Hearing the screech from Madam Lowis Va’nel, a venerable middle aged woman, the capsuleer slipped his hand into his pocket and activated a small device. It vibrated for a second in response. Stepping away to the side of the room, he watched as the red faced woman stormed down the second level stairs. Her eyes were blazing with fury having witnessed her second child’s family betrayal. Her three female attendants ran after her, and a couple of family guards followed.
Her wild emotions shook her entire frame, and tears filled her eyes as she focused on Dewn. Mirroring her son’s attire in style, she wore an elegant black and gold dress. Gold implements adorned her carefully sculpted blond hair, and a string of pearls spun together in gold, graced her neck. In every way, she was the perfect Amarrian family matriarch. Strong in spirit, mind, and body she walked right up to her son and slapped him across the face.
The blow was ferocious and caused Dewn to take a step back. “What have you done?” she screamed, following him. “I was told by my secretary you wanted to meet to discuss the colony on planet two, but instead I find you consorting with brutes! Filthy, unbelieving savages! What have you done to your sister?” She struck him across the face again.
Dewn held his ground at that point, enduring her fury. The side of his face she struck twice was a deep scarlet. Fear filled his eyes, and they darted around the room unable to bear her gaze. Holding his face, he shook his head. Perhaps it was disbelief at the sudden turn of events. Like anyone caught in the act, he was unable to find words to answer her questions.
Lowis was about to slap her son again when the capsuleer stepped out from the shadows of the room drawing her attention. The energy weapon in his hand unleashed two focused beams that struck the guards behind her. Unexpected and devastating, the two crumbled backward with smoking holes in their gold encrusted, armored chests. Their ceremonial staves clattered across the white marble floor.
The matriarch looked at the capsuleer with as much of a stunned expression as Dewn when he first heard his mother’s outcry. Lowis’ mouth dropped open slightly in shock. When she viewed the fallen guards she turned indignant. Turning her gaze back on the capsuleer, a familiar expression eased into her eyes, recognition. Fire began to blaze up again in her spirit. “You…” she seethed.
The capsuleer, using his gun, waved at the matriarchs attendants to move a little closer to their mistress. “Now, now ladies,” he said to them. “Please don’t abandon your mistress when she needs you most.” The three looked torn between the instinct to run for their lives and the fearful loyalty they felt to Lowis. “Let’s avoid any further unpleasantness, shall we? Carefully consider what you do next.” The three looked at one another and slowly nodded their obedience as they moved to where he pointed.
“Sokoth Flame,” Lowis said his name like a curse, her teeth grinding together.
Dewn looked at him not understanding. “What do you mean, mother? This is Captain Dilinjer.”
Lowis glanced at him raising her hand again as if to slap him once more, but she stayed her swing.
“Lord Va’nel, I shall explain. All things will become clear,” Sokoth said. He returned his attention to Lowis. “See my dear, I made the appointment with your secretary for you to arrive precisely at this time, just as made Dewn’s appointment with his associates precisely on time. I wanted you to witness the depths of betrayal your faithless son has committed against your family.”
Tears filled her red brimmed eyes once more. “You are responsible for this,” she said as a heated accusation.
Sokoth tilted his head a degree, a slight frown touched his lips as he considered it. “Perhaps. But, not directly. I simply followed the apparent lines of division formed between your children. Encouraged of course. Yes, assisted. Provided the means, but the motivation and faithless heart were already willing to follow the path.”
Lowis slapped her son again on the opposite of his face. “Do you see what you’ve done?” she yelled at him. “You’ve let a viper into our home!”
Dewn fell to his knees, tears beginning to form in his eyes as the weight of his decisions crushed down upon him. Caught and exposed, the cold heart cracked under the weight of deep personal loss coming down upon his head. “Mother,” he moaned.
“Yes, you should blame him,” Sokoth encouraged, a smile touching his lips. “He is a terrible son. A dandy. Weak. Decadent. Corrupt. He was ready to completely betray everything you hold dear. Your house has been left barren, and now your husband will have to decide what to do with your one remaining heir. I doubt he will be merciful.”
“My daughter…” Lowis began, remembering. Her hate filled eyes turned back to the capsuleer.
“Among the unbelieving, filthy beasts you so despise. Her torments will be multiplied far beyond anything you can imagine, and she will beg for death,” Sokoth said. “I wonder if her faith will waiver?”
Lowis’ hands clenched into fists, and her chin dropped as she stared at Sokoth. When she took a step his direction, he fired his weapon again to keep her at bay. The burning energy hit one of her attendants right between the eyes, burning a hole clean through her brain and skull. The two others stepped back, screamed, wide eyed, holding their faces. The corpse tottered then dropped immediately to the floor.
The matriarch froze in place, glancing that direction and seeing the carnage. When she looked back, her entire face and neck were flushed in anger. “How dare you?” she whispered in rage.
“Oh, you know,” Sokoth said. “I have brought my wrath down upon you, and your house is as desolate as mine. All these years later, I have never forgotten all you did to destroy my family. But, know this, the House of Flame will live forever in me, and I will ensure that the line of Va’nel falls. A minor house not even worthy of a footnote in the history of our people. Always remember, I will be watching until the day you die, laughing, while you writhe in the agony of your defeat.”
“You will not escape,” Lowis said with a deadly promise shaking her head, murder in her eyes. “You will not escape!” she roared.
Sokoth smiled broadly. The white of his teeth shone as cold as his vengeance. “Oh, but I already have, my dear.” Stepping carefully backward, he pushed opened the double set of doors that opened out to the very wide balcony. The clear blue sky promised freedom, and the cool breeze caressed the stagnant air in the room. “Pursue me, and the people holding your daughter will receive word. That will greatly displease them. Your daughter’s fate will only get worse.” While he spoke, a dropship appeared and hovered at the balcony. Alerted minutes before by Sokoth’s comm device.
He closed the doors and shadow returned, covering Lowis’ face like a shroud. The matriarch looked up at the domed ceiling in anguish. For the first time in her life, she felt completely powerless and collapsed on the floor, shaking with deep sobs. The smell of burning death filled her nostrils as she took involuntary, deep breaths. Her heart pounded in distress. A primal maternal wail built within her finding the fullness of release.