Harmony and Discord. Peace and Vengeance. Life and Death. Nature is nothing more but weighted scales becoming balanced and unbalanced over the seemingly endless flowing of time. In his life king Saltez; the Vampire King of the Kingdom of Genesis had done all in his power to keep peace between the five kingdoms which inhabitant the plains of the world. Creating a safe haven for all creatures alike, he prided himself in his wisdom gained over his extraordinary long life. However, balance cannot be kept and it seems as though the scales are about to be destroyed all together.
Throughout his long life, the King had produced no heir to the throne and with it; left the throne up to whoever might claim it firstly. Since time began, the Kingdom of Genesis has always been viewed as the most powerful ruler. Those who’ve sat on the throne have come from all walks of life and even though some kings have been nothing but ruins, others have brought wealth and more throughout the lands. So deciding the right heir is of the utmost importance.
Sending out messengers from, in his last winter, the king has decided to let the neighboring Kingdoms and cities send representatives to find out which among them would be worthy enough to sit upon the most powerful throne of all the Land and be crown king. However, with power, comes corruption and with no clear instructions as to who will take over, there is no telling who is scheming what and who might conspired against who..
Alliances will be made and friendships forge. Betrayal will be common and death is about to come and take many in this world. Afterall, what is true and what is not is a question left to decide up to the people; but one thing is certain. Only the Goddess Lea Knows what will befall the world.
[#9CA59B “This, this is madness! And I, I will not accept this! This is a farce of the cruelest kind!”] Forcing open the doors to the King’s private chambers, General Ivan paced quickly towards the bed of the ailing king. Those dark amber eyes looked upon the face of a man whom he’d loved for quite some time. For over a century the Vampire had been his Lord’s right hand man. Together they ended the War between the four noble Vampire house, establishes trade and peace throughout the Five nations and had brought Genesis to the pinnacle of its height in glory. And now, as Vampire King Saltez laid upon his bed so fragile, and weaken, the eyes of the general turned away. It pained him beyond words to see translucent veins pop through grey skin. What was once a strong and powerful man, now laid with sunken in eyes and brown matted hair which clung to his forehead.
[#9CA59B “I will not allow you to die this way. This sickness, this illness. Is no natural-”] [b “We’re not natural either..”] Straining for breath, the king shifted to slowly sit up. His chalice-normally filled with human blood-had been empty for many weeks now. Slowly, the king had been starving himself. This sickness which he suffered from wasn’t of the body but of the mind. Depression ate away at the Vampire king and his mental fortitude was failing. He’d grown weary of life. After three long centuries, he’d had nothing of worth or value left he felt like. [b “We, vampires, are cursed. And you would force me to carry on suffering? What have I done to you, that you would act so cruelly towards me?”] The king asked his general softly as he lifted a hand upwards towards him.
Falling to his knees, Ivan grabbed his hands and gasped out. [#9CA59B “An heir.. My Lord. Please, at least live long enough to provide us with an heir. I could be discreet. Buy a slave…. I’ll buy multiple slaves.. Slit their throats.. And force you to drink their blood till your health is back and you’re strong enough to live!”] [b “Ivan, I thought you loved me?”] The king spoke softly his eyes closing as he breathed slowly. Even now, to the vampire king, breathing hurts. Each breath felt like knives stabbing into his chest. Each second he laid upon his bed, the king felt death coming closer to him. Dying was-unexpectedly-thirsty work. He’d thought he had gotten used to a parched throat and the unending thirst which came with being damned to live for eternity. But in truth, it seemed as though he obviously hadn’t. [b “The heir must come from outside the influence of greed and corruption. Least war breaks out again.”]
[#9CA59B “PLEASE!”] Ivan screamed clutching the hands of the dying king. Breaking down he wept bitterly. [#9CA59B Nu părăsi lumea asta. Nu părăsi lumea asta. Stai puțin mai mult. Până să-l găsim pe noul nostru rege?”] Sobbing into the palm of his hand, Ivan looked down at the floor as tears of blood fell into the carpet. There was nothing left he could do or say but weep and beg his friend to stay just for a while. Just till a new king would be crown and to this the king agreed. [b “Go to the market and fetch me a slave. One who is healthy.”]
[center A week later]
[#F4D03F “King Saltez Bezna; back from the dead! We’ve feared you long gone from this world!”]
As the doors to the meeting hall opened widely, the vampire king walked through it standing tall. His skin had returned to its normal hue and his eyes were sharp and keen. The warrior within him could be seen somewhat, but it was clear that he had seen better days. As the council of Vampires and Humans gathered together, one of the humans nodded his head in appreciation of the king showing up alive. In truth, he’d never had any doubt that the stubborn bastard would meet his end. No, he’d heard that Vampires were long lived.
[#785434 “Ah; as I thought. It is very, very foolish to bet against one who defeated all four noble houses!”] Clause spoke as he clapped his hands welcoming the vampire king back into the chambers of his council men.
[#F2639D “Foolish? From what I heard the King has had one foot in the ground already. Bah! This old man needs to kneel over already and let a woman take charge.”] Giggling softly, the youngest vampiress on the council, Cecelia bared her fangs as she made that comment. Such a thing would’ve been met with execution had not Saltez out right banned public executions. During the reign of Felix the cruel, he’d had many people put to death. He loved seeing people burnt alive at the stake. Eventually when he was overthrown, they guillotined and cut off his eye-lids and placed him on his back so that he had to watch the blade fall upon his head.
[#33C356 “HOLD Fuckin’ tongue you insolence welp! A day we see a Bitch on the throne, is the day Lea herself descends from the sky!”] Yohann was a brash Mermaid who had been born into slavery but had escaped from his cruel master. Due to his wittiness and wisdom, the king had invited him to his court. Yohann was afraid of nothing and spoke what was on his mind whenever he desired.
[#F58E21 “Are the children done being children? We must discuss the matter at hand, yes?”] Speaking up, softly was Sasuke. He was the only Kitsune and a foreigner on the kings council. Yet he was quite the fair judge and ruler and always was the one to bring all back to task.
[#9CA59B “Indeed, it’s time we listen to what our King has to say.”] General Ivan spoke as he lifted his hands and every fell silent. Ivan was not only Saltez’s lover, but closest friend and greatest ally. He was a war veteran and a season killer. He was only a decade younger than his counterpart but he still carried on as if he were the older of the couple.
So as the king sat down upon his throne, he reached for his chalice. Once more he was drinking human blood mixed with wine. It calmed his nerves and help him deal with the curse of living despite him wanting it to be done and over with. [b “I am dying.”] The king spoke. His illness slowly was becoming more and more physical. At first it was a diagnosis of mental fatigue but after being examined earlier in the day the prognosis was different. It was an illness which had never been seen and it was eating away from him from the inside out. By winter’s end he would be gone and nothing could stop it.
[b “Winter will be here in nine months. Therefore, I charge you all, to invite the foreign nations to come forth and send their wisest and most trust-worthy candidate. For among them we will select a new king! Let us examine them and see which is worthy of leading the new generation as I have done so!”]
As the vampire king spoke his decree all the other councilmen and women looked at him with deadly seriousness. Once the King had issued an order there was no such thing as recanting or taking it back. At once the messenger birds were called and letters were sent out. Hawks flew from one end of the corner to the next the word of the search for a new King or Queen to sit upon the throne of Genesis began to spread like wildfire.
Genesis, through the power of Saltez, had undoubtedly become the most powerful kingdom of the Five. The Goddess Lea shone her light brightly upon the wisdom of the king. And despite him being a staunch atheist, and not believing in any Gods or mythos, a part of him was slowly beginning to pray to Bostos the God of Death. If there was truly a God which judged the souls of the damn then Saltez prayed-mockingly admittedly-that his afterlife would be as pleasant as his life had been.
Q’s mind was clouded over with an unassuming mist. It consumed all thoughts and numbed all feeling. It felt like floating in a void empty of significance. Neither past nor present could touch her here and the future mattered not. Even her own existence was questionable at this point. There was only the mist. It was almost blissful to be engulfed by it. But, as with all good things, it could not last. And for that reason, it was even more difficult to have to endure it at all.
As the haze began to slowly ebb and fade away, reality once again presented itself to her. Her brain’s synapses began firing off slowly at first but picking up more speed as the mist cleared. Thought returned followed by feeling. And she felt cold. Bare. Vulnerable. She desperately wanted to cling to the residual dregs of the drug in her veins, terrified of what she’d have to face in its absence, but its hold on her had already slackened significantly. Q opened her eyes.
The young woman lay on a cool metal table. A thin paper sheet was the only thing separating her naked figure from the surface, but still the chill seeped through and sent goosebumps raising across her skin. There was a similar sheet also resting on top of her as some kind of shameful excuse for a blanket. It barely provided coverage, let alone warmth. The room she was in was spacious, sparce, and blindingly white. This was a sign of great wealth and prosperity in Fumer. With technological advancements abound in the city, there was often mechanical clutter everywhere as well as a dirty brown tinge to all things due to factory smog. Anyone that could manage to maintain a space without either of those things was someone of means. While most would delight in waking up in such a luxurious environment, Q’s heart sank. She was well familiar with this room. But it was not the one she fell asleep in the night prior. This was cause for concern.
She moved her left hand to her forehead to shield her eyes from the florescent lights, but quickly jerked it away and sat bolt upright, her paper sheet falling to the floor. As if sensing her sudden movement, the doors on the opposite end of the room swung open and a middle-aged bespeckled man strode in looking pleased. But the young woman did not think to cover herself up again. He had seen it all before, after all. [#D2691E “Aha! You’re up – wonderful!”] Jed reached the table where Q sat and stared at her admiringly. No, not at [i her.] At his newest invention. As a cyborg, Q was outfitted with motorized robotic attachments on her right arm and from both of her knees down. At least, that’s how she last remembered it. But now… [#D2691E “You were out much longer than expected. I was afraid you might not get back up this time.”] How casually he spoke of her demise. [#D2691E “Looks like it’s taken well, though. Let’s run a motor function test. Fingers first if you please, Q.”]
Aversion had been mounting in Q ever since she woke up in the operation room. Now, it finally came to a head as her gaze slowly lowered to her left hand. Where there had once been flesh and blood and muscle and bone there was now heavy, complicated machinery made up of cogs and screws and gears. It wasn’t just the hand either. Rather, her entire left arm had been replaced with the technological limb. Disgust, anger, and sadness bubbled up within the cyborg, but her face remained coolly impassive as she lifted her new hand high enough for Jed to see. Slowly, mechanically, she touched her thumb to each of her fingers. They each connected with a soft [i clink!] Although her brain could communicate well enough with the appendage to move it, there was no feeling associated with it. No give. No softness. No warmth. None of the experience of a normal arm.
[#00CED1 “You said nothing of this,”] Q stated in a monotone whisper as she moved through the rest of the motor function test. [#D2691E “I know!”] Jed exclaimed excitedly. [#D2691E “It came as a surprise to me as well. I wasn’t anticipating being done with this one for the next couple of weeks. But when I put the final touches on this a few days ago I thought, well, I need to implement it immediately!”] [#00CED1 “A few days? I thought you must have drugged me just last night. How long have I been in operation?”] [#D2691E “Four, five max.”] The man shrugged, clearly not interested in why the cyborg might take issue with this. [#D2691E “Well worth it though! See here: it’s one full extremity. Instead of positioning an arm in pieces as I did with your right one, people can now simply install it as one fully functioning piece! This is sure to be revolutionary.”] [#00CED1 “You said nothing of this,”] she repeated softer still, but Jed disregarded her. As she finished with her final dexterity tests, he grabbed a nearby clipboard and scribbled something down illegibly. He began to mumble to himself about readjusting calibrations but remained ecstatic overall. As he turned on his heel and strode toward the door again, he called over his shoulder, [#D2691E “Dress yourself. Shop’s opening soon!”]
[right [pic https://i.ibb.co/2dQW9m5/image0-9.jpg]] Jed left Q to get dressed in the operating room while he in turn walked with a renewed pep in his step across a long open hallway with windows overlooking the vast bustling city. He couldn’t help but smile to himself. Yet another success! And who was surprised? Jed was by no means a cocky man, but he did take great pride in his own work and determination. The path to this new breakthrough was nothing short of complicated and had been fraught with obstacles left and right. To develop a fully functioning arm as a single operational limb was, up until this point, unheard of – but now! This innovation would change the game for aspiring cyborgs and inventors alike. No more hours of toiling to connect cables and puzzle pieces together. A single (albeit tricky) application was all it took. Of course, this development was still in its early stages, but he was keen to get to work on refining the appliance before distributing it on a larger scale. That was, after all, always the end goal. Not to sell his coveted parts to make money, but rather do so to help his fellow man climb higher by way of knowledge and creation. Creation much like that of the goddess Lae who crafted the universe.
As the man descended a winding staircase onto the ground floor of his shop, however, he felt much less kindred spirit toward his fellow man once he saw that several already entered the establishment before its opening. Giddiness was replaced with irritation at the intrusion. How had they even gotten in? [#D2691E “Hello there, excuse me,”] he called as he walked toward the small group. [#D2691E “We’ve not yet opened. I’ll ask you to please wait outside while we ready the shop.”] Four heads turned in unison toward him. Jed recognized them at once as the other members of the Council of Elders. A council on which he sat. His heart sank. He cleared his throat. [#D2691E “Oh, gentlemen! And lady.”] He sent an acknowledging nod to the single female in the governing body. [#D2691E “I was not expecting you. My apologies. Have… have I missed another meeting?”]
Although Jed held a seat on the council for the last seven years, he had an unfortunate habit of wanting nothing to do with it. He missed meetings, rarely contributed ideas, and was terribly indecisive when tie-breaking votes on important matters usually fell onto his shoulders. At Brewer’s Bots & Borgs, his self-owned shop, business was always booming. It took up far too much of his time and attention for him to focus on the majority of political matters. Yet given his resounding success in the business and his knack for creating the best new designs in Fumer, he was constantly reelected to join its ranks.
[#8A2BE2 “Not this time, Brewer.”] Adella’s tone was reproachful, but the corners of her lips pulled up in a small knowing smile. The mermaid was the oldest one on the council and in the winter of her lifetime, but at sixty-three years old she remained ever beautiful. She had delicate pale skin with long waves of shimmering inky black hair that now had streaks of white in her older age. [#8A2BE2 “We have come to visit because we’ve received news.”] Jed’s eyes widened. [#D2691E “Already? That’s – that’s impossible. I’ve only just finished it!”] Four sets of eyebrows raised in interest. [#FFFF00 “Finished what?”] Gideon, the youngest and newest addition to the council, asked. [#D2691E “Wait, so you don’t know? I thought that’s why you’ve – oh, well, here she is now!”] Jed motioned to Q who had just stepped off the last of the stairs. He beckoned her over to the group and she obeyed. He took her newly fashioned arm in both of his hands and lifted it for the council to get a good look. [#D2691E “This, my friends, is –”] [#006400 “Another robotic arm?”] Cyrus, a cyborg, jeered. Jed always got the sense that the man never really liked him. He was likely part of a minority population in the city that thought that Jed’s success was vastly overrated. The inventor figured that this was a fair stance for him to take though. Whereas Jed slid into the council’s ranks based on merit alone, Cyrus had to campaign viciously to gain his seat. Jed’s lack of commitment to the council probably didn’t help his case either. [#006400 “Ain’t exactly groundbreaking stuff.”] With a laugh he held up his mechanical arm of his own creation. Jed laughed as well, but countered, [#D2691E “You’re right, you’re right. The arm itself is hardly impressive, but tell me, Cyrus how many parts did yours take to assemble? Eleven or twelve?”] [#006400 “Nine,”] he boasted, puffing out his chest. Jed nodded. [#D2691E “Single digits! That [i is] impressive. But this…”] He paused and tapped Q’s arm twice for added effect. [#D2691E “Is only one.”]
The reaction was immediate. Cyrus’s proud face fell. Adella broke into a wide grin. Gideon gasped and clapped a hand to his open mouth. Ishmael, the other member of the council and a mute, slapped Jed congratulatorily on the back. Then, as if moving as a singular organism, all four of them crowded in around Q to examine the limb more closely. The young woman tensed as the elders poked and prodded at her, but she had grown up accustomed to this kind of treatment. She was, after all, the crown jewel of one of the most acclaimed inventors in the city.
Ishmael was the first one to take a step back from the throng of excited interest. The dark-skinned male signed something that made Gideon nod and Cyrus scoff. Jed, who was unaccustomed to being around Ishmael and his way of communicating looked confusedly at them all. [#D2691E “Sorry, what did he – ”] [#8A2BE2 “He said this is why you would make an excellent candidate.”] [#D2691E “Candidate? Candidate for what?”] [#8A2BE2 “Oh, yes!”] Adella gave a tinkling laugh. [#8A2BE2 “You see? Your distracted mind is contagious here. We did not come because we received news about your newest invention, Brewer. Though kudos to you! Impressive work. No, no. A hawk came this morning. A hawk from Genesis.”] [#D2691E “Another shipment order for King Saltez?”] Again, Cyrus scoffed. [#006400 “He won’t be needin’ any shipments for a while.”] Gideon looked personally affronted by this bold bluntness. [#FFFF00 “Hold your tongue! It is disrespectful to speak of the ill like that. Especially the king.”] [#00CED1 “The king is ill?”] Everyone turned to look at Q again. They had apparently forgotten she was there, her arm still outstretched. [#8A2BE2 “Deathly so, I’m afraid. They say he will not last the coming winter. But there was more. As the king has no heirs, he is asking that each nation provide its wisest and most trust-worthy among them to present as new candidates for king.”] This news slowly settled on Jed. [#D2691E “And… and you think the best candidate is [i me?”]] he asked incredulously. [#006400 “I told y’all he wouldn’t want the gig. I’ll go.”] Cyrus elbowed Jed out of the way none too gently and puffed out his chest in front of Adella. [#D2691E “No, yeah, that’s fine by me,”] the man said hurriedly, rubbing the spot on his chest where Cyrus struck him. [#D2691E “Have Cyrus represent the city. I’ve no desire for a position like that. For Lae’s sake, Adella, you know I barely have a grasp on this position as it is!”]
That knowing smile reappeared across the mermaid’s lips. She waved Cyrus out of her way and he begrudgingly obliged. Adella stepped toward Jed and pulled him away from the others. Q followed unnoticed by either of them. When they were a good enough distance away, she faced him and placed a hand gently on his shoulder. She nearly had to stand on her tiptoes to do it, so Jed bent down lower to her level. [#8A2BE2 “It must be you. That kind of power is best wielded by one who wants nothing to do with it. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. However, should the throne pass to you, you’ll not only have experienced advisors, but also the good sense to actually listen to them. You’ve a brilliant mind, Brewer, you always have.”] She patted his cheek affectionately. [#8A2BE2 “I’m getting too old to even make the journey. Gideon is young yet with lots more to learn. Ishmael’s muteness will be seen as a disability, a weakness. And Cyrus, well, you know how he can be; he thinks he is owed something, and I fear nothing good will come of it.”] [#00CED1 “She’s right. You should go.”] The two jumped at the sound of the cyborg’s voice hovering so close by. Rather than reprimanding her for eavesdropping, however, Jed simply considered Q for a moment. Since he’d practically raised the girl, he always trusted her to give him facts straight with little to no emotion clouding her reasoning. Logic. Truth. Certainty. These things he could depend on. [#D2691E “Do you really think so?”] Q nodded. He hesitated a moment. [#D2691E “And you’ll come with me?”] She nodded again. With a trepidatious smile, Jed turned back to Adella. [#D2691E “Then I’ll go. And Lae willing, I will make you and our city proud.”] The mermaid beamed as Jed straightened. [#D2691E “Q, ready our bags and the ship. We’ve a long journey ahead of us.”]
[font "Times New Roman" [b "You're too slow, you half-assed meat sacks!"] Atalune cheered as she ran behind the several new slaves she had just freed about thirty minutes ago. She had snuck in through a new issue in their security change, all because one guard couldn't keep his pants up. She definitely owed Nerissa a nice dinner for that one. The thought still made her laugh! Ever since she had learned of the slave trades, and the stories of how her Aunt Moora had been taken into them, she vowed that she would travel to Yama to free as many slaves as she could and try to bring down the slave trade, even if it cost her life to do so. And that was just what she did.
It had been six years since she had told her parents of her intentions, the large fight where her family feared for her safety, as well as chided her for not choosing a mate and settling down to have pups. Sure she wanted to, one day. But how could she do so while so many needed help that no one else would give? It took some arguing, and a lot of tears, but her family finally gave in. She then packed up what she could and took off for Yama. That was when she felt her life had been given the most meaning. She wondered if she made Raynor proud with her choices in life. Or would he think her a mere wily kit of a kitsune in her escapades? One thing about her though, that only her family and village knows of, is that she was gifted from Raynor. She was given the power of lightening. But no one in Yama knew this and she was banking on it to be her last big hooprah to free the last of the slaves when she reached that point.
Now she was running with the latest event. Five new slaves freed from this place, and once again, Yama's finest couldn't figure her plans or how to stop her. They were quick to learn from her last tries and make up for those problems, but they would then slack off in other areas. These guys were just terrible. Maybe she needed to try and start kicking into the military services instead once the slaves were free. She was going to prove that power didn't always make one in charge, though it had come with hard lessons as well. She promised herself that she would never find a mate until this was done, though that had not been the idea from the get go.
She'd been torturing Yama's defenses for over two years freeing slaves. She ended up falling in love with one of the men she had freed. A human named Aaron. He had always been in a cell she could never quite reach on time, until one day she had finally freed him with the others of that night. He'd even helped her on several runs to go back and free more, but the joy and love was not to last nor be believed. For Aaron had ruined her biggest chance to free the rest of the slaves that had been held that night. Instead, they'd lain a trap since Aaron had give them her plans. With this she was taken to stand before the council.
[b [i "You've become quite the pest. You realize that we could easily have you ended for what you do.... but.... instead..... we have a proposition for you...."]] They had claimed. And that was how Atalune had spent the last three years. Doing just as she was to free the slaves, and giving pointers to clean up where they were slacking. And each time she managed to free more than ten slaves a week, the council would set free another ten. If she failed to save more than five a week, then the ones she tried to save were sold off. She knew it was an incentive to try and keep her under thumb. But she was proving to be better than they thought. She'd only failed once to save more than five. She'd been trying to save a pregnant woman along with others, and the woman's water had broken on the run out.
That week she'd only managed to save three, the pregnant woman and her two (growing to three) children with her, were caught due to her labor. The woman and her children were sold within two days, when the woman should have been resting. She'd found the woman was being made to handle man's work while recovering, and her children were being abused. For the first time, Atalune had nearly come to killing a man. She wouldn't kill without a just reason and even then, it was as a last result. But she'd freed the mother and children, and sent them to her parent's farmlands with some money and a letter home. She'd then had some choice words for the council.
She could hear them chasing her as the last five of the week would run. She always ran behind them so if someone fell too far behind, she was there to care for them. [b "Come on! You would think you'd be better than this by now!"] she negged them on as they ran. Her long dark curls were in a single plaited braid, her ears perked up atop her head, the same color of midnight. She normally kept them in a hood, but those are hard to keep on when you run as fast as a kitsune did. [b "Come and have a go if you think you're fast enough!"] she sang out in laughter. Always giving the illusion that she was toying with them.
If someone came close enough, the fight was on, and she was quick. She may not have a man's strength, but she made up for it. Having several older brothers meant she knew how to hold her own, especially with larger builds and frames. [i 'Almost there!'] She thought as she seen the edge of the river. They only had to reach the edge, and the night was done. [b "Don't give up! You can do it!"] She cried out when she seen them starting to wane. [b "To the river's edge and freedom is all yours!"] Her word's seemed to help boost them as they continued the last several meters. Closer. Closer. She growled when a guard caught up to them, a vamp. He'd been annoyed with her since the first attempt to save slaves years ago. She'd made a fool of him, and he never forgave her for it. She narrowed her eyes and as they ran, she moved to a slide, to take out his legs. His reflexes being better than a human's he jumped to dodge her move, and she used that moment to grab his ankle, and cause him to roll. He would catch himself, but it would cost him several yards in distance.
Just. A. Little. More!
[b "FREEDOM!"] She cried as she and the last of the five slaves reached the ferry post there at the river's edge where the boat waited to take them anywhere they wanted to go, on the council's bill. Her lungs were burning, her legs aching, and her heart racing, but she didn't let a bit of it show to the guards as they all came stumbling to a halt and gasping for breath. Grumbling again at their loss to a five foot six Kitsune woman. She gathered them on the ferry and the man there waiting marked their names off a roster list to later turn in with paperwork that would catalogue those that were freed.
Some guards had come to like these challenges, some were becoming bitter and resentful as they could never catch the damnable woman. She could see the one guard who had follied, his uniform in disarray from trying to pull himself together after realizing his mistake. He was glaring daggers at her and she smirked before giving him a half smirk and a wink. She owed Nerissa a pricey dinner AND a full bottle of top shelf brandy. It was worth it. Her job in freeing the slaves was to pinpoint the weaknesses she found, and she was not going to hold back.
[b "Ms. Atalune, the council has called for your presence upon the conclusion of this week's trials...."] the ferryman said as he finished his count. She frowned to look towards him and then the guards.
[b "My monthly check in is not but another week...."] she said confused and seen that none of the guards were sure as to what was going on either. Without another word, she went back to her quarters to bathe and redress before heading to the large main conference room used for her monthly reports. She was the first to arrive, as was usual. The council had something of a need to make an entrance. Ata was lost in thoughts of her first time in this room when the double doors opened to allow the four council members into the room. One was a large man, Jareth, human and mostly silent. One was a Vampire, though Ata could never tell if they were male or female. Their slender face could be both feminine and masculine, and they wore their hair long. Instead of pants or skirts, they preferred unisex robes. This was Mika, usually seeming laid back and calm, but those silver eyes always seemed to hide the deadly predator that Ata - as a Kitsune - knew would lay beneath. Then there were the two mers. A Husband and Wife team, Marcus and Ceridwynn. They were what you would expect from a power couple. The marriage was a happy one, but still seemed more of a business deal than an arrangement of love.
[b "My report is still a week out, what's the meaning of this meeting this time? Jackal still pissed at me after all these years? Or is Graham pouting over tonight's failure on his shoulders?"] They settled into their appointed seats and looked to her in slight confusion, except Mika, they were looking to her with that soft smirking smile, almost toying at her, she thought.
[b "What happened tonight with Graham?"] Jareth demanded. Graham was human, one of his own men at that. Ata smirked realizing they hadn't been told.
[b "You'll have the first copy of my report.... now then.... why are we gathered here? I'd like to spend my night of victory in bed asleep...."] She moved to plop into a nearby chair and cross her legs.
[b "Ata, darling, we've been watching your progression all these years, and you've been proving yourself a hell of a force to reason with. No matter how we change tactics and strategies, the only time we were ever able to catch you was when you were sold out by one of your own....."] Mika started. Their voice was like a soft purr, and it gave her the creeps. She let no emotion but annoyance show on her features as she waited for them to continue. [b "You've been doing very well in your performances, and keeping up your end of the deal we made. These reasons, plus many more, are why we are here tonight. You will have two days to pack the things you will need before you will travel with an escort to Genesis."] they beamed happily.
Ata blinked and her frown deepened in confusion. [b "Genesis? Why the hell would I go there? My job and ambition is here.... You think you can sidetrack me with something else?"]
[b "Ata, dove, of course not.... but you've been chosen, so you must go."] Mika purred and never losing their smile though there was something off about it.
[b "Chosen....... for what?"]
[b "King Saltez is dying.... and as everyone knows, he has no heirs of blood to take his throne when he passes. So he has sent word to each nation to choose a candidate to go to Genesis and try their hand at becoming the next Royal. The nation of Yama..... has chosen you Atalune...."] Her eyes widened and she stared at each council member to see that they were not joking. They were serious. They wanted to send her to Genesis in the chances of earning the throne. Were they insane?! Why would anyone want a backwoods kitsune with an agenda on the throne??
[b "You all cannot stand me and what I do, because you keep failing at besting me.... why would you choose me to be on the throne? I'm trying to end your slave trading...."]
[b "Just think, Ata, Darling.... if you were to earn the throne and become Queen..... you could not only abolish slave trading indefinitely...... but there wouldn't be a nation one that would be able to penetrate the royal army. You could build the nations into a land of your own making....."] Mika purred earning looks from the others to shut up. She knew what they meant, and Ata wasn't one to simply starve for power. But Mika had a point. In that position, she could end slavery altogether. She could make it to where there were no more impoverished people and maybe help improve the peace of the nations that their current King had strived for. It was a hell of a stretch to think of, but then so was traveling to Yama to stop a trade that was traced back to the time of the Gods. The council was bickering in whispers amongst themselves as Ata thought this over. She then stood from her seat, earning silence from the Council as she stared them down.
The smell of the sea-salt breeze was always coming to the male. As was the feeling of being submerged in the coolness of the water on a hot summer’s day. In the Kingdom of Malum, it was always warm and the wind always carried with it the smell of the sea. Kicking his fin upwards, the merman propelled himself upwards to watch the coming of the ships which were closing in upon his harbor. A shipment from the other side of the world had just come in and it was to be transported to Genesis; by tomorrow’s end messengers from the King of the city would come to greet Armand and his people.
Till then, the male kept on swimming and laughing and playing with the sailors who were all jovial at the sight of their king leading them towards the docks. It was a rather beautiful midday and as the king jumped upon land-like magic, his fins disappeared and human legs touched down firmly upon the ground. [i “My robe.”] The king spoke as he waited for one of his servants to fetch it for him.
Situated on the Western shoreline, the whole entire Kingdom stretched for miles upon miles. The ocean flowed throughout the water-filled kingdom. So their streets were channels of water which was navigated by boats. Bridges built over the canals connected parts of the city. On the northern Clift, deep within the heart of the Kingdom was the Castle-made of stone-stood proud and overshadowing the entire city. Iron Gates with walls provided protection and doubled as an entrance into the southern region of the kingdom, while the western region was protected twenty-four seven by Malum’s Navy.
Here, on the coastal side, are numerous ports which welcome all the ships from several kingdoms. Due to this, a myriad of shops, inns and taverns lined the ports to welcome weary sailors and travellers. In his third year as king, Armand had fought to abolish the slavery in his Kingdom and after a long and arduous fight, Malum became the only Country to forbad slavery. In return, many prositutions and whore houses sprung. It was, what the king called, a compromised thought his wife called him a [i horny-minded dog.]
Regardless of said thing, his wife did admit that he’d done some good in abolishing the cruelty of the pratice of human trafficking. And-even though many called for his lynching in the beginning and threaten a civil war-most came to see the benefits of a slave free society. As the King dressed, he turned towards the captain of the ship who had brought the packages for Genesis that came from a continent far away. As the captain shook the hands of the king, the blonde hair maled smiled warmly. Saltez would surely appreciate that his package had been deliver carefully and safely.
Walking the decks the King let out a sigh. Maria, his daughter, had decided to study abroad and currently was in Fumer learning how to become a mechanic. She’d envision steam-power ships made of metal. No one, absolutely no one, believed that a metal ship would be able to float. Even with Bostos’ help, however, Maria was more than dedicated to making that a reality. And his other son, Erik, was like him when he was younger. He had no interested in assuming the Mantle of king and only wanted to swim the seas and diver deeper and deeper for buried treasured which had been lost to time.
In truth, Armad couldn’t say that he blamed his children. Ruling a kingdom was very, very busy work and the king felt envious of Fumer and Yama whom had elected officials. Still, as the king walked from the ships, towards the main canal which led out towards his castle he was content.
As evening came over the land the next day, the Mermaid stood in front of his castle waiting for the messengers of the King. Golden skies stretched as wide and as far as the eyes could see, and as the male shifted from one side to the other, he saw within the distance the messengers coming towards him. Even from the distance he knew that something was amiss. The air around them was thick with melancholy and there was a sense of dread which permeated the atmosphere. As soon as they reached them Armand asked them what had brought their spirits down so low and the messengers of the Vampire King looked at the Mermaid and asked for him to step inside his castle walls. For it wasn’t safe for prying ears to hear what they’d to say.
[i “Our beloved King Saltez is finally nearing the final hours of his life. It is with a heavy heart that we’ve come to announce that the king is dying.”]
Looking at the messengers, azure eyes studied the gravity of their look. However, to the surprise of the messengers, this was met by laughter. Throwing his head back, the jovial king laughed loudly before leaning forward and giving them a smirk which [i “So the King is dying? Why are you so melancholy for!? You act as though that old Gramps will die by the end of the year, He still has more than half a century left of life! Everyone knows that Vampires are long live!”]
Looking at the messengers of the King, he’d waited for them to join in with the laughter. Afterall, this wasn’t as severe as they were acting. But as his laughter was met with even more silence, it became painfully obvious that something truly was wrong here. [i Why do you not laugh with me? Surely the King won’t expire this winter.”] He spoke as he nodded his head.
As the messengers said nothing, Armand reached for his chair and sat down in it. His knees were weak and his hands trembled. Asking for a servant to bring him a glass of wine, he trembled as he took it before sipping it. King Saltez had no heir the messengers explained. Thus, they were looking for someone who would help take over the Kingdom of Genesis and keep the peace between the five kingdoms in check. Since Armand was well respected by all the other Kingdoms and rulers because he’d helped trade expand in the past 13 years since his coronation, he’d been ask to help the council with the selection process.
Everyone knew that Armand-though he’d gone great things-was a lazy sack of bones. Intelligent, wise, and patient, the king never wanted to be ruler in the first place. Yet, he did what was necessary in order to appease those who needed to be appeased.
[b “Please, King Armand, as a final favor to the Vampire king, travel with us. We will leave the day after tomorrow.”] Was all the messenger said before leaving the mermaid with his wife.
His wife was a human girl who Armand had saved from drowning by accident. It happen several years ago and he didn’t even know her name. His wife had been four years old and he was seven. Somehow his wife never forgot it was him and when she was 13 she asked to speak with the prince to confess her love for him. The next year, despite being 14 and 17 the couple got married and had been happily in love ever since.
She was his saving grace; the woman who knew him better than anyone around them. She also knew how close Armand had been with the King. The vampire King had visit them as soon as he heard that they’d been married. He was also there at the King’s birth and had frequently hoisted them at his own castle. And when he heard that Malum had aimed to end slavery, even though King Saltez wasn’t in favor of itm he still offered to send troops to make sure peace was had. Armand had written several letters to the King asking for advice and what to do in certain instances. And the old Vampire always had answers filled with wisdom and fatherly advice.
Sitting down beside his wife, azure eyes took in the human form of the woman he’d saved all those years ago. Indeed, she was a gift from the God of the Seas himself. Bostos smiled kindly down upon them and Armand knew this to be more than true. And so as the Queen wrapped her arms around the man and kissed his cheeks lovingly she assured him that things would be alright. That not everything was as bad as it seemed and encouraged him to go forth and fulfil his final duty to the king
Soft candlelight flickered over a pair of naked bodies, a man and a woman. They were engaged in a dance. A dance of passion, of arousal. Hot heavy breaths and gentle moans were the song to which they waltzed. A third – another man – lay bare, slumped on the same bed next to the couple. His sleep must have been deep, however, because he paid them no mind. Their bodies moved in perfect sync with one another. Rhythm and vigor melding together in harmony.
The woman, a concubine called Fatima, was pleasantly surprised. She had serviced many a man before and all of them had been high end customers. Lords, knights, treasurers, spymasters, and even once a high priest. When the Prince of Fuego called upon her services, she had logically assumed that he’d be the same as all the others. Demanding. Greedy. Lackluster. In her line of work she would always give more than she received. But that was the name of the game. People paid top dollar prices for a few moments of pleasure, and Fatima could always deliver on that. However, Zaheer Cortez was different. He could give pleasure just as well as he could take it. This was a man with experience. And to sweeten the deal he was very easy on the eyes.
As a vampire, Zaheer had an eerie beauty about him. It hid beneath the surface, a dangerous secret. He was not the tallest nor the strongest from outward appearances alone, but that did not erase the possession of his inhuman abilities. Heightened senses, impressive strength, and an almost hypnotic gaze peering out from shining green eyes. Despite his physical prowess, it was reassuring to see that the creature could still tire. Beads of sweat popped up along his tanned skin, and strands of his black jawline-length hair stuck to his angular face. But he did not stop. He did not slow. Fatima could tell he was intent on finishing her off completely. It was a nice change of pace.
The fact that he’d hired another man as well – someone whose name she’d already forgotten – was also unexpected. Although not unwelcome. Together the two men had both given her the kind of satisfaction that she’d not experienced in a long, long time. She was mildly amazed that she even found herself aroused by the way the two men had interacted earlier. Fatima had never seen the way one man could caress another with such tenderness and desire, but she liked it. While this entire encounter brought twists and turns galore, one thing at least remained constant: the customer liked to be in charge. Zaheer was a man of significant power and status in the kingdom. She could tell that he enjoyed wielding it. He had led the other man how he liked, and even now as he towered above her pining her wrists to the bed, he had total control. She enjoyed that too.
The two locked eyes, trapping one another in their stares. Fatima could feel herself escalating to the point of climax. Her moans grew steadily louder as her eyes rolled to the back of her head. Had she kept them trained on the prince, however, she would have been alerted to peril she was in. Green irises suddenly rimmed with red. As the concubine reached the edge, Zaheer reared his head back and sank his piercing fangs into her exposed throat. Both intense pain and pleasure mingled together for Fatima. Her body jerked upward and bucked wildly beneath Zaheer’s. She let out a gurgled moan before going limp as the vampire sucked the life out of her.
Blood. While there were many indulgences to live for in this life, that crimson liquid took the cake. The concubine’s was particularly tasty. She was a fit and healthy girl, so hers was all the sweeter. The familiar metallic taste mixed with the alcohol she had consumed hours earlier, and Zaheer wallowed in the taste of it. The fear she felt beforehand also gave it a nice kick. The man pulled back after he drained her dry and collapsed on the bed panting heavily. He stared at the ceiling. Though it was dimly lit, his keen eyes could make out every minute detail of the concrete. He lay there for a moment allowing his breathing to slow. An intrusive sensation began to sting his throat. Even though he’d just eaten, the hunger and the thirst were ever present. Always craving more. Zaheer had considered sparing the young woman. She’d been such a talented professional, after all. After already draining the man earlier, however, his constant craving had won out.
With a sigh, the prince pushed himself up into a seated position at the foot of the bed. He raked his fingers through his long hair, pushing the stray strands off his face. Zaheer cast a look at the two corpses on his bed. Clean up time. The man stood and walked to the floor to ceiling window that took up the entirety of the opposite wall. With a single flourish of the wrist, he drew back the blackout curtain. Sunshine streamed into the room. He basked in the light momentarily. Most of the palace of Fuego was outfitted with such curtains in order to keep out the blazing sun during the day. It was about mid afternoon now, the hottest hour. Zaheer looked out across the empire.
The desert where they were situated was massive, but the kingdom itself took up a great deal of land all the same. Although the sand was flat, turrets and towers rose in domed peaks all over. They tickled the tops of clouds. People milled about far below. They dressed covered from head to toe in thick garbs of fabric. This was to protect the skin from both the sand and the sun. The layers did not slow them, though. If anything, the people were more energized than ever. It was an average day in Fuego but passing travelers who’d never been to the kingdom might have assumed it was a holiday. Strangers danced in the street. Music swelled throughout the land. Pubs were packed to the brim. All over there was laughter and merriment abound.
A smile curved the prince’s lips as he watched the unstoppable pulse of partying. He was eager to join in. Zaheer clothed himself in a loose white tunic and a pair of baggy black trousers before making his way back to the bed. With a grunt he hoisted both the human man and woman over either of his shoulders. He carried them to a large fireplace in the room. Although the days were burning hot, the nights were freezing cold. Tossing them unceremoniously into the furnace, Zaheer stood back with his palms outstretched. Magic both ancient and powerful grew from the pit of his belly. It seared up his torso, through the length of his arms, and manifested in a burst of bright hot fire. The flames licked and ate at the bodies just as hungrily as the vampire had. The putrid smell of their burning filled the room. Zaheer decided it was time to take his leave.
Past the scent of cooking flesh came another fragrance. One of wild desert flowers and, remarkably, rain. As Zaheer stepped out of the room he saw its source: Ai’love. He thought it was incredibly silly that a human girl was tasked with his protection. Humans, the weakest of all the species, were frail. As proved by how easily his own fangs had just taken the lives of two. Yet the power of her blood magic could not be ignored. It was formidable to say the least. Even to a vampire. But for the love of Eura how he wished she didn’t hover so much! Still, he flashed her a cordial smile. Zaheer closed the distance between them and tilted her chin up between his thumb and forefinger. He gave her a small peck on the lips. A customary greeting in Fuego. Some blood stained her mouth from the residual drops on his. He thumbed it off for her before licking it back up. The stinging in his throat ebbed, but did not vanish.
[#8B0000 “Hope I didn’t keep you waiting to long.”] His voice a low and silky. An inviting purr. [#8B0000 “You know, you could find your own company to keep while I have mine. You’re pretty enough,”] he teased while a singular finger reached out to stroke her cheekbone. [#8B0000 “I’m sure anyone would be grateful to share your bed. You could have your pick.”] There was no shortage of gorgeous people in Fuego. The temperature burned hot here, but the subjects were hotter. And being on the royal council had its perks. Truly, the young human could take anyone she liked. Some part of Zaheer hoped she’d take him up on the suggestion, but he knew it was in vain. Ai’love was ever dedicated to his survival. Which, unfortunately, included waiting outside of his bedchamber while he occupied it with concubines. [#8B0000 “C’mon. I’m headed down to the streets. Perhaps we can find some sweet thing for you too.”]
The prince swept past her along the darkened hallways of the palace. The blackout curtains wholly rejected the sun, but there were candles along the corridors to light the way. As the two walked, they passed by the throne room. It was largely a grand stage for important ceremonies or meetings more than anything else. The king and queen, Zaheer’s mother and father, oftentimes mingled among the commoners or were elsewhere in the palace to conduct their royal duties. That was why it was so strange to hear their voices coming from within the room. Zaheer paused. He shared a quizzical look with Ai’love before pressing his ear to the large closed ornate doors.
[#4169E1 “…if he is incapable of holding the throne here, what makes you think he’ll fare any better in Genesis?”] King Abram was saying. [#EE82EE “We don’t know that he is incapable. He’s yet to sit on it.”] [#4169E1 “And for good reason, Badia! You know just as well as I do why we cannot pass our power over to him. Need I remind you that we [i both] agreed to that.”] [#EE82EE “I know, I know… but, my love, perhaps this could be his opportunity to prove himself. He may learn something of decorum, of responsibility while there.”] [#4169E1 “The highest seat of power is not meant to be a test to overcome! This is serious. Whoever proves themselves will sit on the throne and rule over all five nations. Even if he were to somehow miraculously succeed – which he wouldn’t – he has no knowledge of how to run things as king. It’d be a waste of precious time and resources to send the boy. Added to that, he’d be representing the whole of our Empire while in Genesis. Is that the sort of impression you’d like the other nations to judge us by?”] There was a pause. Then a quiet, [#EE82EE “No.”] Another pause. [#EE82EE “But who should we send then? Surely, you are not thinking of going?”] [#4169E1 “No…no, my place is here. Still trying to turn that [i boy,]”] he spat the word out with vitriol. [#4169E1 “Into a man.”] [#EE82EE “Then who?”] The king remained silent for a long stretch of time, deep in considerate thought. [#4169E1 “We will send Matias.”]
Zaheer jerked his back from the door as if he’d been smacked with it. He’d heard more than enough. Suppressed rage lined his features. It was perhaps the one thing that could make the ethereal being look ugly. It was no secret that the prince’s parents were loath to seat him on the throne; he knew it to be true when they denied to him as he came of age at one hundred twenty years old. And for every year since they continued to refuse it. They said it was because he was too brash, too reckless. But what was the crime in wanting to savor the many years of life that the vampire race was granted? King Abram and Queen Badia would rather their son wallow in self-pity for his [i unfortunate affliction.] They too were vampires, but they, like some others hoped to repent the life they’d been given. The life they’d been cursed. It was a heinous act which brought Zaheer’s kind into being, one which was beyond forgiveness. However, the man saw no sense in punishing himself for his own existence. Thirst was everlasting, yes, but pleasure could be as well. Was this any reason to deny the man his birthright?
And now this. It felt like an act of the utmost betrayal. Not only were they denying him a chance at yet another throne, but they were relinquishing the opportunity to fucking [i Matias.] Matias was a good man, one that Zaheer even liked. He was a nobleman who looked after Fuego’s armies. But he was dreadfully boring. Matias was the type who always played by the rules and never stepped a single toe out of line. He was everything that Zaheer’s parents had hoped to see in their own son. The nobleman was Kitsune, but had he been born vampire with the last name of Cortez rather than Toribio, he’d have already ruled Fuego by now. Sending him to Genesis over the crown Prince of Fuego was the final nail in the coffin; the king and queen truly wished that he’d been born their son rather than the one they had. While Zaheer and his parents had never exactly seen eye to eye, he’d didn’t think them capable of something like this. It hurt him in a way he never could have anticipated.
As the doors to the throne room began to creak open, Zaheer quickly shoved Ai’love into the shadows of the corridor. He pressed a finger to her lips signaling her to keep quiet. Peeking his head around the corner, he could see the king and queen parting ways. The queen held a letter in her hand. Green eyes narrowed and he turned to face Ai’love. [#8B0000 “Change of plans. We’re leaving tonight. Send word to the stableboys to prepare the horses and pack your things.”] While he very much wanted to go at this alone, he knew he couldn’t leave Ai’love here. She’d either say something or try to follow him anyways. Best to get the jump on her now. When she opened her mouth to speak, he again pressed a finger to her lips. [#8B0000 “You are [i my] protector, yes? You serve me. Not this land, nor the king and queen. Me. Do as I say.”] With that he left her to tail after his mother.
Queen Badia, and by extension Zaheer, found Matias in the armory of the palace taking stock of the weapons they had on hand. The two exchanged a few words in hushed whispers while the prince waited just outside. Once his mother exited, he entered. Matias looked briefly surprised to see the vampire, but he smiled all the same. He stepped forward to peck the royal on the lips, but Zaheer extended his arm, effectively stopping him in his tracks. Matias looked amusedly baffled. [#008080 “Ha, something wrong, brother?”] [#8B0000 “Don’t call me that.”] Zaheer didn’t raise his voice, but there was a resonance to it that clearly signaled warning. The kitsune’s tawny ears flattened slightly. This tone was foreign to them [#008080 “Of…of course, Your Majesty.”] Matias spoke stiffly now, dropping the familiarity. [#008080 “How may I help you?”] [#8B0000 “Have you seen my mother recently?”] [#008080 “Yes. You’ve just missed her. I believe she went –”] [#8B0000 “I didn’t ask where she’s gone. What did she discuss with you?”] [#008080 “Nothing of importance, sir. Just some new ideas regarding training for your armies.”] So. He was on their side, it seemed. Clearly his parents instructed Matias to keep Zaheer out of the loop. [#8B0000 “Ah. I see.”] The vampire laughed coldly, flashing his fangs. [#8B0000 “That’s funny. Here I thought she was talking to you about travelling to Genesis by invitation of the king to try for the throne.”] Matias tensed. [#8B0000 “Spewing falsehoods to your prince, Matias? Tsk, tsk.”] [#008080 “Please, sir. The queen ordered me not to say anything.”] Zaheer nodded. [#8B0000 “I understand. Lucky for you, making amends is simple enough. I’ll have that invitation.”] Reluctantly, Matias reached in a pocket on his chest and withdrew the letter the queen had been holding. Zaheer opened it slowly, skimming the words. [#8B0000 “When did she instruct you to leave?”] [#008080 “Tomorrow, Your Majesty.”] [#8B0000 “And so you shall. But not to Genesis. I’ll be going there in your place. You, on the other hand, will travel to, well, [i wherever.] I don’t care. But don’t you dare come back here until you receive word from me to do so. Am I understood?”] It needed to be believed that Matias went to Genesis. No one would truly question Zaheer's absence with much concern. He was known for disappearing on benders from time to time. Most people were assured he'd turn up in some whorehouse or another eventually again. Matias hesitated. [#008080 “Sir…do you think that’s wise? The king and queen wanted [i me] to –”] Matias was sent sprawling to his knees as the prince backhanded him with impossible force. Before the man had a chance to get up, Zaheer had his hand clenched tightly around his throat. He could feel the man’s blood pulsing quickly against his fingertips. He desperately wanted to tear the kitsune apart limb from limb. Not even to sate thirst, but for the pure pleasure of it. Try and see his parents idolize their golden boy when all that was left were shredded pieces. But unfortunately, it’d be too difficult to go to Genesis [i and] try to cover up a murder of a nobleman. Instead, Zaheer settled for growling once again, [#8B0000 “Am. I. Understood?”] The man nodded vigorously. His crushed windpipe made it impossible to form words. Zaheer released him and left him coughing on the armory floor.
With the letter clenched tightly in his fist, the vampire made his way to Ai’love’s room. He entered without knocking and flung the piece of paper at her. [#8B0000 “It’s an invitation from the king,”] he explained before she could speak. [#8B0000 “He’s dying and seeking an heir. I intend for that to be me. Tonight we ride for Genesis.”]
[b “The Prince is a fool to not use you for what you were intended for!”] Hernandez, the captain of the royal guard, stood before the girl as he leered over her body with a lecherous grin. The human was a skilled blood-magic user and had been the protector of the royal clan for nearly three decades since he was a teenager. Oftentimes, since Ai’love first came to the land of Fuego, he’d watch the way she’d walked and run and laughed and sing. It was no secret that she’d been bought for only one purpose. And Hernandez had often times groped the young girl and reminded her that if the Prince didn’t take her first time soon than he would find himself up for doing the task. That promise was now put to the test, as the captain push the girl onto her back.
The normal dainty and light-heartedness which the young girl was known for was gone. In its-stead were cruel and cold eyes. As rough hands stroke her cheek and moved to her dress, the sound of fabric ripping filled the ears of both of the pair as the captain looked at the girl with burning desire and lust. [b “Look at me.. Child! I said look at me!”] He growled as his hands seized her chin and he forced her to look upon him with a darken growl and an evil look.
[i “My Heart, body, and soul belongs to Prince Zaheer. As soon as he hears of what you’ve done, you’re a dead man.”] Her voice came out calm and collected and to that, the captain sneered. Pulling her thighs up around his waist the male leaned forward before he purred out. [b “Zaheer? The man who kills whores by a handful after draining them dry? Do you honestly think that he’ll care for a little pup like you? Silly girl, you won’t utter a word about this.. Or I’ll kill you myself understand?”]
Of course she understood his threats, but as something hot stirred within her, her demeanor continued to change. It couldn’t be described what was happening to her, only that she suddenly felt a blood lust. A carnal desire to rip apart her-would be rapist. Without warning, she bit her lip and as that blood came pooling into her mouth, she spat it out and instantly that blood came firing out towards the man’s skull. It was as if it were a miniature bullet, it gore and brain matter splatter all over the young girl and as she pushed his corpse off of him she stood up.
Heading towards the table, she reached for the knife which was there, and she slowly slit her wrist. As she did so, the blood which flowed out began to transform and take the shape of the very knife which she held. Turning towards the corpse she hummed as she began to dismember and carve up the captain. Her mind blank and her eyes and hands focused on the task.
[i “Zaheer!”] Skipping down the hall, Ai’love hummed as she dance with Hernandez's severed head in her hands. Each skip was jovial and filled with laughter as she came into her Master’s room unannounced. [i “My first kill! Zaheer Look! My first kill! He tried to force himself on me and as a defense mechanism my blood turned into a weapon~ Look!”] Holding up her slit wrist, the girl smiled as she once more transformed the dried blood into a weapon her. Laughing and dancing with the severed head she purred out. [i “Now I can kill just like you Zaheer!”]
[b [center present day] ]
Fingers played with dread hair as the young woman stood outside of her Master’s chambers. It seemed as though the moaning had stopped and already her Prince’s lustful desires had been fulfilled. Pouting the girl felt a twinge of jealousy. She’d grown into a slender beauty with curves in all the right places, and still Zaheer thought that she’d wouldn’t happily welcome him to spread her legs and use her just for once for his own pleasures. Of course, Ai’love had plenty of lovers which came to her room and when she wasn’t on guard duty-a rare event- she’d enjoy three or four lovers at a time. Such was the spirit of Fuego where the people were hot and the desires and wants burned hotter.
As her Master came out and teased her she grinned looking at him and practically melting when he caressed her cheek with his fingers. [i “You know I love hearing them moan your name whilst your enjoying yourself~. It hot. And you already know~ I have lovers that I take to bed. But it’s so hard to find men who enjoy an -----] She whined out before she turned upon her heels and followed him out towards wherever he was going.
Zaheer was the only person who truly knew about her other personality which came out at random times. Zelda… That was what Zaheer had nick-named that personality which killed without mercy or hesitation. Despite her being a mere human, Zelda was faster then any Vampire and moved with a deadlier precision when it came to scoring the kill. At first it took Ai’love time to come to terms with her alternate personality, but once she’d grown use to it she accepted it and loved it all the more.
Lost in thought, once more, she was nearly surprised when she heard Zaheer told her that their planes where changing. Looking up at him, she was about to question him, but his hand to her mouth and his words knew that this was something urgent. Just the other day, she heard whispers that the king was dying. But she’d thought that to be just mere poppycock. As he ordered her to go to the stable she did so.
Skipping towards the stable she hummed to herself. Since it seemed like they were probably going to be leaving the kingdom for a long, long time, this would probably be the last time she’d had a chance to enjoy a fun twist. With the stable boys. As she knocked upon the entrance, eyes turned upon as the saw the jovial girl coming towards them. [#804B0F “Ai’love? What brings you here?”] One of them ask as she came dancing towards him.
[i “Oh, me and the Prince Zaheer are going on a journey tonight. It’s probably going to be a long one so make sure you give us the fastest horses and pack us plenty of food and water.”] She purred out, turnaround around, she grabbed the stable boy’s hands and put them around her waist as she began to grind upon him. And without missing a beat, the male began to dance with her, following her hips with his.
As the other two looked at the pair, Ai’love curled her fingers and beckon them to join the pair and soon the three stableboys found themselves enjoying the Prince’s protector and hearing her scream and moan out their names as they had her.
Exhuasted, the ebony beauty was laying her bed. She’d just gotten down bathing and hadn’t any clothes on when the Prince barged in and threw the letter upon her bed. [i “So the poppycock is true then?”] She ask rising from the bed and moving to get dress in front of the prince. [i “Mmhm, I’ve always wanted to visit Genesis! Ahh~ I’m so excited thanks for taking me with you!”] Ai’love knew that this wasn’t a pleasure cruise which they were going on. This was war, but despite that, she stilled moved to caress her Prince’s cheek and kiss him upon the lips passionately before finishing getting dressed.
[i “My lord, it is time for you to drink again..”]
In the coming months which the messages were deployed, the king had grown weaker even still. Translucent skin reveal bluish veins which proved that his time in this world was waning. A tube had to be inserted into his throat and the blood collected in a cup and poured for him to swallow it. Unpleasant, the man endured for the sake of his beloved. Closing his eyes he waited for the drink to be administered before falling back down unto his bed and closing his eys.
Fumer was the closest kingdom to Genesis and Malum was the furthest. So the King had expected the representative for Genesis to arrive by tomorrow and so he’d need all of his strength to greet him. A cane had been carved for the king to use in order to help him walked. It made things easier to some degree, but he still needed assistant from his General and so Ivan was always there to be by his side.
Tapping his hand upon his bed, the king signaled for the blood to end and once more his skin grew darker and the he seemed to be a little bit more healthy. But not much so. Tomorrow he would greet the representative from Fumer. And none would stop him from doing so.
[center [b the next day.] ]
It was all but an enigma to whom Fumer would be sending as their representative. As the Vampire King Saltez leaned upon his cane to watch the arrival of the man, his eyes blinked once and then again. He’d heard that humans were trying to clutch hold of an elusive concept which was immortality and he’d scoff at the idea. Death was inevitable and it was foolish to try and run from it. Yet, he’d understood the fear of what came after.
As the male arrived the king blinked once and twice as he looked at the person who accompanied him. [i “Well, well..”] Saltez spoke softly as he leaned upon his cane. Ah yes, Jed. The male’s reputation exceed himself and rumors spoke of him. Shocked, Ivan blinked once and then again, before composing himself. [#9CA59B By Eura’s breath, the rumors are without a doubt true. Jed fuckin’ Brewer.. Your reputation precedes you.”] Was all the General could say before the king grinned.
[i “Welcome to Genesis; I am king Saltez, and I’m curious if you shall be my heir.”]
Although the council made the decision to send Jed to Genesis in under a day, it still took several more weeks for the inventor and his creation to get the journey underway. There was much to ready in preparation for their absence. First, there was the packing. Q initially packed their bags as any other person might, bringing along multiple changes of clothes, toiletries, and food. Jed, however, was unlike any other person. He took it upon himself to unpack and repack their things several times over with the true essentials: electronics, tools, and workbooks. While he might be forced to step away from his place of work, that in no way meant the man intended to stop working.
This brought up the next line of business: Brewer’s Bots & Borgs. He couldn’t shut the shop down for the duration of the deliberations; Fumer would likely collapse in upon itself. Or, at the very least, newer projects and cyborgs would suffer. And who was he to halt anyone else’s progress? With Adella’s help, he enlisted the services of Ishmael and Gideon to run the store for him. After a week and a half of shadowing, he felt comfortable leaving the business in their hands – provided that they sent regular updates as often as they could.
Finally, there were some minor modifications he had to install in their ship before setting sail for the capitol city. It had been years since Jed ventured outside of Fumer’s borders, so his method of transport was more than a little in need of refurbishing. But, as with all things, this presented an opportunity! In addition to the general tune-up, Jed also fitted the ship’s underbelly with mechanized rowers. These automated beasts operated on a simple pulley system that allowed for a constant, steady circular motion to propel large oars into the water to assist with the ship’s speed. In Jed’s not-so-humble opinion, the addition was well worth the further delay in departure. They’d more than make up for lost time once out on the ocean.
When the day finally arrived for the pair to leave, the mermaid rose with the early sun to see them off from port. They couldn’t have asked for fairer conditions. The sun glistened like brilliant jewels off the calm waves, and the wind carried the fresh salty scent across the horizon. Despite the promise of what lay ahead, the bespeckled man still felt a knot tightening in the pit of his stomach. Jed towered over the frail older woman, but in his anxious trepidation he looked so much smaller. [#D2691E “You’re certain it’s me you want doing this?”] he asked half-jokingly. [#D2691E “Because I’m sure Cyrus would still be more than happy to – ”] [#8A2BE2 “It’s you, Brewer. You’ll be just fine.”] Adella smiled up at him. He could only nod noncommittally in response. [#8A2BE2 “What are you so worried about?”] Jed shrugged. [#D2691E “I guess… I don’t know. I just think I’ll be out of my element over there. The people, the politics – I don’t think I’ve ever been good at that sort of stuff.”] [#8A2BE2 “No, you certainly have not.”] Jed looked taken aback by this level of candor. Adella only laughed with that same tinkling trill. [#8A2BE2 “I don’t think anyone expects that of you, Brewer. I don’t.”] [#D2691E “Well, then why am I – ”] [#8A2BE2 [i “Because,”]] the mermaid interrupted with gentle patience. [#8A2BE2 “If you’re not focusing on the people and the politics, you are open to the greatest thing Genesis could ask for: perspective. You will succeed not because you’re the best at playing their games, Brewer, but because you don’t play at all. You see?”] Once more the man nodded, but the gears were still clearly turning in his head. [#D2691E “So… the advice you’re giving me is to just… be myself?”] Now, he grinned. [#D2691E “That’s a little cliché, don’t you think?”] Adella swatted a hand at his chest playfully. [#8A2BE2 “Oh, you! Just go.”]
The two embraced one more time. Then, feeling at least a little more at ease, Jed walked the gangplank onto the ship. Q, who had been waiting for the council members to wrap up their goodbyes, busied herself finally preparing the ship for launch. What would normally take fifteen minutes for six men, Q was able to do in five. It was difficult to say whether this was due in part to her robotic appendages or her unwavering desire to perform tasks to par. Likely a bit of both. Either way, the ship slowly made its away from the docks and soon enough the waving figure of the mermaid was nothing more than a speck in the distance.
[right [pic https://i.ibb.co/7nXY66N/cyborg-girl-by-eventrue-d6kms5.jpg]] The journey to Genesis was an uneventful one. Well, at least it seemed that way to Jed. Q, on the other hand, oversaw the behemoth of a boat they sailed on by herself and therefore found little time to relax as much as her master. If it wasn’t navigating, it was cleaning. If it wasn’t cleaning, it was cooking. If it wasn’t cooking, it was maintenance. If it wasn’t maintenance, it was back to navigating. And on and on it went. It was a lucky thing the cyborg did not need as much sleep as the average human because she seldom got any at all. By the time they reached Genesis after two weeks at sea, she could have wept. But she did not. Instead, once docked, she registered the ship, contacted the king’s messenger, and arranged to have their belongings transported to the palace all before Jed woke up that morning.
When he was awake, a royal escort and company came to see them to the palace at the city’s center. An entire cavalcade was used for the processional. Already it was a far more regal affair than anything Fumer had to offer. However, the cushioned wagon with lush pillows and velvety blankets was more than welcomed. Q heaved a heavy sigh, grateful to be off her feet, and gazed out the curtained window of the transport. At some point, she must have fallen asleep because the next thing she knew, Jed was roughly rousing her awake. It was a shame; she would have liked to see the city. [#D2691E “Come on, up you go. You can lead us in.”] Her master opened the wagon’s door for her, bathing the car in bright sunlight. Q blinked, momentarily blinded, then cocked her head at him. [#00CED1 “You were invited here, not me. It is best you lead.”] Jed faltered a moment but nodded as he exited the vehicle. Q followed closely behind him.
Before them stood a massive monument of beautifully carved marble and stone. The palace was a symbol of both visibility and power. And on its steps stood the vampire king and one other. The Fumer residents approached them, Jed mumbling to himself inaudibly, and Q sizing up the other two men. The king’s cane did not go unnoticed. The man by the king’s side spoke first revealing his knowledge of her master well before Jed even had a chance to introduce himself. This seemed to throw the inventor off.
[#D2691E “Hello, yes, I’m Jed Bre – well, thank you.”] The man cleared his throat uncomfortably and turned to the king. [#D2691E “Your Majesty.”] He extended a hand for a moment before he seemed to think better of it and bowed at the waist instead. Q did not. [#D2691E “Thank you for inviting me. Us. Well, me, but this is – I brought – I mean I hope it’s alright that I did. This, this is Q.”] [#00CED1 “I am Q,”] the cyborg echoed detachedly. Triggered by her master’s phrase, she launched into a rehearsed introduction. [#00CED1 “I am the first cyborg of my kind. My technological systems have been integrated into my body since I was a child. They are routinely updated for optimum growth, development, and progress. I am an ever-evolving demonstration of mankind’s tenacity and ingenuity. It is a pleasure to meet you.”] A momentary smile plastered onto her face although it never quite reached her eyes. Just as soon as it had appeared, it vanished. Q gave her head a little shake. It was always slightly disorienting when her programming took over her own will. The words she recited came from her mouth, but they’d never be anything she would actively choose to say. Q eyed the king up and down, her next words now a free choice, [#00CED1 “You look worse in illness than we were led to believe. Do you have a system in place to continue to select a successor should you expire before one is chosen?”] There was a moment of silence where Jed only gaped at her, redness flooding his cheeks in embarrassment. [#D2691E [i “Q!"]] he hissed. [i [#D2691E “That is an inappropriate question!”]] Jed turned to the king and his companion once more. [#D2691E “I’m sorry, you’ll have to forgive her. Q – apologize at once.”] The cyborg bowed her head obediently. [#00CED1 “I apologize. Please forgive me.”] There was no remorse in her tone. It was not the first time conversational nuances escaped her, and it certainly wouldn't be the last. That was perhaps the one code the computer could not crack.
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