Title: To Dathomir, with a Friend Authors: Adalia Durron, Anedon Characters: Marie Firestone, Adrian Malek, Ulrika Grau, Daron Genre: Romance,friendship, drama Timeline: 42 ABY Summary: After saving Ilona´s life, Ulrika takes her new friend Daron to Dathomir, where he seeks forgiveness for his sins. Author's Note: This story is another collaboration between myself and @Adalia-Durron and related to "From Slavery to Aristocracy" while being set after the "Path of Lies". But it should be able to be read on its own. One Daron was nervous, beyond nervous. The entire trip here, had been nothing but worries, he hadn't been able to eat or sleep. Instead he had always only been back in that hospital room, pressing the pillow onto Marie's face. Ulrika had tried her best to cheer him up but there had only been so much she could do. "We are almost there," Ulrika said as she brought the ship closer to the coordinates Ilona had given them. She hoped that they where true and that Ilona wouldn't send them into a complete no mans land or the village of a hostile tribe. She opened a com channel, the one Ilona had also provided. "Uhm, Hello?" she asked, unsure what to expect. Adrian was working in the hangar when his com sprung into action. Surprised but not too much as he realized the signal came from a ship closing in on them. They didn't have too many customers but the occasional travelers or adventurers frequented their place. "Hello, this is Adrian Firestone, do you have troubles with your ship or do you just need some fuel?" "Adrian?" Ulrika asked into the com, surprised at how he had introduced himself, but it was his voice. "Ulrika?" Adrian let out a sigh, what was this about? He had grown up amidst the rivalry of Ulrika and Ilona, and on occasion had helped his sister with a prank, and sometimes even Ulrika as well, when he wanted to get back at his sister. Was this another of her games? Or an insane coincidence. Ulrika was thinking, and to her it seemed probably best not to mention who was with her just yet. In fear that they would fire at them. "Your sister told me you are now living here, but I wasn't sure if I could believe it. Can I land." Ulrika's words didn't reveal much, but Adrian saw no reason to deny it. "You can, sending you the hangar coordinates." Then he stood up and wiped his hands clean before calling for his wife. "Marie!" Whatever was to come, it was probably best if they did it together. Sitting behind the desk where she was attempting to balance the books, Marie looked up. "What? Keep bellowing at me from a distance, cause you know how much I love that!" She called back. Adrian entered the room, still breathing a bit heavily from his sprint. "We have a visitor, an old... Acquaintance of mine and Ilona's. Not sure what to make of it." She frowned, "who?" She asked curiously. "Ulrika Grau," he wasn't sure if he had mentioned her before, probably a few times in passing but they had never talked about her directly. Or had Ilona mentioned something? "She is a member of the lower nobility just as I." The name rang a bell, but Marie couldn't recall from who or where. "Know the name, not the story." She stood, "this was giving me a headache today anyway." She smiled, "staying with us?" "Not sure, maybe," Adrian chewed on his lip. Then he continued, "Ulrika is Ilona's rival of sorts. They have been at each others throats forever. When they where younger they had quite a prank war, now they mostly seem content just despising the other." Then as to not worry his wife he added, "I never had a problem with her." Marie pursed her lips. "Ok, the guest house, away from the main one. The one where the Jedi stay when they come here, ok?" She offered, not wanting a prankster in her home, she'd spent too much time with the Shadow Sabers to want that again. "I suggest we wait and see, then decide whether she can stay in the guest room, the guest house, the dungeon... or the rancor pen." Adrian adds with a twinkle. "But I'm not even sure if she wants to stay, she might just want to have a look at us." "Look at us? Are we a side show now? This could be interesting." She skirted the desk. "Then let's go put on a show." She pecked his cheek as she went past. "Oh, of course," Adrian´s grin grew a bit. "We will show her something she won't forget so fast." Marie frowned, "what are we showing her? You seem quite invested." She stated with a raised eyebrow, she was getting an almost sense of anticipation from him. As Adrian entered the hangar again Ulrika‘s ship was already about to land. He ran a hand through his black hair to get it at least somewhat straight. He would never admit it but Ulrika had been his first crush, though of course nothing had ever come of that. He looked at his wife, "ready for this?“ Marie folded her arms and popped her hip to rest on one leg as she looked at him. "Ready for what? What is going on here Adrian?" She asked noting he'd attempted to smooth his wayward hair for some reason. "I'm just a bit nervous, Ulrika well. She can sometimes be quite troublesome." He stopped messing with his hair and gave his wife a reassuring glance. "Might be best if I go ahead," Ulrika said to Daron as she climbed out of the pilots chair and walked down the ramp. Marie gave her head a shake, "I got your back dear." She rolled her eyes, there wasn't a woman alive who she'd not pick up a 'troublesome' sense from. Ulrika approached them, wearing a sort open flightjacket over her usual tanktop and pants. She looked good, Adrian had to admit. Ulrika tried her best not to stare at Adrian and the woman next to him, she guessed was Marie. Both of them wore the traditional Dathomirian leather garb, showing off some of their clan based tattoos. Ulrika did her best to force a smile, best start this meeting on the right foot. "Adrian, its nice to see you," she said, before turning to Marie and giving her a nod. Feeling that he had to introduce then, Adrian quickly said, "Ulrika, its been a while since we've last met. Meet my wife Marie. Marie, this is Ulrika Grau, an ace pilot of the ORSF." He decided to leave out the fact that Marie was their clan leader for now. That was a bomb they could let go off later. Marie regarded the woman, she felt a sense of arrogance from her. "Pleasure." She said evenly. Great, not going too well, Ulrika though. Well they could still break the whole thing of before anyone would see Daron. Maybe that was the best idea. No, they couldn't go back now, she had to salvage this. "Well congratulations to the wedding," she said, possibly the dumbest compliment imaginable. Turning to Marie she added, "he is a great flyer as well. You've made a good catch." She gave her a twinkle. Adrian felt how his face turned red and decided to say nothing to this. "Catch?" Marie shook her head, "I didn't catch anyone." She drawled, why didn't she like this woman, was she jealous? "Interestingly enough I was flying before him." "Something we share then," Ulrika said confidently, now running her gaze over Marie. Between her and Adrian she was unsure who she found more attractive, but she swallowed hard to press those feelings down. "Did you fight in the Vong War?" she said instead, wanting to keep the conversation going. Marie gave a slow nod with her arms still folded. "I did, with the infamous Wild Knightz, you?" There was something, she was hiding something, but what? "With the Peace Brigade," Ulrika said, knowing that it would cause a reaction. Seeing the danger Adrian quickly interfered, "Ulrika went undercover during the war. She faked a desertion and worked behind the Vong lines as a spy." Marie raised her eyebrows first a then gave another nod. "Nice, I just fought the Vong head on." She shrugged, "so ....what can we do for you?" She asked glancing at the ship. "Are you alone?" She could feel someone and they were certainly not as confident as Ulrika was. Ulrika took a deep breath, so this was it. She knew Daron would have listened in on their conversation so far. So it was no reason to hide it any longer. "Actually, this time I'm only the pilot. And even though I wanted to see Adrian again. I'm mostly here for his sake..." As she had expected Daron slowly walked down the ramp of the ship and towards them. "Daron..." Adrian muttered, unsure what to feel. There was a part of him that had always felt pity on the young nobles, and it got even stronger as he saw how gaunt Daron looked. The time in prison had done a toll on him. But at the same time, he had tried to kill Marie. Marie took a soft breath in, holding it as the man descended and recognising him instantly. He was thinner and clearly prison had not been kind. "Daron?" She asked curiously, "um...why?" Ulrika took breath to say something but Daron gave her a nod and she stopped herself. The young man stepped in front of Marie, the fear he had felt on the way here, it was mostly gone now and he felt calm. This was it, she would decide his fate, as it was her right and whatever she said, he would accept. "I, want to apologize," he said, slowly. "To say sorry for what I did.... I, was pardoned by the Eriaduan government, but I don't feel I deserve this mercy. So I came here to face yours. I'm putting my life in your hands." Adrian threw a glance at Marie, unsure of this. Wondering if the force told her more than Daron's words gave away. She slowly unfolded her arms giving her head a slight shake. "Apology accepted and you've done your time Daron." She declared, sensing the man's genuine remorse. "As for your life, it's your choice, not mine." She'd always considered Eriaduan Law Enforcement rather harsh and had let the past go a long time ago. Ulrika had already been preparing herself to step in, to defend Daron from whatever punishment Marie would decide for him. Just as she had tried to talk him out of doing this trip in the first place. Wether with words or even with her blaster she had decided she would fight for him. But it hadn´t come to it. So instead she stepped foreward and placed a hand on Daron´s shoulder while giving Marie a thankfull glance. Daron was unsure what to say, his emotions overcame him and he felt tears in his eyes. "Thank you," he said slowly as they began to run down his cheeks. "Thank you, I don´t deserve this. If there is anything you want from me..." Marie sighed as she glanced at her husband. "You made a mistake, bound by an antiquated system and traditions that so need to be changed." Another shake of her head, "You deserve a second chance, everyone does." She turned back to the village, "did you want to spend a few days here, recover, recuperate and see that you don't have to be what the past tells you to be?" She looked to Ulrika and was impressed by the woman's clear need to protect Daron. "What I want from you is for you to forgive yourself." "Been telling him that for quite a while now," Ulrika said as she looked at Daron. "What do you say handsome? Should we take the beautiful ladies offer and take some rest here?" Daron looked up to her, the woman who had done so much for him. "That would be nice," he said quietly before turning back to Marie. "I would like to stay, if Ulrika can as well." "I don´t see why she couldn´t." Adrian said, giving Marie a look. "Fine with me. Adrian will show you to the guest quarters, I have some work I need to get sorted, so maybe we can catch up at dinner?" She took two steps backward, "sort it please Adrian?" Turning she headed back to the paperwork, it needed doing badly.