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Butterfly Dreams, Part Ten

Reply to Alerion

Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list December 14, 2001

        Disclaimer: See Chapter 1. This story is getting a little AU.

        When you wake up, there always is there is always bile in your mouth. There is always some problem either with the child or with the dreams that whisper at you in the night.

        The stars disappoint you. Your whole life passed wanting this voyage. You recall your fury when Nasedo, your protector, wavered on the plan, drawn to Max by the old call. You expected clarity. You expected more for the long hours training with Nasedo, the long months dealing with those children in Roswell. The pretence at friendship when all you wanted was from them was Zan's mark.

        The bitterness makes you smile grimly when it comes back - the boy king who rejected you. You've paid your dues your whole life. Time Max paid his.

        The Granolith talks gibberish when you try to communicate. The Reds built this ship. You do not know the controls. Nasedo belonged to the Skins and knew nothing of Red navigation or science. You wish Nasedo had known more. When you asked he said that he was in storage the whole journey. Nothing comes when you try memory regression. This ship must be too different from the one that took you to Earth.

        You remember how Max touched you in the dark, that night in the Observatory. The half of you that wanted him and the half of you that wanted to laugh in his face. Once you reached over, your hand tracing the line of his jaw. Even with all his weakness, Max was so sincere, so honest, so much your tool. His skin smelt clean in the night. You promised to be with him for eternity. The child confuses you. You should have felt the moment of conception. Why can't you remember?

        Max is alone forever. They will never let anyone else into their group again. There is no-one in the group for Max. Kings can't afford love.

        The child troubles you. You eat little. The meals that appear in your cabin are bland. They still leave you queasy when you manage to get them down.

        The Granolith is larger inside than you expected. Nasedo could not tell you much about the ship. The controls are a mystery. The course is pre-set. First to Exile, then to Home to claim the throne. You can get into the main navigation display but you have no idea how to read it. All you know is how to read the the glyphs for Exile and for Home.

        Meals appear when you need them. The ceiling of your room is a dome of something clear. You think it might be a force field. The same dirty reds, and blues hunt each other across your field of view. When you try to sleep the swampy colours invade your dreams. Sometimes you wake in fright - the deck spinning under you.

        Once you tried to reach out with your mind. No answer. For the first time in your life you are alone. Free. Now you are past the mind barrier set around Earth and still you sense no-one. More than once you have thought someone else was with you. Alex. You liked him as much as you liked any of them. His death was unplanned. You would have left him alive, even as a cripple, if you could but you had to have the book.

        Kvar, Lord of the Red and Hand of the Council, is about to discover that you will be no-one's puppet. Kvar who laid down all his precious rules on what was permitted on earth. You have spent too long and paid too much to accept anyone giving you orders ever again. Anyway, it was Nasedo's deal. Nasedo was supposed to protect you, not Max, but Nasedo forgot all about you as soon as he met Max.

        Nikolas betrayed you. Nikolas used violence on you. Nikolas tried to make you his thing. Nikolas tried to use the mindwarp against his own queen. Well, Vilandra is still Nikolas' ruler and she will know how to reward him for that. A smile comes when you think about Nikolas in Vilandra's power, Nikolas screaming.

        You will be a great ruler. You will bring peace. You will not repeat the mistakes Zan made. You will not leave your enemies free to plot against you. Nikolas will be first. If Max had understood that while he was Zan this war would never have started.

        Vilandra. Nasedo had never met her. That fool Whitaker almost exposed you when she called you Vilandra'. She would have died at your hands if Isabel had not killed her for you. Vilandra is waiting for you on Exile. Finally, someone will embrace you without wanting anything from you, for yourself alone.

        The stars dwarf you. All your life, you wanted this. All your life, you feared this would not happen. You spent long years with Nasedo, hunting through town after town for the other hybrids. There was a time when Nasedo sang you to sleep with stories of space travel.

        The Earth of the primitives is far behind you now. The others are welcome to it. Your lips curl halfway between smile and sneer when you think about Max and the way you defeated him. You will use the mindwarp' Nasedo taught you, not to control but to confuse. Only when Zan no longer knows his own friends will you be safe.

        'You do not have to make him love you, only make him think that no-one else could love him.'

        'When Zan comes to your bed enough of the royal seal will imprint on your body for the Five Worlds to accept you as regent. First you must restore Vilandra to her seat on the Council. Then you must punish the rebels against her authority.'

        'You must not kill Zan or let others kill him. You must not even injure his body in any way.'

        'Why do we have to follow Kvar's rules' you asked.

        Kvar speaks for the Reds. Like have the other orders, they have stayed out of the war this far. Vilandra cannot afford to have them against her. Max must not know that Kvar is not yet his enemy.'

        Nasedo taught you the rituals you will use to claim the empty throne. The words you must say, the way you must walk, the black veil that means joy, not mourning, to your people. 'Remember you have won nothing until they seat you on the throne. They must think that you are Zan's wife in every sense.'

        But you are still a prisoner. Beyond the thin shields of metal and energy that encase you the cold dark howls at you. Some part of Alex is out there. You sense him watching you. The stars are gone, smeared by your speed to streaks of colour behind you and before you. The ship takes its own course, outside your control.

        Two days ago you dropped into normal space without warning near a giant white star and watched it eat its smaller yellow companion. Giant swirls of colour where the mass of the yellow dwarf raged down a whirlpool made of time itself into the maw of the white giant.

        You do not know why the ship stopped or why it moved again. Nasedo said the ship is programmed to take you to Vilandra's sanctuary and then to the home world. The course might have changed but you are not sure. The Granolith will bring you to pool, to a circle of stone columns beneath a great dome. You will speak to no-one. You will answer no-one. You will walk slowly towards the great stairs that lead up to the throne. You know a great curtain hangs before the throne. You know to tear it and walk through it. You wish this voyage were over.

Continue to Part Eleven

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