Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:3) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle).
Commander Iyah Xergo and Mug Zoran.

There was only one place in the entire galaxy where Commander Xergo wanted to be: in Mug's arms. She had *stupidly* fed her fiancée and her daughter to the sharks when she left Delaya to aid in the rescue mission. The trip back to Delaya with Jelena had been hard. Iyah was so furious, and so sad all at the same time. It was already so late into the night when they arrived in the planet's atmosphere that she didn't think twice about using one of the convenient landing pads on the Rodney castle. She had called ahead, having arranged a secure place for Jelena to stay inside of the castle with Kat. It took every last bit of effort to finish the last leg of the journey with her ... *niece*. As she closed the young woman's bedroom doors, she felt like she'd never make it to Mug.

Her cheeks were still stained with tears. Her eyes were bloodshot. It was questionable if she had ever stopped crying.

Yet, she forced herself forward, just like Commander Xergo always did. She lazily punched in a code at the door to their bedroom. It slid open, just briefly enough for her to dart inside, then shut again. She couldn't recall ever taking off her KDY uniform, however, her clothing had been replaced with a pair of tight, black trousers and an off-white shirt that had seen better days. She almost immediately kicked off her boots. She didn't remove her weapon. She had no idea what she was going to walk in on. Mug and Callista had no friends here. In her mind, the best option was to gather up her family and run. Her footsteps were slow and soft. She didn't intend on waking up Mug. Instead, she found herself a bottle of Corellian whiskey and began to drink it straight from the glass bottle. Life was too short at times.

Mug was asleep in the bed with Callista beside him, as she had grown afraid in the large, unfamiliar castle with her mother gone. Mug was still dressed and looked as if he had a late night, and there were a stack of datapads scattered around him. While Iyah had been away Gaius had used Mug's naivety against him and overwhelmed him with forms and data that he did not understand and did not need to realize. He had given his consent to certain things, which he had already put from his mind. His mouth hung open and he was snoring somewhat obnoxiously, sounding as if he was clear cutting forests like had happened on the planet to spread industry. However, despite the difficult day he had, it was nothing like what Iyah had experienced.

In the barely lit room, Iyah looked upon her little family. Mug, looking like he'd hit the bed and fallen asleep the very instant his body settled. Callista, curled up close to him. Her long, brown hair was spread out all round her. Her cherubic face looked so cute. The rest of her body was spread out wildly. A leg here, an arm there. It looked like she had found comfort in her parent's bed. She hated leaving them, despite her devotion to the cause. She'd never like saying good bye. She certainly hadn't liked saying good bye today. She closed her eyes, focusing on the final moments of Commander Atio's life. It was had to immerse herself in that moment when Mug was snoring so loudly! She opened her eyes. There was a mess of datapads all around him. Iyah's fury flared up once more. She wanted to crash into Gaius, to make him feel her anger while it was still fresh.

She didn't. Instead, thinking of the complex relationship between her mentor and the bottle, she stopped drinking. The Commander rose, creeping close and closer to the bed. She stood at its end. Life was too short. The realization kept hitting her over and over. It could have been her who never returned. She wished she was brave. She wished she was strong. At the end of day, she was the young girl that Derek had saved from a hellish life. Iyah lowered herself into the space beside Mug. She tried not to wake him, but, as datapads carelessly hit the floor, it seemed unlikely. Then there was Callista. The little girl didn't budge. Some sense of familiarity started to wrap around her. The scent of Mug drifted towards her. It was like she was the sole survivor of a crash on an island, and he was just offshore with every necessity she needed. She couldn't make it to him...she *couldn't*. Iyah's finger barely brushed against him, then she was crying.

The mere brush at the touch of Iyah was enough to waken him, which caused his eyes to slowly open. The room was dark and be could barely see anything, but after a few blinks he was able to make out the form of his beloved Iyah. He began to hear the sound of her crying and, growing concerned, he quickly sat up next to her with great concern. "What's wrong?" he asked, quietly, with the hope he did not wake up Callista. He moved next to her, bringing his arm around her, and drawing her in lose. "What's wrong?" he asked again, as his hand began to move up and down her back. He leaned forward placing a kiss upon her cheek, doing what he could to calm her down, and show her he was there for her. "Whatever it is, I'm here, and I love you," he whispered softly in her ear as he pulled his head away.

The barriers began to come down one by one. Every sense of self control was gone. She cried as quietly as she could. The last thing she wanted to do was allow Callista to see her mother falling apart. She wasn't alone in her sorrows for long. No sooner had she surrendered her strength over, Mug's snoring stopped. Iyah didn't notice it. She was too far gone. Out of all the parts, explaining everything to him would be the hardest. Her relationship with Commander Atio wasn't something she'd hid shadily from her future husband. She had intended to invite him to the wedding whilst bribing him any which way she could. He was *supposed* to be there. The disturbance on the bed had caught her attention. She turned her head, leaving herself entirely exposed to him. Instead of hiding, like she might want to, she weakly fell against his chest. Her head disappeared there while another torrent of emotions ripped through her.

She was very aware of him now. Her own arms wrapped around his waist. Without him, Iyah could have easily drunk herself into oblivion. She clung to her rock while the fierce storm battered her. His sweet words were enough to drag the information out of her. She rested her head on his shoulder. Her mouth was near to his ear, her voice quiet as to allow their baby girl to sleep. "We saved the prisoner, Jelena. My good friend Derek was on my side." It was the most words she'd strung together about the event so far. Her lips quivered. "The Inquisitor arrived unexpectedly." She was suddenly relieving it. Her hands were shaking on him. She could feel the crate on her hands while she tried to calm down the woman within. She saw Derek, she *felt* the Commander. "He..." She gulped, "He died to save us." She had never appeared so raw in the time they had known each other. Internalizing this stuff was something she was good at, for no one could see the internal wounds. Mug had helped her see past those wounds. Now, she was right back in it.

Mug listened in silence to Iyah as she explained the horrors of her mission for the Rebellion. He wished he had been there to help her, and wondered if he could have made a difference, but the truth is given his inexperience he likely would have only slowed them down and endangered the mission. He had never met the Commander that Iyah had spoken about, but he could tell she had been hurt badly by the experience. "I am very sorry about your loss, Iyah," he said to her, as he moved his face towards hers and attempted to kiss every tear away. He loved her and hated to see her like this, but he understood that in war there were causalities. He squeezed her as tightly as he could, perhaps too tight, as he did his best to comfort her. "I love you, Iyah. Let it out," he encouraged her, as he held her in the darkness of their newly acquired lavish castle.

All in all, Iyah would have never allowed Mug to go. The mission seemed like it was over even her head. She had to protect him. In the back of her head, at least there was peace of mind knowing that he was here, safe. For now, she released every tear she had hidden. She said nothing for a long time. The sound of his voice and his tight grasp were enough to stop her from losing her mind while mourning the loss of her friend. This was war. People died. Iyah had been through deaths on her team before. She had even endured other personal deaths. None hit home like this. Ultimately, it felt good to cry. It felt good to let Mug know what she had gone through. He could help her make it through the next day, the one after that, and so on. In time, her head slowly withdrew from his chest. She looked so sad and pathetic. It was the worst Iyah had ever looked. No one but Mug could see her like this.

"Life is so short." She stated pessimistically. "I feel like I've wasted so much of it overthinking everything. It could all end in a second, just like Derek." The tears continued to fall from her eyes. It would take time for her wound to recover. She'd always replay the mission, wondering where she went wrong. "I don't want to waste any more time, Mug." She choked, removing a hand from him so she could wipe her own tears away. It wasn't enjoyable for her to be like this. She preferred him to see her as his protector too. Sniffing, she pressed her head back into his chest. "I don't want to wait. I want to get married. I want to make our family grow. I don't want to die having wasted all my life."

Mug listened to her speaking of wasting time, but noted that she was *only* nineteen and still had a lifetime to live. "We don't have to wait, Iyah," Mug said, as he looked her with a broad smile, trying his best to reassure her. "Cousin Gaius came by tonight and informed me the preparations are already underway. We'll be married soon," he explained to her, sounding excited, but inadvertently letting it slip how the more seasoned, wily political member of the family had manipulated him yet again. The poor, naive Mug was not yet suited for leadership, and did not have the necessary decision making skills. It would take the two of them to get this sorted out and rule effectively, but he did not yet realize that. He was a trusting sort, genuine, honest, and kind, and thus far had no reaspon to suspect his cousin or recognize his ill intent.

The young Commander's head was spinning. It was going to be hard to swallow this death while still conducting all the events that had to happen in order for Mug to become the Duke...and her...the Duchess. Gaius pressed on her the wrong way. He could have been the nicest man on the planet, but it would have never changed her opinion of the dark-haired Rodney. She had been trying to control all aspects of the wedding, an impossible task when she wasn't present on Delaya all the time. She sighed. "He can't be trusted... Rodneys are nothing but trouble." Iyah moaned into Mug's chest. Control was out of her hands. She needed to drive everything back into her hands. Tonight, Iyah simply didn't have the strength. Every last bit had gone into the flight home. All she wanted was to stay in bed with her family for the next three months. She stayed within Mug's grasp for the remainder of the night, though she never actually fell asleep. She wept. She cuddled. She began to feel human again.

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