currently reading : the succession of stellaris


kulupu wi wawa unu

Astaria was seated on the throne, with a pensive face. In front of her, masked servents where working. Since more than a week, they were preapring the ceremony that would be held today. This ceremony was an arranged marriage between Astaria, the princess of the Stellaris kingdom, and the heir to the throne of the Cosmo kingdom.

Millenias ago, these two kingdom, close allies, had started an endless war that had been the setting of many bloodbaths and massacres, ranging up to the destruction of entire planets. In an attempt to end this futile war of pride, the two kingdoms had arranged to wed their heirs.

Of course, the princess had not consented to this. But she didn't have a say in the matter.

Sighing, Astaria stood up. Immediatly, a servant glided to her side across the complex indigo and azure pattern of the ceremony room.

"Do you need anything, your highness ?" asked the servant with a suave voice, for what was probably the hundredth time.

"Some fresh air", answered Astaria, breaking her "Being alone" streak.

The sun was hanging high in the dark sky. Str-010's atmosphere didn't refract the light of its star, which wrapped an ink black sky around the planet no matter the time.

The planet was the 10th planet conquered by the Stellaris empire. It became the capital, the 9 previous planet having been eithered rendered inhabitable or sanctified.

Astaria started to count the stars. This was what she did when she needed to escape. This abyssal sky was one of the only comfort she had when she was locked away in the palace.

This day seemed endless. It was only the first hour of the afternoon, and the Cosmo royal family would arrive in a few hours.

A voice called from inside. "Astaria, would you come back inside ? You know how your mother hates the sunlight. Furthermore, it is time to don your ceremonial dress." Commanded her governant.

Astaria could do nothing. She sighed, and came back inside.

Astaria would have loved to watch the landing of the royal family. Lightships were a matter that fascinated her since her childhood. Unfortunately, such an interest would not be tolerated for the heir to the throne.

The princess was expecting for the two royal families to enter the ceremony room together, shortly after the sound of the lightships stopped.

However, when the silence settled back in, she heard screams. Her father bustled in the ceremony room, enraged. "I knew this wedding was a bad idea ! You just can't trust a Cosmian, not even their rulers !"

Behind him, his wife was trying to calm him down. "At least listen to what they want to say ! Maybe hiding your heir is a cultural thing ? With all the assassination attempts, it's only natural !"

And lastly, a man clad in black entered. "I already told you all you needed. I am the only heir to the throne of the Cosmo empire. And i am here for the hand of your daughter."

Finally, the emperor calmed down. "And where are the emperor and his wife ?"

"They will be a bit delayed, but shall arrive soon."

And sure enough, a low pitched vibration rang from the sky. Astaria recognized it to be the kind of lightship used for official transport of the Cosmo royal faimily.

Shortly after, the Cosmo royal family entered. The two families were standing one in front of the other accross the shimmering floors. On one side, the emperor of Stellaris and his wife, as well as his daughter, Astaria, seated on the throne. On the other sife, the emperess of Cosmo and her husband, as well as the man clad in black and finally their daughter, Heliosine.

The emperess of Cosmo tried to break the heavy silence. "You both look in good health ! It must be the... atmosphere of this planet."
- This is not the time for meaningless banter. Tell me, is this man really your son ?" asked the Stellaris emperor, pointing an accusative finger at the mysterious heir.
- Of course. We kept hidden the existence of our son as to not call upon us unnecessary opposition from neighbouring kingdoms.
- Likely story." the emperor was not convinced.
- Husband of mine, you may recall that we ourselves hid the existence of our daughter for her ten first years. This is a completely reasonable explanation."
- Right. We will now proceed to the ceremony."

The two kingdoms had aggreed on having the ceremony as short as possible. And it had been. The vows, as generic as could be, had been exchanged quickly, and the union was established very quickly.

Astaria had dreaded this day where she would have to marry a stranger and fake her adoration for political reasons. She tried to comfort herself by pretending it would end the war but as time went on, she felt her heart collapse on itself.

After the ceremony was the marital banquet. Time was advancing slowly and the food was dull. Astaria excused herself from the tense atmosphere and exited the room to go to the balcony.

She let her gaze glide over the landscape. She felt it was the last time she would watch the violet rolls of her childhood hills, the deep blue foliage of the forest surrounding the castel, and the magenta patches of the flower gardens.

It was also the last time where she could get lost in the deep void of the sky, and the countless miriads of star that shimmered within.

She had research Cos-alpha-7, the planet where the capital of the Cosmo empire stood. She knew the harsh light of its two suns was turned into a bright pink by its atmosphere.

Her heart was aching with a pain as sweet as a childhood memory.

As her vision blurred with tears, she heard steps behind her.

"This planet is beautiful. And this sky is really soft..." said Heliosine, propping herself up against the guardrail of the balcony.

"The, err, gift exchange is about to start, so i came here" continued Heliosine.
- I knew everything was too peaceful.
- Let's stop talking about them. They would only be too pleased."

Heliosine noticed a tree in the distance. "Oh ? These trees don't grow on our planet."
- That's weird, they don't need much too grow...
- People tried importing them a long time ago but KSM-77c is too harsh for them."

Hearing this, Astaria's heart collapsed a little further. Heliosine held the princess' hand. "I don't want to go back there too. It's a beautiful planet, but my family doesn't let me walk in the sunlit streets or in the flower colored meadows or in any place that holds its beauty."

Astaria looked at her. On Heliosine's face was painted the same sweet pain that she felt.

Heliosine looked back at her.

They stayed like this for a bit, their gazes lost in each other's eyes.

Heliosine broke the silence. "Do you... want to go to the parts of the palace... where you aren't allowed to ?"

Astaria thought about it. On one hand, she had nothing to lose. But on the other... "Of course !"

The two were out of breath. They had explored the palace from top to bottom and front to back, all while avoiding guards. They were now on the roof top terrace of the highest tower, above them standing only the star spotted black blanket of the sky.

"Without you I would never have dared to come here." admitted Astaria.
- Then it's a good thing I chose to come here !"

The two burst in laughter. The strange and sickly sweet pain had left their heart to a just as strange, but infinitely more comfortable sensation of warmth and affection toward each other.

A voiced rang behind them. A guard. "Your presence is requested in the ceremony room."

Said room was in complete chaos. The Cosmo emperor had his face flat in his dish and the Stellaris emperess was pinned to her chair by a dagger planted deeply in her heart.

Many chairs had been toppled over in the commotion, and guards were circling the Cosmo emperess and her son, their spears pointed at them. The Stellaris emperor was watching them with a surprised expression.

This was expected. Of course, the wedding was simply a ploy from the two families to try and eliminate each other.

The Cosmo heir leaped in the hair and landed in front of the emperor, barring his way, and planted a dagger deep in his heart. At the same time, the guards surrounding the emperess skewered her with their spears.

"Of course," coldly said Heliosine. "I hadn't put it past my parents to hide a brother from me. But it seems you are simply an assassin."

"Of course," coldly said Heliosine. "I hadn't put it past my parents to hide a brother from me. But it seems you are simply an assassin."
- So it seems ! i was hired to kill the Stellaris family. And there is one more item to cross from my list ! How nice of you to bring it to me, 'sister'".

Astaria felt the terror rising in her. Heliosine stepped in between the princess and the assassin.

Astaria spoke, her throat feeling dry. "Heliosine, stop. The few moments i spent with you are some of my most treasured memories. I will never forget you. But the thought of you being hurt because of me is inexcusable to me. So please, forget me, and live on."
-Forget you ? You aren't the only one who feels like that about these moments. Me too, will never forget you. You said that my harm was inexcusable, but i would never pardon myself if you died and if i did nothing to stop it ! I will never- you hear that ? never- leave you alone !" answered Heliosine.

"How touching. Do you think i will spare you after that ? Ha ! My clients are dead, so i do think i will have a little fun. Which one will i kill first..." snickered the assassin.

He jumped forward to Heliosine, who quickly side-stepped. The murdered fell, but took Heliosine with him to the ground. They started to fight on the ground.

Astaria, who had been frozen in shock up til now, suddenly ran to grab the nearest chair, then in one motion, brought it down on the assassin's back.

He cried out a pained scream, which was immediatly stopped by a second strike, then a third, and a fourth, and another, and another...

Astaria dropped the chair and collapsed, panting. Rushing forward, Heliosine caught her and put Astaria's head on her lap.

They stayed frozen, looking tenderly at each other. Then, slowly, they closed the distance between their lips.

A new era of peace starting for the citizens of the two kingdoms.