"Faster, Auntie!! Faster!!" Callista Nilar was seated
on top of Duchess Zara's back ... along with two Squibs
roughly the same size as her. It seemed that even though
a deal had been struck between Zara and the King of Skor
II, the Squibs had yet to leave. The HoloNet reported
that there was a shortage of Auntie Mae's, and more was
to be transported in from another planet simply to
accommodate the needs of so many Squibs. Auntie Mae
herself had introduced a new flavor of ice cream called
'Super Shiny Sorbet' which featured flavored shiny
edible confetti inside of it. Needless to say, that was
gone too. "Fasteeerrr!" Callista cried out, using her
foot to prod her aunt gentle. The other two young Squib
were less gentle. They jumped up and down on Zara's back
while repeating the same word: 'Faster! Faster! Faster!'
What had started out as a quiet moment in the library
with Darrus and Sia had been turned upside down for
Zara. The Duchess had sprawled out a blanket where both
twins still lay. Originally, she had been giving them
some 'tummy time' and trying to demonstrate rolling
over. Nana had told her that the twins should be able to
roll over pretty soon, so she thought she could help.
Callista had found her, assumed she was playing pony,
and hopped right on. An hour later, Zara was still a
pony with two wiggling Squibs on her as well as a hyped
up Callista. "Ugh. The pony is tired." She huffed. She
was on all fours, but soon lowered herself down to the
floor. There was a chorus of 'awwwwww' from behind her,
to which Zara rolled again and began tickling the
children. "No frowns allowed!" She declared over the
sound of children giggling. For the millionth time, Zara
was sure she could *never* adopt a Squib. Two was
insanity. Claudius and Sierra were *crazy*.
"Zara!" the whine of Duke Marcus Rodney arrived
before he, himself, did. He was moving through the
corridors with a purpose, clutching a datapad in his
right hand. "Zara!" he cried out again, his footsteps
now being heard as well. When he came into view his
family's hereditary pout was plastered upon his face.
"That awful woman," he complained, but was he talking
about Colonel Arden Zevrin of the ISB? "Look at the bill
she sent us!" he complained, as he offered her the
datapad with a bill from Auntie Mae for all of the ice
cream, the property damage, stolen items, lost damage
... it just went on and on and on. He sighed, wondering
what would be left of the treasury after they paid. It.
They *had* to pay it, did they not? There was even a
bill for Doo-Doo Fast's food speeder truck. The Squibs
had cost them a fortune.
Ewwiekewwieikkie descended from Zara's back, before
moving over towards Marcus curiously. "Oh. Oh. Oh!" she
said, as she brought her paw up to her chin. "Wow. We
ate a lot," she said, as she hopped up and down, trying
to look at the datapad as well. "Is there more yet? I'm
hungry!" she declared, as she moved her tongue from her
mouth and began to swirl it around her muzzle. "You
hungry?" she asked Melickielickie and Callista, but she
already knew the answer. "I used to eat *a lot* here,"
she said, s she looked around her former, childhood
home. "Oh!" she said, as she moved towards one of the
book cases. She began climbing up until she found an
area she remembered, and began carelessly tossing books
down to the floor. "I hide here," she informed everyone,
before she reached behind where the books were and began
tossing old candy down at everyone. She never read
anything, but neither did anyone else when she lived
here, so it made for an excellent hiding place for her
Zara wondered if playing dead would work around
Callista and the Squibs. She was merely a teenager and
even her back hurt after pony time. She inched towards
the twins and sat up just in time to hear her husband
whining. "What? What is it?" Nothing could be worse than
the datadisk that was 'gifted' to them. She reached out,
taking the datapad from him. The young Duchess coughed
as soon as she saw what Auntie Mae was charging them.
"No! We're not paying this!" She said, slamming the
datapad onto the ground. "I didn't even eat a lick of
ice cream yesterday." Zara sounded unhappy about that.
Unless they traveled off planet, Zara would not satisfy
her craving for her favorite ice cream. She picked back
up the datapad, reviewing that Doo-Doo was also trying
to send them a bill. "Go away, Doo-Doo. You should be
happy we didn't sue for emotional trauma at your
restaurant." Zara complained, slowly sliding the datapad
in between ancient books within the bookcase. She was
such an excellent problem solver!
"I hungry. I so hungry I eat wholllllllllleeeee taun
taun. Three of them!" Melickielickie explained, showing
only one finger. The small Squib made her way over to
Callista and hugged her. "My sissy is magical." She
explained. "She makes shinies." Nothing was more magical
than the moment Ewwiekewwieikkie produced candy from the
sky. "*Candeeeeeeeeee*!" She gasped, paws pressing into
her cheeks in disbelief. "No candy, then candy there!"
She said as she picked up a piece of wrapped candy. She
placed it on her nose and sniffed it. "Mmmm."
Callista, on the other hand, didn't think twice about
picking up the old candy and eating it. She removed the
colorful wrapper from a decade-old piece of taffy. "It's
so pretty." She said, glancing down at the
pink-and-white striped candy. She plopped it into her
mouth and bit down hard. "Owwwiieeeeeeeeeee!" The candy
was so hard that it had become impossible to chew.
Callista immediately spit it out. "Owwwww!"
"Oh no!" Ewwiekewwieikkie squealed suddenly as she
reached behind the candy and found an image of a mother
and twin children. "You found my hiding spot," she said,
and as she began to panic she began to fall. "Woah!" she
said, as she fell backwards off the bookcase, impacted
the ground with a loud *thump* that might have made
someone think she broke every bone in her body. But she
was a Squib, and that meant she was nimble, and she was
back up on her feet and scrambling in no time. "It's a
picture of you and the twins!" she announced to Zara,
before showin Callista and Melickielickie what she
found. Only it was not Zara, Sia, and Darrus. It was
Raeni, Desdemona, and Romulus.
"Ewwie!" Zara saw her niece losing her footing. She
outstretched her arms with all good intentions of
catching her. Somehow, Zara totally missed her. "*Ohno*!
*I killed her*!" She exclaimed, looking down at
Ewwiekewwieikkie. The sound of her body hitting the
floor made it seem like more damage had been done.
Zara's life flashed before her eyes as she imagined her
brother coming to Delaya to kill her. Thankfully, she
was up half a second later and totally unharmed. She
didn't understand how, but she wasn't going to complain.
Zara took the picture from Ewwiekewwieikkie. "What? I
didn't hide a picture up there..." She looked down at
the picture. She didn't recognize *who* it was of. There
was something interesting about the picture. Whoever it
was, the woman had certainly had twins just like Zara
had. "Do you know who this is?" She asked Marcus,
showing it to him. The picture looked old. She wondered
if it was as old as Nana!
Marcus was mentally preparing a note to his brother,
offering condolences for the loss of Ewwiekewwieikkie
when she suddenly sprung up as if nothing had happened.
Well, that was certainly a relief. He moved towards
Zara, trying to work his way between three very excited
girls, to steal a glimpse at the picture. "Hmm. That
looks like the depictions of the first Duchess, Raeni,"
he explained, as he pawed his chin in a manner similar
to Ewwiekewwieikkie. "Only I have no idea who the twins
are," he said, sounding as if his interest had been
piqued. "Maybe the droid would know, but it seems like
her memory circuits have decayed over the years," he
warned her, to temper her excitement. "I should have
asked mother more about the family history. I thought I
had more time..." he confided in his wife, with a hint
of sadness in his voice.
The picture brought on a lot of excitement. When they
had found out that Zara was pregnant with twins, she
wondered if they'd won some genetic lottery, or it if
had been in either of their families somewhere.
Apparently ... it had! "I know who those twins are!" She
teased excitedly, unable to temper herself. "They are
the reason I had twins. It was a Rodney thing!" Which
made her wonder what the probability of it happening
again were. At least now they had servants who could
help her when she was feeling embarrassed about being
beached on the bed. She left the picture in her
husband's hands so she could collect both Darrus and Sia
from the ground. She squeezed her babies lovingly, then
neared Marcus so he had no choice but to feel their
love. "I'm sorry, Marcus.. It wasn't fair what
happened.." She frowned. She wished she could bring
Livia back for her family. Instead, they would have to
try their luck with the nanny droid. As Zara moved back
through the corridors with her husband, she wondered
where Nana was. She hoped that she hadn't short
circuited somewhere. In a castle this big, it may be
impossible to find her.
Suddenly the nanny droid emerged in the direction of
Zara, unexpectedly carrying a tub of Auntie Mae's purple
potato ice cream. "Oh Duchess Zara. I have the most
wonderful news," she informed her, as she offered up the
ice cream. "Auntie Mae herself has sent you a container
of her galactic famous purple potato ice cream," she
said, before spinning around excitedly in a circle. "She
said she wanted you to have it special and, not to
worry, she added it to the bill she transmitted early,"
she continued, before flailing her four arms up and down
excessively. "Also, you received a transmission from
King Ebareebaveebeedee who requested to know if you
'learned anything'. He also wished you to be informed
that he is able to give in person instructions and
demonstrations, f-for a f-fee of course," she concluded,
before nodding her head to the Duke and Duchess.
"Nana!" Zara exclaimed delightedly. Her eyes widened
when she saw the object of her affections: a tub of
purple potato ice cream. With all the news of the
Squibs, Zara had given up on finding ice cream until
they had left. She completely ignored the fact that
Auntie Mae had added the fee of the ice cream to the
already lengthy bill. "Ice cream..." She turned towards
Marcus, handing him off the twins in exchange for the
picture that Ewwiekewwieikkie had found. She realized
that ice cream was not safe in the castle. As soon as it
was in her hands, she removed the top of the container
and stuck a single finger into it. She licked her
finger, sighing as her craving was *finally* just
beginning to be satisfied. "Thank goodness... Ice
cream." The second tidbit of information that Nana
delivered brought back a very unfortunate video that she
and Marcus had seen far too much of. "Ugh!!!! No! No!
No!" She squeaked, closing her eyes only to find the
image of King Ebareebaveebeedee behind her eyelids. "Um,
please let him know I appreciate his gift ... and
require no further information." She looked over at her
husband in disbelief. Deep down inside, she wondered
what the Squibs were using their video for. "Oh, um,
Nana." She showed the droid the picture. "Do you know
who these babies are? Is that Raeni Rodney?"
The nanny droid took the photo and the moment she saw
it her photoreceptors seemed to glow so white hot that
they threatened to burst. "Oh my," she said, before
spinning around rapidly, flailing her arms excessively
once again. "That ... that is Duchess Raeni with Lady
Desdemona and Lord Romulus," she explained, but even
though she was a droid, there was nevertheless a bit of
trepidation in her voice. "These were her second and
third children respectively," she said, before offering
the picture back to Zara. "Where did you find this?" she
asked, wondering if perhaps there was more. Her memories
were incomplete on the early days of the House of Rodney
family, but she did remember assisting Duchess Raeni
with the care of these children and more.
Worried that the droid was about to explode, Zara
guided her family a safe distance away from Nana.
"Maybe... Maybe I didn't fix her all the way." She
commented quietly. Nonetheless, the nanny droid recalled
exactly who was in the picture. As Zara looked at it
again, she thought that Sia looked a little like Raeni.
She could see some resemblance in her husband as well.
For someone who knew none of her family history, she
found it interesting. It was actually possible to follow
the House of Rodney family tree down to those who roamed
the galaxy today. "Who was her first child?" She asked
Nana, recalling all the toys they had found in the
hidden room within the library. She took the picture,
looking down at it. "My niece found it in the books in
the library. I found you in the library too. There's a
room hidden behind the bookcases." She reported to the
droid excitedly. "What were Raeni and Germanicus like?
Was Germanicus clums- er, prone to disaster too?"
The nanny droid remained silent for a moment as her
internal processors went to work. "Count
Cla-Cla-Claudius," she announced to Zara, surprised that
she did not know. "The library? Oh. Oh. Oh!" she said,
before moving past Zara and heading towards the library
to search for more. She wondered, perhaps, if she could
discover why she was deactivated and placed in permanent
storage. She wondered if she had done something wrong to
displease the family, which was quite the personal
failure for the nanny droid. "Raeni and Germanicus were
very complicated individuals, Duchess Zara," she said,
as she continued to move through the corridors of the
castle. "In public they were very cheerful. Very
confident. Very popular," she explained, as she rounded
the corner towards the library. "In private they were
quiet. Sometimes sad. Focused on their training," she
explained, cryptically, as she arrived in the library to
find two Squibs and Callista. "Oh no!" she exclaimed, as
she began to spin around again. Before moving to search
the library she was quick to check on all of the
children, as her programming dictated.
"Claudius, huh? Like Marcus' brother! You haven't met
him yet, but you will. You took care of his son at the
ball." She explained, unaware that Nana had witnessed
Sierra, Papius, Bruce, and the attack of the thranta. It
had crossed Zara's mind more than a few times why Nana
had been deactivated. It wasn't just her, it was the
amount of infant things hidden away in the room within
the books. She wondered if something horrible had
happened which caused Raeni and Germanicus to shut out
that part of their lives. She paused briefly on the way
to the library to ask a servant to fetch her a spoon and
continued on once she had received it. Returning to the
library meant that she would have to share her ice
She listened to Nana begin to fill her in. Zara
wanted to take the time to write down the family history
so that Darrus, Sia, and Bruce's generation could learn
the stories about the House's beginning as well.
"Training? What kind of training?" Zara's eyes lit up.
Maybe Raeni and Germanicus lived secret lives too. Were
they bounty hunters? Thieves? Something else?! She stood
back, looking to her husband. "The twins came from
yourrr side of the family." She chanted playfully. "We
should call Claudius and Sierra and tell them! Maybe
Sierra will have twins this time!" She opened her mouth
wide and shoved a spoonful of ice cream inside of it.
She prepared another spoonful, then offered it to
"Wowie wow! It's a droid," Ewwiekewwieikkie said, as
she rushed towards the nanny droid to give it a thorough
inspection. Before she could get to the droid, however,
she spotted Zara and the purple potato ice cream. "Oh my
wow! The ice cream is here," and she stopped dead in her
tracks, stopping only long enough to lick her lips. She
began running towards Zara to get into the ice cream
when suddenly she stepped again. Her nose began to
twitch and she started sniffing, before getting way too
close for comfort with Zara. "Oh! Oh!" she said, as she
looked up at Zara and began to climb her as if she was a
tre. "'Nother cousin," she declared, before giving her
sloppy kisses and eyeing the ice cream.
Uh oh. Zara's short love affair with her ice cream
was over. She had been *spotted*. She inched backwards
with the intentions of using her husband as a human
shield. When she realized she couldn't reach safe ground
quickly enough, Zara braced herself for the impact.
Instead, her niece stopped. Zara redirected the spoon of
ice cream towards her. "Want some?" She asked. It was a
little uncomfortable that she came so close to her. She
could see Ewwiekewwieikkie's nose twitching. Did she
smell? Slowly, Zara turned her head to the side and
lowered it as to smell her armpit. No, that seemed
pretty good. "Nother cousin?" Zara asked, reaching her
arms out to help stabilize Ewwiekewwieikkie so that she
wouldn't fall. "It isn't nother cousin. It's ice cre-!"
Zara was cut short by her sloppy kisses. They tickled
her. "I love you too! I love you too!" She said through
laughter. Zara didn't think twice about sharing her ice
cream. She turned the tub over to Ewwiekewwieikkie.
"Here, you can have it."
In a delayed reaction, Zara looked at her niece.
"Om nom nom," Ewwiekewwieikkie declared as the ice
cream was handed over to her, but as she looked to Zara
she frowned, and pushed it back to her. "You need it
more than me," she said, not believing the words that
she was saying, even as she said them. "For my cousin,"
she said, before looking down at Zara's belly. "Sia and
Darrus and ... and ... and ... I dunno!" she said,
before dropping down in front of Zara and staring into
her stomach. "Hello? What's your name?" she asked,
before gently knocking on Zara's belly, and turning her
head to place her ear against it to listen for a reply.
Zara was brought to tears by her sweet Squib niece.
After she had given her ice cream to the girl,
Ewwiekewwieikkie returned it. She also made it evident
that Zara and Marcus' family was growing--which was
something even she didn't know. Happy tears began
spilling down her cheeks. "Ewwie...!!" There was even
greater news to celebrate. As she knocked on her belly,
Zara's head rose to her husband in disbelief. She slowly
mouthed the words 'am I pregnant?' to him, which was
silly to ask considering she was holding her favored
purple potato ice cream. Zara breathed shallowly with
Ewwiekewwieikkie's ear against her belly. "Do you hear
anything? Are you *sure*?" She asked, looking over at
Nana. "Nana, tell the cooks to prepare a bunch of
desserts for my nieces!" Her heart was beating fast with
excitement. She wanted to find out *now*!
The nanny droid stopped as she watched
Ewwiekewwieikkie assail the Duchess of Delaya as if she
were one of the Triplehorn Mountains on Alderaan. "I
believe Duke Germanicus and Duchess Raeni thought
themselves great warriors. They were always training,"
she said, with a nod of her head, before the subject
turned to desserts. "But Duchess Zara the children have
already has so much sugar. It is not healthy to feed
them this many desserts. They will get hyperactive and
then crash and I will be the one that has to deal with
it," she said, in protest, as she gave the Duchess some
"I'm super sure!" Ewwiekewwieikkie said, before
looking around the room excited. "I'm'a tell everybodies,"
she said, as she began running around the room. "Callista,
Duchess Zara is gonna have a baby," she said, as she
grabbed her by the shoulders and gave her a little
shake. "Melickielickie, Zara's preggers!" she told her
adopted Squib sister before giving her a shake also.
Then, she turned to Uncle Duke Marcus, and gave him a
quixotic look. "More babies!" she yelled, before surging
towards him, leaping up, and tackling him to the ground.
"Pounce party!" she yelled, as she began to hop up and
down on her best, and only, uncle.
Even if Ewwiekewwieikkie had not tackled him he would
have been floored. He lay on the ground beneath his
Squib niece, being assaulted with licks and pounces.
"Zara!" he cried out, but not because he needed help,
but because he had the unexpected news of a pregnancy.
He noticed that she had been eating ice cream more, and
with greater desperation, but that was hardly
scientific. Could a Squib's nose really detect something
as subtle as a pregnancy? He needed to find out.
"Let them eat cake!" Zara shouted, completely
disregarding the nutrition of her nieces. Sierra could
take care of getting the healthy stuff in them. As their
aunt, it was her job to load them on sugar. All in all,
Zara's mind was mostly preoccupied with the news
Ewwiekewwieikkie was spreading around the room. She
*needed* to know too.
Callista let out a high pitched squeal. "*More
babies*!?" She gasped. "The babies are soooo cute." She
gushed. "They have such ity, bity, tinnyy toes!"
Callista enjoyed playing with all of her new cousins.
Earlier, she had spent some time trying to read to Sia
and Darrus. The little girl danced her way over to her
uncle, who she pounced. "Pounce party! Pounce party!"
She chanted, suddenly throwing herself to the ground in
a fit of giggles. She rolled up to her uncle. "Uncle
Marcy Marc," she said, placing her chin in her hands.
"Where do babies come from? How did the baby get in
auntie Zara's tummy? Did she eat something?" She asked.
Melickielickie was still gnawing on old candy. She
refused to give up eating it. She nearly choked on the
hard candy when her sister gave her a shake. "Preggers?
Like Mommeee?" She asked, looking around for Sierra.
"Where mommeeee?" Melickielickie liked playing tag on
the beach and seeing the big water. She wanted to go
play in the big water with her family more. The longing
for her parents was brief. The pounce party provided a
perfect distraction. She jumped on top of her uncle with
all of her other friends. "Yayyy!"
Zara squatted down by her husband, who was currently
being assaulted just as she had been. "I wanna find
out." She said to him excitedly. The twins brightened up
her life. Despite the days that were hard and the
sleepless nights, Zara hadn't been swayed away from the
idea of making their family grow more.
Marcus was busy dealing with what the girls called a
'pounce party', protecting his ribs from any potential
Squib-related misfortune. Unfortunately, when Callista
asked him *how* Zara got pregnant he was so taken back
that he let his guard down and Melickielickie got in a
decent blow to his spleen. "Uh. Um," he stammered, as he
tried to think of what to say. "You need to ask your
mommy," he finally blurted out, as he brought his hand
down to cover his spleen. "I'm sure your mom will tell
you everything you wanted to know about babies," he
said, with a nervous look upon his face, before seeking
out Zara for support. "If I survive the 'pounce party'
we can summon Doctors Tohan and Bailo," he suggested, as
he did not want to go pack to that meddlesome doctor on
"Very well," the nanny droid replied, before
muttering something about Duchess Zara not having to be
the one to get the children in bed. She moved off
towards the large kitchen where she began gossiping with
the pastry chef about the new Duke and Duchess. Moments
later, but for what seemed like an eternity for the
children, she replied with a tray of delicate cakes.
"This is a bad idea," she said, as it seemed whatever
repairs Zara had made had released her inhibitors. She
lowered the tray of cakes, and then began to back out of
the way. Feeding Squibs was not too dissimilar to
feeding a rancor monster.
There was a single way to effectively end the pounce
party: a tray of cakes. Zara stood back and watched the
stampede of girls running towards the tray. She thought
it looked like something one might see on a documentary
about wild beasts. For a moment, she watched in awe as
Callista acted more like a Squib than a human. It seemed
she had totally forgotten about her question and moved
right into cake. Zara smiled to herself. She enjoyed it
when the girls visited. She had granted El-Nay with a
break from them. Since El-Nay had protected Darrus, the
Mandalorian had gained some credit with her. Zara didn't
hate her *as* much...
Her mind snapped back towards the new developments.
"Are you okay?" She asked Marcus, offering him her hands
to help him back off the ground. "That looked really
painful... The doctors can examine you too." She wrapped
an arm around his waist to offer support. "We have to
call them *immediately*!!!" It would only be a matter of
time before Auntie Mae learned of what was happening
through the grapevine and produced a new flavor of ice
cream for such an event. Maybe 'Conception Confetti'?
"I'm fine," Marcus said, as he looked at her with a
large grin and rosey cheeks. Once he was back on his
feet he quickly moved to place a hand upon her belly,
while continuing to look at her stupidly. "The question
is, are *you* okay?" he asked her, before moving his
face down to place a delicate kiss upon her cheek.
Suddenly he was treating her as if she was made of glass
and all of the overprotective instincts he had slowly
gotten over following the birth of the twins were
returning to the forefront of his subconscious. "Well
then, let's call them ... *immediately*..." he told her,
before leading her away from the children and towards
the holonet transceiver. "You're in charge, nana. Good
luck..." he told her, as he started to laugh at her
plight. "...you're gonna need it," he added, unable to
resist, and only saying it loud enough for Zara to hear.
Her chin tilted downward to look at his hand.
Ewwiekewwieikkie had seemed so confident, but Zara
didn't know how. She learned something about Squibs each
time she saw her nieces. It was hard to give herself a
reality check when she felt excited about the aspect.
She looked up at him suddenly. A smile followed. "Yeah.
I mean, I don't feel any different from normal." It
wouldn't be long before Zara wasn't allowed to go to the
bathroom without him standing by the door. Luna
successfully kidnapping her head done nothing to help
her husband's overprotectiveness. She was whisked away
towards the holonet transceiver. She laughed at the
comment he made only for her. "You're so bad!" She
didn't look back once at Nana. She claimed that she had
experience with multiple children. Zara only hoped this
didn't break her beyond fixing.