CHRONICLES PRESENT, 13: In which Niselle’s apprentice visits Nalenne (I/II)
The slice-of-life and the media consumption just aren’t flowing for me lately. Have more crossovers instead!
Time period: After Andronikos Revel comes aboard the Helicarrier
In the interests of public safety, Quinn had secured a private room for Nalenne’s crew for their dinner on Nar Shaddaa. Pierce and Broonmark, upon hearing the news, decided to go elsewhere; Quinn, Andronikos, and the girls stayed to eat and chatter.
Andronikos took his drink and lounged against the wall where the entrance hallway let out into the room, which is why he was the first to notice the robed Kaleesh, a broad-shouldered alien who concealed his face behind a long bone mask.
“Xalek,” said Andronikos quietly, so as not to interrupt the room’s conversation. “Long time no see. What’s up?”
“I have come to serve my master by slaying her enemies.”
“Oh.” Andronikos grinned and shook his head. “Oh, no, you don’t want to do that here.”
Xalek moved aside and jerked a thumb over his shoulder as the huge Dashade called Khem Val came around the corner. “I do,” said the Kaleesh.
“Khem,” said Andronikos, “you know how this works.”
“Eeesh hacha dyna,” said Khem Val.
“Hey. I’m not Nis. You ever going to talk Basic?”
“Irrelevant,” said Xalek, and shoved Andronikos to the side.
“Hey,” said Andronikos, shoving right back.
Xalek added a Force push. He leaned his bone-masked face close to Andronikos. “By my lady’s will, you live. Stand aside.”
“You’ve really been working on the pretentiousness. Top marks,” said Andronikos as Xalek stalked past.
Khem Val rumbled some ambiguous acknowledgement of this statement.
Nalenne had caught the last of the exchange, and she pushed away from the dinner table and drew her saber as the two assassins entered. “Huh. That time of year already? We’re only missing Nis herself. And Talos, I guess.”
“And their Jedi,” said Quinn. His hand was on his blaster and he was gliding around the table to a spot from where he could easily step one way into cover or the other way into a prime speechifying position.
“That Togruta slave of hers is still alive?”
“Eees hai nawohl,” said Khem Val, nodding. “Tulak Hord vogashta.”
“I thought Nis would’ve fed Ashara to you ages ago. What else is she good for?”
Khem Val made an angry slashing gesture with one hand. “Roveshk. Cha Chabosh.”
Xalek, rather than participating in the conversation, extended a hand and let his double-bladed lightsaber flare dramatically to bright yellow life.
Khem Val put a heavy hand on the Kaleesh’s shoulder. “Eek yai. Vahashten Tulak Hord yevorrha. Reshtat.”
“Can’t I just stab her yet?” said Xalek resentfully.
“Vosh tai.” Khem pointed to a pale-faced Jaesa. “Vaha padawan, rek khai Yn zentan Chabosh.” Khem took out his own, light-ending Sith blade and started advancing on Nalenne. “Chabaa, nikh’tai Tulak Hord rho’ha.”
“Are there actually words when he talks like that,” said Jaesa nervously, “or are you guys also hearing nothing but ‘om nom nom’ over and over?”
Nalenne ignored her. “Your kid’s never gonna learn if you keep him out of the big fights,” she told Khem Val.
“Rek hai vashteta.” Khem Val advanced on Nalenne.
“Vette, Quinn, fire at will, but give Jaesa a chance to stretch herself before you press Xalek too hard.”
“We are here to kill you,” grumbled Xalek.
“You always are,” replied Nalenne. “My orders stand.”
Xalek turned to Jaesa and charged.
Nalenne turned her attention to Khem Val. The hulking Dashade had a few things going for him. One, of course, he was a millennia-old Force-eating assassin specifically chosen, trained, and paid to kill and devour Sith. Two, he had truly impeccable form. He could’ve taught the Soresu stuff at the Academy blindfolded, and then harvested and eaten the students’ souls without taking the blindfold off. Three, he was more than twice Nalenne’s size.
As for disadvantages, he wasn’t Nalenne.
Against someone younger, flimsier, or prettier, she would’ve maintained the schoolyard bullying style that got her through most fights. Here she got to experiment. Nalenne used speed – though he wasn’t slow – and subterfuge – though he wasn’t stupid – and she took a few bad hits every minute, but so did Khem Val. In a brawl with Niselle, he was a serious liability; here he was a playground unto himself.
“Rokh hai Yn – “
“Und Chabosh, yeah, I know.” Nalenne tried another improvised feint-and-attack. Khem Val parried, pushed her aside, never saw her rapid pass-to-offhand saber throw coming. One blinding hit, oh yes. Nalenne recovered her saber, admired the effect of one of Vette’s blaster sweeps across the Dashade’s broad shoulders, and then looked over to see how her padawan was doing.
The Kaleesh was pressing Jaesa hard. He moved with all the speed and grace of a headbanging Nautolan – strikes everywhere at once, no possible way of knowing exactly what he had been doing half a second ago or what he would be hitting half a second from now. Jaesa’s purple saber was shaking as she struggled to block.
“Rok Yn rashta,” yelled Khem Val approvingly.
“Oh, honestly, Khem. You’re not giving him anything new to work with. Jaesa, switch.” Nalenne Force pushed Khem Val against one wall and ran to change places with Jaesa. She took up her guard against Xalek.