Posted Jan. 26, 2023, 9:43 a.m. by Civilian Jal'na Sherko of House Noggra (Head of Physical Therapy - Sacred Heart Hospital) (Jennifer Ward)
Posted by Civilian Urg’tohn, Son of the House of Duroc (Klingon Warrior) in tangqa’ Tavern by the main square (Tag Urg’tohn)
Posted by Civilian Jal’na Sherko of House Noggra (Head of Physical Therapy - Sacred Heart Hospital) in tangqa’ Tavern by the main square (Tag Urg’tohn)
Posted by Civilian Urg’tohn, Son of the House of Duroc (Klingon Warrior) in tangqa’ Tavern by the main square (Tag Urg’tohn)
Posted by… suppressed (29) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Jal’na did not wear an excessive amount of leather like most Klingons. That was for armor, mostly, and she was no warrior. For her work she gravitated to the heavy, almost canvas like, materials. Outside of work she preferred the flowing billowy accent garments most Klingon clothing was known for. Jal’na did not primp for dates. She still wore the high collared burgundy dress with grey accents that she had worn out with Sharah to the embassy. It complimented her bronzed skin. From long habit her long espresso colored hair stayed braided. The only addition was a long sleeveless coat with a broach marking her as a member of House Noggra.
Ay 2000 hours exactly, Jal’na entered tangqa’ Tavern and scanned the area she could see and then looked at the woman by the door. “I am meeting, Lord Duroc.”
The woman nodded and said “Second floor. Stairs to the left of the bar.” and gestured vaguely into the establishment.
A set of huge, iron-studded doors offered refuge from the bustle of the square. Beyond them, the main room ceiling was masked by a holographic night sky, an artificial breeze stirring imitation palms that grew in clusters from ancient stone walls. More firelight provided illumination, larger torches on the walls complimented by more intimate lanterns on each of the long, oaken tables.
In the center of the room, rising up from an artificial sea, was a bar in the shape of a longship. For those well-versed in Federation rumour, it might recall stories from the USS Viking. But with that ship now disappeared, who could say whether this bar and that were one and the same? Still, it was sturdy and it was well-stocked, with a vast array of beers, wines and liquors from the four corners of the quadrant. Perhaps even beyond.
At the end of the bar, a single door stood open to a flight of stairs.
Urg, Lord Duroc
(Description of tavern courtesy of Sharon Miller:
Jal’na moved past the woman and into the main part of the establishment and looked around curiously, but didn’t pause in her stride across the room and through the door. She mounted the stairs with the ease of an athlete, and where others might balk at meeting with Lord Duroc and the rumors that surrounded him, Jal’na had no such trepidation. She was curious. Stepping onto the second floor, her eyes again scanned the space looking for the man she was there to see.
The room was three walls and a balcony overlooking the central area below. A large table, long enough for at least a dozen, sat in the middle of the room. But I stead of being full, there were only two place settings laid out. One at the far end on the left, and the other on the right. The seat at the left was occupied by the massive bulk of Lord Duroc, who stood when Jal’na entered. He was cleaner than when she saw him last, and the armor he had worn had been changed to a leather and canvas suit… of sorts. His beard and hair were clean and oiled, and the braid down his back was impeccable. He was still unnerving in his appearance and not what any Klinhon woman would describe as conventionally handsome… but there was an air about him that far overshadowed the standards of what was considered good-looking. And that ‘aura’ was something few other Klingon males could begin to compete with.
As she entered, he smiled and said “Welcome Jal’na of House Noggra. I hope you do not mind, but I told my guards to wait elsewhere. I thought privacy would be in order.” He didn’t pull out her chair or offer any kind of greeting… but he did wait for her to be seated before he took his own seat; a gesture unlike a Klingon and unheard of as a House Lord.
Urg, Son of the Builder
She raised her chin slightly, “Lord Duroc.” Jal’na stood by the chair for a pause. It had been many many years since she had been home, but one did not forget etiquette. It only took a breath of a moment to realize he was waiting for her to sit, and so she did. It was unusual, but Jal’na had already figured out that Lord Duroc was unique. “I do not mind your guards, they are simply doing their duty. It does not bother me for them to be absent either.” At this point, Jal’na noticed the absence of guards more than she noticed their presence. Between the security wing, General Harris’ PT, and Dasca’s dual teams, Jal’na thought she saw more guards than she did patients recently.
Urg poured two goblets of blood wine, hers first, and then raised his drink. “To your health. May your life be long, your enemies numerous, and your death glorious.”
“May your deeds be sung in Sto-vo-kor.” Jal’na raised her glass taking a strong pull. Ah it had been a long time since she had shared blood wine. Most of the medical staff did not have the constitution for it.
He took a drink, but his eyes didn’t leave hers. Het set the drink down and said “I have taken the liberty of having a meal prepared. This place has a substantial menu. I didn’t know if your preferred traditional Klingon fare, so I made inquiries. Your favorite food is something called ‘pesto chicken’? I requested it as well. But if there is anything you want, just ask.”
Jal’na nodded, he liked to control all things. “The hospital chef makes a very strong pesto that makes the dead bird not so unpalatable. I do miss quality Klingon food. I anticipate whatever you have requested.” Jal’na regarded him, undaunted by his unwavering stare. “You maintain impressive grounds. I believe Dr. Fayth will be a frequent visitor. She was quite taken with it.”
Urg waved off the mention of the Doctor and he said “I am much more interested in if you will visiting. And if you plan to, I wish you know if you will be coming to see me.” His little brother Q’ragh (also the oldest) often quoted a human bard from long ago: Faint heart never conquered the fair maiden and made her punch you in the face to bring your blood to a boil before breaking the bed upon which legions of offspring would be concieved.… or something like that.
Jal’na inhaled deeply, sniffing, and sipped her bloodwine. “Your garden is a refreshing reminder of Q’onoS. If you become the reason for my visit, will depend on tonight, but it is in your favor that I am here,” and gave a predatory smile. Jal’na found him quite attractive, and his conversation earlier in the day enlightening, but she was not the type to rush into anything.
“It favors both of us.” Urg said. “You are something… unique… I think. That deserves to be treated accordingly. And I will be the one to do so.” he said, his eyes locked on hers. “And I know that after tonight, you will be coming to see me.” and he smiled. “Because you would not be here now if you were not as curious about me as I am about you.”
Jal’na felt a thrill go through her and her nosyrils flared. She had forgotten how direct Klingon males were. Another reason she dated very little, other males were too indecisive. “I am quite curious, Lord Duroc. You are quite different than any warrior I have ever met.” Her finger laced at the tips over her abdomen as she leaned back slightly and met his gaze. “But will you come to see me after tonight?”
Urg’s gaze never faltered. “Of course. You haunt my dreams now. Why would I not?” It wasn’t flattery or poetic license. He was stating a fact. “I foresee many such visits in our futures. And many more evenings. This ‘first date’ is simply the first step on a road we both will travel. Of that I have no doubt.”
To Jal’na it sounded like Lord Duroc had spent a great deal of time around humans and picked up some of their colloquialisms. She did not doubt he meant what he said. It only confirmed to her what she had concluded from their earlier conversation and observations: that he spent time with and respected those of all walks of life. “Then, let us see where this first step leads us.”
“You mean you don’t know?” he asked with a sly grin as he took a drink.
Oh yes Jal’na knew. She knew where he expected it to lead. But she would not dishonor herself or her family by rushing headlong into acrions simply because the man was intriguing and the physical representation of a perfect warrior. But her smile was warm by Klingon standards, others might think she was contemplating where to put the knife. “No plan of action makes it past the first encounter. One must be flexible and understand the reality of destination may be quite different than imagined.”
At that moment three servers arrived. One carried two large plates of roasted gT’kur, a Kl8ngin dish of very spicy roasted meat on skewers. The second brought two plates of chicken pesto whose stomach, oddly enough, complimented the skewers quite well. And the last brought a patently pungent smelling dish of some kind of fish. Urg’s eyes lit up and he said “EXCELLENT. You did have it.” as the set it down, the servers eyes watering from the smell. Urg looked at Jal’na and said “Surströmming. Its a Terran dish from long ago. It was a dish for an order of great warriors called ‘Vikings’. In reading the histories of them, they would have made fine additions to House Duroc. I have one of their decendents in my personal guard. Good man, loyal and brave.”
Jal’na turned as the servers arrived with the food. The fish she was quite curious about. She was sure the other medical staff would find it pungent and off putting, she found it mouth watering. Her gaze returned to his as he spoke again. “Great warriors come from all over. Humans have a great penchant for peace, but their history is decorated by great societies of warriors. The Mongols, the indigenous people of the American continents, the Spartan warriors.” Jal’na leaned toward the dish, “We will get a chance to see on a greatee scale these Viking warriors quite soon. However, most certainly these Vikings had proper taste in food.”
The fish came with two-tined forks, and Urg lifted one and stabbed a piece of the fish and held it out to Jal’na. “You would do me great honor by sampling first.”
Jal’na took the fork from his hand with a small incline of her head, “I am honored to do so.” He was a strange man for a House Lord, except for one actively wooing a mate. The idea thrilled Jal’na, but when she took a mate it would be for more than physical attraction. And of course that was why she was here, to know more about him. She sampled the scent and then took the piece into her mouth. It tasted strongly of fish and…fermentation with hint of salt. Jal’na had found that even among humans that enjoyed fermented drinks, such foods were not widely enjoyed. “Soj ‘eyqu’!” Jal’na nodded appreciatively. “This is a fine dish.”
He took the other fork and pierced a piece and lifted it to his mouth and inhaled the aroma (odor?) before taking it in his mouth. His eyes closed and he said “That is one of the best tastes in the galaxy.” He opened his eyes as he chewed and watched Jal’na for a moment. “You know I did not mean that I knew this evening would lead you to my bed, correct? I know where this is leading because the Builder has shown me. I would not dishonor you or your House by bedding you so soon.”
Jal’na lifted her bloodwine to her lips, “I do know, Lord Duroc,” and she drank before continuing. “I know you very little, but what I have observed shows a man deeply concerned with those in his care, even those outside of his immediate influence. A man with a mind for detail and planning. A man that is relentless in attaining his goal, but is not afraid of a long journey to ensure he can keep it. Only a fool would not use those same qualities in the pursuit of his mate. You do not strike me as a fool.” Jal’na met his gaze with open admiration. “But it is obvious that the idea of me in your bed would be a welcome eventuality.”
“Only a fool would think of you in their bed to be anything but welcome.” Urg said with an expression utmost honesty.
She set her glass down, “Nor would I attempt to entice you to my bed. I am from an insignificant family in a minor but Noble House. I would not bring shame on my mate or house by someone later challenging my honor claiming I was after his wealth or power. I have no interest in such things.”
Urg slammed his drink down on the table so hard it shook the entire table. “NO!!. Never! Never say your family is ‘insignificant’. Never again. Your family brought forth you! I can think of few greater glories for a family than to be able to claim one such as you in their histories. You are intelligent. Proud. Dedicated. And you work to make the lives of those around you better. Insignificant?! BAH! They are one of the greatest gift-givers I can think of. To bring one such as you into the galaxy? They are truly blessed by Kvaar’ton.” and he raised is glass to Jal’na. “I toast the ones who created one such as you, and I hold them as honored in my House.” and he drained the drink and slammed the cup back down, sealing the declaration.
Jal’na smiled moved by his vehemence, “You honor me by saying so, Lord Duroc.” Her tone was one reserved for those that you shared the utmost confidences with, your innermost self. “Please do not misunderstand my words. I do not believe my family is nothing, they are everything and we are proud to serve House Noggra. However, in the grande scheme of Klingon culture, history and politics, my family will not be remembered. We have no mighty warriors to sing of, no legends that will call out our name in Sto-vo-kor. We are healers, blade and armor smiths, farmers, engineers, scientists. History does not remember those names, though our contributions are vital. If I should ever have a son that will bring a wife to my family, there will be no great lineage for her to recite. My family will die with my brother for his wife is barren.”
Jal’na stabbed at the fish and looked out at the crowd below while she ate and then turned back to meet his gaze. “Hostory will not remember, but people do. My story, my family’s stories, will be passed down on the lips of the people we help, in the memories of our friends and the hearts if our family. In years to come they will remember us and speak of us because we matter to them. Then one day those people will remember the story and they will retell it because they will know the story mattered. That is the story I want to leave because it is not a rote lesson forced to be learnt, but retold bythose whom I mattered. History may not remember us, but those that matter will.”
“History will remember your family. And you.” Urg said. His hand shot forward in a blur and pinned her hand to the table with a strength that was almost incomprehensible. And I have seen Sto-vo-kor… and no matter what the priests and vain glory-seekers say, is not filled with warriors alone. It is filled with the brave. It is home to the child who never gave up even as the disease racked their body with pain. It is the home of the spouse who summoned the strength to leave the pit of abuse they endured for years. It is home to the timid one who stood up to face the ones who judged their friend by their species, and not their character. And it is home to those who refused to allow suffering and pain to claim victory over those in their charge. Warriors are common. But it is the fighters that call Sto-vo-kor home.” There was a fire in his eyes as he spoke. Not a figurative one… it seemed in the dark center of his eyes as he stared at Jal’na that flames licked the inside of his dark eyes. His words were spoken with a surety of absolute knowledge and conviction, and it was obvious there was not a single doubt that he believed his words to be the absolute truth.
Urg, Chosen of the Builder
His strength was shocking, and had Jal’na’s hand been positioned any other way, the strength and swiftness of his movement would have been excruciating. She was not hurt, nor did she fear he meant her pain (perhaps that was foolish). She could not move her hand, not that she was interested in making an attempt. His eyes though…we’re unsettling, butJal’na was not timid. She would no sooner drop his gaze than she would have left Seja’s bedside. And Man did Shrine take her to task for that one… “I believe you, Lord Duroc. I have always believed, here,” she thumped her chest over her heart, “that it must be so. Not all battles are fought with blades and combat. Our world is a testament to the battle of surviving. Most of our biggest victories were not won on a battlefield.”
“Urg. My name is Urg’tohn. Lord Duroc is what I am, not who.” he said and slowly released her hand and he grinned. “After all, I am not spending the evening calling you ‘Doctor’.” He poured more drink for them both and then said “Now tell me…Jal’na… were you concerned coming here tonight? I have heard the stories told about me and my brothers. Few of our people have not heard them. One would think such tales would give a woman pause before sitting down to dinner with an insane brute.” and he laughed and ate another bite of fish.
Jal’na took another bite of the fish as her eyes blatantly roaved over him. Her gaze returned to his, “No.” She ate for another moment, “Are you insane? Your actions say not. I do not know your whole story, but I remember the rumors and discussions that you and your brothers were orphans. It was said your claim that your family was assassinated and wiped from the record was insane. But you were correct and you have restored your family. They say you think you talk to a god.” She shrugged, “So do the priests of Khaless. They say your God is not real. I remember Lord Noggra saying that records of our gods had been destroyed centuries ago. There was no way to know how or why, but perhaps for the same reason your family was erased, so too were the gods - for power. He told us all not scoff at your claims that your God speaks to you. You were deemed insane about your family, but you were not. Then we should not dismiss your assertion that he lead you too the proof you needed to restore your family.”
“You are not a brute. A hard man is not a brute. A brute would not sit by the bedside of a woman he does not know to insure her safety and health. A brute would not take in the lost and give them a home and family, purpose and dignity. He would not engender loyalty in good people. Oed V is a good place to start over or disappear. If you were brutish to those you take in, Oed is a good place for them to attempt to escape. But they do not.” Jal’na smiled, in a way she did not often, it upset her more timid patients. She held her cup between two hands. “Dr Fayth is an extremely accurate judge of character. If you were were a danger to me or anyone else, intentionally or not, she would have said so. No, Urg, I was not concerned to come here tonight.”
Urg listened, and as she spoke he smiled. At the mention of Lord Noggra, he chuckled but let her continue. When she finished, he still smiled at her over the rim of his cup as he drained the blood wine and set the cup aside.
“I am going to be completely honest with you. I am insane. And a brute… by the standards of most. But their standards I do not care for, so I refuse to live by them. I do not play games unless I have to, but I always play to win.” He leaned back and said “Kvaar’ton does speak to me. In word, and vision, and dream. The Builder suffered long… and the restoration of House Duroc and his name to Halls of the Holy is but a first step. And the so-called ‘priests’ who claim to speak with Kahless?” and he turned his head and spit and leaned forward again. “Blasphmers. Kahless speaks to no one. Not even in the halls of Sto-vo-kor. The Merciless One sits in silence for eternity. And The Builder sits at his right hand. I know this… because I have seen it. And that knowledge and vision is not meant for a mortal mind… so yes, I would say I am insane, but it is a blessing. And I am a brute. But sometimes a brute is needed. This world, this galaxy, lacks those with such conviction. Those that refuse to stand back and let things just ‘happen’ around them. Or let those of privaledge and status use those positions to oppress, demean, and harm those less fortunate than they are. When House Dar’kel called me such on the floor of the High Council, I laughed. And I agreed! And I challenged Lord Dar’kel to single combat then and there for the honor of being called ‘Brute’.” and he leaned back with a wicked grin. “And I would have happily killed him and spread his entrails across the floor of the Hall had not the Chancellor spared him.” He stabbed a last bit of fish and popped it in his mouth. “So know that the stories are true, Jal’na. I am all those things. But those things are blessings… not curses.”
Jal’na picked up a skewer, “Tell me of Kvaar’ton, The Builder you speak of, that speaks to you.” Her question was honestly curious. She did not doubt that Urg believed this god spoke to him, nor did she doubt it was true. The universe was vast and she would not be the one to attempt to explain its most secret mysteries.
Urg leaned back and said “It is a long tale. Perhaps some day I will teel you the entire saga. But for tonight…” and he picked up the pitcher and refilled their drinks.
“Kvaar’ton The Builder was a warrior. One of the greatest of warriors, second only to Kahless himself. But Kvaar’tons true strength lay in his ability to create, not destroy. He was a master builder and architect, as well as a weapon-smith and armorer without equal. His life was long, but it was a life of tragedy. He stood against the demon hordes of our planet’s pre-history… the monsters parents still use to scare their young into staying in bed. Kvaar’ton stood as the rock against the tide of evil that threatened to consume the Klingon race. But such was the nature of the foe that their blood corrupted and twisted his flesh, turning him from a glorious Klingon into a brooding beast with hooves… and horns… and scaled leather instead of flesh. But such was his glory that his mate never faltered from him, joining him in his campaign tent even after his grisly transformation. And The Builder fought on.. until he was laid low by treachery and jealousy. He was slain by a dagger made of his own broken horn by a trusted and loved advisor. His wife and child too, were slain by the coward while they slept. Buut before he died , Kvaar’ton killed the betrayer, crushing his skull in his bare hands. He then led his army one last time into the birthplace of the demons, sealing the portal shut with his broken and bloodied form forever. For his sacrifice and glory, Khaless the Unmerciful set him at his right hand, where he sits and advises the Faceless One.”
He took a drink and then said “His memory was erased from history by the betrayer. His followers murdered. But one lived… Duroc, his chief advisor and brother-not-of-blood. Duroc loved Kvaar’ton, and never took a wife or mate of his own so great was his love for his brother. But it was Duroc who was given the Last Instructions Of The Builder. You see, the betrayer had failed. The child of the Builder lived. Duroc took the child and hid him, keeping Kvaar’ton’s line alive… and waiting for the right moment to return. Thousands of years passed. But he has returned. In me and my brothers. And to Honor his brother, Kvaar’ton named the house that would bring his glory back to the Klingons House Duroc. And we will carry that gift forever with honor and pride… and the same unwavering loyalty that Kvaar’ton and Duroc showed to each other and those they led.”
Jal’na pulled meat off the skewer and ate as she listened. It was a story that certainly appealed to the daughter of a family filled with engineers and smiths and healers. A story to be passed by those that Duroc mattered to. The type of story, only moments ago, she had proclaimed to want to leave behind. That was not lost on her either. It held all the elements of a great Klingon Epic. Even the brave, loyal, unwavering wife.
And Urg was the child of a god…or however such things were traced. Yavia would have a field day with that. Jal’na considered, while she ate, the type of woman that would commit herself to such a man, the type of mate such a man would need for himself and not what he was, the type of life that would be, and whether or not she wanted to be such a woman. Heavybthoughts for a first date and certainly not a decision she needed to rush into.
Urg watched her carefully and yore some meat off the skewer with his teeth. He chewed in silence for a long moment, watching eyes wander as she thought. Finally he swallowed and took a drink and then said “You are thinking. What thoughts are they?”
“That you, Urg, are a surprisingly good storyteller.” Jal’na grinned widely. She had not expected that from the gruff taciturn man. “That Duroc’s story is the type of story I wish for myself. To be so remembered by a few that his story lives on through thousands of years because his actions made a difference. That now even though history forgot him for so long, it is not so now. Thinking about that I voiced a desire for such a story and to hear such a one on the same night and how the universe works to cause such a coincidence to happen.”
Urg smiled and shook his head. “Coincidence? Maybe. The Builder’s will? Far more likely. He takes an active role in the lives of his chosen. Perhaps he is telling you that you would be welcome… if that is what we choose. God or not, no one tells me who I choose.”
Jal’na smiled over the rim of her glass, “Perhaps it is so. Time will tell.” Jal’na wasn’t overly religious. That didn’t mean she totally dismissed the idea of beings that were gods or godlike. She just wasn’t sure they would meddle in the lives of ‘lesser beings’ for lack of a better term. She didn’t dismiss the idea that they did so either.
She reached for the chicken. He had specifically ordered it for her and it would be incredibly rude to not taste it. She deftly cut the meat and then stabbed it before taking a bite. “You said you were curious, but you have asked very little.”
Urg shrugged and cut a piece of the chicken from his plate. “It is important to me that you feel comfortable, so I want you to have any and all information you need before we move forward.” He ate the bite, chewed and allowed the nutty, hebal flavors to sit for a moment, and then swallowed. “First. I know the prospect of me pursuing you is daunting. My life is convoluted… complicated… filled with other obligations… and dangerous. My House… my people… are targeted by much older, more powerful ones. We are a threat to their long-held power. You and I joining would put you in danger… and those around you. But know this. When I look at you, Jal’na… I do not see a politically advantageous union. I do not see Jal’na of House Noggra. I see a strong, intelligent, and desirable woman who I want to take for my own. And who I believe would be able to lead House Duroc with me.” His hamd went across the table and set down on hers, gently but heavily. “And second… that dish is delicious. You have excellent taste.”
“I would feel comfortable with give and take, Urg. The give and take of discovering and then knowing is important for us both.” Jal’na’s eyes widened slightly and she grinned. “You pursuing me is something, daunting is not quite accurate.” Then she lifted a shoulder. “If I was afraid of risk and danger I would have not come to Oed alone. I am quite well aware of the danger surrounding your house and those around you.” Both Seja and his guard were her patients. She was quite well aware of the danger. “If that danger was an insurmountable concern, I would not be here. That is not bravado, simply fact. I like my life and my work. I am not willing to give that up. I will be very honest with you, Urg, I have never had the desire to lead a house. I have only ever wanted a simple life. Very un-Klingon of me, but it is true.” She stared into his eyes, unflinching, “But for the right man we would find a way.”
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