Aboard Commodore Habitus’ ship, the Siren’s Tear, each of Ganis’ companions was preoccupied with his or her own habit. Ganis, the Moroi, decided to approach her companions and start bonding with them. In spite of her objection to being sent away from Katabasis, her home, she knew that the voyage would be a long one and, without the support of her comrades, time would only pass slower; she had to a method by which the journey could be hastened and made easier.
Naturally, an Ona was as capable as its weakest member, and Ganis knew this fact rather well from her past when she had served in the Peacekeeper Core. To the Moroi, being the weakest member of the Ona was unacceptable and shameful. After all, she was a Protector like her other nine comrades as well as a bearer of the gift of death; making her far stronger than her comrades and better suited for survival. However, the strength of an Ona was determined by the harmony of the group rather than the capabilities of each individual member.
To Ganis, it was logical to start her personal quest with the leader of the group, Pertinax the Second. The former Peacekeeper did not need to look or ask around for Pertinax, for he stood on the edge of the ship’s bow, attempting to get a better view of the sculpted Siren which decorated the ship.
Once she approached him, Pertinax requested from Ganis to hold his hand and secure him if he lost his footing in his attempt. The Moroi agreed to comply and held her leader’s hand while he clumsily hung on the vessel’s wood. Once the air started striking his grease-covered hair and displacing it, he quickly returned behind the carved protrusion and got out a wooden comb from within his cloak.
“Thank you for that,” while combing his straight white hair, Pertinax addressed Ganis.
“No problem. I just wanted to introduce myself.”
“You are Ganis, Asclepius’ companion and former Commander Protector of the Peacekeeper Core. You were captured by the Demigod Emperor Servak, Pax bless him with peace, and sentenced to serve the released Necromancer Asclepius as a punishment for aiding the Council during the farce between the Peacekeepers of the second civil war. Although you were directly assigned to Asclepius, your second and main task was to spy on him,” Pertinax flawlessly recited Ganis’ known history. Once he had finished combing his hair, Pertinax inserted his comb back into a patch he had prepared in the inner area of his grey cloak and continued, “I know who you are, but do you know who I am?”
“Other than being my leader and serving Servak, nothing.” Ganis was shocked by her Commander’s assiduousness.
“As a comrade and a member of our Ona, I believe it is important for you to know about me as much as I know about you. My story began forty years ago when I taught at the Parthan School of Knowledge. Signs of the first civil war started worrying many of the scholars as well as affecting the lives of all the inhabitants of the lands. I was young and felt obligated to do more for my kingdom and king. Fueled by youthful passion, I applied for the Parthan military and was immediately placed as an officer to serve in fighting Parthan division. Due to my rune-bearing capabilities and education, I was given the best training and care to get assigned to a high ranking Parthan unit. Once my loyalties were certain and my training complete, I was carved with the same runes as all Parthan Protectors bore. Shortly after I started my military career, the civil war of man broke and my duties were multiplied. Although the Parthans had the best trained and equipped soldiers, we were overwhelmed by a far larger force with far superior magic. It was not long until the casualties started piling up, that we retreated to defend our kingdom. With all our prosperity and military might, we were incapable of fighting the world on our own. Once we were driven into our lands, the combined kingdoms of men built a wall around Partha to imprison us, cutting us off from most of our lands and the outside world. We then fell into the godless darkness where no light shown, and where I met Lyra and the Demigod Emperor Servak, Pax bless him with peace, who showed me the path to salvation and eternal peace, the path of Pax.” Pertinax looked above him at the clear blue skies and gazed for a moment.
“So you got into Lyra’s red Parthan Ona based on experience and qualifications?”
“No, I got into her Ona because I was known to be one who got things done regardless of the consequences. However, I have forsaken my past actions and found serenity in the ways of Pax, and he commands me to follow the leaders of the Empire. Is there a deity you believe in?” the Ona Commander looked straight at Ganis’ eyes, as if he expected her to respond piously.
“No I do not, for I know that sins and virtues do not affect the path our spirits tread once freed from the physical realm. I know that there is no reward for the just, nor is there punishment awaiting the wrongful. Once we die, we just seize to exist and rejoin the earth once again.”
“Perhaps my actions could sway you to the path of Pax someday,” Pertinax smiled while patting Ganis on the shoulder. “I have told you enough of my past for you to know who I am. The details, however, you will have to pick up during our voyage,” Pertinax said as he walked away from Ganis and towards the stairway leading to the lower decks. Before he disappeared into the darkness, Pertinax looked back and whispered to himself, “It is an honor to serve with you, Ganis of Katabasis.”
Although his final words to Ganis were not meant for her, her keen enhanced senses allowed her to hear them. Ganis watched the skies for a moment, then retired to her quarters in the lower levels of the ship.