She wasn’t facing him when she first appeared, her long, corn colored hair staying still though a breeze blew all around them. Nor did the wind touch her dress, of which he noted it was a pale sky blue, the shade and style his mother’s favorite. Lotor didn’t need to see her face to know it was his mother who stood across the room from him, the prince taking an uncertain step in her direction.
The wind seemed to buffet his body, trying to keep him from drawing near to his mother, Lotor’s steps turning desperate as he gave chase after her. “Mother!” he called out, even though he was certain this was a dream. He refused to think of it as anything else, not even when she stepped towards the light, Lotor feeling shining warmth radiate from that blinding brilliance.
It drew him forward, Lotor wanting to enter the light with his mother. It felt right, it felt safe, as though all his problems and worries would be at an end if he just walked through the light. The wind picked up speed, practically blowing him over, keeping him away from the light and his mother.
“Mother!” He called again, Lotor dropping to his knees, ready to crawl after her on all fours. “Take me with you!”
She didn’t speak, but Adaline turned, allowing him a glimpse of her face. Her beauty drew his breath in a gasp, it had been ages since he had last seen her face, and the dreams had never allowed him to see her this clearly. “Mother…” He whispered, his voice could come out no louder when he gazed into her eyes, seeing such sorrow there. This time he did crawl, inching forward even though the wind pushed him back.
Adaline moved, her head shaking no slowly. “Why?” Lotor demanded, voice anguished with his lack of understanding. But she was already turning from him, the wind seeming to come from her, barring him from her and the light. He thought he heard a whisper, carried on the breeze, his mother moving to step deeper into the light.
“MOTHER!” He was suddenly sitting up, pain in his stomach area flaring up, making him wince. The dream had faded, taking him from the shadowy place that had been lit by that blazing light, to a room that was just as unfamiliar. Medical equipment was everywhere, he had wires attached from his body to machines, one of which was ringing an alarm, surely to alert someone to his awakening.
He didn’t care, he found his breath was choking out of him, Lotor realizing his eyes were wet. He brought his hand to them, brushing angrily at the wetness. He refused to think of them as tears, grown men, Drules did not cry, especially not over long dead mothers who visited them in dreams.
There were other sounds in the room, he realized one of the machines was a monitor for his heart, the beeps continuous as it counted out the beats of his heart. He could hear voices over an intercom system, paging doctors and calling out for assistance. But more than that, there was a subtle shifting of weight, a presence that was trying not to be noticed in the corner of the room.
Lotor turned his head and spied the witch, growling out her name. “Haggar.” He let his displeasure be known in the tone of his voice, Lotor glaring at her.
“Good evening your highness.” The witch seemed hardly bothered by his animosity, rising from her seat to give him as low a bow as her aged body could allow. “We were beginning to think you’d never wake up.”
“Evening?” Lotor frowned. “I’ve slept for a few hours?”
“More than a few.” Corrected Haggar, her tone as gentle as she could make it. “Your highness you slept for over two days.”
“Two days?!” He was alarmed now, especially when she nodded confirmation. “Why?”
“You were gravely injured.” She explained, seeming to hesitate.
“Tell me the worst of it!” Lotor ordered and she sighed.
“We didn’t know if you were going to make it or not. The doctors induced a coma to help you recover, but even then the prognosis did not look good. You had lost so much blood that even with the transfusions we didn’t know if you’d be strong enough to survive.”
“I…I see…” Lotor said, and was drawing back the covers of his blankets. Haggar made an alarmed noise, one he waved off. “I just want to see….” He was already lifting up the hem of his night shirt, staring at the ugly rows of stitches on his stomach area. He grimaced to see them, knowing his once flawless skin would bear ugly scars, his father leaving a lasting mark on his flesh.
“Your stomach bore the worst of it.” The witch was speaking again. “Your back was cut up, but nowhere near as bad. You won’t scar there.”
“Thank the Gods for small favors.” Muttered Lotor.
“Aren’t you going to ask?” Haggar prodded him with her questions. “About your father?”
“He’s dead, isn’t he?” Lotor demanded without inflection in his voice. At her nod, his voice turned satisfied, Lotor holding back a laugh. “Good.”
“Your highness, what happened in that room?”
“The truth witch. Nothing but the truth came out.” Lotor answered, spying her frown. He lowered his shirt, covering his waist once more. “It was a long time coming, but I finally learned everything I need to know about my father, and my mother.”
“Your mother?” Haggar’s frown deepened. “What does Adaline have to do with….”
“Everything!” Lotor cut her off with a snarl. “”She has to do with everything! He’s lied to me all these years…!”
“Lied about what?” The tone of her voice had him instantly on alert, Lotor eying her.
“How much did you know about the night my father murdered my mother?!” Haggar was a good actress, he’d give her that, the witch gasping, trying to twist her face into a shocked expression. “You knew?!” He hissed, wishing in the moment for his sword. It wasn’t there in the room with him, with any luck it was still in his father’s corpse.
“No, I did not!” lied Haggar, letting her cowl cloak her face in shadows. “I mean…We always suspected what really happened that night, but no one would ever dare suggest his highness had killed Adaline!”
He was hardly mollified by her words, Lotor raising a brow. “We? Who’s we?”
“Everyone!” Haggar squeaked out. “The guards, the nobles, even the servants!” He was stunned by her revelation, reeling back at the thought of everyone assuming Zarkon had killed his mother and doing nothing about it.
“Why didn’t you tell me your suspicions!?” Lotor demanded.
“And risk the King’s wrath?” Haggar shook her head no. “Besides, what good would it have done?”
“I had a right to know!” Lotor roared, and Haggar raised her hands in supplication.
“Please your highness….you’ll aggravate your injuries….” Haggar said. “What’s done is done, you’ve taken your revenge on him. He’s dead…”
“Dead, and the throne is yours now, King Lotor.” He blinked at that, shocked to hear the change to his title.
“King?” He hadn’t thought that far, Lotor killing his father not for the throne, but to avenge his mother’s death at Zarkon’s hands.
“Yes….” Haggar seemed to fidget in place, and even without seeing her face, he could tell she had things she considered important to tell him. “There will be a coronation as soon as you’re strong enough to attend. There’s matters to over see, an Empire doesn’t run itself you know.”
“I know.” Lotor said sourly. It sounded like a lot of unwanted work to him, Lotor hardly ready to take over the reigns of the kingdom. Especially one as large as the Drule Empire!
“Then you also know….you have certain…obligations to the throne.” Haggar continued, keeping her head held at an angle that cloaked her face in shadows. Lotor eyed her warily, the witch seeming to brace herself for his upset. “Now that there’s only you, the throne is not secure. Not until you make an heir to the throne. A legitimate one.”
“A baby?” Lotor blinked several times, stunned at the thought.
“Several if possible…” Haggar suggested. “It was never my place, but I always thought your father foolish to only make do with one successor. Just imagine the civil war that would have broken out if you had died alongside the King!”
“I don’t give a damn about any of that!” Lotor retorted, and Haggar lifted her head, shadows slipping away from her face to reveal her angry glare.
“You should!” Haggar snapped. “You can’t be so selfish anymore! There are people counting on you, whole planets dependent on the throne!”
“And you are now my conscience witch?” Lotor demanded with a raised brow. “Or are you self appointed advisor to the throne?”
“Someone needs to talk sense to you!” Haggar retorted. “I seemed the best candidate.”
“We’ve never gotten along.” Lotor pointed out. “And I doubt anything you say can be of interest to me now.”
“Be that as it may, you are going to hear me out.” Haggar said firmly. It was his turn to frown, the witch ignoring his glower as she talked. “It won’t do to just knock a girl up…illegitimate brats are always a last resort….”
He suddenly interrupted her, eyes suspicious once more. “Did you help my father kill those women who had born my children?”
“No, that was his own doing.” Lotor was almost positive she was lying, the prince wondering if he could get a hold of some more truth serum to use on the witch. “Though your father acted for the good of the Empire, slaughtering those brats.” Lotor drew back with a hiss, insulted by the way she spoke of his dead children. “No, you’ll want to gain an heir through legitimate means. As such, you’ll need to get married.”
“Don’t look so shocked at the thought! You can’t keep your womanizing ways forever.” Haggar tsked. “The sooner you get married, and get your bride with child, the sooner the throne will be secure. And that’s all that matters.”
“I’ll….consider it witch. That’s the best you’re going to get from me.” Lotor was hardly thrilled at the thought of getting married so young, and just to give the people of the Drule Empire peace of mind about the line of succession. “Besides, we have more important things to worry about.”
“Demos.” He answered, and she nodded.
“Yes. The princess Corral is due to arrive within a few weeks time.” She sighed again. “We can only hope your father managed to finish the treaties before his….sudden demise.”
“I’m not going to marry her.” Lotor said, wanting to be clear on this. Haggar looked startled, then let out a hoarse laugh.
“Of course you’re not, your highness! Heh…put that thought out of your head.” She shook her head, smirking. “The whole point of this charade is to lure her here so we can deal a crushing blow to the Demos Empire. We’re not to play nice with them.”
“You knew about that?” Lotor asked, his lip curling into a sneer. “Figures. I shouldn’t be surprised that my father let you in on that plan.” He gave a shake of his head, white hair falling across his eyes. “Well, no matter. The plan is changed.”
“Sire?” Just one word, but Haggar sounded worried.
“We won’t be using Corral to force Demos to do anything.” He brushed back his hair, spying the witch’s frown. “Problem witch?”
“You can’t be serious!” Haggar was trying to keep her feelings hidden, even as she admonished him. “We’ve waited years for the chance to ruin Demos. And now we finally have an opportunity….”
“Those long years of resentment I harbored towards Demos was all based on my father’s deceit.” Lotor replied. “Demos was not responsible for the terrorist attacks on Zabatos. Zarkon was. Zarkon was the one who attempted to kill my friend, and all because she witnessed his murder of my mother.” A cold smile, Haggar seeming to shiver to see it. “He failed in that.”
“The child survived?” Hagagr was quick, he’d give her that.
“Yes. She survived, and is back in my care.” Lotor sighed. “So you see witch, there’s no reason to fight with Demos anymore….”
“We have had years of animosity between us. We’ve fought over planets, lost ground to them.” She protested.
“We’ve stolen planets from them, and cost them just as many losses in lives as they did to us. It’s time to extend an olive branch of peace.”
“It won’t be easy.” Haggar said in a disapproving voice. “You’ll have to make concessions the Drule Empire might not be prepared to give.”
“But give it they shall, under my rule.” Lotor retorted. “I feel terrible for my role in Doom’s sins against Demos…I was wrong, misguided in my beliefs over their crimes….”
“You’re being foolish…” Haggar told him. “They may be innocent in the Zabatos incident, but that is one time! They’ve done enough…”
“Yes, they’ve done damage, but so have we!” Lotor retorted. “And we’ll keep on hurting each other until one of us stops, and tries to make peace!”
“Peace is for the weak!” Haggar sneered. “It’s what the humans do. We are Drule! And no matter what, the blood line of a great Drule family runs through you.”
“Only half witch. Only half.” Lotor told her, holding back a sigh. “We are going to do things my way.”
“And you think the nobles will allow you?” She demanded, crossing her arms over her chest. “That they won’t tear you apart for any signs of human weakness.”
“I’ll defend my throne, and my life…” Lotor gave her a steel eyed look. “None would dare challenge me head on.”
“You’re strong, and skilled. I’ll give you that.” Acknowledged Haggar. “But the nobles won’t always play fair…”
“Neither will I witch.” Lotor leaned back against the pillows, tired of this heated conversation. He wanted her gone, replaced by a smiling face, Lotor suddenly wondering what had happened to Allura. “Where is my mistress?” He asked the witch, glancing at her out the corner of his eye. “Where is Allura?”
“Ah….Allura?” An unreadable expression crossed her face, her voice suddenly hesitant and losing it’s anger.
“Yes, Allura.” Lotor said. “I want her here by my side. Bring her to me.” Another hesitation from Haggar, Lotor lifting his brow. “Problem witch?”
“Not exactly…” She seemed to be bracing herself, keeping her position as far across the room from him as she could manage.
“What is it? Why is Allura not here?” Lotor almost felt hurt that Allura hadn’t been the one to greet him upon his awakening.
“She’s been detained.” Haggar said, and he frowned at that.
“Detained? What do you mean?”
Haggar seemed to sigh, shoulder sagging. “She was arrested and tossed into the dungeons.”
“WHAT?!” Lotor roared out, suddenly lunging upright, nearly pulling a wire out of his arm.
“Sire calm down!” Haggar waved her hands at him, and he growled.
“Don’t tell me to calm down! Why was she arrested?!”
“We didn’t know what to think when we found her with you and the King’s body. And she wasn’t exactly forthright with answers. It wasn’t my decision to lock her up…” Haggar added, and Lotor snarled.
“Good. Because when I find out who did this to her, heads will roll!” Haggar nodded in approval, surely thinking he was talking like a true Drule. “Well?” Lotor glared at her. “Don’t just stand there! Go release her from the dungeons!”
“Yes, sire.” Haggar said, and began hurrying across the room, moving towards the door that led out into the hall.
“Oh and Haggar?” Lotor called out, and she paused. “Allura will need some time to recover. See her returned to her room for now. Let her shower and have a good meal. The Gods know she could probably use one after the neglect of the dungeons.”
“Yes, sire.” Haggar nodded, then hesitated. “Anything else?”
Lotor hesitated, thinking back to the moments when he fought with his father. “Yes…I want you to find out just who exactly is Alfor.”
“Alfor?” Haggar was startled, as though she knew the name. “Where did you hear that name?!”
“My father mentioned it.” Lotor answered. “Said he was Allura’s father. I want you to find out everything you can about who she was before she came to live with us on Doom.”
“It won’t need much digging for that…” Haggar murmured, and Lotor looked at her quizzically. “I remember Alfor well.”
“Yes….you could say he was one of Doom’s most troublesome enemies.” Haggar said.
Lotor wanted to order her to go on, but more than that he wanted Allura out of the dungeons. “Save the story for later.” He finally decided. “Your top most priority is to get Allura out of that dismal dungeon, and back into the safety of her rooms.”
“Yes, King Lotor.” Haggar said, and gave him a stiff bow. Lotor had to smile at that, repeating the title in his mind.
~KIng Lotor eh? I rather like the sound of that.~ He settled back against the pillows, not paying attention as the door clicked close behind the witch. He wondered when the doctors would be by to check on him, Lotor not looking forward to being poked and prodded. But more than that he wondered about Allura, wondered and worried what her experience in the dungeon was like. He knew how horrific the dungeons were from first hand experience, and he also remembered how his mother had rescued Allura from the dungeons when she was just a child.
It was bound to be a traumatic time for Allura, and Lotor vowed to not only kill the guards who had tossed her down into them, but any of her cell mates that might have laid a hand on Allura. Lotor was determined that never again would Allura be harmed, not physically, or emotionally. Certainly not while she was in his care! He didn’t know how to safeguard her completely, but Lotor felt threatening and killing people was a good start.
He’d feel a million times worse if he knew how easily it would be for him to hurt Allura with thoughtless actions and words….