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 before...so 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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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.