Avriel tiredly leaned back against the door and studied her new guest with curiosity. The Lios looked like a panther-headed woman with a short black pelt, she was dressed in a leather dress that was split up both sides, to allow freedom of movement, and belted at her waist. It hid most of her figure from view. She had hands with surprisingly delicate claw fingers and a light dusting of fur across the backs of her hand and fingers, while the palms were unfurred and revealed that the Lios woman was pale skinned under her black fur. Her eyes were a greenish yellow and the pupil was opened huge to catch the dim light in the cavern and they reflected it back light twin lanterns in the darkness as she studied Avriel in return.
"Thank you, we owe you our lives," the woman said tilting her head back. Avriel nodded to her but when Sidney continued she started in surprise.
"To tilt back the head and expose the throat is a sign of submission and trust. She is accepting you as more dominant then her," Sidney explained.
"What does that mean exactly," she asked Sidney.
"Basically it means your in charge and she will follow your orders, however it also means she will look to you for protection," Sidney explained and Avriel sighed and let her eyes go back to the Lios.
"What is your name," Avriel asked.
"Tara and my daughter is Lara," Tara replied.
"Alright, let's get you settled in, then you can explain why you are here," Avriel said and led them toward the house. She set them up in the captains quarters sharing her bed until the nanites could either add another room to the structure or build a new building for them.
"I was born in Prowelurgaence," Tara began, she was sitting on the bed with Lara curled up in her lap sleeping.
"Let's call it Prowel I doubt I could pronounce that and we'll call this cavern Base, alright," Avriel asked cutting in and Tara nodded.
"I was born in Prowel, it is a small Lios village to the north of here," Tara began again but was once again interrupted as Sidney spoke this time.
"Avriel the Lupos from earlier has returned and is watching the front entrance again. I believe he was here long enough to witness the fight between the Lios and us as well," Sidney said and Sidbot rolled into the room and a three dimensional image of the Lupos began projecting from her eyes. The Lupos was standing on a tree limb watching the entrance of Base and not moving at all. The canine figure, which Avriel figured was male from lack of breasts, wore only a kilt a great deal like the Lios' garb and carried a spear strapped to its back and a small leather shield on its left arm. Azriel lifted a small arm to reach out and try to grab the hologram of the Lupos but didn't make a sound when his hand passed through it although if face scrunched with annoyance. Avriel let out a small laugh at him and gently brush a hand through the silky strands of his golden hair and rubbed her nose against his. He gurgled in delight and grabbed fistful of her hair as it swung into reach. Lara woke at the sound of Avriel's laughter but mewled and curled into a tighter ball of fur and drifted off again immediately.
"Keep a drone on him without it being observed if you can until he leaves. Inform me if he moves closer to Base," Avriel ordered Sidney.
"Yes, Avriel," she replied and Sidbot rolled out of the room. With the robots departure Avriel turned back to Tara and waited for her to continue.
"After I was born I was with my mother always, learning cleaning, cooking, basic first aid, and sewing among other things. The females of the Lios with the exception of one clan are not allowed to train in weapons or fighting. They are taught to rely on the males and to take care of the men in return for their protection. While most are content with this way of life some don't like it and the males began to view the females as property with no rights. Most of the women won't fight back either because of fear or they believe the males have some right to rule their lives and the males treatment of the females have been getting worse," Tara said. Avriel hadn't been around any Lios before and she found it difficult to read Tara's features since they were so far from her own but the Lios' body language meant they were coming to the bad part of the story.
"Arranged marriages are not uncommon in the Lios tribes and most times the bride is not consulted although she has the option of refusal to wed the man picked for her. When I was sixteen the mother and father arranged for me the wed a male Lios by the name of Slant," Tara said.
"We've met," Avriel interjected dryly.
"I know, I saw," Tara said and her lips pulled back from her teeth in a frightening display of pointed teeth. Avriel was stunned by the sight until she realized Tara was grinning at her and she smiled back.
"Well we were betrothed but Slant is not a good male. He would have been unfaithful and he was often violent to women he lay with so I refused the match. My Papa said that I should at least meet with Slant and tell him my decision in person. He told me he would not leave me alone with Slant and that he would be there with me," Tara said and a tear rolled down her furred cheek as anger began to fill her voice.
"So I agreed to my Papa's demand and we went to meet with Slant. When we arrived at Slant's hut my Papa had me enter first and then he slammed the door closed behind me. I tried to open the door but he must have barred it with something because it would not budge. Slant was waiting for me inside of he laughed at me when I tried to open the door."
"Nobody turns me down," he said.
"Then h-h-he forced...," Tara unable to say it broking into racking sobs and Avriel wanting to comfort the woman slid next to her and wrapped her arms around her. Tara's black fur was silky and soft and Tara clung to her as she cried. The Lios' shoulders shook and she made an odd huffing noise instead of sniffles, Azriel woke from the sound but lay were he was and didn't make a sound he just watched them. Finally Tara's crying slowed and then stopped with a huffing sniffle. She pulled back away from Avriel to sit up straight and then forced a small grateful smile at her.
"Sorry," Tara began.
"There is nothing to be sorry for," Avriel said interrupting her.
"After he stood over me as I lay weeping on the ground and laughed at me. Rage filled me and the world seemed to go red and I lashed out at him with my foot in to his groin. There was a squishing feeling as one of his testicles crushed between his pelvis and my heel. He let loose a scream so loud the next tribe over should have been able to hear it and dropped to the floor. I scramble to my feet and ran at the door when I heard a sound on the other side. My Papa must have become concerned at the sound of the scream and he unbarred the door. I slammed into it with all my weight going as fast as I could and the door flew open and it caused my Papa to stumble back as I ran out. He was fast enough that he caught my arm before I could flee and he jerked me to a halt."
"What have you done," he demanded anger on his face.
"I was so hurt and angry and I hated him more than Slant for his betrayal. I reached out with my claws and raked them down his face. He must not expected me to attack him because he was to slow to stop me and I lay open the skin on four parallel diagonal cuts across his face. He lost an eye; my claw sliced it cleanly in two as my clawed finger slid into the socket. He shoved me away from him and howled as he clutched his face. 'Now everyone can see the monster that lives in you by simply looking at your face,' I hissed at him and ran towards our hut. When I burst into the room my little brother was there asking my mother where I was but my arrival interrupted her answer. When she looked up to meet my eyes I knew that she knew what they had done. She had a sad tormented look on her face as she looked at me until her nose flared at the smell of blood and her eyes dropped to my blood soaked hand.
"What have you done," she asked echoing my father. I wanted to hurt her like I her him but I didn't, she didn't help them in anyway except by doing nothing to help me. I was in a hurry anyway and ran to the pile of my belongings in in tiny room. I grabbed everything and shoved it into a pack I had made when I was a young girl.
"What are you doing? Where is your father," my mother demanded from the doorway to my room.
"'I am leaving, and Papa is bleeding in front of Slant's hut,' I answered her and ran from the hut as she screamed after me to come back. Slant is Rashak's son and hurting him would have been seen as an insult to the Rashak himself so I ran into the forest. I had only my few belongings and a hunting knife that all of the women are allowed to have so we may clean the kills the males bring back. That was two years ago and I have been hiding ever since, I began to swell with child less than a month after I ran away I considered taking some herbs to rid myself of the child but in the end I didn't. Six months after my escape from my clan and I gave birth to Lara since then we have been hiding and running whenever the Rashak's men find us. They have come close a few times but we managed to escape, Rashak must have grown tired of chasing us because tonight he sent almost all of the warriors to hunt us. The clan has
taken a mighty blow this night you killed nearly eighty percent of their military force," Tara finished.
"This is how all Lios females are treated," Avriel asked with disgust.
"Almost all, there is a Lios clan the Kor, they are led by a female. They say she is beautiful and just but can be vicious if crossed," Tara replied.
"What of the Lupos," Avriel asked and Tara hissed.
"They are beasts that pillage our villages and rape our females," Tara growled but her answer sound like something she heard a lot and she was repeating it back.
"Have you personally seen the Lupos pillage a village or rape anyone," Avriel asked.
"No but everyone knows that is what they do," Tara proclaimed. Avriel sighed at that response and shook her head but was too tired and didn't push the matter any farther. Despite having only awoken less than two hours before the adrenaline draining from her system was leeching away her awareness and her eyes drooped in weariness.
"Will any of the other females come to accept my offer of freedom and protection," Avriel asked standing and then she began to strip out of her gear. She gently lay Azriel on the bed and dropped the rest of it in a pile at the
foot of the bed.
"A few might have to courage to run maybe, but the rest will remain," Tara replied.
"We'll deal with that later then, sleep now," she told Tara and motioned to the bed.
"Sidney, any female Lios who show up while we are asleep, let them into Base but not into this HQ. Designate this residence as the current headquarters," Avriel commanded.
"Yes, Avriel," Sidney said. Since her robot wasn't in the room her voice issued from an unnoticeable speaker and made it seem to Tara as if it came straight out of the air. She looked around furtively and clutched Lara to her chest in alarm when she saw no one.
"It's ok nothing will happen to you here, you have my word," Avriel assured her and she immediately relaxed. Avriel slid on to the bed and lay down curled around Azriel and Tara mimicked her position with Lara curled into a ball in the curve of her body. Azriel reached out a chubby hand and ran it over Lara's sleeping head and she unconsciously nuzzled against his palm. He smiled joyously at her before settling back against his mother. Avriel stretched out her wing to cover him, Lara, and most of Tara's body because of her massive wing span. Tara sniffed the wing that blanketed her and then relaxed already headed for sleep as the safety of the moment relieved her of her need for wariness against attack.
"Avriel the probes have completed the surface mapping and are on their way back towards Base now. I have combined the data they transmitted with the less detailed planet scan that we did from orbit and the full planetary map is complete," Sidney said. Avriel was sitting in the command room on the top floor looking at a view screen displaying the area immediately outside the cavern. Several groups of Lupos were lurking the woods outside the cavern but they did nothing to halt the approach of the group Lios females that was currently running for the cavern entrance. It had been a week since the battle against the Lios warriors and nearly twenty Lios females had appeared to take her offer of safety. The field of dead carcasses had begun to reek horribly the day after the battle so she had sent Sidbot out to incinerate them all and the field was now a blacken patch of char. The tenacious grass of this planet was stubbornly
putting up shoots already and within a few months no sign would be left of the blaze. As the group of females reached the door the image on the viewscreen shifted to show and inside shot of the door where Tara was peeking out the transparisteel window Avriel had put in the door. She then pulled open the door and waved the Lios' in and shut and locked the door behind them.
"Show it to me," Avriel said to Sidney with a sigh and turned away from the screen. A foot in front of her an orbital view of the planet Rayne appeared and slowly rotated like the real planet would be. Avriel made a mental note to prepare for bad weather since that cloud cover was dense, churning, and moving in the direction of Base. There were two massive continents connected by a small land bridge and thousands of islands of varying sizes. One of the islands drew her gaze because of its size, it was nearly big enough to be called a continent. It was located on the equator of Rayne and the cloud cover suggested it was having a large amount of rain.
"Show me our location along with the Lios village where Rashak rules," she ordered and the planet spun and view began to descend. It zoomed through the clouds and froze looking down on a topographical view of their location. Two indicator lights were flashing on the map, one at a cliff that was obviously where Base was located and another in a clearing in the dense forest about five miles away from the cliff.
"Closer display on the Lios village," Avriel ordered and again the image shifted to follower her orders. She was now looking down at the small village of thirty-three huts, made from wood logs and roofed with large over lapping tree leaves. The buildings were built in three rings in a circular layout around a large fire pit in the center of the village. There were three long buildings forming the inner most ring, six medium length buildings formed the middle ring, and twenty-four smallish huts formed the third, outer, ring. A chime sounded as someone pushed the call button at the HQ's front door, Avriel looked over at the screen. Tara was standing at the door with three other Lios that Avriel assumed were the newcomers. She reached over and pushed a button before speaking.
"I'll be right out," the intercom actually translated her words into the Lios language. The three Lios behind Tara had, what she was beginning to recognize as surprised, looks on their faces. But they stood patiently waiting as she walked down the stairs and opened the door for them. She motioned them inside and closed the door behind them once they were in, and then they took seats in the small sitting area that doubled a dining room.
"What has happened," Avriel said jumping straight to the point when none of them spoke. The three newcomers exchanged a glance before one of them finally spoke up.
"The Rashak and his men are holding the women still in the village prisoner. Many will not want to leave because the village is all they know but some do and that number is slowly increasing as rumors of this place grow. My daughter is being held captive there along with these other women's daughters," the Lios said and gestured to the other two newcomers.
"Alright," Avriel and stood up abruptly.
"Where are you going," the speaker demanded.
"Not me, us. We are going up stairs," she said and followed her words by heading up the stairs. There was a pause then the rapid soft padding of multiple set of feline paws hits the stairs as they hurried after her. She let them to the third floor and into the command room.
"Sidney, display the image of the Lios village form earlier," she commanded. The image popped back into view immediately and all of the Lios gasped at the sight, Tara cautiously reached out a hand to touch the map but when her hand went through it she pulled it back abruptly and studied the furred appendage.
"Which building are they being held in," she asked after giving them a moment to collect themselves. They were silent for a long moment before the one who had spoken downstairs pointed to one of the three central buildings.
"They are in this building under guard, this one is the Rashak's home," she said pointing to the building next to it. Avriel studied it for a second and then nodded and motioned them towards the door.
"What are you going to do," Tara asked.
"Go get them out obviously," Avriel said absently still deep in thought.
"But the Rashak," Tara began. The question brought Avriel's attention back to the present and her eyes, a deep blue, shot to Tara's yellow-green eyes and held her immobile.
"If he or anyone makes a move to stop me, then I will kill them," she said evenly. Tara shivered and was relieved that she was not Avriel's enemy. Tara waited until Avriel turned back to the map and then quietly left the room.
Avriel didn't notice Tara's departure because she was already deep in thought about her plan to invade the Lios village and rescue the female prisoners.
I am allowing comments on this story because it has been a long time since I posted a chapter updating it and would like some feedback from the readers on what they think. I am aware that the chapter is short but all of the chapters for this story are so telling me it is short is just fucking stupid. And on topic of fucking stupid you dumb-ass people who keep posting telephone numbers in the comments telling everyone how truly idiotic and desperate you are is just fucking sad. Losers like you are a reason a lot of the authors don't allow comments on their stories. So if you are one of the fore mentioned i hope your junk shrivels up, blackens, and falls off painfully, Eat Shit!
To everyone else not a douche bag thank for reading and I hope you enjoy the story.