Jorg had not been able to sleep since waking. He feared it. Not that he might not wake again, but to dream of his lady, Morgan.
Vizan for the first time in his life did not press. Such happenings said loudly how sorely he was compromised. How had all his years in the Watch been wiped away clean. By one woman in so short of time? It was unfathomable. Yet he'd stared out the temple's windows watching as Morgan's well wrapped body departed for parts unknown. The jedi had said such a creature. Which had drawn his ire,deserved an undisturbed rest. A wave of hurt had squeezed him hard enough to let a few tears slide free. Why had she died? When the shadowy interloper had made it quite clear, they'd still had time.
He remembered how the light had glowed around her as she'd laughed. Making him feel warm as he'd called her his lady, and she always would be. "I'm sorry about Morgan." Vizan said uncomfortably as they walked towards their transport. Jorg shook his head, readjusting his robe and re-positioning himself where he should have been as a protector.
"How is it she could do this to me? It's not as if we've known each other for years. I barely knew her. " Jorg took a shaky breath.
"Yet I know she was my one. How did it happen?Why,now only to lose her?" He gripped his hands tightly. Vizan bowed his head.
"The will of the beyond is above our understanding. Perhaps it was a test. To show you your weakness and strengths."
Vizan grabbed his brother's arm gently but firmly. In the same manner he continued.
" Brother, I am glad you found what all men seek to find. She made you mortal, warm and not the cold unfeeling bastard that the Watch had turned you into. " Jorg snorted. "Don't you have to go chose a bride?" Vizan involuntarily shook. Then smirked. "Then you too must come and chose. You're going to be spending just as much time with her as with me. She might as well be someone we can both stomach." Jorg chuckled as he followed his brother to their shared compartments. Rubbing at a sudden odd tug on his heart.
"You are sure our possible problem has been extinguished?" King Vizla asked the grub of a hutt. "Yes. Three master's, 2 of her companions and one Siti tracker. Were seen boarding, along with the remains on the only transport going to Tatooine." The king pondered such an escort and what it could possibly mean. Were the jedi just going in the same direction, or was there something more to it. Vizla tapped on his lower lip before deciding.
"Keep them followed." The slug's droid nodded then proceeded to ask.
" What of your other problems?" King Vizla smiled. "I fear my dear cousins will not make it home. Such a pity." Terra frowned. That had not been the plan that they'd discussed. To kill the princes outright was far too risky. Was Vizla truly ready for the repercussions? She'd rather liked putting the death of the crown prince on his brother's head. As for the changeling and her companion's, they were on their way to her well paid mercenaries. Even though it was dead, the body of one could be quite useful.
"So where are we going, really?" Manni asked as they took their seats. "Tatooine. Tracker says there is an old legend that the first of her kind was received there. Amongst the Sands of Death." Master Kala informed his two companions. "Sands of Death? How are we to get through them?" Steai shook his head, Manni never read a book. "It is said that those of the blood may pass unharmed." Manni snorted. " Fine, but she's dead. So why are we even going?" Kala nodded. Manni had asked a valid question. "Tracker has said it would not matter weather dead or alive.The path would open for us. " Manni hmft. "Well isn't that a comforting thought. And how does the 'ole' dog head know for certain the path will open?What if it doesn't? What then? Do we leave her to the sand people to pick over? Or do we pack her up again and find a much more suitable planet for her to fertilize?" Steai shook his head disgusted and rose."Really Manni."
Heading for the hold's hatch, opting to join those who were keeping the poor girl's corpse company. Manni flippantly saluted his friend as he disappeared down into the hold.
Then narrowed his eyes and folded his arms at the master. "Alright old man. You maybe able to fool him, but not me. Don't clam up either.
I heard not only about the bar, the guard, but your interestingly little show down in the vault. Quite impressive for a mere cleaning girl. Especially when she'd never had a day of training in her whole life. So that leads me to believe she's one of the blood. Possibly even that former slave girl as well. So are we out for a power trip?Or simply curious to find out if all that was fable is fact." Master Kala chuckled.
"My cousin was right about you. You're far too cunning. You made that insulting remark to make Steai leave. You also, I know. Know how to keep your mouth shut, so I will answer your assumptions. Yes, they are. No, this is not a power trip. I am content with what I do have, but it is perhaps more of a childhood fantasy rather then curiosity." Which took Manni by surprise, as he tried to envision the craggy old kalamarian as such. "Did my predecessor never invite you?" The master sighed heavily. "No. They were already ancient and distrustful of even each other by the time I arrived on the council. Had been so for over 200 years." The master sighed heavily." It is sad to know that such long lives were wasted in such a way. Then again, how could any of us know. What it must be like to live so long and see their world's change time and time again. Knowing that to make friendships and alliances is to only see them age and die. Thank the galaxy our lives are short." Manni leaned forward and put a concerned hand on the elderly master's knee. "Master?" Kala waved his concern aside. "I feel it boy. Its coming. Yet the how, when and where is still not clear. " Manni bite his lower lip and leaned away. "Do not play hero or mourn. See to your duty and much will be revealed. Now go pester your insulted friend. I have a feeling this rest will not last long." With that the dead man closed his eyes to get what sleep he could.
"How do we bring her out of this?" Zorri said as they sat beside the warming body.
"No idea, Brave one." Tracker said keeping watch for any signs of waking. If she woke while that Mando. butcher's descendent was still so close. It was said that the Chosen would have no recourse but to follow. She may not have taken his blood, but the siti warrior was sure the boy had taken hers. Morgan nor his people were ready for that revelation.
"So what the shadowy boss want this time capt'n'?" First mate Gorr asked. Captain Blood growled and Gorr stepped back. "She's not the bloody boss! She just has an uncanny knack for knowin when we need the bounty. One can almost believe in those so called force abilities."
Gorr nodded fearfully.
" I said almost. That bitch knows because she perpetrates our troubles. Raking her foul arse over the keel is so far the only way I know how to snap back." A knock came at his door.
" What do yah want you kriffing bottom feeder?" The muffled voice from the other side said.
" Just wantin to know if we were takin hostages or killin 'em' all capt 'n'?" Blood opened the door scratching at his blood stained and bone braided beard. " Which one? That blonde of hers has hired us to dispose of his unfortunate kin. " The skinny shade of a man replied with a quiver to his voice. For it was well known the captain liked to kill a man a week if not a day when the mood suited him.
"The transport headin for Tat. sir."
The captain smiled. "Well after we see who we have left. We'll see what we can get for the lot on Tatooine. All except for that specialty item in the hold." He shivered. "Of all things to lay claim to she wants us to steal a Changeling's corpse. Just un-kriffing natural."
Taking a moment to think he continued.
" Send out the raiders and lets be done with both jobs before sunset. Tatooine's slavers should have a look before our product sleeps in one of those filthy pens. " The man then left and went about his captain's orders.
" So which one should I settle for? Don't give me that look. Like I said before being a brother-in-law you'll have to stomach her presents nearly as much as I will. With of course the obvious exception." Vizan shivered each time he thought of what was expected of him that night. He sighed. None of this would have been necessary if Morgan had survived. Sure he'd had to have dealt with the council, his father and not to mention his beloved brother. He was sure his brother would have understood. It wasn't like he'd have needed her for more then one legitimate heir. After that, well other queens had their own male harems.Morgan wouldn't have had any problem filling hers. Except it now was all a moot point. Morgan was dead.
Captain Blood kicked at the Kalamarian's limp body as he perused the damage.
"Sorry lot this is. Nothing really worth our time. Where's Ripper? Didn't him and his crew take the hold?" Gorr nodded as they stepped over rest of the dead men. Lifting the cargo floor door they expected to hear Ripper yell up. Not the unsettling silence.
"Ripper? Ripper where in the hell are you?" Gorr called as he leaned down into the darkness. Always a mistake. Two large bear claws came up gutting him with such precision that the man didn't even have time to scream. Swearing and cursing Blood fired straight into its face, just barely avoiding its grasp. It fell with a satisfied roar back into the bottom of the hold. Shutting the gut splattered door the captain yelled. " Get me men, women and even the children. Let it feed on them while we hunt it in the hold." The once fearsome pirates took no time in shoving their once thought of rich product down towards the hold's oppressive hatch. One by one they went until none remained. Yet there was no screams of pain or pleading to an un-answering deity. No sounds of tearing flesh, rendering of sinew. Nothing.
"This isn't right. Gorr, Ripper and his men. Now nothing. One of you go down and see what's going on down there." When he didn't get any volunteers, he pulled his blaster and convinced a few brave soul's.
Morgan felt the deaths and tried to waken, but found herself lost. Then a fish headed Kalamarian appeared. " You're alive? How?"
Morgan felt herself. "Am I? Are you sure?" Master Kala shook his head at the bewildered girl. "As certain as I am, that I am dead. Of that I am 100% sure of ." Morgan rattled her head. "Then how are you here? And what, what happened? I stepped through the door with him....Oh my God is he alright?" Morgan asked as if afraid of the answer.
" He? As in Prince Jorg. He's gone home, alive. Why didn't you waken?" Morgan paced back and forth, her hands gripping each other nervously. " I don't know. I've tried to escape but all I do is go around in circles. I didn't want to feel so many perish, I wanted to help." Morgan cried into her hands. Kala hugged the child. In her adrenaline induced guilt ridden phase it had kept her bound. Lost inside her own mind. "Morgan, free yourself from fear and guilt and you will awaken." Morgan stepped away from the master's touch.
" What fear?" Kala opened his hand, an image of the prince and her kissing appeared.
" The fear your heart holds. It is this that kept you from waking while he was near. Do you think he does not fear the same? Yet he at least does not cower from it as you have." Morgan growled.
"Are you calling me a coward?" Kala snorted.
" I'd have thought that evident. Admit what you fear in your heart and be free of it. Awaken before it is too late for others."
Morgan slapped him across his face only to touch air. " That is one advantage of being a ghost. You don't have to take such rudeness. Now out with it girl." Morgan grumbled and stomped away, something she'd hadn't done since she was 4. " All right, fine. Though it makes no sense, I'll confess it I l..l..love him."
She smiled. She did, she loved him. Looking around the Kalamarian was still sitting cross legged on his patch of non-existent cloud.
"All right budda what's up? Why haven't I flown the coup?" Master Kala sighed, in all his wonderings of what a Pathbourne would actually be like. Obstinent and rude hadn't entered his imagination.
" The guilt child. None of the death's that occurred were your fault. This was the Force's will. God's will. Let go of it." He said gently.
Morgan sat straight up as someone smashed or tried to smash her head in. Ripper's arm was the first victim. Then the rest, as the wrapping exploded into mounds of fur. The hold became a mess of blood and gore by the time Gorr opened up the hatch.
Steai and Manni had followed the girl's up at the first sign of trouble, becoming overwhelmed soon after. At their capture two of the crew laughed as they took the master's sabers.
" Hee-Hee, these two freaks should get quite the richly sum. Fully human jedi, you don't see many of those these days." Zori had then finely sliced off their heads. Getting her punched in the face and hauled to the side for the captain's personal inspection. Along with her weapon picking friend.
Tracker had taken to the high ground on top of the numerous crates in the hold waiting to attack the first one to disturb the Pathbourne. With the great bear's appearance he stayed treed, unwilling to accidentally become the next on her list. It was only after the gutting, shooting and slamming of the hatch that he'd braved the approach. He hurried quicker when he heard the grunting groans of the bear turn into a woman's painful whimper.
"Morgan? Pathbourne? Are you alright?" Tracker felt where her hands were. Where two dangerously serious bumps told the story. The shot had taken her in the head, but there was no blood, no holes. He sighed in thanks, but it didn't last long as she gave him an odd look.
" Who are you? Do you know who I am?What did you just call me? That can't be my name, it doesn't sound right." The siti-warrior gasped.
" Come child we must get to safety." As he helped her up, the bear pelt split. " Oh dear." Morgan held the front to her as the rest sloughed off onto the floor.
" No time child, come." He took her up in his aging arms, she weighed less then one of his grandchildren. Planting her in the far back behind a circle of crates. He made to go back to the hatch. "Wait! You can't leave me. I don't know who we are? Or what's happened to me?" Tracker shushed her. " I will be back shortly, but for now you must be calm. Be quiet for all our sakes." Then he licked her face and left her. To his fortunes the pirates had decided to feed Zori to the beast first. Getting to the bottom Zori found her mouth assaulted by flesh. "Quiet brave one. Follow your instincts and they will lead you to her. Keep her awake. She has taken a series of bumps to her head. I shall stay here and position the people to attack when the galactic scum must come down themselves." Zori nodded and quietly headed into the back, towards Morgan's position.
"Holy mother! How are she still alive?" Fie exclaimed as she saw Morgan's face.That was starting to bulge. Zori shushed her.
"That's not her only problem...." Morgan coughed softly. "Hello holy mother is right here. Though I don't think that's any where near my name. Do you think you could at least tell me it before I do begin to believe I am the holy mother." The girl said sarcasticly.
Zori and Fie looked at each other for a moment. Fie shrugged her shoulders seeing nothing wrong in telling the girl her name.
Zori licked her dry lips. When they heard a snap of a neck in the dark ahead of them.
"Is there a reason we are down here and not up there?" Morgan asked.
"How do you.... never mind. We got pirate trouble." Fie answered. Morgan sank back on her crate."Well if you take out the captain. Usually the man that does so becomes the new leader." Fie smiled wickedly at Zori, Zori for once smiled back in full agreement.
Jorg made it to the refresher just in time. He hadn't felt this bad since he'd woken up the day after Vizan's princely coronation. Where Prince Vizla had put a seemingly friendly wager on his re-knowned bodyguard and drinking partner. Against Vizan's choice of champion. Of course it had been him. Vizan knocked rapidly or was that just the pounding of his head. Which ever it was was now upending his stomach. Vizan stopped as he heard the unpleasant commotion. This was not a good time for Jorg to be down. Shaking his head he returned to the bridge of their ship. "Send out a distress call and put those thrusters into overtime. Yes I know it dangerous, but so are pirates."
Zori peered up at the hole after dispatching the last two volunteers."Captain Blood! I will stop killing your crew, if you face me in combat. If I kill you, I get your dwindling band of miscreants. If you win, well that's self explainatory." The bearded man laughed. " You? Your just a gal and a puny one at that. Wouldn't get much for you on the block. Course with the two jedi. Wouldn't even need the rest of this lot." Zori peered up hopefully."You'd let us go?" The remainder of the pirate's crew laughed.
"No. They don't call me Blood, for nothing. After a bit of fun, we'd slit your throats." Zori swallowed uneasily. "Then you can indulge me. Unless your scared of this puny bag of bones."
One of the crew was heard."Ye can't let her get away with that." Blood growled and nodded.
"You got yer self a deal. Tell those raider's to hold their positions. Wake those jedi may need some healin after I run this stick through." He chuckled and winked.
The old captain laid face down in a lake of his own blood. Fie smiled."Blood's in blood. Now whose next?" The quiet crew threw down their weapons and hailed Captain Zori as their leader.