Chapter 1


     Kamal Thazgo walked briskly toward the chamber where Count Jastor Abelon and his daughter Princess Zoe were hiding. Kamal had to brace himself momentarily as more explosions rocked the palatial grounds. He winced as a few stones fell and hit him in the back. Grimacing, he continued on towards the chamber, hoping to make it there in one piece. Upon arriving, he punched in a security code, opening the door. The two figures, one male and the other female, stood up immediately. The female, who was clutching a baby in her arms, had a worried look on her face.
     “Sire, the jump ship for you two awaits,” Kamal said, breathing heavily. “You must flee now before the Centrattians breech the inner wall!”
     Count Abelon nodded at Kamal and turned toward his young daughter. He could always see Zoe’s mother every time he looked into her eyes. It always reminded him of how much he missed her. He closed his and thought of her once more before opening them again and looked back into his daughter’s blueish-grey eyes. What he was about to do had to be done. He would and could not desert his people.
     “You must go, Zoe,” he told her. “You know what Zapato wants. You and the baby must flee before its too late.”
     He then looked over at Kamal with pleading eyes that Kamal understood immediately. He gave a singular nod in understanding and took the Princess by her hand and began leading her towards the door. Whether or not he believed it to be the right thing, Kamal knew that Count Abelon had made up his mind and was going to do it regardless. He had always respected him for that. Still, it was going to be a sad day for his people. They’re only hope was getting the Princess and her baby to safety.
     “Father, no!” Princess Zoe screamed as she realized what was happening. She struggled to break free from Kamal’s grip, while clutching her young son as close to her as possible.
     Kamal pulled her on through the now debris-damaged door despite her protests. As they passed through, he turned to look at his long-time friend and nodded in a gesture of good luck but also a knowing that this was probably the last they would see each other. As the door to the chamber closed, Princess Zoe began sobbing uncontrollably harder as her and Kamal fled through the corridors to the jump ship that would get them to safety. As they neared the underground passageway, the building again shook with such violent fury that Kamal was worried they might not make it. Chunks of stone and metal began raining down on them ferociously as Princess Zoe held her son close, trying hard to shield him from any harm. 
     The building shook again, causing a massive chunk of debris to fall. The end of it caught Princess Danielle hard on the back of the neck causing her to fall and opening a deep wound. Blood gushed heavily from the back of her head as she screamed in agony.
     “Princess!” Kamal yelled, realizing what had happened.
     He knelt by her and tried to pick her up, but she reached up and grabbed his arm to stop him as she moaned with pain. Kamal looked over her head and saw the blood gushing from the back of her head. He looked back at her with an expression of understanding. She knew she was dying and it couldn’t be helped. She placed her hand on her head and felt the blood. She then turned her head to Kamal.
     “Take Aran,” she whispered softly. “Take him to Tranax as planned. I’m not long here. I know this. At least I’ll be with Rian soon.” She grimaced from the pain as Kamal wiped her tears. “Protect him, Kamal, please protect him…”
     Princess Zoe’s eyes rolled back in her head as she died. Kamal slowly pushed his fingers over her eyelids to shut them. He became weary. The poor Princess. A life she could have had. Kamal sighed as he remembered the wedding just over a year ago of Rian and Zoe. A life so full of promise only to be cut down by Zapato and his thugs. Kamal’s eyes narrowed as he thought of the brutal slaying of Tranax’s greatest warrior. Murdered by seven men, seven cowards who couldn’t face him one-on-one. He closed his eyes and sighed as the building shook violently once more. Kamal looked down at the small child, who was now crying vigorously. He had never cared for a child in his nearly forty years. He awkwardly, but gently picked up the small child and quickly ran to the safe room where the jump ship awaited them. Again the building shook violently, stopping him once more. The tears streamed down his face as he closed his eyes…when he opened them again, he looked at the baby he was holding who was now crying in terrified screams.
     He turned a sharp corner and stopped in front of a small console on the wall. He punched in a small code and waited as security doors closed behind him. He then took a small device off his belt and pushed a small green button which opened up a small room. Kamal looked up at the gleaming ship and sighed sorrowfully again. In the distance, he could hear the Centrattians running the corridors not too far from him. He shuddered at the thought of what they were going to do with Princess Zoe’s lifeless body once they found it. 
Kamal quickly boarded the ship and strapped the boy, who had fallen fast asleep. It felt strange to him to be the leaving the planet. He had, of course, been off-planet a few times during the wars with Centratta, but this was different. There was a chance he might never come back. 
     He sat in the pilot’s seat and strapped himself in. He pushed a small red button and lights flickered on, engulfing the cockpit in bright light as the ship rumbled to life. Exhaust billowed from the aft ports as a hatch overhead slowly began to open. The ship hovered for a few moments and then slowly headed out the escape hatch and toward the stars. He watched with tears in his eyes, the decimation that Centrattians had wrought on Krenox. His beloved planet was now in the hands of a monster. He ran his hands through his hair as he felt the twinge of heartbreak. The young baby began to softly cry, which brought Kamal back to his senses. He realized that the Centrattians suspected he might flee to Tranax, which was the plan.

     “Maybe it would be more prudent for an alternate course,” he said quietly. “Aran must be protected.”
     He then reached into the pocket of his tunic and pulled out a small disk and plugged it into the console. He knew Aran’s safety depended on him outfoxing Centratti intelligence. 
     “Hello, Kamal,” a voice said from the console. “May I ask what we are doing?

     “Change of plans, Darkata,” he replied. “We need to get Aran to safety. I apologize for the inconvenience. Can you identify a planet where he would be safe?”

     “Yes, give me a few seconds to familiarize myself with this ship.”

     As the seconds ticked, Kamal thought what might have been between both Rian and Danyelle. A love cut short by the greed and ruthlessness of others. He was sure Ganelon was behind it. Rian had rescued her from a horrendous fate after she had been kidnapped by that monster and now he not only had killed the both of them but also had conquered their home world. Kamal turned and looked at Aran as he slept peacefully. Well, now it would be on him when he was older; when the time was right.


     “Yes, Darkata.”

     “I have plotted us a course plotted for the Sol System,” he said. “There is a planet that would accommodate his needs, plus he will look the same.”

     “Yes, I know of the planet in which you speak of,” Kamal replied. “The planet in which the natives call Earth. Not my first choice, but it will suffice. Let me know when we reach the system.”

     “I will, Kamal,“ Darkata said, assuredly. “Might I suggest some rest. It has been a long day for you.“

     Kamal smiled grimly as he nodded. He stretched and then leaned back in his seat. Though he closed his eyes, he did not go to sleep.



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