Chapter 14 Mysterious Dream
It was an hour before dawn. Lotor and Kaladan were still asleep in their hiding place. In the midst of his slumber he began to dream. He saw what appeared to be a court room in a palace. It wasn't of Castle Doom or the Castle of Lions. It was in a palace he did not recognize, yet for some reason it did not feel foreign to him either. He could see figures gathered in this place. At first the vision of them was blurry. But as he focused on the image the figures became more distinguishable. All who were present were druels, all except for what appeared to be one human male in the crowd. All had looks of worry and confusion upon their faces. He also saw two druel men facing off against each other. One man had a look of disdain and sadness upon his face. The other had nothing but disgust and anger upon his.
The two men faced off while others around them begged them not to fight. The older druel looked down for a second as he raised his sword and prepared for battle. The younger was hungry for the battle. He lusted for victory and the spoils that victory promised. The older tried in vain to disuade the younger from battle, but there was no going back. Swords would clash and blood would be spilt.
Lotor strained in his mind to keep the vision in focus trying to figure out if this was just a mere dream or if it meant more. The figures went in and out of focus as the two combatants clashed. The fight was fierce. The two gladiators swung their blades in an effort to best one another. But the older druel knocked the younger to the ground pointing his blade at his throat.
"Surrender your blade my son. It is not yet time for you to rule." The older druel said as he turned his back.
"NEVER! The throne is mine!" The younger druel roared as he jumped to his feet lunging toward the victor.
The woman's scream echoed in Lotor's mind as he suddenly woke from the dream, it a dream was all it was.
"Seemed so real. It all seemed so real." He said to himself.
"Lotor, are you all right?" Kaladan asked.
"I...I think I was dreaming." Lotor answered.
"What was the dream about?" Kaladan questioned.
"I saw a group of figures, all but one appeared to be druel. Two men were fighting over something. I think it was a king and his son dualing for control of the throne. So many times my father and I have battled over the throne, even down to a sword dual once."
"It was a draw. We fought each other to stand still. But this was different. The younger druel killed the elder."
"Perhaps it was a dream out of anger at your father."
"I don't know. One of the figures seemed very familiar. He...he looked almost like me. But the one who looked like me wasn't the one doing the killing. He was the one who got killed. I don't understand what this dream means if it means anything at all."
Not far from one of the main villages Sylvana and her men landed. She inspected the territory. "Good. Everyone seems to be asleep. We'll begin our search for the traitors soon."
"Where shall we start?" One of her men asked.
"We must first establish if they are truly here on Arus. King Zarkon is betting on they're being here. Those two would no doubt be avoiding confrontations with the people here so they'd be in hiding. And if Lotor is as in love with this princess as the king states, he'll be hiding close to her. We will head for the castle of lions. He'll try to establish contact with Allura if he hasn't already. And Kaladan will be with him. We'll simply wait until the right moment to strike."
On Planet Doom Haggar oversaw production upon her lastest creation. The form of a huge shadow could be seen writhing and thrashing in a gigantic tank. The old witch cackled as she watched the machines completing the procedure. For the time being the thing was chained at the neck. The tank was constructed of indestructable glass so the beast could not escape. Those who witnessed it could not see the creature completely, but could surmise from the shadows of the covered glass that it was a formidable monster indeed.
"Soon, my beautiful terror...I will unleash you upon those fools of the Voltron force. You will feast upon them without mercy. And ultimate victory will be Zarkon's." She beamed proudly.
"What is that thing?" Asked Cossack, a lieutenant in Zarkon's army.
"An ancient monster sealed away for millenia because of it's terrible power. But now that power is being harnessed for King Zarkon's attack against planet Arus and Voltron." The old witch answered.
"It doesn't appear to be very happy."
"The beast is merely displaying it's great strength and power. It will soon be under my command. Then those who oppose King Zarkon will fall under its great fury. Here, take a look for yourself my boy." Haggar said as the curtain was released from the tank. The commander gasped in shock at the beast's size and fierce appearence.
"Are you sure you can really control that thing?" He gasped.
"Of course. Do not doubt my power Cossack. Or you may end up like your former captain, Lotor."
Cossack swallowed nervously thinking of what had happened to the prince. He'd not yet heard the rumor that Lotor was still alive. So the threat for him had quite the impact. He watched as the curtain was drawn back around the terrible beast. He surmised that the king's enemies would not stand a chance against the monster. He turned around and exited Haggar's laboratory.
Allura finished eating her lunch and excused herself from the table. As she was leaving the dining room Coran walked in. "Are you doing well today princess?" He asked.
"Yes. I just finished lunch and thought I'd go riding today."
"That would be a splendid idea. I'm glad to see you're getting back to your old self. I have to admit I and the others were worried about you for a while."
"I'm fine Coran. I just needed to adjust to all the changes going on lately. Coran, would you please tell Nanny I want to ride by myself today. I need a little time on my own."
"I'm not sure that is wise princess."
"Please Coran. Everyone around here trying to keep an eye on me is getting so tiresome. I know all of you worry about my safety, but I'm feeling so smothered lately. Please...just for a little while." Allura pleaded.
"All right, but just for a little while. I'm going to be in for quite a scolding from Nanny for letting you go off on your own, but I agree you've been a little too confined and guarded lately. I'll have Izabelle saddled for you."
"But I wanted to ride Flame."
"Flame is hard to control Allura. He is a valiant steed but also has a lot of fire, a little too much fire for you to handle."
"All right." Allura said with a dissapointed sigh. "Why does everyone think I can't handle one of my own horses?" She thought to herself.
"You should get going to the stable. Nanny is away buying food at the moment, but she won't be gone for long. If you don't want argument from her I suggest you leave as quickly as possible."
"Thank you old friend. I won't be gone for very long." Allura said, her expression brightening again.
"Hey princess, where ya off to?" Hunk asked.
"Oh just for a short ride. I'll be back soon." Allura called as she rushed off to put on her riding clothes.
"You lettin her go off by herself?" Lance asked coming in behind Hunk.
"It's just for a little while. The poor girl is feeling smothered lately and she does need her privacy. We ask a great deal of her as it is. She promised she wouldn't be gone too long." Coran asked.
"Oh boy, we're gonna catch hell from Nanny when she gets back." Lance muttered.
"I will deal with the governess. Allura needs this time. I know Nanny means well, but she does tend to coddle the princess a little too much sometimes. It is perhaps because she never had any children of her own, and always thought of Allura as the daughter she never had."
"Yah, well let me know when Nanny gets back. I'll make myself conviently dissapear before the screaming starts." Lance said.
Lotor sat at the mouth of the cave looking up at the sunfilled sky. He kept trying to recapture the visions from the dream earlier that morning. His memory focused upon the fallen druel. His eyes became heavy as the lids fluttered and finally closed. His body relaxed against the wall of the cave as he began to drift into a trance like sleep. He felt his vision change. At first it was only darkness. Then light slowly began to fill the void and Lotor could see a gathering of people. He looked around and realized he was in some sort of meeting room, like a throne room. Several women, both human and druel stood by the men. All except one male was druel. All had fearful expressions on their faces. At the center of the crowd were two druel men with swords. One looked to be young perhaps in his early twenties. The other was an elder druel who looked to be in his early fourties. The older druel was pointing his sword at the throat of the younger who was on his back on the floor. Lotor's eyes widened when he saw the elder.
"He looks like...me." He gasped to himself.
Indeed the elder druel did look a great deal like Lotor. He was perhaps an inch or so taller, and his hair was not quite as long. He studied his twin with both shock and curiosity. He was certainly a warrior. His body was very muscular and his chest and shoulders broad. His white hair went only past the middle of his spine where Lotor's went past his waist. He studied his older twin's face. He couldn't believe what he was looking at. The facial features were uncanny.
"What the hell is going on here? Am I seeing myself in the future? Wait a minute, he's the elder druel who was...killed." He said to himself as he continued studying the elder. But without warning he saw the younger druel lunge foward.
"Look out!" He yelled. But the words had no affect. He suddenly realized no one could see or hear him. He watched in horror as the younger opponent thrust his sword through the elder's heart. A woman screamed seeing him fall.
"What's going on? Am I seeing my own death?"
"NO!" A woman cried as she fell to the side of the dying warrior.
Another druel male, looking to be a little younger than the slayer ran toward the fallen man. His gold eyes flashed with rage as he pushed his silver hair from his face.
"You've killed our father! Zarkon, you've killed our father!"
"Zarkon? That's my..."
"FATHER!" Lotor yelled as he suddenly came back to conciousness.
Hearing the commotion Kaladan rushed toward the front of the cave seeing the terrified expression upon Lotor's face. His body was shaking and he had sweat drops rolling down his face. He ran toward Lotor trying to snap him out of whatever madness had possessed him.
"Lotor! Lotor wake up! Snap out of it!" He ordered shaking his younger comrade by the shoulders. The young druel was breathing fast and hard matching the rate of his heart beat.
"What happened?" He asked trying to bring his companion back to his senses.
"I, I had the dream again. This time I was there. Kaladan I was there. I saw two druel men waging battle against each other. One of them, one of them was my father. I heard his name called. He was the younger man who killed the older combatant. And the older one," Lotor stopped still too shocked to finish the sentence.
"What of the older one Lotor?" Kaladan demanded.
"He...he looked like me."
"Yes. He looked to be older than me. I think he was in his fourties, but the resemblence was there. It was me, yet it wasn't me. He seemed familiar. Wait. I remember there was another young man who shouted something out to my father after he'd killed his opponent. He said that my father had killed their father. That would have made the man who died," Lotor paused not believing what was about to come out of his mouth. "My grandfather."
It didn't take Sylvana and her party too long to find the castle of lions. People of a village nearby where the group had landed unwittingly told them where to find the castle. An invention of Haggar's allowed Sylvana to disguise the druel soldiers as ordinary humans. They told the people their ship had crash landed due to a malfunction and they needed to speak with the ruling authority of the planet in order to gain assistance.
"These fools are so trusting. One would think people who have had their planet ravaged by king Zarkon would be a little more wary. This little toy Haggar gave to me has come in quite handy."
"Captain, look there." A guard said as he saw a young woman riding a dappled silver horse away from the castle stables. "That's princess Allura." He replied.
"Perfect. We'll follow her to see where she goes. If Lotor and Kaladan are here, that little pidgeon will be the perfect bait to lure them out. Lotor won't dare risk any harm to his precious little princess." Sylvana said with an evil smile.
Unaware her activities had been witnessed, Allura rode toward the cave. She kept Izabelle at a steady canter to reach her destination quicker. She brought the mare down to a trot and then a walk when they neared the cave. She rode up to the entrance. She dismounted and cautiously approached.
"Lotor? Lotor are you here? Hello?" At first there was no answer. "Hello! Is anyone here?" She called again.
She waited and then heard footsteps rushing toward the front of the cave. Kaladan saw the princess standing at the entrance. "Princess, I'm glad you're here. Something happend to Lotor not long ago. Maybe you can help bring him out of it."
"What's happend? Is Lotor all right?" Allura asked suddenly feeling a surge of worry.
"Physically he's fine. But he had a strange dream that's left him in shock. Perhaps seeing you will bring him back to his senses. He's not far from here. I'll tend to your mount." Kaladan answered.
Allura rushed into the cave to find Lotor sitting against the wall with a glazed look in his eyes. The shock the dream held still carried a strong hold over him.
"Lotor...Lotor it's me. It's Allura. Lotor, please say something." Allura pleaded.
"Allura..." He said in a silent whisper. She hurried to his side and knelt beside him.
"Lotor, what's wrong?" Allura asked.
"I...I think I witnessed my grandfather's murder. And my father was the killer." The young druel answered with a shaky voice.
"What do you mean?"'
"It wasn't a dream. It was some sort of vision or flashback. I saw someone I believe to be my grandfather. I saw my father. I know it was him. I heard his name called. But he didn't look like my father. He looked like a half breed. And my grandfather looked just like me. His hair was shorter but he looked exactly like me in every other aspect." Lotor said trying to calm himself down.
"It's all right now. You're on Arus. You're with me." Allura said trying to offer him some comfort.
"But it couldn't have been my father. My father is a pure blood druel. I'm half human. How could it have been him?"
"Half human?" Allura asked.
"Druels like Lotor and myself are half human. The pureblood males sometimes took human females to their beds. Half bloods such as ourselves are the results of those unions." Said Kaladan as he led Izabelle toward her mistress.
"I don't understand. I have no memory of my grandfather or anyone in my family other than my father. How could I be having flashbacks of a family I've never met?" Lotor asked trying to snap out of the trance induced shock.
"Lotor, remember what my father's spirit told us the night he came to us. Remember how he said you had to find the answers about your past. How he said there were things about your past you didn't know. This vision could be a clue." Allura said.
"I remember now. But it still doesn't explain how I could have seen my father. Half bloods don't turn into purebloods. We age like humans do. Granted, we don't look our age until much later in life, but our physical appearence doesn't change. How could that be so with my father?"
"That's something you have to find out. It must have been meant for you to have this vision." Allura replied.
"I...I guess it was. I'm sorry if I frightened you." Lotor said with a sheepish expression.
"It's all right. I can't stay very long. Coran let me ride off by myself for a little while, but I'll have to get back soon. Nanny's going to be upset enough with me as it is for going off by myself. But I knew if I let myself be escorted I wouldn't be able to see you. Are you going to be all right?"
"I think so. What you say makes sense. Maybe this is some sort of clue to the answers I have to find. I'm glad you're here. You brought me back."
"Kaladan said if anyone could bring you back to your senses it would be me."
"Well well, doesn't this look cozy?" Asked a voice in a sarcastic manner.
"What the hell? I know that voice!" Kaladan shouted and turned around to find lazer rifles pointed at him, Lotor and Allura.
"I couldn't ask for better fortune than this; two traitors and a pretty little princess. King Zarkon will be very pleased with the prizes I'll be bringing back to planet Doom with me."
"Sylvana, you filthy bitch!" Kaladan yelled.
"Such language and in front of a lady. Didn't your mother teach you any manners?" Sylvana taunted.
Kaladan began to lunge foward until the guns pointed on him went straight at Allura. "Careful Kaladan. You don't want Lotor's girlfriend getting shot do you?"
"Don't you dare threaten her!" Lotor barked angrily.
"I don't think you're in much of a position to give orders. Remember I'm the one with the guards, and those guards have guns pointed at your sweetheart."
"What do you want Sylvana?" Kaladan demanded.
"King Zarkon has graciously offered me a position as the bodyguard to his queen. And all I have to do is bring you two bastards back to planet Doom. And the princess here will be quite the bonus."
"You're not taking her anywhere. You lay one hand on her woman, and I won't hesitate to kill you." Lotor growled.
"Not if I kill her first. Right now you're not in control. I am. And if you want your pretty little princess to stay alive you'll do as I say; both of you."
"You know my reputation Sylvana. I could easily tear everyone of you to pieces with my bear hands."
"Yes. I am very well aware of your reputation, blood lord. But you forget that I have guns aimed on the princess. And before you even manage to get one swing in she'll be dead before you can finish a side kick. I hold all the cards."
"Leave Allura out of this. It's us you want, not her." Lotor demanded.
"Oh but if I leave her out of this then you won't have any incentive to behave yourselves. As long as the princess is with me, then I know you won't do anything stupid."
"How can we trust you not to harm her if we comply with your wishes. The moment you have your guns trained on us you'd kill her. And understand I have no fear of dying Sylvana. That is if I don't kill you all first."
"And I've no fear of dying either. I will lay down my life to protect Allura. And if you kill her, then neither of us will have anything left to lose. And you'll have failed in your mission. And I can tell you from experience my father does not recieve failure very well."
"You make a valid point. I've no intention of returning to King Zarkon empty handed. I will allow the princess to leave this cave alive. But only after the two of you are secured upon my vessle."
"And after you have us secured, you'll have her killed. How stupid do you think we are?" Kaladan asked with a snarl.
"Surrender your weapons and then I will allow the princess to leave. You have my word." Sylvana answered with an icy smile.
"Your word is worthless. You let Allura leave first and then we'll surrender our weapons." Lotor said.
"You try my patience druel. I've no reason to trust either of you. When the princess leaves you'll attack my men."
Lotor and Kaladan looked at each other. Then Lotor looked at Allura knowing there was no other way to keep her safe but to return with Sylvana to planet Doom.
"Upon our word as honorable men, release the princess and we will come without a fight. You can take that or leave it." Kaladan said.
"Honor? Since when did druels have a code of honor?"
"There are those of us who do know what honor is." Lotor said.
"That's rich coming from the son of Zarkon. But I also have no wish to face the king without the two of you as prisoners. And no doubt he would hunt me down if I chose to flee. So I guess I'll just have to take the two of you at your word. You can take your horse and leave. But do give King Zarkon's regards to your friends. You'll all be meeting your fates at his hands soon enough. Now leave before I change my mind."
She looked at Lotor with a fearful expression. She knew this may very well be the last time she laid eyes upon him. "It's so unfair. We were just starting to heal the wounds of our past."
"Don't worry about me Allura. You have to go on. Even if I don't make it out of this alive, you have to go on. You're the hope of your people. Now get out of here while you still can." Lotor said.
"You heard me you little fool. Get out of here before I have you shot dead where you stand." Sylvana warned as her smile turned to a menancing frown.
She didn't want to leave him, not now. But she knew she had no choice. All she could do was pray that she would see Lotor again somehow. Still, it hurt her heart to leave him like this. There was so much they needed to say to each other, and now they had no time. She went to Izabelle and mounted her. Urging her into a walk she left the cave as tears began to fall from her eyes. This could be the last time she ever saw Lotor again. The next time, she could very well be hearing of his death and this time there would be no coming back from it. As she drove her horse to faster speeds, Sylvana focused her attention upon her captives.
"Surrender your weapons." She ordered sharply.
Begrudgingly, Lotor and Kaladan threw down their swords. The guards surrounded them with their guns aimed at their heads. "Be careful. Even without weapons these two are still very dangerous."
"You won't get away with this Sylvana." Kaladan growled.
"You're now my prisoners so you're in no position to make threats. King Zarkon is quite anxious to see you again Lotor. He heard of your rather miraculous escape from Carnos. I'm sure he'll want all the details."
"You bitch, you alerted Zarkon to our whereabouts." Kaladan snarled.
"Being the partner of a pit owner only goes so far...blood lord. Serving Zarkon will put me in a much higher position of power."
"And you'll learn soon enough you can lose that power as quickly as you gain it. I was the prince, and his own son. He packed my ass off to die when I no longer served useful to him. What makes you think you'll be any different?"
"Because I will make sure I remain useful to him. Unlike you my little prince I have no emotional attachments to cloud my judgement." Sylvana said as she had the guards bind the hands of the prisoners behind their backs. Sylvana replied as she pressed a button upon the device Haggar gave her.
"The ship will be here any moment. Guards, make sure our guests will be comfortable."
As she gave the order, two guards stood behind Lotor and Kaladan and struck them both in the head with their rifles. The two druels fell to the ground unconcious. Sylvana stood over them with an evil smile on her face.
"King Zarkon will be much pleased indeed."
"Are you sure it was wise to let the princess go? She would have been a valuable hostage."
"We are here to collect the traitors. Besides, I'm sure we'll meet up with the little princess again soon enough. Right now, these two are more valuable. As the prince here so kindly pointed out, King Zarkon does not look well upon failure. And I intend to live to enjoy the fruits of my labors. Now take the prisoners aboard the ship. I will inform the king we have what we came for."