Master of Orion

Master of Orion

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Kody Feb 10, 2016 @ 11:53am
Port of Sorah - An Alkari Short Story
Welcome to the latest in our short story series, this time focusing on the Alkari race. Feel free to ask questions about Alkari lore, and we'll do our best to get them answered!

Port of Sorah by Kelsey Howard, Creative Writer at Wargaming Austin

Atheer swept the pounded earth of the chapel in slow and deliberate movements, his wings careful to never touch the ground. He found himself obsessively studying the chapel, hungry for the details he might never see again. The chapel was humble and small, but in the center was an elaborate sculpture of a shrouded Alkari maiden. She was one of the many gods of the Alkari pantheon: Razeena, the soulful companion of death, the Goddess of Loss.

She was carved lovingly of pure white stone, so clean and carefully cared for that she seemed to glow in the dimly lit chapel. A statue like this would be common in the wealthier cities of the Alkari home world of Altair, but in Sorah this statue was radiant and nearly decadent in its beauty. Atheer studied her shrouded face, covered by a carved veil so thin that it seemed as if frozen water was softly streaming down her face.

Razeena, the Goddess of Loss, was a fitting saint for Sorah. The city was a dark spot on the shining home world of the Alkari. It was a place where foreigners and criminals alike settled into the soft earth of the surrounding marches. Sorah was a place where troubled and discarded people floated in on a stray wind and never seemed to leave. No matter how many Alkari Wardens stormed the place, the darkness always seeped back in.

Atheer set the broom down and began to blow out the candles one by one, taking a moment to consider each action. He looked around the church that had been his home for over a decade, taking in the splendid sight of Razeena that seemed to illuminate the dark. With a long sigh, he went through the church doors and into the night, locking the door behind him but leaving the key in the tumbler.

As he stood in the dark street, his resolve wavered. He had prayed to Razeena for guidance and her still countenance had given him strength. Yet, these first steps were the hardest. He would surely be excommunicated if anyone knew of his plans. He would be sentenced to death like the dishonorable traitor his heart had become.

Yet, here it was. The painful thorn in his heart that was driving him from everything he had ever known. The wounded honor and howling dignity in his heart refused to die. Many years ago, before he was a Recorder of the Church, he was just an orphan who had lost his family. The Church had made him a Recorder of Razeena, hoping that her acceptance of grief would turn Atheer towards the light. Now, the thought of being so close to avenging his family and killing the criminal who had taken them sent a gleeful shiver down his spine.

Atheer knew he was unworthy to be Razeena’s devotee. He was angry and unable to move on, unable to accept his loss. His attachment to his hatred and vengeance was turning him away from the path of the Alkari, but he couldn’t stop himself. The thought of justice and vengeance was too sweet to resist.

He stayed on foot as he moved down the bustling streets of Sorah, not wanting to draw any additional attention by flying. The church was not a far walk from the legendary Port of Sorah. He could already hear the nearby docking and launching of endless ships, painted in the colors of a dozen different races and organizations. His ears were ringing with the sound of so many different voices, languages, and dialects.

The Port was a frustrating tic in the Alkari psyche. It was dark, dismal, and criminal, but ultimately necessary for many avenues of travel and trade. Even when the government tried to straighten out the region, it always reverted back to its old ways. While the Alkari government now tried their best to turn a blind eye, the sordid and disreputable nature of the Port was a seeming constant.

Atheer opened the door to a partially underground bar that was full of murmurs and tables bustling with rough-looking individuals. He straightened his robes anxiously and moved to the bar. The bartender was an Alkari with dark black feathers, sleek and shimmering even in the dim light. Her wings were adorned with piercings and chains and her eyes were keenly trained on Atheer.

“What’s do-gooder little church Recorder doing here?” She cocked her head when she addressed Atheer, her voice was oddly soothing and song-like. Her voice was melodic against the crashing noises of the bar.

He realized how much he must have stood out, but he expanded his chest and tried to feign confidence. “I’m looking for a mercenary.”

The bartender began laughing, picking up a glass with her talon as she shook her head. “That’s funny, little man. What are you going to do, recruit them to tell stories in the park?”

Atheer held his ground. He hadn’t come this far for nothing. Plus, at this point someone must have seen him enter the bar and that alone would be enough for a trial. He would not waste this opportunity. “I have business to conduct. Shall I take it elsewhere?”

The bartender stopped laughing and began to pour a drink for a Bulrathi who had been desperately trying to get her attention during the whole interaction. She handed it over and turned to face Atheer squarely. “You know better than to try to do good here, right?” She pointed to a back table that was partially obscured from where Atheer stood. “I don’t want trouble in my bar. I’m not much for the Gods, but I don’t think they would forgive me if I got a Recorder killed.”

She turned back to her work and Atheer walked back to the table. As he turned a slight corner, he saw the lurking Sakkra waiting at the table. He paused for a moment, but pushed forward. The Sakkra mercenary looked up from his deck of cards and his eyes narrowed at the sight of Atheer.

The Sakkra’s voice was low and calm. “I don’t do business with your kind of Alkari. Too many hurt feelings. Too many complaints about my methods.” He kept his eyes on the cards, playing a strange form of solitaire that Atheer couldn’t recognize.

Atheer walked up to the table and sat down, pulling a stack of credits from his pockets. “I need an assassination… and an escape off planet.”

The mercenary cocked his head to the side, shocked by Atheer’s forward approach. He looked Atheer up and down once, snorting with mocking displeasure. “Do you have a name?” The Sakkra grumbled, looking back at his cards.

“Atheer, Recorder to the Goddess of Loss.” Well, he thought to himself, not for much longer.

The Sakkra snorted loudly, “Not your name. Who do you want killed?”

“Oh.” Atheer shifted around in his seat uncomfortably. “Suuko Temo. Head of the Temo family. He lives in Skraa…”

The mercenary set his cards down. “Now, you have my attention. Suuko Temo of the Temo crime family?”

Atheer steeled his nerves that were fluttering in his stomach. “He took something from me, long ago. His henchmen. I know…”

“Agh,” the Sakkra interrupted Atheer and pushed the cards away. “You Alkari talk too much. I’ll take your money and the challenge as payment enough.”

Atheer was shocked by the transaction, but had nothing to compare it to. Was this how a normal assassination was planned? What did a “normal” assassination attempt even mean?

“What about my transport?” Atheer meekly followed after the Sakkra’s boisterous show.

“Where do you want to go, little bird man?”

Atheer had never known anything but Altair as home. He had lived in Skraa, the capital city, for many years and had moved to Sorah a few years ago to oversee the Church of Razeena. He never had any true intention of wanting to leave the church, it was just that his interests no longer aligned with theirs. Oh, and he was now a convictable criminal.

“Do you need a religious leader on your ship?”

The Sakkra laughed boisterously, scaring a few of the bar’s patrons that were seated around him. He took a long drink from his glass and raised it in Atheer’s direction. “I doubt our Gods would see eye to eye, but I like your spirit, little bird. You want a job, not a hand out… the Sakkra way.”

The Sakkra mercenary slammed his glass down and the bartender took subtle notice, preparing him another. The Sakkra continued, the amusement in his voice was lighthearted. “You can scrub floors with the younglings. It’s grunt work… and thankless. Do you accept?”

In his mind, Atheer finally saw the face of Razeena looking down on him, her face finally uncovered and bare. His life, his home, his innocence, and everything he had ever known… was lost to him. He was a Recorder of the Church, but that life was gone. Here he was, considering the worst job offer on the planet and he was… happy.

“I accept.” Atheer was meek, but sure of himself. He felt peace for the first time that he could remember.
Last edited by Kody; Feb 10, 2016 @ 4:18pm
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Showing 1-6 of 6 comments
MayDay Feb 10, 2016 @ 12:11pm 
WOW )
r.daneel Feb 10, 2016 @ 2:58pm 
Nice prelude to a ton of troubles.
Intriguing ;)
tRhianor Feb 27, 2016 @ 12:55am 
:)
vonfoxfire Aug 3, 2016 @ 7:36pm 
The story talks about Alkari having wings and flying but the game model seems to be devoid of wings...
Last edited by vonfoxfire; Aug 3, 2016 @ 7:43pm
Birdie_Sparrow Aug 4, 2016 @ 9:36am 
Good question and here is the answer:

In the developed lore the Alkari have wings that over time became smaller and conformal to their backs. As they evolved and spent more time on the ground large wings tended to get in the way of creating a civilization. A civilization cannot be created by constant flying and must, eventually, become more ground based.

Alkari CAN fly but their wings are much weaker and smaller. As such they can only be used for short bursts (or if they train an Alkari could fly for longer distances). The best I can describe it is think of a human running- most of us can do it for short stretches before we tire. People who train can run longer/faster. The same with the Alkari. In lore they do have areas of high thermals on their planet where they can soar/glide as a form of "surfing" for fun.

On other planets their ability to fly would be hampered if not impossible. Air density, temperature, wind, humidity and so on all effect flight abilities. Hostile atmo's, space, and combat mean many times the Alkari are in suits or armor that would make spreading their wings impossible (ie heavily armed and armored assault troops cannot just jump out 4000 meters up and glide down without some sort of tech). Also they need to be very stripped down to fly - carrying any sort of cumbersome or weighty items also make it impossible to fly.

The Alkari at this time wear capes as an affection and nod to their wings. Often these capes are split down the middle to emulate and pay homage to wings. Some clothing is even designed with slits to allow their wings to "pop out" so they can fly. Typically Alkari doing it for sport, message/light load delivery (ie their version of the pizza delivery guy :) ), and similar would wear such clothing.
Last edited by Birdie_Sparrow; Aug 4, 2016 @ 10:03am
Birdie_Sparrow Aug 4, 2016 @ 9:49am 
If you go to Artwork and click on "Most Recent" as of today I uploaded what the capes of the advisor and Skylord look like from the back. When you click on it to see the larger image I have no idea why it goes sideways as the uploaded pic is the correct angle. But you can see the split in the capes I talked about.
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Date Posted: Feb 10, 2016 @ 11:53am
Posts: 6