Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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

Chapter 23 (v.1) - Chapter Twenty-two

Submitted: March 19, 2017

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Submitted: March 19, 2017

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Tannis (Kessel)

Coffer Industrial

 

Senator Radsom was livid, and he did nothing to restrain his anger, as was his usual response to rage and indignation.  He allowed the rush of vexation to flood over his normally calm exterior.  His breathing was shallow and quick, his pulse rapid, his eyes narrow as he mouthed unuttered curses.  He had had it with these clandestine meetings and he had informed Havik, at their previous meeting, that it would be his last.  He was done with Havik's interference in his business and he was prepared and determined to tell him so, in no uncertain terms and in a manner that will make it very clear to him.  Colm paced the floor in an empty decrepit room, in an empty abandoned building in a neglected industrial region of Tannis. 
 
Colm glanced at his time piece and was flushed with a new wave of irritation.  Havik was late, very late, and he had more important matters to attend to, than to be pestered repeatedly to make a decision that he did not agree with.  He considered leaving, making that, his final message for the meddling interloper.  With one more glance at his time piece, Colm had made his decision and began to leave.  As he exited the room he nearly plowed into Havik.  Havik’s outstretched arms prevented the near collision.

“Senator Radsom.”

“Lord Poul, excuse me.”

“Leaving?”

Colm was caught off guard for a moment, but after composing himself, his indignation returned.

“Yes, I am leaving, I should not have agreed to this meeting. I don’t care to be pressured to do something that I am not prepared to do.”  Colm stiffened with resolve as he began to walk away.

“Senator, I have no intention of pressuring you to do anything.  Keep your own council, that’s not why I asked you here.

Colm stopped, baffled by Havik’s confession.  He was also reluctantly curious regarding the reason for Havik’s invitation.  He wondered if this was some sort of tactic to keep him there, which would eventually get around to pressuring him to call for a No confidence conference in the Senate.

“Well, then,” Colm stumbled his indignation deflated.  “Did we have to meet here?”

“I’m afraid so Senator. While this has nothing to do with your strategies in the Senate.  I felt that as a friend, I should inform you of some, how should I say, some developments that will have a profound effect on the future of this nation.”

Colm’s interest was now peaked, although he was still worried that somehow it would come back to his Senatorial decisions.
“Ok, as long as we don’t talk Senate business.”

“Senator Radsom, what you choose to do or not do, no longer has any interest to the Governor. In the grand scheme that is now unfolding, it is irrelevant.”

Havik relished those words, after months of trying to move the Senator and his faction to make a decision in favor of a no confidence vote against the King.  It felt so good to be done with this puny man and his puny ideas.

“What do you mean?”

“What I mean, Senator, is that a line is being drawn.  On one side stands friends of Governor Palatia, and on the other, shall we call them, enemies.  Yes, let’s do that.”  “Friends,” Havik held out his right hand.  “Enemies,” he said holding out his left.  “Where do you stand, Senator Radsom?”

Colm was curiously suspicious, what was Havik talking about, what was this grand scheme that he seemed to have confidence in, enough confidence to issue a subtle threat.

“Lord Poul, I will always be on the side of the crown, not the man who wears it, but to the crown itself.  That will always be were my loyalty lies.”

“Always, Senator?”

“Havik, we’re nibbling around the edges here, what’s going on, what is this grand scheme?”

“I am not at liberty to divulge what I know at the moment, Senator.  But this comes directly from the Governor.  In the near future he may call on you to perform a very important task.  We will then know, on what side you stand. Senator, a great upheaval is coming.”

Colm, stood, observing Havik, there was something different about him.  He knows something and whatever it is, it has emboldened him, made him, arrogant.

“I will give thought to what you’ve said here today, Lord Poul.  Please, convey my regards to the Governor.

“Please do Senator Radsom,” Havik stepped through the entrance as he prepared to leave. “That call may come sooner rather than later.”  He walked down the hall as Colm watched.

Senator Radsom, did not like the subtleties of their conversation.  The Govenor and his nephew may have the wrong idea about me, Colm thought.  All of their clandestine strategy meetings were not about overthrowing the King, they weren’t about treason.  What he and his faction were attempting to do, was in line with the Code. The vote of no confidence was written into the code as a remedy for a wayward monarch.  It is by the code.  But what was Havik alluding to, another Senate Rebellion?

That was a line he had not crossed then, neither would he cross it again if, another attempt to overthrow the King was made. Colm left the room and began to walk down the hallway.  He was not a member of the Senate during those dark days.  He had worked as an junior aide to Senator Malcus Vein who got caught up in the Rebellion and the subsequent purge that followed.  Because he worked in the Senator's office he and his fellow aides were arrested, tried and exonerated.  He certainly did not want to see a repeat of that bad business. Colm looked at his time piece, covered his head with his cloak and left the building.

 

Udin (Knome)

 

Lost in a storm of emotion and fear, Teric was completely unaware of where he was being led.  His escorts on each side of him had to literally guide him, taking his arm at each turn, pulling him to keep him from lagging behind.  Teric did not know how long he walked, his anticipation for the unknown left him in a fog.  He couldn’t think, he couldn’t calculate the possibilities, how could he, he had never been here before, he had never imagined such a scenario.  He could not even connect two thoughts together to attempt a calculation, for his emotions raided his thoughts and his memories of her, arrested his mind.  It felt like he was in a dream and a nightmare at the same time.  He was fighting for the control he feared to lose.  And yet his longing frightened him.  It wanted to take over, to lead him, to dictate to him, to enslave him to its will.  He stopped walking, closed his eyes and clenched his fists.  His escort stopped, waiting for him.  But Teric did not move, he wrestled with himself to gain mastery over his longing. His escorts stepped back, taking his wrist, trying to nudge him forward.  Teric opened his eyes, prompted by a stinging in his hands.  He looked down and noticed blood on his fingers.  He opened his right hand and noticed the marks his fingernails had made in his palm drawing blood.  One the escorts immediately drew a cloth and handed it to Teric.  He held the cloth as the escorts again tugged on him and this time he acquiesced.  He was grateful for the pain and the momentary pause it gave him over his emotional struggle.

After walking a few steps from where he had stopped, his escorts halted in front of a closed door.  Stepping away from the door his escorts pulled him closer to the entrance.  One of them knocked on the door and as the door opened the escorts left him.  A fragrance escaped from the open door and caressed him.  It was familiar to him and it whispered her name stirring him, calling the longing that he had momentarily bested.  The woman at the door was not Shushan but he had seen her before.

“Welcome, Teric.  Please come in,” Kalima took his arm and pulled him inside.
She noticed the red stained cloth he held in his hand.

“Are you alright?” Kalima asked.

Teric did not even hear Kalima after she pulled him inside.  He was mesmerized by the sights, sounds and fragrances that enveloped him as he entered the room.  The room was dark but with enough lighting to notice the objects in the room.  The light sound of water felt soothing to his cluttered mind.

“May I get you anything before I leave,” Kalima asked as she stepped through the door.  Teric said nothing. Kalima closed the door and engaged a locking mechanism.

The room, was electric, with her presence.  He could barely see, in the low lights, but he sensed movement in his direction.

“Teric,” a soft voice called to him.  He turned toward the voice recognizing her.  Seeing her form in the darkened room, alone, calling to him, massacred his inhibitions, his restraints, as he quickly advanced on her, taking her in his arms.

“Oh, Teric,” Shushan moaned.

Unrestrained, he held her and tried desperately to find her lips. The effort was driving him mad as he could not consummate his desire.  Then through the fog he sensed that Shushan was fighting against his effort and then he heard her.

“No, Teric, No,” Shushan wanted to feel his lips, she wanted to be swept in his insistence, but not just yet.  There was something that needed to be done and not in a rush of passion.

“Please, Teric,” Shushan pleaded as she managed to pull away from him, increasing the distance between them, after he lunged after her.

Teric was confused and frustrated.  He felt intoxicated and nearly fell over when Shushan backed away from him.

“What’s wrong, what did I do?”  He asked, reaching out for her.
“You did nothing wrong, nothing, and I want this as much as you. But you must first make a decision, with a clear mind.”

Teric, was still confused and out of his mind with longing.  “What should I do? he asked desperate for her answer.

“Are you hungry?”

“Yes,” he yelled, taking a step towards her.

Shushan stepped back out of his reach.  “Teric,” she scolded.  Then she smiled.

Teric, laughed after Shushan smiled at him, he was embarrassed.

“No, I’m not hungry,” He added.  Teric took a deep breath, as the mood lightened.

“Shushan, what must I do,” Teric pleaded, his eyes piercing her.

“One word,” she uttered, “Teric, just one word, and I will not resist you. I will not! One word.”  Shushan’s eyes began to water as she sensed the fulfilment she would have in Teric.

Frustrated, Teric moaned, “What word?  I don't know what I should do,” he pleaded as he walked up to her and began caressing her waist, pulling her closer.

Shushan could barely control her breathing, “I vowed my heart and my life to you, Teric Highlord.  Do you accept my surrender?”

Before she even finished speaking, Teric had already said yes in his heart and his lips began to part with the words, and then stopped. Teric, stared into her eyes, and though, it did not show on his face, his mind and heart, were at war.  And his mind had deployed a secret weapon against his heart and it crushed him.

Shushan was confident that Teric, was hers, until, that moment.  She saw the longing in his face, felt the longing in his grasp, and yet, she sensed doubt. She brushed her face against his, trying to bring him back, and as he held her tight, she felt control in his grip, not the uncontrolled passion that he had earlier initiated, the uncontrolled passion that she desired, that she craved.

He held her still, as he contemplated, calculated the consequences of his desire. Shushan held him and fought for his lips, but he avoided the thing he most wanted

As he held her, she wanted to know, but she feared to ask. She became desperate for his passion desperate for his insistence. His grasp of her became tighter, so much so that she became concerned.

“Teric, what is it, what's wrong?” He continued to hold her as he exclaimed something she did not understand.  She began to plead with him as he released her. “Please, Teric, what is it?  Shushan held on to him as he began to extract himself from her embrace.

“No, Teric, No, talk to me,” Shushan began to weep as her dreams began to slip through her fingers.

Teric walked away from her trying to gain some composure.  Shushan reached for him and held him trying to face him, but he again turned away from her.

“Teric, what did I do, what happened. Tell me, please, Tell me.”

Teric was crushed as he watched shushan pleading for him, he wanted her. Her tears and her cries were breaking him, tearing him apart.  He wanted to comfort her, he wanted to envelop her, he wanted to ravish her, he wanted, to love her.

“I am sorry, please, I need a moment, please.” He begged her.

Shushan reluctantly stepped back to give him space.  She fought against her desperate desire to go to him.

Teric was indeed at war with himself, he loved her.  Teric laughed at the thought. He had just met her, was it possible.  And it wasn't just the passion he felt for her. He was drawn to this kind, gentle, beautiful woman.  In her presence, he felt complete.  With her nothing was missing. And there had always been a void in his life.  But with her, it felt like he had found his place.  He wanted to be around her, to see her smile, to hear her voice.  He fell for the first time he saw her and he wondered if that was even possible since he was an amateur to love.  And then she danced.  And the moment he saw her, he knew that he didn't just want her, he needed her.  And that vulnerability invoked a fear in him that he never felt before.  He wanted to run away from it, but he could not be without her.  When he felt her tears, he surrendered to his longing, it was his unuttered yes.  And had it not been for Shushan's pause, he may have never noticed the familiar tingling in his body, the surge of his adrenaline, the heightened sense of his awareness, that familiar taste in his mouth, if it hadn't been for Shushan's pause, he would have killed her.

Tears leapt from Teric’s eyes as he came to the realization that the void in his life would continue.  Shushan saw the tears falling from his eyes and she fell to her knees.

“Teric?” Shushan cried.  “Oh Teric, please. Talk to me. “

Shushan felt desperate to hold him but she wanted to respect his wishes even though it was difficult to restrain herself.

“Please Teric, I can't take this.  I love you and I can't take this,” Shushan fell to the floor crying.

Teric could no longer restrain himself, he walked over to her and knelt down to hold her.  I'm sorry Shushan, I love you.  But, I cannot, hurt you."

“No!” Shushan interrupted him, “No.  Please, Teric, don’t reject me, don't hurt me.”  Shushan held on to him and began to lay back onto the floor, “Please, I won't resist, I won’t.”

Teric fought her and he was finding it difficult to extract himself from her grasp.

“Shushan, you don't understand, I love you, and I want you, but I can't. Pulling away from her he stood to his feet.  “I can't.”

Shushan rose to her feet as Teric started to walk towards the door.  She got in front of him.  “Teric, don't reject me, please, please don't reject me.”

“Shushan,” Teric moaned. “I am not rejecting you,” Teric could not finish as Shushan reached out for him and held him, straining for his lips.

"But it feels like you are.  Oh Teric."

He held her, trying to stop her.  “Shushan please listen to me.  If it were different I would spend the rest of my life here, with you, and I wish I could.  I want you more than anything I have ever wanted in my life.  But I can't.”

“You can have me Teric, please, I am giving myself to you, please don’t leave me.”

Teric was desperate to get out of there, for he felt his resolve was in jeopardy, that through a lapse, he might kill her.

“Shushan, stop, stop it, " he yelled as he pulled away from her.

“Please, Teric” she begged him as he opened the door, left the room, and began running away down the hall.

 

Maessa (Knome)

Krestlin Palace

 

Yutiro feigned reading a book, he was surprised at the number of individuals in the palace library.  As he looked up from his book from time to time he could have sworn that he was being watched.  Yutiro was anxious to see Anya again, but felt sick at heart that he had no news for her.  She seemed at the breaking point the last time he saw her, he feared what his news would do to her.  He had tried to contact May, he even resorted to some tactics that could have gotten him in serious trouble.  In fact, he was warned by a Senior official for using his ID improperly.  Yutiro feared that he was going to be arrested on the spot. It took some time and effort to disentangle himself from that incident.  Yutiro again looked up from his book.  He was certain that he was being watched.

“Yutiro.”

He looked up in response to the calling of his name and was surprised to see Anya.  He had been expecting to see the troubled young princess from their last encounter. But not this time, she looked immaculate.

“Better?” Anya asked as she removed her cloak and placed it on a nearby divan.

“Oh, much better, my lady.”  Yutiro laid the book on the divan also as he approached Anya and gave her an embrace.  Looking around he noticed several pairs of eyes on them.

“My Lady, I think we are being watched,” Yutiro whispered.

“I’m sure we are,” Anya replied unconcerned.  She turned looking directly at one of those pair of eyes, causing the watcher to walk away.  “Don’t worry about it.”

Anya looked eagerly into Yutiro’s eyes which caused him to sigh. He knew what those eager eyes wanted, and he knew that his words would devastate her, and he didn't want to do that to her, he didn't want to confess to her that he had nothing.

“What is it,” Anya inquired, worried by the look on Yutiro’s face, “were you able to contact May? 

Yutiro hesitated, reluctant to admit his failure. He lowered his eyes, not wanting to see the disappointment in her face.

“I’m sorry, my lady.  My access has also been restricted. I tried, I’m really sorry.

After a long pause, Yutiro looked up, seeing the disappointment in Anya's face, the very thing that he wished to avoid. Yutiro took her arm to try to comfort her.

Anya unconsciously pulled away from Yutiro in disgust.  Immediately she realized her mistake.  Yutiro was visibly hurt by the slight and recoiled in shame.

“Oh, Yutiro,” Anya implored, taking both of his hands. “I’m sorry, I know it’s not your fault. I’m certain you tried everything you could.” She embraced him. “You are so good to me.”

Yutiro recovered quickly in Anya’s embrace.  He thought it was odd however that, it was he that should be comforting her.

Anya held on to Yutiro’s hands and pleaded with her eyes.  “Yutiro, is there something we can do?”

Yutiro remained silent in thought for some time while Anya waited, hoping that he could think of something that she could not.  Yutiro was exhausted of ideas. Once it was clear he could not contact May, he contemplated many alternate courses of action, but none of them seemed feasible.

“Maybe the Prime Minister, can help you,” Yutiro offered knowing that the chances of enlisting the Prime Minister’s help was near zero, but it was all that he had.

 “No, I don’t think so, Kolosk would check with my father before fulfilling a request for me.”  Anya’s face matched the disappointment Yutiro heard in her voice.  Anya removed her cloak from off the divan and wrapped it around her head.

"Yutiro, I don't know what's going to happen," she whispered as she leaned in towards him.  "I just know that I can't go through with it.  I wish I could, Yutiro, I really do. I owe our people so much.  If my concession would really bring prosperity to our world, if it could rid our land of those horrible camps, I would do it.  I would sacrifice my happiness for such a change."  Anya paused.

"Yutiro, I fear, that my father has made a grave mistake.  I love my father, but, his obsession, to bring change to our people, has led him to make, horrendous decisions that i fear will have terrible consequences for us."

Anya paused, waiting for Yutiro to respond, but he remained silent. He didn't know what to say, should he share in her concern and thus speak against the Prince?  It may be permissible for his daughter to do so, but not him.  As he silently debated whether to answer or not, Anya took his hand.

“Thank You Yutiro, I really do appreciate all you have done to help me."  Anya turned around and walked away.  Yutiro watched her until she exited the library at the other end of the room.  Yutiro sat down on the divan determined to think of a way to help Anya.

 


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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