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There is no death, there is only Wrath

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community > Fan Fiction
There is no death, there is only Wrath

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bright_ephemera
06.23.2012 , 11:11 PM | #111
63. In which Nalenne and Pierce test Broonmark’s work while Quinn disapproves

The Biochem pro takes a haul
Of plants for effects great and small.
A flower, a leaf,
A root, and – good grief!
That didn’t look healthy at all.



Morning of a mundane op, as Nalenne had taken to thinking of the assignments that came from Servants One and Two by way of Quinn. Broonmark intercepted Nalenne on her way to the bridge. “New batch of adrenals up,” he blorped.

“Sweet! This the new formula?”

“Yes. Many blibbblg rgoggrblp. Should be good.”

Nalenne might have taken the translator datapad out to get that – most of Broonmark’s biochemical vocabulary was well beyond Nalenne’s Talz knowledge – but sometimes it was more exciting not to know.

The Talz set down a small carrying case on the reading nook’s coffee table. Inside were six syringes filled with a dark blue liquid. “We expect speed-power effects, but we cannot be sure.”

“Well,” said Nalenne, “we can’t go into the field with this untested. Safety first.” She grabbed a syringe and prepped it.

Ghost-Quinn showed up from the direction of the bridge. “My lord, we will be arriving shortly at – what are you doing?”

“Broonmark’s latest work. I’m using it.”

“Has that even been tested?”

Nalenne lined the needle up and injected. “Sure. As of right now.”

Quinn stared at the needle. “My lord, you’re going to kill yourself!”

“And see, this is why I never tell you anything.”

Pierce jogged in. “Hey, heard the new batch was up. You’re not going without me, are you?”

“Never ever.” She gestured toward the case. “Broonmark made enough for all.”

Pierce called in the direction of the mess. “Vette, you in?”

“Answer is still no,” came Vette’s voice. “Answer is always no.”

“You don’t know what you’re missing.”

“With each new batch, nobody in existence knows what I'm missing. That’s the scary part.”

“I’d rather you limited yourself to testing it on those two, my lord,” said Quinn.

“Relax.” Nalenne was already feeling a little…pleasant. Hyperaware. Good. She activated her saber and ran through a few practice forms. “Wow, I feel like I could cut my way out of the ship right now.”

Quinn rubbed his temples. “Please don’t.”

“Not to worry, captain. I’ll be nice. I’ll still be following your lead today.”

“Your interpretation of ‘follow’ has always been…loose. And someday you may jab yourself with something that suspends what few inhibitions you do have.”

“Maybe not,” blipped Broonmark.

“I could take her,” said Pierce. “If I had to. If she was a problem.”

“Lieutenant, you would be rampaging right alongside her. With glee.”

“Ha. Right, that’s true.”

“We join rampage,” quorked Broonmark. “Inhibition-smashing only a problem for Sith clan’s dumbest.”

“I’m thinking this’ll be good,” said Nalenne, stretching and enjoying the odd sensation racing along her muscles.

“Even better news: We made second-stage reaction to inject when we reach the field,” buzzed Broonmark.

“What did he say?” said Quinn.

“Nothing you want to hear, captain.”

Vette emerged from the mess. “We better get out there. When they decide to start breaking stuff, I want it to be not-my-stuff.”

Quinn quickly scanned the ship in general. “For once I agree,” he said. “Let’s go.”
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bright_ephemera
06.24.2012 , 04:16 AM | #112
Quote: Originally Posted by iamthehoyden View Post
Those ergonomic chairs have to be one of the most unexpected additions to a list of evil interests ever. I nearly spit my drink at my computer.
I can just see Lord Grathan buying off the powers of the Empire with comfy chairs. Speaking of which, if you're familiar with Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition torture scene sketch, this is the kind of diabolical use to which such chairs are put: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSe38dzJYkY#t=118

Come to think of it, the earlier segment of that sketch has a pretty decent listing of proper aspirations for the Imperial armed forces: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt0Y39eMvpI#t=51
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bright_ephemera
06.24.2012 , 07:29 AM | #113
64. In which Pierce cleans up after Servant Nine

I think I’m hitting the 2/3 point on this series. It is so weird to be putting together the last scenes…I write out of order, so I’m not there, yet, but still. Weird feeling.

Today’s entry has spoilers for the Imperial Taris planetary line.

A Juggernaut, Thana by name,
Sought by violence and terror to claim
Old Taris’s soil.
Alas, she was foiled:
A stronger Sith wanted the same.



Pierce answered his holocommunicator to find Nalenne’s image stretched out on some floor, one arm pressed tight to her side. “Hi,” she said.

“Coordinates and I’m there,” he said.

“Keep it quiet, okay? Servant Nine had to bail, you’re just picking me up.”

*

The pickup spot turned out to be on an upper floor of a big office building on the planet Nalenne and Servant Nine had gone to ravage. Pierce made the entry with a rifle in one hand and a kolto pack in the other.

Nalenne had crudely bandaged the worst of the vibrosword wounds. Pierce scanned the room, then knelt and opened the medpac to do things right. “’Had to bail’, did he?”

“I screwed up. Got cut bad. And then you know how Sith are, he gave me some stupid the-weak-will-fall speech and strutted off, because he’s too macho to help an ally out.”

“Hope you realize you Sith are all insane.”

“These are proud cultural traditions we’re upholding.” She directed his hand to a higher-priority wound than the one he was about to apply kolto to. “Let’s just get enough so I can walk to the ship under my own power, okay? The local backup will be arriving at some point and for once I’m not looking forward to another fight.”

“Milord, you called me ‘cause you know I won’t talk. And I won’t. But you are aware that hiding things like this is pointless? Everyone on the ship already knows Servant Nine would leave you to die the moment anything goes wrong.”

“I don’t want to be carried in dripping confirmation of that.”

He snorted. “As you like. Surprised he didn’t take the chance to finish you.”

“Same here. I’m starting to suspect he likes me. So we’re still on for next week.”

“Sith. Insane.” Pierce suddenly cocked his head, listening. “Sounds like someone’s on their way up. I’ll have to finish the fine work later.” He scooped Nalenne up and carried her to the nearest inactive lift, ordering it up to the roof landing pad. “Anyway, goin’ halfway like that will be his funeral, sooner or later. Remember back on Taris, when we were starting out? That Thana Vesh girl, the one you left locked in an underground prison with three meters of durasteel on every side?”

“Hard to forget,” Nalenne grinned.

“Leave a woman like that alive, that’s a mistake. She’ll just keep coming back.” Pierce raised an eyebrow at Nalenne. “Thana had all your fire. And to be blunt, milord, she had all your brains, too.”

“I don’t like where this is going. She’s dead now.”

“Well,” said Pierce, “she didn’t have me.” He nudged the lift door open and carried her toward the waiting Helicarrier’s ramp.
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bright_ephemera
06.24.2012 , 07:30 AM | #114
65. Mini-snippet: In which Nalenne and Jaesa analyze a military attitude

Imperials train, drill, and raid
For the tools of their villainous trade.
They all have to run
Arrogance 101
Else they’ll never make officer’s grades.



“Good morning, master. How’d last night’s mission with Captain Quinn go?”

“Okay. It was a joint op. Not much fun; those military guys are always giving me the stink-eye.”

“Something to do with the ghostliness of their comrade?”

“Yeah.” Nalenne scowled. “He starts a fight, I finish it, everybody blames me. It’s just like with Duke Kendoh.”

“Or Nomen Karr.”

“Or that General they wanted me to capture.”

“Or Vowrawn’s entire elite guard.”

“Or that village on Balmorra.”

“Or that district on Corellia.”

“Or that moon in the Manaan system.”

“That one was excessive, master.”

“They started it.” Nalenne huffed. “Sort of. I wish these officers would stick with abject terror. Eau de disapproval doesn’t suit them.”

“It’s one of their defining characteristics.”

“Not against Sith! I’m in charge!”

“I think they just don’t like the nonstandardness of Captain Quinn’s death.”

“Yeah, I guess they would consider that disturbing. Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if I could do it to them when they displeased me?”

“Master! No!”

“I’ve had just about enough of your decency and compassion, Jaesa.”

“I’ll swear off it when you swear off completely senseless massacres. Here, coffee’s ready.”
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bright_ephemera
06.24.2012 , 10:46 AM | #115
66. In which Nalenne subcontracts to Imperial Intelligence (I/II)

Today’s entry has spoilers throughout the Imperial Agent line.

Non-game-spoiler, yes-the-rest-of-this-post-spoiler synopsis for those who wish to follow Nalenne’s main plot without Agent details:
Spoiler


A secretive glamour surrounds
The Agent. Her skill set astounds.
Her lifestyle’s fine
‘til it’s down to the line,
Then it’s less sexy fun than it sounds.



The Diplomatic Service had turned up nothing, but, Nalenne thought, there were other organizations with other methods.

And so she requested support from Sith Intelligence for a sensitive mission on Voss.

The agent they sent offered to visit Nalenne on her ship on Dromund Kaas. Hey, convenience was nice. And so one day ghost-Quinn escorted a slim human with dark hair and yellowish skin tone into the holo room.

The woman entered the room in a graceful, oddly flowing gait. She looked Nalenne over with zero sign of fear, then smiled a small ironic smile and bowed. “My lord. Agent Dahlia, Sith Intelligence. You’re the Emperor’s Wrath.”

“I am indeed.”

“I just wanted to say up front, I’m a big fan of your work. So is Darth Jadus. He sends his regards.”

“I’m flattered. I heard about his Eradicator scheme. Great work there. Aren’t you the girl who pulled the trigger on that first strike?”

“Guilty as charged.”

“I can only imagine the look on your old bosses’ faces. That whole story may have been the funniest thing I’ve heard in my life. Thanks to the personal touch my work requires, I don’t think I’ll even come close to your body count.”

“Not many will. I admire your style, though. I’ve seen the holo footage. So, what does the Wrath want with me?”

Quinn emerged from the crew quarters corridor. “My lord, there is a stranger sniffing around your quarters.”

“Isn’t that interesting,” said Nalenne. “Broonmark, want to fetch him here?”

The Talz disappeared down the hall and came out a moment later walking behind a kindly-looking older man, bearded, bright-eyed, wearing nondescript casual street clothes.

“Now, there’s no need to get unfriendly,” he said.

Nalenne walked up to him and activated her saber. “Explain.”

“My lord, I was simply running a security check on Dahlia’s behalf. You realize she is an extremely high-value asset – “

“I realize you’re full of s***, stranger.”

Dahlia strolled up and seemed ready to push between them, lightsaber or no lightsaber. “My lord, this is my colleague Doctor Lokin. He may be a bit enthusiastic in his security-sweep duties, but there’s no call for violence here.”

“You leave any presents for me, Lokin?”

“Of course not,” said Lokin, looking wounded.

Nalenne brought the saber to within millimeters of his nose. “It’ll go badly for you unless you tell me about any bugs or other surprises now.”

“I left nothing, my lord, I assure you.”

Nalenne jerked her head toward her quarters. “Quinn, check the place. Bugs, bombs, unfamiliar dust, if you see anything I want to know.” Lokin blinked and looked inoffensive. “Broonmark, kill this one.”

“It is our honor,” bubbled Broonmark, and prepped his vibroblade.

“You had a job for me, Wrath,” said Dahlia, very quickly. “I have a feeling you really want it done. And I suspect I’ll need every tool I have for it.”

“Broonmark, don’t kill this one,” said Nalenne.
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bright_ephemera
06.24.2012 , 10:50 AM | #116
67. In which Nalenne and Dahlia chat (II/II)

Today’s entry has spoilers from the Imperial Agent line.

Non-game-spoiler, yes-the-rest-of-this-post-spoiler synopsis for those who wish to follow Nalenne's story without Agent details:
Spoiler


A mutual fan club can sound
Like a party. The sweet vibe astounds.
Two villains conspire:
There’s much to admire,
And much to kill next time around.



“Lokin, go on home,” said Dahlia to Doctor Lokin. Broonmark all but shoved the old man out the door.

The black-haired Imperial agent settled back on one of the reading nook couches. “You want something,” she told Nalenne. “Very much.”

“Access to Voss.”

Dahlia giggled. “Voss is a mess. You know they’re determined not to take sides for another eight years? ‘Til then they’re probably paralyzed by the Gormak bombshell.”

“I don’t care about their sides or their bombshells, I need to reach the Shrine of Healing. Or a spot near it, anyway. I got there once before.”

“You were lucky, then. It was limited access even before Voss started shooting down all outsiders.” She gave a little half smile. “Something you need patched up?”

“In a manner of speaking.”

“And yet you can’t even enter atmosphere. It’s maddening when you can’t get close enough to the problem to stab it.” Dahlia produced a little vibroknife and twirled it between her fingers. “Isn’t it?”

“That’s why I’m asking you to find a way to get me close enough.” That smile was really grating on Nalenne’s nerves. “Why are you so damn cheerful about this?”

“I just find it funny,” purred Dahlia, “that two of the greatest killers in the galaxy are stuck here discussing how to reach the ultimate kumbaya drum circle.”

“The drum circle wasn’t my first choice.”

“Oh, I understand. Still, it’s difficult, right? You ever wish you had the early-career stuff back? Understandable boss, whole planets laid out with nothing to worry about but where to stash the bodies?”

“I was never in the habit of hiding bodies.”

“I see your point.” Dahlia stretched and laced her hands behind her head. “I think I first heard of you on Alderaan. Friend of mine was absolutely horrified by you. You know, what you did to the Kendohs. And the Aldes. And the Organas. And the Rists. That was just a great time for you.”

Nalenne smiled, a little proudly. “Don’t forget the Ulgos. Yeah, those were good times.”

“I never understood why this friend I mentioned was so mad over it. He and his friends slaughtered and/or brainwashed House Cortess without a second thought, but apparently when non-Killiks do it it’s a crime or something.” She shook her head. “Ethical nitpicking. I hear some people in the galaxy make allies instead of killing, but more allies always means less action for the likes of us.”

A movement caught Nalenne’s eye. Vette was looking toward Jaesa, and Jaesa toward Vette. “Crud,” mouthed Vette.

“But,” said Dahlia. “There’s a job now. You need to get access to the Shrine of Healing, and the kind of access that doesn’t involve blazing guns. Or sabers. I need you landed, I need you – any additional staff you’re bringing?”

“Guards if I can. If I can’t, I only need to bring one other.”

“Okay. Landed, clearance or at least smuggled transport for two, plus a sympathetic healer contact. May not be a wetworks job, but it’ll still be my pleasure to assist you.” Her smile twitched just a tiny bit. “Those Voss kids are completely insane. Could be a while, even with me on the job, but rest assured, you’ve got the best working for you.”
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kabeone
06.24.2012 , 12:43 PM | #117
Quote: Originally Posted by bright_ephemera View Post
64. In which Pierce cleans up after Servant Nine
“I don’t like where this is going. She’s dead now.”

“Well,” said Pierce, “she didn’t have me.” He nudged the lift door open and carried her toward the waiting Helicarrier’s ramp.
Swoon

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bright_ephemera
06.24.2012 , 05:19 PM | #118
68. Mini-snippet: In which Nalenne checks her romantic status

The news from the front of the war
May surprise or excite: much and more
May be gleaned from the ‘Net
If you watch. Don’t forget,
What you read between lines, don’t ignore.



Nalenne strolled into the holo room from the direction of the ship’s entrance. She stretched luxuriously. “Today’s work: brilliant,” she announced to Vette.

“So I hear. You’re getting downright notorious on the holonews, you know. You and Servant Nine, as an item, striking terror into the hearts of Jedi everywhere.”

“Really? That’s…kind of cool. But I don’t know about the item part. We haven’t exactly had that talk.”

“Haven’t had that talk? My lord, the Emperor’s Hand has been officially balancing your workload between Servant Nine and Quinn for weeks.”

“Basic work-life balance. Doesn’t mean anything. ‘Sides, I’m still taking orders from Quinn at all. So I’m not exactly on the exclusive page.”

“Sith don’t do exclusive. Let’s face it, Servant Nine’s your boyfriend.”

“Recurring booty call,” said Nalenne.

“’Recurring booty call’ twice a week with an itinerary laid out in advance.”

“Not true! He surprises me a lot of the time.” Nalenne giggled.

“I am proud of you, girl. Not only do you have a love life, you’ve found someone even more terrifying than you are to get it on with. I’m just really, really glad you keep it all off the ship.”

“That’s another thing. Boyfriends come home with you.”

“He doesn’t have to,” Vette said quickly. “He can be a ‘safe distance away from me’ boyfriend.”

“You really think I should talk to him?”

“May as well. Everyone who tracks major Imperial victories already knows it.”
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bright_ephemera
06.24.2012 , 05:22 PM | #119
69. In which Nalenne has a full life and avoids Vette’s latest idea

A Sith in defense or attack
Must recall that the clothes can draw flack.
And yet, it takes passion
To keep up with fashion:
It’s simpler to wear off the rack.



Vette leaned up against the console where Nalenne was downloading the latest round of Coruscant Comics bootlegs to her datapad. “Hey, Nalenne. We took a vote. You officially have to update your wardrobe. Not only is your armor way out of date, it’s been taking a beating with the high-intensity work program. You’re going to see a synthweaver for fitting, stat.”

“Can’t. I’m booked solid ‘til next week.”

“I highly doubt that,” said Vette.

“It’s true. Tomorrow, Servant Nine. There was some Jedi war hero, Ako Domi. We captured him for a while, broke him down but good. Then the Republic broke him out again and now he’s some inspiring shining paragon. We’re to bring him down more permanently. Then Wednesday, girls’ night out. Dahlia, (*) Kaliyo, and I are going to…you don’t want to know, but the bloodshed should be awesome. Thursday, assignment with Quinn, you, and the rest of the crew.”

“You can blow his orders off.”

“And break Pierce and Broonmark’s hearts? I think not. You know how neglected they’ve been feeling. Anyway, Friday, girls’ night out, thanks to you. Goin’ to pretend to be your owner, Miss High Maintenance, on Nar Shaddaa, so you can hang out with your friends without the collar getting you in trouble.”

“Drinking and loud music will be involved. You’ll like it.”

“Come to think of it, I won’t be pretending to be your owner so much as being your owner.”

“Nah, think of it the other way.”

“Smooth. Saturday, meeting up with Servant Nine for some vigorous activity of as-yet-undecided nature. I’m hoping it’ll be combat, because the sex is less than stellar.”

“I thought you wanted to finally get laid again,” said Vette.

“That was before I met him.” Nalenne grimaced. “Never mind, it is technically better than nothing. And the fighting’s beyond amazing. And wait a minute, what do you mean, my armor’s out of date? I look fine.”

“For the spring five-years-ago collection, maybe. I’ve been waiting for somebody to say something, but everybody you work with is either too clueless or too cowardly. That weird bib plate you’ve got going on? Gross.”

“I like how it keeps things from breaking my collarbone.”

Il faut souffrir pour etre belle, hon. Skip the bib. You know how Jaesa’s got some of those mad V-necks?”

“Jaesa dresses like a ballerina!”

“And guys love it. You’re the Emperor’s Wrath, Nalenne, be bold. A little slinky, a little fitted, some slightly more interestingly placed nips and cutouts. I know a guy on Hutta, he can work wonders with cortosis weave and some other stuff. I’ll set you up.”

“Sorry. Busy this week. And next. And the week after.”

“Then we can just cancel our girls’ night out and do it then.”

“I hate you.”
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bright_ephemera
06.25.2012 , 05:27 AM | #120
70. In which Pierce pays his debts

In black ops, the rules rarely hold;
As they say, fortune favors the bold.
The cleanup gets rough
From the messier stuff,
And leaves much of the damage untold.



“Morning, milord.”

“Pierce, you’re invading my sanctum.”

“Saw the door open. Couldn’t help myself. Wanted to talk. You recall that time you killed every Cathar civilian on Taris?”

“I remember it quite fondly, yes.”

Pierce took a couple of steps into Nalenne’s room and let the door fall shut behind him. “I’m here to report that you missed a spot.”

“Nonsense. I don’t miss spots.”

“Knew some Cathar back on planet. They’re alive, and they’re looking to collect certain debts from me.”

“Debts? To Cathar?”

“It was a game I had with the locals. I’d go lose all my credits to ‘em at pazaak, then go wipe ‘em out in the next Imperial sortie. Take the credit chips back, all’s well. Or they would lose and then try to wipe our boys out, not that that ended well for ‘em. Anyway, started betting big when you came through town. Had an overwhelming feeling none o’ these guys would be alive to collect. For a long time I thought they weren’t.”

“So pay up or kill them now. No trouble.”

“Well, they recruited some friends. Something about revenge for their murdered families, blah blah war crimes, gambling debts with some stupid interest rate piled on top – like I signed that kind of paperwork at a card table in a bombed-out ruin in a Tarisian swamp, right? – and it’s getting bothersome. Figured I might go to their trap – ah, meeting – and sort things out.”

“Sounds great. Have at it.”

“Thought I would graciously offer you a piece of the action.”

There may have been the faintest trace of actual concern in his voice. “Crew?” she asked.

“Just as soon not. Don’t know what’ll be said. Thought this could be just you and me.”

The thought of Pierce being worried shocked her into full-on distraction mode. “Setting it up with a fight teaser like that? You just want to get me alone.”

He grinned. “Can’t let those other two have all the action. Hutta, tomorrow night.”

“I’ll clear my schedule.”

“Wear something nice. Something you won’t mind getting messy in.”

*

Nalenne needn’t have bothered wearing her most spikily intimidating black body armor. She was outclassed by the eight-foot-tall Cathar cyborg monstrosity who greeted them in the patron-free cantina they entered.

“Pierce?”

“Yeah?”

“You told me you were in debt to a Cathar, not a medium tank.”

“Lieutenant Pierce,” said the cyborg in a voice like the beginning of an earthquake. “We told you to come alone.”

“You tell me a lot of things, Rashade. How’s the old home guard, by the way?”

“You know the answer to that.”

Others were filing into the round room. Cathar, mostly. A couple of Devaronians. A few sketchy-looking humans. Nalenne counted, and waited, and reflected that when Pierce decided to show a girl a good time, he went all-out.

“It’s past time we brought you to justice,” said Rashade.

“Justice? I thought this was about lunch money.”

“I knew what would draw you, Imperial.”

One of the Cathar around the edge of the room raised his rifle. “I am Bentak. Your debt to me is blood.”

A second Cathar next to him took aim as well. “I am Aidan. Your debt to me is blood.”

A Devaronian. “I am Tayz. Your debt to me is a hundred thou, give or take. I figured I would talk exact numbers after you’re dead.”

“They’re pretty pissed, huh?” said Nalenne, as the recitation continued around the room.

“Spent a lot of time on Taris, milord. Seems the survivors stayed mad.”

“Very well. Where do you want to start?”

“Should’ve just rigged the building to go. Can you keep Rashade occupied?”

“Depends how fast he would get bored of stomping on me. Kidding, I can hold him for a while. Think you can clear the sides?”

“Keep Rashade between you and the lot if you can. Thermal detonators will be involved, and it’ll be the ones I’ve modded to skip most of the countdown.”

Their opponents kept lining up their weapons and reciting their grievances.

“Love the drama. I never get fan clubs like this,” said Nalenne.

“Give it time,” said Pierce. “Let’s not give the big guy the chance to talk. On your mark, milord.”

Nalenne took a deep breath and summoned up a sweet swell of hatred. “Mark this, lieutenant.”

*

One thing Nalenne could say for Pierce, his idea of a tough fight didn’t disappoint. She used the powerful but slow Rashade as armor and shelter while Pierce’s explosives took out most of the room; then it was time to worry less about positioning and more about beating the hell out of an angry half-metal man two and a half feet taller than she was.

Conveniently, Pierce’s explosives helped there, too.

When the Cathar went down he went down hard. He recovered, partly, raising himself to his hands and knees, dripping blood as he glared at Pierce. “You. Everything you did, the way you laughed at us. I should’ve expected it from a man named – “ he coughed.

“Wait,” said Nalenne. “Named? Named what?”

“A man named –“

Nalenne was fumbling with a medpack. “He has a name? A not-Pierce name? Talk, damn you!”

“Milord, we want him dead,” said Pierce from over her shoulder.

“Shut up. You! Don’t you dare die!”

But the only sound Rashade made was a last rattling wheeze.

Nalenne let him drop. She stood up. “He knew your name? What was he to you?”

Pierce shrugged. “Dead. We good to go?”

“No! How dare you end a date with a tease like that!”

He just looked at her. “Milord, someday if you’re lucky I’ll tell you exactly what you did here today. ‘Til then, I’ll just say thanks. Wouldn’t have trusted anyone else for this.”

“So this really was significant? In that case I think you owe me something. Like, say, your name.”

He smiled. “You wish.”
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