What do you have to do today that you really would rather not do?
Faelurion Amadestia rubbed her temples as she pored over the documents on her desk. Intelligence briefings. Weapons inventory. Status reports. Expenditure logs. Her rebellion was stretched thin, and they were stranded on a foreign world. The local populations were resistant to helping them, and she couldn’t blame them.
She and her people were Mosari, the same as the first invaders who had razed whole cities virtually uncontested. The same as those in the Galactic Fleet who had blasted craters in their continents with orbital strikes. The same people still threatening the planet from orbit.
Fae sighed. The Terrans had barely begun to discover interstellar travel when the Mosari arrived. They were still exploring their neighbor planets with robots. It would be centuries before they could leave their own solar system at the pace they had set.
Of course, that all changed with the Expansion. The Mosari were the most technologically advanced civilization in the galaxy, but theirs was not the only galaxy. Mosarix was at the outer edge of the Spiral. In order to defend from extragalactic threats, they needed to find others to strengthen their foothold.
Not that any of that mattered now. Fae glared at the report directly in front of her. She had a decision to make. A very dangerous decision. The Terrans had proven surprisingly resilient once the initial shock of the invasion had worn off. None more so than her personal project; at least, none that she’d yet met.
“You sent for me, Your Highness?” Todd Price entered her office, closing the door gently behind him and standing rigidly with his hands clasped behind his back.
Fae waved him off. “Todd, you know I don’t hold you to the formalities when it’s just-“ A throat cleared next to her and it took every ounce of restraint she had not to jump. She had been so engrossed in her thoughts that she had forgotten her counselor was still in the room with her. She was sure she had dismissed them after they had delivered the stack of reports. The old one insisted she hold to the old ways, even as she tried to break them of the habits. “Jeral, you may leave us now,” she announced.
Jeral bowed deeply, the sleeves of their robes brushing the floor, before they turned and exited the room. They paused briefly to give Todd a condescending glower.
When the door was shut once more, Todd relaxed his stance. Instead of standing at attention, he leaned casually against the wall with his arms crossed. “So, Fae, what are my orders?”
The exiled princess studied him for an extended time. She had wanted to put this off as long as possible. One way or another, she was going to lose him after this. He raised an eyebrow, silently questioning her stalling. “We have a problem,” she announced, tapping the report in front of her. He withheld his questions while she continued. “Veralis is moving against me. She knows my rebellion is the only reason the Terran resistance is making any headway. With me gone, or disabled, she can rein in the remaining resistance fighters and force their submission.”
“She can’t get to you here,” Todd said, though it sounded more like a question.
Fae sighed. She had hoped this revelation could hold for a future day. She met his gaze and held it. “She has found a knight to counter my own.”
Todd laughed. “Let her send them. I’ve eliminated all the soldiers she’s sent so far. A knight might actually give me a challenge.”
Fae smiled sadly. She would never underestimate the loyalty of Terrans. Ral’s knight was not one Todd could face. If she was going to salvage her rebellion, she had to tell him the truth. “She has Jack, Todd.”
He shrugged. “Yeah, you’ve told me. We’ll get him back eventually.”
“No,” she shook her head slowly. “Todd, Jack is her knight.”
The tall, dark-eyed man stared at her for a long moment. The truth was out now, and she couldn’t take it back. This gambit was going to cost her, it was just a matter of timing. Todd’s face was unreadable. She wished he would say something. She had plans to make.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Todd sighed and placed his hands on his hips. He looked away from her. “Shit.”
Notes: “Shit” is right. I dunno what Todd will do. I don’t know how devoted he is to Fae’s rebellion, despite it being the only reason they’ve been able to stave off Ral’s conquest. He’s spent the last 4-5 years working for her because she promised to help him get his brother back. Now he might have to fight his brother? I do not envy his position.
I should really add these characters to my recurring characters post if they’re gonna keep popping up. I think this is the 5th time I’ve visited their story? I like them. I want to keep writing them.
TGIF! Hurray, we made it through another week! I’ve got a busy weekend ahead, but I’ll be back on Sunday with the list of prompts for next week! Have a great weekend!