main
side
curve
  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Beyond - Legends Path of Lies (Ilona Malek and other OCs)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Anedon, Jun 12, 2021.

  1. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Title: Path of Lies
    Author: Anedon
    Timeframe: 42 ABY
    Characters: Ilona Malek, Tobin Malek, 'Kat'herina Ricter, E'Liz'abeth Ricter, other OCs
    Genre: Friendship, Adventur, Romance
    Summary: Framed for treason Ilona struggles to adjust to live in prison, while her friends try to ensure her release and come across a dark plot...

    This story is a quasi follow up to Shadow over Curean, but largley stands on its own and can be read independently.

    Thanks to @Adalia-Durron for the beta and support.



    One

    "Your name prisoner?" The woman's voice was cold and devoid of any sympathy.

    "Ilona Malek," Ilona responded, returning the gaze without blinking.

    "Age?"

    "Thirty Six," she responded.

    The woman nodded, disinterested as she typed the information's in the datapad in front of her. Ilona still refused to look aside, not wanting to give away any weakness. Not let her opponent realize how torn up and yes even scared she was.

    How had all of this even happened?

    Relax,
    she told herself. This is a misunderstanding, a mistake, it has to be, in a few hours you are back home again laughing about the whole thing. It was a quiet confidence, the confidence of someone who knew they were innocent.

    "Found you," the guardswoman said, again without any care.

    "A traitor, huh. You´ve sold government information to outsiders?" For the first time Ilona was glad about the woman's utter disinterest in the affair.

    "I'm accused," Ilona said firmly. The woman looked up to her. "I'm accused of selling information. I ask you to not make claims that aren't proven."

    For a moment the woman just stared at her. Then a mocking smile played around her mouth, "you nobles, always acting like you stand above the common people. Don't worry, we'll get that out of you little princess in no time."

    In her squadron Ilona had been called 'princess' by her soldiers, and she had taken the name with humor and even enjoyed being called that. But from the mouth of this woman it was nothing but an insult. The next few minutes the woman kept silently typing into her datapad before she finally stood up again.

    "Okay princess, time to take you to your new palace." Leading the handcuffed Ilona through a dark corridor.

    Ilona thought back to the morning. She and Tobin had stayed in bed a bit longer than they usually did, just enjoying each other company and relaxing. Then after a long and full breakfast with her husband and father she had begun to work on her daily routine, had gone over reports and made a few calls, until the military police had arrived at their residence. Ilona hadn't seen much of this elite detachment of the ORSF since the end of her military career so she had first assumed they were there for her husband, and been worried if his vacation from his duties was suspended for one reason or another. But it had been much worse, instead they had arrested Ilona, on accusations of selling out information to pirates and warlords in the galactic south. To their credit the soldiers had acted very professionally and treated Ilona polite, though that might have been due to the presence of her husband. Even though he had moved from regular duty to become a military instructor Tobin Redan, well now Malek, was still a legend amongst the Eriaduan military.

    The hero and his evil wife, that's how they spin it now.
    Ilona thought bitterly as she was lead through a scanner.

    The guard apparently didn't trusted it and so she proceeded to search Ilona with her hand until finally being convinced that she was truly hiding no weapons. The next room was a shower, cold, empty and filled with dirt amongst the edges. Ilona knew what would follow now and dreaded it.

    "Get out of your silks, princess, time to get yourself clean." The guard commanded as she unlocked Her face burning Ilona took of her dark blue dress, then her underwear. Her heart was racing especially as she noticed the guard was still eyeing her.

    "Nice tattoo," she quipped as she noticed the ORSF tattoo on Ilonas backside. Ilona had been drunk that day, and still regretted having allowed Kat to talk her into getting it in this particular spot...

    Ilona did her best to ignore her, instead she stepped under the shower and wasn't surprised how ice cold it was. The soap was terrible as well, probably rejects from the factory.

    She did her best to get her cleaning done quickly to deny her opponent any more chances to insult her.

    "Good girl, sorry for it not being silken," the guard taunted Ilona as she dressed in her new clothing, standard military underwear and a dark grey jumpsuit with the number 258 on the back of it.

    It didn't fit her and was itching everywhere. Was this what prisoners had to go through every day? Or was she singled out for abuse because of her noble heritage.

    "Where now?" Ilona asked the guard after a moment of silence.

    The woman smiled again and pointed at the room they were in. "See all this dirt, well in contrast to you well born ladies we don't have some poor serves here who clean it for us."

    "You want me to clean the showers?" Ilona asked, biting her lip, she wanted to beat this woman up, wanted to tell her that the Maleks' didn't employ any servants in their home.

    "Yes, actual work. We don't feed you here for free." The guard got even more smug, "I know you probably have no idea how to do that. So we send you someone to teach you."

    Ilona wasn't sure what was worse, being treated like a useless child or being yelled at and called a traitor upon entering the prison. This was utterly insane.

    Calm down, our lawyers will be working to get you out already, in a few hours you will be home.
    She knew her father and Tobin were already doing what they could to get her out. Despite the troubling situation Ilona had been touched by the determination in her father's voice as he had assured her she would be out by dinner. After her mother's death, Ethan had fallen into a state of depression, but in the last months he had gradually recovered. If he kept this promise, no when he kept his promise, Ilona assured herself, they might be able to go to a restaurant tonight, were she could share the story of what happened to her here. Maybe she would even look into getting this guard punished for her actions.

    The door opened and someone entered, another guard, escorting a prisoner carrying some cleaning equipment. Ilona did a double take as she realize who had just entered.

    She hadn't seen him in two years and the time surely hadn't been kind to him, but she still would have recognized Daron Neris everywhere. The young man who, at a celebration at her house had nearly killed Marie with poison and tried to frame Tobin's younger brother Garth for it. Adrian had seen through his schemes though and caused his arrest. The two stared at each other for a moment, then Daron avoided his gaze from Ilona´s burning stare. This was getting worse with every minute.

    "You two know each other it seems," the guardswoman said, still chuckling. "Well guess traitors like to stick together. Now get to work there are several more shower rooms for you to clean before lunch."

    Tonight you will be home again, Ilona once more told herself as she went to work, trying to stay as far away from Daron as possible. She wanted to nothing to do with him, as unlike her he deserved being here.
     
    Adalia-Durron likes this.
  2. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Aussie Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    How has Ilona got herself into such a situation!?!?! Do tell!
     
    Anedon likes this.
  3. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Well that´s the big question, isn´t it? ;)
    Thanks for commenting.


    Two

    Night had already fallen over Curean as Tobin maneuvered his ship down through thick clouds to the improvised landing pad outside of the main settlement. He was tired, beyond tired even, but knew he couldn't allow himself to rest, not here, not with Ilona in prison. He had barely slept at all in the last week.

    First the whole thing had seemed like nothing but a mistake, a misunderstanding that they would have been able to sort out in a few hours. Both he and Ethan had been so confident they would have Ilona out of prison within a day at most. But instead things had only gotten worse, as evidence for Ilona's "crime" had begun to surface. They had found strange payments to their accounts, large sums of money moved there by an unknown source.

    Why haven't we seen this?

    Tobin asked himself, but he knew the answer, for a noble family moving large sums of money wasn't too unusual and this was their vacation, both of them had decided to take a break from work for a few weeks, and so not looked to closely on their finances. And then there where the messages, heavily coded yet clearly send from Ilona´s account to letterbox accounts.

    So far no one had been able to crack the coding but if the police would truly mind military information in them Ilona would be as good as convicted. The chase seemed almost so tight that Tobin himself could have come to doubt his wife. But he knew Ilona, she would never do something like this, she was loyal and dedicated to both her family as well as her world. It was a setup, yet he had to admit a well executed one.

    They waited for him as he landed the ship and climbed out of it. Kat and Liz both looked worried, holding each other's hand as they waited for him. He hadn´t told them too much on the com as he worried whoever was behind all of this could be listening in.

    Kat ran up to him and hugged him.

    "Tobin, what is going on here? Where is Ilona?"

    Tobin knew Kat had once been in love with Ilona and it had made their first interactions rather frosty, but in time they had become close friends, spending many long evening together with Ilona back on Eriadu, and now that Kat was married and lived on Curean the couples would visit each other.

    "She is in prison, they say she betrayed Eriadu." Tobin explained and Kat's eyes widened.

    Liz stepped closer to them as well and placed a hand on her wife's shoulder, "Johannes said she was in trouble but, we hoped it wouldn't be this bad."

    "It might be worse," Tobin said, as always not even making an attempt to talk up a hard truth. "They have found quite a bit of 'evidence' on her datapad."

    "Is Ethan save?" Kat continued her questions.

    "For now yeah, they claim he is an old fool whose evil daughter took advantage of." Being almost completely blind by now Ethan had decided to remain to Eriadu to continue doing what he could in fighting this legal battle alongside their lawyers.

    "Any idea who is behind this?" Liz asked.

    Tobin shook his head, "not yet. I suspect it's a personal thing. The Malek family is not important enough to warrant this kind of conspiracy politically."

    He made a pause as he looked up and saw that the old man was here as well. Johannes Nays looked younger than when Tobin had first met him, shortly after the liberation of Curean from the Duchess, with his beard shaved and his hair shortened he truly looked like a well trained man in his early fifties, only his eyes giving away his true age. The deep wisdom and sadness of a centuries long existence

    "The problem is, Ilona has a tendency to make herself enemies." Johannes said, slowly and Tobin nodded.

    "Yeah, she pushes for reforms, rights to workers, clamping down on corruption. There are many who don't like her, including powerful nobles."

    His own family had been pretty upset at first as well when he and Ilona had finally announced their engagement.

    Kat finally let go of him and took a step back. "What leads you here then? You should have called us to Eriadu so we can help her."

    "Ethan and my sister are doing what they can on that front." Tobin told them. At first he had been afraid Aretha would try to keep the Redan out of this affair, but instead his older sister had offered her aid.

    The Maleks are our allies and house Redan never turns her back on our friends.


    Even Garth had offered his aid, maybe in penance for his drunken actions against Marie Firestone at Ilona's party about eighteen months ago. He had offered to look into the strange holonet messages and figure out if he could trace them to their source. Tobin was glad he was at least trying, where Aretha had been raised her entire life to one day take her duty as head of the family, and he himself had lived with his uncle as a spare for the leadership, Garth had been spoiled to no end by their parents and become one of the greatest embarrassments in the history of house Redan.

    After getting beaten in a fight by an outsider Aretha had even considered banishing him from the family, but finding out he had been set up had lead to her granting her younger brother another chance to prove his value. Tobin had never liked Garth but he felt a certain sense of pity for him and mostly blamed his parents for how he had turned out.

    With his family members doing what they could to help Ilona in her legal battle Tobin had felt useless. He knew little of matters of law and political manipulations, he had been raised by his uncle to utterly despise the intriguing that ruled Eriaduan politics and been a soldier his whole life. That was what he was good at and so he had found little he could do to help Ilona by remaining on Eriadu.

    "The people allegedly sold these information's to" he explained. "They are here, further into the Galactic South. They claim she sold military secrets to the Iron Alliance."

    The Iron Alliance was an Pact of Warlords and Pirates in the Galactic South, who raided from Eriaduan territories to the Anoat Sector, from Mustafar to Polis Massa. Allegedly they had been formed from remnants of the CIS forces to turned to piracy after the end of the Clone Wars, but no one knew for sure. Their leader was only know as the 'Iron Lord (or Lady)' and various beings seemed to have held the mantle in the last few decades.

    Kat spat out "as if Ilona would ever do something like that. They must be insane." She made a pause, then her eyes widened again, "so you want to travel there? Into their Territory to find out who is truly behind this."

    Tobin nodded as if that was the most normal thing in the world.

    "That's the plan, I know it's risky but if it can get Ilona out of jail I'm willing to take whatever risk necessary." Kat just stared at him.

    Then she took a deep breath, "then I'm coming with you. We will probably achieve nothing but a shared grave but if you think it helps Ilona."

    Then she turned to her wife who was just beginning to open her mouth. "You stay here Liz, it's too dangerous."

    Tobin didn't expect what Liz would do as she slapped Kat. "Are you serious? You think I'm some helpless damsel you need to protect? We are in this together."

    "I..." Kat said, one hand clutching her face. "I wanted to spare you from a senseless death."

    "Dying to help a friend is hardly senseless, Ilona came to our aid when the duchess nearly sacrificed us. I will do anything I can to help her now. And I might be of more use than you think..." she let the words hang in the cold night air for a moment.

    Then Johannes stepped closer towards them, "Liz has meet members of the Alliance before, and so did I. My mother, she used to do deals with them, they bought slaves from them to... sacrifice." He lowered his head, "there is someone... Someone who might be able to help us find out what is going on... if she is still alive."
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
    Adalia-Durron likes this.
  4. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Aussie Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    The Plot thickens!!![face_hypnotized][face_nail_biting]:eek:
     
    Anedon likes this.
  5. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    We are just getting started. :)


    Three

    It was almost insane, in the Eriaduan military, in contrast to many other worlds, squads where segregated by gender. To prevent or at least tone down love affairs between soldiers on active duty. Yet here, in the prison it seemed segregating nobles from non nobles was more important.

    We can risk you being lynched,
    a guard had told Ilona with a mocking grin after she had told her with whom she would share a cell. First she had believed it to be a joke, then hoped it was truly just due to uncaring incompetence but by know she wondered if, whoever had set her up had planned this as well. To further torment her.

    "Ilona..." The voice came from above, she had insisted on taking the lower bunk, because she felt it a bit safer than the upper one, but even then she had barely slept the last few nights.

    "Shut it," Ilona said harshly, as she had done before when he had tried to speak to her.

    A part of her just wanted to get up and strangle him to death, to but she knew it would only get her into further trouble and cement her staying in prison once and for all. Maybe even that was part of their plan...

    "Ilona, please..." he tried again, unlike the last few days were he had fallen silent at her refusal.

    "Can't you hear me Daron? I told you to shut it." She crossed her arms in front of her chest glad she at least didn't have to look at him. He was afraid of her, and seemed to have little resistance left.

    He had followed her orders to turn around as she switched from her day to her night clothes without complaining. But now she saw first his legs than the rest of his body as he jumped down from his bunk and looked down to her. Alarmed she instantly sat up and prepared to tackle him to the ground should he try anything.

    "Daron, this is your final warning, leave me..."

    "Ilona!" Daron said and this time his voice was more determined. "I have zero intention to hurt you or even insult you. We can continue to be afraid of one another, or we could finally accept that we are in this together."

    "You are in this," Ilona shot back. "I will be out again soon."

    "You have been set up haven't you?" Daron asked and Ilona almost swallowed her breath. How did he knew?

    "Did you have something to do with that?" She asked standing up as well, staring directly into his eyes.

    Daron chuckled, "me? Ilona, I've spent my days scrubbing restrooms for the past year and a half. I certainly didn't have the time, nor the ambition to plot against you."

    Ilona took a deep breath, though she had to admit he was right with that. "Then how do you know?" Ilona asked after a moment.

    Daron gaze became serious. "You aren't the type of person to betray our homeworld. Tell me, if your father would have asked you to murder someone was part of the political game, would you do it?"

    "No," Ilona said, without even thinking. She idolized her father and would die for him without flinching. But committing a murder? Taking an innocent life? No, even for her dad she wouldn't do that.

    "See," Daron lowered his head. "That's what separates us...." he made a pause. "You and your brother spared my life, even after what I did. Most nobles would have killed me. But you Maleks didn't."

    That was true, Ilona had even convinced the Redan not to have Daron murdered, arguing that in the end he had been nothing but a pawn.

    "You say we are too honest for treason?"

    Daron shrugged. "You wouldn't do it. I'm confident at that."

    His honesty and self deprecation surprised Ilona, and as she looked at him she couldn't help but feel pity rising inside of her. He was younger than her, barely out of his teens, a slim, lanky boy, his once long red hair now cut short and covered with dirt. Taking a deep breath she sat down on her bunk again.

    "Well it is, true," she replied, still unsure how to go further from here.

    She was in prison for a week now, and while she had been able to briefly meet her father two days ago what he had told her didn't help to improve her mood. Whoever had set her up had clearly done their homework. Ethan had also mentioned that Tobin had left Eriadu to pursuit another lead. Ilona wished he had been there, but at the same time she knew that he probably had a plan and she trusted him.

    "Any idea who did it?" Daron asked.

    Ilona shook her head, "that's the big question. I really don't know. We have many enemies."

    "Maybe it's against the Redan, not you in particular." Daron suggested.

    Ilona looked up to him.

    The young man took a deep breath. "You are their vassals, if you want to call it that. What... what I did, it wasn't directed at your family. My... my parents hoped they could seed discord between the Redan and their allies."

    Ilona thought about this for a moment, could it be true? She had always suspected that had been Daron's intent but was it the same now? "So it's against Tobin?"

    Anger rose inside of her and worry for her husbands safety.

    "His whole family I presume," Daron said. "I'm sure the media already presents you as the evil seductress who manipulated the great war hero to do her bidding."

    For a second an image flashed through Ilona's mind. Herself in a slutty outfit standing above Tobin how stared at her like a horny teenager.

    It was so absurd she couldn't help but laugh, "Honestly who would believe that?"

    "The same people who would believe Garth Redan murdered a guest in your house over losing a duel?" Daron asked.

    She looked back up to him, he couldn't have known it but she herself had fallen for that trick, with only Adrian figuring out the truth.

    "Careful you are on thin ice," she said, but the harshness in her voice was gone.

    "That's the thing about prison, you are always on thin ice, eventually you just stop caring." Daron and gave Ilona a look while gesturing next to her.

    Ilona nodded and he sat down.

    "I'm sorry for what I did to you and your guest. It was nothing personal but that doesn't make things better I know."

    "You were a pawn to your family," Ilona said, not letting her guard down completely.

    "Yeah, but is that an excuse?" Daron looked at her serious. "At first I thought it was but I feel it isn't. I did what I did. I ultimately made the decision... Was actually thinking Garth would win the duel, and then I would have poisoned him... might have been easier."

    Ilona allowed herself the fraction of a grin. "I can see that." Then she became serious again, "your family, they cast you out didn't they?"

    Daron nodded, "they did, claim I'm a deranged lunatic who of course acted completely on his own. If I get out of this, in ten years or so, I will be Daron nobody, a penniless orphan."

    Again Ilona couldn't help but feel pity for him. His family had used him and now, as he had failed they had left him in the dirt.

    "How is Marie doing?" Daron suddenly asked.

    Ilona was silent for a moment before she answered. "She is doing well, she and Adrian are married now. They have a little daughter."

    Something like relief appeared on Daron's face, "that's at least something. You know, in here the one thing keeping me alive was the fact that I failed. That my mistakes at least didn't cost a life."

    "I could tell her you are sorry when... if I meet her next time," Ilona offered.

    "That would be nice," Daron said, truly looking thankful. "You know, if there is anything I could do to get you out of here, to prove your innocence. I would do it." He said sincerely.

    "I will keep it in mind," Ilona said. "But currently I see little what we can do from here." Then she felt compelled to add, "you changed Daron. As hard as it sounds, I think prison was good for you."

    He gave her a sad smile, "I wish it hadn't come to this, but maybe you are right."

    He stood up and began to climb back to his own bunk. But on the ladder he turned around to her again, "you know, this was the first real conversation I had since my arrest. Thanks."

    "Guess that´s what cellmates are for," Ilona said before turning around.

    Soon she was fast asleep, for the first time in seven days...
     
  6. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Aussie Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Excellent - they have found even ground.
     
    Anedon likes this.
  7. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    To some extend for sure, yeah. ;)



    Four

    "So you knew her this whole time?" Kat asked Johannes, her voice was cold.

    For the last year they had searched for this woman, so they could bring her to justice, and now Johannes claimed he knew her.

    "Knowing might be the wrong word. I used to know her in the past, but that was decades ago. To be honest I believed the Xora you where searching was a different being. I thought the one I knew had passed away decades ago, or was at best a very old woman by know. I didn´t think of Falleen being able to..."

    "Live considerably longer than regular humans?" Tobin threw in.

    Johannes nodded slowly. They had returned to the tavern and now sat together at a table, discussing how to continue from here.

    "Yes, you must keep in mind that I spend almost sixty years in isolation, still only ageing half as fast as normal beings, I thought most people I knew where long dead..." he let out a sigh.

    There was another reason, one he was hesitant to talk about. But these three humans where his friends, and he knew he should be honest with them.

    "The other reason I didn´t mention knowing her is, that, in a way, I owe her something."

    Liz looked at him questioning. "You owe her? What did a person like that ever do to you?"

    "She showed me the truth about my mother," he took a deep breath and began to tell them about an evening, almost sixty years ago...

    "I must say, for someone who is over a hundred years old, you are pretty agile in bed," Xora said as she playfully run a finger down Johannes´s muscular chest.

    "Well, you weren't too bad either. But I guess a pirate queen like yourself has a boy on every world." Johannes responded as he playfully tickled her taught stomach.

    Xora giggled, "a boy, or a girl, sometimes both. Depends on the planet. And pirate queen? Not yet my friend, not yet. But don't act so prudish, I assume you had plenty of lovers before in your life as well, didn't you?" "

    Can't deny that," the human admitted.

    Being a well trained eternal twenty-five year old certainly had its advantages. Though in the last few decades his interest in romance and sex had begun to fade somewhat and he had been less and less inclined to take the occasional lover. But Xora, the confident and attractive pirate captain had enamored him, and so they had flirted over dinner, to that point that even his mother, who had clearly noticed the sparks flying between them had excused herself to leave them their privacy. Dorothea Nays had never directly interfered in her son's love live, but her sometimes overbearing nature had made it impossible for Johannes to get into an actually longer lasting relationship.

    "You are an interesting man Johannes Nays that´s for sure," Xora told him after a moment as she let her eyes wander through his room.

    The stone floor was littered with carpets, some made from the fur of creatures he and his mother had hunted. A collection of swords was mounted above the fireplace, all of them showing clear signs of regular use. As did the hundreds of books in their shelves that covered two entire walls of the large room. To the left side a open door lead to a stone balcony and allowed a look outside into the mild summer night.

    Johannes chuckled, "am I? A hundred year old momma's boy who never once in his life left this world?" He said with a twinkle,
    "You are the one who lives and travels out there. Who has an exciting life and probably thousands of stories to tell."

    "Some stories for sure," Xora responded with a coy grin. "Could tell you some, or maybe if your mother allows it take you with us on my ship. The Demeter always could use an addition to our crew like you."

    Going with her, leaving Curean. There was a part of Johannes that desired nothing more than that, to go out there and have his own adventures instead of just being told of them by his mother and the occasional traveler. To see the galaxy and to set foot on the worlds his mother had told him about. But could he even do that? Dorothea Nays had become a more and more possessive protector of her son as years had passed. Now hawkishly watching over his every steps it seemed. Would she even let him go?

    Johannes would tell himself that she would, of course, he was her son and she loved him more than anything else in the galaxy, she wouldn't deny him his happiness. But in his heart he knew that his mothers "love" had been transformed more and more into obsession as time had gone on.

    Now he sometimes felt more as if he was just an object to her, a treasure she owned, not a son. Xora placed her hand on his chest again, "but if I take you into my crew, you need to be honest with me. No secrets."

    Johannes raised an eyebrow, "okay... I promise"

    Xora smiled as she turned to her bag that she had left next to the bed.

    She pulled out a small comlink and handed it to him. "With this we can keep in contact, without your mother listening in on us. But now, let me know, how did you and your mom become immortal? What is your big secret?"

    Johannes had suspected she would sooner or later ask this, and worried if his answer could disappoint her. "It's a Force ritual, every one to three months she and her maids head into the mountains to an old ritual side to burn a wicker man. She told me that Curean has a special connection to the Force, that can prolong the lives of the people living here. But don't ask me for any specifics, whatever ritual she is performing, I sadly can't do it. Only very few Force users could."

    He had been present at a few of his mothers rituals but had felt nothing in the force as they had burned the wicker man. He sadly didn't seem to have been born for it, so he had left it to his mother.

    Xora looked a bit disappointed, "a shame, that secret could have made me the richest pirate this galaxy ever saw. Will admit I first believed she was sacrificing the slaves we sell to her to achieve it."

    Johannes nearly swallowed his breath, he surely had misunderstood her, she didn't just say his mother bought slaves? No that was laughable, couldn't be true.

    "Sorry, I. Did you said slaves?"

    Xora looked at him, confused "yes. The people I handed over to your mother earlier today..."

    Instinctively Johannes moved away from her and felt disgust, had he just slept with a slaver? That couldn't be true. "But.. there are no slaves on Curean, I would have seen them, noticed slavery."

    Of course, that had to be the answer, maybe his mother bought the slaves to free them and let them live as citizens of Curean. Yeah that must have been it.

    "But this has been going on for years now." Xora said, "you must have noticed it. Every month you mother buys a slave or two. How could you have not seen that."

    Every month... no, this wasn't true, this could not be true. His mother had told him they just bought essential bits of technology and the occasional luxury items from people like Xora. And yet... what she had said. Sacrifice, the word hung in his mind. Usually shortly after the traders arrived his mother would perform one of her rituals.... Could this be true? His hearth began to race. All the cryptic statements of his mother, the rituals, and other things he had noticed? Was this the answer?

    He stood up and grabbed his morning robe. He needed answers, now. Without spending another though on Xora he left his room and ignored her calling after him.

    As he entered his mothers study Dorothea Nays looked up to him with a smile, "did you have a nice evening with the girl? I'm sure she will visit us more often from now on."

    Johannes voice was cold as he responded. "Mother, we need to talk."


    -------------

    "So she was the one who made you realize the truth?" Kat asked.

    Again Johannes nodded slowly. The talk with his mother had turned into a fight and he had left the town that day, never looking back for sixty years, until one day Ilona had stumbled into his hut.

    "At least that's what I suspect," Johannes said, slowly. "I might have found out about it before, wouldn't put it past my mother to use her Force skills to 'correct' memories I might have had. But yes, it's to her I was able to break out of the gilded cage I had been living in for over a century by that point. In a way I always felt thankful for that. I don't know if she even still remembers me. But... "

    He pulled out the little comlink Xora had given him all those years ago. He had kept it with him, almost as a reminder of that evening, for all those years.

    Tobin took another sip from his cup of wine. "Do you think she would even react if you contact her?"

    "Honestly, I'm not sure. I never used it. But if she does, we might be able to find her and figure out what is going on."
     
  8. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Aussie Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    I really don't like her..............she's crappy..... [face_plain]
     
    Anedon likes this.
  9. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    She most certianly is.


    Five

    Why, in my age I can't have my well deserved rest but instead have to suffer through so many troubles? This and similar dark thoughts echoed through Ethan's mind as he went over another piece of the 'evidence' against Ilona. His eyesight continued to worsen but for now he was still able to read if he wore his visual aid.

    The document consisted of nothing too incriminating, though to an outsider Ilona's travels to Coruscant and Dathomir, as well as the money she had invested in charities all over the galaxy would look suspicious, especially as many of the charities where for controversial matters such the sake of orphans caused by the Confederation during the Second Galactic Civil War.

    Ethan had contacted Alec about them and the Author had already begun to compile documents to prove the full legality of each of these charities. And with Ilona's own brother living on Dathomir this piece of 'evidence' would soon fall apart.

    "It doesn't make any sense," he muttered, more to himself than to anyone else.

    "I'm sorry?" Garth Redan turned towards him, the scar Marie left on his face shimmering in the dimmed lights.

    Ethan had never known much about the youngest Redan son, at least not beyond the incident he had caused over a year ago at Ilona's party. And while the incident hadn't really been his fault Ethan hadn't been particularly keen on seeing the young man ever again, but now he had offered his help.

    "This entire case," Ethan explained. "Basically everything is based on Ilona having received some cryptic messages and payments, but I don´t see a single thing she actually did that could hold in any court."

    If it had been a different crime Ilona might have even been arrested at all as the evidence was so weak, but the selling of military secrets allowed for a harsher treatment of subjects.

    "Pretty much the same from what I can see," Garth agreed, running a hand through his dark hair, while studying a datapad.

    "Unless there is something in those coded messages. When Ilona goes in front of the jury in a few weeks it will fall apart." It relieved Ethan that his daughter didn't seem in any direct danger of a conviction, but at the same time the thought of her having to stay in prison for several more weeks until the process could finally begin worried him.

    What is happening to my little girl in there?


    When he had visited her Ilona had seemed tired and confused, but confident and not afraid. But had that been the truth? Or had she just put on a front as to not worry her father too much.

    "Do you think there is an option of getting her out earlier?" He asked Garth for the probably thousands time.

    The young man gave him an excusing look, "I don't know. Maybe, but as long as no one knows what's in those messages I think there is too much suspicion. You know military laws and such." Ethan nodded slowly.

    Garth turned to him, "my family has some connections into the prison, we will make sure Ilona isn't abused. She will be safe."

    Ethan gave him a thankful nod. "Thank you, I appreciate it."

    "One way to get her out would be to find whoever is behind this," Garth continued. "Ilona had enemies didn't she?"

    "Sure, just as every noble has," Ethan replied.

    "Given how badly this is set up, I'm not sure if the culprit is another noble, or at least not a high one. If we assume that these mails are nothing but gibberish, I would say the whole thing is closer to a cruel prank than a plot to destroy her." He gave Ethan and knowing glance who instantly understood whom he meant.

    "No," Ethan said firmly. "I know what you are thinking but no. Ulrika would not do something like that."

    "But... didn't she and Ilona play some nasty pranks against one another for years." They had and Ethan remembered quite a bit of it. It had started as an immature rivalry but in time turned into something different, a abstract relationship where both women both hated and respected each other at the same time.

    "No, Ulrika wouldn't do this," Ethan said firmly again.

    Yes Ulrika was reckless and had a foul tongue but at the same time...

    "She cost my brother his eye." Garth reminded him. "That was an accident," Ethan said. Tobin himself bore Ulrika no ill will for it.

    "If so, why did she never apologize?" Garth voice got serious. "Ethan, this woman nearly started a war five years ago. Do you really think she would be afraid to try and blame a crime on Ilona for a laugh or some satisfaction?"

    Ethan was still unsure, but maybe, could it be true? Could Ulrika have gone this far? She was reckless, careless even, and she often sought to one up or humiliate Ilona one way or another. He had to look into this, find out what he could. But he needed to do this himself.

    "I... I still don't believe she would do it." he said slowly. "But who knows for sure? I certainly don't. I will ask Ilona what she thinks when I see her again tomorrow."

    Garth nodded, "okay. Then we could for now continue to make sense of these codes. It took them hours and hours of staring at the coded messages, trying out different ciphers they knew or found on the holonet but came to no result.

    Even the codes of the old Rebellion and Empire that Ethan provided brought no result. Eventually Garth had excused himself and left leaving Ethan alone with his thoughts.

    Could Garth's theory truly be true? Could Ulrika have gone this far? Ethan couldn't believe it, but he needed to be sure. So with a sigh he opened his comlink, "Miss Grau, we need to talk."
     
    Adalia-Durron likes this.
  10. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Aussie Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Let's hear the talk!
     
    Anedon likes this.
  11. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Well here we go... ;)


    Six

    Ulrika had been here before, years ago when she had snuck in here to leave a nasty surprise for Ilona in her wardrobe. It had cost her the salary of a good three months to bribe the janitor to get in but the sight of Ilona scratching herself everywhere in her itching dress uniform had been worth the work put into it, as had been Ilona's revenge, as nasty as it had been. But those days where long behind them, and today she was here at the Malek Penthouse on an invitation. During their prank war there had been an unspoken agreement between her and Ilona to leave their families out of it and so Ulrika never had interacted with Ethan Malek on a personal level beyond the occasional meeting on noble banquets and parties. That he was calling for her now told her that this was serious. When she had first heard of Ilona's arrest she had been amused by the thought by the thought of her stuck up rival having to scrub dirty showers and live of bread and water for a while, but in the same moment she had also known that Ilona was innocent of this crime. She asked herself how anyone could believe that Ilona could even do such a thing. That woman is too straight laced, her being a traitor would make everyone else insane. As the door to the apartment opened the old man waited for her.

    "Miss Grau, I'm glad you could come."

    "Just call me Ulrika," she said.

    "I've spent enough time with your daughter that we can skip those formalities."

    Ethan looked at her, the clouds in his eyes unable to hide the sharpness behind them. "Then call me Ethan as well and we won't have any secrets in front of one another."

    Ulrika nodded, she would never admit it, but as a young girl she had once admired Ethan Malek and in some ways still did, for his honesty and willingness to stand up to those in power, a trait his daughter seemed to utterly lack. The two entered the small kitchen where a steaming cup of tea awaited Ulrika. Under different circumstances she would have expected something nasty in it but she knew this wasn´t the time for that.

    So she sat down and took a sip. "Why did you call me here?"

    Ethan looked at her seriously, "I think you already know, don't you?"

    Ulrika raised an eyebrow, "you think I have something to do with this?"

    "Tell me," the old man's voice was called.

    Ulrika allowed herself a smile. "Ethan, if I wanted to imprison your daughter I would lock her inside a locker of the ORSF base." Ilona had done that to her once, in revenge for the itchy dress uniform. But then Ulrika became serious again. "But I would also make sure someone lets her out in time. I have nothing to do with this."

    For quite a while Ethan said nothing while his eyes mustered her carefully. "I believe you."

    Ulrika gave him a thankful nod.

    "You can leave now," Ethan said, his voice softer now. "I know what I need to, thanks for coming here this late in the day. I'm sure Ilona will appreciate it once she is free again."

    Again Ulrika raised an eyebrow, "What? Are you not trying to convince me to help you get Ilona out of prison?"

    For a second she swore she could have seen the tiniest hint of a smile on the old man's face. "I feel I would waste my time with that. I'm sure even if you are not behind it you probably can't help to feel a malicious joy at this."

    Ulrika would never admit it, but these words did hit her harder than she would have ever admitted. Especially as they were at least partially true. "I..." she lowered her head. "You are right, well at least partially. That was indeed my first reaction to this. But... that cute butt is mine to kick. If I can do anything to get Ilona out of prison, I will do it."

    As she looked up again she saw a smile on Ethan's face. He tried to goad you into this the entire time. "You never seriously suspected I was behind this didn't you?"

    Now it was for Ethan to playfully raise an eyebrow. "Well, Ulrika I have to admit that for a brief moment I did. But once you instantly agreed to meet me here my last doubts where silenced." His voice turned serious again. "I am glad you are here and willing to help."

    "How is Ilona?" Ulrika asked quietly after a moment.

    "Not doing too well I fear, she tries to hide it but I think she is mistreated in prison," Ethan replied.

    Ulrika was herself surprised how upset she felt at that. Ilona was her rival, why did these news cause this reaction inside her?

    "Any leads so far?" She asked to distract herself.

    "Several," the old man said. "Tobin and Kat are looking into the pirates Ilona allegedly sold information's to. But there is something we can do on Eriadu as well."

    Ulrika wasn't surprised Kat had come to Ilona's aid as well. Those two really stick together. She gestured Ethan to go on.

    "Ilona's brother in law has been quite heavily pushing you as a prime suspect today," he continued.

    Ulrika knew Garth Redan and to her he embodied everything wrong with the Eriaduan nobility. "That little schutta. How dumb can you be?"

    "I think there is more to it, or at least there might," Ethan said.

    "You think he has something to do with it?" Ulrika continued.

    "I fear he might have, he claimed his family has contacts in prison who would make sure to look after Ilona. And yet she seems to suffer."

    "Could it go even further? Other members of his family, maybe even Tobin?"

    "I trust Tobin with my life," Ethan said giving Ulrika a stern look. "But who knows with the rest of his family."

    Ulrika nodded slowly, another thing she would never admit but she did feel guilt over what had happened that day in the summer camp. It had been an accident, but she felt she should have at least apologized for it. But that would have been a sign of weakness.

    "What do you want me to do?" She asked Ethan.

    "Keep an eye on Garth, as well as Ilona if you can find out more. I will tell him tomorrow that my suspicions against you have grown, playing along to see how he reacts."

    Ulrika thought about this for a moment, "okay. I know at least one of my old squad mates now works in the prison. I will contact her once I can to make sure Ilona is save."

    "Can you do now?" Ethan asked her and she felt the urgency in his voice. The urgency of a worried father.

    "Okay," Ulrika nodded slowly as she pulled out her comlink.

    "Ulrika, been ages since I last heard from you," the hologram said.

    "Ana, good to see you are okay," Ulrika replied. Ana had been one of her best pilots but a few years after the Vong War she had taken a critical injury and been deemed unfit for future service. Ulrika had helped her get a new position in the prison security. "There is something you could do for me."

    "A favor for you, boss? Just like in the old times I guess. What do you need."

    "There is a prisoner I need a few information's on, Ilona Malek."

    "Still in that rivalry with her?" Ana asked with a scolding grin.

    Ulrika threw a quick glance at Ethan, who gave her a nod.

    Best not giving away the fact that I´m honestly worried about her. She trusted Ana but she couldn´t be sure who was listening in on the conversation.

    "Yeah," Ulrika said, returning the grin. "How is she doing? Enjoying her work?"

    "Haven't seen her myself but some of my colleagues said she isn´t very cooperative. Kind of a troublemaker. Wait I'll look a bit deeper if there are any recordings. I... that's strange..." She stopped for a moment, while Ulrika and Ethan exchanged a glance. "I just read that Ilona is to be transferred just in half an hour a transport is moving."

    Ulrika froze, and jumped up. "Where is it going?" Any pretense was gone now.

    "I... I'm not sure it's just listed as Base 23, no idea where that's located. She isn't the only one though, there have been regular transfers to it in the last years."

    So maybe just a different facility? Still this was more than suspicious.

    "Have to quit, my superiors is coming," Ana said hastily. "See ya later boss." With that the connection was severed.

    Ulrika looked at Ethan, "what shall I do."

    She saw determination in the old man´s face. "Whatever you can."
     
    Adalia-Durron likes this.
  12. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Aussie Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    You know I never really suspected her.
     
  13. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Of course not. Despite all her bluster, Ulrika has a softer heart than she lets on-


    Seven

    "Any idea where we are going?" Daron asked Ilona as they sat in military shuttle.

    "No, nothing of this seems to make sense," Ilona whispered back to him. This was the eighth time he had asked her this since they had been forced to leave their cell and Ilona heard the fear in his voice.

    Both of them had been awoken during the night, and brought to the hangar of the prison. They hadn't even been given the time to change out of their sleepwear. Now both shivered in their light clothing, their bare feet on the cold metal floor of the shuttle.

    Ilona had demanded to know where they were going but all that had gotten her was a fist into the stomach and a cold order to keep her mouth shut. There was a part of her that still hoped this whole thing was organized by her friends, that they would get her out of prison. But then, why would they have brought Daron along? Ilona hadn't even told Ethan that he was her cellmate, as to not worry her father even more than he already was.

    She was glad he was here, that she wasn't alone or with someone she didn't know. If they hadn't been cuffed to their seats Ilona might have even placed a hand on the young man's shoulder to calm him down.

    "If they wanted to kill us they would have already done that," she reminded him.

    Daron raised an eyebrow and she felt how he tried to sound brave. "Guess that's something. Maybe this new prison will be a better place?"

    "Wherever it even is," Ilona replied. "I never heard that Eriadu has more than this one major prison. Sure every city has their own, as do the colonies but why move us out of the central one? Especially as my process hasn't even begun yet."

    It had already been strange that she, as someone accused of a crime, had been put in a cell with a convicted criminal but she had chalked that up to the desire to keep noble prisoners away from the others. But maybe there was more to it. Maybe it even wasn't a coincidence that she had been placed in a cell with Daron of all people. Again the thought returned to her mind. Garth had a reason to see both her and Daron suffer. But at the same time... Ilona had never caused him further trouble after they had found out Daron had been behind the attack on Marie, and now her father had told her that Garth was even helping them getting her out of prison. It seemed illogical to her that he had anything to do with this. Besides he didn't seem to have the smarts for it.

    "I think we are leaving the planet," Daron suddenly said.

    Ilona looked at him, then she felt it herself. The sounds of the air brushing against the shuttle had dissipated, leaving only the endless silence of the void to fill their ears.

    "What the..." Ilona muttered. This didn't make any sense. Why should they be moved from the planet. She began to shiver. Something was wrong here. Completely and utterly wrong.

    A guard entered the small cabin she and Daron were seated in, wearing a full pilot suit and a helmet hiding her identity.

    "What is going on here? I demand to know where we are going." Ilona said, trying her best to keep her voice from cracking.

    "You are demanding it?" The guard said, Ilona recognized the voice.

    "You? Honestly if this is some dumb prank then let me tell you it's not funny at all!" This couldn't be true, not even Ulrika would sink this low.

    "No," said Ulrika as she pulled of her helmet and lowered her voice. "And the two of you are in even greater danger than you might think." The usual mockery was gone from her voice, replaced with a serious determination.

    "What is going on here?" Daron asked.

    "You are to be handed away, not sure to whom but you are leaving the care of the Eriaduan State tonight," Ulrika said. She quickly explained to them what she had learned from her contacts in prison.

    "There is no Base 23," she concluded. "And every prisoner moved there in the last few years has never been seen again. Their prison records claiming they either died in prison or where released, but those are fake."

    "I..." Ilona couldn't believe it. "And why are you here?" She instead asked.

    Ulrika rolled her eyes, "to get you out of here. To ensure I stay the one who kicks your cute little butt."

    Ilona raised an eyebrow, despite the situation, her fear was mostly gone now and so she looked up at her rival. "Ulrika Grau helping me. That I'm allowed to witness that."

    Ulrika let out an annoyed grunt, "honestly I'm already halfway regretting it again. Maybe I should just leave you here." But then she begun working on Ilona's handcuffs.

    "Thank you Ulrika," Ilona said quietly. "It's good to see you have a good heart after all." She remembered how she had disparaged Ulrika when talking to Adalia. Now it made her feel guilty about being so harsh.

    "Don't take this as a sign that I like you," Ulrika muttered bitterly. "Wish I had a key for those, but everything had to go fast." Using her contacts to the prison she had been able to take the place of one of the guards assigned to this trip, but everything had to go so fast she hadn´t been able to take care of everything.

    "What is your plan?" Ilona wanted to know as her right hand was free.

    "We grab some weapons, overpower the guards," Ulrika explained as she began to work her lock picking skills at Ilona's left handcuff. "Lock them into the escape pod and eject it. Then switch the ship as soon as possible. My family has a holiday mansion on one of the Eriaduan colonies, you can hide there until we sorted this out."

    It was risky, possibly even to be considered treason, Ilona knew. But the events of this night made it clear that whatever was happening around them, had already crossed dozens of laws.

    "Do we take him with us as well?" Ulrika pointed at Daron.

    Ilona thought about this for a moment. They could simply leave Daron behind with the guards in the escape pod. But what would they do to him? No, he was in this with her, for better or worse. So she gave him a look.

    "I rather take my chances with you, especially if it's true that we are supposed to be handed over to gods know who." Daron said firmly. "Besides, got nothing to lose anyway."

    Ulrika finished unlocking Ilona's second handcuff and turned to Darons. "Well then hold still handsome, while I get you out of that."

    But just as she began the door opened and two more guards entered, their blasters pointed at Ulrika. She was too late and a blue stun blot hit her right in chest as she spun around and she broke down at Ilona's feet.

    "Hands up prisoner!" The guards commanded and Ilona had no choice but to comply. Her heart was racing.

    "I told you she was fake." One of the guards said as she slapped a fresh pair of handcuffs on Ilona's wrists.

    "But she had the ID and everything?" The other guard, wondered why she checked Daron's restrains.

    "Must have faked them, will find that out soon enough."

    "What do we do with her, from what she said she is a noble?"

    "We hand her over to the client as well, one less problematic witness and more cash for us."

    "I like how that sounds," the female guard seated the still stunned Ulrika next to llona and cuffed her hands as well. Then she turned to the prisoners. "Don't worry, it's only a short trip, and then you never have to see any of us ever again."

    "Where are you bringing us?" Ilona asked, her anger spilling over into her voice.

    The male guard shrugged, "I don't know where exactly you will go. But those we've sent there before, they like it, they never come back."
     
  14. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Eight

    "Johannes, darling, so it is true," A grin appeared on Xora's face as she looked at him. Placing an arm around his shoulders she gave him a kiss on the cheek. "You've grown old, haven't you?" Johannes tried his best not to push her away, but instead play along with her game, at least for now. The Force told him that the pirate captain wasn't half as relaxed and self confident than she appeared, that, in truth she was quite nervous about his return.

    "Well you are looking good," he replied, getting out of her hug. In contrast to him the Falleen seemed to have barely aged at all in the sixty years since they had last met.

    "Old charmer," she placed a hand on his chest. Her confidence was growing a bit. "Did you finally escape from your mother."

    Rage flared up in Johannes at the mention of his mom. "I heard you and her had quite a bit of contact, did she never mention anything?" He asked raising an eyebrow.

    For the first time Xora's confidence seemed to crack. So she gave him a shrug. "She said you left, that you need some alone time. But she was always confident you would return."

    For a moment Johannes asked himself if his mother had truly ever seen him as nothing more than a teenager on a temper tantrum.

    "My mother is dead," he then said, quietly.

    They had long gone back and forth on coming here, discussing the risks as well as opportunities. But in the end they had decided that it was worth the risk if it could help them save Ilona. So they had left Curean on an old freighter and traveled here to Xenon VI a small backwater at the edge of the territory controlled by the iron alliance to met Xora. Johannes had used the comlink she had given him so long ago to arrange this. Hinting a willingness to share the information with him she had been interested back then.

    Xora looked up to him, "did... did you kill her?"

    Johannes shook his head. "I didn't, those strangers you've brought did the deed."

    The Falleen let out a sigh, "well, sorry for that. Cost me quite a bit to have lost her, she was a good customer."

    It cost Johannes nearly his entire self control not to strangle her for these words alone. Instead he tried his best to form a pained smile. "I heard as much."

    "And now you are seeking what? Revenge?" A grin appeared on Xoras face and in the Force Johannes felt that she knew something, that she now felt as if she had an ace up her sleeve. Her worries and reservations had been torn away and instead a desire ruled her.

    Unsure how to proceed he decided to play along, at least for now. "That's what we came here for, yes." He turned around and gestured to the other three.

    Both Liz and Kat wore the leather hunting outfits that his mothers maids had worn when they accompanied them into the wilderness. While Tobin wore a pilots jacket and pants. They had also dyed Kat's hair and applied a few further disguises to prevent Xora from recognizing her, at least at a distance. First they had considered leaving her behind but she had insisted on accompanying them.

    Xora allowed herself a devious smile. "Well, just being curious but with how many of them have you bedded lately? You can't tell me I was the last person you ever had."

    That was actually absolutely true but he knew she wouldn't believe it. "Well, I've never been a guy just into one kind..." he said, trying his best to shudder in disgust at the thought alone.

    "Johannes, Johannes still a naughty boy..." the Falleen chuckled, but then she became serious again. "So did you figure it out? How your mother did it?"

    Johannes nodded, "I do, and I have scrolls to prove it.... She uses human sacrifices." He pulled them from his bag, having found them a few months ago in his mothers tower, unsure how to deal with them. His first instinct had been to burn them, but at the same time the thought of the potential in them had been too strong to make such a decision lightly.

    "So it is true, and you know how to do it?" Again she placed an arm around him, while her eyes began scanning over the old scroll. The naked greed radiating from her mind so strong that Johannes assumed even a non force user could feel it. "My dear Johannes, with that knowledge we can become the richest people in the galaxy. This... this is a power which will turn even the most powerful into our tools. Every Governor from here to Bastion, would kill to gain what we could offer, queens and emperors fall to their knees in front of us. The galaxy would be ours."

    Johannes own mother had abused the knowledge on these scrolls for almost two hundred years, her actions where terrible and inexcusable. But she had done what she had done for love, to keep her son and her people save and happy. She had been a woman twisted by great tragedy corrupted by power. And for what she had once been Johannes still loved her, felt sad for the woman she had been.

    But now as he looked at Xora there was nothing of this, she wanted this for herself, for power. Where his mother had been corrupted over time, Xora was already worse and Johannes shivered at the thought of her having such power at her disposal. Clenching one of his hands to a fist he prepared himself, it was time to end this farce.

    Xora took a step back, "and the best thing is. I can get you, your vengeance. Well at least half of it. One of the girls who killed your mother, she is on her way here, in chains, about to be put in my loving care... or shall I say ours?"
     
    Adalia-Durron likes this.
  15. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Nine

    "Have you found out anything regarding Ulrika?" Garth asked Ethan the next morning.

    The old man looked up to him, "she didn't do it, but I suspect you already knew that."

    Garth turned towards him, "I merely suspected her, but with Ilona having disappeared from prison it's clear that whoever is behind this must have considerable more power than Ulrika Grau. And to be entirely honest probably more guts than she has."

    "Have you found out where Ilona was brought?" Ethan asked, his voice giving away his worries. Ulrika had smuggled herself into prison, posing as a guard to find out what was happening but since then Ethan had heard nothing of her anymore. Something must have happened.

    "I did," Garth said and his voice become hollow, all emotion had left it. "Ilona was hardly the first person this happened to. The Quintad, our dear government, they have been doing this for years."

    "They did what?" Ethan asked, surprised.

    "Handing over prisoners as slaves..." Garth said quietly and Ethan heard the disgust in his voice. "Mostly it murderers, serial killers, rapists you know? People who would normally get the death penalty anyway, but on occasion they also hand over other prisoners. People they don´t like, disgraced political rivals."

    The words kept hammering into Ethan´s mind, slavery, political rivals. He remembered that during the imperial occupation the governments of many had occasionally handed over criminals as alleged 'rebels' to spare their own population but this seemed to be different. "Handed over to whom?" he asked.

    "To the Iron Alliance," Garth continued in his monotone voice. "And it's not just prisoners, its weapons, money, information and other favors. All to keep the Eriaduan shipping going in the Sectors." He chuckled to himself. "Oh did you think the ORSF protects our traders? They are far too few to secure that large a region of space. Besides for our higher ups bribing the pirates is far easier and cheaper than actually fighting them."

    As a former member of the ORSF and later politician Ethan had heard the accusation before that the Quintad was bribing pirates to leave Eriaduan traders and worlds alone but he had never given much on them. It seemed unlikely to him something that other worlds might do but not his own government. At least until...

    "How do you know all of this?" He continued to pressure Garth for answers. His heart beginning to race, if what the young noble said was true than Ilona was in utmost danger. Though at the same time Tobin is investigating the Iron Alliance. There was still some hope left.

    "It wasn't too hard to figure out," Garth said a certain smugness returning to him. "I certainly thought my dear sister would keep a closer watch over such a delicate secret... but I guess that's the advantage of being considered the families idiot son. No one makes an effort to check on you, nor does anyone suspect you hacking into their datapads."

    Ethan knew that Garth couldn't have just found this out within one night, which only left a single conclusion. "You have set this up? Haven't you? If this is some sick revenge for what happened with Marie? A childish feud with Ilona? If so then you are even more pathetic than Welmo Darb."

    Garth slowly sat down opposite to Ethan. "You are insulting me. But your worry for your daughter blinds you. In fact I bear neither you nor Ilona any ill will." He slowly ran his finger down the scar on his cheek Marie had left. "No, she and Marie, they showed me hypocritical our entire society is. What a useless pile of trash I had been."

    "Then why are you doing this?" Ethan demanded, his voice harsh.

    "Because of him," Garth's eyes flickered over to the holographic picture over the fireplace that showed the wedding of Adrian and Marie about a year ago. But the young nobles eyes ignored the happy couple but instead focused on his own brother. "Tobin forbade me to use bacta on my wound, so I would bear that scar forever. Even though it wasn't a fair duel. He is always so moral, always so full of himself. The honorable good son, the war hero, he and Aretha how dare they are to judge me! Its insanity, to them it's a greater shame that I lose a ceremonial duel than our family handing over weapons and slaves to pirates."

    "Tobin knows of this?"

    Garth shook his head, "no. He is far too deep into his own world, playing with his little toy soldiers, yelling 'courage and honor' that he doesn't even realize what's in front of his nose. He believes in this entire lie. The lie that we Eriaduan's are better than the rest of the galaxy, because of our so called 'principles'... But now, with his beloved wife being handed over to the same slavers, by soldiers of our own family, it will finally dawn upon him. The truth that his entire life has been a lie." He made a pause, then he stood up again. "This is why I choose Ilona. If it had been someone in my family they would have simply bribed their way out of prison and kept the whole thing a secret. But now, now the truth will come out."

    "Why are you telling me all of this?" Ethan asked, If he told you this, you probably won't live to tell anyone else. His hands shaking as he reached for his comlink, but Garth made no attempt to stop him.

    "I broke it already after I entered. But no, I have no intention to kill you. The thing is, my brother might get himself killed in trying to save your daughter, or his loyalty for his family might outweigh his honor. But you, you are Ethan Malek, your integrity is known not only on Eriadu but in the entire galaxy. If you expose this, the people will believe it."

    He walked towards the door of the elevator, but before he left he turned around to Ethan again. "I'm sorry for pulling your daughter into this. But the truth needs to get out."

    "I will find her, and then she will make you wish Marie would have slit your throat that day." Ethan stood upright and for a moment he was again the soldier, the war hero he had once been.

    "Maybe you will find her," Garth admitted. "Maybe not, it doesn't matter to me."

    He punched Ethan into the stomach so hard than the old man broke down to the floor. Then he left the apartment. Ethan heard how he fired a blaster at the panel on the other side, locking him in.

    Slowly Ethan came back to his feet and pulled out the second comlink he had hidden inside his pocket. He had recorded their entire conversation and now send it to it the only person who could perhaps still prevent Ilona from being lost forever.
     
    Adalia-Durron likes this.
  16. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Aussie Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    He's a spy too, Ethan does it all! :p

    Love where this is going.
     
    Anedon likes this.
  17. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    He has learned many things in his long life, for sure. :)
    Glad you are enjoying it.


    Ten

    Ulrika's entire body was pained as she returned to consciousness. The blast had hit her so unexpectedly she didn't have the slightest chance of defending herself. They had stripped her of her stolen guard uniform leaving her in a tank top and shorts. She felt the cold iron of handcuffs around her wrists and knew she had been placed in a seat like the one Ilona and the young man, Davron? No Daron, that had been his name she remembered. She heard him, quietly talking with Ilona. There was fear in his voice, in both of their voices. Sitting up as good as she could Ulrika turned towards them, rage flaring inside of her, fueled by her own worries about what was to happen to them.

    "You should have warned me!" She told Ilona harshly.

    "I'm sorry I didn't see them in time, it all went so fast," Ilona tried to excuse herself.

    Ulrika grew even more frustrated, "yeah, you couldn't thanks for nothing I really wonder how I could ever been so dumb to risk my life to save you."

    "I didn't ask for it, I usually expect people to rescue me to have a plan and not get themselves fooled by an intercom system." Ilona pointed out. "Did you seriously expect they wouldn´t listen in?"

    "As if I had the time, I only learned of this transfer about an hour before they moved you to the shuttle." Ulrika shoot back.

    This gave Ilona a pause but she soon continued, "then you should have knocked out the pilots before trying to save us. You know first remove the danger."

    "Seriously, just kiss you two," Daron said, raising his voice for the first time. "We are in this together, and I for one am glad someone at least made an attempt at rescuing us."

    Despite her fear Ulrika managed to produce a weak smile. "Sorry handsome, but I´m not her type. My hair is too short and my eyes too many."

    Even Ilona allowed herself a little smile at that. "You forgot your horrible attitude and lack of proper tools between your legs, but the rest applies as well, yeah."

    It was an old military technique both Ulrika and Ilona had learned in the ORSF, bickering and joking to relief pressure right before a battle.

    "Glad we can agree on that at least," Ulrika said as she felt how her anger and fear began to lessen and she could think clear again. "Anything happened why I was knocked out?"

    "They made a few comments that have me convinced they will try to sell us as slaves, or hand over to someone for only gods know what." Daron explained, his voice still shaking but even he seemed to draw more confidence from the two now more relaxed and focused women.

    Ulrika shivered as she realized the full extent of this. During an undercover mission she had once lived a week as a slave dancer in a dirty nightclub. And it had been the most degrading experience in her life. But there she had been save, watched over by allies who would step in should she get in any danger. Now there was nothing that would protect her. A new wave of panic swept through her mind but she fought it down. She wouldn't let herself be enslaved again, she would fight, resist better to be killed by her captors than to live like a slave.

    "I think they want to hand us over to the Iron Alliance, I think this is no coincidence. That first I'm accused and now I'm to be handed over. Someone planned all of this." Ilona said, her voice calmer than Ulrika would have expected. She lowered her voice, "and I have someone investigating these pirates. Help might still be coming one way or another."

    They sat in silence for a few minutes, then the guards reentered the room and Ulrika instantly noted that something had happened.

    "Well guys, change of plans," the male guard said, his voice cracking. "You won't get to see Base 23 after all."

    He is afraid, Ulrika noticed. Utterly, utterly afraid. Something has gone wrong.

    "You will be send back to prison," the female guard said trying to keep her voice from breaking. While Ulrika noticed that both where sweating. "We just need to refuel at the base than its back home."

    "Then release me," Ulrika demanded, both hopeful and worried. "I am no prisoner."

    "I... I´m sorry," the guard stuttered. "We... we are under orders to keep you restrained for now."

    "That might apply to them," Ulrika continued, keeping her voice calm. "But all I did was try to stop an obviously illegal transport. And it's such a shame that during that I got such a good look at your ID cards and you know I could let it slip you where involved with this."

    It was a gamble Ulrika knew, the guards might kill her to ensure that their secret was protected but in that case she at least wouldn´t become a slave.

    The guards exchanged a look, shaking, then the female one stepped forward and undid Ulrika´s handcuffs. "You forget our names?"

    "Already did," Ulrika said, but in a tone that left no doubt that she would remember them again if need be.


    "You best stay here then, we will be at the... base, soon to refuel. In a few hours you are back home." The male guard said as he left.

    Ulrika rubbed her wrists and looked over to the other two, "your investigation?" she asked Ilona quietly.

    "Could be, maybe I was cleared. Maybe dad found out what is going on here, or Tobin did." Both she and Daron relaxed themselves, thought stayed cautious.

    The shuttle began to shake around them only a few seconds later. "We are landing somewhere, another planet." Ilona said.

    Ulrika stood up and stepped towards the small window of the ship to the a brown planet's surface come closer and closer with every second. A landing pad appeared below, filled with several other ships.

    Someone was waiting for them, at least three dozen people it seemed, their equipment a ragtag collection of arms and armor from various time periods. "Pirates," Ulrika muttered to the other two. "Let's hope we are truly just here to get new fuel." She began looking around the room for something she could use as a weapon but there was little.

    So she peeked outside again. It took about a minute for the ship to properly land. Then Ulrika saw both guards leave, while from the people waiting two being stepped forth. An older human male and a muscular Falleen female.

    She didn´t understood the whole conversation but it soon turned heated, apparently as the guards informed the waiting pirates that they wouldn´t hand over the prisoners. "They are not handing us over!" Ulrika allowed herself a sigh of relief. Maybe this would end without any further...

    Two blaster shots rang over the landing pad and as she looked back through the window Ulrika saw the Falleen woman step over the two dead guards.

    Thanking the stars she didn't wore her guard uniform anymore Ulrika rushed back next to Ilona and Daron, slapping the opened handcuffs around her wrists to make it look like she was still restrained. It wasn't a big advantage but maybe it could save them.

    The Falleen and several of her bodyguards entered the ship. "Xora..." Ilona muttered darkly.

    "Ilona Malek," the alien woman responded. "I heard you've been looking for me. Well here I am, and even better so are you."
     
  18. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Eleven

    Ilona's heart was racing as she looked up to Xora and she wished Ulrika had at least enough time to unlock her cuffs as well but now it was too late. So she tried her best to appear defiant as she looked up to the Falleen.

    "Well here I am," she responded, confidently as she repeated Xoras words. "Unlock my handcuffs and let me go and all debts between us are gone."

    Xora chuckled, "it's that easy, well, I know a better alternative. I sell you as a slave and your friends as well. Problem solved."

    "That wasn't what we've agreed upon," someone stepped next to Xora and Ilonas heart made a jump as she recognized Johannes, they would get out of this alive. They where save...

    Xora's hand with the knife hit Johannes stomach so fast that Ilona could barely follow it. As he broke down on the floor bleeding, the pirate gave him another kick. "Sorry darling but I have to make a little change to our plans. Your scrolls alone will make me rich... and I don´t like sharing."

    "I will kill you!" Ilona yelled at Xora, fighting with her handcuffs.

    Xora looked at her, amused, "oh... So you care for him. Seems what he told me wasn't quite the truth then. I..." she was interrupted by the sound of blaster fire. Coming from outside the ship and screams of pain. The Falleen gave her bodyguards a nod and they made their way outside to aid in the fight.

    This moment, while Xora's gaze was drawn to the window of the shuttle was when Ulrika threw herself at her, the two women going to the ground and beginning to wrestle with each other. Both where skilled and had quite a bit of experience in unarmed combat but the Falleen woman was larger and stronger than Ulrika who soon was lying on her back taking hits from Xora. It hurt Ilona more than she cared to admit to see her rival being brutalized like that. So she continued her struggles against the handcuffs holding her within her seat as did Daron next to her. She had no idea what the fighting outside was about but currently, at least it kept the other pirates of their backs.

    For a second Ilona's gaze met that of Johannes and she saw how the old man, pressed his teeth against each other as he made a gesture with his hand. Instantly Ilona's and Daron's cuffs snapped open and Ilona threw herself at Xora, who did not match her two attackers on her own and was soon herself the one laying on the ground receiving hits from them. Meanwhile at the back of her eye Ilona saw how Daron had taken the emergency kit from the wall and know searched through it next to the still bleeding Johannes. With Xora barely moving on the ground Ilona let go of her and instead looked outside. Several dead pirates littered the landing pad, but a much larger group was still alive, fighting against three humans. Two of them wearing the same leather clothing as the maids of the duchess had on Curean and the third...

    "Tobin." Ilona said and allowed herself a smile, though it quickly turned to worry as she realized just how badly her husband and the others where. So she turned around to Ulrika who still took her penance on Xora. "Don't kill her, she might still be of use."

    "Stop the fighting or your leader is dead!" Ilona yelled out to the landing pad. They had cuffed Xora's hands on her back and Ulrika visibly pointed the pirates own blaster at her head. The pirates looked up to them, at least two dozen where left and more and more where running over from different ships.

    "Do as she said," Xora pressed through her bloodied lips. "We will get back at them later."

    "Ilona!" Tobin called over to them as he and the two women came over to the shuttle, one of them was Liz but with the other it took Ilona a moment to recognize Kat with her disguised face.

    Then she pulled her husband into a tight hug, which he returned. "Thought I lost you," she muttered.

    "Same," he returned. "But we are not out of danger just yet."

    The next half an hour was one of the most tense in Ilona's life. Under the watchful eye of the pirates they had the ground crew refuel the shuttle while they fought for Johannes life and tried their best to make sure none of Xora's crew would leave a tracking device on the shuttle. It was only when they finally left Xenon VI behind that Ilona allowed herself to breath normally again.

    "Are you okay?" She asked Johannes as the comforting darkness of space surrounded them.

    "I will survive it. Can be grateful she didn't use a blaster," he said quietly. "Should have seen this coming..."

    Xora glared at them, her hands and feet cuffed she still hadn't given up struggling. "Don´t think this is over, I will be out of prison in no time. And then you will pay."

    Ulrika raised a blaster to her head again, "you know, she might be right. Maybe its best we just shoot her here and know and be done with it."

    "We don´t kill a defenseless captive," Tobin said firmly. "We are not like her. Yet I agree, there is a danger she could escape. We saw today how reliable the Eriaduan prison system truly is."

    Xora allowed herself a smug grin her eyes wandering from one to the other.

    "Imprison her on Curean," Liz said suddenly. "Many of her crimes have been committed against the people of my world. Plus with my lovely wife being the current military commander of the ORSF outpost there we can ensure she won´t use bribery to get out." She placed an arm around Kat's shoulders.

    "My mother had some... interesting devices in her dungeon," Johannes said darkly. "I am sure after a few days in your loving care she will tell you guys anything she knows about her pirate friends."

    The smug grin vanished from Xora´s face, "you wouldn't dare... My crew will find me and they will..." Ulrika cut her off with a stun bolt from her blaster.

    "Sorry, keeping her alive is one thing, but I just couldn't listen to her voice again," she said giving the others a shrug.

    "So to Curean it is then?" Ilona said and the others nodded.

    "We need to head there anyway." Tobin said, "your dad was so worried after he lost contact with Ulrika that he traveled there to be closer to the action. It's time to relief his fears."
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
    Adalia-Durron likes this.
  19. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Aussie Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    And we're back in charge!!!
     
    Anedon likes this.
  20. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Of course. :)
    Thanks for commenting.



    Epilogue

    Ilona sat between Kat and Liz on a couch in the salon of the duchess' tower, that now belonged to Johannes, on Curean. Having finally been able to exchange her prison outfit for a simple black dress Liz had given her. Ethan had been very relieved when he gotten their message that everyone was okay, and once they had met he had demanded a complete report on what had happened. They had locked Xora into the dungeon of the tower, where she was guarded by some of the former maids of the duchess, who Kat had recruited as a security force.

    "Honestly," Ethan muttered as he leaned forth in his armchair. "There was a time when I thought I was cursed somehow for in how many crazy situations I would end up in. But now I feel it's not just me, it's our entire family."

    "That's what makes up your charm," Kat said with a twinkle as she laid an arm around Ilona's neck and the other around her wife´s. "It's why we love you."

    "We always get through it dad," Ilona reminded him. "Even applies to those who take the name by marriage." She raised her glance and looked outside, at the balcony where Tobin and Aretha quietly talked to each other.

    After Ethan had sent her the communication with Garth that he had recorded Aretha Redan had admitted the entire truth to him and instantly committed herself in getting Ilona out by contacting the crew of the shuttle, so they would bring Ilona back to Eriadu and cancel the deal with the pirates to hand her over.

    Ethan allowed himself a small smile, "then I guess all I can do is wait until the next crazy adventure happens. At least its relieving to know that you tend to find friends even amongst former enemies." He inclined his head towards Daron and Ulrika who talked to each other in a corner of the room, occasionally breaking into laughter.

    "I am very grateful for their help," Ilona agreed. "Though I´m not sure if I really like Ulrika now.... owning her a favor, won´t my life easier I feel."

    "If what she wants troubles you too much feel free to ask us for aid," Liz reminded her. "We been through worse than a grown up childhood rivalry."

    "I appreciate that," Ilona replied, her eyes glancing over her friends for a moment. Friends who had all come to her aid in this situation and allowed herself a smile.



    "So Garth is gone?" Tobin asked his sister as they stood on the balcony overlooking the nightly town.

    "Yes, when Ethan informed me I gave a warrant for his arrest but... he must have planned this for quite some time. Goddess knows where he is now, he has taken his money with him, he could be anywhere," Aretha said, lowering her head.

    Tobin said nothing for a moment. He had looked down on Garth, seen him as nothing but a spoiled idiot, now he wished he had been smarter about it.

    Aretha laid a hand on his shoulder, "his plan failed. Ilona is save and the information hasn't gotten out."

    Tobin let out a sigh, he appreciated his sister had come here to help, but at the same time he knew this couldn't end like this. "That was your plan all along right? You knew Ilona was innocent and framed."

    "I did," Aretha admitted, though she quickly raised her hands. "I knew we would sooner or later be able to prove that, then we could have released her from prison with no major damage done."

    "Not much damage done?" Tobin said, his voice staying calm. "Ilona was abused in prison."

    Aretha nodded slowly, "I had ordered for her to receive a special treatment, Garth might have intercepted the message and... I´m sorry, Tobin."

    Tobin let out another sigh, "Aretha, what we are doing here, it's wrong! Now that it is someone you know about you feel sorry? What about all those others you handed over, during the years?"

    "Those people where murderers, rapists, slavers themselves, they were hardly innocent." Aretha reminded him, but he noticed a trace of guilt in her voice.

    "Shouldn't we try to be better than these people?"

    "I... we are better than them, how can you even compare us?"

    Tobin turned away from her and looked up to the night sky. "House Redan strives to be better, since the days of Arien, we strive to be more than the corrupt nobles we are surrounded by. It's the reason the people trust us. Because they believe we aren't corrupt."

    "Says you who thinks of a Imperial collaborator as a role model," Aretha shoot at her brother. "He handed over prisoners as well you know? Claimed they were rebels so normal citizens would be spared."

    Tobin swallowed hard, he knew this of course, his uncle had told him about it and later he had read it in his diaries.

    "And what did our father do?" Aretha continued. "This has been a problem in our family for generations."

    "But shouldn't we be better than that? Strive to be more than our forbears?" Tobin asked.

    Aretha shook her head, "Tobin, I appreciate your idealism but I can't just clap my hands and make these things go away, the Iron Alliance has an edge on us out there? Do you think the ORSF can protect our shipping lanes? They are far too few in number."

    Tobin placed a hand on her shoulder, "Arien Redan fought one of the strongest Sith Lords the galaxy ever saw and slew him, at the cost of his own life. He saved the republic. Did he complain about his enemy having an edge on him? I spent two years on the Vong conquered Coruscant, with only a handful of soldiers at my side, and I survived."

    Aretha said nothing to this for a while, then she began, "but..."

    Tobin cut her of, "you are afraid, afraid to take the jump. But you are not alone with this, I can still help you and there are others as well." A small smile appeared on his face. "Plus in the dungeon of this very tower currently resides a pirate who has been inside the Iron Alliance for decades, if someone can give you an edge on them it's her."

    Now it was Aretha's turn to swallow hard. "I always knew you where trouble, from your childhood onwards to when you married Ilona. But maybe you are right, we shouldn´t let pirates extort us. We should fight for what is ours instead of trying to bribe us out of it. Though it will take years and cost us a lot to get out of this, if we even succed."

    "It is the right thing to do Aretha," Tobin said as he gave her a nod.

    "Maybe... goddess, you have a habit of making my life complicated. But still, it's good to have you here." Aretha said quietly after a pause as she gave her little brother a quick hug.

    "There is one more thing."

    "What now?" Aretha looked up to him.

    Tobin took a deep breath "I want you to pardon..."

    "Ilona, don't worry she is already cleared of all charges." His sister assured him.

    "Not her, but..."



    Daron laughed as Ulrika came to the end of her story. "You actually did that?"

    "Yeah, really got both her and me in trouble. We spend the next two months scrubbing the floors of the military academy in what free time we had," Ulrika responded. "Of course doing our best to make the others life hell during it." She shook her head as she looked at her rival. "If you had told me back then that I would one day save her life, I might have killed you..."

    Daron shivered a bit at this.

    Something Ulrika quickly noticed. "Relax, you are save here. Like Tobin said you won't have to go back to prison."

    "I´m wondering whether I really deserve this mercy," Daron said quietly.

    Ulrika laid a hand on his shoulder, "Daron your family forced you to do this, and you failed anyway. You are no murderer."

    "But I could have been one..." he still wasn´t convinced. Though, Ulrika´s attempts to cheer him up had him quite flustered, how long had it been that someone really seemed to care for him like that?

    She took his hands into hers, "you aren't. That's what counts."

    Daron kept silent for a moment, then he said, "I want to talk to her, Marie. Apologize to her, throw myself at her mercy. If she wants me punished I will accept it, if she can forgive me, maybe I can too."

    "We could travel there together," Ulrika offered. "I always wanted to throw a glance at Ilona's new in laws."

    "You would do that?" Daron was surprised but also excited at the prospect.

    "Of course I will. Besides handsome..." she gave him a playful grin. "I´ve heard they have some interesting outfits to put males into Dathomir..."



    Later that evening, after most of them had gone to bed, Ilona, Tobin and Johannes stood alone in front of the fireplace, Johannes holding the scrolls he had used to entice Xora to the meeting.

    "We should do it," Tobin said firmly. "The power on these scrolls, it's too much. If they fall into the wrong hands."

    "We could hand them over to the Jedi order," Johannes suggested, still unsure what to do.

    "Can we really trust them?" Ilona asked, she trusted Adalia, but her friend was more an associate of the order than a full member. "Luke Skywalker's niece is dating the ruler of the Empire, his nephew threw the galaxy into a massive war. Can we really trust the order enough that this knowledge will be save with them."

    Johannes nodded slowly, but he was still not entirely convinced. Whatever the implications, this knowledge could also be used to do good. To heal the wounds of a broken galaxy.

    "It's not creating life," Tobin said slowly after a while. "For only the Goddess can. All this does is steal, taking away someone's life for the benefit of another. It shouldn't exist."

    Taking a deep breath Johannes finally accepted his friends words as he knelt down and gently placed the scroll in the fire. Watching silently as it burned. "It drove my mother to insanity to have this power," he then said. "You are right, no one should have it."

    He made a long pause, then he continued. "I will leave you for a while, I want to travel the galaxy, see the places my mother talked about with my own eyes. Maybe have a look at the Jedi order..." Another pause. "And I want to seek what traces I can of my mother, find out who she was before all of this. Stars know, maybe I can even find out who my father was."

    Ilona felt that this was a journey Johannes wanted to undertake on his own but she still said. "We could aid you with that."

    The old man gave her a thankful glance, "for now I will take it on, on my own. But who knows, I'm sure we will see each other again."

    "Of course we will," Ilona said with a twinkle. "That's the fate of my family."
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2021
  21. Adalia-Durron

    Adalia-Durron WNU Mod - Aussie Rebel At Heart. star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    [​IMG]

    Wrapped up in a perfect Bow!
     
    Anedon likes this.