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10.25.2012 , 08:23 PM |
The Sword of Mercy: Worlds Colliding
, for Ruth and Colran Niral. Oh, and Lieutenant Pierce. This is set after the main event. 650 words, no spoilers.
Ruth went straight home, to her father's estate outside Kaas City. Vette and Lieutenant Pierce went with her; Colran greeted them all and was left to wonder why they didn't talk much.
"It was an eventful year," Ruth told him. "For a while I tried out exalted titles, but I think I'd rather not live in a Sith spotlight right now."
"I've followed your dealings with the Dark Council. You can make a big difference from a position of power," Colran said. "And you've the strength for it. It's an opportunity such as few will ever get. But if you're discouraged by what's around you there…I can understand that."
"No," she said shortly, and went back out to the verandah, moving her chair again to let the rain lash at her while she sat.
Vette often went into the city, but she always came back in the evenings, just in case. Pierce spent a lot of time down at the range where the Niral guard practiced. Some evenings he stayed up late talking to Ruth in her room.
He had no choice but to let Ruth's father work, and wait, and wonder.
And then one evening Pierce came back from the range to find Colran on the couch, cradling Ruth's head in his lap. She was curled up tightly, her eyes closed.
"She's finally asleep," Colran said softly. Pain twisted his face to something nearly unrecognizable.
Pierce just looked at the two of them.
"Tell me he died in pain," said Colran.
Pierce nodded. He kept his voice low. "You should've heard the screaming. He didn't go quick, milord."
"I never expected to enjoy a thought like that."
"Some people earn it."
"I didn't know. All this time I thought the Sith were the most cutthroat people in the galaxy." Colran swallowed hard. "I thought the military would never have dared. I thought my wife's Intelligence would never have helped."
"For what it's worth," Pierce said, "I handed some pain to the Minister of Intelligence, too."
"Your dedication does you credit…I never prepared her. I threw her out there without so much as a warning."
"There was no warning for Quinn."
Colran set a hand lightly on his daughter's hair. Pierce noticed that there were dried traces of tears on her face. Her father's too.
Colran opened his mouth. He spent a moment struggling. "Will I ever find out what she did?"
"She did nothing, milord. Quinn did it all with her hands. That's the truth." Pierce paused. He made the next admission in a quieter tone. "And you don't want to hear."
"It seems I'm never prepared for what we walk into. Ever." He flickered a small strained smile. "At least she had you. I can't thank you enough."
"Thanks not necessary. I'd follow strength like that no matter what was happening. I know you think you didn't prepare her. Nothing could have. But I can tell you she faced it as the strongest person I ever met." He nodded emphasis. "Guess we have you to thank for that."
"I guess," Colran said dully.
"She's doing better, being back here. Strange to see all this quiet. Suppose I never thought of her that way. Could be what she needs to start living again."
Colran nodded. "Sometimes it helps to reject the fight. Sometimes you just have to be."
It was an odd statement, but Pierce didn't argue. He considered the look on Colran's face for a moment longer, then ducked his head. "Good night, milord."
"You can call me Colran."
In spite of the darkness Pierce almost laughed. Like father, like daughter; the first thing Ruth had insisted on was using her name. "Always thought one 'milord' was much like another 'til I met the two of you. Good night, Colran."
So. About that fallout. Colran's been on my mind, so here you go. Parts of this shelter retreat directly correspond to Colran's first experience with weird Jedi ideas.
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