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[Stenellian Ascendancy] Empress Xue'Daio Nox tr'Verelan, Emperor Maec i'Ahaefvthe tr'Verelan | "Ashes to Ashes"

Posted on Thu Feb 11th, 2021 @ 10:09pm by Xue'Daio Nox Tr'Verelan

Mission: A Distant Thunder

Kiv'Watt had once told his daughter that she had seen the whole universe before she'd taken her first breath, and she carried it all in her heart. He said that was the reason why she screamed the loudest squall he'd ever heard come from an infant and why even in her silence he could hear her cries. It had been so, so easy to feel the stars rattle in her chest when she had carried the entire universe in her heart and while her mother had threatened to extinguish her, her father had fed her dreams.

She'd been so full of them as she grew - one moment a gasping and shivering toddler who yearned for her father's love and stories about the worlds beyond, the next as a young woman who couldn't even begin to understand her own dreams and desires. Even now, his stories continued to float past the morning beams of a winter skyline, quiet as the waking trees, through her imagination. But Xue no longer felt the fond warmth in her chest as she remembered as she recalled all of his words and bound them together in her own near little library. She'd long ago learned to resent them, to lock away each book and label it as contraband - because Xue had not been born to be the adventurer with soft beauty and curious eyes like her father had promised. Xue had been born far from gentle and made cold and hardened by the iron rodded insults hurled from her mother's steel-cladded heart.

There were no dreams for her, no stories to tell, no mountains to climb.

In fact, Xue had never been anywhere that she hadn't been forced to go by either Psy'Daio or the duty imposed upon her by the weight of the crown she wore. Now every time she remembered her father's stories, her own lack thereof, she felt the urge to break things - and not just any things - but all of the worlds spoken through his jubilant voice.

It was strange what heartache could do.

Even now as she gazed at her Senators, she couldn't help but imagine the mountains collapsing, swallowing them as they crashed heavily into the sea below. She knew each name the same way she knew every type of star that lit the night skies, and to her they were worth the same as the kindling sitting in the gaping fire mantle at the end of her grand hall. In her mind, the smoke that rose for its grand chimney was a taunt, a risen middle finger to death and chaos and shame. So much of it had scoured Apsha since Maec had gone and she couldn't help but wonder what she'd tell him if he suddenly appeared before her right then and there. Would she tell him that she'd seen the truth? His truth? Or would she tell him what a strange world it had turned out to be, for the mountains danced with the sea there, and the wind sang, and the sun gleamed from behind clouds that glared menacingly at her and Xue... Casting her gaze out of the window might as well have sworn she saw a mouth, swollen with light and rows upon rows of teeth, sharp and yellowed with age.

Did it watch her with its burning irises? Did it blink back with salacious, wide eyes curious as to what she offered - what she hid? Maybe it could look past her beautiful pallid skin to see her mortal heart that should have been filled and full where it now beat emptily. Or did it only see a piece of her? An unshaded, pale sliver of the moon.
“Empress, we have seen that you no longer wear the dark shroud of mourning,” The masked female at the head of the senate spoke. Her tone was almost mirthful and bright, instantly igniting the blood in the regent’s veins and stirring her gut to nausea.

Xue’s rose colored eyes immediately left the window and rested on that masked face, her own emotionless. “Yes, Senator, I mourn no longer.” It was a lie like no other, but she spoke it with conviction none-the-less. She would always mourn Maec T’Verelan.

“Yes. We,” The Senator’s hands moved wide in gesture over the entire group of masked men and women on either side of her, “take this to mean that you have made the right decision for your people.”

At this, the regal Empress nodded, her lips daring to curl upwards at their corners in a smile most sardonic in nature, “I believe I have, yes.”

“Qiza Ilex is a fine choice. He will give you, us, a fine heir and help us forget the past and your youthful, rebellious mistakes.” The Senate body nodded heavily, murmuring in their agreement and appreciation as the named Makta warrior was brought forth. “Son of Kal and Zxa Ilex, he has served us well and true. We will prepare for celebrations at once and see to it that you are ripe.”

Like a broodmare. Ripe. Ready to be taken, bred, and produce the pureblood they wanted so badly. Xue’s eyes darkened to smoky amber, rich with warning. She could hear the beginning crackles of electric energy as it ran along her silken skin and settled along her finger tips. “I’m sure he would. That you would.” A silvery eyebrow lifted as she rose from her throne. The gold embellishments on her robes sang soft as bells, accentuating the sigh of the silk they clung to, “If you still had any power to do so, that is.”

“I beg your pardon, Majesty?” The Senator spluttered and the warrior’s head snapped in their direction, demanding answers.

“I have chosen to disband the senate, as is well within my power, and choose to rule without the constraints of your constant disobedience and xenophobic interference which I feel is counterproductive to the growth of the Ascendancy as a whole and should have passed with the death of Psy’Daio Nox.” Xue’s explanation came without rancor or even a hint of the relief or amusement she felt within her.

It would be short lived.

In an instant, the Senate as a whole shucked off their elaborate robes, but left their masks, as they moved to surround the throne. Each held their ceremonial dagger in their hands, palmed and ready to do as they saw necessary. The warrior who had served ‘well’ and ‘true’ merely stepped away as if he were too good to bloody his hands with the murder of his Empress or the salacious insurrection poised to occur. She’d sneer at him, albeit briefly, before the speaker of the Senate’s voice rang clarion through the closed court once more,

“We were prepared for your insolence, Xue’Daio. Such a pity that it must lead to such tragedy, but we have chosen our new Emperor and he will reign in the nature Apsha must be ruled in.”

“The way you see it?”

“The way we see it, collectively.”

The Senator lunged for the woman of starlight only to fall back and slide against the highly polished throne room floors for several feet. Thunder, or something like it, roared from within, popping and crackling as the surge of energy that had rendered the woman useless and spent dissipated just as swiftly as it had come. In its wake stood the Empress, hardly worse for wear on the outside, but inside… Her heart raced violently against her ribcage. For so long she’d contained the brutal power she’d harnessed and nursed; the ability to throw her natural electrical current without the need to touch exposed skin. But while it explained the downed Senator, it did not explain the dead and smoking puff of dust that had once been a proud and brave Makta warrior or the distinct odor of burnt flesh.

Like the rest of the Senate, the Empress stood in momentary bewilderment - until her eyes rested on one of the masked men aiming a Romulan disruptor in the general direction of his brethren. “You will stand do--” Something on the man ‘preep’ed it’s announcement of incoming communication - a sound Xue’s delicate ears hadn’t heard in a long… long while. A sound that made the baby fine hair on the back of her elegant neck stand straight on end and her concentration falter until she realized the charge along her fingers and wrists was diminishing and being replaced with what she could only describe as complacency. It was instantly discarded, her lifted hand once again bristling with the promise of white, hot electricity.

“Explain yourself,” She commanded, looking to the Senator that held the rest of his ilk captive between his disruptor and her raw power.

“Forgive me Empress.” The masked man darted a quick glance at Xue but kept his focus on the Senate body “but the explanation will arrive shor-” He paused mid speech as another Senator abruptly stepped towards Xue only to be turned into a cloud of vapor. The whirling of the disruptor cooling echoed in the chamber as fear began to circulate among the remaining Senators who began back away from the Empress. “You have not been given permission to move yet. My master will be here shortly.”

“Master?” The word was uttered beneath breaths as confusion reigned. Suddenly the sea of eyes collectively widened as shimmering emerald light bathed the room. In the periphery of the chamber over a dozen glowing silhouettes slowly formed. They all looked different but their similarities: the long pointed ears, sharp facial features, and antagonized expressions told the bewildered Senators everything they needed to know.

The mask man lowered his weapon with the arrival of reinforcements. “Emperor.” He peeled the Senatorial mask from his face revealing the soft features of a youthful Stellenian. “All hail the arrival of Emperor Maec t’Verelan.” He dipped his head towards Maec as panic and dread gripped the room. Another masked Senator spun on their heels and tried to make for the exit. A bright green bolt intercepted them mid step sending dusty remains dissipating through the doorway. The other Senators gasped and began shouting in panic.

“Temurin.” Maec stepped forward and slung a disruptor rifle slung over his shoulder. The Romulan’s icy gaze scanned the Stellenian Senators in front of him. There was a time when he had been hopeful that this body would have some meaning to the Empress. Greed and power had begun to decay its purpose in his absence. The reality disappointed him but he was not surprised. Power had a way to corrupt and it made him wonder if perhaps this experiment had been a mistake? It would be a lesson he would remember. “You were given purpose in this body to serve your Empress. To serve your Empress.” He reiterated and finally glanced at Xue. The sight of her caused his chest to tighten with longing and anger “but you have failed in your purpose.” Maec nodded his head towards the other Romulans “and since you no longer have purpose...”

The order was carried out swiftly. Their fate was sealed long before Maec arrived in the chamber. Temurin had kept him apprised of the situation on the planet. The insolence of the Senate and their audaciousness. Their deaths would be a lesson for the rest. There was a time when he would have felt shame for such brutality but fear had become a weapon he was now comfortable with wielding. By the time he reached Xue the thick cloud of ashen matter that remained of the Senate was settling on the chamber’s surfaces. He reached out and ran his hands through her platinum hair causing a small dustfall “Forgive me, Xue.” He leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers feeling the grains of dust amidst the sweet moisture.

And so the card fell from the hands of the ever watching Hierophant otherwise known as the universe. Upon it was embellished the emboldened figure of a man perched upon a throne adorned with ram heads, as a depiction of his strength and valor. Held in one hand, a sceptre, representing his reign and right to rule. In his other uplifted palm rested a glowing globe, the symbol of the empire of which he presided. Behind him, the craggy peaks of harrowing, impassable mountains rose to show his determination, his ambition for greater heights. The man was a symbol of masculine principle - the figure in life that gave structure, created rules and systems, and imparted knowledge. A strategic thinker who set out plans that he must see through, regardless of the sacrifices that need to be made.

Where the Empress's desire was to create strength through happiness and unity, her counterpart added in his desire to foster integrity and discipline. He guided them with a firm hand, following the calling of honor above all else. Like she, though a sovereign, he understood that to reign was also to serve - and as such he acted rationally and according to what was for the greater good of their empire.

The Emperor… Had returned.

And he had sacrificed.

They had sacrificed.

There had been a time, not so very long ago, when such carnage would have offended the senses of the younger Xue’Daio. She would have questioned the use of such force, perhaps even resigned herself to the fate that her would-be judge, jury, and executioner would have chosen for her without much, if any, fight. That time had long since passed, as time always did, stealing with it in its passing the puckish mind of a child and replacing it with the statuesque polish of a stalwart Empress.

The only outward sign of emotion said Empress offered as she watched the spectacle materialize before her was nearly imperceptible, especially with all eyes focused on the panicking senate body. Almost, all eyes. Hers were fixated on the form of a rogue ghost, returned from his tomb of stars. They’d left Temurin’s figure the moment the familiar green embers began to light the otherwise sullen chamber. Those eyes, however, eyes remained dark and dusky in promise of her anxiety and ire upon until the point she saw him.

The face, though a touch more mature with the years and experience he’d accumulated, was unmistakable.The regal, arrogant way in which he carried himself, shook from her the layers of doubt. The voice - commanding and rich as raw silk - curled itself about her ears and soul and curried up memories only they would know.

The lightning, for lack of a better term, that played about her fingertips, extinguished about the same time that he approached her through the thick ash fall. She’d have destroyed them all even if he hadn’t appeared. But he’d unsaddled and unburdened her from the need of wicking from them their lifeforce with a degree of elegant nonchalance and unchallenged bitterness she had only seen once before; the night he’d put her mother down as if she were nothing more than a diseased street cur.

To her it was another dream.

She’d wake up before she could touch him and be left burnt by both desire and the fact she had believed the lucid delusion. Still, as he made way up the throne dais stairs, she’d felt her chin lift to let her better hold his gaze as he came to shadow her with both his height and build. If it was a dream, it was the closest she had ever gotten to touching him again. Even over the acrid scents of cremation, plasma, and ozone, she could perceive the richness of what could only be defined as his personal scent and feel the warmth radiating from his body as he asked for her to forgive his sins.

Only when his hand reached for her and the weight of his fingers gliding through her hair made it real, did she react. Her eyes closed upon contact, signifying the trust she still had for him and the pleasure such contact gave her. The breath she’d been holding was released just before his mouth claimed hers and she returned the kiss in kind - ignoring the feel of the ash and dust of their enemies as she reached to rest a hand on his chest over the telltale beat of his heart. The evidence of his actions, the destruction of those who had attempted to assassinate her and dirty the name of the Ascendancy, fell away from her fingertips and tumbled along the snowy skin on the back of her hand and delicate wrist. So easy it would be for either one to extinguish the other, but instead they chose to ignite and burn brighter as a pair.

He was there and real and tangible and warm.

“I forgive you.” She all but whispered, pulling just far enough away to be able to look up and find his eyes hidden beneath thick dark lashes and soot they had collected. So many years, so much pain, so much strife… Were erased and replaced by as many questions as there were stars in the night sky. They could, and would, wait knowing that he was home, alive, and far from the traitor they had tried to paint him as. “I never stopped believing in you.”

Xue’s hand, small and precious as it was, reached to cup his olivine cheek and her thumb rid him of the remnants of the filth that had taken advantage of the best of his intentions. “Jol-ao au.” I love you., it simply didn’t matter how they had been reunited or where, or the fact that an entire group of malignant fools had been rendered to nothingness. Such were petty things in the grand scheme - even if a great part of her senses were beginning to demand they disappear and rid themselves of the clinging evidence that such inferior minds had once existed.


Xue'Daio Nox tr'Verelan
Queen Regnant of Apsha
Queen of Aliene
Stenellian Ascendancy

Maec i'Ahaefvthe tr'Verelan
Stenellian Ascendancy


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