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Science Fiction Adventure Fantasy

Pacing across the marble entrance hall of the Moonminster Embassy in Nightborne, Kaelia waited for Zaivro to return from his late morning run. They’d both been itching to get out of the embassy since they’d arrived in Nightborne, but the embassy’s rules had restricted so much of their freedom. When the administrator had finally given in to their persistent requests and allowed them to go out for up to half an hour doing ‘exercise’, Zaivro had taken the opportunity to get out. Well, so he’d told the administrator. In reality, Zaivro had indeed gone for a run, but to personally deliver a letter to the Liege’s mansion requesting an audience with the High Liege; with the leader of the country. They were both aware of the risks for them in this country so Zaivro better come back soon or Kaelia would go retrieve him herself.


The journey to Nightborne had been tense, they had both known what task lay ahead of them. They needed to convince the High Liege to declare surrender, which was unlikely, or peace between their two countries; Moonminster and Nightborne. The two countries had been at war for over a decade along with seven of the other surrounding countries. Four had ‘fallen’, declaring surrender, but secretly trying to raise forces, and forming an allegiance that Nightborne was yet to join. Among the fallen countries, Nightborne was gaining the most strength and the fallen countries need to ally with each other if they were to have any chance at overpowering Frostfort’s mission of conquest and genocide. Each country claimed preference to one of the six species across the planet, and while Frostfort had once been a safe haven for any race or species, it had become a death trap, claiming thousands of lives in the name of conquest. 


Stirring her thoughts from the tense journey, a hand clasped Kaelia’s shoulder,

“Any news of Frostfort’s movements?” It was Zaivro.

“None at all Z. Letter delivered?” He nodded in confirmation before heading upstairs to change out of his outer clothing. She followed him upstairs into their wing of the embassy. If it was up to them, they would have just walked right into the Liege’s mansion and talked right then, but as the global and national laws went, it required them to politely request an audience with the Liege and patiently await their reply. Kaelia was itching to get out of the embassy, but Zaivro had already overstepped their restrictions for today so she wasn’t allowed to go out. If only.


~~~


“Stop pacing Kaelia, you’re making me tense.”

“I’m sorry, Zaivro. But maybe I can’t help it since I’ve been stuck in this ‘prison’ for the past forty-nine hours.” Zaivro sighed, and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Look I understand staying here is making you stressed, but it’s for our own good. There are so many people out there in this city, in this country that are out to get us because of the things that our kingdom did years ago, but for-”

“YOU THINK I DON’T KNOW THAT ZAIVRO??” Stalking over to him she seethed, “Every moment of every day I am reminded of that, ‘you’re not allowed to do that Kaelia’, ‘don’t anger the citizens Kaelia’, ‘DON’T HAVE A LIFE KAELIA’. I am sick of all these rules and restrictions. I know they are to protect us, but sometimes I just wish they had a little more faith in us that we could have some common sense. We were trained to protect ourselves, so what’s the point of keeping us guarded to the teeth with no freedom to even walk the streets?” Zaivro sighed again.

“How about we go out, Kaelia? Go explore the streets of the city we are allying with?” She stammered… Where did this change of attitude come from? “Even though I went out this morning I still feel trapped. You know we could just give the guards the slip. We could go to the market? I heard it’s amazing at this time of year, it’s the peak of their trading season.”

“For one, since when did you ever go against the rules like that? Two; slipping past the guards would be easy, but getting out of the trouble afterwards might be difficult. And three? Where did all your knowledge of their trading, tourism and markets come from?” Zaivro gave her a sheepish look. “You didn’t, did you-” Kaelia slapped him on the shoulder before stalking out and calling over her shoulder, “Jerk.” Zaivro chuckled.

“I’ll see you by the back gate in ten minutes. Be ready.” He grinned and pushed through the opposite doorway to his room. Kaelia grinned and slipped into her room to prepare herself for their trip to the market.


~~~


Strolling through the wrought iron gates to the market district, Kaelia and Zaivro were heavily armed beneath their concealing dark cloaks. The pair slipped through the old warehouse’s doors before them, inside revealed shelves upon shelves of Nightborne’s technology and gadgets. Looking like rich market patrons, the pair tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. Or so they told themselves, in reality, their faces made them look like children in a toy store, gazing in awe at the amassed products lining the stainless steel shelves that were limned by blue neon stips. The high-tech, immaculate interior was much different from the outer appearance from the streets; some ramshackle warehouses with wrought iron fencing around its perimeter. They had entered from the ‘Gadgets and Utilities’ side of the district, not particularly wanting to risk eating food from strangers in a foreign country from the ‘Food and Produce’ portion of the market and being fascinated in what foreign technologies lay in this progressive nation. 


Technologies from their wildest dreams and beyond stocked the endless shelves before Kaelia and Zaivro, and she couldn’t help but think of the things that Moonminster and all the other fallen countries could do with technology like this. The ways that they could use the technology to suppress Frostfort’s influence over the planet. There were spherical orbs with spinning rings surrounding them hovering over the shelves to their left, metallic boots with secret compartments lined another shelf further down the aisle and communication and research devices of all shapes and sizes lined the shelves to their right. To top it all off, there were small fairies and sylphs floated above all six-foot shelves, carrying messages and products from vendor to vendor and from vendor to customer. The airways above their heads contained sylphs and fairies from regions all over the planet, enslaved under Nightborne’s rule for labour and communication services. 


Walking over to the nearest shelf, Kaelia examined the whizzing rings of the spherical contraption. What did it do? How did it hover over the shelf like that? Did they have hover cars or scooters, trams, trains or bicycles as well? Did the rings spin by themselves? The endless questions whizzed around her head as fast as the rings and loops of the contraption before her. Beckoning Zaivro over, Kaelia murmured in wonder,

“Woah. Look at this, Z! What do you think it does?” Before Zaivro could respond, a high-pitched voice sounded from behind them.

“It’s an Imbroglio Sphere 3000. The latest model you can get for playing Imbroglio! It has all the capabilities for the official rules of Imbroglio as well as an updated user interface and-” The fairy’s voice faded into the back of Kaelia’s mind as she examined the contraption before her. What was Imbroglio? It sounded like a game, but how could this technology be used for it? Reaching out to touch the sphere before her, Kaelia was in a trance. “Hey! You can’t touch that!” The fairy slapped her hand away in objection, bringing Kaelia back into the present.

“Oh. Sorry,” she muttered.

“As I was saying,” the fairy said pointedly. “This is the standard sphere for Imbroglio, whether you want to play professionally or not. But by the look of her face, I assume you’re not local.” Looking up to the fairy, she suddenly realised how pretty the fairy was. With delicate facial features, glittering gossamer wings and a loose pale pink dress, the fairy was much gentler to the eyes than the harsh colours of the neon blue strips and stainless steel shelves around them. Answering for both of them, Zaivro carefully answered,

“We kind of are, just... Isolated a bit from everyone else.” The fairy gasped.

“You’re not one of the forbidden, are you?!” Her eyes were wide with horror, “Oh no, no, no. What if the Master finds out? I will be punished! No! Faye must punish herself, Master will not punish Faye if Faye does it herself.” Concern lacing her words, Kaelia spoke up,

“No, don’t do that, Faye! We’re not some of the ‘forbidden’, whatever they are, just we live out of town, in the rural areas of the country so we don’t know many people here in the city. We just came in for some business with the Liege.” The half-lie slipped from Kaelia’s mouth as easily as it had been to become entranced by the technology in the first place. “Is Imbroglio a sport?”

“Yes, it is a sport that you play using this ball. It is a very confusing sport with many rules, but once you play it is very entertaining. You should try it sometime.” After a few small explanations and reassurance that Faye the fairy would not punish herself for helping them, Kaelia and Zaivro strode on towards the double doors into the next warehouse.


The next warehouse revealed an explosion of colours, fabrics and patterns from all over the planet and the solar system all converging in the one vicinity. The goods were much less chronological than the stainless steel shelves from before, but it was organised all the same. There were three main aisles down the rectangular warehouse for customers to walk through, with stores on either side and stores lining the rim of the building. Each store had its own vendor, and its own area marked out on the natural basalt floors in fluorescent spray paint. Taking in the overwhelming bursts of colour, and the wings of fairies and wisps of sylphs overhead, Kaelia scanned her gaze over the whole room. 


Something black flashed across the corner of Kaelia’s vision. She spun on her heel to the corner behind her where she’d seen it.

“What was that? Zaivro.” She hissed, “Zaivro did you see that?”

“Um, what?”

“Ugh, nevermind.”

Keeping alert, Kaelia followed Zaivro as he advanced further into the warehouse. Another flash of black slipped into the throng of colour on her left. What was it? It looked like a black cloak, or someone’s clothing. But why did it stand out to her? Was she just paranoid?


Sensing the blow seconds before it hit, Kaelia whirled around and met the striking blade with her own. Flicking her wrist, she disposed of the cloaked figure’s sword.

“Who are you and what do you want?” The figure remained silent. Kaelia hissed, if they wanted to remain silent, so be it. Taking in his clothing, Kaelia noted the burgundy stripe down the side of its pants and the same coloured lining inside the cloak. Was it a uniform? Before she could think about it further, she heard Zaivro grunt beside her. Glancing back, she saw another cloaked figure sparring with him as another came towards her. Where did these people come from? What did they want from them? She didn’t know who they were but she didn’t want to provoke further discontent between the two countries by killing them, especially before they even had the opportunity to meet with the Liege, so she did as she had been trained to and knocked them unconscious, and no further. From the thuds behind her, she knew Zaivro was doing the same. 


Knocking another cloaked figure out cold with the pommel of her sword, Kaelia swivelled, swinging her sword where another’s head used to be but the figure twisted away. She caught a flash of a burgundy crest adorned with night-blue berries and small white flowers; the plant of nightshade. What could the crest mean? Knocking out the final figure, Kaelia turned to face Zaivro.

“So… What should we do?”

“Maybe… Gee, I don’t know, get out of here?” Zaivro chuckled and she rolled her eyes.

“Sounds like a plan.” Turning on her heel, Kaelia stalked out of the warehouse, turning her back on the stares of the crowd forming in the ‘Clothing and Fabric’ warehouse of the market. She heard Zaivro talk to the nearby vendors and told them in his half-fluent Nightborne tongue as she left before he followed her out of the warehouse.

“Fo, tsif gho muc mirt. Gozc... Gozc imkumhuoz.” Which translated to; ‘No, they are not dead. Just unconscious.”


She didn’t care about the uniformed figures lying unconscious in the middle of the market, or the stares from the market-goers as the cloaked figures attacked them, or the guards that had been notified and came to escort them back to the embassy. No. She didn’t care about any of that, the only thing that she could think of as she and Zaivro walked back to the embassy flanked by guards, was the crest on the figures’ uniforms. She knew the emblem, yet she couldn’t recall where from. What foreign organisations did she know that had such a fancy crest adorned with Nightshade? It wasn’t from Moonminster, so from where?

Ignoring the receptionist and the guards, Kaelia stalked up to her rooms. As usual, when they tried to do something remotely entertaining, something went wrong. Always. Kaelia huffed and chucked her boots into the corner of the room, before flopping onto her bed. Hearing Zaivro’s footfalls outside her door, Kaelia rolled her eyes.

“I’m fine, Z. Leave me alone, I don’t feel like talking.” Zaivro eased open the door a fraction, his eyes peeping through the gap.

“Well, I do.” Kaelia scowled as he slipped through the doorway. “And, I bring news.”

Kaelia pushed up on her elbows, so she was sitting against the bedhead and looking up at Zaivro standing beside her bed. 

“Well for one, I don’t feel like talking at all. And two, what in the world could you possibly have news about after we just returned from being attacked at a local market?”

Well for one,” Zaivro imitated, earning a slap from Kaelia. “I’m not giving you a choice right now, because our letter was returned to us with one word written at the bottom. ‘N-O’ in big capital letters.” Kaelia scowled again. What a way to ‘lighten’ her mood.

“Well you’ve brought your news, so you can leave now.” Zaivro chuckled again. Jerk.

“I’ve also been informed to tell you that we should lay low in the embassy for a while, and not take any ‘excursions’ out of the embassy walls.” Kaelia grinned.

“Okay, Z. We’ll stay right here and be good little obedient ambassadors.” She shot a grin up at Zaivro who was still standing above her.

“Hey, can I sit down?” Before she could respond, a soft knock sounded at her door. One of the servants slipped a letter under the door,

“A letter just arrived for Kaelia Lunaire and Zaivro Lunallion from the royal mansion.”

“Thank you, Kate.” Of course, Zaivro knew all the servants’ names already.

Zaivro walked over to the door and picked up the letter.

“Royal seal, no signs of tampering. Seems legit.”

“Right. Bring it here, Z. I want to see it too.”

Zaivro grinned and slid his finger under the seal as he walked over. He sat down on the edge of the bed beside her and put the letter in between them.


~~~


From the High Liege; Trystin Cartensen

Date: 45/100/19576


For Kaelia Lunaire and Zaivro Lunallion of Moonminster, in residence at The Moonminster Embassy, Nightborne.


I understand that by the mailing service, you would not have seen my previous reply until prior to reading this hand-delivered message. However, my previous answer regarding this matter still stands. I do not wish to meet with you. You have proven yourselves both capable, responsible AND worthy so I will grant you what you wish. Moonminster clearly has established training programs through what my guards have told me of your skills. 


You have proven that not only are you capable warriors, but responsible ambassadors that do not spill blood unless absolutely necessary, and even then, decided to knock my guards unconscious rather than kill them. I regret to admit that the attack you dealt with this afternoon was planned, but I did so to make sure that you were capable. Do forgive me. 


I know you came here to seek allegiance with my country, Nightborne, and allegiance is what you shall receive. Nightborne will stand with Moonminster and the fallen against Frostfort in the upcoming siege on Frostfort’s walls. You may take your leave from Nightborne and inform your country of this progression.


Kind Regards,

Trystin Cartensen, the High Liege of Nightborne


~~~


Kaelia turned to Zaivro and grinned. Zairvo smirked at her. 

“I thought I recognised the crest on their uniforms but I didn’t know from where. Now it makes sense; it’s the royal emblem. I can’t believe I didn’t recognise it!”

“There was a crest on their clothing?”

“Yes. There was, idiot.” Kaelia smirked and gave Zaivro a hug. “We can go home now,” she whispered into his arm.

“Yes, we can.”


They had come expecting to argue and barter for allegiance from the High Liege, expected to verbally fight for their allegiance. Little had they known that the High Liege had something else planned for them, something to assure him that they were worthy. They had proven themselves worthy in the High Liege’s eyes and it gave Kaelia a great sense of accomplishment. They had quite literally ended up ‘fighting’ for their allegiance. And won.


November 14, 2020 04:53

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2 comments

06:09 Nov 15, 2020

First things first, I liked all the alien tech, it reminds me of one of my favourite shows. I enjoyed the dialogue between Zaivro and Kaelia, and the plot in general. There's a couple of grammatical mistakes: [Slaking over to him she seethed] Ik u know this one already [Keeping weary] I'm pretty sure Kaelia doesn't want to be 'keeping weary' ;) That's an easy fix. [As usual, when they try to do something remotely entertaining, something goes wrong.] I believe this should be in the past tense? {As usual, when they tried to do some...

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06:14 Nov 15, 2020

Ahh okay, I'll fix that up. Thank you!

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