Welcome, welcome, welcome, faithful reader! Here we have another entry into the Left of Midnight novel. It’s the next Micro-Chapter of the book! This was a fairly lengthy entry so I decided to make it its own posting. Next week, Micro-Chapter 2.8 will be its own entry as well.
Anyhow, let’s not dawdle. Let’s just get right into it! Hope you enjoy this latest entry and I appreciate your dropping by to read this newest work of mine! Alright, see you all next week!
ER’RA ZEL HURRIED down the long corridor. It was nearing eleven thirty and she was certain the others would be pacing impatiently by this point.
If not already left. Te’yumin has been distressed about this whole matter from the beginning. Er’ra Zel frowned as she rounded the corner of an intersection deep within the bowels of the council complex. There were no windows in this section of the city. It was just a series of jumbled together buildings that weren’t even out in the open world of the vast cavern networks that had long since been hollowed out beneath ancient Odjemir. Instead, this was the home base of operations for the Adjudicant Praetorium, the legal authority in Farediin and the judicial forum of all five of the subterranean nation states. It was a nest or a hive even further beneath the Intranational Federal Administration building where the council held session. And it always felt so cold to Er’ra Zel as she navigated the various corridors and connecting atriums.
Few people traveled along these routes. Mostly because the transit tubes didn’t travel here. It was walking or nothing. An issue she’d brought up more than once with the council. But they seemed less than concerned over the matter. For one thing, it was a fairly isolated area. Only members of the adjudicants bothered coming down there. Oh sure, some people would make the effort to bring a gravitational cart to make the transit easier so that they could make their appointments sooner (she was really wishing she had access to one now), but there was no guarantee that the device wouldn’t trigger the automated security drones and checkpoints effectively shuttering the entire complex.
Another issue to bring up with the council. Why do they continually ignore our needs? Er’ra Zel rushed across a two-dozen foot wide atrium with a central sunken depression accessible by a series of four steps ringing the area. It was supposed to be a garden of sorts. Complete with flowering bushes and a few small trees poking up at random intervals. While it was obvious at least the groundskeeper still came along every now and then, the simple fact was there weren’t enough people to make the ‘relaxing’ little spot worthwhile. In fact, it was quite effectively hindering her progress now as she made her way across the simple labyrinth making up its central décor.
She raced out of the other side, up the four steps, and through the opposite gateway and down a corridor that was more a tunnel through the earth than hall rising a good fifteen feet high. Doors to various other areas were spread out at regular intervals yet there still were no windows. Not even out onto the corridor. Making the whole atmosphere claustrophobic and depressing.
She reached the three lifts halfway down and triggered the door. It slid open and she got on what was essentially a slab of metal used for transporting large items like furniture or machinery up and down the various levels. She hit the panel to bring up the display and selected five levels up.
Blast it! Why couldn’t there have been lifts built closer to the Caldura District? It’s ridiculous having to run a marathon just to make a meeting upstairs! Er’ra Zel watched the doors slide shut and the lift begin its slow upwards ascent. She paced with her arms folded over her chest for a moment before letting them drop to her sides and clenching her hands. Her gaze fell to the metal floor with the slight sheen that always gave one a view up her skirt when she wore one. Which is why she stopped wearing one. Misogynistic asswipes. I’ll bet my entire monthly rations they designed this for a cheap thrill! How many millennia has Farediin existed? And still you’re just a bunch of walking peckers! She clenched her eyes tightly and paced faster. No. She wasn’t angry about one or two perverts trying to liven up an otherwise uneventful existence. No. That wasn’t it at all. Right now, anyhow.
“Gods damn you, Nindemus!” Er’ra Zel came to a sudden stop and unclenched her eyes. “You did this on purpose, didn’t you? Oh, who are your little spies now? Hmmm? Who are they? What do they know? Oh, I know the biggest pecker of them all and I’m ready to break that reptilian cock of yours off and shove it down your throat!”
She reached out to the panel and swiped her hand through the level display with several quick passes. “Come on… come on!”
She took in a deep breath and two steps back unclenching her fists and closing her eyes. “Okay. Calm down, Er’ra Zel. Calm down. The preening prick wants you pissed. So, let it go.”
Her chest heaved in deeply and slowly depressed as she let her breath out and took her time reopening her eyes. She sighed feeling a little bit better. But realizing her time was ever shorter than it was before. Her little side trip to taking care of their new guests had been an unfortunate distraction. She only hoped she could keep her alliance together in the interim despite the fact.
Still, Avery is a pretty fine specimen of humanity, she smiled in spite of herself as the elevator lift opened. She stepped out and hurried down the hall. Not quite at a run. She was experiencing a sudden rush of heat and so lifted her right hand to fan her face as she exhaled sharply trying to get all of her exertions (in every regard) under control. Too bad he stunk so much. Oh, please! He smelled… mmm… like a man that knows how to handle himself. You mean brutish and unkempt? Ha! Silly, silly girl! When was the last time a jinpo male smelled like he moved a mountain? Could move a mountain? And had time to then—you know what…
Er’ra Zel inadvertently chuckled as she reached a closed door and brought her hand to her mouth and looked both ways down the corridor despite knowing there was no one else around. She smoothed out the robe hanging off her backside and took in another deep breath to exhale in as slow a fashion as possible.
“Calm yourself down, Zel,” she worked to keep the smile on her face from broadening. “Think about that asshole Nindemus and how you are going to deal with him.”
The thought alone caused her features to grow more serious. She reached for the panel and triggered the entryway. Nindemus was always a sobering reminder at what was at stake in all of the collective. She entered the room and saw three people standing around a table at the center. The table was round with a series of chairs surrounding it. The room, a long rectangle. Meandering about was one smooth faced, grey skinned, hairless, large dark eyed mindian; a tall and thin tydon with her hands folded in front of her, her long blue-black hair falling down her back to her small waist, her light blue-white skin a stark contrast to what she was wearing and the hair on her head. Like she was a negative of some ancient camera’s picture; and leaning against the wall to the right, a short and bulky daninite wearing a grimace and a bad attitude. He was hairless too and looked much like a sour toad from somewhere out of the deserts of the Americas. Only, at nearly five feet in height, he’d be one serious toad to contend with, what with the spikes coming out of his head along the ridges running towards his neck and down his spine. Councilor Umiberege was one of his number. Albeit with paler, almost white skin as compared to this one’s dark brown and tan flesh.
“Councilor Er’ra Zel,” the mindian saw her and rushed around the table. She knew him as Resh Nii Dion of the Mindian Primacy in the Halik Peoples Republic, the smallest of the city states and the nearest to Shoenden. Their city was the last refuge of the mindian after they fled Halik some twelve thousand years earlier. Er’ra Zel wasn’t exactly certain what the reason for their flight was, but she understood the world was now uninhabitable. Recently, Nindemus had returned from the broken world and insisted that the mindian join Shoenden to create a larger city state. Something that had the mindian up in arms as they quickly refused. The last thing in the galaxy they trusted was a Cre’Nomanor. A species so arrogant, they expected their own species’ title to always been capitalized. “You’re late. We’ve been waiting over an hour!”
“I understand,” Er’ra Zel lifted a hand to stop him before he gripped her forearms. He and his had a bad habit of violating personal space. “I was held up. Prefect Nindemus brought in two humans who recently crashed landed on the island.”
“Humans?” the daninite, Horf, uncrossed his arms and pushed off the wall. His stocky frame caused his leather armor to crackle and squelch as he moved. “The last thing we need involved in all of this are those creatures. I’d heard word that there were some of them nearby. Thought maybe they’d just stick to their own self-destructive means and leave us out of it.”
“It wasn’t exactly their fault,” Er’ra Zel said. “The prefect thought it best to bring them inside our borders insisting that they were a threat to Odjemir and its denizens. Being the Constable Prime of the Adjudicant Praetorium, I was obligated to escort them to the council. Regrettably, the prefect was torturing them for information when I went to discover why he hadn’t brought them to the council as requested.”
The tydon stepped forward then. Er’ra Zel knew her as Beria. Though her full title was something she could never quite remember. Something along the lines of Beria Dorolia Cos Curan Dremel something, something. So, she’d just taken to referring to the woman as Prefect Beria.
“You see now the games he plays, councilor,” Beria said, a forlorn expression on her slender face. Her features always reminded Er’ra Zel of one of Earth’s feline species. Only hairless and far smoother. “Nindemus cannot be trusted. We’re running out of excuses to offer him. There is a plan, I know it. He will bring it to fruition soon and force us to unite with his consortium. Even a few of your people now follow him as his adjutants.”
“Yeah, I noticed he was trying to confuse people with an organization bearing a similar mark and title to ours. I don’t know his game. Yet. But I will soon. With your help,” Er’ra Zel said and glanced around the room. “Of course, I can’t help but note that we’re short a few people.”
“They grew tired of waiting,” Horf stated bluntly. “They also grew fearful. Word is getting around that Nindemus is aware of our plans of an alliance. The three of us agree, there is little other choice. But let’s not fool ourselves, councilor, Nindemus’ influence is growing. Have you heard anything about the True Word movement?”
Er’ra Zel raised one brow. “I’ve heard the name somewhere. But I didn’t give it much thought. Something about religious identity in times of uncertainty.”
“You should listen closer,” Resh placed his hands on the table and leaned forward. “Word has it, Nindemus heads the body. That he brought back this belief from the Cascain ranges. That he found something buried there. And that it might be related to Midnight.”
Er’ra Zel scoffed and tossed up her hands. “Are we to give in to myths now? Believe ourselves compromised by demons and devils? The only one we need to be concerned about is Nindemus. And if he is running this so called ‘True Word’ movement, well, I’ll just have to be careful how I proceed.”
“You may wish to speak with your own Prefect Trillian of the former Urudian Caste. He spoke of a major presence of the True Word followers in his midst,” Beria said gently, her hands playing in the air before her like the mild swayings of a composer. “It would seem he is quite unnerved and fearful.”
“Very fearful,” Horf interjected.
The three others looked to one another and then back to Er’ra Zel. In unison they said, “Of Midnight.”
Er’ra Zel was silent for a moment as she contemplated everything and stared at the floor. Then shook her head to clear her thoughts as she looked to them.
“Right now, let’s just concentrate on the alliance and holding Nindemus at bay. This isn’t a council approved operation and I fear Chancellor Sendima would have me removed if he discovered we were even discussing such an endeavor.”
Horf scoffed in a thick, meaty cough. “Please. If he isn’t willing to hold Nindemus in check, clearly he isn’t interested in the balance of power within the holds of the Farediin Federation. There are just the three of us prefects as well as yourself, Constable Prime. That leaves us all with an uncomfortable reality. Four of our ranks have refuse to join us and are now either slinking away to hide in their corners…”
“Or seeking an alliance with Prefect Nindemus,” Prefect Beria finished.
“You can never trust an Cre’Nomanor,” Prefect Resh stood to his full height and added.
Er’ra Zel sighed. “Are we all in agreement of this alliance between the four of us, then?”
All acknowledged with a sighing nod, their eyes full of determination. Er’ra Zel nodded in return.
“Right now, it’s dangerous to put this into writing. I will seek out Trillian and see if there’s something he knows that we do not. We have a lot of work to do over the next few days and with Nindemus being on the march, our efforts must be doubled.”
“I agree wholeheartedly,” Prefect Beria said. The other two chimed in that they understood as well.
“Very well. We’ll meet back here in two days’ time to discuss what we’ve learned and what further action must be taken. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I can find a way to convince the council to cut off Nindemus. Remove him from power over Shoenden.”
There was some snickering to this and shaking of heads. Prefect Resh sighed. “Good luck with that, adjudicant. You are going to need it and so much more.”
“Of that, I don’t doubt…” Er’ra Zel said and turned to leave. Her first stop, Urudii to discover just why Prefect Trillian bailed. He was the one who initially suggested the other prefects to begin with. And she would sure like to know what caused him to turn away from that agenda now.
There we go. We’re at the end of this week’s offering. We’re a quarter of the way through Section Two. I think it’s getting along fairly well! I’m still working on Section Three and I hope to have everything said and done with this novel by the end of summer with a release on Amazon Kindle in the fall. So, if you’ve been enjoying this tale, I do hope you’ll be willing to swing on by my author’s page and pick up a copy when it’s available! Don’t worry, I’ll be making an announcement for when the book will be released. Still have some time left before we get to that moment though.
Alright, be sure to stop in next week for more of Left of Midnight and thanks for reading!
~Timothy S Purvis
Since you’re here, why not head on over to my author’s page and check out what else I have to offer as far as writing goes? I have several books and several individual publications like short stories and novellas for only a buck! Just click on my name and the link will take you straight to my site–>Timothy S Purvis
Also, here is a link to one of my books. Just click on it and go and check out the splendor of my writing talent! …Of course, if you’ve gotten this far on my blog, I get the feeling you like my writing to begin with so cool. But, still, feel free to check this one out as well and support the cause!