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The Sanctuary of Regret


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Lunafox
10.02.2018 , 04:13 AM | #421
Quote: Originally Posted by JennyFlynn View Post
I never said nor implied she was a lunatic so I'm not sure where you're getting that from, why you would even bring that up or say the above. I was under the impression this was a 'fall of a hero/villain deconstruction' story, as you've often said and as it's labeled elsewhere, and her actions in this chapter read like the opposite of that. Heroic and altruistic so yes, they confused me and I did wonder whether the impact of the Chrono affected her in more ways than one. It has nothing to do with judgment or gender bias, something I hate just as much myself, and was far from intended as offensive.
Ok, maybe it was just how I interpreted the whiplash comment and what followed, the lunatic thing felt implied because she'd behave one way with some people and another way with others. It is a deconstruction of a villain, she's a fallen hero, and I'm taking a look at what made her behave in the ways she has been. Even villainous types have at least one good quality about them. She had no reason to be mean to the pirate and felt bad that he suffered because of someone trying to get to her. It maybe be confusing but good villains have some positives about them. Here's a link to an article that discusses villains, and she matches quite a bit of the villain characteristic checklist.

https://jerryjenkins.com/what-makes-a-good-villain/

But no, the Chrono didn't affect anything but her perception of the Force and the way she interprets it with her sight. Sorry that I took it wrong, I guess I was having an off day, so I took it negatively. Thanks for clarifying and I hope I was able to do the same.

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Lunafox
10.06.2018 , 02:17 AM | #422
Guess who forgot it's Thanksgiving this weekend. That's right, me. Between the bad health non-sense I've been dealing with and everything else, the holiday slipped my mind. Needless to say, I'm now freaking out trying to thaw a bird that should've already been in the fridge for five days as well as doing all the usual typical Thanksgiving-y things that need doing. Long story short, next chapter will be posted on the evening of Saturday, October 13th. Thanks for understanding and a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving/Columbus Day to you all.

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frauzet
10.06.2018 , 02:32 AM | #423
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Author of "Trouble, Destiny and Other Complications" and the AU "Caught"
Participant of the "Short Fic Weekly Challlenge Thread!"
All my stories from TDaOC and SFWC in chronological order

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Lunafox
10.06.2018 , 02:37 AM | #424
Quote: Originally Posted by frauzet View Post
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Thanks so much. And a lovely weekend to you also. ^^

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Lunafox
10.14.2018 , 12:45 AM | #425
The Sanctuary of Regret

Chapter Fifty-Six


Lana wedged herself between Keeper and Jonas but sharpened her focus on the younger man. “The Commander and Lord Scourge are waiting in the conference room. I think it best we apprise them of the situation and our plans.”

“Agreed,” Keeper said. “A briefing is in order.”

Jonas blocked the Imperial’s path. “You should’ve had Vowrawn send the schematics for the Chrono. Then we could’ve gotten a leg-up on the counter-measures.”

“That may well be the most useful thing you’ve said since your arrival, Agent Balkar.” Keeper pivoted his heel and strode toward the conference room. When they arrived, he indicated the entrance with an upturned hand, allowing the others to enter before he did.

The meeting room was comfortably appointed with a long oval conference table and upholstered chairs. The walls and floor were constructed of mottled grey stone panels and a black and red Corellian rug swallowed the room’s echoes.

Liatrix and Scourge eyed the doorway as Lana, Jonas, and Keeper filed in. Liatrix and Keeper shook hands and traded brief introductions, while the others took their places at the table. A service droid set a refreshment tray at the center of the table and left.

“I served your father for many years,” Keeper added after his introduction.

“It’s an honour to meet you at last. He always spoke highly of you and I’d always hoped I’d have the pleasure of meeting you.”

“It was quite mutual, I assure you, Darth Incarnal.”

“This is quite a facility you have here,” Liatrix said. “I understand that Doctor Kimble and his family have settled in. I appreciate the hospitality you’ve shown my people.”

“Something I would extend at any time, but especially during a crisis such as the one we’re experiencing now,” Keeper said.

Liatrix took a seat in the proffered chair. “Is there anything we can do to help the survivors?”

“All that can be done at this moment, is being done. Regrettably, we have larger concerns at this time.”

Jonas shifted his weight. “Now maybe you’ll tell us why you were talking with Vowrawn. What’s he got to do with all this?”

“I’m a patriot, agent. The state of the galaxy is such that those of a like mind must work together to defeat the enemy. We need to rebuild before others smell blood. We need to be ready for all comers—and you can guarantee the Republic is thinking similarly. The war with Zakuul depleted our resources and a prolonged conflict with Jadus would only bring further ruin to the Empire.”

Liatrix served herself a cup of black caf. “Jonas told us about the plan involving Theron, Cipher Nine, and Vector Hyllus.”

“Good,” Keeper said with a nod. “Regrettably the plan has a high probability of failure, but no better options were available to us at the time.”

“Theron and Ilia are sabotaging Jadus’s ship,” Jonas began, “so when Vector and his Killik buddies show up, they’ll get a head start taking Jadus out.”

Liatrix frowned. “And how are Theron and Nine supposed to escape?”

Scourge eyed her when she spoke the spy’s name, but sensed nothing amiss in her expression or her feelings. She gave nothing away. Reading her was like reading a blank data pad.”

“Vector is seeing to that,” Lana said.

Liatrix pushed her caf forward on its saucer. “Vector has a lot on his plate. I’d feel better if we had a backup plan. If the Killiks aren’t there, Theron and Nine would be stranded.”

“What’d you have in mind?” Jonas asked.

“Catch up to them, stay out of range, make sure everything goes according to plan. What’s their heading?”

“Korriban.”

“Then once we get fuelled up, Scourge and I will head that way—unless there’s any objection?”

“Fuel could be a problem,” Lana said. “The storm has all but demolished fueling stations, not to mention most were drained in anticipation of it. You may be stuck here for a day, two at most until we can secure what we need.”

“Do what you can, Lana. We need to find Jadus. I need to confront him for all he’s done.”

“Yes, Commander.”

The meeting continued for half an hour and after it ended Liatrix started for the door when a hand closed around her elbow.

“Jonas, did you forget something?” She asked.

“Just wanted to know how you were—and about this mask,” he murmured with a nod to the sleek ebony fabric covering her eyes.

“Scourge made it. He taught me how to see with the Force—the mask helps me focus.”

“Like the Miraluka, right?”

Liatrix smiled. “Yes, exactly.”

“Am I still as handsome through the Force?”

She laughed. “You never change.”

“Thanks—there is one thing you need to know. You can’t kill Jadus—he’s tied to Ilia somehow and if he dies, she might too.”

Liatrix sighed. “I wanted to end this once and for all.”

“And you can—just find a way to do it without killing him.”

“I’ll try,” she promised.

Scourge glowered but before he could interrupt, Keeper had already beaten him to it.

“There is a matter I wish to discuss with you in private, my lord.”

Liatrix glanced back at Scourge before answering Keeper. “All right,” she agreed cautiously and accompanied him down the hall to one of the private anterooms.

Jonas watched them leave and frowned. “I don’t like it.”

“Nor do I,” Scourge muttered.

“Hey,” Jonas smirked. “Did we just agree on something?”

“I doubt it,” the Sith snorted and stalked off.


Keeper closed the doors behind them and ushered Liatrix toward a desk and chairs. “Please have a seat.”

“What’s this about?” Liatrix asked.

“Your family.”

“You mentioned serving my father. Is it about him?”

“No—no, more precisely, it’s about your mother.”

“You knew her?”

“Quite.”

“I wish I had,” Liatrix gazed down at her clasped hands. “I don’t remember much—most of what I know, my father told me. I was just a child when I was abducted.”

“The Jedi stole your memories, yes?”

Liatrix nodded. “I’ve since learned that I wasn’t the first or only one they’d tampered with.”

“No, most certainly not.”

“You knew about it.”

“Information is security—protection for our Empire. It can also serve as a currency to be exchanged and sold to maintain our inviolability.”

“Is that how you got out alive?”

Keeper eyed her keenly. She had much of her father’s instincts and manner, but there was an unnerving sharpness below the surface; a maelstrom of dark water ready to tow the reckless to their death. “I refuse to be coy or deceptive—yes, I used secrets to secure my retirement.”

“Did you blackmail my father? Do you mean to blackmail me?”

Blunt on the surface but with a razor concealed inside. He answered carefully. “No. Never.”

“Where you afraid of what he’d do if he learned the secrets you’re keeping?”

“A logical assumption, but no. I spared your father certain truths because he had suffered enough. He’d lost his wife and child the day I learned the truth.”

Liatrix cocked her head and took her time before answering. “I’m not sure I understand why you asked to talk to me?”

“I’ve followed your career, my lord. I know the heights and depths of which you’re capable to achieve your ends—exemplary achievements others can only marvel at. But I’ve found in my experience that those who chase excellence, and especially those that catch it are incomplete.”

She smiled sadly. “I won’t deny I’m confused about my parent’s feelings for each other. Will you tell me about her? Please?”

The razor instinct vanished alongside the darkness within a blanket of humanity. She was capable of both depending on provocation, much like her father had been, Keeper thought.

“I have a data disk with the information I’ve compiled—every entry made in the journal she’d kept as well as everything I’ve accumulated over the years,” he said softly and withdrew the file from his desk drawer. “Portions of it won’t be easy for you.”

Keeper slid it toward her and she eyed the disc as if it might bite. “It’s strange—you’re giving me something I’ve wanted my whole life—and now that the answers are within reach, I wonder…”

“If you should know them,” he said, finishing her sentence.

Liatrix turned the disc over in her hands. The outside was unremarkable and ordinary, but the promise of what was inside was too much to resist. “May I read it here?”

“I’ll give you privacy,” he said, rising.

“No—if it’s all the same, I’d rather you stay.”

Keeper hesitated.

“Please.”

Keeper sat. “Of course. If you have questions…”

“Thank you,” she whispered.


Keeper made a show of studying this year’s storm forecast while Liatrix read. She’d removed her bandit’s mask and it hung loosely from her wrist. The aloof persona gave way to one more tender. Emotions passed like a never-ending train of magician’s scarves and when she finished she was pale and silent.

“I realize that mustn’t have been easy for you,” Keeper said.

“She was more complicated than I imagined. So was their marriage. I’m sorry Keeper, I’m going to need some time to process it all but I’m grateful to you for sharing it with me.”

“Take all the time you need—that knowledge is for you alone.” He rose and tapped at his com. “Personal archive—erase all entries pertaining and relating to Liaseph Teraan and Liaseph Marr.”

“You didn’t have to do that.”

“No, my lord. It was time. I’d kept it to spare a man I admired but when I learned you were alive, I knew that it was your right to know and my duty to inform you.”

“Do you have children, Keeper?”

“We haven’t spoken in years.”

“I’m sorry...”

“Don’t be,” he interrupted.

“When all this business with Jadus is over—may I come back and see you?”

Keeper cocked his head. “Why?”

“Because you know everything about my father—I miss him.”

“Knowledge of a man and his character does not the man make. I would be a poor stand-in for his memory and I can no more offer you his insights than he can.”

A moist sheen just shy of tears brightened her eyes. “I understand.”

“I am curious—how do you plan to proceed in terms of the Empire? Will you restructure?”

“My father had an idea of what he wanted the Empire to be, but he was always held back by the Emperor’s whims and grudges. I want what my father wanted—strength, stability, and superiority.”

Keeper’s gaze narrowed. The doors behind Liatrix burst open. “Commander, you need to see this,” Lana exclaimed.

“What is it?” Liatrix asked. “Has something happened?”

“It’s a communication from Jadus himself.”

Keeper returned to his com. “IC-FIN—transfer the transmission to this station at once.”

Scourge and Lana arrived first with Balkar on their heels. The wall-sized monitor flickered the words ‘stand by’ scrolling across the screen in Aurebesh.

“I wonder what he wants?” Liatrix mused.

Keeper frowned. “Put it through.”

Darth Jadus dominated the visual, but in the background, Ilia lay suspended against the angled interrogation table. Exhausted, her chin hovered over her sternum and her pert red hair lay matted over her eyes, wisps clinging to her cheeks.

Though Keeper remained cool, expressionless, and visually unmoved, Liatrix sensed his rage surging in his blood.
Beneath it, a flurry of quieter emotions—fear, worry, helplessness—love. The cipher meant something to him.

The visual fluttered and Jadus spoke. “At last, we speak. The time has come for us to meet.”

“How did you know where to find me?” Liatrix demanded.

“Your decaying spirit—the blight spreading through the Force allowed me to find you as surely as a beacon. Even incapacitated, you are an affliction rivaling that of our former Master. You are a disease that must be eradicated before the galaxy can be remade to my specifications.”

“You tried something similar once. You failed then—and you’ll fail now,” Liatrix declared.

“I will meet you on Korriban, at these coordinates, Incarnal. Do not keep me waiting.”

Lana whirled on Liatrix. “Commander it’s a trap. There’s no reason for you to walk into it!”

“She’s right. Don’t do it,” Jonas snapped.

“Your advisors are mistaken. There are many reasons to meet me, but only one to compel you.”

Liatrix scoffed. “Right, name it. Besides killing you and ending this.”

“Your son.”

She stiffened and Scourge set a hand on her shoulder, brows furrowed, his gaze uneasy.

“I don’t believe you. You didn’t need to make up stories. I’ll face you and you will regret it.”

“I thought proof may be an issue. Admiral,” Jadus gestured to someone out of view. Two officers pushed the hover device into the camera’s vista.

Inside the force containment field, a small boy with womprat hair, golden-brown eyes and pale tawny skin rotated.

The child appeared to be unconscious, but the display at the bottom of the unit indicated he was very much alive.

“Littlebean,” Liatrix whispered so faintly it might’ve been a breath.

The child’s eyes snapped open, urgent and pleading, at that moment, as if he’d heard the endearment and his left palm slapped the field.

“Increase the frequency,” Jadus ordered. The officers stepped in and altered the settings. The child flailed and fell unconscious. “I suggest you hurry, Incarnal. He is so very small.”

A thunderous boom sounded in the transmission and the ship rocked hard enough to seemingly unbalance even Jadus. The items around him tumbled to the floor and Ilia’s head jounced from the impact. One of the assisting officers gaped at the viewport, “We’re under atta—”

Jadus choked the officer’s admission before he could finish and the body fell to the floor with a thud. Another boom rocked the ship, ending the transmission, only to leave a black screen and static in its wake.

Liatrix paled, her body rigid and unmoving. “I have to get him.”

“That would be foolhardy. I forbid you to do it,” Lana cried.

“Lana’s right,” Jonas agreed.

“I’m saving my son and that’s the end of it. Don’t just stand there. Find me some damn fuel. NOW!” Liatrix roared.

“That won’t be necessary,” Keeper began. “You may use my personal vessel. It’s fully fuelled and stocked and at the ready. I trust you have some familiarity with the Phantom model? If you find any aspect of the vessel unfamiliar, engage the AI. I’ll have IC-FIN transfer command to you.”

“Thank you, Keeper—for everything. Liatrix pocketed the disc and replaced her mask. “I’ll do everything I can to bring them all back.”

((to be continued…))

frauzet's Avatar


frauzet
10.14.2018 , 02:25 AM | #426
Never trust a chapter starting quietly until its over
Looking forward to the next one!
<3
Author of "Trouble, Destiny and Other Complications" and the AU "Caught"
Participant of the "Short Fic Weekly Challlenge Thread!"
All my stories from TDaOC and SFWC in chronological order

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MishaCantu
10.14.2018 , 01:10 PM | #427


Spoiler


Hope your Thanksgiving was grand. Waiting to see what happens next.

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Lunafox
10.15.2018 , 01:34 PM | #428
Quote: Originally Posted by frauzet View Post
Never trust a chapter starting quietly until its over
Looking forward to the next one!
<3
I'm glad you liked it. I really did pick up I thought by the end, but everything serves a purpose. Thanks for reading and commenting.



Quote: Originally Posted by MishaCantu View Post


Spoiler


Hope your Thanksgiving was grand. Waiting to see what happens next.

Indeed, it gives a person a better understanding who they are, and I thought it was time to wrap up that point of the series, Liatrix had a right to know something more about her mum. Keeper, I think is a very wise and as you say, pragmatic man.

Yep, that's been the plan all along. Ilia is in a bad way and I felt it would leave more to the imagination to do it 'off-camera'. I don't think I'm quite as evil as Jadus and really didn't want to dedicate myself to a brutal scene with them. I still think it accomplished what it needed to though. I hope.

I imagine the answers will come next week about Theron or the Killicks, or both? And possibly Vowrawn and Nox will make an appearance next time too. They're just biding their time really.

And thanks for asking, Thanksgiving was lovely, it was a nice time with good food and my men. <3 I appreciate that you're still with me and for your insights and encouragement. Thank you.

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JennyFlynn
Today , 11:24 AM | #429
Nice chapter, looks like things are kicking into high gear.

Spoiler
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