The Kadeshi Crusade
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted May 15, 2001
Chapter 16 – The Four Warriors
Zha and G’yela woke up in the Pool of Dreams, the Handmaidens supporting their bodies so they will not sink or drown. They were given robes, and Zha was led to a special room. She was not allowed to leave it, but it wasn’t a dirty prisoner’s cell either.
“Please leave us,” G’yela ordered the Handmaidens, who objected in their facial expressions but gave in to the orders anyway. “I will be safe. The prisoner will do no harm,” G’yela said.
“What are you going to do with me now?” Zha asked.
“It is in the desire of the great Angels, the Tiamat and the Council, that I must keep you alive. To execute a Farer would bring great disfavor from all the Angels,” G’yela said. “Besides I need you. For the first time I felt a kindred spirit. I hide this great secret from my own people, that I bear the power of a Farer. It is a great burden only another Farer can share.”
“I had my father to share this before,” Zha said. “I felt he was a Farer too, but not in the way and power like you have. I think he was just starting to realize this power and destiny before the Beast came and took his life. I hoped he died quickly and painlessly, not to be assimilated helplessly into the flesh of the Beast.”
“I never knew my father,” G’yela said. “He died a long time ago, before I was born. He piloted a Swarmer and died when he fought against a fleet of the Unclean that entered the Gardens. But I harbor no hate against the Unclean for his death. The Unclean is simply the Unclean. They deserved to be vanquished to make way for the Righteous.”
“Who told you that?” Zha said. “Was it because your Gods told you this? Please forgive me. I am not the one who should question your beliefs. But who is to say who is right or wrong. There are many races in the galaxy that believe in their own gods, but they do not wipe out other people because of their beliefs. I heard you Kadeshi have stayed in the Nebula—the place you call the Gardens—for a very long time.”
“We are the Raiders. We never had a home, a Homeworld or Gardens. We never even had a name to ourselves, until the Taiidani gave us our name after a region in space they encountered at us for the first time. We adopted the name they gave us, Turan, and that place became sort of our official homeland. We were all nameless wanderers, living with meager means, moving from one place in the galaxy to another. We battled every race we met, pirated every ship we can find. We started to become who we are, when as mercenaries for the Taiidan, they had given us the money, the resources and the technology. With that, we built bases, we built ships, and we built a society. It can be said that the first time our people met the Taiidani, was truly the birth of the people feared as the Turanic Raiders. We become proud of that name, and Turan has become our ceremonial home.”
“As because we live among the stars, we see other people. In a way, we are alike, because we raid on other peoples, races that were bigger and richer. But we are also different. You confined yourself in a small space, the place you call the Gardens. For us, we were spread homelessly across the Galaxy. We know more of the different races than you do, perhaps more than anyone. Everyone has their legends and myths to tell. One cannot say their faith is wrong from another viewpoint. Our people learned that early. We never believed that we should kill just because we do not like another. We fight for a purpose, and often we fight just to survive. So we become mercenaries. We only kill what is required of us and for a due fee.”
G’yela smiled. “It is nice that we talk. I am very curious about all these other worlds. Had I been born differently I would like to wander the universe. Maybe in a small ship. Your Raiders belittle death by making it a business. When we fight and when we kill, it is all an offering to our Great Mother. Every battle is a testament to our faith. Every battle is a sacred act.”
“But you are fighting a fellow Hiigaran,” Zha said. “Is that what your Great Mother told you? I only know that somewhere, somehow, you Kadeshi are tied in fate with the Kushans. You are all descendants of Hiigara, and I think your people also deserve a part of it . I am not a Kushan Kiith’sa to decide policy, but you should try to work it out before settling this in a way that will only lead to the destruction of both races. “
“Even if that is so,” G’yela said. “I think it is too late for that. We have spilled their blood, and they have spilled ours. Brothers will fight brothers and sister against sister, for the sake of power and control. Doesn’t the Kithid fight among themselves? Doesn’t the Taiidani fight among themselves? Doesn’t even your people fight among yourselves? We fight for an honorable cause. We fight to make the destiny of our race come true. The Gardens was our home that tended us, and protected us. But it is not our future. Like the child that has grown up, we have to leave the nest.”
“Princess Zha of Turan, you have been a most noble warrior and enemy. We are enemies by fate not by choice, but we are kindred by the blood of the Farers that run in our veins. We are born from the Angels, the ones who call themselves the Unbound, the Council, the Forbidden, in all their various forms. I can feel you what is in your heart and mind, and you can feel me. I sense you have a fear.”
Zha replied. “I fear you. I fear what you are doing to your people. You cannot fight the entire galaxy forever. One day, you will lose, and you and your people may die from it. I am still a prisoner of this ship, and unless a miracle happens, I will die with it and with you. I sense something from you too. A great emptiness that breeds hate. That will destroy you. That will destroy all of us.”
“Believe me when I say I do not want you to die, after I discovered you,” Zha said. “If circumstances were different, we can soar the stars together, do what our true destinies as Starfarers should do. I do not agree with the Tiamat, that we are destined to lead one people to ruin. I think we are here to open eyes and ears to the unknown, to go beyond and discover. I think we can change destiny so we can live like the way we want to.”
“It all sounds too attractive,” G’yela said. “But this is all a dream. The events I have set in motion is like an unstoppable wheel. I may die from what I have sown, but I will accept that as the Mother’s will. I admire your spirit, Princess Zha, I can feel the desire and the will of freedom inside you. You soar the stars, doing what you wish, master of the skies and of your own fate. I am the Highest of all, Priestess Mother Superior of Kadesh, and yet I am chained because of what I have wrought. There is so much blood in my hands now, and more will be spilled later. When I was a child I dreamt I wanted to be free and travel beyond to the stars where ever I choose. All this now, the Crusade, this is all my destiny, but this is not my dream. I envy you, Zha, for being free, when I am bound by my own actions.”
G’yela said, “Sometimes when I am alone, I travel through the stars in my spirit. It is only the time I am truly free. Maybe one day I will teach of this ability. You deserve to know this. I ask you to come with me right now.” G’yela stood up and Zha followed her. G’yela led Zha for a tour of the ship.
“This ship is the flag ship,” G’yela said. “The entire Needleship is build around an ancient ship that first came to the Gardens long ago with another ship. The large ship is nearly of mothership class and is the source of all Kadeshi. We call this the First Ark, and it’s sacred name is Khar’nak. The second ship which remains an ancient derelic in the Gardens is a smaller ship, a warship. It protected the First Ark, and because of it, we call it the First Protector. The Protector is the model for all Kadeshi Assault Carrier class. We first encountered the so called Kushan Imperator class carrier, we were struck by the similarity of the Imperators to our Protector class. The second ship was named Khar’desh, and from which our race is named.”
“I believe the Kushans were equally struck by the similarities, as well as the similarity of your Khar’nak to their Khar-toba,” Zha said, impressed with the knowledge.
“For generations, many ships came to be trapped in the Gardens. Many of these ships were from the Unclean races we know about, whose type we can capture consistently, such as that of the Taiidan oppressor. It is from these ships we acquire not only technology, but also a knowledge of the Outside. These ships are a window beyond our isolation.”
“But there are ships that we captured of races we know very little about. Their technology, their relics, their text. We thought that someday the knowledge they have in them may be important, so we kept them in the bowels of the First Ark, hoping that one day, someone could unlock their secrets. We call them the Forgotten Dogma. The Orders preserved them for fear they had messages from the Gods and kept them hidden away from the people.”
Their tour led them to the ancient ship structure. While the new Needleship component was clean and ornate, the ancient ship structure was stark and rusted. The air smelled of old incense.
“We are now in the First Ark,” G’yela said. A massive icon stood before them, imposing in its presence. The features of the woman casted in the icon seemed alive, with an expression both merciful and all-knowing. “This is the Great Mother, N’ua, the First Mother of the Gardens. She led Khar’nak and the Khar’desh to the Gardens and defeated the Taiidan Oppressors who sought to destroy the first ancestors of our race. Her mortal body is kept under the altar next to her image. Her guiding soul however remains with the Kadeshi forever.”
Zha could feel the power and presence of the image. There was always something about religious icons that gave her the creeps.
“She is beautiful, isn’t it?” G’yela said, noting Zha’s distraction.
“Yes she is,” Zha replied.
“Follow me to these chambers,” G’yela said.
G’yela led Zha to a small corridor. The air was thick and putrid. Zha wondered if it was because of the incense, lack of circulation, or was simply the smell of the dead.
G’yela opened a room, dimly lighted. Zha could see various artifacts, mostly ancient. Some relics Zha thought she may be able to identify by race, others eluded her.
G’yela began to explain. “When I was first a novice priestess, I love to come here on my own. I started studying these artifacts. In them, I discovered more about the worlds outside the Gardens. The Orders had painted the Gardens as the only worthy home of the Kadeshi. The Outside was a terrible place, they said. Full of the Oppressors, the Defilers and the Unclean. Wars were always fought, and bloodshed was continuous. We were safe by the blessings and protection of the Gardens. The Kadeshi was at peace.”
“But in these relics I began to see an Outside that were different from what the Orders had portrayed. One of so many colorful races, each with gods and relics of their own. Everything in the Outside was continually changing, always in a voyage of discovery. Because of these I longed to see the Outside. It is because of this, I discovered the true beginnings and destiny of the Kadeshi. These beginnings and destiny had been so corrupted by the Elders of the Orders. It was my awakening. It was the awakening of the Kadeshi.”
“I am now living a course that was set by these relics. When we first set course we were confident. We won many great victories but I see now the combined overwhelming resources of both our Taiidan and Kushan enemies. We may win our battles but it will only take one major defeat to destroy us. I fear that this journey will end in my death, and that of my people. I continually ask the Great Mother for guidance. In occasion, I ask the Angels of the Wheel of Fate as well. If that will be our ultimate sacrifice so be it. But I fear all these relics you see now may be destroyed with this holy war.”
“There was a time that I could still find the solace and opportunity to keep studying these relics. But as our Holy War progresses, I find less and less time…”
Zha could sense G’yela’s intentions. “So you want me to help you study these relics? You sure you want that? I am one of those Unclean things.”
“That was precisely what I need,” G’yela said. “I want someone with a clear mind, not someone whose thoughts were already colored by our faith. I needed someone from the Outside who had much experience from traveling all over the Outside. I needed someone who also was a Starfarer, for a Farer could not only sense the stars, but also the spirit that lay in a ship, and the ghosts that haunt their relics. I had used my abilities as a Starfarer to learn these relics. When I hold them, I can somehow feel where they came from, where the great journeys they have traveled. I could not interpret all the words, but somehow I knew of their meanings, their intentions and their ideas. You could do the same. I will order my Handmaidens and my personal Guards to care and protect you as one of my own.”
“I am your prisoner and I have no choice,” Zha said. “But at the same time, you honor me with this privilege, and even if I had no option, this would be a wonderful pleasure and opportunity. In the back of her mind, Zha thought, this beats waiting to die in a dirty cell.
Zha said. “But I am not an archeologist. I have a partner who is very good in that, and I learn bits and pieces from him. If only I have his knowhow.”
A jewel like orb sitting in a bracelet around G’yela’s wrist pulsated with a glow and a soft sound. G’yela held it in front of her eyes, and Zha suspected it was really a communicator of some kind.
“I am being requested to go the bridge. We are in the midst of even greater discoveries. I want you to come with me. I want you to see them too,” G’yela said.
“I am with you all the way,” Zha said.
The presence of an Outsider in the bridge of a Kadeshi Needleship would have attracted unwanted attention. But G’yela made Zha wear the robes of an acolyte assistant to a priestess, and no one questioned or knew what she was. For the Kadeshi in the bridge, Zha was just another of their Mother Superior’s many acolytes.
G’yela began to tell a story.
“Our legends tell us of the White Emperor whom our Great Mother once served. This was at a time when the Outside was a paradise. The White Emperor ruled the Outside with great compassion and wisdom. There was peace, beauty and happiness everywhere. But not all who lived were happy in the Outside. They became the Oppressors, the Defilers, the Destroyers, and the Unclean. They challenged the peace and prosperity of the Celestial Empire. The Unclean defiled themselves and raised monsters to destroy the White Emperor and the Celestial Empire.”
“Great battles were fought. There was much death and bloodshed throughout the Celestial Empire. Our First Mother of Kadesh was a great warrior goddess in the service of the White Emperor. But the great monsters and demons that were raised by the Unclean took its toll among the celestial gods and goddesses. “
“So the White Emperor create four great Warriors of immense power and indestructable armor to defeat the monsters and hordes of the Unclean. The Four Warriors held back the forces of the Unclean, and won many battles. But ultimately the sheer numbers of the Unclean prevailed.”
“In a great battle, the forces of the White Emperor was destroyed along with many gods and goddesses. Despite their valiant efforts, the Four Warriors sacrificed themselves with the White Emperor The Celestial Empire fell. There was blood and death as the Unclean defiled the Outside. The peaceful people of the First Gardens, the one we all call as Hiigara, were massacred. The Angels that made the Council requested mercy but it fell to deaf ears.”
“This was then our Great Mother who survived the Final Battle, led the survivors of the Celestial Empire to journey that found safety in the Gardens. This was the beginning of Kadesh, and our role as Protectors of the Garden.”
“Our First Mother made prophecies that one day, the people of Kadesh will return to the First Gardens. They will resurrect the Celestial Empire once again, and the Defilers, the Unworthy, the Unclean and all Heathen will be brought to justice by the Sword of Righteousness. She prophesied that the Four Warriors will return to help the Protectors of Kadesh in their mighty Crusade.”
“We have found the bodies of the Four Warriors,” G’yela said. She pointed to the screen.
Zha watched. What she was something familiar, a place she had visited before. It was the Graveyards of Karos.
An officer in the bridge said. “The Guardian Dogs of the grave have been immobilized.”
“Good,” G’yela said. Zha saw in the screens that a massive gravwell generator has immobilized the Junkyard Salvagers and their autoguns, possibly using an extension field similar to those used with hyperspace inhibitors.
The screens showed four derelict ships, possibly dreadnaughts, Zha guessed from their size. Scaffolding covered the dreadnaughts. There were sparks and lights all around. Zha could easily see that there was a lot of repair activity.
“The Four Warriors are being resurrected, then restored to their full might. They will help us in the battle for Hiigara,” G’yela said. “Behold, the mighty battleships, Khar’kusha, flagship of the White Emperor, and her three sister ships, the Khar’osis, the Khar’ramsis, and the Khar’seth,” G’yela said. “We finally have raised the Four Warriors from the dead. We have completed the Sword of Righteousness with which we will retake Hiigara.”