Title: A Noble´s Duty Author: Anedon Timeframe: Around and after 375 ABY Characters: Evan Malek, Stephan Malek, Meve Tarkin, more to come(all OCs) Genre: Personal/Political Drama Notes: This story is intended as a series/collection of short stories and One Shots centering around Evan Malek and the people/ events surrounding him, which are somewhat based on an RPG I played with friends last year. To give a bit of background, this takes place in the post legacy future around 375 ABY(legends timeline). After the Galactic alliance collapsed the galaxy became divided between the (Fel) empire and a loose conglomerate of other smaller states who banded together for protection and refer to themselves as "The Alliance" deliberately invoking the memory of both the rebel alliance and the galactic alliance and their opposition towards the empire. Eventually the mutual tensions boil over and lead to a war between the two. Eriadu and its associated worlds are initially neutral as they don´t really have a dog in this fight and want to be independent but later their leading classes due decided, due to being influenced and promised rewards once the war is won by the empire, to enter the war, which leads to a growing opposition both within the nobility and the lower classes. Also for those who play the Black Sheep RPG yes, Evan is a(thought not nessesary direct) descendant of Ethan. Great thanks to the wonderfull @divapilot for the beta and support. One Evan viewed himself critically in the mirror. He had no idea how much time he had already spent here, unsure about his appearance. He had already changed his clothes twice but was still undecided about them. First he had chosen a simple dark tunic and pants, an almost casual yet elegant outfit, which would best suit the occasion. Or would it? He and Meve hadn´t seen each other for almost a year now, though it seemed more like an eternity to him as so much had changed since then, since Eriadu had entered the war. As they were both members of the nobility both of them had been forced to take more responsibilities amongst their families, which had taken most of their time. Both had joined the military as officers, though being deployed on different frontlines had kept them apart, outside of a few short messages they had sent each other over the holonet. But now that they had both gotten a few weeks of leave, they finally had some time to see each other again. Maybe a more casual outfit wasn´t the right one. He had changed into a more formal outfit, a blue tunic with his family crest worked into the fabric, which he had worn on festivities and banquets, before but since then he had grown older and this outfit of his teenage years didn´t fit as well anymore. At last he chose his formal military dress uniform, a pitch black tunic and pants with golden buttons and seams. Evan thought about adding his medals as well but they were vanities, nothing more. When he had been a child he had always imagined himself in such a uniform, his entire chest covered with medals earned on the battlefield, but now such honors felt hollow to him, just as the entire war. He had spent a year at the frontlines, fighting for his nation as they called it, but ultimately it had been nothing but slaughter. On both sides it were young men and women like him and Meve forced to kill each other for the sake of their supposed ideals. Where was the honor in that? Nothing but a lie to motivate the youths to willingly go to their tombs, just as these medals. "Still searching for the fitting outfit?" A voice called him out of his thoughts and he turned around to see his grandfather in the door. Stephan Malek gave his grandson an understanding smile. "It always seems to me as if there is something not quite right with each outfit I try," Evan admitted. "It's either too casual or too formal and I ask myself what Meve would prefer on these matters." "Maybe she is standing in front of her wardrobe as well right now thinking exactly the same," his grandfather suggested. That made Evan smile. His grandfather had always known to get his grandson to relax himself a bit. "I think she mentioned once she liked my military dress uniform." It had been on their last meeting before they headed off to the war and they both had complimented each other on their new shiny uniforms. "Don´t you want to take your medals as well?" his grandfather asked him. Evan shook his head. "They´re just a few pieces of metal, nothing to be proud of." "You´ve been recommended for your bravery," Stephan reminded him. Evan nodded slowly. "Maybe, but this whole war feels to wrong to me now. So pointless." He knew that words like this were dangerous in these days and could lead to him being accused of cowardice or even treason. But he trusted his grandfather, more than anyone else in the galaxy. When his father had died in a pirate raid almost twenty years ago, Stephan Malek had in many ways taken the father role for Evan and his younger brother, supporting their mother in raising them. Also Evan knew that his grandfather shared his views on the matter. "That´s why I´ve spoken against the war in the assembly, against this whole pact with the empire, but the word of our family has only little weight on matters like this." Evan knew that many other of the noble families considered the Maleks beneath them, as an up jumped working class family, no true nobles in their mind. For Meve that was never an issue. Evan knew her family, the Tarkins were outsiders as well, still haunted by the specter of the man who had destroyed an entire planet and sold Eriadu out to the empire for his own ambitions. And now it seemed as if the nobility had sold out their world again. Most of the imperial officers he had served alongside hadn´t shown the Eriaduans even a semblance of respect and had treated their supposed allies like little more than blaster fodder who were sacrificed in large numbers to spare their own imperial forces. "We should have never entered this war," his grandfather said after a pause. Evan agreed. "We have nothing against the people of the alliance." For a moment Evan though of the enemy he had faced in battle and guilt overcame him, like so often when he thought about this. He had killed these people who were only defending their homes from the empires assault, an assault in which the entire Eriaduan nation was now complicit in. "The Quintad made this decision," his grandfather said and Evan could hear the sorrow in his voice. "They decided to sell us out to the empire, for a bribe and a few bits of territory. I believe once this war is over, Eriadu will become little more than a vassal to the empire, like Hapes and Mandalore before, forced to obey their directives." Evan felt anger growing in himself, a hate for the empire and the Quintad for selling them out, for making him and the people he cared about little more than slaves. He should stand against this, he felt; the Maleks had fought against tyrants like Cosinga Palpatine, Sander Delvardus, Jacen Solo and Darth Krayt in the past. "I wish we could do something about this," he said bitterly. He knew that Meve and her family thought similarly, as did some of the other young nobles he counted his friends. But they were only so few. What could they achieve? "We can," his grandfather said, his voice little more than a whisper. "I´ve been talking to other nobles over the last year, and many are unhappy with our current leadership. The lower classes are upset with the higher taxes the war has caused, not to mention the causalities. There are many on Eriadu and the other worlds who desire a change in leadership." Evan´s blood froze by these words. What his grandfather had just told him was treason, a conspiracy against their nation. No, he reminded himself, not our nation, our leaders. "How far does this go?" he asked Stephan, still trying to cope what he had just heard. "Seventeen noble families are in on this, eighteen when things go well tonight." Evan made a step back from his grandfather when he realized what he had just heard. "So this is the reason you suggested I invite Meve for dinner? So you can get her family into this conspiracy?" His grandfather lowered his gaze and Evan could see a guilty expression on his face. "I´m sorry, Evan. You know that I wouldn´t have done this if it wasn´t important. I can´t met all the other families myself, that would be too conspicuous." "You should have told me," Evan said, hurt that his grandfather had used him. "I know. I wanted to reveal all of this to both you later tonight. I´m sorry." Taking a deep breath, Evan tried his best to collect his thoughts again. It saddened him that his grandfather wanted to use his date for a political conspiracy, but at the same time he knew that something needed to be done. This thing was more important than his hurt feelings. "I understand," he answered, slowly. "Can you give us at least a few hours before you interrupt us with your politics?" Stephan gave him a smile. "Off course, and thanks Evan." He turned around and left the room, but at the door he turned around to his grandson again. "And Evan, I would suggest the suggest the dark blue outfit. It fits pretty well with your eyes."