Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
718 years before the Battle of Yavin (683BrS:1:20) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Germanicus Rodney's undersea lair).
Raeni Corliss and Baron Germanicus Rodney (Darth Crassus).

Germanicus had retreated to Delaya following the series of setbacks on Alderaan, but rather than dive beneath the surface of the remote lake, he had landed his starfighter on the surface near the shoreline. As he and Raeni sat there a herd of nerfs slowly meandered by, while sea cows nestled near the shore in the shallow waters. Beneath the surface lay the tentacle beast, but as yet he had not appeared. He knew that a confrontation with his master was now inevitable, but he was not nearly prepared. It was the destiny of every Sith apprentice to overthrow their master and assume the mantle of Dark Lord of the Sith, but he had not expected that day to come for many years. He had been lax in his study of the dark arts, more concerned with mastering the affairs of his home planet than channeling his innate force abilities. He had sat there in silence for several hours, as the wheels inside of his brain slowly turned. As he looked off towards a tree in the lush landscape that surrounded the lake, he rose to his feet and began to walk towards it. He reached up, and pulled off a branch that was slightly thicker than the others. Reaching further still he found another and then broke it off as well. With some work he fastened both of them into primitive spears, and when finished toss one over in the direction of Raeni. Examining his stick he took hold of it in his right hand, and began slashing at the air to determine its exact weight and balance. He was preparing for something.

The occurrences on Alderaan left Raeni as one very curious woman. There was more going on with Germanicus than a migraine. He had put up that shield around him once more. She couldn't hope to get a lick of the truth from him for now. They sat in mutual silence. Raeni was happy to enjoy the life around them and all the various animals. The solitude was the best part of all. She felt strangled and limited in court. Though they would make an appearance again, she, nonetheless, was relieved to get away from it. She didn't know how he could spend his entire life with a mask fastened to his face while he pretended to enjoy court and all its various annoyances. She wouldn't forget the pompous Dakkar man.

Her thoughts trailed back to home. She had left a village of slaughtered people behind. She wasn't merciful in any way. She wasn't apologetic for what she had done. When her survival was challenged, she broke. Her head turned upward. After a long, long time, Germanicus had risen. With her chin on her knees, she watched him create makeshift spears from the tree's branches. She caught the one he tossed to her, then stood on her feet. She eyed the weapon, becoming familiar with the way it felt in her hand. It was entirely different from the cattle prod she had used as her last weapon; a simple weapon of opportunity. When she felt a level of comfort with her spear, she looked to him for instruction. Ultimately, he was the teacher, which made her the pupil. She circled around him slowly like she was the predator in their dynamic. "Why do you continue to go to court when you hate the people there?" She asked him, jabbing her spear forward.

With very little effort Germanicus turned gently to his side, allowing her spear to move harmlessly past him. "Because I *have* to," he said bluntly, before, he closed to his eyes to increase his concentration. Even without being able to see visually, he could still sense her presence through the living force, and if he listened carefully he could her breathing and even the sound of her heart beating. He leapt up suddenly, flipping over Raeni, and lowering the butt of his spear to tap her on the head as he went over her. Not too hard, but not the gentlest of taps either. When he landed he was now behind her and brought the spear up in front of him again. "One day those people I hate will be very sorry," he muttered to himself, as he allowed his hatred towards them to flow through him in this training session. If she sensed him she could feel the ripple of anger that flowed through him at the mere mention of it ... his psyche was a turbulent storm of virulent emotions.

The half-answers were beginning to frustrate her. She moved past him and circled around to keep her eyes on him. He was summoning his inner power again. The connections were still difficult for Raeni to grasp. It all seemed to be better when she opened the door of her endless anger and basked in it. Her breathing came smoothly, but her heart was beating very quickly. Adrenaline pumped through her veins. As he flew over her, she felt his spear tap her head. It reminded her to *focus*. She stepped back to put a few feet between them. "Because of your ambitions, hm?" She began to reach outward. At first, all she could sense was a passing by nerf. It was calm which contrasted the fury she felt close to her. That was Germanicus. She let herself rely on his feeling, then twirled towards him with her spear. She could see him without *seeing*. She kept her spear close to her body until the last moment, then swung it towards him.

"*You* are awfully concerned with *my* ambitions," Germanicus said, as he noticed her began to bear down and focus. Her next strike was more adept and he was not alert to move out of the way. The blow connected with his shoulder, tearing through his tunic, and piercing his skin. "Argh!" he cried out from the unexpected pain, finally managing to shift away from her. The anger from the pain combined with the hatred she had brought out in him towards court to cause a wave of dark side energy to flow from him and ripple across the land. The nerfs suddenly ceased drinking water at the shoreline and stopped eating grass upon the plain. They began to snort and groan and suddenly each of them was looking towards Raeni. The entire herd began moving towards her at their top speed as they formed a stampede headed right in her direction.

Her eyes went wide. The blow *connected!* The pointed tip of the spear had actually managed to injure him. She had fully expected him to hit her on the head once more for being so cocky. She inched backwards once more, watching him cry out. The dark side energy she felt was the only warning she had that something *bad*. Her hand clung harder to the spear. It wasn't Germanicus who she needed to worry about was the herd of nerfs who were suddenly headed in her direction. They shocked her with their speed. She didn't want to hurt them. They were calm animals who were currently under Germanicus' control. She tossed her spear to the side, holding out her empty hands in front of her. She focused hard as she could...and tried to make a connection with not one beast, but *all* of them. It was ambitious...or simply stupid. A nerf collided with her, sending her back several feet and onto the ground. The rest of them ran around her. They trampled the ground with their strong hoofs. Before she could rise from the ground, an angry Nerf came bounding down the path in front of her. She'd never be able to outrun it. She tried, again, to make the connection. She closed her eyes and pushed herself *hard* to reach it. The beast rose up onto its back legs over her, readying to crush her torso when it suddenly stopped. The nerf began to slowly move away from her. Raeni's head fell onto the ground as she laid back. The herd was tearing across the valley in the opposite direction. She was bleeding from having been headbutted by a nerf. Now she was breathing hard. That could have killed her.

Germanicus maintained a constant of commune with the nerfs, which passed on either side of him without so much brushing up against his skin. He turned his head, watching as the stampede wrecked Raeni. When the stampede passed he slowly walked over towards her, standing over her fallen, broken body. He lowered the pointy end of his staff towards her throat, letting it hang there for a moment, before he withdrew it. "Well. You'll never be a nerf herder," he said to her, as he tossed the staff aside. He then bent down, moving to assist her back onto her feet. "The first lesson is to always be aware of your surroundings," he said, with a nod of his head, as he placed her arm over his shoulder and began leading her towards the starfighter. "You could have easy slaughtered the nerfs and saved yourself," he pointed out, as they crossed the plain.

She was in trouble. Her spear had been smashed to pieces during the stampede. She had no weapon to use against him. Raeni was forced to stay on the ground, staring at him like she was daring him to do it. Her lack of fear for death made her dangerous at a different level...and potentially stupid. He only threatened her for a moment before he decided to leave her throat alone. She gave him a little smile and a light chuckle. "You're right about that. I think I'd do a better job with sea cows." She walked beside him. Her heart slowly climbed down from the cliff it had been placed upon. Her body ached. She thought about her surroundings. There were many creatures she could have utilized. Even the beast of the lake would come to her call in time.

Raeni nodded her head. "I could have.... But violence isn't always the solution. If I was stronger, I could have simply parted the nerf and we both would have been fine." She admitted her own weaknesses. She was still keeping up an exterior shell with him. It would seem pathetic to admit to him that she liked the nerf and didn't want to hurt them. Her head turned towards him. "Will you tell me what you can when we get inside? I hate feeling left in the dark, all the while experiencing extreme culture shock. You realize I had *never* left Ylesia, right? You need to show me the path *you* want me to be on. I will play whatever part you need. I will do anything I need to do as long as we're playing this game *together*."

"You must learn to destroy what you can't control, Raeni," Germanicus instructed her, imparting his galactic view upon you. "Your remorse for the beast has left you battered ... needlessly," he said, as he placed her in the starfighter. Blood was getting everywhere ... he would make *her* clean it later. After a short process they had transitioned from the surface of the planet to his underwater lair beneath the surface of the lake. "You talk a lot," he informed her, as he help her down from the cockpit of the craft and up the stairs that led towards the living area. "As long as you follow behind me you will always be on the right path," he informed her, condescendingly, as he placed her down upon a sofa. "What is it you want to know, girl?" he asked her, as he moved away from her, taking a seat at his desk. As the lights went on and power flowed through the structure the familiar presence of the sea beast's tentacles briefly appeared at the viewport.

That was a hard lesson for Raeni to learn. It wouldn't be so difficult with people. People *deserved* death for one reason or another. Everyone had their offenses. She only responded with a groan. She had needlessly battered herself. She was silent during the quick trip home. Raeni processed their lesson again and again. It was amazing that he'd been able to take control of so many beasts at the same time. She thought him to be incredibly powerful, maybe even more so than he actually was. Between that demonstration and the one in the lake, Raeni knew to never count on him to save her. She was *no* damsel in distress.

She glared at him. "You don't talk enough." She said this from his arms. She didn't like the idea of following *behind* anyone. Her life had been spent functioning as garbage underneath a Hutt's foot. That wasn't the way she wanted to be seen. She had her own power...and it would grow. Painfully, she realized that she hadn't proved herself to be more than a follower. On the castle, Raeni looked towards the viewpoint. "Sir Tentacles, we're home." She called out while simultaneously reaching out to it to draw it close to the viewport. Another groan escaped her. She laid across the sofa clutching her chest. She was a stupid girl. "I want to know *why* you came for me. I know what brought you to my doorstep, however, I don't totally understand why. I'd also like to know what your intentions exactly are." She stated.

"Mmm. Anything else you'd like while you're at it? Back rub? Spot of tea? Jewels?" Germanicus replied, with a bit of sass, as he sarcastically addressed her. "Whatever happened on Ylesia ... I could sense it ... I could feel you," he said, in a lie, unwilling to admit that he had a master who was more powerful and perceptive than he. "I came to you and took you from that would so I could focus your power and your sharpen your edges and then unleash it upon my enemies," he said, viciously, with a touch of acidic venom coating every word. "Or destroy you should you prove unworthy," he said, menacingly, in order to imply that he could destroy her should he choose. Although privately he suspected that might not be as easy as he led on. He leaned forward in his chair, watching her body language and facial mannerisms as he studied her response. He took in a shallow breath, but did not exhale until she reacted.

"Now that you mention it ... a back rub does sound lovely." She tossed an innocent smile at him that didn't deserve to sit on her face. "You *do* owe me a nice engagement ring, so we'll save the jewels for then." She rolled to her side so she could face him while he spoke about the events of Ylesia that had drawn him in. It had been a power explosion that Raeni had no control over. It was a glorious moment of triumph in her life. She understood why it would have caught his attention. She looked at him. The venom in his words didn't seem to affect her. Life had been so hard in the mines. Even if he kept her alive while he severed all of her limbs and left her to bleed out, it would still be better than *that*. She laughed softly. "Okay, so you're not going to stop trying to kill me. That's fine." She removed her hands from her chest. Even she felt stupid for deciding not to kill the nerf now. She draped herself over the loveseat lazily. "Where does my appearance in court play into all of this? I have no problem with becoming a weapon for you. I want to harness the power inside of me. I will *never* be a slave again."

"I answer your question and you simply ask more. Lesson learned," Germanicus replied, as he rolled his eyes and rose from his seat the desk. He walked near the small bar near the viewport that looked out into the lake. He poured himself a glass of Alderaan ruge, swirling it slightly in the glass, before bringing it up to his nose and inhaling. "As you said. You are my fiancé," he told her, with his back to her, as he took a sip of his wine. "If I am to ascend I must take a wife. Show that I can produce an heir," he told her, before taking a deeper swig of his wine. Perhaps he was telling her too much. He had no reason to trust her. As he finished his glass of ruge, he placed the glass back down and moved towards her. "More questions I assume?" he asked, before tilting his head to one side and folding his arms in front of his chest.

"You're not creating a good learning environment, *Master*." Raeni teased him. She suspected that he'd withdraw from her and answer no more of her questions. Slowly, she sat up on the loveseat. He had crossed out of her line of vision. He was the kind of man she felt like she should always be watching. He was spontaneous. Next time he decided to attempt to kill her, she wanted to be prepared...or at least dressed. When he mentioned producing an heir, the girl fell silent. She realized that was a part of the deal before he had said it. Surely people in the court thought little of him with no children. He needed to rectify the situation quickly. She sighed, rising from where she sat. "No. No more questions." She strolled towards him until she was standing in front of him. "I want to name our son Claudius."

When she called him master a rush of blood flowed to his head, causing his face to flush red. He lowered his head, breaking eye contact, and trying to shield her from the affect she was having on him. As she approached him, his head angled up slightly until he focused his eyes on her. She was very beautiful, which only served to complicate matters. He was supposed to have the upper hand, but at any moment she could simply shake a part of her anatomy and cripple him. His master had been smart in choosing a male apprentice. "A name already? So confident it'll be a son?" he pressed her, as he moved his hand towards her side ... touching her for the first time. His eyes closed and he inhaled deeply, but realized that if he got physical with her he would no longer be able to exert himself over her. It was a struggle as he pulled his hand away from her. In fact, it hurt.

Her head moved from side to side. "Not at all. We could spend the next three years making daughters until a son comes." It would be up to Mother Nature to decide if Raeni would have a son first. "The only possession I had in the camp was a book." She told him. He had touched her, but withdrew nearly immediately like her body had been too hot to touch. Her hand reached forward, capturing his and slowly, slowly, bringing it back to her side. "It told a fictional story of a man name Claudius. He was born a slave. Day in and day out, he watched his people suffer." She recounted the story. "One day he decided that he had enough. He used the power of his tongue to manipulate people. He pulled strings from behind the scenes and eventually, he became King. That story was an inspiration to me. Our son will never know what it is like to be a slave. He'll know how to *rule*."

"That would be just my luck. Stymied by a series of daughters," Germanicus said, as he looked away from her, and grit his teeth. If only the force could manipulate chromosomes during the conception process. He attempted to listen to her story, but the fact that she had pressed his hand back upon her made it extremely difficult. He swallowed difficulty, as his mouth had become quite dry. Suddenly it felt feverishly hot inside his aquatic abode. "It ... it is a good name," he said, as he began to squirm. He attempted to pull away, but failed. "You should get yourself cleaned up," he suggested, as she was still covered in dirt, dried blood, and nerf hair from her encounter with the stampede. Anything to get her away from him before he gave into his base urges. He was not just a Sith or an Alderaanian noble ... he was also a man.

It seemed they both suffered from bad luck. The moment they discovered the gender of their first child would be nerve wrecking. Raeni had yet to realize the kind of affect she had on him. Through shining a rock, he had found a diamond ... who didn't realize she was a diamond. The talk of heirs and procreation had drawn her mind down the road less traveled. Intimacy was a foreign concept to her. There was very little *good* physical contact in her life. "Or maybe we'll fall into some good luck and create a son." Her hand fell away from his. Admittedly, she did like it when he touched her. It let her know that it wasn't going to be terrible to be married to him, nor would the intimacy times be as painful as getting hit by a nerf. He was right. She did need to get cleaned up. Her dress was, for all matters, ruined; destroyed. She didn't leave him immediately. A spark had formed between them back on the mountain top in Alderaan. While it would take a long time to see the fruit of that spark, it was also going to take an enormous amount of effort to not destroy it. She neared him until she was close enough where her body very gently brushed against his. She leaned upward to place a single, tiny kiss on his cheek. He seemed like he could use some support and affection. As his future *wife*, she was in the position to give him just that.

"Good luck has never found me," Germanicus revealed, in a moment of vulnerability he would surely later regret. As her body brushed against his he inhaled sharply and the hairs on his arm began to stick up. He closed his eyes, but in darkness he felt he could see her more clearly than with his eyes open. He felt her lips connect with his cheek and his affection drew him towards the light, causing a sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach. The pull and the complex series of emotions that he felt were too much for the inexperienced nobleman to sustain. His eyes opened and his hand instinctively moved to the base of her chin and neck. He pushed her face away, closing his hand and holding her face there. He trembled, wanting to scream, but he suppressed the urge. In a fit of weakness he leaned his head forward and pressed his lips against her and in that moment he knew that he had given the upper hand ... but he could no longer control himself or resist what was in front of him.

Perhaps good luck stood in front of each of them. Seeing it was the difficult part. Raeni held her body tense now that she had decided to foolishly get close to him. She didn't think she would get away with such a bold action...but she couldn't bring herself to regret it. It was like he was calling out to her. The call was so strong that she couldn't resist it. When his eyes opened and his hand took hold of her, she readied herself to be punished. Within their complex and strange relationship, Germanicus really was the Master. She would have to fall into line with him eventually. Her eyes studied his face. As much as she wanted to read his emotions, she simply couldn't at the moment. Out of all the possibilities she had arranged in her mind, him kissing her didn't seem likely. Yet, that is exactly what he did. Raeni's lips quivered against his. She was nervous and inexperienced. It took her a moment of fumbling with her lips against his in order to find that perfect rhythm. She kissed him, reluctantly allowing one of the walls around her heart to fall. She kissed him, knowing that life was changing again in drastic ways. Her hands were slow to reach up and touch his own face. She couldn't explain it...this man made her feel *good*.

Eventually, the necessity to breathe caught up with her. The kiss slowly came to its natural end. The feelings coming off of her were just as elated as the ones when she rode the thranta. He had made her emotion she had felt only a limited amount of times in her life. She wasn't ready for them to be intimate together yet. She certainly didn't want it to happen while she was all bloodied up. "I suppose I'll go clean up. . ." She slowly backed away from him. Turning her back, she soon disappeared up the stairs.

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