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bright_ephemera
08.31.2012 , 09:11 PM | #101
Quote: Originally Posted by Vesaniae View Post
Until next time, reader-peoples! <3
Well, thank you for a wonderful story! Tea is a deucedly tricky thing, either that or I've been brewing it wrong all these years. So I wouldn't worry about it.

...and heaven knows I've wanted to drop rocks on these NPCs often enough...
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Adwynyth
08.31.2012 , 10:00 PM | #102
Quote: Originally Posted by Vesaniae View Post
You know what? I give up.
Write what you write when you write. We'll be here, eagerly awaiting whatever you choose to regale us with next, and when the next arc is done, it's done, and we'll get to see it.

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Earthmama
09.01.2012 , 07:16 AM | #103
Quote: Originally Posted by Adwynyth View Post
Write what you write when you write. We'll be here, eagerly awaiting whatever you choose to regale us with next, and when the next arc is done, it's done, and we'll get to see it.
What he said....Also I like my tea strong, so take all the time you need!

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SveinEternity
09.01.2012 , 07:37 AM | #104
Quote: Originally Posted by Vesaniae View Post
You know what? I give up.

Rocks fall.

Everyone dies.

...

No, not really. But I'm taking a break. Arc 2 needs time to brew. (Hey, a rhyme!) So I'll leave you with this nice little analogy that I use to think of writing:

Writing is like tea. You start out with an idea, and as you let it steep it becomes richer and fuller-bodied. When it's ready, you add cream and sugar for flavor, and put it in a fancy cup to make it look nice. That's how I think of writing. This latest story arc needs longer in the teapot, so I'm going to take a few days and let it brew.

I'm not going to stop writing, though. Writing is fun! If I go crazy enough I may end up posting an entirely new story, despite my repeated vows to myself that I will not have more than one project going at the same time. We'll see.

Until next time, reader-peoples! <3
Just make sure your tea dosn't get cold! Otherwise you'll find yourself dumping it down the drain. I can't wait to see what you have in store!
The Eternity Legacy

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Vesaniae
09.01.2012 , 09:17 AM | #105
Thanks for all the encouragement!

I've decided that Chapter Twenty-five, the most recent chapter, is not up to my standards. I will therefore be deleting it. So just go ahead and pretend that you never read any of it.
Force Lightning: The solution to every problem. Every. Problem.
Afterimages * Walking Penumbral * Like Moths to the Flame
Forever Shenanigans!

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Vesaniae
09.02.2012 , 10:44 AM | #106
After some intense steeping, the plot of the upcoming arc took a level in awesome. I rewrote my entire outline and am now much happier with how the finished product will likely turn out. Also, for those of you avoiding Agent spoilers, good news! The new version reduces the amount of Agent spoilers by a large amount! They're still there, but the content is now more accessible.

Yes, that was a fast break. I just couldn't stay away!

Edit: I realized that there's no reason for this to be a flashback or an interlude, so this is now Chapter Twenty-Five.

Twenty-Five - Face of the Voiceless
Dromund Kaas
13 ATC



“If you want my honest opinion…” Arden Zariel said slowly.

“I would prefer sincerity, yes,” A’tro said.

“You’re mad,” Zariel said flatly. “Absolutely mad, both of you.”

A’tro smiled faintly. “Somehow, I had a feeling that you would say that.”

“My lord—“ the older woman started.

“Please,” A’tro interrupted. “You’re my mother-in-law now. You should call me by my name.”

Zariel raised an eyebrow. “And that would be what, exactly?”

Sometimes I forget that everyone thinks of me as the Wrath, A’tro thought. “Darth A’tro,” she said. “Just ‘A’tro’ will do nicely, though.”

“If you insist…” Zariel said reluctantly.

“I do.”

Zariel closed her eyes for a long moment. “Fine. A’tro.” She shuddered. “Do not mistake my meaning, please. I’m flattered that someone of your status and lineage would take an interest in my son, I truly am.”

“’Take an interest’?” A’tro repeated amusedly. “I married him, didn’t I?”

“Perhaps I understated somewhat,” Zariel murmured dryly. “It’s been difficult to process.”

“I can imagine,” A’tro said gently. “Emperor only knows what my own mother would say if she knew I had married a human.”

“No doubt she would think that you are lowering yourself, a sentiment that I cannot help but share,” Zariel said matter-of-factly.

A’tro frowned. “With all due respect, I don’t believe that you’re giving your son enough credit. I certainly don’t consider him beneath me.”

Zariel started to answer, stopped, then sighed heavily. “You have a point,” she conceded after a moment. “Malavai is certainly…exceptional. All things considered, perhaps he is more worthy of you than I had initially believed. However, I’m still concerned that the two of you have not thought this through.”

A’tro chuckled. “The day that Malavai Quinn fails to think something through is the day that the galaxy stops turning.”

Zariel laughed softly in spite of herself.

“He knew what he was getting into when he proposed to me,” A’tro continued, “and I knew what it meant when I accepted.”

“Nevertheless,” Zariel said, “I fear that formalizing your relationship in this manner has put his life in danger—and yours, as well. I know how most Sith perceive attachment.”

“My fellow Sith can think what they like,” A’tro said coldly. “If they think that I’m incapable of protecting myself and those close to me, they’re in for a nasty surprise.”

“I only hope you’re not proven wrong,” Zariel said sadly. “I knew a Sith once…” She trailed off, shaking her head. “Never mind. I suppose there’s little point in arguing about it, seeing as you’re already married.”

“Believe me, I understand your concerns,” A’tro said. “That’s why I wanted to talk to you. I realize that my relationship with your son might make your service to me rather…awkward, and I’d like to know whether you wish to be reassigned elsewhere.”

Zariel hesitated for a moment, then shook her head. “That will not be necessary. You are the Emperor’s chosen; I will follow you no matter what. If Malavai cares for you, then that gives me more incentive to insure that your enemies are eliminated. Besides,” she added with a small smile, “Janeth would kill me if I got us transferred. He does love being in the thick of things.”

A’tro returned the smile. “Then I will be pleased to continue having you under my command, Zariel.”

Zariel’s smile widened. “Since I am your mother-in-law, as you pointed out earlier, you really should call me Arden.”

A’tro inclined her head. “Very well, Arden. I must be going now; I’ll see you later.”

Zariel bowed. “I would appreciate it if you could come back tomorrow. I have something for you.”


*****


“Consider it a wedding gift,” Zariel said, gesturing to the box.

A’tro eyed it skeptically for a long moment, then carefully opened the lid.

Inside lay a rounded metallic object that she immediately recognized as a Sith mask. It was completely featureless save for a row of stark black characters etched all the way across where the eyes would be.

A’tro ran a tentative finger over the symbols. “My ancient Sith is rusty, but I believe this says “power in silence”.”

Zariel nodded. “So it does. This is the mask of Darth Zariel.”

A’tro’s eyes widened. “This is an heirloom, a relic. Shouldn’t it go to one of Zariel’s direct descendents?”

“Darth Zariel left very clear instruction that only a Sith of the family may wear the mask,” Zariel said. “She did not, however, specify a blood relationship. You’ve married into the family; that makes you eligible.”

“Shouldn’t the direct line have priority, though?”

“It would, but there isn’t anyone,” Zariel said grimly. “The last Zariel Sith was my great-grandmother, Darth Saryn. My mother was an only child, and my one sibling died childless decades ago. I have only Malavai. This is the end of the legacy.”

A’tro bowed her head. “It’s a tragedy.”

“It is,” Zariel agreed.

“You mentioned that the last Zariel Sith was your great-grandmother. Was she the last person to wear the mask?”

“She was.”

“I see,” A’tro mused. She carefully picked up the mask. “I assume it’s not cursed, or anything nasty like that?”

Zariel shook her head. “The ancestry and Force-sensitivity requirement is a matter of tradition only. I could wear it, if I wanted to.”

“If you say so,” A’tro said dubiously. She took a deep breath and put the mask on.

There was a long moment of tense silence.

“All right, I suppose you know what you’re talking about,” A’tro said once it seemed that nothing was going to happen to her. She turned her head carefully from side to side. The mask was surprisingly comfortable, carefully crafted with openings that allowed her to see and breathe that were not visible from the outside. There also seemed to be some kind of filter that caught her voice and gave it a slight electronic reverb.

She made a circuit of the room while Zariel watched. Her peripheral vision was restricted slightly, but it was nothing that she couldn’t get used to. The Force would make up for the reduction of her field of vision.

“It’s certainly imposing,” Zariel remarked.

A’tro nodded slowly. “I like it.” She turned to Zariel and bowed. “It’s an honor to be the one to wear this.”

Zariel returned the gesture. “If it means that Darth Zariel is not forgotten, then the honor is mine.”


A note on the timeline: This takes place shortly after Chapter Twenty-Four. The year in said chapter was 12 ATC, while here it is 13 ATC. Since the year is based on the Treaty of Coruscant, I would assume that the anniversary of the Sacking/Treaty is for all intents and purposes New Years. In other words, Quinn totally proposed to his girlfriend at a wild New Years party. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Force Lightning: The solution to every problem. Every. Problem.
Afterimages * Walking Penumbral * Like Moths to the Flame
Forever Shenanigans!

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Vesaniae
09.02.2012 , 02:19 PM | #107
This chapter contains mild spoilers for the identities of Sith Inquisitor companions.
Edit: Since I made the previous entry Chapter Twenty-Five instead of an interlude, this is now Chapter Twenty-Six.

Twenty-Six – Distant Thunder
Kaas City, Dromund Kaas
14 ATC



“How could this happen?” A’tro demanded. “Only a few days ago, the tide seemed to be turning in our favor.”

Darth Nox shook her head. “I don’t know. I don’t like it.”

“That whole system is Vowrawn’s responsibility,” A’tro said. “How could his forces suddenly be spread so thin? This makes no sense.”

Nox pursed her lips. “My sources indicate that key elements of Vowrawn’s power base have started to mysteriously ‘disappear’.”

“Oh, for—“ A’tro started exasperatedly. She stopped, took a deep breath, and started again in a slightly calmer voice. “Do people not realize that if we waste our resources fighting each other, we are going to lose the war?

“Sith will be Sith,” Nox said with a shrug. “There’s little point in complaining about it.”

“Do you have any idea who could be behind this?” A’tro asked.

Nox shrugged again, more expansively. “Darth Vowrawn has been on the Dark Council for a very long time. No doubt his enemies number in the multitudes. Really, it could be anyone.”

“It had better not be you behind this, Nox,” A’tro said warningly.

Nox gave her a wounded look. “My dear Wrath, you know me! Since when have I ever put my own agenda before the well-being of the Empire?”

“I can think of a few times,” A’tro muttered.

“Besides,” Nox continued, ignoring her comment, “what could I possibly have to gain by undermining Vowrawn? No, if I were to plot against any of my fellow Council members—“

“—it would be Ravage,” A’tro finished.

Nox sighed. “Insufferable man. One of these days, I’m going to burn that smirk off his face.”

“I think he has a thing for you, Nox,” A’tro teased.

Nox frowned at her. “Ever since you started wearing that blasted mask, I can never tell if you’re being serious.”

“I’m always serious.”

“I hope that this latest comment was an exception, because…” Nox shuddered. “Ick.”

“Oh, grow up,” A’tro said amusedly.

“There is a difference between ‘maturity’ and ‘standards’. I possess both,” Nox said regally.

“Really,” A’tro said in tones of extreme interest. “I suppose sheer sexual frustration would explain a great deal about your disposition…”

“There’s nothing wrong with my disposition,” Nox said frostily. “And I am a Dark Lord of the Sith. I can have any man I want, any time I want.”

“If they meet your standards, that is.”

“Shut up! I’m already sickeningly jealous of you as it is.”

“Of me? My goodness. Should I be flattered?”

Nox smiled evilly. “Whatever you like, my dear. Say, would you mind if I…borrowed…your Lieutenant Pierce for a time?”

A’tro waved a hand. “If you like.”

“What’s his first name, anyway?”

“I have no idea,” A’tro said. “Honestly, I’m not sure he has one. We’re leaving for Balmorra in a few weeks, but before then you’re welcome to…do whatever it is you want to do. I don’t want details!” she added hastily as Nox opened her mouth.

Nox chuckled. “Funny, and here I remember a time when you threatened me with bodily harm if I so much as looked at one of your crew the wrong way.”

“Pierce can handle himself. Quinn is mine, and don’t you forget it.”

“Oh, I won’t,” Nox sighed reluctantly.

“Seriously, is there some problem with your crew that makes you feel the need to go around seducing mine?”

“Xalek is an alien, Khem Val is…no, just no. Talos has remained oblivious despite my best efforts, and Andronikos continues to sulk even after two years.” Nox rolled her eyes. “That man is so touchy.”

A’tro snickered. “You mean the pirate? What did you say to him?”

“Things were going perfectly well,” Nox huffed. “I thought I’d made it quite clear that I wasn’t interested in a serious relationship, but then he went and got all clingy. He actually mentioned marriage, can you believe it?” She shook her head incredulously. “The nerve!”

“You laughed in his face, didn’t you?” A’tro guessed.

“Apparently, he took it personally.”

A’tro shook her head. “You really have no clue how feelings work, do you?”

“Oh, I’m well aware of that sort of thing,” Nox said. “I simply choose not care. It simplifies matters considerably.”

“I’m going to guess that the term ‘heartless b*tch’ has been directed your way a few times.”

“I take it as a compliment,” Nox said, standing straighter. “I am a Sith, after all.”

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean you—“ A’tro shook her head. “Never mind. You’re hopeless.”

Nox shrugged. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” A’tro asked suspiciously.

Nox grinned at her. “The married woman cannot hope to empathize with the plight of the eternal bachelorette. No, don’t go for your lightsaber.”

A’tro kept her hands on the weapons anyway.

“What you choose to do with your personal life is hardly relevant to my affairs,” Nox said airily. “So you married far, far beneath your social status. I don’t give a damn. In fact, I think it’s kind of cute.”

“’Cute’,” A’tro repeated flatly. “I may kill you just for that.”

Nox chortled. “The Emperor’s Wrath and Malavai Quinn—the Empire’s most dignified couple. Face it my dear, you’re simply adorable. Oh, put that thing away! I’m only joking!”

A’tro reluctantly deactivated her lightsaber. “How did you know?”

“That’s my little secret,” Nox said mysteriously. “Really, A’tro, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone knows about Darth Marr’s mistress, and I hear that Vowrawn has a harem.”

“Speaking of Vowrawn,” A’tro cut in, “if you come up with any ideas as to who’s trying to undermine him—“

“I’ll let you know,” Nox assured her. She seemed to sense A’tro’s bad mood, and shifted the conversation towards a safer topic.

After Nox finally left A’tro’s chambers, the Wrath pulled her mask off with a sigh. The news about Vowrawn’s mysterious enemy was disturbing. In a time of war, the Dark Council members needed to be focused on fighting the Republic, not shielding themselves against attacks from within the Empire. But who could be behind this?

A’tro shook her head. She took out her comlink and entered Pierce’s frequency.

“Yes, milord?” he answered after a moment.

“Hello, Lieutenant,” A’tro said. “You ought to know, Darth Nox may be paying you a visit…”


Darth Nox has some kind of bizarre magical quality that causes every scene involving her to become funny.

It's my natural charm.

If that's what you want to call it...


I admit, I find it rather amusing that you set me up with Pierce.

Hey, the guy deserves to get with someone. And you know you like those bass-voiced guys.

Me and the vast majority of your readership, no doubt.


Nothing wrong with that.
Force Lightning: The solution to every problem. Every. Problem.
Afterimages * Walking Penumbral * Like Moths to the Flame
Forever Shenanigans!

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bright_ephemera
09.02.2012 , 02:32 PM | #108
<3 <3

Quote: Originally Posted by Vesaniae View Post
A’tro snickered. “You mean the pirate? What did you say to him?”

“Things were going perfectly well,” Nox huffed. “I thought I’d made it quite clear that I wasn’t interested in a serious relationship, but then he went and got all clingy. He actually mentioned marriage, can you believe it?” She shook her head incredulously. “The nerve!”

“You laughed in his face, didn’t you?” A’tro guessed.

“Apparently, he took it personally.”
Ha! This!

I'll admit I tend towards Darth Nox here. It drives me nuts when some of these people get marriage-minded. Andronikos and Kaliyo stick out especially badly. Really, folks? Yes, I will laugh at you for that, especially after the tenor of our relationship to date.

And yes I did get confused the first time I turned an NPC down for marriage and he got upset. It was actually me acknowledging that I liked Quinn but he was way beneath marriage material for me...wow, that riled him up. Computer-boy got riled up. Oops.

Quote: Originally Posted by Vesaniae View Post
I admit, I find it rather amusing that you set me up with Pierce.

Hey, the guy deserves to get with someone. And you know you like those bass-voiced guys.

Me and the vast majority of your readership, no doubt.


Nothing wrong with that.
Bass-voice fangirl signing in here.
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 2000+ stories. New prompts weekly!
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Vesaniae
09.02.2012 , 02:59 PM | #109
Quote: Originally Posted by bright_ephemera View Post
And yes I did get confused the first time I turned an NPC down for marriage and he got upset. It was actually me acknowledging that I liked Quinn but he was way beneath marriage material for me...wow, that riled him up. Computer-boy got riled up. Oops.
I'm going to derail my own thread here to talk about Quinn, because why not:

I've spent far more time than I'd like to admit surfing through the options for Quinn's romance conversations, particularly #18... I find it quite interesting that if you reject him on the grounds that he's not good enough for you, two of his possible responses depending on the options you pick are some of the most emotional lines I've ever heard out of Quinn. I was quite startled. Said lines being:
Spoiler


On my second Fem!Warrior, out of curiosity, I turned Quinn down...and got the non romance legacy conversation. I guess he knows how to take a hint? Amusingly, you can still tell him that
Spoiler


Dialogue obtained from my transcripts of said scenes. Yes, I have transcripts. Most of them were done purely from memory. Obsessed fangirl, thy name is Vesaniae.
Force Lightning: The solution to every problem. Every. Problem.
Afterimages * Walking Penumbral * Like Moths to the Flame
Forever Shenanigans!

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bright_ephemera
09.02.2012 , 05:08 PM | #110
Quote: Originally Posted by Vesaniae View Post
I'm going to derail my own thread here to talk about Quinn, because why not:

<snip>

Spoiler

Ooh, thanks for the quotes! The only conversation I have exhaustively researched to transcribe is the Incident.

I just told him marriage wasn't necessary and he did The Sadface. The animation has been in BioWare's book at least since Dragon Age: Origins, and I remembered it from accidentally hurting Alistair, and it just shot straight to "DAMAGE CONTROL UNDO OH GOD I'M SO SORRY PLEASE NEVER BE SAD AGAIN." It really is gut-punchingly shocking to see Quinn admit to being hurt.
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 2000+ stories. New prompts weekly!
Bright's Fanfic Threads
Forever Shenanigans!
Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.