The Galactic officials are fooling themselves if they think they know what is going on down here. I don’t know about the rest of the planet’s inhabitants, but Aldobi-rand is wickedly intelligent and crafty. My blaster has been confiscated. I’m locked in a tower room with walls perhaps as much as three fit thick until I submit to Aldobi-rand’s plot, of which I am an integral part.
I have twenty-four hours to make up my mind or he turns me into the Galactic Officials as a smuggler and murderer. He has left nothing to chance. Before locking me up he took me down to Mulott’s body where he used my blaster on the highest setting to blow a hole in Mulott’s corpse. If he shows the body to the G.O. they won’t even get past the blaster burns to determine he died from a fall. Oh but, even if they did Aldobi-rand was quick to point out they would have him as witness to me pushing Mulott over the railing. I am doomed either way.
I was lured here to help with a kidnapping. Aldobi-rand is plotting to kidnap the daughter of the Chieftain TiSenge the ruler of Mazala. Aldobi-rand and Keela met four years ago when the young ruler-to-be was taken by his father to TiSenge’s palace for the negotiation of the current treaty between their two tribes. For Aldobi-rand it was love at first sight. Over the last four years the two young royals have communicated via messenger, but neither one of their parents will hear of them marrying. Aldobi-rand’s father sees it as marrying beneath them. Keela’s parents do not want any additional ties to the Rand tribe for fear their strength will be sapped and eventually swallowed up by the larger, more powerful tribe.
However, Aldobi-rand is set on Keela as his bride. He sees not only a willing partner, but a way to unite the tribes and do just as Keela’s father fears – mold the two tribes into one under his eventual rule. I was forced to listen to Aldobi-rand’s plans for the future. He has many grand plans. He assures me he will unite all the tribes of Alta III during his reign. He will move his people into the future as a powerful force in the Verse. He is a hot headed young man with feelings of immortality on his side.
But, it all starts with his marriage to Keela. If he can get her out of the palace and to him – if he can marry her without interference – the marriage cannot be annulled. It is permanent. It is their law. The parents of both bride and groom will have to live with the consequences of their children’s act.
What Aldobi-rand wants me to do is let him sell me to TiSenge as a kind of warrior bride addition to his harem. Women with combat skills are prized in this culture. He assures me I would be accepted readily. Once in the harem, and hopefully prior to my marriage to TiSenge, it is my job to find a way out for me and Keela. Once I hand over Keela to Aldobi-rand Mulott’s body disappears, I get my blaster back, and I am free to go.
Oh, and on a side note, the portrait is to be his wedding present to his bride. Isn’t that just to light your thrusters?