She was hungry, cold, and miserable. And there was little she could truly do about any of the three. The cold she felt, was a freezing from within. Not even a blanket could chase away her chills, Allura shivering and upset. She kept on remembering recent events, the horrors she had been through. The horrors that kept on coming, new ones piling in on the old. She wondered when it would be enough, when it would all stop. She thought it probably never would, not so long as the Drules continued to have their way.
It was all so horrific, and only growing worse. Allura had thought it had been bad enough to watch her father take his last breath. But nothing could compare to the cruel defilement of his body, Alfor’s corpse hung up for all to see. Allura couldn’t even take comfort that nothing more had been done to her father’s body than that. She was too upset, knowing he should have been given a proper burial, rather than be paraded around as some sick trophy of the Drules’ victory.
A trophy was all that Alfor was now, turned into a symbol of a failed resistance against the Doom Empire. Allura could only hope the sight of his corpse would not be enough to cow into defeat the rest of the planets and people who made up the Galaxy Alliance. The people of Arus would have little hope left, if they were to be abandoned by those they had so often aided.
Allura couldn’t stop from letting out a bitter sound then. She herself had no hope. It had been killed seemingly a lifetime ago. She knew it had begun when she had seen her father die. Everything that happened to her after that moment, had only worked to continue to destroy what little hope had remained in her. Until nothing was left, Allura an angry, bitter person. One whose only reason for living, only motivation to go on was revenge.
But was thoughts of that revenge enough? Allura did not know. Not when new horrors continued to happen. She had thought she had been at her angriest before the broadcast had happened. Allura had thought nothing worse could be done, than to become a slave, and have to strip before a perverted master. Then she had seen her father’s body on display, heard Lotor’s words as he made a gloating speech to the rest of the galaxy. Even worse, she had seen her family, the men dead, the women enslaved.
Allura felt horrible to know there was members of her family that were still suffering. That they were enduring the same fate as she, perhaps even worse than Allura! Lotor had not yet beat or raped her. Allura had no assurances that the same had not been done to her family. It hurt to even think of what Aunt Orla and the others might be suffering. And it was a fate that could be made much worse, Lotor quick to make it clear he would use those close to Allura as hostages for the princess’ good behavior.
Even worse, even with that threat, Allura wasn’t sure she could behave. Wasn’t sure she could be docile and obedient when her soul cried out for revenge. It made her feel guilt to think that through her actions her family would suffer. A guilt that could only be worse at her other thoughts, Allura almost wishing her family had died rather than survive on as slaves of the Drules.
It was an awful thing, the choice between death or slavery. But such was the cruelty of the Drule, that death seemed almost preferable to life as the Drules’ slaves. Especially when there seemed little chance of escaping from their would be masters. Allura didn’t think there was anyone left on Arus that was free. No help would come from that way. The one hope was a long shot, and that depended on if the Galaxy Alliance would be moved to take action against the Drule.
By all right they should. Especially when one considered the numbers of times Alfor and his people had come to the aid of the other worlds. Arus had spent a long five years, fighting other planets’ wars, helping the people there to drive off the threat of the Drule. Would anyone step up to take his place? Was anyone that brave, that caring, that devoted to seeing peace restored to the galaxy?
Allura didn’t know. She herself had had limited interactions with the leaders of the other worlds. She had never even been off of planet Arus, always left behind as her father traveled to help the other worlds. Some of her family, had traveled with Alfor, doing good, and strengthening relationships between Arus and the other kingdoms. Even her cousin, Romelle’s brother Avok, had been active in working with Allura’s father.
But like so many of her family, Avok was either dead or enslaved. Allura didn’t know for sure his fate. She hadn’t seen his body on display with Alfor’s, but neither had Allura seen him among the gathered slaves. She had seen Bandor, the boy young enough that the Drule hadn’t thought him a threat to kill. He had been clinging to his sister, Romelle holding on just as fiercely before they were forcibly separated.
It had been cruel, and terrible to witness, Bandor being struck upside the head. But it was just one more terrible act, cruelty Allura knew she would have to get used to. She couldn’t react in tears every time a Drule did something horrible. Otherwise she would be crying all the time. Just like she had cried when brought to Lotor’s cabin, the Drule soldier that had escorted her, leaving her all alone in the darkness.
Allura wasn’t happy that she had given in to her grief. She had struggled valiantly against the tears, but ultimately had lost. Her grief would not be denied, Allura openly weeping. And not just for herself, but for everything that had been lost. Her people’s freedom and home, her family’s suffering, the deaths. She had cried for what seemed like hours, Allura finally collapsing tired on Lotor’s bed. So exhausted had she been, she didn’t even protest the use of it, just going to sleep on a whimper.
She hadn’t felt any better when she woke up. Her reality remained the same, enslaved by her most hated of enemies. She had wanted to start crying again, and yet wouldn’t allow herself such weakness a second time. Certainly she didn’t want to cry and risk Lotor arriving in time to find her still weeping. Allura never wanted to give Lotor the satisfaction of her tears.
But there wasn’t much to distract her from her upsetting thoughts. She was all alone in the cabin, no books to read, no holos to view. The lights hadn’t even been turned on, leaving Allura to flounder in darkness. It seemed a setting designated to drive her mad, to force her into thinking about her situation and how horrible it truly was. All she could do was think. She didn’t even have dreams to escape to. Not with no hope left to Allura. She might have lost herself to fantasies of revenge, but those would ultimately be unsatisfying. Allura wanted to do more than just dream about killing Lotor, she wanted to actually accomplish it!
But she didn’t know how. Not that she would give up so quickly. Allura would keep her eyes open, ready to catch some vulnerability to exploit against the prince. She was determined to have her revenge, or die trying. Allura would use almost anything to accomplish that goal of hers. Nor did it matter what happened to her afterwards. Allura didn’t care how they tortured her, she could die crudely satisfied with the Drule prince’s death.
She was still sitting in the middle of his bed, when the outer chamber’s door swished open. The lights immediately came on, Allura blinking owlishly in response to the sudden brightness. Lotor did not linger in the outer chamber, coming straight to the bedroom. His face was one of displeasure, eyes angry, expression hard. He’d actually scowl at the sight of Allura on his bed, hand clenching over the hilt of his sword.
She was fearless in response to that unspoken threat, glaring back at him with all the hate and anger she could muster. It was easy to grasp onto such negative feelings. All she had to do was remember her father’s lifeless body hanging from the cross. “Monster!” Allura spat, making no move to get off the bed. It wasn’t the first time she had called him that, and Allura had a feeling it wouldn’t be the last. “You cruel, vicious, evil monster!” In Allura’s mind there was no question of Lotor’s evil, not after what he had done.
A range of emotions flickered in Lotor’s eyes, the prince responding to her words. He seemed to grow even angrier, lips baring fanged teeth as he let out a low voiced growl. Allura was too far gone in her own grief to care if she was inciting the prince to take action against her. In fact she would have welcomed it, and the death Allura was sure would follow.
“I knew you Drule were a horrible people…” She continued, refusing to back down her defiance, to cool down her anger even one degree. “A vicious race, barbaric savages….but truly…the stories that have been spread about your people, they do nothing to prepare for the evil, the cruelty, the perversions of the Drule in reality!”
He was still growling. Allura felt she could have talked for eternity, railing at him for the sick depravity of Lotor and his people. “You truly are a Godless people. Monsters every last one of you!”
“Are you done yet?!” Lotor managed to snap out. His hand was still resting on the hilt of his sword, though he made no move to draw it. Allura glared at him, almost shaking with her anger. The anger was better than her grief, or to feel fear, Allura holding it’s around her as though it was a warming flame.
“No! I am not!” Allura retorted, drawing herself up right so that she was on her knees in the center of the bed. “I’ll never be finished! You Drule are animals! No! Worse than animals….you’re soulless creatures…you have no right to anything…certainly not to the worlds you invade, and the people you enslave! There’s nothing good about you and you people, nothing at all! Why…”
“ENOUGH!!” The hum of lazon immediately followed his snarl, Lotor’s sword drawn and glowing with a malevolent light. Allura stared at the sword, shifting on the bed so that her arms were thrown wide in an accepting gesture.
“Yes, kill me!” She goaded him. “Prove to me what I say is true! End the life of a defenseless girl. A person who has done nothing but speak the truths you do not want to hear!”
Another growl from Lotor, though he did not move to approach the bed. The sword gleamed deadly in the distance between them, Lotor locking eyes with Allura. She could see how enraged he was, how close to the edge of violence he teetered upon. Allura knew she shouldn’t be taunting him, shouldn’t be goading him like this. And yet she couldn’t stop, her hatred, her bitterness, her disappointments making her bold and wanting nothing more than the cold solace of death. Either his, or hers.
“You speak as if you know EVERYTHING about my people!” Lotor snarled at her. “But in reality? You know very little!”
“What more could there be?” Allura demanded. “What could you or anyone else possibly tell me that would make me view your people as anything but monsters?!”
“You thought of us as monsters long before you ever even met any one of us Drule!” Lotor retorted. “I doubt someone so set in her ways, so secure in her hatred, could ever be swayed to take a good look at the truth!”
“And what truth is that?!” Allura asked with her own growl. “My people are either dead or enslaved, my family suffering similar. My world has been invaded, my father lured into a Drule trap and killed. Your kind didn’t even have the honor to fight him fairly….you ambushed a good man, a just man! A man who was set on bringing peace to the galaxy!”
“Peace?!” scoffed Lotor. “Where was his determination for that peace three years ago?! My father made him an offer…an offer he refused!”
Allura was more than a bit confused by Lotor’s remark. But she didn’t let that confusion stop her from arguing with him. “Anything your father offered was tainted! It came with too high a cost, a price no one in their right mind would dare pay!” Lotor actually seemed to twitch in response to that, his anger visibly growing in intensity. Allura didn’t know why, what button had she pushed to get such a reaction from him?
“You let your own hatreds poison your chance at peace, at freedom!” Lotor roared at her. “You’ve gained nothing for the refusal, and lost EVERYTHING! Arus could have known peace, the people free and thriving. Now you and your own will only know torment and misery. Was it worth it Allura?! Was it worth turning your nose down on everything my father had offered you?!”
“We…we did the only thing we could do. The right thing!” Allura snapped back in retort. “My father would never gain Arus peace at the sacrifice of the rest of the galaxy…”
“Your father was a fool and is now dead!”
“And your people killed him!” Allura reminded him, voice shrill with her hatred and pain.
“It’s no worse than what your father and his allies would have done to my own!” Lotor retorted. His eyes narrowed, the light of the lazon blade distorting the color of his eyes. “What they have already done time and time again! How many Drules have died, Allura? How many killed at the hands of the Arusians and Voltron?!”
“Those deaths were earned the instant they took up arms to fight against my father!” Allura snapped.
“They were good people who died!”
Allura began to laugh, ignoring the incensed look Lotor gave her. “The only good Drule is a dead Drule!” She followed up that exclamation with a gasp, the Drule Prince suddenly on the move. She barely had time to react, finding his speed taking her by surprise. Allura was knocked over, toppling onto her back on the bed. An angry Prince Lotor was on top of her, lips curled back to bare his all too sharp fangs. His one hand was on her shoulder, pinning her down with strength that was impressive. The other hand held the sword, the tip of it embedded into the bed’s mattress, just to the right of Allura’s head.
The laughter had died within her, Allura staring up at Lotor with wide eyes. She could smell the lazon burning the fabric of the mattress, could feel the heat of the metal so close to her face. Tension vibrated within Lotor, leaving Allura to wonder how difficult it had been for him to direct the sword to pierce the bed rather than her own body.
“Is that what you were thinking when you shot down my friend’s ship?” Lotor hissed out in question to her. Allura stared up at him, sensing her answer might very well be the defining decision on whether or not he’d turn his blade against her. “Answer me!” Lotor snapped in impatience.
“I…” Slowly, she licked her lips, mouth suddenly feeling too dry. What did she want more? To die here and now, her goal of revenge unfinished? Or to live on, miserable but looking for the chance to kill this man? It wasn’t an easy choice, both had their downsides, both had their appeal. “I was upset.” She finally said, her voice raw with honesty. “My father had just died, killed by Drule soldiers who had lain in ambush for him. I was beyond thinking, grief stricken and wanting only one thing…” She closed her eyes for a moment, inhaling deeply. “I still want that. Still want to see any and all who had a part in my father’s death pay.” She opened her eyes, defiant in the moment. “If that is a desire that you deem worthy of killing over, then so be it.”
The hand holding his sword actually tensed, fingers clenching tighter around the hilt. She thought Lotor was going to kill her, and Allura didn’t so much as flinch. She had a moment’s sorrow to think of her family, of Orla, of Bandor and Romelle, of Avok whose fate was unknown. Of all the men, women and children that had survived the invasion, and were now enslaved. Her one regret was that Allura couldn’t do anything to better their situations, that she was about to die without ever avenging them.
Lotor seemed to hold Allura’s stare for a small eternity. And then with a vicious sounding curse, the blade was deactivated, sword being flung away from the bed. Allura didn’t know how to feel that Lotor hadn’t gone through with killing her. It must have shown in her eyes, because he suddenly was snorting. “Don’t look so disappointed.” Lotor said in a gruff tone of voice. He was slow to sit up, pulling off Allura to ease back a few inches besides her.
“You’re not going to kill me?” Allura asked, cautious as she just lay there staring up at the ceiling.
“That would serve no purpose.” Lotor answered. “Besides…how can you atone for you and your father, your peoples’ sins if you die so quickly?”
“Atone?” Allura echoed, wondering just what he meant by that. Lotor did not bother to explain, but she felt his movements as he shifted on the bed.
“His name is Cossack.” He finally said. She turned her head to look at him, her eyes questioning. Lotor glanced her way, an unreadable look on his face. “The man you shot down.” Allura had nothing to say to that, save for a sound.
“He didn’t die.” Lotor continued. “I bet you feel disappointed to hear you couldn’t even do that right. But Drules are tough, a hardy people. We don’t die so easily.”
“Just means I have to try harder…” Allura muttered.
“You don’t know when to hold your tongue.” Lotor noted. “That’ll get you in trouble…”
“Worse trouble than I already am in?” Allura asked, with more than a sarcastic tone to her voice.
“You haven’t begun to experience the worst a slave can expect for her disobedience.” Lotor told her. He finally got off the bed, retrieving his sword from the floor. Allura watched as he slid it into the sheathe attached to his sword belt, then walked over to a closet. The sword and belt would be placed in a panel that opened in the back of the closet, some kind of mechanism locking it close once Lotor was done with it. She couldn’t see what he had done to trigger the lock, disappointment filling her at her lost chance to get her hands on Lotor’s sword.
He noticed, and actually smirked at her, though he made no comment in regard to the sword and it’s hiding spot. “That Cossack? He’s my friend. Allura just shrugged in response, not really caring what ties this Drule had to Lotor. “And despite what you think. He’s a good man. He didn’t deserve to be shot at, and he certainly didn’t deserve to end up paralyzed because of some grief stricken slave.”
“Neither did my father deserve to die. But it still happened.” Allura pointed out.
“It still did.” Agreed Lotor. “But Allura…you had your chance at revenge….you tried and lost…while I?” Another one of those smirks, the expression lacking any real humor to it. “I haven’t even begun to enact my revenge.”
She felt a shiver go through her at the look he gave her then. It was as though he stared straight into her, seeing past her clothes and her body, to the soul within. She didn’t want to imagine the torments, the perversions and indignities he would attempt to do to her in the coming days. Nor could Allura honestly say she understood why he was holding back so far. But she knew without a doubt, that today was only the beginning. There would be worse things to suffer than going without a meal for so many hours. Allura could only hope she’d be strong enough to survive whatever was coming next.