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How Things Have Changed

Hazel Zanteres

The Angel/Devil on your Shoulder
Coruscant - Before Shadow’s Fall

Hazel watched in amusement as she passed by a small family, the young child looking up at her with a wide-eyed fascination. The horns tended to have that effect on children, a naive innocence that resulted in them wanting to touch. Sometimes she indulged it, although the parent’s rarely approved. The tail was a whole other matter mainly because it was a lot more dangerous in comparison. Fortunately however, it was current hidden away, wrapped around her waist beneath the coat she was wearing.

It was a fleeting moment, and as the family moved on so did Hazel. The neighbourhood she was in was pretty damn nice, one could definitely understand why someone would want to settle here, even on a temporary basis. But more importantly, it was supposedly where [member="Irajah Ven"] and [member="Jairus Starvald"] had made their home.

Time had passed since the Coruscant First Charity Auction, and since then Hazel had left the planet and travelled around a bit. But she hadn’t forgotten her desire to find out what the hell had happened. From hearing of Irajah’s death on Dosuun, to seeing her on Bastion only to then sense her on Coruscant not long afterwards. At first Hazel had thought she had been mistaken, but she had compared both moments and something had felt off about the one on Bastion. So she did some digging, and eventually ended up finding information on a woman that matched Irajah’s description.

But what if she was about to knock on the door of a completely different person?

It would certainly fit Hazel’s luck, but her desire to know was too strong. She had initially intended to try and catch Irajah at her office, but ultimately decided against it. Primarily because she assumed having a strange horned woman showing up, asking for her specifically would’ve raised too many questions. Not like randomly showing up at her home was any better mind you.

Nonetheless, Hazel found herself walking through the complex and approaching the door of Ven & Starvald’s abode. She was very curious to see what had changed since their last meeting.

Taking a moment before, Hazel raised her hand and knocked.

Neri Rashal

Sometimes there was nothing to do except order take out once the twins were asleep, and cuddle up for a couple episodes of "Tatooine Traders" together. So when the knock sounded on the door, it wasn't really a surprise.

Raj checked the chrono as she unfurled from her spot beneath Jairus's arm.

"That was quick, that's a nice change," she commented.

Dropping a quick kiss she got up and padded over the lush carpet and toward the door.

"I hope they didn't mess it up like last time," she threw over her shoulder. "Ever since that Mon Cal family sold the place it hasn't been the same-"

Irajah opened the door.

And blinked.

"Hazel, dear." She said, a little nonplussed. "What in the world happened. Come in."

She didn't ask how she found them. Instead she ushered her inside, closing the door. This time, she threw the bolt however.

[member="Jairus Starvald"] [member="Hazel Zanteres"]

Jairus Starvald

[member="Irajah Ven"] | [member="Hazel Zanteres"]

They liked to communicate out loud.

Personal preference.

It made things feel more... real perhaps, but it wasn't exactly necessary in moments of need. The moment Irajah laid her eyes on Hazel, Jairus blinked and rose up from his seat. The sensation of the bolt clicking into place was met with a purring of approval at the back of her mind. They had to be careful. The little slice of peace they had crafted out here was something else.

Something good and Jai would protect that.

By the time that Raj led Hazel into the living room Carach was already leaning against the wall, his eyes bleeding amber as they studied the figure. Except that she was different now.

...horny (smirk) and there were consistent shifts in the way the balance of her walk went. As if there was more to her than met the eye, that she was hiding.

"Hazel, it has been... some time." His mind brushed Irajah's. "I see you have changed your hairstyle, I approve, it looks rather... exotic." The smirk was there now, but it did not quite reach his eyes. Neither was Carach talking about the hair, but that much was obvious to all of them in the room. There was a pause, a break, where they all mulled on the next beat in the moment.

"How can we help you?"

Hazel Zanteres

The Angel/Devil on your Shoulder
She heard the voice, muffled as it was but still recognizable. It was definitely Irajah, and it sounded like she was speaking to someone. Who had to be Carach, there was no doubt in her mind that it would be him.

The area where they lived just screamed the man's tastes.

Hazel couldn't help but let out a small chuckle after Irajah had opened the door, clearly not expecting her and the slight non-reaction was very her.

"I could say the same, Irajah." She offered the woman a smile, stepping on through the threshold and into the apartment. A slight pulse stretched out from her the moment she stepped inside. She picked up two beats, familiar and yet different - especially the one behind locking the door.

But then...another two, much smaller located in another room.


Hazel walked into the living room, following behind Irajah and immediately looked to Jairus the moment she saw him. The man's eyes were the same piercing amber they were at The Black Feather so long ago.

"That it has, Carach." She returned his smirk with one of her own. "Well thank you, I've had many say it was a bit of an extreme change."

She shuffled slightly, letting the silence sit before Jairus broke it.

"Well, I suppose I'm here to see how things are." Hazel turned her gaze to Irajah. "After all, the last I heard about you, was that you had died in an unfortunate fire incident."

[member="Irajah Ven"] | [member="Jairus Starvald"]​

Neri Rashal

Irajah shifted the Force, both brushing against Jairus and Hazel- the former more firmly and the later lightly, subtle. The changes in the sheer biology, not merely of Hazel herself but in what was missing- the sickness that had been slowly killing her- was dramatic.

"Mmm, well, the first part of that is true, the second largely exaggerated." A beat. "There was a fire, however. So I suppose in that it is accurate. The 'accident' part and 'died in the fire' part are false. It was very, very deliberate and rather messier than that."

She watched the other woman, nonplussed for a moment.

"Please sit," she finally said, gesturing to one of the white couches. "I'll get us wine, yes?"

Her mind brushed down and through the shared connection with Jairus. She could feel the slow coil of the dragon, just as he would feel the sharp tapping of the shrike's beak. Then she was gone, disappearing into the kitchen for a moment.

She didn't answer your question, love.

[member="Jairus Starvald"] [member="Hazel Zanteres"]

Jairus Starvald

[member="Hazel Zanteres"] | [member="Irajah Ven"]

The coiling was followed by a heavy rumble in the distance as Jairus shared his displeasure with the situation.

It shouldn't have been a surprise to him.

From the moment they decided to step back out there in the Galaxy and become active again it was clear that their past would come looking for them. One way or another, it was inevitable, but for it to happen so soon? So close to their home? Their little family being fostered here? It made the spot between his shoulder blades itch and made him want to do something... unwise.

The thought crossed his mind to kill Hazel, make her body disappear and then make all of them disappear soon after.


"The vintage 57 will be good for this, I think." Jairus said over his shoulder as Raj left for the kitchen and left them relatively alone for the moment. "You did not answer my question, Hazel." Jai calmly pointed out as Raj pointed it out for him.

In his experience there was never a situation where someone didn't want something.

The question was what Hazel wanted right now.

Hazel Zanteres

The Angel/Devil on your Shoulder
Hazel had felt the subtle brush through the Force. She didn't question the why, but was instead more intrigued by the fact Irajah had a proficiency with the Force. That was definitely new, as far as Hazel could remember anyway.

"So, it was cover up?" She had more questions immediately at the tip of her tongue, but pulled them back and swallowed. Plenty of time had passed since then, and she felt there wasn't a point to dig things back up.

"Thank you, wine would be lovely." Hazel walked over to one of the couches, fingers at her coat slowly unbuttoning it. She did pause for a moment, feeling a flicker of tension in the room. Hazel glanced over at Jairus, but the moment was going before she could even blink.

It still made her tail twitch beneath its confines.

She pulled her coat off, revealing that her choice of clothing hadn't really changed. Shirt, trousers, that kind of thing. Although it was obvious that she wasn't 'hiding' anymore, no collar to conceal her neck, no scars to be hidden away. What was probably the most glaring, was the odd belt that was looped around her waist.

"Oh?" The slightest tilt of her head as she looked at Jairus. "I thought I had." Hazel draped her coat over the back, before taking a seat on the couch "Seriously, I came here to see how things are. I was present at a charity auction a while back, sensed Irajah's presence before I ended up leaving. I got curious, especially given the last I heard she had died."

Completely omitting the fact that it was the second time she had found 'Irajah' alive and well.

[member="Irajah Ven"] | [member="Jairus Starvald"]​

Neri Rashal

Irajah could easily hear everything from the kitchen as she got out a bottle of wine. Impressions flowed freely between her and Jairus, wordless discussions as easy, and in some ways easier, than verbal interactions.

I don't know if being murdered by someone I called a friend or attempted murder by a past lover has made me paranoid or if it's living with you, she joked at him.

All of the above? Came his reply and she chuckled.

The dark haired woman had changed much since the days when the three of them had so casually enjoyed each other's company. In some ways she was very much the same, yes. But the particular changes that had been wrought by events had left her suspicious of those who had not yet actively proved that they could be trusted. And the bar for trust had been raised dramatically.

And right now, Hazel's sudden appearance at their door, especially when they thought they had hidden well enough, was deeply suspect.

Irajah returned a minute later, a trio of glasses and the bottle held easily in two hands. She didn't open the bottle until she had gotten there- a sign that nothing had been added to the bottle, and offered all three glasses to Hazel for her to pick one herself.

"It was a cover up, yes," she responded, sitting down beside Jairus and pouring the wine. "The short version is that the Ren wished to recruit me. I declined. Then they threw a tantrum and decided they would break their toy rather than let anyone else play with it."

That was one way to describe what had happened, yes. It also said much about Irajah's opinion of the Ren as literal children.

"That is, however, not common knowledge. And even less common is the knowledge that I am still alive," she said, leveling her gaze at the other woman. "So you can understand the concern at having people randomly showing up at our door."

She didn't know if the Ren or the Zambranos would care that she was alive. But she wanted to keep that secret for as long as she was able. There were plans that depended on it.

And of course there was the safety of the twins. Even more important than the first was that.

[member="Hazel Zanteres"] [member="Jairus Starvald"]

Jairus Starvald

[member="Hazel Zanteres"] | [member="Irajah Ven"]

Still hasn't strictly answered the question. Jairus mused softly towards Raj as he shifted slightly, leg crossing his other leg, where his knee would lazily touch Raj's. It was simply one of those... things. Proximity bred attraction and whenever they were close it seemed almost as natural as breathing to close that gap in at least a small way. He could feel the serpent's tail moving, curling around until the tip touched the flick of the shrike.

It felt good.


He sipped from his wine as the two sparred, before interjecting himself. "Understand, Hazel, while we had pleasant moments... Raj and me created something here. A place distant and far from our old lives."

This suggested that they were out of the game.

Untrue, of course, one only had to look at his burning eyes and the presence that filled the room with every breath he took. Almost as if the burned dragon in his skin was coiled up around him in the room itself. Its heart beating and sending pulses through the immediate surroundings. it was... quiet now, but something would tell Hazel that it was barely restrained.

"Do not force me to wake." Gaze level and all of a sudden the pleasantries were gone, instead what was left was the gaze of the ancient. "I will be cross."

Not a threat.

A warning of a possible reality depending on choices made.

Hazel Zanteres

The Angel/Devil on your Shoulder
"Ah, I see."

She thought back on her only real interaction with the Ren, back when they had literally landed on the doorstep of the Sacred Lotus. That little event had been something else entirely, but it did highlight their numbers had been...diverse in their personalities.

The suggestion of them being like children made Hazel pause, a glimmer of memory; seeing someone rather short amongst the brooding force users.

But she discarded the thought. Too much time had passed, and her memories of that time were hazy at best.

"Of course, totally understandable." Hazel took one of the glasses, waiting as Irajah went about pouring the wine. "I had initially thought to try and catch you at your office, but I felt having a Hapan with horns come wandering in - it would've drawn unwarranted attention."

Her attention immediately shifted when Jairus spoke, the sudden shift in his tone alerting her. She understood, but was also amused. They had hid away, creating a little family life of their own at the heart of the Galactic Alliance. Both the last and first place you'd expect Sith to choose.

At least, she assumed they were.

She had a deeper connection to the Force now, and it had opened her eyes. Clouded by the Light, set free by the Dark. Hazel could sense it from Jairus, like a beating heart, or a simmering dragon ready to burn her.

Oh, Hazel was ever so tempted to poke it. Just to see what it would happen, to see how a powerful life like that tasted.

Curiosity killed the cathar. Or however the saying went.

But it was a moment thought, brushed aside in favour of sipping her wine. Hazel stared at Jairus, raising her free hand up in a gesture of peace.

"I've come with no ill will, just questions." That was when she looked at Irajah, after another sip. "You don't happen to have a twin sister do you? Because I just so happened to see someone that looked exactly like you..." A pause, eyes shifting between the two. Something was there, they knew what she was on about before she finished. "...on Bastion."

[member="Irajah Ven"] | [member="Jairus Starvald"]​