Friday, 9 September 2016

10. Family

The Order of the Root concerns itself primarily with the security and wellbeing of the three Mothers – Chi, Ti and Ki. The Order is effectively a Sorority, although they allow one lifetime serving male Master to serve as their Steward.
After my ascension from the Temple of the Knife, I was initiated as Steward when my predecessor, Master Elion True, retired with honors.
As for the Mothers themselves – they are private women. They speak to me during the course of my daily duties but their greater aims and plans remain behind closed doors.
I abide.
My honor is in their service. Their private council is kept only by their serving sisters and by Lord Enik himself.
From Thorin Hassan's personal journal.

Jenned Hornskept sat at his lectern with an Eagle feather quill in his hand. In his arena the old methods were still the best.
His nook was arranged with many nibs, inks and pigments of every conceivable colour for the record keeping which was his charge at the Temple.
In the Archives, Jenned was both scribe and Architect, he had no thought for the majesty of shem bread, no time for the whipping and cutting of poniards  - but he could record.
His artistic prowess was unlimited.
Give him a rock and he could carve you a bust. Give him brushes and paint and he could return to you whatever scene you desired. All that Jenned wanted - was to be left alone.
And there he sat, in his nook, in the crypt of the ancients, beneath the Temple of the Knife.
For two hundred and ten years Jenned had kept the records of the Temple, but last week he had received a handwritten book of four hundred pages. A book that would change everything.
This was a document written by the three holy Mothers themselves, a document containing dangerous knowledge and the note that came with it was simple -

Our Beloved Master Hornskept,
Please find attached our final words, for our final Son.
Please illuminate them into a book and deliver it unto him on his one hundredth birthday - by proxy of your Temple.
With thanks from the Root.
- Chi, Ti and Ki.

Jenned lit a candle and drew out his set square and compassess over a fresh ream of paper.
“Today I begin my masterpiece!” He said in sheer delight as he dipped his quill.


Adoni's choir of nine Angels was making it’s final descent to the Temple of the Knife on planet Ishtar Prime.
Adoni and Luka were in the leading position of an arrowhead formation with their eight defence Angels flanking them behind – four on each side. The journey through spacefold had been unremarkable enough and adoni had spent most of the journey occupying himself by playing with his pet cat ‘Teaser.’
As the entry to the upper atmosphere was completed, Luka opened a com call to the surface as the supporting Angels completed their hemispheric security scans.
“Master Hassan, this is Ark Angel Arariel confirming our descent. Do you receive?” Luka’s assertive tone was quite different from her normal soothing timbre.
After a short pause the answer came back, “Loud and clear Arariel, The Temple is secure and your welcoming party is assembled.”
Luka held the com switch once more and continued, “Be sure to clear the Temple perimeter of all personnel. We will be deploying our Gobot driven assault tanks to secure the area on our arrival. Any moving targets outside the perimeter will be destroyed without question. We will land at the Temple pillars but the rest of the choir will hold position and monitor from five hundred meters above.”
Hassan's confirmation flashed green on the view screen as they drifted gracefully down through the clouds and saw the huge pyramid structures of the Temple coming into view on the desert plain below.

Ki'entha, Althea, Leon, Welsen, Jachin and Ibenjin were all dressed in their finest Temple garb and regalia. The initial flood of awakening brought on by their first doses of shem bread had now plateaued to a regular mental state of high alertness and calm. This was ‘The knowing,’ and providing they continued with regular consumption, they would retain this higher state of mind for the rest of their lives.
Each of them had been issued with ascension robes in red and grey cloth and each wore their
ceremonial poniards proudly at their waists. As they stood outside the Temple portico the arid desert plain stretched out before them into the distance, the heat playing shimmering mirages to the horizon.
Six Guardbots stood to attention, three either side of each of the Temple's huge bronze doors and Master Raethal sat on the base of the left pillar, casually plucking a tune on his Medenda.
Master Hassan then came running out of the temple shouting, “Form up! They are making their descent!”
Raethal slyly stashed his Medenda behind the pillar and straightened his collar and cuffs before standing to attention. Hassan fell in behind him and the six Gia guards followed suit.

As the V shaped formation of Angels descended out of the clouds, they changed their attitudes from North to South. The silent silver shimmering discs then hung in the air, locked formation and the lead Angel descended further down until it hovered a mere fifty meters from the ground. A series of loud cracks came from above as the eight remaining Angels deployed their assault Tanks from their underbellies. Each tank fell to the ground with a distant thud before taking up defensive positions around the Temple.
Lars Raethal grinned widely as he spoke out of the corner of his mouth.
“Tarapel's been busy Brother. I bet those fuckers can do some serious damage!”
“No doubt!” Barked Hassan as the Ark Angel Arariel came down smoothly to the ground in front of the two Temple pillars. All eyes were on it and the air was electric.
A brilliant white light, the size of a fingertip, continually looped around and around the circumference of the descending Angel, gradually slowing down as it did so.
Finally, the landing ramp opened out to ground level, leaving a dark doorway in it's place.
Everyone was now kneeling, as ceremony demanded in the presence of royalty. Each of them waited apprehensively for any sign of Lord Adoni but all they could sense was a deep, low, growling sound coming from the Long triangular doorway of the now stationary Ark Angel which penetrated every ear with forboding.
Moving slowly out of the shadows, a huge, sleek, sandy coloured Smilodon padded its way out of the Angel and down the ramp. The entire welcoming party bristled in fear as the mighty saber toothed Cat, proudly seated itself half way down the ramp, yawned and licked it's lips as it's fearsome fangs glistened in the midday sun.
Next from the Angel doorway came Luka, her elegant metallic frame draped in a green and silver tutors tabard, then Adoni himself - wearing the immortal and unmistakable red and black royal robes of Enik’s ancient succession.

“Master Hassan! I remember you from Junction. My apologies if my Cat scared you.” Said Adoni as he came down the ramp and stroked the Smilodon with his left hand. The mighty beast closed it’s eyes and purred softly. The sheer sight of it was extraordinary, this outstanding example of Gian feline megafauna could easily shred and devour every individual present with it’s unforgiving claws and vicious fangs under normal circumstances, yet this one pandered to Adoni’s every whim.
“He's well treated with Elish and quite harmless unless ordered to be otherwise.” Said Adoni with a smile.
“Quite splendid Sire!” Exclaimed the awestruck Hassan. “You make an entrance to rival your father my Lord!” Adoni closed his eyes and nodded with a smile.
“Please, all of you stand, we are all equal here.” Said Adoni as he and Luka finally stepped off the landing ramp to set foot on the dusty firmament of Ishtar Prime.
“Lord Adoni, may I present the Current Temple Blademaster, Lars Raethal.” Hassan stood and gestured to Lars.
Adoni stood in front of Raethal, a clear meter taller than him, and placed his hand on the Master's shoulder.
“Your reputation precedes you Master Raethal. I believe you have much to teach me.”
Lars looked up into the face of his new Lord and Student, “That I have Sire!” He said smiling. “Your father has great hopes for you and my aim is to give you the blade that becomes your hand.”
“And here my Lord,” gestured Hassan, “are your personal Guard for Gia. May I present; Ki'entha, Althea, Leon, Welsen, Jachin and Ibenjin.”
Tears welled in Adoni's eyes as the six guards fell face down in worship at his feet.
“Finally!” He sobbed. – “I have a family!”
Luka prodded Adoni sharply in the small of his back so as not to be seen by the others.
“We have travelled a long way to join you all here today and Lord Adoni is tired.” She said as Adoni realised his emotional failing in front of his lessers.
“Quite so.” Said Adoni as he looked at Luka’s feet knowingly and then across to Master Hassan.
“I should rest. I understand that our intensive training programme begins tomorrow.”
At that moment, all ten of their wrist pads flashed red, indicating an incoming priority message.

Luka’s face shield immediately split and fell backwards to produce a holoframe which lit up with the live image of Enik’s stern face.
“I am sorry to interrupt, but there has been a major incident here at the Gian Lunar Keep.” Said Enik.  
“Doctor Brindi Enikson has defected to the Levyethin and the whole stem is now at risk! Master Raethal, please brief everyone on the Levyethin threat and design a training set to combat them. - They are coming!”

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