The Queen of Q'fahr

 

The Queen of Q'fahr
Part 1
by Melanie Brown
Copyright  © 2016 Melanie Brown

Q’uarentine returns to Q'fahr.


It is strongly recommended that the 3 part series "The Princess of Q'fahr" be read first. -- Ed

 


 

…sixty-five year old male, collapsed just after complaining of massive chest pain…unresponsive. Apparent cardiac arrest. His wife started CPR after calling nine-one-one…

Coded twice on the way here…

Doctor…his blood pressure is dropping rapidly…the patient is not responding…

Clear!

*          *          *

Mother?

Can you hear me?

We need you, Mother.

Who are you? I can’t see through this swirling darkness…

I am your son, K’lingon.

My what? Where am I? There’s an odd echo in here. Look pal, I don’t have a son named Klingon. What the hell kind of name is that? I have a son, but his name is Jeffery. My daughter is Kaitlin. I have five grand kids. And I’m nobody’s mother.

Mother…your voice is fading. Can you still hear me?

*          *          *

Still no response, doctor.

Keep up the compressions. Time?

Ten minutes.

Still no pulse…

Clear!

*          *          *

I am your son, Mother. Listen please! Father is missing. We need you to return. You can rally our armies.

Mother?

Just who the hell are you?

I am K’lingon. Son of K’tahnah of the kingdom of Q’fahr.

K’tahnah? My son?

Yes, Mother. You must return. Please, Mother. There’s no time. The priestesses can’t keep this link up much longer.

My son? Oh my God, my son!

Reach out. Take my hand.

I can’t see you…

Reach out, Mother. I will pull you back.

I…I…I can’t!

Mother! Take my hand!

*          *          *

Call it.

Nineteen thirty-seven.

That’s all we can do…

*          *          *

With a thud, I landed on what appeared to be carpeting over stone flooring. Long hair spilled over into my face as I lifted myself up on my elbows. I looked around, but the light was poor and I had to wait for my eyes to adjust. I blinked a few times and started to make out a group of people standing in front of me. Torches lining the walls dispelled very little of the darkness.

“Thank the Mother she’s here!” said a female voice in front of me.

I stood up and noticed I was naked. I felt weight shift on my chest. I looked down and confirmed that I was a woman. I stood there and looked at the slender fingers of my hand, opened palm upward. Aloud I said, “Oh my God! I…I’m back! I’m back on the planet of Q’tahra! How?”

A different female voice said, “Quickly girl. Get the queen a robe.”

I walked towards the group. I decided there wasn’t much point in being embarrassed about being naked in front of the people gathered in front of me. I couldn’t really hide it. A young girl of about twelve approached me hesitantly and held out a nun’s robe to me. I smiled at her and she nervously helped me slip it on.

A young man clad in leather armor but not holding any weapons began to turn from me and the group to start walking away. He said, “I did what you ask. I have much work to do.”

My vision had cleared enough where I could see facial features in the dim light. I quickly looked at the young man who spoke and saw instantly the chiseled, handsome face of his father, K’tahnah, the boy I knew years ago on Earth as Jimmy.

“Son?” I said. He froze for a few seconds and then spun around.

“Yes, Mother. I am your son,” he said curtly. He then resumed walking away.

Hurrying past the nuns standing there, I called out, “My son! Wait! I want to look at you!”

He turned to face me, looking annoyed. He said, “I am here Mother. You will no doubt have many more occassions to see me later.”

“I haven’t seen you since you were an infant!” I cried. “I thought I’d never see you again!”

He scowled and said, “Yes, I know. You handed me, your only son, over to a slave girl so you could return to the safety and softness of your world, while my father stayed and fought a terrible and costly battle for Q’fahr!”

He stepped very close to me and lowered his voice so only I could hear. “I know your secret, Mother.” Sarcasm dripped heavily on the word “Mother”. He continued, “Your existence here is a lie to your true self. It is a great shame that I am burdened with the knowledge that my father, the greatest warrior to walk the face of Q’tahra would bed a man!” He hissed the last word.

Taken aback by his hostility towards me, I said in a hushed, but surprised tone, “Do I look like a man to you? Do you think I asked to come here as a woman? I am your mother. Your father and I loved each other very much.”

K’lingon’s face darkened as he shouted, “My father loved a lie! You are not a real woman. By K’tahr’s beard I am thankful that I was raised by a real woman, even though she was a slave.” He pointed at the nuns standing silently and looking sheepish. “I did what they asked because I am a loyal soldier of Q’fahr. I did not want to see you. I do not wish for you to be here!” He spun on his heel and hurried towards the stairway leading up to the surface.

I just stood there stunned, and watched him leave. All these years I wished I could see my son one more time. How I had yearned to know his fate. I would have given almost anything to have held him just one more time. And when I finally meet him, he hates me. I could feel the tears roll down my cheek. “K’lingon…” I said barely audible.

An elderly woman, dressed in a plain brown robe stepped up to me and took my hand in her wrinkled, gnarled fingers. She patted my hand with her other hand as she looked at me and shook her head. “Give him time, my Queen,” said Our Mother, the high priestess of The Convent. “He is much like his father.”

I nodded and forced a smile as I looked over at the high priestess and said, “Yes. He certainly is.”

Our Mother then placed her hand behind my arm and pushed slightly to lead me forward. She said, “Come, my Queen. General K’alven is waiting for you at the palace.”

We climbed the stone stairs up and out of the tomb of Jimmy’s uncle where I had been sent back to my life on Earth fifty or so years ago. I still found it unsettling how there was no relationship in the motions of time between Earth and Q’tahra. It seems only twenty years have passed here versus around fifty on Earth. And here I was once again a young woman. A mother! A queen…

As we stepped into the sunlight and the fresh air of outside, I expected to see ruins of a war torn city. Q’fahr was under attack and had suffered much destruction when Jimmy had forced me to return to Earth. I looked around and saw buildings, not ruins, streets filled with people, animals and alive with activity. I had to assume Jimmy had either repelled the attack or had managed to retake the city at some future point. My head spun with so many questions!

The biggest question was why I was brought back. K’lingon had said in my dream that Jimmy was missing and somehow I was to rally the armies? I’m a woman, dammit, not a warrior! I smiled to myself. It really wasn’t a surprise that Jimmy would name our son K’lingon for his favorite science fiction show. And apparently, Jimmy had become king. I guess that’s not surprising either.

Few paid the priestess and me any attention as we wound our way through the dusty, stone paved streets toward the palace. We had no guards. I was dressed as a simple nun. Some would hold out their children for Our Mother to bless by rubbing their heads. Most men paid no attention to us at all.

“Our Mother,” I said to the priestess leading me through the city streets. “I have many questions.”

The old woman smiled and said, “I’m sure you do, my Queen. I will try to answer what I can.”

“My husband, the king.” I said. “Where is he? K’lingon told me he’s missing.”

Looking solemn, the high priestess said, “It is feared he has been captured by one of the kingdoms of the north. He was leading a thousand men to repel an invasion into our north-most frontier by Q’hassar. He simply disappeared one night in his tent while his army camped. The men were disheartened and fearful that the greatest warrior in the history of Q’fahr would simply vanish without a trace. Q’hassar’s forces divided our dispirited army in a route, slaughtering many of them. Less than half made it back to the safety of Q’fahr.”

I stopped and looked curiously at the old woman. “Are you saying my husband just disappeared during the night? No guards alerted? No foot prints?”

The old priestess stopped as well. “Yes, that is what the men said on their return.”

I scowled and said, “I smell a rat! I think someone is lying. A person just doesn’t disappear. When we get to the palace, I want to speak to the king’s personal guards.”

Our Mother shook her ancient head and said, “You cannot. They are all dead. They died where they stood. Their throats slit. Many believe the gods have turned against Q’fahr.”

“When did this happen?” I said as I frowned at the high priestess in middle of the dusty street.

“Less than seven days ago, my Queen.” Our Mother pointed with one hand and tugged ever so slightly on my robe with the other and continued, “Come. We should not delay any longer.”

Still frowning, I let the old priestess lead me through the narrow stone streets. Finally, we came out onto a wide avenue paved with smooth stones. I remembered this street, lined with tall, palm-like trees and brightly painted buildings led to the palace. I hoped Captain K’alven had better answers to my questions.

I smiled when I thought of K’alven. He was young, handsome and quite charming when I first met him as he led me through the streets of Q’latar on a leash. Ironically, he was one of the few men I’d met on the planet Q’tahra who didn’t think of women as property.

“Our Mother,” said the palace guard in challenge to our arrival at the gates to the palace. “I’m sorry, but even you may not enter the palace without permission.”

Our Mother pointed at me and smiled and said, “I have brought the queen. General K’alven wishes to speak with her.”

The guard’s eyes widened as he looked at me. He said, “Sorry, Our Mother. I don’t mean to doubt you, but anyone can claim to be the queen.”

Looking impatient, the high priestess said, “Go bring the general.”

Turning to another soldier, the palace guard said, “Hurry to General K’alven and inform him that there is a woman…” You could hear the disdain in his voice. “…who claims to be the queen that wishes to speak with him.” Looking at us, then back to the palace guard, the soldier turned and ran into the palace.

Turning back to us, the palace guard said, “With all due respects to Our Mother, I strongly suggest that you leave now, woman. The general will not be pleased to have his time wasted in this manner.”

Our Mother just smiled at him and said, “Pray to the Mother that the good general continues to allow you to breathe after the way you have treated our queen.”

We waited for several minutes before the striking figure of General K’alven exited the over-sized entrance to the palace at a brisk pace. I recognized him instantly despite the years since I saw him last. And oh my God! Gone were his boyish good looks that I remembered. His face was a bit more weathered, his featured more chiseled, his muscles more pronounced. He was now so very ruggedly handsome!

Our Mother must have read the expression on my face. She said, “Don’t forget you have a husband, my queen.”

Catching my breath, I said, “I won’t forget.” I couldn’t believe the feelings I was experiencing. I haven’t so much as looked at a man with any kind of desires since returning to Earth. But now it seemed, that the distance in time has only amplified my need for male companionship.

The palace guard turned to face General K’alven as he approached and saluted. The guard said, “General! There is a wom…”

With a broad smile, General K’alven stared at me as he neared the gate. Cutting off the guard in mid-sentence, he said, “Open the gate!” The guard hesitated a moment and then General K’alven shouted, “Now!”

Visibly shaken, the guard turned to the gate tenders and shouted, “Open the gate!”

There were loud clanking sounds as chains, steel rods and gears were set in motion. The heavy portcullis slowly rose before us. As Our Mother and I were a bit shorter than an average man, we walked through the gateway before the gate was fully raised.

Smiling, and probably breaching protocol, General K’alven embraced my shoulders and said, “My Queen! I’m very happy to see you! Your help is greatly needed.” He stepped back and looked at me intently and then said, “You are as young and beautiful as the day you left!”

To be honest, I had no idea what the rules were for touching queens on this world. K’alven was an old friend so I wouldn’t jump on his case in any event. I said, “Thank you general. But tell me, what of my husband, the king?”

Suddenly looking and sounding serious, General K’alven said, “It is a very serious matter, my Queen. Let us adjourn to my chambers so we can discuss this in private.”

Our Mother said, “My job here is done, general. I have delivered the queen to you and now I must return to the Convent.”

Bowing slightly; showing difference to a female is rare in this world, General K’alven said, “I am most grateful to you, Our Mother. Thank you for returning our queen to our world.”

Bowing even more slightly with a thin smile, Our Mother said, “General.” Turning to me, her features softened and she said, “You are a daughter of our world and to the Mother. There can be no return for you. The eyes of all the women of Q’fahr are upon you.”

“Thank you for all you have done for me, Our Mother,” I said as I bowed to kiss her hand.

General K’alven said, “Come, my Queen. We have much to discuss.”

I stood still for a moment and watched Our Mother walk slowly outside the gateway and the portcullis started to slowly and noisily descend.

As we walked briskly towards the palace, K’alven pointed to a soldier and snapped, “Send a wagon of food to the Convent with my compliments. Do it now.”

The soldier saluted sharply and said, “Yes General. Right away.” He turned on his heel and took off at a run.

As we entered the palace, I said, “You enjoy barking orders way too much, K’alven.”

General K’alven shrugged and with a wry grin, said, “It’s one of my few pleasures, my Queen.”

As we walked through the palace, I struggled to see anything familiar. As if he was reading my thoughts, K’alven said, “The palace was completely rebuilt around twenty years ago. In the great battle when you were sent back to your home world, the palace was razed to the ground.”

He looked wistful for a moment and then said, “It was a glorious battle. But the king was wise to send you away.”

“The city was taken?” I asked, looking around at the newer structure.

K’alven shook his head and said, “Not completely. The invaders pushed our king and the remaining defenders up against the north wall into the courtyard of a small convent. The invaders were as weary as we were. They had suffered huge losses. None of us knew what he meant, but the king stood up on some crates in the courtyard, raised his sword high and shouted, ‘Remember the Alamo!’ He led a charge like a mad man of a little over a hundred warriors all yelling the king’s battle cry ran straight into the wall of the attacking army.

“They were so surprised by such insanity, many of invaders broke their ranks. This allowed the king to lead our forces right into the midst of the invaders, splitting their forces. I had held back with little more than fifty warriors, but we saw our opening and rushed to attack the split invading force.

“Confused and routed, half of the invading army fell before our swords as they were brutally attacked from two sides and was quickly defeated. Before they could regroup, we pushed the remaining invaders out of the city.

“Our mountain village allies then fell upon them and not a single warrior survived to return to their northern cities. Our warrior king, your husband, once again led us in a valiant fight to crush our enemies.”

I had seated myself while K’alven related the story of the great battle. I smiled to him as I said, “That certainly sounds like K’tahnah; just rushing in boldly.”

Grinning, K’alven said, “Yes my Queen. The king’s balls are certainly bigger than boulders. After the victory, the king was able to build and strengthen a coalition of the southern cities and mountain villages that we’ve never had on Q’tahra before. And for a decade, northern cities have been quiet.”

Wrinkling my brow, I said, “If everything was quiet, why did Q’hassar invade our northern territories? They’d have to know we’d respond.”

“My Queen, I think that was the plan,” said K’alven. “I think they wanted to bring out the king so they could capture him and show their strength. Not only did they kill half our men who were trying to repel them, they also decided to punish the mountain villages for their alliance with us. Two villages have been slaughtered to the last man, woman and child. Now those mountain villages are questioning the alliance if we can’t protect them. While the alliance between Q’fahr and Q’latar has never been stronger, the alliances between mountain villages and the southern region are showing signs of weakening.”

I said, “Don’t they realize there is strength in an alliance?”

K’alven shook his head and said, “Their leaders are cowards. They think appeasing Q’hassar will save them.”

I grunted a laugh and said, “Yeah, like that ever worked.” I stood up to face K’alven and said, “So. What’s the plan?”

Letting out a large sigh, K’alven said, “You need to rally the men. They will follow you if you lead them into battle.”

Surprised despite the plea K’lingon made to me, I said, “I don’t understand. I’m a woman. Why would warriors follow me?”

K’alven smiled. He said, “They are intensely loyal to the king. They would follow their queen. They need someone to unify around; to inspire them.”

I frowned and said, “Considering the culture of this world, I know the soldiers wouldn’t follow me, a woman, into battle.”

Nodding, K’alven said, “This is true, my Queen. However, as their queen they will listen to you.” K’alven laughed and said, “K’tahnah told me of the many times you bested him in strategy games back on your old world. So I have no issue in seeking your counsel before committing our forces.”

“So tell me, general. What did happen to my husband?” I asked, getting up from my chair and approaching K’alven.

A look of despair crossed K’alven’s face. He said, “By K’tahr’s ghost, we don’t know.”

Stepping closer to K’alven and letting anger slip into my voice, I said, “I was told a ridiculous story of K’tahnah just disappearing into thin air without a trace. That is not possible. The guards had to have been asleep. There had to have been foot prints around his tent and tracks leading away from the camp.”

Raising his arms in a gesture of disbelief, K’alven said, “Do you trust me, my Queen?”

I folded my arms defensively across my chest and said, “You and my husband have been the only men on this world I’ve trusted.”

“Then I implore you to trust what I say, my Queen,” said K’alven. “I was in the next tent. I watched the king enter his tent. The guards were posted all the way around his tent. Our tents were in the center of the camp. It would be impossible for anyone to enter the camp and abduct the king without being heard or seen. But the next morning, our king was gone from his tent. The guards outside my tent swore no one entered or left the king’s tent. The only indication that something had happened was that the throat of the king’s slave girl and the guards outside the king’s tent were slit. No other signs of a struggle. It’s impossible, but it happened.”

In frustration, I shouted, “People just don’t disappear!”

“I…” K’alven started to say.

There was a cough and then the voice of K’lingon came from behind me. He said, “Excuse me, general. But here is the information you wanted me to bring you.” He walked up to us holding a bundle of papers.”

K’lingon walked up to K’alven and gave him the papers. He turn turned smartly on his heel and started to leave.

“Lieutenant!” barked, K’alven. “Are you not going to acknowledge the presence of your queen and mother?”

K’lingon turned, looked towards me and with a nod more than a bow said with a sneer, “My Queen.” He started to turn around again.

K’alven said, “You may be the king’s son, but you will not disrespect your queen. She gave birth to you after all.”

K’lingon turned to face K’alven. He said, “Yes. The queen did indeed give me birth. It is a shame that will haunt me the rest of my life. A lifelong stain on my honor to have been given birth by a man! What man with any self-respect would allow himself to be transformed into a woman? He should have demanded his throat be cut the moment he arrived here rather than suffer the humiliation of being a woman! And then the added shame that my father would fuck this thing…”

K’alven shouted, “Enough! If you weren’t the king’s son, I’d order you flogged!”

K’lingon shouted back, “For what? Speaking the truth? Was this…this abomination not a man before arriving here? How my father, the greatest warrior who ever lived, could lay with this, is beyond my comprehension.”

I looked at my son with sadness in my eyes. How could he feel this way about me? I said, “K’lingon. Please. You must understand. What we were on our old world is dead and gone. Your father was crippled and dying from disease. I was his best friend. Here, free from the disease that was killing him, your father became what he could never be otherwise. We came to love each other. I didn’t ask to be, but I’m a woman on this world. I am your mother.”

K’lingon sneered at me and snarled, “You couldn’t be bothered with me. I was given to a slave girl to raise me. For my first few years, I grew up in a mountain village, not knowing I was the son of a great warrior. She continued to care for me after father sent for me to be brought back to Q’fahr. The woman I consider to be my mother returned to her village after I came of age despite me begging her to stay. She was killed there two months ago in a raid on her village.”

A cry in my voice, I said, “Your father sent me back! There was no way for me to take you with me!”

K’lingon stepped close to me and said in almost a whisper, “You should have demanded you stay by his side.” He raised his voice and said, “That’s what a true warrior’s wife would have done, even if it meant all three of us would die. But women do tend to run and hide when there’s a battle to be fought.” He laughed and said, “Perhaps you are a woman after all.” He spun on his heel and left K’alven’s chambers.

His face red and voice seething, K’alven said, “King’s son or no, I will have him punished for such insolence!” He started to follow K’lingon out the door.

I placed my hand on K’alven’s chest to stop him and said, “Leave him. He’s right. I should have stayed by my husband’s side.”

K’alven turned to face me. He said, “No. The city was lost. K’tahnah felt that this was his last battle. He knew he was going to die. He felt responsible for you not only being trapped on this world, but being trapped as a woman in a society where women are little more than property. His love for you was great and he didn’t want you to die here because of him. Watching you enter the temple to return to your world was the only time I ever saw a tear in K’tahnah’s eyes. And then a grim determination clouded his face and with only a fraction of the city’s forces left, he managed to turn a crushing defeat into victory. Before these new problems started, he planned to try to call you back here.”

There was a sudden shimmer in the room, like heat waves in the distance and K’alven had a sudden surprised expression as he fell towards me, dropping the papers K’lingon had given him. A warrior stood behind him with a bloodied sword. A man stood next to the warrior. He pointed at me and shouted, “Grab her!” and I felt each arm being seized by the strong hands of two warriors each on either side of me.

The man touched a switch in a box he was holding. There was that strange shimmer and I was no longer standing in K’alven’s chambers in Q’fahr.”

*          *          *

End of Part 1 of The Queen of Q’fahr



If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
up
112 users have voted.

And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks. 
This story is 4625 words long.