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Image for the poem Ancient Memories: Redemption on Kestrel

Ancient Memories: Redemption on Kestrel

- Ancient Memories: Redemption on Kestrel -

   This is a chronicle of true events that took place on a distant world in an ancient time, events which I was a part of, both the good of those events and the evil. We begin this telling and revealing on a dark, heavily industrialized sort of world, one of many that were governed by my family and house from their home planet of Gehenna Primus. The world's name was Kestrel, and nobody ever wanted to live there. All of the cities of that world were centered around hubs of factories and power plants, with wastelands stretches for uncountable miles between. Vast trenches were dug into the surface of Kestrel so that the miners could excavate as many of the planet's resources as they possibly could in the quickest time that they could do it in. Many of the miners were volunteers, serving the glory of their house and their kin... but some were slaves who had displeased their masters and now undertook such tasks to avoid harsher punishments by far. There were nature preserves in places throughout the wastelands, and also a great many protected farming communities. But work on the farms was a harsh toil, and there had begun to be whole farms that were run exclusively by slaves and their overseers. Some slaves were taken in war, some descended into slavery from debt bondage... the lowest number were criminals that were sent into slavery to be reformed. That was how those in power spun it anyway! Whatever made them sleep well at nights. The work shifts were long, the conditions sometimes miserable, and the nights were filled as much with worry as the days. For many feared what the next day might bring. It was hard to see the sun on Kestrel... thick dark clouds covered vast stretches of the sky both day and night from the factories. It was deemed acceptable since despite their appearance, the clouds possessed no pollutants. But even so, it was unsightly and the planet Kestrel was a dark world indeed. Sometimes, you could almost... just in the slightest bit almost... make out the sun, which appeared blood red when you could see it at all. Such a sight did nothing to raise the peoples' spirits, and all were resigned to a life of toil on a bleak world. It was one of my least favorite places to visit, and on this occasion I was sent there to inspect some of the more important locations in the cities of primary interest to my house. One of the lakes near the first of the sites I toured had been defiled by an oil spill that turned the waters of the lake like unto blood. I was appalled by how little the workers sent to clean it up seemed to care that it had happened at all. I walked up to the chief overseer of the workers, a man wearing a long white coat. He was short, middle-aged, a bit stiff in his movements, and had orange hair cut into a military buzz-cut. The smell of the oil, was so strong I wanted to vomit, and I demanded the man tell me how this happened. He bowed stiffly, then he straightened up and replied in a somewhat sharp but respectful tone: “My lord! You must forgive us but this was done by several slaves who revolted and tried to sabotage one of the nearby oil pipelines. They used heavy explosives and there were many, many casualties. The slaves have been... dealt with.” as he said that he pointed to a pile of charred bodies thrown into a ditch nearby. I had not noticed that ditch at first, for it had been covered by a canvas that the man's attendants removed so I could see. The smell of burned flesh was thick in the air. I had thought I smelled something like it when I first came on the site, but actually seeing that mess confirmed what I had suspected. Burned... but not cremated... bodies. The executed slaves would later have their corpses displayed to discourage further acts of rebellion. I knew the procedures on Kestrel quite well. I was my family which had first put those procedures in place, in a time when there were many more rebellions on that and other worlds under their dominion. I asked the man a more serious question: “Very good! But... where is the overseer on whose watch this terrorist act took place?” The man bowed once again and replied almost meekly this time: “I... I regret to inform my lord... that I... I am that overseer.” His voice was quivering by that point, his hands shaking nervously. I had assumed he had placed this site under the care of another less competent man. But it seemed that it was the chief overseer himself who was guilty of incompetence. I picked up an oil extraction vacuum... it looked like a rifle with a long spear-like metal needle at the end of it. The needle functioned much as a syringe might, and the tool was used primarily for extraction of spilled oil. The overseer was shaking.

   “You know the penalty for failure, chief overseer. You are to be removed from your duties.” and the way I worded that made him feel more at ease. He replied: “Really? Only... removed! Thank you, oh... thank you so much, my lord. I promise that I shall do better in the future.” He was relaxed now. That is why I chose then, to execute him. I said in a harsh tone: “Yes, you are to be removed from your duties, only you will not be resuming them again in the future. And this is why!” I then stabbed the needle of the vacuum into his chest and switched the tool on to full power. It sucked all of his blood and bodily fluids from his body within seconds, leaving his dehydrated husk to crumble to the ground. All of his attendants looked on in horror. My personal guards laughed. I showed no emotional at all save for the merest hint of disappointment. I pointed to one of the other overseers at random and shouted to him in a commanding tone: “You there! What is your name?” and he nervously replied: “My name is... Devros... my lord.” I then stated imperiously: “Very good! Devros, you have been promoted to chief overseer. I offer you my congratulations on your promotion! I will wager it was a long time coming. Do better than your predecessor did... or I will be back to replace you as well.” I then threw the vacuum hard unto the ground and proceeded to the next place that demanded my attention. People said I was merciless, that I was a demon made flesh. But I was not! I was as my family, my house, and my life had made me. And at times, I wept for what should have been and was not. We proceeded to some fields outside of the city next... fields where wheat and corn were produced. Special chemicals were involved that ensured that the crops would grow even on this seemingly sunless hell-world. It was the farmers duty to grow those crops, and the duty of the farm slaves to apply those chemicals. They were trained to be efficient in the doing of that task, and I assumed that this was going to be a simple enough inspection. Unlike the one I had previously had the misfortune of dealing with. We rode out to the fields using a large vehicle that resembled a passenger van on tank treads. Given the rough roads and barren landscape, it was the right sort of vehicle for the journey. We were there within about a half hour, and got out of the vehicle at the outskirts of the nearest farm. There were several, it seems, scattered across the fields. This was the first time I had chosen to come inspect these fields in person. Previously, I had sent only commanders in my place. There was singing and dancing at the edge of the field nearest the farmhouses... a group of both farmers and slaves were busy making merry, and none of them were performing any tasks at all. I ran up to them, only to hear that their songs were rude and their manner indignant. The farmers were all in their finest clothing, as if they were attending a festival... and the slaves were wearing their usual long white robes and gowns, their shaved heads making nearly all of them look pretty much the same as one another. Even the genders of the slaves were sometimes difficult to discern, and some of them had a bit of an ethereal beauty to them. All the people of Kestrel were pale of skin due to the dark environment... and it was that paleness that gave the slaves such an ethereal quality. The metal silos and vast fields did stretch out all around, with this particular farmhouse being one of the only indicators of civilization in such rural parts. “Silence!” I commanded, and my guards pointed their rifles at the gathered people. I walked up to the farmers and asked: “Is this how you show loyalty to your house? Is this how you take pride in your work! Is this how you show proper loyalty to me and to my family?” at which one of the farmers, a man about a head shorter than me with closely cropped golden blonde hair, spat at me. His face was twisted into a mask of utter contempt and hatred. I struck him across the face with my gloved hand, knocking him to the ground. He was skinny, weak, and frail looking. All, the rest of the farmers were clearly strong, healthy and muscular folk. “Why is this man so weak and so angry?” I demanded to know. The buxom, curvy young woman who appeared to be his wife answered quickly: “Because he gave all his food to the slaves when they were having tough times, and has been helping them out each month. My husband... has suffered because of this. And he blames you! You and your kin. For not ever so much as trying to improve our lots out here. There was a famine, you see, this year! We sent word to the capital and begged for aid, but no answer came and we were left to fend for ourselves as a result.”

   I laughed at her story, explaining: “A famine, you say. Then how is it that you are all eating so well... with only this man being the one to sacrifice and suffer? Tell me that!” To which the angry man said at last: “Because they turned to stealing from other farms. I alone refused to steal even to survive, and that is why I am starving now. And, why I am so angry... we should have received the requested aid as we always had in years before when famine times came. Why were our pleas for help ignored?” I admitted that I did not know what the situation was at the capital, and I asked further: “Alright, then... this is bad, this is all very, very bad here. I admit, you should have received aid if you lawfully requested it. But as desperate as you seem to have become... why this celebration, this mockery? That is no way to get the powers that be to aid you!” to which the man's wife stated honestly: “It is because our spirits are broken by our suffering and desperation. We need to raise our spirits somehow! And tempers are running high in these parts of late. The farmers and their slaves want justice and fair treatment. Not starvation! How can we work the fields if we cannot even produce enough to feed ourselves, or have the food we need at least delivered to us as the law provides. What has become of the law, for us?” I then asked one of my guards: “Do you know what the situation is at the capital right now... why these peoples' legal requests for aid have been ignored or denied?” These guards were all local men, Kestrel men, I figured that they would at least be able to tell me what was going on here. It seems I had been away from this world for far, far too long. The guard explained to me almost apologetically: “I am sorry, my lord, but we should have told you before we arrived here... their requests were denied because they were suspected of being guilty of hoarding and not sharing equally with the other farms. Now these fields have been cut off for a time from aid until they learn their lesson. I... I assumed you were briefed on the situation here.” I was not briefed on it at all. And I was not happy to see that things had come to this. I walked up to the angry man's wife and asked her: “Why were you hoarding?” she then tried to come up with a reason, but kept stuttering. Her husband finally shouted: “Because we wanted to live a little better is all! We wanted a taste of what your sort has in the way of an easier life. Something closer to luxury, for a change. Is that so bad?” I ran my hand over my face in exasperation. Then I turned to the angry man and stated: “You wanted to have it better! Is that all it was?” I then turned to the rest of the farmers and shouted in a very furious tone of voice: “Is that all it was!” Then I exclaimed to the lot of them: “You people are selfish... you were not thinking of your well-being when you broke the law by hoarding... and now you are guilty of stealing as well. You want to live better? Then work harder and earn enough money to retire in to a life of luxury if that is what you desire! These... shortcuts... only end badly for all concerned. Yet... we cannot have you starving since your work is needed so that others will not starve. So what is it that you all want me to do? My hands are tied on this matter, and it is your actions that have tied them!” That... sadly... was when one of the farmers picked up a rock and threw it at me. “You can bloody well die for all we care, you rotten piece of filth!” the man who threw it said. Suddenly, all the farmers picked up their various implements and looked like they were making ready to attack. I ran back to my guards... who did not know what to do. “Should we open fire on them, my lord?” One of them asked me. I said to him: “No! Not yet, anyway... at least, I hope it does not come to that.” I shouted back to the farmers, warning them: “Listen to me! There has to be another solution to all this... do not resort to violence.” In short order, they attacked us and I ordered my guards to take the farmers down without using any sort of lethal means. They defended themselves with their metal clubs and with the flats of their swords, but we soon realized that these desperate, angry men and women had us outnumbered. The slaves watched with their mouths open in shock. They alone did not raise up arms against us, knowing their place and not desiring to cause further trouble for themselves. “They're not holding back, my lord! They're trying to kill us.” shouted one of my guards. I kept smashing at the farmers with my club as well, but soon I had to lay it aside and draw my shock sword... since the farmers had some deadly implements on hand. I heard metal clang on my ebony hued armor, as a scythe came close to cleaving my head fully in two.

   “Very well, men! Hold nothing back... let us teach these criminals a lesson here.” And we had not any choice but to use lethal means to stop this rebellion before it could spread beyond this farm. It was, as I expected, a slaughter in the end. As strong as these farmers all were, we were still trained warriors and made short work on them without ever having had to fire a single shot. The skinny, angry man saw that his wife was among the dead and screamed, tears in his eyes, unleashing all of his verbal rage at me: “I cannot believe you did this to us! Barbarians, you lot in power are. You hear me? You're barbarians... it is your sort that drove us to act as we did. And now you've killed my wife! What is next, will you harm our children too?” I asked the man: “I see no children here... where are they? They will need to be cared for by the state now. We cannot just leave them here on the farm to fend for themselves. And if you be a goodly sort of man at all, you would not want them to suffer for your misdeeds. So... where are they!” He then pointed to the farmhouse, saying: “You are clearly every bit as dumb as they say you are, Count Gislu Ra'vann... of the hated House Lan'ka. Where else would they be, but in the house? It hardly takes a great intellect to figure that one out! Then again, they say you are little smarter than a child. I see they speak true, those who tell such tales of you.” The house was massive, and it was shared by everyone in this particular farming community. All of the farmhouses across this field were like that. I had a feeling the children would be indoors, but I just wished to make certain they had not been hidden away. It was not unreasonable to assume people plotting violence against authority would seek to hide their children away beforehand. It seemed that as unintelligent as these people thought me to be, they were so much more foolish to not have employed better tactics against us. I walked over to the angry man and struck him again, this time knocking several of his teeth out. I demanded of him: “Do you have a daughter, or perhaps a son, in the house? Tell me, or I will kill you!” he than stammered: “I have a daughter. She is named Vethany.” I smiled mischievously, and dragged the man up from his feet. “Was the hoarding in truth your doing, sir?” I asked him, to which he replied: “I organized it, and the thefts also. All of this... was done through my planning. That is the truth of the matter!” I then mockingly caressed the side of his face, and said to him: “Thank you, farmer! See? You can be cooperative and lawful when pressed to be. It is a shame, however, that you cannot be inclined to be that way when not pressed. Now... tell me one thing further... how old is your daughter.” He stuttered as he answered: “She just turned thirteen a week ago. Please, Gislu... do not harm her, I beg of you. Punish me as you must! Kill me even. But do not harm her, she is beautiful and innocent, and does not deserve your wrath.” I smiled and said to the man: “No, you are right, she does not! But in order to punish you, I intend to make an example of her all the same. And you... you get to watch.” I ordered the guards to bring the man into the house. That house was spartan inside, and had few luxuries... but there were some. These people lived well before they thought to rise above their station by the worst means possible. “Tie the farmer to that pillar over there.” I ordered, and the guards used bed sheets to tie the man to a metal pillar that was on of many as supported the house's roof. We went room by room and found all of the children. We gathered them all in the main room of the house where the farmer was tied up. I asked the children which one of them did go by the name Vethany, and the young girl bravely stepped forward. “I am called Vethany, my lord.” I at once ordered the guards to take the children back to our vehicle and to keep them safe while they did wait for me. “It could be a while, though.” I let them know. Only Vethany I demanded remain, and her I kept with me. She was beautiful, with pale blonde hair a good deal yellower and lighter than her mother or father. She wore a long flowing green gown made of silk, belted at the waist with a wide blue ribbon sash. Her face was round and sweet, her eyes bright blue, her lips full. Her body was developed well for a girl of thirteen years, and already I could not help but notice her breasts. They were not large... for she was so very young after all, but I liked how rounded they were beneath the fabric of the girl's gown. Her hair was worn loose and flowing, and it was straight with neatly trimmed bangs above her eyebrows. I saw fear in her eyes as I ran my hands over her body, squeezing her breasts as I lost myself in her eyes.

   She gasped whenever I touched her in intimate places, and I did all of this within sight of her father... who screamed over and over again for me to stop. “She is only a child! What is wrong with you? If you have any decency at all, stop this at once... please...” he half-demanded and half-pleaded. I laughed and said to him: “You are in no position to demand I stop anything I am doing. You should have thought of her more when you committed the crimes that you did. But it seems you need to learn your place better. Alas, it falls to me... to teach you.” I then pulled the young girl over to one of the nearby beds, and did push her down upon it. She laid there petrified by terror, clutching herself with her hands as I removed my chest armor, and then undid the drawstring on the loose, baggy black pants that I wore. I took off both of my boots and sat them next to the armor before removing my socks and taking my pants off. Lastly, I removed the leather vest that I wore over the silk blouse I had on beneath it with its' billowing sleeves. That too I took off, along with my gloves, so that I was completely naked except for my tight undergarments which I kicked off last of all. I was not fully male, yet not fully female either. Though I had been born a hermaphrodite, it was a rare form of the condition whereby I had fully functional male genitalia and no external female genitalia save for a bit of a mound above where my male parts were. I had a somewhat protruding abdomen, and an overall average build. I had short hair that was, naturally, blonde but which I kept dyed blood red. My hair at that point in my life, I kept shoulder-length though in the past I had worn it much, much longer. I had on heavy dark eye makeup, the style of which I made somewhat devilish-looking to intimidate my enemies. I had very small breasts, though some people did mistake them for somewhat fatty muscles. My face was round, I had high cheekbones, and my nose was slightly aquiline in appearance. I had small lips, blue eyes, and though my body was not extraordinarily muscular it had been genetically enhanced during my childhood so that I would be stronger than many of my peers. I could snap a man's neck with my bare hands or crush his skull between my palms if I had a mind to. But on this case, a different sort of tactic was called for to break this man fully. I strode over to the bed, where I loomed over the young girl and smiled lustily as I said: “Such a well-behaved child you are! No thanks to your father. I assumed he or your mother explained to you what intercourse is... I am now going to educate you about it personally.” I grabbed her arms and pinned her to the bed. She at first started to kick and then I put one of my hands around her throat. “Do not kick me, do not strike me and do not bite me. If you do... I will kill you.” She understood, and stopped fighting me. She had spirit, but I had no time to break that spirit. It would suffice to force her to comply with my wishes. I untied her belt and pulled it off of her, tossing it behind me. Then, I grabbed the front of her gown, which was buttoned up to her neck, and tore it open, revealing the young girl's delightful breasts, her pink nipples making my mouth water. I ripped the gown down to her waist, tearing the puffy sleeves of up down to her elbows. I kissed her breasts, licking her nipples. My hand was still around her neck, and I was being careful not to harm her. I removed my hand from there and pulled her gown's skirts up to her waist. For undergarments... she wore a pair of white silk bloomers which could be pulled open at the crotch all the way to the back. The moment I pulled her bloomers open, I saw that she had a penis instead of the parts a woman normally possesses. There was nothing in the way of external female genitalia between those legs of hers at all. “So... you are just like me it seems!” I chuckled. I rubbed her penis until it started to get hard, making the hermaphroditic girl aroused quite against her will. She made little sounds of being in pleasure, and I noticed she was trying her best not to act afraid anymore. Was she beginning to enjoy this? I pushed her unto her stomach, opened her bloomers in the back all the way, and began to squeeze her fine buttocks. My own penis was so erect by that point, that it was slick and very wet about the head of it. I pulled the girl's body up a bit, then thrust into her rump, penetrating her ass. She cried out, and I moved in and out of her, gripping her hips as I forced myself upon her in this way. Every so often, I did grasp her own young cock in my hand and stroke it rhythmically... all the while thrusting myself in and out of her until the two pleasures caused her to ejaculate all over my hand. I did orgasm into her, after.

   As I felt my warm seed fill her ass, she cried out several more times. She had cried out as soon as she had ejaculated as well, and it was a pained cry mixed with pleasure. All of her cries sounded painful but tinged with excitement. I withdrew my manhood from her and cleaned it off on the bed sheets. Then, I turned her unto her back again and kissed her all over, licking and sucking her penis once I had done all else to her that I had. I left her there in the throes between agony and ecstasy as I dressed myself fully. I could hear her father's cries and shrieks and howls of rage during my rape of his daughter. He was still not fully broken, and this served to make him even angrier. Once I was decent again, I walked over to him menacingly and said to him: “What will it take to break you, if even raping your daughter was not enough to make your realize your place?” The man spat at me again and promised to kill me one day. I then grabbed his face in my hands and said to him in an irritated manner: “Wrong answer, farmer! Now I am simply going to have to kill you, before you can grow strong enough to one day kill me. Don't you worry though... I, will be taking good care of your daughter, who will be my favorite pleasure slave in the years to come. She will have a prominent place in my harem. So think about that, as I send you off to the next life... assuming the gods see fit to grant you another!” I then spit in his face and then began to slowly squeeze his jaw in my hands until it cracked and broke. That would keep him a bit quieter at least. After that, I seized his head in my hands and twisted it around with all my strength so that it was backwards upon his head. This killed him, and I could smell that his urine and bowels had let loose as he perished. “Disgusting wretch!” I exclaimed and left his bound body where it was. I then grabbed the man's daughter by the arm and took her back to the children's section of the house... where I made her dress herself in fresh attire. Then, we left the farmhouse and I told my guards that the farmer was to be left where I killed him until the next occupants could be sent for. There were always new farmers that could replace the old ones, after all. By law, the new occupants could not be held accountable for any of the doings of the former ones... so they could apply for aid and receive it as needed. In the meantime, it could be guaranteed that the slaves would keep the farm running as best as they could. The sight of the dead farmer would ensure that the next group would be more law-abiding and compliant. We gave the slaves strict orders to leave the dead man bound as he was. “Let the next tenants see to his burial.” I did tell them, and they all understood. I kept young Vethany seated upon my lap the whole way back to the city. Once there, I would travel with her to the capital and issue my orders to the rulers there. Then... I had a mind to spend some time alone with my new paramour before heading back to Gehenna Primus. I said to the young girl as our vehicle lumbered across the landscape: “I am sorry that I had to treat you as roughly as I did.” I then caressed her beautiful hair, kissing her face's soft cheeks as I did so. Then, I did  whisper into her ear: “I promise... you will live like a queen, for the rest of your days! You will want for nothing. So do not be afraid. Alright?” She then nodded her head but otherwise refused to speak. “Good girl.” I said to her, and relaxed with my hand upon one of her breasts. “This one is mine!” I exclaimed, and my guards all smiled and nodded in understanding. “I will be keeping her for myself.” I said at last. That was the end for my inspection tour on that day. I delegated it to someone else after that, and had a mind to not bother with such inspections ever again in the future. They were always too messy, and this time it was worse than usual. It seemed like the more we squeezed the people of Kestrel, the more they plotted ways to defy us. But there was nothing for it! It was not my place, to change the laws of that or any other world over which I had no direct governance. The workers would keep being pushed, and the rebellions would happen every so often and need to be put down. It was a climate where terrorists could crop up, and where the local officials were sometimes corrupt themselves. This was not how I would so choose to maintain things had I the power to do so... but during my time on Kestrel, I would ensure that order was observed. Even if I had to kill a thousand more rebels to see to it! They called me a monster... and I sometimes owned that title, as if it were a badge of honor. These events were long before the time when I was betrayed by my father and forced to ally with the Baroness Cyndijaz Megg to vanquish him.

   House Lan'ka was my family's house, and the one I owed my loyalty to at the time. I was young, more than a bit foolish and naive, and far, far too trusting in my family at the time to ever realize that my own father was plotting against me. In time, I would learn all of these things and more. I chronicled all those events in my writing: “The Final Days of Lan'ka - Ancient Memories”, which should be read to learn of what transpired at the last between my father and I, and how it changed the course of our home planet... and eventually the destinies of other worlds as well. My life as Count Gislu Ra'vann was in many ways, like a ripple in a pond. It began with small events, but those events would have consequences that soon would come to encompass ever greater things which each event would serve to set in motion. I could at that time when I visited the planet Kestrel, never have known any of that though. I was focused only on the present, and being as young as I was during those years... I sometimes simply chose not to worry too much about the future. However, all the same, time would march on and when it did my destiny would run its' full course. Whether I was ready for it to do so, or not! The capital city of all Kestrel, was a city the size of a small continent. The city's name was Palgos, and it was a massive sprawl filled with many tall buildings, neon signs and lights, and splendid spires. Its' towering skyscrapers... were home to most of the city's top bureaucrats, politicians, and the elite of the planet's ruling classes from every continent and nation of that world. Everything there was fresh, clean, and new looking. Shiny, shimmering, and perfect. Its' laboratories created technological marvels, its' factories produced the most goods, and its' mercantile and business districts generated the most income. This was a planet where money mattered and where anything could be bought and sold for a price. Even peoples' hearts, minds, and souls it was said. The meeting with those I had to see went quickly enough, and no one minded or cared that I had to bring Vethany into the meeting with me. I simply explained that she was one of my personal assistants, and no one was the wiser. The assembly hall where I met with the supreme rulers of Kestrel was like a great opera house in its' appearance, a place that looked as if it had been built for spectacle rather than at all being for politics in any meaningful way. I had no head for either bureaucracy or politics. When I addressed the rulers in their robes of silk and satin, I was direct and to the point. I simply assumed that nobody on that gods-forsaken planet truly respected me or my authority anyway, despite that I was there to represent my family and my house, who were the true rulers to which even these men and women did bend the knee, even if they did so more out of fear than true or proper respect of any kind. The situation on Kestrel was a mess! There was no planetary governor, and everything important had to done through this annoying, sometimes bickering council. A single governor, at least, would have been someone we could determine the loyalty and fitness to rule thereof... but a whole council could be tricky at best and dangerous to deal with at worst. Since any single one of its' members could be the weak link by which the whole planet could crumble. Yet, somehow, by some miracle... things kept going on Kestrel for the same way since long, long before my time. I wished I could have brought in my guards, have them all gun down this annoying council, and proclaim myself planetary governor in its' stead. But that was not how things were done on Kestrel, and like it or not I had to abide by that planet's rules for so long as I was staying there. Once all my business with the council was conducted, I decided it was time to take Vethany to the grand palace that I owned at the edge of a great garden on the very outskirts of the city's central district. The garden was mine as well... it was home to colorful and exotic plants and trees, and all manner of flowers in every imaginable color. All kept pristine thanks to a domed habitat that sported a clean artificial atmosphere that was quite rare and unusual on this dark planet. The palace was strange looking to some, but in a style that I was used to from my own home planet, where such styles were not all that uncommon. Basically, the structure was domed at the bottom with a step pyramid rising up from the dome, culminating in a towered fortress at the top of the pyramid. The walls, in some sections of the palace's outer structure, sported massive heads and faces carved from stone and decorated with gold or silver metals. The whole place was a mixture of ancient and modern themes, and all of it looked grand.

   As soon as we walked up to the palace's main doors, which slid open as soon as the sensors noticed our approach, I said to my young companion: “This is... just for now... to be your new home. When my business on Kestrel is concluded, I will bring you back to Gehenna Primus with me and settle you in at my personal pleasure palace there. What do you think of these present accommodations?” But she did not answer, her mouth was open in shock and  her eyes were wide at the sights all around her. “You do not have to answer me if you are not able to... I know this is all quite the surprise for a girl who lived a good thirteen years surrounded only by farmlands. But, you will get used to the change! For the better.” We walked along the corridors of the palace, past twisted looking beams and spine-like support pillars. There was a certain brutal beauty to the interior, and such opulence was all about that it perhaps could be said to have bordered on sheer decadence. Our noble house was wealthy quite beyond measure, and a great deal of its' wealth came from industrialized worlds such as Kestrel. That wealth in turn afforded me no small amount of luxury. “Before we begin, I need to ask you a question... do you identify most as a girl, or as a boy. If you have never given the matter much thought, you should do so now.” I asked the young girl, and I decided to refer to her as such until she was firmly decided. She smiled brightly, and asked me almost cheerfully: “You mean... I have a choice?” I embraced her warmly, hugging her, as I said to her in a kindly manner: “Of course you do, child! You did not have one before?” to which she replied: “No, my lord, I am afraid I did not. My father said that my mother wanted a daughter, so that is what he decided I was going to be. My own feelings... were not considered.” I then assured her: “Your feelings will be considered henceforth, and only you shall have the final say about how you are to live. Whether as a boy or a girl I will love you all the same. Yes, I will love you! No more rough treatment, not for you... only a life of luxury and contentment.” She then began to cry and when I asked her why, she asked me in a piteous and sorrowful way: “My lord... please tell me... why it is that you killed my father and took me by force! You speak of love, but what you did to us was so hateful.” I held her in my arms once again, and explained to her as best as I could: “Your father broke the law, and I was forced to punish him because of that. I did to you what I did... regrettably, to hurt him before killing him. It was... wrong, I know... but, I was overcome as much by lust for you as I was a desire to punish your father. It is not uncommon for lust to become love, on rare occasions. I found you too beautiful to resist, and my urges drove me to behave like an animal... the fact that I planned to do such a thing to you even before I actually laid eyes on you is a wicked thing, I admit. But... once I held you in my arms on the way here... and had some time to think about what I had done, I realized that I could indeed love you if I were to be given the chance to. So I intend to give myself that chance, and to give you the option of falling in love with me if that is desirable to you. By law, you have to serve me even unto death. But I have plenty of servants ans slaves already! What I desire the most from you is forgiveness, and in time perhaps love.” The girl then promised: “Perhaps, in time, you shall have both of the things you desire from me. But for now, yes... I have decided that I wish to live as a boy rather than as a girl. But I still want to look pretty, and to keep my body clean shaven just as it is right now... and I want pretty clothes to wear, nothing too much like men's attire. Just things that appeal to me, is all. That is... if it is lawful for me to ask for all of that from you, my lord.” I then smiled, and tears came into my eyes unbidden, from the joy I felt at that very moment. Joy tinged with guilt at my having previously wronged her even if it was within my legal rights as an enforcer of Kestrel's law. I said to him... deciding to refer to the child as a boy now, as he so desired: “Even if it were not lawful, I would have it be this way just for you! We just would not tell anyone, is all. But it is indeed lawful for you to ask anything of me that is within my ability to grant. And I intend to grant you all that you desire and more. You will have slaves of your own to wait on you hand and foot, to keep your body shaved and your appearance beautiful. There are... medicines... that I can get you that will ensure you remain beautiful forever, no matter how old you get. And we can have your breasts reduced so you look less like a girl, at least in that way. We can make you totally perfect!”

   Within the span of a single month, all of that was seen to and done, including the breast reduction. All that was requested of me by Vethany, I saw that it was done. Out of it all... Vethany so became the most beautiful boy in the entire galaxy, if not in the whole universe. It was no secret that I was bisexual, with my only real insistence in a partner being that they have an effeminate appearance. And... as far as boys go, Vethany had a beauty to rival or even exceed that of any girl. I dressed him in the finest silks, satin, and whatever other comfortable materials he preferred for clothing... and he wore his hair sometimes in elaborate coiffures fit for noble lady courtesans. He slept on only the softest beds, ate only the finest of foods, and drank only the best beverages as suited his tastes. I spoiled him beyond all measure, and out of it he became content at last with his lot in life. One day, I knelt before him, kissed his hand, and did ask finally the question that had been burning within me for so long: “Vethany, my beloved paramour... we have been together now for a very long time, or so it seems, and I have to ask. Do you forgive me at last for your father's death... and, most importantly of all... do you love me, as truly as I have come to in truth love you?” The boy smiled like a romanticized angel, and said softly... his voice was always soft, so much softer than any girl's or woman's I had ever before known: “Of course I love you, my lord! My father held me back, from living the way I truly wanted to... from being my truest self. He was a selfish man, and in the end a criminal. You hurt me only once, and I forgave that long ago! He hurt me many a time, and though not in the same way as you did... all the same it hurt perhaps more. We shall not speak of him, or of your having wronged me, ever again! Have we not made love together each night, since it was that you first brought me to your palace? Always, I received you and never refused you. There is a reason for that... I have grown to love you. And so... I must ask you, one final thing... may I call you by your name instead of always calling you 'my lord'?” I then smiled warmly and said to him: “Very well, Vethany my beauty! You may call me Gislu, if you prefer. We shall dispense with formalities between us altogether and act as romantic partners should.” We then kissed passionately, and spent the day and the night in each other's arms. By the time my duties called for me to be elsewhere, I had given Vethany full run of the palace and placed him in direct charge of all my holdings on Kestrel. Of all the members of my house who served me on that world, he came in time to hold the most power and authority. Just before the end of the following year, word came to me that the planet's governing council had become wholly corrupted with half of the members openly backing rebels all across the planet. This led to one of the worst states of unrest that the world had ever up until that point known. I sent word to my family back on Gehenna Primus but was told only that this would serve as a good test of my abilities to serve our house well. The first true major crisis of a planetary magnitude that I had ever before faced. I met with a council of House Lan'ka generals and warriors, and we discussed the necessity of having to do the very thing that once would have been unthinkable. We needed to put an end to the council, crush all remaining rebels and terrorists across the planet, and appoint a proper planetary governor to restore the right kind of order before things got any further out of control. There would be no other way, to ensure that nothing like this could ever happen again. I raised an army numbering in the thousands, and with it I besieged the assembly hall where an army comprised of several hundreds of automaton soldiers... each and every one a soulless war machine programmed only to kill... awaited us. That was something I was not expecting, since most of the noble houses of our galaxy refused in those days to use such machines, viewing them as potentially dangerous should one lose control of them. At least, that was the case with this particular brand of automaton soldiers! Not all were created the same. The fact that the council had no moral issues with using such means to remain in power said all that needed to be said about just how corrupt and full of itself the council had become. The terrible machines took out several good hundreds of my soldiers, and in the process devastated a large portion of the assembly hall's surroundings before we were able to at last destroy them. Countless civilian lives were lost, and irreparable damage done to the city before finally the threat was eliminated and I was able to move my forces on into the hall itself.

   The council was armed and waiting, as I was expecting them to be... but we planned ahead and made certain to activate our personal body force fields, just as we had done when facing the automatons. This made us difficult targets to shoot at even with the advanced beam guns that the council employed. Odd weapons of choice, given models this advanced... though deadly if one was accurate with them... had a nasty habit of overheating and doing as much damage to the one using it as to the enemy. At least two of the council members died that way, and the rest found their own force fields easily penetrated by our rapid fire rifles which hammered away at the council's force fields until they dissipated entirely. Not a single member of the council remained alive following our execution of them, and I had their bodies all hung from the ruins of the assembly hall as a warning of what was to await all who opposed my will. It took a whole other year to fully wipe out all acts of rebellion and terrorism on Kestrel, but with the sort of brutal, merciless methods that I favored the one who did not fight to the death surrendered quickly... only to realize that torture and imprisonment awaited them if they did so. Their families and supporters were massacred, and soon the inhabitants of Kestrel realized that there was no way to stand against me, and against the house that I represented. Word quickly reached Gehenna Primus of what I had done and I could imagine my family waiting to see what I would do next. Perhaps they believed that I planned to take over the planet and install myself as its' governor without my house's approval. But... I knew better than to risk disgrace and either exile or death by defying them. Instead, I acted in their name and once I had stabilized everything on Kestrel... I did something nobody expected me to do. I officially named my palace there as the new center of the world's government, and I brought to it all of the advisors that one might need to ensure that business, production, and normal life on that planet would not grind to a halt. Everyone probably at that point expected me to announce my new title and begin ruling over Kestrel as a tyrant, with a fist of iron and a mad penchant for cruelty and bloodshed. Instead, however, I did as I said something nobody expected me to do. I did name my beloved paramour, Vethany, as the rightful planetary governor... commending into his care all of my potential power and authority over all things pertaining to that world. Never again would I need to come inspect the place... instead, my only visits to Kestrel in the future would be to see and spend time with Vethany himself. I bound all of the advisors in sworn service to the newly instated governor, and made very certain that my family back on Gehenna Primus heard of this. I was rewarded by them with a promotion from my current military rank, and that gave me the right to command ever greater house legions. It was a small beginning, a stepping stone to greater glory, but one that I was all too happy for at the time. I received word that my family was highly pleased with things as I handled them on Kestrel, and that they wished for me to report back to them in person. And so, I was being recalled back to my home planet. But before I decided to leave on the next outbound transport craft, I decided to say farewell for now to the boy I loved so much that I gave him a planet to call his own. He looked exactly the same as he had the day we met... still looked no older than thirteen years of age. The methods employed to maintain his youth worked flawlessly, and he looked so radiant that it took my breath away to stand in his presence. He was wearing a scarlet colored, flowing sleeveless jumpsuit with baggy legs like exotic pantaloons had, tied at the ankles with drawstrings. He wore a golden sash belt tied around his waist with a  pretty bow at the side, and had golden slippers on his delicate feet. He was slender, had feminine looking curves to his hips and as fine a buttocks as ever I had squeezed. His round, girlish face was smiling, his eyes filled with delight... his voice soft, sweet, and filled with love for me. He reclined on a divan in an interior garden at the palace, and was waited on by numerous slave boys and girls. Yet he only had eyes for me! The moment I approached, he got up and ran into my arms, kissing me lovingly, passionately, and well. There would be time enough to say our goodbyes... for now, we embraced as if the entire universe revolved around us, and us alone. It was enough, and I would remember the happiness that I felt in that moment for the rest of that life. I ran my hands through Vethany's beautiful, soft blonde hair and allowed myself to forget that I had duties at all.
Written by Kou_Indigo (Kara L. Pythiana-Ashton)
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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