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Patrimony Armory
Holiday Blue Chapter 6: Holiday Blue
© 2022 James LaFond
APR/8/23
Jack stood astounded within the precincts of The Temple of Sirius.
The blackness of the void surrounded them, except for the bulk of Sirius Three, a swirling globe of blue, white and green, it’s far side kissed by Sirius, the great star casting a nimbus of light about the far edge of their home, a home they might be departing forever. Pan Khron had told him some tales that had been related to him by his grand sire, about his great grand sire, who had been involved in the last cull of Blue. Titans of all types, Ageless and Deathless, had perished along with many a loyal hound.
The outwardly proud and somehow inwardly haunted titan, while admiring the beautiful titaness to whom he would one day be wed as the skiff raced for the Temple of Sirius, it’s arc-light dome engaging and deflecting the winds of Sirius that buffets one who flies from planet to temple and so defiantly breaches the heavens, spoke like a trainer, “Jack, your kind, without We, Your Masters, how would they fair?”
Jack had never pondered such a thing.
“I don’t know.”
Pan soothed, “You, and Old Gourd, and, let us surmise, the Forester brothers and that other brute whose heads you brought back, without me, Your Caring Master, how would you order your life?”
The betrayal of Gourd sticking in his chest still, the cowardice of the Foresters and the poor work ethic of Bull crowded like a gaggle of crones in men’s bodies in his mind’s eye and he said, “Bull, is lazy and would throw in with the Foresters.”
“And,” Pan pointed, “what about Gourd?”
Jack mumbled, “He likes to boss… He’d keep me busy with those others and could set them on me any time I hesitated to suck up when he played the master.”
“Suck up?” asked Pan.
“Blackie and Gourd, sucking up to Master kind, playing at being more obedient than they are.”
Pan nodded, “oh, I see,” satisfied, and continued, “Back on Blue, which my Grand Sire seeded, and where Father and we sons of his have since hunted, and from where we bring back fresh stock to replenish your numbers, War, Sickness, upheavals, these have generally kept the temporaries of Blue from multiplying to the point where they ruin the planet—as if we killed the wolves and tigers and leopards, all resulting in deer, elk and bison overgrazing their habitat.”
“We are going to Blue, to get more of us, and hunt out the rest?”
“Yes, Jack. It is necessary. There are more temporaries on Blue than the locusts of the seven-year plague. They are already declining in numbers, have just hit their peak population, and will soon die off in any case. So we go, to round up the best, hunt the smartest—to forward the bulk to Eternity, and to properly restore balance for those that shall remain to ensure future stock for your House Temporal—future brides for your sons, future sires for your daughter’s grandchildren…”
This and more repeated in his mind’s ear as he stood in awe among the armory of Outer Titanry, the Titaness of Brawn shrinking like a flower at night, seated daintily, a foot taller than Jack, in an automaton reconfigured as a chair, behind them.
There were sleek blue skiffs with wings of azure steel, which would be raced by the Titans from behind the black onyx wheels, equipped with runners and rails where the likes of Jack would perch, ready to run down game…
Spears, shields, swords, javelins, bows and quivers of arrows, knives, axes, staffs, slings, bullets and throwing sticks were racked along the walls.
Above this stupendous array of weaponry, upon the steely walls of the soaring Temple of Sirius, beneath the dome that admitted the stars, above the clear floor of the temple that accounted a view of yet more of the winking stars of Eternity, were hung suits, suits of armor.
Most of these suits were sized to fit Titans. But there were also suits of temporary size. Along with the armor plates and helmets, the gauntlets and shields, the articulated boots and sword belts, there were also “clothes” if one might call them that, miniature suits that all seemed too small to fit anybody other than a temporary child.
Jack stood by Pan’s shoulder, as did the other two hounds next to their masters, wondering at the use of the child clothes, all in one piece, both for titan children, who were half the size of temporary adults and for temporary children, of perhaps seven years.
Pan patted him on the back, “My Boy, you will wear armor. The clothing, is a one piece intelligent garment that will bind you to your armor and is in and of itself armor more effective than anything that your temporary foes will have on Blue. Jack, we care about you, all three of you. You will be outnumbered a hundred to one by the game we hunt.”
As the other titan brothers stood silent, Pan became more excited, a state Jack had never seen him in.
“Imagine if you were set upon by a hundred runaways? The kilt would not do. Additionally, Blue is a planet of runaways in their mind, thinking themselves Titan kind and having their own warrior societies. These teeming temporaries are an affront to Titanry, and you, Blackie and Bill will bring them to bay for us. Jack, you will make your own kills as well. You will be—in this armor—as a Titan among temporaries! Jack, Jack—we will conquer the greatest empire of an errant world, and if you do your part—which I know you will, you being the best of your kind, best of your breed, I shall name you Hound of Blue, to rule the rest of your kind and tender obedience to me and mine and we to the Deathless and Eternity!”
Pan was somewhat frightening in this unusually eager state. Jack had never seen him like this, this excited. Pan Khron had always been cool and deliberate, seemingly weary of most every activity, no matter how exciting it was for Jack and how terrifying for the beasts and temporaries they hunted.
Jack’s Master, again, knew his mind, calmed to a still, rested his massive hand upon Jack’s shoulder, and smiled softly, “Jack, Dear Jack, I, and my kind, we have ever harbored a jealousy of you and your kind. We live for an age in which your entire life is but the turn of a page, the bloom and fall of a leaf, upon a tree that we might have planted, and then one day will sorrowfully fell and harvest. Your new bold experiences, are all old to me, youngest of the three Khron though I be. Jack, your energy, your lust, your headlong rush, have always thrilled me and I have often lived through you…”
The titan’s voice trailed off as they both looked at an image of turning Blue, bracketed by symbols of bows and arrows and harps. Then Pan Khron gathered his voice within him and opined, “Now, we both have a first time together. To me, Blue is as timeless as the mountains of Sirius Three are to you. Jack, I will need you, because this is my first time hunting Blue, and your entire life thus far, brief as it has been, has been composed of first times, times that you have ravaged like a fox in a rabbit warren.”
Pan then tuned to face Jack and extended his hand for a clasp, something that Titans did with Titans and sometimes, in imitation of master-kind, temporaries did with temporaries. But never in Jack’s life, had the two kinds joined in a pact. Jack hesitated, not sure if it was proper, and Pan said, “It is proper, Jack. Take my hand, and by my side, on Savage Blue, stand!”
Jack took Pan’s hand, a hand that might have crushed his own. But its owner whopped with joy and then picked Jack up and tossed him high, catching him before he hit the glassy deck, and cradled him in his arms like a father might a boy of six, “Jack, Hound of Blue!”
The dark voice of Phoenix Khron could be heard as Pan set Jack back down on his feet, “I’ll bet Blackie brings in more temporary maids for me to deflower then Jack brings in heads for Maid Brawn’s marriage pyre!”
“Done!” roared Pan Khron, risen like a lion of a soul from a life too long that some terrible dream had craftily stole.
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