The Kingdom

18 years after the Battle of Yavin...
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Mir
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The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:50 pm

“I don’t fault you for what you did.”

The choice of opening words was a bit off putting, but then again, she’d never known Farn Engel to mince words. Nodding, she leaned back in her seat and watched him take a healthy pull from his drink. They were in a bar, one of the millions that were scattered throughout the galaxy. This one happened to be on the moon of Nierport VII. She’d asked to meet with Engel and he’d informed her that he’d be stopping at the moon in a few days. So she’d packed her bags and now here she was.

“Well, that’s very nice of you to say, Farn.” Ashin Varanin replied. “I can appreciate that. I suppose you were put in an interesting bit of a predicament for a few months there.”

“Oh you mean the few months when it looked like the Jade Empire and the Sith Empire were going to get into a shooting war over a raid and the subsequent fallout? I guess you could say that it was a bit of a predicament for someone like yourself. But you didn’t ask to meet me so that you could let me tell you that I don’t blame you. You definitely didn’t call to apologize for anything, because that’s not really your style.” He said.

She nodded, her mind traveling elsewhere. Not really her style. What was her style? Delicate, graceful, no those weren’t words that had often been attributed to the Sith Master who had only recently, a few weeks ago actually, been able to feel the Light Side of the Force after what had been years. She’d grown up a lot since that moment; she’d had to. Shaking herself out of the reverie, Ashin looked across the table at the man.

“So, why did you call me?” He asked.

“I need information.”

“Doesn’t the CCO have it’s own ways of getting that?” He asked, with a small smile. “I mean, you’re what, the third or second most important person in a government that’s in contention to be mentioned in the same sentence as the New Republic or the Galactic Empire. What do you need me for information?”

“Because third party sources are always the best. When it’s information regarding an internal matter.” She said, not sure how much Engel knew already.

“This...this isn’t about Makaera Torr’s little request, is it?” He asked, and she mentally sighed.

“Feth, was it that obvious?” She asked.

“You’re not worried about him, are you?” He asked.

“Of course not.” Ashin shot back, and chose this moment to take a reassuring drink from her own glass. “Akain can take care of himself. I just want to know who Koss has assigned to tracking him down and taking him to Ossus.” She asked.

“You really do have a soft spot for that Nagai, don’t you?” He asked, and accepted the withering look that she gave him. “Rumors abound about the two of you.”

“Well, he’s far too old for me.” She said, with a smirk. “Besides, he’s damned near married to that Jedi girl, so it’s not like anything could happen.” Ashin said, and then added, “Supposing that something could happen.” She let that hang in the air for a moment, to dispel anything that Engel might have been thinking, any thought that could have been voiced, any opinions that would have needed to be shot down, before continuing. “He did me a solid and he’s watched my back. I don’t know what the Grand Master of the Jedi Order wants with him, but I owe him. I take care of my people.”

“Aye, that’s always been the truth of the matter.” He said. “No, I don’t know who exactly Koss has given the wondrous duty of ferreting out the man that people have nicknamed the ‘White Ghost,’ but whoever they are, they’d better be good. That suicide jump he did during the Battle of Mon Calamari, that was...”

“Suicidal.”

“Agreed.”

“Well, he loves her.” Ashin said, and if Engel had been a betting man, he still wouldn’t have been sure if there had been any sarcasm there, but he wouldn’t have bet that there hadn’t been. “Thanks, Farn, I appreciate it.” She said, as her communicator vibrated and she pulled it out to check the message. Her brow furrowed as she read it and looked up. He could tell that she had to leave and he waved her off.

“Not a problem. Tell my daughter I said hello.” He said, referring to Tiranya who was Ashin’s slicer in the Hands of the Leafghost.

“Will do.” She said, her mind on the message that had been sent to her.

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:52 pm

The Action VI Transport exited hyperspace, arriving in the Naboo system. For the hooded woman, it was easy to blend in with the rest of the population who had taken the simple courier service from Coruscant. They’d made a few stops along the way, but Ashin hadn’t been in a rush. Amenities weren’t the greatest, but the conversion and remodeling from a regular freighter to a passenger carrier hadn’t gone so well, not giving Ashin any reason to get her hopes up. Either way, she had spent what seemed like a lifetime on Trevel’ka, which meant that Ashin was used to cramped conditions that lacked much of what even someone slightly below average wealth would turn their nose up at. Maybe that was one of the reason why she didn’t fit in well with the courtesans on Ziost. Then again it might have been because she saw most of them as stuck up aristocrats. But they served a purpose, so she managed them to the best of her ability.

As the ship moved through the void of space, she walked over to a small terminal. The ship offered decent HoloNet access. The fee was high, but she had the money to pay for it. Realistically, Ashin had more money than everyone on the ship combined, not that she really knew what to do with it. Once the terminal was live, she checked the shell holomail account that she’d set up before they’d left Denon. There was a message waiting for her and reading through it took less than a minute. It caught her up to speed with what had happened since she’d left Coruscant.

When the Action VI landed on Naboo, and Ashin was finally able to make it off the ship with the rest of the sea of people, she headed over to where her contact was waiting for her.

“I’m still not sure why you needed to travel the way you did.” Grien Absalom said, standing next to a speeder that looked like it had cost a decent amount of money. The woman sized her up, and gave her something equivalent to a frown. “As someone who works with Cebelle to oversee the cash flow of your esteemed self, you did travel rather...plainly, Lady Varanin.” She added.

“Kind of the point.” Ashin replied with an off hand shrug. “I was in Imperial territory. They tend to keep tabs on people like me. Whole high ranking people in governments thing, you’re the one who goes on and on about statecraft. Last thing I wanted was an appointment with the Imperial Knights. Breaking people is, well, so few weeks ago.” Looking around, her eyes settled back on Grien. “Anyway, we should probably get a move on. I have a feeling that this isn’t going to be something that’s a quick thing.”

“As you wish, Lady Varanin.”

Moments later, they were traveling through Theed, heading towards Otoh Gunga. The speeder was rated for underwater travel, and since Grien had probably come from Otoh Gunga in the speeder, Ashin wasn’t too worried about the seaworthiness of the vessel. Also, there was that Master of the Force thing that she had on her side.

“So tell me about this politician.” She said, and just like that it was time to get down to business.

“We’ve run a few background checks on him. Put a tail on him, and done some low level telepathy.” Grien said. “Everything looks the way it should so far, but we’re still digging, to make sure. About a week ago, he got in touch with me, asked to meet in Theed. When I got there, he said that he was highly interested in meeting with you and putting a proposal in front of you.” She leaned back. “He wouldn’t tell me what the proposal was about, but he is a member of a highly respected political party here on Naboo. Their political stance isn’t necessarily one that you’d be against.” Grien said.

“What, does he want me to run for Mayor of Theed? I’m touched.” Ashin said.

“No, I don’t think that’s what it’s for, Lady Varanin.” Grien said, dryly. “Either way, he’s with guards at the office in Otoh Gunga. We’ll find out soon enough.”

“I’m excited.” Ashin said, half heartedly.

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:06 am

Grien’s office was well furnished, but that was to be expected. She represented Ashin after all, and appearances were very important, even if to Ashin herself they meant next to nothing. The decor was in traditional Gungan style, very fluid, very water oriented. It took her a moment or two to get her bearings, since sometimes it seemed like the whole room was moving. For her part, Grien walked like a professional, but then again, she was used to it. The two moved through the hallways until they were standing in front of the door to a meeting room, where this politician was. Two guards stood outside. Grien turned to her.

“Do you want me to accompany you inside, Lady Varanin?” She asked.

“No, I don’t think that will be necessary.” Ashin replied and walked in, not waiting for Grien’s dutiful head nod and turn away. Walking into the meeting room, she saw the man that she was to meet with. Balding, but still with a decent head of hair, the man wore clothing that might have made him look a little out of place with whatever was in vogue in Theed.

Whatever that was.

He had a patrician look on his face, the look of a man who had been born and bred for the role that he played and who had always known what it was that he was going to do with his life. Now that was a luxury. Not everyone had that. Quite the contrary actually. Most people muddled around and made a muckery of life trying to figure out what it was that they were supposed to do. Plastering a smile on her face, Ashin walked over to the man, who rose. He shook the extended, offered hand.

“Lady Varanin, a pleasure to meet you. My name is Calan Nuwheii.” He said.

“The pleasure is mine, Mr. Nuwheii. How can I help you today?” She asked.

He was quiet for a moment and sat down. She sat down as well, wondering when he was going to speak. After a moment he did. “I’m sorry, I apologize. It’s just that...you are a very famous woman, as I’m sure you’re aware. Different meeting you in person. Putting a live face to the name that you’ve heard so much about.”

“I’m sure you’ve heard much about me.” She said, nodding. “All good things, of course.”

“Of course.” He said, conciliatory. “I have a proposal to bring to you, it’s of a sensitive nature. I hope I can speak frankly.” He said and when she nodded, he continued. “As you know Naboo is part of the New Republic. We are a constitutional monarchy, we elect our leaders. The Queen, Avonleyh, was elected not too long ago, but there are those who feel that she is taking the Kingdom in a direction that is not it’s best interests. We seek to challenge her right to rule and to oust her from her position.” He said.

Well that was interesting.

“Avonleyh has ties to the Sienar Corporation. What you’re talking about would require a large amount of funding, as well as a drastic campaign. Raith Sienar is not a man to take lightly.” Ashin replied. “Why did you call me here?”

“We want your help.” Calan replied. “You have shown, in your not so secret secret war with the Jade Empire that you do not hold back, and that you are an excellent leader. You do not back down from those who would challenge you and yours. The fact that you have familial ties to Naboo helps as well.”

“Wait, wait.” She said. “What exactly do you want from me?” Ashin asked, her eyes narrowing.

He took a deep breath and braced himself for what he knew would come next. “I want to know whether or not you want to become the Queen of Naboo.”

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:05 am

If she was being a bit cocky, and often times she was, Ashin would have liked to say that she came off as unflappable. The unshakeable Ashin Varanin, Dark Lord of the Sith. But that wasn’t the truth. In private the surety, the confidence, it wasn't always there. In public, that was a different thing. However, it was possible to surprise her, or in the very least to do a mild double take. This was one of those cases. After Calan finished speaking, she took a moment to think about what he'd just said. Then, she coughed, and blinked.

“Well....feth.” She said, causing Calan’s eyes to widen a bit.

“I’m sorry?”

“No, it just caught me off guard, that’s all.” She said. “The offer is quite flattering, but you do understand why it’s not feasible, yes?” Ashin asked. “I mean, I have quite an extensive list of duties and responsibilities. I oversee a wide variety of interests. Various worlds have sworn fealty to me and pay a tithe for my protection. Furthermore, I mean...I’m very independent. Listening to the New Republic? Oh my. Roman Kato blathers on so much sometimes, don’t you think.” She said. Examining her fingernails, she said the last part much more softly. “Not to mention, that in order for this to happen, you’re talking about deposing a queen who’s quite possibly related to me.” Her eyes flicked back up, locking on to his and making him shift a little uncomfortably in his seat. “Catch my drift?” She asked.

“Of course.” Nuwheii said, slowly. “But I’m sure that having Naboo under the control of the Sith Empire would be very, valuable, to you.” He said.

Her eyes narrowed. He was starting to grate on her nerves. She’d just explained why his idea didn’t make much sense, and he was continuing to fight for it? While she could admire not giving up, especially when you were working to ensure your idea’s growth from it’s germination in your mind. But what he was talking about was starting to border on the ludicrous.

“Now you’re talking about a revolution, and setting up the Sith Empire in a sector of space where we have no concrete influence, and would be surrounded, if the galaxy were a one dimensional map, by the New Republic. Mr. Nuwheii, I’m not entirely sure that this line of conversation is conducive to anything.” She said.

“Lady Varanin, you misunderstand what I mean.” Nuwheii said, a smile creeping across his face. “I was not suggesting that you actually ascend to the throne of Naboo.” He added, and the smile widened when he saw the realization in her eyes. “Nominally, the throne, and Naboo would be under the auspices of the New Republic. In public, everything would remain the same. In private, however, that would be an entirely different story.”

“I don’t think I gave you as much credit as I should have.” Ashin said.

“Many people haven’t, over the course of my career. It’s been a fortunate advantage in a number of situations, believe me.” Calan said. “You would be a Queen with no need for a throne.” He said. “Simple manipulation of the mind, I believe that’s well within the means for an advanced Force user such as yourself. Extending that influence across a nation, across a planet, anything is possible. Granted, I don’t know the full extent of what a Force user can or can not do, but the holovid clips of Arcanix, and the recovery efforts at Brevost, to name two recent situations, they tickle the mind with fantasies considered reachable.”
Last edited by Mir on Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:47 pm

Ashin smiled. This conversation just kept getting more and more interesting. “Now we’re getting somewhere.” She said. “A queen without a throne. That’s a new title. I keep...collecting these things. Not intentionally, mind you, just seems to happen. You do have a rather interesting proposal. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that.” She said and Nuwheii nodded in response, a slight smile on his face. The two of them seemed rather amused by the conversation that they were having. Realistically, this was such a high level of treason that she had to laugh about it. “I’m assuming that you have a candidate in place for all of this?” She asked as well.

He nodded again. “Of course.” He said. Clearly he had been expecting this development in the conversation. It wasn’t anything that he wasn’t prepared for. “She’s a young thing, late teens. We’ve been cultivating her for a while, and training her for a rise. To be honest with you, Lady Varanin, this is sooner than we had planned, but this isn’t something that she shouldn’t be able to handle. She’ll be ready.”

“It raises a question.” Ashin said, raising a single finger up in the air. “Why are you doing this?” She asked. “What do you gain by turning Naboo over to the Sith Empire of all places?” She asked. “It doesn’t make much sense.”

“The New Republic has consistently treated Naboo as a second rate system. A second rate sector. Ever since we finally joined the New Republic, they have barely done anything for us. Our Senator abandoned us, to go to New Alderaan.” He said, his tone becoming angrier. Clearly this was something that he had discussed multiple times, something that he was rather passionate about. “It’s not difficult to do, you know, looking out for the systems that support you and for the systems that want to be a part of your New Republic.”

“Double dipping resources wise. A wise move.” Ashin said. She looked away for a moment and then back at Nuwheii. “So I’d control Naboo.” She said and it was more of a statement than a question. “You’ve brought a very lucrative offer to my table, Mr. Nuwheii. It’s not one that I take lightly. While I am interested, after all, how could I not be, this isn’t something that I can commit to lightly.” She said.

“Of course, I understand.” He said.

“This is a matter that will require a decent amount of thought.” Ashin said, rising.

As she rose, Nuwheii did as well. Extending his hand, he waited. They shook hands once more.

“I would like to thank you though, for your time. I wasn’t sure if you’d be willing to hear me out. Granted, you are a Sith Lord, but still.” Nuwheii said.

“Not at all.” Ashin said, ignoring the unintended jab.

He reached the doorway, before he turned around.

“We’re having a gala event in a few days. You can meet her, if you wish.” He said, before leaving.

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:02 am

The water poured down over her had. Eyes closed, Ashin reveled in it. Maybe she should have been used to it by now, but simple luxuries still seemed rather foreign to her. It cost money and there had been many times that money had been in short supply. Even now, with the rank and title that she had, often times Ashin eschewed the more expensive for the more familiar. There was comfortability there. Hair was plastered against her head as she showered. Her muscles ached, the pain of the office that she bore. Opening her eyes, Ashin looked at the array of products that Grien had brought her and she couldn’t help it. She wrinkled her nose at all of it. Undoubtedly, Grien expected some if not all of these items to be used. Yet again the trappings of luxury.

In a similar vein, Ashin had the trappings of the Dark Side, but at least in that matter, she had shirked the would be chains. But that had left her in a brave new world. One that she was exploring like a brand new child. It would have been nice to have Kayla with her. The woman had understood that Ashin had needed to get this information on Akain alone, calling him her super hot man-toy. That had been annoying. This Naboo situation had ben a spur of the moment, but she had sent word to Kayla.

There was a knock on the door of the large shower.

“We need to get a move on, Lady Varanin.” Grien said. The tone in her voice told Ashin that there wasn’t going to be much arguing with her.

This wasn’t going to be good. Every once in a while, Ashin wasn’t that fond of the fact that the people that she had surrounded herself were just so damned good. Granted, that was the reason why she had recruited them in the first place, after all. Made getting her way a bit trying sometimes. Thankfully, they only tried it once in a while. Which meant that if she could suffer through this, Grien would get off her back for quite some time. It had it’s benefits, though it definitely had it’s drawbacks. First and foremost being the fact that she would probably have to do what Grien had asked for. That didn’t mean that she wasn’t going to voice her disapproval with the situation though.

“It’s like you want me to choke on all the chemicals in these products. This is ridiculous.” Ashin said, raising her voice to match Grien’s own.

“...Or I want you to look presentable.”

“I’m a damned Sith Lord. I can look however I want to.” Ashin said, grumpily. She threw her arms up in the shower, even though she knew that Grien couldn’t see the action. “I’m being managed by my own underlings.”

“I heard that!”

With a sigh, and because she knew Grien wouldn’t take no for an answer, Ashin went to work.

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:19 am

“Gods, you look so much better.”

She felt better, but Ashin wasn’t about to tell Grien that. She sat in front of a mirror, wearing a robe. But it was not the coarse robe material that she was used to. No, it was wool from some sheep from some planet. Ashin sat, while an attendant brushed out long locks of brown hair. Ashin stared into the mirror as the work progressed.

“Grien, what do you think about the situation? This whole Naboo thing. It seems rushed. At the same time, Nuwheii’s plan seems well thought out and it looks like it can be executed. Assuming all goes accordingly, and the New Republic would never find out.”

“You don’t trust your instincts?” Grien asked.

“I do, but at the same time, I can feel the Light Side of the Force again. It’s...dangerous and it can leave me with blind spots. I’ve spent quite a while learning to operate without it.” Ashin said and the two women looked at each other through their reflections in the mirror.

Grien shrugged slowly. “It will be difficult, that’s true. Calan Nuwheii’s gambit is a dangerous one, that’s for sure. The New Republic has to be sensing something is wrong. If Calan has a plan like this in place and in motion, then the NRI has to have something. They have to have some reports. Whether they’re actionable or not, that’s something else entirely. I’ll have Tiranya see what she can dig up. But for now, it’s time to put on your dress.”

“I hate dresses.” Ashin said, grimacing. “They get in the way.”

“That’s because you don’t act very feminine.” Grien said, blinking and holding a hand up. Her facial features told Ashin that she wasn’t kidding either.

“For good reason.”

“Come now, Lady Varanin. I bet if a certain Nagai was-”

“Does the entire galaxy think that I’m...?” Ashin asked, exasperatedly trailing off. She was almost ready to throw her hands up in the air. Which was fairly out of character for her, all things considered.

“Well, not the entire...” Grien said, trailing off.

“Oh shut up. Get the fething dress.”

It was a dark, deep blue dress, one that matched the color of her eyes. A soft, satiny material, the lace work was tremendous. There was a matching set of Gungan pearl earrings and necklace to complement it. Daring where it could be, but modest overall. Ashin had to admit that it did suit her and her personality. But then again, Grien had her position for a reason. She was the person who could have pulled this off.

“Ashin Carde Varanin, your attire for the evening.”

“Curse you. It’s very pretty. I said the word, ‘pretty’.” Ashin said.

“Things can only get better from here.”

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:55 am

Ashin wasn’t one to drink. She enjoyed a drink here and there, but never to excess. Dulled the senses and made one horrible company. That being said, she didn’t fault those who did drink. Kayla drank, a lot. Kayla was also a spacer who had an understated roughness around the edges. Ashin had a wine glass in her hands, with the same amount of wine that had been in the glass for the whole evening. She’d barely sipped at it. It was good, a vintage from Naboo that had been bottled from before the Clone Wars, but she didn’t intend to do much drinking this evening. The place where they were having this event, in Theed, was opulent, to say the least. The floors were marble, the gold leaf work on the ceiling was exquisite, and there was more money in one of the rooms than had been present in an entire district of slums back on Trevel’ka.

She walked through the party, looking at the different people that were there. Very few people recognized her, and that was good. It wasn’t often that Ashin walked through a room, and a small minority of the people were the only ones who recognized her. Ashin mingled where she had to, and spoke when she needed to. The waiting game was what she was playing at this point. Calan Nuwheii had not been seen so far during the events of the evening, and she was interested in seeing when the man was going to show up.

More importantly than that, she wanted to know when the one chosen by Calan was going to be here. It was one thing to talk about politics of the galaxy. It was something else to talk about the politics of one system, and one planet. After a while, Ashin knew that she was going to get bored.

Turning, she felt the presence, before she saw the man. Calan walked into the room, and headed towards her. “Lady Varanin, good evening.” He said. “How does the evening find you?” He asked.

“I’m starting to get bored.” Ashin said. “This is interesting and all, but let’s do what I came here to do.” She said. “You wanted to introduce me to that woman you were telling me all about. I came to meet her.”

“Indeed, Lady Varanin.” Nuwheii said with a smile. “If you would come with me?” He asked, and Ashin nodded. They cut through the milling throngs of people, and headed up a flight of stairs. Soon they were in a room, by themselves. Except that they weren’t. Ashin saw that there was a balcony, and that a young woman was standing on the balcony, her back to the two of them.

The woman wore a silver gown, and had dark hair. Her hair was up, with various curls. She wore a silver and black gemmed necklace. Turning, she saw Ashin, and the two women locked eyes.

“Lady Varanin, may I introduce Satya Arshayla, the future Queen of Naboo.”

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:36 pm

Ashin walked around the girl, and sized her up. She gave the girl a critical appraisal, not bothering for how the girl felt about it. For her part, it was obvious that Satya was used to inspections such as these, but felt that it was different than the rest, considering the person who was conducting it. Varanin ended where she had began, standing in front of the girl. “She’s skinny enough to be a noble. Feth, don’t you eat, girl?” She asked, and then waved a hand, not caring about the answer. “Rhetorical. How old are you?” She asked.

“I’m twenty.” Satya replied.

“Excellent age to be a monarch, with constitutionally limited powers. My word, I think I'm going to feel like Ember with Jace Vintari.” She said.

“I’m sorry?” Satya asked, confused, the first time her face had showed some kind of emotion.

“Don’t mind me, I’m talking to myself. I do that sometimes.” Ashin said.

“I thought you said that she was a Dark Lord of the Sith.” Satya asked, looking at Calan.

Ashin had to grin at that. “Ms. Arshayla, I hate to be the one to ruin the fantasy, but not all Sith Lords are old, wrinkly, smell like weeks old Bantha cheese, and are men.” She said. She stepped in closer. “Trust me, I’m all Sith where it counts. But I’m above childish displays of power.” She said, and then make a tsk noise when Satya involuntarily flinched and took a step back. “Now, now, that’s no way for a Queen to behave. I thought Calan had you trained better than that.”

Satya visibly bristled. “I have been well trained.”

“Holo records don’t show Padme Amidala bristling or flinching when spoken to by those Neimoidians. I’m hardly as intimidating as them. I’m wearing a dress for goodness sake.” Ashin said and then the smile grew on her face. “So you want to be a queen. But you understand that you’re more of a puppet and you’re okay with me being the one who controls the strings. We’re clear so far?” She asked.

“I will act in the best interest of my people. An alliance with-“

“Don’t confuse paying me lip service and having some kind of an answer, even if it’s a shoddy one, with having a backbone. That’s what Amidala had. I can teach you, to have a backbone. But first I need to know that we won’t play games. We won’t, will we?” Ashin asked, raising an eyebrow and opening her arms with a palms up gesture.

Satya paused and considered, wetting her lips. After a few moments, she spoke, her tone even, her voice level. She had raised her chin as well, matching Ashin's eyes with her own. “No, I don’t think we will, Lady Varanin.”

The Sith smiled a predatory smile. “Good. Because when I play games, people die. I don’t think you’d like that, Queen Arshayla.” Ashin turned her head, and spoke to Nuwheii, keeping her eyes on Satya. “I’ve seen enough.”

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Sun May 04, 2014 3:57 pm

The sun was up, and Ashin was up with it. She was in the Lake Country of Naboo, and she stepped out on to the balcony of the villa that she was residing in. Breathing in deeply, she closed her eyes and allowed herself a few moments to stretch. Turning, she left the balcony and walked downstairs in a common area that had a large, wooden table. The dark, luscious wood was covered with an array of different breakfast foods. Ashin saw Satya sitting and eating. The girl had recently woken up, it was obvious, to see. The young girl looked up and acknowledged Ashin’s presence with a head nod, but then did nothing. The Sith Lord frowned, eyes narrowing as she continued to walk into the room. The girl did nothing, still.

So Ashin used the Force to pull the chair out from underneath the girl. Then she went about selecting a few hard-boiled eggs, pleased with herself.

“What the…What was that for?” Satya asked, indignant.

“When your superiors walk into a room, you stand when you greet them.” Ashin said, voice cool and crisp. “That should be simple court etiquette, and you and I are not on a good enough basis for you to forget it. Lesson number one, respect is given, and earned.” She said.

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“Then let’s think about it. Someone may not respect another person, but they may need to give that respect. There will be people who don’t respect you as Queen, but when you walk into a room, they will show you that respect, because they should.” Ashin said, now choosing some cooked meats.

“Appearances are everything.” Satya said, setting the chair back upright and sitting back down.

“Precisely.” Ashin replied, finally sitting, plate laden with food. Politics always made her famished. It was a good thing she wasn't going to be footing the bill for all of this. But before she started eating, she spoke one more time. “Respect the title or the office, even if you don’t always respect the person.”

“I’ll keep it in mind.” Satya said, watching Ashin crack one of the eggs. The Naboo woman couldn't help the question that she asked next. “Is it true that your blood is poison?” She asked. "I've heard stories."

Ashin paused, before selecting a flake of shell from the reddish blue egg and flicking it onto the plate. She bit into the egg and chewed, considering things before swallowing and speaking.

“It was. Not anymore. We’re not here to talk bout me. We’re here because you need to learn how to be a politician. A better one than you may already be.” She said. “You will need to learn when and where to ask certain questions, and when asking those questions will be most beneficial to you, outside of the wealth gained by some modicum of knowledge. Calan is going to be starting that vote of no confidence soon, and you need to be ready.”

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:02 am

Satya Arshayla was coming along nicely. It had been two weeks since she and Ashin had come to the Lake Country, and the tutelage was going well. Now that they had gotten over Satya’s apparent entitlement hiccup, the girl was learning and learning voraciously. They conversed in a very dialectical method, with questions and answers being thrown from both sides. It seemed as if from when they woke up, from breakfast, to when they went to sleep, the two were discussing the politics of conservatism versus liberalism, arguing over the merits of one socially conscious thought or another, and debating the myriad of values that a society could hold. Satya was proving to be a sharp tongued adversary and one that had some kind of answer for everything. It could be very trying.

Ashin was in heaven.

The two of them were walking through a field, where there were wild animals grazing, not paying any attention to the two humans who traversed the plains. As it was, the two women weren’t paying much attention to the animals either. They were discussing currently the value of the police state and the ideological argument of sacrificing liberty for security. A potent argument, no doubt, one that could go either way. Ashin, in traditional fashion, took the counter point to whatever position her pupil took. Satya, in true Naboo fashion, was arguing for more freedoms.

“…I don’t understand what you mean.” Ashin said, shaking her head. “Advocating for more freedoms is creating a melting pot of thought, and that thought can be particularly dangerous to the government.”

“But the problem is that government is not in place to secure itself, but instead to safeguard the liberties of the people.” Satya replied. “A government can only exist while it has the trust of the people.”

“Agreed, but if the government does not work to ensure it’s own future, it’s own permanency, how can it fulfill it’s obligation to safeguard the liberties of the people?” Ashin asked, rhetorically. “Consider the history of the Republic. The isolationist and complacent tendencies of the government, leading up to the Clone Wars are a prime example of what I’m talking about. By not properly protecting itself, through laws and force, and by relying on the Jedi Order to be its true police force, the Republic allowed an organization such as the Trade Federation to become so powerful that it could interfere with a system’s way of life and rule of law.” She said.

“That’s different than what we’re discussing.” Satya replied. “The Trade Federation had a Sith Lord who was assisting them.”

“Yes, but how many regulations and legislation did Palpatine actually put forward that aided the Trade Federation? Relatively few. He utilized the system that was already in place to accomplish his goals. The result was that your people suffered.” Ashin said.

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:40 pm

“How has her studies progressed?” Calan asked. He looked out from where he stood on the balcony, down at the girl below, who was reading from a book. His eyes shifted, to the Sith Lord who was on the balcony with him, drinking from a glass of local wine. “Can the plan progress?” He asked.

Ashin considered, frowning slightly, as she moved her head from side to side, the motion slow, almost lackadaisical. “She is moving along, faster than I thought she would. Her ability to retain information and to use it eloquently is exceptional. It is her eloquence that has been most surprising so far.”

“She was trained to be a politician, in the Naboo style.” Calan replied.

“I understand that.” Ashin said. “But I didn’t think that when I introduced her to ideas that were counter to the Naboo’s faith in freedom, that she would be able to consider them as not only functional but acceptable. I figured that her early nature and nurture would be too strong against this new school of thought.” Ashin said. “I need her to realize that she needs to be like a Naboo on the outside, but on the inside, she needs to have the mentality of a Sith.”

Calan nodded. “You haven’t answered my question, Lady Varanin.”

A smile flitted over her features as she walked up to the balcony’s edge and looked down herself at Satya. Ashin’s eyes clouded over for a moment, before looking back at Calan. “I think she’s ready. You may proceed with the next stage of the plan, Mr. Nuwheii.” She said.

He smiled and started to walk away, before stopping, close to the door. “Might I trouble you to make an appearance at an event, Lady Varanin?” He asked. “You do not need to be there as yourself.”

“Who is going to be there?” She asked.

“A number of different politicians. Maybe a few members of Queen Avondale’s administration.”

“Yes, I’ll be in attendance.”

It would be useful. Ashin would be able to pull information from and influence the minds of the people in attendance at the event. All she needed was to be around them, and she would start to pick up what she needed. Furthermore, Ashin needed to start influencing the minds of those who decided policy, since she would need them on her side when they started their coup. Otherwise, this coup would be pointless, and over very soon. Her young charge locked up, no doubt, charged with treason.

But that was not how Ashin saw things playing out, not at all.

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Wed Jul 30, 2014 4:15 am

The theme of the event was something to do with the magic of the night. To fit the theme, Grien had obtained a dress that looked the part. It was a floor length gown that flared outwards and forced Ashin to take small steps. Sewn into the gown at the bottoms were ovals that glowed, like stars in the sky. The Sith Lord walked into the event, with one of the valets as her escort. She had come alone, and Ashin walked through the large, opulent hall, taking in the sights. If the last event of Calan’s planning had been luxurious, then this one made that look like a meal in the slums of Trevel’ka. She was here for a reason, but for a moment or two, Ashin allowed herself to soak it all in.

Then she got to work.

Meandering through the crowd at an insufferably slow pace, Ashin picked up he various conversations that were being shared by the people in the place. Like a discerning harvester moving through a vineyard, she examined each gathering of words, evaluating it to decide whether it was worthy of more time and focus. Some she discarded, finding their topics mundane or the people inept. Others gave her no indication that the people themselves would bear fruit for her endeavors. But some, some were golden opportunities.

Accepting a flute of some vintage, Ashin started on a lazy path back through the party, tuning out the noise of the party. Hagron might have considered it an interesting concert of sound, the conversations of the partygoers. In a sense, Ashin was preparing to tune, to harmonize with the threads that weaved their way through the courtesans of Naboo.

She walked, sipping from her wine, the rote action actually helping to keep her focused. Five small steps and then the Sith Lord took a sip. The information that she had in her mind would work well given the people that were in the room. Some received subtle thoughts. There was one man who was upset with another due to some investment loss, thanks to speculation in a particular security. Ashin hinted, sowing seeds in the first man’s mind, that maybe there were machinations at hand, and that not everything was as it seemed.

Like a master puppeteer, the woman sometimes known as Darth Ashera continued her walk, letting her feelers delve deeper into the minds of the people in the room. As she walked, she saw Calan, on the upper level of the room, and she tipped her glass in his direction as acknowledgement.

He gave her a solitary nod and went back to the discussion that he himself was holding.

Which gave her a wicked, wicked idea.

So Ashin slowly started to make her way towards him, to see whether his conversation could be gathered into the harvester’s basket.

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:15 pm

Calan turned, sensing that someone was joining the group that stood on the upper level. His guest turned as well, entranced by the movements of Ashin Varanin as she walked up the winding staircase. He smiled as she made her way to him. “It is good to see you, my dear.” He said, exchanging pleasantries with her.

“I can say the same for you.” Ashin replied. “Who is your friend?” She asked, looking at the well-dressed man that accompanied Calan.

“Ah, this is Maximilian Grendel. He’s one of the higher ups in the management department at Theed Engineering Corps.” Calan said, indicating his guest. “We’ve been discussing the new upgrades that are being added to the various starfighters of the Royal Security Force.” He added.

“Oh they’re nothing major, just the standard mark ups that happen when newer technology is released.” Maximilian said, with a wave. “The majority of the time it’s all software upgrades and patches, no change to the hardware. It’s not like technology just makes leaps and bounds in the span of a year or two.” He said, genially.

“I would hope not. My datapad would be obsolete then.” Ashin said with a laugh.

“Calan, you haven’t introduced your lovely guest.” Maximilian said, regarding Ashin with an interested eye.

“Indeed, I haven’t. This is an associate of mine who works on Mon Calamari as part of the Ministry Council, Sera Valhi.” Calan said. “She’s here to listen to our issues with the current…administration, if one could call it that, and take it back to the New Republic.”

“I’m working hand in hand with the Senator of Naboo.” Ashin said, nodding in agreement with what Calan had said. It was a cover that they had discussed prior to the event, since this event would have Ashin interacting with more people than the last one. She saw the look on Maximilian’s face change, as he now held her in a higher level of importance than he had before. The work that she was doing would be very influential, and he was always on the lookout to help raise the off world value of Theed Engineering Corporation. Especially since doing that would help his own career.

The look in his eyes was hunger, but a hunger that Ashin understood well. Ambition was something that the Sith found in many of their acolytes and converts, and though she could sense no Force sensitivity in the man, the ambition was something that was easy to read from him.

“I believe that you and I will need to have some in depth discussions, then.” Maximilian said.

“Of that, I have no doubt.” Ashin said, with a small smile.

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Re: The Kingdom

Post by Mir » Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:05 pm

Her path around the event had wound to an end. Ashin was ready to leave the place, having sunk her tethers into the people that she needed to. The people that were here were starting to bore her. It was simply a matter of having different experiences and having different values. One of the many reasons why she had worked hard to curtail the level of lavishness that she lived upon. It felt foreign to her. So she was eager to get away from this event and head back to the Lake Country. Besides, her pupil was more interesting than more than half of the people in the room. Raw clay, and willing to be molded in the right way. Simply put, Satya Arshayla was very refreshing.

Ashin was walking out, when someone walking the opposite direction reached out and touched her. She looked up at the man and her eyes widened a little bit. How had he been here and she hadn’t picked up on it?

“Ashin.” Darth Atreyu said. “What are you doing on Naboo?” He asked. “I didn’t think I’d find you here.” He said.

“Darion.” Ashin replied, using his real name. “Good to see you too.” She said.

There was history there. Not necessarily between the two of them, though there was, but they had moved in similar circles in years past. A lot of the connection had to do with the Rekali patriarch who sat on the Jedi Council. But that wasn’t to say that they hadn’t been around each other in the past. Ashin had been part of the group that had brought Darion’s master, Moroiny Traverts back from the dead. In return, Moroiny had brought over the Detori Order and had joined the Central Command Operatives.

For his part, Darion, under the moniker that he had adopted, Darth Atreyu, had done work for the CCOs and the Sith Empire since then. He was a valuable member of the CCOs. There was something more important than that though.

Ashin had absolutely no idea why he was here.

“You didn’t answer my question.” Atreyu said.

“You’re right.” She said, acknowledging the fact with a nod. “I’m here on personal business.” Ashin said. “Members of my personal organization, the Hands of the Leafghost, that helps me run everything in my life, are from Naboo. I myself have connections to some of the noble houses.” She said. “Why are you here?” She asked.

“I’m here, because I was sent here.” Atreyu replied. “Apparently there have been reports of problems on Naboo. Seems as though the CCO higher ups are interested. You should know that though, shouldn’t you?” He asked, raising an eyebrow. “Considering your position and all.”

Well now, wasn’t that just peachy.

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