After a two-hour workout in the Royal gymnasium, I sit alone in my study, reading the latest intelligence reports from Arus and pondering their implications for the success of father’s plan.
According to my undercover team, the Voltron Force continues with their daily routine, which includes early morning practice with the Lions and patrolling the villages for enemy activity. Zarkon and Lotor have not attacked the planet in the past three weeks.
Arus has a force of about a hundred thousand men, including army, air and navy scattered through out the planet. But they have a weakness- they rely too much on their robot for their protection. Granted, they have faced Lotor and his robeasts a few times just using four of the Lions, but they had come victorious because of Lotor’s inability to focus in actual battle, instead of trying to capture their leader, Princess Allura.
I’m convinced that with Voltron out of the game, Arus will surrender in a matter of days. Our army is based on its legions just like the Terran Roman Army from the 3rd century, because of its proven efficiency. Each legion varies in strength from 3,000 to 5,000 men, and is subdivided on ten cohorts. Its leader uses the title of legatus. His staff officers are called tribuni. Senior non-commissioned officers are called centurions, who vary greatly in rank.
The Polluxian infantry is a feared force, because is well disciplined, well trained and heavily armed. The weapons currently used are the pila (javelin), a short trusting gladius or sword and a laser gun.
Our army includes a number of specialists on its campaigns. One is the camp commander, who is responsible for the organization of the camp. We are very careful about our camps; we don’t stop for a single night without digging up trenches and fortifying the camp. Another specialist is the quaestor, whose duty is to look after all the money matters. Then there are the engineers and all kinds of craftsmen and artisans, who are responsible for siege operations, like building moveable towers and scaling ladders.
My men win their battles just as much from their staying power as by their courage. They have to be strong and fit, for in addition to his weapons each soldier has to carry provisions and tools for pitching camp.
I’m also proud of our star fleet. It has five battleships and close to one thousand fighters. They are ready to go into battle at a moment notice. But I couldn’t take all the credit though; my father worked so hard in gathering all that power after ascending to the throne at the age of twenty-five.
I gaze at a picture of my family sitting on my desk. Father stands smiling down at us; Mother sits with two-year old Bandor in her arms; Romelle and me are standing next to her.
I suddenly feel a lump in my throat, as mental images swirled in my mind- mother was in the final trimester of a difficult pregnancy, and had been ordered to stay in bed because of the risk of a premature birth. Father tried to spend time at her side, but because of his royal duties he was frequently away.
She gave birth to a third healthy child, Bandor. Although she recovered from the pregnancy, she never regained her former energy and stamina. She spent most of her time in her chambers with Mel and Bandor, but sometimes she ventured to the royal gardens- she just couldn’t stay away from her beloved blue roses.
And then, the unthinkable happened.
I remember quite vividly stepping out my parent’s bedroom and seeing Mel and Bandor sitting at the top of the stairs. They had been waiting for news about her condition. They walked over to me; their little faces filled with apprehension. I shook my head and swallowing back my own emotions said, “Mom died a few minutes ago.”
The moment I told them, time seemed to stop; they wouldn’t be playing with her anymore. She would never tuck them into bed and kissed them goodnight. We would never hear her laughter and loving, soothing words.
Bandor bolted out and tried to enter the room, but I caught him. “I want my mommy!” he struggled within my arms. “Lemme go, Avok!”
“Hush,” I said gently, fighting back the tears.
Romelle’s eyes brimmed over with tears that rolled down her rosy cheeks. “Let me hold him,” she asked huskily. I released him, and he ran into her arms and clung to her.
“We love you, baby brother,” she murmured.
“You won’t leave me like mommy, will you?” he sobbed.
She kissed the top of his head. “Avok and I will never leave you, I promise.”
My gaze never left hers as I said, “You and I must help our father in raising our little brother.”
She nodded silently, accepting that our lives will never be the same and I just lost it. She reached out and took my hand. I pulled them to me in a fierce embrace, wishing that I could erase the pain. Romelle rested her head against my shoulder, crying softly.
Our father suffered greatly for the loss of his Queen, for their marriage had been a love match, and without her he was lost. They were extremely close, and she played an important part in his decisions. She was deeply devoted to us and she displayed the virtues of a Polluxian matron, which included modesty, frugality, loyalty, and dignity.
He clung to life as best as he could. He devoted much of his energy to aggressive wars that extended Polluxian rule across the Emerald Quadrant, and till this day, he had made contributions that showed his common sense, administrative skills, and genuine compassion.
But there’s only one thing that really could bring my father some happiness, a sense of completion- that our distant relatives from Arus pay for what their ancestors did to ours so many years ago. And that objective can only be achieved by destroying their most prized possession- Voltron.
I’m ready to face that robot, the royal physician has given me a clean bill of health and I keep myself in top condition with daily exercise that includes swimming, weightlifting and Greco-Roman wrestling.
When I’m not busy with my duties as commander of the Polluxian Army or attending meetings with father and our advisors, I spend time with my siblings and spoil them every chance I get. Romelle says that I should be thinking about settling down, getting married and having at least half a dozen kids. But I want to follow my father’s footsteps. He got married when he was thirty, so I have four more years to do as I please. But knowing Mel, she’s probably looking for a sister-in-law among her ladies in waiting. My sister is a sweet and extremely intuitive young woman. She artfully navigates politics and helps father in writing policies and laws. She also knows how to fly a spaceship and how to defend herself with a spatha (a small sword) that I gave her a few years ago.
Bandor is affectionate and bright, always eager to learn. Sometimes his impatience gets the better of him, but I don’t doubt his fitness to be ruler of Pollux in case something happens to father and me. After this matter of Voltron is settled, his formal military training will begin.
There was knock on the door. “Come in,” I said, rubbing my eyes.
Romelle peeked inside. “Hi!” she said happily. “Bandor and I are going to the beach, do you want to come?”
“I was planning on inviting you,” I answered with a laugh, finding the interruption a welcome one. “But we have to be back by 1400. I have a meeting with my staff officers.”
“Okay. We’ll be leaving in fifteen minutes, so be ready.”
“Very well,” I replied, rising from my seat. “But I have a request.”
“What is it?”
“I don’t want an entourage, it will be just the three of us.”
She gave a quick, pleased nod. “All right.”
To Chapter Four
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