Hello readers. I'm going to establish a few things real quick before we get to the story.
1. I will be handling all of daniel duncan's author's notes and PMs. He has a very demanding job, so I will post the chapters he writes for him.
2. Chapter updates will be sporadic, but will definitely have more content to them than this prologue. After all, it is a prologue. Just to get your interest up.
3. All reviews are cherished. Seriously, if you review we love you.
Without further ado... have a peek at what's in store!
(IN THE TIME BEFORE SURAK)
Gath squatted on the stone outcropping, motionless but for the hot breeze that stirred his cloak. Small bits of sand crawled across his face and neck, like the skittering legs of an insect. Another would have brushed the sand away, unable to bear its incessant crawling across their skin; but Gath was not another. He ignored the sand and the wind, which seemed to be picking up, the breeze growing stronger, carrying the stench of the nearby battlefield into his sensitive nostrils. Gath ignored that as well. Instead, he focused on the compound below, his obsidian eyes flicking here and there, steadily surveying the small cluster of buildings that surrounded the great hall. Between him and his target was a great stone wall, battlements designed to keep out armies, to defend against many thousands of soldiers and the machinery of war. Gath was but one. Sleepy sentries patrolled up and down the walls, peering into the blowing sand in search of a threat, hands gripping sword hilts, bows at the ready.
Gath focused on the sentry nearest him, a grizzled warrior from the look of his battle-scarred armor. He closed his eyes and reached out with his mind. My mind to your mind….my thoughts to your thoughts… His brow furrowed as he concentrated, reaching across the meters of distance that separated him from the guard, casting his psyche like a warm blanket, a comfortable bed. Images of rest and peace flowed from him toward the unwary sentry. Few of his people were capable of melding at this distance, and Gath was one of them. The Elite Adepts. Those whose psychic ability far surpassed that of normal Vulcans. Gath, like the others, had been born with this gift, but unlike the others, he had honed his ability to a razor sharp edge, and now, not only could he meld from a distance, he could also kill. Rest…sleep…no danger tonight…too much sand..I am so tired….a few moments will not matter….he redoubled his efforts, a slight sweat now breaking out on his brow. Below him, the sentry yawned and shook his head. He moved to the battlement and peered out into the night, then to his right and left. Apparently satisfied that there was indeed no danger, he moved to the back of the wall and sat down, resting his back against the battlement and stretching his legs out in front of him. His eyes drifted shut…Above him, the ledge was empty.
General Voltag sank slowly into the pool of steaming mineral water, allowing his aged body to grow accustomed to the intense heat of the spring water. These springs were part of the reason he had chosen Gol as his headquarters, not to mention the mountains were nearly impregnable. He hissed through his teeth as the water crept up his thighs and past his waist, finally settling himself on the stone bench at the bottom of the pool. His muscles throbbed dully, reminding him of his age. I am getting old. He thought. Perhaps it is time to leave the fighting to younger men. He stretched his legs out slowly, feeling his muscles protest. His calves and thighs reluctant to release the tension in their muscles. Today had gone well, better than he or his advisors had hoped. His forces had engaged the armies of the Clan of the Black Sand in the valley below the mountains of Gol and the fighting had been fierce, with many lives lost. In the end though, his forces had triumphed. Lord Verg had surrendered, swearing fealty to him and peace had come. Here at least. He thought, but what of the rest of Vulcan? When will this end? When the sands run green with the blood of every last man, woman and child? He shook his head and reached for the small cup of ha'aava on the table near his right arm. He drank slowly, letting the fiery liquid blaze its way to his stomach, ignoring the burn of the multiple ulcers he knew must be nesting there. He sipped once more and set the cup back down on the table, shifting his weight on the bench, trying to find a more comfortable position. He let his gaze drift across the placid surface of the pool to the small fire pit on the far side of the bath chamber, allowing the dance of the flames lull him even more. So much conflict, he thought, so much death. His whole life had been one conflict after another. The tests of manhood, the pon far when the blood boils and reason abandons. The violent disagreements with his father over Voltag's so-called "peaceful notions". "Vulcans are born for battle!" Varek would rage. "Peace is the tool of cowards and fools!" On and on. Struggles without end. The clan wars..his own son's death in battle, and the resentment and even hatred in his wife's eyes as he had brought the news to her, along with his son's broken and bloody body. Tears welled in his eyes and he knuckled them away, not ashamed, but angry at the course his life had taken. He stared hard into the flames. Perhaps death will find me soon. If not in battle, then in sickness or despair.
Gath watched from the shadows of the corner near the door of the bath chamber. It had not been much of a challenge to shield his presence from the occupants of the great hall once he had cleared the wall. For him, his ability was a source of great pride, and he exercised it often, training tirelessly, until he doubted if there was anyone as skilled as he was on all of Vulcan. If there was, Gath looked forward to meeting him one day, and killing him. He slowly reached into the voluminous sleeve of his cloak and removed a slender tube about the length of his forefinger He placed the tube between his lips and blew sharply, sending the hair-like fiber within streaking across the room, where it buried almost half its length in the generals scalp. Voltag flinched and then became still, his head lolling back onto the flagstones as if he slept. Gath remained where he was for a moment, and then walked swiftly and silently over to the general's body. The old man's eyes were still open, and he knelt, using his fingers to gently close them. "Peace, general." He whispered. Quietly and carefully he made his way out of the great hall and through the small group of buildings that surrounded it, using his mind to blend with shadows and sand. He really needn't have bothered, the wind was howling now and there was no seeing more than a meter in front of you. There's your accident, he thought. Now you owe me my fee….