My Name Is GUARD
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In which a few "familiar" faces appear to our unnamed heroine.


[[[This third story makes sense as a "standalone", but it's much more interesting if you click on the author's name and read this tale from the beginning.]]]

~~~ ~~~

Tweeny was awakened from dreamless slumber by the sound of stumbling.

Rising quickly to her feet on the cold stone floor of House Madrassa's larder, she looked around for something she could use to protect herself. Knives? None in sight. No forks or cleavers, either. Gritting her teeth in frustration, she settled on a heavy can of Blue Sun Beans N' Franks ("Bringing Families Together Since 2450") and prepared to meet her intruder.

She squinted, letting her eyes adjust to the dark. Two tall silhouettes clung to each other and tiptoed past the breadbin. Tweeny heard nervous giggling from one, and shushing from the other. The pair reached the liquor cabinet lining one side of the kitchen wall, the one Cook had to restock every week or so. She told Recorder it went into her stew.

"It's locked," Tweeny spoke into the darkness, "and besides that, it's probably empty."

Something fell to the floor with a heavy thud! and rolled toward Tweeny. "Quiet! Do you want Cook to wake up?" It was a bio-torch; she switched it on and directed its light at the uninvited guests.

Two terrified faces, both female, both older than she. She found herself staring. Companions were known throughout the 'verse for their beauty and composure; even these young ones, while definitely not composed now, were certainly the most beautiful girls she had ever seen.

The redheaded one regained her wits first. "You are in so much trouble!" she whispered fiercely, pointing an accusing finger at Tweeny and drawing herself up to her full height. "What are you doing this far away from the dormitory? Your house mistress will skin you alive for this."

"Nandi." The blonde girl, a bit older, held her friend's arm. "Nandi, I don't think she's a fledgling. Look at her clothes."

Tweeny suddenly felt very poor in her thin grey gown -- very poor, and very humiliated. She handed the bio-torch over. The urge to run back to the safety of the larder overwhelmed her, and she gave in to it almost immediately.

"Little girl?"

"Sheydra, what are you doing? Let's go!"

She made herself as small as possible behind the floursacks.

The older one appeared in the doorway. "Won't you come out? We're not going to hurt you."

Tweeny peeked out. The girl was smiling. Something about that smile reminded her of her mother, and she couldn't help but smile back.

"My name is Sheydra," the girl said. "This is my friend Nandi. We are sorry we frightened you."

Tweeny ducked further into the room. Sheydra looked confused for a moment, then understood. She quickly took off her cloak and wrapped it around Tweeny's shoulders, noticing her sudden flinch but choosing to ignore it for the time being. How thin this poor girl was! Could she possibly be living here?

Hesitantly, Tweeny stood up. "I wasn't frightened. Just startled."

The girl with the auburn hair cleared her throat.

"Oh, be quiet, Nandi!" Sheydra snapped. "Dorm checks aren't for another hour, you know that."

"Hmph," Nandi said. "Look who's suddenly become Miss Adventuresome."

~~~ ~~~

"Don't you even have a bed of your own?" Sheydra asked, concern in her pretty blue eyes.

Tweeny nodded. "But Cook says that she needs me to sleep in the larder, to guard the food and make sure no one is... well..." She bit her lip.

"Stealing from the kitchens?" Nandi laughed. "Guess that theory works, then." She had appointed herself Tweeny's hairbrusher, having snuck Sheydra's comb out from her nightgown pocket. "And what's to stop you from stealing, little one?"

"She takes inventory. Every morning. If something is missing, well, then she... she..."

Having already noticed the welts on their new friend's legs, neither girl said a word.

~~~ ~~~

The next day Nandiri che Ren made a formal complaint to her house mistress.

"Really, Diana," Nandi said primly, "there are far too few servants in the House. It takes forever for them to fetch the smallest item, and by the time they reach the dining hall, dinner is usually cold."

"I hadn't noticed," the leader said, not looking up from her books.

"Not to mention the security around here is sorely lacking. Some planets have been having problems with rebels."

Diana scoffed. "Just on the Outer Rim, and whoever cared about Outer Rim planets? They will starve before they can muster up enough strength to fight."

"How do we know? How do we know there isn't a rebel outside our doors right now? And I am especially tired of the eunuchs. I do not like them in the dormitory, and I most certainly am uncomfortable with them there at night. Something has to change, or I must ask my father to transfer me from here."

Diana's look of surprise was extremely satisfying to Nandi. "That would be -- you wouldn't -- but our eunuchs are here specifically because they do not desire! From the time they are children they are properly trained, taught to want nothing but to serve!"

"I would like a servant of my own," Nandi insisted. "A girl, if at all possible -- a young one, that I can 'properly train' for myself."

"We haven't the room. There are already forty girls here." Diana sniffed.

"She will sleep in my quarters. See that it happens."

"I will try," Diana said. "But I don't know how Mother Ganna will feel about this!"

Nandi, knowing full well that her family's money would smooth over any ruffled feathers, hid a smirk and took her leave.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008 8:19 AM


Great to see Nandi doing some good work.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 6:49 AM


Hope to see more really soon! Love the character development and use of the past. Ready for more.

Sunday, June 1, 2008 5:12 AM


These are fun! Please keep them coming!


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