Kar Alabrek, Tarthos
He ran his hand over the top of his head, feeling the stubble as he drew his fingers to the back of his neck. It made sense, after a fashion. Pieces of the puzzle seemed to be missing though. Xolarin leaned forward, making notes in his datapad as he shifted his gaze back to the old tome. There was something about it, the rumors and conspiracy theories that missed the mark broadly, but left the truth somehow unobscured. The idea seemed to take root in his mind, twisting his perceptions in ways that itched him something terrible. It was an enigma, and the aedile couldn't leave it be.
He paused, leaning back in his seat, then brought himself to his feet slowly. Eyes drifted off from the book, from the smell of old leather and parchment to the quiet hum of the seeker droid. "Dina?"
The black droid turned, optical sensor aimed at him in response. "I need to talk to him."
Construction Site 1138
The construction had begun almost as soon as the area had been cleared. The area was old growth forest at the edges, but substantially newer in the center, begging the question of all of them as they worked on the project. The droids laid in the start of the foundation, leaving the gaps for the more modern aspects of what would otherwise be a perfect reproduction. The scans they had taken from far-flung worlds all across the galaxy were finally bearing fruit. They had overthought their plans, their ideas, their needs for far too long. The alternate designs were made, compared, tweaked, before they finally settled on what in retrospect would be the obvious solution.
Ashia uncrossed her arms, feeling the breeze, the scent of jungle flowers dancing behind the metallic tinged dust of the site. She let a smile creep out at the corner of her lips. They had a plan, they had the will and the strength. And they had Orian once again. She turned, stepping away from the site, feeling the pull of the trees, beckoning her back into the wild. It never got easier, he had told her. But that was okay. The wheels were already in motion.
Even now, the place looked like what it was to become, an echo of Yavin, of Sadow's temple. The heart of their Ancient Empire.
Kar Alabrek, Tarthos
"I am a Krath, Ashen, born and bred on Loki." The hologram sneered at him, white whiskers twitching below purple eyes. "You know how we see betrayal, how we see abandonment."
Xolarin moved through the door silently, keeping himself back and out of the range of the comm. Muz tilted his head a degree, considering his next words carefully. "Not all..."
"I know, I know." The figure broke apart for a second, wisps of projected light reforming from a cloud of distortion. "We saw you. But you are not the clan." He paused for a moment, leaning on his staff more than Muz remembered in the past. "I don't know that they will accept this."
"They will." Muz leaned forward, resting his arms on the desk as he stared into the glow. "Or not." He let the words hang in the air, watching the figure blink, then slowly nod before the connection evaporated, the light slurping back into the commlink.
He looked up, watching the Aedile step closer. "That seemed...tense." He pulled a chair out from the desk, settling himself down into it. "Anything I need to be concerned about?"
Muz nodded, standing up and turning toward the display behind his desk. The old frieze had been recovered from Nfolgai, the figures encircling a person hunched over, arms raised. The words inscribed had been long lost to erosion, secrets buried in the sand of time. Muz let his eyes glide over the artifact, his mind running. They had returned to their home. Construction had begun on the new temple, and the clan was healthier than it had been in some time, no longer running and hiding. He half smiled at the thought.
"I have questions." Xolarin cleared his throat. "About Stheno."
Muz raised an eyebrow, looking back at his aedile.
"If I'm right, I want to help." He leaned forward, eyes wide, heart threatening to leap into his throat. He had played this conversation out a thousand times in his head, but he still couldn't be sure that the Lion wouldn't just carve him to bits at the suggestion. "I want to be part of it, I just don't know how."
"Hold the Cathedral."
"Of course." He nodded, words sticking slightly in his throat. That was part of being aedile, and the facility was more than he had dreamed of in their time floating through the void. Muz shook his head slowly, reaching over and sliding the encrypted datapad over to him, the seal of the Quaestor's office emblazoned on the top.
"Wait, does this..." Xolarin looked at it sideways, then back up at the Grand Master.
Muz nodded once, moving to the side of the frieze, fingers pulling aside a tapestry to expose a hidden door, turning to look at Xolarin before vanishing through it. He scrambled to his feet, stepping quickly to follow him. His eyes took a moment to adjust, the dark room lit by a miniaturized version of the hologram projector from the war room, the pale blue showing the orbits of the Orian system and fleet positions.
The chirp of Ashen's arm bounced in the area, the voice of Blackwind filling their ears. "I just got a pickup request on Sepros. Are you ready?" Muz looked at Xolarin, then stepped forward and reached out, clasping him at the wrist, keeping eye contact.
Ladies, Gentlemen, Aliens and Elder Gods;
Back when I took over Quaestor again, it was with the purpose to help provide an old and steady hand to get us back as a House, to where we needed to be headed. After our phenomenal placing in the war, and several other great showings in other events, I knew this day would come. And with our return to Orian space, the working plan for our Ancient Sadow Empire in place, It’s time that I step down and give other people their chance to shine and make great things happen.
Having consulted Bentre, I am more than happy to hand off the reins to Xolarin, who has served as a wonderful Aedile, taking more and more responsibility in these months since the war. He will be a remarkably capable Quaestor for House Marka Ragnos. I suspect that you’ll see a new report/mail from him regarding Aedile soon. If you’re interested, I’d start getting applications ready.
Even though I am retiring (again), it doesn’t mean that I will be far. I will be still around as I have always been, helping people wherever is necessary. I am just not going to lock up a valuable Quaestor job, and the experience that one can earn doing that, when I have much less to prove. So you can count on my still being around, fighting the good fight and generally annoying the consul with ideas and plans much as I ever had.
It’s been a distinct pleasure serving as Quaestor back in my original house. Thank you for all of your efforts, all of your time, and all of the love that you have shown Ragnos. I’ll see you around.
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