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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
718 years before the Battle of Yavin (683BrS:2:14) in the Alderaan system: Alderaan (Aldera: Royal Palace).
Baroness Raeni Corliss/Rodney, Niloth (Darth Diabolus), and Baron Germanicus Rodney (Darth Crassus).

Despite being gifted in the dark side of the force, Germanicus Rodney was not able to master dressing himself on the day of his wedding. No matter how hard he struggled the last button would not fasten. "Ngh," he grunted and groaned, as he pulled on his collar to try and get it closed. "No. I refuse to accept I've gained weight," he said, as he took a break, to examine himself in the mirror. A fearsome and ruthless villain, today he found himself cowering in fear of something much worse ... appearing in public. He closed his eyes, trying to focus himself. He heard the voice of his master calling to him again, causing his head to ache tremendously. This was going to be an incredibly difficult day, but at the end of it Raeni would be officially his, and as strange as it sound ... that made it all worthwhile. As his hand again moved to the collar of his shirt he pulled the button towards the hole until a vein nearly burst, but he managed to get dressed. As he stood in the Royal Palace in Aldera in seclusion waiting for the ceremony he hoped Raeni were having better luck with the dress. A thranta had landed on the balcony, watching him, as he paced about, trying to find peace amid the storm in his mind.

The first morning light signified one very important day in Raeni Corliss' life: her wedding day. She could honestly say she had never expected this to happen. As a slave, the best she could hope for was for the man who raped her to stay with her during the aftermath. Instead, she had something much more. The woman had been busy since demanding Germanicus drop her off in Aldera a night early. She cited all the wedding preparations she had to go through in the morning as her reason for spending the evening away from him. In reality, she'd taken an unexpected, careful, visit to the King to see just how weak minded he was. That morning, Raeni *knew* that the King would appear at their wedding, thus making it the biggest event of the year. People would be whispering about this all over the galaxy. It had to be flawless.

That flawlessness started with the young bride, who endured quite an extensive morning inside of a beauty salon while Alderaan woman attempted to change her into the most beautiful woman on the planet, if only for one day. They plucked at her eyebrows, ground down her nails, and successfully transformed her. Ultimately, as the evening ceremony drew closer, Raeni was taken back to the Royal Palace to dress and prepare herself, mentally, to wed. She stood before a body length mirror, staring at herself. Her dress was grandiose and of the highest fashion. Raeni had gone far, far out of her comfort zone to make this the spectacle Germanicus needed it to be...the spectacle *they* needed it to be. There was a commotion around the Royal Palace when the King arrived. She smiled softly. "I hope you like my surprise." She said quietly to herself, turning away from the mirror. Today, she walked with confidence. She held herself high like a noblewoman should. Awaiting the ceremony's beginning, Raeni stood on her balcony overlooking the city. One day this would belong to them. Her fierce eyes softened; she was marrying Germanicus.

Germanicus Rodney, although a mere Baron, had drawn quite a crowd to his wedding, which many felt was long past due. As he stood in the great hall of the Royal Palace waiting, he could feel the eyes of the entire court on him ... including the King. He did not like it. He wanted the throne, but not the celebrity that went with it. The grand chamberlain was present to perform the ceremony, whose traditions were rooted in ancient Alderaanian culture. Raeni would be walking down the aisle any moment, causing him to swallow so nervously that he nearly burst the button on the collar he worked so diligently to fasten. As he looked off into the crowd he knew that this was a major milestone on his path to ruling over them. As he looked towards the King, he smiled, knowing that the man's days were numbered. With no heirs the planet would be sent into disarray, which he would capitalize on to seize the throne. But today ... today was for Raeni.

The time to make her way towards the great hall had come. Raeni was informed by a servant woman, who she sent off with a wave of her hand. It had taken her all day to notice that her heart was thumping rapidly inside of her breast. Today marked change. She would marry, eventually bear an heir, and aid her husband in his rise to power. The young woman knew this was more than a politically motivated union. The more time they spent together, the more it became obvious that there was something there that wasn't there before. Each step she took towards the great hall made her a little more nervous. She felt like running away as she stood outside the closed double doors leading inside.

Then all the doubt was gone. Raeni forgot her worries because when those doors opened, the very first person she saw was Germanicus. Behind her veil, she hoped he wouldn't see how shocked she looked. It was like seeing him forced her to come eye-to-eye with how she *really* felt. She wasn't simply marrying a Baron in attempts to make him a King; she was marrying the man she loved. Raeni passed slowly down the aisle splitting the rows upon rows upon rows of their guests. Her attention ceased to depart from Germanicus. At long last, she came to stand in front of him. There was no one there to give her away. There was not a Corliss in the crowd to be seen, yet she didn't care. As she faced him and took his hands, Raeni realized that she had found happiness.

Germanicus was prepared for many things, but not for how beautiful Ranei looked in that dress. As she walked down the aisle he could not believe than *she* was marrying *him*. Once she arrived the grand chamberlain went through the ceremony, which seemed to draw on forever. He turned slightly to look at Raeni in the eyes, smiling softly, as the ceremony began to draw to a close. When the grand chamberlain asked if anyone had any objections it was a mere formality. No one could remember a time when anyone had ever objected, and the chamberlain was about to continue when the temperature in the room seemed to drop 20 degrees. Germanicus turned, fearing the worst.

"I object!" the voice of Niloth, secretly known as Darth Diabolus, cried out from the back of the great hall. The Devaronian Sith Lord stepped forward, before pulling his cloak down off his head to reveal his red skin and sharp horns. His teeth were sharpened like fangs, and he strode down the aisle as if *he* was getting married. He walked up to the happy couple and shot a deadly look towards his wayward apprentice, before focusing on the girl. He reached for her veil, breaking protocol, and lifting it so that he could look upon her unobstructed. "I've been looking for you," he told her cryptically, before lowering the veil back down. "Forgive me. I just wanted a peek. Proceed," he told the very confused grand chamberlain, before he withdrew to the back of the audience to take his seat. He understood now why he had not heard from the boy ... and he knew that the time of great conflict was at hand.

The years of maturity seemed to shed off of Raeni. She felt *young* and *happy*. Somehow, Germanicus could make up for all the hardships she had endured. The future would be infinitely better than the past. She was smiling, paying the chamberlain no attention. Soon, he would kiss her and they would be wed. Something swept the sweet moment right out from under her: an unnatural coldness. In her mind, thanks to the rule of two, there was only her and Germanicus. The Devaronian who proclaimed his objection was contrary to what she had been taught. He clearly wasn't a Jedi which meant one thing...he was one of them. Raeni tensed. Three would need to become two. With each step he took towards the couple, Raeni thought that *she* was the one about to be struck down.

Her eyes reflected a mixture of confusion and betrayal when they met with Darth Diabolus. She tried to make herself stern in the eyes of an enemy. His appearance put her on edge. The fact that he didn't leave ensured that there would be a fight after the wedding. She said nothing as the grand chamberlain stumbled through the rest of the ceremony. Why would have Germanicus kept that man a secret from her? Was that *his* Master? A secondary apprentice? The next time her veil was lifted, she looked all the more concerned. Right now, she looked to be the weakest link. Weak links weren't made to survive amongst their kind. As the grand chamberlain instructed them to kiss to seal the marriage, Raeni felt as though there special moment had been thrown off the tracks. She kissed him softly and shyly with the whole crowd watching, with that Sith male watching and waiting like a predatory animal.

Germanicus feared the worst then his master arrived. A cold sensation ran down his entire body, causing him to shiver. He nearly voided his bowels as he drew near. Would they have to fight right here in the great hall of the Royal Palace? Predictably, his master seemed more interested in Raeni than him. When he approached her, he tensed up, preparing for battle, but for now he seemed to only want a look. As the grand chamberlain resumed the ceremony in front of a confused audience he slid the ring upon Raeni's finger, and then moved his hands up to lift the veil himself. He wondered what she was thinking about this, whether she was afraid, and whether she would side with his master against him. He lowered his head slowly, closing his eyes, and pressing his lips against hers. In that moment they had become officially wed, but it seemed the honeymoon he planned was about to go out the window.

Raeni had no idea what to expect other than a fight. She questioned if she was prepared for it. Though she was devout in her studies, she had only come to realize her own potential since Germanicus had entered her life. She loved him. At long last, they were married. The question now was if they'd get to be happy newlyweds, or if the Sith lord awaiting the conclusion of the ceremony would kill one, or both, of them. She had suspected the evening to go differently. It seemed her dreams of becoming intimate with her love were going to have to wait. As the kiss ended, the crowd cheered and clapped for them before filing out of the great hall to indulge in rich foods at the reception within the Royal Palace's exquisite gardens. Raeni's hand slid into her husband's. Without a word, she began leading him down the aisle and towards fate.

The great hall began to clear of people as they moved to the various receptions and after parties that would follow. Alcohol was a must for most in attendance on a night like this, and bottles would soon be popped throughout the castle. As Germanicus led Raeni down the aisle he spotted his master at the back of the hall, but he just kept walking. His ship had been prepared and rather than force a fight he was going to flee. "Faster. More intense," he told her, quietly, as he kept a fake smile upon his face. They began moving faster, bumping into people, and navigating through a sea of people. Those in attendance assumed Germanicus' hurry was just another of his eccentricities, and thought nothing of it. Soon they were at the landing platform where already drunk wellwishers were waving at the ship while simultaneously summoning more drinks.

After what had unfolded, Raeni felt like *she* could use a drink. This was the worst possible place for a battle among Sith to take place. More than anything else, there were so many people that would witness who they *truly* were. Raeni remained pleasant looking externally as she rapidly moved with Germanicus. She regretted how *tight* and limiting her dress was at that moment. Yet somehow, the newlyweds escaped the great hall, and made it to the landing platform. She had no idea how some of the guests had gotten drunk so quickly. She also wondered if she had succeeded in making a memorable wedding that would impact their social status. Regardless, as she quickly moved into Germanicus' ship and sat, she began pushing all the things she couldn't control from her mind. That Sith man would be back, she was sure of that much. "Are you going to tell me more about our uninvited guest?" She asked him.

"No," Germanicus replied, simply, and coldly, as he began to power up the ship. Although he could not *see* his master, he could *feel* his presence, and it unnerved him. "Hang on," he warned her, as he prepared the small starfighter for takeoff. Without giving the people proper time to clear the platform he activated the engines, blasting them off the deck and sending them hurtling into the atmosphere at breakneck speeds. The small craft began to buffet as it streaked through the atmosphere, causing them to bounce around a bit in the cockpit. Germanicus was running scared. Hardly the impression he wanted to be making for his blushing bride, but better to give an alive reaction than a dead one.

His answer made her feel *furious*. Keeping a third Sith a secret was major. She smelt betrayal in the air. Raeni made her feeling obvious by saying nothing to him. Instead, she sat back in her seat with her arms crossed and her head tilted downward. Her hand lifted to brush over her cheek. She realized then that she was crying, mostly because she was so angry, but partially because she felt hurt. They had lived together since he plucked her from her hell hole, yet he had failed to mention Darth Diabolus even once. The honeymoon had ended long before it even began.

From the palace Darth Diabolus watched as his apprentice and the girl fled the scene, causing him to smirk in a way the displayed his fangs. "Go no. Run. Bed your wife," he mocked, with a snort, as he planned his next move. Did he want the powerful apprentice in the girl who could more easily challenge him? Or did he want the buffoon in Germanicus who he could more easily control? The future of the Sith as a whole was at odds with his personal future. "Soon," he said, as the ship fled the planet, before bringing the cloak back over his head and stepping back into shadow.

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