ong had the clans of Kree known that they were beggars in the midst of past glory. For Kree had been a daughter-world of lost Avethell. And although time had wiped out all trace of the Avethellan cities, had changed the very continents and thrown down the jewelled space-palaces . . . still there were traces of the reign of Aemallana.
As soon as the Kreen left their world, in crude explosive rockets and shells thrown from vast accelerators, they saw evidence of the might of Avethell. Planetoid settlements, now bleak and empty, the hulks of Avethell's mighty merchant vessels -- these and other things crowded the spaces between Kree's sister worlds. And most providential of all, an intact Avethellan starboat, the least of the ships that had been under the Golden Throne. It was this boat that taught the Kreen how to fly between the stars, and which allowed the Empire of the Miethara to come about.
Now in their travels and their conquests the Kreen met ever monuments to lost Avethell. Here was a barren world made habitable; there was a world-ringing fortress...and always the inhabitants of planets, inhabitants with genetic structures that proved them cousin to the Kreen.
Now it became the burning desire of the Miethara, the guiding clan of all Kree, to find sacred Avethell. The process of building an Empire was long and hard, and time and again the Miethara had to cope with wars and revolutions. But through it all, whenever there was time the Miethara sent missions both inside and outside their borders to search for Avethell.
Now at this time the peace of Avethell was that of a world at long last civilized. Where Aemallana had ruled, now her children were gathered and they had made of their world and their system a splendid home. No more did the cruisers leave Avethell to touch far-off worlds; now the people lived and were happy each with his own life.
The Galactic Riders visited Avethell and brought news of the Scattered Worlds; now and again an Avethellan orphan took his place in the Karessai Helyareen Teshra to serve the ideals of the Avethellan past.
Thus Avethell had watched the rise and fall of her daughter Dorasc; now Avethell watched with occasional interest the rise of Kree.
Thus it was that the foundation was laid for the intertwining of destinies of three great people.
The first was Pichrinalla, an Avethellan who was guardian of the ages-old museum which housed the Golden Throne of Avethell. Pichrinalla was of the house of Aemallana, albeit most other Avethellans could claim descent from the great Queen as well. But Pichrinalla was in form much like Aemallana; many remarked on the unusual resemblence.
The second was a Miethara, a Kreen by the name of Halkinardda, Now Halkinardda was the leader of a triad that the Miethara had sent in search of lost Avethell. The Kreen individual, of course, needs at least a triad to be aware of himself and to deal with his mission; separated from his triad he becomes nothing more than an animal driven to reunite with others of his race.
The third person involved was Naldatten, a Galactic Rider and member of the Iaranori race. The Iaranor were the first Galactic Riders, and long indeed have their orphans served among the best of the corps.
This is the story of Naldatten, and of Pichrinalla; but first and most it is the story of Halkinardda and a quest fulfilled.
When Kree had circled its sun five thousand one hundred seven times since the Miethara started their rule (this was after 6230 Terran years) Halkinardda and his triad-mates had been seeking Avethell for eight Kreen years. In that year they searched the wreckage of an Avethellan star-fortress, and there the Miethara discovered the secret of the magnetic tapes Avethell had left behind.
These tapes were worn, for in Galactic revolutions they had passed through many powerful electrical and magnetic effects. But Halkinardda concentrated and stretched his senses to the limit. His triad took on three of the traditional Kreen functions: Halkinardda became Sensor and his friends Memorizer and Communicator. Then the Miethara as a whole became Interpreter, and an answer of sorts flowed back to Halkinardda through the ultrawave: Avethell had left in this fortrees a hint of its position. A hint was all Halkinardda needed.
All truly civilized worlds are hidden, and Avethell was no exception. Vast dust clouds, eddies of raw starstuff, had been moved to surround the planet and its system. In these clouds Halkinardda floundered and his ship was disabled.
Now came Naldatten's role. She was a friend of the Avethellans, and while custom said that only an Avethellan could walk on Avethell, Naldatten was quite familiar with the outlying stations of that world that silently watched at the edge of the dust cloud. One of these stations detected Halkinardda's ship; and Naldatten went to give succor.
When Naldatten's ship arrived Halkinardda and his triad were amazed. They welcomed the Galactic Rider as an Avethellan but Naldatten merely identified herself as a friend. At this time the Kreen did not know of the Galactic Riders.
It was Naldatten's intention to take Halkinardda and his triad back to their home. But so passionately did the Kreen speak of his desire to see Avethell and the Avethellans that the Galactic Rider was moved, and she communicated with her friend Pichrinalla.
So it came to pass that Pichrinalla left Avethell to join them; and so she sojourned long in the company of alkinardda, his triad, and Naldatten daughter of Ismallia.
Pichrinalla told many tales of the glories of Avethell, of the Reign of Aemallana, and of many other wonders. Twenty of Avethell's days this sojourn lasted, and at last it must needs end because Halkinardda's Memorizer could hold no more.
At last Halkinardda expressed a wish to see Avethell. Now the dictates of custom were that only Avethellans could set foot on their world, and even the Galactic Riders were bound by that rule. The Kreen, however, knew a way around the proscription.
Halkinardda left the other two of his triad, and Pichrinalla
carried him alone to the surface. There, as a dumb animal, Halkinardda
viewed the Golden Throne and all the wonders of his distant forbears.
And when he was reunited with his triad he remembered....but
never did Halkinardda of Kree speak
When Naldatten returned the three Kreen to Kree, they were accompanied by Pichrinalla of Avethell, and long did she remain at the Court of the Miethara by the banks of blue Kil.
And at last when she went back to Avethell, Pichrinalla sent Naldatten with her gift to the Miethara and all the clans of Kree: no less a gift than the Golden Throne itself.
Here ends the story of the first contact between Kree and
|A Kreen Song||
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