|"The Enemy Within"
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine, I did make up some names though.
They all belong to 20thCF and Katims and co
Summary: Well, it's set at the same time as Four Square, but it also has about a billion spoilers for season 2 up to Max In The City.
Authors Note: My wonkiness continues with this bizarre little fic. I don' t quite know where it came from, it just sorta happened, so I hope you like it. Dedications: Camryn, Camryn, Camryn and did I mention Camryn? Seriously, tho, this chica rules, and I could not have done this without her.
|"The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world."
He darts quickly from one bush to the next, silent and stealthy, all the while ensuring he is obscured from full view. Secrecy and surprise are of the utmost importance here, if he is to come out on top. Because, in the end, it is his enemies who have the upper hand in this scenario.
He pokes his head around from his hiding place, and does a fast visual sweep of the area. Nothing. Slowly, he steps from behind the bush and moves towards the final destination; his footfalls careful and premeditated, like those of a jungle cat. Finally, he leaps forward, his fingers within inches of the finish line and -
"Gotcha!!" A strong pair of loving arms sweeps the little boy up from the ground, and spins him around and around.
"Adia!! You ruined my invasion!" he cries as she places him back on his feet. Adia looks in amusement as he puffs up tall and tries to look commanding, hands on hips in a pose of anger. Looking every bit like the little Prince that he is.
"I'm sorry Master Cobi, but your father asked me to come fetch you," she explains. His face softens, and he removes his hands from his hips.
"Does he want to see me?" he asks happily, a smile replacing the stern look on his 6 year old face. Adia nods, as Cobi sprints across the gardens in the direction of the palace.
She has to move quickly to follow; the royal gardens are a second home to Cobi, and he knows his way around them perfectly. It is here that he spends most of his free time, playing his warrior games. Here, or with his father.
"Cobi, hold up please sir." Adia calls as he bounds up the palace steps, causing several of the guards to turn in momentary interest. He stops to wait for her, and together they walk through the meandering corridors of the palace. Adia watches with a smile as Cobi skips along, unable to contain his excitement. Getting called to see his father is something the child cherishes as it doesn't happen very often. King Khivar doesn't have much time for his son, sadly. And with his mother gone since he was 3 months old, there is no one else.
The young Prince of Antar has not had the simplest of lives; that is for certain. Khivar's wife died when Cobi was only 3 months old, when the entire planet was in the middle of a war, and the child was left in the care of several of Khivar's inept followers for 4 months, until his father finally ascended King Zan's throne. It was then that he was placed in Adia' s care, on the command of the new King. She had also been the carer for the former Princess Kiah, who was killed with her mother Ava in the last days of the family's rule, and was thus considered to be an 'expert' on Royal children.
Adia has been Prince Cobi's only real companion or carer since then; a task she has both cherished and despised. She has been the one to soothe his tears, and mend his scrapes; the one who taught him to walk and to tie his shoes. She has taught him to read, and to write, and about the history of their people and their world; especially the history of the leaders who proceeded his father. She thinks it is important that he know the mistakes that the past leaders have made, so that he is not condemned to repeat them when he finally ascends the throne as King of Antar.
All King Khivar teaches Cobi is how to kill, and to hunt, and to rule with an iron fist; because really, he knows nothing else. It wasn't his intellect or his great knowledge of politics that helped him gain his position on the throne; it was his brutality and his ability to overthrow his friends that got him to the top. And yet, the young prince worships his father, and listens in complete adoration to every word he teaches him. Ah, the foolishness of the innocent knows no bounds.
Adia has no doubt in her mind that today's lessons between father and son will be any different than usual. She knows that they are approaching a crucial time in the world's history; an event that could change all their lives forever. What exactly, she doesn't know and she suspects few do. But something in the air the past few days has made her and all the other Royal servants suddenly worried about their future.
They reach Khivar's private study, and Cobi pushes open the heavy door, calling for his daddy. Khivar smiles and moves from his workstation to sweep his child up in his arms. Together they sit down in the large chair behind the King's large desk which has several large maps of their world and the surrounding planets spread out on the top of it. Adia watches the King in interest for a moment; she has never seen him quite this carefree and easy before, especially not with Cobi. She can't help but wonder what has brought about this change in his mood.
"You can go now, Adia. I'll send for you when we're done here." Khivar addresses her in the same officious tone he has always used with his servants. Adia bows respectfully as protocol demands, and casts one last look at her little prince before exiting.
Khivar casts her departing form a snide glance, and turns his attention back to his child. He never has liked that woman; she was too much of a loyalist to Zan and his family for his liking. Too close to them personally; so much so that he often wonders if she knows things that he doesn't. He doubts it though. Still, despite her pitfalls in the political arena, she is a good companion for Cobi. She will raise him the way a Prince should be raised; to lead his people. Khivar hasn't the time to worry about such trivial parts of the boy's upbringing.
"What are we going to do today, father?" Cobi asks eagerly.
Khivar pulls several maps forward on the desk and displays them for Cobi to see. The five planets that make up the Trinian solar system leap into the air in front of them, Antar burning brightly at the bottom of the V shape. Another map pops up, of stars from a different solar system, far away. One single planet slips into the bottom of this map, completing a formation identical to that of Trinian.
"Today, my son, we have a small history lesson," explains Khivar. "Because History is about to repeat itself."
Cobi studies the maps in rapt fascination, intent on absorbing everything his father has to tell him. "How so, father?"
"Remember when I told you about Zan's followers, the ones who didn't want me to be king?"
"You mean the mean ones that you had to kill?" the prince asks innocently. Khivar nods.
"Yes, those ones. Well, when they recreated Zan and his family, they sent them to a world far far away to be safe. A world so large that we couldn't find them, no matter how much we searched." He points to the map of the constellation. "But now we can find them. This is a group of starts that burns in their sky, a constellation; when all of these stars and planets make the same alignment as our galaxy, they will awaken something inside the remade versions of Zan and his family." Khivar looks down at his son to make sure he is comprehending all he has to say. "Are you understanding what I'm telling you?'
Cobi nods obediently. "The stars on their world are going to make them remember us. Is that right?"
"Yes, that is. It's going to make them want to contact us; to make contact with those who sent them to where they are."
"But aren't those people dead, father?"
"Yes, my son, they are. Because they broke the law by making them and sending them there. And what do we do here on Antar if you break the law?"
"We execute you!" Cobi cries gleefully. To any normal parent, his exclamation would strike fear in their hearts. But to Khivar his small child's words are like music to his ears. He has taught him well.
"That's right Cobi, we execute them. So, we must execute Zan and his family who were sent away. Because they have broken the law. And in a few days time, when their stars match our planets, they will try to contact us, and we will be able to find them and bring them back here."
"And then execute them father?" Khivar nods and Cobi laughs happily. He likes it when he pleases his father; it makes him feel grown up, and important. "Can I help you?" Cobi looks at his father expectantly; he wants a chance to use all of his knowledge, to prove himself as a good warrior.
"Maybe; we'll see," the king tells his child. "Now, I have to do some work, you go and find Adia like a good boy." He lifts Cobi down from his lap and gently nudges him in the direction of the door. Cobi complies grudgingly, and turns to his father before exiting.
"Thank you father; I hope you will allow me to help you with this project."
Khivar waits until the door is firmly shut behind the child before returning to his work. What he told Cobi was just the surface of what was really to come, and he has much to prepare for. The coming battle has been more that 50 Earth years in the making, and he must win it. He will win it; of that he is almost certain. For he has the greatest weapon in the fight against Zan and his commander-in-chief.
He has the commander's son.
Khivar still finds is amusing to hear the people of Antar talk about the Princess Vilandra, and how she betrayed her family for a 'great love'. They all assume that the great love was Khivar, when really that could never be further from the truth. The great love she sacrificed everything and everyone for was her child.
The same child Khivar now calls his own.
And even after all these years and endless deals and battles, he still considers Cobi to be his greatest victory. Not only did he manage to sully the good name of the Royal family and cement his place on the throne of Antar; he also managed succeeded in turning himself into a sympathetic character for the people of his world to respect. After all, who couldn't feel sorry for a man who's wife died when their precious child was only a tiny baby?
Although Khivar had spent years planning his overthrow of the royal regime, he never really believed in himself that he would pull it off. After all, he was little more than a servant in the Royal court, and not a very good one at that. He was too opinionated for most, and had few friends. Really, Kolas was the only one of the servant who ever listened to anything he had to say, and he wasn't even of proper Antarian blood, he was a hybrid. But Khivar's fortunes changed one fateful day when he stopped to listen to the idle gossip of the kitchen hands.
He palace was all a buzz for it was a crucial time in Antar's history. The King's new plans and ideas for his world were not going as planned, and there was increasing pressure from the other worlds to fix things before they got out of hand. Khivar wasn't even supposed to be anywhere near the palace kitchens, his place was in the garden and the many outbuildings, but he was bringing in some of the produce that had recently been harvested and had to pass through them on the way to the store rooms. One of the kitchen hands was sitting talking to her sister, one of the upstairs hand maidens, something that was usually unheard of in palace politics, and for some unknown reason he felt compelled to eavesdrop on what they were saying.
"It's true, she told me herself,." He heard the hand maiden say in a very distressed tone. "She's leaving within the week for the other side of the kingdom. Commander Rath has found a place to conceal her there."
"What will the King say?" the other woman asked.
"He's not to know, no one is. You have to swear to me you won't tell anyone this. Could you imagine the fallout if this news were to be heard by the people? The Princess Vilandra with child before her wedding to the commander. It would be the end of her." The kitchen hand nodded in furious agreement, whilst Khivar stood on the other side of the wall, smiling in delight.
He could use this news to his advantage, he most certainly could. But how?
In the end, he decided to go directly to the Princess. He'd though about confronting Rath with his discovery, and blackmailing him in exchange for secrecy, but he realized that Vilandra was a far more vulnerable target. So, he sneaked upstairs to her chambers one evening when he knew she would be alone.
The Princess was startled when she found him at her door, and disgusted with his impudence. But when she heard what he had to tell her, she was quickly silent and allowed him to enter her chamber. He watched in amusement as Vilandra tried to deny his claims, and to brand the other servants as liars, but in the end he saw her fašade falter and her spirit break. She knew then that she was in trouble; for it was a well known fact that Khivar resented his lot in life, and would take any chance he could to better it. What he proposed to her was simple; she would give him information about the progress of the warring worlds, and about Commander Rath and King Zan's plans for Antar. And in return, he would not tell her brother about her child. Princess Vilandra stared him down for a moment, seemingly repulsed at the notion that her existence relied upon such a man. But finally she faltered, and reluctantly agreed to the deal.
Khivar set his plans in motion almost immediately. He rallied around the servants for support, promising them a better life without the King. He bullied much information out of the Princess, much more than she was willing to part with, and he used it to gain a position of power among the people.
Khivar's sudden rise to popularity was the final blow to an already faltering political reign by Zan. He began to worry about his future, about the future of his people. They were beginning to resent him and the changes he had made to their lives. In their minds, Khivar was offering them a much more stable option. And he had to wonder if he agreed with him.
Internally, the family was also beginning to crack at the seams. His sister had been gone now for many months, claiming that she was of better use closer to the Commander and his armies; the Commander himself was an infrequent visitor now too. The war was not progressing as hoped, and at times it seemed like Khivar was able to anticipate their every move, considering how well he managed to head off most of their attacks. But after a few months passed, their luck changed for the better and they managed to take back some ground on the battle fields.
Zan would never know that it was because of his sister. And he would never know that it cost her her life.
Vilandra had left the palace as planned for a small dwelling on the far side of the kingdom, close to the battle fields and her beloved Rath. It was here she spent her time in confinement, praying and hoping that by the time her child was born the world would be a better place. Khivar sent his right hand man to her every week, Kolas, and she would tell him whatever information she had been able to gather from her brother and Rath's conversations. Usually though, she left many things out, until one day she decided enough was enough.
She told Khivar that her brothers armies were planning to attack his supporters from the West, when in truth the attack was to come from the North. The Antarian loyalists won that battle, their first in months, and luckily for Vilandra, Khivar did not trace the loss back to her false information. And neither did he the second time it happened, or the third or fourth.
As it turned out, five was the Princess Vilandra's unlucky number.
Her child was born on the day of the fifth battle, a beautiful healthy little boy who looked awfully like his mother. He was less than two days old when Khivar and Kolas came to see her. He demanded to know if the information she had given them was false, and if so why she had intentionally mislead him. She refused to answer his questions and merely said it was no longer his place to know anything.
So he gave her a choice, her life or that of her child.
Khivar still remembers the look on her face when he handed down his ultimatum; it was a mixture of horror, abject terror and sad realization. Not something he has seen very often since. It is an expression reserved for those who know they are about to lose everything.
And so Vilandra gave him her life in exchange for her child. Khivar wasted no time in killing her, he had Kolas finish the deed within minutes, and then left him to deal with the Commander when he returned from the battle fields.
Khivar took the child home to his wife, and told her to care for him and ask no questions. Three days later the bodies of the Princess and her intended were found, and the stories about Khivar and Vilandra began to circulate around Antar. But they were too late to do any damage to him, they merely turned the people against their beloved rulers. Khivar fought valiantly for several months, and by the time the child his wife called Cobi was 7 months old, Khivar was crowned the King of Antar. He'd killed every member of the royal family, including little Kiah, and even sacrificed his own wife when she became too inquisitive about Cobi's bloodlines.
But it was worth it all. Because now he has the position he has always wanted, and he has the power to keep it that way. No matter if Zan, Vilandra, Rath and Ava are back again.
Khivar looks away from his work for a moment and pulls one of the closed maps towards him. He open it up and a holographic image of the Earth appears before him. This is where they are, he tells himself. Somewhere on this vast blue planet hide the only four people who could bring his reign of terror on Antar to an end. And yet, he doesn't fear the, he merely pities them. Because this is one battle he will never lose, with or without information from the inside.
Khivar closes the map, and returns to his work, mulling over his plans in his mind. Maybe he will let Cobi help him with the executions. After all, it is important he train the boy early in such tasks. Besides, he wants to see the look on the faces of Rath and Vilandra when they realize that he has in fact had not only the last victory, but the last laugh also. Ah, he can almost taste the sweetness of that particular victory.
He stands up from his work and moves out of his office, eager to seek out his son and discuss the tasks ahead with him. If this is going to be their final battle, they may as well execute it in grand style. Khivar can't help but whistle a jaunty victory tune as he meanders down the final corridor to Prince Cobi's chambers. Finally, the day for redemption is here, and he will ensure that these new incarnations suffer the pain of the mistakes made in the past. Because, as they say, there is no rest for the wicked.
And on the other side of the Universe, Michael Guerin and Isabel Evans wake up screaming.
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