Log:Alderaan: Shadow of Delaya
Leilani city was a combination of industry and old Alderaan if the two influences had been married. Pollution was much more prominent here, like any industrious world, and the wear and tear of a city with a heavy population in that working class certainly showed. Buildings were not the shining pinnacles of architecture marvels they were on New Alderaan, and the city here clung to something older and much more primitive in nature, giving Leilani the personality that often came with 'old money'.
The Noble district was the closest to the Great Bay, the large inlet from the sea. In the far, far, far distance and through the haze and fog of the sea, one could see the eternal burning flames from Last Light, the Sealord seat of House Killesa.
Today's event took place in the most prominent structure in the nobles district, Leilani Palace. It is a foreboding building, with five massive peaks, watchtowers, and old-stone walls long decorated by the overgrowth of vines and other flora. The only thing that dwarfed the presence of the white palace was the massive mountains and crags that loomed beyond it. With an earth toned back drop to the palace, it made it easier to discern the presence of white gulls as they migrated to different areas of the harbor. Bells often rung, sirens going off as crane droids moved about the distant docks, and the hazy shadows of the naval fleet within the bay gently rocked with the coming tide.
Here sat the power of the Grand Duchy, seat of the ancient House Teraan, rulers of Delaya.
A shame the ancient house was reduced to one living member, a young woman in her mid-twenties now and sole survivor of an assassination attempt that claimed the lives of her entire family. Duchess Avlin Teraan presides over court, arriving at her throne with a view of the great bay behind her. Motioning for the proceedings to begin, members of the court were invited to petition her influence and involvement in matters, and if rumors were to be trusted, House Rist has just returned to the fold.
The same House responsible for all the horror that had come to Avlin's family.
"Have any Lords or Ladies come to petition the Duchess this day?" Asks a herald after arriving in front of the dais.
Ban Iskender, Prince-Consort of the Queen, was in attendance at the Delayan court today. Such was not rare, but the gentleman's presence did reinforce whispers that some significant business was planned by.. someone. The whispers varied greatly in that regard. For his part, Ban maintains a solemn demeanor, speaking with cool courtesy to any who approached, and otherwise behaving as a simple bystander to the Teraan audience.
House Thul was represented this day as well, the Countess and her husband absent and in their stead the younger brother. Bors Thul, titled Knight of The Black by the Queen - the now stately looking old fighter pilot in his house colors. Monocle in his eye, expression somewhere between absent minded and mildly irritated about whatever is to happen today.
Unarmored, but far from unarmed, with two blades hung from hip and over shoulder while his butler droid remains close - looking to be carrying other equipment should the situation call for it.
Perhaps it was commonplace, for those who had neither input nor influence in matters of court to attend such meetings. Perhaps it was such a strange sight that it was likely to fuel questions and consternation. The dark robed figure who had found a seat for themselves in what might have been otherwise denoted as the 'cheap seats', but here, were perhaps known as the 'viewing galleries' was unaware of such protocols. Though the silence in which they sat, hands lost beneath the sleeves of their robes, but, nominally folded in their lap, gave no impression that such concerns were their concerns. The masked face gave no impression of any emotion, though it was turned to observe the Duchess holding court.
It's an odd place to find the Echani, but word of a gathering like this was more than what he could ignore. Armed with his own sword hanging from his hip, dressed in his best of Echani finery black and crimson red accents as he keeps to the back wall and shadows.
A tall and imposing figure armored in black stands to the right flank of the robed and masked figure so often referred to as simply 'Councilor'. With a carbine held with its barrel directed to the floor at the trooper's left, DT-X10 stands in observation of not just the illustrious pageantry of Delaya's ruling class but also the trooper's immediate surroundings. Acting in some capacity as the bodyguard of some dignitary from the Sith Empire, no doubt. Where swords are worn aplenty, the one known simply as DT-X10 stands with but a serrated knife sheathed across the left side of his chest. He observes much of the court, making it a point to admire nothing.
The court is filled with gentle whispers as the Duchess shifts uncomfortably in her seat, another indication something was to take place this day. When the proverbial silence went on long enough, Avlin seemed ready to speak and the doors in the back opened with a bit of noise followed by the armored foot-falls of the two guardsmen pushing them open.
"The Lady Livia of the ancient House Rist!" They call out, though the absence of land to mention for which Rist was presiding over remained silent, something the court took into account as the whispers grew louder for a moment, then silenced as the lone figure in dark green approached.
Lady Livia was tall for a human woman, standing 5'11 in boots. She appeared unarmed, and wore an ensemble complete with a half cape, gloves, and tall boots. Her dark hair was left short, accentuating her pale cheeks, ruby lips, and cold stare. Every Alderaanian knew Rists were killers, trained assassins that either served themselves, or the good of Alderaan.
It remained to be seen which sort of Rist Livia was going to be. As she approached the center of the room, passing through an aisle which had Lords and Ladies on both sides, she came to a halt before the dais and bowed, sweeping her cape to one side. "Your Excellency."
A Rist's presence has a marked effect upon the Duchess, who again shifts in her seat before deciding to lean forward, contempt in her stare. "Lady Rist. It has been a long time since the Rist walked these halls; why have you returned?" Avlin had gestured for Rist to straighten.
"Not all that long," Livia corrects, taking a moment to glance around. "My House has returned from exile by Order of her Majesty, the Queen. I petition the release of House Rist's holdings, so that my kin might have a home again. I understand that there is some.. history between House Rist and the esteemed members of this Court, but it is my hope that through our service to Alderaan, we might one day return to our former strength."
An anxious murmur passed through several circles at that. Many families hold cities or resources which had once belonged to Rist. Yet which would dare oppose the legendary assassins?
A clear voice speaks up: "If it please the court," one among the courtiers steps out from the press, "Which of the former Rist holdings does Lady Rist seek the return of? Or is it a question of all or none?" The speaker is tall gentleman in his middling twenties, with blue eyes, a strong jaw, and an athletic build, marked by thick dueling scars at the base of his left ear, and above the left eyebrow. He wears fine but not ostentatious royal blue and black garb, tall boots in the native style, and carries a simple naval saber in a sheath at his belt.
An unconscious lift of one hand towards his face at the mention of histories and Lord Thul's countenance turns to something not unlike thinly veiled ire. Hands folding behind his back and his posture changing fractionally to shift the weight to his left leg while he stands. Head turning to focus his right eye on Livia Rist, data-scrolling up the HUD of the monocle pinched before it.
One hand going to the cuff of the other, keys concealed in the fabric are pressed and L7's upended bowl like head lifts, optical sensors shifting from an off-white to a gold colouring. A sniff from Bors at Rist's comment on 'returning to former strength' and a deepening of the frown cutting into his features.
When attention shifted away from the Grand Duchess to the woman now making her way into the hall, the masked face turned in that direction, tracking movement as the Rist woman approached. Still, the hands remained cover, and no other movement betrayed the shift in attention, from Duchess, to Rist, to the man now voicing his concerns.
Losor watches hand resting upon the pommel of his sword. Ice blue eyes peering about taking in all those in attendance. Losor remains to himself keeping silent watch his way of staying out of the way and still being useful.
DT-X10's helmet turns this way and that, taking into account the sudden sea of murmurs and shifting presences. It is neither the Grand Duchess, nor this Lady Livia Rist that the trooper's dark green tinted visor turns but quite literally any and everyone else. It isn't a frantic survey of his surroundings but the slow and purposeful consideration of many elements one after another. There's drama afoot however and everyone loves a good drama, so while he may be keeping visual tabs on his and the Councilor's surroundings and those within it; he's providing at least a fraction of his ear to the unfolding dramas as the one young noble steps out to present his question to Lady Rist's desire for returned property.
Livia turns slightly, lifting her gaze toward the tall gentleman, the effort almost lazy. When her gaze settles upon him, it does not waver and takes root. "A fitting question. I would say /all/ of them, but I am aware that when my House was deposed, our holdings were split among many in this court. For now, I petition the ownership of Shadow Tower. Its battlements and deep archives would serve my mission to her Majesty, and put an end to the old Rist regime responsible for the scars many of you bear; visible or unseen."
Livia shifts her stance, putting her back to the gentleman to regard Avlin. "Shadow Tower has been home of Rist for ten thousand years. It is my birth right."
"A right forfeited when House Rist sided with the Pretender and murdered my family, your liege lords." Avlin said, anger toned in her voice.
"I never broke faith, your excellency; it is that very reason why I was put away on Belsavis to rot by mine own family."
"Yet, we invite a House at war with itself back to Alderaan, and we are supposed to take your word that you are a 'good' Rist as opposed to whom? The bad Rist?" Avlin sighs aloud, pointing at Livia. "I see no distinctions here, my Lady. You are a Rist, and it may have been the blood flowing in your veins that stayed their daggers when they conceived some notion to move you out of the way, but no such mercy found my family. Or my people. -- Now the Gods test my patience. Well, Lady Rist, I have no holdings for you. The Shadow Tower, the other fiefs.. gone to more deserving.. /loyal/ families."
Livia doesn't seem all that angered by the reaction, but she nods. "This is why I am petitioning, your excellency. Those lands and holdings do not belong to those families. They belong to mine."
The young Lord who had first stepped forward exhales quietly when the Shadow Tower is named, eyes dipping in the look of one who badly wishes they had been wrong. As Livia and Avlin volley back and forth, and the Rist states her continued claim. "I feel compelled to speak otherwise, Lady Livia," before formally naming himself to her, "Aitax Rendon. Baronet of the Shadow Tower and Commander in Her Grace's fleet," with a bow from the waist to Avlin. A baronet being the very lowest rung of noble title.
"The modern holding of Shadow Tower is limited to the ancient castle itself, together with the surrounding lands for one kilometer. These lands are without population, apart from those Rendon has supported, and generates no notable wealth. My family's revenues are produced by our commercial ventures; a fact some present are no doubt aware," he adds, with a short-lived smirk that earns a few polite tension-diffusing laughs from his supporters among the new money, and sniffs of distaste from some among the old blood.
"As was agreed thirteen years past by the late Countess Liadon, and as was affirmed upon his own ascension by the current Count Liadon: for our service and contributions to the Planetary Defense Force, my family are recognized as the rightful vassals of Shadow Tower." He turns in place, hands held out to his sides to regard those filling the throne room. "We've never failed in that fealty, or ever proved untrue in our loyalties. Rendon has been the model of a faithful vassal, and we've given no just cause- *none* - for being stripped of our station."
A long breath is drawn in as the Baronet lets that claim sink in, and his stare rests at last on Lady Livia. "The war whose end saw the Rist exiled deprived us all of much. My own father died in that strife, and I won't meekly accept that your return should deprive my family of our rightful rank. House Rist still has claim other lands. Rendon has none," his eye goes from Livia to Avlin, "And I appeal to my liege lady's wisdom that we keep it."
"Grace, vaunted Umbral Tower being the flashpoint it clearly is - Thul could tuck Rist into crags on our periphery. Aberrin, the spine of stone and ice - where naught goes without Gravenheim's watchful gaze upon it." Bors says at last, expression still grim and glowering for Livia, utterly absent his more common benign absence. Instead his attention is laser focused on the proceedings and the growing, potential, arguments.
"A minor parcel, a Manor at best description, but an allowance for Her Majesty's wishes for Rist to serve to be done, without upsetting present nobility..." mouth tucking to one side, lips pursed.
Is she a good Rist? Or a bad Rist?
If the former, set her to her work. If the latter, drop a house on her.
"But it would guarantee no inconvenience for minor blooded who have kept the faith." head tilting like a raptor on a branch, turning towards Lady Rist again.
Now there were three players on the field of battle, and the masked face settled somewhere equidistant in its focus, so that none drew more of their attention than any other. A brief tilt of the head came in the midst of some comment or another, but not at any point which might have betrayed weight given to one position above the other two.
Losor keeps his eyes peeled starting to move around keeping himself to the walls and as far out of sight as possible. His gaze falling on all the assembled he could.
DT-X10's helmet shifts to regard the latest player to enter the fray. It lasts for all of a heartbeat before again the black armored trooper moves his attention onto another point of interest. His head tilts for a moment in the fashion one may associate with confusion or curiosity from a domesticated animal. Then it corrects itself and continues onward.
Livia stands her ground, turning slightly to regard the Baronet, her expression much the same as it had been when she entered the court. She listens to his points, brow perking when he casts shade upon her house. "It is true, House Rist broke faith. There are no ancient Houses of Alderaan who can claim they have kept faith during times of strife and power. House Ulgo after the assassination of the Panteer Queen during the Old Republic, House Organa and House Alde when they broke concordat with House Panteer to treat with the Old Republic. House Cortess and House Thul when they broke concordat to treat with the Sith during the Old Republic. There are no paragons of faith, and yet.. all of these Houses took back their holdings and were permitted to resume."
Avlin stifles a cough, "You cannot mean to regale us with ancient history to substantiate a claim, Lady Livia."
"No?" Livia asks, turning back, "But I can with money. House Rist could purchase the land out from under these nobles. I have no shortage of wealth and continued income of compounded interest dating back thousands of years. Let us not forget House Rist's chief contribution to this nation."
"I think we know well your trade, Lady Rist." Avlin interjects again, disgusted.
"And yet, your excellency, it is House Rist that Alderaan turns to when it is at its darkest." Livia's gaze take in the Sith in the audience, settling over Losor, the Death Trooper, and the Councilor, before resting on the Prince-Consort himself.
Lord Bors' voice cuts through then, and Livia turns to regard the old name, bowing slightly in that way old money recognized old money. "House Rist would be in your debt, Lord Thul. I assume the litigation over our holdings will take longer than this court is allotted. So I will make arrangements for our kin to go to this minor parcel. You have our thanks, my Lord."
The litany of great houses breaking faith over the centuries is answered quietly by the baronet: "Not Rendon. Our title is not for sale, Lady." A look aside as Bors speaks up, a moment's hope flickering through his eyes at the prospect of a territorial substitution, followed by a small nod as Livia accepts, at least for the moment.
When Lady Rist looks to him, Ban is regarding her back, the bearded gentleman observing her words and manner with his familiar stoicism. The matter of Delayan court proceeds without his interruption.
"House Rendon has nary yet had time, were thee a babe thine hair would still be wet from the womb..." Despite the truth of House Thul's checkered past and The Black Knight of Alderaan's generally lackadaisical treatment of court and protocol - Uypiia was not present, so it was up to the Champion of House Thul to be just that.
Even if Rendon's comment was meant as an affirmation of their loyalty. Even no ill will was intended to others. The barb was out there and Thul Remembers, even if decades pass before they provide their rejoinder; sometimes it was immediate.
"Lady Rist, porters shall make work to get thee and thine upon the manse. Because I yet agree that litigious endeavor shall take greater time than any of us have time for. Practically wins the day, but be aware, Lady Livia, of the reminder twice in this diatribe. Thul Remembers."
Perhaps it was only a passing calm, this seeming accord between one House and another. Now a fourth person, to which the helmed face turned its attention. A shift, something in the shoulders, perhaps, or in the way weight settled in the seat appointed for them, but no less attention was paid to the courtly details now being arranged.
While more voices join into the courtly debate, DT-X10 continues to survey his surroundings. While the nobles of the Alderaan sector manage their own internal affairs, the Death Trooper among them turns his attention to watching those who may be doing just as he is. Watching everyone else, rather than the action. It's the one or ones that aren't honed into the lively debate that is could present the threat. While the trooper may stand out like a recently hammered thumb among most of the court, it is still the eye that wanders in DT-X10 and the Councilor's direction that tends to garner the greater moment of scrutiny from the black clad trooper. He maintains the grip on his slung carbine, but for now its barrel remains unthreateningly turned down and aside.
Livia was on the verge of answering Lord Bors when something noticeably caught her eye and she turned from him to follow whatever clue she picked up on. Avlin, whose nerves were already shot, looked ready to toss the entire petition out and was preparing to do just that until the sound of glass shattering disturbed the court.
"TO ARMS!" One guardsman yelled, producing his rifle only to be picked off from a distance. It was not a lethal shot, the shock ball adhering itself to their armor and disabling them. However, stealth generators release and the sound of clanking metal cannisters bounce along the stone floors, emitting smoke with a loud hiss.
Frightened Lords, Ladies, and bystanders flock to the exits. The last view of Lady Livia Rist anyone saw was her running up the stairs of the dais and toward Avlin Teraan. The smoke around the throne and the hidden figures was briefly illuminated by the red hue of a blaster rifle that went off three times, followed by the scream of the young Duchess.
Figures in black who materialized in the court, were dressed like assassins, but lacked much of the proficiency of well trained assassins. They become locked in battle with the guards, numbering roughly 15 in total.
Ban's intent scrutiny of the drama playing out ends abruptly with the screams and broken glass. The dragoon's gloved right hand extends toward the throne, mustering what power he may at range, while his left hand grasps and ignites his scarlet sword.
Amid the chaos, words are lost in a cacophony of shouts and Baronet Rendon can offer no answer to Bors; instead the young man can only draw his durasteel naval saber and dash toward the spreading smoke.
Assassins for the Assassin...
A press of his left cufflinks and the hangar on his back clicks, dropping the powered blade hung over one shoulder and into a waiting hand. "Why do they always need make it so public?" Bors's grumbling rasping between clenched teeth when he sets to moving. Approaching at speed in the smoke and chaos with the crimson glowing sword arcing up to dispatch one of the would be assassins.
"El-Seven." called out to the butler droid that issues a lowing sort of grunt, head rotating and communications going out. Lord Thul's continuing arc of his blade wheeling around - a broad swipe that is caught on an armored vambrace before he older knight is pushed back off his balance.
The masked and hooded figure, who had been still and silent for the duration of the court proceedings did not speak even now. They announced no action, nor called any to arms. They simply rose from their seat, moving with effortless grace as a fire blade ignited in their hand, the darkly silver hilt sparking golden as they moved to engage those who appeared to have been taking the opportunity to pose a threat to the last of House Teraan.
Losor charging into the smoke he moves to the first enemy he spots. Three slashes and each goes wide or is deflected. His own mind so preoccupied he doesn't notice the attack that strikes him, though in his anger he does manage to deflect the next two.
Things take a turn for the dramatic when suddenly there is a shouted call to arms, smoke canisters hissing, and a stun ball stuck to a guard's torso. As many begins to scatter and flee, the Councilor begins to move toward the throne where the attack seems to be directed. DT-X10 moves swiftly along with the Councilor, attempting to utilize his own body to cover her back. He is an abundance of movement and action. While DT-X10 moves his stance transitions from a straightforward stride to keep up with the Councilor, to suddenly sidestepping, and then even walking in reverse with one hand held with a palm directed behind himself and fingers splayed. While the sudden eerie green glow shining dull from his helmet feeds into the active pulse emitters which directs details of his surroundings and the threats within it into his helmet, he still uses that hand to prevent himself from colliding with the Councilor during his steady backpedal.
The pulse emitters alert him to the presence of another through the smoke, moving toward his and the Councilor's advance. He pauses. The hand behind, preventing him from colliding with the Councilor shifts up and grips his carbine. He fires. The whining shriek of the carbine, the red glow through the smoke as the blaster bolt slashes through it for a split second, a scream of pain that is accompanied by the momentary pulse of fiery orange that glows within the expanding cloud as the would-be assassin's chest cavity erupts in flame. Then he's on the move again with a hand dropping from cupping the barrel of his carbine. It falls back again to renew its place, ensuring that he does not suddenly back into and trample over the Councilor in their movement. Even while he hears the tell-tale sound of a lightsaber humming and doing its own work behind him, DT-X10's attention remains on those vectors not immediately covered by the Councilor.
The attack was sudden, but so too was their planning it seemed because the coordination was lost amongst the chaos of smoke and fighting. Needless to say, they did not expect the Sith to have such a turn out! Many were slain in the initial scuffle, and shots began to go in every direction.
Those within proximity of Duchess Teraan and Lady Rist see that Rist had not orchestrated this attack, but was instead, defending Avlin from harm.
In the brief exchange she had with one of the assailants, she struck their weapon from their hands and slipped around them with the fluidity of water. In a succinct motion, the neck of her attacker was captured in a tight hold, and she jerked it one direction until it broke.
Avlin, who had been knocked out of the way of danger, hid behind the throne watching Livia move like a wraith in the smoke, and it triggered deeply-rooted trauma from her childhood. Scrambling away from the Rist, Avlin has to navigate the maze of smoke, and in her rush, she runs right into Baronet Rendon, who had just slain one of the attackers. "Do not harm me!" She says in earnest, arms up to defend herself as she ran for the naval officer.
The smoke was beginning to clear now, and 10 assassins remain, locked in combat all over the throne room. God rays of light was beginning to pierce through the smoke from the broken window, and a fresh sea-breeze carried much of the smoke outside, alerting the city to the chaos as smoke was coming out of the palace! Oh no!
Ban Iskender deflects a pair of blaster bolts upward with casual ease, making a point of scorching the ceiling rather than risking a bolt being sent into the crowd. Cold green eyes don't even deign to fix upon those who shot at him, instead searching out those nearest the throne and stalking toward them.
Aitax Rendon is further behind Livia, fully impaling one would-be assassin with a sword thrust, wrenching the blade down to loosen it enough to pull free of the dead man before continuing in his haste to where the Grand Duchess was last seen. As Avlin emerges, the Baronet calls, "This way, your Grace!" casting a cloak around the lady's back in hopes of hiding her from any marksmen, before cutting down another assassin with a vicious slash.
Restrictive clothing does make for a fast defensive, or offensive, action.
His cape in in the way, trousers... -everything- and they've only served, briefly, to flare and distract when blaster bolts came his way. Ducking and rolling along the floor in a movement that was a great idea when he was in his youth an ideal move. Now it's a reminder that he may need to look into HRO treatments soon.
"That's going to hurt later." back up on one knee with the powered blade thrust through the side of an attacker, pulling free with a hard sideways jerk that Bors carries too far, still getting used to this blasted thing - the bilari going wide of a second target.
The Councilor, though, perhaps, in this moment, they might have better been address as Achlys, moved in concert with the trooper behind them, the pair fighting point and counterpoint as could only be achieved through years of long practice. Any attack which came towards the trooper seemed to find itself redirected to the robed figure, and they always managed to be elsewhere when the trooper fired. The assassins of ill skill were slowly thinning, three falling to the fire blade, even as the smoke began to clear.
Losor dancing around and he sizes up the opponent a smile upon his face. Strike one misses he's still smiling, the second deflected, the third he drops his blade connects with the leg dropping him as he laughs.
They are still on the move and DT-X10's hand remains behind him to prevent his collision with the Councilor during their movement. He keeps note of her position in comparison to his own through the active pulse emitters built into his helmet. The collision is unlikely to happen, but creating an artificial failsafe with his guiding hand prevents a potentially fatal mishap. He shifts his own vector to the right, just as one of the would-be assassins appeared from the rapidly thinning smoke. Whether they were attempting some haphazard escape or truly rushing toward the back of the masked Councilor otherwise known as Darth Achlys; he couldn't be certain. All that the commando knows is that they are a threat until they are no longer a threat. Under these circumstances a threat that is dead, is no longer a threat.
The carbine whines again as a lance of scarlet energy flashes, collidings with the midsection of the assassin, and sends the body pitching forward onto its face to slide with a squeak across the polished floor. The stink of charred meat already wafting into the air. Thankfully such scents are filtered from the Death Troopers helmet.
Another alert from the pulse emitters broadcasts the present of another threat. A flash of movement to his left. He leans, twisting his torso with the lean as his free hand swiftly rises up to grip the underside of his barrel. He fires across his own body with the carbine clutched in at his chest and held high so that a tilt of his helmet will permit him a cursory glance to his sights. Again the carbine shrieks as a scarlet bolt erupts from its wide bore barrel and collides with the next threat. The body runs for a step more before it too crumples to the polish floor; still hissing from the superheated plasma launched into its face.
Again the hand drops back and away, ensuring the collision does not take place. It is at this point that the stormtrooper commando begins to shift anew, rapidly taking in all approaches and analyzing for potential threats to himself or those within his immediate vicinity marked as friendlies.
With the last of the assassins cast down, officers of the guard stormed the room led by a pair of Knights. Stepping through the chaos, they had their eyes set upon Rist, who they leveled the points of their swords toward. "You are under arrest, my Lady, till we can determine the cause of all this."
Livia turns slightly, seeing Avlin being escorted to safety by the Baronet, out of sight. Good. She looks back toward the Knights and steps down the stairs, hands raised. "So be it, sirs, but I shall leave with dignity. Spare me your restraints, I come peacefully."
Rifles raised at the Rist, she doesn't bat an eye, and stops before both Knights who nod. "Very well, this way, ma'am."
Others were seen to as well, and the investigators were just arriving. Media drones were already outside the palace trying to get a view of what transpired, but the only thing that was caught 'on camera' was Lady Livia being escorted away.