The newest installment of events covers some of the background events and story that occur between our RPG adventure sessions. This is set around 1 ABY. CJ, Nessa, and Blade have just finished delivering the Alderaanian War Frigate "Another Chance" to the rebels. Danara has her first encounter with Dontaine Strykia, which is followed up with her seeking out Blade.
Without Blade knowing that Danara is Anna's mother, he initially realized that she's the woman from his Force dream. Perhaps she's destined to be his wife, but then he finds out she's Dark side.
It sets the stage for Blade and Rena to hook up. The question that lies ahead is, if Danara and Blade are destined to be together, is Rena going to be in the way? We'll just have to wait and see.
Of Blood and Honor: CrossroadsEdit
“You’ve done a great thing to help ensure that freedom will return to the galaxy, Miss Morgan.” The rough, gravelly voice of General Airen Cracken showed compassion, even though his demeanor portrayed him as a gruff war vet.
“Yes. The General is right. You’ve also done a great service to the memory of my family and my people.” Princess Leia’s voice was full of emotion, both sorrow for the memories of those that died on Alderaan and hope that the treasures on board the Another Chance would aid in the cause against the Empire. Even via the holo-communication, that much was obvious. “The Alliance can’t do much to reward you, but you have our deepest thanks.”
“Well, I know that there’s not many that will believe it, but I’m glad I could help.” CJ cast her eyes down, but the smile spreading across her lips was sincere and heart-felt. “It’s a good way for me to pay back all the times I’ve been a selfish brat. The Empire needs to feel the sting of a good ole’ fashion Corellian screw job now and again.”
“Are you sure you won’t reconsider?” Cracken asked.
“I know you probably have forgotten the day we first met, back in your school days on Alderaan, but I do remember. You were headstrong… I remember that. It’s your spirit that we could use. You’ve proven that you have no love for the Empire. Fight with us.”
“You know, some other day, perhaps. I’ve got some loose ends to tie up first.” A lop-sided smile crossed CJ’s lips as her eyes lit up. “Maybe once we get things squared away, we’ll come knocking for a job when we're ready. Besides, I pulled Solo’s butt out of the fire on this one. I figure you guys will need saving again. We’ll be around.”
“I see you Corellians are cut from the same cloth. All the same, may the Force be with you.”
“And may the Force be with you, Princess Organa.” CJ responded as the communication ended. The brief thought about using that statement crossed CJ's mind. Two years ago, she would have never used it. Now, it almost felt natural. Maybe Graydon was having more of an effect on her than she thought.
“Now then, Captain Morgan, I’m asking that you do take on an unofficial Alliance position.” Cracken added.
“Uh, wait a second General…”
“No, not like that. Even though our operatives in the Manchi Sector, along with a couple other friends of the Alliance have spoke highly of you, I have other plans. This matter concerns a member of your crew.” Cracken turned towards Nessa sitting quietly behind the table in the room. “Private Carré?”
Snapping to a standing position, Nessa saluted quickly. “Yes sir!”
“At ease.” Cracken responded. “I’ve reviewed the records of your previous assignment and seeing how you are the only surviving member of your team, you are placed in a position for re-assignment. Even working with independent, shall we say, operatives, you have managed to still carry out tasks against the Empire. For valor and service, I’m granting a field promotion of special liaison to you.”
“Yes you.” Cracken smiled. “Your new mission parameters are intelligence and monitoring, attached to Captain Morgan and her crew as a freelance operative and Alliance liaison. As a member of Special Operations, I know you’ll assist the good Captain in disrupting the Empire whenever you can. Make us proud, Sergeant.”
“Sergeant?” Nessa let out a squeal of utter joy. She quickly found her composure again. “Yes sir! Thank you, sir.”
“Now get out of here before I change my mind.”
Nessa quickly snapped off a salute. CJ, feeling a touch on the brash side, also snapped off a mock salute before both girls turned to leave the wardroom. Walking down the corridor, Nessa was quickly talking about recent events.
“So we recover the legacy of Alderaan for the Alliance and we get offers to join, along with a promotion. I feel like a war hero.”
“Ok, ok. Now don’t get cocky.” CJ responded, trying to maintain a serious air. “I, we, are still independent contractors.”
“But CJ! Think about what we did!”
“I know… It was pretty cool to spring the trap early on the Imps and save Solo's skin.” The smile that spread across her face told Nessa that CJ was trying to play the tough smuggler, but she was actually quite proud about the help they had provided. “Damn Imps deserve what they get!”
As Nessa prattled on, CJ could only laugh at the young woman’s enthusiasm. Within a few minutes, the two arrived at the hanger bay where their new ship, the Skipray Blast Boat was landed. What were they going to do with this ship? CJ’s eyes came to rest on the tall man sitting on the ladder, currently chatting with a rebel pilot. She felt her stomach do a somersault when Blade turned to look at her, offering her a smile across the hanger deck.
“Dack here tells me they’re recruiting starship captains for a program that the Alliance is test-bedding.” Blade said as the girls neared the ship.
“Oh really… And what might that be?” CJ inquired.
“Privateer duty. Sounds like legalized piracy where the ‘loot’ is sold to the Alliance.” Blade answered.
“Hmmm. Interesting.” CJ said as she took in the young rebel standing by Blade.
“Yes ma’am.” Said the pilot. “The Alliance contracts a captain to basically disrupt Imperial interests and sell the cargo to the Alliance.”
“And you are?”
“Sorry ma’am. Dack Ralter, Rogue Squadron.” Dack replied.
“Well Dack, as I told the General, we’ve got business to attend to, but I’ll keep it in mind.”
“Alright. Hey Jace… Good to me you. May the Force be with you.” Dack said to Blade, referring to Blade’s assumed identity. “Ladies.” And with that, Dack turned and left the trio.
“May the Force be with you, too.” Blade bade Dack as the young pilot departed.
“New friend, Blade?”
“He was admiring the ship.”
“Alright. Well, I think we have other business to attend to, namely getting back to my other ship and the girls.”
As CJ started climbing the ladder up to the ship’s hatch, she noted that Nessa and Blade had stopped, looking up at her.
“Ok, now what?”
“Your ship?” Both said in unison.
“Yes. The Ride.”
“No. I believe Nessa and I are referring to this ship.” Blade stated, motioning towards the blast boat, with Nessa nodding in agreement.
“Alright, alright. OUR ship. You guys are pirates, you know that?” She chuckled. Shaking her head as she turned to continue boarding the blast boat, she quickly added, “Can we go now?”
The Vyborg, Rokgun, always considered himself an apex predator. His opinion of himself was always quite high. He was a top notch bounty hunter that would some day come into his own and with that, become a person of importance. His aspirations were great. Some day, he’d rival the infamous Boba Fett. All he needed was one big score. That day was at hand.
The silly stone he’d stolen from underneath Zorg’s nose was going to give him the wealth he needed. That stone was going to buy him his ticket to the bigger hunts. Possibly even the Great Hunt if they had another one soon. That’s when he’d show the galaxy who he truly was. Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg. What a fool. The man thought he was on caliber with some of the other criminal bosses in the galaxy. Stealing the Kooroo stone and hiding it, intending to sell it later was a far better plan. A plan that Rokgun helped mastermind. It showed that Zorg was a two-bit thug. Now, this new buyer would pay Rokgun what he wanted for it.
The human female watched Rokgun closely as he worked; digging through the pile of junk, searching for the stone he’d said was hidden there. Her short, dark hair was tousled in the breeze, which also brought a bit of dust along with it, threatening to sting her eyes. Her long, dark coat flapped harmlessly in the breeze.
The pitiful Vyborg was a weak-minded fool. Influencing him through the Force had been too easy and he’d led Danara straight to his hiding place. Still, she was beginning to feel uneasy as she watched him dig through the debris on Lotho Minor. The feeling was increasing by the minute. There was a disturbance in the Force.
Once she felt the Vyborg’s mind verify that he had found the Kooroo stone, she wasted no time in acting. Her quest was complete and she was ready to move on. This disturbance only made her want to hasten her departure from this scornful trash world.
As Rokgun knelt, cleaning off the stone, he suddenly felt warmth bloom in his chest. Looking down, a blazing red glow protruded from his chest. Before his last breath, he identified the distinct hum he heard as a Lightsaber. It’s blade piercing his chest.
“I’ll be taking that.” Danara said as she grasped the stone in her free hand and watched the dead Bounty Hunter slump to the ground, freeing her saber’s blade. “Thank you, Rokgun.”
“And thank you, beauty.” Came a voice from behind her. The wash of a Dark side presence flowed over her as she turned around to confront the intruder. The tall, black-haired man standing in front of her was the source of the disturbance. She was sure. His face was covered in a mask, but his eyes were glowing.
His eyes were glowing. No. It wasn’t a blue glow. They had a red glow. But there was something familiar to everything. What was it?
A humanoid stepped up next to the man, dressed in clothes that weren’t meant for combat. His clothes were too regal for this world. And he spoke as if subservient to the man with the glowing eyes. This one was weak, the masked one was not.
“My lady. Thank you for saving us the trouble. Now place the stone on the ground and surrender it to my master.”
“Your response displeases Lord Reaper.” The worm replied to Danara’s answer.
“Ah. So this is Reaper? This is the one that Harkness wants so bad.” The renegade Antrixian that Inquisitor Syanne Harkness had attempted to hunt before the Emperor had ordered her back to the Inner Rim. Taking this prize would put her ahead of Harkness and show that she was stronger than that pitiful woman.
“Shut your mouth, wench.” Reaper stepped forward, brandishing his lightsaber, igniting it’s red blade as he advanced. “You either give me what I want, or I’ll pry it from your dead hands."
“You’re welcome to try. I, however, think your head will be a fine trophy to bring back to Byss.” It was about this time that Danara noticed the movement to either side of her. Armored creatures and humans were attempting to surround her, climbing over the walls of trash and junk to gain a vantage point. She would have to act now or deal with all of these attackers at once.
“No.” She stated. Feeling the Force flow through her, she summoned a destructive wave of raw Force energy, sending it out towards those that surrounded her. The kinetic wave slammed her attackers into the debris, while at the same time sending more junk into them or cascading down upon their resting places. She hoped they enjoyed their new tombs as they perished. It served them for making a foolish choice. Reaper, however, seemed unaffected.
His advance had stalled though. He stood paces in front of her, poised to strike though. Danara’s choice was to close the gap and finish this. Stalking forward with her lightsaber still in hand, Danara wrapped herself in the Force, preparing for combat.
Reaper, or Dontaine Strykia as he was once known, felt the events turn against him once again. This mere girl in front of him wasn’t supposed to be a threat. She was supposed to be a rich scientist or collector or something. Now, he was seeing her as a huge threat, obviously a member of Sidious’ Dark Jedi rabble. The truth of the matter was that since his last encounter with his mother, he had begun to doubt himself.
When facing the average person in the galaxy, Dontaine/Reaper could use his abilities to make him seem like a god. The typical citizen of the Empire stood no chance against him. But these hunters and Inquisitors of the Empire were something else. That’s why he needed these stones so badly. The stones would give him the power he needed. First, it would allow him to track down Allyson and Graydon, finishing their training and bringing them to his side as his hands of destruction. The Commonwealth would be his and he could focus on expanding his own empire. Perhaps he’d have a legacy for his son to inherit.
First, he had to get that stone though. And this woman was in his way. Things had looked better at the beginning of this endeavor, but not so much now. He had to draw her off balance. Yes. He’d hold his position giving an appearance of doubt and weakness.
And that is what Danara saw as she stalked closer. Reaper was full of doubt. He had entered into this event with dark confidence, now he doubted the outcome. Good. She would use that. He was weak. He would be an easy target.
Just as Danara was preparing to grasp Dontaine in the Force and finish his time running from the Empire, she was taken by surprise. Launching himself into the air, aided by the Force, Dontaine spun in the air, his saber striking out at Danara, landing behind her in a ready pose, which quickly transitioned into the fluid forms of the Gai’din fighting style.
She quickly countered, igniting the other blade of her dual saber as she parried away his initial attack. Dropping into her preferred form, Danara began to spin her double-bladed lightsaber deftly, block away Dontaine’s attacks.
Spin. Block. Thrust. Parry. Flip. Slash. Parry. Reverse. Stab. Duck. Slash.
The leveled combat continued, with neither Danara or Dontaine gaining ground. Matched in their saber skills, they would have to resort to different advantages if either were to win this encounter.
This is where Danara would excel. She immediately pushed waves of dark emotions out from herself, enveloping the area in the Dark side. Dontaine, being overconfident that the Dark side was his ally alone, was caught unaware. He quickly backed up, saber at the guard position, but unable to continue his assault.
“This isn’t over!” He shouted. Backing away, he saw that the woman was focused on maintaining whatever she’d done to him. But from where he was standing, it didn’t feel as strong. He’d have to get around that next time. He had to flee now, though. Summoning the Force, Dontaine quickly blew a wall of debris towards Danara as he enhanced his running speed and fled through the junk in retreat.
Danara was quick to repulse the wall of garbage coming her way with a wall of Force. When the dust settle, she was alone. But she had the first stone. A fifth of the way to achieving her goal. Reaper would have to wait to die until their next meeting.
Once again, Graydon found himself fighting the currents of his emotions. Parts of him felt like they were knotted tight, others felt like they had been torn away. His hopes and dreams for one, along with his heart, felt dashed against the rocks of a shore of an ocean from long ago, when his life had been different.
The hangover he was experiencing wasn’t anything to relish in either. It had truly been the first time he’d let himself go, drinking in excess, not caring about the outcome. Last night, he wanted to be numb. Numb from the pain that had him walking a line he swore not to walk. But as far as he was concerned, it was alright. After all, he needed to put himself in enough pain that he wouldn’t want to make the same mistake again.
He’d gone to Manchi after returning from the near-capture in the ruins of the Alderaan system. After helping deliver the last ship with war supplies that Alderaan had ever made to the rebels, Graydon and his friends had brought back their own piece of Alderaan history in the form of the The Nightengayle. The blast boat was an older ship that was intended for the royal family to escape from danger if needed. It was theirs now.
He'd ventured off to Manchi to see Lana Zem. It was business that ended up in Graydon letting his guard down. He'd felt something when he was with Lana. That was before he knew that there was darkness in her. Before he knew she was held in the grasp of the Dark side.
If that were even her name.
Three times she had come into his life and he had felt energized each time. Parting was sweet sorrow, but after the last night they spent together, something had clicked within his mind. Graydon had a knowing. The Force, along with his own mind had worked in conjunction, showing him that his dream was going to come true. She was the woman with blue eyes in his dreams.
Graydon had a recurring dream in which a lithe female with piercing blue eyes handed him one of three children. One had blonde hair, like her mother… Or did she? That part wasn’t clear. But regardless, the oldest was standing next to him, watching. He knew her. This daughter was different, but he knew her and saw light in her. The woman of his dreams handed him a daughter, this one had the eyes of his family, and he felt the wind on his face. Wynd. “That was my mother’s honor name.” He said softly. The other was cradled in his wife’s arms. Blue eyes. Those were Lana’s eyes… “Maybe I have to fall in order to achieve all that I am to achieve. I’ve failed if I do.” It was more of a whisper.
“Hey now. That I heard.” The soft, sweet voice caused him to look up, right into the face of concern. Rena stood next to him, watching with concern for his well-being. Last night wasn’t just a drunk for Graydon. No, she’d seen him in full self-destruction mode. The morning after was rocky, but he was awake and still alive.
“I’m sorry, Rena.” Graydon said softly. “This isn’t your burden. I thank you for your hospitality and I’ll take your leave.” He began to get up, just in time for her to place a hand on his shoulder, sitting him back down.
“I don’t know what or who caused this, but when I see a friend of a friend in full blown destruct mode, it becomes my burden.”
“No. You can’t help.”
“Yes I can.”
“No you can’t.” Graydon stood up, almost too quick, which put him off balance. He recovered quickly, without Rena catching sight of it. Thank the Force for years of training. Squaring up and looking her straight in the eyes, he stopped quickly, almost backing up a step.
He had been ready to do exactly what he did every time CJ challenged him. Back her down and bully his way past her. Instead, he saw that Rena wasn’t challenging him; she was showing compassion and caring. There was concern in her eyes. And he knew that he was allowing his emotions to rule his actions. The voice of his mother quickly jumped into his head, repeating a line from her journal: “Start a family if the Force wills it.” It was time to regain some serenity and surrender to the will of the Force. That felt right, right at this moment.
“I’m sorry Rena. You’re just trying to help.”
“Yes I am.” She responded. “You are something else. Just when I think I can get a read on you, Mister Blade, you do a 180 and throw me off.”
“I’m not following.”
“You. I was ready for a fight. Although I doubt it would be a fair fight.” Rena smiled. “Now you turn it around, back to the princely guy I have met before.”
“I wouldn’t fight you, Rena. You are like a sister to my near-sister. I can’t dishonor myself by hurting you.”
“Yes. CJ. I count her as a near-sister.”
“I thought you and her had feelings…” Rena blushed a bit.
“There may have been something there, but I think the time has passed for that.”
“Really?” A smile crept across Rena’s lips.
“Rena?” Graydon cleared his throat. “Is there a problem?”
“No problem.” Patting Graydon on the cheek lightly, she gave him the warmest smile she could. “Go shower and get cleaned up. Day old whiskey breath doesn’t become you.”
“Right.” Graydon said as he began to step past her. Rena motioned towards the refresher as he stepped by. And with a mischievous smile, she gave him a swat to the backside to get him moving just a bit faster.
A few minutes later, Graydon found himself under the spray of water in the refresher unit. Water units like this were a rare pleasure, especially on a space station set away from most planetary bodies. He figured that Rena must pay a fortune to have a new supply brought in frequently to restock the reserves on board. The water was just what he needed, helping work tension out of his body with steady heat. It was easy to slip into meditation, standing there.
Tuning the outside world out and focusing on his breathing, Graydon turned his senses inward first, allowing him to relax more. Soon, he felt the ebb and flow of the Force. And for the first time in his life, now being able to feel his own abilities grow thanks to Master Verkaik’s holocron, Graydon opened up to the Force and stretched out with his feelings.
Awareness of Rena in the next room came to him first. There was an excited expectancy to her now. Next came his friends scattered about the station. There was a grayness around everyone, but nothing that felt dangerous. His friends were like beacons of light within that grayness. Deep within the Force, Graydon caught a glimpse of the galaxy around him. The Nebula close by, the vision of countless stars…
And then Darkness. A terrible Darkness reaching out, searching for him. Within that Darkness there was a light, but it felt dim and hidden. There was anger and rage, sadness and despair, fear and loathing, but also hope… Hope that perhaps things could be made right.
Within the Darkness, Graydon saw a world he was familiar with. But then everything rippled and vanished. He was left feeling a shock, like a jolt of sadness and pain sent into his head, along with a chill. Dismissing it as a vision of the memories of current events, Graydon turned off the water, stepping out to dry. When he was dried and dressed, he came out to a scene he wasn’t sure he was ready for.
The lights were dimmed and what appeared to be candles burned on a table. Behind the table sat Rena, dressed in a very revealing, black, shimmersilk robe with little else. Glancing at his chronometer, he quickly noted that he’d been in the refresher for close to an hour.
“It’s about time.” Rena said, more mockingly than serious. “I was beginning to wonder if you got lost in there.”
“Sorry.” Graydon responded. “I lost track of time.”
“It happens. Come and sit down.” She motioned to the chair on the other side of the table. “I’ve got food coming and I figured you could use a distraction." A sly smile came across her lips, making her eyes sparkle in the lighting. "So I figured why not me?”
“Rena… I… I don’t know what to say.” The words were out of his mouth just as the words of Marcus Morgan popped into his head. “Don’t be a fool, lad. She’s throwin’ herself at ya!” Maybe he’s right. Besides, she was beginning to give him a strange look.
“You know what? You’re right. I do need a distraction. What are we eating?”
“You’ll see.” Rena said with a chuckle. “I ordered something spe…”
Her comlink chimed, interrupting her.
“Give me a second.” She said trying to give Graydon a polite smile as she opened the comm channel. “This better be good.”
“Sorry boss, but you better get down here.” The voice of Tyr, the station’s security chief came over. Graydon immediately heard the tension in his voice, sparking an old memory from somewhere deep within. "Something's happening on Rotex."
“Are you sure?”
“Yes m’lady. They are Republic Troops, advancing on the palace. You must evacuate to a safe location.”
The memory of the moment that changed everything in his life was there. Seeing his mother, a worried look on her almost always calm face and hearing the stress in the voice of an ADF trooper. Soon after, his father died, along with the idea of what his brother was. Graydon had seen what he really was. Now there was something else happening and he was present to see it as an outsider instead of being right in the middle.
The events that were unfolding would set Graydon on a course of action that he felt he should have embarked on long ago. This was the start of his war. The time of watching his family and friends suffer because of the Dark side was over.