24 hours Later.
Gigaer was led by two guards out of the medbay. He'd spent the night receiving medical attention for the injuries he sustained when the Thukker attacked him. According to the old man, The Thukker kept constant watch on him since the first day he had entered the Wildlands. Their orders were to stay close, hidden and passive. The Elders wanted him to wander and survive battle after battle until he was at his limit, then if he continued his search, they were to disable him and take him in. That last battle had damaged his pod and resulted in moderate injury. The medics made sure he could hold under the strain of interrogation before they brought him before the Elder.
The guards, who had been with Gigaer constantly since his interrogation, led him down a long hallway filled with activity. There were plenty of people and equipment rushing around, though none made eye-contact with him, and they almost seemed to give him as wide a birth as possible. Even the two guards had not spoken a word to him, and seemed to be weary of him. The only thing he could get out of them were their names, Rogi and Vani. Two of the biggest Brutor Gigaer had even seen and they were armed not only with sidearms, but surprisingly also kandjals.
They led him into the same viewing room that he had been interrogated in, which set Gigaer on edge, until he noticed that instead of a chair in the middle of the room, there was a long meeting table with 12 chairs. It looked to be make of real wood and oufitted with holographic displays. Gigaer stood at one end, winged by his keepers, while on the opposite head of the table sat the Elder he'd met the day before. It occurred to Gigaer that the old man had never given his name. He mearly handed Gigaer off to the guards, who seemed to have been instructed beforehand to tend to him.
Rogi pulled the chair out while Vani motioned formally for Gigaer to sit. Gigaer had locked eyes with the old man as soon as he'd entered the room, and didn't break the connection as he sat, trying to put out an air of confidence to offset the Elder's aura of power and control. The Elder was dressed in robes similar to what he wore last time, and Gigaer noticed the ancient Matari symbols that adorned it. Nobody else he saw wore anything like it, so they must be specific to his status. Gigaer noticed some of the people he passed in the halls wore Thukker markings, proving to him the Elders were working with the Thukker. The old man gave the guards leave and rose from his seat.
At the centre of the table sat a bottle of mead on a silver platter, along with several small crystal glasses. Smiling, the old man uncorked the bottle and poured two glasses, then walked over to Gigaer and handed him one, before returning to his seat. The old man raised his glass in a toast, but said nothing. Gigaer returned the gesture as they both drank, never breaking eye-contact. The old man set his glass down and pressed a button on the small holographic control pad to his side. The door behind the old man opened and the man Gigaer knew only as Eyes entered. Eyes shot Gigaer a smile and a reverse-nod while heading straight for the mead, poured himself a glass and took a seat at the right hand of the old man.
“OK. Let me see if I can guess what's going on here.” Gigaer said as he calmly rose from his seat and moved towards the window, breaking eyes with the old man for the first time, and now looking out over the shipyards. “You learned about me and about my Prano legacy, and decided to test me. The first test was mental. I had to deduce that Eyes was not leading me into a trap on little-to-no solid information. The second test was physical. I had to survive in the Wildlands and push my limits to resist against the local pirates. The third test was spiritual. I had to show you that I could tap into my so-called powers and sense the greater reality.” Gigaer turned back towards the table and casually poured himself another drink, raising it slightly towards the old man and Eyes before drinking the whole glass in one gulp. “So we inevitably come to the part of the story where the reason behind the tests is revealed, and believe me when I say I'm all ears.” Gigaer let the smallest amount of frustration escape his voice, letting his keepers know he was ready to be an ungracious guest if answers were not forthcoming.
“I'll tell you anything you want to know, and if you wish to leave after hearing us out we'll give you a ship and escort out of the Wildlands.” said the old man.
“First, Who are you?”
“My name is Vakor. I am an Elder of the Minmatar tribes. My associate here, Eyes, is an agent of mine and acts on my behalf.” the old man said calmly, acting as if this were a gathering of friends.
“Why did you bring me here?”
Vakor took a deep breath before answering. “ The Prano legacy has been a key part of Matari lore since the first records of our people. Your line played a vital role in shaping the thoughts and values of our civilization. The Amarr took that away from us, forcing we Elders to flee and our people to lose our way of life. The Prano name slipped away into the night, along with much of our heritage. While your clan was forced to submit like many others, we became keepers of the ancient knowledge that sustained us as a people. Now the last son of Prano has risen from the ashes of enslavement. You've proven you have the gift. A connection to the spirits and entities of our world and others. A link that surpasses all others. You are the last true Planswalker, yet you are alone. Sent out into the void of space with little training or knowledge of your birthright. We are dedicated to revitalizing true Matari culture, and we therefore had a duty to seek you out and prepare you for the duty you carry in your blood.”
Gigaer took a few seconds to absorb Vakor's words. It did gel with what little he'd managed to learn about his clan so far, but after wandering with no direction for so long, to suddenly be presented with all the answers was a little shocking. Still, Gigaer had to take this one step at a time. “So what do you propose? You'll give me the information in exchange for what? That I be your pawn in whatever bloody affair you're planning? And don't tell me you're not planning something big. All those ships you're building out there are not for show.”
Vakor rose from his seat and moved towards the window, smiling as he took in the site of hundreds of ships being built. “There is a storm coming. The Republic thinks it's free and honourable. In reality they've become stagnant and corrupt. The Amarr still enslave our people and our vaunted Republic fleet does nothing but putter around in circles. A storm comes. A storm furious enough to burn away the darkness on the path our people walk. When it comes we must all be ready to meet the call of destiny that rings out from our blood.” Vakor turned to Gigaer and placed his hands on his shoulders. For some reason this didn't put Gigaer on guard. There was an undeniable ringing of truth to Vakor's words. “We will train you as your family would have trained you, and then you will go and find your path. When you are ready and the time is right, you will know what to do.”
The look in Vakor's eyes reminded Gigaer of the look in his mother's eyes when she recorded her message to the child she would never know, and the look in his father's eyes when they decided that Gigaer should become a capsuleer. Eyes rose from his seat and walked over to the two by the window. He held a wooden case and handed it to Vakor, who opened it and revealed Gigaer's kandjal. It had been repaired and cleaned to a flawless state. Gigaer took his kandjal, thankful to be reunited with what he often thought was the other piece of himself. “The foremost masters of the art of the kandjal will be training you as part of your studies.” said Vakor. “We will be building you from the ground up. Strategy, tactics, politics, philosophy, body, mind and soul. You will represent the best of what it means to be Minmatar, if – by some miracle - you survive.”
Gigaer turned and walked slowly around to the other side of the table, taking in the moment. He turned to Vakor and Eyes and opened up with his kandjal, sending it into a masterful whistling fury, extending and retracting it over and over, performing his favorite combinations and forms. His kandjal was in top form and so was he, and he had no doubt he would have to be even better to make it out of this place alive. The thought greatly excited him. Finishing his demonstration and bowing before the Elder as a pupil to his master, Gigaer spoke once more with the grin of a adrenaline junkie.
“I just have one last question. When do we begin?”