Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:8:4) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Germanicus Rodney's undersea lair and Marcus Rodney's chalet), Kwai, and Nerf Herder.
Flight Lieutenant Haven Anson, Doctor Alessandra Bailo, Commander Kerrie Kiley, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lady Drusilla Rodney, Duke Germanicus Rodney (as a hologram), Duke Marcus Rodney, Duchess Raeni Rodney (as a hologram), Major Sierra Rodney, Duchess Zara Rodney, and Doctor Pilaq Tohan.

Duke Marcus Rodney had returned to his chalet in northern Delaya. He left Zara, the nanny droid, and the twins aboard the Nerf Herder while he approached the structure in full armor and heavily armed with his 'Blast and Smash' out in front of him. He was kidding when he suggested that the sea monster might have moved into the chalet, but with the safety of his wife and children at stake he would take no chances. Beneath his helmet he peered through a motion sensor, checking the entire ground floor of the chalet. There was nothing to his great satisfaction, but as he was able to comm the all clear he realized it was not out of the realm of possibility that it could climb stairs. Up the stairs he went, checking room by room, until he came to their master bedroom. They were alone. They would be safe. As he pulled his helmet off he raised the comm to his mouth. "All clear, Zara," he said, with a smile. He would have to get changed quickly because his brother's family would soon be here for the ceremony.

Duchess Zara Rodney didn't object to her husband clearing the chalet before bringing in the children. They had been attacked by wolves there...and even Min Traebor had snatched them from that chalet. He was taking the proper precautions to ensure that everyone was safe. Still, that didn't stop her from worrying. She was pacing in the Nerf Herder anxiously. This was a weak area for her. Her expertise with slicing couldn't help them. All she had to do was *wait*, and Zara Rodney was no good at waiting. It seemed that since they had stopped living at the chalet, the cold environment was even colder than normal. She had already retreated back into the biggest warm faux fur coat in the Nerf Herder, as well as bundled the twins up. "Marrcusss." She sighed, picking up Sia. "Your daddy is taking forever. He better be okay." From her comm, she heard her husband report in. She sighed. "Phew..." Then she picked up her comm. "Okay. We're coming." She gathered up both Sia and Darrus, then looked at the nanny droid. "C'mon Nana. You haven't been the our chalet yet." She quickly led the way from the Nerf Herder into the snowy, cold of northern Delaya, then finally into the chalet. "Burrr!" She immediately adjusted the thermostat to ‘Mustafar' setting. She held the twins close to keep them warm and content off of the heat of her body.

"At once, Duchess," the nanny droid said, as she gathered their necessities and began to descend from the Nerf Herder. When she was told they were heading to the chalet she never expected it to be at the lake. As she moved behind Zara her photoreceptors examined the lake and the surroundings and realized she was back after all of these centuries. A program had been activated within her and, as Zara moved into the chalet, she remained outside, her photoreceptors blinking as if she was experiencing a catastrophic error.

Inside the chalet Marcus was busy stripping from his armor and changing into the elegant robes of state. After all, it was not any day that he got to bless his children in the family's sacred lake. "There they are!" he said about his beautiful babies, watching her enter the room. He moved towards them quickly, smiling down at her affectionately. "I missed you," he said to his children, despite the fact they were only separated for moments. Ever since their kidnapping he had been *over* overprotective. "The work of the Ithorians has really changed things around here," he commented, although he was still a little cold. It would be beautiful again. He imagined this is what it looked like in the time of the great Germanicus and Raeni.

No one seemed to notice that Nana had gone missing immediately. Zara was preoccupied with helping Marcus get ready and making sure the twins were happy. "They missed you too, they told me so." Zara said. As if on cue, Sia looked to her father and started babbling away like she was having a serious conversation with him. Now that the twins were just about three months old, they had begun to really develop their own little personalities. It was amazing! "I saw that outside. Things are a lot more thawed than last time we came here. I wonder what the lake will be like." She rested the twins on the bed so she could slip out of her jacket and sit with them. "Wait. Where's Nana?!" Zara was worried that Sir Tentacles wouldn't be understanding of family tradition, but, by Duchess Raeni's hologram, they knew that Sir Tentacles had been in the lake all along. He'd done this he should be accepting of the ceremony, right. "Oooh. I'll be right back. She may have malfunctioned again." Zara rose to her feet and ran out of their bedroom, down the stairs, and finally outside. "Nana!?" She spotted her nanny droid. *Oh no*. She was broken! "Aw, Nana.." Zara grabbed the droid's arm and attempted to drag her into the chalet.

Flight Lieutenant Haven Anson began her final approach to Delaya at the controls of the Lambda-class shuttle Kwai. "I'll have us on the ground in no time," she said to her assortment of important passengers. Rather than heading towards the capital of Leiliani, she found they were heading to new coordinates to the north. As they descended through the atmosphere the clouds began to part to reveal a natural wonder. A vibrant blue lake from which steam was rising, indicating the water temperature was higher than the air temperature. There were mountains nearby and a rocky terrain, that was largely untouched aside from a small chalet. She blinked at the idyllic beauty of the location and thought that being in the nobility had its perks. She landed the shuttle next to the Nerf Herder, and began surfing the HoloNet to kill time while the Governor and his entourage unloaded.

Major Sierra Rodney had opted not the pilot the Kwai to Delaya. She took the time she would have spent piloting cuddling her son. She was feeling both nervous and excited over the ceremony at the lake. Her anxieties were irrational. They surrounded Governor Arundel appearing out of nowhere and bothering the family. Otherwise, she was glad that Claudius and Marcus were able to bless their children at the same time.

It had been some time since they traveled to the northern chalet. It seemed that bad things normally occurred there: the monster in the lake attempting to kill them, Jelena acting furious over Sierra ‘saving' her from the Rebels, and, of course, the fated night Marcus and Zara told Claudius about her associated with Arden Zevrin. Despite all this, she still felt like this would be a good visit. When the shuttle had landed, Sierra unbuckled herself. She picked up an extra blanket for Bruce and wrapped it around him. The boy immediately began trying to wiggle out of it. "Trust me, you'll want this." She said, placing a kiss on his forehead. She looked at Claudius. Her mood had improved greatly since watching the latest hologram. She had decided to focus on the happy things instead of the inevitable ones. "Are you ready?" She asked him. It made her all the more happy that Drusilla had decided to come. She seemed to love her brother so much. It was heart warming.

Grand Moff Claudius Rodney had returned to Delaya, but did not have to wear a disguise this time. However, if Governor Arundel discovered his presence on the planet and pressed the issue with Grand Moff Praji it could cause him a major problem with the Grand Vizier. "I am ready," he said to his wife, as he removed his safety harness and began to descend the rear ramp with his wife and children. "Wow. The last time I was here it was frozen solid," he said to his wife, as he began to look around. "It's beautiful, but as beautiful as our lakehouse, but beautiful all the same," he told her, as he reached out and took her hand. "I have a good feeling about this," he told her, as he walked towards the edge of the lake.

Lady Drusilla Rodney *had* come, but had she known that she was not going to carry Bruce she might have rescinded. "I can hold him. Are you sure you don't want me to hold him?" she asked, as she rose from the shuttle and followed her family down the ramp. As she looked around she was struck by the beauty of the lake and the surrounding land. Clearly Zara and Marcus' home was small and quaint, but she could have built something magnificent there. "Great. Something else I lost when you abdicated," she muttered to herself, before forcing a big smile upon her face. Maybe her uncle would allow her and Prince Pollix to construct a getaway here.

Commander Kerrie Kiley was dressed in her black Imperial uniform rather than her Storm commando uniform. She did not expect any trouble, and if it came it likely would be from the local Imperial forces under Governor Arundel. She was armed with her sidearm, but nothing more. No one had thought to brief her on the dangerous sea monster that was lurking within the lake. As she looked out upon the terrain she could not believe how much it had changed in the past year. The Ithorians truly could work wonders with the climate.

Doctor Pilaq Tohan was next to rise up, grabbing hold of hi walking stick with one hand, and Doctor Bailo's hand with the other. He was exhausted and wanted to get some rest, but he knew he needed to be there for this ceremony. "Ah. The crew of the Jubilee has begun their miracle," he declared, as he took in a deep breath of the lake air. Everything was clean and the ice was receding, revealing what lay beneath. He had never seen the lake as it appeared now, free of ice. A smile came upon his face as he moved towards the lake with everyone else.

What awaited the family outside the Kwai was shocking. The environment had changed massively. Though it was still cold, it was nothing compared to Sierra's first visit. There were many patches of green grass visible. By some miraculous miracle, the Ithorians were saving Delaya. She was in awe of how beautiful it had become. It looked much more like the hologram's image of the lake. "It's very beautiful. I'm blown away by how much everything has changed. At this rate, it'll likely be entirely restored by the end of the year." Sierra smiled. She imagined the war ending. Her husband would be allowed to freely return here, and they could all have summer vacations in the chalet. She squeezed his hand at the edge of the lake. Bruce had withdrawn himself from his blanket and was staring out over the gorgeous blue water with his brown eyes. "I told you already, you can hold him all the way home." Sierra replied to Drusilla while laughing.

In all honestly, the sea monster seemed more trustworthy that Papius Arundel.

Doctor Bailo held Doctor Tohan's hand softly. She was in awe of the thawing beauty of Delaya. The very first time she had visited the planet, some years ago, a terrible pollution problem persisted. It seemed that Zara's plea to the Ithorians had paid out in the best possible way. Delaya would be clean again...someday. "What a miracle it is. It's night and day's difference." The female Ithorian smiled brightly. The House of Rodney needed more good days...and today was made to be a high point for everyone. She approached the steaming lake with Pilaq.

Zara was forced to abandon Nana outside once Claudius' ship appeared. She ran back into the chalet to collect the babies and her husband. "Everybody's here." She reported happily. "I promise not to embarrass Doctor Bailo and Doctor Tohan today." Zara had pressured the poor doctors at Claudius' home. She stopped at the base of the stairs. As soon as Marcus had caught up, she kissed him. "I love you!" She fully intended on spending some time up north after the blessing was over. She loved this place. It was special in so many ways. Together, they joined with the rest of the family at the lake. "Hi guys. I'm glad you all were able to come."

Marcus emerged holding both of his beautiful twins, and moved towards the group. "Brother," he said, with a smile, and nod, before taking a moment to acknowledge everyone else who was present. "Oh no, what's wrong with nana?" he asked Zara, as he stepped towards the lake. He was glad that Kerrie was there in case the sea monster made its appearance known. He almost wished El-Nay had come just in case. He moved into the water, which was now surprisingly warm, until he was about waist deep. "Our ancestors came to this lake and for more than seven centuries returned here. It is important we know where he came from in order to know where we are going," he said, repeating the words of his own father when he got dunked in the lake. He carefully lowered Sia and then Darrus into the lake to bless them. He knew that Germanicus and Raeni had done this with Claudius when they established the first settlement on Delaya, but of course he did not understand why. The continuity of it gave him faith in the future. As me moved from the water he returned to his wife's side.

Claudius blinked, surprised at the man his brother had become. He never expected him to turn into a proper Duke, but the positive elements of his father were on full display. He reached to take Bruce from Sierra, before stepping out into the warm waters of the lake. As he was enveloped by the warm water he became slightly jealous, as the lake on Esseles was not heated. He placed Bruce within the water and began to make his own statement to bless his son, but he was distracted by what he saw in front of him.

Suddenly the holographic image of Duke Germanicus Rodney came to life in front of them, as the program hidden deep within the droid activated. "Claudius, my son," he said, as he lowered his head profoundly. "Deep within the lake is a sea monster who I have communed with for most of my life. Whether he drew me here, or I drew him here, I will never know, but what I do know is that we are connected," he explained, as his face grew more serious. "He is very powerful and has displayed abilities that have saved my life ... saved your mother's life ... without him neither of us would be here and you would never have been born," he continued, as everyone looked towards the hologram and away from the lake. "You must bring your children here. And your children must bring their children here. And it must be like this for the end of time for it will be he, and he alone, who can identify the one who will follow *me*," he said, but he was not speaking about becoming Duke of Delaya. He was speaking of something else, that no one could have possibly imagined.

As the hologram faded the tentacles emerged from the lake suddenly and grabbed a distracted Bruce Rodney from his father. "Bruce! Help!" he screamed, but as he reached out to claim his son the sea monster darted below the lake and vanished. Below the water the monster moved with all possible haste to the entrance to Germanicus Rodney's undersea lair, which had lay dormant for 700 years. The baby was only submerged a moment before the sea monster deposited him on dry ground inside of the lair. It was then that a second hologram appeared.

"Greetings little Rodney," the hologram of Germanicus declared, unable to know who or what would eventually come before him. "In you is the greatest power known to the galaxy. Although you do not know it yet, and probably are too young to understand what I am saying, but one day you will come to master these wild forces swirling within you," he said, as he smiled, and looked into the recorder. "I failed in my attempt to become King of Alderaan, and I failed to restore the Sith to rulership of the galaxy, but in you our family has a second chance," he said, as he frowned, and looked down. It was a difficult thing to say. "You must not succeed me ... you must *excede* me," he commanded, the innocent little baby who could not possibly understand him. "Find my scepter. It is your first step into a larger world," and with that the hologram disappeared, and a holocron began to glow, while the topside hatch hidden in the rocks burst open so those on the surface could access the lair.

Zara's small shoulder shrugged. "I tried to move her, but she wouldn't budge..." Nana would provide more attention when the ceremony was complete. It seemed like she would never function properly again after Luna blew her up. An instant later, thoughts of Nana were gone. Zara watched Marcus step into the lake with their wonderful twins. During his speech, she began to cry. He was so amazing. He made the ceremony beautiful for their twins. As he blessed them, she could hear Darrus begun to cry. The poor boy hadn't been ready for a bath. Sia, on the other hand, seemed right at home. Zara wiped the tears from her cheeks as Marcus made his way back to her. "That was so wonderful!" She sniffed. She wrapped her arms around Marcus and the twins. She would never forget that special day...and soon it would become unforgettable to everyone else. Everyone's attention began to shift towards Claudius and his long awaited son.

It was hard to believe that Marcus was the same Marcus who used to get himself in trouble on the HoloNet all the time. He had matured so much. Sierra felt he was worthy of being a Duke. If Zara was keeping him on the straight path, then she deserved to be Duchess. Despite being involved in Rodney lives for some time, no one had told her about the ceremony at the lake. It was wonderful. She was pleased that they had agreed to come too. "It's your turn." She told her sweet son while he was transferred from mother to father. She remained on the shore watching Claudius continue into the warm waters of the lake. It seemed everything would run just as smoothly as it had for Marcus and Zara until it didn't. The holographic image which appeared in the lake belonged to that of Duke Germanicus Rodney. Sierra had just seen the man call a thranta without words. Now he was there, before Claudius and Bruce.

There was a sense of awe in the air as the first Duke of Delaya began to speak. So it was true...the sea monster truly had lived for centuries. It also held importance with the family. Germanicus had been the first Rodney to commune with animals in his special way, a talent Sierra was certain had been passed down to her husband, and to their son. Germanicus' words were surrounded in a mystery that made Sierra want to learn more. It was easy to assume that Germanicus spoke of the Duchy and not something more. No one knew who he *truly* was after all. The old Duke would probably have had a hard time swallowing the fact that a Rodney-Dakkar child was the chosen one.

The hologram faded. For an instant, it seemed like the blessing would resume. Instead, tentacles appeared. Everything Raeni and Germanicus had said about the sea monster disappeared from Sierra's memory when it grabbed Bruce. "*Bruce*!" Sierra screamed. She ran out into the lake water until she was standing beside Claudius. A large part of her mind was covered in shock. A much smaller part of her mind was trying to pull herself into action. Bruce was beneath the water with the beast. Suddenly, a clock was ticking down to her son's death. "I have to go get him!" Sierra's logic had gone out the window. Her motherly instincts saw her baby in trouble. She didn't think, she simply reacted by diving into the lake. Warm water engulfed her body as she tried *desperately* to reach her son. It was difficult to see anything beneath the surface. It was difficult to hold her breath when she was in full panic mode. She was forced to retreat back to the surface where she took a deep breath. "Bruce... Bruce!"

She was floating in the middle of the lake when rocks burst open at the bank of the lake. If Sierra had learned one thing about the first Duke and Duchess of Delaya, it was that they didn't do anything without reason. Every hologram had a lesson. Sierra turned around and headed straight towards Claudius. She was breathing hard that she couldn't speak when she moved passed him. She did, however, grab onto his hand. Inside her head, she began to believe this had something to do with what Bruce was.

As fate would have it, the hatch would lead them down, down, down to a lair far beneath the sea. Sierra, completed soaked and panicked, spotted Bruce as soon as they had arrived. She ran to him, picking him up from the ground. "Bruce.. You're safe.. Bruce!" She wasn't ready to mentally process anything else either than the fact that their son was okay. She cried as she cradled him to her chest.

"Everyone wait here. Get inside!" Claudius ordered, as he followed his wife down the proverbial rabbit hole into the unknown. He would never forgive himself if he was responsible for the loss of his son, but to his relief and, admittedly, to his confusion they found Bruce inside a subaquatic structure. "Is he alright?" he asked Sierra, as he rushed towards his wife and son. He knew there would be no way to get an Ithorian down through the escape hatch they had climbed through. As it seemed Bruce was safe he began to look around at the old structure, wondering what it was. It seemed that people lived here, but he could not be sure who. It needed to be explored and studied. "Sierra! Look!" he shouted, as he pointed towards the viewport that looked out into the lake. The sea monster had been watching all along, drawn to Bruce like every creature the boy had encountered. "What is going on here?" he asked, as suddenly he watched the glowing pyramid-shaped holocron float towards Bruce. He had no idea what a holocron was, but it was simply part of another, terrifying mystery that surrounded his son.

Sierra conducted her own thorough examination of their son. He was soaked like she was, but he seemed perfectly happy. "He's okay." She confirmed with a sigh. She hugged him close. She kissed both of his cheeks. For a split second, Sierra had thought he was gone. Slowly, she joined with Claudius in surveying the strange structure. "Where are we...?" She asked him. Her attention shifted to the viewport. "We're under the lake!?" She gasped. The sea monster was there. His tentacles prodded at the viewport the closer Bruce came to it. She could tell Claudius was just as confused as she was, so the lair was a surprise to everyone. As if they hadn't had enough for the day, a strange floating glowing pyramid made its way across the room towards Bruce. Sierra didn't understand what it was, but she understood that they needed to take it with them. She grasped the pyramid, handing it to their son. Now there was no doubt, this was all over who Bruce was. Sierra parted from Claudius as she continued to explore the lair. She rounded a piece of furniture, stepping on a wooden block that felt much heavier than it was. "What's this?.." She said, bending over to grasp the block. As she touched it, it began to glow. "Claudius..."

From the block, a hologram projected itself. It was Duchess Raeni Rodney again, only she appeared to be much older in this visage. She sat by herself and began speaking almost immediately. "Mother and father Rodney," she spoke. "If you have reached my home, then your child has already been chosen by the creature of the lake. The young Rodney you have given birth to is destined for more than you and I can ever understand. I spent my life with Germanicus hoping that we, too, would receive a child with such powers. It never occurred. There is no rhyme or reason to who are touched by the Force. When it happens, you cannot control it. You can only accept it. Fear not. Your child is not doomed. Your child needn't be stolen away by Jedi either. Everything your child needs to succeed is hidden within this lair. Germanicus and I have planted special messages which only the young one will be able to find. As for you, the parents, you have a long road ahead of yourselves. Teach the child as if he were not special. Convey the lessons that are meaningful to our family and you will have a good child." She smiled. "Good luck, Rodneys." Raeni disappeared.

Claudius was startled by the appearance of yet another hologram. This time it was the Duchess Raeni who had words of wisdom that would hopefully calm his wife's anxiety about their son's future ... and his. It seemed that she knew about the force and that everything that was happening was somehow planned and foreseen. It was overwhelming for him, and confusing, with the unfortunate realization that only someone like Darth Vader or Inquisitor Thrope could bring clarity to the situation. "Thank you," he found himself saying to the hologram, before turning his attention to Sierra and Bruce. He leaned down, placing his lips to his son's forehead affectionately. "I cannot believe this..." he said, as he raised his head and looked Sierra in the eyes. He moved forward and wrapped his arms around both of them lovingly.

Sierra was speechless as she listened to the woman within the magical box. By the time, the day was beginning to wear on her. She was ready to sleep for the next twenty-four hours so she could wake feeling refreshed. The words Raeni spoke acted like a sedative to all of her paranoia. Her son was going to be okay. Maybe they could avoid any bad accidents with his powers by looking for information in the lair. Beside him, Sierra deflated. She decided that she was going to take the block with her. She would need to hear Duchess Raeni's words again in the coming years. All of this had been set up for *Bruce*. This was all about Bruce being a force user. "I can't either.." She said. The gap closed between them. Sierra wrapped an arm around her husband while the other cradled Bruce. The little boy reached out with both hands. He grasped Claudius' tunic in one hand, and his mother's in the other. He cuddled between the two of them. Despite all the insanity that led to the three of them standing in a home beneath the sea, they shared a joyous moment. Bruce was so happy that he began to laugh. Sierra started to light up. "I love you both so much."

"Mama! Papa! You are *not* going to believe this! You have to come see!" the voice of Drusilla Rodney cascaded down the escape hatch into the undersea lair, breaking the concentration of Claudius as he looked upon his son. "Oh no. What now?" he asked his wife, as he feared for the safety of his daughter and his brother's family. "Stay here until I know it's safe," he said to his wife, before leaning in to kiss her passionately on the lips just in case something *was* wrong. With that, he began ascending the old ladder until he reached Drusilla on the surface alongside the lake. He could not believe what he was seeing. "Sierra! You need to come!" he shouted down the hole, as he placed an arm around his daughter. "Something wonderful!" he added, as he took a deep breath.

Sierra's heart flung right back into her throat. "No... What now?" They both said in unison. The family was left exposed to the sea creature. Had it attacked? She frowned. "Be careful, Claudius.." She warned him, sharing a kiss with him that simply said ‘don't go' wordlessly. She anxiously watched him start up the old ladder. "Daddy will be okay." She told Bruce. "He better be..." She briefly paced at the ladder until he confirmed that it was safe...and that something amazing was happening. What was it!? "I'm coming!" She shouted up the hole. She held Bruce close with one hand while the used the other to climb up the ladder. "We're almost there..." She said as she reached the surface and crawled out.

On the surface of the planet the most amazing sight came into view. With the restoration of the natural environment surrounding the ancient lake, and the presence of Bruce, all of the creatures of the planet had returned. Thrantas, nerfs, and an array of wildlife had all come to walk upon the land and gaze upon the one that had summoned them, heralding their return. Even the sea monster was looking out over the surface of the water, calm and at peace, as it had completed its task of finding the next member of the House of Rodney destined for something larger. A thranta let out a tremendous streak as it descended, dropping a laurel upon the baby, before taking up position with the others. The other members of the family, Kerrie, and the Ithorians were flabbergasted. Young Bruce was beginning the road that would lead to his destiny.

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