Beyond the reaches of our galaxy, beyond even the stretch of time itself, lies the Galaxy of Maronot. Not many know this, for it is kept hidden from our view with the ever-changing position of our Earth. But we have witnessed the many peoples of Maronot touch Earth. Objects that had fallen from space, rumors of secrets that ought not to be uttered. But I do not wish to expand on conspiracies that have no relevance to the tale I am to weave before you. And like many stories that have become lost legends, our tale begins years ago.
The Realm of Penthewas home to the Penthic Tribes, or elves. The vast realm was a whole blanket of tall and ancient trees, whose roots wove together into a bond stronger than any natural or hand-made steel. In the Province of Absalomanic, a young elf by the name of Ambrose looked out from his window at the rising moons. The wind gently caressed and tossed his silvery hair off and on to his shoulders. It tugged gently at his thin-fabric night-shirt and he closed his eyes in an attempt to ignore the woman behind him.
"You miss her, don't you, Baron Ambrose? Lady-"
He raised a stiff hand. "Don't say her name, sister."
"You must face it at some point, brother."
He turned and faced his fair-skinned sister, Syleth. Her hair was more grey than actual silver and her eyes were blue, like their mother's. She spoke with a drawled-lip and had the intelligence of a old crone. Even when they were young, she was always smarter. However, his only advantage over her was that she was a third child; shunned from society and dubbed the Love Wretch on the day of her birth. It was law, ordered by the Emperor, that if anyone should father or mother more than two children the children thereafter would be shut off from the opportunities that the elder two had. And even though the eldest, Lilopk, was stillborn, Sylth was still the local Wretch. The only silver lining of her existence was that she was daughter to a King and Baroness and sister to the Baron. She was clothed, fed and educated. However, by Imperial Law, that was all that her own family could offer her. A Society Title, unless approved by the Emperor, was prohibited.
"She left me a child."
Sylth glanced momentarily at the Lionwood crib by her brother's bed.
"And she looks like her." Ambrose muttered stiffly.
"Except her eyes. They are a rare kind. A gift only gods can give." She mused.
"If gods gave gifts, Sylth, they would not be in the form of a child who is the daughter of a war criminal." He bent and supported himself on the windowsill with his hands and looked out into the starry night expectantly.
He listened to her wander up to him and stand a little bit to the side of him. By what she saw of his facial expression, she would think he looked pained with indecision. Marilla was Ambrose's life until he had caught wind of a King in the Realm of Pirahad bounty on her. To the Penthnic people, it was shameful to hide from justice and equally shameful not to show mercy. But as for Marilla, an trained and experienced Imperial Assassin, she was denied mercy and was dragged off by the Pira Grand Guard. Months later, little Caeline, in a small newborn bundle was brought to him by the hands of a few rough-handed prison guards. Ambrose held his daughter for the first time with confusion. She had a tuft of brilliant red hair that glinted like blood and her eyes were white and full of frustrated tears. Now the child was a moon-circle old and beginning to catch the curious eye of the world beyond her crib.
"Maybe there is a reason," Sylth began. "To why she left you the babe."
He scoffed skeptically. "To torture me, most likely."
"Then why not send the child to your brother? Gods know that he would willingly accept her."
He gave a mirthless chuckle. "Only because his heart is weak. He cries even when its raining. And besides, he is too far away to be of any use to me." He paused and looked at her. "Also, it would be dishonorable if I shipped the creature off." He looked over his shoulder at her.
In her mind, Sylth wanted to scold her elder brother for being heartless. But in her heart, she knew that he was just trying to deny that he could have been so foolish as of to give child to a assassin. Pushing aside all harsh words, she forced herself to keep calm.
"Then I guess you have to deal with it." She said simply. His eyes narrowed into sharpened knives and they dug deep and analyzing into Sylth's.
"You may have a point, Sylth, but remember your place." He ordered in a low, yet livid tone.
She took a deep breath to sooth her fraying nerves. "Forgive me, Baron." She whispered.
He looked away from her. In her crib, Caeline sighed in her sleep. Sylth went to the side of the crib and looked down on the pretty baby. Caeline was a fitting name for the infant. Godly Favor her name meant in her mother's home language. Whatever that was. Day by day, the baby looked more and more like her mother with her father's arrogant attitude. It showed very plainly and often made Sylth wonder what Caeline would be like when she got much, much older. She reached down and lightly caressed the infant's face with a finger.
"Yes, Baron?" She straightened and turned around.
His body was tense as he peered forward. She went to his side and found immediately what he was looking at. It was a ship, a Legion. Its black body streaked through the air with alarming speeds. As it entered Penthe's Atmosphere, bright red and blue flames leapt back flowing along its form. So Sylth, it looked like a falling star but by the look on her brother's face, a deep sense of foreboding began to immerge. It roared over their heads, waking Caeline. It was then that Ambrose did something that would never make sense to Sylth. He hurried to his daughter's aid and held her as she wailed.
"Sylth, will you go over to the vanity and findherblue stone? The one with the silalshchain?"
Sylthdd what she was told. For over a year, the vanity remained untouched by anyone. So a year's worth of dust laid on the various items. She opened the middle drawer and reached inside to pull a velvet box from the shallow depths. The box, itself, was black and locked. Its lock was a series of tiny bronze gears in the shape of an eye. She pressed onto the gears and the box clicked open. She lifted the lid and peered down at the rarely seen blue stone. The last time that the world had seen it was the night Caeline was conceived; the day before Marilla'sarrest. She lifted the necklace from its frame and gave it to Ambrose.
"Trade me." He said. She took Caeline and watched in growing concern as he took off his sigent ring and their great-great grandfather's Imperial ring. He undid the tie on the necklace and slipped both rings next to the stone. He then placed the necklace around Caeline'sneck and tied the chain loose enough as of not to choke her, but tight enough that it wouldn't fall off. He then lifted the baby from her and grabbed her hand. "Follow me."
Sylth was dragged by her brother out into the hallway and down several flights of stairs before he made a sharp right and headed towards the back lawns.
"Butler!" He called.
Butler Kai hurried to him. The young man bowed but was roughly straightened by Ambrose.
"Bring your children and wife and follow me."
Sylth could tell the Kai was confused and worried at the Baron's sudden demand but he complied and hurried out of the room. Ambrose handed the baby to her and went ot the large window that faced the Imperial palace. She took her place beside him and immediately wished that she didn't. The Legion ship was perched at the Imperial roof and Sylth could make out the flashes of gunfire and even the arrows as they exchanged volleys in the palace courtyard. Then the palace exploded, lighting the dark night. Sylthcould feel the warmth of the fire on her face and she looked down at Caeline. The baby was blissfully unaware of the event unfolding in front of her, she was looking up at her aunt with her white eyes and sucking on her father's ring. Footsteps from behind her heralded the approach of Kai and his wife, Sera. They stopped, stunned, in their tracks.
"By the love of the Gods." Kai muttered. He went to the side of his master and peered into his face. "Is it true, Ambrose? Is Penthe going to fall?"
Baron Ambrose Ravel Olna's head hung down. "Yes. The Emperor relieved all of us of our duties several weeks ago." He looked at his butler with a heavy heart. "Forgive me, Kai. I was bound to keep silent." When Kai said nothing, he looked back at Sylth and Caeline before squaring his shoulders. "Follow me."
They hurried outside into the back lawn and to the stone launching pad. Sylth, anticipating Ambrose's plan paled slightly and looked at the only escape pod that he was able to keep away from Imperial guard when they came and confiscated any vehicle relating to Universe to Universe travel. He was able to convince the guards that the pod was actually a play house for his daughter. But now, the full extent of his plan became clear when he went to it and opened the hatch. Within the control center were baby-seats and one single seat for a adult Penthian. Ambrose tucked inside and offered his arms to Kai, who handed him one of his sons. Ambrose secured the infant into one of the seat then offered his hands to Kai's wife. She kissed the baby's head before handing him to Ambrose. Finally, Caeline was secured in next to the other two and Ambrose crawled out.
"Who is going to go with them?" He asked.
The question seemed to chill the air as it gradually filled with the moan from the middle of the Imperial city. The Legion from Pira was beginning to take the city.
"We are honor bound to serve you, Baron Ambrose." Kai said with a bow. He straightened pulled his wife to him as she sobbed. "We will remain behind." His wife lifted her head a moment to nod.
"That leaves you, Sylth." Ambrose said solemnly.
"What about you, brother?" She took his hand and looked quizzically into his purple eyes.
He gave a weak smile. "I'll be alright. Take them to my brother."
"What is going to happen to you?" She held his cheek and looked demandingly into his eyes.
Ambrose didn't answer but instead led his sister into the pod and sat her down into the seat. She watched in silent horror as he buckled her into place and turned on the pod. It hummed to life as he began to climb out of the pod. She grabbed his shoulder, her eyes demanding an answer. He didn't give her an answer but rather kissed her forehead and whispered,
"Iojahberople."To the Stars.He hugged her close for a moment and added, "Rename them, and yourself. No must know that you are of Penthe race."
"Give my sons these." Kai's wife had removed her ear cuffs and handed them to Ambrose. He turned and placed the cuffs on the twins' ears and crawled out of the pod and before Sylth could protest, he shut and locked the hatch.
The darkness was frightening. Sylth was stuck to her seat, fear and sorrow argued over her heart and finally the sound of the rockets broke the nervous silence. The pod wasn't vibrating which meant that the sound was coming from outside of the pod. She looked over her shoulder to find that the stone around Caeline's neck and the cuffs on the twins' ears were softly glowing, lighting their curious faces as they looked around them in the darkness. She was about to reach to unbuckle herself and go to them when the pod's lights flickered and launched itself into the air was crippling speeds.
Sylth's head jerked back and since there was no head rest to her seat, a sickening crack died in the growing roar of the engines. Ambrose, taking his dying breath, smiled up at the red-eyed, black-haired General weakly. The white pod arched in the sky and disappeared into space.
"Now you will never find them." He gasped faintly.
The general turned and stared at Ambrose until his wicked lips coiled into a sinister smile. "I will lure her to me. And for Pira, I'll make her Empress.Thatwill I succeed in. Now die." He slid his blade across Amrbose's neck and a flood of deep ruby red blood burst out and down onto his white shirt.
The General stood and looked at the handy-work that he and his reinforcement did. Penthe was a very fair Realm, and it almost hurt to destory some of it. But in due time, Penthe would become the greatest of the Nine Galaxies.
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