The Heroes of the Nation

Planet Five had fallen to the merciless humans. Onagm crouched in the doorway of the globe room as his father paced among the glowing models, lashing his tail. Six had been lost a year and a half ago, and Four was blockaded. The King slammed a fist onto Five’s north pole: the glow went dark. The planet that made the Tir Nation’s warships would make no more.

Onagm scuttled toward the stairs. The only remaining elevator was old and noisy. Outside the Palace’s front windows, near the Triumphal Entry, stood the Heroes of the Nation. Ten larger-than-life sculptures of the Young Warrior, the Nest Builder, and others rose from unworked stone bases. In a few months, they would move to the Chamber of Ancestors, never again to be seen by commoners. Onagm had heard murmurs about war taxes financing the sculptures, but his father refused to discuss them. “Onagm, when you are king, you may make your own decisions. Do not question mine.”