No announcement yet.

Is There No One Else?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Is There No One Else?

    Zel System, Planet Zeltros

    It was unusual for a Hapan ship to be seen outside of Hapan space. The natives of the Hapes Consortium came from an undisputed paradise of the galaxy. There was nothing beyond the Transitory Mists that could possibly be more beautiful, more desirable, than what was just outside their own gilded doors. Particularly the doors of the extremely wealthy and influential. On this day the Express-class ambassadorial shuttle, Firedrake's Wrath had brought to the capitol of planet Zeltros a member of the Hapan Royal House, cousin to Chume Shasati Tel'Kharn and the new Ducha of Gallinore, Lira Terranova. There were circulating rumors about the 'Why?' aspect of the Hapan noblewoman's presence on Zeltros. It was true that many of the galaxies wealthiest chose the planet to seek out luxury vacation accommodations, and that could be what brought the lady out from behind the secrecy of the Mists. Some speculated that she was seeking a non-Hapan mate to provide Gallinore with an heir, as her own mother had done before her. The truth was more complex than either vacationing or seeking out a suitable bed mate. She was on a mission for her queenly cousin, but before traveling further into the much unknown greater galaxy, Lira had decided that she needed someone not native to Hapes to protect her from outside threats to her mission, and her person.

    A Chume'doro captain by the name of Mayra Cor'dante came to kneel before the ornate screen that partitioned the Ducha, from the circular athletic room of the stylish apartment complex where the lady was staying during her time on Zeltros. The apartment was in the name of her cousin and well maintained, but nothing like the luxury she was used to enjoying. Before the two women there was a display of martial prowess in progress as two opponents that had come recommended to her squared off.

    In all honesty, Lira could say that she was not overly impressed with the skills of either man. They were both of a size, well muscled and clearly very strong and powerful from the ham-fisted punches they continued to pummel each other with, yet that was not what Lira was looking for. She did not know what she was looking for, only that she had not yet seen it.

    "Dismiss them as well, captain. They are not fit to kiss the sole of my slipper, let alone see to my continued health and safety on the journey to Ruusan."

    "At once, my ducha." The Chume'doro captain pressed a fist to her heart and rose, ousting both of the brawlers from the room before her ducha was further offended by their ineptitude.

    "It seems I will be relying on you further, Captain Cor'dante. The males of the galaxy are not nearly as impressive as our own female fighting force. I think you could have taken them both apart in a matter of seconds."

    "Yes, my lady." The assumption by the ducha was correct.

    What a waste of a day..

    "Is there no one else?" Captain Cor'dante called to the other Chume'doro stationed just outside the room, keeping their ducha safe in her scheme to find an off world protector..
    Last edited by Lira Terranova; 12-28-2014, 01:01 PM.

  • #2
    Young man after young man went into the chamber only to come out disappointed. Many strong looking types, muscular, thick, toned. The kind that one knew could cause significant damage with one blow. They were also slow, telegraphed their movements, and only knew how to throw one or two types of punches. These could not possibly be relied upon to act as a protector for anyone of significance. Paladin had only just heard about the opening, and since he was in serious need of steady employment, he decided it was in his best interest to sober up. The smell of alcohol was still on his breath, and his clothes reaked of the pungent odor which came from the various cantinas and clubs on Zeltros. The disgraced Echani had been living as such since the one he had been entrusted to protect perished and he had lived.

    "There is only one other," a voice returned the answer. "An Echani by the looks of him. Shall I send him in?"

    Paladin listened to the interchange. Though his eyes watched the movements. Humans, near humans, non-humans, gave so much away that books could be written. Paladin knew he would be invited in. The non verbal communications from each individual told him the position had not been filled as of yet. The Echani leaned against the wall, waiting to be called upon.


    • #3
      Whether anyone else waited beyond was anyone's guess. Captain Cor'dante certainly hoped so, as no one near acceptable had yet been seen.

      This morning had been graced by a number of famous prize fighters, who had come to Zeltros to lavishly spend their winnings, but who were also looking for the next easy job. She did not approve of the way they had strained to see behind the scroll work screen that gave her lady a measure of privacy. They were scoundrels, not protectors.

      There had been some off-duty officers, each from some other diverse branch of the divided galaxy's fighting forces. While their skills were unarguably superior to the prize fighters, showcasing their years of training and discipline, they were more interested in continuing the fight with each other, than protecting the Ducha of Gallinore. Their exhibitions all degenerating into grudge matches with each other. Their attention was not focused on her lady.

      Others had come. Recommended names that would swear Ducha Terranova their service - for a contracted price. This was where Captain Cor'dante hoped the young ducha placed her trust. They came with reputations as being very capable for this sort of work, and while their contracts were quite costly, the ducha held the wealth of Gallinore at her fingertips, as well as the favor of the Queen Mother of Hapes. The ducha had sent them away with her gratitude all the same. When they had gone, Ducha Terranova had confided that she trusted them the least. Saying, that they were the sort of people who had fought on the wrong side of the recent dispute for Hapes, paid to do so by people like Lira's own departed mother...

      "My lady's interest in this endeavor is waning.", the captain returned.

      The ducha, behind her screen, held up a bejewled hand. "If this Echani knows how to duel with a blastsword I will see him. If not, we are done. Captain Cor'dante - you may oppose him, if he does."

      A gleam of pride curved the lips of the Chume'doro captain. Yes, she would be only too happy to show the ducha that she had no need for the leavings of the galaxy. The Hapan Royal Guard was all the protection she needed...

      "Yes, my ducha."


      • #4
        "She will see you if you can duel with a blastsword. If not, then you can be on your way."

        There was much arrogance in the statement. Like his own culture the woman were skilled in combat, but these guards seemed to exude a pride that was far beyond any he had seen before. A point needed to be proven, and a lesson taught. He knew the challenge would not see him sent away. If anything curious minds would want to see if it was possible.

        His booted feet carried him into the doors without any aknowledgement that he should enter. Dressed in black from head to toe, the only color which contrasted the nothing was that of his white locks which fell past his shoukders, and the steely cold of his blue orbs, a gift from his halfbreed father.

        "I promise I can perform what I have spoken," his smooth voice carried through the room as he came to a stop. "I am Echani, I do not often use words, but when I do, they have been well chosen."


        • #5
          There was a reason why Lira had chosen the blastsword as the last weapons demonstration of the day. Of all of the various weapons of the galaxy, whether within the Mists, or without, this was one she knew something about personally. It was the favored weapon of the Adumari nobility, of which her father had been a peer. He had been a famous duelist, and her lady mother had become quite romantically fascinated with him. Not only had his skill with the blade been most impressive, but it was true that he had been a very handsome man indeed, and Hapans above all else revered beauty. Her mother had desired him, and that had been that. From that noble pairing, Lira Terranova had been born, matriarchal heiress of the previous Ducha of Gallinore.

          Both of her parents were dead now, and Shasati was the only family she had left..

          The blastsword was a complex weapon, even in appearance. The hilt concealed a power cell, and had a curved blastguard to protect the hand, for it was both blade and blaster. The blade itself was at least a meter long, and the hilt made a good bludgeon. Which was against the rules of fair play, as Lira was given to understand. The nobility of Adumar were very clear on the subject of what was permitted in a legitimate duel. Also, a noble's blade was outfitted to stun only, rather than loose a killing blaster bolt. Which was exactly how those belonging to the staff of Ducha Terranova were equipped.

          The Echani came into the room. At first Lira was quite speechless. She was not sure what she had been expecting, but not him. He did not await her leave to enter, or to speak. Lira was not personally offended, but her ladies would be, on her behalf. For herself, Lira rather admired the boldness. The males of Hapes were a sight to behold, but for generations they had lived among a society of powerful women to whom they were no more than appealing breeders. Second-class citizens at best, some had arisen to places of honor within the ranks of the Hapan Royal Fleet, or among the Chume'doro. However - they all took their orders directly from female commanding officers. Like Captain Cor'dante.

          The Echani was different, though his promise was simple enough. And Lira did enjoy a good blastsword duel.

          Behind the screen, Ducha Terranova spoke up. "Give him a weapon, captain."

          For a moment, there was a bit of a hush. A pause in time, as if someone would have given the young ducha other counsel in this situation. Yet none of them spoke, they were also trained not to question her judgement. Especially not in front of strangers. Captain Cor'dante came forward a second later to retrieve the weapons, and bring one hilt first to the Echani. She then retreated to her mark, brandishing the well-balanced weapon with a flourish that should have been difficult, given the size of the blastsword, before bowing toward the screen. "For you, my ducha.", she promised.

          Around the room, several knowing Hapan smiles bloomed, already tasting their victory as their captain fell into position, ready for the ducha to give the word.

          Behind her screen, one pair of steady aquamarine eyes watched the Echani, making a study of him. He looked like..something out of a tale of the days when the Cluster was ruled over by pirates. Pirates who stole only the loveliest of prizes for their brides, forever changing the gene pool of the Hapans. Now Hapans only made beautiful daughters, and sons. She watched him intently, not only for his skill as a duelist, which of course intrigued her, but also the man himself. How would he move? How would he make his decisions in the match before him? For the Adumari, dueling was a point of honor, but she knew nothing of this man, or his honor. Not yet.



          • #6
            Arrogance was very much on display from the female guards. Every movement, subtle or otherwise, was full of it. Paladin only nodded to the captain, with no regard to the woman behind the veil. If she wanted to be separated from the combat, then she would remain separated from the combatants until the bought was over. The white haird man made no flashy demonstration of skill, or a flourish of the large, impractical weapon.

            The weapon was foreign to him, though he was a quick study. He could learn its use by watching the opponent weild it. This meant the battle began with him dodging most of what the Hapan captain had charged with. She would tire, and was beginning to do so already as the weight of the weapon was affecting her stamina. The blastsword in Paladin's hand never lifted as he stepped to the right, back, ducked, spun, and made a fool out of the captain. Her back was to him now, and the Echani simply kicked her behind. This only served to enrage the combatant as a wide sweep of the sword came directed for his midsection. Steeping into the attack, Pladain swept with his blade and raised the weapon of his opponent, and with a free hand, attacked her grip. Removing the weapon from her, the Echani stabbed forward with both blades, activating the stun feature, winning the bought without breaking as much as a sweat.

            "Combat is my language, captain. Remeber that next time."


            • #7
              Scooting forward upon her cushioned seat. Ducha Terranova watched the match unfold. The obstacle of the ornate, slatted screen becoming truly bothersome for the first time that day. Even so, the first thing Lira took note of was that the Echani did not fall into a stance like any duelist she had ever seen, and she had seen many. In fact, she would swear it was a bluff on his part, he did not in fact know how to duel with a blastsword. She canted her head to watch him further, as he made it look remarkably easy to side step and dance around Captain Cor'dante's attack. Which she knew was not true, the captain was an accomplished swordswoman, and a courageous decorated officer of the Chume's Royal Guard. Despite this, the Echani still managed to enraged the captain, tiring her out quickly. The high contrast colors of his dark clothing, and his white hair held the ducha's gaze right up until the last moments, as her most capable officer was stunned with blasts from both weapons, and slumped to the floor in a very pretty Hapan sprawl, looking gorgeous even in defeat.

              The ducha's eyes were drawn from her stunned captain to the man's spoken warning as he stood over her, having proved a point of some kind.. Combat his language. Yes, she had heard that about his people. Actually what she had heard was that combat was both language, and art to the Echani. It had been very well coordinated. An artist then..

              Before anyone else could move to attempt to disarm the man who had just felled their captain, Ducha Terranova spoke up.

              "Leave us... Someone take Captain Cor'dante to recover herself and have her join me again when she has."

              There was no protesting the authority in her tone.

              At once several other ladies in military uniform moved to do her bidding. Two of them worked together to wrap the captain's arms around their shoulders and carry her from the room. The others ushered them along, and then it was just the two of them. The Echani stood still armed in the middle of the room, and the Ducha of Gallinore seated, behind her privacy screen.

              When they were alone, the first thing she did was consider what else she needed to know, then rose.

              "That was quite a display.", she commented, stepping to the edge of the screen, still just out of sight. " are no blastsword duelist though."
              Last edited by Razielle Van-Derveld; 12-31-2014, 02:38 PM.


              • #8
                "You did not say I had to be a blastsword duelist, just that I had to know how to duel with a blastsword. I believe I demonstrated that I can duel with blastsword in hand."

                His response pointed out why Echani preferred communication through motion and battle as opposed to using words. Spoken language had too much double meaning. It was not precise. Motion and action was very precise. They could not be mistaken.

                Paladin set weapons down. He no longer wished to hold them. Bright blue orbs looked over the Ducha noting the subtlety of her movements. She was intrigued, curious, desirous in some sense. Would the blasted curtain be removed to show more than just a silhouette Paladin would be able to discern more. Words would have to suffice for now.

                "I am not a blastsword duelist. The staff is my weapon of choice, as is it with the majority of my race. If you require a demonstration, I shall oblige. Though I have done what was required, and based on what I have observed from those leaving, I am the only one that has been able to impress you."

                His words carried little emotion or fluctuation. What he wanted to emphasize was done through movement, though the Ducha was likely not able to pick up on it. The only thing which mattered to the disgraced Echani was whether he had received a new means of employment or not.


                • #9
                  Unseen, Lira nodded a little smile at the honest truth of it. She had said exactly that, that he should be able do duel with a blastsword. He had not only proven that he could, he had won quickly, efficiently, flawlessly. That did not mean that he was the right man for the job however. She would require more information before she could give her consent to such a thing. He was not a blastsword duelist. That much was true. However Lira was not looking for a blastsword duelist. If she were she would now be on Adumar, not on Zeltros.

                  "Do not think to overestimate the impression you have made, sir. You stunned my captain, very good. Perhaps this will cause me no end of grief? What if her subordinates think they can undermine her now that she has been so humiliated? I could have an uprising on my hands now because you desired to make a point. I require someone who can be politic."

                  "If you are considered, the only desires that matter until the end of your contract are my desires."

                  Without further postponement, the Ducha of Gallinore stepped into view, coming around the screen to walk down the steps toward the Echani. Stopping just shy of him she looked upward, scrutinzing him further.

                  "Can you handle that?"


                  • #10
                    "I would not presume to overestimate my impression. It is impossible not to when the movements of your body tell me exactly what you think."

                    Paladin did not know how that response would be taken, but it was not the subordinate answer one would expect to hear from one seeking employment from a royal, especially a Hapan woman. Rumor of their beauty had reached the ears of the the Echani male, but he had never met any of their women. Perhaps that was the reason for the veil, the beauty was too much to be seen. Paladin highly doubted that though.

                    Her speech, commands, were something Paladin decided he could tolerate. The matriarchal society of the Hapan world would not see this woman treating him as an equal. The fact he sought to work for her would not see it either, but she was the only one he would tolerate condescension from. He was about to answer her, when she stepped from behind the veil. In that moment he decided his eyes had never seen such beauty. Paladin now understood how it had been some Echani could seek the intimate comforts of woman who were of another race. The thought was quickly pushed aside. She demanded an answer.

                    "I will work directly for you, no one else. Your captain's ego will be bruised, but she seems capable enough to keep her subordinates in line. What matters most is that I do the job, meaning your safety is my primary concern. If your desires conflict with that objective then you may find yourself wishing I were more like the males of your race."


                    • #11
                      The movements of her body? Hmm..

                      Ducha Terranova considered that for a moment. What did her body language say? If she had been disinterested she would have remained seated behind the screen. Instead she had not only risen, she had come around the carved structure and revealed herself to the Echani. The Ducha supposed all that said quite a bit actually. So now, not only had this man disarmed and defeated her captain, he had taught her something valuable. How very singular!

                      "You are right about the captain. She is much respected, she will not fall out of step over this. I do require that you consider the consequences of actions before making them though."

                      The ducha's reserved, yet pleasant expression turned a touch sour suddenly. Leaning forward she delicately sniffed and then openly frowned at the Echani. "Are you drunk, sir?"


                      • #12
                        "Drunk," he asked quirking a brow. "Never once, Ducha."

                        Paladin drank, but never to the point of drunkenness. It ruined a man, made him less than what he was, or so he believed. There was an old saying that those with needless bruises and sleepless eyes were those given to too much wine. Paladin refused to be that kind of man. She must have smelled the cantina on him. The place had been full of more than just alcohol. It was a wonder booze was all she smelled.

                        "I can assure you, it is simply the remains of the cantina I had found your advertisement in."

                        He nodded his head in a bow.


                        • #13
                          Ducha Terranova's aquamarine gaze looked skeptical. While his balance was not impaired, and though she was no patron of such establishments as cantinas herself, her imagination told her that he definitely smelled like one.

                          Careful of her body language this time, she made sure to hold still while she squared off against this Echani, seeing if he was someone who she could trust, but also someone she could keep in hand if she must. Lira felt rather like a duelist herself just then, watching her opponent for his moves..

                          "Well, I cannot allow someone in my employ, most especially someone being charged with my protection, to hang about in cantinas. I'm sure you understand."

                          Arching her head back, despite the high collar of her dress, the ducha quite brazenly took the Echani's measure, down to his feet and back up again.

                          "I imagine you clean up well though. As to the other requirements... I shall wait to make my judgement for now."

                          At that moment, Captain Cor'dante was admitted to the room, as per the ducha's prior instructions. The captain did not look at pleased that the Echani was alone with her ducha, but knew better than to make a comment about it. Instead she came forward and bowed to the ducha.

                          "My ducha, please forgive me.", the captain hung her head, ashamed at her own defeat.

                          "There is nothing to forgive. You did all that was required of you, and also managed to test yourself against another fighting style today. You please me well, captain."

                          Still motionless, apart from the light blue of her eyes, Ducha Terranova regarded the Echani inquisitively. "Captain... take our guest to refresh himself, and then bring him back to me to take lunch. I will have more questions then."

                          Lira waited until all of them were in motion before speaking once more. "One final question for now? What is your name, sir?"
                          Last edited by Lira Terranova; 01-04-2015, 02:04 AM.


                          • #14
                            He could tell her that Echani studied the most subtle of movements and conversed without words. Paladin thought better of it. He needed the work, so the man just nodded when he was told no more bars. Paladin also nodded when the captain returned. She had been embarrassed, but wore it well. Her posture was more of concern that her Ducha was not pleased, which turned to relief at her words, though it was subtle.

                            "Paladin," he said as he was led off to the fresher.

                            It had not taken him long to clean himself, though much of the delay was his clothes being cleaned. He insisted on wearing them. If he was to be a guard, he wanted to stand out as such. Everything made a statement. His black clothes and contrast of the white hair was a trademark he felt was his, and that of his twin, who followed other pursuits.

                            It was then a flicker of red caught his attention, long before the alarm itself rang. That was why he had been able to react so quickly to reach the Ducha first. She was in the chamber where the interview had been conducted, alone. Where were the guards? No matter. It was time to go.

                            "My Ducha, we need to leave, now! Telll your captain to flee to your vessel as decoy. You're leaving Zeltros on mine."


                            • #15
                              Ducha Terranova did not move so much as an embroidered satin shoe, until the Echani was gone. If she was seriously considering hiring the man to do the job she sought someone for, to keep her safe during her travels on the Chume's business, she was going to have to polish up on what she knew of the Echani people. She did not appreciate being at a disadvantage, ever.. Although, the new perspective on body language would be a new challenge to over come in his presence, and perhaps give her an edge in future diplomatic settings.

                              "Paladin..", she tested his name on her lips, but only after she was alone.

                              After ordering up a small lunch of Hapan cuisine from the cook who had traveled with her, Ducha Terranova sat awaiting her dining companion for lunch. She had thought of some more pertinent things to ask him regarding his past and experience. What disturbed her most about this whole endeavor was that she was purchasing a guarantee of her safety from someone she did not know. Paladin the Echani, insofar as she knew, had no idea the troubles going on beyond the Transitory Mists at present. He knew nothing of Gallinore, or the Heritage Council, or countless other threats that loomed around her. More to the point, he had no reason to care. She would feel much safer in the protection of someone she knew and trusted. Someone who cared what happened to her...

                              There was no one else...

                              Suddenly, the object of her consideration came bursting into the room, issuing orders at her. Clearly he was misunderstanding the situation here...

                              "Why ever would I do such a thing?", she wrinkled her nose into a frown. The apartment was in Shasati's name, and it was in a wealthy district of the Zeltros capitol. There should be no reason for alarm...

                              Leave on his ship with him, indeed.

                              Instantly suspicious, the ducha took a step backward as a thought suddenly occurred to her. He could be one of them! An assassin hired by the Heritage Council! Or a pirate! And here she was about to have some bliz eggs and tea sandwiches with him?!

                              Ducha Terranova gave a squeak of fright, and then made a run for it...