Beyond the Celestial Cradle


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Two Weeks after the events of Embers of Hatred

Yoshiro looked around at the newly constructed bridge of his converted vessel, he ran his hand across the paneling on the chair, "They even got the material right." Yoshiro smiled as he sat in the chair and saw Seth sit next to him, "Captain, you look a bit nervous." Yoshiro looked out of the viewport to see all of the stars out there, "I am. I'm not going to lie about that. But you're not my first officer, Seth." Seth looked at him, "Then who is?" A Kani spoke up, "Permission to come aboard, Captain?" Yoshiro turned back to see Seija and smiled slightly, "Permission granted." A Mus spoke as well, "I'm not getting any younger, so permission to accompany you on this journey." Yoshiro smiled and stood up and opened his arms, the Mus walking into them and the two of them hugged each other, "It's good to see you, Freja." Freja nodded, brushing her now gray hair out of her eyes, "You're starting to show your age, my old friend." Yoshiro laughed slightly, "I know, Five hundred and eighty-five years since I was born. Since you're here, I assume that your daughter owns the throne."

Freja nodded, "Of course." Yoshiro sighed slightly and straightened his uniform, "Well, there's one guest of honor that needs to be on this vessel, before we get underway." Yoshiro watched the door as a very specific Sea Elf walked onto the bridge, "Yoshiro, my love." Yoshiro walked over to the Sea Elf and hugged her, before kissing her, "Elbereth, it's good to see you again. For once, we can be in the same place at almost any time." Elbereth nodded slightly, "Are you sure about bringing civilians onto this ship, I mean, you have a habit of attracting trouble." Yoshiro nodded, "Yes, I'm sure, my love. This is an exploration ship, not a military ship. Plus, we're not going to be going into or even near Menschilche territory." Elbereth nodded slightly as an adult Neko spoke up, "Geez, Mom and Dad, I swear that the two of you are always worrying about something. Aunt Kasumi, Yoshiko, where do you want to go?"

Yoshiro broke the hug on Elbereth and hugged Krezsentia, before kissing her on the forehead, "It's good to have you aboard, my daughter." Yoshiko looked at him, "So, you're not going to do any war, no killing here." Yoshiro nodded, "I promise, Yoshiko. You have my word." Katsumi shook her head, "I'd believe that a lot more if you didn't have Lilah and the Lupine twins here." Yoshiro sighed, "Excuse me, can I speak to my twin sister, alone." Everyone nodded slightly and Yoshiro walked to his cabin, "Come with me, sis." Yoshiro entered the cabin and sighed slightly as he walked over to his desk and sat down, he looked at his twin, though the two of them were twins, Kasumi had red hair and green eyes. He sighed slightly and clasped his hands together, "Kasumi, what do you know of Walthari's condition?" Kasumi looked at him, "Nothing, in all honesty." Yoshiro looked up at the ceiling, "He's dying."

Kasumi gasped slightly, "I feel bad for mocking him earlier." Yoshiro pointed at the door, which Walthari was standing at, "You can apologize to him yourself." Kasumi looked at him and as soon as she opened her mouth, Walthari looked at her, "Don't bother, I've already forgiven you, sis. Yoshiro, thank you for allowing me to be one of the first Lupines to go into deep space. At least I'll be able to see the stars before I die." Yoshiro nodded, "How long do you have to live?" Walthari sighed, "According to the doctor, the moment I go berserk, I drop dead regardless. But, I have a month or two left in me before I die. So you want to get this journey underway or what?" Yoshiro smiled softly, "Well, we need to get the rest of the people onto the ship and the supplies as well." Walthari nodded slightly, "I just can't believe that this is all happening. I'm going to go stay with Killian and my wife, if you need anything, you know where to reach me."

Yoshiro nodded solemnly, "I know, little brother. Hey bro, it's good to have you here." Walthari nodded slightly, "Brother, I've not said this for a long time, and I don't know if I'll get the chance to again. I love you, you made my life a lot better. Even though I was a berserker, you never gave up on me. When Takeshi blamed me for the death of his wife, you defended me. I want you to know that I'll never forget everything that you've done for me, even in death." Yoshiro nodded, "Walthari, I love you too, you are, and always shall be my little brother." Walthari gave him a thumbs up and walked out of the room as Kasumi looked at him, "So, are you still mad at me?" Yoshiro shook his head slightly, "Just sad in all honesty. I know Mom and Dad are on the ship and I know they want to be near their adoptive child in his last moments." Kasumi sighed, but a beeping interrupted her, Yoshiro pressed a button and a voice spoke over the radio, "Everyone is on board and the ship is fully supplied."

Yoshiro nodded and stood up, "We'll talk later, alright, sis?" Kasumi nodded slightly as Yoshiro walked out onto the bridge and looked at Freja, "Can you patch me into the entire ship?" Freja nodded and opened a channel to the entire ship, "Channel open, sir." Yoshiro sighed slightly, "I'm not going to lie to you all, I'm not good at motivational speeches, so I'm just going to tell you all the truth. We are going to be the first Verbanan ship to go out into deep space and explore previously unexplored parts of our galaxy. Over the past fifty-five years, new alliances have been forged and a once thought extinct species has been found again. All members of this Galactic Alliance have representatives on this vessel. The journey will not be a short one, we expect to be out there for at least a couple of months, though we have supplies for a year and a half. I have no idea what we will find out there in the galaxy, but I do know that every one of us will go down in history for this, I will make sure that no one's name is forgotten."

Yoshiro sat down in his chair, "When I was born, Verbana had just earned our freedom, as I grew up, we reverse engineered Menscilche technology. Thanks to my discoveries fifty-five years ago, we have been able to create our own technology using draconic designs as a basis and under their watchful eyes, we have become a much better group of people." He turned to the helmsman, who was a young Elvish male, "Release the docking clamps and take us out of space dock." The Elvish male nodded slightly, "Yes, sir." Yoshiro stood up and walked over to the viewport, he watched as the ship moved out, "Alright, set a course for the Bardron system. Let's test our new engines." The Helmsman nodded, "Aye, sir." Yoshiro lifted his hand up and pointed towards the star system, "Engage."

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Chapter 1

Yoshiro sat in his ready room, they had been traveling for about a day and he had been hard at work trying to figure things out. He knew that there would be another day of travel left and he sighed as he rubbed his temples. He placed his datapad down and sighed, "I thought I'd be done with all of this bullshit when I joined the expeditionary force, but no. I gotta jump through just as many hoops as the fucking military!" He stood up and Lilah spoke to him, "Who are you talking to?" Yoshiro looked out of his window, "No one in particular, I'm just frustrated." Lilah nodded slightly, "You should go spend some time with your wife, you know that there's an aquarium on the ship, right?" Yoshiro nodded, "I know, Klaartje." Lilah looked at him, "How do you know my real name?" Yoshiro looked towards her, "Your mother told me your real name. I promise I will not tell anyone if you don't want me to." Klaartje nodded slightly, "Good."

Yoshiro walked to the door, "Perhaps you're right, I need to relax, I mean I'm already starting to go gray." Yoshiro left the room without hesitation and walked to the lift at the back of the bridge, "Seija, you have the bridge." Seija responded, "Alright, Yoshiro, take care." Yoshiro nodded slightly and entered the lift, he spoke on his communicator, "Elbereth, can you meet me in the aquarium on deck seventeen?" Yoshiro didn't get a response, but he set the lift to deck 17. It was a short trip and Yoshiro sighed slightly, as he walked out into the recreation deck. He was still amazed at how much like a city that it looked, there were parks, with artificial sunlight and a slew of other things. However, he walked straight for the aquarium. When he arrived at the door, he realized that he was still in his uniform, "In such a hurry to relax, I forget to change into my civvies... oh well."

Yoshiro stood there for about fifteen minutes, watching people go in and exit as he waited for his wife, before she finally came down, wearing an elegant dress. Elbereth walked over to him and kissed him on the lips, "You need to relax a bit, honey. You're getting overly stressed." Yoshiro wrapped his arm around her shoulder and placed his hand on her opposite shoulder with a smile, "I know. That's why I'm coming down here, Elbereth, so I can relax with you." Elbereth nodded as the two of them walked in, "So... is there a place that I can swim?" Yoshiro nodded, "Fresh water or salt water?" Elbereth leaned her head against him, "You know I'm a saltwater Sea Elf, honey." Yoshiro laughed, "And when has that stopped you from swimming in a fresh water river?" Elbereth smiled, "You have a point, my love. I'm glad this date will be better than our old one."

Yoshiro and Elbereth walked past some tanks, which held some aquatic wildlife in them, the two of them watched closely as the fish swam around, they were beautiful and the whole scene was relaxing, Yoshiro looked at Elbereth, "Remember when we used to sit on the shore during the sunset and just watch the suns go down?" Elbereth nodded slightly and looked up at him, "Of course, my love. I'd love to do that again, someday." Yoshiro smiled, "Why don't we do that on a planet other than Verbana, it'll be just like old times, but on a different world." Elbereth rested her head against his shoulder, "That sounds nice, Yoshiro. Do you think that we'll find life out there?" Yoshiro looked up, "It's a big galaxy, I'm sure we will. I don't think we'll find sapient life, but I'm sure we'll find some sort of life."

Yoshiro nodded slightly, and looked around, "What other fish do you want to see." Elbereth looked to her side, "Walthari's here, Yoshiro." Yoshiro nodded, and the two of them walked over to Walthari, who was staring at an eel found in the oceans near Verbana's equator. Walthari looked at them, "Hey, Yoshiro, can I talk to Elbereth?" Yoshiro nodded, "Of course." Walthari sighed, "Alone, Yoshiro." Yoshiro nodded again, "Alright." Yoshiro let go of Elbereth and kissed her one more time, before leaving the two to talk, Elbereth looked up at Walthari, "What is it?" Walthari folded his arms, "You know that I'm dying, yes?" Elbereth nodded slightly, "I know." Walthari looked down, "The doctors have told me that my condition has worsened." Elbereth nodded, "Why don't you want Yoshiro to know?"

Walthari sighed and leaned against a wall, "Elbereth, the man has enough on his plate already." Elbereth nodded and Walthari winced as pain shot through him again, Elbereth hugged him, "Are you, alright, Walthari?" Walthari shook his head, "Far from it, I've been in far more pain recently." Elbereth nodded and frowned, looking up at him, "How long do you have to live?" Walthari looked at the eel once more, "Three weeks if I'm lucky, though the doctor says that the more likely scenario is that I'll die in fifteen days." Elbereth sighed, "You seem unusually calm about this?" Walthari closed his eyes and nodded, "I know, I'm using techniques taught to me by Erasmus to keep the pain dulled without relying on my berserker rage. As for why I'm accepting of it? It's an inevitability, we're all going to die someday. It's something Yoshiro is constantly reminded of, day in and day out."

Elbereth nodded slightly and frowned as she looked to the glass, "So, why else did you want to talk to me about?" Walthari hugged her, "Listen, Elbereth, I need you to keep this a secret between us, alright?" Elbereth nodded and Walthari rested his muzzle against her shoulder, "There are many things I know that I will not get to do, many things I want to see. But one thing I want to do is go to a sea elvish music concert and I thought that you would be the best person to set that up in the Hologram Room." Elbereth nodded slightly, "Can we do that later, Walthari? I want to finish my date with Yoshiro." Walthari let go of her and nodded slightly, Elbereth watched the Lupine walk off, amazed that he could walk, despite being in so much pain. She sighed and walked back to Yoshiro, so that the two of them could finish their date.

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Chapter 2

Walthari sat down on the bed in his room, he had requested rather spartan living quarters because if he was going to die soon, he didn't want to take the luxury from someone else. He looked at the picture on his table and chuckled, "Well I guess that it's time to take these out." Walthari stuck his finger in his eyes and extracted the colored contacts. He blinked as he looked in the mirror at his naturally brown eyes, he hadn't seen his natural eye color in hundreds of years, "Killian is right, I do resemble Frederick." Killian's voice spoke up, "I know, Walthari, it's good to see that your eyes are back to their natural color again. How are you holding up, brother?" Walthari turned to see Killian leaning against the doorframe, "Honestly, better than I thought I would, I mean I've already gone through depression, anger, bargaining and denial, acceptance is the final phase, but seeing everyone else out there, watching them look sad over me is honestly... depressing."

Killian nodded, and thumbed towards the door, "Come on, bro, we haven't spent any time together in over two hundred years, outside of that one war." Walthari shook his head, "Killian, I'm waiting for Elbereth to get here." Killian folded his arms, "Elbereth and Yoshiro are going to be out on their date for several more hours." Walthari sighed and looked at himself in the mirror, he looked more tired than usual, even though he didn't felt like it, "Killian..." Killian moved from the doorway, "Come on, Walthari, we're twins, yet you and I haven't spent any length of time with each other outside of wars? If I'm going to be losing my twin brother in a matter of months...." Walthari interrupted Killian, "Weeks, Killian, my condition progressed." Killian nodded, "Walthari, that's more the reason you should come and spend some time with me. You're dying and I'm sad and it sucks, but, wouldn't you be more at ease if you knew that you spent some time with me?"

Walthari nodded slightly, and stood up, "So what do you want to do?" Killian thumbed towards the hallway, "Well why don't we do the time honored tradition for Lupines and drink?" Killian shook his head, "Using alcohol as a coping mechanism will prove to be disastrous for you, Killian. Why don't we do something else, huh?" Killian nodded slightly, "Well, want to grab a bite to eat?" Walthari thought about saying no, he wasn't very hungry, but instead he nodded, "Sure, why not?" Killian nodded and the two Lupines walked out of the room, as the two of them walked towards the lift, Killian asked a question, "Hey, bro, why do you have such spartan living quarters?" Walthari sighed, "I wish people would quit asking me that, I'm dying and don't want to rob someone of their luxuries, that and when I trained with Master Erasmus, I didn't have quite the luxuries that I was accustomed to, being the adoptive son of Minako and Akira."

The two Lupines entered a lift and Killian spoke up, "Deck eighteen please." The lift started moving and Killian sighed, "Can't believe this shit..." Walthari placed his hand on Killian's shoulder, "Hey, I'm not dead yet, brother. I'm still here and you still got time to spend with me." Killian nodded slightly, "I know, brother. Believe me, I know." The lift doors opened and the two Lupines stepped out into a large cafeteria, Walthari looked confused, "This isn't the military mess hall." Killian nodded, "You're not military anymore, not officially. So you have to eat in the civilian cafeteria." Walthari nodded and got in line for some food, he grabbed a plate and piled up a lot on his plate, despite the fact that he wasn't hungry. Killian chuckled, "Slow down, brother, you're going to throw up." Walthari shrugged, "I'm dying, remember. I'm going to want to enjoy food as long as I can." Killian nodded and looked around, when he spotted someone he tapped Walthari on the shoulder, "Follow me."

Killian led Walthari to a table where Minako and Akira were sitting, "Mother, Father, are these seats taken?" Minako looked up at him and smiled, "Of course you can sit down..." The moment Minako saw Walthari place his plate down, she stood up and hugged him tightly, "Walthari, I want you to know that you'll always be my son. I love you and I always will and if you need anything, I promise that I'll be there for you." Walthari hugged back, he didn't show any emotion, "Mom, you gave me a chance at a childhood where I wouldn't be a berserker and you even supported my decision when I chose to become a Monk. You and Dad have given me something special, something to treasure with me in my last days. The two of you are great people and I love you both. I would like to eat though."

Minako nodded and let go of Walthari and allowed him to sit down, Walthari immediately started eating slowly, to savor each and every bite, "This is great food, my compliments to the chef." Walthari took a drink of water, Akira looked at him and sighed, "Walthari, how can you be so calm about this?" Walthari shrugged, "Dad, you know that this would be a possibility when you adopted me, Ranulf told you. I remember that much. Master Erasmus gave me the techniques that I would need to dull the pain and keep myself calm. I'm dying and it sucks, I know. But the way I see it, I could spend my final days making things better for other people, or I could spent them throwing a hissy fit. I choose to make the lives of others better, it's what I was taught to do." Akira nodded slightly, "I understand, if you need anything, you know that you can come to your mother and I." Walthari nodded, "I know."

Killian picked at his food and Minako looked at him, "Walthari, dear can you let me get to Killian?" Walthari nodded and stood up, moving out of her way, Minako going over to Killian and hugging him, "Killian, what's wrong?" Killian sighed, "It's just all of this that's going on, my own twin brother is going to be taken from me. It's just..." Minako frowned, "Walthari, can Killian stay with you?" Walthari shook his head, "Killian deserves better accommodations than I currently have to offer him. I'm living in very spartan living quarters." Minako frowned, "Walthari?" Walthari looked at her, "Mother, when I first became a monk, I had to learn to live without certain luxuries, but I did manage to learn to do so. Killian, you should stay with Mom and Dad for a while, I promise I'll come visit when I'm not in the recreation deck."

Walthari heard Elbereth walk over, "If you will excuse me, I have to go with Elbereth." Akira nodded slightly and Killian looked at him, crying, "Walthari, why?" Walthari closed his eyes, "Killian, please heed my words. Do not weep for the dying, it makes it harder for us to go peacefully. I love you and I always will, you're my twin brother." Elbereth frowned slightly, "Killian, do you want to come with Walthari and myself, you seem a bit shaken up about all of this." Walthari extended his hand to Killian, "Mom, if it's alright, I'd like Killian to join us." Minako nodded and let Killian go, Killian stood up and took Walthari's hand, "Alright, brother." Killian wiped his tears and the three of them started to walk towards the exit of the cafeteria when Killian looked at Walthari, "Where are we going?" Walthari nodded in acknowledgement, "You'll see when we get there, Killian."

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