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Vernza-Torrah


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Alora laughed at the thought, the tinkling sound of her laughter carrying on the breeze. The image he shared with her was quite a good idea. "Once we work out the finer details, we must talk to the Dark Lord about it and have this as the initiation to an attack."

 

They closed the distance to the Fortress, it's structure standing proud on the top of the rocky plateau. Instead of accessing the Force to leap up the rock face, Alora led the way to a shadowed area at the base which was near invisible to the naked eye that there was something else hidden there. Hidden within the shadows was a door carved out of the rock itself. The cracks of the door jam blended in perfectly with the rock face so that it didn't stand out. Even with the sun shining directly on it, it wouldn't be obvious as to what was there.

 

The Sith Mistress looked back at Draken, grinning at him as she opened the door. She'd had the workmen create a hidden panel within the rockface so it blended in perfectly. Unless you knew it was there, and what codes to use, you wouldn't be able to open the door. It had security protocols that she had to perform before the door silently opened inwards. She led the way inside, letting the door seal behind them once Draken had entered.

 

Only after the door had sealed did she start off, leading her companion around a sharp corner to where the lighting was apparent - unseen from the doorway. Dim red lights embedded into the rock showed the narrow path along the smooth rock corridor which turned off after they had passed them. It was cool within the rock as they made their way deeper into the Fortress's lower area.

 

After a few minutes they came to another door with similar security protocols as the previous door. Here however was a hidden camera monitoring who approached the door. Once Alora had keyed in certain codes, the door opened to give them access to a wide cavern like area. Several other corridors led off from this chamber, each with their own security protocols. Alora pointed towards one particular corridor, "The prison cells and torture chamber are down that one. We could inspect it now or we could head up above and see how well my builders have done their job there."

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Darth Alraune

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"Mistress, what of the planet Zonama Sekot? Its a distant planet and few would even know of it. It would be the perfect place to send it from."

 

Draken grinned as he considered it for a moment. Then he looked around the fortress and nodded, the construction was good. Very good actually, the builders were professionals that much was certain. Hethought for a moment then made his decision.

 

"We can visit the dungeon soon, for now it would be best to examine the top of the fortress first I think."

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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A comm arrives on a secured, untraceable, though time-delayed channel for Alora and Draken. The speaker is unidentified, but Faust's voice is all too easy to recognize:

 

My dear Alora and Count Draken. Forgive my interrupting you from your personal amusements, but I have a job that requires your fine skills. There's a problem I am hoping you can help me rectify that might help shift the Sith's balance of power in this galaxy.

 

The rest of the comm speaks of the confidential details of Faust's mission. Once the comm is finished, it concludes with a simple statement.

 

...I am afraid I don't have too much information for you to go on, but if you can succeed, this will help the Order greatly. Do not fail us.

In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

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The Sith Mistress inclined her head thoughtfully, "Yes, that might do nicely my dear. We should get the arrangements set in motion." She grinned at the prospect, the thought of them creating this wonderful masterpiece that would be delivered as a 'gift' to the Jedi.

 

They had paused in front of the elevator, waiting for the doors to open when the comm came in from Faust. Alora raised her eyebrow at the contents, her violet eyes sparkling with mirth. "It seems we have anticipated well in this instant. I'll send Faust a message with regards to our gift."

 

The doors slid silently open, the lush interior showing just as much care to detail as the rest of the Fortress. They ascended to the top floor, stepping out into a main foyer. Everything was luxurious, rich and exotic, all very tastefully decorated. Alora stepped out, heading towards the main communications chamber so that they could set the first part of their project in motion.

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Darth Alraune

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Draken stepped into the communications rom and ushered everyone out of the room so it was just him and Alora. Once everyone was out, Draken sealed the doors then walked over to the main console and began to enter a long comm number from his memory. With the comm number entered into the computer, Draken's hands began to dance over the keyboard as he encrypted the comm several times then added several more layers of encryption to the comm.

 

He knew that for a comm such as this would have to be highly encrypted. Draken doubled checked the comm then nodded to Alora that the comm was ready to be sent to Faust.

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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"Send it"

 

Alora was already planning the 'design' for this crystal statue. It would be such a masterpiece. She sent a number of internal comms through to some of their servants, to some of the warrior women that trained on Vernza Torrah and gave them instructions to what she wanted accomplished while they were away.

 

She waited until Draken sent the main message then started towards the Hanger, "who's ship shall we take this time?" Alora had already sent the call out for her ship and it had arrived, been refueled and restocked. She didn't mind which ship they went in and was only preparing for any eventuality.

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Darth Alraune

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Draken nodded and let his fingers dance across the comm board and had the comm sent out. He turned and walked with her to the hanger bay, all the while sending a comm back to Serenno letting his advisors know what needed to be done and how they were to go about it. Once the comm was sent, Draken looked at Alora and nodded again.

 

"We'll take your ship, I think. My ship will follow far enough away not to be noticed but close enough to be called in time of need. After we are done this task, we will have go to Serenno. Certain things there will require my attention and also we will prepare the planet I think."

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A smile appeared upon Alora's face in anticipation of their trip, she turned towards the hanger, the two making their way towards the Sundered Heart. "Good idea. You never know when the second ship will come in handy." As he spoke of Serenno she inclined her head, "I look forward to it."

 

Entering the ship, KD-2 had already run through the preflight checks, telling her what it had done as the two Sith entered the cockpit. KD-2 retired as Alora slipped into the pilots seat and finished the preparations for take off. With those completed, she lifted the sleak space yacht from the floor of the hanger, taking it out and pointing it skyward. Within moments they were rocketing towards the outer atmosphere and leaving the planet of Vernza-Torrah behind them. They entered hyperspace on the first of several random hyperspace jumps to confuse anyone trying to work out where they had come from.

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Darth Alraune

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  • 6 months later...

Two elegant ships exited hyperspace over Vernza Torrah, one ship piloted by the Count Shadowlord, the other slaved to his ship's navi-computer. The Count was immense pain both from his elbow and that fact he had just felt his lover's violent death. His ship's landing was shaky and a bit rough as it touched down due to the fact that he had little control over his left arm. He limped from his ship and headed to the medical wing of the Temple and implanted a dna sample from Alora into the Temple's cloning unit.

 

Next he laid out her robes and weapons with the exception of her whip which remained hung at his hip. Then he removed a small thin box from his cloak which he placed atop of her robes for when she awoke from the cloning chambers. With that done, he left the medical center and went to the main area of the temple and laid Alora's whip on the altar and knelt before the altar unmoving.

 

All around him acolytes and the warrior women of Slannesh walked past or around him as they carried out their business, many of them pausing to regard the Sith Master who was kneeling at the altar.

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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Normally when her spirit meshed with her new body it was an easy, quiet occurrence. This time with raw anger and need for revenge surging through her it was a violent affair. Thoughts of what had happened to her surged through her mind. The Jedi that had stripped her from the darkside of the Force... and the sith that had killed her in his own suicide attempt. Fury radiated from her. The cloning cylinder vibrated then shattered open with the force of her anger, glass and liquid spraying over the medical chamber, an furious scream tearing from her throat at the need for revenge.

 

The flame haired woman landed lightly amongst the debris of glass and liquid, her wet hair clinging to her face. Straightening up her violet eyes scanned the medical chamber. Lucky for them, there were no servants or slaves anywhere within striking distance. It was as if they had sensed the mood she would be in when she 'woke'. Alora took a number of deep breaths before striding through the chamber to enter the bathing room, not caring about the glass cutting her feet. The pain from that showed her that she had regained her touch to the darkside, feeling it flow through her veins once more without that horrible burning sensation. Once in the bathing room she flicked the switches to let water pour into the spa. The Sith Mistress waited only long enough for the water to reach her knees before she stepped in, waiting for the water to rise around her. It automatically switched off when it reached the top level. With another flick her favourite fragrance tipped into the water, the scent of roses and sandalwood rising from the steam. She sank to a sitting position, resting her head against the side of the tub and let herself relax. She would banish the thoughts she had upon waking for the moment at least.

 

Alora didn't keep track of time while she soaked in her fragrant waters, cooling her temper in a meditation. Stretching out her senses she touched Draken's mind, feeling him in the temple. She knew automatically that he had taken her whip there to be re-consecrated. She rose from the spa and pulled a towel to her through the Force. Drying herself off she left the towel and walked through the chamber again to where Draken had left her clothing. In the time she had bathed, servants had cleaned the chamber of the glass and liquid she had 'decorated' the floor with.

 

The Mistress dressed in the robes, a wicked smile upon her face as she hung those of her weapons he had been able to salvage. She was missing one of her sabers, the Jedi probably still had it unless it had been destroyed in the explosion that had killed her. Looking at her wrist she felt anger surge through her again. She would have to visit Kheldar again to get a new dart launcher put in place. She had the specs for it in the databanks of her ship. At least the pheromones were part of her make up now, part of her DNA since she'd had them for so long. They had become part of her. Alora called in a surgeon then, demanding he put in the caller chip for ship plus the communications chip. She would speak to Kheldar about some other matters as well, modifications she wanted for herself that he had the technology for.

 

When the doctor arrived, she told him what she wanted him to do. He indicated she lay on the surgery table and let him perform the procedure that would insert the chips she had mentioned.

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Darth Alraune

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While he knelt at the altar to Slannesh, the force took over his mind and he began to see something he had not seen before. In the vision, he saw a massive battle shrouded in darkness. Through the darkness he could see splashes of light as the light sided warriors strove to overcome the warriors of darkness. He watched the battle as lightning ad various other spells and attacks were thrown from side to side. Then he saw the darkness break as a figure cloaked in white with a staff enter the battlefield. The figure radiated light from his body as he walked to the main part of the battlefield and slammed his staff into the ground with a shattering sound. A hissing sound preceded the eruption of white fire that surrounded the warriors of light and began to push back the darkness.

 

The Jedi cheered and began to push forward attacking the darkness with a vengeance, for the Jedi were the warriors of light. They pushed the darkness back as far as the darkness could go without being vanquished, the staff bearer leading the forces forward as a glowing pillar of light. All around the Sith were retreating before the light as the intensity of the light increased and they were unable to breach its shield. Suddenly a pillar of darkness forced the light to break upon it dividing the light before it. He stared at the pillar of darkness for some time before realizing what the pillar was. The pillar was a staff, a staff that was the direct opposite of the staff that the jedi bore.

 

He studied the staff for a few moments, the staff was nearly as tall as he was and formed of crystal. On the top of the staff sat a glowing dark orb which was streaked throughout with purple lightning. The staff itself was made from dark crystal and laced throughout with a dark metal before coming to a metal spacer which lead to a long and jagged spear formed of metal and crystal that was coated with a dark substance. Draken admired the staff with it's deadliness but also its elegance for a time then stepped forward and took hold of the staff.

 

A chill so cold it burned his hand shot through his body as he gripped the staff and the darkness began to gather behind him in a seething cloud. He spun the staff in his hand then slammed it down into the earth. The darkness roared and poured over the light, drowning the light so that the darkness ruled once more.

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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It seemed like no time at all before the procedure had been completed. Her ship recaller had been implanted along with the communications chip. Alora left the medical wing and headed towards the temple. She had to pay homage to Slaanesh as well as collect her whip. The thin metal box had been slipped into the deep pocket of her robe, the Mistress choosing to leave it there for the time being.

 

As she entered the Temple she saw Draken before the altar. She had been unconscious through the procedure so hadn't felt him have a vision which she assumed he'd had by the look of him collapsed there. She knelt before the altar, paying her respects to the Goddess before she picked up her whip, coiling it and hanging it on her belt. She could feel it's power... it was back to how it should be.

 

Next she moved over to Draken's side, lifting him to a sitting position with the Force and lending him strength through their bond. She knew he would wake soon. Once he did, she would take her trip to Coruscant and see Kheldar.

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Darth Alraune

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About an hour after Alora reached his side, Draken's eyes opened. ”œA staff”¦ Corrupted crystals”¦”œ The look on his face was confused for a second then he smiled as he recalled the vision. ”œA staff made from light sided crystals that been corrupted, a weapons of light made dark. Perfect to match the staff of the Jedi in battle”

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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The Sith Mistress responded with ardour as only the seductress could. Pulling back from him she pulled out the box from her robes, "I'd like you to do the honours dear."

 

She thought about this staff he told her about, a wicked grin appearing on her beautiful features. "Yes, I like that idea, a staff to counteract and repel that which the Jedi Exorcist used on me." A shiver of disgust went through her as she recalled how she had burned as Damon had torn the darkside from her. "I'd like to see that done to him, strip him of the light just as he did me of the dark..."

 

Alora hadn't liked the sensation of not feeling the dark energies. Not at all. She clenched her fist. In the process she reminded herself of another thing she had to do. "I need to go and see Kheldar. Because of that tinman I need a new dart launcher" the Sith Mistress almost growled in her agitation.

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Darth Alraune

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Draken smiled and held her in one arm as he took the box from her, then set her gently down on the altar. He opened the lid off of the box and removed a black chain with a ruby colored pendant that hung from it. The ruby colored stone on the chain had been cut so it looked less like a crystal from a lightsabre and more like an actual gemstone. He unclasped the tiny clasp and clasp it back around her neck so that the pendant hung just above her breasts.

 

He leaned back for a moment and admired the way the pendant hung gracefully around her neck and nodded slowly. "It suits you well my darling."

 

"Yes, I like that idea, a staff to counteract and repel that which the Jedi Exorcist used on me. I'd like to see that done to him, strip him of the light just as he did me of the dark..."

 

Oh trust me my dear, he crossed the line when he attacked you. Attacking me is one thing, attacking you was quite another. For that there is no forgiveness from me, nor could there be."

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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"I know" Alora responded to Draken's comment regarding the pendant. "You made it well my dear." She added in compliment to his artistry.

 

"I seek revenge on him for what he did. I also will be seeking revenge on that organic tincan that was the cause of my latest death." Alora almost let out a feral growl again deep in her throat. "When you go after that Jedi Exorcist, I'll be right by your side."

 

She kissed him again then caressed his face, "I'll leave you now to go see Kheldar. The sooner I see him and get my dark launcher, the sooner I can return." After another farewell kiss, Alora left Draken and headed for the hanger. Running through the pre-flight checks, the Sundered Heart soon lifted off, heading for Coruscant after various hyperspace jumps in between to disguise where she had come from.

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Darth Alraune

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With Alora gone, Draken drafted a note to explain where he had gone. Once he had finished the note, he left it where she could find it and headed to his ship. He fired up the engines and added a new set of coordinates to the navi-computer's databank. A moment later the confirmation message crossed the screen and he activated the autopilot so that the ship would pilot itself leaving him free to take care of other important affairs.

 

Now that the controls had been set, he leaned back in his seat and began to meditate. As he meditated, he began to conceal his force abilities and the amount of power that he could wield beneath a unbreakable force illusion that would make him seem like someone who had very little force ability. After concealing his abilities, he began to work the currents of the force again to conceal his identity so that people that saw him including the Jedi wouldn't reconize him and would look past him in another unbreakable illusion that could only be broken by expending much of a Jedi master's force power leaving them weak and tired.

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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  • 1 year later...

Landing once more on Vernza Torrah, Draken had commed ahead to the planet and the warrior women and priestess of Slannesh had prepared the cloning chambers for his arrival, so that all he would need to do was to add her DNA which he did promptedly. When the machine had accepted the DNA Draken, watched it for several moments before leaving the medical area.

 

He walked through out the temple of Slannesh, stopping at the courtyard where he had fought the women of Vernza Torrah at the behest of his then mistress, then the chamber where he had first been with Alora. He smiled as he remembered how beaten up he had been at the time from the duel with Zad, the prize had been more then worth it.

 

He continued on his way though the temple, stopping at certain places to remember things that had happened when he had been there before finally reaching the altar of Slannesh. He removed her weapons from inside his cloak and placed them in a specific order upon the altar and knelt before it in meditation. Here he would remain till Alora was once more a part of the land of the living.

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Awareness returned slowly to the flame haired woman. Her eyes opened, just a slant at first, before opening wider. Once again she found herself in a cloning chamber. Noticing that she was awake, the warrior women drained the tank, all the while watching her vital signs on the medical monitors.

 

As Alora's feet touched the floor of the tank the Sith Mistress drew in the Force like a comforting blanket. For a moment she had worried that the Force might have abandoned her though that was unfounded as the power surged to her bidding. Instead of destroying something, she sent out a tendril of thought, soon locating the one she was hoping to find. As she stepped from the tank, the warrior women draped her cloak around her shoulders.

 

She set off through the Temple, her bare feet padding lightly across the carpeted floors. Arriving at the meditation chamber she paused in the doorway to look upon the Altar of Slaanesh with her weaponry placed carefully upon it, though it wasn't the weapons that held her attention right that moment. Her violet eyes fell upon the figure kneeling in front of the Altar. She pushed away from the door-jam and silently glided over to him, placing her hands upon his shoulders once she reached him. "Thank you, husband to be..." Her tone was light and loving.

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Darth Alraune

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Draken smiled as he felt Alora's touch on his mind. She was beside him in the galaxy once more. He followed her with his mind from the medical bay to the Altar of Slannesh. "Thank you, husband to be..."

 

Draken stood up slowly and turned around, drinking in the sight of her standing in front of him. "You don't need to thank me my darling. I need you by my side in the galaxy." He leaned in and kissed her for several minutes. "It is good to see you again."

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"It's good to see you again to, my dear," the Sith Mistress answered once their lips broke apart.

 

Alora flexed her left hand and sighed, "Looks like I have to pay Kheldar another visit... Well I guess I could get some of our arrangements organized for the wedding while we are there..." Her fingers traced down his cheek to his lips which she then replaced with her own in a light kiss. It was a shame that she couldn't have had her dart launcher inserted while she was still in the cloning chamber... the thought fleetingly crossed her mind. It wouldn't take her long to dress and get ready to leave whenever Draken wished to go.

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Darth Alraune

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Draken nodded and watched her walk to their quarters before turning around and hitting a button on his comm link to fire up his ship and prep it for launch. With that taken care of, Draken summoned ten of the deadliest and also most beautiful warrior women and ordered them to outfit themselves in the best armor and weapons from the armory and report back to the ship in a half an hour.

 

Half an hour later, the women were assembled and marched onto the ship before Alora joined him. When she joined him, they boarded the ship and headed into space headed first to Serenno and then onto other things.

E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti.

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  • 10 years later...

The small Jedi shuttlecraft burst out of hyperspace over the old planet of Vernza-Torrah. It had been more than a decade than the planet had been touched by the galaxy at large. Though it had long been within strike range of the Alliance’s holdings at Bothawui, the planet had lain untouched. A relic of an earlier age, with no natural resources or shipyards to bother with. Nor had the planet reported any particular sign or contagion of the ancient Sith Powers. 

 

But Sandy let herself listen, expanding her presence in the force,  listening to the stillness of the planet. Looking for a hint of anything. For if the ancient threat had reawakened, then the Council needed to know. And quickly at that. 

 

  • Confused 1

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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Joran Hale strode down the exit ramp of the public shuttle, casually waiting in line with the rest of the tourists to be processed through the Vernza-Torrah arrivals. The flight itself was rather dull, and one particular male Devaronian had a foul odor, but otherwise there were no problems for Joran. At least, Joran Hale was the name Aidan had assumed after he'd managed to slice the name onto the guest list of an all-expenses-paid tour group consisting of lottery winners from Corellia. Corellia, of course, was where he listed on his leave paperwork, but it wasn't exactly the final destination he wanted his superiors to explicitly know about. In fact, if they found out Aidan had gone to Vernza-Torrah, especially because he'd received a comm from Sandy inviting his assistance, they wouldn't exactly be pleased. Granted, Aidan wasn't exactly pleased over how he'd been relegated to light duty for the past few months, which prompted the excursion in the first place, so as far as he cared if they did find out they could just be mad about it.

 

What he hadn't expected in all of that was for surging tourism to be a perfectly plausible cover for why an otherwise nameless face might be travelling to Vernza-Torrah, nor had he expected the contest he'd added himself to the winner's list of to be so easy to slice. He knew a few coding tricks from back in his spacer days, but Aidan was far from the actual title of hacker. Still, the fact that he essentially got a free pleasure cruise as well as the fact that he'd be meeting up with his lover again soon had him not really questioning his fate. This was a trip he'd earned, both from his time in the war and his time spent practicing monotony courtesy of his superiors, and nobody was going to take that from him.

 

As he was leaving the spaceport on the hotel speeder, he felt a very familiar feeling, one he hadn't felt in too long. For a moment, he took it in, like basking in warm sunbeams after living in a cave for a year. He reached out as well, touching her thoughts with his own. She'd be able to find him, of course, but it was far easier (and more amusing) to simply message her the hotel's location via address and a room number...and not give her any other information. He was a tad excited to surprise her, and even though he knew she'd come here to work and investigate, in this case Aidan was pretty sure they could mesh work and play together. Either way, Aidan was determined to get some action.

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Desire

 

A dark smile flickered across pale lips. 

 

The force moved softly through the deep caverns of Vernza-Torrah. Seeping through the ground fissures to escape into the temples built upon the great cracks that dotted the cliffsides. The oracles of Torrah believed that they could see the future through their rituals, But the force was here. It inhabited all life on the planet, the bipedal species was well known for their quick reproduction cycle, and the sometimes ritualistic forms that particular action took in the temples that dotted the landscape. They were famous tourist attractions after all. 

 

NPCs for boardwides and small stories on request

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Sandy felt her own smile creep across her face as her hands found the flight controls. He was here, and it made her glad, so she accelerated the Jedi vessel and bade it to land in the ancient city. The place was a tourist destination . so she was forced to take an old reserve pad near one of the tourist shuttles which was busy disgorging a mass of semi attractive middle aged couples. She disembarked herself, and took a breath of the cool air. 

 

She felt her comm link buzz on her wrist and weith a glance it told her exactly where the Imperial Knight would be. She took another breath of the air and let the sensation of the cool air in her lungs wash away the fluttering of her heart. It was more persistent this time, and it took her several more breaths before she could shoulder her pack and begin her walk to the hotel complex that Darkfire had rented a room from.

 

It was a long walk through a dozen mismatched turns that finally brought her to the rugged stone hotel. Built to look like it matched the great mountains that surrounded them in the valley. She let the force guide her as she walked up to his room door and tapped softly on the wooden door with a finger. Her face in a grin. 

 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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The soft knock caught him off guard, as Aidan hadn't even sensed her approach. Instead, the door he thought was closed swung open on its archaic "rustic" hinges, revealing the young man bent over and shuffling through the large duffel he'd packed. Of note was half of his armor on the nearby bed, clearly removed so he could retrieve something else from the large bag, but its presence clearly told Sandy he didn't just intend to distract her the whole time they were on Vernza-Torrah. However, the self-chilling wine bottle on the dining table said he was here to let loose a bit. Technically the wine was just complimentary from the contest he'd sliced, but he'd had plenty opportunity to put it back away.

 

"Aw, damn, I was just about to set up the candles, I just cant-...FIND them." It took about the exact time for the last words to leave his mouth before he realized it didn't matter. Sandy clearly saw that emotion play across his face as his whole demeanor relaxed, letting go of the minor stress and allowing a genuine if slightly awkward smile.

 

"Uhhm...hi. I missed you. I didn't, uhh...I don't think I planned this well."

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She let her heavy pack slide off one thin shoulder then the next, letting it fall softly to the floor beside the doorway. She observed his attempts at set up romance with a grin then gave him a tackle of a hug onto the bed. She took his armour that he had set there and pulled it out from underneath them before she spoke.

 

“Spast the plan Aidan. I’m happy just to see you.” 

 

She gave him a long and passionate kiss. Reveling for the moment in the love that she felt for him. 

 

“I can’t believe the Imperials would just let you go like that.” 

 

She smiled appreciatively and put her head on his chest.

 

“How have you been?”

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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"Well..."

Aidan mildly blushed, but she knew his face well enough by now that he might as well have been waving an enormous flag in front of her.

 

"They didn't exactly let me come...maybe you should leave out my name in the mission report? Or maybe put me down as Jorus Hale or Jorren Hale, whatever name I put on the list of winners for that transport company's contest, let me see..." He walked over to the duffel and checked the tag he'd attached to it. "Yep, Joran Hale. Plus guest." He looked back up at her with a grin but was met with a disapproving look.

 

"Aww, come on, you don't think I'd come meet you here, this 'Pleasure Planet' as they put it in their brochure, without planning a little R&R? I mean, we've kind of earned it, right?"

 

No dice. Aidan moved back to the bed, sitting and sulking next to her as he muttered.

 

"Well I could definitely use it...and it's not like it's really hurting anyone, anyways..."

 

He gave a sigh, coming to terms with the truth.

"I'm sorry. I just...really missed you. I think they're trying to separate us by putting me on boring backwater assignments, even though I'm told it's for my mental health and wellbeing. I mean, it's a lot nicer than constant warfare, but now I just...I don't know. I miss it, I guess. The action. Any action. I was yanked from one extreme to the other with nobody really checking on how it was affecting me, just assuming they knew best. I mean, it might be standard operating procedures for a military, but it really wears on a guy, you know?"

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