AN: Forgive my tardy update. My only excuse is that I've been assigned a ten page Baroque Art research paper that must be finished before I leave for Thanksgiving. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Enjoy!

Chapter 7: Amariah's Version

Warmth and light. Amariah had been swallowed by a star and all that she could understand were the sensations of warmth and light. Not bad, considering she should have been writhing in pain as her body was roasted like a pig on a spit. The light seemed to lessen, for lack of a better description, and a faceless body, female by the slightly curved anatomical signs, formed from the dimmer light.

I welcome you, kin of my line. I have waited over a thousand years for your return. Amariah felt something within her heart ring as if some distant bell had been struck.

Tsunami? The woman of light laughed and Amariah sighed as the star's flames leapt higher around her.

Yes, Princess of the House of the Fallen Flame. Has no one ever questioned why your ancestors chose to call themselves that? My, who'd have thought that anyone from my line could have been born without a wild sense of curiosity? Tsunami's mental voice was infused with self-depreciating humor and for some strange reason, Amariah wanted to defend the tree-woman from her own doubts.

Curiosity was there, but asking the wrong questions in court could get one killed. One learns early in my House that curiosity is a luxury we have to deny ourselves if we want to survive. Tsunami nodded as if she too knew what life in a royal court could be like. The being of light sighed and came to stand beside where Amariah felt her body would be if she'd been able to see it. Being merely a consciousness could mess with one's self-concept if examined too closely, so Amariah forced herself to concentrate on the living essence of the Tree.

For the sake of clarity, I'm going to compress over one thousand years of history into a considerably smaller package. With a wave of her hand, the flames before them parted and Tsunami gestured towards a scene that sprang up from the black that was left behind. A small, lonely blue-green planet swirled in a tiny solar system that could have fit into Amariah's palm. As she spoke, her narration was animated across the view. We, the Royal Trees of Jurai, are the protectors of a race of beings whose genetics make them capable of generating a form of energy that can manipulate the very fabric of time and space. This energy has since been named the 'Wings of the Light Hawke.' Was it just Amariah or did it sound like Tsunami was repeating something she'd said many times before? In fact, Tsunami seemed to be speeding up in order to get to the better part of her speech. Amariah absorbed the fact that the trees were the protectors of the Jurian Royal line, reminding her of Ryoshu, but so far, the explanation didn't include why Tsunami had found Amariah fit to be called kinswoman. I'm getting to that. Tsunami sounded a bit like Craven when Amariah had tested his patience about something. She wondered where Craven was at that moment...

Are you paying attention? I swear, only someone from my line would have the gall to tune out mind-to-mind communication. Tsunami didn't sound too put out. In fact, there was a hint of pride somewhere within her voice. Your great-great-great- you get the point, grandmother was the founder of the House of the Fallen Flame. One thousand years ago, there was a great war between the Royal House of Jurai and a great demon race who shall not be named because to name them invokes their power. All of the Trees allied with the Jurians were sent to the front lines, that's how close we came to being turned to slaves by the Nameless Ones. A softness entered Tsunami's mind voice. My son, a newly bonded fighting Tree Ship, was one of the first to carry his royal Jurian into the fray. Both fought bravely, but being so young, only two hundred years old, he met his betters and was forced to flee the galaxy with the enemies in hot pursuit. Injured, his Prince already dead within him, my son crashed upon a small backwater planet where no one, enemy nor family could ever hope to find him. Amariah watched as Tsunami's body of light dimmed even further. Had she had hands to do so, Amariah would have comforted the mother who'd lost her child so long ago and yet still felt the loss fresh today.

Through a twist of Fate, my son's burning wreckage fell through the sky to land upon a young princess of the land's entourage. The princess, on her way to her betrothal feast, stumbled from the flaming debris of what was left by the meeting of my son and her carriage to be greeted by a man made of pure energy. The being helped her stand straight and kissed her tenderly before shattering into a million sparks. My son was never one to lackĀ  showmanship. The princess's rescuers found her unharmed by the flames and called it a miracle because forever more, the Queen's hair was that of Flames entrapped and she manifested powers unknown to the land. Nine months after the Falling of the Flame, the new Queen gave birth to what everyone assumed to be the child of her chosen Consort. My son, Tenchi, had fathered a replica of his memories in the form of a child upon your ancestor in the hopes that someday, his memories imbedded in the flesh of his offspring would someday find themselves among the stars where his family could find them and finally know his fate. Now that was something to tell her grandbabies about someday, Amariah mused, half in shock about her family's origins.

So my great-whatever was a tree? That's fricking cool. Tsunami chuckled at her kinswoman's unbeatable optimism.

I had hoped that you would see it that way. Because now, flesh of my flesh, you must help me create something that has never been made before or else the Universe will be thrown so far out of balance, time as we know it will be stopped.

A bit dramatic, you think?

I, like my son, do love a good bit of showmanship the Tree woman confessed.

Then, by all means, enjoy yourself.

Thank you, I will. If you'll let me continue. Amariah remained silent, but she fairly radiated with unspent laughter. It's time to do your duty, Amariah. How do you feel about babies?

Do what?!

AN: So how was that for an update? Sorry for the lateness, but I hope that I made up for. Later!