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Beyond - Legends Shadow over Curean

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Anedon, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Title: Shadow over Curean
    Author: Anedon
    Timeframe: After the Second Galatic Civil War
    Characters: Ilona Malek, 'Kat'herina Ricter, other OCs
    Genre: Friendship, Adventur, Romance
    Summary: Helping her best friend with her studies Ilona acompanies Kat to the isolated world of Curean where the two women soon find themselves in a net of mysteries and dangers...


    "And they forced you to wear that?" Kat laughed as Ilona showed her the pictures of her latest trip to Dathomir.

    Ilona returned the smile, as she once again looked at herself in the short, revealing, leather armor Marie had given her.

    "Should wear that more often, it fits you," Kat continued.

    Ilona shook her head but her smile continued. "Speaking of it. Still unused to wearing civilian clothes?" She asked her best friend and Kat nodded.

    Kat had left the military together with Ilona after the end of the second galactic civil war, and now studied sociology at the University of Eriadu.

    "It is," Kat said stretching herself. "Been a soldier for so long civilian clothing is far too comfortable. Still it's an advantage not to catch as much attention anymore."

    Ilona nodded, on Eriadu or elsewhere soldiers always stuck out. But now wearing simple dark tops and comfortable traveling pants both young women where noticed by no one.

    They had played with the thought of taking their own ships to get to Curean but Kat had suggested them traveling like 'ordinary mortals' and so they had chosen to travel on the merchant vessel Demeter a mid tier freighter that was traveling from Eriadu through the more distant worlds of the galactic south and back, supplying the isolated worlds with necessary goods while bringing back resources to the industrial centers of the Seswenna Sector.

    It was a slow trip as they stopped in many places, stayed a day and then continued their journey. But for both Kat and Ilona this simple, free life was a nice change of peace from their experiences in the military or the luxury they had experienced since then.

    "Girls, we are closing in on Curean," a voice called out to them and as they looked up they saw Xora Suj the attractive Falleen captain of the ship looking at them. Xora was a tough but fair leader, unbeatable at Sabacc and both Ilona and Kat suspected she had several contacts to local pirate groups. Despite this they got along with her splendidly.

    "Prepare yourself for the unloading," she told them.

    "Of course my Captain," Kat said as she jumped down from the container she and Ilona had been sitting on.


    "If nothing else we probably could work as deckhands when we were too loose everything else," Kat said as they began cutting the next set of containers loose.

    "I'm sure Xora would hire you instantly," Ilona said. "You haven't signed up with her already haven't you?"

    "How do you get to that?" Kat asked her, her face taking a slight red coloring.

    "'Of course my Captain'," Ilona said with a grin as she and Kat where working on the containers of goods to prepare for the unloading.

    Kat gave her best friend a slap on the arm.

    "Seriously given how she looks at you... she might be someone for you," Ilona continued.

    Kat's face turned fully red, telling Ilona her guess had been right.

    "But I can't..." Kat muttered.

    "Why not? Because she is a non human?" llona inquired, in the past Kat had once held a huge crush on her. A crush Ilona had been unable to return, so they had stayed best friends instead.

    "No," Kat said, hastily. "Of course not, but she's..."

    ...a criminal.


    Kat didn't say but Ilona knew that was what she had wanted to say. She placed her hand on her friends shoulder.

    "Its ultimately your decision, but you shouldn't let something like this destroy your happiness."

    Kat looked into Ilona's eyes, unsure.

    "How about that?" Ilona continued. "We do what we set out to do on Curean and then, in a month when Xora comes to pick us up again you ask her out when we get back to Eriadu."

    "Maybe..." Kat said as the two returned to their work.


    "Couldn´t you have chosen a nice planet for your studies?" Ilona asked Kat as the two of them stood on the ramp of the Demeter and took in their first look of the world they would spend the next month at.

    Both had put on light coats over their tops to protect themselves against the cold and the slight rain.

    "Sorry, chief," Kat said her voice imitating her professional military talk. "But this one is the best I found. Thought the cold would remind us of home."

    Ilona grinned, "the air is far too clear and fresh for that. And what are those? Actual healthy trees? I can't believe that even still allowed in the Seswenna sector."

    Both of them chuckled a bit.

    Their ship had landed on a muddy field surrounded on three sides with a dark forest and on the other with a settlement. The buildings there where largely made of stone filled with beautiful ornaments and decorations. Between the ship and the settlement Xora's crew had set up their goods as they were now approached by locals, mostly humans wearing simple dark clothing. Some brought crates of ore towards the ship on ancient speeders and transport platforms to exchange them for bits of technology as well as and caskets of luxury food and drinks.

    Xora stepped next to the two humans watching the scene. "So this is it, your destination. Do you still want to leave?"

    She gave Kat a look that had the blonde human look away. "That's the plan," Ilona said. "You get us home in a month?"

    Xora nodded, "sure can't promise you the exact date but it should be around a month." She gave Ilona a few credits for their work over the last few weeks. "You have been working very well, would have a place for you in my crew if you ever need it."

    "Thanks," Kat said. "We might get back to it one day.... What can you tell us about this world?"

    The Falleen shrugged, "don't know too much to be honest, the locals are rather tight lipped. Don't get me wrong, there are good customers and always fulfill their end of the bargain. But they never talk much, only time they ever asked me something was during my first trip if I got into trouble with the pirates around here."

    She gave Kat and Ilona a knowing smile. By now Ilona knew enough about her to know that Xora had her own way of dealing with Pirates, mostly by including them into her route. Some of the goods her crew was currently selling came from less than legal sources and in return several illegal goods where probably smuggled back to Eriadu on the Demeter.

    "Did they ever want to buy something 'intresting' from you?" Kat asked curious.

    "You could say that," Xora´s grin grew another inch. "But they mentioned having had trouble with slavers in the past, so I guess they are just careful."

    "Makes sense out here," Ilona agreed. "Then guess it's up to us to find out what is going on here."

    "Can only wish you the best of luck then," the captain told them.

    She shook Ilona's hand goodbye and gave Kat a quick hug that the blonde human returned a bit surprised.

    Then the two women left the ramp and walked down on the surface of the planet that was to be their home for the next month.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
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  2. Adalia-Durron

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

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Love the friendship, the tormenting and the sense of adventure in both women. Looking forward to more.
     
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  3. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Thanks, @Adalia-Durron glad you enjoy the setup so far. :)

    Two

    The architecture on Curean was far more elaborate than Kat would have expected on an isolated, well backwater world. She wasn't sure exactly what to call it but felt that some of her fellow students at university, those studying architecture and things like that might have called it "gothic" in nature. The buildings where mostly made from stone with a few wooden elements. Built several stories tall they towered over the streets and filled them with shadows. It wasn't a friendly architecture but coming from Eriadu she and Ilona where used to worse.

    They stopped every few meters to take holos or have a look at the few storefronts they saw. Most of them sold either food or the ordinary things of life but at least one of them was a bookstore and in it... "gods, real books." Kat said as she gestured Ilona towards her. In the age of holopads that were able to save an near infinite number of pages real books had become a rarity, but here it seems they still existed.

    They spend the next hour looking through the bookstore enjoying the feeling of a real book between their hands. There where books on various topics, from descriptions of nature, over travel journals to corny romance stories, of which Ilona bought three.

    "What? I have to have a bit of stuff to read if we to stay here a month." She asked Kat as the two eventually left the store.

    "Ilona, Ilona," Kat waved her finger in front of her best friends face while smiling. "You are such a hopeless romantic. Let me guess, all three have basically the same plot just with different names and details?"

    It had always amused Kat how her best friend with all her tough demeanor was such a fan of the most corny romance stories. Though to her credit Ilona had never tried to hide that side of her, and actually embraced the nickname 'princess' her squadron had given her.

    "Maybe," Ilona said with a grin. "But it will be a joy nonetheless."

    "Did you actually noticed that one kind of book was missing from the store?" Kat asked and Ilona chewed on her lip for a moment, then her face lightened up.

    "There were no history books."

    Kat nodded, "yeah everything else seemed to have been there, but nothing about history. That's strange."

    "Maybe it's something about the peoples culture. Or maybe we just didn't find them." Ilona suggested.

    Kat was sure she had looked everywhere in the store, maybe she should have asked the owner more about it, but the old woman had been so... reserved that Kat had decided not to push the issue.

    "Honestly if we stay here for a month I'm not sure I will still fit in these clothes," Ilona said as she padded her taught stomach through her dark top.

    Kat gave her best friend a smile and leaned back on her chair, after looking at a few more stores they had eventually made their way through this tavern, where they had not only gotten rooms for the month but also a truly large dinner consisting of fried potatoes and several cutlets with a spicy sauce. Ilona was still giggling about her own joke which told Kat that her friend probably had enough alcohol for the evening. Like the rest of her family Ilona tended to get drunk quicker than most people and thus only drank when with friends.

    "And that would be a shame," Kat said with a smile. "So I guess I have to lock you into your room with bread and water for the rest of our stay. To ensure you stay the cutesiest girl on Eriadu."

    Ilona laughed loudly, causing several heads in the tavern turn towards them. Kat began feeling ashamed and wondered if she should have traveled here alone.

    "Do you need more ale?" The buxom serving girl asked them. Kat had tried her best not to stare at her through the evening, but now she looked up to her. "No, I think my friend had enough for the night."

    "I can speak for myself," Ilona cut her off, pouting like a little girl, "I will take another round."

    "No," Kat said firmly. "You had enough."

    "You aren't my mother," Ilona spat and Kat felt aggression in her friends voice. "You don't even have the courage to ask this girl to come with you to your room tonight."

    "Ilona!" Kat yelled as she jumped up, a part of her knew that it was largely her friends drunkenness, but it was also the second time this day Ilona tried to take control over her love life.

    The serving woman's face was burning red as Kat turned towards her, "sorry, my friend has drunk too much. I don't want... or intend..." she stumbled across her own words, probably making things only worse for herself.

    "It's okay," the woman said. "Hardly the first time something like this happened to me, do you need help getting her into her room?"

    Kat nodded, "best we do it together, less she falls down the stairs, not that she doesn't deserve it."

    Together the two women managed to get the still giggling Ilona up the stairs and into her room.

    They intended to leave her on her bed but after Ilona muttered: "See, now you've got some privacy together, no need to thank me." The two decided a bit more was needed and so they threw her into the shower and gave her a cold dousing. Before leaving the wet and struggling Ilona behind as they left the room.

    "Sorry, usually she isn't like this, just isn't good with alcohol." Kat said as she handed the woman a few extra credit chips.

    "As I said, hardly the first drunk I dealt with," the woman said. She played with the chips in her hand, "that's far too much, but you don't seem to be the person who would take it back. Would you instead mind joining me with a glass of wine?"

    Kat's face turned red again but she nodded. "Sure, why not? I'm Katherine, though everyone just calls me Kat."

    "Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Liz." She replied.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
  4. Adalia-Durron

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

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    New friends, possibly more? Who knows? Developing well!
     
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  5. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Thanks @Adalia-Durron its really most build up so far so I´m glad you enjoy it. :)



    Three

    Soon after the two women sat on a bench together outside of the tavern and looked at the night sky.

    "I really have to apologize for Ilona," Kat said, trying to keep her face from turning red again. "She is usually not like that. It's just..." she made a pause before deciding to tell her new friend. "She was raised to be a leader and later became one, her life is filled with duty and the need to compose herself, thus I think when she has a chance to let herself go for once she takes it."

    Liz said nothing for a moment, then she responded.

    "As I said, no offense taken, when compared to some of the other drunks I occasionally meet she was harmless. But she really drank too much, maybe we should check on her again later?"

    Kat nodded, "will do that. Already not envying her for how she feel in the morning." She smiled.

    "Have..." Liz stopped, "you've been together with her in the past?"

    Kat shook her head, "no, had a massive crush on her since we first met as teenagers. Was back in the day in a youth camp on Eriadu, we caused quite a bit of mischief that summer and got punished for it..." For a moment she thought back to these days and the little terrors she and Ilona had been. "Since then we´ve been the best of friends, we fought in two wars together.... Eventually told her how I felt about her, but she, well Ilona doesn't swing that way..." Another pause. "Its fate I guess, I had met the perfect girl but I could only ever be her best friend. Didn´t have much luck in love after that either."

    There was a moment of silence between them, while Kat asked herself if she really should tell this complete stranger her life story but something made her trust Liz.

    "And so now Ilona tries to set you up for dates with every woman you come across?" Liz asked and Kat nodded.

    "Pretty much yeah, I think a part of her really feels guilty about not being able to return my feelings, so she now tries to help me find happiness." She took a deep breath as she saw Liz's expression. "Not that I don't appreciate her efforts but I feel she goes too far."

    "She is a good friend, you should treasure her for that." Liz said and again Kat nodded.

    "I know and I do, after all she even came here with me."

    "If I may ask, what brings you here?" Liz wondered while playing with the braid of her beautiful auburn hair.

    "It's no secret," Kat responded. "Now that I'm no longer in the military anymore I've begun to study sociology, and I came here to see how life is on a very isolated world, to see the differences to the places I have known so far."

    "And what do you think of it so far?" Liz asked playfully raising an eyebrow.

    "Well its much cleaner than my homeworld, its quiet especially now. The people are..." Kat looked at her new friend, "both beautiful and kind."

    Liz smile grew into a grin, "is that so? Well I guess that`s something. But yeah this is a quiet place, when I was a kid and the Empire rose in the galaxy they left us alone, as do pirates. It's truly peaceful."

    "Can you tell me a bit more about the history of your world?" Kat asked, now getting curious.

    "I could," the smile returned. "But not for free, a story for a story. What you have mentioned of your life, I think you truly have a lot to tell."

    "That´s true, anything in particular you would like to hear?" Kat asked.

    "Maybe a bit about yourself, your family?" Liz inquired while resting her head on her right palm.

    "Sure, my parents where both soldiers, serving in the Outland Regions Security Force or ORSF, and so they belong to the Eriaduan middle class. Well belonged I should say, they passed away a while ago. I was pretty much set to follow the same path in life, and once I met Ilona it was pretty much settled that we would both go there together. Our first assignment pitted us against some pirates, I remember how both she and I couldn't sleep the night before. But it was pretty harmless, the cruiser fired a few times into the distance, we only even saw the enemy after they had surrendered. Many of our first assignments where like that, but when the Vong War came we experienced the real horrors..."

    She continued her tale for at least an hour, speaking of the dreads she and Ilona had gone through, how Ilona had been promoted to squad leader after her successor had her face bitten off by a Vong creature, of the chaotic evacuation of Coruscant, the fighting at Borleais and later the final return to the galactic capital.

    "Wow," Liz muttered after Kat's long report on the Vong War had come to an end. "Seems like you experienced more during that war than I did during my entire life, than probably most people do."

    "Could be," Kat said. "I was glad to leave it behind, that the nightmares eventually faded. I did partake in another war after that, the second galactic civil war, but that could never even hope to reach the Vong war in scale. But now to your end of the bargain..." she yawned, her story had taken far longer than she had anticipated.

    "Seems someone is getting tired. Maybe we better wait with that for tomorrow?" Liz asked her and Kat had to agree.

    "Probably a good idea, we have an entire month time after all."

    "If you want I can show you around a bit tomorrow, take a walk while we talk about it." Liz offered.

    "Thanks," Kat said, "but I don't want to become a burden."

    "You aren't, besides my parents run this place, they would want me to show our guest around."

    "Then I´ll gladly accept, if there is anything I could do for you in return...."

    For a moment Kat believed to see a shadow move over Liz's face but then she was sure she had imagined it. "We have a religious ceremony this month, and quite a bit to do since then, maybe you can help me out a bit with that?"

    "Sure," Kat agreed and yawned again. "I really need to go to bed." She stood up, "thanks Liz it was a beautiful evening."

    Liz smiled as she stood up as well, leaning forward she gave Kat a quick kiss on the cheek.

    "Likewise, thanks for telling me your story."

    The two women entered the tavern together and Kat made her way into her own room.

    While showering she felt as if a million butterflies filled her stomach. Ilona had been utterly inappropriate today but maybe she had been right about Liz, maybe she could be someone for her. There was just one thing that puzzled her, Liz had said the Empire had risen during her childhood, but that was around 60 years ago, yet Liz looked around her and Ilona's age. Kat shook her head, she had probably misheard something or it had been a metaphor.

    Well and if she truly is over 60 then she is in such a good shape for her age, I still wouldn't shove her off the bed,
    Kat thought as she laid down in her bed, falling asleep nearly instantly.


    Tag: @ZV-83
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
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  6. Adalia-Durron

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

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Getting interesting........well done!
     
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  7. ZV-83

    ZV-83 Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Dec 7, 2020
    Great back story with the wars she fought in, and I like the intrigue at the end, how does she look so young?.. hmm...
     
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  8. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Thanks :)

    Thanks, glad you enjoy it. :) Yeah that is certianly a mystery. [face_thinking]


    Four

    When Ilona awoke the headache greeted her. She was still lying face down on the floor, tangled in her own still wet clothes. But almost more than the headache the knowledge of what had happened yesterday hit her. She had gone too far, she had already known that yesterday but the alcohol had overwritten her common sense. "Darn," she muttered as she pealed herself out of her wet clothes, before heading over to the bath and taking another shower, that this time thankfully made her headache fade to a tolerable state. Hanging up her wet clothes from yesterday Ilona changed into a similar outfit, a simple dark tank top with comfortable pants. She took her jacket as well but seeing the sunshine outside of her window decided to for now only tie it around her waist. As she was about to leave the room she noticed a note someone had pushed under the door while she had been sleeping.

    Heading out with Liz today, was thinking about waking you but after yesterday evening Liz thought it would be nicer if we let you have your sleep. Don't worry she isn't mad at you. See you for dinner tonight at the latest. Kat

    Ilona smiled as she read the message a second time, so we are already calling her Liz? Seems I was right on the money yesterday after all. Glad that her slip up had lead to at least some positive Ilona left her room and headed down into the main room of the tavern for a late breakfast. While she was eating she smiled a bit to herself as sitting here in this tavern on a world unknown to her made her think of the role-play games that she had played, which also often started in place like this. After her meal Ilona decided that, with what had happened yesterday evening it was probably best to stay out of town today, she didn´t want to get stared at and neither embarrass Kat and Liz during their 'date'.

    So she went back to her room and quickly packed a few things into her backpack. One of the novels she had bought yesterday, two flasks of water, a bit of dry food she had brought from Eriadu, her blaster and hunting knife. Then she left the tavern and headed into the forest surrounding the village.

    The forest was so different to the ones on her homeworld Ilona couldn't help but smile as she walked deeper and deeper into them. The air was clean, the trees healthy and strong, what she saw of animals fascinated her but the creatures here where shy and ran away as Ilona approached. Despite being mostly covered in shadows from the tall trees Ilona still felt the warmth of the sun above and sometimes just remained on a small clearing to take in the light. Her hung-over more and more disappeared as she ventured deeper. The land rose a bit and so going further became a mix of climbing and wandering. Ilona enjoyed the physical challenge of traversing this kind of terrain.

    Who knows, if the weather stays I might spend most of the month out here in the wilds
    she thought to herself.

    As noon was approaching she had finished climbing up another slope and when she turned backwards towards the town she had come from she could now look over the trees below and in the distance she made out the buildings of the town, her gaze staying for a while at the tall tower at the edge of it that they had briefly seen yesterday during their arrival.

    Maybe Kat can tell me who lives there tonight.
    She mused before decide ding she still had enough time to go a bit further.

    After about half an hour she reached another clearing in the woodland this time around small lake. The water was crystal clear and cold but after her long walk Ilona didn´t mind some cooling and so she stripped down to her underwear and took a swim. They had a pool in their home on Eriadu but swimming in a natural water was always something different to that. She could feel the little creatures in the water passing her, her legs sometimes touching the water plants at the bottom of the lake.

    Eventually she left the water and laid down in the hot noon sun to dry herself and her clothes. She would have to bring Kat here she reckoned, it was truly a beautiful place, something that could probably only exist on worlds like this anymore, where progress hadn´t already destroyed nature.

    For the first time she began to understand how Adrian could have chosen to live on a world like Dathomir other than for love. Maybe she could com him tonight and tell him about it.

    Caught in her thoughts Ilona didn´t realize how the time flew by and only opened her eyes again when a cold breeze made her shiver. Sitting up she realized it must have become late afternoon, the sun had begun sinking in the west.

    Quickly getting herself dressed again Ilona prepared for her way back when she felt it, it had become utterly quiet on the clearing, the animal noises she had heard all day where gone, and now that she was dressed again there was nothing but complete silence. Her hunting senses alarmed her, something was here, a predator.

    Unsure what it was Ilona began staring into the darkness beyond the trees, for a second she believed to have made out a large shape over there but couldn´t say for sure. Then she heard it, a sound half screech, half roar echoing through the forest as a wave of fear rolled over her.

    Without even a second though she turned around and fled. As she ran through the forest she could hear the creature behind her, it must have been of large size by the noise it made but each time Ilona turned her head to get a look at it she only saw shadows. Whatever this was, it wasn't a normal forest animal. No it seemed to be even more dangerous than the creatures on her homeworld. Cursing herself for going so deep into the forest on her own Ilona tried to run faster but it seemed the creature was coming closer, slowly but steadily closing the gap between them. A part of Ilona considered fighting, but whatever was behind her was probably too much for her to take on. She had lost the path she had taken here, was now running almost blindly through the ever darkening forest, not even sure if her general direction was the right one, but even if it had been it mattered little as she would never be able to reach the town without breaking from exhaustion. Jumping over a small creek Ilona noticed a small path on the forest floor and instinctively decided to follow it. A path, that meant sometimes humans came here, maybe, just maybe there was a save place ahead. The creature still followed her and Ilona could hear a loud rattling breath that came closer and closer. But she didn't dare turning around again. Following the path was all that mattered now as she spoke a silent prayer to the gods not to let her die out here. Then she saw it, a hut, made from wood, in the distance. And what was more important, she saw light inside the windows. Seeing that possible safety was near Ilona doubled her efforts again, concentrating only on the path ahead. She was so concentrated she didn't notice how the sounds of the creature behind her began to fade once more, and only noticed that it had become silent again as she reached the wooden door of the house. Darkness now covered the forest and when she looked back Ilona once again could see nothing.

    So she decided to enter the hut, hoping to find at least some directions there.

    The hut was filled with wooden cupboards filled with all sorts of strange things one might find in the forest. But for now Ilona's gaze was drawn to the man kneeling on the floor, his back turned towards her.

    "Sorry, I got spooked in the forest, can you..." Ilona stumbled across her words.

    The man raised his head, but still didn't look at her, from his graying hair Ilona guessed him to be in his early fifties, he wore simple, woven clothing and a pelt around his shoulders. "Huntress from the stars," he said in a voice sounding far older than he looked like, "I have been expecting you."


    Tag: @ZV-83
     
  9. Adalia-Durron

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

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    The Plot Thickens!!!
     
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  10. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Yeah the build up is finally over. ;)


    Five

    Kat wasn't sure when she had last so much fun than on this day. She and Liz had left the tavern around sunrise, and while she had felt a little guilty about leaving Ilona behind she felt it was probably for the best to allow her friend to sleep in and then take her time to cure her headache instead of dragging her through town all day.

    First Liz had shown her the brewery the tavern got its ale from, the owners son had offered them a mug each but in regards to the early hours the two women had declined, before they had moved further through the outskirts of town.

    "Is he into you?" Kat asked Liz after they had left the brewery, worried about the looks the owners son had given them.

    Liz nodded slowly, "think so."

    Kat's hearth sank, guess another dream to bury.

    "But, I mean he is nice and all, but I just..." she made a pause.

    "Aren't into boys?" Kat asked, her heart almost stopping as she realized what she had just said. Great girl, now you have ruined things once and for all, you could have at least been her friend.

    "Yeah," Liz said, and gave Kat a smile, "just like you."

    Kat wasn't sure what even still to feel, but currently it seemed to be happiness. As she felt she was blushing she decided to change the subject.

    "Who lives there?" she asked pointing at the tall tower overlooking the village. It looked a bit like the Wizard towers from Fantasy holomovies. For a second Kat believed she had once again seen a shadow on Kat's face but it was probably just them moving slowly between the buildings.

    "Our ruler, the Duchess of Curean," Liz explained.

    "So you live under a noble ruler?" Kat asked, this was something for her notes. Planets ruled by a single ruler of noble blood had become rare in the galaxy.

    Liz nodded, "yes, she has been watching over us for a long time now. Since my great grandmothers days at least."

    Kat raised an eyebrow, "then she must be very old."

    Especially if you are over 60 yourself.


    "I think so," Liz said, slowly, carefully as if she was waging each word exactly before saying it. "She, she isn't like other women, she has powers, powers that let her defy age. Some call it sorcery."

    Kat said nothing to this as she was trying to make sense of what she had just heard. She remembered that Ilona had told her on Dathomir, where her brother now lived some of the witches where able to live for hundreds of years using the Force, maybe this Duchess was similar? All things where possible she guessed.

    Noticing that Liz had clearly been uncomfortable with the topic she asked instead, "is she a good ruler?"

    Liz smile returned, "she is, she protects us, it's due to her pirates and other raiders leave us alone. She ensures our harvest it plentiful, our woods save, our life's prosperous, our children healthy."

    Sounds more like the dogma of a cult to me,
    Kat thought but decided not to say it out loud. Something seemed off about this Duchess, but maybe that was just her own ignorance.

    She remembered how Ilona had talked about Dathomir during all of last year, how she had been constantly worried about how her little brother would be treated there. How the Dathomirians clearly were a backwards thinking society of slavers. Quite a change to how as teens she and Kat herself had not sometimes indulged in fantasies living like the warrior women of said world. But now that she had stayed a few days there Ilona's opinion seemed to have returned to that of her teenage years, and she spoke of the Witches with admiration again, even seemed to be proud of the leather clothing her sister in law had given her.

    Maybe it would be the same in regards to Curean, Kat thought to herself. If she truly understood its people, maybe she would understand why they seemed to worship their ruler so much.

    "Is everything alright?" Liz asked her and Kat saw worries on her new friends face.

    "Yeah, sorry was just lost in thoughts, just that." Kat replied forcing a smile on her lips. Will have to ask her more about this at a later point.

    They continued their exploration of the outer parts of town for the rest of the morning, amongst others visiting a bakery and a butcher amongst others. For someone who had grown up on a advanced world where things like these where done completely by droids and machines it was utterly fascinating for Kat to watch people actually doing these seemingly mundane things, and got completely excited as she was able to try some of it out herself. As during noon she and Liz where walking back to the tavern for lunch Kat still had flour in her hair and clothes but she was smiling.

    "It's interesting you know," Liz said gently, "how things that are utterly mundane to us excite you so much. Makes me wonder how your homeworld looks, and how life is going there."

    "It's very different then here," Kat admitted. "It's a world filled with smoke, industry and noise. The nature is sick there, living but twisted in many ways. Where there is wilderness dangers lurk in every corner, if you go hunting, even with a group there is no guarantee that you will return. Many people live in poverty, their lives filled with dull labor and nothing else."

    Liz raised an eyebrow, "then why do you people still live there, and like that? Why stay in that horrible place."

    Kat let out a sigh, it was a question Eriaduans heard quite often in their lives. "Because it's our horrible place. When our ancestors first came there, their live was a struggle, but they made it work, they made the world theirs, defended it with their blood and strength. They made something out of it. And now it's our home the place where our hearts are, I served many years in the military to protect my homeworld." She made a pause, "maybe I can show it to you one day."

    Liz grinned, "sounds like a deal." During their meal Kat asked about Ilona but all Liz´s parents could tell her was that she had left to take a walk through the woods.

    "Then we might not see her before tonight, Ilona likes being in the wilderness." Kat said as they left the tavern.

    The afternoon went similar to the morning and Kat's excitement only grew as they visited further places, including a printing house, the place where the books they had seen yesterday were made. As the sun was sinking behind the woods the two women began heading back to the tavern, Kat was excited to tell Ilona about all she had learned today.

    But before they got there they were approached by a local who quietly exchanged some words with Liz. After he left she turned back to Kat, who could see concern and worry on her face.

    "The Duchess has invited the two of us for dinner tonight," she said as if she couldn't believe it.

    "Does something like that happen usually?" Kat asked, wondering if she should feel honored or concerned. It did unnerve her a bit that the planets ruler apparently already knew they where here. But then again it was world that only rarely housed strangers.

    "Now and then," Liz said, her face relaxing a bit. "She tends to meet strangers when they stay here for a while. Guess to hear about what's going on in the galaxy."

    Kat allowed herself a smile, "well then best we fulfill her wish." She felt how a wave of excitement overcame her, now that she could meet the mysterious ruler of this word in person. If she truly is a cult leader, at least I know when to leave then. "Guess Ilona will have to wait a bit for us tonight."



    @ZV-83
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
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  11. Adalia-Durron

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

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    And...............?

    Cults, Dutchess's, deception sensed!
     
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  12. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Yeah, suspected that would raise some eyebrows. ;)


    Six

    "You... you have?" Ilona asked, unsure if she had understood it correctly. This was getting weirder with every minute and her hand clutched itself around the hilt of her hunting knife.

    "The omens they never lie," the man said as he rose to his feet and turned around to her. His face was weathered, that of a man who had spend most of his life in the wilds. In a way he reminded Ilona of her father but there was something on him that brought back other, darker memories. The man's eyes where cloudy, as if he had problems properly seeing with them. "A huntress would come, from beyond the stars," the man continued. "traveling with others, unaware of the danger, until its almost too late. And now, here you are."

    Ilona felt a cold shiver running down her spine, is he force sensitive or how else can he know... and what danger? "Do you mean the creature out there?" She asked, as she threw a glance over her shoulder though the still open door, but once again could see nothing but shadows.

    For a moment the old main said nothing but a glance of sadness came across his face. "What you've encountered out there, it's not the kind of prey you usually hunt. You might have felt it yourself..."

    Ilona thought about this for a moment, trying to remind herself of the chase. She had been hunted by monstrous creatures before, on Eriadu every hunting trip was a real danger. But what had been different here? The rattling breath, the way the creature moved, there had been something... desperate in its pursuit of her. "Its suffering isn't it?" Ilona asked.

    The old man nodded, "yes, its life has been nothing but pain since the day it was born. In its torment it now knows nothing but aggression for those who stumble across its territory."

    "But what is it? Why is it in agony?" Ilona wanted to know, to understand.

    "It was born from foul magic and cursed sorcery." The older human said. "Whatever it had been before was twisted and turned, until it became unrecognizable."

    "Who did this?"

    "The people on this world call her the Duchess, but she has been known by many names to many different people. She created the creature as a guardian, but lets it roam the woods while she doesn't need it." The old man stepped aside of her and closed the door before sitting down at a small table, gesturing Ilona to do the same.

    After a moment of hesitation she followed his gesture. "What is going on, on this world?" She asked, believing it was this question her host wanted her to ask. "Dark things, for a long time now. You and your friend you are in danger."

    Ilona froze, "is the creature still after me? Or going after Kat?"

    "No, at least not at the moment."

    Ilona felt how panic and frustration grew inside of her, so she slammed her fists on the table. "Stop this, if you talk in riddles I understand absolute nothing. What is going on here, why are we in danger?"

    The man looked up to her, not angry, not even offended. He made a pause, so long Ilona had almost gotten up and left. "The ruler of this world, the Duchess, she has ruled this world for many moons now, longer than anyone here can remember." he then said, slowly. "She knows dark sorceries that allow her to stop herself from ageing, but these powers require sacrifice."

    "You mean she is killing people to keep herself young? Is this a Force skill?" Ilona had never heard of any of this but given what she had seen... maybe it was true after all.

    "Yes," the old man said. "She takes her victims young and strong and leeches of their life essence, some of it also effects her subjects, they still age but slower than regular humans."

    Ilona shivered, this all seemed to unlikely, so insane but thinking back to the creature she had felt in the woods... "And she wants to sacrifice me or Kat?"

    Again the old man nodded, "yes, that trader who brought you here. She has been paid by the Duchess to bring in strangers and to ensure no one will come looking for them. And she is not the only one, but if no outsiders are brought in the sacrifice will be made from her own people."

    "How do you know all of this? Who are you?" Ilona continued her questions.

    The man lowered his head, "I`m a outcast, driven into exile by her a long time ago."

    "Why?"

    The old man shook his head. "I don’t want to talk about it."

    Ilona stood up, this was takeing too long "I have to leave, if it's true what you say, then my friend is in danger and I have to aid her."

    She took her comlink from her belt, hopefully she could still reach Kat and if not her than at least someone to organize help. But she as she tried to activate it nothing happened. Scared Ilona began hammering on the buttons but nothing happened. It didn’t look damaged but it seemed something had happened, or someone...

    "If you go out there, the creature will kill you, or the Duchess will." The old man warned her.

    "I have to take the risk," Ilona said firmly as she left the hut. "You can come with me and help me or don’t but I will go."

    She didn´t wait for an answer as she headed into the dark to confront whatever was hiding in the night.

    He didn’t follow her, but she hadn’t expected anything else. Whoever he was, probably some old lunatic, he probably wouldn´t be much of a help anyway. If there even was a danger, so far, she hadn’t seen anything, had only heard the creatures breathing and found her comlink not functioning. Maybe this is the greatest joke of all time. But then as she was almost convinced it was, she heard the creature again. And it was moving towards her.

    Ilona raised her blaster and fired, her hunting instincts telling her to not give it any time. In the light of the blaster shots, she saw it for the first time. It was a large creature, its pale flesh covered with wounds, scars and bruises. Remnants of what might have once been fur where found in-between. In the creature’s face Ilona could see a colossal bloody beak and birdlike eyes. Yet so much the creature didn’t look like bird. It seemed more as if the being had been patched together of several creatures and then enlarged. She wasn’t sure why but this made Ilona angry, the old man had been right, this creatures existence was nothing but agony, and whoever had created it was without any doubt cruel and sadistic to do something like that to a living being. Her first blast shots did little but to enrage the creature further. And as it got closer Ilona jumped to the side, made a roll on the forest floor to get out of its reach and fired again. On Eriadu in the wilderness there were some creatures who only got angry when you shot at them with a blaster seemed this creature was similar. Deciding to aim for its head then Ilona continued her assault, driven to finally end the creatures suffering. It struck after her with its claws, longer and sharper than of any animal Ilona had ever seen. Dodging between two close trees Ilona once again got a bit of distance between herself and the monster, firing blindly at it to further its rage. Her planed worked as the creature jumped after her and... got stuck between the trees.

    Ilona noticed how it instantly began to struggle and she knew the trees wouldn´t be able to take this forever, she had to make the next shoots count. Taking a deep breath, she raised her blaster and fire directly at the creature’s head, right between its eyes. With every shot the struggling worsened, but after she had fired a dozen or so it began to stop, the creature collapsed, still stuck between the now heavily damaged trees. But it didn’t die, the breathing continued, and the eyes, the pitch-black nothingness between them seemed to look at Ilona. Pity overcame her once more and so she stepped closer, holstering her blaster and drawing her knife. As she reached the creatures head, she softly placed her free hand on its beak, "it's okay, you’ve almost made it. The pain will be over soon." She patted the beak, "I’m sorry for what happened to you, if I can I will make those responsible for your pain pay." Then she stepped closer, to the creature’s chest, where she could feel its large, racing heart. "I’m sorry," she muttered again as she drove her blade right into it.

    After cleaning the blood off her as good as she could Ilona turned away from the creature with a last sad glance. And readied herself for what was ahead. But as she turned, she saw someone was watching her. The old man stood, only a few meters away and it seemed as if he had been there the entire time.

    "So, you did it, the omens said you would, but I couldn´t believe it."

    "You have been watching me?"Ilona asked.

    "Yes," he responded.

    "You might stand a chance to save your friend after all it seems."

    "Will you come with me then?"

    "Yes, but not to the city, you would never get past the duchess followers, but I can show you the place she going to sacrifice your friend."


    Tag: @ZV-83
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
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  13. ZV-83

    ZV-83 Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Dec 7, 2020
    Great fight scene between Ilona and the creature @Anedon =D=
     
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  14. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Seven

    Liz was struggling with herself as they made their way towards the Duchess' tower. She had been debating this the entire day, had hoped they would have more time, just one more day might have been enough. Usually the duchess didn't invite strangers to her place this early, usually giving them at least a week or two on the planet but this? Maybe it wouldn't happen today, Liz told herself, maybe it was just a regular meeting.

    "Is everything alright?" Kat asked her.

    Liz couldn't even look at her, "yeah, just... just a bit nervous, at meeting the Duchess."

    It wasn't a lie, but it wasn't what she should have said. It was as if she was torn apart on the inside, until the messenger arrived she had planned to inform Kat and Ilona of the danger tonight once they were in private. Then the two young women would have been able to leave the world before the danger became too big, without directly implicating Liz. But now? On the one hand where Kat, a woman who had become a friend, maybe even more to her, and Ilona who she also couldn't hate despite her drunken slip up. But on the other was her family, her parents, her little brother and her very own life that where on the line.

    You are a coward, Liz, she told herself and it was true. She knew she should do something, but felt unable to do so. Worse, yesterday she had even considered going to the Duchess and suggesting only Ilona for sacrifice so Kat would be spared. Now Liz felt sick, beyond sick. No matter what she would do, the blood of people she cared about was on her hands. They entered the tower and where greeted by two serving girls. Liz had served the duchess for a decade herself in the past, she was a strict but still fair person to work under and it had been a honorable position, something she had been proud of.

    See you had no trouble with sacrificing people as long as they weren't cute girls you had a crush on. She felt disgusted by herself, knowing that it was true. She was a horrible person. Climbing up some stairs they soon found themselves in a dining room filled with candles.

    "Nice," Kat said her eyes wandering over the exquisite furniture and carpets that filled the walls.

    "I'm glad you like it," the voice of a good looking woman had both of them turn around.

    The Duchess didn't give away her true age, but instead looked like a woman in her early thirties, her dark hair tied to a braid, she was dressed in a fine black silken dress that would have been considered provocative, especially for a noble. It somehow relieved Liz that Kat wasn't stunned by it.

    She knew what would follow, she had watched it many times, the Duchess loved to play with her victims one way or another. Sometimes she had even taken a young man or woman to bed for the night before they would be sacrificed the next day. Her bad feelings only got worse as now even jealousy added itself to them. Looking around the room she noticed a sword hanging over the fireplace and a dangerous thought began to form inside of her mind. It was pure suicide, but it came with a tiny glimmer of hope.

    "I do," Kat said as she gave the Duchess a polite bow. "Katharina Ricter, I'm honored by your invitation your grace."

    The Duchess gave Kat a seductive smile. "Well how couldn't I invite someone like you, who is not only attractive but also so well mannered."

    "You have to excuse my outfit," Kat said. "Didn't expect meeting royalty."

    There was something in her voice that seemed utterly wrong to Liz, this wasn't the Kat she had gotten to know in the last 24 hours. The Duchess was influencing her mind. It was the only explanation.

    "Don't worry about that dear, I have plenty of dresses to fit you," she took Kat's arm, "will let you pick one of them."

    "Thanks, that is very nice," Kat mumbled, almost as if she was talking in her sleep.

    Liz grew more and more worried if every second, knowing full well where this was going. When she looked into Kat's eyes they where lifeless, glassy even.

    The Duchess smiled, running a finger down Kat's cheek, leering at her. "We'll have a great night together." With that she leaned forward and kissed Kat on her mouth. Kat didn't return the gesture but also didn't try to push her away, it seems as if she barely reacted to it at all.

    Liz had had enough, she didn't care for herself anymore and everything was better than doing nothing. The forced kiss was the final straw. She turned to the fireplace and pulled the sword from it.

    "Let her go!" She ordered, her voice stern and commanding. For a moment the Duchess just stared at her, almost in disbelief, Liz used this to step closer and point the sword directly at her throat.

    "Let her go," she said again. The words seemed to reach Kat who started to blink, stumbled two steps back and looked at them half confused, has angry.

    "What did you do to me?" she asked, looking at the duchess directly.

    "I wanted to make this easy for you, child," the duchess said, softly. "Wanted to give you a final happy evening before, well..."

    "She wants to kill you," Liz yelled, not holding anything back anymore. "you and Ilona. It's a sacrifice."

    "Liz, dear..." the duchess looked directly at her, disappointed and Liz felt how her mental fingers touched her mind.

    "After all we shared you betray me? I expected better of you, thought we had a bond."

    "We never had anything," Liz said angrily, "I was nothing but a toy for you, just like everyone else on the planet."

    All the frustration, the hurt feelings and the never-ending fear of the Duchess, it all broke out of her in these words. While she had worked here, and shared the duchess' bed she had believed their Lady ruler loved her, cared for them, but it was nothing but a lie.

    The Duchess face turned dark, "so, this is how you see me? Have you told her what I did for you? For anyone on this world? How I eradicated the pirates? How I heal sicknesses? How I allowed you do live longer than all other humans? It disgusts me how ungrateful you are. Is it just because you are into that little off worlder? What did she ever do for you?"

    Kat looked from one to the other, her head still dizzy from the mental manipulations. But she did realize that, whatever she had intended before Liz was on her side and so she stepped next to her.

    "She treats me like a human being for once." Liz responded, her hands around the sword hilt shaking.

    The Duchess grinned, "like a human you say? Your standards have gone low. But as you wish, then share her fate."

    She made a gesture and both Liz and Kat where thrown of their feet by an invisible push. Liz lost her grip on the sword as she fell on her back. She saw a flash of lighting and a sword materialized in the Duchess' hand, the blade made from blue energy.

    "Jedi..." Kat muttered and the Duchess laughed. "I was a Jedi, a long time ago, before they try to take everything from me."

    "Please," Liz said, desperately trying to achieve at least some good. "I volunteer for sacrifice, but let Kat and Ilona go."

    This was it, she was ready to die, ready to give her own guilt ridden life so no others would have to suffer.

    But the Duchess shook her head, "her little friend went into the woods and is pretty much dead already. And we could never have her keep her mouth shut about this. Now you two lovebirds chose to be together, so be it, you will burn together."

    With that lighting shot from her hand, hitting both Liz and Kat. Both women screamed in pain for a few moments before they lost consciousness.



    When Kat awoke she found herself in a dark, tiny cell. Liz was laying next to her, slowly awakening as well. Both of them had been dressed in long, white robes. Robes that reminded Kat of a picture of a human sacrifice she had seen in a history book a long time ago. "Liz..." Kat muttered.

    "I´m sorry," she said, as tears began to run down her cheeks. "I'm so sorry, this is all my fault. I'm a terrible person."

    Kat sat herself up and placed her hand on Liz's shoulder, "but you helped me.... What is going on, on this world?"

    Liz sighted and began to tell her. She told Kat of the Duchess' sacrifices, how if possible she would take strangers but if not she would choose amongst her own people. She talked about the obedience the duchess required from all her subjects, and the cruel punishments she put on those who try to stand against her. And, with her tears becoming worse, she told Kat of her own part in the duchess`s actions, of the ten years she had spend in this tower, serving the duchess in any way she required. Liz knew it would destroy any of the bond between them, that Kat would have nothing but hatred for her afterwards, but knew Kat deserved to hear the truth.

    After she had finished Kat said nothing for a moment.

    Then she pulled Liz into a hug. Liz was too shocked to return it.

    "Why?" she didn´t understand.

    "You where a slave Liz," Kat muttered. "As you said you where nothing but an object to her, who knows how she was messing with your brain. To make you love her, serve her, take part in her actions."

    In truth Kat felt nothing but sorry for Liz, sorry for the life stolen from her, from all the people on this world.

    "So you don't hate me?" Liz asked as they moved back from the hug.

    Kat shook her head, "no, meet slaves before who thought like you, who blamed themselves. I feel sorry for you."

    "But I didn't warn you, nor anyone else."

    "Your family was on the line, if I had been in your position I would have done the same. And as you said, if you had a few more hours you would have warned us."

    Liz couldn't believe it, it made her glad but at the same time only more ashamed. "Guess it doesn´t matter now anyway, we are both going to die."

    Kat gave her a small smile, "Ilona is still out there, and the wildness creature to kill her still needs to be born, she will come back for us, she never leaves anyone behind."

    Tag: @ZV-83
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
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  15. ZV-83

    ZV-83 Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Dec 7, 2020
    Ohhh a Jedi a long time ago, interesting! Can't wait to see how this goes =D=
     
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  16. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Thanks, yeah there is quite a bit of backstory there to be uncovered. :)


    Eight

    Ilona and her new friend moved quickly through the dark forest. She kept her blaster holstered but on hand at the hilt at all times. She wasn´t sure if the creature she had killed was truly the only one of its kind. She prayed to the gods it was but didn´t allow herself to be too sure of the whole thing. "This Duchess," she asked instead.

    "Who is she? Where did she come from?" The first step in both a hunt or a battle where always information's and so far Ilona knew barely anything out her foe.

    "She came from the stars, generations ago," the old man explained.

    Ilona couldn't help but notice how fast and agile he was in his movements, how he in the complete darkness of the forest seemed to be able to sense where obstacles like thick tree roots where located. It reminded her of Marie, and only underlined her believe that he was indeed force sensitive like her sister in law.

    "She was a member of the Jedi order," her guide continued after a while. "A brave soul, she saved many lives during her day."

    For a moment Ilona thought of Jacen Solo, and the stories she had heard of his heroisms after the Vong War, and the tyrant he had become during the Second Galactic civil war. One story amongst many similar with the Jedi order.

    "What happened? Why did she become the way she is now?"

    The old man kept silent for a moment, as they jumped across a small creek. Ilona felt how the ground beneath their feet slowly rose, as they made their way deeper and deeper into mountainous terrain. She had long since lost any sense of direction and was now fully in her guides hand. "A child," he said as they continued their way.

    "During a quest on a world like this, a distant one. She met a man, they had an affair. They didn't intend to have a child, but it happened, she got pregnant."

    Ilona had read about the old Jedi forbidding relationships of their members, and had always guessed most had probably broken that vow in secret. She thought of what Alec and Lena had told her about the old order and was glad for them the new one didn´t follow these ideals.

    "I suspect the order wasn´t happy?" Ilona asked.

    As she caught a glimpse of the old man´s face in the pale moonlight she saw sadness upon it.

    "No, they wanted her to kill the child before it had even been born."

    Ilona´s face turned dark, so much for guardians of peace and justice. "Couldn´t she have given the child up for adoption at least? Or have the father raise it on his own?" She asked, shivering a bit and slowed down for a moment.

    The old man slowly shook his head as he waited for her to catch up. "The father, he had died, saving her and the child´s life near the end of her quest. And the order worried, if the child was out there somewhere she would go look for him. For her son."

    Ilona nodded slowly, if someone were to take her child away she would probably spend the rest of her life seeking for it. "But she was right to do so, it was her kid!"

    The old man´s face was in shadow as he nodded slowly, then the two continued their way, now at a walking pace.

    "Yes, so she left the order, had her child." Ilona let out a sigh of relief but, given about whom they were talking she felt that the worst was still to come. For a moment there was silence between them, then her guide continued.

    "But, the Jedi, they don't forget those who leave their order, especially if they have children." A terrible thought crept into Ilona's mind and she shook her head, no that couldn't be true! But she knew it would be, in history class she had learned that the Jedi order had the right to force any parent...

    "They cast her out of the order for having a child... but then came back to take the child from her when it was discovered to be force sensitive?"

    "Yes, and by the law of the Republic she had to give up her son."

    Ilona's stomach turned, feeling nothing but disgust.

    "But she wouldn't give up her child, so the two fled, in the dark of night." The old man said after a while, and Ilona got the feeling he sensed her complete disgust at the Jedi orders actions, not only through her words but also the force.

    Another thought came to her mind, but she kept it to herself, for now.

    "She came here, just seeking a quiet life," the story continued. "At first it seemed to work, but soon new problems arose."

    They stopped at the bottom of a tall cliff, in which, as Ilona could now see, primitive steps had been carved. Carefully the old man began climbing up them and Ilona followed.

    "Pirates and sicknesses plagued the world, and still having a good heart, she chose to help. She killed several pirate leaders and used her Force skills to heal the plagues around here. Soon the people saw her as a savior, a protector, aDuchess."

    Ilona nodded once more, that made sense, especially on a world as this a skilled force user would be able to gain admiration.

    "For years she was a just ruler. But the fear, it remained there. The fear the Jedi would find her, take her and her child away. And she wanted to do more, for her people, to protect them."

    Ilona's foot slipped as the step beneath it broke but before she could even react a strong hand held her in balance. Age might have caught up with her guide but he was still strong and must have been a well trained man in his youth.

    "Thanks," she said as they continued their climb, now even more careful.

    "Over the years she became obsessed with what she had," the old man continued. "The love she had held for her people, her son even, it turned into obsession. And obsession to keep everything as it was for all time. So no one would ever take anything for her again. And in the hoard of one of the pirate lords she slew she found it. Old scrolls of the Sith Order, detailing forbidden rituals"

    For a while they continued their climb in silence while Ilona processed what she had learned so far. It made sense to her, love could lead to obsession and power, it could go to anyone's head. She remembered what Tobin had told her about his uncle. Even the best of intentions can lead straight to hell.

    "At first, it where pirates and criminals she sacrificed people who had tried to her hurt her people. But then, as time went on more and more blood was needed..." he made a pause. "What she is doing, it isn't creating life, for the darkness cannot create, only steal. So she began to take strangers, paying traders to bring them here. And if they didn't suffice she would choose a youth from her own people. With their blood she gave herself and her son eternal youth, as well as health and prosperity to her people."

    They had reached the top of the cliff and looked back for a moment. The moon now stood high over the forest and in the distance Ilona could see the duchess tower in the middle of the town. And she saw something else. Small light dots in the night, between the trees, moving towards the mountain they had climbed up to.

    "Are those torches?" She asked and her guide nodded.

    "The procession has begun, but we will be at the site before them." He turned around and lead her through another piece of woodland.

    "Over the years her greed and cruelty grew, where she had once just killed her victims now she began to play with them, torture them. She would take youths from the town as servants, slaves to fulfill her needs and desires."

    "And her son? Is he still with her?" Ilona asked but in her hearth she already knew the answer. The old man turned towards her and a weak smile appeared on his face.

    "You already know what happened to him, do you? I am Johannes, the Duchess, Dorothea Nays is my mother."

    Ilona nodded, so her instinct had been right.

    "Why did you help me? Why do you go against your mother."

    The smile disappeared and the sadness returned. In this pale moonlight he looked old, old like death itself.

    "Over the years I grew disgusted with her actions. The mother who had sacrificed anything for me, who loved me. With every moon she seemed to fade, bit by bit. Where once had been love between us now I more and more became an object to her, while more and more I saw the depths she was willing to go to get what she wants. I saw what she had become and realized that, in time I would become like her, a creature controlled only by desire. And so I ran away, secluded myself. For many decades I stayed in the forest, living on my own, well with the exception of the creature my mother created to what over me. It never attacked me, but anyone else coming close to where I live. I felt its suffering, but was unable to do anything about it. But in my isolation, I dreamed, of things that where, things that are and things that might come in the future. I saw you. A huntress from the stars, heading to save her friends. I saw you would give peace to the creature who has been my jailor for so long...."

    Ilona looked up, "have you seen what will happen tonight? How this will end."

    For a long time he said nothing, but then the trees stopped on both sides and they looked down, down into a small valley at the side of the mountain. There at the bottom of it was a grassy field, surrounded by a circle of large rocks. And in the middle of the circle stood something Ilona at first didn´t recognize, a large creature made of wood and straw. She had seen beings like this before, in the rituals of the Eriaduan old gods. A Wicker Man.

    "I have," the old man said finally, as if every word caused him pain. Tears stood in his eyes. "Ilona Malek, do you know the worst sin is a human can commit?"

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    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
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  17. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Nine

    Kat took a deep breath and counted to five before letting the air out of her lungs again. It was the third time now she repeated this and she felt how her heartbeat once more began to slow down and her thoughts became clear. She had been in difficult situations before but there things had been different, the threat had been more direct and she herself had at least a chance to fight. Now it seemed her fate was sealed, or at least not in her hands anymore.

    And it wasn't just hers. After a dark hour in the cell, she and Liz had been knocked out again, only to find themselves here, in this dark valley overshadowed by a large mountain. Surrounded by a ring of stone and locked inside this giant wicker man. Outside, between them and the ring of stone a second ring, one of torches illuminated the scenery.

    Even though the wicker man was made from wood and straw there was no escape for her, being located within the right side of the creation was surrounded by a cage made of solid wood that she couldn´t move or break.

    To the left of her Liz was stuck inside a similar prison and to the left of her Kat saw a young man, he looked barely out of his teens but on this world Kat suspected he was older than he looked. She had seen him before, at the tavern and now she knew he was indeed Liz`s younger brother Georg. The Duchess' servants had taken him shortly after the confrontation at her tower.

    "They were alive when I last saw them," he told his sister. "They tried to stop the Duchess and her maids from taking me, but they were beaten."

    Liz let out a cry of anger.

    "They aren't dead, at least from what I could see." Her brother assured her but Kat heard the fear inside his voice. Each sibling had stuck an arm outside of their respective cage and now they held hands to give each other strength and comfort in their last hour.

    "I'm sorry," Kat said to them. If she hadn´t attached herself to Liz at least she and her brother would have been spared, she could have at least saved them.

    "You don't have to," Liz said as she turned towards her, her eyes filled with tears. "This is all my fault, I knew what would happen to you, I could have warned you, done something to save you. But I was too afraid."

    He crying became worse and she began to sob. Her brother quietly talking to her but Kat couldn't understand what he was saying. So, for the moment she turned her gaze to the outside. The Duchess was there, and a handful of her maids.

    The girls wore leather armor like hunting clothes but when she looked into their eyes, whenever one directly approached the Wicker Man Kat noticed something was wrong. It seemed as a if a shadow or a cloud was inside them. She remembered what Liz had told her about the Duchess and how she kept her servants in line. Had these girls been brainwashed as well? They looked about the same age as Liz's brother and Kat didn't want to even think what the Duchess had them do for her other than assisting with the sacrifice.

    "Please," she muttered to one of them, a freckled redhead who had stepped a little closer. "You don't have to do this. Don't you see she is using you? You can be free of her, if you help us this nightmare can end."

    The redheads face didn't give away any emotion, she just stared blankly at Kat as if she couldn't even hear her. For a moment Kat thought back to the moment in the dining room, when the Duchess had forced herself into her mind.

    She had become so enamored with her all of her resistances had been broken down in an instant. How she had just wanted to submit herself to this woman, do everything she would ever ask her to do. She didn't even want to think how someone must feel who experienced this for years on end. Liz eventually managed to get over it, but how long did it take? And even then her friend was clearly still haunted by all of this.

    Kat raised her glance and looked directly at the Duchess.

    She now wore a wide dark blue robe and in her hair a crown made of leaves. Her long dark hair loosened and wild. She remembered Kat of a picture she had once seen of ancient pagan priests and wondered if she had styled herself deliberately this way or if whatever forbidden magic she used required it.

    "You can't do this," she yelled at their captor. "Ilona and I have friends who will miss us, powerful friends, who can lay your little tower to waste within minutes, if you kill us, their vengeance will destroy you."

    It was a last ditch effort, the last hope she had, outside of Ilona somehow coming to their aid. But will it do anything? The Duchess might have thought ahead of the possibility, or she might be too crazy to care.

    A smile grew on her opponents face. "How would they find out? My dear friend Xora will let them knows how you two tragically died to a pirate attack while traveling on her ship, far away from this world."

    So Xora had been in on it, that gave a sting to Kat's heart, and she could only shake her head for having been attacked to the captain. She truly must have been a great actor, had even given her a few extra credits for the 'good work' she and Ilona had done on her ship. All of that had been nothing but an act?

    Kat lowered her head, this would be the end then, they would die here, to an insane cult at the edge of the galaxy.

    She saw how the Duchess picked up one of the torches and approached them. It was time. Turning back to Liz she squeezed and arm through her cage and touched Liz's shoulder. Liz looked up and Kat gave her a reassuring look.

    "Look at me," she said, then she began to pray. It was an old prayer forgotten in most parts of the galaxy but here, in this situation with their deaths being only moments away Kat hoped it would give her, Liz and Georg a final comfort. "Mother goddess, protect us in the darkness, take away our fear, heal our pain. Lead us into your embrace, for if we walk on your path we do not fear death, nor cold or pain. For you are with us in every moment, on every step of our ways from our first day to our last...." she continued.

    Talking and keeping her eyes fixated on her fellow captives to prevent them, and herself from looking at their captors. Her heart was racing inside her chest and she felt how she shivered. She could hear the torch, the all destroying fire coming closer and closer and when she came to the final part of the prayer, "send your Valkyrie's to strike down our foes and take vengeance on those who committed sins against your name, so we might live free and in peace."

    Almost as she had finished speaking a voice echoed through the ring of stones. A voice strong and commanding.

    "Let them go!"

    When Kat turned her head she saw the Duchess standing now directly beneath them, but even she had turned towards the voice.

    There between the stones stood someone and for a moment Kat believed it was truly a Valkyrie who had come to save them. The woman's pale skin was illuminated by the light of the torches, being a stark contrast to her dark boots, pants, tank top and hair.

    Raising her blaster Ilona Malek stepped into the ring. Displaying a courage and confidence Kat had never seen in her friend before.

    "Let them go!" Ilona commanded again, pointing her blaster straight at the Duchess' chest.

    Tag: @ZV-83
     
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  18. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Ten

    For a second Ilona saw real surprise on the Duchess' face but then it turned into an amused smirk. "Look at that, you are tougher than I thought, I could have use for a woman with your talents."

    As angry as she was at the audacity of this offer Ilona had to give it to the Duchess: she was truly skilled at adapting to a situation. Then she felt it, the presence at the edge of her mind, the mental fingers touching her mind, trying to break into it, and Ilona was ready.

    The smirk on the Duchess´ face vanished as she felt herself repelled from her opponents mind. This woman was stronger than non Force users usually where and there was something else, another presence.

    "Sorry but I prefer to keep my mind to myself," Ilona said. "I've seen what you do to your `pets` out there."

    "Well then," she said as her smile returned, though much darker. "I tried, kill her." Ilona saw as the maids turned their heads towards her and remembered what Johannes had told her. They are brainwashed, as much victims as the creature in the woods.

    She fired her blaster at the knee of the first girl who broke down on the ground howling in pain, but taking them down non lethally took much more time than simply shoot them. As the girl screamed the three captives inside the wicker man began to scream as well as they struggled against their prison, causing the massive straw creature to shriek as well. Iona took a second maid down with a stun shoot before the other tree reached her.

    She slammed her blaster against the freckled redheads face, throwing the young woman on her back while blood began to shoot from her nose. Then Ilona lost her blaster as a blonde woman ripped it from her hands, while her brunette companion slammed her fist into Ilona's stomach. Gasping for air Ilona allowed herself to fall to the ground yet did a roll to get a bit of distance between herself and her enemies. Standing up she spread her legs and raised her fist to go into a fighting stance. She was relieved to see that neither of the two women had bothered to pick up her blaster, instead they circled her with their own fists raised. The Duchess herself still stood close to the wicker man, the torch in her hand, looking more amused than anything at the situation.

    She is playing with me,
    Ilona knew, but that had been the idea.

    Grabbing her hunting knife from her belt she turned around and threw it at her true enemy. The Duchess´ smile only grew as she redirected the weapon effortlessly with her Force powers, so it bounced harmlessly off the wicker man. But it had done its purpose as the gazes of the last two maids where both drawn back to their mistress for a moment. Time enough for Ilona to jump at the blonde woman and slam her fist into her side, followed by an elbow in the back caused the young woman to break down in the cool grass.

    They aren't soldiers, this is almost too easy.


    The last maid threw herself at Ilona but she was able to effortlessly dodge the attack and instead tackled her to the ground, where she took her out of the fight with a punch to the solar plexus. She felt guilty over the pain she caused them but it was still better than using lethal force.

    Standing up again she faced the Duchess, now unarmed, but her blaster was near, she just needed. The Force push hit her like a speeder crashing into her at full speed and Ilona flew through the air before slamming against one of the rocks creating the outer cycle. The air was pushed out of her lungs and she was sure to have at least a few of her ribs broken as she sank to the ground. At least turning her head away at the last second had saved it from greater damage.

    "You are brave, have to hand it to you," the Duchess said as she slowly approached her downed and coughing opponent. "But there is a difference between bravery and utter suicide, like coming here, all on your own."

    "She isn't alone," Johannes said, as he stepped out of the shadows on the other side of the ring.

    Raising his hand he directed it at the wicker man and reached out with the force. In the last two minutes, while all eyes had been on Ilona and her fight he had already used it to weaken the stability of the straw creature and how with a single, strong pull it broke, the wicker man broke into his knees as its wooden bones where shattered.

    Johannes heard the gasps of the three captives but could only hope they hadn't sustained any major injuries, while he jumped over the remains and faced his main target, the Duchess, his own mother.

    "Johannes," the smile returned once more, this time it was open and for a moment Johannes almost saw a tiny sliver of the mother he had loved in her. But as she stepped closer he saw the same void in her eyes that had made him run away from her in the first place. As she approached her son she used the force to knock the still screaming maid unconscious so she could talk to him uninterrupted.

    "It's so great to see you again, I'm sure you missed me." It was almost surreal, how she ignored everything that had just happened around them. Johannes had expected her to yell at him, or she would try to influence his mind. But this, her acting like a mother glad to see her child again was almost even more terrifying. "Did you meet this girl in the woods? You should have told me you have a fondness for her, do you want her? I give her to you. You can live with me again and we can be a family again, wouldn't that be nice."

    Johannes didn't even knew what to say, he knew his mother had lost herself but this? This was nothing but insanity.

    "Mother, I don't want her, she doesn't belong to me and certainly not you."

    His mother raised an eyebrow, "I´m sorry, I just thought it might make you happy, maybe we can find another girl in town for you? Or a boy if that's what you want?"

    "Mother!" he now yelled, almost demanding her to attack him, as he drew his knife.

    Her smile faded and her eyes became cold again, "so this is it? You are here to kill me? Your own mother? Do you even know what you are doing?" He knew, the kinslayer was dammed in the eyes of gods and men. But it was more than that, as he stepped closer memories filled his mind on every step. His mother gifting him a wood saber and playfully fighting with him, his mother telling him stories about Jedi Knights and their adventures beneath the Stars, him and his mother hunting together in the woods. He made another step.

    "I gave everything to you, all I ever did was for you!" She now yelled as well. "The sacrifices it was for us! So we could be a family forever, so we never have to hide or feel ashamed for what we are again. I just wanted you to be happy."

    Johannes knew she was right with that, but that only made it worse, it meant that the blood, it was on his hands too, he never wanted it, but it had happened, because of him.

    "And this is how you thank me for all this? Trying to kill me? Your own mother?" Johannes had reached her, and still she made no efforts in trying to defend herself. The memories before his eyes faded and instead he saw the vision that had haunted his nightmares for decades now. He would take his knife and stab his mother into the heart, ending her terror once and for all. He had prayed every day of his life it wouldn't come to this.

    But then Ilona had showed up at his hut, and she had killed the creature. He knew this was how it was going to end. Tears began to run over his face, he couldn´t do this. Even after all she had done, she was still his mother. A mother he loved, still loved for the good person she had been, not the monster she had become. In that moment he knew he couldn´t do it, and would never be able to, no matter what happened.

    His hand lost his grip around the knife and it fell to the ground.

    The smirk returned on his mothers face, "I knew you wouldn't have it in you to murder me," she said licking her lips. "Don't be afraid child... These strangers turned you against me. But that's over, we kill them and we can be a family again. I will protect you..."

    He felt how her mental fingers touched his mind. But he was to broken to keep his shield standing. Johannes began to struggle, no, he wouldn't become her slave, but her grip around his mind was iron.

    "I will make the pain go away, just let me show you the tru..." The voice was cut of, and the grip around his mind broke, as he looked up he saw blood running out of her mouth, her hands clutched around something in her chest. It wasn't his knife, but instead Ilona's hunting dagger.

    Liz was breathing heavily as she looked at the duchess with cold eyes, piercing her just as the dagger she had thrown a moment earlier. She had found it on the ground once she had finally been able to entangle herself from the remains of the wicker man. And she had instantly known what to do with it. Looking at the woman who had caused her so much pain she felt a relief coming over her, the relief of a slave watching her slaver die.

    Johannes came back on his feed gently placing an arm around his dying mother as tears fell from his eyes.

    "Johannes," she muttered as more and more blood started running out of her mouth. He saw glimmers of life in the darkness between her eyes, the last remnant of the bond they once shared.

    "It's okay mom," he said, taking her. "I'm here, it's over." For a moment their eyes looked onto each other, than with a bloody final smile Dorothea Nays died.

    "I love you mom," he muttered so quiet no one else could hear it.

    Disheveled, freezing and silent Ilona, Liz, Kat, Johannes and Georg stood in the middle of the ring of fire, the Duchess´ maids still moaning on the ground or unconscious. Then Liz embraced her brother while the two Eriaduan girls embraced each other. Glad that it was over, glad to be alive. Ilona saw how Johannes knelt down and picked up the body of his mother and carried her over to the remnants of the wicker man. Laying her down upon it he took one of the torches and laid fire to the straw and wood. Then he knelt down and lowered his head, a son paying the last respects to his mother. Feeling sadness for him Ilona approached him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

    "A funeral worthy of a Jedi," she said quietly and he nodded.

    "I'm sorry this had to happen." Johannes nodded slowly as he stood up again.

    "I can only pray she finds peace in the afterlife."

    Ilona nodded slowly, "if she comes to regret her actions, the goddess will forgive her." She knew Johannes didn't share her gods but wanted to say at least something.

    She knew the duchess had done terrible things, but having heard her story, having spoken with her son still made her feel sorry for her.

    Tag: @ZV-83
     
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  19. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Eleven

    "Seems always when 'm not there you get into trouble," Tobin said with a small smile as he and Ilona stood at the balcony of the Duchess's tower and looked down towards the city.

    "Don't claim now you had to rescue me from it," Ilona responded with a grin. "You brave knight only arrived after the battle was long over."

    "Well if you don't require my help I can leave once more, I'm sure a trader will come here in a few months or so. If the pirates don't get you first."

    After the Duchess´ death they had made their way back to the town, the tied up maids in tow. There in the Duchess´ tower they had thankfully found a working communications system that had allowed them to call for help. The message of the Duchess´ death had spread and for a while the city had nearly devolved into a riot. But thankfully two days later Tobin had arrived with a squadron of ORSF soldiers to secure the peace.

    Ilona became serious again, "speaking of pirates, the Duchess was a tyrant but she also protected them from pirates and slavers. Now that she is gone the people here are in danger again." The thought had been in the back of her mind for two days now and she wasn't sure how to solve the situation.

    "Maybe it would be only fair," Tobin said, his voice stern. "From what you told me they were practicing human sacrifices for gods know how many generations."

    Ilona knew he was right with that, but having seen the people on this world, and interacted with them she knew she could never abandon them to slavery and death, despite their sins.

    "Aren't we Eriaduan's guilty of various bad things as well?" Ilona reminded her boyfriend, "should we really be judging others for what they did to survive?"

    Tobin shook his head, "probably not." He remained silent for a moment. "The ORSF could offer them protection, but they would have to join the Eriaduan sphere of influence, pay taxes and provide support to ORSF forces in the region."

    Ilona nodded, at least that was a better deal than what the duchess had offered. "I think they might be open for that, though currently, with their leader dead they don't even have someone to speak for them," she said.

    Tobin thought about it for a moment, "guess our work here isn't done yet. It wouldn't be the first provisional government the ORSF helped to create."

    Ilona allowed herself a smile, "I think I already know the person best suited for that job." She glanced down to the street below where Liz and Kat where slowly walking besides each other, holding hands. "Kat has been studying sociology and what could be a better topic for her graduation paper than to help build a new society?"

    "What about the girls you captured during the night?" Tobin asked after a while.

    Ilona lowered her gaze. She had hoped with the Duchess' death the maids would awake from their brainwashing but sadly that hadn't been the case. It had been a huge pain to get them here and for now they had locked them into the cells beneath the tower.

    "Johannes, the duchess´s son, is taking care of them. He hopes in time he can reverse the brainwashing. I think it will wear of in time now that the duchess is dead, in time they hopefully will be able to lead a normal life again. Though as with Liz I feel they will carry some of it with them for the rest of their lives."

    Johannes had looked happier in the last two days, the fact that in the end his visions had been false, that his mother's death had not come from his hand had relieved him and he had decided to stay in town so he could help those his mother had brainwashed over the years.

    For a while the two of them just stood next to each other on the balcony, and Ilona rested her head on Tobin's shoulder, while he placed an arm around her.

    "Have you gotten Xora?" She then asked after a while, worried about another loose end. Tobin shook his head, "no we send out forces to find and arrest her but she has just vanished."

    Ilona took a deep breath, knowing that she now had at least one more enemy running around out there. "We will get her eventually, as well as other possible traders like her who provided the duchess with sacrifices."

    "We will," Tobin agreed and once more the two just stood there in silence.

    Down on the streets Liz was giggling over a story Kat had just told her. After they had returned from the mountains she had been relieved that her parents where alive.

    As Georg had said they had taken a beating from the Duchess' maids as they had tried to protect their son, but had survived it. Liz still couldn't believe that the Duchess was gone, not only that but by her hand. The woman whose shadow had hung over her entire life for so long. Now she was free, free to live her life. Free to be together with a woman she loved. There was only one thing that worried her, something she had so far been a bit afraid to mention, but she guessed now was the time to finally do so.

    "You know," she swallowed hard. "I think I've told you this earlier but I'm 66 years old, remember what I told you about the Duchess' sacrifices stopping her from ageing? It also effects the people in town, so we aged at around half as fast as normal humans."

    Georg who looked like he was barely out of his teens was around 40 years old and their parents, well they were pushing to 100 years and looked like they were in their mid fifties. Liz shivered, fearing this revelation would turn Kat off but instead she smiled.

    "I was guessing something like that since our first evening. So I guess I like older women." She gave Liz a quick kiss on the cheek.

    Liz smiled as she hugged Kat. She was happier than she had ever been in her life before and could only thank the stars for the arrival of the Kat and Ilona on their world. "So you are staying?"

    Kat nodded, "of course, for the month at least, there is much for me to study sociologically, especially now. Plus, I think with the soldiers in town I think someone needs to aid you in the tavern." Then a grin appeared on her face, "and we can't allow Ilona to weasel out of this girl vacation. She promised me she would be there for me not her boyfriend for this month. Plus we cannot let her actions on our first eve go completely unpunished...."



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  20. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Epilogue

    "Your stay here ends tomorrow doesn't it?" Liz asked Kat as they sat together in the tavern.

    Things had become quiet again in the last few weeks now that most of the ORSF forces had left again. Kat nodded slowly, both she and Liz hadn't spoken about it yet, both wanting to do as much as they could with the time they had and not think too much of the future.

    "Did you finish your notes?" Liz added, in the hopes with all things going on Kat might still need a bit more time for her studies before she would leave.

    "Yes, all done," Kat said with a smile, she knew what Liz was pointing towards but had decided to keep the good news behind her back for a moment longer.

    In the last few weeks Curean had formed a Provisional Council of respected citizens to take care of its internal matters. Kat had suggested Liz to run for it, but as the person who had killed the Duchess many on the world still mistrusted her. 'Maybe in a decade or so' Liz had said, 'once the people have realized what she really was'.

    "Your ale," Ilona said with a played grin as she placed a tray with mugs on the table. With her grown hair and wearing the simple outfit of a serving girl she looked far more relaxed and content than she usually was.

    "You look good, happier, should wear that more often." Kat complimented her friend. While the ORSF forces had been on the planet both she and Ilona had helped in the tavern but when things got quiet again they where no longer needed. But for this evening, their final one on Curean Kat had asked her best friend to take care of Liz´s duties for the night so she and her girlfriend could have the evening to themselves.

    "A part of me wishes I could," Ilona said and a shadow went over her face for a moment. "But for me it's back to silken clothes and noble banquets tomorrow."

    Her father had briefly returned from his retirement to take care of the family business for the month but now Ilona knew it was for her to assume her duties once more.

    "The dream of a simple life, when I was a little girl I dreamed of being a princess. And here is the real princess enjoying having my life." The three allowed themselves a smile. Seeing that now other guests currently required her service Ilona sat down on the table with them.

    "So, have you already told her?" She asked Kat bluntly.

    "What to tell me?" Liz asked.

    Ilona rolled her eyes. "She hasn't found the courage to say it yet. Always need me for that don't you?" She gave Kat a playfully disappointed look.

    Kat sighted about her best friends bluntness but now that it was on the table she could only go forward. "As Curean is now under Eriaduan protection they want a representative of the ORSF on this world. Someone to work with the local government and oversee the forming of a militia force. They asked me to do it."

    Liz looked at her, then she smiled as she realized what that meant. "You are staying here?"

    "Yes, on trial for now but if I do well enough it will become a permanent position."

    Ilona stood up as Georg called her from the kitchen. "Asked Tobin if he could pull a few strings to make it possible."

    Liz stood up and gave her a hug, "thanks Ilona. That means a lot to me."

    Ilona gave her a grin, "you are welcome. Friends stick together. Besides the bill for this trip is considerably lower now that Kat slept the last few weeks in your room and I didn´t have to pay for both." She gave them a twinkle as she left. In truth Liz's parents had offered the savior of their children that she could stay as long as she wanted without having to pay but Ilona had insisted to pay her bills as well as Kat's.

    "You know, as liaison I would have the right to live in a house, maybe even the duchess´s old tower," Kat said after Ilona had left. "But I think Ilona is right, I've already found a place to stay on this world. That is, if you are okay with us continuing sharing a bed..."

    Liz returned the grin, "I have got, nothing against it. Wouldn't let you stay anywhere else." Leaning forward the two of them kissed over the table.

    Not the shy kisses they had exchanged in the first few days of their relationship, but the deep, passionate ones, the ones they had so far kept hidden in Liz's room.

    "Your food," Ilona called them out of their moment as she placed another tray between them, with a big smile. In the first moment Liz was surprised as the plate in front of her contained no actual food but instead a small golden ring.

    For a moment she looked at Ilona, but then she understood as Kat knelt down next to her chair.

    "Elizabeth Barton, do you want to become my wife?"

    In later years Liz Ricter wasn´t sure if she had even said yes before throwing herself at Kat while soundly kissing her. In the end, it probably mattered little, as it had been the happiest moment in her entire life either way.

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

    This marks the end of our little spinnoff story. Thanks to @ZV-83 and @Adalia-Durron for reading, commenting and likeing on the story. Might do more with these characters in the future, not decided yet.
     
  21. ZV-83

    ZV-83 Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Dec 7, 2020
    That was quite the story @Anedon ! The Duchess was a good villain and Johannes' reunion with his mother was excellently done =D=
     
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  22. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    D'awww happy endings ahoy.
     
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  23. Adalia-Durron

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

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2003
    I have been reading, actually been reading before you lot! Great story and a lot of fun.
     
  24. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Thanks, was a bit worried about that scene so I´m glad to hear it works well. :)

    Well can´t say they didn´t earn it. ;)

    Glad you enjoyed it.
     
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  25. DaenaBenjen42

    DaenaBenjen42 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 15, 2005
    I honestly clicked into this one thinking I was in Beyond the Saga, not Before. I have no idea what's going on here, but what I read, I liked.
     
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