The small shuttle shook and rumbled as the fusion reactor expelled gases at high velocities to give them the necessary lift. Biting into her tongue to keep her teeth from rattling Alvega reordered her mental list of things she detested the most about Xuria, placing its inability to support grav tech at the top. She hated flying, or feared it, or hated the fear itself, she wasn't sure, and frankly she didn't care.
But the journey might be worth it, Lady Corinne - or the merchant Grey as she called herself now after having withdrawn from court after the death of her husband ten years prior - had returned from a trading expedition. Perhaps she would have news of the war against Gonzagin, perhaps even words of the Coscan Kingdom. The latter was nigh on impossible, her home was deep into 'enemy territory', far away from the front lines of a war that had ground to a halt when both sides had run out of steam and will to fight, but were still to proud to consider the option of a peace.
But the lady was a dear friend, seeing her again would make the trip worth the effort, unless some mechanical issue caused their shuttle to explode in a glorious fireball before then. They needed to discuss the future of Iberis, lady Corinne's daughter and her companion. The girl was no longer a girl, she was turning into a independent minded woman before her eyes. She couldn't remain a companion forever.
A small group of soldiers shared the shuttle with them, presumably also heading for the station that orbited the planet, the center point of almost all trade between Xuria and the outside world. Having seen them Iberis had insisted on sitting with them rather than with her, eager for stories about a life of adventure and danger. She had allowed it, but had sent her bodyguard Leon with the girl, just in case. Leon followed her were she went, and said very little. She suspected that the man's real task was to make sure that she didn't desert her position as baroness Gorey for the dream of once again becoming princess Alvega of Coscade.
Still he was a comfort to have around, after launching an orbital strike onto the planet to quell a rebellion her husband had risen to the unenviable position of the most hated man on the planet, at least if one considered the opinions of the huge serf and working class. Some of that had reflected on her, but Leon's practical mind had kept her out of any real trouble this far.
The reactor wound down. The shaking and rumbling ceased, and the shuttle drifted soundlessly through space. She felt light, her braids rose like snakes from her head for a couple of moments before the grav generator engaged and the cabin's floor became the direction of the perceived gravitational pull.
Now less concerned about the risk of sudden fiery death she again looked towards the man sitting opposite her. She had first seen him at Lord Tarrak's funeral, captain Sheva. Half brother of Iberis, at least if one didn't listen to rumors. Also one of her husband's most outspoken political opponents, a trait that sorted him into the side of progress in the model of the Xurian courtly intrigue that she maintained in her mind.
"Captain Sheva." She nodded and offered the slightest hint of a smile in greeting.