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Author Topic: Mirror Empire  (Read 7593 times)
Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2018, 03:33:26 PM »

Oh, I am loving the story, don't get me wrong.   But I have a little problem with the idea that the Republic didn't already have some form of Maternity leave?   

And the provision of amnesty for the Jedi ... if they agree to obey all laws, etc.   Made me think about my Mak'Tor Knights.  I always envisioned them as already being "under law" ... but are they?

And how would you enforce it?  Barring a super-being like an Aethan or another Jedi?

Based on my understand the Republic didn't have many centralized laws - about the only things that was common to all systems was the recognition of Credits as a means of exchange - most social policy and education was system by system basis.  Each system had its own government after all and the extent of how much they obeyed the laws of the Republic varied wildly beyond the Core worlds like Alderaan, Chandrilla, Bothawui and the like.  I'm sure those systems did have maternity leave and good social security, but somewhere poor like Ryloth, or Rodia near Hutt Space even Corellia (based on how bad it is in Solo movie...I imagine that was the case a long time before the Empire was declared) probably not that good.

As to how you police a 'super being'...well that will be looked at later.

But yeah you made a good point they can't control everything - but you don't need to after all to win an election you just need 51% of the vote....

And good catch Dutch re Alderaan and Naboo - one of the reasons i imagine in the Canon Bail couldn't really oppose the Empire was his own position is based on being part of a noble house so he can't criticize a Constitutional Monarchy without being hypocritical. Of course Palpatine then acted like a tyrant...but if the monarch acts benevolently...then what cause do you have to rebel?

But Yeah watch this space more coming!
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Karmack
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Light side points please.


« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2018, 03:42:25 PM »

Yeah.  i guess as an American we tend to think that the Republic was what we have here - a Constitutional Representative Republic.   But it really wasn't, it was far more like the old Articles of Confederation, with almost no central authority at all.   That's a good point.

And you're right: if a ruler is wise and benevolent, then a Monarchy can be a very good form of government.  But it all hinges on the wisdom of that ruler.  All it takes is one bad apple to ruin a successful and long-standing Kingdom or Empire...

And treating everyone equally under law is critical, or you'll end up getting rebellions.   One thing the Aethans would need to relax is their matriarchy.  It may work for them, but it won't work for everyone.   They don't need to bend all the way, but things like the taxation levels ... that kind of thing would never wash over the long term.
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Lord_S_Gray
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Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2018, 08:57:40 PM »

The Anzats New Path - Part 1
[/size]

This Story is an alternate telling following from Dutchmans excellent interlude The Anzats New Apprentice http://www.saberforum.com/index.php?topic=36209.165

He was now certain he was losing his wits.  The daen nosi – the lines of fate – or what he had convinced himself were the lines that had haunted his thoughts throughout his centuries of long, often lonely life – had lead him to Dalos IV, a penal world only a rung above completely feral.  Here he had witnessed six murders under the oppressive humid sun on the crowded streets between the pyramidal buildings clustered between the ever encroaching jungle.

Now Kazic Ovarug stood blocking the only exit for an emaciated dark blond haired boy with red tinged hazel eyes, who had lifted one of his sabres as Kazic gently fended off his ‘gang’, or at the very least allies of convenience.

“Please, you have nothing to fear.  Come out.  I only wish to have returned to me my property.  If you like, I shall pay you handsomely for it.”  Kazic’s eyes locked onto the very only spot in the alley he could sense a life sign other than vermin.

“H’w much?”  The boy’s voice squeaked. 

It took Kazic a moment to understand.  “…Oh, you mean how much will I pay you for it?  How much do you want?  A fiver?  A tenner?”  Kazic’s arms were held outward, palms up so as not to look threatening.  The boy’s eyes squinted, looking the Anzat up and down.  And then Kazic felt it.

The boy was attempting to delve him with the Force! Perhaps the daen nosi – and more importantly his own mind was not so muddled after all.

“That’s an interesting ability for an eight-year old boy.” Was all Kazic could think to say in his shock that one so young could…but then it wasn’t such a shock -  brief flicker of a name he rarely dwelled on – not from shame but rather reverence – another child who had a similar ability and had been lost and alone just as this child was.

For the first time, the boy looked angry.  “I’m almost thirteen!”  His fist pounded his narrow chest for emphasis. …Of course, malnutrition…poor child, this had to be what the daen…

“Look out!”  The boy’s high-pitched scream brought Kazics attention to his surrounds.  With instinct honed by experience he moved, seeing one of the other one youths that he’d just tried to help despite their attempt at robbing him trying to stab him in the back. 

But the second youth suddenly stopped before Kazic could strike and fled – the boy with Ansons sabre wasn’t talking about him…or rather not just about him.

The Sky screeched to life with the hum of Republic LAATs, their green energy lances boiling the humid air as they struck one of the shabby pyramids in a slightly better state of repairs.  Outside the alley the all too familiar beat of blaster fire flowed to Kazics ears, but high above the sky turned a strange blue as a vast image of Chancellor Palaptine was projected up above.

“Citizens of the Empire, Today as peace and prosperity dawns across the Empire…”

Empire? Kazic had been out of range of the regular holonet news channels since coming here, the local reports had been contradictory about events in the core at best, tales of a Jedi attack on the Senate, Chiss Ships over Coruscant, and Clones overthrowing their Jedi Generals and declaring their own nation. Was this some bizarre trick by one of the local oligarchs?

“You will be among the first to benefit from a program that will renew and revitalize the Empire, with free health care and guaranteed work programs for all - inspired and planned by my most benevolent niece, your Princess, Mira!”

As the Anzat was distracted by the image that appeared above the boy took the chance to rush past him.

Kazic should’ve caught him, but his eyes were on the image floating above, her melodious voice extolling the benefits of her plan for the ‘Empire’ and the need to ‘Register’ and co-operate with Imperial Authorities.

He had never seen Mira before, but he knew her face –every line and curve.  It was the face they all shared, the product of a perfect yet limited gene pool. The face of the ferocious scout and warrior Kiraea, the face of…

“Ari…” he spoke aloud

This was what the daen nosi had brought him to see. It was not Ari, he knew that much, but she could easily be her sister, daughter, cousin, mother for all he knew.

As her words flowed into his mind the shock slowly subsided as the beat of battle drew closer.  Shaking off the shock and fugue of memory he returned to the present – the boy had eluded him again, and still had Ansons sabre.

Darting out despite a slightly twinge in his aged legs he barely avoided being bowled over by the tide of grotty beings fleeing. 

“Free Medical Care and Rations for all civilians who cross the Secure line, surrender their weapons and Register!” A clone atop a Sabre tank at the far end of the street called over a speaker as Mira’s soothing tones began to loop.  In front of the tanks was a line of Clone troopers occasionally firing off shots as Kavlian natives rushed between and behind them to relative safety.

He looked around to try and find the boy and also who the Clones were fighting

“Throw down your weapons, this areas is under Imperial Control from now on!”

Yelled a Clone Sergeant atop a building across the street before opening fire into the crowd – it was not random – Kazic followed the line to a heavily tattooed brute, beside him another who fired back at the clone trooper. Throughout the throng of fleeing people in cover behind bins and corpses were brutish looking gangers all with the same symbol tattooed or painted on makeshift armour – a block yellow pentagon with crossed black blades.

Some kind of gang it had to be – yet why would Clones who would never normally venture into slums like this bother with the local gang lord?  Last he knew the separatists were on the run, he had seen nothing on Dalos IV to suggest any kind of Separatist uprising…

He didn’t have time to discern their motives now, he pushed against the tide of desperate beings seeking the free medicines and food being offered by the gigantic feminine face above, trying to pick out the dark blond head.

“AIIEE!” a screech nearby cut above the overlapping sounds of blaster fire and the loud speakers orders, further down the street two of the ganger were dragging a female twi’lek by the lekku against the tide, a Chandra-fan desperately trying to fend them off batted aside by one of the brutes. 

“Grab the little ‘uns!” screamed an even larger brute behind them, “Quick!” behind him were various other gangers making off with emaciated children struggling in their arms…amongst them one with dark blonde hair bashing against the indifferent Aqualish that held him.

Kazics experienced mind quickly assessed the tactical goal – the Clones were taking control of this zone, the gangs might be able to hold them off with better local knowledge and guerrilla tactics for a while, but inevitably they couldn’t compete with a trained disciplined and well-armed military – so take whatever mobile wealth you can and go – the impoverished children would serve as not only living-shields but if they could get them off world valuable sales items to start over somewhere else.

“AEEEE” the Twi’lek screamed again her left face bloodied as they dragged her – of course female slaves made just as good sales items and flesh shields.

Before he’d even realised he had decided - Kazics sabre was in his hand – the Clone line wouldn’t reach her in time, let alone the boy despite his attempts to free himself.

A sense of calm flooded him, he had lived a long time, and there were far worse causes to die fighting for than trying to save a few strangers from being trafficked.

The Snap-hiss of his sabre caused the constant tide of fleeing beings to break naturally around him as he approached the still struggling twi’lek and her assailants.  Before he could launch inot his own attack – the gangers heads exploded into dark bloody gristle – a blade of black cut his vision then doubled back on itself. 

The Chandra-fan slowly rose and helped the twi’lek up as the Gang leader called a half dozen goons bursting out of a store arms full of various looted goods.

Kazic quickly decided the leader was the better target for his assault and headed forth.

“Take them! 3’oclock!” he heard the familiar helmet distorted voice of a clone call out, a barrage of blue fire slicing the looters to pieces as Kazic neared the retreating leader.  Once again his charge was unnecessary.  The Leaders eyes beneath the tattooed brow went wide then glassy as his head flew off.

A figure recognizable by the absence of a clean silhouette stood beside the falling body. 

All doubt Kazic might’ve had was gone as the suns heat was eaten by the armour of warrior beside the gang leader.     

It was Ari’s people – fighting beside Republic – or rather ‘Imperial’ Clones.  As quickly as he’d seen it - it was gone, along the street toward the pyramid slowly being surrounded by Sabre tanks.  Ganger bodies burst apart in its wake, the children they were kidnapping no less bewildered than Kazic himself as they were gently placed on the ground.

Pushing through using his sabre to ward off the mentally deranged and drug addicts who were randomly attacking beings – most of whom were cut down by the advancing Clones who saw only violent targets he found the boy with Ansons sabre staring up at the Pyramid, whose terraces were now alight with red and blue blasts as the Clones took control of what Kazic assumed was the Gangs headquarters based on the razor wire and ruined auto turrets around its ground level.

Skidding to a stop by the boy he paused as the child pointed up – on the top terrace Kazic could just make out a bulky Feeorin two overcharged pistols firing down at the advancing Clones, but behind him the shadows on the midday sun lengthened unnaturally, seemed to overcome his yellow tattooed muscles….

Like an ancient sacrificial ritual the Feeorins body bounced down the side of pyramids, spraying blood from the neck.  His head remained were it had been as the figure resolved beside it – a force enhanced voice boomed across the chaos in the streets all around.

“On Behalf of His Most Benevolent Majesty the Emperor Palpatine I Legate Nysi reclaim this sector from the Gang-lords, the Drug Dealers and the Traffickers,” she stepped into the light, hair a blonde red artificially swaying despite the humidity.

“On Behalf of Her Most Serene and Merciful Highness Princess Mira I offer all opponents this opportunity to surrender their arms and accept immediate medical aid and the chance to begin a life free from poverty, oppression and the violence it engenders,” 
She lifted the Feeorins head up high and tossed it into the air

“Gloria in Excelsis Imperator!” she called

“Gloria in Excelsis Imperator!!!”
the Clones called back.

Across the streets and warrens two thirds of the gangers took the offer to surrender.

The rest learnt the limits of the new Emperors Mercy.

<<<<>>>>

“Zearic” the boy finally said dipping his finger into the soupy plas pouch then licking off the algal nutrient paste being supplied from the hover car.

“Pleased to meet you then Zearic,” Kazic sat beside him watching the line-up of beings at the makeshift registry – giving biometric details and wiring names where they could – a small machine beside each of the tables printed out a temporary ident-card and they were allocated a time for a full medical and assessed for either work or education programs. The air was filled with the smooth feminine voice of the Princess Mira extolling the new programmes on offer and plans for a Clean Up of slums like Kavila – beginning with the…

“Immediate removal of unrepentant hooligans, dissidents, rapists and misogynists,”

The Daen nosi had certainly not lied, but where had it lead him to?  This boy, and this…Empire.  So far none of the Clones paid them much attention just two more outcasts amongst thousands.

“So Zearic who was the Feeorin who was…”

“Got his body cut off!” The boy grinned nutrient paste on the edges of his mouth

“That was Ghul, he was da’ boss, now he ain’t…now the Leegat is,”

Kazic knew it was hardly as simple as that…or was it…the weight of Ansons sabre on his belt reminded him of other times where the issue of who was in control, what freedom meant had plagued him. 

Ghul and his ilk had been removed – but in a manner little different from a Gang war – the sanction form Coruscant made no difference to a child like Zearic – one gang boss replaced another.  And yet…

As Kazic surveyed the throngs about him there was a difference, the ‘Empire’ as he was learning the Republic was now called, was not simply labelling Dalos IV ‘under new management’ they seemed to be intent on altering the entire way of life here – and if the Clones chatter could be believed - right across the galaxy.

Zearic peeked up as a squad of Clones walked past – there had been a few instances of violence in the ‘safe zone’ – a few of the ‘alpha’ minded natives had tried to accumulate and stock up on the free rations, set up a black market. Their heads now adorned the Sabre tank that overlooked this camp –

“We will not permit a return to hoodlum like behaviour – you have been given a wonderful opportunity to build a new galaxy together,” Mira Explained “Reversion to old criminality will be swiftly dealt with.”

“Where do we pay the fee?” Zearic asked

“What fee,”

“the fee, you gotta’ pay every week or you get neppered…or worse…”

Fee…protection money – the boy thought he now had to pay weekly ‘protection’ money to the Clones. Was this all the life this poor boy knew…yet then what was taxation but a form of protection money Kazic idly wondered.

“You don’t have to pay anymore Zearic…when you’re finished that why don’t you go up to the desk and register,” Kazic had seen the children were swiftly taken to the heavily guarded Medical tent as soon as they were registered for assessment – it saddened him that the people of Kavila were so mistrustful and desperate they had tried to rob it within hours of it being set up – the Clones response was just as saddening – but for people such as this what else could they understand but violence?

Kazic managed to get a few more sentences out of the boy as he finished his ration before heading off to the queue.  Kazic stood and looked to get some information. 

“Sergeant!” he called out to a clone with red stripes “A word if I may Sir?”

The clone turned slowly after issues quick orders to the two soldiers he was with

“Citizen, what is the issue?”

“Sergeant I wonder if I might speak with a senior officer regarding the…change in leadership within the Empire…” Kazic added a push of the force, a Clone was too single mined to influence directly but a little prompt here and there could work.

“The broadcasts will inform you of everything you need to know Citizen, I suggest you register immediately,” no luck…

As Zearic waited Kazic wandered about, not straying too far looking for a more senior officer, uncertain about what his next move should be…the boy Zearic was strong and…Kazic was alone –a new apprentice would be good – yet the appearance of Ari’s People was…undeniably troubling and he needed to find out more.

Perhaps…it was risky…but it might be the fastest way.  Settling into a small alcove Kazic drew deeply on the force, then simply ‘brightened’ he didn’t use it, or twist it, just made his presence ‘obvious’. 

It didn’t take long for him to feel his robes shift against the rapid movement of air. 

“Kazic Ovarug…” the dark figure before him nodded almost respectfully

“Her Highness will be most pleased,” 

<<<<>>>>

Zearic wasn’t sure he should trust her…or the big gray man for that matter, but he seemed alright when he…touched him…that was the best way to describe what he did – it was like thinking out loud but it touched things.  He’d spoken to Teg about it once, but Teg didn’t seem to know anything about it.

Teg was dead now, No-Nose Nex Neppered him for not paying the fee.

“Hey!” he called as the cold metal touched his bare chest,

“Just a little cold,” the burly dark skinned ‘clone’ as they called them looked at the device connected to it.

“Standard case of malnutrition, stem cell and hormone therapy with a course of high nutrient supplements should get him back up to standard weight and physical development within two or three years,”

Zearic sneered he was bigger than a lot of the other pick-pockets.

The clone medic tapped away at something and gave him a bit of plastic with tiny letters on it – Zearic could read – mostly – but the words here made no sense to him, too complicated.
“Present this and your Imperial Ident Card to any Princess Alina Hospital to begin your treatment,”

Kazics mouth briefly twitched – every public hospital had been renamed ‘Princess Alina’ on Dalos IV –and he suspected every other world in the new ‘Empire’.

“In the interim, as you have no assigned parent or guardian, you’ll be placed in…”

“Actually,” Kazic interrupted, “I wish to stand as the boys guardian,”

The clone looked him up and down

“You have a child safety clearance?”

Kazic shook his head “Not that I am aware of,”

“You need one to be able to adopt, new legislation, we cannot allow just anyone to take children off the streets,”

Kazic nodded, “I understand…but can I at least stay with the boy for a while?”

The clones hand idly approached his holstered blaster so subtly even Kazic barely noticed – he thought Kazic was a trafficker!

“Everything in order Doctor,”

The Clone snapped bolt upright as the soothing voice echoed in the tent

“Legate, just discussing the guardianship of this young boy, the Anzat shows an unusual level of interest.”

“Does he indeed…I will handle it from here Doctor, continue your shift, many citizens to see, If you would Master Ovarug, and your ‘ward’”

As they stepped out of the tent Kazic finally got a close look at the ‘Legate’ - as he suspected she looked much like all the women of Ari’s people, perhaps distinguished by a more blonde shade of hair and slightly wider eyes.

“Her Highness Princess Mira was most pleased to hear you had approached us Master Ovarug, and requests you attend her on Coruscant at your earliest convenience. She knelt down to Zearics eye level

“And you Zearic, the Princess wishes to welcome you to the Empire and offers you an opportunity to either stay on Dalos IV or if you wish travel to Coruscant with Master Ovarug who I see you’ve taken a shine to,” 

Kazic was unsure whether this was request or order…but if he was to understand what was happening what better way than to go to the source.

Zearic meanwhile was swaying slightly under the intoxicating beauty of the Legate- in his life he had never seen a woman so…just clean…and shimmering,

“Will…will you go to Coruscant with us!” he blurted out

“No I’m afraid not, I have other duties for the Princess, but Master Ovargu will take good care of you if you want to go,”

The chance to fly on a real space ship! Zearic had never wanted anything more.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2018, 09:04:32 PM »

The Anzats New Path - Part 2

His ship docked in a small bay at the far end of the main hangar deck, Kazic and Zearic were given make shift quarters just beside the ship while they travelled on the Venator Class Star Destroyer to Coruscant.

He used the down time to get to know the boy better, gently probing at the extent of his force abilities in-between catching up on events on Coruscant as best he could before he arrived.

Kazic was not fully convinced about the stories regarding the Jedi coup attempt, but the evidence of the attack on the Chancellor was overwhelming.

The declaration of Empire not completely unexpected, Kazic had kept up to date with the increasing emergency powers granted to the Chancellor – a pattern he had seen time and again over the centuries – a popular elected official accumulates more powers in the face of an external threat and slowly becomes a monarch. He had sighed out loud – cycles repeating.

Exactly what Ari’s People had done to gain control didn’t interest him - he knew all too well they were capable of extreme feats – but the Why had him stumped – trying to guess their motives was a fool’s errand yet still – if not him who else in the galaxy was there that could even attempt to comprehend the Why of their actions.

A burst of the force brought him out of his thoughts, the plastic tumblers clattering to the floor

“Shavit!” Zearic cried “Almost had them over my head!” he had begun his hormone treatment but would need better medical facilities than the Venator had to begin the two year stem cell therapy – till he now had a healthy pinkish hue to his skin.

“It’s alright, plenty of time to practice,” Kazic soothed as there was a tap on the side of his ship.

Opening the hatch a Clone Officer raised his fist to his chest – index finger and thumb touching to show a three fingered salute pointing to his left shoulder – how quickly they followed orders…

“Master Ovarug we have exited at the final jump point, three hours from Coruscant however we have received an urgent request for you to attend Her Highness Princess Alina before she departs on a Diplomatic mission.”

“I would be honoured,”

“We must go immediately, her ship is departing within the hour, also the boy Zearic is invited.

Interesting Kazic thought.

<<<<>>>>

Zearic had never seen anything like it outside the half a copy of Star Rogue #43 he had found in a bin.  Hundreds of ships, huge vessels that would overshadow the warrens and sewers he had lived in, light all over, blue, yellow and red darting between the grey daggers and enormous floating cities,

“Defence platforms,” Kazic informed him

“See there that is Kuat where the ships are being made…” 

Oddly the vast orbital dockyard was devoid of new ships, but still a lot of work was happening on them…

They’re re-tooling…

“Inferior bodies, inferior minds, inferior technology” he recalled the words of their…leader?...at least strategist Valens so long ago referring to the Vhal’Dan, Kazic supressed a shudder at what ‘improvements’ they would be making to the new Imperial Fleet.

Valens words had been arrogant yet…accurate – what kind of culture had 600 years of such thinking produced Kazic wondered.

“On Approach, Vessel 12-XNC from the Chandrilla requesting docking permission on the Saani,” the pilot said Kazic once again stiffening

Saani… he turned to look out the pilots frontal view port – there was no vessel – yet there was by the absence of star light – a vast black slice in the darkness of space.

“Permission granted, slaving transport 12-XNC to our control, do not deviate or you will be destroyed.” The female voice over the comm replied.

<<<<>>>>

The hangar was deliberately partitioned Kazic had noted – very little equipment, only a few clone soldiers – the ‘Outsiders’ section no doubt.  The name of the vessel had thrown him for a moment, but so had a dozen other things over the last few days - he would manage.

Zearic seemed overly eager to explore as he had been on the Venator – a compassionate non-clone officer had given them a brief tour – the Clones here offered no response to the boy’s request.

They were taken down a blank corridor through heavy doors of a grey stone to a small ante chamber where two ‘Praetorians’ awaited them

“The boy goes first you wait here…your weapons,”

Kazic gingerly placed his sabres in the being hands as Zearic was lead in.

<<<<>>>>


She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, he could barely comprehend how Clean she was…his just on teen body filled with growth hormones to help him bulk up began experiencing – novel sensations – just looking at her.

“Ah so this is,”

“Zearic Highness,” the guard beside her said

“Zaea-ric…Zay-Rick…such an ugly name for such a strong handsome boy,” she stood up every movement graceful beyond Zearics mind to truly appreciate.

She knelt down before him to get to his eye level – much like the woman Legate on Dalos – it was so different how grown-ups usually shouted down at him, he could feel both women actually cared.

“I hear…” she said with a mischievous grin that perfectly suited her face

“You managed to swipe a lightsabre off old Master Ovarug,”

Zearic nodded beginning to tremble and worried she could see the things he was feeling.

“That is very impressive, not only that but to survive so long on such a dangerous world,” her lips pouted in sympathy making him feel embarrassed as his cheeks flushed hot.

“You…” her hand lightly flicked across his now washed and cut hair making his knees almost buckle

“…will grow into a strong man I think, already so clever…who knows maybe you could be a Quaestor and go on grand adventures to help me and my sister Mira,”  she gazed deep into his eyes.

“Would you like that - to be my knight?”

“Yebbb…” Zearic felt the drool cool the side of his mouth, skin burning hot

“Here…” she pulled out a handkerchief more opulent and soft than anything Zearic had seen dabbed his mouth,

“You can keep it, to remember me by…” she smiled

“I do so look forward to handing out prizes at the academies for the best student…maybe one day I’ll give you one…”

As the Guard came up to usher him out Zearic was thankful for the vast warrior to lean on as he was about to faint.

<<<<>>>

“Kaea-Zeec?, KaeaZick?”  The Princess slouching in her throne sounded out his name as he stood hands clasped before him careful not to step outside the yellow square they had placed him in  - ‘for his own safety’ he was not to move outside of it while the Princess was present.

Her hair was done up in curls, delicate lace white grey and pink dress, her features much like Ari, Kiraea and Mira as was to be expected but distinguished by a mischievous curve to her mouth and cheeks.
 
“First Zaearic now KaarrrZICK…Ick…what is it with you outsiders and “Ick” at the end of your names, gross,”

He didn’t know whether to respond or remain silent, opting for the latter on the basis he had no idea how to reply to her seemingly random utterances.

“I don’t like your name Kaearz-Icky, and I won’t even bother with your last name…what shall we call you instead…hmm…I’ll think of something….hmmm…” she sighed seemingly bored with him already

“My sister wants to talk with you…I’m not sure why, but as I was in the region I thought I ought to see you first, I must say you’re not as tall as I expected…or as impressive…but then you got old didn’t you…very old,” 

Her voice had a slightly nasal pitch that seemed to speak down to everyone and everything, Kazic was hardly unused to being looked down upon or as an object of scorn for his Anzat heritage, still for a supposed Princess it seemed out of place – he wondered if this was some elaborate game or she was exactly as she appeared – a late teen princess with a huge sense of entitlement and invulnerability...

“Ick is right for your name, Icky…you were ugly before you got old…now…well Icky why do you think my sister wants to…talk…with you, I doubt she’d want to see your hideous face?”

Sifting through possible responses he chose the least confrontational

“I am unsure myself Your Highness,”

“Stupid as well, all Outsiders are…why haven’t you killed yourself for being so abhorrent? Or are you too stupid to realise how disgraceful you are?”

This was either a bizarre conversational strategy or they were truly ruled by a capricious little minx.

“I expect I am too stupid to realise it your highness,” Kazic played along

“Ha..hahahaha at least you’re smart enough to realise that! I might make you my jester…but my sister promised me a better a one, he’s even funnier looking than you if you can believe it.”

She shifted about uncomfortably

“I hate this chair, my arse hurts when I sit on it for too long, I need a better one,” she promptly summoned a datapad to her hand and began tapping, her face bathed in the blue glow.

“That’s nice…” she said quietly to herself while Kazic remained still

She glanced up after a few minutes to look about the room as if measuring it for a new Throne.

“Oh you're still here Icky, you can go away now,”

The Praetorians guided him out in a state of utter confusion.

<<<<>>>>

“Got it!” Zearic called out successfully holding the empty box over his head for a full minute with the force.

Since returning from the audience with the Princess the boy was even more eager to learn, yet there was something ill with the nature of his motivations – though considering his upbringing that was not surprising.  Kazic worried though that under the wrong guidance the more feral of what the boy had learnt on Kavila might be enhanced rather than tamed.

But that paled in comparison to the near burdensome widening of the daen nosi as the ship exited hyperspace at the far edge of the Coruscant system

A millennia of struggles, joy, pains, loves, losses - mistakes…and yet Kazic felt as the Destroyer slowly plodded toward the heavily defended capital….his path had barely begun.

<<<<>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

TheDutchman
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« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2018, 05:02:32 PM »

This was such a treat to read!

I have to say that LSG really took the nuances of "The Anzat's New Apprentice" and made a wonderful, unique tale that both surprised me with the details in the narrative and tickled me seeing such an intriguing alternative interpretation of Kazic, young Zearic, and the Mirror Aethans (LOVE the easter egg w/ one of the ship's nomenclature: "Saani"  Smiley).

And I've got to wonder: after all this time...will Kazic be welcome?  Revered?  Despised?  Anathema?

LSG: This.  Is.  GOOD.  Grin

Thank you for this!
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Taegin Roan
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« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2018, 06:38:20 PM »

Wow, this is so weird. In many ways I don't like it at all. It is almost a perversion of what is good and right, but at the same time, there is nothing actually wrong with it. I would definitely be interested to see how someone like Karmack and Arnor would react to this. Very interesting indeed.

And you're right: if a ruler is wise and benevolent, then a Monarchy can be a very good form of government.  But it all hinges on the wisdom of that ruler.  All it takes is one bad apple to ruin a successful and long-standing Kingdom or Empire...

This is so true Karm. Just look at the history of Israel and Judah. This is the exact thing that happened over and over again.
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"I am the Outcast's Shadow" - Taegin Roan
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"So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause." - Padmé Amidala

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Light side points please.


« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2018, 06:04:26 AM »

Yeah, that thought has crossed my mind as well, but I don't have the bandwidth right now to explore it.   Though I did have an idea...   :-)   But I don't want to just spit it out.  Fear not, they may show up here yet....
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« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2018, 12:34:02 PM »

a few hours ago I got the idea to rewrite the prologue to Invictus but From Free's point of view where Tyr is the man in black.


    Free looked around from the shadows that hid him. he had been at a stalemate since he found Tyr here.
    “We both know how this ends!” Tyr yelled into the darkness
    “It ends with you dead!” Free shouted as he activated his lightsabers and swinging for Tyr’s throat. He would have taken off Tyr’s head if Tyr hadn’t pulled his fiery orange lightsaber and intercepted his blades.
    “You’re dead now Free,” Tyr growled igniting a second orange blade.
    “Then I’ll take you with me!” Free yelled, deactivating his sabers and retreating into the shadows. His opponent looked around trying to locate him in the shadows.
    “You know you can’t sneak up on me Free!” Tyr yelled. Sensing his opportunity Free rushed out and swung his blades at Tyr’s exposed neck. Tyr spun and blocked Free’s sabers with a wide slash. Free deactivated his sabers and slipped back into the shadows.
    “Come out and fight me like a man!” Tyr screamed throwing his hands to the side and spraying fire all around. This revealed Free hiding close to the edge of what appeared to be a large platform.
    “You can’t hide from me now Free, why not fight me?” Tyr asked holding his sabers up in a wide guard.
    “Fine then,” Free said, igniting his sabers and rushing towards Tyr. He swung his sabers at Tyr but Tyr blocked and riposted. Free ducked out of the way and slashed at Tyr’s leg. The two of them continued to trade blows, increasing the speed until they were an orange and teal blur. After roughly ten minutes, Free had cuts all over his arms and legs and was sweating profusely, but Tyr still seemed like he was ready to keep going, with barely a drop of sweat on his forehead. Free became desperate, his attacks getting wilder and more uncontrolled. Eventually, Cato found an opening and took it, blasting Free’s sabers out of his hands. Free scrambled backwards and reached out to call his sabers back to him but Tyr chopped off both of Free’s hands in one clean scissor-like movement with his sabers. Free screamed in pain and fell to the floor as his hands hit the ground in front of him. His sabers flying away into the void behind him.
    “Goodbye Free.” Tyr said. He stepped forward and proceeded to stab Free through the heart.


I actually really like this idea so I think I'll write Free a new story from his point of view and I'll put this as the Prologue.
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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2018, 08:21:23 PM »

Yesterday’s Heroes
This is another free to contribute subset of the Mirror Empire to deal with where the old ‘Heroes’ are and what they’re doing….
These little snippets are about ‘positioning’ characters without necessarily committing them in any particular direction (or any direction they were not already on emotionally) – i.e. just getting the ball rolling any anyone can feel free to take up a thread and run from there with it!
Ahsoka
News was slow to come to Thabeska, but when it did come it clung to her mind like the dust that covered everything after a few days.

Emperors, Princesses, Praetorians, Purges.

In her little corner of the Fardi compound repairing droids she did her best not to think on it, not to wonder what had become of Anakin, Obi-Wan, all those she had to leave behind. But as more information flowed through the holo net her mind just kept shifting back to it. 

Had they survived the purge – or surrendered to the amnesty? Did it even matter?

She was torn between going back and pressing forward, treading water in the middle.

“Whatcha do’n?” a sweet little voice interrupted her tightening a bolt.

“Oh…Hedala, how did you manage to sneak up to me?”

The little girl shrugged, she seemed to have inherited the Fardi clans natural knack for furtiveness, along with the similar facial features – yet there was something about her just a little different – everyone remembered her face – “that will make it difficult for her to work…” her cousin Chenna noted given the advantage the Fardi girls played on in all looking similar.

But Ahsoka sensed something more to it – a suspicion she didn’t really want to probe into for what it would mean for both of them.

“Just working on this droids,” ‘Ashla’ as Ashoka now called herself replied.

The little girl stood on tiptoes to peek onto the workbench, then seemed to lose interest.

“Guess what!” she said a bright smile on her face

“What?”

“Daddy is getting me a new dress!”

“Really wow what colour is it?”

“It’s gonna be pink and red just like the Princess!”

“Wonderful!” Ashla replied with faux excitement – the Princess…her face was everywhere, her voice all over the holo news extolling her ‘female friendly’ policies one minute, explaining the need for additional military expenditure the next.

“What’s the occasion?”

“Daddy is getting visitors, Umperials are visiting with a Wegate.”

Wegate? Legate she must mean…Ashla hadn’t paid much attention, but understood they were in charge of various fleets and sent to different systems to oversee integration into the Empire…if one was coming here…

“When is the Legate coming?”
Hedala shrugged once more “I dunno…are you doing to get a new dress too?”
<<<<>>>>
Ahsla did not get a new dress, she wore comfortable workman’s overalls in the crowd as the Legate was welcomed to Thabeska.

A Venator flanked by Two Acclamators sliced in the sky high above as ARC-170’s trailed regal purple streaks as three clone Juggernauts rolled down the street, the bitumen whining in protest at their bulk as Clones marched in tight order, the cheers of the crowd coating them just as quickly as the dust that Thabeska was infamous for, turning the white armour a sooty brown.

Through the sea of heads Ahsoka tried to get a look at the Legate who stood atop the central Juggernaut beside Clone Officers as they proceeded to the Government House where the Fardi clan officially ruled from, a member of their clan having been elected to the Presidency every four years for the last 100 years.

It seemed surreal, the Clones welcomed like conquering heroes, but then what other choice was there, cheer and be positive or sulk and resign yourself – a system like Thabeska, a half legitimate group like the Fardi Clan would inevitably be subsumed by the Empire – they just chose to do it with a smile on their face.

As the procession reached a hastily erected platform the Legate flanked by the fake grin of President Fardi launched into a speech mirroring that repeated over and over again on the holo-net by Palpatine in the Senate regarding the importance of working together, the new order, the benevolence of the new way, the corruption of the old Republic and the importance of a strong military to protect the people from ‘hooligans, misogynists and rapists’. 

There was something very strange about the terminology the Legate used…but stranger still was her uncanny similarity to the Princess, the Legate had shorter darker hair, but could easily pass for a double. 

The speech was short and ended with an invitation to sign on as Imperial citizens and receive free healthcare and employment opportunities.  By then Ahsoka wasn’t looking at the Legate in her resplendent red armour anymore, but on little Hedala on the platform with her cousins and sisters in her pretty new dress who seemed enraptured by the Legates words. 

Ahsoka had come of age in the midst of a galaxy at war, threatened, and eventually betrayed by those she trusted most.  What galaxy would Hedala grow up in?
<<<<>>>>
The Fardi Compound was to play host to the discussions between the President and the Legate on ‘integration’ so ‘Ashela’ was to spend a few days in Thabeska city proper out of the way of the negotiations.

Ahsoka was glad for it, the last thing she needed was to be recognised by one of the Clones and shot at – although rumour was there was now an amnesty, and she wasn’t even a Jedi, she’d turned from that path.

As much as she liked the Fardi girls, some alone time would be useful.  She couldn’t stay here working as a mechanic forever, she needed to do something more – find a place where she could be herself…

A place where you can find yourself…

The thought came unbidden – so much of her identity had been wrapped up in being a Jedi, in fighting the war – now it was all over.  What was left to her?

With the Order disbanded perhaps she could try and find Anakin…be just friends instead of an apprentice – but was that just going backwards?  Which way was forwards?

She looked around the little motel room for any hint of a clue on what to do next. Her legs restless she decided to go for a walk.

For a smuggler clan the Fardi’s kept Thabeska city relatively lawful and neat – there were far worse places on Coruscant.  But as she wandered the streets there seemed to be far less of the lively banter and carousing than normal, Clone troopers keeping a careful eye on everything as she slid past, her face hooded.

It was ridiculous – what was she hiding from anymore?

Yourself?

She almost tripped over as the thought stabbed her with its truth. 

As she paused at an intersection there was a sudden clang, from one end a Weequay raced toward her pursued by two clone troopers he was tightly clinging to a duffel bag. 

“Stop right there!” the all too familiar voice of Rex, Cody and a dozen others called after him.

She felt an instinctual drive to help them, to stop him and find out what was happening – but she had no rank, no reason to…and in the end she didn’t need to.

As the Weequay fumbled over he paused in mid air

Paused.  Like the frame of a static holo pict.

In his frozen state the clones tackled him into the ferrocrete, one prying the bag from his hands as a second kicked him into submission, two more soon arrived.

“Move along,” the clones ordered the few pedestrian away as the shadows in the alley the weequay had come from darkened further, Ahsoka slipped back around a corner and peered out as a figure in deepest black joined the clones who dragged the Weequay up.

“As ordered Praetorian,” the clone Sergeant handed him the bag.

“40 million in authenticated untraceable block chain credits….” The genderless voice of what Ahsoka assumed was the black figure noted

“…now why did you wish to leave Thabeska the night the Legate arrived with 40 million credits?  Tell me.”

“unnh…” Ahsoka winced as she felt the force…ripple and tighten around the scene, it was less a mind trick or force suggestion than a mental grinding.

“…had to get out…escape Operation Clean up…Arok’s orders, sell up get out….”

“Arok…the Hutt?”

Again a grating like nails across transparisteel

“Yes….”

“He did business with the Fardi’s?”

“Yehhhsss….” The Weequay seemed to struggle for breath

“Not anymore he doesn’t….Tell Arok that the Fardi’s have accepted the Princesses generous offer of mercy and are ceasing their illegal activities, and the Princess thanks him for his donation of 40 million credits to the Princess Alina Hospital on Thabeska and recommends he divest his interest in all Imperial systems,”

It was not a request – it was a brutal order rammed into the creature’s mind that he couldn’t disobey if he wanted to.  Force suggestion was one thing – this was outright mind control.

Her sabres tucked away discreetly in her robes never felt heavier as she felt the weequays will compressed into a shape pleasing to the Praetorian – it was not the light touch of Obi-Wan or even slightly bolder press of Anakin – yet nor was it the dark compulsion of Dooku or Maul – it was somewhere – else – in the force, somewhere she instinctively felt no one should be touching let alone using.

She felt she should do something…say something…the weequay might be a Hutt’s patsy but that didn’t justify such a vicious mental assault.

A Jedi would stop this,

A Jedi would – she tugged her collar closer to obscure her face. But she wasn’t a Jedi anymore.

Was she?
<<<<>>>

Maul
He knew the sting of failure, the grinding pressure of pain. 

All had fallen apart, his brother slain by Sidious, his attempt to claim Mandalore frustrated by Kenobi…and now

Now it all fell apart again.

The first base of the criminal syndicate he had codenamed Crimson Dawn was burning around him.  There were no more alarms, even the emergency lighting was gone after an Electromagnetic pulse had smashed into the former recycling plant situated amidst the endless sea of junk and scrap that was the badlands of Ord Mantell.

His legs whined, the oil in the gears old and dry as he pumped signals from his mind into the false feeling limbs to push through the rocking structure as blue and yellow sparks surged from the uncovered cabling along the walls. 

The red glare of flames was the only light brightened orange by the occasional explosion.

Crimson Dawn indeed.

He had come to Ord Mantell to rebuild after his failure on Mandalore, the loss of his brother – to take another step toward his vengeance on Kenobi and Sidious.  It was poetic in a way, to find oneself in the junkyard and rebuild – just as he had on those frenetic confused days on Lotho Minor after falling to Kenobi the first time. 

He had grown from it, remade himself, driven by his hate – but there would be no second Crimson Dawn on Ord Mantell. 

Pushing through the various cantina scum he made toward the hangar.  He had found Ord Mantell full of eager recruits at first, ‘refugees’ from Corellia, Taris, Denon and Coruscant pushed out by the so called ‘Princess’ Mira’s operation Clean Up – Maul knew the truth, this was Sidious excuse for putting clones on the streets to tighten his fist.

He stomped on the singed form of a Falleen covered in Black Sun tattoos, shoulders over a Pyke syndicate guard – their former bosses were all dead, their territories lost to the clones and their Praetorian overlords.

Now they had come to Ord Mantell – and they were getting both better at wiping out criminal gangs and less patient about it.  Maul had no warning before the LAATs descended from the sky and unleashed on the vast recycling facility situated like a metal island in a sea of refuse.  He’d only been here a few months, and had never intended to stay so had no real defences – his error was to think it would be many more months before the Empire arrived.

Twisting on the turntable of his artificial hips he sped down the rusted out hazard stripe painted corridors.  This had been another failure.

But where did he do from here? He had no idea where Kenobi was, the Emperor - as Sidious now styled himself - was encased behind a wall of Praetorians – how was he to gain his vengeance now?

The question would have to wait, half sliding on the blood slick floor as the roof crashed in behind him he threw himself into the hangar as a red bloom seared his back.

Pushing up on his elbows he raised his head in time to see his appropriated Soro-suub flyer take a green LAAT beam to the cockpit and shred through as the Clone transport smacked into the deck at the far end of the bay.

Rolling up he summoned his sabre to his hand in time to deflect the torrent of blue fire the clones 40 metres away unleashed. 

Cartwheeling his Crimson blades sparked a brief purple as the blue bolts hit – as they had destroyed his ship Maul had no other recourse but to take theirs – the LAAT had the heavier plated sides indicating void capability, if he could slip out in the confusion of battle he might make it to one of the less defended support vessels, find a hyper drive capable ship and break away.

The only other option was leaping into the ocean of junk the plant slowly melted into its constituent parts as half-hearted recycling effort and get to Ord Mantell city on foot – not a real option given it was a quarter of the world away.  Maul could survive much but crossing quarter of the globes junkyard with no supplies was beyond even him.

Spiralling death descended on the frontline clones, their armour was chipped and scored from dozen of battles already, the burning divots his sabrestaff left went almost unnoticed amidst their already worn state.

The smarter ones fell back to the ship, one spun his hand to order them to lift off – they were in no hurry they had air superiority already and could land with re-enforcements. 

Clenched teeth pushed more orders to his faux limbs as he pushed against his back with the force to add speed.  The hatch on the LAAT Began to close the Clones peeking round to fire at his charge as one of the laser beam turrets swiftly turned to unleash a green lance of death.

Maul flipped over the blade of destruction as a cargo lift burst apart behind him – in the air he added another force boost to land on the rounded turret, driving one end of his blade down into the clone gunner.

He overheard the familiar helmet distorted voice of the clones within.
“…Class 4 threat, repeat Class 4!”

As the LAAT lifted off he cracked his false feet’s claw like toes into the trasnparisteel to steady as he gripped at the door with the force tugging with his rage at his own failure to rend the durasteel open.

His hands clenched his sabre eager to continue their bloody work upon the clones.  They wouldn’t get the chance. 

Milliseconds to spare Maul back flipped off the turret back onto the acid pitted ferrocrete of the hangar.  The rounded turret sliced in two beneath the force of a huge black blade.

A Praetorian.

Maul had never seen one in person before now.  Its exact size was distorted by the light mangling properties of its armour, but nothing could hide the ferocity that oozed off it in the force – Maul was almost impressed – almost.

The best defence was a solid attack – Maul surged forth his blades spinning fast enough to make a solid white tipped with red wall as they crashed onto the dark blade that was rapidly in a defensive guard. 

Maul drove hard against the silken shadow, he had heard the rumours, the legends – but Maul knew what is was to be a legendary Menace – and these ones did not scare him.

The black blade worked rapidly to counter Mauls ferocity, only belatedly did the warrior begin to strike back. 

“We need not fight Maul!” the distorted voice called out as Maul drove his Juyo to the edge, allowing the rhythm of his anger to flow into the stream of blows

“Join us, the Princess would welcome you warmly, you can have anything you desire!”

Mauls smile was lost behind the glow of the red blade that never let up against the stern defence – he could not be tempted by Sidious little pawn

“I know no master but MYSELF!” he seethed back redoubling his offensive – all the hate and spite he held for Sidious poured into his movements and created an impenetrable wall of focus that diverted the Praetorians attempts to pierce his mind.

Hate was all Maul knew, there was no other purpose, vengeance was his calling that could not be manipulated or twisted

Finally seeing Maul would never be a slave again the warrior began to strike back.  He was undoubtedly fast, and incredibly strong, but Maul could delve on pools of hatred deeper than the black holes of the Maw to power his body and repel the telekinetic assaults he was assailed with.

Thin bladed daggers sliced off the warriors belt and sped rapidly to try and slice into Mauls flesh – he swiftly moved to Jar’Kai parting his staff into two blades to knock the daggers off course while maintaining a steady defence against the black blade.

Time…Maul realised – his enemy was playing for time, trying to wear him down to be able to capture rather than kill him…

He would not be taken. 

Drawing on the rich black hatred for Sidious he unleashed his rage against Sidious pawn before him.

The Praetorian was taken aback by the sudden burst of ferocity – He was no stranger to animalistic brutality but had never seen it in an Outsider to this degree before - to harness such ferocity in the Princesses service would be a tremendous boon.

Relentless and unquenchable drive of vengeance powered blows that struck fast even for advanced visual sensory abilities of a Praetorian, forcing him on the defensive.  It seemed this was one opponent who could not be worn down – the hatred was like a shield about the Dathomiri protecting it from any more subtle assault.

Maul’s teeth ground as he pushed the warrior backward edging his way through a sequence of aggressive blows that struck and increasingly trite defence. 

“We can restore your body!” the warrior called over the crackling hum and snap of the furious conflagration – Maul had anticipated such a false offer.

“You can be so much more than this…”

“There is nothing more than my HATE to become!” he screamed back twisting through out of the warriors riposte into a double sweep that slashed straight into its side – the dark armour plating impenetrable but taking heated divots out of the gap for the elbow, having to reposition maul locked one leg into the floor and used mechanical strength to hammer the warrior back with the other force enhanced mechanical foot

His opponent stumbling back Maul advanced, blades raining down to the exposed thinner lining on the neck.

His red blade exploded in a flash then into nothingness as something thin and fast cut off his stroke millimetres before it hit.

Spinning round two more Praetorians were jogging toward him, one notching what must be a second arrow.

There was no choice now – his Hate was powerful – but not three Praetorians working in concert powerful. 

Buffeting back the Force grips as he sped forward he lept out of the hangar and into the sea of sun heated junk far below.

<<<>>>

Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2018, 08:23:47 PM »

Yesterday’s Heroes - Part 2

The Lost Warrior
He was dead
such arrogance are you a Goddess to say if you’re dead or alive?
He was certain he was dead
Who is a mere mortal like you to pretend to know any such thing with certainty
He remembered falling out of the window, the cold burn as his arm was severed.
me me me all about me
He even remembered crashing, the pain and shock of betrayal denying him any chance to stop the descent, the cracking wet sounds as she smashed into the roof, how it folded around him like soft steel blankets and rich red overtook his vision.
Was that really you though?
After so many…years…falling from what he had been he had finally hit the bottom.
Are you so foolish not see all this time you were rising
The darkness was rising in him, with every battle, every time he stepped deeper into the Vapaad to survive to prevail over others, to end other lives, he had always stayed on a narrow path, by the end it was molecule thin
Your path, so conceited to think you could control everything, to think you could fight for so long and not be changed by it
It was true he had been proud, myopic even the pall of the dark side clouded his judgement less than his own focus on the war, in the end the enemy was right there in his face the whole time.
And he died belatedly facing it.
But you’re not dead are you, you don’t get to decide who lives and who dies such is in the hands of the Three
Three…Three what?
They brought you here, they saw you were hurting, in pain and rescued you…from the monster that used to bear your flesh

Monster…he was a Knight, a Master…yet the things he did in the war…he became the Vapaad the beast he feared in his pride – sought to preserve the peace at all costs even at the price of his own soul

You have no soul, no essence beyond the short time the Three give you, and now they’ve given you life if you’ll but take it

He didn’t deserve life…he had died misread the shatter-point that cracked across the great men and events of his age – his time was over…

Great men! Men! There was your problem you relied on a toxic masculinity that inevitably resulted in conflict to achieve peace…fat ugly brutes banging each other to be the alpha….but forgiveness is there…clarity…purpose…life no one can earn only accept as the gift it is…

Maybe the other voice was right…he was not dead…he couldn’t be thinking if he was…

You’re not dead…HE is…not you…not yet…

The voice was everywhere in his sightless soundless existence that still somehow felt…wet?…what else was there for him to do but listen to it…he couldn’t trust the dead thoughts of him…he had done that before and only found himself walking a tightrope he inevitably fell from….
Just reach out a little…just a little…take hold of the life the Three offer
He had no body to reach…his hand had been cut off by the other him…he pushed his bodiless eyes forward into the slick wet redness before him.
<<<<>>>>
With plastic slaps she pulled off the suit coated in the dregs of blood and vitae from the Renewal Chamber.

Behind her through the transparisteel a dark skinned muscular and bald (they hadn’t been able to repair that….not that it mattered….) male sat fondling a Totem transfixed by the soundless voice that emanated from it as the Lord Seneschal had before him. 

This one was critically damaged when they found him and had taken months to repair fully…falling several hundred stories would do that to a mere human…

“Do you think the Lord Seneschal will be jealous? Another clash of Alpha’s?” her assistant inquired

“Maybe a little…but only in a way that benefits us…pushing him to prove himself the most loyal and themost capable, but not competitively, he knows they all serve the Goddess and her benevolence is infinite to be bestowed between them…”

Taking her hair out of the net she revelled in the feeling of her silken locks, lighter than average caressing her shoulders,

“Anyway…he’s still only First Seneschal, not Lord Seneschal…and he’ll have his own tasks to complete…how is the Second progressing…”
<<<<>>>>

Sia
“Try Your Luck!” The shyster called loudly over the crowded paths of Socorro’s mid-level street markets, the scent of heavy spices used to cover the stench of less than fresh meat filling her nose.

“Five Credit, Three cups one marble! Black as a Praetorians Armour, guess which one it’s under for a Hundred Credits, easiest money you’ve ever made.

Gently pushing her way through Sia-Lan Wezz put ten credits down in front of the Nitko.

“I’m game,”

“Ah Pretty Lady, Lucky Lady?…we’ll see!” he was putting it on real thick she thought.

Placing the black marble under the middle cup he rapidly rotated them around.  With the force she could easily sense the object through the motions as he came to a stop.

“Well Pretty Lady where is the black marble?”

“I don’t know where the black one is…but there is a white one under the left cup,”

With a smile he lifted it up and handed her the ‘winnings’

“Lucky Lady…”

She glanced briefly at the address, picked up the white marble then dissolved back into the crowd.

It was an old Trick Master Giiett had tricked hundreds of Padawans with – the force can tell you the marble was there but not the colour – it reminded them the limits of the Force – that many things couldn’t be divined…

Things like Order 66
Things like the Praetorians.
<<<<>>>>
It was a fairly average looking bar, one of a million across the outer rim near Hutt Space.  The quick talking fast pouring Besalisk nodded as she took a stool at the bar,
“What’ll you have?”
She slid the marble under her hand across the grimy wooden counter
“White Marble no ice.”
He nodded and quickly poured the frothy white drink that was more froth than liquid, his top right arm thumbed the curtained door to the back rooms
“Tasting clubs in there,”
<<<<>>>>
From the back room she was ushered down a stair case by a Chandra-fan, briefly checked by a woman she knew from long ago then allowed in past the Durasteel door.
“…we don’t know enough even if we had the numbers…”
The already quiet words halted as she entered.
She knew the faces arrayed around the tables – the Nikto from earlier was there, , Ma'kis'shaalas, along with the Whiphid K’Kruhk, Aleena Tsui Choi, A’Sharah Hett, Kento Marek, Dass Jennir, Master Tholme, Bultar Swan, and half a dozen other Masters and Knights Sia didn’t know personally – the only one standing Quinlan Vos.

“Pretty Lady…glad you made it…” Ma'kis smiled, trying to bring levity to the room.

“Wezz we were just starting…You’re the last one…” Vos words weren’t a sanction to her being late, rather a disappointment that no one else could – or rather wanted – to come. 

She’d been contacted on Kuat about the gathering, had taken nearly a week to get here through various agents, Tholme and Vos were well known for their intelligence work and were making full use of it.

She took a seat around the half drained glasses of White Marbles on the utilitarian table.

“We know what they are doing…but we just don’t know how…” Kento Marek continued, Sia was surprised to see him here, given he had a family to look after now if the rumours were true.

“We tried getting a sample, broke through the marble but the stuff underneath that…the plasma cutter couldn’t get through it, even to break off a sample – we had to pull back the voices were relentless…” he sighed dejectedly obviously referring to the subconscious suggestion statues littered in public places encouraging peoples to Obey the Princess and Trust the Praetorians

“Null and suppressant devices work, but wandering around wearing them…attracts unwanted attention…”

“Praetorians?” Tholme probed

“No…new ones…Seneschals they call them, Grey or White armour usually with two or three squads of Imperial Regulars…” Marek paused seemingly unwilling to add more details,

“The one I saw…looked at lot like Shadday Potkin…”

“Defectors?” Swan queried

“Defecting from what…there is no Order…no Republic…” Hett noted grimly.

It struck a hard cord around the room,

“It’s over…” he shook his head “the war, the Order…all over…we fought, we lost…” he stood up

“I’m going back to Tatooine…”

“That’s it you’re just abandoning the Republic!” Jennir protested

“What Republic, it’s the Benevolent Empire now, seen the posters, that cutesy little teenage news read Candi extolling the benefits of the Clean Up, Palpatines speeches to the Senate…”

“We can’t stand by and do nothing while they manipulate the galaxy,” Das Jennir was known for his fierce loyalty to the principles of the Order and Republic, it seemed the Empire had hardened them further into Zealotry.

“And you’re not trying to manipulate back the other way!” his tattooed face softened for a moment

“I’m done with trying to save the galaxy from itself, I’m going home,”

Jennir was about to get up but Vos waved him down allowing Hett to leave.

“Another one to the Amnesty…” Bultar Swan noted quietly

“Have many people taken it up?” Sia chimed in regarding the offer of a life time pension for all Jedi who agreed to disown the Republic, hang up their sabre and Swear new Oaths the Empire.

“At least a dozen we know about,” Vos replied a flicker of anger and tang of betrayal in his voice,

“200,000 credits a year seems too tempting for some to reject….” Ma’Kis added

“Fortunately we know of even more that remain loyal,” Vos turned to a more positive matter,

“Shaaki Ti is on Alderaan with at least a dozen others, we’re following a leads on An’ya Kuro – the Dark Woman – and the Crestenfall brothers in the mid rim, Jax Pavan is on Coruscant feeding us some information from the Blackpit slums, Rahm Kota made contact last week and there are rumours of a small group on Mandalore…overall we can call on about sixty Knights,”

Sixty…from an order of thousands…Those not killed in the war and Order 66 must number at least a few hundred…but like Hett, it seemed few had any appetite for another war.

“We also have some friends in the Bothan Spy net feeding us intel for the moment.” Vos went on

“For the moment?” Sia inquired

“Since Bothawui joined the Empire proper the Spy Net is tearing itself apart, some kind of civil war inside it between the those who are happy to work for the Empire and those loyal to the bothan concept of Ar’kai,” Tholme explained, no doubt the brooding stealth master was the main contact to the Spynet,

Vos nodded then returned to the fore,
“Form what we understand they are retooling the fleet, improving it and expanding clone production on new worlds – if we are going to act we must act quickly.”
“Act?” this time Swan seemed concerned

“The Senate is still functioning, Palpatine and his Praetorians grip is strong, but still tentative in many systems…”

“Until a Legate shows up to enforce compliance…” Tholme whispered

“If we can take the head of the Hssiss, Palpatine, Mira and her Aediles the Senate can take charge once more, restore the Republic – but only if we move in the next few months – we’ve all seen the holo-news every day Mira gets more popular by promising the Universe and the Praetorians become more trusted by the common people by ‘Cleaning Up’ planets.”

Typical Sia thought, such a Male solution to a problem, go in and kill things

“Violence begets violence…” the venerable Tsui Choi now spoke up in his warbled Aleenan voice,

“This could start another civil war….we must consider carefully the implications of our actions on an already war weary populace”

“The way I see it, the civil war isn’t over,” Jennir responded “the clone wars are still going, it’s just entered a new phase, the Republic is not dead so long as the Jedi are there to bear it up”

“I don’t know,” Sia voiced “The Senates inability to manage conflict and get anything done was what turned so many systems Separatist…do we really want to go back to how it was before the war?”

“You think we should just let Palptine get away with usurping the Republic?” Marek protested

Bultar Swan shifted uncomfortably, Sia locked eyes with the only other woman in the room a knowing glance passing between them – so often whenever a woman suggested something some man who argue it down, yet if another man had suggested the same thing they would listen.

“I’m saying maybe not all change is bad, and if we are going to act in anyway, like Master Choi suggested we need to make sure we do so in a way that gets us to a better place than where we started or all we have done is traded one bad government for another and the war will have been for nothing,”

“Sia is right…” Vos, here comes the qualifier Sia thought…the male need to one up a woman’s opinion in the guise of agreement.

“…but with the Legates taking more systems every day, and those mind control statues working on millions we don’t have time to design a new constitution for the Republic, we can try and guide the Senate once it is free from Palptines grasp – for now we need to focus on winning the war, the peace we can win later,”

So typical, the male assumed conflict would bring resolution, sought a ‘climax’ in battle to resolve the tensions.

“Our Oaths were to the Republic,” Vos straightened statesman like “You may consider the Republic dissolved and your Oaths with them, if so you may leave now, I won’t judge you I can even empathize. But if you stay, it’s because you want to be true to those Oaths and do everything in your power to restore the Republic we swore to uphold.” 

He raised his sabre and placed in on the table, followed by Tholme and Ma’Kis, and offer to join him.

A few Knights slowly rose and left without a word, K’Kruhk stood and with Jennir placed their sabres on the table, followed by half a dozen others.

Swan and Choi whispered to each other uncertainly, Sia already knew what she had to do.  Another glance to Bultar Swan and Sia stood and placed her sabre on the table,

“Good to have you with us Guardian Wezz,” Vos smiled followed by Choi and Swan’s sabre right next to Sia’s.

“Master Choi,” Vos nodded, “your wisdom will be invaluable, as a start to our new Order in Exile we would be honoured if you would take a position on a new small council along with Master Tholme and Tra’Saa,”

Typical Males, Sia mused as she smiled to Swan, feeling the warmth of the three pointed star amulet of an Initiate to the she had much to discuss with her sister Jedi. 

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2018, 08:26:19 PM »

Yesterday’s Heroes- Part 3

Thrawn

Fingers pressed, eyes closed he carefully took each booming rounded note of the music that played in his quarters.  Before him a selection of pieces made from the fired muds of the Beautiful Jewel as the Hutts termed their world. 

Hutt Opera might not be aesthetically pleasing to his ears, but it was essentially to understanding his likely future enemy.  Of course there had been no directive as yet, but Thrawn knew it was only a matter of time, he had studied his Allies art as best he could, and one thing he learnt quickly was that they do not forget – and they do not forgive.

As the final piece played he opened his eyes to survey the pieces in the collection, Hutt art was difficult to come by, but as Grand Admiral despite his relative youth he was able to appropriate anything he wished from various museums and galleries.

“Do you truly believe you can divine an enemies strategy from their art?”

He stiffened at the shock of being distributed, but they were not known for respecting personal space – much less so with one who owed them as much as Thrawn did.

“I believe I can obtain valuable insights, and have evidence of its efficacy,”

The Warmaster – one of three who each oversaw a third of the Imperial fleet stepped lightly over to the desk and gazed down on the Hutt art works, some primitive,, some classical,  some post-abstract.

“Abhorrent…” she sniffed

“Tell me Admiral what have you discerned from Our art?”

A loaded question, but with a nod he complied
“That you combine seamlessly martial prowess, cunning and compassion, three pillars of your nature, reflected in how you approach ruling your new Empire…holding out offers of compassion but maintaining vast capacity and willingness to employ violence in a wise combination.”

“And our weaknesses?”

Thrawn had no fear of speaking directly, they were wise enough to appreciate direct criticism,

“Your art is overwhelmingly religious in scope and tone, a reflection of what you consider to be perfection – what you drive toward and what you see as the best path for not only yourself but the universe…that myopia of vision will be your downfall.”

She turned to briefly gaze at him, how little outsiders understood...

“It would be…were we not wise enough to have advisors such as yourself to keep us going too far.”

<<<<>>>>

Tarkin

“You disapprove Grand Admiral,” the Princess noted beside him despite him saying nothing – he was under no illusion now, like the Jedi Mira and the Praetorians wielded the force – albeit in a far more comprehensive and effective manner that Tarkin was almost jealous of - the so called ‘Jedi Generals’ paled in comparison to a Praetorian – with the exception of Jedi like Windu, Yoda, Skywalker and Kenobi, they were a cut above, physically and mentally.

“Size does not equate to ability, even accounting for the intimidation factor,” he noted gazing up at the exactly 203 cm tall naked woman before him – although to call the tan skinned dark haired muscular creature a woman was a misclassification –it was an XXY Chromosome Clone – modified from the original Jango Fett Template with ‘additional genetic material’ – it expressed ‘female’ physical traits but retained ‘masculine’ hormonal systems and musculature- indeed the Second Generation Clone was more hermaphrodite than anything else.

“Size it not all they possess…” Mira added as she began to pace past the row of ten naked Clones, holographic bio-data flickering on as they passed each in turn- the key bio readouts all in 0.5% variation range – 138323 grams, 138421 grams…

“Twice the physical strength and reflex speed of a regular clone, and indeed most sentient humanoid species,” 

She paused at one and flicked its muscled – Chest or Breast – it didn’t matter Tarkin supposed, it was merely a part of the living weapon.

For Mira’s People the upgrades were child’s play to design from the base template, their goal to create Clones superior to 75% of the Empires humanoid species – but even that was still well below what the People had made themselves in the centuries since the Devastation. As much as she intended to ‘improve’ the Empires Forces, they would never allow them to rival the People.

“Impressive statistics your Highness,”

“Yet you still don’t like them,”

“I believe these are an excellent step towards a vast military dedicated to upholding the laws necessary to ensure galactic harmony,”

“Ha,” she laughed “Your Doctrine, what a way to deflect my point Tarkin, are you still sore the Emperor did not approve your Doctrine of Terror…”

“The Emperor has his reasons, I am satisfied my boarder Doctrine has been authorised,”

“Yes the Emperor was most pleased with that essay,”

Tarkin smiled at their game, they both knew the other knew it was not the Emperor making such decisions.  He had been somewhat disappointed Mira did not endorse the entirety of his proposal for the consolidation of galactic rule, but she had adopted the majority – enough to have the Emperor read it in full in the Senate on the day the new Constitution was ratified.

He still recalled the words of his hands in Palpatines voice
“For the first time in one thousand generations the Government will not be working solely to enrich Coruscant and the Core Worlds, but to advance the quality of life in every star system, keeping the spaceways safe, maintaining open and accessible communications, assuring that tax revenues are properly levied and allocated to improving the infrastructure and quality of life for all our citizens

This bold vision of the future requires not only the service of those of immaculate reputation and consummate skill in the just exercise of power, but also the service of a vast military dedicated to upholding the laws necessary to ensure galactic harmony.

It may appear to some that the enactment of universal laws and the widespread deployment of a strong military are steps toward galactic domination, but these actions are taken merely to protect us from those who would invade, enslave, exploit, or foment political dissent, and to accordingly remove any who engage in such acts.

The Imperial Army are the gatekeepers, to protect and develop Our common vision of a Benevolent and prosperous galaxy.”


Mira had of course edited the speech Tarkin had devised, ‘softening’ it, but the essence was there.

“It is because you disapprove Wilhuff that I am tasking you with overseeing the field trials of the Second Generation Clones,” Mira brought him back to the present.

“I want a critical eye, and there is none more discerning than yours amongst the Admiralty,” She stepped to the last clone in line, silent like all the others dark eyes fixed and open straight ahead

“You will take 500 units, 100 of each of the 5 variants we have developed and report on which perform the best,”

“Against whom will these Clones be tested?”

She turned back the way they had come,

“That…will depend on how events unfold,”
<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2018, 08:29:52 PM »

Yesterday’s Heroes - Part 4

Padme
“Bwa…Bwa…BWAAAAAH,”

Anakin sat bolt upright

“Again!” he cried frustrated as Padme skidded round to attend to Leia before she woke Luke up.

“It’s alright I’ll go,” she said – she always went,

“All they do is cry, why don’t you get a nanny droid, or have Threepio do it,”

For someone so excited about having children, the reality seemed to disappoint her husband.  Padme didn’t want to admit it but she was increasingly scared that Anakin had become so used to war he couldn’t handle peace.

She gently lifted Leia out, the first tufts of brown hair on her otherwise smooth head, Padme rocked her gently and she settled quickly as Anakins annoyance dripped from his expression.

She had forgiven him for what happened on Mustafar – the Jedi’s ‘coup’ had thrown Anakin into confusion and anger, everything he had believed was turned on its head – even so the fact he had used the force to hurt her when she was pregnant left a fear in her heart that could never be removed.  

Even as she rocked her, Leia began to cry once more,

“I’m going out!” Anakin shouted waking Luke as well, the door hissed closed before she could protest leaving her alone in the dark, yet strangely relived Anakin and his anger were gone.
<<<<>>>>
“Threepio can you get that?”

“At once Senator Amidala!” the golden droid bustled toward the beeping door

Senator…she didn’t look much like a Senator hair frazzled eyes dark with lack of sleep. Padme had sternly resisted getting a nanny droid, believing she and Anakin would look after the twins themselves – that dream seemed long since woken from now.

“How may I…Oh…Oh…I say Your Highness what an honour it is to…”

Padme turned in time to see the hulking form of a Praetorian slide into the room without a sound, followed by another then,

“Princess what a surprise!” Padme looked about at the change table still a little grotty from Luke spraying up a storm,

“Sorry about the…”

“Ha not a problem at all Senator Amidala, may I call you Padme?”

“Of course Highness,” Mira had saved her life after all – After Anakin knocked Padme unconscious she had woken in extreme pain beneath surgical lights – she was straight into labour, stresses and emotions overwhelmed her, she felt like she was dying, and would kill her babies too, the fear became aa vicious cycle that pushed her further to the abyss…then a red light from above – a hand in hers – Mira and another woman Padme never knew the name of helped her in her near delirium to deliver the twins alive and healthy.

“Excellent, well I thought I’d pop in to see how you were getting along…if there is anything you need, how are you coping?”

“I’m…” Padme felt she couldn’t pretend with Mira despite having met her all of three times,

“Doing alright,”

“It can be hard, is General Skywalker helping?”

“Anakin is…” Padme didn’t want to say any more

“I understand it’s hard for new parents, and with twins I can’t imagine the stress…” Mira soothed

“It’s no failing to ask for help Padme…and not just with the twins,”

Padme stopped her rocking of Luke as Mira’s words struck

“He’s not coping well is he?” Mira continued “Still in ‘war’ mode…Uncle Sheev thought this might happen, please sit,” Mira gestured to the couch as he Praetorians remained fixed in place as if they had been part of the room for years.

“That’s…exactly what I’m afraid of…Annie has had…” Padme didn’t want to speak about the Tusken incident directly

“Issues before…I’m afraid the war, losing Ashoka, the Jedi Coup has made it worse…and  nowlosing Obi-wan,”

“Yes...it was unfortunate who’d have thought he was so enmeshed in the conspiracy,” Mira placated

Padme strongly doubted there was ever a Jedi conspiracy to overthrow the Republic –but with the Twins she didn’t have time to investigate, let alone the energy to do anything about it.

“But still it worries me to see you like this Padme, I must say I was a fan of your speeches in the senate, and your actions in the War, Rodia, Mandalore, and the hostage crisis, you always showed such strength and creativity, the Empire needs women like you,” Mira gestured toward Luke

“And your children need to see strong women like you…”

Just then Leia started to cry,

“Oh, do you mind if I…” Mira queried

“Go ahead,” Padme allowed, Mira stepped over and swept the baby up, Leia immediately quietened and seemed to almost giggle, spraying spittle on Mira’s hair.

“Such a strong little woman! Oh what a future you shall have, perhaps a Queen and Senator like your Mother!”

“Huh…not much of Queen at the moment,” Padme said sullenly able to smell the fact she hadn’t showered in two days

“That’s where you’re wrong Padme,” Mira added her finger gripped by Leia’s hand

“A Queen looks after the most needy of her people, no one is more in need of your care than these two,”

She went back to sit beside her

“But you need to look after yourself first…I know you want to look after the children yourself, but you need a break occasionally…I could easily arrange for your parents to come from Naboo…or for you to go there, you have plenty of maternity leave,”

“Yes I saw you got the Parental Leave approved, two years paid leave for all new parents…” Padme recalled for a late night watching the holonews- the anchor Candi’s voice seemed to settle Luke.

“Yes…Bail was instrumental in seeing it passed, he’s a good man, I hope to work with him more closely,” Mira added, Padme could only agree, it was good to see Bail was heavily involved in the new administration.

“Speaking of work…if you ever want a break from diapers, I have a small task you might enjoy…”

Padme perked up…maybe Mira was right, maybe she needed a break, even just for a day,

“What is it,”

“A bit of diplomatic research – have you heard of Bakura?”
<<<<>>>>

Anakin
Scorched flesh burnt in his nose as the room flickered red and white.  

The pain was like a sheet of flame down his right arm, the real fingers on his left hand tingling – yet it wasn’t a pain you turned from – it was building to a climax as muscle and bone rebuilt.

His mouth twisting in a grunt he finally blew out and stopped the flow as relief washed over him in the now lightless room.

“R2 light…” he ordered

The white of the lab in the bowels of the newly name Princess Alina Medical Centre hurt his eyes after so much darkness as Vader tugged the now empty drips of red fluid that had appear like molten blood-gold from his upper right arm.  

The lower arms was sensitive to each gust of his breath, pink with white splotches…but real flesh for all that. Vader was whole again.

But was he even Vader anymore, had he ever been?  In the Holonews he was feted as General Skywalker, Hero of the Empire, defeating the treasons Jedi Yoda, Windu and Obi-Wan, preventing the coup that would’ve seen a Jedi Theocracy instead of a Benevolent Empire.

Even his Master seemed slightly indifferent about the title of Vader.

“Well done apprentice…” speak of the Sith…

Palpatine swept in the lab without any of his attendants this time.

“You learn quickly…” his aged grandfatherly eyes swept over the restored limb

“Perhaps a little rushed, but for the first attempt this is quite well done,”

Vader (?) lowered his head in deference

“Thank you Master…” The power of shatterpoint healing was, once understood simple, but to achieve any significant results, it required tremendous raw power – healing a minor cut or graze was one thing – restoring a limb…he was drenched with sweat beneath the surgical gown.  

“Perhaps it would be useful for you to practice...yes…yes…you will go to the Rejuvenant in Orbit and minister to the wounded clones aboard the Medical Frigate…I will send a team from the Communications Department with you, this will increase your profile further.”

“As you wish Master…” inwardly Anakin – Vader – General Skywalker? Rankled at the publicity stunt, Sidious seemed more interested in using Vader as a Spokesman, a war hero and now healer to be lauded instead of a Sith Lord.

“Something Troubles you Anakin…” his serene face turned serious

“You know you can always speak to me about anything…”

Vader paused uncertainly, there were many things he wished to speak about, the Jedi, Padme, Mira, the Praetorians…he picked the least controversial.

“It just seems…pointless, when there still might be Jedi out there plotting to attack us…we should be looking for them.”

In what was once the true Palpatines secret study Mira sighed as she held the Control Orb for the Clone…the warrior Skywalker wanted a war to fight – if she didn’t give him one he would make one.  

“The Jedi will soon vanish from history, by attacking them we would only provoke them into action…once they see the benefits the Empire brings to all law abiding citizens they majority will see what dogmatic anachronisms they are and settle into new lives…those few that persist in acting above the law will be dealt with by the Seneschals and Praetorians…”

“Master I should be leading the pursuit not the Praetorians! No one knows the Jedi better than I do”

And no one is less emotionally stable in their presence Mira mused.

“Yes…I can feel your rage…” Palpatine hissed
“It fogs your thoughts, weakens you – its source… you feel overlooked,” his tone was warm and soothing yet felt sickly in Anakin’s ears
“Suborned by the new forces…pushed aside by the Princess…and…”

Anakin felt the brush of Sidious power on his mind as the old man closed his eyes – it was different to how it had first felt, but then the first time after the attack of Windu Sidious was likely in pain from the now repaired lighting scars.

“Yes…ignored by Padme…you feel she is spending all her time with the twins…that she doesn’t love you as much as she loves them….don’t you…” Palpatines voice was soft as it was sinister.

“I…you’re correct Master…” he had been so afraid they would die like in his vision…but it had been…different….

After leaving Obi-Wan to the Praetorians he had watched the magma flows of Mustafar, the flams like his anger channelling through him till he was distributed.
“Lord Vader, your wife…” The woman behind him was exceptionally beautiful, golden red hair, alabaster skin and rich pink lips.

“Who are you?”

“Mira Palpatine…Niece to your master Sidious,”

“What…he never…”

“Lord Vader there was much he had to keep hidden from the Jedi, he long suspected their violent ambitions. I assembled a special force – the Praetorian Guard to act as soon as they made their move – as you know that time has now come…as has your child’s…”

Her words were…true…yet…somehow muddled in the order.
“I…yes…”

Following her to the ship he had watched on as his children were born, Padme crying, an ever dissolving life presence in the Force!

“No You have to save her!”  his rage built as the ship buckled and shook with his emotions,

“It’s alright Lord…watch…” Mira placed her hand over Padme’s sweat covered brow –a flow of what appeared to be red lighting filling his wife with life energy as the first of the twins cried.

…And so Padme was saved, Sidious promise was kept, albeit through the hands of his niece Mira.  

“…Thing have not been as I hoped” Anakin returned to the present.  He thought their life would be…better than this, exciting, adventurous, free of the Jedi constraints he could be with Padme all he wanted…instead she was forever running off to the twins too tired to pay him any attention – didn’t she know what he had done to save her!

What and WHO he had to sacrifice!

“Trust me Anakin, I have a far more important task for you than chasing the rotten husks of Jedi that dare to challenge our new Empire…but first you need to master the lessons I have given you…”

“Perhaps if I knew what the task was…I might be able to better prepare for it…” Anakin half snapped at Sidious who responded by placing a gentle aged hand on his back guiding him out of the room.

“Of course Apprentice…tell me have you heard of the Ssi Ruuk?”

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2019, 10:12:40 PM »

Dance of Diplomacy
Part 1
“A Mon Calamari and Nautolan enter a Restaurant, the Chef Says ‘Sushi Up!’”
The jester squeaked as he danced atop a colourful ball trying to keep his long sleeves from tripping him over.

Across the floor his audience of one offered a mocking smile.

“I’ve heard that before, it wasn’t funny then,” her left hand balled into a fist
“And it isn’t funny now,”

“What did the rancor say to the…”

“I’ve heard that one too, you’re being boring stop being boring or I’ll shoot you out the airlock!”

With a triple flip he landed in front of her throne, placing his hands in between his legs he widened his eyes as much as possible

“Princess not hurt her favourite Jester?”

She leaned forward

“Princess won’t hurt her favourite jester but you won’t be my favourite anymore if you don’t make me laugh,”

She pulled back with a sigh
“It’s so boring, its takes so loooong to get anywhere,” she shifted in her seat
“My panties are bunching up,”

“This one like you will!” the jester beamed
“The Princess Mira favourite glove what is?”
“What…” she purred
“The Emperor!”
Despite herself she felt a thin smile curve her face.

“I suppose that will do….for now…”

“How long till we get there Uncle?” He wasn’t really her uncle, actually a second cousin but given he was much older than her it was agreed as a more convenient and fitting title.

<1432 seconds Sweetling….> he thought across.

“hunnnh…” she sighed out she had best wash and get dressed in that case she had to make a good first impression after all.

<<<<>>>>
The Fountain Palace was resplendent for the occasion, the fortress palace built atop a rocky half mountain that spilled sapphire blue fountains into a lake moat around it had been thoroughly polished by hand – Chume Ni’Korish taking special delight in ordering a number of Marquesses and Duchesses to polish the floors of the Grand Throne Room as a sign of fidelity and feel most honoured about doing so.

The numerous turrets and towers fluttered with heraldic banners of her own House as well as those of the Consortium itself, the Queens Guard wore their parade best, gold and silver with blue edging and rich capes.  The Chume’da Ta’a Chume in a silk brocade dress stood just behind the Chamberlin who herself was in her finest white with a golden sash.  Naturally Ni’Korish would not attend the royal Hangar herself, she would await the so called Princess to attend her in the Grand Throne Room.

She watched a projection of the arrival from her Emerald Throne surrounded by the favoured and the fabulously wealthy, amidst the crowd her Nephew Lsander casting envious eyes upon the assembly of Battle Dragons that lined the route for the Princesses ship.

Flanked by six Venator Destroyers and innumerable support ships, the Princess had been escorted by the Hapan fleet through the Transitory Mists for the last day and half.  It was a strong showing for the new Empire, not quite a full battle fleet, but more than enough to pose a serious threat to the Consortium were things to turn. A delicately balanced sign of strength and restraint.

The image shifted to the skies across the Capital Ta’a Chume’Dan – the air ways cleared of all traffic for the Princesses arrival, Miy’till fighters executing graceful manoeuvres and streaming clouds of blue, gold and red in floral patterns in the skies – behind the less elegant Imperial fighters – ARC170s and ETAs, a number of Void capable gunships and in their midst three black daggers that looked horrendously out of place amongst them. 

They were hard to look at, wavering light at the edges – Hapans had as a rule poor night vision, and something about these ships plating offended her eyes by reminding the Queen mother of that limitation.

All this pomp did not impress Princess Alina at all…less so her Uncle who stood arms folded across his armoured chest beside her on their ship.

<Rotational support struts offer minimal resistance to kinetic damage – one shikkar torpedo on tier 2 control to shear…poor targeting systems, trained crews but inexperienced relative to Clone forces by factor of 2.23. Enemy fleet tactics focused on mass attacks to disable shields then scatter proton torpedoes, Telekinetic countermeasures easily employed…overall maximum required three level of conscious effort to render incapable with current force…>

Her uncle nodded concurring with Alina’s analysis as the assault transport approached the Royal hangar of the Fountain Palace or Castle of Per’Athra overlooking the capital – it was of course actually a hyper drive capable ship termed Star Home that the Hapans thought the Empire did not know about.  Perhaps the Empire did not – but the Hapan Admiral who escorted them from the edge of the Transitory Mists to Hapes proper did know and thought very loudly - so now they all knew.

The ramp descended to reveal the Chamberlain and the Chume’da, before Alina could step forward her jester rolled down the ramp onto the red carpet surprising the small welcoming party by bursting up, his belled hat and garish blue and red chequered outfit contrasting painfully with his green skin.

“To the Fountain Palace we have been shipped – will we find water falls or drips!” he squeaked melodiously as the Chamberlain eyed him venomously but retained a straight face as Alina descended, her hair up with a low cut top and long skirt.  The Queens guard bowed as she stepped along flanked by her own guards.

<Three more hidden in the catwalks> her uncle noted

<Send them a message> she replied swiftly as the Chamberlain bowed and the Chume’da curtsied, Alina replied with a half curtsy, given she was the niece of an Empress that put her above the princess of a few dozen worlds.

“Her munificence, the incomparable Chume Ni’Korish welcomes her most Benevolent highness Princess Alina to Hapes and the Fountain Palace and has assigned me to see to your every wish.”

“Wish you would not grant her wish she does!” the jester squeaked up leaping around them to get attention as if his brightly coloured oversized clothes were not eye drawing enough.

“…ah yes…May I present the hope of Hapes, woman of greatest kindness and splendour Chume’da Ta’a’Chume” the Chamberlin went on in her sonorous yet high pitch tone apparently attempting to get even the columns of the hangar to listen.

“You’re not going to talk like this the whole time are you?” Alina asked raising an eyebrow “Goddesses it’s annoying, she stepped past and held out her hands to the Chume’da,

“So good to meet a fellow princess!”

The Chume’da smiled and slightly hesitantly took her hands – not out of anxiety or nerves, the 19 year old woman had none of that, but out of disgust at having to consider the House of Palpatine upstart an equal.  Alina just smiled and squeezed her gloved hands noting every little shard of displeasure her presence sparked off the courtly courtesy painted faces.

Moving swiftly thought the decorated halls, they were bowed to by exactly 132 Queens Guard – almost half their reported number – who lined the corridors to the Grand Throne room where Ni’Korish waited upon her emerald throne.

As Alina entered the vast audience of courtiers all bowed as was fitting.
<<<<>>>>

As Alina approached the centre of the room between the crowd of courtiers in garish outfits and the Master of Ceremonies began a long winded announcement of the Queen Mother and ALL her titles Ardyn analysed the crowd – it was a twisted labyrinth of hatreds, plots and scheming the shatter point of which was the Queen Mother herself. 

The complexity of kinship and ranks within the Hapan court was no challenge for him.  His own People were subject to equally complex relationships – everyone was related to everyone else by some degree – the Princess herself was his second cousin, though Uncle was an easier title given her relative youth – it was essential to know exactly who was related to who and by how much for the purposes of arranging marriages to avoid in breeding.

The difference was the virulence of the hatred toward such close kin for what seemed to him utterly petty reasons – this one was jealous of that one for being named cup bearer at a wedding two years ago, another was planning to assassinate her grandmother for her estates afraid she would birth a new heir with her young new lover.

They all worked for their own ambitions, all sought to be on top – this would be their down fall.  Indeed the aether was so toxic it was easier to pick out who was not a spy or had a vendetta they were pursuing.

As the official pronouncements wound down the Queen Mother finally stood and spoke herself

“We welcome her Highness to the Consortium and look forward to strengthening our mutually beneficial ties with the most Benevolent Empire,”
Liar
<<<<>>>>

 “Unnggghhh” she flopped down on the bed they had allocated for her sick of the stench of Outsiders…

“Oh…” she quickly leapt back off as the beds wooden legs began to break under her weight

“Useless things, built for wispy little humans…”

The Apartment appeared well apportioned, all the modern conveniences discreetly hidden behind opulent draws or cupboard doors, but it was of course filled with listening devices.  She could care less.

“Fool start singing!” she ordered as her Jester leapt and danced on a table kicking off an array of perfumes in his clumsiness

“See the Little Goblin, see his little feet. And his little nosey-wose, isn't the Goblin sweet?”

Ungh that was even worse but at least it gave the Hapans nothing to listen to of any substance. 

“I’m hungry…” she paced about looking at the fruits left for her…

“Pathetic…” dry leaves from home would be more fulfilling…once more she’d have to stick to their special bars and slices – of course she could eat outsider food, but it was so pathetically lacking in nutritional content it wasn’t worth the hassle.

<did you teach those spies in the hangar a lesson…> she queried her uncle in the ante-room

<They’ve been dealt with…two were working for the Queen Mother, the other a spy for her nephew Lsander>

Hmmm…that was interesting…males couldn’t really hold much power in Hapes…so how did he get a spy so deep in the palace.

<Keep me informed….and bring me some food - and a bed pan or something my royal arse isn’t touching something an outsider had touched!>

<<<<>>>>


The Grand Dining Hall was full to bursting with sights, sounds and smells.  The greatest Marquises and duchesses, baronesses and Admirals of Hapes in their finest gowns each trying to outdo the other in opulence and beauty – no doubt the rejuvenate clinics had been run off their feet with last minute age reduction treatments over the last few days.

Yet Lsander had his eyes on only one figure.  At the raised table at the end of the hall the Princess Alina tossed pieces of chilled Hen-salmon caviar – worth more than diamonds gram for gram – at her absurd green skinned dwarfish jester who leapt up catching them in his mouth. 

The Queen Mother seemed less than impressed but her face remained icy beside her as various members of the extensive royal family knelt on the step before them to offer greetings and fealty to Ni’Korish. 

Lsander had to play this carefully, he needed to get the Princess attention yet not make it obvious to Ni’Korish.  As Nephew of the Queen Mother he had a high station in theory – in reality he had little to no power himself, despite being heir to vast estates Ni’Korish as House Matriarch retained effective control of them, and had been sadly disappointed when he returned alive from his few years playing the pirate beyond the transitory mists as so many young men did to taste some freedom before being married off.

He would never be married off, NiKorish intended to leave him a bachelor so that all his estate transferred to the Crown on his death instead of risking him having an heir or wife able to take back control of what was rightfully his.

Sipping on the blossom wine he resolved his course of action- he had no future in the Consortium as nephew to the Queen mother….powerless, his ambition and abilities wasted in a perfumed prison.  But in the Empire….there he could gain real power…

The Chamberlain offered a curt nod as she walked past indicating it was his turn to greet the Princess.  He straightened his real silk uniform, a deep blue with white and red sash and silver trimming.  Lsander was a handsome man if he did say so himself, and never had any difficulty in seducing courtiers and minor noble women…he had carefully watched the princess and easily sized her up. 

As he stood and made his way past servants carrying platters of golden fruits and polished meats his assessment of Alina was confirmed – she was toying with her diamond inlaid fork and shifting in her seat like a child. 

This was an energetic party girl looking to get off, bored with the courtly mission she had been sent on even before she arrived she wouldn’t take much convincing to get in to his bed.

“His Royal High….”
“Can we spare the titles I have places to be…” Lsander cut in as he knelt before the Queen Mother
“Aunty Ni, I pledge my loyalty and fealty and blah blah blah…but I really have somewhere better to be,”

Ni’Korish used to her nephews insolence said nothing but glared that he would behave so arrogantly before such an esteemed guest.

“Aunty Ni upon the throne, her cheeks never knew a blush!” the Jester danced about him its hideous yellow and blue streamer like sleeves contrasting with green skin.
“The Prince tells her he’s a better place to be, He’ll get a Royal Flush!”

“Ha…hahaha!” Alina giggled

“Princess,” Lsander looked up to meet her cool green eyes, her hair up and alabaster shoulders exposed above a pink velvet dress

“I must apologize for my Aunts boring you to death with all these formal events, I fear you’re getting the impression Hapes is full of dour old backstabbing bitches with plastic tits and lip suctioned arses.”

Ni’Korish had to use every royal ounce of restraint not to have him slapped in iron straight away…later…

“And what impression should I be getting Princeling?” she queried her voice conspiratorial and clear as the conversations and clatter of cutlery died to focus on the scene

“Why gallant virile pirates and buxom women dripping with anticipation,”

“Lustful eyes has the prince, for Princess only once met!” the Jester leapt onto the table kicking over Alina’s plate and taking up her glass full of untouched wine worth its weight in latinum,

“Question is can he with words get her very wet!” Without warning the jester threw the wine onto Lsanders face, Ni’Korish supressed a wry grin to see her nephew upstaged by the filthy Goblin.

Lsander didn’t miss a beat,

“Cute little thing isn’t he! Well when you’re bored of this drudgery Princess do come to the South Western Gardens for the real party.”

His most dashing smile he allowed the wine to drip onto his uniform unwilling to lower himself to wiping it off when a servant would do it for him.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2019, 12:41:17 AM »


Dance of Diplomacy
Part 2



Now this was more like it!

 

Following Lsanders advice she had headed to the gardens after the feast wrapped up with droning speeches of friendship she couldn’t even remember ten seconds after they were said.

 

The granite garden paths were lit with yellow and pink lights as the younger nobles drank, danced and made-out to the thrumming beats of three bands vying to be the loudest.

 

Stepping along with the beat of the nearer band she joined the dancers around a fountain that served as a makeshift dance floor.

 

Of course she still had to limit her movements or it would terrify the stupid outsiders, and they wouldn’t be able to see how much a better dancer she was with their hopelessly slow visual sensors.

 

Lsander smiled wickedly as he saw her start to dance, her movements more in keeping with a Nar Shadda Pole dancer than a Hapan princess…he was spot on she was a nympho minx looking for a good time.

 

As she moved effortlessly to the rhythm of the music the rest of the nobles began to look on, Lsander pushed through and only then began to get the first inklings of a sweet aroma filling his senses drawing him in as much as her erotically charged movements.

 

Her hand grasped at her dress and pulled the pink velvet up, then with a single deft movement tore the floor length dress round, ripping the costly gown apart and throwing the excess fabric onto a luck baron to leave her with a tattered mini skirt.

 

Her legs now free she leapt up on the rim of the fountain and used the statues of a former Queen Mother as a prop upon which to perform back arching turns, deep dive and near contortionist splits and leg lifts, her pale blue underwear intermittently visible amidst her movements.

 

A few of the other noble women darted envious glances at her as their own partners full attention was on her sinuous form, a few even trying to mimic her sensual moves.

 

Let the petty outsider try Alina thought, the only thing more fun that dancing was having people watch you dance knowing you were better than them.

 

Only the song dying down caused her to leap off the fountain, she grabbed a passing servant, his tray covered with glasses and a pitcher of wine – she took the pitcher and poured it into her mouth in one gulp.

 

“WOOOO!!! More music!” she demanded

 

Lsander pushed through the crowd and nodded at the band whose front man he knew to keep going – after all that wine she would be utterly soused.

 

“Finally enjoying yourself!” he called over the thumping beat

 

“Finally – do you know how boring your Aunt is!”

 

“Do I ever,” he shifted just behind and to her side mirroring her movements to partner with her, the other jealous men unwilling to challenge the Prince even as their desire for Alina throbbed.

 

She spun round to face him, the sweet scent coming off her in waves, no doubt dyed into her clothes Lsander figured trying to keep his eyes on her face and on her zig zagging hips and makeshift skirt…if she so much a raised her eyebrows he was sure he would see everything she had between those strong ivory legs…and oh how he wanted to see…touch…taste…

 

Grabbing his arm with unusual strength she wrapped his hand on her waist,

 

“Dance with me princeling…faster…faster….” He felt his thighs and hips begins to strain trying to keep up with her alcohol fuelled thrusts and twists

 

Once more she spun round and rammed backward into him nearly knocking him over, only her strong grasp of his arms down across her stomach kept him up.

 

Her back and butt pressed right into him, stirring his passions ever more strongly, the perfume coming off her was more intoxicating than deathsticks.

 

“Tighter princeling, show me just what a virile pirate you are!”

 

His ‘virility’ was almost breaking through his hand pressed trousers as her warm body clung to him, his hands on her stomach slowly moved up her sides…idly he noted she must be wearing some kind of strange corset as that wasn’t how ribs should feel…

 

“Is that all you’ve got?!” she chided as the song reached the final chorus

 

He tightened his grip and pulled her as close as he could, fingers brushing the side of her breasts,

 

“Got more than enough to satisfy your royal highness…” he pressed his mouth to her ear intermittently nibbling at it

 

“let’s get out of here and you’ll see…”

Alina licked her lips with a smile.

<<<<>>>>

Hand firmly clasped around her waist he lead her away from the party,

 

“Hey wait,” she stopped at the bar “Let’s get something to drink!”

 

Not even bothering with the bar servant she leapt up onto the bar which groaned under her weight for some reason, her legs kicking in the air, pale blue panties once more showing just between, as she grabbed two bottles of strong spirits.

 

With a flick she tore he cap off one and guzzled a quarter in less than five seconds, shoving the other into Lsanders hands.

 

She pushed the open bottle into his mouth forcing him to drink in at least four shots – his pathetic biology would be effected by the chemical.

 

“I hear…*uhp*” she began, stumbling her footing

 

“You’re an ambitious little shell…” she hopped around in front of him grabbing at the already ruffled edges of his coat

 

“How BIG is your ambition….” Her left hand trailing to his belt.

 

“Too big for Hapes…” he breathed, mouth reeking of the…was it whiskey?...he couldn’t tell against the overwhelming scent of her perfume.

 

“But just the right fit for your tight…Empire….”

 

“haha….*uhp*…haha…you conquer my ‘Empire’ and I’ll take your Hapes…”

 

As they proceeded away she leaned more heavily…very heavily on him how much does she weigh?!

 

“My sister…*uhp*…she’s such a bitch….frigid as…I swear she hasn’t shoved anything up her *uhp* for ages….frell she needs a hard frelling….” Alina went on a thin trail of salvia dribbling from the side of her mouth before taking another quarter bottle swig….

 

She suddenly stared intently at the remainder of the whiskey against the yellow lights of the palace,

 

“This is gross!” no longer amused she hurled the bottle straight into the wall across the garden.

 

“Unnnggg…*uhp*…” leaning over she buried her head on Lsanders chest

 

“She sends me out here to place nice with that withered old *uhp* of a Queen…just so she can rule Hapes too…and I won’t get a thing for it…I’m just the little sister *uhp*…but maybe…” she pointed a finger into the underside of his chin

 

“If I was Queen of Hapes then I could have my own little Empire…but to do that I’d have to what is it…marry the male heir or something….”

 

Lsanders mind suddenly refocused out of its drunken haze

 

“If you married me you could be Queen mother…if my bitch aunt and cousin were both dead…”

 

“hahaha *uhp* your ambition is BIG!” she stared up at him a malicious smile on her face as she slouched onto him

 

“…and hard too I’ll bet…” her hand once more wandered down his chest past his belt to grasp at his groin

 

“*uhp* ha…nnnhh that’s what Princess needs…”

 

He leaned forward lips parting…

 

She was suddenly gone, head turned faster than he could see…he must be really drunk…

 

“Ungg I have a meeting I need to be up for in the morning…”  she stole the second bottle back off him stuck the top in her mouth and licked the glass neck seductively before sucking the cap off making him weak at the knees as she guzzled down half of it…

 

“*uhp* yuck…” she threw the bottle straight into the pavement, shattering it and wetting his trousers, fragments of glass oddly not seeming to affect her bare legs as she knelt down.

 

“Here…*uhp*…” she hefted a leg up and scrummaged round under her skirt, before switching legs and flicking the pale blue panties at him that reeked of her scent

 

“A Ladies token HARRR *uhp* Lady *uhp* to remember me by…”

 

He pressed the somewhat soiled fabric to his nose and nearly collapsed as she wandered off under the watchful gaze of her uncle perched on a roof top nearby.

 

<<<<>>>>

 

“Unnnnggggg….how much did I drink….” She slammed the pillow down on her head to cut out the noise of her own breathing.

 

“The muses nectar she did consume, into the princes arms did swoon!” her jester danced about on the floor by her bed

 

Hand fumbling on the dresser she picked up a hand mirror to hurl at him, bopping the green fool on the forehead.

 

Shuffling up on the re-enforced bed she noted the thin rays of light through the drapes…she was already late for the meeting with the Queen Mother…

 

“Pfft let her wait…”

<<<<>>>>

 

Head still pounding from the night before Lsander pushed on wasting no time…he had come an inch from getting the Princess in bed…next time he would go all the way, hopefully get her pregnant…

 

They both hated their more powerful kinsmen, and while Lsander couldn’t help her take the Imperial Throne they could together get some measure of power with the Hapan one.

 

Scrawling through every contact he had made in the shadow of the court he began making calls, calling in favours, a touch of subtle blackmail here and there…Alina’s Clones and Praetorians could only control so much by force, they would need a slim majority of nobles onside – fortunately Ni’Korish alienated as many Houses as she appeared to.

 

Slurping down his third cup of caf he took his first steps toward the throne.

<<<<>>>>

Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 307
Posts: 1660



« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2019, 12:42:13 AM »


Dance of Diplomacy
Part 3
Just as their listening devices in the guest room had indicated the Princess was quite hung over from her revelries, the court was alive with the gossip of her tearing her dress and dancing like a twi’leki whore with Prince Lsander then wandering off with him and two bottle of whiskey that each cost 500,000 credits and were found smashed against a wall and on a foot path.

 

Ni’Korish sat in her sun chair as the Princess bumbled along followed by her guard onto the balcony where they were to meet, she was 45 minutes late already, the servants had just taken up the first platter of brunch and replaced it with freshly cooked serves.

 

“Good Morning Princess,” The Queen Mother began as Alina flopped into the chair that groaned under her weight, her guard moving silently backward to stand between two of Ni’Korish own Queens Guard.

 

“No it isn’t…” Alina sulked taking the entire jug of Kyvala juice and chugging from it rather than using a glass, the pinkish juice remaining round her mouth, Ni’Korish could barely suppress the indignity at the Princesses boorish behaviour – yet Alina was the only person in the entire consortium Ni’Korish could not lecture for such slobby manners – for she would undoubtedly tell her sister Mira if she did.

 

“Egh that’s is gross…did someone piss in this?” Alina complained sniffing at the near empty glass jug then throwing it absently off the edge of the balcony.

 

“Perhaps the Princess would care for some wine?” Ni’Korish poked unable to help herself

 

“Perhaps the Queen Mother would just get to the point…” Alina turned to the guards,

“Get lost,”

 

The Queens Guard remained unmoved as the shadowy Praetorian stepped away then paused noting Ni’Korish guards remained unmoved.

 

Ni’Korish waited for the tension of the situation to build, the Princess wanted to speak privately, but Ni’Korish was determined to see just how far she could be pushed beforehand.

 

Finally Alina met her gaze and Ni’Korish assented waving her guards away.

 

“About time…now let’s get to it…what will it take for the Consortium to play nice with the Empire,” Alina asked poking at the fired eggs on offer.

 

“What does playing nice involve?” Ni’Korish replied

 

“Playing nice means implementing our policies, so no one can escape the Emperors justice by hiking across the transitory mists, and making commerce easier between us…” Alina went on despite her hungover appearance her words were unusually crisp

 

“We are a Sovereign state, no one dictates Our policy but Us,” She replied evenly

 

“You’re tiny island in the middle of a huge Empire that won’t be de-militarizing despite the last war being over,”

 

Last war…now that is interesting Ni’Korish thought

 

“It’s easier for everyone if you just toe the line and integrate, you get the benefits of more trade, tourism and protection,”

 

“Protection! The Consortium is quite capable of managing its own defences,”

 

“Phhht with those Battle Dragons, replete with dozens of structural weaknesses and Captains whose only experience is a jaunt as a pirate, and more over are just a likely to run off to their demesnes once the fighting gets thick,”

 

“We’re not at war with anyone that I know of” the Queen mother straightened in her seat “unless you have brought a battle with you”

 

“Goddess are you trying to annoy me – have you seen how divided your court is, you spend half your time keeping daggers out of your back, a quarter plumping up your wrinkles and tits with liposuction from your arse and the rest trying to wrangle the nobles to keep your government flopping apart into factionalism - You’re at war with yourself,”

 

Ni’Korish long ago learnt a trick of squeezing and relaxing her toes to release the pent up anger and maintain calm façade…the next step was stabbing a fork into her thigh…it was in her hand…

 

“…you’ve been on the verge of civil war for a decade, one spark and its lit – all your pretty little Battle Dragons will wipe each other out, then we’ll have to come in and clean up the mess…so save us the effort and just agree to integration, we’ll post a few Naval bases and garrisons and then no one will challenge your authority and you can spend more of your time frelling nineteen year old toy boys.”

 

The fork dug deep into the crimson of her silken dress, the implicit threat that the Empire would start a civil war to then move in as ‘peacekeepers’ all too obvious.

 

“Under no circumstances…” Ni’Korish adopted her Queen Mother voice, deep and stern darkening the morning lit balcony,

“…will We permit Imperial forces to establish a military presence within the consortium…”

 

“If You won’t maybe I’ll find another Royal ‘We’ who will,” Alina’s eyes narrowed

 

<<<<>>>>

 

Ardyn shifted uncomfortably in the blue outfit – he was not used to being out of his armour off-world…

 

He felt so exposed among the vast number of Outsiders that thronged around the Fountain Palace, plotting and scheming, hoping to get an audience with the Queen mother to prosecute some petty grievance.  They all stank of synthetic perfumes, make up and lies.

 

Regardless he would see that his niece…the easiest description for Alina rather than second cousin on his mother’s side and third on his fathers….had her plans advanced.

 

It was a curious feeing to hide in plain sight as he wandered through the crowd of whispers, without his armour he was just another humanoid minor nobleman to them, they were oblivious to the fact he could easily kill every one of them before their minds even registered they were under attack.  Even the Queens Guard dotted around didn’t give him a second look.

 

Only the handful of Hapan Intelligence officers amongst the well to do offered any chance of detection, but they were mere Hapans, the slightest touch with the aether and he diverted their attention away to others.

 

Finally he neared his contact

 

“…and then I hear she pulled down her bra and yelled ‘well at least mine are still perky!’”

 

A trill stream of stifled laughter followed as they came up with ever more outrageous stories about Princess Alina’s meeting with the Queen Mother, she was the talk of the court following that, Lsanders scene at the feast and the after party where it was already rumoured Alina had drunk six Queens guard under the table then frelled four of them at the same time.

 

“The Marquessa of Ts’Chala just told me her seamstress saw the Princess head straight to Lsanders quarters after that in tears,” Ardyn broke in, to the dismissive gaze of the Hapan women, and curious of the few men that a man should interject in such a matriarchal society.  There were similarities to his own People in that, but the People never let their reverence for the feminine exceed what was pragmatic or override outright merit as they did in Hapes – no doubt a side effect of their hierarchical society.

 

“No doubt she did,” his contact replied in soft feminine tones “The Prince seems to be bold of late, no doubt thinks he can sleep his way to power in the Empire…he’s on a collision course with the Queen Mother after last night,”

 

“The Queen will tear him to shreds,” a Countess said dismissively, “She only puts up with him because of the rumours she’s his mother – to send him into internal exile on an Estate would lend credence to them,”

 

“Oh pooh that’s a twenty year old rumour how could she have hid the pregnancy,”

“She couldn’t,” Ardyn’s contact noted “But her mother could’ve at the time to avoid the scandal of the Chume’Da having sex with her own half-brother…such an incestuous revelation would’ve spelt doom for her,”

 

Ardyn understood the instruction clearly as the gossip continued.

<<<<>>>>

 

The formal talks were held in the Grand Ballroom, decked out with innumerable tables in skyblue cloths.

 

It had an inauspicious start with the chair for Princess Alina breaking under her weight, and her eyes constantly rolling as the Chamberlin opened proceeding with a two hour speech on the grand history of the Consortium and its desire to ‘retain its unique sovereignty hand in hand with friendship of our neighbours’.

 

This was followed by the much more terse speech by the Imperial Tribune Sweitt Concorkill, the Vurt Senator of Sembla who had been on the Delegation of 2000 calling for restrictions to the Emperors powers, but following Palptaine…or rather Mira’s…concessions now eagerly accepted the role of Tribune.

 

His speech parroted parts of the Tarkin Doctrine

 

“For the first time in one thousand generations the Government will not be working solely to enrich Coruscant and the Core Worlds, but to advance the quality of life in every star system, keeping the spaceways safe, maintaining open and accessible communications, assuring that tax revenues are properly levied and allocated to improving the infrastructure and quality of life for all our citizens and sharing those benefits to our friends and allies in the Consortium”

 

Whether we like it or notNi’Korish seethed silently on her throne as the speech finished and the discussions on reforming diplomatic relations began.  She glanced around the room noting her nephew surrounded by a larger cohort of cronies than usual, her intelligence indicated he had been doing the rounds, calling in favours and blackmailing to the hilt…

 

Ni’Korish could not be certain Lsander was in league with Alina…it would fit,, two young boisterous children getting together to capture the kingdom, and Lsander would be dumb enough to allow the Empire to take over the Consoritum so long as he got to play the King.

 

The starting point was the Consortiums previous treaty with the now defunct Republic than facilitate the use of Republic Credits as the basis for the Consortiums economy and established the borders of the Consortium but little else of substance past sweeping statement of friendship.

 

Immediately Senator Concorkill began pushing his mistresses agenda suggesting joint military patrols, removal of all Trade restrictions and tariffs, the establishment of Imperial Embassies on ALL of the sixty main worlds in the Consortium, and most proactively…

 

“…we also request the Queen Mother amend the restrictions on Hapan Citizens serving in non-Hapan militaries…if a Hapan citizen desires to join the Imperial Army we welcome them fully and wish to see no restrictions from them serving,”

 

The idea of her own citizens joining the Imperial Navy made Ni’Korish wish for another fork to release the pent up tension as Alina smiled across form her.  Ni’Korish ministers suitably deflected the proposals by accepting the proposed treaty gladly and requesting a three day recess to look over the details before formal negotiations began.

 

Three days to find a way to derail the Empires push into the Consortium.  Ni’Korish knew she was outmatched militarily, they could not stand against a battle hardened Clone Fleet lead by merciless Praetorians said to be even deadlier than the Jedi.

 

Nor could she simply have Alina assassinated or poisoned, that would bring down the whole Empire upon her, nor could she move on Lsander whilst Alina was smitten with him.  She had to find a way to send Mira’s little sister back in disgrace and shame…fortunately her party girl ways would make that terribly easy.

 

<<<<>>>>

 

Lsader tapped his toes anxiously in the pantry room, finally the door opened and his contact arrived

 

“Just what you wanted my Prince…but I’m afraid it was more difficult to obtain than I thought…”

 

“Of course it was how much…”

 

“Double..”

 

“Dou….” Lsander ceased his protest an unclenched his fist from striking he insolent commoner…Once I’m Prince of the Empire none of this will matter

 

“fine…” he handed him the small bag of credits and accepted the ring – it had a strange sheen on the jewel – a hormonal stimulant that one might unkindly call a ‘spike’ that in contact with skin would deliver its hypnotic drug through the blood stream to dull the senses but stimulate the body – with this he could ensure he got Alina into bed…frell her into compliance then finally Hapes would be his.

 

<<<<>>>>

 

“You delivered it…”

 

“I did Lord,” the Imperial Security Bureau Agent knelt before Ardyn

 

“Very good, Landers plan continues to gather pace, he already has half the court under his banner….begin implementing Stage three…”

 

The ISB agent nodded and rose, Ardyn remembering his briefing on dealing with outsider servants he stepped forward and placed his gauntleted hand on the Agents shoulder, the weight of it causing him to buckle slightly

 

“Well done Ferris, your dedication to the Empire is cherished, no matter the outcome I will speak to the Princess of your exemplary service personally,”

 

Agent Ferris nodded the aether lighting with his sense of pride to be recognised for his efforts – such small gestures would win them fanatical loyalty

<<<<>>>>

Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

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