The Praxus Princess Part V – Lord Valar

The figure in his dark clothing sat on the bridge. He looked out at space and focused on the distant colors of the Hydean Way Nebula. The light from a nearby star trikled through the viewport and softly illuminated the harsheness of the man’s face and the black, claw-like tattoos that stripped across his cheeks and mouth. His long, black, shaggy hair fell widly down the front of his shoulders and patially covered his eyes. It was quiet on the bridge with only the soft hum of various panel components to keep him company. It was a quiet place and the man had come here to think but if he had wanted calm he wouldn’t find it here. Too many things were racing through his mind for the view of space to work its soothing magic.

Suddenly he slammed his fist on the control panel. Everything had gone wrong and his rage was building by the moment. Through clenched teeth he muttered “A sith lord will not be denied vengeance.”

Lord Valar had planned the kidnapping of Princess Katerina for several months. He had dreamed of it for years but only recently did he have the opportunity. The plan was simple, one of his acolytes was to infiltrate the Medean Royal Spaceport crew and once in place would sabotage the princess’ ship so that its hyperdrive would fail on a given signal. Lord Valar was aware of the Jedi Enclave on Medea and didn’t dare approach the planet for fear that he would reveal himself to them making it difficult to carry out his plans. This plan would allow him to sabotage the ship while in space and thus away from the prying eyes of the jedi. Another part of the sabotage was to take out the ships weapon defense systems but it had become distressingly apparent during their approach to the disabled ship that his acolyte had failed and the ship’s weapons were fully functional which allowed the Praxus Princess to cripple their own ship, the Gundark, a much larger ship than the Praxis Princess, before they were able to board. So now the two ships sat idle, stuck in space without either of their hyperdrives functioning and the sublight engines of the Gundark all but destroyed. They had plenty of power to last a while but unless King Caspar answered the ransom notice they could be stuck in space for a very long time. If the ransom demand hadn’t convinced the king of what was happening he hoped that the distress beacon that had launched from the Praxus Princess would convince him.

They weren’t completely helpless. The sublight engines on the Praxus Princess were still functional and he ordered his crew to fly them to the nearby asteroid field with the Gundark in tow to give them some cover. The princess was being held in her own room on the Praxis Princess while her crew had been confined to the holding bay on the Gundark to keep them from making foolish attempts of escape . Only half of the princess’ crew remained since the other half died defending the princess during the boarding assault. Their bodies had been jettisoned to space.

And so here they waited and every day that the king did not show Lord Valar got more angry. It had been a week and if the king had cared about his daughter at all then he should have shown up at the coordinates by now. Space travel was sometimes unpredictable but certainly the king would have taken his fastest ship and sped to the rescue of his only daughter by now. Valar contemplated this for awhile still fuming on the bridge when a single red light began to blink on the control panel in front of the copilot’s chair. Valar stood up and walked to the panel. It was a proximity alert set for long range to alert them of any ships approaching them. “Finally”, he muttered under clenched teeth. “Now, King Caspar, it is time you met your son and said goodbye to your daughter. I wonder which one will make you suffer more.” He sat in the copilot’s chair and prepared to hail ship. “At last I will complete my training and become one of the Sith of old.”

The Royal Falcon was approaching the coordinates programmed into the nav computer. They would come out of hyperspace in less than 10 minutes. The reversion to hyperspace warning tones rang throughout the ship.

Oollana sat in her room meditating. The discussion with king Caspar had been a tense one and there was a lot of shouting and yelling but in the end the king had settled down and seemed to at least contemplate what she had told him. She knew he wasn’t going to accept that his son had been alive for the last 22 years easily.

She had learned that the king’s aid-de-camp was a man named Onar Vectis and had come to be in their service shortly after the king and Katerina had been married. Her suspicion was that Onar was the one who had taken the boy and was likely a dark jedi or even a sith. It would have been a good place to hide from the jedi who were looking for sith during the great war with Exar Kun. His taking of the boy was not a surprise to Oollana. He would have known that the twins were force sensitive and it would have been an opportunity to train them in his own image. Why he did not take both was a mystery to Oollana but it was likely that leaving one behind kept the king’s attention focused from looking too deeply into the other one’s “death”.

Oollana had not wanted to tell the king everything she suspected but it had been important because one thing was very clear, this was not a simple kidnapping. Even the king now seemed to understand this. She had been delicate about the subject but there was no denying that the king himself may be the mark and could very well die in the exchange. To his credit he waved away the danger for concern of his daughter.

One other thing was clear. Whoever it was, they weren’t simply going to let a jedi on board and it was going to take more than a disguise and that was why Oollana meditated now. She started to move her connection to the force deep inside her, to hide it, to keep it from giving away her presence to other force users. It was a technique her master had shown her and was difficult to master but one she had practiced many times. If another force user was searching for you then it was very difficult to hide the force but if they were not actively searching then it was easier to hide oneself from them. She hoped that the king’s son was not expecting a jedi, since the king’s dislike for the jedi was well known. She might be able to keep an element of surprise.

She felt the ship shudder characteristically as it came out of hyperspace.

“…. allar, you are to … weapons and shields…” the radio crackled from the copilot side of the control panel on the Royal Falcon missing large chunks of the message. The man sitting in the copilot chair adjusted a few dials and spoke. “This is the Royal Falcon, please repeat message. Again, please repeat message.”

There was a pause and when the message began again it was clearer with only a small amount of interference. “This is Lord Vallar, you are to power down your weapons and shields immediately if you want to see the princess alive again.”

The copilot looked back at the king who was standing behind him listening. The king looked out into space searching for a ship that he couldn’t see. “Do as he says.”

The man turned back to the panel. “We are complying with your request.”

The radio crackled again slightly. “Good, now fly to the coordinates that I have transmitted. Once there prepare to dock with the larger ship, the Gundark. I will give you more instructions when you are here.”

The king turned to Oollana who was also in the cockpit area listening. “Do you sense them now?”

Oollana had been looking out of the cockpit as well and turned to the king. “I don’t dare search for them now. If I do he may sense my presence and put your daughter in far greater danger. I must focus on hiding my own presence.”

The king thought about that for a moment. “If he is smart then he won’t let anyone on his ship other than me. In which case I’m afraid your presence will be all for naught.”

Oollana looked back out through the viewport into space. “He may be smart but his judgment may be clouded. Anger and fear will do that. We must be patient and not act hastily ourselves, the force will provide us an opportunity. I… we must trust in that.”

The king turned and walked out of the cockpit. Oollana could feel his anxiety and fear. But she knew that trying to get a parent to calm down when their child was in danger whether royal or peasant it didn’t matter. The bond was simply too strong between father and daughter for one to think dispassionately about the other. She had also sensed his conflict within himself about his son. She was going to have to be calm for the both of them.

”Posted on Curtis’s behalf”

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