Re-reading Okal Rel: A series of chronological summaries of chapters of the Okal Rel Saga, written by friends and fans.
The Courtesan Prince by Lynda Williams is Part One of the Okal Rel Saga, a 10 novel series published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.
When Earth’s first attempt to conquer the far reaches of space was thwarted by the failure of a faster than light transportation system, the first colonists were abandoned.
Subsequent colonizations were successful but ideological differences in cloning caused renegade scientists to sever their contact with Earth and establish their own unique world. Now, thousands of years in the future, the scattered descendents of humanity have evolved into two distinct planetary societies: the Reetions of Rire, who rely on advanced computer technology to regulate every aspect of their lives, and the genetically superior and honor bound Sevolites, of Gelion.
With one conflict already behind them, these two cultures are once again on the brink of war. But one last desperate mission is launched and somewhere within a dark region of space, Reetions and Sevolites find themselves torn between their own alliances and the inexplicable desire that constantly draws them closer together.
Chapter 4 summarizer Elizabeth Woods holds a Master's Degree in Education from UNBC and a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Central College, Iowa. She has been a teacher of English and Creative Writing with School District No. 57 for 25 years and counting. She has contributed three Minerva stories to the Okal Rel Legacy series. Working with Lynda Williams has been a gift of friendship, motivation, and continuing encouragement to keep writing.
The following summary contains spoilers for Part One of the Okal Rel Saga: The Courtesan Prince. Continue reading with this in mind...
Chapter 4: Ann Meets Beauty
(Summary by Elizabeth Woods)
Lusty wench and superior pilot, Ann of Rire has followed the renegade pilot Thomas into an unknown jump to Trinket Ring Station in the Gelack Empire. The hulking Vanilla Rose, a ship as big as a space station, drops out of space beside her, and she soon finds herself aboard, surrounded by gorgeous men. Most, unfortunately, resemble "toy soldiers complete with swords" from the old Earth story Alice in Wonderland. H'Reth, the apparent leader, is pretentious and "none too bright…with a pathetic cast to his large, soft features." In the portrait of the legendary and dazzling Ameron, she sees an air of arrogance. And then she meets Beauty. And Ann is in love.
Beauty is introduced as Leige Monitum; however, the reader knows he is Von, courtesan sword dancer of Den Eva, host to the highest and mightiest clients. Von has been coerced into the role by the evil H'Reth, who is driven by his most unrequited, but much consummated, love for Von. Homosexuality is not only anathema to Von, but among the gravest of sins within Sevolite culture. Punishable by death, the wrath extends not only to the individual but also to the family of the male who transgresses.
H'Reth's previously pleasant life as commander of the Vanilla Rose is complicated by the command from the ruler of Fountain Court, Ava Delm. Delm has commanded H'Reth to exploit this "second contact" to discover the Reetion jump to use as an advantage against rebels on Barmi II.
A more cogent complication is Delm's displeasure that his mistress, Anatolia, wife to H'Reth, has announced an undesired pregnancy. Delm knows he is not the father; further, Delm believes H'Reth to be impotent. Most disturbing, however, is the information that Anatolia has also "partnered" with Von. Could Von be the father, despite the fact that he is a commoner? Delm intends to find out.
H'Reth is relieved that's all Delm suspects.
H'Reth confides his mission to Jarl, his even more evil retainer. Jarl improvises and casts Von as Leige Monitum, the representative the Reetions expect to meet. Von is a better actor, and the mission will take Von out of Delm's grasp.
Von has the visage of a lord; he is a beauty, but he has the heart of an abused, deserted, and lost orphan thrust on to a dangerous and fearsome stage.
His body responds to Ann instantly. In confusion, he bursts away, unable to play the masquerade.
And things happen fast: Ann agrees to lead Von's ship through the Reetion jump, believing Von already knows the way. Enroute, Ann is attacked at inhuman speed when two Sevolite ships burst in to space across her path. Rescued by Von, together they leap back in to Reetion space safely.
Docking, Von is confronted with controller examination. Overwhelmed, Von falls comatose.