Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Erin Highberg and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:8:28) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle and Spaceport).
Yekaterina Hanson, Nona Jast, and Lord Gaius Rodney.

The planet Delaya was once a secondary, overlooked planet in the Alderaan system, but following the destruction of Alderaan it had been thrust into a central role not just in the sector, but in the entire Core. The population had begun to welcome Alderaanian refugees who had been off world when the planet was destroyed, but in doing so had drawn increase surveillance and skepticism from the Empire. The planet's own internal politics had been thrown into disarray as the ruling Duke had reached an advanced age and the one perspective heir his children had managed to produce had openly joined the Rebellion in the wake of the Death Star tragedy. As a result other branches of the family had begun to position themselves as potential successors to the throne in the event of the Duke's expected death. One such branch was led by the Duke's eldest nephew, Lord Gaius Rodney, who had long accepted his role as a dutiful family member rather than a potential heir and rival. A veteran of the Clone Wars who later went on to serve in the Alderaan Guard he stood an imposing 1.89 meters with strong facial features, piercing blue eyes, dark brown well kept hair, and the scruff of someone who had not yet shaven this week. His attire was that of an officer in the Alderaan Guard, a display of solidarity with his eradicated neighbors and a political statement that the Empire was sure to recognize. He was pacing back and forth on the landing platform waiting for the shuttle that would bring formula Senator Nona Jast to Delaya. A marriage to her was sure to bring Kuati ships to Delaya, much needed for the planet's growing trade, and perhaps the ability to gain warships for the growing Rebellion. On a personal scale she was a strong match and was open a declaration of intent to compete for the throne. If she was to produce a male heir she would all but guarantee his ascent, but for now he was not the confident planetary leader. He was a nervous suitor whose palms grew sweaty beneath his gloves, and as the ship began to appear on the horizon he found his throat tightening and his mouth becoming as a dry as a barren world.

Nona Jast, not just a socialite who enjoyed the perks of being in the senate seat...though that career was all but dissolved, the blonde hair blue eyed woman was a force to be reckoned with. Despite her shorter stature of 1.67 meters, the young woman seemed to have a commanding force. Perhaps it was her booming voice. Her home planet was prosperous. It was of no surprise that her father had decided to set her up with a man from Delaya. And a Rodney no less. She was familiar with the tales of the family as well as what that meant for her. Slow breath as that small shuttle would dock on the landing pad. Nona sat in her seat, looking out the small view point as plush brims pressed together softly as she swallowed. She just hoped her intended wasn't fat. She could forgive an unforgiving countenance, but someone she'd be on the arm of...needed to have as much a royal air as she. Ambitious woman she was. "You may exit the ship now ma'am." Her handmaiden spoke softly as the ship did in fact make contact with the solid ground. The shorter woman stood from her seat, that rather becoming gown of blue and violet clinging to her becoming figure. That long blonde hair cascading in curls down her back.. Long sleeved gown with a scoop neckline. Small chains adorned her smooth neck. Small clicks over metal were heard as she made her way to the descending platform that opened as it lowered from the ship. Doors hissed open as her and her handmaiden and another diplomat appeared before the man.

Gaius stood silently for several moments as the young woman and her entourage appeared in front of him. He had not been told what to expect in terms of physicality, as he had focused entirely on her family's importance on her native Kuat and what they could do for him here on Delaya. It had never occurred to him that she might be beautiful, he had never even stopped to consider such an event. He was a leader and had seen battle so surely he could speak to a beautiful woman ... especially one whose hand had already been pledged to him. Then why he was having so much trouble forming even the simplest of words? His blue eyes gazed upon her perhaps longer than was polite, and a gloved hand moved upward to stroke at his beard slightly, as if somehow stalling for time would help.

Before him Kat Hanson stepped forward, one of the members of the Alderaan Guard who had been offworld when the planet had been destroyed. She was slightly shorter than Nona and decidedly shorter than the men who were there. Her short brown hair was kept in a pixie cut beneath the helmet of that completed her uniform. She was armed as there had been much unrest on the planet since the arrival of the refugees that already had begun straining the limited supplies that dared to enter the system with the increased Imperial activity. "Milady," she said in a polite voice, sensing her commander had his tongue caught by a felinx. "Allow me to present Lord Gaius Rodney, commander of the guard," she said, playing the role of subordinate dutifully. She had done all she could for the man and if he did not take the opportunity to speak then there was nothing more she could do.

Gaius blinked several times as he heard his security detail speak, and then stepped forward through the sea of people that had prevented them from having a more private greeting. "Senator Jast," he said in a strong voice, giving her the respect of the title that had been stripped of her by the Emperor ... an act which he and those of his mind did little to respect. "It is my great honor to welcome you to my home planet of Delaya," he said, turning with a flourish of his right arm to show off the mountain ranges on the outskirt of the industrialized capital city. "It is my great hope that in time you come to consider that your home, and I, and my staff, will do everything to ensure that you feel welcome," he said to her, offering the most diplomatic of smiles he had learned during his time protecting the members of the House of Organa. With that, he bowed at the waist, and took her hand into his own before placing the gentlest of kisses upon her hand.

It was all a bit much, almost overwhelming. The slightest of stagger in her footsteps as those own cobalt oculars caught sight of those piercing greens that belonged to the titled gentleman. Ceremonial in their greeting as small steps carried her closer to her fate. Marriage wasn't something the woman of twenty eight standard years had expected such late in life. But with the demise of her title and her place in the world, her career would lead her down a different path. The game was afoot and it looked like she'd met a worthy partner to play it with. And my were his features striking. Smallest of courtesy was given after Gaius had kissed her hand. She nodded to the woman to his left who had introduced him. "Such a grand gesture for something as simple as an introduction." Plush pink brims formed a rather soft smile. Those bright blues scanning the the area that was waved for her to gaze upon.

Throat clenched slightly as she gave a small swallow. Head cantered to look back to the man. She found it a little amusing that she herself was a little at loss of words as she waved her handmaiden forward, giving her the okay to follow. "I appreciate you meeting me at my arrival in person instead of sending someone to fetch me in your stead." She could tell by his body language that he was nervous. She took a step closer to him as her arm immediately encompassed his forearm. Maybe a bit forward, for their first meeting, but Nona wasn't one to follow protocol, mostly if they were to be married within the next two weeks.

"Being on an unfamiliar world surrounded by unfamiliar people I thought the least I could do was greet you myself, Milady," Gaius explained to her sweetly, as he led her by the arm she had offered towards the waiting speeder. In truth his staff had advised him not to go to the spaceport as the influx in population had increased the potential dangers, but it did not seem right to him for the head of planetary security to hide during moments of crisis. "It is a brief ride to the palace," he explained before, helping her into the waiting speeder. It was rather luxurious with comfortable seats and reinforced transparitsteel windows to protect them from potential violence. The driver was a droid chauffeur, and since it only fit two it would force them to be alone for at least a short while. Once she was comfortably in the vehicle he followed behind her and the vehicle began to move in a convoy that consisted of security and transport for the rest of her entourage. In the speeder was a bottle of Alderaan Ruge ... from one of the last cases left in his family cellar. It was a rarity now that there was no longer a way to produce anymore, and he offered her a glass as they made their way through the city. The city of Leiliani was an industrial in strong contrast from the scenic vistas of Alderaan, as that planet had exported most of its industry to keep their planet's natural beauty intact. His ancestors had been all too keen to welcome Alderaan's industry ... and credits ... at the expense of their world and its people.

Nona had become a pawn in the galactic game of chess. But, at least for a time, her vote mattered, her stature mattered, she mattered. Though, as an elected representative, she had sway and influence. Perhaps she did still, with the trade of her own planet now being offered to Delaya. She'd follow Gaius, her arm within his. It was a short walk as she moved to the speeder. Nona moved into her seat with his help, sitting down to the left as he sat down next to her. She'd smile and look to the drink he'd offer. "This is a rare commodity," she'd say as she reached her hand and took the glass, fingers brushing up against his own slightly. She moved the rim of the glass up to those plush lips as she took a small sip. "I'm glad that our ride is a bit more private. Though, I've been briefed on your standing with the Guard and your history and your family...but I'm looking forward to getting to know you. Am I to have my own bedchamber? Or will we share one immediately?" A genuine question as they were set to be married rather soon.

Gaius choked on his first sip of the wine as she mentioned the issue of sleeping arrangements, embarrassingly dribbling some of it down his chin. He quickly placed the glass of wine back upon the bar that had been set up in front of them. "Well ... you don't waste time," he pointed out to her, his face flushed red with embarrassment. He turned his head slightly to get a better look at her, his blue eyes studying every inch of her body that was visible to him. "Yes ... yes you'll have your own bedchamber," he informed her, stammering somewhat, before moving to take another sip of the wine ... he needed it now more than ever. "...for now at least," he was quick to add, making it clear that he would be taking his spousal privilege. He knew just how important an heir would be to cementing his political machinations. As they spoke the speeder moved through the city that had recently seen an influx in population with overcrowding and squalor visible everywhere. They simply did not have enough resources to feed all of the newly arrived Alderaanians and the risk of it erupting into a crisis weighed highly on his mind, and wondered in which directly he should lean in his efforts to rise from guard to ruler.

Nona raised a crooked finger to her lips as she couldn't help but hide a wide smile. "My dear Lord...You are coming off as if you were seventeen standard years. Please tell me you've at least bedded a woman." She wasn't shy. Why should she be? He was to be her husband. "I'm sorry if I come off as a little...brash. I just like knowing details. I'm a politician at heart." She smiled as she took another sip of that wine herself. She reached her hand out and gently placed it over his forearm. She looked out the windows, seeing the amount of people, the outbreaks of violence. She gave a frown and sighed. "Is there a system in place to re-home these refugees? Finding and funding ways to get them permanent homes off world?" Head turned to him as she was genuinely interested in the well being of these people. She wasn't a heartless politician, and if she were going to call Delaya home, she wanted to see its success.

"It won't disappoint you to learn you were not my first?" Gaius asked her, finally turning his head to lock eyes with hers. "It just will take some time for me to adjust as well. It is not everyday you meet the woman who is to be your wife. I am just fortunate that you are so beautiful," he added, taking more of the wine, as he already felt himself becoming more confident around her with each passing sip. "The refugee crisis is nearing a breaking point. We have appealed to the Empire for assistance, but they have branded these Alderaanians as a potential threat and will render no aid. Our trade has begun to suffer as the graveyard of Alderaan has began to impact hyperspace travel in the system, and what ships that can get through are fearful of drawing the ire of the Empire for helping us. You have arrived at a most opportune moment," he explained to her, as the speeder finally moved through the calamity of the bustling city and into the winding road that led through the mountains. They would eventually arrive at a large castle that dominated the mountain range and looked down both literally and figuratively on the population below. The castle seemed ancient but was still well maintained and featured an increased security presence by his order. As they arrived he helped her out of the speeder and they were sooned joined by her entourage and his security detail. He motioned with his right hand to one of the lesser spires of the castle that he had called home these many years, overshadowed by the dominant branch of the family line. "That one is ours," he explained to her, before taking a moment to show her the overlook. Down below the urban blight became more visible and the city sprawled out beneath them, but where they were remained the pristine, natural beauty of the world with clean air and ample riches. It was a tale of two planets.

"As long as it won't disappoint you to know you are not my first." Nona blushed as she looked at the man. Taking in another slow breath, she listening intently as he spoke. Perhaps it was his eyes...or his deep voice that had her a bit more intrigued. She smiled wide as he called her beautiful, those lightly freckled cheeks flushing. She would give a slow nod to the detail of those poor souls on the planet. "Between you and I, as I hope I will be able to confide in you often, it is rather obtuse for the Empire to destroy a peaceful planet and *not* to expect the people off word to not have some anger." She knew she might have not shed some light on her sympathy with the Rebellion. It may have been overstepping herself. But, she was very informed. More informed than any young woman her age. "If I am able to help, it would be my honor," she said softly as she finished off her wine. She moved with him as the speeder stopped, stepping off with his hand in hers. Though, as those feet fell to the solid stable ground, her hand remained in his own. She saw how he looked upon his home, that pride behind those piercing eyes. She admired him for it. A passionate man was a good sign. It showed motivation. Nona gave Gaius' hand a tight squeeze as she nodded in approval. "I'd be privileged to call this palace my home," she spoke softly enough for only him to hear. Already she felt much at ease with him. This was a great sign. "What are the dining arrangements this evening? I'm to assume to dine with you?" She really did waste no time. But, now she seemed eager to spend time with him. She knew he was a busy man, but maybe her eagerness wasn't welcome. She'd only hope he'd welcome it as a sign of approval, or to show him she wasn't nearly as nervous as he.

Gaius soaked in the atmosphere as he listened to her speak. She had a soft voice with a pleasant accent that he could listen to for hours without getting annoyed, and she was well-spoken to boot. It was an advantage of having selected someone who had a career in public life rather than some noblewoman who devoted herself to fashion and shopping as was often the case with so many in his position. "I am afraid we will need that help," he confided in her, revealing a vulnerability that he felt as he looked down upon the burgeoning unrest. "Tonight the Duke has arranged for a dinner in your honor. I'm afraid just about every influential member of society will be there to welcome you, and begin the process of winning your favor," he said with a soft laugh, flashing her with a large grin that revealed his true, playful nature for the first time. "Any hope of solitude will have to wait for after dinner..." he informed her, drawing her in close as the distant Aldera star began to set and the specter of night began to cast down upon them. The nights of Aldera were darker now, without Alderaan to brighten the night's sky, and it had cast a somber notes on the evenings for the people of Delaya. Occasionally the streak of debris could be seen burning up in the atmosphere as the graveyard of Alderaan threatened to overtake the entire system. At times it was hard to look at.

Nona couldn't help but smile. He had a sense of humor. And a bit playful in his manner. She swallowed hard as she was drawn in. He was incredibly easy on the eyes. Gentle in his actions. Nona wasn't afraid of him but could see herself very much in love with him. At that moment those cheeks flushed a bit more. The woman gave a slow nod. "Wine and compliments if you care to know what will win my heart." An amused laugh was given as she watched that star set. It was hard to believe that she genuinely wanted to spend more time with just him, than being paraded around and carrying on. A hand moved up to the side of his cheek, thumb brushing against the apple of his own. "It may be quite bold of me to say for only knowing you a short while, but, I have a suspicion that we will compliment each other quite well." That look over her face became soft, almost loving. "I could get lost in your eyes all day." She quickly broke eye contact with him and lowered her hand. "Perhaps that is too bold and too forward." She laughed slightly and shrugged it off.

"Wine ... and compliments? In that order?" Gaius asked playfully as he listened to her talk about the potential of their new life together. If they were not surrounded he might be tempted to make a move, with the wondrous backdrop and setting sun helping his game. Before he could utter another word his aid cleared her throat and it was time for them to move inside. "The pitfalls of a life of service," he admitted to her sadly, as he began to usher her inside of the castle. By now the best and brightest of Delayan society were arriving and each of them was captivated by the beauty of the newly arrived Kuati who was to join the upper echelon of their society. "I must apologize for the stares you will receive this evening. They are understandably curious," he whispered softly down to her, as he offered polite nods to people who seemed to know him, but whose names and faces he could not remember. While the refugees below grew hungry there was an ample supply of food and wine being offered to the guests. There was a lavish display of all of the finest foods that the planet had to offer, complete with various delicacies that had been shipped in from throughout the core and hoarded by the upper crust of society. It was a rather disgusting, thoughtless display what with what was transpiring, but they were out of touch and perfectly content to celebrate while the galaxy around them burned.

"Not in that order...but close." She spoke softly as their moment was brought to a close. She looked to his aid as they were soon ushered into his home. She carried herself with a certain grace, a smile on her face as that she remained close to Gaius' side. Now he was the only one she knew. He'd introduce her and she would shake hands and curtsey. The decadence around them was a little overwhelming. She could tell that her intended seemed to feel the same way. Her arm once released from his to extend her gratitude and introductions, would move back to his. She remained close to him throughout the ordeal of her being honored. She didn't feel like it was necessary. But she didn't want to disrespect the high society and individuals she'd need the respect of. Already exhausted from her flight, and immediately thrown to the wolves. It was something she was content with. But hopefully she wouldn't waver in her ways. She'd gone longer without rest and in senate meetings. This was her element. Hopefully she'd do Gaius proud.

The evening was a mix of formality with the aged Duke reading a proclamation formally welcoming Nona to the planet and the family, but there was distrust in the old man's eyes that was shared by his childish son. As the dinner wore on he found himself drinking a bit more than he should, but it was needed as one by one various nobleman, business leaders, and retainers made their way to him to compliment him on his fiancé, and then quickly ask for a favor or bring him a problem that was in need of resolution. If this was what it meant to wield power he would surely be disappointed. The Duke departed early having grown increasingly frail in his advanced years and was no longer able to remain awake as late into the evening as he had liked. Finally, when there was no one left to thank and the dinner had broken up, his attention could finally turn to Nona uninterrupted. "Thank you for that. I know it could not have been easy," he said to her, taking her hand firmly in his and offering the most tender of squeezes to reassure her. "Let me show you where you'll be standing," he said to her, but when he rose from the table too suddenly he felt the effect of the wine and nearly stumbled. "Excuse me..." he said, with slight embarrassment, as he led her through the corridor made of ancient marble that was carefully decorated with priceless works of art from the Alderaan system. Many of which had grown exponentially in value now that there was no longer an Alderaan. As they made their way up the steps into the suite of rooms that belonged to his family they eventually reached the room that had been set aside from her temporarily. It was below the room they would one day share and her staff had prepared it while they ate. It was modest compared to what they would one day have, as it was intended for their future child, but he hoped it would suit her for the short while she would need it. "Is everything to your liking?" he asked, as his eyes studied the layout for anything the staff might have gotten wrong.

Pleasantries and smiles. At least Nona got this whole thing out of the way now instead of drawing this out longer than it needed to be. After their affair was met at a close, he moved to her side. She grabbed his hand as he stumbled slightly. Clearly he drank a little too much wine. A small laugh escaped her as she stood with his help. She walked with him. Keeping pace. "This wasn't my first dinner with important people." She gave a grin as she looked around the halls. It was a beautiful place. She was really pleased with the arrangement. It didn't feel forced after meeting Gaius. She would be eternally grateful for that as well. Small steps, but quick were taken as they reached what would be her chambers. It was simple and modest. It was just fine. She looked around the room as she took a few steps closer towards the bed. She turned around to face him. "It's perfect...although it will be quite lonely sleeping in an unfamiliar place. But I suspect I will be quite comfortable." That voice soft and smooth as she spoke. Although she was tired, and not content. She walked back to the door, where her hands moved to find his own, intertwining her fingers with his own. "Will...the waste of tonight's feast be donated to those in the streets we saw? Or will it be tossed in the trash?" A true politician. Maybe a little off topic now that they were alone, but honestly curious of his answer.

Gaius was just beginning to enjoy the moment they were sharing alone when the reality of what was going on down below once again came to the forefront of the conversation. "What is left usually goes to the servants. Anything they don't finish is usually disposed of," he said, realizing how bad it sounded, but he did not want to lie to her. It was difficult for him to look at her as he revealed that, but it was the way things were here and it was not going to change overnight just because refugees were hungry. "We are working on getting them food. As the Empire will not help us there are other organizations to which we have appealed for aid, and I believe they will help us ... if they can..." he added, knowing he should do more, but in reality there was little that he could do. This planet always existed in a symbiotic relationship with Alderaan, whose foodstuffs fueled Delaya's industry. "It really does look quite comfortable. It seems they've done a marvelous job what with little time they had," he said, looking past her to gaze upon the room, in an attempt to change the subject to something more pleasant. He closed the distance between them, until only a few inches separated between them. When he was this close he noticed just how much larger he was than her, and soon his arms moved around her younger, more slender frame in an embrace that drew her closer still. She had been sending hints all night with her gentle touching, or at least that's how he interpreted it, and now with alcohol infused confidence it was time for him to take the lead.

It was hard for her not to think of others before her. It was her job as such a young representative to do that. Represent a planet and it's people and it's well being. She could hear the unease in his tone. A slow nod was given as she understood. "I appreciate your honesty," she said as she looked from him down to the floor. Soft sigh was given as Gaius changed the subject. She appreciated it in that moment. But before she had a chance to move, his body moved in closer, those broad arms moving to wrap around her smaller shorter frame. Hands moved to rest up against his chest. Head moved to look up at him. She could tell that he was a bit drunk...or tipsy at least. That wine having that effect on him. She was a little rosy in the cheeks, but her judgment wasn't altered. "Thank you...For staying by my side tonight and not leaving me to fend for myself among the wolves." Her voice low and sincere as those bright blue eyes locked with his own. She was happy that he made the move to hold her. She welcomed it and did not pull or push him away.

His body was hard as the rocks the castle had been built upon, as everyday for twenty years he had maintained his physique by training with the Alderaan Guard. He appreciated the softness of her skin as he pressed her young body against his. She was much different than anyone he had before both in terms of appearance and personality and he felt very fortunate that his arrangement had netted him someone so wonderful and beautiful as she. "I'm glad you're getting used to me, because I'm not going anywhere," he told her in a promise, as his right hand slowly moved up her body before softly making contact with her chin and raising it slightly. His eyes closed slowly as he angled his head down, turning it slightly so that his nose would not crash into hers, before allowing his lips to press against hers in what would be the first of what he expected to be many kisses. His heart was racing, and as he held her firmly against him she would be able to hear it and feel it, along with his increased body temperature as a result of both the wine and his increasing passion for her.

Her own heart raced as she tried hard not to show her own nervousness. Though, unbeknownst to him, he said the one thing that she knew was music to her ears. The promise of loyalty. That was something that no one could ever buy. But it would be given to her. Freely she might add. A small huff of air was given as those lips parted to speak. Though he had taken her breath away. That confidant woman had no witty retort, no come back. Those eyes simply closed as his hand moved to her chin as he tilted it up. She closed her eyes as her hands moved to his shoulders. Plush pink lips pressed up against his as he kissed her. It was soft and pleasant. Her own lips rolling into his lips, as she couldn't help but return his kiss, enjoying their lip lock.

As Gaius pulled his lips from hers and he glimpsed down at her and it was the most beautiful sight his eyes had yet captured. He wanted her. His desire for her was undeniable. But first and foremost he was still a gentleman and she was to be his wife ... not some conquest. The situation called for patience, and with much reluctance he allowed his hands to move from her, and he took a deliberate step backwards. "Good night. We have countless nights to come. Let us not spoil this one by giving in to base desires," he said to her earnestly, with a polite bow, before turning to leave her presence for the coldest shower he could find. "I am only one set of stairs higher should you need me. And the entire staff is at your disposal," he was quick to point out, as he exhaled a deep sigh of relief that he had not allowed his lust to dominate their fist night together.

Reluctant to pull away, as he started their kiss, he'd end it. Bright blue eyes fluttered open as she felt compelled to hold onto him. But, lust was a good sign perhaps. Though her own core temperature seemed to rise with every passing moment. Her hands over his shoulders gripped at the fabric of his dress tunic to slowly let her grip go. Her own desire building. Hands slid down his arms before they rested at her sides. "Well, at least we both know we have them...desires." That blush bubbling to the apples of her cheeks as she gave a nod, stepping back to form a wider gap between them. "Thank you again. I look forward to seeing you again, Gaius..." That smile grew a little more coy as he moved away from her. It would be hard to wait another two weeks...but maybe it was for the better. "Good night. Do sleep well..."

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