Chapter 30: Sinister
Audiences with Mara Sov of the Awoken, Queen of the Reef, were often very small. The Queen herself, her Prince and brother, some guards and whomever was being granted the audience. Almost without exception, audiences were only a single person, and if they were representative of a group, that group would only send one person to represent them. No attendants. No servants. Such things were distractions that the Queen didn’t allow in her throne room.
This time, however, there were three. Three guardians. A human warlock, a human titan, and an Awoken hunter. This irked the guards, but Mara Sov saw the necessity of it this time.
The Techeuns stood in seemingly random places around the room, seeing things useable and saying things without saying. They sensed this was a pivotal moment, but for all their efforts could not yet see the shape of it.
Uldren looked out of the large windows towards the Awoken people. His people. His first duty was always to them. Did Vatyr represent a danger to them and their ways? He did honour the Batchall challenge. His second duty was to his sister, the Queen. Did Vatyr represent a danger to her? The Queen loved him and trusted him implicitly. His third and final duty was to his own honor, and in that, Vatyr had shown some new and unexpected value. The guardian saved his life when all the Prince wanted was revenge for a slight that perhaps never existed. He turned his head to see his sister had pivoted her throne directly toward him, her eyes peering into his soul. Sometimes she could still drive fear into his core, but this stare was one of sibling compassion, though her expression was the stone and perfection that her station demanded.
Uldren turned and walked towards Vatyr, who was flanked by his team on either side. The guardians bowed deeply, as was custom. Uldren signaled with a twitch of his hand that they could rise, and they did so slowly, as was custom. Uldren and Vatyr stared at each other for a few long moments, trying to discern each other’s heart.
Without breaking the stare, Uldren brought up his hand and opened his palm to reveal a small data stick. “This will lead you to the ship and get you past the automated sentries we’ve set up around it. You’ll find it anchored to 1143 Odysseus, trailing in the orbit of Jupiter.” Vatyr looked at the device and slowly took hold of it. Uldren’s other hand shot up and grasped Vatyr’s wrist tightly, holding it in the space between their faces. The guardian’s eyes returned to Uldren and he was brought in close. “There is a great deal between us that remains unresolved. If you die, I’ll consider it your loss of the Batchall and a forfeit of whatever honor you have left. I expect you to return, alive and successful.” Uldren whispered in a low growl. Vatyr nodded, and the grasp was slowly released.
“Go. Now.” said the Prince, turning his back and coming to a deep kneel before his sister. Another bow given by the guardians before they departed.