Selen, Dajorra System
The Seeker was clad in shimmering black fabrics that made a variety of sounds as she gracefully made her way to the Citadel. Her heels clicked across the cement as small bells jingled in her partially braided red hair. Her flowing skirt slipped along the ground, its silken texture sliding elegantly behind her with every purposeful step. Despite being flanked by Summit guardsmen, the Sephi was a beacon of composure, her shoulders back and head held high.
Maenaki was not a threat. Not yet, at least. Both she and the Inquisitorius knew that her arrival would be seen as a such, but the half-breed had no intention of giving them that easy sense of satisfactions. Her plan, for now, was to simply integrate and observe.
The Seeker was not afraid. Not of the Consul and not of her lackeys. The half-breed was a professional and knew how to take her orders as they came. She would even have considered it a specialty. Her other one, and the one she was most proud of, was being a living lie detector. Sometimes, she believed that she knew someone was going to lie even before they did.
The Battlemaster also knew she could rely on her looks to compensate when intelligence and a silver tongue would not do the job. Her body, brain and ability with the Force were nothing but tools to be used to accomplish her goals. So she walked boldly through the large doors with guards on every side, a self-righteous, smug smile spreading across her angular features. The half-Sephi kept her eyes on the path in front of her, noticing the staff, the causal or concerned looks they gave the procession of Summit guards and which of them stared where and at what.
Maenaki stifled her smile as they stopped before the double doors of the throne room. She flicked her gaze over the entrance, scrutinizing every inch as she waited. The craftsmanship and decor was pleasant, but nothing to get excited over. Finally, the doors were pried open and the Seeker forced her passive mask back in place as she beamed inwardly.
“Welcome, Maenaki, my friend. We are pleased to see you well.” No sound beyond the Consul’s voice was heard, even the shuffling of robes growing silent at her words.
Maenaki moved quickly towards the dais, outpacing the guards and causing the Summit to stiffen with the speed of her approach. She dropped to her knees upon reaching the steps, doing so with the dignity and poise of a seasoned aristocrat. With her head bent, staring at the floor, she called upon her voice to soothe the tension.
“Thank you, my Lady. I am in your service and I owe you my gratitude.” The half-breed held her tone steady as she looked around the room. Unbeknownst to most of the people present, Mae had become very familiar with all who gathered in the Serpentine Chamber this day.
Two men, standing several feet apart, were positioned on the left of the stairs leading up to the throne. The first was an Arconae and one of the three Entars in the room; he stood nearest to his sister. Timeros was said to have a tight bond of some sort with the Consul, but would be more than a challenge to approach.
On the other side of the throne, Terran Koul and Larrik Dul’vak stood with differing variations of attention. Their bearing was less than threatening, seeming to be more amused by the situation than worried, a stark contrast to Uji Tamieka. The Proconsul looked to be stern and unimpressed. Behind them, standing a little ways off, was an apprehensive looking tanned skinned woman. For a moment, Maenaki assumed she was some kind of servant, but the way she held herself and the way her amber eyes flicked over the members gathered, made her doubt.
But none of them had the appeal of the woman, sitting stiffly, on the throne. The stillness of the room was smothering as Atyiru’s smiling and eyeless face pacified the very air around her.
“I’m sorry you happened to arrive during such a tumultuous time and under such circumstances. Before anything further, I must ask,” the Shadow Lady paused for a mere moment before broaching the topic, “do you know where K’tana went?”
“I’m afraid, my Lady, that she gave me no more information than you have received. Perhaps less.” The Seeker smiled as she looked up and moved to a single knee. “I believe less, for my message was titled ‘To The Rest of You Karkfaces’. Quite rude, if you ask me.”
Atyiru chuckled slightly, causing Timeros to flash a quick glare in her direction. Maenaki made a mental note and moved to her feet.
“She has been spending more time with you than anyone else- perhaps she told you why?”
Without needing to feel anything, the Seeker knew that the Shadow Lady was probing her emotions. She responded in kind. Maenaki felt honest sadness and guilt and she focused on it as she gleaned a sense of the self-control and distrust that came from the Summit.
“Sadly not. Unless, ‘I’m over it’, justifies as an answer.” Maenaki shrugged, lifting her head and giving the men on the right a subdued smile.
“And why, Maenaki,” Atyiru said, shifting her weight further back in the throne, “should we trust you to take over where K’tana left off?”
Maenaki tilted her chin up and inhaled deeply, reciting her reasons not to be killed on the spot.
“K’tana has gone through great lengths to give me complete access to the Aedile’s Quarters in the Phantom Complex of Port Ol’val. She allowed me access to information Arcona’s enemies will want. She even let me write the last report.” Maenaki shifted her gaze to the floor, holding back a wry grin.
“And why should we trust you?” the harsh voice came from one of the men on the left side of the dias, but Maenaki did not see to whom it belonged.
“When you consider who you had in the position before me, my loyalties should not come into question,” the half-Sephi said, giving the men a calm and level smile.
“If my trust was once misplaced, misplacing it a second time will not undo it.” The Entar’s low voice seemed nearly as frozen as the emotions emanating from him, his icy gaze seemingly preparing to harshly scrutinize her answer.
Maenaki looked down at the floor for a moment, allowing the older Human to feel he had won. Then she shot everyone a sweet smile, her eyes lighting up and her white teeth gleaming from between her deep red lips.
“Then, next time, I shall be here to help you find it, unless you allow me to keep it well in your view.” She winked at him, catching Terran passing an amused look towards the Entar as she smiled at Atyiru.
The Arconae opened his mouth but was stopped as the Consul choked on a laugh that seemed to get stuck in her throat. In the moment of distraction, Maenaki struck.
“My lady, I have prostrated myself before you, told you everything I know. You could kill me. You could have me locked away forever or sick your minions on me when I leave, but I have come here in peace. I hope to serve you, and Arcona. I will do everything in my abilities to earn your trust. K’tana may not have been worthy of your trust but she trusted in you, all of you. She has faith in you…and she has faith in me. Will you deny her the last thing she could do in her power to repay you? Or will you allow me the chance to prove myself?”
The Summit, once again, grew silent — thoughtful. Maenaki felt the uncertainty from the Summit and the flicker of hope that nearly burst through the Shadow Lady. Shadowy, indeed.
“We shall give you a chance. One. Betray us and there will be dire consequences.”
The flicker of movement to the left of the Serpentine Throne caught Maenaki’s perceptive eyes. Terran had rolled his eyes. At the mention of “dire consequences”, the Quaestor subconsciously snubbed the Shadow Lady’s words. The Seeker dropped her gaze back to the floor and knelt.
“I hereby swear to pledge myself to Arcona and the Shadow Lady. Arcona Invicta.” Each word was heavy with sincerity and belief. Her face remained as still and reflective as any pond. The Undesirable on the throne smiled. It was a lovely sight. Maenaki focused on just how beautiful the moment was, the perfection of it being the only thing keeping the bile from flooding up her esophagus as the Miraluka stepped down and placed a bronze hand on her shoulder. Her eyes scanned the room once again as she spoke frivolities with the Consul.
Uji, Terran, Larrik, Timeros. She inhaled, chose her target and explained to Atyiru why she had no favorite color.
-Later that day-
“Grand Inquisitor Atra Ventus. I hoped news of my arrival would reach you before I did. I was sent at the behest of Grand Inquisitor Marick Tyris. It seems he trusted K’tana’s judgement a little too well. I’m here to rectify the situation she caused. I’m assuming you’re aware that she was a traitor and a spy for the rebellion?”
“I was one of the first to know.”
“My apologies for redundant information, m’lord.” Maenaki knew better than to question a Grand Inquisitor on the former Aedile’s location. It was possible that the Twi’lek had already been captured and was being interrogated at the very moment. She chose to simply acknowledge his silence with her own until Atra gestured for the Seeker to continue.
“Unlike her, I serve the Inquisitorius and Dark Lord Pravus. And, if I may, unlike you…” she paused, keeping her features soft and passive, “I don’t go around flashing my badge to everyone.”
“You make it sound like I play my own theme music whenever I enter a room. I assure you, those who know did so already. More to the point, K’tana was a wild card. Impossible to predict. How did you manage to convince her to cede her position to you?"
“My apologies. As for K’tana, well…I am an infiltrator and a seeker of truths. I infiltrated. And now, I am here to find out all of Arcona’s truths,” Maenaki purred, her eyes becoming slits as she grinned like a like a tooka and slowly inclined her head to the Combat Master. Without waiting for his dismissal, the half-Sephi turned her back to him and, smiling, walked from the room. “My report is in your office, awaiting your review.”
To be continued…