Note: this is an Adult-themed, Science Fiction Space Opera intended for readers over the age of 17.
“Rumor has it you was old."
“Knew a witch. Owed me a big favor.”
Rondal Caldar has a new mission in life: be the sneaky bastard that he was and bring down the enemies of the Commonwealth.
Just to make it more difficult, he'd been cruelly cursed with the unstable geas of his dead father - the deceased Emperor Rakel Timorous Caldarous.
Rondal returns to his birthplace to seek a measure of control over his parasitic dead father, but becomes engrossed with Earthly issues while waiting for his new ship to be completed.
Meanwhile, his imprudent actions have not gone unnoticed by the mother of the woman who'd spurned his love, and she is more than ready to call him to task about it - along with several other agencies that have been less than pleased with his interference in their operations.
His only hope is to get back to work as soon as possible – if Lady Lili's surprise package does not distract him too much in the process.
In The Beginning ...
The universe was dark. Then there was exploded – the Seed of Man.
Inwards towards the central hub did civilizations grow. Mighty empires rose and spread across the spiral arms of this, our home Galaxy. Humankind flourished in a thousand different forms; nurtured by the suns and planets berthed in the fiery core of our majestic home.
And then – Contact! Humankind’s seed discovered one another, but were afeard of their differences!
Chaos and flame spread throughout humankind! Mighty engines of destruction were created, and the ability to destroy planets was soon discovered, but used recklessly so that nowhere was life safe. Entire star systems were cast into ruin; planets shattered and people obliterated.
Then did once mighty empires fall; destroyed by their own hubris. Thus weakened, they failed to learn from their knowledge, then gave up that knowledge entirely.
Bereft and adrift, once again alone and planet bound, the remnants of humanity were reduced to scratching in the dust of what few worlds still sheltered them.
Thus were created the Blighted Worlds of Humankind.
Humankind had Fallen … and Darkness covered the civilizations that had arisen during the great expansion inward.
Seeing their folly and fearing the complete loss of Humankind, a small cluster of planets joined together and set out to evolve – both morally and spiritually.
Inward they grew, each generation learning from the former, until great strength and power was achieved by individuals likened onto that of the Gods.
So great became their power that mere technology was superfluous to their needs.
As each generation grew, they exerted more power and control over their subjects until the yoke of their burden became too heavy for the masses, and chaos reigned once again, and civilization fell once more.
After the last great fall, the few remaining clusters strove to save what they could of Humankind’s civilization and preserve it at whatever cost – but they, too, were eventually racked with internal strife, and this last hope of humankind almost disappeared … until a few – a very few individuals – Found the Light…
A solution was needed, for those few who truly saw and understood their reality, also saw the inevitable weaknesses therein, so a plan was formed.
There would be two ruling species among Humankind.
One, run by the power and drive of the most prominent of males, would have dominion over every global aspect of Humankind’s civilizations. To them would go the burden of protection for the clusters and normalization of commerce between the variations of Humankind, no matter how short or tall, no matter the number of limbs or color of skin. In this lay their greatest strength.
The other took the heart of the female to grant life and nurture it, then raised it to the highest order. These members focused their talents on Healing; bringing solace to the injured and sick, teaching the lesser human races similar skills, and managing the natural aggressiveness of their ruling males to the point where a balance was finally achieved.
This, then, was the situation Humankind determined was most prudent and stable.
The Royal Houses of Kantor bred the leaders of society, those who managed civilization within the Commonwealth, and protected and nurtured Humankind wherever they could find and preserve it.
The Royal House of Cletus managed – in secrecy – the men they let run the Commonwealth; doing so by assignation of suitable Healer companions to guide, advise, and breed with their male counterparts; thus insuring that chaos and power were controlled, and undue ambition was stifled before it became a problem.
With the managed growth and safety of the Commonwealth in mind, the two races, those of Kantor and those of Cletus, ruled in silent cooperation, as those females who were truly in charge knew the folly of public acknowledgement of the lesser status of their male counterparts … and the men, acknowledging their own weaknesses, let them.
So it was for thousands of years – until the unexpected death of the reigning Queen of Cletus forced the new Elder, Lady Kita Qi Shu Tal se Cletus, to assume the throne prematurely. And, as an unfortunate consequence, things didn’t continue quite as smoothly.
Instead of a gradual assumption of her duties, the new Queen struggled through years of self-taught and painfully won knowledge of the Visions – those glimpses of the future that guided the Ruler of Cletus towards the path the Commonwealth was best destined to follow.
With no one to guide her, she was left to determine on her own the most positive outcomes of events that led to the most beneficial effect for the Commonwealth as a whole.
For nearly a thousand years that was sufficient – until she failed to recognize her own failings and became reactive to problems rather than heading them off.
Thus it happened that – at the cusp of what should have been a triumph of planning – a disaster of enormous calamity was allowed to occur when distractions within the Visions took her attention away from specific and dangerous problems within the Royal House itself.
So it came to pass that all of the Elder’s best laid plans for the Commonwealth fell by the wayside, as a relatively minor player, in the role of the First Lord’s Second Wife, spawned twin sons whose sole purpose in life was to eventually drag the Commonwealth to the edge of disaster – and they very nearly would have done so, except for the cunning and fortitude of her most talented and unsuspecting tool; the bastard half-brother of the First Lord himself.
Lord Rondal Caldar, half-breed son of the Kantite Emperor and a lowly Earthling Native American woman, overcame the obstacles placed in front of him and rejoined the fight against the Commonwealth’s latest enemy, the Drecks, by winning a hard fought truce along the Fringe – that no-man’s territory separating the Drecks Hegemony from the rest of humankind’s Commonwealth.
Still shunned by his natural father for his previous failures, Rondal left home and family and took residence at the site of his former failure – an abandoned weapons platform lost in space – to live out the rest of his life and die alone in peace.
Alas, his own youth worked against him and, bored with waiting to die, he studied the forbidden teachings of his previous Healer companion and became infused with the desire to once again go forth and contribute to the benefit of the Commonwealth.
Through years of toil and strife, he struggled forward until finding a place where he felt comfortable and accomplished – returning to his world of birth and helping those lost souls recovered from the Blighted Worlds of Humankind.
There he worked for more than twenty years, and although it made a small difference in the overall scheme of things, it held a huge impact on the lives of those he managed to help.
It was there that he finally met the companion who was to have been his mate so many years ago and found himself falling helplessly in love with Mistress Maya Tal – even though by the standards of their societies they could never marry, nor even bond as such, for he was, to his knowledge, only an Earth-born bastard, and she was a Healer of Cletus.
Still, they worked together and loved together, and found happiness in their little bit of the Commonwealth, while unknown forces within and without worked hard to reveal the secret of their existence on Earth.
The day finally came when it was time to move on, and they’d planned to spend that last day with friends who were also distant family – only to be attacked by their own Earth hosts and driven from the planet’s surface, where they were then attacked by a Drecks cruiser and forced to jump to safety into a Death Void in space – suffering a near fatal crippling of their ship in the process.
Working through those difficulties as a crew, and then as a family, Rondal and Maya brought them together to work and rebuild their damaged ship. On the verge of finally returning to his Commonwealth home, their departure was interrupted by the sudden arrival of his stepbrother, and family, followed shortly after by the Elder herself.
Through trials both painful and revealing, Rondal was eventually forced to make a choice between serving the greater needs of society, or dropping out of that society all together.
Maya, considering herself above the lies and manipulations at the upper levels of the ruling classes, made that decision for him, and denied her feelings for Rondal; thus leaving him free to follow his broken destiny and return to serve the Commonwealth.
But this time the new Elder, Lady Ai, and with the Visions guiding her, tricked Rondal into assuming the geas of his dead father, the Emperor Rakel Timorous; as malignant as he was at the time of his death at the hands of the previous Elder, Lady Kita.
This Rondal was harsher, crueler, and more determined than ever to do what must be done to protect his family, the Commonwealth, and the Crown – and set out to do just that.
Meanwhile, his crew-turned-family was relegated to the care of his stepbrother and his extended Royal family.
Thus, plans were soon put in place to leave the damaged battle platform and return to the Royal Homestead on Kantor …