A few words immediately sprung to mind when looking at planet Arus from up above. The land was fertile, near endless green stretching out as far as the eye could see. It made for good farming land, Lotor noting that much of the ground would be put to use in growing crops to feed the growing Doom Empire. The slaves acquired here would be used to farm the crops, and if the caves proved worthy of mining, some would be slated to dig out the jewels and minerals hidden in deep rock.
It wasn’t a very populated planet, it’s people spread out in villages, towns that were distant from one another. You couldn’t reach the next one within a day’s walk, something that suited the Drule’s purpose for the moment. It meant the people in the next towns over wouldn’t know what happened to their neighbors until too late, the Drules planning to move in and take hold of those villages closest to the castle.
Such captures took careful planning, consideration being shown for they wanted to capture the townspeople alive. It was a waste to kill potential slaves, not until their worth could be ascertained. Those strong and capable would be put to back breaking work, forcing them to behave at the threat of harm coming to their loved ones. That usually got any resistance to die down, though Lotor knew there was always a trouble maker or two captured. Quick to suggest rebellion, quick to lash out at their masters, those who dared make trouble for the Drules were quickly killed as a warning to the other captured slaves.
But before the slaves could be taken, before they could occupy their towns, the Drules needed to scope the lay of the land. Which is why Lotor and his men had used cloaking devices, their ships turning invisible the closer they descended towards Arus’ surface. The cloaking device hid the sounds of their ship’s engines, and warped any reading devices that were tuned towards detecting an invading fleet.
Lotor stifled a laugh on thinking how easy it had been to sneak onto Arus, it’s protectors none the wiser of their presence. He, along with a handful of men, were currently walking through the woods that separated the castle from it’s closest village, their faces hidden in the shadows of their cloaks. It was a hot day, even through the foliage of the trees, the sun beat down mercilessly on his head.
He had to fight the urge not to toss back his hood, knowing it would be disastrous if someone spied his distinct Drule features. The people here knew enough to be wary of his men, and Lotor wanted a chance to catch one or two Arusians without much struggle. He intended to interrogate those he captured, learn the secrets of the towns, and find out what was the quickest way to have them fall to his invasion.
He was in the lead, his boots stepping carefully on the grass, neatly side stepping twigs and rocks so that no sound gave away his presence. His men followed close behind, just as quiet as he, their hands at their sides, ready to grab their weapons at the first hint of threat.
So far there was known, Lotor almost disappointed that the wildlife of these woods were as docile as a kitten. It made traveling boring, but neither he nor his men voiced complaints. And still, when they heard the laughter, they all paused, straining their hearing to pin point the faint sound. For a second it grew quiet once more, Lotor wondering if the forest was playing tricks on them.
“Perhaps it was some sort of bird…” One of the soldiers began, sounding uncertain. “I have heard that some can mimic the sounds the humans make.”
“How very interesting.” Lotor said, tone bland. He had not studied up on the planet as he should have, skipping over much of the research the Drules had done on the wildlife of Arus. He supposed it didn’t matter, he didn’t intend to stick around long enough to do anything more than kill any that came close to him.
The laughter sounded again, and this time there was more, several voices at once enjoying themselves. Lotor arched a brow, and with a sardonic twist of his lips spoke. “That was no bird.” A wild shriek sounded, almost high pitch enough to hurt his ears, Lotor pointing in the direction he assumed it originated from. “It’s coming from over there.”
Already his men were moving, efficient in their speed and silence, quick to hurry towards the sounds. Lotor followed close behind them, noting that all the voices, for all their shrieks and squeals were female. This could present several problems, women were apt to be missed more easily, and his men did have wandering eyes when it came to the fairer sex. He supposed they could torture the females another way, get information out of them with threats of sex rather than physical violence. But still he didn’t like it, feeling uneasy for some reason.
The laughter and noises continued, each sound grating on Lotor’s nerves. These females made too much noise, they were too carefree, almost careless. Why weren’t they on guard, where were their men to protect them from harm? Especially in this time of war. Who could be so foolish as to play around in these woods? He didn’t know, and he didn’t like it, issuing a soft command to his men.
“Be on guard, and be ready for anything.”
There was a murmur of agreement from his cloaked companions, the men unholstering their blasters. Clicks were heard, soft sounds of the blasters being primed, lasers ready to fly at the first sign of resistance. Their missions was to capture, not kill, so the lasers would be on a mild stun setting. Lotor felt only a margin better to see his men armed, unable to shake off the nervous feelings that plagued him.
The women voices grew louder, and now amidst the squeals, he could hear them talking. It was that odd sounding language of theirs, Lotor not understanding a single syllable that they spoke. He knew if they didn’t know Basic, they’d have to rely on translator units onboard the ship, and things could get even more chaotic before they dragged the women back to the fleet.
More talking and giggling, and then a calmer sounding voice, one that shot through him like an arrow. Lotor frowned, not liking that for some reason he recognized that voice. He was sure there was no one on this planet that he knew of, save the men and slaves he had brought with him. It was another reason to be troubled, Lotor’s footsteps slowing.
Scents drifted to him, he could smell the fresh water of a lake nearby, along with the accompanying sounds of water splashing. Berries of some kind tantalized his nose, a sharp tangy scent, along with the cloying scent of perfumes mixed together. But underneath it was a sweet scent, something that was a little too pleasing to his nose. It smelled like fresh flowers after a heavy spring rain and tinted with the flavor of vanilla beans.
He found his nostrils flaring, Lotor breathing in deep to take in the scent, trying to filter out all the others in the process. It shouldn’t be standing out to him, shouldn’t be so strong as to diminish the other smells. But it did, and he found himself fighting a smile, stepping a little quicker in hopes of chasing after that scent. It set every nerve in his body on fire, Lotor’s heart beating just a little quicker with excitement.
His men had slowed to a stop, pausing around a thick cluster of trees and bushed and peering out between low hanging branches. Lotor almost walked into the back of one, still trying to figure out why the scent was so pleasing to him. Sound had dulled to be a distant rumble in his ears, the smells alone were what mattered.
“Are you all right my Lord?” One whispered to Lotor, looking at him with concern.
“I’m fine.” Lotor said, trying to shake himself free of the trance he was in. “Why have we stopped?”
“The women are just beyond these trees.” Another soldier explained, gesturing for the prince to come closer. “We are waiting on orders on how to proceed.”
The scent was still dulling his senses, Lotor wanting to roll himself in it like Haggar’s cat did with catnip. He wanted to find the originator of the scent, and claim it as his own, no matter what it proved to be, or who. That last thought of his should have alerted him to the trouble, should have had Lotor turning tail and running away as fast he could. Instead his legs propelled him forward, the men parting the branches for Lotor to peer out into the clearing.
There was a small lake there, shimmering blue water that reflected the bright sunlight. Tiny ripples moved the water, signaling where fish swam. Bushes surrounded the left shore of the lake, the greenery bright with ripe red berries. Those crimson colored fruits were being picked, several young women clad in a uniform of some kind, blue dresses with white aprons and caps for their hair. Large baskets sat besides the women, half filled with the berries.
Not all were concentrating on gathering the fruit, some were sitting down partaking of the food spread out on a blanket, talking happily as they ate. The splashing sounds from the water drew his attention to the final three women, seeing another slender girl clad in the blue and white uniform, holding her skirts up as to flash her legs as she attempted to keep from getting the hem wet.
There was two blondes besides her, one in a short pink mini dress, her feet bare, boots kicked off on the shore. She held a stick of some kind, a sharpened spear that she kept jabbing into the water where ever the ripples formed. She was pouting as her spear came up empty, and musical laughter sounded at her expression. Lotor’s eyes immediately gravitated towards the one who was laughing, and at the sight of her, his breath stopped.
She had blonde hair that was the most golden shade he had ever seen, wound up in a thick bun, stray curls escaping the back of it to touch the nape of her neck. She too was clad in pink, but she wore some kind of dress suit, form fitting to the point it was almost obscene. Lotor licked his lips, eyeing the way it clung to her curves, openly ogling her large breasts, and shapely hips. The bottom of her pink pants were rolled up past her knees, showing off slender legs.
He forced himself to tear his eyes away from her body to glance at her face, seeing rosy pink lips that were curved upwards in a smile. A cute button shape nose, and high cheek bones gave her a regal look, as did the white tiara on her brow. But most startling of all was her expressive eyes, as blue as the water she stood in, and filled with happy amusement.
She was stunning, she was beautiful, and she was his. Lotor knew that without a moment of doubt, the instant he looked into her face. The word mine issued out of him in a soft growl, the women not hearing it over their laughter. His men did though, and they turned to look at him, their faces hidden by their hoods, hiding the questions in their eyes.
“Mine.” Lotor repeated, every fiber of his being longing to run out there and claim that woman as his own. He found himself taking a step forward, and one of the soldiers grabbed his arm, Lotor whipping around to strike him. The back handed slap caught him across the face, the man staggering back as his hood slipped, revealing a startled face.
The contact of his hand to the soldier’s face seemed to bring back some of Lotor’s senses, the prince staring shocked at what he had done. He didn’t offer an apology though, lips curling into a sneer as he stared at the shocked Drule. ~This is just perfect.~ Lotor thought, words hissing in his mind. ~Of all the times for her to show up, why did it have to be NOW?!~
Out loud he spoke, his tone calm as he gave orders. “I want you to spread out and surround them. Make sure there is no way for even one of these females to escape us.”
“Yes, Prince Lotor.” Came the repeated agreement.
“You three.” His gesture including the one he had smacked, Lotor’s ordering them to come closer. “You will come with me as we make contact with the women.” They nodded, and the other men moved, soon disappearing in the forest as they moved into position.
Impatiently, Lotor waited, fighting to not go to the girl standing in the lake. He refused to let Drule instincts rule him, refused to let himself become ensnared ever further than he already was. But a voice kept thrumming to him, hissing demands. ~Go to her. Touch her. Claim her. Mine…Mine…~
It must have shown on his face, a soldier speaking with worry in his tone. “Are you all right Prince Lotor?”
“Fine.” Lotor said through gritted teeth. “I’m fine.” A sound erupted from the bushes near the western edge of the lake, an owl like hoot as the Drules gave the signal that they were in place. “Now we make our presence known.”
They stepped through the trees, squeezing past the tight fit of the trunks, their feet crunching on the soft sand that mixed with the grass. The women didn’t notice at first, too busy looking at the lake as the blonde in the pink mini dress let out an excited squeal. A fish was trapped on her spear, point shoved through it’s middle, causing the poor creature to thrash about in pain.
The woman his body insisted was his, clapped her hands together in excitement, features lit up even more in happiness. It made him sigh, a dreamy sound as he looked at her, wanting the girl to cast that expression towards him, and him alone. Again that fierce urge to run to her, his body yearning to feel her form wrapped in his tight embrace.
A sound from one of the men, jarring him out of his staring. Lotor would have blushed if Drules were capable of such an action, embarrassed at being caught doing something so blatant as looking at a woman.
“Nobody move.” Lotor said, voice loud and carrying through the clearing, his words tumbling out in basic. The women startled, ignoring his commands as they all turned to look at him and his men. For one-second the two sides stared, Lotor seeking out the blue gaze of his mate. She looked back at him, but there was no start of recognition, Lotor frowning under his hood.
Lotor lifted up his hands, tossing back his hood, his head doing a slow shake that had his white hair whipping madly about. He was preening for her, striking an impressive pose meant to hold her attention to him. He expected her to smile, to step towards him, but except for a flicker of fear, there was no reaction from her. That left him puzzled, Lotor not understanding why his mate would fear him.
That exchanging of looks took only seconds to play out, the other women moving into action. They screamed, recognizing Lotor for what he was, several crossing themselves as though their Gods could ward him off. Baskets of berries were overturned as the women lunged to their feet, looking around in every which way for an escape route. The three in the water stayed there, the maid dropping her skirts so that they splashed into the water. The one with the spear moved into a defensive position, weapon held at the ready. It was laughable that she thought she could defend herself from their lasers with what amounted to a pointed stick.
His mate was behind her, clasping her hands together as she stared at him. She seemed unable to look away, and Lotor was barely aware of his men tossing back their cloaks, revealing their weapons. The screams intensified, two of the women clutching at each other, a fierce hug that couldn’t hope to protect either one.
Torn between anger and happiness, Lotor took another step forward, never breaking eye contact with his mate. “Come here.” He ordered, gesturing with one finger to point at the spot before him. She frowned, and then she was shaking her head, a hard no issuing out of her lips.
Lotor’s lips curled in annoyance, the prince finding this was growing stranger and stranger by the minute. “I said come here!” Again that refusal, as though she didn’t seem to know who he was. But how couldn’t she? Surely her own body was screaming in recognition of him, urging her to come to him as much as his told him to go to her.
“What do you want?” His mate had found courage, speaking to him, voice tight with tension.
The urge to say the word you was strong in him, Lotor wanting to see her reaction to that claim. Instead he tried for a different truth, taking another step forward. “Information.”
“You won’t get it.” Said the one with the spear, and her stance was defiant, eyes angry. “We’d never help your kind to know anything!”
“Oh you’ll give it to us….” Lotor said, barely glancing at the angry blonde. “Everything…sooner or later you’ll talk…and if not…” Mean snickers from his men, the soldiers looking forward to it. “We have ways of making you.”
The threat induced another round of screaming, one of the berry pickers shouting in her native language. It seemed to propel the woman into action, they all turned to run, darting towards the trees, intent on losing their pursuers in the forest.
“After them!” Lotor shouted, hearing the splash of water as the three in the lake moved. His mate had still been staring at him, almost frozen to the spot when the maid grabbed her hand, pulling her into action. More panicked screams erupted from the woods, as the Drule soldiers burst into view, their blasters drawn. Pandemonium seemed to rain, the women not sure which way to run.
Lasers started flying, hitting one of the women in the back. She fell to her knees with a low squeak of pain, hands flat on the ground to keep her from planting face first into the sand. Movement to the side of him, Lotor seeing the soldier he had struck taking aim at his mate, Lotor shouting out even as he lashed out. “Don’t shoot her!” His blow tumbled the man to the ground, his men shocked but Lotor didn’t care. His protective instincts had kicked in, not wanting his mate to suffer any sort of pain in the process.
“Put away your weapons!” He shouted in Drule, almost snarling when his men were slow to obey. “Secure them.” He was already darting into the chaotic scene by the lake’s shore, the men hasty as they holstered their blasters, not wanting to hit their prince.
Lotor didn’t look to see if his men were moving into action to follow him, the prince shoving women aside, pushing hard enough for them to hit the ground. He would let no one get in his way, eyes locked onto the blonde that his body screamed was his. The one with the spear eyed him nervously, shouting out a warning. “Stay back!”
Lotor smirked, a grim expression as he drew his sword, lazon humming. He knew, and so did she that her wooden stick wouldn’t stand up to the lazon infused blade, Lotor growling out a command. “Step aside.”
“Romelle!” His mate was speaking, placing a hand on the woman’s shoulder. “Do as he says!”
“But…” The one named Romelle turned to glance at his mate, eyes unsure. Lotor was already seizing the opportunity to run forward, reaching for the woman’s weapon with his free hand. His fingers closed around the center of the pole, giving a hard jerk on it to tear it free of her flimsy grip. Romelle screamed, turning to glare at him as he tossed the spear to the ground.
“Monster!” She rushed towards him, and Lotor stared at her in disbelief. Was the human mad, choosing to attack him head on? A slap against her chest had her falling back, landing on her rear on the sand. Lotor barely looked at her to see how she was faring, turning to glance back at his mate. She hadn’t moved, looking shocked at her treatment of her friend, but wasn’t cowed into running from him. Lotor didn’t know if he should feel pleasure or annoyance at that, not liking that his mate didn’t know enough to run from danger.
Lotor opened his mouth to speak to her, hoping to beguile her into his arms, when another Drule lunged into the fray. His arms closed around the girl, her voice screaming in surprise as she was lifted off her feet. Lotor growled, a dangerous sound, eyes narrowed as he fought to not attack the man that was touching his mate. No one should touch her but Lotor, the prince hating to see the way she struggled and squirmed, the Drule holding fast in his hold on her.
“Mine.” Lotor hissed in Drule, the soldier turning to glance at him surprised. Lotor pointed his sword at the man, growls and snarls an audible threat as he advanced on the pair. “Put her down.” Lotor growled, and even the girl stopped moving to gape at him. “Gently.” He added when he saw the soldier move to drop her.
Gulping back fear, the Drule solider set her down so that her bare feet touched the sand. He then slowly backed away, allowing her to wiggle free of his arms. Lotor closed the distance between them, and with his free hand caught her by the arm, drawing her against him. Something in him calmed, Lotor liking the feel of her body pressed against his. Never taking his eyes off the soldier who stared at him, Lotor nuzzled his face against the top of her hair, sniffing in her personal scent. It was she who smelled of fresh flowers after a rainstorm, the vanilla a spiking after smell that soothed the beast inside him.
“Never touch this one again.” He continued, still speaking in Drule. “This goes for all of you.” Lotor added, his voice raised so that the men and the women they had subdued could hear. “This one is mine. She’s….she’s my mate.”
It was all he needed to say, understanding dawning in the Drule soldier’s eyes. Lotor would have killed him if something like pity had appeared, the prince not needing nor wanting that emotion. Another nuzzle against her hair, Lotor transferring his grip to the small of her back. He sheathed his sword, and then lifted the now freed hand to her face, getting his first touch of her soft skin.
He fought the smile that wanted to come out, fingers stroking her cheek, moving downwards to capture her chin. She didn’t resist him when he lifted her head towards his, but her eyes still showed no recognition of him, no love, no happiness. Only nervous fear, the girl trembling in his arms.
“Mine.” He said it softly, switching to Basic. That word made her eyes widen, his mate hardly looking happy at his possessive proclamation. It didn’t matter, he’d prove to her the truth of it. He’d make everyone know, including her that she belong to him.
Bringing his mouth to bear on hers, his lips fastened in place for a searing kiss, one that shook him down to his feet. He felt her struggle, tiny protesting sounds shaking out of her, making him amused. He wasn’t so amused when she jerked free of his hold on her chin, her hand coming up to slap him resoundingly across the face.