Friday, April 9, 2010

Dawn of the Dragonsworn-Part 10

The Dragon called his students to his presence. Bloodied, bruised and shaken did they arrive: Brilliant Shield, the Blessed Lord, the Lady of Holy Fire and two others newly returned from other errands- the Mistress of Esoteric Lore and the Princess of the Golden Hand. All five of them knelt in obedience to their mentor and master.

"He comes." the Dragon said, his voice booming, "He comes here, knowing now the heart of our power and seeking to obliterate it. As I speak, our remaining militia array in lines again him and deploy our armory upon him."

"Master," Brilliant Shield said, "this Agent is incredible. Neither I, nor any of my siblings, have ever seen any Agent so potent before. What manner of man is this one that so easily sees through our plans and counters our every move?"

"Attend, my son." the Dragon said, "Attend, and learn."

The Dragon reached out with his mind and linked himself with his students, a task long ago made familiar and easy for all of them, and through this link the Dragon did show Homsar Delgana as he once was.

At a speed which makes speech seem as slow as a snail, the Dragon revealed unto them the young Homsar, barely a man, leading an assault upon the Algolian occupation's War Thrall center on Earth. Yet, owing greatly to the Dragon's superior potency of mind, the five students--once Patrol spacers, but none ever being on Earth--did not recognize either their master or the connection between the War Thralls and their own Dragonsworn. By precise and deft use of sympathy to manipulate his students by way of emotional influence, the Dragon induced them to selectively edit what they saw in manners that the Dragon knew would occur; he used his telepathic powers to reinforce their conditioning, which in turn twisted their perceptions without him having to it himself.

They saw Homsar butcher scores of scaled thralls, soldiers and officers alike, and then assaulted their master--albeit in a more man-like form, and not in the current massive dragon-like form--and severely wounded him before escaping with his life. All they saw was fact, but because of their cult-like devotion the Dragonsworn elite could not--would not--admit the truth of what they saw, and the Dragon knew it.

"Master," the Lady said, "if this was Homsar as a youth, then the one we see now is nigh unto a god of death here to exterminate our kind! I suggest that we reform our strategy, especially since our space defenses are spent."

"Indeed, Master." the Blessed Lord said, following his wife, "If he is about to smite you, then this battle is already lost. Pride is useless to the dead, Master, so let us retreat and seek revenge another time against the Patrol."

Blessed Shield and the latter ladies nodded their concurrence with this opinion, and after a long, lizardlike sigh so did the Dragon.

"Blessed Shield, you shall take up the defense. Hold the Agent as long as you can; worry not about the men, yet preserve yourself for the next line. You women, come with me to erect and energize the gate. The Lord shall organized the second line and cover the Shield's retreat, who in turn shall organize the third line and cover the Lord's retreat. By the fourth line, if all holds as needed, the gate shall be ready and then the ladies shall assist the men in covering the retreat."

"As you command." the five said, united, and they split for their appointed tasks.

Meanwhile, in space the Kinneson approached the planet and moved into orbit. From orbit, the dreadnought bombarded the surface, taking out the planetary defenses as they fired upon the Patrol vessel; the Dragonsworn beams did little to strain the screens of their hated foe's ship.

Concurrently, the Dark Spears readied for their next operation: an orbital drop. After the gunners fired another volley from the primary beams, Admiral Smith gave the order to fire the drop-pods, which screamed planet-side in a show of firey fury. Secondary beams fired from the ship covered the drop, keeping the Dragonsworn gunners--those left--down long enough for the marines to make planetfall. By that time, the ship had found Homsar's own speed-optimized ship and taking it alongside; the admiral detailed his top computer to check the vessel, found it safe and then quickly upgraded the key element--the beacon transceiver--with one of the spares aboard the Kinneson.

Each pod's doors blew off as the explosive bolts fired, and out emerged the fearsome Patrol marines that swiftly overran the one Dragonsworn cruiser in space earlier that day. Fixed on the signal beacon aboard Homsar's boat, they quickly bounced over and saw it held fast into the ground. A sweep from a semi-portable beam cleared away the shaped earth, freeing the boat.

"Admiral," General Zuzu said, "we cleared the boat."

"General," Admiral Smith said, "we've cleared the ship."

Admiral Smith reached out and made contact telepathically with Homsar, briefing him, and Homsar smiled. "Put Zuzu on the beam." he said, and Smith did.

"I'm going to activate the homers. Just follow them and you'll get to me as if blasting through inter-galactic space, and that means that you'll get here in time for the party."

Smith and Zuzu smiled. Each saw their respective vessel lift off; the Kinneson matched velocities and vectors to the ship while the marines bounced up on the hull as the boat took off.

Satisfied now, Homsar turned to move for the assault when he saw a boy--barely a man--come up on him with a blaster. Without thought, Homsar slapped the blaster out of the boy's hands, grabbed him with his free hand and locked eyes on the youth. Into the boy's mind he went, still acting on reflex, and found that this was the proof he needed of the Dragonsworn's sedition and treason.

"Admiral!" Homsar said, telepathically, "Get on the beam; I have proof of treason."

Smith did, and together they easily ransacked the boy's memories of his parents--the ones now called The Blessed Lord and the Lady of Holy Fire--and how these two leaders of the Dragonsworn came to become the students, the apprentices, of the Algolian war criminal now calling himself The Dragon. If was the Dragon that played to the boy's parents' fears, resentments and character flaws- ultimately leading to abandoning their Humanity, turning traitor over nursed grudges, and in recent years an increasingly willful neglect of him--their son--in favor of their master.

"Alive, Homsar, we need them and the others alive. The Dragon, on the other hand, he's all yours."

Homsar nodded reflexively, perplexing the boy.

"Agreed." Homsar said, "Pick up the kid. I'm putting him out now."

With a well-placed mental blow, Homsar knocked the boy unconscious. He tagged the boy with a transponder and stuffed him into an ill-lit and out-of-the-way corner; he knew that the marines would find that boy, get him out of there and get him aboard where he'd be out of action and danger.

Now both satisfied and secure that no loose ends existed, Homsar turned towards the approach to the Dragon's lair and grinned a smug grin. Again, he lived for moments like this, and enjoyed them fully.

"Hurry up Zuzu!" he said, "Or you'll miss it all!"

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