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.