The Dragon Queens

Chapter 5

The Destroyer swooped into the system like the eagle it was designed to resemble. The light from the main star in the Trianum system that housed the Nirnian colony of Shanxi gleamed off its Elven, Ebony and Stahlrim hull.

It glittered like a jewel as it moved with regal slowness to the fleet that now surrounded the artifact like a flock of angry golden birds. The contrast between the two pieces was stark, the gold hull swirling with black and ice feather patterns that provided the anchoring for the shield wards as well as adding aesthetic beauty to the vessel.

By comparison the dull silver artifact look positively shabby. Though the blue light emanating from its center did counteract this effect a little.

Imperial Flagship, NIV Might of the Queens, Trianum system, Nirnian Empire -Drescher

Admiral Kastanie Drescher sighed as she lounged on her command throne in the center of the bridge of the newly finished Flagship of the Imperial fleet NIV Might of the Queens. She was a new admiral and had been given the immense honour of captaining this magnificent vessel on her maiden flight, sadly this had gone from a tour of the Empire to guarding the artifact.

The ship itself was a marvel of engineering, a testament to the Nirnians ship building prowess. Reaching a proud six kilometres in length, the Might bristled with the latest in Arcnotechnology weaponry and shielding as well as a new hull composite that outstripped the older classes by leagues. It sported a crew of 12,000 and was the home of no less than 3 legions and their Auxiliary ready to be deployed in and instant.

Yet for all her power she simply sat there in space watching the artifact like some glorified sentry. Her XO, Commander Malakai Tirus walked forward holding an info-slate out to her “We finished running the last combat drill ma’am, the results set a new record for response time, less than one minute for all stations to report ready.”

Drescher smiled, her pale blue eyes glittering “excellent Commander, run it again and see if we can beat that time” Malakai grinned and after saluting with his fist on his heart turned back to the tactical station.

It had been 4 days since the Might of the Queens had replaced the Searing Vengeance in this system whilst Admiral Hakket took the prisoners and General Williams back to Nirn to report to the Queens, 3 days since the order to hold out and wait for the decision of the Council of Monarchs.

Now here they sat twiddling their thumbs waiting for something to happen. An alarm rang, the sounds of a tactical alert, immediately the crew leapt into action as Drescher straightened on her command throne “Report!” she barked to her scanning officer.

“Ma’am the artifact has activated and another vessel has just come through” the young Bosmer told her in a steady voice, fingers flying over the keyboard before him.

“Shields up, weapons ready and comms open. How many ships are through now?” she commanded fully expecting the number of intruders to have increased in the form of another invasion.

“Admiral there is only one ship so far and its profile differs again from those of the Turians.” Came the answer, Drescher closed her eyes and prayed she was not about to make a mistake “Hail them in Turian. And someone get the Voice to the bridge”

FAR Dreams of Peace, Trianum System – Benezia

Benezia felt the ship decelerate beneath her as she stood in the CIC looking through the forward view port as they returned to real space. “Goddess” Breathed her helmsman; a glittering golden fleet hung in the void before them, moving gracefully around a massive six kilometre long ship like attendants around a

With the arrival of the Asari ship they all turned to face the Dream, glaring at the intruder “Prepar…” the comm crackled to life, interrupting and a very Asari like voice spoke in thickly accented Turian “This is Admiral Kastanie Drescher, Commander of the Destroyer Might of the Queens. Leader of the Second
Imperial fleet and a servant of the Nirnian Empire. State your intention or leave. If you fail to comply then we shall use force to expel you.”

Silence reigned over the bridge for a moment before Benezia gathered her wits and replied “Admiral, this is Matriarch Benezia T’soni of the Free Asari Republic, I am here on behalf of the Council to negotiate an end to the hostilities between your people and the Turians.” She held her breath as they waited for an answer from the Admiral.

“Matriarch they have just sent a communication to the planet” her comms told her. The silence stretched into minutes before the Admiral responded “We in the name of our Queens Serana the Pale and Ayrenn II the Golden, invite your Voice of the Council, one aide and four guards to come aboard our Flagship the Might of the Queens to speak with their Voice. May Stendarr guide us this day.”

Benezia nodded “We accept, how will we know where to dock our ship?” there was another pause “have your shuttle follow a guide that we shall send you.” the admiral answered before severing the link.

“is it just me or are those guys really obsessed with their Queens?” One of the bridge crew murmured “maybe their Queens are like Matriarchs, and they all rule together.” another offered with uncertainty.
Shrugging, Benezia turned to Shiala, her personal guard “gather three other commandos and get to the shuttle, we have only one chance at this” She ordered. Shiala saluted and quickly left the room, followed by Benezia who went to quickly dress into a more appropriate formal attire. Now clad in a beautiful yellow dress she hurried to the shuttle to join her aide and four commandos.

As the shuttle emerged from the Dream, a small dart shaped golden fighter with pale blue lights edging its wings and cockpit came out of the fleet and streaked across the distance to stop near the shuttle.
“This one has been given the task of guiding you to the flagship. It would please this one if you followed closely and did not deviate from the path as it would distress this one for you to be blasted from Mundus.” Came over the comms, the message was also in Turian thought he accent was different and the voice was raspy and male.

Carefully the Asari shuttle followed the fighter as it led them through the fleet, weaving through the mass of ships in a path the shuttle was hard pressed to follow. “I think they are testing us” muttered one of the commandos, “looking to find out how maneuverable we are” there was a round of nods before silence once again reigned over the shuttle as each prepared for what would be coming in their own way.

“This is where this one leaves you, may your journeys lead you to warm sands.” Was all that was sent over the comms before the fighter dove away back into the fleet to join the dance of other fighters that moved in wings of matching colours, performing training maneuvers through the fleet like flocks of golden birds.
Through the forward view port they saw the massive golden bulk of the flagship rising before them, the docking bay doors were open and some kind of force field stretched across it. Slowly they entered and the pilot brought the ship to land with the four glowing lights, taking care to line the door of the shuttle up with the lines of solders that she could see stretching out before the shuttle.

NIV Flagship Might of the Queens- Benezia

As Benezia stepped from the shuttle she blinked and felt a small gasp leave her lips. Stretched out before her were thousands of solders arranged in groups of a hundred, standing in glittering gold metal with blue crystal armour and crested helmets in ranks and filling the entirety of the hanger bay that was currently empty of all vessels save her shuttle.

In the front rows stood solders with large rectangular shields embossed with the symbol of a large areal predator. At their sides hung swords, hand axes and maces. Sleek, and highly decorated firearms sat on their backs and thighs, ready for use. Behind them stood those carrying large two handed weapons or massive shields that dwarfed those of the first ranks. After them stood ranks holding bows and large, long barreled sniper rifles. The final rank of soldiers wore robes over their armour and were carrying staffs.

Between the units of hundred stood small, five men groups clad in shining black armour with stripes of colour down their right arms, these were obviously special forces of some kind. Behind the ranks of armour clad soldiers stood precise ranks of aliens wearing black uniforms over tight black body suits, all of them also carried swords at their sides. obviously, the navy of these people.

They were of all sizes and shapes, some had tails, and some were barely five foot while others approached seven. Tall or short, tailed or not, they stood as one unit in complete silence.

A path led, ruler straight from the door of her shuttle through the assembled army to a collection of figures at the far end and was covered in a red carpet. Once her she set foot on the carpet there came a bellow that made her jump.

“LAHVIRN OFAN FIR!!” A voice bellowed and the entire assembled army as one stomped their right foot, then placed their right fists on the left side of their chest shouting in one voice “FIR!”

The air rang from their cry and Benezia walked down the aisle feeling very, very small before the might of these intimidating solders. At the end of the path way she found herself staring at a collection of aliens.

At the fore stood what looked like a tall pink Asari with round ears with flaming copper coloured fur pulled back in a tight bun at the nape of its neck and a pair of icy blue eyes. She was dressed in one of the same black uniforms which consisting of knee high black boots that gleamed with polish, a pair of tight black pants and a high collared black uniform Jacket with red piping along the sleeves and a plethora of medals crowding her right breast. A broach in the shape of the same aerial beast as the one on the shields holding a pin at each end and from which hung five stars hung from her collar and a vicious looking black sword from her left hip with the hands clad in a pair of tight black gloves.

Standing next to the rounded eared alien was an equally tall Asarianoid alien but with glittering golden skin, long pointed ears, sharp golden eyes and deep golden fur that swept away from her face and fell down her back.

She was dressed in a long flowing gown consisting of white and what looked like a seam in the front and heavy silver embroidery on the hem that faded as it crept up the dress. A white bodice with pale blue embroidery and a neckline that left most of the shoulders bare highlighted the silver amulet with a ruby and an emerald set in two interlocking rings.

The sleeves were tight and went to the elbow before falling in long streamers of snow pale fabric, leaving the hands and forearms bare. On a silver chain belt hung a silver dagger covered in golden filigree and with a deep green gem set into the pommel.

Another, much shorter female with a deeper bronze complexion and long pointed ears stood to the left of the gold skinned one. Her deep amber eyes and long chestnut fur complimented by the deep forest green dress she wore. It was of a similar cut as the gold skinned female, but with tight sleeves that ended in a point in the back of her hand and her belt was of gold links.

Around these three stood several of the black armoured guard a thick red stripe bracketed by thinner white stripes down their right arms and with a collection of bladed and modern weapons in their persons.
Benezia drew to a halt before these two aliens and inclined her head respectfully. The round ear spoke

before Benezia could however. “I am Admiral Kastanie Drescher Commander of this ship.”
The golden being spoke next “I am Anatia of house Galeyal, Voice of the Queens aboard this vessel and this is my aide Relena of house Gildleaf.” Her accent was again different from the admiral or the pilot, almost aristocratic sounding with softer vowels and without the rolled r’s that littered the admiral or pilot’s speech. At her introduction the bronze skinned female bowed slightly.

“I am Matriarch Benezia and I have come to negotiate a cease fire between the Turian Hierarchy and your Empire” Benezia replied, her voice calm and smooth despite her hammering heart. There was a flash of some kind of emotion across the face of Admiral Drescher but the ambassador, no Voice she corrected herself remained still.

“This is not the place for such discussions” Voice Galeyal said in what sounded to Benezia a chiding tone as if Benezia was some maiden who had been rude to guests. “Of course” Benezia murmured inclining her head “where would you prefer to speak?” she felt a little flash of vindictive pleasure at having turned the aliens words back at her.

“If you would follow me then we shall proceed to the conference room.” Voice Galeyal replied blinking
unhurriedly, “lead on” Benezia told her politely, feeling her stomach flutter with nerves and her adrenalin begin to flow.

With a small smile Galeyal turned and began to glide away with admiral Drescher on one side and her aide on the other. Benezia followed them, noticing that the seam at the front of the powerful grace with which all three moved. Also, the seem at the front of their dresses were actually slits in the fabric and were mimicked on the back extending all the way to the bodice making it more of a long over coat then a gown.
Beneath the skirt they wore tight black leggings and thigh high black suede boots. A dress that allows for complete freedom of movement and a dagger on diplomats who moved like trained fighters, just what did they expect to happen to their diplomats?

Benezia wondered as she kept pace with the ambassador as they moved down the broad golden hallways decorated by geometric and more floral patterns done in different metals and lit by overhead strips of light. Looking closely she realised that there were figures in amongst the patterns, figures clad in armour and robes clashed against each, others of them in long dresses or robes feasting, dancing, fighting, living.

There were hundreds of these designs, each beautiful and seemed to portray life for these aliens, it added beauty and interest to the halls, “Beautiful are they not?” Voice Galeyal noted, seeing Benezia’s interest in the designs “yes they are, what metals do you use to give them such colours?” Benezia asked, curious .
“Nothing fancy, a simple combination of Stahlrim, Ebony, Corundum, Dwemer, Oricalcum, Malachite, Moonstone and several others but those are the main ones used in the designs.” Voice Galeyal informed her smiling with pride at the designs.

“It was the idea of Queen Ayrenn, though she denies it, saying it was the designers who conceived of the idea. But the end result is that these have been used on every vessel that comes out of the Blackreach Shipyards.”

Now Benezia was confused “I’ve never hear of those metals” she admitted feeling annoyed at her lack of knowledge as it put her at a disadvantage. Galeyal’s eyebrows rose in astonishment as she looked back “really? They are very common in the Empire, but we shall discuss that later, let us be seated now.”
Benezia looked and saw two doors of the same golden metal as the hall with a motif of two women very similar in looks to the voice and the admiral only dressed in archaic armour and pointing with swords toward the center where they met.

The left side was done in some green crystalline materiel and the right in a red one. The doors opened and Benezia was led into an oblong conference room with a long rectangular table filled with chairs save at one end that held two modest thrones made a golden and ice coloured crystal respectively.

Galeyal gestured toward the end opposite the thrones and said “please sit” before taking a her seat gingerly on the golden throne, sitting on just the edge as if ready to leap out at any moment to make way for someone else. This behaviour puzzled Benezia, why was she so uncomfortable sitting on the throne? Admiral Dresher had taken a similar seat on the ice coloured throne, though she seemed to occupy it with more solidity than the Voice did hers. The aide sat in one of the more standard chairs on the voices side, pulling out a thin sheet and picking up a stylus, obviously read to take notes.

Placing those questions away for later Benezia began. “As I said before I am the Asari representative of the Citadel Council and I have been sent to broker a cease fire and hopefully a peace treaty between the Turian hierarchy and your Empire.” She paused and took a deep breath, then continued “The Citadel is the hub of the Galactic community, a space station where various species gather and share ideas, and cultures. This is all ruled over by the Council which has representatives of the Council races and governs galactic community.” She smiled graciously at the three aliens, awaiting their response.

The three looked at Benezia with deep, unfathomable gazes, considering what she had said. Their guards had mimicked Benezia’s and stood with their backs to the wall behind the thrones, their stances somehow simultaneously relaxed and alert.

Voice Galeyal nodded smoothly after a moment and began her speech. “I am the Voice of the Queens in this matter. I represent Queen Ayrenn II, the Foretold of the fourth Aldmeri Dominion and Serana the Ancient of the Skyrim Protectorate. head of the Council of Monarchs, and leaders of the Nirnian Empire. These Turians insulted us greatly and many within the Empire cry out for a blood price for what they did to our colony of Shanxi” she turned her blue eyes to Benezia and waited, her eyes about as warm as space.

Benezia felt a flash of fear as she glanced out the view screen that held the image of the scarred planet in the system. “However, in their wisdom the Queens and the counsel of monarchs have ordered that we not attack you unless provoked. Should these Turians or any other alien do so again, then our vengeance shall be swift and terrible.” Voice Galeyal had leaned forward as she spoke the last part before relaxing back slightly and steepling her fingers, looked at Benezia.

“So now we shall talk. I have questions and I have no doubt that you do as well. In the interest of fairness, we shall take turns no? I shall start. How many races are in your Council?” she raised one brow delicately at Benezia who swiftly stomped down the flash of irritation at the alien’s superior tone before she answered.

“There are three races on the Council. The Asari, the Salarians and the Turians.” She smiled and asked her first question. “May I ask the names of the species in the Empire and their homeworlds?”

A small look of surprise crossed Galeyal’s face “homeworlds? We have only one homeworld and that is Nirn. As for the races that sprang from Nirn there are the Altmer like myself, the Bosmer like Relena, The Dunmer, the Falmer, the Orsimer, the Maomer, the Khajit, the Nords like Admiral Drescher, the Imperials, the Redguard, the Breton, the Argonians, the Giants, the Weres, the Vampires and the Dovah.”

Benezia blinked “you all come from one planet? But that’s impossible, the odds of a planet producing one
sentient species are extremely low. But for one to produce.” she did a swift mental count “Sixteen is completely impossible.” She finished solidly, her voice sure.

Galeyal smiled “then it is good our home did not produce sixteen races, but twenty-three. Sadly the Dwemer and Ayleid mer, as well as the peoples of Akavir and the Sload are extinct.” Benezia felt like she was trapped in a dream.

She felt like the rules on which her universe was based were sliding out from under her, she vaguely heard
Galeyal say “my turn, how many Aetherius faring races are known to the Citadel?” the question woke her up, this was safe ground, almost.

“Aetherius?” she asked uncertainly. The admiral gestured impatiently “Aetherius, where we are currently, and the black void between worlds” comprehension dawned “there are currently eleven know sentient species not counting you.” She answered with a feeling of relief that was swiftly shot down by the Voice’s next words.

“And are they on the Council as well?” Benezia shook her head reluctantly “most of them are client races, there are only three races on the Council.” This seemed to shock the voice and the admiral, their guards shifted and muttered their disapproval.

“You mean that the three races on the Council dictate how the others shall live?” Galeyal’s voice held anger. Cautiously Benezia tried to defend the Council “the Asari and Salarians were among the first to attain space flight, the Turians proved their worth in aiding us to put down the Krogan rebellions. The others are not responsible enough to be on the Council.” As she finished she felt the glares of all the Nirnians in the room.

Galeyal’s eyes were like molten gold, burning fiercely with anger, whilst Admiral Drescher was the opposite, freezing cold, like to hard chips of ice. Aide Gildleaf’s eyes were practically glowing with a feral fury as she looked up from where she had been recording the conversation.

Voice Galeyal stood stiffly “you must excuse me ambassador I must ask you to return to your ship at this time. These talks are not done but I feel that there is little we can accomplish at this moment. I request that you send us a codex of your history and races, we will send you the same. Until we meet again ambassador.” With that she turned and strode out, fury carefully contained inside her posture with her aide hurrying behind her.

Warily Benezia looked at the Admiral and the Guards “Antem Nightingale Spellsword Shepard and her Prolus will escort you to your ship ambassador. Go in peace” the admiral stated before she too stood and left the conference room.

One of the guards, the figure indicated female though she was very short, stood forward “If you will follow me ambassador.” She said in a stiff, angry voice and turned, silently leading Benezia back through the halls to the hanger bay. The legions were gone but rows of fighters, shuttles and various other crafts now sat parked in gleaming militant rows as various crewmembers worked on them, repairing, cleaning and maintaining the various vehicles.

Looking at her own shuttle Benezia couldn’t help but feel slightly ashamed of her shuttle which looked a little ugly and dirty compared to the sleek lines and highly reflective Nirnian ships. What must they think of us? Benezia wondered as they left the ship and another fighter led them back to the Dream of Peace. Please Goddess don’t let this be a failure.

NIV Flagship Might of the Queens- Anatia Galeyal

Anatia barely reached the firing range on time “arrogant blue bitch!” she snarled as she hurled fireballs and lightning down the range immolating the dummies at the far end. “To think that you have the RIGHT to control others” her magica expended but not her rage, she moved to the combat dummy and began hacking it to shreds with her dagger.

“Anatia! Calm down!” the voice of her aide came through her haze of rage. She turned and saw her aide and friend Relena standing in the doorway, her chestnut hair pulled back by two braids rather than the swept back freedom of Anatia’s own hair and her deep amber eyes filled with concern.

“This Council is like the old Thalmor Dominion” Anatia said, anger vibrating her body “smug in their superiority and ready to grind others underfoot because they are not “Worthy”” she snarled the last word spinning and hurling another lightning bolt down the range feeling a savage rush of pleasure as it disintegrated into a pile of sparking ash.

“You must not let this fact upset you” Relena told her walking forward and placing a hand on Anatia’s arm “this Council will see the truth. The Queens will not allow such an injustice to occur for long. Have faith in them” she advised, despite her lower status as a Voice in training she often displayed great wisdom.

Anatia sighed and bowed her head in shame “I acted disgracefully, I would not be surprised if I have destroyed all hope of peace.”

Relena shook her head vehemently “No you have merely made our position clear. Now go eat and begin again. Do not apologise, merely hold your head high and be proud that the Queens rule us, not this Council.”

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