Lhaetan could smell the food sitting before him on the table. The spicy scent of the telhlke mixed well with those of the dubyhl and lyhori inside the baked feiiha resting on the plate. Feiiha had been a normal meal during tr'Valkar's childhook, and had remained a favorite through adolescence and into adulthood. Being from a port city on ch'Rihan, there had been an abundance of fresh seafood, especially the lyhori found in this particular dish.
Sadly, though, the replicators on board the space station hardly matched those prepared by the kitchen staff back at the family estate.
Such was his midmeal every day: a feiiha with a glass of lhiet'yeho (the type varying by the day). It may have been a touch sentimental, but he enjoyed it nonetheless.
The young man had eaten through about half the flaky stuffed pastry when a chime rang through Lhaetan's rather Spartan quarters, "Incoming message for erie'Arrain tr'Valkar."
Unsure of who could be contacting him during this time of day, Lhaetan stood up and moved over to the small computer terminal. After punching in his personal identification code the image of a Rihannsu man appeared, one that didn't look too much older than tr'Valkar himself.
Immediately recognizing the man on the far end of the transmission, Lhaetan bowed his head in respect, "Riov, I am honored."
"Very good, erie'Arrain," replied the man, who smiled. "I was wondering how much of the courtesy you had retained from your training."
"More than enough, rekkhai," replied Lhaetan as he looked back up at the screen. "Enough to know you outrank me, and that you have earned much honor and respect."
Still the man smiled, "Maybe not that much, but your efforts are noted. Do you know why I call?"
Tr'Valkar shrugged slightly, "I assume it has something to do with my calls to the Valkar Estate on ch'Rihan."
"Indeed," the man nodded. "After I saw your messages I did some digging myself. And while what I found was most interesting, I should warn you that researching, or following the actions of Shiarrael t'Rehu is unwise. It could bring down…unwanted attention. To you and your family."
Lhaetan raised an eyebrow, "In what way, Riov?"
"That woman is an unwelcomed name among respectable circles, erie'Arrain. She is not spoken of unless being criticized or shamed, as traitors should be. And, if you know what is good for you and those closest to you, you will not bother Lady Valkar with any more such queries."
"I apologize, Riov," Lhaetan sighed, lowering his head in submission. "There was no disrespect or ill intent implied in my research. I will not pursue that course of action any further. You have my word."
"And I know your word is strong, erie'Arrain," came the reply. "Now, business aside, I'm sorry I was unable to attend your graduation ceremony, little brother. I'm sure you understand, but the Kaleh has been on Neutral Zone patrol for weeks now."
With a nod, the younger man shrugged, "It was fine, brother. I wish you had been able to attend, but I know your duty brings honor to your name, and to the family."
"Spoken like a true man of the Empire, little brother. I know you will make us all proud."
Lhaetan smiled at his eldest brother, "My midmeal is about over, Galen, so I should return to my duties. And, I meant it…I didn't mean to stir up any trouble for the family. T'Rehu will be far away from my thoughts from now on."
"Good. She's bad news, no matter what history she has with our family. Be well, little brother."
As Galen tr'Valkar disappeared from the small monitor, Lhaetan stood back up from the termainal with a heavy sigh. He had been completely prepared to honor his brother's wishes and leave t'Rehu be, but his final statement had done nothing but stir up more questions.
What had his brother found in relation to the connection between the traitor and the Valkar family?
Lhaetan cleaned up his meal and made for the corridor beyond his quarters. It was a short walk to his duty station, and he would still be plenty early. Definitely enough time to do some more digging before his duty shift resumed…
[To Be Continued]
Lhaetan i-Mhiessan tr'Valkar
Tal'Diann, I'Rak Prime