Star Wars: Concord's End

2 years prior to The Force Awakens...
A persistent and interactive galaxy set shortly before the events of Episode VII

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:59 pm

Ossica let out a sibilant hiss between sharp teeth. "Charles Marik has been so focused on his own rise to power, he has forgotten all else. If his intentions were for the glory of House Sage, he would have relinquished control to the Descendant immediately. By choosing not to do so, he has offended the Messryn and any of like minds. We follow the Descendant and House Sage. We do not follow Charles Marik. I know there are a group of my people that take refuge in the city. They will gladly help in supporting her. Perhaps if you can distract Charles Marik and keep his attention away from the Descendant, I can assist in her escape. I have been here a few times, and am not disliked among the house staff."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:04 pm

A group of Messryn in the city, that was a start. The problem was getting them past the wall. Galen leaned forward, his hands steepled together and pressed against his lips as he thought. At the moment they didn't have enough information. Charles held the advantage here but surely not every guard on the estate was under his influence. Perhaps some of them could be persuaded to flip.

"We need allies from inside of the estate. I'll talk to the staff and the guards and try to get a feel for where they stand. If you can, try to get a message to your people in the city. Have them spread news of Charles' treachery. For now it's probably best if the two of us avoid being seen together. Should I need to speak with you again I'll have a servant contact you."

He stood and started to leave pausing suddenly and then looking back at the Messryn. "One last thing," he said, his tone sounding a bit sullen, "The guards outside the Princess' room have standing orders to forbid me entrance. Charles knows my loyalty is in question so could you... Could you talk to her? Let her know she's not alone?"

Ossica nodded in response and Galen turned and left without another word...

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:01 pm

Ossica nodded to Galen as he departed, then stood, making his own way out of the rendezvous spot.

Iselia was a strange place. A city, a planet, a palace, all in one. While the palace was technically separated from the city by means of walls and gates, it was all part of the same biodome, and they both shared the same defenses and atmosphere. The separation of the city from the palace was really nothing more than a psychological separation, different chambers of the same house.

Many of the technologies used in the construction of this place were beyond the understanding of the current occupants, at least in the sense that there was no hope of replicating it. It was how such a sizeable colony had been able to remain hidden, and had been able to survive in a dense asteroid field without suffering from collisions. The secrets of the technology were largely lost, but there were still some secrets that had been found. And some of Ossica's people had been the finders of these. Supposedly, there were some passages that allowed travel -not comfortable travel, but travel nevertheless- underneath the promenades of the city proper. If he could get a hold of one of his agents, they could probably guide him to an escape route for the Descendant.

It took him a few minutes to find a familiar face, but soon he found a pretty servant girl he recognized.

"Kaessi, my friend." He greeted her where she was working, tending to the plants that grew under the artificial lights of Iselia. "I have great need of you."

The girl looked up at Ossica, giving him a smile. "Ossica, I didn't know you were coming here."

"It had not been my intention, but circumstances changed very quickly, and I am climbing as fast as I can to keep up with the flying changes."

The nuances of his analogy were lost on her, but she got the general idea. "What can I do for you?"

"You must pass this message to Trikk in the city, yes. It is vitally important that he gets it as quickly as possible, but it must not be intercepted." Ossica handed her a folded note. Kaessi's hands were dirty, but she took the note anyways, folding it again and tucking it in her waistband. "We must be very cautious, Charles Marik is back, and... I fear violence could happen. Yes, terrible violence."

Kaessi frowned. "This sounds heavy."

"It is vitally important." He repeated. "That is all I can tell you right now."

She nodded. "I will move it as quick as I can. It will probably be at least an hour until it's out of the palace, though."

"I understand. I must be going." Ossica turned to move away from her. "Use caution."

Ossica stepped away, not wanting to be observed lingering around the hired help needlessly. He took a quick trip to the wine cellars, procuring a bottle of wine and a small tray of appetizers before making his way to the suite where Felicity was being held. He stepped up to the guard at the door.

"Greetings, guardian. I have been instructed to provide refreshment to the Descendant. I am unarmed, as you may verify for yourself if you so choose."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:58 pm

The guard looked at Ossica top to bottom but said nothing. Finally he turned around and waved a small access card in front of a sensor by the door to Felicity's chamber releasing the maglock. The doors slid open permitting Ossica entrance. When he entered Felicity was not in the front room, or anywhere easily visible.

He checked her private study and found no sign of her then moved to the bedroom. "Descendant," he called out for her.

Felicity was in the bedroom where she had torn apart one of the lamps. She had two wires in her hand leading from the broken lamp to the wall and was standing next to one of the windows. When she heard Ossica's voice she jumped as she was pressing the wires together against the force field. The resulting shock had touched her skin sending a sharp jolt through her body with enough force to throw her clear across the room as the lights flickered off then back on again.

Ossica set the wine and appetizers down then immediately rushed to her side. "Descendant, are you alright?"

There was no response. He checked her pulse and there was nothing. Working fast he laid her flat and began giving her CPR, pumping her heart for her. After a few moments she coughed and her eyes fluttered open.

"Well, that was fun," she said wryly as she tried pulling herself up into a sitting position with Ossica's help.

"What were you doing," he asked.

Felicity clawed her way up to her feet, her legs wobbling slightly as she moved back towards the window. "Breaking out," she said, "Or trying to, at least. If you run a large enough current through a force field it should short it out."

She rapped her knuckles on the force field twice then frowned. "Apparently that wasn't enough."

She moved over to the side of her oversized bed then fell onto it, her arm laid across her forehead. "So, why are you here," she asked, looking down the length of her body at Ossica.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:39 pm

Ossica watched her with obvious concern as she moved. He was no expert on humans, but he knew that any sort of cardio resuscitation was a very traumatic experience for the body, usually resulting in cracked or broken ribs, if not worse injury. Still, she seemed to be moving easily enough, though he imagined the pain would set in later as the adrenaline wore off.

"I am here to let you know you are not alone." He spoke after a moment, watching her closely. He could not be certain this room was not being monitored, so he had to pick his words carefully. "I do not wish you to doubt that the Messryn people stand with you. We recognize your birthright, your authority as it was passed down to you. We do not need a ring or ceremony to recognize you as our sovereign. We will be ready to act on your behalf at a moment's notice. Do you understand?"

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:45 pm

Felicity sat up a bit and looked at him. There he was going on about that whole sovereign thing again. She let out an exasperated sigh and fell back onto the bed. She didn't ask for this, she didn't ask for any of this and if she could just give it away she would. Maybe to Ossica or to Galen. Either one of them would almost certainly be a better choice, right? Why did it have to be her? Why were so many people counting on her?

"This was easier when I was just a nobody," she whispered to herself but just loud enough for Ossica to hear, "I know I spent so many nights looking up at the sky wishing for something more but this... I don't know the first thing about leading a House, I'd just screw it all up."

She rolled over onto her side, her left hand unconsciously rubbing her bruised ribs as her memories lingered on thoughts of Ord Mantell. The situations weren't quite the same but back then things were desperate and she had an army of people willing to lay down their lives for her just as they were now and look where that got them. Sure they did some irreparable damage to the First Order's operation on Ord Mantell but at what cost? A dozen people dead, even more who were injured and they weren't even able to remove the First Order's presence from the planet. All the First Order has to do is dig another mine, but the people she lost, the people who trusted her, put their faith in her, they're never coming back.

"Ossica, why do you trust me so much," she asked in a small voice after a moment of silence had passed. As she spoke her hand tightened around the collar of her blouse, "You nearly killed yourself trying to protect me and you don't even know who I am."

He opened his mouth to respond but even before the response had formulated in his mind Felicity saw the look in his eyes and she knew exactly what he was going to say. "Look I know you think I'm some great leader from your prophecy, but I'm not," she said, heading him off before he could say what he was thinking. "I'm dangerous," she continued, a pained expression on her face, "People have died because of me and I can't ask you or your people to do the same, I just can't. Not again. So I appreciate the offer, really I do, but I prefer to handle this alone."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:36 pm

"You do not have to ask for my people to risk themselves for you. They will. Without question, without doubt, yes." Ossica replied quietly after the barest of pauses. "You did not ask to be who you are. A heavy burden is placed upon you, yes. But perhaps I can give you a different perspective."

He stood, moving over towards the window of her suite, which loomed over the sprawling gardens. "My people have spent generations in oppression. Some of them have been in actual slavery, to the likes of House Rosario and Borrocor. Some have been in much more of a subtle slavery, captivated by our sense of duty, to those like Charles Marrik. Others have been forced into hiding in the deep wildernesses, where we dare not even have permanent dwellings, for fear of capture. Such is the legacy of my people, because we were allied with House Sage, and when it fell, we fell with it. The other Houses decided that we were agents of evil, good only for subjugation and servitude. Despite House Sage being long a name forgotten, my people were still punished for the crimes of its members."

He turned back to her, drawing a slow breath. "The only thing that kept hope kindled in us all was the Dawning Prophecy. We knew that a new day would come for House Sage, and we would not be left to suffer, yes. I know this words are not ones that you wish to hear, but you must play your part in the events to come: end our suffering through annihilation, or end our servitude to the undeserving. If you choose to run from this choice, then you leave an entire people without hope and toiling in despair. I do not believe you want that."

Ossica placed a clawed hand on her shoulder. "I know this is not fair, but Destiny favors some more than others, and fairness seldom enters in to it."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:39 pm

Felicity listened to every word he had said, that is until the mention of annihilation. The thought that their prophecy suggested she might kill them all alarmed her and she immediately sat bolt upright, her eyes wide and mouth agape. "Annihila--," she started, unable to finish the word, "I could never..."

Her words trailed off as a thought occurred to her. More of a memory, actually. It was the cold fear she felt in the presence of Kylo Ren. Her mentor, Renn Corso, had described that feeling as the dark side of the Force and had said that Kylo and his Knights of Ren were all seduced by it. That meant she could be seduced by it as well and she immediately had an image in her head of herself wearing all black wielding a red lightsaber with a twisted expression on her face to match the darkness within. She knew it was there, she could feel it. Every time she saw something unjust and wanted to do something about it, usually something violent as that was really the only way she knew how to solve those particular problems.

Could it really be so easy? She had a deep feeling of unease in her gut and for the moment the weight of Ossica's words were lost on her. Something in her eyes must have seemed off because when Ossica spoke next he was calling her by her prophecy imposed title and asking if she was alright. When Felicity looked up at him he looked like he had a worried expression on his face, though it was a bit hard to tell given his nonhuman features.

"I--I'm fine," she said as she got up from the bed and walked into the other room. She grabbed the tray of refreshments on her way and nibbled on something from the plate as she walked. She was sitting down on the plush couch that dominated the room as Ossica followed behind. She took another bite of something from the plate then set the rest down atop the table in front of her. Then she did something very unlady-like. She leaned back into the couch and put her feet up on the edge of the table.

"Ossica," she said in a quiet voice after a moment had passed. She still held the toothpick from the piece of cheese she had just eaten and her eyes were fixed on it as she turned it over between her finger and thumb. "Do you know why House Sage fell? I mean, I think I know some of it, but I...," she trailed off again not knowing where she was going with this. She already knew why House Sage fell, or at least she had a feeling about what it could have been. It was the dark side that had caused her family's untimely demise, did she really need Ossica to confirm it? To substantiate the fear that the darkness was already in her blood?

She shook her head and tossed the toothpick onto the table. "No, never mind. It's just--Galen said something to me after we left House Rosario. He said if it wasn't for Marcus Sage's usurpation of the capital I would have been born here instead of out there and I just can't help but think if that were true would I be any different? Could I have become someone like Prince Rosario?"

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:04 am

Ossica was mildly surprised by this shift of focus within the girl, but he did not dwell on it long, but rather gave her a small shrug, the strong muscles in his shoulders pronouncing themselves in the gesture even through the fur that covered them.

"Such questions are well beyond my answering, yes. My belief is that you could not be anything except for what you are. Destiny is set, and we will perform the actions we are meant to, to become who we were meant to be."

Stepping closer again, he spoke a little lower. "Now, however, is not quite the time for such talks. There are preparations to be made, and things to be done if you are to side step the avails of Charles Marrik."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:57 am

Ossica's response was perhaps not as comforting as she would have liked it to be. Felicity was still a bit dubious on the concept of destiny, she preferred to believe that her fate was what she made it. Even if that weren't the case, though, if it was her destiny to become someone like Prince Rosario, which was still entirely possible since she was only eighteen, then there was nothing she could do about it. Either way, that feeling of unease refused to go away but at the very least Ossica gave her something else to focus on.

"I need to know where they're keeping Au--," she stopped herself short suddenly after remembering the way Ossica had been carefully choosing his words earlier. He must have suspected that Charles was listening in. Wait, she thought to herself, he is just listening in, right? She knew that there were ways to listen in on a conversation discreetly, but she also knew that there were ways to also watch a conversation.

There were servants in here earlier helping me change and if Charles or someone else was watching me... Almost as soon as the thought appeared in her mind her cheeks began to burn a bright red and she quickly looked around the room for any signs of a holocamera but found none. That did nothing to assuage her concerns, though, and when she spoke next her embarrassment was still clearly visible on her face.

"My friends," she finished sheepishly, "I need to know where my friends are--and I need to know that they're okay. Charles he--he threatened to hurt them if I refused to marry him and as long as he has them I can't fight back."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:41 pm

Rescuing the others would of course add a layer of complication to the situation, but Ossica did not imagine there would be any negotiation on that point. From what little he had heard from the house staff, he had a general idea as to where they were, so it would probably just come down to a matter of timing. It would be unlikely that he could make any contact with them prior to the actual rescue, as any communication know would just rouse suspicion.

"I will see to their safety personally, my lady." Ossica said. If anyone was actively monitoring their conversation, they were probably suspicious by now, but there was nothing for it. He would just have to be one step ahead. "Now if you will excuse me, I have many preparations to make for the night's festivities, yes. Things will happen quickly, so be ready always."

***********

Admiral Tes Keirgarde stood on the bridge of the Trenchant, the Vanray Shipyards Heavy Cruiser that served as the flagship for Azure Fleet as the fleet dropped from hyperspace at the edge of Rosario space. They were still approximately thirty hours from Emris, but around this small, barren world they had arrived at orbited a small Rosario naval outpost. The station was little more than a customs station for interdicting pirates or smugglers, certainly not up to the task of stopping the momentum of a fully deployed war fleet.

Still, combat was not why Keirgarde had stopped here. She turned to the communications officer nearby and nodded. Long distance communications required the use of Correspondence technology, which had its share of problems, and the same went for hyperspace communications. Since no one had been able to make contact with the Rosario capitol through official channels, Keirgarde decided to cut out the middle man and speak with a Rosario representative directly.

"Get me their commanding officer." The aging Admiral said, her hard blue eyes fixed on the viewscreen displaying the station, which had not yet reacted to their presence. Apparently a war fleet showing up was not something they had expected today.

There was a pause of several minutes, during which the Admiral could only imagine the amount of panic taking place on the station, and finally the communication officer nodded. "I have him online, ma'am."

A holographic image sprang to life of a man half wearing a Rosario uniform, the shirt unbuttoned, the pants barely belted. Keirgarde vaguely wondered why he had even put that much effort in to it. She did not, however, hesitate.

"Whom am I addressing?"

"Uh.. Uh, this is Lieutenant Braxlen. I-"

Keirgarde didn't wait. "Lieutenant Braxlen, I have a very important message for you to relay up your chain of command. Let them know that Admiral Keirgarde of House Kyne is dispatched to Emris with a fleet, and two more fleets are staging nearby. We are not interested in war, but we will cut a swathe through everything that stands between us and Lady Autumn Kyne. We expect to find her unharmed at Emris and have her returned to us with her entourage immediately upon our arrival. If that is not the case, we will be forced to land an occupation army and recover her by any means necessary. If we meet any resistance in space or on the ground, we will not hesitate nor will we show mercy. Is this understood?"

"Yes, but I h-" The Lieutenant started to speak, but the Admiral cut him off again.

"Just deliver your message, Lieutenant."

At the Admiral's signal, the comms officer killed the connection.

"Continue on our course for Emris. We are giving them plenty of time to establish an ambush so I want everyone at full alert and ready to start swinging the second we are out of hyperspace." Admiral Keirgarde's words were acknowledged with a chorus of "Yes ma'am"s and the fleet lurched back into hyperspace as a scowl descended on her face. She did not like this, going blindly to a place where the enemy was expecting her, but this was a mission that would succeed at any cost. Her instructions had been clear: if House Rosario showed any resistance or reluctance to returning Autumn, she was to make them suffer. And that was exactly what she intended to do.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:38 pm

Be ready, Felicity asked herself, ready for what? She opened her mouth to ask him not to do anything rash but he was already on his way out of the room. As the doors slid shut behind him she fell back into the couch with a sigh. There had to be a way out of here, all she had to do was keep looking. Problem was even if she found it she would only be putting her friends in danger unless she was certain she could get to them before Charles. Whether she liked to admit it or not she needed Ossica's help and probably the help of his friends. Even so the thought of putting their lives in danger for her own selfish reasons did not sit well with her.

She grumbled quietly to herself then reached out to grab a piece of meat from the platter on the table and popped it into her mouth. She tossed the toothpick onto the table with the other and leaned back as she chewed, all the while thinking about Autumn and her words back on Emris, the sense of betrayal she must have felt. Would she even trust me if I tried to help her? The thought that she might not hurt probably more than it should have, but she pushed that feeling aside. It didn't matter if Autumn trusted her or not, what mattered was keeping her promise to Ethan...

**********

"Any news from the surface," Admiral Seth Carrington asked as he looked out the view port at the planet Emris. There was some stirring behind him at the coms station and the officer manning it shook his head.

"None, Sir," the man replied, "Sensors are picking up weapon discharges all across the capital city with the heaviest fighting occurring around the castle. Without any further information to go off of all signs appear to point towards a full scale attack being carried out on our House's capital."

But how did they penetrate so deeply into our territory without being discovered? Could this really have been the work of invaders? "Dispatch troops to the surface to establish a beachhead. First order of business is to secure the castle and reestablish communications with Lord Rosario. Once that is done we'll move into the city and begin clearing it block by block."

As his second in command began relaying the orders Seth lowered his gaze a bit and frowned. He knew Lord Rosario's policies were rather unpopular amongst the citizenry. The only possible explanation for how an attack of this scale could occur behind their lines would be a sudden uprising, which meant they'd be fighting against their own people, a prospect he didn't particularly enjoy. On top of that he only had one ship with him as the rest of his fleet was still parked at the House Borrocor border. When he arrived the small defense fleet surrounding the planet had been in complete disarray. He had since reorganized them but their resources had already been taxed to their limit.

If another House were to learn of what is happening... He shook his head and pushed those thoughts aside. The important thing right now was to find out whether or not Lord Rosario and his son Prince Darien were alright. If either of them fell he doubted House Rosario would survive.

"Sir," the communications officer said suddenly, "I have a report of a war fleet from House Kyne penetrating our borders. Lieutenant Braxlen of station Delta-Nine sends word that the Azure fleet is on its way to pick up their Princess. We have been ordered to hand her and her entourage over unharmed or risk open warfare with House Kyne."

Seth resisted the urge to scoff. I can't even be sure my own Lord is unharmed and you want me to guarantee the safety of your Princess, he thought wryly to himself, and the Azure fleet too. No doubt that old fossil is still in command. "Open a channel," he said.

The young ensign shook his head. "I can't, Sir. The fleet is in hyperspace on its way here. We have approximately twenty-six hours until their arrival..."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:53 am

It took Ossica about an hour to get everything prepped. Soon, there would be a shipment of electronics leaving the palace for a workshop deeper in the city. Most of the crates were filled with things in need of repairs, but thanks to a sympathetic friend in one of the loading docks, the crates would only be half full, leaving enough space for a few stowaways. Given that there were few outsiders on Iselia, security staff seldom interfered with day to day activities, so it should be a suitable way to get the captives out of the palace.

Once out the city, things would get more complicated for the Descendant, but Ossica was confident that she would be able to garner enough support to supplant Charles as leader of House Sage, with or without his cooperation.

He had two of his more trusted friends ready to subdue the guards around the Descendant and get her to the loading docks, and another ready to lead the friends of the Descendant as well. They were all poised, waiting for the appropriate time. There was a small distraction set to pop off soon, just enough to keep the security staff busy.

Marrik was the wildcard, and Ossica took it upon himself to make sure Charles did not pay too much attention to any of the guests or wasn't personally around them. He realized it would prevent him from leaving at the same time as the Descendant, but Ossica decided it was an unavoidable consequence.

"Lord Marrik, a moment of time, if you have it." Ossica called out the Charles as he was walking the hallways, even giving him the probably undeserved lordship title.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:00 pm

The door to Blake's old family home creaked as it opened. He hadn't been back here in years, not since his father's death. He sent checks home to take care of his mother and pay her rent but watching her slip further and further into her destructive behavior was just too much for him. He sighed heavily as he entered his living room. His mother was passed out on the couch and he idled near her just long enough to make sure she still had a pulse. When he was satisfied he headed up the stairs but he still had a disturbed expression on his face. Had he not needed to access his father's computer he would not have come back here at all.

There was a soft chime from his communicator as he walked up the creaking steps. He reached into his pocket and turned it on. "Hello," he asked.

"Fething hell, Blake! Where have you been?" It was Kate.

"Being detained," he said, "The KSE picked me up while I was spying on their base. They grilled me for three days before they finally let me go."

"You're lucky they didn't just shoot you. What the hell were you thinking?"

"Was trying to get a look at that ship that came in. You know the one."

There was silence for a moment and Blake could almost hear her shaking her head. "It's been weeks since that crash, Blake, it's hardly news anymore. Why are you so determined to dig into this still?"

"Because they covered it up," he said sharply.

When Kate spoke next her voice was softer. "Alright, I get it," she said, "Your dad dies and you don't know why so you need closure, but that doesn't mean you should go digging up secrets wherever you find them. That's a good way to get yourself killed."

"Look, whatever, I'm past it. Got a message from Autumn, there's no pilot. He probably died from the crash so that angle's a dead end anyway."

"So what now," she asked and though he could not see her she sounded relieved.

"Back to work," he lied, "Boss has me looking into allegations of misconduct in the oil industry."

"Well, alright. Just be careful and call me before you do something stupid again."

"Alright, Kate, I promise," he said, then he turned off the communicator and stuffed it back into his pocket.

His dad's office was pretty much how he left it. His mother rarely came in here to clean so a thick layer of dust had settled over everything. Blake walked over to the large oak desk and sat down in his father's leather chair. He never really knew what his father did for a living but he did know he was some kind of information analyst. His father had all sorts of interesting documents on his computer, a lot of which were labeled as top secret. Blake had read through as many as he could but none of them gave him any insight into why he was killed.

The only reason he was here now was because one of the guards detaining him had mentioned something that sparked a memory. Six years ago Blake had found a datachit in his father's office. It was hidden behind a false drawer that he had found only by accident. On the file were names, dates and a sequence of numbers but it never made any sense. It wasn't until he heard the guard talking about a tragic accident that had occurred years ago that it finally all came together. That accident had been covered in a news article, the name of the victim, the guard's mother, was listed in his father's code along with the date the accident occurred. The sequence of numbers were the particular issue in which the article was printed, the page number it was on and the last two numbers were a paragraph followed by a word. It was a book code, but with newspaper articles.

He powered on his dad's old computer and used his trunk line to access the backdoor he had installed in a Correspondence Guild relay. He had done this several times to try and get insider information into the inner workings of the nobility but it never actually paid off. Today it might. He accessed the guild's database where it stored old newspapers that had long been outdated. Most of this stuff was still open for public consumption but some of it had been deemed classified. He immediately began a search using some of the keywords from his father's code and shortly after the search began the program crashed and then immediately closed.

He tried to open it again with no luck and then again only to achieve the same results. Then he tried a regular holonet search only to find he couldn't access any site hosted by the Correspondence guild, which was pretty much all of them. He pulled out his communicator and called a friend of his. A short moment later there was a response. Blake wasted no time in explaining the situation to him.

"Hey, Zeb, your holonet working? I need to look up some old newspapers."

"Man, ain't no one's holonet working right now. The Correspondence Guild took their entire network offline."

That seemed a little bit strange. Every minute the network was offline was costing the Guild billions of credits. "Why the hell would they do that?"

"Someone pirated a bunch of their relays, sent out some kind of message. The guild's doing a complete system reset to erase that information from memory, but I did manage to snag a copy of the video before everything went down. Here, I'll send it to you."

Blake could hear him working a keyboard in the background and then after a moment his com chirped to let him know he had a file waiting to download. "Some serious stuff in that video, man. You make sure it gets into the right hands?"

"Um, yeah," Blake replied absently as he downloaded the video and started to play it. What he saw chilled him to the bones and after a few moments of watching he quickly turned the video off. "Look, Zeb, I gotta go, but thanks for the info."

"Any time," he said and then Blake cut the transmission.

Afterward he tried to dial in the frequency for Autumn and after waiting for what seemed like an eternity he received no response. He put in a similar call to the Kyne Estate, but they were having some kind of emergency situation and were not accepting calls. The only alternative was to go down there himself. With a sigh he powered down his father's computer and then bolted from the room. He had climbed out of his father's chair so fast that his momentum had actually set the chair to spinning. He raced down the stairs through the front door, slamming it shut with a loud bang as he went. He undoubtedly woke his mother but he didn't care. He hopped onto his swoop bike and made a beeline for the Kyne Estate.

He didn't particularly care too much for going back there, especially after all the trouble he'd been causing but this was important. He pulled up to the front gate and climbed off his swoop. Before he could get anywhere near the estate grounds, however, he was stopped by two KSE agents posted at the gate.

"I need to see Lord Kyne," he said and the guards just look at each other.

"Yeah right, kid. Just get back on your bike and beat it."

"No, you don't understand this is important," he kept walking and one of the guards reached out and forcefully stopped him.

"That's what they all say, but it doesn't matter. No one sees Lord Kyne, period."

Blake fought against the guard's grip with little avail until finally he shouted, "It's about his daughter!"

**********

Charles Marik was not pleased. He had just received word that the Correspondence Guild had detected their hack. Apparently, their inside man was careless and while they had no word about his current condition Charles suspected that it was not good. "How far did the message reach," he asked the tech sitting down at the console in front of him.

"Houses Droma, Borrocor and Vanray, maybe? It looks like it only got as far as the neighboring territories. I can say with certainty that it has not reached House Kyne or Ducant yet."

Charles resisted the urge to swear. Nearly twenty three hours since his attack on House Rosario and only three Houses had received his message? He concentrated his anger for a moment and then finally let it ebb. "I suppose it doesn't matter," he said, "News will travel regardless of the Correspondence Guild's interference. Either way, keep me apprised of the situation."

He turned to leave and that's when Ossica came into the room. "Lord Marrik, a moment of time, if you have it," he asked.

"Not now, Messryn," Charles answered, slurring the last word as though it were an insult, "I have to prep our Lady for the coronation ceremony."

Then a thought occurred to him and he stopped, looking back at Ossica. "Oh, that reminds me. My guards have informed me that you stopped by to see the Princess yesterday to bring her--what was it? Refreshments? You were in her room for quite awhile. I wonder what it was you two had to talk about, hmm?"

He could have just as easily bugged Felicity's room, but then he would have to monitor it and that was the problem. He couldn't trust anyone but himself to listen in on the Princess. His plan only worked so long as everyone believed she actually wanted it. He had garnered a great deal of influence with those he put in charge of overseeing security here at the estate but even that influence had its limits. No amount of convincing would turn his agents against the lost heir, not if they knew he was only just using her. The last thing he needed was this Messryn running around filling everyone's heads with ideas.

**********

"Hyperspace conversion, Admiral," the call came out across the bridge and all eyes turned to the viewport. The first few ships of the Azure fleet winked into existence in the empty space above Emris followed shortly after by many more. Seth resisted the urge to swallow the lump in his throat as he opened a channel with the Azure fleet's flagship.

"This is Admiral Seth Carrington of House Rosario," he began, "We do not wish any conflict with House Kyne so please do not open fire. I have with me Lord Aleksander Rosario, newly appointed representative of House Rosario and Prince Gaius Ducant of House Ducant. If you will grant us but a moment we will explain the situation to you."

He paused a moment to give the admiral of the Azure fleet time to respond. In the meantime he cast a glance over his shoulder at Lord Aleksander. They had just managed to reestablish communications with the surface thirteen hours ago and have since evacuated the newly appointed Lord and the young Prince as well as several other dignitaries that had somehow managed to escape the attack perpetrated by House Sage. They were, unfortunately, unable to discover the whereabouts of Autumn Kyne, which set everyone in the fleet on edge.

Without Autumn the Azure fleet could very well turn their guns on them and wipe them out. Though, Seth hoped that with Prince Gaius on board the admiral might think twice about that. Attacking House Rosario for losing their Princess was one thing, but killing the heir of House Ducant in the process would make the situation significantly more complicated. House Rosario was weak, but open warfare with House Ducant meant that House Kyne would be fighting a war on two fronts. Not even Lord Benedict was foolish enough to put himself in that situation.

**********

Cordelia City,
Planet Odessa, Ducant Territory...


Lord Declan Ducant paced back and forth impatiently as he waited. For the better part of the afternoon his technicians had been trying to get into contact with House Rosario for any news concerning the condition of his son. Late last night they had received word that House Kyne was sending a fleet to Rosario territory and when Gaius and his team missed their scheduled check in time he feared the worst. He'd have sent his own fleet if he hadn't needed them patrolling the fringes of his territory and keeping an eye out for anymore attacks from the Counter Movement. In frustration he ground his teeth together but resisted the urge to swear.

"I'm sure he's fine, father," Leland said from behind him, he was sprawled out on a chair and munching on some grapes as his father paced the room. "He's got a squad of our best soldiers with him and he's no slouch with a sword. Plus House Rosario wouldn't dream of killing the heir to House Ducant. They'd be signing their own death."

Declan stopped pacing and shot his son and icy glare. "I see your concern for your brother is about as underwhelming as ever," he said, "Assuming House Rosario is not under attack from someone else you might be right, but with the existence of this 'Counter Movement' I simply cannot take that chance. Now silence, your inane babbling is making it difficult for me to think."

He resumed his pacing again as the doors on the far side of the room opened. His Chamberlain, Roman Dahl entered the room and walked briskly over towards Declan. "My Lord," he began, "I'd hate to interrupt, but the charity gala is set to begin soon. If we don't leave now we'll be late."

"We're not leaving," Declan replied adamantly, "Not until I have news of my son."

Roman cleared his throat nervously. "Forgive me, my Lord, but your daughter is a keynote speaker at the gala, is she not? How would she feel if you weren't there?"

"I said I'm staying," he snapped, "My daughter can give her speech without me."

"As you wish, my Lord," Roman replied after a moment's hesitation. He bowed respectfully towards Declan then turned and left the room.

Leland watched him go for a moment then turned to look at his father. "Are you sure we shouldn't go," he asked, "It's not like you can accomplish a whole lot from here."

"If I want your opinion I'll ask for it," Declan grumbled as he continued his pacing.

Meanwhile, across town two shadowy figures met outside the art gallery where tonight's charity gala was set to take place. Word had it that Lord Declan himself would be in attendance and this was as good a time as any to take him out. "Is it set," one of the figures asked as the second rounded the corner into the dark alley.

Kriel frowned as he approached. He had joined the Counter Movement because he had believed in what they stood for, but this... This didn't feel like justice, it felt more like murder. "It's done," he whispered, "but I still think this is wrong. There are innocent people in there."

"Wealthy merchants and nobles who made their money off the blood, sweat and tears of commoners like us," the other shot back, "They deserve what they're about to get. Now come on, we need to get back to the shuttle before the bomb goes off."

He headed back down the alleyway towards the space port as Kriel turned and looked back at the art gallery. It made no sense coming all the way out here for an attack on House Ducant. There were other cells that were closer so why they had to fly all the way out here from Kyne space was beyond him. Something about this whole situation just didn't feel right, but now wasn't the time to try and figure it all out. He had just helped to set explosives under the art gallery and they were primed to go off soon. They didn't have much time to get off world before House Ducant locks the whole planet down...
Last edited by Pryde on Tue Oct 11, 2016 2:39 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:39 pm

The next morning there was a gentle knock on the door to Autumn's chamber. Shortly after Titus answered the door and found Galen standing outside. "Forgive the intrusion," he said, "but I've been ordered to take you to the coronation. My Lord informs me that Lady Sage will have an announcement to make after she swears the oaths and he would like you to be there for it," he stopped then and half turned to gesture towards the men behind him. "These men here will be accompanying us," he added with a look that suggested he was not happy about it.

Titus' eyes moved from Galen to each of the two guards then back to Galen. The look Galen was giving him seemed to warn Titus of some possible danger. Obviously, there was more to this invitation than just a simple courtesy. Whatever this announcement was Charles Marik had planned to use Felicity's friends as leverage to ensure she goes through with it. A wrong move now would almost certainly get them killed...

**********

Felicity had lost track of time after Ossica left. She had made a few more attempts to try an escape her room with little success and at some point she began to feel tired. She had laid down on her bed only a moment intent to rest her eyes for a bit but at some point she had drifted off completely. When she awoke again the room was completely dark. She felt a chill in the air and wandered into the next room to turn up the thermostat. That's when she noticed the door to her room was open.

She stared at it a moment, completely dumbfounded and then finally wandered out into the hallway. The two guards posted just outside her door were unconscious on the ground and she knelt down next to one of them to check for a pulse. As far as she could tell he was still alive but as for whomever knocked them out there was no sign.

"Felicity," a ghostly whisper called out to her and she quickly spun around to face the direction it was coming from.

"Felicity," it called again, beckoning her forward.

Felicity cast a quick glance down at the two unconscious guards and after a moment's hesitation she began walking in the direction of the voice. The whisper led her down the hallway to the balcony above the stairs in the foyer. As she stood looking down at the front door of the estate she heard a slight rumble behind her and turned to look. The huge portrait of Robert Sage, first Lord of House Sage, split in two and that whole section of the wall drew back to reveal an elevator.

The doors of the elevator opened and Felicity stepped inside. A moment later the doors were closed and the elevator descended to the lower levels of the estate, deep beneath the earth. Once it had reached the bottom the doors opened again and Felicity reluctantly stepped out. The room at the bottom of the elevator was pitch black and for awhile she couldn't see a thing. Then a light came on in the distance followed by more until finally the entire room was illuminated. Felicity stood dumbfounded as she looked around the cavernous room. Along the walls to the sides stood row upon row of computer banks and at the center of the room was a giant floating dodecahedron that looked somewhat similar to the small cube that Renn had given her.

Without really thinking she walked towards the giant floating shape at the center of the room as if she were drawn to it. There was a raised platform beneath it, keeping it aloft and around that a small barrier and railing that encircled the platform. Felicity stood underneath the floating polyhedron as she stared up at it. So captivated was she by the strange device that she failed to notice a shadow moving behind her. A sudden chill caused the hairs on the back of her neck to rise and she spun around just in time to see a red lightsaber spring to life before cutting down at her.

Felicity awoke in her bed in a cold sweat. He eyes darted this way and that but there was no sign of the shadow that had attacked her or his red lightsaber. With a sigh she pushed the blankets off of herself and scooted towards the edge of the bed. Funny, she didn't remember tucking herself in last night. Maybe one of the servants? She stood and walked into the other room, the morning's sunlight wafting in through the windows and illuminating the space.

Looking around the room was just as she had left it the night before. The doors leading out into the rest of the manor were closed shut and sealed tightly and she suspected the guards were still posted to either side of it out in the hall. Her dream last night had felt so real she could have sworn everything she was seeing was actually happening. Looking around now, though, it was clear it was just a dream.

She walked over to one of the windows and looked out towards the garden outside. A moment later the doors behind her slid open and a trio of young maids walked in. "Forgive us, my Lady," one of them said, "but it's almost time for the coronation. We've been instructed to help you prepare."

Felicity stared at them then nodded. She didn't bother resisting as they took her back into her bedroom and helped her change her clothes. Afterwards they went over the oaths she was supposed to speak at coronation, statements that sounded very similar to the old Jedi Code with a few modifications. The Sages had placed a great deal of emphasis on not only family but serving the people and the greater good and the oaths were a reflection of that. A reminder to the new Lord or Lady what their ultimate purpose should be.

They went over the lines a few more times before eventually she was taken down to the large study that served as the previous Lord Sage's audience chamber. Surprisingly, it was considerably more modest than the chamber used by House Rosario and had more in common with Lord Benedict's office than anything else. By the time Felicity had arrived a small crowd had gathered inside to witness the coronation. She was led to the front of the room and told to wait for Charles Marik before the ceremony could begin.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:38 am

Titus gave Galen a microscopic nod, then gave a much more showy shrug. "If that's what she wants, lead the way."

Well past the point of decorum, he reached out and took Autumn's hand, trying to both downplay her nobility as well as keep her close by. Something in Galen's body language told him this situation was volatile, and was likely to ignite quickly. There might need to be some quick reaction, if that were the case.

For Autumn's part, she couldn't even fathom what was happening any more. She felt hollow, as if the prolonged fear of this ongoing nightmare had chewed a cavity into her very body. She felt strangely ugly in her make shift disguise of chopped and painted hair. And she felt powerless, caught in a world she had no idea how to control or shape.

Titus's rough hand gripping hers did not bring her much comfort. It was not a gesture that saw much use in noble life, and it made her feel like a child again; vulnerable, unsure, and in need of a guardian. Still, Titus was her only link to anything familiar, and after a moment, she found herself clutching his hand like a life preserver.

"And once this announcement is concluded, we will be able to leave?" Titus asked, trying not to sound over eager.


*****************

Ossica gave Charles a rather placating bow of his head. "You know well the importance my people place on the Descendant, yes. It was my honor to speak with her and pledge our support to her and to the banner of House Sage."

He knew he was walking a fine line: it was important to keep Charles' attention for a short while as several of Ossica's assets found their way into palace and positioned themselves. Ossica was less concerned with security or staff around here, whom would probably not think anything too out of place at seeing a few more Messryn than normal, but Charles was especially distrusting.

It was also important to keep him from growing more suspicious of Ossica's intentions, trying to appear loyal while not overselling the loyalty to the point of incredulousness.

"I spoke with her regarding some of the secrets of my people. Most relevant being the clandestine forces of my people in hiding, waiting to be marshaled to the Descendant and her allies." Ossica added. It was not untrue, although perhaps Ossica made it sound a bit more impressive than it truly was, hoping to garner Charles' attention a bit longer. "Once then Descendant's prophecy has been fulfilled, these forces will be available to you, provided the Descendant has accepted you as consort or ally, yes."


************

The Azure Battle Fleet was an impressive array of warships, a brute force armada that was as much as symbol and a statement as it was an operational combat unit. While the Kyne military might not have been the largest, it was certainly nothing to scoff at, and the sight of fleet was enough to give most opponents a change of heart.

The Admiral took her customary place on the bridge, standing near the massive holodisplay that showed the system and the fleet's position. As the fleet dropped out of hyperspace, shields primed and weapons charging, she watched the sensor data update on the display, laying out the Rosario fleet. The fleet in question was in a defensive formation, but not a threatening one.

"Admiral, incoming transmission."

She nodded, turning to the side console where a holographic image sprung to life. She listened intently to the message, reading some, if perhaps not all, of the subtext behind the message.

Newly appointed Lord. Things were not going well for House Rosario.

Admiral Keirgarde knew Carrington, at least somewhat. There was an odd relationship that the various military leaders had with their peers from other factions. They studied each other, they learned everything they could about each other, and the more amicable ones even played chess against each other. And then, when war broke out, they tried their best to kill each other.

"Admiral Carrington. We do not wish to engage in hostilities, we are simply here to collect the Lady Autumn Kyne. I trust you will have some encouraging news regarding her safety."

********

It took a while for Blake to find himself in front of Lord Kyne.

After his brief struggle with security at the gate, he was detained and thoroughly scanned for potential threats. Finally, after nearly an hour of waiting in a small cell, he was brought before the scowling Lord, several protective guards standing near by.

Benedict looked severely at the young man in front of him, feeling a tinge of recognition, as though he had seen him before but couldn't quite place where.

"I am rather short of time, so kindly come to your point quickly. I understand you have something you wish to tell me about my daughter. Be warned, I do not tolerate threats or disrespect lightly."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Fri Oct 14, 2016 2:53 pm

Galen cast a wary glance at the two guards following along behind them before answering Titus. "The Lord Steward has assured me his need of you is almost at an end," he said cautiously, "I don't believe it will be long now."

They continued walking as Galen led them through the halls to the Lord's office on the second floor. The estate was surprisingly big, comparable in size to the mansion Autumn lived in her whole life and similar in design and architecture. The layout was completely different, however, and every window they passed by granted a view of the massive dome overhead and the beautiful star field beyond. This whole place would have felt like something straight out of a fantasy had it not been so real.

Elsewhere on the estate Charles Marik was giving Ossica a rather guarded look. He still wondered how much Felicity had told him or what exactly she had said, but Ossica didn't appear to be behaving like anything was out of the ordinary. After a brief moment of silence he nodded. "Yes, of course," he said, "Now come, the ceremony is about to begin."

He led the way out of the room as Ossica followed. The walk to his office, soon to be Felicity's office, was rather brief and waiting inside for them was a small crowd of witnesses Charles had invited onto the estate. Some were human, others Messryn and still others were here as reporters. House Sage didn't have anything so grand as the Correspondence Guild but it did have people to report on the every day goings on around Sage Manor. Today was a special day, a long awaited day by many. The promise of a return to legitimacy.

Charles entered the room and immediately crossed over to where Felicity was standing. A moment or two later Autumn, Titus and Galen walked in with two guards trailing behind them. Felicity looked at her friend, happy to see that she was okay then a worry crossed her mind.

"Why are they here," she whispered sharply to Charles.

"Insurance," he said, "In case you forget about the little announcement we had planned today."

Felicity felt her anger surge up inside of her at the implicated threat against her friend. She cast another glance over her shoulder at Autumn and saw how scared she was and her fear sparked something inside of her. She turned back to look at Charles and threw a quick punch at him. Charles simply caught the blow in his hand and holding her by the wrist he used his superior strength to force her arm back down to her side.

"Now, now, Princess. You wouldn't want anything to happen to your friends, would you?"

Felicity looked back over her shoulder at Autumn and the others then at the guards standing three feet behind them. They had blasters in their hands but the barrels of their weapons were pointed at the ground. Finally she let her arm relax and Charles let go of her wrist.

"Now," he said, "it's time we made this official."

Both he and Felicity turned to look at the gathered assembly as Charles began to address the group. "My friends," he began, speaking in a voice that easily carried over the slight murmur of everyone in the room, "Today is a joyous day! Nearly a thousand years ago our Lord, Rickard Sage, sent his only surviving son and wife out into the greater galaxy to protect them from a looming threat. For years after that we have suffered and died fighting a war we did not believe in only to turn around and be hunted like dogs in the end. Yet in spite of our enemy's best efforts we have survived, all because of the hope that one day Lord Rickard's son would return to us and end our suffering and today he has! I give you Felicity Sage, great granddaughter of Lord Rickard and heir to the House of Sage!"

There was applause that followed as all eyes turned to Felicity. She felt her cheeks redden a bit but stood her ground regardless, all the while her eyes were locked on Autumn. After a moment Charles held his hands up to silence everyone. Once the volume level had fallen to a place where he could speak he said, "Now as has been the tradition of our House for a thousand generations each new succeeding Lord or Lady must first swear the oaths before she can officially take office. If you please," he gestured with a half bow towards a man standing off to the side.

The man stepped forward carrying a small box as Charles took a step backwards away from Felicity. Felicity turned to face this new arrival as he opened the box and presented her a ring. With a look of uncertainty in her eyes she picked up the ring in reluctant hands and then slid it onto one of her fingers. Immediately after she felt a sharp prick as a needle extended from the inside of the ring and pierced her skin. A quick moment later the place setting on the center of the ring retracted to reveal the seven pointed star of House Sage and the room erupted in celebration. If there had been any doubt at all still lingering that Felicity was not the heir it was now gone.

Someone else stepped forward then and placed a rather modest looking brown cloak around her shoulders as she turned to look at the crowd. "I--," she began in a hesitant tone. Her gaze turned first to Charles standing behind her and then to Autumn on the other side of the room. She nervously cleared her throat then tried to start again.

"I'm no good at this," she admitted, "I've only been a leader once before and well--it didn't end very well."

The room fell silent as she spoke and for a brief moment Charles started to wonder what exactly she was doing. Felicity looked back over her shoulders at him and seemed to read his confusion. "I--I know I'm supposed to say something else right now," she explained as she looked back at the crowd, "I know I'm supposed to repeat these words that have been said by a hundred different people over thousands of years, but I'm not--I won't do that. Because I can't."

A flash of worry appeared in Charles' mind as the realization she might not actually go through with it slowly dawned on him. In an effort to show he was not making idle threats he started to raise his hand to order his men to shoot one of the prisoners. That's when Felicity said something that gave him pause.

"The reason I can't is because these oaths--well, they're someone else's promises. Promises they couldn't keep," she said in a quiet tone, but one that still carried across the room because of the silence that had prevailed. Hearing her continue Charles lowered his hand back to his side as Felicity spoke.

"But I'm not saying that I'll be able to do any better," she clarified for everyone, "I'm not very smart or any good at leading people, but I try my hardest to do what's right and I promise to put in the same effort for all of you. I swear to you that no matter what happens I will always try my best to be a shield for those in need. To fight to protect our values and to always make sure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated again and maybe, by just trying, we can all have a brighter future together."

There was another eruption of applause and cheering and Felicity felt a surge of pride well up inside of her. Behind her Charles stepped up beside her and whispered in her ear. "Well, aren't you full of surprises," he said, "Now get on with the announcement or say goodbye to your friends."

Felicity's expression hardened for just a moment and her eyes flicked up to the guards behind Autumn. If she had had any time to talk to the security of the estate she might have been able to turn some of them against him, but at this moment Charles held all the cards. With Autumn on the other side of the room and a crowd between them there wasn't much she could do. If she used the Force she might save Autumn and Titus but there were other guards in the room. One of them could easily turn his gun on the crowd at Charle's order and all of them stood idly by while Charles executed the entire Rosario family. Not one of these men had an ounce of integrity in them.

With a sigh she closed her eyes and held up a hand to silence the room. After everything had quieted down she opened her eyes again and spoke in as confident a tone as she could muster. In order to save her friends she needed to sell this as much as she could. "Having said that," she began, "I have an announcement to make. First of all, I am grateful to everyone who had come to my rescue on Emris, but most of all I am grateful to Charles Marik who has served my family loyally for these many years. It is because of his loyal service, and for saving my life, that I have decided to take Charles Marik as my husband and I am inviting the entire city to the ceremony in two days!"

There was a brief flash of anger in Charles' eyes at this last remark by Felicity but he quickly suppressed it and forced a smile on his face. The would be couple both smiled and waved at the crowd then Charles gently guided her towards the exit at the back of the room. Once they were out of earshot of the others he turned on her.

"I suppose you think that was clever," he said in a sharp tone. He had not expected her to invite the entire city nor set a time for the ceremony. Still, two days wasn't exactly a whole lot of time and there wasn't much she could do to escape her current situation. Sadly, her efforts may have all been for naught. "That's a dangerous game you're playing, my Lady, but just remember I still have your friends."

Then he waved to two guards who were waiting for them at the end of the hall. "Take Lady Sage back to her room and have the chef prepare her something for lunch. I'm sure she's famished."

The guards both bowed to them and gently escorted Felicity back to her suite. Back with the others Galen was smiling inwardly to himself. "She's smarter than she gives herself credit for," he whispered to Titus, "My Lady just bought us two days."

**********

A cold fear ran through Carrington's body at the mention of Autumn Kyne. The tone in Keirgarde's voice suggested their fate may very well rest on how he answers this next question. "Ah yes, well um--about the Princess--," he began but Aleksander suddenly interrupted him.

"We have no idea where she is," he explained as he stepped into view, "Prince Gaius here last saw her in the company of her own people. If they were able to escape the palace then chances are they're in the city, in which case you're running out of time. There are still pockets of resistance from the local populace. We're trying our best to suppress the riots but our army is seriously out-manned. However, there is a far more pressing concern we need to discuss."

He held up the chronometer on his wrist and glanced at it. "Approximately, forty-eight hours ago," he began as he turned his gaze back towards the holographic image of the Admiral, "a heinous attack was carried out on my family. My brother, father, sister and mother were all brutally executed by men swearing allegiance to the young girl your Princess had brought along as her guest. Now, so long as you can prove to me that House Kyne was not aware of her alliegance than I am willing to admit this girl had used us both. However, if Lord Kyne knew who Felicity Sage actually was before he sent her to my House then I will have no choice but to hold him accountable for the deaths of my family."

**********

It took a great deal of effort to stifle his nerves and to focus his anger so he didn't just explode all over Lord Benedict for his unlawful detainment. Instead he just reached across the table and deposited a small datachit on Benedict's desk. "I'm not here to threaten you, or your daughter," he said in a measured tone. "Autumn is my... The Princess is my friend," he corrected himself, "but you seriously need to see this."

Benedict nodded to one of the guards who picked up the chit and placed it into the holoterminal nearby. As he was doing so Blake explained to them where he got it. "A friend of mine sent me this. He said someone had pirated a bunch of relay stations belonging to the Correspondence Guild. They were trying to send this out to everyone."

The message began playing and everyone in the room watched as Charles Marik gave his speech to the camera before summarily executing every member of the Rosario family. After the message had finished playing Blake spoke up again. "Play that back," he said.

The guard looked at Benedict who simply nodded then he began playing the message again. At a certain point Blake interrupted them a third time. "Okay stop," he said and the guard did as he was told. The image was frozen on Felicity and two people standing next to her. One of whom everyone in the room recognized as Titus and the other...

"There, in the middle," Blake said, pointing at the short haired blonde woman, "That's Autumn, I'm sure of it..."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:28 am

Autumn knew that they were going to kill her. She was going to be shot and killed in her disguise, and maybe they would never really know who she was.

She wondered briefly if her father would ever know what happened to her. Would her disappearance be a small side note in the history, next to the note of the death of the Kyne bloodline?

It was only through her years of emotional control that she was able to keep from crying. If only... if only she had listened to her father more. If she had listened to him, and not been so stubborn, Felicity wouldn't have come, they wouldn't have been kidnapped...

No.. You just would have been executed along with the Rosario family. She thought hollowly. Perhaps this was simply destiny, and there was no escape for it.

Escape. That was the word that Titus was focusing on, not three feet away from Autumn. He too shared her sentiment that today was likely the day he would die, but unlike Autumn, he met that sentiment with determination rather than despair. He would die protecting Autumn, and, when it came time, hopefully Charles would die with him.

Despite the more optimistic tone Charles had taken when talking with them earlier, it was obvious he had a change of heart on the matter. Titus had no doubt that Charles would kill them to get what he wanted, and it seemed what he wanted hinged on Felicity. Unfortunately, Felicity seemed to be doing an admirable job at stalling, but Titus had the strong impression that even if Felicity complied, Charles would kill them as soon as he had what he wanted. Really, there was little reason not to kill them. It probably would have taken less energy just to shoot them then actually fly them back to civilization.

The only thing Titus found favorable was it was obvious that they were not "official" prisoners. Charles did not want the poor public image of having them bound and pushed around blatantly at gun point. It meant that he probably would not want to shoot them in cold blood in front of an audience at least. Didn't mean that he wouldn't do it, but he would probably avoid it if he could.

Cold comfort, but I will take what I can get. Hopefully there would be a better chance coming. He did not relish his odds of getting one of the guards' weapons and shooting Charles here, but if things went south, it was the only plan he had.

He looked over at Galen and gave the man another nod.

"I hope so. He does not seem like a man who takes changes to his plans lightly."

************

Admiral Keirgarde stared stoically at the young man who was addressing her. Yes, the new Lord Rosario.

Normally, politics and combat, intertwined though they were, had a rather clear delineation from one another. When it was time for combat, politicians went back to their seats and visa versa. It was to say, the Admiral did not relish the interruption from the Lord into what she regarded to be military business.

"With all due respect, Lord Rosario, I believe you are mistaking the young Lady Autumn Kyne for some manner of secret agent, rather than the sole heiress of House Kyne. Whether or not you choose to hold Lord Kyne responsible for the tragedy of your House is out of my power, because I cannot and will not offer anything to you as 'proof'. From my perspective, I have no reason to assume this is anything other than politicking, trying to blame internal matters on those not responsible. But I am not here to start a war nor am I here to fight a war, unless it proves necessary. I am here with one task: to retrieve Autumn Kyne."

She drew a breath and continued. "Now, if the situation on the planet has grown out of your control and it is possible that Lady Kyne is down there, then my forces are ready to assist you in regaining control of the capitol. If, however, you wish to make an enemy of House Kyne at this moment, then please do me the courtesy of telling me, because we will have nothing more to say to each other, and you will find yourself fighting a battle on two fronts."

************

Benedict watched the video twice more before he was satisfied. If 'satisfied' was defined as being a cold, near murderous rage. "House Sage. Apparently they could not redeem their bloody legacy so they must continue it."

He looked at Blake for a long moment, trying to decide quite what to do with the man. Finally, he spoke.

"Thank you for bringing this. I have a job for you, if you interested. I need to know everything about this video, the people in it, and their situation. I would like for you to liaison between your well informed friends and Kyne Unified Intelligence. It may be the only way to bring Autumn home safe." He hesitated for a second, then added, "you will be well compensated, if that is a concern for you."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sat Oct 15, 2016 3:46 am

Galen cast his gaze from Titus to Autumn. The girl was scared, he could see it and she had every right to be. Charles wasn't going to keep them around after the wedding. They're the only two other people on the estate who know that he's blackmailing Lady Sage into this wedding besides himself and Felicity. Truth was, the odds weren't looking good for any of them. Charles must have known that Galen would be smart enough to figure it out and not even Felicity was safe from his wrath. After the wedding he would become Lord Sage and have no need for her, either.

Felicity had given them two days to make something happen and Galen planned to make the most of it. He knew Ossica was already working towards something and when the time was right he would make sure both Autumn and Titus were prepared to move. "Let's step outside for a moment," he said to Titus and Autumn, gently directing them towards the door, "Have you two had a tour of the grounds yet? Perhaps I could arrange something."

The two guards who had escorted them followed them out into the hallway. They watched Galen with idle curiosity but said nothing. It was likely their only order was to watch the prisoner and perhaps execute them if they stepped out of line. Everyone here had sworn fealty to the Sage family from the moment they were born and if Galen had told them the truth about the blackmail he might have been able to turn them against Charles, but that would be a hard sell. Most of these men were extremely loyal to Charles, they would not take any slander towards his character very lightly. Still, they believed that Galen was one of their own, which meant they might not find his actions all that suspicious.

"Are you alright, Miss," Galen asked Autumn after they had walked for a bit, "You look tired. Here, help me get her sitting down."

He urged Titus to help him pretend to support Autumn as they moved her towards a nearby chair. Now that all three of them were in close proximity Galen felt it was safe enough to whisper. "We have a plan in place," he told them in a quiet tone, "Myself and the Messryn. Ossica is working out the details but you both need to be ready to move at a moment's notice," he was planning to leave it at that but something about the fear in Autumn's eyes pulled at his heart strings. Once they had her sitting down her looked her right in the eyes and added, "I made a promise to my Lady that I will not let you die here and I intend to keep that promise. I swear to you, we will get you home safe."

**********

Aleksander resisted the urge to grind his teeth together. What Keirgarde had said told him little of House Kyne's true motives and if they had sent the young Sage here to wipe out his House then they were just as much his enemy as House Sage. Permitting them to land troops on the surface to help secure the capital might be as much a detriment as a benefit. House Kyne could easily take the opportunity to occupy Emris and force House Rosario to move its capital... Assuming they didn't just blast Aleksander's capital ship out of the sky first.

"I'm not really sure that it's in our best interest to permit you to--," he started to say but then a third voice interrupted him.

"Autumn's not here," Gaius said, stepping into view of the Admiral. Then he looked over at Carrington, "Send them the video."

"I would, Prince Ducant, but--," Carrington stammered, but Gaius wasn't having any of it.

"Just do it," he snapped.

Carrington looked up at Aleksander who simply nodded. "Very well," he said and then he ordered his men to send Keirgarde a copy of Charles Marik's video from two days ago. As it was playing on Keirgarde's screens Gaius explained to her what she was seeing.

"After the attack began the girl who came here with Autumn thought it best that we disguise her," Gaius explained, "I was there with her when it happened and I could tell you exactly what she looks like. She's in the video standing next to Felicity, the blond girl with short hair. I don't know where she is now, exactly, but I know those men took her, along with the one they were calling Lady Sage. I don't know if this 'Lady Sage' can be trusted or what her true intentions are, but I think that disguise may have saved Autumn's life... For the moment, at least."

**********

Blake was somewhat relieved that he was still alive and not in prison. What's more Lord Kyne surprised him with a job request, though Blake wasn't very sure how much help he would be. If what Charles had said was true and these people had been living in the shadows then chances were he wouldn't find any information on them at all as they would not be in any public databases. That didn't mean he couldn't help, though. He could still try his best to look for Autumn through other means.

"I don't need money," he told Lord Kyne, "I'll help you because she's my friend and I want to bring her home safe."

He was going to leave it at that but then a thought occurred to him and he nervously averted his gaze. "Although, if you still wish to compensate me I could use some information," he said and he didn't bother to wait for Lord Kyne to ask before explaining, "My old man used to work intelligence when he was alive and I'm trying to find out who killed him. I'd be appreciative of any information you have that might help with that."
Last edited by Pryde on Sat Oct 15, 2016 11:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:13 pm

Felicity hated this, she was so used to just punching her way through things but unfortunately punching wasn't going to help right now. So long as Charles held her friends hostage she was powerless to stop him and that was a feeling she didn't like. It reminded her of Ord Mantell and how she felt powerless to stop Kylo Ren and now here she was once again at the mercy of a madman. It made her want to punch something even more, but she resisted the urge to do just that. The men escorting her now were only doing their jobs. Neither one of them could be blamed for Charles' subterfuge, there weren't that many people here who actually knew about it.

She ground her teeth together in frustration as they walked. They were headed back to her suite and along the way they passed the balcony in the foyer. A sudden memory of her dream caused her to stop. "Wait," she said, stopping in front of the portrait of Robert Sage. The two guards escorting her looked at each other than one of them shrugged and the two of them stood idly by as Felicity stared out over the balcony at the foyer below.

Wait, this isn't right, she thought, turning to look at the painting behind her. The portrait was still whole and the wall had not drawn back to reveal a hidden passage, but there was something about the frame of the painting that drew her attention. She stepped closer to it, her hand reaching out to touch an engraving at the bottom of the frame. There was an indentation there, one that was shaped similarly to the signet on her ring. She held up her hand and looked at it then at the engraving on the portrait. Without thinking, almost as if she were being drawn to do it, she pressed the signet of her ring against the engraving on the portrait.

There was a loud click as some mechanical lock fell away and the portrait of Robert Sage along with the wall behind it split right down the middle all the way to the floor. A turbolift lay beyond the wall just like in her dream and she cautiously stepped inside it. The two guards followed her in albeit reluctantly. They were ordered to keep an eye on her for her safety, that meant not letting her out of their sight. They rode the turbolift all the way to the bottom and when the doors slid open again they were greeted by nothing but darkness. Felicity walked down the long hallway as though she'd been there before and after she had gone only several feet a light in the distance came on, followed by another and then another until the whole room was illuminated.

It was just like her dream, a giant dodecahedron floating in the center of the room and row upon row of computer banks lining the walls. She walked straight towards the massive holocron at the center of the room and made it only halfway before both of her security guards suddenly fainted.

"Hey," she cried, catching only one of them as they both fell to their knees. "Hey! Are you okay? Wake up!"

"I'm afraid that's not possible," a voice said suddenly and a shimmering blue figure materialized in front of her out of thin air. "At least not for now," he continued, "I thought you and I should have a moment alone to chat."

"Who are you," Felicity asked, she still held the unconscious guard in her arms yet somehow still managed to look poised to strike.

"Rickard Sage," the Force ghost answered.

Felicity's eyes widened at the name. "But that's--," she started but was interrupted.

"Impossible," he finished for her with a smile, "You'll find that many things are possible through the Force, including even immortality."

"I--I don't understand. How?"

"To explain would take more time than we have. Suffice it to say that it is possible and one day I may even teach you. For now you need to regain control of your House. What Charles Marik is doing right now is an insult to all those who came before him. He must be stopped and our honor restored."

Don't have to tell me twice, she grumbled to herself. She'd been trying to think of ways to stop him for the better part of two days but so far had come up with nothing. She was with him up to that point but the rest of it she wanted nothing to do with. "Look, all I want right now is to save my friends," she told him.

Rickard nodded, "Yes, I'm well aware. You've said as much during your conversation with the one you call Ossica."

Felicity looked at him in surprise so he explained. "Very little goes on in this house that escapes my knowledge. I have been watching you closely since you've arrived... No, not that closely," he added when he caught the shift in her expression and the subtle, involuntary urge she felt to cover herself.

"Tell me something," he continued, "Why do you fight so hard to deny your destiny?"

Felicity gently laid the guard down at her feet then stood. She flicked her eyes over to the other man lying a few feet away then back up at Rickard before averting her gaze again. "Because it's not me," she told him in a small voice. "People were being hurt and all I wanted to do was help them. To put a stop to it, but ever since then people have been expecting more of me. It's just--I'm not some great hero or a leader, I'm just me."

Rickard gave her a sympathetic look and he stepped closer to her and put a hand on her shoulder. Felicity could feel his grip, but it lacked any sort of warmth that one would normally feel. It was just--there. "Destiny does not choose us for who we are. Only for who we become. You've been given a grand opportunity here, a chance to make a difference in a great many lives. Can you really be so eager to throw that all away?"

Felicity fell silent and stepped away from him, freeing herself from his grip. She walked over towards the railing surrounding the floating polyhedron and leaned against it on both arms while staring up at it.

"I understand your hesitation," Rickard continued, "I felt the same when I was your age. I too had the responsibility of Lordship suddenly thrust upon my shoulders and even I felt as though I wasn't ready. I second guessed myself and hesitated to make decisions and in so doing I made it possible for my brother to usurp my House and destroy us all. You face a similar situation and how you choose to deal with it will effect more lives than just your own."

"I'm not ready," she shot back, turning angrily towards him, "I can't even open the cube!"

"The what," Rickard asked her, a look of confusion on his face.

Felicity let out a long sigh then turned back to the railing. "Before I left Ord Mantell my mentor, Renn Corso, gave me a cube. He said some day when I was ready I would be able to open it, but I can't. I don't know how."

Rickard stared at her a moment then softly chuckled to himself. "That's because a holocron can only be opened through the Force," he explained.

"A holo-what," Felicity asked, looking back at him again.

Rickard walked over to stand next to her then gestured at the polyhedron overhead. "A holocron is a repository of information. It contains the knowledge of the one who created it in the hopes that one day it would be passed down. It was the Jedi's way of preserving their teachings so that others who followed in their stead could pick up where they left off."

"Is that what this is," she asked, looking up at the giant dodecahedron.

Rickard nodded, "It's based on the same technology, but this one contains the knowledge and teachings of your ancestors. The entire history of our House is saved on the archives here and only by merging it with another holocron will you be able to access them."

Like the one I left on Oridin, she thought to herself, remembering that her belongings were still being held inside a blast-proof box back at the estate. This was all starting to sound too coincidental. The holocron Renn gave her, the blind jump she made to arrive here, the impossibility of being on Emris at the same time Charles Marik had planned his attack and now this. It really did start to feel like she had no control over her life and that feeling made her uncomfortable.

"I need to go," she said, turning around and heading back towards the elevator. "Can you--," she added, stopping momentarily over the unconscious forms of the two guards that followed her down here.

"Yes, of course," Rickard told her, "but first I must warn you that you can't keep running from your destiny forever. Eventually, you will have to make a choice and I have faith that you will choose the right path."

As he said that last bit his body began to fade from existence and as the last remnants of his image disappeared the two guards at her feet slowly began to stir. "What happened," one of them asked as Felicity helped him to his feet.

"I--I'm not sure," she lied. She didn't really want to explain everything that had just happened nor did she think they would believe her. "Come on, let's get out of here."

She helped both of the guards up to their feet and as they headed back to the turbolift she cast one last glance over her shoulder. She no longer saw the ghostly image of her ancestor and as they moved farther and farther away from the polyhedron the lights in the room slowly began turning off until once again the entire cavern was bathed in darkness. No one said anything on the ride back up to the estate and for that Felicity was grateful. She had a lot on her mind at the moment and the last thing she wanted to do was answer a bunch of questions...

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:51 am

Titus was not happy about the idea of putting his faith in unknown people to formulate and execute a plan. As part of the Lancers, he had routinely been expected to be the one to take charge, and make sure things were done correctly and quickly no matter the circumstance. At the moment, however, there was little he could do about it; he had no intel of the area, no tools at his disposal, and the nearly impossible goal of escaping the palace, navigating an unknown city, and securing a transport off of this world.

Like it or not, he had no choice but to trust that there were others with their best interest at heart.

"Alright." Titus spoke for both of them, one look at Autumn telling him that she was in no condition to speak. "I would feel better if I could get my hands on a weapon, something to give me a chance if things suddenly go south."

*************

Admiral Keirgarde excused herself for a several moments to watch the video provided for her before returning to her conversation with the Rosario and Ducant representatives.

"This would seem to be a complicated situation, with outside forces that perhaps neither of us are fully aware of." The Admiral spoke to Gaius and Carrington, hands clasped behind her back. "My objective is unchanged, however, and I am still here to retrieve Lady Kyne. If she is not there, then an investigation must begin. If we cannot begin the investigation until this insurrection is put down, then we must move quickly."

She paused a moment, then turned her attention to Lord Rosario. "I understand your hesitation, Lord Rosario, at wanting foreign troops on your soil. But you know well what is coming for your House: the death of leadership always results in a power struggle of some nature, and the other noble Houses will not hesitate to snap up undefended worlds if they can get away with it. You cannot afford to have this unrest last long. I cannot speak to Lord Kyne's intentions, but I know him to be an honorable man, who has never expressed an interest in occupation and conquering. If you have no involvement in Lady Kyne's situation, then you need not worry of Kyne troops overstaying their welcome. But right now, if you cannot provide me with definitive information as to Lady Kyne's whereabouts, then you must decide whether to start a war by resisting our efforts, or strengthening your ties with House Kyne by allowing us to put down this diversion. I understand it is not a desirable position to be in, but it is the one you are unfortunately faced with."


********

Benedict considered that request for a second, then nodded. "It is my understanding that the Intelligence community is rather small, so if your father was known in those circles, there may be someone who knows of your father and what happened to him. I will instruct the KIU to assist you in your private investigation in exchange for your help. As long as you can help bring Autumn home."

There was the barest tremor of emotion in his voice, like a tiny crack in a giant cliff face. Ethan looked to Benedict, then turned to Blake.

"Come, young sir." Ethan spoke quickly, gesturing for Blake to follow him out of the room. "I will put you in contact with the KIU, and they can guide you further."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:13 pm

Galen gave Titus a long look then shook his head. "I'm sorry, Sir, but I can't allow that," he said, "No offense intended, but these are my people and I don't trust you not to kill them." He reached under Autumn's arms and urged Titus to help get her standing again. "I think we've waited long enough. Help me get her back to the room before these men suspect me."

**********

Aleksander stared at Kiergarde helplessly. Her offer seemed to make sense, he had already gotten word that fleet assets from House Droma and House Vanray were moving closer towards his borders. Even so the thought of allowing a foreign army to land on his capital, even if they were only there to help, sort of felt like handing over the keys to his kingdom.

"They have us outgunned, my Lord," Carrington pointed out, "If they wanted the capital they would have taken it by now. I think it prudent we take them up on their offer. Fleet operations across our sector are at a complete standstill. I need to get down there to coordinate our defense and Admiral Kiergarde and her men can get me there sooner rather than later."

"Not to mention half of the Kyne retinue is still down there along with the rest of my men," Gaius added, "Rescuing the rest of the lancers and securing my men will go a long way towards building relationships with House Kyne and Ducant."

Finally, the Lord shook his head and half turned towards the console. "As I have said before, Admiral, our time is running out. I am granting your forces permission to land on Emris and assist in crowd control. These are the coordinates where Major General Brackford is coordinating the defense. I will let him know you'll be arriving shortly."

**********

Blake looked at Lord Benedict as though he were seeing him for the first time. From the way Autumn usually talked about him it felt more like he was an android or something, completely devoid of emotion. That tremor in his voice may have actually been the first time he allowed his real emotions to shine through. Like a chink in his otherwise impenetrable armor. For a brief moment he wondered how Autumn would feel about that if she knew, but before he really had time to consider it Ethan had spoken up and gently guided him away.

As Ethan escorted him through the halls of the Kyne estate Blake looked over at him several times before he finally opened his mouth to speak. "Funny how Autumn happened to be on Emris when all of this went down," he said, giving Ethan a sidelong glance, "What exactly was she doing there? And who was the girl?"

There was a flash of something in Ethan's eyes. It might have been anger but Blake wasn't entirely sure, still he decided to explain himself anyway. "I'm sorry," he quickly apologized, "it's just Autumn was standing next to that girl like she knew her but she's never mentioned--," he stopped then, realizing he was just about to give away their secret way of communicating with each other. "I mean, I don't recall ever seeing her here at the estate before," he finished sheepishly.

**********

Felicity had been quiet since they'd exited the turbolift and the secret doors slid shut behind her. The guards watched her curiously and Felicity could tell they were still confused about what had happened, but she had no desire to explain it. Hell, she had no desire to really be here at this moment. Her conversation with Rickard had only served to show her further evidence that she was simply adrift in the river of destiny and just going wherever the current took her. She didn't want to be Lady Sage any more than she wanted to be the one responsible for rebuilding the Jedi Order. She just wanted to be herself and to try and do some good in this world and that alone was enough for her.

As they walked back to her room, though, somehow each step had felt like resignation. It seemed like the closer they got to her room the faster she nailed home the last nail on the coffin of her free will. She wanted to get away--needed to get away. She was not going to play fate's pawn any longer. Without even really thinking she lashed out at the man to her right, hitting him with a few quick strikes and then throwing him against the wall. The second man to her left was shocked at her sudden actions and as she moved towards him he made no move to defend himself. Instead he held up his arms to stop her and that's when she grabbed him by the wrist and spun him around into a choke hold and held him there until he fell unconscious.

She knelt down next to him and checked his pulse, satisfied she had not killed him. Then she opened up the doors to her chambers and dragged the two unconscious guards inside. Once they were out of sight she stepped back out into the hallway and closed the doors, locking them with the mag strip she stole from one of the guards. Then she raced down the hallway back the way they had come, the last place she had seen Autumn. She was moving so fast she barely had time to take notice of how far she'd gone or even where she was going. That was when a figure suddenly turned a corner and she nearly ran right into him.

"Ossica," Felicity said in surprise as she looked up at the Messryn, "What are you doing here?"

Then she cast a glance over her shoulder back down the direction she'd come. "Wait, never mind that for now. I sort of did something, well--bad," she added sheepishly.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:55 am

Titus just gave Galen a silent nod. He felt an odd sense of kinship towards the man, recognizing him as a fellow warrior, one who was accustomed to overcoming hardships and achieving objectives. Of course, even that sense of kinship didn't make Titus less frustrated when his request was shut down.

Not that he would have played it different if the roles had been reversed, but Titus knew he needed to get a weapon, with or without Galen's help. It was too risky not having that last straw backup plan. He would just have to get it a different way.

Autumn managed to get her feet under her, looking around the grounds she was on. It didn't make sense. These were noble estates, obviously. It had all of the trappings of any number of places she had visited in her role as an emissary of her father. Yet somehow all the rules were different.

It was like being on a stage, with a beautiful background and props and other actors, but it was all for the wrong play.

She shook her head slowly. No. She was not going to be this marionette, dancing to someone else's tune. She was the heiress to the powerful House Kyne, a noble House that was respected amongst all its peers. They had no right to treat her like this.

Autumn turned her brown eyes on the guards that were escorting her.

"I wish to speak with Charles Marrik. Now."

Titus took her arm, squeezing it in effort to get her attention. "I'm sorry, she's just a bit... stressed out. If we could just get her back to the quarters.."

Autumn tensed her body, refusing to be moved while she glared at the guards. "No, I wish to speak to Charles Marrik. Either take me to him, or bring him to me."

**********

Admiral Kiergarde relaxed slightly, glad that she would not be forced into a bloody space battle leading up to what could be a bloody ground battle.

"Very good. You will not regret the decision. I will instruct our landing crafts to being their launch. General Otellis will contact your Major General Brackford, and coordinate landing zones." Even as she spoke, a dozen or so Assault Landing Craft began their launch from the hangers of the cruisers, weapons glistening dangerously on the hulls as they formed up into an arrowhead formation, heading towards Emris.

**********

Ethan waved away Blake's questions, preoccupied with other concerns for the moment. "The girl's name is Felicity, a guest here at the Estate. Autumn was on what we thought would be a simple diplomatic visit, so Felicity had come along at Autumn's invitation. We had suspected House Rosario might be in an unstable position... But none of us realized just how unstable it was." Ethan shook his head, an obvious remorse about the situation burning in his eyes.

He drew a deep breath. "I guess Autumn and Felicity found some comfort in each other's company. It is the most attached I have seen her get about anyone other than the group you and she used to rabble rouse with." The last part was said with what could only be described as a mixture of suspicion and a hint of what might have been humor.

**********

On reflex, Ossica had deftly sidestepped Felicity's momentum, even as she lurched to a stop.

"Something bad?" He echoed in a rumble. "What could you mean, something bad?"

Felicity looked a little lost for words. "Well, there were guards following me..."

Ossica frowned. "There are no longer guards following you. Yes. Did you kill them?"

She shook her head emphatically. "No, no.. they're just unconscious in a closet."

Ossica sighed. "Ethical but so inconvenient is life, yes. Convenient but so reprehensible is killing. We must move quickly, yes. They will be missed, and missed soon. We must take greater risks now. Follow."

The Messryn turned and hustled in the other direction. "There is one segment of the estate wall where surveillance is weakest. If we time things well, perhaps we can slip past the sentries and through the maintenance hatch. Risky. Yes. But perhaps there is no other choice now."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:04 pm

Galen looked to Titus with the same startled expression that the other man wore. He was afraid this would eventually happen. In his experience nobles disliked being treated as anything less than noble and Autumn was no exception. Even in his frantic state he was consciously aware of how different she was from Felicity. Where Felicity was perfectly content to languish in obscurity Autumn clearly was not.

The two guards looked at each other, clearly surprised by this turn of events. Finally, one of them turned away and lifted a radio to his lips. The other quickly caught his arm though before he could say anything. "Lord Marik's in a press conference," he said, "He asked that he not be disturbed."

"I think he'll make an exception for this. Look at her, she look like a servant to you? There's something going on here," The other whispered back, casting a suspicious glance between Titus and Galen.

While they were distracted discussing what to do Galen quickly got Titus' attention and made a few hand gestures, hoping the other man would catch on. As the two guards were trying to decide what to do Galen crept into position behind one as Titus moved behind the other and together the two men took the guards by surprise, knocking them unconscious with a few well placed strikes. Galen quickly kicked the radio away from the guard's hand then relieved the man of his weapon before reaching down for the other rifle and picking it up. He hesitated a moment then handed the second rifle to Titus.

"This isn't how I wanted this to go," he said as he offered the gun to the other man, "Just do me a favor. If you're forced to kill just make sure there was no other choice."

Titus took the gun and as he checked the charge on the battery Galen turned towards Autumn while reaching into his pocket to pull out his own radio. "Well, my Lady, it seems this farce is over," he said, as he lifted the radio to his lips and turned it on. "Ossica, we have a situation. Lady Kyne has done something rather rash."

There was a brief moment of silence then Ossica responded. "The Descendant has also done something rash," he said, "We're coming to you now."

Galen silently rolled his eyes at that. Like two peas in a pod, he grumbled. "No, there's no time for that," he answered, "Meet us at the wall. Titus and I will get the Princess out."

**********

Blake looked over at the man trying to decipher if he was being humorous or if he had suspected him of something. The mention of the old gang had brought back some nostalgic memories but there was no time for that. Right now the important thing to focus on was bringing Autumn home. "I know that Lord Kyne asked me to help identify the people in the video, but if these guys have been hiding in the shadows what are the odds that any of them are actually on record?"

**********

The explosion shook the nearby buildings as every window in the art gallery exploded outward. Calls went out to emergency services almost immediately and within minutes there was a massive response to the bombing. Paramedics, police and even Ducant Special Forces were all on scene to survey the damage. Any wounded were quickly treated on site and then moved to nearby hospitals. It was at one of these hospitals now that Prince Leland and Lord Declan Ducant found themselves.

The Lord's daughter, Marcella Ducant, had been a victim of the blast and was currently in surgery listed in critical condition. The Lord's pacing from before when he had been waiting for news of Gaius had only increased in intensity since the bombing. All medical staff in the area avoided going anywhere near the Lord unless they had any news to report. Meanwhile, Leland sat in a chair nearby, a pensive look on his face. He cared about his sister a great deal and shared the Lord's ire for the attack. One of the bombers had been captured trying to leave the planet while the other had escaped but was still on world. Both Leland and Lord Ducant had sworn to track him down and make him pay dearly for this attack. It was the first time that father and son had agreed on anything in a very long time.

Finally, one of the doctors came out of the operating room and walked over to Declan. "You're daughter is out of danger for now," the man said, "We're still monitoring her, but it's difficult to say whether she'll make a full recovery at this point. Fortunately, the podium seems to have shielded her from most of the blast, so we're hopeful--,"

Lord Declan interrupted the man with a harsh stare. "Use the word 'fortunately' in the same sentence with my daughter again and I'll have you hanged," he snarled.

The doctor's face turned pale white. "O--of course, my Lord. My sincerest apologies," he said with a quick bow.

Declan ignored the man and turned away from him to hide the raging torrent of emotions that were playing across the chiseled features of his face. Leland stood then and walked over towards the Doctor. "Thank you, for you report," he said, "Just--keep us apprised of my sister's condition."

The Doctor nodded then quickly hurried from the room. Leland turned to look at his father as he continued his pacing but he said nothing. After watching him for a moment or two he simply sat back down in his chair and quietly waited...

**********

"Wait," Felicity said as she hurried after Ossica, "I can't leave yet! If Charles finds out I'm gone he'll kill Autumn. We have to get her out first!"

The two of them raced down the hallway in the direction of--actually, Felicity wasn't entirely sure. She hadn't seen much of the interior of the estate aside from her room and her office and the hallways between. Only Ossica knew for sure where they were going and right now it seemed like he was wrestling with the idea of either getting her out or trying to save her and Autumn.

"Descendant--," he started to say then his radio chirped at him. He quickly picked it up and turned it on.

"Ossica," Galen's voice emitted from the device, "we have a situation. Lady Kyne has done something rather rash."

Ossica gave Felicity a wry look before responding. "The Descendant has also done something rash," he said, "We're coming to you now."

There was a brief moment of silence then Galen's voice came through again. "No, there's no time for that," he told them, "Meet us at the wall. Titus and I will get the Princess out."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:30 am

Autumn just stood there numbly as the two guards were dispatched by the men with her. She hadn't expected it, and almost protested it, but suddenly shut her mouth. Titus was the one entrusted with her life, and she knew that he would gladly lay down his life for her. Regardless of how she may or may not have felt about that, she realized now was the time to follow his lead.

"Come, my Lady, we have to move quick." Titus beckoned her to follow, hoisting his rifle up to the ready, catching Galen looking at him dubiously.

"It doesn't make sense to try to shoot our way out, so it's a last resort. Doesn't mean I'm not going to be ready though." There was no time to debate it, so Galen simply led them on.

Minutes later, the three of them reunited with Ossica and Felicity, crouching down near a corner leading towards the perimeter wall. To get there required crossing about twenty meters of bare ground, where a lone sentry was walking his patrol.

Ossica nodded to the others as they joined him.

"There is a small maintenance hatch at the base of the wall which leads to electrical conducts, yes. The sentry will round the far corner at the end of his patrol and be out of sight for maybe two minutes before returning. In two minutes, we must run the distance, remove the hatch and enter the crawlway and reseal the hatch, yes. It will be difficult. I will go first to guide, then the Descendant and her compatriot, then Galen and other man with gun provide cover behind. From this corner here, you must run directly at the scratch in the paint that's been put on the wall to stay in the shadow of the sensors. We must be swift and silent, yes?"

There really wasn't any point arguing Ossica's plan; no one had a better idea, and they all knew that literally any second the alarm would sound and there could potentially be many more guards out, their odds of escaping dropping sharply. There was a chorus of nods and quiet acknowledgements.

They waited tensely for what seemed like ages as the guard walked his beat, no particular urgency to his steps though he seemed disciplined enough to maintain some level of alertness despite the obvious lack of action the security staff saw around here.

Finally, he crossed out of eyeshot, leaving a small window for their escape.

"Move now." Ossica hissed, sprinting with loping strides across the barren ground, his agility and athleticism getting him to the panel well ahead of everyone else. He pulled a palm sized autospanner out of his pocket, quickly unscrewing the bolts holding the panel on.

Titus glanced at the Messryn as he worked, taking a long, calming breath before scanning around them, looking for potential threats. It wouldn't make Galen happy, but Titus had already made the decision that he would take the lethal shot here, if needed. They could not afford being caught, or they would probably all be executed, and Titus couldn't let that happen. With any luck, no one would interrupt them and it would not be an issue..

The last bolt came out and the panel fell off, revealing a cramped crawlway filled with conduits and piping, barely enough room in it for someone to fit.

"It will be tight. I hope that will not distress anyone." Ossica spoke, then ducked in, glancing behind him to make sure the others were able to get in.


******

Ethan walked a few steps before responding to Blake's question. "It is a difficult puzzle, young Blake, but not insurmountable. Every where we go, we leave evidence behind of our passing. There are always eyes. If any of these people have been in public within the sector, someone will have seen them. I suggest starting with the people who make it their business to collect and hoard information: the Correspondence Guild. I imagine a freelancer such as yourself must have contacts within the Guild you can tap."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:55 am

Ossica ducked into the crawl space first, next was Autumn. Titus was busying helping her through the hatch as Galen kept watch. Felicity wasn't sure what to do, she tried to keep an eye on Autumn and on Galen and on everything else so when they heard shouting from the top of the wall it came as a surprise to everyone.

"Hey," the guard called out as he raised his blaster.

Titus quickly stopped what he was doing and tried to take aim. Before he could bring his rifle to bear, however, a blaster bolt rang out loudly and struck the guard in the left shoulder, spinning him around and to the ground. Titus looked over at Galen, surprised the other man took the shot.

"Get everyone through the tunnel, I'll hold them off," Galen shouted.

"What? No," Felicity objected, "That's suicide, I can't let you do that alone!"

There was more shouting from somewhere in the distance as security personnel from all over the estate were alerted to the shot. "There's no time to argue, my Lady. Go," Galen told her.

Blaster shots rained in on their position, striking the ground around them and the wall above their heads as security guards closed in on them. "No, I won't. I can help you," Felicity said adamantly as she stubbornly stood her ground.

"Then I'm sorry about this, my Lady, truly I am," he told her, then he stood quickly and bashed her on the head with the butt of his rifle knocking her out cold. He wouldn't have done it that way if he hadn't known she could take a hit, but with enemies closing all around them there wasn't any time to try something subtle.

As she started to collapse he quickly reached out and caught her, handing her over to Titus. Knocking her out was only going to make things more difficult for them crawling through that tiny space, but again Galen had no time to think of another way. "Get her out of here," he said, then he turned and opened fire on his own people. He wasn't really aiming for any particular person, he just wanted to provide his people a convenient reason to keep their heads down. The longer it took them to advance on the crawlspace the more time Ossica and the others had to escape and if he could accomplish that without killing anyone then so much the better.

**********

"No, uh--the engagement was her idea," Charles was saying as he stood in front of a crowd of reporters, "She surprised me with the idea this morning though I advised her against making the announcement too soon."

As he finished answering the question more hands shot up as each reporter tried to shout over the other. Charles looked amongst them trying to decide who to pick next then pointed to a young, auburn haired woman wearing a teal three piece skirt suit. "Ah, you," he said as he indicated her.

"My Lord, there have been concerns about House Sage becoming too militarized. Some might say that our current state flies in the face of Lord Rickard's vision for House Sage. Will Lady Felicity be continuing that trend or can we expect a return to more pacifistic ideals?"

"Lady Sage has expressed similar concerns to me in private," he admitted, part of it was true and part of it was a lie, "She does not agree with the use of force but I have convinced her of the need to defend ourselves. Now, next quest--," he stopped suddenly when a security guard came into the room with a concerned expression on his face and hurried over to Lord Marik.

Charles turned away from the crowd as the guard whispered in his ear and when he heard what the man had to say he had to resist the urge to strangle him. Finally, after taking a moment to compose himself he turned back to the crowd of reporters. "Sorry, this press conference is over. I thank you all for your time."

He started to walk out of the room then, ignoring all the calls for his attention as each reporter tried in vain to get another question in. Once he was outside in the hallway he turned to the guard. "Lock down the spaceport," he said, "And send our men beyond the wall. I want to know where that crawlspace leads and I want our men to be there first. Don't let them escape, Captain."

The guard captain quickly saluted him then hurried off to go carry out his orders. Meanwhile, Charles turned and walked the other way. There was a command center at the center of the estate from which he could monitor everything happening on the estate grounds and in the city beyond the walls. It won't pinpoint her exact location, of course, but it will allow him to coordinate search parties to try and find her. I knew I should have killed that Messryn when I had the chance, he grumbled to himself...

**********

"Freelancer," Blake asked in surprise, "but I haven't told you--," he stopped short realizing that perhaps Lord Kyne's people kept a dossier on him. He was a close friend of Autumn, after all. They probably had similar files on all her friends. "Alright," he said, changing the subject, "then I suggest we focus on only a few. If we can find multiple reports of the same person we might be able to use that to triangulate a base of operations. It might not be where they're keeping Autumn, but it's a place to start."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:59 pm

The trip through the crawlway was a claustrophobic, hot, painful experience, full of bumps and bruises and scrapes as the four of them made their way through the duct work in semi-darkness, only small indicator lights to guide them. Random valves, pieces of metal and protrusions caught them as they crawled, grabbing skin, ripping clothes and generally making experience even more uncomfortable.

Titus was not wild about having to drag Felicity, but there was no time for arguing and leaving her behind was hardly an honorable option. He winced lightly as her head struck another pipe during her awkward drag down the crawlway, eliciting a groan from her.

You're going to feel this one tomorrow.

It felt like forever, but was probably less than two minutes when they came out the other side through a vent that Ossica simply kicked off. There was no time for subtlety.

There were several guards to be seen about a city block away, but fortunately their attention was focused in a different direction for the moment.

Ossica lowered himself down to ground, turning to assist Autumn as she reached the opening, sweating from the heat, coated in dust, and with a few more scrapes and bruises for her travels. As soon as she made it to the ground, she sank to the duracrete, coughing.

Between Titus and Ossica, they managed to lower Felicity out of the vent, who was showing signs of consciousness, but did not quite seem fully awake yet. Ossica slung her over one of his shoulders and helped Titus down.

"Leave the rifle. It will only attract attention in the city and will not assist us much." Ossica told Titus, who mulled that for a moment before begrudgingly putting it back into the vent. Glancing over in the direction of the guards, he stepped to Autumn, pulling her up to her feet.

"I apologize, milady, but we don't have time to stop right now." He said brusquely then looked to Ossica. "Lead on."

Ossica turned just as one of the guards looked in their direction and called out to them.

"Quickly." Ossica hissed and lead them around a corner from the guards, and from there on a zigzag pattern through the city. It was a few more blocks before Felicity finally woke up enough to get her feet, so Ossica set her down.

"You are back with us, Descendant. We must keep walking, but more casually now. Soon we will be in crowds, and we will be lost to them until we reach a safe house, yes."

**********

"It's such tragic news." Farrid put his best concerned face on. "How many dead?"

He shook his head at the Correspondence representative who was speaking to him of a terrorist attack against House Ducant. "Speak to my chamberlain. He has a message drafted expressing our deepest condolences as well as our pledge to assist House Ducant with investigating the incident and routing the terrorists, should they request it."

The Guild member bowed. "You can trust the Correspondence Guild to deliver your message precisely and timely."

The Archlord just grunted, watching the Guild member leave. Once he was out of the room, Farrid turned to his son, Yiande.

"You have questions?" He asked gruffly, as his son sat the large table of their banquet hall, pawing at the pretty servant girl who was sitting on his lap.

Yiande snorted. "It seems like wasted effort to me. What if they never trace the attack?" Further comment from him as lost for a moment as he buried his face into the girl's neck.

"Yiande!" The Borrocor Archlord barked. "This is not play time. Focus!"

Begrudgingly, Yiande separated himself from the servant, gesturing her to run along. She stood, curtsied to the both of them and left the room while Farrid continued to glare at his son.

"You may think her mouth is only good for one thing, but believe me, empires crumble on the secrets servants overhear."

Yiande just scoffed at this. "You're getting paranoid, father. After what happened to the last household staff that tried to repeat things they heard, I don't think anyone will be making that mistake any time soon."

"Nevertheless." The Archlord stalked over to his son, his leg augmentors whirring lightly as he moved his massive frame. "The plan is solid. I have worked with the agent who orchestrated it in the past. He is the only one who will have known what has been done and why. He left just enough of a trail that it will lead right to Kyne space. Rumors are that they even captured some of the rebels who did the bombing, which is even better. They will be interrogated, they will say that they are from Kyne space, which will make it seem as though House Kyne is either harboring rebels or secretly supporting them. And, if Ducant takes us up on our offer to help with the investigation... well, we can help them connect the dots."

The door opened, admitting Seraphine into the room. "Am I interrupting?" She spoke with a sweet smile, leaving a little doubt as to whether or not she was actually concerned about interrupting.

"Not at all, dearest daughter. We were just discussing the tragedy that has befallen House Ducant." Farrid did not look away from his son when he spoke.

Yiande scoffed again, standing up to get himself some wine from the side table. "Yes, dear sister. Now which one of the brothers is it that gets you all hot and bothered? Maybe it's time to pay him a visit. You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

Seraphine gave her half brother a sneer. "I doubt quite seriously you will ever know what it is a girl likes." Yiande just sneered back, not quite sure exactly how to respond to her insult. Instead, he just turned back to address his father.

"If we have intel that ties the rebel attacks to House Kyne, why do we not just turn it over to them and be done with it?"

Farrid sighed. "I feel like I waste my words on you. Yiande, can you truly be that stupid? Is it just that you don't care?"

Yiande moved to say something, but Seraphine spoke first. "If you give them the information now, they will wonder why you did not give it to them in time to prevent it. Better to sit on it for a while and say it was the result of a thorough investigation, am I right, father?"

Farrid stared at her hard for a moment. "Surprisingly astute. I always forget that you are one I should keep my eye on."

Seraphine held a smile a second, then said "I will take that as a compliment." Inwardly, she cringed slightly, wondering if she had overplayed her hand, but then her father spoke again.

"Perhaps Yiande is right. Maybe this would be a good opportunity for you to visit House Duncant, in a show of support and sympathy. We are all in this together, after all."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:54 am

The world was a distant whirlpool of sights, sounds and smells all swirling together. First it was the hot, humid air of the crawlspace then that opened up into a bright, colorful world. Next she was on someone's shoulder as they were carrying her through the city. She bounced up and down uncomfortably, her thoughts a jumbled mess of random ideas and feelings. Somewhere distantly she remembered a sense of urgency but she couldn't remember what it was about. Her lips moved as she tried to mouth words but no sound came. She tried again, mumbling something in Ossica's ear that was difficult to make out. Then all of a sudden a single thought flared in her mind as clear as the midday sun.

"Galen," she cried, finally coming to.

Ossica and the others stopped and the Messryn gently set her down on her own feet. "You are back with us, Descendant," he told her, resting his hands gently on her shoulders to hold her steady, "We must keep walking, but more casually now. Soon we will be in crowds, and we will be lost to them until we reach a safe house, yes."

"Where's Galen," Felicity repeated, "Did he make it?"

Ossica said nothing, but looked away. Felicity looked to Autumn and Titus, both of whom were similarly tight-lipped. "We have to go back for him," she said, "We can't leave him there alone!"

**********

Charles Marik resist the urge to scowl as he viewed the monitors depicting the scene at the front gate. Several trucks had pulled up outside the gate blocking the driveway. Two of them belonged to reporters who weren't invited to the coronation, the third was a delivery truck driven by two Messryn. At the moment they were all squabbling with the guards who refused them entry onto the grounds. The situation at the front gate made it all but impossible for his men to pursue Felicity and her companions into the city. Not that it mattered, though, with the main lift to the spaceport heavily guarded there was no way they were getting off this world.

The doors behind him slid open and two men entered carrying a third between them. Charles turned to look at them as they dragged Galen over to stand in front of him. "Galen," Charles said, his tone sounding harsh with perhaps a tinge of disappointment.

"Father," Galen said, smiling up at him through the pain in his gut.

Charles' expression hardened as he looked at his son. "I see you've chosen a side."

"It was never a choice, my Lord," Galen Marik replied, twisting the final word of his sentence to reflect his derision of it. The Mariks were never meant to be Lords. Galen's father stole that title for himself, forsaking their family's ancient duty to the Sage family.

Charles finally did scowl, but this time for a different reason. "Have the doctor patch him up then put him in a cell. I'll decide later what to do with him."

"Yes, my Lord," the two men carrying Galen replied. Then they half carried and half dragged Charles' son out of the room.

Charles turned his attention back to the monitors. There was something happening now. One of the guards had spotted something off screen and tried to shout. As the others raised their weapons to pursue what he assumed must have been Lady Sage and her companions the reporters and Messryn resumed their bombardment on them, intercepting them with demands and inquiries. Charles' scowl deepened even more and finally he turned away.

"I want those men in the city now," he told his guard captain as he was leaving the room. "Do whatever it takes," he added and then he was gone. Leaving the guard captain to handle the situation at the front gate...

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:00 am

Ossica grabbed Felicity's arm, mostly to steady her as she regained her feet and balance. "There is no time for indecision or words. If Galen yet lives, I will attempt a rescue later, yes. Now, though, you must keep moving." Felicity turned, as if she intended to go back, even though she didn't know the way. Ossica's grip tightened on her arm.

"If you go back, you will be captured, and there will be no second chance. You will make a mockery of Galen's sacrifice, the sacrifices of my people." He hissed, a surprising among of anger in his voice.

From a few blocks away, they heard the sounds of a voice amplifier blaring on the streets. "Clear the street immediately or you will be fired upon. This is your final warning, clear the streets immediately." There were panicky cries that followed, and what sounded like desperate people trying to get out of the way.

Ossica bared his teeth momentarily. "We must move now."

Autumn looked at Felicity nervously. "Please... I do not think we can do any good here now. Let us get to safety. Then maybe we can come up with a plan."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:13 pm

Felicity looked at Autumn then at Ossica and back down the street where the shouts were coming from. She could have saved them, she could have saved them all. Why didn't she? If she had just revealed her powers sooner she could have lifted everyone over the wall to safety. So why did she keep them secret? What was she so afraid of? She never stopped to think about using her powers before. On Ord Mantell there was no hesitation, that is until...

Until Kylo Ren, the thought stuck in her mind and sent a frozen chill down her back. Using her powers had drawn the Knights of Ren to her and put countless people in danger. Was she at risk of doing the same thing here? There was no time to think about it or to consider other options. Charles Marik's loyalists were closing in on them and if she didn't make a decision now Autumn, Titus and Ossica would all die.

"I'm sorry, Galen," she whispered quietly to herself, then she turned back to Ossica and gave him a nod.

Ossica led the way through the streets, being the one most familiar with the area. Felicity simply followed him and for the first time since this whole ordeal started it was no her turn to feel numb. She was not used to being so powerless to help the ones she cared about and now it's happened twice. Once before with Renn Corso and now again with Galen. She hated having to leave him behind and it gnawed at her self conscious, but in the grand scheme of things she had to recognize that there were more important things at stake. Such as her promise to Ethan to return Autumn alive...

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:58 am

Ossica returned her nod, then beckoned for everyone to follow, leading them deeper into the city, towards the more populous areas.

Every Messryn that could manage it had been to Iselia. It was a pilgrimage of sorts, a place made sacred by the promise of the Descendant to come. Ossica had traveled Iselia's streets less than some, given that his ties to the Countermovement as well as a few other esoteric circles meant he did not have as much time to spend learning the city.

"Quickly. This way."

They darted down an alleyway, which opened up into a broad festival square. There was no particular celebration underway at the moment, meaning the square was mostly vacant apart from clusters of people moving about their normal, daily business.

On the far side of the square was Ossica's destination: an old hydroponics farm. It was still a functioning building, but was antiquated enough that its output was hardly vital to the functioning of Iselia. It was too important to get rid of, but not important enough for anyone to really take much notice of.

A perfect hiding place. If one could get there without being discovered.

Ossica glanced to the left and right of the plaza. Marrik's troops were already filtering in to the city along the main corridors, fanning out from the palace and slowly sweeping the city. Ossica had no idea exactly what description the troops had been given to be on the lookout for, and he did not fancy finding out the hard way.

An assault speeder with a heavy blaster mounted on the back had already taken up position near the main entrance to the plaza. It would chase them down or just blast them if it caught wind. There was no time, and no alternative, however. Somehow, they would have to make it across the open space.

Ossica hissed, pulling out a comm device. "I need assistance at the plaza... A diversion, yes."

The voice on the other end spoke up, another Messryn. "Suspicions are already high. If we push, Marrik may just decide to round up all our brethren."

"There is no choice. The Descendant is with me, and we have no time or recourse." Ossica knew what he was asking could potentially be the death of many of his own kind, just as his brethren knew the risks they took in accepting his request for help.

"We will be there very soon."

The moments ticked by tensely, Autumn silent and pensive, Titus alert like a coiled spring, and Felicity looking somewhat like a trapped animal, desperate to be absolutely anywhere but here.

From the area near the farm, an aging truck rumbled out, making its way across the festival square in the direction of the heavy speeder.

As it neared, the truck combusted, flames shooting out of the engine compartment and from the undercarriage as two Messryn jumped from the rolling wreckage of a vehicle. They both ran in opposite directions, screaming and patting at flames which danced along their appendages.

It was risky, immolating themselves with low temperature propellants. But also very distracting.

"Let's go." Ossica said, beckoning them to follow as he started across the plaza at just under a run...

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:51 pm

Felicity barely paid any attention to what was going on in the plaza. Her thoughts were still stuck on Galen and how she had left him behind. As Ossica discussed his plan with someone on the other end of his call all Felicity could do was silently pray that somehow Galen was still alive. It wasn't until the old farm truck exploded into flames that her mind was suddenly snapped back to the present. She didn't have much time to think about it, however, as next thing she knew Ossica was tugging on her arm and pulling her along beside him.

In the center of the plaza the four men manning the heavy speeder had their attention squarely on the flaming Messryn that had abandoned the truck. At a nod from their senior officer two of them moved to aid the Messryn and quickly put out the flames. Meanwhile, Felicity and her companions tried to quietly make their way across the plaza. They had almost succeeded too if Felicity had not been so distracted. She tripped on a curb as they hurried across the street and she started to fall. Fortunately, she fell into a nearby woman who managed to catch her.

"Um, thank you," Felicity said absently, brushing a stray lock of hair out of her eyes.

As soon as the woman saw the ring on Felicity's hand her eyes went wide. "Lady Sage," she said, bowing to her right there in the plaza.

"No, please stop. Don't do that," Felicity tried to tell her but it was too late. Other citizens nearby saw what was happening and they too started to bow. This behavior drew the attention of the soldiers trying to help the Messryn. One of them looked up and saw what was happening and called to the others.

A cry of alarm went out and blasterfire soon followed, targeted squarely on Felicity's companions. The two Messryn who were part of the diversion team pounced on the soldiers, biting, clawing and pounding them into submission, but there was still the heavy speeder. As Titus and the others were running for cover a stream of laser fire followed them, burning holes into the duracrete wall they hid behind and setting the plants on top of it ablaze.

Felicity had hid elsewhere, cut off from her companions by the first volley. She hid behind a similar planter and poked her head out just far enough over the wall to see what was happening. Three of the soldiers were tied up with the Messryn fighting a desperate battle for their lives while the heavy speeder pounded the wall covering her friends. There weren't a whole lot of options left to her. Even running as fast as she could it would take some time to cover that distance and by then it might be too late. There was perhaps one thing she could try to help them, but she had never tried to lift something that big before. In a moment of indecision her eyes strayed to Autumn, who was cowering beside Titus and suddenly it all became clear. If she didn't try to do something right now that speeder was going to turn that whole wall to slag.

So, with no other option she reached out with her hand and tried to gather as much energy as she could, directing it all towards the speeder. Her first attempt failed miserably, as did the second. At best she managed to lift it maybe an inch or two but no more. After a couple more failed attempts she was close to giving up when she suddenly heard Autumn's cry somewhere in the back of her mind and the thought of her friend being killed renewed her resolve. She reached out towards the speeder one more time and strained her will against it as hard as she could. At first nothing happened but then suddenly, inch by inch, the speeder began to rise.

Felicity's entire body was trembling as she struggled to maintain her focus and finally, with one last gigantic push, she flung the speeder across the plaza and onto its side. When it struck the ground it slid across the pavement and careened into a light post, knocking it over. Somehow the soldier manning the gun had managed to survive and crawled from the wreckage. Felicity had lost sight of him as she collapsed against the planter. Her entire body felt weak and even as she was leaning against the wall she could feel her legs beginning to buckle and could barely lift her arms. She wasn't sure if she could follow her friends, but they still had a chance to escape.

"Run," she shouted at them, even as more of Lord Marik's men were approaching from down the street...

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:39 am

By now, the plaza was in pure chaos. The speeder firing nearby the crowds only caused more confusion and panic, as no one was quite sure who was being shot at or why. Those who had been close enough to Felicity to recognize her likeness did not seem to appreciate blaster shots in her general direction, and many of them began shouting protests towards the soldiers, and a few were even brave enough to try to impose themselves between the shots and the heiress.

Ossica wasn't quite sure what had happened to the heavy speeder. He had heard stories of the Sage's magicks, though, his mind was slow to come to that conclusion in the heat of the moment. Still, for a few minutes, they were no longer under fire, and it might have even been long enough to effect an escape.

He grabbed Felicity, throwing her onto his shoulders as though her were a lamb, and he began darting for shelter, with Titus pulling Autumn behind.

A few shots managed to find their way over to them, kicking up small gouts of rock as they splashed against the ground. A small molten pebble hissed against Ossica's fur, but he was far too focused to notice the pain.

Twenty meters.

The shots were getting fewer between and more inaccurate as he raced forward. His destination, a large door that opened into one of the green houses, was dead ahead.

Ten meters.

The noises from the plaza blurred behind him, an incomprehensible cacophony of screaming, shouting, running, and shooting.

Five meters.

Ossica could see the faces of several Messryn lurking in the building, waiting anxiously for him to be inside so they could shut the door.

After that, it was a blur.

He felt a pain in his right leg, as if someone had driven a sword through his calf, and suddenly he was falling. There was a dizzying moment of vertigo as it seemed the ground was a long way off even as it rushed to meet him. With his hands preoccupied with their task of steadying his passenger, he had no recourse but to turn his muzzle to the side, and land face first on the hard ground.

He had hardly even touched the ground before hands were pulling him and Felicity inside the building in an undignified heap, the door grinding closed as Titus and Autumn dashed in behind them.

Autumn had run out of screams. Perhaps it was that her brain had finally accepted that this was her life now, an existence of prolonged and severely acute stress. Or maybe she was simply fatigued to the point where it had all ceased to matter.

One way or another, she felt numb. Even the sight of the laser bolt striking Ossica's leg and toppling him to the ground hardly triggered a response from her other than the cold logical thought that who ever had been shooting at Ossica had either been very skilled or very lucky.

Soon she was inside the green house, a vast facility with opaque walls and rows upon rows of artificial lights over top of equal rows of multicolored plants.

"Get them underground, quickly. Send a few decoys out the back way." Someone said. Autumn became aware that there was actually quite a few people standing around them, some Messryn, some human, all of them seemingly awed. A Messryn and a few humans, roughly comparable in size to Titus, Felicity and Autumn, donned cloaks and made their way towards the back of the greenhouse, hoping to emerge and lead any pursuers on a merry chase if necessary.

The four fugitives were hustled quickly towards the center of the green house, where a few workers pushed aside what looked to be an immoveable plant table, revealing a hidden staircase plunging in to darkness.

Without ceremony, they were half pushed, pulled, and guided into the dark staircase, Ossica being half carried by another Messryn, and Felicity likewise supported by a helper. The moment they were all on the staircase, the door above them shut quickly, sealing them underground and into complete blackness.

"Sorry for the lack of light, it's a bit of a security measure." A male voice spoke from... somewhere. Autumn couldn't tell if it was in front of them or behind them. "There is only a few stairs and then a narrow hallway which is only about eight meters or so. Just keep one hand on each wall as you move toward until you reach the door."

They shuffled on, the darkness lending a claustrophobia to the situation made only worse by the fact that everyone was panting and trying to catch their breath. It didn't take long for Titus, who found himself in the front of the group, to reach a door in front of him. "Hold up." He called back to everyone, trying to avoid a pile up in the narrow tunnel.

There was the sound of a door closing behind them, and suddenly dim lights sprang on in the tunnel.

"Excellent." Autumn turned at the sound of the voice to see that it was a lithe man supporting Felicity who was speaking. "Don't worry, you're as safe as you can be now." The door in front of Titus opened, allowing them to enter into a small, but surprisingly comfortable chamber.

It was hard to say what the original intent of the space had been. Probably a machinery room of some kind, although now there was no trace of that.

Instead, there were several beds, obviously makeshift but also pleasantly comfortable looking, which ringed the room. Off in one corner was a small food preparation area with a miniature stove and food preserver which shared space with a heavy duty rolling c, and another corner had been turned into a refresher, complete with a small shower stall behind a privacy screen.

It had all the makings of a safe house, but someone had taken the time to make it more homey, with soothing art on the walls and even a small holoplayer.

The man who was helping Felicity brought her to one of the beds, sitting her down, and beckoned to a woman who was standing by with a medical kit. He continued to speak as the medic went to work, examining Felicity.

"This place is shielded from scanners and is completely sound proofed. It should be secure enough for you to all to get some food, medical attention and rest. Try to relax, my men will be on watch and we will have plans in place in the event that it is no longer safe for you here."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:15 pm

The woman with the medkit approached Felicity but the girl waved her off. "I'm fine," she said, she had just been feeling exhausted as though she'd just run a marathon. It was hardly something to make a fuss over. "See to Ossica first."

The woman looked at her then back to the man who had helped Felicity down here. Silently he nodded and she went off to tend to the Messryn first. Felicity stood from the bed, her legs still feeling a bit wobbly but sturdier than they were on her way down here. "We can't stay here for long," she said loud enough for everyone to hear, "That central pillar leads to the spaceport, right? We need to get up there."

The man from before seemed shocked. "M--my Lady, do you intend to leave," he asked.

"I made a promise to bring Autumn home safely," Felicity told him, "I have to keep it."

"And then you will return, right," a girl from nearby interrupted suddenly. Felicity turned to look at her and saw a woman no older than herself. "You won't leave us here at the mercy of Charles Marik, will you?"

Felicity turned away from her and her shoulders drooped. "I put everyone in danger just by being here," she said quietly in a small voice, "Maybe it would have been better had I never come at all."

She started to walk away from the group and the man who helped her reached out to her, stopping just short of touching her shoulder. "My Lady--," he started but she interrupted him.

"Please, just leave me alone. I need a minute to myself," she said and she wandered off as far from the group as she could manage in such a small space...

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:57 am

Felicity's actions set a sort of nervous tremor through the room of would-be supporters. There weren't many of them here, but it was obvious that they were discomforted by her lack of leadership, lack of command bearing.

Autumn looked from the group of rebels to Felicity. More than anything, she just wanted to lay down, maybe get a shower and some food. But she couldn't. Not with Felicity feeling that way.

And she knew how it was that Felicity was feeling.

Forcing herself to her feet, Autumn made her way over to Felicity, who was taking what refuge she could in the small food prep area. It was a mere fifteen or so steps from the beds, but was as far as it was possible to get without actually leaving.

"Hey." She spoke softly as she stepped up beside Felicity, who was staring at a sink as though there would be some divine inspiration which would issue forth from it. "I know you did not ask for any of this. I know what that feels like." Autumn drew a slow breath, privately wondering if she was really up for the "words of comfort" thing right now. Nevertheless, there was no one else in this room who could even pretend to understand the position Felicity found herself in.

"I spent my entire childhood, and some of my adulthood, wishing, hoping, praying for a way to get out of the responsibility I have and am to have in the future. People look to me, both to be an example, and to give orders, and that is something I never asked for. What I have come to realize is that it does not matter how unfair it is, or how much I do not want it. The people who look up to me and my father are not going away regardless of my wishes. I've realized I just have to accept how unfair it is, and move on."

Autumn gave a small flash of a smile, her eyes falling to the ground. "I am sorry, I just realized how utterly appalling I am at motivational speeches. I will leave you to your thoughts, but I just want to say, you are not alone." Autumn turned, as if to leave, then turned back as if on an afterthought. "And, truthfully, you are just what these people need: a mixture of compassion and decisiveness. As Ethan is fond of saying, the best leaders are the ones who arise out of necessity, not out of desire."

Autumn rested her hand on Felicity's shoulder momentarily, then turned to leave again.



****************

The message arrived for House Ducant, a prerecorded message from Envoy Seraphine Borrocor, who could only claim the title of Envoy for all her ambitions. The holographic likeness made her seem ethereal, like an angel, although the plunging dress she wore put one more in mind of a temptress.

"Greetings from the grand House Borrocor. In response to the news that has reached us of horrific attacks on Ducant soil, House Borrocor wishes to extend a hand of friendship. In his great compassion, the Archlord Borrocor has seen fit to express his deepest condolences by sending me, his humble envoy, along with a shipment of humanitarian aide, investigators and security personnel to help with the aftermath, or anything else the great House Ducant could fathom to request. If you are amenable to these offerings, please respond in kind, and we will make ready our departure with all do haste. May your House find peace in this trying time."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:57 pm

"Autumn," Felicity said, stopping the other girl in her tracks before she could get much further, "thank you for trying to help me, but I can't stay. This planet... It's not my home, I didn't grow up here. I have friends that I left behind. That was my life, not this. I wasn't prepared for this. No one trained me for this. I would make a poor leader but they want me to lead them anyway because of who my father is. There has to be someone among them that would make a better ruler than me. Why can't they just follow him? Or her? Or whatever? Why does it have to be me?"

She looked at Autumn, her eyes pleading, searching for a way out. She can't stay here, she can't get involved. It wouldn't be safe for her, not with the dark shroud that was nipping at her heels. She could well lead something worse here to this sector or become something worse herself trying to reform it. This wasn't her place, she needed to get back to her own life, back to the part of the galaxy where she grew up... Wherever that is.

**********

Gaius awoke with a start when the door to Marcella's room suddenly opened. Leland entered carrying a small com and crossed the room to stand in front of Lord Ducant. With a bow he presented the com to his father who took it into his hand and played the recording. Gaius quickly straightened up and brushed some drool away from the corner of his mouth as he watched his father play the message. Leland, his eyes fixed on the lithe form of Seraphine Borrocor, waited until the message was over before whispering something in the Lord's ear. Declan's eyes widened in fury and he threw the comlink against the wall, smashing it to pieces.

"I want Lady Seraphine arrested the moment she arrives," he roared at Leland.

Gaius jumped to his feet, surprised at his father's outrage. "Father, you can't--," Gaius started but Declan interrupted him.

"Don't you tell me what to do, boy! Nearly a week you've been gone and you come back only after your sister's been attacked!"

"I was attacked too, father. Or does that not matter," he asked with a hint of ice in his voice.

Leland was surprised by the vehemence in Gaius' tone and he immediately turned to look at his father, if the older Lord of House Ducant had been surprised as well he did a much better job of hiding it. "Gaius is right, father. We can't be too hasty with this. They were offering help, I thought that would be appreciated. If you arrest their envoy we'll lose the shipment of raw materials we bartered from House Borrocor."

This was not how he expected this to go. Leland had went ahead and invited Seraphine to Odessa because he saw an opportunity to discuss what she might have heard regarding the information Lord Borrocor mentioned on their last visit. Now it seems he inadvertently caused a huge political misunderstanding.

"A week ago Lord Borrocor tells me there's a secret rebel base inside Kyne territory," Declan continued, his fury reaching its peak, "A few days later a bomb goes off in my capital city! Now two days after that Lord Borrocor sends his daughter to our House with help? Either Lord Borrocor is implicit in the attack or he purposefully withheld vital information that could have saved my daughter! Either way I am done playing his games! You will arrest Lady Seraphine when her shuttle lands or I'll have you thrown in the stockades myself! Now get out of my sight!"

Both Gaius and Leland looked at each other, both of them at a loss for words. For once in their lives they actually agreed with each other, but that didn't matter much now. Lord Declan had already made his decision and there was nothing to be gained from trying to defy him. With a sigh both boys left the room without another word...
Last edited by Pryde on Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:13 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Thu Nov 10, 2016 2:36 am

Autumn's eyes searched Felicity's face, a deep sympathy etched across her brow. It was a dark irony that found Autumn arguing on the other side of the litany she had heard some many times growing up. "It must be you, simply because you are who you are. If you do not lead these people, then someone like Marrik will. And they will know oppression, and they will be little more than pawns in his game. Could you truly leave in good conscience knowing that people will suffer because of it? You are the hope of these people, are you really willing to leave them hopeless?"

Autumn paused a moment, then shook her head. "I know you are new to this sector, and do not necessarily see the implications of the situation, but... it is truly incredible. You have an entire House waiting to follow you, a House that was thought hunted to extinction, yet here they are, surviving and waiting. If you leave, the only legacy House Sage, the house of your ancestors, will know, is the likes of Charles Marrik. Once we get back to Oridin, my father can assist you, help you strengthen your position with trustworthy advisors, maybe even troops. Then, when you are ready, you can return, and face Marrik on your terms."

Autumn sighed a little. "I am sorry. I wish I could tell you that just running away was an option. But I feel I know you well enough to know that even if you left, you would regret the decision."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:15 pm

"I might not have a choice," Felicity said quietly, just barely loud enough for Autumn to hear. "I told you I led a revolution back on Ord Mantell," she explained, "Men and women who were used as slaves for the First Order, many of whom eager to fight. I protested against it but Gabriel said we needed the help. Things were going well, for awhile. We had the First Order on the defensive and had taken many of their shipments. That is, until they arrived."

She shuddered a bit, remembering the cold fear she felt the first time she encountered the Knights of Ren. "They were like me, they had powers and could do things with their minds but they were stronger than me and they nearly slaughtered us. Few of us made it out alive, I almost didn't make it out at all. My mentor threw himself at the one called Kylo Ren, giving me a chance to escape. If not for him--," she stopped, unable to finish that thought. A tear streaked down her cheek and she quickly wiped it away before turning back to Autumn.

"There is darkness out there," she continued, "And if I stay there's a chance it will follow me here. They know of my existence now, they know what I can do and they will never stop hunting me."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Sat Nov 19, 2016 3:06 am

"Which do you think looks nicer?" Seraphine held up one of two different gowns as she spoke to the indentured girl who stood behind her. "Red? To give that fiery, aggressive personae?" She switched hands. "Or blue? To represent the soothing melancholy of the situation?" Seraphine tossed the red dress aside, picking up a black on to compare along side the blue one. "Or black... to acknowledge that death walks among them?"

Seraphine made eye contact with the girl behind her, who was looking decidedly nervous about the question. "It's not a trick question."

the servant shifted slightly. "Ah.. The blue one seems nice, mistress."

Seraphine held the blue one up again, hmming lightly. "Yes, it should do." The dress went back on the rack as Seraphine turned to the servant. "Get all the accessories for that garment ready."

The servant turned and went about her work as Seraphine went over to the computer console nestled in the desk of her ornate cabin above the luxury shuttle. The console showed that it was an hour to Odessa. Just long enough to get dressed and primed for the events to come.

She knew her father was involved in the attack on House Ducant somehow, but she did not have proof or even accurate information yet. It would be interesting to hear from Leland what Ducant had discovered in the course of their investigations. This meeting was one of the most important meetings of her life, though for different reasons than it would seem. This would be the meeting she would gauge how much she could trust Leland and what would come from their little pact. She would have to be cautious, but what he did with the information she passed along would be very telling indeed.

Turning away from the console, she stood by the mirror as the servant began to dress her, another girl entering and beginning to apply make up to her face.

By the time Seraphine's servants were done, they had reached Odessa, and were on descent to the planet, the larger cargo ship laden with supplies and personnel waiting in orbit with its frigate escort.

Seraphine endulged herself in a moment of vanity, letting her eyes rest of her reflection in the mirror. WIth her face exquisitely painted in a dramatic swatch of make up, it almost looked like she was wearing a mask of blues, blacks, and whites. It was a make up style that had been gaining in popularity amongst the noble maidens lately, and while Seraphine found it a bit more lacking in subtlety than she would have liked, she had to admit the end result was very striking.

"Maiden Borrocor, we are beginning our approach. You may wish to secure a seat during our descent." The pilot's voice came over the intercom, and Seraphine found a seat to strap in to.

A few moments later, the shuttle pierced through the cloud cover, maneuvering to the landing platform they were directed to, the fighter escorts returning to orbit. Seraphine stood as the shuttle came to a rest, and exited in the presence of her ceremonial guard and aide to greet whatever reception awaited her.


**********

Autumn gave a moment's pause before saying anything, letting Felicity's words hang in the air. "I cannot pretend to understand your situation. But if you are right, and they will continue to hunt you, would yout not rather have a place to make a stand? A people to stand with you? As much as you can help these people, it sounds like they can help you. Your enemies do not sound like the sort of people you wish to face alone."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:40 pm

That was a dreadful thought, watching more innocent lives snuffed out in a vain attempt to protect her. She had watched the Knights of Ren cut through her followers before and knew perfectly well what they were capable of. She doubted anyone here could stand up to them. When they came there would be nothing she could do. With a sigh she wiped a tear from her eyes and stood up.

"We should get moving," she said, "That ruse won't fool Charles for long and when he catches them he'll come back here looking for us."

She crossed the room over to where the medic was tending Ossica. "How are you," she asked, "Can you walk?"

**********

Leland stood on the landing platform alone as he waited for Seraphine's shuttle to land. Once the vessel had settled its fighter escort took off back into space as the boarding ramp lowered to the tarmac. Seraphine stepped out of the shuttle looking as exquisite as ever and followed by her personal guard. When she saw Leland he expression lit up until she saw the grim look on his face.

"Leland," she asked and before he could answer a veritable army of royal guard poured out into the open and surrounded them. This was followed shortly after by several troop transports and fighters that surrounded the shuttle from the air.

"I'm sorry, Princess," Leland began in a tone that spoke volumes about his inner turmoil, "but I've been ordered to have you placed under arrest. Please order your guard to lower their weapons."

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