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Qintar: Gifts of the Gods

Summary

The Qintar Hierocracy has existed for as long as anyone can remember. It is ruthless, ancient, and supreme. It is also the reason many space age civilizations haven't made it far past infancy. But when a newly arisen species is discovered after years of being hidden from the eyes of the Hierocracy, will the Hierocracy be able to hold off the festering might of this new species?

Never fear, though, for a new leader has been elected, one reminiscent of the fabled rulers of old. Will she, and her sisters, be able to defeat these heathens and preserve the Hierocracy?

Concerning Qintar ( A Brief Overview )

This story revolves around a fictional alien race. Because these creatures are of my own creation, I find it necessary to give some background on them so you, my wonderful reader, are not so confused. For those of you who don’t wish for me to give a lot of detail, I will give a quick run down. For anyone who actually likes a lot of detail, I’ll put up an extended version soon enough.

The Absolute Basics of Qintarre Culture

- You'll find me using three terms when referring to this species: Qintar, Qintari, and Qintarre. Simply put, Qintar is the name of the race and the plural term. Qintari is the singular of Qintar. Lastly, Qintarre means "of the people". To make matters even simpler, I compare it to the use of "elf", "elves", and "elvish". In this case, elf would be Qintari, elves is Qintar, and Qintarre is most comparable to elvish or elven.

- While I won't fully reveal the appearance of the Qintar just yet, I will reveal some things about it. The Qintari are almost twice the size of humans (ranging from 8-10ft tall), four armed, bipedal, and very gaunt. They are also semi-aquatic.

- The Qintar are a species in which both sexes are equal in ability, but the females are dominant in the higher classes. This is mainly due to the rareness of females.

- Religion is such a major aspect of Qintarre lives that they have a hierocracy, which is a government run by priests. The priests that lead this space empire are the Sibyls or high priestesses, and there's four of them. They are Vigor, Justice, Mercy, and Serenity.

Now, this is all you need to know to at least start the story. More might be added at some time later. If you're interested in learning more then please keep an eye out for an extended version of this, which may or may not be published sometime soon.

Prologue

Unlike her stone faced sisters, only she possessed the gall to weep.

A single, heavy tear glistened on the smooth skin of her face as it crept ever so slowly downwards. It hung on the edge of her cheek, taunting all in the room with its offensive presence. All eyes swung round towards the droplet. There were those present who glared at the thing with hate and scorn, while yet others prayed that it would leave the womanly creature’s face just as pure as it previously was.

With the weight of all these eyes upon it, it seemed that the tear was moved, perhaps by some mystical force, to depart the woman’s face. Time seemed to slow as it descended towards the floor below. Except the owner of this speck of liquid, all watched its fall. It hit the ground with an insignificant and inaudible noise. Near immediately, all focus returned towards the previous center of attention, a man standing in the center of the room.

“Continue with your report, Champion,” spoke one creature. She gestured towards the man, waving her hand in allowance.

“As I was saying, Holy Ones, they have refused our most generous offer. They insist that they are fine as they are; they claim to have their own way of enlightenment.” Reported the man. Upon finishing his statement, he shifted uncomfortably. The one who had addressed him only moments ago now scowled at him.

“The nerve of such an insignificant race of beings! Do they not know that there is no truer way than ours? Do they think that their own faiths are better than ours?” Roared she.

“To be honest, O Righteous One, they have no faith. I am told that they trust in their machines more so than our gods,” Corrected the man.

The “Righteous One” leapt up from her throne in rage. She opened her mouth in preparation to let out a spew of ire filled comments. However, another one of the feminine entities in the room quickly stopped her, lest they hear her rave for an eternity.

“Calm, Justice, we have other matters to attend to,” stated this one. She glanced down towards the man standing in the middle of the room. “You are dismissed, Champion, return to your duties.”

The man bowed low before the women in the room, humbling himself before he gathered himself to back out. As he slipped silently out of the meeting chamber, those left remaining turned towards each other, intent on discussing the next matter that deserved their attention.

“My sisters, I believe it is time to make up our minds. What shall we do?”

They all answer unanimously.

“We go to war.”

Chapter One

Fools they were, those that dawdled in the way. Could they not comprehend that they were in the presence of their betters? Instead of dashing out of the way of the noble ones, as they rightly should have, these imbeciles lingered yet in their way, cluttering the hall. It was perhaps not their fault. Had they been properly notified of the incoming troop of Paladins, the commonfolk would’ve gladly cleared the way. After all, these were their heroes, the visible hands of their priests, who helped guide the people through times of dark and into the light. But they were never warned, and the valiant ones had to pass through the crowd of commoners.

However, it was not as if the Paladins cared about this inconvenience. Indeed, their minds were more focused upon the task at hand. This was a good thing perhaps, for it was of the utmost importance. It would have to be for these noble ones were avoiding the official channels and instead taking a route through the commoner’s region of the space vessel. Because of this, their arrival would be speedy, but unannounced.

Concern clouded the eyes of the leading Paladin as they all approached their destination. It was a crime to just simply appear at the door of a high priestess. Would their quest excuse this? As the paladin believed, it had to, but if it didn’t, he hoped his messenger had reached them in time to give them fair warning. However, this one did not have long to ponder, for the troop could see the great metal doors that guarded the council chamber beyond. His betters awaited him there.

As the door swung open, all could see a visible change in the demeanor of the Paladins. Had they been previously slouching, they now stood up straight and held their heads high. A proud light glimmered in their eyes and they wore the heraldry of their leaders proudly. It was best that their rulers saw the exemplary troops that they were expected to be.

Beyond the doors there existed a room filled with light. Not the garish, artificial light that filled the corridors and rooms of the rest of the structure; this was a softer, more natural light. From a great window it shone in, illuminating the room. There was not one place that was not lit, from the domed ceiling to the four pale thrones to the reflective, white walls. Even the lone figure gazing out the window glowed with the pale blue light of the star yonder out the window.

The soldiers beheld the majesty of this room in wide-eyed wonder. They had, of course, seen this place quite a few times before, but it never ceased to take their breath away. However, compared to the very presence of the lone figure over by the window, the room’s majesty was diminished.

One by one, each Paladin dropped to the floor before the being. They prostrated themselves before her. Sensing their presence, the womanly creature turned slowly. With a thoughtful expression, she examined each of them, carefully taking in all of their features.

“Rise,” commanded she in a deep, yet melodic voice.

Just as quick as they had been to kneel before her, they now stood. Yet still, they were quite hesitant to look this majestic beast in the eye, or even look upon the ancient holiness that was her face.

“Now, what is so important that you must disturb my meditation, hm?” She wondered.

The commander of the Paladins shifted under the burning gaze of the woman. “We have a report, O Holy Justice, one about our enemies.”

“Proceed.”

The Paladin took little more than a few seconds to compose his thoughts before beginning. But as he started speaking, his words came out rushed and he began to skip details. “In the outer arms of the galaxy, one of our scout ships has discovered the homeworld of a sentient species. A sentient space-faring species, your Holiness. As soon as the ship drew in closer to investigate, they were attacked by a large fleet of the Enemy. It seems like they have been protecting these newcomers.”

The expected response was that the woman would erupt in a fit of righteous rage or extreme anger. It wouldn’t be unusual for her to do so, she had done it many times before. But instead, she merely brushed it off. Just like that, the calm and cool demeanor of this holy being completely changed the view of the Paladins. What had seemed like a major issue, was now nothing more than a minor inconvenience. It was no longer their problem; the holy ones would handle it. So a great weight was lifted from their hearts, but they knew that this was not the last they would see of this matter.

“That is quite important, yes,” she turned back towards the great window, “I suppose it is important enough to disturb my sisters from their rest.”

“And what would you have us do next, Lady Justice?” Wondered the lead Paladin. He braced himself for some impossible task, one he would never return from, like dealing with the petty nobility. But, luckily for him, this task never came.

“For now? Rest, relax. You and your team deserve this for your service to the Hierocracy,” spoke the noble one, “but we will have need of your services soon, so be ready.”

A silent sigh escaped from the Paladin commander’s lips as a wave of relief washed over him. After all the hoops he had to jump through in order to deliver this report to the lady, this rest was well deserved. However, a shadow loomed over him, one that warned him of the difficulty of the tasks ahead.

“We thank you, High One,” he answered simply.

“Dismissed, Paladins,” she replied, “and send in a scribe on the way out.”

Each of the soldiers bowed low in humility, then strode out gladly.

Chapter Two

Rumors spread through the ship like the plague spreading through a heavily populated area. All of it was based around the brief appearance of the paladins. For the commoners rarely saw these marvelous warriors, and to see one was an honor. It was only to be expected that these onlookers would spin tales of their heroes’ next greatest assignment. Even so, it all spread like wildfire. There were few places not yet touched by the rumors.

One such area was a quiet little room, on the far end of the ship. Like most places on this vessel, it was built to reflect both light and sound. That it did quite well too. The smooth, shiny walls and the rounded corners were more than what was necessary to complete its simple task. For this reason, the one who currently occupied the room adored it greatly.

It was a fair maiden, known as Sa-Ra’arra to many, who sat in that room. She was simply enjoying the stillness and awaiting the moment when a servant would burst through into her sanctuary. In the meantime, she was content to allow herself to be lulled into a complacent half-sleep. Her mind wandered, in this strange state, from events past to present. But no matter how far she roamed through her personal timeline, she was always drawn back to one point in time that had only occurred not too long before. Her coronation.

It still mystified her, that ceremony that had named her as the high priestess of her people. There was no particular reason why it had been of such magnificence to her still, perhaps for the fact that now she had power. Real power that she had never seen the likes of, except for in the use of those she now considered her peers. Of course, the little things were quite mystifying too, such as the glittering fabrics and the harmony of the chorus. But none of that compared to the authority and power gifted to her.

As the young priestess was revisiting every detail of her experience, the servant she’d been expecting slipped in. For a mere second, he paused, observing his mistress. The thought occurred to him he should perhaps wake her from this state. However, that thought was quickly banished from his mind. It seemed fitting to him that she should enjoy a moment longer of the peace he was going to tear so quickly from under her feet. So he took a seat on the floor next to his mistress's frame and watched her.

This servant, who was known as the stalwart Ci-Zhen’aan, examined his friend and leader with great reverence. His eyes drank in the familiar features of her slender face.

The reason why the people of the hierocracy adored her so greatly was clear to those who simply looked hard enough. Her appearance played a major factor in this. For she represented what the other prophets were not. The skin of her face was smooth, untouched by the weariness of existence. Like the beauty of the foam washing up upon the shores of the blessed homeworld, her skin did shine, a glow emitting from a place only one could assume was from the depths of her soul. Though dimmed now as her vision turned inwards upon her idle recollections, her almond shaped eyes glistened with the same light.

“Zhen, I didn’t see you there,” spoke a voice, startling Ci-Zhen’aan out of his trance, “when did you come in?”

It was his mistress speaking, as she rose from her own trance and awoke him from his. Upon exiting his own mind, Zhen immediately sat up straight. His fins and spines stood up at attention, displaying his eagerness to serve to his mistress. After all, it was not fitting for him to look shabby in front of his betters.

“Only a few minutes, milady,” Zhen replied, his head bowed in respect.

Sa-Ra’arra’s fins quirked up, her eyes sparkled with amusement and humor. “Milady, Zhen? Since when did you start calling me that?”

“I only thought it fitting, since you are one of the High Ones now.” Answered he.

“But I’m still your friend, Zhen.” She said.

It had been such a long time since Zhen had considered her just his friend. If it wasn’t already blatantly obvious, she was so much more to him. Ever since she donned the garb of the upper priesthood, their relationship had changed, in his view. Now she was above his level. She was not one that

“Of course, mila- Arra,” Zhen said, a shy look in his eyes.

“So, I’m getting the sense that you didn’t just come to talk. What’s the matter Zhen?” Asked Arra, as she preferred to be called.

A blank expression passed over Zhen’s face. Why had he come here? He could barely recall.

“Lady Serenity has requested your presence, Arra. She has something important to talk to you about.” He said, remembering faintly.

“She does? I wonder what it’s about this time.” Arra’s fins perked up once again. “Come on, Zhen, let’s go.”

He makes no attempt to rise as she does. Zhen stays sitting, immobile.

“I am afraid I cannot come. She wants to speak to you alone, without a Cir.” He answered. As soon as Arra’s fins had perked up, they now drooped.

“Oh, okay then,” Arra walks towards the door, her lengthy legs taking few strides to cross the room to get there. “Try not to have too much fun without me, Zhen.”

Gracefully, as is to be expected of one such as she, Arra exited the room, but not before casting one last mischievous glance at Zhen.