Part 1: Dorian: Stormhawk of Regina

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In the mists of myth there is the planet called Vihlany. The dominant race of the planet call themselves the Vihlani. Human in their original form, they now possess superhuman and supernatural abilities for they have demonoid blood cursing through their veins. Their lives flaunt a parallel with the dark myths of mankind.

Thule is the island of Vihlani corruption. Its fabled magical gates open onto the first layer of the Abyss. It was at the Abyss that the Vihlani found that common antidote and placebo to spiritual impotency and confusion - power. Once a cultured and noble race; the Etruscans of their planet; they worshipped a pantheon of benevolent guardian spirits with one God, Oraclan, above all. Oraclan was their God-Avatar, the all loving creator and source of their spiritual love. But their mariners had discovered the island of Thule, and their steady and certain corruption began as Thule’s powerful magical gates revealed an intercourse with evil, primarily through demonic Yog-Shishan and his multifarious minions. The gates had allowed the Vihlani who explored them great knowledge and magical power. These individuals had then returned from the island had driven the followers of benevolent Oraclan to their deaths or deeply hidden secret places. The Vihlani traditionally kept themselves apart from other cultures. They believed that insulation reinforced the master-slave relationship. Some say the Vihlani have forgotten the word for love in their language. Power is their obsession.


Luthur looked up at the three moons in the night sky: Klas, the silver skull floating in dark blood, Shoss, a glowing orb of orange manna and the prismatic Telanon, the most wayward in its wanderings around the planet. Their alignment was perfect, a great portent on the birth of his first son. He glanced down at the small, rune-covered chest he was carrying containing his baby son's birth blood preserved in a small vial. The vampiric sage-witch would consume it before her prophecy. He had come to Thule Island to face its many perils to consult the greatest soothsayer of his race. He knew the birth of his son Dorian presaged great destiny. He must be on his guard. Marellia was very powerful and hungered for life-force. Many that walked her path never returned. She was a fickle vampire of great magical and mental power, evil and unstable. Those who were weak or caught unexpectedly suffered lingering, living death, or were consumed in one brief orgasmic encounter as the only reward.

            Behind Luthur were the steady, robotic footsteps of the two male slaves he had brought for her appeasement. Almost unconsciously he probed their minds, checking that the Slavon devices had fully suppressed their free will. Magnificent physical specimens, one a giant Siberan from the east with hard fiendishly handsome features, the other a Nolvor in his prime with features Apollo would envy. He was satisfied that he had chosen well, his selection covering what little he had learned of Marellia's appetite for beauty and vigour.

            For a full day they had been ascending the cobbled, black ash-covered spiral path around the volcanic dolmen, almost a small mountain in size. The path turned abruptly inward into a small canyon cut out of the rock face. At the end of the canyon was a huge stone gateway open to the heart of the dolmen. Luthur paused before the gateway, the two slaves instantly halted standing like stone sentinels, reading the spell-runes carved on the three huge stones that formed the pillars and lintel of the gate. 

            “Follow me,” Luthur commanded, sensing the need to reinforce his control over the two slaves. They entered into a long wide corridor, its walls, floor and roof covered with dimly glowing red heieroglyphs, which Luthur surmised to be some forgotten ancient Vihlani dialect. Marellia had been magically scribing down her autobiography in her ancient tongue. Luthur could, for all his great scholarship and intelligence, only make out some of the story. "It pays to advertise," he chuckled to himself. His confidence in his own power and destiny was unswerving and unassailable.

            The end of the corridor opened to a spiral downward stairway lit by ever-glowing manna lamps, which gave off just enough red light to see by. Luthur increased his vigilance, both of mind and body, ready for anything, as he descended into the sage-witch's red intestinal formed stairway. As they went deeper he began to sense her presence. He knew her powerful mind would be probing, seeking knowledge of her visitors. Finally they came to an open ended hall lit with red manna lamps, with what Luthur recognized as two guardian Stone Golems at the entrance. He immediately recognised the threat posed by these powerful juggernauts of the most arcane dark alchemy. He had expected to find such guardians protecting Marellia, but he was secure in his own abilities with the Karrusar blade, his own great sorcery, and his psychic-psionic power. These magically animated statues immediately sprang to life, advancing towards the intruders with heavy grinding footsteps and inexorable purpose, to bar their access. 

            "Marellia! I come with living gifts to seek your counsel," shouted Luthur.

            He stood his ground, right hand resting on his Karrusar blade, alert to the ever-closing sentinels, ready to strike if they kept coming.

            "Luthur HiVilany..." the Golems froze. "I remember your father. He brought me very fine gifts," came a woman's voice pitched with pleasure, seduction and pain.

            "I come for the same purpose that my father did. I bring the birth blood of my first son," said Luthur.

            "And I will drink it, Luthur, son of Dorian, sire of Dorian," came the reply. Her consumption of the birth blood was the physical focus for her prophetic power.

            "This boded well," thought Luthur. "She already knows that I have named the child after his grandsire."

            "Send my gifts forward."

            Luthur motioned to the two slaves to go forward; at the same time, he reached into their minds adding his powerful psionic will, projected mind power, to their obedience. Luthur watched as they moved past the still sentinels further into the dimly lit gloom almost to the end of the hall. Bursting from her hidden room, like a gleeful child, Marellia was upon them, groping, proding, licking; exploring her gifts. As she did so Luthur looked at the two slaves to sense any reaction. From the Siberan nothing; but the Nolvor, true to his race fought the control of the Slavon device implanted behind his left ear, but to no avail. After a short time his mind was once again blank and ordered. Luthur waited patiently.

            "Marellia, do you accept the gifts?" he demanded, focusing a measure of his own power into the words.

            She stopped and met his gaze with a contesting glare. Luthur felt the enveloping seduction of her lust, her hunger, her power. He countered, controlling his own lust, with some effort. They were well matched in personal power and experience!

            "Marellia, do you accept the gifts?" he repeated.

            "Yes. Marellia accepts the gifts," came the measured reply.

            "Come to my chamber." She moved away with the two slaves following, now firmly under her control. Warily, Luthur followed them into the side chamber, all his defences up.

            The chamber was larger than the hall, sumptuously appointed with exotic tapestries adorning the walls. A decorated chalice shaped fountain filled with a luminous green fluid stood in the centre of the chamber. Heavy wooden screens shielded off-chambers on two of the walls. Luthur sensed at least two other beings in residence.

            Marellia muttered a command to the two slaves and motioned to one of the side chambers. She watched them move around the covering screen, her face betraying the anticipation of her coming feast.

            "Here is the birth blood." Luthur placed the small chest on the table between them, opening it to reveal the vial inside and stepping back to maintain his distance. Marellia moved directly to it. Seizing the vial, she held it above her mouth. The cork sprang out as if by magic and she drained the vial of all its contents.
            Dorian squirmed in his crib and began to wail at the invasion of his soul.

            Dropping the vial at the onset of her trance, Marellia slowly moved over to the fountain. As she approached, it flared up as if to greet her. Soon the room was flooded with its green light. Deep within Luthur something close to human excitement stirred in anticipation of her prophecy.

            "Stormhawk...I see a Stormhawk."

            Luthur's mind was filled with the vision of the great magical Dragonbirds of his home world Regina.

            "The Stormhawk of his race," she continued. Her voice low and multi-pitched with the channelling manna energy.

            "A Stormhawk to rule the empire. The Stormhawk's empire as far as the stars reach." Luthur was transfixed. He was the most powerful Archduke of the Vihlani Galactic Imperium, next stop would be the Imperial throne. His son would follow! Dorian would rule the galaxy!

            "A Stormhawk of change and power. Father by his side."

            Luthur's past thought was echoed!

            A heaviness invaded the chamber. They both felt it. Marellia came out of her trance, disturbed, suddenly fearful.

            Before Luthur could gather himself to ask what it was, she resumed the prophecy, but now seemed to labour and struggle against the heaviness.

            "Beware the eye...The eye of justice...Oraclan's eye," she squirmed, uncomfortable at the God-Avatar name. Her nemesis of existence. Little would she comprehend of her own fate, which Oraclan sealed with this prophecy.

            "It seeks the Stormhawk...Beware...Luthur, scion of HiVilany." Marellia's voice changed, much more melodious and yet stronger. The last words seemed to Luthur to come from another source. "Enough! Go! I am finished!" Marellia screamed the words out in her familiar voice.

            Luthur was momentarily stunned, unsure if the last outburst was directed at him. Marellia stormed to the side chamber where the two slaves had gone. Luthur did not wait around, swiftly taking his leave. As he passed the sentinels, a scream rang out from behind him. "The Siberan," he thought, giving it little consideration. He was too intent on the words he had heard.

Part 2: Shapechange

Monday, August 1, 2011

Home to the family HiVilany, the planet Regina is the seat of the Archduke of Regina sector-province, one of the six Archdukes of the Vihlani galactic empire. Half covered by oceans, teeming with life and with an atmosphere like Earth's, Regina is the fourth planet orbiting its golden sun. The first Vihlani Star-Battlecruisers had explored and conquered the planet 500 Reginian years ago. Its strategic location astride the jump paths made it a vitally important planet, soon growing to be the capital of the sector-province bearing its name. The native humanoid Reginians were just coming into their industrial age. Balkanised into many diverse nations, it had been easy for the cold, methodical, heartless Vihlani to overcome their resistance, but not their spirit. Indeed, the Vihlani had found that this very spirit made them some of the best warriors in the Imperial war machine. They had become especially good Armskel troopers. The Armskel troopers are the armoured body-suited infantry of the Imperial Army. One curious fact had been discovered by the Vihlani demographic sage-scientists. The 'native' humanoids were not really native to the planet. Their genetic profile indicated a completely different evolutionary ancestry. Evidently in the deep past they had been 'planted' on the planet in what seemed to be some gigantic bio-assimilation experiment; source unknown.
           Larrienne was painting in the palace gardens. Surrounded by a dreamy kaleidoscope of shapes and colours, all of infinite diversity and shade. Her skill was such that the canvas was one with its subject. From the corner of her eye she saw a blur coming across the manicured lawn towards her. She could feel his distress as he came running towards her. She looked across to see him fully. She saw a bipedal lizard-creature, something of a mix of dinosaur, dragon, and yet with human shape and features. He must also have seen her for the first time, for he began to make distressed, garbled, bleating sounds towards her.
           "Dorian..." His name fell from her lips. So her son's first metamorphosis was upon him. She reflected on the evil legacy of his ancestors mating with the God, Yog-Shishan and his minions. At that moment, a large dark winged shape glided between them. It was Luthur in his demonic form, like some great Doombat. Her son pivoted on his saurian, lizard like leg, picking up his pace, running towards the Satros tree grove nearby, fleeing from his pursuer. As she watched, concerned and enraptured at Dorian's plight, them move away, Luthur turned his head towards her. There was pride and triumph all over his demoniacally exaggerated face.
           "Better Luthur to deal with their son at this potentially dangerous time, " she mused. "At least he will protect Dorian from harm...or harming!" She resumed painting, but her heart was in the grove.
           Dorian crashed into the shrubbery of the grove. He was running more from himself than his father. His mind was filled with primal passions, sensations of animal instincts and the predators lust mixed with the multifarious fears of the trauma his body was going through for the first time. He had been having one of his rare angry outbursts, confronting his father over his father's desire to align with the HiVlandi family. Both had lost their tempers. Then it had begun. Dorian's body had contorted and the curse of Yog-Shishan had worked its dark purpose, changing Dorian into a primal Dragonman. He had charged from the room half out of his senses and Luthur had changed into his familiar, demonoid form in pursuit.
           Pushing away branches with his front clawed arms, heedless of any direction, he plunged deeper into the grove...Whack! He ran straight into one of the trees. He reeled back, heavily stunned. Drunkenly his feet gave way. He collapsed half aware of his surroundings, head throbbing with pain.
           Presently Luthur came upon his son. On seeing his son in his distress, he immediately landed, changing back to his human form as he did so. Moving directly to his son's side, he embraced him without hesitation.
           "Dorian. It is all right, " his voice uncharacteristically soothing. He was filled with strong bonding feelings, though he was unable to understand them. "Calm yourself. This is natural. This is what you are my son." His voice resonated into Dorian's soul.
           Dorian, even in his double distress and pain, felt the warmth of his father's embrace and heard the most tender words his father had ever spoken to him. Both were surprised when Dorian suddenly resumed his human form.
           "Father, " Dorian was first to speak,  " is strange, I feel strange sensations." He used 'feel' as he had never realised before. He shook from the raw emotion surging from the closed doors of his upbringing.
           "You will learn control. I will help you my son." Luthur said, somewhat uncomfortable with the intimacy of his own words, his son's words and the physical closeness.

                      They emerged from the Satros grove together. Luthur strode back to the palace without further words, pleased and proud, but with a foreboding sensation he could not rationalise. Dorian immediately went over to his mother.
           Mother and son were close. They shared many common interests, art, music, and other galactic cultures. Dorian had always found her serene energy and sublime mind comforting. He would often sit by her with neither speaking or demanding of each other. Larrienne was a paragon of grace and beauty, always reserved of manner, but very aware of what was occurring around her. Indeed only Dorian's half-sister Mirien, born of Luthur's Origan concubine, surpassed her in grace and physical beauty on the whole planet.
           Larrienne carefully placed her finely crafted, Hunnane ivory handled paintbrush, to its correct place on the easel ledge. She rose, very deliberately and opened her arms wide, to enfold her Dorian.
           "Come my child. It is over now, " her words caressed and soothed Dorian like chimes of the soul. His need had never been greater.
           "Mother, I was so frightened..." Dorian's voice and distress faded into his mother's loving embrace. Larrienne started to hum a mother's ancient song of comfort to her child. They remained holding each other in sharing peaceful comfort for some time...

Part 3: The Hearth

Friday, July 1, 2011

The golden orb that is Regina's sun merged with the wavering red border of day and night. It was sunset on the same day of Dorian's onset of his trauma of physical change and the working of the curse of his ancestors’ pact with the darkness of Yog-Shishan. Supra human good and evil lies deep within all the choices of mankind.
           All the family were gathered in the great banquet hall for the moon feast. What the Vihlani called their evening meal. Torin, the Reginian Banquet Major-Domo, scuttled about checking and badgering, berating and ordering the flow of food and service to the hall. He stopped for a moment to survey the scene. All seemed in order. The beautiful intricate mural walls, the precious stone and golden ceiling with its white manna lamps sprinkling their gossamer light over the room. His eye alighted on the exquisite sculpture of the Origan dancer that the Archduke Luthur had purchased for 150 million Vil credits fifty years ago. Collecting sculpture and females were just about the only diversions from the Vihlani power game that His Royal Highness allowed himself. Originally the statue of the Etteasian Worg-strangler and its victim stood in that place, but Her royal Highness, Archduchess Larrienne had persuaded Luthur to replace it. He had accepted her argument that it was inappropriate for an eating hall, and had it moved to his office instead. "Good thing too!" thought Torin. Though it wasn't the most vile of the master's collection. That dubious honour was reserved for the massive sculpture of Yog-Shishan, the sculptured 'glob' which had in real presence corrupted the Vihlani culture. It stood in the palace gardens and had attracted more than its fair share of weapons fire during the last Vihlani dynastic war. A fitting tribute to the evil god, whose minions inhabited the island of Thule on Vihlany. Torin had noted that no birds ever visited the statue and the gardeners had given up trying to grow anything near it.
           Torin looked over at the dais where the black basalt high table stood, seating the close family around it. At the head of the table sat Luthur, Archduke of Regina, in all regal splendour. "There is a line in the sand that you never cross with His Royal Highness, for past it was a sea of your own blood, " Torin reflected. On Luthur's right sat Prince Egon, second son of the household, cruel and unrestrained, most like his father, but without the measured control. He had fought more duels and killed more slaves than most Vihlani his age. Next to him was Thane, the youngest prince, quiet and reserved like his mother Larrienne, already climbing the corporate ladder. Princess Maris HiVas sat on Thane's right. She was senior in rank to Thane in the complex Vihlani Noble hierarchy. So she would be head of that family branch, with Thane taking her family name, but retaining his assets, when they were finally wed. Farther along sat Mirien, deep in conversation with Dorian. "A vision of a woman, " thought Torin as he glanced admiringly towards her. The most kind and considerate of all the family. So much so that Torin wondered if the Archduke had not been made a cuckold, so untypically warm natured was she. He was convinced that the statue of the Origan dancer had been modelled on her now dead mother, Luthur's concubine, Galenna. If anything, Mirien surpassed her mother in stunning beauty and her sublime nature.
           As is the custom of the Vihlani, all offspring of a full blood Vihlani sire or dame are acknowledged as full blood Vihlani, with full rank and privileges. Mirien was one of the few who could dissuade her father from a course of action or opinion. She was very protective of all her siblings, even Egon.
           Torin broke from his musings to quickly check that the servitors were doing their assigned tasks correctly. They were. So he resumed his study of his master's table ménage. His eyes were drawn back to Mirien; then reluctantly moved across to Dorian, first prince and heir to the Archduke, most likeable of the young princes but with a passionate nature. Yet he had a temper! Dorian restrained himself from excessive violence towards those he perceived as weaker than himself. That, however, did not mean he would not kill, if necessary. He had fought only two duels. But what duels! In the first he had killed the second best duellist of his rank for insulting his family's honour. In the second he had killed the Count of Sylea, Reor HiValan, considered the tenth best duellist then living, though Dorian had been severely wounded and nearly died. He was many weeks in need of physical and magical healing. That duel had been provoked by what Dorian explained as 'Improper groping of Mirien by the Count.' Most wise Vihlani took note of the young prince's prowess with the Karrusar blade and some did of his motive. Egon did both.
           Torin watched as one of the table servitors served the Archduchess Larrienne her third course while she sat at the opposite end of the table to Luthur. A reasonable mistress by Vihlani Noble standards, she never missed a detail and was extremely demanding that things were done correctly and efficiently. She was in conversation with her best friend, Loran HiVlandi, Archduchess of Veren, who Torin noted had allowed her body to age gracefully. Most Vihlani kept themselves in peak condition either through their natural powers or artificially, with a combination of magic and medical technology. Next to her was her husband, Avik HiVlandi, Archduke of Veren and Lord of the third most powerful family in the empire. He was a thickset man with eyes like a cornered animal. He had allied his family to Luthur's steady march toward the Imperial throne. His daughter by another wife sat next to him. Correna, Torin noted, was revealing every possible alluring physical asset she had, and, as usual, it was all directed towards Dorian. "Nymph of a woman, " he thought. Torin removed his stare from Correna's body, for he was all too aware of what would happen to him if any of the Vihlani picked up his thoughts. Woe betide the slave who thought his soul his own. Luthur's brother Duke Adrian HiVilany came next along. A cool, deliberate plotter who usually out thought his adversaries, a moderate by the measure of Vihlani politics. Now lastly his look fell upon Somare, Consort-wife and favourite of Luthur sitting half on her chair, the rest of her body arched provocatively towards Luthur, stroking his beard, whispering obscenities into his ear. She was certainly dressed more subtly than Correna, but the message was the same. Being the mother of Egon was sufficient to condemn her in Torin's opinion.
           The table was like some lonely dark whale beset by swimmers all pushing and pulling to their own secret and not so secret agendas. An island of villainy surrounded by a lake of repression and despair.
           "Your new form will not change who you are Dorian. It does not change anything with me, " Mirien said reassuringly laying her elegant hand upon Dorian's shoulder. A wave of love spread through his body.

           "It is natural! I have already gone through mine, " interjected Correna, who was seeking to cut into the conversation. She had been furious at not being seated next to Dorian and always sought to counteract Mirien's influence on him. She knew quite rightly that Mirien disapproved of her and had told Dorian so in no uncertain terms.
           Dorian glanced across at Correna distracted by her interjection and then by her voluptuous body, nefariously enhanced by her low bodiced diaphanous gown of lubricity. Mirien did not lose her focus and continued on.
           "Dorian!" she scolded, her tone sharply bringing his attention back to her. "It is natural for you to have some difficulty in adjustment to the primal passions this time will bring. The legacy of our race on its unnatural alteration is most difficult for those who bear its greatest effect." She chose her words carefully considering the company she was in. Later she would use the more truthful words of her heart.
           "Primal passions! Unnatural alteration! What words of weakness Mirien!" Correna spat the words out. "Our race's legacy-gift from Yog-Shishan has set us amongst the Gods. It is our true destiny! It IS natural. Dorian is only realising his destiny. He needs only the proper support and comfort." She almost orgasmed the last words towards Dorian.
           Mirien affixed such a stare at Correna that the blood seemed to flow from Correna's body leaving her shrunken and pale, such was her unseen psionic assault and anger.
           "Do not assail my daughter Mirien HiVilany!" commanded Avik, noticing what was happening, with considerable threat as he did so.
           "Leave her be!" countered Dorian, reacting to any assault on Mirien as he invariably did. "She speaks more truth and honesty than some at this table."
           The rest of the table fell silent at these contested outbursts of voice and psionic power.
           "We are not here to assail each other!" boomed Luthur pushing Somare firmly onto her seat. "We are here to celebrate the alliance of our great families. There will be no more of this bickering." he said nailing everyone with his most impellent stare short of frying their brains. All wisely deferred and were silent.
           Both Dorian and Avik eased themselves, but not so Mirien and Correna who continued to an imperceptive mind-duel.
           "All shall join in toast of celebration, " commanded Luthur holding his crystalline goblet up as his assigned servitor carefully filled it.
           "Yes! To an alliance of the two greatest families and to the greatest throne and its next Lord, Luthur HiVilany, " proclaimed Avik eager to wash over the previous confrontation.
           All knew which throne he referred to, but it still paid to be careful how openly you spoke about the Imperial succession. The goons at Imperial Security Corps would also know what Avik meant, if they were monitoring the occasion, but then they assumed everyone was a conspirator until shot dead at the opportune moment. Besides which Archduke Luthur was definitely the front runner, their future boss. All joined in the toast. Survival alone: a good reason to do so!

Part 4: Brother Egon

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Since Marellia's prophesy Luthur had watched his son Dorian grow to manhood. He had kept the words of the portent to himself, heightened all the more in his mind since his arrival back home at the palace on Regina, those many years ago, immediately after visiting Thule island. He had gone to the balcony of his office-chamber and seen the servitors removing the mangled body of his favourite male Stavala bird; the Stormhawk bird as the native Reginians called them. It had been killed by its eldest male hatchling, which had then taken over its sire's territory and had driven all others away. These great Dragonbirds lived on the highest mountain peaks of Regina. A fierce magical creature similar to the early dinosaur birds of Earth, they are carnivores with great fighting prowess. Both male and female Stavala will fight to the death over territory, mates and to protect their young. Maintained in a huge specially constructed cage adjoining his office, this family of Stavala had been ruled by the dead male for over 80 years. Now the great bird was dead and its son ruled in its stead. He must not suffer a similar fate. He remembered Marellia's words. 'A Stormhawk of change and power. Father by his side.' This eased his mind for he had seen Dorian's growing command of all things important to a true Vihlani scion. The boy had excelled at all subjects he had taken at the Barlim Leadership Academy, though some like medical science and the minor arts courses had bemused his father. Dorian - the man - was now very formidable as his Karrusar duels had shown. But there was something amiss. The boy had always preferred female company; first his mother, Larrienne's and latterly his sister Mirien's. He knew Dorian respected him but often the boy had tried to talk to him about unimportant subjects and some of his views were overly coloured by outside influences and too much feminine company.
           Two of his sons, Dorian and Thane were womanisers. That pleased him! They had escaped the confines of the palace together and whored their way through the polyglot fleshpots of Regina on attaining adolescence. Even with this Dorian had shown himself different. Where as Thane would get straight on with the business in hand so to speak, Dorian would engage the alien females in great discourse, curious in the extreme and to the great amusement of his father and brothers. In what conflict that had occurred between father and son, Dorian had always restrained himself, even when Luthur had attempted to see his limits by abusing Larrienne and Mirien. The baiting always failed. Dorian always detected the sham and when Luthur was genuinely angered always knew his father would stop short and restrain himself. The Archduke Luthur was not wholly consumed by the evil of his ancestors.
           Luthur continued down the corridor from his office mulling over these thoughts.
           Egon was in the great library straining to master the Ravanna Tome of the Compulsor, one of the most powerful, arcane and literally mind blowing books of the psychic tyranny of the Vihlani race. Once the Vihlani were a cultured, noble race with no interest or desire for such vile Tomes of mental rape and violence. They were great artists and artisans with no weapons or need for laws of judicial murder. But naive Utopia is ripe meat for evil if left unguarded! The slavering of Yog-Shishan and his minions must of been oceanic at their prospects.
           Egon was devoted to Yog-Shishan. He had completed his psionic and magical training in the great temple-complex situated on Thule. His belief in his destiny was unassailable; he would rule the stars! With this creed of monomania he studied the book. Unlike his brothers he did not allow himself diversions. Females and carousing, he had no time to waste on these things, besides which the female he would have was very close at hand. His meditation was rudely interrupted by the voices of Dorian and Mirien as they came into the room.
           "I will show you what I mean, " said Mirien, leading Dorian into the room by the hand.
           "But nobody will want to do anything about it, " said Dorian. As he did so he saw Egon and his expression changed from bewitchment to guarded vigilance in an instant.
           Egon tried to exclude their voices from his meditation, but their presence and especially Mirien holding Dorian's hand doubly provoked him. His brother Dorian and he had a long-standing antipathy, which had resulted in considerable physical confrontation and damage to both, though this had stopped after Dorian's first duelling victory. It gnawed at his black heart that he was the second son. But that would change! Even more infuriating to Egon was Mirien's obsessive attention to Dorian. IT SHOULD BE HIM!
           "Quiet!" snapped Egon.
           "O yes great prestidigitator, " Dorian fired back. Mirien barely suppressed a giggle. Egon started to redline!
           Luthur could hear their voices down the corridor as he approached and he could sense the build up of antagonistic energy.
Deep within him a silent alarm began to ring.
           "I will not be spoken to in those terms impotent rake!" spat Egon turning to face Dorian. Dorian started to move towards him, a cold fell visage of retribution.
           "Dorian! Egon! Stop this!" implored Mirien fearing another violent confrontation. She moved in front of Dorian and placed a restraining hand on his face. Her touch was the kiss of silk. His fell look dissipated like the opening of a lotus in spring. "We interrupted him while he was meditating, " she whispered, intending both of them to hear. "We are sorry we burst in as we did brother, " she added.
           "Yes brother, I regret the interruption, " Dorian said choosing his words with care and without hint of apology.
           "Apology accepted, " Egon replied with great malice in his voice, knowing that the words would strike home.
           "Come Mirien, beloved. Let us leave it in peace with its Tome of the brain cell, " said Dorian, taking Mirien's hand to lead her away.
           Egon turned back to the book all relief valves temporarily tied down, but too distracted with fury to read.
           Mirien hesitated. She broke free from Dorian and moved towards Egon unhappy to leave on this sour and nasty note. She intended to placate Egon before they left.
           "Egon..." she said softly, standing beside him. She did not touch him. She rarely did. Egon made no reply.
           "Egon, " she repeated as she reached over and closed the book, seeking to get his attention.
           The restraint, the relief valves blew! Without thinking Egon lashed out with the back of his hand. He blindly struck Mirien across the face sending her spinning across the room, crashing brutally into the wall, such was the force of his blow.
           As Mirien hit the wall a primal bloodlust irrupted from within   Dorian. As it did so his body changed its form in answer. One moment a man, the next moment a golden dragon-lizard, serrated teeth and rending claws, leaping to kill its prey.
           Even with the superiority of his Vihlani breeding and skill, Egon knew he looked at death. Half rising out of the chair he met Dorian's leap with a martial arts strike that would of killed most opponents. Striking the Dorian-creature square in the chest. A strike for the heart!
           Luthur heard the crash and then the snarling roar from down the corridor. The Archduke of Regina immediately broke into a run towards the commotion.
           Egon was knocked over onto his back, hand bones smashed by the force of his own strike. He screamed in terror, pain and frustration. Dorian, his mind a palette of wrath, struck with talon and tooth, again and again.
           Luthur hit the doorway in full flight and took in the scene at once. A bolt of red manna launched forth from his right hand and burst around Dorian's body like a fireball, flinging him yelping and crashing half way up the opposite wall. Dorian fell down to the floor barely conscious and involuntarily changing back to his human form; severely wounded.
           Luthur moved directly to the mangled body of his son Egon. He could clearly see that Egon was dying, and he sensed the fading of his son's life-force. Placing his hands on Egon he started to invoke all the healing spells he knew.
           "It would not be enough, " Luthur thought, finishing his last spell. "No time to wait...I must risk giving of my own life-force..." Luthur hesitated. He looked across at Dorian crumpled on the floor. "Maybe this is how it is to be...Dorian will live and Egon must die..." He looked down at Egon...something moved inside him..."No! I will not abandon my child. I will never do that to any of them!" And he began to pass his own life-force into his son Egon, the danger to himself forgotten.
           Mirien stirred. As she opened her eyes she saw her father bending over Egon, sweat pouring from his brow. She could sense the dire necessity of his purpose. She looked around for Dorian, fearing the worst...
           She sighted him, his body covered in what she knew were magical fire burns, his face a reddened, blistered mess.
           Dorian!" she was frantic. She thought he was dead! Mirien crawled groggily over to him as quickly as she could. "Dorian!" the plaintive desperate call of his name summoned him out of the darkness. He slowly opened his eyes.
           "Dorian, "more softy as the relief sighed from her body and she tenderly caressed his burnt face. He stirred and opened his eyes again to the face of the angel he knew so well. She smiled and he managed to smile back with an unseen kiss passing from his lips to hers as he did so. She kissed him tenderly on the lips, a tear fell onto his lips as she lifted her head back.
           Luthur was suddenly aware of them both. He could not continue to give any more of his life-force to Egon as his own life would be forfeit. But it had been enough. Egon would live.
           "What happened here?" he demanded. As Mirien turned her face towards him he could see the red welt across her face.
           "Egon struck me and Dorian..." Her words failed.
           "Father. I did this. I accept any punishment, " Dorian made a feeble attempt to rise. "Do not blame Mirien..." He collapsed unconscious again, falling limp in Mirien's embrace.
           "Dorian!" Mirien called in distress. Luthur marvelled as Dorian once again came back to her immediately at the sound of her nightingale voice and he saw them share a smile.
           "I will give my judgment when all have recovered, " pronounced Luthur having the weariness of having saved Egon's life with his own life-force, bare on him. He reached up to the palace intercom and called the servitors. He was too weak and distracted by the passed minutes experience to summon them any other way.          

Part 5: Dorian and Mirien

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The palace of the Archduke of Regina, that monument of paradox to the Vihlani nobility. A beautiful building complex surpassing Versailles and the Taj Mahjal, filled with priceless art treasures and surrounded by gardens from paradise. But under this facade lay a black basalt foundation with the reinforced ferro-concrete structure of a massive bunker protected by the leading edge of energy shield and weapons technology. The present Archduchess, Larrienne, had enhanced the beauty and atmosphere of the palace, nearly doubling the size of the gardens and the Archduke, Luthur, had made it the safest place in the Vihlani Empire save for the great Imperial Palace at Barlim on Vihlany.
           The present Archduke, Luthur HiVilany, has reigned for 118 Vihlani Temporals (205 Earth years) and has steadily manoeuvred his destiny towards the Imperial Throne to such an extent that only the Emperor, Jevon HiVas, stood in his way. Not for much longer if Luthur had anything to do with it. But the art of Vihlani leadership is to be the last one standing.
           Luthur had killed Tybalt HiVas, his father’s murderer, who had been Emperor Jevon’s right hand man. This had been cleverly allowed by Jevon to eliminate his chief rival and placate Luthur at the same time. But now Jevon knew his confrontation with the wolf of Regina was imminent, and he laid his plans against him.

           Dorian and Mirien were in the magnificent atrium in the centre of the palace. Beautiful multicoloured flying creatures, some of which we would recognise as birds, others far more exotic, painted their chatoyant colours over a living tapestry of luscious diversiform of plant life, some of which were semi-intelligent.
           “You are special...” Mirien’s tone flowed over Dorian as the caress of the autumn sun on the leaves: wondrous, but doomed to fall. “ me. I have spoken with father...He seems to want the whole event to be forgotten...It is almost like he is pleased. I worry when he can seem to take it so.” She always spoke in a deliberate manner, firmly engaging her interlocutor, her companion. 
           The Daysar plants had come over to her as soon as Dorian and she had sat down in the atrium. Four of them had waddled over as fast as their stumpy little tentacles could carry them, vying for her heavenly caress.
           “Father has a sense of justice. He will measure what is right. Egon and myself will accept his ruling. It is the customary way. I do not fear the outcome.” Dorian could not hear his own defiance in those last words, but Mirien did, and was alarmed.
           “Father has his own sense of everything! Nothing, absolutely nothing is without measure to some plot, some purpose.” She looked at him with the exasperated wisdom of the loving flower among the poisonous weeds. She had long learned the weariness of her survival: life predicated on staying out of the power games of her father and the inexorable pursuit of her chastity by her predatory contemporaries, male and female!
           “Beloved. Do not worry yourself. I...we will survive this.” Dorian moved along the bench towards her putting his arm around her. One of the Daysar plants, the smallest, gave up trying to reach over his larger brethren and waddled over to Dorian. He greeted it with his free hand stroking it under it’s head carapace. They both shared a smile as it began a soft pitched chime as he did so.
           “I know that I will survive as long as you do...Dorian. I have always known so.” She reached over and kissed him tenderly on the cheek. Her perfumed energy caressed Dorian, creating the singularity of love.
           “Yes, if all that I do come to in one measure of my worth, then your comfort, your happiness, your life is that measure.” He looked at her angelic face. He knew there could be no other light like this in his life, his existence.
           The image and conversation faded out on the video-com monitor as Luthur switched it off by telekinesis, his mind mulling over the words he had overheard. His son’s attachment for Mirien was so strong-it beckoned an angle of purpose-a use to be realised...  “if all that I come to in one measure of my worth...” Those words reverberated around Luthur’s supra-genius mind gathering and forming purpose and plot. Deep inside his being it all came together and immerged as a low, sonorous chuckle. He would put his plan into action that very night.

Part 6: Brother Thane

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dorian, reflecting back to this time, writes in his personal annals.
           ‘Little did I suspect of my father’s motives on what followed his ‘gift’ of the courtesan Sarinah. I will never forget or regret the love I found with Sarinah. That I would live to this time and through that time, the gift of my humanity she gave me through her love. Neither father or I were of heart’s disposition awake to the possibility of such a deep loving experience within relationship as we both know now.’ 245.765 DY.

           The white moons of Regina never seem to move in the sky. They are the two floating spheres of the jumpgate geo-stationary orbital fortress space stations, manning the ramparts of the Archduke of Regina’s home world. Jump drives and the freedom of stellar travel they allow, are the prerogative of the Vihlani Imperial Galactic Navy and Vihlani merchant fleets. All other space travellers are forced to use jumpgate key-drives, only useable between the jumpgates of the planetary systems of the Empire. These jump paths are the ‘Roman roads’ of the Vihlani Imperium. The autobahns of the Goddess of power and her handmaiden; repression.

           The night air simmered with the psychedelic, psychopathic fragrance of the gardens of the Vihlani palace on Regina. The calls of the wondrous creatures of the night echoed in the mind’s eyes of the HiVilany family as they sat, and lounged around the alfresco setting for the evening meal. The moon feast as the Vihlani call it. This custom of dining out in the fresh air, sometimes cooking with a simple metal frame over an open fire, is a traditional Reginian custom, which has been adopted by the ruling HiVilany family ever since the first Archduke and his family settled on Regina.
           The strong spicery bovine smell of the Janton steaks pervaded Dorian’s olfactorial membranes stimulating a mouth watering caress in goluptious anticipation of consumption. With the strong wafts of the steaks and the fragrances of the palace gardens, their scents entwined together on the balmy night air to capture his mood. He could see his father coming late from his office towards the rest of the family gathered around the magnificent gazebo. All were present except Egon, he was still recovering from his wounds, both physical and mental. Dorian could sense a particular jocund aura from his father’s bearing, he was pleased with himself. “That could cut both ways in the machinations of life with father, ” Dorian reflected. But it still pleased him to see his father so.
           “My family, well be our meeting at meal time at the rising of the three moons, ” said Luthur in the manner of the traditional Vihlani greeting to all assembled with a broad grin on his face.
           “We all welcome our father, my husband, my beloved, ” replied Larrienne, also in the Vihlani traditional manner, genuinely pleased to see her husband in such good cheer. Luthur came to Somare and briefly held and caressed her face, giving her a brief but special smile, but swept on past her and lay down along side Larrienne who was reclined on the lush carpet of grass. Dorian chuckled to himself as he observed the unhidden but silent pique that crossed Somare’s face at this display of affection by Luthur for Larrienne. Thane looked straight at Somare, unbridled triumph all over his face and then towards Dorian to share the moment. Dorian smiled back in acknowledgment. He remembered when Somare had been brought into the household. She had been in origin one of the outrageously expensive courtesans that some Vihlani males, like Luthur, collected like vintage wines. She had done very well indeed, quickly becoming Luthur’s favourite and eventually his second wife.

           “My beloved, how are the fortunes of power under your firm embrace, ” Larrienne flirted with Luthur as he firmly embraced her as she lay inviting his intimacy. Theirs had always been a deep bond, though they rarely openly acknowledged it, even to each other.
           “If my fortune had been as when we have bonded, then an Emperor and Empress’s fate would be but the first step, ” whispered Luthur, nuzzling Larrienne’s ear. Luthur could pour it on with the best of the ‘Don Juan’s’. However, it was nearly impossible to distinguish between his toying, his premeditation, and his intent of sincerity.
           “And to be your Empress has how I have lived with sire...” Larrienne gently touched Luthur with the tips of her fingers on the side of his neck, stimulating a sensual energy along his body-energy meridians. Such skill of body lifeforce and sensual touch being natural to the Vihlani race from eons past. Too often all this deep sensual knowledge was dissipated or abused in simple sexual pleasure and manipulation than loving and sharing.
           Luthur was quite overcome enough to be completely distracted and his mind was pleasurably vacant of thoughts-a rare occurrence. Somare ground her teeth and displayed a pout that would intimidate a supermodel off her catwalk.

           “Brother Dorian, ” with a hint of competitive affection Thane often addressed to Dorian. “Our BHP directors meeting went well. Father and I approved the new infrastructure investment. We will soon overtake Imperial Mining in volume of ore alone, next temporal.” Belter Holdings Proprietary, BHP for short, was the HiVilany family’s massive corporate conglomerate, originally an asteroid mining company, now the second biggest corporation in the Vihlani Imperium. It had been built up by Luthur’s superlative drive and ruthless management skills as the main financial base of his family’s tremendous wealth. It had a myriad of diverse companies doing business in a myriad of product markets.
           “I am sure father heeds the enlightened advice and guidance of his youngest son in his growing dotage, ” Dorian countered, beaming back a playful smirk. “His chairman’s seat is already automatically adjusting to its new master. I can hear the servo-motors adjusting to the comfort of the new master Thane...Oh! Can the headrest be wide enough! Might have to fit a larger one to contain the new masters Thane’s head.” Thane and Dorian irrupted in true shared brotherly laughter. Maris, seated on the couch beside Thane, hesitated, then judging the laughter genuine, joined in the laughter, abet more subdued, carefully watching the two brothers. She found their bond intriguing for its lack of normal sibling rivalry, often venomous, normally commonplace in the high families. Dorian and Egon being a prime example. Fratricide was just another event in the path to power.
           Mirien was dutifully supervising the servitors preparing the meal. She had overheard all that had been said and was feeling deep comfort at the love her family was displaying. This is how she longed for it to remain and cared for them all - more than they reciprocated or understood. Her aura glowed outwards an inner light that eclipsed the gentle sensuous glimmer of the garden lights reflecting off the luminescent surfaces of the gazebo.

Unfinished - TBC...maybe