A Shadowed Stars book one prequel story and part 2 to the Erikai short story trilogy by Steven Koutz
MATURE READERS ONLY
The body of Prince Orin laid across the rocky cave floor. His chest had been stabbed and his head hung from his neck barely attached. He had been slain by his older half-brother, Prince Slade. Around him were Gomen Satys soldiers with their pierced yellow and green armor. The former King Forris had always thought that Prince Orin was his son but his real father was the Gomen Satys Captain Sisk whose dead body laid nearby, along with a traitor to Prince Slade, named Kall.
The cave scene was disrupted as the air around the fallen started to distort. It appeared as if the air itself was being peeled backward. From the center of the distortion walked out an extremely old human man. He looked as if he was at least two hundred years old. He had long gray and thinning hair. His face was sagging and his exposed skin was nothing but wrinkles. He walked with a hook handled cane and the distortion remained in motion behind him with each step that he took. He looked all around before he approached the fallen Prince Orin. The old man knelt on one knee with his cane held in his right hand as support. He hovered his left palm over Prince Orin’s fallen body and the air again distorted from his hand and surrounded Prince Orin’s body, that had started to slowly heal and mend until the prince gasped deeply and sat up straight in a sudden motion. He remembered everything. He then looked to the old man that was now utilizing his hook handled cane to pull himself back to his feet. Prince Orin stood to face him and asked, “How am I alive old man?”
The old man laughed and introduced himself as Lukas. He said that he had walked through time to many pivotal points for his needs and his journey was far from complete. He stated that he was one million years old. Prince Orin looked on with heavy skepticism but could not deny that he had been dead and now was alive again. Lukas stated that Prince Orin was alive because he had more to do. Lukas continued, “I revived you because I need you to kill Erikai or the Luth Bik, Rayk. Their future son has meddled in areas that affect the timing of my so long deserved reign of rightful power.” Prince Orin asked, “What is a Luth Bik?” Lukas laughed again. He then stated that he could not revive Prince Orin a second time. He could not affect sources more than once and stressed that Prince Orin must not fail. Lukas turned and started to walk back into the distorted air around him. Prince Orin declared that he would kill his half-brother Prince Slade as well. Lukas coughed heavily. He turned back and pointed to Prince Orin. He stated, “You will kill Erikai or Rayk. That is one possible future for you. Your half-brother will always defeat you. You must stay away from him.” Lukas turned again and walked further into the air distortion as it wrapped around him and closed. There was now nothing but the dead that surrounded Prince Orin. He scoffed at the claim that half-brother Slade would always defeat him and then started to exit the cave.
Prince Slade and his long-lost older sister as well as newly proclaimed, Princess Erikai had brought their male and female soldiers above the surface of the dirt and rock covered, Aklowda. They were all human and donned in a two shaded light green armor. The emblem of the Kylde Kingdom was proudly displayed on the left part of their chests. It was an orange background with a black circle around it that had opposite raised points at the top and the bottom as well as a bold black letter “K” that rested in the middle. They were all also armed with the highly technical lower arm gauntlet that was fitted from the wrist to just below the elbow. It was referred to as a war arm and functioned not just as a weapon but a mass utility device. Prince Slade had the only addition to the armor of a long black cape that flowed down to his ankles. He was young, handsome, and just beginning to form a muscular physique. His long and straggly black hair was shoulder length and he had a presence about him that highlighted his leadership without it having to be spoken. Princess Erikai had filled out her light armor as well. Her straight black hair was grown much longer than that of her brother and stopped just at the small of her back. Her body was well curved and yet athletic. She had proven to be strong but her porcelain skin and angelic beauty would cause many to misjudge her inner fires that raged. That misjudgment had brought her many victories in battle.
They had risen from their underground world to greet the occupants of the diamond shaped starfighters in large numbers that had landed on the surface. The beings that had disembarked were humanoid in form only. They donned a black light armor with brown bandoliers across their chest, except for their obvious commander with an orange and more decorated bandolier. All that was exposed when they removed their helmets was their gray hands, heads, and a plunging neckline. Their skin was a smooth shell. They had long brown and black hair that protruded from the sides of their heads. Their shell-like faces had soft featured lips and widened nostrils. The main highlights to their faces were the two large and shiny black eyes and the forehead that ran to a flattened point at the top of their heads. The commander stepped forward and introduced himself as Rayk, son of Lekar, son of Jak, and son of Krok. He proclaimed their race to be Luth Biks and before Prince Slade could respond, he had noted that he had already known about humans. He proceeded to explain that the humans they knew of were quite brutal and had a misled idea that they were the superior race. Prince Slade admitted that they themselves were in a war against his mother Ararra and her stolen queenhood. He added that war itself could bring out a certain brutality. Despite that he stated that his followers under the Kingdom of Kylde liked to think that there was some honor and compassion worth safeguarding. He welcomed them a chance to see that honor and compassion in the underground world they had built. He added that while they toured the underground world, he would have to post a large regiment of guards around their starfighters as his mother would attempt to commandeer them. He stated that it was his duty to keep her “Iron Reign” from leaving Aklowda, which was her main wish and only he stood behind her and that goal. Rayk accepted and mentioned that he too had been familiar with tyrants and their pursuits of power. He added that he would leave a significant portion of his people to assist Prince Slade’s guarding force.
Queen Ararra had been suffering in sorrow and anger over the loss of her son and lover. Her hatred for her other son, Prince Slade had grown even more wrathful. The news was delivered by her trusted aide, Jenra, that Prince Orin’s body had not been found in the retrieval efforts. Her attendant had attempted to console her but was dismissed with certain tone that stated it would not be a polite request if spoken again. With the attendant’s departure, Queen Ararra rose from her bed in full naked form. Her wavy long black hair just covered the nipples of her large and firm breasts. Her curved shape was only rivaled by that of her closest aide, Jenra, with long and straight blond hair and a skin-tight black leather one piece suit that her voluptuous body barely fit into. Queen Ararra had slipped into her familiar thin and full body veil that left nothing to the imagination.
The two of them shared an intense kiss of lips and tongue. It was interrupted by a comm that reported of the alien race landing and the guarded starfighters. The report also stated that Prince Slade had taken some of them underground and an alliance was being discussed. Queen Ararra commended Jenra’s spies and ordered Jenra to ready her armor and a force of the Gomen Satys soldiers as well as a Brute. She wanted to take those starfighters personally. She then wondered aloud, “Slade would not welcome Ubides or Derths. I wonder what this new alien race may be?”
A secret passage slid open and the voice from it stated, “They are called Luth Biks.” Queen Ararra and Jenra turned with shock and yet relief to see that the reports of Prince Orin’s death had been incorrect. They both clung to him and each guided a hand to hold his groin region. Prince Orin stated that they had no time for that. They had to get those ships and he had a kill list to attend to.
The time had passed and the guarded assembly of Luth Bik diamond shaped starfighters, nicknamed, shards was alerted to the approach of two large, armored hovering vehicles. They rushed forward and were no more than four inches off the rocky planet surface. The Luth Biks had readied their blaster pistols, while Prince’s soldiers of the Kylde Kingdom charged their war arms and fired pulsating energy blasts on what they knew was Queen Ararra’s forces. The hovering assault vehicles had already opened their own barrage of lasers and blaster bolts. They also released a wide array of missiles and from behind them the green and yellow armored Gomen Satys had flown upward and soared through the last of the hail of missiles with their metal wings. The battle was furious on both sides. Prince Orin had kissed his mother with more than a passionate kiss that to some cultures would call concern. He then climbed out from the hovering assault vehicle. He scurried up a short bar step ladder and crawled into an armored turret from its underside. It turned and fired rapid laser fire that ripped through the fortified line of The Kylde Kingdom soldiers and the Luth Biks.
Queen Ararra was now donned in a black armor skin that was a mold of her firm body. She had announced over speakers for her forces to engage the guards without any further damage to the multiple starfighters that she desperately coveted. The Gomen Satys soldiers that had landed, had drawn their stingrippers. The ones still in range had separated their blades and shot streams of purple flame around the perimeter of the battle. The ones in melee had separated their blades into the parallel position to gain a better and more lethal swing. Their helmets that resembled a ram’s head from Earth only added intimidation to their fighting skills.
The battle looked lost on the Luth Biks and Kylde Kingdom soldiers’ end. Queen Ararra had even disembarked the hovering assault vehicle that had carried her this far. Jenra was over comms inside the other hovering assault vehicle and reported that she had detected skysaulters. Heavy pulsating energy blasts then fired downward onto the battlefield from the open vehicles that had passed over the nearest mountain. They resembled missiles in their own look except for steering handles and seats for their riders in medium black armor and visored helmets. The pulsating energy blasts were intense and with extraordinary maneuverability, they coordinated on their targets.
Another wave of skysaulters flew in from between two large rock outcroppings. These were led by Prince Slade and Princess Erikai, now in the medium black armor as well. Prince Slade was quickly shot off his skysaulter as it flew off and exploded into the rocky mountainside. Prince Slade tumbled across the rough rock ground. He came to his feet as Prince Orin jumped down from the armored turret that had grounded his brother. The two princes stood facing each other. Prince Slade had viciously slain Prince Orin and the shocking fact that he stood before him now provided Prince Orin with the advantage. He had drawn his own stingripper and again swung wildly with Prince Slade dodging each missed slash. Prince Slade engaged the short dagger from his war arm and took a few stabs and slashes of his own. He landed a few deep cuts on Prince Orin. He had slain him in the same manner of blade battle before. Prince Slade yelled out, “I am unsure how you survived death before brother but it only means I can kill you again!” Prince Orin smiled and engaged the separation of his stingripper to the parallel blades. He told Prince Slade to try.
Heavy laser fire suddenly hit all around Prince Slade from Jenra on a side rail perch of the hovering assault vehicle. Prince Slade was hit several times, but his armor took the hits. He went into another tumble motion. He rose from it and fired two mini rockets from his war arm. One hit Jenra and the other downed Prince Orin.
The Gomen Satys and Kylde Kingdom soldiers fought all around the battleground. Queen Ararra had stepped from around the hovering assault vehicle and unleashed a heavy barrage of blaster fire. Prince Slade was again put into tumble mode to evade the barrage and took cover behind the assault vehicle that had just dug deeply into the rocky and thick dirt layered ground as an effect from Rayk and his Luth Biks’ pulsating energy blasts shot from the war arms that Prince Slade had provided them. Queen Ararra was then tackled to the ground from a spear-like tackle on her rear position from Princess Erikai. The two stood up to face each other. Queen Ararra said, “You must be Erikai!” Princess Erikai replied, and you are the bitch that took my mother’s crown!”
The two women locked their arms into a struggle for dominance. Princess Erikai lifted a few knee strikes into Queen Ararra’s abdomen. They separated from each other but Queen Ararra only felt more strong landed punches from the angered princess. An eye gouge and low kick had temporarily aided the queen but only infuriated further, the attack of Princess Erikai. Queen Ararra was knocked to the ground again and rolled away from multiple downward stomps. Each one only lightly connected. Princess Erikai continued but her furious footwork assault was stopped by a clump of dirt thrown into her eyes. Queen Ararra quickly got back to her feet. The brief state of blindness was followed by an upward elbow strike. Queen Ararra then grabbed onto an arm that missed its randomly swung attack and flipped Princess Erikai over her back. Erikai however, was an accomplished fighter and landed on her feet. She then side stepped an incoming punch from the queen. Princess Erikai pulled the long black hair of the queen to bring her in closer. She then turned and struck Queen Ararra with a high knee lift. The impact had staggered Queen Ararra backward and Princess Erikai delivered a solid high kick under her chin. Queen Ararra was on her back. Princess Erikai charged her war arm and aimed it down on Queen Ararra. Streams of electricity struck and entangled around her suddenly. It appeared as though she was constricted by several electric snakes and she quickly dropped to the rocky ground with Prince Orin standing over her and returning his stingripper to the single blade mode.
The battle attention was then turned to the arrival of a twenty-eight-foot-tall metal giant robot that trembled the ground. Its metal armor was smooth and rounded. Its wide stance and massive metal limbs casted a shadow over nearly all the battlefield. Its metal feet were seven feet in diameter and it began to crush the Luth Biks and Kylde Kingdom soldiers around it. Prince Slade and Rayk rallied the Kylde Kingdom soldiers and started to fire upward at the giant metal robot they called a Brute with combined pulsating energy blasts. The Luth Biks had managed to embark their shard shaped starfighters and had taken to strafing attacks all around the Brute. Its massive arms and hands swung out and struck some of the shards, sending them crashing to the ground. It had clutched onto and crushed others but the pulsating energy blasts from the ground and the Luth Bik shards that did hit had forced it to follow the commanded retreat with a swarm of Gomen Satys soldiers flying and running off.
The battle damage was assessed. Queen Ararra, Jenra and Prince Orin had also escaped and Erikai was missing as well. Prince Slade was panicked but still forced to collect his wounded and dead. The Luth Bik starfighters that were still operable had gathered while the others were scrapped. Over the next aras, hours compared to Earth time, it was decided that the shards would be flown to the volcanic moon and hidden with the Kylde Kingdom royal cruiser starship that Prince Slade had hidden there long ago. It would keep them out of Queen Ararra’s reach. Rayk and the Luth Biks had accepted the underground world of Aklowda as their new home. Prince Slade apologized but Rayk admitted that they had nowhere to go. Prince Slade declared that he would make every effort to help the Luth Biks integrate into their new world.
A messenger than delivered the terrible news that Princess Erikai had been captured and locked away in the canyon palace. Prince Slade was saddened. He had failed his sister. Rayk vowed to help Prince Slade rescue her at all costs. Prince Slade warned him that it would be a difficult and likely bloody task because she was a prize that Queen Ararra would fight to keep, especially that she had lost another way take her tyranny off Aklowda.
In a dungeon, Princess Erikai was stripped of her armor and chained to a wall. She was donned in ragged cloths. Prince Orin entered. He stated that he was supposed to kill her but she was to fine of a catch. She struggled to resist as he fondled her private parts. Prince Orin said that she would be kept for the pleasure of himself and his soldiers. He added that he would just have to kill Rayk. He turned to leave but looked back and added, “And most certainly my half-brother Slade.
The End of this chapter. Next, the third and final chapter in the Erikai trilogy—PRINCESS ERIKAI