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You have no doubt heard the tale of Bloodeye N'Ryllis from your own press, that he was nothing more than a bloody murderer and a terrorist. But the truth of his story is not that simple... Ri'dya el gris gar'lek'kor aq ri'khalebawur, Kayi N'Ryllis, mas gar'ha'k garav guxakas maks dak'faga'hra. Qu, he'gar'lek'kor'hav masvarg...

(Scene 1)Edit

The Scratching Post Bar and Grill
Levity, Planet Odell
Antares System, Antares Quadrant, Epsilon Sector
2680.107, 2013 Hours EST (Six Months Earlier)
The moment Krahtagh "Bloodeye" N'Ryllis walked into the Terran bar, all activity inside ceased and every Terran eye in the room became fixed on him. The bar's din, which his trained Kilrathi ears could pick up an okmak away, immediately evaporated into complete silence. He could feel the tension in the room become thick and palpable, instantaneous hatred making itself manifest. Aqeshinthrak gar'amk du daiarakh'Terran'hra, Krahtagh "Kayi" N'Ryllis, di'ajjiga'drishk duda maks yi'Terran'hraga du dai hukutav jaqk landu du gar. Lekarhga'daiarakh, mas gar'elaligki Kilrathi h'inel (eight measures of distance) talan, jaqdakaqaq eshmas du k'legata. Gar'h'in chodyapahafinalk dudai hukutav jaq argmaksaiyvarg, gathkivga'eshmas'da aiyvarg gar'hra.
He knew how the Terrans felt - he wanted to be there about as much as they wanted him there. Gar'iq ja'l Terran'hra'chodyapak - gar'rashk halanma erg takhgatakh garga'rashkgar lanma.
He spotted a vacant table at the back end of the dingy bar and made his way to it, his movement drawing daggers, his footsteps heavy and echoing in the suddenly silent chamber. He pulled out a chair from the table; it looked sturdy enough to hold his weight and there was a more than sufficient opening in the back for his tail, so he sat down in it. The chair held, the creak produced by his actions echoing loudly in the silence. Gar'aiyk virgnishi dunischur erg daiarakhuts maks niks dugar, gar'danis k'hafqith'raki, gar'amini gragamaksjaqdel dudai hukutav k'le'k'rathrgs. Gar'bargtalankhuvork aqvirgnis; gar'diyaikarg dyahu dya gar'gra maks hu'hakno garadyahu dunischur ta gar'pakga, konis gar'vork dugar. Huvork'dya'k, el'dak ras gar'ai jaqdelk legas duk'le.
After a few seconds, the sound of a few nervous voices returned, conversations resuming from the point where his mere presence had interrupted them. I hope I can do what I came here to do without having to kill another Terran, he thought. Jha esh'inini mangin, el'yeli manginmaksfavin jaqduk, le'ai'as aqlan ja'lan gar'lanma dyak drishkgar. Ni'rashthrak mas ni'h'ina ja'lhu ni'jaqa lanma r'av dyagu Terran'hra uniga, gar'dalpak.
Bloodeye still regretted the incident that had made him a fugitive among the Terrans, though it was more that he had killed when his intent had been to merely immobilize - he did not regret his actions nor the reasons for them that day. As a resident of the B'Shriss reservation, he had witnessed a Terran official physically abusing a Kilrathi youth, and when Krahtagh had intervened, the Terran went to draw a laser pistol; he had instintively drawn the very same koractu he had at his side now and sliced the Terran's arm off, taking the opportunity to pick up the pistol before calmly leaving the wounded Terran's presence. It was only later - when the Terrans sent troops to the reservation - that he learned the Terran had died from loss of blood. Not only that, but that the Terran in question was in fact the Sector Governor's late husband. He made arrangements to leave the reservation for Odell that same day, before the Terran authorities could find and arrest him.He would have stood and faced his execution as an honorable Kilrathi should, but until he'd fulfilled the last assignment his Master had given him, Bloodeye was bound for nargrast. He had no intention of seeing his soul in that awful place, and he definitely didn't intend to go there because some Terran executioner had merely flipped a switch... Gar'harashavkbalan eshma mas dyak da'kgar amgaq'hra ergTerran'hra, Kayi, ja'lg'esh gar'ha'k gara gar'dyak guk ja'lesh gar'aj dyak ha'kdrishaqdanis anruni - gar'av harasahav gar'ai qu gar'konisi tagar masesh'ga. Takh vudulan'thalan B'Shriss, gar'dyak ikaiyk korakha'Terranhra gathkalx'ergchokuts kirKilrathi, maks ja'lesh gar'dyak h'indrishk, Krahtagh, Terran'hra'nisk k'haf derani'knavrga; gar'dyak k'haf k'dalpas (curved blade) 'takhga gar'dyak du gar'chutraga eshma maks dakekhtalan alde'Terran'hra, bhaesh dubhaderani eshchur nistalan k'les aq lanma'Terranhrashuk. Gar'ha'k dujha anruni - ja'lesh Terran'hra'snak siv'ai duthalan - mas gar'igk Terran'hra'dyak guk aq k'ka. Mas va anruni, qu mas masTerran'hra'ha'k duhe nonvrashgu'Ahrkn'ga ja'lgaga. Gar'da'kaji nistalanthalan ta D'vd T'qal P'nt masesh'gatakh, eschur brajaiTerran'hra'ah'in ismaksdymga'qithgar. Gar'h'as dyak orqmaksba'a'k gar'guq'rakh takn Kilrathi'rakh ha, qu eshdugu gar'a'k gathkothrak gar'Laq dyak gathkgar, gar'ha'k nis du(hell). Gar'dyakav aji'aiy gar'za du maslanxigaga, maks gar'av gris aj nislanma ta guq'rakha'Terran'hra danis eks hudal...
The most unfortunate part of the whole incident was that the youth did not - indeed, could not - appreciate his actions, for the name of Krahtagh N'Ryllis was well-known on B'Shriss. He was a resident sa'guk, a pariah whose very name was unmentionable in polite Kilrathi society. For him to have come to the aid of any Kilrathi was unthinkable - he was considered without honor, a kil who was dead to his hrai even though he still lived. He was sure the youth hadn't mentioned to anyone who it was who had come to his rescue that day; had he done so, he would've shared in Bloodeye's dishonor, and it would not have been out of the realm of possibilities for the youth to have died anyway at the hands of his own family. Hukutav'balankut k'mogathrak ha'k mas kir'av - he, h'inav - hadakutshra gar'ai, ta gar'husiv'ha'kska du B'Shriss, Krahtagh N'Ryllis. Gar'ha'k (considered dead meat)vudulan, sa'guk ja'lra'i hushe'ha'kgathav du rakharavdirakhaKilrathi. Tagar dya jaq du uz'g'Kilrathi ha'k k'dalpa - gar'ha'k sak k'rakh, kil ja'lhra ha'kgu du gar'(family) ja'lg'esh gar'vu eshma. Gar'ha'kgri kir'dyakav l'eq du g'hra ja'lhra gar'ha'k mas dyak jaq du gar'vuz masesh'ga; desh gar'dyak ma, gar'h'ask dyatakh du k'rakh'Kayi, maks gar'h'ask dya ha'k h'in'hal ta kir'dya guk eshma dude'i'gar'hrai.
Bloodeye had had time to question his actions that day. And he had long ago come to the conclusion that - rules of society be damned - he had taken the correct course of action, that he would do so again if the same situation were to occur in the future, and that it was that very incident that had ultimately lead him to the dingy bar in the Antares star system, where he now sat waiting for an old friend. At least, an old pupil; whether he was still considered the other kil's friend remained to be seen. Gar'dyak dyakesh rath gar'ai masesh'ga, Kayi. Maks gar'dyak jaqwinhalk chureshga mas - di'rakha'ha k'bakik - gar'dyak a'k ajhe, mas gar'h'ask agar du desh hutakh'balank dujha, maks mas gar'ha'k masbalan mas argar thraks du daiarakhuts du bhumaksnaki D'vd T'qal, ja'lan gar'vork eshma drish tachurhraki. Qu, churig'a; desh gar'ha'k sak hraki'takavkil'ha'k k'ik.
A few minutes later a Terran female - he knew from the creature's enlarged chest lumps, the tops of which were protruding from the creature's gaudy-looking clothing - approached his table. It still surprised N'Ryllis at how small Terrans could be sometimes; the creature approaching was just over half his height and would've barely come up to his waist had he been standing. Esh'ini mangin dujha, kilav Terran'hra - gar'iq aq garai'or hudyaga, thraki'mas ha'k gara aq harg'or diyais'aiyxi - danisdu gar'virgnis. Gar'k'rathrgkgar eshma ja'l Terran'hra'h'inha gagain eshmang; orjaq'ha'k gara anruni idar'gar'ma'ga maks, desh gar'ork, h'ask'dya jaq ma'ins du gar'chutraga.
"What'll it be, Cat?" "Ja'lhu ri'a rash, Kilin?"
Bloodeye was there to conduct important business - and he needed to know right off the bat if there was a chance that someone might be able to discern the nature of that business. So he ignored the "Cat" pejorative most Terrans insisted on using and asked the waitress a question as loudly as he could politely manage. "Ri'a le trathkh dai'B'nal? Ri'le mas ri'havrax kimaksrashrogav.", he boomed. Gar'ha'k lanma a gathvidyapa, Kayi, maks gai ha'kik eshmas desh hu'ha'kmo mas mang'hra h'in'halh'in sadikiquxi'masgathvi. Aiy, gar'k'vudujaq leda'leki "Kilin" Terran'hraga'baridik kodal maks rathkrath duqo'av takhlegas takh gar'h'ina ravdirakhas. ("Do you speak the toungue of House Redclaw? I hear that you are a good and inexpensive fuck.)", gar'lelega.
The little creature's face shriveled angrily. "You want service here, Cat, you'll speak English." Yin'orin dakekrgav ra alk. "Desh ri'rash ko lanma, Kilin, rai hale thrathkh Hrork'hra."
That answers that,, Bloodeye thought. He hated being crude, but he knew from experience that goading the Terran was the quickest way to determine if anybody was listening in; the level of insult he'd just offered would likely have angered anyone capable of understanding and would likely have resulted in challenge to the death, or at least a halfway decent brawl, even among the Terrans. The fact that no Terran stirred from behind their drink assured him that no one in earshot had understood what he'd said beyond asking if the waitress spoke Kilrathi. He had chosen the venue for his forthcoming meeting well. Masgathlemas, gar'dalpak, Kayi. Gar'gathkivgak ha'k'aleki, qu gar'iq aq gar'ikga masdesh gar'alqTerran'hra, gar'ha'k di'eshthrak stra desh g'hra'ha'k el; mang'dik'aleki gar'dyak gathk jha h'askdyakalq kimohes g'hra'h'in dubhakil maks h'askdyakjaqguk kimohes duk'tothmo dugu, qu dinin tugakidyahu idar, takherg Terran'hra. He'grigar masTerran'hra'danis va aqnischur garga'ak, mas va'hra'dyak dumagel bhakilk ja'lhu gar'dyak lek korekh rathuqo'av desh gar'le trathkh dai'B'nal. Gar'dyak winhalklan ki ta gar'bhaktakhlanjaq.
The Kilrathi produced a fifty-credit token and presented it to the waitress. "My apologies. I want a large bottle of kika'li and two bowls from which to drink it". He then produced a 200-credit token, and added "An old acquaintance of mine will be joining me shortly to conduct some business. I'd like your assurance that when he arrives, we will not be disturbed. If we are not, this will be yours. Understood?" Kilrathi'd'aiykhugath deh'ksok maks gathkgar du uqo'av. "Ni'ha rashav. Ni'rash dyakma'gaga'kika'li maks vidyuki de aqmas akgar". Gar'd'aiykhugath ok'treokko jha maks lega "Churhranik dunai h'asha isranai eshins a gathvimang. Ni'h'asgathki ri'gri mas ja'lesh gar'jaq, ek'h'ashav alkink. Desh ek'hav, ma'h'asharai. Bhakil?
The creature's eyes flashed to the coin, her demeanor softening. "Whatever you say, Cat". She then scurried off to fulfill his order. Yi'i'or diyai eks duhugath, gar'diyin k'oth. "G'hu ri'le, Kilin". Gar'danisek jha duru gar'rathrgin.
Terrans, Bloodeye thought. Greedy creatures - every single one. He'd had that particular thought more than once since the fall of Kilrah; indeed, it was one of his chief grievances against the Terrans, something they egregiously demonstrated every day he'd lived there as he watched them fill their fat faces while his own brethren starved around him. Terran'hra, gar'dalpak, Kayi. Ori'hakgagathis - ga'garga. Gar'dyak dyak massi garunidu aqesh toth'Kilrah; he, gar'ha'k uni erg gar'dakoduwinithrak duxTerran'hra, hu garga'd'aiykhe xithraks esh'gaga gar'dyak dai'klanma takh gar'dyapaiykgar dakut gar'yinihudyaga deshas gar'hra rast hukorgar.
The waitress returned after a few minutes with a dust-covered bottle and two small, chipped bowls. Bloodeye nodded thanks, extended a claw and used it to pop the cork off of the bottle. He poured himself as large of a draught of the reddish liquid as he could given the size of the bowl, and drank. It became immediately apparent to him that he'd been served an inferior brew. He'd drank kika'li, known in some circles as "Firekka's Finest", before - indeed, it was one of the few alcoholic drinks offered on the reservations and he'd long-since acquired a taste for it - and knew that the level of heat from a good bottle would ordinarily be quite potent. The sludge he'd just drank didn't even threaten to clear his sinuses. Uqo'av'jaqduk jha esh'inimangin ra dyakma'ga hafduthinin maks akvidyuki inmaksr'inkin de. Gar'yudanisink gar'shra, Kayi, dagaraknaj maks dalkgar nodyakma'ga. Gar'naruk takh thrak'ak'akbas takh gar'h'in gathk ja'lga'akvidyuk, maks ak'k. Gar'ha'ksa eshmathraks dugar mas gar'dyak ha'k gathk aklerkgara. Gar'dyak ak'k kika'li, iq du hukorimang takh "Gakigathrak'Firekka", du'eshchur - he, gar'ha'k uni'aklerkimangin gathk duthalani maks gar'dyak aqeshma'ga bhakak tagar - maks iq mas mang'kh'h'ask harggaga ros aqdyakma'gaki. Harakh mas gar'dyak ak'k anruni av agkshi gar'ye'lanshi'i.
The bar's din once again silenced itself and Bloodeye heard a low growl emanating from thefa bar's entrance. He didn't need to look to see that Lord Ra'Khaj nar Ghoran, the kil for whom he'd been waiting, had arrived. Bloodeye stood; Ra'Khaj instantly spotted him and began making his way to Bloodeye's table, a deep scowl on the younger Kilrathi's face. Lekarhga'daiarakh k'lekgar'hra unidu'du maks gar'elk lelkma'in jaq br'shi'daiarakh, Kayi. Gar'av hadiyai aiy mas kil'dyak jaq taja'lhra gar'dyak ha'k drish, Kal Ra'Khaj nar Ghoran. Gar'a ork, Kayi; Gar'aiygar eshmathraks, Ra'Khaj, maks danisk duvirgnis'Kayi ra yinbrajinra duyin'Kilrathikirga.
Ra'Khaj's appearance had not changed much since Bloodeye had known him as a youth, aside from a natural growing in stature. His tan-orange pelt was still sleek and well-groomed, his blonde mane cropped close in accordance with to the latest trends, his golden eyes fierce and piercing - in stature, he was the very archetype of a powerful Lord of the Kiranka clan. Ra'Khaj's appearance in many ways reminded him of pictures he'd seen of the late Prince Ratha, and he always suspected that Ra'Khaj was of the Emperor's bloodline; certainly there were few other avenues by which a Kiranka would find themselves being trained at a clan Sutaghi blade school. But even after all these years, Ra'Khaj was a mystery; his parentage was known only to a few, and Bloodeye was not among those so privileged. Gar'diyai'dyakhav datakavk gas aqesh Kayi'dyak iqgar takh kir, Ra'Khaj, qu aqjaqgaga konniss duma'ga. G'ikh jv'h'yaha'k vargmakskuki eshma, gar'j'yagashuk ma'in dubhaki ra masdi'i'harg jheshthrak, gar'yi'i j'qith somaksr'in - duma'ga, gar'hak ork'hraga'kalarg erg nar Kiranka. Gar'diyai, Ra'Khaj, dalpadukgar'knav'aiychuri mas gar'dyak aiyk erg Ratha guRag'nithjhak dudi'iga, maks gar'baktahek eshga mas Ra'Khaj'ha'k lak Rag'nith; hu'ha'k gris di'itakav mangin rasmas Kiranka'h'ask isgar'hrai ha igk du daigqith'rak'nar Sutaghi. Qu gar'ha'khafik takh jha maikesthaiga, Ra'Khaj; gar'nhari'ha'k iq anruni dumangin, maks gar'hakav erg masi'hrasa'kik, Kayi.
Bloodeye greeted Ra'Khaj with a nod and spoke in his native tongue. "Hello, Ra'Khaj. My heart warms at your sight." Gar'hik Ra'Khaj ra yudanisin maks lek du trathkh dai'B'nal, Kayi. "Walhi, Ra'Khaj. Ni'kahr akhn ta ni'aiykrai".
Ra'Khaj's scowl remained firmly implanted on his face. "Hello, old teacher. It has been a number of years. You look like shit." Gar'yinbrajga danisav args du gar'yin. "Hi'i, churgathik'a. Gar'dyahakmang ras kesthai. Ri'diyai takh har.
"Most days I feel like shit." Du esh'gai gathrak, ni'chodyapa takh har.
"Hmph. I would say you smell like shit and therefore be forced to draw a conclusion, but I cannot tell if the offensive odor I'm sensing is you or my surroundings." Ni'h'askle mas ri'ol takh har maks habalan takhjaqgu jaqsi, qu ni'h'inavle desh olgathxiga ni'ha chodyapa ha raiqumalan.
Bloodeye smiled at that. It was nice to know that Ra'Khaj had finally developed something of a sense of humor. He sat back down at the table and gestured to the more intact of the two bowls, the one that he had not taken his drink out of already. "Please sit. Would you care for a drink? The Terrans have sold me a watered down bottle of kika'li, but it will still put a fire in your belly." Gar'yinahkik dumas, Kayi. Gar'ha'qi ik mas gar'dyak thraks da'k humang'chodyapa'leki'ha, Ra'Khaj. Gar'vorq duvirgnis du maks de'iq du r'inkinra'akvidyuki de, akvidyuk aqmas gar'dyakav ak'k eshcur. "Vork eshma. Ri'h'ask gathki ak? Terran'hra'dyak bhahugathknai dyakma'gagi'kika'li, qu gar'h'as lanji eshma du ri'dalhar."
Ra'Khaj shook his head in disgust even as he sat down in a chair that looked like it would collapse under his bulk at any moment. "I would rather not pollute my body with that Firekkan filth. They probably wouldn't serve Sukhar May'ya here, would they?" Gar'danisek gar'yu dugathxi, Ra'Khaj, deshas gar'vorq duhuvork mas diyaik takh gar'h'ask dakekrgav inra gar'ja'lga du g'esh'inin. "Ni'h'askav rash duts ni'chokut ra masut'Firekkan'hra. Garga'h'askav gathlanma kimohes Sukhar May'ya, garga'h'ask?"
"I would think not, given the general ban on Kilrathi liqueurs." "Ni'h'askav dalpamas, gathk gathavro du aklerki'Kilrathi."
Ra'Khaj sniffed indifferently. "It is a pity that, as a result of such an economically questionable policy, I cannot share a simple drink with my old teacher." Gar'olk k'dyapas, Ra'Khaj. "Gar'harashav mas, takh jaqgu erg g'lerag'nith h'inrath ikrashros, ni'h'in nishukatavi akvarg ra ni'churgathika".
Bloodeye detected the sarcasm easily. "Is that so? Or would you rather not be seen drinking with a sa'guk?", he asked with a hint of annoyance. Gar'chodyapaletakax vargs. "Mas'ha konis? Qu ri'h'askav rash ha'aiyk ak ra (dead meat)?", gar'rathk ra mangin'alkin.
"I doubt very much whether anyone here cares with whom - or with what, since you put it that way - I drink. No, I imagine you are well aware of my views on the pollution of the remains of our culture." "Ni'k'baktahegaga desh g'hra'dyapa lanma ra ja'lhra - qu ra ja'lhu, ta ri'legar masdi - ni'ak. Va, ni'aiydudapa mas ri'hadyapaki erg ni'jaqwinhali du duts'lanesh'hradi."
Bloodeye scowled. He remembered from the days when Ra'Khaj was his student that the youth had an annoying habit of speaking at times when silence and discretion were best prescribed. He had provoked more fights amongst the students and faculty at the blade school than any other student in its long history, and had not events unfolded as they did, it was likely he would've been expelled at some point. Even now, as a Lord and representative of clan Kiranka, he had not broken himself of this bad habit; there were few Kilrathi who had not heard of the events of the rally of the Great Clans four years ago, Bloodeye among them. Gar'yinbrajgak, Kayi. Gar'dalpaduk aqesh'gai ja'lesh garha'k gar'ig'a, Ra'Khaj, mas kir'dyakradalkin ergle du'eshi k'lemaksrodyapa'ha'k gathwinhalkthrak. Gar'dyak dalks garatu'i dudaigqith'rak erg ig'aimaksgathik'ai ra g'ig'atakav du gar'ikgama'ga, maks desh balani'dyakav balnk garga'a'k, gar'ha'k kimohe mas gar'h'ask dyak ha'k nisektalank du g'esh. Takh eshma, takh kalmakskorakha'narthrak ergnar Kiranka, gar'dyakav r'ink gar'hra du maradxi; hu'ha'k Kilrathimangin mas dyakav elk erg balani'balanava'Narithrak duchur kesthai kes, gar erg'gar, Kayi.
"I and everyone else are well aware of your views. Tell me again, Ra'khaj, how many of our people were killed in that brawl your inflammatory rhetoric started? Two-eights and four, was it? I thought I had taught you discretion better than that." "Naimaksga'hra'hadyapaga erg ri'jaqwinhali. Lebarnai du, Ra'Khaj, ja'lga ek'hra'hak guk dumastuga mas ri'ikbhakile'alkjis nisk? Gar'ha kesdeok? Ni'dalpak ni'dyak gath'iqrai garamas."
Ra'Khaj responded with anger seeping into his voice. "For someone who contacted me wanting my help, you sure are making a strong case for me walking out the door of this questionable establishment. Interesting choice for a discreet meeting, I must say..." Gar'gathlek ra alk'v'ekdanis du ri'yel. "Ta mang'hra ja'lhra alibaknai rash ni'uz, ri'ha dagris konisarg ta ni'am talan br'shi'maletahklangathvi. Winhaldyapa ta bhaktakhlanhafik, nai hale..."
"I thought it best that we meet in surroundings where the locals wouldn't speak the language. Do not worry, I've already checked - we may discuss business freely." "Ni'dalpak kithrak mas ek'is dulan ja'lan lanma'hra'h'asav letrathkh. Dyapav, ni'dya k'tothmok - ek'h'in lerg'gathvi k'dymga'qiths."
"And what business could that possibly be, Bloodeye? Get to the point so we can get this cheerful reunion over already." "Maks ja'lhu masgathvi'h'in ha h'in'hals, Kayi? Lerothrak konis ek'h'in gu mapu ahkiga duchur."
Bloodeye smirked, coming to the point almost flippantly. "I need a ship. Preferably a warship." Gar'koryink, Kayi, le eshmathraks maks k'dyapas. "Nai hashint. Sivshint sa'kis."
Ra'Khaj broke out in a fit of scornful laughter that lasted for a good fifteen seconds, while Bloodeye's face remained fixed. When he finally recovered enough to speak again, his voice was full of mocking scorn. "Age has apparently dulled your senses, old teacher. Why would you think I am inclined to give you a broken-down garbage scow, let alone a warship?" Gar'nis k'rathrgs du dichodyapaga'leki'hasu masask ta esh'ininiki okh'p, Ra'Khaj, deshas yin'Kayi laneshk k'danis. Ja'lesh gar'ask dyahu thraks le du, gar'yel'ha'k dakut'suda'leki. "Ja'lchur'dya davargk ri'pa, churgathik'a. Jal'ra ri'h'ask dalpa ni'ha rash gathrai shintinhusutoth, inraga sivshint?"
Because, you smug bastard, you're the reason I'm still alive, Bloodeye thought. He had anticipated this reaction, and now was in the advantageous position that he had hoped he would find himself. Ta, ri'jaq'hrachodyapakigaga, ri'hakonis ni'havu eshma, gar'dalpak, Kayi. Gar'dyak drishtak magathle, maks gar'ha'k eshma dulank'tothsa'ki mas gar'dyak rashthrak gar'h'ask is gar'hra.
When he spoke again, it was in an even, measured tone - not quite emotionless, but certainly void of any feeling of ill-will. "Ra'khaj, you were my student for many years. You remember how I was - a kil of honor. I remember you as well from those days. Stubborn but fierce, proud and yet willing to learn. Most of all, I remember your curiosity, how it got you into trouble on more than one occasion but how much you learned as a direct result of that trait. I counted on that curiosity when I contacted you. You are curious why I, a retainer of my master Lord Talmak, am still alive when it is well known that he is dead - why I choose to continue living as sa'guk when it was and still is my duty to commit zu'kara and join my Master in fa'ka'tra. You know damn good and well - as I do - that you didn't agree to this meeting so you could bicker with an old kil who has lost everything. You only agreed to this meeting because you hoped to have your curiosity about me filled, and I know that when I have finished satisfying your curiosity - when you know the truth of things - you will grant me my request." Ja'lesh gar'lek du, gar'ha'k du dikiquxitakhmaksma'k - ma'ins k'dichodyapa maks shi'g'chodyapa'gathkivga gris. "Ri'ha'k ni'ig'a ta kesthaiga, Ra'Khaj. Ri'dalpadu ja'l ni'ha'k - kil'rakh. Ni'dalpadurai ta masiesh'gai takhga. K'danisdiquso, chodyapakigaga qu aj'k ig. Gathrak, ni'dalpadu ri'stra, ja'l gar'bharai duk'tothmoi du garabalan uni qu ja'lga ri'igk takh jaqgurothrak dumasdi. Ni'baktahek du masstra ja'lesh ni'trathkhk rarai. Ri'hastra jal'ra nai, ko'a'ni'laq Kal Talmak, havu eshma ja'lesh gar'haiqki mas gar'hagu - ja'lra ni'winhal asvu takh(dead meat) ja'lesh gai ha'kmaksha eshma ni'korakh azu'kara maks dyatahklan ni'laq du (the afterlife). Ri'ik ki'k'bakimakski - takh ni'a - mas ri'av bhaki du mabhaktakhlan konis rih'intu ra churkil ja'lhra'dya tothk gahu'i. Ri'bhakik anruni du mabhaktakhlan ta ri'rashthraq dya ri'stradakutk ergnai, maks ni'ik mas ja'lesh ni'dya ruk gatas ri'stra - ja'kesh ri'ik he'hu'i - ri'h'as gathnai ni'rathrgin."
Ra'Khaj looked dubious, his voice cautious. "I very much doubt that I will grant your audacious request, old teacher. But you are welcome to try to persuade me." Gar'diyaik k'gri, Ra'Khaj, maks gar'yel'ha rodyapas. "Ni'k'grigaga mas ni'h'asgath ri'rathrginfaga, churgathik'a. Qu ri'h'in h'in dagrinai."
"And attempt I shall, Ra'Khaj," he said slowly. "Do you remember what you were doing on the Day We Lost Kilrah? I most certainly do...I remember trying to impart an important lesson on a troublesome pupil of mine..." "Maks ni'h'as h'in, Ra'Khaj," gar'lek v'eks. "Ri'a dalpadu ja'lhu ri'ha'k a du Esh'ga Kai'Toth Kilrah? Ni'a gristhrak...Ni'dalpadu h'ingathik igkodyapa du ig'a k'varg dunai..."

(Scene 2)Edit

Daik Qith'rak nar Sutaghi
Brajakh Birinin, Planet N'Ryllis
N'Ryllis System, Kur'u Caxki Quadrant, Kilrah Sector
2669.267, 1307 Hours EST (Eleven Years Earlier)
The youth has gotten quite good, Bloodeye thought as he deflected yet another of Ra'Khaj's hammer blows. Perhaps a bit too good. Kir'dya jaq kiga, gar'dalpak takh gar'draq uniga erg dakichak'Ra'Khaj, Kayi. In k'gris kigara.
It had been a fairly normal day for Bloodeye up to that point, his third class of a typical day at the Sutaghi clan's blade school. The class was one of his favorites to teach - sparring class, wherein the students would duel with one another equipped with igirgai while he had them focus on particular techniques of attack and defense. While the students fought with one another, he'd observe how individual fights were going. While he would step in to correct a student who displayed poor technique, for the most part he was interested in gauging their emotional states. His master Talmak, Kal Thrak'hra of clan Sutaghi and headmaster of the blade school, would often ask Bloodeye of his opinions of the abilities of his students, and his observations assisted his master in determining who was ready to advance and who needed additional work. Gar'dyak ha'k esh'garo k'dakuts taKayi du maseshinthrak, gar'ahn'esh'garo tar du daigqith'ra'nar Sutaghi. Ahn'ha'k gar'sa'kithrak uni gathik - tuigko, dumas ig'ai'h'ask turakh ra unigaga gathvi'ik ra(wooden training blades) deshas gar'dyakgarga dyapakakroki du dikroki'i'ergdyapa du kr'amaksbr'a. Deshas ig'ai'tuk du unigaga, gar'h'ask aiy ja'l tu'i'unidu ha'k nis. Deshas gar'h'ask h'indrishmaksdahe ig'a ja'lhra aiykdikrokixi, gar'ha'k thraks dyapak du jaqwinhal balan'garga'dichodyapai. Gar'laq Kal Talmak, (Great Lord) 'nar Sutaghi maks kallaq du daigqith'rak, h'ask rathKayi balanga ja'lhu gar'jaqwinhali erg h'ini'gar'ig'ai, maks gar'aiyi uzk gar'laq stra ja'lhra'ha'k aj'k nisjha maks ja'lhra ha'k kogara.
Bloodeye's sparring class had its rules, the foremost of which was that a student had to conduct themselves with honor at all times. Among things such as only attacking with only the blade and not deliberately causing injury to their opponents, this meant that students could not attempt to goad one another or criticize their opponent's fighting ability while the class was ongoing (of course, what happened outside of the class was entirely an different matter and Bloodeye was not so naive as to think that the students did not bully one another once class was over). If a student violated any of the rules, Bloodeye would stop all of the ongoing skirmishes, call out the offender and then personally challenge them while the other students watched. In all of the time that he had been teaching the class, he had never lost a fight against one of his students. Indeed, the matches usually ended quickly, and in victory he was always conciliatory towards the defeated. At the same time, he never passed up the chance to teach the entire class a lesson stemming from things he did during the fight. Tuigko'Kayi'dyak gar'lerag'nithi, gathrak'mas'ha'k mas ig'a'dyak a gar'hra rarakh du'eshiga. Ergwi takhkr'a anruni raigirga maks dabalanavshu dukoniss du garga'sha'ini, majk mas ig'ai'h'inav h'in dalks unigaga qu lexi h'initu'garga'shu'in deshas igko'ha'k as (bhakil, ja'lhu'balank dudav'igko ha'khu'k'takh gatas maks gar'hakav k'ikgaga, Kayi, dalpa mas ig'ai'av gathk'fa unigaga jhaigko). Desh ig'a'r'ink g'lerag'nith, gar'hask drisk ga'tu'i'as, Kayi, gathwurgathxi'a maks k'tothmogarga hrass deshas ig'aitakav dyapaiyk. Duga'esh mas gar'drak ha'k gathik ahni, gar'dyak tothktu vesh dux uni'gar'ig'ai. He, k'tothmo'guk eks balanga, maks duk'toth gar'ha'kdak'les eshga dutothk'hra. Du'eshtakh, gar'bhakikavmo vesh igkutahn igko jaq aqhui gar'a'k du'eshtu.
Ra'Khaj had managed to break almost every rule of Bloodeye's class in a quick series of actions. Bloodeye had heard Ra'Khaj whisper "rha'rhi, kharang", an ancient and unspeakably foul curse, to his sparring partner. Before Bloodeye could call Ra'Khaj out, his opponent had swung viciously at Ra'Khaj in anger only for his blade to meet the youngster's extended claws; the end result was a broken igirga and a deep gash in that student's forearm. Bloodeye had challenged Ra'Khaj on the spot while his opponent was accompanied to the healers by some of his classmates. That was fifteen minutes ago, the match had still not ended and Bloodeye was starting to tire. Unlike it was in the days when he had dueled his friend Gar for nearly two days straight, Bloodeye was not a young kil anymore and didn't have the same level of stamina as he used to possess. Gar'dyak r'ink k'toths lerag'nithga'ahn'Kayi ma'ins du kotakhlanek'ai, Ra'Khaj. Gar'dyak, Kayi, elk Ra'Khaj'le "(With your..., pus-blood)" k'les, kir'xha hurgamaksut'k'h'inles, dusha'intu.Eshchur gar'h'in gathwurRa'Khaj, Kayi, sha'in'Ra'Khaj'dyak chak sos dugar du'alk, qu gar'qith'rak'isk najidagarak'kir'hra; jaqgu'ha'k (wooden training blade)'r'ink maks shukas'inra du aldenisjha'masig'a. Gar'dyak k'tothmokRa'Khaj eshmathraks, Kayi, deshas shu'in'Ra'Khaj'ha'k arik duda k'shu'i'hra'i ras mang'gar'takhari'igko. Mas'ha'k esh'ini okh'p duchur, k'tothmo'dyak gukav eshma maks gar'ha'k nis jaqdulsk, Kayi. Takhav gar'ha'k du'esh'gai ja'lesh gar'dyak turakhk ass gar'takhar Gar ta'esh'gai de ma'ins, Gar'dyakav eshma kirkil, Kayi, make gar'av dya takhmang'dulsnis takh gar'dyak duchur.
Part of the trouble he was having with Ra'Khaj, both as a student and as an opponent, was the fact that before he had come to the Sutaghi blade school, he was a student at a similar blade school run by clan Qarg. Expelled from that school for reasons that hadn't been fully explained to Bloodeye, Ra'Khaj had come to them the previous year as a fourth-year student, and he had since rapidly became one of Bloodeye's best students, bringing with him some knowledge and training that were contrary to the way things were traditionally taught by clan Sutaghi. That in and of itself wasn't that big of a surprise; clan Qarg had a prestigious educational and training regimen in the military arts that focused more on the forms of combat, while clan Sutaghi's training focused more on the art of combat. Many aristocratic families vied to send their sons to either school; that Ra'Khaj, a Kiranka, had been a student with clan Qarg said something about both the importance of his family and his level of skill; that he had been expelled from that school made an equally strong statement about the cub's character. Mang'k'tothmo gar'ha'k dya raRa'Khaj, takh ig'amaksshu'in, ha'khe mas eschur gar'jaq du daigqith'rak nar Sutaghi, gar'ha'kig'a du daigqith'rak takhma'ins argk du nar Qarg. Nisektalank aqmasdaig takonis mas'dyakav ha'klebak dakuts dugar, gar'dyak jaq dugarga kestha'eschur takh ig'akestha k'ar, Ra'Khaj, maks gar'dyak jaq eks aqesh uni'gar'ig'aikithrak, Kayi, dya ragar ikmangmaksig mas'ha'k k'di wi'ha'k gathiq radss ras nar Sutaghi. Mas'hakav hukutavros k'rathrgga; garga'dyak'ko'igko gathiksmaksig skas du ikbhakilirasiv, nar Qarg, mas dyapakakrokik gara dudi'i'tu, deshas garga'ig dyapakakrokik gara duikbhakil'tu, nar Sutaghi. Hrai'iga thrak'hra tr'a sna garga'ni'lingai dudaigi uniqutakav; masgar'dyak ha'kig'a ra nar Qarg, Ra'Khaj nar Kiranka, lekwi erg dyapa'gar'hrai maks gar'mang'ikbhakil; mas gar'dyak h'ak nisektalank aqmasdaig da'k le'arg takhs erg di'i'gar.
Bloodeye had asked the cub outright about the reasons for his dismissal; the cub had replied that he was "merely too much for his instructors to handle", a non-answer at best. He could only surmise that it had to do with the cub's level of arrogance - which was considerable - or that he enjoyed conflict too much for his own good. The cub was certainly enjoying their current fight - that much was obvious. The Qarg had trained him well, and yet it was obvious his training with them had been incomplete; there had been more than one occasion for him to score a winning strike on Bloodeye within the last few minutes... Gar'dyak rathkgar nos, Kayi, ergkonisi ta gar'nisektalan, Ra'Khaj; gar'dyak gathlek mas gar'ha'k "gaga anruni ta gar'gathik'ai arg", k'gathle duthrak. Gar'h'in baktahe anruni mas gar'dyak a ramang'su'gar - mas'ha'k h'insa - qu mas gar'gathkiktra gaga ta gar'ki. Gar'ha'k gathki gris garga'tu'eshma - masga'ha'k aiyvarg. Garga'dyak igk'ki Ra'Khaj, nar Qarg, qu gar'ha'k aiyvarg mas gar'ig ragarga ha'k k'gata; hu'dyak ha'kbalani gara uni ta gar'bha chak'k'toth duKayi du esh'inimangin eshcur...
Bloodeye realized Ra'Khaj was deliberately prolonging the fight for no other reason than pure enjoyment. And if he didn't do something about it right away, he might very easily have to yield to the whelp. Gar'jaqdyapak, Kayi, mas gar'ha'k eshgaratu dukoniss ta konisk'takav ra gathkikut, Ra'Khaj. Maks desh gar'avhu eshma ergar, gar'h'in dya vargas drishtu duchodyapakigagagar.
Perhaps I should teach the class a different lesson today. May Sivar forgive me, he thought. What he was considering was as life-threatening as things would've been had he and Ra'Khaj been dueling with real blades, but at that point Ra'Khaj obviously needed to be taken down more than a few notches. Nai ha k'gris igahn aiy'hra ikgok'takh. Gar'h'in gathharnai, Thraqal Sivar, gar'dalpak. Ja'lhu gar'ha'k sa ha'k takhagduvu takh wi'h'asdyahak dyak garmaksRa'Khaj'ha'k turakh ra qith'rakihe, qu dumaseshinthrak gai ha'k aiyvargs hak'chodyapakik gagas, Ra'Khaj.
He deliberately swung high, towards a point slightly above Ra'khaj's head. The youth parried the blow with ease and began drawing up for a riposte when Bloodeye stepped inside and then kicked the youth squarely in the groin, his foot landing true. Gar'chaqma'ga du'ajs dulan gara'ins yu'Ra'Khaj. Kir'hra'draqchak vargs maks nisk aj takr'gathle ja'lesh gar'amink ma'hara, Kayi, maks chakrapaqgar rothraks duhuvukutavi'vrash, gar'pak'nistalan hes.
There were roars of disapproval from the class and a distinct yelp of pain as Bloodeye's target crumpled to the ground, dropping the faux blade in the process. Bloodeye didn't hesitate: with the swift motions of an expert, he placed his foot on Ra'khaj's blade hand and raised his own training blade to the youth's throat, while the latter's eyes glazed over with a combination of pain and anger. He made a quick slicing motion, signalling the kill and the end of the match. Hu'ha'k lekarhgai'k'ahagai ta'ahn maks elek'kalk aiyvarg takh gar'sha'in dakekrgavk dutha, badyavqith'rakiv takhjaqgu. Gar'va'av, Kayi: ranisek'ikga'hra, gar'lank gar'pak du deqith'rak Ra'Khaji maks danisk gar'igirga du yai'kir, deshas yi'i dar jaqk'dyapakakrokik ra kalkmaksalk. Gar'da'k nisshu'ekek, d'aiygu maks gu'tu.
A hollow victory - but I'll wager the class doesn't forget this lesson, Bloodeye thought. He turned to face the class and roared for their silence even as he kept his foot squarely on Ra'Khaj's blade hand, lest the youth try to elevate their match into a bonafide death-match. K'tothshi, qu ni'h'as morawi ahn'av dalpaduv maigko, gar'dalpak, Kayi. Gar'modalk ba'a'ahn maks lekarhgak ta garga'k'le deshas gar'pak laneshk oths dudeqith'rak'Ra'Khaj, konis mas kir'hra'av h'in nisdu garga'tu duturakhguhe.
"Students, heed this lesson well! Yes, this victory was without honor, won through a cowardly act. In this fact you are absolutely correct, and I do not feel the thrill of victory, only the shame of cowardice. Yet, consider - I have triumphed over my foe. Had this been a fight with true blades, Ra'Khaj would now be dead. He did not anticipate that I, his instructor, would stoop to a dishonorable act in order to best him. Therein lies the lesson I will teach you today - many of you will leave this school and go on to fight against the Terrans as soldiers in the Imperial Legions. On the battlefield, in any encounter where you meet a Terran in hand-to-hand combat, you have almost all of the advantages - you are stronger, faster and your senses better than the Terrans. Therefore, the Terran will be desperate, and Terrans are not bound by honor. It is in that situation, when you are closing in for the kill and your honor-less foe is desperate to stay alive, that he is most dangerous. He does not seek death - Terrans have no problem with the notion of life without honor - and he will do whatever he needs to do to replace your victory with death. The tales of them besting our best warriors through acts of dishonor and cowardice are too many to count; I myself know of too many of my former students - your compatriots - who were killed shamefully by Terrans and I do not want to hear of such a thing happening to any of you as well. Remember the words of the Codex, students: There is no such thing as a battle without honor, though it is possible to encounter an honorless foe. Such words were almost designed with the Terrans in mind. This is all I will teach you today. Go now, and think carefully upon my words, while I arrange to perform the puckal for my actions today." "Ig'ai, gathdyapamaigko ki! Hagai, mak'toth'ha'k r'avrakh, k'tothk du a'favs. Riga'hahegatagas dumahe, maks ni'av chodyapa lekithrak'k'toth, qu harashav'k'fa anruni. Qu, sa - ni'dya k'tothk gara ni'sha. Desh ma'dyak ha'ktu ra qith'rakihe, gar'h'ask hagu eshma, Ra'Khaj. Gar'av drishta mas nai, gar'gathik'a, h'ask inrani'hra du'a'rakhav k'kor dutothgar. Duma'haigko ni'h'as gathikraiga aiy'hra - ga'raiga'h'as nis talanaqmadaig maks tu duxTerran'hra takhsivai duanrasivi'Rag'nith. Dutr'thano, dug'tu ja'lan riga'isTerran'hra dutuma'inthrak, riga'dyaga'k'tothsa'ki'i ma'ins - riga'dya argekmaschodyapai garaTerran'hra. Takhjaqgu, Terran'hra'h'as harashavthrak, maks Terran'hra'hav korakhk rasrakh. Gar'ha dumasbalan, ja'lesh riga'ha aj tahath maks riga'sharakhav'ha rashavthrak as vu, mas gar'ha agthrak. Gar'av amstragu - Terran'hra'dyavk'varg rasi'vur'avrakh - maks gar'h'as a g'hu gai ha'a datakav riga'k'toth ragu. Lek'kori'ha mang'gaga erg garga'k'toth kai'sivaikithrak du ai'k'rakvmaksk'fa; nai'hra'ik erg churig'ai mang'gaga - riga'takhkili - ja'lhra'ha'k gu harashas rasTerran'hra maks ni'k'rash el ergmasbalan dug'riga maks. Dalpadule'i'Thraklerag'nith, ig'ai: Hu'hahu va takh tra k'ra'k'rakh, ja'lg'esh gar'ha h'in'hal tu shak'rakh. Maile'i'ha'k aj'k ma'ins dyapaTerran'hra. Mas'haga mas ni'h'as gathikraiga aiy'hra. Nis eshma, maks dalpa radyapas du ni'le'i, deshas ni'aj a(annual ritual of atonement) tani'ai'air'hra."
He could see the students were dissatisfied at what had taken place before them, but they all looked contemplative and didn't hesitate to file out of the training room. Many of them knew that Bloodeye was a mere commoner, that Ra'Khaj was a member of a high-ranking family in the Kiranka clan, and that despite his offer to perform the annual ritual of atonement for his actions, it was likely that Ra'Khaj would order their teacher to perform zu'kara - ritual suicide - instead, and none of them wanted to witness that happening. Gar'h'in aiy mas ig'ai'ha'k sav du ja'lhu'dyak balank dugarga'aiy, qu ga'garga'diyaik dakut'si maks av va'a nis aq dai hukutav'ig. Ga'garga'iq mas gar'ha'k kilrah'hra anruni, Kayi, mas gar'ha'k ankil'hraidyapagaga du nar Kiranka, Ra'Khaj, maks mas ja'lg'esh gar'dyak rashgatk apuckal tagar'ai, Kayi, gar'hak kimohe mas gar'h'ask rathrg garga'gathik'a azu'kara datakav, Ra'Khaj, maks kn'garga'rashk aiymasbalan.
Bloodeye's foot was still firmly placed against Ra'Khaj's blade hand and he could see that the youth's expression of pain had sufficiently translated itself into one of pure anger. He addressed his defeated opponent in an even tone. "Before I will release your hand, you must promise not to strike me." Gar'pak'ha'k lank oths eshma duxdeqith'rak'Ra'Khaj, Kayi, maks gar'h'in aiy diyin'kalk'kir'dyak datakavk gar'hra dyahu's du diyin'alqut. Gar'lek gar'shu'intothk duyelvarg. "Eschur ni'h'as badyav ri'de, rai ha kir'kha chakavnai."
Ra'Khaj's scowl deepened but he nodded his assent. Bloodeye slowly picked up his foot and Ra'Khaj withdrew his hand, shaking it to get feeling back into it while getting onto his feet. Bloodeye saw the youth's hands restrain from an attempt at cradling his wounded nether regions; Ra'Khaj was quite disciplined for his age. Gar'yinbrajga jaginraga, Ra'Khaj, qu gar'yudanisink gar'bhakil. Gar'nisduk gar'pak, Kayi, maks gar'bataln gar'de, Ra'Khaj, danisekgar knois jaqduchodyapa dugar deshas ork du gar'pak. Gar'aiyk de'i'kir drish h'in du dyasov gar'huvukutavi'vrashshuk, Kayi; Gar'ha'k dirgkga ta gar'ja'lchur, Ra'Khaj.
When Ra'Khaj spoke, it was with as much bile as he could muster. "I should have you perform zu'kara, you coward." Ja'lesh gar'lek, Ra'Khaj, gar'ha'k ra takh alksoga takh gar'h'in dyatahklan. "Nai ha dyarai a (ritual suicide), ri'fav'hra."
Bloodeye ignored the epithet of "coward" - arguably the worst insult one could hurl at a Kilrathi - and continued in a more conciliatory tone. "You would be within your rights to demand it, and if that is your wish, young master, I will go and have it done so at once." Gar'k'vudujaq hus'fav'hra - dik'alekithrak tras g'hra'h'in do duKilrathi - maks as'k du dikiquxi dak'les. "Ri'h'ask ha du ri'gathi rathrg'gar, maks desh mas'ha ri'rash, kirlaq, ni'h'asnis maks dyagar a'k eshmathraks."
"The battle should have been mine!" "Tr'a hadyaha'k nai!"
Now Bloodeye shifted back into the role of teacher. "Should have and would have, Ra'Khaj - should have and wasn't, because you were enjoying yourself so much that you lost track of what truly mattered: the kill. The saying goes that 'victory should not be counted until the blood of the prey is in one's mouth'. Remember that. And you would do well to remember today's lesson. You may never find yourself on the battlefields against the Terrans, but I have heard some stories that suggest to me that life in the Imperial Court is no less hazardous, no less full of those who are willing to put their honor aside to merely fulfill their ambitions." Gar'jaqduk eshma duko'gathik'a, Kayi. "Hadyamaksh'askdya, Ra'Khaj. Hadyamakshav, ta ri'ha'k gathkiri'hra ja'lgaga mas ri'dalpaduvk erg ja'lhu'ha'kdyapa hes: gu. Toshle'nis mas 'k'toth hav'ha mak eshdugu xa'ha dulanagkh uni'i'. Dalpadumas. Maks ri'h'aska ki dudalpadu igko'aiy'hra. Ri'h'inis vesh ri'hra dutr'thano'i duxTerran'hra, qu ni'dyaelk lek'korimang mas gathwinhal dunai mas vu'ha aginav duDaithrakRag'nith, dakutinav erg masi'rash langarga'rakh talan rugarga'rashkuti anruni.
Bloodeye could see that his words had their intended effect; the cub was thinking upon what had been said, his anger defusing rapidly. He had no idea how much time Ra'Khaj had spent around the court during his short lifetime, but judging by the cub's reaction he had been there long enough to know that Bloodye was right. Gar'h'in aiy mas gar'le'i'dyak garga'jaqgu'ajk, Kayi; gar'ha'k dalpa erg ja'lhu'dyak ha'k lek, gar'alk inrag eks. Gar'dyakavsi, Kayi, ja'lga esh gar'dyak dalk du Daithrak'Ragnith du'eshgar'vu'eshin, Ra'Khaj, qu jaqwinhal ras gathle'gar gar'dyak ha'klanma dyahuga ik mas Kayi'ha'khe.
Before Ra'Khaj's anger returned, Bloodeye decided to exercise his authority as one of the school's senior teachers. "Go and find the healers; I will inform your other instructors to not expect you today so that you may attend to your injuries. Ice will help the one. The other - the injury to your pride - may take more time to heal." Eshchur alk'gar jaqduk, Ra'Khaj, gar'jaqwinhalk dalk gar'arg takh kal gathik'a'daig. "Nismaksis da k'shu'i'i; ni'h'as gathwur du ri'gathik'atakav du drishtavrai aiy'ra konis ri'h'in ba'a rari'shu'i. Akoth'h'as uzshu uni. Takav - shu duri'chodyapakigaga - h'in bha'eshgara gushu."
The cub stopped and thought for a moment, then turned and headed towards the door as quickly as his injury would allow him. Bloodeye saw him reach the door and then turn around as though he were about to ask another question, but at that moment one of the senior students bounded through the open threshold. "Kal Gathik'a, we are receving a transmission from Kilrah. Lord Talmak wishes to speak to you at once," he breathlessly announced. Gar drishkmaksdalpak ta eshinthrak, jha modalmaksdanisk dubr'shi takh eks takh gar'shu'h'ask gathga. Gar'aiykgar jaqbr'shi, Kayi, jha modal takhja'lg'esh gar'ha'k aj rathrathuniga, Ra'Khajm qu dumaseshintrak uni'igkali'jak dudijaqduno. "(Senior Teacher), ek'ha bhadyala aqKilrah. Kal Talmak'rash le eshmathraks durai", gar'gathwurk k'daks.
Bloodeye cursed the student's timing, but nodded his acknowledgment and spoke to Ra'Khaj. "We will continue this conversation later." Gar'kir'xhak eshbalan'ig'a, Kayi, qu yudanisink gar'bhakil maks le du Ra'Khaj. "Ek'h'as asmale'a dujha."
Thus dismissed, Ra'Khaj turned and left, while Bloodeye himself exited from the training room, absent-mindedly still carrying the igirga with him. Lord Talmak had been summoned by the Emperor himself a few days ago to witness yet another launch of the Emperor's "final message to the Terrans". Reports indicated that the fleet gathered at Kilrah might even actually succeed in destroying the Terrans this time. Nistalank konis, gar'modalkmaksnistalan, Ra'Khaj, deshas gar'nistalank tadai hukutav'ig, Kayi, dya(wooden training blade) eshma dyapavs ragar. Gar'dyak ha'ksnatak rasRag'nith gar'hra esh'gaimangin duchur duikaiyhaganaska unigaga erg "thrakdyale duTerran'hra" Rag'nithi, Kal Talmak. Wuri'd'aiyk mas khantdyatahklanl duKilrah h'in'halk'toth h'in'hals ma'esh dur'Terran'hra.
Before he had left, though, Lord Talmak had confided in Bloodeye that while he was on Kilrah he intended to ask permission from the Emperor to have Bloodeye confirmed as a Master of Blades and to have him legally declared as Lord Talmak's heir, Lord Talmak having no children of his own. No commoner had ever been made a Master of anything before; it would be an unprecedented honor if the Emperor agreed, and it showed the level of faith that Lord Talmak had in Bloodeye and his skills. To be named heir - and to someday inherit lordship over the entire Sutaghi clan - was something he didn't think he was entirely prepared for, but it was enough that his master thought he could handle it. Bloodeye could only hope that he'd do his master proud as a leader when the time came. Eshchur gar'dyaknistalank, Kal Talmak, gar'dyakdyalak dugar mas deshas gar'ha'k duKilrah gar'aj'k rathgath aqRag'nith dyagrigar takh gar'hraijhak, Kayi, ragar'dyav g'gari, Kal Talmak. Kilrah'hra'dyakha'k'da'k vesh laq'g'hu; gar'h'askha rakhrabalaneschurav desh Rag'nith'bhaki, maks gar'd'aiyk mang'la mas gar'dyak du Kayimaksgar'ikbhakili, Kal Talmak. Tagar hahus'khraijhak maks jaqKal eshmang garaga'nar Sutaghi ha'khu tamas gar'a'k dalapkav gar'ha'kaj'k gatas, qu gar'ha'kdyahu mas gar'laq'dalpak gar'h'inagar, Kayi. Gar'hinrashtrak anruni mas gar'h'askdaruk gar'laq takh ahr ja'lesh esh'ajjaq.
Bloodeye assumed as he made his way to his office that his Master was personally communicating the results of his request, a very good sign indeed. He might get into some trouble over the duel with Ra'Khaj but he was reasonably sure as he reached the threshold that whatever else happened, the cub would not order his death today. As he would think back on this moment for years to come, he would remember how he felt - and how he was utterly unprepared for the series of events that unfolded next. Takh gar'nisk dugar'kolan, Kayi, gar'baktahek mas gar'laq ha'k'lebajaqgu hrass erggar'rathrgin, mas'halerodyapakiga hes. Gar'h'injaq duk'vargimang rasturakh raRa'Khaj qu gar'ha'kgri koniss takh gar'jaqkdijaqdu mas, ja'lhu'balan takav, gar'h'askavrathrg aiy'hra gar'gu. Gar'h'askdalpadu ja'l gar'dichodyapai takh gar'h'askdalpa uniga duma'eshinthrak takesthai jaq - maks ja'l gar'ha'kajav'k gatagas takotakhlan'balani mas balankjhak.
He saw on his desk computer a blinking light indicating a call on hold. He pressed a button and a crackly image of his master Lord Talmak flared to life. His master's expression was not one of pleasure - indeed, Bloodeye could tell that the leader of clan Sutaghi was visibly shaken. Gar'aiyk'karavd'aiyek du gar'vikhakgakovirgnis, d'aiyle'a dudrish. Gar'bargdukhudal maks hu'aiychurr'ins'gar'laq Kal Talmak nar Sutaghi knavak k'vargs duvu. Diyin'gar'laq'hakav uni'leki - he, gar'h'in aiy, Kayi, mas ahr'nar Sutaghi ha'k alkinkga aiys.
The static was not resolving itself. "Master, is everything alright? Your signal is weak," Bloodeye intoned with great concern. H'indrish'hav gugar'hra. "Ni'laq, gahu'i'ha gahe? Ri'args'hagi," gar'le'eq radyapathrak, Kayi.
Talmak's voice matched his expression. "We are in the middle of a rather large earthquake at the moment here at the Palace. That's not important right now. I have a task for you, Bloodeye - and I must ask you to swear eshchurgu." Gar'yel takhk gar'diyin, Kal Talmak. "Ek'ha du ma'haraga erg alkga'thathrakga du eshma du Daithrak'Ragnith. Mas'havdyapa eshma. Ni'dyako tarai, Kayi - maks nai ha rathrai kir'kha eschurgu."
Bloodeye's blood froze when he heard the word. Eshchurgu - literally meaning "before death" - was the strongest form of blood-oath a Kilrathi could take, a sign that whatever task had been demanded, it would be done before the oath-swearer's death, on pain of that kil's everlasting dishonor should they fail. The strength of the oath had religious connotations; those who failed would be forever forgotten in the annals of Kilrathi history, their souls finding themselves in the deepest canyons of nargrast forever. Gar'kadrishk ja'lesh gar'elkle, Kayi. Eshchurgu - si"eshchurgu" hes - ha'k di'kakir'kha argthrak Kilrathi'h'in bha, huleba mas korathrgk'h'ask ha a eschur gu'kir'kha'hra, duchodyapakalk erg k'rakhrageshga'maskil desh garga'toth. Arg'kir'kha'dyak si'idikutgas; masi ja'lhra tothk h'ask hadalpaduvk rageshga du kochirth hu'iki erg ikgaKilrathi, garga'za'i is garga'hra du thothini'inrathrak'nargrast rageshga.
There was only one response Bloodeye could make - it was Lord Talmak, his master, who had asked. "I swear eshchurgu to you, my master," Bloodeye swore. Hu'ha'k gathle uni anruni gar'h'inda, Kayi - gar'ha'k Kal Talmak, gar'laq, ja'lhra'dyak rathk. "Kir'kha eshchurgu tarai, ni'laq," gar'kir'khak, Kayi.
The latter shook his head sadly. "You should not be so hastly to swear, Bloodeye - you would hesitate if you knew what it was I must ask of you." Dar'daniseq gar'yu mers. "Rai hav ha'ek kir'kha, Kayi - ri'h'ask va'a desh ri'iq ja'lhu gar'ha'k nai harath ergrai."
"I swear eshchurgu to you, my master," Bloodeye repeated. "Kir'kha eshchurgu tarai, ni'laq," gar'aduk.
Lord Talmak acknowledged the oath by closing his eyes briefly, as though the words pained him. "Very well, Bloodeye, much as it will cause you pain. Your task involves your student, Ra'Khaj nar Ghoran," he spoke flatly. Gar'bhakilk kir'kha, ras vano gar'yi'i eshs, Kal Talmak, takh ja'lg'esh le'i'gathkalk durai. "Kithrak, Kayi, ja'lg'esh gar'h'as gathrai kalkga. Ri'ko'ha erg ri'ig'a, Ra'Khaj nar Ghoran," gar'lek k'dichodyapas.
Bloodeye was surprised. "Ra'Khaj?" Gar'ha'k k'rathrgk. "Ra'Khaj?"
"Yes, Bloodeye. I must ask......." "Hagai, Kayi. Nai ha rath......."
But at that moment, before his master could finish speaking, the static picked up fiercely and drowned out his Master's image. The computer finally shut off the audio, flashing the words "signal lost". Bloodeye deactivated the screen and sat in bewilderment, wondering what it was his master wanted him to do, and how it involved Ra'Khaj. Qu dumaseshinthrak, eschur gar'laq'h'in qu le, h'indrish'garak sos maks gurasaq hu'aiychur'gar'laq. Vikhakga jaqkovel thraks, d'aiyek le'i "toth'args". Gar'kovkvi'd'aiy maks vork dukorpa, Kayi, dalpa ja'lhu gar'ha'k gar'laq rashgar a, maks ja'l gar'ha'k erg Ra'Khaj.
He would be wondering that for the next eleven years... Gar'h'ask ha dalpamas ta kesthaijhak oktre...

(Scene 3)Edit

The Scratching Post Bar and Grill
Levity, Planet Odell
Antares System, Antares Quadrant, Epsilon Sector
2680.107, 2020 Hours EST
Bloodeye drank another shot of watered-down kika'li, his voice still that of one remembering things they wish they could forget. "I thought nothing of the communications failure at the time. Earthquakes were commonplace on Kilrah if you'll remember, and I believed that my master would simply communicate with me again when it became possible for him to do so. It was only later - when I heard the news of Kilrah's death - that I realized why the signal had been disrupted. It's somewhat difficult to send a signal when the planet the transmitter is located on is in the middle of being destroyed." Gar'aq akin'kikaligi'uniga, Kayi, deshas gar'yel'ha'kmas eshma ergkil'dalpaduwi garga'rashk garga'h'indalpaduv. "Ni'dalpakk'g'hu du'esh ergtoth'trathkhi. Alkga'thai'ha'kro duKilrah deshri'h'asdalpadu maks ni'dyalakmas ni'laq h'asleba vargs du ranai ja'lesh gar'jaqh'in'hal tagar'a. Gar'hadujha anruni - ja'lesh ni'elkwur'thrakgu'Kilrah - mas ni'jaqdyapak jal'ra args'dyak'ha'kdrishk. Gar'hak'vargs ins snargs ja'lesh nak'ha duma'haraga ha r'k ja'lan dyalel'halank.
Ra'Khaj's tone was one of deep respect. "Lord Talmak was an honorable kil and a good teacher. He deserved to die in battle, not to be crushed to death like a common insect - like how so many of our people died that day." Dikiquxi'gar'yel'ha'k rakhthrak, Ra'Khaj. "Gar'ha'k kilrakhmaksgathik'aki, Kal Talmak. Gar'rashskgu dutra, va panothk dugu takh shkaro - takh ja'lga'ek'hra'guk masesh'ga."
The two Kilrathi remained silent and deep in thought for a short time, the other conversations in the bar passing without thought towards the matter the two aliens were discussing with one another. The death of Kilrah was an emotional topic for all Kilrathi, its mentioning always invoking memories of where one had been and what they had been doing when they'd heard the news, along with the anguish at the thought of those who had been lost that day, the Empire that had fallen with the planet's destruction, and the needless chaos and suffering that had gripped the Kilrathi people in the years since. Kilrathi'laneshk de k'lemaksdusigara ta'eshin deshas le'atakav asdudaiarakh ravsi duhu takav'hra'ha'klerg de. Thrakgu'Kilrah'ha'k sidichodyapas tagaKilrathi, gar'l'ek dyadalpadu'i erg ja'lan hra dyalanmaksha'a ja'lesh garga'elkwur, maks rachodyapakalk dusi erg masi'tothkmesh'ga, Rag'nith'dyakdakekrgavk ra n'hakh ri'kahri naki, maks korpamakschodyapakalk ha'kav mas badyakhra'Kilrathi dukesthai jha.
After a few moments, Bloodeye continued his narrative, his tone still one of remembrance. "Of course, you were at the blade school when the news arrived; I'm sure you remember well the scene. I myself wandered the halls in a daze as I recall, seeing kili - fellow instructors as well as students - who had cut the ka'merthrak on their foreheads twice, sometimes three or four times. Some had cut themselves more deeply than is wise, but of course we were all in a savage state of mourning. How does one mourn an entire world? How many cuts are necessary to mourn four and six-eights greater eight-of-eight-eights people? There were those who committed zu'kara of course, and as the realization that my master had died without me at his side hit me, I knew that my honor demanded I take my own life as well, and went to conduct the ritual. I thought it ironic that I would dodge the specter of zu'kara once only to be going to commit it willingly that same day..." Jha eshinthrakimangin, gar'aslek'kor, Kayi, dikiquxi'gar'yel eshma uni ergdalpadu. "Lehe, ri'ha'k dudaigqith'rak ja'lesh wur'jaq; ni'hagri mas ri'dalpadueshmakslan ki. Ni'hra dakonisavkdidya'ini duchodyapav takhni'dalpadu, aiykili - gathik'aitakhkilmaksig'ai - ja'lhra dyakshuk(blood of mourning) dugarga'yuthraki dedu, eshmang tredu qu kesdu. Mang'dyakshukgar'hra gara hatosh, qu lehe ekga'ha'k dubalanso'merthrak. Ja'l kil'amerthrak rahgata? Ja'lga shu'i'harathrgk merthrakhra kesh'ksok'oktogaga? Hu'ha'k masi'a(ritual suicide) lehe, maks takh ni'jaqdyapak mas ni'laq'dyakguk ravnai dugar'chutraga, ni'iq ni'rakh'rathrgk ni'dyavu'nai maks, maks takhjaqgu ni'niskarad. Ni'dalpak gar'ha'kletakav mas ni'h'askamgaq za'(ritual suicide) unidu anruni hanisagar rashas masesh'gatakh..."
He was reaching the end of his narrative and it was imperative that Ra'Khaj understood all of the ramifications of his tale. Bloodeye leaned in towards Ra'Khaj, squinted his eyes and lowered the volume of his voice, speaking with as much intensity as he could manage. "It was as I held my claws ready to rip out my own throat that I remembered my vow of eshchurgu. I had a task to complete that I had sworn to see done before my death and much as I longed for it, I had to complete that task. Of course, I had no idea what that task was, because my master had died before he could tell me about it - and to this day, I do not know what my task was to have been. I only know that it somehow involves you, Ra'Khaj. That, my old student, is why I still live today - because of you. I have faith in Sivar that he will one day enlighten me and show me my path. In the meantime, I survive and I pray the Prayer of the Sa'guk daily." Gar'ha'kjaqgu erglek'kor, Kayi, maks gar'ha'kdyapaga maks gar'bhakil ga ergjaqgu'i' gar'lek'kor, Ra'Khaj. Gar'kork duRa'Khaj, Kayi, hudya'ink gar'yi'i, inraklega'gar'yel maks lek ra'rgthrak takh gar'h'ina. "Gar'ha'k deshas ni'dyak ni'naji du ni'yai maks aj'k kugartalan mas ni'dalpaduk ni'kir'kha erg(before death). Ni'dyako a mas ni'dyak'kir'khak aiya'k eshchurni'gu maks takhgatakh ni'rashk tagar, Nai hagatamasko. Lehe, ni'ik va ergmasko, ta ni'laq'dyak'guk eshchur gar'h'in'lebagar dunai - maks eshdugu eshma, ni'ik va ja'lhu ko'ha'k dya'ha'k. Ni'ik anruni mas gar'ha duniga ergrai , Ra'Khaj. Ni'churig'a, mas'hakonis ja'lra ni'asvu aiy'hra - ta ergrai. Ni'dyala duSivar mas gar'h'as eshmang toshganai maks d'aiy'ni'dinis dunai. Esherg, ni'vu maks ni'rathk'rakh Rathk'rakh'Sa'guk ga'esh'ga'i.
Ra'Khaj scowled. "You tell me all of this hoping to gain my sympathy?" Gar'yinbrajk, Ra'Khaj. "Ri'lebanai ga'ma rashthrak bhari'rashav?"
"Of course." "Lehe."
The younger Kilrathi gestured in disbelief. "How can you fulfill a task if you don't know what it is and the only one who did is dead? Your reasoning reeks of pathetic excuse to me. If you have truly sworn eshchurgu, your new Kal Thrak'hra should've recognized your vow and allowed you to continue to serve him and live with honor until your task was accomplished. Why then are you sa'guk?" Kirgakilrathi'de'iq dudyalav. "Ja'l ri'h'in ako desh ri'ik va ja'lhu gar'ha maks kilmasiq'hagu? Ri'konis'olxigaga dunai ergd'xaik'rakh. Desh ri'kir'khak(before death) hes, ri'kirKal Thrak'hra hadyasak ri'kir'kha maks gathrai as kogaimaksvu rarakh eshdugu ri'ko'ha'kbhagataq. Jal'ra ri'ha(dead meat) balan?
Bloodeye had anticipated the need to explain this to Ra'Khaj as well. "That one's easy. Who became the new leader of clan Sutaghi after the death of Lord Talmak?" Gar'dyakdrishtak had'aiyma maks duRa'Khaj, Kayi. "Mas'havarg. Ja'lhra'jaq kirKal Thrak'hra'nar Sutaghi jha gar'gu, Kal Talmak?"
Ra'Khaj responded with mild contempt, as though Bloodeye were insulting his intelligence by asking such a stupid question with such a well-known answer. "Lord Thavidaqut lak Arg, of course..." Gar'gathle rasu'in, Ra'Khaj, takh ja'lg'esh gar'ha'kdik'aleki gar'pa, Kayi, rasrathrath ragathle'iqiga. "Kal Thavidaqut lak Arg, hes..."
"And what do you remember of my relationship with Lord Thavidaqut?," Bloodeye quickly interrupted. "Maks ja'lhu ri'adalpadu erg ri'dyatahklan ragar, Kal Thavidaqut?," Gar'drishk eks, Kayi.
That stopped Ra'Khaj, the dawning realization changing his expression from one of contempt to mild surprise. "Do you mean to say that you're considered sa'guk because Lord Thavidaqut still holds a grudge against you for that incident with his sister?" Mas'drishkgar, Ra'Khaj, jaqdyapanis'datakav gar'diyin aqsu duk'rathrgin. "Ri'asi le ri'hasak (dead meat) ta gar'laneshalk eshma duxrai tabalan ragar'ni'lavin, Kal Thavidaqut?"
Bloodeye suppressed the urge to smile in triumph. "Not against me, Ra'Khaj, so much as against my dearly-departed friend Gar. But as I'm the last of Lord Talmak's retainers still alive and was Gar's closest friend, he has no one else against whom to direct his anger. Not to mention the fact that it I was I who bested him, if you'll recall." Gar'panothkrasharg yinahki duk'toth, Kayi. "Duxnai va, Ra'Khaj, qu sux ni'hraki kimaksgu Gar. Qu ta ni'ha thraqo'Kal Talmak vu eshma maks ni'ha'khrakikithrak'Gar, gar'dyav takavra duxmasdirani gar'alk, Kal Thavidaqut. L'ekhe va mas ni'ha'kkil mas tothgai, desh ri'h'asdalpadu.
He thought back with a mixture of admiration and annoyance at his old friend. Shintahr Gar hrai Talmak laq Qith'rak, the mighty and famed commander of the 112th Armored Legion, had been a young kil once upon a time, and like most youth, he too had made some truly bone-headed mistakes in his life. On the day before he went to join the Imperial Legions, he had shared the bed of Daqi lak Arg, the youngest daughter of Kal Drakamo lak Arg. The two had been in love with one another since their respective childhoods, despite Gar being a mere commoner and Daqi betrothed to a member of another noble family. After he'd left for war, it was discovered that she and Gar had secretly become lair-mates that last night and that she was pregnant from their mating. As Gar's liege-lord, Lord Talmak was held responsible for Gar's behavior and he was subsequently forced to pay a handsome bride's price for Lord Drakamo's daughter. As far as the elder Kilrathi were concerned, the matter had been settled, but Lord Drakamo's son Thavidaqut challenged Lord Talmak for the loss of the honor of the family of his sister's betrothed. Bloodeye had stepped in his master's place for the duel and had bested Thavidaqut easily; he had obeyed when his master had ordered him not to slay the defeated upstart, an order that, despite what it had cost him personally years later, he couldn't bring himself to wish he'd disobeyed. Gar'dalpaduk ratakhlan erg gathkigamaksalkin du gar'churhraki. Gar'dyak'ha'kkirkil duchurga, Shintahr Gar hrai Talmak laq Qith'rak, Ahr'Harg'ahngarasiv Okkszar argmaksska, maks gar'dyak'da'k maks mang'ivaliyoyu hes dugar'vu takhkirgathrak. Du esh'ga eshchur gar'nisk dyatahklan Anrasivi'Rag'nith, gar'dyakdyatakhk gar'wul, Daqi lak Arg, ja'lhra'ha'k gar'kirthrakni'lavinga, Kal Drakamo lak Arg. GarmaksDaqi dyakha'k duhak ra unigaga aqesh esh'gari ergdyapa, ja'lg'esh gar'ha'k kilra'hra anruni, Gar, maks gar'ha'k kir'kha'vrashk du ankil'thrakhrai'uniga, Daqi. Jha gar'dyaknisk tasiv, gar'ha'kisk mas garga'dyakjaqnonvrashi hafiks masthraqn'esh, DaqimaksGar, maks mas gar'ha'kdrishtagar tagarga'vrash. Takh Kal'Gar, gar'ha'ksakdakonis ta ai'Gar, Kal Talmak, maks gar'ha'krathrgk takhjaqgu gathrashroga'kilav tagar'ni'lavinga, Kal Drakamo. Takhgatakh churgaKilrathi'ha'kdyapa'k, hu'dyakha'kguk, qu gar'k'tothmok Kal Talmak tatoth ergrakh'hrai ergkir'kha'vrash gar'ni'lavin, Thavidaqut ni'linga'Kal Drakamo. Gar'dyakdatakavk gar'laq taturakh, Kayi, maks dyak k'tohkgar vargs, Thavidaqut; gar'dyakgathkik ja'lesh gar'laq dyakrathrgkgar k'gusu'hratothk, Kayi, rathrg mas gar'h'inav dyagar'hra rash gar'dyakgathkiv ja'lg'esh ja'lhu gar'dyakrashrokgar hrass kesthai dujha.
Ra'Khaj continued with growing disdain at what had been said. "And he knows of your eshchurgu? Gar'as rasujaqgaga du ja'lhu'dyak'ha'klek. "Maks gar'ik ergri'(before death)?"
"Of course." "Lehe."
Ra'Khaj spoke with disgust in his voice, his expression one of thoughtfulness. "The dishonor of such a thing...such cowardice should not be tolerated in a Great Lord, and yet such things are commonplace these days..." Gar'lek ragathsi dugar'yel, Ra'Khaj, deshas gar'diyin'ha'kdalpa. "K'rakh'hutakh...k'fatakh havhagathk duKal Thrak'hra, qu witakh'haro maiesh'gai..."
When Ra'Khaj continued speaking, the disgust in his voice was gone. "What would you do with a warship, Bloodeye? You never served in the Imperial Navy - to my knowledge you have no starfaring experience at all." Ja'lesh gar'askle, Ra'Khaj, gathxi'ha'knisk dugar'yel. "Ja'lhu ri'h'aska rasivshint, Kayi? Ri'kok vesh duAkrasiv'Rag'nith - ri'dyav g'igkabunis du ni'ik.
Yes, Bloodeye thought. Ra'Khaj was satisfied at his tale - that his honor, despite what his society said, was still intact - and would help him now. He just needed a reason, and the truth would just happen to play to Ra'Khaj's own personal beliefs. Hagai, gar'dalpak, Kayi. Gar'ha'kruk dugar'lek'kor - mas gar'rakh ha'qut eshma ja'lg'esh ja'lhu'lek'gar'rakha - maks gar'h'askuzrai eshma, Ra'Khaj. Gai hakonis anruni, maks he'balank anruni takhdyalaihras'Ra'Khaj.
Bloodeye poured out his reasoning with passion. "Ra'Khaj, I don't know where you've been this last decade, if you've endured the hardships that most of our people have; judging solely on your appearance, I'll assume you have not. I've lived on a Terran-run reservation for nearly a decade. I've seen proud Kilrathi succumb to things like starvation and disease, dying in a Terran bed like so many feeble grandmothers. I've seen our brethren hunted down like traggil and slaughtered like rugalga for the most minor of infractions. I've seen the faces of our people, Ra'Khaj - our once-proud people - and the Warrior Spirit is fading. I see it more and more with each passing day. Gar'naruk gar'si'i rachodyaparg. "Ni'ik va ja'lan ri'dyaha'k mathrakkesthai du, qu desh ri'dya asq'vargi mas ek'hraga'dya; jaqwinhal tari'diyai anruni, ni'h'asbaktahe mas ri'dyav. Ni'dyavuk duthalan'kokraTerran'hra takesthai du ma'ins. Ni'dya aiyk Kilrathiru'gu duwi takh rastmaksk'ki, gu duwulTerran'hra takh churnahigigaga. Ni'dya aiyk ek'takhari baqtakhtraggil maks athktakhrugalga taduxalinthrak. Ni'dya aik yin'ek'hra, Ra'Khaj - ek'hrathrak unidu - maks Zaga'hainra. Ni'aiygar garamaksgara raesh'gaga'nis.
He allowed a hint of anger into his voice as he continued. "I've also noticed the faces of the Terrans charged with 'providing' for our brethren. They teach our youth that the actions of their ancestors were evil, and that their millenia-old culture and beliefs should be abandoned entirely for one that's more 'enlightened'. They teach of the atrocities our kind caused during the War; they don't speak of the ones they committed in kind. In them there is greed, intolerance, hatred, smugness, insolence. Gar'gathk in'alk dugar'yel takhgar'ask. "Ni'dyajaqdyapak maks yini'Terran'hra dakonisk ra"ari" ta ek'hra. Garga'gathik'ek'kir mas ai'garga'lak'ha'kxi maks garga'hradikesthai p'ntok'h'pokko'uniokto maks dyalai hahak'bakik gatas tahu gara "toshga". Garga'gathik ergaisomaksxi mas ek'hra'a'k du'eshSiv; garga'le va ergaisomaksxi mas garga'a'k maks. Dugar hu'ha hakgagathi, gathav, gathkivga, chodyapakigaga, dik'aleki.
Now his anger was manifest. "I hear of our so-called leaders and their concern for the plight of our people, and I see what they do. They do nothing. They can do nothing. You ask what I want with a warship, Ra'Khaj - I want to go to war. I want to take back from the Terrans what rightfully belongs to our people: our dignity, and our honor. For the sake of our people, I want to fight for our future." Gar'alk'ha'kaiy eshma. "Ni'el erg ek'ahriletakhk maks garga'dyapa tabalanag'ek'hra, maks ni'aiy ja'lhu garga'a. Garga'a k'g'hu. Garga'h'ina k'g'hu. Ri'rathnai ja'lhu ni'rash rasivshint, Ra'Khaj - Ni'rashnis dusiv. Ni'rashbha aqTerran'hra ja'lhu'widya hes du ek'hra: e'kh dyarashromaksrakh. Ni'rashtu ta e'kh jhamakskonis'ek'hra.
As he spoke, Bloodeye could see that his words were stirring up deep emotions in Ra'Khaj; the younger Kilrathi obviously felt the same as he did. He thought he could detect Ra'Khaj suppressing the urge to smile, to take up the charge and roar in agreement with his words. Takh gar'lek, gar'h'in aiy mas gar'le'i ha'kdawalga dichodyapaithrak duRa'Khaj, Kayi; kirgaKilrathi'chodyapaktakh aiyvargs takh gar'a'k. Gar'dalpak gar'h'inchodyapa, Kayi, gar'panothkrasharg yinahki, bhakidalyai'el maks lekarhga dubhakil ragar'le'i, Ra'Khaj.
When Ra'Khaj spoke next though, it was with a hint of regret. "Your heart is Kilrathi, Bloodeye. Were it in my power to grant you your request, I would do so. But, there remains the fact that you are sa'guk to your clan. However unjust that status may be, it remains the truth. I cannot support you in any crusade you may want to take without risking my own position within the KAC government." Ja'lg'esh, ja'lesh gar'lek jha, Ra'Khaj, ga'ha'k raharashavin. "Ri'kahr'haKilrathi, Kayi. Desh gar'ha'k duni'arg gathrai ri'rathrgin, ni'h'askakonis. Qu, he'lanesh mas ri'ha(dead meat) du ri'Nar. Ja'lg'esh k'kuthe masbalan'h'inha, gar'lanesh he. Ni'h'inavarirai dug'sivga mas ri'h'inrasha r'av morawini'ko dunarthrak'KNK.
"You would leave me empty-handed, then?" Bloodeye was crestfallen. All the effort, all the risks he'd taken to get Ra'Khaj to meet with him, only for the latter to deny him... "Jha ri'h'asknistalan nai gathk'g'hu?" Gar'ha'kruv, Kayi. Gako'i, gamorawi'i gar'dyakbhak ba'Ra'Khaj is ragar, anruni hagathavk..."
Ra'Khaj shook his head. "I want to help you, Bloodeye - I truly do. I just cannot do so directly." Gar'danisek gar'yu, Ra'Khaj. "Ni'rashuzrai - ni'a hes, Kayi. Ni'h'inavama anruni rothraks.
Bloodeye was about to dismiss the other Kilrathi in disgust; Ra'Khaj gestured for him to wait, speaking quickly. "If it will help you in your cause, you may have the shuttle with which I came here. I would suggest you use it to seek out Arrah Sutaghi at the T'Kon H'hra Military Salvage Yard. He's a logistics officer there and a commoner like yourself, and as someone with a stigma of his own, he might be more willing than most to help you. I will send him a message to expect your arrival. He may be able to get you your ship, though I wouldn't count on it being first rate. If he can help you though, you should have little difficultly finding a crew at T'Kon H'hra - most of the residents there are ex-military and would take any excuse for getting off the station. You've known life in the reservations, Bloodeye, but I've been to the T'Kon H'hra station and seen how things are there first-hand. Compared to it, the reservations are a paradise." Gar'haaj nistalanKilrathitakav dugathxi, Kayi; gar'de'iq tagar'drish, Ra'Khaj, le eks. "Desh gar'h'asuzrai duri'konis, ri'h'indyadont dumas ni'jaqlanma. Ni'h'askgathwinhal mas ri'dalgar nisgar du R'Lanrasiv T'kon H'hra, Arrah Sutaghi. Gar'hakorakhakof lanma maks kilra'hra takhri'hra, maks takhkil ra ork'skaxi'gar, gar'h'in'halrasha uzrai garagaththrak'hra. Ni'h'assnadyale dugar dishtari'jaq. Gar'h'inhah'in bharai ri'shint, ja'lg'esh ni'h'askavdrishtagar hadikiquxigara. Ja'lg'esh desh garh'inuzrai, rai hadya k'vargin isko'a'i du T'Kon H'hra - gathrak ergvudulani harasivchur lanma maks h'askbha g'konis ta nistalanmaslan. Ri'dyaiqvu duthalani, Kayi, qu ni'dyanisklanma, R'Lanrasiv T'kon H'hra, maks ni'dya aiyk tani'hra dikiquxivu'i lanma. Matakh dugar, thalani'ha Fa'ka'tra.
Bloodeye highly doubted that last sentence. "Surely you exaggerate." Gar'k'grimaslethrak thraks. "Ri'legara gris."
Ra'Khaj was dead serious. "I sincerely wish I did." Gar'ha'kdyapa aths. "Ni'rash hes ni'a'k."
Well, it's not exactly what I wanted, but it's a start, Bloodeye thought. "As I wish you could've helped me more directly, but I'll thank you for the lead nevertheless. Don't you need the shuttle to return to Pasqual, though?" Lehe, gar'ha va rothraks ja'lhu ni'rashk, qu gar'hanis, gar'dalpak, Kayi. "Takh ni'rash ri'h'inuzrai rothraksga, qu ni'h'asshrarai taraiha'a ja'lg'esh. Ri'a va hadont jaqdu duT'kon-Sa, ja'lg'esh?"
Ra'Khaj shrugged dismissively. "I borrowed it from the Council's motorpool anyway; I can simply say it was stolen. Such things happen more frequently than they should these days as it is. I will make my own arrangements to return to Pasqual." Gar'danisink gar'aldegai k'gathdyapas, Ra'Khaj. "Ni'bha'inkgar ta anti'Ahnahri takhha; ni'h'inle vargs mas gar'h'akxhak. Maiwi'balan balangasgara gar ha masi'esh'gai takhgar'ha. Ni'h'asda aji'nai jaqgu duT'Kon-Sa."
Bloodeye nodded approval. "As you wish." Gar'yudanisink ahagai. "Takh ri'rash."
Ra'Khaj stood. "Then our business here is concluded. I must leave before the reek of this place saturates my fur and clothing entirely, and forces me to burn both." He turned to go, but then stopped and turned back to face his old teacher. "Do you believe I could've bested you that day?" Gar'orq, Ra'Khaj. "Jha ek'gathvi'haguk lanma. Nai hanistalan eschur olxigaga'malan r'ingata nai yamakshargs gatas maks rathrgnai ji de." Gar'kork nis, qu jha drishkmakskork unidu aiy du gar'churgathik'a. "Ri'abaktahe mas ni'h'indya tothkrai masesh'ga?"
Bloodeye smirked. "I do. Honestly, there was not much else I could've taught you. Had things not unfolded as they did, I probably would've recommended you for the kochirth'gata tests. At least as soon as I could've tamed that temper of yours." Gar'koryink, Kayi. "Ni'a. Hes, hu'ha'ktakavga va ni'h'indya gathiqrai. Desh wi'dyavbalank takh garga'a'k, ni'h'askdya gathwinhalkrai ta k'tothmo'i'(license of completion). Dubalan ja'lesh ni'h'indyadyak ri'dilk."
Ra'Khaj smiled with pride. "You were correct, old teacher - the second wound did take longer to heal; I leave you today with my pride healed fully for the first time in eleven years. Bloodeye, I understand you have been deeply wronged. If it becomes within my power to have your honor restored or to assist you in determining your master's designs for me, I will do so. I bid you farewell, and I wish you great success in your coming war." Gar'yinahkik raru, Ra'Khaj. "Ri'ha'khe, churgathik'a - shu dar adya eshga gushu; ni'nistalanrai aiy'hra ra ni'ru'gushuk dakuts ta esh ar dukesthai oktre. Ni'bhakil mas ri'dyaha'kivk thraks, Kayi. Desh gar'jaq du ni'ahagai dya ri'rakh'jaqduk qu uzrai dustra aji'ri'laq tanai, ni'h'asagar. Ni'leniski durai, maks ni'rashrai thraq'toth duri'sivjaq."
Bloodeye responded in kind with the traditional Kilrathi statement of farewell. "May your talons be wet, and if your fate is not to return, may praise be sung in your name." Gar'gathlek maks rale'niskiradsKilrathi, Kayi. "H'in ri'najji'ha hafka, maks desh ri'hav nakhk jaqdu, h'in agon'ha gathleshkik du ni'hus."
At that, Ra'Khaj turned and left the bar, snarling at a couple of Terrans who stole glances at him as he left. Bloodeye himself decided not to tempt fate any more than he already had; he waited for a few more seconds, then stood, moved the chair back under the table and placed the 200-credit token for the waitress as he said he would. Exiting the bar, he began making his way towards the city spaceport. Ra'Khaj's shuttle wouldn't be too difficult to find; it'd probably be the only Naktarg-class shuttle there with KAC government markings. He considered it fortunate that he had managed to conclude the meeting without interruption, interference or detection by the local authorities. Duma, gar'korkmaksniskdai'arakh, Ra'Khaj, lelk duTerran'hramangin ja'lhra diyaik eks dugar takhgar'nisk. Gar'hra'jaqwinhalk bhamorawithrak va gara gar'dyaka'k duchur, Kayi; gar'drihk ta esh'ininigamangin, jha orq, daniskhuvork inravirgnis du maks lankhugath ok'treokko ta uqo'av takhgar'aiyk gar'h'ask. Gar'nistalankdai'arakh maks niskda gar'di dukn'brajlan'brajakh. Dont'Ra'Khaj h'askavha k'varga is; gar'h'askhantNaktargthi uni kimohes ra orki'narthrak'KNK. Gar'sakgar mo mas gar'dyakha'kh'in gubhaktakhlan r'av drishh'indrishquchodyapa rabraja'malan.
As it turned out, he was wrong on this last count - his presence at the bar had most certainly not gone unnoticed... Takh gar'balank, gar'ha'kiv ergmathrakhu - gar'lanma dudai'arakh dyavnisk k'jaqdyapak thrakgris...

(Scene 4)Edit

Office of the Governor of Epsilon Sector
Hope, Planet Epsilon Prime
Epsilon Prime System, Deneb Quadrant, Epsilon Sector
2680.110, 0954 Hours EST
Stella Lee, the Confederation Governor of Epsilon Sector, had a splitting headache, the kind of borderline migraine you get when you've drank a few more glasses of wine than what's generally considered wise during the previous night, the same kind that, if you could manage to stand on your own two feet for longer than thirty seconds without having to upchuck, makes you want to go out and stab somebody. Particularly those who are making too much noise. Particularly annoying little aides prattling on through the morning activity reports... Gar'yu'dyaqalkso, Stella Lee Terran'hra Narthrakahr'Kn'ga Ja'lgaga Ko'dath, thi ergkalksoma'ins mas ri'bha ja'lesh ri'dya aq vidyak'arakhmangin gara ja'lhu'hasaktosh ros du'eshkn'esheshcur, thitakh mas da ri'rash nismakschak mang'hra desh ri'h'ina ork duri'paki de tagara esh'inini h'kstreok rav haqdalhar. Garga mas'da lekarhgaga ergdyapas. Uz'ai'inalkin'kovle ergwuri'ai du'aich ergdyapas...
It was often said that any job in civil government was a step towards bigger and better things, like a seat on the Grand Assembly, or perhaps even the Presidency. Lee had often thought about this statement and could only laugh ironically when she thought about her own office; it was almost a joke for there to even be a Confederation Governor of Epsilon Sector anymore. Most of the Confederation-held worlds in Epsilon Sector had declared independence and formed the heart of the nascent Union of Border Worlds seven years ago, leaving just four systems under Confederation control in the Sector. Two of those were effectively non-members, both having been rendered uninhabited during the War by the Kilrathi with efforts to make them habitable once again proceeding at a snail's pace, while the other two each contained a refinery base and didn't really need regional government. True, there were Confederation military bases around the Sector, but those were under military jurisdiction; they didn't need civilian oversight either. So here she was, working a do-nothing job in a do-nothing office along the frontier, well away from what any sane person would call civilization, with nothing on the horizon that could be considered "bigger" or "better". Gar'ha'klek balanga mas g'ko dunarthrakerghra ha'kamin du wigagamakskiga, takh lanvork du Ahnahrithrak, qu Rag'nith k'gris. Gar'dalpak balanga ergmale maks h'inleki'ha anruni letakavs ja'lesh gar'dalpak erg gar'ko, Lee Terran'hra; gar'ha'kleki ma'ins ta hu'ha Narthrakahr'Ahn Takhlankrasbhakil Nak'Tara erg Kn'ga Ja'lgaga Ko'dath eshma. Gathrak ergnaki dyakrasBhakil du Kn'ga Ja'lgaga Ko'dath dyaklerahagaik'dymga'qith maks da'qahr erg kirDyatahklan'NakiYin kesthai h'p duchur, nistalanbhumaksnaki'i kes anruni inra arg'Ahn Takhlankrasbhakil duKn'ga Ja'lgaga. De ha'kankili va dajaqgus, dyakha'kda'k k'vu du'eshSiv rasKilrathi rako'nis dagarga'vu unidu v'eksgagas, deshas takavi'hukorkdadawi'i maks ha'knarthrakerglan va hes. He, hu'ha'kdargirasiv'Bhakil duKn'ga Ja'lgaga, qu masi'ha'kargk durasiv; garga'av hakotakavarerghra. Takhjaqgu gar'ha'klanma, kokok'g'hu'al dukolank'g'hu'al ma'inthrakyin, talanma'gathrak aq ja'lhu g'hraropa'h'askdalyai'elhradij, ra k'g'hu dulerodyapa mas h'inhasak "gagaqukiga".
It had been a lousy year for Lee, professionally and most definitely personally. Gar'dyakha'k kosmakshrass gristhrak kesthaxiga ta Lee Terran'hra.
"...and once again they've sent us a request asking for us to do more about pirate activity in and around Orsini and Morpheus systems." "... maks garga'dyaksnakrathrgin du dukai rath takai agara ergai'ke'hra dumaksma'inthrak bhumaksnaki'i Ko'bar'n'Meth maks Ko'dath Khar.
Lee decided to pay attention to her aide long enough to give him a proper response to the latest piece of abject bullshit to cross her desk. "Send them a message - let Hurston know that this office is already doing everything we can do about the damn Morgans and Jezebels in Orsini and Morpheus, and if that's not good enough they can either talk to the military or use that shiny private police force of theirs to do the job. You know, the one that's been rated best in the corporate world for the last five years, the one that's got them under review right now. And if they don't like it, they can go fuck themselves all the way to what's left of Kilrah...quote me on that - use those exact words. Next. Tell me we're getting close to the end here..." Gar'jaqwinhalk gathdyapa dugar'uz'a, Lee Terran'hra, ta eshdyahu gathgathlehe dugar erghukutav'harivjheshthrak dudanis gar'kovirgnis. "Snadyale dugar, Ahngathvi Ikoth Brajakh Kahr - gathgar ik mas makolan'ha agahu'i duchur mas kai'h'ina erggar du bhumaksnaki'i Ko'bar'n'Meth maks Ko'dath Khar, ke'hra ThrakragnithimaksJa'lanhahari k'baki, maksdesh mas'hakidyahu va, garga'h'inle durasiv qu dal garga'ahnbrajahras knavs ako. Ri'ik, uni mas'dyahamangk takhkithrak du eshmakslanahngathvi takesthaichur p'nt, takh mas'dyagar hadajaqwinhalk eshma. Maks desh garga'agathkigar va, garga'h'in nismaksvrax garga'hra diga dulaneshi'Kilrah ... dal ni'le'i rothraks. Jhak. Lebanai kai'hajaq ma'inthrakgu lanma..."
Lee's aide shifted uncomfortably at her use of profanity and she smiled inwardly. Her aide was new and relatively inexperienced, a kid on his own journey up the ranks, and obviously not used to the realities of politics. Smiles and civility in politics were concepts enforced only by the rules of governmental chambers; in their own offices a politician's language could easily rival that of a sailor's. Gar'uz'a'danisk ruvs du gar'dal ergle'iduts maks gar'yinahkik ma'haras, Lee Terran'hra. Gar'uz'aha kirmaksikgav matakhs, gar du gar'nislan dumangi, maks gar'ha'k va igk aiyvargs duhe'i ergnarthraks. Dunarthraks, yinahkimaksravdirakha ha'ksi'i rathrgk anruni talerag'nithi'da'inarthrak; trathkh'narthraks'hra h'inmatakh vargs dutrathkh'shint'hra dugarga'kolan.
The aide pushed a few buttons on the PDA he held in his hands, a crutch with which to support his uneasiness. "You've had another request from Daphne. She's once again requesting to attend the k'g'harg ceremony on Charon." Uz'a'bargdukhualimangin duvikhakgade gar'dyak dugar'de'i, viri masarik gar'k'fa'in. "Ri'dyadyakrathrginuniga ta Ir'k'toth. Gar'harathrgin du nisdu rad("without any clothing") du S'thran Meth.
Lee rolled her eyes in disgust. "First of all, learn to sort my personal business from my professional business, Abner. I'm not going to tell you again, understand? Four months is long enough to learn how to use planning software and it's a critical skill if you're going to stay in this business. Second, me telling my charming daughter that she can go participate in some god-damned Cat orgy over my cold and rotting body can wait until after my meeting with Governor Guildenstern; I get to be bitched out because 'the Broken Claw Agency isn't doing its job' and 'why aren't we moving faster to close down the remaining Kilrathi reservations' again, which, suck as it does, it still more important to my so-called constituency than me telling her she can gift-wrap the whole idea and shove it up her ass again. Speaking of my meeting with Guildenstern, that particular set of fun and games begins in about five minutes, so we probably oughta wrap this up. Anything else? You know, anything other than things that aren't any of your god-damned business?" Gar'kork gar'yi'i dugathxi, Lee Terran'hra. "Ar, ig thini'gathvi hrasaqkos, Nahr'knav. Ni'hanis va lebarai du, bhakil? Eshthai kes hama'ga dyahu ig ja'ldal di'aj'vikhakaj maks gar'ha'ikbhakildyapagaga desk ri'hanis lanesh dumagathvi. Dar, ni'leba ni'ni'lavingadakatava mas gar'h'in nismaksdyatahklan dud'aik'toxKilin k'bakitahr gara ni'chokut ashmaksolchur h'indrish eshdugu jhani'bhaktakhlan ragar, Narthrakahr Bhuj'qith; ni'h'asbhadakoduwini erg 'Yanshi'ha va agarga'ko' maks 'ja'lra kai'hadanis va ekga guthalanilaneshKilrathi' du, mas, ja'lg'esh gar'abarayu, ha dyapagara eshma duni'letakhkari'hra ra ni'lebagar mas gar'h'inhukorhugath sikut maks bargdothgar dugar'k'yu du. Le ergni'bhaktakhlan ragar, Bhuj'qith, maskotakhlan'lekimaksvidyaleki'i nis du esh'ini p'nt, takhjaqgu kai haguma kimohes. Hu'hag'hu takav? Ri'ik, g'hu'hatakav ra wi mas'ha va g'ri'gathvi k'bakitahr?"
He tapped the screen of the PDA quickly. "Just one last thing, Governor. Something from General Alistair's intel bunch." Gar'alibadukvi'd'aiy duvikhakgade eks. "Thrakhu anruni, Narthrakahr. Hu ta gar'ahnhafikwur, Kalralahr Alistair Terran'hra."
The Governor groaned. "Intel? What the hell are they bothering us about this time, more pirate crap?" Narthrakahr'da'kel'alkin. "Hafikwur? Ja'lra dunargrast garga'alkinkai ma'esh, hargara'ke'hra?"
The aide shook his head nervously, obviously unable to tell if the item he was looking at was personal or not. "No, ma'am. General Alistair seemed to think that you personally would be interested in this. Apparently a high-ranking Kilrathi nobleman, Ra'Khaj nar Ghoran, was seen on Odell two days ago." Uz'a'daniseq favins gar'yu, h'inleba va aiyvargs desh hu'ha'k hrasquva dumas gar'ha'kdiyai. "Va, laqav. Gar'dalpak mas ri'h'askhadyapak hrass duma, Kalralahr Alistair Terran'hra. Thrak'hra Kilrathi manggaga ha'kaiyk sas du D'vd T'qal P'nt esh'gai duchur de.
"By Alistair's bunch? Bar or brothel?" It was a fair question; General Bradley Alistair, who had been a pilot during the closing days of the War and had a well-deserved reputation for being a womanizer, had often held to the notion that such establishments were great places to gather intelligence and had set up such places throughout the Sector specifically for that purpose. The fact that the General himself often patronized his own establishments - particularly his brothels - didn't diminish the faith the Confederation put in the intelligence his teams gathered, though there were plenty of people in the Confederation civil government that thought of his methods with more than a modicum of disgust. Lee was one of those people - almost everything about the General disgusted her to the core. He wasn't even that good of a lay... "Ras gar'ahn, Alistair Terran'hra? Dai arakhquvrax?" Gar'ha'krathkuthe'ha; gar'dyakha'kdornta du'esh thrakesh'gai'Siv maks dyakskarashski takh vrax'akilavi, Kalralahr Bradley Alistair Terran'hra, maks gar'dyakleksi balanga mas masilangathvi'i'ha'klani kithrak bhahafikwur maks dyaknisklaniakh tamaskonis dudaKn'ga Ja'lgaga. He mas gar'jaqgathak gar'langathi'i, Kalralahr - daivraxi du ergdyapa - a'kchodyapavla va Ahn Takhlankrasbhakil lan duhafikwur mas gar'ahni'dyatahklank ja'lg'esh hu'ha'kga'hra dunarthrakerghra'Ahn Takhlankrasbhakil mas dalpak erggar'di'ajji ragaragathxin. Gar'ha'k ergmasi'hra uni, Lee Terran'hra - gahu'ima'ins ergKalralahr gathxikgar gatas. Gar'ha'kvraxki va takh...
"A bar, governor. Here, let me show you." The aide walked around to her side of the desk, tapping the screen of his PDA to bring up an image that had been attached to the report. He handed the PDA to the Governor; she had seen enough images of Ra'Khaj nar Ghoran, a known player in Kilrathi politics, to know that the first Cat she was seeing was definitely him. "Daiarakh, Narthrakahr. Gathganai d'aiyrai." Uz'a'amk du gar'yin'kovirgnis maks alibadukvi'd'aiy erggar'vikhakgade d'aiyhu'aiychur mas dyakha'klanduk duwur. Gar'gathkvikhakgade duNarthrakahr; gar'dyakaikhu'aiychuridyahu dugar, Ra'Khaj nar Ghoran, dyatahklan'hraiq dunarthraksKilrathi, ik mas Kilin ar mas gar'ha'kaiy ha'kgar gris.
Her eyes shifted over to the other Kilrathi, while her aide droned on. "Apparently he was there for some kind of meeting with this other Kilrathi whom we haven't yet identified and..." Gar'yi'idanisk duKilrathitakav, deshas gar'uz'a askle akvas. "Gar'ha'k sas tabhaktakhlan'thimang ra maKilrathitakav ja'lhra kai'dyaiskhus va eshma maks..."
The sight of the other Cat brought Lee to a sudden and painful sobriety; she didn't need an intelligence analysis to tell her who he was. "That's Krahtagh N'Ryllis," she intoned flatly. Aiy'Kilrathitakav dyagar du akrahv k'rathrgmaksrakalk, Lee Terran'hra; gar'rathrgstrahafikwur va lebagar, Lee Terran'hra, ja'lhra gar'haak. "Mas'hagar, Krahtagh N'Ryllis," gar'lek k'dichodyapas.
"Are you sure?" Ri'ha gri?"
Am I sure, you idiot?, she thought. Am I sure I know the face of the Cat that killed my husband? Ni'ha gri, su'hra?, gar'dalpak. Ni'ha gri erg ni'ik yin'Kilin mas gukni'nonvrash?
Lee nodded, her expression intense. "Positive. That's him. That's the fleabag bastard that killed William." Gar'yudanisink, Lee Terran'hra, gar'diyin'ha argga. "Gri. Mas'hagar. Mas'ha jaq'hra vidyarashkabarayu'ilkai mas guk Yuharga Sivthrak."
There was an uncomfortable silence in the room; her aide said nothing. She had long ago told him the tale - how her husband had worked as a field agent for the Broken Claw and had one day been out distributing food when he'd been attacked - his arm had been sliced off by a Kilrathi blade and he'd been left to die, the Kilrathi not even bothering to report the attack until it was too late to do anything about it. She had sent in troops to find the perpetrator - who had been repeatedly identified as Krahtagh N'Ryllis by those compelled to come forward - only to discover he'd fled the reservation and had since disappeared without a trace. She'd since studied N'Ryllis's reservation ID holo intensely, at least once a day, wondering where that spineless Cat bastard was hiding. No one knew, until now - now they had a solid lead, something to follow up on, something they could use to bring him to justice at last. Hu'ha'q'le k'ru dudai hukutav; gar'uz'alek k'g'hu. Gar'dyaklebaklek'kor dugar duchurma'ga - ja'l gar'nonvrash'dyaqok takhkorakharothrak taYanshi maks dyakha'kgathuk esh'ga uni ja'lesh gar'dyakha'k krak - gar'alde'dyakha'kshu'eq talan taqith'rakKirathi maks gar'dyak'ha'q'bakigu, Kilrathi'gathwur va ergkra eshdugu gar'ha'kjheshgaga ag'hu erggar. Gar'dyaksnaksivai isduxal'hra - ja'lhra dyakha'kishusk adus takhgar rasmasi'hra'rathrgk le, Krahtagh N'Ryllis, is anruni mas gar'dyaknistalankthalan eks maks dyakjaqhafk aqesh r'avdinis. Gar'dyakigk argthraks aqesh gar'knav'aiychurthalanhus, gara unidu esh'gaiga, maks dalpak ja'lan masjaq'hrak'fasKilin ha'khaf. Va'hra'iq, eshdugu eshma - esha garga'dyakmasdoth, hu ahrav, hu garga'h'indal thraks dyagar dukuthe'ha.
It was personal business, yes, but at that moment she didn't care. She inhaled sharply as she passed the PDA back to her aide, her tone dangerous. "Tell me that Intel picked up the conversation they were having." Gar'ha'kgathvi hras, hagai, qu gar'adyapa va dumaseshinthrak. Gar'dakduk kuvargs takh gar'jaqdukvikhakgade dugar'uz'a, dikiquxi'gar'yel dakut'ag. "Lebanai mas Hafikwur'elkle'a garga'ha'kdya."
Her aide shook his head. "Only fragments of it; faulty microphone pickup and apparently General Alistair was some kinda pissed when he found out. They didn't get much of the conversation itself, so they're having to resort to lip-reading, which will take a while to finish up, but they did get the words "T'Kon H'hra" clearly enough, though." Gar'uz'adaniseq gar'yu. "Garga'bhak anruni hukutavi'gar; hu'ha'kvelinargskov maks gar'ha'kalkga ja'lesh gar'iskgar, Kalralahr Alistair Terran'hra. Garga'abha va ga ergle'a, takhjaqgu garga'hadya dal bhakilanagkh, mas'h'asba eshmang gu, qu garga'a'kelle'i aiysdyahu ja'lg'esh, 'T'Kon H'hra'".
T'Kon H'hra. Lee didn't know what kind of business Bloodeye had there, nor did she care; if he fled to that place, though, the chances were good he'd disappear forever. T'Kon H'hra. Gar'iqthi'gathvi va mas Kayi'dyak lanma, Lee Terran'hra, maks gar'dyapak va; desh gar'nisk dumaslan, ja'lg'esh, hu'ha'qimoheki mas gar'h'askjaqhaf rageshga
She made a fast decision; it wasn't a given that he'd head there, but she needed to eliminate that possibility. "Contact the KAC Council. I want to speak to Ra'Khaj nar Ghoran myself and find out what he was doing on Odell. Meanwhile, send a message to the T'Kon H'hra base and advise them to be on the lookout for a Kilrathi matching N'Ryllis's description arriving sometime in the next few days. He is to be considered armed and dangerous. I want him apprehended at all costs." Gar'da'kwinhalek; gar'ha'kbaktahekhe va mas gar'h'asnis lanma, qu gai ha'r'mash'in'hal. "Snadyale du Ahnahri'KNK. Ni'rashle dugar ni'hra maks is ja'lhu gar'ha'ka du D'vd T'qal P'nt, Ra'Khaj nar Ghoran. Esherg, snadyale duDarg T'Kon H'hra maks raiha'agar hadyapaiy taKilrathi takhma'ins gar'aiydi jaqeshmang du esh'gaimanginjhak, N'Ryllis. Gar'hahasak ajranimaksahg. Ni'rashgar dymga'qithk dyapathrak."
"Why not just order them to kill him outright? He's just a Cat, after all." Ja'lra va rathrggar anruni gugar eshmathraks? Gar'haKilin anruni, g'di."
Lee shook her head with determination. "No. I want to watch that bastard burn..." Gar'daniseq gar'yu raparg, Lee Terran'hra. "Va. Ni'rashaiymasjaq'hra ji..."

(Scene 5)Edit

Docking Port 4-5
T'kon H'hra Military Salvage Yard
T'kon H'hra System, Sa'Khan Quadrant, Epsilon Sector
2680.113, 1222 Hours EST
"Identi-card, please." Gathnai ri'vikvarghus, eshma."
Bloodeye handed the fake card to the Terran agent calmly, suppressing any sign of apprehension. This was the crucial moment - if he got caught, it was almost certain that he'd find himself in the hands of the Broken Claw and on his way to his impending execution. Or they'd simply kill him outright; he'd heard of such things happening since the end of the war and had no reason not to believe what he'd heard. Gar'gathvikvargiv k'les du korakha'Terran'hra, Kayi, panothg'huleba ergk'fa. Ma'ha'keshinthrakdyapagaga - desh gar'ha'kdymga'qithk, gar'ha'kgri ma'ins mas gar'h'askisgar'hra dudaiduxal'hra'Yanshi maks nis dugar'gu k'rakhmakseshmathrak. Qu garga'h'askgugar vargsmakseshmathrak; gar'dyakelk ergwitakhbalan aqesh gu'Siv maks dyaqonis va k'baktahe ja'lhu gar'dyaklek.
At least he'd arrived aboard the station intact; things had gotten a little hairy shortly after he'd left Odell. Having made the decision to take a circuitous route through KAC territory that avoided the KAC bases at Pasqual and Bifrost, he had been challenged by Border Worlds militiamen at the jump to D'vd Tang, which, nerve-wracking as it was, vindicated his decision to have the shuttle's transponder codes changed before he left Odell. The militiamen eventually let him go unmolested to Asgard. At the jump to Asgard In D'vd Tang, he had a run-in with a group of DeathHeads - one of the more dangerous Terran pirate clans that had infested Epsilon Sector after the end of the War. He'd only survived that encounter by running for the jump point, taking potshots at the pirates whenever they closed in. Fortunately for him a Bronte Corporation convoy was on the other side of the jump, and when the DeathHeads came through in pursuit of his shuttle, they suddenly found themselves with bigger, slower and more lucrative targets available, letting him get away. The shuttle's auto-repair system had fixed most of the damage the pirates had inflicted by the time he reached the jump point to Corsair, where he had a run-in with a small group of Firekkan fighters operated by the rogue BlackFire Flock; he would've had major problems even if he'd run up against Firekkan regulars due to the ongoing hatred between the Kilrathi and Firekkan peoples, but the fact they were BlackFire meant a desperate fight with Bloodeye at a severe disadvantage. Again he'd only gotten away by running, the Firekkan pirates deciding not to pursue his shuttle further into KAC territory. Still, the scum had chewed up the shuttle; he'd had no choice but to land for repairs on Chloe, eschewing the main settlement in favor of the community of Pi on the southernmost large island that passed for a continent on the watery world. Fueling and repairs had cost him a day and most of the money he still had on his person, but the mechanics at the community's small craft dealership had proven themselves up to the task; he soon found himself back in space with a fully capable shuttle, and if the mechanics had detected any tampering with the shuttle's transponder, they had let him go on his way without saying anything about it. The rest of the journey had gone much more smoothly; he'd ran into a few patrols belonging to the Morgan's Raiders pirate clan in Charon and Vigrid as well as a few Despoilers in Valgard, but in each case there had been passing Terran freighter traffic, juicier targets with which the greedy Terran pirates could concern themselves. He'd stopped to refuel one more time at the hedonistic community of Brajakh'rax on Qua'lat Kes, stopping just long enough to fuel up - though that didn't prevent him from being propositioned by local prostitutes no less than three times while he waited. Commercial traffic started dying down noticeably after he reached T'Kon Meth, though while he was passing through the system he did intercept a distress call from a Kilrathi convoy reporting that they under attack by Lancers. Though he dearly wanted to come to the aide of his brethren, his shuttle was definitely no match for the Dragons of the Black Lance, and the distress call terminated abruptly before he could make a decision as to whether or not he should go to the convoy's aid, quickly deciding the matter for him. The rest of the journey had been uneventful other than having to negotiate a pair of asteroid fields. Gar'dyakjaq kut dug'balan dudargbhu; wi'dyakjaqk'vargin eshmathraks jhagar'dyaknistalan D'vd T'qal P'nt. Gar'dyakha'k k'tothmok rasBraja'NakiYin dulanjak du D'vd Tang jha gar'dyakda'kwinhal bhadinisrothrakav dulanargk'KNK mas amgaqdargi du T'Kon-SamaksK'nag'nH'hra, mas, ja'lg'esh gar'ha'k k'varg gath, dabhakik gar'winhal dyadatakavk lehafivihrakiqusha'dont eshchur gar'nistalank D'vd T'qal P'nt. Braja'gathkgar nis r'avraths duK'nag'n'Khur r'avk'varg. Gar'dyaktuk AhnKe'hraTerran'hra Yugu'i dujak duK'nag'n'Khur duD'vd Tang, uni ergnarike'hraTerran'hraagga mas dyakrathshak Kn'ga Ja'lgaga Ko'dath jha gu'Siv. Gar'dyakvuk anruni mastu rasamgaq ta lanjak, ja ajavs duke'hra ja'lesh garga'jaqma'inthrak. Garga'shintidraq'ha'k dugutakav ergjak, Khagathvi Lekarhga, mas ha'kmo tagar, Kayi, maks garga'iskgarga'hra k'rathrgs ramasdirani'ih'indal gagav'ekgamaksdahugathga ja'lesh garga'jaq gogar'dont, Yugu'i, mas gathkgar amgaq. Kotakhlandakodu'dont ko'l k'hras dyakdakodukr'inga mas ke'hra'dyaka'k rasesh gar'jaq dulanjak du S'thran H'hra, ja'lan gar'tukahnin ergkranti'Firekkan'hra argk rasgarga, Ahn Ke'hraFirekkan'hra Kn'ji. Gar'h'askdyadyk thraq'vargi takhdeshas gar'dyaktuk kranti'Firekkan'hra ta erggathkivgas erghra KilrathimaksFirekkan'hra, qu he mas garga'ha'k Kn'ji siturashavthrak ragar dutothsa'kiso, Kayi. Du, gar'dyakvuk anruni rasamgaq, rake'hra'Firekkan'hra jaqwinhalghoga va gar'dont dulanargk'KNK. Qu, husu'i'dyakr'inkdont thraks; gar'dyakdyakwinhal va qu nistalan tadakodu'i du S'thran H'hra, amgaqbrajakharh nistalan dubrajakh Yutha du akthano gamakstashavthrak mas'ha'ksathathrak dunak'ak datakav. Bha hudargmaksdakodu'i dyakrashrogar esh'ga maks gar'rashrolaneshgathrak, qu ikant'hra'dyakd'aiyhegar'hra h'inako dulanbhahugathantin'brajakh; gar'iskgar'hra eshma'in dukn'ga du radontko dakuts, maks desh ikant'hra'dyakaiyk g'datakav ravihrakiqusha'dont, garga'dyakgathkgar nistalan r'avleg'hu erggar. Hukutavlanesh'nislan dyaknisk vargaga; gar'tuqami'in ergAhn Ke'hraTerran'hra Thrakragnithi du S'thran Meth maks T'rel Pakh, maks Ahn Ke'hraTerran'hra Bharaso'a du T'rel H'hra, qu hu'dyakha'k dubalaniga dontinisgathvihuntTerran'hra, masdirani'igaga ramas garga'h'indyapagarga'hra, ke'hraTerran'hra hakgagathi. Gar'dyakdrishk bhahudarg duthrak dubrajakhleki ergBrajakh'rax du Qua'lat Kes, drisheshdyahu anruni tahudarg - ja'lg'esh mas'adrishgar va aqharashgathkvrax raskilavraximalan inra va tredu deshas gar'drishk. Dontinisikrasho niskinra jaqdyapas jhagar'jaq lanma, T'Kon Meth, ja'lg'esh deshas gar'ha'knis dubhumaksnaki gar'a'kbha dalyai'el'ha'uz aqshintidraqKilrathi le mas garga'ha'k hakra rasAhnTerran'hra Kn'ranir'in. Ja'lg'esh gar'rashk thraks jaqmaksuz gar'hra, gar'dont'ha'ktakh va du krantiThrakzur'Ranir'ini, maks dalyai'el'ha'uz'guk k'rathrgs eshchur gar'h'indajaqwinhal uzshintidraq qu va, jaqwinhalhu eks tagar. Lanesh'nislan'dyakha'kdakut'balani va qumas gai ha'kdo duthano'i'kn'othi de.
He had been struck with a sense of despair almost immediately upon completing the jump to T'Kon H'hra. The pair of corvettes that had challenged him upon his entry into the system and that had ultimately dispatched the pair of Vaktoth fighters that escorted him to the station were the only operational Kilrathi craft he'd seen in the area. Every other Kilrathi craft nearby was either in a state of advanced decay or was actively being rendered inoperable. As the fighters escorted his shuttle to the station, the thought crossed his mind that he was beholding what was left of the last Grand Fleet of the Empire of Kilrah, the very ships that had come so close - so close - to finally winning the war against the Terrans. It was a terrible shame and a terrible waste to behold. It was also somewhere among that massive field of once-proud near-junk that he was supposed to find the warship that would allow him to wage the war he wanted against the Terrans. Gar'dyakha'kchaq eshmathraksma'in rachodyapa'k'rashthrakgata dugujak dulanma, T'Kon H'hra. Kamali de mas dyakk'tothmokgar dujaqdu ma'harabhumaksnaki maks dyaksnak thraks krantiVaktoth de mas arikgar dudargbhu ha'k antkoKilrathi anruni mas gar'dyakaiyk dulan. Antima'inthrakKilrathitakavga ha'k dubalan'olchurga qu ha'khada'qo va as. Si'daniskgar'pa mas gar'ha'kaiy ja'lhulaneshk erg ThrakKhantThrak'Rag'nith'Kilrah takh kranti'arikgar'dont dudargbhu, shintitakh mas dyakjaqma'inthrakga - ma'inthrakgaga - k'tothsiv thraks duxTerran'hra. Gar'ha'k harashavxigamaksr'axiga aiy. Gar'ha'k mangja'lan maks dumasthanogaga erg ru'unidu husuma'ins mas gar'ha'kdrishtak issivshint mas h'askgathgar asiv duxTerran'hra mas gar'rashk.
As he now looked at the Terran customs agent scanning his identity card, who was deciding whether or not to let him come aboard the station - with a scowl slowly seeping into the creature's face - Bloodeye began to think that coming to T'Kon H'hra might've been a big mistake. But with his money all but gone and with his shuttle only carrying enough fuel for another two jumps - and with nowhere else to land within range - he had no choice now: it was either find a ship or become a permanent resident. Ra'Khaj had said that life aboard the station was worse than life on the reservations, and it occurred to him that he might very well be about to test that assertion firsthand... Takh gar'diyai eshma dukorakharashugathduwiTerran'hra ja'lhra'ha'kjaqwinhal gathgar dudargbhu qu va - ra yinbraj'v'ekdanis v'eks duyin'or - gar'niskdalpa mas jaqdulanma, T'Kon H'hra, h'indyakha'kivalga, Kayi. Qu ra gar'hugath'nisk ma'ins maks gar'dont'dyahudarg anruni tajaki'uniga de - maks ralantakav va nistalandone duma'ga - gar'dyakwinhal va eshma: gar'ha'k isshint qu jaqvudulanguva. Gar'dyaklek mas vu'ha'kxiga dudargbhu ra duthalani, Ra'Khaj, maks gar'jaqdyapak mas gar'h'inkha'k ergk'tothmo gar'le'i hrass, Kayi...
If he made it past the next few minutes, of course. Desh gar'vukesh'inimanginjhak, lehe.
The Terran didn't look very happy. "Wait here a moment, please." The Terran exited to an adjacent room, rapidly passing from sight. Terran'hra'asahkiga va. "Drish eshma ta eshinthrak, eshma." Terran'hra'nistalank dudai hukutavyin, nis eks ta aiy.
Pus-blood, Bloodeye thought. This can't be good. He subtly reached down and released the clasp securing his koractu to its scabbard - he might very well be bringing a sword to a gun fight, but if this was to be his final hour, he fully intended to go down fighting. Kharang, gar'dalpak, Kayi. Ma'h'inhaki va. Gai alibakmaksbadyavk vidya dya(curved blade) duvihaf - gar'h'in'haldyaqith'rak kiga dutuderani, qu desth mas'ha'k hagar'eshthrak , gar'ajk dakuts gu tu.
To his surprise, a Kilrathi came through the door a few seconds later with the Terran agent following close behind. The kil was obviously a commoner; Bloodeye could tell from the mingled colors of his fur, the blunt shape of his muzzle and the flatness of his head. Despite this, the kil bore himself well, like someone of importance in this place. He was wearing current standard KAC battledress armor, a grotesque hybrid of traditional Kilrathi duty armor and Confederation battle fatigues; Bloodeye thought that the colors clashed unnaturally with one another. He wore the sigil of the Sutaghi clan above his right-side shirt pocket, and his pauldrons bore the rank insignia of First Fang - a fourth-level officer equal to a Terran Major or Lieutenant Commander (in theory anyway). Bloodeye noticed that the Kilrathi was unarmed, conspicuously carrying neither blade nor pistol - and he wondered if that was because of the station's regulations or if the station's staff didn't trust the Kilrathi officer enough to allow him to carry any weapons. Kilrathi'jaq dubr'shi dujha esh'ininimangin, du gar'k'rathrg, ra korakhaTerran'hra'ahrav nischurma'inthrak. Kil'ha'k kilrah'hra aiyvargs; gar'h'inaiy aqjhale'itakhlan gar'yai, diyai'gar'lanagkh maks mavarg'gar'yu, Kayi. Gar'dyakgar'hra ki ja'lg'esh ma, takh hradyapa dumalan. Gar'ha'khafchokut tr'hargro'eshma'KNK, hutakhlangathxi erg hargkorakhradsKilrathi maks tr'hargBhakil; gar'dalpak mas jhale'i'tuk k'konisss ra uniga uni, Kayi. Gar'hafchokutk orkleba'nar Sutaghi gara harglanshud'gar'harghudya maks gar'hargaldega'dyakorkleba'mang erg Nagga Ar - korakhamang k'ar takh du DyapaTerran'hraquHylighahr'hra (dusi'hin g'di). Gar'jaqdyapak mas Kilrathi'ha'kajranik va, Kayi, maks mas gar'dyak h'injaqdyapas qith'rakquderani va - maks gar'dalpak desh konis'ha'k ta erglerag'nithi'dargbhu qu ko'a'i'dargbhu adyalakorakhaKilrathi k'dyahu gathgar dyag'rani'i.
The kil walked directly towards Bloodeye with a neutral expression on his face, stopping a few paces away before nodding welcome and addressing Bloodeye in their native language. "Greetings. You must come with me now." Kil'amq rothraks duKayi ra diyinakva dugar'yin, drish aminimangin talan eshchur yudanisinhi maks leduKayi dutrathkh dai'B'nal. "Walhi. Rai hajaq ranai eshma."
Bloodeye addressed the kil in a polite tone. "Is there a problem, First Fang?" Gar'lek dukil dudikiquxi'yel ravdirakha, Kayi. "Hu'hak'varg, Nagga Ar?"
The other Kilrathi shook his head negatively. "No problem, but I do need to ask you a few questions before I can allow you onto the station. We don't get a lot of Kilrathi visiting the station voluntarily; most of our brethren here are trying to leave." Kilrathitakav'daniseq gar'yin avs. "Hu'hak'varg va, qu ni'a harathrai rathimangin eshchur ni'h'ingathrai dudargbhu. Ek'av aiyKilrathigaga jaqlanma rashas.
"I'm here merely to conduct some business and then I'll be on my way." "Ni'halanma anruni agathvimang maks ni'h'asha nistalan jha."
Bloodeye could tell that the other kil wasn't buying into the idea that his presence there was entirely innocent. The other kil's voice, while remaining polite, did take on a hint of a hard edge. "I understand. It's the nature of that business that I need to ask about. So, I must ask you to come with me again - preferably before the Terran with the nasty-looking gun at his side becomes trigger-happy." Gar'h'inaiy mas kiltakav'habaktahesi va mas gar'lanma'ha'qut gatas lanma. Yel'kiltakav, deshas laneshravdirakha, a'kbhayinothin. "Ni'bhakil. Gar'hathi'masgathvi erg mas nai harath. Takhjaqgu, nai harathrai jaq ranai du, eschur Terran'hra raderanidiyaixiga dugar'chutraga nis jar'avmasdirani sa'kis."
Bloodeye looked over at the Terran and noticed that he had released the clasp on his weapon, and that he did appear to be ready to draw it at the slightest provocation. And it was a very nasty weapon - a Terran service Gauss gun, easily capable of vaporizing his body without so much as staining the deck plate or leaving a pile of ash... Gar'diyaik duTerran'hra maks jaqdyapak mas gar'dyakbadyavkvidya dugar'rani, maks mas gar'asa ajk bargtalangar dudalksinthrak. Maks gar'ha'kranixigaga - deranikorzoths'rasivTerran'hra, h'injaqdak gar'chokut vargs r'av orks'aiyxibr'hutalan qu laneshgarai'orkji...
He didn't see where he had much of a choice but to follow the other Kilrathi. Bloodeye nodded his assent to the other kil; the other kil in turn gestured for Bloodeye to head towards an open door leading into an adjacent room, one that from what little Bloodeye could see of the interior was specifically setup for interrogation. He moved in that general direction; as he did so, he maneuvered his hand onto the hilt of his koractu as surreptitiously as he could manage, making sure the Terran - who, from the lack of the sound of footfalls, seemed to be holding his position - couldn't see what he was doing. Gar'avaiy ja'lan gar'dyakwinhalg qu ahravKilrathitakav. Gar'yudanisik gar'bhakil dukiltakav, Kayi; kiltakav'de'iq maks tagar nis dubr'shino mas nisk dudai hukutavyin, dai hukutav mas ha'kaj'k tarath aq ja'lhu gar'h'inaiy ergma'hara, Kayi. Gar'danisk dumasmasdiro; takh gar'ama, gar'danisk gar'de ra takhafikga takh gar'h'ina dulandya'gar'(curved sword), k'tothmo mas Terran'hra - ja'lhra, aq k'el'aminipak, ha'kdanis k'sas aqgar'lan - h'inaiy va ja'lhu gar'ha'ka
Bloodeye entered the interrogation room with the other Kilrathi taking the time to close the door as he entered behind him. He was preparing to draw his blade when the other Kilrathi spoke in their native tongue, his tone casual. "You should keep your hands in plain sight. There are scanners, cameras and microphone pickups located throughout the room and I can guarantee that the Terrans monitoring everything that happens in this particular room would not react at all well to any sudden movement. So, please sit." Gar'jaqdukdai hukutav'rath, Kayi, ra Kilrathitakav'bhesh vanobr'shi takh gar'jaqduk nischurgar. Gar'ha'kaj k'hafgar'qith'rak, Kayi, ja'lesh Kilrathitakav'lek trathkh dai'B'nal dudikiquxi'yelsov. "Ri'de'i halanesh aiy. Hu'ha vi'aiyivibahu'aiychurimaksvelinargsi dulaniga dudai hukutav maks ni'h'inkir'kha mas Terran'hra'dyapaiywiga mas balan dumadai hukutavergdyapa h'askgathleki va duga dudanisk'rathrg. Takhjaqgu, vork eshma."
Bloodeye slowly removed his hand from the hilt of his blade, sitting down on the only piece of furniture in the room - a large, hard-metal stool. He folded his hands in his lap in front of him and forced himself to remain calm; if there were truly scanners placed throughout the room as the other kil had stated, it was likely his metabolic processes were being monitored, and he didn't want the Terrans to know the true state of his emotions at that moment. It was one thing to suppress fear - which, despite what their culture dictated, all Kilrathi felt from time to time. It was quite another to fool a computer designed to detect it, something that took strong mental discipline - and something for which Bloodeye was eternally grateful that his master had insisted he spend nearly two years training to do. Gar'batalankgar'de v'eks aqlandya'gar'qith'rak maks vorq duvidadagara anruni dudai hukutav - huvorkma'gagaqithoth, Kayi. Gar'langar'de'i dugar'alpakgara nisjha erggar maks rathrgkgar'hra laneshk'le; gar'ha'kkimohe mas gar'di'ajji'ergvu ha'khadyapaiyk desh hu'ha'kvi'aiyi hes orqdudai hukutav takh kiltakav'dyaklek, maks gar'arash va Terran'hra'ikbalanhe erggar'dichodyapai dumaseshinthrak. Gar'ha'khu uni panoth k'fa - mas Kilrathiga'chodyapak balanss, ja'lg'esh ja'lhu garga'hradi'lek. Gar'ha'khuga uniga ervikhakga mas ha'kaj'k chodyapa k'fa, humang mas rathrgkdirgpasarg - maks humang mas gar'ha'khadakutshra rageshgas dugar'laq tabaridi mas gar'bhaqesthaima'ins de a'ig.
The other kil produced a PDA from his side and pressed a few buttons on it. He then handed the device brusquely to Bloodeye, his voice hostile. "Are you aware that your identi-card is over a year out of date?" Kiltakav'badyavikhakgade tagar'chutraga maks bargduk mangin erghudali'gar. Gar'gathvi k'rathrgsmaksk'alekis dugar, Kayi, desha gar'yel'ha'ksha. "Ri'ha dyapa mas ri'vikvarghus'ha k'eshma ras garakestha?"
Bloodeye looked at the screen of the PDA. It read 'Play along and act stupid. You're here to see if Paulsen is interested in setting up a market on Pasqual for spare Kilrathi machinery.' Gar'diyaik duvi'd'aiyvikhakgade. Kayi. Gar'bhakik "Ermaksa k'dyapas. Ri'halanma stra desh garga'ha dyapak nislanbhahugath duT'Kon-Sa Du takoduwaliKilrathimaksga, Ni'lin'In."
The message set in quickly. "Uh, no I was not aware of that. A year, you say?," he stammered. Gar'bhadyale eks, Kayi. "Va, Ni'hadyapa va ergmas. Ri'le mas gar'hakestha?," gar'leraduk.
The other Kil took back his PDA, typing rapidly. "That's right: a year. There's a fifteen-credit delinquency fee for having an identity card out of date. You'll be expected to pay this fee before you'll be allowed to depart the station." Kiltakav bhadukgar'vikhakgademaksbargdukhudali eks. "Mas'hahe: kestha uni. Hu'hagathugathjhesh okh'p ta dyavikvarghus k'eshma. Ri'h'ashadrishtak gathmahugath eshchur ri'hasgagathk nistalandargbhu.
"I see. May I renew my card while I'm here?" "Ni'bhakil. Ni'h'indakir ni'vikvarg deshas ni'halanma?"
The kil spoke with disgust, handing the PDA to Bloodeye again forcefully. "No, you may not. You'll have to go to the registrar's office on Pasqual, just like everybody else. And you'll be expected to pay the fee again once you get there. If you'll please indicate on the screen that you've been given this information, I have a few questions and then you may be on your way." Kil'lek ragathxi maks gathkvikhakgade rathrgs duKayi. "Va, ri'h'ina va. Rai hanis dukolan'drada'iki'a duTkon-Sa, takh gahratakav ha'a. Maks ri'h'ashadrishtak gathhugath du ja'lesh ri'jaq. Desh ri'h'asd'aiy duvi'd'aiy mas ri'dyaha'kgathkma'ik, ni'dyarathimangin maks jha ri'h'in nistalan.
Bloodeye quickly read the screen. Below the official notice, he read 'Your meeting with Lord Ra'Khaj on Odell didn't go unnoticed by the Broken Claw. You're going to be subject to a full identity scan as soon as your finger touches the "Accept" button; I've already rigged things so you won't be given away. Meet me on Level 12 Section C at 1700 and keep your blade hidden in the meantime.' Gar'bhakivi'd'aiy eks, Kayi. Inrawurrahagai, gar'bhaki "Ri'bhaktakhlan ha'kjaqdyapak du D'vd T'qal P'nt ragar, Kal Ra'Khaj, rasgarga, Yanshi. Ri'h'ashaikga bhakihusdakut ja'lesh ri'de'in alibahudal"Bhaki"; Ni'dyada'kwi duchura'k mas ri'h'asha va ishusk. Isnai lanma du esh unidezo'ar, lan C erg br'hutalan z'kar, maks ri'qith'rak halaneshhafk du esherg."
Bloodeye tapped the screen. There was a momentary bright flash that filled the room as the other kil re-took possession of his PDA, the faux identity scan commencing. The kil looked briefly at the screen, and then continued with a harsh tone. "What exactly is the nature of your business here?" Gar'alibakvi'd'aiy k'oths. Hu'ha'k knav'd'aiyekeshinthraks mas dakutkdai hukutav takh kiltakav'bhak gar'vikhakgade du, ra bhakihusiv'nis. Kil'diyaik eks duvi'd'aiy, jha askle rayeldikiquxiso. "Ja'lhu'ha rothraks thi'gathvi ri'ha'alanma?"
"I'm here to see if Paulsen is interested in setting up a market on Pasqual for spare Kilrathi machinery. I represent a group attempting to establish another settlement on the planet's surface and we could use all the equipment we could get our hands on," Bloodeye replied. He had improvised a little bit of his response, but it sounded plausible; Pasqual X had only been heavily populated for just over a decade and there weren't a lot of independent communities on the planet's surface. Ni'halanma stra desh garga'hadyapak nislanbhahugath duT'Kon-Sa Du takoduwaliKilrathimaksga, Ni'lin'In. Ni'hyilghdorkahn rashnisbrajakhinuniga duyin'nak maks ek'h'indal gavi'i ek'h'inbha," gar'lek,Kayi. Gar'dyakdekskmang erggar'gathle, qu gar'elkh'inbhaki; gar'dyakhakvudulank gas anruni takesthai du maks hu'ha'k va brajakhigak'dymga'qith duyin'nak.
The other kil scowled. "You do know that Paulsen has an office in Rahras Pukcal, right?" Kiltakav'yinbrajgak. "Ri'a ik mas garga'dyakolan du Rahras Puckal, Ahn Iksdanis Ni'linga'In, he?"
"Our group didn't get very far with the Terrans in the Capital on Pasqual, so we thought we'd try somewhere closer to where materials were being processed." There was truth enough in that statement; Terran businessmen had a noted history for refusing to negotiate fairly... "Ek'ahn anisma'gathrakga va raTerran'hra duLan'narthrak duT'Kon-Sa Du, takhjaqgu ek'dalpak mas ek'h'askh'inlan mas ha'kma'inthrakga du ja'lan wi'ha'khadi'ajjk." Hu'ha'khedyahu dumasle; bhahugathwi'hraTerran'hra dyakikgaska tagathav legathvi kuthe'has...
"So if you had no luck in Pasqual, what makes you think you'll have better luck here?" "Qu desh ri'dyakmo va duT'Kon-Sa, ja'lhu'darai baktahe mas ri'h'asdyamogaga lanma?"
Bloodeye smirked. "Judging from how things have unfolded so far in the twenty minutes I've been on this station, what makes you think I expect to have better luck here? If I didn't have my business partners to consider, I'd leave as soon as my ship was finished refueling." Gar'koryink, Kayi. "Jaqwinhal aqdi mas wi'dyakbalank du'eshma du'esh'ini kesdeok mas ni'dyaha'k dudargbhu, ja'lhu'darai dalpa mas ni'drishta dyamogara lanma? Ni'hasknistalan ja'lesh bhahudarg'ni'shint ha'ka'k desh ni'adya va ni'takhkiligathvi sa."
The other kil's scowl deepened. He looked as though he was about to say something else but at that point there was a chime from his PDA. He looked at it and almost immediately the other kil's demeanor softened. "Very well. We're done here - I have no further reason to detain you. I don't believe that you will meet with much success in your endeavors, but then if you were to ignore my opinion you would not be the first kil to do so." Yinbraj'kiltakav jaqgara. Gar'sak takh gar'ha'knis lehutakav qu hu'ha'qnavel dumasesh aqgar'vikhakgade. Gar'diyaik dugar maks diyin'kiltakav jaqinraso eshmathraksma'ins. "Kiga. Ek'hagata lanma - ni'dyakonisga va drishrai. Ni'abaktahe va mas ri'h'asdyak'tothga duri'h'ini, qu desh ri'k'vudujaq ni'jaqwinhal, ri'h'askha va kilahr amas."
Bloodeye rose from the stool, apparently free from immediate danger but still full of questions. He decided to keep up the charade for the time being, at least until he was out the customs area. "Then you'll forgive me if I at least show some probably-foolish optimism and ignore your opinion for the time being. I didn't catch your name, First Fang......" Gar'ork aqhuvorkma'ga, Kayi, k'dymga'qith sas aqaqeshinthrak qu dakut eshma ergrathi. Gar'jaqwinhalk asiva ta eshma, inthrak eshdugu gar'dyaknistalank lanrashugathduwi. "Ri'h'asgathhar jha desh ni'd'aiy drishtakithrakmang su'hraskimohes maks k'vudujaqri'jaqwinhal ta eshma. Ni'av el ri'hus, Nagga Ar......"
The other kil opened the door leading back out into the customs area, gesturing Bloodeye to follow him. "My name is Arrah Sutaghi - for all the more good that piece of information does you." Kiltakav nokbr'shijaqdudulanrashugathduwi maks de'iq taKayi ahravgar. "Ni'hus'ha Arrah Sutaghi - ta ga'kiga mashukutav'ik'a tarai."
Ah - that explains quite a bit, actually, Bloodeye thought as he followed the other Kil - who he now knew was the contact he was supposed to meet here - back into the customs area. Their meeting was quite serendipitous - now he wouldn't have to hunt for Sutaghi, which of itself would save him a considerable amount of time. He still had to wonder if Ra'Khaj had arranged for Sutaghi to meet him like this, if he had anticipated problems upon his arrival at T'Kon H'hra, or if something else had precipitated the charade he was being forced to act out. He - mas'd'aiygaga, hes, gar'dalpak takh gar'ahravqiltakav - ja'lhra gar'iq eshma ha'ktakhkil mas gar'ha'kbaktahek islanma - jaqdudulanrashugathduwi, Kayi. Garga'is'ha'kmosga - gar'h'askdyabak va taSutaghi, mas h'askvuzgar mang'eshga rasgar'hra. Gai hadalpa eshma desh gar'dyakaj'k ta Sutaghi'isgar madi, Ra'Khaj, desh gar'dyakdrishtaq'vargi ja'lesh gar'a'kjaq duT'Kon H'hra, qu desh hutakav'dyadabalaniva mas gar'ha'kharathrgk a.
Sutaghi approached the Terran guard, whose scowl was still deeply fixed and whose hand remained on the butt of his Gauss gun. The kil stopped a foot away from the Terran and held out the PDA for him to examine. The Terran glanced back and forth at it several times, his expression changing to one of bewilderment. "Huh. He certainly looks like that Cat whose holo got flashed our way from the Governor's office a couple of days ago, but this all checks out; if you want to let him on the station, Gux'a P'nt, it's your funeral." Gar'danisduk drak'aTerran'hra, Sutaghi; yinBraj'Terran'hra ha'klanduk inras anruni maks gar'de'laneshk dulandya erggar'deranikorzoths. Kil'drishk talan raszarmaki h'pdeok aqTerran'hra maks gathkgar vikhakgade ta gar'aiydu. Terran'hra'diyaik dugar nisjhamaksnischur eshiga, gar'diyin'datakav dukorpa. "K'ro. Gar'diyai gris takj masKilin ja'lra'i knav'aiychur'ha'ksnak lanma aqkolan'Narthrakahr esh'gaiduchur de, qu ga'ma'grihe; desh ri'rashgathgar dudargbhu, (Five Murderer), gar'ha ri'k'shrik.
Gux'a P'nt?, Bloodeye thought with surprise. Why does the Terran call you 'One who Murders Five', Arrah Sutaghi? He then recalled that Ra'Khaj had mentioned that Sutaghi had a stigma of his own; perhaps that was a reference to it. On the other hand, it was a well-known fact that only takhari would refer to one another by a nickname or callsign, and though the two of them obviously worked with one another it was very unlikely that Sutaghi considered the Terran anything more than a co-worker. Regardless of the reason, Sutaghi had clearly become annoyed at the words when they were uttered and Bloodeye couldn't blame him for it. (Five Murderer)?, gar'dalpak rak'rathrg, Kayi. Ja'lra Terran'hra'ahusrai 'Gux'a P'nt", Arrah Sutaghi? Gar'dalpaduk jha mas gar'dyakl'eq, Ra'Khaj, mas gar'dyakgar'ork'skaxi, Sutaghi; mas'haikaiy k'gris dugar. Ja'lg'esh, gar'ha'khe'iqi mas (close comrades')h'askhus anruni uniga uni rasmakshusqukranthus, maks ja'lg'esh garga'kok de aiyvargs ra uniga uni gar'ha'q'kimohega mas gar'sakTerran'hra hag'hu gara ko'lantakh. K'dyapa ergkonis, gar'dyakjaqalkink aiys dule'i ja'lesh garga'ha'klek, Sutaghi, maks gar'h'inavdakonisgar tagar, Kayi.
"Yes, I will authorize this kil to enter the base on my own authority; I am satisfied that he is not Krahtagh 'Bloodeye' N'Ryllis." "Hagai, ni'h'asgathmakil jaqdudargbhu duni'ahagai; ni'haruk mas gar'hagar va, Krahtagh 'Bloodeye' N'Ryllis."
The Terran shrugged and then addressed Bloodeye. "Do you got a name, Cat?" Terran'hra'danisink, jha lek dugar, Kayi. "Ri'adyahus, Kilin?"
As he ignored the annoying pejorative and spoke to answer with his alias - his nickname and true family name, something the Terran wouldn't know about - it occurred to Bloodeye that this was the same agent who had scanned his identity card, which had the same alias printed right on it. He should've known his name already. If he was doing his job right. If he cared. Terrans really don't care about much of anything at all, it seems...how could the Empire have ever been defeated by a people who take no pride in their work? It staggers the mind, he thought. Takh gar'k'vudujaq leda'leki'alkins maks lek gathle ragar'ivhus - gar'makshus maks hushe'gar'hrai, humang mas Terran'hra'h'askik va erg - gar'jaq dugar'pa mas Terran'hra'ha'k korakhatakh mas dyakbhakik gar'vikvarghus, mas dyakivhustakh d'aiyk dugar, Kayi. Gai hadya duchur iqgar'hus. Desh gar'ha'ka hes gar'ko. Desh gar'dyapak. Terran'hra'adyapa va hes erg g'huga duga, gar'sa...ja'l Rag'nith'h'indyaha'ktothk dug'esh rashra ja'lhra'baru va dugarga'ko? Gar'nisk'othspa, gar'dalpak.
"I am called Kayi nar Thaknav." Out of the corner of his eye he thought he could see Sutaghi contain a smirk; 'Kayi' was the literal translation of 'Bloodeye'. "Ni'hus'ha Kayi nar Thaknav." Gar'dalpak mas gar'h'inaiygar, Sutaghi, hukorkoryin aqyintakhlan'gar'yi, Kayi; gar'ha'kbakitakavlehes du 'Kayi', 'Bloodeye'.
"Uh-huh. Well, Kayi nar Thaknav, welcome to hell..." "Hagai. Walhi hes dunargrast, Kayi nar Thaknav..."
At that, the agent walked over to a set of large doors leading towards the station's interior and placed his hand firmly on a plate on the wall next to them. There was a green flash as the agent's hand was scanned, and then the doors slowly rumbled open. Dumasile'i, korakha'amk du an'br'shi'iga mas nisk duma'hara'dargbhu maks lankgar'de oths duwothvarg dubr'hu yin dugarga. Hu'ha'k z'd'aiyek takhde'korakha ha'kbhakik maks jha br'shi'i'nok v'eksmaksralekarhgathrak.
The first thing that hit him as he passed through the now-open threshold was the stench, an unspeakably foul combination of stale piss, moldy shit, unwashed bodies and rotten meat assaulting his senses simultaneously. Hu ar mas chaqgar takh gar'nisk dudijaqduno'eshma ha'kolxiga, dyatahklanut k'les erg churj'ak, harirguwi, chokutik'hafahk maks ukolchur tugagagar'chodyapai takheshs.
Then it was the sheer number of Kilrathi he could see crammed into the space, which had obviously been the station's main cargo bay at one time or another. He didn't have time to count them all, but could only guess that the number had to be in the thousands - this on a space outpost whose standard compliment was only supposed to be a few hundred at the very most. Jhak gar'ha'kmanggaga ergKilrathi mas gar'h'inaiy dakutgara dulan, mas dyakha'kdai hukutavgathvihuahr'darghbhu aiyvargs dueshchur. Gar'avdya esh mangga'garga, qu gar'h'inbaktahe anruni mas mang haha du okto'i - ma dudargbhu mas dyakmangvudulaniro anruni ergokko'imangin dugathrakga.
Then it was the looks on the faces of that countless mass of the damned. They were all lean - emaciated even - a look of despair and hopelessness on every face. Some of them were scarred; a few were even bloody, obviously from recent fights over Sivar only knew what. The few Kilrathi who glanced back at him did so with looks of disgust; Bloodeye could only guess why - perhaps it was because he had obviously had a meal recently, or perhaps his presence was merely one more mouth that someone had to feed. Jhak gar'ha'k diyai'yini ergmasthrakmangk'mang ergk'bakik'hra. Ga'garga'ha'khudya'in - rast - maks ga'garga'dyakdiyai ergk'rashthrakgata. Mang'garga'ha'kshorq; yinimang'in'ha'qas, aqtu'iduchurin aiyvargs erg ja'lhu Sivar'iq anruni. Kilrathimangin mas diyaik dugar a'k radiyai'gathxi; gar'h'inbaktahe anruni ja'lra, Kayi - k'gris gar'ha'k ta gar'dyakdyakuk aiyvargs duchurins, qu gar'lanma'ha'k anruni lanagkhuniga uni dumas mang'hra hagathuk.
By Sivar - truly this place is nargrast, he thought. He turned around to ask where he would be able to find food, but by then the doors were rumbling shut. And as they clanged back into place, Bloodeye knew that he was well and truly committed to his course. Ras Sivar - malan'hanargrast hes, gar'dalpak. Gar'kork rath ja'lan gar'h'askhah'in isuk, qu br'shi'i'ha'kvano legas rasma'esh. Mas takh garga'vanok du elchaklega, gar'iq mas gar'ha'qorakhk kimakshes dugar'dinis, Kayi.
Not thirty seconds had he been among the populace of T'Kon H'hra - and Bloodeye knew already that Ra'Khaj had been right. Not thirty seconds had he been there, and he knew it was because of scenes like the one he was witnessing that there was only course of action to take. Gar'dyakavha'k ravudulani erglanme ta esh'inini h'kstreok, T'Kon H'hra - maks gar'iq duchur, Kayi, mas gar'dyakha'khe, Ra'Khaj. Gar'dyakavha'klanma ta esh'inini h'kstreok, maks gar'iq mas gar'ha'k ta ergeshmakslani takh ja'lhu gar'ha'kaiy mas hu'ha'kdinis'a uni anruni bha.
He had to go to war. Gai hanis dusiv.

(Scene 6)Edit

Arrah Sutaghi's Quarters
T'kon H'hra Military Salvage Yard, Level 12 Section C
T'kon H'hra System, Sa'Khan Quadrant, Epsilon Sector
2680.113, 1718 Hours EST
"...and so now you know the truth of my story. Whether you choose to believe it or not is your concern. If not, I'll leave here in peace while I still can. If you do, however, I would ask you for your help." "...maks takhjaqgu ri'ikhe eshma ergni'lek'kor. Deshquva ri'wihnal baktahegar hari'dyapa. Desh va, ni'h'asnistalan eshma du k'siv deshas ni'h'in eshma. Desh ri'a, ja'lg'esh, ni'h'askrathrai tari'uz."
It had certainly been an educational day; there could be little doubt about that. The first thing he'd done upon entering the cargo bay and recovering from the initial shock of the truly appalling conditions within was to attempt to determine how to gain access to basic services, which he'd need if he wound up having to stay aboard the station for any significant length of time. He'd learned quickly that the tens of thousands of Kilrathi piled into the cargo bay had to share communal bedding; you simply crashed where you could find space on the cargo racks and prayed that you woke up the next day with the same set of possessions you had the previous day. Parasites were, as might be expected, a major issue among the populace. Privies were primitive but present, consisting of large ration barrels behind short screens, which he learned were eventually pumped into the cargo bay's overworked consumables recycling system, the same system from which the cargo bay's water supply came; he'd learned that most newcomers eventually became ill within a few days of their arrival after their first drink of water. Food, he'd learned, was particularly difficult to come by; the Terrans could only distribute food every few days, and then when they did do so it was usually Soylents or Universal Meat Product, both of which were "meat" only by the very loosest of definitions. He had seen some Kilrathi with pieces of rux'fra, which they guarded fiercely; he had learned that those basic pieces of dried meat were considered more valuable than gold among the Kilrathi populace, and that they could be found readily if you weren't picky about what meat had been used in their manufacture. Gar'dyakha'kesh'ga'ig gris; hu'h'inhak'gri ergmas. Hu ar mas gar'dyaka'k du jaqdudai hukutav'gathvihu maks as aqk'rathrg ar ergbalanixigaga hes ha'k h'instra ja'l bhah'innis du uzirathrg'k, mas gar'h'ask ha desh jaqgu'guk du laneshrathrgk tag'ma'ga'thrakesh. Gar'dyakigk eks mas okgai'Kilrathi'garaik dudai hukutav'gathvihu ha'krathrgk dyatakhwulitagahras; ri'ulk vargs ja'lan ri'h'inislan duvargdrahugathvihu maks rathk'rakhk mas ri'jaqul ra antakh ergwi mas ri'dyak duesh'ga eshchur. Shkai'ha'kdyapaga ergvudulani, takh h'in'haldrishtak. Daihari'ha'k inthrakqulanma maks hukohk erghukoralgairuxfraga nischur br'hinima'in, mas gar'dyakigk ha'kdakdanisk r'avraths du kotakhlandaldugarakok dai hukutav'gathvihu'i, kotakhlantakh aqmas kofak'jaq dai hukutav'gathvihu'i; gar'dyakigk mas kirjaq'aigathrak'jaq'k'ki r'avraths du esh'gaimangin erggarga'jaq jha garga'ak'ak ar. Uk'ha'k k'varg ergdyapas is, gar'dyakigk; Terran'hra'h'ingathtalanuk anruni ga esh'gaimangin, maksjha ja'lesh garga'a'kma gar'ha'k ros z'hahra'iquvi'ukro, mas de'ha'k"uk" anruni rassi'inorgthrakga. Gar'dyakaiykKilrathimang rahukutavi'(jerky ration), mas garga'draq sos; gar'dyakigk mas masihukutavivarg'uk ha'ksak h'inrashro garaj'qith ergvudulaniKilrathi, maks masgarga'h'inha isk aj'ks desh ri'ha'kwinhals va erg thi'uk'dyakha'kdalk dugarga'kodawi.
Despite Arrah Sutaghi's admonition not to draw his sword, he had found it necessary to do so - he had felt a grasping hand at his side near the hilt of his koractu and he'd instinctively drawn the blade from its sheath, cutting off the finger of the would-be thief in the process. Those who had witnessed the event did not give him any trouble afterwards, though as he left the scene he'd heard a commotion behind him and when he'd turned around to see what was happening he saw - to his horror - that several Kilrathi were squabbling over the severed finger. To eat, he'd realized. The thought of his fellow Kilrathi having to engage in cannibalism just to survive nearly made him sick to his stomach, but then he was forced to wonder what the starving masses would do with his vomit... Gar'dyakiskgar rathrg'k k'haf'gar'qith'rak ja'lg'esh gar'lerodyapa av, Arrah Sutaghi - gar'dyakchodyapakdebadya dugar'chutraga, ma'inthrak landya'(curved blade), Kayi, maks gar'dyaq'hafk qith'rak k'dalpass aqgar'vihaf, shude'in talan ergxha'hrah'ink takh jaqgu. Masi'hra ja'lhra dyak'aiykbalan avgathgarg'k'varg jha, ja'lg'esh ja'lesh gar'nistalankeshmakslan gar'dyakelkel'k'varg nischurgar maks ja'lesh gar'dyaqork aiy ja'lhu'ha'kbalan gar'aiyk - dugar'k'faga - mas Kilrathigin'ha'ktu ergde'inshuktalan. Uk, gar'dyakjaqdyapak. Si erg gar'Kilrathitakhkil dya ahax vu anruni da'kgar ma'ins k'ki dugar'dalhar, qu gar'ha'krathrgk dalpa jha ja'lhu thrakmangirast'h'aska ragar'aqdalhar...
He had thought of nargrast often during the past decade, and what would happen to his soul should he ultimately fail to fulfill his final duty to his master. Even with all the bad experiences he'd had living on the reservations, he had never before experienced anything that matched his imaginings in real life. But as he had looked around him, he had to admit that conditions aboard the T'Kon H'hra station came very close; all that was really missing was the endless, barren wasteland part... Gar'dyakdalpak balanga erggar du'eshkesthaichur du, (hell), maks ja'lhu'h'askbalan dugar'za desh gar'toth thraks agar'thraqorakh dugar'laq. Takh raga ikgaixi mas gar'dyakdyak deshas vu duthalani, gar'dyakikgak k'g'hu eshchur mas takhkgar'aiydudapa duvuhe. Qu takh gar'dyakaiyk hukorgar, gai halehe mas balani'jaq ma'inthrakga lanma, Dargbhu T'Kon H'hra; ga mas hav'klanma hes ha'k hu erg r'tha shimaksk'gu...
Shortly after the incident with the thief, he'd started to make his way towards his scheduled meeting with Sutaghi. He'd had to approach a Terran guard to allow him access to other areas of the station. The guard had let him through after checking his credentials, informing Bloodeye that he had been granted third-level access to the station for the next three days, which would be sufficient for him to leave the cargo bay and visit some of the station's other non-essential areas, and warning him that his access would be revoked if he were to be found outside the cargo bay after 2100 or in any restricted areas at any time. Bloodeye thanked the guard cordially as he allowed him to pass; no doubt Sutaghi had arranged for the necessary clearance. Gar'dyaknisk nis dubhaktakhlaneshajk raSutaghi jhabalan eshins ra xha'hra. Gar'dyakdyakdanisdu drakaTerran'hra gathgar h'innis dulanitakav'dargbhu. Draka'dyakgathkgar du jha k'tothmogar'vikvarghus, lebagar mas gar'dyakha'kgathk mang'h'innis tar dudargbhu ta esh'gaijhak tre, mas h'askha'kdyahu tagar nistalandai hukutav'gathvihu maks nisdulani k'dyapagagamang'dargbhu, maks lerodyapagar mas h'innis'h'askhabatalank desh gar'ha'kisk dudavdai hukutav'gathvihu jha esh p'ntdeok qu dug'lanigathavk dug'esh, Kayi. Gar'shrakdraka hes takh draka'gathkgar nis, Kayi; Sutaghi'dyakaj'k r'avk'gri tagathrathrg'k.
The rest of the station was nowhere near as crowded as the cargo bay; the air was much fresher and Bloodeye took the time to drink the water from a fountain; the water outside the cargo bay was clear and it tasted like it had been well-filtered. After making his way to the twelfth level, Bloodeye had steered his way towards section C, which was originally the station's guest quarters and where the Terrans housed the Kilrathi they had directly in their employ. He'd gotten lost a time or two along the way but didn't find himself in any restricted areas and after stopping to ask for directions, he had eventually found the area of the station where he was supposed to meet up with Sutaghi. While waiting in a common room, he saw several other Kilrathi who held jobs on the station; though they appeared to be better off than their brethren in the cargo bay, Bloodeye could detect the same look of defeat in their faces. Lanesh ergdargbhu ha'q'dakutgarak ma'inthraks takhdai hukutav'gathvihu; dak'ha'qirgaga maks gar'bhesh akak aqhuaknis, Kayi; ak'ha'kaiy dudavdai hukutav'gathvihu maks ak'k takh gar'dyakha'krasnisuqi. Gar'dyaknisk dulan C jha niskgar'di dubr'hutalan z'kar, mas ha'kulan'nisdu'a'dargbhu nisss maks ja'lan Terran'hra'dai'kKilrathi mas garga'dyaqo rothraks. Gar'dyakjaq h'inavisdi dedu ma'inthrakdi qu a'kisgar'hra va dulanigathavk maks jha drish rath tamasdi'i, gar'dyakisk r'avraths lan'dargbhu ja'lan gar'ha'kbaktahek is raSutaghi. Deshas drish dudai hukutavro, gar'aiykKilrathitakav gin ja'lhra bhaqo'i dudargbhu; ja'lg'esh garga'sak gara garga'takhari dudai hukutav'gathvihu, gar'h'inchodyapa diyintakh'toth dugarga'yini.
He didn't have very long to wait before Sutaghi came, the two of them proceeding to the latter's private cabin - a luxury in and of itself on the station, as he'd learned that even the Kilrathi in the employ of the Broken Claw largely had to share billets with one another. Bloodeye had just finished telling him the same tale that he'd told Ra'Khaj a week ago on Odell, sharing - much to Bloodeye's delight - a bottle of Sukhar May'ya that Sutaghi had apparently been hiding from his Terran handlers for quite some time. Gar'avdyadrish eshma'gaga, Kayi, eshchurgar'jaq, Sutgahi, ra de'garga'nis dulanhras'jha - mas ha'khuleki rasgar'hra dudargbhu, takh gar'dyakigk mas Kilrathi'ko taYanshi hadyatakhulani ra unigaga, Kayi. Gar'dyakguk anruni lebaSutaghi lek'kortakh mas gar'dyaklebakRa'Khaj du D'vd T'qal P'nt esh'gaiduchur h'p, Kayi, dyatakh - dugar'thrakahki, Kayi - dyakma'ga erg Sukhar May'ya mas gar'dyakha'khaf aqlandya'aiTerran'hra ta eshgaga.
Sutaghi sat, absorbing what he'd been told with thoughtful expression on his face. "It is not unheard of for those in power, who are supposed to behave as paragons of honor, to behave dishonorably. So, tell me why you are here specifically, Bloodeye N'Ryllis." Gar'vorq, bhadu ja'lhu gar'dyakha'klebak radiyin ergsi dugar'yin, Sutaghi. "Gar'hah'in'hal ta masihra ra arg, ja'lhra habaktaheka takhork ergrakh, a r'avrakh. Takhjaqgu, lebanai ja'lra ri'halanma ergdyapas, Kayi N'Ryllis."
The time had come to make the same request that Bloodeye had originally made of Ra'Khaj. "I need a ship, preferably a warship." Esh'dyakjaq darathrgintakh mas gar'dyakda'k nisss duRa'Khaj, Kayi. "Nai hashint. Sivshint sa'kis."
Sutaghi nodded. "In that regard, you've definitely come to the right place - we have warships in surplus, if you're not picky about their condition. I presume since you have asked that particular question that your intent is to use it for piracy?" Gar'yudanisink, Sutaghi. "Ri'dyajaq gris dulanhe dumassa - ek'dyasivshinti dumaksga, desh ri'hawinhals va erg garga'balan. Ni'baktahe mas ta ri'dyarathk masrathergdyapa mas ri'aj dalgar ta ke?"
Bloodeye thought for a moment, answering the question with careful tones. "I suppose the answer to that question depends on how you define piracy. If you're asking if my intention is to use the ship to seize goods from the Terrans, then yes, I intend to go into piracy. If you're asking if I intend to keep what I take for myself, the answer is no; I intend to give back what I take to the Kilrathi people." Gar'dalpak ta eshinthrak maks gathlekrath radikiquxi'gar'yel rodyapas, Kayi. "Ni'baktahe mas gathle'rath'harathargin du ja'l ri'sike. Desh ri'ha'rath desh ni'aj'ha dalshint bharasogathvihu'i aqTerran'hra, jha hagai, ni'aj nis duke. Desh ri'harath desh ni'aj dra ja'lhu ni'bha tani'hra, gathle'ha va; ni'aj gath ja'hu ni'bha du Kilrathi'hra."
"How altruistic of you." "Ja'l k'hrax ergrai."
A hint of annoyance entered Bloodeye's voice. "Do you question my intentions?" Alkinin'jaqduk gar'yel, Kayi. "Ri'arath ni'aji?"
Sutaghi's tail flicked anxiously. "No, Krahtagh N'Ryllis, I don't - I sincerely believe you when you say that is your intent. But I have heard these same words before from others who in the end proved to be more self-serving. I don't mean to insult your honor - far from it - but I do wish to be sure you are being honest with yourself." Gar'pakgadanisekink favins, Sutaghi. "Va, ni'av, Krahtagh N'Ryllis - nu'baktaherai hes ja'lesh ri'le mas gar'hari'aj. Qu ni'dya elk masile'itakh eshchur aqhratakav ja'lhra d'aiyhekgarga'hra ko'hraga dugu. Ni'avaj dik'alekiri'rakh - aqgar ma'gathrak - qu ni'arash ri'hagri mas ri'hahahe rari'hra.
Bloodeye gestured with passion. "Until I can fulfill my master's task, my soul is bound for nargrast. Nothing I can do will change that, and if it's my fate to go there, I least want to die with the knowledge that I spent my remaining years doing good for the Kilrathi people. I've spent ten years living on a reservation, and I know that there are things - foods and medicines in particular - which the Terrans have in surplus and of which our people are in dire need. I was in the cargo bay for less than a minute before I came to the determination that things are so much worse here. If I can help them, I must; it is as simple as that. I don't know how long you've been here, Arrah Sutaghi, but surely you cannot tell me that the thought of taking the goods our brothers so obviously need from the Terrans has never crossed your mind." Gar'de'iq rachodyaparg, Kayi. "Ni'za'hanis du(hell) eshdugu ni'h'ina ni'korakh'ni'laq. K'g'hu'h'asdatakavmas mas ni'h'ina, maks desh gar'hani'nakh nislanma, ni'rashgu du'inthrak rik mas ni'bhakni'kesthailanesh aki taKilrathi'hra. Ni'dyabhak kesthai du vu duthalan, maks ni'ik mas hu'hawi - ukmakslerk du ergdyapa - mas Terran'hra'dyamaksga maks ergmas ek'hra'ha du heshmathrak. Ni'ha'k dudai hukutav'gathvihu ta inra esh'in uni eschur ni'strak mas wi'haxigalanmagaga. Desh ni'h'inuzgarga, nai ha; gar'havarg takhmas. Ni'avik j'aleshma'ga ri'dyaha'klanma, Arrah Sutaghi, qu ri'h'inlebanai grisva mas ri'dyadalpak erg bhawi mas ni'takhari ha aiyvargsga aqTerran'hra."
Sutaghi's ears flicked backwards momentarily, the Kilrathi equivalent of a cocked eyebrow. "The thought crosses my mind more often than you might think, Krahtagh N'Ryllis. One of the advantages of my job here is that I get to see the manifests of the transports that arrive. I know what's coming in and when it'll be here, and I make the necessary arrangements to quietly re-route some of it to our brothers. It's never enough, of course, and the suffering of our people continues. But yes - I have thought of stealing from the Terrans. And I fear the day I finally get caught doing it. Gar'elali'danisekink nischur eshinthraks, Sutaghi, takhKilrathi ergyanyik'takhk. "Ni'dalpa erggar balanga gara ri'h'indalpa, Krahtagh N'Ryllis. Uni'k'tothsa'ki'i ergni'ko lanma ha mas ni'hagathk aiyanle'i'dontijaq. Ni'ik ja'lhu'hajaq maks ja'lesh gar'h'injaq, maks ni'da'ajirathrg'k dinismang'gar k'les du ek'takhari. Gar'hadyahu vesh, lehe, maks chodyapakalk'ek'hra'as. Qu hagai - ni'dyadalpak erg xha aqTerran'hra. Maks ni'k'fa esh'ga mas ni'ha isk thraks agar.
He stood up and walked over to look out a porthole into space, a look of deep sadness on his face. "I'll admit to you, Krahtagh N'Ryillis, that the same thing you're considering - to steal a ship and take the fight back to the Terrans - has crossed my mind on occasion. I've imagined myself torching every Terran ship from here to Earth, slaughtering Terrans left and right and turning their world into a charnel house. And the spoils of that campaign would be brought back here, and all would have what they needed, and there would be a victory feast like none the universe had ever seen. I've also imagined taking a torpedo and launching it straight into the cargo bay. It would be a faster and more honorable death for our brothers..." Gar'orq maks amk diyai duyiniskarh dukn'ga, ra dikyin'merinra dugar'yin. "Ni'h'aslehe durai, Krahtagh N'Ryllis, mas hutakh ri'hasa - xhashint maks jaqdutu duTerran'hra - hahu ergmas ni'dyakdalpak balans. Ni'dya aiydudapak mas ni'h'asr'a ga'shintiTerran'hra erg lanmamaksnak'tara, hathTerran'hra uchmaksud maks dagarga'rah dai'drayo'i. Maks huthraki'masanaj'h'askhajaqduklanma, maks ga'h'askdya ja'lhu gar ha'k, maks hu'h'ashad'aik'toth ergk'toth takh kut'thrak'dyakavaiyk vesh. Ni'dya aiydudapak maks jachath dudai hukutav'gathvihu rothraks. Gar'h'ashagu ekgamaksh'inrakhga ta ek'takhari..."
Forgive me for testing the strength of your convictions, Arrah Sutaghi, Bloodeye thought. But you did so first. "Why have you not done so, Arrah Sutaghi?", Bloodeye hazarded. Gathharnai ta k'tothmo arg'ri'dyalargi, Arrah Sutaghi, gar'dalpak, Kayi. Qu ri'a'kmadi ahr. "Ja'lra ri'dyava'kmadi, Arrah Suraghi", gar'rathk rarodyapa, Kayi.
Sutaghi growled in momentary annoyance. "You may have heard what my 'friend' Karl called me as you were heading into the cargo bay earlier..." Gar'lelq dualkineshinthraks, Sutaghi. "Ri'h'indya elk ja'lhu gar'husknai takh ri'ha'kjaqdudai hukutav'gathvihu jheshavga, ni'"hraki" Karl Terran'hra..."
"Yes. He called you The Murderer of Five," Bloodeye recalled. "Hagai. Gar'huskrai Gux'a P'nt," gar'dalpaduk, Kayi.
Sutaghi nodded acknowledgment, a tone of disgust creeping into his voice. "That he did, and that tale - like yours - boils down to a falsehood concocted and perpetrated by those in power. Prior to my time here I was a field soldier for the KAC Police, and occasionally I flew diplomatic shuttles; that's how I came to be known by Lord Ra'Khaj. One day I was tasked with delivering the principal lieutenants of two members of the Council of the Assembly to a summit with the lak Agga warlords of S'Thran H'hra. On final approach to the spaceport at Brajakh Mer, the lak Agga shot the shuttle down; the diplomats and their attaches died in the crash and I was seriously wounded. I knew we had been attacked and the lak Agga were responsible - but the lak Agga said that their "investigation" into the crash led them to believe that "pilot error" was to blame, and the Council believed them - that the lak Agga would never sully their honor by telling such an egregious lie. From that day forward, I was the Murderer of Five, ostracized by our leaders and our people. I was sent to this hellhole because the Kal Thrak'hra of the Cakxi clan called for my head and Lord Thavidaqut did not want to allow another clan leader to dictate the execution of one of his own, though he too felt I was guilty of negligence and void of honor for attempting to pass blame. I don't have private quarters on this station because of any kind of merit I've earned; I have them because no other Kilrathi wants to share the room with me, and that fact suits me just fine. I know I'm innocent, and that if I could present the proof to our leaders that they would restore my honor and beg my forgiveness. But instead, I am here, where I can do precious little to clear my name, and in the meantime I have for the past six years been forced to watch as our enemies castrate the once-proud fleets of Kilrah, herd our brethren like rugalga and leave them to starve or die from common diseases." Gar'yudanisinklehe ra dikiquxi'yel'gathxi'amal'kor dugar'yel, Sutaghi. "Gar'a'kmas, maks maslek'kor - takhrai - dinra dule'i'iv da'kmaksa'k rasmasi'hra du ahr. Eshur ni'esh'nisk dumalan, ni'ha'ksivatr'thano taBraja'KNK, maks ni'dokdontir'eshs balans; mas'ha ja'l ni'iskgar, Kal Ra'Khaj. Ni'ha'skgathqo esh'ga uni radyahyilghariahr'ankili de ergKha'nari dubhaktakhlanr'eshs rasivkali erg lak Agga aqS'Thran H'hra. Garga'jak dudont maks da'kgardakso deshas gar'danisduthrak kn'brajlan du Brajakh Mer, lak Agga; r'esh'hramaksgarga'ko'a'i guk dudakso maks ni'h'akshuk dyapas. Ni'iq mas ek'dyakha'qr'k maks garga'ha'kdakonis, qy garga'lek mas garga'"stra" dudakso da'kgarga baktahe mas "ival'dornta"'ha'qonis, lak Agga, maks Kha'nari'baktahekgarga - mas garga'h'askduts vesh garga'rakh ras leba'erxiyvargsga. Ni'ha'kgar, Gux'a P'nt, aqmasesh'ga nisjha, amgaq raskai ahrimakshra. Ni'ha'ksnak dumalanshi'nargrast ta gar'rashk tani'gu, Kal Thrak'hra erg nar Caxki, maks gar'avrash gath ahr'naruniga dabalanguk'rakhthrak erg gar'kilkali uni, ja'lg'esh gar'baktahek maks mas ni'ha'kdakonis ergdyapav maks shi'rakh tah'innisdakonis. Ni'avdya ulanhras dumadargbhu ta erg g'thi'sa mas ni'dyabhak; ni'dyagarga ta k'Kilrathitakav'rash dyatakhdai hukutav ranai, maks mashe'runaigaga. Ni'ik mas ni'haduxalav, maks mas desh ni'h'ingathikheri duek'ahri, garga'h'asjaqdu ni'rakh maks rathk'rakh tani'gathhar. Qu datakav, ni'halanma, ja'lan ni'h'ina k'ga dabhakini'hus, maks esherg ni'dyaha'krathrgk rathrg deshas ek'shai'dakva khantithrakduchur'Kilrah, dyatahklanek'takhari takhrugalga maks gathgarga rastqugu aq k'ki'iro.
There was a silence in the room as Sutgahi thought and Bloodeye absorbed what had been said. No doubt that in his time at T'Kon H'hra, Sutaghi had suffered much - perhaps he had suffered even more deeply than Bloodeye had in his decade on the reservations. A thought again crossed Bloodeye's mind, one that had occurred to him more than once over the last couple of days - and after hearing this brief fragment of Sutaghi's story, it made even more sense than it had when he first had the thought. Hu'ha'q'le dudai hukutav takhgar'dalpak, Sutaghi, and gar'sak jal'hu dyakha'klek, Kayi. Hu'h'inha va k'gri mas dugar'esh duT'Kon H'hra, gar'dyakchodyapakalq thraks, Sutaghi - gar'dyakchodyapakalq k'gris garaga Kayi'dyakchodyapakalq dugar'kesthai du duthalan. Si'jaq du dugar'pa, Kayi, si mas gar'dyaksak gara unidu duchuresh'gaimangin - maksjha gar'elk mahukutavek erg lek'kor'Sutaghi, gar'da'qonis gara gar'dyak ja'lesh gar'dyaksi nisss.
"Your tale is remarkably close to mine, it seems." "Ri'lek'kor'hama'inthrak k'ros dunai, gar'sa."
Sutaghi nodded, though his tone was still marked with pain and disgust. "It would seem so." Gar'yudanisink, Sutaghi, ja'lg'esh dikiquxi'gar'yel'ha'korq ra kalkmaksgathxi. "Gar'h'asksahe."
Bloodeye decided to make the offer - there was certainly no harm in doing so. "Arrah Sutaghi, it is one thing for me to find a ship, but should I do so, I will need to have a crew in order to run it. I have been giving the matter of finding a crew some thought; I am not terribly thrilled with my prospects there. I've enountered many in the Empire who know the name of my late master Lord Talmak, that have heard my name and know that I'm sa'guk. There are those out there who would run me through with their claws sooner than they would give me the time of day." Gar'jaqwinhalk darashgath, Kayi - hu'ha'q'gathkalk gris du amadi. "Arrah Sutaghi, gar'hahu uni tanai isshint, qu desh nai ha amadi, ni'h'as hadyako'a'i kogar. Ni'dyaha'kgathdalpakmang duhu erg isko'a'i; ni'hahkiga va rani'mo'i lanma. Ni'dyatuk gahra duRag'nith ja'lhra ikhus'laqgu Kal Talkmak, mas dyaelk ni'hus maks ik mas ni'ha(considered dead meat). Hu'hamasi'hra ja'lhra h'askchaknai gu ragarga'naji eshchur garga'h'asklebanai esheshma.
Sutaghi nodded. "What you say is true enough, Krahtagh N'Ryllis. I myself once had the privilege of serving with another retainer of Lord Talmak nar Sutaghi." Gar'yudanisink, Sutaghi. "Ja'lhu ri'le hahedyahu, Krahtagh N'Ryllis. Ni'dyakhuleki unidu kogar'kilkaluniga, Kal Talmak nar Sutaghi."
"You served under Gar?", Bloodeye said with surprise. "Ri'kokgar, Gar?", gar'lek rak'rathrg, Kayi.
"In a manner of speaking. As a prisoner of the Terrans myself, I helped him to orchestrate the prison escape on Rakis during the War. You no doubt know of what I speak." "Dudi'le. Ja'lesh ni'ha'kchakta'Terran'hra, ni'uzkgar ajamgaqdaiduxal'hra lanma du'eshSiv, Bu'churkil Tre. Ri'ik gris erg ja'lhu ni'hale."
Bloodeye was incredulous. "That was you?" Gar'ha'khak'gri, Kayi. "Mas'ha'krai?"
"It was," Sutaghi confirmed. He walked over to a small equipment locker, opened it and produced a small, oblong box, then walked to Bloodeye and handed it to him. "Gar'ha'k", gar'grihek, Sutaghi. Gar'amk duvidrinh'inavno'vi'i, nokgar maks d'aiykhudyinhukorma'gas, amk duKayi maksjha gathkhudya dugar, Sutaghi.
Bloodeye did know about the incident that Sutaghi had mentioned - having heard about it first-hand from Gar himself. Of all of his exploits during the War with the Terrans, Gar was most famous for having been deliberately captured by the Terrans and sent to their penal facility in the Herbert system in Enigma Sector, and then subsequently pulling off a mass escape in which nearly a thousand captured Kilrathi warriors were safely returned to the Sector headquarters at K'Tithrak Mang, despite having to pass through three heavily guarded Terran systems - including Enigma Prime itself - to get there. Gar had mentioned having help in the planning from a prisoner at the compound who'd proven invaluable in the escape itself, killing five Terran guards to ensure the escape of the others only to be injured in a freak encounter with one of the planet's native Thunderworms. That Sutaghi claimed to be that very same warrior was a most unexpected revelation; Gar had not expected that warrior to survive his injuries, and had left an Icon of Sivar at that warrior's side prior to returning to N'Ryllis. Gar'a'kik ergbalan mas Sutaghi'dyakl'eq, Kayi - gar'dyakelk aqGar gar'hra erggar. Erg ga'gar'atarkhansi du'eshSiv raTerran'hra, gar'ha'kskagathrak tahadymga'qithk du'ajs raTerran'hra maks snak dugarga'daiduxal'hra dubhumaksnaki Bu'churkil duKn'ga Ja'lgaga Hafik, Gar, jha athrakamgaq jhak dumas sivaiKilrathidymga'qithk p'ntok'h'pokko'okto ma'ins jaqduk brajs dulanarg'Kn'ga Ja'lgaga duK'Tithrak Mang, ja'lg'esh hanis dubhumaksnaki'iTerran'hradraqthraks tre - maks gar'hra, Hafik Ahr - nislanma. Gar'dyakl'eq, Gar, dya uz du aj aqchakta dudaiduxal'hra dyakikherik h'inavrashro du amgaq, athdrak'hra'iTerran p'nt dagri amgaq ergtakavi qu ha'kgathkalk dutuajav raortha'in'lekarhga'nak uni. Mas gar'ler'avikherik ha massivatakhga ha'q'hafk'drishtakgathrak, Sutaghi; gar'dyakdrishtakmassiva va vugar'shu'i, Gar, maks dyakgathk Orklebaga Sivari duchutraga'massiva eschur gar'jaqduk duN'Ryllis.
Bloodeye knew what he would find inside the box - obviously an award case - before he clicked it open. There were few warriors alive that had earned the Icon of Sivar; its design was unmistakable. And that's what was in the box, along with the crest of the Kal Thrak'hra of Clan Sutaghi. Gar'iq ja'lhu gar'h'askis dudahudya - mas ha'kvihafrakhin aiyvargs - eschur gar'nokgar ra"al. Hu'ha'ksivaimangin mas dyakbhagataqgar, Orklebaga Sivari; ork'gar'ha'kh'inavival. Maks mas'ha'k ja'lhu ha'k dudahudya, maks ra gar'orklebaga, Kal Thrak'hra erg nar Sutaghi.
It is wrong - just plain wrong - that you find yourself here, Arrah Sutaghi, Bloodeye thought. Your name should sung in praise, not tainted by dishonor. Gar'ha iv - iv vargs - mas ri'isri'hra lanma, Arrah Sutaghi, gar'dalpak, Kayi. Ri'hus hahayeleshkik du agon, k'kutk va ras k'rakh.
Bloodeye closed the box reverently and handed it back to its owner. He picked his next words carefully. "You would understand then why I find myself in need of an intermediary, Arrah Sutaghi, someone who could assist me in approaching our brethren. My late master's name still carries a lot of weight among our people, and they would not expect one of his principal retainers to still be living. I also need someone who can help me to plan, organize and lead. I can think of no one I'd rather have as my second than you. Join me - let us leave this hell-hole far behind us and issue in a new era for our people. You have been imprisoned for long enough in your lifetime; the time to regain honor - for our people as well as for the both of us - is at hand, and I swear to you that if the opportunity to help clear your name arises, I will assist you in doing so without hesitation or reservation. What do you say?" Gar'vanohudya h'inrakhs maks jaqdukgar dugar'dya'a, Kayi. Gar'winhalk gar'le'ijhak radyaoa, "Ri'h'askbhakil jha ja'lra ni'isni'hra duha erglegathvi'a, Arrah Sutaghi, mang'hra mas h'inuznai ja'lesh le'a du ek'takhari. Hus'ni'laqgu'bha eshma graga ergek'hra maks garga'h'askdrishta va uni erggar'kilkaliahr vu eshma. Nai hamang'hra maks ja'lhra'h'inuznai ajajmaksahr. Ni'h'indalpak va erg g'hra mas ni'h'asksa'ki takh dar'nai ra rai. Dyatahklannai - gathkai nistalanmalanshi'nargrast nishurkaima'gathrak maks dyakiresh ta ek'hra. Ri'dyaha'k dudaiduxal'hra ta eshdyahu duri'esh'vu; esh'ha eshma duk'tothrakh du - ta ek'hramaksde'kai - maks ni'kir'kha durai mas ni'h'asuzrai dukutri'hus desh mo'jaq r'av va'amaksyingu. Ja'lhu ri'ale?"
Sutaghi thought for a moment before responding, the victor's smile on his face. "I say what you have planned is probably a terrible idea, but why the hell not. The honor is to serve, Krahtagh N'Ryllis." Gar'dalpak ta eshinthrak eschur gar'gathlek, yinahki'k'toth dugar'yin, Sutaghi. "Ni'le mas ja'lhu ri'dya ajk hasixiga kimohes, qu ja'lra nargrast va. Rakh'ha ko, Krahtagh N'Ryllis."
Bloodeye allowed himself the victor's smile as well, baring all of his fangs. "Excellent. So, how do we go about finding a crew?" Gar'gathkgar'hra maks yinahki'k'toth, k'haf ga'gar'naggai, Kayi. "Gakiga. Takhjaqgu, ja'l ek'a isko'a'i?
Sutgahi nodded, getting to the business at hand without delay. "You are in luck once again. I've made connections with several kili who live on this base with various skills. They could conceivably make a fine crew if they were given the right leader - someone such as you. For the most part, they know me and I know them - there are one or two that I know through reputation only." Gai yudanisinkmaksnisqo eshmathraks. "Ri'hamos unidudu. Ni'dyada'khraniki rakili gin ja'lhu vu dumadargbhu ra ikbhakilik'takh. Garga'h'indako'a'iki h'in'hals desh garga'ha'kgathk ahrhe - mang'hra takhrai. Garga'iknai maks ni'ikgarga gaththraks - uniqude erggarga ni'ik anruni ras ska."
"If you could gather them together and let me introduce myself to them all at once, that would be a helpful thing." "Desh ri'h'indyatahklangarga takhlan maks gathnai jaqhranikni'hra dugarga takheshs, mas'h'ashawuz."
"I will arrange for a meeting and spread the word. This may take a while, as some of them will be harder to locate than others. I would say that when you make your appeal to them, you should lead with the offer to leave this place behind for good; some of them will be a harder sell than necessary otherwise. Getting all of them the necessary clearance for the gathering will take some doing but it is not an impossible thing. I'll also look in the station's records and see which ships in the yard are in the best shape; if we are to steal a ship, we should at least try to find the one that will require the least amount of repair to make fully operational. All of this will take time. Let's say two days from now we'll convene again here at this same time. Do you think you can stay alive among the populace for that length of time?" "Ni'h'asajbhaktakhlan. Ma'h'inbhesh ga, takh mang'garga'h'asha k'varg is garatakavi. Ni'gathwinhal mas ja'lesh ri'da ri'rathrginga dugarga, rai his rarashgath nistalanmalan rageshga; takav mang'garga'h'ashabhahugath k'varg gararathrg'k. Bhagathrathrgk tabhatakhlan h'asba amang qu gar'hahuk'h'in'hal va. Ni'h'asdiyai maks duda'iki'dargbhu maks stra mas shinti'lan ha dubalankithrak; desh ek'aj xhashint, kai hah'in du inthrak isshint mas rathrgkodakodu'imanginthrak dako dakuts. Ga'ma'h'asbesh. Gathkai le mas esh'gai de aqeshma ek'h'assnata lanma du dumeshtakh. Ri'adalpa mas ri'h'invu ergvudulani tamasesh?"
Bloodeye nodded agreement with the plan that Sutaghi had proposed. The day's events had far exceeded his expectations - was it only a few hours ago that he wondered if coming to T'Kon H'hra was a mistake? He would have to be on the lookout for betrayal - Sutaghi had agreed to the idea of joining his cause rather quickly, but Bloodeye believed his desire to help the Kilrathi people was sincere, and if he truly was a kil that Gar had trusted at one time, Bloodeye knew that he could trust Sutaghi as well. At this point, he had few other options. And in the meantime, the obstacle that Sutaghi had mentioned - namely, the fact that he'd have to remain hidden among the populace of T'Kon H'hra for the next two days - was not an undaunting one. Still, after waiting for the past few years, his plan was finally coming to fruition - the time to prepare for war was finally at hand. He had waited this long; two more days would be nothing. Gar'yudanisink, Kayi, ra aj mas gar'dyakrashgathk, Sutaghi. Balani'esh'ga dyakgarakgar'drishtai thraks - gar'ha'keshimangin anruni duchur mas gar'sak desh nislanma ha'kival, T'Kon H'hra? Gar'h'ask hahadyapaiy tak'la - gar'dyakbhakik dusi ergdyatahklangar'konis, Sutaghi, qu gar'baktahek maks gar'rash'ha'khe uzKilrathi'hra, maks gar'iq mas gar'h'indyakaSutaghi maks desh gar'ha'qil hes mas Gar'dyakdyalak duchur, Kayi. Gar'dyakwinhalitakavmangin duma'esh. Maks du esherg, k'tothmol mas gar'dyakl'eq ha'q'gathk'fa va - ergdyapas, he mas gai halanesh hafk ergvudulani'T'Kon H'hra ta esh'gaijhak de. Ja'lg'esh gar'aj'ha'kjaq thraks dugata jha drish takesthaimangineshchur - esh'ha'keshmathrak thraks aj tasiv. Gar'dyakdrishk ma'eshma'ga; esh'gaiga de h'askha k'g'hu.
Bloodeye answered Sutaghi's question as honestly and sincerely as possible. "I will do my utmost. Thank you, Arrah Sutaghi." Gar'gathlekrath'Sutaghi takhhesga takhgar'h'ina. "Ni'h'asa ni'thrakgaga. Ni'shrarai, Arrah Sutaghi."
"Don't thank me just yet - thank me when we have space beneath our feet and this place is far behind us..." "Shranai va eshma - shranai ja'lesh ek'dyakn'ga inra ek'paki maks malan'ha nischurkai ma'gathrak..."

NEXT: 2.1 Part One - Tarakh'ga
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