Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:10:19) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Fred Pollag Leiliani and Rodney Castle).
Ewwiekewwieikkie, Yekaterina Hanson, Fred Pollag, Lady Drusilla Rodney, Lord Marcus Rodney, and Lady Zara Rodney.

Marcus sat on the edge of the bed silently, staring into the floor mirror that stood opposite him. He was getting older. He could see it now, when he was the most weary. He brought his left hand to his face, and placed a finger upon each eyelid, rubbing gently in an attempt to wipe away the stress. "I don't know why my brother didn't see fit to come," he cursed, bitterly, as he began to slide on his boots to complete his ornate wardrobe. "Thank you so much for agreeing to see to his children. Or, should I say, your nieces," he said, as he stood up, adjusting his feet inside the boots, before moving towards where Zara was getting dressed. "You have been wonderful during this time of crisis," he said, as he came up behind her, zipping up the back of her dress, before lifting her silver hair up to expose the back of her neck so he could ravage it with small kisses and playful bites.

Marcus had an unfortunate day of meetings ahead of him, as he needed to be brought up to speed on planetary affairs while his father was medically unable to govern. He had never paid attention before ... always blowing off the briefings as he figured his father would go on forever. He walked down the spiral staircase that led from their tower in the castle to the main hall of the castle, where he would meet with his cousin and other planetary leaders to discuss the latest updates on his father's health and planetary affairs. "I love you. Thank you again for doing this," he said, placing a kiss upon her right cheek, not wanting to be too passionate in front of all the courtiers, and before too long he was swept away by the staff for the first of many meetings. A vision of what Darrus' future would surely be.

"So you're my new auntie?" the small voice of Lady Drusilla Rodney chimed in between Zara. The young noblewoman was now fourteen, just two years younger than Zara, but she had a much different upbringing. She was spoiled completely by her father and grandparents, which had made her something of a brat. With her elder sister joining the Rebellion and declared a 'traitor', she harbored designs on the throne herself, although no one considered it a real possibility. "Well, did you bring me a present?" she asked, placing her arms in front of her chest, intertwined with one another as she studied Zara carefully. She began to think about her own wedding, as she was now so close in age. Her petite framed was covered in a dress of varying shades of green, which was nearly over the top for the occasion. Overdressed was a word that followed her since she was old enough to pick out her own clothes.

"Hi hi hi hi hi!" soon followed the words of Drusilla, with a bound of energy behind each word. Before the words would reach her the sound of footsteps would, as the Squib Ewwiekewwieikkie bounded forward like a rolling ball of fur. She was wearing a simple pink dress that covered parts of her blue fur, but as she ran she began to stumble out of the formal shoes that never quite fit her. As she neared Zara, she dropped to the ground, and wrapped both of her arms around Zara's legs. "Hi!" she said again, as she looked up at the teenager with her large, yellow eyes. Ewwiekewwieikkie was in her mid-20s now, but like all Squib, she had a hyperactive personality and was easily distracted. She was adopted by the Grand Moff following the Republic's liberation of her homeworld during the Clone Wars, when he found her in the rubble of her home near the corpses of her family. She had been raised as a member of the House, despite the obvious issues ... a testament to her adopted father's love.

The stay on Delaya was nothing near a joyous vacation. Life was hard. Sleeping was even harder. Zara had spent most of the night trying not to toss and turn too much. She was uncomfortable. As much as she tried to manage it, the pregnant woman was feeling stressed also. Julius had looked so horrible when they saw him. It had become a realistic possibility that the spiteful man wouldn't survive. She wanted to protect Marcus from the pain...but there was little she could do. She couldn't stop Julius from dying. At least the next day gave Zara the chance to focus on something else; her nieces. A part of her had been greatly elated when she agreed to take care of Claudius' children. The other part of her was fearful that they'd be just like their father, thus adding to the number of Rodneys who didn't like her. "He's probably too busy to come." She reasoned with Marcus while fiddling with her dress. It was getting to the point where everything was uncomfortable. She hoped to enlist the girls in a short shopping trip just so she could find enough articles of clothing to survive on Delaya.

"You don't need to thank me. It's my pleasure," she said. Zara made more of an effort to dress up around the family. She stayed still while he zipped up her dress. "What would I do without you?" She sighed. Those kisses felt so rewarding and soothing. By the time they left the room, Zara was ready to face the world again. She knew she'd be meeting his nieces solo. Marcus had responsibilities to attend to. She really hated to see him go, yet she maintained a professional appearance. She planted a quick kiss on his cheek. "I love you. Behave and don't worry about me." Her blue eyes followed her husband longingly until he was out of sight. Okkaay! Time to be Auntie Zara.

The small voice drew Zara's attention over to the source. She offered Drusilla a smile. She'd had Marcus brief her on names earlier so that she didn't look entirely oblivious. "Well, I married your uncle.. So, I suppose so." Zara took several steps towards her, "You can just call me Zara." Drusilla wasn't that much younger than she was. No wonder everyone assumed her to be some evil gold digger. *Ooh shit*. She had been warned about Drusilla's bratty side, yet the preoccupied pregnant woman had failed to find something noteworthy to give her. The smile stayed on her face, "No. Maybe I can get you something while we're out? I was going to ask you and your sisters to help me with some clothing shopping. I just keep getting wider and-" Her words were cut off by the burst of energy that had just crashed down on the scene. No sooner had Zara spotted the blue ball of fur with flashes of pink, did Ewwie collide with her.

She didn't get a good look at the girl until she was on the ground, arms locked around Zara legs. D'awww! *She was so cute*! Zara wanted to pinch her cute, perky ears and squeal while she pet the girl's fur. It seemed like she had found the sweeter Rodneys. Her worries began to fade. "Hi!" She replied, reflecting the same kind of energy. She couldn't help herself. She reached out, fingers prodding at her ears. "You're so cute!" She knelt down to give the girl a proper squeeze. It was brief, as to not seem awkward, and then Zara rose back to her feet. "Whaddya say? Let's get out of here!"

Ewwiekewwieikkie looked up at her aunt, with a wide smile that dominated her fur-covered face. It was only then that she spotted the necklace draped around the woman's neck, which caused her yellow eyes to widen dramatically. Had Marcus not been so distracted by his father's health, he might have worn Zara not to wear anything like that, but alas ... he did not. "Shiny!" she cheered, as she literally lept up from the ground to paw at her aunt's necklace. She was practically panting as she examined it carefully, tugging on it, playing with it, in a way that was natural for her and her species. She was completely oblivious to anything else in the world other than the shiny bauble.

"Shopping!" Drusilla said, as she spun around in a circle, picking up the tail end of her dress in a wonderful flourish. "What a fabulous idea," she said, as she moved to her adoptive sister in an attempt to pull her away, so that they could begin the infinitely more important shopping excursion. "I simply have nothing to wear for grandpapa's funeral, you know. I wish it didn't have to be black. It does have to be black, doesn't it, Auntie?" she asked, her lips forming a pout, as she felt it clashed with her brown hair and made for an unflattering look on her. "I'm to be a Countess when grandpapa dies you know," she said, sounding almost jubilant at the thought of the old man's passing. Such was her nature.

As Ewwie pulled away to target her necklace, Zara noticed all the blue fur that decorated the lower half of her dress. *Just like a cat* she thought, snickering internally. Overall, she already felt like she was getting a break from the stress. Ewwie and Drusilla seemed infinitely more fun than their father. You wouldn't see Zara taking Claudius out on a shopping trip (however, it would be hilarious). Ewwie was lost to her shiny necklace, so much so that Zara decided to take it off and pocket it while Drusilla worked to pry the blue full ball away from such an attractive object. Her attitude about the situation was different. Drusilla seemed to be looking forward to Julius' death, spouting about it so light heartedly. "Mhm. Black is a symbol of mourning." She informed the girl, "Fashion comes in all colors though, doesn't it? I'm sure you can find something fitting." Zara wasn't going to come down on the girl for her attitude. After all, Drusilla was Claudius' daughter.

She did, however, begin to usher the group out of the castle. Zara hadn't begun to think of what her and Marcus would become if the Duke died and if Darrus' true gender came into the light. Her stomach began to twist and churn until she forced herself to stop thinking about it. "A Countess, huh? What will you do as Countess? I was just a commoner until I married into your family. I still don't know a lot about being royalty. Do you have to deal with the paparazzi too?" Ultimately, the trio ended up crowded in a speeder heading towards the downtown area of the city. She wondered if Jelena would be joining them or not. Jelena was a Rebel, much like her father had been. It was a life she had always been curious about.

"Oh yes, we know all about you, Auntie Zara. You're the reason we can't use the HoloNet anymore," Drusilla pouted, as they were escorted out towards the waiting speeder. "I expect when I become Countess I'll have a great many more slaves, and be ever so much more important. I'd have slaves, too, if my father permitted ... but he's such a modernist. Can you believe it? The *only* Grand Moff without slaves happens to be *my* father. Oh well. It will have to wait until I'm married," she continued, rambling on, paying no mind to anyone else in her vicinity. "Oh they're always taking my picture. Such ghastly fellows. Especially when they capture my bad side. Everyone has one, of course," she said, as the speeder continued down from the mountain range into the industrial city of Leiliani that lay below. "My mother was a commoner, you know. A teacher. My father fell in love with her before the war. Not like the arranged marriage he has now. Do you love Uncle Marc? I suppose you must *have* to given how old he is. I am not sure what I will do yet. I suppose when I'm a Countess I'll have marriage proposals from every prince and despot in the Core. He has to be cute though..." she continued rambling, as the speeder finally arrived in the fashionable shopping district.

Zara's face turned scarlet red. She couldn't believe that even her nieces had seen the fallout of the HoloNet incident. The woman felt massively embarrassed. "Yeah... I'm sorry about that. The island was supposed to be private." It was the best defense she had. She still held onto hope that her nieces hadn't seen her completely naked. Ignorance is bliss, right? When she found that she could look at Drusilla again, she was ranting about slaves, her father's lack of them, and how she wished to have them once she was married. Between the adopted Ewwie and Claudius' total lack of slaves, Zara truly did begin to feel like she had misjudged the man. They may never be friends, but that didn't make him a bad person. His daughter rambled at roughly a mile a minute. Topics changed quickly from marriage to the press to Zara's feelings for Marcus. She couldn't help but laugh softly. "I think the only side they've ever caught of me is my bad side." She remarked playfully. "I do love Uncle Marc. He may be an old man, but he's my old man." Sometimes it was easy to forget his age. Like when he was being whimsical with her. The more she thought about him, the more she wished she could be with him.

The speeder came to a stop, giving Zara the chance to escape the close quarters of the back of the speeder. She stood, offering a hand to help Ewwie out, then Drusilla. "I'm sure you'll have many proposals. You're a pretty girl." Zara teased, "Make sure he's cute and treats you right, otherwise I'll have to find the poor lad and rough him up." There was something maternal about her. Though she had recently met the two girls, she felt she should take them under the protection of her wing while they were in Delaya together. In the shopping district, Zara decided to start at a shop with over-the-top gowns in its front windows. It screamed *Drusilla* all day long. "Let's start here..!" As she entered the shop, she noted roughly a million pieces of shiny jewelry behind a glass case to their immediate left. Her hand immediately grabbed Ewwie's as to not lose her to all the shinies.

"Ooooooooh!" Ewwiekewwieikkie groaned as she saw all of the shops with their interactive window displays. Many a business had gone from the red to the black based solely on submitting repair bills to the palace for Ewwie's damages. "I want! I want! I want!" she shouted over and over again as she saw one particular bracelet in the window, and she pulled with all of her strength against Zara's grip. "Ungh. Ungh. Let go! Ungh," she groaned, as she struggled, nearly dislocating her shoulder in the process. Her eyes were as wide as could be, and she began to salivate with excitement at the prospect of being so close, yet so far, from all of the wonderful objects. She reached out with her free hand towards the glass, but only came tantalizing close to reaching it. With that, there was no other reaction than to begin to cry.

Drusilla held one hand over the right side of Zara's face, and then moved it to cover the left side of her face. "Oh. Hmm. Yes. I do see what you're talking about," she said, pursing her lips, before exiting the speeder to move towards the store. "Ew. Gross," she said, when she heard her talk about her uncle like that, and she shuddered slightly at the notion of what she had seen on the HoloNet, as it was not just *her* that was exposed. "Oh. Yes. It's to be expected of course. I'll have to hire a staff to sort through all of the proposals. So tiresome. We can't let any barons or mere lords slip through. I won't marry someone's second son..." she said, too quickly, and then caught herself, quickly moving towards the shop that Zara had picked out.

The Squib's strength was no effing joke! Zara grunted while she attempted to hold onto the girl. "Ewwie! Stappp! I'll get you a bracelet as long as you stop pulling so hard!" At this point, she expected her arm to pop out from the socket completely. She could imagine trying to explain to Marcus that Ewwie had Herculean strength. As if the situation couldn't get crazier, Ewwie began to cry. Zara tugged the Squib closer to her, "Don't cry..." She rubbed her back softly. "Here." She reached into the pocket of her dress, withdrawing the shiny necklace. She dangled it in front of her face. "Shiny!" She presented the necklace while listening to Drusilla begin a new rant. Zara hoped to be present at her wedding. Barely knowing this girl, she could tell it was going to be one hell of an event. She had a loud personality...and a big mouth! Zara heard what she said about second sons. The idea that Marcus was sloppy seconds had never occurred to her. She knew full well who he was when she had broken into the Rodney castle. When he appeared at her shop, she had no idea how deeply they'd fall in love. Becoming royalty had never been part of her plan. Maybe that was why she didn't see eye to eye with Drusilla. "Awww. You shouldn't speak so poorly of second sons. If you do, I'll tell you some stories about your uncle and I that'll make what was up on the HoloNet seem like a picnic." Zara grinned. "Now, you get to help me find some clothing that'll make the family take me seriously and won't squeeze the heck out of my stomach." It took a real effort to literally drag Ewwie further into the store until they were in a forest of dresses. She found a gaudy dress that was entirely black...and entirely horrible. She pointed towards it. "Look, Drusilla! It's the perfect dress!"

"I would think that grandmama would be quite content to see you wearing anything after the scandal, Auntie," Drusilla said, quite matter-of-factly, as she browsed the store. She was one of those children who liked everything she saw when she first saw it, but when it was delivered to the palace she often had forgotten all about it and decided that she did not like her. Unbeknownst to her father, who was much too busy governing to monitor his personal finance, she had gone through quite a bit of his credits on these shopping sprees. "Please. No more about my uncle. I do have to dine with you two ever so often, remember," she said, as she picked out a red dress that she thought might suit Zara, but then quickly shook her head. "Is that your natural hair color?" she asked, before turning her attention to the black dress that Zara had found, presumably for her grandfather's funeral. "Hmm. You know. It really should be up to him. I'll take it, and then ask grandpapa if he thinks I should wear it to his funeral," she declared, as she clapped her hands twice to summon the personal shopper to begin amassing the items they would purchase.

A small murmur escaped Ewwiekewwieikkie's mouth as Zara rubbed her back, her eyes slowly rolling back in her head as a glazed over look on her face appeared. "Mine!" she said greedily, as she snatched the necklace out of Zara's grasp, clutching it against her chest, while looking side to side to make sure no one would take it from her. "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you," she repeated, as instructed by almost every Delayan she had ever encountered. She began excitedly hopping up and down as she added another trinket to her collection, only aware of its physical beauty, and paying no mind to its value. As she looked around the store, it was almost too much to bare, as it seemed like everything she saw was more precious and desirable than the last. Store clerks seemed to be pushing the items intentionally closer to her, knowing full well what was likely to happen, in the hopes of a quick and easy payday on some of the items that had been sitting, unpurchased, for far too long.

Damn Drusilla! The girl could aim right through Zara's heart. A fourteen-year-old girl had never made the thief blush so much. She liked to forget that the whole family had seen, well, *everything*. That also included everything Marcus had, though no one seemed to be interested in pointing that out. It was horrible double standards! The red dress Drusilla selected nearly matched the color of her cheeks. "Yup. It's been silver since birth." She proclaimed happily. It was her favorite feature, thus why she liked to keep it so long. The funeral dress massively backfired. The blush went away from Zara's cheeks at Drusilla's words. Scratch that. All the blood drained from her face in an instant. She felt woozy and sick. "Nonononono..." She moved toward the girl, resting a hand on her shoulder. "Unless you want to wear this dress to *my* funeral, you probably shouldn't show him."

She was doing a good job of multitasking. She kept holding onto Ewwie, who wasn't happy with the necklace as long as Zara had hoped. She tried to keep her other hand hidden for the sake of her wedding ring. It was one of the only pieces of jewelry that she couldn't give up, in addition to the old pocket watch that she had taken from Marcus. "Here," Zara said, shoving Ewwie's hand into the teenager's. "Watch her. I need to run to the restroom. Don't let her out of sight!" She warned, darting off in the direction of one of the store clerks. They directed her towards the bathroom, where Zara promptly let morning sickness take its toll on her. There was something about this planet that stressed her out, and the stress resulted in her being sick. She was gone for five minutes max.

Drusilla had often been asked to watch over Ewwiekewwieikkie, and none of those times had proved to be a good idea. "Behave yourself, Ewwie. I'm much too busy to be bothered watching you," she said, as she began plucking up one garment after another, and piling them up so high on the poor shopgirl that she very nearly toppled over. She was lost in her own world when she suddenly heard the crash behind her, or rather crashed, as Ewwiekewwieikkie began crashing into the display cases, one at a time, to paw at the jewelry. The staff stood around dutifully documenting the cost of each piece of jewelry, the cost of the damage, and the cost of the cleaning bill. Literally thousands of credits were being tallied in the five minutes Zara had excused herself. "Oh stop, Ewwie. Look what you've done ... again!" Drusilla parked, as she surged forward towards the Squib, but stopped when her eyes caught a particular pair of shoes, which stopped her dead in her tracks and kept her from minding the creature any further.

It was five minutes. Outside the restroom, those five minutes lasted roughly a century. Zara was leaning over the sink, allowing her stomach to fall back into place when she heard all the crashing outside the door. "Fuckno." She exhaled as she darted out of the bathroom. The shop had turned into an absolute mess. Ewwie was moving much more quickly than anyone had a right to. There were broken display cases and pieces of expensive jewelry utterly everywhere. Where was Drusilla in all of this? She caught the girl eye raping a pair of shoes. She didn't begin to think about how much credits they had accrued in damage. Instead, Zara hopped into action. She grabbed a thick bracelet with half a dozen large jewels on it. "Ewwie, look!" She held up the bracelet as to capture the Squib's attention as soon as she could. "Drusilla, pay for your things and get out of here." Zara reached Ewwie, distracting her with the bracelet so that she might get ahold of the girl once more. "Sorrryy..." She said to all the shop workers who were taking account of the damage. She was pulling Ewwie out of the shop as quickly as she could.

"Oh don't be sorry, Lady Zara. You are most welcome here any time," the owner, Fred Pollag, told her, as they tallied the damage and prepared a receipt for the family. Without Drusilla's shopping sprees and Ewwiekewwieikkie's rampages it was likely the little boutique would not even be in business.

Ewwiekewwieikkie immediately moved towards Zara at the sight of the gaudy necklace, leaping over the display like a galloping animal when she first caught a glimpse of it. "So many colors," she announced, as she was led out of the semi-destroyed shop by the trance the necklace had over her, like Zara was the pied piper. When they were back in the sunlight of the main street she began to smell some of the food being cooked by the nearby cafes. Her nostrils began to flare, and she inhaled several times in rapid succession. Her pink tongue emerged from her mouth and ran across her lips hungrily. "Food!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, hopping up and down excitedly, as she looked towards Zara, hoping that she would take her to eat.

Drusilla laughed at Zara's suggestion that she *pay* for the items, as she had never paid for anything in her life. She winked at the store manager as she followed Zara and Ewwiekewwieikkie out to the street, feeling quite satisfied with her day of shopping. She had almost forgotten that her grandfather was sick, which was the entire purpose of the day to begin with. "Oh don't feed her hear, Auntie Zara. She eats like she shops," she sneered, as she moved her hand to pluck some glass and debris off her hapless Squib 'sister'.

It was then that a speeder hurried through the crowd, an obnoxious siren blaring to part through the traffic and the crowd. When the speeder arrived in front of the noble trio, Yekaterina Hanson immediately moved from the rear compartment. She was dressed in her brown Alderaan Guard uniform, complete with white blast helmet, with a blast shield partially down over her face. "Milady, Zara. The Duke commands your presence. Immediately," she said to the woman, bitterly, and without making eye contact, as it was not customary to do so. She had been brought to heel by her superiors, and had been specifically ordered to no longer disrespect Zara and to treat her as a member of the family. It was a particularly bitter pill to swallow.

She was sure she was welcome! The boutique was going to send the royal family one hefty bill. Hopefully that wouldn't bite her in the ass in the long run. As much as she liked Drusilla and Ewwie, she thought she might have to keep them in a room with nothing shiny to avoid another mess. The necklace had been enough to get the cute, yet extremely destructive, squib out of the shop. Now that Zara had learned, she didn't release Ewwie from her grasp. In fact, she was going to keep a hand on her until they returned to the Rodney castle. "I-I'm glad you like it.." Huffed Zara. Next time, Zara decided she'd put shiny pieces of paper in her pockets to keep Ewwie from wrecking shops. The squib was hungry. Zara's recently emptied stomach found the scent of food appalling. She could have used another five minutes in the bathroom. If she had taken that long, all that would have been left of the store was debris. Ewwie was so excited that she decided against her stomach's wishes. An early lunch seemed like the best plan.

"She's hungry. We have to feed her. She's just a passionate shopper... and eater. If you would have paid attention to her, then she wouldn't have gotten so sloppy in the shop." She quipped at Drusilla. "We're going to eat." No sooner had she vocalized her decision did a speeder some veering through the traffic. Its loud siren stood out over all the other noises of the city. Zara acknowledged it, but she didn't care about it until it stopped before the trio of girls. And who might pop out of the speeder other than Frumpy Hat! Last time they met, Frumpy Hat was feeling the brunt of Zara's anger over the HoloNet incident. She was prepared for the woman to treat her like slum. Instead, the woman was obedient. She delivered her news, acting much more like a guard than a ... b-word. The Duke was summoning her? Her first thought was that he must be dying to want her. She was scared. She hadn't seen the Duke without Marcus before. "Alright..." She didn't argue with it. However, she glared at Drusilla, "Go back to the castle. Do not let go of Ewwie, seriously. I don't want her to get lost. I'll see you guys later, okay? See ya." She wished she had more time to call a speeder for the girls. Instead, Zara ducked into the back of the speeder and collapsed. "What's this all about? Is he okay?" Zara asked as soon as they were off. She set aside the history that her and Frumpy Hat had for now.

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