The Pinnacle, Aliso
The assembled Plagueis summit and di Plagia, with the notable exception of the Fist of the Brotherhood, were milling about the audience chamber when Selika entered, divided into small groups of hushed conversations sprinkled around the large space. Small braziers that lined the room’s walls provided some semblance of light, but most of the chamber’s illumination came in the form of Aliso’s bright, full moon that was framed within the large window behind the throne. Selika smiled slightly to herself as she crossed the room, the hem of her robes swishing gently as she walked. As she reached the dais the whispers of the conversations quieted, only to be replaced by growing murmurs of confusion as she ascended the four steps there. Finally, as she sat on the throne, the murmurs erupted into shouts of alarm.
“How dare you!” Arden Karn shouted, his voice raising itself above the noise of his peers.
Selika’s eyes narrowed as she spoke. “I sit in the place of the Dread Lord, Karn. As is my right,” she said, a pointed emphasis on the final word.
The former Corporate Sector enforcer opened his mouth as if to object, but his jaw simply hung slightly open as he realized exactly what she had just said. The others in the room were similarly affected, their own protests dying on their lips.
“So, you are the new Dread Lord,” Dacien said matter-of-factly, his unflappable demeanor evident in his tone.
“Yes,” Selika confirmed, “and I expect your obedience and deference.”
Each of those present bowed at the waist, quietly speaking the honorific due the Plagueis Consul. Some of the newer members, such as Abadeer, bowed deeply. Others, more self assured, made more perfunctory gestures. Karn, never having been one to trust the former One Sith who now occupied the throne, bowed while making sure his suspicious gaze remained on her as he did so.
“If I may ask, Lord, what has happened to Ramar?” Laren Uscot inquired.
“He has decided to devote himself fully to the service of the Master-At-Arms,” Selika explained. “He felt that having a more… discreet presence on Arx would be to all our benefit.”
There was a collection of nods and murmurs of approval from those before her, but Selika pressed on.
“Now, return back to your duties,” Selika said, waving her hand dismissively.
She admitted to herself that the pleasure that came with ruling was still nearly overwhelming. Finally, she had reached that which should have been due to her as her birthright. And yet, there was still one bit of business still at hand.
“Moff Xox,” Selika called, “you should remain.”
The orange skinned Falleen had been standing apart from his fellows throughout the proceedings, having remained at the back of the chamber as much as possible. It was obvious that the former Master-at-Arms was tentative as he turned back towards her, the others stepping well aside of him as they made their exit. They probably assumed that something nasty awaited him, and wanted to be nowhere near when it occurred. Zanet Xox was the di Plagian representative for Aabsdu Dupar, a man who was now known to have lead the Grand Master’s forces against the Ascendant Fleet. His assignment to the Dark Council had kept him away from any Plagueian gatherings such as this, and likely shielded him from any retribution before now. Having returned home to the Clan that Aabsdu had wronged, he likely thought he could hide from the sins of his patron no longer.
“My lord,” he said, bowing again as he stopped in front of the dais.
Selika did not allow the smile that was tugging at her lips to manifest, and simply gestured for the Moff to stand to the side of the throne. Wearing a confused look, the man did so. Triggering a control on the throne’s armrest, a hologram sprang to life before her. Aabsdu himself flickered into existence, a full scale image projected right where Xox had been standing before. Xox’s brows shot up, unsure of what exactly was going on.
“I take it your plan has come to fruition?” Aabsdu asked, a wry smile on his face.
“Indeed it has,” Selika replied. “The path that I set Ramar on with the destruction of the fleet has finally lead him to Arx.”
“And away from the throne,” Aabsdu finished.
“Yes,” Selika said. “And your place here is once again secure any time you want it”
“Thank you, but I don’t think I will be needing it for the time being. Moff Xox can act ably in my stead, as he has done so far.” Aabsdu explained.
“Then I wish you safe travels, Master Dupar,” Selika said by way of a farewell.
“And you, Dread Lord,” Aabsdu said, his hologram bowing before winking out of existence.
Selika turned her attention back to the Moff at her side, dumbfounded consternation shaping his face.
“You look like a man with a question,” she said playfully.
“I always knew that Dupar had an inside man,” Xox sputtered, “but I assumed it was someone in the fleet, some low level flunky. The Proconsul of the Clan?”
“He realized that if not him, Pravus would only send another,” Selika explained. “And he and I had worked together before his ascent to the Throne and the Council, working together made sense.”
“But why allow the fleet to be destroyed? Why not simply avoid the attack?” he asked, his calm curiosity slowly replacing his initial surprise.
“Pravus would have known something was awry had we taken appropriate steps. Preserving what we could of the officer corps and our trained crew was seen as an acceptable alternative.”
“Ah, yes. That explains why the fleet was below skeleton levels, why it was so unprepared.”
“Exactly,” Selika said, a gleam in her eye. “However, it also served a goal that was mine alone: Setting Teylas Ramar onto the path of conflict with the Grand Master.”
“So you could engineer your ascension,” Xox said, grasping her plan.
“It has always been my ultimate goal,” Selika revealed.
“And your feelings towards the Grand Master? You do not seem to think the same way that Teylas does about him, I mean,” Xox inquired.
“Teylas saw that the Grand Master had wronged Plagueis, had wronged him. I, on the other hand, would burn Plagueis to the ground if it served my purposes,” Selika said.
“As you have already demonstrated,” Xox pointed out.
“Indeed. So I make sure to slip Pravus information that he might find useful, as it never hurts to stay in the good graces of the powerful. But, if the calculus begins to change and it looks like he may end up on the losing side…” Selika trailed off.
“Then your allegiance will shift along with it,” Xox finished. “Always concerned with your own self interest, I see.”
“Survival of the fittest, Moff Xox,” Selika said with a smile.