A read-only archive of discourse.darkjedibrotherhood.com as of Sunday May 01, 2022.

[Renewal of the Light] Royal Shindig


Voraskel Palace
Royal Palace Ballroom, Kiast

“Better early than late.” thought the Jedi as he walked down the ramp of the parked shuttle. The wind cutting across his formal robes and sending a chill through him. Autumn was in full swing on this portion of Kiast, and it seemed that the weather on this planet was reminding him that he was far away from his home on Daleem. He would be there if it wasn’t for the Royal summons he received by Empress Katlani Anasaye via High Councilor Sorenn.

While Seraphol had participated in many Royal Gala’s in his time, he had never been fond of them. The rules of polite society unnerved him, and he hated acting like he was bowing and scraping to others. He could not deny the use of them though, and this one in particular would strengthen the ties of Odan-Urr to that of the Vatali. The Queen had gotten word of the festivals that happened this time of year on New Tython. She had proclaimed that in honor of those who had fought and died on the planet, she would organize a royal gala in remembrance. She had sent invites out to everyone in Clan Odan-Urr to join her and her court at a Gala in the Clan’s name.

As he walked down the pathway leading up to the palace, he began to marvel at the choice of decorations that the Empress had chosen. The colors of the flowers and wreaths that adorned the doors and walkways was beautiful. The smells in the air coming from the banquet inside, and the vendors outside of the palace was almost intoxicating. Despite having never set foot on New Tython, nor having much information from any Odanites about the food or customs of New Tython, the head of House Anasaye had captured the spirit of the Festival of Remembrance perfectly.

As he approached the entrance to the ballroom, the Majordomo of the House stood and glared at the Jedi.

“You are early sir, the first guest to arrive. Surely you would like to wait.”

Seraphol handed the invitation the the regal looking Sephi.

“Nope, just announce me and let me get in for a drink.”

Taking the letter, and glancing over it, the Majordomo nodded to the two pages at the door. As they pushed open the large ornately carved wooden doors he announced, “Jedi Daniel Stephens, Aedile, Satele Shan”.

Nodding and grunting at the majordomo he walked into the cavernous room. The room was large enough to easily fit a YT-1300 into, with highly engraved and stylized wood and stonework around the panels of the room. A food and alcohol bar stood off to the side for the revelers to satisfy their mortal needs. To top the grandeur of the room off, a high domed ceiling that had a realistic view of the sky outside beginning to show the first of the stars coming out most likely generated by a holo projector.

Walking over to the bar he ordered a snifter of Whyren’s Reserve Corellian Whiskey and sat where he could watch the door.


This had been the first time that Padawan Hiset Tval ever had the chance to attend any sort of event like this. In fact, outside of his induction and promotion ceremonies, this was the first type of social event he has ever been invited to. The sense of unknown was new to him. The young Trandoshan had known a basic cycle of slavery for majority of his life until he was discovered by a Jedi Recruiter and brought before the Councillors of Urr and introduced to the Jedi Order.

“The Vatali Empress invited the entire Order it would seem” thought Hiset as he waded through a crowd of Gand and Teedo that surrounded the entrance to Voraskel Palace, the seat of the Vatali Empire on Kiast. Tval stood out among the crowd like a sore thumb, towering over the stereotypically shorter species by almost a meter… easily.

It took only moments for one of the palace guardsmen to notice the Trandoshan and direct him inside of the Palace. Hiset did nothing but look upon the decorations of the palace and how regal they seemed in comparison to what he is used to seeing. Living majority of his life as a slave he was never given the chance to see anything this beautiful let alone own one. After being inducted into the Jedi Order, he never cared for material possessions much either. The reptilian padawan ran his hands down his best robes that he could acquire in time for the event. They were little more than standard Jedi robes, but simply in a darker color, a dark brown… almost black.

With each step further inside of the palace, being ushered by guardsmen to the room housing the Gala’s main events, Hiset felt more out of place. He was terrified of touching anything or getting too close and having something break. He even attempted at walking lighter, as he couldn’t fit his feet into any boots he waltzed into the palace barefoot. Running through the mind of the Padawan were the consequences for not only him but his entire clan if he was to make a mockery of the Jedi in front of the Vatali, specifically the Empress.

A few moments later the young Trandoshan finally came across the majordomo, a Sephi dressed in the most magnificent robes that Hiset had ever laid eyes on. “His robes are nicer than the men who would meet with the Hutts back on Nar Shaddaa.” whispered the Padawan to himself before he came within earshot of the majordomo.

“Another guest, you are very punctual.” said the Majordomo who examined Hiset for a few seconds before continuing. “Your invitation please.”

Hiset could tell it took every ounce of control for the Majordomo not to comment on his appearance. It was far from normal for those attending a gala at the palace of the Vatali Empress. “O-oh yes. Here you are.” Hiset shot a short reply back at the Majordomo before reaching into his robes and delivering the invitation from Empress Katlani Anasaye.

The Majordomo assured Tval that he was correct in giving the invitation to him with a short nod before directing him to the two beautifully crafted wooden doors. Two pages pushed the doors open as the Majordomo announced across the hall, “Padawan Hiset Tval of Zirael.”

The out of place Padawan descended a small staircase and simply kept his head down. He did not want to make eye contact with anyone here, as he felt easily out of place. For the first time since he was still a slave he actually felt scared.


Mako slowly approached the entrance to the palace. Clack, clack, clack went the dull rhythmic repetition of his freshly shined boots upon the ground. A low purring issued from Syltri as she perched in her usual position upon Henymory’s shoulder. The former Quaestor reached a pale hand out of his formal robes and scratched behind the Loth-cat’s ears. The wind picked up slightly as the evening slowly grew darker. The Seer’s pitch black robes shifted, the deep purple lining and edges catching the dying light.

“I know Syltri, formal gatherings are not exactly my thing. But an invitation from the Empress is a thing one can only avoid so many times. These were more Lilly’s type of thing, though the free food and drink are always of high quality.” Syltri nuzzled at the Human’s neck as he spoke to her. The mental connection between the two allowed the white Loth-cat to understand the meaning of the words if not the words themselves.

Nobles and other guests had gathered around the entrance to the palace, however Mako sensed not many from the Clan had yet arrived. As the Seer passed through those gathered he could feel their eyes upon him. Their silent judgment remained silent though. Perhaps it was due to the lightsabers upon his hip being exposed from the wind’s influence upon his cloak, or perhaps they held their tongues from the strange version of polite disdain that nobles loved.

“You have no need for those here master Jedi.” The Majordomo spoke as Mako drew near, a flourish of the hand directed attention to the Human’s waist.

“All the same, they will stay where they are.” Henymory spoke, his tone devoid of emotion as the invitation floated to the Majordomo’s hand. The Sephi raised an eyebrow as he read the scratched out and rewritten part of the invitation.

“Sir, are you sure you wish to be introduced as such?”

“Of course.”

“In that case follow me, the reactions will be simply too good to miss,” the Majordomo waved over a waiting page and turned upon his heel. After a short distance the doors to the Gala swung wide. Some of the guests already in attendance turned to see who was arriving. Mako noted Seraphol already at the bar, and a Trandoshan, most likely a Padawan, he had not seen before.

“Introducing the Krath Epis, Mako Henymory!” The Majordomo announced in a booming voice. As the nobility seemed to stiffen, their questioning gaze seeking out the new comer and Seraphol’s face seemed to drain of color. He had silently hoped the Seer would not show up to the event. The Clan had keep Henymory separated from the Sephi nobility so far with the exception of the Daleem Governor. Questions of the Human’s former acts of barbarity and war crimes would most certainly follow.

Syltri playfully swatted at Mako’s ear as the man walked toward the food.

“Yes, yes girl we shall get some food before we join the Aedile at the bar,” he spoke quietly as they gracefully entered the growing crowd.


Within most Vatali social events, there was quite intricate etiquette. Some of it was common sense, whereas other parts seemed to exist solely to catch people out. There tended to be different levels of nobility, and straying out of it was likely to cause scandal. Likewise, if you dressed unfashionably, or too plainly, you could cause scandal. If you didn’t speak to certain people, you were assumed to be neglectful of their influence, and seeking to sow discord. Or so Corvus had been told. But these rules and laws were easily memorised, and once practised, could be executed effortlessly. The far more dangerous playing field was socialising - if you said the wrong thing, implied a scandal or secret, or even if you hesitated just a whisper too long could be misconstrued as a great insult. After all, these social events were all the nobility really did to entertain themselves. They’d made it into a sort of sport. They were masters of intrigue, and talking with them was a dangerous game. With the Clan’s past being generally unknown, it was fair to presume that the nobility would learn much of Odan-Urr’s ways this night.

It had taken more than a few visits with the delivery crew, but Corvus had finally won the trust of the Empress’ kitchen staff. The Aleena considered it a great achievement. It had only taken some promises of gossip and a steady hand to turn the roasting spit. As such, he’d been sitting in the Palace kitchens on a piece of firewood for a few hours now, listening to gossip and rumour as the servants rushed to prepare dinner. They moved around constantly, each one covering about 50 different servings. But they moved with a precision and skill that was admirable - each one knew their place and their job, never getting in each others’ way. It was a unity that impressed and inspired Corvus. He’d never been much of a leader or a Commander, but this was what a team looked like. With the first shouts that the Palace had begun to admit guests, Corvus stood from his seat and dodged through the many shins moving around towards the stairs. He patted down his robes, and retrieved a small sack from a corner, presenting his tailcoat from within. One had to look the part if he wanted to have any credibility, after all. It was time to enter the party.

It had seemed Corvus had entered the fray at just the right time. He was early enough to not provoke any rumour, but late enough that he wouldn’t be presumed overeager. He planned to begin the evening by talking with his fellow Clanmates, but then he would wander, mingling with whichever people he met. As far as personas went, the Aleena had to be careful. He’d be known as the Rollmaster, but his diminutive stature usually impinged on first impressions. He would be jovial and friendly, but reserved. He wouldn’t pretend to be some shallow jolly creature, come to entertain. He’d inspire friendship, whilst promising depth of character.

As he entered, another announcement was shouted, “Padawan Hiset Tval of Zirael.” The Transdoshan entered, easily possessing one of the most intimidating builds, yet he gave an almost polar opposite impression. He started downward, rushing out of the spotlight into the crowds. Corvus made a beeline toward him. That is, as fast a beeline you can make in courtly circles. Due to being only just above knee-height, he startled a few people as he passed by, introducing himself and apologising with the promise to speak again later. A number of minutes had passed, and Hiset had gravitated towards the edge of the room. He’d lifted his head, however, and was slowly scanning the room for familiar faces. The Aleena, hidden as he was among the skirts, was able to approach fairly well-hidden.

Just then, the Majordomo called out again, “Krath Epis, Mako Henymory.” Corvus cursed, turning to see the Human descend into the crowd, confident but reserved. Mako knew what he was doing. The Aleena just hoped he wouldn’t endanger them all. Nevertheless, there was nothing he could do to avert the former-Quaestor.

He spoke up, “Good evening, Hiset. Lovely to have you join us. What do you think of the Empress’ decor?”

Hiset turned to look at Corvus, relief evident, but mouth slowly opening and closing as he carefully chose his words. Corvus sidled closer and spoke softly, “Relax, Hiset. This is no different to combat. These nobles can be predators, and they can see weakness all too easily. Merely stay calm. Stick with Odanites, once more arrive, if you must, but remember - a partial goal of tonight is to enjoy ourselves, and perhaps befriend a noble or two. They are decent folk, and are likely very interested in our stories. Tell them your best ones. Just leave any embarrassing ones until late tonight when they are more likely to… overindulge.”

As he spoke, Hiset seemed to relax, his shoulders untensing, and his neck veins stopped throbbing quite so intensely. “I’ll try, Rollmaster Corax.”

“It’s just Corvus here, my friend. Tonight is for you to enjoy. You are an Odanite, and have as much reason to be here as I do. Be strong.” The Aleena glimpsed a beige fedora through the crowds. “I believe Daniel Stephens from Shan is just over there by the bar. Do tell him to not stare at the door so intently - perhaps buy him a drink. That should cheer him up.”

Corvus pulled out a bronze pocket-watch to adjust his look. He would say he got it from Corellia, during one of his Father’s visits as a Republic scout. In truth, he’d never been on one of his Dad’s visits, and the watch was from Seher. It wouldn’t hurt to tie Odan-Urr to the Republic.

He gently stretched his jaw out. It was time to find a noble to ‘spar’ with.


Edgar sat in his quarter’s on the Rohlan’s Vision in orbit around Kiast. They were stationed there for the Anniversary Ball being hosted by the Queen herself in honor of the Clan’s founding. In almost all of the things Edgar didn’t like to do he especially didn’t like High society and their “Balls”. These things always had proper procedure and protocol especially when the Queen was involved.
Mind you Edgar actually liked the queen. She seemed fair and genuinely liked the Clan and it’s members, but it was their brief dealings together about Solyiat that he was able to deal with her directly and see for himself that she was a kind and caring person. So much so that he think he saw the real person underneath the protocol and procedure of her position.
Anyway, here he stood wrestling with getting dress in the most formal thing he was able to come up with. Only a few formal items he did owe made it off New Tython in the evacuation and trying to use this as an excuse not to go Arcia ordered Zoya to take him to the Capital of Solyiat and make sure i returned with presentable attire for the event.
The Aedile thought training with the woman was tough it didn’t compare with her ability to accomplish any mission especially this one. You see her orders were simple if she succeeded Arcia would allow her to accompany me to the Ball and if she failed not only would she not be able to attend the Ball she would be forced to remain behind on Solyiat as well.
So not only did Edgar have a brand new and very traditional formal wear he had to keep Zoya from causing problems at the event as well. She has reassured both Arcia and him that she knows how to act in the presence of royalty and this being her lifelong dream to meet the Queen she would not bring disgrace to her family or them for allowing her to attend.
In fact during the long shuttle ride down it was her briefing the men and women of the clan on the proper protocol and way to address their host and any of the royal house that may be in attendance. It was only when they arrived and as she stood holding my Edgar’s arm awaiting to be announced did he feel her tremble.
Looking at her Edgar saw a fear come over her that he not only did he never seen before but for the first time saw her as a fragile woman, not that he would ever admit that to anyone later for fear of her breaking him in half.
“Zoya,” Edgar calmly said putting his hand over hers. “Relax, you are the pride of your Village and have Arcia and my respect and not to mention Hoth’s Security Chief as well. You will not only do us proud, you will honor your village and your yourself as well.”
She nervously looked at him for a moment, then smiled as she realized his words were attempt to make her feel better. “ You’re right, you show much wisdom for your age and for being a puny man.”
Before Edgar could retort that backhanded compliment the squire proclaimed in a loud voice
“Now arriving from Solyiat, Savant Edgar Drachen, the Aedile of House Hoth and House Hoth’s Security Chief Zoya.”


The Trandoshan kept to himself along the edge of the event, both knowing and fearing that people have noticed him simply because of how he looks. In addition to his gargantuan build in comparison to most here, he was severely under dressed. This was the first time he ever felt embarrassed for his appearance in his entire life.

The young Padawan kept both of his hands wrapped around a glass filled with water. Already embarrassed for how he appeared before the nobles, if he were to break a glass his grey scales would be flushed red. For a few brief moments while the glass sat between the scaly hands of the Trandoshan, he felt in control… However that quickly changed as the Sephi Majordomo announced another entrance to the gala, “Introducing the Krath Epis, Mako Henymory.” Both startled and a bit frightened Hiset’s hands trembled a bit while holding the glass, it wasn’t until the familiar voice of Rollmaster Corvus Corax reached him could he regain his composure.

“Good evening, Hiset. Lovely to have you join us. What do you think of the Empress’ decor?”

The Trandoshan attempted to speak, but he couldn’t comprehend the words to describe it. It was the most elegant, regal decoration he has ever had the luxury of laying his eyes on. He grew tense and frustrated with his inability to speak until his superior spoke for him once more.

The next few minutes were filled with the Aleena Jedi building up Hiset’s confidence and comfort. The wise words of the Rollmaster didn’t fall on deaf ears with Hiset, who held immense respect for the Aleena. Corvus was one of the first members of Clan Odan-Urr to greet the Trandoshan upon joining Zirael and has served as a fountain of knowledge and advice since.

Corax and Hiset ended their chat with some advice, which fell onto Hiset more as instructions. ““I believe Daniel Stephens from Shan is just over there by the bar. Do tell him to not stare at the door so intently - perhaps buy him a drink. That should cheer him up.”

“Yes Ro…” the Trandoshan paused himself before correcting his reply, “Of course, Corvus.” Hiset’s lips gaped wide open to reveal a grin filled with nothing but sharp, pointed teeth to the Aleena. For the first time in their conversation, Hiset has realized that Corvus called them friends.

Having completely forgot about the man who was introduced as a Krath Epis, a high ranking member of a Dark Jedi order, Hiset followed his instructions to go and seek out Seraphol and attempt to calm him like Corvus had done with him. Only recognizable through Hiset’s studies of Clan Odan-Urr and its Houses. Seraphol served as the Aedile of House Satele Shan and was a high ranked Jedi in the whole of the Clan.

With every step after the Rollmaster’s confidence building talk, anyone who was watching could see that Hiset Tval felt completely different than when he walked through the ornate doors. By the time he reached Seraphol, Tval was even capable of speaking for the first time since he arrived.

“Two more of those, please.” Hiset said confidently to the bartender.

“Two more of what?”

Hiset looked puzzled for a moment, unknown to most, Hiset has never touched alcohol. He has spent most of his life in chains getting the bare minimum and once liberated he swore himself to his studies to become a Jedi. He has had little time to indulge in any vices.

While silently panicking, the Padawan looked at Seraphol for assistance only to be interrupted once more by the Sephi Majordomo. “Now arriving from Solyiat, Savant Edgar Drachen, the Aedile of House Hoth and House Hoth’s Security Chief Zoya.”

Hiset released a sigh of relief as the crowds of nobles, Jedi, and loyalists clapped for the entering Aedile of House Hoth.


A plate of food grasped firmly in one hand and a fork in the other the Seer shoveled food quickly into his mouth in a vain attempt to keep Syltri from eating it all herself. Several of the nobles had followed the former Quaestor, a pre-existing intrigue which had been peaked upon the Humans introduction. Depositing the licked clean, courtesy of the white Loth-cat, plate on a nearby table Mako turned to the nobles a polite yet unnerving smile upon his lips. His emerald orbs scanned over their faces. Though having never meet them in person he knew most of the nobles by sight, his work with the Sentinel Network had demanded it. He had gained much knowledge about each of them, their sources of income and how corrupt they truly were. However tempting it was to blackmail them as he had done with Daleem’s Governor, it would be an unwise move. Instead he found a Sephi Baroness and approached her.

“M’lady,” the Krath spoke as he bowed, his voice was like silk to the ear and dipped with the sweetness of honey.

“Quite the entrance Master Henymory,” the Baroness retorted as she held out a hand with quite the impressive ring upon her delicate fingers.

“I have a message from my sister for you,” rising his own hand under hers, Mako gingerly gave the ring a peck from his lips as he rose from the bow.

“And what word from your lovely sister?”

“She sends her heartfelt regret over her lack of attendance this evening. Business, however, has called her out of the system.”

“I was most looking forward to seeing her this evening.” The Sephi spoke as a fake pout formed on her lips.

“She also wished me to inform you that she has located the last of the items you ordered, and will personally deliver them post haste upon her return.”

“Oh well I do enjoy our visits, I shall have the servants plant fresh flowers so we may stroll through the garden together again.”

“I am sure Gwen will most enjoy that. Now I must beg my leave of you for now. Perhaps later we could chat over a drink and perhaps share a dance,” the Seer winked as he gave a slight bow. The Baroness gave a fake smile and giggle in return. The social dance of nobles, Mako much preferred physical combat. Though it was pleasant to indulge in this social joust every once in awhile. The other nobles would act shocked and disgusted if they learned of the Baroness’ hidden addiction to spice laden alcohol. Though none of them were any better than she was, Gwen certainly charged them a pretty credit for collecting their chosen poisons discreetly.

The Krath passed through the crowd with ease, the nobles offering smiles and nods of the head, but not willing to engage the war criminal in conversation. Most had heard whispers of the Seer’s business with Previt Golvrim, and would prefer not to be played in the same manner. Mako was halfway to the bar where Daniel and Heist stood when a soft clapping echoed through the room. Edgar and Zoya, along with a contingent from House Hoth had arrived. His emerald orbs looked upon the Solyiat native and a genuine smile crossed his lips. I must speak with her later, after her nerves calm down. Mako thought to himself as he resumed his approach upon the bar.

“Daniel, how have you been, Aleitha riding you to the breaking point yet?” He said with lighthearted ease as if to an old friend while he laid a hand on the Aedile’s shoulder.

“Henymory,” the fedora wearing man replied as the Trandoshan visibly stiffened.

“Padawan Hiset let me introduce you to the previous Quaestor of Satele Shan, Seer Mako Henymory.” Stephens spoke clearly.

“Add another of what their having for me, and a saucer of cream for Syltri,” Henymory said as he motioned to the bartender. His eyes turned to Hiset, “Relax a bit brother, it is a party after all.”


Tension continued to play out on the Trandoshan’s muscled frame, though after a moment Henymory’s words did indeed seem to calm him. It washed over him, seeming to visibly relax the Padawan, to put his nerves at ease. Something logical in his mind made him question it, as he saw the Jedi around him visibly notice the phenomenon and glance at one another. Their glances trailed toward Tval, whose brow cocked upward in confusion. Why are they looking at me?

A moment later, he realized they weren’t. They were looking past him. “Good evening, my friends,” A hoarse, aged voice spoke out behind him.

Hiset choked on his drink, whirling about in a start as his hand went to the weapon at his belt. Standing there, leaning on a rough wooden walking stick and wrapped in possibly the loudest cloak he’d ever seen, was an elderly man of impressive stature. Hunched over as he was, he nevertheless had to be near seven feet tall, his bulky shoulders and chest evident even beneath robes of tan and brown. A wild mane of hair grew around his head and down his back, growing into a beard so long it trailed down his chest. Brown eyes stared blindly outward from a face that seemed carved from weathered brown stone, their pupils stained a cloudy gray by cataracts of blindness.

“Liam,” Seraphol said, nodding toward him. “One day I’m going to figure out how a man your size is that quiet. You…” He trailed off as he glanced at the old man, giving him a once-over; his cloak seemed to be a vibrantly purple silk, traced with flowers in bright colors, trimmed around the edges in cloth-of-gold tassels. “What in blazes are you wearing?”

Liam smiled wryly, the deep lines in his face seeming born to it. He took in the scents of food trays and rich, spiced wines and whiskeys as they formed a pleasant melange with a heady mixture of colognes and perfumes. The soft swish of cloaks and capes against the air mingled with the soft tap of feet upon the dance floor, complimented by the harp-strings of live musicians and the chime and clink of jewelery and cutlery. Best of all were the voices; soft and hard, coy and terse, a web interconnected emanating from myriad beings, none of them visible to the old man. Yet each of them, from the highest Baron to the lowliest servant, shone luminous and crystalline in the mind’s eye, a rainbow of thought and emotion in the mists of the Force.

“Do you like it?” Liam asked, pulling it around his more traditional garb with a smile. “I got it from a man at the port in a trade. He insisted it was elegant and regal.”

“It… erm…” Hiset fumbled to find the right words. It had begun to dawn on him that this aging human was a Councillor of Urr. “It’s quite…”

“Garish, is what it is,” Seraphol replied. “I think my eyes are bleeding.”

“Really?” Liam asked, his smile deepening. He didn’t seem perturbed, as he turned it over in the gentle grip of his calloused, gnarled old hands. “It feels quite lovely to me.”


The Sephi majordomo turned from speaking to one of his assistants and came face to chest with a tall, hulking figure dressed head to toe in gold coloured armour. So highly polished were the metal plates the majordomo could see his own reflection in the plate covering the figures chest. His only other adornment a waist length cloak draped over his right shoulder. Jet black it had a large scorpion embroidered into it in faded gold stitching. Taking a step back the much smaller Sephi stammered “In…invitation?”

The huge figure reached into a pouch on his belt and handed a small data card to the majordomo. The Sephi slid it into his datapad, looked down at the screen, then back up to the T shaped visor of the mans helmet.

“I’m sorry sir, but I must ask you to remove your helmet.” said the majordomo.

The man reached up with a pair of large, calloused hands and gripped the helmet on either side. As he pulled the helmet from his head the Sephi saw a well groomed grey beard, a crooked nose, dark eyes, a head devoid of hair. But what caught his eyes the most were the ragged scars running down the right side of the Human’s face.

“Thank you sir.” he said trying his best not to stare at the mans scars. Looking down at the Humans holster he saw a blaster, far larger than any he’d seen before, resting within it. The majordomo pointed at the weapon and said “I’m afraid weapons are not permitted within sir.” as he signalled for a member of the Royal Guard to attend him.

The old Human pulled the weapon from its holster, handed the weapon to the Sephi soldier and growled “Anything happens to that weapon and you and I are gonna have words. Understand?” The guard merely nodded as he backed away, returning to his post.

“If you will follow me please.” the majordomo said as he led the old man to a large set of double doors.

As the majordomo pushed the doors open the old man thought “I’d rather take on an entire platoon of Iron Legion soldiers solo than go in there.”

As the doors opened the majordomo said “Commander Darro Zhen of House Hoth.” in a loud voice.

As he stepped through the doors and stood at the top of the stairs all conversation seemed to stop as the Sephi nobility took in the sight of the big Human in his shining golden armour. Suddenly feeling self conscious as whispers began to reverberate around the room the old man gave a quick nod of his head and headed for the quietest corner of the bar to be alone.


Darro stood at the bar impatiently as the Sephi bartender poured the whiskey he ordered. Whatever disruption his arrival had caused quickly dissipated as the cacophony of conversations resumed and filled the ornate hall. Hopefully more of his clanmates would arrive soon so he wouldn’t feel so out of place with all these well-dressed nobles. As he took his first hard swig of the burning liquid a rapsy female voice caused him to turn around.

“I do not recognize the colors on your armor. What Clan do you come from brother?” The woman’s inquiry was delivered in a perfect, yet hard to place, dialect of Mando’a.

Darro turned around to find a mature Human female wearing the unmistakable sky blue and gold armor of the Okami Clan, complete with Stoilk pelts around her shoulders and waist. The woman’s silver hair and worn face showed decades of experience that echoed Darro’s own. Yet, there was a nobility and beauty in her visage that he couldn’t help but notice. She looked pretty good for a woman his age.

”These are the colors of Clan Haruss of Sacaya,” Darro replied in his own dialect of Mando’a.

The Okami woman nodded thoughtfully. ”Welcome to Kiast son of Haruss. I am Luna of Clan Okami.” She placed her right fist over her chest and bowed her head respectfully.

”I am called Darro Zhen.” He repeated the gesture of greeting.

Luna signaled the bartender who brought her a pint of mead without even taking her order. He must have served her before.

She set her mug on the bar and switched to Galactic Basic, “I didn’t realize the Odanites had Mando’ad in their ranks.”

“There aren’t many of us floating around after New Tython.”

Luna lowered her head solemnly for a moment as she contemplated the story behind those words. She raised her head and picked up her mug. “To the fallen, may their glorious deeds never be forgotten.”

Darro clanked his glass against the mug. “To the fallen.” They both drank their spirits in a shared moment of honoring the dead.

“The Empress has asked me to aid your people since you currently lack trained medical personnel.”

The Commander could not conceal a small of amount of shock from flashing across his face. “You’re a doc?” He asked as he stared at her almost barbaric armor.

Luna smiled and took a drink. “I apprenticed to the healers in the Clan when I was a girl and became a medic in one of the mercenary companies. The elders noticed I had a gift for medicine and selected me to attend medical school here on Kiast.”

Darro laughed. “That must have been interesting. So you’re a real doctor then?”

“You could say that. I prefer to be called a healer, but the Vatali really value the degree I got when I finished my training. I’m grateful for the opportunity to study here and take that knowledge back to the Clan, but I want to punch some of these dandies when they call me doctor.” She chuckled slightly, “Most at the hospital know better.”

“How’d you end up back here?”

Luna sighed, “That’s a long story. The Empress is a close ally of the Okami and she asked me to serve as her advisor when I stepped down from leadership of the Clan. Now I’m helping your people.” She took a drink from her mug. “So, tell me how you came to travel with Jedi.”


A black ship parked about half a kilometer from the palace, carefully avoiding the majority of traffic. Vadin chuckled to himself as the ship landed and his training remote chirped at him.

“Yes Em-H,” the Gand said. “We could have parked closer, but we prefer to be safe. Right Europa?”

“Quite right, sir,” the ship’s droid brain replied. “Don’t want to frighten anyone into thinking we are attacking. I’m not painted in a inviting color. All this black is quite ghastly, if I may say so myself. Ohh, sir?”

“Yes, Europa?” the Gand asked.

“This is a ball,” the ship replied. “Please leave your gauntlet here.”

Vadin looked down to his right arm, seeing his knuckle-plate vibroblade. Wearing it was habit for him, so much so he had forgot he had it on. He slowly took of the gauntlet, suddenly feeling unprotected when he did. He shook his head,and readjusted his breath mask.

“Come Em-H,” Vadin said. “We mustn’t be too late. Europa, please stay here until the end of the ball.”

“It’s not like I can fly myself, sir” Europa said sarcastically.

Vadin approached the door, and was greeted by a stern looking male Sephi. The Sephi was in a guard’s uniform, though there were more elegant if useless bits to make him look better. Vadin sighed, not understanding the craze of looking good.

“Invitation please?” the man asked with a grimace, looking at Vadin’s rather plain clothes and tattered cloak.

Vadin politely handed the man his invitation. The Sephi checked it over several times before giving the Gand a distinct look.

“Alright, I shall give your introduction,” the guard said.

“We would not like an introduction,” the Gand replied.

Em-H flew from Vadin’s shoulder and angrily beeped at the guard. Vadin quickly grabbed the training remote, pulling it back.

“We apologize for Em-H’s behavior,” he said quickly before walking inside.

The guard shivered, suddenly feeling like someone was staring at him. He looked back at the Gand to see the training remote be facing him.

“Em-H, come now,” he heard Vadin call, and was relieved that the droid listened.

Vadin and Em-H took several seconds to admire the splendor of the ball, and the way people were dressed. A series of awed beeps from Em-H caused the Gand to chuckle to himself.

“Yes, we believe that one day you will have a palace just like this Em-H,” Vadin replied.

He gave a quick look around, seeing everyone in discussion, and not wishing to interrupt walked over to a table in the far corner. He passed by two armored figures talking in a language he did not understand, and grabbed Em-H before the droid could begin to pester the pair. The woman in the furs looked especially dangerous.

“It has been a long time since we have been with people of this importance,” Vadin told himself. “We think this is what it may have been like for Commander Jenna.”

Em-H whirred around the Gand’s head, beeping angrily.

“We are here out of respect on our leaders’ wishes,” Vadin replied. “We will join the party when we are not interrupting. You can go explore though, talk to whomever you want. All we ask is that you don’t be rude.”

Em-H beeped happily before zipping off towards the mass of people.


Edgar after many failed attempts to dodge dignitaries and Zoya’s need to dance, did he finally make it to the bar with the rest of his clan mates.

“Edgar!”, screamed Seraphol to get the young Aedile’s attention “Come here and let me buy you a drink!”

As he moved through the crowd he nodded in acknowledgment the others gathered there and only stopped a few times to said a few quick words to some members of the Hoth. Once he reached Shan’s Aedile and the coordinator of the anniversary events. Edgar commented “Sera, it’s good to see you and I must admit you did a excellent job on this years anniversary. After everything that has happened this year, this was so sorely needed.”

Seraphol silently nodded in agreement, “We have lost so much, but the Vital Empire has provided us with new homes and a chance to not only rebuild but to finally be able to strike against the Iron throne. Enough of that sad talk.” handing a drink to Edgar and lift his own high in the air…

“Fellow members of Clan Odan-Urr let’s toast those you have fallen and let us never forget their sacrifices!” Seraphol announced in a loud and commanding voice that not only got the clan members to raise their glass but many Selphi in the surrounding around to do so as well.

Edgar drank from his glass and then peered back towards the dance floor where he was able to leave Zoya when she was asked to dance by some high ranking dignitary and saw that she had apparently moved on to yet another partner and was having a great time. So his fears of her being to brutish for these type of events was not only proven wrong but the young savant was beginning to realize that she may have more layers to her then he once thought.

Now looking over the crowd and having a few more conversations with some of his clan members Edgar noticed just standing off the bar area was a young looking selphi woman that smiled at him as their eyes met. Edgar did in fact smile back and picked up his drink and walked over to the woman.

“Good evening, my name is …” She raised her hand to cut him off as she said in a voice that Edgar could hear but not easily overheard over the noise of the room, “I know who you are Jedi Drachen and I know you lead the Jedi’s on Solyiat as well. I must be careful in being seen with you but you need to know that there are some in the government that do not like the Jedi.”“Well yes, I know there are my lady … ” Edgar responded but again being cut off

“You only know about the fools that don’t like you here for their own petty reasons. I’m talking about a group of powerful nobles that not only plot against you but also the crown.”

Before Edgar could question this Selphi any further he was grabbed from behind and pulled into a bear hug by Zoya exclaiming, “It was wonderful! Thank you Jedi Edgar for bringing me to such a beautiful place!”

Edgar fought to get free of her hug as the mountain of a woman move to celebrate with the rest of the clan and as he turned to find the woman again she was gone. Without knowing details or if it what she said was true he kept it in the back of his mind till he could report it the next day.


It was increasingly difficult to find conversation; even more difficult than being taken seriously when he was shorter than a 5-year-old Sephi. He was hardly noticed, shunned from most noble conversations, and disregarded as a typical Aleena. ‘But perhaps they do not know who I am,’ Corvus thought. ‘Perhaps it is time to formally announce myself.

As he had meandered through the great hall, he’d noted how most of the Odanites grouped together at the bar, or stuck to the walls. Some, like Edgar, had entered as quite a high-standing figure, and so had managed to accumulate a fair number of nobles around him and Zoya. Most others stuck together, but that was to be expected. The Rollmaster had considered running some of those annoying ice-breaker activities, such as the ‘Dance with someone you don’t know!’ or ‘Let’s improvise this situation to break everyone out of their shells’, but then he had remembered that he detested those fracking things with a passion. The trick was to get them to mix naturally, without provocation.

‘What’s natural to Odanites?’ Corvus thought. ‘Ah, I know just the thing.’

Just then, Seraphol’s clear voice rang out above the din, “Fellow members of Clan Odan-Urr, let’s toast those you have fallen and let us never forget their sacrifices!” And a solemn cheer arose from Jedi and Sephi alike. Perhaps Corvus didn’t need to do anything at all.

Well, he did need to do something other than move around everyone’s knees, and avoid looking up the ladies’ fluted skirts. He continued moving toward the Majordomo. Attendees were still arriving, so his attention was directed outside, and he was most shocked when Corvus tugged lightly at his coat like a lost child.

“Excuse me sir,” Corvus began. “I’d like to be formally announced. Here’s my invitation. I’m Corvus Corax, Rollmaster of Odan-Urr.”

“Do you seek to trick me, sir? I’ve seen you in the kitchens before, so I don’t think that you’re a Jedi. I politely request that you stop distracting me, and perhaps I won’t tell the Cook.” Corvus wondered how that may have been worded if they’d met on the street rather than in the anteroom of the Palace.

Corvus’ brow creased ever so slightly. He pulled a lone coin from his pocket, and let the man see it, a frown deepening on his face.

“You seek to bribe me, sir? On the Empress’ doorstep? How very dare–” He started to motion over of the guards, but froze as the coin floated up and touched his nose. The coin moved upwards, touching the space in between his eyebrows. The coin gently rested there until the man’s frown disappeared. Then quick as a flash, the coin flew back into Corvus’ hand. “I apologise if I have startled you, good sir. I only wished to prove my identity. Could you please read this card, please.”

“Very good, sir. I apologise.” He turned to the hall, and proclaimed, “Corvus Corax, Rollmaster of Clan Odan-Urr. Due to his diminished stature, the honourable gentleman announces that he will be spending most of this evening by the main hearth, should anyone want to talk to him.”

That last part hadn’t been written on the card. The Majordomo seemed to have been offended by the coin-trick, and obviously hadn’t read Corvus’ sincerity in his apology. No matter - if they saw him as lonely, then he would plunge straight into proceedings. Corvus put on his most humbled, yet jovial smile as he descended the stairs.

One noble lady approached fairly quickly, “Master Corax, how wonderful for you to arrive! I’ve been meaning to speak with you.”
Corvus bowed, “My Lady. How may I help you?”

“It’s come to my attention that some of the younger nobles have had the idea to spread rumours that there is a group of powerful nobles against Odan-Urr’s presence. I’d like to assure you that this is a complete fabrication. We trust the Empress’ word, completely.”

Corvus mused this over, turning a coin over and over in his hand. “Complete trust can be dangerous to admit, my lady. I doubt that that trust has no limits. Nevertheless, I thank you for the information - I will take it onboard for whenever I get my reports.”

“You’re welcome, sir. Perhaps you would like me to introduce you to my friends?”

“I would love to, but may I acquire a drink, first?”

“Of course, we’ll still be here.”

“Thank you, my lady.”

Corvus started making his way towards the bar, where he would join the other members of his Clan. As he approached, Edgar came to speak with him in low tones. “Corvus, before I forget, there could be potential trouble. Probably not here tonight, but in future. I’ve been informed by a young Sephi woman that there is a group of powerful nobles that not only plot against us but also the crown.”

Internally, Corvus groaned. Externally, he nodded, “I see. Thank you, Edgar, I’ll keep it in mind.”

“Beg pardon, but you don’t seem surprised or worried about it.”

“At the moment, I’m not - I’m more puzzled. A moment ago, I was told that the young Sephi were spreading rumours to us for fun. However, rumours of this importance, must be given some credence. I’ve known about some dissent within the populace, but not within the aristocracy. I’ll look into it. But for now, let us enjoy the evening.”

Corvus accompanied the Aedile to the bar. When he glanced over, the woman he had talked to earlier and her group had disappeared; moved on. ‘Strange’, he noted.

He looked toward the great doorway and allowed himself some free thought. He thought that usually at these functions, he wouldn’t be alone to walk the floor among knees, but rather, he would stand on the shoulder of Mar. For the first time, he wished that the Proconsul would arrive soon, so he could stand atop the crowd, instead of under it. That said, he would have to endure his continuous preaching about crusading and heretics. I guess that’s the price for having a free vehicle.

“What drink would you like, sir?” The bartender inquired.

“Have you got any scotch?”


“Ah, Governor, how fortunate!”

Previt Golvrim started at the sound of the Quaestor’s voice, stumbled and very nearly fell over onto his wife. “Quaestor!”

Alethia did a slight curtsy - the form-fitting purple gown didn’t really allow for more than a very slight one, but she managed - then offered a gloved hand to the Sephi. After a beat he took the cue and leaned forward to kiss it. “And this must be your lovely wife.” None of your girlfriends are classy enough for this party, she thought to herself. “I’ve heard so very much about you.”

“Ravana, darling,” the governor sputtered, “This is Lady Archenksova, the leader of our Jedi guests on Daleem.”

“What happened to Henymory?” the woman asked, eying Archenksova in a manner that was skeptical if not outright hostile.

“Mako is putting his considerable talents to use in other ways,” Alethia answered, treating the governor’s wife to a demure smile. “But I understand he’ll be attending tonight. I’m sure he’ll be delighted to see you, Governor.” Golvrim sputtering something resembling Basic, but before he could cajole it into a coherent answer the Quaestor cut him off. “Would you be willing to do a slight favor for me?”

“Erm, what exactly did you have in mind?”

“It would be a wonderful display of unity between Satele Shan and the Vatali Empire if we walked in together, don’t you think? Akaarn!” Alethia called out over her shoulder. The startled Zabrak spun about to face them. He had been admiring some detail of the architecture, and with his plain robes and one arm in a sling the Golvrims had assumed he was an attendant of some sort. “Would you be so kind as to escort our lovely friend here,” she gestured to Ravana, “while I borrow the governor?” Akaarn nodded, not much happier about the arrangement than the fuming Sephi he offered his good elbow to.

“Announcing Her Excellency Alethia Archenksova, Quaestor of Satele Shan,” the majordomo bellowed, exactly as he’d been instructed. “Escorted by His Excellency Previt Golvrim, Imperial Governor of Daleem.”

Alethia surveyed the room as she made her entrance, ditching the governor as soon as they reached the crowd. He could deal with his snubbed wife by himself. She made a beeline to the main hearth, which given the social realities of the situation took a good half an hour to get to. Corvus, the dapper little Rollmaster, was trying to convince Mar Sul of the virtues of one of the local beverages.
“This vile,” the Proconsul sneered into his cup. “I have consumed tar worse than this”

“You’ve eaten tar?” his Aleena comrade asked.

“That is not the point. Another.”

“While you’re at it, Corvus,” Alethia began as she approached, “Get me one as well, if you would. And you, Councillor, owe me a dance.”


The Proconsul of Odan-Urr had appeared at the ball early but had requested no introduction. The night was going to be strain enough and Mar didn’t want to add unnecessary fuss to his presence - instead he’d moved straight for the bar and requested that his drinks remain a ‘surprise’ for the night. Although many Odanites had appeared since, he’d left the mingling and socialising to his colleagues. The man didn’t lack the social capacity to interact with others, but the ‘ball’ was not a battlefield he had walked upon for at least a decade, back when he was nothing more than the son of a Serennoan merchant. The sound of a freshly filled glass screeched across the counter, ringing out into his ears; a sound that would have once been annoying if it didn’t also signify another chance to imbibe one of Kiast’s many alcoholic concoctions.

A familiar patter of small feet could barely be heard over the hubbub of the crowds multiple conversations, as it grew closer the Human could easily identify his close friend Corvus Corax, the identification proving correct as the Aleena didn’t hesitate to jump up onto a stall and bound once again to land impressively on the Councillor’s shoulder.

“Mar my good ma- What on Kiast is that?!” he exclaimed, his usual banterous grin fading to what may have been considered a light mixture of awe and disgust as he unfurled a stumpy digit and pointed at the glass before his friend.

“I will be discovering that presently, Corvus,” Mar spoke coolly. He’d had enough drinks to feel confident enough that this one would be as nice as the others. His assumption proved false: the ‘liquid’ had the texture of a cold gloopy mixture of ground rotten fish and vinegar soaked oats. The taste matched it’s texture.

“This vile,” he sneered into his cup, his face contorting to naturally to respond to the taste of the beverage “I have consumed tar better than this.”

The Aleenan’s mouth curved rapidly into a sly grin, he was always prepared to engage Mar in some one-sided banter. “You’ve eaten tar?”

“That is not the point. Another.” Mar beckoned to a bartender who raised an eyebrow at the request before zipping down the counter to mix the drink.

A soothing voice seamlessly cut over the humdrum conversations of the crowd around, it held power, the sort of power that both charisma and years of practice could muster and it was strong enough to make anyone to fall under its thrall.

Mar didn’t focus on the voice quick enough to catch the entirety of it, but his senses went into overdrive at its culmination. “…You, Councillor, owe me a dance.” Alethia had somehow managed to make the command sound like both a request and a matter of fact, something that Mar couldn’t escape from.

In truth, there had only been three moments in his life where Mar had felt true fear; each and every moment had been a genuinely terrifying event. This moment, however, appeared significantly less daunting. Nonetheless, his few prior fears had become entirely overshadowed by one absolute dread. As the Quaestor of Satele Shan took his hand to lead him to an open space on the dance floor, his mind grasped for answers, excuses and any way to get out of the situation his consciousness coalesced entirely into one petrifying thought.

What if I step on her foot?


Em-H zipped by several people, stopping before two important looking people, and chirping at them before flying off again. The little droid was enjoying his exploration, not often getting times like these recently. Aleetha gave Mar a shrug when the droid chirped at them, and the two began to dance.

Em-H stopped at the bar, happily chirping at the people sitting there, and attempting to converse with the bartender. Edgar glanced at the droid from where he was sitting and shook his head at the sight.

“Anyone know what this droid is saying?” The bartender asked, mildly annoyed. “It’s chirping is getting on my nerves!”

Em-H flew directly in front of the bartender’s face, and issued a rude chirp before flying off. It paused in midair as it spotted a clustered group of young Sephi. Intrigued after years of working with Vadin, it decided to look into the gathering, and flew over to them. Using its size to its benefit it hid behind the head of one of the Sephi, listening in to their conversation.

“I hear someone spilled a rumor that some of us aren’t in support of this new alliance,” a female said. “I made sure to talk with their little one to plant doubt to the rumor, but we have to be more secretive. If the Jedi and queen find out about this it could be dangerous.”

In a panic from what it heard, Em-H sped towards where it last saw Vadin, chirping loudly to get his attention. It streaked across the dance floor, flying right past Mar and Aleetha as they danced. It stopped, and like the best droid it was, gave them a quick complimentary chirp at their form, before continuing its mad flight to Vadin.

The training remote spotted Vadin going back to his seat with a drink and a sephi woman with him. The two were obviously talking about battles, with the woman seeming quite interested. Em-H noticed that Vadin didn’t seem to notice, and chirped quietly to itself. For a second, it was torn between trying to be Vadin’s wingman and telling Vadin what he had heard.

It floated in the air for several seconds as it went over which was more important. Deciding it could do both, as no other droid could, Em-H flew in calmly and beeped a hello to the Sephi woman.

“Ohh, we are sorry,” Vadin said when Em-H spoke. “This is our friend, Em-H. He say’s hello.”

“What a nice droid,” the Sephi replied. “Hello Em-H, I am pleased to meet you.”

Em-H bobbed up and down in greeting then began to chirp what he had heard to Vadin. Vadin sat still as he went over what Em-H had told him.

“We are sorry my lady,” Vadin said. “It seems we are needed to take care of some danger. Em-H, please make sure the lady has some company.”

Em-H chirped an affirmative, and began to float next to the lady, chirping about all of his and Vadin’s adventures, like any good wingman would, completely unaware she could not understand him.

Vadin walked away from the table, his three fingered hands clenched in fists. We are glad Europa did not let us bring our Gauntlet now he thought to himself as he marched over to the group of Sephi. He shoved his way into the center of the group, and noticed there were about six of them. His anger got the better of his humility as he began to speak.

“We hear you do not like us,” he said rather loudly, drawing attention to what he was doing. “You can all fight us if you wish to take out your hostilities. We warn you though, you may need more if you want to fight us. Don’t let us down.”


Darro was silent for several long moments as he thought how best to answer the Okami matriarchs question. “I used to lead a small squad of Mando’ad from Sacaya. We did mostly small scale jobs. Asset protection, bodyguard work, search and rescue ops, even fought in a few wars.” the old man said.

“Then about ten years ago we had a run in with the First Order. New Republic hired us to extract a pilot of theirs who’d been captured by the bucketheads. We got him out but I lost most of my crew.” he continued with a far away look in his eyes. “Myself, my brother and one other, a woman named Pala, managed to get out alive. After I dropped the pilot off with the Republic I went home.”

“To Sacaya?” Luna asked.

Nodding his head Darro answered “Yeah, though I didn’t stay long.”

“Why?” inquired Luna.

Draining what was left in his glass Darro motioned to the bartender for another before saying “I didn’t want to risk any reprisals against my people so I left. Made myself a very public target but no attack ever came, at least not against me.”

An ashen look crossed the Okami womans face as she asked “They attacked Sacaya.”

Nodding Darro said “They did. My brother and a handful of others survived but the colony was gone, glassed from orbit.”

“Hut’tuun’s” she said saying the Mando’a word for cowards.

“It nearly broke me, I started drinking and didn’t stop until the credits ran out. Started bounty hunting to make ends meet. I’d probably still be doing it if my brother hadn’t reached out.” the old man said. “He’d heard the call from Clan Ordo for soldiers to travel to New Tython to defend it from the Dark Jedi and wanted me to follow him. I did and that’s how I ended up on New Tython.”

“And your brother?” Luna asked.

“Dead, four days into the campaign.” Darro said.

Nodding Luna said “So many were lost in that war.”

“Too many.” Darro agreed. “When the war was over I decided to stay. Tried retirement but it didn’t take so I joined the Jedi’s army. You know the rest.”

“A fascinating tale Darro. Thank you for sharing it.” Luna said.

Darro was quiet for a moment before nodding his head. “You’re welcome. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to get some air.” he said as he turned and headed off toward the balcony.

Luna was about to say something but stopped and simply stared at the old man as he walked away wondering how so large a man could suddenly look so small and fragile.


Akaarn was thrilled to have escaped the Sephi woman that his Quaestor had forced him to walk in with. Even the Majordomo had stuttered during the introductions at the look of rage the woman shot him. It only got worse when she realized an “Archaeologue” was her escort into the party. Thankfully, some of the other Sephi noblewomen were were quick to gather her away, allowing him time to slip to the outskirts of the party.

Tugging uncomfortably on his new, and itchy, formal robes, he pulled the ear-com from the sling on his still healing arm. Settling into a comfortable lean in an alcove, wishing he was with his team, where he belonged. Muttering not quite to himself as he pressed the comlink into place, “Give me a good reason why I’m here again?”

A soft, feminine laugh slipped through the comlink, “Because Quaestor Archenksova said she’d break your other arm if you didn’t come tonight?”

“I mean a compelling reason, Tris,” Akaarn reached out with a small slip of telekinesis to snag a canape from a passing tray. “At least she could have forced the rest of the ‘Scratchers’ to come as well. The food’s not bad though.” Akaarn inclined his head in a bow of recognition as he caught Corvus’ eye as he perched atop Mar.

Tris laughed, the sound echoing in whatever underground space they were working through, “Oh please could you imagine me in all that frippery, looking like a layer-cake?”

“Yes,” he responded ruefully, “and being just as miserable as I am, especially since the only weapon I’ve got is the damn lightsaber.” His hand reaching back instinctively trying to find the Zhaboka that should be there.

“Which you still suck at.” He could hear the smile in her voice.

“Which I still suck at. On the upside, a little horn polish and I do clean up well. Now tell me where we are?”

“Bogo just cleared the entrance vent and we’re in what was probably the atrium, Mashrgyan is doing his mapping trick.”

A loud burst of frantic chittering popped along the com lines.

Akaarn leaned up from the wall, “Slow down Kink, you know I can’t understand you when you go that fast. Bogo? Right, of course its Bogo. Zabal, you brought my kit with you right? Left compartment, third hypo, the green one not the blue one.”

“Thanks boss,” came the sibilant wheeze.

Akaarn’s ears perked up as a voice broke through the scattered shmoozing, “You can all fight us if you wish to take out your hostilities. We warn you though, you may need more if you want to fight us. Don’t let us down.”

“Hold on, things are about to go upside down.”


Turel paced anxiously inside the Empress’ antechamber. He tugged at edge’s of his formal jacket to adjust it. For a custom tailored outfit, it was rather uncomfortable. These high society functions were not his thing, yet another reason to hate the council for electing him High Councilor. As uncomfortable as he was dressed up like a noble and escorting royalty to a function, he knew his people needed it. They needed this night to remember and heal, just like they needed a leader to guide them. The machinations of fate that led him to this position does not matter; he had a role to play.

Empress Kaltani Anasye walked into the antechamber wearing an immaculately tailored lavender dress with gold accents. “Are you ready Councilor?”

Turel stood up straight when the Empress entered the room, as he had been taught, and gave a respectful bow. “Your majesty.” He visibly relaxed when he raised his head again. “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”

The Empress smiled, “That was very good. I can see you’ve been practicing with the Chamberlain.”

“You’ll make a respectable gentleman out of me yet.”

Anasye looked around the room with a confused expression on her face, “Where is Vorsa? I expected you appear together.

Turel’s signature smirk faded, and his gaze went to the floor at the question. His wife’s decision to essentially quit the council and strike out on her own was still a fresh wound for him. He knew Vorsa still loved him deeply and trusted him as a leader, but the physical separation was still painful. He had no idea when she’d return or contact him next. Turel also felt responsible for the darker path the council was taking in the war, in spite of everything the Neti said to contrary. The fact she felt like she had to leave filled his heart with shame.

“She, um, is away on some urgent business.” He tried to focus on his pazaak face to lesson the tempest of emotion raised by the one simple question.

The Empress walked up to the High Councilor and placed her hand on his shoulder. “It’s clear you care very deeply for her. She is a lucky woman.”

“I’m the lucky one,” Turel retorted with a smile returning to his face.

Anasye moved to the Jedi’s right side and placed her arm through his. “Yes, you are. You can be my escort this evening.”

Turel placed his hands to his lips with a mock dramatic gesture, “Oh, your majesty. How scandalous. The court will talk.”

“I’m counting on it. Now let’s go, our people are waiting.”


“Please move Gand,” one of the Sephi said in a haughty tone. “Our conversation has nothing to do with you.”

“If we heard correctly, it has everything to do with us,” Vadin said, gesturing to the Clan members. “We won’t let you hurt anyone but us. We challenge the six of you. Do you accept?”

“One on six,” a second Sephi said. “As if we are less than you. Besides, a duel is one on one. Do you know nothing?”

“We were offering you a easier fight,” Vadin said simply. “We will agree to your dueling customs, we would even fight before the Empress if that is part of ‘dueling custom’. Do you agree?”

“Disgrace you in front of the Empress?” A third said. “I mean, if you fail aren’t you worried you will look bad, and make your friends look bad?”

“If the Empress thinks less of us because of us not beating you, that is alright. We are sure she wouldn’t look down on our friends,” he said, looking up at the Sephi. “After all, we are just a soldier.”

“Arrogant little bug,” said a fourth. “I will fight you. I hope you are ready to loose. As custom dictates, I can choose weapons. I say blades or unarmed, since you seem to be lacking a blade. And we will have our duel when the Empress arrives.”

Vadin nodded, and sat down. “We will wait Sephi. And we will say why we are fighting before we duel.”

“If you insist Gand.”


Whatever Mar had in that drink of his, the fumes alone were starting to leech his concentration. He was starting to feel irritated that his friend had left to sample the trivialities of court life. And now he was without a vehicle again. Needless to say, it was dangerous to be mentally challenged whilst in a battle of intrigue. He waved the bartender over, “Citrus water, please.” It was a calculated choice - something to sober up with, but with a smell that implies some exotic cocktail, so as not to show weakness. He took a few sips of it to qualm his stomach.

Before he could finish his drink, a voice was raised above the din, “We hear you do not like us. You can all fight us if you wish to take out your hostilities. We warn you though, you may need more if you want to fight us. Don’t let us down.” It was Vadin, throwing down a gauntlet in challenge. Corvus instinctively leapt down from the bar and started dashing towards the Gand.

’This was not how this night was meant to go,’ thought Corvus.

Before he could reach him, the Gand continued his challenge. Every word he muttered made the situation harder to handle. Even worse, the Empress and the High Councilor were due to arrive very soon. It was too late to avert Vadin’s challenge - he was a stubborn one. But perhaps he could avert everyone else’s. Vadin may well have a good and true reason, but as it was, an Odanite had just openly and publicly challenged not one but six Sephi nobles to a duel. Public opinion of this event could make things spiral downwards for the Clan. The general din of the hall was increasing, Odanites whispering and talking to one another, working out what to do; Sephi nobles gossipping.

By some miracle, he found Mar, and clambered lightly up onto his shoulder. The Proconsul had been going towards the events as well, alongside Alethia. “I’m going to make a public address,” the Aleena whispered into his ear. “Too many witnesses mean that the duel is going to go ahead. But we need to properly qualm the situation before it gets chaotic.”

Alethia nodded at them both before blending in with the crowd. The Quaestor naturally had places to be, people to organise - especially in a situation such as this.

“I agree,” the Human said. “But I doubt that these Sephi nobles could truly cause chaos.”

“They can cause enough of it to put us in a pretty bad situation, believe me.”

Corvus looked up at the majordomo, who’d come into the hall to see what was making the disturbance. Whilst he still looked composed, he looked as if he didn’t quite know how to solve it. It was in politics territory. Corvus found the man in the Force and sent him a simple message: ‘Corvus Corax wishes to speak.’

The majordomo began looking around the hall, and after a moment spotted the Aleena perched on Mar’s shoulder. Corvus nodded decisively at the man. After a few more seconds, in which the majordomo was processing the telepathy, he raised his voice loud.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rollmaster of Odan-Urr wishes to speak!”

The din quietened, but many hushed whisperings continued. The Rollmaster raised himself high. What he spoke next could be very important to the cause. He could not stop the duel, but he could try and calm any loose strings held by the nobles. He could not forsake his brethren, though - he would have to appear united with Vadin and the other Odanites, but also open-minded and non-hostile towards the Sephi. The only thing that would make this even harder was if he was a very small person who had to stand on someone’s shoulder to be noticed. Oh wait.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the Vatali Court, I shall be brief,” Corvus began. “From what I gather, one of our men, Vadin Cal, has challenged a group of six Sephi nobles to a duel. He did this of his own volition. However, I trust Vadin, and therefore I trust that he has a good, strong reason for this challenge.” Corvus cast a meaningful glance towards the Gand, “Gentle nobles, I hope that we can forge a great friendship between our societies. Let this challenge not be the catalyst of our self-destruction, but the ember that tempers our legal association into a strong bond. Clan Odan-Urr wishes to – ”

Corvus was interrupted by the majordomo’s booming voice. “Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Empress Kaltani Anasye of the Vatali Empire and High Councillor Turel Sorenn of Clan Odan-Urr!”

Corvus applauded alongside everyone else, but internally, he felt conflicted. What would happen now? The uneasy feeling in his stomach increased, to a stage when it began being slightly painful. Just as he realised it wasn’t his feelings, but rather whatever had been in his drink, he fell backwards off of Mar’s shoulder, onto the cold marble floor below. No-one noticed, except perhaps Mar. Everything slowly faded to nothing, Corvus unable to move.

One thought persisted before his mind fell into unconsciousness.



Mar hadn’t applauded the entrance of the Empress, his mind had been elsewhere, particularly occupied with the duel about to take place and the Sephi duelling system. Usually, as he understood it, at least one duel per event was customary but challenges were usually issued late in the evenings as the crowds would begin to fade and the duel itself would take place the morning after.

Vadin must have offended them Mar thought, in order for such a sudden duel.

During their entrance Turel and the Empress made sure to parade themselves across the hall to allow as many eyes as possible to fall upon them. As the Empress scanned the crowd wielding a well rehearsed smile, she paused a moment looking toward the space Mar and Corvus occupied; they’d met a few times prior but their interactions hadn’t been grand enough to warrant her held glance amongst the crowd. Nonetheless Mar offered a small, quick bow. The newest arrivals had been whisked away into the other crowds within the hall.

‘I don’t envy them. Too many curious eyes and wandering gossip for my taste,’ Mar spoke softly, a tone he only adopted when speaking directly with Corvus.

No response came. As Mar pulled his tipsy mind together he found himself able to employ some basic detective skills, as he tracked the trajectory of his missing Aleenan friend.

The Human crouched, looming over Corvus. His brow furrowed as he posed his question.

‘What are you doing down there, Corax?’

Corvus stirred slowly, his vision pooling together, expanding as if he were rushing out of a pitch black tunnel. He moved an arm to cover his eyes from the light as the dulcet tones of the Proconsul were directed towards him.

‘What are you doing down there, Corax?’

The Aleenan dragged himself to a seated position and poked a fresh sore spot on his conical head.

‘I fell over.’ he stated blankly.

‘What did you do that for?’ a confused Mar asked, banterously.

The Rollmaster wasn’t in the mood for any sort of banter. ‘I didn’t do it on purpose,’ he spoke through gritted teeth, firmly enough to let Mar know that it wasn’t a laughing matter.

The Human raised an eyebrow before scooping his friend into his arms.

‘Alright, we’ll spectate the duel and then find you a medic.’


Akaarn saw his Rollmaster begin to topple out of the corner of his eye. Reflexes honed from watching another Aleenan fall from much more deadly heights time and time again took over. Throwing out his left arm without hesitation, wrapping Corvus in a loose grip of will, slowing his descent before the white stars erupted in his vision, and his concentration became null.

“KARK!!” Akaarn squeaked out gently pulling his outstretched arm back into his sling. On the upside, Corvus hitting the ground made a much lighter thump than it should have…right?

“You okay boss?” Came a deeper male voice over his comlink.

“Yea Maahrygyan, I’ll be fine, just doing stupid things with my injured arm. In case you were curious, Rollmaster Corvus weighs a lot more than Bogo.”

Akaarn could hear the smirk in his cartographer’s tone, “Fascinating, and I thought Zabrak’s could handle little pain?”

“Okay smartass, I’m gonna go try and find Lady Archenksova before Vadin gets us all killed. THEN I can explain to you why having one’s arm pulped in a 900 year old gear mechanism in order to stop a slab from crushing your ungrateful ass qualifies as a ‘little pain,’ mmmmm’kay?”

“…Lady Archenksova wouldn’t let you take a full dose of painkiller before the party would she?”

“No Maahr, no she would not.”

Akaarn left his quiet little alcove and closed his eyes as he opened himself up, as he first learned to do as an apprentice at the Oboran Institute as his inner eye started flaring up with dots of color and light. Every one of them a beating heart as he tapped into the web of life and energy threads tying together everything. As he focused his mind on his Quaestor, dots started winking out, filtered away by his desire for his target until only one remained.

Akaarn opened his eyes still seeing the soft blur of color in his vision marking where Lady Archenksova was, hopefully he could navigate those little side hallways and that she wouldn’t be too mad at his interrupting whatever meeting she was having beyond the eyes of the party proper.


Suoh Quarters

Three hours ago:

Yuki stood in her small clothes, staring at the gown and matching heels with a look of something approaching disgust. She had long since given up the finery that came with her familial ties, but this was exorbitant even for then. No stranger to that lifestyle though, the woman smiled almost wickedly. There was one person she wanted to approach at the party and he was all but guaranteed to be there. Her name was more than enough to keep her hidden from those in her past, but masking her features was a different matter altogether.

Yuki glanced at the floor mirror and sighed. She looked too much like her brothers, the resemblance was impossible to miss when they stood near each other, but many here would never have met them which made it easier to collect work from the Jedi. They needed fighters, not idealists. The woman turned back to the gown and shrugged. “It’s their party, I suppose. Just means I’ll have to look better than they do.”

With that final thought, Yuki sat down quickly and pulled out several pots of face paint.

Voraskel Palace
Royal Palace Ballroom, Kiast

Yuki stood quietly at the edge of the ballroom, watching everything around her. The movement of the dancers, the sway of the odd drunk. The woman scanned the crowd, taking in the faces of those she recognized off hand. She noticed Zoya, the beast of a woman, as she walked away from a confused looking Edgar. Yuki smiled to herself and started off towards the man.

Her lips were a dark red surrounded by a very light dusting of pale pink to offset the alabaster color of her skin. Her lustrous black hair hung in waved ringlets and her eyes were lined with charcoal to give the violet of her eyes more intensity. She approached Edgar with a smile on her face and touched his arm which brought his slightly worried expression to her.

His eyes widened as he recognized her, his gaze drifting up and down her small, lithe frame. “You look beautiful, Mi…Yuki. But,why the face paint. I don’t like it. It hides your pretty face.” he said with a smile.

Yuki laughed a warm caressing sound, drawing the attention of others around her. She shook her head and continued to smile. “This is a party, Edgar. Surely you haven’t forgotten how to do that? Lighten up. Dance, drink. What happened to the rakish boy I met so long ago?”

Edgar grunted softly, his eyes leaving the woman to scan the crowd for the Sephi he was speaking to before Zoya found him. “Huh? Oh! He is still here but things are a little different now too. Being in charge of so much can and has been overwhelming at times. Don’t forget I did find you on one of my vacations to Nar Shadda, now didn’t I? It’s just now there just might be trouble coming. I just don’t know what to make of it and it’s bothering me.”

The Corsair raised an eyebrow at his words, her face still smiling as her voice dropped slightly, her lips barely moving. “Do you need me to look into it?”

Edgar glanced back at the woman, his eyes wary. After a moment, he recovered and held his hand out toward her. “Maybe, I’m still not sure there is something to worry about but come dance with me, my friend. We will talk.”

Yuki took the proffered hand with a laugh and shook her head. “Charming as ever. I hope you still remember the steps.”

“It’s been awhile since I last been to a party such as this but I’m sure it will come back to me.”


As the pair moved off to the dance floor, he did one last scan of the room for the Sephi but not seeing her he turned his full attention to Yuki. As they began to join in with the rest of the couples, Edgar slowly became more relaxed and without thinking about it let out a slight chuckle.

“Oh? And what’s so funny, my dear Edgar? Do you find my dancing that funny to you?” The Corsair mocked the grey jedi.

Again being snapped out of his trance, Edgar brought his gaze to Yuki’s face and stared into her eyes and said honestly “In a matter of fact, yes I do.’ Edgar had to quickly hold tight to her and continue speaking before she lashed out at him, “BUT, even you have to admit that if anyone ever would have said that either one of us we would be dancing at a Royal Ball surrounded by nobles and Jedi. We would have just beat the stupid out of them for fun.”

She took a second to respond “Hm. You are right about that.”

A few minutes went by as the two enjoyed themselves and it was the Aedile that broke the silence “Look, a young Sephi approached me and said there is a faction of the nobles looking to not only overthrow the Empress, but also move against the Clan. I have no idea who, what or why this girl came to me and said this. Nor do I know if she was not just playing a prank or something. I need to find and speak to her again the question is how?”

Just as Yuki was about to respond, the music stopped and Turel, the Consul of the Clan, approached the middle of the balcony where the guests were all introduced from. He stood there for a few seconds as the room got quiet and eagerly awaited to hear from the Human Jedi.

“Good evening honored guests, my fellow Odanites and, of course, our beautiful host Empress Kaltani Anasye!” Turel paused for a good minute or two to let the applause and cheers for the Empress to die down. Once it had the Consul continued “It’s with great honor and thankfulness that I welcome you all to celebrate not only the founding of Clan Odan-Urr, but also to honor the ones we lost on New Tython and of course we are here to celebrate the Vatali Empire welcoming us and allowing us to call the Kiast system hope!”

Again a thunderous applause came from the crowd especially from the Odanites all crammed by the bar. With Turel looking in that direction saw his clanmates not only in various states of drunkenness but he saw them smiling, laughing and in general the happiest he has ever since them in a long time.

Once the crowd, namely the bar area, calmed down Turel finished his remarks by raising a glass to the audience which everyone in attendance did as well. “Let this celebration mark the beginning of a very long alliance between us and I know I speak for every member of my clan when I say that Kiast is now officially our home!”


Voraskel Palace
Royal Palace Ballroom, Kiast

The words of the Consul caused the woman to raise an eyebrow. She has heard of the troubles that plagued the Jedi thus far, including the assault led by her own brother. Yuki shook her head slightly and shrugged. The words were more hopeful than anything else. Intended to give the Jedi something to fight for once again. A reason to stand against the dark and become what was needed. The Corsair listened as the music started up in a joyous, slow melody and pulled Edgar back into a dance, her arms draped lightly on his shoulders.

The Aedile took his queue and pulled the slight woman closer to him, her heels putting her just below eye level with him. Her smiled never faltered as she gazed into his eyes, her lips barely moved as she spoke. “I’ll see what I can find out. If I come across anything, you’ll be the second to know.”

Edgar nodded his assent to her statement and the two continued to dance to the slow, happy tune that filled the air around them. Yuki leaned lightly against the man, a soft sigh coming from her throat. Edgar tensed slightly when his companion rested her head on his shoulder. “Do you ever wish your life was different?”

Edgar chuckled softly and shook his head. “I think everyone does, Yuki. Especially those who have something to forget.”

The woman nodded against his shoulder and laughed. Edgar knew who she was, what she was raised as before they had met. He never held it against her though. She liked that about him, that boyish charm he had so long ago was still there under the surface but she did not think many ever got the chance to see it.

The dance continued, the music dipping into a melancholic air, soft notes carried decades of sadness and isolation with a rising accompaniment of a vibrant note of life. The two mingled, fighting each other in a battle of sound. At times, the vibrancy was nearly drowned into the background and others the melancholic air was pushed down but never beaten. The twin harmonies pick up more instruments for their pitched battle on the dias.

For Yuki and Edgar, the music seemed to expel the rest of the room. Two old friends finally having a chance to be together. The woman smiled into her partner’s chest, her eyes closed as she let him lead her in a gentle circle around the floor, their movements graceful unbroken by words.

The pair continued their dance to the end of the song before she pushed away from him without notice, her violet eyes intent as she shook her head. “I have work to do. This little Sephi won’t find herself. I’ll keep you informed.”

Edgar blinked and reached out and grabbed her arm. “Please be careful and don’t harm her, she is obviously is afraid of something and came to us for help. So treat her as a friend and not an enemy.” Yuki nodded in agreement and then she disappeared into the crowd. Her scent still filled the air around him.

The woman moved through the crowd, her eyes scanning the faces quickly. She had not been in the system for very long, but she already had a distaste for the superiority of some of the native people. The smug faces watched her as she moved through the crowd with feline dignity, stalking a prey she had yet to find.

She had made notice of the woman before Zoya approached, but picking one from a sea was going to be difficult. The soft click-click of her heels made only enough sound for her to barely hear it over the music, hushed conversations took place all around her.

I would give almost anything to know what these people really think, she mused to herself. Because of those unspoken shadows in her past, Yuki felt that nearly everyone was plotting Or scheming for their own benefit. Even Edgar was not to be completely trusted and he was the closest thing she had to a friend. Brushing those thoughts aside, the Corsair scanned the crowd again, catching the briefest glance at her target. The Human smiled slightly and the hunt was on.


Edgar was still exulting in the scent of Yuki’s perfume when he felt another slender, feminine hand on his shoulder. He turned to see that Archenksova had slipped up behind him, presumably from one of the service entrances from the exterior hallway.

“Alethia,” he began with a smirk, “It seems I’m going to spend the whole night surrounded by beautiful women.”

“Save the prince charming act for Zoya,” she replied. “I’ve been cleaning up after your people.”

“What, Vadin? Come on, those Sephi punks have it coming to them. Yuki’s tracking down a lead right now.”

“‘Those Sephi punks’ belong to the Empress who invited us to celebrate the good relations we’re forming with her people. Don’t you think it would be a bit impolite for the Gand to kill six of them in her ballroom?”

Edgar grunted. As much as he liked Alethia, she had a tendency to take all of the fun out of a good honest right. “Well, looks like it’s too late now anyway,” he said, nodding to the squad of youngish Sephi starting to encircle Vadin Cal.

“Is it?” she smiled back at him, but he didn’t have a chance to answer before he was cut off.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the Majordomo bellowed from his perch near the main entrance to the hall. “For the entertainment of Her Imperial Majesty Empress Kaltani Anasaye and all of our guests, House Keldra and the Jedi of Odan-Urr will be presenting a demonstration of the gentlemanly art of combat in just a moment. Please make way for our noble combatants.”

“See?” Alethia murmured as she began to usher Drachen off to the side. “No accusations of treachery, no bloodshed, just a little tasteful machismo to impress the ladies. All eyes on them, none on your little girlfriend.”

Drachen nodded as the implications dawned on him. They’d just pass the entire incident off as choreography, and the nobles had to play along or look like they were the ones starting trouble. “Huh. Hold my cloak, I’m getting in on this.”