When Shea Met Alba...or 'How'.... by SidheRoseGraphics ()
Members remain the original copyright holder in all their materials here at Renderosity. Use of any of their material inconsistent with the terms and conditions set forth is prohibited and is considered an infringement of the copyrights of the respective holders unless specially stated otherwise.
Given Name: Alba Na'Bethereon
Aliases: Alma Neuwirth, Alanna Cameron, Elba Sinclair
Born: Torna Blas, capitol of Rindar Provence, South Turan, date undisclosed
Occupations: High Priestess of Lian Na' Marn, healer, herbalist, mechanist, magia, First Mate.
It wasn't exactly a 'When Harry Met Sally' story....
Shea had delivered goods to several ports on Turan for a few years now. He was well acquainted with the high-ranking Port Commanders, who sometimes asked him to do little favors for them - like smuggle things out of there or back there for them. They paid well and Shea didn't mind. It was all cargo to him, not to mention more credits to his name.
Upon returning to Turan, Shea learned that Rindar province was attempting to negotiate a peace-treaty with their eastern neighbor, Faladar. Things were not going well and the Faladarians were constantly raiding the border cities, taking hostages and threatening unless their demands were met. In spite of the messy sounding circumstances, Shea had a delivery to make to the PC at the port of Torna Blas. It was something he'd smuggled out and was now bringing back. It was something in a smallish square locked chest that he had no clue how to open, nor any real desire. The PC told him if the box was damaged or jimmied in any way, he would not be paid. So, in splte of the rumors of war, Shea landed in Torna Blas and handed over his delivery. He was promptly paid and then told to wait in the PC's private office. He wasn't sure why, but he didn't want to make any waves with these people - powerful magia that they were. He'd seen some of them do things that left him with a great deal of respect for their powers and more than a little trepidation about crossing any of them. There were those who could blast you into dust with a look, it was said. That was enough for him.
Minutes passed into nearly an hour, and then the door opened. The Port Commander, Ferran Bra'Nas, entered the room followed by a large impressive looking man in fine robes richly embroidered with strange symbols and animals. A simple circlet of precious auria sat on his wrinkled brow. Auria was one of the rarest metals in the galaxy and came from Turan - specifically Rindar Province. The man's fingers were covered in rings of auria and precious gems, and he wore a large pendant of the same, set with a jewel that fairly made Shea drool at it's magnificence and mostly likely it's inestimable value. "This is Bethereon Bra'Madron, Lord of Rindar," Ferran Bra'Nas announced, bowing as he said it.
Shea thought it wise to do likewise and bowed to the man. "I am honored. How may I serve you, Lord Bethereon?" The Turanians were big on pomp and ceremony - that much, he'd learned. As the old saying went - 'When in Rome...'.
The blues of Bethereon Bra'Madron's crimson eyes turned black and he regarded the smuggler stroking his beard. "Ferran Bra'Nas tells me you are to be trusted with things of a discreet nature. I 'see' this is true." His eyes returned to their previous color, much to Shea's relief. "I thank you for returning the Orb of Lian Na'Marn to us and hope you are content with your reward for doing so. However, I have yet another favor to ask of you." Lord Bethereon continued before Shea could ask. "Lord Dunmar of Faladar demands my daughter as wife, in return for peace. I have refused this many times and will continue, for the Faladarians are utterly dark in their ways and intentions. I want you to take her away from here...NOW. This very moment. She will not be a pawn in this, and I do not wish her to be taken hostage."
Shea didn't deal with the Faladarians, as he'd heard they were a lot of scoundrels, cheats and very bad mojo. "Of course, Lord Bethereon. They aren't going to come after us, are they?"
"Alba will see to it that you are cloaked. They will not know when you leave or where you go." Lord Bethereon then removed a large bracelet of auria from his wrist and handed it to Shea. "This be your payment. Keep her safe. That is all."
That was all? "When shall I bring her back?" Shea stammered not sure there shouldn't be more to this.
At that moment, a tall stunning-looking woman in a shimmering dress entered the room. Her long black hair was half-twisted around tree-like horns, and the rest hung loose down her back. Like all Rindarians, she had long pointed ears, slanting eyes and pale skin. Shea's breath caught in his throat, when like her father, she looked upon him with those darkened crimson eyes. "That is up to me to decide, smuggler." Her full dark lips twisted into a smile and then she kissed her father on the cheek. She said something to him in their arcane-sounding tongue, then patted his cheek. "Let us go then, smuggler!"
"The name's Shea, Lady Alba. I guess if we're through here, we'll be off then." He slipped the bracelet into his pack, and bowed as Lord Bethereon departed with his retinue of guardians.
"I know. You may simply call me Alba," she replied, slipping her arm through his and smiling in a most peculiar way.
Two servants accompanied her to Shea's ship, bringing along her possessions. They stowed them in the cargo bay where they were shown and then departed, bidding her goodbye with what appeared to be a genuine fondness and sadness to see her go. She acted very kindly toward them, but it was clear who was the mistress and who were the servants here. Shea couldn't help but wonder what he'd gotten himself into now. Was she going to be a pain in the backside, demanding her own way and to be waited on? He sincerely hoped not. That was the last thing he needed.
Alba stood on the stairs to the bridge and gave it all a good look. She frowned. "Rather antiquated, but I guess if it gets you around, that's all we need." She turned to him then, looking him up and down with undisguised admiration. "I'm going to need a private place in order to cloak the ship from detection. Do not start the engines until I come and tell you it is safe to do so. Do you understand?"
"Sure." Something about her seemed so familiar to him, it was weird. It was even more unsettling that as soon as he thought that, a small laugh escaped her throat. "Umm, there's a room over here you can use. Just do a good job of it, cos I don't want Faladarians on our tail. Okay?"
"Oh, I'm the best at such things, I assure you," she said. "Lead the way...Shea. I share your desire - trust in that!"
Shea opened the door to the meeting room as the rest of the crew looked on with puzzled expressions. "Can I ask you something?"
"How is it your people speak my language?" Ferran Bra'Nas had always spoken to him in Terran English. Now Lord Bethereon and Alba had too.
"It's the thing with the black eyes," she cackled. Yes, cackled like the witch she was. "You wouldn't understand. Thank you. I'll be out soon. You may feel a strange sort of rippling sensation when it happens. Don't be alarmed. It's normal."
Alba emerged from the meeting room about ten minutes later. The ripple had happened and as she gave the signal, Shea and the crew went into fire-up mode. They got out of there without a glitch and were on their way to the backside of Shea's rounds, through the mining colonies and a couple of small agro-planets.
Contrary to his fears, Alba proved to be more of an asset than a liability. She had a way with the machinery of the ship that left his mechanic Brody grumbling in his beer and getting surly.
"You may think we're rather backward about such things, but I assure you, we're not. Our mechanics are simply different from yours. There are a lot of things you humans require that we don't. Still, we have our machines. I studied mechanics, among other things, at our university before I became the priestess of Lian Na'Marn...".
There was that name - what her father called whatever was in that box. "What is the Orb of Lian Na'Marn - if I might ask?" Shea ventured, interrupting her.
"The Orb of Lian Na'Marn is a very ancient artifact of our people. It is well for you that you took good care of it," Alba answered him. "Otherwise, you'd be quite dead. It was a test, you taking it and returning it, to see if you would pass." She hung her head, her lips curling into a smile and she glanced at him sidelong. "However, the true Orb was not in that box. We would never give it to anyone. Lian Na'Marn is our second moon, which has a very slow orbit in spite of the fact it is quite close to Turan. She moves in mysterious ways, you could say. The Orb gives us the power to use Her gravitation to produce large storms, tidal waves and such-like when She rises. My successor will use it to help my father defeat the Faladarians. It won't be nice, but sometimes it is necessary to use darkness to defeat darkness. She only awaits the rising of the Goddess of the Storm, Daughter of the Great Sea. The Faladarians belive the Orb to be an utter myth, and so much the better for us!"
Shea asked, "What do you mean, a test? I've had that box for nearly two years. How long has this threat of war been going on?"
"Eight...ten years. Long. They move slowly. Our time is different than yours or even the time out here. It's all relative, you know. Dunmar began demanding me as his bride about five years ago, I think. Right around the time you first showed up. We've been watching you ever since. Trust when I say that Ferran Bra'Nas is well acquainted with all the other PC's you deal with. And me...you wonder why I am so familiar to you. Yes?"
Shea nodded. "I've been in your dreams for some time now. You just don't remember them."
Apologies for the length, but this is enough for now.
This is Alba's true appearance, sans the headdress (Neftis' Wiccanya Hair + SAV's Alpha Moikana Hair), which went along with her being the High Priestess of Lian Na'Marn...and the black sclera. Those are for 'special' things, like 'seeing through you'.
Gold stars for Angel and Art :)
Thanks so much for dropping by my gallery dear friends and I hope we all have a way better week than last week. At least Spring is 'officially' here! Happy for that.
Take care and thanks so much for your comments!!
Image Comments (23)
a delicious read and lots for me to learn of how to write indeed. i usually cut my things short to come straight to the point swift and spicy,i do the same in real life no small talk just the facts lol. but when our project will succeed (and it will but only god knows when) then i will settle down and write more complex stories. for example the way you describe Ferrans rich robe and all these little details are missing in my short stories. always a pleasure to come and visit you.
First off: Why apologize for the length? This piece sucks the reader right in and moves at a brisk pace and so length becomes irrelevant. A few more pages of this story would be most welcome. Of course it's all a matter of your own personal taste and the character-count requirements for the Writer's gallery. Second off. This is a good, brisk piece: it reminded me of some of the things I read by guys like Jack McDevitt. It's not derivative, but the style in which it is written serves the piece really well: it's a style particularly suited for telling a REALLY BIG tale in a somewhat small space. You do a good job of it here. This was an exciting ride. I liked reading it. I like the pacing, the little glimpses of things here and there that open up into possible larger insights, and I like the blend of science fiction and fantasy. And then, there's the image. It's a good one. A doozie, to use the technical word. Really good stuff. I like it.
Pfffff,...That was a long shot!You are amazing as a writer,write some books,you are great in it.Nice to know what's the bg of lady Alba her father and the planet they come from. The idea of the test for Shea is great with this box without the Orb.So,Alba will not be the bride of Lord Dunmar of Faladar.The art to understand Enlish language is nice,maybe they can teach this to me as well.For me it's quite a task to read the story.Your portrait of lady Alba is grandioso and a fine illustration of the story charakter, TOP dear! Gr.Rudy.