Wall (sci-fi?)

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Wall (sci-fi?)

Post by B.D.__Wether on Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:57 pm

Hey so this is a story I have been working on for a while... feel free to tell me what you think!

Chapter One


Maahk Furie’s bright blue eyes searched the dark corridor in front of him desperately. It was so sickeningly quiet, yet he could hear his heart beating deep within his small chest. Dark shadows danced aimlessly on the walls, looking for nothing, searching in fear. The soldiers. He had to hide. No, don’t run, they’ll hear you. He gazed at the bundle he held. They couldn’t get her. Ever. The shadows faded, and Maahk took the time to dash in a small corner between the great statues that lined the dark hallways. His blue eyes snapped shut. He would not open them; they were so dry and tired. His young brain raced with fear and dreamlike nervousness. He tried not to remember, but the memories flooded in. Scenes one his age should never see replayed within his head.
In his eyes, blocking his vision. Blood. It was everywhere.
On the floor, the oak desk, the pens, papers… on the murderer’s long studded knife. His father’s lifeless body bent on the desk felt like a kick in the stomach. The man grinned evilly, thinking of all the things he could to torture the rest of the small boy’s rich family. He cackled at the sight of the frightened boy and the fainted girl. Blinking back into real life, Maahk’s eyes fixed on the giant murals and statues that lined the Great Hall, telling a well known story. He’d been taught it so many times before. Maahk couldn’t imagine the identity the thin, black haired man was, but he knew why he had killed the king. The Rheasians had attacked again, and they were going to kill.
Young Maahk’s fears were further confirmed at the now familiar sound of clumsy footsteps. He pressed his little blonde head against the wall, just as three Rheasian soldiers limped past, grasping lanterns in their wretched fingers. Their eyes were like wild fire. Their faces were covered to conceal their terrible scars and bandages. They were looking for him… or maybe more for the luggage he cradled in his small, boyish arms.
These soldiers were none different from the Rheasian soldiers nine years before, Maahk thought, staring after them. That didn’t mean they’d lost their anguishing memories, he reminded himself, and tiptoed the other way.
As Maahk’s shadow slipped behind the lantern light, his lone figure tiptoed down the aisle. He smiled weakly at the baby in his hands. Suddenly, there was a giant metal door in the child’s path. Maahk instantly recognized it. Soft whimpering came from the bundle in his arms.
“Shhhhhhh, Haru! It’s OK, you’ll be safe soon,” he shushed, glancing behind him. As he slid the door open, he added in his mind, “I hope.”
The room was vast; he could tell by the way the shadows were cast upon the floor. Still, he knew where to go. “Straight ahead,” his mind echoed as if it were the only thing he had ever heard.
The boy kept his pace at a walk, though he would have liked to run. The delicate girl in his arms kept his mind at point. Her small button nose and softly closed eyes had a slight calming effect on the urgent panic feeling within his throat.
The grand ballroom had never felt so hostile to Maahk, as if he had no right to step on its polished floor. Maahk glanced down at the cute little girl he held. Suddenly, a wicked thought grappled his mind. This girl, Princess Haruka Furie, was his enemy. He knew she must live; but if she were to die, there would be no heir to the evil Hyperborean throne; a weak point. He could leave her for the Rheasians, they would finish her off, and… her eyes began to twitch, which meant it was definitely time.
Stop that! He ordered himself. He looked around. He had to get those awful thoughts away and look for what he had come for.
Behind the organ, a small splotch of light shone on the floor, soft but utterly dull. Though this was true, it was comforting in his mind. Clinking and rasping breaths could be heard behind him, echoed through the halls and columns. Had they found his trail? Did they know what he was doing? No. His brain told him. Walk. Forward. Slowly he made it over to the organ. He set the sleeping girl beside him and pushed with all his might. Finally, the heavy instrument was removed from the wall. He grinned with relief as he saw the poorly made escape hatch blown through the wall.
“Maahk? Is that yeh there, boy?” A voice came from the hole in the wall. Maahk’s fingers pulled up the rest of the wooden panel until there was a small opening not much could fit through. Not even he could.
“Boy?” the voice was edgy and nervous, and Maahk could tell the old coward would run his horse and buggy if he put off a reply much longer.
“Yeah, it’s me,”
“Ahhhh…” the carriage driver sighed, relived. “I thought yeh was one eh those soldiers that’s botherin’ me horses…”
“It’s not just your horses they’re bothering, idiot.” Maahk shoved a few bulgy bags through the crevice, “especially not you.”
Maahk grinned at the thought of the cranky man’s face twisting into an upset frown as he fumbled with the sacks as they tumbled into his lap.
“Waddya mean, kid? They’re after us all! Yeh mum told me some days ‘go that we’d be dealin’ with these rats, I didn’t believe ‘er then, but I guess I’ll sure have ter now.”
Maahk stuffed out one more bag. As it plopped into the old man’s knobby hands, Maahk set him with a glare through the opening.
“Shut up, my mother would never use words like that, especially on Rheasians.”
The old man scowled sourly, “Who do yeh think yeh ares, boy? Callin’ me those hurtin’ things! How old are yeh, bout seven now’s, eh…?” “Eleven…” Maahk grumbled. The man rambled on; “…Lucky I won’t be takin’ none to heart. ‘Sides, ain’t doin’ it for yeh anyways,” he eyed the girl, who stirred on the floor. Maahk sat up, following the driver’s gaze. He sighed. The man noticed.
“Harder than yeh thought, eh?”
“She may never see Aria again.” He sighed. Maahk bit his lip, holding back the choking sensation in his throat. All the years they’d spent learning the ways of this city… things he couldn’t forget…
The old man was thoughtful through the silence. He watched Maahk as the young boy gazed into the distance. The horizon bled dull crimson, bomb sirens droned weakly. Crying children, wailing mothers, and the exhausted shouts were reminders of the Rheasian army’s attack. Even the mighty palace walls had begun to crumble. After an attack like this, would Aria have a chance of legacy? Maahk frowned, determined.
“We’d better hurry this up, Maahk.” Gulped the old coward. Maahk glared at him.
“It would be easy for you, too, I am guessing?”
The old man shrugged. “Easy enough.”
Maahk lifted the girl gently off the ground with a tiny grunt. He carefully took one last look at his closest friend, fumbled with her hair, wishing, hoping, praying that she would survive, and slipped her through the small opening, into the driver’s lap. Just then there was a crash down the hall. Moaning followed. Maahk met the driver’s eyes more than relaxed. He stood.
“Wait, boy! Yeh not coming?” the man asked nervously. He drew up the reins. Maahk shook his head.
“Can’t fit anyway,” he motioned at the escape route in a whisper. He backed away.
“Wait, boy, wait a minute! Yeh mum said…”
“Get going!” Maahk hissed. He quickly began to board up the hole. They were coming. He shooed at the driver.
“Go or I’ll yell.” He snapped. He was so scared he’d begun to shake, but it was his job to take whatever his sister would have had to. “Go! They can’t do anything to me; I’m useless.” He almost yelled he was so frustrated.
Then there was a loud bang, and they both knew they were in the hall, near the doors. They knew. But the old man had had enough anyway. He tipped his hat.
“Suit yehself,” And, with one last apologetic look, was off before he finished.
The metal doors creaked as Maahk pressed his little forehead against the crack in the wall, watching to make sure the carriage was safely on its way toward the railroad. The whoops from the old driver warned a few fleeing peasants of his oncoming stampede, and they leaped from his path, not wanting to be struck by the horses’ thundering hooves. Despite the powerful animals’ speed, it seemed as if they couldn’t get away fast enough; as if the gap between them only became deeper, but not larger. Finally they disappeared around the bend, and he fell against the organ, exhausted. The pounding on the doors was heightened by yells and gun shots. He was alone again. He was always alone; he had born to be alone. Regardless, he was afraid.
Yet he was relieved also. She’d made it. She was safe.
Suddenly, the doors burst open. Tons of Carlo’s poor men flooded in, only to be disappointed. They flitted hopelessly about the room, looking for their target, confused. Some began to yell, others to rip the vast room apart. No doubt they would be punished harshly for failing to retrieve the Furie girl... one man strode straight up to the small, tired boy, crumpled on the ground. Maahk looked up, but he regretted it.
Oh no, he thought, No.
The blood scratched through his memories, opening half closed wounds that pained him so much. The murderer. Maahk’s heart beat rushed, his head was dizzy. This thin, black hair, same wicked grin... He’d seen it before. He was still afraid. The man bent real low.
“Hello, Maahk.” He whispered, relishing his name with hate. Maahk couldn’t breathe. “I never expected to see you again… alive. Now tell me to make this easy; where is your little princess?”
Maahk didn’t think he could speak, but suddenly words pushed their way out.
“I-I won’t tell you,”
All the soldiers stopped to watch, stare at the foolish kid. Silence.
“You can never have her, not ever,” he seemed to draw strength from already spoken words. The man smiled.
“So, you do remember, from your ‘great’ father’s death hmmm…?” he whispered. The words made Maahk so angry. He’d said it as if they’d been a fond pastime, but it felt like a knife in his heart. “Honestly, you don’t think we will hurt her,” he said loudly, as if she were in the room.
Good, they can’t be after her. He thought. The man went on coldly. He grasped the child’s chin in his oily fingers.
“Now, before you make everyone else get hurt, where is she?” He snarled. “Tell me kid, I don’t have the time…”
“She’s gone!” he cried, on the verge of tears, ripping his face away. “Not here. She left, she ran away! I don’t know where to…”
(...) The murderer screamed and slapped Maahk’s frightened face. “What would you like me to do to you to get this out of you? I could do anything! Oh if I didn’t have my orders to spare you…”
“I am telling the truth! She’s run from here!”
“Oh, I quite believe I have had enough. You really think that I will believe a lying, cowardly, little Hyperborean brat like you? ” The contempt showed in the man’s shaking, sweating face, his long cragged teeth bared like an animal. He stood up, locking his arms, and then he grunted in disgust. Without moving his hateful eyes from their target, he turned to the nearest throng of soldiers. “The fact that Madame has let you live so long is beyond me. You there, get rid of him, orders or no orders. If I see his sickening half-blood face again I’ll know who to blame…” But the men looked dumbly at their weapons, unable to register the order they’d been given. The man’s eyes shot at them with icy daggers. “Now fools! And hurry! Now we have the rest of the castle to scour...”
“Sir!” a voice came at the doorway. It was weak and feeble. “Sir, he’s not lying.” It said with a weird accent. “Girl not here, carriage fled from South wing. Right around here, I think.” He bowed as the man turned to Maahk. The murderer grinned.
“I get it,” he took a slow step towards the confused boy. “You tricked me, did you? Clever child… very clever… almost like your… humph.” He turned to the soldier. “Which way did they go? And how long ago?”
“Don’t know the first one, I’m afraid. We will need the trackers for that. But we know they left an hour ago,” he nodded, agreeing with himself. Maahk, who knew that the information was wrong, tried to suppress a relieved smile.
It made no difference, however, because the greasy-haired man had scowled and sworn under his breath, turning sharply away.
“Foolish Madame, she could have seen this,” He pounded his fist to the wall. “So, basically, she’s gone? No hope to find her now?” He asked bluntly.
The soldier nodded fearfully.
“Aye. Took good horses as well, from the Royal Stables, I meant. They’ll be pretty far from this place.”
A sigh. Maahk held his breath, but just then, their wicked leader smirked. He cackled.
“Well then. Since the princess is not here, dear child, can you take a message…?”



- Eight Years Afterward…



Wall .

Book One; Departure.

By B.D. Wether


Flash. Flash. Flash.
There was a rhythm to the light as it melted away in the cold wet darkness outside. Flash, flash. Ruka let her forehead rest against the chilled window. She could barely tell she was moving as the train rumbled on through the empty night; it glided over the rails so smoothly. So …perfectly. Everything was perfect and complex where it was taking her. She wondered how the huge machine could bear to traverse the same paths and routes, without once exploring its own wonders.
This thought was completely unwelcome. She did not wish to revisit the words of the officer’s lips, as they moved slowly in her memory, mustached and pronunciating clearly…
Do you not wish to understand your own wonders?
It was like being splashed with water from a melting glacier and being politely informed that it indeed would be cold. Of course she understood her own ‘wonders’, the fear, the responsibilities, and risks that went along with who she was. Hadn’t a close friend recently died in her own stead? Wasn’t this same event that partly caused her to be called upon now? After all these years, she had indeed been foolish to suspect that she could preserve her tiny, hidden world…
It had only been eight hours before that she had been in Mesopian hills, weeding stubborn plants from Gran’s garden. She’d even admired the clean appearance of the ordered rows, swept the sweat from her forehead before noticing the black vehicle approaching on the road from afar, looking completely vulgar against the vineyard countryside. With that glance she’d known immediately that she’d taken the soft, warm breeze, the green grasses and the freedom of Mesopimia for granted. But what could she have done instead? Run away, joined the outcasts in the desert and become a Launcher? The image of an older version of herself slinging guns and bar fighting was almost pleasurable to her, and the imagined look on Gran’s stern but loving face was even more entertaining in itself.
Wonders. She sighed, glowering back into her own reflection, timing the space between each divider in the rails. She wondered why the escort had used that word. Wonders were not troublesome, she thought, not as she’d come across them anyhow. She smiled faintly, despite herself, thinking reluctantly of what Mémé would say to that; “In all your sixteen years, Haruka, you’ve seen nothing upon which you can lay even a teetering foundation.” She allowed herself an inward laugh, although the thought was fond. Mémé, in all her wizened years, had let Ruka become a fool.
“Maahk says he can hardly wait to see you. He’s talked of nothing but you for weeks,” came a bright falsely bright voice beside her. It was ill timed; Haruka did not want to think about the escort or her perfect brother. Nonetheless, she glanced over at the broad smile and smile and faked interest in his statement. Taking her look as a prompt to continue, he ploughed on; “He really is in bits over you; Haruka this, Haruka that. You should at least attempt to seem a bit more… what is it? Happy. Yes, happy. You should try to look a bit happier for our arrival when you greet him. He may be forced to think you are sour over his marriage proposal, and you don’t want him thinking that, now do you?”
At first, Haruka did not respond to the stiff, robotic-like voice that dribbled from the man’s plain, gleeful face. She knew almost nothing about him aside the fact that she was to call him Winston and that he had been one of the many aides sent to her yearly for most of her life. Oddly enough, he never seemed to age, or at least she never noticed it. His dusty hair was always swept in a clean comb-over and his skinny body always seemed to have too much skin on its frail bones. When he smiled, large crevices appeared in his cheeks and behind his eyes, nearly shielding them from sight. She could never really pinpoint his age, but if she were forced to guess, her range would never dip lower than late twenties or higher than late forties. All the aides had been remarkably similar to him, she mused; robotic, stark, plain, lifeless. She wondered how much they were paid to live such a lie.
“No, I am happy for him,” she tried to say the phrase cordially. Instead it came out steely and cold, but he did not seem to detect it. Truthfully, she had been rather surprised to hear of his engagement to Victiore Adustio. She was an heiress and the daughter of Wrent Adustio, the First Seat of Campus. It wasn’t much to do with the fact that she hadn’t known earlier, because the only way she knew anything about the inner workings of Aria was either through Meme or Chai’s letters. What was strange to her was the engagement itself. Although one could argue that Haruka only knew Maahk a limited amount, she knew he wasn’t really a family kind of man. He was devoted to Haru, she knew that much, but otherwise he was a workaholic, a business guy. He made no time for the girlfriends he had, who no doubt only came by from his reputation and were most likely in his social class and busy themselves. His relationships were usually short and sweet, so an engagement was more than difficult for her to understand.
What was worse, Campus was a country in the north with which Hyperborea had not been on good terms for long before either of them were born. Maahk, for one, had never stressed having a partnership with them in his political career as far as she knew.
She examined the soil lodged in her fingers, attempting to push the vexing thoughts from her mind, and was reminded of Meme’s calm, organized garden. Meme’s nervous smile crept into her mind, and she knew she was never going to return to the green hills of Mesopimia.

~

“There is only so much help we can count on. We do not qualify as members to the Alliance without a Queen. Furthermore, the entire Nazeth region has blanked and Lucernae is likely to never support us again after the August incident,” the gruff voice crackled, clearing itself. The man it belonged to examined the faces around him. They were young and old, some wrinkled with experience, others smooth with naivety. Twenty-four eyes quivered all around him, rocked with uncertainty. All but two, however; they were annoyingly blue and sure of themselves. The grubby voiced man tried not to meet the acid glare they gave, so he glanced around the room, from which its inhabitants gave grunts and whispers of discussion. It was working; his speech had scared them all, he would get the support he needed for…
The piercing glare still burrowed into the back of the politician’s head, he could tell. With a fleshy hand he brought a water glass to his thick lips; with the other he tried to wipe the perspiration from his forehead without anyone noticing. Any time now, he expected, the tables would turn, and those blue eyes would brighten…
Almost on queue, the sound of a clearing throat echoed through meeting hall, diminishing all the nervous chatter. All watched the sweaty man’s nemesis, the clear, young eyes, as he sat up and fixed his gaze forward as a tiger eyes its prey. Never had the man felt so alone than how he did now, standing before the Arian board table.
“Rue,” said the impatient voice, eyeing a paper as it was placed before it.
“Governor, Sir,” replied the fat man, stiffening as he regretfully met the poisonous gaze.
“Despite all of your paranoia and cleverly structured use of confusing crap, I have to say, there isn’t much of a point you were attempting to prove in there.”
“Oh?” replied Rue de Souris, who was not the only one squirming uncomfortably. “How is that you have concurred?”
Blue eyes shifted over thin reading spectacles. The glare.
“You propose we quit our efforts against Rheasia?” asked the young voice, as if only confused and asking for clarification.
Rue nodded and swallowed hard. He needed more water. He was never good under pressure. “Yes, sir, until we have a legitimate plan. As of now…”
“As of now, dear Souris,” the governor cut him off shortly, “you are making half this room including you and myself late for an extremely important arrival. If you were making the lost time worth something, I might have been willing to forgive you for it. As anyone here can testify, however, that is not the case and I will have to hold this against you. We will not quit resisting the people who will not rest until every single person inside this room and across our country is dead; to yield now means to roll on out bellies and let ourselves be slaughtered. Now are there any last words for your topic or have you accepted the blindfold?”
“Sir, please,” spluttered the overweight politician, hoping to revive his dignity. “Don’t you understand? We are not powerful as we once were! Without allies we can never defeat the rebellion, or Rheasia or any of the bloody Eol vermin! You’re already shot down my possibility for a queen, so we don’t belong…”
“Chai has no hope at being queen, I have made that clear,” sighed the voice, blue eyes rolling amidst muted chuckles around the room. “My engagement to Victiore arrived on the condition of the duchess’s nation of Campus and Hyperborea’s mutual cooperation with each other, fiscally and otherwise. Haruka Furie will be in the city under the hour and will begin her training almost as soon. I apologize if I am wrong, but there terms seem to correspond with our qualification for the Allies, not to mention a fairly long-term bond with Campus,” he leaned back as a shapely woman appeared from the side and whispered something into his ear. He nodded and motioned to her to ready their car. The rest of the board members and their assistants mimicked his actions, bringing the meeting to a close.
Rue de Souris alone stayed where he was, his mind retracing the conversation, still sweating and his lips still trembling as if on the edge of speech.
“Goodnight, ladies and gentlemen. Maybe we can reschedule a conclusive meeting at a better time soon. Meanwhile,” he glared at the dumbfounded heavy-set man, “I have plans to attend to.” The governor turned away.
“Governor Maahk, sir,” he tried. The other stopped and turned.
“Come, Rue. The queen is coming.” The blue eyes had gone.

~

“Princess,” a quiet voice murmured in Haruka’s ear. She turned her head to see a thin man dressed in a deep blue suit and bent in an absurdly low bow, his nose almost brushing the armrest of Winston’s seat beside her. She was rather unused to being addressed in this manner and even more insecure as to what her response was supposed to be.
“Erm, yes?” she croaked, her voice leaking out unsurely. The man faltered, stood upright, and, staring blankly forward, versed in a clear, monotone voice, “We approach the Cantilena Station, I suggest you ready yourself for arrival.” He made a short bow, and then hustled off in the direction of the back of the car before she could reply. She watched him leave, feelings mixed with the anxiousness of what awaited her in Aria and the desire to call him back and force him to talk to her. She stood, stretched, and yanked her knapsack from the luggage bin above her seat.
“Oh, excuse me! I didn’t see you,” she murmured in an ironic tone to Winston, whom she’d purposely swept the pack against; she was utterly sick of being with him. The soldier’s visit had actually been quite a treat.
There was not another passenger in their car, so she hadn’t seen nor spoken to a living soul aside from the aide for nearly three hours, and he obviously was not the entertaining type.
“Oh, it’s quite all right, Miss Furie,” Winston replied courteously without betraying a hint of annoyance.
Giving up attempting to make him snap, Haruka turned towards the window and brushed her flat, snarled hair away from her eyes, which looked grey and droopy. She and blew through her lips, letting them make a loud, rude noise most four year olds found amusing. She couldn’t wait to meet the entire city council looking as if she’d only just overcome a serious head cold.
“Train Three-Three-Twelve approaching Aria, the capital of our mother country Hyperborea; prepare for arrival at Cantilena Station in approximately three minutes. The time of arrival is eleven fifty-seven PM, station Two and Twenty will be the port this evening. Conditions are humid, low chance of rain later in the night to early morning; 27%. Any travel or luggage questions can be requested at the Aria, Hyperborea informational center on landing four. Thank you for choosing Titan Express, and have a wonderful evening!” the recording’s effect of a woman’s liquid, soothing voice was ruined by the speaker’s crackling in rare spots and the low hisses as the train switched tracks seamlessly.
It began announcing more unnecessary information to the empty train, and Ruka glanced at the window in time to catch the train emerging from the tunnel; she gasped and flung herself at the bulletproof glass. Below the bridge for miles around were lights, blues, reds, yellows, greens and whites, stretched to what seemed the edge of the horizon. The massive black bear of a mountain behind them from which the concrete tunnel and its speeding silver snake protruded rose high above the city, leaving the lights glittering like hidden jewels, crooked in its hidden arm under the spotted sky. Far below she made out the many cars streaming across the raised highways and under passages, creating a glimmering spider web of unsuspecting drivers. The crescent-shaped bay shone brilliantly in the moonlight, and beside it stood the palace. Ruka’s heart beat faster. The palace was more beautiful than she’d ever seen it before, and her bird’s eye view gave her a full map of its grounds. The iron gates gave way to a wide, circular, cobblestone yard, in the middle of which was an iron statue of Lady Justice, the city’s patron, circled in manicured grass. Marble staircases graduated up to the pillars of the front entrance, where no doubt a full guard awaited unwelcome visitors. A glass dome reflected the colors of the city atop the center of the building, but it was also alighted with deep purple accent lights. The golden top-off reflected its own luxurious color, and the massive gold lion appeared to roar with the splendor of the city. Ruka grinned. She couldn’t help but reminding herself that this was her home. Aria was her home.
Beyond the rolling green lawns that spread down to an inlet from the bay rose a massive wall. It was so large that Ruka could not see the Eol Sea that spread out beyond it even from the viaduct. Out there, it was darker where the docks were, huge ships came and went from the outside, only being admitted through the dam if their serial numbers matched the preset list the dam manager was issued each morning. Although it was dark and so far away, Ruka could make out the intermittent guard towers and elevator shafts in the moonlight. Suddenly her heart yearned for all the things she’d feared…
Then there were columns blowing by the window, obstructing her view as the train sailed into the station like a fine lady in her best gown. Even the station was rather grand, from what she could tell. Trains lay idle, waiting for late night passengers or regurgitating them back onto the platforms. The ceilings were inlaid with beautiful paintings and decorative lights, bellmen in their blue velvet suits waited for rich tourists, and families from distant or near places gaped at the white marble pillars. Ruka checked the time on the train wall, and it read eleven fifty-six; she couldn’t believe someplace as simple as a train station could be so lively that late. As the train slowed fluidly, a little boy clutching his mother’s hand pointing a stubby finger at the shiny train, and his mouth formed a perfect “O”. Ruka grinned down at him, feeling much the same amazement.
“Princess,” a deep voice distracted her, and she double took wildly before erupting into a huge grin.
“Maahk!” she yelled, hopping from her chair and covering the ten feet between them with less than a step.
“Ruka,” the man laughed, teetering from the force of her embrace. Ruka smiled up at the man’s face; his blond hair, contraire to hers, was immaculately wispy, but his face showed all the happiness in her own. For being family, they were remarkably dissimilar, and the only feature on his face that did resemble hers reflected his white grin gleefully; blue eyes.
“That was by far the worst train ride I’ve ever taken. I was alone with Winston the entire time.” she joked and released her older brother mercifully before checking that Winston was out of ear shot.
He chuckled again, ignoring the uniformed officers behind him who grunted and shifted their eyes around the hold suspiciously. “Ruka, look at you. I can’t believe you’re sixteen!” he sighed nostalgically, then cocked his head in thought, “Well I guess I can. The last time you hugged me it wasn’t nearly as painful.”
“That could mean you’re just old,” Ruka replied.
“Sir-,” one of the soldiers behind Maahk tapped his shoulder.
“Of course. Come on, Ruka, let’s go. I’m guessing you’d like to be off the train?” he watched her bound after them eagerly.
“YES! If I ever have to look at a train again I’ll-,”
“Don’t finish that, Ruka. Our main transportation is via train.”
Ruka shrugged, not entirely sure that affected the rest of her statement.
When they had cleared the car, she wasn’t surprised to see that she was the only one who’d come off. Apparently it had been an entirely government train with only the engineer, conductor, Winston, and herself aboard. “Oh, and also there was a small army in the last few cars, but no matter.” Maahk said absent mindedly. A group of awkward looking, work-seasoned government officials stood lined up along the platform as Ruka stepped out into Cantilena station, on their toes with eyes darting about just as anxiously as the guards’. Each of them stepped forward in a single-file manner to greet her, each handshake accompanied by some sort of plastered smile and a greeting filled with ‘it’s an honor’s and other patronizing compliments.
“Ruka, this is Rue de Souris, he’s the city king in Aria,” Maahk gently pressed Ruka forward into the handshake of a short, stubby man with long jowls and a shiny, bulbous face. The remaining wisps of hair that were left on his bald pate were greasy and were a dark brown color, slightly graying near the tips. City kings were mini kings that ruled over certain provinces, counties, or cities, and although they rarely showed any importance, they often showed to be over-zealous. Rue de Souris was definitely not an exception.
“It is an especial honor,” he began with an extravagant bow, sweeping his chubby hand before him without doing the kindness of releasing her hand, “to be in your presence, my fair Queen Furie. Your return to your eagerly awaiting city brings only the highest elation to your humble yet faithful servant.” Ruka looked around, flustered, but none of the other politicians offered anything other than embarrassed shrugs or disdainful scorns. Only Maahk seemed to find it remotely amusing, but he stepped in after a few more seconds of Souris’ prattling.
“That will do, Rue,” he spoke gruffly, but winked at Ruka when she took her hand back and wiped it on her pant leg subconsciously. The city king backed off with a worshipping gaze, but only smiled and said nothing.
Suddenly, Ruka knew she’d heard the name de Souris before. “Are you related to Chai de Souris?” she asked eagerly, referring to her long time pen pal. As he nodded vigorously, replying that she was indeed his very daughter, her heart picked up excitedly once again. Ever since the time she’d arrived at her grandmother’s house as a baby, she seemed to have always had Chai de Souris’ letters arriving once a week, always on Tuesdays. From what she’d gathered from the letters, Chai was a smart, well educated girl only about two years older than herself, but she’d never mentioned being the daughter of the city king. As she mused on these things, Rue de Souris rambled on and the minutes began to greet upon midnight, making a considerable amount of the others restless.
“Well, it seems to be getting a bit late,” Maahk cut in cheerfully, snapping Ruka out of her thoughts of meeting Chai and ending the city king’s account of his daughter’s many achievements. Her brother’s escort of soldiers tightened around them and the others looked about gratefully.
“Ah,” said Rue de Souris, looking crestfallen, “yes, yes, late indeed! Why, how the time does fly when one is having fun!” He smiled at her in a way which made her bid the Georgia representative adieu in an overly attentive manner.
“Good evening!” Maahk called after the others, Ruka echoing him, trying not to seem too relieved of their departure. As they made their way down the corridors, the private guard flanking them nervously to hide her from view, Maahk turned to her, his smile gleaming despite the exhausted lines on his face, “What do you think? Looks fun, right?”
She couldn’t help but laugh. As he laughed with her, wrapping his arm around her in the same protective way the soldiers watched him, she regretted that she hadn’t gotten a chance to ask if she would ever meet the one girl in the city who could possibly be her friend.

~

Ruka was much too busy with her anxious thoughts than to actually absorb the sights out the windows of the massive black SUV and Maahk’s repeated pleasure of her presence as they made their way back to the palace. She was extremely excited to be home again, but she was also fearful and confused. Didn’t one of royal blood have to be at least 18 to be crowned queen? But Lord de Souris had referred to her as queen, and she hadn’t been as dumbfounded as to miss Maahk’s angrily stern expression at these words, although he’d said and done nothing. However, if she wasn’t here to be crowned, what for? She was nervous at this thought.
Trying to move her thoughts along, she turned to her brother. “So, when am I going to meet Miss Adustio?”
She didn’t miss his off guard expression, and then he laughed, looking at his hands.
“What does the diamond look like? Is it big and sparkly?”
“It’s a luminous cut,” Maahk said, smiling.
“Really?” Haruka was impressed; the luminous cut was a very precise cut, therefore expensive. The price was not much of a factor for him. The effort that went into finding a jeweler who produced them was the impressive thing.
“Haruka,” he looked at her from across the leather seat, his eyes filled with humor. “What do you think?”
She shrugged, but before she spoke, he started again.
“What do you really think?”
“Well…,” Ruka wasn’t sure what to say. “I don’t think you really love her. Or even like her, probably.”
“And why?”
This time Ruka was sure of what she wanted to say. “Because, it doesn’t seem right. You don’t like or trust Campus, and you aren’t really the hopeless romantic type, so I don’t see why you would put that aside for someone who’s basically Campus royalty.”
“Go on.”
“You bought her a ring. Really. You? You would have a hard enough time wanting to buy one let alone going through the steps to find a luminous cut.”
“So?”
Haruka felt awkward. She really hoped she was right, or she was possibly screwed. “So, you either are forming some sort of alliance or something or you have undergone a complete personality lift.”
“Bravo,” he laughed, clapping his hands. Haruka sighed, relieved that she wasn’t in the dog house.
“What is going on then?” She asked.
“First Seatman Adustio has given me a proposition,” Maahk replied, half humor and half grim. “We need the iron from their mines, as they’re the most efficient makers, right? Well, as we could possibly in the future be on the verge of war, we’ll need it all the more. You know I don’t trust anything to do with Campus at all, but the fact that we need them cannot be ignored.
“He’s proposed that if I agree to marry one of his daughters, which would make them the proper heiress of his fortune, we would have not only a truce but also a permanent trade flow. For the time being of course; who knows what’s up tomorrow.”
“So he’s basically forcing you to marry his daughter?” Ruka asked, thinking the whole thing seemed rather childish.
“No, I chose to. If I didn’t we’d have to look east for iron, and no one wants to do that. It is, however, a condition to the agreement, but it’s only a minor thing. We need peace with them now.”
“A minor thing? Maahk, you’re getting married!”
“Yes. Victiore is happy with her ring and her future inheritance, the seatman is happy with the money he will be able to mooch off of the both of us, and Hyperborea will have lots of iron and an ally that we desperately need. As I said, it is only a minor thing,”
Ruka pretended to shrug understandingly, but secretly she wondered why Maahk’s self worth was so low.
“Is she coming here soon?” Ruka wondered what the girl looked like suddenly; her sister in law…
“No. Until we have the whole investigation sorted out, Adustio will not permit Victiore to come.”
Haruka’s temporary, Miss Allette Alacour, had been murdered not four weeks before, so this made sense to her. Caution was smart, but against what, she wasn’t sure. The purpose behind Allette’s murder was still a mystery to pretty much everyone. The only difference it had made, Ruka looked at it without an emotional attachment, was that now the country of Hyperborea and its capital of Aria had no queen. Without a queen it was clearly stated in the law that the country governor must step up as the ultimate ruler, which meant for the time being that Maahk was doing just that. Ruka found this a great relief as she considered the outcome if the likes of Rue de Souris were in office.
The country couldn’t go without a queen, however, and no elections seemed to be taking place or any successors being named, as all the attention was probably still on the murder itself. It seemed as if Maahk had some very important things to say about this, or at least she hoped so, but she couldn’t be sure if she would like what she was bound to hear.
“Has the investigation gotten anything new?” Ruka asked her brother, but he shook his head.
“Not yet. We do know that it was a professional job, though; the bullets are specialty and basically untraceable unless we can find the weapon, and if we do it will be useless by then,” Maahk sighed.
“Well, who would want Allette dead?” Haruka couldn’t think of a person who would purposely kill a stand-in.
Maahk’s expression became clouded. “I don’t know.” He looked out the window and said nothing more.
Ruka watched through the tinted glass divider as the soldier driving the car rolled down his window to prove authentication to the gate guard. After a short pause, the guard returned and, with a smile and a wave, patted the car. The other nodded and they proceeded through the gates, up a short way and into the courtyard. Ruka and Maahk exited the car, circled by the ever present mini task force, but Ruka was glad to see that the palace was no less grand from the ground compared to her earlier view from above. She paused before the sleek staircase and gazed up at the grand façade. A small breeze caught her hair, carrying with it the sounds from the city beyond, the soft murmur from the bay and the sweet scent of approaching autumn from the mountain.
“Do you remember anything?” Maahk asked as they made their way up to the heavily guarded doors. She nodded distantly, looking around. Although she’d only been about three when she’d left, she could remember snippets of sights, smells, and, with the help of some uncanny déjà vu, memories as well.
“Was this where we held those parties?” she asked eagerly, allowing her voice to echo through the vast receiving room. Maahk smiled.
“Partly. You see those staircases?” he pointed to the two identical winding staircases that were placed at both sides of the room. They curved in a graceful, welcoming fashion up to an open balcony on the second floor. “You used to parade up and down them in long curtains, pretending to be our mother.”
“Really?” Ruka laughed, touching the carved banister. Although she had no memory of the occurrence, the thought made her feel more at home. She stared around at the high ceilings, oil paintings and marble supports. It wasn’t anything like Meme’s little Victorian in the country, but she could get used to it.
“Miss Furie? Miss… Haruka!” a maid with long frizzy hair had burst out at the top of the stairs. Her gray hair wisped crazily around her wide, green eyes, and in her hand she held an old feather duster, which added even odder an air to the already strange woman. She rushed down the steps, and soon after two others followed, equally as excited.
“Miss!” “Miss Furie!” “Miss! You are back!”
The women swarmed around her, all speaking with odd accents, touching her hair, hugging her and fussing over her endlessly.
“Um…” Ruka tried to break away but the others only laughed louder. She searched for Maahk, but when she found him, he was smiling also.
“Miss! We have not seen you in so long,” said one. She was stout and had a loose, gray bun tied behind her merry cheeks. “Look how you have grown!”
“Yes, yes, quite beautiful, you know,” said third, who was thin, tall and had an extremely hawk-like face. She gently ran Ruka’s strawberry blond hair through her bony fingers, frowning at the snarls.
“Miss Furie, have you come back to live with us?” asked the green eyed woman, and suddenly all the others paused their crooning and stared at her as if her answer could slice the fate of the world.
“Yes, she is,” said Maahk, moving closer as he caught Ruka’s lost expression.
“Yippee!” she yelled, clasping her hands together.
“And Mr. Maahk, you’ve grown up too,” said the plump maid, eyeing him admiringly and, not unlike a mother, adjusted his coat buttons.
“I’m Lia,” curtseyed the green eyed maid with a kind smile aimed at Ruka. “This is Diana and Vesta. You probably do not remember us; the last time you saw us was when you were only three years old!” Sadness flashed through her brilliant eyes for only a second. “But it is much nice to see you so grown up! You are far beautiful to our expectations.” Ruka laughed, deciphering the mangled English, and smiled back into the women’s shining faces, feeling incredibly welcome for being so far from where she’d called home for the past ten years.
“Even Mr. Maahk has grown beautiful!” cried Vesta happily. Lia rolled her eyes at Diana, who only watched the others with a monitoring expression.
“Thank you, Vesta,” replied Maahk, who seemed used to the compliments. She shrugged.
“You were always Madam Althea’s favorite, so you are mine,”
“Our parents never picked favorites, you know that,” Maahk replied softly, smiling at Ruka.
“It’s true,” said Lia, placing her hand on Ruka’s shoulder. “But if it were, King Momus’s would be have little Ruka.” She struggled with her words, but she winked at Ruka. Ruka felt warm inside; she’d often heard from her Meme that she’d been her father’s favorite, but thought it just to be a comforting tale.
Maahk, who seemed uneasy with the flow of conversation, checked his watch.
“No, you don’t leave so soon?” moaned Vesta.
“I’m sorry. It’s late, and I have no days off,” he beamed at Ruka.
Vesta turned sulky, but Lia shrugged happily. “All is well; one surprise is enough for three old maids in one night enough.” The group saw Maahk off to the door.
“I’ll send an escort for you tomorrow, Ruka. You can come up to the wall offices with me and if we have time I’ll take you to the city square, too. Listen to these ladies,” he joked.
“Okay,” she replied, suddenly unsure that she wanted him to leave. She walked forward and hugged him as tight as she could, hoping it would convey her worry without having to voice them.
He hugged her back, “You’ll be fine, Ruka.”
She watched him leave in the black SUV from one of the front windows with the three maids beside her.
“If only he came by more often,” sighed Vesta.
“We have the princess, now!” retorted Lia, pinching Ruka’s elbow reassuringly.
Diana said nothing, but Ruka knew that she could trust Maahk, so she trusted all three.
~

That night, Ruka lay in her bed awake. She had an odd, bubbly feeling inside of her which prevented her from much needed sleep. Happiness seemed to be the answer, but the feelings inside made her nervous.
“What am I doing here?” she stuffed her pillow over her eyes, muffling her yell. “Urrhg.” She removed it and sat up erect, flipping on her bedside lamp. She’d been surprised to walk into such a room earlier in the evening, finding sky blue walls and a marble balcony that overlooked the bay and the courtyard, white curtains billowing softly in the wind. A large, intricately designed mirror reached from floor to ceiling beside a broad white washed press. The plush four banister bed was by far the greatest surprise, and as she whirled around to face the maids, she met knowing smiles. “Princess Chai disclosed some of your opinions from your letters to Master Maahk in decoration assistance.” Vesta had winked. Chai had listened well, apparently, because the room was all that Ruka had ever dreamed of. She’d been left to herself then and, after trying on every piece of clothing of her new wardrobe, had retired to a sitting chair on her little balcony to stare at the lights of the city.
It was to this chair she again visited after arising from her restless slumber; this time, however, many more, different emotions gripped her. Although she brought a light cashmere blanket with her from her bed chest, the breeze was warm, and it was merely for comfort. Sometime after the happiness had calmed, fear had moved into her. There were so many questions she had, and she felt so alone. She sighed, tucking her bare feet up under her to gaze away from the lights of Aria and away towards the docks and the Arian Wall. The wall was her only memory as a child, and she thought this odd because she’d been barely allowed to enter. It was ugly, admittedly, being well over 1,000 feet including its underwater base and made of steel and tough concrete. It had been reinforced to withstand bombardment and a guard post was stationed ever half mile of its length, a check point every fourth. She also knew that it was built by her and Maahk’s ancestors to keep the Rheasians exiled in the Eol Sea after the Constantan War, and that even to this day the left over people were still trapped on the other side, forbidden to come out again for a remaining sixty years. What she didn’t understand was how Rheasian prisoners had managed to escape in the past, recreating their country and rebuilding their power slowly. She didn’t think Maahk knew either, and she was sure that they were going to find out soon.
She shivered again. Her arrival in proximity to Allette’s murder was too obvious to miss; she was here for protection, or the other reason made her shiver worse; to become queen. She always knew, as Meme would never let her royal granddaughter forget, that she would one day be the queen of Hyperborea, mistress of the Arian Palace. She just never expected it to come so soon. She’d been taken away and hidden as a baby after their father was murdered in a rebellion led by Rheasian forget-me-nots, leaving the sole heir, her brother Maahk, and mother Queen Althea to the royal household. Since it was King Momus who was of royal blood and sister-less, he had been the ruler despite the country’s traditional Queendom, but then the Queen Althea, born of wealthy Rheasians, was the rightful ruler. Of her mother’s rule Ruka knew mostly nothing, but she did know she was killed accidentally ten years later by a fellow militant, who was banished and presumably hanged later on, during another attack.
After the death of their mother, the country was shocked when the only Furie remaining in the open refused the position of king, and instead Maahk finished his schooling at the Royal Academy, became the governor of Aria and established a proxy for Haruka until she was of age. This was where Ruka was completely stuck. Being “of age” in Hyperborea meant turning 18, and as she’d passed her 16th birthday by only three months before, she was sure she was early if some sort of rule hadn’t been changed. Allette had been murdered and she wasn’t about to deny that it scared her. Why had she been murdered? Did they want Ruka to become queen? But why would they expect that if Maahk had the power to simply hire a new proxy? Why hadn’t he? Her mind spinning, she shook her head. She trusted Maahk with her life. He’d been the one to save her the night their parents died, as Meme had retold the story again and again, and he’d been the one, and the only one, he made sure, to know her whereabouts at all times. He’d set up a pen pal for her to keep her linked in with Aria so that she would know about her future without putting her in danger, but never let Chai see the address. He sent a train filled with blind folded officers to visit her monthly, only un-blindfolded when safely guided in doors by Meme herself. So why did she doubt him so much? She shook her head, annoyed with herself, and got up to return to bed. She obviously had a thinking problem.


Last edited by Moshda on Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:23 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Removal of PG-13 content)
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Re: Wall (sci-fi?)

Post by Moshda on Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:26 pm

I only got to read up to the the part where it says "Eight years later", but it was really good! I like how you showed us how Maahk was feeling, and his reactions to everything from hearing the soldiers on his trail to looking at the little girl's face.

You had me really sucked into the story! I will definitely come back later and read the rest, but I wanted to tell you that you have me on the edge of my seat, wondering what happens to Maahk! Excellent beginning!

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MOSHDA: obsessive hugger since 2003
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