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Before - Legends Duty and Devotion {The Old Republic}

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by SabyneAmberle, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Title: Duty and Devotion
    Author: SabyneAmberle
    Era: Before the Saga, The Old Republic
    Genre: Drama, Romance
    Characters: [Main] Malavai Quinn, Lord Lycuneae Terzas (Gammon), [Secondary] Lt. Pierce, Vette, Jaesa Wilsaam
    Summary: In a war-torn galaxy, anyone finding affection is a miracle in and of itself. But what about for a Sith Lord? And how about when the other party tries his best to sabotage things along the way?

    Notes: Like most of my other TOR fics, this takes a bit of dialogue from the game, and adds my own spin to it. I just reached the conversation this is based on last night, and wanted to try my hand at working with it.

    ********

    Today is the day. Lycuneae took her hair out of its standard high ponytail, running her fingers through it briefly before repeating the action with a comb. She had always liked her hair, its deep crimson locks reminded her of the blood she often spilled when fighting her enemies. In the past, some had complained that her hairstyle was too severe, said that she should wear her hair down more often to soften the look of her high forehead and slightly narrow eyes. She paid no attention to those critiques; to be a lord of the Sith, one could not be focusing undue attention on their appearance. That was a waste of energy, energy that could be spent on important tasks meant to secure power.

    As she removed the last few knots from her hair, she thought of her master. While not what one would picture a 'typical' Sith Lord looking like, Baras' cunning and skills at manipulation made him nearly unmatched amongst his peers. She was honored to be his apprentice, honored to be the hand that worked to enforce his will throughout the galaxy. She hoped to continue working alongside him, at least until the day came when he died by her hand.

    Her hair free of tangles, she returned it to its previous high ponytail before picking up a small cosmetics brush. She pondered the small collection of jars and tins that sat before her with a mix of puzzlement and curiosity. Having admitted to Vette that she didn't have the first clue about cosmetics and the wearing of them, the young Twi'lek had coerced both her and Jaesa into a quick 'girls only jaunt' into Kaas City to find the proper accoutrements. While she had been shown the proper way to use the cosmetics they chose for her, Lycuneae was still a bit hesitant. This was the domain of both her sister and aunt, whose elaborately painted faces hid equally cruel hearts. She herself had been taught to keep her face as clear and open as her heart, that she would learn her lessons more quickly that way.

    Now, she was in the midst of learning a new lesson.

    She selected a soft green eyeshadow, and dipped the tip of the brush into it. As she applied the pigment over one cold blue eye, she thought of Quinn. A smile formed on her lips as she remembered all the ways she teased him thus far through their mission together. Finishing the first eye to her satisfaction, she gave her other eye the same treatment, thinking of all the times she had pointed out the reddening of his ears, the ways she was obviously flustering him, their first shared kiss...

    Her hand stilled for a moment as she remembered that kiss. He protested that their involvement together was improper, but they both knew they were attracted to one another. Her fingers trembled a bit, and she stifled a curse as she dropped the brush, the pigmented tip drawing a long smear down her cheek. Setting the brush aside, she wiped at the smear with her fingertips for a moment; when she saw the color wasn't budging, she switched to a damp towel to clean the spot. With it cleaned to her satisfaction, she hastily finished the rest of her makeup, then paused to admire her work in the mirror. She smiled at what she saw.

    “This has to be the day,” she said to her reflection. “The day he tells me his feelings for me.”

    Only a blind man could have missed the signs this day was coming. She caught every plaintive look he cast her way, saw several times where he appeared ready to speak and decided against it. For several days, this game had continued; she had even asked him point-blank what was troubling him, only to have him swiftly deny anything was amiss. Finally, only mere hours earlier, he had approached her as they were boarding the Fury and requested a private audience with her. It was a request she granted almost eagerly, and the look on his face told her he was as surprised as she was at her response.

    As she left her quarters, Lycuneae's attention was caught by three of her crew members. Jaesa gave her usual sweet smile, inclining her head in a deferential bow. As she straightened, she gave her master a playful wink, which was swiftly returned. Since Nomen Karr's defeat, Jaesa had fit in well with the crew of the Fury; her knowledge of the Force and ability to take tactical direction had more than aided in a number of battles.

    Next to her apprentice, Vette stood in her usual stance; she casually leaned against the nearby doorway with her arms folded. When their eyes met, Vette gave her a look that she knew all too well. It was that half-puzzled look she wore anytime Quinn was touched upon. One didn't need the Force to know what that look conveyed.

    Lycuneae laughed a bit as she imagined Vette's words as that look translated them. Really? You and Captain Stuffy? Well, all right, if it makes you happy...

    The gruff sound of someone clearing his throat caught her ear, and she turned her focus on Pierce. He sat in a chair that was positioned suspiciously close to the doorway to the cockpit. He had his large gun on his lap, and appeared for all intents and purposes to be cleaning it. But she knew better, particularly when her sharp eye caught a small tin sitting on a shelf clear across the room from where he sat. Without a second thought, she used the Force to pick up the tin and send it over to his seat. She smirked a bit when he accepted it, a surprised look briefly crossing his face.

    “Working on that experimental 'dry polish' I've heard is so good to keep guns from rusting?” she asked. “Or just trying to find an excuse to sit near the cockpit door?”

    “Err, I must...I must have left it on the shelf when I was looking for a place to sit,” he replied, though she could easily hear him scrambling to cover the lie. “Space travel always makes me a bit forgetful, y'know?”

    “I understand. Just make sure it doesn't make you forget your place, Lieutenant,” she said stiffly.

    “Of course not, my lord.”

    Passing by Pierce, Lycuneae stopped at the doorway to the cockpit. If she were anyone else, one might think she was hesitating, or even afraid. And maybe she was, romance was new territory for her, after all. But she would be damned if she let that get in her way.

    She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and walked through the doorway. All the while, she felt the eyes of her crew on her, and she resisted the urge to groan and roll her eyes. This was already going to prove awkward enough without contending with an audience.

    “Quinn?” she ventured, letting her eyes adjust to the lighting in the cockpit.
     
  2. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Very enjoyable little vignette; how clever and engaging to end short of the actual one-on-one with Quinn! Or is there more? :D It's neat to see the other crew members' various ways of hinting that they know something's up. Incidentally, is the "girls' day out" to buy cosmetics, etc. also one of the possible conversations in the game?
     
  3. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2004
    I *wish* the girls' day out' was an actual conversation. I like little things like that between characters, it lets you see what they're like when not in 'duty' mode.

    And yes, I do plan to write more on this. I didn't realize until after I posted that this made a great little vignette all on its own. :)
     
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  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    It does indeed work well as a vignette on its own. But I still won't be sorry to see more. :D

    Incidentally, what you say about conversations outside of "duty" mode brought to mind something I wondered about while combing YouTube for TOR conversation videos (which I've found are fantastic inspiration for fanfic writing even if one's writing about completely different characters). If one looks up the female companions like Mako, Vette, etc., one can find any number of videos showing their romance arcs with a male main character, but not so many showing just regular old friendship arcs with a female main character. (OK, I did see one for Elara Dorne once, but that was it.). Anyway, I had just been thinking that it would be interesting to see more on the possible female friendships that can be formed in TOR, and details like the "girls' day out" (and a Sithy girls' day out!) give a fun glimpse into that. :cool:
     
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  5. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    I liked how you introduced the cast of characters and Lycuneae and Quinn's tentative maybe-relationship. Lycuneae seems like a realistic combo between self-assured Sith and fish-out-of-water with regard to romantic matters. I also liked that her female cohorts are the ones that took it upon themselves to mentor her in the ways of makeup. It was interesting she had noted that primping/makeup were obsessions for her relatives and she seems to still feel ambivalent because of that. I can see how that would make a Sith, especially, run the other way.
     
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  6. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Thanks, everyone. And now, the next part, right before I head to bed. :D

    ****************************

    Of course, Captain! It would be an honor to have you serve with me again, especially after what you did for me against Broysc's men,” the cheerful voice of Major Ovech echoed through the cockpit from its origin in the small holotransmitter. “Once you receive clearance from Her Lordship, just send authorization over, and we can finalize things. It's quite generous of her, allowing you to transfer before you complete your mission.

    “Err, yes. It truly is,” Quinn rubbed a spot behind his left ear, a habit he had somehow picked up when he felt the slightest twinge of anxiety. The worst part was that, short of cutting his hands off at the wrists, he saw no simple way to break himself of it. He hated that annoying little habit; no matter how discreet he tried to be, anyone in the same room as him could zero in on it and use it to knock him down a peg. He would have to work harder at being the stoic, cool-headed Imperial officer he had been raised to be. “I have actually not broached the topic with her yet. I have requested an audience with her to discuss the matter. She should be along any minute.”

    Excellent. Keep me posted, Captain.” As the image flickered out, Quinn slumped into the captain's chair behind him, pressing his fingers to his temples. He felt stuck. Trapped between two different factions that were pulling him two different directions. He was bound to Baras, felt indebted to him for both his life and his career. Yet he was also indebted to her, to his new lord. She had given him so many chances to expand his knowledge and levels of expertise in ways that would only better serve the Empire. She also opened his mind in other ways; his newly-found appreciation for art and music was just one of them. She also encouraged him to read more and to learn other ways to clear his mind and refocus, which were of great assistance when they inevitably wandered into yet another dangerous situation.

    He didn't know. For the first time in as long as he could remember, Malavai Quinn had no answer that would fix his current situation. When he had first joined her crew, he had approached Baras' mission with great gusto. He funneled all sorts of strategic information to his master throughout their travels, always away from the eyes of his lord. More recently, however, he was mustering less and less motivation to send those reports. When he did send them, he only sent the minimum amount of information Baras requested; he didn't have the heart to send the fully detailed reports of the past.

    Damn her for being so distracting. He had to find a way off this ship before...

    Quinn?” The voice calling his name abruptly halted his thoughts. Hastily, he stood from his seat, clearing his throat as he faced the viewport. He clenched his fists behind his back, hoping he could disguise their shaking.

    “Yes, my lord. I am here, as I said I would be.” He turned to face her as she entered the room, suppressing a smile as he watched her rest her hands on her hips. Even though she was his superior, he had always thought her beautiful in a way. Not the same way Nesha had been; hers had been a beauty cultivated by privilege and upbringing. Where his former fiance had been slim and delicate, his lord was strong and powerful. Where Nesha had been gentle and quiet-spoken, Lord Lycuneae was commandeering and forceful. The stark contrast between these two women who had graced his life made his head swim.

    He needed to focus. He let his gaze fall on his lord's face, only to find himself staring in a puzzled fashion. “My lord,” he began. “If I may inquire, are you wearing cosmetics?”

    He thought he could spot her blush. “I...Vette told me I would look nicer with a little extra color,” she replied, sounding slightly shaky. “Since you requested an audience, I thought it a good test of my application skills.”

    “Yes, well...it looks quite nice, my lord,” he responded crisply. He immediately noted the flicker of disappointment that appeared in her blue eyes. Had he said the wrong thing?

    He watched her give a shrug. “Well, Captain. I'm here, as you requested,” she said.

    It's now or never, Malavai. He told himself. He took a deep breath before clearing his throat again. “Yes, and I thank you for your attention, my lord,” he answered. “I must officially request to be reassigned.”

    Before he could say another word, she burst out laughing. He stood staring at her in shock as she fought to stifle her laughter. He didn't think he had said anything humorous, so why did she react this way?

    “Oh, Quinn. Have you finally discovered a sense of humor?” She asked. Her smile faded as he emphatically shook his head, one eyebrow raising over an icy blue eye. “Then why do you ask me this? Is this mission too harrowing for you, Captain?”

    Unconsciously, he flinched at the barb he could hear in the title. He knew he would have to tread carefully. “Not at all,” he answered. “On the contrary, I thrive on harrowing.”

    “Then why do you ask me this?” she repeated. “Why in the galaxy would I want that?” He noted her hands slowly curling into fists where they sat on her hips, and he could hear the tinge of anger in her voice. She was losing patience with him, he needed to remedy this or else lose even the remote chance of her approving his reassignment.

    “For the sake of you and the crew,” he answered. Seeing her eyebrow raise even further, he continued. “Because I am forced to admit I am compromised,” he replied. He watched her face for any further reaction, but saw none. “Thoughts of you have begun to...distract me. My feelings affect my ability to concentrate. It is for that reason that I cannot, in good conscience, continue to serve you.”

    He watched her silently drop her hands from her hips. She turned her back to him, taking a few steps across the cockpit to the opposite wall. He wasn't sure if she was angry or upset or some other emotion he couldn't quantify.

    He felt it prudent to continue. “I just spoke with Major Ovech via holo,” he said, taking a few steps toward her. “He told me that with your authorization....”

    No.”

    The whispered word was harsh, causing him to stop speaking. He cautiously took another step toward her, reaching out a hand to touch her shoulder. “My lord...” he began again.

    “Don't. Touch me!” Before he could jump back, she had whirled back around to face him, a blast of Force energy knocking him backwards. The backs of his knees hit the captain's chair, and he involuntarily sank into it with a grunt. He felt the blood drain from his face, had the terrible feeling this was about to go very wrong very quickly.

    “Tell me, Quinn. Are you a man, or are you a rodent?” she asked, an acidic tone edging every word. “Because if you can't take it, Quinn, I'll deposit you back on Balmorra to rot instead. And I'll never give you the luxury of another thought. You can watch the HoloNet for news on the real action.”

    She crossed the small space between them, standing so close her knees nearly touched his. Hesitantly, he looked up at her face, noted what appeared to be damp streaks on her cheeks. Was she crying?

    “Drop your eyes, Quinn. I did not give you permission to look me in the face.” At hearing the harsh, snapped command, he dropped his gaze. He focused on his right hand where it lay clenched in his lap, noted the trembling he had seen earlier appeared to now be much worse.

    “If you ever go behind my back and speak to another soul about being reassigned without first conferring with me again, you will be fortunate if I let you keep your limbs intact,” she hissed. “Request for reassignment denied. You are dismissed, Captain.”

    As she turned to leave the cockpit, Quinn weakly stretched his right hand out to her back. “But...my lord, please...” he said.

    “I said you are dismissed. Do not try my patience, Captain,” she replied.

    Woodenly, he dropped his hand back to its prior resting place on his lap. His head was positively reeling from what had transpired over the prior few minutes. How had he misjudged things so badly? What he thought would be a simple, routine request had turned into something far worse. Now, he wasn't sure what to think, or even what to do.

    He heard her muffled voice snapping an order to Pierce. Leaning forward in the chair, he buried his face in his hands.

    How am I ever going to fix this mess? He asked himself. The lack of a forthcoming answer did not bode well for his flagging confidence.
     
  7. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Well, that one went badly wrong in a hurry! Poor Quinn. That would be pretty terrifying, really. Sith are pretty much a law unto themselves in his world, and he's got one screaming in his face -- worse yet, one that he does have some feelings for. And one he is secretly plotting against, though he doesn't wish to. All kinds of awkward. Lycuneae isn't having the best day, either. She quite possibly hasn't ever had to deal with rejection of this sort. I got the impression from the first post that she was taught to throw herself into her studies to get ahead, instead of dealing with a social life. May have kept her from getting so tangled up in the infighting of her peers, but now she's fairly unprepared for all of this.
     
  8. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2004

    One big reason I've been avoiding tackling writing a Sith Warrior is I don't like writing 2-dimensional characters. A Sith Warrior who is all about doing things for the evulz and who doesn't show much nuance really doesn't interest me. (For that matter, that's true of pretty much any character.) So when I wrote Lycuneae, I wanted to write her as someone with a more nuanced personality. She's Sith, yes, but she's also a young woman. One who (as you noted) has had limited experience with anything related to personal or emotional matters, so she has little idea how to parse them without getting angry. Since I've explored quite a bit with Ky (my Bounty Hunter) in my writings, I figured I could do the same and create a character who I enjoyed writing, but still managed to fit in the universe.

    And I so wish this sort of reaction were in the game. I mean, Quinn does throw that request out of left field. Who wouldn't be ticked?
     
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  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Ah, if only Lycuneae knew how much her reaction—however understandable—gives away her true feelings! :D

    I do very much like the idea of writing about a Sith who's got more to her than just the "evulz"; you're right that doing so is an added challenge given the way so much SW media portrays the Sith. (Though of course the game format makes room for a little more nuance, since one can choose the character's responses.) And so far, you seem quite up to the challenge! :cool:
     
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  10. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Without any further ado (and before I head to bed), here's the next bit. :D
    **********

    “So how do you think it'll go in there?” Vette asked, still leaning against the wall behind her.

    “I'm sure they'll be just fine,” Jaesa replied, settling into her usual meditation position.

    Vette snorted. “Highly doubt that,” she said. “This is Captain Stuffy we're talking about, after all. If he knew someone liked him, he'd probably fall over dead from the shock.”

    “Would be quite a spectacle if he did,” Pierce said. “Not that I'd bank on it if I were you. Between Clueless and Slightly Less Clueless in there, I think we'll all die of old age before they figure things out.”

    Vette laughed. “Those nicknames fit them so perfectly right now,” she said. “Only problem is, which one is which?”

    “Depends on the day and the topic,” Pierce replied.

    “Really, now. It's not nice to speak so of our lord,” Jaesa protested. “After all, she does have a great many things she has had to both learn and endure. Of course there will be some that slip through the cracks.”

    “Awful lot of cracks for things to slip through as far as she's concerned,” Vette retorted. “Besides, weren't you going to meditate or something right now?”

    “Yes, I was. I...” Jaesa's statement was abruptly cut off when a sudden unintelligible shriek was heard, followed by the clear sound of a small shockwave. Though it was brief, it still managed to startle all three of them.

    Jaesa's eyes grew wide. “I sense a disturbance in the Force,” she said. “The Master is quite upset right now.”

    “Really?” Vette snapped sarcastically. “I really don't think you need the Force to tell that. It's pretty obvious.”

    A few moments later, Lycuneae appeared in the doorway from the cockpit. The trio could see she was significantly less than pleased with whatever had happened. Her makeup, so perfect and lovely earlier, was dissolving into smears and streaks that ran in colorful rivulets down her cheeks. Her blue eyes were narrowed in icy fury; Vette could almost swear that her fury was causing a small breeze to swirl around her, as her sharp eyes caught the slight twitching of that high ponytail.

    “Pierce.” Lycuneae's voice was dangerous, told them they better have satisfactory responses to her requests, lest things turn very ugly.

    “M-my lord,” he replied, standing up suddenly.

    “You're heading into the field with me, Lieutenant,” she continued. “Suit up, you need to be ready to head out in thirty minutes. If I am kept waiting, you'll wish you had been on time.”

    “Understood, my lord. I'll be prepared and waiting for you when you call.”

    As he left, she turned her attention to her apprentice. “Jaesa,” she said, her low tone making the young former Jedi shudder slightly.

    “Is everything all right, Master? Can I assist you in some way?” Jaesa replied.

    Lycuneae hesitated briefly before speaking. “Everything...will be all right,” she said. “It is something I will have to learn to endure.” She walked past both Jaesa and Vette. “I will be in my chambers preparing for my next mission from my master,” she told them. “I do not wish to be disturbed.”

    “Whatever you say, Lyka,” Vette answered, sounding a little too cheerful as she headed back to her quarters.

    “It shall be as you wish, Master,” Jaesa said, giving a slight bow. “I will be here if you wish anything of me.”

    **

    With the door to her chamber closed tightly behind her, Lycuneae leaned back against it with a heavy sigh.

    “I am a fool,” she said simply. “An utter, complete fool.”

    She felt her eyes burn with tears again, and she closed her eyes and let them fall. This day -and the prior few days, really- had seemed so full of hope and promises of new things for her. She had truly thought she and Quinn were growing closer, that he might finally be opening up to her about his own feelings. While he did share a hint of what he was feeling, he couched it in his request to leave. She regretted lashing out at him the way she had, but how was she supposed to react? He had totally blindsided her with his request to be reassigned, and her emotions were wound so tightly that she just...snapped. Not exactly her finest hour, by any means.

    Hastily, she crossed the room to the wardrobe, where she selected the robes and garments that would make her look the most intimidating. As she was dressing, a metallic glint caught her attention, emanating from a small a small hook on the door of the wardrobe. Lycuneae smiled as she recognized her mother's amulet, gifted to her during her previous visit to Dromund Kaas. Reaching out, she carefully lifted the chain from its hook and held the amulet up, noting how her mother's personal symbol glowed almost ominously.

    She smiled as she clasped the amulet around her neck. Prior to their reunion on Dromund Kaas, Lycuneae had not seen her real mother since she was a small girl back on Ziost; the woman whom she had grown up calling 'mother' was a pitiful caricature of the term. That woman could never hold a candle to Lady Detasa Gammon, no matter how she or her husband puffed her up in society. Lycuneae had long suspected her father had only married her stepmother out of anger at his inability to possess Lady Detasa; they had been betrothed until she broke the arrangement to marry a much more prominent up-and-coming Sith Lord. Though given to her father and his wife to raise from a young age, Lycuneae had never felt the same sort of bond as she had with her own mother. She often received letters from Lady Detasa, as well as gifts of books and holovids to educate and entertain her. She loved those gifts, and in fact had kept every last one. They were perfect for those long nights when she couldn't sleep...

    A soft knock at her door startled her out of her thoughts. “I thoughtI gave orders not to be disturbed,” she snapped irritably.

    “Forgive me, Master,” Jaesa's voice was slightly muffled by the closed door. “I simply wished to pass the word to you that Pierce is ready to deploy.”

    “Thank you, Jaesa. Tell him I'll be there momentarily.” Hastily, Lycuneae finished dressing. After the last straps and laces were tightened, she picked up her lightsabers, clipping them to her belt. Upon exiting the room, she saw Pierce leaning against the wall near the ship's exit.

    “I am sorry to keep you waiting, Lieutenant,” she said.

    He shrugged. “Wasn't waiting long,” he replied. “B'sides, it isn't my place to rush a Sith lord.”

    “I appreciate your consideration and patience, Pierce,” she said. “Shall we get going? I know Darth Baras does not particularly like to be kept waiting.”

    As they began departing the ship, Lycuneae caught a flicker of motion out of the corner of her eye. Turning her head, she squinted her eyes against the dim light and peered toward the doorway to the ship's common area. Once her eyes adjusted to the dim light, she made out the figure of Quinn where he stood directly in the doorway. She couldn't make out his face, but she senses a jumble of emotions coming from him. Not that she particularly cared, at that moment.

    Turning her full attention in his direction, she gave him her iciest glare, one that promised she was nowhere near through with him yet. Smirking as she sensed his sudden spike of fear, she turned away from him and exited the ship.

    There would be time to ponder retribution and punishment later. Now was the time to be serious.
     
  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, things are not going so well for poor Lyka right now—but, again, her true feelings do come through in her reactions! (And Vette's got lots of gumption calling her "Lyka"—they must be really good friends. ;) Vette's got lots of gumption in general.) I love the way this chapter begins with the crewmates' speculation on how "Clueless" and "Slightly Less Clueless" are getting on, and, again, how we get a welcome close-up of the female friendships (or at least working relationships) in this group.

    Poor Malavai, though... I almost hope Lycuneae reconsiders whatever she's going to do to him! He really was trying his best to be diplomatic, after all. (Incidentally, is his redeployment request one of the game's conversations? I'd be curious to know which parts of the dialogue are borrowed from the game and which are Sabyne Originals, because you do such a greta job of blending them. :) )
     
  12. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Even knowing the situation is actually pretty unfortunate, this made me laugh. Lycuneae is lucky to have this kind of crew. Others would be running for the escape pods by now. ;)

    It was interesting to learn more about Lycuneae's family history. Hmm. There's something brewing there, I suspect -- weird family dynamic. Mommy has been carefully making sure that her daughter's loyalty goes to her since childhood, and Lycuneae doesn't seem to grasp that there may be a touch of selfish motivation there. Uh oh. Well, maybe I'm wrong. But it does look suspicious to me. [face_thinking]

    Revenge? Well, she can always glue his furniture to the ceiling, but I don't think a Sith will settle for that... worrisome. If she wants a scared follower, she's well on her way. Anything more substantial, she's going to have to learn a bit of empathy. Pretty sure Sith aren't taught that E-word, though.
     
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  13. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Sorry this took a bit. I wanted to take a break and recharge my mental batteries. Anyway, on to the next part.

    **********

    Initially, Quinn felt a shudder of dread pass through him as he felt the weight of her vicious stare. After another moment or two, he vaguely worried he would be sick, as he was briefly tormented by a hint of nausea. Once she had turned away and left the ship, Quinn silently retreated to the cockpit, letting out a long sigh of mingled fatigue and frustration.

    Once the cockpit door had closed behind him, he briefly leaned back against it, cradling his forehead in his hand. “What a mess,” he muttered. “What a ridiculously complicated mess.” Try as he might, he couldn't deny his fault in this matter. He knew perfectly well how his lord hated surprises; yet he had gone against her wishes and requested the transfer. He should not have been surprised she became so angry; he knew perfectly well how his lord hated surprises, and yet he had gone through with it anyway. Though he felt he had no right to ask for forgiveness from her, he did feel he needed to apologize for his actions. It would hurt his pride to beg for another chance, but he would gladly do it if it meant assuaging her temper.

    Knowing what he had to do, no matter how unnerving the possible outcome, he returned to his usual place within the cockpit. As he approached, he spotted the datapad that sat silently on his chair. It contained all the necessary paperwork he had drawn up for his transfer to the Major's command; now, as he read the crisply formal words he had written out, he felt a sudden wave of anger at himself. When had he become this arrogant, this stupid? Who did he think he was, asking such a thing of his lord? The disgust he felt at himself and his actions only increased his rage.

    With a low growl, he threw the datapad across the cockpit, hearing the dull thunk as it hit the durasteel floor. He could hear it slide across the floor, but was beyond caring at that moment. He simply sat in his chair with his chin in his hand, trying to determine the most appropriate way to apologize for his behavior.

    Yet for all of his anger at himself, he wasn't completely convinced he was in the wrong. True, he could have chosen a better time to speak to her about the transfer, but he wasn't sure his request was all that unique. He wanted to do his job, he had felt being on her crew would compromise that. He had always been taught that an officer recused himself from his crew when he felt his ability to do his job was compromised; indeed, not doing so risked a court-martial for fraternization. So he was only doing what he was supposed to.

    So why did that bring him no comfort? Why did that course of action only lead to more frustration and hardship?

    He stiffened when he heard the cockpit door slide open, slightly fearful that it was his lord returning early to inflict some punishment or other upon him. He relaxed when he saw Vette's form leaning against the door frame, one eyebrow raised curiously.

    “Can I help you, Vette?” he asked harshly. “Or have you simply come to gawk at my discomfort?”

    Vette shook her head. “Neither, actually. I just wanted to see if I could help somehow. Y'know, see if I could intervene with Lyka and get you off the hook...”

    “'Lycuneae', Vette,” Quinn corrected briskly.

    “Huh?”

    “You keep referring to her by that ridiculous nickname of your creating. It is unprofessional and improper to refer to a Sith lord in that fashion,” Quinn continued with a frown. Vette's tendency toward using nicknames for their lord always bothered him. “So I corrected you.”

    “Y'know, when you decide to turn on Captain Stuffy, you're really irritating,” Vette snapped back crossly. “Given your current situation, I really don't think you're in much of a place to be lecturing me right now.”

    As she turned to leave, she stopped abruptly when the toe of her boot hit something on the floor. “What's this?” she asked, bending down to take a closer look. “Huh. Wonder why this datapad is just laying here.”

    “That datapad belongs to me,” Quinn said, standing slowly. By this point, the young twi'lek had picked it up and was starting to browse through it. “I would appreciate it if you gave it back.” His irritation only increased as she appeared to completely ignore him. No argument, no backtalk, no characteristic roll of her eyes, just silence. Briskly, he closed the gap between the two of them, yanking the datapad from Vette's hands and returning it to its usual place on his belt.

    Damn Vette...how much did she see? He could feel his face redden slightly. What did she read...?

    “You know. You're pretty lucky, Captain Stuffy,” Vette's voice broke into his thoughts.

    “Wh-why is that?” He tried his best to sound casual and detached. He failed miserably on both counts.

    “Had it been anyone else standing in your boots and making the request you did, Lyka would have killed them on the spot,” Vette replied, taking note of the blood draining from Quinn's face. “If it weren't bad enough you sprung a request on her when she was unprepared, you had to go and really dig yourself a hole by making it a transfer request. You're really lucky.”

    “Yes. I am well aware of that fact, Vette,” Quinn snapped, walking back across the room to sit in his chair. “I thank you for the harsh reminder.”

    Frustrated, Vette threw her hands in the air. “Fine!” she said, clearly exasperated. “You go ahead and sit there and stew in your own stubborn idiocy, Quinn. See how far it gets you the next time you do something to make Lyka mad.”

    As she abruptly turned to leave the cockpit, Vette nearly collided with Jaesa, who had entered the cockpit through the open door. “Sorry, Jaesa!” Vette said, quickly stepping to one side. “I wasn't expecting you to come up here.”

    Jaesa smiled her usual sweet smile. “I wasn't planning on coming, either,” she replied with a slight shrug. “Yet I had a feeling I needed to try and help smooth things over in some way.”

    Vette snorted. “Yeah, good luck with that,” she said. “I don't think our good Captain is interested in listening to anyone right now, unless you count the voice in his head that tells him he's always right and always perfect.”

    “Excuse me?” Quinn protested sharply. “I do not have a voice in my head like that!”

    “If you say so,” Vette retorted before returning her attention to Jaesa. “At any rate, trying to talk to him has given me the worst headache. So I'm going to go lay down. You're more than welcome to try talking some sense into him, but I still think you're wasting your energy on a lost cause.” With one last casual wave, Vette slipped through the doorway and out of sight, leaving the young former Jedi alone in the cockpit with a very unhappy-looking captain.

    She stood quietly for several moments before she heard Quinn address her. “So what do you want?” he asked. “Are you really here to try to help, impossible a task as that may be? Or are you just going to stand there and gawk at me in my unhappiness?”

    Jaesa shook her head. “No, I fully intend to find a way to help you,” she replied, approaching the chair where Quinn sat with his forehead cradled in one hand.

    He sighed. “That...may be easier said than done,” he replied. “Regardless of my own thoughts or feelings on the matter, I have still gravely insulted our lord. The fact I am still alive to sit here and brood about it is rather surprising to me.”

    Jaesa remained quiet for several moments. “She doesn't wish to kill you, Quinn,” she said, kneeling on the floor a few feet from where he sat.

    “Hmph. And what makes you so certain of that?” His tone was still harsh, though it had lost a bit of its edge.

    “I can feel it,” she answered. “From both of you.” She paused, waiting for him to ask another question. When none came, she continued. “I sense you care a great deal for her, Quinn. Far more than an Imperial officer should care for the Sith Lord he is serving. And I have sensed a similar level of caring from her regarding you.”

    He kept his hand close to his face, glad now that it would work to shield the reddening of his face. “I...yes. That's true,” he conceded. “I do care for her greatly. So much so that I asked for the reassignment so I could make sure both she and her crew would remain safe.”

    “But you didn't ask her if that's what she would want, did you?” Jaesa's tone was gentle, yet firm. A holdover from her Jedi training.

    He shook his head. “I didn't,” he replied. “I thought...I thought working with her would be like serving in the fleet. You have a commanding officer you report to, you work with them and the rest of the crew, and you seek reassignment if things do not appear to be working in a productive fashion.” He let out a long sigh. “I've never worked directly with a Sith before, let alone one like our lord. And my inexperience caused me to make a costly blunder. Looking at it now, I regret my behavior.”

    “I know you do, Quinn,” Jaesa replied gently. “And I'm sure she knows it as well. However, actions -even if there is no ill intended- must have consequences.”

    He nodded. “I know. I only wish I knew what was in store for me.”

    “Give it time,” she replied. “I'm sure she will provide answers before long.” Slowly rising to her feet, Jaesa reached over and gave his free hand a gentle squeeze. “Just try not to get yourself in a situation like this again. It's not good for anyone within earshot, or who can sense the Force,” she added, smiling as she took note of the redness of his face.

    As she left the cockpit, Jaesa spotted Vette leaning against the wall of the common area. “I thought you had a headache, Vette,” she said.

    Vette shrugged. “It's strange,” she said. “As soon as I left the cockpit, it went away. Funny how that works, isn't it?”

    Jaesa raised an eyebrow. “It doesn't take the Force to see what a terrible liar you are sometimes, Vette,” she replied. “Why didn't you just admit you were frustrated with trying to talk to him?”


    “What fun would that be?” Vette answered.
     
  14. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2004

    Sorry, I almost forgot to answer your question on this. Yes, the part where Quinn requests reassignment is part of the game dialogue. Lycuneae's responses to him are a blend of different dialogue options that I added my own flair to.
     
  15. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Vette and Jaesa are very determined to restore harmony, I see. :p Quinn's introspection is great -- he is being a bit stubborn and not acting as he wants to, but his intentions/motivations are really reasonable ones!


    Still feeling empathy for him, though also for Jaesa and Vette caught in the middle.
     
  16. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2004
    And after a short delay, here is the next part. I wanted to split this scene into two parts, to keep it from getting too long and rambly. And also in this part I introduce yet another of my girls: the Sith Inquisitor Lady Eneveh.

    **********

    Having finished the business her master had summoned her for, Lycuneae quickly left Baras' office deep within the Sith Sanctum. For some strange reason, spending too much time in that building made her feel a bit uneasy; seeing the maneuvering and politics that went on within its walls made her almost nauseous. Sith were better than petty bickering and power plays, she thought.

    She smiled a bit as Pierce fell into step behind her, but it was a tight smile that lacked feeling. “Now I see why my mother always preferred her estate,” she muttered. “All the backstabbing and petty tactics to get some cramped space in a corner of this building must have given her a headache.” She shook her head. “But that is apparently what is done in such a sacred space.”

    “Sounds a lot like the military, to be honest,” Pierce replied.

    As they approached the speeder terminal that would return them to the spaceport, Lycuneae's attention was caught by the sound of footsteps hurrying toward them, followed by a voice.

    “Lady Ceska!” The unfamiliar voice called out, causing Lycuneae to frown. Only a few people were ever permitted to know her true name, and this stranger did not sound like they were part of that privileged circle. She quickly stepped in front of Pierce and raised her hand, catching the stranger in a strong Force Choke.

    Smirking disdainfully, Lycuneae's gaze fell upon the face of the individual. Disdain changed rapidly to surprise as she recognized the girl, and she hastily released her. “You...you travel with my sister, Lord Eneveh, do you not?” she asked. When only a loud series of coughs answered her, Lycuneae swiftly closed the gap between herself and the young Togruta she had caught. “Your name is Ashara, am I correct?”

    “Y-yes, my Lord,” the Togruta stammered, her coughs quieting as she caught her breath. “Please forgive my intrusion. I...I was sent by my lord to bring you a message from Lady Detasa.”

    “My lady mother? What does she wish?” Lycuneae asked, her tone demanding.

    “She said she wishes for you and my Lord Eneveh to join her for tea at her estate just outside Kaas City. I was told to relay that your companion is also welcome to join you if he wishes,” Ashara replied. “She also said something about a gift she wished to give two of you.”

    “I see,” Lycuneae replied thoughtfully. She did not find it unusual to receive such a message from her mother. Like most Sith who made the planet their home, Lady Detasa had eyes and ears everywhere; her network of spies was carefully chosen and inserted in almost every nook and cranny of Kaas City life, from the bartender in the VIP lounge on the top floor of the Nexus cantina to the dockworkers at the spaceport. Nothing escaped her mother's attention for long, including her own two daughters.

    After a few moments, she nodded. “Very well. Return to Lady Detasa's estate and tell her I will be there shortly. I have one final errand to take care of before I leave the city.” With a hasty bow, Ashara left to deliver this new message, leaving Lycuneae and Pierce alone again.

    “Mind telling me what that was all about?” he asked gruffly.

    “Normally I would say 'yes', but this is a special case,” Lycuneae replied. “My lady mother is a highly respected Sith Lord here on Dromund Kaas. Even time I return to the planet for some reason or other, she always issues me a summons for tea.”

    “A summons, m'lord?”

    “Yes. She apparently feels she does not see me nearly as much as she would like. So her invitations are...rather strongly worded. A mingling of an invitation and a demand of my presence.”

    “Interesting. And I take it refusal is not an option, m'lord?”

    “Would you refuse an invitation extended by a Sith Lord?” she retorted, laughing softly as she saw the Lieutenant shake his head briskly. “I didn't think so. And she does have a point, neither Eneveh nor I seem to find the time to see her as often as we both might like.”

    “Eneveh?”

    “My half-sister,” Lycuneae replied casually. “Just as my father raised me on Ziost, her father raised her on some world on the Outer Rim. At least, he did until they were forced into slavery. Were it not for her affinity for the Force, she might still be a slave.”

    “I see.” Both Pierce and Lycuneae fell silent, neither of them speaking more than necessary through the duration of their next task. It was not a difficult task; a merchant who was a friend of Lady Detasa's had developed a new fragrance he wished to give her. So Lycuneae had stopped by his shop to pick up the elaborately decorated parcel the merchant had placed it in. It was clear he had spent more than a little time wrapping and decorating the small box, and she hoped her mother appreciated the hard work he had put into the gesture. One could never really tell with Lady Detasa.

    Their errand completed, the pair boarded a small shuttle that whisked them to the gates of Lady Detasa's estate in the jungles outside Kaas City. Once Lycuneae had announced her arrival to the gate guards, she and Pierce were quickly led into the estate's spacious receiving room, where her mother would be greeting them. Though the room's décor was far from ornate, Pierce's expression was one of awe; Lycuneae had been correct when theorizing the Lieutenant was more used to camping under the stars on hostile backwater planets than he was the niceties of a Sith Lord's estate.

    Lycuneae inhaled deeply, detecting the faint scent of jade roses. The delicate blossoms were a particular favorite of her mother's, and she had her servants make certain the estate was always full of the plants. Though it was far from the largest estate on the planet, the amount of care and upkeep Lady Detasa put into her home made it the envy of Kaas City. Lycuneae had lost track of just how many people had approached her over the years, begging her to arrange an audience between them and her mother for the most trivial of reasons.

    As the large door before them opened, Lycuneae swiftly dropped to one knee, with Pierce following suit. She bowed her head, keeping her gaze focused on the floor a few feet in front of her until the crimson hem of her mother's robe came into view. Only then did she raise her head to make eye contact with her other.

    “Ceska, dear!” Lady Detasa exclaimed, gesturing for both her and Pierce to rise. “You know you do not need to show such grovelling when here in my home.”

    Her mother opened her arms to pull her eldest daughter in for an embrace. Lycuneae returned the gesture, punctuating it with a kiss on her mother's cheek. “Hello, Mother. It's always a pleasure to see you well.” And her mother did look well. Although the years were beginning to show in the small wrinkles around her eyes and the fine streaks of silver in her hair, Lady Detasa Gammon was every bit as formidable as she had ever been, with a fierce and powerful air about her.

    Lycuneae drew back, focusing her attention on her companion. “Mother, may I present Lieutenant Pierce. A fine fighter and true asset to my crew.” Piece bowed deeply, a gesture Lady Detasa returned with a slight nod. “He comes bearing a gift from the merchant Enrys.” Having been entrusted with the parcel when they had left the shop, Pierce silently presented it to Lady Detasa, who took it from his hands.

    “A gift from Enrys, you say?” She opened the parcel and removed the bottle from it. Holding the tip to her nose, she inhaled deeply, a smile crossing her lips. “What an exquisite fragrance he has developed for me. I shall have to wear it the next time I attend one of my parties. I will be the envy of Kaas City.” She turned, handing the bottle to a young servant who stood beside her. “Take this to my room and set it on my dressing table,” she ordered.

    As Lycuneae's eyes followed the departing servant, she suddenly caught sight of her half-sister. The younger woman stood a few feet behind their mother, hands folded loosely in front of her.“Nice to see you again, Aeryss,” Lycuneae noted her sister's surprise at her using her family name. “It's been, what, five years since we were last in the same room together?” She continued, closing the small gap between them to offer her younger sibling a hug.

    “Seven, actually.” Eneveh's tone was as brief and clipped as ever, though she did return the hug. “Mother tells me Darth Baras has been keeping you quite occupied.”

    “About as much as I've heard Lord Zash has with you,” Lycuneae replied. Before he could say anything further, their mother was at their elbows, gently guiding them toward the door.

    “Girls, girls. Why are you standing in this drafty room visiting with each other?” she asked with a laugh. “Come, our tea is getting cold. And we have a great deal to discuss.”
     
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  17. SabyneAmberle

    SabyneAmberle Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2004
    A bit of a short update, but it's descriptive filler that helps a bit with the scene. :)

    **

    In what seemed the blink of an eye, two hours had passed. The speed at which time seemed to move when she visited her mother often threatened to give Lycuneae a headache. There were so many things she could have been doing in this same stretch of time; she could have been reading reports, preparing strategies and plans for their upcoming missions, furthering her focus and training...

    No. None of that interested her in the least at that moment. After the events of earlier that afternoon, she wished to spend as little time aboard her ship as possible. Maybe that was why she always appreciated her mother's impromptu invitations for tea; they always seemed to show up when she was feeling less than ideal, and they cheered her immensely.

    From their fine parlor table, she cast a glance over at Pierce; immediately she pressed her fingers to her lips to stifle a laugh. Her mother had insisted on extending the hospitality to her companion as well, and a small table had been set out for him with identical settings and foodstuffs. Although Pierce appeared to be enjoying the food and tea, the clashing of the fine linens and tea settings with his dingy armor and large physique was quite amusing. As she watched him, Lycuneae's eyes narrowed thoughtfully as she observed another man joining him; this one had a leaner build and a tattoo covering one side of his face.

    “Your man I assume, Aeryss?” she inquired, blowing gently on her tea to further cool it.

    Her sister nodded. “Andronikos Revel,” she replied. “One of the most infamous pirates in the known galaxy. He seemed so bored just sitting in the ship's cockpit day in and day out, so I thought I would extend him an invitation.”

    Eneveh drained the last of the tea from her cup, the servant at her elbow swiftly refilling it without wasting a single drop. “What about your man, Ceska?” she asked. “Is that the captain I hear you've grown so fond of lately?”

    Lycuneae shook her head. No, and I'll thank you not to remind me of him right now,” she answered brusquely. “Captain Quinn and I are having...difficulties. Ones I would rather not divulge.”

    “Oh?” An eyebrow raised over a chill green eye. “When you say it like that, it almost makes me want to pry. You leave yourself entirely too open, sister.”

    “Now now, girls. There will be time for that shortly,” Lady Detasa interrupted before Lycuneae could reply. “It is time for me to divulge why I summoned you both here. You both may remember Kovraak, that upstart lord who dared try to challenge me.”

    “Yes,” Eneveh replied. “A most disagreeable little man.”

    “I remember too,” Lycuneae added. “Lord Baras had few praises for him, and a whole list of complaints.”

    Lady Detasa nodded. “Yes. Him.” As she spoke, a servant appeared, carrying a small tray with two keycards laying on it. “When my spies uncovered his treachery, I was able to send an assassin to deal with him for good. As the wounded party, once he was dispatched, I laid claim to his wealth and holdings. Among them was a large apartment on the top floor of the finest tower in Kaas City. I wish you girls to share it.”

    Lycuneae shared a shocked glance with Eneveh. “Mother, you...you are far too generous,” she replied, her voice a bit shaky. “This is far more than I could have ever expected.”

    “I know, dear. Use it well, and enjoy.”

    **

    As the speeder glided through the streets of Kaas City, Eneveh finally broke her silence. “So, what do you plan to do about your troubles with your captain?” she asked pointedly. “You can't just wait for him to decide to come around, after all.”

    Lycuneae shrugged. “ I don't really know how to handle this,” she replied. “I've never been in this sort of scenario before.”

    Eneveh widened her eyes in mock-surprise. “Really?” she said, a mischievous purr edging her voice. “In that case, I'll have to help you handle things, won't I?”

    “What do you mean?” Lycuneae regarded her sister suspiciously.

    “Oh, nothing that would cause any real damage,” Eneveh replied sweetly. “You simply have to broaden his horizons a bit. Show him there's more to being a good servant of the Empire than hanging onto the words of your superiors and jumping ship at the first sign of trouble.”

    The speeder slowed to a gradual stop, and the small group exited it. The rain was coming down pretty heavily; only the canopy over their heads was shielding them from getting soaked. They stood silently for several moments as they waited for the lift that would take them up to their new apartment.

    As they waited, Eneveh leaned over her sister's shoulder. “Allow me to assist you in this...slight issue,” she whispered into Lycuneae's ear. “When you're through, he won't think twice about remaining loyal to you, no matter what the cost.”

    Lycuneae nodded. “Lieutenant,” she said. When Pierce stepped before her and bowed slightly, she smiled her superficial, cold smile. “Return to the ship and fetch Captain Quinn. Bring him to this apartment, but do not divulge any further information.”

    “Yes, my lord.” Pierce bowed again. “I'll do as you ask.”

    As he returned to the speeder, Eneveh gently took her sister's hand. “While we wait for them to return,” she said. “Why don't we...prepare you for what is to come?”

    Lycuneae's dubious look returned. “Are you sure it's a good idea?” she asked.

    “Of course I'm sure,” Eneveh replied. “You can't walk around like you just fought every Jedi on Coruscant; you need to dress up a bit.”

    The lift doors opened with a soft ding, and the two girls entered, followed closely by Andronikos. “And above all,” Eneveh whispered. “He must know his place not only in the military hierarchy, but your affections.”

    Lycuneae nodded. “So, where do we start?” she asked.

    “I'll show you,” Eneveh replied. “He won't have a clue what hit him when we're through.”
     
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  18. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Don't know what Eneveh is planning, but it will be very interesting to see. Nice meeting with Lycuneae's family; you can see their personalities coming through -- I get the impression that Eneveh may take after their mother's political skills a bit more? It's neat to see that the two sisters can get along, being scheming young Sith-lings together. ;)