BNN: First Contact

September 18, 2009

Queen Zhah took the scroll her royal guard was presenting her. Their eyes met for a brief second as she silently thanked him with a slight nod. The guard lowered his eyes respectfully and with a slow bow of the head, as he quietly exited the room.

The Queen ran her fingers over the seal that bound the exquisite parchment the message was written on. She had seen such a seal before in the archives… a seal not of this world. The room was filled with tension as her Council stood staring at her intently, no doubt as curious as she was about the content of the missive. But were they as concerned?

She broke the seal and began to read. When she finished, she exhaled loudly and realized she had been holding her breath. She hoped it didn’t reveal the extent of the relief she was feeling. She lifted her eyes from the parchment and offered a restrained smile to Surnem, her Minister of Magic.

“Her name is Dawn.” she said calmly, then looked around the room at Hon-Aur, her Minister of Commerce and Uskadesh, her Minister of War, observing their reaction.

“Dawn?” repeated Surnem, with curiosity. “Yes. She’s the leader of our… visitors. Their Queen.” replied Queen Zhah. “She sends her respects and requests the pleasure of meeting with the leader of the magnificent world her people recently discovered.”

“She wants to come here?” inquired Hon-Aur. “No. This is an invitation to come visit her palace in the lands beyond the Abyss.” said Queen Zhah. Uskadesh stretched his wings nervously and said much louder than he had intended “This could be a trap!” He winced and lowered his eyes in shame at the scolding look the Queen gave him. He thought to himself “Control, you fool... Control!”

Surnem suppressed the disdainful smile that threatened to blossom on her lips as she shifted her gaze from the chastised Minister of War to her regal Queen. “This could be good for us, my Queen. Since the Elves and the Humans have entered our realm, our battle against the void creatures has been far more successful. The number of new refugees has diminished by almost half!” Hon-Aur walked over to Surnem and stood by her side in sign of support as he declared “Commerce has also exploded everywhere in Ter Mur. Even the Holy City has reported a huge increase in sales and trades. The people are regaining a sense of hope!”

Hope… Queen Zhah wouldn’t let Hon-Aur see how his innocent comment stung her. That the mere appearance of these strangers and rumors of a foreign Queen would give her people more hope than she has despite all her sacrifices and all her struggle to protect them…

She walked off to one of the terraces of her palace and her Council followed her quietly. Down below, Humans, Elves and Gargoyles were noisily going about their business. It had been a long time since there had been such joyous activity in the City. “Passion and Diligence, Zhah… for the people” she thought to herself. She resolutely turned to Uskadesh and in a tone that suffered no arguments she said “Prepare my royal escort. We leave in the morning. Surnem, round up your Mystics and find a way to rebuild the gate.” She turned her back to them again to face the city. Dismissed, they left without another word.

“Hope…” she whispered.

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