Governor Papius Arundel had not enjoyed the
coronation of Marcus and Zara Rodney as Duke and
Duchess of Delaya, despite the central role he
surprisingly played. He had rid the planet of
Claudius and Sierra Rodney simply to have two more
Rodneys pop up in their place. This family, it
seemed, multiplied like a virulent plague. At the
garrison he had been keeping a woman who would have
become a Rodney if only she could marry her beloved
Mug Zoran, and her tangential connection to the
accursed family was enough to sicken him. He had
left her in relative isolation, interrogating her
when bored, but in reality he had left her to sit in
the darkened silence and contemplate her fate and
the fact that no one had come for her. He imagined
the slow onset of that realization would be more
painful than anything he could have done to her.
Today, however, she had been moved. She had been
placed in a square room that had no decorations or
objects of any kind. Two of the walls were plane,
one contained the door, and the final wall had a
piece of transparisteel that looked into the
adjoining room, but it was currently dark. Today he
had decided to torture her in a way fitting of a man
of his villainy. "The refreshments are here," he
said, as he opened the door to the room that
adjoined the room containing Iyah. As he opened the
door it lit up revealing a table with an assortment
of snacks, desserts, and drinks. What it did not
show was what he wanted her to see.
First into the room was Ewwiekewwieikkie who only
needed to hear the word 'refreshment' once before
surging forward into the room. "Callista, look!" she
cheered, as she first went for the largest cake that
had been set out. Not needing a knife, she simply
broke it in half, saving half of it for her cousin,
while focusing on devouring her half. She did not
understand much of what she saw during her tour of
the garrison, but the promise of wondrous food had
successfully lured her and Callista right into
Governor Arundel's hands.
Lady Drusilla Rodney slowly walked into the room,
examining her manicure rather than looking around at
her surroundings. "No thank you, Governor. I had an
egg this morning and I am absolutely stuffed," she
said, as she placed her hand on her stomach. She
watched in disgust as her adopted sister tore
through the desserts, but was pleased that she would
not have to feed the two girls before taking them
home. The weekend was nearly here and the promise of
the Max Rebo concert was compelling her back to
Callista Nilar had clearly never learned the lessons
of being wary of strangers. The man named Parfait
had promised cake and turbolifts. It was all the
reason Callista needed to cross into the Imperial
garrison where, unknown to her, her mother was being
held. "*Woah*!" Her eyes went big. The cake was
*huge*!! She stared at it in awe, giving Ewwie the
chance to begin consuming it by herself before the
little girl broke out in a run towards it. She
opened up her arms, tackling the cake. "*Ewwie*!
*It's bigger than me*!" She hadn't been paying
attention during the rest of the tour. All she knew
was that Parfait occasionally promised food and
sweets. The turbolift here had been pretty fun too,
but not as good as her uncle's!
"Om nom nom!" Callista looked over her shoulder at
her cousin. "C'mon, Dru! Eat with us! It's so
yummy!" She scooped up a handful of cake. Darting
over to Drusilla, she stopped in front of the girl
and offered her cake. She smiled. "Try a little?!
It's reallllyyyy nommy!" Remembering her manners,
she waved at the man. "Thank you, Mister Parfait!"
Iyah Xergo was beginning to crack underneath the
pressure, or, in her case, the lack of pressure. It
was an infinitely worse torture to be left alone in
isolation with her head. Even the Governor didn't
spare much time for her these days. It had to be
only so amusing to watch Iyah clamp up and reveal
*nothing*. She was seated on the floor with her
knees to her chest. Her head was hidden behind her
hands. It looked like she had lost weight. It looked
like she was a shell of a woman she had been before
she was captured. Iyah had too much time to think.
No one had come for her...why? Mug wasn't the kind
of man who would leave her here to rot. His heart
was too kind. As the days went by, Iyah began to
assume that her fiancé had died in a rescue attempt.
Callista was, once again, without parents.
Callista was the light at the end of the tunnel. She
kept thinking about her little tot, imagining what
they'd do together if she ever got out. On easier
days, she was able to pick out the positives of a
future with Mug and Callista. On dark days, she
convinced herself that they were all dead and that
no one would ever come for her.
Iyah could hear Callista's voice as clear as a bell
in her ears. "My baby girl..." She sniffed, eyes
remaining closed tightly. She could hear Callista's
laughter and even the sound of her feet as she
pitter-pattered around the house. In her mind's
deception, she heard the name *Ewwie*. Iyah's head
rose from her hands. Her eyes were bloodshot from
crying. Before her eyes, she saw Callista. "*Callista*!"
Iyah gasped, rapidly raising to her feet. "Callista?!"
She touched the transparisteel wall. It wasn't
simply her daughter who was in the room just out of
her reach, it was Claudius Rodney's children as
well. Her heart rapidly sank down to the pit of her
Was Mug dead?
Tears streamed down her cheeks and onto what
remained of her worn Rebel uniform. "*Callista*!"
She cried out, pounding her fist against the wall.
"*Get away from there*! *Run away*!" She screamed,
fearing that the Governor would hurt her baby girl.
"Don't you touch her!!! Leave my daughter alone!"
"I'm glad you like the cake, Callista," Papius said,
in a sweet and soothing voice he had practiced extra
hard to perfect. "I want to show you something," he
said, as he placed a hand on each of her shoulders
and gently turned her towards the mirror that
dominated the wall. "Look how big you and the cake
look in the reflection," he said, as he leaned down
and placed his face next to hers. He was looking
right at Iyah even though the children could not
see. "Wave, Callista. Wave," he said, softly, as he
too waved at their reflection in the mirror. He knew
exactly what he was doing.
"What?!" Callista dropped the cake at Drusilla's
feet and bounced towards Parfait until he took hold
of her shoulder. She looked at herself in the
mirror, beaming at herself. "My crown looks so
pretty!" She told him. "My uncle gave it to me. He
made he a princess!" She told the man before she
noticed how big she and the cake looked in the
mirror. "Wowyyy! You're right! Lookit!" The little
girl struck a pose in the mirror. She didn't
question what he wanted, she simply began rapidly
waving at herself while giggling. "Hiiii! Hi cake!
Hi Parfait! *Ooh*! *Hi Ewwie*!" She could see her
friend consuming sweets. "This is the best day
*ever!*" Callista squeaked. She wrapped her little
arms around Papius and squeezed tight.
"Stopstopstopstop!" Iyah was screaming. The Governor
was purposely torturing her with her daughter. They
were merely a wall apart, or that was the illusion
which Iyah was convinced of. She touched her
daughter's face only to find the coolness of the
transparent wall. "Callista..." She missed her
family so much. Her sweet, sweet daughter had been
through so much. Mug was gone. Dead. Lost forever.
The second time this thought ran through Iyah's
head, her knees buckled and she fell to the ground.
Her arms were outstretched like she was trying to
embrace the small girl through the wall. "Callista,
I'm so sorry... I'm sorry... I'm sorry..."
Papius tilted his head slightly to place a kiss on
Callista's chocolate stained cheek. "Go eat some
more. Play with your friend," he said, before he
rose back up, winking at the mirror. "You girls
behave. I'll be back to check on you in a little
bit," he said, before exiting into the corridor, and
locking the door behind him. He gave him a moment to
laugh before he entered the access code to enter
Iyah's room. "Your daughter is lovely," he said to
her, with a warm smile, as he entered. "I wonder if
perhaps the answers to some of my questions may
change given the circumstances we find ourselves
in," he said, as he folded his arms in front of his
chest, triumphantly leaning against the wall.
"Okie dokie, mister!" Callista saluted him then
bounded back towards her best friend. She embraced a
messy Ewwiekewwieikkie. It had been a really
exciting trip to Delaya. She *loved* seeing Auntie
Zara and Uncle Marcus wear crowns. It was a dream
come true for her. The little girl sat down at a
table and began to eat. Her little legs swung this
way and that. There was no way for her to know that
her mother was so close. She hadn't stopped missing
Commander Xergo was crumpled up on the floor crying.
She realized that Callista could neither see nor
hear her. If she watched the little girl leave, she
would watch her go with the knowledge that she was
returning to Esseles. As uncomfortable as it made
her feel, her daughter had always loved Uncle
Claudius. With Mug gone, she needed *someone* to be
there for her. The joyous little girl that she and
Mug had adopted was escaping between her fingers.
Even if she managed to escape the Governor, she
could *not* march into a Grand Moff's home. Her
tears fell on the ground. Suddenly, she became aware
that she wasn't alone. Iyah's head shot upwards.
"What do you want...?" She asked him. "Leave my
daughter alone. Callista is all I have left..." Her
heart had cracked in two. She wasn't ready to fully
realize that the love of her life was gone. She
certainly wasn't ready to do it in front of her
captor. "I have to hold her!"
"Get a hold of yourself, Commander. Really," Papius
said, before snickering down at her and rolling his
eyes. "What I want is for someone to come and rescue
you, so that I may defeat them and take the credit,"
he explained to her, with a slow nod of his head.
"Even if you were to provide with the location of
your Rebel base the credit would go to the
commanders in that sector, rather than I, so I truly
care not at this point," he continued, as he knelt
down next to her. "She is really cute. You know," he
said, as he reached out and touched a lock of Iyah's
hair. "There, there. There, there," he told her,
quietly, but on the inside he was laughing
hysterically at her. "I'll hold her for you," he
told her viciously, as he rose back up to his feet
and backed away from her.
"What?! No one's come?" Did that mean that Mug still
lived? That didn't begin to make sense. She had been
rotting within her cell for seemingly forever.
Papius' words could have easily been lies. Iyah
couldn't see clearly anymore. If her Mug was alive,
then why wasn't he coming for her? She shivered
beneath his dreadful touch. Something inside of her
snapped and broke at his cruel, cruel words. "No!"
She reached out, grabbing his ankle with her hand.
"Don't touch her!! I won't let you touch her!" Her
aggression receded almost immediately like she was
too exhausted to maintain it. She didn't let go of
him. "I'll do anything! Let me be with my daughter!"
She cried. "*Callista*!" She yelled out into the
room. It was no use. Papius had her at her weakest.
When she grabbed at his ankle, Papius first
attempted to pull his leg away, but he did not waste
much effort. He took his good leg and swung it
around, kicking at her until she released him.
"You'll do anything?" he asked, as he looked down at
her pathetic form. "When the rescue for you comes
you'll have your chance to make yourself useful to
me," he said, before stepping out the door and
moving back into the corridor. An aide moved towards
him carrying a large stuffed bantha, which the
Governor took eagerly. "Right on time," he said,
before moving back into the room with the girls. "Callista,
I have a present for you," he said, as he placed the
giant bantha down on the ground. "But first, a hug,"
he requested, as he reached out and wrapped his arms
around her. He held her close to him, patting her
back, while staring at Iyah through the mirrored
After he kicked her several times, Iyah's hand
released. She recoiled on the ground, pawing at her
face where she hurt. "*Don't go*!" She yelled as the
door closed. The Rebel Commander sat in front of the
door, clawing at it with the tips of her fingers so
hard that they soon began to bleed. Her attention
was quickly drawn back to the transparent wall. She
crawled towards it. "No... Callista... No..." She
pressed her face against the wall. "Go back to your
uncle, Callista... Mama loves you so much."
The little girl was stuffed. "Eeeee. I ate
sooooooooooooooo much!" She patted her belly. The
food had been cleared between her and Ewwie. She
thought it couldn't get better until Parfait brought
in a cute, gigantic bantha plushie. Callista found
it in herself to let out a happy shrill as she raced
across the room towards him. He didn't have to ask
twice for a hug, because the bouncing little girl
was more than happy to give them out. "Oooo!! Thank
you! Thank you! Thank you!" Releasing him, the
little girl pounced the large stuffed toy. "You can
come to my tea parties, okay Mister Duke!?" She
patted the bantha on the head.
"I would love to go to your tea parties, Callista,"
Papius said, before looking towards Drusilla,
clearly reading the annoyance on her face. "But for
now I think it's time for you to go," he explained
to her, before moving his hand to the top of her
head to mess her hair. "But don't worry, you can
take your nerf with you," he told her, before
opening the door for him. "One last time, Callista,"
he said, as he turned her and the stuffed animal
towards the mirror. "Wave goodbye," he said, as look
of pure evil crept upon his face while waving at the
"Ugh. It's about time," Drusilla chirped, before
moving to collect Ewwiekewwieikkie, and moving with
her towards the door. The Governor had bribed her
with several garments from the fashionable boutiques
in Leiliani that he had seized during the ransacking
of the city. Originally, he had planned to give them
to Ashori, but they made a much better bribe for the
Grand Moff's youngest daughter. "Come on, Callista.
I need to get you back," she said, waiting for her
as the Governor played with her. What a creepy old
dude, she thought to herself, as her eyes moved
towards the chronometer.
"Awwwwwwwwww!" Callista pouted, showing that she
really had been spending a lot of time with the
Rodneys. "Okay!" She waved at the mirror. "Bye
bye!!!" It seemed like a fun game to her. Of her own
will, she squeezed Parfait one more time before
skipping away. "I have a meeting with the Ambassador
of Candyland!" She reminded Drusilla as they all
left together. She had no objections about going
back to the estate. She liked it there.
Several worlds away, Iyah was crying. The last wave
had broken her. She lay on the floor, withering away
as she cried for the family she had lost. Where was
Mug? Why did a Grand Moff have to be the protector
of her daughter? Why had she ever allowed herself to
come back to Delaya? Her hands gripped her head. Her
mind was shattered. Governor Papius may not know it,
but he had won a battle on Delaya; the one within