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Laehval tTemarr

Reluctant Concessions

Reluctant Concessions

A joint log from

Khre'Riov t'Vatrix, Enarrain N'Dak, & Enarrain t'Temarr



In the Enarrain’s chambers, L’haiy t’Vatrix lifted her sword down from its place behind her desk, turning in time to see the door close behind t’Temarr and N’Dak. “Everyone take a seat, fhaen,” she ordered, motioning them toward the chairs. Glancing at her desk, she was distracted by a sense of wrongness. Something was missing. When the realization hit, she rounded on N’Dak. “Where are they?!” she asked, clearly agitated.


Destorie lifted a brow cautiously. He had made particular effort to avoid changing anything in her chambers. “Hmm?”


“The holopictures?! The ios I kept there on the corner of my desk?” Her eyes searched the room to see if they had been moved elsewhere.


He exhaled and made his way to the desk. “I put them in the drawer,” he said. “I was worried with the combat, they might get thrown.”


She sighed in relief. “May I have them fhaen, I need,” her voice catching for a moment, “I need to see them. Particularly now.”


Nodding, Destorie pulled open the drawer and after a few moments, produced the holopictures. “Ie, of course,” he said handing them to her before retreating to the a chair opposite of Laehval.


She nodded her thanks to him, reached over and took them from him, and walked across the room over towards the large viewport where she could look at them by herself. As she stood looking at them, she very lightly brushed her fingers across their faces and then held them tight to her. “As I swore when I was sent rhae this mission, if any harm were to come to either of them, especially at the hands of whom we suspected and now have confirmed… to the end of my days, I claim the blood rite of vengeance against the cowards behind this. I will see to it that they pay, by my hand, in this life and forever into the next. Each and every one of them.”


Jaw still smarting from t’Vatrix’s kick to her jaw, Laehval sat down sullenly. She’d likely have a wicked bruise later, but now she was too proud to show concern for it. Seeing t’Vatrix’s reaction to the holo of her family, she threw Destorie a look as if to say ‘see what I mean’. She believed that the Khre’Riov was clearly overwhelmed with grief and was a danger to herself.


It had been months since he had seen either of the two women in the chamber with him now, and he had not fully been prepared for the emotions he felt, both in their reunion and the circumstances that had brought it about. He felt Laehval’s glance but remained neutral. t’Vatrix was clearly upset, but then, he knew she had more than ample reason and he could not fault her for that.


Unable to turn back towards either of them just yet, afraid to lose her composure, L’haiy stood and let her thoughts linger on the images for another few minutes in silence. Finally, she walked over to the replicator device, ordered up a pair of items and tossed one of the ice packs over to Laehval for her chin. The other she kept for her own.


Laehval caught the pack with a nod of thanks, but held it in her lap rather than using it immediately. Instead, she looked to N’Dak. “I believe au should start. How is it au came to be in command of the Talon? What have au been doing while we were away?”


Glancing towards her with his infamously cold expression, he considered possible responses before deciding on a more neutral tone, out of respect for t’Vatrix and the long years of service he had shared with Laehval as well. “Rather simple,” his tone cool, but lacked an edge. “I had come to warn au that au were walking into a trap; but by the time I had arrived hrrau the Talon… au were gone.”


“As I had previously been given command of the Talon, the crew au left informed me they were to meet io of the Khre’Riov’s contacts, rhae an undisclosed location. When we arrived, there was na word from au. I assumed command, rhae their suggestion, until au fate could be determined.” He stopped, looking to t’Vatrix and then Laehval. “Does that satisfy au?”


Laehval ignored the question. “And since au have assumed command? How has the ship fared? Casualties? Damage?”


t’Vatrix moved over behind the desk, setting her holos where she could see both the last image she had taken of her bondmate and son sleeping that last morning, and the other a family portrait of she and Var’lon, both smiling and holding the giggling child by the ocean. Sitting back in the chair to listen to N’Dak’s explanation, she held the icepack up to her own chin, hoping to take some of the swelling out of it as well.


“We have time for a status report later,” he said, firmly. “But I am curious about how au ended up in aur current state and why au missed the rendezvous? There were scattered reports of sightings of au, but nothing firm enough to believe. We have been trying to track au, as best we could.”


Laehval frowned at his delay, but didn’t force the issue. “We first went to the orbital command station, uncertain of who was in command, and were forced to flee. We took refuge at my family’s vacation home to gather intel, contact allies, and formulate a plan. Unfortunately, we were discovered there and taken prisoner. Galae sympathizers helped us to escape and took us to a secret conclave of other Galae command officers and troops, preparing for an attack on the city.”


That still did not explain everything, but he decided not to push too hard for now. “I see,” he thoughtfully stroked at a non-existent beard. “I wish I would have arrived sooner to warn au, but I came as soon as I learned of the trap au were walking into.”


“How is it, that au learned of their intentions?” t’Vatrix finally asked. “And why would you feel the need to come assist us? Would na the situation with au family ties, put you in a better stead than you had been in?”


“Ie, as au clearly recall,” he said, taking a deep breath. “My father was once a member of the Tal’Shiar. He had participated in some of their earlier plans and had given him their support, rhae the Senate and some monetary contributions. However, as he learned more of their intentions and the involvement of the Othan…”


He paused looking away for a moment, clearly uncomfortable about the role his family had helped play in the events that had unfolded over the past months. “He began withholding his support,” he continued. “But learned what he could of their plans in secret. A source tipped him to the plot against the Talon. I was off-world at the time -- I had been given a rather unglamorous assignment, but a small command, rhae a border outpost. He contacted me covertly to tell me of their plans and to tell me he and my mother were going into hiding. He wanted me to rescue Issaha.”


“I promised him I would. But even if Issaha had na been rhae the Talon, I would have returned. My honor demanded it.”


L’haiy inclined her head at him, understanding the reference, and somewhat surprised he had followed through on the oath he had made to her but a year ago. She had more which she wanted to ask of him, but struggled to find the words. Had his father known of the plotting to put Var’lon in a bad light? To send her off world, even though she had retired? Had he known why Var’lon had been accused of the assassination attempt? The attack upon her child and home? Of the biological weapons? How much had he been involved? She stared at the holopicture, wanting to continue, and found she was unable to just yet.


Oblivious to the Khre’Riov’s internal struggle, Laehval pushed on. “And what are your intentions now that we have returned? Escape to be with your family? Will au attempt to retain control of the Talon?” She finally raised the ice pack to her jaw, finding the throbbing pain to be too intense to ignore.


“Na,” firm in his resolve. “Of course the Talon belongs to the Khre’Riov, and I will serve in whatever way I am asked; but I will not run away and hide in the face of what the Tal’Shiar and the Othan have done to the Empire ... to this ship.” He decided not to add to himself to that, but the beneath the cold exterior, he felt a sudden fire.


t’Vatrix finally spoke. “I will accept return of the Talon back to my command, but it will be understood by the crew that this ship will have a certain mission to undertake, na matter that some may call it suicide. I intend to take this fight all the way back to the Othan homeworld and beyond. I will see that they will never, ever, have the resources to even think of trying something like this again. For that matter, I’d be just as happy to eliminate the lot of them, and have a fresh colonization begin of their world. If the crew has a problem with it, we can see that they are assigned to another command.” She wanted blood, no less than that. And there would be plenty for the taking by her reckoning.


Laehval looked sharply at t’Vatrix. “Na io would disagree with your decision to eliminate the Othan, Rekkhai. However, we still have an obligation to ch’Rihan to aid our allies and help free the world from their control. I do hope that au intend to see that through before au give in to your need for vengeance.”


L’haiy slammed her icepack down angrily on the desk. “MY OBLIGATION!? To ch’Rihan? I swore to serve, and I have. I did my duty and more for decades! And when I finally, finally decide to take my accumulated leave that I had accrued, well over 5 years worth of time unused, and finally decided to retire and raise our child, I was told that I was ‘obligated’ to go on this veruulish mission of the Fvillah’s. And if I didn’t, they’d ruin Var’lon and myself, throw us into prison and give our son to medical for experimentation under the excuse of ‘nanogenes!” She watched their expressions, knowing that she had never told anyone the lengths to which others had gone to force her to go on this mission. “They wanted to separate my bondmate and myself to distract him, they sullied his good name. I’ve given ch’Rihan all I have had, twice now and more. I owe it nothing else. I have nothing else, they’ve taken everything from me. Obligated au say? I say to Ayrienne with that!!”


Laehval’s brows drew together as she frowned, falling silent for a moment in the wake of the Khre’Riov’s tirade. When she finally spoke, her voice was the calm to t’Vatrix’s storm. “Ie, and they do na deserve your jol for their treachery, but this is na only about au. It is na just about your feelings, your family, or finding the peace au deserve. It is about all of us. We were betrayed. Our families have been put in danger, have been harmed, captured, or slain. All of us. This crew, this loyal crew that has followed au faithfully for so long, deserves their vengeance as well. Au may feel that au have na obligation to ch’Rihan, but, as a Galae officer, au are still sworn to protect her people -- the innocents that still need our help. We need to finish what we have started. Our plan, our mission, can na be compromised by io person’s thirst for revenge.”


L’haiy opened her mouth, prepared to continue her angry diatribe, but was interrupted.


Destorie cleared his throat, taking a risk. “If I might?” He did not wait for a response. “I will not presume to tell the Khre’Riov how she should feel in this moment. I cannot imagine how au are holding it together, but there is some merit to what Laehval has said. Many of the crew do na even know what has become of their families and if the information I was given just before we transported au back to the Talon is true… many of them may never see their families again.”


“What information would that be?” Narrowing her eyes a bit at him, L’haiy tried tried to get her anger under control.


Looking away, Destorie’s voice turned suddenly grave. “I received a message that some of the sites that many of the Galae sympathizers had been located to -- including families of the Talon crew -- have been hit by the biological attacks.”


Laehval sucked in a breath. “The Daise’Maenak has been working on a counteragent for the biological weapon that struck the capital. We should have the proper equipment on the Talon to synthesize it in greater quantities.” She looked to the Khre’Riov, hoping the news would make her understand why they could not yet leave.


t’Vatrix stared down at her desk for what seemed an eternity, considering their options. “Vriha menkha,” she said finally. “I’ll do what I can to help free our world,” turning to look at Laehval, “but I will na have my methods questioned, na matter how personal au think it may become.” She pulled the wicked looking blade from its sheath and lay it before her on the desk. “There are a few names that are destined to become intimate with this blade, and I will na tolerate interference.” Her eyes burned with hatred for those that had wronged her. Oh, yes, they would pay.


Laehval glanced from the blade to the Khre’Riov’s glaring gaze and nodded slowly. “Ssuaj-ha.”


“I will go inform the Daise’Maenak of this news.” Laehval rose from her chair. t’Vatrix was far too emotional to have the conversation that the two of them needed to have, so she thought it best to remove herself for a short time. “We also need to debrief the entire command crew. They deserve to know what action we will next take so that all departments are prepared.”


Destorie tipped his chin thoughtfully at the suggestion. “Ie,” he said, “t’Vatrix and I still have much we must discuss.”


“Ie, I have a few things that I need to ask you, as well, and require any information au may have regarding certain... events...,” t’Vatrix slowly added. She trailed off, unable to continue.


While Laehval did not like the thought of leaving them alone to discuss things without her (or about her), she had little choice in the matter. “Au will need to order the dheno to stand down so that I can collect everyone.” She fixed Destorie in a flat stare, irritated that she had to make even that small acknowledgement of his authority.


“Ie,” he said running his hand over his t’liss. “N’Dak to Khaelir. The new arrivals may be trusted. D’heno can stand down, but escort them until they have changed uniforms. We do na wish for anyio to confuse them for intruders, ie?”


“I would na mind a fresh uniform as well, but that can be taken care of after we have had our discussion, Destorie,” L’haiy said with a heavy sigh as she looked at herself. “Then again, I’m half expecting I’ll look like this more often than na in our near future.”


“I will see to that as well, Rekkhai.” Laehval nodded her farewell and turned toward N’Dak. “Enarrain.” It hurt to say it, but she respected the rank, even if she was irritated with the man. With a final nod to him, she took her leave.


Destorie nodded to Laehval, but it was something that t’Vatrix had said that had his attention -- he had never recalled her using his first name.

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