Dakkar was moving with a sense of purpose that
morning within the Aldera Royal Palace. He was
dressed in the formal robes of governance in shades
of navy and light blue. He was looking for someone,
and when he found him he was going to erupt. His
face looked tense and angry, and as he went from
room to room in the massive palace his inability to
find who he was looking for he only became
increasingly angry. Finally, he spied Baron
Germanicus Rodney and his new bride, which made him
raise his right index finger and get right in his
face. "Baron, your *son* ... if you insist upon me
calling him that ... has stolen my hat. I demand you
find him, return my hat, and punish him
accordingly," he said, as he slammed the base of his
walking stick into the ornate marble floor of the
palace. His eyes moved towards Raeni, giving her a
condescending look to imply that neither she, nor
the Twi'lek, belonged.
Germanicus Rodney did not want to skulk about the
palace, but if he was ever going to be King he had
to engage in the politics that would generate
support for his claim. Sierrius Dakkar was one of
his chief rivals, but as he was a generation older
than him they had come to hate one another. Sierrus
knew Germanicus' father and was his contemporary,
and viewed the young boy as a 'weird' man who spent
far too much time alone with animals. He was
initially flustered when Sierrus got in his face,
but when the subject turned to young Magnus he found
himself becoming angry. "How do you know it was him
who stole it?" he asked, but he tended to believe
the man, as Magnus had proven to be a handful. "If
you're going to bring a charge like that and slander
my son, you'd best have proof!" he said, as he
puffed out his chest and got back in his face.
Rodney wasn't exactly thrilled with the prospect of
hanging around the palace. It was necessary, and
even more necessary because adopting Magnus had
forced the couple into his positive light. People
had begun to notice them. The time to make their
move was now ... that didn't mean she had to enjoy
it. She turned when Sierrus Dakkar came at them,
throwing accusations and implying terrible things
about their son. Raeni was instantly flung into a
mother thranta-like state where she wanted nothing
more than to peck the man's eyes out. She stood
behind Germanicus to back him up. "Yes, Count Dakkar,
please lay out your proof." Sierrus made her feel
like an outsider worse than all the others. It
wouldn't have surprised her if Magnus had stolen his
hat. She wouldn't have blamed the boy either. Raeni
wanted to rip the man in half. She was now eight
weeks pregnant. She found, as things progressed,
that she had less patience for the world around her.
The morning sickness was only half of her problems.
Her temper was the other.
"Get out of my
face, *boy*," Sierrus said to Germanicus, sneering
at him, as he moved to produce his small padd.
"Proof?! You dare question me. I am a Count, and you
are but a mere Baron," he said, as he turned away
from the man to keep from committing an action he
might regret. "He held up the padd for both of them
to view which played a clear holorecording of the
young Magnus Rodney running to the hat rack while he
was in the bathroom, trying on all of the hats, and
finally setting upon and stealing his hat. "There.
There is your proof. The boy is a menace. It is
because he is a Twi'lek. Not one of us. A little
HoloNet press doesn't make him of noble blood," he
told them, before placing the padd back in his
pocket. "Deal with the situation, or I'll contact
the guard," he said, before turning on his heels and
marching away angrily.
Raeni watched the video of the troublesome little
Twi'lek causing chaos. She didn't blame him for
stealing Sierrus' hat. The guy was, frankly,
terrible. The anger was rising inside of Raeni far
too rapidly. She felt hot around the neck. Her eyes
narrowed as the man stormed off. "I don't like the
way he talks to you. Nor do I appreciate the way he
talks about our family." She rose her hand
discreetly, causing invisible forces to trip the
Count on his way out. Her hand fell quickly. "Maybe
he'll fall to his doom." She mumbled, turning away
from the Dakkar man. She looked outside a viewport
at the city below. Raeni needed a moment to regain
composure. The next time Sierrus complained would be
their last if she didn't calm down. "What games do
we need to play here to succeed? When you become
King, will you allow me to kill that man?"
practiced his breathing exercises. With a thought he
could have extinguished Sierrus' life, but that
would just raise questions ... questions that he
could not risk having answered when he felt on the
verge of greatness. "He is a relic ... like my
father was," he said to her, as he heard the Count
fall, letting out a groan of pain before calling out
for a palace attendant to help him. "You must be
judicious when you use your powers," he warned her,
but he knew the wicked old man deserved it for what
he said about their son. "In time he will pay. They
will *all* pay, but despite my power he *is* a Count
and I am a mere Baron," he told her, with a sigh of
great lamentation. "The King must die. All claims
will be viewed equally. We must strengthen my claim
by gaining support of the other noble houses," he
said to her, as he moved next to her, to look out at
Aldera. "When I am King you can kill them all," he
told her, as his hands clung to the railing,
gripping so tightly that his knuckles turned white.
She took heed
of his warning though they both knew the Count
deserved more than a little trip. The dark side was
creeping back under her control. "The King is old
and ill. Let me take him out so you can become
King." Raeni said coldly. "You've been patient all
your life. Don't you think not being patient could
be rewarding this time?" She placed a hand on top of
his. Raeni had spent time with the hens of the
powerhouse families in attempt to gain their support
earlier in the day. It was hard to hold together the
act associated with politics. She certainly was in a
world that wasn't her own...but she was working to
*make* it her own. "I'll remember that, Germy. I'll
kill every last one of these idiots who ever pointed
their finger and laughed at you. I will arrange
something special for Sierrus. Something a little
more fitting for such a vile man." She sighed. If
she continued to think about it, she was only going
to end up killing someone right then and there.
"If the King
were to die today some Organa, Antilles, or even
Dakkar would become King," Germanicus tried to
convince Raeni. "The name Rodney means nothing ...
for now," he said, as he moved closer towards her,
wrapping his arms around her. "We need to find our
son before the Alderaan Guard does ... or worse ...
Sierrius," he said to her, before moving in to place
a quick kiss upon her lips. He was glad that she
believed in him. He needed her to believe in him,
because there were moments when he believed people
like Count Dakkar and crumbled with self doubt.
"There's nothing I'm looking forward to after my
coronation than that, my love," he said, as he took
her by the arm and began to lead her through the
castle to seek out their son. "Can you sense him?"
he asked her, in a way to imply he was testing her,
but the truth was her senses were more highly
attuned than his.
She said. They still had work to do. Her arms draped
around his neck. They shared quick affection before
Raeni began reaching out for her son. "Yes." She
said, sighing. "He's not far." Her hand ran over his
arm. "We need to collect Magnus and go home to pick
up my jacket. You're taking me to Csaplar on Csilla.
We have an important date." She informed him vaguely
while leading him through the palace. "Here he is."
She reported, walking through the doorway into what
had once been a buffet room for royalty. Now, Magnus
was eating a piece of cake. He wore Sierrius' hat on
his head. It had a wild feather on the top of it. It
had been eye catching for the boy. "Magnus, we're
going home now." She called out, offering his hand.
Their link through the force made it impossible for
her to truly lose him.
in my tummy!" Magnus sung. He sank into his third
piece of chocolate cake. He was having a fun day.
First, he terrorized an Alderan guard, then he found
this really cool hat...and now this food! He was
beginning to feel sleepy from running around. A
smile instantly appeared on his face when he saw his
parents. "Hi mama! Hi daddy!" The boy came when
Raeni called him. He gave her a cake smeared hand.
The poor nanny droid would be the one held
responsible for washing up the boy and getting him
down for a nap while he came down from his sugar
high. "Lookit!" He said, pointing to the oversized
hat. "I found it."
"What are you
up to?" Germanicus asked her, as he followed her
through the ornate, winding corridors of the royal
palace. As he predicted she was able to quickly find
him, as it seemed the two had developed a connection
through the force that had thus far eluded him.
"Cake? Where'd he get cake?" he asked, laughing
slightly, as he knelt down in front of the boy.
"Magnus you can't go around taking things that don't
belong to you," he explained to him, as he pointed
to the hat. He hated Sierrus, but he could not have
the Alderaan Guard getting too close to the
situation. His eyes scanned up to Raeni, as they had
yet to decide which would be the disciplinarian in
the family. While he had killed dozens, and
terrorized hundreds, he could not bring himself to
scold the boy.
winked. "You'll find out." Usually it was Germanicus
who took her on the wild rides without telling her
anything. It was her turn. She smiled when she saw
her boy. Her hand locked with his. As parents, they
were still trying to find their footing. They
suddenly had a four year old, after all. She backed
up her husband. "That hat is Count Sierrius'. You're
going to have to apologize next time you see him. I
know you didn't mean to, but you made him feel
upset. That's why taking things that aren't yours is
wrong." She patted her Twi'lek son on the head. "I
want you to be on your best behavior for the nanny
droid tonight. Mommy and daddy will be out for a few
hours. I'll come say goodnight to you before bed."
She promised. She linked her free hand with
Germanicus and led all three of them from the
palace. Magnus seemed to digest what his parents
were teaching him. He had been a social recluse for
so long. Raeni realized it was going to take work to
get him on the right track. Instead of berate him,
she wrapped an arm around the boy and cuddle with
him in the speeder all the way home. "We're not mad,
Magnus. It was a learning experience... Next time,
you'll get in trouble." There was a healthy amount
of threat to her words.
Rodney did not know why he was taking them to the
remote world of Csilla in the unknown regions. As
his starfighter exited hyperspace the remote world
came to dominate their viewport. "I don't suppose
you're ready to tell me what this little jaunt is
about?" he pressed her, as he began accelerating the
craft towards the planet. Few people even knew this
world existed, and he struggled to recall whether he
had ever been so far from home. As they descended
into the atmosphere the frozen tundra that appeared
in front of them made him feel cold. As he guided
the ship down onto the landing platform in the
capital city of Csaplar, he turned to look over his
shoulder at her. "Well?!" he asked her, impatiently,
as he could not stand secrets.
Raeni had let
her husband suffer more than long enough. She
figured it was time to let him in on the truth. Once
the ship had landed, She unbuckled herself and began
putting on her long, faux fur jacket. She knew how
cold it was going to be. Already, the interior of
the ship felt like it had dipped ten degrees. Her
hands came to rest on his shoulders. She gave them a
squeeze. "We're going to see how our baby is doing.
We're also going to determine if you have a heir or
not." She informed him. "I did not want to see a
doctor on Alderaan or any of the neighboring
planets. They would leak the information to the
press. I want to control when people find out. I
will not be subjected to loose-lipped doctors. I
have found a Chiss doctor that I felt would be
perfect. She's good at what she does, but I believe
she may be weak minded too. Controllable." She
"We came all
the way out here for a doctor? You could have at
least told me to pack a jacket," Germanicus teased
her, before he opened the cockpit, exposing them to
the cold. Within moments he was freezing, which
caused him to leap from the cockpit down to the
platform. He then turned, offering her his hand to
help down the stairs. Regardless of whether she had
an heir, she was pregnant, and he could not allow
anything happen to her or his offspring. "As long as
her office has heat I am sure it will be fine," he
said, as he placed his hands into his pockets and
began moving into the city. "Are these Chiss
naturally blue or are they all just frozen?" he
asked her, unable to let go of the subject of the
temperature. Privately, he wanted to know whether
they were to have a son or not, but he did not want
her to know that so she would not be disappointed if
it was to be a girl.
"I'll share with you." She opened up her jacket with
a bright grin on her face. The cold winds seemed to
whip right through everything she was wearing. She
could only imagine how cold he was. Raeni took his
hand and proceeded down the stairs. "I'm not making
any promises." Her arm hooked in with his. The cold
was intense. Suddenly, Raeni began to like Alderaan
a lot more. There was a lot riding on what they'd
find out at the doctor today. She needed a son.
*They* needed a son. There was no telling what
gender the baby would be. Raeni tried to prepare
herself. If it was a girl, she would still love her
daughter. She anxiously worried about how Germanicus
would react. If nothing else, they'd have to keep
trying as soon as possible. Raeni, normally the
strong one, was folding over this. Each step they
took towards the doctor's office brought on more
stress. She laughed dryly at his comment. "They're
all just frozen. You'd be blue too if you lived here
all the time." She pointed out, guiding him into the
office of Doctor Nata'lya Chode.
To both of
their gratitude, the inside of the office was
heated. There were several other women in various
states of pregnancy waiting to see the doctor. Raeni
quickly signed in. She could barely sign the datapad
from how much she was shaking. When she planted
herself in a seat, she looked pale. "What if it's a
girl?" She asked, placing her hand in her chin. "My
mother only had one child. A girl. My grandmother
had three children. All girls. Even my great
grandmother only had girls." She rubbed her temples.
Raeni was winding herself up into one hell of a
tight coil. "I told my body to make a boy but it
never listens to me."
glad to share Raeni's coat, as it made him warm to
be so close to her. Finally, and mercifully, they
arrived at the office of their doctor. They had come
to see about the baby, but now he wondered if he
needed to be treated for hypothermia. He sat down
next to her, furiously rubbing his hands together to
get warm. "If it's a girl then we will love her, and
we will get you pregnant again until we have a son.
It's simple. Don't concern yourself," he said,
trying to calm her down. As he waited impatiently
for their turn to be called he suddenly realized
that the sooner they were seen, the sooner they
would be back out in the cold. For the first time in
his life he was not frustrated with having to wait.
was eighteen years old, she found herself counting
approximately how many childbearing years she had
left to figure out how many chances at having a son
they had. The nanny bot would be busy ... but so
what? She thought they might be able to have a dozen
before it became difficult. She continued to break
down mathematical calculations until Germanicus woke
her up. She reached over, placing her much warmer
hands on his. If pregnancy had one superpower, it
was making her feel like she was three hundred
degrees all the time. "You're right, you're right."
Raeni tried to swallow. Her throat was so dry that
it hurt. "I'm going to get something to drink." She
informed him, forcing her legs to help her stand.
She made her way over towards the water cooler. She
grabbed a small cup and pressed back the handle on
the cooler to let out water. It accidently broke off
in her hand.
awkwardly held the broken piece of the water cooler.
Meanwhile, a nurse had appeared and was calling her
by a slaughtered version of her name. "Rainery?" The
nurse called out. Raeni quickly threw the handle in
the garbage and acted like nothing happened. The
tension quickly began to build again. Germanicus
said he'd still love a girl...but would he *really*
still love a girl? She made sure he had joined up
with them before they went into the examination
room, where the woman immediately took Raeni's
height, weight, and blood pressure.
pressure is a little high." The woman commented.
watched as she broke the water cooler, which let him
know how stressed out she had become. He rose from
his feet and rushed behind her, placing his hand
upon her shoulder. "Are you okay? Did you cut
yourself?" he asked her, but before he could get an
answer they were brought back into the examination
room. Now he was becoming impatient, as he watched
them discuss everything *but* her pregnancy. He did
not care about her blood pressure, and was here for
only one reason. He knew, however, that they were
just dealing with a nurse. They needed their doctor,
but where was she? While Raeni was getting examined
he was still upright, pacing back and forth in the
room, and making everyone nervous.
Raeni wanted to leave. All of this was far too
overwhelming. She feared failing Germanicus as her
master. She feared failing him as his wife more. He
did nothing but show concern and support for her.
The nurse kept asking her so many questions. Some
were about her pregnancy, while otherwise were
directed to their family medical history. She had no
idea how many questions she answered before the
nurse took her finger. She used a small machine to
prick her finger and suck blood from it. The blood
would provide them with an answer to the gender
crisis. The nurse left them after that. She promised
the doctor would be in soon, but soon wasn't good
enough. *Immediately* was good enough. She remained
seated on the examination table, watching Germanicus
pace a path into the floor. She anxiously plucked
loose hairs and tucked them behind her ear. "Can you
get me something to drink, dear? I feel like I'm
going to be sick."
Germanicus asked, as he snapped his head in her
direction to look at her. "Oh. Okay," he said, as he
stepped out of the examination room and back into
the waiting room. He moved towards the water cooler,
but that's right ... she had broken it. Grumbling he
left the warm confines of the doctor's office and
moved through the streets of the city, desperately
searching for some place that sold drinks. "What am
I doing?" he asked himself, as he thrust his hands
into his pockets and proceeded into the frozen
streets on a death march to find a beverage for his
pregnant wife. He was the Dark Lord of the Sith, but
right now he could not even conjure a glass of
battle against morning sickness was currently taking
place in her stomach. She laid back and waited for
Germanicus to return. Opening up her coat, she
looked down at her flat belly. "The only thing I
want is for you to be healthy." She whispered,
having heard the nurse remark that they would be
running more than gender tests on Raeni's blood.
"I'm taking care of you as best as I can."
Germanicus had been gone for three minutes...three
minutes too many. What was taking him? She started
working herself into a storm of anxiety when Doctor
Chode showed up. She was a middle aged Chiss woman
who wore her black hair in a tight pony tail. Her
red eyes were examining a datapad containing all the
precious results to Raeni's tests. "H-Hi Doctor."
She needed Germanicus *now*.
smiled. "Hello, Raeni. I was just reviewing your
results. From what I can see, your baby is very
healthy. I would like to ask you some more
questions, then we'll take a peek at your baby." The
woman reported in a leveled voice. She set her
datapad down so she could put gloves on her hands.
"Do you wish to know the gender?" She asked,
Germanicus like five minutes ago.
"Have I missed
it?" Germanicus shouted as he burst forth into the
examination room, cradling an entire case of fruit
beverages. He was exhausted, panting, as he had
searched high and low for something to drink. When
he arrived he saw the doctor was there, and quickly
offered Raeni one of the drinks, before shifting his
focus to the doctor. "I'm the husband. I mean the
father. The father and the husband," he stammered,
as he tried to focus himself. "Did we find out if it
is a boy or a girl yet?" he asked, as he had not
overheard their conversation. Damn her thirst, he
thought to himself, as he waited for answers from
all other emotions inside of Raeni when he returned
right at the nick of time. "Thank you!" She suddenly
sounded a lot happier now that he had found
something for her to drink. She opened it up and
drank a sip. Her stomach hadn't decided what it
wanted to do yet. Her free hand grasped Germanicus'.
"No. We don't know what gender yet." She told him.
"Doctor Chode, we do want to know the gender." She
wanted to know *now*. Germanicus' lack of patience
had rubbed off on her.
woman said calmly like he hadn't surprised her. "I
was informing your wife that your child appears to
be healthy. It seems your wife is approximately
eight weeks pregnant." She said as she guided Raeni
to lay back. The woman had her adjust her top and
her bottoms to reveal her pelvis. It wouldn't be
long before Raeni's body began making the physical
shift. "Have you considering birthing techniques?
The next thirty-two weeks will pass." The woman had
no emotion about her voice. Despite 32 weeks being a
long time, she made it sound like it was a week
away. Raeni tensed, shaking her head in response.
Before the doctor could do anymore damage, she
brought her tool over Raeni's pelvis. A small
TV-screen on the opposite side of the room displayed
a picture of Raeni's womb, complete with the image
of a little tiny baby. There was still so much
growing left to do for that baby, but it had arms,
legs, a head, all easily identifiable. For Raeni, as
her eyes settled on the image, everything changed.
eyes snapped to the screen excitedly, as he got a
first glimpse at the child that Raeni was carrying.
"I did not think we would be able to identify so
much, so early," he told her, as he moved towards
her, placing his hand upon her shoulder for support.
"Can you see?" he asked her, as his attention
briefly shifted from the screen to his wife. "Well,
doctor? What is it?" he asked, as his patience grew
thin. He felt like he was watching a competition
show on the holonet and the results were being drawn
out as long as possible to get people to watch the
Raeni said not
a word. She was mentally processing what had been
placed in front of her. In her mind, she thought the
child would be no more than an embryo. Instead, the
child was incredibly human looking. Her blue eyes
were wide. At one point, she'd been just as helpless
as the child in her womb. Her mother had tried, and
failed, to protect her from the cruelties of living
as a slave. In that moment, Raeni's ears muted. She
was focused on that fetus, which made slow movements
inside of her that she witnessed on the screen
directly in front of her. She wouldn't be like her
mother. She would protect her child like a real
mother should. Whereas with Magnus, motherhood had
not come naturally, it was rapidly arriving for
Raeni and Germanicus'' first blood child.
was speaking again. She delivered the information
the couple desired so much in a voice that sounded
flat out bored. "The test confirms that it is a
boy." She said, red eyes staring off at the screen
to ensure the fetus was developing properly.
paused for a moment to be certain that he heard
Doctor Chode correctly. His hand moved to rest upon
Raeni's, clutching it, and squeezing it for support.
"A boy..." he said, as if he still not believe it.
His eyes moved from the doctor, to his wife, before
coming to rest back on the doctor. "You're certain?"
he asked, as the realization of every dream was
beginning to come to pass. In that moment he felt
the warm embrace of the light, which caused him to
feel overwhelmed to the point of nausea. In that
moment he broke eye contact with the doctor, and
instead looked to the floor helplessly. He tried to
steady himself ... he tried to collect himself ...
but in the end all he could think of was that his
love for Raeni had created new life and soon they
would have a son. The implications of this were far
reaching, and perhaps would play into his plot to
move on the throne of Alderaan, but for now all he
could do is bask in the glow of newly discovered
"There is no
doubt." The doctor said coldly. Doctor Chode clearly
didn't have the best bedside manners. She ignored
the couple while gathering what information she
needed on her datapad.
hear the doctor at first. She was wrapping her mind
around the fact that she and Germanicus now had a
child. The hate inside of her started to melt away,
for so much of her life had been about hate. She had
hated her captors and fellow slaves. Until the day
she exploded, the hated her life. Her hate continued
to bleed into her new life, but, for once, she had
things she loved too.
touch lifted her from her thoughts. She looked at
him. "A boy..? *Really*?" Her hand crept upward to
rest on top of his. Her eyes fell back on the
screen. A *heir*. Everything had worked out. She had
given him a wife, a son, and even more. Even if they
hadn't been able to manipulate the conception
process, it seemed fate had smiled down on them. Her
hand squeezed his softly. Her other hand brushed
away the developing tears at the corners of her
eyes. "Leave us." Raeni suddenly said with a wave of
her hand. Doctor Chode said nothing. The Chiss woman
simply turned her back on the couple and left. "A
boy..." She said, running her fingers through her
hair as she sat up. "Can you believe it?"
It took until
after the doctor left for Germanicus to process what
had happened. "Thank you for giving me a son," he
told her, calmly, as if he was on the other side of
the galaxy. His head slowly raised until he came to
look her in the eyes. There were tears welling up in
each corner, but before wiping them away he moved
his head slowly towards hers. His lips connected and
he held his face there for a tender moment. When the
kiss broke he was smiling across at her, looking at
her in a new light. "It is the will of the force,"
he proclaimed, as his hand continued to hold hers.
This news has warmed my heart on this frozen world.
Her heart was
beating so quickly in her chest. Everything had
aligned, though, at that moment, it wasn't about
their dreams to take the throne in Alderaan. It was
about the family that they were creating. She felt a
calm, softness overcome her once they were
eye-to-eye. Raeni saw how much it all affected him.
"Thank you for giving me a son." She parroted the
words back to him, for it had taken two to tango.
Her hands grasped his cheeks in such an affectionate
way that it was easy to forgot how much blood
stained them. As they kissed, her heart continued to
come more and more alive. Their son would not live
like either one of them had. People wouldn't
ostracize him like they had Germanicus. No one would
ever enslave him. For once, she felt like she
*could* do a good job raising their son as well as
their adopted son. Raeni smiled. "Let's go home, my
love. Preferably before you develop frostbite." She
chuckled, inching towards him again to rub her nose
against his. The remaining ice around her heart had
melted as Raeni's love for her family grew.