As the Moons Rise...

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As the Moons Rise...

Post by Regan Black on Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:48 pm

Every morning, the first sounds to penetrate the thick fog of a sound sleep was the soft footsteps of the maid as she entered, drew back the heavy drapes, and made a cup of tea.  As usual, Regan stayed behind the bedcurtains, face buried in the sumptuous mound of pillows, stretching out the precious few moments before she had to get up.

At last, she pushed herself up, running a hand over her hair to flatten the worst of it down.  The curtains, always on the left side of the bed, were pulled back and fastened to the bedpost.  A cup of tea was thrust into her waiting hand.

"Good morning, Lady Regan."

"Maria," greeted Regan, sipping the tea cautiously.  It was perfect; Maria had grown accustomed to her quirks, and knew that the tea had to be ready to drink.  Then again, Maria had had plenty of time - she was two years younger than Regan, and had at first been a playmate, then prepared for service.  She was both a servant and Regan's best and most loyal friend.

"Your mother wishes to see you, once you are ready," Maria advised, holding out a silk gown.  Regan slipped one arm into it, manoeuvred the cup into her other hand, then finished donning the gown.  She slid off the bed into the waiting slippers and allowed Maria to tie the gown, concentrating on her tea and the caffeine that was stirring her into a state of readiness for the day.

"Did she say why?" Regan asked, stifling a yawn.  She set the now empty cup down on the dresser and sat beside it.  Maria produced a hairbrush and started to brush out her hair, neatening Regan's wild locks faster than her own efforts had managed.

"I'm not sure, my lady.  The Duke received a message from the Court at first light and has been in a good mood ever since.  Your mother bade me wake you a little early this morning."

"From the Court?"  That woke her up.  It was rare that her father received good news from them, despite all his efforts.  Eager to find out what the news was, Regan reached for her cosmetics, applying them herself rather than waiting for Maria to finish.

Maria chuckled.  "I'll not fuss too much with your hair today, my lady.  Your father is in his office, and your mother is in the Aviary."  She walked away and returned with a sleek dress and a bracelet.  Regan strapped this to her wrist, allowing Maria to help her into the dress before pressing the screen embedded in the silver band.  It sprang to life and she used it to send a quick message to her mother.

"Thank you," she said absently, patting Maria's shoulder.  "I'll call for you later."  Regan hurried from her bedroom, almost falling over one of the maintenace robots in her haste.
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Re: As the Moons Rise...

Post by Regan Black on Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:52 pm

As she made her way to the Aviary, her bracelet lit up with messages. Usually Regan spent the first part of her morning reading them, and then reading them again; much of the information she gleaned from these wasn't necessarily intended on the part of the sender. Today, they would have to wait. She swept imperiously past the servants and 'bots as they went about their chores, earning curious looks; it was rare for her to be up and about at this hour.

In truth, it wasn't a hardship, even for someone who enjoyed their sleep, if it meant going to the Aviary. It was Lord Black's pride and joy, and Regan's favourite place on the whole of Mars to be. It had taken years of planning, endless trials to try and build a habitat fit for Earth birds on the red planet. Once the building to house them had been designed, the challenge came of transporting the birds from Earth without too much trauma, and more than one animal didn't survive. It was all worth it, however, to view the glorious birds flying overhead, plumage more brilliant than even the best pictures of rainbows. And, Regan thought with a smirk, glancing out of the window across the gardens to the building, it was a good piece of forethought on her father's part. Earth may not be totally gone - she had heard rumours that the UEG had not collapsed - but the animals would suffer in the devastation. At least some of them were preserved here.

"My lady." One of the servants hurried up. "A very good morning to-"

Regan held up a hand to silence him. "Has Lady Black returned yet?"

"No, my lady-"

"Good. Order me transport to the Aviary, and be quick about it. I don't want to have to wait all morning." She turned away, the servant scurrying to call for a car before she thought of something else for him to do.
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Re: As the Moons Rise...

Post by Regan Black on Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:43 pm

The car drove smoothly across the well-maintained paths.  Of all the new fiefdoms on Mars, Elysium was both the most beautiful and, ironically, the most backwards.  It had been a conscious choice by her father - "I spent most of my life surrounded by robots and technology," he had declared when Regan had worked up the nerve to ask why.  "Am I not entitled to some serenity when I come home?"

She hadn't dared try and change his mind.  He was notoriously stubborn when he chose to be, much as she was; it was just that she had inherited her mother's wisdom when it came to choosing one's battles.  Besides, it was worth it when someone from another family came to visit their estates.  The look on their faces when they felt the climate, saw the flowers that had been imported from Earth and carefully nurtured, was something she savoured.  In the months since the devastation of the blue planet, her father's foresight and caution had seen his court standing rise.

The car slowed, stopped; the door was opened by the driver and she emerged, thoughts returning to cursing her father.  She'd visited Marquis of Diacria last year and they'd had moving walkways everywhere; huge screens showing everything from typical propaganda to the latest entertainment; and more robots than people.

She could almost hear her mother's voice, chiding her for her laziness.

She could her Lady Black's voice.

"Ah, Regan!"  Lady Black came out to meet the car, followed by her entourage.  "You're up early.  Did Maria give you the message?"

"Of course.  I hear Daddy had news?"

"Yes.  They delivered it by hand."  Lady Black let the magnitude of this sink in; most messages were sent remotely.  Only the most formal were delivered in person.  "Come in, dear.  Let's have some breakfast."  She nodded at a servant, who disappeared promptly to arrange some food to be brought.  Regan followed her mother into the Aviary, practically vibrating with excitement.
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Re: As the Moons Rise...

Post by Regan Black on Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:14 pm

Lady Black waited until Regan had eaten a reasonable amount before turning to business.

"Where do you see yourself in the future, Regan?"

Regan chewed, swallowed, contemplated. "I haven't really thought about it." She eyed her mother speculatively. "That's the least innocent question you've ever asked, Mummy. What are my options?"

Lady Black chuckled. "I can never put anything past you. The easiest option, of course, would be to marry into a good family, as Cordelia will, to improve your father's standing. I don't see this as particularly appealing to you, if the look on your face is anything to go by."

Regan's expression was disgusted, putting across quite clearly how she felt about marrying for political reasons. It was fine for Cordelia, because she actually liked the man she was marrying, but Regan was not her sister. She was too excitable to settle down. Even now she was fidgeting in her seat.

"Not really," she managed when it became clear her mother was waiting for an answer.

"I thought not." Lady Black smiled and passed a letter across to Regan, who took it curiously. She had never seen such curious paper before; thick, heavy, softer than she had ever seen.

"It's vellum," Lady Black explained. "The Court uses it for the most formal communications. It was sent digitally as well, so you can keep that if you wish." Regan smiled, perusing the contents carefully. When she reached the end, she set it down with reverence.

"A ball?" she asked softly.

"Yes. It's quite an occasion for the first person born on Mars to come of age, and the Court is hoping it will raise morale after the past few months. Things have been getting worse since the war. Some people have even left Mars to go back there, or to try and join with the fleet. Your birthday is as good an excuse as any."

"I see." Regan frowned. "So it's not really for me, then."

"No." Lady Black reached out and covered Regan's hand with her own. "Daddy wanted me to ask you, Regan... How would you like to stay at Olympus, after the ball?"

Regan started. "Really?"

"Yes." Her mother smiled. "You'd be acting as a liaison between Elysium and the Court. It would open a lot of doors for you, Regan, and give you more opportunities than you'd ever get if you stayed here."

Regan looked past her mother, through the clear windows into the Aviary, at the veritable rainbow of plumage within. This was her home, her family. Her life. Could she leave it? What would she even do in the-

A wicked smile crossed her lips, quickly being replaced by one that was more demure and acceptable on a young lady. She knew her mother wasn't fooled, but she also knew her parents were well aware of Regan's ambitions. This was a better gift than anything she had received for her birthday. In her mind's eye, she could see herself at Olympus, mingling with the true powers that be.

"Well, you know what Daddy always says," she murmured, smiling into her tea. "This is my planet. I just need to go out there and take it."
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Re: As the Moons Rise...

Post by Regan Black on Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:55 pm

Deimos was rising when the Rover arrived. Once a decision had been made, their entire staff rushed to prepare Regan for her trip to the Court. The vehicle was an ugly, ungracious thing, designed to be entirely practical. She stood beside it, looking out at the six huge wheels and heavy frame. Even the sight of the Rover, normally cause for disdain, was exciting to her today.

"Are you ready?" The whole family had come to see her off. Regan carried nothing herself, but her entourage, those who would be travelling to the Court with her, to serve her whilst she was there, were laden down with bags. Maria had to come, of course; she was the only one familiar enough with Regan's routine and, behind closed doors, she was the Lady's best friend. A wall in a tuxedo turned out to be a bodyguard, glowering away from behind dark glasses, and her father had surprised her with her very own gladiator robot. "It's an older model," Lord Black had said, "but it's fast, and I've had it modified. It will serve you well, little Wren."

Now it was time for farewells. The servants had bid goodbye to their families earlier, with some tears and a lot of praise - to move to the Court was seen by many as a promotion above the rank and file of the household staff. Regan wasn't as emotional as she had thought, but it was a long journey, and she had plenty of time to grow homesick.

"Good luck, sis." Justin squeezed her tightly, lifted her off the ground for a moment. "Give 'em hell."

"I'm sure we'll see you soon." Cordelia was bravely holding back her tears. Regan couldn't help but roll her eyes as she accepted a kiss on her cheek from her older sister. Lady Black had already left, too emotional to stay.

Regan turned to face her father. He clapped a hand to her shoulder.

"Remember who you are and where you came from," he said, unusually solemn. "We'll be there for the ball, of course."

"Of course."

"Don't let them drag you down," he muttered, drawing her in for a hug. "Remember, little Wren. You were the first born here. This is your world."

"I know." Regan pressed her face into his shoulder, drying her tears before he could see them. "Don't worry, Daddy. I'll be fine." She drew back, flashed her wicked grin. "I fully intend to take it."

"That's my girl."

All of the servants had boarded the Rover now, and so she had to follow, giving one last wave to her family. The heavy door closed, leaving just a small window for Regan to look out of. The Rover roared to life, making its way through the first set of doors. Once they had sealed, the next set would open, and the Rover would make its way over the dusty, bumpy surface of Mars, making its way steadily towards Olympus.

Deimos caught her eye again as she glanced out of the window. Regan smiled. The moon was rising... and so was she.
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