The Whisper Gallery
Several hundred meters beneath The Pinnacle
Aliso City, Aliso
Deep beneath the seat of authority for the Ascendant Clan was a chamber that was only accessible to a chosen few. Hewn from the living rock, the circular chamber was mostly unfinished stone around its circumference. Dominating the central space of the room was a circular, nearly 6-meter wide table that had been crafted from a single piece of wroshyr wood, tabletop and legs both. Polished to a shine, the round table rings of the tree were visible through a thick coating of lacquer, radiating out from where the table's center would have been. The center of the table had been cut away, leaving a round open area at the center with a gap in the table opposite the head. Around its edge stood high-backed chairs, stained a darker black than the rich tone of the table they ringed. Some of those chairs were occupied while others were filled by a holographic image of their assigned owners, seven of the seats currently filled while the others remained empty. Access to the chamber was granted by a single opening that led to a dedicated turboshaft, the entryway sealed by huge slabs of durasteel that closed from angles around its edge.
It was, however, that which encircled the room that drew the eye of observers. The room did not end in a vertical wall, but was instead more of a lozenge shape that bowed out around its sides. Cut from the rock were pedestals that rose to about the same height as the table, with those farther back rising higher in tiers. Many of these dark, stone pedestals were, like the chairs in the room, also unoccupied. Those that were, however, were host to crystals that almost seemed to glow with a soft, unearthly glow from within. Each of the stones were a single Heart of Plagueis, those that had belonged to past di Plagia. Legend said that with enough exposure to the heart, the spirit of the carrier would be preserved to a point that they would continue to live on through death. The Whisper Gallery was the meeting place of the di Plagia, both living and dead.
Arden Karn, Furious Morega, Tra'an Reith, TuQ'uan Varick, Teylas Ramar, and Dacien Victae occupied their spots at the table, the latter two appearing via hologram. Selika Roh sat at the head of the table at the place reserved for the Plagueis Consul, a seat too often vacant in the past few years during their deliberations.
"I call the vote," Selika asked of those assembled.
One by one each of them signaled their assent, some with a nod and others with utterance. Selika's vote made it unanimous. The voices of the assembled stones that were said to contain the spirits of those departed never spoke clearly, but it seemed that a positive response flowed through the Force energy that bathed the room. It was done.
Selika toggled the switch to open the comm unit built into the control panel in the table before her. "Send her in," she ordered.
The metal doors slid open, revealing a female Togruta flanked by twin columns of elite guard, weapons held across their chests. The guard on her left gestured for her to step forward and take her place within the center of the ring. Like most of the long-tenured members of Plagueis Tahiri had heard rumors of the place she found herself in, but details had been scarcer and more valuable than Corusca gems. It was said that most that found themselves unlucky enough to be summed never returned. At least, not while they lived.
"Dread lord," Tahiri said, dropping to a knee facing the newly returned Consul.
"Do you have any idea why you have been summoned?" Selika demanded, an imperious tone creeping into her accented words.
"N-no, my lord," Tahiri stammered.
"The di Plagia have called a vote regarding you, Tahiri Thorn Morte Tarentae," Selika continued, seeming to pause to allow Tahiri to ask a question that she did not offer. With an almost imperceptible shrug, Selika continued. "You arrived here a refugee of Tarentum's destruction, with questions as to where your true loyalties lay."
Tahiri winced at the last, the sting of the words threatening old wounds. Not again, not now.
"But," Selika said, meeting the younger Togruta's gaze, "in the time since you have arrived you have provided unswerving service to your adopted home. You have stood against every enemy. The forces of the Collective. The traitor's Phantom Assembly. This new, unknowable threat that made itself known on the battlefields of Dandoran. You have acquitted yourself well at every turn. Your service has been exemplary."
"What?" Tahiri wondered, raising herself to her feet to face her Consul.
"What I mean," Selika said, rising to stand as well, "is that those who have been called by the assembly are expected to enter this chamber armed. You are missing something."
Reaching from below the level of the table, Selika retrieved something and tossed it through the air to the Warlord. Grabbing it out of the air, Tahiri was surprised to see the hilt of her own lightsaber. Thumbing the weapon to life, the ruby-colored blade sprang to life with the telltale snap-hiss, dimming to a hum almost immediately.
"Welcome, Tahiri Thorn Morte Tarentae, to your place amongst the di Plagia," Selika pronounced.
Today it is my honor and privilege to present to you Tahiri Thorn Morte Tarentae.
Tahiri came to Plagueis only a few months before I left it, but even then I could see that she was something special. Her activity level is absolutely insane, but that's only a small fraction of what makes her such a valuable addition to our little corner of the Brotherhood. I honestly had to do a bit of a double take, but she has been on the summit non-stop without a break since she first became an Aedile on Aug 30th, 2018. Did I read that right? She's almost exactly one month shy of three years straight on the summit without showing signs of quitting (or worse, being driven insane)? The level of service that she has given to her fellow clanmates is what speaks to how much she deserves this award. She is active, yes, but she always places the good of those she leads first and foremost, understanding at her core that "leadership" in the Brotherhood isn't about being in charge but is instead about serving others. She is always there for anyone that needs it, an effervescent and light presence in the one "all dark, all the time" clan.
It's also fitting that Tahiri has to be, if not the first, one of the first members to carry the title of two clans at once as a permanent holder of the Tarentae clan title as well. There are few members that I would ever think worthy of carrying double clan titles, but Tahiri is top of the list in my book. Tahiri has demonstrated the leadership and service that are the cornerstones of those that we would hold up as exemplars of the best of us. She has been an unceasing positive force both within Plagueis and without.
As such, I and the other sitting di Plagia unanimously voted to bestow the title of di Plagia on Tahiri for her service above and beyond the call. Congratulations!
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