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Fire and Shadows [Seroth]

Rosa Gunn

Character
Character
The halls of the Silent Temple were quiet, the only sounds were the calls of crickets and frogs that echoed up from the forest surrounding them. The whispers of bubbling water fountains added to the chorus, but otherwise, most were sleeping or lost in mediation. Even the wing that Seroth and Rosa had chosen for their living quarters were quiet. A stark contrast the the noise of the galaxy around them. Bathed in blood, the deafening calls of hate, anger and despair seemed not to reach the edges of wild space. War raged, yet Teth remained untainted and peaceful. For Rosa however, there was no escape. Curled up against the back of her fiance, her dreams were in turmoil. She whimpered softly, rolling away from the warmth a name slipping form her lips. "Allana."

Her eyes were like Darron's, bright blue and soul piercing. With her mothers dark hair she was a sight to behold and Rosa wanted nothing more than to wrap her arms about the child that was stolen from her. But Allana wouldn't com near her. "You failed me!" she wailed at Rosa, before turning to flee across a white desert. Rosa ran after her, crying out the childs name, only to have her disappear from sight on the horizon. Determination drove her on, across the endless sands, feet blistering until she found a cave.

There Allana faced her, tears rolling from her eyes. "The darkness is here and you're hiding from it. You should be fighting it. Like father would have." The words stung and Rosa bit back a sob. "I am but one person Allana, I cannot fight the darkness alone."

"Nor can she!" she shrieked, moving back from Rosa's extended hands. "She needs you and you're not there. Look at whats is happening!" The cave crumbled around her, giving way to the vastness of the galaxy. The fires that burnt across it reflecting in her brown eyes. The shadow spread behind the flames consuming all in its path. When she looked back to Allana, she was no longer there. Spencer stood before her, the sweet padawan changed to the Master. Eyes yellowed before Rosa as the darkness began to consume her.

"You will fail again." she hissed, before rushing at Rosa.

Pain exploded through Rosa's head and she scrambled from the bed, hitting the floor with an almighty thump, stars dancing across her vision, her breathing ragged as she choked back sobs.

@[member="Seroth Ur-Rahn"]
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
He dreamed in a temporal state. Visions came, arrived like waxing tides before they ebbed back into inky, misted blackness. Seroth didn't like his dreams. They cobbled together out of old thoughts, created these impossible scenarios. It was worse when Guen reared her head. Tall, sharp eyed, with that familiar widow's peak and damning smile. When she walked across the bottomless ether, snows whirled in at her back. Suddenly, he was back upon Contruum, under the peak of the Blade. Blood was sloughing off his frame. They were fighting once more. His heart would tighten so hard it felt like a durasteel cork ready to explode. It was wrong... They were both wrong... Her for what she did to Nat, and he for ever coming back...

Someone's heel dug into his spine. Seroth jolted, grunting. It pounded again and nearly threw him off the bedside. He knew Rosa stole the blankets, yet that was a touch harsh. The lad sat up, rubbed his rib, and looked over. ...She was seething with clenched teeth. Her knuckles were iron-white, clenching to a pillow. His dull Sensitivity didn't allow him much Empathy. But he'd be the dumbed fool to not realize his fiance's distress. Rough hands touched her bare shoulder, to try and shake. That elicited a bare groan. He tried to catch her from falling off the stuffed, downy mattress but could only slow her descent.

He could hear her trying to gain control over a throaty cry in her voice. Seroth said nothing, but slipped in behind. Long, corded arms wrapped tightly over her squeezing belly. Soon, the bedroom silence melted to gentle hums as her beau tried to soothe her. His lips stole over her nape and behind her ear, mumbling a simple limerick.

"Shhh, shhhh.... I want to fall to sleep with you,
and I could care less
whether it is in
layers upon layers
of clothing
or only our skin–
all I really want is to wake up
not knowing
where I end and you begin.
"

@[member="Rosa Mazhar"]
 

Rosa Gunn

Character
Character
Even with his embrace and the soft murmurings of a limerick in her ear, Rosa struggled to pull herself from the dream. She wasn't sure how long they stayed on the floor for, only that her diaphragm ached, and her throat was dry by the time they found their way back onto the bed. Resting her head on his chest she hiccuped slightly as she tried to find words to explain what she had seen.. She could feel the anguish beyond their sanctuary, her own walls shattered by the shock of her dream. Trembling slightly in his arms, Rosa tried to speak.

"I'm sorry," she whispered "I didn't mean to wake you." Brown eyes stared into the darkness around them as the dream flashed before her eyes again, unable to comprehend the hatred in Spencer's yellowed eyes as she had rushed to kill her. Her hand found the obsidian necklace that rested upon Seroth's chest. She stroked it, its smooth edges and the gentle ryhthm of his heart calming her nerves somewhat. "Something has changed, my love, and I'm afraid that we cannot avoid it forever. War is getting dangerously close to this little sanctuary of ours."

@[member="Seroth Ur-Rahn"]
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
Teth was a small sanctuary world; girdled with temperate flora and a constant mug of heat, save for the short rainy season. It'd been picked as their lodge for its relative remoteness. It was considerable only in terms of ecology. Perhaps it swam in mineral deposits, or held untapped gas pockets and lightless lakes of squirming oil. They didn't quite know, and preferred to remain so ignorant. Teth's integrity required virtual quiet, and discreet communication. The Silent Conclave was founded on the principles of subtlety, neutrality, and an agreeance to not forsake their small fellowship. At first there was a goodly dozen. Now, it seemed only himself, Rosa his beau, Jaxton and his own little one, Kida, and Thurion ever answered calls to action. Qae Shena had vanished. With him a crucial ten percent Silk Holdings share that allowed them some autonomy. Seroth was busier than ever, plying work in the Outer Rim and beyond. A monster slayer for hire.

"Wakefulness always comes," Seroth reassured her. His lips drew up her cheek, smiling. "Don't worry..."

Yet, his ribs twinged. His conscience aching cold, he settled close and rested his chin over her shoulder crook. "I think your prediction is already our reality. Every second world in the Unknown Regions bears up flags signifying these Fringe Lords... The Protectorate's floundering, as the CIS attempts to shore up midst their own crisis' of leadership... Our 'Republic' is governed by madness, with a mad woman at the Order's helm. ...We're virtual criminals. And I wonder if Teth is still as private as it once was. Night skies, I look up and think 'Who may be watching?' We're what? Four adults and a child... We may have to leave..."

@Rosa Mazhar
 

Rosa Gunn

Character
Character
"I'll be damned if I'm leaving Teth for the gluttony of others." There was fire behind her words, but in reality, they both knew that if war landed on their doorstep, four adults and a child would be powerless to stop it. Their options were limited. All of it left a bad taste in her mouth and the pain in her head throbbed harder. Slipping from Seoth's grip she rose from the bed, slipping a short nightdress on over her slender form, bare feet padding towards the moonlit terrace. Her hands rested on the smooth stone railing and she stared unseeing into the forest.

Do something!

Allana's voice echoed in her mind. "I cannot sit here and wait, Seroth. Four adults and a child we may be, but we can do something. Our borders need protecting and we can't do it alone. We agreed never to take sides, but one way or another the war will force us to make a stand next to someone. Better that we chose that someone before the choice is forced upon us." She frowned turning to the stars once more. The could lose their ideals if they did not chose carefully and none of them could make the choice alone, it would need to be done as a group.

You're ignoring the matter at hand...

She closed her eyes. If Spencer was out of balance the fault lay with only one person, the person she had been driven too by Darron. Even if Rosa went to Spencer, she would be powerless against the former Empress. She did not voice this though, she knew Seroth's view on Ashin the conversation would be a pointless one getting her no further.

@[member="Seroth Ur-Rahn"]
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
Political realities were a bane. Seroth stilled from snorting on the prospect; his eyes were engaged by the drafts of lunar beams sloping down Rosa's back. He tried to keep his countenance from depending on pure physical frivolities, but the woman was beautiful. He told her so. Night through day, as he promised, 'till she grew sick of it and asked that he call her 'ugly'. But he'd never. The lad glanced, looked over callouses scarred white on his knuckles. Rosa's words were iron. He wouldn't be surprised if she bled steel. They socked him below his sternum and forced his faculties to take up consideration.

Standing, he stayed dressed in his skin and sidled in beside her. The terrace quaked gently by the passing of midnight breezes. Teth was awake though: the whole of the forestry was alive with nightsong. Avian's chirped, small mammals trilled and opened up throttling groans. Something roared, bringing about deft silence. A verdant, black canopy swayed to and fro before them.

"...Captain Merril?" The lad voiced. Grey eyes sparked. "He might lend some aid. We wouldn't have weathered that stunt on Yalara as well as we did without him. ...Let's consider."

His eyes swept right and regarded the jungle. "The Republic's a difficult mire. The Senate's in bed with armed forces, not to mention not above the use of hired gunners. If we took a plight to the legal process, there's a chance we'd wake up the Jedi Order. And I haven't heard a single good thing regarded Halcyon, or that lackey, Apparine. They just need one excuse, no matter how propped up, to initiate a witch hunt. We can't throw our dependence on the Protectorate either. They've enough clout and ego to demand almost anything for their time and effort. They're not in the business of improving the peace: a mercenary conglomerate only profits when there's noise, not silence.

"...Perhaps the only one's that could give us the time of day would be the Fringe Lords," Seroth murmured. "What would they have to lose? But that is so damn dangerous..."

@[member="Rosa Mazhar"]
 

Rosa Gunn

Character
Character
Rosa's eyes snapped open at the mention of the Fringe. They had flown with Ashin before as part of the Vagrant fleet, but that was not a group intent on war, that was a group that wanted to remain hidden, wanted to avoid the battle between the great factions. Ashin drew trouble towards her, she had been the Empress because she desired power and control, to rely on her would place them under their control. "No." she said firmly. "Had Spencer been in balance, been in control perhaps. But she isn't. She's falling into darkness...I can feel it. Allana..." she stopped at the mention of her daughter. Had she ever told Seroth that her child would have been a girl, let alone what she would have called her?

She turned away from him again, glistening eyes fixing on the forest as she pushed her distress away, blinking against tears. "We should speak to Jaxton in the morning, see what he thinks. Jorus would help us, but his alliance can't protect us."

@[member="Seroth Ur-Rahn"]
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
Seroth gnawed his jaw to speak, but chose the quiet instead. Heady and terrifying clouds were keeping up storms behind Rosa's eyes. Much as he wished to know, the lad bade his patience. Something was bubbling there. Either Rosa would speak of it, cap the emotional well, or find someone more able to dependably aid in her soulful hurtles. Her beau strolled close behind and hugged her torso in close. Together, they stilled and listened to the wind bicker over the terrace. All they had to their names were just moonlight and memories. Seroth murmured into her ear. He recalled their time on Spira, falling in love during mid-summer storms. They'd go back again, soon, he promised.

"Let's sleep on it," He said. Rough hands guided her back to the bed.

Seroth paused, then motioned for Rosa to lay down. Hold to a pillow, he instructed, run through a few slow breathing exercises. Her spirit was toxic with stress. As she did as he bid, her lad grunted and settled beside her on his knees. Young hands that felt far too old found her back in the shadow. He saw her in plain, almost excruciating detail. A sloped back taut with beautiful musculature, bone sculpted to compliment her tanned skin. Humming again in little trail songs, hard knuckles wove into her hips to twist and rock about. Seroth elected to ignore the hisses and sharp groans. Initial discomfort would pass. And it did~ For an hour, he laboured over her skin, taking a turn over each collection of muscle and cartilage. He was just finishing a deep rub to the back of her calves when he listened to her deepening breaths. The lad just smiled, turned and blew out an oil wick he'd lit. Together, he blanketed them and slowly drifted into a dreamless slumber. Moonlight glinted off the steel of his axe, glowing in compliment upon the lightsaber that rested nearby.

@[member="Rosa Mazhar"]
 

Rosa Gunn

Character
Character
Despite the relaxed state in which she had drifted into sleep, Rosa's dreams were still dark and full of fire and pain. She lay awake an hour before dawn, listening to Seroth's own sleeping breaths. Neither of them truly slept well, their past would forever haunt them, no matter how often they sought to find peace. It was such shadows that drew them closer, that bid them to lean upon one another, draw on the love that they bore to remain whole and sane. As the light of the dawn crept through the terrace doors and inched its way to the bed, restlessness became insufferable and Rosa was loathed to spend it alone.

Sliding atop Seroth she she covered his face with light kisses, her soft hands interlocking with his calloused paws, pinning them above his head. As he tried to speak she stopped him with a kiss a storm rising between them. The halls of the Silent Temple were no longer silent, even as she rolled away from him others were beginning to stir. She lay for a moment, breathless at his side enjoying the few minutes of blissfulness as best she could. Dreams and midnight talks would not allow her to remain so for long however. Kissing him once more she rose from the bed and disappeared into the sanitizer, the water and moment of solitude allowed her to order her thoughts and she emerged with a determined look on her face, a towel wrapped about her.


She perched for a moment on the end of the bed. "Why do I feel like I'm facing the whole galaxy today?" she mused aloud.

@[member="Seroth Ur-Rahn"]
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
"Mayhap we are..." He murmured from the bed.

Her lad hadn't stirred from his spot upon the mattress. Sheets had fallen away to denude his frame, and he did little to maintain his modesty. Seroth was gently snoozing still. Sweat was cooling on his glistening flesh. He pretended not to feel eyes strobe over his blessings. Rosa had left him reddened with exertion, from brow to toe, and was only just beginning to suggest to his sore limbs that they try and raise up. Quilts spun from silver-worm threads, gilded with faux-gold and beads of precious ivory stones, splayed aside as he wrestled to his haunches. Legs swung over and he sat to be beside Rosa as she contemplated her action course.

"You should have told me you needed that sort of 'exorcism'," Came his tease.

"The Conclave operates in that we have virtual anonymity," Seroth went on, kneading into her thigh, eyes close, quiet. "We're not for profit, our financial accounts can't be weighed against us. We avoid political ties, so we can't be chained by strawman accusations or worry what our associations may be up to. We work for the refugee, the disenfranchised, entire legions of folk who don't have the luxury to go home. But we need resources... Qae's gone and he took our single source of reliable income with him.

"...Not to mention we still have Stygium locked up in the hangers below," He said. Grey eyes clouded. Her lad sighed and rubbed at his scruff. "It's getting harder to slip between flagged space. Perhaps our first step is to make sure we stay as our namesake. Upgrade our vessels for clandestine voyages, see about procuring funds so that we can afford unexpected expenses. ...Leave out feelers, see if there's anyone who's as dogged by the current status quo as we are."

@[member="Rosa Mazhar"]
 

Rosa Gunn

Character
Character
The tease brought a smile to her lips and she pushed him gently with her shoulder in response. She listened, her brow crinkled in thought, to his suggestions. A soft sigh slipped form her lips. "We have every chance to leave feelers with the battles. Its time we got involved, offered our help to the civilians. We will hear peoples opinions soon enough after that. We can't do that without resources and I'd rather not fly into a warzone when everyone can see me coming." She chewed on the inside of her cheek in thought, before rising and getting dressed, speaking as she did.

"We need a new ship, and we have neither the money nor the resources to build it. We have stygium, buts that's no good without a hull. So resources first. You and I both know the person we need to speak to for help with that, but its going to require negotiation and payback." Their first step was to see Jorus, perhaps they could make a deal with him, something that didn't go against their morals. Spencer flickered before her vision again and she sighed, pausing in her movement. No secrets should be kept in a relationship. She had been grateful that Seroth had not pried last night, but it was unfair to hide things for him. With loose pants on and a tank top in her hand she sat down on the bed.

"I need to go to the fringe." she began. She told him of her dream, of Allana, of Spencer's appearance her voice taught with emotion she held at bay. "I'm afraid of what I will find."

@[member="Seroth Ur-Rahn"]
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
She told him over what had troubled her nightly rest just a few hours prior. Seroth stilled, turning away to dress though his senses felt pricked. He could imagine it: images in shivering light, just shades of people that briefly, horribly, coalesced into detail. Allana... An unborn daughter from a peccant romance. What was her place in the visions? She was a ghost tied down at anchor by Roche. That damnable, clouded strife. The lad kept from mentioning those days, with the long night that followed close in the bloodied tide. Rosa fell away, stricken, bleeding but in a manner no one could perceive but herself. He preferred reminding that one day they shared, dining tenderly in a gruff bar. A hand fell to her shoulder and squeezed with comforting strength.

"She's certainly not in a way to do us favors," Seroth sighed. "But if we're fortunate, she's only clouded by her soul, not her faculties. She won't bring harm. Doubt, maybe. Cool words meant to cut to the marrow. But that's it, so I hope. ...There's one thing to keep her leashed.

"Ashin. Her General," Grey eyes stilled to reflect like pools of liquid steel. "Because she knows better."

Seroth rose, tightening on a harness belt. In slid Seydakin and Hunstman, the weaponry gifts inherited from his mother's sundered grasp. He paused, looked down his arm with troubled glimmers. "...Are you certain you'd not prefer some company?"

@[member="Rosa Mazhar"]
 

Rosa Gunn

Character
Character
Rosa pondered for a moment, considering the offer of company. She would feel safer with him at her side, if things turned nasty she cold not handle both of them alone. In truth, when it came down to it, she was unlikely to be able to hold one of them alone. She looked up seeing the concern in his eyes. "Company would be appreciated." she replied softly, putting his worries at rest. Rising she moved to the door "Ashin may have controlled her somewhat before, but if she's turning, her control may not be as it once was. That scares me more than anything, Spencer is more powerful than people realize...than she realizes."

She gave him a sad smile. "I'm going to call Jorus. We need to make headway on solving our own problems before we look at solving others." Bare feet carried her away from their chambers and down the large halls to a communication room. After Yalara, the Captain had entrusted them with easy contact details. Standing, with her arms clasped behind her back once she'd dialed, she waited for him to appear. Offering him a small smile as the blue tinted form appeared before her.

"Captain." she greeted with a small bow of her head.

@[member="Seroth Ur-Rahn"] @[member="Jorus Merrill"]
 

Jorus Merrill

is mek bote
Character
Businessperson, vigilante, inventor, wanted man -- when, Jorus reflected, had he become Mynockman?

It was in related cogitations that he was interrupted by a most interesting comm number. He powered down his design table and spun the chair toward the HoloNet connection.

"Call me Jorus, Rosa. You saved my life at Roon; don't think I've forgotten it." His eyes flicked over her shoulder. "You and Seroth finally calling about that stygium like I asked?"

He sent a file with a swirl of his fingers. "Something I've been meaning to get to you both. That there's the recipe for whatever you intend to do with those crystals. Basic how-to won't do it for this tech, but that's a shopping list, and I've got enough boltholes and drydocks to make it happen however you want."

The shopping list was pretty simple. Stygium armature, the crystals having been secured at Yalara. Gravitic modulator. Thrust trace dampers. TibannaX, from Fringe space at Taloraan or OP space at Bespin.

"A lot of that is pretty fething expensive, but my credit's good for it. You saved my life and let me save my wife's, so anything you want, I'll foot the bill. So what is it you need?"
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
Betrothed glanced to betrothed, stepping back to weigh in a few private whispers. Seroth seemed reluctant to converse. Rosa's impolite tweak to his neck and soft shove on his shoulder pressed him forward. Coughing softly, adjusting his chest-harness, he spoke up.

"Just, what experience you can afford to divvy up for this construction," Seroth was scrolling swift along the compiled dallies. "We're not much as shipwrights. 'Least I'll admit. You've schematic resources and engineers I'm sure that can compile something that can thwart any impolite sensoria. ...The Conclave's not welcome past anywhere beyond Wild Space. If you can hammer something together that will keep us out of unfriendly reaches, we'd be heavily grateful...

"...And we need friends," He said. "Our refugee efforts are threadbare. We just barely manage to handle our own upkeep. Given the state of affairs across the eastern and western fronts, there's a need for parties not in it for war spoils. We're not looking to fan flames. Just scurry who we can out of the way. ...Maybe even reply with some 'rebukes', if we can afford to be so bold. D'you know of any ways to tap in against information pools? Anyone who can help supply equipment clandestinely? Paper trails may lead to the Republic, to Grandmaster Halcyon. ...A witch hunt will burn everything we're trying to save."

@[member="Jorus Merrill"] @[member="Rosa Mazhar"]
 

Jorus Merrill

is mek bote
Character
Jorus's eyebrows rose. "Impolite sensoria, eh? Shouldst thou wish to thwart all such villainous lookers-on, by my troth thou'rt ambitious to pray boon of he who gaveth thee what thou needest. And yet, as I find thou hast received but half a gift, that my repayment of my debt may find surcease and summation, to thee I give this voucher, that such expertise as thou requirest may be thine in due course."

He sent along access codes for a private shipbuilding facility in deep space, on the Mara Corridor. Its design team and technical crew would give them anything they needed, up to and including a custom design from the lines up.
 

Rosa Gunn

Character
Character
Rosa let out a snort of laughter at Jorus's reply to Seroth, and hastily turned it to a cough, though Seroth would know. She slid up beside him and slid her hand into his, fighting the urge to laugh, a wide smile on her face she took care to avoid Seroth's eye. she was so used to his polite manner, she had forgotten that Jorus was a man of plain speaking. She could have hung back, and let her betrothed endure more mockery but She hadn't the heart. "We appreciate your help, Jorus." she said with a wink at him, eyes briefly scanning the information he had sent.

She gave a glance to Seroth, a moment to pause for thought. "We'll head for Taloraan for Tibanna, other matters are drawing us to Fringe space anyway. I don't suppose you could shed some light on the state of our old friends could you? I would hate to go in blind."

@Jorus Merril @[member="Seroth Ur-Rahn"]
 

Jorus Merrill

is mek bote
Character
@[member="Rosa Mazhar"]

"I took a swing at the TibannaX facility on Taloraan. It's about a hundred klicks from the big port, free-floating, heavily secured. You'll need to sneak in, no question about it. They've got plenty of fire in geosynch orbit, and good sensors. I'd recommend hitching a ride somehow in, or on, an empty transport from the port to the facility."
 

Rosa Gunn

Character
Character
Rosa let out a sigh. This was not going to be pretty, bad enough she was prepared to face Ashin and Spencer to see just how far her former master had fallen, but she was going to steal from them too. "Sounds like a piece of cake," she said sarcastically "You can drive." she told Seroth with a smirk "Thanks for the intel, Jorus. We'll be in touch in a week or two," she gave half a shrug "Provided we get out alive. I'm planning to poke a dragon in the eye while we're there so it might not be likely."
 

Seydon

Raquor'daan
Writer
"One of these occasions," Seroth murmured as he stripped down a holo-board switch. Jorus' bust shivered, dispersed into a thousand motes of blue-white pixies before fading. "You're going to have to get the Golden Rose a little dirty."

That would be a trip doubtless years in the making. The Golden Rose had been commissioned for long term void sojourns, more luxury vessel than warship. If and when Rosa could be given a guarantee, that little or no external damages would be inflicted, then the Rose would see more operational action. For now it laid in dry-dock. It was due for moderate check-ups: installing a differing set of Navi-comp cards, improving attitude controlling with a single yoke, cleaning out CO2for and aft nozzles. Expenses that Seroth's paltry earnings in the Outer Rim just managed to umbrella. An alternative to beast slaying past backwater hovels was more lucrative mercenary work.

A charge that her beau refused with vehemence to ever undertake.

They returned to their quarters. Morning dew still glistened on the terrace handrails, gently massaged by early winds. It scented wet, earthy, smelling like the edge of earth just after a long rainfall. Beyond and across the water chasm, foliage rustled incessantly. Crisp leaves rubbed like cicada wings. The lad waited a moment to simply listen. Soon, every sensation would be replaced by the insulated throbs of engine-thrust and sensor blips. The only link to their nights of deep sweat and hard rainfall would be in Rosa's company. But then... He didn't mind just a hard blush~

He unzipped a duffel case, laying in his tools. Several weathered harnesses, a pair of las-lock pistols, a long vibrosword carried in a hardwood sheathe, one odd length of fire-hardened wroshyr shaped into a carbine stock and fitted with durasteel spikes, and of course his favoured axe and longblade. ...He paused. Rosa had noticed a childlike satisfaction sneak over his whiskers. Her lad coughed, brusquely zipping the case.

@[member="Rosa Mazhar"]
 
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