Juldo slave encampment.
The Juldo assassin slunk through the shadowy camp. He did not hide his presence. He made it known he had arrived, and the very air cried out in whistled terror of the Shadow Born.
There was no light there. The Shadow Born Assassin did not mind, the Juldo thrived in the dark. The blue light of nano-fused locks shone against bars of Guhuvin steel cages. Species of all galaxies moaned and begged in pathetic cries for release. Their wish would not be granted. Some would be shipped off by sunrise to other planets and sold at auction, others transported to the Juldo gaming grounds to be initiated into the Battler Games. The Juldo would use the pitiable creatures for sport and to hone their skill. The unlucky would be used in the labs where new tech was tested.
Chyn had been to the labs only once in his ageless life. He did not wish to witness such carnality a second time. It turned the stomachs of the most hardened Juldo war-born, but it irritated the assassin and caused him to feel bone-tired of the long time past. A senseless feeling. There was always endless amounts of time.
A female Boutin reached out a slightly slick tentacle to grasp at Chyn’s steel arm. Her face was torn in anguish. Without water, the Boutin dried out, slowly shriveling. He batted her away and hissed. She shrunk away from him in a cry of terror. He did not feel pity. He felt nothing for the slaves of Juldo. They were necessary. Nothing more than cattle.
He kept to the shadows, skulking his way to the Juldo Master’s tent. The Master was here to meet Chyn, but also to acquire a rare slave. A Human. A rare slave indeed.
None traveled to Earth’s sector. It was too far. Not near worth the risk of the Galactic Order’s interference. But humans were very valuable. To obtain one was easy, for the species was primitive and weak. But if the Order caught word―the humans were not worth the consequences to most slavers. But a few still risked it for the reward of a human sale.
A human slave was whispered in the wealthiest of sectors, coveted. Rare enough that their worth far outmatched any that the Juldo ordinarily acquired. The Master had been searching for a human for some time. To request a meeting here with the assassin? Seems he found one.
Chyn slapped open the tent flaps and stepped inside. Two of the Master’s guards grunted at the sight of him and turned away. They would not interfere with his presence, no matter the slight he committed by entering without approval. They would be dead in clicks.
One entered a back panel and came back out, the Master on his heels. “Shadow born.” The Master waved him back.
Chyn ignored the distrustful glares of the guards and stepped into the Master’s chamber. It was bare, save for a large table and a slave. The human slave. A female. She was strange looking. Pale-skinned, her crown covered in long fur. The color of it would startle any Juldo, but not Chyn. He merely noted its bright flamed color. It glowed in the firelight, like a burning star. So similar to his duller shade of skin. What little of it he had left, so covered was he in nano-mite tech.
The naked female was bruised and bleeding all over. Shivering in the cold of the Juldo planet―Juldoris. Her lifeblood dried and caked on her limbs. Her dull blue eyes, the color of starlight, stayed glued to the dirt floor. The chain around her neck kept her in a hunched kneel. She was damaged, already. Captivity and harsh treatment had broken the creature.
The Master would give the female far more injuries before she perished. He was not known for his gentleness. Quite the opposite. His tastes were depraved.
“Report,” the Master barked, attempting to block his view of the small slave. Chyn regarded the Master’s threatening stance. Foolish, Chyn thought. So foolish to covet such a weak thing.
“It is done,” Chyn said plainly, his scarred throat cracking from the rare use. Its dark resonance startled the female, and she stirred, looking up. Her cloudy eyes catching on the assassins scarred throat. The Master scowled, wincing, and shifted in front of her once more. Chyn chuckled silently.
The Master looked away. “You are sure?”
Chyn flashed fang. “Do not question me.”
The Master flinched at the sound, then scowled, but did not do so again. He would not. Chyn would have his nano-tech gutted from his body before he could.
“Your payment is with my guard,” the Master began. “How was it done?”
Chyn nearly sighed. The Dahk King was dead, what did it matter? The politics of planet rulers were petty. Always trying to defeat the other, whether by power gain or unseating the other. It was not for Chyn to get involved. But he was the Shadow Born. Assassin. If he was paid, it was no matter to him the reasons the Master wanted the Dahk King dead. Another would rise in his place. The brother no doubt. Or he would be overthrown by another Dahk House. Then the Juldo Master would come calling to him once more, just as he did for the Old Dahk King.
“The King was weak. A simple mark. His guard was unaware of my presence.” Chyn’s voice grew huskier the longer he spoke. The Master braced for every word. He would need another supplement after this meeting. His voice had been unused for too long.
“Yes, but did he beg?” The Master’s eyes gleamed with feral light. The left eye, full of nano-mite tech, whirred wildly in anxiousness. Ah, so it was personal this time around. Again, foolish. The Juldo Master may rule, but he was full of weaknesses. He would not hold his power long. He would be defeated as soon as a worthy opponent coveted the supremacy.
Had Chyn had an eye to rule, he would have taken out the Old Master easily. Far easier than this one had defeated him. There was not one Juldo alive that could defeat the Shadow Born. But he did not. He preferred solitude. He would spend his endless life alone.
A Juldo, but not.
Chyn held no ill will towards the Dahk or their King. He would not dishonor the King’s death by telling of his begging and pleading in his last moments. Chyn glared at the Master until he looked from him once more. Submitting.
How he came to rule was outlandish. A Master can only be dethroned by a challenge. Chyn knew the Old Master. He was a fierce opponent. He was also wise and fair, often making moves to end the Juldo’s pillaging and slavery. This Juldo standing before Chyn could not have defeated him. There were cowardly schemes afoot.
Chyn ignored this thought, too. It was not his to worry over. He cared little for even his own species. They were savage and brutal. Warring and raiding across the universe. Not that he was any different. He was Shadow Born, raised Juldo. But the Juldo were without honor. Not as they were in ancient times as he remembered. Times when Chyn rose in the armies. Thinking himself privileged to serve the Old Master. Those days were long gone. He did not wish for such simple-minded things now. He was born of shadow and night. And he bowed to no one.
“Very well.” The Master gritted his fangs and backed away. He would not expose his back to Chyn. The first wise action he had witnessed from the Master since he called on him. “The Dahk will retaliate.”
Chyn did not care. They would look for him. But they would not find him. None could.
The Master huffed in frustration. “War is coming. Will you not join your kin in battle?”
Chyn did not dignify the ridiculous request with an answer.
The Dahk would not be taken down so easily. The Juldo would succeed, no doubt. The Dahk were worthy opponents, but they could not hold up against a full-scale Juldo attack. Many would be lost on both sides. The Master’s reasons did not seem sensible. The Dahk were a solid ally. Why invade?
But the Juldo were a warmongering species. Power drove them. And Chyn did not want power. He would not join them.
He turned and marched to the tent flaps.
“Wait.” A small voice whispered in the darkness. Chyn stopped, surprised it was not his translator that allowed him to understand. She spoke Juldo. It was rare and caused him to pause, but he did not turn to the small human. “Help me.”
Her plea was tortured.
And directed at the wrong male.