Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Liz Dorner and Christopher Levy.

One year before the Battle of Yavin (34:8:28) in the Essessa system: Esseles (New Calamar: Claudius Rodney's estate) and Kwai.


Ewwiekewwieikkie, Vice Admiral Claudius Rodney, Lady Drusilla Rodney, Lady Jelena Rodney, and Lady Htaere Ka`a Sha`ar.


The Lambda Shuttle Kwai gently touched down on the secure landing platform that had been constructed on the grounds of Admiral Claudius Rodney's estate on Esseles. Although a native of the planet Delaya, the Imperial Security Bureau had insisted he move his family to the Ringali Shell to give the appearance that all was well. In fact, it was far from that. Rebel attacks had been increasing in number and severity. The insurgency was growing and Imperial patrols were a regular fixture on the grounds of his estate. The once untouched landscape had been marred by a hideous eyesore in the form of a perimeter fence.

Almost initially after the ramp touched down on the surface of Esseles, Claudius walked down its cold surface. He was home, but this particular piece of land held no particular piece of significance for him. About the only thing he liked about it was how far away he was from his parents. Honestly, he had no idea how his daughters would react. Would they support him or would they feel he was replacing their mother? Jelena only had brief memories of her and Drusilla died during childbirth and never truly met her mother. As for Ewwiekewwieikkie, she had lost her biological mother years before his wife died. Nervous, he stepped towards the entrance of his estate. He patiently waited for Htaere and he could not even begin to imagine what she was feeling at the moment.

Htaere followed after him, moving a bit slower as she was busy taking in a whole new world in wide-eyed wonderment. The floor length lavender skirt she wore retreated into a fitted bodice with darker purple and white embroidered swirled designs. The strapless top of the bodice exposed her elegant shoulders, draped with a beaded collar of sorts. She was veiled with a smaller version of the headgear worn when she arrived on the Warspite and sported the usual array of arm and wristbands, anklets and bracelets. A service droid followed behind her carrying her luggage. She drew up beside the Admiral and made the effort to pull her attentions from the alien landscape to focus on him.

Claudius' head nervously turned towards her and he attempted to form a reassuring a smile. "Are you ready?" he asked her, not wanting to rush her into an uncomfortable situation.

It would go unnoticed behind her veil, but she reciprocated with a pleasant smile, unaware of what lay ahead but willing to go forth blindly at his prodding. She nodded.

Claudius inhaled deeply and slid his keycard into the access panel. The door snapped upwards with the familiar hiss of the pneumatic pressure releasing breaking the uncomfortable silence. He stepped forward into his estate and proceeded into the large and expansive living area. A series of panoramic windows provided breathtaking views of the river valley below. The room was lavishly furnished and decorated with numerous items of significance in Alderaanian culture. The centerpiece of the room was the ancient crest of House Rodney featuring a soaring thranta with the motto "Those who stop to rest on their laurels end up lying on thorns."

Claudius looked around the room before glancing in the direction of the stairwell leading up to their personal rooms. "Girls," he shouted loudly, but not in a commanding tone, "I am home, and I would like you all to come down here. There's someone I'd like you to meet."

Htaere's grey eyes shifted about the room curiously, drawn to the thranta almost immediately. Her gaze flickered to the stair where the Admiral addressed people out of view. She watched, blinking curiously.

The patter of footsteps soon could be heard in the hallway above. The sound was not unlike a herd of wild animals, and they could be just as dangerous. The first down the stairs was his youngest daughter, Drusilla. She had pushed her way passed the others just in case there was some reward waiting to be claimed. At only fourteen years of age she was the daughter whose presence was most easily made loud. Raised in the absence of her mother she had become spoiled by a single father with severe guilt issues. He had did his best to raise her, but a career in the military often left her in the care of his parents ... whose own efforts at spoiling her far exceeded her own. The officers under the Admiral would define her as a 'brat,' but none would dare venture it because the Admiral would surely have them thrown out the airlock if Drusilla demanded it.

Ewwiekewwieikkie was the next down the stairs. A blue-furred Squib from the planet Skor II she had been adopted by the Admiral following the Battle of Skor II. Her parents had once provided him a home during his time as an Ambassador years before the wars. During the Confederate occupation they were brutally executed for their links to the government. To this day Claudius was not sure of she saw her parents' death, he was not about to ask her and she certainly had not volunteered the information. If one could get passed the oddity of her mouse-like ears one would immediately become enthralled by her oversized eyes and her seeming unending smile. For a woman whose life had become so tragically, she always managed to go through life with a smile.

The last down the stairs was Jelena. She was the child most like her father. She had his air of elegance and refinement about her and was blessed to have shared some moments with her mother, which made a lifelong impact. She was not thrilled by her new housing on Esseles. She was supposed to be on Alderaan right now studying at the University. She wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and become a diplomat and her close friendship with Princess Leia of Alderaan would serve her well, but she supported her father and was well aware of the position the Empire had placed her in. Life had been busy and chaotic for Jelena over the past several months, but neither she or her sisters had any idea just how complicated all of their lives were about to get.

Htaere studied them keenly behind the safety of her veil. She was surprised to see that they weren't all that much younger then she, and it occurred to her for the first time that Claudius Rodney was essentially twice her age. Her tutelage in the ways of diplomacy and etiquette kept her appearance calm and poise, though inside she felt an odd stirring as if she was on display. While being a showpiece to be judged was a regular part of her life, for the first time, she felt nervous at the prospect of being measured up by these strangers.

"Girls," Claudius announced, deciding it better to get right to the point, like removing a bandage, "This is Lady Htaere Ka`a Sha`ar from the Hapes Consortium. My parents and hers have arranged a marriage between us and after some discussion ... we have agreed." He swallowed nervously and smiled in their direction. He then planted his feet and prepared to weather the storm that was sure to come.

It was no surprise that Drusilla was the first child to react. She scrutinized Htaere with her eyes as if she were an object on display at a store for her to buy. "So you're going to be my new mommy?" Drusilla questioned in her usual obnoxious tone, "Well, then ... what did you buy me? You brought your new stepchildren presents from Hapes of course."

The question took her back, but she recovered quickly, stowing it as a normal custom for children from Delaya. Dainty fingers moved to the reinforced hem of her veil, lifting it away from her face and back off the very front of the rainbow gem encrusted tiara she wore. She eyed them evenly, particularly the apparent mouthiest of the bunch. Her smile was subtle but it made the point. Her accent was elegant, putting a phonological slant to her words. "Perhaps today you are fortunate enough that the people of Arabanth have sent a thought puzzle." Glistening grey pools shifted to the quieter two and she bowed respectfully to them. "It is an honor" she remarked sincerely.

"I don't like puzzles and I don't think I like you," Drusilla responded angrily. She glared up at Htare and folded her arms before grunting in frustration, "Hmph."

Ewwiekewwieikkie smiled widely at Htaere and gave her the ancient Squib sign of approval. She raised her right arm towards her and stuck her thumb upwards. She was not invested as much in this as the others and clearly was the kindest soul in the lot. "Welcomes to the families," she announced proudly.

Htaere regarded the arrogant child if for only a moment, astounded at what was "acceptable" behavior before fixing a grateful smile to the non-human in the group. "Thank you" she replied quietly, chin dipping in reverence. The most welcoming of the group, she felt the most connected in the handful of moments she'd known her, and in farthest recesses of her mind wondered if she too, had ever felt simply tolerated, if that.

Jelena had remained silent. She was not pleased but one of the few lessons her mother told her was never to say nothing if you had nothing nice to say. This woman her father was marrying was less than ten years her senior. On some level it disgusted her and on another level it made her want to cry, but she inherited her father's stiff upper lip. She tried to smile, but could only manage to nod her head. She had to be at least half her father's age and was young enough to be his daughter. This was not the man she believed her father to be. Saying she was disappointed would be a dramatic understatement.

Claudius shook his head in disapproval at Drusilla, but he would rather face a squadron of X-wings than his youngest daughter's rage. His attention turned to Jelena, whose opinion was of great importance to him. "Well," he asked of Jelena, "I have heard from two of my daughters, and I eagerly await to hear from the third."

"It is your life, father," Jelena said in a normal tone, unchanging her demeanor, "Do with it as you wish."

In the face of undiluted opinions, Htaere turned to the Admiral and offered quietly "Perhaps you can show me to me quarters. I will leave you to your family to retire for the evening."

This evening did not go the way he had planned in the least. He sighed and looked at Jelena with a sense of disappointment equal to her own. He reached out with his hand and took Htaere's hand into his own. He smiled at her, fully intending to get through this. He led her passed his daughters and up the stairs where each of them had their own room. He came to a stop in front of the guest room, where it was proper for Htaere to stay until their marriage became official. He stood by the door hoping she had not been wounded too badly.

She felt their eyes boring into her as the ascended. Stepping into the guest room she was relieved to no longer be subject to their unyielding scrutiny. She looked about the room before a smile brushed across her lips. "This is lovely. Thank you" she said. The droid placed her luggage down at the foot of her bed before vacating the room. Wearily she removed the tiara and veil frame from her head, setting it on a table carefully before opening her suitcases. She began to remove her wardrobe, in all its colorful and regal splendor. Her eyes lifted momentarily to the door that opened onto her own private balcony and she made a mental note to check it out first.

"I am beginning to think there are too many women with issues in my life," he said to himself as he walked towards his bedroom, "I've gotta get myself some 'guy' friends."

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