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 Riley Hawk ( Closed - Fan-Fiction )

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Riley Hawk
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PostSubject: Riley Hawk ( Closed - Fan-Fiction )   Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:07 pm

( OOC: Just a quick note: I have decided to start my character's background story, and it starts here. This is the "beta version", and I may be making adjustments and editing some portions as time goes on and any discrepancies are found, and so on. I do ask, if you read this, to keep in mind that reading the character history does not mean that your character, in-story, automatically knows all of the details disclosed here. Riley Hawk does not even know most of her personal history: her parents, her name, her lot in life are all a mystery to her in the current time line. However, if you would like for your character to have a deeper connection with Hawk, some sort of involvement in her early life, please run it by me and I will likely be more than happy to have some "support" in my character's background story! Thank you very much. Hope you enjoy the story! )


***** ***** ***** ***** *****


Prologue




"Koras, dear, does the shipment really need to go out so soon...?" asked the Human woman gently, rubbing her hands over the rounded curve of her pregnant belly. She stood in the doorway leading to the office of their modest home, gazing at her husband's back as he sat hunched over his workstation; he had just ended a holo-comm conference with his clients on the desert world of Tatooine.

He turned towards her in his chair. The dim lighting of the office made the vestigial horns atop his head throw strange shadows across his features, making him appear even more fierce and determined than he usually seemed; however, there was a gentleness upon his face reserved only for his wife. Sighing softly, the Zabrak answered: "I know it is untimely for us, my love. You are heavy with our child. We need the credits though, and I cannot afford to let weeks of negotiations fall through." He paused, watching the resignation pass over his wife's features. "If you wish, you may remain here, so that our child may be born in its home..."


"Without its father...?" she cut in sharply, her eyebrows raising. Seeing Koras' expression of determination clashing with the regret in his fiery orange eyes softened her tone: "No, I will go with you to Tatooine. I suppose it matters not where the baby is born, as long as it has its family with it. Only... may I bring my fabrics?"

Koras chuckled as he rose from his chair and approached his wife, slipping his arms around her distended waist. He had to lean over her belly to kiss her forehead. "Darcy, dear, you may bring whatever you like. I know how working with fabrics calms you. You're the best seamstress on Loronar -- hell, in all of the Colonies -- and now you can be the best in the Outer Rim, too."


Darcy raised her eyebrows again, tilting her head back so she could meet Koras' gaze, who was nearly a whole head taller than she. "Well, hopefully we won't be there that long."

"Yes," he replied, kissing her forehead again, "hopefully."

They lingered in each others arms for a moment, before Darcy reluctantly pulled away. "When do we leave?"


"As soon as we get the Hawk's Talon loaded. I'm due to meet my clients in one week, and it would be best if we had ourselves settled on Tatooine by that time. I don't want our child being born on a freighter."
His mouth twisted into a grin.


"Certainly not,"
Darcy replied with good nature. She turned and waddled towards her craft room, where she kept all of her fabrics -- some of the most exotic and hard-to-find threads in the galaxy -- and everything she required to form them into some of the most beautiful and sought-after garments. "HT-2, please help me load these for the trip. I have the footlockers right over there..." her voice drifted away as she disappeared into the room, directing their protocol droid.

Koras watched her walk away, admiring her rounded curves even in her pregnancy. Soon, he thought to himself, we will have enough credits to hire other freighters to ship the kolto for us, and then we can make our home a permanent one.

With this thought lingering in his mind, he left his home for the hangar bay that housed his personal freighter ship, the Hawk's Talon. There, he would oversee the loading of the kolto, which had been harvested and stored in special containers for the trip. He was one of the few neutral parties that had negotiated with the Selkath government in order to receive a portion of the kolto harvested near the Hrakert Rift. Kolto was in high demand, especially in the Outer Rim territories, and certain clients -- albeit being of a less savory moral character -- paid very well for regular shipments. Koras received just enough from the Selkath to keep his growing family comfortable, but he was determined that in a short period of time, he would make arrangements to keep his family very comfortable.

It would all start with these new clients on Tatooine, he was sure of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Riley Hawk ( Closed - Fan-Fiction )   Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:27 pm

1




"I know it's not much, but it will do for now.." offered Koras as the door to the apartment slid open and he gently encouraged his wife forward with his hand at the small of her back. Noticing her uncertain expression, he added, "I know Anchorhead doesn't look like much compared to Loronar, but this is where business brings us."

"Yes, for now," Darcy replied with only a tinge of dissatisfaction in her voice, stepping into the small apartment. The complex was the same color as the landscape of Tatooine, a sort of dirty white with nothing to inspire, nothing to motivate. The door opened into a small stairwell leading downward into the apartment proper, which was carved out from the desert rock. She slowly ventured down the stairs, one hand resting upon her belly and her other steadying herself against the wall. Entering the main room, she paused to survey her new home: directly before her was a tiny kitchen and seating area; to her right was an arched doorway to the bedroom and bathroom; and to the left was another entrance into an office. Like the outside of the building, the inside seemed to be constructed of a combination of dirty white composite and clay: there was no personality to the structure whatsoever.

"Well...?" Koras spoke up right behind her, bringing her out of her depressed reverie.

"Well..."
she took a deep breath, "...I hope I don't lose my artistic ability and slip into a stark white depression." She turned towards him, offering him a half-smile that suggested she was only half-kidding.

He gave her a slightly exasperated look, and then took her into his arms. "You'll feel better when we've brought our things in and made it more ours." He gestured towards the office, "You can have that room for your work. I won't take any of your space, I promise. Now, why don't you go and rest. I'll have some people from Anchorhead help me bring our things here."

That sounded like a fine suggestion to Darcy, and after giving her husband a small kiss, she wobbled into the bedroom and laid herself carefully down on her side. The baby within her belly kicked at her, and Darcy cooed softly, "You know you're far from home, don't you baby? It's alright. I know you'll be strong, just like your father. You'll be strong, and smart, and artistic..." A moment later, she drifted to sleep, barely hearing the door to the apartment slide closed as Koras left.




***** ***** ***** ***** *****





"Oh!"

Two days later, Darcy awoke to sharp contractions. Her body tensed, and her husband, sleeping beside her, stirred under the light sheet. Darcy looked around the room: it was dark, but not the intense dark of night; no, it was daybreak, the haze of light that preceded the actual rising of the two suns. She groaned as another contraction grew to painful intensity in her lower belly.

"Is it time?" Koras asked excitedly. He had risen at the sound of her groan, and no hint of sleep was in his eyes as he gazed down at her.

Another contraction; Darcy clutched at her stomach, and nodded fiercely. Nearly gasping, she replied, "Yes, I think so. Get a hold of the doctor..." Another contraction. "Now."

Koras was out of bed before she was done emphasizing the need for haste, rushing to the comm link in the office. The equipment was nearly buried beneath layers of ornate fabrics, but he found it soon enough. He put through for Anchorhead's only doctor, and thanked his lucky stars that the doctor answered on the first ring. He relayed the situation, and once he was assured of the doctor's immediate departure, he went back into the bedroom.

Sitting on the bed beside Darcy, he found the sheets soaked; the time had indeed come. She was curled over in pain as contraction after contraction wracked her frame.

Stroking her leg, he said, "Hold on, darling. The doctor is coming. Just hold on."

Though it was only a few minutes, it seemed like a torturous eternity before the buzzer on the door sounded. In the relative silence of the predawn, the sound was harsh and agitating. Koras rushed to let the doctor in as Darcy began labor breathing, rolling over onto her back.

The doctor, an older, tired-looking man, hurried in with his equipment, a medical droid rolling in behind him. As the medical droid moved to monitor Darcy's vital signs and prepare some injections, the doctor began setting up his needed tools and asking questions, "When did the contractions start? I see her water has broken. Is this your first pregnancy? Darcy. Darcy! Do you want something for the pain?" The doctor seemed as excited as the mother and father; it was likely he didn't see many births in Anchorhead, and not many between a Human and a Zabrak.

Darcy gritted her teeth, groaning loudly as the intensity of her contractions increased, a thing which she would have thought impossible.

"Okay, Darcy, okay. Keep breathing like that, you're doing just fine. Koras, you should probably stand by her head, hold her hand. Push, Darcy! Now breathe... okay, push! Push!"

It only took a few rotations of breathing and pushing before the little Human-Zabrak emerged into the world, a baby girl. As the first rays of light from the dawning suns peeked over the desert horizon, brightening the room, the infant began to cry in long, shrill peals. Cupping her within his hands, the doctor wrapped the newborn in soft cloths and set her upon her mother's chest.

"Well done," the doctor said, gazing fondly down at Darcy, who was tired and perspiring, but exhilarated as her baby cuddled in against her chest. "A beautiful baby girl. Of course, she seems all Human, doesn't she? We'll find out soon enough how much of her is actually Zabrak."

"I'm going to say... half..." Darcy said breathlessly, smiling up at Koras, who was standing in speechless admiration of their newborn baby. He returned her smile, and with the utmost gentleness, stroked his hand across the back of the baby's head and down her swaddled back.

As the doctor began to clean up, Koras whispered, "What shall we call her, Darcy, my love?"

Darcy gazed down at her baby, whose cries had softened and finally stalled. The newborn blinked her little eyes open for a moment, and then quickly closed them against the soft light of the bedroom. In that single moment however, Darcy could see that this child was not born with the typical dark blue eyes of most newborns; no, her eyes were the eyes of her father: a brilliant, vibrant mixture of yellow, orange, and red, a color that could only be described as "fiery" for it had no other name.

The doctor approached them and slipped a tool beneath the folds of cloth, monitoring the baby's heartbeat. "Two hearts," he murmured, his gaze flicking up to Koras. Then, to Darcy, "And a full head of hair. Eyelashes, too."

"She's a little of us both, that's for sure," Darcy said, pride pouring out in her voice.

"Her name should reflect that," Koras said. "For you, Darcy Sulkana, we should call her Dar`kana. And for her birthplace, she shall have Dawn -- "

" -- two Dawns, in fact," Darcy giggled, glancing out the high window where the light of the two dawns shone through brightly.

" -- yes. And for me, she shall have the name of a powerful Zabrak clan: Tir."

"Dar`kana Dawn Tir," the doctor murmured as he punched the information into his datapad. "A good name."

"Yes," Darcy whispered, stroking Dar`kana gently across her forehead as the infant slept restlessly, soon to awaken for her first feeding. "A good name."
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PostSubject: Re: Riley Hawk ( Closed - Fan-Fiction )   Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:56 pm

2




“It’s so hard to leave you this morning,” Koras whispered, stroking back a lock of black hair that lay across Darcy’s forehead. His wife seemed a desert nymph in the early morning light, with little specks of dust dancing in the rays of the rising suns.

“I know,” she whispered back, shifting in their bed to look up at her husband. “The past week we’ve had together has been so nice: no business, no shop talk, no rushing out to make sure a delivery goes out in time; it’s just been you, me, and the baby.” Her motion caused Dar`kana, cradled against her chest in the bed, to stir. Her little toothless mouth opened wide in a yawn and her eyes, still puffy and sensitive to light, blinked slowly. Darcy found herself amazed once again at the brilliant hue of her daughter’s eyes. “But I suppose no amount of begging can keep you from this appointment, so I won’t start.”

Koras smiled, and leaned down to place a kiss on his wife’s mouth, then his daughter’s forehead. “You’re right. I have to get some things taken care of, and these clients are very important, but I promise I’ll be back before nightfall.”

“I’m holding you to that,” Darcy said, returning his smile. Their attention was diverted as Dar`kana began to cry for her morning feeding, and as Darcy shifted to supply the newborn with her nipple, Koras leaned down to kiss her again.

“I’ll see you both tonight,” he breathed, and then turned to leave.




***** ***** ***** ***** *****




Koras sighed as he stepped into the arid air of Tatooine; the suns had barely risen, and already the atmosphere resembled an oven. His mind moved from the pleasure of his family to the business of dealing kolto as he walked down the dusty street towards the center of Anchorhead.

The trading post, though it had gone through a period of recession when the last mining operation died, was thriving once more: a new corporation had revived the dying town, believing that with newer, more technologically advanced machinery, they would be able to draw out the ore and minerals hiding deep beneath Tatooine’s scorched surface.

The Zabrak raised a hand to wipe away the perspiration that was beginning to bead upon his bald head, and then shielded his eyes from the suns. With the arrival of his daughter almost two weeks prior, he had not had the opportunity to explore the trading post as well as he had wanted, and so he was not overly familiar with the structure of the town or its buildings.

As he walked along, he finally spotted the building he was looking for: it was a squat building, set partially into the ground like many buildings of this planet, and seemed to be some sort of conference center, perhaps where local organizations and political parties gathered for business. He spotted a luxury speeder parked in the shade of the building and assumed his clients were already present: they were early, but Koras was thankful that they were there at all, as he had taken the risk of rescheduling their original appointment so that he could help Darcy with the baby.

He stepped lightly down a short set of stairs that surrounded several entrances in a semi-circle. As he approached one set of doors, it slid open and another man, a Chiss, greeted him: “Good morning. You must be Koras Tir. It’s good to finally meet you in person.” He extended a hand and gave Koras a firm welcoming pat on the shoulder.

“Thank you and you as well. You must be Thadrek, Mr. Oovah’s associate.”

The Chiss nodded, his red eyes blazing, as the two stepped into the cooler, darker spaces of the meeting hall. “I am. Dalan Oovah is looking very forward to meeting you and confirming our transaction. Right this way, please.” They stepped into a small foyer with a holographic bulletin screen, a podium, and a food vending cart. Beyond this the building seemed to split into two conference rooms: two small corridors, one to the right and one to the left, led each to another set of doors. Thadrek motioned to the right set of doors, indicating that Koras should go ahead.

Koras ventured down the corridor and stepped into the conference room, which was surprisingly large, considering how the building appeared from the outside. A long table was at the opposite end of the room, surrounded by chairs. Three of them were occupied: one man, a red-hued Twi`lek, Koras recognized as Dalan Oovah, the primary buyer for his shipment of kolto. The other two characters, a female Twi`lek and a Human man, he did not recognize.

Dalan stood and smiled broadly. “Welcome, Mr. Tir. How nice to see you again, and this time in the flesh. I am… very much… looking forward to doing business with you.”

The words had no sooner left his mouth, and then something struck Koras in the back of the head with enough force to send him sprawling to the ground. His vision blurred, his head swam sickeningly, and his adrenaline spiked; his two hearts beat furiously in his ears as he struggled to rise to his feet.

What’s going on?!he snarled, staring at the three people before him in disbelief as they did nothing to aid him. A heavy weight pressed against his lower back and he realized that his attacker was pushing his knee into his back. A moment later, an arm was pushing against his shoulders, forcing him prone onto the ground once more.

A sharp prick was felt in his shoulder; the assailant had just administered a shot. Almost immediately, Koras felt the effect of the drug: he was dizzy, his vision doubled, his stomach heaved. “Why are you doing this?” he gasped, struggling to maintain consciousness.

“This,” Dalan said calmly as he strode around the table to approach Koras, “is business. Welcome to Tatooine, Mr. Tir.”

Koras saw the feet of the Twi`lek walking towards him as he sunk lower to the ground: one foot pulled back, and before the pain of the kick could register, the drug took effect, and he lost consciousness.




***** ***** ***** ***** *****




His entire body hurt; he felt as though he had been trampled on by a bantha. The first thought that registered was that he was bound, and painfully so. The second thought was that he sensed someone nearby.

Slap!

Yes, someone was definitely nearby. Standing in front of him, in fact, and slapping him hard on his already bruised and battered face, yelling for him to wake up. Slowly, painfully, he forced his eye open; the other eye was swollen shut, likely where the Twi`lek’s boot had landed. There to meet his gaze was the Twi`lek woman that had been sitting at the conference table earlier. She sneered at him, “It’s about time you woke up. I was beginning to think we had accidentally killed you. And it’s hard to get a signature from a dead man.” She seemed to be enjoying her part in this treachery far too much.

“I don’t understand,” Koras breathed, his ribs aching as he inhaled.

Of course you don’t,” she mocked him with a sweet, pitying voice. “That’s because you’re too soft to see how business works in the real world. You think business is done strictly through legit means? Through negotiations? Through bids? Think again.”

Another voice cut in, and though he was bound in such a way as to not turn his head, he recognized Dalan’s voice: “Don’t patronize our guest, dear, it isn’t good for business. We want Mr. Tir to cooperate with us. Things will be much better for everyone involved if he does.”

“And if I don’t?” Koras snarled through the pain, seeing that his “clients” were nothing more than cutthroats who fooled him into making this journey, weakening him by taking him far from his familiar resources, and now they sought to bully and intimidate him until he gave them what they wanted.

“If you don’t – ” cooed the female.

“ – If you don’t, the future does not look very promising for you, your wife, or your darling new daughter,” Dalan cut in emotionlessly. He came around the chair Koras was bound to so that he could be seen. His hands were clasped behind his back and he leaned forward so that his face was a mere foot from Koras’: “You wouldn’t want anything tragic to happen to your family, Mr. Tir.”

Koras jerked in his chair, his pain forgotten. “Don’t touch my family, you bastard!”

“Certainly not. It’s very simple, Koras.” Dalan turned away to the table and procured a holopad. Displaying it for Koras, it contained the kolto harvest contract which Koras had negotiated for from the Selkath government. It was a bill of sale. “All you need to do is sell us your contract and then get off of Tatooine,” the Twi`lek finished smoothly, putting a stylus into Koras’ bound hand.

“This is my family’s living,” Koras breathed, hardly able to believe his situation. “I cannot simply turn everything over to you and hope to support my family.”

“Then we’ll have to kill you,” the woman said matter-of-factly. “The contract will go up for bid again through the Selkaths, and not only will your family lose their living, but they will lose you.”

Koras grit his teeth. “Unfortunately for you, it doesn’t work that way.”

Dalan braced his hands on Koras’ forearms, one bound to each armrest of his prisoner’s chair, and squeezed painfully. His lekku twitched with his irritation. “Do you think I’m a fool…?” hissed the Twi`lek; his red pigment seemed even more brilliant, making him seem like a literal devil. “I know the contract: if you should die, the contract will pass to your wife. If she dies, the contract passes to your heirs, under the custodial arrangement until they are of proper age. This contract was formed for your lineage, not just yourself. You must have a good connection somewhere on that world…”

His words slowed and died, and Dalan turned towards his companion with a frown on his face, as though a sudden thought had occurred to him. She seemed to understand his sudden concern and turned to retrieve something from the table. Dalan sighed heavily, as though he regretted what he was about to say: “Mr. Tir, I just realized that you are a bigger thorn in my side than I care to have. You no longer have an option to sell. We can still achieve our means, with or without your cooperation. We will say goodbye to your wife and daughter for you.”

Koras’ eyes widened and dilated as he understood their implication: they would kill him, and then they would kill his family; the chance that he might bring them future trouble, having such good connections with the Selkath, was too great. His lineage would cease to exist, and the contract would automatically go up for bid again.

“No! Don’t do this! Please!Koras shouted, the veins protruding in his neck and forehead as he struggled with all of his might. Neither Twi`lek gave his pleas any consideration. The woman simply leaned towards him and jabbed another dose of drugs into his system, the sharp sting in his shoulder barely registering compared with his emotional distress.

His last thought, before darkness consumed him, was the fleeting image of his beautiful wife and innocent child: they had no warning, no idea of what was to befall them, and he could not protect them; he could only hope that things went quickly, painlessly for them, and then they would all be reunited again.
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PostSubject: Re: Riley Hawk ( Closed - Fan-Fiction )   Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:27 am

3




Darcy Sulkana-Tir watched as the last shining slivers of Tatooine’s twin suns disappeared beneath the line of the desert horizon, her arms moving in a rhythmic motion as Dar`kana dozed within them. The child was content: she had just eaten, been changed into a fresh set of clothes for the night, and was being lulled to sleep by the gentle sway and security of her mother’s arms. Her mother, however, was anything but content; a volatile mixture of worry and anger had settled into her stomach.

Her husband was supposed to have returned hours ago. Darcy could certainly understand that at times business did not progress as it was meant to, but to be this late, without any contact, was quite unlike Koras. Before the arrival of their child, Darcy would have trusted her gut feeling that something was terribly wrong, and gone in search of her husband. Now, however, that was not an option, as she obviously could not leave her child alone and certainly would not place her in a situation that might not be entirely safe.

She looked down upon her sleeping baby as twilight settled. She smiled a little, knowing she was biased, but Dar`kana seemed to her to be the most beautiful, perfect child ever brought into existence in the galaxy. Caressing the infant’s cheek with a feather’s touch of her fingertips, Darcy finally relented and turned to go into their apartment. She laid the sleeping child into her crib, adjusted the beautiful canopy surrounding it, and gazed down upon her. Now that her arms were empty, she found her sense of unease magnified tenfold.

“I need to find something to do,” murmured the woman, and turned out of the bedroom and towards her craft room. There, an exquisite garment was half unfinished: an elegant, tastefully seductive dancer’s jumpsuit made of the softest fabrics woven with the richest of colors. If she threw herself into her art, she might be able to dispel her disquieting intuitions. At least for a while.

Darcy went in and sat down, and did just as she intended, throwing herself into finishing the garment. Her intention was to stay awake, hoping against hope that Koras would come down the stairs any minute. However, after about three hours of intensive concentration, Darcy gave into her fraught emotions. She laid down her needle and fabric, rested her head against the workstation, and began to cry.

It was only a few minutes after that, she fell into a fitful sleep.




***** ***** ***** ***** *****




His hand gently caressed the back of her head, toying with her dark locks, bouncing them in his hand as though he were weighing their value. She moaned softly as his fingertips traced against the edge of her jaw, upwards towards her ear, and into her hair again. All of her anxiety, all of her worries began to slip away as she slowly roused to his touch. “Koras, where have you been…?” she murmured softly, feeling as though she were being dragged from the depths of a fathomless slumber.

It was not the pleasant awakening she had expected: the fingers caressing her hair suddenly tightened with painful intensity, snapping her head up off of the workstation and jerking her head back. Her eyes opened wide as she immediately realized that this was not her husband. The man’s hand was wrapped so tightly into the locks of her hair at the base of her neck that she could barely turn her head to confront him. She tried to garner as much as she could from what she could see: it was still the middle of the night; there was more than one intruder – one of them was eyeing her unfinished garment appreciatively while the other fingered her exotic fabrics; and the man assaulting her was a Chiss, for his face was now next to hers and she could clearly see his blue pigmented flesh and blazing red eyes.

“What do you want?” she breathed, her voice trembling with anger and fear. No doubt these creatures had something to do with the disappearance of her husband. “Where is my husband?!”

The Chiss’ movements were primal and thus unnerving: he tilted his head a little, his strange eyes roving her face as though he were gauging her beauty and therefore, what she might be worth. His other hand rose and with inappropriate gentleness stroked the side of her face again and down the slender column of her throat. “We can make them disappear without killing them, you know…” he spoke for the first time, not to Darcy, but to his companions; his tone of indifference was frightening, as though he were simply trying to decide whether or not he wanted to discard a piece of equipment that he rarely used.

The Twi`lek male turned from his admiration of the garment, seeming to give Darcy notice for the first time; his female companion continued to look through her collection of materials, fingering the fabrics and admiring the beautiful colors of some and the rarity of others. The male appraised Darcy in much the same manner that the Chiss had. After a moment, he offered, “The Exchange, you think?”

“Yes,” answered the Chiss, still unsettlingly close to her. “Or the Hutts. You know how I like to pit them against each other and watch the bids rise.”

The female Twi`lek chimed in for the first time: “Do you procure these fabrics and craft these garments yourself?” When Darcy declined to answered, she said, “You must.” Then to her counterpart: “These are the most beautiful ensembles I have ever seen. Feel this fabric. Isn’t it amazing? Every worm on Nal Hutta would want one to dress up his dancers. Nobles would pay dearly to have formal wear designed from this...” She went on and on, again touching the fabrics and admiring the clothing designs that Darcy had devised. “I agree with Thadrek. We could sell them, two for the price of one. She’s… decent looking enough… but the real profit would be in her craft. And this mountain of material.”

The male chuckled, “What a little treasure we have stumbled upon. Thadrek, access The Exchange and Hutt holonet, let them both know we have a little something they might be interested in. Let’s start the bidding a – .” His words were cut short by the sudden, sharp cries of Dar`kana from the bedroom; she had roused for a feeding. Darcy jerked instinctively, every nerve in her body burning to aid her child, to keep her safe from these criminals.

“Ah ah ah,” Thadrek cooed, flexing his hand that was wrapped tightly into her hair. “Let’s not get excited. I would hate for anything to happen to your daughter after you’ve both been put in your proper place. I’ve already been in to see her, in fact. She’s a little beauty. Has her daddy’s eyes, doesn’t she?” he went on, mocking her, breaking her down. “On the other hand, I’m sure Mr. Oovah can ensure her safety, if you will cooperate. Otherwise, there’s no telling what may happen. Who’s to say you won’t get split up in the buying process? Davan, what do you think?” The Chiss tilted his head toward the male Twi`lek suggestively. “Do you think that, given Darcy’s word that she won’t cause trouble for us, you can ensure that she and her daughter stay together, and stay alive?”

Davan smiled wickedly. “Thadrek, you are your best when you’re at your worst. What a splendid idea.” He moved over to Darcy, bringing his face inches from hers. His next words were whispered: “Well, Darcy? What do you choose? To be a problem, and lose a husband and a daughter in the same day? Or will you be a good mommy and keep your daughter safe, and with you?”

Dar`kana’s cries grew shriller as she went on uncared for. Darcy could imagine her kicking at her cradle and scratching in agitation at her face as upset newborns are prone to do. She could not imagine being without her daughter; she could not imagine seeing her daughter sold off like a piece of property and never know what had become of her; she would rather make herself a slave, and remain with her daughter. Her body shook as she forced herself to keep back sobs of grief.

“You’re running out of time to make a decision, Darcy…” Thadrek threatened.

Darcy nodded her head, tears spilling silently down her cheeks. “Y-yes,” she hiccupped. “Do it. Do w-whatever it is you’re going to do, but keep us t-together. Keep my daughter s-safe.” As soon as the words had left her mouth, Thadrek released his grip on her hair, allowing her to rise to tend to her daughter’s needs. He followed close behind her, never allowing her the opportunity to make an escape. His self-satisfied expression, oblivious to her pain, never left his face.

As they left the room, Davan turned towards his companion. “So,” he said cheerily, “access those holonets! Let’s start the bidding!”
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