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jenqoj Manor

Ancestral Estate of the House of Torlek: Qova Domain, Qo'noS

The family had gone through to the drawing room after dinner. Tekloth, ghIntaq of the House of Torlek, approached with a wooden case filled with expensive Klingon cigars. He bowed deeply as he presented it towards the occupants of the couch. Lady Elessa, dressed in a fine evening gown, selected one stogie and plucked it out.

"Thank you, Tekloth," she said clipping the end off with a cutter she took from the marble raktajino table. He then offered the case to Laria who politely declined.

"Tsk, tsk, Lady Laria," Elessa said placing the smoke into her mouth while Tekloth lit it with a burning piece of Darian Cedar. "How unlady-like for you to refuse an after dinner cigar. You still have a lot to learn about the Klingon upper class, but one day yet I'll have you turned into a real woman."

"Perhaps one day, My Lady," Laria said adjusting her own intricate gown, "but not tonight."

Elessa laughed as she puffed a cloud of smoke from her mouth. She looked across the furnished room. Torlek brooded with a tankard of bloodwine while sitting in a leather armchair next to the roaring stone fireplace. He stared out the open veranda doors towards the balcony. Tigranian leaned on the stone railing and stared out at the river below lit by the moonlight.

"How long has Daniel been like this?" Elessa whispered to Laria.

"Since that day on Cardassia," Laria replied.

"Men are such frivolous, emotional creatures," Elessa said shaking her head, "always whining about something when they should be enjoying themselves. It's a good thing the old gods gave us the wombs or else no one would ever be born. Men would just sigh and moan so much that the baby would die of disdain rather than emerge into the world."

Laria laughed.

"Well?" Elessa said loud enough to bring Torlek back into the conversation.

"Well what?" he said back to her.

"He's your brother, qoH," Elessa said rolling her eyes while gesturing out towards the balcony. "Go and speak with him."

Torlek growled back at his wife.

"I don't think he's ready to talk," Torlek replied hesitantly.

"I don't care what he's ready for," Elessa spit back at him while taking a puff on her cigar. "This house may bear your crest, but I am its mistress," she said as her jewel encrusted tiara gleamed in the firelight, "and I will not have melancholy within these walls when we have so much to be grateful for."

"What do you want me to do?" Torlek grumbled.

"Fix it!" Elessa commanded. "Besides, I have things to discuss with Lady Laria: business, investments, management of the estate, assorted financial matters that wouldn't interest a man. Go," she said shooing him out the door. Torlek scowled as he rose to his feet and headed for his brother.

"My Lady," Laria said leaning over to Elessa. "I may be good at math, but I was raised in the Federation. I don't know a lot about money and investing."

"Oh young one," Elessa said with a chuckle. "You are a Klingon Lady now. You must learn! Our children count on us to keep them educated, our servants count on us to keep them employed, and our tenants count on us to keep their farms profitable and their rents low. Klingon women are the foundation of our society. How else do you think the men can spend all day focused only on the simplicity of politics and warfare? Dealing with death is easy, dealing with life…now that is difficult."

Laria's eyes grew wide as she reached for a cup of raktajino. She took a long sip before Elessa began her tutelage.

Torlek walked out onto the balcony. Tigranian still leaned on the stone railing. His dinner shirt was unbuttoned and he sipped from a nearly empty tankard of bloodwine. Torlek walked over and leaned on the railing next to him.

"We go to the First City for Unity Day tomorrow," the old Klingon said shifting to tlhIngan Hol. "The last thing this family needs is you looking like as depressed as a destitute Ferengi in front of the entire Klingon Empire."

"I promise you," Tigranian replied, "I'll have my warrior's composure back by the time the cameras turn on."

"A warrior's composure isn't something he turns on and off like a light fixture, Daniel," Torlek countered.

"Then, perhaps mine is shaken, Brother," Tigranian whispered. Torlek said nothing for a few moments as they both stared out at the broad river below.

"This is one of my favorite places in the entire house," Torlek finally spoke. "You can see so much and completely lose yourself in the beauty of Mother Qo'noS. It is easy to run from your worries here in the place of our ancestors. Yet, we both know you should not. What troubles you, Brother?"

Tigranian paused and then looked up at the stars.

"This may now be my house now, but it is not the place of my ancestors," he replied. "That is." He pointed up towards a small blinking speck of light on the far horizon. Torlek recognized it as the Sol System. "When I was back there, I dreamt of being back here. However, now that I've returned permanently, I can't get Earth out of my mind. It's like I don't have a real home anymore."

"Baktag," Torlek sneered. "What is home?"

Tigranian finally looked over to his brother.

"Is that supposed to be a rhetorical question?"

"No, Daniel. I am asking you: what is home?" Torlek said waving back towards the drawing room. "Is it where your wife and siblings are? Because we are here! Is it where you feel safe? Because you are safe here! Is it where you can be who you truly are? Just as I said on the day of your Ascension, the human known as Daniel Tigranian is dead. You are a Klingon warrior. You are Daniel, Son of Tigranian of the House of Torlek…and you are now finally home for good."

"Everyone in the Federation thinks I'm some kind of monster Torlek," Tigranian replied once again pointing to the sky.

"Not everyone, My Brother," Torlek countered. "You still have more friends than you know," Torlek said remembering his impromptu visit to the Pershing.

"Well, the ones in charge do. They think everything I've worked for in my life was a treacherous lie.

I killed a man the other day. It was the right thing to do, but thanks to them, I can't see it that way. In my mind, I was just a fugitive human killing an old Klingon and not a warrior giving another peace. That's how I see everything in my life now. I'm just a pretender: a traitor who has betrayed his people."

"Do you really think you're a traitor?" Torlek asked plainly.

"No," Tigranian said. "But does it matter what I think if others think differently?"

"Of course it does!" Torlek yelled back at him. "You know the truth. They don't. Why suffer for their ignorance? No one, not Starfleet, not politicians, no one in the whole Federation can judge you anymore. It is like I have said, you…are…home."

"You never let me answer your question, Brother," Tigranian replied. "I think home is where your family is."

"And as I said, is it not here?" Torlek said incredulously.

"Only half of it is," Tigranian said looking back towards Earth. "Like it or not, a part of me will always be of Starfleet and the Federation. My crew, Annabeth, Alex, my godson Max…they're up there, and I don't know if I'll ever get to see them again."

Torlek reached up and put a hand on Tigranian's shoulder.

"Kahless is not that cruel, Brother," he said. "You will see them again and when you do, don't sadden them with the sullen visage you wear now. Carry yourself with pride. Walk tall. Fill their hearts with joy by showing them you have found your true place in the stars, Federation judgement damned to Gre'thor! But until that glorious day comes, remember what the Unforgettable's last words to us were."

Tigranian took a deep breath and stood straight.

"You are Klingons," he said turning to Torlek. "You need no one but yourselves."

"Never forget that," Torlek said holding up his drink. "To the empire on the Day of Unity: may her warriors always fight with honor and always bring her glory. Qapla'."

Tigranian actually smiled as he struck his goblet against Torlek's.


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