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The Starkmari girl and her almond eyes

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NightCrawler 85:
*Events and characters are based on the chronicle Khumaak. -

The Starkmari girl and her almond eyes.

She was laying on the bed, staring at the high ceiling lost in thought.

The emperor was dead, killed by one of his own slaves, someone he trusted and, to some extent, respected. The irony was that the slave, Drupar, had used one the Amarrs leaders own rod to commit the crime. During the past few days she had seen many rebels walk around with replicas of the emperors rod, raised over their heads and calling it "KhumaaK". She found the idea that the emperor had been killed using one of the Amarr's most sacred symbols of power quite ironic, and couldent help but smile.
You could question if Drupar had been in the right to do what he did to the late emperor Arkon. After all, him and his family had provided many Minmatar slaves with a good life, and opportunities few people born into slavery could have hoped for.
But, Minmatars are proud, and while many have accepted a life of slavery, deep down they have a wish, a hope, for something more for their children, and their children's children.

She sighed and turned over on her side, feeling the silk skirt slide to the side and expose her legs, long, smooth skin, and a deep dark color.
She smiled and started to think about the young heir, and how many times he had sneaked in late at night waking her up by letting his hands slide over those legs, then across her stomach and over her chest.

He was no longer just an heir, he was the new emperor, emperor Idonis. The thought made her shiver, both with fear and excitement. She knew very well that the heirs feelings for her was one of the reasons she had been kept safe all these years. While no one "officially" knew about their relationship, there were rumors, and this was enough to make sure that the guards, while still admiring her body, dident dare to lay a hand on her, and she was allowed to do more or less whatever she wanted without anyone daring to question her.

That was one of the reasons that Drupar had involved her in his plans, and not just on some small level. She used her looks to get the heirs attention, and then the... lust any young man has to gain his trust. She almost started to laugh. Men, especially those that have some level of power, control, are so easily fooled. Let them into your bed once and they are convinced you could never betray them because your "blinded by love". He would tell her things, oh the things he would tell her. Sometimes she would ask him questions, carefully guiding the conversation, getting information about the emperor, who was loyal towards him, who in the council objected to his ruling, his plans.. She could get anything out of him, and he always answered willingly, never suspecting that she was using him.

She got up from the bed and looked around.

It was a small place, far from as cramped and worn down as other the quarters other residents of Minmatar origins on the planet. In fact, Idonis had made sure that her quarters where quite pleasant. Maybe it was because he was used to a certain.. standard and felt that the usual quarters reserved for slaves weren't good enough for him, but she thought that in a way he had gotten her a new place, a place for her self, because he wanted to please her. Ironically enough this was also something that had greatly helped the cause. Since their "relationship" had to be maintained secret he had gotten her a place in the nicer part of the city, where people rarely bothered to pay attention to anything but them self's. Thus it had been easy for the rebels to have regular meetings there and not be noticed.

Again she caught her self almost laughing, this time because of the naivety the Amarr people showed whenever slaves where involved.
Obviously they had to be careful when having these meetings, since even the most snotty Amarrian's would notice a group of 5-10 slaves and various employees of the emperor walking in a group, but they came one by one, and no one had ever questioned them. Especially not when a slave accompanied some of the higher ranked Amarr employees, since it was not uncommon that the slaves followed their master wherever they went. And since the guards knew she had a.. special guest staying over on a regular basis, they never searched the property. Oh if they had known the amount of weapons, documents, holoreels, ISK and other illegal possessions she had stored below the floor boards... Not to mention a list that contained the name of every person who was a supporter of the rebellion, both Minmatars and Amarr.
These most important possessions had been destroyed of course. As soon as word spread about the late emperors death the documents and recordings got burned to ensure that the information they contained would not reach the new emperor.

Its almost time. She goes over to the small mirror, ruffles up her hair a bit, just the way he likes it. She stares back at her self in the mirror, almond shaped eyes. So much pain and suffering is hidden behind those eyes, so much hatred for the people her life depends on, and hatred for what she has become. Not just a slave, but a whore, using her body in a last desperate attempt at redemption to what has been done to her people, to her self.
In her desk drawer she had a Kri'tak. Now she removed it from the drawer and put it on the table, then just stood next to it, listening, waiting for the new emperor to arrive.

What few knew was that before Drupar had drawn his last breath, he had been tortured.
Drupar was a strong man, and a clever man, but in the end, everyone gives in to the Amarr's vicious ways of gaining information. One of the last things he had done, more unconscious then conscious, was looking at the young emperor and laugh, taunting him about how he had been a great supporter of the rebellion by freely giving them all the information they needed to end the rule of Amarr once and for all, and all just because he couldent control his lust for the dark skinned woman with the mysterious eyes and alluring smile. The emperor, blinded by rage and desperation and heartache screamed and launched at Drupar, slitting his throat.
She had obtained this information from someone within the Amarr ranks, someone in the council that had been present when it happened.
She didn't blame Drupar for what he had done, she would be dead anyway since there was no way the council would accept the new emperors "play toy" to walk around and potentially say something she shouldent, and at least this way she got the pleasure of knowing that the young Emperor knew what she had done, how he had gotten tricked, and how weak minded he really was. It gave her an immense feeling of pleasure and pride, and she knew that the shame, the embarrassment he would feel whenever he looked at a guard, spoke the the council, addressed "his" people would eventually drive him mad.

She could hear him now, and she stood up straighter, facing the door, knowing it would be opened any second. She wouldent bow, she wouldent look down, she would not address him in any way or form. She took the Kri'tak with both her hands and pointed it towards her chest. He would not get the pleasure of having her one last time, he would not get the pleasure of ending her him self. She did not want to give him any chance of redemption.

The first thing Idonis saw when he kicked in the door was her smile, no longer alluring, but triumphant and proud, and for the first time he saw the hatred in her eyes, and the hatred, hatred so strong that it made her glow, made her even more beautiful to him.

Those almond shaped eyes would be in his dreams for the rest of his life, and she was right, he did go mad.

NightCrawler 85:
*Events and characters based on the chronicle Khaedra -

Part 1.

20 years earlier a Starkmari girl can be seen running trough the fields towards a small house on the outskirts of the town. She has a big grin on her face, excited to tell her mother what she had found. She is slowly followed by a small group of men carefully carrying a Sebiestor that looked more like skin and bone then a living human being. Her name is Khaedra, and her almond shaped eyes are glowing the way only a kids eyes, one that is still innocent, uncorrupted, not yet destroyed by the cruelty she will face in her later years.

Her mother is not really her mother. At least not in the sense that she gave birth to Khaedra. Her real mother died during child birth, and Asela being a widow with no children of her own and nothing left to loose raised Khaedra. Maybe because she was lonely, maybe in the hopes that one day someone would take notice of her great sacrifice raising a slave child and decide to take pity on her, and help her recover some of her former glory and respect, or maybe she simply did it out of compassion. Whatever her motives where, she never told anyone, and while she was very strict with Khaedra, she still acted like a holder and treated her well.
Asela is what you would call a Destitude Holder.

Khaedra came running into the kitchen, still smiling and practically yelled "Mom! I found a strange man! I found a strange man! i found a strange man! They are bringing him over now! He looks like me!". Her babbling got abrubtly cut off as Asela hit her with the palm of her hand, hard enough to leave Khaedra's cheek red for the next half hour, but not enough to really hurt her.
At this point most kids would have sat down and screamed their head off, but Khaedra who was raised as a slave girl was used to this treatment and knew exactly why she had been slapped.
"Lady Asela, please forgive me. I meant no disrespect."
Pleased by hearing Khaedra address her properly, she sat down on a chair next to the kitchen table and invited Khaedra to sit on the floor in front of her with a simple nod.
Obideantly Khaedra sat down on her knees, with her head bowed as a sign of respect she told her mother about the strange man she had found collapsed near the city limits.

Other slaves had quickly arrived and it had ended up with a discussion about what to do with the man, who was obviously in bad shape. For reasons beyond Khaedra's knowledge the discussion had quickly evolved into a fight. Some wanted to kill the man, some wanted to turn him over to the guards, some wanted to just leave him to his own faith. Needless to say that Khaedra did not approve of any of these options.

Young as she was she was still not able to fully understand how things worked, in her mind there where no slaves, no masters, no holders. Of course she knew she had to be more respectful to some then others, but she had never really questioned this, its just how it had been ever since she was born. Maybe this is why she went in between the group of men and just started to scream. Just one loud scream, sharp enough to make everyone who heard it cringe and cover their ears.

When it was all said and done the slaves decided to bring the wounded Sebiestor to Khaedra's mistress. Her kindness was one of the things that had caused her to fall in ruin, and they felt sure that no matter what faith was in wait for the scrawny man they carried between them, she would not tell their masters what they had done, or even that they had any knowledge about the man.
Little did they know that this man would help change the faith of every Minmatar across the entire galaxy, and help start the biggest rebellion there had ever been.

Khaedra was 6 years old, and the innocence she now possessed would soon start to corrode.

NightCrawler 85:
Part 2

Asela ordered the slaves to lay the wounded Sebiestor down on Khaedras bed which was standing in a corner in the small kitchen. She then sent them on their way knowing they would not mention a word about this to their masters out of fear of being punished. In the mean time Khaedra had gone out to the well and brought back some fresh clean water in a bowl, together with a piece of cloth before she quietly went back outside.
She knew that Asela wouldent want her to hear the conversation they would have, but she put her self right outside the door, knowing that she would easily be able to hear what was being said.

Asela looked down on the wounded Sebiestor laying on the bed that was, truth be told, way to small for a man of his size. Even with how skinny he was he was a large man, and it was clear to Asela that while he was a slave, he had been a slave for someone of nobility. The Sebiestor did not have calluses on the palm of his hands, he had no scars that could indicate whipping or severe beatings, both very common methods of punishment, and while he was well built he did not have the muscles you expect to see on someone who works in a mine or a field. This man had smooth hands, almost delicate, and his skin showed no sign of damage, except the quickly evolving bruises that was rapidly turning purple and black all over his body.
However, she did note with interest that the man had wounds around his thin wrists, fresh wounds, and it left her with the conclusion that whoever this man was, he had recently been held captive, and the only reason he was here on this bed was pure luck.

She noticed that the man was looking at her, and startled she looked away, feeling shame being caught looking so closely on his body.
"Water, please." he asked, his voice cracking up, but yet very strong and deep. A voice that could have belonged to an authority figure, someone used to giving speeches, or shouting orders. Asela took the ladle and filled it with water from a bucket that stood next to the bed, and slowly guided it towards his moth while he was doing his best to sit up. As soon as he tasted the water he started to drink more greedily, quickly emptying it and she gave him a second one, this time letting him hold it on his own, and then sat down on the chair across the room.

She sensed no danger with this man. She suspected he was as broken mentally as he was physically, and that he had no more strenght,or willpower to fight, and she allowed her self to relax while carefully observing him using the cloth and basin Khaedra had brought to clean off him self until he was ready to talk.

"My Lady, I don't know what you are planning to do with me, but you showed me mercy by letting me drink your water, and showed me respect by letting me clean off my broken body, and for that you have my gratitude." He ended this with a small bow, but he kept her eyes pinned to hers.
She scowled.
"Then the least you could do when facing a Holder is to show enough respect to look down when addressing me". The Sebiestor gave her a weak smile, and kept looking at her, but his eyes turned dark.
"I do not wish to offend you Lady, but it has nothing to do with your race, or you rank. I address you as Lady, because its proper, not because i feel i have to, and i look at you because its my damn right to look at whoever i want, when i want" He saw the bewildered look in her face and laughed, because of her confusion. No one had ever dared to speak to her like that, but his laughter was kind and she caught her smile smiling back at him. He sat back down on the bed and took a deep breath.
"My name is Errus Ankarrek, and im a fugitive wanted for killing my former master. Listen to my story before you pass judgment."

NightCrawler 85:
Part 3

"Like most of my people i was a slave," he began, "but i was a happy slave."
"I had my beloved, while we were not married we were sworn to each other by oath, and i had a son."
His eyes filled with compassion as soon as he mentioned his son, but also a deep sense of sorrow.
"His name was Seru, and he was a dimwit, a retard." He nearly spat out the last word, like it was dirty.
"I loved that kid, he was my pride and joy, not much older then the slave Starkmari girl that found me and convinced the others to bring me here. Our family had worked for the priests family as butlers for generations, and we where fortunate to be born into such a kind and respected role. As respected as it can be for a slave at least. Me, like my father, my fathers father, and as far back as anyone can remember have always strived to please our masters. We where loyal, and while we knew that we where nothing but slaves, we felt that we were treated with respect, and we repaid that by working hard and not causing trouble."

Asela could hear the well controlled anger in Eruss's voice, and nodded to show understanding and encouraging him to go on.

My son liked to be outside, watching people pass by, admiring the nice clothing the more wealthy Amarrians would wear. My master caught him in my masters closet once, just letting his hands slide over the priests many robes. He said he liked how it felt against his skin. Oddly enough my master dident punish him, instead he found a robe that had belonged to his son, and gave it to Seru so he would have a robe of his own. My master never told me why he did it, but i think secretly he liked the kid, even with his.. condition."

Errus took another sip of water before he continued.

"My masters son was a few years older then mine, a spoiled little brat. And he couldent stand my son. Maybe he knew that his father secretly liked him, even if it might have been more as a mascot then anything else. This kind and loving little kid that would never act like he was more then 5.
He used to tease Seru, him and his friends. They would never really hurt him, just trick him. Like pretending to want to play hide and go seek and they would have him hide and then not go looking and Seru would be hiding for hours until someone found him and sent him home. That kind of thing.
About 6 months ago I had accomponied my master for one of his trips, and wouldent be back until late at night, while his mother was at the market getting groceries.
My son, bored being inside alone, unwatched, went outside to play, and he was wearing the robe my master had given him. Not realizing how disrespectful it would be for a Minmatar, the son of a slave, to wear clothing normally reserved for the Amarr people only.
He was seen by my masters son, and i guess the sight of a retarded slave kid wearing "his" robe triggered something in him. He started to throw stones at Seru, taunting him, telling him how he was worthless, how he was stupid, how he would would get Esus executed as soon as he was the new master.
Seru, unable to comprehend what was really happening, started to run towards my masters son with his arms spread out, most likely to try and hug him to make him happy again so he would stop hurting him."

Eruss's voice cracked up, and he twisted his hands in his lap drawing deep breaths trying to get him self under control before he continued.

"My master had slaver hounds like most wealthy families do, and one of these where this big dog, Tila ,that had grown up with his son. Trained from day one to protect him no matter what, Tila leaped at my son, throwing him in the ground, tearing his robe, his skin, his flesh, ignoring my sons cries of pain. She just kept biting and tearing, biting and tearing..."
His mother had been at the market, on her way home with that nights dinner for the priest family, and heard Seru's shrieks of pain and fear. She dropped everything and came running, trying to tear the dog off our son."

Even if she knew it was pointless, Asela looked at Errus with a faint glimmer of hope in her eyes, a hope that maybe the boy survived the viscous attack from the Slaver. Errus picked up on it and said coldly; "Even if she had managed to pull Tila off him it would have been to late. I was told his screams had already stopped, and he was nothing more then a piece of bloody meat wrapped in shredded silk."

"The screams had alerted some close by guards that came to check what was going on. What met them was a hysterical slave woman trying to beat on a slaver hound with her bare hands, and a panic stricken Amarr boy claiming that she was trying to kill his dog. Of course the guards could see the body the slaver hound was shaking back and forth like a rag doll, and knew that the priests son was not telling the truth, not the complete truth anyway, but they they took my beloved Ania and pulled her off the dog, then proceeded to hit her several times before they dragged her off into a nearby passage way where they proceeded to beat her.
Many people saw what happened, slaves and Amarrs, and no one interrupted, just looked down and kept on walking."

Errus looked at her with what was now pure rage in his eyes, unable to control his voice anymore.
"They just kept on walking! Even our own people are so afraid of you Amarr scumbags that they were willing to let one of ours get beaten to death, and for what? Because she had tried to save the life of her own son, a retarded kid that had done nothing wrong except enjoying the feeling of silk on his skin! How can anyone, anyone, say that is right?"

Not really expecting a response Errus continued.
After his outburst of anger his voice had turned cold, and in many ways this scared Asela more then his anger had.

"After the guards where done with her, they left her to die.She had tried to crawl over to our son, and she died reaching her hand out towards him, broken and alone. By the evening someone came by and picked up the remains, brought them away and burned them. I never even got a chance to say good bye, or give them a proper burial.
Devastated i went to my master and i said "My Lord, you have always shown us kindness, and we have always showed you the respect a slave should show his master, but your son is now responsible for the deaths of my son and his mother. He needs to be punished. Please give me some kind of redemption, i beg off you".
My master looked at me and said "Your son was wearing a robe that belonged to my son. He had committed the crime of theft, and he was used to set an example. Your beloved Ania, shameful as it is, tried to interfere and attacked my sons life guard, Tila. The guards had no other choice but to get her out of the way, even if they had to use force. While its very unfortunate that she died, accidents happen Eruss, and my son cant be blamed for that. Now, leave me be, i need my rest. Its been a long day".
My master went over to the bed and laid down, patiently waiting for me to come over and fluff his pillow and make sure his covers where decent, and i walked over to the bed, not really knowing what i was doing. All i know is that i felt this.. rage... I could hear my own blood rushing trough my veins, and when i lifted his pillow to fluff it i saw the knife he kept there in case of intruders and it was like a white light exploded inside my head. I grabbed the knife and i stabbed him, screamed, and stabbed him again. Over and over and over again. I have been told i had stabbed him over 70 times."

Asela had grown pale, and the he smiled at her.
"Don't worry, i have no reason to harm you, and in my current condition even a scrawny little Amarr woman like your self could have ended me."

"I spent the next 6 months on the run, going from ship to ship, sometimes paying, sometimes threatening the pilot to let me on-board, sometimes as a blind passenger. I just wanted to get to the Republic, grieving my son and Ania in peace. But they caught up with me, and only by a miracle did i manage to escape. The escape pod crashed on this planet, why they dident come after me i dont know, and i walked until i got to the edge of the town. The rest you know."

She looked at him, wanting to ask him a question but not fully daring, feeling a deep sense of respect that she couldent explain for this man. Luckily he saw and understood.

"No, it dident feel good to kill him. At the moment i did it i felt nothing, and now.. I feel no satisfaction. I killed one master, one of many. I wont feel at peace until my people can see a helpless women get beaten,and chose to step in and save her knowing they wont be killed for treason against an empire we don't belong too."

Outside Khaedra wept silently.

Callista Dalmore:
11 years earlier - Starkmanir Prime, Royal Education Center – Engineering and practical sciences
The mote of light dances erratically just above the black board.  Generally it stays quite high up above Mentor Benelanin’s round and pudgy head but at times it swoops down daringly and almost kisses his fat fingers as they sprawl yet another barely comprehensible fluid flow partial differential equation upon the board.

“And so, class, as we can see here when we try to reconcile experimental data with our derived theoretical models, the discrepancies, at standard temperature and pressure…” continues the Mentor in his deep throaty drone.

Whispers, pointed fingers and meaningful glances all point to the new boy sitting in one of the few shafts of direct sunlight to make it into the auditorium.  He clearly enjoys the attention, especially from the smiling girls.

He now maneuvers his datapad to make the reflected light appear to bounce atop the edge of the blackboard, imitating the dynamics quite well by slowing at the top of each arc and then rapidly descending to hit the edge and then leaping back up.  When the “ball” is about to bounce into the school’s motto it stops, as if surprised, and gingerly wobbles its way around it.  Emblazoned in the Hamri’s greens and golds are the words “All Knowledge from God”.  When the light comes around to the word “God”, it pauses and suddenly jumps up and down on it as if it were a child jumping on a bed.

A flurry of suppressed giggles burst out.

The Mentor interrupts his equation and turns on his heel to face the class.  Quickly the boy’s datapad slips down into his lap and his mischievous grin is replaced by a mask of exaggerated boredom.

“What is so humorous?  Mentor Benelanin barks as his chalked hands lower slowly and deliberately while he scans the room. “What in ‘laminar to turbulent transition zones’ has you all quite so tickled?”  His tone clearly indicates that he is anything but, “tickled”.  Let me remind you that several of you are currently failing this class and many more of you are barely getting by.  It would be a shame to test your inadequate knowledge at this point would it not?  Let me remind you of the incredible privilege each and every one of you sitting here today are enjoying.  Was it not for the infinite grace and generosity of your Lord Arzad, where would you be?  Hmm?  His gaze shifts to the windows where work was still underway clearing a swath of jungle for the new sports fields.

His threat has the desired sobering effect.

“Since we are in fact, interrupted, I would like to take this time to present to you a new student.  Heir Idonis Ardishapur, could you please stand up and say hello to the students of class 219 “Hydraulics and Irrigation Systems”?

Astonished, all heads turn towards the new boy who, standing too quickly sends his datapad crashing to the floor. A boy next to him retrieves the datapad.

“Idonis will be auditing this class for the rest of the semester and I am quite sure his father will be particularly interested in any problems in discipline or any other goings on in this class. Now, Idonis, would you be so kind as to describe what happened to be so funny in my lecture?”

Feeling the warmth of a flush begin in his cheeks, Idonis looks around the room.  His gaze falls back to the front of the hall and onto the black board.  Suddenly, it comes to him.

“Ah, yes, Knowledgable Mentor, I believe that it is due to the omission of the partial derivative in the second equation which, if solved would have the theoretical system create energy which as I guess some astute students found amusing as it violates the laws of thermodynamics and would therefore quite corroborate your earlier statement the difficulty of reconciling experimental data with the theoretic.”

As he spoke his gaze fell upon a strikingly beautiful girl a couple of rows down and across from him.  He momentarily lost his train of thought.  Looking away, back towards the Mentor, Idonis  continues, “And I assume, out of deference to you, were perhaps too shy to point out the mistake but their exuberance got the best of them and when you copied the error into the third equation they could not hold it any longer.”

Mentor Benelanin looks back at his equation and nods slowly clearly embarrassed at having made such a mistake in front of the heir.  Turning back to the class, he says to Idonis, “I see that your formal Amarrian education serves as a wonderful example to us all.  Thank you for your candor.”

Idonis, relieved, sits back down.  As he does so, the boy next to him leans over and whispers, “Three rows down and five across.  She’s mine.”  Looking in that direction, Idonis sees that it is the girl which made him stumble while he was speaking.  He leans over to his friend ans whispers, “Zoriac my friend, you are going to have to fight for her.”

They settle back into their chairs both seeming to be listening to the lecture.  Both, however, are picturing her lovely almond eyes.



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