Last Exile Fan Fiction ❯ Pinwheel Libertines ❯ Queen's Sacrifice ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction, and not to be reproduced except
for entertainment purposes. (But, who would?) No disrespect is meant to
the creators of Last Exile.


Pinwheel Libertines


"Dio! Come away from that window!"

Vanships. So many vanships. He'd only seen one or two before. But
now, they were racing all around the Guild Palace, shooting. Pow pow pow
pow pow!

"Luric, get my son."

"Yes, Maestro."

Everyone was running around today. Father. Mother. Delphine. Everyone
was running around. Dio felt strong arms wrap around him and pick him up.
Luric. Luric belonged to father. Father's servitor. Dio kicked as hard
as he could. He didn't want to move away from the window. Moving away
meant he couldn't watch the vanships race through the sky.

"Look, Luric!" Dio slid around, wiggling like a slippery fish in Luric's
arms. "Look! The vanships! How funny they are! How do they work? How
can they fly? Tell me, Luric!"

"Not now, Dio-sama. You must come away."

"Tell me now! Please tell me!"

"Soon, Dio-sama. I will tell you on the way. Please, just come away. We
must leave."

Dio tried his best, but he could not escape Luric's powerful grasp. He
was only five years old, after all. And Luric was...well, ancient. Dio
found his head enfolded between Luric's arm and chest, protected. Ah.
That's nice. Even though he wanted to see the vanships, being carried by
Luric was also nice. Luric smelled like chalk dust, like some sort of
light powder, the powder he used on his hands and feet to give them
better grip while fighting. It was the best scent, and it made little Dio
Eraclea quite sleepy.

"My daughter?" That was father's voice, powerful and commanding. Father
ruled the entire world, Dio knew. He was the Maestro, and the Maestro
controlled all things. People. Animals. Sky. Water. Weather. Earth.
All the claudia in existence belonged to Father. And, after Father, the
world would belong to Delphine. Dio didn't quite understand why the world
couldn't belong to Mother, too. He'd asked Father once. Father had
said, "Because she was born a Lagolale, and not an Eraclea."

One of the servants stepped forward and replied, "Delphine is already
aboard her transport vessel, Maestro."

"This is madness. How did they get those ships?"

"Maestro, the Bashianus are using the weather controls to produce cloud
cover, and even lightning storms as breaks."

"Then board the weather ship. Arrest them. They are traitors."

Footsteps. They were running now. Faster and faster. Dio tried to move
his head a bit to see. Father did not run. Dio had never seen Father
run. No, he floated from place to place using Guild technology,
translucent bubble-lifts, and tube-transports. These were a much more
elegant means of travel. But, no... Father and Mother, both of them
were running now, along with all the servants.

"I didn't know the Guild had so many vanships, Luric," Dio said, pulling
harshly on Luric's sleeve in an attempt to get his attention.

"We don't, Dio-sama."

Ah! Oh! Maybe they were all going to see the big ship battle up close.
Delphine had told him about the battles. They were glorious productions,
so much fun to watch. Much more fun than those stupid dance recitals
put on by House Hamilton. Ugh. House Hamilton. Father hated them most
of all!

They wanted to run the Guild! But, they could not run it, because Father
was Maestro. So, instead, they made all sorts of bad trouble for him.

"Maestro! Maestro!"

Suddenly, everything came to a stop. Dio looked around. Aha. A lift!
They were going to go for a ride on Father's private touring ship! Maybe
if he was very, very, very good, Mother would let him fly the ship again,
like he did last time. Dio looked over at his Mother. She was
carrying...a bag? Mother never carried anything. Her fingernails were
too long. Carrying things would break her fingernails. Why would she
carry a bag? Why weren't the servants carrying it?


"The Hamilton Main has disappeared. Their last transmission indicated
that they wish to remain uninvolved."

Father's lip curled. That meant Father was angry. Dio thought maybe he
would hit the servant that said the Hamilton ship had disappeared, but
Father only said, "There's no use in looking for them. We'll have to find
them later."

"Maestro, we've boarded the Dagobel ships Hermia and Erasmus. We've yet
to find the Prisus."

"I want his head severed from his body for this insolence."

"Sir. Several of the minor families are surrendering to our forces.
"Conti, Lagolale, and Terbinus ships are all retreating. Shall we call
off the evacuation?"


"Yes, sir."

Mother dropped her bag. Dio watched as she backed away from Father.
Her face was twisted up. Dio had never seen her face like that,
all scrunched and pinched. She put her hands up, fluttering them at her
chest, her long fingernails clicking together. "Maestro, you know my
loyalty is to you alone!"

"Arrest her! Arrest Secondus Isadora!"

"Sir?" All of the servants looked quite confused.

"Arrest my wife on the charge of treason." Father's hand flew out, and he
grabbed Mother by the neck. Dio watched as Mother gasped for air.
Mother's left hand pawed desperately at Father's wrist. One of her
fingernails broke off and flipped through the air like a propeller until
it hit the wall. "Prisus Lagolale would not move against me. Not unless
he had conspired with his daughter."

Mother was turning blue. Dio didn't know people could turn blue.

Father said, "So, that was your plan, then? Kill me on the transport
vessel and then call for a Council of Principals to instate you as a
regent Maestro. After that, it would be quite simple for you and your
father to claim the title of Maestro for your pathetic House Lagolale."

Mother made a few noises, strange noises, yelps like the animals in
Delphine's menagerie.

And then Father made a noise, a deep, braying noise, like a horse.
Little Dio decided it must be a game. Dio decided to make an animal
sound, too. "Tickity-tee! Tickity-tee!" Just like the pretty orange
and black Tyra birds in the menagerie.

Then Father hissed. A snake noise. Dio couldn't tell who was winning
their game. Maybe Mother. She was smiling now, after all.

Secondus Isadora smiled ever more brilliantly as she twisted the knife in
her husband's gut. His hand slipped from her neck, and hung limply at
his side for the few seconds it took before his knees buckled.

Father fell down. That must be the end of the game, Dio thought. What a
strange game. Dio tried to crane his head to see what would happen next,
but Luric turned away.

"I want to see, Luric."

"Hush, Dio-sama."

"The Maestro! The Maestro!" There was lots of noise then. Lots of
movement. Dio saw some of the Eraclea House Guards rush past.

Dio dug his fingers into Luric's sleeve. Hard. How dare a servant tell
him what he could or could not see! Father would punish Luric for

"House Lagolale will rise above all! A curse upon House Eraclea!" That
was Mother's voice, shrill and wavering. Dio didn't understand what she
meant. But, when she screamed, it made him frightened... For the very
first time in his life, he was afraid. A bad feeling, like smelling the
water servants drank. A sick feeling, knotted tight at the back of his
throat. "Let it be known that Secondus Isadora of Lagolale never

Everything went suddenly quiet.

Someone gasped.

"She's disintegrated..." A murmur rippled all around where Luric and Dio
were standing. "Secondus Isadora has disintegrated. Her ring..."

"Maestro Orphael and his wife are dead..."

And many of the servants cried out, "Forever fly high, the banners of

While the soldiers exclaimed, "Forever soar high, the ships of Maestro

Luric started running again. His arms were wrapped so tight around Dio
that the young lord could scarcely even breathe. Stuffy, so suffocatingly
stuffy, the smell of Luric's hand powder mixed with something caustic and
dirty. Ash.

"Can we watch the vanships now, Luric?"

"No, Dio-sama." Luric's breathing, rapid and punctuated with gruff pants,
created a strange rhythm against Dio's torso. An unsettling beat which
made Dio quite uncomfortable. He attempted to squirm again, and Luric
eased up on his protective grip on the child. They came to a stop, and
Dio looked around. Aha! The hangar. But, none of the star-shaped
"Etoile" fighters remained in dock.

"Are we going on a trip now, Luric?"

"Yes, Dio-sama. We must go to your sister. Maestro Delphine will know
what to do."

"What about Mother and Father?"

Dio felt Luric's arms tense. The Eraclea servitor, uncertain of how to
explain, finally put Dio down on the ground. "They will come later."

"Ah!" Dio smiled and brushed the wrinkles out of his cloak with two pats,
just like he had seen Delphine do. "Good!"

But, Dio wondered how they were supposed to get there. He didn't see any
ships at all in the hangar. Just then, one of the lifts moved, the
crystal-clear tube sucking the platform up from nowhere. And there, on
the glassy dais, sat a green vanship with canary-yellow trim.

"A vanship!" Dio clapped his hands together happily.

The pilot's arm hung at a strange angle, and swung back and forth slightly
against the starboard side of the vanship as the platform came to a stop.
His head, thrown back grotesquely, sported a slackened jaw and parted
lips. A thin line of wind-dried drool clung to the pilot's chin as the
two holes on the left side of his neck oozed murky slicks of blood. The
navi, on the other hand, was completely missing.

"Luric, what's...?"

"It's nothing to be concerned about, Dio-sama. Just a human corpse."

"Corpse..." Dio didn't know that word. He attempted to walk up to the
vanship, but Luric extended his arm in front of Dio to prevent any

"Wait here, Dio-sama."

Luric walked to the vanship and climbed up to remove the 'human
corpse'. It looked to Dio a great deal like a doll, the way it slumped
over on Luric's arm. Dio didn't quite understand why the doll was
leaking, or why the doll wouldn't talk to them. Dio had a great many
questions about vanships, and the best person to ask would be a vanship
pilot. But, this vanship pilot didn't move at all, not unless Luric moved

Luric hauled the corpse over to the side of the hangar and propped it up
against the wall. By the time he returned, Dio had already rushed over to
the vanship and started trying to climb inside. "Luric! Luric! Can we
really go in the vanship? Look at all the controls! I want to know what
they do!"


Dio felt himself being hoisted up and placed into the navi seat. Luric's
typically grim face hovered over him. Dio didn't know how Luric couldn't
be excited about the possibility of flying in a vanship. It was much more
exciting than being in one of the Etoile Fighters. You could actually
feel the air on your face as you soared through the skies.

Within moments, Luric had successfully strapped little Dio into the navi
seat, climbed into the pilot's cockpit, and started the engine. Their
claudia levels were low, but it would be enough to get them to Maestro
Delphine's transport long as many evasive maneuvers weren't
necessary. The lift sprung into action, rocketing the hovering vanship to
the flight deck.

"Go fast, okay Luric?"

"Yes, Dio-sama."

The vanship shot into the air, and banked roughly westward. Luric knew
that he'd have his best chance flying straight through the rebels. The
mercenary vanships wouldn't shoot at one of their own. Flying through
friendly skies would only get him shot down by one of the Etoile Fighters.

"Luric!" It was true! You could feel the wind on your face in a vanship.
All around, the battle raged. Vanships and Etoile Fighters, Guild Mains
and Turin class ships exchanged gunfire. Dio could even see the palace
guard positioning the shock cannons. "Do you think Father can see me,
Luric? Can he see me flying in a vanship from here?"

Luric said nothing as he attempted to bring the vanship to a higher
altitude to avoid a spot of heavy gunfire.

Dio turned his body, he craned his head to get another look at the Guild
Palace. He was sure, absolutely sure, that Father could see him.

"Look Father!" Dio waved madly at the retreating form of the Palace.
"I'm flying in a vanship!"


"Stay in there! Don't come out."

"But, I want to come with..."

Cicada's face reappeared, or rather, the silhouette of his face
reappeared. Backlit by the bright lights of the kitchen, Tuck couldn't
make out any of Cicada's features, not even his eyes.

"We have a duty to House Eraclea, to the Maestro." Cicada growled.

"I can help!"

"You're a runt. What can you do? Stay in the cabinet."

Cicada slammed to cabinet door. In fact, he slammed it so hard that it
banged against the wood and slid back open an inch. A thin ray of light
cut a vibrant stripe diagonally down Tuck's face. The boy leaned forward,
peering into the kitchen in an attempt to figure out the best time to

He could help. Why did Cicada always think of him as useless? He would
get bigger. Someday. Someday, Tuck would be of a very big help to
someone very important!

This was just like Cicada, too. Always planning something and leaving him
out. All of his brothers were the same. Manx had his Etoile Fighter...
He was even captain of his unit now. And Keriole was in charge of all of
the revolving gunnery turrets on the Celestina. So important!

On the other hand, Cicada was just a minor servant to House Lagolale, a
ship security guard, just like Tuck would be...when he got bigger, and
older. For now, however, he just cleaned dishes in the kitchen when he
wasn't training. But, Cicada was always scheming. Always.

"Shut up," Cicada barked. This, followed by his menacing glare, quieted
the other servants in the kitchen. "Those of you who do not want to
participate will stay in the kitchen...under guard. And by that I mean,
if you try to leave, you will be shot."

"Cicada! This is madness! Know your place!"

A shot rang out. Tuck clutched his ears for a moment, but since he wanted
to hear what was going on, he forced his hands down and wrapped his arms
around his knees.

"Are there any other objections?"

Tuck craned his head a little, because no one was saying anything. He
could just barely see Cicada's shoulder next, two,
three...four other guards.


"Cicada, are you certain about the transmission?" Now the guards were
conferring amongst themselves. Tuck moved his head the other direction
and caught glimpses of the Lagolale serving staff. Most of them looked
shocked, or afraid. Tyger, the head cook for Lagolale pressed her fingers
to her lips and shook her head. Tuck had only ever seen her do that
before when she'd received bad ingredients from the human suppliers.

"Yes. The broadcast definitely indicated that Maestro Orphael's
assassination was a Lagolale plot," Cicada said.

"Secondus Isadora," someone whispered. The murmur caught on and rippled
through the room.

"Delphine Eraclea will succeed her father. Lagolale is doomed."

Lagolale was doomed? Tuck bit his lip. Certainly, Prisus Lagolale was...
Well, he was demanding, and crass, and cruel. But, without Lagolale
sponsorship, Tuck and Cicada would be sent back to the Guild shipyards
until they could find another sponsor. -If- they could find another

Tuck attempted to nudge the cabinet open a little more. It squeaked, but
no one appeared to notice.

All of the guards were holding air rifles. Normally, they didn't use them
for much of anything except scaring off rainbirds which tried to nest in
various crevices on the ship. But now, now they were being clutched in a
way which made Tuck a bit worried.

Cicada sneered, and glanced in the direction of the cabinet. Tuck pulled
the door mostly closed again.

"We have a duty to the Maestro," Cicada reiterated as he shouldered his
rifle. "Follow me, or forfeit your chance to prove your worth."

All of the guards looked utterly ready to do just as Cicada said. They
followed him out of the kitchen, and then there was silence.

Tuck knew, he knew, he had to do something. Sure, he'd never been really
close to Cicada, but they were brothers. Ever since their parents had
died in the Etele-Gregor skirmish, they had been together. Cicada looked
out for him, in his own staunchly disciplined way. After all, why would
Cicada shove him in a cabinet, unless he was worried about Tuck getting

Very slowly, Tuck poked the door open. The kitchen staff, calm as ever,
seemed nonetheless bewildered. The leaned over each other, whispering
quietly, as the one guard left behind glanced from person to person.

Tuck had one thing going for him. He was still quite small. And, because
of this, he was able to block the guard's view of him by kneeling on the
other side of an island countertop.

Tyger, the head cook, blinked several times when she caught a glimpse of
the tiny boy crawling along the floor towards the food-lift. Tuck tilted
his head to the side twice, in rapid succession, indicating the guard. A
look of understanding crossed Tyger's eyes, and she immediately stood.

"Uh. Um. Beg your pardon," she addressed the guard, "We really must get
dinner ready for the Prisus and his family."

"Don't you understand? Either the Prisus is going to be dead in fifteen
minutes, or we -all- will be."

"Sir, I do not mean to be contrary. I understand you have your duty, but
we, also have a duty. It is our duty to make dinner for the Prisus. Be
it war or peace, this is what we must do."

"You imbecile..."

Utilizing the distraction Tyger had created, Tuck quickly passed the guard
and made his way between a row of preparation tables. Swiftly, he
approached the wall and pressed the button for the food lift. Thankfully,
Tyger's argument covered what little noise the mechanism made. Pulling
his knees almost painfully against his torso, Tuck squished his body into
the lift. When he pressed the button on the outside, the rapid upward
jolt almost took his arm off, but he managed to pull his hand back in
before being maimed.

It wasn't until the lift started moving that Tuck realized what a horrible
idea this was. The food lift only stopped at one place. The Lagolale
family dining room.

What was he thinking?

Maybe he -wasn't- thinking. Thinking was never really his forte. He
-was- a good worker, a hard worker. Before the Etele-Gregor skirmish, his
mother had told him that she was always so proud of how hard he worked,
how diligent he was, how obedient.

Of course, disobeying Cicada at the moment somewhat disproved his
mother's thoughts. But, still...

They were brothers, after all.

The ship's inner-workings passed by Tuck's face, wires and panels, lighted
tubes and vents. They melded together into a blur of colors, like a
rapidly spinning pinwheel. Maybe life was like this, rushing past in an
amalgamation of incomprehensible hues and shapes. Maybe everyone lived
life adrift of all others, just clinging to their knees, hoping for...

Hoping for something better at the end of the ride.

But, what?

The lift came to a sudden stop, and Tuck found himself being stared at by
the blinking eyes of a serving girl. A serving girl, who then proceeded
to scream at the top of her lungs.


As the girl backed away from the food lift, Tuck managed to swing his legs
out, and fall onto the floor. Hard. Awkwardly. He rolled onto his back
and clutched his shoulder. It was dislocated at the best, broken at the
worst. Pain shot into his neck and arm as Tuck moaned.

Tuck could, through very blurry eyes, see the Prisus stand up so quickly
that his chair fell over. The elderly head of House Lagolale stared at
the boy who had fallen out of the lift as his wife gathered several
small children around her.

"What is the meaning of this?"

Tuck opened his mouth, but nothing came out. The pain notwithstanding, he
had no idea how to explain why he was in the lift.

"Well? Speak, boy!"

Tuck managed to pull himself into a kneeling position, and, still
clutching his shoulder, bowed as best he could. This was the Prisus,
after all, and no matter what kind of pain he was in, the situation called
for stringently reverent protocol. Tuck lowered his eyes until he could
only see the immaculately shiny floor right in front of his knees.
"My...apo...apologies...your Excellency..."

Shing. Shing. Fwip. Thump. Fwoosh. Bang!

Tuck looked up, startled. Had he been...shot? His vision clouded over.
Could this end to life? How...meaningless. How
incomprehensible. Just strange patterns of colors and sounds rushing
past, too busy to stop and introduce themselves, too alive to stop and
explain existence.


Tuck blinked up at his brother. No. He hadn't been shot for his
trespass. It was Cicada...

Cicada's arm. A gun. Cicada's cloak, rippling. And, at Cicada's feet,
the slumped form of the Prisus of House Lagolale. Two of the other guards
were herding the Prisus' wife and children towards a corner.

"Contact the Maestro's transport ship," Cicada said to another guard.
"Inform her that Prisus Lagolale has been killed for his involvement in
the assassination of her father."

Cicada shouldered his air-rifle and turned to look at his little brother.
Cicada said, "I guess you're useful, after all..."

Tuck felt his heart soar. Cicada had never said anything quite so kind to
him. For once, he had been helpful to -someone-. His life, his effort,
had been meaningful.

"...As a distraction."


In Our Next Chapter: Dio and Luric find Delphine's transport ship. Cicada
and the servants who participated in the killing of the Prisus are
summoned to the Guild Palace. Tuck/Luciola gets his first look at Dio.

Author's Notes:

As to the names in Last Exile, I've seen many of them spelled in several
different ways, but I tried to take the spellings from the best sources I
had available at this writing.

I decided on "Eraclea" instead of "Elaclaire" or "Eraclair", because it is
spelled thusly in

I chose "Cicada" over "Sicada", because I think he's actually named after
the insect. When Dio names Luciola, he almost chooses the name "Mantis",
so somehow I am thinking that bug names are common.

I've decided on "Luciola" over "Luciora", merely because this is how it
was spelled in the fansubs I originally watched, and I prefer it.

"Lagolale", I think, is a mis-translation of "Dagobel" which appears on
one of the fansubs. I went ahead and made it into a separate house.

I've taken some liberties in fleshing out the Guild, including adding
ranks such as "Prisus" and "Secondus" for the heads and second-in-commands
of each house. More terms will be added as the story moves along.

I could not find Luciola's age, so I have made him two years older than

And lastly, I just couldn't conceive the Guild calling their own ships
"star-shaped fighters", so I gave them a peppier name. "Etoile" is French
for "star", so I think it works.