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 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:17 am

The evening wound down as predictably as could be expected, full of conversations that were so banal, they might as well been scripted. When finally the last guests had departed and a Kyne security team had swept the estate grounds with high powered scanners to ensure there had been no left bugs or other mischief, the palace seemed to relax palpably.

Ethan moved through the quieted palace, a servant girl trailing him, making his way over to the upper west wing where their "guest" had been staged. The area consisted mostly of guest rooms and other guest accommodations. It was designed to be an area where guests could wander and enjoy a variety of hospitalities without interfering with the day to day operations of the House Estate.

The wing was devoid of guests at the moment, other than Felicity, making it an ideal place to keep her contained, but not confined to a cell. He stopped at the entrance of the wing, where two guard stood post. Ethan stepped up to them, though they made no move to block his way.

"Anything to report?" He asked mildly, looking them up and down. They looked bored, but still alert enough that he did not doubt their performance at their job.

"No, sir. The only people in and out was the doctor and food service. The guest has made no attempt to leave."

Ethan nodded, then moved past them without another word, the servant still following silently. Despite the growing hour, he knocked firmly on the door and entered the room. Felicity was still awake, although it looked like a near thing.

"Forgive the intrusion at this late hour. I wanted to check in you before I retired for the evening. Tomorrow, you will be meeting Benedict Kyne, the Lord of House Kyne and ultimately the man who will decide what is to happen with you." He beckoned the servant girl forward. "This young lady will take your measurements, so we can have some suitable attire ready for you tomorrow."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:57 am

"Attire," Felicity repeated in confusion, "What's wrong with my clothes?"

Ethan gave her a look. "They were shredded in the crash," he said and Felicity's face flushed.

"Oh yeah, I guess that's true."

The servant girl stepped forward then. "Please stand," she said and Felicity did as she was asked. Then the girl pulled out a long ribbon with some markings on it. "Arm's out."

Felicity didn't really understand but she held her arms out to her sides. The girl reached forward to wrap the ribbon around her, startling Felicity and causing her to take a step back.

"She's not going to hurt you," Ethan assured her.

Felicity glanced between him and the servant girl then warily stepped forward again and held her arms out. The servant girl began taking the first measurement and as she did so Felicity closed her eyes. When nothing painful seemed to happen she opened her eyes one at a time. The servant girl was diligent in her work but there was something about her that nagged at Felicity until finally it hit her. She's afraid of me, the revelation came as something of a surprise to her. Neither the doctor nor Ethan were afraid of her, quite the opposite, in fact.

After the servant girl had finished taking her measurements she stepped back behind Ethan who nodded at her. "Thank you," he said, "I will be by tomorrow to retrieve you, sleep well."

Then he and the servant girl left the room, leaving Felicity alone again...

**********

The next morning Felicity awoke to a surprise. Ethan had returned as he said he would, this time with several servant girls who insisted on helping Felicity dress as Ethan stood respectfully outside. Felicity had never been dressed before and the entire experience was uncomfortable and nervewracking. It didn't really help that one of the girls had stripped Felicity's hospital gown from her without any warning leaving the poor girl standing naked in front of three strangers.

At the moment she stood in front of the Lord's chambers with Ethan standing next to her as they waited for the Lord to beckon them inside. Felicity had her eyes closed as she tried really hard to forget the morning's events.

"Are you alright," Ethan asked, looking at her out of the corner of his eye.

Felicity's eyes snapped open at the sound of his voice. "Sorry," she said, "That whole experience was--unpleasant."

The two stood in silence a moment longer. Felicity couldn't bring herself to make eye contact with anyone so instead she played with the various silks, strings and beads of the outfit she wore. Never before had she ever worn anything so fancy.

"You're fidgeting," Ethan said suddenly. It was a statement rather than a question.

"Sorry," she apologized again, her hands falling to her sides. "It's just, is all this really necessary," she asked, gesturing to her clothes.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:13 pm

Ethan eyed her silently for a heartbeat before responding. "You are about to be face to face with a man who answers to no one in these territories and holds your life in his hand. Do you really want to risk not making a good first impression?"

The steward did not wait for a response, but pushed open the doors to the study, letting them swing gently open until they hit the door stoppers with a quiet click. From behind his desk, Benedict stood and waited as Ethan ushered in the guest. He was slightly surprised to see how young the girl was, she did not look far into adulthood, but despite the tinge of uncertainty about her, Benedict thought he detected a hint of an agility that spoke of some nature of prowess, combat or otherwise.

"My Lord Kyne, may I present the Orphan Felicity." Ethan gave a faint bow as he spoke, then waited.

Benedict took a second to size up the guest, dressed in Kyne livery. She was pretty, as a young woman was oft to be, but bore no features that Benedict readily identified as belonging to one of the other houses. Her skin tone was not too far off what many of House Lathun looked to have, but that was hardly enough to indict.

"Well. You look none worse for the wear, having gone through such an ordeal." He said at last, then turned his attention to Ethan. "You may leave us."

Ethan bowed, and silently left the room, taking the time to shut the doors behind him as he did.

Benedict gestured at one of the chairs in front of his large desk and sat down in his own chair. "I understand that you are an orphan, with no family line to call your own. Tell me how it is that you came to be here and what your intentions are."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:06 pm

Orphan Felicity, somehow saying those two words together made her sound silly. Like some weekend afternoon sitcom meant for children in the Core. She had gotten so caught up thinking about it that she narrowly missed Benedict dismissing Ethan. She watched as the other man left the room leaving her alone with the Lord and her heart nearly skipped a beat. Ethan was really the only person she knew here and though she only met him a couple of times somehow his presence was comforting. Now that he was gone, though, she could feel her nerves beginning to rise.

"I understand that you are an orphan, with no family line to call your own," Benedict said after gesturing for her to sit, "Tell me how it is that you came to be here and what your intentions are."

Felicity hesitated a moment in the middle of the room, her eyes trailing from Lord Kyne to the doorway behind which Ethan had just disappeared. "Um, well," she began as she cautiously stepped towards the chair he had gestured to, "Mr. Kyne...,"

"The proper way to address me is Lord," he said, interrupting her.

Felicity stopped dead in her tracks and winced. "Um, sorry, my Lord," she said with a slight bow, "I just... I don't really have any intentions. It's pure coincidence I landed here, I'm lucky I didn't end up in the middle of the sun."

"You made a blind jump," he told her, "My Chamberlain told me."

When he caught her blank stare he explained it for her. "Ethan," he said.

"Right," she answered, finally lowering herself into the chair. "I was attacked by pirates. I was just trying to survive."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:18 pm

Benedict grunted. "This sector is very difficult to navigate, and visitors in and out of here are extremely rare. So the explanation that you accidentally found your way in, happened to be near a habitable planet and managed to crash in my garden is exceedingly unlikely. However, I am willing to acknowledge that just because it is unlikely doesn't mean it is not true."

He leaned in a bit. "Giving you the benefit of doubt, I will explain where you have come to be, so as to better outline the precariousness of your situation. You are in the Maldavi Sector, a cluster of stars that, due to several severe gravitational anomalies, are dangerous to approach from the outside. Within the borders of this sector are eleven major Houses, derived from ancient blood lines. Every citizen in this sector is under the banner of one of the Houses, is beholden to their laws and in return is protected by the noblesse oblige of that House. Anyone who is not under a House banner is a Vagrant, a no one, and is not protected by anyone. At the moment, you are my guest, but the moment that hospitality ends, this is the category you best fall in to as an outsider. You have no rights, no protection, and no resources at your disposal."

Benedict could feel her rising anxiety. While he had no particular desire to unduly worry the girl, he also couldn't overlook the fact that she could be a mole from another House.

"If, on the other hand, I do not give you the benefit of the doubt and say that it is far too convenient that you have come to be in my Estate, that more than likely makes you a spy. Conventional wisdom and my advisors both indicate that I should simply have you executed to be safe." The Kyne Lord leaned in more, his hand, while casually resting on his desk, was inches away from a hidden pistol. He knew well that this line of dialogue could push a spy or assassin in to making a rash attack, and he was ready if need be. "I do not enjoy needless bloodshed, and thus far, all you have done is damage my gardens. So I will offer you this immunity: confess now to any allegiances you have, and I will have you transported, alive and unharmed, to a place of your choosing outside of Kyne borders. Keep in mind, there are interrogators that could extract this information in a much less pleasant manner if you decide to be difficult."

It was a scare tactic, as Benedict had no real intention of sending her off to the interrogators, but he still was hoping to rattle her cage a little. While he was mostly convinced that she was being honest, his rivals were clever, and he needed to be more convinced that she wasn't some elaborate ploy.

"What do you have to say for yourself?"

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:07 am

Felicity sat staring at her feet for a long time. It didn't seem to matter what she did or what she said there was just nothing she could do to prove her story was real. The sheer unlikelihood of it was just too steep of an obstacle to overcome. Even she had to admit the odds of navigating a gravitational anomaly while also coming within range of a habitable world were astronomical unless... Her eyes snapped up as a thought occurred to her. Unless it was destiny.

That couldn't possibly help her now, though. Even if the Force had actually guided her here there was no way to prove it without showing him and she had no idea how he would react. She closed her eyes and struggled with the thought. What would Renn have her do? He might say something unhelpful like, 'Trust the Force,' and leave it purposefully vague. With a sigh she opened her eyes again and looked at Benedict. His expression was placid, difficult to read. She couldn't tell what his intentions were and if she had better control over the Force she wouldn't have to guess. Still, he was waiting for her to give him an answer and eventually he would stop waiting.

Finally she stood, prompting Benedict to reach his hand under the desk. When she turned away from him and walked over towards the window he refrained from drawing his pistol. "I'm sorry," she said quietly, "I don't know what it is you want. I'm not from this sector so I can't claim any allegiances because I don't know any."

She held up her hand then and stared into her palm. "But," she continued, "there may be a way for you to believe me. I kept it hidden from you because I was afraid of what you might do, but it's the only explanation for why I'm here."

Benedict rested his hand atop the desk again and allowed himself to relax a bit. "Go on," he said.

"I was guided here," she replied, turning back to look at him.

Lord Kyne stared at her unblinkingly, wondering where she was going with this. "Alright, guided by whom?"

"Not whom," Felicity explained, "What."

Benedict was understandably skeptical. "If you think this is supposed to help your case--," he started but she interrupted him.

"Watch the lamp," she said and she reached her outstretched palm towards the small appliance resting atop his desk. She closed her eyes and concentrated and much to Benedict's surprise the lamp began to levitate in front of him spinning gently in the air three feet from his face. She held it there for a moment suspended above the desk before carefully lowering it back down. After she let go of it she opened her eyes but could not bring herself to make eye contact with Benedict Kyne.

"I would ask you not to tell anyone what you just saw, but I know I have no right to make that request," she said quietly, her shoulders cowed and her gaze deliberately directed towards the corner of the room.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:02 am

To say Benedict was surprised by this little display would have been a masterful understatement. One did not get to be the Lord of a House, however, without learning some emotional control, so he kept his face passive even as his mind began to race in new directions. Originally, his intention had been to either uncover her as a spy and dispose of her, or clear her as a victim of circumstance and get her out of his House. But it was obvious that she was much more than just a normal traveler. Not only that, she was someone who potentially had something to offer.

"You are a Sorceress." His voice was equal parts disbelief and surprise. "There are ancient tales of a long dead House born of a bloodline that had the power to defy nature. I wonder if you..." He trailed off, never finishing the thought.

"Your secret will stay with us and Ethan. I do not believe you came here to harm my House, as you have already had opportunity to do so. That is not to say I trust you completely, but I will grant you a less restrictive access to the estate grounds. Take the next few days to get your bearings and decide what you wish to do. If you decide you wish to leave this sector, I will see what assistance I can provide in getting you passage. If you wish to stay for a while, I am sure we can come to an arrangement to keep you gainfully occupied for a while."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:02 am

Felicity was somewhat relieved and surprised when next he spoke. Relieved because he finally appeared to believe her tale and surprised because he referred to her as something called a sorceress instead of a Jedi. She had thought for sure that everyone in the galaxy had heard the tale of the Jedi, but if this sector was really as isolated as he claimed then maybe there are other things they haven't heard about from the Core.

"... I will see what assistance I can provide in getting you passage. If you wish to stay for a while, I am sure we can come to an arrangement to keep you gainfully occupied for a while," Benedict was saying.

Felicity thought about that for a moment. The revelation that she may have been guided here by the Force changed everything. If that were true then she had landed exactly where she was meant to be and she had a pretty good idea why. Benedict had mentioned a long dead House who had supernatural powers. If her guess was right then they were Jedi. Oddly enough Benedict seemed to think she had some connection to them but even he was unaware that once upon a time there were thousands of Jedi roaming the galaxy. More likely was the possibility that they were in possession of some Jedi artifacts, something that could help in her training. Perhaps this artifact called to her from across the galaxy and it was her destiny to find it.

She closed her eyes and shook her head. Now I'm starting to sound like Renn, she thought to herself. When she opened her eyes again she was looking out the window across the Kyne Estate. She could see servants tending the grounds and beyond that a city skyline. One that had quite possibly never been seen by anyone from the known galaxy for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. She wanted to learn more about this place and discover why the Force had brought her here.

"If you don't mind having me, my Lord," she said, turning back to face Benedict, "I would like to stay."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:33 am

Benedict gave a single nod of approval. The girl had aroused his curiosity, and while he wasn't entirely sure what to make of her, it would have been disappointing if she had departed without him getting a chance to understand what exactly she was.

"Good. I will speak with Ethan, and he will get you settled in more long term accommodations as well as some sort of official identity. You will also be with a House Mentor for the next week or two so you can be educated in local history and customs. I would prefer that no one other than ourselves know that you are an outsider, so being able to blend in will be important. Ethan will also cover the conduct on the Estate, where you may and may not go and things of that nature. You will, of course, be closely monitored, but it will not be necessary for to move about with an armed escort any more. I will check in with you periodically, but Ethan or his designee will be your primary point of contact if you need something. Do you have any questions for me at this time?"

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:13 am

The clang of metal of the hard granite floors was the only sound for several minutes as Archlord Farrid Borrocor III paced back and forth, the motors of his external cybernetic legs whirring nearly silently. He was a massive man, in more ways than one. While many of the Borrocor name tended to be on the stocky side, Farrid stood at an impressive 6' 8", towering over just about everyone. He also was very heavy, with layers of fat built up from a life time of opulence and indulgence. Were it not for the metal encasings around his legs, assisting every step and stabilizing his balance, it was unlikely Farrid would have been able to walk at all.

Which was not to say that Farrid was weak. He may have been covered with fat, but it still took muscle to move that much fat around, and so when he slapped Yiande across the face, it was enough to whip his eldest son's head to the side.

"You... Are an idiot. I wonder where the failing in your thinking was." Farrid continued pacing in front of Yiande, who stood with a scowl on his face, but knew better than to say anything. Farrid had several children to choose from, and while he had not given up on Yiande, if ever he did, he would not think twice about disposing of him.

Farrid put a fat hand to his face, making a sarcastic show of thinking heavily. "When I gave you the instruction of picking a fight with someone important, were you confused by what that meant? Or did you merely somehow mistake Gaius Ducant as the most important person at that little tea party? Perhaps you forgot that Lord Ducant and I have done some lucrative business in the past?" Farrid pointed a finger at Yiande, as if a thought had come to him. "Ah, you forgot that Gaius is heir to House Ducant, a fact that suits me just fine, given his indecisive and timid reputation. That's what you forgot, wasn't it?"

Yiande just sneered. "He fights well in the Arena, so I don't know about timid."

Farrid chuckled. "No. No, you certainly don't know. The Arena, my dear boy, is where talented losers go to play and impress ladies. You may win prestige and fame, but it does not make you worthy of ruling." Farrid wiped at his brow, sweating from the exertion of berating his child. He stopped, opening his hands in an exasperated gesture to show Yiande it was his turn to talk.

"I was going after Autumn Kyne. Ducant just got in the way."

Farrid have a snorting laugh. "Autumn Kyne. Now there's a tasty piece. And would not a bad choice, if it weren't for the little fact that she was the daughter of the host which is typically considered bad form to insult. Oh, and the small, subtle detail that House Kyne is the ultimate target of this little endeavor, a fact that you just may reveal if you start pushing them. I told you you're an idiot already, correct?"

More glowering.

Farrid just sighed, landing a hand on his son's shoulder. "Maybe this is not all bad. I can use this opportunity to converse with Lord Ducant, and maybe get him to assist us in our endeavor. Put a delegation together -I can trust you to do that, right?- and make sure they're the pretty type. They can deliver House Ducant with an invitation to come to our home so we can right this terrible misunderstanding between our two Houses. Now go, before I lose all patience with you."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:20 am

A House mentor? Was that like a teacher? She'd never received any formal education before. All of her skills were either self taught or came to her naturally. A part of her was actually excited about the prospect of being taught. It might give her an insight into what a 'normal' life felt like. Though granted living in a fancy house like this was anything but normal.

"Do you have any questions for me at this time," Benedict asked her.

Felicity had tons of questions but no idea where to start. She wanted to learn more about that dead House he mentioned for starters, but even in her eagerness she had to recognize that Lord Kyne was a busy man. Perhaps it would be best to save those questions for later.

"Um, no," she said, "I think that covers it."

She fidgeted in place for a bit then finally met Benedict's gaze. "Would a hug be inappropriate," she asked and Benedict raised an eyebrow. Felicity quickly apologized, "I'm sorry, it's just two minutes ago I thought I was going to die."

**********

"No, I forbid it," Declan said firmly much to Gaius' chagrin.

"He insulted the Lady Kyne, my Lord. I'm honor bound to defend her," he insisted.

The Lord Ducant stood from his chair and shouted. "You are honor bound to do nothing, boy! I'll not jeopardize our business dealings with House Borrocor over a little spat between two princelings fighting over a girl! Now you will do as I say and send an emissary to House Borrocor. We will fix this diplomatically, now that is enough!"

Gaius glared at his father but bowed respectfully anyway. He felt shame at not being able to defend the Lady Kyne but he knew better than to directly deny his father. Without another word he spun on his heels and left the room.

He was still fuming in the corridor outside but rather than let his anger fester he made his way towards the medical wing where his uncle was still recovering. He had not yet opened his eyes but Gaius wanted to be the first person he saw when he did...

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:48 pm

Benedict looked at her for a moment before giving her a brief, and rather rare, smile. "Before you are in too much of a hurry to hug me, you should understand: I am not being altruistic with you. I am investing time and energy in to you because I hope I will gain some fashion of service from you in the future. I will, however, deal with you in an honest manner, and if you still feel the need to express appreciation at a later date, we can revisit this conversation. In the mean time, go with Ethan, and he will see to your accommodations."

Ethan reentered the room as if silently summoned, and escorted Felicity from the Lord Kyne's presence.

The next few days were overfilled for Felicity as she was coached by Ethan into her new identity of Felicity Orssen, daughter of the rich merchant Taylar Orssen, who had paid generously for his daughter to be educated at the Kyne Estate. Felicity Orssen, so her constructed history went, had been living on a remote farm for many years with her mother, and when Taylar had learned of her existence, he wanted to remove her from her uneducated and uncouth upbringing.

It was an unusual story, but a believable one, and certainly one that explained her ignorance on many local issues with raising undue questions about her past.

Ethan spent the most time with her the first few days. He was a busy man, however it was obvious she was given a priority of his time, which he used to make sure the details of her backstory were locked in tightly. Once he was convinced that she could pass herself off as simply an uneducated and sheltered farm girl without effort, he deemed her ready for the prestigious House Mentors.

The House Mentors were demanding but courteous, pushing Felicity to apply herself fully to the tasks of learning they had. History, basic mathematics and science, as well as cultural etiquette and even music comprised the main subjects taught, and they were taught with such zeal that Felicity hardly had a moment free to think for herself. It wasn't until the third day, when Felicity may have been starting to feel like her brain had been overfilled with information that the House Mentor gave her some respite.

"I think we are done for the evening." The tall, slender Mentor named Rilan gently shut the oversized history book he had been reading from about the history of House Kyne. The time was barely even four o'clock, much earlier than they normally finished. "Why don't you take a walk in the garden before dinner? Find a place to sit and think of nothing. It's very important to the brain, having time not to think."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Borrocor envoy had called prior to their arrival at the Ducant palatial estate, of course. One did not simply show up at the front door unannounced without being riddled with defensive fire.

So it came as no surprise to the Ducant when the small Borrocor shuttle emerged from Hyperspace around their homeworld and requested permission to land. Once granted, the ship found its way down to its assigned landing spot and soon after, three seemly ladies emerged from the ramp of the ship.

Seraphine Borrocor was in the lead, the youngest sister of Yiande and only a few years in to adulthood. She was shapely, but not without muscle that hinted at a predatory nature, and wore clothes that ensured everyone was aware of the nuances of her body. The emblazoned molten red and black top left her toned abdomen bare and the slitted skirt she wore made her every step a theatrical revelation of her smooth legs.

The two women beside her may have been body guards, if the ceremonial pole arms and much more practical holstered pistols they carried were any indication, but the elaborate and revealing armor they wore made it clear that the two women were just as ornamental as the pikes in their hands. They too were muscled, however, and a wiser man might have thought twice before dismissing them as nothing more than purely decorative.

Looking at Seraphine, it was hard to imagine that the good, if rather hostile, looking woman was actually the offspring of the monster that was the self-titled Archlord of House Borrocor. For Seraphine's part, she knew exactly what she was: a trophy of the Borrocor family, waiting to be sold off to another House to strengthen an alliance. She wasn't important enough to rule, but she was important and good looking enough to be some lord's arm candy.

She resented her brother Yiande sending her out like this as if she were a courtesan. It was demeaning work, running messages like a servant when she was a member of the ruling family, but she also knew her place. Yiande had her father's ear, at least some of the time, and if she didn't want to find herself married off to some lesser noble of some forgettable House, she knew she had to play along. But it didn't mean she had to like it.

She gave her outfit one last glance to make sure everything was in place as it should be, and then strode forward, looking for the delegation coming to greet her. "Salutations, in the name of House Borrocor, we come at peace." She announced as they closed the distance.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:07 am

Gaius resented being sent to fetch the envoy, but considering the situation directly involved him he didn't have much of a choice. He was flanked by two men wearing the uniform of the Ducant Royal Guard. They carried swords at their hips and blaster rifles slung across their backs and in stark contrast to the polearms carried by Lady Seraphine's attendants these weapons did not appear to be ceremonial.

"Good evening, Lady Seraphine," Ducant said with a practiced bow, "It is my honor to escort you to my father. If you will please follow me."

He waved his arm in the direction of his father's audience chamber, beckoning for them to follow.

**********

It had barely been a week before Felicity had changed her mind about the whole affair. First Ethan had drilled her new identity into her over and over again over the course of several days then came the House Mentors and the endless lessons they had to teach her. Some of it she understood, the rest of it she struggled with on a nearly constant basis. History and science were her favorite subjects, math was difficult at first until the mentor began relating the problems to machines. That's when she began to gradually understand certain ideas and concepts that she had figured out instinctively before. Cultural etiquette and music were by far her worst subjects. She wasn't very talented musically and she frequently spaced out during simple discussions of things like proper placement of the salad fork. On more than one occasion Rilan had to stop what he was doing and ask her, "Are you even paying attention?"

On the third day Rilan finally saw fit to grant her a break. She had fallen asleep during their history lesson and the sound of Rilan closing the book woke her up with a start. "What? Huh," she asked, sitting bolt upright.

Rilan just sighed heavily. "You didn't hear a word I said, did you?"

"You were, um... Something about House Lathun," Felicity stammered.

"Just go for a walk," he repeated, "Clear your head a bit. Clearly we've been working you too hard."

Then he stood and shoved the book under his arm before walking out of the room. Felicity watched him go a moment then yawned heavily and stood up out of her chair. The gardens weren't far from the study, just a short walk down the hall. It was funny, she'd been living on this estate for more than a week now and she had only ever seen the gardens from the window in her room in the medical wing. Every day since then has been filled with intense study. So it was nice to finally be away from the mentor for a moment.

Outside in the gardens was a bustle of activity. There were servants cleaning the statues, gardeners tending the plants and a group of children playing a game on the grass. It was strange seeing children in the gardens but considering how many servants and guards lived and worked on the estate it made since they would have families here too. Felicity wandered over to where the children were playing and watched them for a bit. They were playing some kind of game she didn't recognize. One boy stood on a box with a basket over his head and the others were trying to throw a ball into the basket. From the way they were playing it looked like they had two teams, but it was difficult to tell who they were.

One boy in particular seemed to be struggling. He was smaller than the rest and had a harder time reaching for the ball and throwing it into the basket. He was faster than the others, though, and more nimble but that didn't help him when one of the older boys was pushed into him. The little one staggered several feet forward and fell on his face. He looked like he was about to cry so Felicity walked over to him. From some distance away the boy's mother also saw him fall and she started to run over to him as well. When she saw Felicity walk over to her son, though, she pulled up short. She didn't know who the girl was, only that she had appeared on the estate grounds suddenly and with an unusual story.

"Hey, are you alright," Felicity asked as she walked over to the boy, "Here, let me help you."

She knelt down and gently helped the boy up. He had tears in the corners of his eyes and he was sniffling. "What's wrong," she asked him.

"I'm just not good at this game," he said, "The other kids are way better."

Felicity gave him a sympathetic look. "What's your name?"

"Thomas," the boy said between sniffles.

"Well, Thomas, that doesn't seem right at all. Look at you, you're small, you're fast. You could run circles around those kids, you just need confidence. Come here," she told him and Thomas stepped closer so she could whisper in his ear.

Felicity gave him step by step instructions on what he should do and called it her full proof plan. The boy smiled and nodded emphatically before he turned and ran back to join the others. Felicity stood and watched him. One of the taller boys had the ball right now and he was being chased by a young girl. One of his teammates had gotten open so he reached behind his head to pass the ball, that's when Felicity put her full proof plan into action. She made a slight gesture with her hand and the ball suddenly slipped from the boy's grasp and fell into the grass. Thomas ran over and picked it up then made a bee line straight for the basket.

One of the boys tried to intercept him but another tug at the Force from Felicity caused the boy to slip and fall harmlessly to the side as Thomas ran past. The little boy tossed his arms back behind his head and threw the ball with all the might he could muster. Felicity made one last gesture with her hand and arched the ball straight into the basket. Thomas was so surprised he just stood there dumbstruck for a moment then ran straight back to where Felicity was standing.

"It worked, it worked," he cried in celebration.

"See, I knew you could do it," she said, holding her hand out for him, "High five!"

The boy clapped her hand excitedly then grabbed her by the wrist. "Come play with us," he said, tugging on her as hard as he could.

"What? Me," Felicity asked with a bit of uncertainty. She was about to decline when the other kids saw what was happening and rushed over too.

"Yeah, come play with us! Come play with us," was the chant from the children and Felicity sighed then gave in.

"Alright," she said and she let the kids pull her back to their makeshift game field.

It didn't seem fair being so much taller than the kids so as they played she mostly passed the ball and helped the others, mostly Thomas. On one occasion she even picked up Thomas so he could dunk the ball into the basket and afterwards they shared another celebratory high five. This went on for a short while before the parents called their children in for dinner. Thomas skidded to a halt on his way back to his mother then turned back to Felicity.

"You'll play with us again tomorrow, won't you," he asked.

Felicity smiled. "Maybe," she said, "If mean ole Rilan gives me another break I will."

"Yippee," he cried and then he turned and ran back to his mother.

The servants were beginning to head in now leaving Felicity alone in the garden. Anyone in such an intricately designed space might have taken the time to admire the trees, hedges and flowers placed throughout the garden, but Felicity had her gaze turned upwards. She had yet to see a map of the sector in relation to the galaxy so was still unsure of where exactly she was. Somewhere out there her friends from Ord Mantell were fleeing from the First Order and she wondered how they were doing.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:34 am

Seraphine fell in with Gaius, walking close enough to the man that he could catch the scent of her exotic perfume, an expensive blend of sweet smelling base and middle notes and a spicy scented top note. Her father had judged Gaius to the ideal sort of rival heir: unskilled in politics and easily manipulated and bullied into making decisions. Seraphine wasn't so convinced of her father's assessment. If anything Gaius seemed more... disinterested than anything else.

"I witnessed your last fight in the Arena." She spoke as they walked. Her voice a surprisingly rich tone that was easy to listen to, even if it tended to make her words harder to focus on. "Some say that you could have ended that duel with Tobias Lathun a full two minutes earlier than you did." It wasn't as much of a rumor as it was her personal analysis of his fighting performance. "They say that you could have scored the winning blow, but you stayed your hand, perhaps so that Tobias could be spared the shame of such a quick and ignoble defeat." She looked at him, favoring him with a sly smile. "I think it was because you were bored and you wanted to toy with him, to prove your superiority."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:16 am

There was a flash of anger in Gaius' eyes but he refrained from saying anything rash. With the political state between their two houses being what it was he knew better than to say anything that would offend Lady Seraphine. Still, her assessment of the fight was correct. He could have ended it any time he wanted but he chose not to. Not because he wanted to prove his superiority, though. Not for something so base as that. Tobias insulted his mother and for that Gaius humiliated him, that was all but he refrained from saying even that. He also knew better than to insult House Lathun in front of the emissary from House Borrocor. Instead he just shrugged.

"Tobias was simply a better fighter than I gave him credit for," he said, but anyone watching that fight would have known that was a lie. The battle was almost completely one sided.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:18 pm

"Lord Ducant, you are so modest." Seraphine smiled charmingly at her escort, her earlier resentment at having been sent here all but forgotten by now. "Perhaps you do not realize that you are a favored contestant in the Arena, and many are quite taken by your exploits in the ring. I have seen all of your duels, and I have never seen your hesitation against an opponent the way you hesitated against Tobias Lathun. His left side defense was abysmal, yet rather than exploit that, you kept opening his guard without scoring, as if you wanted him to know how vulnerable he was to you." She stopped as they reached the doors leading into their destination.

"It was almost as if you wanted him to feel that desperation of knowing he could not win against you, that he was powerless against your skill." There was genuine admiration in her voice as she spoke, even as she looked into his eyes, eager to find a spark of emotion in them. She was pushing him for a reaction, undoubtedly, but it was not for the usual reasons. She knew it was not really crossing any lines with her father to play the flirt with Gaius, especially since Yiande had selected her for this envoy task, but even if it was not across the line, it would drive the Archlord mad that she was playing at seduction without his permission or go ahead. And the idea of irritating her father and her oldest brother was quite delicious in and of itself.

But it wasn't all an act. Seraphine was an avid fan of the Arena, and Gaius was easily in the top ranks of duelists, so the idea of being sweet on him was pleasant in and of itself. So, far, however, Gaius had been determined to remain aloof from her, a fact that only made her want to try harder.

"You don't have to tell me I am right, just don't give the spoiled Tobias Lathun more credit than he deserves." It was one of the advantages of coming from a House that had a reputation for being less than civil, people tended to overlook the faux pas' that were committed, such as insults.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:36 pm

The woman was playing him now, he was sure of it. Were she anyone else she might have appreciated her advances but she was a noblewoman and Gaius had a general distrust of nobles. They were all playing some game or another, even Autumn. He witnessed that at the dinner party some time ago. None of them were above playing the game but Gaius was determined to be different.

It wasn't that he didn't appreciate her looks, though. Lady Seraphine's clothing accentuated her curves and enhanced her features in all the right places. To say he wasn't interested would have been a lie, but he felt like he couldn't trust her and for him that was a major red flag.

"I'm sorry, my Lady, but all I can admit to is that Tobias surprised me," he said. That was not entirely a lie. Tobias did surprise him with how weak his guard was. He would have thought a noble boy from the House of Lathun would have had better instructors in the art of fencing.

"Please, this way," he continued and then he shoved open the ornate double doors to Lord Ducant's audience chambers. "My Lord," he called into the large hall, "may I present Princess Seraphine Borrocor, daughter of Archlord Farrid Borrocor the third and emissary of House Borrocor."

"A pleasure, my Lady," Declan replied from his high vaulted seat at the end of the hall, "Please, step forward."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:40 pm

Seraphine was not done with Gaius yet. His detachment from normal noble dealings, his indifference in her advances only enticed her to try harder. But having been bidden forward, now was not the time. She stepped out as she was bade and executed a deep formal curtsy in front of what could only be described as a throne. "Lord Ducant, I greet you in the name of the Mighty Archlord Farrid Borrocor under the banner of peace. I will not take much of your valuable time, but will come directly to the point. I am here on behalf of Archlord Borrocor, who sends his greetings. He wishes to extend to you an invitation to come for dinner at his illustrious palace on Bezantine as your schedule permits so that this regrettable matter of slighted honor can resolved quickly. We seek only amiable relations with House Ducant." She shifted her eyes over to Gaius briefly as she said this last part before returning her attention to the Lord of the house.

"I have been instructed to bring back your answer."

*******

Autumn stood in garden at a distance from where the children were playing with a young woman she didn't recognize. There weren't many children on the Estate, but there was a small cabal belonging to the live-in staff. Benedict had figured out a long time ago that the key to security was loyalty, and loyalty was gained by treating people well, so he allowed their families to live on the grounds, with some conditions.

Autumn knew that if she were to get within eye shot of the children, the games would end, they would go silent or leave, for fear of disturbing her in any way. So, she kept her distance, letting them have their fun unhindered. After a few moments, she heard the faint sound of the dinner bell, signalling the time for the evening meal. Most of the commoners shared in the later evening meal together, making it a rather communal as well as sustaining event. She was a bit surprised, however, that after the children had ran off and the dutiful parents had taken down the basket and any other evidence that children had been playing here, the woman stayed in the garden, her face turned upward.

Autumn was feeling restless as it was, and the woman's actions made her curious, so she stepped forward, deeper into the gardens and approached the woman. She made no effort at stealth, but the woman seemed transfixed by the sky.

When she had closed the distance between them, she spoke in a quiet voice.

"Hello."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:01 pm

Lord Ducant caught the glimpse in his son's direction but kept his face impassive. He could see that the young Princess of Borrocor was beginning to develop an interest in Gaius, but he would not allow a relationship to cultivate between them. An alliance with House Kyne was still the end goal. He would have Gaius marry Autumn if he could manage it. Now Leland, on the other hand, he thought to himself. Strengthening his alliance with House Borrocor through marriage was not without its merits.

"But of course, of course," he said, standing up from his chair and walking down the short flight of stairs to meet them, "Tell your father we would be glad to attend, but first why don't you join us for dinner tonight. The hour is late as it is and there's no need for you to leave immediately."

**********

Felicity was lost in thought as Autumn approached. She still had her face turned upwards to the sky but her eyes were closed. For a moment Autumn thought she may have been sleeping. The girl seemed not to notice when she said hello.

"Excuse me," Autumn said a little bit louder. This startled Felicity and she let out a surprised yelp and jumped a step back away from Autumn.

"I'm sorry, I'm um... Who are you," she asked, still a bit flustered after having been snuck up on.

Felicity's cheeks burned a bright red. That wasn't very warrior-like at all. Still, it was her own fault. She failed to notice there was someone else out here before she closed her eyes while she tried, albeit with little success, to sense her friends through the Force.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:48 am

Seraphine curtsied again again. "How could I refuse such a gracious invitation? I would be honored to accept."


********

Autumn smiled, trying hard to remember the last time someone had actually asked her who she was. It had been years, maybe the last time she had been gallivanting around with her friends in Caltan.

"I am Autumn." She said simply. "You must be new to the Estate. Are you not going to the evening meal with the others?" The question was added with a tinge of curiosity as to what the woman was doing lingering in the gardens.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:25 am

Autumn? Why did that name sound familiar? "Oh, um--I actually have a special arrangement with the cook," she said, "I come by a little bit later for a meal with him and his family. I just--feel better in smaller groups."

That was partially true, but not because she was shy. More to the point she was a terrible liar and the fewer people asking about where she's from the better. Then a thought occurred to her and she finally recognized the name. "Wait, Autumn. You're Benedict's daughter, right," she asked, there was a strange look in Autumn's eyes and Felicity realized her mistake, "I--I mean, Lord Kyne. I'm sorry, this noble stuff is new to me."

Almost as soon as she said it her eyes widened as she realized she made another mistake. "I mean it's not new new, it's just... I'm going to stop talking now," she said sheepishly, averting her eyes in embarrassment.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:21 pm

Autumn raised her eyebrows mildly as the woman stumbled over every word that came out of her mouth. She was obviously not used to dealing with noble etiquette, which meant she must have been from a remote area, somewhere far from the capitol of Oridin, that was for sure. Maybe not even from this star system.

A small chuckle escaped her lips. "That might not be a bad idea. But do not worry, we are not in the habit of beheading people for misspeaking around here. Welcome to the Kyne Estate." She was silent for a minute, looking up at the brightening stars. "Did you come from somewhere up there?"

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:56 pm

Somewhere far, far away, yeah, she thought to herself but she didn't say it aloud. Ethan had instructed her not to tell anyone where she was from, that included Autumn though Felicity thought it strange that Benedict would want to keep something secret from his daughter. Instead she tried to remember the constructed history Ethan had made for her. It wasn't too hard considering he spent three days making sure she remembered every detail.

"No," she said quietly, "I'm from around here. Well, not around here, but you know far away. I've always wanted to go up there, though."

That last part was true, Felicity had always wanted to go into space while she was on Ord Mantell. When constructing her history Ethan had made great pains to sprinkle a little bit of truth into every detail. It helped Felicity whenever she had to lie, in a way each half truth felt more like omission rather than deception. Not saying something was much easier than lying, especially for her. Both Benedict and Ethan had recognized pretty early on that Felicity had some fairly obvious tells.

Forgetting her courtly manners yet again she turned to face Autumn and reached her hand out towards her. "My name's Felicity Orssen," she said, it was getting much easier for her to say that which felt strange to her. Autumn looked at her outstretched hand and for a moment Felicity worried that she made another mistake. "I'm sorry," she apologized, half retracting her hand, "Did I mess something up again?"

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Fri Jul 29, 2016 4:57 pm

Planet Kabriri
House Droma Territory...


Elsewhere in the sector someone else was looking up at the sky but for an entirely different reason. In the capital city of Corellon in the royal palace four cloaked figures chanted as they were crouched around an intricately carved and detailed pool positioned in the center of what they referred to as the Observatory. The ceiling of the room was open to the sky through a large porthole above the pool and even further above that Kabriri's largest moon was gradually making its way across the system's parent star.

It was tradition in House Droma to read the signs in the water whenever there was an eclipse. Each ceremony was presided over by the Prime Exarch, who would read the signs in the pool and then report them to the House Lord, Archimedes Droma. As the moon reached the halfway point of the eclipse the Prime Exarch stepped forward and crossed the room to the pool to kneel by the waters. His movements were slow and deliberate and as he moved closer to the pool the chanting in the room grew louder.

It wasn't until the moon completely covered the sun that a silence fell over the room. By now the Exarch was on his knees in front of the pool as he reached out and placed his finger into the water. He drew the religious symbols of his people then sat back and read the ripples in the water. As the sun's first light hit the water again his eyes widened slightly, the only visible sign that he had read something worrisome in the signs. The ceremony ended shortly after and the Exarch made his way to the royal chambers.

Archimedes and his family were in the midst of their mid afternoon meal by the time the Exarch arrived. First a servant came in and whispered something into Archimedes' ear, then the Lord stood from his seat at the table and followed the servant out of the room. His youngest son, Caalin, who did not believe in the mysticism of his House, watched his father as he went. He did not like that the Exarch had such influence over his father but he could never find anything solid to prove his duplicitous nature.

Outside in the hall the Prime Exarch, Mohandai Solaris, bowed to the Lord. "My Lord," he said, "I bring news of the signs."

"Go on," Archimedes replied, "What did you see in the waters?"

"I saw a star being born, though whether it is a sign of good or ill I cannot say. A fog lay on the horizon and it clouds my vision of the future. It could be a sign that troubled times are upon us, or it could simply mean that the events are in such turmoil as to have not been decided yet."

Archimedes nodded solemnly. There was a time when he would not have put much stock into this religious voodoo. That was until the Prime Exarch's premonitions saved the life of his eldest son and heir nearly twenty years ago, then he became a true believer. Since then every prediction the Exarch has made has come to pass and Archimedes has learned to never doubt him.

"Thank you, Exarch Solaris," he said, "I will take that into advisement. Should you discover anything more to shed light on this mystery please let me know."

As was tradition, each prediction was carved onto stone slabs and placed into the Hall of Interpretation. There the priests would study the signs and compare them to current events for further revelations.

"I will, my Lord, and I will see you and your family at tomorrow's ceremony," he said with a bow.

Archimedes smiled and returned the bow, an odd show of respect from a noble considering the Exarch was technically a commoner, but the Lord considered the man to be his equal in all things. "Of course, Exarch. Now, if you'll excuse me."

"Of course, my Lord," the Exarch replied with another bow then he turned to leave as Archimedes rejoined his family at the dining table.

Meanwhile back in the dining hall Caalin sat silently as his father rejoined them at the table. There was no conversation, the family knew that Archimedes would inform them of the premonition should they need to be. Caalin, for his part, didn't care either way. He was sure that somehow Mohandai was manipulating events to make them appear to fit his prophecies but he couldn't prove it. The man was a total fraud but because it looked like he could predict the future his father would hang on his every word.

"So what did the omens say this time," Caalin said suddenly, his anger finally reaching a boiling point. "Are chickens going to rain from the sky? Will the rivers run dry with blood?"

"You will hold your tongue, boy," Archimedes snapped at his son, "That man saved your brother's life!"

"How do you know he didn't put him in danger in the first place?"

"Heresy," his father shouted and he burst out of his chair, "I will not have a member of my family speak ill of the Exarch! One more word out of you and it will be you I send to the pyre!"

Caalin fell silent after that. Not even he was stupid enough to test his father's patience for long. He might get away with a few words here and there but he knew there was nothing idle about his father's threat. If pushed enough Archimedes truly would send his own son to be burned at the hands of the Exarch and his priests. Still fuming on the inside from being silenced by his own kin Caalin pushed his plate aside.

"May I be excused," he said quietly.

His father nodded. "Yes, you may."

Caalin got up from his chair and quietly left the room. He may not have had any power at the moment but he refused to give up. Somehow he was going to expose the Exarch as a fraud. He just needed to keep searching for the proof...

**********

Planet Odessa
House Ducant Territory...


Gaius Ducant resisted the urge to groan outwardly as they were all seated at the dinner table. He was seated across from Lady Seraphine of House Borrocor and as everyone present engaged in idle chatter he occasionally caught glimpses from the lady in his direction. Lord Ducant had purposely sat Leland next to Lady Seraphine, instructing his son to strike up a rapport, but as skillfully as Gaius dodged her advances Seraphine did the same of his.

"Tell me," Lord Declan spoke up, "how has the market been treating your house? Clearly your exports of rare minerals has done well for you, but there isn't as much of a demand for ships these days as there was in the past."

He was of course referring to the Succession Wars that had taken place years prior. After the King had died unexpectedly there was a loss for how to handle the situation. At first the various Houses had tried to settle the matter diplomatically, but when no successor could be appointed war eventually broke out. In the end the entire conflict was resolved with a simple competition to determine the next King. The rules of which were written into the treaty signed by the Houses directly involved in the war.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Sat Jul 30, 2016 12:07 pm

"I am pleased to say that our exports have not flagged from a lack of war." Seraphine smiled at the Lord Ducant, shifting her attention momentarily to Leland beside her before finally settling her gaze on Gaius. He was still distant, so she decided not to make to big of a scene trying to get his attention. She definitely wasn't done with him, but it was obvious that the direct approach wasn't going to work with him. "Following war is always growth and construction, and for those purposes, House Borrocor has been proud to provide the materials for reconstruction. We have long had the honor of being an index for the economic health of all Maldavi; when House Borrocor flourishes, it is because Maldavi too is flourishing. And now, the economy is strong."

It was, of course, an oversimplification of a complex system of interacting economies, but as a grossly general rule, it was true: when the other Houses were in a period of growth, House Borrocor typically had higher exports, but they were hardly the only provider of materials. Just the most successful and ruthless.

She turned her attention to Leland sitting next to her. She didn't know much about the other noble, other than his appearance in the Arena was a rarity, and it seemed that he had been thrown into this dinner party for her sake.

"Tell me, Sir Leland, do you find yourself in the Arena often?" She already knew the answer to the question, but it provided a conversation opener with the man, who, other than a few stilted advances on her, had not had much to add to the conversation thus far.


***********

Autumn reached out slowly and took the other woman's hand in a brief grip. Handshakes were for peers and for men conducting business. Of which we are neither. The words played in the back of her head, but she just smiled. "I do not suggest you attend any formal parties until you have had a chance to catch up on your etiquette, but do not worry. I am not so easily offended. So what brought you to be at the Kyne Estate? Usually the live in staff are brought in because of talent, or as a favor."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sat Jul 30, 2016 1:37 pm

"Oh no, such brutish activities have always been the purview of my brother," Leland said, "I find such things exhausting. The hooping, the hollering, the chest pounding. That is a pursuit for thugs not one of noble birth."

"And what would you consider to be a pursuit for nobles," Gaius asked him, a hint of annoyance in his tone.

"Why, Gaius, the fact you have to ask means you'll never understand. A gentlemen's pursuit should always be to provide lavish luxury for young noble ladies, such as yourself," he said, referring to lady Seraphine.

**********

Felicity's heart fell as she pulled her hand back to her side. I suppose I really do need to pay more attention to my instructors. At Autumn's inquiry she just smiled and shook her head, "Oh, I'm not one of the live-in staff." I think, she thought that last part to herself but refrained from saying it aloud.

"My father paid Ben--Lord Benedict a lot of money to have me educated by one of the House mentors," Felicity explained, "Courtly manners is one of the things they're teaching me, it's just also one of the hardest things for me to learn. We spent an hour yesterday going over the proper placement of silverware at the dinner table. I must've drifted off like six times. Poor Rilan had to stop every time and tell me to wake up." It wasn't very noticeable in the growing dark but Felicity's cheeks were flushed with red as she spoke.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Sat Jul 30, 2016 3:36 pm

Seraphine gave a smile that was just the right mixture of coy, enticing, and maybe just a touch victorious. It wasn't much, but she had been able to draw Gaius into the conversation, and there were some obvious rivalries between the two of them.

"And I do thank you on behalf of all young noble ladies for your kind attentions." There might have been just a hum of sarcastic undercurrent in her voice, but she pressed on before anyone could analyze it too much. "But surely the art of pleasing a woman cannot occupy every moment of your time. What other activities does a gentleman pursue when he has run out of ladies to please?"

Her eyes flicked briefly to Gaius, wondering if he too was curious as to hear his brother justify how he spent his time.

**********
Autumn gave a slight chuckle. "I believe you have just described my entire childhood. And I am certain that Rilan was just as old then as he is now." She had half a mind to bring the conversation to a polite close and head indoors, but something about the girl just stood out as unusual.

"Orssen... I have heard of your family. Rather successful merchants, as I understand. Strange that your father chose for you to Noble etiquette, as I imagine it must be his sons who do most of the dealings with House liaisons." It was not suspicion that led to her questioning, but more of a curiosity. Unless the girl was going to be interacting with nobles heavily, such intense instruction did not seem necessary. Certainly it was a rarity for a commoner to be getting such as an education, but there may have been other variables at play.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:50 pm

"My lady, surely you jest. A gentleman's pursuits are all in service to the goal of wooing his lady. That is why we have such big houses, why we drive such fancy cars, learn to dance or pursue the arts. It's all to impress and eventually entrap that special someone," Leland answered and as he spoke he leaned in closer to her. "And once we have her our job's not finished. We must continue to provide for her, after all."

Gaius rolled his eyes at that. His brother Leland fancied himself a lady killer, but truth was his older brother had been rejected more times than he could count. It may or may not have had something to do with his promiscuous nature. "That only works if your goal is to pursue one woman, Leland," he said as he idly toyed with his food using his fork, "I'm fairly sure by now you've tried and failed to woo every woman on this planet all at the same time."

Leland shot out of his chair and slammed his palms down onto the table. "When was the last time you've ever lain with a woman, Gaius," he snapped.

Gaius also shot out of his chair but before he could say anything Lord Declan silenced them both. "That's enough," he shouted, "You will both behave yourselves in the presence of Lady Seraphine!"

**********

Oh no, Felicity's fears were coming true again only this time it was worse. The cook and his family had pressed her about her past as well but not even they had intimate knowledge of the Orssen family. Once they had heard a wealthy man had spent a lot of money that was pretty much enough for them.

"Ah yes, well um...," her mind raced for an explanation, trying to recite everything Ethan had made her memorize. "They are--they do," she corrected herself, "His sons, I mean. He only learned of my existence just recently. I was born on a farm and he didn't think a daughter of his should be so uneducated."

Saying that aloud felt self defeating. She didn't consider herself uneducated, though granted she never received any formal schooling. That didn't mean that she was stupid, though. There were many things she had learned on her own, like how to build and maintain machines.

"I've never actually met him," she continued then she realized her mistake, "Before he came to the farm and took me away, that is."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Sat Jul 30, 2016 7:42 pm

Seraphine half rose from her chair, drawn in to the conflict. She was almost disappointed when Lord Ducant called them both to heel, but she had seen enough to get some insight into both of the brothers' characters. Either one of them could have probably taken insult at the others words and pushed for a duel, which Seraphine would have loved. But with the Lord Ducant there, it was unlikely either of them would take it that far. It was time to change tact again.

She turned to Lord Ducant, giving him the faintest of bows."I apologize, I did not realize I was bringing up such a heated subject."

*****

Autumn reached out and put a hand on the woman's shoulder. She was obviously embarrassed by her upbringing, and it was easy to see why. The illegitimate daughter of a powerful man, it was the sort of thing that would compel a man to do many things for the daughter out of guilt, everything but be a father to her.

"It might have been a difficult thing for you to learn. But let us not speak of those things any more. It is growing late, and if it grows much darker, we will likely trod through bushes finding our way back to the Estate."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:32 pm

"Oh, o-of course," Felicity said, she hadn't realized how much time had passed, "I'm actually late, I should be meeting with the cook right now."

She started to curtsy when she realized she was doing it wrong and stopped. "Sorry," she apologized and she quickly ran over it again in her head, making slight gestures with her hands as she worked it out. Then she did it the right way only her attempt at a curtsy was a bit awkward. "Excuse me, milady."

"Of course," Autumn replied and Felicity hurried off to the Servants Quarter.

She made it only a few yards before tripping and falling over a bush with a surprised yelp. Fortunately, the grass broke her fall so she wasn't hurt much beyond her pride. She quickly got back up to her feet again and called back to Autumn. "I'm okay," she said then she continued on her way, albeit with a bit more caution.

That couldn't have gone worse, she grumbled to herself her cheeks burning a bright red...

**********

"It's quite alright, Lady Seraphine," Declan assured her, "No harm was done. My sons are just high spirited." He said that last bit with a sharp look at Gaius.

"Have you thought of your plans after dinner," he asked, turning back to look at Seraphine, "If you would like I could have my son, Leland, arrange suitable quarters for you and your attendants for the night. Though, if you should wish to depart immediately I will not hold it against you."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:27 am

Autumn watched the woman go, slightly bemused. She couldn't recall the last time she had met someone like her, naive, uneducated, and nervous as if worried about making a mistake. There were plenty of naive and uneducated people, and certainly enough scared people, but not so many of that combination that her family allowed to live on the grounds. There was definitely more to her than was at face value.

With a mental shrug, she decided she would ask Ethan about it when.next she saw him. Lingering in the garden a minute longer, Autumn eventually retired to her chambers, giving Felicity no more thought.

*****

Seraphine smiled, thinking how much further she could push this by asking Gaius be the one to perpare her a room. With this issue of honor resolved between the two Houses, House Ducant would most likely play things defensive and acquiesce to any reasonable demands she had as a guest. Seraphine also knew that this would strain things, and might not make Ducant as agreeable when meeting with Borrocor. Also, she was a bit curious at what Leland thought he had to offer.

"I would be honored to stay the night. The quarters on my ship are quite sparse, so your hospitality would be greatly appreciated." She gave Leland a subtle up and down as she spoke, trying at maintaining his obvious interest.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:49 pm

"The pleasure is all ours, my Lady," Declan said, "Very well then, after dinner my son shall escort you to your rooms."

Lady Seraphine had seemed to turn her eye on Leland then, looking him up and down. When Gaius saw it he felt an irrational tinge of jealously despite his earlier indifference. Of course she would be interested in his brother, half the women in the sector usually were--at first. He was taller, better looking, more strongly built and in spite of the fact he almost never participated in the arena he was still quite the swordsman. It was Leland who trained Gaius, after all.

Gaius for his part was scrawny, shorter than his sister and had the face of a woman or so the tabloids claimed. He was fast an agile and quick with a blade but he was not the epitome of the ideal, masculine man like his brother. That was partly why he turned to the arena in the first place.

"Tell me, Lady Seraphine," Leland said suddenly, "do you have an interest in the arena? It's quite unusual for a woman of your beauty to be so enamored by such violence."

**********

It was mid-morning on Oridin around 1030 hours when the blinds in Felicity's room were suddenly thrown wide open. Sunlight filtered in through the open window and nearly blinded her. "What? Hey," she said, covering her eyes with her arm and rolling over.

"It's time to wake up, Ms. Orssen," the maid servant said as she pulled the sheets off the girl, "You're late for your appointment with Rilan. He says he'll have you memorizing the elements for the next three hours if you don't hurry."

"I'm what," Felicity said in shock, sitting bolt upright in the bed. "I can't be late it's only--," she stopped when she looked over and saw the chrono sitting on her nightstand. "Oh no," she said and then she nearly threw herself from the bed stumbling a bit after her foot got caught on the sheets. After freeing herself she ran over to her wardrobe and threw open the doors, "I can't believe I slept this late!"

She quickly picked an outfit out at random not really caring if it matched at all and started to put it on. The maid servant eyed her choices and sighed. "Would you like some help, Miss?"

"Ah, no. I've got it," Felicity assured her but then she had some trouble with a seemingly random buckle she just couldn't fasten before finally she turned back to the maid servant. "Okay yeah, I need some help."

The maidservant came over and took the clothes Felicity had picked out and put them back before reaching into the wardrobe and selecting a more appropriate attire for her. As the girl helped her dress Felicity sighed. She was starting to get used to this and that annoyed her. She felt like a small child unable to properly dress herself which for her was something to be ashamed of but for a noble it was probably the norm. I could never be one of them, she quietly thought to herself.

The maid finished her work and took a step back. "There," she said, "you look beautiful."

"Um, thanks," Felicity replied, her face turning red. She never really cared whether she was beautiful or not. Her appearance was always secondary to exercising her body. Looking at herself in the mirror now, though, she barely recognized herself. Her face was clean, her hair kempt and her outfit was far fancier than anything she's ever worn in her life.

"You better hurry, Miss. Rilan is waiting for you in the study."

"Right," Felicity said and she hurried out of the room. As she walked she held her skirt down in front with one hand. She'd never worn a skirt before coming here and she wasn't sure she liked it. Every time she moved it felt drafty. She tried to put it out of her mind as she hurried down the hallway of the guest wing towards the study. She'd made it about halfway when she heard someone shouting.

"You clumsy idiot," a man screamed and then there was a loud smack as he struck someone. "Look what you've done to my tunic! If you were my servant I would have you in cuffs!" Another smack.

Felicity turned a corner following the sound of the voice. She found a young maid girl cowering in fear on the floor as a well-dressed man loomed over her. The coffee stain on his tunic was just big enough to be visible even from this far away and the discarded platter and tea kettle on the floor was a clear indication of what might have happened.

"I have half a mind to beat you within an inch of your life," he continued to shout, reaching down and grabbing the poor girl by the collar of her blouse. He raised his arm to strike her again and Felicity wasted no time in running over to him.

"Hey, stop! What are you doing," she cried, grabbing the man and forcefully pulling him off the maid. He staggered backwards a couple of steps and glowered at the young girl in front of him.

"You filthy mongrel, you dare to lay a hand on me?"

Felicity had her hands up in a defensive posture ready to fight should he attempt to strike her. The man reached his hand back with an open palm but before he could hit her another man appeared and grabbed him by the wrist. "Now, now, dear cousin," the man said, "That girl is a ward of Lord Kyne. You wouldn't want to offend our host by striking her, now would you?"

The other man looked at his cousin, his face going completely pale. "O-of course not, cousin. If you need me I'll be inside."

As he left the hallway Felicity's rescuer turned his attention to her. "That was very brave of you, Miss Orssen, and very foolish. In other territories across the sector you'll find that touching a noble unbidden can sometimes lead to death. It's very fortunate Lord Kyne is a forgiving man."

"Who was that," Felicity asked, pointing into the room where the other man disappeared.

"That was my cousin, Kyle. I am Prince Darien Rosario, a pleasure," he said giving her a half bow.

At the mention of 'prince' Felicity suddenly remembered her manners and attempted to curtsy, but the motion was so foreign to her she once again messed it up. Darien just smiled at her. "It's okay, you don't have to stand on ceremony for my sake. Rather, I think you should get this young woman to the infirmary. She should have her wounds looked after."

"O-of course, your highness," Felicity said and then she knelt down and helped the maid girl to her feet. "It was nice meeting you," she threw back over her shoulder as she headed for the medical wing.

After she had gone Prince Darien's smile faded and he walked back into his room, closing the door behind him as he went. His cousin stood to one side, his shoulders cowed as the prince entered. "Look, cousin, I can explain--," he was cut off suddenly when Prince Darien grabbed a small statuette from a nearby counter-top and struck him across the cheek with it. The force of the blow sent him sprawling onto the floor.

"You are a fool, cousin," he whispered sharply, "If we weren't on Oridin right now I would have you executed!"

"Cousin, please! That woman--," he tried to say as he rolled over.

Prince Darien once again cut him off, kneeling down next to his cousin and keeping his voice low so no one else could hear him, "Is a maidservant of Lord Kyne, the man we're supposed to be negotiating trade contracts with, you idiot! How fairly do you think he's going to deal with us now that you've beaten one of his maids?"

Kyle averted his eyes but said nothing. His cousin had a very good point.

"Here, clean that blood off your face," Darien said, tossing the man a handkerchief from his pocket before straightening up, "I am going to go talk to Lord Kyne and see if I can smooth this over. If you're not here when I get back I will have his lancer squad arrest you!"

Then he tossed the statue onto the floor and stormed out of the room. Even as his rage was beginning to ebb he couldn't get his mind off that girl. There was just something about her that piqued his interest. Assuming he could convince the Lord Kyne not to throw them off his estate he would have to ask him about her.

Meanwhile, Felicity and the maidservant had arrived at the infirmary. Once inside the doctor had asked her what had happened and Felicity explained everything. "Here, set her down over there," he said gesturing to a nearby exam table, "I'll go get a few things."

Felicity nodded then helped the girl over to the table. As she sat down the girl looked at her. "Thank you," she said faintly.

Felicity just shrugged, "Don't mention it."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:12 pm

Seraphine smiled at the question. "Sir Leland, it is not the violence that I find so enamouring. It is the honesty. You cannot hide who you are in combat, not if you hope to win. Every stroke, every parry, every step reveals what manner of man you are. Are you overconfident? Are you blood thirsty? Will you be indecisive when the time comes to strike? Are you cowardly? Will you be a savage or use finesse? Or... are you someone who is so passionate about their craft they will not let their skills falter even for a moment?" She looked to Gaius as well, making sure he was at least pretending to be paying attention. "All this is revealed in the arena of combat."

She picked up her fork, taking a dainty bite of her meal, a motion which carried with it a certain level of suggestion. "And, it is widely known among noble women that the better the fighter, the better the lover."

********

"Sir Ethan, a moment, if I may." Ethan turned at the familiar voice and saw the elderly House Mentor Rilan approaching him. He gave a respectful bow to the venerated teacher.

"Of course, Mentor. I am in a bit of a rush, but if we can speak as we walk..." Ethan said, on his way to meet Benedict in the Audience Chamber where would shortly be meeting with a Rosario emissary. "What is on your mind?"

"It is the girl Felicity. She was not at her lesson this morning and I cannot find her. In my younger days, there would be strict discipline for such a lack of respect for the schedule."

Ethan stopped walking. "She is not in her quarters? Or taking a meal?"

"No, I have not found her. If she cannot learn discipline, then all other lessons are a waste of time." Rilan spoke, his voice almost tinged with sadness, as though it would be a great travesty.

Ethan flagged down one of the servants. "Take a message to Lord Kyne in the Audience Chamber, tell him I am delayed but will join him shortly." He turned back to Rilan. "Let me find her and speak to her, and we will see if we can arrive at some understanding."

Rilan nodded and Ethan strode off down the hall, pulling out his comm. Rilan may have been a bit old fashioned, but Ethan had much quicker ways of finding wayward individuals.

"Instruct Security to keep an eye out for Felicity Orssen. She's-"

"No need, sir. There's been a small incident, and she's in the infirmary."

A few minutes later, Ethan walked into the infirmary, finding Felicity and the other household maid quickly.

He looked them over briefly, then asked bluntly. "What happened?"

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Sun Jul 31, 2016 8:08 pm

Felicity had stayed by the girl's bedside as the doctor examined her. Some part of her remembered that she had somewhere she needed to be but her concern for the young maid greatly outweighed her responsibility. It wasn't until Ethan walked through the door that she suddenly remembered she was still walking on thin ice in the Kyne household. He looked between the two girls then asked what had happened in a tone that suggested he was in no mood to mince words.

"Um, well--," Felicity started but the maid interrupted her.

"She saved me, Sir," she said, picking up on the tension in his voice. Most of which was directed towards Felicity though she was not sure why, "In the hallway. I bumped into Sir Kyle Rosario and spilled some tea on his tunic. He--did not take kindly to me and beat me for my offense. Felicity, she...," she left the rest hanging in the air.

"He would have killed her, Ethan. Over something as simple as spilt tea," Felicity finished for her, her hands balling into fists, "Only a coward strikes a defenseless girl."

**********

"Is that how you feel about it," Leland asked, "You truly are a remarkable woman. I admit you surprised me, I never thought of the arena in that way before."

He glanced over at Gaius who while still paying attention was pretending not to notice. A smile spread across Leland's lips. "You know, Lady Seraphine, it was I who trained Gaius in the way of the sword. Everything he knows he learned from me."

Gaius' hands clenched into fists but he said nothing. He knew better than to raise issue again in front of his father. Instead he looked towards his father and asked, "May I be excused?"

"You certainly may not," Declan answered sharply, "We have a guest, boy, don't be rude."

Gaius tried to push his rage aside with little success. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Leland smiling triumphantly at him. He didn't quite know why it was so upsetting to him. He had just moments prior spurned her advancements himself. Though perhaps it wasn't her attentions he was jealous of. Maybe it was the thought that someone else was taking credit for his victories. He quietly let his anger stew and continued to eat his meal in peace.

**********

Prince Darien was not looking forward to this encounter after the incident this morning. This was supposed to be a simple trade negotiation but his moron of a cousin may have just ruined the proceedings. When he was finally permitted into the Benedict Kyne's audience chamber he made a great show of bowing respectfully to the Lord.

"My Lord," he began, "I know your time is short and we have business to attend to but I regret to inform you that there's been an incident. My cousin had a--disagreement with one of your servants and has grievously injured her. If not for the timely intervention of your ward I fear to think what might have happened."

He straightened back up and put on his most apologetic expression. "I assure you my cousin will be punished for his actions and I hope this incident will not put a black spot on our relations. To show you that we mean you know insult I would like to pay for the girl's care in any way that I can. I feel dreadfully responsible for what's happened to her."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:08 pm

Ethan stood still a moment, the wheels in his head turning as he considered. He spoke first to the maidservant. "Are you alright?"

The maidservant rubbed where the man's fists had struck her, a visible swelling at the injury site, but she nodded. "I think I will be."

"Good. I will see to it you recieve some renumeration for your injuries. In the mean time, go to your quarters and rest, and I will have your duty assignment changed so you can be out of sight for a while." The maidservant nodded, and as the doctors finished with her, she removed herself from the infirmary.

Ethan turned to look at Felicity next. "Rilan feels you lack discipline." The statement was flat, giving no indication of what Ethan himself thought of that assessment. "I suggest you work particularly hard to convince him otherwise. I am sure you have been working hard, but I suggest you work harder, if you do not want the House Mentor to give up on you."

She opened her mouth to speak, but Ethan stopped her with a raised hand. "I know why you did what you did. You also risked causing a political incident and personal injury to yourself. I will not say you chose poorly, but there were other options you could have used, regardless of what you may think. The lesson that will serve you most is understanding when it is time to speak and when it is time to act. Now go find Rilan, and if you wish, we can speak more of this later."

**********

Seraphine smiled. "A brother mentoring a brother, it is nice to see. My family is not so friendly to one another." She could easily see the antagonism between the two, but was as quick to ignore it as they were. She turned her attention to Lord Duncant. She knew her next move was a little on the edge of appropriateness, but she couldn't help but push forward.

"Lord Duncant, I hope you will not think me crass for my next request, but I wonder if it wouldn't be possible to have a friendly competition among the brothers. I know Gaius has enjoyed success in the dueling arena, and if Leland trained him, than such a contest, with no honor to be gained or lost, would be truly an inspiring show indeed."

**********

After Darien's admission, Benedict stood. "Wait here, please. I must look into this." He announced, and swept out of the room without waiting for a response. He spent a few minutes conversing with a few of the staff about the incident before returning to the room.

He walked silently over to Darien, looking the younger man over. He didn't know much about Darien. Actually, he hadn't done much business with House Rosario at all, other than the House had been floundering since the patriarch grew more and more infirm. It was only as of late the it was beginning to show signs of recovery.

After a moment of silence, he spoke. "This is indeed a breach of my hospitality that your blood of your blood has committed in my House, and I do not take that lightly. Your cousin will provide a generous sum of money to compensate the girl for her mistreatment, and I expect a formal apology from House Rosario for this breach of hospitality. After that, the issue may be settled. However, it does not fill me with confidence regarding the self control and temperment of House Rosario."

He moved over to a side table where a pitcher of water was waiting. "Tell me your proposition for this trade agreement."

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:53 pm

Felicity looked up at Ethan but said nothing. Instead she wondered what exactly he would have had her do. Political incident be damned, the man was harming a poor girl and she had to do something. If he was concerned about personal injury to herself then he shouldn't be. Felicity wore her injuries as a badge of honor, each one sustained while protecting another. In her opinion that was something to be proud of, not something to fear.

In the end all she did was nod then she left the room without another word. In her mind all she could think about was what he said, the difference between knowing when to speak and when to act. Was that part of the discipline he thought she lacked? Or rather the discipline Rilan thought she lacked? What did he think, exactly? Back on Ord Mantell things were simpler. The First Order was hurting people and she did what she could to save them. There was no worry of causing an international incident between two galactic powers. It was just her, her friends and the enemy. In the end too many people ended up getting hurt and someone very close to her lost his life. Was that too something she could have prevented had she tried to find another way?

Wrestling with the idea turned up no answers and by the time she arrived in the study she was even more confused than when she had arrived. Rilan was seated in a chair waiting for her. She walked right over to him and without even thinking about it she executed a perfect curtsy, much to Rilan's surprise.

"I'm sorry, Master Rilan, for missing this morning's lesson," she told him, "I assure you, it will not happen again."

**********

Lord Ducant glanced between his two sons before looking back at Lady Seraphine. "As you wish," he said, "but the hour is growing late. If you have time before you depart tomorrow I'll grant you your wish. Tomorrow morning in the courtyard my sons will compete."

"Father, I--," Gaius started but Lord Declan cut him off.

"There'll be no more talk of this. Now finish your meal."

Gaius fell silent then glanced over the table towards his brother who was still smiling directly at him. To this day Gaius had yet to actually best his brother in swordplay. Tomorrow he would humiliate him in front of Lady Seraphine and there was nothing he could do about it.

**********

Darien felt a flash of anger at this turn of events but kept his expression sympathetic. Instead he bowed his head yet again. "I will see to it my cousin receives the message," he said, "As for the formal apology I can write that right now if you wish. I'm sure my father will have no problem signing it in light of recent events."

Benedict just waved him off. "There will be time for that later."

Darien nodded, "Very well then. Here is the original proposal I planned to give you."

He held up a small datapad and handed it to the Lord. "As you know, tensions between House Rosario and our primary trading partner, House Borrocor, have been high as of late. My father had the unfortunate audacity to insult the Archlord and as a result he's cut us off from receiving shipments of the material we need to construct cities, roads, starships. We are willing to open our markets to House Kyne, at a very generous rate, mind you, in exchange for receiving shipments from your House of these precious minerals. You'll see that the offer I've made is very fair to you, but in light of what's happened I am willing to make even more concessions in your favor."

He kept his voice light and his expression sympathetic but deep down inside he was seething with rage. The original proposal had been costly enough, but it was a price he was willing to pay for his own mistake. He knew House Kyne would have to purchase almost twice the amount of material to compensate for this deal so in exchange he needed to make the deal profitable for House Kyne. Cheapening the deal even more would make that price all the more costly all because of his cousin's mistake and that was a price he was not willing to pay but rather he was being forced to.

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:23 pm

"Blake, would you stop that? You're pissing me off," Kaitlyn Hart said as she watched her ex-boyfriend pace back and forth. She'd been working on repairing a swoop bike that had just come into her shop, or at least she was trying to if Blake wasn't being so distracting.

Blake stopped his pacing and fell backwards into a nearby chair. "I'm sorry, Kate, it's just that it's been a week and she still hasn't contacted me."

"And that surprises you? She's a noble. That's how they all are."

Blake shook his head. "Not Autumn, she's different."

Kate just stared at him. "If I was still dating you that might make me jealous."

"Ha, laugh it up," he said, getting up and pacing some more.

She watched him go back and forth for several laps then sighed in exasperation. "What's so important that's got you all riled up?"

"Something big," he said, "It's about that ship that crashed a week ago."

"Yeah, what about it?"

Blake came to a full stop then looked at her. He cast a quick glance around the garage and shook his head. "I can't talk about it here."

"Ooh, so secret," she teased him then she picked up a hydrospanner and went back to work. "If you're so concerned about it why not just go knock on the door?"

He threw his arms up in the air and started pacing again. "I can't. The KSE wouldn't let me within a hundred paces of the place. You know how they are with reporters and even if it weren't for that they wouldn't let me talk to Autumn anyway with rumors of this rebellion going around."

"Then I guess there's nothing you can do about it, so stop pacing and sit down. I'm trying to concentrate."

"And I'm trying to think."

"Then think someplace else," she snapped at him, "Look, I let you stay here out of the goodness of my heart but that's about to change pretty quickly if you don't sit down."

Blake stared at her wordlessly. Then he grabbed his communicator and headed for the door. "I'm going for a walk," he threw back over his shoulder as he left the garage. Outside was a clear day and from the garage he had a perfect view of the Kyne Estate up on a hill looming over the city. For a brief moment he wondered what was going on up there but then he decided to put that aside for now. There had to be something more productive he could be doing right now. Some other way to prove that Lord Benedict was lying about that ship. If I could just talk to someone who worked on the ship I might be able to get some useful answers...

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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:54 pm

Rilan looked her over for a moment. He was older, probably well into his sixties, but his eyes were still as keen as a razor blade. For a moment he looked as though he were going to say somethig, but decided against it.

"Very well, let's continue our history discussion of Alexandre Kyne II, who ended the War of Spies with House Duncant over 300 years ago." Rilan pulled a large book off of the shelf, opening it to the appropriate page. "Now, you recall from our last lesson that Alexandre had three children from his second wife...."

********

Seraphine smiled and stood, offering her arm to Leland. "I am certain the most skilled swordsmen will be able to claim victory." Either way, she would enjoy the show. Gaius looked aggitated by the turn of events, but Seraphine didn't let that bother her. After all, if he hadn't been so cold to her advances, she wouldn't have pushed the issue. If he wasn't going to play nice, then he would suffer, simple as that.

She turned her attention to Leland. "At your convenience, lead on."

********

Benedict skimmed the agreement but did not give too serious of a look. "Yes, it appears to be a very generous offer." It wasn't a lie. Essentially, Rosario was asking Kyne to buy a surplus of material from Boroccor and sell it back at an inflated price. Costly for Rosario, essentially free income for Kyne. Even factoring in transportation costs, Benedict did not doubt that there was a crisp profit to be made in the deal. The problem was, it was a deal that was not designed to be looked too deeply at.

The sticking point was House Boroccor. House Boroccor did the bulk of the supply business for materials, and they made sure to keep their prices such that they made a good profit, but not so good that it was worth trying to compete with them. That, combined with some aggressive negotiation tactics kept competition almost to a zero.

Doing things like cutting off an entire House from doing business... House Boroccor only made such dramatic moves when it wanted to make a point. It was not a sustainable business move, and it meant Boroccor would lose money, which they did not like to do. Benedict guessed the whole move was an attempt to force House Rosario to the bargaining table, and adjust their prices in an upwards direction.

So House Rosario was seeking other options. If they could acquire their goods by another means, they would either negate the need for House Boroccor at all, or be able to negotiate with Boroccor on a more even playing field, leveraging their "alternate" materials source.

Benedict frowned at Darien. It was only his guess on the situation, but he felt fairly confident in it. "I will, of course, have to confer with my advisors, but I would ask, why are you intent on dragging my House into the middle of your relations with Boroccor? This issue of insults could easily be fixed with the proper level of humility, and House Boroccor will surely retaliate if they find out you are atttempting to circumnavigate their embargo."

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Pryde
Pryngles
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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Pryde » Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:03 pm

"A prudent question, my Lord, and you are right to ask," Darien replied, "I would not involve your House if I had any other choice, but House Borrocor is being--exceptionally unreasonable."

He sighed heavily and moved over towards the window before recounting the events that lead up to the embargo. "You see, my Lord, some time ago the youngest son of the Archlord tried to abscond with my little sister. My father had ordered her retrieval and what happened next was--unpleasant. My sister was not willing to return so she was made to come. The young Prince was unharmed in the events that unfolded but the same cannot be said of his men. Needless to say House Borrocor did not respond well."

The mistake, of course, was his. He should have just let her go, but a young princess was a valuable resource not to be wasted and he had to protect his royal lineage. House Borrocor could have potentially used her to bear an heir to House Rosario. The resulting fiasco has left his House hurting for precious building materials. He turned back to look at Benedict, "I've approached three other Houses with this deal but their fear of House Borrocor's retaliation has forced them all to refuse. I realize it is a great risk I'm asking you to take but they've backed us into a corner. Our roads have potholes, bridges need repair, my people need housing. If we could just leverage your assistance then our position at the bargaining table would appear more favorable."

He hated having to admit that ultimately they wanted to use House Kyne to leverage a deal with House Borrocor but Benedict Kyne was a very intelligent man. No doubt he had already figured it out for himself so trying to hide it was pointless.

"Very well," he said, "I will confer with my advisors and get back to you."

"That is all we ask, my Lord," Darien replied with a bow, then he turned to leave. Before he reached the door, however, he stopped. "There's just one more thing, Lord Kyne," he said turning back to look at him. "Before seeking help from other Houses we first tried to make up the surplus by seeking other suppliers. One of the men we dealt with was Mister Orssen. I met his daughter in the hallway outside our room. She is a remarkable young woman and I admire her bravery for standing up to my cousin, but it's odd that Mr. Orssen never mentioned her in any of our discussions. I just can't help but wonder why that might be?"

Xalsin
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Re: Star Wars: Concord's End

Post by Xalsin » Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:38 pm

"I cannot presume to know another man's business, Prince Darien." The Lord Kyne said with a slight scowl. "Were I the type to speak the rumors, however, I would say that because the child was not born of his wife, he would rather not advertise her existence. Good travels to you, Prince Darien." Benedict spoke with a finality that made it clear he was done with the conversation.

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