Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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

Chapter 25 (v.1) - Chapter Twenty-four

Submitted: March 20, 2017

Reads: 119

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Submitted: March 20, 2017

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Tannis (Knome)

Woodsen Hall

 

Two immaculately bedecked Guards stood in front of the huge double doors that led to the Kings audience chamber. Relic gold etchings outlined the Antilla crest on each door. The marble brick floors and walls were stunning, Kenton had seen pictures of the palace, but seeing it with his own eyes, was awe inspiring.  Jak had told Kenton not to get caught up in the spectacle of the Palace otherwise he would be intimidated and it would affect his presentation.  Looking around the various hallways and rooms, Kenton understood just what Jak meant. He tried to disregard all the extravagance of the palace and concentrate on his briefing notes.

“You ready,” Jak asked.

“No, but what choice do I have.”

The door began to open as the guard stood to the side. They were met by the King’s herald.  He led them through the foyer as he took identification readings.  As they walked to a second set of double doors, they opened immediately as if the doors sensed their presence.  The herald entered first announcing them to the gathering in the room.

Kenton quickly recognized the King who sat on a throne like chair with various ministers seated around him.  Legion Knights served as the King’s guards.  There was a dozen of them in the hall, very intimidating in their jade garb, heavily armed with weapons Kenton had never seen before.  Although they were as still as the Ivory statues that lined the hallway, they appeared ready to use those weapons within a moment’s notice. Kenton could see it in their eyes, which were actively scanning the room and every occupant in it. Jak approached the King, while Jason hung back a few feet. 

“Director Jak, Welcome,” the herald announced as he took a seat behind the King’s ministers.

“My Lord, Ministers of the Realm, thank you for this honor to appear before you.  We, my agency, have discovered some information that we believe will shed some light on what has happened to your son, my lord.”

The King sat up in his seat, glancing at his ministers.  “What information?”  The King was exhausted and wearied of more false hopes, but he couldn't help the deep yearning that leapt inside of him at the prospect of seeing his son again.

“My Lord, I brought along my Section chief who has been spearheading this investigation, he will give you a briefing of our discoveries and answer any of your questions.”  Jak stepped back and took Kenton's arm, moving him forward in his place.

Kenton was noticeably intimidated and nervous, he couldn't remember Jak’s instructions and paused trying to remember the tactic that Jak had rehearsed with him over and over again, but nothing came to mind, and the King and his Ministers were waiting.

Kenton cleared his throat.  “My Lord, in our initial investigation of all the relevant evidence gathered by all of the Governments intelligence agencies, we missed a few critical pieces of evidence.”  Kenton picked up the hand controls for the presentation system and began to initiate the display.

“My lord, your son was tracked visiting a friend at the Toremark Estates.  After leaving dressed in his friends clothing we tracked him to the Knomen Embassy and then to Canton Spaceport.”

“We know this,” King Wilhelm interrupted impatient.

“Yes sir, if I may." Kenton waited until the King waved his hand, signaling for Kenton to continue.  "Thank you, My Lord, please note the monitor.”

The monitor showed Wilhelm dressed in his friend’s clothing running into one of Canton Spaceport's launch bays. 

"The ship harbored at that bay was scheduled to dock with the Corbellis.  We have no footage of Wilhelm leaving that bay, we believed that he was aboard that ship, the Volton, when it docked with the Corbellis.”

King Wilhelm rose to his feet, “Have you contacted this ship, we need to locate them.”

“We have my lord. Reports from the Corbellis seems to indicate that the ship departed destined for Knome which, seems to fit in with other reports that your son was pursuing the Lady Anya Yemen. “

“So, he’s on Knome, do we know that for sure” the King asked still standing.

“That’s what we suspect sir.  But there is another problem that we need to inform you about.”

“Can we take that up later, we need to report this to the Knomen Ambassador right away,” the King interrupted.

“My lord, this is important, the safety of your son is subject to it,” Kenton stressed, no longer nervous but anxious to unload the weight of his information on to other shoulders.

King Wilhelm slowly sat down without a word.

“My Lord, what I am about to report to you, we reported to the Royal Security Counsel some time ago, we met with Lord Havik Poul.  But at the time, the connection between these two situations was not apparent to us.  My Lord, we employed a communication space station near Knomen air space.  This was done in an effort to discover what was behind the emergence of black sites on Knome. That vessel was destroyed by an unknown attacker, not long after one of our covert agents on the planet discovered a military craft beyond the capabilities of the Knomen's to construct.  We believe that agent was killed.”

There was a low rumble of voices and surprised looks from the Kings ministers. 

“Sir, since we could not confirm the destruction of our satellite, we were able to contact a government ship, the PTV Enola and employed it to confirm what we could not see.  Not long after the Enola arrived in the vicinity of Knome, we received an emergency transmission from the Enola, they too came under attack, a massive missile attack.”

"Why are we unaware of this," the King's Prime Minister asked.

Jak stepped forward, "As my section chief relayed, we had not made the discovery that the prince was likely on Knome.  As to the attack on our space craft, we were going through the proper channels.  The Royal Security Council was aware of our findings. We were ordered to close down our investigation and send all of our findings to the Council"

“Well what’s being done about this? the King asked. “If my son is on Knome, then his life is in danger?”

Jak stepped forward once again, “My lord that is why I insisted that we meet with you, we need more resources in this effort and frankly, we need to establish a direct channel to the Knomen government to resolve this as soon as possible.”

“Send for the Ambassador and for Havik," the King ordered speaking to an aide at his side. "Stay here, you will need to brief the Knomen Ambassador when he arrives."

"Yes, My Lord," Jak replied as he bowed and stepped away.  Kenton was relieved that they had dodged a serious situation, at least for now. Both Jak and Kenton sat down as the King and his ministers deliberated.

 

Thaingor Forest (Knome)

 

 Doleg’s scouts had returned to the forest out of breath from running so hard.  The lookout warriors stationed at the forest's edge rose quickly, weapons drawn, ready for action at the approach of the arriving scouts.  Once the scouts entered the forest, they collapsed to the ground completely exhausted from the trek.

“They're camped on the plains, thousands of them,” one of the scouts uttered, getting out one word with each breath.

“They, have, many weapons, machines and birds,” another scout added breathlessly.

Doleg arrived just as the scouts were giving their report. He and his chiefs took a position around the kneeling scouts. 

“How far out are they,” Doleg asked.

“Not far, several hours, maybe.”

“Were you spotted,” Doleg asked grabbing one of the scouts by his garments.

“No, the darkness cloaked us.”

Doleg stood staring out at the plains, trying to see, to discover any indication that those black soldiers were approaching. Doleg was worried, and cautiously optimistic when the soldiers had left the area.  His warriors were brave and fierce, but he recognized that they were clearly no match for those off-worlders. He realized that it was just a matter of time before they found passage to their underground caverns.  Doleg was beginning to regret the assistance he had given to Teric and his friends.  That decision led to the ruin of his future plans.  He had lost Shushan and he lost the Lordship and now after so many years in anticipation of the fulfillment of his dreams, he had nothing and nowhere to go.

“We need to warn everyone," one of his chiefs replied pulling Doleg out of his fog.

“Yes, do it,” Doleg replied.

As Doleg and the others began to depart, a beam of light lit up the sky above them.

“Look,” one of the scouts yelled.  He pointed behind everyone to a thin red beam of light that was visible above the tops of the trees. The source of the beam was visible in the night sky, extending up and beyond the clouds above.

“What is it,” one of the native warriors asked.

“I don’t know," Doleg replied, "it’s nothing good that's for sure."

"Let’s get out of here." one of the Scouts exclaimed as everyone began to run deeper into the forest.

----

Wilhelm and Tukka had been walking through a narrow uneven passageway for hours. For most of that time they had walked silently, as the tunnel seemed to go on and on without end.  It was cold and at some areas it was so narrow that they had to walk slightly sideways to get through it. Tukka led the way holding a glowstick, a smaller sunstone fastened to a staff for personal use.  The trek was proving to be a challenge for Wilhelm, he wanted to ask how much longer they had to continue, but as he shifted most of his weight from one foot to the other, he kept quiet since he had asked a similar question not long ago.  The tunnel they were traveling through was unlike the ones he had encountered when they first arrived in Udin.  This one seemed to have been hewed out in haste and it was a pain to walk upon as he repeatedly injured himself on the jagged stones embedded in the surface. Still, Wilhelm continued on despite the pain that he was enduring.  His ribs still bothered him especially when he tripped on a stone, but after a while he didn’t care, with every step he was getting closer to Anya.  Wilhelm wondered what she was doing, if she had any idea that he was pursuing her. 

He thought of his father and suddenly felt remorseful, knowing how worried his father must be at this moment.  Wilhelm loved his father, but he didn’t know the man, nor did his father know him. His father was like one of the statues that he passed by every day in the palace, there was a familiarity, but nothing deeper than that.  Often, he felt like one of his father's aides, and yet his aides knew his father better than he had known him.  As he got older, nothing was more important to his father than the succession, the Antilla dynasty.  Wilhelm hated the intrigue that accompanied the efforts to preserve the Antilla dynasty.  Most of the Governors hated his father especially the Palatia Clan.  He wasn’t blind to the political machinations of the factions against his father's rule.  But Wilhelm didn’t want any part of it.  He'd just as soon abdicate on being crowned King.  Still, he loved his father and as much as he hated to admit it, he wanted to please him.  Thinking about how anxious his father must be he wondered if he could have accomplished his wish to see Anya in another less volatile way.  He just had to see her!  He couldn't get the image of the last time he saw her out of his mind. She laid there on the floor crying uncontrollably, because of his failure.  She had confessed to him her deepest fears and anxieties and he had completely ignored them.  He had hurt her more than anyone, because she loved him deeply and without restraint. Yet he had done the very thing she feared most.  And he wasn’t ashamed of her, he didn’t care that she was Knomen. But, why did he hide their relationship.  She was the most important person to him, yet, he didn't treat her that way, and she sensed it.  Wilhelm was so distressed at his actions; his eyes began to mist.  “Idiot,” he said out loud.

“What?” Tukka turned and asked.

“Sorry, I was talking to myself, I'm sorry."

Tukka had noticed that Wilhelm looked disturbed and he walked over to him, placing a hand on his shoulder.

“Don’t worry, we are not far from the surface.” 

“That’s good to know,” Wilhelm replied wiping his eyes surprised that they were wet.

“Once we get to the surface, it will be another hour or so to reach the Chakata Entrance, then it’s a matter of taking the tram for the descent to Chakata”

“Chakata?” Wilhelm exclaimed with alarm. “No, I wanted to go to Maessa, not Chakata!”

“We are going to Maessa. Chakata is the name of the cavern.  Maessa is one of the cities within the Chakata cavern, the largest city in that cavern.”

“Oh,” Wilhelm sighed with relief.

Tukka laughed, “Don’t worry I’ll get you there.”

“I’m not worried,” Wilhelm lied.

Tukka turned and continued to walk forward as Wilhelm followed somewhat refreshed from the brief rest.

----

Teric, Jasen, Kore, and their Albian escorts had emerged from the underground pathway to the surface, near a cliffside that gave way to a gradual slope that led down to the banks of Basin Lake.  In the night air, everyone had paused to rest in the crescent light near the cliff's edge observing the shimmering of the lake waters.  Protruding up high through the lake, near its center, dominating the horizon was the volcanic island that was the destination for Teric, Jasen and Kore, Mount Thaingor.  Hoshushanna pointed out to Jasen several boats on the bank.

“Those are the boats, take whatever you need.”

“I think one will do,” Jasen replied straining to see the boats in the darkness.

Teric and Shushan had separated themselves from the others.  She took his hand and led him toward a large Mobic tree.  The drooping vines and large leaves of the Mobic tree provided a canopy into which Shushan wanted to escape from notice.  She held on to Teric as he embraced her, touching her back and waist.

“Teric, will you come back to me,” Shushan pleaded more than she asked.  “I need you.”

“I want to, but…”

Shushan interrupted him, burying her head in his chest.  “Please, Teric, I know you want me. I feel it. I want you, I need you, more than anything I have ever needed. You have always been in my dreams.  We were meant to be together.”

Teric took her shoulders and held her at arm’s length.  “You're right Shushan, I do want you,” Teric turned, walking away from her.  “I can’t explain it, but from the moment I saw you, it was like I found the missing piece to a puzzle and it fit, you fit. Do you understand?”

"I think so," Shushan was a torrent of emotion as a result of Teric’s confession. She went to him and embraced him.  Her hands were all over him, as she attempted to meet his lips, but Teric pulled away and hesitated.  He took stock of his emotions and he examined his internal senses.  Feeling settled, he found and met Shushan’s lips, kissing her deeply. 

Shushan’s body began to tremble as she returned his kiss.  Feeling her tremble, Teric broke away in horror.  “Shushan!” He exclaimed.

Shushan wanted more and tried to kiss him again but was startled out of her ecstasy when she heard her name.

“Shushan, are you alright,” Teric asked concerned.

“I was,” she replied breathlessly. “Why did you stop me?”

“You’re trembling,” he answered.

“I’m in love,” Shushan added.  “Please come back to me.”

“Teric, look at this.”  Jasen’s voice interrupted them and they both left the cover of the Mobic tree.

Jasen was pointing in the sky behind them.  A red beam originating from the clouds was streaming down toward the forest.

“What is it,” Hudus asked.

“It’s a targeting beam,” Kore replied.

“A targeting beam?” Jasen asked.

“Yes, from a planetary assault weapon.” Kore explained

“What’s that mean?” Hoshushanna asked.

Kore glanced at Hoshushanna and then at Teric.  “Their targeting the forest.”  He turned toward Hoshushanna and Hudus.  “Their targeting your home.”

“What’s that mean,” Shushan asked still unsure what the conversation was about.

“There’s a very powerful weapon in the planet's orbit, the weapon will be guided by that target beam. It’s designed to penetrate whatever it comes in to contact with. We need to go, we need to help your people.” Kore, started to move forward.

"What about Wilhelm," Jason stated.

“No,” Hoshushanna yelled, holding Kore back.  “No, You and your friends need to continue on, your mission, that will bring help to us. We will go back and protect our people. Don't worry about your friend he will be safeguarded as if he was Lord of the Albians."  Hoshushanna's guards were already on the move. "Go, then come back and help us,” Hoshushanna added as he turned to follow his warriors.

Reluctantly, Teric, Jasen and Kore agreed.  Shushan held Teric one last time and found it difficult to let him go.

“Shushan,” Hoshushanna called after her.  “Let them go.”

“I love you, Teric Highlord,” Shushan called out as she followed her father and brother.

After the natives were out of sight, Jasen, Teric and Kore began to descend down the cliffside.


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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