A HIDDEN CULTURE

Chapter 13: A New Life

The SWAT Kats returned the Queen and her guards to Enforcer Headquarters with their prisoner. Her enforcers rushed out to meet them. There were looks of surprise when Dark Kat was dragged out of the cargo hold.

She waved in farewell as the Turbokat lifted off. They waved back and were soon gone. So tired she could barely stand, Raven made her slow way to her office. Leander and Cedric stayed very close to her in case she needed their support.

When she reached her office, she collapsed into her desk chair. Leander and Cedric stood to either side of her and took her paws. Splitting her draw of rejuvenating energy from them allowed her to get what she needed without draining either of them to the point of unconsciousness. They were a little weak but standing when she released them. She was still tired but able to continue with her work.

"Thank you both. I have no need now for your assistance. Please go home and recover. Tomorrow, I want you both to return to your regular duties. You have the gratitude of your Queen for your bravery and willingness to see this to its end." She told them solemnly.

"It was our pleasure and honor to serve you Queen Raven. We are overjoyed to be able to convey our congratulations toward you on your upcoming bonding. The clan will be well pleased to see you happy and mated at last." Leander said formally, both of her guards bowing to her.

"Thank you! I'll be seeing you again when the bonding ceremony is held in our clan holding." She smiled warmly at them. They grinned happily and took their leave.

Sighing, with a small smile still on her lips, she reached for her phone and dialed a number.

"Hello love, it's me. The mission was a success. It's finally over. I could really use your comfort tonight. Will you pick me up here at Enforcer Headquarters at five please?" She said wearily.

"So glad that's over with my love. You sound so tired. I'll be there waiting to take you home. Try not to tire yourself any further. I love you!" Jaren said gently, relieved she was alright and that the danger was over.

"Love you too. See you in a while." She said with a sigh before hanging up.

She stared at her desk and sighed again but sat up and summoned her secretary for some coffee as she dug into the pile of work needing completion before day's end.

Throwing the last file into her out basket, she stretched and yawned. Locking her desk, she got up and made for the door grabbing her coat on the way out. Nodding good night to her secretary who was closing up her work as well, she moved on down the hall for the elevator. Yawning again she pushed the button for the lobby. She half closed her eyes as the elevator made a half dozen stops before finally halting at the main floor. She headed for the main doors and a tired smile lighted her face when she saw Jaren standing beside the open door of his limo.

His welcoming smile made her feel warm and happy. Reaching his side, she couldn't resist giving him a kiss. Many of the departing shift change saw the little scene with some surprise. Most tried not to think about the fact their Commander was really female not male but this just brought it firmly to the forefront that he was a she and had a boyfriend. The gossip mill was going to get a heavy workout after today.

Jaren ignored the looks as he nuzzled her face a moment then helped her into the car. Sliding in after her, he closed the door and signaled the driver to head home. Pulling her close to him, he heard her sigh with pleasure and rub comfortably against him. He hugged her tightly so very grateful she was capable of defending herself or he'd be a wreck constantly worrying about her.

Two weeks later in a hidden mountain retreat...at dawn's light...

Jaren stood nervously before the Queen's stone chair in the valley of the Dawn's Blood Clan's home. He had been cleansed by the oldest pair of Selsinar in their sacred pool then dressed in a robe of dark green hue and was barefoot. All around him were every member of the clan, old and young. All eyes were trained on the pavilion a short distance away where their Queen got ready.

Moments later, a drum began to beat a strong, odd rhythm and the door to the pavilion was held open by her second in command, Beltran. Out stepped the Queen. She was breathtaking to Jaren's eyes. She wore her ceremonial robes and a small circlet on her head. Her face was solemn and serious as she walked sedately toward him.

He couldn't take his eyes off her as she came abreast of him them past to stand at an alter that had been set up just behind him. He turned to watch her. The alter held a strange deep blue ball that appeared to be glass. It was the size and shape of a basketball. It appeared to be solid, no light passed through it.

The Queen stood by the strange ball and chanted something in a different language. When she finished the chant the ball began to glow. She stretched a paw toward him. He walked up to stand beside her.

"Put your paws on the Planier, Jaren Fangmore. It will judge whether you are worthy." She intoned softly.

Trusting her implicitly, he put his paw on the ball. It felt warm to his touch. The warm began to spread throughout his body and he gasped when he felt a light touch in his mind. It had been so fleeting he barely had time to register it before it was gone and the warmth departed like the sea. He blinked and looked up at Raven in bemusement. She was smiling at him warmly.

"Keep your paws where they are love and wait a moment more." She murmured softly as she placed her paws on the ball as well.

Light burst out of it and spread over the two of them. He felt the warmth again and something else.

"Hello, my love!" Came his love's voice in his mind. He jolted a little in surprise. "Easy my love, the Planier allows two who wish to be one this precious moment to see into each others mind and speak to each in this way only for as long as we touch the Planier." She explained softly.

"Wow. This is really something." He said in amazement

He didn't know how much time had passed, he felt and saw many things about Raven that were frightening but he also saw her compassion and dedication to her people.He sensed that she was seeing what made him who he was as well. He felt a closeness such as he'd never known with another. In this dream like world he beheld his love and felt her love in return. There was no deceit and no way to hide from each other here. She smiled lovingly at him then this dream world of the mind began to fade and moments later he was staring into her real eyes once more.

The air filled with roars and cheers from her people. It shook the air. Jaren looked around in surprise at the cheering Selsinar. Raven placed an arm around his returning his attention to her.

"They are overwhelmed with joy at our union." She said grinning giddily.

"Wow! So it's over? We're lifemates?" He asked needing to be sure.

"Oh yes! The Planier proved to my people that we are one in mind, heart, and spirit." She said happily then leaned close for a kiss.

Thrilled, he wrapped his arms around his new mate and kissed her passionately to the roaring approval of her people.

Epilog...

Jaren swung his mate in time with the music at a ball given in their honor, celebrating their union. They had had a simple ceremony that had been adjusted slightly to allow them to be married but keep their original names. The ceremony also made plain where he stood within the Selsinar clan.

For the occasion, Raven had worn her ceremonial robe and a wig made of her original hair when it had been long. It changed her face remarkably. Any who still harbored any thought that she was male lost it when she was presented to the high society folks of Megakat City. Some found themselves in awe of the Queen. Wearing her robes of office gave her a regal appearance that shone brightly. None could ever pretend that she anything but a Queen.

Over a year and half later, the clan was blessed with many new births. On the cover of the Megakat Daily Newspaper was a photo of the wealthiest couple in the city. Holding their new son was Queen Raven and her consort, Jaren Fangmore. Their faces shown with joy at the newest member of the Selsinar Clan.

During this time, Razor had taken the Queen's advice and managed to meet a very nice looking Selsinar female. They were still in the dating phase of their relationship but Raven was encouraged by this sign of hope for her people.

T-Bone still played the field, not really ready to be serious with any one partner at the moment.

The relationship between the SWAT Kats and the Queen could be said to be a mutual respect for each other's talents and skills. There was a friendly competitiveness between them that made it easier to fight the omegas without the tense combativeness that was their previous behavior a year earlier.

T-Bone grudgingly accepted the fact that Raven was a formidable opponent that he'd preferred to be on the right side of. Razor never had a problem getting along with the Queen much to T-Bone's disgust.

The End.