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I Saw Her In A History Book (PM For Invite)

Darth Gyaumchem
The Lady Ahani Najwa had snuck in to the Annals of Echani Noble Houses by a swift uppercut and a puffy red lip. Little did the stars shine on her birth, little but the first-born daughter of a lesser Noble House with a history that went back far enough to be interesting. Tragic then, that Ahani's father was draped in Crimson, her mother died from a duel, that at the age of seven she became the Matriarch of a Noble House, and that she caused the deaths of her entire House by age fifteen.

In a scramble to make up for the gaps in Ahani's son's history, heralds and historians burst into the records of Aiden Keth, Wodenstam's finest recorder and found scant else but 'the House Najwa was purged by the Crimson Guard for Treason to the Imperial Crown'. All dead, because teenaged Ahani had a baby and that baby was a Force Child. Not the most auspicious House to join in marriage to the Royal House of Xextos, nor the most noble genetics to be added to the Lineage of the Kae, but we Echani prize warfare and battle above all else, and maybe there's more to it than a collective of warriors whose spars were more like regimented dance routines than the vicious thunderstorms we have on record.

I would know, as Records Keeper of the Annals of Echani Noble Houses, I'm the one Ahani Najwa uppercut in the mouth getting in. She's sprawled on my office chair and for all intents looks like she's taking a nap. I'm not insane enough to think this is the legitimate Lady Ahani Najwa, who went missing nearly 800 years ago, but there's certainly a familial resemblance to that once near-extinct Lady and line.

"Yes, yes, yes, look at your books. Find me a family!" She yells, eyes still fixed shut, arm over her face. I sigh and pinch the bridge of my nose.

"The House Najwa was superceded by the Lady Dalia Najwa, sister of the Kae's Consort, Betrayer and Spymaster of the Republic." The woman's eyes flicker open, she sits up and I squirm. "Spywhat?"

"Spymaster, Ma'am. In the fourteenth year of Erryn Kae's reign, Lady Dalia Najwa was found to be a collaborator of the Betrayer Raien Keth and condemned to exile, her and her House. All collaborators were, those which didn't die in the streets."

"Read it!" The woman sits up, lips drawn thin and I'm beginning to believe in ghosts. "Yes Ma'am. 'Seven months after General Manu Kae went missing, Erryn Kae gave birth to her second-born and last child, a male child Lochan Indra, The Eye of Tears as he became known. Last of his Father, he was raised with the Heir Apparent and the Kae on Thyrsus. Erryn Kae took no further Consort in her chambers, instead choosing Manu Kae's battle brother and faithful Lieutenant Kavi Raste as General of the Kae's Guard and Commander of the Echani Fleets, with Admiral Cillian Savas. General Raste uncovered evidence of Lady Dalia Najwa's relations with the Betrayer Keth, and condemned her before the Throne. In her defence, the Lady Dalia survived four rounds with Erryn Kae, before shattering under the Kae's vehemence and integrity in battle. 'To my husband's sister I give the penalty of banishment. Never come back. You are dead to me, yet I will not repay Manu's love and Ahani's diligence with your slaughter.' Thus said Erryn Kae, Queen on Thyrsus and Xextos. . . . it goes on to Lochan Indra and Divya's campaigns, madame. I can tell you General Raste took personal attention in the Lady Dalia's exile. It was said there was no more bitter nor valiant force in the Land than the Kae's personal companion."

The woman slumps back in the seat, silver eyes lined with a dredge of red. Her lips quiver and her hands fall atop her face. "Dalia, oh you stupid girl, what've you done? I knew I should have killed Raste when I saw him. Course he'd figure it out. Iesu was there on Thyrsus. . . is there anything anywhere which tells of where Dalia went?"

I peer down at the book and shut it. "Give me time, I may have something." Who is this woman in my chair?
Darth Gyaumchem
My books and holorecordings are my life, often times I'm struck with the thought that it is a lonely vigil, one that none understood nor valued. It is in this capacity I stare at the woman leaned over in my chair. She's not thin enough for frailty, nor muscled enough for plenty, tall for a woman yet the Echani are strong. I was always sickly, too poor off for my compatriots, a dingy half-breed with little left but to keep the books my mother's people love so much. Ahani - for I don't know what else to call her - stands up and begins a mad pace of the room, her hands draping across holorecords and server drives.

"I . . ah. . . don't suppose you'd care for a bite to eat, Lady. . Lady…"

"Najwa. You may address me by my House." She smiles sadly, and I feel a pang in my ribcage - could it be that this ghost is yet living, yet begging for knowledge? I set down one book for another, cracking open the contents page and searching for the correct passage. "What. . . what did you grab?"

Her eyes narrow into slivers. "I. . . you asked for the History of Lady Dalia Najwa, Ma'am. This is where it ends." Both her hands lash out, striking me aside the face cheek for cheek. "Do you think me simple I will not recognize the House of Keth!?" she bellows, and I sit stock-still.

"This is where the history of Lady Dalia Najwa ends." Her wild pacing fills me with the pangs of a long contained fear. One day someone wouldn't like the histories as much as I. "Read it, then! Read it all!"

"In the Seventeenth Year of Erryn Kae's reign, to Wodenstam came a ship in distress. Aboard that ship, a single Echani woman splayed over the pilot's yoke. The Guardsmen of the House of Keth were first to record the last flight of the Lady Dalia, whose life was the only saved…"


"She wasn't dead. The Lady Dalia died ninety years later, in disgrace yes, but surrounded by those she considered family enough."

"She. . . my . . . my little girl died an old woman?" the woman before me lets loose a sob, the single in a conglomerate of their twins as Ahani - who else but Ahani or some mean disturbed mind? - crashed back into my seat. "The Lady Dalia was taken in by the House of Keth's bondsmen, it wasn't for some scant years anyone recognized her face as that of Ahani Najwa, martyr-wife of the Betrayer. The Lady Dalia took Echanar of a Keth House's Lieutenant. They had several children and she never left Wodenstam, not even to attend her niece's coronation. It says Dalia lost a leg in a duel in the last battle of the Betrayer Collaborants. After she fought for her survival, the House of Keth let her be. . . do you know none of this?"

She shakes her head in a long dismissal, I do feel for her, even if the woman did give me a bloody lip. "What happened to the House Najwa, then?"

"They're still on Wodenstam, part of House Keth. A few Keth left with @[member="Taiden Keth"] on his mission to aide the Army of Light, there were some Najwa with them, I believe. I can check if you like."

"No, no that's quite. . . what did you mean by Martyr-Wife?"

"That, my dear hefty hitting Echani, is another tale. More myth than truth, I believe but the tale reads well."

"Tell me." I reach around and grab another volume - this one a holo-record from Chandaar. The internal security system has long since gone off, the guards will come when I call but I haven't the heart. Other than being a nuisance to my dating face, the woman before me appears as a broken apparition, a collection of atomic particles which war and bask equally in the fertile insecurities within. She peeks across the green fielded plains, dare I warn her? Clanking on her hip a richly decorated tube, which in my ignorance looks less like a telescoping Echani staff and more like a lightsaber built for larger hands. Best not test her already loose temper.

"The Paladin, the Betrayer and the Martyr-Wife. This one's from Chandaar you know." I smile, offering her the use of my chair again as she stalks the room. "The Force, in its fickle wisdom bred two children of renown and great repute to the Echani People. One, destined to become father of the Royal Line, a doctor-General and austere man, another destined to betray all he loved, his people and his family. To one the role of Mother, to the other the role of Wife, the Martyr-Wife carried a burden far greater than men would expect, for in the Martyr-Wife the Force placed a passionate love, unrelenting. Broken and bold. . . let me speed this up. . . this part comes from the holo-recording of Erryn Kae. . . hold on, I can show you the recording!"

A holo projector with the redundant technology to handle an 800 year old transmission is a rarity indeed, one I hope for this Ahani's sake to be worth the potential trouble. "Get on with it, then! Show me." She says aloud.

Holly Isaac

Walking down the hallway back from her ship Aella chomped into an apple she had in her bag and winked at one of the Echani guards as she turned the corner. Opening the door to the record room she merrily waltzes in stopping dead in her tracks nearly dropping her apple.

"Oh hello! I didn't expect anybody else to be here!" she said smiling at @[member="Ahani Najwa-Keth"] "Mr. Record keeping guy, Sir... I found this one manuscript on my way here that I still have on my ship if you want I could bring it in. It seems it might be of interest to the Echani people, maybe for a few credits even." For once she didn't feel right asking for money but it had been a week since she was last paid much and her food budget alone was starting to be a problem.

"um, what happened to your face? Are you alright?!" she said in shock as she noticed the cracked and swollen lip.

"Oh! How rude of me, I'm Aella Cadeyrn, bounty huntress, merchant, generally whatever within reason, at your service!" she said with a slight bow toward @[member="Ahani Najwa-Keth"]. "Oh, and I do love your shoes! Where did you get them?!
Darth Gyaumchem
I freeze as the door opens and another woman comes in. This one I recognize, she's a darling when one gets by her mercenary ways, always does bring me some of the best bits and bobs of the literary universe. But I know her, and I know this Echani woman, this pretend-Ahani will see through the apple chomping female to the simple truth within: @[member="Aella Cadeyrn"] knows how to handle herself in a fight. She's a survivor.

As I watch Ahani's body fix in place, I see the coil to her muscles and the set to her bones. Knuckles bruised and set more times than bacta patches applied, parchment thin lines on her spine, peeking on the back of her neck, Ahani had seen battle. No Echani could deny this Najwa Imitator had seen her share of the dead. I grin at Aella, "Welcome! Welcome Aella yes, yes, yes! I have the budget for it today! This week has been delightfu-fface?"

My voice dries up as Ahani stalks toward the other woman. "Sp. . Special you said?" Ahani sniffs the air, a faint glimmer of ignorance in her eyes as she looks Aella over. Has she never seen an Eldorai before? "My face is fine! Improves the colour, a bit of Echani duelling is all. We dig the physical altercations." I laugh, giddy with the impending tension.

"That is the most gorgeous hair I have ever seen." Ahani speaks! I slump down in my now vacated chair, giggling and covering my face in a hand. "By the stars of Tiboreth how do you keep it that soft!?" Ahani whispers, a timid upturn to her thick, full lips. She snapped into a bow and salute, punching her fist to her chest, the solid salute of the militant Matron, soldier and mate. "Lady Ahani Najwa-Keth, Matron of House Najwa, mother to the Kae Consort. . . the shoes? I. . Thyrsus, I got them on Thyrsus. . A gift from my daughter in law some . . some time ago. . What service are you at? What does. . . what does that phrase mean?"

That this curious ghost should come to me, a half-breed with no House has shocked my mouth in an open pout. Her body had been all instinct, the courteous flinch of the honest announcement, Lady Ahani Najwa-Keth . . . Najwa-Keth. Who would take that name, lest they be in the most cautious of predicaments - the Martyr-Wife. "It's true. It's true." I hear my own voice and rub a knuckle over my lips. "Aella my dear, the woman we have before us was lost. Horribly, terribly lost. For centuries." No Echani's body lies. In the simplest act of introduction I have my proof of Ahani's sanity. Well, if not sanity honesty. My fingers feel along the datapad I've been holding. Erryn Kae's story paused to appear on the holoscreen.

"Would you care to join us in seeing her story?" I offer my hand to Aella, and suddenly I feel no fear but caution. Desperation acted upon by the Martyr-Wife to my small place in history. Oh to weave the tales she can tell.

Holly Isaac

@[member="Ahani Najwa-Keth"]
"if you say so…" she said to the historian.
Reaching up and touching her hair half absent minded a forlorn smile crossed her face as she remembered sitting on her father's lap looking at the photo album of him and her mother. "I got it from my mother" she said softly. "Thank you. Other then that I have a strict regiment of Argan oil after every wash. Leave it in after every wash. I've got some extra in my bag if you would like." she said reaching into her satchel and pulling it out to hand it to Ahani.

"I have always loved a good story, would you mind?" she asked Ahani as she took the historian's hand. "Business can wait." she said smiling, "I have a feeling I have a lot to learn from Lady Najwa here. Hey, Morty, I wonder if the scroll I found has anything to do with her story. I can tell that it has Echani background, but I wasn't able to translate enough of it to fully figure it out."
Darth Gyaumchem
"Arganoil. I would like to try this araganoil… I don't mind. Hearing it myself for the first time." Ahani puzzles around the word, constricted by it as another form of language. How awkward it must be to wake into another time, where all that's left of you is old tales and dusty data logs kept by a half-breed from Chandaar. I watch this curious flower and see the scales seep back into the milky coat until some horrid presence or touching subject brings her back to the forefront a warrior. I shiver. The Keth Wars are ever still a scourge on us, those that remember look at the House of Keth with a glimmer of painful deceit, those who have forgotten look upon the House of Keth with a decrepit sneer, but do not know why. "@[member="Aella Cadeyrn"], I look forward to seeing it. Wherever did you find such a relic, hmm?"

Sad business, but oh the things I could learn from this woman before me, oh the history in her bones! To spar her once would shift my views and change books forever. The image is ancient for its natural age and the age of the woman within it - the Elder Kae, Erryn Kae the Rejuvenant, the Lost Child who with her many Echani Children made the trek back to a purity of being and fought back the vicious black.

"The Paladin, the Betrayer and the Martyr-Wife begins not with the battles of a Paladin or the intrigue of the Betrayer, but with a girl born in the Emperor's rule. At seven she watched her mother die, at fifteen she fled the impending Crimson with the Force's gift hidden in her arms. It was not the Paladin Child she carried at her breast which the Force gave as her gift, but to the girl was given resilience, the ability to outlast and love. The Paladin grew in his mother's bastion safe from all array, until it was time for him to cast off among Fate's stars. Treachery bore her, the promises of a shattered man kept her captive and in the dankness of the caves below Kashyyk, the Martyr learned pain. She learned pain until she was filled with it, damaged and maimed by it, consumed in the torturous plots of the Betrayer, whose only wish was to break her, to demand she crack and falter. To watch her shatter and fall, as he had done.

But he was deceived by his wicked pain, and the Martyr laid alone. Her husband dead, her son deserted she laid in the wicked pain and wrapped her arms round it. She curled it to her and patched it with her longing for the sun. The Betrayer discovered passion in her arms, he discovered another way but pain, another way but anger in the slip of her cheek against his shoulder and healing sprouted in our most wicked of enemies. She would redeem him, she would redeem us all. She, to whom the Force gave resilience. Taken to him the healing began and the Martyr married her captor, feeding him forgiveness. The hour had passed, she thought, for her own salvation. The Martyr-Wife came to me, in her insanity she felt the laminanium in her spine and twisted around the evil besetting us like a carno-vine. She strangled the poison out drip by drip, but it wasn't enough.

She returned to the Betrayer to save me and my unborn child. For her family and for all Echani, she drew the poison out of him and when it wasn't enough she minimized the damage. It did indeed shatter her. The Martyr-Wife went mad, kidnapped daughters, but kept them alive. Tried to tame him and she was succeeding, but it wasn't enough. The Betrayer had poisoned the Paladin and in his hubris the Paladin took the task as his own. My silver star began to caterwaul from the heavens, taking the poison in his heart. Not long, he feared, until he too became the Betrayer. In my ignorance I heeded not the Martyr-Wife's warning, to hold fast and love my husband, to cling to his heart and draw the poison as she had done. Long the Paladin battled the Betrayer and long they became one and the other mirrors and doppelgängers. Still, the Martyr-Wife fixed herself to her task: she would mend them, she would save them, she would bring her family home. She left her infant's cradle in the arms of the Paladin's daughter and rode for the Hidden Place.

Yet it was not to be. Into the face of Death she shouted, 'Do not take them! You must not take them! Leave my loved ones to me!'" The hologram of Erryn beat her chest, thrashing her body in that secret way of the Echani to speak of the unendurable pain suffered and the loss felt. She battled the impending whisper of Death, who chased her every frail breath. "You shouted and the Force heard you, and the Force loved you as you have loved, and cast the Paladin and the Betrayer into your eternal arms. Never to wake until that task was done, the task of the Martyr-Wife to absolve and cleanse all sins."

Smiling down at the holoprojector, the esper of Erryn Kae reached her hands forward. "One day you will open your eyes and all you knew will be gone, your infant son will be the progenitor of a new race, loved as only Chiara could love, as his father's sin carried us to hate. I absolve you, Ahani. Foolish, dreaming woman who loved too much the monster of our nightmares. You taught me no sin is large enough that grace cannot heal it. No marring act of violence and hate is too wicked to deny forgiveness where genuine intent is there to change. I absolve you and I love you. Be forgiven, take the act of Krystallsøvn as the fires of your forgiveness and live now as none other has lived in freedom. When you awake, do so with open eyes that you may absolve the Betrayer and cleanse your Paladin son. Give my love to my husband, locked with you in stone there where I cannot follow. Carry us with you not as a weight but as memory made sweet, as my light dims from this plane, I prepare to enter the Force Manu loved so much."

There Ahani sat on the floor, arms round her knees. Her face was transfixed on the image of her long-dead daughter-in-law and craters of tears ran freely down her face. I don't know quite what to say, this apparition effected her more than I intended. It's been ages since I've watched the recording, usually relying on the written version which has far less of a personal message. I suddenly feel as if I have become the Great Voyeur, peering at history like a poorly equipped man through the blinds. I smile at Aella and push my fingers together. "You said …"

"Erryn said this?" Ahani whispers, and the room once more turns into a cavern of silence.

Holly Isaac

@[member="Ahani Najwa-Keth"]

"Oh, you can have this bottle! I have more on my ship. Be sure to use it sparingly, you don't want it to make your hair greasy." She said to Ahani.

"I found this scroll on Chandar when I was there collecting a bounty."

Sitting quietly through Eryn's speech Aella began to wonder if this was the Eryn who was married to the large Echani man she had heard of named Manu. Her friend Aditya had become affiliated with him in some capacity. Could this be his mother? Was he the paladin they spoke of?

"Wha... Who... The Paladin... What was his name? Are you..." Aella stuttered.
Darth Gyaumchem
"Spa-" I move my hands and the lady understands, grasping at language as children at straws. She takes the bottle and holds it to her stomach, as if it had become a precious relic. I wonder, how much as the Lady Najwa owned in her years of post-life? "Thank you, that means thank you." I translate for the turn of Ahani's head, the glint in her eyes. @[member="Aella Cadeyrn"] is sweet, but no Echani. She may only understand flickers of meaning in our timid and war-like gestures.

"Ah, Chandaar! How is my home, Aella? Have the Sith burned it down yet?"

Ahani looks puzzled, I smirk and dust off my hands after putting the Holocron away. "Chandaar is in Sith space, surrounded by evil but we hold firm. . . did you perchance read the scroll, my dear?" Ahani's quiet continued to fall upon us like the dawn's mist, nurturing yet fleeting in the impending bother of the day. She sat back down on the desk and held the bottle, eyes glancing to the place where Erryn Kae had stood and furrowed her brow and beat her chest in the hopes that someday Ahani would see it. What a dream!

"The Paladin? Manu Kae, of course. Consort to Erryn Kae, Kae being the Regnal name. The title of Queen. The Kae Consorts were allowed to take the names of their wives, as all husbands in Echani culture were expected to do. Leave their House behind and join their wives'. Curious, Ma'am, that you call yourself Najwa-Keth." I busy with my books, stacking some away and the others flipping open to find more passages pertaining to this indecently rare turn of events.

"Xextos." Ahani whispers, "Manu went by Xextos a lot. If he woke up and knew Erryn was dead, he'd go by his married name. Manu Xextos. I only called my husband Raien Najwa when I was mad. He hated it, I was glad enough to let his name tag along on my own."

"Might have saved him a universe of trouble if he took your name instead." I harumph, "No offence, but your husband was almost as horrific a villain as Palpatine."

"And does that absolve me from my place within his infamy, scribe? What he's leaving out, Aella, is the fact I stayed right at Raien's side. Through all of it. He acted as a General acts, with a larger scale and the greater good in mind. Do you have family, Aella?"

Holly Isaac

@[member="Ahani Najwa-Keth"]

"I only had a chance to read a little bit. It was a bit out of my translating abilities... Shall I get it for you?" she said to the historian.

Aella's heart lept as she heard confirmation that indeed Manu was the Echani she hoped to eventually find, seeing as Aditya would probably be nearby and she longed to see a friend.

"My father... I haven't been able to see him since..." she trailed off, remembering the threat that was uttered to her before she killed an Angelii warrior. She couldn't go back, and her father was beyond his traveling years. Whenever she could she would send precious trinkets and little notes back to him, so he would know that she had not forgotten him. Oh how she longed to hear his voice, to be wrapped in his arms and breathe in the familiar scent of him. Daddy. She choked back some tears, normally masked by a tough yet feminine exterior.