Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Liz Dorner and Christopher Levy.
One year before the Battle of Yavin (34:10:28) in the Malastare system: Warspite.
Lady Jelena Rodney and Lady Htaere Ka`a Sha`ar.

Htaere stood straight as a pin in front of the large triangular view-ports of the ISD Warspite, hands folded in front of her, staring out across the seemingly infinite reach of space. She wore a sateen kimono, midnight blue in color with tiny golden stars embroidered across the yards and yards of expensive fabric. The sides of her illustrious red-gold hair were twisted up into curled buns, held in place with crepe paper fans on hair sticks that encircled the top of her head like a halo, joining to a bent gold  band curving around her head and arching across her forehead to allow for the rainbow gem. In her thousand credit slippers, typically any single garment from her wardrobe cost more then most people made in a month. She remained motionless, save for a deep breath, soft slate colored pools drifting about the countless pin pricks of light that constituted the starscape.

Soft footsteps echoed through the walkway on the Warspite's bridge, heralding the arrival of the young Jelena Rodney. She had come to look for her father, but instead had found the Lady Htaere. The young woman was wearing a light blue short-sleeve top, and a grey skirt that flowed just below her knees. Her brown hair was pinned up neatly to provide the simplest of appearances. She did not follow the ostentatious nature of her future mother-in-law. She smiled pleasantly as she came up behind Htaere, her reflection becoming visible in the view-port they were both looking out of. "I did not expect to find you up here," she said quietly, as her eyes nervously darted over the crewmen on the bridge. Her hands rubbed together nervously and she seemed very uncomfortable.

Htaere smiled kindly at Jelena, via her reflection. "I have never come here before. I was not certain I was welcomed here" she admitted. She shook her head just a bit. "But the view is worth any scolding."

Jelena laughed slightly, quickly raising her hand to cover her mouth in embarrassment. "Do not worry about these people," she explained quietly, "They will pretty much let us do anything. They want to stay on our good side." She lowered her hand from her mouth as she regained her composure. "I was looking for my father," she explained, "I had hoped to have lunch with him, but he is unavailable. Would you care to join me?"

"I would be honored" she replied gracefully, turning from the view-port. "After you" she waved elegantly, the long square sleeves of her kimono nearly concealing her hands altogether.

Jelena smiled at Htaere pleasantly and then walked down the platform towards the turbolift. The doors automatically opened as she approached, allowing her to easily step in. Once inside, she programmed the appropriate level for their suite, where food had been arranged. She waited patiently for Htaere to follow.

Htaere followed suit, eyes glancing around to the various arrays and bulkheads that constituted any number of controls and communications panels. She stood motionless in the lift, fingers woven together again in front of her as she waited, inwardly surprised at Jelena's invitation.

Jelena remained quietly as the turbolift descended the tube. She was still not entirely comfortable with the prospect of this woman, less than a decade her senior, becoming her 'mother.' However, she had to talk to someone and her options were limited. As the turbolift doors opened, she walked forward into their living room where a platter of different food selections had been prepared for them. She turned to smile towards Htaere before sitting herself down on the sofa and neatly crossing her legs, right over left.

Htaere took a seat as well, observing the arrangement. "This is very nice. Are you certain you would not prefer your father's company?" she asked.

Jelena raised her eyebrows slightly at Htaere's question. Truth be told she would have rather be speaking to her father, but she was happy for the company all the same. "No," she said pleasantly, "I look forward to this." She reached forward and grabbed a small plate, placing several pieces of food on it.

Htaere looked over the assortment, choosing a few items before leaning back. She smiled across at Jelena, sampling one of the things on her plate. The silence was uncomfortable, having done very little communicating with Claudius' daughters despite the length of her presence.

"How are you acclimating yourself to life aboard ship?" Jelena asked, breaking the silence as she took a bite out of a cheese puff.

"It has adjustment" she answered honestly. "Claudius has done a superlative job making the transition easy" she beamed, thinking of her garden. "And you?"

"I do not understand why I need to be here anymore," Jelena replied quite honestly and visibly disappointed. "I no longer serve a 'public relations' purpose like I did on Brentaal," she continued, the bitterness emanating from her, "I should be able to return to Alderaan and finish my education."

To that, Htaere did not have an answer. Her smile was diluted a bit as she contemplated Jelena's predicament. " not know" she allowed a slight shrug. "Sometimes, we must do what is asked of us, whether we are in agreement or not" she said, regarding her own fate.

"Did my father mention why he was reassigned?" Jelena asked curiously. Her father had not mentioned the reasons, but she had overheard bits of conversations.

Htaere grinned a bit nervously. This was territory on which she would need to tread carefully. "As I understand, there was some concern regarding...a particular..." she fished mentally for the word. "...mission...and the questionable outcome of such" she finished, sealing the statement with a politically trained smile.

"I heard he lost a disk," Jelena said as she leaned forward towards Htaere to speak in a lower voice. She was pleased to have someone to gossip with about, and to probe for information. "I did not think it would be that big of a deal," she commented oddly before correcting herself, "After I heard about it, I mean." She sipped her water quickly, feeling uncomfortable.

Htaere almost let a ridiculous chuckle slip. "It seems that it was" she replied. Once again her jovial expression seemed to wither. "Major Kiley brought the woman responsible on board the other night." Htaere stared down at her plate for a moment. "Woman...girl is more like it." Another pause before she added quietly. "She was Hapan."

"Hapan?" Jelena said as she tilted her head curiously. She had not heard this bit of information before. "That must have been," she paused to find the word, "interesting ... for you."

Htaere managed a smile but there was no significant emotion behind it. She refrained from further comment, still unable to determine her own real reaction to such a thing.

"Did you hear what they were talking about?" Jelena asked, probing a bit deeper. She took a long sip of her water, but her eyes never left Htaere's face as she listened intently.

Htaere's gaze was on the plate still, but her focus was elsewhere, somewhere inside. "I do not remember..." she mumbled pensively. "But she was one of...'them' I think " she said, her eyes finally lifting to Jelena's face. "She called me a traitor..." she revealed, looking hurt.

Jelena finished her water and placed the empty glass back on the table. "During times like this, Htaere," she said as she looked down nervously, "Being loyal to one person makes you a traitor to another. It can be very difficult to tell the difference."

"Oh?" Htaere's eyebrows lifted. " *do* you tell the difference?" she asked curiously.

Jelena brought her hand up to side of her forehead and rubbed her temple slightly as she considered Htaere's thoughts. "I don't think I can anymore," she said quietly, with a hint of sadness.

She nodded once as if she understood, but in truth, her thoughts were more foggy then when she sat down. "Am *I* a traitor?"

"We cannot be all things to all people, Htaere," Jelena said quietly, unable to look at her directly. "From that point of view," she continued to explain, "We're all betraying someone. What's important is that we're true to ourselves."

Htaere recollected herself at that. "I see" she said at long last. In that context, she was very content to rally behind Claudius. "I suppose that does make sense" she allowed, from her limited viewpoint.

Jelena no longer wished to discuss such philosophical points of view. She felt torn enough as it was. "How is my father taking to the change?" she asked, genuinely concerned for him giving his recent state.

"Very well. He seems less forlorn" she answered enthusiastically. "The change has allowed for more between us. I must confess that I am pleased with the outcome of his reassignment, even if for selfish reasons."

"You must be excited," Jelena said as a smile finally appeared upon her face, "Your wedding is less than two weeks away now." She was happy for Htaere, provided she did not having to refer to her as her 'mother.' "Is everything in order?" she asked, having not heard much in terms of details.

"Two weeks?" Htaere repeated, rather stupidly. Her face became ashen for a moment, digesting the input in near stunned panic. Her breathing escalated briefly as she struggled for a bit of self control, a shaky smile appearing. "I...had not yet been aware of the specific date" she said.

"How can you not know the date of your own wedding?" Jelena asked quickly, her face looking just as confused as Htaere's. "Well," she continued, "You at least knew it was coming 'soon' ... right?"

"Yes...'soon' as it was described to me..." She lifted her chin indignantly. "I respectfully submit that 'soon' is a rather ambiguous term" she stated in defense. "Well, as far as I know, things are falling into place. The dowry ship arrived months ago."

Jelena could not help but laugh slightly at the mention of the 'dowry.' "Have you picked out your dress?" she asked, allowing the conversation to drift towards a more pleasant topic.

"It is not so much a matter of choice as it is custom and tradition. But lies in wait..." Htaere thought on it, but a semi frown still made its way to her face. "I am dreading the presence of my mother and sisters, in truth. They are...unpleasant..."

"Please," Jelena said with a wide grin, "Let's not get started on the topic of 'unpleasant' sisters." She chuckled slightly to herself and then allowed a more serious state to form upon her young face. "Thank you, Htaere," she said politely and seriously, "Thank you for the time we have shared today."

Htaere stifled a chuckle of her own, glad to dodge the topic of Drusilla. "You are welcome. I thank you for considering me as company" her head bobbed in a polite nod.

"We should do this more often," Jelena said pleasantly as she rose from the sofa and dusted what few crumbs there were from her skirt. "I should get some rest before my father returns," she said, excusing herself. She nodded her head respectfully before withdrawing towards the room she shared with her sisters.

"Good evening.." Htaere said softly to her retreating form before leaning forward to begin tidying up. She left the dishes stacked in neat piles, one clean, one dirty with discarded napkins and soiled utensils atop before leaning back again into the cushions, her eyes and hands settling in her lap as her mind spun, reflecting on the series of topics they had explored.

Untitled 1

Copyright Era of Rebellion 2005-2018. All Rights Reserved
Terms of Use | Legal Notices | Privacy Policy | Press Release | Disclaimer