Katanra, in a rare moment of happiness, laughed at a joke the bartender had just told her. It wasn’t a corny one liner rather, it was a very sarcastic play on reality about a simian driving a speeder.
Turning away, Katanra sipped on her drink. Yes, she had a few already but she felt that she could handle it. She reflected on how things had been going nicely for her lately. She had even got a few jobs done and had a little more credits than normal for her, this she put aside for latter. There was a certian purchase in the form of a replacement armor plate that she was saving for.
Katanra felt that things were good. She also felt slightly worried, for when things usually went this good, something went horribly wrong. Sure enough she was correct. Her data pad beeped at her and she opened it. As she read the message, her face dropped into a frown, then shock, then complete devistation.
She sat down as she continued reading, setting her now forgotten drink on the bar counter. “No…” She whispered, then shouted. “NO! This can’t happen now… not now.”
The bartender noted her distress and inquired what was wrong.
In response Katanra stood and placed a cred chit on the counter and shook her head. “Something bad back home. I have to go.”
“Home? As in your home planet?” The bartender inquired.
“Yeah, Aria. Something horrible has happened, something I have to take care of.”
“So you’re some kind of higher up there?”
Katanra smiled, “Something like that.”
Katanra quickly left for the space port and launched her fighter as quickly as she could. So disraught, Katanra didn’t even notice that her conversation didn’t go un- noticed in the cantina, nor did she notice that others were following her.
Katanra headed out to one of the satellite stations above the planet. It was a long journey back home and a full fuel tank as well as a general tune up would be in good order before she jumped into hyperspace.
Noting that there were two ships following her, Katanra also wanted to be able to put some space in between herself and anyone following her. Aria did not take kindly to intruders. Any who thought differently soon changed their perceptions as they encountered Aria’s defenses.
Entering a docking bay, Katanra jumped out of the cockpit and wandered off to find some parts to tune her ship.
Katanra jolted to alertness as the station’s klaxons sounded. She was negotiating with the parts clerk as the alarm continued to sound. The clerk noted Katanra’s concern and spoke up.
“Meh, no worries traveler.” He said, “If it was serious, there’d be a call for the security forces. Oh, you seem to be on your way somewhere far, anything else I can get for you?”
Katanra looked blandly at the clerk. It really was beneath her status to engage in conversation, much less buy something from a peasant. Still she had to play the part of a commoner. She sensed other Force users around and did not want to give into her anger at having to deal with such an underling.
“If you must know, I am on a long journey and no, I do not need anything else from you.”
“Oh,” the clerk replied. “You sure cause…”
“I’m quite fine,” Katanra cut in. Her anger and frustration were building and it would not be low key of her to kill the one aggravating her. “Thank you.”
Gathering her things, she hurried back to her ship muttering things about how the trip home might have been worth it. So distraught was she that she didn’t even notice the other Dark Side presence lurking in the shadows.
Lord Iurus stood in the corridor. As he browsed the feelings of those passing by, a gem came through the rubble. Rather than worrying about a mate she was cheating on or the thousand credits in her purse, this was one was frustrated about delays in returning to a planet that had a powerful fleet, a wealth of Sith knowledge, and skilled warriors. Perhaps it was time to leave his meditations.
“Your feelings betray you,” he said to the Arian walking past.
Katanra was caught off guard by the soft intrusion into her thoughts. Jumping slightly and cursing as the parts she had just purchased fell to the ground, she glared at the Chiss appearing out of the shadows.
Stooping over to quickly to retrieve the items, she asked in a smart tone: “Yes well your thoughts would do the same to you if the situations were reversed. Are you going to help with the mess you caused or not?”
Not really waiting for an answer, Katanra shoved some of the items into his arms and darted off towards the hangar where her ship was docked.
With a flick of his wrist, Iurus lifted all of the parts into the air. They hovered menacingly in the space between the two Sith Lords.
“I am not interested in waiting for you to make repairs. I have my own ship docked.”
The parts in the air vibrated slightly, as though they wanted to be used as weapons- or at least, smashed into the wall.
Katanra skidded to a halt and glared at Iurus. She had just spent a lot of credits on those parts, but that’s not what mattered. What mattered was Iurus. She had heard of the Chiss Sith Lord, and now she was seeing his arrogance first hand.
Although… Katanra thought Lord Iurus might be of use yet.
“As you wish, my Lord.” She said softly, “Bring your ship and meet me in hangar 3537.”
Melding with the shadows, she stalked away to her ship in preparation for the journey.
Lord Iurus prepared his ship, and met Darth Katanra at the arranged dock. He had to wonder what he was thinking- where were they going, and why was he giving her a free ride?
He didn’t mind, though. He was going to a planet that had not been seen by the Sith in millenia. He would have access to previously unexplored temples and secrets, and perhaps some gain might reveal itself once he met the fabled Arian warriors.
Then again, perhaps he was looking for a disappointment. He had heard of the Kwi- a formerly grand race devolved to herd animal status. Perhaps the same had become of the Arians.
Soon, though, he would see for himself.
He parked the ship near the waiting Katanra, and opened the door.
Katanra emerged from her ship carrying three items: A satchel that contained a datapad among a few other minor items, a case that held her Beskar blades, and a small case that held her ship’s computer core.
The last was the most important, for without it her ship simply would not operate. Katanra did not trust the occupants of the space station not to pick apart her ship, so she made sure that any tampering would not be successful.
Taking one last look to her ship, she stepped aboard Lord Iurus’. Dropping her sword case gently onto the deck, she slipped the computer core into her satchel as her heeled boots announced her arrival into the cockpit where Iurus was waiting for her.
Taking a seat that she assumed to be the co-pilot’s, she dug out her data pad and looked up the coordinates to her home world.
“Are you ready?” She asked. She wanted to make sure there was no doubt in his mind before she let him have access to where her home planet was.
“I am,” Iurus responded, immediately beginning to power up the ship. As he glanced around to check the status of the starting systems, he returned his attention to the main console and was surprised to find his passenger unabashedly leaning over him to input the coordinates into the navicomputer. He himself did not feel much shame or awkwardness in any situation, but as she brushed past him he wondered if this was a trait common to her race or merely her hardened past as a Sith.
Iurus found himself mired in the tedium of lifting off without permission and entering hyperspace. He almost wished he were the type to engage in meaningless banter while flying- it would certainly relieve the boredom- but decided against it. Not only would he find himself at a lack for words, Darth Katanra was a Sith in very much his own mold, and would not be likely to respond.
Hyperspace was much the same, although he found her demeanor somewhat different. Now that they were en route, he sensed a certain nervousness about her. Her body language, on the other hand, was entirely dissimilar. She displayed a certain confidence that could only be described as… regal. It was different from the regular posture of a Sith Lord, with its quiet yet brutal intimidation and underlying explosive nature.
As they traveled through hyperspace, the Chiss Sith Lord made a point to notice her silent nerves at whatever was going to happen at her homeworld- he could sense something approaching that she had never before doubted her ability to do. He nodded- the expected always came as a shock when it came at an unexpected time.
He settled down in the pilot’s chair as he waited for time to approach hyperspace reversion- they had time to kill, so it would be up to her if she wished to ease her anxiety and perhaps offer him conversational experience in the meantime.
As Katanra settled back into the passenger’s chair from inputting the co-ordinates into Iurus’ nav computer. She wasn’t ashamed of close contact with another being. Not only was it in her very nature, but she also was sure enough of herself to do as she pleased.
Sighing to herself, she pulled up the message that had started this whole affair.
Three cycles past we were called to action by our King. Our task was to protect the King and his family, however the enemy overwhelmed our defenses. The King, the royal family and caste, are in the care of the Fabric now. The capital is left in chaos, and you are the last heir that can restore order.
You order implores you to return, and with all haste. Your people need you now more than ever.
This news still hit Katanra hard. She remembered that her clan was a close relation to the ruling caste, but something drastic must have happened if the order was seeking her out. Noting Iurus’ interest in her behavior, she looked at him and shrugged slightly.
She made her body posture so that he would know she’s open to talk, but doesn’t know what to offer in the way of conversation starters. She would converse with him if he desired, but other than that she would remain silent.
After a few hours had passed, Katanra was still thinking. She was wondering why Lord Iurus, a known loner, would want to accompany her to Aria. Even more so, why was he letting her aboard his ship? Her curiosity started burning at her mind. As hard as she was pushing it away from her mind, it kept coming back.
She looked over to him, unsure as how to start the conversation. Few knew how reserved she really was, almost on the verge of shyness. Starting a conversation with someone she was unfamiliar with was very difficult, and when she did finally speak it showed by means of an accent on her basic.
“I.. I’m sure you have some questions my Lord.” She started, “Can I offer any answers?”
Darth Iurus almost smirked at the accent in her voice, which for some reason reminded him of an innocence that was out of place in a discussion between two Sith Lords. He remained stone-faced, but only barely.
“I’m curious as to what you’re going there to do,” he replied. “It doesn’t seem entirely unexpected to you, and yet you’re-” he placed a hand on her shoulder conversationally, and she jumped back slightly- “quite nervous,” he finished coyly.
“Also, I have an interest in your planet’s history with the Lords of the Sith.”
Katanra sighed and handed Iurus the data pad. “There’s been unrest on Aria for ages, part of our nature I suppose” She said. “Apparently, the royal family has been killed along with the rest of the guardians…”
“My clan was of close relation with the ruling caste… and I am the only living survivor of that clan. If the royal family is dead, that leaves only one viable blood relative to resume the linage.”
Katanra looked down before answering the other of Iurus’ question. “As for our relation to the Sith… it involves something you are familiar with- Alchemy.”
She paused a bit, placing the words needed. “My species was created by the Sith by sorceresses using alchemy to blend dragons and their servants together. At first, these were no more than mindless animals that were fighters for their owner’s defense and protection. This was a few thousand years ago.
Later on though, a few started refining the beasts and they became more human in appearance. The next generation was deemed sentient and a small experimental population was allowed to breed. Over the years after that followed, the Dragons evolved into quite the surprise, especially when the Sith on Aria were over thrown by their own creation.
There was a war between the groups, with an agreement of sorts being reached. We would still serve the Sith, they would still be their servants, but not their slaves. The Arians were granted recognition as a species, and were still used by the Sith.
Eventually, the Sith left Aria at some point in our history, an event that coincided Revan’s rebirth of the Sith. There’s no record of Bane’s Sith coming to Aria, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t know of us. Considering that Aria has a fleet that is a remnant of the Sith Armada… I’d imaging that someone of the Brotherhood knew enough that Aria would be a safe haven that the Republic wouldn’t know of.”
Iurus nodded. There were some holes in her history, but he was lucky to get that much out of her. He wondered how much of this was common knowledge on Aria, and how much of it she had learned on Korriban. The absence of the Sith Brotherhood and, more tellingly, the True Sith Empire that orchestrated the Mandalorian Wars, caught his curiosity.
Iurus wondered which species originated on Aria- the dragons, the servants, both, or neither. Her story reminded him very much of Naga Sadow’s Massassi warriors, and wondered just how many species existed as a result of the Sith.
He considered asking more questions, but she had the look of one who was looking more to the future, than the past. He wondered what it would be like if he, an exile from his people, had been called upon to lead the Ascendancy. From what he knew of either story, Katanra’s childhood was much like his own.
A flicker of warning from the Force alerted him shortly before his ship did, and he flipped the switch to emerge from Hyperspace. Space slowly streamed into view, and he decided he should see what he was facing. Reluctantly, he took his attention off of the Arian and focused it on the viewport.
The mythical Arian fleet was in his face and very much real. Hundreds of weapons trained on his ship as he exited hyperspace. He raised an arm, prepared to turn their weapons aside, but stopped when Katanra- standing on her toes- placed her hands around his elbow, signalling him to stop.
Apparently, everything was under control.
And so began the calculations in the Chiss’s brain. Had he been betrayed? Was Darth Katanra in over her head?
In any case, he would be prepared. The Dark Side was with him.
The view port showed the majesty of space reform around Iurus’ ship and Katanra was at the ready. She knew the fleet would be there, and held her ship’s computer core at the ready. Placing soft touch on Iurus’ arm to keep him from doing something that would get them both blown to pieces, she leaned over him to place the core’s jack into his ship’s comn. counsel.
Once the frequency was established she spoke. “(My friends, I have returned. Lower your weapons and allow your Queen to pass.)”
A short wait and an inquiry came over the speakers: “Ni shuo shenme? Ni shi shei?”
“(I am the one called, the one who has bloodright to take vengeance and restore the clans. Do you dare stand in my way?)” Katanra put every ounce of authoritative pressure into her voice. She was slightly startled at the commanding presence this lent, but so be it. Her familial code was good, and a few moments later the fleet stood down. They were free to pass.
“Wo de zhu, huanying ni lai. Qiu ni gei women anning. Yi xie ren hui pei ni zai ni de jia.”
So there is still war. Will have to be carefull. “Xiexie. Wo mingbai, women dou xiwang anning.”
Closing the connection she gestured to Iurus they were free to continue to the surface.
Darth Iurus listened to the exchange, largely ignorant of the words being exchanged but understanding very vividly through the Force. They had not been expecting her- but nor were they willing to fire upon her. She had been in control of the situation the whole time- a Sith trait.
She gestured to him, and he almost responded. He was a Lord of the Sith, no one’s servant. But he bit his tongue.
For a second, even he was ignorant why. Was it something about this being? Did she have such a sway even over him; had she been working a subtle control over him ever since they entered Hyperspace?
It was less that, he shortly realized, than respect for the Sith in general. While he despised some individual Sith, the title still deserved its respect, and he was willing to make minor personal sacrifices to see a Sith Lord gain in prestige and power- as long as she took care to respect her limits. Next time, he would have to remind her. This time…
He took the ship in. Sensing Katanra’s intention to land near the large building with the life forms in it, Iurus kept it in his sites. However, he found it suited his will to land where he sensed the great concentration of dark emotions. There was fear, anger, hatred- there was murder, revenge and lust. There was the Dark Side of the Force, and it made him feel at home.
The building was perhaps two kilometers from the great palace, and it was quiet enough that he landed on the roof. He was certain someone would wish to attack them, but not before they stepped off the ramp.
He could use a fight- he had been cooped up for hours with no blood to shed.
Sending her mental greetings and warnings to her brethren Katanra lagged behind Iurus as she came down the landing ramp. Things were already getting off to a grand start as a few of the Elite were out to meet Iurus. Hanging back in the shadows Katanra warned the Elite that if they were in danger to back off and do so quickly. Otherwise, they could do as the pleased with Iurus.