Songbird 08

Our departure from Doom would indeed be delayed by hours, all in thanks to the uncontrollable robeast Avok had become. He made things increasingly difficult, his body slow to feel the effect of the tranquilizers we attempted to pump into him. Eventually we had had to flood the room with gas, knocking out both the prince and the soldiers who had been unfortunate enough to be in the chamber with him at that moment.

Avok’s metabolism was such that the gas had to be constantly circulated, forcing the Drules to wear breath masks over their nose and mouths. They had worked quickly to dress him in the enchanted armor Haggar had gifted him with. Once ready, he was chained and placed inside one of the coffin like transports Doom used for the robeasts. That coffin would also be wrapped in chains, all enforced by spells from Haggar’s hands.

The coffin was then loaded onto the flag ship, left to rest deep in the bowels of it. Soon enough the effects of the gas would wear off, Avok awakening just as angry now as he had been inside Haggar’s laboratory. Perhaps even more so, if I judged his screams effectively. He was enraged, the sounds of his voice carrying to the upper levels, echoing over and over again.

Aovk didn’t like being enclosed inside the small box, nor was he pleased to be chained down. The coffin actually shook, rattling on the floor from the force of his struggles. It made me uneasy witnessing that, even with the witch’s reassurance that he would not be able to break free of her magically reinforced prison. I pitied the Drules that were stationed in the room with Avok, knowing they would be the first to die if he broke free.

The screams, along with the thoughts that we could be traveling with our death, made it difficult for anyone on board the flag ship to relax. I don’t think any of us would be able to sleep until we got to planet Pollux. We were simply too conscious of the danger, of what would happen to us if Avok got free.

The whole atmosphere inside the ship was rife with tension. Even Prince Lotor was unable to relax, and he was surrounded by members of his harem. I had been surprised to see the slaves brought on board the ship, Lotor having selected a few of his favorites to accompany us to Pollux. He had been careful to hide their presence from Romelle, I dare say she didn’t even known he HAD a harem, let alone that a few were riding on the same ship as her.

There was five harem slaves in all, each one blonde and beautiful, hair varying from a yellow so light it was almost white, to a dark strawberry gold. They were sticking close to their master, one standing directly behind him. She had bent over, her breasts cushioning his head, a pillow for the prince as she massaged his shoulders. I had a feeling he had needed plenty of massages, Lotor perhaps the most nervous of all about the uncontrollable Avok.

Another slave stood close at hand, a crystal decanter of Lotor’s favorite wine held in her hands. She was being careful not to spill so much a drop, though right now Lotor had little interest in her or the wine. Nor did he care about the little slave kneeling before him, his one foot in her lap, as she worked to polish his boot so that the vinyl gleamed.

Instead he was looking at Haggar, his expression expectant when I walked into the room. It was part of his cabin, Lotor enjoying privacy that few others on board this ship could claim. He didn’t look up at me when I entered, though he did acknowledge me with his voice.

“Ah Sabbath. You are just in time. Haggar was about to show me something very interesting, weren’t you witch?”

“Oh yes, sire.” She cackled in agreement, her crystal ball held in her hands. She raised it higher, calling our attention to the crystal, which had filled with dark smoke. Haggar practically purred then, issuing out a command. “Now kitty, show Haggar what you’re seeing…”

The smoke would clear, an image coming into focus. It showed the inside of a stately room, the walls colored the same forest green of the outside of the ship the Polluxian entourage had used to travel with to Doom. There was a statue in one corner, I realized it resembled King Cova, confirming my suspicions that this was Polluxian territory we were viewing.

The room was mainly dominated by a large table, big enough to sit twelve people. It was so wide across, it took up almost all the space in the room, and rested on a rust colored carpet that was edged in gold. Eleven men sat at that table, five on each side, with King Cova at the head. Only one chair remained empty, and I wondered if that had been Prince Avok’s seat.

The view was such that we were looking down on them, Haggar’s familiar, the blue cat Coba situated near the ceiling. The light was intense where Coba was hiding, the cat having climbed up on a chandelier. It was the perfect vantage point for the cat, no one suspecting he was near. As such King Cova and his council spoke freely, their words quite damning for what they revealed.

“King Zarkon and Prince Lotor are fools to think we’d join forces with them!” King Cova was saying with an arrogant sneer on his face. “As if we would ever agree to divide up Arus with them, with anyone!”

The gathered men were nodding in agreement. “We’ve worked too hard, and waited too long for the chance to finally get Arus in our grasp!” A man with a pencil thin gray mustache was saying. “Your plan is a brilliant one majesty.”

“Of course is is, Dreck.” Cova retorted. “I thought of it, did I not?” Immediately Dreck and the other men present were nodding in rapid agreement, quick to soothe their King’s ego.

“We’ll not only conquer the planet Arus, we will be able to get rid of Zarkon as well!” exclaimed Dreck.

“Yes.” Cova’s smile was a satisfied one, his eyes unable to hide his glee at the thoughts he voiced. “I will rule Pollux and Arus…” He raised a fist then. “And the entire universe!” He punctuated that exclamation by bringing his fist down hard on the table, the thump echoing loudly in the room. I was surprised by his ambition, not expecting the human to see beyond his lust for Arus. Certainly I hadn’t expected the King, for any of the people of Pollux to have ambition enough to try and take over the rest of the galaxy.

“Greedy isn’t he…?” Lotor murmured, eyes still intent on the scene in Haggar’s crystal. I nodded once, still amazed by Cova’s greed and audacity. “He thinks he’s playing us all as fools, letting my father believe he had no desire for anything but Arus.”

” He acted as if he hadn’t even considered the rest of the galaxy until well after King Zarkon made mention of using Avok for further conquest.” Added Haggar. The witch hadn’t been present for many of Zarkon and Cova’s meetings, but I had no doubt she knew what had gone down. It was a simple matter for her to use her crystal to keep abreast of all things going on inside the castle.

“He puts on a good act.” Grumbled Lotor. “But then so do we.” He smirked then. “These fools actually believe we are sincere in allying with them!”

“He’ll find out soon enough that the Doom Empire does not make friends, nor do we share worlds and powers with anyone!” Haggar laughed, her wicked screech hurting my ears. The slave girls winced, but otherwise did not react. Lotor smiled, and leaned into the breasts of the girl massaging him, gesturing for a glass of wine to be poured. The chalice was quickly prepared, and given to him, Lotor drinking deeply of it.

“We have to destroy Voltron.” A black haired Polluxian was saying, the other making agreeing noises.

“That will be easy.” Cova answered. “Thanks to Zarkon’s witch Haggar, Avok is now the most powerful robeast in the galaxy.”

“Then with Voltron gone, there will be no one to stand in our way!” added a balding human. “Not even the Galaxy Alliance will be able to stop us!” I couldn’t blame them for their low opinion of the Galaxy Alliance, after all they had been trying for years to put a stop to Doom’s hostilities. Trying and failing.

“We must keep the plan from Zarkon and Lotor.” Cova said, to resounding agreement from his advisors.

“Cova thinks he’s so clever.” Lotor let out a low chuckle of laughter. “Once Avok destroys Voltron, we will have him destroy Pollux!”

“Is that the plan?” I asked. “To turn Avok against the planet?”

“Yes. We won’t even have to lift a finger to assist him.” Lotor finished off his wine, deeply satisfied. “You’ve seen him. The rage that fills Avok now. He’s mindless with it, he cares for nothing save to fight and wreck havoc.”

“I’ve truly outdone myself this time.” Haggar grinned, all her teeth flashing in that smile of hers. “Avok is the perfect robeast. I cannot wait to see him in action, to see him caught in the joy of destruction.”

“What I can’t wait for is to see Voltron ripped apart by that monster’s hands.” Lotor grinned, surely imagining the scene playing out in his mind. “But Haggar, something concerns me….”

“Yes, my prince? What is it?”

“Are you sure you’ll be able to control him enough to keep him from harming blue lion?” Lotor wanted to know. Haggar actually hesitated.

“I think I can.”

“Don’t think, be certain!” Lotor snapped at her, his grip tightening on the stem of the empty chalice. “I want nothing unfortunate happening to Allura.”

“It would be better if you forgot about the princess of Arus completely.” Haggar said, then responded to his scowl. “You will have Romelle! That should be more than enough for you!”

“I will have both Allura and Romelle!” Lotor insisted angrily. “And Haggar? If something goes wrong, and Allura is hurt in anyway, it will be your bones I feed to Avok!”

Haggar seemed to shiver then, clutching her crystal ball closer to her chest. “I understand.” Her voice seemed to shake with worry. “Perhaps I better go check on Avok…weave some more spells around him.”

“You go do that.” Lotor advised her, looking almost amused at the way she scurried out of the room.

“Your father will never let you get rid of Haggar.” I told him, once the witch was out of the room. “Not if Avok gives Doom victory over Arus.”

“Maybe, maybe not.” Lotor countered. “But I will be damned if I let her monster kill Allura!”

He was still obsessed with her, his recent flirtations with princess Romelle doing nothing to lessen his interest in Allura. I shouldn’t have been surprised, even after his foolish behavior at dinner the other night. He might be coming to like Romelle, but desire still held him in Allura’s grip. I wondered if anything could set him free of Allura. I hoped that enough time and rejection went by, that maybe, just maybe he would give up on her.

But I didn’t want him turning to Romelle to comfort his broken heart. That wasn’t just jealousy rising up in me, it was actually worry, for I knew Romelle no longer liked Lotor. Not since the incident with the slave girl. Lotor was blind if he couldn’t see the looks Romelle tried to hide from him, the dislike she harbored deep in her heart. She was going out of her way to avoid him, spending much of the time on board this ship with a feigned illness that kept her bedridden.

It wasn’t yet to the point that Lotor was annoyed with her for that, the prince having too many concerns. Chief among them was Pollux’s impending betrayal, and the attempts to try and keep Avok under control. They left Lotor distracted. I’m sure he was looking forward to it all being over with, for then he could take his time to enjoy Romelle in a leisurely manner.

Not that Romelle would be amiable to his lusts, especially once he betrayed her father and her people. But Lotor was living in a dream world, delusional in thinking everything would work out the way it should.

“Our men are going to be stationed at Cova’s castle.” Lotor said, jarring me out of my private musings. “Once Voltron falls, we will then turn against them. It should be child’s play to take down Cova’s guard.” He smirked. “They won’t know what hit them. We will kill all the men, and enslave those that remain in the castle. Avok will take care of the rest of the planet.”

“I see.” Gruesome business this was, but it wasn’t that unusual. I had born witness to similar killings, even fought in battles where no enemy was left alive. I had even fought for my own life when the odds were against us, the enemies overwhelming the Drules to the point it seemed Doom might lose. Kill or be killed was the motto of these wars, and it would be the same for Pollux.

“I have a personal mission for you.” Continued Lotor. I lifted a brow, curious. “I want you to be Romelle’s personal guard.” He sighed then, almost looking regretful. “It will get dangerous when the fighting breaks out. I do not want anything happening to her. Which is why I am entrusting her safety to you, my friend.”

“I understand.” I even bowed then, honored by his request. “I give you my word, no harm will come to the princess so long as I watch out for her.”

He didn’t bother to threaten me the way he had Haggar. I took that as a sign of how much Lotor trusted me. He knew my word was good once given. If I said Romelle would not be harmed, then I meant it.

“Things will be busy on Pollux..” Lotor grumbled, holding out the chalice for more wine. “I’ll probably not be able to spend much time with Romelle. Certainly not as much as I would like.”

“How unfortunate.” I said blandly. All the while knowing how relieved Romelle would be at the news. She’d be able to relax for a time, and not have to think up excuses to avoid Lotor.

“But once everything is over with…” Lotor smiled then, a lustful look in his eyes. I had a feeling he wouldn’t wait for the marriage to make things official, Lotor would be on her at once, regardless of her feelings on the matter. It made ME shudder just thinking about it.

“Just…just have a care my prince.” He looked at me with eyes narrowing, but I continued, heedless of the danger. “She is but human, young and inexperienced in the ways of love. Romelle is delicate….you must treat her as such, lest you break her.”

“Anything broken can be fixed.” Lotor retorted, downing his drink. “And she is not so delicate as to not understand what her wifely duty to her husband must be.”

It was with a sinking heart I heard these words, my shoulders wanting to sag. “Please your highness, she deserves better, don’t you think?”

“What I think is you’re concerning yourself too much with what I will do to my wife.” Lotor growled then. “Where does this concern come from Commander?” A suspicious look then. “You don’t have feelings for her, do you?”

“Of course not!” I denied, my voice sounding outraged at the thought. “I would never presume to try and step over such boundaries….I am merely trying to look out for YOU. You want her love, do you not? You want more than just a body to warm your bed. You want her devoted and affectionate with you…”

“What would you know of love and devotion?” Lotor interrupted with a rude snort. “You’ve never been married. I dare say you’ve never even been in love Sabbath.”

“That doesn’t make me any less qualified to warn you!” I protested, and Lotor laughed, a mean snicker of sound.

“There’s nothing to worry about. I will have Romelle, and she, like Allura, will LEARN to love me.” He nodded at those words. “They’ll have no choice…no choice at all…”

Again I thought he was setting himself up for disappointments. Love didn’t work that way. You couldn’t force yourself on someone in the hopes they would give in or suffocate in the process. And knowing what I knew of Romelle, I had the feeling she would choose the latter, rather than give in to Lotor. But she’d fight first, and that would be damaging. She might hurt Lotor in the process, but she’d definitely be hurt in return. Lotor didn’t take kindly to those who disappointed him, even if they were as pretty as Romelle was.

It had all the markings of a disaster in the making. Everyone could see it save Lotor. Ignorance was truly bliss in this case, though Lotor would soon have a rude awakening where Romelle was concerned.

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