It was just
before the dawn. Germanicus Rodney was sitting on a
rocky outcropping near his lake on Delaya as the
first rays from the Aldera star were beginning to
pierce through the clouds over the distant mountains
and illuminate the lakeshore. All around him the
animals that populated the terrain were coming to
life, moving to drink the water and eat the grass.
Nerfs were moving in herds, flocks of thrantas were
flying overhead, and he was always mindful of the
presence of the sea monster. It was cold and his
hands moved to the dark cloak that he wore, pulling
it just a little tighter to give himself the
slightest bit of additional warmth. His master had
been contacting him incessantly, both via the comm
system and via their telepathic link that plagued
him. He could not avoid him forever, but he knew he
was not strong enough to defeat him. If he
surrendered Raeni to him, his master would simply
strike him down and keep her for himself. If he
trained her perhaps, together, they could defeat
him, but he did not believe he was a capable master.
The world as he knew it would soon be changing, but
would he survive it? He could not see the future,
but as he struggled to replay the vision he had when
he first met her on Ylesia he *was* sure of one
thing: when the end came Raeni *would* be there.
would indeed be changing. The calm before the storm
was coming to a rapid closure. Raeni Corliss had
awoken in a cold sweat. It was that recurring dream
again. She couldn't remember what she saw with her
eyes, but she recalled what she felt with the power
that slept inside of her. A voice in her dream
called her name insistently. It was like someone
tempting her to their side. Each time she awoke, she
wondered if Germanicus had a way of penetrating her
subconscious before she gained enough sense to write
it up as what it was: a dream. A collection of bull
shit her subconscious crafted while she slept.
need to seek Germanicus out to know that he was no
longer in the undersea home. She could *feel* that
he was further away. Her natural clock told her it
was still very early...so what was he doing? She
rose, sliding into her robe, and headed towards the
lift that would take her outside without the
assistance of the sea creature. As she passed a
viewport, she reached out to the beast. The
connection was becoming natural for her. Raeni was
beginning to to understand.
surface, she pulled her robe closer to her body. It
was so *cold*. The sky was beginning to brighten in
the distance. Soon, the sun would arrive and another
day would be upon them. Her eyes took in the
beautiful thranta as they moved gracefully through
the sky. They symbolized the freedom which she had
come to have. She spotted him. He was secluded. It
seemed like he was deep in thought. Instead of
calling to him, she reached out to him to let him
know she was there. No sooner had she arrived did a
herd of nerf pass by her to reach the water. One
stopped in front of her and sniffed at her hair
before licking it. Yum!
"When did you
first discover your powers?" Germanicus asked, as he
felt her approach from behind. "Ylesia is outside of
the Republic," he said, stating the obvious, as he
still sat staring into the lake rather than formally
acknowledging her. "If you had been born in the
Republic you would have been identified at a young
age and your life would be very different," he said,
before moving his hands to the side of his head and
pulling the hood of his cloak off his head. "You
certainly would not be standing here now," he said,
as he rose from his rocky perch and turned around to
look at her. "Have you ever met anyone else with our
gift?" he asked her, pressing now, as he needed to
know what she knew before he could properly begin.
It might have already been too late.
She pet the
nerf to stop it from continuing to assault her with
its long, strange tongue. "No. I've never met anyone
else like us. Before you came along, only I knew
what I could do. I was five when my power showed
itself for the first time. The Hutts shoved me down
a deep, deep mineshaft. As a little girl, it was so
cramped that I could hardly fit. The walls started
to collapse." She could recall choking on the soot
in the air as she screamed for someone to help her.
"Somehow, I stopped it. No sooner had I reached the
surface did the hole collapse entirely." Raeni
shivered. She looked down at her hands. They were
still the marred hands of a slave.
"Do you think
you're special?" Germanicus asked her, as he took a
step before her, quizzically arching an eyebrow at
her. "Well, you're not," he said, as he reached out
with his finger and poked her in the chest. "In the
Republic there are more than 10,000 individuals who
possess our powers. They are called the *Jedi*," he
explained to her, with a thick level of venom in his
voice as he said the word. "These Jedi claim to be
the guardians of peace and justice, but they cling
to a code that limits them," he said, shaking his
head as he circled round behind her. "For there to
be order these Jedi must be destroyed," he
explained, with a firm nod of his head, before
placing his hands upon her shoulders from behind. He
placed his head against her ear as he continued,
speaking just at the minimum audible level. "I am a
Sith, and if you follow me you will become one too.
We have no such code. No inhibition," he said to
her, as he pulled away from her. He remembered how
his master had seduced him those years ago. It was
decidedly less physical.
rose. "I didn't say..." His offensive attitude made
her rise to the challenge. Raeni glared at him,
listening to him *finally* begin to fill her in. In
her sheltered life, she didn't realize how great the
enemy numbers were. If only she and Germanicus
opposed them...then how would they triumph? He
hadn't begun teaching her how to use her power to
attack people. She spent time training by herself,
but it was mostly to gain strength and agility which
she would need for combat. She heard the venom in
his voice. She *felt* his hate. Like an infectious
disease, it crept into her head. He was behind her
now, explaining to her that they needed to be
destroyed. Peace and justice were impossible. The
world thrived on violence and power. It was a lesson
she spent nearly two decades learning.
remained on the lake where she could see the sea
beast's tentacles emerging from the water to capture
a curious nerf who went too far into the water.
Raeni turned around as the nerf cried out in pain.
"They sound foolish," she said in reference to the
Jedi. Her eyes met with this. "I assumed you
understood I had chosen your path. You are my
*Master*, so make me into a strong Sith. I am tired
of being weak. I want to posses the strength to help
you eliminate the idiotic Jedi." Her lust for power
was so strong. With more lessons, she would set
herself further from the pathetic girl she had been
before she met him.
As she pledged
herself to him a small smile appeared on his lips,
content that he had mastery over here. "With time
and training you will," he said to her, as he began
to laugh with happiness that his plot was off to a
rousing start. "You will," he added, as he began to
lead her towards the turbolift. An idea was
beginning to form in his head for how to
simultaneously test her and introduce her to a
larger world and perhaps, if he were fortunate, arm
her. He was halfway to the lift when he stopped dead
in his tracks and looked towards her. "Oh. I almost
forgot," he said, as he reached into his pocket and
pulled out a small box. "You wanted this," he said,
but he found himself decidedly less confident than
he was just an instant alone. As he offered it over
to her he lost the nerve to look her in the eye and
began to tremble. "I hope you like it," he said,
practically driveling now as he spoke.
certain of her decision. There wasn't a life for her
as a Jedi. She, too, began to smile. "You're going
to try to drown me in the lake again, aren't you?"
Raeni pressed sarcastically. With a new
understanding of what she wanted, the young
apprentice headed in the direction of the turbolift.
She knew that there would be many more enemies for
her than just those in court.
stopped. The sun was creeping up over the land. For
a moment, the only sounds that existed were that of
nature itself. She didn't know what he was talking
about until he offered her a small box. Was this..?
Raeni slowly took the box from him. Her fingers
slowly pried it open. As her eyes met with the prize
within, she perked up. A smile formed on her face.
She was intrigued. She was *happy*!? Even though she
had presented herself as his fiancé in court, she
hadn't expected to see an actual engagement ring for
some time: yet there it was. The box lay open all
the way in her hands. The ring itself was gorgeous.
Without him beginning to understand her feminine
style, it was perfect. She could tell he put thought
into it. Her smile grew. She reached out for the
trembling man who was destined to become her
husband. Her palm brushed over his cheek. "Ask me,"
she whispered. Her answer hung on the tip of her
tongue. It was visible in her eyes: a clear *yes*.
power. Despite the complexities she possessed he saw
now that beneath it all she was still a woman. "I
suppose you want me to get down on bended knee too?"
he said, as he lifted his head in the air pompously.
"Oh very well," he said, before he removed his cloak
and placed it on the ground in front of him so that
he would not get a grass stain on his pants. He
knelt before her, as he did his master those many
years ago, and looked up at her. Part of him felt
quite foolish, but there was another part of him who
felt she was a fitting match. "Raeni, will you marry
me?" he asked, expecting her to yes. His eyes looked
around slightly, feeling as if they were wasting
time. This was just a political ruse, or was it
becoming something *more*.
her head. "You suppose correct. This is only going
to happen once." She reminded him with a proud
little snicker on her face. It felt gratifying to
watch him kneel before her. Unexpectedly, her heart
began to flutter in her chest. Was this strictly
political? There were moments...wonderful
moments...when she *knew* she wanted this. Her heart
skipped a second beat as he popped the question to
her. Try as she might to hide it, she really was a
woman. The moment filled her with a joy that she
wasn't ready for. Slowly, she pulled the ring from
the box. She slid it on her ring finger where it
would sit until she died. Her hand fell, revealing
the smile on her face. "Yes, I'll marry you,
Germanicus." Try as she might to remain calm and
collected, the moment she verbalized her answer blew
her away. Rashly, Raeni fell to her knees in front
of him. She kissed him like she was testing the
water. They hadn't shared much affection as of yet.
More than anything else, Raeni wanted him to know
that she *wanted* this.
between Raeni and Germanicus was more intense and
passionate than he expected, causing his eyes to go
wide. In that moment he realized he had more than an
apprentice ... more than a fiancé ... he had a
lover. As the kiss lingered he felt something
brushing the side of his face that felt rough,
causing him to pull back immediately. A baby nerf
had inserted itself, trying to get a kiss as well.
"Not in front of the nerfs, dear," he said,
chastising her, as he attempted to get back onto his
feet. "Don't just sit there. Help me up. Help me
up," he said, as he grabbed hold of her for support.
As he rose he was nearly blinded with a powerful
light as the clouds parted, allowing the Aldera star
to shine brightly on them, bathing the dark couple
All of this
had caught Raeni by surprise. It seemed that he'd
squeezed through to her interior one way or another.
The kiss became more expressive up until Germanicus
pulled away suddenly. She looked, wide-eyed, at the
baby nerf that her snuck up on them. Raeni let out a
soft laugh. Her hand ran down the nerf's back. "Aw.
He just wanted to get in on the action." The little
nerf was so darn cute. She loved these creatures. In
fact, she loved all the creatures that surrounded
their home. Rising to her feet, she found herself
laughing again. She grabbed his hands and pulled him
up. "Okay, okay! You're up!" And so was the Aldera
star. She stood at his side. A new day had come: the
day of the House of Rodney.