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The History of the Pendragon Clan

Chapter 4

Winter Palace, Dormuth

Captain-General Walkabout, Commander-in-Chief of all House Marik military forces, stood on the west veranda, viewing the gardens below. He was a veteran of many battles, military campaigns, and political squabbles. Combat, in most of it's forms, was his life. The Clans had been the source of most of his recent experience.

He resisted pacing the veranda, while he considered the meeting to take place. A meeting with one of the "Clans". One of the very few clans that had not taken part in the invasion of the Inner Sphere. And from what his spies on the Periphery had put together, the most ferocious of all the clans. The only clan to ever be outlawed by the other clans. He briefly wondered just what a clan had to do to be outlawed by all of the other clans. They had either done something so terrible that it was beyond comprehension, or...............all of the other clans feared them. If the Inner Sphere feared the clans.............and the clans feared this clan...........he held that thought for a moment, then let it die.

The Colonel he had sent the invitation with, was very impressed by this clanswoman, a Star Colonel in Clan Wolverine. He briefly wondered just what this clan had done to be outlawed by the other clans, and decided that he would probably never know. The Colonel had warned him about the woman. That had impressed the Captain-General. Not that the woman had impressed the Colonel, but that she had impressed him to the point that the Colonel had felt he had to warn his Captain-General. He heard the veranda doors opening, and turned to greet his other expected guest.

"Greetings Colonel Fallen One. As always, it is a pleasure to see you."

"Greetings Captain-General. The pleasure is mine. Have your guests arrived?"

"Not yet. They are en route. I expect them to arrive in the next few minutes. So, we have some time to talk before they arrive."

"First, I would like to thank you for forwarding their proposal to me. It was................ interesting. Have you and the Free World's League, given thought to their proposal?"

"Yes. Thomas has his PR staff worked up a statement for the trivid, to gauge public reaction."

The Colonel smiled at this. "What was the public's response?"

"The public reacted along demographic lines. The working class reacted more favorably than expected, and the upper class reacted very unfavorably, except where there are those that might profit from this. The merchant and professional class was an even split. Politics seems to rule our relations with the clans as well as each other."

"So, is it your intent then, to allow them to migrate to Marik space?"

The Captain-General remained expressionless. "No. That is why I asked you to attend."

"I don't understand....."

"I know your position. The Republic needs troops to defend itself. This new clan may be the answer to your dilemma. If they migrated to Republic space, you would gain a valuable ally, with tremendous experience fighting the clans. And an invaluable source of information."

"Ahhh............. I think I begin to see a plan within a plan." Captain-General Walkabout smiled at the Colonel's remark, and turned to the veranda doors as they heard someone approach.

"I believe my other guests have arrived."

Colonel Fallen One stood next to the Captain-General as the escort guards opened the veranda doors. Two women stepped out through the guards, their posture and poise immediately marking them both as Clan. The older of the two, marched directly to the Captain-General and his companion, flanked by her companion.

"Which of you is the Captain-General?"

The Captain-General was a veteran indeed. No expression crossed his face at this woman's abrupt question. He had conversed with other clanners before this, and was prepared for such an opening remark.

"I am Captain-General Walkabout, Star Colonel. Allow me to introduce Colonel Fallen One of the Rasalhague Free Republic. On behalf of House Marik, I welcome you to Dormuth."

The Captain-General immediately noticed her bright green eyes, and her lithe muscular form. He offered his hand to the woman, and was surprised when she took it. Clansmen usually would not shake hands with anyone. He was more surprised when he firmly squeezed her hand, and she squeezed back with as much strength as he had. His Colonel had not underestimated this woman, at all.

"I am Star Colonel Terri Lee of Clan Wolverine. This is my aide, Star Captain Rachel Lee. Are you prepared to discuss the alliance my Khan has offered you?"

"Before we discuss this........alliance, why don't we sit down for lunch. We can talk while we eat."

The older woman looked at the younger woman, and nodded. Neither looked as if this might have been unexpected. The Captain-General thought that their preparations had been quite thorough. Clanners never discussed political matters over food. They would meet in their "Clan Hall", and discuss an issue until they "disposed" of the matter, one way, or another. Only after completing their business, would they sit down to eat. The Captain-General had done this, to give himself an "edge" with these people. His subterfuge did not have the effect he had hoped for. The clanswomen took seats opposite each other, one between each of the men.

As the waiters began serving the meal, the Captain-General opened the discussion.

"I have discussed your proposal with Thomas Marik. We are not completely clear on a number of issues. Perhaps you will be kind enough to explain these, if possible?"

The Star Colonel looked at Captain-General Walkabout, with a reserved expression.

"What are your questions?"

"By your message, it appears that you are starting a new clan, made up of members from all of the other clans. Your message stated that these clansmen are all 'wardens'. What is a 'warden'?"

"Wardens are those committed to the defense of Terra. The Crusaders are committed to the conquest of Terra. Both are committed to the restoration of the Star League, but each has their own interpretation of what that means."

"Aside from conquering or defending terra, I can't see the differences between your groups. What are the differences in these interpretations?"

"The Wardens are committed to the restoration of the Star League for all citizens. We in the Clans may, or may not, be freely elected as Star Lords. The Crusaders are committed to the total conquest of the Inner Sphere, and elevating themselves as Star Lords."

Captain-General Walkabout looked at Colonel Fallen One. His face remained expressionless, but the Colonel's did not. Dictatorship. If the Crusader clans prevailed, they would become the dictators of the entire Inner Sphere.

The younger of the two women interrupted the silence, "The Crusaders are the natural enemies of the Wardens. They are very strong, in both numbers, and combat experience. The Inner Sphere alone, cannot stand against them. And due to the truce effected by Comstar, you thought you would have time to build up your defenses. But it has given them additional time to further perfect their offensive capabilities. When they come again, Comstar will be of no aid."

Colonel Fallen One's eyebrows raised, and he glanced at the Captain-General. The Captain-General remained expressionless. The Colonel knew that his friend knew more of what was going on inside Comstar than he, but her words rang true. Comstar was divided between the "Word of Blake" fanatics, and the other Comstar personnel. On a number of planets, actual fighting between the factions had broken out.

"If this is true, then we are already fighting a lost cause. How would your proposal be of any help to us?"

The younger woman, Rachel, looked to the Star Colonel before answering, "The new clan will be made up of Wardens. They are the finest mechwarriors from all the clans. We expect to field four galaxies of combat experienced front line warriors, two galaxies of cadet and lightly experienced warriors, and three wings of aerospace fighters, plus support personnel. In raw numbers, this would be the equivalent of two clans. In training, and experience, it is the equivalent of an additional two clans. We will need some time to train together, but this will be achieved very quickly. Once this has been completed, we can begin training your warriors in the way of the clans."

The Captain-General sat back and looked to the Colonel. Colonel Fallen One was watching the older clanswoman, as if waiting for her to speak.

She took the cue, "This proposal is of greater value to the Inner Sphere, than to the new clan. This clan is being formed as we speak. We will resist the Crusaders, with, or without, the Inner Sphere. However, the IS would benefit from having a front line combat unit to intercept the next invasion. The future of your worlds is in your hands. Now, I ask for your decision."

The Captain-General said nothing for a minute, while the clanswomen both waited for his answer. Then, he turned to Colonel Fallen One.

"Colonel, I believe that the Republic would benefit from an alliance with this new clan. What do you think?"

The Colonel looked at the Captain-General, and each of the clanswomen in turn before he answered.

"I cannot give you an answer, or make promises to you. I will take your proposal to the Republic Senate, and it will be debated on it's merits. If the Senate approves, then we will proceed from there."

The Star Colonel and her aide said nothing for a few seconds. Then, as if they were mentally linked, they both intoned, "Bargained Well and Done."

Terri nodded to Colonel Fallen One, "I will take your words to my Khan."

At this point, both women stood and prepared to leave.

The Captain-General and the Colonel stood also. "Star Colonel, it was a distinct, er, experience meeting you. And you also Star Captain."

Star Colonel Terri and her aide nodded to both men, and turned for the doors. As they passed through the doors, the guards left with them, closing the veranda doors behind them, leaving the Captain-General and the Colonel in silence.

Captain-General Walkabout stared after the two women, and spoke to the Colonel after a moment had passed.

"A very interesting women, that one. Fallen, you are headed for interesting times."

Colonel Fallen One did not answer. He was already thinking past the Senate debate and approval of the clan proposal. The RFR did need mechwarriors. And this alliance could definately help the RFR survive the next invasion, if these people could be trusted. Politics would slow down an approval of this proposal, but the Senate would not look this "gift horse in the mouth".

He wondered if that woman might be appointed the clan liaison to the Republic. Interesting times, indeed!

Chapter 5