weeks had passed since the battle of Gloriana. Celebrations were had
but were surprisingly muted. Many were still stunned that it actually
happened. Daimos defeated. Aetherium freed for good. No more SWAT-bot
patrols or monsters. One could let down their guard and knew they
could live. They could walk the lands without fear of death or worse.
All that was lost could be rebuilt. It was best described as a mix of
relief and disbelief.
Imperial Marines were becoming a common sight across the planet. A couple of shooting scuffles occurred with local resistance cells. But they ended with no serious casualties reported and the misunderstandings cleared up. They spent most of the time distributing supplies or fighting surviving elements of the Domain. Without Daimos's leadership and the technological edge over their enemies. The minotaurs, Ratmen, and SWAT-bots could only put up token resistance to the marines.
Not that the remnants could ever be discounted in a fight. But they were no longer the threat they once posed. The machines could only operate on their last programmed orders or were stuck on sentry mode. The Templars' technology and the Imperial Navy's air superiority negated any individual advantages the rats and minotaurs had.
Sam stayed in Gloriana aiding in burying the dead and distributing supplies when he could. When not working he prayed heavily. Seeking forgiveness for his actions during the battle. The dark matter explosion and the idea he had a hand in the death of his allies weighed on his mind. While it was explained that the convergence of energies caused it, that logic did not soothe the heart.
the marines arrived in Gloriana to set up shop. King Oberon and and
Queen Titania put Sam up in an inn as a reward. His wife was pampering him the entire time in an effort to get Sam to relax. On this day he woke up with breakfast in bed. He enjoyed it immensely but could not hide any of his true feelings from her.
truly bothers you, Sam?” She poured a cup of tea for him.
sighed. “Just can't shake the idea from my head. A fear of mine
that I would get so focused on stopping Daimos that I would do anything
to win. Even sacrificing innocent people and I would justify it that
I would do what I had to do.”
Kaguya embraced Sam putting his head on her chest. “I wish their deaths could be avoided as well. But you will not travel down that path. For if all you have suffered before could not change you neither will this.” She placed a kiss on his forehead.
“You're right. I guess I'm just tired.”Sam put a hand on her belly feeling the life within. The fear in his mind slowly faded away. His heart slowed and his muscles relaxed. As if the baby was somehow comforting him. In a way, it did while not directly, as far he knew, but through its existence. For the baby meant life.
a year and more Sam was surrounded by the shadow of death. A shadow
that clung to him like a parasite. It encroached on the hearts of all
who lived on Camelot. Spreading the fear that one day a storm of
steel and fire would descend upon them. That the protection of
secrecy would fail them and their doom would come.
But now next to him he had life, Aetherium would have new life protected by Sentinel. The fear would soon pass. Towns would be rebuilt, farms replanted, families reunited. There would be time to rest and enjoy without worry. From there new families would be born, in newly founded towns.
there is still the greater war against Daimos. The quest for the
remaining seven rings would stretch into the stars. But the conflict
no longer came from a need to avoid death, to save off the shadow for
one day more. With Aetherium as a safe haven and the fear of certain
death removed they could focus on what mattered. Life, family,
liberty. To fight for what was right then just avoiding
“Rest, my love. Take all you need.” Kaguya looked up. Saying a mental prayer to the Powers. To the Creator.
“Please. Grant him this respite. Grant him this mercy. Let your humble servant rest so he may fulfill his duty with even greater vigor.”
Gently laying Sam down and tucking him in Kaguya took the breakfast tray away. Before she could begin washing someone knocked on the front door. She left to answer it.
“Your Radiance,” said Admiral Sabine. The Enchantress was with her.
“Admiral. Enchantress. Welcome. Please come in. Would you like some tea?”
“No, thank you,” said the Enchantress. “Is Samuel awake?”
A worried look appeared on Kaguya's face. Sabine calmed her fears. “Nothing strenuous. We simply wish him to meet the Council.”
She looked away to the stairs then turned back to her guests. “Can it wait one more day?”
On the next day Sam left for the White Star Council. He wore the flight jacket with his outfit as it reminded him of home. It also served as a symbol of victory, an item destroyed by Daimos that had been restored. In his mind that was a sign of things to come. He was taken up by shuttlecraft. It was sleek, angular, and covered in chrome. He asked why he was taken up by craft instead of using a gateway.
“Kaguya said you would kill us if you didn't get to see it,” barked Sabine.
see it he did. A massive sphere that nearly dwarfed the size of
Aetherium's sun. If his jaw could physically drop to the floor it
would have done so. Sabine had the viewscreen enhance the image
revealing the sphere was segmented in places. The giant sphere was
actually a large ring structure stacked on top of a structure to make
it appear as a sphere to the naked eyes.
“What on God's green earth is that,” Sam said with amazement.
“This a Tuatha bunker ship. Officially known as the Bastion Class Stellar Engine: Siege Luminous
“That's a ship?! It looks like a moon!”
mean it is slightly bigger than the moon Aurora. But it's not that
big. You should see the images of Tuatha Dreadnoughts.”
The shuttle connected to one of the docking platforms which extended out from one of the rings. Then the platform retracted into the structure itself. Sam had millions of questions but nowhere to start. Kaguya had to pull him by his hand to break him out of his daydreaming.
and company had an escort of Templar Paladins. Their armor was a mix
of sky blue and white plates which marked them as servants of the
White Star Council, unlike the standard silver-grey Templars. The
Paladins took them to a gateway pad, an internal transportation
system similar to the Bifrost gateways. Streamed from the dockyards
the group manifested into another pad room.
Sam had to shield his eyes when the doors open as the bright light of the artificial sky hit his face. Once everyone re-adjusted they soon boarded into a waiting hovercraft and continued their trip. Driving through an expansive parkland flanked by various gated estates. The estates were built into the curved parts of the superstructure. Built so well that they appeared to be natural parts of the landscape, the gardens added to that impression.
At the highest edge of the curve, which gave it the appearance of a mountain, lay a castle surrounded by a reflecting pool moat. One made of beautiful white stone and glass with a large dome on top. It appeared more like a pleasure palace, a vacation home not a defensive structure. Considering Tuatha technology, however, not all defenses had to be completely obvious.
Their journey came to an end when they entered the Star Chamber. A rotunda with a glass floor and a star-painted ceiling. Every member of the council was in attendance. Sitting on hovering chairs on highly elevated platforms. All set in a circle and none of the platforms were designed in a way to specify a position or glorify one over the other. The Council was a place of peers where all were equal. All of them began to rise from their seats with staffs in their hands.
The Council had three Tuatha dressed similar to Mazha Rham. But there were other species in the room. Humans. Elves. Faeries. There was one member who looked like cat people from Ramia. Another one of her kind was there but shorter, somewhere around or below five feet, and covered with fur. Far closer to a bipedal cat than the ones Sam saw before, a possible sub-species? Genetic mutation or engineering?
One council member that stuck out was so dressed in a suit with a black, silver, and blue sash across the torso. They wore a helmet so all he could see was a set of gray-on-gray eyes underneath. But unlike the rest of the council who stood stoically, they were waving at him and like he was an old friend.
“Welcome, Promised Heir,” said Mazha Rham. “On behalf of the Council I offer our heartfelt congratulations for liberating Aetherium.”
“Thanks. I'll have one vanilla cake for my victory party don't skimp on the icing or the sprinkles.”
The mysterious council member laugh then spoke. “I'll bring the alcohol. You've earned it!” The voice was a woman's. She had a hint of an accent that Sam thought was Texan. That brought up some questions but he reserved those for later.
“So, what did you want to see me for?”
“Our conflict with the Dark Lord is moving to the next stage. It is time to begin making preparations.”
was about to object until Mazha Rham continued. “Nothing strenuous
as of yet, Princess. Simply training, along with installing the
necessary implants and the life-extension treatments. To ensure he is
on hand to aid you with the baby we have prepared a place for you two
on Siege Luminous.”
“We are lucky she still has the child,” shouted one of the council members. “Bringing her into battle was reckless and endangered the future saint!”
in space, we have Monday morning quarterbacks.” He rolled his eyes.
I wanted to be hauled before a Senate sub-committee,” he
would have stayed back on Earth.”
The Councilmember continued. “The fact that she's pregnant ahead of schedule.”
Mazha Rham slammed his staff on the floor interrupting the councilor. “Enough! This scenario was not entirely unforeseen. Due to the stress of the rebellion and the fact that without prolong Sir Bailey has a stricter biological timetable. It was entirely possible that the Emissary would be with child during the conflict. Let us be thankful that this was still fairly recent.”
The Councilor only nodded then gave Sam a skeptical look.
“If there will be no further interruptions. Let us move to the main topic of our agenda. Sir Bailey step forward.”
He did so taking his place in the center of the room. The lights dimmed with the spotlight solely focused on him. Mazha Rham's platform lowered to the ground while the others raised their staffs to the heavens. A light of a different color formed on each tip. The Tuatha materialized an orb of data which formed into a silver circlet with a gemstone in the shape of a blue spade.
With instinct gained from popular culture Sam took to one knee. “Samuel Christopher Bailey. By the authority invested in me by the White Star Council and in the presence of our Creator and His Celestial Powers. I acknowledge a power and responsibility passed down through the blood and reinforced by deed.” He placed the circlet on Sam's head. “You stepped into this chamber as a Champion of Aetherium. Now rise and take your place as the Celestial Champion. Defender of the Faith and the High King of the Tuatha.”
The newly minted Celestial Champion rose and was met with the resounding cry of “The King is dead. Long Live the King!” From all the council members. The Enchantress. Sabine. With the loudest cry coming from Kaguya. Mazha Rham added his staff's light to the others which caused the spade gemstone to glow. All of the lights floated away phasing through the material then exploded
A burst of light spread throughout the universe. Many souls would never even see the light and if they could they would not perceive what it meant. But Sam knew what it was and so would Daimos. This was the signal that everything had changed. The war to restore Kaguya's family to the throne and free Aetherium was merely a prelude to the greater storm. A storm that would affect all souls knowing or otherwise.
Samuel Bailey would be at the center of that storm. From this point forward he would no longer be an ordinary man. At his heart he would always be a simple man, striving to do right no matter what. But no longer could he be just a man. He was to be a king of a lost people and a champion for the Powers that Be. He would be the tip of the spear for the forces of light and virtue. The hope of the universe and the defender of right and justice.
this was no longer a rebellion or a war of restoration. This was a
war for the soul of the universe. Between the forces of light and
darkness. Whatever petty politics or insignificant matters would fall
to the wayside. As the successors of the Tuatha civil war take their
places on the stage of destiny. Ready to begin the second act of
Seven rings were left to be found. Seven rings to decide it all.
Read Uplift Protocol: https://fiannawolf.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-uplift-protocol-series-anthology.html