Lale held the wrists of her former opponent, removing the shards and thus the armor from Dara’s body. Tears formed, only barely escaping Lale’s eyes to fall fresh down her perfect cheeks. Lale stared for a moment at the fruit of her work. She loved her efficiency as a warrior. But the world she wanted to provide must render her skills obsolete.
She wasn’t sure if Fei understood that or even agreed. Her love could still be seen addressing the natives outside the hut. He was the most amazing person she had ever met and the only person she had loved in a romantic way. But their paths may have been very different had they never met.
“Would you like to know a secret?” Lale sniffed, blocking communication between her and Fei as he provided instructions outside. Lale began speaking silently to Dara’s body. “I hated Pratham. The war and senseless killing. I have always hated taking life. Killing is the ultimate failure. I’m unfortunately the best at it. So, I’m sure you can guess how much I’ve failed.” She chuckled through another sniff.
The sight of her greatest talent weighing on her, Lale sobbed to herself. “I don’t know if I can do this anymore. I’m so tired.” She said to the lifeless body. “I promise you. If you have a family. I will take care of them. I won’t let Fei wipe them out. I promise.” Lale said holding Dara’s hand.
Fei entered the hut. She attempted to hide her emotions quickly to no avail. “I apologize. I should have managed the situation better. I promise to do everything in my power to prevent more bloodshed.” Fei said, taking notice of Lale’s struggle. Tapping his wrist together, Fei removed his armor.
“No more hiding. This will not become like Pratham.” He assured her. Fei reached out to comfort his love. The two exited the hut while it dissipated behind them. Lale retrieved the small shard that was their hut and reattached it to her bracelet.
Fei held Dara as they approached the others. “We have traveled far as you know. It would be an honor to visit your residence.” Said Lale. Taking another shard from her bracelet, she tossed it into the air. Her ship molded in midair, engines preparing as silent as the faintest wave of a blade of grass.
“You didn’t think we were going to travel by foot, did you? This planet is quite massive.” Fei joked, attempting to lighten the mood. One by one the 19 soldiers entered the small ship after Fei and Lale. Very limited space made for an uncomfortable transit.
“I’m assuming you do not know coordinates, so which way do we go?” Fei asked as he nuzzled his large frame into the copilot seat. The foremost soldier pointed in the direction. Lale prepare her vessel for departure, as Fei maintain the ships internal temperatures for the unnatural load.
The new group voyaged a great distance to the small stone-built city where the soldiers resided. Passing by great blue waterfalls, lush grass and plains. Fei and Lale shared a look of disbelief, how did they miss the city? A sharp beep alerted the ship’s sensor during their travel.
“Unknown heat signature.” Fei said, reading the information on his side of the panels. The dot highlighting the unknown signature dimmed out before the map of the landscape returned to normal. Lale observed her screen, moving the holograms to check for another life form. “Does your people travel this far out?” Lale asked the group.
The foremost man shook his head. “Must have been a large animal.” Fei concluded. Lale returned the map to their current position and course. She tucked the information in her mind just in case but decided not to dive further into the idea with Fei or the others.
None of the soldier’s spoke for the remainder of the travel, only quiet sniffles as they mourned their comrades’ death. Lale sensed the heavy emotions they carried having lost their symbolic leader.
But Fei truly did not care. In his mind, they had gained so much more, via himself. Lale, believed he wasn’t wrong just hated the route they were forced to take. His lack of empathy worried her, but it was what they both believed allowed him to do what always needed to be done.
Upon their arrival, the villagers scrambled in fear. Rushing into their stone homes. The architecture of the city very poor and unimaginative. Fei turned to address his company. “Before we exit. Inform your village we are here in peace. Assemble the masses near the ship. If you have a plot to resist us. I beg you, please don’t.” Fei politely warned.
The warriors nodded. Filing out of the ship and migrating from home to home, funneling all the citizens into the community grounds in the center of the city. Fei and Lale observed the masses from within the ship. “Rose. Scan the area. I need an accurate count of sapient life.” Lale ordered to her ship.
Waiting for a moment, the duo beheld the monumental structure behind the gathering people. A massive singular column with meager and inefficient supporting beams surrounding it.
“One hundred and fifty. Fifty elderly or not conducive for battle. Fifty children and adolescents. Twenty-five males and females, including the soldiers previously encountered.” Fei reported from the dash screen.
“Hmm. Maybe they are the only militia they have.” Lale commented. “Give me all the information on Prathaman first name, Vanakan.” Fei ordered. The ship took a moment before displaying the requested man’s image in holographic form. “He look familiar to you?” Fei asked. Lale shook her head.
“Maybe he’s come up in Magnus’s old briefings but nothing significant that I can remember.” She responded. “Says he was chief scientist and researcher. Famous for many inventions for war, and most notable work, the co-discovery and adaptation of the Iku with none other than our family friend Councilman Magnus.” Fei read aloud.
“That makes sense. Magnus usually, keeps his important people close to his chest.” Lale added. “Pull up all information on Prathaman first name, Tumakako.” Fei ordered. Another pause, until the graphics produced only words. “No records found?” Lale read.
“That’s odd for a chief researcher to be on an uncharted planet with someone with no database information.” Fei reasoned. Outside the entire city had congregated together. “Rose, save files and send copies to my ship, encryption code 410035, ship name Pride.” Fei commanded. Lale’s ship responded with a few flashes. “Ready to build a new world?” Fei asked with a smile, before planting a kiss on her lips.
“Approach and platform.” Lale instructed. The ship slowly glided over the poorly constructed city wall, lowering just before the population. Lale’s ship dissipated around them, Fei and Lale were completely armored leaving only their faces exposed. The ship disassembled into only a platform barely visible beneath their feet.
The people murmured and huddled together inspecting the unfamiliar faces. “One year.” Lale’s voice broke the dull roar of the crowd. “One year. How have you managed to go undiscovered for this long? We searched so far. But you found us first.” Lale spoke to the people. Fei rested his massive palm in hers. “We have been wandering for a long time. We won’t wander anymore.” She said.
Fei’s hand gently clinched hers. “I promise everything will be fine. We have come to provide. Your true enemy exists beyond your reach. But not ours.” Lale said. The 19 warriors stood lining the foremost part of the crowd. Fei and Lale remained seated.
“People of the planet Tetcht. I honor you now as citizens of a new world. Patrons’ of our joint future.” Lale proclaimed. Fei stood to his feet, the edge of the platform moving to assist his steps.
“I am Fei Zeall of the first planet Pratham, Descendent of Earth. This is Lale of the same origin and the love of my life. We are here to begin a planet of peace. A planet of our design. And a planet worthy of a new race.” Fei surveyed the citizens. Their heart rates almost beat as one. All of them pounding against his senses. He had never felt anything like it before. He wasn’t sure to feel threatened or encouraged by their unity.
“Citizens. Behold! Your royalty. The very beings greater than you.” Fei announced. The warriors slammed their swords into the ground and kneeled before Fei and Lale. Moments passed. Only a few of the citizens followed suit.
“I understand the reluctance. We will not force you to bow or kneel. We are virtuous. I prefer you comprehend our rule of your own volition. It is our desire to work together.” Fei informed the people. A couple more people began to kneel. A smirk crept across his face. “Rise.” Fei held his hand out for Lale to accompany him. Lale approached his side.
“I assure you citizens. Your uncertainty is misplaced. We are the last you need to fear. Fear those who would revolt against us. It is those individuals who would see war on this great planet.” Fei kissed Lale’s hand stepping down stairs the ship provided as he moved. Fei stood before the crowd.
“There is but one grievance. Earlier today.” Lale’s lips quivered. Tears filled her eyes. The water in her eyes reflecting the multicolored silhouette the sunset provided. The visions of the duel flashing in her mind’s eye. “Your militia commander was slain by my hand. For that I offer my deepest regard to you all and specifically those whom I have taken her from.” Lale spoked sorrowfully.
Gasps could be heard from the back of the crowd. Wiping her eyes Lale continued. “I invite her family to be directly addressed. Please come forward.” She offered. The citizens began to part, allowing someone through. Lale could not yet see who was coming. After a moment, a single little blond girl separated from the citizens. The tears in the child’s eyes.
Her damp rosy cheeks complimenting her pale face. Fei looked down at the small child in front of him. “Where is your family child?” He asked. Looking up at him the little girl responded with a soft voice. “There is only me.” She responded through her weeping. Fei waited for Lale’s instruction. Lale struggled to breathe at the sight of the child.
“What is your name?” Fei asked. “Dara, after my mother.” The little girl responded. Lale forced herself to look upon the child. The pain poisoning her heart. She waved the girl forward. Fei picked Dara and put her on the ship’s platform. Lale bended to kiss Dara’s forehead. Holding her hand, she faced her subject’s. “The woman I met today refused to yield. She desired a peaceful Tetcht. I will see to it that her dreams are realized for it is a dream we share. In her honor, she will be revered and bestowed the very first title as Dara the Fearless.” Looking in the child’s eyes she continued.
“I honor you as well. I have taken from you something I cannot replace. But inside you, I see so much more. I implore you to have that same resolve and ferocity as your mother. Oppose any and every threat to Tetcht. You will be the judgement of peace. You will be without sympathy for those who would harm your Sovereign or your Empress. From this day forward I bestow you the title, Dara the Merciless.”
Fei kneeled. The entire crowd knelt before Dara the Merciless. Fei arose briefly before the rest and examined the reaction from the citizens. Their reverence to Dara was not lost on him. As everyone returned to their feet Lale held Dara’s hand tightly.
“The brave men and women whom you see standing before you, came to request our exit with Dara the Fearless. They have my admiration and respect. They did not shirk from their duty, they embraced it knowing their lives were at risk. It is this demonstration of courage that these individuals will be commissioned as guardians of Tetcht. Embodying the spirit of your beloved Vanakan and so they will be named as such. The Vanakan Sentry.” The newly appointed Sentry fell to their knees yet again.
“Um, we didn’t discuss that.” Fei said to Lale through their link. “If this is someone they respect, it would be a good plan to model them after whomever this guy was to them.” Lale reasoned, trying to continue her speech. “Rise.” Lale ordered. Fei returned to Lale’s side. Joining Dara on the ship. The Sentry followed closely by.
All the newly appointed royal figures stood above the citizens. “You may return to your homes and daily lives. Let harmony govern Tetcht and kindness guide our hearts.” Lale said to the crowd. “Rose.” Fei spoke softly. The ship reconstructed into its cubic flight form around the occupants and flew away from the city.