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Defying Destiny


JennyFlynn's Avatar


JennyFlynn
06.29.2018 , 10:37 AM | #251
Quote: Originally Posted by Lunafox View Post
Spoiler
Yep. It was time for a couple of folks to return home! I never expected much of a fallout with Senya, she just isn't the vengeful simmering kind and I think it would have been taking her out of character forcing her to blow up. This worked.

With Jace's threat, despite the fact it never played out, it is obvious that the Republic and SIS know where Eliza's family is hiding out. The risk is too great so it is time for them to return home to the Empire for now which is safer with Vowrawn in charge.

Jonas and Theron have this perfect friendship in a way because they're quite different. Theron overthinks everything and is very internal about the things that occupy his mind making them more complicated than they have to be. Jonas is pretty much the opposite in that respect and able to take a few shortcuts to get to the heart of the matter and help his friend see.

Their son would have to look like Theron, I could see it no other way and prefer it though while writing, Revan popped into my mind. Not sure whether that was due to having mentioned him or because of the actual resemblance but it works. I do think Vitiate would keep the kid as well but I'm half afraid of letting my mind go there because imagining the Sith Emperor as a pregnant woman...

Thank you very much for your kind words and taking the time!

Quote: Originally Posted by MishaCantu View Post
No rest for the weary:

Spoiler


Great chapter. Lots of background and new information. Definitely looking forward to what happens next.
I'm glad you liked the small snippet of the funeral. She's holding on to the portrait as a reminder of the cost of war, yes, and because it is something that keeps Arcann's good side alive. It's such a reflection of him as just a man, a person, that she treasures it.

Theron would constantly be conflicted any time a piece of information rolls his way, while working for Intelligence, that concerns the Republic efforts or worse, his former colleagues and people he knows. He may have lost faith in the Republic and feel disgusted with their current actions but it is quite another thing to actively work against the Republic. Eliza knows that so she is looking for something that'll work for him even if that means she has to make some concessions of her own and not return to the home she longs for.

Vowrawn is a man of his word and while many would be wise to fear and mistrust him, I feel once you are in close with him he is one of the most loyal and dependable souls. He and Eliza have always gotten on quite well, better than some others liked, so it is safe to believe he will look after her and her family as she's doing for his.

With Eliza being so close to claiming Zakuul, and her having defied his schemes and rejected the offers of his power, Vitiate came clean. He had nothing left to hide, really, and figured he could use the truth to force her hand for a choice that really isn't a choice at all. He's well aware she'd sacrifice herself in a heartbeat but he knows what the people in her life, and this child, mean to her.

There are always loopholes, even where magic and immortality are concerned and Vitiate knew this. Shattering fragments of himself so that his Servants could always revive his spirit into a new vessel may have been a wise idea, and has aided him in the past, but it also made him more vulnerable than he'd anticipated. But now, becoming whole once more while simultaniously destroying the one person who's posed a serious threat in the recent decades... He's rather pleased with himself, for now.

Thank you so much for your kind words and insights, they're invaluable.
--------{---({@ Defiant Devotion | | Defying Destiny @}}>---}-------

JennyFlynn's Avatar


JennyFlynn
07.05.2018 , 11:21 AM | #252
:: Chapter Fifty Four::



The ceiling was still a yellowish white, nothing different at all—had it always been so? Without warmth or anything resembling the sense of safety and protection. Dull and cold, but weren't most ceilings?

Lord Scourge attempted to roll onto his side but his body lacked the strength and he closed his eyes again. There was a minor breeze that pulled through the recovery room—he could hear the air conditioning running—but did he feel it too or was the cooling effect on his skin just a figment of his imagination?

He smelled nothing. Not the penetrating scent of cleaning agents or disinfectants, and not the doctor in his nearby office who's odor he'd grown more familiar with in the past than he cared to. What he wouldn't give to gag over Doc's cologne now though.

Another consideration crossed his mind when he opened his eyes again—maybe the ceiling had always resembled a blank canvas left exposed to the sun too often.

There wasn't a fraction of change noticeable in his body and he resented it. Another treatment endured and another tally for his list of disappointments. Too many of them with only one blessing—he'd lived like this before and managed to adapt, and he could again.

He almost resigned himself to slumber a second time when he caught something from the corner of his eye. Someone approached but not quite as the ashen figure he'd seen most recently. The scarlet of her hair, like a hooded mantle framing her face and shoulders, vibrant and alive, was the first thing the cones of his eyes detected.

Until she drew nearer and every other part of her emerged from achromatic shadows. Light-blue, synthcloth pajama bottoms and a simple white tank. Chipped, black nail polish at the ends of her fingertips. Her skin exactly as he remembered, a light beige, but was any of it real or just another memory come to torment him?

“Scourge?” Eliza asked and took his hand.

He noticed that too and not because he saw it but he felt just the faintest pressure close around his fingers. Was this really happening? Perhaps he still lingered in his own subconscious dreaming about senses he no longer possessed.

Just like the oceans he would have drowned in for a lifetime, was the clear blue of her eyes. More memories to be sure, same as the Lyris flower that teased his nostrils when she leaned in to kiss his forehead. Such tender lips. So soothing and warm they could awaken the greatest feeling of serenity and love in one's heart but they didn't do that today—there was no emotion to accompany the physical sensation.

It had to be a figment of his imagination, all of it, and his free hand reached out to twirl a lock of her hair around his finger. The strands as long and striking as he remembered but the texture was different—cold and still slightly moist from her shower. Not imaginary and not a dream built upon memory, this was real.

“Eliza...” he uttered in astonishment and again he tried to move his body.

This time, his knees arched and he used his feet to push off against the mattress allowing him to shift his position and sit upright.

“Hi. How are you feeling?” She leaned into his palm cupping her cheek.

“You still wear the same perfume I bought for your twenty-first birthday. Lyris flower and snow wood.”

“Of course I do. It's my favorite, has been since... Wait, how—”

“But you've exchanged your blossom body wash for coconut.”

“The blossom makes me queasy right now—it's too strong. Scourge, are you telling me you can smell these things?”

“Unless reality and my imagination have blurred the lines and I can no longer set them apart.”

Her eyes widened and her smile grew until she parted her lips, ready to shout but Lord Scourge's hand covered her mouth quickly. “Not yet. Let me enjoy this for a moment before you call Doc in to prod and probe me.”

“Sorry. I'm just... is this real? Is it a temporary improvement or—”

“We'll find out soon. I'd almost forgotten how vivid your hair is, and the wonder of seeing the world as its meant to be seen. Is it still day out?”

“Night's fallen. Theron told me you'd undergone your second treatment ahead of time, I had to see you. Why did you do it?”

“You asked me to honor my promise and I agreed. I may never again be the man I was once but if these treatments can bring me closer to him then that is what I will do.”

“Are you... how much can you experience? Do you feel?”

“The soft flesh of your cheek, yes. Physical stimulation but nothing further. My emotions are void.”

Eliza nodded and perched herself on the side of his bed. “What about your overall health? Are you tired, sore, in pain?”

“Drowsy from the procedure but otherwise feeling good. Can I ask for a strange favor?”

“Of course.”

“Lie down with me so I can feel your warmth and have your scent. I need the reminder this is real, that I can experience these things for the moment.”

She smiled and sunk into his embrace, stretching out next to him. “I hope this will last.”

“That would be preferable.” He tipped her chin up and stared into her eyes, reading her like an open book—some things never changed.

“But my well being isn't the sole reason for your visit though, is it?”

“No, but I don't want to burden you either.”

“Tell me.”

“Vitiate threatened my son,” she let out with a sigh.

Everything she'd come to learn in the past half day spilled from her lips and ended with the advice she'd been given by Lord Dramath. Just like Theron, Lord Scourge held his own reservations toward the extreme risks she would have to take but he knew all too well there were no other options.

“This is how he has escaped defeat. How did I not sense or know this? I was with him for centuries,” Lord Scourge scolded himself.

“You only ever knew him as a fragmented man and even then, his power was vastly overwhelming. There is no way anyone could have guessed or known.”

“The Hand knew—his Servants you said—do they pose a threat?”

“They disappeared shortly after the fall of Ziost, no one knows where they are today.”

“You understand there is a possibility that the Emperor lied, yes?”

“Oh, I know, believe me, but it doesn't matter. Ruse or not, this is a risk I cannot take.”

“No. He won't have your son, or you.” His fingertips caressed the small of her back. Skin to skin—good—he still felt the sensations.

“Scourge, do you believe Dramath told the truth?”

“He has little to gain from lying.”

“Save for his freedom,” Eliza pointed out.

“His freedom is essential. See, I've long heard rumor about a prison designed for the Emperor—by the last true Kissai—and such a cage can only ever hold one of great power,” Lord Scourge recalled.

“You remember I served as his executioner?”

“How could I forget?”

“I was also ordered to hold families hostage. Husbands, wives, and children of archaeologists whose services he required. I had always assumed he merely wished to obtain every artifact known to hold substantial power until one woman returned with a holocron similar to the one you have.

“He became gleeful, elated, quite unusually so which drew my curiosity but the object appeared to be a forgery. Others who'd outlived their usefulness were often cut down by my blade, as was my duty, but not her. He tormented her for weeks before he ended her life. I never understood then what it could be that he so desperately sought or why he took such personal offense to the woman's failure.”

Lord Scourge looked at her again. “I understand now.”

“He was looking for his prison.”

“Yes, which is why I believe what Lord Dramath has told you. Have you freed him?”

“Not yet. We wanted your opinion first.”

“Good, I would like to speak with him myself and I will accompany you to Zakuul.”

“I won't risk you. We've fought too hard to bring you home,” Eliza argued.

“And you think you can stop me?”

“Do you recall your protests on Nathema? Safe to say I won that fight.”

“Not this time. You need me and I still believe in my vision, I have to be there.”

“You can't help, not in my fight against Vitiate.”

“I can.”

“How?”

Lord Scourge smirked at the defiant look on her face. “I will anchor myself to the holocron and use it to guide my way.”

“Into my mind? You could do that?”

“Yes. I know the technique, not too dissimilar from the one used to create the holocron in the first place.”

Eliza's brows furrowed and she blew out a small puff. “Benefits of being old as dirt, I guess.”

“Exactly.”

She chuckled. “Fine. If Doc can assure me that this endeavor won't cause further harm to your condition or damage the progress you've made, you can come.”

Now it was Lord Scourge's turn to scoff though his smirk remained, “I'd like to see him try and stop me but if it pleases you, I'll get a written permission slip.”

“It would please me,” she retorted with a twinkle in her eyes. “This is nice, reminds me of the early days after you first joined our crew.”

“All that's missing is the gentle drift of the ship while traveling through space.”

“And the bickering of Teeseven and Ceetwo out in the hallway.”

“Can't say I miss that.”

Eliza pushed up on one elbow and ran the back of her fingers down his cheek. “Do you still feel it?”

“Yes.”

“I'm glad. A good sign, hopefully. Promise you'll allow Doc to run his tests in the morning?”

“I promise.”

She leaned forward and pressed a light kiss to his temple. “Thank you. I should go and get to bed but... Scourge, if this change is for real, oh I can't wait for you to meet her.”

“Our daughter.”

“Yes.”

“Neither can I. Good night, Eliza.”

“Good night…” She held her step for one second of temptation where she considered a more loving way of saying goodnight but then quickly spun around.

On her way out, she dimmed the lights and Lord Scourge settled back between the sheets, his cheek buried into the pillow that held her scent. Sleep took him fast and his dreams were plenty that night—memories revived through the return of his basic senses—but vivid as they were, he remained an outsider. Without the emotions to accompany him he was no more than a stranger looking into a warm home unable to partake in the simpler joys of life.

Soon, perhaps.

The rich aromas of a dark caf stirred him from slumber the next morning and after his eyes had adjusted to the light, he spotted Theron waiting just outside Doc's office. Hands dug into his pockets and idly rocking back and forth on the padding of his feet until he heard a stifled yawn.

“I was told your senses might be returning.” Theron indicated at the breakfast tray by Lord Scourge's bed. “Thought you might enjoy a real meal in that case.”

“Thanks. Are you here for another check-up?”

“The last one. Eliza won't let me accompany her to Zakuul until she's certain my injuries have healed.”

“Sounds familiar.” Lord Scourge put the caf to his lips and a deep sigh poured through him when the warm brew filled his mouth.

“Are you sure you're fit for battle? You've been in a worse state than I.”

“It wasn't long ago you were suspended in kolto while I sat by your tank and, does it matter? Could either of us stand to send her into the fray alone?”

“No, but she would prefer it that way. She's tired of risking those she loves. I do understand.”

“Victory always comes at a price.”

Theron scoffed but he couldn't bring himself to disagree. “Has there been any change for you overnight? Further improvement to your condition?”

“I have not regained my emotions if that is what you mean to ask.”

“Just curious.”

“It won't change anything even if I do.”

“How can you know? You are incapable of experiencing love, anger or even jealousy but that doesn't mean those feelings aren't there.”

“No, they likely are,” Lord Scourge conceded with some reluctance.

“I once met an agent who'd been undercover with the Hutts for three years. A brilliant man, one of the best in the field, but I was there when the Director tried to establish a timeline based on his reports. Certain things he remembered clear as day—the number of slaves taken, tasks they were assigned to, the exact schedule for the weapon and spice trades—but a lot of gaps remained in his story.

“There were things he had seen, and perhaps had even been forced to partake in, that his mind was unwilling to remember or experience again.”

“Why tell me this?” Lord Scourge arched a brow.

“You and I, we're not friends but I know enough to know you've suffered unspeakable cruelties over the past years. You lost everything for a second time, save for your intelligent and strong mind.”

“You think my own mind is deceiving me? Blocking my emotions because they are too much to bear?”

“It's possible. A natural response to trauma and distress, even in the strongest among us.”

The theory held enough merit that Lord Scourge couldn't dismiss it out of hand but it offered no solution either. “It makes no difference.”

“Have you considered meditation?”

“Between the blood draws, testing, and forced bed rest? No.”

“Perhaps when all this is over huh?”

“Why does this matter to you?”

Theron shrugged. “It was just an idea, do with it as you will.”

“Are you not concerned for what you might lose if I do regain all my emotions?”

“Terrified, but I think you and I both know we're destined to share her love regardless of which one of us she chooses to be with.”

“Mm, yes.” Lord Scourge nodded. “She never let you go once she returned to Dromund Kaas. It did not diminish her love for me or affect our marriage—what we had was a true gift—but you always remained in her heart.”

“As she did in mine.”

“And now you're about to become a father.”

“Yeah. Got any advice?”

“Enjoy every simple but precious second of it. Not just once the child is born but while she is pregnant too. It could all be gone one day.” His brows furrowed and Theron understood his meaning well.

“I will, thanks.”

A faintly familiar, and unpleasant, scent reached Lord Scourge's nostrils before Doc even entered the medbay and he grinned. “Time for your checkup it would seem. Good luck.”

“Right.” Theron spun around and waved Doc over. “You too. I do hope the results bear good news.”

The Sith merely nodded. Could his mind really be the answer to part of his own affliction? He understood the concept well enough—a form of protection often seen in survivors—but he’d rarely considered himself as such. Force users would frequently use their mind to block out physical pain in combat and continue fighting but he never had. He’d always welcomed the pain but perhaps this time, the emotional trauma had been too much.

On Nathema, he’d given up, quite contrary to the fighter he’d always been and for the first time in his far too long life, he’d wanted to welcome death. Deprived of his senses, robbed of his wife and child and of the future he’d built. Centuries of suffering endured only to be subjected to the same fate a second time. There was no recollection of if or when he’d flipped the switch. Pain and torment had gone from negligible to unbearable and at one point, almost non existent.

“I’m just going to run a few tests,” Doc’s words pulled Lord Scourge from his thoughts an hour later but only barely.

He was still preoccupied retracing his steps of the past years and wished he had his diary with him. He’d reduced his every experience to a series of numbers then to map his life and mark all that he had lost—could it be he’d formed his own emotional cage in those moments?

While another blood sample was drawn, and he winced momentarily, he recalled sitting on his cot inside his cell days before writing that journal entry.

His thoughts had been with Eliza, fighting to remember every single detail about her but it had hurt too much. Tears had formed in his eyes trying to imagine the way she would have looked holding their daughter for the first time—exhausted, sweaty, tearful and yet smiling—but rather than relish in the beauty, he’d gotten angry and hopeless realizing he’d already missed everything.

His nerves had been tightly wound and on fire. Sheer agony had taken over and he’d screamed until his throat was raw. Thrown himself against every wall and tried to punch and claw his cell door from its hinges. He’d felt panicked, short of air and as if an invisible tormentor had been squeezing his heart. He’d blacked out not long after.

‘Could that have been when…’ he wondered before Doc’s hand clapped his shoulder and startled him.

“I’m astonished by these results. I mean I’d hoped but this…” The man scratched his head and checked the readouts again. “It’s remarkable.”

“Meaning?” Lord Scourge careened his neck to look at the chart though the numbers and medical terms would make little sense to him.

“Uh… it would seem the elimination of corrupted cells and the repairs made have reactivated your regenerative properties. Your stats are almost back to normal for a man of your… well, would-be age and size, and your body is healing itself.”

A wide grin spread across Doc’s face. “Of course, the teeth you’ve lost won’t grow back but heh, luckily for you those were just two molars in the back. It won’t affect that dangerous smile of yours that makes most people want to run and hide. They can be replaced though if you’d like.”

“Does that mean I can finally leave this bed? Will I be able to go to Zakuul?”

“Yeah, you’re clear to join their mission and move into a different room but I do want you back here regularly just to keep an eye on your progress.”

He’d barely gotten through that last sentence when Lord Scourge was already on his feet, desperately craving fresh air. “You’re not the only one.”

“No, quite a surprise huh? Betcha didn’t think I could do it.”

Lord Scourge smirked and the smallest twinkle set his eyes alight. “You do serve your purposes.”

The warmth of the sun teasing his face and forearms was unlike anything he’d expected to ever feel again. A cool breeze blew sand and dust up on the landing platforms outside the base and he smirked when they tickled his toes. Someone nearby was indulging themselves with spice-filled cigarette or pipe, he could smell it where he stood, and his world looked alive once more. Bright, shining, inviting and full of color and though the sensation failed to reach his awareness, he was glad for the stubbornness of those in his life who’d insisted on saving him.


--------{---({@ Defiant Devotion | | Defying Destiny @}}>---}-------

Lunafox's Avatar


Lunafox
07.05.2018 , 01:24 PM | #253
A well written chapter!

Spoiler
Really well done, loved the chapter. I look forward to the next.

MishaCantu's Avatar


MishaCantu
07.05.2018 , 03:00 PM | #254
Truly a great job with this chapter:

Spoiler


A wonderful addition to the story. Really well done. On to the next.

JennyFlynn's Avatar


JennyFlynn
07.07.2018 , 07:23 PM | #255
Quote: Originally Posted by Lunafox View Post
A well written chapter!

Spoiler
Really well done, loved the chapter. I look forward to the next.
Thanks so much!

I really wanted this chapter from Scourge's perspective, what he experienced while finding out whether the treatment helped or not and I'm glad it turned out to your liking. I'm rather happy to see him on the mend as well. While I'm the one writing this, I do feel bad for my guy and all he's endured so it's nice to write his recovery now.

There had to be something in Scourge's past that would help verify the story and I do imagine that's the sort of thing he was sent to do, among other things.

Scourge and Theron are a bit tricky to write. Under different circumstances, there might be a lot more animosity but Scourge simply doesn't possess those qualities right now and while I fully see Theron capable of jealousy and some bitterness, he's not a hateful or easily angered person. It's a bit of an odd situation but perhaps their actual 'bond' building up this way while Scourge is emotionless may lead to an entirely different scenario than hatred of the past.

I'm quite thrilled you found the chapter enjoyable, thank you for the feedback!

Quote: Originally Posted by MishaCantu View Post
Truly a great job with this chapter:

Spoiler


A wonderful addition to the story. Really well done. On to the next.
I'm so thrilled you enjoyed this! I actually wasn't quite certain and re-visited the chapter a lot thinking "Is this really the right way to approach his potential road to recovery?". I'd worried it might be a doozy for people or feel lacking overall, I'm so glad it didn't.

Yeah, with all he's been through I can only imagine he'd appreciate literally every little thing. Stuff that goes unnoticed or is taken for granted by others and yes, even missing certain bad smells in that respect. That was kind of nice to write but I'm somehow who notices every little thing as well and actually takes joy in the simple stuff so it was neat doing that with him now.

Scourge would have more knowledge than most or any others. He's served the man for 300 years and while the Emperor kept his secrets, I'm certain he would have picked up on a thing or two as well.

Glad the conversation with Theron went over well. I think it's important they build up some kind of connection with each other, even if it's just politeness, given the overall circumstances. I also feel it quite plausible that Scourge may be responsible for his own emotional block in a way. Perhaps not all of it but, yeah, and I liked that suggestion coming from Theron's end.

Yeah, Scourge in tears breaks my heart too but I think even men as strong as he is otherwise, have their hopeless moments. Thank you so much for the feedback, I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter.
--------{---({@ Defiant Devotion | | Defying Destiny @}}>---}-------

JennyFlynn's Avatar


JennyFlynn
07.12.2018 , 12:13 PM | #256
:: Chapter Fifty Five ::



Today was the day that would, one way or another, change the future forever but Eliza wasn’t about to let a beautiful morning go to waste.

Waking up spooned against the man she loved, she snuggled into his body and closed her eyes for another moment. Listening to him breathe, feeling the gentle pulse of his heart which brought the purest of smiles to her face and to her pleasant surprise, she felt something else too. Nudging against her backside and growing harder through the minor friction of their bodies connecting while Theron murmured in his sleep.

She couldn’t help but grin and a spark of arousal fluttered in her tummy when she slightly rolled her hips and heard him groan. The lazy arm draped over her hip pulled her into a firm grip but Eliza cautiously broke free and turned around to look at him.

Dark locks messed up by the pillow spiked in every direction and a warm blush rested on his cheeks. Another groan escaped him and his lips curled into a smirk even while he appeared far removed from reality.

‘Must be some dream…’ Eliza mused and she let her eyes feast on the rest of his body.

She was intimately familiar with every dip and curve that shaped him and leaned forward to touch her lips to one of his ni.pples before treasuring the freshest of scars on his torso. Appreciating the fact he wore boxers only and she let a hand caress down his arm, tracing the few freckles buried underneath light hairs.

Her touch reached him, even in his sleep, and he mumbled again while rolling onto his back. Oh, he was such a tempting sight and Eliza instantly recalled a sexual fantasy he’d confessed to her not long ago—one she’d been hoping to bring to life but most days, he’d be awake long before she ever opened her eyes.

Not this morning though.

A small trail of hairs peered beyond the waistband of his boxers and she played her fingers through them before reaching down to let her hand brush over the tightening fabric. Feeling him throb once the very second she did and a damp patch formed against her palm. He wouldn’t last long this way and whatever played through his mind had a very real effect on his body, spurned on further by her light teasing.

A moment of hesitation struck—was this really what he’d want from her? But then she recalled the look in his eyes and the fluster on his cheeks when he’d admitted to the fantasy. The shy hesitation and near embarrassment while putting his dirty thoughts into words and her heart soared, as did her own arousal.

Removing his boxers while ardently making sure she wouldn’t wake him was a feat all on its own but Theron stirred only once before he settled back against the sheets. Still lost to the world, still mumbling the occasional and incoherent word.

He looked quite vulnerable this way but that only made him more attractive and Eliza nestled her upper body between his legs. Massaging his inner thighs in her hands, enjoying the way his skin felt and the warmth of his body while her mouth found that sensitive spot where his thigh blended into his groin.

His hips jerked involuntarily and she had a difficult time suppressing her smile. There was an odd rush to knowing what she was about to do and the reactions he gave but she’d have to limit her teasing if she wanted this to go right.

Rather than indulge herself the way she would otherwise, taking her time to cherish every part of him, she adjusted her position slightly and took a firm hold of him. A brief moment to savor the taste that tickled her tongue when she wrapped her lips around just the head initially, and a soft sigh escaped her until she sunk her mouth down further.

It wasn’t anything they hadn’t done before and she knew exactly what he enjoyed most but this time, for the first time, she was without his affectionate guidance or any verbal encouragement. Only the occasional moan rumbling up his throat and the increased writhing of his body gave her any indication of his enjoyment until she felt a hand entwine in her hair.

“Stars… Eliza…” Theron managed to gasp while lifting the covers to find her twinkling eyes staring back at him.

Her smirk hiding half behind the glistening tip. “Good morning my love.”

“I didn’t think you… hmm… you’d ever… actually…” Words were hard and his mind hazy, and not only due to the fact he’d just woken up.

“Is that a complaint?” She smiled in innocence before her mouth sunk down a second time.

“Oh no, never… don’t stop,” he grunted in response.

Trying to resist bucking his hips driven by desire but the urgency rose and he wasn’t quite awake enough yet to exert any self control. Torn between allowing her to do whatever it was she had in mind and taking over to reach that climax he ached for, but his hunger won out. A surge of pleasure coursed through his body and without intending to, he tightened his hold on her hair, urging her head down while he thrusted upward.

Need and desperation clearly outweighed his otherwise considerate bedroom manners but Eliza welcomed it and easily complied with his unspoken demands. Her lips embracing most of his size as he twitched and throbbed, and she let him drive the pace that pushed him ever so close.

He’d wanted nothing more than to last and stay in this moment for days to come but his muscles grew tense and his hips shuddered involuntarily. Uttering out syllables in his attempt to warn her at least but no decent word came out and without a second more to enjoy the sensations pulling through his body, he peaked, unable to hold anything back.

Faintness clouded his mind and his eyes drift shut a second time. Riding out the waves of pleasure she’d brought him, gasping again when he noticed her mouth taking all he had to offer and working him until he was completely satiated.

A brazen smile greeted him when he opened his eyes again, her lips tracing every inch of his torso until they found his and she kissed him fervently. Moaning into his mouth when he pulled her flush against his body and met her tongue.

“So that’s what happens when I don’t rise with the break of dawn,” he managed to find his words again at last.

She chuckled. “Mmm part of you did. Was that as you’d hoped?”

“Everything and more.” He kissed her again and folded her into his arms. “But now you’re going to have to share one of your fantasies so I can repay you in kind.”

“Just one? Tough choice.”

“Or all of them,” he laughed.

“That’s a long list, are you sure you could handle it?”

“If we make it through today, I can handle anything.”

Eliza flashed him a small pout. “Bah, don’t bring that up just yet, save it until after I’ve showered at least.”

He nodded, tracing an index finger down the curve of her spine. “I won’t mention it again until breakfast.”

“Mm, better.”

“How long do we have before the meeting starts?”

“About…” She glanced over his shoulder at the chrono on their nightstand. “An hour.”

“Enough time to take you into the refresher with me?” Theron smirked and his teeth nipped at her bottom lip.

“Oh definitely, but don’t you need more time first to uh…?”

“Give me a few minutes and I’ll show you a fantasy I’ve had since I first laid eyes on you.”

Promising words that he stuck to when he met her in the shower ten minutes later, the both of them enjoying what little carefree time they had left to indulge in each other. For that short time, nothing and no one else existed, just some much needed intimacy and an outpouring of the love they shared.

If all went well, today would mark the beginning of a new peace across the galaxy but at the same time, there was much that could go wrong. From defeat at the Spire, to a victory for the Emperor and potential retaliation following them back to Odessen so plans had been made to cover most scenarios.

“I’m dividing our forces into teams of two,” Eliza informed everyone she’d gathered in the war room.

“My team will accompany me to Zakuul, Me’ghan’s team will remain here to protect Odessen. They won’t have time to retaliate and to the best of our knowledge, our enemies do not know of this location but I won’t take any chances.”

She circled around strategy console and took a deep breath, watching the sea of expectant and curious faces. “Major Quinn, Darius, Lana, Koth, Kendra, Aric, Corso and Master Timmns—the eight of you are with Me’ghan. Most likely scenario everything here will remain quiet but stay vigilant nonetheless.

“The rest of you—Lord Cytharat, Praven, Theron, Scourge, Jonas, Charlie, Doc, Jenna, and Andronikos—you’re with me. We’re taking the Gravestone as well, Koth showed Jenna how to fly it and we’ll be in greater need of its heavy artillery.”

“Mm, that omnicanon is a dream, I’m aching to play with it.” Jenna winked.

Aric but slightly cleared his throat, “Commander, what are your orders in terms of the prisoners we hold, should Odessen come under siege?”

“Leave them where they are, your priorities lie with our people. Me’ghan will brief you on our emergency protocols.”

“What happens if you don’t make it back?” A frown came over Lana knowing the biggest battle would be with the Sith Emperor and not the Knights of Zakuul.

“Throw me on a pyre, seems like a fitting end given my family legacy and all that.” Eliza shrugged all too casually but she was the only one who found her comment amusing.

“Commander!” Corso gasped.

“Sorry. Theron, Scourge, Me’ghan and Major Quinn all have their instructions. You are to carry on with the mission to unite the two Empires and establish a peace with the Republic.”

“What is your plan once you make it to Zakuul?” asked Master Timmns.

“Myself, Theron and Lord Scourge are flying in with Arcann’s vessel to meet up with the civilian resistance fighters near the Spire. Once we’ve seized control of the main security hub, the Gravestone will be able to dock with the Spire so the others can join us. After that, it all depends on the opposition we’ll face from the Knights.”

Concerned glances were exchanged among those who knew every detail involved—the words of Lord Dramath and the threat of the Emperor—but others listened attentively while Eliza relayed further orders regarding the protection of everyone involved. After, she excused herself and with Theron following closely behind her, returned to the privacy of their room.

“There is one more thing I have to do before we leave,” she sighed and activated her personal holo-terminal for a call home.

The image of her grandmother appeared and seconds later, so did her daughter’s. “Mommy!! Uncle Therons!”

“Hi sweetheart,” she smiled softly and wished for a moment she could actually reach out to hold her child. “I miss you.”

“I misses you toos mommy! I misses every ones! When are you coming home?” Her daughter pouted.

“Soon, hopefully. It won’t be long now.”

“Then can we goes back to Rishi? I don’t like it heres, I miss the sands and waters and it just rains here like, alllll the time but gramsie saids I was born heres, is that true?”

“You were, on quite a rainy and dark night.”

“Oh…” Cyara paused and considered her mother’s words before deciding, “Oki, maybies rain is not so bad. Uncle Vowawns saids I looked like a princess when I was born but then Shelene saids I looked like an icky blob covereds in goo because all babies do.”

“You were beautiful sweetheart, and you still are. Has uncle Vowrawn been to visit you then?”

“Yess! With pressies! Ands I got your pressies for my birfday from the others and Mrs. Cyfarat mades me a robe!” she gushed.

“Mommy, when is soon?”

“I don’t know exactly but when I find out, you’ll be the first to hear, okay?”

“Okies! Are yous going to fight bad peoples again?”

“Yeah, I have to.”

Cyara threw a downcasted look at the image of her mother. “I wish the bad peoples would stop being bad. Uncle Therons you has to keep my mommy safe okies?”

“I’ll do whatever I have to, I promise.” He flashed the little girl a reassuring smile.

“Thank yous. I have to goes now mommy, Mr. Cyfarat is teaching me histories today about the first Purebloods ever! He knows so much about Sithies like me!”

“He does, I’m sure you’ll learn a lot and I’m so proud of you baby. I love you.”

“I love you toos mommy! Kick some bad peoples,” she lowered her voice to a whisper and twinkled just thinking of the word, "as.sholes."

“Cyara!”

“Shelene told me the words it’s nots my fault!”

A snort escaped Theron and he clapped a hand over his mouth while Eliza scolded her daughter, “Just because Selene used that word doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to do the same. I don’t want to hear you use such language again, understood?”

“Yesss mommy, sorry. Can I goes now?”

“Alright, but behave. Grandma and grandpa will let me know if you didn’t.”

“I’ll be very goods! Bye mommy, bye uncle Therons!”

The toddler vanished from sight with a skip in her step, and Eliza held her tears back while she finished the conversation with her grandmother. The true danger she faced wasn’t for Cyara to know—she’d wanted their potentially last conversation to be a good one without troubling her daughter—but those raising her right now needed to be informed of all possible outcomes.

“Are you okay?” Theron wrapped her into his arms when the call ended.

“I will be once all this is over with and I can hold her again.”

“Just how many uncles does she have?” Lord Scourge made his presence known, having caught the first true glimpses of his daughter beyond holographs.

Eliza smiled through teary eyes and took his hand when he came close enough. “Basically every person she’s ever met and liked, which is just about everyone she’s ever met period.”

He nodded. “She has your loving spirit.”

“I think some of that is her father’s as well.”

“Hardly.”

“You didn’t want to talk to her yourself?” asked Theron.

“Not yet, I’d rather wait until I can meet her in person. If I am lost on Zakuul—”

“You won’t be,” Eliza interjected. “But speaking of losses, do you both still agree? If I cannot defeat the Emperor inside my mind and he takes full control, you will kill him in my body?”

“I know it must be done and I will keep my promise,” Lord Scourge vowed.

“I will too and we have to assume that if he does take you over entirely, it’ll mean you’re lost to us already,” Theron added.

It was something the three of them had discussed in detail, all in agreement that the Emperor’s demise and the safety of the galaxy came before anything else and regardless of personal cost. They’d even come up with a contingency plan to trap the Emperor temporarily should he rise in Eliza’s body—a set of four remote relays that would spawn a ray-shielded prison upon activation—and Theron double checked to make sure he’d packed everything he needed.

“Then it’s time to go.” Eliza grabbed her bag and turned to leave.

Determined to put an end to half a life spent chasing the Sith Emperor and facing constant defeat. To put an end to his tyranny, one way or another, and she was more than prepared to go down with him if it meant saving all those she held dear.

To her great relief, the maintenance crew had worked hard to remove every trace of her bloody altercation with the ship’s previous owner and she settled in behind the navigation console while Theron and Lord Scourge loaded their few supplies on board. Once they received confirmation that the Gravestone was ready to depart as well, they took off and began an hours-long journey to Zakuul.

No one asked questions when Arcann’s vessel—the Edrys—dropped out of hyperspace to dock with the Spire. No alarm sounded and by the time anyone realized that the crew did not include their beloved Emperor, they’d already fallen at the hands of Lord Scourge, Theron, and Eliza.

“It’s been too long since I’ve bloodied my blade,” Lord Scourge smirked and in his way, delighted in the havoc he’d wrought.

Theron adjusted his communications frequency and signaled the civilian fighters. “I’m going to meet with Indo and his people, you get the Gravestone docked,” he told Eliza.

“Will do. Bring the detonators and spare weaponry for those who came unarmed. I won’t risk innocent lives no matter how badly they want to fight for their home.”

She gave him a quick kiss and thrusted the duffle bag into his arms. “And be safe, alert us if any more Knights show up.”

“What about us?” asked Lord Scourge.

“We’re going to hail the Gravestone and meet up with the others. Post yourself outside in the hallway and let me know if anyone is coming.” Eliza established an open line with Jenna.

“Their cries of agony should be warning enough.”

It clear he was in his element. Even as only half a man, he made for a formidable fighter and one wouldn’t think that not long ago, he’d been on the brink of death. Too weak to carry himself let alone do battle.

Eliza smiled when she caught him twirling and twisting his blade around in hand, eyeing down both corridors thirsting for another opponent while she relayed her instructions to Jenna and the rest of their team.

“Platform five, let’s go,” she told Lord Scourge afterward.

Unfortunately for most, and fortunately for others, the Gravestone drew far more attention. Minutes after Jenna, Andronikos, Lord Cytharat, Praven, Jonas, Charlie, and Doc deplaned, more of Zakuul’s forces showed up ready to seize the intruders.

“I don’t think they’re happy about our arrival,” Jenna called out from cover and used Andronikos’ shoulder to stabilize her aim, firing at a pair of Knights.

“Yeah, you must be disappointed Commander, no red runner or champagne,” Charlie joked.

She and Jonas stood back to back, spraying blue and pink blaster bolts across the platform in such rapid succession no fighter came close.

“Indo promises a grand gala for his new Empress,” said a stranger rushing to join the crew and closely followed by Theron.

Eliza took a hot second to observe the scrawny, tall, strawberry blonde man who looked like he ought to be walking a fashion show rather than find himself amidst heavy fire. “And you’re Indo?”

“I am, at your service, Empress.”

“We’re not quite there yet. You any good in a fight?”

“Hardly, but fireworks are my expertise.” He winked with a grin and the very second he finished, a massive explosion erupted in a flashy, golden and silver burst.

A brand new battalion of Knights was blown from the platform and heavy smoke covered the team’s advance toward the inner sanctum of the Spire.

“Not bad,” Theron told the stranger.

“I’ve been aching to get my hands dirty which you could say is quite unusual for me, if you knew me,” Indo preened and swiped a speck of dust from his shoulder.

Lord Scourge sized him up with a hint of disdain. “I believe you.”

“Halt!” A Knight Captain approached when the elevator brought them to the top level. “Outlander! Where is our Emperor?”

This man was one of the few who knew Arcann had left bringing two prisoners with him and he’d quickly assessed Arcann wasn’t with this group now.

“He died by my hand and I am here to claim the throne as the new, and rightful, ruler of Zakuul,” Eliza told him in calm and she was the only one to sheathe her blades.

“You? What proof do you have?”

“This.” She held her right hand up displaying Arcann’s signet ring on her middle finger. “I’ve also brought visual evidence and an autopsy report, if you’d like to dig into the gory details.”

The Captain held his step and though his helmet didn’t show it, he narrowed his gaze on the ring, recognizing it immediately. “Murderer! I challenge you, for my Emperor’s honor and glory!”

“The honor and glory of a dead guy?” scoffed Jonas. “I’ve never understood that.”

“Silence rat! This is between me and the Outlander! Do you accept?”

“I do,” said Eliza and she reactivated her blades. “But if I win, you submit and recall your troops.”

“Agreed, but you won’t and if you lose, you will be publicly executed for your crimes against Zakuul.”

Theron grabbed her elbow and pulled her back. “Are you sure about this?”

“None of these guys have ever been impressive.” She glanced over her shoulder.

The Captain prepared himself, loosening his shoulders and removing his helmet to reveal a face adorned by cybernetics and mid-long, brown hair tied together in a ponytail. He had a strong physique and rage sparked in his brown eyes but he failed to bring Eliza any reason for concern.

“I doubt this guy will cause me to break a sweat.”


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Lunafox's Avatar


Lunafox
07.12.2018 , 02:11 PM | #257
Wooweee getting hot in here!

Spoiler

MishaCantu's Avatar


MishaCantu
07.12.2018 , 05:04 PM | #258
Well good morning

Spoiler


Great chapter. I'm very interested in how this will all work out in the battle of the minds.

JennyFlynn's Avatar


JennyFlynn
07.15.2018 , 10:20 AM | #259
Quote: Originally Posted by Lunafox View Post
Wooweee getting hot in here!

Spoiler
I'm glad that morning scene went over well, I was a little worried and struggled to put visuals to words. I felt they needed it though, some 'us' time before people potentially die.

It didn't seem right to have a farewell call. How would you ever explain all of this to a little child, and tell them their mother might die? Best to keep it normal and say the important stuff, the I love yous and such and this was better for Eliza as well. If she'd been forced to truly say goodbye to her daughter, I'm not sure her head or heart would have truly been able to face the upcoming battle.

Yeah, good ole Indo coming through. I'd considered picking a random name for the civilian fighters instead but he works just as well and does have something amusing to him.

Thank you for reading and commenting.


Quote: Originally Posted by MishaCantu View Post
Well good morning

Spoiler


Great chapter. I'm very interested in how this will all work out in the battle of the minds.
Why have a simple kiss before battle when you can do so much more, right? I'm glad you enjoyed that segment, it felt like a good moment for a bit of smuttiness between the lovebirds.

That's the exact reason I kept the call to Cyara lighthearted, so it may invigorate Eliza rather than bring her doubt and hesitation which would no doubt tickle if she'd been forced to have the "I might die today" conversation with her child. Plenty of uncles, I'm glad you got a chuckle out of that.

Theron would struggle and be most likely to go back on his word. Lord Scourge... with or without emotion, this right here has been his and Eliza's goal for so long, he know they have to see it through no matter what, and his lack of emotion right now just makes it easier but yes, he is most likely to keep the promise.

Thank you very much for the feedback and taking the time to read.
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