The Fifth Dome of Souls Novel
Arion and Jamie are the first humans in over two thousand years to set foot on Bahrein. They quickly discover that the horrid "purification" movement, led by the House of Kol, still rules the Bahreinian people with an iron fist. However, the opposition’s leader, Lord Reeba of Mar, who hopes to win the upcoming elections against the House of Kol, welcomes the delegation from New Earth as his guests.
While renegades around the first Bahrein who sees the Dome of Souls abduct Arion, Jamie befriends a mysterious, artificially produced Bahrein whose powers of mental energy and empathy are off the scale.
Before they know it, the two humans are deep inside Bahreinian high politics, and come to realize they could play a part in Lord Reeba toppling the almighty House of Kol.
Chapter 1 – Rags
Arion pressed her nose to the window of a small Bahreinian shuttle.
The approaching planet had a green-brown color with gray oceans under pinkish clouds. The oceans were rather small, the ice caps at the poles huge. The planet looked massive and invincible. New Earth or Fangust looked much more fragile due to their lighter colors and large oceans. A ring of rocks circled Bahrein, next to two small moons orbiting high above the ring, and the Bahreinian sun hung red in the distance. It had such low light intensity that it was rather dark even in orbit.
No Human had set foot on Bahrein ever since the fall of the Jeronimo system two thousand years ago, and Arion was very excited to be allowed to change that.READ MORE
The first ship that hailed the New Jordan V after they left Counter-Space belonged to the House of Mar. Before they boarded the Bahreinian shuttle, Arion’s captain, Makafas, a Bahrein, had whispered to her how relieved he was about that. He believed that the House of Mar was not a friend of the House of Kol. Arion was more cautious with relief and enthusiasm. The latest news they had from Bahrein was two thousand Human years old. When Lord Kolfei of Lir had gone into exile on Earth, the House of Mar had been neutral in his struggle against the ruling House of Kol. The alliances among the remaining ten Grand Noble houses of Bahrein had the tendency to shift and a lot of shifting could have happened during the past two thousand years.
The shuttle dove below the ring of rocks and towards the enormous continent of Khir, with its center of the Bahreinian world, Sahrein, the capital and seat of its famous Parliament House, ruled by the Fiumkas, the equivalent of a president.
“Remember,” Makafas whispered. “If we meet the head of the House of Mar, do not address him or her, wait until you’re spoken to. It’s possible he or she won’t speak to us, because we are beneath the Lord or Lady. That’s not rudeness, that’s their right and priviledge. And you are not allowed to touch a Grand Noble, only if he or she gives you permission. So, don’t try to shake anyone’s hands. And the minor nobles you address with Lord or Lady last name. The Grand Nobles you address with Lord or Lady first name.”
“We know, Captain,” Jamie said. He was the New Jordan V’s science officer and a Human like Arion. “You told us many times.”
Makafas moaned. “Sorry, I’m just hella nervous.”
Jamie grinned. “That we all are.”
Except that wasn’t true. Arion wasn’t nervous. Thrilled, yes, but nervous? No. She just couldn’t take this Grand Noble nonsense seriously. A Grand Noble was just another Bahrein who drank and ate and as a result of that pissed and shit, just like anyone else. She smiled to herself. She’d have to be very careful to not be executed for showing disrespect.
The shuttle smelled stale due to the shakkach covering its interior. The Bahrein on New Earth also cultivated shakkach and had some in their houses, but apparently the legends were true that on Bahrein they’d encounter the stuff everywhere. She stroked the wall next to the window she sat at and the shakkach felt much softer than what she knew from New Earth. Its knobs and leaves were very fine and felt almost like moss and actually quite nice, even though its dark green swallowed much of the dim interior lights.
They broke through the clouds and their approach to Sahrein stole all attention. The Bahrein were much more orderly than Humans. Sahrein was a giant grid of precisely perpendicular roads next to a big river that was the old town’s natural border to the north. Many grand bridges spanned over the river. In the suburbs stood single family houses for the richer people. But they all looked the same and had the same height and they were all covered in shakkach. Then came bigger apartment blocks, higher than the suburb houses but all equal again and covered in green. Here and there were holes in the city with some different vegetation.
“Are those parks?” Jamie asked.
“Yes, I think so,” Koriel whispered, almost too awed to speak. Koriel was the second Bahrein in their landing party of four and the security officer of the New Jordan V.
“And that?” Jamie pointed at a block with a single huge house inside a garden.
“That must be a city residence of one of the Grand Nobles,” Makafas said, his voice quivering. Arion tried to understand what this moment meant to her two Bahreinian colleagues, who now saw the home of their ancestors for the first time. For her and Jamie this was an adventure. For the two Bahrein it was the fulfillment of an impossible dream.
They approached Parliament House. The term ‘house’ was an incredible understatement in Arion’s opinion. Parliament House was a city within the city.
“That I am allowed to see this,” Makafas whispered.
The first frame of buildings was eight floors high, then, every frame that followed was two floors higher than the outer one. After five rectangular frames of buildings came a large garden and in its middle throned a Ring Building, the only circular building in all of Sahrein. After another, smaller garden a giant egg-shaped building rose that was at least two hundred meters high, whereas the Ring Building framing it was only a hundred meters high. The towering egg was entirely covered in shakkach and had no windows. The roof of the Ring Building circling its base was free of the weed and instead offered landing pads every few meters.
They approached one such landing pad that had a large picture on it, a Bahrein wielding four swords with all four hands. He stood on top of a slain hultha, a huge, white, bear-like beast with two long tusks. This was the coat of arms of the House of Mar. On the neighboring pad was a giant eagle-like bird with four heads who held a dead serpent in his claws. That was the coat of arms of the House of Des. Arion could not see the other pads clearly during their fast approach. Makafas had made them learn and remember all the coats of arms of the Grand Noble houses and a few minor ones as well.
Parliament House and everything surrounding it was a view unlike anything Arion had ever seen before. In the light of the red sun everything shone golden. The few scattered clouds in the otherwise dark-blue sky shimmered pink and red, much like on New Earth, only that here it was the sunlight that tainted them, not airborn algae. And then there was the majestic ring of rocks. Each shone in a slightly different hue of red.
It would never get brighter than this on Bahrein, but it looked so stunningly beautiful that she asked herself how any Human who had ever had the honor to be living here could have gotten depressed because of lack of sunshine. Reports of Jeronimo-times ambassadors she had read often spoke of depression, but how could anyone ever tire of this magnificent view?
They left the shuttle and the rich, soft air made Arion gasp. It smelled much sharper on New Earth somehow and on Fangust it smelled of sea, always. The temperature was quite pleasant, around twenty degrees Celsius. They all stared over the town to their left and the green egg of Parliament House to their right. Apart from the Parliament egg, no building was higher than the Ring Building they had landed on. The frames of houses surrounding Parliament Hall cascaded down and the city houses beyond were all only six floors high. In the hazy distance a Grand Noble’s city residence was sticking out higher than the rest, but far beneath the hundred meters of the Ring Building.
Speechless, the four New Earthers gaped about themselves. Makafas and Koriel had tears in their eyes. Jamie just looked awed and thrilled. To stand here was the fulfillment of a dream also for Arion; this was why she had joined the space force, to see things beyond her imagination. She drank everything in like a sponge. It all looked so alien and yet familiar and it felt like she was supposed to be here. Odd, she hadn’t felt like that when she had been to Fangust that one time.
The two pilots stood next to their vessel, waiting, throwing curious glances at them, especially at the Humans. Yes, none of them had ever seen a Human in the flesh. Arion smiled at them and they quickly avoided her eyes, embarrassed that she had noticed their stares.
Then an unusually small Bahrein climbed the ramp to their landing pad with two tough-looking guards behind her. She wore very elaborate and rich blue robes with a lot of gold thread patterns woven in. She was only 180 centimeters tall, about the same height as Arion herself. Jamie was quite small and measured only 170 centimeters. Makafas, Koriel and also the two pilots and the guards all towered between 2.1 and 2.3 meters, the Bahreins’ average height.
“What unexpected visitors,” the woman said as she reached them.COLLAPSE