Era of Rebellion - Navigation


Liz Dorner and Christopher Levy.

Zero years before the Battle of Yavin (35:4:6) in the Essesia system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate) and Kwai.
Ewwiekewwieikkie, Vice Admiral Claudius Rodney, Lady Drusilla Rodney, Countess Htaere Rodney, and Doctor Pilaq Tohan.

Admiral Claudius Rodney sat comfortably in a chair overlooking the expansive oceans of Esseles from his cliff top perch. He was taking a much needed break from the repairs that were being undertaken on his Star Destroyer from the recent attack, which he was still debating whether or not to inform Htaere about. In the distance he could begin to make out the distinct shape of a Lambda-class shuttle and a content smile formed upon his face as he realized his family would soon be restored to him. He rose from his seat, pulling down his tunic to adjust it carefully as the shuttle soared over head, the sound of its distinct repusorlift engines blaring in his ears as he slowly walked down the path towards the landing pad. As the shuttle began it's landing procedure, he ascended the steps to the landing platform and began walking towards the rear of the craft. His hands clasped nervously behind his back as he arched himself on his feet, a nervous feeling coming over him as he watched the ramp begin to descend.

Mixed emotions swirled around Htaere as the shuttle made its decent. On some level, she was glad to be back, and on the far end of the same level, she already missed Hapes and lamented the trip being cut short, not to mention the ongoing disdain for the way things had developed recently.

The droids were already busying themselves to prepare offloading the trove of wealth and treasures the group had accumulated in their travels. As they readied themselves to debark, the Hapan heiress took a moment to address them. "I wish to thank you all for traveling with me," she began with a genuine smile. "Our trip proved to be interesting indeed, but it seemed a nice change of pace. I am appreciative of your companionship."

The Lady Drusilla Rodney looked at Htaere for a moment, remembering that she was oh so very close to receiving her present from her father. "You're welcome..." she said somewhat resentfully and avoiding eye contact altogether as she focused on unstrapping her harnesses so she could debark the shuttle. As she descended the ramp she looked momentarily to her father. "I was good. I want my jewelry," she said in a snotty, arrogant tone of voice as she walked right past him without even a hug towards the estate.

Ewwiekewwieikkie supervised the droid that was carrying her trinkets, terrified that some misfortune might befall them. "No problem, Hattie. Now we always have enough forks," she said proudly, feeling she had saved the family from the potential mishap of not having enough silverware when needed. She bounded down the ramp excitedly, and when she saw Claudius, her arms outstretched and tightened around his leg happily in her usual method of greeting.

"I am sorry you did not have longer on your homeworld," Pilaq said to Htaere quietly as he grabbed hold of his walking stick to lift himself up from his seat. "I am forever grateful for the experiences we shared this week, milady," he said to her with a polite and courteous bow as he waited for her to descend the ramp. He did not want to interfere with the married couple's greeting.

Htaere took up one of her own pieces of luggage before following her Ithorian friend. Instantly her eyes found Claudius, a little surprised that he'd been afforded a moment away from work to receive them. Moving towards him, Htaere found at least that bright spot in the uncomfortable skullduggery that seemed to appear with alarming regularity when it came to Imperial affairs. Discarding the instant anxiety that plagued her, she felt the corners of her mouth lift as she closed the distance between she and Claudius.

Shaking himself free of Ewwiekewwwieikkie's death grip, Claudius stepped forward towards Htaere as a youthful smile came upon his face. His eyes locked on hers as his hands reached forward, taking her hands into his own and squeezing them gently. His face slowly moved towards her, pressing his lips tenderly against hers for a tender moment, savoring it as his eyes closed so that he could imagine them far off from their present situation.

Htaere offered no resistance to the uncharacteristic public display of affection, melding into the dream state likewise and indulging in the euphoric sensation. When they finally did break from the intimate moment, Htaere bit her bottom lip for a moment before whispering "I missed you." Yearning for a bit more, she stepped closer and wrapped her arms around him sighing, her angst with his work and preoccupations alleviated for the moment.

"I was terrified there would be a diplomatic holdup in your return," Claudius confided in her, with some apprehension as he gave her hands a somewhat tighter than normal squeeze. His eyes moved past her towards Doctor Tohan for a moment. "Excuse me, my dear. I must speak to the doctor for just a moment," he informed her quietly, as his hands released their grip on her, and he made his way up the ramp of the shuttle, where he led Doctor Tohan to where he hoped Htaere might not hear. "There was an attack while you were away. I have several officers injured. I need you to return to the Warspite immediately to see to them..." he whispered quietly, his eyes staring down the ramp towards Htaere's location somewhat apprehensively.

Pilaq blinked silently at his friend's words, feeling as if there would be no rest for him in the near future. "Yes. I will attend to it at once, Milord," he said with a polite bow of his head as he made his way back towards his seat. He wondered how bad it would be, and grew concerned that the war was perhaps escalating in a way that it had not in the past.

Claudius hurried back down the ramp towards Htaere, placing a reassuring arm around her shoulder as he attempted to lead her away from the shuttle. Behind them, the ramp began to raise as the shuttle began it's preflight procedures. "You must be tired from your journey," he said to her sweetly, as his eyes looked down the path towards their estate.

Htaere blinked for a moment, casting a glance over her shoulder as the Kwai was already lifting back off with Dr. Tohan, masking a frown in the process. Gazing back to Claudius she let it go, for now. "I am fine, it was..." she stopped, choosing the words carefully. "...enlightening." Eyes flickering to the estate she inhaled. "And what of you? How have things been here?"

Claudius paused for a moment to allow the sound of the departing shuttle to clear before speaking. "Unfortunately things have been much the same," he conceded with some honesty, though sparing her the details of the seriousness of it. "How did you enjoy Ithor?" he asked her, as he helped her down the steps from the landing platform to the path. "I used to live there, you know," he told her, for the umpteenth time, once again repeating himself as he was prone to do when it came to stories about his youth.

Htaere's eyes dropped to the path for a moment as she ruminated on the question. The truth was not the answer she was prepared to give. Instead she fished for something neutral. "The jungles were very beautiful," she replied quietly. "II am fortunate to have been able to see it."

"And how was Gallinore?" Claudius quickly asked in a follow-up as he led her inside of their estate. "Were the children much trouble?" he asked, as his eyes scanned around the interior of the estate looking for any sign of them.

"It was wonderful to be home," Htaere answered. "They were no trouble at all." She continued up the stair without pause to get her things unpacked, leaving him to seek out the children. Being emotionally drained by Drusilla was something she had built up a resistance to over time, though in private she was relieved the adolescent now had other things to occupy her attentions besides disdain for Htaere. Ewwie was always a fountain of energy, and Htaere envied her that.

Claudius stood at the bottom of the stairs for a moment, stopping to adjust a portrait of Jelena at the bottom of the steps that seemed slightly cockeye. "I guess I owe Drusilla her necklace then..." he called up the stairs to Htaere, as he slowly began to walk up the staircase, taking the time to look at pictures of the children when they were younger, taking note of how they had grown. It made him feel slightly old for the first time knowing that he now had a daughter who was already fully grown and another who seemed to be growing each day more and more.

Htaere stifled a deep breath, turning to look down at Claudius. "Yes, I suppose you do," she agreed before turning and continuing on to the master suite. As she closed on the doors, Htaere paused, swallowing apprehensively. She had not been here since...

Pursing her lips and swallowing the remnants of terror the wash of memories brought, she extended a hand to open the doors. She risked a glance down the hall to make sure none of the children or house staff were around before stepping inside, eyes darting around the room, her mind filling in the snapshots of frantic retreat and the ensuing destruction. Each step was measured and careful as if to be ready should any of the memories materialize.

"Would you like some dinner, dear?" Claudius called out down the corridor as he reached the top of the staircase. He could sense something was off, but he was hoping it was just the effects of the long trip through hyperspace. He dared not proceed further, instead choosing to hover nervously at the top of the stairs. He swallowed deeply, looking down the corridor towards where she had retreated, not sure if he should rush to her side, or give her needed space.

The dredge of recollection waivered at the sound of Claudius' voice, releasing her from its grip. Irritated with herself for being weak, she scowled to herself and stuffed the incident to the back of her mind before setting the first suitcase on the bed to unpack. "Thank you, no. I am fine," she called in response.

"Uh..." Claudius stammered as he again struggled with the decision of what to do next. " you need help unpacking?" he asked finally, as he slowly made his way down towards their suite, but did not yet dare approach the door. His hands rubbed against one another nervously as he awaited her next reply.

Htaere seated herself on the bed and took a final look around before stretching out. "No, I just need rest," she murmured. The trip had been exhausting enough, and keeping up the walls and defenses from the daily woes and catastrophes required even more strength then before. Succumbing to her frustrations, Htaere let her eyelids sink and tried to drift back to Gallinore in thought.

Claudius' right hand gradually made it's way up to his curly black hair, scratching at his scalp as he considered his options carefully. "All right..." he said to her as he paced back and forth in the corridor, deciding it was for the best to just give her some space for this evening. Gradually he made his way back down the staircase and headed towards his office, intending to check up on the status of the repairs to the Warspite. He was distracted with worry for Htaere, but he was ill-equipped to deal with such a thing.

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