Chapter 16: Revelation and Relief
The command platform overlooked the enclosed kataran herds as they rustled trying to find more room to move. Shouts could be heard from below as the herders themselves were attempting another escape and throwing a few choice words towards their captors. Dragus smiled as he faced the door to wait for his long sought quest. Dooku had gone earlier to take care of some urgent matters but he would return to meet the one whom he had a healthy respect for even though they never saw eye to eye. He was surprised at what he saw.
The Jedi was to be expected since she was the one who suggested that the Avalonian people work with the Republic and the Jedi. She, however, was different. Instead of the little girl that he had seen once at the table, he saw a slim and hardened woman. She possessed a deadly grace about her and yet ethereal beauty. Her eyes had a fire to them and yet he could see the scars of war in them. She walked with a defiant look about her with nothing betraying her true state. Dragus looked at her with peculiarity and thought with pleasure at what he had in store for her. He was also amused at her scouting for potential means of escape. He watched as they were shoved not too warmly into the room.
Nekang was not thinking Dragus’ thoughts but thinking of possible means of escape. She took note of her surroundings without seemingly to do so by keeping her face straight ahead. Outside she appeared to be the calm general that the Republic saw, their “Light of Courage.” Inside, she was thinking of the fine mess she had gotten Obi-wan into. As always she thought of others before herself, a trait that had gotten her into trouble so many times and brought her near death as well but it saved many others. She forced her thoughts and emotions deep down when she and Obi-wan were shoved in front of the traitor. The first word out of her mouth was, “Sangtahut.”
Obi-wan recognized the word but not the meaning. It was one of those things that were never spoken about. He surmised that it was bad judging by how the Haida woman next to him said it. He watched as their captor smiled at her with a sinister grin and replied, “Charming as ever I see though I see that time has given you a rather foul mouth.”
He knows her? I know she looks like Ashira but she’s different. The thoughts were running through Obi-wan’s head.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” came her reply. “Time here has a way of making the sand wash away.”
“Still hiding behind one of your masks I see. When will you learn that you cannot hide forever?”
“You hide behind one as well I see. And here I thought you were being honest with us.” Nekang gave a set face hiding her humor.
“You think this is a game? Maybe you will think twice when you have suffered as I have, young one.” The reply was disturbingly calm. It was unnerving that Obi-wan could see the Haida woman’s stern stance drop slightly.
She replied with an equal calmness, “You dream delusions of grandeur. I have no idea of what you speak of.”
“Really? Are you willing to put the fragile trusts you have built on the line?” Dragus eyed her with a deep look. He dismissed his guards and they left to wait outside. He walked up to her, and, with his long right index finger, he stroked her right cheek. She moved her head away and he grinned at her and returned to the table he had been standing near. He picked up something.
Obi-wan watched as their captor came close to the woman and stroke her cheek. He felt a sudden urge of anger at him. He chided himself and told himself that it wasn’t his friend; she was just a Haida warrior. He watched as he went back to the table and pick something up. Whatever it is, it can’t be good, he thought.
Almost as if he had heard the Jedi’s thoughts, Dragus spoke, “It seems that your companion thinks highly of you, maybe a hint of jealousy?” The brief flash on her face was enough for him to go on. He addressed Obi-wan, “Let me tell you about your companion here.”
The battle was raging at Sheng Xin on the ground and the space battle wasn’t going too well. There had been a delay for reinforcements and the Avalonians were suffering. Andros was watching from the cockpit of the Ebon Hawk as he guided the ship in between the armada that had laid siege to Belos. He watched fighters being blown to bits left and right and sighed his frustration, “Blast. Where are you Skywalker?”
Anakin was just arriving when Andros said that aloud. He called over the comm, “Did I miss something?”
Andros replied, “Yeah. You missed the part where we’re supposed to send this fleet packing.”
There was a chuckle over the comm as Anakin responded, “Well I guess we better get started.”
Andros watched as he saw squads of fighters soaring through space firing in attack formations that boasted of a dance. He felt a surge of pride at his people’s abilities to be able to adjust to any situation by making their movements flow as one. It was a lot better to watch it when you saw it with ground forces. It turned into a dance of deadly grace for survival. Even the practice sessions showed it. He should know because he watched Ashira practice with the older apprentices and they were hard pressed to keep up with her. He wondered where she was now and if she were handling things well.
“Now I am sure you are aware of the many roles that our people play in the Republic Jedi so I will spare most of the details,” Dragus began to taunt. His conversation was directed towards Obi-Wan but his intent was driven at Nekang.
“If this is going to be a history lesson, I would rather you spare us the pleasure of sleeping,” Nekang interrupted. “If you are trying to intimidate me, it won’t work. You’ve let your past dictate your actions and it rules you.”
“And yours doesn’t. Tell me, did you not feel the pain of a thousand deaths as you watched men die? Did you not send your men to die in a foolhardy quest to rescue three people and one of them died anyway? Did you not sentence a respectable family to a life of exile?”
Nekang began to falter from her strong stance. The memories were coming back and she didn’t want to give Dragus the pleasure of seeing her break down. Obi-wan was confused by the questions. It was as if Dragus knew the woman and it was obvious she recognized their captor from the way she was faltering in her gaze. He asked, “Nekang what is he talking about?”
“Nekang is now?” Dragus responded. He was looking at Nekang directly. He smiled and continued, “So you have adopted yet another name to your plethora of disguises. It is fairly obvious you haven’t told the Jedi your little secrets. Well now is your chance to tell him. You can tell him who is responsible for Siri’s death Lady Ashira.”
It seemed as if time stopped right there. Ashira was flooded with the memory of her dreams and visions. They melded with her memories of the many battles she fought, her main one at Azure. She heard the screams in her ears, the war cries but worst was seeing Siri, dying. She forced it down and instead reached out beyond the walls of the facility. She latched on to the surroundings and leveled her head.
Dragus had moved towards Obi-wan and was still talking, “Oh yes. Your friend sees all and tells all. She knows all the inner working s of the Republic better than you think. She is no better than a senator.”
A strong feminine voice responded, “You think so? Then how is this Dragus: Your fate will be that of the evils vanquished in the days of Kirabaros and your death will be nothing more than a trickle in the vast pool that will join you.”
All of a sudden, an explosion sounded right outside the room they were in sending up debris.