The Short Fic Weekly Challenge Thread!
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10.30.2012 , 09:39 AM |
I have been struggling this week. I think I'll try
Disguises: In Which Niselle Contributes to Cultural Knowledge.
600 words, no spoilers.
Niselle looked up at the intricately carved stone door. The twin lamps Talos had set up on either side burned with a bright steady light that picked out circles in an otherwise absolute blackness. The air smelled of dust and things long forgotten.
"Why do I let you do this to me, Talos?"
"You volunteered, my lord. If you'd rather go home and do something safer…" His voice did the adorable shading-toward-disappointment thing. "I would understand."
"No, no. We've come this far. And I must say, the terentatek was a refreshing diversion. Nalenne will be dying of jealousy."
"If she's jealous of that little fight, imagine how she'll feel when we breach this tomb."
"…Are you expecting a larger-than-terentatek fight?"
"I have no idea what to expect, my lord," Talos said cheerfully. "Now. You'll need to hold this orb aloft and declare yourself as Romma Bai, Lord of the Six Houses, Holder of the Twin Lamps, Pillar of the Northern Way."
"And that will open this door."
"Probably," said Talos. "I can't figure how else it would open. If anyone can do it, a Sith masquerading as its original occupant can. Any defenses probably won't activate against the true owner. Probably. So! Any time you're willing to start, my lord."
Niselle drew herself to her full height and assumed her better-than-her-sister imperiousness. Holding forth the heavy electrum orb Talos had given her, she proclaimed "I am Romma Bai, Lord of the Six Houses, Holder of the Twin Lamps, um."
"Pillar of the Northern Way!" Talos stage-whispered.
"Pillar of the Northern Way! Open before me, door!" A thought occurred to her as she spoke. She quickly shuffled backwards far enough to be out of the swing radius if the door opened outwards. The doors, however, split along previously-invisible seams and withdrew wholly into the walls, floor, and ceiling.
"Fascinating," murmured Talos. "That particular architectural conceit didn't attain widespread popularity until centuries later."
Niselle picked up one of the lamps and headed further in. The chamber was vast and still and heavy with the feeling of things more forgotten than dead. It was studded with stone pedestals of varying sizes, ornamented with gleaming metal embellishments amidst various urns and caskets.
"Jackpot," purred Niselle.
"Amazing!" cried Talos. "This layout is simply – there are extraordinarily few surviving sites that used this ritual pattern. I – could I request more light, my lord?"
Niselle smiled. "Absolutely." She spread her hands wide and summoned a leaping arc of Force lightning, burning it as brightly as she could, harshly illuminating the great chamber with dancing purple-white light. "Enjoy."
Talos darted from pedestal to pedestal, observing, exclaiming, cataloguing in his datapad. Not touching anything yet, though he would be back around to collect items of interest once he had an idea of what was going on. Niselle just maintained the Force light and enjoyed his bubbling enthusiasm. Talos Drellik was just about the only thing that moved Niselle to anything approaching constructive activity. It was worth it to see his nerd colors fly.
She sensed a dark presence behind her. "Pretender," rasped a strange voice. "Your intrusion will be punish–"
"Shut up," hissed Niselle, "my boy's not done here." She turned and tossed most of her Force lightning stream in the direction of the ghost, seizing, freezing, twisting, and burning it into smoke. Then she turned back to maintain the light source properly.
Talos peeked around from a particularly tall pedestal. "My lord? Did you say something?"
"No," she told him, pointing her off hand to idly zap a second restless guard that was creeping up from the side. "Carry on."
Seriously, Talos is the only thing that convinced Nis to go LS. Ever. God he is so cute. *fangirl*
A Sith ally would be unbelievably useful for this work. First, to get clearances for sacred sites; second, to help deal with deadly tomb defenses; third, because hey, sometimes things are locked in ways only Force users can deal with.
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