Chapter 7: Changes
When he was sure that no one was around Lotor opened his eyes and began to move. He looked around seeing he was for the moment all alone. He got to his feet and stumbled behind a huge rock so no one would see him. Still breathing heavy and coming off the affects of the pill Arin gave him, he scanned the area for signs of life other than himself. He looked down and quickly assessed he was going to need clothes. The pants he'd been wearing were falling apart.
He heard footsteps approaching. He peered from behind the rock cautiously and saw there was only one man approaching the pile of dead bodies. He could tell there was only one man and none followed behind him. He watched as the man started looking at the bodies and started looking at their hands and through their clothes. He was a grave robber looking for any hidden treasures that might have been left on the dead.
Lotor scowled at him in disgust. He also noticed the fellow was his size and height. He wore black pants, a black shirt and a black ankle length coat with long sleeves. Not exactly a prince's garb, but finery no longer mattered. He needed clothes, and also the urge to teach this piece of trash a lesson he'd not soon forget...or live long enough to remember. He was about to step out from behind the rock when he noticed the man had picked out a woman who had obviously just died. Rigormortis hadn't set in yet and the man had an interest in her that no right minded man should ever have. He grasped her barely cold wrist and dragged her from the pile.
He hoisted her over his shoulder and carried her to the very rock Lotor was hiding behind. The man propped her against the rock with her face against it. Lotor peered cautiously at the man's activities not exactly sure what he why he was doing this. It became quite obvious when the man started unfastening his pants exactly what he was about to do. The former prince's face twisted in utter shock and disgust. He might have been a lot of things, but raping the dead was something even he looked down upon.
The man was so involved in his activity he didn't see the drule sneak cautiously behind him. Before he was able to take his perverted pleasure of the dead woman, he felt his head visciously grabbed. Lotor smashed the man's head violently against the rock. Feeling so disgusted with this scum's intended act, Lotor smashed his victim's head against the rock again. This time he could feel the man's skull shatter beneath the flesh and skin. Blood splattered and smeared against the smooth surface as he let the now dead man fall backward to the ground.
"Disgusting piece of trash." He growled as he drug the dead man behind the rock. He would have loved to make the man's death more violent and painful, but at the moment getting clothes without getting killed himself was more important. He quickly stripped his victim and changed. He quickly looked himself over seeing how everything fit. Satisfied with the outfit, he put the tattered work pants on his victim and dragged him back to the pile of corpses.
"This looks better on me anyhow." He growled looking in disgust at the grave robber. Lotor then looked over at the woman whom the robber was about to have his way with. Even though she was dead, she didn't deserve such post mortim indignity. He didn't have time to bury her as he knew others would soon be on their way to dispose of the dead. He picked her lifeless form up and carried her over to the other bodies and laid her down beside them.
Feeling all his strength return, he hurried from the site to find a better place to hide. Not too far away he found a cave. It wasn't much, but it had deep caverns for which he could hide from prying eyes. He wandered in and went to the darkest parts to avoid being seen. The place seemed pretty well abandoned. Obviously no one else was using it. For the time being this would be his shelter until he could blend in with the populace until he could find a way to get off Taebos and reach planet Arus. But he wouldn't have much time. He knew his father would soon begin plans for an attack against Arus.
"I have to get to her first. I have to warn Allura before it's too late. I only pray she'll listen to me." He said to himself.
Coran sat in the control room with a worried look upon his face. There was cause for relief in his eyes, but more cause for alarm. Keith and Sven went to the control room after being requested to meet with Coran.
"What's going on?" Keith asked.
"We've recieved a confirmed report. The son of Zarkon is indeed dead. Our scout on planet Doom has heard and seen proof positive that Lotor is no longer a threat to the princess. Unfortunately now we have bigger problems. Zarkon has taken a new wife and having celebrated his nuptials he is planning a massive attack upon Planet Arus. This time he means to do away with us once and for all." Coran answered.
"Then let him bring it on. We'll be ready for him." Keith said.
"Keith, I know you and the others are master pilots of the Voltron lions. With the team, Voltron has fended off Zarkon's attempts every time. But something has changed. Before Zarkon had someone else leading the attacks, and for the most part Lotor was always the one in charge. At least he never wanted any real harm to come to Princess Allura. That was our one saving grace." Coran explained.
"The only reason Lotor didn't want Allura harmed was because she'd have been no use to him dead. He'd have gotten tired of the chase sooner or later and could have dealt us the same blow that Zarkon would. We'd have made it through like we always do." Keith replied.
"Yes, but now that Lotor is out of the way, Zarkon won't hold back. I think there is logic to what Prime Minster Coran is saying." Sven interjected.
"We took Zarkon himself on when he piloted a robeast. If we could kick his ass once, we can do it again." Lance said.
"But we have no idea what Zarkon is planning. You and the rest of the team must be on your guard. Voltron may be needed at a moment's notice." Coran replied.
"We're always on guard." Sven said as he and Keith left the control room.
Unbeknownst to them Allura had been outside listening to the conversation. She rushed back to her room. She didn't understand why, but she was fighting back the urge to cry. It didn't make sense to her. Why would she shed tears for a man who had terrorized her and made her life miserable?
"It's true. He's dead. Lotor is dead. I should be relieved. I won't have to deal with his advances anymore. I should be taking a huge sigh of relief. Yet, I'm not. I'm...sad. I'm sad that he's gone. Why?" She asked herself.
On Planet Doom Zarkon sat in his throne room while his advisors sat around him listening to his plan for the attack on Arus.
"Sire, we've sent robeasts time after time and Voltron has vanquished them all. It would be a waste of time to send yet another only to have it end up in the scrap heap." One advisor said cautiously.
Amazingly the king was calm in his responce. "I will not be sending a robeast to deal with the robot Voltron. As we speak Haggar is working on the plans for a device that will weaken my enemy and after that onslaught, I will have an army to the likes that the universe has never seen waiting for him." Zarkon replied.
"But sire, that will take time. What if Planet Arus were to attack us first?"
"Time is on my side. The people of Arus are not war minded and will most certainly not risk their beloved Voltron in an offensive attack. That is the beauty of this plan. I will give them time without any attacks luring them into a false sense of security. They will be completely unprepared for the ultimate weapon that I intend to unleash upon them. There will be no mistakes this time." The king said as he sipped wine from a gold chalice.
"I will make an example out of Planet Arus. All life in the universe shall soon know what happens to those who defy the will of King Zarkon!" He shouted triumphantly.
Back on Taebos, Lotor stood inside the cave as the rain started to pour. Lightening sparked lighting the dark storm clouds in the sky. The wind blew savagely whipping Lotor's hair back. He stood watching the rain fall in sheets making deep puddles all over the ground. He went back into the darkness of the cave wondering how he was going to survive. He had no weapons and he had only his combat skills to fend off attackers. And there was an even more pressing concern. How was he going to eat? He no longer had anyone bringing him his food. Even if it had been some of the worst stuff he'd ever put in his mouth, at least he was fed on Carnos. Now he would have to obtain food on his own.
"So this is what my life is to be now." He thought to himself.
"My father had dealings with Taebos. I have to assume there are people here who may know who I am. My father thinks I'm dead. He's right. His son is dead. The son of Zarkon is dead, never to be ressurected. I will give you that promise, Allura. I can never undo the terrible things I did to you and your people, but I can promise you that monster will never terrorize you again. Never."
The man called Danzar sat in his cell. He heard footsteps approaching and without thinking knew who it was. The door creaked open and there stood King Zarkon with a triumphant smile upon his face. Danzar looked up through weary eyes squinting at the sudden flood of light. He looked up at his wicked nemisis.
"What do you want...brother?" He asked.
Zarkon scowled at the last word. "Do not ever call me that again. As far as I'm concerned you and I were never related. We may have come from the same parents, but that is all we shared in common." Zarkon growled.
"Why are you here?" Danzar enquired.
"I have something I want you to see. Guards, bring him." The old king ordered.
The guards entered Danzar's cell and forced him to his feet. They unshackled his ankle and then put his hands in irons to make sure he didn't try to escape. His ankles were also restrained so he couldn't run away. He looked upon his brother with nothing more than utter disdain and bitterness. Zarkon, on the other hand, smirked evilly watching his silbling clasped in irons. When he was secured, Zarkon ordered the guards and the prisoner to follow him into the control room.
They reached the control room where Danzar was walked up to the huge screen. Zarkon was brimming with anticipation. This would be a moment he would relish for years to come. The final defeat of the last rival to his crown. It was known that Zarkon had siblings and systematically had them all eliminated. All execpt for his brother Danzar.
"I have something very special for you to see recorded in the castle video log. I think this will make a lasting impact upon your final years... brother." Zarkon said with a snarl.
There on the screen Danzar saw the body of a young drule male surrounded by oger guards. Danzar's blood ran cold seeing who it was.
"Majesty, your son will no longer be a problem to you. He is dead. I've brought you his body as proof." The voice of Kargos reported on the playback.
"You bastard! You heartless, souless monster! He was..."
"He was a mistake! He was nothing! He began as nothing and he died as nothing!" Zarkon barked.
"He was just like the rest of those fools I once called family. He was just like you...weak. He'd have been even more pathetic if you'd had any hand in his upbringing. I tried to make him a conquoeror! I tried to make him as great a tyrant as myself! And what did he do? He gave it all up for some pathetic wench!" He shouted.
"You knew that if he and Allura came together as they were meant to they would be the greatest threat to your reign of terror! You did to him what you've done to our entire family! You killed your brothers and sisters! You killed you nieces and nephews! You killed our father in a duel and our mother died of a broken heart because of it!" Danzar exclaimed full of rage.
"Weak! They were all weaklings! I will not have weakness taint my empire! I will settle for nothing less than absolute domination!" Zarkon shot back.
"To want to exist in peace with other galaxies is not weakness! To love is not a weakness! Despite all that you did to corrupt him he did the one thing you would not...he loved. He loved!" Danzar shouted.
"Love is nothing. When I see what I want, I take it. I don't ask for it. I don't fight for it. I take it. I always get what I want. And what I want is dominion of the whole universe. I want every living thing bowing at my feet. And when that happens, I will no longer be a king. I will no longer rule only the Druel empire. I will be a god! I will hold the power of life and death over all!" Zarkon roared.
"You're a devil! That's what you are! He had the right to know the truth!"
"He's dead. What you consider the truth no longer matters. And now I will let you go back to your miserable little cell with the knowledge that destiny no longer holds sway in your pathetic life. Soon planet Arus will be under my boot or crushed by it. And after I take care of that miserable little rock, I'll turn my attention to another thorn in my side. That quaint little space body you so affectionatelly called your home." Zarkon said coldly.
"You won't take Namoria without a fight!" Danzar shouted.
"It is of no concern to me. The weapon I intend to unleash upon planet Arus will assure complete and absolute victory over it and every other star system that dares to oppose me. Now take him away!" Zarkon commanded.
The next morning Lotor awoke from his troubled sleep. Most of the night the memories of the past several weeks played over and over in his head. The voice of his father saying he was nothing more than a mistake, the knowledge that the woman he coveted above all others was in grave danger, and living with the guilt that now hung heavy over his soul. Guilt was something he'd never really had to deal with until now. Slowly he began to move. His body was wracked with aches and pains from all that he'd endured. That he didn't have any broken bones or severe internal injuries was amazing. But druels had great physical prowress and ability to endure physical punishment that would have crippled most. He managed to get to his feet and walk gingerly toward the entrance to the cave. He stared out into the distance of the cave. Faint rays of sun began to shed light in the dim caverns. He looked behind him to see that dawn had broke. He got to his feet wondering just how he was going to get food.
"I need something to eat and I've nothing to buy it with. How am I going to get food?" He asked himself.
He shrugged his shoulders knowing the only way he was going to find any sustinance was to go look for it. "I guess if there's any game around here I'll have to kill it with my bear hands. Damn those ogers for taking my sword."
Lotor ventured out into the unknown dangers that awaited him. He'd only heard stories of how bad the place was, but had never been there himself. To his knowledge Zarkon had never gone there himself either. His dealings with the planet had always been through envoys. He also remembered several of those envoys never left Taebos alive. He kept walking until he reached what appeared to be a city like dwelling. He soon learned why Taebos was called the planet of lost souls. Before his eyes he saw drunken debauchery and every form of perversion and sin thought possible, and then a few he hadn't thought of. Prostitutes openly advertised to anyone who would pay for their company. Several looked his way giving him seductive stares trying to entice him to come with them. He ignored the silent advances and kept walking. Not that he had anything to pay them with, he wouldn't have paid even if he could afford it. He did not have to buy a woman's company.
As he began walking through crime laiden streets, he realized trouble was following him. Trouble in the form of four men who looked anything but friendly. Despite the fact that the men kept getting closer and started splitting up to surround him, Lotor kept calm. It suddenly dawned on him that he had absolutely nothing to fight with, except his fists and his combat skills. He kept watch out of the corner of his eyes. So far all the men did was follow him. Perhaps it was they'd never seen a druel before and were merely curious. But that changed when one of them started to speak.
"Well, well...looks like we got a new guy. Never seen the likes of you before. Nice coat...very nice coat." He said gruffly.
"Well I'm not in the mood to share it. I'm passing through so go beg someone else for clothes." Lotor replied with a growl.
"Hey guys, the new boy here thinks I want him to share his coat." The leader said with a laugh.
"I ain't in the mood for sharing either. I intend to take that coat off you. Course, it's up to you how I take it off. Nice and easy, or I can just peel it off your dead carcass."
Lotor's eyes narrowed to slits at the challenge. "Don't try me." He said boldly.
"You must not be familiar with the laws around here. There are no laws. I said I want that coat, and I'm going to take it. Now do you want to make this nice and easy, or painful and messy?" The leader said haughtily.
"Don't... try... me." Came a low gutteral growl.
"Don't want to do it the easy way eh? Good. I've been itching for some sport." The leader said.
"If you're so eager to die, then so be it." Lotor warned.
The leader unsheathed two swords with a cocky smile upon his face. Lotor remained calm despite on the inside he was not too sure if he would get out of this alive. The other three surrounded the two waiting for the fight to begin. The two squared off, one waiting for the other to make the first move. Lotor eyed his opponent looking for any sign of weakness that might give him the upper hand. Other than his arrogance, he couldn't spot anything that would tip the skills in his favor. He watched his opponent twirl his swords once as a show of intimidation. To say the least, Lotor wasn't feeling too intimidated by the show.
"Impressive swords, do you even know how to use them?" He taunted.
"Oh I know how to use em. I've cut up a lot of guys with these babies. You're a druel aren't you? They say you guys are pretty good with swords. Too bad you don't have one. And don't expect me to give you one of mine. I don't have any intention of playing fair. You're just gonna be another dead druel as far as I'm concerned. Your kind doesn't make it off this planet alive. I've seen em tossed into the pit. They never escape the Blood Lord. He hates their guts, and loves tearing em apart. Too bad you're gonna die. I'd have loved to see if you could make it out of the pit alive."
"Are you going to do something or are you going to talk me to death? Besides, I don't need a sword to kick your sorry ass." Lotor replied confidently.
"Well, you got brass pal. I want your name before I kill you."
"My name is none of your buisness. Now unless you intend to torture me with your tongue I suggest you do something, or I will."
"Have it your way." The leader growled and raised his swords to his chest. "Back off boys. This one's all mine."
He marched toward Lotor raising his swords above his head. As he prepared for the strike, it suddenly occured to the former prince that he was still recovering from the injuries that he sustained on Carnos.
"Can't be helped now." He thought as he gritted his teeth preparing to defend himself.
"Get him Mal!" One man yelled.
Mal swung one sword right at Lotor's head. He ducked successfully dodging the swing. The other sword came low aimed at his chest which he also avoided. He kept avoiding one swing after another trying to find an opening to mount an attack. But ever move he made aggrivated his sore muscles and still bruised and beaten flesh. He was going to have to find a way to take Mal out, and soon. But the constant barrage of swinging blades didn't make it easy. He held his hand up to block the blade from his chest and got his palm cut in the process.
"Damnit! I'm lucky he didn't slice my fingers off! I've got to get hold of one of those swords!"
The next time he got knicked on his left cheek. Mal laughed arrogantly feeling proud of the two wounds he'd inflicted. "Come on you sorry bastard! Give me some sport here! I don't want your death to be too quick!" He jeered.
Despite the pain he was feeling Lotor raised his fists taking a swing at Mal. But before his fist could make contact his enemy raised his swords criss crossing them in front of his face. Seeing his chest was vunerable, Lotor reacted quickly giving Mal a swift kick in the chest. The move worked momentarily as Mal uncrossed his swords and bent over in a brief fit of pain. Left hand balled into a fist the druel drew back his arm and let a vicious punch shoot straight toward Mal's face. The blow was successful causing both Mal's nose and mouth to bleed. Then came a swift side kick to the ribs effectively bringing Mal to his knees.
As he prepared for another strike he felt something hit his back hard knocking the wind right out of him. One of Mal's goons snuck up from behind and punched him in the back. He fell to his knees trying to regain his breath.
"You bastard!" He gasped as he tried to breathe.
Mal laughed arrogantly seeing his foe now brought to his knees. He wiped the blood from his nose and mouth while strolling up to his opponent. He raised one sword preparing to bring it down upon Lotor's head. "I told you I don't play fair." He laughed.
But before he could strike the fatal blow Lotor grabbed one of Mal's feet and yanked it off the ground causing him to stumble. Quickly assuming a crouching position he swung one leg around knocking the other attacker completely off his feet. Seizing the opportunity Lotor rushed Mal and knocked him to the ground as well as the struggle continued. Grabbing one of Mal's hands Lotor tried to wrestle one sword from his opponent's grasp. His grip was like an iron vice and Mal had no choice but to relinquish one of his blades. The tide turned as Lotor now stood over Mal pointing the sword at his throat.
"Give me the other sword, and I'll consider letting you live."
"Kiss my ass!" Mal hissed and swung his remaining sword blocking that of his enemy.
"I don't think so." The drule growled and raised the point of the sword preparing to bring it down. Seeing the opportunity, Mal swung his sword blocking the death strike. Lotor quickly stepped back avoiding any swings from the blade of his enemy. Mal got to his feet no longer amused at the situation.
"Now what was that you were saying about not wanting my death to be too quick?" Lotor sneered smugly.
"I'll cut you to pieces!" Mal barked and rushed foward.
"Now this is more like it." Lotor thought pleased he was finally in his comfort zone.
Adrenaline began to pump through his body making him forget the pains of his flesh. A sinister smile played upon his handsome features signaling his deadly intentions for his opponent. Mal swung his sword madly trying to hack off any part of his opponent he could hit. But unbeknownst to him he was going up against a master swordsman. Every swing perpetrated by Mal was sucessfully blocked and returned by Lotor, and unlike Mal, he didn't miss his target. First it was Mal's chest that got slashed, then his shoulder, and then his upper thigh. Mal stumbled back as blood poured from his wounds. But ever persistent he rushed again. This time however, the move cost him not only some of his blood, but one of his hands. More specifically it was the hand holding his other sword. Mal fell to his knees screaming in pain. Lotor only stared at him with a sadistic smile.
"There's something I should have told you. I don't play fair either." He said with a sinster chuckle.
"Who the hell are you! There's only one drule know to handle a sword like you. But that's impossible, he's..." Before Mal could finish the sentence, Lotor's blade went right through his heart.
"Dead. And so are you." He growled and forcefuly yanked his blade from Mal's chest. Then he walked up to his victim's still gasping corpse and pryed the other sword out of the severed hand. This was something he had no problem with. It wasn't stealing from the dead to him. It was claiming the spoils of victory. In his eyes there was a big difference. He looked at his newly aquired weapons watching blood drip from the one used to kill his enemy. He looked back at the three remaining men and glared menacingly at them.
"Do you fools want to meet the same fate as your friend here, or do you have enough sense to leave while you still have the chance?"
The remaining three thugs decided discretion was the better part of valor and ran before Lotor changed his mind and killed them as well. While a change had taken place in him, there were still remnents of his former self that still lingered and with good reason. If there was one thing he had learned, it was kill or be killed. And killing to defend himself was something he defintely did not have a problem with. He watched as the men ran as fast as they could until they became much harder to see. Feeling satisfied the threat was gone, Lotor looked down at the man he'd just killed. He saw the belt that held two sheaths still around the dead man's waist. He knelt down and quickly took the belt off and put it around his own waist. Then he placed the blades in their resting places after wiping the blood off the one he'd used.
"To the victor go the spoils." He said to himself. Having no further concern he walked away to take care of his original goal, finding food.
"The fool spoke of someone before we fought. He mentioned someone called the Blood Lord, and a pit. He tears druels apart. There's one man that best be avoided. Hopefully I won't be on this hellhole long enough to meet him."