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Praetor Raven Blackwood

Short Sci-Fi story I created a few years back.

Mood Glade City was heavy with activity as hover craft sped from place to place. The High Council was gathering at noon to establish a new frontier. A frontier that would catapult the Sentinal’s deep into space. Those called to the meeting were of the highest rank and authority. Magistrates and Councilors alike went to the council chambers where the first of the meetings was to begin.  Among those called were the clan leaders of the Joint Sentinel Convent; the fore fathers of the Sentinel Convent.

Among those called was Praetor Raven Blackwood.

Praetor Raven Blackwood awoke to a loud rapping on her door. She quickly jumped out of her bed and opened the door. At the door was one of the city’s messengers.  “Praetor, the High Council has requested you join them at their meeting. I have been ordered to escort you to the council chambers.” the messenger quickly said.

“Very well then” Raven said and began to follow the messenger.

Raven walked up the council chamber steps and told the messenger his duties had been served.  As Raven walked in to the building she was greeted by a desk assistant.

“You may go right in.  They are waiting for you.” Raven nodded and walked into the council chamber itself and was faced by the Magistrates, councilors, and the clan leaders of the joint Sentinel Convent.

Inside the chambers, many of the clan leaders and military advisors stood and sat around talking amongst themselves. The ambience of the room was loud but yet subtle as the meeting entered the prelude stages. Many of the Praetors and Executors had arrived per instruction. It was here that the High Council would dictate the next course of action.

Moments passed as one of the Court Elite Guards stomped his staff on the marble slab floor. The echo passed through the ancient chamber like a gunshot. Everyone in the chamber, some two hundred people, quieted down. Turning to the source of the noise the Elite Guard spoke from under his helmeted face.

“All Rise, the Honorary High Council presiding.” the Guards voice was hard and thick.  Up above him on a high-rise platform twelve high council members walked in behind their elevated desks. Their robes were neatly trimmed as they made their way marked seats.

The lead councilor was Supreme Councilor Furnoor Grace. Councilor Grace’s long white flowing hair ran down the flat his back. With his powerful hands he addressed the crowd in the room.

“Be seated brothers and sisters.” Graces voice reverberated throughout the room. As everyone took their seats, the Supreme Chancellor took his own seat. Seated neatly, The Supreme Chancellor activated his private CPU terminal. Appearing in front of him were various files and holo vid images needed for the meeting.

“Ish’nu Da Dee’ab Sentinals, thank for coming.” Lord Grace stated fully. “Now let us start this meeting for the obvious reasons. You all know about, or heard the rumors that the Sentinal High Council was debating about sending another expeditionary fleet to search for vibrant and new worlds. It’s here that we shall begin.”  Grace stated.

Several dozen voices murmured amongst the crowd as the High Council addressed themselves.

“Now, in light of recent events here on Ashenvale I and my fellow council members believe that it is imperative that an expeditionary force be sent.  Reasons being is that our populations are growing out of control and the need for space is causing rioting. With the ideas of colonization, the local provinces have calmed down but are demanding that a choice be made.” Councilman Jurid stated as he turned to face a woman on the high council. Her ears were long and riddled with fine jewels.

“Yes, now the High Council has all agreed that the fleet be sent.” the woman replied.  “Our only quarrel is who is to command the fleet?” the woman stated

From the crowds bickering and sniveling began amongst several male and female Hunters and huntress commanders.

“I Mistress Sentra of the Elite Glade Troop shall lead the expedition.”  Mistress Sentra said as he rose in her armored uniform.

This started a small argument that was quickly silence as Lord Grace intervened with his powerful voice.

“Silence!!” he boomed.

His gripping words hushed those in question while others spoke up stating their volunteers.

But out of the crowd Lord Grace’s eyes fell on the Praetors who’d been silent since the start.

“I say that one of our Praetors leads the Expeditionary forces.” Grace stated.

No one challenged Lord Graces’ statement.  The Praetors had long been the strongest group of men and woman in the entire Convent. There fierce and determined attitudes had one them many battles in the past. Grace eyed the leader of the Praetors, Arch Praetor Artanis.  Artanis was a tall thin elven man with long sharp ears. His dark skin was descended from the White Fire Clan. Rising from his seat he cleared his throat and quickly spoke.

“Aye, Lord Grace.” he replied. “We Praetor shall lead the way and, Goddess willing; swiftly find a new refuge that will end this new uprising.”  Artanis stated firmly. The high council seemingly approved the statement. Lord Grace turned too muttered quietly with the other council members before turning to address the Arch Praetor.

“Very well then Artanis, whom from your esteemed group shall be appointing Fleet Master?” Lord Grace stated.

Artanis knew just the person. Turning his gaze he faced Praetor Raven.

“I nominate Praetor Raven Blackwood to lead the expeditionary force.”  Artanis stated loudly.

The words soon fell on the entire room. No one said a word. Several people whispered but fell silent as they knew the name all too well.  The Blackwood family were legendary family from the White Fire Clan; one of the oldest clans in the Convent. Raven Blackwood’s Grandfather Lord Marcus was the most fiercest military commander, and above all was the most respected due to his lineage that followed him.

Lord Grace pleased to hear that a Blackwood had been picked quickly spoke.

“Well then” he started. “What does Miss Blackwood say to her nomination?” he questioned as he attempted to eye her from a distance.

Praetor Raven had been quiet throughout the meeting and listened while the other people bickered. She grew anxious when Lord Grace stated he wanted a Praetor to lead the Expeditionary forces. She watched as her leader Arch Praetor Artanis spoke. She knew what was going to happen. She watched Artanis as he turned towards her and nominated her to lead the Expeditionary forces. She sat there for a moment as the room grew silent. She could feel eyes watching her from all angles. She slowly stood up and spoke. “Lord Grace I would be very privileged to lead and command the fleet.”  Her voice was steady and firm as she spoke. “When will we begin our expedition?” She quickly added.

“You will leave right away, be at the star port in less than 30 minutes.”  Lord Grace spoke quickly. “Ishnu’ fala ‘nah.  Meeting dismissed.  Thank you all for coming on such short notice.” He added. Everyone gathered their stuff and headed out of the council chambers.

Praetor Raven walked swiftly to her sleeping quarters. She packed everything she needed and headed out.

As she approached the star port she saw the enormous length of the destroyer; Whisperwind.  It looked like a giant fish jumping out of the sea.

There were many other smaller vessels surrounding the massive destroyer. There were hundreds of people getting ready for deployment. Many soldiers were carrying supplies into the ship through a gravity lift. As Raven neared the gravity lift she was greeted by the captain of the ship. “Praetor Raven, I am Captain Malfurion. I will be of assistance during our mission to find new planets.” He said with a thick accent. “If you will come with me, you can get situated on the fleet. After you have unpacked your things I will introduce you to the helmsman of the ship, the ship captains who will be controlling the other vessels.”  He said stepping onto the outskirt of the gravity lift. “Thank you Captain Malfurion. I will also need to get acquainted with the ship captains who will be controlling the other vessels.”  Raven said and walked onto the gravity lift with Captain Malfurion.

The gravity lift lifted them into the cargo room. Raven saw many of the tanks and fighters that had already been loaded onto the vessel. Captain Malfurion led Raven into the bridge of the ship.  There were many people operating the bridges touch-screen computer systems.

They walked down a corridor and ended up in a large room. The room held many different quarters. Raven saw that there were already occupied rooms. Captain Malfurion led her to the room farthest away from them.

The captain handed Raven a keycard. “This is your personal keycard it allows you access through the energy door and into your room. Do not lose it.”  He said and walked away. Raven scanned the keycard on the door lock and watched as the energy door dissipated allowing her in.  The energy door immediately closed.  She looked around the room that would be hers for the next couple of months. The room held a small bed, dresser, desk and a touch-screen computer. On the wall was a holo-screen.  She emptied her belongings into the dresser and sat on the bed resting for a couple of minutes. Her moment of resting was interrupted by the holo-screen next to her.  It showed one of the lieutenants on the bridge. “Praetor Raven Blackwood your presence has been requested on the bridge. We are about to disembark from Ashenvale.” He said and the holo-screen went blank. Raven quickly exited out of the room and headed towards the bridge. It was there on the bridge of the Whisperwind that the vessel became alive. Raven could feel beneath her feet the very power of the ship as its raw and powerful energies resonated throughout the vessel.  It was not long before she soon began to rise and the very crest of the earth below began to vanish.

A very humbling experience as the ship slowly escalated into the skies. Along with the Whisperwind over a dozen other large star cruisers broke formation from the docks and began to ascend into the bright blue skies and from there to the stars beyond where their journey was to begin.

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Flash Fiction Challenge: Bad Parents

Wrote this from the view-point of a mother on her death-bed writing a letter to her daughter.  Enjoy!

A heart monitor beeping rhythmically in the background goes unnoticed by me.  The hustle and bustle of nurses outside my room does not reach my ears.  I am too far away in my own world.  Ever so slowly my life seeps out of me, with nothing but a slow and continuous drip of morphine to keep the pain at bay.  My tired heart aches.  I know she will not come.  Busy with three beautiful children and a loving husband, she has barely a moment to spare.  Why would she ever waste one on me?  It is in between these morphine doses and what is left of my lucid memory that I write this to her…

~

Dear daughter,

My first cogent memory can be traced back to a sticky summer day.  Mother was cleaning hastily, my father hated an untidy house, and in her rush she knocked over a vase that had been sitting flowerless on the side table.  Hurrying to get a dust pan and broom she left her toddler, me, alone.  I remember crawling over to the shiny pieces and grabbing a handful, immediately resulting in an ear-splitting howl as the tiny razors sliced and dug into my tender flesh.  My mother flew back into the living room to find me bloody handed and bawling my eyes out.  My young mind barely processed the flash of annoyance that crossed her worn face.

“Stupid child” She growled at me.  “If you think I’m wasting my time to pluck every single shard out of your hand you’re wrong, not my fault you have no sense.”

Completely disregarding my inability, at barely three years, to rationalize that grabbing a handful of glass was stupid, she swiftly cleaned up the broken glass surrounding me and left the room without a backwards glance.  Eventually I calmed down enough and somehow managed to pull a few of the larger pieces out of my hand.  That day serves as my first clear memory of knowing I was on my own.

~

I should start by saying that I grew up as an only child.  I also grew up as an only child that wasn’t allowed to have friends.  School was my only solace, my only getaway.  I should also state that I have learned that not all women should have babies.  Some women just don’t have the “mommy gene”.  My mother was one of those women.  I don’t fault her for that.  She never wanted a child in the first place.  That doesn’t mean I don’t hold her accountable for all the things she did however.

~

I’ll give my parents one thing, they were never intentionally malicious – just simply inconsiderate assholes.

~

If you asked me what a vacation was I would most likely say “It’s a period of time that parents go away and leave their kids home to fend for themselves”.  I had, in fact, never been on a vacation, nor did I receive any souvenirs.

~

Affection?  Hmm…I’m not sure I know what that word is, even to this day.  I can honestly say I have never been hugged, kissed or been told “I love you.” by either of my parents.  You could say we weren’t a warm and fuzzy family.

~

 Feelings weren’t allowed in my household.  Rather, everyone else was allowed to have feelings except me.  There was no crying, no throwing tantrums, no hormonal outbursts and heaven forbid I laughed too loud.  The rule was: leave it at your bedroom door.

~

My father believed that hard work was character building.  So naturally all house work and yard work was mine to do.  My mother and father should come home after work and not have to worry about anything.  I wasn’t kidding when I told my friends, the few I had, that giving children chores is the only legal form of slavery.

~

Every summer since I turned 13 I was to get a job.  I started by babysitting, mowing yards, walking people’s dogs and house sitting.  When I turned 15 I was able to work part-time at the local grocery store bagging people’s groceries and bringing in the shopping carts from the street.  I made quite a bit of money.  A shame I never saw any of it.

My parents opened up a bank account for me and made sure they had full control of it.  Every month they would withdraw money as payment towards my room and board, also towards school clothes and school supply.  Whatever money I made they kept, I never got an allowance either.

“It’s expensive to pay for you.  You want something?  Pay for it yourself.”  They would say.  I learned to go without the things I wanted quickly.

~

As I grew up and started dating and creating friendships I didn’t understand why all the relationships in my life failed.  I soon figured out it was because I wasn’t capable of love.  I didn’t know what love was.  When I had you, you my golden-haired and green-eyed child, I was alone.  No husband.  No family.  No friends.  I looked at you in your infancy and felt nothing.  I was numb.  You were merely a hindrance to me.  I had turned into the one person I once tried so hard not to be like, my mother.

~

I don’t want you to think that I’m writing this to have a pity party of one.  I’m writing this to you in hopes that you will understand.  Understand what I went through.  Understand why I was so hard on you.  Understand why I wasn’t the loving mother I now wish I could have been.  I did my best and I know my best wasn’t enough, not even close.  I hope you can one day forgive me as I forgave my parents when they died.  I’m sorry I didn’t…no… couldn’t tell you this sooner.  So I’ll leave you with this.  Be better than me, better than I was.  Be better than my mother.  You are capable of love.  I am a bad mother, of that there is no doubt.  But you, you are a great mother.

Flash Fiction Challenege: Subgenre

So I decided Tuesday to try out Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge.  The task was to use a random number generator to choose 2 numbers from a list of 20 subgenres.  You were to then use those the two genres in a short story/flash fiction.  My two subgenres were ‘body horror’ and ‘dystopia’.  Hope you enjoy!

An array of bloody surgical tools lay open on the steel counter as Dr. Hróaldr worked tirelessly.  Sweat dripped down his face unnoticed.  Gloria’s heart rate had plummeted in the middle of the operation and he couldn’t bear to lose one of his masterpieces.  He slipped the needle through her skin effortlessly and with professional expertise.  With one final suture his job was done and his work was complete.  She was perfect.

“Gloria darling, can you hear me?”

A moan escaped the mutilated mouth of the woman lying on the table, her heart was slowly stabilizing.

“Oh thank heavens.”  Dr. Hróaldr cried out.

Leaning down he kissed her protuberant forehead and stroked her peeling arm.  He admired every piece of her.  Her arms were inlaid with steel and the flesh was burnt and left peeling, he was hoping when it healed the scar tissue would leave her arms tough and leathery.  Her legs had been sawed off at the knee and replaced with the legs of a tiger, Dr. Hróaldr wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to use them but he loved the way they looked.  The skin of her torso was replaced with tough crocodile skin, he was pleased to see it was molding in nicely.  The only thing he left untouched were her eyes, he loved her bright blue eyes.  It was what drew him to her in the first place.  Content at the finished result he left her to recover.  Walking out of the surgical room he found himself in a hallway that contained a series of doors on either side.  With each passing door came groans, snarls and screams.  Listening to the sounds he hummed to himself peacefully and his heart swelled with joy.  He couldn’t wait to add Gloria to his collection.  Punching a code into a keypad on the wall he left the hallway and moved into a much larger room, one of his favorites.  Animals and humans alike laid scattered among the room in pieces.  Grinders and saws lay in sinks waiting to be scrubbed and reused.  His favorite part of constructing a masterpiece was choosing which combination of parts he would assemble together to create a monstrously beautiful creature.  The adjoining room contained cages lined up symmetrically along the walls.  When he entered the room a mass hysteria of screams and plea’s began as it always did. Humans he thought as his face twisted into a sneer.  They disgusted him.  There was nothing special about them, all cookie cutter pieces of meat and flesh.  He was what made them unique, giving them new limbs, making them magnificent.  Unaware Dr. Hróaldr walked too close to one of the cages and a greedy hand shot out from between the bars grabbing his arm and pulling him closer to the cage.  Grunting Dr. Hróaldr wrenched out of the human’s grip and fell to the ground.

“Ungrateful beasts!”  He bellowed at them.  “You should be thanking me!”

Brushing himself off, he continued through the room.

 ***

Meena let out a long breath of relief as Dr. Hróaldr walked innocently by the alley where she was hiding.  Stepping back on to the street she rushed to the market.  Meena had been hiding from Dr. Hróaldr for the past week.  Every time she saw him he would stare at her admiringly.  She knew he wanted to use her for his next experiment.  Maybe if she stayed away from him long enough he would forget.

Many would tell you that it would be an honor to be a part of Dr. Hróaldr’s experiments.  That he was creating a new sub species of humans that were better and stronger than we could ever dream to be.

“Imagine me with lion claws!”  One naïve child would say.

Meena knew the truth though.  He was an evil man who got lucky by living in a world where his experiments were praised.  That is until someone was chosen to be a donor and not the experiment itself.  She could never let herself be used for either purpose.

With the market only a few blocks away she began to slow her pace.  The longer she walked the more she relaxed.  Today was a nice day . . . nicer than it usually was.  The sky was a little less gray, the smells a little less putrid, the air tasted a little less toxic and everything looked a little more colorful instead of the usual sepia tone.  As the cheerful mood overtook her she failed to notice that she as being followed, until a voice behind her spoke.

“Lovely day isn’t it Meena?”

Meena froze halfway through her footstep.  She felt like she’d been hit by electricity as every single hair on her body stood up.  Goosebumps covered her arms and she shivered at the sound of his voice.  She could have sworn she saw her skin crawl.  Pivoting to face him she dawned her best smile and responded in kind.

“Yes doctor, a lovely day indeed.”

Dr. Hróaldr paused to let his eyes wander over her entire body.  Seemingly satisfied with what stood before him he let out a gentle sigh.

“Meena, Meena, Meena.  You are so very special.”  He whispered as he circled her.  “I was wondering if you would like to see my lab some time . . .  It’s not very often that I get visitors.”

Her body quaked as his voice slithered over her.

“I mean no disrespect sir but I’m sure you get a lot of visitors . . . whether they ever leave or not is the question.”

Meena watched as his eyes narrowed.  She had hit a nerve.

“You know that what I do is for the best of our race.  What do we have if not our individuality?  I am giving people that, for free I must add.  You should thank me Meena.  I’m helping us become a more improved race.  Dare I say I am a God as I create beautiful masterpieces just as he does?”  Meena could almost see the venom dripping out of his mouth as he spoke.

“Improved?  Who knows what you’re actually doing in there!  No one has ever seen any of your so-called new and improved masterpieces!  You’re not helping us.  You prey on the weak!  You come and go taking what you want because no one has the guts to stop you.  You are not a god.  You are insane and have the most sick and mad mind I’ve ever seen.”  Meena yelled at him not bothering to contain her anger.  Dr. Hróaldr stepped closer to her until he was staring down at her small frame.  His mouth curled into a smirk.

“All geniuses have a touch of madness and insanity my dear.  I’m sorry you are too shallow to see that.”  Shaking his head he began to circle her again.  “I had such high hopes for you.  I thought you were different, that you could maybe share in my vision of a world reborn but alas you are as ungrateful and disgusting as the rest.”  Meena opened her mouth ready to shout a violent response but was barely able to make a sound as something hit her in the head.  She immediately crumpled to the ground and heard a faint thud as her head hit the dirt.  Her vision blackened and for a brief moment all she saw was Dr. Hróaldr’s perfectly shined black shoes.  The last thing she heard before she lost consciousness was his voice.  He was clucking his tongue and repeating “such high hopes” as he plucked her lifeless body from the ground.

***

Meena woke startled and confused.  The last thing she remembered was arguing with Dr. Hróaldr and then darkness as something hit her.

“Ah sweet Meena, I was hoping you’d wake before we got started!”

Meena jumped at the sound of his voice.

“What am I doing here?”  She asked frightened.

“Sweet Meena, I do have to say I am most excited about what you will become.  I’ve taken extra thought and care to make sure you turn out perfect.”  He said smiling at her.  Panicking Meena began to thrash and scream on the table.

“Come now Meena, you have nothing to fear.  I will take excellent care of you!”  Dr. Hróaldr said with a wink.

Meena calmed down enough to realize she only had one strap across her chest restraining her.  Dr. Hróaldr had turned his back to her as he busied himself with preparing for the experiment.  Quietly wiggling out from under the strap Meena let out a silent breath of relief.  She regarded the room as she looked for something heavy to use as a weapon.  Stepping lightly off the table she crept swiftly to the nearest counter and grabbed an empty tray.  Without a second thought she ran at the doctor and brought the tray down on his head.  Stunned Dr. Hróaldr yelped.  Anger flashed across his face as he reached out to grab Meena.  Fighting against his grip Meena shoved him and sent him flying towards the operating table.  A sharp crack emanated through the room followed by silence.  Meena gaped at the limp body lying on the ground.  Her heart raced as she cautiously she ambled over to him.  He was still breathing.  The fear that had been gripping her slowly started to leak away.  She knew what was to be done.  Carefully she began to move his body up on to the table where she over restrained every limb.  Better safe than sorry she thought to herself as she backed away from the table.

“Now we wait.”  She breathed.

 ***

 Blinking, Dr. Hróaldr attempted to open his eyes but was too blinded by a light to do so.  His head pounded furiously as he turned his head to scan his surroundings.

“What the hell?”  He questioned, panicked as he quickly found that he was strapped to a table . . . his table.  Looking around more carefully this time he spotted Meena sitting in the corner.  With her back board straight and her hands clasped neatly in her lap she stared at him with little emotion.

“M. . .Meena. . .”  He stuttered.  “What are you doing?”

Standing up slowly Meena walked over to the doctor until she was by his head looking down upon him.

“You see doctor.  It came to my attention that you do so much for us . . . you spend so much of your precious time and your expertise on transforming us from ordinary humans into extraordinary creatures.  I then realized that considering all the things you do you never get any thanks.  I figured it was time to return the favor . . . my little thank you if you will.”  Meena said chuckling at the end.

“What are you talking about?  Meena, this is quite unnecessary.  Please remove my restraints . . . let’s talk about this.”  Dr. Hróaldr responded, his voice thick with panic.

“Oh there’s nothing to walk about doctor.  Now, you may feel a slight pinch.  It’s just a little something to make sure you stay conscious.  We wouldn’t want you to miss your marvelous transformation now would we?”  Picking up a needle filled with thick brown fluid Meena injected the doctor in his jugular.

“Let me go you little bitch!”  He roared as his body started to numb.

“Come now doctor, you should be thanking me.”  Meena spoke as she unraveled a large package of surgical tools.  Running her hands over the glistening stainless steel she smiled to herself.

“Let me go.”  Dr. Hróaldr said again, his voice choking out at the end, whether from emotion or his numbed motor functions Meena didn’t know.

“Calm down Dr. Hróaldr.  You have nothing to fear.  I will take excellent care of you.”  She said sweetly turning slightly to wink at him.  Humming quietly to herself Meena picked up a scalpel and decided how she would begin.

“Meena, no please.”  He managed as his mouth became more paralyzed.

“Shush now doctor.  I must concentrate.”  She said softly positioning the blade to make her first incision.  “Let’s get started now, shall we?”