Birth of the Primauri I: Discoveries & Beginnings
The klaxons burst to life just as they had seated themselves in front of a much needed meal. Within the space of a few microseconds an alarmed look was exchanged over the small table and they dashed out of the room with a preternatural speed. No audible words passed between them as they flew down the twisting hallways into the depths of the Himalazian bedrock. In the mental matrix of their espoused minds, communication passed at the speed of thought.
“It’s the children,” The woman thought-spoke with a growing alarm twisting in her gut.
His alarm was even more urgent and heavy with portents. They had so many failures in the past, this time was supposed to work. He took her hand and squeezed, “They are strong, It will work this time. We have seen it.”
“We have.” Was all she said marshaling herself for the coming discoveries. They had wanted children, needed children to further their quest. It was a basic human desire, and underneath it all they were human. It had proven impossible for them to have a child the natural way. So they decided to make children. The project had never worked, the science had just not been enough. Until recently.
They turned the corner to the hallway dividing their laboratory complexes. Shocking the custodies squads at their speedy arrival. The doors were locked and secured from the inside, that meant someone was in there when it should have been empty. The Custodies, to their credit and creation, were already cutting at the locks.
Now, so near she could feel it, the twenty soft psyche lights that glowed in her lab as she reached out her mind. In his lab where twenty more glimmers of potential and intelligence should be, there was only silence. The Emperor threw the door open and off its tracks, scattering the heavy equipment piled against it. Rage, worry, and desperation radiating off of him.
There was… Nothing. The Infant Primarchs were gone, every one of them.
Feathers of purest white, and a boy laughing as he ticked her face with them.
Rage and sorrow assailed her and strummed a dark chord in her heart. She opened her eyes with alarm, expecting to see the room full of people, but only her mother was there. And she was in distress. The infant Primaura’s eyes sagged sleepily against her will. The emotions were exhausting and she wasn’t supposed to be so aware in the pod. “Not yet” she heard the whisper in her mind from the pod next to hers, the one labeled VIII.
Feathers again, and a soft young feminine voice, “Wake up, Now. Aubra, wake up.” No, not voice, thoughts.
She opened her eyes again, sluggish, annoyed at being woken from her dreaming. The lab was dark, only the tanks around the circle were lit. Blinking as the fluid in her mechanical womb drained, she was suddenly aware of her limbs.
Infant. She was a baby. Old enough to walk, but just barely.
A clutter of images and words, learned voices and the mental touch of her mother crowded her mind. Advanced as she may be, she was still just a baby. She sat in the empty tank for a long time, thinking and listening, before she reached out her mind and telekinetically opened her tank. The tank was a few feet off the ground, meant for an adult to lift the contents out. She did not like the idea of hitting the floor so the simple solution would be to float down. She knew how, How did she know? It was like opening the tank. Taking a toddling step forward, she gently floated to the ground and sat down.
She felt strong and excited. Where was her mother? Where was everyone else? Scientists, that’s what mother called them. And she was called IX, no not a number, her mother called her Aubra.
She stood back up on much steadier legs and looked at the circle of tanks around her. ‘And what are they?’ she inquired of the amorphous knowledge already in her mind. ‘They are your sisters’ her mind responded.
The voice-thought in her mind again.
It was the tank next to her. Floating up to look in the window at another infant. She had short hair that was so light it’s true color couldn’t be seen. The infant in the tank opened her lavender eyes and smiled a baby grin.
“Hi” thought-said the baby. “Aubra” her hand touched the tank’s window.
Aubra put her hand on the other side, the moment they got close she felt a little spark. Not a painful one, but warm and tickling. “Sabetta!” the little floating Primaura said out loud the best she could.
Sabetta in the tank giggled again and nodded emphatically.
Aubra looked at the lock controls on tank number 8 and reached to open it when Sabetta thought-spoke “not yet, wait. Must be in right order. You first, Tell mother. This is order”
Images of numbers filled Aubra’s mind. Easy, only twenty numbers, wait… “you are last” Aubra said with a frown. “I want to play now. Miss you.”
“Has to be,” Sabetta said with a yawn. “Has to be. Tell mother.” She thought to Aubra with emphasis. “Has to.” The little Primaura closed her eyes and slept again.
Feathers. So many feathers. I miss the laughing boy too. Aubra realized with a slight pain in her chest. She sighed and set her feet back on the floor toddling over to the rather old fashioned writing board she knew was for making marks. Grabbing a marking tool in a chubby hand she proceeded to float up to the window of each tank and scribble on them.
“2,3,4… numbers are boring, this one is a flower. And this sister is a cat…” She talked out loud to herself as she decorated each tank window. Some sisters opened their eyes and smiled, others touched her mind. No other could talk to her like Sabetta. In the end, they all fell back asleep and Aubra was alone drawing pictures and patterns on the floor while she waited for her mother.
One would have expected a grand room of gilding and rich colors. Instead it had a small thatched roof with natural wood walls and simple open windows with no glass. It butted up against the cavern wall where their private suite continued within. Here in their small paradise there was no need for glass to close out nature. The artificial pocket of pastoral life was in a great cavern, one of the biggest under the palace. There was an artificial sun and moon, even stars. The modest house stood at the top of a sloping meadow with a forest beyond. The sounds of night birds and nocturnal wildlife could be heard. It was a perfect piece of ancient Terra.
The one item where splendid indulgence won out was the bed. It took up nearly the entire room since the small house was only a place needed for sleep. It was four posted and decoratively carved out of real wood grown a few yards away. A lot of work was required to keep it in good condition, polishing, waxing, and keeping the hydration right. But it was a simple task that they enjoyed doing together. It reminded them of simpler times when most of humanity knew nothing of them and it was only the two of them in a world still wild.
Though it was a valued daily experience to sleep, the Emperor and Empress didn’t need much of it. It was important to dream though. She was dreaming, it was where so many questions were answered for her. He was there as he often was. They had been sharing dreams their entire long lives, even before they had met.
In this dream they were in her lab looking at her babies in the tanks. One tank was open and empty. The image around them blurred a moment.
“This isn’t the future,” He said. “This is present '' A pattern of flowers, roses, and feathers was appearing on the floor around them. After some time spent alone together once in the long past, the man and woman who would become the Emperor and Empress made a decision about communication. All that could be vocalized should be. Direct mental communication was fast and efficient, but it was silent. Sound was special and the sound of your bond-mate’s voice was doubly so.
“That is Aubra’s tank, number nine.” The Empress couldn’t help but feel a little guilty. The relief she felt that her daughters were still safe in her care shamed her heart. She shared it with her mate after they had retired to their paradise. And he understood, but she would battle the feeling forever. They had retired to rethink their plan, no future is secure until it happens, but this was a massive ripple. How could they have missed this development?
“Do you think they have noted the loss of their counterparts?” He asked her. Sorrow and rage ate at him. He should have vetted his scientists better, at least one scientist. He let his anger dissipate, it wasn’t productive now. And they still had the girls. The girls that his Empress was so excited to raise. That would give him joy to watch.
“We will find them my beloved. They will have your strength and fortitude, they will survive.” She wrapped her arms around him and kissed his cheek. “For now, we should go see what the girls are up to, I am sure they have my mischief.” She grinned and woke herself.
They dressed in their simple clothing, simple and comfortable. She wore a pale green dress and he wore a natural beige tunic. As they left the cavern of paradise a squad of custodies in their golden armor stepped behind them. Security had been on high alert since the abduction of the Primarchs.
The Empress took the Emperor's arm as they walked to her lab at a quick pace. After they had discovered the abduction they had made the decision to lock up her Primauri for a time as they made plans and inquiries. And while they searched the realms they could access, both material and immaterial. All they could do was hope that wherever the boys ended up it was the best place they each could find. They had waited and planned and prepared for so long, another few years wouldn’t be possible to bear. However, it would seem that her girls may disagree.
As they entered the lab proper the lights came up illuminating the marks on the floor. Every spot on the floor in the tank room was full of drawings. Each tank had a theme drawn on and around it. The empty tank was covered in a tangle of delicately drawn roses and feathers. The Emperor noted this for later contemplation.
Each tank also sported a second number between two and eleven. The Empress noted this and began reaching out with her mind to her daughters. The chiming chorus of minds that met her made her smile. They were not awake, but like calls to like and they all knew their Mother.
She felt the strong hand of the Emperor gently squeeze her shoulder. “They are remarkable, I feel so much of you in them.” He had only seen them twice before and they had been unrecognizable as human then.
They were like that with each other, free with a supportive word or thought. The work was hard and they had each known more tragedy and sorrow than either of them cared to recall. No one else in all the history of humanity knew what it was like to be them. The idea of having to do the work alone, without each other, was nightmarish to them both.
“Aubra?” She spoke aloud. The sound of bare feet slapping the hard stone floors sounded from a distant room, the room down a hall where food was prepared for those working away in the lab. A girl child looking the age of an unmodified 18 month old human child ran around the corner and came to a sudden stop. She was a little taller than the Empress had anticipated. Her hair hung around her face in chestnut brown loose curls and her eyes were a soft blue that turned to teal around the irises. The Empress was rather proud of that effect.
The heavy maternal feelings that flooded the Empress nearly overwhelmed her, this was her daughter as surely as if her own body had borne her. Stepping forward before the girl, the Empress knelt down touching the girl's hair and looking into her eyes. “Aubra, my little rose.” Was all she said before gathering the child up in her arms and hugging her close.
Eager Little arms came around the Empress’s neck “Mommy!” Aubra squeezed and laughed as the Empress stood up with her daughter in her arms. They stood there a moment just laughing and looking at each other.
“Mother Where are my wings?” The child asked. The Empress looked at the Emperor. He stepped forward and stretched out his hand for the child to take. Instead this step-child reached both arms out to him in a toddlers ‘now you hold me’ fashion. He couldn’t help but smile wide as she was transferred to his arms.
“You my dear, do not need wings. You can fly without them, can’t you?” He nodded at the tanks covered in drawings so high no child would otherwise have been able to reach. Aubra’s face scrunched up in thought for a second then she nodded her head emphatically.
“Aubra, what are these numbers you have written on your sister’s tanks?” The Empress asked as she examined tank number seven, the daughter she named Denah. The number 6 had been written below the number-name plate on the tank.
“Sabetta said to tell you, it’s important. She says that is the order for us to wake up. And we need to be apart for some time. Because we want to spend time with you and each other. And I am first, but I am alone. Sabetta couldn’t come out and the boy with the feathers is gone. Where did he go?” She asked the Emperor.
The Emperor frowned at that and handed her back to her mother. What could she know of her counterpart? They had been separated from the beginning. Could the Nine’s have inherited the joint dreaming their parents had. A small stream of excitement began to creep into his mind. This may be the key, the girls may find them.
In due time. It would take more than 16 years just to wake all the Primauri. Waiting would be hard.
Circa 6000 BCE
The sun was beginning to dip low over the primordial forest, the day was half spent and the gathering had been slim. The young woman, past the age of bond oath and babies but not past enough to be undesirable, bent to dig another reed out of the mud. They weren't her favorite and she frowned at them, they would do. If the hunters were successful the tuberous roots would be cooked in fresh fat and that would make them almost tasty.
She was in a bad mood, She had wanted to go with the hunting party, after all she was the most skilled hunter of her clan. Durnott had wanted to talk to her father again. He was not getting the point. Niabet was already bonded to another. The thought of her bond-mate made her smile and her yearning to be with him made her chest ache. He should be here by now. That was also making her grumpy, She knew he had reached the little island, they had talked of it in their dreams. He’d come such a long way, it had taken some years. She wished she could sense him when awake.
The last of the tubers were collected and the woman bent once more to wash mud off her hands and leather dress then climbed out of the reed bed and washed her feet before returning her thick boots to her feet. The air was crisp and warm, she almost had to twist her strawberry blond hair up on her head to cool her neck. High summer it was, the day of balance when the dark night and the bright day would be equals would be here in two days.
The clan had wanted her to lead them in the ceremonies, but she had always refused. Their beliefs were pure of heart but being what she was and knowing what she knew made her unique in her lack of participation. She knew why she felt so, she knew how she was different. She felt ancient in a sense, the weight of her species depending on her. On her and her mate. She picked up the basket and started back in the direction of camp, feeling with all her senses the emotions and hopes and desires of her people even from this far away.
The first moment she had known her purpose was as she woke one morning from a vivid dream. She was scarcely a dozen years old and before that night she had been like any child. She dreamed of the boy she had always dreamed of, but it was different this time. He was looking at the skull of his father contemplating some funeral treatment she didn’t understand when he had a vision. She saw it with him, his father murdered by his brother. She felt tears in her eyes at the pain, but the boy seemed to contemplate the facts alone. Then he looked at her. They had often talked in these dreams, he was her beloved friend, like her siblings and cousins.
The sudden weight of his visions engulfed them both and the details of the dream faded to darkness. It was just the two of them, alone, in a vast nothingness. Then colors began to flash and lights sparkled, they were someplace… other. The Immaterium, she knew what it was, she could see and feel the half formed idea creatures of emotion swirl past her. She could feel them see her and regard her with mild interest then pass on. So many small wisps of every positive thing she had ever felt. When she looked farther out she could sense even larger beings of black silhouetted against the storming colors. These felt more intelligent, more cognizant of the presence of the two children. They were angry, furious, and afraid. A humanoid figure of shifting dimensions appeared before them and placed one hand on her head and the other on the boy's head. His voice loud and clear in their heads. He said only one word, “Wake”. Then they were suddenly back in the boys house.
“I remember now.” The boy said.
“As do I.” Niabet responded.
“We have works to do.” He said and looked at the skull again. She knew he was ready to start right away.
She walked with him in this dream as he strode to his Uncle’s house and stopped the man’s heart. It was as the justice of their culture demanded, Even so, he had compassion. He did not wish for his Aunt and cousins to suffer the ignominy of being a murder’s kin, they had done nothing wrong. So a quiet death, his uncle knew why he was dying, what justice was being metered out and by whom. No one else needed to know.
She felt the waves of fear and sorrow that flowed off the people who rushed to the boy’s uncle. It felt so much stronger to her than ever before, she knew this was one of her gifts and that many more would come.
The boy looked at her again and thought-spoke to her, “show me where you are, I will come to you.”
She could suddenly see where he was, the fields and waterworks falling away as the view pulled back until the entire curve of the world she now knew they lived on came into view. It zoomed in to the north and west, on the peninsula of land that was rapidly becoming an island and the smaller island companion on its west side. Both children blinked in wonder at the sights, The enormity of it all settling with wonder in their minds.
“I could meet you half the way.” Niabet offered, feeling hesitation. The pull of her family and clan was heavy on her.
“You are reluctant, What is it?” He asked with such sincerity Niabet was shocked at the way it touched her heart.
“It’s my family, they need me. My mother is trying to raise not only her children but two of her sisters' broods as well. She needs my help, and my cousins need me. I don’t want to abandon them yet.”
He looked at her with confusion and concern but did not share the cause. He looked down for a few moments then took her hand. “Let me come to you.” He said and met her eyes with conviction.
That was what she wanted to hear. So she nodded and began her wait for him. That had been six winters ago. For two cycles he had prepared for his journey, going to big cities made of baked mud that boggled Niabet’s mind when he showed them to her.
It would be a long way through much primordial wild terrain from Anatolia to the island of Éire. She had been patient for the first several years, after all she had been busy. The life of hunting, gathering, social obligations, and caring for siblings and cousins took much of her time. One of her gifts was healing, healing of both body and mind. Her mother was one of the wise women of the clan and had taught her much of method and medicine, but Niabet’s skills had quickly surpassed the skills of all the wise women among the few clans on the island. And many traveled to her seeking aid. Her mother often sadly commented that if Niabet had been older when her aunts took ill she would have been able to heal them. Her mother often felt sorrow at the loss of her sisters.
Every night the two who would one day be Emperor and Empress spoke, every night their relationship grew. She had always loved him, but that love began to encompass more areas of her life and heart. She had no interest in the boys of her clan or any other they traded with, even though many had an interest in her. She knew who her mate would be, and just last summer her and the boy, now a young man, had expressed this to each other.
Niabet trudged up the heavily forested hills around the pond and stopped at the top to take a deep breath. She loved the area of the Summer camp, it was so lush and full of life. All of her people’s campsites were beautiful in their own ways. Her island was a wonderfully beautiful place. Such a green place, forests and fields of so many shades of green. She had seen herself in dresses of green in her future visions, all the shades of her beloved birth land.
She suddenly felt a portent, a positive one. She wondered what it would turn out to be. There are so many things that it could be, it was always so hard to pin them down. Her second sister and elder cousin were due to have babies anytime, or they could have news from another clan. This one was positive she could tell. She quickened her pace back to the camp but half way there the portent became a knowing. It was him, he was near. She ran to the camp and handed the precious food to one of her sisters, told them she would return and ran out of the village back into the darkening woods.
She knew he could feel her now and that he was also running toward her. Her heart sang to him and his heart returned the song. She could think of nothing but seeing him, touching him for the first time. Through the foliage along an animal track that led east she ran, her stamina was as uncanny as she was. Around a bend in the path around a copse of ancient, thick trunked trees, they ran and halted as they saw each other in the flesh for the first time.
He had black hair and coppery skin and was so handsome, more than she had known from dreaming. He looked at her with eyes wide with so many strong emotions, they made her feel elated and chased away loneliness. A few of his emotions made her blush, she felt them all too.
The two of them slowly walked the few feet between them until they stood just arms' width away. He reached his hand out to her in greeting, Niabet placing hers in his. A strange pulse of power flowed through and around them as they touched for the first time. It was a bond, a promise, and a destiny between them, unifying their lives and souls in purpose. They could hear each other’s thoughts and the surprise of it made Niabet laugh joyously. He blinked and grinned in delight at her laughter then pulled her to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and they shared the first kiss of their very long lives.