On Planet Pollux the Princess Romelle came awake with a start. She sat straight up in her bed, body completely taut. All around her the room was dark and shadowy and not a sound came to her from the sleeping castle. Yet it seemed as if the night air all around her still hummed and echoed with that tearing, haunting shriek of loss and despair that had shattered her dream and yanked her from slumber.
She slid out of her large feather bed, clutching the coverlet tightly about her shoulders, for it was very cold. Outside the stars hung like brittle glass shards in the pitch-black night. There was no moon. Romelle stood by the window, gazing up, her face small and pale in the starlight. Her eyes scanned the sky, as if she could pinpoint exactly where that cry had come from, for she knew somehow that no one in the sleeping castle had uttered it. But the stars only glittered back at her, icy, distant, and impersonal. Her fist clenched at her side, and her head bent to lean against the glass.
What had happened? How could she have been so wrong? She had been so certain Sven had cared for her as more than a comrade in arms, as more than just someone who had shared past dangers and a cause. When they had met for the first time in Lotor’s Pit of Skulls, she had been lost, without hope of ever feeling safe again. Everyone she loved and trusted had been taken from her. Her father, her elder brother Avoc, and her younger brother so distant… She shuddered and hugged her arms about herself. After nearly causing the destruction of the Voltron Force, after coming so close to freedom only to be swept up in darkness again, after what Lotor had done to her… She had reached her lowest point in that dark pit, forsaken by her friends, lost away from every familiar and comforting thing she knew. She would have died there had Sven not found her. She could still feel the light of his candle-so warm against her freezing face!-could still see the ghosts swirling in the haunted depths of his eyes. Those eyes!
His pain, his desperate need for solace had brought her back from the edge of despair, given her something to fight for once more, given her the strength, the will to free herself, and him, to win her way back to the safe circle of their friends. How his eyes had looked then, and in the days that followed, how their aspect changed when they met hers. A tender, almost secret smile lit his face and the ghosts were sent reeling to the darkest depths. It was like the sun coming out after a long rain and Romelle had known all the light had been for her.
Had been. Where had that light gone? There had not been a trace of its ever having been in the eyes that had regarded her so dispassionately in the garden the other day. A stranger would have looked at her so, but not Sven. Never Sven.
She suddenly felt so completely lost and alone, as she had in the Pit of Skulls. Then she remembered, someone, somewhere in that impossible vastness had called to her. For she was certain it had been her own name cried out in the darkness, across a distance miles could not measure. Once again she lifted her eyes to scan the heavens, in vain. Oh, Sven, where are you?
And on a far off world in a secret room, three men and two women sat and considered their future.
“We must act, now!” one said, pounding her fist against the table vehemently.
“I agree,” a man, the youngest of the five, spoke up. “The danger is on its way, even now and we cannot be taken unawares.”
“Oh, and what would you have us do?” the second woman asked with a quirk of her brows. “Mount a military defense? You know very well that is impossible!”
“We cannot mount a defense, but that does not mean we cannot call upon others,” the second man began, in a deep, rumbling voice.
“Are we cowards?” the first man cried stingingly. “We have hidden long enough! It is time-”
“It is time for us all to stop this pointless bickering,” the eldest man, who had heretofore remained silent, spoke up at last. “It is the wisdom of our ancestors that has kept us alive this long, that has seen us through each menace we have faced in the past and that will see us through this one.”
The first man would have spoken again, but the eldest held up his hand and he held his tongue. “If we go against what our ancestors have instructed we lose all we have sought to protect for the last three centuries. We must have faith in our ancestors’ wisdom. We must hope it shall see is through the darkness to come!”
Go to Chapter Three
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