³Trouble Brewing² Empet, Martok, Kala, Tia The House of Martok and the House of Ta¹Rak had been allies for as long as Martok could remember. His grandfather and Ta¹Rak¹s had been boyhood friends, as had their fathers, and in turn so had they. Martok had great respect for Ta¹Rak, even supporting him when he married that Human woman. But his friend¹s daughter had been a different story, Martok had had his doubt about K¹Narie for quite some time. She was neither like her father nor her mother, and Martok often wondered what caused the woman to go so rotten. ³Are you sure of this?² He barked at the warrior who had brought him the report. ³Yes my Lord.² The young man replied. ³Ambassador K¹Narie and Selneth left last night in a personal transport.² He went on. ³No one knows of their distention.² Martok growled. What were those women up too? Without a word to the young warrior Martok all but threw himself out of his chair and stormed out of the Chancellors¹ Chambers. ³Mother, you will marry him, won¹t you?² Kala asked as she watched her mother read through reports, making decisions on who would join her entourage when she headed back to Earth. ³When I am ready to relinquish my House to my heir,² Empet told her without looking up. ³You are too young yet for this, little one.² ³Wow, Mother, thank you for the vote of confidence,² Kala snorted. ³Trust you mother, Kala.² Martok said from the doorway. ³She is a wise woman and you would do well to learn from her while you can.² He was still fuming but the sight of his beloved, the knowledge that she carried within her his flesh and blood, softened him around the edges. ³She is also too comfortable in her mask as the widow of the Trill Ambassador, the great General who stands alone at the head of her House, mourning the loss of her mother in solitude,² Kala retorted, her eyes glittering. ³Disrespectful child,² Empet growled genially. ³This is why I must remain Empet of the House of Topian. Respect, little pup, especially to your elders.² Martok came to stand beside Empet¹s desk. He tossed the padd down with the reports concerning K¹Narie and her movements. ³She is not the daughter you should be concerned with at the moment, woman.² ³I am concerned with all of my daughters, Martok,² Empet said as she lifted the PADD. Her eyes darkened as she read it. ³What is this?² ³K¹Narie and Selneth have left the homeworld .² Martok began to pace angrily. ³They boarded a private transport in the middle of the night like thieves, fleeing under the cover of darkness. The transport evaded all check points and no one seems to know where they¹re going.² Empet stared at the PADD as if it would reveal truths not self-evident. ³What does that targ-bitch want with my little girl?² she growled. ³I do not know.² Martok growled. ³It is no secret that K¹Narie has not been supportive of my reign. She has been far too self-ambitious her whole life. Whatever the reason it can lead to nothing good.² He turned to look at Kala, who he hoped one day might make a find chancellor herself. ³What do you know of your sister¹s intentions?² ³Little or nothing,² Kala said simply. ³When mother threw her out, neither I nor my sister Tia spoke to her again. What she tried to do... It is worse than dishonourable. Tia¹s little pet Romulan has more honour than my sister.² Martok gave her an approving smirk before his features turned angry again. ³Then we will have to wait and see what comes of this.² His blood pressure was rising, both his hearts working over time with his rage. To betray him was one thing, but for Selneth to possibly betray her mother? To disrespect her even further? That really enraged him. ³If this does indeed turn into something dishonorable there will be no mercy.² ³It is my affair, Martok,² Empet said, tossing the PADD at him and folding her arms under her breasts. ³I will decide how to deal with her if this turns bad.² ³Woman, you will not deal with this alone!² Martok replied as he glared at her. ³If this is a challenge to my power I will strike at it as I would any threat, and if it is not then I will stand at your side as your mate, as is my place!² ³If you strike down my child, Chancellor, I will dine on your hearts,² Empet told him, returning his glare. Anger flared in his eye. ³And what would you expect me to do? Stand by and allow her to challenge me? Allow her to take from Kala what shall be rightfully hers?² He growled baring his teeth. ³This is that vial woman¹s doing! I should have done something about K¹Narie a long time ago.² ³I would have you stand at my side as I deal with it. I will take her down, if it must happen. She is my daughter and you are my mate. It is my right to defend your honour, both as your lover and as a General of your Empire,² Empet replied. She kept her teeth covered but anger certainty glinted in her dark eyes. Never in all his years had Martok thought he¹d ever truly have this woman as his own. His perfect mate and partner. Still, he was Martok. ³Fine, so be it, woman.² He growled. ³Then we have an accord,² Empet said with a firm nod. Finally she bared her teeth and growled low and long. ³How did I produce such a viper? Is it all the time I spent with the Romulans?² Walking over to her, Martok put a strong hand on her shoulder for support. ³There is only so much we can do. We give them what we can and then it is up to them to find their honor.² Kala snarled then spat on the floor in her sister¹s honour. ³Besides, I think Tia would take acceptation to her pet being called dishonourable.² ³Her pet is the exception that proves the rule,² Empet growled. Martok laughed, glad to have the moment to relieve some of the tension he was building up. ³I would think she would take offence to the two of you calling him a pet.² ³I know they do,² Tia said from behind them. She looked between the three of them and knew something was happening, something that had upset her mother deeply. ³What happened?² Unlike Kala, who Martok treated like the daughter who would be heir to his legacy, Tia he felt was the little girl who needed protection despite the fact that she was her mother¹s daughter. The youngest of Empet¹s daughter¹s had stolen his heart as easily as her mother had and turned the great war hero into a teddy bear. However, he knew better then to patronize her. ³You¹re sister is up to something.² He told her. ³She has left the Empire.² ³Where¹s she gone?² Tia asked, still looking from face to face. ³We do not know,² Empet sighed, rubbing her ridges. ³She left with K¹Narie.² ³This isn¹t good, is it?² Tia asked. Martok growled, his hands balling into tight fists. ³No, it¹s not.² ³What¹re you going to do?² she asked. Tia bit her lip and put her arms around her mother, hugging tight. ³Don¹t kill my sister, please.² ³That will be up to your sister, little cat.² Martok said, his voice softening. ³If she betrays the Empire we will have no choice.² ³No,² Tia whispered, settling bright blue eyes on Martok, ³there¹s always a choice. We¹re not animals. We don¹t have to kill all the time.² ³We are warriors, caramia,² Empet sighed. She stroked her hands down Tia¹s back. ³We avenge wrongs with blood.² ³No!² Tia yelled. ³Not my sister!² Martok huffed. ³You would spare the same sister who would not hesitate to put a blade in your mother¹s and Kala¹s back in order to head your mother¹s House? The same sister who has sided with a woman out to spill my blood and would tear apart the Empire for her own greed?² ³I would spare the sister who played with me when I was a little girl, who cried with me when my first targ puppy died, who helped me build my treehouse on Earth... That¹s the sister I¹d spare,² Tia snapped back. ³You have a heart as big and as strong as the Empire my little cat.² Martok said as he caressed her cheek. ³Perhaps, if this all goes to hell, same day you will be able to forgive us.² Tia tried to glare at him but she could never truly glare at anyone. She threw her arms around Martok. ³You know I couldn¹t hate you.² He hugged her back tightly. He loved the child, all of Empet¹s children, as if they were his own. ³I know, but having you dislike me would be just as painful.² ³I couldn¹t do that either,² Tia whispered in his ear. ³You make my mother happy. I love you for that.² ³Then I am the luckiest man in the Empire, blessed by Kahless himself, to be loved by the most honorable women in the quadrant.² He bellowed with a smile.