Tacori grew up knowing what he would be one day. Because of his future responsibilities, he was trained to be a warrior and a leader and to be a part of the Primes, who almost consider themselves to be a single organism. Their bond is closer than friends, closer than brothers. While the First Prime is considered to be a living embodiment of the god Zerik, the Primes are all considered to be an aspect of Zerik, a part of him, his anger - Varimar; his control - Tacori; his lust, his resentment, and his hatred.. All of them together make Zerik, the First Prime, complete. For them to be in pain is for them to damage Zerik and Klevia as a result. Only Eseni can heal them.
A thousand years ago, Klevia was similar to modern Earth. The Klevians let war and greed almost destroy them and almost destroy their world. After, when they picked themselves out of the ashes, they realised something had gone wrong with their fertility. The males didn’t go into heat as often as they did before and their population began a slow decline. Since that time, true mates among the Primes and First Primes have been incredibly rare. The issue with fertility has become so bad, that Primes without a son to inherit will be removed to give way to a relative with a living heir, considered failed aspects of Zerik, they are forced to give way for a male who is considered a successful aspect. Of the six Primes, all of them either gained their position through this process, or were the sons of a male who did.
If you’ve downloaded the bonus short story you know how Kerrin came about. I’m sure you can imagine why a weak man, obsessed with power, could do such a thing if not having a son meant he would lose that power.
The Klevians take this loss of fertility as punishment from Eseni for drifting from their true path. Even now that they’ve returned to the old ways, they’re still suffering. In more recent times, Kerrin’s father and his actions against Mitaia, Kerrin's mother, was seen as the reason for this, now there are whispers that Kerrin and his hatred of humans is the reason why Eseni has abandoned them.
Whether it is one or all of these things, and how the story plays out will to wait for the rest of the books to find out.
‘Put a call into the palace—’
‘There is a call coming in from the palace,’ Hevethan interrupted. ‘Seems our king has anticipated you.’
Accept the call. Tell Kerrin I will be there in a moment.
‘Shall I call him Kerrin?’
Tacori growled. This AI was severely straining his calm. ‘You will do no such thing. Call him First Prime, or my lord or my king. Understand.’
There was a current of humour in the AI’s voice that pissed Tacori off to his core. What the fuck was it with this thing? Why did it take such delight in tormenting him? Why did it take delight at all?
Kerrin was on the main screen when Tacori reached the bridge and immediately stood to attention.
‘Relax, my friend.’
Tacori breathed and went from attention to at ease, one foot stepping so that he was standing with them shoulder-width apart. He moved his arms behind his back, his hands interlinking.
‘Even talking to me, you can’t relax, friend?’
Tacori smirked. ‘This is me relaxed.’
Kerrin laughed. ‘I’ve never known anyone who feels such a need to be on duty all the time,’ he said. ‘I miss those moments when you’re off duty.’ Kerrin took in a breath and gave Tacori a knowing look.
Tacori shook his head and tried not to laugh. ‘How can I help you, my king?’
Kerrin let out a shout of frustration. ‘I will get you to relax, Tacori,’ he said. ‘Very well. To business. How is it going?’
‘Collection went very well. The scans showed almost all the minerals we required were present.’
‘And it was a completely random selection?’
‘Completely random. I chose the field myself.’
‘That is good. An excellent result. How soon for the first successful production?’
‘According to the AI, the first missile was completed a few moments before you called. Hevethan put the missile up.’
Kerrin moved closer to the screen as the missile appeared. The processing plant was provided by Teyr, whose family was the major weapons manufacturer on Klevia. The missile that appeared was, for all intents and purposes, one of the missiles his company produced, yet not a single Klevian hand had touched it.
‘Absolutely none,’ Hevethan said.
‘Full report,’ Kerrin ordered.
Hevethan broke down the process of refinement and construction of the missile. Despite it taking several minutes, Tacori and Kerrin listened closely. The production of the missile had gone perfectly.
‘Now we need to see it in action, but that will have to wait,’ Kerrin said. ‘We got a report of a human ship near your location. I’m sending the coordinates now. I want you to approach the ship in stealth, board it, look around, and bring back any information you can find.’
‘I thought we were trying to enter negotiations with the humans.’ Tacori thought of Varimar’s mate, Cara, and the message she’d sent to Earth over a year ago telling the Earthers what crime they’d committed and calling for an answer. The way they’d treated Cara never sat well with Tacori; at the same time, humans were the enemy, and Kerrin’s hatred of them was absolute.
‘They haven't responded. We should continue as though we are about to go to war.’
Tacori nodded. ‘As you say, my king.’
Behind Kerrin, one of his ministers appeared and whispered in his ear. Tacori took the opportunity to study Kerrin. He looked older, angrier. There was something behind all of this—something that worried Tacori. He wasn't alone in feeling like their people were wandering off their true path.
Kerrin nodded and turned back to the screen. ‘I must go. Infiltrate the human ship, Tacori. Bring back what you find.’
‘Yes, First Prime.’ Tacori bowed and didn’t raise his head until the screen had gone dark.
It felt like the centre of their world, of their people, had shifted. Something was going wrong, and Tacori had no idea how to fix it.