(I apologize for taking so long to get these last two chapters out. Life happens.)
Get back to see what happens when a Bacht enters the Trevel world! A whole new world waits behind this door, down the rabbit hole…
Be sure to get your own full copy of the newly released third (and final) edition of
If you would like to see MORE of what I actually do, and if you’d like to book either my speaking services, or any of my books… you may conveniently do so from my web-page
Story-in-the-Wings is my over-arching business name that covers all that I do as a writer, performer, motivational speaker, director, and artist. This is all about who I am and what I would love to do for you and with you.
Check out all the pages and DO contact me if you would like to join in with this grand adventure that I am living. I truly believe everyone has a story to tell and I cannot wait to hear yours!
Champion Tambeaux stood tall and saluted the girls with his left index finger straight and angled across his left check just under the corner of his left eye. This is the Trevel salute based on the idea of, I’m watching you, looking out for you. With this, the Trevel military, strategists, swear to serve and protect the Trevel Nations and citizens.
“Lady?” Mitch tried to play off the awkwardness. “Are you some kind of royalty?”
Tambeaux chatted back as casually as Mitch.
“They are Atlantis National Academy students, first years. That makes them as good as royalty.”
Vanga slid back into a corner. All she saw was a towering military figure with brown hair braided half way down his back. His uniform, unlike any she’d ever seen, had deep black dress pants, and a black buttoned coat that was tailored all the way down to his knees, accented by navy blue ribbon.
Around his waist was a simple black belt slung down his left side, holding what looked like a red dagger hilt, only there was no blade.
“No need to hide, Vanga, we’ve been watching you two for a while.” Tambeaux bowed to her slightly. “Ladies, I think it best that you see the healers now. Your parents will be expecting you for dinner.”
“Do they know we’re here?”
The Champion said,
“We leave such news to the discretion of the individual student.”
“Good.” Holly made her way to the curtain.
Turning to Mitch, she said,
“Come in, won’t you?”
“Absolutely. Coming, Vanga?”
Vanga didn’t trust the whole, we’ve been watching you, idea.
“I don’t think so.” She pulled Mitch aside. “This is a bit weird, don’t you think?”
The two ANA Ladies were ushered behind the door by an insistent Healer team.
Champion Tambeaux saluted them out then attended to the pressing matter at hand.
“It’s even more ‘weird’ than you think, my dear.” Ch. Tambeaux pulled out the bladeless dagger and a clear, icy stump appeared, rather like a policeman’s nightstick.
“The invitation is for Mr. Mitchell only. You are not ready for such a jump in your life.”
Vanga was suddenly on the defense.
“I beg your pardon? I assure you, I am ready for anything that Mitch is.”
The rounded end of the nightstick suddenly shot out from the Officer’s hand and tapped Vanga on the forehead just hard enough to knock her out. The stump then whipped around and held the girl by the shoulders.
Vanga lay limp in the stick-whip’s grasp.
“Hush now, Evangeline. You will wake in a little while, forgetting all you’ve done on this exciting day.”
A couple of plain-clothed aides took her out of the room to deposit her on one of the comfy couches in the lobby.
Mitch considered protesting, but he was so enthralled with the weapon being closed up and put to rest back on the belt of the Officer, that he made no objection.
“So, Wattle-Gum Gecko Mitchell, would you like to enter Wonderland?”
Mitch actually wasn’t too surprised to hear his full name. After all, he had been wrestling with the most brilliant computer system he’d ever come across. Naturally, they would know all about him.
“It’s just Mitch.” He stepped forward to enter the door.
But Tambeaux shot his arm across the entrance and warned him,
“Once you’re in, there’s no leaving for at least five years.”
“I have nothing here to hold me back.”
“So be it.”
Mitch stepped through the rubber curtain, only to find himself instantly thrown to the floor, tied up, blind folded, and dragged to somewhere quiet, very quiet.
King Darsaldain sat snacking on fruits and cheeses in his entertaining hall when a uniformed aide approached with some private news. He whispered into the king’s ear then waited for a response, which was immediate.
“Come, come, everyone.” Darsaldain stood and clapped everyone’s attention to himself. “Our son has returned and awaits our welcome.”
The fairly large, yet intimate crowd of family and friends bustled with boredom into a preordained arrangement.
The older gentlemen stood on the steps leading up to the dais where the king sat with three advisors and the latest young face of the year. She was older than the others had been, but still just as beautiful.
The remaining married women, uncles, aunts, and cousins decorated the edges of the Hall. Of course, the eligible women lined the aisle, the most beautiful and ambitious ladies in front.
Trumpets called out from above, and the red gilded doors opened together as His Royal Highness, Prince Hadigan Andrew Hades Darsaldain, was announced.
Under breath and beneath his winning smile, the twenty-six-year-old prince whispered to himself,
“Someday soon, I will be announced as the Prince-in-One, Heir to the Throne.”
He bowed before the dais and, aloud, greeted his father,
“May the Powers allow that you are in strong health throughout the year, my father?”
“You find us well, and we welcome you, our son.”
The formalities aside, a gaggle of ladies boldly stepped forward to engage the handsome and eligible royal in hopeful conversation.
Hadigan flirted and gave more confidence than there was to at least four women and one young girl. The four giggled and the one froze, only to be awakened by her delighted mother.
Hadigan was eventually able to pry himself free of his admirers and gallantly strode up the steps to sit on his father’s right. He ignored the lovely on the king’s left side, as was appropriate for a son still mourning his mother’s death from years ago.
He sat in silence, knowing this would heighten his father’s curiosity.
“We are informed, Hadigan, that this latest trip of yours took you back to Latoona; a memorial visit?”
“Something of the sort.”
The king’s lady, disgusted by the son and his disinterest in her, caught back her man in some captivating jest, and the two giggled together for some time.
“Son, we must ask you,” the king returned his attentions, “have you given any further thought to our last conversation?”
Hadigan wiped the fruit juices from his chin.
“Remind me of it, Father.”
The napkin was thrown to the table and the king burst out,
“You know exactly that conversation of which we speak.”
The entire Hall hushed and listened.
“It is quite time for you to marry. Up till now, you tell us you have ‘never even thought of such a thing.’ We tell you, it is time you did.”
Hadigan stood and gracefully wiped his mouth again, before toasting a glass to his father.
“And since that conversation,” he paused for a drink, “I promise you, father, I did just that. I considered it.”
He drank again, bowed to the gathering and exited via the private door. The four flattered women flushed and fanned their faces rapidly, while the young girl squealed and her mother swooned.
King Darsaldain, Ruler of the Nation Cities of Atlantis, residing in the ancient palace of Lemuria, sat down in shock and held his heart. His son might marry after all!
The room was carpeted with something luxurious. Mitch knew this because they had taken off his shoes. Somehow he was tied to a chair, but as he could move his arms freely. He felt no fear, even with his eyes still covered.
His other senses kicked in. The area smelled fresh and clean without the help of chemicals, and there was movement in the air similar to the ocean tide. Back and forth, back and forth; Mitch was nearly rocked to sleep. It was all so peaceful.
A door opened and the blindfold was removed.
“Bacht, welcome to the world of the Trevel. I am Champion Marin Tambeaux of the Trevel Strategic Defense Force. In your world, that would be something equal to a military major. But you are not in your world any more. So from now on, most of what you know is irrelevant.”
Mitch stayed silent and attentive.
“I will begin with some history for you.” Tambeaux sat in a comfy chair opposite Mitch. “The myths and legends you have grown up with are mostly true. The gods, supernatural beings, and enhanced human abilities in your fictional tales all hold some degree of truth, leaving room for historical and artistic embellishments. All of them were Trevel. You are Bacht: one with no power.
“We, the Trevel, are not human, yet we are of the same makeup. The difference is, our senses are more active and in touch with our surroundings than yours. For example, you cannot use any of the entry pads by the doors because you do not possess the ability to focus your energies and use them as an extended hand, so to speak. Although, with your expert abilities in technology, I have some questions as to your ancestry. That is why, against regular policy, I granted you access.”
“Will you get into trouble?”
“As a Champion of the Strategic Defense Force, I am the trouble. I am required to register you, though.”
“I get the impression that registering is going to hurt?”
“Yes, but only for five years.”
“Oh, well that’s all right, then!” Mitch smirked in sarcasm.
“It will be.”
The champion stood and, with his hand stretched out, sent a thin stream of blue from his ring finger to the bonds around Mitch. They fell off him, melting to the floor. The young man gingerly stood and smiled.
“Cool. Let’s do it.”
Through the door was a laboratory of sorts. A gentleman with fuzzy grey hair waved Mitch over to him.
“So the little one wishes to join us? Then join us you will.”
Mitch turned to Tambeaux with a mock look of fear.
The champion laughed.
“I’ll leave you to it. Do everything he says and we’ll see you on the other side.”
Mitch nodded then watched the doctor sink his hand into a hot, soapy dish with a thin layer of plastic coating it. His hand sank right through into the hot water. When he pulled it out, the plastic top layer dragged across his skin, drying it perfectly.
“What is that stuff?”
“Hydro-plano or HDP. When the Bacht figure out how to make and use it, I’ll open my arms to them. Until then, boy, get used to being spat on. I, and many others like me, don’t like your kind. You are the reason we went under. Not that that’s a bad thing. We live much better here. But it is still ridiculously grating that the Bacht” he spat the world like an angry camel “can dictate our movements without even knowing about it, much less knowing they, you, are inferior to us.”
“Give me your hand.”
Mitch withdrew from the man’s reach. “Why don’t you run through what’s about to happen first?”
“Won’t make any difference. You made your choice, it’s not an option anymore.”
“I know, but I like to be an informed consumer.”
The old man looked the young man over, thoughtfully sizing him up.
“If Tambeaux brought you in, then there must be something to you.” The doctor wiped his hands on his coat, walked to a drawer, and pulled out a shiny new booklet. “Why don’t you read this? You’ll be as informed as I am, then.”
“Doesn’t look like it’s been used much.” Mitch ran his fingers over the slick cover.
The doctor said,
“Never had to use it before. Bacht living here, like you, are few and far between. Let me give you a brief synopsis.”
The doctor explained:
“If a Bacht accidentally enters Trevellia, then his or her choices are limited to memory correction, as was performed on your young female friend, or the Bacht is sent to an Upland mental institution with memory damage. Or, it stays in Trevellia with the application of an Open Market servant tattoo and remains in slavery for ten years at the Trevel Nations disposal.”
The doctor made himself more comfortable in his chair and continued.
“If, however, a Bacht is legally sponsored into Trevellia, as you are, then the responsibility for the Bacht rests on the Trevel sponsor, and the sponsor’s family crest is tattooed on the mid-section of the inner left index finger and the Bacht remains in slavery for five years.
There is an added five-year bond-servant option for those who enter accidentally, but have been sponsored within twenty-four hours, and the sponsor family tattoo is marked on the left cheek bone beneath the outer corner of the eye, and the Bacht remains in custody with his or her sponsor family.”
The doctor cleared his throat trying to recall where he was in the explanation.
“But, back to you. For each successive year after the first year in Trevellia, you will receive an annual tattoo on the inner end section of your left index finger, and at the end of the first five years, if the bond servant option is not taken, you may receive a freedom point tattoo and will then be free to move and live as you please in the Upland or Underland world.”
The doctor took a huge breathing sigh.
“The difference between a Bacht servant and an L1 Bacht citizen is seen in the family crest tattoo as a small circle indicating the added freedoms of an L1 citizen. Any questions?”
Mitch thought he understood and, for the first time, began to realize the weightiness of the decision he had just jumped into. But he also recognized that this understanding came too late.
He nodded and held out his left hand, said,
“Okay, then, let’s do it.”
The symbol on the left is the freedom point received at the conclusion of five years. The central figure is the Tambeaux family tattoo with the added black circle to indicate the L1 citizenship. The final four moon figures are for each year after the first full year of service. Thus, this tattoo is the complete mark that Mitch, now L1 Tambeaux Mitchell, will receive after five years of restricted life in the Trevel Nations.
The elevator chirped when the door opened. A rosy-faced, cheery Tanya and Holly joined L1 Tambeaux Mitchell on his journey from the basement back to the lobby.
“Mitch? Did you say your name was?” Tanya naturally opened the conversation.
“Yeah, was. Apparently now it is L1 Tambeaux Mitchell.”
“You ought to realize how lucky you are.” Holly smiled. “The Tambeaux are an exclusive family.”
“Uh huh,” Tanya agreed, “and Champion Marin Tambeaux, your sponsor, is the greatest of them all.”
She gingerly lifted Mitchell’s hand and investigated the water bandage on his left index finger.
“Does it hurt?”
“Stings like… all get out.”
The clear watery film over the tattoo was bloody, but dry.
“I’m supposed to clean it in an hour and put another bandage on. I have no idea how to do that, but I presume someone will help me.”
Tanya was quick to volunteer.
“I can do that for you.”
“Tanya, darling sister, I’m sure you won’t ever see Mitchell again, once we exit this elevator. You’d best get all your drooling in now.”
Tanya’s glare fizzled the silver earrings Holly was wearing.
“Hey. You know how much I love these!” Holly objected.
“Then you shouldn’t say such hurtful things.”
“You’d better fix them.”
“You know I will, as soon as I’m ready.”
“I’m sorry.” Mitch interrupted their spat. “Forgive my Baahk ignorance, but, how did you do that?”
Tanya was sweetness all over again.
“That’s B-A-C-H-T. You pronounce it B-ah-k-t. And I do it simply with my energy powers.”
She gloated over him, and Holly took over.
“The Trevel,” she pointed to herself and Tanya, “are able to connect with the energies around us and use them to channel and manipulate our surroundings.”
Tanya made a yapping gesture with her hand behind Holly’s head, but Mitchell was too intrigued by his first lesson to notice, so she gave up.
“Each one of us is gifted with certain abilities and strengths in the Earth’s energies. Tanya is gifted with Earth and Metals. She can, as you saw, melt solid silver with a simple glare. It’s quite annoying, really.”
Tanya stood for no more hogging of attention from Holly.
“Holly, my dear sister,” Tanya’s voice dripped with sarcasm, “is a vegetable.” Holly mimicked disgusted laughter. “She can grow and change anything that has living, growing cells, but is not animal, bird, fish, etc. You get my drift?”
“No, I’m sorry. What can you do?” Mitch excitedly tried to grasp the new concept.
By this time, the elevator opened into the lobby, where Hal and Salla were waiting for them.
“My babies!” Salla was all mema. “Do you feel all right now?”
In the midst of all her squeezes, Holly feigned innocence,
“What do you mean?”
“How was the mall?” Hal ruffled the girls’ hair and hugged them, too.
Mitchell disappeared into the corner.
“Oh, Deda, it was wonderful and horrible all at once.” Tanya was a little teary.
“Don’t look so confused, Holly.” Hal took her into his arms for an extra squeeze. “I know you two. I know that with a place holding so many magnetic security doors and indoor plants like that, it would be impossible for you to resist.”
“Then why did you tell us not to go?” Holly complained.
“Because I would not willingly put my daughters though all that you just experienced.”
“But, Deda,” Tanya cocked her head sideways, “why didn’t you just tell us what would happen?”
“Would that have kept you out of there? No, I didn’t think it would. You’re ANA students now. It is time to learn some things on your own.”
“Oh!” Holly glanced around and waved Mitchell out of the corner.
“Mema, Deda, this is Tambeaux Mitchell, a brand-new Level One Citizen.”
“Ah, we’ve already met.” Mitch was embarrassed by the attention.
Salla smiled with a surprised look on her face and Hal shook his hand again.
“Welcome. Tambeaux, did you say? Well, so great an association, so early. You will do well here.”
But then a deep voice behind them all spoke.
“That was my first impression of him.”
Everyone turned to greet the champion himself.
“Champion Tambeaux,” Hal gave a slight bow, “we are honored.”
“Nonsense, it is I who am honored to meet you and your daughters.”
Hal introduced them all,
“My wife, Salla, and my daughters, Tanya and Holly.”
“Let me guess,” Tambeaux studied the girls’ appearances. “You, Tanya, are the Earth and Metal lady, and you, Holly, are the Flora lady?”
Tanya giggled slyly, as she just couldn’t help herself around grand and handsome males, even if they were much older.
“You knew already.”
“Actually, no I didn’t. But it wasn’t hard to guess.” He leaned in closely to Holly and reached behind her ear.
Holly gulped and blushed. She was not blind to the fabulous figure and presence of this Defense officer.
Tambeaux gently picked three flowers from the garden planter behind them and bowed, giving one to each of the ladies.
“There were no flowers behind you, Miss Holly, when I walked in. They all bloomed as you were introduced, and, Miss Tanya, the same goes for the stone pavement you’re standing on.”
Everyone looked down.
“It began bleeding copper on your introduction.”
Tanya moved her feet. The brassy, sticky ore clung to her shoes. She wiped it off with her hands and rolled it all into a thin snake. Then, she pulled the strand, laid it on her palm, and watched it slither into the stunning figure of a flying horse.
“I always liked these. One day I hope to see one.” She handed the ornament to Mitchell. “Here is a welcome pin to say that all your fantastic imaginings just might come true, now that you’re here with us.”
She pinned it to his coat pocket.
“Thanks. I don’t even know how to react to all this.” Mitch ran his fingers through his sun-streaked hair.
“There’ll be plenty of time for that. But for now, I would like to extend an invitation.”
Ch. Tambeaux turned to Hal,
“Please honor me with your presence on my private cruiser, the Hera. I would like to escort you all to Janeiro myself.”