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Ardent
13 May 2003, 08:31 AM
Well, I have a lot of spare time away from my various projects when I'm at work, but you know what they say about idle hands. So I decided to put some attention into writing a short story...and what follows is a first installment.

I: A Rude Awakening

Brel gazed uncertainly at the proffered hand. Baron Relrahn’s youngest son had a reputation for violence, but Brel supposed that was probably because Erran was a saber rake. He took the hand and allowed Erran Relrahn to haul him to his feet.
“You are too kind, Master Relrahn.”
“Think nothing of it. You are a good duelist and it was an honor to defeat you.”
Brel nodded absently at the compliment and didn’t bother to respond. He glanced at his lightfoil’s hilt, laying some two meters away from where he stood and sighed. The young nobleman raised an eyebrow at this, but said nothing, reattaching his own lightfoil to his belt.
“If you’re looking for a crew, the Mecetti Lions would be glad to have you, Brel Pelagwuin.”
Brel smirked at this. “A Pelagwuin…in the Mecetti Lions? I think you overestimate your control, Master Relrahn.”
“Nonsense. You are a skilled duelist. Your being a member of House Pelagia means nothing in this day and age. House Pelagia has fallen, there is no need for the rivalry to continue.”
Brel seethed inwardly at Erran’s biting words, but said nothing and recovered his lightfoil, trying to avoid giving anything away with his body language. “I still don’t think it a wise choice. I’m afraid I must decline. Another day, Erran Relrahn.”
The other man nodded. “Another day, Brel Pelagwuin.”
They parted in opposite directions, as was demanded in a duel of skill, neither looking at the other again. Brel walked quickly through the rundown backstreets of Reena’s University campus island. Taking shortcuts popular with the University students, Brel quickly found himself back on his own turf, and sauntered into a raucous collegiate cantina.
“You’re gonna have to surrender your ‘foil, Brel.” The old man behind the bar nodded to the weapon at Brel’s belt.
“It’s on safety Warrin. I’ll sit in a dark corner so as not to attract too much attention to myself.”
The old man nodded slowly and asked, “What’ll you have, then?”
“Af’El dark stout.” Brel tossed the old tender a 50-credit piece, silently letting him know that he should keep them coming.
“I’ll send Lyssee right over wit’ it. She’ll be happy to see ya.” The old man picked up the 50-cred chit and winked, turning to get the bottle from the cold storage area.
Brel wandered over to a table lying mostly in shadow and slumped into the seat with a defeated groan. He smiled and flirted briefly with Lyssee, the Twi’lek serving girl who made it wholly clear she liked Brel. A lot. He tipped her well, hoping she’d leave him be for a bit while he got lost in his thoughts.
Brel was an intelligent young man, and of noble stock, but unfortunately, he was of Pelagia noble stock. In the last few decades, Pelagia’s stock had fallen hard and fast. Once the greatest of the Tapani houses, Pelagia’s Jedi Knights protected and kept the peace in the Expanse. Now, though, with the Jedi Purge having decimated the House, Pelagia was struggling to survive as one of the Great Houses.
The situation had worsened steadily under the reign of the Empire, with Mecetti and Melantha stepping up as the two remaining superpowers in the Expanse. Their brewing conflict remained in check until the Rebels overthrew the Emperor and brought the Empire crumbling to a halt. As soon as the Imperial watchdogs pulled out of the Expanse, all Sith broke loose. Melantha attacked Mecetti, hoping to thrash the house while it still had some Imperial resources left to work with, while Mecetti poisoned half of Melantha’s noble families, shaking Melantha’s infrastructure to the core. The result had been the decline of both of the houses. Their feud again at a draw, the houses retreated to lick their wounds.
Cadriaan and Reena had stepped up as the new major players in the Expanse, and the Great Council had shifted uncertainly for close to a decade. Now though, with the New Republic granting membership to the Freeworlds, the Expanse was being backed into a corner. Quite literally. The Great Council was concerned that the Expanse would be unable to maintain its autonomy with the Freeworlds no longer relying on the Houses for protection and civil defense. The houses once again ceased their feuding and jockeying to work together for a common good.
Brel couldn’t help but feel that House Pelagia would never recover without the miraculous return of its Jedi Knights and defenders, despite Cadriaan's assistance and protection. Pelagon lay in ruin, turned toxic by a brutal and malicious assault. The world was only just now beginning to truly recover, and the clean-up efforts were taxing House Pelagia’s coffers to the limit. He was interrupted in his musing by Lyssee’s arrival.
“You sure do like your Af’El, Brel.” She giggled, winking at him as she leaned over unnecessarily to collect his old mug and replace it with a fresh mug.
“Mmhmm. A wonderful drink, it is.” He smiled at her, doing his best not to let his gaze wander from her face.
“Aw, I think you’re getting close to your limit, Brel! You’re a little flushed.” She wriggled back upright and turned around to head back up to the bar, strutting her stuff for Brel. “I’ll be right back!”
Brel watched her go and scratched thoughtfully at his goatee. He supposed he would bring Lyssee back to his apartment tonight and have a little fun. After all, she certainly seemed interested and it had been a while since Brel had had any company.

* * *

Brel propped himself up on his elbows, looking out the windows at the inclement weather approaching. He figured he wouldn’t have classes this day. Which was just as well, he supposed, as he glanced over to where Lyssee lay, still asleep. He lay back down and gazed idly at the ceiling. He had no idea how long he’d lain like this, but he was duly surprised when the intercom buzzed.
“Yeah?” he asked the air, knowing the open mic would pick it up.
“Are you Brel Pelagwuin?”
“Yeah.”
“I’ve come a long way to speak to you, Brel.” The mysterious visitor replied.
“Oh?” Brel wasn’t terribly surprised to hear this, a lot of saber rakes journeyed a long way to duel.
“I’m a representative of the Jedi Praxeum.”
That caught Brel’s interest and he slipped out of bed, trying not to wake Lyssee up completely. He pulled on the shirt he’d discarded last night and slipped into a pair of shorts laying around conveniently, and then pressed the admission button on the intercom, letting the visitor into the building. He waited patiently as the visitor rode the lift up to his floor and walked casually down the hallway.
The visitor stopped before the doorway, presumably to look Brel over, although Brel couldn't tell because of the heavy cowl over the visitor's face. “Hm. I was under the impression you were a student at the University. No classes?” The mysterious stranger wore a deeply cowled cloak over a worn flightsuit.
Brel nodded. “Take a look at the front coming in.” He gestured to the windows where the approaching storm was clearly visible.
“I see. Then you don’t mind if we talk for a while, do you? I have some questions to ask of you, and perhaps more.”
Brel shrugged, gesturing towards a pair of comfortable seats in the living area, then excused himself to go check on Lyssee briefly. Returning to the room, Brel noticed the stranger had removed the cloak. He was rather shocked to see a young man not more than a few years older than himself was the occupant of the cowl. He tried not to let his surprise show, sitting down opposite the man.
“I’m afraid I’ve nothing to offer. I wasn’t expecting visitors and there’s nothing in my stores at the moment.”
“Quite alright. I do love my field rations.” The visitor smirked roguishly and then took on a more serious look. “You’re a member of one of House Pelagia’s noble families, are you not?”
Brel nodded. “I am Brel Pelagwuin, soon-to-be First Knight of House Pelagia.”
The stranger smiled at that. “An apt title. More so than I think you know.”
Brel raised his eyebrow. “Oh?”
“You see Brel Pelagwuin, records recovered from the Empire led us to believe the Jedi Purge wasn’t entirely successful in eliminating Pelagia’s Jedi Knights. We tracked down a Sirus Pelagwuin’s name and last known location. It was Alderaan.” The stranger grinned, continuing, “Emperor Palpatine assumed that Sirus Pelagwuin had died in the Death Star’s attack on Alderaan. Our records show that was not so, and minor clerical error failed to note his departure from Alderaan just before its destruction.”
Brel was confused. Sirus Pelagwuin was his grandfather, an aging and ailing man of dubious mental stability. The stranger was saying that Sirus Pelagwuin had been a Jedi Knight in the time of the Republic.
“We have reason to believe that you, Brel, may be Force-Sensitive and a Jedi candidate.” The stranger stated.

Nova Spice
17 May 2003, 08:50 PM
Good read friend. My interest is piqued. ;)

Moose
18 May 2003, 12:35 PM
good stuff Ardent, you have my rapt attention:)

Treefrog
26 May 2003, 11:28 PM
I've been a fan of Tapani sector.......keep it coming....

Ardent
27 May 2003, 12:57 PM
I got a little distracted by Planetside at home and work has gotten a little hectic...I'll keep working on it as soon as I can tear myself away from either or.

Kanner Ra'an
1 June 2003, 06:14 AM
Got my interest.:)

Snowtiger
8 June 2003, 01:36 PM
The forum kinda puts it out of context.

Got that as a Word Document somewhere?

I'd be honored to read it if it can be found as a doc...

Ardent
8 June 2003, 05:09 PM
I do, actually.