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,  "Father...it 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...