Disclaimer: I don't own the Riddick universe or it's characters, I am making no profit...yadda, yadda, yadda...
Author's Note: To all who hereby tread :) This is an unusual story, even for me. I don't know where ideas come from, but this one nagged me until I wrote it down, so here it is, humbly, to be shared with you, dear reader. Read the synopsis and depart if you like, but please, give it a chance! Thanks!
Synopsis: Riddick might feel alone, but he's less alone than he thinks. Another Furyan escaped the destruction of their world, and also managed to escape the clutches of the Necromongers. She ends up on Crematoria, because like Riddick, she just can't stay out of trouble :) The story describes her life, ten years after her arrival on Crematoria. Things have not been easy for her, a simple fling ended in pregnancy and she finds herself the pseudo-wife of Anatoli, owner of the famous 'nose', a position she finds disquieting for a number of reasons. Now the universe is changing around her, old fears find themselves new again, and Anore must learn to accept life's path for herself and her child...and find the Furyan in herself again.
Anore'Et Fet'Brissa woke as she always did. One moment she was sleeping deeply and completely, and the next moment she was awake, eyes open and staring into the dark at the ceiling above her head. Another day began on the super-heated prison world of Crematoria. As she lay there, she registered that the man beside her still slept, his breathing deep and even, dreaming giant dreams. Anatoli mumbled something incoherent and sighed in his sleep and she lay still until she was sure he hadn't wakened.
A deeper listening revealed that all was as it should be in the prison complex and she heard the others of the Crematoria Prison Guard and Keeper Crew in their rooms down the hall snoring, or rolling over. Her baby, Orla was still sleeping; her soft breathes reassuring Anore that all was well. If she closed her eyes and listened hard, she could hear the prison animal guards or Hellhounds, two levels below, howling in their cages—they were hungry…they were always hungry. The air processors continued their almost inaudible steady hum and someone was shouting down the on the prison complex level. No surprise, the one place in Crematoria that was never completely silent was the prison complex. Anore knew the sounds of that place well too…years of experience had ingrained them in her memory.
Moving in absolute silence, Anore slid away from Anatoli and rose, without waking him. He was quite used to her rising before him and she doubted he'd have woken even if she'd gotten up screaming at the top of her lungs—little interrupted his slumber once he slept. The baby, however, was another matter. When Anore carefully pulled up the door panel and peeked into the child's sleeping niche, bright silvery eyes greeted her. She smiled and blinked, flexing an involuntary muscle deep inside her eye tissue. When her lids drew back, her own eyes glittered quicksilver blue and she could see her child, smiling back at her, in the darkness, the colors of the rainbow catching and reflecting off her skin and the walls around her. Orla, a precocious almost-three years old, stood up and stretched her arms up to her mother, all without speaking. She knew well enough by now that if she was quiet, her and her mother got a little private time, before the others woke.
Anore dressed them both silently, noting that it was a little earlier than usual, just after four thirty in the morning and was pleased they have more time that morning. She had a special errand, down the kennels and was glad to have extra time. She left their rooms, Orla resting on her hip, silver eyes glittering like tiny mercury dots in the dark and her mother's own dark-defying vision picking a silent, quick route out of the sleeping quarters and into the kitchens. She retrieved enough breakfast for three and left the kitchens, taking a narrow, chiseled staircase two steps at a time, heading down first one flight, then along a narrow, cramped passageway and to another long staircase. All was in darkness, all was quiet; the prison complex was still on its rotational 'night' cycle that saved power and therefore, money.
At the bottom, another darkened corridor met their eyes and they moved swiftly along it, Anore's tall, strong body as quick, agile and quiet as a cat's. Anore could hear the howls of the Hellhounds as they approached their enclosure, though two feet of solid steel and stone acted as a noise barrier. The door was unguarded, despite the fact that a prisoner of the human nature was in the Hellhound cages as well. There was no need for a guard, really, the cages were meant to withstand the escape tricks of something much larger, much meaner and much more determined than one small human.
The noise as they entered was horrendous and Orla covered her ears, making a face and Anore laughed silently at her. Setting the child on the dirty floor she held her hand with one of her own and used the other to key up the lights. Brightness flooded the darkened space and Anore automatically flexed her silvery night-lenses up, revealing dark gray eyes beneath. Orla hadn't yet learned to control the flex and had closed her eyes tightly against the painful brilliance, until Anore reached down and applied gentle pressure to a sensitive spot on each of her daughter's eyelids and the lenses flicked back. Orla's own eyes were Anatoli's rich, clear green.
"Let me the fuck out of here!" A voice, high pitched and female, rose above the shrieking of the Hellhounds and Anore grinned.
"Watch that mouth girl, there's a child in the room and she picks up enough bad language from her father!" Anore scolded and led Orla by the hand. The Hellhounds enclosure was a long, high room stacked with heavy metal cages, each big enough to house a small elephant. In each cage was one, very cramped Hellhound. As they passed each cage, Anore had to keep a firm grip on Orla, who wanted to greet her friends properly and was distinctly annoyed that her mother wouldn't let her run to the huge beasts, snarling and slavering in the cages. Anore knew, though, what Orla couldn't possibly understand at her young age—some things are best kept to one's self, some things are best kept secret. Even from deeply trusted, human friends. It was better for everyone.
They were near the back of the kennels when Anore spotted a human hand clutching the rusted and thoroughly battered metal bars and squatted down before the cage. Inside was a long, lanky girl of about seventeen, her narrow, boyish face coated in grime and sweat, her long filthy hair hanging down to her waist in tight curls. Bright, hawk-like brown eyes peered out at them.
"Nor!" Kyra greeted her happily, a genuine smile on her hard, youthful face. Orla grinned happily, giggling and sticking her hands through the cage bars for Kyra to kiss and playfully bite.
"I brought you breakfast." Anore told the girl and passed a wrapped package of bacon, scrambled egg and cheese biscuits.
"Oh god I love you!" Kyra crowed happily, "I'm starving. Your worthless boy-toy and the Brute Squad didn't feed me yesterday!" She snatched package and squatted on her heels to eat it, ravenously and with as much tact and manners as the huge beasts snarling in their cages on either side of her. Orla unwrapped her own breakfast and ate with as much ravenous attention as Kyra, though the baby ate better and more often than the criminal ever had.
"Dada said you were bad." Orla announced cheerfully as she ate. She was very used to hearing her father slandered by the crass Kyra. In fact, though she didn't understand the reasons, she was used to hearing just about everyone slander her father. Anore grinned and swallowed her last bite.
"Aunt Kyra was bad baby, she's a bad girl." Anore encouraged the child, who chortled and Kyra stuck her tongue out at Anore, before swallowing the rest of her biscuit in a rude, noisy gulp.
"Not any worse than you!" Kyra replied, an edge behind her tease and Anore nodded cheerfully. Kyra was rather like a daughter or a sister to Anore, and their teasing was always edged, a silent battle always raging underneath—though the affection they shared was powerful and genuine on both sides.
"Oh, I can't argue that. I got ten to your four!" She replied easily, both knowing what she meant while Orla could remain clueless.
"Seven." Kyra corrected.
"The last three don't count—they didn't fight back." Anore said and snorted at the rude gesture Kyra made when Orla wasn't looking. "But anyway, you're out of here today."
"I can't wait!" Kyra snarled, truthfully. "And tell Anatoli that if those goons get near me again, next time there won't be enough left of them to lock me up in here!"
"I'll tell him. And remind him that if he wants to wake up in the morning still…intact, he'd better keep his extra-curricular activities confined to me." Anore added viciously, eyes brightening with dangerous mirth at the prospect and Kyra laughed, shaking her head.
"He doesn't join in the kinky stuff, just the fighting. He likes a good fight. Or rather, he participates in getting his ass—butt—kicked." Kyra shot a guilty look at Orla but the little girl wasn't paying attention. Orla had hunkered down and was playing with a thoroughly chewed bone of unknown origin, so Kyra leaned forward and pressed her face into the bars, whispering as well as she could over the constant, deafening screaming of the Hellhounds. "Did you get them?"
"I did." Anore shot a glance at her daughter, who was banging the bone against a dented metal dish and laughing hysterically all the while. One hand snaked into the waistband of her trousers and reappeared, disappearing between the bars in one smooth, lightning quick motion. Kyra made the object disappear equally fast, smiling faintly.
"Always happy to help a fellow inmate." Anore whispered back, and then sighed. A glance at the clock said that it was almost 5:10 and she'd better be in the kitchens making breakfast before the Crew got up, or else they might get suspicious. "Take care of yourself, until next time my enta."
"And you too ra-enta." Kyra whispered back, giving the hand that Anore slid through the bars an affectionate squeeze. "And you, runt." She stuck her hand out and poked Orla in the belly, making the little girl squeal with laughter and dodge to avoid the tickling fingers. "Be good to your mother, she works hard."
"I'm good, Dada calls me angel." she announced and allowed herself to be gathered up amidst the scornful snorting of her disbelieving mother. As she left, Anore shut off the lights and made sure that no sign of their visit was visible, before she reminded Orla in her most serious voice to remember that she couldn't tell anybody that they went to see Kyra. She warned her child that it would make her father, her gentle Dada, very, very angry and the mean Boss would be even madder. Orla might be too little to understand the vicious rules of Prison Politics, but she knew frightening anger well enough and she had a good handle on secrets. Her instinctual hatred of the Boss helped as well. Not once, in all her small years, had she ever hinted to anyone that she and her mother were better acquainted with the Hellhounds and their kennels than anyone else. It was the one secret that the small child could remember to keep and thankfully, her young mind was so full of distractions that her father's famous 'intuition' couldn't sense the secret. And Anore…Anore had more than enough practice keeping Anatoli's psychic reach at bay. She had so many secrets…a trifling one like theft and subterfuge was no trouble. Anore sighed and turned on the lights in the kitchens, two levels above. Unfortunately, it was the least worrisome secret that Orla would ever have and certainly the least dangerous.
When the Brute Squad had come and fed the ravenous Hellhounds their meat and bones and departed again, Kyra inspected the bundle that Anore had given her. The contents were exactly what Kyra had asked for and the girl grinned a savage, icy grin. Anore could always be counted on to pick the very best blades and the cigarettes and phials of medicine she'd managed to steal were always good quality. Kyra stashed them away about her person, stowing the small razors and bits of sharpened metal away in unlikely places and stashing the rest in her shoes, and then disposed of the packaging by shoving it through the bars and into the cage next to hers, where it was instantly shredded by the furious Hellhound occupant.
Kyra hadn't lied when she said she couldn't wait to be free of the kennels. Not only was it the most horrendous noise she'd ever heard, but the smell was as thick as a morgue and not unlike that sweet rotting meat stench of a body-pit. Now, with the hounds recently fed, the smell was enhanced by fresh blood, raw meat and the sounds were of snarling and crunching bones instead of screaming. Still…she knew that these visits were entirely necessary since Anore wasn't allowed 'downstairs' anymore. And little Orla…Aunt Kyra. Kyra smiled and reached through the bars, scraping her fingers along the floor, inching towards the bone that the child had been playing with. Painstakingly she dragged it in reach with her fingertips, then picked it up. Then, selecting a strong, sharp blade, she began scraping away at the bone. Five years in a triple-max slam like Crematoria had given her time for many hobbies and carving was one of them. What should she give the child? She thought about Orla and smiled faintly. A pretty child and very sweet. Kyra couldn't imagine how such a child could possibly be the spawn of Anatoli Gustavavich. Though, Anore was more than good enough to make up for Anatoli's genetic contributions. Kyra grinned savagely and chiseled a chip from the bone, blowing on the hole she'd made. Maybe a whistle, or a pipe? The bone was just long enough and with that strong piece of metal drill she'd managed to steal, she could hollow out the marrow and make a few blow holes—enough to make a weak sound. Orla wouldn't mind the inadequacy of the instrument—being able to make noise would be enough for her. And Anore would appreciate that the sound was weak—Kyra grinned and whittled away at the pipe for a moment longer.
With a sigh, Kyra stashed the bone and blade away, or else be caught with it and have to explain where the shiny metal had come from and get her friends in trouble. Friends…what a strange word. Kyra didn't have many friends, or at least, she didn't have many friends that didn't ask anything back for their favors. Though Anore was the one person in the universe that Kyra trusted almost implicitly, Kyra supposed she also ranked amongst those who were getting something back. Her thefts were direct stabs into prison funds…she wanted payback against her prison keepers. Revenge, after all, was the oldest motive in the world for rebellion.
End Note: Thanks for reading, please review! Naja