri.  Quickly he reentered the dining hall and approached Yuri.

“My lord, the lady Anya, has not been located at this moment,” the attendant said for the second time.

Ambassador Salinid, watched, curious regarding the tension in the room.  Yuri was obviously disturbed, most in the room could sense it, but proceeded as if nothing was wrong, and where was his daughter, the Lady Anya. Salinid followed suit, and ignoring the obvious tension in the hall, he tried to make light of it with tales of his home world, attempting to inject some humor into the telling, but receiving, only sprinkled laughter.  Upon the return of the attendant, Salinid ceased from completing another story, and based on the reaction he received from the hall’s occupants, no one was listening anyway.  The attendant leaned to whisper in Yuri’s ear.  Yuri’s face brightened upon receiving the information and he firmly grasped the attendant’s hand in relief.

Yuri stood, prompting everyone in the hall to stand.
 
“Mr. Ambassador, please, I would like you to meet my daughter, and our guest of honor, the Lady Anya Yemen.”

Upon that queue, Anya entered the hall.  She didn’t realize that she was the focus of the dinner.  Why was she the honored guest and not the Myan Ambassador.  She gave her father a puzzled look as she entered the dining hall in full view of all the attendees. Anya was immaculately dressed in a beautiful gown of royal blue with white accents, fitting her, not too tightly, but just enough, to reveal the beauty of her form.  Ambassador Salinid was stunned by this beautiful spectacle, he was moved and immediately looked at his wife out of guilt. He watched Anya’s every move and was eager to have her sitting right next him.   Anya walked up to her father and kissed him.

“What were you doing?” Yuri whispered.

“You said ‘look your best,’ she replied.

Yuri could not respond to Anya's reply, because she had already walked away and was approaching her mother.  She kissed Mura, but sense something unsettling in her mother.

“Ma, are you alright,” she whispered.

Mura started to speak, but was emotionally unable, she returned Anya's kiss and then turned away from her, hiding her face from her.  Anya glanced at her father who was watching the entire exchange. She next turned towards Korah, who leaned towards Anya extending her cheek, instead Anya walked right past Korah, noticeably bypassing her. Korah glanced around the room, clearly embarrassed, as eyes darted away from her, sparing her further embarrassment. Korah was incensed, and she immediately sat down before anyone else, before, being invited to sit. Anya continued to walk around the room, greeting all. Then facing the Ambassador, she bowed, offering her hand, he seized it, and kissed her soft fingers.  

“I beg you to forgive my late arrival,” Anya petitioned the ambassador.

“My dear, it was well worth the wait, please don’t apologize,” he pleaded.

Everyone began taking their seats, after Yuri gestured for them to do so.

Anya took the seat pulled out for her by one of the attendants, who helped her settle in.  

“I was just telling everyone that I consider it an honor to take on this assignment to serve the interest of my government in your beautiful city.”  Salinid stood, “May I discharge my responsibility at this time?” 

Salinid waited for Yuri's response.  Yuri was preoccupied with his wife, who with a napkin was wiping her eyes from time to time.

“Oh, Yes,” Yuri replied not really knowing what he was agreeing with.

Still standing, Salinid removed a reader from his clothing, he held it up and began reading.

“His Majesty, Yuri Yemen, the Lady’s Mura, Anya, Kora Yemen, and Mr. Prime Minister. It is a pleasure and honor to address you as the ambassador, representing the Myan Imperial See. The Myan Empire encompasses many lands and a vast array of peoples with many fabulous cultural practices and interesting features. It is the expressed will of Emperor Inasi Chalchemedes VI to establish a close and mutually beneficial relationship with the Knomen Republic of Tribal States. We are aware of the Knomen Republics efforts to meet the needs of its citizens just as the Myan Empire desires to meet the needs of those under its realm. This should be the goal of any well-functioning government.  We believe all governments are obligated to make the regions of Moorbia stronger and better for its inhabitants. To that end, mutual respect must be the foundation as we work together to resolve the issues that stand in the way of peace and security for every child, woman and man, in all the regions of Moorbia.

and with that, I present my credentials,” Salinid concluded.  

One of Salinid’s envoy’s rose and taking the reader from the Ambassador, he walked over to Prince Yuri, who stood up along with the Prime Minister, and held up the reader.  

“Ambassador Etian Salinid, of the Order of the Stone, in the strictest confidence of our Holy Emperor Inasi Chalchemedes VI hereby presents to His Majesty Yuri Yemen, monarch of the Knomen Republic of the Tribal States, his credentials.”

The envoy bowed, while handing the reader to Yuri.  Yuri turned and passed it on to the Prime Minister, who secured it.  Yuri took up his glass and gestured for everyone to stand.   “To mutual respect,” he called out, and  everyone repeated after him, drank, and took their seats. 

“I must apologize again for my delay, Mr. Ambassador,” Anya, sincerely added as she sat down.

“Oh no, you will do no such thing, please don’t apologize, the pleasure was indeed mine,” Salinid again took her hand and kissed it.

“Shall we dine!” came an irritated voice from across the table.  Korah, was sick of all the attention her sister was receiving, once again, everyone catering to her sister.  She was completely fed up with it. Korah wanted it to stop, even if it meant breaking protocol.

Yuri, had noticed Anya’s snub of Korah earlier and now, disappointed, he eyed his youngest daughter with more than a little irritation, “Yes, please,” he gestured to the head attendant, “we can begin.”

As the level of activity among the dining staff increased, the Ambassador moved his chair closer towards Anya.

“I understand that you have been teaching in Akadia," the Ambassador asked.

“Well, I don’t know if a ten-minute speech qualifies as teaching, Mr. Ambassador,” Anya, smiled, “my tenure, was cut dramatically short,” She said, glancing in her father’s direction, “but how kind of you to inquire,” she added.

“Well, I’m sorry to hear that, maybe you will have a future opportunity”

“One can hope.”

“Yes, there’s always hope,” he added thoughtfully.  

There was a pause as Anya eyed her father. 

“Mr. Ambassador,” Anya asked, but was interrupted as the Ambassador put his hand on her arm.

“No, please, call me, Etian, he pleaded.

Anya hesitated, “I feel that would be most inappropriate,”

“I want us to become friends, so please I beg of you, call me Etian.”

“Very well, Etian. I wanted to ask you something, but I hesitate to broach this subject, for I do not wish to offend.”  Anya paused as an attendant placed a dish of Polindian broth, first before the Ambassador, and then before her.

“Please, my dear, proceed,” the ambassador suggested, after the attendant moved on to the next guest.

Yuri had been keenly watching the pair, straining to listen to their conversation.

“I was wondering, Etian, what truly are Mya’s intentions towards my people, I must say, Mya’s interest has always seemed to be,” Anya paused searching for the words, “self-preservation through conquest,” she asked, taking a spoonful of the broth, closely watching his reaction.
.
Taken aback for just a moment, Etian, sipped the broth from his spoon, as he formulated a response.

“Can you tell me of any people not interested in self-preservation, and is it possible that two nations, interested in their own self-preservation, can share mutual interests?

“I agree this is possible, and is the idea situation for mutually respecting governments,” Anya added, “but what if one of those governments has intentions outside the idea situation?

“Yes,” the Ambassador interrupted, “for instance, your people were subject to the Akadian government.  There was no fair agreement between two mutually respecting entities during that period, and I would venture to say, now, even in current circumstances, mutual respect is not a priority, am I out of bounds?”

Anya was stung by the Ambassador’s arguments, she had to admit that he had a point, but she didn’t have to say it.” 

Salinid continued, “And if I may, without bruising toes.  The Akadian government has no respect for your government, and your government has no respect for itself.  However, rest assured, my lady, my government has a high regard for the Knomen people, we believe, that it is in the best interest of both our governments, indeed, it is in the interest of all of Moorbia, that Knome is freed from the shackles that binds her.”

“I hope I did not offend, Anya asked.

“No, not at all, I respect your inquiry, indeed, I do,” Etian smiled.

“Thank You,” Anya replied.

Anya promised herself not to venture in to another debate with Ambassador Salinid. What he said was disturbing to her.  Others could see what the Akadians have been doing to her people, even she has finally seen the light.  But why can’t she feel the animosity towards Akadia that her sister and father feel, or the intellectual disdain she sensed in Ambassador Salinid.  She continued to sip her broth sensing Salinid’s eyes on her.

“Lady Anya, it is an honor for me to be here, to be in your presence, to see your beautiful city and your beautiful home.  It is my desire that our governments enjoy the closest of relationships, and I must say, we are off to a great start,” Etian said as he wiped the corners of his mouth with his napkin, “Now, have I allayed your concerns,” he asked.

“Not quite, but you are very persuasive,” Anya admitted. 

“Etian,” Yuri, barked, somewhat startling his guest. "Please tell us of your impressions of our city, we would love to hear your observations."

Etian gestured disappointingly toward Anya, wanting to continue their conversation, however, being pulled away by the head of the nation, took precedent.  Yuri tried to display his disappointment to Anya without revealing it before his guest, unsuccessfully.

Anya resigned herself to enjoying her meal, not looking towards her father.

Etian cleared his throat, “First, I must say this, my friend, your daughter is delightful, beautiful, and I sense very intelligent, she will be a beautiful bride.”  Etian, lifted his glass in a toast as a few around the table followed suit, but not all, and those who did not lift their glasses, immediately looked in Anya’s direction.  

The Ambassador’s comments were lost upon Anya, until she noticed nervous glares in her direction.  She turned toward the Ambassador asking, “What did you say?”

Etian, also aware of the change in atmosphere in the hall, turned toward Anya.  “I said that you will make, a beautiful bride,” he offered, unsure if he had said something inappropriate. 

“Whose, bride?” Anya was stunned, not only because of what Etian had said, but because of the reaction from some of those at the table, she needed to know what was meant.

Yuri, tried to interrupt the exchange, but Anya took command and she stood up. “Whose bride?”

Etian looked to Yuri, “did I misspeak?”
 
“Father, what’s going on?” Anya asked. 

Mura, now began to cry, drawing Anya’s attention.

“Mother, do you know, whose bride,” she pleaded.

“Anya, please, this is not the time, please,” Yuri, stood up, hurrying to Anya’s side. 

“Father, whose bride?” she asked over and over as Yuri, took her arm, and led her out of the Dining Hall.

“She didn’t know?” The Ambassador asked after Yuri and Anya left the hall.

Outside the dining hall, Anya freed herself from Yuri’s hold.

“Father, what is going on, what is he talking about, whose bride am I to become,” she asked, almost in tears in fear of her father’s next words.

“He misspoke,” Yuri offered, himself unsure of how to proceed.

“Don’t, lie to me!” Anya screamed.

“Lower your voice,” he demanded, again taking her arm and leading her to a small coat closet inside the dinning hall’s reception room.

“You, are lying to me, mother knows. You need to tell me what is going on now!”

“I don’t know how” he sighed.

Anya was now very worried, she could see the consternation in his face, she saw it in her mother’s face also.  “Father, please, just tell me,”

Yuri, turned his face away from her. “Anya, I love, I love you like no other, you are my princess”

 Anya began to sob, cutting off her father’s confession.  He turned to her and held her.

“Father, I can’t take anymore.  I can’t. I can’t. I can’t, please, father, please, what have you done to me?” 

“Anya, let’s talk about this later, when you’re able,” Yuri pleaded, looking for a way out.

“No,” she demanded, “Whose bride, father?”

"Ok, I will tell you. I am sorry Anna. it is the only way," Yuri pleaded.

"Just tell me," Anya replied.

"Our alliance with the Myan government, required various agreements, of which one, was a life agreement, a seal of our alliance by marriage.”

“Marriage?” Anya asked, barely uttering the word. "Marriage."

There was a long pause, with Anya’s sobs breaking the silence.  Those sobs, pained Yuri, as he began to consider the gravity of what he had done to her.  

“Whose bride?” she asked again barely getting out the words.  Anya felt crushed, barely alive, she could no longer cry, she had no tears left.  She could not feel her heart beating, her hands felt numb, she could not tell if she was lying down or standing, her hearing was gone, and yet there was a pounding in her head, words repeating over and over, “the emperor’s son.” and then it stopped suddenly, everything stopped.

Yuri, heard a thud and turned to see Anya, collapsed on to the floor, he yelled, going to her, calling her name, “Anya, darling, Anya, there was no response, he yelled for help as an attendant rushed in. The attendant, assessing the situation began barking orders to another outside the room.  The attendants lifted Anya, taking her out of the closet and into the reception hall, laying her on a divan. 

Those in the dining hall began to come out in response to the excitement in the reception room.  Mura saw Anya on the divan, and she ran to her crying. 

“Anya, my precious,” She began trying to lift her up amid the protest of the attendant and medical staff who began arriving.

“Leave her,” Yuri pleaded with his wife.

“Leave me alone,” Mura screamed.  “You did this to her.”

Yuri was dazed, He had crushed his own daughter, his beautiful daughter.  He yelled, “Anya,” and then he fainted.


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

Chapters

Add Your Comments: