[FIC]Heart of Deception
The continuing adventures of Kirabaros in:
Star Wars: Heart of Deception
It has been two years since the Blood King had been defeated by Kirabaros. Avalon and her sister planets have joined the Republic. Peace was just but a breath away but with a price.
During the time that Avalon joined and made her presence known, several dissident groups have united together to demand the turnover of the former Sith Lord Revan. Obeying ancient laws, the Avalonians refused and retaliation had begun with high-ranking personnel within the fleet directing behind the scenes.
Due to increased pressure from the Outer Rim worlds, the Chancellor called for a special session of Congress to decide the course of action to take. With the impending session, Senator Selene Amstar returns from Avalon in the company of two Jedi Knights to resolve the problem…
The cruiser ship approached Coruscant with a peaceful grace that was the envy of the official diplomatic vessels used by the other Senators. It was sleek an unusual in design in that it was designed for speed but a tough ship, one of the characteristics of Avalonian vessels. After the threat to the Republic with the ancient evils, Avalon had been welcomed as a member of the Republic and granted a seat within the Senate. In the two years that followed from that day, it had been marked by uprisings, demands and murder attempts. Today was the day that the final position would be made.
Accompanying the cruiser were three fighters, again built for speed and agility. The three fighters were identical to the one that had been flown by the warrior Kirabaros, who was also a Jedi Knight. The tales of his exploits had reached the Core Worlds and they were curious about the Jedi who suppressed the last of the Sith threat and the Senate demanded to meet him. While a reasonable request, there were also underlying motives behind it. The rumors to be had were that he knew where the Jedi Revan was, the Prodigal Knight, the Former Dark Lord of the Sith and Savior of the Republic. It was hoped by the groups that held resentment that he would reveal her location.
That was one of the many thoughts racing on everyone’s mind on board the cruiser. The lieutenant of the ship approached the main hold. He spoke in Avalonian, “Senator, we have been cleared for our final approach to Coruscant.”
The woman replied, “Very well Lieutenant.”
The cruiser and the three fighters approached the landing platform amidst the fog that seemed to settle upon the planet’s skies. The three fighters landed a distance away and the pilots disembarked. The head of the group took his helmet off to reveal a youthful face with dark, blonde tinged hair and a pair of golden eyes with a hint of green. A small astromech came to his side just as the other two approached him, not removing their helmets. He glanced in the direction of the cruiser as the ramp was being lowered. He said softly, “I guess I was wrong. There was no danger here.”
He spoke to soon for an explosion sounded near the rear of the ship that sent the people coming down flying forward. Out of nowhere appeared seven assassins wearing stealth field generators and brandishing blasters and vibroblades. They came towards the cruiser with the intent to murder the senator. In a quick reaction, the leader drew forth a bronze bladed lightsaber and ran forward charging at the group. He was followed by another Jedi wielding a cerulean bladed lightsaber.
The soldiers that had been on board and survived ducked behind what they could and fired their blasters at their attackers. The ‘senator’ ducked behind the ramp with them and began to fire a weapon as well. The blaster fire was a heated volley exchange cut short by the two Jedi cutting a swatch with the assassins wielding the blades. The smoke continued to rise as the blaster bolts were deflected off the lightsabers and sent elsewhere. It was a relatively short fight but had some casualties to it.
When the last of the assassins were dispatched, one was left alive for interrogation, the Jedi with the golden eyes headed in quick strides to where the third pilot and the rest of the contingent was huddled. He took a deep breath and had frowned slightly. He asked, “You all right milady?”
The third pilot who had been standing with him when the explosion occurred stood to look at him. She removed her helmet and gazed at him. She responded, “I’m fine. Kirabaros, what was that about?”
Kirabaros gazed at her somberly and said, “I have an idea but we shouldn’t speak of it here. We need to get you out here milady.” With a deft movement, he brought his comm to his mouth and called for a transport and medical services. He kneeled and asked, “How bad?”
The lieutenant who had grabbed the decoy replied, “Whoever was on the ship is dead and here we got three wounded including Cora.” He motioned to the woman who had been pretending to be the Senator who was holding her arm where she had been hit by a blaster or a piece of shrapnel.
Kirabaros looked at the injuries and assessed the severity of them. He wasn’t going to use Force Heal since the injuries could be healed with a bit of kolto and a doctor’s look. He turned to his Jedi companion and said, “Caelos, grab the med kits.” Then looking at the astromech, “T3, you catch the whole thing?”
The response brought a slight smile to his face. “Good. Maybe we can get to the bottom of this.” He stood up and gazed across the landing platform at the speeders breezing by. The fog had begun to lift to show more of Coruscant and revealed the transport and medical authorities approaching. He maintained an alert posture as they came and saw to the injured. He wouldn’t let them come near Caelos or the real senator who stood behind him.
When everyone was moved to their respective transports, he motioned for the other two to follow. He had been against coming to Coruscant in the first place but with the increase in demands and threats, he had little choice. He knew that there was a bigger game being played here and it wasn’t open hostility towards Avalonians. He said nothing of his musings as they got on the transport to head to the apartment that the senator would be staying in. His right hand never left his side where his lightsaber was and his left rested on the hilt of his katana. He kept his gaze towards his surroundings, alert like a kirath hound ready to strike.
Off in the distance atop of one of the many skyscrapers two men stood watching the transports pull away. One had the uniform of a Republic soldier and the other wore the garb of a nobleman, an Avalonian nobleman. The officer spoke to his companion, “So that is the great Kirabaros?”
“Yes. A puny thing but worth his salt if you give him a chance.”
“Looks like they used a decoy. You see how he protected the two that stood behind him?”
“Of course they would. Kirabaros is no fool when it comes to security. Like every fool, however, he has his weaknesses.”
“Really?” The Republic officer glanced at the scene then at his partner. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that you have no qualms about our plan.”
“None. Besides you get what you want in the end, a dead Jedi and I get what I want, a ruined man.” The Avalonian chuckled slightly and with a smirk.
“And what of the Jedi? They will be investigating this incident.”
“Then we will just have to take care of anyone who gets in our way.” The Avalonian gave a knowing smile to the Republic officer. He then said, “You know, Admiral Keegan you sure know how to pick what’s good for you.”
“I could say the same for you,” the Admiral replied. “I suggest we go and prepare for the next round. I have the feeling that your Kirabaros will be stubborn as a mynock attached to power cables.”
The two headed into the skyscraper discussing their plans. Each had a different agenda and it could bring about the ruin of the Jedi if it went according to plan.
The office had a certain amount of stuffiness about it that was almost suffocating. Mostly it was due to the uneasy tensions among the people that were gathered there. The Chancellor was sitting at his desk staring at the row of faces that were emotionless before him. He tried not to squirm under their gaze and succeeded for the most part when he started speaking, “With all the threats and demands and now this rumor that the Jedi are hiding criminals, I don’t know how long I can hold off the dissidents.”
“I understand that,” a brown haired woman replied, “but you must understand the Jedi have no say in how the Avalonians govern their cities. We are keepers of the peace, not rulers.”
“And what of the Jedi on Avalon? From what I hear they have more say at the Governor’s house than his own council,” the Chancellor retorted. The last thing he wanted was to start an estrangement with the Jedi after all that they had done for the Republic.
“Please. If anything the Avalonians are honest in their dealings,” a dark haired man replied. He wore a smirk that betrayed his former profession as a scoundrel much to the dismay of the brown haired woman who merely glanced at him.
They were saved from unpleasant comments when the assistant to the chancellor announced that someone had arrived. The Chancellor nodded and stood to welcome the visitor. The Jedi that were seated stood and turned as the Chancellor walked to the door. In walked in another Jedi accompanied by a Republic Admiral. The Chancellor greeted the Jedi, “So you must be the great Kirabaros. I can’t say how much a pleasure it is to meet you. I see you have met Admiral Keegan.”
“You are gracious Chancellor,” Kirabaros responded. It was a firm voice he spoke in. “However I think now is not the time for pleasantries. This morning…”
“Yes I know. That tragedy on the landing platform was terrible. Thank goodness the senator is alive and well as is you.”
Kirabaros looked at the Chancellor with an indifferent look and scanned the room at the Jedi that were already there. He then said, “I think this is something big. Someone is out to destroy the Jedi once and for all.”
The looks and the emotions sent his way were venomous. Kirabaros held his gaze and waited for the chancellor to speak. After a pause the chancellor spoke, “That is a bold statement Master Jedi. Still perhaps I suggest that you keep an eye on the proceedings to see if foul play has been made.”
Kirabaros betrayed no emotion, especially his surprise. He reached out to the brown haired woman through the Force. Finding his answer, he gave a polite smile and responded, “That might work. After all the Senate wants to speak to me.” Something wasn’t right and the tensions about the room screamed the alarm at him. He only hoped that they could find the heart of this problem. There was more at stake than petty politics and it was back home. He nodded politely and left with the Jedi to head to the temple before the Senate met.
Admiral Keegan had been watching Kirabaros when he strode in. He was impressed with the physique and the strength that emanated from him. He watched as he scanned the room when speaking to the chancellor. The poor chancellor has no idea how much control he has lost, the Admiral thought ruefully. Patience was not his strong point but he knew he needed it if he was going to capture the one responsible for destroying his homeworld during the Jedi Civil War.
The Senate felt like a court of inquiry when Kirabaros accompanied Senator Amstar to her station. Besides him, his friend, the Bushida warrior Rowan Aldstar accompanied the senator as well. This gathering had been planned for months ever since the foiled assassination attempt on the life of the senator from Ryloth, one that Kirabaros prevented at great personal risk to himself.
To the hundreds of senators that were watching the young Jedi seating himself behind the senator, they were curious about him. Though he was tall, he was quite short by the Avalonian standards yet had the lithe and grace of dancer. It was deceptive for it hid his body strength well. The guard beside him was a stark and seemingly cruel contrast as he was much larger and more muscular. The young Jedi looked like no other Jedi they have seen before for he had no intention of giving off the aura a sage but instead gave that of a regal nobleman.
Kirabaros was not privy to the thoughts of the senators as he sat and waited for congress to be called to order. Though he could delve into their minds, he chose not to for he lived by the strict rule that the mind was a personal thing. Invasion of it only undermined trust and fed the seeds of rancor. Instead he reached out and drew in the emotions that were stirring with his eyes closed and his breathing evened and calmed. To him emotions were far easier to read and they were more clear to observe, even more so if they manifested themselves visibly. To anyone observing, it looked as if he were attempting to meditate like any other Jedi, a common misconception to anyone that hadn’t met him before.
Sweeping through the emotions, Kirabaros ignored the usual seeds of greed and corruption. It was something that he had learned to tune out since it was everywhere he went. Instead, he was drawn to an emotion that would have sent a chill through a padawan’s spine. It was one that he remembered and tried hard to forget all to well, the feeling of hate. It was intense, much like when he fought ‘him,’ the kind that ran deep. It was as if it were bred from the deepest reaches of space and it had leeched its poison through time. It was disturbing and made Kirabaros want to squirm but he held the impulse in check.
High above him Admiral Keegan was watching him through a pair of murderous eyes, the hate seething through. As far as he was concerned, the Jedi was the key to the murderer and because he was one of ‘them,’ that made it difficult for him to get her and that made him an enemy in his eyes. He had been warned by his associate to control his emotions because Kirabaros was known for weeding them out among other things but he wanted to let him know that someone had a motive. The benefit was that the room was full of senators and it would make it difficult for the Jedi to single anyone out.
Looking down, he watched as Kirabaros struggled to maintain his stoic appearance. He smiled at the pleasure of it. The plan that he had was treasonous to the Republic but he was willing to stop at nothing to extract revenge. Little did he know that the Jedi below understood that feeling all too well having been pursued by a person possessed by one of the most ancient of evils. He was just content watching the Jedi squirm even though it wasn’t visible.
Kirabaros, after answering Rowan’s question for the tenth time, stopped squirming as the chancellor called the senate to order. His eyes were focused on the chancellor and his statement but his senses were circling the room. Rowan was alert, his head facing forward but his eyes darting around. No one had questioned them when they brought their katanas; no one wanted to and it was explained that it was taboo for a warrior to be parted with his blade.
“The chair recognizes the senator from the sovereign system of Avalon.” The chancellor’s voice rang out to all the ears of the senators.
Senator Amstar pressed a button on the console and the unit flew forward towards the center. Standing calm and regal in the traditional dress of a Belosian, her homeworld, she spoke firmly, “Honorable representatives of the Republic: It has been requested time and again by various delegates that it be revealed the location of the Jedi Knight known as Revan.
“As had been responded each time, we cannot reveal such information if it is not known and because our ancient laws would be violated. Our position has been returned by acts of violence directed mainly at our people. Still, in good faith, and as requested for formal thanks by the Senate, we have decided to heed the request that one of our most honored warriors be present. Without further ado, I present Kirabaros, Jedi Knight.”
Kirabaros wanted nothing more than to hide under a seat but he stood slowly and walked to the console so he can be heard. When he approached, the chancellor spoke, “The chair welcomes Jedi Kirabaros from Avalon.”
“Thank you Chancellor,” Kirabaros responded. “I understand that this session was called for me to answer questions. I will answer them to the best of my knowledge.”
“Before we begin,” the senator from Ryloth spoke up, “I would like to thank the Master Jedi for his aide in saving my life.”
Kirabaros just surveyed the scene, not sure if he was supposed to say anything or not but he was rescued by the chancellor’s response and a general murmur of consensus. The chancellor then opened the floor for questions. All the while the surge of hatred that Kirabaros felt before the proceedings was still present. He couldn’t hone in on the source but he felt it almost as if it were behind him. He was just stared forward, trying not to shudder. He was broken out of it by a question. He replied, “Excuse me?”
“Do you know where the Jedi Revan is?” The question came again.
There was a brief silence before Kirabaros answered, “Yes.”
“Will you reveal that location to us?”
“No, I cannot.”
“You are aware that the Jedi Revan is still wanted by various systems for the crimes she committed?”
“Yes.” A general cacophony started but somehow Kirabaros silenced them by raising his hands to indicate he was still speaking. He continued, “I am aware but you must understand why I cannot and will not reveal her location.”
“And what is that?”
“She has sought refuge within our sovereignty and our ancient laws dictate that those who seek refuge are under our protection.”
A murmur started amongst the senators, some whispering at the strangeness of this, the other outright outrage. The one who had been asking the questions nearly shouted, “This is outrage!”
“Order,” the chancellor called before the bureaucrat. He clearly saw that this could get out of control.
Kirabaros was watching the scene. He hated to admit the truth but he knew the laws and stories better than anyone save for the various lore masters. He hoped that he was doing the right thing by doing this. She said it was a good idea and he couldn’t help but think of her reasons why he should be there in the middle of the senate. He thought of her and the others when called after the chancellor called for order. He said, “She is under our protection and anyone who tries to come after her by force will be met with resistance.”
Great start JM12. I noticed only three spelling errors, the first one is at the fifth paragraph of the first chapter - one 'o' is missing; the other two are near the end of the second chapter - I think it should go ''And why is that?'' and you've forgot the article in this one ''This is an outrage!''
Nothing too big anyway.
Overall great work and keep it up.
Thanks igyman. I purposely left the what in there on Ch 2 because I have heard the same response given to a similar question. Truth be told both can be correct but your version is more grammatically correct. Still your imput is good. Don't worry: this won't crash and burn like Broken Wounds.
On a different note: Did anyone recognize something familiar from the movies? :)
Nice start, and i think i may have spotted what was familiar from the movies, in Episode II, at the start when they first land back on Coruscant, and the ship blows up, killing Padme's decoy. Ami i correct?
Once again, great start, and hoping to see more soon.
Yes it is. This next chapter is an introductory one.
The day was a gentle spring one, the first of the season. It was evident in the grassy field near the river where a hut stood welcoming the spring air. The sounds of spring were joyous as could be heard from the fields; the sounds of a four year old boy enjoying life.
The boy sped by the shaded glen on a small black Saluki stallion, the pride and joy of the Avalonians. He called out to the woman watching him in the glen, “Look Marmar! I can do it!”
His mother looked at him with love in her eyes. She called back, “Very good Tulre. Did your father teach you how to ride like that?”
“You know Dada did.” Tulre laughed as he turned the stallion around to meet his mother.
Michaela walked up to greet her son and stroke the stallion. Tulre was her pride and joy and her source of comfort when her husband was away. She stroked his hair to brush the golden brown locks out of his face only to find that they fell back. She smiled at that. He’s so much like his father, she thought. Her thoughts drifted to her husband and wondered if he was all right.
Tulre noticed his mother staring off into space. He knew she did that when she was thinking of his father. He was too young to understand completely why his Dada had to go away often and why this time was different than all the other times but he could tell that it was important. He had great faith in his Dada and could feel it through the bond he shared that he was all right. He tried to reassure his mother, “Don’t worry Marmar. Dada will be home soon.”
Michaela smiled at her son as she marveled at the strength of the father-son relationship between the two. She figured that it had to do with the time that Kirabaros spent recovering from serious injuries and even though it put him out of commission, it was a good thing that he got to spend time with his family. She glanced at her chronometer and said, “Well we better go inside and get ready.”
“Do we have to go?” Tulre asked.
“What’s the matter? Don’t you want to see your Aunt Reva and Uncle Carth and have fun at the festivities?” Michaela asked with a knowing smile.
“Well I want to see them. They’re the best next to you and Dada. I just don’t want to see ‘her,’ the Jawa.”
The reply was so solemn that Michaela had to exert much self-control not to laugh. She continued to smile at him as she helped him down from the stallion. “Why don’t you want to see Lilah? She’s a nice little girl.”
They began to walk to the paddock to release the stallion to graze. Tulre answered her, “She’s a Jawa. She takes apart my robots and tries to fix them. She even tries to give me old parts like I want them. She even makes them fly.”
“Really. I thought you made your robots fly to amuse her.” Michaela smiled at her son.
Tulre looked at her sheepishly as they entered their house. “OK. I’ll go,” he replied sounding defeated.
“Tulre! How big you’ve grown,” a dark haired woman with honey colored eyes greeted him at the door of the villa. Behind her was her husband home on leave from the fleet and just in time for the spring festival. He was holding his two-year-old daughter who was giggling at all the happiness.
Tulre hugged his aunt and replied, “I’m not that big. I’m still me.” He then grabbed his uncle around the waist while his mother greeted Revan with the polite hug and peck on the cheek.
“Hey kiddo,” Carth rumpled Tulre’s hair with his free hand as he set down his daughter. He chuckled when Tulre’s hair sprang back to where it was.
“How goes it Carth?” Michaela asked in her soft voice.
Tulre took the question as his cue to leave. He asked Lilah if she wanted to see something neat. When she said yes, she tottered after him, holding his hand. The three adults watched them leave with amusement. Michaela couldn’t help but think of what her sprat was going to do. The last time involved rigging the communicator to sound like a blaster bolt. The incident was on everyone’s mind for Carth let out a chuckle and said, “I hope he does something to HK.” Revan smacked him on the arm. “At least it would improve his personality,” he grinned at his wife.
Michaela watched the happiness pass between them. She thought back to when she and her husband watched them kiss and she smiled. She spoke, “Well that would be an improvement. He wouldn’t have the desire to murder everyone we know.” She smiled a sly grin and Revan responded with a laugh. “Don’t worry about it. How’s everything?”
“The fleet’s been keeping me busy though I manage to spend as much time at home as I can,” Carth replied.
“More like shove your responsibilities onto your subordinates?” Revan teased as she gave him a hug.
“I would have thought he couldn’t stand being away from his favorite girl and I mean the one that has him wrapped around her finger and plagues my son,” Michaela replied sweetly, causing Carth to blush slightly and Revan to giggle.
“That’s true. Still it helps to have you around. We need some law and order,” Revan said.
“So I’m the bad guy now,” Carth said with a smile. He led the way to the gardens where there was a table set with tea. It was a tradition to offer tea to the guest and it was one that suited everyone.
Michaela sat across from them both and took the offered cup of tea. After taking a sip, she said, “I ask Carth because I am curious about the state of affairs. From what Kirabaros tells me, there seems to be some disagreement between some members and Avalon.”
The color change on Carth spoke volumes as well as the silence. Revan noticed it and asked, “Do you know what’s going on Carth?”
Michaela could tell Carth didn’t want to say anything and concluded that it must be bad for him to be so uncomfortable. She turned her head down slightly, lowered her eyes and stared at her cup. She said softly, “It has something to do with the reason my husband went to Coruscant, doesn’t it?”
It wasn’t accusatory at all. Carth felt compelled to answer. He tried to say it as best as he could though tact was not one of his strong points. “Yes. The reason they wanted him to come was because of…Revan.” Revan flinched slightly but maintained the posture of listening. Michaela kept her eyes lowered in the traditional manner of showing respect. Carth continued, “Apparently, there are still a few systems that demand that Revan answer for those crimes committed when she was the Dark Lord. They figured that Kirabaros would know where she was staying and tell them.”
“He won’t tell them,” Michaela said quietly.
“He could face judgment himself,” Carth replied. He hated telling them both this hash truth and he desperately wanted to kick himself for doing it.
“He won’t,” Michaela repeated again more firmly. She raised her eyes to look at them both. “He can’t because he will say that you have sought refuge here. When he says that, the government will not turn you over.”
“Why would he say that?” Revan was flabbergasted. Kirabaros was a lot of things but never one to be so reckless. “I never asked for refuge when I came here.”
“It doesn’t matter. Once he says that, it’s official. At least to Avalon and the people will uphold their duty. It’s part of the laws that have been in place long before the Republic came into being. Why do you think there are so many Jedi in this system?”
Carth and Revan looked at Michaela who looked at them with an inquisitive look. It masked her fear well. She knew that her husband faced a great risk but the things he did, he did it for his family. She had never met a man who would selflessly give of himself, ignoring pride, to help those that mattered most. Revan couldn’t see these thoughts but she guessed at them. She broke the silence, “I see.” Changing the subject she continued, “Well we mustn’t think of these sad thoughts on this day of all days. Let us go see what the children are doing before we find ourselves in a bigger mess.”
Michaela agreed and sent a silent thanks through the eyes. It is said that Avalonian women never voiced their feelings but rather hid them behind a mask. It gave forth the image of strength and courage but it was how they guarded their hearts from the various pains of life. Spending four years with the Avalonians, Revan grew to understand to a degree the ways of the women, especially the Handmaidens and she in turn adapted, especially when Carth was away with the fleet. The three of them walked in a companionable silence towards the nursery area. They were stopped short when HK-47 came stomping, if it could be called stomping, out and said, “Statement: The little meatbags have run amok. Shall I dispose of them master?”
Michaela was snickering at HK who had a bow tie tied to his neck and had what looked like new appendages sticking off of him. She said, “HK what’s the matter? I thought you liked torture.”
“Answer: I do but only when I get to torture the meatbags. This is degrading. Appeasement: Master please make the meatbags stop!”
Taking it no longer Michaela called in a semi stern voice while Carth and Revan were snickering, “Tulre.”
Obediently he came followed by Lilah who was holding a new toy, one obviously built by Tulre. He said, “HK threatened to lock us in the closet so we taught him a lesson.”
“Teach him lesson,” Lilah echoed with a smile, her little brown eyes twinkling.
“Appeasement: Please master. Stop this. It’s degrading.”
Laughter rang out as everyone prepared for the festival in the evening.
Love the kids dressing up HK. Giving Revan sanctuary in the Avalon system is an interesting solution. I had never thought about the possibility of Revan being wanted by systems, though when I think of it now, it's pretty obvious. So Lilah's going to be a handful for Carth to keep up with, eh? :)
lol, never would have imagined to have HK dressed up haha, nice chapter once again.
Yep, you did good once again, but [Grammar Police Deputy Mode Initiated] there are still a few spelling mistakes, I'm guessing you were typing it very fast, because these mistakes are of that kind - a letter or an article missing, nothing that you won't spot by yourself if you decide to edit. [Grammar Police Deputy Mode Terminated]
Three good Chapters JediMaster12. Is this a Sequel to the Heart of the Guardian Trilogy? Sorry if that question sounds stupid. Anyway, I'm looking foward to more.
Yes it is related to Heart of the Guardian and has references from Broken Wounds. Mostly time connections. Igyman: I will have to send my HK unit after you. I cannot stand grammar police. Just kidding. Yeah I know all about that and I fixed my master copy. Glad you liked the part about the kids 'dressing' HK. I wanted to do something to embarrass HK since that always seems to be funny with his appeasements to master.
Well that said and done I will post the next chapter. Yes I am mean but I couldn't think of what better way to get someone to do what they wanted without a bit of 'leaverage.'
Kirabaros was facing the row of faces with a passive look that any warrior would give their last credits to have. He was kneeling in front of the faces, giving the proper bow. He remained kneeling much to the discomfort to all of the people there save for Caelos and Senator Amstar for his manner looked like that of a servant. He spoke with a gentle but firm voice, “I don’t expect you to understand Bastila but as a Bushida warrior, I have a duty to uphold our laws and honor.”
“You are a Jedi Knight too. What you said in there has put yourself, not to mention the Jedi Order in a precarious position. One that could destroy us in our fragile state.”
“Don’t you think I thought of that,” Kirabaros replied slightly tense but not moving from his bowed position. “There’s something else behind all this besides having me here.”
“Ya know, he’s right though I’m not sure if he’s being mental or not. Whoever asked those questions wanted information. Luckily he had a game going and I was winning that hand too,” Atton called from his corner.
Kirabaros gave a look that was amused but also told Atton to back off a bit. He confirmed it though, “There is something more at stake. When I was sitting there, I could feel an surge of anger…hatred.”
Jolee didn’t miss the look that passed on Kirabaros’ face. He recognized that look all to well. He said in his gruff manner with a hint of gentleness, “Well out with it sonny. We aren’t getting any younger here.”
Kirabaros replied, “I couldn’t weed out where it was coming from but it was there. That is why I said what I did and I’ll stand by it.”
“Your devotion is admirable but we have to look at the bigger picture…” Bastila began.
“Do not give me your false sympathies Bastila. You do not understand our ways and I don’t expect you to. Avalon will not give up Revan and there is nothing you can do about it.” Then with a polite bow, he stood and left the council chambers. He wandered down to the Room of a Thousand Fountains and sat to watch. His partner, Caelos was off with the new younglings learning and teaching so he was quite alone. He sat on one of the benches and closed his eyes, just listening.
The room was dark and a bright light overhead. Kirabaros found himself strapped down to a table of some sort. He felt a sense of annoyance and boredom as he stared straight ahead. He began to play the game of pazaak that he hadn’t finished with and began to jeer at Atton in his mind. He was in the middle of a round when he heard a voice saying, “Life is a game to isn’t it? Perhaps you would like to add some players? Ones that you care about?”
Kirabaros ignored the jab and said, “The river flows in one direction but needs a guide.”
Out of nowhere, there was a flash of light and a wave of intense pain. It burned liked fire throughout his body and left the familiar sensation of deadened nerves. He was aware of a loud screaming that permeated the air. There was a rather high-pitched laughter as a result of the screams. The pain stopped momentarily and he heard the same voice say, “Now, you will die.” Then another flash of light and the pain came back, only more so. It was as if all the hatred and anger in the galaxy were poured into the pain. It was so intense that Kirabaros gave a blood-curdling scream and all was dark…
“If sit there any longer, a tach would eat you,” a voice sounded in Kirabaros’ ear.
“Good. Then maybe I won’t have to listen to the Jedi Ice Queen anymore,” came the reply.
“Watch it sonny. You might lose more than that if she hears you,” Jolee replied.
Kirabaros said nothing except to stare at the fountain. Jolee had jolted him out of a vision he had and he could feel the same anger and hatred that he had felt within the Senate. It disturbed him but he sensed that Jolee wanted to talk about his behavior in the Council chambers. It didn’t matter because he would tell him anyway. After the pause, he said, “What is it this time Jolee? Have you come to berate me on my posture or how about the way I enter a room?” His voice was dripping with sarcasm, such that Jolee would be proud of.
Jolee merely grunted then replied, “Nothing wrong with that. At least to Bastila’s view with that rear end.” When he saw the look of disgust and surprise on Kirabaros’ face, he stopped and held up a hand. “Don’t say anything sonny. You know you’re a tough nut to crack and you need some humor in your life. Now are you going to explain to me why you did what you did or not?”
“Maybe, maybe not. The Old Man needs his daily dose of crankiness,” Kirabaros smirked at Jolee. After a chuckle, he began to explain that according to the laws of his home, if someone sought refuge, Avalon was under a code of honor to ensure their safety. “So you see, if they try to take by force, they will be met with resistance.”
“You know as well as I that Revan wouldn’t ask for asylum.” Jolee eyed Kirabaros with a knowing smile.
“Yes but if it is declared by anyone, it becomes in effect.” More quietly he said, “I sense that the Jedi will be brought into this whether I say anything or not. That hatred I felt was partially directed at Jedi in general.”
“Well we had to live through that before sonny. What makes this so different?”
“Well the fact that there are people who don’t trust the Jedi but also the fact that this seems personal.” Kirabaros paused a bit to glance around. “Besides, there is one way to get her here and I am loath to say it until I return and explain it.”
“You best better tell me sonny. You’re not the only one who cares about her.” Jolee had a no nonsense tone in his voice.
“Alright. Well…” and in a hushed whisper he explained a lot more than he should have.
Admiral Keegan was pacing like a madman in his apartments, wanting to cuss out everyone. He had a frustrating time in the Senate today and he wanted to take his anger out on anything. He actually wanted to hit the first person that walked in. The sound of a door opening alerted him and caused him to grab the nearest thing, a small marble ball. As soon as the footsteps entered the room he was in, he turned and threw it as hard as he could.
Count Draconis came in with the graceful gait of his people to speak with the Admiral when he was greeted by a marble ball flying at him. With a quick movement, he caught the ball in his right hand and held it up. He said, “I warned you not to let your hatred show.”
“You could have also told me what he was going to say!” Keegan was growing red in the face with anger.
“Now, now that would be telling wouldn’t it?” The count smiled a wicked smile as he put the marble ball down on a nearby table. He walked closer and past him to look out the window at the bustle of Coruscant. “Besides, I knew he would declare her sanctuary.”
“That doesn’t help with our plans though!” Keegan was still fuming. His face was a bright shade of red and it looked like he was running out of air.
The count refused to look at him but continued to stare out of the window. He spoke in the soothing tones of his people, “Temper, temper, Admiral. Let me explain.” He turned to face Keegan to finish, “True that we cannot force our way to get the rogue Jedi but what is also true is that she never asked for sanctuary. For him, that could be construed as treason, if the cards are played right. However, the only way to get your Jedi is to have her willingly return to Republic space.”
“Willingly?” Keegan asked.
“Of course. She has to come here by her own free will otherwise anyone trying to get her would be met with resistance. She is a Jedi after all.”
“What makes you so sure that she will?”
“She will return because she won’t let anyone close to her suffer at the hands of the Republic, especially someone bonded to her.” The count smiled a wicked grin and gazed intently at Keegan.
“Are you saying she is bonded with your Kirabaros? One of those Jedi bonds?”
“Can you think of any other reason?” Seeing that Keegan was perplexed the count explained, “Surely you remember the holo newscast of the ceremonies on Avalon? Do you recall seeing another admiral besides Dodonna?”
“Admiral Carth Onasi? The hero of the Republic Carth Onasi?” Keegan was starting to get a general picture.
“Yes,” the count was clearly annoyed by the hero worship. He had enough of the children’s idolization of Kirabaros back home. “Do you know what he was holding?”
The light went on in Keegan’s mind. “The baby? Is the baby his?”
“Yes and the Jedi is his wife.” The count was smiling an evil smile. His eyes were in narrow slits, black pools that seemed to drown out the images they viewed. “The kid is precious to Kirabaros as well as his own son.”
“This keeps getting better and better,” Keegan replied. “So what shall we do now with this new information?”
Good Chapter JediMaster. Sorry to be a pain and ask yet another question, but is Kirabaros J.C.? I also think Jolee's humour is good. Anyway, I'm looking foward to more Chapters.
Nice, the suspense grows.
Yes Pottsie. Remember he changed his name in part 3. He no longer goes by the name his mother gave him. With his people, it is acceptable to go by a new name. Traditionally at coming of age, young children leave behind their childhood and that includes their name. Kirabaros' just happened when he was already an adult. That idea was taken from the Japanese ceremony of the induction of a new maiko or apprentice geisha.
To everyong reading: I will use words that actually mean something in real life but will have changed the meaning for the story. As a spoiler, the word maiko will actually mean the male form of a geisha but they specialize in the dance of swords. They act out the old stories. Just a heads up for all those interested. Chapter five will be up as soon as I can write it.
I'm looking foward to it. Thanks for answering my questions.
The festival was lively with the dances and entertainment to welcome the coming of spring. The festival was called the Festival of New Beginnings and was the highlight of all Avalonians. The maiko, or the male artists, were telling the stories of old that resulted in new beginnings, the newest one being of how Kirabaros defeated the Blood King. It was a pleasant atmosphere to watch.
Revan and Carth were walking arm in arm with Michaela beside them. They were watching their children running to go watch a dance followed by Dustil who had arrived that evening. Behind them was HK still muttering about the indignities he had suffered. At least they managed to convince Tulre to remove the appendages. The bow was insisted upon by Lilah who said that he looks pretty. After telling HK to stop with the comments for the umpteenth time, HK became silent except to only ask if he could blast a meatbag for compensation.
The dance finished and the announcement was made for the lead number. First there was a pause to allow the musicians and artists a break. With the children safely with Dustil and HK, Michaela continued the discussion that had been left at tea. She said, “I apologize if my comments on my husband’s actions were what you call a bombshell.”
Carth replied, “There is no need. I know how he feels about his family because I feel the same. He would do anything for us to protect us, especially the kids.”
“That is true,” Revan agreed. She frowned slightly and added, “Still I can’t help but wonder why the Senate would think he knows anything about me.”
“Perhaps it is because someone bears a grudge against him and is working with someone who bears a grudge against you,” Michaela replied. Little did she know how right she was. “But I worry that his protection would cost him. Because you did not say it directly, he could be dishonored for it.”
“I can’t let him do that because of me. It is time I face those that were affected by my crimes even though I cannot remember them all,” Revan replied in her determined voice. She had made up her mind to speak to Kirabaros when he returned for Carth would tie her to a chair with a neural restraint to keep her from going to him, if only to keep her safe.
“He made his choice Manzibique. I doubt he would want you to undermine his plan,” Michaela replied. She had used Revan’s Mikkades name to invoke the sense of honor and duty.
Revan, knowing Michaela’s intention merely nodded. As much as she hated to see those she cared about suffering, she would have to play along with this for now. There was no time for her to say a reply for the lights were setting for the lead number.
The stage was a long and narrow platform but there was plenty of room for movement. First stepped out two maiko with distinct katana blades drawn. They assumed their positions, facing opposite of each other. The music began to play, a rather high and shrill sound from a lute accompanied by drums. Then emerged what everyone waited for: out came a female artist bearing a beautiful blade. Her hair was done in an easy bun with three separate tresses of hair running down her back. She wore a black crested kimono, but not like those of the elegant women. It looked more like that which the male Bushida warriors wore, allowing for easy movement. The crowd was in awe and some of the people gave a slight bow for the woman.
Seeing that Carth and Revan were confused at the attention given to the woman, Michaela decided to explain. Whispering, so as not to interrupt, she said, “Her name is Mamesa. She is what they call a geima, the highest honor of the artisans. They are extremely rare for they are skilled in dance and the art of conversation, like a geisha but they are like maiko in that they dance with the blade. That is the general knowledge. To understand completely, you basically have to live their lives.”
Revan was interested and nodded. She whispered back, “Tell me, why do they show Mamesa such respect?”
Michaela whispered her reply, “She is considered among the greatest of the geima having mastered the most difficult of dances. She was chosen for her talent for this dance. I believe it is one of the battles you fought while Kirabaros was away during the war.”
Nothing more was said as the music progressed and the dance continued. The children were watching intently not knowing that they would one day get to meet one of these elegant people during a desperate time in their life.
Coruscant was lovely at night and also quiet lively with the sounds of the air traffic and those who lived for the night. Amidst the seemingly chaos, the Jedi Temple was quiet and serene though there were some mounted tensions coming from within. Inside Kirabaros was arguing with Bastila. “I really don’t care Bastila if I am supposed to be paraded around like a Bantha with a pink bow. I am not doing it.”
“The Senate requested that you make appearances to the people of the Republic. After all you…”
“Save it. I am not doing it. I know that there is a hidden agenda to bring back Revan and I have to make sure that when she comes, it will be on my terms, not theirs.” Kirabaros began to take long strides towards the hangar bay area where his fighter was. He was going back, on the advice from Jolee, to explain the situation to Revan and make arrangements for her return. He knew that she would want to but he had a feeling that there was a lot involved and he wasn’t taking any chances.
Even though she respected him, Bastila had given up trying to understand Avalonians and their way of life, especially that of the Jedi from there. She didn’t voice it but she was appalled that he and Revan would completely disavow the tenet of the Jedi Code that forbids personal relationships. During the war with the Blood King, she thought that various decisions made by Kirabaros were governed more by personal feelings than reason and thought that they would have ended in disaster. She completely overlooked the fact that he was very calculating in important decisions even when it involved people that he cared for. She remained silent and was fuming, trying to keep it under control as she was striving to keep up.
Kirabaros could sense her emotions a mile away and he was amused yet feeling low. He didn’t want to start a fight with Bastila after all that he had heard of her exploits during the Jedi Civil War but he was on alert. That surge of hatred that he had sensed during the session of congress had him on edge. When he was sitting there, he had been drawn back to his memories as a child being tormented by the Judge and to his first confrontation with the Blood King. It was a personal hatred and it had been allowed to fester for a long time. He had told Jolee after the session had ended and they conspired on a course of action. Trying to mend the rift he stopped abruptly in front of the door to the bay and said softly, “You wouldn’t put the children at risk would you?”
Bastila was stunned by the question. She took a moment to collect her thoughts before replying with another question, “What do the children have to do with this?”
“They will be vulnerable unless I do something now,” came the answer. Kirabaros stood facing the door not daring to look at Bastila’s face. He played his trump card, one he used as a last resort, for he knew that the Jedi valued all life and one that meant the most to him.
Bastila said nothing but instead just touched his shoulder gently. As much as she disapproved of relationships, she couldn’t help but love the children, especially Tulre even though he went out of his way to tease her. Regaining her voice, she said, “Fine.” Then as an aside, “That was not a nice trick playing that card.”
“Part of my charm,” Kirabaros replied softly. He then pressed the panel to open the door. In a normal tone, he continued, “By the way, Atton will be coming too. I think he’s earned it.” He then stepped into the hangar leaving Bastila shaking her head at him as she closed the doors.
T3 was waiting by the fighter checking all systems. When Kirabaros approached the fighter, T3 let out a beep and then twittered a string of beeps and boops. Kirabaros just smiled at the little astromech and replied, “Alright, alright T3. We’ll be going soon. We just have to wait a few more minutes.”
“Well, Atton’s coming too and no I won’t let him try to turn you into a molten scrap pile. Besides I think that’s his way of saying he likes you.” Kirabaros looked at the droid with a smirk.
Dweep boop dwoooop
“Stop that. He’s not that bad.” The hangar doors opened and Kirabaros looked to see a familiar face. He glanced at T3 and said, “You better pop yourself in. We’ll be going soon.”
T3 beeped his reply along with a few choice words for Atton that left Kirabaros smiling as he walked to greet a friend.
Atton Rand, former scoundrel and Jedi Knight, though his dress seemed to indicate that he was his former profession, stood in front of a Jedi and a friend. He gave a cocky grin and asked, “So tell me, what did the tin can over there say about me?”
Grinning back, Kirabaros replied, “You don’t want to know.” Then changing the subject, “Ready?”
“Yep. I’m kind of glad that you demanded that I come, otherwise I would have stolen a ship for kicks and left myself.” Atton started to walk towards the fighter that was to be his with Kirabaros beside him.
“I know that you have been waiting to see him. It’s been a month. Personally I would have thought you would have taken him with you, given the circumstances.”
“I can’t think of any place safer than Avalon where to keep Morgan and he likes it there, like his mother.”
There was an awkward pause between the two Jedi until Kirabaros replied, “Well I am sure that he will be happy to see his father,” and they took off in their fighters.
Another good Chapter. The Festival was interesting and HK's lines were still great. I'm looking foward to more.
Good work, as always, JM12. A suggestion though - you may want to lose the Beep. Dwooo. etc. completely and instead write only descriptions of T3's or any astromech's sounds as you already do in some cases. Trust me, it sounds a lot better and it looks a lot better to the reader.
Thanks for all suggestions. This next chapter, well, my imagination ran away with the plot as I tried to develop the tensions that are always around when you make a deal with the devil so to speak. If you notice, I tend to prefer that my main baddies have cold, calculating minds. It just sounds more creepy and a good counter balance to Keegan, the passionate and maybe rash baddie. By the way, the name Keegan, I picked it from the war analyst name John Keegan. Fitting ya think? Also one of my side characters has an interesting name. I wonder if anyone can guess. Well enjoy.
Nothing is better than the life of a bounty hunter. The life of a bounty hunter is perfect. You find people, kill them, collect the credits and take the next bounty. Yep life seems perfect; at least to the bounty hunter sitting in the corner of one of Coruscant’s many cantinas. Jaqrand, bounty hunter extraordinaire, was considered one of the best bounty hunters in Republic space. He was good at finding people but very good at finding Jedi and it was rightfully earned. In the years after the Jedi Civil War, when there was a bounty on Jedi, he tracked them down, killed them and collected. Even though the bounty was for live Jedi, he didn’t care and brought in their corpses often bearing some form of torture before death. Yep he was the best.
Sitting in his usual corner of the cantina, he wondered what his newest client wanted. All he got was a datapad message to meet the client at this time. He took a sip of his Corellian brandy and watched the Twi’lek dancers dancing a provocative dance but the other patrons were no fools. They knew he was watching the door for someone, possibly a bounty. He sat there in a slouched position, watching. He didn’t have long to wait.
Admiral Keegan stood out like a sore thumb even though he was dressed like a spacer as he walked into the cantina. He wrinkled his nose slightly at the smell of alcohol and cigarra smoke in the air as he entered, looking for his client.
Jaqrand wrinkled his nose at the sight of Keegan. Republics. You can always spot them in a crowd, he thought. He prided himself on spotting fakes and he usually caught wind of Republic Intelligence and lost them before they realized they lost him. He sat up straight and made a motion with his head at Keegan. He hid his disgust as Keegan walked up to his table and sat down. He said, “Well I thought I’d never see the day when the Republic would ask a bounty hunter for help.”
“Keep it down space scum,” Keegan growled, his voice full of obvious disdain.
“Relax Republic. They don’t care,” Jaqrand motioned to the patrons. “They know how to show respect. Drink?”
“No. I got a job for you,” Keegan countered, not missing a beat.
“All business and no pleasure, makes you a dull man indeed,” Jaqrand leaned back in his chair with a smirk.
“This business is of vital importance and right up your alley.” Keegan slid a datapad towards Jaqrand.
Jaqrand picked up the datapad and clicked it on. His face lit up a bit but frowned still. “What’s the job?”
“I want you to follow him and I want you to kill him.” Keegan had been playing with a cigarra in an ashtray. He stopped playing with it and looked at Jaqrand. “There can be no mistakes.” He then stood up, took a swig of Jaqrand’s brandy and turned to leave.
The bounty hunter watched as Keegan left. He smirked and shook his head at the retreating figure. He switched on the datapad again and scanned the information. “Well, well, well. Looks like I’ve got a Jedi to kill.”
Draconis was sitting across from several sentients in a room in the quarters he secured before Senator Amstar returned to Coruscant. He was amused by how much stock they put into tradition by the way they were arguing over something that he couldn’t catch in their language. He wasn’t as adept in languages like some of his people, particularly Kirabaros, but he was able to catch the gist of it and let them argue for a few minutes just to get them into his hands. Once they were finished he began, “I’ve heard that you are very good at what you do; you have unique skills.”
“Can you do more than talk?” the ringleader asked.
“I aim to put those skills to good use,” Draconis said with a cruel smile.
“What’s the job?”
Draconis slid three datapads across to the leader. “All the information is there about your targets. I expect that you’ll inflict little damage as possible?”
“Sure thing. You plan on paying more for intact goods?”
“Like I said when I first contacted you: you will find yourselves the beneficiaries of a handsome sum.” Draconis executed extreme patience. He needed this plan to succeed and it depended upon the three sentients in front of him. He looked at the leader with an intent look, almost as if he was challenging them.
“Alright. We’ll do the job. When do we start?”
“Now. They have already started heading back and someone will be on their tail. Your job is to grab the three on those datapads.”
“Snatch and grab?”
“Yes, though I will tell you now that they may be difficult to obtain. You may have to expect resistance for they are guarded.”
“So they are valuable goods?”
“Oh yes.” Draconis had a cruel smile on his face and his eyes narrowed to black slits that gave him a demonic appearance. The three in front of him had to suppress a shudder. Draconis then proceeded to show them out the door. After they left he went to the table they had been sitting at and began to play with a pen that he had left there. The sound of the door opening didn’t even cause him to flinch. He said still looking at the pen, “I assume that all went well with the hire?”
“He’s on the job though I don’t know why you want him to track and kill your Kirabaros.” Keegan stepped into the room holding the flight jacket he had worn into the cantina. He was slightly disturbed at the calm and calculating manner the Avalonian was exhibiting just sitting there. He saw that there was a sort of malice to his position but he swallowed the feeling right then.
“Didn’t you learn anything about strategy?” Draconis gave him a look that would have frozen the lakes of Naboo if given the chance. “In order to get your true target, sometimes you need a distraction. With Kirabaros having to watch his back all the time, his eyes won’t be watching our goal. The man is good, but not that good.” Draconis spoke in a belittling manner, as if Keegan were a child that needed things explained to him.
“So the whole thing with the bounty hunter scum is nothing but a feint to get the kids?” Keegan asked surprised at how Draconis thought everything through.
“Yes though I don’t think the bounty hunter won’t last long against Kirabaros. The man may have killed Jedi before but he’s never gone against an Avalonian Jedi. I am rather curious to see how long he will last. Would you like to bet on it Keegan?” Draconis gave a sickly sweet smile at Keegan.
Keegan stared, flabbergasted at Draconis’ remarks about Jaqrand. He saw that Draconis considered it as if it were a game and only he knew the rules. Somehow Keegan felt that he had lost control of his own agenda and plans. Sure they were going to be carried out but it seemed that Draconis had taken the reins.
Draconis must have been aware of this for he said, “Relax Keegan. You’re still in the loop as far as everything goes. I just happen to know my people a lot better than you Republic types. Makes sense right?”
“Right. So what about the snatch and grab?” Keegan was all too willing to change the subject.
“I guess there’s nothing to worry about. They’re kids. How much trouble can they be?” Keegan tried to be like Draconis.
Draconis smiled at Keegan in a friendly way. He was amused that Keegan was trying to play it cool even if he was a stuck up, top-notch brass. “We’ll see,” was all he replied.
Now this was one great chapter. Seriously. The description of the atmosphere in that cantina, the bounty hunter's personality... great.
Now, those interesting names you mentioned... I don't know if one of these two characters was the one you meant, but to me Jaqrand and Draconis are very interesting names. The bounty hunter has that ''rand'' in it, reminds me of Atton's last name, and Draconis, well, it definitely has something to do with dragons. ;)
Yeah there's the 'rand' from Atton's name and the Jaq I took from other pieces I have read that claim that Atton's name before he was Atton was Jaq, so it's like a haunting from the past so to speak.
Draconis I was thinking in terms of Avalonian names. They tend to be unique, like elvish names but also a hint of the Orient and it's because in Chinese mythology, dragons were thought to be powerful and could control the elements. Draconis is calculating, he controls the outcome. He likes a game where he makes the rules and only he knows them. In fact he is a lot better than his descendant Dragus from Broken Wounds. See the connection?
Here's a tender hearted chapter. Yeah I was in the mood to write it.
“How much further?” The voice sounded slightly whiny over the comm.
T3 beeped an uncomplimentary replied followed by an ETA. This caused Kirabaros to chuckle.
“Hey! I didn’t call you any names you walking tin can!”
“Hey stop it you two! I can’t tune out your emotions with you screaming like that,” Kirabaros smirked as the fighters came out of hyperspace.
“Yeah, yeah I remember. You’re the Mental Jedi. You see things with your all seeing mysterious eye,” Atton replied in a sarcastic drawl that made Kirabaros chuckle.
“Don’t make me regret bringing you back. You’ve caused me no end of trouble that it’s amazing that I am still alive.”
“Hey. If I recall correctly you almost did die on us but you’re stubborn like a mynock chewin’ on power cables. If it weren’t for that stubbornness, Morgan wouldn’t be safe along with Tulre and Lilah.” Atton had softened his voice to one that was grateful.
“Hey, none of that. I need a scoundrel, not a sentimental fool. Shape up or I’ll have to tell HK to call you a Fool Meatbag again,” Kirabaros replied with some good humor. “We’re approaching Avalon, ETA three minutes.”
“Confirmed,” Atton replied, “You better not or I’ll put you in stasis when we touch down.”
“Oh ouch,” Kirabaros replied sarcastically, “That’s very Atton.”
“Just you wait,” came the good-humored response.
“Sure, promises,” and Kirabaros directed his fighter to the bay at the Academy in the mountains. Atton followed behind him, giving enough room for adjustment. They were heading home.
“Yes, that is how things went while we were in session, Master Karas. He said it but I know that she never did. If the governors found out…”
“I know Senator Amstar,” Master Karas Lightstar spoke to the holoimage of the Avalonian senator. She had contacted him after Kirabaros had left to tell the Master of the Academy, mostly out of concern for the Jedi returning. Master Karas hadn’t expected the call but treated it like everything else, as if it were a social call. “If they found out, he could be brought before the councils and be deemed an Outcast,” he finished the thought rather sad but kept a straight face.
“He has his reasons. Perhaps he will tell you before he decides to act,” the senator suggested.
“He might. It has been two years since the end of the war and yet I still remember the strategies he used. This latest action is like those strategies, preposterous and yet with a hidden purpose.” Karas had sounded thoughtful. It wouldn’t be that far off and things did seem out of place lately. So many questions yet few or no answers.
“I hope the governors and the Republic don’t mistake this as an action of the Sith. The secrets and his manner in executing his plans are like those of the Sith.” It was an unspoken truth that many of the decisions and actions taken by Kirabaros treaded dangerously close to those methods used by the Sith. If the old masters of Coruscant were still alive, they probably would have had heart attacks. Amstar couldn’t help but worry since he risked his life to accompany her back to Coruscant.
“They know him by what he has done. We have to worry about the now and what he will do. I received word that he is heading here. He will tell me or he won’t and I have to respect that,” Karas replied with a straight face and a firm, business like voice.
“Yes, I suppose you are correct. I will leave you to your devices Master Jedi.”
“Always a pleasure milady.” The transmission ended. Karas stood for a few seconds looking at. He then left the room to walk to the hangar bay operations room.
Once in the control room, he received word that two fighters were approaching, one Avalonian and one Republic. The scoundrel returns. Maybe Kirabaros can convince him to stay with the boy, Karas thought before saying to the padawan, “Bring the boy here. I suspect that there will be some shouts of joy.”
“Approach vectors are loaded and they are cleared for docking,” a controller said.
Master Karas nodded and walked down to the bay to go and greet his friend and fellow warrior. He was met by the padawan he had sent carrying a little three-year-old boy with hazel eyes and a light brown head of hair that tended to stick up in all directions. Master Karas accepted the boy and sent the padawan on his way. The little boy asked, “He’s coming?”
Softly the battle-hardened master replied, “Yes. He’s here to see you.”
“Don’t want him to leave,” the little boy pounded on the master’s shoulders.
“Don’t worry about that,” the master soothed as he walked to the main door. He loves you so. He only wants to keep you safe little one.
The fighters approached the docking bay. Kirabaros landed first with a grace, if that were even possible. He sighed as he powered down, It’s good to be home. Aloud he said, “Alright Atton. Your turn and try not to crash. T3’s not going to help you fix it this time.”
“Hey! I flew the Ebon Hawk pretty good during that space fight two years ago.”
“Right. After you hit every shot they fired at you.”
“You had to bring that up huh?”
Kirabaros didn’t have to answer for Atton brought down his fighter to sit next to the Avalonian fighter. Kirabaros couldn’t fault Atton on that landing, rather he couldn’t fault the pilot’s flying at all. He just attributed Atton’s high tendency to crash as an anomaly. When he had said that to Atton some time after he first came to Avalon, Mira laughed at that and said that Atton would crash anything with a hyperdrive. If I had thought it out better then…no don’t think about that, Kirabaros thought back to the fateful battle that Mira had died in. Don’t think about it. He has to be strong for Morgan. He got out of his fighter and popped the hatch for T3. As soon as Atton jumped out of his fighter, Kirabaros said, “Hey no crash! We need to celebrate but no juma.” He smirked at Atton.
“Maybe a game of Pazaak where you don’t cheat,” Atton countered.
“My dear Atton,” Kirabaros replied diplomatically, “Weren’t you the one who told me that cheating was synonymous with Pazaak?”
Atton looked stunned that he had been bitten by his own retort. He was saved from having to counter the remark when the door to the main enclave opened. His eyes were drawn to the boy that the master was holding. He watched with a look of tenderness and nervousness as the master approached him. The nervousness disappeared when the master held the boy out to him. He said to the boy, “Hey kiddo.”
The little boy looked scared that if he touched the man in front of him, he would go away and leave him behind. He asked, “Are you going away again?”
Kirabaros felt sorry for Atton in that he had to answer that question. He turned away to not hear the response and motioned for T3 to follow him out of the bay. Atton replied, “I’m here for you now.”
The little boy reached out to grab Atton. Atton responded by hugging the boy close with affection that no one would have expected the former scoundrel to have. The little boy said with a slight sob, “Don’t leave me ‘gain Papa.”
“I’m always here for you Morgan,” Atton replied as the boy hugged him tighter.
Karas had moved away after handing little Morgan over to his father to catch up with Kirabaros who was just outside the door. He greeted Kirabaros with a warrior handshake by grasping the wrist while Kirabaros did the same. They gave each other a slight nod of acknowledgement and released each other’s wrist. Karas spoke first, “I hope you can convince the boy’s father to stay. He is all that he has left now.”
“Atton is doing what he thinks is right, like me. Like any parent who wants to protect their children,” Kirabaros replied thoughtfully.
“Morgan cannot be subject to the attention and abandonment. He’s just a child and he needs a steady influence,” Karas countered.
“Well that is a little difficult Karas,” Kirabaros replied with a slight rise. “ I know it’s my fault and I live with it even though I wasn’t there.”
“Stop it. I know what happened too. We all live with choices we regret but now you have to stay the course,” Karas replied firmly. It was then that Atton and Morgan joined them with a slight smile and yet seemed to have a question reflected in his eyes. Karas swiftly changed the subject, “Senator Amstar contacted me to let you know that you would be returning. Are you sure Caelos can handle security for the senator?”
Kirabaros knew that Master Karas wanted to know why but with little Morgan there, he had to watch it. He replied, “He is capable. Besides, things should cool down a bit.” They headed towards the main hall of the Academy.
Good Chapter JediMaster12. Liked the talk between Kirabaros and Atton. I'm looking foward to more. It seems you've took igyman's advice. Also, I forgot to ask this question, but why did you change the style of this Fic (Third Person) from the style you used in the Heart of the Guardian (First Person)?
I changed the style because the plot that I had planned required the separation of key people and I would have gotten confused as to who was what. Besides, it was easier to get more descriptive in third person. [sneak mode]Maybe someone else is writing this[/sneak mode]. First person is very difficult to do. I might do another piece but that is somewhere within the planning stages of my chaotically organized brain. Glad that you liked the chapter. I had a good time writing about Atton and his little sprat. If you notice Morgan is three, Tulre is four and Lilah is two. Funny huh? Well I'll have chapter 8 up ASAP, or when I start on chapter 9. That is my rule: never post a chapter without starting the next.
Good chapter, JM12. Well... that's about it from me this time. Keep it up.
Another good chapter. Didn't think Atton would have a soft side lol, great work though :D
It was evening by the time Kirabaros could talk to Karas about his reasons for coming back. Atton had put Morgan to bed and had joined them and T3 was powered down in the corner. Kirabaros felt at ease with the former scoundrel at his back. He showed it by not saying anything until Atton came back from putting boy Morgan. As soon as everyone was seated on the sitting mats, Kirabaros spoke softly, “I know that you know of what I said in the Senate and I am aware that it could be construed as treason given my track record but you must understand that the Outer Rim worlds are screaming for blood.”
Atton, ever straightforward finished, “In short, they want Revan’s head on a platter and hero here wants to keep some form of law and order.”
Kirabaros cocked his left brow, the scar from the war becoming more noticeable. Karas maintained a stoic face as only Avalonians could do but inwardly he was relieved that Atton didn’t waste time on the Bantha crap. Kirabaros did the same when it suited his purpose and he came to expect it from him. He replied, “That is true. After all Revan is one of our people, in a manner of speaking, and she is entitled to certain rights.”
“Look,” Atton began, “even if she does come back, there will be those who will try to kill her.”
“He’s right Karas. If we aren’t careful, there will be bloodshed. I don’t know about you, but I have seen enough of it to last a lifetime,” Kirabaros looked at Karas intently.
“What do you suggest my old friend?” Karas asked in the manner in which one asks a friend. “Obviously you feel something else is at stake and I know you like to cover all possible angles.”
Kirabaros was hesitant to answer. He didn’t have it all thought out yet and even more so, he couldn’t keep the vision that he had of himself being tortured out of his mind. He had figured that whoever it was wanted him to give up Revan…and the children. He couldn’t forget surge of anger he felt either. He felt that history was trying to repeat itself. Sure this whole thing had Revan’s name on it but it reeked of being a personal vendetta against him but also the Jedi. Seeing that Karas was waiting for an answer, he swallowed back his fear and gave a vague answer, “I can’t say but I need a place where one could get lost in. Maybe the place where we found the crystals?” He looked at Karas in the eye.
Karas saw that Kirabaros was going to keep people on a need to know basis. Whatever it was, it needed people not to know things. When Kirabaros asked for the place they discovered on a mission a year ago he knew what he was to do. He returned Kirabaros’ gaze and asked, “The ‘sector’?”
“The place where we got lost,” Kirabaros confirmed.
“Right. I’ll take care first thing in the morning. If you want to head out in the morning, there are some stallions available.” Karas had switched the conversation to show that he gave his word.
“Thank you. We’ll be taking the boy with us so we may need some additional equipment,” Kirabaros said as if the decision were final.
Atton said nothing during the entire exchange that happened. He didn’t say anything when Kirabaros assumed that they would be taking Morgan in the morning. The last two years spent in the occasional company with Kirabaros plus the two years into the war taught him that when he spoke like that, it was best to trust his judgment. He often thought his ideas were crazy, but they worked even if something didn’t go as planned. He knows something’s up. He plans to hide something or someone. Mental definitely but a good friend. Atton hid these thoughts with his usual Pazaak game in his head much to the amusement of Kirabaros who was hiding a smirk.
After Karas rose from his mat to go attend to some business or other, Kirabaros asked Atton, “Do you trust me?”
It was an odd question to Atton but it wasn’t without merit. He replied, “You know I trust you. You may be mental at times but you always come through.” He had his brow conformed in a puzzled frown.
“Do you trust me with your ultimate treasure?” Kirabaros asked again but more softly.
“Is that why you asked about a place where someone could get lost in?” Atton replied with a question.
Kirabaros gave a slight nod. “I have a feeling that interested parties may want to use some form of leverage, especially with Force sensitive children.”
“Then I trust you.” Atton watched as Kirabaros turned his head so he could rise. He said softly, “I never blamed you. She had a will of her own and she died for something worth fighting for.”
Kirabaros said nothing but glanced at Atton, stood up and walked out of the room to head in the direction of his quarters. Instead of going to bed, he went to one of the balconies and gazed out at the stars. He couldn’t say anything to Atton; he never had after that battle when she died. Some things were just too hard to put into words.
“Marmar, can we go to Aunt Reva’s tomorrow?”
Michaela looked at her little sprat just as he was getting ready to go to bed. She looked at him as if he were in trouble but she asked suspiciously, “Why? Do you plan on doing something else to HK like reprogram him?”
“No Marmar. I punish HK when he’s too mean. Besides Dada is coming home. He’ll be heading to visit Aunt Reva.”
Michaela regarded her offspring with an amused and loving look. She wondered how he knew his father was coming home and moved to ask, “How do you know that young man?”
“I just know Marmar,” Tulre replied with a devilish smile. It looked just like the ones Kirabaros threw at her when he was up to something, especially his teasing.
“Well if you behave and go to bed, we’ll leave in the morning and you can play with Carth.” She smiled at the boy who beamed back at her.
Tulre ran up to his mother, gave her a hug and kiss and ran off to bed. His mother watched him leave with amusement but also concern. She wondered if her husband knew the extent of his son’s affinity to the Force. She got up from the rocker that she had been sitting in to follow her son to tuck him in. When she got to his room, he was sound asleep dreaming his dreams. In his bed she saw one of the little toys that he and his father had built and tucked firmly in his arm was a stuffed toy.
The toy was one of two that Kirabaros and Carth had won in a bet against each other at a different festival when Tulre was still a baby. It was a funny incident because both won not because of skill but of sheer stubbornness and it involved trying to hit a target or something. It was rather cute and rather ugly, for a wolf. Tulre kept it on his bed in a safe spot. Seeing her son clutch it made Michaela smile at the memory. She made sure he was covered and closed the door to his room. She whistled softly and Kapu came trotting up and laid down in front of the door.
She walked back to the common room and sat back down in the rocker. She rocked gently and picked up the sewing that she had laid aside. She continued to sew late into the night.
Another good Chapter JediMaster12. I'm looking foward to more.
Good chapter, but there were a little more grammar mistakes than I would expect. The biggest one I noticed was:
Maybe I wanted it that way igyman. ;)
Still thanks for playing grammar police. I guess someone has to. I am just having way too much fun with this one. My imagination is running wild with my various baddies. Of all the fics I've read, the baddies don't seem to have a personality like they are stuck there in order for the hero thing to work. I don't know but have seen a few good baddies where you can feel the buring hatred, the betrayals, the twisted nature. Heck I was modeling Draconis as one who is evil but thinks he is doing the galaxy a great service by ridding it of Kirabaros, the taint in his eyes. I better stop because I am on a roll with another chapter.
Looking forward to it. As for the Grammar Police, I'm just saying that it's too bad to see mistakes like those since your chapters are almost grammar-perfect.
More friendly banter between Kirabaros and Atton. I couldn't resist but it is necessary.
Morning at the Academy had Atton finding Kirabaros standing at an at ease position facing the rising sun. Reaching out through the Force Atton could tell that he trying to calm himself. He heard the noises last night and wanted to ask about it when morning came. Right now he just watched his friend stand there for a few minutes before turning back. He was almost to the door when he heard a voice said gently, “You wanted to see me?”
Atton turned to find that Kirabaros had turned to face him. He looked at him with his amber colored eyes that had tiny flecks of green near the pupils. Atton gave a reply, “Just wanted to see if you need anything.” Pausing for a moment, he continued, “The stallions are ready and Morgan’s ready to go.”
Kirabaros stood there still looking at Atton. His whole posture asked if there was anything else he wished to say. Instead, he said, “Alright. Breakfast first and then we move out.” He then walked towards the door. He knew that Atton wanted to ask if he had any nightmares and he wanted to tell him but he kept it inside. Later, he thought, later I will say something.
Two hours later, they were getting ready to leave. Kirabaros was adjusting straps to a strange contraption. When he was finished, he handed it to Atton with a smirk on his face. Atton took it and asked, “You got to be kidding me right?”
“You know any other way to carry Morgan?” Kirabaros replied with an endearing smile that was annoying.
“I was expecting something that didn’t look like a Bantha pack,” Atton replied as he slipped it on his back.
“Relax, amante. Didn’t you say that you wanted to keep him close?” Kirabaros had used the Avalonian word for friend as he lifted Morgan and slid him into the seat so that it looked like he was going for a piggyback ride. Kirabaros looked at Morgan asked, “Don’t you want to be close to your Papa?” and he smiled.
“Yes!” came the excited answer and Morgan wrapped his arms around Atton’s neck in a tight hug.
“Well it looks like you’re stuck with him,” Kirabaros smiled at Atton and gave him a hand up onto the Saluki stallion.
“I kind of figured that thank you very much but it looks like I’m stuck to you too,” Atton retorted in good humor.
Kirabaros mounted his stallion and turned it towards the road to head towards the villa. He whistled and T3 beeped and began to follow as he led their party down the mountain. As soon as Atton caught up to him, Kirabaros said, “You know we aren’t glued together. I’m just askin’ you to stick around for awhile and I’m sure Revan would like to see Morgan again.”
“So you’re sticky and sneaky. I guess that makes you sweet as candy and a Jawa,” Atton teased. It was a bad joke of course but he liked having friendly banters with Kirabaros.
“Ouch. You classed me as a Jawa,” Kirabaros pretended to be hurt. “Well, I guess I deserved that since I rigged your lightsaber to spark before it lit.”
“Yeah and I’m still nursing scars,” Atton smiled. “So how long will it take to get to where, well, where are we going?”
Chuckling, Kirabaros replied, “Well, we are going to the villa though I am surprised you didn’t pick up on my hint about Revan. You’re usually quick to spot those.” Atton gave a slight scowl while Kirabaros smiled. He continued, “We are going there because I need to lay it all out on the Pazaak table, the risks, the whole nine yards.”
“But you’re not gonna tell her everything,” Atton raised the question.
Kirabaros flushed slightly. Yep, they know me quite well, he thought with a slight smile. He replied, “I will tell what is happening, with all the details. Now we should probably speed it up if we are to make it by dark.”
Atton took that to mean that the conversation was over. Besides Morgan didn’t need to hear this. He replied, “Alright then. Lead the way fearless leader.”
“I thought that’s what you called Darius but I’ll take that as a compliment,” Kirabaros smiled. He told T3 to double time it and nudged the stallion into an easy canter.
Morgan snuggled into his seat as his father nudged his stallion into a canter. His little boy mind eagerly anticipated seeing the friendly faces he had met when he was younger. Mostly he was content to be with his father and he let it be known to Atton by snuggling into his back. Atton felt the content not just from the snuggle but from the emotion spilling from the boy. Atton just smiled and gently used the Force to induce him to sleep. Sweet dreams, my son.
Nice work on this one. [GP mode]I spotted only one small error at the beginning :D[/GP mode]
Another good Chapter JediMaster12. Looking foward to the next Chapter.
igyman: yeah I know. My punctuation can be sloppy. I missed it until I went through the chapter again.
Chapter 10 will be up soon. Stay tuned.
The room was dark, dreary and stank like a wet Bantha. The room was rather small and was full of plasteel canisters and crates that were full of whatever the rust bucket was shipping to Avalon. Jaqrand tried to ignore the smells as he made himself more comfortable in a small corner of the cargo hold. He wrinkled his nose as he lit one of his cigarras and breathed in the clove smell. He settled down against his pack and relaxed. Twenty thousand credits and I get the seat next to the fat guy or in this case, the cargo hold, he thought ruefully.
A slight noise sounded in the hold. Jaqrand turned to look for it with a bored expression on his face. Out of one of the empty came a…mouse. Jaqrand shook his head and kicked at the beast, which squeaked and scampered off. Taking a long drag, he pulled out the datapad that Keegan had given him and flipped it on. He scrolled down to the image of his target. Looking at the image, he said aloud, “You better be worth it Jedi.”
For the past two days he had been confined to the cargo hold, except to use the refresher, traveling to Avalon after he found out that his quarry had already left for the system. He paid good money for no questions asked to the captain of the cargo vessel for passage to Avalon. It was one of the few Republic merchant vessels that had the coordinates to the system. The rest were Avalonian and they weren’t talking. There were a few Republic vessels that wouldn’t offer either. Jaqrand suspected that they could smell his intentions about a mile away except for the captain of this ship. Amazing what money can do, he thought.
Now here he was sitting in this damned cargo hold smoking a cigarra and just waiting. Bounty hunter life was the good life since you always made creds on the lives of other people. It was good if you had your own ship, as he had, but it was worthless when he couldn’t get the coordinates to the system. He tried getting them but for some mysterious reason, he forgot them and he lost the datapad that he had them written on. Yep, being stuck in a cargo hold was definitely worth it, for the amount that his client was paying him for.
Placing the still lit datapad where he could still see the runt of a Jedi he was supposed to go after, he pulled his pack out from behind him. He pulled out various devices that he had used on his previous victims and inspected him. He looked at an extremely powerful Force inhibitor that even the strongest of Jedi couldn’t break. He smiled in pleasure at the last victim that wore it and sighed. Oh how she screamed when she realized that the Force abandoned her. She practically begged me to end her life of course I did more than that. Yes it would come in handy.
His personal favorite was one that he had used only once. He pulled out a vial that held a strange liquid substance in it and thought about the last time he had used it. After that first time, he never used it again. He was waiting, just waiting for the right person to use it on. From what he had heard of his quarry, it might be a good time to use it. He checked to make sure that the vial was undamaged and sealed properly as well as checked the Force inhibitor. As he finished his inspections, he looked once more at the datapad and smiled. He thought back to a time when he had a partner.
“What do we do now boss? Make her beg for mercy?” Jaqrand asked smiling a sadistic smile. Though his name wasn’t Jaqrand then; it was something else. It was…
“We break her. Our fearless leader wants this one alive,” a voice sounded from the shadows. “Use that new concoction that you made.”
“Right away,” and Jaqrand pulled his newest creation out of a box. It was rather bulky but he regarded it with pride and joy. He tested it to make sure the needle worked properly. Chuckling, he placed the contraption neck to the Jedi’s neck at the base of her skull. The Jedi let out a short gasp as the needle stuck her and injected her with his concoction. Both he and his partner exited the room, leaving the Jedi still strapped to the table.
When the screams began and the incoherent words of fear, panic, rage all rolled into one, his partner asked, “What was in that vial you gave her?”
“Something that will make her live her worse fears, nightmares, anything that she hides like all of them liars. It is not narrowed down to any one plant source but several. What makes it special is that there is no cure for it. It embeds itself deep within the mind.”
“As long as she lives,” was all the response he got.
Jaqrand sat there thinking about that time and held up the vial again. He thought about something while gazing at the vial. His face contorted into a wicked smile and made a mental note to ask about a particular object on Avalon when he got there. Still looking at the vial he said to himself, “You taught us well old friend. I often wish you were here to share the spoils but you left like a coward. Still you taught us all well and maybe we shall meet again.”
Draconis was kneeling in front of a small altar in his quarters with his hands folded in prayer. His knees were tucked under him and his rear rested on his heels. He gazed up fondly at the altar, at the various marble plaques that bore the names of family and ancestors. He gave a low bow, placing his ears between his shoulders and touched his forehead to the rung he was kneeling on. Rising back up to his previous position he said reverently, “Honorable ancestors, grant me the strength and courage to reveal a traitor to our great people. Also grant that the children to soon be in our care grow up to honor our ways and disband the taint of the Jedi.”
He finished his prayer with a phrase in Avalonian and rose gracefully to head towards the door. On the other side was Admiral Keegan pacing impatiently and looking as if he were the one the bounty hunter was after. As soon as he had opened the door, Keegan stopped pacing and stood in an at ease position. Draconis just chuckled at him and said, “You don’t have to waste your time on ceremony. You’re not going to impress anybody.”
Embarrassed and angry at the disrespect to his rank, Keegan released his posture to look more casual. He swallowed his anger and responded, “You sent for me Count?”
“Yes I did,” Draconis replied in a lackadaisical manner as he sauntered towards a cabinet in the walls. He paused with his hands on the handles and continued, “It has become clear to me that you are a unique individual Keegan. You have a bit of Force sensitivity around you but it is different than what the Jedi are used to.”
“Curses on the Jedi,” Keegan spat. His anger was evident as he remained rooted to where he was standing.
“Yes I know: they let your homeworld die because of Revan and Malak, blah, blah, but that is not the point. What I am proposing is that you learn techniques to evade and to torture Jedi.” Draconis sounded bored as he said it and wondered how in the world Keegan managed to last this long in the fleet with his anger so apparent.
“They deserve to be eradicated,” Keegan tried to justify it. He hated it when Draconis poked fun at him for his beliefs, making them seem like petty sibling squabbles.
“Whatever. What I am saying is that Kirabaros and the other Jedi he knows will not cave easily. They throw up walls of base emotions to hide what they really are thinking of. I have figured out a way to follow those base emotions and thoughts through the bonds they share and torture them. It hasn’t been tested completely but I aim to try it. It might make all of our targets easier to catch. Call it a mental disability if you will.” Draconis released the handles of the cabinet and turned to face Keegan.
“What does that have to do with me?”
“I am going to teach it to you. I will also help you improve your fighting skills,’ and with a sharp turn Draconis turned back to face the cabinet. He flung both doors open to reveal a collection of weaponry that rivaled what some of the best bounty hunters and mercenaries had. “Trust me. You’ll need it.”
“I don’t trust you but I’m in this too far so I will see what is going on,” Keegan retorted and stepped up to better view the cabinet’s interior.
“Good. We start now.” Draconis pulled out a practice blade, a heavy long sword that was double edged. He held it with a powerful grip in his left while he tossed easily a similar blade to Keegan whose arms literally dropped at the weight. Draconis laughed, “You are definitely too soft for my taste. You need to shape up. Force, even the Mandalorians could hold one of these.”
Keegan said nothing but adjusted his grip on the handle. With as much strength as he could muster, he brought the heavy blade into a fighting stance. This is getting more regrettable by the minute, was the last thought running through his head before Draconis came at him with a swing. He only hoped that Draconis wouldn’t get it into his head to behead him. He looked to see his ‘partner’ grin at him in a sadistic fashion.
Another good Chapter JediMaster12. I'm looking foward to more.
Great work this time and no, I didn't spot any grammar/spelling errors. If you decide to check for them yourself and find something, that means I was really tired when I wrote this. :D
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