BOOK ONE: CHAPTER 22 – Home Base Medina

CHAPTER 22 – Home Base Medina


Lord VaCoupe had seen that a private family ship was sent to pick up Raphael, Julia, and their guests.  Master Nathan Pelleur and his foster son, Alphar, would be accompanying the party, as would Salaniel of Morova, Falonus, and his father Master Edar.  Due to his presently busy schedule, Master Li Tzulo was unable to come on this visit.

Julia was having a hard time walking now as her belly continued to swell, so Raphael walked slowly by her side, holding her gently around the waist to lend his support.

Their four guardians, the Eagles, followed the rest of the party as they made it to one of the lifts that would take the party down to the landing bay.  Tomás would not be accompanying Raphael on this trip as he had to allow time for his replacement to learn his duties before transferring back to Medina.  Paul Dominguez, Gareth Vanderis, Leo Sukio, and Felipe Diaz would be their guards.  Not a few heads turned as the party made their way through the corridor, with its strange collection of humans, ranging from a short rotund, rosy-cheeked man, a silent and slightly astonished-looking boy, a huge Leonine Eagle and sedate Leonine Master and his slightly smaller son, and variety of Pleiadian and Ashtarian humans, including a very pregnant female.  If it weren’t for his concern for Julia, Raphael might have been vastly amused by the funny looks their party received from passing instructors and crew members.

The ship was waiting and fired up.  The pilot saluted Raphael who had made a point of introducing Julia and himself on the previous trip to the University Ship.  Raphael was one to always acknowledge those who were helpful and supportive in their various fields.  The pilot was one Stephair Vray, a retired shuttle pilot who had been retained by Lord VaCoupe for trips such as this.  For this trip, the pilot had arranged one of the rows to be a makeshift couch so Julia could rest her legs and lay back on pillows.  There was enough room for Raphael to sit next to her head in case she wanted to talk, but upon lying down, she immediately went to sleep. 

The rest of the party found suitable seats and made themselves comfortable for the short trip.  The private ship was similar in build and speed as a large Saber class fighter although built for passenger travel and far more comfortable than the fighter Raphael traveled on from The Golden Lion to Alcyone several years ago.  Raphael was no longer under any emotional or physical duress.  Although still formally part of the Command, he was now considered “at liberty” being involved in a special long-term project involving crystals and ship design.  There was no set date on when the project would terminate – for now; it was open-ended, which gave Raphael and his new family unaccustomed freedom to create a semi-permanent home on Medina at the VaCoupe compound.  Raphael might have to travel periodically, but he could be assured that Julia and the new baby would be surrounded always by loving and supportive family members in Medina.  He took a deep breath and sent a prayer of gratitude to the Mother for allowing some peace to enter into once had been a highly stressful existence for him during this lifetime.

With maturity and time, Raphael had begun to realize that his last rash act as Lord Delos had sent his soul essence unintentionally into a cycle of hardship as balance for in effect sacrificing his life.  Although the sacrifice won time for the Sirian people to prepare for a great invasion, he did so at great cost to the trajectory of his own soul evolution. In the short life, with its violent end, as the Morovian camel boy and his early childhood in this life, he had defied authority and those who sought to protect him.  He recognized this now and was determined to return to the needed balance and alignment that would ensure the continued safety of his young family, at least as much as possible in the midst of an unpredictable war setting.  He was not afraid of dying; that was never an issue for Raphael for he knew and had experienced the continuation of life beyond death and between lifetimes, as well.  He just wanted to be sure his family did not suffer for his actions this time.  And he wanted to spend many years enjoying the sweet company of his mate, Julia, with whom he was deeply in love.

In the years since he left The Golden Lion, Julia had lent him the needed emotional support that had been non-existent in his life before.  Even in the company of other male friends, he found he required the balance of female company, something he had never had all the time he was a slave or as a crew member.  Since the death of his mother, Julia had become the primary figure who acted as a steadying influence for his sensitive nature.  It was now in knowing how he was originally engendered that assisted him in understanding he would never be like other men.  His unusual sensitivity granted gifts that were uncommon in even the high-frequency isles at this time in the development of the Pleiadian peoples.  So, he would never “fit-in” but he could now work without being overwhelmed by his own abilities and unpredictable gifts.  He had finally attained a plateau of welcomed emotional stability where he could continue to explore the limits of his gifts, for the good of his family and the people who were counting on the Command for protection.

Raphael knew he was fortunate in having Lord Demetrius VaCoupe for his adopted father and sponsor, as well as his military commander.  He was no longer being compelled to follow shipboard protocol, for although he had learned to respect the need for the rules when running a huge vessel, the strict rules also had caused him great stress at times as his psychic gifts knew or cared nothing about rules or the timing of shifts.  Raphael doubted he would ever work aboard a ship of the line again in this particular life, although it was always a possibility.  And, although he had considered following the footsteps of his deceased and unfortunate father in becoming a diplomat, that path, for the time being did not seem to hold much promise.  Diplomacy was required, but difficult during a wartime setting, which had been shown to him during his brief visit to BerWare and the resulting difficulties with the king which continued to this day.  Although relative peace now reigned on BerWare, the king still remembered Raphael specifically as the officer who had pointed out that his own cousin, Salazar, was infected with the alien technology that affected the personality and transformed the targeted individual into an enemy spy.  From time to time, Lady Arla, the head priestess and confidant of her mistress, Lady Claudine, informed Raphael as to the status of the king’s emotional state.  To date, Stephanus had not forgiven nor forgotten Raphael’s actions that led to the untimely execution of his closest relative.  Perhaps the combination of the compromise necessary for diplomacy to function wasn’t possible when Raphael’s powerful gifts overpowered his ability to turn them off at will.  In short, he was better suited to be an inventor in this part of his life.  He had no ambition or need to become a commander once again and at any rate, that path appeared to be closed to him now.

Within a short time into the flight, the rugged mountains north of Medina came into sight.  Peeking out briefly, Raphael spied the rugged ridges dotted with tough, hard trees and shrubs that grew on the steep, rocky slopes, shaped by the heavy wind storms that periodically swept over the desert isle of Medina.  Then, the mountains were behind them and they were crossing the vast cacti-studded plains that swept down to the river near the outskirts of the ancient desert town of Medina.  Raphael noted the late morning light glimmering on some of the higher towers in town and knew they were close.  Within a few minutes, the graceful ship gently settled down on the informal landing pad at the rear of the VaCoupe compound.  This suited Raphael as he did not want it known generally in town that he and his large party had arrived. 

Raphael and Julia were the last to disembark, stepping down the ramp carefully with Raphael guiding Julia’s elbow, lending his support as she moved slowly towards the garden gate.  Seeing her swollen body, Mazzie and Carlos ventured out in front of the other waiting relatives, to make sure Julia was taken immediately to the suite that Raphael and she shared while in Medina.  Raphael released his mate’s arm and let her be escorted away by the solicitous healers, knowing Julia was in good hands.  Then he focused on locating Lord Raimundo for he had a special guest he wanted his adopted uncle to meet.  First, he located Salaniel in the crowd of new arrivals and took the youngster by the arm:

“Salaniel, come lad, I want you to meet Lord Raimundo.  He is the younger brother of Lord Demetrius and watches over the compound when the Lord is away in Alyona on business, which is quite often these days”, said Raphael.  Salaniel looked startled and reticient, but complied by following him towards the gate.

Finally, Raimundo’s tall form could be seen in the crush of waiting relatives, as his uncle gently moved through the crowd and approached.  He came to a stop in front of Raphael and Salaniel.  Raphael greeted his uncle with a warm hug and then signed the shy Morovian youth forward to meet Lord Raimundo. “Uncle Raimundo, I wanted you to especially met this young man.  His name is Salaniel and he is from Morova.  I first encountered him on The Golden Lion after several Morovian children were freed from captivity.  It was during the same battle in which my brother, Ezekiel, and several of my friends died.”

Raimundo extended his hand towards Salaniel who took it up, still looking half-paralyzed with fright.  “Welcome, Salaniel. You would not be the first Morovian to enter these halls.  Eagle Commander Monteras is a frequent guest and actually lived here for a few years when he acted as tutor, guard, and trainer for Commander VaCoupe… before we adopted him into the family that is…”

“Thank you, sir, Lord Raimundo”, stammered the thin youth.  He was clearly unaccustomed to addressing lords or powerful men.  Raphael knew the boy probably had deep unhealed wounds relating to his four-year-ordeal as a slave of the enemy, but Raimundo was one who could assist him in beginning to heal those old memories, even as he had helped Raphael along his own healing journey.  The youth stepped aside as Raimundo went on to greet the other guests.

And who have we here”, asked Raimundo as Master Edar stepped up to meet him, followed closely by his tall rangy son, Falonus. 

Uncle Raimundo, please greet Master Edar, one of the Masters who worked with me on the project when I was sent to Alyona several years ago”, replied Raphael with a smile.  “I’ve had the pleasure of learning more about him and his people as a result of our friendship.  Master Edar was the brother to Lord Lyonell, one of my first mentors.  And this young fellow is his son Falonus, who is a cadet at the University Ship.  Falonus is studying engineering.”

Raimundo gave Master Edar a dazzling smile and shook his hand appreciatively, “I understand you were one of the Masters who was very supportive of Raphael’s efforts at Alyona when he first arrived there.  I want to thank you on his behalf!”

“It was my pleasure and honor to work with such a talented and unusual young man”, replied Master Edar with one of his characteristic toothy grins.  “We were all in wonder of Raphael’s gifts and ability to scan isles and systems so rapidly and accurately.  I still have not mastered the techniques he so painstakingly taught us when I was in Alyona.”

“Ah, methinks few can achieve what Raphael has – yet he is human and I know he has become quite fond of you and the other Masters who worked with him on the project”, replied Raimundo.  Then he politely greeted young Falonus, who bowed to the tall lord, “Greeting, Falonus, I am so pleased you could accompany your father here on a visit.  We’ll talk later about your studies…”

Raimundo looked at the crowd of new arrivals and spied out Master Nathan Pelleur and his foster son, Alphar: “Master Pelleur, I’m so happy to meet you.  We didn’t have much opportunity to speak on your last short visit.  It looks like you will be staying with us now for some time.  I’ll see that you and your foster son are given comfortable quarters with furniture that is appropriate for both of you.”

The cheerful Crystal Master peered up at the tall Raimundo and bowed slightly, “Thank you, Lord Raimundo.  I gather you are the younger brother of Lord Demetrius.  You have a lovely home here.  Thank you for having my foster son and I here.  We are eager to work with your talented nephew, Raphael.”

“Yes, he is a rare one, our Raphael.  We are just as glad to have him back among his family… and Julia looks to be rather close to her time”, replied Raimundo, with some concern.

No need to fret, Uncle”, said Raphael.  “I’ve been monitoring her and the baby’s progress every day.  They are both doing well. The baby should be due in a couple of month’s now.”

“You’re not a healer, Raphael”, replied Raimundo.  “I’m glad you came when you did – for I sense this baby is eager to emerge from the womb.  Have you communicated with it yet?”

“Yes – and I know the soul will soon be making his debut as a Pleiadian”, replied Raphael.  “It…he is Jychondria, who was my older brother when I was first incarnated as Delos.  He, too, was once Head Commander of the Ashkerian Fleet.

“Ah, another soulmate makes his appearance among us, I see”, replied Raimundo.  “And now, I think everyone would be more comfortable inside.  The heat is growing and I am sure that some among your visitors are not accustomed to our intense desert heat.”

Raphael laughed, “Indeed, thank you for reminding me.  I do not feel uncomfortable, but I’m still wearing my Command uniform which allows me to choose the level of comfort – others here are not”, he pointedly looked towards Master Edar and his son who looked a bit uncomfortable in the heat of the late morning.

I’ll stage manage getting everyone to their quarters this time, so you can find your mate, Julia, and see if she is doing okay now”, said Raimundo.

Thank you, Uncle – and bless you.  Julia tires very easily these days.  And this trip wasn’t long, but now the heat.  I’m sure she is probably already sleeping quietly in our rooms”, replied Raphael.

Well, you better check for sure…” replied Raimundo.  Then in a louder voice, he began to direct the various new arrivals through the doors of the great dwelling and into the large audience hall.  Raphael slipped through the crowd of waiting relatives, greeting a few.  He was followed closely by his ever-present Eagles, who were carrying some of the luggage for the guests as well. 

Raphael found Julia sitting in their study, with her swollen feet soaking in a basin of cool water.  She looked up as he strode in, followed by Gareth, who was carrying their luggage.  “Thank you, Gareth, just drop the bags in our sleeping room – I’ll take care of the clothing later.  See if you can remember how to get to your quarters now, take a left and then a right and you should find it.”

“Thank you, Commander VaCoupe, for inviting all of us to come.  It’s like visiting family here.  I hope Mother can visit, too, while we’re staying here.  I haven’t seen her in a long time”, replied Gareth rather wistfully.

Raphael looked at the tall strapping Eagle with amusement.  His mother was the articulate and persuasive Lady Arla, confidant to Claudine of BerWare.

I’ll see what I can do, Gareth.  Thanks, again for carrying the bags here”, replied Raphael politely.  As the tall Eagle exited, he turned to his mate, “And how are you doing, my dear?”

“This cool water feels so good”, replied Julia as she wiggled her toes.  “I plan to indulge in a bath in that huge pool after I’ve rested.  Sonic showers may get you clean, but I would rather take a bath in a good pool any day!”

 “I fully agree with you, Julia”, replied Raphael.  “After my last spot of trouble on Morova, I couldn’t wait until I had a real bath in real water.  I had to wait until we stopped at Arconia.  The suite where we stayed had a large tub and I’m afraid I monopolized it for at least an hour!”

“Simple things are the best, are they not”, replied Julia.

I would agree – although you can hardly call this house “simple”; it is very ancient, indeed, and well planned out, although one can get easily lost, too”, replied Raphael.  “When I first arrived here, Carlos took me around for a tour and I’m afraid we both got lost.  Carlos was born here and he still doesn’t know every nook and cranny of the place!”

“Ah, boys!” sighed Julia as she rubbed her growing belly. “This one is squirming around and kicking.  I think he wants out, but it’s not quite time.  Mazzie said it was good we came home now. She recommended I should spend much of that time resting in bed or taking it easy.”

“That’s a good idea, Julia. Just this short trip was tiring for you”, replied Raphael cautiously.  “I think Jychondria is going to be a very large baby when he finally decides to come out of there.”

Raphael gently placed his hand against his mate’s belly and felt the little one nudge it with his tiny foot.  “Ah, I felt him!  I missed so much when I was Delos – not being around for the births of our children.  I apologize, Julia, for neglecting you then.”

“You have nothing to apologize for, my love”, replied Julia.  “You had a very serious job to do and did it so well.  I had plenty of help from other members of the household. Lord Jychondria always came by when he could to read to me while I rested before the birth.  I know I’m a bit smaller than your women here, but the women in my family tend to carry large babies.  Mazzie said Lady Arrina will be available when my time comes to act as mid-wife… and counselor for you, if needed!”

“Ah, the time will go swiftly and I need to start doing some meditations with the Mother Crystal here on this isle – did you know that a finger of the crystalline heart of this isle extends into the lower floors of the Shemont?  The temple is sited on the remains of a far older temple whose origins are lost in time”, replied Raphael. 

Julia smiled—Raphael was already thinking of his projects.  It was good to be home and seeing…and feeling her mate was grounded and happy.  He had had such a difficult life as a youngster and into young adulthood.  Finally, he had achieved some sense of balance and contentment in his life and she knew it was in large part to her presence in his life as his mate and keeper of his tender heart.  She knew Raphael would make an excellent father for their young Jychrondria.  She patted her belly as the little one stretched again as if testing the limits of his present dwelling place.  “Soon, little one, soon I will be holding you in my arms and crooning lullabies to you.”

“Perhaps, my dear… but remember our youngsters grow very fast.  He’ll soon be following you around the house and getting lost.  I hope Carlos likes babies for I may enlist him to watch after Jychondria when he’s past the crawling stage!” said Raphael. “I know I grew very fast my first four years – I was already four feet tall at my fourth birthday…”

Raphael became silent for a moment remembering days after his birthday, he was kidnapped and removed from his birth family for most of ten years, only to be briefly reunited with his parents under horrible circumstances when he was fourteen.  “I didn’t actually have an average childhood.  Our young Jychondria will, thank Goddess!”

Julia picked up the hand of her mate who was standing close and kissed his palm.  “Yes, our baby will be loved and nurtured and surrounded by loving family… lots of loving family!”

“Do you need help getting ready to lie down, Julia?” asked Raphael.

No, I think I can manage – are you off somewhere?” she asked.

I think I had better find Salaniel and see if he is settling in.  He has never had anyone to care for him since his rescue over six years ago.  I’m sure he may feel a little out of sorts in the midst of this huge family and house”, replied Raphael.  “I’ll check on the lad and see how he is doing and then come back and help you into the pool for a nice bath.”

“Ah, Mazzie said she would help me, and she is going to bring Frida, as well, if I need assistance getting in and out of the pool.  Frida is a tall strong lass who I can lean on if need be”, replied Julia.  “Remember, we have resources here and lots of people who are willing to be of assistance.”

“Yes, I’m still getting socialized even after all these years.  I’ve counted on the Eagles for lots of things, but when it comes to family matters, I’m quite lost”, replied Raphael rather ironically.  He didn’t have a family during his primary years when he should have been socialized in manners and working with people in an extended family setting.  His own blood family had many servants and his mother wasn’t expected to take part in managing the household; her personal assistant took care of those duties, as Lady Katrina served often at the great temple in PoLiafee.  Raphael had been looked after by a nurse and tutor until he was kidnapped when all social training came to an abrupt end.

In the end, Raphael left Julia to her female assistants, Mazzie and Frida, and went out to locate Salaniel.  He found the lad sitting in the family room talking with Falonus and signing to young Alphar who sat across the table. Salaniel was teaching Alphar Morovian battle language, a finger and hand language sometimes used also with deaf people.  The tall deaf-mute boy had his eyes fixated on Salaniel’s swiftly moving fingers. 

Raphael could tell Salaniel was also communicating telepathically with Alphar who was simply glowing with all the attention.  Falonus also appeared interested in learning the battle language which might come in handy in his future assignments on board ship.  The three boys appeared quite comfortable in each other’s presence, which brought a smile to Raphael’s face.  He knew from glimpses into the future that the Pleiadian fleet would continue to grow and gain new membership from beings quite different from the races and species already present within the star federation.  It gave him much hope to see the acceptance of these young people of any outer differences and their ability to overcome perceived shortcomings using their ingenuity and invention. 

The boys all looked up when they sensed Raphael’s presence and abruptly stood at attention in respect of his station as a commander.  Raphael smiled and signed slowly for Alphar:  At ease, men; be seated!

As the boys sat down, again, Alphar grinned, blushing a little at the commander’s obvious understanding of what was going on.  Raphael signed once again: May I join you?

Alphar nodded and sent Raphael a burst of thanks for his understanding.  Raphael signed again slowly: It is an honor to teach and to be taught.

Raphael nodded for Salaniel to continue with his lesson.  The slender Morovian boy also blushed as he regarded the commander with great reverence remembering the now long ago meditation Raphael had led all of the rescued children through, and how his auric field had blazed with golden light.  Salaniel didn’t realize then that not all people even saw auras.  By revealing what he had seen, he was giving Raphael a window into understanding Salaniel’s inborn sensitivities to energies. 

With an unexpectedly bright smile, Salaniel continued with his lesson, first signing and then sending a telepathic symbol or word to Alphar.  As a Feline, Falonus was also psychically sensitive and could participate in the inner conversation between the two other boys.  For once, Raphael just observed and felt the simmering joy as the boys shared their knowledge, patience, and skill.

Raphael realized that by combining telepathic speech with battle language, which used code as well as hands when physically present, enabled the participants to fully engage their senses and their minds in the conversation.  As a trader’s son, he had picked up the language through observation of his elders who continued to use the ancient battle language during daily activities, when setting up tents, when wishing not to disturb sleeping siblings, when doing chores around skittish animals, and the like.  He had pestered his uncles and elder brothers to teach him the finer points of the sign language when he was a camel boy and continued to use the skill into this lifetime.  It had proven quite useful on occasion even on board ship when he communicated with close associates or in the field on those rare occasions when Raphael had been allowed to go on a land operation.

Now, Raphael could see that the battle language was useful for teaching those who had speech impediments and were unable to speak or, as in the case of one like Alphar, had been born deaf and mute.  As Raphael watched, it was quickly apparent that there was nothing wrong with Alphar’s mind; after a particularly difficult and lengthy message sent by Salaniel, Alphar sent one in reply that was equally difficult.  He grinned when Raphael signed: Impressive!

Raphael knew then he owed Alphar to inform his foster father, Master Nathan Pelleur that the boy really ought to receive the chance to get a good education.  The boy just needed instructors who were willing to use telepathic speech with him while doing their lessons or could utilize interpreters who could fashion telepathic speech for the boy so he might comprehend the lessons. 

Raphael quickly signed Alphar and asked: Can you read?

He got his answer when the boy shook his head and looked down at the table.  Ah, that needs to be rectified immediately thought Raphael understanding the importance of reading and comprehension to learning some of the more complicated mental concepts.  He could already sense the boy was extremely intelligent and eager for his world to open up and expand beyond the limitations of being a servant.  Raphael decided then and there he would have a long talk with Master Nathan and then endeavor to find an appropriate tutor for the boy.  As a former slave, he knew better than most the disadvantages in not being able to communicate or learn.  Of course, if Commander Monteras was willing to take up the task of teaching Alphar that would be a good solution for both of them.  Alphar’s education had been neglected – not on purpose – but now Raphael was determined the young elemental giant be given an opportunity to break out of his silent shell.

Salaniel was displaying his own brilliance, compassion, and patience by working so intently with Alphar, as was Falonus.  If the future of the Pleiades depended on its young people, these three youngsters were a good foundation.

Raphael cleared his throat briefly to get the boys’ attention and signed Alphar… we will find a tutor to teach you how to read and write, Alphar, I promise you!  No one should be limited in their dreams and achievements!”

Young Alphar blinked at the impact of the message, tears starting up in his expressive brown eyes.  He looked startled and astounded.  He signed back: Repeat, please?

Raphael signed slowly: You are going to learn how to read and write, Alphar! Understand?

Alphar blinked, tears flowing down his cheeks and replied, “Yes, I understand. Thank you!”

Raphael nodded and reached for the boy’s hand, sending him telepathically: I, of all people understand the importance of getting an education and being given chances and understanding that each person has their own gifts to offer the world.  Understand, young Alphar?

Alphar took a deep breath and nodded: Thank you, Commander, for your kindness.

Raphael stood up and stretched, remarking out loud to Salaniel and Falonus: “Thank you for taking the time to include Alphar in your activities.  I’m going to see that we can arrange some tutoring for him so he can learn to read and write.  And then, perhaps, someday he can go to university… even to the University Ship.  There is no reason his physical condition should get in the way of whatever he wishes to do.  There are enough people on board most ships who are quite talented telepaths… that is if Alphar wants to seek a career in the Command.  I’m sure there are some things he has always dreamed of doing… like I did when I was confined to a cell most of the time.”

Salaniel looked at Raphael and smiled shyly: “I could feel Alphar wanted to communicate with us.  He hasn’t had much contact with other young people.  He really is quite bright and has picked up quite a bit of the battle language in a very short time.  He’s quite impressive!  And you are very kind, Commander, to look in on us, as well.” Salaniel quickly sent his new friend a telepathic message containing what he had just shared with Raphael.  Alphar smiled and blushed at the praise.

Falonus spoke up, too:  “If I wasn’t going back to the University Ship, I could help tutor Alphar.  Salaniel and I can get him started while you and his foster father, Master Pelleur, locate him a suitable tutor.”

“That’s an excellent idea, Salaniel and Falonus!” exclaimed Raphael impressed with the caliber of both young men.  And now he had to have that talk with Master Pelleur. He looked at Alphar and asked: Do you know where your foster father is presently?

Alphar signed back: In the garden with Master Edar. They are discussing ship design!

Curious – thought Raphael given that Master Edar’s primary subject was ship government.  He signed the boys: Good-bye!

Just as Alphar said, the two Masters were seated in the herb garden in the midst of a lively discussion, along with his adopted Uncle Raimundo, the retired Commander. The day’s heat was beginning to wane so the garden was a pleasant place to sit, enjoying the color, textures, and smells of the plants.  There was also a light wind, not enough to stir the dust up, simply to cool the air slightly after a hot day. 

Master Edar looked up as Raphael approached the group and said: “How is Julia settling in, Raphael?  She looked a bit uncomfortable in the heat today.”

“Well, the first thing she wanted was to have a bath in that wonderful bathing pool, Uncle Raimundo!  We have sonic showers on board the University Ship, and that just isn’t the best thing for a pregnant female”, replied Raphael with a laugh.  “I love that pool, too.  Mazzie and one of the teenage girls, Frida, are going to help Julia get in and out of the pool.  I thought I would let the ladies enjoy some time together – Mazzie and Julia haven’t seen each other for some months now.  And Frida has returned home for a holiday from Arconia where she has been studying.”

 Raphael continued: “I was just looking in on the boys, Alphar, Falonus, and Salaniel.  The latter two were teaching Alphar some Morovian battle language; something Salaniel knows quite well having been a trader’s son like me as Raphael DeAires.”

Master Nathan looked at Raphael with a slightly puzzled look: “DeAires?  You were a Morovian in a prior incarnation?”

“Yes, Master, I was a trader’s son who mainly looked after the camels, thus I refer to that first Pleiadian lifetime as “the camel boy”.  I was killed by slavers at age 12”, replied Raphael.  “Commander Monteras, the Eagle Commander, is a cousin from that lifetime.  I hope he will get here soon as I have a new job for him.”

“What is that?” inquired Master Edar.

Tutor for your foster son, Alphar, Master Pelleur – with your permission, of course”, replied Raphael.  “I sat with the boys observing the lesson and was impressed with Alphar’s ability to comprehend both the battle language and the telepathic conversations he was having with both of the boys, Salaniel and your son, Falonus, Master Edar.”

Master Edar regarded his young friend with a warm smile: “It looks like your young foster son has a new advocate and two new friends, as well, Master Pelleur!  Of any among us, Raphael realizes the value of a good education.  Fortunately for him, his own gifts and abilities aided him in learning quickly, a necessity since he was prevented from learning or going to school for ten years of his young life!”

“Yes, I wouldn’t want that to happen to any child given the circumstances, so if you don’t mind Master Pelleur, would it be agreeable for your foster son to receive some tutoring while here?  We should be here for a couple of years at least until my own new son is ready for boarding school”, said Raphael.

Master Pelleur looked very thoughtful and surprised. “You know, I never even considered educating young Alphar.  And now, that seems very unfair of me.  I don’t even know the capacity of my own young charge.  Thank you, Commander, for bringing this to my attention.  I agree with your assessment; Alphar is, indeed, very bright.  And with what you are saying, his abilities have yet to have been truly tested.  Learning to read and write will assist him in being able to communicate with those who are not adept at telepathy and will widen his world a great deal.  It would be much better for him, in the long run, than being used simply as a beast of burden or a servant.  You are certainly a kind young man to think about this for my boy.”

Raimundo looked rather thoughtful and spoke next:  “Who were you thinking could act as a tutor for young Alphar?”

“Well, the boys, Salaniel and Falonus, have taken it upon themselves to start Alphar with his writing and reading, but both of them will be returning soon to the University Ship to continue their own studies”, replied Raphael.  “I was considering asking my cousin, Commander Monteras, whether or not he would be open to tutoring yet another young boy.  He’s been my own tutor and trainer for two lifetimes – which I remember.”

“Ah, Tomás… when is he due to arrive?” asked Master Edar.

I expect he will arrive on the return flight that returns you, Master Edar, your son Falonus, and Salaniel back to the University Ship.  Our dry season will be ending in a couple of weeks so you will want to leave for the ship or stay until the rainy season starts – it’s too dangerous to travel when the electrical storms are upon the land!” replied Raphael.

What Raphael says is true – the storms make it very difficult to travel, so you should probably return in a week and half or wait a couple of more weeks until after the electrical storms are finished”, replied Raimundo as he looked up at the waning light of the late afternoon.  “I know I would like to observe these young men teaching your foster son, Master Pelleur.  Perhaps one of them will consider being an instructor after they finish their own schooling.  I know the engineering school in Cove is looking for more instructors as the need is so great right now with the displacement of young people and the growing fleet needing to be built and manned.”

“Well, it is early in the careers of Falonus and Salaniel – I know Falonus is quite set on learning engineering and he would like to do a couple of tours of duty on board one of the ships of the line before settling down to an engineering job on shore”, replied Master Edar.  “I don’t know about Salaniel who seems like a bright, sensitive lad, a little like you as a boy, Raphael.”

“I hope not, Master Edar, for his sake”, replied Raphael quite seriously.  “It took me years to recover from my post-traumatic stress and the continuous nightmares.  I woke up my companions… including Carlos and Monteras, while I was at Arconia and then again on board The Golden Lion when I was sent there as a cadet.  I haven’t really spoken to Salaniel about his experiences as a captive.  He seems to have become quite shy since I first met him soon after he was rescued along with several other captives from a battle scene.  It certainly would have given me nightmares to have been in that situation.”

“Well, perhaps a couple of us can speak to young Salaniel and see how he is doing.  He is making friends with my son, Falonus, so now he will know at least one fellow to speak with outside of his studies”, replied Master Edar.

Ah, that reminds me”, said Raphael, “I didn’t have a chance to share this with any of you yet… but I just met a new grandson the other day on the University Ship!”

“Grandson? How’s that, Raphael”, inquired Master Edar.  The other two men were looking puzzled as well as Raphael and Julia were about to have their first child. 

Well you might be puzzled, but remember gentlemen, I also have an Ashkerian family that was left behind when I died suddenly in battle nearly 70 years ago…”, replied Raphael with a laugh.  “Almost the last day we were on the University Ship, I encountered Commander Jon deAir and my son Commander Rojé of Sirust, who were there to enroll my grandson, Delos-Ramanda, into the school!  Now I have two grandsons, Tazo and Ramanda!”

“Your grandson was named after you?” inquired Raimundo.

Yes he was, Delos-Ramanda”, replied Raphael.  “My family wanted to honor my memory, especially when they learned I wouldn’t be reincarnating again on Sirust.  It took me long enough to accept that I had finished what I came to do there in two short lifetimes.”

“Another Delos; how is this grandson of yours?” asked Master Edar filled with curiosity.

Well, for one thing, I recommended the name “Delos” not be used outside of Ashkerian space, for the lad’s protection. The Dark still hate that name and I don’t want my grandson endangered by carrying it”, replied Raphael.  “He was a bit shy.  I’m actually not sure what he intends to study but he does want to go into the Command.  We will be seeing more Sirians in the ranks if this war continues for long.”

“Well, that must have been a surprise, a pleasant one, especially after not hearing anything from your Ashkerian relatives since Tazo went home”, said Raimundo.

Yes, I was just thinking about my former family… as my coming baby is/was another member of that same family, an elder brother called Jychondria”, replied Raphael.  “And no sooner than a day or so later, I run into Jon and Rojé in the corridor of the University Ship! It felt like a miracle to me after not hearing anything from Tazo for so long.  I hope to have my grandson visit sometime here at Medina, especially while his uncle is a baby!”

“Oh, the blessed confusion of your lifetimes, Raphael – you seem to collect relatives along the way”, laughed Raimundo, remembering when Raphael had brought Tazo to Medina for the first time.  And Commander Monteras was yet another of his relatives, from his lifetime as the camel boy son of Anor DeAires.

Yes, one of my Eagles, Paul Dominguez, was expressing the same sentiment the other day after meeting Commanders deAir and Tazo.  Paul knows Tazo having worked with him several times on operations while Tazo was stationed on The Golden Lion along with me”, replied Raphael. “All I know from these experiences is just how interwoven our lives are in the grand scheme of things.  Death is nothing to fear.  My beloved Anya is also with me, again,  And we’re going to have my beloved elder brother from my first incarnation as Delos as our first child!  The wonderment of it all practically takes my breath away.”

“Raphael – my dear nephew – it is good to see you in such an expansive mood after all of your troubles”, said Raimundo.  Then he turned to Master Pelleur and said, “And about our earlier topic – your foster son, Alphar, I would be delighted to take on some of the tutoring duties to start the young man on the road to learning.  I’m sure I can manage to teach him how to read and write!  Mathematics?  Well, I’ll let Commander Monteras undertake that task!”

“That’s great, Uncle Raimundo!  I’m sure Alphar would love to get to know you better”, replied Raphael.  “He’s very shy, but really loves communicating with people who pay attention to him.”

“That’s true, Raphael – thank you, again, for thinking about my young charge”, replied Master Nathan, feeling quite touched.  “I can see you have a great love of people, young man, despite all you have suffered in your short life.  We can all learn from your example.  I completely support any efforts to assist young Alphar in learning – anything.  He is quite diligent and talented with his telepathy.  It should be interesting to observe how far he is willing to expand his horizons from here.  Thank you all for being so kind”, replied Master Pelleur.  “You know, Raphael – my sister, Lady Chokama, was right about you – you would have been better off as a shaman or priest, but you are now well-loved and in the midst of a growing family that just seems to expand even into another star system.  I hope you will include me as an unofficial member of that family as we work together on our discoveries!”

“Oh, Master Pelleur, I can hardly wait to start on our project, although at this moment I don’t know where to start…” replied Raphael barely able to contain his excitement at the prospect of learning new things about ships and crystals.  “I’m sure when the time is right the direction will appear as to what we first need to focus upon.  And… oh, another thing, my mate’s brother, Master Adario, is an instructor in ship design at the University Ship.  He was on a visit home to Airus when we first arrived and didn’t find out we were there until it was almost time for us to leave.  He has said he would be honored to take part in our research and accompany us both on trips to Cove and the Elexa shipyards.”

“Another relative, Raphael?” chuckled Raimundo.  “And he is a Kadish relative?  How did you find Julia’s brother?  Wasn’t he present at your matetation ceremony—a tall, dark-haired man, along with his father?”

“Well, he appeared to be delighted to nearly be an uncle. And yes, he accompanied his father and sister here before we were mated. He told us he was going to tell his mother and father just how happy Julia and I appear together.  And he is eager to work with us when he found out I would be working with you, Master Pelleur”, replied Raphael.  “Yes, Adario is a Kadish – a distant cousin on my father’s side – my blood father that is – but quite open to new ideas unlike the couple of cousins I encountered on board some of our ships in the past.  I had difficulties with two of them, both superior officers and not very open to my unpredictable visions and unconventional methods.”

“More relatives!” chuckled Raimundo again.  “This is really quite amusing.  You have seemed to capture a whole star system in your families. Of course, your new family, the VaCoupes also has ties to many great families across the Pleiadian Federation.  You’ve met my niece, Claudine Vanairus?”

“Oh, yes, I met my lovely foster sister briefly when I attended Commander Esturias and the rest of the landing party on BerWare some seven or so years ago”, replied Raphael.  “However, given the circumstances we were unable to speak much together beyond a quick introduction.  And I can’t very well go there to visit as the king continues to hold a grudge against me for pointing out his cousin as an enemy agent!”

“Enemy agent – how did that happen, Raphael?” Master Pelleur wasn’t acquainted with the BerWare operation and its outcome – Raphael’s arrest and incarceration under protective custody of the High Council. 

Oh, Master Pelleur – I will share that story with you sometime, but now I need to see how Julia is getting on.  She should be done with her bath.  And I wanted to get Mazzie’s impression on how many more days before we can expect to meet little Jychondria”, replied the suddenly anxious father-to-be.

Raimundo smiled to himself watching Raphael’s face… he was feeling the onset of anxiety that comes when one’s wife is about to give birth.  It wouldn’t be too long.  Raimundo knew Julia and Raphael were in tune to each other’s frequencies to a high degree – especially given the sensitivity of the father.  And Raphael seemed well acquainted already with the coming child, something that pleased his adopted uncle.  From being a lost orphan boy when they first met, his nephew was now developing into a kind and responsible adult – he would also make a good father to the child.  Raphael had shown great compassion and sensitivity in recognizing the educational needs of Alphar, the foster son of Master Pelleur; Raimundo was pleased to witness the flowering of unconditional love in his adopted nephew.  And he knew his brother; Lord Demetrius would be pleased to hear of these developments.  Raphael was, indeed, a good addition to the VaCoupe Family.

When Raphael arrived back to their rooms, Julia was being helped into bed by the two women. Frida was, indeed, a strong girl, standing about eight feet tall with broad shoulders and sturdy legs.  Mazzie was a little shorter, but very strong, as well.  When she saw Raphael coming down the corridor, Mazzie let Frida take over assisting Julia.  She stopped Raphael before he could enter the room.  “Raphael – your mate is already going into contractions!  It is good you got here in time or one of you would have had to deliver your mate on the ship!” 

“I must have had the dates wrong!” replied Raphael feeling quite astounded and nervous.  “Is she okay – is the baby okay?”

“Yes, as far as I can tell, the babe is full-term and there are no complications.  I’m going to send Carlos to the Shemont to get Lady Arrina or one of the other healers just in case of any complications, but I think Julia will be just fine,” replied Mazzie as she sent Raphael some calming energy.  “I think you need to find a place to sit down and rest yourself.  Let us women take care of Julia!”

“I just want to see her first – “, he replied, but Mazzie pushed him firmly away from the door to their rooms.  “Go fetch some of the women from the kitchen.  We’ll need some hot water and towels. The baby is determined to come out now!”

Raphael flinched as he heard Julia call out.  The birth process for Pleiadian women wasn’t normally painful but even then there could be complications, especially being Julia was petite carrying a large child.  Raphael headed quickly back to the kitchen and gave some of the women there Mazzie’s message.  They looked at him with amusement recognizing male anxiety and shooed him away as they began to gather all the necessary implements, water, and towels.

Masters Edar and Pelleur and Raimundo were entering the family room when they saw Raphael coming out of the kitchen.  Raimundo called the young man over.  From the look on Raphael’s face, Raimundo knew his hunch had been correct.  Julia was already in labor!

Come over here, Raphael”, ordered Raimundo.  “We’ll keep you company while the ladies get to work!

Raimundo looked around and saw the boys still working on teaching Alphar Morovian battle language.  He also called them over to sit with the men.  “Boys, we need to support Commander VaCoupe now – his mate, Julia, has just gone into labor with her first child!”

“Oh, congratulations, Commander!” said Falonus.

Salaniel just looked at Raphael and decided to sit next to the anxious father-to-be.  “Commander, remember what you taught us children on The Golden Lion, look within and find that calm place.  I think you could do with some help right now, sir!”

“You’re right, Salaniel – but it’s different when there is someone else involved – something I should have considered when – oh, never mind, it’s not important!” replied Raphael.  He leaned on the table with his elbows, holding his hand up to his brow and took some calming breaths.  “I was never around for the births of my other children –“

“What other children, Commander?” asked Falonus now curious.

I have three living sons, two daughters, and two grandsons who live on Sirust in the Ashkera system”, replied Raphael.  “It is a strange occurrence due to my not being able to reincarnate on Sirust after my death in battle. I only met one of my grandsons a few days ago.  His name is Ramanda.  I hope you and Salaniel can meet him and become friends.  I would like him to visit Medina while he is studying at the University Ship.  I actually served with my other grandson, Tazo,… who is older than I am in my present Pleiadian incarnation…”

“Raphael has had some interesting and difficult lifetimes, boys.  Now let the man relax.  This process may take a while to complete”, said Raimundo.  He understood the nerves having lost a mate from complications in childbirth, but he was pretty sure Julia would come through this birth without any problems.  She was a very happy and healthy woman.  “However, we might have to put you in another room tonight so you can sleep.  These things can take…”

“A while… yes, you said that already, Uncle”, replied Raphael.  “I haven’t been around a woman in labor since my aunt had one of her last…in my previous incarnation as the camel boy – that was over 60 years ago!”

“Well, what should we talk about then – boys, do you have any idea?” asked Master Pelleur.

Just then there was a stir in the audience room beyond.  Raphael looked up to see Carlos leading one of the priestesses from the Shemont towards them; it was Lady Arrina, who had long ago counseled a very young Raphael.  He stood up to greet her: “Lady Arrina – my thanks for your coming to assist my mate!”

Lady Arrina waved him away saying, “Later, Commander – I understand you are a commander now, Raphael?  Carlos informs me that your mate’s water has already broke and she is going into contractions.  So, if you don’t mind I’m going to see how matters are proceeding.  I understand your son wants to come out soon, so there’s no time for chitchat right now.  Get back to consoling the new father, men!”

The priestess paused for a moment and asked Carlos: “Young man, is the Commander’s mate in his old rooms?”

“Yes, Lady, she is there…” replied Carlos.  He understood that he was now also being dismissed.  He backed away and came over to the large table where the other males were sitting as the priestess stalked off, all business now.  A flurry of women went scurrying by in the wake of the priestess carrying an assortment of pans, buckets, towels, and instruments that Raphael really didn’t want to see right now.  He took his head in both hands and leaned against the table again.

Carlos sat down next to Raphael and held his hand to his friend’s back, sending him some calming energies.  “Breathe, Raphael – women have been doing this kind of thing since this quadrant was seeded.”

Raphael tried to take his friend’s advice, but he was filled with a tremendous rush of anxiety.  He tried to tune in to Julia and Jychondria, but neither were answering or responding, both intent on their own business at the moment – the woman in giving birth and the young one, being birthed.  He suddenly stood up, “I need to go outside and take some air.  Does anyone want to come?”

“I’ll come with you, Commander”, replied Gareth, who had come into the room looking for Raphael.  Paul was right behind him.

Okay, men – I would almost prefer to be on a mission with Myka Strom right now rather than waiting for my son to be born.  Let me know if there are any ‘developments’”, said Raphael as he walked from the room, leaving the other men and boys sitting at the table. 

He needs to move some of the energy, so the best thing is for him to go out in the garden”, said Carlos, looking at the others.

Raimundo was filling Alphar in on what was going on.  The brown-haired boy looked surprised and made a gesture indicating a swollen pregnant stomach and then rocking something in his arms.  Salaniel nodded and signed, “Yes, yes…baby coming!”

Alphar smiled at Salaniel and Raimundo.  Master Edar and Master Pelleur regarded the boy with interest.  As Raphael had noted in his own observations, the boy was quite alert to what was going on around him.  Master Pelleur sent a telepathic message to him: “Son… we are going to arrange a tutor for you so you can learn to read and write.  Lord Raimundo has agreed to fill in until Commander Monteras arrives sometime in the next week or so.  Is this something you are interested in learning?”

Young Alphar looked at his foster father with astonishment and then gave a great big smile, nodding enthusiastically.  He signed back, forgetting Master Pelleur didn’t know battle language: “Yes, yes.  I want.  Read and write!”

Salaniel translated: “Yes, Master Pelleur, your son is eager to learn.  Lord Raimundo, while Falonus and I are here we can help you get Alphar started.  He is really quite smart.  He’s picked up the battle language in record time.  I have very little more to teach him.”

“Excellent.  Thank you for your offer, Salaniel”, replied Raimundo.  “We’ll wait until tomorrow or the next day to start, depending on when this baby arrives!  I’ll have to gather up some materials but that shouldn’t take too long.  We have supplies for the other children stored away in another room.  There is always someone going to school in this room during the day.”

“Now, Salaniel – I understand you are from Morova.  You were born to a trading family like Raphael was in his first Pleiadian incarnation?” asked Raimundo. 

Yes, Lord… I was a trader’s son.  I was captured when I was six years old.  We were out on the desert at one of the oases.  There was an air attack.  Most of the adults were killed outright, but all of the children were rounded up.  It…it was horrible”, replied Salaniel shuddering.

Ah, son… you don’t have to talk about that right now”, said Raimundo in a soothing tone.  He noticed Salaniel was trembling a little at being put on the spot.  “What kind of schooling did you get after you were rescued?”

“The Morovian High Council sent me to a boarding school”, replied Salaniel.  Meanwhile, my only sister was adopted by a family who lived outside of PoLiafee so I never got to see her, again.  I stayed in the boarding school for four years.  Commander VaCoupe told me that he had stayed for a time in the same school, but he ran away.”

“Yes, Raphael has told me that story…it was unfortunate, but he had an impulsive streak then which I think he has out-grown these days”, replied Raimundo thoughtfully.  “And then you were sent to University?”

“Yes, my lord, I was sponsored by the Council and sent to university still in PoLiafee.  Arconia was deemed too far away as were the schools on Maia.  I spent another four years there and just transferred to the University Ship where I met Commander VaCoupe, again, when he came to one of my classes”, replied Salaniel, “It was remote viewing with Master Li Tzulo.  You know him, don’t you, Master Edar?”

“Indeed, Master Li Tzulo and I are old friends”, replied Master Edar. “And I spent some time with Commander VaCoupe (he was Commander Kantor at the time) and Master Tzulo when the commander was stationed on Alyona under the protection of Lord VaCoupe.”

Just then one of the women who had gone to Julia’s room came into the room and asked: “Where is the Commander?  The baby has arrived!  Commander Raphael and Julia are the proud new parents of a baby boy!”

“Oh, that’s wonderful!” exclaimed Raimundo.  When the woman looked at him slightly annoyed with her hands on her hips, he grinned, “The commander is out in the garden.  He couldn’t stand the tension inside.  I’ll send Carlos after him!”

The woman nodded, turned and disappeared around the corner.  Raimundo shook his head in wonder, “Oh my…that was quick. Young Jychondria really did want to make an entrance quickly!  Carlos – good, go get your friend, Raphael!”

Carlos scurried across the vast audience room, through the antechamber and out the massive front door and searched around the garden.  He saw Raphael’s shadowed figure sitting on a garden bench, nervously twisting a branch of rosemary around in his fingers.  Carlos shouted at his friend across the way: “Raphael!  Your son has arrived!  Come into the house now and greet him!”

“Really? So soon!  Oh, my…” gasped a startled Raphael who had just been able to calm himself somewhat.  Now he was stirred up, again, this time with excitement and anticipation.  His dear brother was back with him, again!

“I’ll be there… just give me a moment”, said Raphael.  And in that moment he prayed in gratitude to his mother, Lady Katrina, and to the Mother who looked after all life in this quadrant; that done, he stood up, straightened his robes, wiped the tears from his face and followed his friend inside. He was ready to meet his new child.

When Raphael reached his rooms, the ladies were leaving with all their implements, water bowls and buckets.  As he entered into the sitting room, Lady Arrina came out of their bedroom and welcomed him in, stepping aside so he could enter into the room on his own.  A tired but triumphant Julia greeted him.  She was holding a swaddled bundle in her arms, which she lifted up to him as he approached cautiously.  He took the bundle and pulled away some of the material to see his new child.  There, regarding his new father was a golden tanned cherub with white-blonde opalescent hair, great blue eyes, a tiny nose and cherry lips smiling up at him.  He heard the child speak to him: Hello, Father.  Your name is Raphael this time?  I am still Jychondria.  You and I are old friends… and my mother is Anya, isn’t she?  This should be interesting…”

“Raphael, are you going to say anything?” asked Julia. 

He looked at her with astonishment, “He’s speaking to me, telepathically; he’s talking to me already!”

“Yes, my dear Raphael – many of our children are born with full memory”, chided Julia.  She sighed.  “I’m a little tired, my dear.  I know Jychrondria is a little early or we had our dates completely wrong, but Lady Arrina assured me that he is fully developed.”

Raphael laid his son down on the bed beside Julia so she could see and carefully unwrapped the blanket enfolding the child.  He checked, ten toes, ten fingers, strong, chubby legs and arms, a round little face with those great blue eyes… and that extraordinary bright white blonde hair.  “Well, my dear – he’s perfect.  More than perfect, he’s ours!  And we are his!”

Yes, father – I have found you, once again.  And yes, this shall be interesting…

With that, I’ll leave this young family to rest for a while until we return in the next chapter.  Young Jychrondria has entered a world at war, but it isn’t apparent in the loving household of the VaCoupe Family.

© All Rights Reserved, Eliza Ayres, videos and recordings of this material are not permitted; and


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