Part Four is here! I really hope you are all enjoying getting to know Etan a little better. I am busy getting geared up to dive into Golon and Marilee’s full-length standalone novel so only one more part until this chapter is done!
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Gelder Shorts: Chapter Two- Etan’s Hidden Pain Part Four
“This tradition seems…peculiar.” Arsenio’s spoken words echo my own unspoken ones. We are here on Earth to collect our Queen, and we came expecting the normal fanfare of a claiming celebration. We inform mortal governments of a pending claiming with extensive lead time, that way they can counsel the claimed individual on what to expect. By the time a retrieval party arrives, the claimed is excited and anxious.
This is not the scene that Arsenio and I are witnessing now.
Since we came to an understanding in the caeli training lounge we have learned to respect the other ones strengths. We have even become quite close, choosing often to work through the logistics of collecting our queen. Well as close as two warriors who do not fully trust one another can ever be.
To be perfectly frank, I am the best equipped to not only handle Arsenio and his belligerence, but to understand it as well. The resentment that I harbored for the formerly disgraced fire master is fading away. I can see through the façade he tries to hide behind to the real male underneath. So we have been known to spar with one another and occasionally even share our meals.
Or, like now, stand together slightly away from the rest of our team while we wait for our queen to be called forth. In a manner of tradition that is quite strange. Or as Arsenio put it peculiar. I speak to him, but keep my gaze on the thousands of human females in the stands of the abandoned stadium before me.
“I concur, warrior. This should be a joyous occasion, not this somber affair we are witnessing. Why are they making it into this spectacle? We know where our queen lives, and her government most certainly knows we are claiming her today for our king. It is unclear why they are hosting this elaborate charade. The only purpose they are achieving is to increase the anxiety of their people.”I muse quietly to him.
“Perhaps that is the point.” Arsenio’s tense voice responds.
“Perhaps,” I murmur in return.
I am not sure what is going on here but I know that I do not like it. Something is not right. The horrible female who is filled with darkness is on the stage now. She was most displeased that Kowan did not fall for her wiles.
Mortals, so concerned with their status and their appearance they struggle to comprehend a society that values neither. As a member of the Gelder race, we care for nothing over the well-being of all life, our entire society is based around the betterment of our universe. And as a warrior of the Gelder race, we have pledged out immortal lives into the protection of those who cannot protect themselves.
While we do not meddle in a planet’s own internal affairs, we swore an oath to give all life an equal opportunity to live and prosper. That means, when genocidal races like the Erains come to destroy an entire race of people, we step in and even lay down our lives if that is what is needed of us.
The words that this female is saying on stage is even more cause for concern. With every word she utters I can practically see the feeling on dread rise in the room. Arsenio and I share a look, our hands moving to rest on our legs, where hidden slits in our warrior leathers conceal dozens of blades.
While our blades will never be our strongest weapon, they are perfect for a fight with a mortal enemy. I shift my gaze slightly to the left, where the rest of my fellow warriors are positioned. I notice they too are all in the warrior stance. Primed and ready to protect our queen if need be.
Except…”Where the fief is she?” Arsenio growls to my right. I hear similar phrases spoken in low tones to my left. With this laughable excuse for a claiming tradition we have no idea where she is. Amell and Kowan know what her physical appearance is but that is not something the rest of us know. How can we protect her if we do not know who she is?
Those two went earlier to her childhood home and investigated. Their stony expressions when they returned was all I needed to know something was wrong. An eerie, almost ominous quiet befalls the crowd. Our queen’s name is flashing on the screen.
For several tense moments, there is no movement in the crowd. And then suddenly, a small female rises from a seat very near the top of the stadium. I can feel the warriors tense next to me. She is a small creature, but in no way does she appear fragile. She is thin, almost alarmingly so, with blonde hair that hangs rather limply along her head. Her clothes are atrocious. To call them rags is too generous.
But that is not what has caused my fellow warriors to tense. It is her inner power, I can feel it. Born of her purity, she is like a blazing star in this dreary arena. She needs to be protected, I can feel the necessity pulling me towards her. And it is not just me, because we all move as if synchronized. Kowan is the only one not to follow, he speaks low so as to not be overheard. “I will ensure the path before us is secure. Guard her, my brothers. Guard her well.”
We all nod, we feel it to. An animosity towards our queen whose origin we cannot detect. As we draw closer to her we can tell she is uncomfortable. Worry, fear, anxiety all seep out of her. Just before we make contact, I hear Malin whisper, “She is perfect. A bright and shining female who is pure of heart. She will do our king proud.” A series of agreements are given, and then they all fall mute for we have reached her and move into formation around her. Escorting her to the room where she will be prepared for her final departure.
I can tell my fellow warriors are pleased, so excited over the female we shall call queen. But, I cannot embrace these emotions. Where they see uncertainty in her, I recognize pain. She is a soul in need, wounded and bleeding, calling out for help only for the calls to be ignored.
I cannot be happy for my king, not yet. For just like these warriors, he is like to accept the façade, believe her to be nothing more than a nervous new mate. But I have been there, and I have made that mistake, and tragedy followed in its wake.
King Danion is up against some horrible odds. Because I can sense what is within Eleanor Sette, and it is not a happy young female who has lived a pampered life. She holds the mental scars of a victim.
Our queen has been mistreated, and I will not rest until I have helped heal her hidden pain. I can do no less, it so closely mirrors my own.