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Generated: Jun 18, 2019 5:08 PM
Post last updated: Jun 18, 2019 5:09 PM
one day you will learn
The Originals raid a Sith base
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The base is on fire.

Which doesn't really bode well for anyone since they are in space, but Volos has no regrets. He and his siblings managed to blow up half of the base, destroying the fire suppressant system and also killing most of the defence forces in one fell swoop.

Still, they could all feel the two strong Force users still alive. The Sith and his apprentice, no doubt. Kladeos had already separated from them heading in the direction of the stronger one, leaving with a quip and a warning to the rest of them -- though to Volos in particular: 'Remember what we're here for.'

He has a job to do and he should really be off doing that right now...

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"You know we're going in the wrong direction, right?"

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"And here you are following me quite eagerly. Not one complaint till now."

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"There's a lab in this direction, I want something from it."

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"Well, you can go do that and I can find this apprentice. Can't you feel them? They're strong."

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Vala reaches out with the Force, searching.

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The apprentice's Force presence is chaotic, a swirling firestorm cloaking ice-cold emotions. She's strong, but tiredtiredtired.

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"She's exhausted, but powerful. Desperate creatures can be difficult to put down."

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"She, huh? Interesting. And who said anything about putting her down?"

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"I'm not having this conversation with you. This Sith doesn't have any special talents. She likely doesn't know anything."

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"That we know of. Our data has been wrong before."

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"....fine. You can handle it yourself. I'm going to find this terminal. Don't get yourself killed."

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"Love you too, dear sister. I'll see you soon, Apprentice in hand."

They part and Volos heads Apprentice-ward.

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As he closes in on the Apprentice's location, it becomes apparent that she is tracking him in turn.

He encounters a corridor that hasn't yet caught fire-

And then the end of it bursts into flames.

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This is gonna be fun.

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And then she turns the corner, stalking through the flames that seem to respond to her presence, swirling out of her way and around her, providing a cloak she's neglected in favour of tight leathers. Her lips curl into a sharp, vicious smile as she sees him and she ignites the lightsaber held almost negligently in her hand.

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....yes. This is perfect.

His own lightsaber stays on his hilt and he smiles at her approach.

"That's talent, love. Now where did you go and learn that?"

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She spins the lightsaber and stops her advance, shifting back into a slightly more defensive stance. "What, can't you?" she challenges, drawing fire to her free hand and whipping it up into vortex over her fist.

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Volos watches this in facination.

"I've never had the pleasure."

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"You can't be very strong then," she mocks.

She doesn't throw the flames in her hand, but flames abruptly surge around him.

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He is suddenly somewhere totally different, still staring at her.

"That was a bit rude, love. We're having a pleasant conversation here, a meeting of the minds."

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"You attacked this base. My Master requires your head."

Her words are surprisingly calm, and she does not, in fact, appear to be unnerved by him suddenly being somewhere else, is in fact still staring directly at him, body turned towards him, still defensive.

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"Your Master is going to be dead soon and I quite like my head where it is."

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She looks briefly considering, and then starts to advance again, hips swaying. "So you don't want to dance?"

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"Never said that."

He looks down at her and her flames, hunger in his eyes.

"You should give me a demonstration."

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Oh, she knows that look. The flames swirl up around her, around him, concealing her from view-

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-and then she's bursting from the flames behind him, lightsaber sweeping towards his neck.

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His own lightsaber appears in her path, blocking.

"But I'm not about to make this easy, love."

And he pushes.

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"I'd be disappointed if you did," she retorts, letting herself slide backwards gracefully, steadying herself.

And a single tongue of flame licks down onto his hair.

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He hisses in pain, but quickly appears behind her and away from the fire.

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Yeah, no, she spins, and fire spirals out from her, flooding the corridor.

She feints for his non-dominant side.

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The fire burns, but he can ignore it.

Instead of reacting to her movement he pushes again and presses forward with his own lightsaber.

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There's that vicious grin again as she pivots sideways around the force of the push and lashes out with flames and 'saber towards his extended arm.

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That gets a reaction.

But he manages to block the lightsaber with his own and finally begins his own offensive moves.

"That hurt."

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She dances backwards. "It was supposed to," she taunts.

Her movements are defensive, evasive, but in a very specific way, aimed to make him overextend, to give her openings, to wear out her opponent. Her flames provide her with cover as she moves.

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Unfortunately for her, his anger and pain make him stronger.

Volos decides to ignore the flames -- they can be healed -- and presses forward, giving her no cover.

He wants to see more of this ability. The lightsaber needs to go.

And Force Pulls her into the wall, hard.

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She swears as she can't evade that. But she's used to pain, used to using it. (Uses that more than anger.)

The angle she hits the wall, makes her hand spasm - enough that he could rip the lightsaber from her fingers with the Force, or physically if he's close enough.

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Her saber flies its way to his hand.

"It's a crutch, useless. Now, show me what you can do."

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She's not entirely going to argue. But the metal of her saber is red-hot, far hotter than it should be given it was just in her hand, far hotter than even this metal should allow.

The flames swirl around her, forming a vortex. It's not entirely clear whether she's in the eye of it, or whether the flames are actually touching her. She stalks forward, and-

And she pushes, but not with her flames, using the Force to force him back towards a wall.

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That's not going to work. Her Force push is blocked, easily, and a flickering of lightning arches out towards her. He ignores the lightsaber.

"We're playing with fire now, sweetheart. None of that."

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She evades the lightning easily. Tilts her head, preparing to-

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Disengage, girl, her master's voice raps out in her head. I require you to act as a distraction. (The implications behind 'distraction' are plain, the things he thinks she's good for, things that make her presence freeze and go blank.)

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She's still for a moment. I didn't go to the trouble of setting half of this base on fire to rescue you now, you pathetic worm. I hope he cuts your dick off.

She feels the surprised rage, the promise of what he'll do to her and-

And she screams her rage, the flames surging out from her burning whitehot and furious.

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Volos gives her room.

"Beautiful. Your hatred fuels your power. How would you like to see the main event?"

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"Screw you," she snarls. Stops.

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...she can use this. She doesn't want to die. She licks her lips.

"And what's your price?"

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"This power you have. I want you to teach it to me."

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She steps closer, the flames shifting to leave them in a circle of scorched metal. She's close enough that she can trail her fingers down his arm.

Her voice lowers, "That can't be all you want?"

(Underneath the more obviously projected eagerness, there's resignation and an acceptance that everyone is the same.)

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"I think you underestimate how desirable your power is, love."

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And he overestimates her ability to teach something that is so innate. And underestimates her cunning.

She flips the lightsaber out of his hand and retreats quickly. "Are you coming?" she asks, not quite turning her back on him.

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Volos smiles at her, amused.

"Kladeos knows how to entertain, I wouldn't miss it."

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"Fascinating," she drawls.

She leads the way through the burning corridors, the flames staying clear enough of her companion even as they lick against her skin. She knows the shortcuts and it doesn't take them very long to reach the room Kladeos is fighting her master.

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When they arrive they find the fight at its climax. Or rather: a dark haired girl holding Saud's Master in a stasis field and another man, presumably Kladeos, smiling at their entrance.

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"Done already? Thought you had more stamina than that."

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"And you as well, brother. You seem to have lost half of your face to the fire. Losing your touch?"

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There's no fire around her now, no indication she'd been controlling any fire at all. She's smirking slightly, at the sight of her master so thoroughly detained. She doesn't say anything.

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"Didn't lose anything at all. Playing with fire has always been my favourite pastime." 

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"So it seems. You're the Apprentice then?"

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"I am," she confirms simply, posture loose. She tilts her head slightly, her hair falling away from her face and revealing the elegant line of her neck. She looks inviting. "Did you require something of me?"

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"Vala and I were just discussing creative ways to kill your Master. I have many ideas, but it's always good to get input from another party."

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"I can think of a few." She does not volunteer them.

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"I know I have a preference."

He looks to Saud with an expectant look.

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She lowers her eyes demurely. "I would hardly claim this."

As she speaks, flames drop from the ceiling and surge up from the floor engulfing her master.

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Volos watches in fascination.

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Kladeos laughs.

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Vala drops the now burning and screaming Sith and turns her attention to Saud.

"This is you?"

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She's watching her master burn impassively, chin slightly raised (underneath her surprisingly blank facade there is relief, and satisfaction). "It was my kill," she states instead of a more obvious response. The flames don't stray from the burning man, staying focused and contained.

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"Maybe so."

Vala holds out her hand throws a stasis field over Saud.

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"Is that really necessary, Vala?"

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The Apprentice doesn't attempt to evade, and there's only blank acceptance and resignation - everyone is the same.

The flames on her master are abruptly far less tightly controlled.

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Kladeos looks at the rising flames around them.

"Seems like you found something special, brother."

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"Of course. Did you really expect anything less?"

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He looks at the burning Sith in amusement and then to Saud.

"Such power and rage. Did you think to take his place, little Sith?"

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The stasis field lowers enough for Saud to reply.

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She's silent for a long moment. "I wanted him dead," she states. "That's all." There's no indication under her words that she wanted to take over for him, but a stern resolve that she would've if it meant she survived.

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He takes that in for a long moment, recognising something familiar in her.

"And this was the perfect opportunity, of course. What's your name then?"

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"Saud."

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"And now that you've killed your Master... what's your next step? More blood, fire and destruction?"

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She tilts her head, catches her lower lip between her teeth. "What else?" she asks. "The galaxy hasn't given me a reason not to want it in flames."

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"We're bringing her with us. She and I have an agreement."

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"Do you now."

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"Apparently so," she agrees serenely, no argument in her tone. (Perhaps a hint of suggestion, about what exactly that agreement contains, and that it isn't necessarily exclusive, but it's not overt, it's very well hidden.)

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"What agreement?"

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"You saw her talent. Her control of fire is unprecedented. Obviously we need up harness it, learn it."

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"And is this what you want, little Sith? I'm sure there's at least one functioning excape pod somewhere."

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She laughs, low and bitter. "You blew them up."

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He laughs again. "Guilty. Well, I suppose that limits your options then, doesn't it? Follow the big, bad Hunters, or die in a burning blaze of glory."

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Volos gets in Kladeos' face.

"We aren't leaving her here."

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He strikes at Volos face and takes a hold of his neck.

"And you think you can tell me what to do? You forget your place, little brother."

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What little of Saud can move goes still. She can feel how worried Kladeos is about the state Volos is in. And that's on her, regardless of how much she was goaded into it.

Still...

"I don't want to die," she murmurs. (And yes, she's aiming on defusing this, for now, because she can feel the flames around them, and they're going to reach something critical soon and they will not want to still be here when that happens.)

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"If you don't let him go right now, you won't even live to regret it."

She drops the stasis on Saud and glares at Kladeos.

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"Better listen to her, big brother. Or kill us both now."

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Saud's only response to being released is to adjust her stance, and resume control of the flames around them. "Whatever you're going to do, you have about three minutes to make a decision. The flames just reached the main reactor."

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"You think you can threaten me?!"

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Another man appears in the room.

"This is not the time. Let him go, Kladeos, and let us leave this place."

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He stares at the newcomer for a moment.

"Are you here to threaten me too, Archaeus? My whole family turns against me."

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"No. The base is burning down around us. Release him and we can return to our ship and avoid death."

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"I'm ready to die if you are."

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"Two minutes, ten seconds," Saud mutters. "Should I just immolate us so we don't have to die from the decompression?"

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Vala rips Volos away from Kladeos' grip with the Force.

"We're leaving."

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"Yes we are." Volos gets back to his feet and heads over to Saud. "Come on, love. Your ride awaits."

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"As you say," she agrees, starting to move. As the move through the halls, they'll notice that the fire stays clear of their path, even where it had previously been burning in their way.

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Volos delights at this.

"Your control is perfect. Can you feel the connection, Vala? It's like the fire is reaching for her."

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"Less talk and more running."

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She doesn't respond to that, just keeps running - doesn't say a single thing about what resulted if her control was anything other than perfect.

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They arrive at their ship.

"Well, you all took your time. I was certain I'd have to collect your corpses from the cold of space."

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"You're not that lucky today, sister. Maybe next time."

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She spots Saud.

"And who is this? Are we picking up strays?"

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Saud ducks her head (not a threat, not a threat). "Saud, ma'am," she murmurs.

"Forty seconds," she adds.

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"Pretty name." Pause. "Where is Archaeus and Kladeos?"

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Vala leaves and walks into the cockpit.

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"What, no concern for me? Or do you think I look handsome?"

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"You're here and you'll surely heal. Where are they?"

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...Kriffin' hell. Saud leans against the nearest wall and closes her eyes - not to find the missing pair, but to try and stop the reactor going before they can escape. It's harder from a distance, but that doesn't mean she can't manage the flames and the heat.

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Archaeus and Kladeos appear.

"Get this ship moving, now."

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The ship is moving half way through his sentence.

[5, 4, 3, 2 --]

And they're in hyperspace.

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Saud doesn't exactly slump against the wall she's leaning on.

She can't collapse now, she can't, she doesn't know these people, and even more than that, she can't fight them right now, and she refuses to let her weakness show.

She forces herself to straighten.

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"So we got everything then?"

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"And some extra, it seems. Who is this, Volos? Explain yourself."

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Kladeos storms away without a word.

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He watches him go and then smiles at Archaeus.

"This is Saud. We're going to be best mates."

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"As you say," she murmurs, directs her attention to Archaeus. "I can earn my way, sir."

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Volos looks down at her and then to Archaeus, jealously spiking.

"She's going to show me her ways. She has natural talent. We could learn from her and teach her our ways."

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"I thought this Sith was run of the mill boring."

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She's aware of the flare of jealousy, hides her own response to it, it's another tool to use to survive.

"He was not me," Saud notes archly. (She still has no idea how she's going to follow through on what Volos has decided. She's never said she would, never said she could, but she'll need to figure that out.)

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"Who are you? Saud means nothing to me."

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"I am- was the apprentice of the Sith who's base that was," she states simply, looking up at him from under her eyelashes.

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"And you abandoned your Master."

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"Not the word I'd use," she says carefully. "But he was a fool who was fighting a much more powerful foe."

There's something she's not saying, about what her master did to her that left her refusing to help him.

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"He was outnumbered, this is true." He watches her closely for a long moment, then: "Whatever agreement you had with Volos is null and void."

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"I said I could earn my way, sir," she responds, "And that was without factoring in that agreement."

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"We have no expectations of you and will drop you off at the closest port when next convenient."

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"If that's what you wish, sir," she agrees. (Which is less that optimal, and she's...fairly sure she can change enough minds that that will get overruled.)

"But I am a good worker, and I don't take up much space or resources." (And there's at least two ways 'worker' could be taken there, although it's not clear if she really means the second, more lewd option.)

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"Well, I want to keep her. She looks like a survivor. And we need more women onboard."

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"You have Aster and Vala." He moves to stand between Archaeus and Saud. "And you can't just overrule me, brother. I have plans."

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"Aster doesn't count, she's more mouse than girl."

She doesn't comment on Vala.

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They can probably have this argument without her. She's still leaning against the wall, isn't entirely sure she could keep her feet if she wasn't. (She doesn't think she could win a fight with any of these people, not in her current state, not without more information., which leaves her with only one option really if she wants them to keep her.)

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"I am the Captain of this vessel, Volos, and my word is law."

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"You keep telling yourself that, both of you. The little miss and I are taking a time out. V, go to the medbay."

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"...Ma'am?" Saud asks, and she lets a little of her exhaustion show.

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"Come on, lets get away from all of this."

She arches an eyebrow at the two men and holds out her hand to Saud.

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...Oh, she can do this. She steps forward (mildly surprised she manages to keep her feet), and takes the hand, lowering her eyes demurely. "Yes, ma'am," she agrees.

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"Ma'am. I like thatAt least someone treats me respect on this ship."

She leads her off.

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She follows obediently, keeping her eyes lowered, trusting on the woman, and her own awareness of the ship around her to stop her running into any walls. She's far more focused on keeping herself on her feet, and moving.

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Neauth keeps her on the straight and narrow.

Eventually after a bit of walking -- it's a big ship -- they arrive in what looks to be living quaters.

"How's this for comfort?"

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She looks around. "Spectacular, ma'am," she says agreeably. (She would say that about anything, but this is definitely far better than anything she's seen, including her master's quarters.)

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"We haven't had this ship long, so we haven't been able to make it completely our own yet, but it suffices... I suppose."

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Saud licks her lips, shifts slightly closer to...her new master? One of her new masters? She's not sure. Still.

"Perhaps I can help you make it feel more like yours, ma'am?" she offers. Her body language is open and inviting.

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"And how exactly would you do that? You're not familiar at all."

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"I know people. I know how to make them feel good. I am at your service, however you require it."

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"You can barely stand."

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"Standing rather cuts down on the number of enjoyable things we could be doing."

(Floating just under the surface, there is a distinct sense that she doesn't actually want this, she just thinks she has to, to earn her rest, to earn a bed.)

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"I rather prefer my partner to be actually willing and capable of consent. And not about to fall over. None of which you are."

She steps back into the hallway.

"Get some sleep, nobody will bother you. The door locks from the inside."

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There's a brief flicker of confusion - she is willing, she is consenting. But-

"As you say, ma'am," she agrees, too tired to actually fight it.

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The door closes without another word from Neauth.

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She doesn't lock the door - it's a test, it has to be, and she knows better than to lock them out. She also doesn't take the bed, but curls up against the wall in a corner. She will try to sleep, because she is exhausted, and trusts her instinct and the Force enough to be able to rest at least some, either by dozing or meditating, until someone disturbs her.

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She has time.

Many, many hours later there is a soft buzzing at the door.

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She is immediately alert and watching the door warily.

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....it continues to buzz.

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She rises smoothly to her feet. She's not used to people not just bursting in, that doesn't mean she hasn't encountered it before. She palms the door open.

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A woman stands outside with her head bowed and in her hands is a tray of food.

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"...Can I help you?" she asks quietly, almost gently.

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"I brought you food," she says quietly and with her eyes still lowered.

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She stares, briefly. "What do I need to do?" she asks, voice quietly resigned.

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"Eat it?"

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And she looks, briefly, very lost. "I've done nothing to earn it," she states simply. "I said I would earn my way." And she'd meant it, one way or another.

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"Food doesn't need to be earned," she pauses briefly, "from my experience."

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...She isn't going to tell someone they're wrong. Everything was earned. She reaches slowly for the tray. "Thank you," she says instead.

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Head bowed again.

"Do you need anything else? Lord Neauth mentioned that you might want a change of clothes."

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...Well, the only clothes she has are the ones she's currently wearing. "If it pleases our Lords to provide."

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She looks up then, "May I come in then, ma'am?"

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There's a brief panicked moment at the form of address, and then she steps aside. "Saud is fine," she murmurs. "I'm hardly-" (Anything worth giving respect to).

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"I'm Aster, Vala's apprentice."

She walks inside and places the food on the table.

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Saud inclines her head. "A pleasure, ma'am."

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"If I can't call you ma'am, you can't call me ma'am either."

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"As you say," she agrees placidly. She doesn't make an immediate move for the food.

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She moves over to one wall, holds her hand over it and it slides open revealing a closet.

"I'm not going to pick anything for you, so you'll have to do that yourself. Lord Neauth is a little bit bigger than you though..."

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"Is there anything she tends to not wear?" Saud asks, stepping slightly closer.

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"I... don't know. She's not my Master."

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She considers, looks for something plain, and preferably something that looks almost like it's forgotten.

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Everything looks pretty well taken care of.

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...Shit. Then she'll just grab the plainest shirt and set of trousers she can't see and hope she's not overstepping - this was offered, and there'll likely be a price, but hopefully she can minimise that.

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"I'll leave you to it. The ship is open to you, but locked doors are that way for a reason."

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"Of course," she inclines her head. "I would not intrude."

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"Enjoy the food."

And she leaves.

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She waits until she's sure Aster's gone before sitting down and eating what she can of the food - far from all of it, she's barely eaten in the past three days..at least.

She investigates the cabin, looking for the washroom.

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There's a door-panel on one of the other walls, might open to a bathroom or another room altogether.

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She glances around, and then sees whether the door will open.

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It opens just fine and nothing else happens. It does lead to a very fancy looking bathroom.

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...Great. Still. She'll ignore the fanciness of the fixtures, and sets about cleaning herself up.

The clothes are somewhat too big, but she rolls up the trouser legs, and does her best to pull the shirt tight against her skin.

Then she returns to the main room, and considers what to do next, avoiding, a little, looking at food wasted on her tray.

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There is an access panel on the table, she could take a look to see what everyone else is doing.

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...more information is always good. She'll do that.

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It's pretty simple to navigate. Ship-wide cameras are available to her.

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Alright, can she figure out an approximate map of the ship?

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There is a handy map interface! It even indicates who is where. Her dot is labelled 'Unknown' but the rest are named.

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...Okay, could she make it to the galley to take care of her dishes without running into anyone?

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Potentially! She would have to be quiet though, the medbay is right down the hall from the galley which is where Volos and Vala are.

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She can do quiet, she's spent the vast majority of her life doing quiet.

She bites her lip slightly, and then looks to see where Kladeos is. She owes someone for what she did to Volos, and he seems to be the one in charge. Him or Archaeus, but she isn't quite sure how to handle Archaeus yet.

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Kladeos seems to be in one of the top levels of the ship, on the starboard observation deck. It's accessible via the turbo lift.

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Alright. She'll sneak to the kitchen, and provided no-one accosts her between now and getting her dishes sorted, she'll make her way up to the starboard observation deck.

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The terminal gives her a handy route to follow! Such a good terminal.

[Input name, please.]

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...Does she need to? She doesn't want to seem like she's making assumptions.

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[Input name, please.] starts flashing.

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...Fine. She enters her name. Is the computer happy now?

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[Thank you, Saud.]

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"...You're welcome?"

Well, off she goes then.

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She will find her way to the galley devoid of people. She can hear faint noises the closer she gets coming from the medbay, Volos and Vala presumably.

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She pauses briefly, partially to gauge how quiet she needs to be, partially to see if she can overhear anything useful to her.

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The words are indiscernible, strangely so, but loud enough that she can comfortably sneak away.

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...Well, they're aware of her then. She continues quietly on her way to the galley.

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They don't bother her regardless. She has the galley to herself.

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Well, she's quick and efficient at dealing with her dishes.

Is there any way to check that Kladeos is still in the starboard observation deck?

Permalink Eye

There is a handy and convenient terminal against one of the walls!

Permalink Eye

Well, she'll check that then.

Permalink Eye

Without prompting the terminal switches to the map and shows her the way to Kladeos.

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She shakes her head slightly. "Thank you," she repeats. And off she goes to Kladeos.

Permalink Eye

After a long turbo-lift ride later, she will find herself on the Observation Deck. The view into space is vast and beautiful. Kladeos himself seems to be working on something. A canvas and paint seem to be involved.

Permalink Eye

She expects he's already aware of her, and makes no move to draw his attention.

She slides smoothly to her knees, crossing her wrists behind her back. She's used to waiting.

Permalink Eye

She can wait a little while, not too long before he looks down at her.

"Truthfully, I didn't expect this little visit. Not so soon, anyway. Aren't I the Big Bad Sith Lord?"

Permalink Eye

"You're the Sith Lord in charge," she says submissively. "And I angered you, by harming-" She pauses, listens to the Force. "By harming your brother. I am here that you can take...satisfaction." (And there's definitely an offer in there of just how he can take satisfaction.)

Permalink Eye

He stares at her for a long while, using his own considerable skills in the Force to read her.

Permalink Eye

She's an impressively blank canvas, nearly all her emotions clouded and hard to find. But there's an expectation that he's going to hurt her, use her (a resignation that everyone does that), a feeling that she deserves it. She isn't scared, not really, just tired, and resigned.

Permalink Eye

"We are not what you are expecting. Murderers, yes. But we are not going to hurt you in any way you think you deserve, little Sith."

Permalink Eye

There's a visible change to her demeanour, her head tilting back. (And this was easier in her close-fitting leathers.)

"Don't you want me?" she asks, inviting, yet still submissive. "I can be very pleasing."

Permalink Eye

"Stand up."

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She rises smoothly, keeping her gaze lowered, and her hands behind her back.

Permalink Eye

He walks towards her... and kneels at her feet, mimicking her stance from before.

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She jerks back slightly before freezing. Her breath catches in her throat and-

"...My Lord?" she asks, obviously confused. "I- I'm sorry, I don't understand."

Permalink Eye

"I am nobody to you, as you are to me. We are but equals in this universe. But now... I am at your mercy. What would you have of me?"

Permalink Eye

She's frozen, this isn't something she has any context for. She doesn't know the answer.

She stumbles backwards, her hands coming up to cover her mouth.

She doesn't know the answer.

(Is she breathing? She's not sure she's breathing.)

Permalink Eye

He looks up at her.

"There is no right answer, little Sith. Everything you are, everything I am, is nothing compared to the vastness of the universe. Nobody can hurt you, not when you accept that. Not above, or nor below. We do not own you."

Permalink Eye

"Liar," she hisses. She has always been owned, from her first memories as a slave, to the Sith finding her and taking her to Korriban, to the master who took her from there.

Permalink Eye

"We have no right to you and do not want that right. Over anyone. We are our own Masters. Nobody else's. Not again, not ever."

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She curls in on herself, wrapping her hands into her hair and tugging, fire flickering over her skin. "I- That doesn't- I'm a- a tool, a weapon, those don't own themselves."

Permalink Eye

"You are the tool and the weapon that you control. If anyone, anyone, tries to take that from you... you are not a tragic figure. You have the Power to stop them."

Permalink Eye

She abruptly goes blank again, managing to fight her emotions back under her control. "How?" she asks, sharp and brittle. "There are people you cannot defeat."

Permalink Eye

"There is defeat and then there is submission. We can be defeated, but we will never submit. Not while we still stand and live and breath."

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She looks down, considers.

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"Would you prefer me to fight you, my lord?" she asks, straight again, hand resting on her hip, flames coiling around her other fingers. "To burn you as I did your brother? It certainly seemed to get his attention."

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"Do you want to fight me, little Sith? I am at your mercy."

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"I doubt that," she drawls (she can feel his connection to the Force). "But I either fight, or get fucked, and you're apparently not interested in the latter. So surely the former must be what you're aiming for."

Permalink Eye

"I'm not going to fuck you and I have no interest in fighting you. I want to know what you want. This is your show now, little Sith. What you say goes."

Permalink Eye

"To survive," she says, because that's the only answer she has.

Permalink Eye

"Then survive. This universe owes you nothing. Live and thrive and ascend. You have the right, the will, to forge your own path."

Permalink Eye

She looks away, doesn't shake her head. Because while that is an adorable world view, she knows it's unlikely to work like that.

On the other hand. She flicks flames at the canvas. She needs to know what the boundary is here. Because there will be one.

Permalink Eye

Kladeos watches it burn.

"Not my best work, I agree."

Permalink Eye

She blinks, doesn't say 'You make no sense'.

"I don't know how to be what you want me to be," she says instead. And it is a request, but she doesn't know how to ask any more explicitly (isn't sure she's allowed to).

Permalink Eye

"I want you to be strong. Do you want that too?"

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She considers briefly, then nods. "Strength is survival."

Permalink Eye

Finally, he stands.

"Then you have a choice. You can leave us, find your own way in the galaxy. We can give you the resources we took from him. You could live a very comfortable life, away from all of this..."

Permalink Eye

"I know how to be a Sith," apprentice goes without saying, and the implication that she wouldn't know how to exist outside of that is fairly obvious.

Permalink Eye

"Despite common consensus... we are not Sith. We kill Sith and Jedi alike. We are the ones they speak of in whispers and the dark."

Permalink Eye

She steps towards him, intent. "But you are like me, you use the Force, and you offered to let me burn the world down."

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"What's the world ever done for us except take? We aim to take back. Claim our due."

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"And I'd be an idiot to walk away from that."

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"I can teach you. Not like they taught us... but as equals or not at all."

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"An interesting proposition," she notes, spinning fire around her hand again, winding it through her fingers. "I accept." As if she'd do anything else.

Permalink Eye

"Excellent. And you've passed your first lesson with flying colours. You could have gone to anyone else on this ship. They were all open to you."

Permalink Eye

"They were busy," she says with a casual shrug.

Permalink Eye

...Kladeos checks this. With the Force.

"They are quite spread out... but quite accessible for someone as resourceful as you. And not busy."

Permalink Eye

She laughs. "They are not in charge," she points out.

Permalink Eye

Kladeos laughs.

"Did you see the example of my authority back on that base? Not my best work there, little Sith."

Permalink Eye

"Which merely means you have better to show me."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe so. I've never had a student before."

Permalink Eye

"Then I guess I'll be teaching you as well, my Lord."

Permalink Eye

"Don't call me that. We just had a whole talk on equals, little Sith. Lets stick with Kladeos."

Permalink Eye

"As you wish," she agrees.

Permalink Eye

"Am I to call you Saud or would you prefer something else?"

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She shrugs. "It's the only name I have."

(Blaze seems a long way off now, dead and wrong.)

Permalink Eye

"No need to be so attached. If you find one you like better... names can be changed."

Permalink Eye

She looks away. "I wouldn't know where to start. Saud is serviceable."

Permalink Eye

The turbo-lift opens and Vala steps out onto the observation deck.

Permalink Eye

"Sister, welcome. We were just discussing what fate has in store for our new passenger."

Permalink Eye

Saud shifts smoothly so she has a good sightline on both of them, inclines her head sharply and politely to Vala.

Permalink Eye

She walks forward and nods back to the girl.

"Has a course of action been decided?"

Permalink Eye

"She's going to be staying with us and I'm going to teach her."

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She looks back to Saud. "Is this something you want?"

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"Yes," she says simply. (Strange, to discover that that isn't a lie, although she's not giving her emotions away again.)

Permalink Eye

"Welcome aboard. No more setting my brother on fire."

Permalink Eye

"Not unless he asks very nicely..."

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"Well if he asks nicely it would be rude to refuse," Saud observes.

Beat. "I will try to convince him of the folly of such a course of action."

Permalink Eye

"For my peace of mind, I would appreciate it."

Permalink Eye

"Was there something else you wanted, dear sister? Or have you come to threaten me some more."

Permalink Eye

"Have you done something that would warrent it?"

She looks to Saud for an answer.

Permalink Eye

And there's an impressively blank response. "I don't know what you would consider worthy threatening someone over," she states, almost coolly. "But-" there's a pause, a moment as she makes her voice cooperate, and say what she's been instructed to before she continues, "-Kladeos has been nothing less than a gentleman."

Permalink Eye

"Seems doubtful, but trust starts somewhere."

Permalink Eye

"Well, I'm glad that's settled. Now, how is dear Volos. Recovering well?"

Permalink Eye

"The facilities are working as expected. The ships AI performs optimally."

Permalink Eye

That...probably explains the insistence on her putting a name in. She wonders how close it is to a droid. (There's a moment where there's a stab of...something, as she realises the droids were left behind to be destroyed.) She remains mostly impassive, and doesn't say anything.

Permalink Eye

"And he's been asking about you, Saud. You left more than an impression."

Permalink Eye

Saud looks away, her genuine feeling of shyness carefully played up and amplified into a flattered coy.

"I don't normally leave such an impression," she murmurs. (Normally people who she attacked were just dead.)

Permalink Eye

"Next time you will erase your enemy from existence."

Permalink Eye

"I got distracted. My Master wished me to come and save him."

Permalink Eye

"And you destroyed him. What I gleaned from his mind more than suggested that he deserved it. But."

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"Distraction is unacceptable and will get you killed."

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She barks out something approximately a laugh, disdain clear. "He had a rather unique hold." Pauses. "And by that point I was fairly sure Volos was not in fact a threat to me."

Permalink Eye

"As you say."

Permalink Eye

"I say we're done here. I'm sure you have things to do elsewhere, sister." 

Permalink Eye

"I do. Archaeus wants you on the bridge."

Permalink Eye

She ducks her head. "And me?" she asks quietly.

Permalink Eye

"I need to work, you can attend to Volos while he's recovering."

Permalink Eye

...attend to. Of course.

There's no obvious response to that.

"As you wish," she agrees blandly.

Permalink Eye

Kladeos notes the tone and steps forward.

"My apprentice attends no one but herself."

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"It's fine, si- Kladeos," Saud says quietly. "I did, after all, put him in that state."

Permalink Eye

"He's been whining about my cooking. And the droids cooking. Can you cook, Saud?"

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"Some," she admits quietly.

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"Better than me already."

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"Her dishes taste like ash."

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"...As you say," she agrees, not entirely sure what to do with that. "I am...capable, if you require a cook."

Permalink Eye

"Isn't that your apprentices' job?"

Permalink Eye

"She's busy piloting, as you well know."

Permalink Eye

"So we need a cook. It shan't interrupt our training, they can starve before that happens," he says to Saud.

Permalink Eye

"As you say, si- Kladeos," she agrees serenely. "Did you require me to do this now?" she directs her question midway between Kladeos and Vala.

Permalink Eye

Vala shrugs.

"Whenever you please."

Permalink Eye

"Keep him wanting if you like. I suppose I shall go see what my other dear brother wants," he sighs a deep sigh.

Permalink Eye

She inclines her head politely. "I'll go see if he requires anything," she says politely, but still hesitates briefly, almost looking for permission.

Permalink Eye

"If he gives you lip, give him a little extra taste of that fire of yours."

Permalink Eye

Saud smirks. "We'll see," she says, light, and almost challenging.

Well, if no-one's going to stop her, she'll make her way back down towards the medbay.

Permalink Eye

The turbo lift takes her where she needs to go without prompting.

Permalink Eye

She's quiet as she enters the medbay, not wanting to disturb Volos if he's resting.

Permalink Eye

Definitely not resting. He's sitting up in his bed and seems to be playing a very intense hologame. He doesn't notice her.

Permalink Eye

She stays quiet, glances around somewhere to settle herself to wait for him to need her.

Permalink Eye

After a long moment, the holoboard flashes red and then switches off.

Permalink Eye

"Hey. I was winning!" He says to the board in frustration.

Permalink Eye

No response.

Permalink Eye

He turns to look at Saud. "Suppose I should put it away since I have such esteemed company. Finally decided to pay me a visit then?"

Permalink Eye

"Your sister indicated that you were...bored."

Permalink Eye

"Not with you here, sweetheart. Have you decided to stay then?"

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"It seemed...logical," Saud states carefully. "I don't have anywhere else to go."

Permalink Eye

"Logic has no place in our universe. You're resourceful, seems like you'd do well anywhere."

Permalink Eye

"Perhaps. But equally, I could do well here."

Permalink Eye

"I could do very well."

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"We both can, love, so much to learn..."

Permalink Eye

"And where would you want to start, sir?" Flames flicker over her skin. She wishes she was still wearing her leathers.

Permalink Eye

He reaches out to her, her flames. His arms are red and angry looking, burnt beyond belief, but he's not in pain -- he's fascinated.

"Show me."

Permalink Eye

She tilts her head and shifts, and the flames spiral up around her and she holds out one hand towards him, fingers barely skimming his hand, an invitation to him.

Permalink Eye

He closes his eyes, opens up his mind to the Force -- to her -- and closes the distance, touching her hand and the flames.

Permalink Eye

The flames don't burn him this time, spiralling around him, close enough that he can feel the heat, but not actually touching him. Through the Force, the fire is overwhelming, and horribly intimate, and SaudSaudSaud, as much a part of her as her beating heart.

Permalink Eye

Volos smiles and takes her hand in his, holding on. The fire, her, everything -- the Force -- so beautiful. So much power. His excitement and eagerness and curiosity spike and add to his own energy, already so powerful and wild and free -- he pushes it towards her and her fire.

Permalink Eye

The flames twist and respond, sharp and defensive, but malleable, hard to focus on, hard to grasp onto, slipping and sliding around his energy.

Permalink Eye

He laughs and opens his eyes.

"As elusive as you are beautiful."

Permalink Eye

She smiles coyly, and the flames calm some, back to skittering over her own skin. "As you say," she agrees.

Permalink Eye

"To deny your beauty would be a crime against the universe, love. The power and control you have over your gifts... truly remarkable."

Permalink Eye

Her skin darkens, and some of that is involuntarily, but it's calculated as well. (Coy, shy, appealing.)

"Well, I had to. Failure was...not an option."

Permalink Eye

Volos... shifts, lets her go and looks away.

"Survival at all costs then, is it?"

Permalink Eye

Confusion. She tilts her head. "...Sir?"

Permalink Eye

He stamps down on his emotions (fearangerlustjealouslydespair), and calms, settles into casual.

"You've shacked up with Kladeos then, I suppose?"

Permalink Eye

...She doesn't know what to do with those emotions, not really, except the lust, but he isn't acting, despite her invitations.

Permalink Eye

"Depending on your definition of 'shacked up'. He certainly didn't appear to want me as you do."

Permalink Eye

"How exactly is that then? Does he plan on betraying you and locking you away for your own 'safety'? Is that how he wants you? In a box and contained?"

Permalink Eye

"He offered to teach me," she states simply. "I accepted that offer."

(There's the faintest flicker when there's talk of being locked away and contained, but she locks her emotions down swiftly.)

Permalink Eye

"You should run very far away from my brother. He doesn't love well."

Permalink Eye

"I'm not asking for love, and I wouldn't expect it."

(And she's never expected anything other than pain and being owned.)

Permalink Eye

"What do you want then? More power? A place to call your own? Wild, reckless, insanely satisfying sex?"

Permalink Eye

"Survival," she says, tilting her head, trying to figure out how he feels about that last.

Permalink Eye

Her response seems to cover up whatever he feels about the sex and dives straight back into fear, disappointment and jealousy.

"Like attracts like."

Permalink Eye

She leans back, posture loose, inviting. (She knows she felt his lust.)

"I wouldn't... say no, to the latter."

Permalink Eye

He looks. There is definitely lust there. But --

"You don't feel it, do you? Suppose it's all a matter of power." He shifts again. "Suppose we do. You ride me like you mean it and I lose myself in your everything. Would you really want it? The fire and the passion and the wholehearted fucking -- would you feel that?"

Permalink Eye

She looks away, not sure how to respond, not sure what he expects but-

"I wouldn't know how to," she admits quietly.

Permalink Eye

''Then this doesn't happen. Not unless you want it. Deeply and desperately. Survival isn't everything, love."

Permalink Eye

"...it's all I've ever known," she says, sharp and defensive and brittle. (But somehow still not fragile.)

Permalink Eye

"You're a quick learner."

Permalink Eye

"...is that an offer, sir?"

Permalink Eye

Permalink Eye

She shifts back slightly, ducking her head. "Was there anything you required? Vala indicated that I should attend to you."

Permalink Eye

"Do you have any healing ability?"

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"It was not something that was covered in my training," she admits.

Permalink Eye

"What were you taught, exactly?"

Permalink Eye

She shrugs. "What my master deigned to share."

Permalink Eye

"That's not quite an answer, love."

Permalink Eye

"He- considered me a substandard apprentice. Not worth truly investing time into. Not for things like this."

(Never mind that he hadn't taken another to her knowledge.)

Permalink Eye

"And what has Kladeos promised you?"

Permalink Eye

"Strength," she says quietly. "Agency."

Permalink Eye

He flinches but pushes forward. Anger and resentment bubbling to the surface.

"He can give you strength, yes."

Permalink Eye

...she really doesn't know what to do to manage this. It seems that mentions of Kladeos cause these emotions, but she isn't sure how to-

"What would you give me?"

Permalink Eye

He laughs bitterly, thinking of distant places and the feeling of falling. Of freedom.

"Fun."

Permalink Eye

"...I've been taught 'fun' before," she says. "I never found it particularly enjoyable."

Permalink Eye

"Not my genre of fun. You need to figure out your own, love. We can meet in the middle."

Permalink Eye

"...how?"

Permalink Eye

"Can't just give away the game now. That would be cheating."

Permalink Eye

"...that doesn't tell me how I figure out how to have fun."

Permalink Eye

"You're a smart woman, and you have all the time in the world. Maybe I can be patient. Stranger things have happened."

Permalink Eye

She laughs. "Perhaps we will see which of us holds out longer."

Permalink Eye

"Sounds like a challenge. I am very competitive."

Permalink Eye

She considers her response, decides he'll probably appreciate her next words. "May the best woman win."

Permalink Eye

He laughs.

"Such confidence. It's very attractive. You have fire. But we knew that already, didn't we?"

Permalink Eye

She sweeps her gaze over him, looking pointedly at his injuries. "I'd be a little concerned if you'd missed that."

Permalink Eye

"I don't miss anything, love. Something you will surely learn."

Permalink Eye

Saud smiles. "As you say, sir." (We'll see.)

Permalink Eye

He can't wait.

"My name is Volos. No sirs here."

Permalink Eye

Something doesn't ring...quite true to her there. But.

"As you wish," she agrees, settling back a little. "Did you need anything? Or should I leave you to rest?"

Permalink Eye

"Nothing you can give me, sweetheart."

Permalink Eye

-no. That's-

She needs to be useful. Somehow. Or they have no reason to keep her-

"I'll leave you in peace then."

Permalink Eye

"Peace is for Jedi, love. Best we avoid it."

Permalink Eye

She looks over her shoulder. "Then I'll leave you to rest in unpeace. Whatever pleases you."

Permalink Eye

"Chaos pleases me. I will see you soon."

Permalink Eye

-Yeah. Except Saud has exactly zero clue what to do now, stood outside the medbay.

Permalink Eye

-- the terminal starts flashing slowly, maybe trying to get her attention?

Permalink Eye

Well. She supposes she can look at the screen then.

Permalink Eye

It glows lightly and then shows her the map again.

There is a clear way to the front of the ship, where a small dot symbolising Aster is. And then another to some sort of training room.

The whole ship is open to her. And the camera interface is still available if she wishes to use it.

Permalink Eye

Is there anyone on the training room?

Permalink Eye

Nope! Everyone is clearly shown on the map in other places on the ship.

Permalink Eye

Alright then. She heads for the training room. If nothing else she can work out some of the antsy tension that's flooding her body.

Permalink Eye

Nobody bothers her on the way there.

The training room is very well equipped. It also looks well used. Nothing quite worn down. But well loved, maybe. Though there is a small pile of broken things in one of the corners.

Permalink Eye

She ignores the pile of broken things for now, steps into the centre of the room, closing her eyes and centring herself before-

Permalink Eye

-launching herself into a series of drills, without her 'saber for now, she hasn't done hand-to-hand work in a while, and she feels the urge.

Permalink Eye

After a while the terminal beeps softly and flashes a few times. She can sense someone -- unfamiliar someone -- walking towards her in the hall.

Permalink Eye

She didn't need the warning, although she does, to a degree, appreciate it. Still, when this someone enters the room, they'll enter it to her making a mistake.

Permalink Eye

He stops in the entryway and blinks at her for a few short moments.

"Want me to come back later?"

Permalink Eye

She shifts to a more neutral position. "I was...just finishing up, sir."

Permalink Eye

He kind of shifts awkwardly and moves out of the way from the door, giving her space.

"Names Kastor, actually. Saud, right?"

Permalink Eye

She tilts her head to one side, hair falling away from her face. "That is correct."

Permalink Eye

His eyes are drawn to the movement and to her face and neck, it lingers. But he catches himself -- lustembarrassmentshame -- and focuses on a point just above her shoulder.

"What were you workin' on?"

Permalink Eye

Saud notices the reaction, of course she does.

Her voice changes pitch ever so slightly, barely even noticeable, but now with a certain edge of anticipation. "On some...hand-to-hand drills."

Permalink Eye

Uh! His face heats up and he stares at her for a moment.

"Uh. I could... watch? To gauge your skill level, I mean. Hand-to-hand is a bit of my speciality."

Permalink Eye

"That would be...very appreciated."

Permalink Eye

That definitely doesn't help any, and he laughs a little and rubs his face.

"I guess I aim to please. 'Specially on this ship."

Permalink Eye

"Where would you like me to start?"

Permalink Eye

"Where you left off? Show me what you're made of. It's not often we get new blood on this ship."

Permalink Eye

She nods, and can do that. It's in no way obvious that the errors she makes are mostly purposeful.

That she's also specifically showing off her body is perhaps more obvious, but it's hard to tell whether that's just how she's been trained, or a purposeful move on her part.

Permalink Eye

...he takes mental notes. Especially about the parts where she shows off a bit. They're a good distraction, but... okay they're just a really good distraction.

"It's not gonna work on everyone, you know?"

Permalink Eye

She looks over at him, tilts her head slightly, raises an eyebrow in question. "Hm?"

Permalink Eye

"The, uh, the thing where you -- showy?" His face is just gonna be red forever now. "It's a good addition, I mean... it definitely distracted me. But you probably adapt it a bit for your opponent, right?"

Permalink Eye

"Different strokes for different folks."

Permalink Eye

He laughs and scratches the back of his neck.

"We should spar sometime. I think we could teach each other a thing or two. Well, at the very least maybe I'll become less distracted. Useful skill to pick up."

Permalink Eye

"That seems rather like a challenge."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe it is, a bit. Think you'd be up for it?"

Permalink Eye

"Almost certainly." Beat. "Lord Kladeos allowing," she concedes.

Permalink Eye

"Ah. You're his student now?"

Permalink Eye

"It appears that way."

Permalink Eye

"He's a powerful man. I'm sure he will teach you a lot. I tend to keep out of his way, to be honest. Doesn't take much notice of me."

Permalink Eye

"He is," she agrees. "I would have found it hard to avoid notice. Given how we were introduced."

Permalink Eye

He laughs.

"I didn't get a front seat like you did. But even I could feel his power from here. These are a dramatic lot, I'll give you that."

Permalink Eye

"Somewhat overly so."

Permalink Eye

"You and me both. I like a little action in my day, but these people take it to a whole different level."

Permalink Eye

Saud hums her agreement, but doesn't seem to have more of a response to that.

Permalink Eye

He lets it pass.

"Was about to go make some food. Join me? We can get to know each other little better, being shipmates and all."

Permalink Eye

She thinks about it for a moment, and then nods. "That sounds like an excellent idea."

Permalink Eye

He smiles brightly at her, pleased.

"I'm a great big font of excellent ideas. Just you wait."

Permalink Eye

She laughs - it doesn't sound forced or fake. "We'll see."

Permalink Eye

"We shall." And he starts leading her towards the galley. "You craving in particular? I can try my hand at just about anything."

Permalink Eye

"I'm not fussy. I'm sure whatever you make will be delightful."

Permalink Eye

"Now you're just giving yourself too high an expectation. The Harbinger does most of it."

Permalink Eye

Saud just smiles - doesn't say 'It can't be worse than I was living on'.

Permalink Eye

He glances down and checks his pad.

"Looks like we have the mess to ourselves. Have you met everyone yet?"

Permalink Eye

"I'm not sure."

Permalink Eye

"Kladeos you've met. He thinks himself in charge. He's not particularly wrong. But Archaeus is the eldest and the Captain of the Harbinger."

Permalink Eye

Saud nods. "I have met some of the others as well - their other siblings? Vala's apprentice?"

Permalink Eye

"Aster. She's my sister. Not much to look at, but she's powerful. One of the reasons we're not all dead yet."

Permalink Eye

"Appearances are frequently deceiving."

Permalink Eye

"That they are. Figure you know more about it than most."

Permalink Eye

"Perhaps," she agrees placidly.

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He nods and they finally arrive. He mosies over to the console.

"Think we want something exciting. Give our new arrival the best sort of welcome," he says in the direction of the terminal. "Have any recommendations, then?"

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It flashes and beeps, then a new window pops up with a picture of something delicious looking.

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"She certainly tries to be helpful."

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"She does. And I love her for it. Think I would have wasted away if not for her."

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"And we wouldn't have wanted that."

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Kladeos appears suddenly in the doorway.

"There's a we now?"

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Kastor jumps a little and his whole demeanor changes. It's not submissive, nor afraid, but... careful. Small. He looks back down at the terminal and starts arranging dinner.

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"In this instance, yes," Saud says to Kladeos. She's taken note of the change in demeanour, but doesn't comment on it.

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"One big happy family. Settling in then, are we? No... troubles?"

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"None so far. Kastor gave me some help with my hand to hand."

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"Did he now. Good for that, is he?"

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"One of my many talents," he says without much heat and continues to poke the terminal.

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"It was...informative."

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He walks into the kitchen and sits at the table.

"Then we've finally found a use for him. The powerless tagalong. You'll have to show me how you work, mate."

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Kastor's eyes flick to Saud for a moment and then over to Kladeos.

"You want me to... teach her?"

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"That works for me."

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"Then it's settled then. You'll have to work out the schedules between yourselves and around our own training, of course."

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"Of course," Saud agrees.

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Kastor has no idea what just happened here, under the surface. But he can think about that more later. Showing weakness around Kladeos was... not advised. So he nods his agreement instead.

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The console beeps again, and the food replicator opens up in a flash of steam to reveal three meals.

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"Excellent timing as always, my dear."

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Saud smiles a little.

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Kastor hands out the plates of food and sits down before his own. It smells very good.

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....Aster sneaks into the room and sits down close next to him, snuggling close.

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"And the little seer arrives just in the nick of time."

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Saud takes a seat as well, but carefully doesn't draw attention to herself.

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Aster willfully ignores him and starts nibbling at Kastor's food alongside him.

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Kastor looks a little put-upon, but smiles at his sister and eats his food.

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Kladeos shakes his head and eats his own food, looking side-long at Saud.

"You better rest up tonight, little Sith. We begin our training come morning."

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"Hn," Saud nods. "I will."

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Aster looks a little distant for a moment then looks at Saud.

"He's going to pick the north training room."

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Saud twitches a little at that. "Thank you."

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She stares at her for a moment before she opens her mind to Saud. Offering to show her something. For Saud to look into Aster's mind.

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Saud considers it, and then reaches out.

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Her mind is a fragile thing, easily broken, but carefully put back together. She's strong in the force, but not in the typical way.

Aster shows her what she sees. Different futures and paths stretching out in everyone around them. Of what Saud's future could have been, tomorrow morning; wondering the halls of the the Harbinger lost, because Kladeos never mentioned where they would be meeting for training.

The future has shifted, but they can see the after images of what could have been.

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...Interesting.

"Thank you."

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She smiles at her and snuggles closer to Kastor. Warm fondness and pleasure at having helped.

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Kladeos looks slightly bemused.

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Saud turns her attention to finishing her food. Let him be bemused. If he wanted an explanation, he could ask.

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Well, is that how they're going to play it.

"Perhaps I'll find a different venue then."

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Saud and Aster can see the future shift and change, he's going to use the top deck, where Saud met him before.

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Kastor minds his own business -- amusementfondnesscharm -- and finishes his meal.

"I best be off then. Though the ship can fly herself, she does prefer a little bit of company. I'll see you tomorrow, Saud."

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"Till tomorrow."

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He stands, kisses the top of Aster's head and smiles at Saud as he leaves the room.

His emotions are mixed and happy and not at all hidden.

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"Have I become invisible?"

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"Hardly that."

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He hums and stands.

"Bright and early, little Sith. You have much to learn. Won't be easy." He laughs. "But I suspect you know that."