Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
Zero years after the Battle of Yavin (35:10:18) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Medcenter, Rodney Castle, and Spaceport; Marcus Rodney's chalet) and Nerf Herder.
Duke Julius Rodney, Duchess Livia Rodney, Lord Marcus Rodney, Lady Zara Rodney, and Doctor Pilaq Tohan.

And that was the way it continued to be. Over the next few days, together they assembled the crib, changing table, and even a dresser. For a woman who was only beginning the process of nesting, she was happy with their progress. Because of their lengthy to-do list, the couple hadn't left their home. However, they still frequented the Holonet in more than just their digital presence. Zara had been cuddled up in bed one evening. She was ready for bed, complete with a sexy, yet comfortable, light blue nightie. Real Huttwives of Nal Hutta was about to air! Nothing sounded better than cuddling with her hubby and devouring mindless reality tv. While waiting for him to finish getting ready for bed, she browsed over the news section. There was an article that stood out to her immediately. *Duke of Delaya Hospitalized: Onlookers Question Who Will Take the Throne*. "Mother fudge." Zara popped open the article. She quickly devoured it. The Duke was having heart problems. With the way he drank, she was shocked it wasn't liver problems. All jokes aside, Zara was first suspicious. "Marcus..." She called out, sliding out of bed to grab her all-time favorite tiny laptop. It was much easier to check the authenticity of the information through hacking. She didn't want to rush to Delaya over clickbait. "Your dad is on the holonet. I read an article that says he's sick or something. I'm checking it out now." She was about to crack royal security with her pretty little fingers.

Marcus was in the refresher shaving when he heard Zara unexpectedly call out. She sounded like something was wrong, so he immediately dropped the razor and moved towards the bed chamber, his face still half covered in shaving cream. He stopped dead in his tracks when he heard her report that his father was hospitalized. A wave of fear came over him suddenly. He was estranged from his father, certainly, but by no means did he want the man dead. "How bad?" he asked, in a panic, as he surged forward across the room to be nearer to her so that he could see her datapad. Part of his fear now rested upon how this would affect his unborn son. How he wished he were just an ordinary man. "Please. Find out what you can," he said, his voice sounding perhaps more anxious than she would have heard previously.

This kind of security was never easy to get around. It took time...the kind of time she didn't have. She looked up at Marcus with worried eyes. Like him, she didn't want the man dead and hadn't ever wished it upon him even in her most furious moments. "I don't know yet." She told him truthfully, focusing back on her datapad. Her right hand darted across the buttons on it. She also showed concern over their infant. She had fought so hard against him living the life of royalty only to have her family thrust back into it. It wasn't like she could deny Marcus of seeing his father. That took a level of cold heartedness that she didn't possess. Her free hand ran over his arm softly to reassure him. "I promise I will...ah, there." She surged through the digital pathways until she found the Duke's medical notes written in code. "They have him at some ritzy hospital. It looks like he's been having some problems with his heart not beating properly. The doctor's notes say that they intend to operate on him tomorrow afternoon." She explained to him. Zara took his hand with the one that had been providing support on his arm. "Go wash your face off. I'll get dressed and get the ship ready. We should leave as soon as we can."

"His heart?" Marcus said in his panic, as his own heart began to beat rapidly inside of his chest. Just when he thought it could not get any worse, Zara added a horrible word ... 'surgery'. A shiver went down his spine, as he realized how his life was about to inexorably change. "You'd really go?" he asked, feeling a bit surprised after how their last encounter went. "You really don't have to if you don't want to..." he said, as he nestled closer to her, taking her in a warm embrace that deposited what was left of his shaving soap upon her. The truth was he would need his wife very desperately in the days and weeks to come, but he was reluctant to tell her just how vulnerable he felt given their history with his father.

Even she was concerned for his father. Serious things were happening. The repercussions were something to worry about, but so was what would happen to his father. Both of her arms wrapped around him tightly. A little bit of shaving cream on her was the least of her worries. She pressed her lips to his forehead, "I know I don't have to. I *want* to. We're going to take this on together, okay?" She spoke in a soothing voice. Her fingers rubbed over his back gently. No matter what happened on Delaya, she'd be there for every step of the way. If time hadn't been a pressing matter, she'd have held him forever just to make him feel the smallest bit better. Instead, she walked him over to the bed and deposited him there. Zara moved around the bedroom with authority, plucking a duffle from the closet. She carelessly tossed articles of clothing in it along with other necessities. She redressed in the process. From night gown to boots, leggings, a top, and a thick jacket, she was soon ready to go. She was working down a mental list of how to get them off to Delaya the quickest. She even had picked out some clothing for him, which she wordlessly assisted him in putting on. "I get to pilot tonight." She informed him.

Marcus knew the hospital would be a public spectacle, so he was careful to return to the refresher and complete his shave so that he would not appear in disarray. The people of Delaya needed to know he was stable, and that his young bride had not had an undue influence upon him. As she dressed, he dressed too, putting on formal attire in varying shades of blue and gray that accentuated his strong, muscular physique. "You're going to fly *my* ship?" he protested, folding his arms in front of his chest as he stood before her, a bit surprised. "But..." he began his protest, but then quickly stopped himself as he realized he was likely to get nowhere. "*Fine*! You can fly," he said, realizing that sometimes it was quicker to just agree with her than try and change her mind, which he most likely would not be able to do anyway. With that, he helped her down the stairs into the arctic chill that surrounded the Nerf Herder.

Oooh crap. Zara totally forgot that she was like *royalty* now. As soon as she saw Marcus, she immediately felt under dressed. Compared to him, she was naked. Men had it soooo easy. He could go in the bathroom and come out looking perfectly perfect in minutes. For Zara to pull off the same scheme, she needed time. Time for her hair, time for her makeup. "Dammit!" She growled, darting back into the closet to pick out something nicer to change into on the way to Delaya. She flashed one look his way when he started protesting. Today, Zara's emotions were in a better state than his were. She was prepared to bring that up while she grabbed a brush out of the bathroom. "Fine! I will!" That debate was easy enough. He realized she was right before she had to lay down the law. The longer they stayed in their room, the more things she kept picking up while she panicked about suddenly seeing he in-laws again. By the time he helped her down the stairs, her arms were full. She tried to maintain a stressfree attitude. She was going to be pleasant. For her, for Marcus, and for the baby.

The trip took a half hour in total. That half hour? Not exactly fun. Zara was a good pilot. She hadn't piloted the Nerf Herder before, but she was gentle with the ship and seemed to generally understand it. The problem was this whole public appearance deal. The teenager put the ship on autopilot briefly so she could fix her hair and her make up. It was late already and she had been prepared for bed. She allowed herself to grow anxious about the situation as the ship crept closer towards the horrible place. The landing was just as smooth as the rest of the flight. She had taken them down at the Rodney castle, fully expecting to spend some quality time there. Zara rose from the pilot's chair. She looked tired, yet she was trying to be as supportive as she could without worrying him. "Give me five minutes, okay?" She pleaded with him, making her way towards the back of the ship with a dress in tow.

This had to be a smoother meeting with his father. Zara was *trying* to put on a good appearance. She had a pretty, sleeveless blue dress with a halter top to slip into. It was one the best pieces her wardrobe had to offer. That day, life didn't want to be easy. When Zara put on the dress, she came to the realization that her stomach had grown since the last time she put it on. It squeezed her baby bump in the most obvious of ways. "Dammittt..." She was cursing again, only this time it was audible. Instead of panicking her way out of the dress, she sucked in a deep breath and moved to rejoin her husband. People already knew she was pregnant. What was the point in hiding it? She gathered up her husband, linking her arm in with his. "We're going to go to the hospital right now. I checked on your dad on my datapad while I was getting dressed. He's still there. He's still alive."

"You look wonderful," Marcus said, as he saw Zara change into the dress. If he were not so worried about his father and the implications of his death, he would have made a more impassioned comment. He popped the hatch, revealing that there was nothing on the outside waiting for them. The area had all but shut down due to a morbid 'death watch' that had dominated the planet. One thing he did notice, however, was the ominous presence of an Imperial shuttle. He noticed his brother's troublesome pilot standing near the craft, and he realized at once that this meant the situation was far more grave than the HoloNet suggested. "We should hurry," he said to Zara, as the color left his face, and a chill ran down his spine. He hurried from the spaceport to where they could catch a speeder to the nearby medical facility. He did not say much during the trip, and his breathing become labored, as he became increasingly worried as the speeder drew more near ... he almost wished it was further away.

As they exited the speeder they were immediately mobbed by HoloNet reporters who were taking as many vids as possible of the scandalous young couple. For appearance sake, members of the Alderaan Guard surged forward, clearing a path for them to enter the medcenter. Once inside they were escorted to the private level reserved for their family. Outside of the room the young Lady Drusilla Rodney and her adopted sister, the Squib Ewwiekewwieikkie, were made to wait, as the Duke was only permitted to have a limited number of visitors at a time. The entire affair was presided over by Lord Gaius Rodney, who had become head of the security forces, and was careful to maintain control over who entered and what news left.

"I demand to see my father," Marcus demanded, but was met with some reluctance on the part of the guards. To avoid a potential incident that could leak to the press who were cordoned off further down the hall, Marcus and Zara were begrudgingly granted access to the Duke's room. When they moved inside past the double doors they saw the old Duke in bed, hooked up to a variety of machines that registered very low vitals. His wife, the Duchess Livia, was at his side, clutching his arm, and looking as if she desperately needed a drink. The entire affair was lorded over by the Ithorian doctor, Pilaq Tohan, who had been sent by Grand Moff Rodney to oversee his father's condition. "Tell me, doctor, how is he?" he said, ignoring his mother for the time being, and instead focus on getting information.

The large Ithorian paused when he saw the Duke's younger son and his wife enter, blinking his large, orange bulbous eyes as he prepared for what was to come. "Your father lives," he said, speaking from both of his mouths at the same time to produce a unique stereophonic pattern of speech. "His condition is weak. He does not take proper care of himself ... his diet, his lack of exercise, his ... drinking," he complained bitterly, as he pounded the base of his walking stick upon the surface of the floor. The old, particularly the old with power, simply did not listen to anyone ... particularly doctors.

What awaited them outside the ship was something to be afraid of. It was unrealistic to think that the couple could avoid Delaya forever. Zara had assumed their silence would last longer than this. It took everything in her to cease control of her emotions. The little voice in her head was screaming. She silenced it, forcing herself to put on a strong exterior for Marcus. For as long as she needed to be, she would act as his strength. The young Rodney wife walked beside her husband. One hand was in his to provide a constant reminder that she was still there. He wasn't facing this alone. Outside, the whole planet seemed dark and gloomy. She, too, noticed the Imperial shuttle. Putting two and two together, she realized that meant Doctor Tohan has arrived on the scene, possibly even Claudius himself. Doctor Tohan was the only person outside of her and Marcus who knew the heir to the throne was currently doing somersaults inside of her stomach. If the good doctor knew what was best for him, he'd make damn sure to keep that information to himself. Zara's attention moved to Marcus, nodding her head. "C'mon!"

The sight in front of the medcenter was absolute chaos. As soon as she saw the mob of reporters, she seriously considered crawling into Marcus' clothing to hide herself. No one had heard of them for weeks. As soon as they exited the speeder, it was like white on rice. Zara did her best not to look sick. She was going to be strong, remember!? Continually holding onto Marcus, the guards aided them in escaping the chaos and finding the rest of the family. There were a number of new faces there. Until they saw the Duke, none of those faces mattered. In all honesty, Zara was scared to enter the room where he was currently being held. She was afraid that her presence would be the final straw. She'd kill the old man. Her free hand was shaking, yet together they drove into the abyss. It was the first time she had felt like vomiting in weeks.

The man lay in a bed looking weaker than she had ever seen him. She recalled how angry he had been the last time they saw each other. She feared what Marcus did; the man was dying. Without a medical education, Zara could see it in the vitals. She could see it on his face. Not to her surprise, the Duchess lingered close to her husband. Doctor Tohan was there too, as she suspected, and another knot formed in her stomach. She looked concerned. She also looked sick. The doctor's words weren't one's confidence of a recovery. If the Duke was to pull through, a lack of changing his lifestyles would surely kill him. Zara's fingers curled around her husband's arm and squeezed. She did the least likely thing next; she let go. She anxiously approached the bed, offering her mother-in-law the best courtesy she could. "Livia, I'm so sorry.." That sorry encapsulated a lot of things. She was sorry she had been so nasty to them. She was sorry this was happening. Zara inched closer cautiously. "If there's *anything* Marcus and I can do to help, to make this easier, please let me know."

Livia did not move when her son and daughter-in-law entered the room, nor did she react to Doctor Tohan's lecture. It was only when Zara approached that she had any reaction at all. She tilted her wicked old face to look at the teenager ... she wanted to be angry, but she simply could not muster it. She simply sunk into herself so much that she nearly imploded. Her world as she knew it was collapsing around her, and both of her sons had proven to be a disappointment. One had embraced the ideology of the Galactic Empire who had destroyed the neighboring planet of Alderaan, and the other had spent much of his adult life drinking and carousing before settling down with someone young enough to be his daughter. If either of them had managed to have a son maybe this would not have been happening, but the medical center was literally overflowing with Rodney daughters. "Yes. You can have a son," she said, dejectedly, before breaking eye contact with Zara, and shifting her gaze down upon her sickly husband. It was only now, near the end, that she finally understood the man's relentless crusade to produce an heir.

Zara held herself with great tension as she awaited Livia to come down on her like the hand of God. No matter how she felt; happy, sad, angry, Livia's face always held the same bitterness. She had a professional resting bitch face. It was surprising to see the woman she feared so much crashing into herself. She stepped forward, placing a hand awkwardly on her back. Give the girl some credit, she was *trying*. It was hard to try. The woman had vocalized her opinion about Marcus on more than one occasion. Zara hated the way she treated him. Livia demanded one thing out of her; a son. *Darrus*. She thought of the hologram of their baby that was hidden amongst their belongings on the ship. She thought of the doctor, who surely overheard their conversation, and of Marcus. Zara's hand moved back and forth over the elderly woman's back. "Maybe it'll happen next time." There was a soothing tone to her voice, but Zara didn't mean the words. She had to protect their tiny son from this.

Julius' eyes opened as he saw the unexpected sight of his wife and his daughter-in-law. He blinked in rapid succession as in order to refocus, wondering if what he saw in front of him was a hallucination. He looked around the room and spotted his eldest son's Ithorian physician. He was not entirely sure happened. One moment he was on his throne and the next minute he was here. It was only then that he realized that a breath mask had been placed over his face. He gasped for air in a panic, but the mechanism soon took over and steadied him. Looking further he saw his younger son, Marcus, the disappointment, and he reached out with his hand weakly to beckon him.

Marcus watched as his wife attempted to smooth things over with his mother. He doubted she would have much impact, but he would make sure to thank her later for the gesture. He moved forward when his father motioned for him, and as he grew closer he saw just how poorly the old man looked. When he arrived at the bedside he placed his hand reassuringly on his father's arm and squeezed it gently, offering what nonverbal support he could. "I love you, father," he said, sincerely, in a way that under any other circumstances would have thoroughly embarrassed him. "Don't try and speak. Save your strength," he pleaded with him, as tears began to well in the corner of his eyes. He brought his free hand up to his face to rub the tears away, before looking to his wife for much needed support.

Oooh god. Julius was awake! Zara's hand quickly dropped from the Duchess, who she had no idea how to comfort. The Duke's hospitalization had shaken her and alter some of Zara's opinions. She realized they should spent more time in Delaya. As for their son's fate...well, those feelings had yet to change. The man reached for the only son present; Marcus. He struggled with his breathing. He was weak, surely too weak to verbally abuse her husband. She watched Marcus step forward and reassure his father of his love. It was the way he said it that made Zara realize how much his father meant to him. Things were going to change, she decided, stepping up to his side with a look of worry on her face. One of her arms wrapped around his waist. It persuaded him to let her support him this time. All she wanted to do was take Marcus away from this, squeeze him, and promise him everything was going to be okay. "Please relax. We'll be staying here on Delaya. Don't push yourself."

When her husband awoke, Livia rose from her seat and immediately summoned Doctor Tohan. Her attention then shifted to the young Zara, whom for better or worse was now the future of the family. She reached out with the frail fingers of her left hand and grasped Zara's hand ever so slightly. "We thank you for your concern. The Duke must rest and speak with the doctor. Please, see to your ... *husband*," she encouraged, but that last word had an ever so difficult time escaping her ancient lips. This would still take some getting used to, but the act was done and no amount of protest would stop it. It was an accomplished fact.

Zara's head snapped towards Livia. Her words, her gestures... Before Zara could wonder if this was a start of a new relationship with her in-laws, she decided that it had been a long day. No one was in their right mind anymore. She appreciated that the Duchess was on her best behavior. She even used the *h*-word. Her arm left Marcus briefly to awkwardly embrace the older woman. "We'll be back in the morning. Make sure you take care of yourself too." With that, Zara stepped back. She collected Marcus by the hand and began leading him out of the room.

She mulled over what had happened in that room all the way back to the castle. Life was easier after they left. The guards shielded them from the worst of the paparazzi mob. A private speeder took them back to a castle with no Duke or Duchess. A servant informed them right away that Marcus' room in the tower had been prepared for a long stay. It took a second burst of energy to make it all the way up to the privacy of his old room. Zara said not a word at first. Instead, she guided him to the bed. Laying in front of him, she wrapped her little arms around him and held him tight. Her lips touched with his forehead and each of his cheeks. "I'm here for you, my love." He could cry. He could shout. He could do whatever he needed to do to feel better.

Marcus reluctantly withdrew from the hospital suite with Zara. In his mind his father would always be the image from his youth, where he was younger, stronger, and one of the most powerful men in the core ... he was an inspiration to him, his brother, and all of Delaya. Now he was a sick old man in bed ... as he would be one day. He exchanged a pleasant glance in the direction of his two nieces as he moved with Zara, taking the time to barely acknowledge his scheming cousin, before leaving the grounds altogether. He was not much conversation in the speeder, because he had just got a look at his own future, and it scared him immensely. Zara had been of great help to him in this dark day, whether she realized it or not. It was only when he got to bed did he finally begin to 'loosen up' and speak to her once again. "I love you so much, Zara," he said, as he leaned into her warm embrace. "I did not think it would be that ... *bad*," he said, searching for a word to best convey his thoughts on the scene, and the simplest word ultimately won. "Thank you for trying with mother. I know that could not have been easy," he said to her, gratefully, as his hands moved up and down the arms she had wrapped around him affectionately.

She nuzzled closely against him. "I love you too," her soft voice whispered in his ear. "I didn't think it would be that bad either. The report I read left information out. Maybe on purpose." Zara surely wasn't the only hacker out there who had a taste for royalty information. "I know it looks bad right now, but he's got a good doctor watching over him. He's in the best place he can be right now. We'll stay until he's well enough to stand up and rag on us about procreating." She squeezed him. The attempts with his mother had been weak. She appreciated that he had seen her efforts. It took so much to play nice with that woman. She sighed, "I'll do anything for you, Marcus. That includes attempting to become your mother's friend." The pregnant woman began to deflate. She adjusted against him until she was more comfortable with one leg propped up on his. "What are we going to do?" She asked quietly, eyebrows furrowing in the process. "Our son... There's no way to keep him from this." She didn't want to mention something happening to his father. If his father died, then there would be no choice. Instead, Zara decided to bury herself close to him, "Should we tell them? I mean...seeing your dad like that... I feel like a horrible person for ever suggesting we stop talking to them. I *get* it. I'll never forget the day my father died, nor will I ever stop feeling regret that we didn't spend more time together. I don't want *you* to feel that way."

Marcus listened to everything Zara said carefully. He realized how fortunate it was that she had come into his life prior to this unfortunate series of events. "My father once told me when I was young that when it wasn't clear to do, it was best to do nothing," he shared with her, pulling her arms more tightly around him until she was wrapped up in him like a warm blanket. "We should not tell them. It would only further complicate things now..." he said, as his mouth moved down to kiss at the soft, gentle flesh of her arms. "Some might even claim we were making it up to take advantage of the situation and seize power," he speculated, referring to his cousin and his faction. "There is nothing we can do now, but wait and hopefully sleep..." he commented, as his eyes scanned around his old room ... it was where they first met.

Untitled 1

Copyright Era of Rebellion 2005-2018. All Rights Reserved
Terms of Use | Legal Notices | Privacy Policy | Press Release | Disclaimer