Literary Challenge #16 : First Contact
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Join Date: Dec 2007
The Rite of Redemption - Part 1
04-06-2012, 06:15 PM
Somewhere in Omega Leonis Sector the IKS ChelwI' was on patrol. Korrath of the House of Korrath was alone in his ready room. Padds were stacked high on his desk. He picked one up and scrolled through a form. He set it down in one stack and picked up another from a stack on the opposite side of his desk. He scrolled through the form until he found an error, entered the correct data, and submitted the tax form to the Imperial Revenue Service. When the data transmission was complete, the confirmation number and tax id were displayed on its screen along with the date and time.
Korrath stared at the date and mumbled under his breath, “I nearly missed the anniversary …” He set the padd down and leaned back in his chair with a heavy sigh. Rubbing the tension from his ridges, he growled softly before rising to his feet. He made his way to the door, and using the security panel unlocked it. He stepped through, and engaged the security protocol behind him.
Korrath walked slowly down the hall; his posture and gate indicated to his crew that something was wrong. They quickly got out of his way and watched him with concern as he stepped into the lift. When he turned and saw them staring, they immediately returned to their duties. However, after the doors closed and moments before the lift began moving, he could hear their muffled whispers penetrate the confines of the elevator.
They had never seen Korrath like this. They didn’t understand. It was a secret that he had not shared with a single member of his crew. Only his family knew of it and he had sworn them to secrecy the moment he came of age. With his true identity concealed, Korrath joined the Empire to serve in the only position that they would accept a Klingon seeking to earn his own honor. His crew would not understand. If they were to find out, the secret would have undermined his authority as Captain despite the decades of service and honor that he had earned in the Imperial Accounting Brigade and in the Klingon Defense Force. In that moment, everything that he had worked for his entire life would be for naught.
The lift doors slid open, but Korrath didn’t step from its confines for a few moments. He considered the House of Korrath – the house he had built with the sweat of his brow and the blood in his veins. With the rite he was about to perform, he must choose to claim one house and abolish the other for all time. It was a decision that weighed heavily on his mind. He took a deep breath and stepped from the lift with a great effort. Every step down the stretching hallway weighed heavier than the last. He could feel the weight of seven generations of his family pressing down on his shoulders, urging him to make the honorable decision. Although, he knew what he must do (he had been preparing for this moment his entire life); he still had no idea which he would choose. Yet, here it was the 175th anniversary of the one event that changed everything for the once noble House of Madakor.
The rite had to be performed today, on the anniversary, and he had almost missed it. He could ignore it and allow the anniversary to pass. However, it would mean that the House of Madakor would forever be considered a dishonorable house and will never be able to regain honor, just as the House of Duras never could. Although he may be able to live with that, his true house would not. They would never forgive him for missing it. He would be considered a quv tuq ghap ghajbe'lu'bogh (one who has no honor or house) in their eyes. However, there was still time. He could still do it and wipe the slate clean for that once noble house at the cost of his own.
Finally, reaching the door to his quarters, he paused a moment and recalled the stories his father and grandfather shared with him as a child about a great house and a once honorable warrior of the Empire. He had been the first child born free from the stain of dishonor that his long removed ancestor had bestowed upon his progenitors. As such, it was his responsibility to remove the stain from their history. His parents had seen it appropriate that the one that shall redeem their house should be named after the one that had dishonored it – Korrath of the House of Madakor. Korrath stepped into his quarters and locked the door behind him to ensure that no one would interrupt him during the ritual.
His quarters were dark and cluttered with the possessions and honors that he had earned for the fledgling House of Korrath. The shadows seemed to move with the souls of his ancestors, who had come to witness the ritual and gain release from their damnation in Gre’thor. Korrath called for the lights and the red florescent wall panels activated and bathed the room in a warm familiar glow. The shadowy spirits retreated. They grew angry and voiced their displeasure at being relegated to the darkest corners of the room with anguished cries that only Korrath could hear.
For seven generations, warriors of the house of Madakor carried the stain of Korrath’s dishonor. Regardless of how honorable they lived their lives, their seat on the barge of the dead was guaranteed, and there was very little that could be done to ensure their entry into Sto’vo’kor. With this ritual, their hearts will finally be weighed, their honors and dishonors accounted, and their ultimate fate decided. Once and for all, the honorable will be released from the torment of Gre’thor and allowed to join Kahless and the countless warriors since that have lived honorably and found glory in the afterlife, while the dishonorable will remain in Gre’thor to be tortured by the host of Fek’Ihri for eternity. The room grew cold and shivers ran down Korrath’s spine. He shook the thoughts of the damned and the demons from his mind and set about to prepare for the Rite of Redemption.
Korrath lit the candles on the small alter that sat across from the slab he slept upon. He took one of the candles and used it to light the bowl of incense that sat nearby. It burned slowly and aromatically as he returned the candle to its former position. The bat’leth of the House of Madakor hung on the wall above it. The candle light danced across its blood-stained steel. The stories of countless battles were written on its blade in pocks and nicks and a small crack that seemed larger in the soft flicker from the altar’s torches. Korrath reached for the ancient leather-wrapped handholds and removed the blade from its perch. Stepping back from the altar, he swung it gracefully from one side to another and marveled at how perfectly balanced it was. Returning to the altar, he knelt down in front of it and laid the bat’leth upon it. Korrath bowed his head and whispered a short incantation.
Rising to his feet, he fetched a small bowl from a nearby storage cabinet. He placed it on the bat’leth and pulled his Daqtagh from his boot and set it in front of the bowl. He knelt down again and removed two bottles from beneath the altar and set them down on either side of the small basin. The first contained a fine vintage of Bloodwine that he had acquired several years ago for this very occasion. He removed its cap and took a sip from the flagon. Then he poured half of its contents into the bowl before setting it back under the altar. The other decanter held water from the Qam Chee River sanctified by the monks of Boreth. He removed its cap and used it to cleanse the Dagtagh in the basin as he spoke the words those same monks had taught him. He bowed his head, paused for a moment, and rose to his feet.