Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
718 years before the Battle of Yavin (683BrS:4:21) in the Alderaan system: Alderaan (Aldera: Royal Palace).
Count Sierrus Dakkar, Aeris Obath, Baron Germanicus Rodney (Darth Crassus), Baroness Raeni Rodney (Darth Radic), and Doctor Jhoren Tuan.

"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."

Germanicus 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 hers still.

Perhaps her 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 animals.

"I know," 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 shoulder.

Germanicus was 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.

"E-Excuse me, 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.

They wore 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.

The 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 gasped.

Germanicus had 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.

Raeni could 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 eyes.

"I don't 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.

Aeris Obath 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.

Doctor Tuan 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.

Germanicus 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.

Raeni feigned 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.

Doctor Tuan 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.

Germanicus 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.

The perfectly 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.

Count Sierrus 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 ass.

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..."

Germanicus had 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 Mountains.

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."

"What?" 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.

She smiled, 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 to them.

"Those who 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.

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