Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:10) in the Alderaan system: Blue Haven, Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle and Spaceport and Marcus Rodney's chalet), Demon Cat, and Nerf Herder.
Commander Sierra Dakkar, Farrah Ette, Ewwiekewwieikkie, Petrus Flosgermen, Yekaterina Hanson, Callista Nilar, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Lady Drusilla Rodney, Lord Gaius Rodney, Lady Jelena Rodney, Duke Julius Rodney, Duchess Livia Rodney, Lord Marcus Rodney, Lady Zara Rodney, Luna Ta'em, Commander Iyah Xergo, and Mug Zoran.

Lady Jelena Rodney sat beside Commander Iyah Xergo on the bridge of the Blue Haven as the planet of Delaya and the once glamorous city of Leiliani came into her view. It was a bold decision for her to return home, particularly on this day, but she could not stay away. Her superiors would be furious, but fortunately for her the Commander was on the verge of becoming yet another of her aunts that were younger than her. "Thank you, Commander," she said, quietly, as she looked across at her. They had not said much during the journey, and they were not saying much now. She looked at the chronometer on the wall and began to feel uneasy. "Do you think we'll make it?" she said, as she looked towards the woman with a hopeless face. It was a terrible feeling for one to be late to their own funeral.

It was bold indeed. Iyah Xergo didn't recommend this. In fact, she downright thought it was a bad idea. If anyone saw, and noticed, Jelena, then their cover was up. Still, she could understand how curious it would be to attend your own funeral. Who would show up? What would they say? The trip had mostly been awkward and quiet. Iyah worried that Gaius might press Mug into something while she was away. What a mess she'd had to clean up last time she left the planet. "You're welcome, Lady Jelena. We'll arrive in time. I can assure you that much." She intended to place the ship down at the civilian station instead of making an unnecessary scene at the castle. She was trying to play her Rebel involvement quietly, so that Claudius Rodney wouldn't sniff them out and strangle her soon to be husband. She didn't mention the tea party she'd had with him. Frankly, she was going to pretend it never happened. "Remember to keep yourself hidden, okay? There's going to be enough tension at this funeral." She slowly landed with a growing sense of anxiety in her stomach.

Meanwhile, Sierra Dakkar had her hands overflowing in girls. She had gotten herself ready, the proceeded to help out Ewwie, and carefully edit Drusilla's ton of jewelry that she wore by using some of Yekaterina's manipulation techniques. Somehow, she ended up with Callista joining in on the mix. It took a miracle to make sure everyone was ready on time and even then, the end result wasn't all that good. Callista was covered in blue fur and slobber ... as was Ewwie. She planted all the girls at the bottom of the castle spire. She gifted Ewwie with a tambourine. She hoped that its shiny embellishments and sound would keep her planted in one place long enough for her to seek out Claudius. "Okay, now *please* try not to lose Ewwie." She begged Drusilla, heading up the stairs to Claudius' room at full speed. She hovered by his door anxiously, then knocked softly. "Lord Rodney, your daughters are dressed and ready to go. Is there anything I can help you with?"

Drusilla repeatedly poked her index finger into each of her eyes, attempting to redden them, and cause tears to emerge as she wanted all of those who had gathered to have the impression she was crying over her dead sister. This was more than just a mere funeral, this was a political affair on a planet she expected to one day govern. "No. No I will not be watching *her*," she protested to Sierra, as she examined herself in the three mirrors placed before her so she could see every angle. "I suppose this will do," she declared, before stepping down from her changing station, and moving towards the door as she waited for her father to stop his moping and get on with it. "Hurry up, daddy!" she said, in her snobbish accent, as she stomped her new shoes on the ancient marble floor.

Ewwiekewwieikkie was so happy to see everyone, and especially to play dress up. She looked forward to seeing her new friend Callista against, whom she hoped would be wearing their friendship bracelet. She bounced around the room happily, thinking she was on her way to a party. Normally they only dressed her in such a way when they were going to a party. "Will there be cake? And ice cream? And cake?" she asked, as she moved next to Drusilla and began to bounce up and down excitedly. She was hyper!

Claudius Rodney allowed the door to crack slightly, but revealed he was wrapped in nothing but a towel around his waist. He had allowed himself to linger in the bathtub, as he did not want to dress himself and begin what he expected to be one of the darkest chapters of his life. His eyes looked past Sierra to see Drusilla and Ewwikewwieikkie waiting, and he quickly opened the door and ushered her in. He moved so swiftly that he was standing before her naked now, having dropped the towel. He quickly shut the door behind her as he stood in front of her, his still muscular from as dictated by Imperial physical fitness requirements dripping moisture. "I lost track of the time," he said, as he attempted to dry himself, but his hands were shaking and he was doing a most ineffectual job. It was improper to ask for help, but he certainly needed it.

Callista, of *course* was wearing her friendship bracelet. Even her mother hadn't been able to pry it off of her little wrist while she slept. Both girls had no idea what was happening today. Iyah had tried to explain a funeral without *actually* explaining it. In the little girl's mind, she was getting to spend the day with all of her most favorite people. Callista looked like a porcelain doll in her beautiful, dark dress. She was wearing nice, buckled shoes and her hair had been tamed behind her head with a big bow, likely Sierra's doing. She jumped up and down next to her bestest friend. "*Cake*! *Ice Cream*! *Cake*! *Ice cream*!" She tackled Ewwiekewwieikkie into a hug. "Mama says you can spend the night with me tonight. You get to sleep with me in my bed!" She squeaked. She had never had a sleepover before, besides sneaking into her Mama and Daddy's bed when her own seemed too scary and big.

The door began to open. While Sierra expected to see a fully dressed Claudius, she was shocked to see more of his body than she ever had. She worried that she should have returned to persuade him out of the tub. She did her best to not look shocked...and failed. "You're not wearing clothes," she stated in surprise as she passed through into his private quarters. It was easier to dress his daughters than it was to dress him. "Um, here, let me help. You're not late." Her heart was still raw from their ride. She took the towel from him, carefully drying him while making a point not to let her hands linger for *too* long. Sierra wasn't sure that her heart could take today. As soon as he was adequately dry, she turned her back to him and began handing him pieces of clothing. She had yet to see him entirely nude. Now wasn't the time for that. "All you have to do is dress yourself from the waist down. I'll take care of everything else. We'll get through this *together*.

When Sierra had succeeded in drying him off, he smiled slightly at her, his mind still clinging to their romantic morning flight on the back of the thranta. He sat down on the edge of the bed and slid on his boxer shorts, before moving to put on the grey-green pants of his Imperial uniform. He was determined to go in uniform, rather than succumb to public pressure and wear civilian attire. He was not ashamed of who he was, or his role in the Empire, which he viewed as the galaxy's legitimate governing force. The boots, however, were a slightly different problem altogether and he allowed several groans of displeasure and uncomfortableness as he slid the shiny black boots up over his feet. When complete he stood before Sierra, and opened up his arms, allowing her to aid in the putting on of his tunic. "Thank you for being with me today, Sierra," he said, as he increasingly felt she was all that he had left. Little did he know that it was the actual truth.

She gave him his privacy while he dressed himself. As soon as he was decent, she turned around. It was starting to feel more and more like they were a couple as she helped him through difficult times and vice versa. Her heart had become incredibly soft for him. In passing, she wondered if Jelena would be disappointed with her decisions for the absence of Claudius' wife meant that he would be continuing to look to her for support. "They really need to make our boots more comfortable," she commented with his tunic in hand. She helped side it on each of his arms, then buttoned it up accordingly in the front. She stood close to him. Unlike him, she had decided to hang her ISB uniform up in respect for her friend's decisions. She wanted to say goodbye to Jelena looking like she had back in their schooling days. She looked lovely. Her blonde hair was mostly pinned back behind her head, except for the strands that had come lose from this morning's activities. Her black dress hugged her little body while remaining very modest. She wrapped her arms around his neck when he was ready. Her body pressed against his gently. "Don't thank me. I'm going to be here today, tomorrow, and every tomorrow that follows." With her last word, she kissed him on the lips. It was brief, given the pressing time restraints. Her arm hooked with his when they had finally finished. "Let's go."

Marcus Rodney was exhausted. The poor man had been forced out of his own chalet by his sister-in-law and apparently insatiable boyfriend. He had instead been forced to sleep within his ship with his doubly pregnant wife, where he was forced to listen to the desperate screams of his herd of livestock being plagued by the sea monster that had captured all of their hearts and imaginations. He was dressed in a dark, respectful outfit, but he had added to it a pair of dark glareshades to obscure his eyes. He did not want anyone to see the bags under his eyes from the lack of rest, and would prefer they think he had been in crying. In truth he had been, as he had fond memories of Jelena. He had rescued her from Imperial clutches following her defection, but unfortunately had delivered her to Delaya where she apparently linked up with the Rebel Alliance. Had he known he never would have brought her back here. He held himself personally responsible, like most men of his stature, but he attempted to remain calm for his wife's sake. She did not look well this morning, but he took it to be caused by a lack of proper sleep from all that was happening in their lives.

Zara Rodney had spent an unusually long amount of time in the bathroom that morning. She felt *horrible*. It had been awhile since she suffered from a bout of morning sickness, so what she experienced then was terrible. Like her husband, she was exhausted. She had barely slept between the discomforts of her growing stomach, the thoughts of Jelena's funeral, and the screams of dying tauntaun. She would have liked nothing better than to curl up in her own bed, however, Luna and her boyfriend ensured that they would have received less sleep that way. She managed to dress herself after her stomach had been emptied. She even somehow made her hair decent. After all the preparations for simply leaving the chalet, Zara was done. She took the stairs as slow as a granny. Her cheeks seemed to be tinted green. Nothing could sway her from attending the funeral with her husband. She wanted to be there for him and their family. One of her hands resided on her rib cage. "Someone's foot is in my lung," she coughed. "Tell your wild children to calm down."

Luna had slept like a rock when she actually fell asleep. Her and Petrus had gone nearly all night. She sported some new bruises on her face, which would only make her sister feel more sick when she saw it. The short-haired woman had even initiated *more* sex as soon as they woke. When it became necessary for her to get dressed, she reluctantly threw on a dark dress, shoes, and left Petrus alone for the time being. "This is it.." She said excitedly while running a brush through her hair. "We'll nab Zara today. No one will know. No one will care." It didn't matter how much time she spent with Marcus, she assumed their marriage was about wealth and keeping Zara quiet after he had knocked her up. It was the *ideal* situation for the one night stand that had clearly began their relationship. That was likely Luna's first mistake; she didn't know the depth of Marcus Rodney's feelings for his wife. "Then we can stop these stupid acts. We can go home and spend the next week fucking on the Rodney family fortune."

Luna had drained Petrus of most of his energy with a marathon lovemaking session that had gone on through the evening and resumed almost immediately when they awoke. "I need some energy, Luna," he said to her, seriously, as he began to dress. Thankfully he had a dark suit to wear to the ceremony. Wherever the Demon went there were always funerals. "Keep it down. They might be listening," he said to her, as he dragged her over towards him and ceased her talking with a ferocious kiss. "What part of it is stupid?" he asked, when the kiss broke, as he looked down towards her, almost pained. "I trust not saying you love me, saying you want to marry me..." he said, as he wrapped his arms around her, tightening his grasp and pressing her flesh against his in a deathgrip. He could not believe it, but he had fallen in love with the beautiful young thief. He really did want to marry her once they had made their fortune.

Psh. Who *needs* energy? Wait. Petrus does. There was no way that Luna could haul off Zara all by herself. That girl had to be what, two-fifty, three hundred pounds? Her hands roughly grabbed his face when he kissed her. The entirety of her body shook against his. She caught how pained he looked by her words. It made her... *sad*? She leaned up onto her tippy toes, roughly sinking her teeth into his neck. "That's *not* what I said. I don't like playing goody two shoes. I want to spend our days together without my pregnant sister watching." Luna bit him again, "If you think for a second that I'm not going to marry your punk ass after this, you're wrong." Her head backed away from his neck so he could see the seriousness in her eyes. If they had no other obligations today, then they would continue to destroy the house together. Now that they were both dressed, it was time to go. She danced with him out of the room and down the stairs where Zara and Marcus already were. "Sleep well?" She asked pleasantly. "If you don't mind, we're going to take separate ships today," she gave no reasoning. Luna valued her time away from her sister and brother-in-law, besides, they'd need their own craft when the time came.

Zara had seated herself at the island in the kitchen. She was forcing herself to choke down several pieces of toast so that she didn't get hangry halfway through the ceremony. Her bare feet dangled in the air. Her flats had fallen off beneath them. Her sister was first answered with radio silence. Zara was tired. "Ooh.. We slept okay. What about you? Did you sleep at all?" She glanced over in Marcus' direction. If Zara continued losing sleep over her sister, it would cause her to cut Luna's stay in half. After finishing a whole piece of toast, she lifted herself back to her feet, slipped into her shoes, and began preparing to head outside. Her warm, furry winter coat made her feel a little better. She linked hands with her husband. "I love you," she said quietly.

"I love you too," Marcus replied to his wife, as he began to lead the group towards the Nerf Herder. The way she was dressed pleased him and it did much to comfort him during what was going to be a difficult day. "Everyone on the ship," he said, as he counted heads as each one of them were crammed into his starfighter. Once everyone was up the lift and into the Nerf Herder, he moved to the cockpit and began preparing the ship for the long, short flight to Leiliani. Activating the engines, he blasted the group off the frozen tundra and sent them down planet towards the industrialized capital city. He did not speak much, or even at all, during the flight and for the first time, in a long time, he was glad to see Rodney Castle appearing on the horizon. It seemed a buzz of activity, but he wasted no time in landing the ship on the platform reserved for immediate members of the family.

Petrus looked around the Nerf Herder, feeling the ship was a surprising choice for a rich noble like Marcus Rodney. He expected him to have something more luxurious ... perhaps even a yacht. Perhaps there was more to than man than he suspected, but for now all of his attention was focused on the man's wife, Zara. She looked unwell and he hoped this would aid in their plan to capture her. With everyone distracted and depression his beloved Luna would be able to guide her away from the crowd where he could snatch her. By the end of this day he expected they would be very, very rich. When they landed at the castle and he once again caught a look at the opulence he felt incredibly justified in his decision to strike at them and steal their riches, which they seemed to waste at every junction.

The funeral which Sierra Dakkar had planned an appropriate funeral for her best friend. The Hall de Speculis was decorated accordingly. Arrangements of white lilies and blue gladiolis. Gladioli reminded Sierra of her best friend as they symbolizes characteristic like strength and sincerity. The simple arrangements lined walls of the hall. The coffin was most noteworthy. Though there was no body to bury, she selected a coffin made of dark, kriin wood. It remained closed, as it would throughout the whole entire service. A small quartet played Jelena's favorite melodies in the corner while people filed into the hall. A picture of a brightly smiling Jelena Rodney sat on top of her coffin. Sierra did her best to never look directly at it. She knew it would cause her calm demeanor to crumble. She was no longer attached to the family. Instead, she was positioned in the doorway greeting people as they arrived. It was shocking to see the Duke out of his bed. He looked better than Lady Zara did, who arrived clinging to her husband like he was a cane over a human. "Duke Julius, Duchess Livia," she greeted them, unexpectedly moving in towards the Duke. She embraced the old man. "I'm sorry for your loss.." She hugged the Duchess next.

Farrah was elated for the funeral. It was infinitely better than watching her father marry some whore. She believed, completely, that this would make Gaius the top contender for the Duchy. It didn't matter if he had to injure himself to do it. She was in control of activating the explosive which lay in wait inside of the casket. The small servant blended into the dark crowd with her own dab clothing. She kept an eye on her father at all times. The explosion would only come once he reached the front of the mourning line. She cared not who else was caught in the explosion. She secretly hoped it was Claudius or the cow and the stupid playboy.

Zara became increasingly more sick on the way to the funeral. As determined as she was to be Marcus' support system, her thoughts changed when she entered the hall. Many people had already gathered. It felt *hot*, though that might have just been her. A bout of nausea threatened to force her small breakfast from her mouth. She had pushed herself much too hard the other day while attempting to keep up with her lithe, active big sister. No sooner had they arrived did she pull Marcus aside. She looked at him sadly. "I feel horrible.." She confessed. "I'm sorry. I'm going to go to our old room and rest, okay?" Before he could respond, her face seemed to turn more green. Without an answer, she darted out of the room to be sick. Luna watched her sister go. She looked worried. "We'll take care of her, don't worry." Then she ran after her little sister. It had to be rough being pregnant with a litter.

Duchess Livia Rodney was dressed in a dress of a dark shade of black, wearing a dark veil that covered her face. She had never lost a child, but now she was here to bury a grandchild. She had been crying, and she wanted no one to see her face and how weary she looked. Even the unexpected arrival of her husband helped in her mood, and in fact having the unfaithful lecher beside her seemed to only dampen her spirits. As such, she was very cold to him, but she did allow a hand to rest upon his knee as a show of public support for the rest of the family, invited guests, and media. To her this was the funeral of her granddaughter ... so horrifically killed that there was no body ... it was also an unavoidable affair of state.

Duke Julius Rodney felt better than he had in months, but he returned to the Castle against doctor's orders to attend his granddaughter's funeral. He looked well, and the medical staff at the medcenter found it difficult to understand how he had recovered, or what caused his ailment in the first place. Irregardless he was there, mourning the granddaughter whom he expected, reluctantly, to one day succeed him. He *never* should have allowed the Rebel General to persuade her to support their cause. It was a decision he would regret for the rest of his life, but fortunately he would not have much of a life left to live.

Gaius Rodney was seated in the back of the room watching all of the members of his family file into the Hall de Speculis. Each one was more disgusting to him than the last. He considered an explosive powerful enough to wipe out everyone in the room, but it would be *too* obvious and likely send the planet into disarray. How does one prepare for blowing oneself up? He had thought about this endlessly for days, but now he found finally find out. If all went according to his and Farrah's plan, he would suffer minor, but dramatic injuries, and end up the leading figure in Delayan society. If it did not go according to plan he would be dead and none of it would matter. He looked across the room at his beloved daughter, Farrah, and offered her a reassuring nod and smile. She had grown into such a beautiful girl.

Marcus was surprised when Zara made her sudden and unexpected exit from the funeral service, but he knew she was feeling unwell all morning. Such was the burden of a pregnant woman and he only expected it was worsened by the fact that it was twins. He wanted to be his wife, but he needed to learn how to relax and not constantly watch over her. He had a lifetime to spend with her and their children, but Jelena would only have one funeral. As much as he wanted to rush with her to their old room, he could not leave his family on this darkest of days. Grimacing, he turned his head away from watching her scamper away, to look forward at the coffin and the speakers.

Zara would have been angry if Marcus had followed. She knew it was most important for him to be at the funeral, not upstairs with her. She could hear footsteps behind her, only they belonged to her sister and Petrus, not her husband. Zara would never make it up to his old bedroom. She veered into the first refresher she found. There, she was sick for the upteenth time this morning. The door to the bathroom opened behind her. "Zara? Are you okay?" Luna approached her sister, who was crying over... god knows what. Probably the fact that she was a cow. "It's okay," she said, rubbing the girl's back. She reached into her purse, pulling forth a tissue that had been soaked in a special chemical to make the woman pass out. She offered it to her sister along with a loving, understanding look.

Zara trusted Luna. She was a godsend. She smiled at her sister, "T-t-thank you!" She blubbered, grabbing the tissue. She inhaled. Before she could exhale, she was suddenly so dizzy that she fell to the floor. "G-Get Marcus..." She mumbled. She was slipping into unconsciousness.

Luna's fingers stroked through her sister's long, silver hair. "No. You little bitch," the words echoed over and over again as Zara. She fell to the floor limply. All the attention was centered around the funeral. No one would know what happened until it was too late.

"I'll check on them," Petrus said to Marcus, as he politely excused himself to follow after Zara and Sierra. By the time he came upon them, Zara was already on the way down. "Oh don't get started without me," he said playfully to Luna as he arrived over Zara's body. "I'll get her. You distract everyone," he said, as he reached down, and hoisted the very pregnant Zara up over her shoulder. "Why didn't I meet you before she was pregnant?" he groaned, as her substantial weight was murder on his back and shoulders. It was a death march to the spaceport where the Demon Cat was docked. "Do you ... do you think we should have grabbed one of the children instead? They probably only weight about 60 pounds," he said, covered in sweat, as he struggled to carry her. This was turning into the most grueling exercise of his life. When he finally dumped her in the ship's cargo hold he was convinced he had sweat off about ten pounds. "You're ... you're flying," he said, exhaustedly, between heaving breathing, as he pound the younger Ta'em sister at the wrists and ankles.

Tears were beginning to build behind Sierra's blue eyes. She felt one break through as Claudius reached the front of the line. She looked at her companion with sympathy in her eyes. This was a pain that she couldn't remove, she could only be there to help soothe it. Like the other members of the family that she was close, she embraced him.

Claudius had waited patiently to approach the casket, unsure of whether or not he had the strength for it. Finally when there was a lull in the line he dramatically rose from his seat and slowly approached the coffin. He knew there was nothing in the coffin, but the very sight of it broke him. He placed his right hand upon the smooth, ornate wood and froze. His lower lip was the first giveaway that something was wrong, it shook violently, and then the tears began to flow. He turned towards Sierra and publicly, in front of everyone, he wrapped his weary arms around her. In dramatic fashion he buried her head in her bosom and began to sob. He did not care who was watching, or what people thought ... all he knew was that he missed his Jelena and needed *his* Sierra. "What have I done?" he asked Sierra, as he blubbered away, blaming himself for his daughter's tragic death at the hand of the Rebels. "If only I had been there on Delaya more. If only I had fought the ISB's command to bring her to the Ringali Shell. If only..." he continued, babbling on, as he completely, utterly broke in the arms of the beautiful young woman he was hopelessly falling for.

A miserable feeling sat inside Sierra's stomach when she saw Claudius. It seemed like she had her hands tied behind her back. In front of all these members of his family who *knew* he was married, she couldn't touch him like she did when they were alone. She couldn't help inching towards him as he began to shake and cry. It was he who made the space between them disappear. It was *he* who turned to her for comfort. Her arms instinctively wrapped around him. Her hold was protective and loving. She didn't stop him from crying into her chest. Her eyes lowered down to him. Her mouth was close to his ear. No one would be able to hear her as she spoke. "You can't blame yourself. You did the absolute best that you could. It's not your fault." She repeated those words several times; it's not your fault. The Rebels were to blame for this. *They* were stupid enough to get Jelena blown up. Sierra clung to him harder. She didn't care what anyone else thought. It was likely that they'd been thinking it all along. The young girl reluctantly began to lead Claudius away from the casket. She helped him lower himself back into his chair with the remainder of his family. She remove a soft, embroidered handkerchief from her pocket. She used it to dab away the tears that just continued to fall. "I'll be with you soon," she promised, placing the handkerchief, which smelt as sweet as the girl who held it, in his hand. It felt like all the eyes in the room were on her as she returned to her place. There were only a few more people who needed to come pay homage to Jelena. Sierra was barely paying attention to him. Her eyes were only for Claudius.

Well now is as good a time as any to get blown up, Gaius Rodney thought to himself as his turn to view the coffin had come. He swallowed nervously, and his eyes glanced over towards Farrah, lingering on his daughter for a moment. It was then that the coffin suddenly exploded, creating a massive fire ball that surged upwards, while pieces of kriin turning into projectiles that flew in every direction. Gaius took the brunt of it, burnt in several places, and impaled with a particularly nasty shard of wood. He collapsed to the ground in front of the coffin, hurt and bleeding, but still alive. A smile curled upon his lips ... they had done it. But then the smile quickly faded as he felt the pain, groaning in discomfort as he waited for the medics to arrive. In his mind he was already the hero of the hour, but unfortunately for him as he lay there his eyes caught a glimpse of Sierra and he realized Claudius' Imperial treat had upstaged him. Perhaps he had done it all for nothing.

The moment had finally arisen: Gaius' moment. Farrah had been watching all the events leading up to this. His position was most ideal. She imagined that he'd be hurt badly in the explosion. She'd play his little nurse while he recovered. When he was back on his feet, Farrah intended to give him a very special gift: Julius' last breath. It disturbed her to see the old man up and moving again. She felt like she had failed Gaius. She wouldn't fail him this time. As her father took center stage, her finger pressed against a trigger inside of her pocket. At that very second, the boisterous noise of the bomb blowing up and taking the back wall of the hall with it filled everyone's ears. It was painfully loud. She could see Gaius on the ground. There was another. Blonde hair... *Oh shit*

Sierra lingered in front of the casket. She intended to greet Gaius in a formal way, unlike the intimacy she'd just publicly shared with Claudius. Gaius was one Rodney she did not know well. She thought she might have seen him smirk before her world went haywire. Something had happened. Something loud, painful... She was on the ground without remembering having gotten there. A constant buzzing in her ears had deafened her. She could see...then she couldn't. Overwhelmed by pain, Sierra began to lose her grip on reality...

"It's not good enough," her mother snapped at her from the patio of her parent's luxurious home. "Do it again."


The sounds of a novice violinist looked like they were causing physical pain to the dark haired woman.


"Again," she repeated.



Pain had erupted all over Sierra's body. She'd hit her head *hard* when she landed. Her back had taken on some major shrapnel and burns. Her mind replayed her childhood abuse. Somewhere in the Alderaan of her dreams, a young Sierra cried.



The open back dress the younger version of herself wore was stained with blood.


When the explosion went off Mug's first thought was the children. He moved to Callista with lightning speed, and then quickly attended to his nieces Drusilla and Ewwiekwwieikkie. "We need to get out of here," he told them, as he hurriedly moved the children to safety. There was smoke filling in the room, and wood debris had rained down over all of them. He pushed forward through the crowd with determination, making it clear to everyone had had the children. "Make way! Make way!" he shouted, as he finally managed to get the trio of noble children out of the chaos. It was only then that he thought of Iyah. "Iyah!" he cried out, as swarms of people moved about in every direction ... some bleeding ... some worse. What had happened? He wondered silently to himself, as he became swept up in the sea of humanity pushing to escape the calamity.

Yekaterina Hanson was the only person moving in the other direction, as she was headed *towards* the explosion. The young Alderaan Guard officer was quick to check on the condition of her commander, Gaius Rodney. As she knelt down to his battered body she scanned the crowd, noting that Claudius' adjutant had been badly injured, but the principle subjects of the Duke, Duchess, and their sons were apparently unharmed. Whoever did this would *pay* she vowed, as she screamed over her comlink to get additional security and medics on the scene. "Hold on, Commander," she said, as she moved to apply pressure on the man's most grievous wound.

Marcus could tell people were badly hurt, but he was an expectant father and Petrus had neither returned to tell him what happened to Zara. He moved through the crowd, assuming they had all gone to the refresher, but when he barged into the nearest one there was no sign of her. People were all over screaming and crying, and the castle was beginning to fill with the Alderaan Guard and medics. It was then that he spotted Zara's bag sitting idly in the middle of the corridor. He ran towards it, picking it up, and looking around in a panic. Something was terribly wrong. "Zara?!" he called out in desperation, hoping she was nearby. "Zara?!" he cried out again, as he moved through the corridors until he reached the security room. Pushing the monitor away he began to review the footage of the corridor where he found Zara's bag. When he saw Petrus carrying her away he knew that he and his wife had been played. Angrily, he slammed his fist into the terminal, before running towards the landing platform. Fortunately he was one of the most skilled bounty hunters in the galaxy ... he would track them down, recover his wife, and make them *suffer*. They had stolen the wrong man's wife.

Claudius moved towards Sierra's body immediately when he saw she was injured. He pushed against everyone who was trying to drag him to safety, but his only concern was Sierra. He dropped to his knees in front of her, cradling her broken frame. His uniform was covered in her blood and he looked towards the ceiling of the Hall of Speculis. He had lost Jelena ... he could *not* lose Sierra. He tried to scream or cry out in pain, but while his mouth opened wide no sound escaped. "I love you, Sierra. Please don't leave me," he begged her, as his hand moved through her blood splattered hair. His heart was breaking all over again.


It was like watching a video that was stuck on a loop. The tragic event had caused a chain of reactions in Sierra's mind. She was drowning in pain. She didn't know up from down. She had no idea where she was. Had she died? While the loop ran over and over again, a voice like heaven shone through the bad memories. It was like Claudius, riding a thranta, had come to retrieve her from her demons. It wasn't clear whether she had heard him proclaim his love or not. What was for sure was that her blue eyes shot open and a gasp let out from her mouth. A bloody hand gripped the front of his Imperial uniform. She looked scared. "I-I..." Her vision couldn't manage to focus on his face. She *knew* who it was. "...I'm not going to leave you..." She managed to whimper.

From the upper level Jelena Rodney looked down at her family from beneath a cloak that covered her head and shrouded her identity in shadows. The explosion was the last thing her family needed after all they had been through. She was glad to see that her sisters and her father were unhurt, and as much as she wanted to go to them she knew she could not. But then, something terrible happened ... her best friend Sierra Dakkar had been torn to shreds by the blast. "Sierra!" she cried out, without thinking, but thankfully she was too far away and there was too much noise for her voice to carry. But then something even worse happened ... her father cradled her body and professed his love for her. She had been betrayed by both of them. The tears began to flow from her eyes, and her hands clenched hold of the railing so tightly that her knuckles turned white. She then turned her back on her old life and retreated into the shadows before she would be discovered by the Alderaan Guard. There was nothing for her here now. *Nothing*. Let them think she was dead.

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