Chapter One: No Light
A/N: A huge thanks to all of your for your amazing feedback. I never expected I would get so many reviews, favourites and follows. I have big plans for Morrow, although I'm a little hesitant. This story is meant to be dark, but I want to know: how dark can you handle? Let me know!
"My people?" The young woman's words came out hoarse, and shriller than she had anticipated. She blinked slowly as Ronan strode towards her. She felt very much as though he was the predator and she was the prey. Her breath rattled out through her lips and her heart was racing. Surely he didn't know. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Do you think me to be an ignorant fool?" Ronan now stood right before her, towering over her slender form. She knew that she was shaking, but she could not help it. Capturing her was one thing, but capturing her for a reason was another. "I know exactly who you are, girl. Your legacy taints this galaxy, and it burns like a beacon, what with your auburn hair."
Ronan reached out slowly, as if to tuck a strand behind her ear. Yet it was too gentle a gesture for him, and she panicked, resisting the strong urge to smack his hand away. Instead the warlord's hand fisting tightly in the auburn tresses he had been speaking of, tugging hard and making the young woman yelp. So he did know who she was. Perhaps he had even expected to find her on Chrydia. The thought made her feel sick to the stomach, knowing that her movements could have been tracked.
"Morrow Perona." The words were spoken with open mockery, and she screwed her eyes shut. She felt as though she had failed her family, her people. What should have been a simple opening of the new moon base had gone horribly wrong. They would likely talk about it for centuries. "Of the Perona dynasty, the royal house that has shaped the traditions of Xandar for millennia."
Morrow felt nausea rolling deep in her stomach, working its way up her throat. Her grandmother, Solara Perona, was the Queen of Xandar – and up until two years previous, Morrow's father Caelan had been heir to the throne. But then a horrific accident had occurred, Caelan was dead and Morrow was her grandmother's heir. She felt even sicker thinking about her father's ship exploding mid-air, and paranoia set in as she wondered whether Ronan was responsible for that as well.
"What do you want with me?" Morrow whispered. She felt tears pricking at her eyes and she chastised herself. No, she was not some weak, pampered little princess who Ronan would easily manipulate or torture. She had no clue what Ronan would gain by taking her prisoner, but she would remain defiant. If he intended to use her, Solara's sole heir, as some kind of bargaining chip – well, it would never work.
"I want to see Xandar fall." Ronan stepped back, releasing his iron grip on her hair. His eyes were no longer cold and impassive, not when he spoke of Xandar – they lit up with fury, and Morrow could not understand what it was about her home planet that so angered him. "You, little princess, will be its destruction."
Time seemed to become irrelevant. Morrow drifted in and out of sleep, never able to fully succumb to slumber. Had mere hours passed, or had weeks flashed by without her knowing? She woke once to a pile of what appeared to be clothes neatly folded and set upon the end of her bed, and the dim light on when she knew she had turned it off. Rubbing her eyes, Morrow sat up – only to turn her head at the feeling of eyes upon her.
"Awake at last." It was not Ronan, but the woman who sauntered towards her – because despite the lack of hair, her frame and features were decidedly feminine – was blue-skinned also. Yet her eyes were dark as night, and she didn't look to be Kree. Morrow was not quite sure what species the woman was, yet there was a piercing coldness about her eyes that made her decide she was just as deadly as Ronan. "Get up, little Xandarian. Ronan has requested that you be present for dinner."
Dinner? Morrow couldn't quite comprehend, as the woman's mouth twisted with disdain. Her hands fumbled for the clothes that had been set on the end of her bed. She remembered another, completely different, instance when a man had chosen her clothes for her. The thought made a slight smirk tug at the corners of her lips, however she sincerely doubted that Ronan was going to be providing her with anything revealing. He despised her kind, so there was no chance of him having a lust for her physical form.
The dress was plain black, as she had expected, and had long sleeves. Morrow stared down at the white dress she had worn to Chrydia for the opening of the moon base. Making sure her gaze was firmly upon the blue woman, she held up the black dress and tossed it across the room, before folding her arms over her chest and trying to appear confident.
"I will wear the clothes I have on now."
"Ungrateful brat," the blue-skinned woman hissed, baring her teeth and starting towards Morrow. She looked as though she dearly wished to slap her, however she never raised a hand to the red-haired young woman. "Ronan will be greatly displeased with this defiance."
"Very well," Morrow said curtly, pushing herself to her feet. She was very aware of her unintimidating state – a plain white dress, messy red hair and bare feet. Oh yes, Ronan would certainly tremble to behold her. "Then I will face his displeasure. Now, do you plan to take me to him or not?"
The woman seized Morrow's arm tight enough to bruise, practically dragging her from the small room that she had been confined to for the past…she had no idea how long. She did her best to keep her eyes upon her surroundings, as she was marched down dim corridors until finally they stopped in front of a pair of doors guarded by two creatures that Morrow recognised to be Sakaarans.
"Ronan has requested her." The woman tightened her grip on Morrow's arm, enough to make her grimace. One of the Sakaarans tapped a code into the panel beside the door, and once they slid open, she was marched inside.
The interior of the room was just as dim as the rest of the ship so far, but it was significantly larger. A long table stretched along the room, its most prominent feature. Ronan rose from where he had been kneeling down across the far side of the room, and Morrow wondered if he had been in prayer. Did the Kree have gods? She was unsure, for she knew less of their culture than she would have liked.
"Thank you, Nebula. That will be all."
The blue-skinned woman, Nebula, released Morrow and strode out of the room. Ronan's contemptuous gaze raked over her, and she didn't ever think she had felt so small. Perhaps in terms of ranking she held a position of power, but her social rank was nothing aboard this ship – or was it? After all, Ronan had taken her for the pure and simple reason that she was of the Perona dynasty.
"You did not wear the dress that I placed in your quarters."
"No." Morrow planted her hands on her hips. "I refuse to be dressed. I will wear the clothes of my people, thank you."
"You have fire," Ronan noted. Morrow expected him to appear irritated, but instead he looked almost amused. As if this was a mere game they played, and her attempts to win were entertaining at the most. "But I will snuff it out."
Morrow glanced over at the table. There was no huge meal laid out, just a few simple platters. No food she recognised. She pressed her lips together as her stomach betrayed her by rumbling loudly. She was hungry. Ronan gestured towards the table, and for once Morrow was obedient and took her seat. Ronan sat opposite her, and even as Morrow hesitantly reached for her food, she felt his sharp gaze upon her.
"How am I going to help you destroy Xandar?" she asked carefully, keeping her eyes on her plate.
"Tomorrow I will send a transmission to the Queen of Xandar," Ronan announced. Morrow let her red hair fall about her face, trying to obscure herself from his gaze. "You will be present for this. I will let her know that you, her granddaughter, will become a personification of what will happen to Xandar."
"And then I suppose you will kill me," Morrow murmured, trying and failing to keep her tone light. Of course she feared death, especially death by such a violent means as Ronan would no doubt use.
"No, I intend to make you an example to your people," Ronan stated, watching as the auburn-haired young woman picked over her food.
"How do you intend to do that?" Morrow asked, lifting her eyes from her plate to stare directly across at the Kree.
Ronan's expression was imperceptible, but his eyes shone. "By showing them that even the mightiest among them can fall. My intention was never to kill you, little princess. It is to break you."