One Long Overdue Meeting
Location: Eos City
Home at last.
The fight against the Collective was, to Drae’lath, just another fight. Load up into a ship, fly into the warzone, fight, kill, die, come back. Death was normal for Drae’lath, given his experience as a soldier, but as a Force User, death was different. It had a deeper impact. But the war was over from now. And so, he returned home to be ready for the next.
Even his years of strength and conditioning still couldn’t save him from fatigue. Drae’lath marched at a sluggish pace towards his home with a long grey bag carried over his shoulder and his helmet in his hand. Darkened lights are a common sight for the soldier, having no lover to await for him. While he did have Katrea, she did not, or to be more accurately stated, could not await for Drae’lath. As a soldier of the Empire, he was confined to his barracks on board the Destroyer, Seraphim. Stationed without his lover at his side pained him greatly. After so many years, he thought it would’ve been different. To come home, tired of the fighting, to be greeted by someone you love. To have them running into your arms, crying.
“Oh, I’m so glad you’re home. I’ve missed you so much, I love you,” Drae’lath muttered to himself. He chuckled.
“Such things are not for me, I guess.” He released a heavy sigh.
To see his uninhabited home only further depressed Drae’lath. The only comfort he had being a holo communication session with Katrea, as she was still docked at Arx Minor getting processed through its Customs Department.
“I guess they haven’t approved of the order yet. Oh well.”
Drae’lath had hoped that the requisition order he placed before his departure would’ve been accepted by now. But he knew that it wasn’t to be until a few months after his return that the order was to be even looked at, let alone approved.
He moved towards and unlocked his door, entered to find, yet again, a bare and empty home with no one but himself to occupy it. The lights were off. With a depressed feeling, Drae’lath turned them on, revealing a grey monotone room. Void of any expression and life, just like him.
Much to his surprise, what he could see should’ve been layered with dust. It had been months since he last came to his home. But it looked recently cleaned. To further surprise Drae’lath, he heard running coming from the halls.
An intruder? Wait. The door was locked, so this person has means of entry.
Whatever the reason, an unknown person within his home was enough to put him on edge, ready to kill. When the mysterious person appeared before Drae’lath, everything about him froze.
A toned, shadowed figure appeared at the end of the hall; clothed in a form-fitted, thin strapped black dress. Her military and athletic build wore the thin fabric well. Her raven black hair was draped perfectly in a matron’s braid, flowing over her left shoulder.
“Katrea … “
She rushed over and when she saw Drae’lath began to tear up, covering her face with her hands. Drae’lath staggered towards her, mouth gaping open. He dropped his helmet and bag. Now clearly sobbing, she ran towards Drae’lath. He too broke into tears. After so long, they were finally together again. They both ran into each other’s embrace. After so much time spent apart, this meeting was one long overdue. They both sunk to the ground, sobbing in each other’s arms.
She was incoherently babbling to him with tears running uncontrollably down her face.
“I know. I missed you too,” spoke an emotionally distraught Drae’lath.
After a few moments, the crying had ceased, but still they remained in each other’s arms on the floor. Minutes after, they stood and Drae’lath wiped Katrea’s tear stained face with his robe, unaware of how filthy it was. They both soon realized this, and shared a small laugh between them. Katrea then placed herself once more unto Drae’lath’s arms. They now stood together, holding each other. They had missed the silent embrace they shared now. So content were they both, that should a thousand years pass, they would be happy still.
Katrea released herself for him, and took up his helmet. With Drae’lath following suit they walked to the small dining area, Drae’lath placed his bag on the floor and spoke to Katrea.
“How did you get here?” He asked, clearly still stunned at her sudden arrival.
“We got the approval.” She said, happily, but still sniffling.
“But the waiting time was expected to be months even after I got back.”
“I know, but someone put a rush on it. Someone that you know, apparently.”
Then two figures appeared from the hall. One of a sapphire coloured female Twi’lek adorned with a gorgeous royal purple silk dress, and jagged black tattoo makings along her lekku.
She was accompanied by a tall, heavily built Human male, with three scars slanted across and equally spaced over his right eye and his hair draped over his cybernetic left eye. His dresswear was that of a more formal attire. A long solid black cloak with a purple trim draped over his body in a regal manner. A set of robes with the sleeves coloured red with the chest piece coloured black. Two red trims travel into the chest in an angled manner, inwards to the sigil crest of the Clan placed at the centre. The robes cover his left cybernetic arm.
“Hello, Tarkona’tel,” the teary eyed, soft spoken Twi’lek spoke.
“Hello, Lady Versea.” Drae’lath responded.
He looked to Katrea and spoke, “Can I assume that you’ve become acquainted with them?”
“Very. They even told me about how you two met.” Katrea spoke with a chuckle at the end.
Drae’lath lowered his head, trying to hide his red-tinted face. Katrea walked over to him, lifted his head slightly and gave him a warm smile. Lady Versea and her human company, walked towards the two.
“Hello, Drae’lath. How have you been?” The Battlelord looked hard at his friend as he spoke the question.
“Hey, Bentre. It’s been going well. This is a bit of a surprise. Was it you that pushed the request?” Drae’lath was happy to see what he thought was a good friend. Bentre approached Drae’lath and extended his flesh-and-blood arm. Drae’lath met his with his own cybernetic arm, grasped his hand and gave a firm shake.
Tasha’Vel stepped towards Bentre and laid her hand upon his shoulder. “Actually, I pushed the request. However, Bentre was the one keeping tabs on you, and informed me. That’s how we found out.”
“Large conflicts are never easy on anybody. I have been watching the whole of the Clan since the Collective first struck. More than that, I have been trying to watch over you, brother.” Bentre’s voice was softer than his normal authoritative or egotistical tone. “Such things have a nasty tendency to break people in bad ways.” The Corellian Sith gave a warm smile before his mirth vanished behind a mask of passive disinterest.
Drae’lath surveyed his Proconsul’s face for two moments before giving a nod. He had observed a vulnerability in the man again, the second time since their time on Nancora. “I get it. The loss of a soldier is never easy. A comrade is harder still. But every leader has to endure such pains eventually. For it is in such times, that we find those willing to still be at our side. It is in such times that we learn more about ourselves. And about those around us. Those truly worth fighting for.” As Drae’lath spoke, Katrea moved closer and nuzzled into his arm. Tasha’Vel came in and did the same with Bentre. Both men looked to, and smiled, at their respected loved one.
“If you will give me a moment, Tash’, I will go ahead and grab our guests a couple of drinks. Tell me Drae’lath, do you like Corellian Ale? And Katrea, ma’am, what is your drink of choice?”
“A glass of Tihaar sounds good.” Drae’lath’s lady spoke the words with a warm smile.
Such words drew a hearty laugh from her love. “That’s my girl. But you do know that’s contraband, right?”
She looked up from under his arm and smiled. “I know. That’s why I smuggled three bottles in. It’s over there in the bar. It’s the three bottles of Brandy. For so much security, they really don’t bother themselves to actually sample the drinks.” She pointed towards the three bottles of Brandy displayed neatly in the open. Drae’lath shook his head back and forth a few times and merely chuckled.
“Nice.” Bentre chuckled at the woman. “I have to applaud a lady who ensures she can enjoy what she wants. Giving a nod to his three compatriots, Stahoes walked toward the bottles indicated. Reaching behind the bar, he pulled up two pairs of glasses. Lining up the glasses, Bentre slipped a hand around one of the bottles, jamming his cybernetic finger against the side of the cork. Twisting his finger, the obstruction became dislodged from the bottle’s neck with an audible pop. The Corellian deftly poured the four glasses roughly three-quarters full before he lowered the bottle to the bar’s surface with a thunk.
Drae’lath shifted his head towards Bentre and spoke. “Oh, there should be a little hovel for some ice. Right where you’re at, it should be the little door to your left near the sink that slides open. Drop a few in there for me and Katrea, please?”
The Twi’lek smiled. “Always a show off eh, Bentre?” She took one of the glasses, walked over to the small hovel and placed a couple cubes of ice into her drink. She swirled it around a few times before taking a small drink and turned to Drae’lath and Katrea. “Not too shabby. So how have you both been settling in?”
“It’s been quite the hurdle, but we’ve endured. Thank you, Tasha, for pushing the request. It’s means alot to see her once again. I like it here. It’s nothing like the frigate, but it’s nice a have a place to settle down.” Drae’lath spoke, holding Katrea close. Bentre approached and handed Drae’lath and Katrea their drinks. Both accepted with appreciative nods. Tasha grabbed Bentre by his arm and pulled him in close.
Tasha grinned at the couple. It was nice to actually have one relaxing moment amidst the chaos and stress of the clan’s activities. That moment of relaxing, however in her mind was short-lived as she could hear a still faint voice in her mind surfacing.
“Remember Tasha, I will find a way to get out. Look while you can on this, but know that you could be staring at the dead soon enough.” Tasha shook her head a bit as if to remove this foul voice, but it still wouldn’t leave. She hoped her eyes were still green. “Please don’t turn golden now.” She thought. “Just leave me alone for once, Sith Spirit. Let me just have one moment of peace.” Bentre began to notice a shift in Tasha’s demeanor. A feeling he knew well. Discreetly, he tightened his grip on her arm, a move that seemed to pull her away from her little distraction. Quickly, she half-smiled a bit. “Sorry, I think this drink is getting to me. Might have to sip it slower.” She chuckled and took a seat next to the sink. “Anyhow, you two have any big plans?”
Katrea gave Tasha a look. Not one of worry, but that of someone who knows. Choosing not to press further, she answered the question.
“Well. We still need to get Drae’s Bacta tank set up in the training room upstairs. Weapons have already been placed in the areas Drae wanted them in. Aside from that, some decor is really needed. I’m no imperial like him, so I don’t really like the grey.”
Drae’lath gave a puzzled look to Katrea and interjected. “Wait a tic. If you’re here, where’s the ship?”
“Well, if you need help with decorations, I have a beautiful garden on Ryloth at my estate that you could gather some rare and exotic flowers to help you liven up this place.” Tasha replied cordially. “And if there is anything else, you might want I could always see about possibly getting some supplies sent to you.” As Drae’lath interjected, Tasha also was a bit puzzled at the statement. “You lost a ship?”
“That’s where I step in. I had a droid take the ship the private space dock that Tasha owns. Don’t worry. It’s in good hands.” Bentre spoke after taking the last sip from his cup.
“Better be. I have a few drinking horns stored somewhere in there. I was meaning to have them sent over. It’s a little something I made to keep myself preoccupied by certain distractions while I was away.” Drae’lath was glad nothing had happened to his ship and finally took a drink from his cup. It’s been a long time since he had a drink, and the hit from the strong Tihaar got to him hard.
“You all right there Drae’lath?” asked Tasha as she saw him stagger back slightly. “I remember the first time I had some Corellian Ale. First drink, I started dancing on a table.” She laughed. “Then I fell off and had to wait for the room to stop spinning. Needless to say most my friendsthought it was the most hilarious thing and recorded it on holocam. Next thing I know, tales of the Twi’lek Noble woman’s raucous escapades was all over the Ryloth Network News. My parents were very upset with me and took a lot of PR to fix the situation.”
“Yeah. It was the kick going down that got to me.” Drae’lath said, still trying to handle the burning sensation in his throat.
Katrea laughed and held her glass up. “Here. It’s better if four people drank.” She lifted her glass and gave a toast. Drae’lath, Tasha, and Bentre lifted their glasses as well. “To the new days ahead.”
“To those that will share those days with us.” Drae’lath spoke with a proud tone in his voice.
“To days that we can all enjoy happiness.” Tasha added as she raised her glass.
The Twi’lek’s husband did not immediately follow up the toast, instead staring hard into his glass for several moments. This stretched on for a few awkward seconds. Then the Sith seemed to suddenly remember himself, coughing a few times before looking up to his comrades, his gaze passing Drae’lath and Katrea before raising his glass. “There have been enough hard times amongst our lot. Our actions have seen the loss of one of our Clan, but thankfully not amongst our family. We are here because of the sacrifices of others, and that cannot be forgotten. But we are here to celebrate a brighter future. To the future, to our folk both Clan and family, and to those we leave behind us, may we never forget their sacrifices.” His part said, Bentre threw his head back, draining the glass.
A great and loud cheer was given by all after Bentre finished speaking his mind. Drae’lath smiled as he walked over to the bar to retrieve a new bottle of Tihaar. After all the glasses were refilled, the cups clinked once more. As they all took a sip, Bentre and Drae’lath gave each other a look. They all continued drinking until the glasses were emptied. Both men gave large sighs of enjoyment.
“So. Tasha. About that time you were drunk … “
The day was good and long, and Drae’lath wanted to make sure that every minute was enjoyed we those they cared for. Toast after toast was made. Some to the Clan, the House, and other course, to Evelynn. Stories ranging from Tasha’s drunken night to the same from the others. Roaring laughter could be heard from even outside the house. Drae’lath and Katrea gave Tasha and Bentre a tour of their half unrefurbished house, telling them where things were to be placed, and why certain places where are what. More stories and more drinking soon followed.
At the end, Drae’lath and Bentre were beginning to stumble, now relying on their varying levels of self-control to hold themselves up. What once began as a depressing day, soon became a great day. It was dark and Tasha’Vel grabbed Bentre and began to leave. “It’s been great seeing you, but Bentre is about to drop. So it’s about time I got him home.” Drae’lath and Katrea walked the two out. Tasha notified a servant to come and take them back.
And so the great day ends. Well, for Tasha’Vel and Bentre, at least. Katrea had other plans for Drae’lath. “And so ends a great day. But, the night is still young. Shall we retire, my love?” She gave Drae’lath a ravenous look. Drae’lath, getting the hint, merely replied.