Author: Little Mouse (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: They belong to whoever wrote the script and made the movie, I can’t remember who that was right now... it’s 5:00 AM!
Warning: For violence and lemons, at least. More warnings on future chapters, as needed.
Summary: Vaako runs; Riddick follows. Wulia plots. A small, sun-drenched planet holds the key to Vaako’s past, Riddick has to get rid of a certain loyal-to-the-death army, and the Lady doesn’t make life easy for either of them.
A/N: This is not a sequel to Right Hand. It’s a whole new story, though I left Dame Vaako’s name the same. It would have been too confusing, for me, to change it. I will not be putting this one in my schedule, it will be updated as my Muses demand. Could be weekly, could be monthly. Dunno. Let me know if you guys think it’s good enough to continue, though I probably will anyway. Hehehe. Can’t help it.
He wanted out.
He wanted out, away, to run as far and as fast as he could until his entire life was only a faint dot in the distance.
And if he was going to do it, he needed to do it now.
Vaako left the Great Hall behind him, moving swiftly toward the quarters he shared with his wife. His hearing was better than any other Necromonger aboard this spacecraft; he had heard the howl she had given when Riddick killed the Lord Marshal.
And he had heard the flutter of her skirts as she rushed down the stairs, the honey in her voice as she proclaimed her own allegiance to Riddick.
He didn't need a flashing sign to tell him his days were numbered. If Riddick didn't kill him, then Wulia would stab him in his sleep, clearing her way to becoming Wife to the Lord Marshall, Queen of the Necromongers. It was what she had always wanted.
He wasn't a coward, it wasn't fear of death that was making him run. If that was all he was worried about, he would stay and face his punishment. But the death of Lord Zhylaw had woken something in him, something that had been pushed down and strangled since he had been Converted.
An old and forgotten longing...
He reached his chambers and bolted the doors behind him, going straight to the ornate dresser and jerking the drawers out. Where was it? Where...
A small, battered box tumbled out of one drawer, slipping free from the thin garment wrapped around it. Vaako picked it up in hands that trembled slightly, gripped it hard for a long moment.
"Galatsadi..." he whispered, the word faint and musical in the still air around him.
He jerked sharply, pulling his mind back to the moment. The box was shoved inside his armor, hidden from sight. He scooped together some valuables that would bring a pretty price in any spaceport - the ornate bracelets he wore for Court and some of the sparkling jewels he'd given Wulia.
Riddick would give her better ones.
Opening a closet, he pulled out an old black case he usually carried to meetings and upended it, spilling papers and small datapads all over the floor. Once it was empty, he set it on the bed and stuffed a few of his plainest clothes and the gathered valuables into it.
Once that was done, he turned to the huge black desk and grabbed three messagepads, quickly tapping out short missives. One to Riddick, formally resigning his position as First Among Commanders, one to Commander Heliz, the man directly under him, informing him of his resignation and a few duties that had to be taken care of, and the last to Wulia.
Telling her he was leaving.
He lay that one neatly on the desk, it's red light flashing, and pulled off the Torian, the marriage necklace he'd worn since Wulia had accepted him as her Husband. It had her personal symbol on it, and removing it was just as good as going before the Purifyer and getting a formal divorce. He lay it in a shiny little heap just below the blinking light. The other two messagepads he closed, addressed, and dropped into the slot outside his door as he left.
Escaping the ship was ridiculously easy. If he'd still been First of Commanders, and discovered how easy it was, heads would have rolled. As it was, he was grateful for the snoozing sentry and the guards distracted by the mediascreens showing the fight between Riddick and Zhylaw. There was a small supply ship docked against the huge MotherShip, a scruffy looking Necromonger Captain unloading some boxes.
Vaako had taken his hair out of the braids as he'd hurried through the empty halls, and removed any trace of insignia from his armor, leaving him as unmarked as a lowly Private. He had known this ship would be here, knew where it was going, and had a messagepad - signed by himself - ordering Private Marx to join it on its next supply run.
Usually, they just took what they needed from the planets they conquered, but with so many Necromongers, there was always the need for more. Also, not every planet had everything they needed; hence, this small ship and a dozen others like it, that planet-hopped without insignia and with its crew in unmarked armor, so as not to announce their presence.
Very handy information - he was one of the few Necromongers that knew about this little fleet. Zhylaw had felt no need to announce its existence to the entire army. He wanted them to think that their battles totally supported their race. It was better for moral, he'd always told his Commanders.
For once, Vaako was grateful for the man's little treacheries.
He approached the Captain and held out the messagepad, keeping his head down in a gesture of respect that also served to hide his features. The man took the pad and read it, then jerked his head toward some boxes that needed unloading, never once stopping to really look at his new crewman. Vaako obediently moved to the boxes, setting his bag inside the hatch and then carrying a box off the ship.
As soon as he and the Captain finished unloading, the man jerked his head toward the ship again. Vaako gave a fleeting thought to wondering if the man was mute, then boarded as ordered. He tucked his bag away in an empty storage locker and found a ratty-looking bunk to stretch out on. The ship was a one-pilot affair; if the Captain needed him, he'd call.
Right now, Vaako needed rest. He had a hard few weeks behind him, and a long hard journey in front of him.
A long, long journey. He escaped the Captain's not-very-watchful eye at the spaceport, and traded his pilfered jewelry and armor for credits. He traded the garments he'd brought with him for clothing that would never be considered that of a Necromonger, then used some of his credits to purchase transport on a small freighter.
It was the only one going anywhere near his destination, and had the added bonus of leaving in about a half hour. He needed to get away before the Captain discovered his absence. The man might not be much of a soldier, but he'd be in trouble if he couldn't find a deserter. Of course, Vaako knew he wouldn't really be in trouble; Private Marx didn't actually exist.
If someone figured out how Commander Vaako had escaped the MotherShip, then the man would be in serious trouble - but Vaako doubted it.
He doubted if anyone was even looking.
Riddick, he felt, wasn't the type to seek revenge. He would have gotten most of that from Zhylaw, anyway - Vaako hadn't forced that little girl aboard his ship, and Riddick would know that. So, hopefully - and very likely - out of sight would be out of mind.
Besides, he'd have Wulia to distract him. The Lady was very good at that.
Vaako didn't regret leaving his Wife behind. He hadn't married her for love, anyway - she'd researched the Commanders after Zhylaw had refused her, and found the one most likely to succeed in his chosen career. Then she'd pursued him, wooed him, made him think she couldn't live without him. Flattered, he had given little thought to her true personality and married her quite willingly.
Only to find himself trapped in a living hell.
He shuddered, and shoved thoughts of Wulia away. He had to get on board that ship before it took off.
It took him five weeks, and thirty-seven ships, to get to where he was going.
The last was a tiny cargo hauler, whose Captain looked at him oddly but accepted the lone credit he offered and gave him a ride. The ship touched down and Vaako was out the hatch as soon as it opened, his much emptier bag still gripped in one hand.
Hot and bright.
He shielded his eyes against the glaring sun and saw sand, pure white sand, stretching out in front of him until it met the vast expanse of a rolling blue sea. The sky overhead was cloudless and a deep, unimaginable blue.
Behind him, the Captain was bartering for his desired cargo with a handful of sun-seared natives. None of them were paying Vaako the slightest bit of attention.
He took a deep breath and the warm, salt-tinged air flooding his lungs brought back a rush of memories. He could taste sand on his tongue, a fine, mineral taste that he had forgotten. In the distance he could see black dots on the waves, native fishing boats bobbing lazily as the people on board waited patiently for a school of fish to pass by. The beach was dotted with ramshackle dwellings, and a tang of smoke mixed with the smell of frying fish to tell him dinner would soon be ready.
"Galatsadi," he whispered, and then he wept.
When Vaako had assumed no one would be looking for him, he was wrong.
Riddick sat in his private chambers, watching a video run in an endless loop on a mediascreen.
Vaako leaving the Great Hall, ransacking his chambers, undoing his braids as he strode down the hallways, tossing his hard-earned insignia into an incinerator hatch. Greeting the Captain, unloading the little supply ship, and then boarding it before it moved away from the MotherShip.
Then over again, Vaako leaving the Great Hall, ransacking his chambers...
Riddick growled, shutting off the screen and stalking over to throw himself into a chair. "No idea where he would go?"
"No, Lord Marshall." Commander Heliz said patiently, just like he hadn't answered that question daily for over a month. He really didn't have any idea where Lord Vaako would have gone; the man had no more family or home than any of them.
And he'd left Lady Wulia behind.
Not that the Lady had minded that, at first. Oh, no, she'd been utterly delighted, throwing herself openly at the new Lord Marshall. Riddick had seemed amused at first, though he'd started asking about Vaako the very first day; he'd still put up with Wulia's ridiculous display for almost a week.
Then he'd bluntly told her he wasn't interested.
Heliz still snickered when he remembered the look on her face.
Oh, hell. Speak of the devil... well, demoness, anyway... Lady Wulia was coming through the doors right now. She'd only stepped up her campaign after Riddick refused her, though she took a bit more care to be subtle now. She was dressed in her finest, a gown of green scales shot through with gold, her hair elaborately arranged with a few gold chains and a sparkling emerald.
He would have expected her emerald headdress - if he hadn't seen Vaako shove that into his bag.
He snickered again. Vaako was well within his rights; Heliz had been there when Wulia's constant demands and whines had worn Vaako down, and he'd traded a large piece of his Account for the headdress she'd wanted. He knew Wulia would never have thought to transfer it to her own name; she thought Vaako was permanently under her thumb.
He'd sure showed her.
Heliz and Vaako had always been on relatively good terms. He was pleased that the man had escaped from Lady Wulia, and hoped he escaped from whatever punishment the Lord Marshall seemed intent on delivering.
That was why, if he ever did think of a place Vaako might have headed, he didn't think he'd ever tell Riddick.
Riddick growled a little when Wulia's familiar scent filled his nostrils. Damn woman, couldn't she ever leave him alone? Even after he'd told her no in front of half the Court, she still hung around.
He didn't want her.
Oh, she was pretty. Smelled beautiful, looked beautiful. But he had always had a feeling she was a bitch to deal with.
And, damn, had he ever been right.
"What do you want now?" He asked, not turning even though he knew she was standing just behind him.
"Lord Marshall... several of your Court will hold a small dinner tonight. Just an intimate affair, no more than twenty. We would be most honored if you would join us."
"No," he growled, not giving her a reason. He saw no need to, she'd tried this before. Offered a dinner, he'd gone just because there was nothing else to do, and it had been only her. Only Lady Wulia, with some half-assed excuse about the others having sudden issues that had to be dealt with immediately.
He'd eaten the dinner - he was hungry, after all - then left, ignoring her pleas and blandishments. Annoying bitch, no wonder Vaako hadn't even tried to take her with him.
Had, according to Heliz, divorced her by leaving that necklace behind. Riddick remembered the tiny, pleased smile on those soft lips when Vaako removed the Torian. No, he'd had no intention of taking Wulia with him.
"But, Lord Marshall..." her voice was low and sweet, sounding pleasant in his ears but making his skin crawl with anger. "But Lord Riddick... we are all so looking forward to your company!"
"I said no. Heliz!"
"Yes, Lord Marshall?" The Commander leapt up from his chair at the angry tone.
"Take her back to her chambers. I don't want to be disturbed, rest of the evening. Got it?"
"Yes, Lord Marshall!" Heliz' voice was pleased, a smirk on his face as he took Wulia's arm. She tried to protest, in a dainty, ladylike way, but Heliz knew an order when he heard it and it didn't bother him a bit to carry this one out.
The doors shut with an impressive hollow 'boom' behind them.
Then went back to his video, turning on the screen in time to see Vaako hand the messagepad to the Captain, to watch him unloading the ship. He punched some buttons under the screen, indulging himself now that he was alone, and watched the play of muscles in lean, strong thighs as the man worked. He really wished Vaako had taken off the bulky armor; he would have liked to see the muscles in his back and arms, as well.
Vaako was just beautiful.
Far more beautiful than his former wife could ever hope to be. Riddick had wanted him from the first moment he saw him, after he finished fighting that Necromonger on Helia Prime, but there had been no chance of stealing the man away there.
He'd wanted him even more after seeing him on Crematorium, watching the man fight. He'd been graceful and deadly and Riddick had wanted to just grab him and haul him off to some dark corner even then.
But he still couldn't. Had to get Kyra out of there, owed her that, owed Fry and the priest that much, although the debt still irked him. Then he'd been knocked out cold, but Kyra had gone with the Necros...
He'd boarded the ship with the intention of taking her away - but it hadn't been his only intention. He'd never planned to fight the Lord Marshall, but he had planned to find his pretty warrior and take him away, too. Knock him out and sling him over his shoulder, if he had to. Find one of the little ships and steal it, take them both far, far away. Give Kyra a new life somewhere, anywhere she wanted.
Maybe make a new life of his own, with the only person he'd ever wanted.
He didn't question the desire - it had never been in him to second-guess himself, to ponder over his wants and what they might mean. He just accepted them as they came, satisfied them when he could.
The thought of satisfying this want still made him shiver.
When Kyra had died, thrown across the room to be skewered on those decorative blades, he'd seen red. He'd wanted to kill the smirking Lord Marshall, wanted it so badly all the other wants had been submerged. The fight was still a little hazy to him, sweat and pain and the horrible ache of his soul when Zhylaw tried to rip it out of him; then the axe crashing into the floor and the knife buried in the man's skull...
...and then blinking tears away to see his pretty warrior kneeling before him, offering his allegiance.
Short-lived allegiance, but he wouldn't blame Vaako for that. The man probably thought he was going to kill him; he'd been in situations like this before. The whole Necromonger army would be behind Riddick; no one could buck odds like that.
Running had been a smart thing.
But Riddick was going to track him down.
The video loop had again reached the scene of Vaako ripping the drawers out of the dresser, searching through the scattered clothes. The man picked up a tiny box and Riddick quickly leaned forward, cranked the volume.
Listened again to that soft voice, whispering the word that was driving him crazy.
What the hell did that mean?!