Title: Marriage in the Last Days of the Arkadianate Author: DARTH_MU Timeframe: 1001 BBY to 999 BBY Characters: OC’s. EC Cameos Genre: Drama, Angst, light action and humor? Keywords: Marriage. Sith. Ruusan. Celtic Song Challenge. Summary: OC’s getting married. Everything goes wrong from there. Notes:This is written for as part of the Celtic Song Challenge. Featuring the Song Low Lands of Holland. Around 3900 words. Also as part of OTP Discussion depicting Marriage Traditions. Marriage in the Last Days of the Arkadianate After the tenth hour my parents decided Morkev wasn’t coming. Most of the guests have left the main reception hall. Some of the younger people even left the compound, begging prior engagement elsewhere. The old men and women stayed. No one dared to touch the spiced wine keg. As the sacred moment approached, and nothing happened, I walked to the decorative statue. Tear in my eyes, I started taking off the sacrificed Gordios, as it was my duty as a shamed bride. I heard the door open, and I did not care. Blood from the Gordios filled my hands. I put the sacrifice on the cool granite stone floor. If I could not save myself, I would save my parents from disgrace. I prepared myself. Then someone touched me at the pivotal moment and cursed us all. I turn, ready to kill. It was Morkev. My hands, ready to strike, went limp. He embraced me for an unknown time. By the time I came out of my stupor he had already washed his own hands with the Gordios hands. Gently entwining my hands with his, and together we brought the sacred animal back into the statue’s hands. Only then did Morkev take off his cape, and draped it. At this point tradition demanded that I slap him, completing the ritual of an almost shunned woman, back into the embrace of society. But I can’t. So he did it himself. I put my face on his chest to stop the sobs, fingers touching the palm sized rising bump on his right cheek. Later, when I was able to control myself. We snogged and walked out together. The guests, those who remained, cheered. After that it was a blur. But I must have donned the grey traditional Syned farmer’s uniform and used the ceremonial hoe. Morkev wore a simple farmer’s summer tunic. I think it may have been red originally, but now it’s just a faded beige cloth by my bedside. We planted a tree that night. My parents lit the torches, and we put the seed in the precious soil in the green house. Sometimes in my dreams it’s still there, a lone tree growing in the permafrost. The elders opened a vein near our right hands and and dripped some of our blood into a pot. The mixture was boiled and then splashed on our heads. We smiled at each other through the liquid, it was my last clear memory of my husband. That night, or was it the next morning before the sun rose? My world shattered. All I’m sure is that men in black knocked down the door to the bed chamber, destroyed it utterly. There was a lot of shouting. I try to hold on to Morkev, but stronger hands than mine took him away. I was punched, repeatedly, until I lost consciousness. By the time the doctor revived me sometimes in the afternoon. My husband was gone. There were frequent Earthquakes while I was bedridden. I watched daily light shows from the window. Other than that I don’t remember much. I don’t know how much later, exactly, but one day I finally felt strength in my legs. Shivering, I went to the door. I turned the knob to find it locked from the outside. I struggled with it in vain. I kicked the door and destroyed the wood, only to find a duracrete in my face. Why? Whatever the reason, I wasn’t getting out that way. For a second or two I panicked. Then I remembered the window. It was also blocked, but this time with ordinary wood. A good series of kicks later, I was out of the house. The gale assaulted me, and I almost passed out right then and there. I struggled toward the front of house, and as I hoped, the front door was unlocked. I gave thanks to Lord Calimondra. The house was empty, the fireplace unlit. It was a sunny summer morning, so I dressed in my Gersi coat rather than the Mosen snow coom, grabbed the tool bag, and made a slow progress toward the mine. Only to find the entrances blocked, by sheets of ice. I made the trek toward the back entrance, but if anything it was worse. An avalanche? On both sides? It didn’t make any sense. The mine was a major one, the ores inside was valuable, why didn’t Lord Calimondra do anything? “Daire? Daire Dhu?” I turn toward the voice that called my name. A lone figure, carrying a stick, was rapidly running toward me. I squinted. “Uncle Meesar!” Before I could get another word out, my old supervisor hugged me. “I’m glad to see you on your feet! Little Miss Dhui.” “It’s Mrs. Tem, now, uncle.” I said. Meesar paused for a second, and ruffled my black hair. “What happened to the mine?” I asked Meesar. “A lot happened.” Meesar said. “Your father can explain better than ever could. I got to go and check the green house.” “It’s good to see you. Uncle Meesar. See you around.” I said. “Sure.” When I arrived back home, the house was still empty. It was a bit warmer compared to the morning, but I still needed to start a fire to keep the cold out. I found the flour jar moved. When I opened it and found it empty, I tried to find the millets. I was giving up finding ingredients for a meal when I heard a scream. “Who the krugg are you? What are you doing in our house?” A girl, no older than twelve, brandished a stick at me. “Your house? What are you talking about?” Could I have made a mistake, walking in the snow in my weakened state? I glanced around to make sure, but it’s the Dhui residence. no mistake. The familiar tools, the closet with my initials scratched in the wooden door, the pictures of my grandparents on the fireplace mantle. “Get out!” The girl threatened, walking toward me. “Lor! Get down!” Huh? “She’s coming around.” “Who is she?” “I don’t know.” “Where did you find the blaster?” “We have to get her out of here! We can’t afford another mouth.” “Wait! What’s that? HIDE!” I smelt salt. Groggily I opened my eyes, blinking the unconsciousness away. “Haster?” “As I live and breathe. Daire Dhu. You are alive.” my friend, Haster Zhor, a black coat wrapped around her, helped me sit up. Taking a tiny can from her belt, she slipped noale into my mouth. Energy returned almost instantly. I stood up. “What happened?” “What are you doing here?” Haster asked. “Here, of all places?” “I live here. This is my parents’ house.” “What you are is missing for five months!” Haster almost screamed in my face, “This was your parents’ house, now it’s haunted and condemned.” She wrapped me in a spare shawl she magically conjured out of nowhere. Warmth filled my bones. “What are you talking about?” I asked, “Where’s my parents? Do you know where Morkev is? Tell me!” Before I had a chance to release Haster, we were surrounded. Mostly human kids, a few Twi’leks among the teenagers, an maybe an adult Rodian. “Which one of you shot me?” I raged. “Who are you people?” “Get behind me. Let’s get you out of here.” Haster whispered. In the same moment she activated a lightsaber, the humming accompanied the scarlet beam. I followed her instruction and made for the door. Three or four blasters found themselves scattered among the enemy, all pointed at us. “We are not afraid of you, Sith scum. Kyned is part of the Republic now.” The Rodian said in accented Basic. “Sith and Sith sympathizers parasites are not welcome.” “This is my family house you idiots!” I complained. “No. This house is property of the Republic. No one individual or individual owns this house.” “You krugging squatters!” “Daire.” Haster put a hand on my shoulder and gently pushed me backwards. “There’s no arguing with these people.” She said. “We’ll come back one day. Lord Calimondra will come back. Whoever eat Lord Calimondra’s food better get ready to vomit them out.” “Run, Sith, Run!” The Rodian crowed. Someone shot at us, somehow Haster deflected the energy beam. The green ricochet found itself between the eyes of the girl whom I surprised when I tried to find the millets, a lifetime ago. She went down without a sound. The crowd charged. I was never so glad for the cold of Kyned than that moment. The murderous squatter crowd screamed for our blood as we made across the frozen landscape. A blizzard started. We were almost frostbitten, ice statues when we finally found shelter. “We... We have to head.... head for the constabulary. Has... Haster, call the for reinforcements. Kill them all.” I said. Haster lowered her head, and tended the tiny fire. Eventually she shook, “Daire, this is the constabulary.” I looked at her. “I need to tell you something.” For the next hour or two, Haster explained to me what exactly happened during the time I was down. Someone called Kaan had made war against Lord Calimondra, and he even brought the entire house of Chagras down to her knees and brought the survivors, those who surrendered to him, to a place called Ruusan. Then he got everyone killed, including himself. “That can’t be true.” I said, “How can you be a Sith? We went to school together. You are not Force sensitive! You cried when you told me you failed to get into the academy!” “My mother had a vision. It told her it’s important for her to train me herself instead of sending me to the academy with the rest.” Haster said. As if that explained everything. I shook my head. “If what you are saying is true, how can you be here? Why aren’t you dead at Ruusan? You survived. If Kaan took everyone, then...” “My parents... Tricked me and put me in carbonite, with a decarbonization timer.” Haster said. Then she stabbed me with a metaphorical knife and twisted it. Was his name even Morkev Tem? Was he an honest farmer I knew since childhood? Or a Sith Lord, and I his play thing, a toy he played with when only bored? If one of my friend can be a Sith, why not the other? And if he’s Sith, then why not a Sith Lord? I still refused to believe it. “How can you say such a thing? I asked. “You are lying.” “I thought you would be happy.” Haster said as I shrank from her. “You are married to the Lord Calimondra’s heir.” “I fell in love with the farmer Morkev Tem, not Stum Calimondra, Haster.” I said numbly, and hugged the wall with my back. I never married Stum Calimondra, Haster. I feels nothing for him. I won’t marry any Lord Calimondra. Morkev will return and set things right, take me away.” “You are in shock.” Haster said. “You need to relax.” “You need to get away from me! Is your name even Haster Zhor? Any relations to Lord Vilia herself?” “That’s enough!” A crimson blade suddenly appeared and was centimetres from my neck. I smiled. “Go ahead, my Lord.” “Sleep!” I did. I decided I wasn’t dead. So I woke up. Naturally this time. I opened my eyes. My friend Haster Zhor was lying beside me, asleep, her face turned toward the wall. I sat up and put my feet on the ground. At that point I started remembering. I turned and put my hands around Haster’s neck. I don’t know what stopped me. Maybe I was just hungry. I stood up and discovered that I was on a ship. It turned out to be much smaller than I thought. Little bigger than a one person dormitory room at the Kyned University. Yet it still had a kitchette, so I started making the tea. I found a couple containers of Gorsen eggs in the cold drawer. I barely started with the omelette when someone coughed behind me. I knew that cough anywhere. I put the power on the autocooker to hold heat, and turn. The smile forming on my mouth died stillborn. It was only Haster. “Good morning.” Haster said, “I’m glad you didn’t do it.” “Tea?” I asked. “Please.” We sat down and sipped the hot beverage. Minutes later the omelettes were done. I put them on dishes and brought them to the small table. Haster asked for seconds. Minutes later, we laughed together at one of her jokes, exactly as when we were young girls. For the next twenty minutes then I was back in my dorm again. The insistent beeping awoke me from my reverie. “We’re here.” Haster announced. “Where?” I asked. “Ruusan.” “If there were a farmer called Morkev Tem, he would have been pressed for service under Kaan. If Lord Stum Calimondra survived Kaan’s purge, Kaan would have sent him to Ruusan. Either way, your husband is here, at Ruusan.” “This explains why I would want to be here,” I said, “What about you?” “Same as you, Daire,” Haster said, “I need to find a Lord Calimondra. Stum or his mother. “Damn you, Haster.” I said, and a second later added, “thanks.” “I’m the daughter of cowards and traitors, Daire. I’m just trying to redeem my family name.” She stepped toward the lander. Haster yelled, “Hey you coming?” “I’m right here.” I said, “You don’t have to yell.” “Wasn’t talking to you.” Haster said. “This is Rain.” A young girl, maybe around ten, with blue eyes and lank yellow hair stepped out of the cockpit, stared at me with unmasked enmity and hatred. “Who’s this? A squatter from Syned?” I asked. “Oh, right, well, you were asleep when they found us,” Haster said. “Ten or so Republic scums attacked the constabulatory. Brought a Jedi too. This one is barely Force sensitive, but they brought her along for fodder. I thought she might be useful.” “Useful how?” I asked, “I don’t like this.” “Hey, I don’t like you either.” Rain said. “She’ll do okay, as a Sith under Lord Calimondra, won’t you girl?” “Let me go or you’ll regret it. My Master is coming for me.” “All I know is I’m having a headache,” I said. “Can we leave her on the ship?” Rain and Haster said “Yes” and “No” at the same time, respectively. “You are coming with us.” Haster growled. “I... I’m coming... with you.” Rain said. “Better.” There was barely anything left on the entire planet. No plant, nor animals were anywhere in sight near where we landed. Even so, we were able to find some complete set of bones not yet turned to ash. So very different from historical records from the ship database. I think this is where the Planetary Grape House was relocated. “No. It was on the other side of the canyon.” Rain said. “This is the place where Laa died. Haster and I did a double take. “You have been here before?” I asked. “Of course. By the way, my name is not Rain.” Not Rain fished out a short ceremonial staff of some sort. Haster’s brown eyes bulged. “Where did you get that?” She demanded. “From a set of cold, dead, hands.” A snap hiss later, a crimson snake straightened itself from one end of the staff. The whole tableau looked ridiculous, a ten year old girl holding a deadly lightsaber, but there it was. “You Sith Lord started reproducing while I wasn’t watching?” I asked. “Shut up!” Hastor and Not Rain said in sync. Hastor activated her own weapon. She chose a low guard and circled the battlefield. It started drizzling. Water vapour steamed at the scarlet tips. I wish I could say it ended fast. I wish I could say Haster quickly disarmed the kid and it was over. We had our answer to the fate of the Lords Calimondra. But then I would have lied. I forgot who started the first strike, but the duel started at dawn. That’s the only thing I’m sure of. At some point of the battle I was sure Haster was winning, and if she had just concentrated a bit more, applied a bit more pressure, Not Rain would have been sliced in half. But seconds later Haster’s left hand was gone. Blood flowed, and there were screams as Not Rain’s staff lightsaber was cut in two, but somehow there were two sabers for Not Rain instead of one single blade. Amongst grunts and moans yellow and black stands mixed and flew everywhere, two dancers at the middle in an obscene ballet of death. At some point one of them must have unleashed some kind of energy field, and I was knocked unconscious. I fought the grogginess for sometime before my eyes even considered opening. Then they opened and the rest of my body couldn’t move. So I just panted. I heard a sharp gasp and groan outside of my field of vision, and then total silence. Eventually I rolled myself onto my belly and I crawled. I see three crumpled and ruined lightsabers. I see a manicured left hand. I concentrated and found my feet. I stood up. To my relief there were no bodies. Haster could still be alive. I collected the lightsabers and Haster’s chopped off hand from the ground. Two of them could indeed fit together to make a single whole. I walked toward the lander. It was unlocked. Which was lucky as I had no key and I don’t know the password for the lock. However, it was strange. I run toward the cockpit. Haster was slumped in the copilot’s chair, her head lolling on the console. Her eyes were glassy. I cursed violently every thing I could think of. I had no problem activating the autopilot to fly it back to the ship in orbit. All the time praying for the lander to fly faster. At last I was able to carry Haster into the ship’s medbay equivalent, which was basically a corner with a bacta drip. I fumbled with the needle and put it in the correct vein after the third attempt. Half an hour later, Haster’s eyes cleared. But I knew better than to move her. I let the bacta work, I left her there, alone,in the hands of the deity called Bacta, and went to the cockpit. I set the autopilot to the only place I knew for sure that had a working medical facility. I had to go back to Syned. To beg whoever is in charge of the planet now to save a Sith. After that I sat by Haster, grabbing her cold, right, hand, and waited. Syned control readily allowed me to land the ship. It was the first time I had a chance to look at the exterior of the ship. I realized much later the reason. Haster had stolen a Republic ship when we first escaped the planet. “Help!” I said, carrying an unconscious Haster onto the omnibus to the local medical center near the landing pad. “Can’t this thing go any faster?” The Hutt driving the omnibus rumbled in huttese. “No.” “Krugg! Can’t you see she’s dying?” I said, “Go faster!” “She’s already dead,” More huttese, this time mixed with laughter. “It’s useless, there’s so many wounded Republic soldiers. Beside soldiers and their families, they only treat wedded young women, boy.” An old woman said in the seat behind them. “Only wedded women are treated?” I asked, “What kind of policy is that?” “To encourage marriage, of course, and more babies.” the old woman continued, “boy.” “I’m not a--” I said. “Stop bothering me and let me sleep, boy.” I began to understand. I fished out Haster’s dead lightsaber, cylinder pointed at the Hutt. “Go faster.” The omnibus went faster. When the omnibus stopped inside the insulated garage of the medical center, I got off it, Haster on my back in a fireman’s carry. A few steps later, men in orange armour stopped us. “Republic soldiers and wedded wives are treated first. Other people must take a number and wait for call at home.” A man in orange said. “I know that.” I said, “She’s my wife. We are married.” “Are you?” The man sneered. “Are you sure she’s not your mother?” “What’s going on here?” The men stood at attention. “Lord Farfalla. Sir. This civilian is trying to cut in line for access to the Bacta tanks, sir.” “Hm...” Lord Farfalla, a hirsute man, looked me from head to toe. I shivered. “I see.” “Let the young wounded young woman access to the Bacta tank immediately.” “Right away, sir.” Two orderlies quickly took Haster off my shoulder and she was loaded on a hovering cart, and pushed away down a deep corridor. I started to follow. “Thank you.” “Hold on.” Farfalla gripped me by the shoulder. “I need to talk to you. Follow me.” I followed him into a windowless office. He shut the door. “You are lucky I’m not my father.” Farfalla said, “And you are not a man, are you.” “No. I’m not.” I said, honestly. “Married?” “Yes. I’m Mrs. Tem. The name Morkev Tem mean anything to you?” “Yes, of course. I knew him well, under a different name.” “You knew my husband? He’s dead isn’t he?” I asked. “Yes. Took out two of my father’s best bodyguards, and his left ear. He did not go down easy. My father kept his lightsaber in this drawer. Here.” “Thank you for telling me.” I said, accepting a piece of cylinder, so different from a farmer’s tool. “Of course.” “So, what now?” I asked. “I can suggest a few options.” “Sure.” “One, you can activate the lightsaber in your hand, and try to strike me down. Two, I let you go, you can leave here unmolested, leaving your companion here. Three, I won’t let either you or your companion leave until she’s fully healed. After the full Bacta treatment, I will supply you with a fast ship, and give you a head start, then the full Force of the Farfalla’s Knights will be after you.” “So? Which will it be?” I wanted very much to kill the grinning man. I wanted to abandon Haster. I wanted revenge against the unfairness of the universe. I wanted Morkev’s embrace. “Three.” “I’m not surprised. But a bit disappointed. I was itching for a lightsaber fight. Oh well, soon.” I stood up. “Can I get out of here now? It stinks in this office.” “One last thing. You know she’s a Sith, right?” “That’s what she tells me.” “Huh, and how did you know her?” “She sat behind me in Basics class from grade one. She shared her lunch with me the first time I forgot to bring my lunch bag.” I left the office. The ship Farfalla gave me was fast. Just unarmed. And not fast enough. Five days after we left Syned. They finally found us, All 300 of them. I smiled, taking Haster’s hand in my own, I tipped the mixture over, drenching the both of us. The same instant Haster ignited the thought bomb.