questionable how everyone ever got ready on times.
Sierra used some of Yekaterina's mind tricks to fool
Drusilla into not wearing every accessory she had
brought with her. Regardless, every Rodney had
arrived at the exquisite chapel holding the viewing
of Julius Rodney's body. Sierra was simply
overseeing everything and ensuring that nothing
happened. Her paranoia had caught the better side of
her. Though concealed, she was still armed. Speaking
with Marcus and Zara beforehand had reignited her
worries that someone would strike. She had even gone
as far to have the casket searched before, and
after, Julius' body was placed in it. Sierra,
herself, had yet to gain the strength to look at the
man in the box. She had already seen him dead.
There was one
person she had been avoiding: Livia. The old woman
had taken some serious blows lately. First, Mug.
Second, the death of her husband. Sierra realized
that she needed to seek out her mother and comfort
her. And so, she took tiny steps towards the woman.
Her purse clinked with each of her movements as she
had shoved it full of shiny trinkets to entertain
Ewwie with. Seriously, the bag weigh roughly ten
pounds. "Mother," she said, moving to embrace the
was exactly as it was supposed to be. The mournful
feelings settled in over the chapel. There were
flower arrangements, large pictures of Julius, and
the deep red family color accenting everywhere.
Sierra had only recently abandoned Claudius. She was
worried about him. She was afraid he would push
himself today and find himself sicker than ever
The doors to
the chapel were opened to allow access to the now
Dowager Duchess of Delaya. Livia Rodney stumbled
into the chapel, having consumed more alcohol than a
student at the University of Alderaan. She was
wearing a pair of dark glareshades to conceal the
bags under her eyes and the redness that still
lurked in her eyeballs. She was wearing a dark gown
of blacks and purples that looked like the
antithesis of a wedding dress. She moved down the
aisle towards the casket slowly, but with deliberate
intent. When she finally reached it she fell to her
knees, whaling in dramatic fashion, as she reached
in to cling to her deceased husband one last time.
He was really gone.
From across the room, Sierra could smell the alcohol
on her breath. She could see Zara scrambling to
hide. The commoner feared Livia's emotions turning
towards her. It wasn't like the woman had enjoyed
her youngest son marrying what looked to be a gold
digger. Sierra glided down the aisle quickly to help
her mother. She bent down, embracing the woman on
her knees. "We're all here for you, Mother," she
told the woman while aiding her in rising to her
feet once more. Sierra was forced to look down into
Julius' casket at this point. The sight of him so
... *dead* made her stomach do a dozen cartwheels.
She wished he would sit up and molest her belly like
he once had. She'd rather complain to her husband
about his handsy father than see him dead. Sierra
took in a deep breath, directing her attention to
the frail, drunk old woman.
In the moment
that Sierra approached her, Livia was grateful to be
blessed with a daughter-in-law that was of her
society and knew exactly what to do. She doubted
that either of her son's previous wives would have
been at any use to her at a moment like this, and
she imagined her other daughter-in-law, Zara, was
already at the buffet meant to follow the ceremony.
She reached with her frail, bony hand, placing it
over Sierra's hand and clutching it gently. "Thank
you, daughter. Thank you," she said, as she
attempted to rise to her feet. She faltered, roughly
clawing at Sierra to avoid collapsing to the ground
in a potentially dangerous situation. "Help me to my
seat, child," she said, clawing her long fingernails
into Sierra's arm as she awkwardly stumbled to her
seat next to her eldest son.
watched as his mother stumbled dramatically, but
before he could react he saw that Sierra was already
on top of things. He had chosen a wife who so
expertly and adeptly handled every situation that
life had thrust upon him. As his mother moved
towards him, he reached out to help her sit next to
him. Then moved his arm to rest on her to reassure
her and stiffen her resolve for what he was sure
would be a difficult ceremony for them all. He knew
when this was over something would have to be done
about his mother's drunken and mental state, but
that, too, he would place on Sierra's able
shoulders. She, after all, was a trained
beautiful french manicured nails sure could *hurt*.
Sierra managed to keep a calm look on her face while
she was mangled by her mother-in-law. She was
careful with the woman. Between her and Claudius,
they successfully sat Livia down without any harm to
her. Sierra quickly rolled down the arm of her dress
so no one spotted the claw marks. She knew this
family was going to need her after all of this.
Unless Livia wanted to die too, her drinking problem
had to be resolved. She was damn proud of Claudius
for not slipping and drinking himself away. Sierra
eyed the crowd. Everyone had began to settle in
their seats for the ceremony. The blonde took her
spot on the other side of Claudius. Her hand grasped
his and squeezed it... And then she felt the need to
be a damn irritating little wifey. She brought her
purse into her lap. From it, she withdrew bottled
water. Her hand left his as she placed the bottle in
it. "Are you feeling okay?" She whispered quietly
enough that only they would hear.
was beautiful and touching. Julius's name came with
much praise. Even Sierra became teary at some parts.
Nothing exciting happened during the ceremony. No
explosions or people trying to kill them in some
other way. She held onto Claudius the whole time.
She feared that if she let go, they would both
become overwhelmed by the assassination of Duke
Julius. As it ended, the family was escorted back to
a buffet while the Duke was prepared for his last
trip through his city towards the catacombs near
Castle Rodney. Sierra was beginning to feel
exhausted despite the fact that the day was only
halfway over. She sat at a table with a plate of
food in front of her that she hadn't touched. After
Claudius had been poisoned, she realized that even
the food they ate was not safe. Once the Duke was in
his hearse speeder, the family would follow the
procession in armored speeders of their own. In her
opinion, it was then that they would be most
never heard so many kind things said about his
father. He wondered how many of them were actually
true. The ceremony passed quicker than he thought
and it was over there was the sense that the man was
finally gone. Well wishers from across the planet
paid their respects to him, but he had gone with
Imperial service for so long that he hardly knew any
of them. He would need a staff to brief him on the
who's who of Delayan society after the coronation.
The trip through Leiliani from the chapel to the
catacombs was not without incident as many,
particularly the Alderaanian refugees, were
protesting the fact that an Imperial Grand Moff was
soon to be their Duke. He was too filled with grief
and worry for his family to pay any mind to the
protestors. He had not been to the catacombs in some
time, as the presence of Jelena and Drusilla's
mother still haunted him. They were ancient in
nature and housed shrines to members of the House of
Rodney going back to before they even held the
Duchy. One day he would lay there with Sierra, but
as much as he did not want to think about it, it was
a day of morbid thoughts. He wanted to get through
it and move to the investigation of his father's
went by in a blur. Sierra noted the rioters who
disrespected Julius' funeral. Those were fires for
her to put out at a later time. Today wasn't about
them. Today was about family... and mortality. A
sadness filled her thinking that one day, she would
endure this procession without Claudius at her side.
Instead, it would be Bruce holding her up. She tried
to not let Claudius see her selfishly crying over
the future. As close as she was to the Duke, this
day was a tiny fraction as sad as that day would be.
It was her
first time visiting the catacombs. That part was
quite possibly the worst part of the ceremony.
There, Julius was laid to rest for all of eternity.
It was *so* cold in the catacombs. When at last all
was said and done, she felt more wiped out than
ever. The castle was near. That was where her and
Claudius had taken refuge. Sierra had taken to
checking in on all the Rodneys; Marcus, Zara,
Drusilla, Ewwie, and Livia, whom she helped into bed
after she had drunk entirely too much. Finally, she
made the hike up the castle spire. She felt a large
amount of regret for wearing pumps, which she ended
up carrying in her hands after she took three steps
up to their private quarters. It was she who felt
emotionally raw when, at last, she reached their
semi-permanent home. She dropped her pumps on the
floor and unarmed herself.
relax in the bath, Lady Sierra." An unfamiliar voice
said to Sierra. She instantly grabbed one of her
small throwing knives in a panic. Her eyes scanned
the room until they fell on a petite servant girl
who was currently straightening the sheets on her
and Claudius' bed. The small girl had been so silent
that she gave Sierra a heart attack. Farrah Rodney's
small hand patted away the last wrinkle in the bed
spread. She turned, moving towards the woman. "I
heard you've had a long day, ma'am. Relax. I hear
you're to be the Duchess very soon. I made your bath
just like Duchess Livia enjoys." She put on a
childlike innocence for the psychologist. She had
returned from the wonderful funeral in time to set
new plans into action. Julius was gone. If Sierra
died, Claudius would be gone too.
had stopped beating so quickly. "Child, you scared
me." She stepped further into her room. Her eyes
gazed in through the open bathroom door. The large
tub was filled. She could see a fine bottle of wine
beside the tub that made Sierra roll her eyes.
Perhaps the girl did not know she was with child? As
much as she wanted to reject the bath and get to
work, she realized how *tired* she was. Her whole
body ached. Okay. Five minutes in the tub. "Thank
you, dear. Please take the rest of the day off when
you're finished. You've worked plenty hard enough."
With that, Sierra disappeared into the bathroom. She
stripped of her clothing and sunk into the warm,
relaxing water of the bath. Resting her head in her
hands, Sierra let out her emotions. She cried.
was complete. Claudius' bimbo wife was in the tub.
It would be a matter of time before she cleaned
herself and the GHB inside of her shampoo bottle
caused her to pass out. She'd drown herself in the
bathtub like a good, depressed little wifey.
The smell of
death lingered from the time spent in the catacombs
where every soul who had born the last name of
Rodney for the last millennia had been laid to rest.
While most of the family retired he saw to his
mother, allowing Sierra to retreat to her bath after
her long day. While Farrah attended to Sierra,
Claudius sat at his mother's bedside until he was
sure she was asleep. He wasted no time in moving
back towards the spire of the castle where they had
taken up residence. Seeing the door to the refresher
slightly ajar he realized what she was up to and
thought it was a good idea. "Room for one more?" he
asked, before he began to slowly remove his uniform.
It was only then that he noticed there was a
priority transmission from the Ringali Shell.
Instead of moving to interpret her relaxing bath, he
moved towards the HoloNet terminal to see what was
going on with his command. "I'll be right there..."
he said, his voice trailing off, as he stalled for
time. Unaware of what was about to transpire.
perked up when she heard his voice. "Yes please."
Sierra did not want to be anything but close to him
for the rest of the evening. Even when they began
their investigation, she'd do it in close quarters
with him. She was so scared of losing him. Her
overprotective nature was showing. Before he could
even reach the tub, she saw him drift off towards
the HoloNet terminal. She assumed work was summoning
him and that he'd be in soon. With her hair wet, she
grabbed her bottle of shampoo. She was happy to see
one of the servants had seen to it that her favorite
scent was there now. She began to wash her hair. She
took time to massage it into her scalp and provide
herself with some more relief. It wasn't long into
her scrubbing that she began to feel really strange.
Her hand reached out to grasp the edge of the tub.
She couldn't remember if she ever actually caught
hold of the tub. One second she was upright, the
next, she had lost consciousness. Her body began to
sink into the water. She had no control. There was
darkness in her subconsciousness as she sunk further
down. Farrah's plans were working again. Sierra lay
in the bath tub, ten feet away from her husband,
with her head beneath the water. Her limbs did not
move. Nothing moved.
terminated the HoloNet transmission when he received
the latest reports of ISB roundups taking place in
the Ringali Shell. It seemed that he had lost
control of the situation given his attention to
family. He had to choose between rushing back to his
command to fight Arden Zevrin or stay here with his
family to uncover the threat to him. Ultimately, he
chose his family over his career, something that
Jelena had criticized him for not doing ages ago. He
rose from his desk and made his way into the
refresher, but rather than seeing his wife's
beautiful form upright in the bath she was beneath
the water. "Sierra!" he cried out, as he surged
towards the tub. He was quick to lift her out of the
water, leaning her over the side of the tub. He then
began roughly slapping her on the upper back in a
desperate attempt to knock out any of the water she
might of swallowed. "Sierra! Speak to me! Please be
alright!" he pleaded with her, as he cradled her
from his position on the floor. He could not lose
her. He could not take anymore.
The world was
black. All Sierra could feel was the despair of the
day. Her heart continued to ache while her lungs
took in bath water. She was lost until her husband
discovered her before she could drown. At first,
there was no response. Her body couldn't handle
alcohol. Her head was still soapy with drug laced
shampoo. After the third slap, she began vomiting a
combination of water and sickness onto the bathroom
floor. She felt just as miserable as her husband
must have, only her head was messed up on top of it.
"Claudius!" She cried out pathetically. Sierra was
crying as bout of nausea hit her that was nothing
like morning sickness. It was as if he was twirling
her round and round and round and round. She threw
up again. She tried so hard to piece together what
had just happened. "I-It's the shampoo! The shampoo
and the servant girl!" She sounded like she had lost
her mind in the bathtub, yet she said these words
while clinging to him and focusing on him very hard.
Everything quickly slipped away from her again.
Instead of passing out entirely, she began to
hallucinate. There was no way Farrah could have
known what adverse effects the drug would have on
the poor woman. It was playing into her hand.
A look of
sheer horror had settled on her face. It was the
most scared she had ever looked in her life. "No!"
Behind Claudius, her mother stood with a sharp,
kitchen knife. "You're dead!" What the hell was
happening? Sierra's sanity had left the building.
initially relieved when Sierra regained
consciousness, but not too long after she began
raving like a lunatic. He was not sure what to make
of it. "Shampoo? Servant girl?" he asked her, but
when she began screaming at some presence behind him
he became totally unnerved. He turned to look over
his shoulder in a panic, but no one was there. "It's
ok. No one is there," he said, as he moved to get a
towel. He began doing his best to dry her off, and
once that was complete he carefully carried her
towards the nearby bed. "You're alright," he said,
several times, before wrapping her up in the blanket
carefully. He sat down at the foot of the bed to
catch his breath, wondering what had happened to his
wife. The day that seemed like it would never end
desperately needed to.
The woman was
shaking like she was naked in a winter storm, but
her body was sweaty. She had forgotten about what
she was trying to tell Claudius thanks to her worst
nightmare standing there in the bathroom with them.
Her mother watched them like a prowling panther.
Sierra was more distressed than ever. While he dried
her off, she tried to explain herself. "Mother is
there! She's going to hurt me! She'll hurt our baby.
She'll hurt you." She did not understand how he was
missing the violent stranger in their bathroom.
Sierra symptoms did not get better once she was
blanketed in bed. Her arms wrapped around his
pillow. She cried into it. Her little body moved
into the fetal position. "The shampoo and the
servant girl." She repeated like a lunatic.
Somewhere in the sea of fucked-up, Sierra was still
seeking out her husband. "The shampoo..." She
touched her sudsy hair. She had to get it out. She
had to make the crazy train stop. No sooner had he
placed her in bed was she standing up. She made it
to the end of the bed when she saw her mother in the
doorway to the bathroom. Both of her hands clutched
her long, blonde hair as she fell to the floor in
front of him. "Claudius!" She yelled, "There's
something in the shampoo!" It was the most logical
sentence she had spewed since he pulled her from the
water. "Get it out!" She cried, clawing at her head.
The sanity ended there. "Mother won't let me back
into the bathroom. She says I've been bad. She says
she's going to punish me."
fact that they had spent so much time in the
medcenter lately, Claudius felt he had but no choice
to turn Sierra over to the care of a medical
professional. Perhaps even a mental health
professional, but he would have to be careful to
manage the situation so that the people would not
think their new Duchess was a loon. "I will protect
you, Sierra," he said to her in a calm voice,
deciding it was best to humor her, rather than argue
with her. He moved towards the bathroom, collecting
the shampoo bottle so that his people could analyze
it. Once finished he hurriedly dressed before moving
to attend Sierra once again. "The doctors will get
it out," he pledged to her, as he cradled her naked
body in the blanket and began to carry her out of
the room. There was no time to grieve his father on
this, the day of his burial, as this new tragedy had
befallen the family. Had someone attacked Sierra? Or
was the poor girl just overwhelmed from all of the
recent events? He could not chance it, and therefore
he provided maximum security as he headed to the
medcenter with his bride, never leaving her side.
The official cause was exhaustion and grief over the
loss of Duke Julius, but he knew that cover would
not last long. There was a shadow war against his
family that had cost the life of his father. Now it
seemed they were coming for him and his wife.