They ambushed him outside his ship. His damned ship.
The bounty hunter-turned-Scion was descending the boarding ramp when he spotted Timeros and Strategos waiting for him. Odd enough that the pair be out and about when they usually spent their time on their own tasks for the clan or for leisure, respectively. Odder still that they were together, at the spaceport, waiting for him unannounced the one time he was without his Fades. The fact that they knelt in greeting didn't assuage his sudden suspicion any.
"Proconsul," Timeros intoned, and Terran narrowed his eyes.
"What are you two up to?" demanded the Kiffar, looking around and stretching his senses out to search for anyone else, quickly finding several other powerful presences in the Force. He dropped his hands to his pistols, slinging his coat back to unobstruct them.
Timeros blinked, which might as well have been a shrug from the near catatonic man.
"No respect these days," sighed Strategos dramatically. "You're too bloody perceptive, Koul, and we solve liabilities. So," he did the casual gesturing his brother in arms didn't, smirking. "Not sorry at all about this."
His WESTARs were telekinetically lifted out of their holsters before he could draw them, a feat in itself. The Kiffar swore and flicked his wrist, activating the spring that would launch his lightsaber into his hand. It too, however, was pulled away, flying into Timeros' palm even as it left its housing.
"Struggle or do not. The result is the same," the stone-faced Arconae murmured.
Terran sure as hell struggled.
He only got to fling a handful of credits with a push of the Force before he was assaulted from several sides, something smashing into his cheekbone hard enough to crack his eye orbit. Black and red fuzzed out his vision, and he hit the deck plating of good beloved freighter.
As the bag slipped over his ears and eyes and he tasted leather, he thought briefly, bitterly, Should never have tried to be a big damn hero here after all—
It was still dark and choking when he woke up.
The air was hot, damp, his brow slick with sweat and hair matted. He was sitting, and when he tried to move, he found himself tied at the hands and feet. Tied, or shackled? Sounded more like stuncuffs when he rattled them against the metal.
Well, wasn't that downright complimentary.
Pain throbbed low and constant through his skull, the spike particularly sharp between his eyes, and he could feel the bruise on his temple. More urgent though was a fresh hurt, drawing his gaze downward to peer past the edge of the sackcloth over his head, revealing just a sliver of light and color. He saw the edges of his dun duster and a gun-like contraption pressed into his arm, held by a pair of bitten-knuckled, pale hands. Another gun floated over the opposite limb.
Just as he was awakening enough to take those details in and reach for the Force, the hood was yanked off of him. His ice eyes twisted shut against the bright light shining in his face, but he adjusted quickly, finding that it was no spot beam but simple flames, violet in hue for the current Consul. They were in the throne room. And… he was sitting upon the Serpentine Throne.
With awakening came realization, and with realization came awareness. Thousands of thoughts. Millions. A faint, constant clamor, a cacophony and a chorus. He gasped.
It was… There weren't words. But he knew then that what he felt there in that moment would never be taken from him. It was like the sky, like serenity and freedom.
"Terran," Timeros' voice interrupted, commanding his attention away from the telepathic tether of the Throne. "Proconsul. Every action has a reaction. Your actions have been seen.”
James voiced then, so strange to be heard in person and not seen in holoscreen blue, “And judged.”
“The consequences are yours to bear," Marick Tyris intoned, too-blue eyes boring holes.
"For Arcona, no farce or scheme will suffice," growled an Anzat Terran had only heard of in records. Legorii?
"No token efforts," added Rayze Erinos, and beside him, Celahir continued.
"Not even great ones."
And finally, Sashar Erinos: "Not even death."
"It is not enough to die for this clan. You must bleed for it. Bleed it," Wuntila Entar growled low and proud.
The pinpricks savaging the softer flesh on the inside of both of his forearms in parallel puncture seemed to intensify at the words. He saw blood trickling freely down his wrists and dripping over sculpted serpents and to the floor from where he was bound.
"And you, Koul, bleed Arcona. This we judge true," finished an unfamiliar Khil.
Strategos announced, “We name you Terran Koul, di Tenebrous Arconae.”
“Rise," they said in unison, a chorus like that of the minds connected to him. The Kiffar stared at them wide-eyed, heart thumping in his chest with adrenaline and…
He could feel so much from the Throne beneath his fingertips. The history of all the men and women before him, the beloved and the tyrannical. Memories upon memories forged it, forged this Clan. And he was a part of it.
Terran looked to each of the other title holders' faces in turn, before darting back, eyes drawn to a cerulean shimmer at the edge of the group.
He thought he saw a sliver of a smile. Her smile. Faint and knowing and kind.
"Thank you for taking care of them," Atyiru mouthed, a whisper in wind, and he was sure he heard it. *Thank you, for everything."
The needle continued to bite into his flesh, completing twin sigils of the Clan, but he didn't feel it, or even anger at the kidnapping.
He was Arconan. He was home. And he'd bleed for it as long as he lived.
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