At least, that was the plan..
Instead of the customary neon blue light that normally enveloped the Cadfael, bright violet took its place. The ship would not respond to any of their commands, as if possessed by some great will. All they could do was wait for their destination to be revealed...
Albios, center of the Erykin (eric-in) galaxy...
Frantic and hasty footsteps could be heard throughout the central forest. Two thieves: Virra and Ryo, were running for their lives. They had stolen six of the Vizier's Shards of Power: gemstone-like objects that could endow the user with various powers. Now something truly terrible was chasing them. Finally stopping to rest, Virra turned to her brother,
"What in oblivion were you thinking, Ryo!?"
Frustration tinging his face with red, he answered,
"What else could I have done? These are our only chance against the Vizier!"
Clenching her teeth she pointed back the way they had come,
"But now we've got a Cackler on our trail!"
"I'm not afraid of--"
Suddenly, Ryo heard an insect-like patter of footsteps and a demented, homicidal laugh that was louder than before. The creature Virra had called a 'Cackler' was getting dangerously close. Fear overtaking their frustration with each other, brother and sister bolted for the next clearing. However their pursuer revealed itself moments after. Fragments of metal had been painfully grafted into the creature's squid like body its eyes pried open and red with rage. Where two arms should have been, vicious scalpel claws took their place. Rearing up, the Cackler went to attack, but stopped to look up at the sky. Ryo and Virra did the same and saw a wondrous sight. A large fireball spouting red light was racing towards them. As one the two rolled out and into the foliage. The Cackler, however was not as quick. With a defiant cackle, it snapped its claws in challenge just as the fireball came to rest exactly where it was standing, incinerating it completely. Silently relieved, Ryo and Virra crept out to investigate just as a hatch opened in front of them. Two individuals slowly emerged: a wizened old man with a bright grey beard and dark robed armor and a woman in sleek black and white bodysuit with dark blue eyes and raven hair that hung in front of her head like short vines. They seemed normal enough except for one thing: short shafts of metal that glowed in certain areas were strapped to their belts. Virra only looked at them from a distance until the old man turned to face her. He smiled and held out his hand,
"You can come out. There's no need to be afraid."
Cautiously, Virra stepped out of the foliage and beckoned her brother to do the same. Then she voiced the question that was on both their minds,
"Who are you?"
"I am Orono Zoiji." the man said to them.
The woman next to him bowed slightly and said,
"And I am Viquina Zoiji."
This answered the question, but the siblings perked up when the woman known as Viquina spoke. While Orono's voice had been calm and reassuring, hers, while calm all the same, had a steely edge to it that commanded attention.
"How did you find us?" Ryo asked.
Gazing at the ship, Viquina said to them,
"Purely by accident. Our vessel brought us here on its own. Although," she said, gesturing at the creature's smoldering remains, "what exactly was attacking you?"
"A Cackler. Personal hunting dogs to the Vizier", answered Virra.
Furrowing his brow, Orono looked over the corpse and said,
"Hmmm. Crude, but effective for intimidation."
He next turned to Ryo, appraising the scarlet tattoo and cross-like scar on his face.
"Who gave you these markings, my friend?"
Slight indignation on his face, Ryo answered,
"The Vizier, our pig tyrant who thinks he's a god. He branded me a Blightspawn at birth; someone fit for nothing but slave labor and gladiatorial combat. I gained the scar when I escaped with my sister Virra. We--"
"Wait," Viquina said, perking up, I sense more of those creatures coming."
Awestruck, Virra went to ask how, but Orono held up his hand,
"No time to explain now. We need to hide."
"How?" the siblings asked in unison.
Orono did not answer, but simply snapped his fingers and enveloped the four in gold light. The Cacklers did come shortly after, but wandered frantically instead of attacking. As they left, Orono's eyes glowed in a flash of white, then returned to normal.
"What was that?", the two asked again.
"I called in the family for help," Orono answered, "Now, do you have a base where you can bring us up to speed?"
Virra simply pointed the way, and with that, they vanished into the forest...
Later that same night...
Eight other starships entered the sky and made a landing further in, each brimming with weapons, medicine and other supplies. For this situation to be resolved, it would have to be a family affair...