"Powerful." T'Leia snorted. The sound was so unexpected, so outrageous considering the source, even the quiet, young Vulcan in the room seemed startled for an instant before her features settled back to studied calm, perhaps even the shadow of something affectionate.
"I am Eldest Mother. I rule the family, in some ways the planet, and well I know it. I feel the weight of what I rule, the burden. You know not the strictures that bind my power. C'thia, C'thia above all. Without it, my word would be hollow, my honor an empty shell."
Blunt. Angry. As well she should be, though as young ones often did, t`Rehu let it blind her. They had played her for a fool. And irony of ironies, they had used her most noble quality, her strength, against her. That which the Sundered call their Ruling Passion. Just as they had known all too well the Lady of Kir was not going to betray C'thia, they had known to use the Rihanha's passions.
"Do not think it is for your sake I offer aid, Shiarrael t`Rehu. It is not to prevent war, or find a kinsman. It is so C'thia may prevail. They abandoned truth and honor, and brought entropy. You speak of those who follow Tu-Jarok so you have seen a glimpse of what we are. But even those children playing with flame will have a care to not become victim to what slumbers in their hearts, always. While they hold true to the honesty you admire, heed them well."
A data padd appeared in the old hand, a small and innocent thing, not unlike the ones carried by a student or engineer to record little notes or store a few volumes of interesting magazines. Or by a V'Shar agent who knows people tend to overlook what is right before them.
It slid across the ancient desk and stopped a mere fraction of an inch before the violet eyed woman's fingertips.
"Names, Shiarrael t`Rehu. Lives that are now in your hand. Rihannsu who would harbor a Vulcan in distress even if it meant being branded a traitor. V'Shar whose business it is to listen, who have walked amongst your kind long enough to know what is important to know. Places to contact them, codewords that will compel them to speak. Your Nerien will know how to break the encryption, and she will do it at your bidding alone. If you will use this knowledge, know it may mean death for any or all of them."
The Matriarch stood, her heavy dark blue robes flowing like water. Harsh sunlight glinted on the gold sigil woven into the fabric, warm gold on deep ocean waves.
"A daughter has been born to my House today. The family awaits to hear her name. Be welcome to hear, little cousin, before you go home and seek to fight entropy. Honour to thee " for the space of a single Vulcan heartbeat, while the white haired woman stood proud and erect, her fierce old gaze shifting until a shade of blue seemed to flicker in the depth of grey and against all probability radiated heat and echoes of sharpened steel, some unreadable expression seemed to flicker across the features of marble " and Mnei'sahe."
Without a further word, T'Leia turned and walked out of the door. Leaving her astonished grandchild and the Rihanha in the sunlit room that was so peaceful, so serene, breathing the air of millennia.
"Frightening woman." Shiarrael let the words roll off her tongue as she glanced at her Nerien a grin creeping to the Romulan's expression "Nuh'mau-wak." She took a few steps towards the door "shall we go hear? I shouldn't wish to insult her anymore."
"So it has, Captain. So it has." Serene, almost etheral in her clan-robes, with her unruly curls pulled into elegant, elaborate braids, Sakarra gave a brief little bow and led the way.
It was not a long journey from the Matriarch's private chambers in the south wing through the ancient hallways, past the high-ceilinged library and through the tall, wide open doors leading into the main hall. It was even more crowded now, a flurry of elegant robes and filled with a low murmur of barely contained excitement.
The ancient stone itself seemed alive, warm, glowing, whispering of countless generations, of a myriad stories, a frail little thread woven into the fabric of life itself. Or perhaps it was simply the silent hum of telepathic minds in harmony, at peace, filled with unspeakable joy.
"Quite the sight, Miss Sherry, don't you think?" Lady Lhorexa made her way through the crowd like a grinning hound strutting through a pack of dozing lions. Tall, majestic Vulcans made way with good natured patience as if the occasion forbid even a shred of annoyance over the overbearing Betazoid and it seemed the empath was soaking it all up with unabashed glee. "Come on. Won't do to have an honored guest standing at the sidelines as it were. Aren't they just adorable? I always expect them to start doing something outrageous any second now, like cracking an actual smile. Most promising candidate would be old grumpy face over there in red, would you believe it?"
Waving a rather lavish, laced fan in front of her and pointedly ignoring the familiar 'not quite there but plain as day' expression on her little one's face, Lhorexa hooked her arm under the Captain's and led the woman to the very foot of the wide stairs.
"You know how this goes, dear? Hush, Silek. No need to think at me like that, I know Miss Yoohoo isn't daft. Anyways. There's only three times, usually, when you hear a pointy ear's full name actually said out loud. Except the First, of course. Prying that one from them is damn near impossible. They think names are important, you know? Sensible people like Betazoids of course know that names were invented because having to say 'Hey you' all the time can get a terrible bother. Yes Silek I know she's got streamlined ears, too. Stop interrupting."
The ivory lace connected with the tall young one's shoulder in a near flirtatious way before it pointed to the top of the stairs where an elder Vulcan with steel grey hair and surprisingly mild eyes waited patiently in his dark ceremonial robes, flanked by the two V'Ket who stood still as statues, resplendent in their gleaming terracotta dress uniforms.
"That would be Solkar. Charming devil when he wants to be, and of course the senior male in this whole pack, what with being T'Leia's mate. Now, he's going to get to hold the little one while the Matriarch goes on in that ancient babble. Mind you, I can't understand a word besides the whole 'giving to the light' thing which is just translating 'giving birth' so you might want to ask my little one what they're going on about. Ohhhhh look, there she is ."
Like any proud great-grand-auntie turning to a ball of mush at the sight of a swaddled baby, Lady Lhorexa cooed and waved her fan, unimpressed by the mildly bemused gazes this elicited. But even the Betazoid fell quiet, radiating cheer and dignity in equal measure when the Matriarch stepped forward while a slightly battered Sutek handed his daughter to the elder male.
"Rha tu aykh gladórh taavdórh s'wak t'Palikaya. Na'adórh u'Khayël Vuhlkansu - na'adórh u'Katra Vuhlkansu - na'adórh u'shayver."
T'Leia's clear, heartbreakingly pure soprano floated over the crowd like velvet, ringing like a bronze gong. For an instant there was the sense of a static charge on the air, a silent focus, invisible, almost tender telepaths reaching, sensing, treading as carefully as if a frail rose petal might fall at the slightest move welcoming, recognizing, burning a presence into their minds, their souls, their hearts for all time
What thee are about to witness comes down from the Time of the Beginning without change this is the Vulcan Heart this is the Vulcan Soul this is our way
The newborn barely stirred, seemingly content and relaxed in the steel-haired male's arms as he held her securely, a great-grandfather with the experience of centuries. By his side, the proud parents bruised Sutek and exquisite T'Para whose recent ordeal showed only in a vague sense of fatigue shading the dark eyes and some eloquent glances in her mate's direction.
The entire hall seemed to take a collective breath when the Matriarch paused, and for some inexplicable reason her unreadable grey eyes seemed to linger on the Rihanha standing next to a broadly smiling Betazoid for the space of a single heartbeat.
"As it was in the dawn of our days, as it shall be for all tomorrows. Be welcome to the light, Nhasaen cha`T'Para cha`T'Lar hei-Surak Ansa-ken-tar."
Captain Shiarrael t`Rehu
Commander Sakarra Tyrax
Lady Lhorexa Tyrax
Warya the Sehlat
T'Para & Sutek
And a flock of happy Vulcans plus Horta