The journey from Maridun to Arx had been a quiet affair. Andrelious had put aside a few of his reservations about the crew of the Limbo and enjoyed a few drinks in the ship’s cantina, whilst Aylin brooded about the loss of her droid. Sim disappeared somewhere into the bowels of the ship on some other tasks for Morgan. It was only when the ship began its approach to the Brotherhood’s capital that the team re-assembled.
“Is that the best you can do?” Aylin asked Andrelious as she studied his formal outfit.
“His size didn’t make things easy,” Morgan quipped. “Especially when he turned down two other offers,”
“Oh? Were they any nicer?” the Nautolan questioned.
“Of course. A lovely floor length little number. Might have found it a bit difficult to walk, but…”
“I suggest you stop there. Need I remind you what a Mimosa-Inahj can do to a Sorenn?” Andrelious hissed.
“I wouldn’t start making those kind of threats around here. Touch me and the three dozen pirates on this deck will be the least of your worries,” Morgan warned.
“So do we know anything about this tablet? Do we know why the Shadow Academy want it so badly?” Aylin queried, trying to diffuse the mood.
“All I can tell you is that the inscription is in Ancient Sith. No doubt the Academy have the staff to translate it,” Andrelious explained.
“Well, we’ll find out soon enough,” Morgan stated with a smirk. “Our shuttle awaits,”
The Shadow Academy had spared no expense for its gala. Beings of all shapes and sizes moved around each other in a seemingly infinite variety of suits, gowns and dress uniforms.
“How are we going to find Clery? With so many people here we won’t even be able to sense her properly,” Andrelious complained.
“Easy. She’s old. Older even than the Elders of Taldryan,” Morgan explained.
“Do they even exist? I thought they were just legends,” Aylin added.
Andrelious looked hurt. “They’re legends because hardly anyone lived to tell the tale. Besides, I’ve met them. All of them. Even that traitor Cotelin…”
“You can lament about Karufr later! Looks like Clery’s about to make some kind of speech,” Morgan commented, gesturing towards a raised podium in the middle of the room.
A frail, yet sprightly Human woman in a bright green ballgown stepped up to the podium, waiting patiently for the crowd to hush.
“Welcome all to our gala. The Headmaster himself will be here shortly, but he’s asked me to welcome some special guests. These individuals have risked their lives to bring an addition to our archives,” Clery began.
“I thought such things didn’t exist!” someone shouted from the crowd. The archivist frowned for a second, before continuing.
“Those of you who just came back from the mission to Maridun. I believe you have something for our collection?” Deandria challenged.
Andrelious and Aylin, urged on by Morgan, walked towards the podium. Just before they reached it, Sim Kar appeared from the throng of people.
“Didn’t think I’d miss this, did you?” she beamed.
Clery smiled at the threesome. “Thank you, all of you. We had our doubts that you’d come through, or that you’d even work together. As it happens, we sent another team in after you. Just in case you didn’t make it past the mastiffs,”
“I’m going to guess most of those men are dead,” Andrelious interrupted.
“That’s not important. However, they did find something of interest…” the elderly woman replied.
Aylin heard a familiar sound.
“Spots!” she cried, delighted.
“Consider that our gift to you for your service. And all of you have also earned unmonitored access to our archives…”
Clery paused for a few moments to gauge the team’s reactions. Andrelious didn’t seem too impressed, whilst Aylin wondered exactly how the archives would be of use to a slicer. Morgan and Sim were nowhere to be found, likely disinterested in whatever reward the old woman had promised.
“…for 3 months,” the archivist added.