"They say the
King's health is quickly declining," Baroness Raeni
Rodney said to her husband in a quiet voice. They
stood on a balcony at the palace. All the other
vultures had been hanging close by. They waited to
feast on the King's carcass before it had even
cooled down. "I think it's time to put some of our
plans in action. We *must* reveal that you will soon
have a heir." Raeni's voice held an air to it like
she meant to say more. There was another problem to
deal with: Sierrus Dakkar. Raeni already had a plan
set in motion. She had penetrated the weak-minded
man several days prior. She couldn't seem to control
him all the time, but she had a vast majority of his
life under her control. She would see to it that his
death was not one that anyone would question.
Slowly, she smiled. "Soon the throne will be ours."
stood on the balcony gazing out at the Triplehorn
Mountains, which is where he would much rather be.
He could sense everyone within the palace and it
unnerved him. He much preferred the solitude of the
wild reaches of Delaya. "Yes, we must, but we must
be mindful not to be seen as opportunists," he told
her, as he turned his attention to his beautiful,
young wife. As the rays of light cascaded over the
mountains and shone down on her. "You must attend
another function with those harpies. At the right
moment, become faint ... dramatically..." he
instructed her, as he moved his hand to the side of
her face. "Feign ignorance to the pregnancy. Lead
the court physician to the conclusion," he said, as
he held her face in place while looking at her. He
moved his face towards her, pressing his lips
against hers. "They will never suspect us," he said,
as he broke the kiss, but held his face in front of
least favorite part of securing the throne was
sitting in the hen house surviving hours with the
other wives. Those wives, who complained about every
little thing, made Raeni's blood lust boil. She had
not determined how she would carefully let everyone
know she was pregnant, but Germanicus knew. Her
smile grew as he relayed his plans to her. She would
play the fool until her pregnancy was revealed.
"You're a genius, my love." Together, they were
spinning the perfect web. Now that the death of the
King was closer, Raeni was beginning to feel a
little more confident. This information would aid
them. She kissed him slowly. The palace had an
unexplainable way of always making her feel
uncomfortable. His presence did much to soothe her.
"Never. Our other little *problem* is already
resolving itself." Her hands settled on his
shoulders. "Soon you'll be a *King*, Germanicus. You
will rule over this, and so much more." She looked
out towards the mountains. The quickly declining
health of the King had forced them to spend a lot
more time around the palace and less time around
Germanicus said, with a smug look upon his face. So
much had changed in the months since his master had
first sensed Raeni on Ylesia. He had taken a wife,
adopted a child, defeated his master, became Dark
Lord of the Sith, and would soon become a father
*and* King. The old King of Alderaan was not dying
fast enough for him, but he could not risk ending
his life himself. He needed to practice patience,
which was something that did not go along with Sith
ideology. If he could simply wait the King would die
of natural causes, but if he grew impatient and
struck it could implicate him. He bit his lower lip,
as he looked off at the mountains, and tried to find
peace for his mind that was always spinning. "Not
soon enough," he told his Raeni, as his arms
tightened around her, and he lowered his head on her
not a patient man. That wasn't new news to Raeni.
The right time was coming for every problem to
resolve itself, though she didn't mention this to
her husband. She needed him to be just as shocked as
everyone else when the King died. "Patience, my
dear, *patience*. You will be rewarded soon." She
turned her head to the side to place a kiss on his.
Her arms held his body to her own. Her eyes closed.
In that moment, all was well. She allowed herself to
forget about the fight to the throne, and instead
focus on Germanicus and the world around them. From
the mountains, a thranta cried out.
Baroness Rodney..." Aeris Obath stepped onto the
balcony with the couple. She severed the House of
Organa, and had come to summon Raeni. "T-There's tea
and cakes to be had with the other ladies of the
court. I was asked to invite you."
Raeni felt the
woman coming long before she appeared. Her eyes
opened. Her body sank, upset that someone had found
them. She put on a wide, happy smile on her face.
"Thank you, dear. Please inform them I will be there
in a minute..." The girl nodded and left. Raeni
pressed her soft lips against Germanicus' ear.
"Watch me work," she said playfully.
"If I have
to," Germanicus said, before offering her a pout,
and a roll of his eyes. He moved with her through
the corridors of the palace, but as he transitioned
from the balcony to the interior his entire mood
changed. He became more tense, and Raeni would
easily be able to sense his mood. He hated being
inside the palace with the wicked old lords and the
shrieking harpies. As they neared the room where the
tea and cakes would be served, he interlocked his
arm with hers and led her in. Of all the horrors
that lurked within the galaxy nothing was so
frightful as seeing all of the noblewomen of
Alderaan gathered for afternoon tea. He swallowed,
clenched his jaws, and allowed his eyes to move
towards his wife.
masks within the palace. Raeni, too, began to
change. She puffed herself up and took on the visage
of a woman significantly older than she was. Indeed,
she sensed Germanicus' emotional shift. She tried to
calm him with a squeeze to his arm. Internally, she
flinched at seeing all the noblewoman. Raeni had
proven to be an expert actress, though she hardly
enjoyed it. "I love you," she said. With a final
squeeze to his arm, Raeni broke off. She changed
again, becoming more outgoing and talkative as she
settled in for tea.
conversations with the noblewomen centered around
all the latest gossip. Raeni half-listened to it.
She mostly controlled the situation from the most
weak minded of the women, by forcing her to blurt
out all of her dirty little secrets. "I heard that a
servant was spotted kissing Sierrus Dakkar in the
coat closet. What a dirty old man." Raeni laughed
with all the women while feeling actual sick inside.
This wasn't her. Thankfully, Germanicus knew that.
When the time arose, Raeni reached out to the woman
next to her and stood. "It's been a lovely
afternoon, ladies, but my husband is lost without
me. I'll be returning to him now." As she stood,
Raeni began to sway slightly. "Oh my." She pretended
like she was dizzy. The teacup in her hands slid
from between them, colliding with the ground and
breaking. *Everyone* looked up from what they were
doing in time to see Raeni faint. Two other
noblewomen attempted to catch her while others
been lurking about, waiting for Raeni to make her
move. It felt like she had been in there *hours*,
but in reality it had only been minutes. He was
skulking in the corridor outside the tea room,
looking out the openings in the breezeway to get
some air. He heard the *crash* and that was his cue,
which prompted him to rush into the room to check on
his wife. "Raeni!" he cried out, as he pushed
through the sea of dried up old ladies, and arrived
at the side of his fallen life. "Get the court
physician!" he screamed, as he clutched her hand. "Raeni!
Raeni! Raeni!" he shouted in her face, dramatically,
as he looked to the ceiling as if he were calling
for help from a higher power.
feel Germanicus holding her. They were working the
court. Everyone was caught up in what was happening.
People were whispering. Rumors were beginning. She
groaned. She forced herself to think about the
terrible things she had seen on Ylesia. The color in
her face sank away until she looked pale and sickly.
Her eyes opened, hand running across her forehead. "Germanicus..."
Her hand fell to her stomach, clutching herself.
"I... I don't feel well." She looked in his eyes.
It didn't take
long for the court physician to make his way into
the room. There were many doctors running around the
palace. Everyone was trying to do anything to
prolong the death of the King. Doctor Jhoren Tuan
rushed towards the woman who had briefly fainted.
"Move, move." He sounded annoying. More times than
not, when a noblewoman fainted, it was because they
didn't eat enough. He appeared at Germanicus' side.
"What seems to be the problem?" He said, beginning
to look Raeni over. "Has she eaten today? Is your
wife on one of those crash diets?" He rolled his
know!" Germanicus said in a panic, as he looked to
doctor Tuan for support. "I was coming to collect
her when I heard a crash and found her like this,"
he said to the doctor, before lowering his head to
look at Raeni. "Please be okay... Please be okay..."
he pleaded with her, as his lower lip began to
quiver. He was playing the part of the weak nobleman
they all assumed him to be. "No. She is not on a
crash diet, but I'm not sure if she has eaten," he
said to the doctor, without taking the focus off his
wife. "We are all very concerned about the King's
health. It's ... it's hard to eat," he told the
doctor, before lowering his head and placing a kiss
upon Raeni's forehead. He moved his hand to her
head, running his fingers through her hair. "I'd
just be lost if anything ever happened to her," he
said, with a dramatic sigh, and began to cry, before
raising his head so that everyone could see.
was watching the scene play out from behind a
pillar. No one knew that she was really a Jedi in
disguise. She had yet to identify the Sith on
Alderaan. Even she was caught up in their
manipulation, hanging off of every moment as she
waited to see if the wife of Baron Germanicus was
okay or not. Though she was new to Alderaan, she had
picked up on all the tension surrounding the King's
death. She thought it good to be positioned here,
for a war could easily break out between those
hungry for the throne.
looked at the man. He seemed to care more for his
wife than any of the other noblemen did. He reached
back, pulling his medical bag closer. He began
emptying instruments from it. "Yes, yes. The King's
declining health is wearing on everyone. You both
*must* remember to take care of yourselves!" He said
firmly. "Milday, what are your symptoms?" He asked,
already poking and prodding at her.
It was not
long ago that Raeni had almost lost her life to
Germancius' master. His tears, though fake, made her
recall that moment. She had been convinced that she
would die then. "I... I'll be okay." She whispered,
bringing her hand up to collect his tears. "I'm not
going to leave you, Germy." Her own eyes began to
fill with tears. She kept her focus on Germanicus
while answering the doctor. "I feel very tired. I've
been nauseated since I woke up this morning. I
nearly vomited." Raeni frowned.
It seemed then
that the doctor had an Ďah ha' moment. Doctor Tuan's
hands messily dug through his bag until he pulled
out another instrument: a Doppler. This one, he
pressed to the Baroness' lower stomach. The sound of
rapid heart beats filled the room. There was a fuzzy
image on the instrument's screen: the image of a
very small fetus. Raeni Rodney wasn't sick...she was
pregnant. "Congratulations, milord." He said. The
good news excited him.
gasped suddenly when he heard the news that Raeni
was pregnant. "Doctor, are you sure?" he asked him,
as he looked up to the man. "Raeni!" he said,
clutching her hands in his, before lowering his head
to shower kisses upon her. "Did you hear that? We're
going to have a baby?" he told her, as he was
smiling from ear to ear. The joy he was expressing
was not staged, however, as he was genuinely happy
about having a child with her. "Did you hear that
everyone?! Raeni and I are going to have a baby!" he
said, as he looked up at all the noblewomen who had
come around them, surrounding them, gawking, and
gossiping. Their plan was working brilliantly.
exhaustion. She forced herself to look down at the
doctor's device. What she saw was the child growing
within her. She was overcome by emotion: true,
*real* emotion. Her eyes filled with tears. "Germanicus!"
They began to run down her cheeks. She kissed him
over and over again. While the news wasn't new to
them, it was still exciting. Raeni would have a
family unlike anything she had ever had in the spice
mines. She clutched her husband tighter. "A baby..."
Their Claudius. Their heir. With any luck, the fight
for the throne would be over long before their son
arrived. They would have nothing to get in the way
of being a family.
beamed brightly. "Yes, yes! There's no doubt about
it." He said, poking his device with his finger.
"My, my, milady. You mustn't push yourself too hard.
You're pregnant now." The man chastised her. He was
happy in the limelight and hungry to deliver more
good news. When he put away one device, another
appeared. This one he fixed onto Raeni's finger.
"It'll only hurt for a second," he reassured her. A
pinprick would make her finger bleed just enough
that he'd be able to test to find out the gender of
the child. While the rambunctious doctor worked,
everyone watched. People inched closer and closer to
the scene until... "*Ah ha*!" He called out, lifting
a hand up. He set it down on Raeni's stomach. "It is
to be a boy!" He informed everyone with either Raeni
or Germanicus' approval.
"Well I would
not think it possible!" the voice of Count Sierrus
Dakkar shouted from the corridor, as word had soon
spread and even the men of the palace had come to
see what the commotion was. "There should be a
paternity test. There is no way Baron Germanicus
could get a woman pregnant," he said, before taking
another sip of his Alderaan ruge. He was already
hitting the bottle and it was not yet midday. He
assumed that the boy hired someone to impregnate his
wife to bolster his claim for the throne. He would
not let him get away with it. No upstart Rodney
would ever be King of Alderaan if he had anything to
say about it.
moment was being spoiled by the wicked Count Sierrus,
which caused him to briefly let go of his wife and
raise to his feet. "Milord, what you speak is
slander," he said, as his face turned red with anger
and he moved towards him. "Withdraw your statement
or I will have justice," he said, as the women of
the court began to gasp, fan themselves, and move
away. They were going to come to blows, which would
be bad for both of them politically. "No one may
speak about the Baroness Raeni that way. *No one*,"
he said, so clearly outraged that he was in danger
in violating the carefully constructed noble persona
he operated under.
constructed moment was torn to shreds by none other
than the Dakkar man. Hate flared up inside of Raeni.
She had spent so much time listening to the man bad
talk her husband. What he was now implying made her
want to break his neck in half. Raeni wore a stare
so cold it could freeze Sierrus. "Lies. There is
nothing to be questioned here." She wanted to say so
much more. The ladies of the court knew her to be
soft spoken. Her sharp tongue would get her in
trouble here. She could take Sierrus pushing around
her husband no longer. Raeni wondered if she should
break off the impending fight. If Germanicus killed
him in a dual, it would hurt their chances at the
throne. On the other side, she felt so angry that
Sierrus had implied Germanicus was less of a man.
"Germy.." She whispered worriedly. Her act could
last a little longer. She stared at Sierrus. It was
time to penetrate his mind again and make him into
her weak little slave.
scoffed at Baron Germanicus, folding his arms in
front of his chest, and shaking his head at the
'boy'. "Don't get so offended. You're too uptight,"
he said, as he lowered his head and looked to the
women. This was his opportunity to humiliate the
boy. "You know ... your father, now there was a man
with a sense of humor. *He* could take a joke," he
said, before taking another sip of his wine. "I
swear you're so much unlike him that I wonder if he
were the one in need of a paternity test," he said,
before laughing into his glass. He knew exactly what
to say to get to the boy's dander up. Whatever
action he took he was sure he had the upperhand
politically, even if he temporarily ended up on his
The chord was
struck inside of the young Baroness again and again.
The anger inside of her rose to levels she had never
felt. Each time he insulted Germanicus, the room
shifted to red. Her blood pressure elevated so high
that she felt like she might actually pass out.
Sierrus had written his own death sentence, but
Raeni *couldn't* let her husband blow over all the
effort he had put into this. She stepped between the
men. "*Stop*!" She yelled. She grasped at Germanicus
to draw him back to *her* and away from Sierrus.
"You are drunk, Sierrus Dakkar! You're attempting to
ruin our special moment and I will not have it.
Leave here! You've humiliated yourself enough!" She
wanted to watch Germanicus slaughter the man badly.
A Sith Lord against a mere human? It would be
pathetic ... and delightful. The time wasn't right.
Raeni had another plan for Sierrus. She would shame
his family. She turned her back to Sierrus. "Germanicus,
think of our baby..."
never been so angry, there was a rage within him,
that he had not felt since confronting his master on
Delaya. He was getting ready to unleash a wave of
telekinetic energy at the old Count, when he heard
his wife interject herself. Her grasp on him was
enough to snap him back into reality, and caused him
to dissipate the budding energy within him. "We must
go. You are right," he said to her, as he was not
panting like a nerf in heat. When they were away,
far from the nobles who were all speaking only of
them, he allowed himself to crumble. He collapsed
into a bench on one of the balconies, lowering his
forehead into his hand. "That man... That man..." he
said to her, as he looked down onto the marble
floor. "He must not survive the night," he told her,
having made his mind not to allow this to go a step
further. It was time to end Sierrus Dakkar.
There was no
way to truly lay to rest the emotional tornado
inside of her. Raeni wanted revenge. She wanted it
just as badly as she had on her home planet. Walking
away from Sierrus was the hardest part of the day.
The further they drew away from the nobles, the more
Raeni let it be known how furious she was. She paced
on the balcony like a trapped rancor. She was
breathing as heavily as one at the same time. "He
will not." Raeni confirmed, forcing herself to sit
beside Germanicus. Her heart was still beating very
quickly. She did not feel well from being so worked
up. With no immediate outlet, she was forced to
internalize her hate. "He will die tonight," she
whispered. "Sierrus Dakkar will kill the King." She
said, revealing her plans. "His mind is susceptible
to our influence. We will make sure the last minute
of his life brings shame down on his House." Her
hand ran up and down his arm slowly. "He will suffer
for the pain he has caused you."
"Oh you are
wicked," Germanicus fired back, as she turned his
frown upside down. "...and that is why I love you,"
he said, as he leaned over and placed a kiss upon
her. "With your pregnancy, and Sierrus' move against
the King nothing will stop us," he told her,
regaining his confidence, as he went on his
emotional rollercoaster of a mood swing. It was then
that there was a tremendous screech in the sky as a
thranta descended upon them. It perched on the
balcony and continued to screech, as if it could
sense that something was wrong with Germanicus. At
their feet it dropped a laurel, before screeching
again, and soaring off towards the Triplehorn
She was glad
to see that he accepted her plans so openly. It had
taken time to decide how best to solve all of their
problems. Now there was a solution. Sierrus'
outburst would only play to their advantages when
they hatched their plan later. She kissed him
gently. She could feel his own emotional torrent.
They both hungered for the same revenge. The screech
made Raeni turn her head. She stared at the massive
beast. She bent down, picking up the laurel. "Those
who stop to rest on laurels end up lying on thorns."
She held the laurel between her fingers. "Soon
Sierrus will feel those thorns. No one will ever be
able to publicly humiliate you like he did today."
Her grip on the laurel tightened as she thought
about it. "We should leave for now. Let Sierrus
believe he has cast us out."
Germanicus asked, unsure of what Raeni was talking
about. He was more concerned with the thranta, than
he was with the laurel that he dropped. "What? Say
that again!" he said to her, as he thought it
sounded profound, but he had to admit that he was
not sure that he heard her right. He looked at the
laurel in her hands and wondered if it was some sort
of omen. "When I am King and you are Queen everyone
who laughed at us today *will* suffer," he said, and
then he rose, before helping her to stand. He needed
to be the doting husband in public now that she was
with child, but even if they were not doing a
political ruse he still would have helped her. "You
were magnificent today," he told her, before placing
another kiss upon her once she was on her feet. She
had managed to find a way to bolster their claim,
eliminate the King, and tarnish their rival. She was
not just all powerful, she was also brilliant. She
would be the perfect successor to him as Dark Lord
of the Sith.
opening up her hand. "Those who stop to rest on
laurels end up lying on thorns." She repeated to
him. It felt liberating to know that soon people
would be suffering on their behalf. She was sickened
by the thoughts that Sierrus Dakkar had put in
people's heads. Raeni realized that she was a lot
more than a slave girl from a spice mine. The only
person who deserved to procreate with her was
Germanicus. She took his hand and stood. She brushed
off the front of her dress. Now that her pregnancy
was revealed, she would be able to wear less
restrictive clothing. Her dresses had been becoming
more and more uncomfortable. Raeni's smile grew. "As
were you, my love. Tomorrow will be a new day for
us...a *great* day for us." She reminded him. Her
arm hooked in with his as they turned to leave. When
they came upon the room where Sierrus Dakkar had
almost become a blood stain on the wall, Raeni could
over hear people talking. They were praising the
House of Rodney and gossiping about the family's
future heir. Raeni felt content. The throne belonged
stop to rest on laurels end up lying on thorns,"
Germanicus repeated, committing it to memory. He
liked the sound of it, as well as the implications.
As she led him away from the insanity of the palace
he began to feel more calm. When it was just him and
her everything felt calm, at peace ... but whenever
the others were around a darkness came over him that
he could not escape. It was suffocating and there
were times when he simply wished to destroy them all
rather than having to deal with those he looked at
as inferiors, lesser beings... There were moments
when he wondered why he even wanted to be King of
Alderaan when he could retire to Delaya and live out
his days, but then there was the knowledge in the
back of his mind that he deserved it, and the
realization he could not come to power without it.
Woe on those who stood in his way.