It was hard, knowing that I loved her, and I, knowing that we couldn’t be together as one until she could get to her brother. She was the lost empress – needing to reclaim her throne to transfer to him. The royal family could only marry into the human race for those that sat as the royal head. Me, being a Canto, yeah, we couldn’t possibly be together in my way – she would lose her throne and be unable to transfer it, but by the suns…Journal of Solomon
Place: Dabba Fiws, Roost of Subole
It was two weeks after the ordeal in the stadium before Subole and the Fiws council called Symone before them. It was another thirty minutes of introductions before they began to even approach their topic. They sat within the stadium once again, Symone finding herself sitting upon the platform she had a short while ago been chained to. Subole sat at the head of the stadium and commanded the attention of the Fiws elders. The council elders consisted of the group leaders, chamber heads, militia commanders, almost anyone with a title. The group she was traveling with had also taken seats in the stadium. Word had been sent to Togoya to have him appear before the council as well. He had not shown up yet. Solomon took on his half-Canto form and had taken up guard of Symone since her week of unconsciousness. He now sat, encircling the mass of his horse half body around Symone’s cushion, his human half resting at her side.
“Symone Mand, lost empress to the Colga Galaxy, Ravenspy, Black Cobra, mercenary, and assassin to the current emperor, you have bound us to your debt. To force our hand in such a manner…” he trailed off, waving for her to elaborate.
“Your listings are correct and accurate. However, there is more to add. My brother,” she went to say when Subole interrupted, “the stories do not speak of you having a brother. There are three males within the family household, your uncle’s son Shunter, Togoya of Gettinger – your aunt, and Sigmand of Sybil – your youngest aunt.”
“Interesting, isn’t it, the lies you have been fed,” she mused back to the council. “The empress carries green scales. No one can verify when she was ever pregnant. Shunter shows up on the scene – rather large and advanced in stages to be a new born when he was brought to the courts for presentation upon being nominated as the heir apparent. No, Shunter is my brother. He was born seven months after my father’s death. My aunt could never have children and they had to figure out how to keep my mother and me quiet. I was supposed to be dead – but that hadn’t happened as they had hoped. Gettinger and Sybil had me smuggled back into the royal compound. Half the court knew before my uncle and McAlister returned that I was alive and my father was dead. My mother lost her scales the day my father died. My uncle, the second eldest and in line for the throne waited for his wife to be implanted with the scales. While they waited, my mother’s pregnancy advanced. At the birth of Shunter, my aunt had still not made an implantation mark and time was growing thin for my uncle to claim his legacy that he had worked so hard for,” she said with disdain. Solomon’s side rippled at the words. “They had a…a specialist come in and put scales on her. They knew that my mother could protest it, with me being alive, so they used Shunter. They so called ‘kidnapped’ him and proclaimed him to be their son. They used him as the excuse for why my aunt had not shown her scales sooner to the council. Due to cultural dictates that the pregnancy and the scale implantation marking of an empress are sacred and not to be witnessed by more than family and her medical practitioner, no one was the wiser that there had been no pregnancy or implantation marking.
The sadistic bastards had a vial put in him so that if my mother or I disobey my uncle, he will break that vial, poisoning my brother. My brother has finished his training in diplomatic proceedings, council work, and the general knowledge he would need for the throne. However, he is still young and naive. He needs guidance. If my uncle was to disappear, he would still need a prime minister to oversee dictates of state until his coming of age ceremony. McAlister is hoping to utilize these coins,” she spread them out before the council to view,” to force my uncle to step down and make McAlister the prime minister. He hopes to use my brother as a puppet leader.”
“Whoa, whoa, wait a minute, alright, this is a bit much to take in. You have a brother, a second heir, who’s already lined up for the throne anyways. The guy you’re contracted with at the moment wants to take over the throne and is using what, a couple coins to do it? Did we drop you on your head when you were put in the shaft jails?” A council leader, a grey haired matron, asked skeptically.
Symone held one of the gold coins up in the air. A shaft of light hit the blue marble in the middle, casting bubbles of light around the stadium. A light murmur of awe rustled across the crowd. “This coin is one of twelve, created by a scientist of the Subgalaxia. This blue center is a chemical compound that is part of the mix used for the cryogenic preservation chambers used to transport the first humans here to the Colga Galaxy. The other part to the compound is a general mix of organic compounds from Helena,” she said as a louder whisper spread again amongst the council members.
“Still, how would that overthrow the empire?” Subole asked.
“When these twelve coins came to be forged – the blue spheres were originally created by combining with the sands of Helena. Helena went through its ten year seasonal change in less than an hour,” she answered. Uproar let out and took Subole the better part of a minute to retain. “The coins, if the spheres are brought together once more, not on Helena, it would be a planet destroyer. Helena has the ability to shift without destroying itself, other planets in this galaxy do not contain such ability,” she continued.
Subole looked dumbfounded. The stadium for once was dead silent. The dawning realization that what the woman sitting in the middle of the stadium was holding was a part to a mass destruction device was overwhelming. “What do you need of us?” Subole gulped.
Togoya dropped in almost from the sky. He came in over the crater’s edge and found a perch right on the ledge of Subole’s seat. “My uncle sent out a nasty little memo that we need some help with,” Togoya squatted down to be eye level with Subole. The Fiws leader retreated, startled by Togoya’s sudden appearance. “Memo?” he asked, confused.
“My uncle…the maniacal, malicious, narcissistic creep that he is, has sent out to his dogs a memo stating that he needs my cousin and I back in the council soon. Apparently, my cousin’s disappearance under McAlister’s retention has him just a bit up in arms. This memo leaves leeway as to the treatment and manner used in obtaining us. We have already had a rather disastrous run in with one of the dogs recently. He goes by the name of Kail. What we need from you is protection, and the readiness to stand your ground if and when a war arises,” Togoya stated matter-of-factly.
“Disasterous?” Subole asked. He was trying to gage the man that was staring at him so intently.
Togoya pointed to Symone. “She was beaten, tortured, and raped under the guard of the emperor’s top naval military. For me, I was just beaten and tortured. Disastrous, I believe, is a rather apt word for it, don’t you, wolf boy?” Togoya questioned the man. Subole blanched, almost throwing up. For the pity of the suns that girl had been through the fires. Then he caught Togoya’s eye, having realized what he had just been called. A growl and a slight change to the jaw escaped before he could restrain himself, revealing that he was not entirely human. “How did you know about that?” he whispered. The rest of the crowd was trying to hear what was going on, but to no avail. “Remember, my cousin might be the top in the Ravenspy assassin’s league, but I’m up there as the top recon man. I can find out anything and everything about you or anyone else for that matter,” he said loudly enough for the crowd to hear and put a bit of fear in them before whispering back to Subole, “You’re an original full blood descendant of the Polaris Brotherhood that came over as stowaways on the Subgalaxia before the destruction of earth. It took work, but I even found that out about you, oh wise leader,” he said smugly before jumping into the stadium and sauntering to his cousin who greeted him by beckoning for him to sit on the cushion next to her. Solomon made room for him, knowing the preciousness of the bond the two royals shared.
“War, what war?” A young male asked, looking almost giddy. He wore a Fiws crest jacket amongst a dozen other peers that all wore the same clothing. He was part of the militia.
“An ensuing war that might take place when I take down my uncle,” Symone said, standing up from her cushion. Solomon rose with her, while Togoya looked on in amusement from the cushion. He was beginning to become fond of the Canto. It was the first time he could remember seeing Solomon openly not wearing a shirt in public, revealing his garish scars from the auction house. Shouts echoed across the stadium as factions began drawing out for supporters and opponents. “I must get the rest of the coins and know that I have people at my back. We must take down the military complex of the current emperor, and I will need men loyal to me and my family when I have done so to put in charge of the political state and as heads in the military. I would like to begin with the implementation of Fiws leaders to be the takeover on Chima, and will find correlating individuals on the other planets to take over their corresponding spheres. Localized governing bodies will help in reestablishing a balanced taxation and benefits program that might return the economic structure to the galaxy without the need for a slavery and oppression based system,” she stated as her hand rested on Solomon’s arm.
A recess was called of the council for the day. They would meet up again in the stadium the next morning. It would allow factions to discuss ideas among themselves and for conclusions and questions to be formed for the next meeting.
Togoya, Symone, and Solomon found themselves walking down one of the corridors of the Fiws, on their way towards Symone’s living quarters. “You sure you want to start this, Sym? You know that once this starts, we have to let it unfold fully. It can’t be some half-assed attempt, because you will be found out and hunted down. Worse will happen to you, and me, and everyone involved then what happened to us with Kail,” he told her, gripping Symone by the shoulders.
Her hands settled on his waist, she rested her forehead against his chest. “I’m sorry for that Togoya, I should have told you about Kail,” she mumbled.
“Yes, you should have,” his hands circled around her, pulling him to her in a hug.
“I started putting my feeds out the night after uncle pushed you to torture me. You should never have had to do that. We both knew that he was evil, but that…no, I knew it was time to start making our move. I have no problem starting this. It’s time,” she told Togoya. She could feel his grip tighten. She knew that he was staring at Solomon. She reluctantly pushed herself away from him. He looked down at her. “Let’s continue this later this evening. Would you excuse me for a while, Sym? I need to discuss a few things with Solomon,” he asked her, motioning her towards her door. She nodded mutely, not sure if there was trouble brewing or not. She let herself in to her sleeping quarters and stood at the door, listening.
“Solomon,” Togoya began, not sure where to start. “Togoya?” Solomon asked the man, confused at what was going on. He decided to wait for the man to gather his thoughts. “So, you’re the bastard child of the King of the Cantos. Did you think you would be able to keep that a secret from Symone, or me?” Togoya asked confrontationally.
“What?” Solomon hissed. This was just madness, king of the Cantos.
“Don’t play dumb pony. I looked into you. I ran your blood against the system. Paternity showed that you are the only living heir of King Zern of the Cantos. Maternity is human,” he told him.
Solomon sank against the wall, human. Togoya analyzed the naked Canto before him. That was not the reaction he had expected of the Canto. A motion for secrecy, belligerence, hostility was what he had expected. Solomon had turned human in front of a man he barely knew, not a typical reaction of the Canto. The culture had terms against open nakedness of the human form. This was a true surprise to Solomon. “You honestly didn’t know? Who raised you?” Togoya pressed. Solomon shook his head. “No, my Uncle Samuel raised me. I’ve never seen my parents. He told me I could only turn half horse because my father had married a human,” Solomon answered him bleakly from the floor.
“Procreated with, might be a better term. King Zern is married to a princess-“
“I know, I know of King Zern and Princess Amidia. Both are full blood Cantos. If you’ve done your research, like you’ve said, you’d know that Cantos only marry once. I cannot be the heir. I’m not Zern’s son,” he told Togoya.
“It’s a typical biological drive to singularly mate. Your mom was your father’s first love, and only love. She died in childbirth, never acknowledged by the Cantos council as his wife – because of her humanity. They deemed you a byproduct of an unusual procreative urge of your father – something against the typical biologic drive to contain within the species. I guess that they had you shipped off to your uncle and your father was put through a ceremonial marriage to Princess Amidia. She cannot receive the title of queen until she bears him a child, which she never will,” Togoya filled in.
“Is this what you wanted to talk to me about, that I’m some bastard royal?” Solomon asked, becoming upset. His world just got turned upside down.
“No, what I wanted to talk to you about was that biologic mating pattern that you Cantos seem to have. I heard that Symone revealed some key feelings for you that I need to ask you to respect and leave alone,” he was sort of beating around the bush. Solomon looked up at him, puzzled. It didn’t take him long for realization to start setting in. He stood up to face Togoya, indignant at the innuendo. “You telling me to stay away from Symone?” Solomon demanded.
“I’m telling you not to copulate with her, at least not until after we get power shifted to her brother. We can’t have her married in your way, not yet. Look, she had a lover once, and her uncle had him murdered and her punished for having someone. Her uncle handed her over to any man, men, sometimes women of the council he was trying to win over. She’s been abused, raped,” Togoya’s stomach turned. He breathed in, “she’s not a gentle individual. She’s headstrong, decisive. She’s admitted something to you that I can openly admit I didn’t think she could ever feel, due to her training, and her treatment. Just, take things slow, if she’ll let you, okay? Remind her not to do anything stupid if she wants her plan to work.” He turned and walked down the hall, leaving Solomon standing in stunned silence, a cool breeze startling him. Solomon was now just a bit disturbed. He was talking about sex with Symone’s cousin…that was just awkward.
He sank back down to the floor, staring at Symone’s door. He had too much to think about now. He had considered Symone as a marriage mate a few times, but he had not thought it that far out. Symone sat on the other side of that door, knowing that Togoya had said all of that for her benefit.
The council was brought back together at the dawn of the new day. Togoya, Symone, and Solomon again were in the middle of the stadium. Subole retained his seat at the head of the stadium and council members had seated themselves. There was a shuffle as Subole called the council to order to begin the process once more.
“I had my contacts in the emperor’s council retrieve this so called ‘memo’,” Subole told the council. He retrieved a thick envelope that he had laid at the side of his chair. From it he pulled a heavy stack of papers. He held up the top leaf. “This would be it, a short sweet letter to these people,” he said, holding up the rest of the stack. Togoya blanched. Symone didn’t even blink. Solomon’s hand settled on her shoulder. “By the sun, Symone, just how many people are after you?” he whispered in her ear. “Depends on how big the font is on those papers,” she hedged.
Subole read off the memo to the council. Her uncle was sending out to his followers, any and all, to watch for Togoya and Isis (Symone) who had disappeared without word. He wanted to know if they were dead or in hiding. If they were alive he wanted to have them returned to the court as soon as possible, by whatever method the capture deemed necessary. There were nine hundred and sixty names listed on the sheets in his hand. Both Togoya and Solomon were thankful that they were sitting.
“We will assist you in taking down your uncle. I believe that it might be essential that we utilize this memo to get you into the courts. Will the council support me on this motion?” Subole asked the council. The majority voted for the motion. The council left the details of the court break-in to Subole.
The group was called to Subole’s meeting chamber. “I have sent out fifteen of my best trackers as of last night to locate and obtain your last missing coins. We need to facilitate a fast, clean movement. It would take nothing for your uncle to find out about the trial and the council meetings we have been holding in the stadium. He has enough satellites around Chima that at least one of them has tracked us already,” he told Symone, handing her the memo envelope. “I have an idea, tell me now if you don’t want to do it. We can find another way,” Subole began. Symone waved for him to proceed. “Go through that list and see who you can con, that you can override, use to get you into your uncle without too much risk to your being,” he looked around the circle, anticipating a reaction.
The room remained pensively silent as they waited for her to scan through the list. “This man, Hubert Kisinger, I can use…” she trailed off. “No, absolutely not, Sym!” Togoya protested. “What’s wrong with Kisinger?” Patch asked. “Symone, you know that sicko, he can’t keep his hands off of you,” Togoya continued. “He’s easily manipulated, Togoya, and…at the very least, I know his weaknesses inside and out,” she smiled cunningly. “I need someone to go with me, someone human, and not you Togoya – that’ll just end in great awkwardness,” she told him before he could volunteer. “Why?” he asked. The group just sat there watching this unfold with the most confused looks on their faces. “A) someone to act as the person turning me over to Kisinger B) my protection, C) he has a kink that I can use to my advantage,” she said without any pretenses. She could feel the rise in body heat suddenly in the room and a distinct shift in the emotional patterns. “K-k-kink?” Rew gulped. That smile she had on her face was probably the most evil thing he had seen of Symone since they began this whole thing. “He gets off on being watched…by other men when he’s with a woman,” she knew she was messing with fire now. This would push some limits, but Kisinger was an easy target, and with another man there as back up, she could guarantee her safety better. All eyes rolled to Solomon. He looked uncomfortable under the pressure but he looked at Symone. “I’ll go with you, Symone,” he said. “Solomon?” Togoya tried to grab his attention. “It’s okay, Togoya, I’ll make sure that she gets to the courts and her brother is put on the throne,” he told her cousin.
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