At 21/12/12 my first book was published. It is called "Veduthu", and it is the first volume of the series. The book is published via amazon.com and can be found and bought here: http://www.amazon.com/Veduthu-Origin-ebook/dp/B00AR5IMBC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356293453&sr=8-1&keywords=veduthu as an e-book.
You can also follow it on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Veduthu
VEDUTHU VOLUME I Origin
By Anna Zukowska
Text copyright © 2012 Anna Zukowska
All Rights Reserved
With thanks to Misty Miller and Ella Cynce for helping me translate this story from Polish to English.
“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
? Arthur C. Clarke
I bow slightly while entering the throne chamber; knowing that the king is tracking every move I make, without even as much as moving his gaze the slightest bit away from the huge window.
“Come closer, my son.” He says after a while and I obey, noting that he is sunk into his favorite hobby of admiring his kingdom. That idiot just loves the sight.
“You are probably wondering...” He says when I stop beside him. “...why I am so harsh with you and so rigorous about your training. Am I correct?” He asks.
I sigh and close my eyes, feeling a bit confused and overwhelmed by the sudden recall. It is rare for father to do so. Bottom line is we don’t get along. Our relations are limited to father giving orders and me carrying out these orders; and at times like this, he doesn’t even bother to look at me. I don’t really mind the way it is; it suits both of us just fine. Though sometimes I do wonder whether he still even remembers what my face looks like.
“Well, my son, as you are already seven years old, you ought to know one thing.” He says and there is a pause; one of those indefinitely long moments that I hate the most. “In our race there is no such thing as being strong or being weak.” He says in a serious tone; the tone that always causes a shiver to run down my spine. “In our race, there are only the strong and the dead.”
I’m lying there on my bed and pondering about the dream, while I stare into the thick darkness of my room. All the feelings that the dream of my past evoked are really starting to make me feel sick, thus I rise up to a sitting position, sink my face into my hands and exhale roughly, as if these unpleasant emotions could be released through my breath.
“You were right...” I whisper and at the same moment someone knocks loudly on the door. I look up, letting out a low sound of annoyance.
“It’s open!” I shout.
As the automatic door slides open, narrow streaks of light fill the room and illuminate my bed; but there is the dark silhouette of a soldier blocking most of the light. Another fool that quakes in my presence; though I admit their fear is rather satisfying.
“What do you want?!” I shout at him.
“My prince…” The soldier bows humbly. I can clearly hear his heart pounding loudly in his chest. “Sir Alva wants to know, whether or not the entire garrison will be flying with you to the planet Azoy?” He asks.
His words irritate me. I lower my voice to a growl.
“You fool! Five soldiers are enough, be sure of that!” I respond as dryly as I possibly can. “Now get out of my sight!”
“Yes sir!” He nods and disappears from my view.
Even though in the civilizational meaning, we are a few generations ahead of the rest of the Universe and our spacecrafts have the speed unmatched by no other, still the journey from Afra to Azoy feels as if it will last forever. While sitting at the command deck with Alva and Seth on either side of me and doing nothing at all, I hear something deep down my mind.
“In our race, there are only the strong and the dead.”
Why does his voice keep coming back and causing the thoughts to sting my chest, making me feel the feelings I shouldn’t feel? I know very well that he was right about what he said back then and I’ve acknowledged that a long time ago. However his voice is just a nuisance as it haunts my mind; and I don’t really feel like listening to it over and over again.
“Prince Gaurav?” Someone’s voice draws my attention.
I growl sharply, glaring at the soldier in front of me. All of them are just copies of each other – dark short hair, gray metallic armor, and the pitiful fear in their eyes when they talk to me.
“I-I just wanted to ask...” He mumbles with eyes firmly on his feet. His body is quaking with fear, and his heart rate goes mad. I love it. “W-Why do you want to conquer the Azoyans?” He asks.
Finally, something is happening at last. I raise my body up and guide it towards him, smirking slightly, knowing what is about to happen.
“Why would you ask such a thing?” I inquire.
“I just... I-I...” The soldier swallows in uneasiness, shifting his feet. “I-I was born there...”
In a split second I’m standing in front of him with my hand on his throat; his feet hover a couple inches off the ground and his eyes are wide in disbelief. He begins to gag and unsuccessfully gasp for air, clawing at my hand to release it from his throat.
“If you need to know, I will tell you why...” I smirk, bringing him closer and slightly lean forward, so my lips are near his ear and my voice lowers to a whisper. “Because I want to.”
I can feel the shiver of fear run over his flesh, and it’s very gratifying. Without having to think about it, I shift my grip slightly and break his neck in a single gesture, feeling his windpipe crush. His lips turn blue and his dead eyes widen as I release his body, letting it crumple gracelessly to the floor. I turn away to sit back down afterward, pleased with the little incident, which had killed my boredom.
“My lord.” It’s Alva’s voice.
“What is bothering you?” I ask in the friendly tone that I usually use while talking to him. He and his brother are the only people I actually respect. Well, “respect” might be saying too much; they’re my subordinates after all. However, I do treat them much better than others; perhaps because they belong to the same race as I do and there’s very little of us left nowadays; or perhaps because we are friends of some sort ever since the day I had been born.
“Are you sure you have made a wise decision, sir?” Alva asks. “Azoyans are quite a numerous population. Will four soldiers be enough to slay all of them?”
“Don’t worry so much about this.” The smirk appears on my face once again – a plain sign for Alva to shut up. Which he does very well.
I march straight ahead; not paying much attention to the surroundings; not really noting the dead bodies and blood stains that are splashing all over my face and clothes; not really hearing the triumphant and almost insane shouts of Seth, which he always makes during his fights.
He laughs maniacally while covered with blood, but he himself is unharmed; and I can see in his insane eyes that he is ready to kill everyone on that planet.
“Seth.” I state in an emotionless, rather quiet tone, but his sensitive ears that our race has been endowed with let him hear my voice perfectly. He freezes and looks at me reproachfully; slightly frustrated, but obeys right away.
Seth is known for his sudden outbursts of explosive rage and excessive power demonstrations. This is why I mainly use him as a force, while his older brother is my precious orator. Seth’s power and Alva’s brain are entirely sufficient for me to be a powerful ruler.
We enter the grand chamber and I don’t need to look around to know every little detail. The whole chamber is very old-fashioned: the walls are covered with Azoyan’s red flags with an ‘A’ in the middle, huge glassless windows and a very high ceiling that cause an unpleasant chill and makes the skin crawl from just how high it goes. But then my attention catches the royal throne that is occupied by a very muscular man. He is wearing a long robe of the same color as the flags and a golden crown on his head. The king of Azoyans, or whatever’s left of them.
At first he doesn’t seem to notice our group of seven; he is busy examining a young girl, who stands nude on the platform right in front of him. She is beautiful, but not beautiful enough to catch my attention, and looks rather pathetic while unsuccessfully trying to cover her well-shaped body. She has rather long, white hair and there is fear in her huge eyes of the same bland color.
“I like you. You will be my next queen.” The king says seductively and as soon as he does, the girl bursts into tears.
“I will never allow that! She is my wife!” The voice of another man spreads throughout the room. Two tall soldiers are leading him into the chamber as he struggles to try and get free.
The king ignores him however and turns his attention to his subordinates, but notices our group instead.
“It would appear we have some guests.” He says. ”Unfortunately, it seems as if his execution will have to be delayed a few minutes. Hold him there.” The king adds with a wide smile.
The soldiers obey and hold the prisoner’s hands tightly as he continues to struggle to get free and save his wife.
The king observes us for a short while and then finally decides to speak.
“Welcome.” He says, gesturing with his hand a welcome. “I am afraid you have come here a little out of season. We were just about to observe an execution.” A wide smirk appears on his wrinkled face once again. “My name is Samael and I am the king of this planet. What could you possibly want from me?” The king asks.
I keep silent, watching the scene with my arms crossed on my chest. No need to remind Alva what his duty is.
“Give us your planet and become our soldiers. If you do so, we will let you live.” Alva persuades, taking a step forward.
Amazement and disgust covers the king’s face; he is asking himself where our bravery comes from, it is so easy to read his thoughts. It’s like he has no idea that we just killed thousands of his soldiers. Obviously the bravery is motivated by our power, and he will learn this soon enough.
“Take them!” Samael shouts after a few tense seconds.
I guess this ain’t his lucky day; but he would lose, lucky or not. Seth grins widely, looking at the dead bodies of the king’s soldiers, who had been standing along the walls of the throne room seconds ago.
“Griffin!” The king shouts.
Upon hearing the ruler’s voice, an unnaturally large and muscular individual appears in front of our eyes. He is more of a monster than a man; his muscles are huge in comparison to mine, even Seth’s; and his skin is covered in so many scars and wounds that it is hard to imagine what he might have looked like in his youth.
Despite his sudden attack, strength and speed, he is unable to land any kind of blow on Seth. In a split second my servant appears behind the monster and with just one mighty blow smashes his huge spine. Griffin lets out a loud roar of confusion and pain, followed by a huge crash as he collapses dead onto the ground.
“It is... impossible...” Honest fear, almost agony in king’s voice; what a wonder.
“Alva.” I state without emotion, already tired with this show.
Alva’s style is much different compared to Seth’s. He isn’t explosive at all, and his attacks are always thoroughly examined and always perfectly performed. Alva appears next to Samael, blocking his escape route. Although the speed of his hand is superhuman, all the effort I put into seeing how it pierces the king’s torso may be compared to none. He stabs through it as if it were butter. Pathetic death. But not nearly as pitiful as the scene that plays soon after.
“Lilyana!” Shouts the prisoner that managed to free himself from his chains during the fight. The lovers throw themselves into each other’s arms.
“I’ve missed you so much.” The man whispers to his wife and at the same time covers her body with his torn robe. He tenderly kisses her lips and then releases himself from the woman’s grip and moves towards us.
“Thank you.” He says with a faint smile, offering his hand to me. A very odd gesture. “Thank you for saving us from Samael’s cruelty.”
Looking down at him, I can feel my muscles moving and an icy smile appearing on my face. I hate scenes like this.
“There is nothing...” I begin in a lovable voice. It’s so hard to act like I care. Lifting my arm towards him, but instead of grasping his hand, I clasp my fingers around man’s neck tightly. “...to thank me for.” Finishing with a smirk, I plunge my free hand into his chest with ease and rip out his still beating heart; it’s dripping with blood and continues to pound a few more times. I let it land on the gray floor along with the body, and without any hesitation.
Soon enough his wife’s cries of despair echo round the hall. But I don’t care. I just turn around wanting to see the way back to the entrance, leaving Seth with the dirty job. While moving towards the door, I can hear the sound of the dead body hit the ground and a sweet silence afterward. No more cries.
“See Alva.” I say smugly, while entering our spacecraft. “Seth alone would’ve sufficed to liquidate the whole Azoyan’s race.”
“Gaurav…” She whispers, holding my small, childish hand. “Even animals have feelings.”
“No… Stop talking.” I manage to utter faintly through tears.
“Please, learn to love.” With that said she closes her wonderful eyes for the last time and soon after the silver flames appear all over her dead body.
I sigh disappointed, looking up at the window and giving myself that unpleasantness of remembering my mother’s death. But then I can hear the automatic door open, breaking my memory, and Alva and Seth enter the command deck in our spacecraft.
“Pardon me, sir.” Alva says, leaning a little. “…but I do believe we did not actually have to destroy the whole race, altogether with the planet.”
He knows perfectly well that questioning my decisions always ends badly; but he also knows that I am always too indulgent towards him.
“The less useless races in the Universe, the better.” I state coldly, not bothering to turn my eyes from the window. “You should know that perfectly well.”
“I am not saying that I didn’t enjoy it, sir.” He answers, leaning once again.
“In our race, there are only the strong and the dead.”
I’m sitting on the edge of the bed, with my head bowed and pounding, certainly overflowed with questions.
“Please, learn to love.”
Even though I used to respect you more than anyone or anything mother, your words were an insult to our race. And to me.
“Come in!” I growl in irritation, hearing knocks on the door.
“It’s me, sir.” Alva says as he enters silently.
Turning my head slightly, I look up at him.
“What is it?” I ask.
“We have discovered a new planet.” Alva says with a smirk on his face. “It has a very clean atmosphere, abundant greenery, animals and a vast amount of ocean. I think we could use it ourselves, sir.”
His words catch my attention, making the pounding in my head less prominent. The idea of living on a planet with plentiful food and water is very tempting, especially after a year of existence on the craggy Afra.
“Population?” I ask nonchalantly.
“More than twenty billion.” Alva answers, as if he was waiting for this certain question.
“Average strength of the inhabitants?” I ask.
“The most powerful man on their planet is not even as strong as our weakest soldier.” Alva says self-assuredly.
“I see.” I nod, bowing my head again. “Due to the enormous population we’ll fly there with the entire garrison. Tomorrow morning.”
“Yes, sir.” My servant bows slightly, moving towards the door.
“Alva.” I stop him, not turning my eyes from the floor. “What is the planet called?”
Alva turns his back towards me.
“Earth, sir.” He answers.
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