Down in the basement was where she chose to work, under ground, away from everyone and everything. The click of clawed fingers across a keyboard, the faint glow of predatory eyes from the liquid crystal display. They were as familiar to this female as the flow of blood on claw or the air currents under wing. But it wasn't enough for her, she needed to examine the data more quickly. So she activated one of the few remaining treasures from her home.

It didn't look like much, a pattern of crystals set in metal, but it was composed of the best combination of Kchronaen and Shar'rin technologies. The Kchronaens had studied the Rin's living crystal computers and combined it with their own nano-technology. The result was the device that sat on her wrist, small as a wrist band, yet able to hold more data than all the data banks on Praithia during it's hight.

Not only that, but it didn't need a keyboard, didn't use a pointing device. She activated it, not bothering to remove it from it's housing on her wrist, it captured her every motion, translating it into what she needed. A slap on her wrist brought up a virtual keyboard, clapping her hands together opened up a new blank "Window" she could then manipulate more data in. The flat blueprints of the tower became a sparkling 3d rendition as she moved the data into place.

With a quick twitch of a finger she pulled data from one screen and added it to the 3d rendition before her, the topography of the capital of Arrah formed around the menacing form of the legendary "Tower of the Blood Sun" and below that sewers, subways and storm drains formed, hooked up with the buildings that were now being created. The entire capital in perfect three dimensions. And to think, to Amrender this was only a toy, something to keep the child he had taken in amused. It had been so long since she even allowed herself to think of Amrender as her "Foster Father" let alone the "Papa" he preferred she call him.

Still she used her "Toy" well. It had gotten her through all of her schooling. She knew she hadn't been brought along as fast as Kchronaen children. Most of them gave up their first computers by the time they were out of their teens. She hadn't, it still suited her, the way her mind worked, the way her body moved. Amrender had expanded it capacities a few times, but never changed it out for a faster model. Or so the user thought.

It was a dance within the holographic bubble of the computer's influence. Her hands and wings, her ears and hooves directing data, organizing it at blinding speed. Her father had her do this for him dozens of times, use her ability to think outside of three dimensions to organize, analyze, test, and sometimes even prove or disprove a theory. And compared to that, this was easy. Just add in the new data about the tower, get it patched in with all current data.

She let herself get lost in the data, looking for connections, finding serial codes, electrical plans, security plans, layouts, applications for bringing different sections of the ancient tower up to current municipal building codes. Things that tracked changes large and small in the tower, all the latest intelligence brought up to date so quickly.

She heard steps on the stair, her keen nose recognized the scent of her friend Kietana and the smell of freshly killed meat. Kaja felt her stomach at once growl and churn from the odor. How hungry she was, yet she didn't want it, didn't want any of it. She couldn't stand the memories the smell would bring her, it threated to bring tears to her eyes. And she knew better now than to cry.

How often had she been forced to choose, the survival driven madness of her race or killing and drinking the blood of Kovus's chosen "Meal." It was always a hard choice for her, Could she hold out, stay her instincts until finally Kovus was forced to either give her the animal blood she preferred, or watch her collapse and fall into a coma, or would she loose her reason and go for whatever was closest, usually innocent children. And was it worth the risk to innocent lives to not kill and drink the blood of some murderer or child molester?

She didn't know what was right, what was wrong. She couldn't fight what she was, and Kovus would push and push and push. She had seen the sickened faces of the Spirius prisoners, had sometimes heard Keitana crying when the young rin would know what she had done. Kaja had once warned Kietana that she was a monster under it all. How wrong had her father been, she was a monster, a killer, and Kovus had showed her, just how easily she would fall into that pattern.

The Praithian woman walked into Kaja's "Den" and frowned, seeing the untouched food, the piles of print-outs, data storage units of all types, from optical disks to old magnetic tapes. She also could see Kaja was going over their latest intelligence about The Tower. It worried the Praithian that Kaja wasn't eating much, wasn't drinking. She KNEW what Kaja probably forgot, that HIS spies were everywhere and that if Kaja didn't take care of herself it would only hurt Chren more.

"It's time to eat Kaja, you can study the tower later." She kept her voice calm and level, if anyone raised their voice to Kaja she would often cower. She never recovered from what that bastard did to her. She was afraid of everyone, everything. It made so many people sick to watch her. She had once been so vibrant, so kind, now she was afraid of everything, stayed here, out of sight.

No one knew how to deal with the woman anymore. Many knew she was one of the "Demons of wind and water" as the legends told. But it didn't matter to the high ranking members of the Spirius any longer. The intelligence their spies gathered as well as tapes and data disks sent by the emperor himself had shown what the young female had suffered. Few blamed her for what she did, for what she had to do simply to survive and try to get home.

Now some of the less informed did get harsh with Kaja, but Kietana, Luminus, or even Emeroth himself would talk to them and straighten it out. How could they expect someone who was really just a little girl to make those choices. It stabbed Kietana's heart every time, made her want to hate them, and she had to fight it, or she would give in to Kovus' temptation. It was so easy for her now, to hate them, hate what they did, despise them for their weakness and senseless cruelty to a child who couldn't help what she was.

If there was any good in the brutal and cruel empire that the Monster had created, it was that he refused to tolerate any form of prejudice within his realm. Class and blood didn't matter to him, his was a brutally efficient meritocratsy. And, unfortunately, Kaja would fit in there as well as in the world Emeroth was trying to build. Kaja was a creature of contradictions.

"I'm not hungry Keitana, I'm studying the latest maps of the tower. And I think I may have found something. Promise not to tell anyone if I show it to you?"

That sort of promise made Keitana nervous, but she knew she had to make it if she was to get Kaja to talk to her at all, have any chance of getting the child to eat. "Alright. Show me what you've found. But AFTER you eat, OK?"

Kaja frowned then, "I'm not hungry. I can't. Please."

"Not this time, you have lost at least ten percent of your usual weight in your natural form, and that's not healthy for you. I want you to eat everything on this plate, then drink the S'ta'shin I brought for you." Keitana made her voice Tower hard, knowing that Kaja had been conditioned to almost mindless obedience at that tone. And while she hated using it, she HAD to get her friend to eat.

"Yes mi....I mean Keitana."

It was a very strained meal. Kaja looked like she wanted to throw up, and Kietana knew why. So many people Kaja had been forced to kill. Most of them were murderers and other condemned criminals, but it didn't make it easier on the young Rin. Especially the way some idiots acted, like it was her fault she was born the way she was, needed what she did to survive. It got more and more tempting as she watched Kaja for Kietana to want to take her gun and shoot every bastard that ever called Kaja a monster.

Kaja activated the holographic display once she cleaned her plate, it showed the tower, the water lines, the old subway tunnels, and both the old and new sewer systems. "See, here, there are tunnels that meet up with the tower. I can get in unseen and get Chren out."

Kietana frowned at her friend, "Lume and Em should know about this."

"there is no TIME Kietana. They would try to stop me, and Chren is HURTING, I can't leave him there, I can't, it's all my fault he's there. It's my fault."

Keitana reached out and took that sharp fanged muzzle into her hands, "What if it doesn't work?" This worried her, she knew how frantic Kaja could be whenever Kovus sent a video of Chren and his "Training" last time they had needed to physically restrain and sedate the young female. Emeroth had ordered that no one was to allow Kaja to see such anymore, for fear of the young woman doing something rash. "You know what that planet has become, You've been there."

The look on the She-Rin's face was tortured. Keitana remembered how Chren would look when their positions were reversed. Similar expressions, though Chren's was more rage-filled and Kaja's much more lost. But the look of pain, of longing, the very same.

Kaja nodded slowly, she knew, all to well how Arrah had changed, she had lived there through most of it, barely escaping. The savage ruthless order imposed by the man many referred to as Monster Tegatane. "You would have them risk lives for me?"

Keitana brushed her lips against Kaja's cheek, "Why not? I would, my own to begin with." And she meant that, Kaja was dear to her now, precious and special, the one thing that helped her keep her own urges to viciousness and cruelty in check. How could she not be willing to risk her life for the child who had let herself suffer at that Monster's hands to protect her friends.

Kaja shook her head so hard then hear ears flapped against her skull, "You can't, please Keitana, don't tell anyone, and if I fail, don't come after me. I'll be OK."

Keitana shook with emotions she couldn't name, "Against Kovus Tegatane, Kaja, I'm not allowed to assume safety for anyone." And yet Keitana remembered the tower, and how Kovus never once allowed Kaja to suffer any real damage, pain of often the most horrifying sorts, but never anything that would damage the young Rin.

Kaja's eyes went as dead as they ever had in the tower, "Then make them promise to write me off if I get caught. I'm just one, they need to think about the he....the Many."

The praithian looked at her octopedal friend, "They do. And this one cares enough for very many." she touched her friend's cheek with a gentle caress of her hand, "And is valued by many more than she thinks."

Kaja turned her head away, "I do what I can. And you know I used to live on Arrah. I know how to disappear. I still have one or two personas there no one knows about. I know how to stay low. And I can get Chren out, I have to."

The guilt in the woman's face make her friend want to weep, "Kaja we've all heard the stories of what happens on Arrah now. Chren may not be the same man you lost sight of. It's been how many moon cycles?"

Kaja backed up then turned away, "I have to do this, I owe it to Chren. Among my kind when you save someone's life you take responsibility for that life." then Kaja shuddered, "Besides, Kovus is expecting me. I've learned the hard way, you do not want to disappoint him."

Keitana felt her jaw drop, "Wouldn't it be more ration to get Away from that psychotic madman? Attack in more RATIONAL ways?" It sounded like Kaja didn't plan on making it out alive. She wouldn't do that, she couldn't, could she?

Kaja turned and meet Keitana's gaze, "What is rational when your dealing with ma....with HIM. I have to get him out, Please understand Keitana, I have to. If you will not help me, then I'm going now. Before anyone can say anything about it and he knows for sure I'm coming."

Keitana sighed, "If he knows your coming, the likelihood of rescuing Chren is nonexistent."

Kaja shifted nervously, "It depends on who and how many are in the tower, a couple of warlord, or just the staff and Tegatane, I could fight through, I've done it before. You've SEEN me fight. And I can't leave Chren there, I can't, I PROMISED him."

They both remembered her words when the emperor dragged the young man away. "I'll get you out, I promise." And the emperor's mocking laughter in reply.

"Your lack of trust in Emeroth and Luminus is disconcerting."

Kaja snorted and look away, "Emeroth will tell me to wait, and wait, and wait while Chren hurts, while KOVUS is TORTURING him." The Rin is almost bugling her defiance of that fate, "I have to get Chren out, whatever it takes."

"You don't know what Emeroth will do. You're focusing only on the recent, not on the whole. Numerous times, he has acted quickly. When feeling it necessary." And that he had. Why was Kaja so...irrational?

Again the Rin female looked away, this time angrily. "FINE, do what you want, I need to study this more." And the female turned back to her computer. Tracing the routes, muttering to herself

Keitana just watched for several long moments then sighed sadly, "You intend to go, already. Be wary of your footfall." The Praithian woman didn't know what else to say. And left, fighting the tears. Her Rin friend was the one who couldn't escape in the end, Keitana had hoped she would be free, that Kaja would win her freedom like Keitana finally had.

Kaja let her go, she had work to do, maps to memorize, door codes to acquire while leaving no trace. It eventually penetrated her concentration, the small flashing red light that signaled someone was trying to contact her through the old mega net. She hadn't had a message there for years, and with shaking fingers entered the code that would bring the message onto the screen.

It was HIS face then that she saw. Eyes glowing green, without her needing to flick it on the holo-camera activated, and she let her face go cold, like ice, it was still so easy for her to slip into T'Kala's mode of operations with this man. If it hadn't been for Amrender......Kya might have very well meant her to be one of his slaves.

"Among the most gifted of technological encrypters in the galaxy have viewed Echo as their priestess, until I became their living god." He nodded to her acknowledging her skills with computers even while reminding her that he was her equal if not her better. "While you gaze upon your screen, the message is being jammed at all other technological points of Spirius influence. We are 'alone,' little Rin. For sufficient time at least."

She felt a sliver of terror creep up her spine as the words came as if being torn from her soul, "What do you want?"

His gaze was an open challenge, his smile sardonic and amazingly tolerant, "All." She never understood why he said that, "But in this instance of time...." her face was blank as he stepped back, revealing the form of the one male in the wordling she truly loved, hands bound forward and not looking up, no blood appeared on him or the metal chair he sat on, and the monster spoke as if savoring his next word, "Information. Determination as to whether you REALLY care about this individual, or whether you simply PLAY ACT at giving a damn about his fate. I have come to wonder, after ALL this time." And he moved to block her view, she can't keep the pain off her face and he smiles at her so sweetly, "Do you?"

She puts her hands up in the way she remembers from her time in the tower to indicate she's begging him and cries out, "Don't hurt him, please."

His eyes go hard, "ANSWER MY QUESTION!" The tone of his voice a snarl, but his features remaining chilled.

"Please, I love him, what do you want me to do, take his place, I will and GLADLY!"

"He already took yours, when you might have been brought back after the first time. You would undo his decisions?" his eyes went flat, his expression more deadened if that was possible.

Kaja didn't know what to do, what to say, her confusion and pain obvious, "let him go, please, I'll take his place if that's the price." She avoids the question, he can tell, "Chren, I'm sorry, but I can't leave you there."

the sardonic half smile was back, "If you gave yourself up for the exact same thing he wanted to spare you from..... That would not be very....Respectful....of you, would it?"

Kaja's arms go around herself and she shrinks back, her voice a whisper, "He's to young, he doesn't know what he's loosing."

"No younger than you, little Rin. Old enough to WANT, after all." and then he smiled fully, the mask like smile of a corpse.

"Please just answer me truthfully," her voice was so quiet now, "If I take his place, will you let him go?"

"Like you'd ever come for him at all."

"Answer the question!" She was shaking in terror, but her voice was steady, "Yes or No. If I trade myself for him, will you honor the bargain?"

"The man you know is being removed from the scene....Improved upon. Why would I want to 'deal' that away? He's learning what the world REALLY is like, in the hands of the wrong...And RIGHT...people. What, I should 'give him back' like it was all some 'misunderstanding,' so you try to CUDDLE him, and tell him the world is not like it is?"

His gaze was cold as ice as he spoke again, "That he would abandon his only avenue of hope to ESCAPE its foolishness? Again I question the reality of this VALUE you seem to place on him, Female. Seems more that you'd rather have him as some sort of personal DOLL of yours. Someone to play HOUSE with. Would that I could spare him certain sickening experiences." And before she could reply the signal went dead

Her voice was furious, "If I trade myself for him, I give that up, that my sunrise, all my dreams." She knows Kovus is playing her, that he'll hurt her however he can, but two can play that game. And she starts cleaning things up. He would expect her to charge in blindly. Instead she takes the time to make sure she's properly equipped.

A moment to record a holographic message to Emeroth and label it accordingly. Time to use her powers to move her things to "Storage" time to activate special back up accounts on Arrah. It doesn't take her that long, maybe an hour at most. And then the gateway to her old estate on Arrah. Kovus had once promised her he would not touch her there. He had kept his word, but it meant she was a prisoner there, so she left.

For the first time in years, she was back "Home" and she could tell it had changed. Her estate looked over the capitol. No longer was there slums, no more burned out neighborhoods. Everything was clean, ordered, methodical. As perfect as a clockwork, but it was wrong, laid out like a barracks. The parks were replaced with what were obviously training areas.

The only other familiar thing there were the hospitals. They were each surrounded by lush vegetation, but Kaja knew it wasn't because Kovus loved beauty, it was because the view helped his people heal. Kovus spared nothing for medical technology. It was part of how he had almost seduced her all those years ago. If she gave up ground in education she could expand in medicine and childcare. Two subjects dear to her heart. She didn't realize that by letting him slowly take over education she was allowing him to militarize the world.

By the time she realized her mistake it was to late. She was hemmed in, trapped, unable to do anything but give ground on more and more to keep her freedom. Finally, in desperation she had agreed to turn over everything she had built except her estate if she would be left alone there. And that promise, it seemed still held. She studied the layout of the city from her perch high above the capitol.

The signs of prosperity were there, more vehicles, more air and water traffic, but it was all military. Parades, concerts, all on military themes. It tore at the young woman's heart. Why hadn't she done something about this. She was older than anyone here. She forgot that she was still a child of her race, and it was a race that put the herd first, where wars were more rare. She couldn't have foreseen this.

The young woman needed to change her clothes and her shape into something that would blend into the city. Dancer wouldn't work, it was obvious that the street gangs were gone, and she was a street warrior. Echo only existed on the mega net. Kaja Emirr was to well known. Mara was a d├ębutante, and wouldn't work. Then she saw the clothes for Tatya, that would work. Tatya was a servant girl, and it wouldn't be hard to change her into one of the many women who come and go from the tower.

Once she was ready, she carefully hid her fighting knives in her outfit. And slipped out into the city. The feeling of the place was of controlled terror and rage. It was all she could do to keep from running. It was no place for a telepath, and it took everything her father had ever taught her to keep her abilities locked down tight. The crowds were grim looking, dark colors, just the civilian side of Military uniforms. Parades on grand scales to avoid. Until she gets close to the tower. There she can see a grand parade tens of thousands of marching soldiers.

She takes a chance and opens enough to try to sense Chren, he's not in the Parade, but she didn't think he would be. He didn't get along well with other bipeds most of the time. Her nose couldn't pick up much, to many fuel smells, it was to much for her, but she could feel Chren's mind faintly. He had to be in the tower. Few other places could hold him, she had trained him herself.

Getting through an enemy city was a nerve wracking experience but one that Kaja knew she was more than qualified for. Moving with the ebb and flow of the crowds. Move like you belonged there. And in a strange way she did. She had lived so many years on Arrah, knew it's people, it's traditions better than most who lived there. A nod here, a half fearful smile there and no one noticed her. She was just another servant woman heading for work.

As soon as she could she went to the back alleys. It was easer for her there, she could, when needed, shift to her Rin form for the speed it provided her. She covered ground at a pace that most would not understand. Miles disappeared under her hooves and feet. Finally she reached it, a small storm grating that most would not notice. But it met up with one of the old escape tunnels for the tower.

No Arrahn could have lifted that grate, it must have weighed twice as much as the average man, and was rusted in, but Kaja, with the strength born of a world with a heavier gravity lifted it, ignoring the horrible noise it made, then she jumped into the hole and let the grate drop over her, hiding her from any potential prying eyes.

It was cold and wet in the storm drain, but Kaja didn't care, she pushed her way through, not bothering with light, letting her nose and ears guide her as much as her sense of touch and her ability to "See" into more than just the four dimensions most other beings did. If you could sense the world through over a dozen it changed greatly and many things you thought were hidden became overly obvious. Like the door that lead into the tunnels.

Kaja took the time needed to dry out her clothes. There was little point in coming this far and failing for a stupid thing like being in wet clothes. She tapped the "jewel" on her wrist and her computer quickly activated. Using her senses and memory she checked where she was and studied where she needed to be.

There were half a dozen places strong enough to hold Chren. She tried to match her memories of the tower with the room Kovus had shown Chren being in. it would be a good place to start, if she could just remember where it was. The most likely place would be either the training hall or the Warlord's quarters. Both areas were well fortified and meant to survive an attack by the Thunderers.

She traced her planned route committing it to her memory. She regretted the fact that at best she could only get a three dimensional representation of the tower. Amrender had spoken once of the Rin living crystal computers with something approaching admiration, and how the crystal matrix could expand it into at least twelve, a number Kaja could handle easily, she knew an adult of her kind could manipulate at least twenty to thirty dimensions as easily as most being handled four.

The first thing was to wait for the corridor to clear, she observed the people who passed by, the men wore crisp uniforms of high quality leather, many showing off the scars of Tegatane's fury. It made Kaja shudder, and the women, their clothing reflected their position in the tower. The few purely servant women were drab, but most of them wore beautiful revealing clothes, designed to make men think about how best to take them and keep them. The air was thick with barely contained lust, rage, and fear.

Kaja fought to control her nerves even as she moved into the corridor. She had to watch for surveillance, had to make sure she moved just right, with the eerie precision of one of HIS servants. Just the barest of openings of her senses, especially that rare sense that let her know what was on the surface of other's minds, their uppermost thoughts and feelings. The terror was so thick she would almost cut it with a knife.

She stilled her breathing and moved through the corridors like she belonged, picking up clues from those around her. Like she had been taught before Amrender had tamed her down, Kya's training had been brutal, but it was complete and through. She soon was able to let herself think of other things.

She remembered the letters from HIM, one in particular she hated getting. "Your special case continues to show himself exactly that, capable of enduring incredible testing. I'll let you imagine the forms. Give my best regards to the interloper, for his lack of decisive action as yet." Emeroth had been forced to restrain her himself a few times, if he hadn't someone probably would have been killed. Kaja was, despite centuries of inactivity on that specialty, a fully trained assassin and special operative. She had been trained for decades for it.

It showed here, though only a rare handful would see or know. No one saw her, even on the corridors with cameras. She blended in to well, following the faint "Scent" of Chren's mind. Though soon it was obvious to her that he was where she was afraid she was, in the training rooms. Servants were not normally found there, they never came unless specifically ordered.

So from this point she would have to brazen it out, convince any watches she was there on an assignment. She knows where the kitchen is and gets a few of the bottles of water that are kept warm for those in training. Kovus refused to use cold water for the re-hydration of his warriors, it wasn't for cruelty, it was because it prevented any chance of stomach cramps and allowed it to be absorbed more quickly.

The blood-hot bottles and their insulated container in hand she moved towards the training hall and it's many rooms. Here in the capital of Kovus' Empire, through miles of corridors, she feels the fear, the terror, as she slips into "Classified Territory." But amazingly she isn't challenged once. Her sensitive nose still worked, even though this form normally didn't have even half the sensitivity she normally did in her own natural one.

She could feel his mental scent growing strong along side his physical scent. She tried to reach out and comfort him in this hell, but instead of the joy she once felt there was anger and fear, fear of her being there, fear for her bordering on terror. It originated behind a single large brazen metal door.

She examined the door no lock on it on this side, it was familiar but she couldn't place it. And the fact there were no guards made her nervous. Still, it was Chren in there, and she had to get him out. She checked the frame for alarms, but didn't sense or see anything, so with a carefully wrapped hand she tried the door, it gave easily to her touch.

Inside was a sight of horror for her. Blood stained the walls, dark and dried most of it, but some shown in the pale light, She KNEW this room, where Kovus would have Skyrus and Mallos conduct her "physical training". She wanted to be sick, this place was often a chamber of horrors. This one room could have the floor electrified, the temperature raised from below freezing to fry an egg in seconds. And the "Crown Jewel" was a man curled up by a metal chair.

She walked over to him with trembling steps, unwrapping the cloth around her hand and poring some of the water onto it to dampen it. With tender care she knelt beside him, pulling him into her lap and gently wiping his face with the damp cloth, "Chren, it's me, it's Kaja."

He opened his eyes and suddenly rage flickers across his face for one second, then it would shift to pain and horror. "No....Not.....Not you........Don't make me.....DO this...." He attempted to turn away from her, pulling the cloth from her hand.

She ignored his attempt to turn away from her, "We're getting out of here Chren."

He was trembling, "I can't"

"We've got to," she was almost in tears, and dropped her attempt to hold her Arrahn form. "Please, I'm strong enough to carry you, trust me Chren."

Chren could see the terror his young lover was hiding, to him it showed in the speed of her breather, the way that now that she was in her natural form her long slender ears twitched at the slightest sound. "kaja, I can't get away. He won't let me." He looked into her eyes, the terror was till in them, and it disturbed her.

She had known Chren since he was a child, she had taken him into her household, something she never did with all the other orphans she helped. He was brave, unrelentingly fearless, yet now he looked....sick, frightened, with pale skin and half-dead eyes. She brushed back his hair, "He can't stop us, Please, I need to get you home."

She tried to lift him into her arms, "KAJA NO, He'll destroy you, through me. How are you even HERE? For a reason I...." and he started to cough from the force with which he was speaking, coughing so hard he started to spit up blood.

Her slender fingers touched his lips, gently wiping them clean, "Chren, I love you, how could I not come when you are hurt?" The blood on her fingers almost seemed to burn.

"NO!!!" He tried to reach up to stop her, but she put her fingers into her mouth to cool the strange burning sensation. His voice raspy, unbalanced.

"Chren, what is wrong....." and then she felt it, the burning pain that she knew came from what her people called Taint, and what the Kchronaens called Shadow. She had to move and Fast, this was deadly to her, unlike all others touched by it, it ate her from the inside out like radiation sickness.

Chren's voice was filled with agony, "NO!!! NO! You Freggin' BASTARD....She doesn't DIE this way!!!" His eyes burned with the sick green of one of the Warlords. And pure rage rang in his voice.

She could only try to swallow the pain, her eyes grief stricken and sorrowful, she lost all her dreams, but she would NOT loose them in vain, she HAD to get him out, get him to leave, "W have to move, before I weaken, lets GO Chren."

She stumbled as she tried to rise and strangely his hands were strong, "Back? Back to where? He can find me by thought, hunt down the Spirius through me. Using me as a weapon in his war."

She could feel the pain seep into her bones, her organs, her very soul, "Then to our word, you can be there and be safe." A moon around the abandoned Rin homeworld. A place even the Emperor didn't bother with, except to send the condemned there to die. To savage and vicious for most beings, but she had taught Chren how to live there.

He caressed her cheek, "What, to watch you die?"

She rubbed her cheek against that hand, purring softly, "I don't want to die here."

"He's made it plain that his blood is poison to you."

She touched his cheek again, caressed it with gentle hands, her razor sharp claws so very tender, "It's worth it, just to touch you once again, now lets get out of here."

His eyes filled with agony, and rage, "NO!!!!!!!!!!" and he would stand so easily. His eyes glowing green with shadow tainted rage. She tried to tell him it's OK, tried to smile at him, but they both knew he could tell she was terrified. He snarled, his body trembling with rage as he rose and stocked around her.

"You bastard, you enjoy it, eh?" Not to her, were those words spoken, not with that spite and rage in them, "Enjoy hurting her, and for NO damned reason?"

The voice that answered him was colder than vacuum, rougher than dragon-hide, yet filled with more rage than even that of the young man addressing him, "I give. She desires to take. Boy." And there he stood, his sword at his side, arms crossed as he leaned sardonically against the door frame.

Kaja gasped and with her quickly failing strength twisted space and time to open a gate away from the tower. She tried to push Chren through, screaming "RUN!!!!"

The monster spoke sharply, "Discipline her, Thirteen." Watching all of it with his rage filled but dead eyes. And Chren for his part fell to his knees, holding his head, silently screaming past his clenched teeth, his body writhing in agony. Yet the woman who shared a bond of mind and soul couldn't feel it, and it chilled her.

"Please Chren," She pleaded with him, even as she tried to push him through, "RUN." She wanted to throw up, her body was in so much pain, and the gate was closing. It was all she could do to keep from passing out from pain.

He gapsed out, "I CAN'T"

"Yet you can discipline the wayward little slavegirl, can't you?"

"GO away, you...." and Chren once more gritted his teeth in agony.

"Even know she is being poisoned, through assistance you never meant to provide."

"YOUR BLOOD IN ME!!!!"

"Your blood now."

"Go to HELL!"

Kovus almost laughed then, "Already been to a part. Will she be next to visit?"

Kaja writhed in agony to great for her to control, "Chren, PLEASE, RUN!!! Don't make me give up my sunrise for nothing!!!"

Chren looked at his inhuman lover, then back at the monster who had been trying to break him since he traded himself for her freedom. "Your the one who can...."

Tegantane spoke sharply then, "No. YOU are the one who can MAKE her better, by OBEYING a certain COMMAND."

"It never would've...."

"ACT WARRIOR." snarl, rasp, the tone couldn't be distinguished.

And slowly Chren shivered with the anger raging inside him. He turned his face down towards her, this time watching her.

"Chren, Run PLEASE." She felt so weak, vulnerable, it was getting harder and harder to breath, to stay conscious.

His voice was soft, all but a whisper, "I'm sorry, S'Kaja'a....." He swallowed hard, "I made a decision once, this is still part of it..."

He touched her face gently, his hand sliding to the back ofher hair, when suddenly he grabbed it and yanked her head back, she was to weak to fight, to cry out, "For some reason you think you have the....Right....to tell ME what to do, S'Kaja'a Asha'a. Fancy that...." His voice was as cold and merciless as Skyrus, as Cebrec, as any of the Warlords.

He turned his head then to face the Emperor, "Dragon Emperor, I inquire to have this female have the core of Darkheart Essence withdrawn from her."

"For what purpose?"

Chren fought to keep from rolling his eyes, the bastard could NEVER cut anyone any slack. He forced his voice to stay steady. "So that she may survive what she might otherwise not."

Kaja whispered softly as the gate closed, "Please, save yourself Chren. PLEASE!"

The Monster ignored Kaja's words for now, instead his lips twisted into a smile that never reached his eyes. Watching the young Rin female, the drab little filly helpless before her soon to be stallion. Then he looked at Chren, "And the reason for such survival?"

Chren swallowed then said, in a voice as cold as Kovus' voice, "I want to play." And then she howled in agony, as the shadow born power was torn from her body and soul. And Chren, as the power flowed back into it's original vessel, silently howled beside her.

The look Chren shot his Master was filled with hatred, yet he spoke the hated words, "Yeah, that's it, girl...you scream well." And Kovus frowned, watching, waiting, Requiring?

Chren took a deep breath, "Now shift to the form of an Arrahn, Biped woman?"

Kaja trembled, moaned, her body in agony, her eyes blurry and hurt, but she tried to obey, it was Chren who commanded, it was Chren she trusted, even if her body screamed in torture. She could feel his steel firm hand on the back of her neck, pulling to to her feet, supporting her.

He barely gave her a moment to get steady on her feet before he started dragging her towards one of the other exits, she was confused, scared, "Chren?"

His voice was ice, "Don't force me to SEVERELY discipline you, slave. You would not like the results."

"Chren, I don't understand, why didn't you run?"

He suddenly yanked her back sharply, tightening his grap on the back of her neck, shaking her slightly and snarling, deep, deeper, and Kaja felt her head go back, it was an inhuman sound, more vicious than even her instincts say a male would growl if he was displeased, her voice was a whimpering plea, "Chren, Please." and she exposed her throat to him.

"Better, slave." she could feel the mix of emotions, revulsion, self-loathing, and desire for her. She could feel herself wishing she could belly to him, show him that she still trusted him, he didn't have to be angry with her, didn't need to punish her. And he laughed softly then and whispered in her ear, "You LIKE it, don't you...."

He lead her through the passages, shoved her through doors as he spoke to her, "Terror.....Fear....knowing only what your to do next....."

He opened a door then and whispered again, "The MONSTER, closer than one might...."

"Chren, PLEASE" Her voice broke with fear as he shoved her towards the bed and she fell helplessly on it.

He was trembling, shivering when he turned away from her to shut and lock the door, "I...I can't....can't....RUN..." Then turned back around and let the rage loose again, "IT'S IN ME, NOW!" He voice was a cross between the snarled tone of a Warlord and desperation. "It's chewing, gnawing, grinding, hating....What CAN'T be in you.....What of your GENES, or WHATEVER!"

Kaja shivered where she was thrown, "Oh Chren, I'm sorry, I'm sorry."


And he shivered again, "Yeah, appologize....Makes you all the tastier in time, little Ri....." and then he growled, shaking his head side to side, keeping it down, not looking at her.

"Chren, please, tell me what's wrong?"

His head snapped up and with a vicious snarl, "What did I indicate about ASKING QUEST....." And again he would turn, turn and walk in a slight circle, shaking his head, trying to control the anger and rage that made Kaja wish she could run.

"Chren, I don't understand. Help me understand, please."

"He......Used....You, as a weapon....To taunt me. Remind me...of who might....Might want you....Might seek to bend you....Take you. Take you away from me. Daring me to want more. Daring me to do something about it."

Kaja stays there trembling in fear, "I still dont' understand. Please, Chren, bayo, I want to understand."

"UNDERSTAND!?!" He snarled it back, his eyes blazing now, emerald green. "YOU are PROTECTED from UNDERSTANDING." He watched as she scrambled into the corner. And he leaned forward and snarled, "From UNDERSTANDING HOW I can break any mere Shar'rin MALE in HALF!"

He would growl then, low and deep, "you are female. In THIS damned place...." and suddenly he would smile at her softly, "This place of the damned," it was his old voice, soft and gentle, "....That makes you property. MINE. Crawl over towards me, Slavegirl."

Kaja shook her had and said in the barest of wispers, "Is that why you didn't run, even when I begged you to....Have I lost you forever?" She stays in her tight ball.

"Come to me NOW! T'chi'a!"

And for the first time in her life she backed away from Chren, feeling the coldness that crept into his mind and soul, If she had the energy she would open a gate, but she still hurt. Then she felt something unseen grab her, she twisted and struggled, her thin servant's shift was pulled off of her body. "COME TO ME NOW, T'SCHI'A!"

She felt the power grow stronger and pull her towards him, she couldn't help but whimper, "Please Chren, PLEASE, your scaring me." She didn't know what was happening, what was he doing?

"Some things are needful, regardless of other impact, slave girl." He stripped himself as naked as she was now, "This is one."

"What are you going to do?"

Part of her shivered with an emotion she didn't know the name of, but made her wish she could belly up to him in her real form, throw her head back and beg him to sink his near-fangs into her throat. He was so beautiful, despite being a biped.

He reached out and removed the last of her clothing, the hair tie that bound her long hair and the underwear. And she was shaking, "Chren Bayo, please."

And his hands grab her legs, pulling them open wide, she was helpless as he said, "As you...request." And suddenly she felt something hard enter her, her legs forced to wrap around his hips. And she just shivered, and for the first time in years she was crying as he leaned forward and whispered, "I'm gong to OWN you..."

She looked at him, her face filled with confused betrayal. Why would he do this to her. She could feel him just take her, like.....she forced her mind away, turned her head away as he wrapped his arms around her back. He forced he face towards his, and all she could do was whisper, not even meaning him to hear, "just finish it." her voice cracking and fresh tears falling down her face.

And suddenly he snarled, growled low in his throat as he turned his wrath towards her, "You would leave me ALONE, eh?" He was almost shaking with Rage.

"I don't know you." Chren NEVER tried to use her like....Like....THEY did, when she was a child, when Kya was training her to ignore the "Distractions" caused by sex.

He grabbed her chin and made him look for her, "You'd crave the NOBLE SACRIFICE, You'd crave to be the HEROINE, and escape this DREADFUL WORLD! Escape and for What? SO YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO FACE WHAT I AM NOW!!!"

He pulled back then, releasing her, letting drop away from him. She cried out, "Who are you."

"Who?" And his voice was filled with pain, even as she cried. "I am whatever the hell that monster has made me. A tool of hell wars! A killer, with a smile! All the things he is, yet so much less."

Her voice cracked again, "Then do whatever you have to do, just do it." she looked away, knowing now he meant to use her, to rape her.

"Have to do?" He grabbed her and made her look at him, "I have to DISCIPLINE you. AS You'd have HEARD, if you'd been PAYING ATTETNION!" He snarled then, trying to force it back as he realized that for her, for her, there had never been a rape, pain, hurt suffering, yes, but the monster had NEVER let her be raped, waiting for him to do that.

He HATED the bastard, "I have to BREAK you, T'chi'a, Make you a slave to keep you ALIVE. "To DEFEND YOU, I have to treat you as much like an animal as he'll make me to be. Almost, but not quite."

He left her go again and turned and walked away, to stare out the single window.,"To allow you to even ENTER this place, I had to play a Part. Lure you, through my very PRESENSE." Chren fought hard to keep the tears from his voice, "Lure you, to bring you to where you'd be made my SLAVE."

He looked over his shoulder at her, "ESCAPE with you? And what, True as I spoke? WHAT YOU DIE!! Wonderful, He would LOVE that. Watch as I go CRAZY, become a Murderous psychopath without YOU!"

"If you are going to punish me, then punish me!"

He turned away and screamed, not of fear, of triteness, but of truly psychopathic rage, the scream of a monster. Howling his pain as Kaja backed into her corner, and he fell to his knees, small green bolts of lightning forking, cracking through his skin, visible through his very skin. "NOT EVEN SHE KNOWS ME ANYMORE!"

And tears ran down his face, "NOT because of the EVIL...but because of what I'd be to PROTECT, Like all those damned stories of Foolish Rin Bayos would call for. Irony, thy name is Hell. Hell...Name be Tegatane. Knowing me, Who knows me anymore, I sure as hell don't."

Kaja couldn't stay where she was, not with that pain in his voice, it called her to him. "What do you want of me, Honestly, Chren." She put her hand on his shoulder.

He turned swiftly then, his hand over hers not letting her escape, "WHY THE HELL DID YOU COME TO HIS DOORSTEP!?! FOR ME??" His eyes glowed green in his anger

"I....I saw the one I...I...," and instead she threw her head back, unable to say the words.

"DAMN it Kaja, I gave myself up for YOU, for the rest, for everything EM taught. And I ENDURED with it, even when HE, KOVUS, used YOU as the weapon?!? Didn't I WANT you?? Didn't I CARE?!? Didn't I get MAD at the thought of you moving on someday, Taking some OTHER Lover?!? Didn't I, Didn't I?" He starts shivering as he moves to pull away from her, his hands clenching and unclenching.

Her voice is soft, "There is only one, I would give up my sunrise for. No other has even tempted me. Not even EM."

"THEN one would THINK she wouldn't BEGRUDGE me RAGE at not having her RIGHT THERE, next to me, MONSTER THOUGH I BE!"

"you scare me, I don't know what to do, Chren."

He turned away again, "He doesn't lie, not really. Sometimes, I guess, but not much, he merely paints reality through different colors. Instead of hope, he shows cunning, instead of love, he inspires madness of lust, for what woman one might WANT!"

"What do you want me to do?" She knew her voice sounded fragile, vulnerable.

"To late for what that answer would be. What DID I want? Your freedom, and now that is gone." and he sighed softly, "Replaced by 'The Future'"

"Please, what do you want of me?"

He carressed her face then, "Both things. What should be.....And now, what the darkness inside me CRAVES..." and he turned back once again, his eyes still green.

She shivered, "What do you crave?"

For all his increased power, for all the strength gifted to him by the monster to warp him and change him from a decent man to a Dragon Warlord....He could only say this, "Does it matter? You don't know me, as you say."

She continues to shake, "What do you want of me now?"

"What would a stranger's desires be to you?"

She looked away, "Nothing, I want the man I love."

Fire power burned in his eyes, anger and rage, "THE MAN YOU LOVED MET KOVUS T'AR TEGATANE!" He hands clenched, one drawn back, almost as if he would hit her, but it stayed there, unmoving.

And in responding fury she screams, "But did he die there!!!! Or is he still here and able to kiss me like he would!"

He grabbed her again, bu the back of her hair, yanking her head back, and meeting her eyes with his own wrath filled green glowing orbs, "Meeting your lips with mine was a task being BUILD towards, until you made clear the horror that I now am to you."

Kaja snarled, "If My Chren is dead, then I don't care what happens."

The pain came back, "Everything Tegatane touches dies. And not before it goes through it was agony. Slowly grinding, lightning quick SANP. Take your pick. He is exactly what he describes"

"Is there anything of the man I love left in you?"

"Is there wasn't WHAT THE HELL HAVE I BEEN TALKING ABOUT BI...." And he stopped then, holding in the words, the rage, swallowing it down as Kaja went to her knees and put her head on the floor, like she had to do when she was here last.

"If I don't break you...You die." Chren was trembling again, "That's nothing for you, is it. Not a problem at all, right? After all...The prospect of your death won't bring YOU any pain, in the long time. OTHERS get to live with it. Here in this hell."

Kaja shook where she knelt on the floor, "Yes, here is hell, Where I begged you not to go!"

He grabbed her hair and forced her to look at him, "And YOU to stay instead? "You just DO NOT GET IT, do you."

"I don't want you hurt, Chren, I love you."

"You think EVERYTHING goes ONLY ONE WAY! Don't want to hurt those you love. Well HUMMM, I would hazard a guess.... that.... MAYBE... Somehow, someONE.... might feel.... Oh, I don't know.... Something Similar? Some might know.... what that's.... well SOMETHING. Massively convoluted, long winged phrasing maybe.... Hundreds of words Involved....."

Kaja tried to look away, "Why do you think I was willing to come back here to save you?"

Anger and hurt colored his eyes as he answered her, "For the same reason I came here?" No more masks that were slowly becoming reality, masks of Rage and hate.

"I would rather die, than see you hurt, Bayo, you know that."

He swallowed the anger, "And your will is Paramount, right? Bayo, I indeed."

"I couldn't stand it, Chren, the letters, knowing you were HURTING, and it's my fault" the last words were a whisper.

"The lure, Never occurred to you that he did the same thing to me, little girl, did it. When he had you, Never occurred that you were not the ONLY ONE who FEELS S'Kaja'a Asha'a. Man you knew, indeed. He's IMPROVED, in one way at least. I'm willing to hurt your feelings, maybe, to hammer reality into you."

The look in her eyes was like a knife, "I had to come, I needed you, Needed you with me."

Chren sighed then, "As he said, those exact words. Needed me, OVER you controlling you."

"How did you get older than I so quickly, Chren?"

"Genes and Teaching, T'chi'a"

She rose to her feet, then leaned against his strong chest, "I'm scared."

"That makes two, Kaja. And you, having only to be fearful of the punishments you might get, at least for now. Punishments for Lack of Obedience." he scratched his arms as he said it

"Can you just hold me for a moment, bayo?"

"Don't think I could.....Hold it."

"Just for a moment." And her head went to his chest once more. And his arms went around her, pulled her forward and against him. He let his lips come to her ear and breathed softly into it. His hands playing over her body. She didn't know what she was feeling, his lips caressed her neck, his hands moved down to grip her ass. He touched her in ways that made her body start to burn. She never felt what started burning inside her, and his hands moved down further, parting her thighs, and suddenly she felt that hardness enter her once more, "OH CHREN."

He snarled low in his throat, "Obey, KAJA." And he started to move, hard, but slow, letting her get used to it, this time NOT putting her on her back, part of what he realized was his mistake. A Rin on her back is in danger, or being punished severely.

He watched her throw her head back, his snarl growing deeper, hungrier still. "You'll be free with me, Kaja, T'schi'a, Free to be completely obedient to my will Free to think thoughts pleasing to me..."

"You'll protect me?"

He moved down to nip and tease her breast with his lips, "As well as I might, T'chi'a."

"Then I am yours, Bayo, Kaja Sooth Chren. Where you go, I go, where you sleep, I sleep, when you die, I will follow."

"Then OBEY your bayo, T'chi'a...Mind, will, and feelings...all used...by my permission."

"Yes Bayo."

He let go then, letting her feel his lust, his love for her, hiding only the horrific side of him, the part that wanted to crush her under heel, and instead he focused on teaching her the pleasure side of what he was doing. Showing her that being HIS meant more than just obeying him not to be punished, but obeying him to earn the dizzying heights of pleasure to be rewarded.

The only thing he regretted was that he could NOT become one of her kind to teach her pleasure in that form as well as the many biped ones she could take. That he could not take the form he loved more than his own.