Madeline's Story Collection

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Madeline's Story Collection

Post by Madeline26 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:10 pm

Here's where I'll post my stories. Feel free to read and comment on them. Multiple stories will be posted here, so if you comment, please specify what story you are commenting on. I hope you like my literary work! Smile
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Madeline26
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Chronicles of Asylum: The Lost

Post by Madeline26 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:21 pm

The Lost




By: M. E. Shepley

Prologue:
The sun filtered through the stained glass windows that contained the Seal of Ràku as Konanca stormed down to the Command Center of the Asylum. The Asylum was the stronghold of the Alinko, known to humans as the Protectors. It was fitting to call the facility this because it meant ‘place of protection’ in Ràkuni.
Konanca went through the various security measures and kicked open the doors. She scanned the room to see several of the higher-ranked Protectors and three of the apprenticed Protectors and a new Protector: Halasa, a fox transformate; Larkia, a black panther transformate; Qorra, a gray wolf transformate; and her sister, Luma, a golden eagle transformate. Konanca almost transfigured into her transformation, a snow leopard, in her annoyance.
“What happened, now?” she asked with a glare of her silver-tinged blue eyes. Her curly, midnight-black hair flattened against her back, hoping that Kwantis hadn’t done anything serious. She doubted it.
Sorní, a senior protector, but ten or twenty years older than Konanca, spoke up. He exchanged a glance with his twin sister, Silvaki. “Kwantis agents knocked out our detection equipment and force fields.”
Konanca shook her head, her beautiful curls like blades. “That’s not good. Kwantis must be planning to do something evil.”
Luma stared at the older Protector. “They must be finally trying to take over Ràku. We have to fight them!”
Silvaki shook her head. “We can’t; not with the detection equipment gone. We must flee.”
Konanca nodded in agreement. “Evacuate all of Ràku and tell them to head for the other five planets with life to hide. Split into teams. Qorra, come with me.” She led Qorra over to the control panel to announce the evacuation.
Then, they headed for the space craft in the Hangar. Kwantis was raining down soldiers and bombs. Sorní and Luma were running towards them with enemy soldiers after them. Konanca signaled for Qorra to unsheathe her plasma gun.
Right then, the horrible thing happened. One soldier raised his plasma gun and shot at Luma. She dropped clutching the wound as Sorní caught her. Her life was gone before she even hit his hands. Qorra let out a wail of anguish.
Konanca, Qorra, and Sorní had only enough time to board the ship, start it, and depart from the Hangar before the Asylum exploded and became only a memory.
************************************
Chapter 1:
It had been two years since the invasion of Ràku. Konanca and the Protectors that had come to Earth had established an Asylum to operate, observe the humans, and protect them. Konanca had a project; she was watching a human named Sam. He, according to the Elder Council, was the human prophesied to help the Ràkuni. She planned to learn a little more about the Earthling before she made herself known to him. Currently, she was just a random cat that roamed the forest where he liked to sketch nature.
Konanca went to check her r-mail. A light flashed and a new r-mail appeared in her inbox. It was from aparet13@rmail.com… an r-mail she didn’t recognize. It said:

Konanca-
You haven’t see or heard from Tervak in two years (since the invasion of Ràku). Here’s a video that might intrigue you.

There was no name after. Konanca clicked on the link. Immediately, she noticed Kwantis’s symbol. Then, she saw her good friend, Tervak being tortured. She immediately knew it was sent by Kwantis to torment her. She let out a cry of anger.
She hissed at the projection. As expected, her features started to change from hominid to snow leopard-like. Her transformation only happened uncontrollably if she was angry.
“Konanca?” Konanca spun around sharply, features back to hominid. She saw Sorní and Silvaki in the doorway.
“Anything wrong?” Silvaki inquired.
Konanca was going to shrug it off, but she knew Sorní and Silvaki knew her better than that. She could get away with it with apprentices, but not older Protectors. Even though she was the Lead Protector on Earth and back on Ràku, she needed help with things sometimes. There was a reason there was more than one Protector.
“I’ve been wondering where Tervak has been and I’ve finally fond him. Kwantis captured him. It comes at a bad time because I’m finishing up my observations with Sam.”
Sorní nodded. “We understand. I can send someone out to track him.”
Konanca shook her head, determined to not let her personal problems come before her duty to the Asylum. “No. We can’t spare Protectors, now. I’ll go find him once I talk to Sam.” Konanca shut off her r-mail, turned, and went to the Data Analysis Center to analyze her data.
**************************************
Chapter 2:
Konanca stood at the edge of the forest just barely hidden from Sam’s sight. She shifted back to her human form and walked out of the shadows.
Acali and Magella, Ràku’s fashionistas before the invasion, had insisted that they make her beautiful for the occasion when they heard of where she was going. They had been studying the clothing of ‘normal’ Earthlings.
Konanca’s outfit was simple. She wore a simple light-green and white dress with flat sandals that were similar to their Ràkuni cousin but fancier. Acali had put her hair up in the way she usually did except with the ceremonial moon and star symbol clip instead of a bobby pin. Konanca had refused to wear the matching bracelet and necklace in favor of her treasured mountain-shaped pendant her parents had given her the day of her induction in to the Alinko with the jade and pearl setting Tervak had given her. Konanca had also refused all make-up and Magella had respectfully left her faint, white Protector markings on her right arm alone.
She approached Sam. “Hello, Sam,” she said in her smooth Ràkuni accent.
Sam looked up from his sketchbook. “Who are you? You’re one smoking hot girl.”
“My name is Konanca. I noticed you like this place.”
Sam was confused, now. “It’s peaceful here and I paint nature for a living to raise environmental awareness. I haven’t seen you here before.”
“You have…only it was when I was in my snow leopard form.”
Sam gasped. “You aren’t from Earth, are you?”
Konanca nodded. “I am from a desert planet called Ràku. There are six planets with intelligent life: Earth, Ràku, Sorae, Tujra, Akroi, and Harca.”
Sam nodded with understanding. His eyes caught on her pendant. “Nice pendant.”
“My parents gave it to me when I became a Protector. My name means ‘she who ascends the highest mountains’. I climbed Sora Cloi or Sacred Mountain, the highest Ràkuni mountain at 30,000 feet, higher than your Mt. Everest. I was the first female to do so. That’s because most people prefer to lower shrine at Base Camp to the shrine and astronomical observatory because it’s a dangerous climb. It’s a shrine to our god, which we are required to journey to once in a lifetime. Usually, Ràkuni go to the second shrine for a spiritual awakening of if they are supposed to be at the observatory for work. Naturally, since I was born and raised in that region of Ràku, I felt drawn to climb Sora Cloi. I have the mountain in my veins…so they say.”
“Wow…”Sam marveled. “I’d like to learn more and visit your planet.”
Konanca shook her head. “You can’t now…not until Kwantis is defeated and we reclaim it. It’s my job to orchestrate it and you are to help.”
“Why not stay here and be with me? Your planet is as good as gone.”
Almost wanting to rip his head off, she said: “Kwantis didn’t blow it up…if that’s what you mean…although, they probably could. Besides, I took an oath as Lead Protector to help in any way I can.”
“You can be with a handsome man,” he said, showing his muscles. Konanca rolled her eyes, not appreciating his showmanship.
“My kind and yours don’t mix; we have two more chromosomes. I have my love life planned out, mind you. I’m already spoken for.”
“Are you married?”
Konanca shook her head again. “Ràkuni aren’t allowed to marry until we are thirty and can’t have kids until we are thirty-five. I’m twenty-two, but none of that matters. Kwantis captured Tervak. You do the math. Now, don’t mention it again; I’d rather not think about it. If you do, I might consider taking your head off. Come on; follow me.”
Sam, in awe of her beauty and stubbornness, took heed of her warning and followed her to the Asylum.
******************************************
Chapter 3:
Konanca led Sam through the dense forest to the Asylum and he was amazed with its alien architecture. However, he was speechless when he saw Silvaki and her apprentice, Nauru. Nauru was going to be a full-fledged Protector soon.
“More beautiful women,” Sam gaped.
Konanca shot Silvaki a look and turned back to Sam. “Sam, this is Silvaki and her apprentice, Nauru.”
Sam snapped out his daze and nodded his greeting. Nauru laughed at the human’s silliness. Konanca’s gaze locked on Nauru. “Nauru, why don’t you tell Sam more about Ràkuni culture? I need to talk to Silvaki.” Nauru nodded and she and Sam sat down in a pair of chairs.
Silvaki raised an eyebrow and spoke in Ràkuni. “Well…” she said teasingly. “How’d it go? Did Acali and Magella dress you appropriately?”
Konanca gave her an annoyed look. “Very funny, Silvaki. You of all Ràkuni should know that Tervak owns my heart. And yes, Acali and Magella dressed me a little too well. Now, Sam likes me.”
Silvaki shook her head. “Men always fall for you, yet, you always have your heart on Tervak.”
Konanca tried to slap Silvaki, but missed. She turned to Sam and Nauru. “Sam, come with me; let’s get you cleaned up. Silvaki, assemble some of the Protectors.” Silvaki nodded and led Nauru down one hallway.
Konanca led Sam down another hallway and into an Ràkuni bathroom. “Here are some clothes. It will help keep you cool.” She disappeared and changed into her regular clothes with a soothing sigh.
Sam appeared a moment later with the robe ruffled and wrinkled. Konanca laughed. Sam glanced at her. “What?”
“You wrinkled your robe. Ràkuni take pride in neat clothing. It’s no matter though. You’re just an amateur still.”
Sam looked disgruntled. “Way to encourage me.”
Konanca shrugged jokingly. “Well, you’ll learn. Follow me, let’s go meet those Protectors.” She led him down another hallway, deep into the labyrinth of the Asylum. She stopped at a door labeled in Ràkuni and it shimmered in English: Command Center. The door had various security measures.
Konanca swiped her card through the slot and went through scans. She put her olive-skinned hand on the door. “You ready?” Sam nodded. Konanca opened the door and said, “Sam, these are Earth’s Protectors.
**************************************
Chapter 4:
Sam saw about seven Protectors in the Command Center.
Konanca nodded to the Protectors. “You can introduce yourselves, now.”
The first Protector to introduce himself was one who looked like Silvaki’s male counterpart. “I’m Sorní. I’m sure you might have noticed: I’m Silvaki’s twin.”
Sorní gestured to a shorter girl who looked younger than Nauru. She stood up and introduced herself. “I’m Qorra; Konanca’s apprentice.”
Silvaki, standing between Sorní and an Indian-looking man, tapped another apprentice’s shoulder. The pretty girl looked startled, but introduced herself. “I’m Soriqua…” She cast a glance at Konanca. “Tervak’s apprentice.”
The Indian-looking man next to Silvaki stepped forward. “I’m Jirkov…Silvaki’s husband.”
Two other, semi-identical Indian-looking women came forward smiling. The first woman introduced herself. “I’m Acali and this is my younger sister, Magella.”
The other sister, Magella, added: “We’re big on fashion!”
Konanca looked around. “Is that all?” She looked at Sam. “These are only a small fraction of the Protectors. Some are on the other planets and these are the one’s on Earth you’ll see most often.”
Sam nodded at the entourage. “Nice to meet you.”
Konanca waved everyone back to work. “Okay then. Unless you have work in the Command Center, go back to your work stations.” Only Jirkov, the twins, and their apprentices remained.
Sam asked to no one in particular: “How are you fluent in English?”
Jirkov answered. “We had Ràkuni come before. We were all supposed to learn the languages of our evacuation planet and the others. We learn quickly.”
“That’s amazing! It takes years to learn a language here.”
Sorní glanced at Jirkov. “We learned all languages. Back home, we have a machine called ALT or All Languages Translator. We use it for translating your documents.”
Konanca waved them to their stations. “We have work to do.” She then set to teaching Sam more about the Ràkuni.
*************************************
Chapter 5:
Sam pointed to a word in the Torpindali, the Ràkuni holy book. “What’s that word?” he asked. Konanca was teaching him the Ràkuni language.
“That is the word, nartaka. It means father. It can be for any father figure, including our god.”
Sam sat back in his chair. “Your language is complicated.”
Konanca shook her head with a sigh. “It takes practice. I’ll teach you to read and write my language in your alphabet. Then, you’ll teach you our writing system.”
Sam nodded. “What was daily life like un Ràku for you?”
Konanca shut the translation version of the Torpindali. “It’s basically the same except where I go.”
“What was life like before you joined the Alinko?”
Konanca paused before she answered. “I’m from a small village called Ikuiri, which means ‘high place ‘ in Ràkuni. It’s on the southern slopes of Sora Cloi, 16,000 feet up, and 1,000 feet below Base Camp. We are the highest village and are used to the low oxygen levels. I would get up early in the morning to help my parents and younger siblings tend to the livestock. We’d then go to school…an education is guaranteed and after, we’d climb up and down the mountain. 30 miles north is the capital city of Ràku, Qalik, which was where I lived from age 12 until the Invasion.”
“So, life was good?”
“Not always. High mountain life is hard. However, I had good grades and shortly before my 12th birthday, a local Protector discovered I was one of them. It gave my family hope to move to a city. My parents will always live in Ikuiri…it is their home, but my siblings will move to Qalik when we return to Ràku.”
“We are they now?”
“They are on Sorae. Actually, the twins, Iliri and Adolak are on Earth and are Protectors. They’re 19.” She added: “I’m the oldest of six.”
“Who are the other three and how’s Tervak fit into this?”
“Alora is 17. Noritov is 16 and Ivok is 14. Tervak lived in the closest village, 500 feet down, called Stirmi. I had met him during school and we became close during our climb of Sora Cloi to get to Qalik.”
“I thought you climbed Sora Cloi when you were 18?”
“I did. I climbed the mountain several times. Those who live on the mountain are already acclimatized and it’s the easiest route to Qalik.”
“Why’d you climb again?”
“To see my parents and Ivok home. Also, I spent a two-day spiritual retreat at the top shrine. On the last day on the summit, Tervak proposed to me. We agreed we would marry when we are 30.” She paused. “That’s the deal with Tervak. We love each other.”
Sam looked at her. “We’ll find him.”
“I hope so.” Konanca looked out the window and hoped it was true.
****************************************
Chapter 6:
Sam quietly opened the doors of the Archives. Konanca had sent him to get the ancient Ràkuni epic, Shalkat, better known as: The Nine Lives of Neyk Shemi. It was about a young girl and her nine adventures during her nine lives.
Sam handed the book to Zolkca, the Keeper of the Archives in Tervak’s place for her to translate it to the Latin letters.
“Good choice. You’ll like it.” Zolkca said.
Sam nodded as he took the translation. “Thanks.” He headed back to Konanca’s compartment. He was about to turn a corner when he heard Konanca and Sorní’s wife, Kalva, talking.
“Konanca, you need to rescue him.”
“I know, but Sam isn’t ready. I haven’t taught him about our weapons. Besides, he doesn’t seem like the fighting type…he’s an artist.”
“He’d be good at the ancient magic.”
“We haven’t been able to translate Viri…we have yet to find a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for it. Besides, pronunciation is hard without a guide and I doubt it works on…”
Kalva interrupted Konanca. “He’ll gain experience. It’s the best way to expose him to what he’s going to face from the Akakou.”
“You know as well as I do that Dertak is ruthless and dangerous. No wonder he chose aparet13 as his r-mail; aparet means apocalypse and 13 is an unlucky number.” She paused. “I have a score to settle with Dertak. He can’t kill Tervak…” Konanca started crying.
“It’ll be okay. You’ll still have those children you want. That’s why we need to start the expedition now.”
“If we must go, I’ll teach Sam along the way. At least we know where Tervak is. I have to talk to a good friend first.”
“You know someone there?”
“Yes.”
Kalva paused. “Someone’s listening…I sense it.”
Sam scuttled away. As he did so, he was starting to realize how much Konanca cared for Tervak. He realized that for the sake of the Alinko, she kept her feelings to her self. And Sam didn’t want to get caught eavesdropping by her of all Ràkuni.
*****************************************
Chapter 7:
Konanca had Sam, Jirkov, the twins, and the apprentices: Qorra, Nauru, and Soriqua join her in the Command Center.
Jirkov, sitting in a chair backwards, looked at Konanca who was standing in front of the main screen in what Sam thought was a stunning robe. “What’s going on?”
Konanca’s gaze swept the room before she turned on the screen and clicked on a link to R-Tube. “You’ll see. First, watch this video.” She stood there motionless, trying not to cry, until the video was over.
At the end of the video, Sam looked between the projection and Konanca. “That’s Tervak?”
Silvaki nodded. “Are we going to rescue him, Konanca?”
“Yes. Kalva has spent the last week down in the Data Analysis Center and has located Tervak. He’s on Akroi.” She pulled out some ancient scrolls. “I’m sure all of you except Sam remember the Alinko’s efforts to recover all six parts of the Viric Texts. My Akroian friend, Novo, has the one on Akroi.”
Sam did his best to hide the he had eavesdropped that conversation. “What are the Viric Texts?”
“They’re ancient texts written in the ancient lost language of Viri that tell of magic. We gave them up to our god thousands of years ago when we started the Alinko. We cannot even translate them. A shiruk, a Ràkuni holy man, split up the Texts and hid one on each of the six planets and left only a pronunciation guide and the first Text. It’s bad news if Kwantis snatches them.” She looked at Sam. “I know you listened to my conversation with Kalva.”
Sam’s jaw dropped. “How?”
“I’m part snow leopard; I have a great sense of smell. Besides I could have looked at the video feed from the camera that was behind you.” She added: “Don’t get any ideas: the one for my bedroom has a password.” Sam looked disappointed, as the others had to hide their laughter.
Sorní looked at Konanca. “We’re leaving now…right, Konanca?”
“Actually, we’re leaving in twenty minutes. Everyone get their weapons, a change of clothes, and a snack. It’s a long flight.” At that, everyone started to scurry off.
Sam looked at Konanca. Feigning being bewildered, he jokingly said: “Flying? I’m afraid of heights!”
Konanca smirked. “Into space. Not the air.” She patted Sam on the back and strolled out of the Command Center.
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Chapter 8:
“…Novo, where in the world is Alk Square…?” Konanca said into her latun, an Ràkuni cell phone-like thing, frustrated. “Oh…there you are.” She led the Earth Protectors over to the Akroian.
Novo was a handsome man…Sam had to admit. He looked like a Great Plains Indian in Egyptian clothing. “Hey Konanca! Great to see you again!”
Konanca nodded. “Thanks, Novo. This is Jirkov, Sorní, Silvaki, Qorra, Nauru, and Soriqua. And this here is Sam.” She gestured to everyone. “Everyone, meet Novo, an Akroian.”
Novo smiled. “We should take you to the Akroian Asylum. Zekala has the Second Text.”
The entourage followed Novo to the Asylum. It was a beautiful building made of adobe-like material. Sam was amazed and like the first time he walked into an Asylum, he was amazed with the women.
Zekala stood outside in her silk, light-purple robe. She greeted them. Konanca, I’m glad you’re here. Why the entourage? You’re just getting the Text, right?”
“Not just that. Tervak was captured and is held here on Akroi. We came to get him. As the Earthlings say, killing two birds with one stone.” She turned and smiled at Sam.
Zekala let out a small smile and gazed at the Lead Protector. “At any rate, I have the Text…courtesy of Novo.” She took and ancient scroll out of the sleeve of her robe. “I’m sure you’ll keep it safe.”
Sam glanced at the scroll and had a light bulb moment. “Hey! I recognize that script! My dad’s an archaeologist and I think he discovered the third part in Thailand. He’s been looking for some one who can either translate it or recognize it.”
Konanca turned sharply towards Sam. “That’s great news! When we return to Earth, we’ll retrieve the Third Text.”
Zekala tossed a look at Konanca. “Do you need my help? Dertak has captured some of the Protectors under my command.”
Konanca looked at her team and back at Zekala. “Yes. We could use all the possible help when dealing with Kwantis. We all have enough sense to know they’re dangerous.”
Novo gazed at everyone. “Can I help?”
Konanca paused. “If you want. Be mindful that you have an wife and a young child who depend on you.”
“I know,” Novo looked at his feet. “I’ll serve you well.”
******************************************
Chapter 9:
Konanca stood in the Commons, hands on her hips. “Good morning, sleepy head.” She smiled warmly and handed him a black gun. “Here.”
Sam scratched his head. “How do you use this?”
Konanca raised an eyebrow. “Really? You don’t know how to use a gun? I hate to say this, but: that’s pathetic!”
Sam scowled at her. “It’s not that I don’t know how to use a gun; it’s the fact that it’s a plasma gun.”
Konanca rolled her eyes. “It’s just a gun but with plasma for bullets.” She threw him a glance. “You’re pathetic.”
Sam had had enough. He aimed a punch at Konanca. However, Konanca was faster and by the end of it, he was on the ground with Konanca twisting his arm in a painful way.
“Ow!” he shrieked.
Konanca’s gaze was dark and serious. “Never do that. I have cat-like reflexes and next time, your head will be missing.” She let him collapse on the ground. “Now that that’s over with, shoot at the targets. This exercise is for accuracy.”
Sam, with his nerves shooting pain up his arm, aimed the gun. The bullet sailed into the nearest target, with a mini explosion. “That was actually easy!”
Konanca gave him a ‘told you so’ look. “I told you so. Sand this is for advanced learners only.” She took out a Ràkuni long bow and hit three of her targets in a matter of seconds. “How’d your dad come across the Third Text?”
Sam shot two more targets. “He’s a world famous archaeologist: his name is Dr. Joseph Zanen. When we were in Thailand, my dad was looking for some remains of the ancient Khmer empire. While he was digging in the oldest layers of the ruins, he found the scroll. I always wondered about it. He would be glad to give it to you. He never surrendered it to Thai authorities…”
“Where does he live?”
“He lives in Syracuse, New York. We can get there by plane.”
Konanca nodded as she went to retrieve the arrows she had shot and deposited them into her silver quiver. “Good plan. We’ll book a flight later.”
“Konanca!” Both turned to see Ylsa and Raeba standing just outside the door.
“What?” Konanca asked.
It was Ylsa who answered. “It’s eight in the morning…the apprentices have Weapons Practice.”
Konanca gave them an innocent smile and looked at Sam. I know, but someone decided he couldn’t wake up and be out here at seven and ended up out here at ten ‘til eight.”
Sam glared at her. “My alarm clock wouldn’t work!” Konanca just rolled her eyes.
Raeba laughed. “Can we have the Commons, now?”
“Sure.” Konanca shouldered her bow and quiver and beckoned Sam to follow her inside for breakfast.
***************************************
Chapter 10:
Sam sat across from Konanca. Konanca set down her longbow and quiver on the table and selected a couple books from the shelves of the Archives. She also checked out an iPad-like thing from Vurku, the Keeper of the Akroian Archives. She then sat down across from Sam.
Sam was confused. “What’s with all the books and electronics?”
“I’m going to teach you about Kwantis…you might as well know what we know. Besides, the R-Pad has good holographic images for Kwantis and I need to plan the rescue.”
“Holographs? That’s Star Wars technology! Awesome!”
Konanca seemed to ignore his comment. “Kwantis was the reason to Alinko formed. Kwantis means ‘the Bringers of the Apocalypse’ in Ràkuni…hence their mission. We’ve had minor skirmishes off and on during our thousands of years of existence. We knew it was inevitable that Kwantis would try to take over Ràku, so, as you know, we sent explorers to scout out the other five planets and learn the languages there.”
“Is that all there is to it?”
“Actually, no. There are more intricate details, but I’m not going to bother going into to them. They’re not worth it…unless this was a history class.”
“How does Dertak fit into this? Who’s that?”
Konanca paused. “He’s Kwantis’ leader. She tapped the R-Pad and a holographic image that changed between a Ràkuni and a vulture. “He’s a vulture transformate.”
“Kwantis agents can do what the Alinko can?”
“Yes. They are our opposite. Naturally, they can do what we can do. Dertak’s the most dangerous and ruthless of them all.”
“Why haven’t you tried to kill him yet? You seem to know him well enough.”
“He’s been really quiet until now. Besides, I’ve been busy enough in the three years it’s been since the last Lead Protector retired.”
Sam was about to respond, but the three apprentices burst into the Archives loudly, despite Vurku’s annoyance.
“Konanca!” Soriqua shouted. “We’re going sightseeing! Novo is going to show us around Leatov.”
“You can’t sit inside all day!” Nauru and Qorra added.
Konanca glanced at Sam. “Come on. We might as well go.” She turned to Vurku. “I’ll get this later.” She and Sam followed the apprentices out of the Archives.
********************************************
Chapter 11:
The Earth Protectors followed Novo around the marketplace of Leatov. They all felt awkward, considering that the Protectors were still wearing their Ràkuni robes and Sam, his street clothes. Novo fit in, wearing what Sam thought looked like ancient Egyptian fashions.
Novo turned to Konanca. “Well…you can explore…” The apprentices needed no other invitation to run off. The older Protectors were hesitant and tense, worried for Tervak.
Nauru grabbed Sam’s hand. “Come on! You can hang with us!” The three Ràkuni girls dragged him from one market stall to the next. They contained things like jewelry, designer cloths, and new foods, which they tried. Sam’s favorite stalls were the ornate kites that were more beautiful than the ones on Earth and the religious animal statues that were paintable and customizable. He bought one of a leopard and was going to paint it like a snow leopard and display it at home.
The foursome met up and started walking to the rendezvous point with Novo and the Protectors. Sam turned to Qorra. “Where in Ràku are you guys from?”
Nauru answered first. “I’m from Morim…a small village outside Qalik. I come from a family of merchants.”
Soriqua was next. “My town is a desert oasis by the Ilek River. It’s called Yomanik. We were farmers growing cash crops.”
Qorra looked between the other two apprentices and Sam. “I’m from Qalik…my parents are professors at the University of Qalik.”
Sam thought for a moment. “…Wow…I mean, it’s amazing how people from different backgrounds on Ràku can turn out to be really awesome people…It’s not like that on Earth. I wish it was.”
Nauru looked at Sam. “It’s better to be humble…”
Sam interrupted her by accident, speaking his thoughts. “…I don’t understand how Ràkuni from very different backgrounds such as Konanca and Qorra get along…”
Nauru looked, frustrated, at Soriqua for help. “It happens. Qorra can explain.”
Qorra looked at them, annoyed. “My parents taught me to be humble…after all, there are other Ràkuni who come from worse situations than me…like Konanca: a high mountain village. I learned the hard way by accidentally offending Konanca when she was listening to me talking to my friends, Halasa and Larkia. I think Konanca and I where put together by the Elder Council so Konanca could teach me humility.”
Soriqua smirked. “Konanca was ticked. She had you clean all the Asylum’s bathrooms for a week!”
Qorra scowled at her. “Don’t remind me. Besides, there she is and I don’t want hear another lecture. I know you guys don’t want to either.” She swerved sharply and walked over to her mentor.
***************************************
Chapter 12:
Sam sat on a bench in the Commons, watching Konanca practice archery…he had nothing better to do. Sam analyzed her muscular, but beautiful arms pull back and release the longbow string, her silver-tinged blue eyes full of concentration. Her light green robe with a white sash tied to her waist fluttered in the wind while her mountain pendant glistened in the sun. As he watched her mid-back level, midnight black braid reach down her back, he imagined her kissing him…
Suddenly, Sam felt something sharp poke him in the chest. His eyes flew open to see a blunt arrow in his lap and an irritated Konanca standing in front of him with her longbow in her left hand, quiver slung over her back, and her right hand raised to slap him.
“Wait…! I can explain…!” He said quickly. Konanca slapped him anyways.
“You and I both know what is going on in there…” Konanca hissed, tapping his head with her short, but still sharp nails. “You were daydreaming about me!”
Sam was about to respond but Raeba ran out, terrified. “Konanca! Sam! Get in the basement! Tornado!”
Konanca turned around and saw the ominous skies. “Oh…lovely. The trouble with tornadoes is that you never know when they’re over…”
Sam took Konanca’s hand. “Well, come on, then! We’re not Storm Chasers!”
Konanca gave him a puzzled look. “What are they? Are they religious mystics?”
Sam shook his head. “I’ll explain later.”
The threesome descended into the crowded, but expansive basement. Sam was amazed at how prepared they were.
“You’re very prepared,” he commented.
Raeba smiled. “It was Zekala’s idea. Besides, we experience plenty of them back on Ràku. How could we not be prepared?”
“I’m impressed. We’re not this prepared on Earth…”
Ylsa, who had been listening, said: “You’ll be amazed by a lot of our ways.” She flipped on the lights to a bunk room. “Well…let’s get hunkered down…!”
******************************************
Chapter 13:
Sam felt something shake him and opened his eyes to see it was Soriqua. “Sam! Come on! They found where Dertak’s lair is! Konanca’s briefing us.”
Sam rubbed his eyes and followed her into the briefing room. The earth Protectors were there along with Novo, Zekala, Ylsa, Raeba, and Fulvom, another Akroian Protector.
Konanca, in her battle uniform, only looked at them as they entered, probably still mad about yesterday’s incident. She just continued, gesturing to the holograph while doing so. “…We’ll storm the compound, here. There’s a couple booby traps…we’re going to have fun with explosives,” She glanced at the apprentices who were exchanging happy looks. “The captured Protectors are in this alcove. Last, we go to the Command Center, here, kill Dertak, and blow up the rest of that forsaken place and get out of here with all the prisoners. Understood?”
They all nodded. The plan was simple enough. Konanca was satisfied with the answer. “Good. Grab your weapons and let’s go. Any last minute questions?”
Zekala stood up. “Mode of transportation?”
“We’re going on foot to avoid attracting unwanted attention. The route we chose is very concealing, but difficult. Novo knows the terrain and will guide us through.”
Qorra stood up as well. “Do the apprentices get to use the explosives?” She asked hopefully.
Konanca gave her a look. “No. Not unless there’s an emergency. You haven’t had much experience.”
“What about us?” asked Nauru. “Soriqua and I have had experience.”
“You two can but keep an eye on Qorra and make sure she’s not within a close distance of them.”
Qorra scowled at Nauru. “Thanks a lot, you idiot! That’s not fair Konanca! I’ve had experience with them before. You know that!”
Konanca glared at her. “My decision is final, Qorra.” She said stiffly.
“But…”
“You heard me, Qorra. Case closed; end of story.” She turned her back and led the team out of the Asylum.
****************************************
Chapter 14:

“…Ugh…!” Qorra complained. “You didn’t say we were going through a marshland.”
Konanca turned around, raised an eyebrow, and cut through some more grasses with her akal, a machete-like object. “Now you know why I didn’t bring Acali or Magella. They’d be so annoying and there’d never be an end to it…”
Sam turned around to hear Nauru mocking Magella. “Oh! My hair! This is messing up my outfit…! Everyone else snickered.
Novo smiled. “There’s a reason why this is called the Marshland of Mayhem.” He stood next to Konanca cutting grass, too.
“Couldn’t we have taken the all-terrain vehicle?” Qorra complained again. Konanca ignored her and continued on. Qorra mumbled to Soriqua: “Konanca’s gone nuts, taking us on a wild goose…”
Konanca whirled around. “If you want to be headless,” she said sweetly, “this is the correct way to do it!” she hissed.
Qorra blushed, embarrassed that she had been admonished by the Lead Protector who was also her mentor. She kept her mouth firmly shut the rest of the way. The rest of the team secretly laughed at Konanca’s comment.
Finally, they stepped out of the marsh and towering above them was Dertak’s compound. It was partially crumbled.
Zekala glanced at Konanca. “We attacked them a week ago…it was a disaster.”
Sorní nodded. “It shows.” Zekala gave him an evil glare.
Konanca turned around and showed them the holograph. “Remember: Fan out into a semi-circle. The front guard station is lightly manned. Silvaki, Nauru, Qorra, and I will scale the walls and let you in.” The group nodded and assembled into their positions. “Don’t forget the arrow head formation when we enter the compound.”
The compound loomed in the horizon, well built with adobe bricks. It seemed intimidating.
Konanca looked at everyone. “Ready? Let’s go!” The team dashed for the compound.
************************************
Chapter 15:
Sam charged with the rest of the team towards the compound. The group of climbers broke away and sprinted for the light-brown adobe wall.
“Cover us!” Konanca shouted.
Sam and the rest of the semi-circle started shooting at the guards. Surprisingly, he had great accuracy and three guards fell in less than a second. That made Sam feel proud.
The rest of the garrison fell to the others’ bullets and the climbers’ arrows. Sam could see the sashes on their uniforms flying in the wind.
Suddenly, the compound’s drawbridge-like door fell open with a clang. The rest of the team raced in like children around candy. They then waited for Konanca, Silvaki, Nauru, and Qorra to descend from the wall.
Nauru smiled as she jumped off the last step. “That was fun! Those guards were no match for us and our longbows!”
Sam returned the smile. “You guys were totally awesome!” He then turned to Konanca. “What’s next?”
Konanca gave him a glare. “Really? Seriously?” She turned to the rest of the crew. “Remember: arrow head formation. When we get to the booby traps, use our stock of explosives. Everyone except Qorra should have some.”
Qorra looked downcast, but said nothing. She scowled at Konanca as she turned her head away…she knew better than to do that.”
They assembled in the arrowhead formation. Naturally, Konanca was the point and was flanked by Sorní and Silvaki. The group proceeded with the utmost caution.
Konanca looked up suddenly from the holograph. “We are here. It’s the time you have all been waiting for: fun with explosives! Come on! This is going to be fun!” She enthusiastically pulled out an explosive. It would be very fun…and it was going to get messy…really messy.
************************************
Chapter 16:
Konanca scanned the group. “Alright: Straight line formation, everyone. On the count of three, throw the explosives. One, two, three!”
Everyone threw the explosives and there was a simultaneous explosion.
Sam smirked. “We use explosives in the videogames that we play, but I didn’t think that I would ever use them! This is awesome!”
Novo cast a confused look at Sam. “What are these things you call ‘videogames’?”
Sam blushed. “They are games…with computer graphics…they are used for the sake of our entertainment…”
Konanca laughed. “You Earthlings and your methods of entertainment are pathetic.”
Silvaki glanced at Konanca. “We should get going if we are going to free those prisoners. Dertak probably knows that we are here by now. Remember…we just created a quality, large explosion.”
Konanca nodded. “I know. Let me calculate the safest path.” She tapped a few things on the holograph and examined the holographic map. “Ah ha! Here’s a good path!” she muttered.
Zekala looked over her shoulders. “What is it…? Oh! That’s a great path!”
Ylsa gave them a quizzical look. “Which way are we going?” she inquired.
Konanca looked up from the holograph. “That way.” She pointed to the left. “We go straight until we hit the Curvy Hallway. We follow the Curvy Hallway until we hit the Octagon Prison. All of the prisoners are in there. We’re going to use dynamite to get in there.”
“When do I come into play?” Raeba asked.
Konanca looked at her. “You come into play when we get to the Command Center. Since you’re good with computers, you get the honors of self-destructing the compound. Now, let’s go rescue those Protectors!” She and the rest of the arrowhead formation charged down the left hallway.
*************************************
Chapter 17:
Konanca skidded to a halt as she spotted the locked entrance to the Octagon Prison. She could see the control panel, the four guards, and most of the prisoners. Konanca signaled to Zekala, who had the dynamite and to the twins, who were sharpshooters.
Zekala worked her magic with the dynamite. She lit the fuse and within seconds, it exploded. Using the explosion as their cue, the twins and Konanca killed all four guards. Zekala stepped in and destroyed the video camera
“Raeba, go to the computers and unlock the cells.” Konanca ordered. The young Protector nodded and got down to business.
Soriqua glanced around the room and spoke in Ràkuni. “Have any of you seen Tervak?”
All of them exchanged glances, seeing that Konanca was there. The man in Cell Five spoke. “They took him away yesterday. He’s very week from the torture of being here for two years and I doubt he survived last night…”
Konanca nodded solemnly. “Thank you, Olak. Where can we find those security tapes?”
“In the Command Center, most likely.”
Suddenly, there was a buzz and the cell doors and the door to a weapons arsenal opened. “Got it!” shouted Raeba.
The rest of the released Protectors murmured graciously and their rescuers proceeded to take off their chains. The rescued then retrieved their weapons.
Sam nodded with satisfaction. “Now…which way to the Command Center?”
“This way,” Konanca said, pointing straight ahead of the group. “Be ready at all times. The Command Center and Dertak’s inner sanctum are heavily guarded at all times, not just now. Have your weapons ready and don’t leave anyone behind. You are among your own kinsman.
Everyone nodded solemnly at their leader’s words. They all knew that others were in danger and lives were at stake…including Tervak’s.
****************************************
Chapter 18:
“Zekala!” Konanca whispered intensely. “Where’s the other stick of dynamite?”
“Right here.” Zekala pushed forward. She set the dynamite on the floor and lit the fuse. Zekala then stepped back to watch it explode Konanca and the twins shot the guards down.
“Raeba! It’s up to you to start the count down to the compound’s self-destruction. The rest of you: search the security tapes for evidence of Tervak. We aren’t leaving a soul behind.”
Silvaki nodded. “The least we could do is retrieve his body.”
Everyone scuttled to their stations, pulling the dead guards off the consoles they had slumped on to. For a few minutes, all that could be heard was the typing and the racing breaths of the worried Protectors. Someone could have dropped a pin and everyone would have heard it.
A frustrated call came from Ylsa. “I can’t find him!”
“Same here,” said Soriqua.
“I can’t find him either,” added Sorní. There were murmurs of agreement around the room. It was not a good sign.
“Maybe, he’s already dead,” said Novo.
“Just where could he be?” murmured Konanca sadly.
Silvaki looked up from her computer. “You know, they probably knew we were coming. Kwantis probably killed him in advanced to make you suffer more.”
Konanca only nodded. “There’s something fishy about the security tapes. There’s one missing on this panel and I can’t tell which room it’s for. The title is written in Kwantis’ code. I know none of you can read it, but can any of you help me?”
“Everyone looked, but didn’t know which room it was from. They only murmured sadly and shook their heads.
A tear formed in everyone’s eyes as Soriqua, Tervak’s apprentice spoke:

“So…he’s dead.” Everyone bowed their heads.
Suddenly, a voice spoke amongst the mournful silence. “Tervak’s not dead…he’s right here, getting special treatment as my honored guest. And Konanca? I might say that you never cease to surprise me.”
****************************************
Chapter 19:
All of the Protectors looked up to see Dertak aiming a crossbow at Tervak’s back in a room that had been previously hidden from their sight.
“Welcome to my inner sanctum!” said Dertak, cheerfully.
“Tervak!” Konanca exclaimed. Involuntarily, she stepped away from the group towards where Tervak stood.
A tear formed in Tervak’s eyes. “Konanca…it’s been so long. I missed you.” He looked at Soriqua. “I missed you, too, Soriqua.”
Soriqua’s eyes brightened. “Does that mean that you’ll be back to mentoring me?”
Silvaki put a hand on her shoulder and Soriqua looked up at her. “Not quite yet. He would need to recover first. I’m sure the captivity really got to you, Tervak.” She glanced up at Tervak.
Tervak nodded. “More than you know. That’s just a way of sugarcoating it, but I suppose the apprentices saw that video…they saw what I went through…” He trailed off. “All that time, I was hoping of coming back to you, Konanca…back to the old days before the Invasion.”
Sam glanced at Tervak. “Haven’t you tried to escape? Konanca mentioned that you can turn into an anaconda.”
Tervak gave him a pained smile. “You must be Sam…figures. Oh, we tried, Sam, but technology exists to prevent us from using our animal forms to escape. It’s not possible to do that anymore. Believe me, I would have been gone the first day.”
Konanca gazed at Tervak. “I never lost hope that I would find you…on Akroi, of all places. I knew with all my heart that I would find you.”
“I’m glad you persevered. I think the only way I stayed sane was thinking of you, Soriqua, and all of Ràku. Konanca, I feel like the luckiest Ràkuni alive to have you as mine. All who know you I’m sure feel the same.”
Dertak clapped his hands together. “Now isn’t this such a touching reunion? This calls for some heartbreak, now doesn’t it?” He raised his crossbow and shot Tervak in the back.
****************************************
Chapter 20:
Sam, along with Soriqua, tried to go help Konanca, but Silvaki stopped them.
“Don’t,” she said. “Let her spend her last moments with him...somewhat alone.” They heeded her words as Tervak fell into Konanca’s hands.
Konanca gently lowered Tervak to the ground. “Please don’t leave! Remember the promise you made to me four years ago on the summit of Sora Cloi?”
Tervak unsteadily reached an olive-skinned hand to her face. “It seems as if fate has a cruel sense of humor. I made a promise to you, yet, a change in fate has caused me not to keep it. I am terribly sorry.”
Tears trickled down Konanca’s cheeks. “Don’t talk like that! It’s possible to survive!”
“Please don’t cry, Konanca. The separation won’t be forever. We’ll be together again one day. But, I won’t leave you without a goodbye present.”
Konanca gave him a confused look. “What do you mean?”
Tervak smiled mischievously. “I mean this.” He leaned up and kissed her on the lips.
It was a good, long kiss. Konanca was surprised but it was a pleasant surprise that was also bittersweet. Even though he was dying, he didn’t lack in passion.
Suddenly, he broke away; leaving Konanca dazed and fell back into her lap. Then, Tervak was dead.
Konanca shook herself from her daze, realizing that Tervak was dead. Anger towards Dertak boiled up inside of her. She felt herself start to change and knew this time, of all times, she couldn’t resist. She wouldn’t resist. She would get her revenge and Dertak wouldn’t expect it.
She launched herself in her snow leopard form at Dertak.
As expected, Dertak didn’t expect this reaction from Konanca. He didn’t know how her anger issues were connected to her ability to change form. Konanca raked her claws across Dertak’s throat before he had a chance to change to his vulture form. He was dead within seconds.
Konanca changed back to human. “It is done. Let us go back to Earth to mourn the loss of our comrade.” She picked up her longbow, slung it over her shoulder, and carried Tervak’s body out of the room.
****************************************
Epilogue:
Everyone who dwelled within the Earth Asylum was gathered solemnly before Tervak’s body for his funeral and cremation. All, including Sam, were following the Ràkuni custom of wearing all black at funerals. The men wore their black ceremonial outfits with black turbans. The women wore black sari-like outfits with black head coverings. As Sam always thought, Konanca looked the most stunning, even though the head covering hid her streaming tears.
“…and may his soul rest eternally in the paradise of heaven. Amen,” said Luri, the shiruk.
“Amen.” Everyone responded, wiping tears from their eyes.
Luri signaled to Konanca and hand her a flaming torch. “Now, let his body return to the earth.” Konanca then started using the torch to trace the Symbol of Ràku over his body, tears streaming down her face. She set the torch on the cremation table and stood there, watching her loved one burn.
Sam turned to Silvaki. “I hate to see her like this.”
“It would’ve happened, maybe not like this, but one way or another. Now, she will spread his ashes at the summit of Sora Cloi as he asked.”
“I suppose she wouldn’t go for me anyways,” he murmured sadly.
Silvaki glanced at him. “At this point, I don’t think she’ll ever marry…her heart will always remain with his. It’s such a shame…she had great plans for her life with him…down to the children’s names…”
“She planned that?”
“Of course!” She leaned over to whisper in his ear. “Just between you and me…and Jirkov for that matter, that’s what I’m going to name my twin daughters in eight months: Baikala and Kalia: meaning she who gazes at the stars from the top of the world and she who likes to run, respectively.”
Sam raised an eyebrow. “Is that so?”
Jirkov nodded. “That’s why I wen to Akroi with her…to protect her. We forgot to tell Konanca. We’ll tell her after she isn’t as upset about Tervak’s death.” He beamed at Silvaki.
“So…what’s next? Dertak’s dead.” Sam asked.
“Jirkov shook his head. “Just because Dertak’s dead doesn’t mean this war is over. We have to liberate all the planets, ending with Ràku. And when Dertak’s successor as the Akakou, whoever that is, is dead, then it’s over. But for now, we will grieve for Tervak.” The two Protectors and the human stood there as the fires demolished Tervak’s body.
************************


Last edited by Madeline26 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chronicles of Asylum: Rise of a New Killer

Post by Madeline26 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:22 pm

Rise of a New Killer



By: M. E. Shepley



Prologue:
“…now, Nauru, repeat after me,” said Konanca. “I, state your name…”
“I, Nauru Leeneu…”
“…promise to serve and protect the planet of Ràku and all other planets from Kwantis and other dangers when need be…”
“…promise to serve and protect the planet of Ràku and all other planets from Kwantis and other dangers when need be…”
“…all the days of my service.”
“…all the days of my service.”
Konanca looked up from the podium and smiled. “Congratulations, Nauru: you are officially a part of the Alinko.”
The Indian-looking girl returned the smile, her cocoa-brown, shoulder-length hair swaying in the breeze. “Thank you. Silvaki, I couldn’t have learned from anyone better. My parents would have been proud if they were here…”
Silvaki exchanged a glance with Konanca. Everyone knew that Nauru’s parents had been killed in a raid by nomadic bandits three years ago. Poor Nauru had been the one who had found them…it had been her fifteenth birthday.
“Well, Nauru, at least they’re watching from heaven,” said Qorra from behind. “If it makes you feel any better, my sister, Luma won’t be with my parents when I’m inducted. She was supposed to be inducted two years ago. She died the day before, which was the day of the Invasion.”
Jirkov walked up to Silvaki. “Let’s not dwell on the things that we wish were here. We have something to celebrate: Nauru’s ‘coming of age.’” He glanced at Sam. “Sam, you are in for a sweet treat. Ràkuni sure know how to throw a party. You’ll be amazed…again.”
Sam met the Indian-looking man’s bright green eyes before his scraggly, dark-brown hair fell in front of his eyes. “I’m sure I will be.”
Silvaki rolled her eyes, steering Jirkov away from the cluster. “And you need a haircut before then.”
Konanca signaled to Sam. “Come on; we need to speak to your father. See you all tomorrow.” The two departed from the cluster.
***************************************
Chapter 1:
Sam rang the doorbell to his father’s house. “Now, remember, Konanca…”
The door opened and a light-skinned man with brown eyes who looked almost exactly like Sam except that his hair was gray instead of light-brown, stepped out. “Sam, my boy! What brings you here?”
“This is my friend, Konanca. She’s interested in the scroll you found in Thailand.”
Sam’s father nodded and turned towards Konanca. “I’m Dr. Joseph Zanen. I’m sure you’ve heard of me at some point.”
“Actually, no, Dr. Zanen…not until Sam told me. I’m actually not from Earth…I’m from a planet called Ràku. There’s five planets with intelligent life…but that’s not why I’m here.” She shifted forms to prove her point.
Dr. Zanen nodded slowly. “Why are you interested in the scroll?”
“It’s part of an ancient document split up thousands of years ago by my people called the Viric Texts. They’re written in the lost language of Viri and we must reunite all six parts…for protection purposes. Sam says you have the Third Text.”
Dr. Zanen went back into the house and brought out the scroll. He handed it to Konanca. “Take it. Thai authorities weren’t happy when I brought it back to the States. I’d be more than happy to let you take it.”
Konanca examined it. “It’s the Third Text, all right. Thank you for holding on to it.”
Dr. Zanen smiled. “You’re welcome. You know…I’d be glad to help you with whatever you need.”
“That’s okay. I already dragged one too many humans into this mess. It’s very dangerous and one of my Protectors was killed recently.
“I’m sorry about that.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry about. His soul has passed on and we will see him again. I don’t want to think about it right now.”
“Oh, okay.”
“Konanca nodded. “We have to go, then. Thanks for your help.” She turned and followed Sam to the rental car.
******************************************
Chapter 2:
“You’re here!” shouted Nauru, who was wearing a red sari with leaf patterns. “We thought you’d never come. The party started five minutes ago.”
Konanca smiled and said jokingly: “The party doesn’t start until I get here…besides, I had to put on something nicer and Sam needed help with his. Everyone looks nice.” Konanca was wearing a deep blue sari with a matching head cloth and deep blue sandals.
Silvaki, in a green sari with floral patterns, laughed. “Konanca, you have a great sense of humor. We could use that at work. You’re so serious all the time.”
Konanca nodded thoughtfully. “I know. That’s for special occasions, nowadays. I suppose we could do things…such as theme days…”
Soriqua came up and pointed at Silvaki’s middle. “Hey, Silvaki! What happened to your belly?”
Silvaki gave Soriqua a look to shut up. “Long story. I’ll explain later.” She turned to Sam and handed Sam a cup. “Sam, try this. It’s called nemí.”
Sam tasted it. “Wow…that’s really a strong drink. What is in it?”
Silvaki laughed again. “There’s alcohol and some fruit juices. Don’t try this at home…Ràkuni are professionals. Besides, my doctor says I can’t have any.”
“Why…? Oh, right. I forgot. Sorry, Silvaki.”
Silvaki nodded and followed Jirkov to the dance floor. Sam remained standing next to Konanca.
Suddenly, he was pushed from behind towards Konanca. He turned to see Qorra.
“Come on, you two. It’s time to dance. It’s not a party without everyone dancing. Besides, Konanca, you’re good at this kind of thing…really good. You can teach Sam the traditional dances. You can’t just stand here all night, so come on!”
Konanca gave her a glare. “Okay but only because this is Nauru’s party. One dance with Sam only.” She yanked Sam on to the dance floor.
****************************************
Chapter 3:
“Okvar! How’s the examination of the Third Text going?” Konanca asked the head of the Data Analysis Department.
“Good,” Okvar said. “And, actually, we have discovered something!”
“What?”
Okvar lead her over to the table where the Third Text lay. He pointed at some characters written at the bottom of the page. “It was Sam that noticed it. Those characters aren’t written in Viri…it’s an ancient form of Ràkuni. It says ‘linem ne melek’ which means…”
“…beware of the forgotten, I know. The shiruk of my village spoke that dialect. We had to know it for the temple services. I wonder what the phrase refers to.”
Sam, who was on the opposite end of the table, looked at the pair. “Maybe it’s referring to something deep in your history that some may forget.”
“Sam’s right.” Okvar and Konanca turned around to see Neak, a member of the Elder Council. His brown hair was graying and it matched the warm gray of his wisdom-filled eyes. “Five hundred years ago, a group of Ràkuni were sent to protect the Sixth Text…the one on Sorae. We had received word that it was in danger and they disappeared without a trace protecting it. The location of the Text has been lost. Perhaps that’s what it means.”
Okvar nodded, glancing between Konanca and Sam. “It’s on the other two Texts as well. It must be very important.”
“That’s what I was thinking,” said Neak. “I think that ancient shiruk wanted the Alinko to find the Viric Texts. We’ve recovered three parts of six.” After a moment’s thought, he added: “I think Sam could translate it.”
Konanca raised an eyebrow. “Why?”
“That same shiruk said only a foreigner would be able to translate them. We’ll do that when we are in possession of all six.”
Konanca nodded slowly. “I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry. Let’s eat lunch.” She turned and headed for the mess hall.
***************************************
Chapter 4:
Sam entered the Command center. Several Protectors…some he didn’t know were at work. Konanca was directing everyone.
“Anything new with Kwantis?” Sam asked the Lead Protector.
Konanca turned his way and nodded. “Yes. There’s been an increase in Kwantis activity within a ten-mile radius of this Asylum. That’s got me worried.”
“Why?”
“That usually means that they’re up to something. Last time, before the Invasion, they knocked out our detection equipment and force fields. We’re not making the same mistake twice.”
“Is that how you knew the Invasion would happen?”
Konanca nodded. “We lost a lot of Protectors and civilians that day. I was fortunate that all of my family survived. Qorra and Sorní were heartbroken to have watched Qorra’s sister, Luma, die. It seems as if we’re losing a lot of young people…” She took out an inhaler-like object and took in some medicine.
“You have asthma?”
Konanca shook her head. “No. It’s a medicine to calm my nerves…I don’t want to accidentally kill some one, especially younger kids…”
Sam blushed. “Sorry…I should have figured that.”
“That’s okay. Be glad I take this or I would have probably killed you by now…” She was thoughtful for a moment. “That’s how I discovered I was a Protector…I got mad at Ivok for some reason I can’t remember and turned into a snow leopard, accidentally killing one of my family’s yaks. I was known to have anger issues, but I hadn’t done anything like that before so my parents were angry. Not that it was my entire fault…they could never afford the medication. The local Protector, Iní, just happened to be walking by back to his dwelling and saw the incident.”
Sam laughed. “Smooth, Konanca.”
Konanca gave him a look. I couldn’t help it ten years ago…I can’t help it now.”
“Do you know why it happens?”
“My doctor says it’s a genetic mishap with one of my chromosomes. Remind me to show you about it later. I have work to do.” She turned back to her computer screen to finish her work.
******************************************
Chapter 5:
Sam was following Konanca to the table in her compartment. “What are we doing and what’s the point?”
Konanca gave him a smile. “This is a game called reolin…a traditional Ràkuni game like your Sorry. We usually have betting, but you’re a beginner. Besides, you said you wanted to have some fun.” She set up the game board and passed out the pawns.
Sam smiled. “I used to beat my friends at Sorry all the time. This will be a piece of cake.”
“Not so fast. I’m a master at this game. You have to roll a seven to get out of the start space. Otherwise, all other rules a pretty much the same.” Konanca rolled a seven and moved her pawn out. She then rolled a twelve and moved the same number of spaces.
Sam scowled at Konanca. “Well…someone’s having a streak of luck.” He rolled a six and tossed the dice at Konanca. “Screw dice.”
Konanca laughed. “I warned you that I’m good at reolin. What can I say?” She rolled an eight and moved her pawn.
Sam rolled a seven. “Finally!” His pawn joined Konanca’s on the path as he rolled a five. “Ha!”
Konanca rolled a twelve and landed on the same space as Sam, knocking his pawn back to the start. “‘Ha’ to you!”
Instinctively, Sam threw a pawn at Konanca. With her cat-like reflexes, she caught it. Sam scowled again. “You are unbelievable.”
Konanca smiled, but a brown tabby cat jumped on to the table and meowed at Konanca. Konanca nodded and meowed back, her voice changing in pitch and frequency. She then patted the cat’s head and fed it a treat from a jar that sat on a shelf between a picture of Tervak and Konanca on the summit of Sora Cloi and of them at a formal event. The cat, satisfied with its reward, padded away.
Sam looked puzzled. “What was that?”
“A cat messenger trained to contact me when necessary. As you can tell, I can talk to them. This one says Theri, the head of the Tracking and Observation Department requests my presence and reminds about another important matter.”
“Rematch later, then?”
“Sure.” Konanca got up and led Sam out of her compartment to meet Theri.
******************************************
Chapter 6:
Konanca pushed open the door to the Tracking and Observation Department. “What’s so urgent, Theri?”
Theri, a short Indian-looking man with brown eyes, looked up. “We think we figured out a pattern to Kwantis’ attacks.”
“I thought so. What’s the pattern?”
Theri unrolled a map of the six planets. “It’s the order of where the six parts of the Viric Texts are to be found: Ràku, Akroi, Earth, Tujra, Harca, and Sorae. They’d probably attack Ràku again, too, before this is all over with.”
Sam looked between Theri and Konanca. “So…the next attack is on this Asylum.” Theri nodded.
Konanca glanced at Theri. “We should be prepared for a battle. I’ll notify everyone. We’ll be ready this time.”
Theri’s eyes were filled with concern. “You of all Ràkuni should be careful, Konanca. You’re our leader and are the most valuable to Kwantis because of the information you have. Kwantis won’t just try to break you…they’ll capture you…”
“I know…and then they’ll torture me. Theri, you know we’re all trained to stay silent no matter what the torture is.”
Theri gave her a weak smile. “Remember the Missing Protector Protocol? We can only go a month without leads to whereabouts before we have to pronounce a Protector ‘dead’.”
Konanca gazed at him. “I’d die before I’d give Kwantis any information.”
Sam could see her start to change and was going to warn Theri to watch out. However, Konanca stopped herself by inhaling some of her medicine.
“Sorry,” she muttered. “I forgot to take my medicine this morning.” She beckoned to Sam. “Come on. We have some work to do. Let’s go.”
“Where?”
“I need to assign Soriqua her new mentor. I keep forgetting.” She signaled to another young Protector. “Come with me, Yí.” She led the two men out the door.
*****************************************
Chapter 7:
Konanca knocked on the door to the girls’ apprentice dormitory. Inra, a fourteen-year old apprentice who liked Ivok, opened the door. “Oh, hi Konanca! What do you want?”
“I need to talk to Soriqua…it’s about her new mentor for the rest of her apprenticeship.”
Inra looked back into the dormitory. “Soriqua!”
Soriqua walked to the door and peered into the hallway. “What…? Oh, this is about my new mentor. Who is it?”
Konanca beckoned Yí forward. “It’s Yí. I figured he’d be a good mentor for your last year. I think you know why.”
Soriqua nodded. “Thanks. This will be a great last year.”
I seem to think so too, Soriqua,” Yí agreed. “Want to get started in an hour?”
“Sure. My break ends then. I’ll meet you in the Science Pavilion to show you my ending project for this year.”
Yí nodded. “Okay. See you then.” He walked back down the hall.
As soon as he was out of earshot, Soriqua said: “I hope I don’t jinx him…”
“What do you mean?” asked Sam.
Konanca gave him a sad smile. “This is her third mentor. Her first mentor died…Tervak and I wouldn’t have been old enough to mentor her. Either you forgot our age difference or you never learned that Soriqua is 17.” She turned to Soriqua. “You’re not going to jinx Yí…Tervak just wasn’t lucky.”
“I hope so,” Soriqua replied. “Konanca, did Silvaki tell you about her news?”
“No…what is it?”
“It’s not for me to say. Everyone knows about it and promised not to tell. She wants to be the one to tell you.”
“Where is she now?”
“The Medical Department. If you go now, you’ll catch her before she leaves.”
Konanca looked at Sam. “Did you know about this?”
“Yes, but let’s talk to Silvaki.” He started down the hall, but turned around. “Now, which way is that, Konanca?”
***************************************
Chapter 8:
Silvaki was just walking out of the Medical Department when Sam and Konanca finally found her.
“Silvaki! We need to talk,” said Konanca.
The older Protector turned around. “Hi, Konanca. I was just coming to do that. We do have to talk. I was going to, but so many things happened.”
“What is it?”
Silvaki glanced at Sam and took a breath. “I’m expecting twins. Jirkov and I wanted to tell you, but you were so upset with Tervak’s death…I didn’t want to make it worse…”
Konanca hugged her. “That’s great news!” She gazed at he friend. “You know that means you can’t use weapons or participate in battles, right?”
“Of course I do. I filled out all the paperwork as well. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.”
“That’s okay. It was probably a good thing you waited to tell me. How far along?”
“Two months now.”
“I’ll make sure I take my meds in the morning for you to make it less dangerous…”
Sam raised an eyebrow. “You’ve been forgetting to do that?”
“No. I only forgot this morning.”
Silvaki laughed. “Good thing you usually have it with all the time.”
Konanca gave her a weak smile. “Feel free to shoot me with a tranquilizer gun if I actually do forget that.” She then muttered. “Stupid chromosomes.”
“I can still do other work, right?”
“Yes and protocol is that the last month is one of no work…you know the rest of the other details.”
Sam sighed loudly. “Can we go now?”
“I have to go see something in Data Analysis. You can do what you like the rest of the day.”
“I’ll come with,” Sam said. “That department’s really interesting. Sam followed Konanca down the hallway…much to her dislike.
****************************************
Chapter 9:
“Konanca, you are just all over the place,” Okvar commented.
Konanca shrugged. “I’m the Lead Protector…it’s a very involved job. Now, what did you want?”
“We have new information on Kwantis. Sources tell me that Kwantis has a new Akakou.”
“Akakou?” Sam inquired.
“It means ‘killer in Ràkuni,” said Okvar. “The new Akakou’s name just so happens to be Habachachi which means ‘he who kills’.”
“Intriguing name,” said Sam.
Konanca groaned. “Not him. I had hoped he would choose the Alinko over Kwantis, but because of his name, he just had to join Kwantis.”
Sam looked bewildered. “You know him?”
Konanca nodded ruefully. “Of course. He’s also from Ikuiri and is two years younger than I am. He was orphaned as a baby and the shira, a holy woman, inadvertently named him Habachachi after he accidentally killed a fly. You do the math.”
Okvar gave her a look. “That’s very unlucky for you.”
“I know…no wonder I have anger issues. He caused some of them.”
“What can he transform into?” asked Sam.
“A hyena,” said Okvar.
Konanca groaned again. “I hate it when he laughs. It’s like a mutated child’s laugh. I hope I never hear it again.”
Okvar nodded in agreement. “I agree. He’s just as dangerous and more ruthless than Dertak. His torture methods are very…extreme. We’d all kill ourselves before we were tortured by him.”
Konanca gave a faint smile. “That is…if you got your hands on weapons.”
Sam shuddered. “Yikes. Not my kind of guy. Hey, Konanca,” he asked. “Can I teach you something for once?”
“Sure.”
“Then, let’s go.” Sam whisked her down the hallway.
******************************************
Chapter 10:
Sam and Konanca sat on a bench in the Commons. The breeze blew through the trees. The shade was good on a hot summer’s day.
“What am I going to learn from you?” Konanca asked.
“Whatever you like. Ask away.”
“What do you Earthlings do to have fun?”
Sam laughed. “That depends on whether you are indoors or outdoors.”
“How about indoors.”
“We play board games, read, watch television, play video games…”
“What’s television?”
Sam thought for a moment. “It’s a box that transmits videos, pictures, and sounds for you to hear and watch. There’s every genre of shows.”
“Oh!” Konanca said. “We have something like that back on Ràku. There’s only news and other educational and informative things…not entertainment.”
“I didn’t know you had them.”
“We do, but we don’t use them often. Our computers are how we keep up-to-date with everything.”
“Ah…” said Sam. “It seems as if I’m learning more than you are.”
Konanca laughed. “I learn everyday…especially since I’m a Protector. If it weren’t for this, I probably wouldn’t have left the mountainside.”
“That’s why I’m glad I met you…aliens. Is that in any way offensive to you?”
“No. You’re aliens to us. It’s a two-way thing.”
“Your culture is amazing. I wish mine were that interesting. This is why I moved from home…adventure.”
Konanca raised an eyebrow. “Yours is interesting to us, too. If you want, you can go watch Nauru get her Protector markings. It’s an elaborate, somewhat painful, and ancient process. That’s how I got these.” She raised her sleeves to show the white markings.
“Sure. I can always use more culture.” This time, when they got inside, it was Konanca who whisked them down the hallways.
*******************************************
Chapter 11:
“Ow!” Nauru said. “This hurts.”
Filo, an expert in lera, making Protector markings, smiled. “It’s supposed to. It’s not like I’m using paint; I’m using a xek.”
“What is a xek?” asked Sam.
“A xek,” Konanca replied. “Is a special consecrated knife used only in lera.”
“What exactly are you going to incise on my arms, Filo?” asked Nauru.
“Traditionally, symbols from your lives and geometric designs are used. It’s been the tradition for thousands of years. One example of a personal symbol is Konanca’s mountain which represents her two climbs of Sora Cloi.”
Nauru winced at looked at her arm. “Even with the blood, the marks look beautiful and elegant. Now, how am I going to take care of this?”
Filo smiled, finished the last cut, and gently toweled her arms. “Tomorrow, when all the scabs should form, put on wanmi, a special ointment that peels them and prevents them from coming back for a month.” He had her a bottle of the ointment.
“At what time of day?”
“Morning. One application of wanmi lasts for twenty-four hours.”
Nauru nodded and wrapped up her arms. “Okay.”
Sam looked at Konanca. “Is lera reserved only for Protectors?”
“Normally, yes. However, there are rare occasions when other Ràkuni who are helpful to the Alinko receive lera.”
“Could I receive lera?”
Konanca gave him a smile. “Maybe. It’s not my decision to make. The Elder Council makes that decision…ultimately.”
Sam gave her a confused look. “What do you mean by ‘ultimately’?”
“Protectors can suggest nominees, but the Elder Council makes the final decision.”
“Will you suggest me?” Sam raised an eyebrow.
“You will see, Earthling.”
Sam scowled. “You are an unpredictable Ràkuni, Konanca.” He stormed out of the room.
*****************************************
Chapter 12:
“No! That’s mine!” Jirkov shouted from the Commons. “Silvaki said so.”
Sorní shook his head and threw a stick at him. “You’re wrong! Silvaki made that nirní for me!”
Konanca looked at Sam, rolled her eyes, and shook her head. “Stupid men fighting over a Ràkuni pie. This is ridiculous.” Sam’ Konanca, and several other Protectors stepped out of the shadows to witness the shouting match.
After several minutes of shouting, Konanca intervened. “Sorní! Jirkov! Settle this like men with a three arrow archery match.”
Both men nodded and the match was soon under way. Jirkov shot two nines and Sorní shot the same. It was down to the final arrows.
Jirkov shot a nine. “Ha! Bet you can’t do it three times in a row, Sorní!”
Sorní smirked and shot a ten. “Beat that.”
“Sorní wins,” Konanca said.
“That’s not fair!” Jirkov protested. “Sorní stepped over the line!”
“My decision is final. If you’re unhappy with that: tough luck.”
Jirkov scowled at her. “You cheater!” he shouted at Sorní.
Sorní stuck out his tongue. “Sore loser!”
Jirkov lunged for Sorní, but Konanca separated the silly feuding men. “Enough. If you guys are still unhappy, settle this on your own time. I am not your personal referee…”
“But you are a fair one!” Sorní protested.
“No, she’s not!” Jirkov shouted.
“Too bad there isn’t instant replay here.” All heads turned towards Sam.
“What’s this ‘instant replay’?” asked Kalva.
“It’s exactly what it sounds like.”
“We sure need that,” Jirkov scowled at Sorní and Konanca. “Sorní’s going to pay.” He stormed out of the Commons with Silvaki laughing unseen in the shadows at the mischief she had caused.
***************************************
Chapter 13:
“Psst! Sam, wake up!” Jirkov whispered intensely in an effort to keep Konanca asleep in the room next door. “I need your help!”
“For what?” Sam said sleepily. Then, realizing whom it was, added: “How’d you get in here? Konanca locked it…”
“It doesn’t matter how I got in, but if you really must know, I picked the lock. I’m a master at it. We’re going to play a prank on Sorní.”
“What?”
“I’m putting baby oil in his shampoo. It will ruin his nice hair. Everyone’s going to laugh at him later in the day. He showers in the early morning so we have to be really quick and be sure not to awake him or we’ll spoil the ‘surprise’.”
“Sneaky,” Sam said as they walked down the hallways. “Why do you need me so much?”
“You’re quick and if Sorní sees you, he won’t suspect this hilarious prank.”
Sam raised an eyebrow. “You know that the nirní thing was a prank of Silvaki’s?”
“Yes,” Jirkov said, picking the lock and opening the door in less than a minute. “She told me last night, but it’s hard to stay mad at her…especially in her predicament. Besides, I have wanted to go midnight pranking for awhile.”
“You’re crazy, but I’ll do it. It’s another first, pranking: Ràkuni style.” He walked into Sorní and Kalva’s compartment, mixed the two substances, and exited the room without waking either Ràkuni.
“Very well done, Sam,” Jirkov said, offering him a high-five.
“It was fun…I have to admit, Jirkov. We should do this again some time.”
“Any time. It’s become quite a pastime of mine. Like you said, it’s very fun.”
“The, let’s go,” Sam said. “We really don’t want to get caught by Sorní tonight.” He wearily stumbled back to Konanca’s compartment, thinking of the fun he had this night.
******************************************
Chapter 14:
“Jirkov!” Sorní’s shouting was heard round the Asylum. “What did you do to my hair?” Sorní burst out of the compartment and into the hallway were Protectors waited.
Everyone was laughing behind their hands as they saw Sorní’s greasy hair.
“Brilliant,” said Yí. “Just brilliant. It’s your best yet.”
Sorní glared at him. “Very funny, Yí.” Yí just shrugged and walked on.
Konanca stopped in the middle of the hallway. “And why was my door unlocked? Not just unlocked: picked. Anything to say about that, Jirkov?” She raised an eyebrow.
Sam glanced at Jirkov. “No,” Jirkov said, not daring to look in the Lead Protector’s eyes.
“Right,” Konanca said, not believing a single word he was saying. “What about you, Sam?”
Sam buckled under the pressure. “Alright! Jirkov picked the lock to get me for his prank on Sorní!”
Konanca nodded and narrowed her eyes at Jirkov. “I thought so.”
“It was necessary,” Jirkov said dismissively.
“Will you teach me…?” Sam said, only to be silenced by a glare from Konanca.
“No…Konanca would kill me. You should know why that is…”
Sam nodded. “Yeah…I think I know why.” He glanced at Konanca.
Suddenly, Sorní reappeared from his compartment. “Take that!” He poured the shampoo bottle out on Jirkov and Sam’s heads. “Serves you two right.”
Konanca laughed. “Revenge is an endless cycle. That’s why I don’t get involved in that like you do, Jirkov.”
“I think Silvaki got the last laugh,” Nauru said as she walked by them in the hallway.
“Why?” All three asked.
Nauru stopped and turned around. “She started it and neither of you are going after her.” With that, she continued down the hallway.
*****************************************
Chapter 15:
Sam quietly opened the doors and sat down at the nearest table. He took out a sketchpad and started to draw.
“Time alone?” Zolkca, the new Keeper of the Archives, walked up behind him.
“Well, yeah, but I figured that Konanca wants the same from me, too.”
“I’ll leave you then.”
“No…you don’t have to…you’re the Keeper of the Archives. I’m just thinking about this whole mess I’ve gotten myself into.”
“What about it?”
“I don’t get why Habachachi wants to attack the Earth Asylum before the others. That’s bold.”
“It’s bold, but expected,” Zolkca said, siting across from him. “If Kwantis captures Konanca, our whole resistance is toppled since she’s the head of our resistance. Besides, they have control of all the planets except Akroi and Earth.”
“I didn’t know that.”
Zolkca shrugged. “”You’re not really supposed to know that…it’s senior Protector stuff. Besides, it’s logical.”
“Why just the senior Protectors?”
Zolkca sighed. “It’s common sense: like the Elder Council…they help her make big decisions for the Alinko.” She glanced at him. Did you really not know that?”
“Yes, really. I didn’t know there was a ring of senior Protectors. Are you one of that elite group?”
“Yes. So are Silvaki, Sorní, Jirkov, and Kalva. There are others, but those are the ones you will know.”
“How do you become a senior Protector?” Sam inquired.
“You have to be thirty-five…seventeen years after your Induction. You have the experience then to advise the Lead Protector.”
“I see.”
Zolkca stood up. “And you should get back to Konanca.” She wheeled her cart of books away.
****************************************
Chapter 16:
Sam carried his sketchbook back to Konanca’s compartment. He was about to enter, but heard a sobbing sound from inside the dwelling.
He silently opened the door. He proceeded to find Konanca in her room, crying and one of her pictures of Tervak flipped over on her bed.
“You okay?” Sam asked.
Konanca looked up abruptly, eyes filled with tears and anger. “Go away!” She buried her face in a pillow.
Sam stood there, her sorrow brushing past him. He wanted to help Konanca end her grief, but he knew it was all but impossible.
Without looking up, Konanca said in an irritated tone: “I’m serious, Sam. You know how easy it can be for me to break the effects of my medication.”
“Is there anything I can do?”
“Just leave me alone…” Konanca sobbed. “Can’t I have time to grieve alone?”
“There’s got to be something I can do to help you…maybe a talk and a walk perhaps?” Sam suggested.
Konanca got up slowly, straightening the pillow and set the picture back on her bedside table. It was a picture of Konanca and Tervak on Konanca’s twentieth birthday: Konanca never looked happier. “Do you really think it will help?”
“Yes: It helped me get over my grandfather’s death when I was fifteen. It may not ease your loss forever, but it should help for awhile.”
Konanca looked thoughtful for a moment. “Okay…I’ll try it.”
“Sounds good to me. Where do you want to take this walk?”
“I have a place in mind,” she said, her voice acquiring a silky mysteriousness to it.
“Where?”
“You’ll see, Earthling.” Konanca turned and walked out the door, her midnight-black braided hair swaying from side to side.
**************************************
Chapter 17:
Konanca led Sam into a beautiful garden, longbow and quiver slung over her back and a plasma gun at her side. Sam had his gun, too.
“This is beautiful,” he said.
Konanca nodded. “Ràkuni believe in harmony with nature. We come from it so we should protect and conserve it for future generations. It’s…very calming.”
“Why, then, can’t you get your mind off Tervak?”
Konanca sighed. “He’s the one Ràkuni I could never get mad at…even if I tried. His presence helped, better than any medication, to control my reactions. In that way and more, he was perfect for me. He had the patience to deal with my condition.”
“That explains why you could never think of loving me,” said Sam.
“I suppose so. Besides, you’re an Earthling and I haven’t met anyone who calms me like Tervak.”
Sam nodded “That’s understandable.”
Konanca walked on, but stopped. “Sam!” she whispered. “Unsheathe your plasma gun. Kwantis is here.”
“How do you know?”
“I can smell them…500 plus Habachachi.”
With that, Habachachi stepped out of the shadows. He was a handsome Indian-looking man with amber eyes. “Long time, no see, Konanca Kulmao.”
“I should say the same about you, Habachachi Nema,” Konanca replied evenly.
Habachachi smiled evilly. “It’s such a shame that Tervak isn’t here, too. It would make the capture all the more sweeter. Don’t you agree, Konanca?”
“Shut up,” Konanca hissed.
“Aw…Konanca.” Habachachi said, feigning sympathy. “Can’t stand it that Dertak killed him, can you?”
“But I killed Dertak in return.” Konanca turned to Sam before she changed into a snow leopard. “Call the Command Center for reinforcements.” She tossed him her latun.
“Are you ready to duel?” Habachachi asked Konanca.
Konanca growled something in reply. In response, Habachachi turned into a hyena with a cacophony of evil laughter. They leaped at each other, thus commencing the battle.
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Chapter 18:
Sam took shelter behind a bench, watching Konanca and Habachachi as he called for reinforcements.
“Hello? Konanca? This is Iliri.” The voice on the other end of the line said.
“Iliri, this is Sam. Konanca and I are in a sticky situation. There are 500 Kwantis troops and we need reinforcements…as fast as possible.”
“Hi, Sam,” said Iliri. “Reinforcements will be out in a moment. Where are you?”
“The garden.”
“Okay. Good luck.” The call ended. Sam appeared from behind the bench and shot down a few soldiers. By the time Sam had downed ten soldiers, a formidable force of Protectors led by Sorní, Jirkov, and two Protectors didn’t know arrived. The two he didn’t know separated from the pack and joined Sam. They were fairly identical aside from their genders.
“Hello, Sam,” they said in unison.
“Who are you?”
The woman introduced herself first. “I’m Iliri.”
“And I’m Adolak,” added the man.
Sam smiled. “That figures…you look like Konanca. Sooner or later I would have met you.”
Adolak nodded. “We should get back to the battle.” He turned into a badger and plowed into the nearest horde of enemy soldiers.”
Iliri turned to Sam. “Where did Konanca go? I don’t see her anywhere.”
Sam scanned the clearing, confused. “I swear…she and Habachachi were right there, fighting in their respective animal forms.”
Iliri gave him a quizzical look. “I don’t see Habachachi’s hyena or Konanca’s snow leopard fighting anywhere in this garden. Are you sure?”
Suddenly, it dawned on Sam. He replied slowly: “Iliri…I think I lost Konanca.”
*****************************************
Chapter 19:
“You what?!” Iliri shouted.
Sam shrugged. “I lost her, okay! She and Habachachi disappeared into thin air. Get over it.”
Iliri glared at him, shot a soldier, and slapped him. “You care for my sister, yet you say that!” she admonished him, lapsing into her Ràkuni accent. “”Do you realize what her disappearance means for the Alinko? You don’t even realize how much the events of the last month have affected her. She’s not the same as she was before the Invasion.”
Sam looked puzzled. “What do you mean?”
“The week after Tervak’s funeral she cried so much…why do you think you weren’t allowed in there? She’s been asking herself why she’s still alive and keeps praying that she’ll join Tervak. The tortures she’ll receive will convince her even further.”
Sam felt ashamed for not realizing Konanca’s predicament. “I didn’t realize that. I only saw her crying today…that’s why we were in the garden…”
Iliri’s eyes softened. “She had nothing else to live for besides helping the Alinko through this war. Tervak meant the world to her…did she tell you why?”
“Yes…she said he calmed her.”
“Not just that…they had a love that was like no other…it’s hard to explain…the best way to explain it is that it was better than true love.”
Sam felt sorry for Konanca. “I guess I never realized how much his death hurt her…”
Iliri nodded vigorously. “Come on! We don’t have much time. We might find traces of Konanca and Habachachi and where they went when they disappeared.”
Sam agreed. “That sounds good. Where do you think we should start?”
“The back part of the garden. It’s away from everyone’s sight.” With that, Iliri took off with Sam behind her.
**************************************
Chapter 20:
Silvaki and the rest of the Protectors looked up as Iliri and Sam returned from their investigation. The battle had been over as quick as it started…but Konanca was nowhere to be found.
Silvaki spoke first. “Where’s Konanca?”
“We don’t know,” Iliri replied. “Sam and I looked for any trace of her. We found none.”
Qorra’s eyes held terror and regret. “Does that mean she’s…” She shuddered. “Dead?”
Jirkov shook his head. “No. Sam was the last to see her…fighting Habachachi. She must have been captured by Kwantis.”
“What are we going to do without her? She’s the Lead Protector,” asked Nauru.
Okvar shrugged. “None of us know. We’ll look for her but we have to appoint a temporary leader.”
Soriqua shivered. “I hope we don’t have another ‘Tervak situation’…”
“Hopefully, we won’t,” said Adolak. “She was very upset with his death. If she thought we wouldn’t rescue her, she would kill herself with the first weapon she laid her hands on. And if it weren’t for her duty to the Alinko, she would have already.”
Sam bowed his head. “It’s my fault. I should have kept my eyes on her.”
Iliri shook her head. “I distracted you. Besides, Konanca is grownup…she can take care of herself.”
“I hope she can survive the torture…Habachachi is cruel and will do his best to extract useful information from her,” said Silvaki.
“So…what are we going to do about it?” asked Qorra.
“Nothing for now,” replied Sorní. “What we do in this situation is up to the Elder Council.”
The group murmured nervously. Konanca was in grave danger…from Habachachi and her feelings.
************************************
Epilogue:
The Elder Council’s ten members had reconvened their meeting about Konanca.
“Isn’t there something more we can do?” asked Lumrà.
Lurak shook his head. “No, Lumrà. We can only search and hope we find her.”
Amru nodded. “And we’d better find her fast…she won’t be able to stand Habachachi’s tortures for long.”
Yalí spoke sadly. “She doesn’t deserve any of this to happen to her…”
Moik nodded. “Habachachi will be sure to use her memories of Tervak against her.”
“It will have grave consequences for her,” said Orna. “Habachachi would be lucky to come away with his life with what he’ll do to her. She’s very powerful.”
Wunai’s eyes were worried. “We should pray for her. It’s the least we could do.”
“Wunai is right,” Prí said. “Other than search for her, that’s all we can do.”
The rest of the group nodded in agreement with him and kneeled to pray for Konanca.
When everyone had finished their prayers, Huwana asked: “Will we follow the Missing Protector Protocol?”
“Yes and no,” said Neak. “The only thing that will be different is that we will give her two months instead of one.”
“What if we don’t find her?” Yalí shivered. The rest of the group murmured nervously. “What will we do?”
Neak paused before he answered, afraid to speak it aloud. “We will have no choice. Konanca will be pronounced dead.”
“And what if she is found alive after those two months?” Amru inquired.
Neak looked straight ahead, as if he were trying to be certain of the future. “She’ll get her position back and life will go on as normal. Let us hope it won’t come to that.”
**************************************


Last edited by Madeline26 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chronicles of Asylum: Return of the Killer

Post by Madeline26 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:23 pm

Return of the Killer




By: M. E. Shepley




Prologue:

A handsome Ràkuni with amber eyes walked into a viewing room. He gazed through the bulletproof glass to see a beautiful Ràkuni woman with midnight black hair and silver-tinged blue eyes.
“Commence the dream change up,” he said.
The young soldier quivered. “Are you sure, Habachachi…sir? She’s becoming weaker…she’s on her way to dying.”
“I’m not trying to get information anymore…it’s never going to happen. I’m torturing her for the fun of it.” He turned his amber gaze on the soldier. “Do it.”
“Yes, Habachachi…sir.” The soldier pressed some buttons, flipped some switches, and turned a few dials. The woman lying in the other room jolted as the electrical shock sent her an altered dream.
Habachachi gazed at the woman. “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life…revenge on Konanca.” He smiled even wider as Konanca screamed in terror of her nightmare:
“No! Tervak! Don’t hurt our children!”
The soldier quivered again. “Are you sure…sir?”
“Of course! I may not get valuable information from her, so I might as well use her to fuel my pleasure before she dies.”
“I see, sir.”
“One more thing before you go…” Habachachi said. “Dress her in a fine sari and weave flowers into her unbraided hair. Don’t forget the flowers surrounding her. Make her look as if she’s at her own funeral. She’s not making it out of here alive.”
“Yes, sir.”
“And also…make sure she’s hooked up to monitors so I know when she dies.”
“Yes, sir,” the soldier said. “I will make sure I do that for you…sir.”
“Good,” said Habachachi. He smiled. “I am getting my revenge after all these years…”
***************************************
Chapter 1:
“Did you find any trace of her?” Sam asked as he walked into the Tracking and Observation Department.
Theri turned around in his chair and sighed loudly. “”Sam…for the millionth time, no. We scanned every planet and Protectors have looked for Konanca. No trace whatsoever.”
Sam groaned. “This is ridiculous!”
Theri shrugged. “I can’t help that.”
“There’s got to be something more you can do!”
“There isn’t.”
“But it’s been nearly a month since she disappeared. The Elder Council will pronounce her ‘dead’ soon, but I know she is not dead yet!”
Theri flashed him an irritated look. “Go away, Sam. I have work to do.”
“Please! Do something! Anything! Iliri is mad at me for losing Konanca and that’s not fun at all.”
“I said go. Am I speaking in a foreign language?”
“You promised you’d do anything to find her.”
“I have done everything. I can’t do any more. I am sorry to say this, but she is probably already dead. Get over it, Sam. She is gone.”
“But…”
“Get over it. She was upset about Tervak’s death and would have killed herself if she had not been the Leader Protector of the Alinko.”
Sam groaned and accidentally knocked over a trashcan. “This is stupid!”
“Sam.”
Sam whipped around to see Jirkov standing in the doorway. “What?”
“We need to talk.”
“Why?”
“Just follow me.” Jirkov led Sam out of the Tracking and Observation Department.
******************************************
Chapter 2:
“What is this all about, then?” Sam asked, a suspicious tone in his voice.
“Konanca,” Jirkov said evenly.
“Did you find her?” Sam asked hopefully.
“No. Why do you pursue this? Can’t you let fate reveal itself when it’s ready?”
Sam sighed. “I love her. I’ve loved her ever since I first laid my eyes on her.”
Jirkov laughed. “Note to self: Make sure Acali and Magella don’t do that again…”
“That’s not funny,” Sam scowled.
Jirkov let out a long sigh. “Let her be, Sam. Women have their own feelings. They always have the finally say in who they marry.”
“That’s not true,” Sam scoffed.
“Maybe not on Earth, but it’s true on Ràku. What Konanca needs now, is not something you can give her, but a woman with a similar experience.”
“But…” Sam protested.
“Konanca was never the same after his disappearance…for instance, I haven’t heard her sing in over two years…she could make the birds go silent. She rarely laughs anymore on top of that.”
Sam narrowed his eyes. “What do you mean?”
“She’s changed, Sam,” Jirkov said. “You should have seen her before all this nonsense. I’m sure you have seen the pictures…”
“She and Tervak sure looked happy on her twentieth birthday.”
“Indeed she was. Silvaki took that photo of them. It was several months before the Invasion happened.”
Sam looked down. “I hate to say this, Jirkov, but I suppose you’re right.”
“I know I’m right. I have known Konanca for about ten years. Think about it.” With that, Jirkov took off.
***************************************
Chapter 3:
Sam sat down at the table in Konanca’s compartment. He carefully laid out his paints and delicately placed the Akroian leopard statue on the table. Sam planned to make it a snow leopard like Konanca.
He studied the statue and then pictured Konanca in her snow leopard form. Then, he let his instincts take control. Sam felt the energy as he painted with delicateness and precision.
Sam opened his eyes and was pleased with the masterpiece he had created.
Before him was a miniature, life-like snow leopard exactly as he saw Konanca. He wanted to give it to her, but if she died, it would be a souvenir of their time together. He went to clean up his artsy mess.
Just as he finished cleaning, the door swung open. Nauru stood in the doorway, paperclip in hand. Sam’s mouth fell open in surprise.
“What?” Nauru asked. “Jirkov taught me how to pick a lock when I was an apprentice. Don’t you remember who his wife is?”
“What do you want?”
“You’re late for your archery lesson. We are practicing with Yí, Soriqua, and Qorra.”
“What archery lesson?” Sam inquired, suspicious that it was a trick.
“Oh all right!” Nauru sighed. “We’re supposed to be distracting you…Silvaki’s idea. Konanca would have taught you anyways.”
“Might as well learn. You’ll make Konanca proud when she returns.”
“Fine,” Sam said, pleased with that thought. “I’ll go with you. I don’t have anything to do anyways.”
“Good. Now, let us be off.” Nauru replied with satisfaction. She gestured for the door. “Well, what are you waiting for? Are you coming or not?”
***************************************
Chapter 4:
“I see Sam decided to show up for his archery lesson,” Yí said teasingly as Nauru and Sam walked into the Commons ten minutes late.
“So I find out,” Sam said, glaring at Nauru. “However, I have always wanted to try archery, so it is not that bad. It boosts my view of the experience.”
Yí smiled. “You’ll be using a smaller version of the Ràkuni long bow for now. It takes many years of practice and lots of strength to use a long bow. I’m sure you noticed how muscular we are.” He turned to Qorra. “How long did Konanca say she’s been using a bow and arrow?”
“She said seventeen years…since she was five. They had to protect the family yak herds so she learned how to use bows and arrows and knives.”
Sam nodded slowly. “That makes sense…her family wouldn’t have been able to afford plasma guns. Now…how do I use this thing?”
Soriqua handed him a bow and an arrow. “Notch the arrow here and pull back until the arrowhead touches, aim, and shoot. After lots of practice, it will be easy.”
Sam notched the arrow, but as he pulled back, it fell out. “You guys make this look easy.”
Soriqua shrugged. “It is easy. Most of us have been doing this since before we became apprentices. Qorra is an exception…she didn’t learn until she was twelve.”
“That makes sense, too,” Sam commented. Yí and Nauru spent an hour correcting Sam’s technique before he actually got an arrow into the air. It got into the air, but it didn’t hit any targets.
“Well…that’s a star” Yí said. “You are a promising archer. We’d practice more, but it’s time for dinner. I’m hungry.”
Sam’s stomach rumbled and he agreed. “Me too.” He dropped the long bow and headed in, leaving all four Ràkuni shaking their heads.
***************************************
Chapter 5:
“Sam! Are you ready for Midnight Pranking?” Jirkov whispered.
Sam’s eyes fluttered open. “Yeah…just resting my eyes. Who tonight?”
“Okvar. We’re going to turn down the temperature in his compartment and make his floors slippery.”
Sam nodded. “Sounds good.” Jirkov lead him down hallways and picked Okvar’s lock. The duo got right to work.
“How low do you want it?” Sam asked.
“Between 40 and 50 degrees should do it…just don’t make Okvar into an icicle, okay?”
Sam laughed. “I won’t.” He looked over at the Ràkuni. “What are you doing?”
“Watering the floor…the cold temperature will make it icy. He’ll be on one of your skating rinks.”
“Don’t you have those on Ràku?”
“Not unless you live where it’s cold.”
“Did you?”
“No. If you wanted to learn, you had to go to the neighboring Nalik Provenance…Konanca’s home provenance…that’s where most of them were.”
“Where are you from?”
“My home provenance is Stanik Provenance…I’m from Yomanik like Soriqua is. As you know, the main headquarters of the Alinko is in Qalik, which is in Barik Provenance. Ràku is divided into 50 provenances.”
“Cool…I always wondered how you governed Ràku. Who’s the head of government?”
“Chancellor Celesti Airní. She’s recently elected and is due to leave office in four years. Baru Solri, another of Konanca’s seemingly endless suitors wants to get elected to impress her. Deep down, he knows it’s stupid.
“How many suitors does Konanca have?”
“A lot. It annoys her…but she’s very pretty and that’s to be expected…” Jirkov was interrupted by Okvar shifting in his bed. “Let’s get out of here!” The duo dashed away, trying not to wake anyone.
****************************************
Chapter 6:
Sam trudged into the Command Center, visions of last night’s prank flying through his head. An angry Okvar had woken him up for the meeting…
“…the Fourth Text is on Harca and is hidden…” Silvaki trailed off. “I see Sam decided to make an appearance.” Her voice was more amused than stern.
“I see…” Sam said, somewhere between waking and dreamland.
“Kalva, wake him,” Silvaki commanded.
Kalva nodded and poked Sam. Sam felt and electrical shock and was jolted awake. “Ow!”
Kalva shrugged. “Sorry…you have to be awake. This is what I get by working in the Electronics Department.”
“Thanks.”
Silvaki finished her sentence. “The Fourth Text is in an ancient temple in the dense forests of Harca. We will meet up with Nomr, Konanca’s Harcano friend. Kokoro is the Harcano Asylum’s leader. Both of them will help us retrieve the Fourth Text from its hiding place.”
“Where is the Harcano Asylum?” Yí asked.
“Its in Sjae…it’s a large city on the outskirts of the forest.”
“What about Konanca?” asked Qorra. “Are we going to look for her?”
Silvaki sighed. “Yes…we will keep an eye open for her. I know you are anxious for your mentor, Qorra, but you must be patient. We’ll find clues to her whereabouts sooner or later.”
“Okay.” Qorra looked a little disappointed. Her emotions somewhat mirrored Sam’s.
“Are we leaving now?” Jirkov asked.
“Yes,” Silvaki replied. “Since I won’t be going, Sorní will lead this expedition. Any other questions?”
Everyone shook their heads and with that, the meeting ended to start the mission.
*******************************************
Chapter 7:
“You excited?” asked Nauru.
“Not really,” Sam replied. “I miss Konanca. She should be with us.”
“I know,” Nauru agreed, popping a strange snack into her mouth. “Who knows? Maybe we’ll find her here on Harca. You never know.”
Sam looked out the window into the wondrous beauty of the universe they were passing by. “Do you know when will we ever reach Sjae?”
“Five minutes,” said Jirkov. “You have been asking us nonstop these past few hours.”
“Sorry…” Sam gave a small smile at Jirkov’s comment. “I never liked road trips.”
“Neither did I…” Jirkov replied. “Then I joined the Alinko and met Silvaki. Look where I am now! From small town farmer to Protector of the Alinko…I’ve got the most beautiful wife ever and she’s bearing my children. I feel like the luckiest Ràkuni alive.”
Sam scowled. “I feel lucky and unlucky. I met a beautiful woman and fell in love with her, but she denies me.”
Okvar came up and patted his shoulder. “You should stick to your own planet’s women.” He turned to Jirkov. “Where should I land?”
“On the outskirts of Sjae. Be careful…this is a forest covered planet.” Okvar nodded and went into the cockpit to land the space ship.
“Is Harca entirely covered by forest?” Sam inquired.
“No. About ninety percent is, though. The rest are small clearings. The cities are amazing…they’re in the tree and are like natural skyscrapers.”
“Sounds cool,” Sam replied. “Makes me think of an Earthling book called Robin Hood…”
“We’re here.” Okvar came back into the cabin. “Time to get settled. He disappeared out the main door.
Jirkov shrugged. “Come on, then.” He led the others out the main hatch.
*******************************************
Chapter 8:
The group of Protectors walked around as Kokoro, the Harcano Asylum’s leader, led them down hallways to find Nemr, the Harcano.
Kokoro opened a door. “Ah…there he is. Nemr, meet the Protectors from Earth’s Asylum.”
Nemr, a tall, light-skinned man with dark hair and blue, elongated eyes stood up. “I’m pleased to meet you. I’m sorry to hear about Konanca. She’s a dear friend…”
Jirkov nodded solemnly. “We’ll find her somehow. The pleasure is ours. It’s always interesting to meet one of her non-Ràkuni friends.”
“I understand that I can help you.”
“Yes. Konanca mentioned that you know where Ranem Fli, the lost Temple of the Sun god is. The Fourth Text is hidden there.”
“I rediscovered it…and the Text, too, when I was harvesting some medicinal plants. I immediately came to Kokoro so she could contact you guys. Yes, I can guide you there.”
“Good,” Jirkov said, satisfied.
“What do you know of this temple?” Kalva inquired Nemr.
Nemr gazed at the Ràkuni. “Fifty years ago, an ancient map was discovered when an expedition was charting some unexplored forest on Harca. It depicted that Ranem Fli was booby trapped…in a sense. I will plan a safe route to follow with Jirkov and Kokoro. The rest of you can leave now.”
Kokoro nodded. “Do as he says. We have very important matters to discuss.”
“Can I stay?” asked Sam.
“No,” said Jirkov. “We need time without you bothering us about finding Konanca. Besides…you could always use practice with weapons of our kind. Kalva, Nauru; take him to practice archery in the Commons. Nemr, Kokoro and, I need alone time to plan the recovery of the Fourth Text.”
“But…” Sam protested as the Ràkuni women steered him away from Jirkov. Their progress was interrupted as an elderly woman dashed in.
“Kokoro! I bring bad news! It concerns your plans to recover the Fourth Text.”
**************************************
Chapter 9:
“What is it, Wunai?” Kokoro asked the member of the Elder Council.
“I have had a vision,” Wunai began. “It foretells ominous things…”
“Go on…”
“I was in Ranem Fli and a voice told me: ‘The hyena will take a life of one of his own order’.”
Sam looked at Nauru. “Is she known for this?” Nauru looked at him and nodded.
Sorní glanced around the room. “Obviously, it means that Habachachi will kill someone…he’s the hyena. But ‘who he kills’ is the question. ‘One of his own order’ could mean multiple things.”
Wunai shrugged. “I can’t ignore it.”
“She’s never been wrong before,” said Kokoro. Everyone nodded solemnly in agreement.
“And they come straight from the Nartaka himself,” added Kalva. “That can’t be ignored either.”
“Who’s the…?” Sam began. Several glares silenced him. “Oh…right. He’s your god.”
“So…” Qorra inquired. “What are we going to do about this crisis…?”
Kokoro glanced at Wunai. “There isn’t anything we can do…is there?”
Wunai shook her head. “No.” She glanced at everyone in the room. “I wish I could tell you more, but that’s all the Nartaka revealed to me.”
As if to lighten the mood, Kalva said: “You would have made a great shira, Wunai. You got involved in Ràkuni politics instead.”
“Ràkuni politics are interesting!” Wunai said defensively. “Being a shira would have bored me to old age. Like I’d want that.”
“Let’s get back to what we were doing,” Jirkov prompted. “As for the omen, we’ll have to wait and see.”
****************************************
Chapter 10:
“Big news! Big news!” Kokoro shouted as she ran out to the Commons and skidded on the slippery path.
“What?” Sam let loose an arrow and missed its intended target by a considerable measure.
“I had sent out a force of Protectors to terminate the Harcano Kwantis base that’s near here. The mission was extremely successful.”
Kalva sat down her bow. “That’s good. Did you kill Habachachi or find Konanca?”
“Neither. Habachachi escaped…before we could interrogate him and we found no trace of Konanca. She’s certainly not on Harca,” replied Kokoro.
“On the bright side of things,” said Nauru. “At least that’s another base off the map. The only ones left are on Tujra, Sorae, and possibly, Ràku.”
Jirkov swore. “Of course he got away! And with him, our chances of knowing Konanca’s whereabouts and ending this stupid war!”
Kokoro shrugged. “I’m sure Konanca mentioned that we need to knock out all their bases before getting Habachachi. It’s like the Earthling legend of Hydra.”
“So…” Sam prompted. “Do the plans to retrieve the Fourth Text still stand?”
Jirkov and Kokoro answered at the same time. “Yes.”
“We should still be careful when we go on this expedition,” Kalva said thoughtfully. “Habachachi and his men are still out there, armed and dangerous.”
“Right…” Jirkov trailed off, probably thinking about Silvaki back on Earth.
“Back to business,” Kokoro said. “I summon all of you to the Command Center. We have a plan to retrieve the Fourth Text from Ranem Fli and it is time we put it into action.” They all nodded and followed Jirkov and Kokoro to the Command Center.
****************************************
Chapter 11:
“Pay attention!” Jirkov scolded Sorní, Nauru, Sam, and Kalva. They had been playing table hockey with a random coin they had found…out of boredom.
“Sorry…we couldn’t help it,” Sorní apologized for the group. “Kalva and I should be good role models.”
“Back to the plan…” Kokoro said. “Nemr will show us the way to Ranem Fli. From there, we’ll follow his map through its Labyrinth.” She glanced around the room. “Kwantis shouldn’t be there, but it’s better to be safe than sorry…after all, Habachachi is still on the loose. We’ll take weapons.”
Nemr shook his head. “I’ll bring weapons, but not into the temple. Ranem Fli is sacred and taking weapons into a temple with the exception of the temple f the war god is against my religion, but I’m sure the sun god won’t mind it for you guys.”
Jirkov nodded. “You don’t have to bring them into the temple…we have similar rules on Ràku. We’ll respect your refusal to carry them into Ranem Fli.”
Who’s going to Ranem Fli?” asked Nauru.
Kokoro answered. “You, Jirkov, Kalva, Sorní, Qorra, Sam, Okvar, Yí, and Soriqua…in other words: all of you who came from Earth. Obviously, Nemr will be gong as will I. Kie and Sleva, Protectors made within the last year from this Asylum…they’re useful.”
Yí gave them a smile and joked: “Welcome to the club…we have jackets.”
Qorra looked amused. “Kie? You know what that means, right? You’re most unfortunate.”
Kie shrugged. “I was told I was born shaking. But that doesn’t matter.”
Sam laughed. “I bet there are worse names.”
Everyone exchanged knowing glances and turned towards Sam. They said together: “You have no idea.”
“Ahem.” Kokoro got everyone’s attention. “Then let’s get going if there’s no more questions.”
****************************************
Chapter 12:
“Ow!” Sam said. “How dense did you say it could get in this forest?”
“Thick enough that you have to slash through everything to get through,” Nemr replied.
“How long until we reach the temple?” asked Sleva.
“About a couple of minutes.”
“This stuff is thick,” Nauru agreed, slashing through some shrubbery with her akal.
“I’m used to it,” Nemr said with a shrug. “I work for an apothecary and bring back medicinal plants for my boss’s concoctions. It’s good pay for your average Harcano family.”
“How long have you been doing this?” asked Jirkov.
“Since I was ten. The oldest child usually goes to the work force to help their family.”
Kokoro was about to reply, but missed a step and tumbled through the shrubbery. “Ow! Stone really…hey, Nemr! I think I found Ranem Fli…”
Nemr walked to the edge and peered through Kokoro’s path of destruction. “Yep. That’s Ranem Fli. I forgot to mention there’s a steep hill right before the entrance.”
Everyone picked their way carefully down the steep hill and were amazed at Ranem Fli’s grandeur.
“Oh…”
“…Ah…”
“Whoa…!”
Sam gazed at the gigantic temple, awestruck. “It looks like something the Aztecs created.”
Nemr laughed. “I guess it probably does. We’re still trying to figure out how the ancient Harcano did it…experts are still translating their language.”
Jirkov stopped where Kokoro sat, rubbing her back. “There’s stuff like this out in the desert on Ràku. My mother took me to one.”
Nemr nodded slowly, setting down his weapons. “I suppose that every planet has them. Now, let’s analyze that labyrinth…”
*****************************************
Chapter 13:
Nemr unrolled a map with the Harcano script on it and laid it out on a flat rock near the first step of Ranem Fli.
“Is that the map of the labyrinth?” asked Kalva.
“It is. I’ve been mapping it for a while. There are more pathways but they have yet to be discovered. Our way to the center is highlighted in red.”
Sam gazed at it in wonder. “How did you have time to map all of this?”
“A lot of this was mapped when I first discovered Ranem Fli…”
Kokoro interrupted. “I don’t think I can go on. I banged my head on a step and it’s giving me a throbbing headache.”
“I could carry you,” Yí volunteered. Everyone murmured in assent.
Jirkov shook his head. “Nemr says there’s an alcove right inside the entrance. Sleva, you stay with her since your good at healing and similar things.”
Sleva nodded and motioned for Yí and Sorní to carry Kokoro into the alcove.
Nemr gazed around the group. “Is there any injuries that we need to know about?”
Everyone shook their heads.
“All right. Then if everyone is finished analyzing the map, we should head in. Hiking at night on Harca is extremely dangerous.” Nemr rerolled his map and strapped it across his back.
“Are you sure about the weapons?” asked Jirkov. “We can still leave them. We wouldn’t want to anger your sun god and break your religious customs. We’re very respectful of those things since we have some of our own.”
“Yes, I’m sure. You heard what Wunai said about an approaching death. One of us might return to Sjae, dead. I heard that her visions are usually come to be true. We might as well bring weapons to be safe.”
The group nodded and ascended Ranem Fli’s many steps to it’s stunning entrance.
***************************************
Chapter 14:
“I thought you’d never light up this place,” commented Nauru, ducking to avoid a low ceiling.
Nemr grinned. “I forgot that you can’t see in the dark.” He passed out torches to everyone.
“Why would they create a labyrinth in a temple?” asked Yí as he tried to control his torch.
“No one really knows. It was probably to protect the priests before the ‘no weapons’ rule.”
“Are there traps?” asked Kie.
“In a couple of places. I had some men go and disable them. I would have myself, but my wife insisted. She worries a lot about me.”
“Why’s that?” Jirkov inquired.
“She’s expecting my child,” Nemr beamed with pride. “She wants me to meet him and watch him grow up. Quite frankly, I don’t blame her…it can be pretty dangerous out here.”
“Sounds like my wife,” Sorní muttered, Kalva glaring at him. “It also sounds like my twin, Silvaki. She’s going through the same thing and constantly worries about Jirkov.”
Nemr laughed. “Women.”
Kalva glared at all three men. “Men are impossible. Sometimes I wonder why I married Sorní; other days I’m glad I married him.”
Qorra interrupted the conversation. “Heart felt…but when will we leave this dark death trap?”
“The Fourth should be around this corner in the next room,” Nemr replied. He led the group around the corner into a luminously lit room. At the center on an altar-like table glowed thousands of years old scrolls that were the Fourth Text. The characters written in Viri shone with a soft glow to them. They reminded Sam of the magical hieroglyphics his dad had shown him in Egypt.
Nemr turned back to the group. “Well…we have arrived at our destination.” After a pause, he added: “What next?”
*************************************
Chapter 15:
“Time to bring the Fourth Text back home,” said Nauru, shaking with excitement.
“The only question is how to get it out of here,” Kokoro pondered.
“It’s not booby-trapped, is it?” asked Kie.
“No,” Nemr replied. “I picked it up to examine it the first time I was here. I’m still in one piece, aren’t I?”
Kie chuckled. “I guess so.”
Jirkov, as if not to disturb the ancient stones, walked carefully over to the altar and tediously picked up the ancient scrolls. There was a little dust still lingering on them so he gently blew it off. “Well…here it is…lost for thousands years and now found by us.”
Okvar walked over to Jirkov. “Can I see that? I want to see if it has something on it…”
“What?” Everyone’s eyes fixed on Okvar, intent to hear his answer.
Okvar sighed. “On the first three Texts, there’s an inscription in an ancient form of Ràkuni. It says linem ne melek…beware of the forgotten. I think it refers to the expedition sent to Sorae that never returned to Ràku. If it’s repeated on all parts of the Viric Texts, it must be important.” He took out a magnifying glass of sorts and examined it.
“Does it?” inquired Sorní.
“It does. Whatever awaits us on Sorae is important and might be dangerous.”
Suddenly, Sleva’s voice came through on Jirkov’s latun. “Jirkov! Be aware! You’re being followed. You’re being followed by…”
Sleva didn’t need to finish her sentence. A group of twenty or so Ràkuni stood across from the Protectors.
“Well, well, well,” Habachachi spoke, a broad smile on his handsome face. “Look what the cat…or shall I say the hyena dragged in.”
***********************************
Chapter 16:
The Protectors stood there, astonished, to see Kwantis in the sacred temple.
“How’d you get here?” Jirkov asked suspiciously.
Habachachi smiled. “I have my sources…and a very reliable one at that. You know…it’s so nice of you to recover the Fourth Text for us…”
“We didn’t, you lump of camel dung,” Qorra retorted. Everyone gasped. Qorra gazed around the temple. “That’s right: Habachachi is a lump of camel dung.”
Habachachi looked offended and deeply hurt. “That’s not very nice.”
“Tell that to yourself for torturing Konanca and to Dertak for killing Tervak.”
“I thought you were taught not to say such things in primary school…on top of that, your parents are professors at the University of Qalik.”
“I was taught that, but I was also taught not to lie.” There were some oo’s even from Kwantis. “Besides…what my parents don’t know won’t hurt them.”
Soriqua nodded. “You have to admit: Qorra has a valid point there.”
“She does,” Habachachi agreed. “But the Fourth Text will still come home with Kwantis.”
“Not before you tell us where Konanca is,” Yí insisted.
“Of course I won’t tell you that,” Habachachi scoffed. “That’s top secret information.”
“Then you’ll have to kill me first,” said Okvar, holding up the Text.
“And me,” said Nauru.
“And me,” added Jirkov.
“And me,” Sam agreed. All of the Protectors and Nemr murmured in assent.
“Okay,” Habachachi decided. “Let the killing begin.”
****************************************
Chapter 17:
Sam unsheathed his plasma gun and gunned down a few of the Kwantis soldiers. He noticed that his aim was getting more accurate.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jirkov slam and pin Habachachi to a wall and shake him. His angry words were a little too far away to make out clearly.
Sam gunned down a few more soldiers and saw Kie approach Habachachi and Jirkov who were surrounded by three Kwantis soldiers. He went to help.
Together, Kie and Sam gunned the threesome down with minimal wounds. It was a simple task. Soon, they were standing there listening to the heated conversation:
“Where’s Konanca?” Jirkov shook Habachachi violently.
“I’ll…never…tell…you…” Habachachi coughed. His eyes fell on Kie. “Kill him!”
“No. He’s my friend. I couldn’t do that,” Kie replied firmly. Sam’s eyes widened. Everyone stopped, as if frozen by time, to hear the conversation.
Habachachi grew angry. “You came to me with top secret Alinko information. I own your soul now.”
“No you don’t. That was only to save my family…that was a complete waste because they’re all dead…including my younger brother and sister. I’ll never kill Jirkov.”
“Do it.”
“No.”
“You will.”
“No.”
“I order you: do it.”
“No!”
Habachachi’s eyes grew dangerous. “I said: do it now. I’ll kill you if you don’t.”
“I don’t care. I won’t do it...that would hurt Silvaki.” Kie gazed deep into his eyes. “I’ve caused enough suffering already. Jirkov and I go way back…to the same village…he’s the one who found me for the Alinko. I could never harm one of his cells.”
“Do it now!”
“Never!”
“Fine,” Habachachi growled, with an odd note of satisfaction. “I’ll do it myself.” Faster than anyone could say ‘Jirkov! Watch out!’ Habachachi changed into a hyena and sank his claws into Jirkov’s stomach.
*************************************
Chapter 18:
“No!” Nauru and Qorra exclaimed as Habachachi pushed a stunned and fatally wounded Jirkov away and stood. Nauru hurried to the fallen Protector to help him.
While they were doing that, Sorní gazed at Kie, astonished. “You gave Alinko information to Habachachi?”
“…Um…well…” Kie stuttered, afraid that what he would say would be damaging.
“You heard me right,” Habachachi interrupted with a smile. “I gave him no other choice.” He sauntered out of the temple, whistling a happy traditional tune.
Kie sighed. “He captured my family including my siblings and he’d kill them if I didn’t give him the information. I never meant to hurt anyone.”
Kalva raised an eyebrow. “You know that’s committing treason, right, Kie?” Kie nodded solemnly and looked at his feet.
“You also know that treason is punishable by death,” Soriqua said. “Konanca will have you executed for sure, after all, she is the deciding vote since this an Alinko matter…you’re the first in a thousand years…”
There was a weak cough from Jirkov and Yí, who had walked over to his fallen friend, spoke: “Can we deal with Jirkov for a moment? He’s the one dying.”
Everyone turned to the threesome as Jirkov began to speak, rasping at first. “You don’t have to deny it. I know I won’t make it back to Earth. I’m sure you all of you know that Silvaki carries my twins…she cannot raise them alone. A single Protector’s salary is not quite enough. I have a message meant only for her ears…and Konanca’s when the time comes. She needs this information.”
The group nodded solemnly.
“I have a video camera,” Nauru volunteered. “It was to document my travels, but I can film you for Silvaki if you want. I don’t mind at all.”
“Great,” Jirkov replied weakly.
Sorní shooed everyone out of the temple and left the two Protectors alone.
The video was thirty minutes long and all the speaking tired Jirkov out rapidly. But as he finished his instructions, he blew Silvaki a kiss and fell back. Jirkov was dead.
************************************
Chapter 19:
“I understand it!” Sam shouted as he had a light bulb moment. He had been thinking about Jirkov’s death on the trip back to Earth. Seven pairs of eyes inquired him. “I know what Wunai’s prediction meant. It’s something only an Earthling would know…order is a part of the biological classification system. Coyote and hyena are in the same order.”
Okvar nodded. “I didn’t think of that before…but that’s true. Good thinking, Sam.”
There were a few moments of silence before Qorra asked quietly: “Why’d you do it?”
Kie looked up, his eyes filled with much regret. “I couldn’t let my family die…my brother was almost twelve and my sister was only eight. Before she made me promise to make things right.”
“Make things right?” Sorní raised an eyebrow. “Kie, that’s impossible. You can’t take words back or bring back the dead.”
“I know.”
“And Konanca won’t be willing to negotiate after she hears about all this,” Kalva commented. “Ràkuni law is law. She’ll make sure you get punished appropriately.”
Kie nodded and hung his head. “I guess I’ll get what I deserve. I don’t deserve her mercy…of all Ràkuni.”
Yí glanced at Kie. “It’s bad enough to have two women mad at you…but it gets worse if Konanca is one of the ones mad at you. That’s a lot of heat.”
Okvar came out of the cockpit. “One minute to landing.” He disappeared into the cockpit to land the ship in its proper place in the Hangar.”
Everyone was silent. No one was looking forward to having to tell Silvaki about Jirkov’s death. However, it had to be done whether they wanted to or not. She deserved to know.
The ship thudded as it hit the landing pad and cruised into the Hangar. Finally, Sorní spoke. “Well…it’s time to tell Silvaki. And she’s not going to be happy.”
***************************************
Chapter 20:
Silvaki stood just inside the Hangar, waiting to hear how the mission went. The twins had awakened her twice the previous night. Her stomach hurt and on top of that, she was very tired. She was having bad feelings about this.
She watched as the group emerged from the ship, Sorní in the lead. “Sorní, where’s Jirkov?”
Sorní’s gaze, as was everyone’s, was shadowed with grief. He took his twin’s hand. “Jirkov did not make it… he tried to get Konanca’s location…Habachachi got to him first…he’s dead…”
Silvaki’s eyes filled with tears. “It’s as if they knew their father died before I did…” she murmured, thinking of the twin’s distress the previous night. “How did Kwantis know about that mission?”
“Ask him,” Yí replied, shoving Kie forward. “He’s the reason Habachachi knew…and why Habachachi knew to kill Jirkov.”
Silvaki raised an eyebrow. “Kie? Committing treason? Is that true, Kie?”
Kie nodded shamefully.
The Protector shook her head. “Well…what ha he caused?”
“A lot of things,” Okvar said. “Tervak’s death…Konanca’s capture…the skirmish at Ranem Fli…among other things.”
Konanca will surely have him executed if she doesn’t kill him first. She’s going to be furious,” Silvaki replied.
“I’m sorry,” Kie mumbled. “I didn’t mean to hurt any of you especially Silvaki …I just wanted to help my family…but they’re all dead now …I didn’t know about the twins…”
Silvaki’s eyes had grown cold and unsympathetic. “It’s not me you should be worried about…it’s Konanca. You’ve hurt her more than any other person in this Hangar…including me. You’ll be lucky to get away unscathed when you tell her about the mess you’ve made. Do you understand?”
“I do.”
Silvaki felt a twinge in her belly as if the twins were telling her that Kie deserved to be punished more. She winced and ignored their ‘comment’…the death of Kie’s family was enough punishment until his trial. It was tragic…especially since his siblings where both under twelve years old. “Take Kie and lock him up. The Elder Council will deal with him later.”
Yí and Okvar nodded and escorted Kie to the jail cells.
****************************************
Epilogue:
Neak walked into the room in which the Elder Council meeting was convened.
Yalí glanced at Neak. “Well…?”
“It’s official…Konanca is dead.”
“When do they plan to hold her funeral?” asked Wunai.
“In a couple of weeks,” Neak replied. “Iliri and Adolak are on a mission in which they’ll be back sometime next week and the rest of Konanca’s family is on Sorae. We’re waiting for the twins to return and her family to arrive.” The others murmured with sad approval. “Okay. On to our next topic: Kie.”
Lumrà scowled. “Why can’t we just kill him now?”
“First of all,” Prí said. “We need to finish up with Konanca and elect a new Lead Protector. Second of all, all Ràkuni get a fair trial…no matter what the crime. Don’t worry, Lumrà, we get the pleasure of sending him to whatever punishment fits the crime.”
“Good…when is his trial?”
“A week after Konanca’s funeral,” Moik answered.
“What are we to do until then?” asked Amru.
“Really?” Orna asked, with a disbelieving tilt of her head.
“Yes, really. I didn’t get the memo. My granddaughter accidentally deleted it the other day.”
Huwana shook her head. “We’re helping with the funerary preparations, of course.”
Lurak laughed. “Sounds like you need to keep Jeioka away from the computer.”
Amru rolled his eyes. “Tell me about it. But how can I refuse my sweet little granddaughter some electronic fun?”
The other members laughed. Amru’s granddaughter was a piece of work…she had been to an Elder Council meeting once.
Neak hit his podium hard, the sound echoing around the room. “Ahem. Is that all concerning Kie’s trial?”
His fellow Elder Council members nodded their agreement to Neak’s question.
“Okay,” Neak concluded. “Meeting adjourned.”
******************************************


Last edited by Madeline26 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chronicles of Asylum: Return of the Protector

Post by Madeline26 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:25 pm

Return of the Protector



By: M. E. Shepley


Prologue:

A large group of Protectors and other assorted Ràkuni stood in heavy silence outside the Earth Asylum. The silence lengthened as a small shiruk by the name of Luri strode with a slow, sad gait outside, accompanied by a shira named Mira and his recently acquired apprentice, Soru.
Luri came to a stop next to a picture of Konanca taken several months ago that had been set up a short distance away from her mourners. “Today, we gather to celebrate the life and mourn the loss of Konanca Kulmao.” He motioned to Silvaki to come up to give the eulogy.
Silvaki came up with her paper, the twins protesting Konanca’s death with a tiny, but painful blow to her belly. I t was the second eulogy she had given in a month…the first being Jirkov’s.
It was a beautiful eulogy that made everyone teary eyed.She told of the young Protector’s early life and eased into a story her Alinko training. Finally, she told of the events of the past few months with a touching and reassuring conclusion: “…and despite the sorrows bestowed upon her, she would always be willing to give up her life foe others. Let us hope her death was peaceful.” Silvaki sat back down.
Mira walked forward with Soru behind her. “If that’s all, let us go on…” She motioned for Soru to say the words.
Soru said the words softly. “…May her soul rest eternally in the paradise of heaven. Amen,” Soru concluded.
“Amen,” the congregation responded. The mass of Ràkuni turned and headed back into the Asylum. The funeral was over since there wasn’t a body to cremate. As the first reached the stain-glass doors, a loud crashing noise was heard from a mile away, a mushroom cloud of flames billowing beyond the treetops and into the sky. The crowd turned in anticipation.
Sure enough, after twenty minutes of silent suspense, a bedraggled and burnt young Ràkuni stumbled into the clearing, her appendages badly damaged. She looked about ready to collapse.
The crowd murmured in confusion. Nothing this odd had ever happened at a funeral before.
Finally, the young Ràkuni spoke: “I bring good news…Konanca is still alive!”
******************************************
Chapter 1:

“Kila! Is that you?” Uju, Konanca’s father shouted as he recognized the girl. Konanca and Kila had been good friends and Uju had met her at Konanca’s Induction.
Konanca’s mother, Kiye, ran from Uju’s side and caught Kila. “Where have you been all this time?”
“I was captured by Habachachi and taken to Tujra a month ago,” she gasped.
Silvaki strode over to them, signaling for someone to keep the crowds back. “Do you have proof?”
Kila nodded weakly. “Yes.” She handed Silvaki an R-Pad. The crowd tried to see the screen, but several of the men waved them back to the Asylum. Only Konanca’s family and some important Protectors remained.
Silvaki pressed play and the Ràkuni watched with anticipation as a clip of Konanca lying on a cremation table with monitors hooked up to her appeared. She was dressed in a funerary fashion and someone had weaved flowers into her long, unbraided hair.
Soriqua shook her head in anger. “Habachachi sure knows how to disrespect her…she’s not even dead yet!”
“But she’s dying,” said Alora. “He must think she’ll die before we rescue her form that Nartaka-forsaken place…may he forbid.”
Ivok, standing between Noritov and his sweetheart, Inra, replied: “No one disrespects or harms our family with impunity…especially Konanca. I’ll get that…” Kiye glared at him as if she knew he’d use some swear words.
“I agree with Ivok,” Inra chimed in for no apparent reason.
Noritov glanced at Iliri and Adolak and then at Sorní and Silvaki. “She’s been with out her medication for about two months…that’s never good.”
Sorní nodded, glancing at his twin. “That makes her extremely dangerous. Her anger lends her more strength and power.”
“She’ll want to kill someone,” Iliri said. “First choice: Habachachi.”
“What are we going to do, Silvaki?” asked Adolak.
“Let me contact the Asylum on Tujra,” replied Silvaki after some thought, a sense of relief and dread washing over her. “And we’ll go from there.”
***************************************
Chapter 2:

Silvaki glared at an Ràkuni man through a video screen. It was Raà, the Tujranae Alinko leader. She was in a heated argument with him.
“Raà, please listen. You must help us…a Protector’s life at stake…to make it worse, it’s Konanca of all Protectors. Whatever they do to her will have bad consequences. The sooner we get her, the better.”
“No,” Raà replied. “Konanca said so herself: we’ve lost too many Protectors…especially young ones. Besides, she said she’d rather die than live without Tervak.”
“I know that!” Silvaki snapped. “And we all know the reason why she said…”
“It is her wish,” Raà interrupted. “Let her die.”
“Not at Habachachi’s hands, I’m not,” she retorted.
Raà sighed. “Think about your safety and the twins! Would you to get killed by just insulting her?”
“No, but that’s not the point.” Silvaki looked up abruptly. “You have a daughter right, Raà?”
“I do, but what does that have to do with anything?” Raà asked, puzzled.
“If your daughter were in the circumstances that Konanca is in and you couldn’t do anything about it, wouldn’t you want someone to help he? I know, legally, she’s an adult, but she is still a child to Uju and Kie. They would want someone to help he since they can’t. Besides, Jirkov as her involved in his death-wish.”
Raà paused for a moment. Death-wishes were a final wish or thing left undone by a deceased Ràkuni that a close friend or relative had to fulfill as long as it wasn’t against the Nartaka’s commandments. They were taken very seriously among the Ràkuni. “Are you sure you want to do this? Konanca is dangerous.”
Silvaki took a breath and nodded. “I’m sure. I already have the approval of the Elder Council. Besides, I must fulfill Jirkov’s death-wish.”
Raà nodded. “Okay. We’ll help. I’m sure you realize this, but Konanca won’t be happy when she hears about what Kie did.”
“I know. She’ll want to kill him.”
Raà checked the time. “I’ve got to go. See you in a few days.” He paused, then added: “Oh by the way, best of luck with the twins.”
Silvaki blushed. “Thanks. Expect us in about two days.” Silvaki shut off the video chat and screen. She sank down into a chair and put her hand on her belly. For Konanca’s sake, she hoped Raà was wrong about the young Protector’s abilities.
****************************************
Chapter 3:

Sam watched as Sorní, the last to board the ship, hugged his twin good-bye and joined the others going on the mission to save Konanca.
As the door shut behind the Protector, Sam sat in the nearest chair. “What are you guy’s going to do about Kie’s trial?”
Kalva sighed and shook her head. “Are you never going to stop asking? We’ve told you at least a million times that as soon as Konanca is up to par, then the trial will commence.”
“Sorry…I forgot. I’m still stunned that she is still alive after all this.”
Okvar, as he walked from behind Sam, hit him in the back of the head as he walked to the cockpit.
“Ow!” Sam protested. “Was that completely necessary?”
“Yes…because the longer we yak, the slimmer the chances are of getting Konanca out alive. And I need quiet to help me launch the spaceship. So…shut up.” Okvar disappeared into the cockpit.
There was a moment of silence as Okvar maneuvered the spaceship away from Earth. Then, Soriqua looked up from her book she was reading. She teased Sam, the others snickering behind their various objects: “Sam, that was dense.”
Sam scowled at her. “It’s not my fault that I can’t process things as fast as you…after all, I’m only human and the rest of you are Ràkuni.”
“I’m only joking!”
“That’s kind of offensive to a human, you know!”
“Can’t you take a joke?”
“Not that kind of joke!” Both then stood, bristling with anger.
Before either of them could argue more and start a fistfight, Sonlaca, Konanca’s former mentor, got between them, turning into her pinto form for a moment. “Soriqua, Sam, stop. If you don’t, I’ll kick you with my hooves.”
Hakchi, another Protector, nodded. “I agree with Sonlaca. On top of what she’ll do, I’ll turn into a vampire bat and do my thing if you don’t shut up.”
The feuding pair shivered at the thought of Hakchi as a vampire bat, sat down, and were silent the rest of the way to Tujra.
****************************************
Chapter 4:

Raà led the group of Protectors into the Tujranae Asylum in Acro. “It’s good to have you guys here. It’s also good to know that Konanca is still alive.”
“It is good to know that,” Sorní replied. “Thanks to Kila, we’ll be able to have a chance at rescuing her.”
Did you recover the Fifth Text by any chance?” Okvar asked hopefully.
Raà forced a smile. “Actually, yes. It was found just yesterday by a group of Tujranae. Fortunately, Hulir, a Tujranae friend of Konanca’s was among those men. I’ll let him tell you their tale about how it came into their hands. It’s quite funny.” Raà chuckled as if he were watching the whole episode before his very eyes.
“So, when will we go after Konanca?” Sam asked impatiently.
“Tomorrow,” Sonlaca answered as if it was engraved into her memories.
“Yes, tomorrow,” Raa1 explained. “It gives us time to prepare. We need a variety of medical equipment for the job…among other things. Habachachi’s lair is quite extraordinary and very dangerous.”
“Where is it?” asked Nauru.
“In a dormant volcano outside Acro,” Raà replied.
“In a volcano?” Qorra was astonished. “No one ever told me that was possible!”
“It is,” Hakchi said. “Just as long as the volcano is extinct. Is it, Raà?”
“I’m not sure. It hasn’t erupted in over five hundred years. It’s long overdue and is known to be notoriously dangerous when it erupts. It could be extinct.”
“I guess we’ll have to be really careful on this mission,” Sorní said thoughtfully.
“What about preparing for it?” Sam interjected.
“First things first,” Raà replied.” Let us go get the Fifth Text from Hulir.”
****************************************
Chapter 5:

Sorní shooed away most of the Protectors to rest and was soon left with Sonlaca, Hakchi, Kalva, Okvar, and Sam. Raà led them to a garden to find Hulir.
They found Hulir admiring a kakí, a rose-like Ràkuni flower. A scroll lay on the nearest bench. The pale-skinned Tujranae turned as they approached.
“Raà, I see you’ve brought your fellow Ràkunis.”
Raa1 nodded, gesturing to Sam. “And an Earthling. He, like you, is helping us. As you well know, we are extremely grateful.”
Hulir picked up the scroll. “Here’s the Fifth Text.”
“How did you find it?” Sorní inquired.
“I was helping harvest fruit from the slopes of a long since extinct volcano and I uncovered it five feet beneath the roots of one of the plants. An avalanche caused by one of my fellow workers nearly reclaimed it.” He gave a cheeky grin.
The others chuckled.
“Good thing you had the sense to recover it,” Sonlaca said with a smile. “Or else we wouldn’t have seen it for another long time.”
“It was my pleasure.
Hulir handed the Fifth Text to Okvar. While Okvar was examining the scroll, he added: “I assume there’s more.”
“Indeed,” Sorní replied. “Our Alinko leader’s whereabouts were learned recently. Our source says she is being held in a base at Nomel Akava, a local dormant volcano. We wanted to know if you would be willing to guide us there.”
“That’s no problem,” Hulir said. “You must be careful though. Nomel Akava is Tujra’s most notorious volcano.”
“We’ll be prepared,” Hakchi assured Hulir. “Prepared is common attribute of most Ràkuni.”
“Good…we shall talk more later…I must go home and see my girlfriend.” He disappeared out of the garden.
Raà turned to the group. “Hulir and his older sister, Ovira, have been vital to our Tujranae occupancy.”
“We need more people like that,” Sorní said. “Now, about that doctor and his assistants…”
“Ah, yes, them. Dr. Ako Fika and his assistants, Ori and Noco are in the Medical Department. Let us go visit them.”
*****************************************
Chapter 6:

Dr. Ako Fika, Ori, and Noco were in the Medical Department as expected. Raà and his companions arrived just as he finished his last patient of the day.
Ako looked up from his clipboard and charts. “Is this about Konanca?”
The group collectively nodded.
“Well, then; you’re in the right place. Let’s chat about your rescue plans.”
Sorní spoke first. “First of all, Konanca is dying. We’re going to need a considerable amount of medical supplies.”
“Like what?”
Sonlaca was next. “Her medicine, of course, and monitors, supplemental oxygen, and some way to transport her.”
Ako handed his I.D. to Noco. “Good thing I have a high enough security clearance. That particular medicine is almost impossible to lay hands on.”
Sorní looked at the rest of the group. “Was anything missed?” They all shook their heads. “Good.”
Ako looked at Ori. “Did you get all of that?”
“I did,” she replied.
“When do you need this?”
“Tomorrow is when it all needs to be together,” Sorní said. “I’ll send Sam, the Earthling, and one of my Protectors here to help you.”
“That won’t be necessary.”
“It is when there is a life at stake. Konanca is on the verge of death.”
“I see,” Dr. Fika replied softly.
“Then, you agree?”
“I do.”
“Well, good,” Sorní replied. “When do you want them?”
“Have them meet my assistants here at nine AM.”
“Okay. They’ll be there at nine.”
******************************************
Chapter 7:

Sam, Nauru, and Soriqua trudged sleepily into the Medical Department at nine o’clock sharp. Ori and Noco were waiting for them.
“I don’t know why Sorní sent me,” Nauru moaned incessantly. “This is apprentice work.”
Ori glared at Nauru. “You were an apprentice not so long ago. We need all the hands we can get. The life of the Lead Protector is at stake. So, if you want her to live, shut your mouth and get to work.”
Nauru only glared back, muttering swear words in Ràkuni, too inaudible for Sam to pick up. The foursome and the Earthling went to work.
An hour into the fast-paced work, Sam got his hands on a container that looked like a mini oxygen tank. “Is this Konanca’s medicine?”
Noco nodded. “Yes. That’s some strong stuff.”
“Why is it so hard to get?”
“Very few Ràkuni…that is, Ràkuni with fifty percent or more of the gene, need it. It’s quit normal, actually, to have some of the gene gone. However, especially with Ràkuni who don’t need it, a high enough dose is lethal and can kill you.”
“Have any Ràkuni died of an overdose before?” Soriqua inquired.
“Yes.”
Sam quickly handed to medicine to Noco. “You’d better handle that since you’re the professional. I wouldn’t want to screw up the rescue.”
Noco smiled faintly. “Smart lad for a human…wouldn’t you agree, Ori?”
Ori agreed. “I would.”
Nauru and Soriqua handed the last of the healing ointment and bandages to the doctor’s assistants to put in the stealth ship.
Ori closed the stealth ship’s cargo compartment. “Well…it’s done. Let’s go get Sorní and Raà. I bet Sorní’s anxious to get Konanca.”
Nauru nodded. “You have no idea.”
“In the meantime,” Sam nodded. “Can we get some breakfast? I’m starving because I didn’t get to eat.”
The rest agreed with a chuckle of amusement and departed from the Medical Department’s private Hangar.
*****************************************
Chapter 8:

Sam was walking up the ramp to the stealth ship. Just as he reached the top, Sorní appeared in the doorway.
“Ready for the rescue?” Sam asked.
“I am,” Sorní replied. “But you are not coming with us this time.”
“What?!” the Earthling exclaimed.
“You heard me,” Sorní said.
“But why?”
“Your feelings for Konanca are high and that could endanger the mission. Besides, like Konanca, you are a valuable quarry. We cannot risk you being captured too.”
Sam scowled. “That’s not fair!”
“Life is not always fair. For instance, Konanca was dealt a bad set of genetics and my twin lost her husband. Whether we succeed in bringing her back alive or not, you will see her again.”
Sam turned an angry red. “But I came on the first rescue mission! I was an amateur then, too!”
“Orders are orders. Mine are direct from Silvaki. Find something to fill your time. We won’t ne long.”
Sam was going to argue more, but knew he’d lose against the experienced Protector. “Fine. I guess I probably should work on my Ràkuni. A little practice won’t hurt.”
Sorní clapped the human’s shoulder. “That’s my boy. We should see you later tomorrow, if all goes well. Don’t expect to see Konanca so soon after her ordeal. She’s on the edge of death and without her medicine, is ten times as dangerous.”
Sam nodded. “Good luck and may the Nartaka be with you.”
Sorní smiled. “Sounds like you learned a bit of Ràkuni lingo. I thank you for the luck.” Sorní disappeared into the ship and Sam heard the engines fire up.
Sam stepped away from the ship reluctantly. The Hangar traffic control man signaled to the pilot, Okvar, to begin the launch sequence.
With regret and envy in his heart, Sam watched as the smoky, yellow Tujranae sky swallow up the stealth ship and hide it from his sight.
***************************************
Chapter 9:

“There it is,” Okvar commented from the cockpit. “Habachachi’s volcano lair.” There were oo’s and ah’s from various windows as they cruised by for the landing.
The stealth ship skidded to a halt and the Ràkuni gushed out of the invisible ship and gaped at Nomel Akava’s glory and noterity.
Sorní’s unimpressed voice shook them from their stupor. “Okay. Enough gawking at the stupid volcano. We have a life to save. We can sightsee later.”
Hakchi set down his climbing pack with a thud. “Where’s the entrance?”
“Up there,” Raà pointed to a cleverly disguised cave halfway up Nomel Akava’s slope. “It wasn’t too hard to find on the radar. There’s a lot of activity up there.”
“Anyone have a rocket launcher?” Qorra piped up. “I’d be more than willing to shoot those…”
“Qorra…” Sonlaca cut off the apprentice before could start swearing…something she was known for. “…we get the idea.” She turned to Sorní. “Can she?”
“I don’t see why not. Kwantis probably knows we’re here. Qorra, go ahead and knock yourself out.”
Qorra grinned and set up the rocket launcher. She pulled back the trigger and fired. There was a loud explosion by the entrance to Habachachi’s lair. “Bull’s-eye!” she muttered.
Sorní nodded in approval. “Up the volcano we go. Qorra, bring the rocket launcher…I have a feeling that we might need it and your expertise with the weapon.”
Just then, a ship flew through the debris, firing at the group at the volcano’s base.
“Qorra! Fire the weapon!” Sorní shouted.
Qorra did as she was told, struggling to aim the rocket launcher. She fired and missed.
Sorní swore. “I’m killing that Ràkuni next time I get my hands on him.”
****************************************
Chapter 10:

“Okvar, Hulir, stay with the ship in case Habachachi starts shooting again. Call the Command Canter in Acro and have them keep in eye on the skies and Sam. Be prepared for a hasty departure.”
Okvar nodded. “Got it. Hulir and I will hold down the fort for you guys.”
Hulir agreed. “Good plan.”
Sorní gestured to the rest of the group. “Let’s get moving before we get old.”
Okvar trotted up the slope after Sorní for a moment. “How did you know that that was Habachachi?”
“I was using binoculars. I could see his goo-for-nothing smiling face in the cockpit’s window.”
“I didn’t know he was a pilot,” Hakchi commented.
“Mot legally. His permit is illegal as are the other permits of that Nartaka-forsaken group. Konanca had all their records pulled up. I want to wipe that smug grin off his face for all this.”
Nauru climbed up to the ledge below the cave. “Typical delinquents with their illegal contraband. Why would Habachachi fly off like that?”
“He probably knows something we don’t,” Sorní replied stiffly.
Sonlaca sighed. “Unfortunately, it’s probably a hundred percent true.”
Qorra climbed past Nauru with the rocket launcher strapped to her back. “Holy Nartaka! Look at that! We may have a little problem here.”
Sorní, leading the group of Protectors and medics to the cave’s ledge, stopped next to the apprentice. “That is going to be a major problem.”
In front of them was a whole patrol of Kwantis soldiers guarding what was left of the lair’s grand cavernous entrance. Qorra started to aim the rocket launcher at the unsuspecting soldiers.
“Slow down, Qorra,” Nauru said. “I can handle this. Save the rockets. Watch and learn the power of bribery.”
****************************************
Chapter 11:

As the group of Ràkuni entered the lair, a soldier with a smug grin approached them. “Looking for Habachachi?” he asked innocently. “You just missed him. He told me to ask you if you liked his dramatic departure. It was only the first act. The finale is yet to come.”
“Very funny,” Sorní said curtly, grabbing the soldier by his clothing. “Tell me where Konanca is.”
“That’s top secret information.”
Nauru stepped in. “You know…Sorní was going to have my little friend here with the rocket launcher blast you to smithereens. I’d tell him the information.”
“I can’t…its treason.”
“You’ve already committed treason in the eyes of the Alinko, so that’s not a problem.” The young Protector reached into her pocket, revealing a bottle of nemí. “I hear Habachachi abducted your stashes of nemí.”
The soldier’s eyes lit up. “Alright. Konanca is being held in the science labs.” He produced a blueprint from his uniform’s pocket. “This should help. Oh, by the way, the volcano is going to blow in two hours.”
Nauru smiled warmly and tossed him the bottle of nemí. “It was a pleasure doing business with you.” She led the group of Protectors and medics farther into the lair, following the blueprint.
Qorra was amazed. “Where’d you learn how to do that?”
“Tervak taught me. A little bit of research such as the bit about nemí helps too. It’s quite simple and it’s almost like negotiating…except it doesn’t always involve the legal trade of vital things.”
Sonlaca smiled. “Tervak taught you well. It was a good tribute to his memory.”
Sorní, who had been lost in thought, looked up at Nauru. “Where’d you get the nemí? You’re underage…you can’t drink that stuff.”
Nauru shrugged. “I got it from a vendor I know who sold that kind of thing in my village. I thought it might come in handy.”
Sorní wasn’t convinced. “I don’t think so. Was that actually nemí?”
Nauru smiled mischievously. “Yes. The only thing different was that I laced it with a taste-less poison. They’ll be dead in fifteen minutes.”
***************************************
Chapter 12:

As it turned out, the soldier was telling the truth about Konanca. She was in the science labs…in bad shape, in a white room protected by a bulletproof glass.
“There she is,” Ori pointed at the Ràkuni lying on a cremation table. She looked as she had been in the video.
Fortunately, the entire lair was deserted and the way to the science labs was marked in ominous red tiling.
Sorní’s heart saddened at the sight. Konanca was not yet twenty-three and hand been near death many times. Several were times when she had contemplated killing herself. That wasn’t meant to happen to someone that young.
A beeping from the viewing room’s console shook Sorní from his thoughts. His eyes flew to the screen. A flashing phrase in Ràkuni caught his attention. It said that Konanca’s heart rate was dropping…fast.
“Get in there!” Sorní shouted. “She could die at any moment!! Be quick!”
The medical team rushed into the white room laden down with medical supplies. Someone could have sworn that their hands were blurs as they unpacked things.
Sorní watched as Dr. Fika grabbed the nearest canister of oxygen and meds and strapped its corresponding mask over Konanca’s alarmingly serene face.
An emergency medical respondent grabbed the defibrillator. He lifted up the funeral garment and stuck the electrical adhesives to Konanca’s chest. The EMR pressed a button.
Sorní winced as if he was the one in need of the defibrillator. He thanked the Nartaka for whoever had invented it.
Finally, the screen went blank. Konanca’s heart rate went steadily up. Sorní let out a sigh of relief.
Dr. Fika came back into the viewing room. “Well…she should be fine for now. The next question is: how do we go about moving her?”
*****************************************
Chapter 13:

Sorní pondered Dr. Fika’s question as the EMR team packed up what wasn’t needed to sustain Konanca until they reached the Asylum.
“The cremation table has wheels, you know,” Qorra commented.
Nauru nodded in agreement. “You could wheel her out on the cremation table. You wouldn’t have to risk disrupting her recovery by moving her.
“But how would we get Konanca down Nomel Akava’s treacherous slopes?” Hakchi pointed out. “It’s a disaster waiting to happen.”
Sorní was about to reply, but Sonlaca beat him. “Call Okvar with your latun. He can hover in the air while we move Konanca on to the stealth ship. He’s got the skills of the Air Division pilots.”
The Protector nodded “Good idea.” Sorní called Okvar with his latun. “…Okvar…? Yes, this is Sorní…hover by the entrance…it’s the best, quickest and safest way to evacuate Konanca…uh, huh…okay, bye.” Sorní closed his latun and ended the call.
“Well…?” Dr. Fika prompted.
“Okvar can do the maneuver, but it’ll be very tricky to pull off. He says to have Konanca at the entrance in ten minutes or else his window of time will be closed and we’ll either be in the volcano’s way or we’ll have to risk descending Nomel Akava’s treacherous slopes.”
“That’ll be easily done,” Dr. Fika replied. “It won’t take as long navigating this place. All we have to do is retrace our steps along the red tiles.”
“Do you guys need help?” Qorra inquired. “I’m able-bodied and very willing.”
“Thank you, Qorra, but no thanks,” Dr. Fika said. “This is a job for professionals like the EMRs.”
“Okay, then,” Sorní concluded. “We have ten minutes until Nomel Akava is supposed to erupt. Let’s make this evacuation snappy.”
***************************************
Chapter 14:

As promised, Okvar had the stealth ship hovering over the entrance’s ledge with the ship’s collapsible entry ramp touching the ledge. It had taken the Ràkuni five minutes to rendezvous there.
The Protectors ran to the stealth ship since they weren’t wheeling the cremation table. Only Sonlaca stayed to help the EMRs.
One of the cremation table’s wheels got caught on a rock. The EMRs pushed as hard as they could but the annoying wheel wouldn’t budge.
An annoyed, but worried Okvar paced the doorway of the stealth ship like a caged animal. “Hurry up! If I stay much longer, we’ll all be fried. I’ll be forced to leave all of you.”
“Just a minute,” Sonlaca said. “There’s a wheel that’s stuck.” She knelt and with her nimble fingers, she freed the wheel. The EMRs gladly pushed the cremation table on to the stealth ship, leaving Sonlaca standing alone on the lair’s ledge.
Sonlaca hurriedly scrambled up the ramp. Halfway up, she missed a step and slipped. The old Protector tumbled down the ramp and landed at its bottom with a load crack from her leg.
Several EMRs started to run down, but Sonlaca stopped them, bringing their attention to the rumbling volcano. “No. Leave me or you’ll all be killed.”
Okvar’s face clouded with despair. “Are you sure about this, Sonlaca?”
“Yes, of course,” she replied. “I always dreamed of dying in battle…better yet, for my former apprentice. Here’s my chance.”
Okvar nodded and bowed his head in respect for the old Protector. “Farewell, Sonlaca.”
“Farewell, Okvar. I’ll see all of you in paradise. When this civil war is over, come back and retrieve what’s left of me so I can return home.”
“We shall,” Okvar promised. Then, the door closed and the ramp collapsed, leaving Sonlaca to face the wrath of Nomel Akava alone.
The stealth ship barely cleared the volcano as the first plume of lava was propelled into Tujra’s yellow sky.
***************************************
Chapter 15:

Sam walked into a random little alcove of the Ràkuni spaceship that had been locked ten minutes earlier.
He walked in to find Konanca lying on a pull-down bed with an oxygen mask over her face with a separate line for her medicine and various monitors hooked up to her showing all her vitals at normal.
The young Earthling slipped his hand into Konanca’s. He hoped that it would soothe her, wherever her mind was.
“Sam…what are you doing?”
Sam whirled around to see Sorní. “Visiting Konanca. No one has let me near her since you guys rescued her.”
Sorní glared at him. “For a good reason. Konanca’s dangerous and you’re the only human who can help us in this civil war. We can’t risk losing you. Besides…she’s not over Tervak’s death…it’s been hard for her.”
Sam ripped his hand from Konanca’s, leaving it hanging off the side of the bed. “Well…tell her to move on with her life! It’s been four months since he died! There are others out there for her…like me!”
“You don’t understand, do you, Earthling? Tervak was her best chance of living a normal life that she wanted. I suppose she didn’t tell you what happened when she was eight.”
“What happened when she was eight?” Sam was puzzled.
Sorní sighed. “She tried to kill herself by jumping off a cliff.”
Sam was dubious. “You’re making that up to keep me away from her!”
“I’m not joking. She thought her parents didn’t love her. The Nartaka changed her mind. After, it was Tervak that kept her from trying it again. He cared for her more than his life. He’d descend into the Gates of Suffering for her.”
“Gates of Suffering?” Sam raised an eyebrow.
Sorní cocked his head. “You know what I mean! You would do that for your special Earthling.”
Sam rolled his eyes. “If you want me to leave, I will. Just promise me you’ll let me know when I can visit her.”
“Okay,” Sorní promised reluctantly. “Now, scram.”
******************************************
Chapter 16:

“Land ho!” Okvar shouted as he maneuvered the spaceship into the Hangar. It skidded into its rightful place.
As soon as the ship halted, several EMRs rushed aboard and whisked Konanca off to the Medical Department. Sam watched resentfully from one of the spaceship’s windows.
Finally, the Protectors and Sam were allowed off the spaceship. An unreadable Silvaki stood alone to greet the returning Ràkuni.
“A little bird told me that Sonlaca was lost at Nomel Akava.”
Sorní nodded. “She slipped and fell when we were leaving and broke her leg. There was nothing we could do.”
Silvaki’s eyes flashed. “You could have at least retrieved her body! She has family, you know!”
“The volcano was erupting,” Hakchi protested. “She told us to leave her. We will retrieve when this war is done and over with.”
Silvaki turned sharply to him. “Shut up!” She turned back to her twin. “Is this true?”
Sorní nodded along with the others.
“Well then. You’d better hope that this war ends soon. No one was meant to die on this mission. You know…”
Sorní glared at Silvaki. “I know! Konanca is going to kill me! You don’t have to state the obvious!”
“I’m just saying that because this is not going to help Konanca recover. That’s the second person close to her that has been lost in the last four months.”
“Hey,” Okvar interjected. “Sonlaca said that she didn’t mind dying for her former apprentice. Let’s stop blaming each other for her death and give thanks for her life.”
Nauru glanced at Silvaki. “You know…Okvar has actually got a point.”
“Alright,” Silvaki agreed, nodding at Nauru. “Everyone should go to the temple and do just that. But everyone will report to the debriefing room to give me a mission summary in ten minutes sharp.”
******************************************
Chapter 17:

Dr. Bilu Croya sat back in his chair and looked at Silvaki. “The twins seem to be in good shape. I hope your job isn’t giving you too much stress.”
Silvaki shook her head. “Actually, I was here to talk to you about Konanca.”
“This had better be good.” Dr. Croya adjusted the collar of his white lab coat.
“I need a written permission from you to see her.”
Dy. Croya shook his head. “No. I’m not putting you in danger. Jirkov would kill me.”
Silvaki’s eyes grew dangerous. “I cannot show you this, but Jirkov involved her in his death-wish. I must talk to her about it.”
“No.”
“Come on! It’s been a week since she was rescued. Surely she’s calm enough for me to visit her!”
“No means no.”
Silvaki was frustrated. “It’s not like I’m going in there to deliberately insult her. No one has been allowed to visit her and she’s bound to be lonely.”
The doctor was thoughtful. “Well…I could give you a written permission if you promise to have someone in there with you.
“Not in there with me. Right outside the door will be just fine. This is private.”
“Only if you have a ‘get me out of here’ signal and I can strap her to the bed.”
“Sure, but only her legs will be necessary.”
“Fine.”
“Do we have a deal?”
“Yes,” Dr. Croya replied. “And here’s your written permission. Be careful in there. You don’t want to get hurt.”
Silvaki smiled. “I’ll be fine. Don’t worry. I may be expecting twins but I can sure take care of myself. Don’t worry yourself too hard about me.”
*****************************************
Chapter 18:

Sam walked down one of the Medical Department’s hallways until he reached a dead end. Then, he turned around and took another hallway until he came to a room guarded by two Ràkuni men.
“Is this Konanca’s room?” he inquired.
“Yes,” the first Ràkuni answered.
The second nudged his partner and said: “Do you have a written permission to see her?”
“Written permission?”
“Yes, You must have it to see he since she is still highly dangerous.”
Sam’s shoulders sagged. “I don’t have it.”
“Then you cannot see her,” the first Ràkuni concluded. “Go back now.”
“But that’s not fair!”
The second Ràkuni shrugged. “Life’s not always fair, but those are the rules to see a dangerous patient.”
“well, I guess it was worth a try. She wouldn’t have wanted to see me anyways.” Sam turned and started to walk away.
Sam’s spirits sank as he wandered through the Medical Department’s halls. He had hoped that he would be a le to see Konanca but the two guards had put a swift end to it. All he could hope was that she would get better soon so he could see her again.
Sam was so absorbed in his personal pity party that her neglected to watch for anyone walking in the opposite direction. As he rounded the next corner, he nearly collided with a Ràkuni woman.
“Sorry…” Sam stuttered ass he looked up and apologized for his absent-mindedness.
Suddenly, he recognized the Ràkuni woman with whom he had collided. To see this Ràkuni here kind of shocked him and started him wondering.
It was Silvaki.
****************************************
Chapter 19:

“What are you doing here?” Sam asked.
“I would ask the same of you, Sam. I have to talk to Konanca about Jirkov’s death-wish.” Silvaki replied stiffly.
“Do you have written permission?”
“Of course I do.”
Sam snorted. “That’s not fair that you get to see her! You’re expecting twins!”
Silvaki rolled her eyes. “Did what Sorní say to you evaporate from your sand?”
“What?” Sam gave her a quizzical look.
“To put it into Earthling terms, did what he say go in one ear and out the other?”
“Oh,” Sam said. “That. It didn’t! I just wanted to see her.”
Silvaki shook her head as if he didn’t understand. “Both Sorní and I have told you to stay away from her. She needs to recover from whatever Habachachi decided to do to her so she can take up her job as Lead Protector again. Seeing an Earthling who’s hopelessly head-over-heels in love with her will infuriate, rather than help her.”
“I am not head-over-heels in love with her!”
“That’s what it seems like.”
“Honestly! She’s in love with a Ràkuni who’s been dead for four months now. Doesn’t Konanca know she has other options?”
“She does but most of them are obnoxious and I don’t blame her for turning them down. I think they’re all immature.”
“Who’s the most annoying?”
“That would be Baru Solri. He thinks that taking over Chancellor Celesti Airní’s job when her term is up will win her heart. He’s so full of himself that I’d like to skewer him and roast him over a fire.”
“Harsh.”
“There’s worse. Konanca said she’d like to see him executed by a firing squad. I’d actually find that amusing.”
“I like that Baru-kabobs thing better.”
“Now do you see my point? She’ll just see you as another Baru Solri.”
Sam’s heart sank. “I do. See you at dinner then.”
Silvaki nodded and disappeared down the hallway.
*****************************************
Chapter 20:

Kie stared nonchalantly at the wall of his cell as the jailer unlocked it and brought in his meal.
The young inmate looked up at the jailer. “Any news?”
The jailer nodded. “They found Konanca and managed to rescue her. That will push back the date of your trial. It’s now a week from today.”
Kie bowed his head. “How much longer do I have to live?”
“At least two weeks. Do you have any family you need to say goodbye too?”
Kie shook his head sadly. “No. They’re all dead. My sister, the last one to die, died about a month ago. I don’t think they’d speak to me anyways.”
“What a shame.”
“What?”
“That someone like you committed treason. You surely had a bright future ahead of you.”
Kie smiled sadly. “Yes, I suppose, but my family meant a lot to me. I tried to keep them from death. My brother was nearly eleven and my sister only nine.”
“Too bad that way off saving your family is illegal. Be glad that Konanca doesn’t know yet what you have done.”
“I’d be dead by know if that were true.”
“That’s a fact.”
“Any other news?”
“Not really, but Sonlaca’s funeral is in a couple of days when Konanca can attend.”
“Why would she want to go?”
“Sonlaca was her mentor…way back when.”
“Ah,” Kie said. “I never knew that.”
“There’s lots she would never tell us in our lifetimes.”
“Got that right.”
The jailer clapped Kie’s shoulder. “Well, after you die, you have bigger things to worry about. You had better hope that the Nartaka will be more merciful than Konanca.”
“I hope that with all my heart.”
*****************************************
Epilogue:

Silvaki handed over her written permission to the guards with very little questions and walked into Konanca’s room. The young Lead Protector looked lonely and sorrowful but peaceful. There were several monitors hooked up to her.
The older Protector sat down in the chair next to Konanca’s bed. She sat there quietly for a few minutes and decided to braid her hair in the usual way since no one so far had. Once she finished, she slipped her hand into the Lead Protector’s.
After awhile, Konanca’s eyes flew open. “Silvaki! Someone came to visit!” She took her free hand and ran it through her hair. “And you braided my hair! Thank you!”
Silvaki smiled for a moment. “No one has let visitors in here.”
“Probably because I nearly killed one of the nurses because I thought she was trying to hurt me.” Konanca grinned cheekily.
“But that’s not the only reason I’m here,” Silvaki said. “This is about Jirkov’s death-wish.”
Konanca’s eyes saddened. “I heard he died. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay.”
“So…what’s this death wish about?”
“He wants you to help me raise my twins…he knew you had wanted a child when the time came…but then Tervak died.”
Konanca shook her head. “I…can’t…I’d kill them. You’ve seen first hand how dangerous I am.”
“That’s not the point. He knew you were hurting and that it might heal you some what…”
“I can’t. I can’t take away your joy.”
Silvaki put her other hand on Konanca’s hand. “Do it for Jirkov. Tervak would want you to be happy. You will have the child you wanted. Look at me, Konanca. We each can solve the other’s problem. You need a way to heal from Tervak’s death and my twins need someone besides me to raise them. What do you think?”
Konanca was thoughtful for a moment. “Are you sure about this?”
“Yes.”
Konanca smiled for one of the first times in months. “Then of course I will.” Her eyes glittered with happiness. “Thank you for bringing me joy and company.”
**************************************


Last edited by Madeline26 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chronicles of Asylum: The Forgotten

Post by Madeline26 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:26 pm

Coming soon!
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Chronicles of Asylum: The Fall

Post by Madeline26 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:28 pm

Coming soon!
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Characters of Chronicles of Asylum (List will Update):

Post by Madeline26 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:38 pm

Characters of Chronicles of Asylum:

Konanca (me):
• Pronunciation: Co-nahn-ka
• Means: she who ascends the highest mountains
• Transformation: snow leopard
Habachachi (Joey):
• Pronunciation: Ha-bah-cha-chee
• Means: he who kills
• Transformation: hyena
Sam:
• Human
• Prophesied by the Elder Council to help the Alinko defeat Kwantis and the Akakou
Qorra (Laura):
• Pronunciation: Cora
• Means: she who guards the ocean
• Transformation: gray wolf
Luma (Qorra’s sister):
• Pronunciation: Loo-ma
• Means: she who lights the dark
• Transformation: golden eagle
Halasa (Sylvie):
• Pronunciation: Ha-la-sa
• Means: cloud tree
• Transformation: fox
Larkia (Maddie):
• Pronunciation: Lark-ea
• Means: she who hunts by night
• Transformation: black panther
Silvaki:
• Pronunciation: Sill- va (as in ir…)-key
• Means: she who runs with the wind
• Transformation: cheetah
Sorní (Silvaki’s twin brother):
• Pronunciation: Sore-knee
• Means: he who drifts like a leaf
• Transformation: alligator
Tervak (Konanca’s friend):
• Pronunciation: Tear-vahk
• Means: he who sways with the trees
• Transformation: anaconda
Acali:
• Pronunciation: Ah-ca-lee
• Means: she who walks among the flowers
• Transformation: Gazelle
Magella:
• Pronunciation: Ma-gel-ah
• Means: she who shines with magnificent light
• Transformation: Emperor Penguin
Nauru(Abby):
• Pronunciation: Nar-oo
• Means: laughter
• Transformation: cheetah
Yksin (Abby):
• Pronunciation: Ew-eck-seen
• Means: alone
• Transformation: wolf
Soriqua (Izabel):
• Pronunciation: Sore-e-kwa
• Means: she/girl who rides the wind
• Transformation: Amur leopard
Lumina (Sorní’s daughter):
• Pronunciation: Loo-mih-nuh
• Means: she who is luminous (The name, Luma, is derived from this)
• Transformation: bald eagle
Baikala (One of Silvaki’s twins, one of Konanaca's daughters in Konanca's Paradox):
• Pronunciation: By-cahl-ah
• Means: she who gazes at the stars from the top of the world
• Transformation: snowy owl
Kalia (Silvaki’s other twin, Konanca's other daughter in Konanca's Paradox):
• Pronunciation: Cal-ea
• Means: she who likes to run
• Transformation: lioness
Jirkov (Silvaki’s husband):
• Pronunciation: Jeer-cove
• Means: he who sits by the cliff
• Transformation: coyote
Kokoro (Brigitte):
• Pronunciation: Co-co-row
• Means: heart
• Transformation: harpy eagle
Novo:
• Konanca’s Akroian friend
• Was in possession of the Second Viric Text
Zekala:
• Pronunciation: Zee-ka-la
• Means: she who guards the soul
• Transformation: giraffe
Kalva (Sorní’s wife):
• Pronunciation: Kal-va
• Means: she who dances on the ice
• Transformation: polar bear
Zolkca:
• Pronunciation: Zohl-ka
• Means: she who seeks the sky
• Transformation: sea hawk
Dr. Zanen:
• Sam’s father
• Archaeologist
• In possession of the Third Viric Text
Iliri (one of Konanca’s two sisters):
• Pronunciation: E-lee-ree
• Means: she who dances in the rain
• Transformation: ocelot
Adolak (Iliri’s twin brother):
• Pronunciation: Ah-doe-lock
• Means: he who summons the lightning
• Transformation: badger
Alora (Konanca’s other sister):
• Pronunciation: Ah-loo-rah
• Means: she who sings to the dawn
• Transformation: parrot
Noritov (Konanca’s 2nd brother):
• Pronunciation: Nor-ih-tove
• Means: he who calls the storms
• Transformation: caribou
Ivok (Konanca’s youngest brother):
• Pronunciation: E-vook
• Means: he who watches in silence
• Transformation: boa constrictor
Ylsa:
• Pronunciation: Yeel-sah
• Means: she who glides through the trees
• Transformation: panda
Raeba:
• Pronunciation: Ray-bah
• Means: she who glows with the rays of the sun
• Transformation: sun bear
Vurku:
• Pronunciation: Voor-koo
• Means: he who can shape the metals
• Transformation: beaver
Dertak:
• Pronunciation: Dare-tock
• Means: he who destroys
• Transformation: vulture
Fluvom:
• Pronunciation: Floo-vuhm
• Means: he who protects the pine copse
• Transformation: Komodo dragon
Olak:
• Pronunciation: Oh-lack
• Means: he who calls to the weary
• Transformation: Australian shepard
Luri:
• Pronunciation: Loo-ree
• Means: he who follows a holy path
• Ràkuni shiruk (holy man)
Okvar (head of the Data Analysis Department):
• Pronunciation: Oak-vahr
• Means: he who soars on the wind
• Transformation: red-tailed hawk
Neak:
• Pronunciation: Knee-ack
• Means: the mighty one
• Member of the Elder Council
Iní (Protector who lives in Ikuiri):
• Pronunciation: E-knee
• Means: he who creates thunder
• Transformation: yak
Theri (head of Tracking and Observation Department):
• Pronunciation: Thear-e
• Means: he who slices enemies in many pieces
• Transformation: wolverine
Yí (Soriqua’s new mentor):
• Pronunciation: Yee
• Means: he who brings balance
• Transformation: coyote
Inra:
• Pronunciation: In-ruh
• Means: she who protects life
• Transformation: lemur
Filo (lera expert):
• Pronunciation: Fee-low
• Means: he who paints the sky with many colors
• Transformation: toucan
Uju:
• Pronunciation: Oo-joo
• Means: he who brings safety on the mountain
• Konanca’s father
Kiye:
• Pronunciation: Key-yee
• Means: she who is fruitful
• Konanca’s mother
Lumrà:
• Pronunciation: Loom-rye
• Means: she who was born into the light
• Member of the Elder Council
Lurak:
• Pronunciation: Loo-rahk
• Means: he who protects the ancient stones
• Member of the Elder Council
Yalí:
• Pronunciation: Yah-lee
• Means: she who sings to the birds
• Member of the Elder Council
Amru:
• Pronunciation: Ahm-roo
• Means: he who shelters the weak
• Member of the Elder Council
Moik:
• Pronunciation: Mow-eek
• Means: he who seeks the enlightened path
• Member of the Elder Council
Orna:
• Pronunciation: Ore-nah
• Means: she who decorates the trees
• Member of the Elder Council
Wunai:
• Pronunciation: Woo-nye
• Means: she who harvests the fruit of the work
• Member of the Elder Council
Prí:
• Pronunciation: Pree
• Means: he who guards the mountain pass
• Member of the Elder Council
Huwana:
• Pronunciation: Who-ahn-ah
• Means: she who has command of the sand storms
• Member of the Elder Council
Celesti Airní
• Pronunciation: Ceh-lehst-ee Air-knee
• Means: she who guards to gate to the heavens
• First Chancellor in the series
Baru Solri
• Pronunciation: Bar-oo Sohl-ree
• Means: he who is surrounded with love
• Second Chancellor in the series
Nemr:
• Konanca’s Harcano friend
• Knows where the Fourth Text is
• Lives in Sjae, helping the Harcano Protectors
Kie (betrays the Alinko to Kwantis on Harca…he’s later executed for treason):
• Pronunciation: Key-ee
• Means: he who lives a nervous life
• Transformation: Tasmanian devil
Sleva:
• Pronunciation: Sla-vah
• Means: she who picks beautiful flowers in the fields
• Transformation: ibis
Kila (escaped from Kwantis’s Tujranae base with information about Konanca):
• Pronunciation: Key-lah
• Means: she who brings the truth
• Transformation: okapi
Jeioka:
• Pronunciation: Gee-oh-ka
• Means: she who brings the life-giving water
• Amru’s granddaughter
Mira:
• Pronunciation: Mere-ah
• Means: she who mirrors others’ feelings
• Ràkuni shira (holy woman)
Soru:
• Pronunciation: Soar-oo
• Means: he who soars above the sky
• Apprentice shiruk (Luri’s)
Raà (Tujranae Alinko leader):
• Pronunciation: Rah-ah
• Means: he who kindles the fires
• Transformation: peregrine falcon
Sonlaca (Konanca’s former mentor):
• Pronunciation: Sohn-lah-cah
• Means: she who is made of the sun’s light
• Transformation: pinto
Hakchi:
• Pronunciation: Hahk-chee
• Means: he who treads a new path
• Transformation: vampire bat
Hulir:
• Konanca’s Tujranae friend
• Works as a fruit harvester on a volcano (found the Fifth Text)
• Lives in Acro with his girlfriend
Ovira (Hulir’s sister):
• Tujranae who lives in Acro
• Helps the Protectors like her brother
Dr. Ako Fika:
• Pronunciation: Ah-co Fee-cah
• Means: he who heals
• Ràkuni doctor
Ori:
• Pronunciation: Oree
• Means: she who hears the morning’s glory
• Dr. Fika’s assistant
Noco:
• Pronunciation: Noh-coh
• Means: he who storms the strongholds
• Dr. Fika’s other assistant
Dr. Umka Salen:
• Pronunciation: Oom-kah Sa-lehn
• Means: she who brings salvation on angel wings
• Konanca’s regular doctor
Dr. Ziki Bamiir:
• Pronunciation: Zee-kee Bah-meer
• Means: she who hears the soft music
• Konanca’s other doctor
Dr. Bilu Croya:
• Pronunciation: Bye-loo Crow-yah
• Means: he who knows the plants’ secrets
• One of Silvaki’s doctors
Reoro (Kalia’s twin in Konanca’s Paradox):
• Pronunciation: Ray-or-oh
• Means: he who roars like a lion
• Transformation: lion
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