El-Nay Darr was standing over the bassinet containing
the young Darrus Rodney. Her orange helmet had been
placed aside, revealing her young face with her
artificial platinum dye job that was betrayed by her
visible roots from the close shave on either side of her
head. She knew that somewhere Marcus and Zara were
throwing down, but she was left to babysit. Shortly
after they left the baby woke up, and since the nanny
droid was in a state of disrepair, it was left to her to
deal with the situation. Raising her wrist gauntlet she
was able to project a holographic image of a basilisk,
an ancient beast her people once rode into battle. With
the aid of holographic representations she was able to
tell tales of her people and her clan going back to the
days of the Old Republic that, while suitable for
Mandalorian children, were much too violent for humans.
Still, they were the stories that she had grown up on,
which made her want to become a great warrior like her
ancestors, despite the misgivings of her father. While
Mandalore suffered under the yoke of the Empire she was
forced to travel the galaxy finding work as a mercenary.
This, too, she detailed to young Darrus, telling him
about all life's troubles, including her complicated
history with Kerrie. He was too young to understand and
had yet to utter a word so he could not reveal her
secrets, nor could he offer advice ... in a sense he was
the perfect person to talk to. "When are your parents
coming home?" she asked the boy, as she replayed a
holographic image of a battle with her parents during
the Mandalorian civil war. "That's my 'buir'," she said
to Darrus, as she showed him Odell Darr in his red super
Though Darrus was only two months old, El-Nay was
able to hold his interest. He lay within his bassinet,
focusing on the holographic images that she presented to
him. He made for the perfect listener despite the fact
that he didn't understand a lick of what she told him.
He offered the occasional smile, otherwise, El-Nay made
the time since his parents had disappeared pass. The
Nerf Herder was just settled on a landing pad at the
castle. From the cockpit, Zara felt relief. They were
home. Sia was home. Her daughter was already looking to
be much happier after a feeding, a changing, and a whole
lot of cuddle time between Zara and Marcus. After seeing
Sia in such a distressed state, Zara swore she'd never
let their daughter feel like that again. There was no
reason to believe that anything had happened to Darrus.
She had received no contact from El-Nay. Maybe the
Mandalorian had done a good job after all. Zara
collected Sia, then bent down and wrapped her arm around
Marcus to help him. "Sia and I are going to make you
feel all better once we get inside." She promised. It
seemed Marcus needed some help from his private nurse
and some snuggles from his baby girl.
Marcus spent the entire flight recuperating on one of
the racks in the rear of the Nerf Herder. He was doing
well until Zara landed the ship, which caused the ship
to momentarily jostle, stirring his insides one more
time. As he lay there he considered whether or not to
call the guard for assistance or perhaps a droid. No, he
thought to himself, as he began to sit up ... he had
gotten this far on his own and he would make it the rest
of the way as a matter of pride. "You had better,
because right now I feel *awful*," he said, as he
reached up for to grasp the bulkhead for support as he
pulled himself up. "The children are never leaving the
castle again. That's final," he informed Zara, as he
moved down from the ship to the landing pad with his
Marcus had proven himself to be the hero of her heart
for the millionth time inside of the bar. Now it was
time for Zara to do what she did best and help him
recover. The gritty fight with Luna was a reminder that
her old life was over. If Luna had killed her, then
Marcus wouldn't have a wife and their twins would be
motherless. "I'm not arguing. We have a garden. They can
enjoy natural sunlight there." The overprotective nature
of both parents would be in overdrive for who knew how
long. She did what she could to help Marcus as they
crept up the spire and returned to their quarters. It
was to Zara's greatest relief that she saw El-Nay and
Darrus *safe*. "Darrus!" She darted towards the
bassinet, showing her son Sia. "Look who mommy and daddy
got back!" Instead of letting Sia and her brother
reunite inside of the bassinet, she picked Darrus up and
held both children. There was a big, happy grin on her
face. "My babies!" She kissed each one on their
forehead. Her eyes diverted to Marcus, pointing at him.
"You! Go sit on the bed! You're injured!" Then, Zara
paid attention to El-Nay for the second time in her
life. "We got her." She reported, grin widening. "Thank
you for protecting Darrus. I missed him so much." The
pieces of her heart reconnected. She had her family
"I never said they could go outside," Marcus quickly
said to Zara, as they made their way up the endless
spiral staircase that led to their quarters. Each step
was laborious and he suddenly felt like Pilaq Tohan the
last time he had to ascend the stairs. When they got to
the bedroom and Zara darted off towards Darrus he was
suddenly left alone and nearly fell. "Hey!" he said,
before pouting in her direction as she chose to leave
him there to his own devices. "Yes, dear," he muttered,
as she instructed him to have a seat on the bed. When he
sat down he thought he could fall asleep right then and
there. He looked towards Zara, who was now holding
Darrus and Sia, and smiled over towards her. "Now help
me out of this armor," he pleaded with her, as he
allowed himself to lay down on the bed. It never felt as
comfortable as it did now.
El-Nay momentarily panicked when Marcus and Zara
arrived, and as Zara moved towards the baby she used it
as an opportunity to fetch her helmet and place it back
upon her head. She bowed obediently to Zara now that she
had regained some confidence thanks to the addition of
her helmet. "Is there any message you would like me to
relay to your in-laws?" she asked Zara, as she looked
towards the battered Marcus on the bed. "Looks like I
missed one heck of a fight," she said, sounding a little
jealous. "I trust that's the last we'll see of those
two?" she asked, perhaps a tad indelicately, because
Luna *was* Zara's sister after all. She could sense the
two needed to be alone, so she intended to leave as soon
as she had her answer.
She continued to cuddle both of her twins. The castle
was big enough. They could spend the rest of their lives
within its walls. Maybe Sia and Darrus would discover
more hidden passages. She lingered in front of El-Nay.
There was dried blood visible on her armor. She briefly
thought of Luna who she was convinced she had killed. At
the moment, holding Darrus and Sia, she felt *no*
regrets. It was the proper punishment for kidnapping
their baby. "Yeah, I'd be surprised if we *ever* saw
them again. Tell Sierra and Claudius thanks, okay? I owe
them one. Make sure you tell them Sia is back too." She
turned her head, kissing Sia for the millionth time
since recovering her. She felt a tinge of guilt for
being a jerk to El-Nay in the past. She wasn't so bad
... but Zara would never say it!
She approached the bed where her husband laid. She
bent over, settling each twin on the mattress beside
him. They were far from the edge of the bed and more
than content to rest with their father. Poor Sia looked
exhausted. It was assumed that she hadn't slept just
like her parents. Zara waited for El-Nay to leave before
she began working off Marcus' armor from the bottom up.
When she made it to his chest piece, she was extra
careful. "Broken ribs, huh?" She said as she continued
to work him down to just his boxers. "Is anywhere else
hurting? I was a little preoccupied and didn't get to
see much of your fight." She said. She sat down beside
him with her back facing him. "Unzip me please? Don't
ask how I used to zip myself alone." She was beaming
with pride for her husband. He had recovered from the
Imperial garrison incident so much that he'd been able
to fight against Petrus and help get Sia back. Because
of him, Sia was safe.
El-Nay nodded once to Zara, before turning to walk
towards the balcony. "Feel better," she said, politely,
before stepping out onto the balcony. She was not going
to go back through the castle with the way the Alderaan
Guard had treated her. Instead she activated her jetpack
and blasted off the balcony to return to her ship and
eventually to Esseles. She was glad they were able to
recover their daughter, even if she did not get to break
any skulls to make it happen.
Marcus nodded to El-Nay as she left, but remained
fixated on Zara and the twins. "Broken ribs," he
repeated, followed by a groan as she pulled at the armor
plates and began to strip him. "Easy. Easy," he told
her, as she revealed black and blue bruises on his side
and chest. "Hopefully it doesn't end up on the HoloNet,"
he told her, as he reached towards the zipper at the
back of her suit. He gave it a weak tug, but it did not
budge. "Ugh," he groaned, as he yanked, which finally
caused it to budge and slowly it ran down her back. "We
need to hire more guards," he told her, once he
completed unzipping her. He then shifted his position in
the bed so he could lay more comfortably. "Are you sure
she's alright? Should we summon Doctor Tohan or Doctor
Bailo?" he asked her, as he was very much still an
She was doing her best. Zara worried as she exposed
his fresh bruises. "Gosh, Marcus..." Her eyes fell. He
was right. No one was allowed to leave the castle
anymore. "I hope so too. Luna ripped off my helmet while
we were fighting." She gulped. If they were exposed on
the HoloNet, then all of their old enemies could come
out of the cracks. There would be more to worry about
than Luna and Petrus. Zara wanted to be out of her
armor. The smell of her sister's blood on it had been
bothering her since she sat down in the cockpit of their
ship. She wanted to distance herself from that part of
Sia's rescue. "Thanks, love." She said, rising from the
bed to begin working off her skin tight apparel.
"Agreed. We should do that tomorrow. I've thought of
some upgrades to make to Nana when I fix her too." She
pulled one arm out of her suit, then the other. She
looked down at Marcus and the twins. She, too, felt
worried about Sia.
Sia looked better, but you could never be too
careful. "Let's call for Doctor Bailo. I don't want to
kill Doctor Tohan asking him to climb up all those
stairs. I'm worried about her. I've never seen Sia so
worked up as she was." Now she was cuddling with her
brother just as they had inside of Zara's womb. She
stepped away from her family to use her comm to summon
Doctor Bailo. It was a quick call in which Doctor Bailo
confirmed that she'd be there immediately. "I'll be
back... No moving!" She threatened. Zara headed into the
bathroom. She paused at the mirror to look at the state
of disarray that she was in. The back of her silver hair
was stained with her own blood. Her armor was ruined by
Luna's. Discomfort started to form inside of her gut.
She forced herself to look away and rapidly undress. She
opted to only wear a robe for the time being. When she
felt like she had recollected herself, she grabbed a box
from underneath the sink with medical supplies in it.
She returned to the bedroom just as happiness began to
spread inside of her again. She had everyone she needed.
Luna was a vile weed that had been in her life for far
too long. She bent down and began tending to Marcus'
wounds gently. "I love you."
Marcus lay on the bed unwilling to move ... unable to
move. "Maybe ... maybe she should look at me too," he
suggested, as she was coming all this way anyway. With
Zara gone he did his best to extend his arms and legs,
spreading out on the bed and trying to become as
comfortable as possible. "I love you too," he said, as
soon as she returned to him. "I'm sorry for what you
went through," he said, as he smiled over at her. To
fight to the death with one's sibling was something he
could not possibly imagine going through. He had his
feuds with Claudius over the years, but everything
between them paled in comparison to what Luna and Zara
had just went through. "As soon as the doctor says Sia
is okay we should return to the sea islands or the
chalet," he suggested, as he needed a vacation to
mentally and physically recover from the war he had just
been put through.
"I planned on it. She's a professional, I'm not."
Zara perched herself on the bed beside him. She sighed,
"Marcus, it had to be done. Luna showed me that she
wasn't going to stop any other way." The confidence in
her decision eventually would fall apart. For now, that
decision meant that Darrus and Sia would never be
kidnapped by their aunt again. "I'm sorry Petrus messed
you up. What a...jerkface." Zara said, being mindful of
the presence of their sweet, innocent babies. "Let's go
back to the sea islands. Sia never got to see the fish.
She was busy being a cutie sleepy butt." She reached
over, running her fingers through Marcus' hair. "Well,
we got the taste of bounty hunter life again. Do you
miss it?" She asked him.
Marcus listened silently as Zara discussed her
sister, not really knowing what to say. "It's over now,"
he told her, trying to sound optimistic and encouraging.
"I'll heal up," he reassured her, as he grabbed hold of
the mattress and began pulling himself up into a seated
position. Once he was upright he found it slightly more
difficult to breath, but at least he could look across
the room towards where the twins were cuddling. "Aww.
Well, she needs to see them," he told her, as he brought
his hand up to gently caress her face. The last question
she asked him gave him pause, as he was not sure how to
best answer it. "It is good to know that I could still
do it, but that chapter of my life is over. I am a
husband and a father now," he told her, though there was
some remorse in his voice. Perhaps he missed it a
She sighed. She'd heal up too...emotionally. Being in
the field again had been overwhelming for her. Of
course, Zara was more about stealth, stealing, and being
sneaky. She wasn't physically capable, or good enough
with weapons, to have ever bounty hunted for a living.
She did, however, fear that she had taken him away from
something. He was bored of being an idle noble, which
had brought him to become the Nerf Herder...but he'd
become an idle noble again, with an Imperial Governor
hovering over him. Zara rose from the bed. She rubbed at
her aching head. Maybe she'd have Doctor Bailo look at
her too. She could hear what remorse was in his voice.
It fueled her belief that she had driven him away from a
life he wanted. She placed distance between them with
the knowledge that he was too hurt to chase her. "I... I
wouldn't blame you if you wanted to go back out there on
a regular basis. It wasn't like you got much of a choice
in hanging up your armor. Life changed quickly." She
stood over the twins. She was sure the Doctor would
arrive soon to check on her baby girl.
Even if Marcus had to crawl he would not let Zara get
away. When she moved away he attempted to follow her,
despite the pain in his side where he was sure Petrus
had broken a rib or three. The first step he took was
nearly the last, but as he stumbled he managed to secure
his footing. "That part of my life is over. You're my
life now. You and Darrus and Sia," he reassured her, as
he came up behind her and delicately wrapped an arm
around her. "I have a family to take care of and, if
possible, a planet to save," he reminded her, as their
meeting with Commander Xergo had been cut short. As he
stood there behind her he hoped the doctor would arrive
soon. The sooner they were sure that Sia was alright the
better they would both feel.
He surprised her. Not only did he chase her, he
*captured* her. The stress of the last 24 hours was
wearing on her. She *needed* Doctor Bailo to tell her
Sia and Marcus were okay in order to feel better. Her
hand ran over his, fingers locking with his briefly. She
turned her head to look at him. There were tears in her
eyes. It had been the hardest day in her life so far.
She needed his reassurance, and his love, to see the day
through to the end. "Marcus..." She sniffed. As she
slowly turned around, there was a knock on the door.
Doctor Bailo had arrived. Zara slipped an arm around the
upper part of Marcus' chest to avoid hurting him any
further. "Come in!" She called, helping him back to the
bed. She was relieved just to see Alessandra. "Doctor
Bailo, *please* check on Sia. She was kidnapped..." Zara
choked on the word.
Doctor Bailo felt out of breath by the time she
reached the top of the castle spire. She felt for Pilaq,
who had made the same unfortunate trip up the stairs the
day the twins had been born. She had a medical droid
with her, along with her own bag of supplies. She made
her way into the Duke and Duchess' quarters. She had
heard of Lady Sia's kidnapping. The curse of the House
of Rodney seemed never ending. "Lady Zara, Lord Marcus.
I heard of Lady Sia. I'm so sorry." Only a truly evil
person would kidnap a child. She could see that both
parents were looking battered and on edge. The Ithorian
directed her attention over to the silver-haired child.
Her droid conducted a full scan of Sia's body while
Doctor Bailo did a check up of her own. "Lady Sia is
well." She confirmed after far too long. "See that she
rests well tonight. She looks to need it." Her parents
looked like they needed it too. Alessandra left Sia and
turned her attention on Marcus. "Milord." She said,
shocked that he was so injured. Alessandra didn't need
the two of them to put the pieces together. The Duke and
Duchess were not idle parents.
Marcus was relieved to see that Doctor Bailo had
arrived to check on Sia. He inhaled when she arrived,
but did not exhale until she informed him that his
daughter was alright. "Oh thank goodness," he said, as
he gave his wife a reassuring squeeze and then a kiss
upon her cheek. "Did you hear that, my love? She's
okay!" he said, as he shed a tear of joy at the
realization that his baby was fine. "We'll be sure and
see that she gets a lot of rest, doctor," he said, as
his look alternated between the Ithorian and his wife.
It seemed that the doctor's attention was now focused on
him, which caused him to backpedal until he was able to
sit down on the bed. "I think I might have some damage
to my ribs," he said, as he lifted his left arm to
reveal the bruising. As he lifted the arm he gasped from
the sharpness of the pain. He grimaced, finding it a
difficult process to keep the arm elevated. That Petrus
could really throw a punch.
Doctor Bailo had delivered the news everyone needed
to hear. Zara began to cry. Her sister hadn't hurt their
daughter. Sia was okay! "She's okay!" Zara repeated,
kissing his cheek. She didn't squeeze him in fear of
hurting him. The weight of worry had mostly been taken
off of her. She had been terrified that there would be
long term damage to Sia. That was a thought she couldn't
even mentally handle. She sat on the bed beside Marcus.
She held his other hand. "She's okay..." Zara reminded
herself, glancing towards her baby girl. She could tell
that Sia was happy to be home too. This was right where
The female Ithorian 'hmmed' through both of her mouth
as she put her medical droid to work. From her bag, she
collected a bacta patch to help him with the pain, as
well as compression wraps. She waited for the medical
droid to beep, then she looked over the scan. Her finger
prodded at the image. "It appears there are three broken
ribs. Did you get into a fight with a wrecking ball,
milord?" She gently placed the bacta patch to the
darkest of his bruises, then she began the careful,
uncomfortable, task of wrapping the compression wraps
around his midsection. "You will also need rest. I
recommend you get yourself into a bacta tank soon. It'll
take six weeks for your ribs to heal naturally, and you
won't be able to perform any... *acrobatics* until
you're fully healed. The bacta tank will have you healed
in hours." She looked at Zara while she was still
working. "You too, milady?"
"No, doctor. The wrecking ball appears to be on our
side," Marcus replied, referring to El-Nay. "I did
battle with a demon ... of a sort," he informed her, as
the bacta batch was applied, causing him to *yelp* and
flinch for a moment. As the wrap was completed he
lowered his arm, which allowed him to breath more
easily. "I will do so, doctor ... now please, look to my
wife," he said, as he raised his eyes to look across at
Zara. He hoped neither of them would ever have to go
through what just happened again. The temporarily loss
of Sia had broken his heart, and he had broken his body
to bring her back ... but he would do it again in a
heartbeat. His family meant everything to him and no
physical pain he felt compared to the pain he felt when
Sia was gone.
Zara had been ousted, and now Doctor Bailo was headed
towards her with her droid. "A demon, hmm?" She was very
curious what these two had gone through to get their
child back. All in all, Alessandra didn't blame them for
taking matters into their own hands. She stood behind
Zara, looking at her head. It looked like she had taken
blow after blow. "Scan her." She commanded the droid.
"Both of you *need* to rest." She warned sternly as she
stared down at the information the droid gave her.
"Milady, it is good you called me and not Doctor Tohan."
She could only imagine the kind of sass he'd lay down.
Unknown to Alessandra, that sass was starting to wear
off on her. "You have suffered a concussion from all the
blows to your head." She reached into her kit and began
cleaning Zara's wound. "You'll experience headaches for
the next couple of days. I will leave you with some
medication to help. If the symptoms get worse, you
*need* to contact me." She looked at Marcus. "Don't let
her do anything until she feels better." She threatened,
grasping a bottle of pills which she gave Zara.
Alessandra then closed up her bag. "I will visit again
in a few days to check up on everyone. I expect you two
to not be worse." She would bring Pilaq with her next
time. They tended to listen to him.
"A concussion?!" Marcus exclaimed, with growing
concern, as he wondered just what happened between Zara
and Luna while he was preoccupied with his own life and
death struggle. "Come sit down," he pleaded with Zara,
as he patted the bed next to him. He had no idea she had
been hurt so badly, and suddenly he felt embarrassed
that he had been seen to first. "Thank you for coming,
doctor," he told the Ithorian, but his eyes never left
Zara. "Does it hurt?" he asked her, growing with
concern, as he watched his wife's every move. If he had
his way she would never leave the castle again either.
She would take the concussion over what would have
happened had she not defended herself against her
sister's swords. As Zara settled on the bed beside
Marcus, Doctor Bailo nodded and left them to be alone.
The family had endured a lot and needed time to be
alone. "It's okay, don't worry." She ran her fingers
through her silver hair. "I have a headache but it's
okay. I promise." Zara was concerned about him too. She
wanted to get him in a bacta tank so he wouldn't have to
hurt anymore. "Luna removed my helmet while we were
fighting and hit my head on the ground a few times.
Ugh." She slowly laid back on the bed. She opened her
arms up to him so he could cuddle with her.
Marcus listened to her describe the battle with her
sister, which caused a concerned look to form upon his
weary face. He lay down beside her, wrapping his arm
gently around her to avoid aggravating his injury. "I
love you," he told his wife, before moving his face
closer towards hers so he could press his lips against
hers. "We're going to be okay," he promised her, as he
raised his arm to brush some hair out of her face. She
was as beautiful as the first day he saw her when she
infiltrated the castle to steal his chrono. As he looked
across at her he smiled, before exhaling in a content
sigh with the knowledge that his family ... his entire
family ... was safe and sound and under the same roof.
She did what she could to keep her husband
comfortable while still keeping him close. "I love you
too." She leaned over him to kiss him. It was what she
needed to unleash the last of the stress she was still
holding in. Sia, Darrus, and Marcus formed her world.
She needed all three of them...and now she had them
again. Zara settled into the bed. "We always are." Since
that fateful day, they had endured so much and continued
to stay together. Zara was so happy to have Marcus.
"Thank you." She whispered, closing her eyes with a
large smile on her face. Her heart was complete again.