[Family Estate East of Shi'Kahr, Kir province, Vulcan]
14th Day in the month of T'keKhuti, YS 9022
It was the time of day when words like 'heat' and 'sun' lose all meaning. There was only the breath of a furnace, relentless as a hammer and silence ringing like a bronze gong. No outworlder left the shaded refuge of a house now and even those whose emerald blood was of this world moved quietly through the shimmering air.
Light robes whispered over the golden colored marble in the great hall, passing the massive staircase. No hesitation in the soundless, confident steps as they passed through the high doors into the sun flooded room overlooking the terrace and towards the smaller set of doors to the right. Every window, every door stood open as if to catch a breeze that would not come, not for many hours yet.
The steps passed the library, occupied even now by silent readers who barely stirred when the tall one with eyes like a hunting Shavokh floated by.
A heavy chair made of precious wood stood unoccupied in the surprisingly small room, facing a desk pristine and still hinting at many hours of use. Gleaming copper braziers, unlit and silent shimmered in the merciless sunlight. He paused in the doorway, breathing the scent of spice tea and orchids.
Small. It was usually among the first comments made about the still figure standing on the smooth marble, clad in a matriarch's heavy robes despite the burning heat. Silver curls bound in elaborate coils towered over a neck that almost seemed too frail to bear the weight and a flawless diamond nestled in the abundance threw back Nevasa's rays. Hands clasped behind her back T'Leia watched the light dance over her beloved gardens, listening to the distant murmur of a fountain and the swishing of robes as the young one behind her bowed politely.
Small. Until perception shifted and one became aware of the energy slumbering in this slender frame, the regal bearing and the unyielding will. Until one saw the eyes of smoked topaz, the silent regard more scorching than the white-hot sun.
There were a myriad of reasons why Sovar was not easily impressed. There was none to explain why he never failed to be precisely that at the sight of this small, slender woman.
"Ki'tor." The word floated through the still, hot air like silk and lava. Described by some as the clearest soprano this planet had ever brought forth, the melodious voice betrayed neither fatigue nor sorrow. At least not to one with ears less tuned, less sharp than Sovar's.
She nodded, then. Slowly, like a woman deep in thought.
Sovar did not ask how she knew. At some point he had entertained the notion that it was Sutok himself who kept the matriarch informed of all she deigned worthy of knowing, but even if it was so he would never learn it unless either decided to make it known. Illogical, therefore, to further ponder the issue.
She could feel the silent questions like one can already taste the dryness on the air before the desert storm rolls over the hills. But there was no need to burden the young one with things that might never come to pass. Even if logic demanded to be prepared for them.
It was rare that T'Leia truly felt the burden she carried one she had never asked for nor truly ever expected to bear but on days like these the weight was almost tangible. Too many lives too many unknowns.
The storm was unleashed, thanks to schemes laid and now shattered by those who had put reason above logic, learning above understanding. There was no doubt in the matriarch's mind that her intervention had caused suffering. And there was no doubt it had been the logical thing to do. It did not ease the pain nor should it.
What small solace that Surak himself had once remarked 'Now I know I have done rightly, for entropy is about to strike back'.
"Ki'ya'akash ar'kaday wuh'ashiv."
"Fa'hwak fai'thor nash-veh."
No question. No eagerness. Simply the calm, implacable, dark gaze resting on the matriarch, awaiting her command. There were those who feared this young one as well they should and T'Leia knew to appreciate his ability to think in unconventional ways. It did not make the burden any lighter. Humans say it is not the weapon that kills but the hand which wields it. As so often with that particular species, the metaphor was both colorful and fitting. And T'Leia was far from having sent her last weapon into battle.
The attempt to thwart T'Pelar's plans had failed. Temep`Shar was lost. All one could do now was see to it that this loss would not lead to others, much greater than anyone could yet imagine.
There is no God of Mercy on Vulcan.
The shadows were growing longer and a violet haze over Llangon carried the scent of water across the hills. Spring rains, so rare and so precious. They would not reach the sprawling estate today, though they would feed the springs and wells and in due course reach the gigantic underground caverns that had secured the land's wealth for times untold. Water, cold and sweet, carrying with it the memory of towering conifers and clean mountain air.
Unmoving as a statue, the matriarch stood by the door overlooking the gardens. A dark haired figure strode towards the old Gespar tree, followed by a massive bulk of fur. Ever faithful Warya already knew his friend would leave again and in his usual fashion offered the young one the silent support of his presence.
Soon, the evening breeze would stir the leaves and flocks of robed Vulcans would pour out of the house, floating over carefully raked gravel paths and hardy desert grass. Likely, music would spring up from the terrace and the low murmur of conversation would mingle with that of the fountains. But for now, there was only a waiting silence.
"She is here."
"So she is."
T'Leia turned and saw her mate standing in the doorway. More silver in the abundant jet black of his hair, but his stance was that of a man a century younger than he. And the gaze resting on her, concerned and reassuring both, was the same as it had been the day they were bonded. The curiosity and cheerful calm that had so astonished her in a seven year old was still there, untouched by time.
"Do you require attending?"
A silent exchange, two near imperceptible nods.
Not long after Solkar's steps had faded, a quietly proud T'Mei led another woman in elaborate robes into the sunlit room and departed swiftly. If the child with her wild mahogany curls had taken it askance to be looked down upon with a rather haughty air, she had hardly shown any sign. Though T'Leia had recognized a definitive glimmer of amusement in storm grey eyes at the blatant difference between the two matriarchs meeting here.
The small, almost frail looking one in exquisite but somber attire and the tall, regal one with bejeweled hands and robes that shimmered at every move.
Some might have said the meeting of these two women qualified as a summit however informal and regardless of the fact neither held any public office. And those 'some' would have been people who knew the planet circling 40 Eridani very well indeed and understood the forces working on this world both the visible and the silent.
Eyes of luminous topaz held a deep amber gaze in their fierce regard and the air itself seemed to carry a charge until currents shifted and settled. The wealth and ancient power of Na'ree, often rivals and betimes uneasy allies to the obscure clan that had held these hills since the Time of the Beginning, offered grudging respect and was acknowledged.
It was not only polite. It was logical.
"I have a request."
A slanted brow the color of polished steel climbed fractionally of course one did not trade favors or exhibit horribly bad taste by showing satisfaction that one was in a position to grant a request. To her, nonetheless. But T'Nye could simply not deny herself a brief moment of appreciating the circumstance.
A logical assumption since otherwise T'Leia would hardly have bothered summoning her in person. And indeed, she was offered a seat with a calm nod before Solkar himself floated into the room, carrying two glasses with fragrant tea.
Far in the distance, the sky over Thanar was gleaming in shades of alien blood.
"Tell me of T'Narel's son. Tell me of Somok and she who was t'Sahen."