Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:7:31) in the Essesia system: Esseles (Larius Lacus: Sierra Rodney's lakehouse and New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate), Kwai, and Nerf Herder.
Doctor Alessandra Bailo, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Duke Marcus Rodney, Major Sierra Rodney, and Doctor Pilaq Tohan.

"Do you think everything is alright?" Marcus Rodney asked as the G-1A starfighter descended through the atmosphere of Esseles towards Larius Lacus. The fact that his brother and sister-in-law had summoned them was initially a bit startling, but when the coordinates guided them not to the estate, nor even the ship, but to a remote location he grew slightly concerned. "Do you think something happened to the children?" he asked, as he began piloting the ship towards the landing platform. The area that they were descending in was a picturesque lake nestled within a mountain valley, but despite its natural beauty it did not compare to the sea islands to him. Still, he was glad his family had found something to replace their last home on Delaya. As he landed the ship he reached to the weapons locker in the center console. His hand hovered over his Model 434 blaster pistol, but he did not collect it, instead his hand hovered over to it. He looked towards Zara but did not ask the question, instead he simply said it with his eyes.

The message from Sierra and Claudius could have been perceived in so many ways. The terrible luck that the House of Rodney possessed quickly convinced Zara Rodney that something bad had happened to her family on Esseles...but *what*? She spent the trip to Esseles nervously anticipating bad news. "I... I don't know. There's so much that could have gone wrong. They gave us *no* additional information. Do you think they're on the run from the Empire or something?" Zara commented as she looked down on the very remote location that they had been taken to. She felt uncomfortable, and this discomfort had led her to leave the twins in the capable hands on their nanny droid. Zara gazed towards the Model 434 blaster pistol, then looked at her husband. Slowly, she nodded her head. They needed to be prepared if something had gone terribly wrong. "I hope they are okay.." She anxiously unbuckled herself and rose from her seat. She grasped Marcus' hand with her own. "Do you think we should have brought Pilaq too?"

Marcus was dressed in a shirt not too dissimilar from what he wore on his wedding day, black with accents in the House of Rodney's chosen shade of red. "I don't know if Pilaq's heart can take whatever it is we're about to hear," he said to her, as he lowered his hand into the weapon's locker, picked up the Model 434, and hid it within his clothes. Together they rose and moved towards the lift, which lowered them down to the surface of Esseles. The air felt not too hot, but not too cool, it was like something out of a fairytale, which was why he assumed Claudius and Sierra had chose it. He turned his head to Zara, giving her a half smile, before taking her hand and moving down the path to the simple lakehouse whose coordinates they had been given.

Zara's mind had come up with a million different reasons for the call. She worried something had happened to one of the children, or Sierra had miscarried because it seemed like that lady was *always* doing something. Zara gulped nervously. Hand in hand, Zara and Marcus departed down the lift towards the lakehouse. It was really pretty, Zara thought. She preferred Delaya to it as well. When they reached the door, Zara didn't even have to knock. As she lifted her hand, the door opened.

Sierra Rodney had been anxiously waiting for Marcus to arrive. He was the last piece of the puzzle; the final person who could give them answers. She had hovered near the window, along with the black and white felinx which had recently joined the family. "I wonder what Marcus will have to say for himself.." Sierra grumbled. She was stuffy-nosed and still not feeling particularly good after eating so much sugar. Sierra was worried about how everything would go. The House of Rodney was beginning to crack as they uncovered the family's deceit. "They're here.." She announced, moving towards the front door. "Come in, come in." She said, allowing them access to her and Claudius' hidey hole. "Thank you for coming so quickly. There's something important we want to talk to you about."

Claudius was seated, staring into the fireplace, despite the fact that it was not lit. He was silent, nor did he pay them the respect of rising when they entered, nor did he even give them a verbal greeting or spoken acknowledgment. *This* was going to be hard, so he had elected for his wife to start, as she was less emotionally connected to the situation, and had the added advantage of being a trained psychologist. They were here ... he would have his answers soon ... but did he want to hear them. His facial expression was weary, and he looked to have aged given the developments of the past few days. He was giving off an impression that would make Zara and Marcus fear the worst.

"Don't get up," Marcus said to Claudius, in a joking manner, having not yet seen Claudius face. When he finally did he cringed, not understanding what was going on, but given Claudius' expression he immediately feared it involved the children. He had yet to let go of Zara's hand, and frankly he would not, until the matter became more clear. "What has happened..." he said to Claudius and Sierra, but his attention was focused on Zara. He had a bad feeling about this.

It was uncomfortably tense inside of the little home. Zara felt unwelcome as she stepped in. One could practically see the doom clouds in formation over Claudius' head. Uh oh, she thought. "Hi Sierra," she said with a dry mouth. The seriousness of the situation really settled in when she saw the age on Claudius' face. Something *terrible* had happened to their family. Zara clutched Marcus' hand tighter. "We got the message... We're here for you guys if you need anything."

Marcus' joke may have well been answered by crickets. Sierra drew herself away from the door to sit on the arm of Claudius' chair. Her hand made its way into his. This conversation was not going to be easy. *She* was tasked with starting it. "While *we* were in Delaya to oversee Gaius' trial, we were presented with a video from Arden Zevrin, as you know. It showed Livia and Julius conspiring with a Rebel general, as well as Jelena... I spoke to Jelena about what had happened. She said a certain bounty hunter had delivered her to Delaya... El-Nay confirmed that hunter was you, Marcus." Sierra accused, her voice turning rough. "Why? How could you betray your own brother like that?"

Marcus blinked when he heard what Sierra said, not at all expecting to have been brought here to be questioned. "What?" he asked, as he tilted his head, as if unable to believe what he just heard. "Now I need to sit down," he said, as he moved, still clutching Zara, to a loveseat where they could both be somewhat comfortable. "I did *not* betray my brother, I saved my niece," he said to Sierra, with a bit of resentment in his voice, not wanting to be accused. "Jelena was on Esseles afraid, being hunted by the Empire. If I had returned to Claudius someone wearing one of your ISB uniforms would have tortured her, no matter how much he wanted to prevent it," he continued, as he looked from Sierra to his brother. "And, in fact, when they finally did catch up to her on Rhinnal that's exactly what they did to her. And Claudius wasn't able to stop them. Delaya was the best place for her," he said, defending his actions with reason and logic.

Sierra was offended that he would dare point out her uniform when he was on trial here. "Was it your place to decide that Delaya was best? In saving Jelena, you *did* betray your brother. You decided to make the choice for him, and because of that, ultimately, she's in New Aldera, far, *far* away from us." Sierra *was* close enough to the situation to feel emotional about it. "And what of your parents? How long did they conspire behind his back? Why did we have to learn all these things from Arden Zevrin and not *you*?" She said Arden's name with disgust in her voice. She hated that woman above all others.

"I love Claudius ... he's my brother, but I also love Jelena," Marcus said, as he rose from the seat, now that he felt as if he were being attacked. "She's not just far, far away from you, Sierra. She's far from the Empire that would torture her and execute her," he said, as his voice grew in intensity. "I saw what they did to Delaya. I've seen what men like Papius Arundel and women like Min Traebor are capable of first hand. I was held within your very own oversector by Imperial Intelligence," he said, before squeezing Zara's hand. "We both were. They tortured your last wife. They put a bomb on Jelena's heart. What haven't they done? When will you wake up?" he shouted at Claudius, who had thus been far been silent in the chair. "I had no idea that mother and father would link her up with the Rebellion. I only knew they would keep her safe," he said, as he brought his arms up in front of his chest and folded them.

Claudius had remained silent long enough. He rose from the chair at about the same time Marcus did, his jaw clenched so tight that his teeth were in danger of cracking. "You had no right!" he said, as he stepped forward, coming between Marcus and Sierra. "She is *my* daughter. Who is to say what would have happened? If you had brought her to me I would have protected her," he said, as he shook his head in disgust. "You have destroyed my relationship with her. You have endangered her further by driving her into the heart of the Rebel Alliance..." he said, before stopping mid-sentence, and grabbing at his chest. "Sierra..." he cried, as he crumpled back to the chair he had just been sitting in.

Zara watched the escalation. All of this was new news to her. She had only met Jelena just once. She and Marcus had never really discussed her too much. Zara felt that Jelena belonged on New Aldera because no one wanted to hurt her there. The ISB had made it out like she died... How good could they be? She could see both brothers growing more and more angry with each other. It seemed Marcus had finally cracked, unable to handle his brother's deep association with the Empire. Zara rose to her feet with the intent of stepping between them. "Marcus!" She called out to him to snap him out of it. "We should go... Nana is waiting for us." She began to suggest. She sided with her husband on this matter. Min Traebor had extracted Marcus and Zara from their home and held them against their will... She clung to Marcus a little harder.

Anger was erupting all around them. Sierra was on her feet, taking steps to get into her brother's face. She felt for her husband, who had been lied to and deceived over and over again. Now she was here to defend him...and to save him from ever having to go through such an ordeal again. Sierra was ready to unleash a second attack on Marcus when something happened that changed *everything*. Claudius clutched his chest and appeared to be in pain ... a lot of it. Sierra crumpled. The conversation they were having didn't matter anymore. "Claudius!" She shot to his side to help him into the chair. Panic started to rise inside of Sierra as she regretted not becoming a medical doctor over a mental doctor. Tears rolled down her cheeks uncontrollably. He was having a heart attack. She grasped him with shaking hands. "It's okay, it's okay. It's going to be okay." She blubbered, looking up at Marcus. "Get help!" She cried. She held her husband tight. This was one situation that Sierra didn't know how to handle. They needed Doctor Tohan.

Marcus kept right on glaring at his brother, unwilling to retreat, unwilling to be pulled away by his wife, despite the fact that it was probably for the best. Suddenly Claudius was fading, looking piqued, and was back in the chair. He stopped speaking and all of the color left his cheeks. He froze. He was in a panic. "Zara, wha-" he started, and then stopped, as he listened to Sierra and moved for his comlink. Unfortunately, in his haste, he knocked the Model 434 blaster pistol he had hidden from himself, which awkwardly crashed upon the floor. There was time to explain that later, but for now he needed a doctor. "Doctor Tohan, emergency. Come right away!" he pleaded on the comm, while his eyes never left his brother.

Doctor Tohan was at the Rodney estate making sure that Melickielickie was well, as she was due for a checkup, and the sickness needed to be left after. For some reason Ewwiekewwieikkie had been asking him how many spoons he was getting for his visit, but he did not understand the meaning of it. When he heard Marcus over the comm he groaned, as he had only just been out to the castle. "I am over 80 standard years old. Who do these people think I am?" he asked Alessandra, on full sass mode. "Yes, Marcus?" he replied over the comm. No Duke. No Milord. Just Marcus, the young man he first met more than two decades ago. He was too old for titles.

Zara had never expected to make Claudius die. She didn't know what to do, and thus she did *everything* wrong. She stood by Sierra, offering pillows and blankets. "Does he need water? Does he need food? Does he need *anything*!? She bit down on her lower lip nervously. She overheard her sister-in-law coughing from her flu and wondered if Sierra was beginning to die too. "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh." She hyperventilated. As the pistol crashed to the floor, it brought on a dramatically loud sound that surely everyone noticed, but no one seemed to say anything about. Zara darted towards Marcus, grabbing the comm. "*Pilaq*!" She yelled. "Claudius is dying! Hurry up! Come quick! Something's wrong with his heart!" In Zara's mind, these words were spoke with some levelness to them. In reality, she was screaming into the comm trying to talk the old Ithorian into flying to see them. "Here are the coordinates! Hurry! I don't know what to do!" She cried desperately.

In the Rodney Estate, Doctor Bailo was wondering why there was an open bag of sugar that looked to be half-eaten sitting next to Melickielickie. She could hear the conversation going on between Pilaq and Marcus. She wondered if the young, anxious father had experienced something new with the twins. She chuckled to herself, but quickly stopped when she heard Zara yelling words like ‘dying' ‘wrong' and ‘heart'. She quickly gathered up her medical bag. "We must leave *now*." She grabbed Pilaq's hand to aid him in quickly reaching their transport.

"Marcus... Help me lay him down.." Sierra was trying to recall everything she knew about heart attacks. For the first time, her mind went blank. She was terrified. How long would it take Doctor Tohan to arrive? Was Claudius going to be okay until then? Her heart ached badly.

It took Marcus a moment to react to what Sierra was saying, as if everything was occurring with a delay. He moved to the chair where Claudius was seated, and took hold of him, moving him to the sofa where he could be laid out. "We should take his boots off," he said, as he moved down his brother's body and began to roughly pull the constrictive boots from his feet. He was not sure what was going on, as he was not an experienced medical professional. Was his brother dying right in front of his eyes? Had he caused a fatal heart attack? He looked from Sierra to Zara before his eyes suddenly came to a stop on Claudius. He felt miserable.

The transit between the Rodney estate on the outskirts of New Calamar and the lakehouse on Larius Lacus was quick, but even a short journey had its effects on the venerable Doctor Tohan. He was sitting in the back of the shuttle, eyes clothes, breathing shallowly in an attempt to regain his composure for what was about to come. There was always *something* going on with the House he served, giving him little time to rest. As the ship touched down on the increasingly crowded landing platform, he wasted no time in rising and heading towards the ramp. With walking stick in one hand, and medical bag in the other, he began moving towards the lakehouse. This was not a time for formalities, so he barged into the lakehouse, whose small size made it easy for him to locate his patient. "Step aside," he told everyone, as he began examining Claudius' vitals.

Sierra knelt down in front of the sofa near her husband's head. Her hand slipped into his while the other unbuttoned his collar to ensure he wasn't being constricted anywhere. Her whole body was shaking with her sobs. Claudius had such a hard life as it was. The developments concerning Jelena had been far too much for him. Attacking Marcus had been a stupid idea which she now regretted. "Doctor Tohan is coming.. He's going to make everything better.. It's going to be okay." She kept repeating those words like a broken record because she could say nothing else to make this better. Sierra could fight away any external sources of pain for Claudius, but this was out of her control. She looked towards Marcus, tears streaming down her face. "He'll be here soon. He *has* to be here soon."

Zara was no medical professional either. She had taken care of herself when there were accidents on the job. However, she had no experience with anything like this. "Oh my gosh... Um... I'll be right back!" Zara quickly ran off back towards their ship. She raided all the medical supplies that they still had hidden within the Nerf Herder. She brought them back into the lakehouse, emptying her arms on the floor. She quickly began picking through everything. "There's gotta be something..." There wasn't. Bandage, bacta patches, and painkillers weren't going to do *anything* for her husband's brother. When she realized this, she came to stand beside Marcus. She grasped his arm tightly.

Doctor Bailo arrived immediately behind Doctor Tohan. She had activated a medical droid for additional assistance. It zoomed towards where Claudius lay on the floor. "Please give him some room." She told Marcus, Zara, and Sierra, only Sierra did not release her hold on Claudius' hand. The Ithorian doctor frowned. The House of Rodney was cursed, but even this was too much. She patted Sierra's back softly.

What the medical instruments could not tell him, Pilaq's six decades as a physician could. He knew it was not a heart attack, but that Claudius was instead having a panic attack. As a result they were dealing with something psychological rather than physical and therefore there was but one treatment. "Move aside. All of you," he said, as he rose to his feet and stood over Claudius. Then, without warning, he brought down the head of his walking stick and hit Claudius firmly on the head with it. "Claudius, take hold of yourself. There are women present. You're frightening them," he said, with his usual prescription of sass.

The moment the walking stick connected with Claudius' forehead he seemed to get better, the color returned to his face, and his pupils looked less dilated. "Huh? What?" he asked, as he looked around at everyone standing over him including, now, Doctors Tohan and Bailo. He had not remembered anything that happened the last several moments, and began to attempting to sit up before being denied movement by Pilaq's walking stick. "What's the matter with all of you?" he asked, as his eyes moved to each of them individually, before stopping on Sierra.

Finally, Sierra stepped aside. She stood at Marcus' free side, now holding his hand for support. The horrible, helpless feeling inside of her was overwhelming now that she wasn't in physical contact with Claudius. She watched Doctor Tohan use unconventional methods with her husband. She was far too upset to realize, even then, that it was a panic attack and *not* a heart attack. Somehow, someway, Pilaq managed to bring Claudius back. He changed very rapidly from sickly to normal. Sierra broke away from Marcus and Zara to arrive back at her love's side. She wrapped her arms around him gently. The tears came even harder now that he was back. "T-There was some problem with your heart." She explained. Her head turned towards Pilaq. "What h-happened? Is he okay?" She felt like *she* was going to have a heart attack at the moment!

"There was a problem with his heart?" Pilaq asked Sierra, half tempted to give her a bump on the noggin with his stick as well. "There was no problem with his heart. There was a problem with his brain. As a psychologist you of all people should have known!" he said, as he brought the base of his staff down upon the floor twice to accentuate his point. "He will be fine. As for me? That is uncertain," he told her, before beginning to walk out of the lakehouse, making audible grumbles from both of his mouths.

Claudius felt he needed a glass of water, but was in no position to rise up and get one. "I don't ... my heart?" he asked, as he brought his hand up to the fresh bump on his head. "It's my head that hurts," he told Sierra, as he rubbed his head repeatedly. "I'm alright... I'm alright..." he told her, repeatedly, as he began to sit up once Pilaq had moved on and was no longer holding him down with the walking stick. He slowly began to remember the conversation about Jelena, and started to get agitated again. If he were not careful he would get another whack on the head for his troubles.

She looked hurt by Pilaq. She was a psychologist, but she was hardly prepared for something so serious to happen to Claudius. Both of the ancient Ithorians left. Sierra realized that this was her place of expertise. *She* needed to help her husband. Her small hands pressed into his chest to force him back down, "Don't get up yet." She look at Marcus. "Don't let him get up." Sierra quickly rose to retrieve Claudius a glass of water. In the kitchen, she stopped to take a deep breath before they needed to call Doctor Tohan for her. When she came back, she noted that he was growing agitated again. Rubbing the tears from her eyes, she did her best to resume her position of his mental support. She offered him the water. "You have to stay calm otherwise it will happen again.." Her head turned to Marcus and Zara. "Please leave us."

Marcus moved to hold Claudius down so he would not rise prematurely and injure himself. He remained in this position until Sierra returned and asked him to leave. He did not say anything, but simply nodded his head to Sierra quietly and began moving from the lakehouse. As he did so, he reached out, taking Zara's hand and beginning to lead her out. "That was ... that was not at all what I expected," he said, to his wife, once they were out of the lakehouse and on their way back to the Nerf Herder. Another rift had developed between the brothers, and he was not sure if it could be repaired. "Damn that El-Nay and her big mouth," he said, shaking his head, as he helped his pregnant wife back onto the ship. "Let's go home," he pleaded with her, as he watched the doctors head to their own ship. "I can't believe they're a couple now," he said to her, in a low voice so that they could not hear.

Claudius raised his head only high enough so that he would not choke as he drank the water. "I'm trying to stay calm, but..." he began, but stopped himself, so he would not get further worked up. "Well, that went well," he said, after a long pause, before allowing his bruised head to fall back upon the pillow. "So the orange menace told the truth," he said, quietly, as he looked up at the clouds through the skylight. "Who hit me?" he asked, as again his hand felt its way up to his forehead. His thoughts dwelled on Jelena, the sense of betrayal on the part of Marcus and his parents opened a fresh wound within him. He was also angry at himself for being unable to see the deception.

Zara felt miserable for Marcus. They had both come to Esseles in a fit of worry to have *that* happen. The young Duchess tossed a cold glare to her sister on the way out. Now a new rift divided the brothers of the House of Rodney. "Me either..." She frowned. "Will you tell me more about what happened? It doesn't matter what they said, you *did* do the right thing. What were you gonna do? Let El-Nay kill her?" She wanted to go home. Home was a place far, far away from family problems. Sia and Darrus certainly weren't going to surprise them with a heavy conversation when they arrived back at the castle. Zara snorted at Marcus' comment. "I made that." She said. Zara was a proud matchmaker.

Inside of the lakehouse, Sierra had begun to breathe properly again. She ran her fingers through her husband's hair slowly and set aside the water when he was finished with it. "So it seems." She sighed. "It was Pilaq who hit you. He's becoming a menace with that walking stick.." And he gave *her* sass for not properly diagnosing Claudius? Her hands worked down his face slowly. "I know you're thinking about everything soon. Don't bottle it up. Talk to me. I won't let you go through another panic attack." If he kept it inside, the recent developments would only tear him apart more than they already had.

Once back on the Nerf Herder, Marcus sat down and reflected on the turbulent days following Jelena's defection. "Claudius' bodyguard slash attack dog, Kerrie, was once an assassin," he explained, as he gave her the backstory. "We had crossed paths before, but she never knew my identity. When she joined up with the Empire she helped create a database on the bounty hunters she had worked with," he informed her, as his thoughts lingered on what had just happened to his brother. "When Jelena defected he shot Kerrie in order to escape. Nearly killed her. Claudius went through her files and contacted some of the bounty hunters to track down Jelena. Me and El-Nay were among those who showed up," he continued, before reaching down to his canteen and taking a swig of water. "I knew El-Nay and Kerrie were involved to some extent, so I could not trust her to bring in Jelena on the outside chance she actually found her. So I had her team up with me. We eventually tracked her to here on Esseles," he explained, as he continued his side of the story. "Jelena was frightened, still had the blaster she used to shoot Kerrie, and she shot me not knowing *I* was the Nerf Herder. I couldn't take her to Claudius, because I knew what the Empire would do to Jelena. Delaya was the safest spot for her. I have no regrets," he told his wife, nodding his head a few times.

"Struck down my own doctor ... figures," Claudius said, with a snicker, as he took another sip of water. "My own family did not trust me and conspired behind my back to keep my daughter from me," he explained to Sierra, before finally deciding to risk sitting up all the way. Her hands on her face soothed him, and kept him from getting upset again. "Marc us a bounty hunter? Who would have thought? I've seen him fall trying to get out of a speeder," he commented, before moving back for another sip of water. "I could not see it. I could not see any of it," he confessed to his wife and for him, as a proud man, his incompetence was the hardest part to bare.

Zara came to stand in front of him. She was worried. She'd seen Claudius punch Marcus once and it left less damage than this did. Now she knew why Marcus could understand the complex relationship she had once had with her sister...though, Luna pushed things so much further than Claudius ever had. She listened to him talk about the database of bounty hunters, and being hired alongside El-Nay to find Jelena. Marcus was *right*, because look at what the Emperor had done to Jelena. In shifting through Imperial files, Zara had learned a lot about what the family endured. People like Arden Zevrin had tried to blow Jelena up...and for some time, everyone had been convinced that she succeeded. Hearing all of the insanity that surrounded the Imperials made Zara want to keep their family further away from it. She leaned forward, kissing his forehead. "Good. If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't regret it either. Maybe... Maybe one day your brother will wake up and see that too. He's just all brain washed by the Empire." Her arms wrapped around him in a tight squeeze. She felt so bad for him.

After such an intensely stressful afternoon, the mental image Claudius placed in her head of Marcus falling out of her speeder made her start laughing. Hard. "Oh my." Their son was doomed. They'd need to replace all the flooring in the estates with something padded when the poor boy began learning how to walk. "I can't say as I know if Marcus is a *good* bounty hunter or not..." Sierra squeezed onto the sofa right next to him. "It was not an easy time in your life, my Claudius. You're so bad about beating yourself up. If you don't stop it, I'm going to borrow Doctor Tohan's walking stick.." She leaned in, kissing his forehead. "Keep in mind what you just said, that you've seen Marcus fall out of a speeder. He didn't know what he was doing."

Claudius sat on the sofa silently as he listened to Sierra's theory concerning his brother's actions. He *needed* her to be right, or there would be an irreconcilable divide between the brothers. "We need to get passed this," he said to her, as he leaned over, using her for support as he nestled in with her. "I want to go to our home. I want to hold my son," he told her, knowing that for the good of everyone he needed to move past the Jelena situation. She was gone and nothing would bring her back. Agonizing over what led to her being gone would provide no positive outcome. He needed to focus on what he had, instead of dwelling on what he lost. When the war was over and the Rebellion destroyed he would have his daughter back.

"We will get passed this..." They *had* to. Her arms provided him with a place to hide as well as all the support she could muster. Her head bent down to kiss his forehead. "We'll go home right now. He'll be happy to see us again." Jelena could not be saved immediately. It didn't matter how badly they wanted it to be that easy. Jelena wouldn't see the light until the Rebels had lost the war. For the time being, they needed to hold onto the family that had remained on Esseles. Sierra wasted no time in helping him to his feet and leading him back towards the shuttle. Before she sat down at the controls, she paused to kiss him. "I'm here with you, Claudius. I won't let this storm sweep you away." With that, she sat and began piloting the transport back to home sweet home.

"Just hold my hand like the otter. That way we'll get swept away together," Claudius asked her, as they moved towards the transport. He could barely feel his feet touching the ground as he walked, for he had been put through so much, including a nasty bump on the head from his doctor. As he settled down into the co-pilot's seat he was glad to let her do the piloting. He was glad to let her do a lot of things. There was so much on his mind, but all he wanted to think about was Sierra and his children. If only the tea house were ready.

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