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If there was ever a more obvious trap, Cedric had not been witness to it.
He watched the holovision in silence as the video that had been streamed over the local net played for a second time. He had heard of this Laertia Io, both from the silvers and his own apprentice, but he'd not paid her much mind. Whatever her qualms with the Silvers were, they did not concern him or his people, or rather they had not until now.
A quiet sigh escaped the exile's lips as he replayed the portion of the video when several men were executed. He did not recognize them, wasn't sure if they were even Essonian or not, but the matter still stood that they were dead all the same. The images left him with a sickly feeling in his stomach, a look of abject disgust painting his normally rigid features as he rewound the scene again and again.
How had knowledge of the Sons' movement toward Galidraan been leaked? Seeds of the Great Enemy among the faithful, or simply loose lips? A matter to be looked into by the Crusade's burgeoning intelligence arm no doubt.
"I don't recall the Bryn'adul committing genocide upon our people, or enslaving the survivors thereafter." Cedric mumbled to the marshals also observing the message. "Gentlemen, this is why we cannot abide the weakness of democracy and nepotism to infect our ranks. The Silvers should have been able to deal with this terrorist months ago, but I suppose she is our charge now. Once again their inability to carry out their duties results in the murder of our people."
"I do not believe blaming a friendly regime for the actions of a terrorist is fair, Grayson. Your are biased and emotional on this matter. It is not the fault of our cousins that these men have been killed." One of the marshals challenged. Cedric affixed him with a stare that brooked no further argument, but his features softened as he found himself agreeing with Fritz's counsel. "Perhaps you're correct Fritz. Regardless of who is at fault for allowing this witch to walk freely, she is under our jurisdiction now. I do not know how she was made aware of our movements toward Galidraan, but it is of no matter. She is challenging us. She is challenging me."
"Do you think it wise to send the legion now? This was a public broadcast my lord, the Sith will know we are coming now."
"The odds remain in our favor Marshal. The empire is beset on all sides, and its supply chain is spread far too thin to mount a proper defense. If they prioritize Galidraan and stop our friends there, they will only leave themselves open in their heartland. It is a lose-lose situation. Besides," Cedric scrolled through the video feed to focus on Laertia Io's face. "We cannot rightly allow a terrorist to murder our people unpunished. She claims she will be on Galidraan, and we will come for her. I will lead the legion personally."
Marshal Decius lofted a brow, "Is that wise?"
"If I allow a sycophant of the Great Enemy to terrorize my soldiers, then I am unworthy to lead this crusade brother." The exile met his comrade's gaze. "She cannot beat me in single combat. I know of no Sith other than Solipsis and his rivals that can face me on an equal footing. I will find her, I will subdue her, I will see her tried in the courts, and Ashla willing, she will be crucified for her barbarism. One does not harm my people and insult the honor of my students without retribution"
Decius pressed his lips into a thin line, a momentary hesitation halting his words. One of the other marshals spoke for him. "She is goading you Grandmaster."
"Let her." Cedric's tone was calm, matter of fact, perhaps even brooking on arrogance. "What can she do to me that other Sith have not? I have faced Mandalores, Dark Lords, men and women that would call themselves living gods, and none have felled me yet. The Ashla protects me brothers, as she does you. You must all have faith."
That silenced any further disagreement.
"Gott ess mat eis bridder." The exile muttered in his native tongue.
"Gott ess mat eis." The marshals echoed.
Satisfied, Cedric keyed on the holocam and recorded a very short response to the message. He simply stared into the camera, his expression that of stone, fingers tenting beneath his chin as he spoke. "You are a short sighted animal, child, and you have made an enemy of the wrong people. I am coming for you now. Make peace with whatever gods you serve, take care of whatever matters you have left untended on this mortal plane, as I will be helping to usher you out of it very soon. This ends with you and anyone you call comrade hanging from the rafters of the Graywall. I will not be accepting your inevitable surrender. Ashla save your soul, die well."