This had to be Roman's least exciting assignment in a long time. It was up and down as a squire, he was pretty much fodder for whatever the military rank and file demanded. But he had not done bad in recent weeks, getting the chance to support fellow Knights and maybe earn himself the recognition he would need to be knighted himself soon.
But his streak of luck had ended. He had been pulled for simple guard duty this time - bodyguard duty to be exact - and not even for a Knight or senior officer. No, for a crumby politician.
Roman did not follow much of galactic politics, let alone what went off on individual worlds. The guys running Vaynai had definitely screwed the place up, everywhere else was probably much the same. Granted, Imperial worlds did seem different to him. Ordered. He liked that, and believed in what it meant, but he had not spent time with Senators to know if they should even get the credit.
He pulled his overcloak close while he waited, his red plated armour glinting beneath. He could just imagine this guy now. Probably some seventy year old crusty with a cane and a fur robe, barking orders and sipping whisky. He had been to the threat briefings, but it was still hard to imagine such people could be enemy targets. They were so old.
He leant against a pillar by the docking bay and waited. Please let this be over quick.
While his ship prepared to land in the spaceport, Xylan reminisced about the task that he had in front of him. He needed to discuss with the local government the possibility of having Telos join the Empire. If he could bring the planet to the Imperial fold, it would give him some points with the Emperor. The Tionese had many ambitions and the success in these diplomatic missions would help him achieve it.
Beyond this diplomatic mission, his other mission there was the study of the Imperial Knights. During his time on Telos, a squire called Roman Kallo had been assigned to be his bodyguard. Xylan had ordered Zanah to give him all the information disponible about Roman. As always, the Morellian didn’t disappoint him and brought every single detail about the other man.
From his life in poverty in Vaynai to his most recent missions as a part of the Imperial Knights, Xylan had studied everything that could be useful.
The Senator still disdained the Imperial Knights, but his time with Kalique in Entralla made him decide that rather than openly antagonizing them, he could work to win their confidence, while slowly undermining them. Roman could be added in his list of contacts among the Knights. He wondered how a person that grew in poverty like that squire would feel when coming to face the hedonism that Xylan could afford.
The Tionese decided to make this test today.
When the ship landed and the ramp came down, Xylan walked gracefully out of it, with Zanah coming out behind him like a shadow. He was perfectly dressed and showing his youth to everyone to see. Meanwhile, his Morellian bodyguard was dressed in her typical red turtleneck sweater, black dress jacket, black pants, and black medium-heel shoes. A pair of normal glasses covered her calculating eyes.
It didn’t take him much time to notice the squire waiting for him. Roman had a handsome face and Xylan thought that this game would be interesting. While he walked toward the Force user, the Tionese replaced all his calculating thoughts with his innocent and friendly personality.
“Are you Roman Kallo?” he asked, while getting close to the squire. “I’m Xylan Shrialla, Senator of Centares, but you can call me Xylan.” he smiled at the young man, offering his hand for a handshake.
Roman straightened as the ship landed and unfurled its ramp, but the people that stepped off made him practically flinch.
The guy that walked out front was far from an old crusty. He was younger, young even, dressed real suave and looking like he had the confidence to go with it. He was a senator?! Maybe Roman knew even less than he thought.
“I am” he said, answering plainly to his name while his brain was still processing “at your service sir, Xylan, sir“. He went for a brief bow but was thrown by how smiling and friendly the Senator was. Could he really call this guy by his first name? He half wondered if it was a test.
Roman accepted the handshake, still pinching himself. He had not really expected to be acknowledged, let alone greeted. He fell into step at the Senator’s shoulder, conscious of Xylan’s female companion trailing him in her stark outfit, peering suspiciously over her glasses.
“Have you been a Senator long, sir?”. The question was out of his mouth before Roman could stop himself. He knew he should be focusing on the task at hand, asking about potential threats, but he was genuinely intrigued.
Roman's reaction to his presence made Xylan's smile grow. It was obvious that the squire was surprised with his presence, but the Senator didn’t know why. However, it only made the politician more interested in the young man. The Force user didn't even know how to talk to him. It was amusing.
"No sir, please. It makes me feel old." Xylan said, frowning with displeasure. Then, he shook his head. "I believe that we are nearly the same age, you don't need to be that much formal with me." he smiled, while gesturing for the squire to follow him. "Well, at least when it is only the two of us. The people that we are going to see care too much about etiquette." he whispered to the other, wanting it to be a secret of the two.
The squire's question pleased the Tionese. It seemed that he wasn’t the only one curious here. He turned to look at Roman, their eyes meeting. The Force user would be able to see that the Politician was happy in answering him. "No, it has been some months since I was appointed. To be honest, this is my first diplomatic mission to a non-Imperial planet." the Senator said, his voice showing his nervousness. "I hope that everything will go well."
They would walk toward the exit of the spaceport, where a speeder was waiting for them. The pilot was a droid, who promptly opened the door for the group. Xylan thanked him before entering. Zanah would allow Roman to travel with the Senator, while she would sit next to the droid in the front of the vehicle.
If Roman agreed with this arrangement, the two would be conveniently alone. The back seats of the speeder were luxurious, with comfortable seats and a stand with different types of refreshments and food. "You can pick whatever you want." Xylan would say, while gesturing at it.
His friendly smile hide his curiosity. What Roman would do in face of all that?
The Vaynaian listened, supposing he now had no choice but to do as the Senator - as Xylan - asked. “Ok Xylan, if you’re sure” he surrendered, giving the Senator a hard look. It would take a little while to get used to. The whispered advice was something totally new, so Roman simply smiled uncertainly.
The news it was the Senator’s first foray to a non-Imperial world raised the stakes. “I am sure it will” Roman said. He was keen to support and this seemed the best way right now. He was unsure what help he could be in making it a success.
They had to catch a speeder to their destination and Roman found himself in the back with Xylan. A feast of food and drink was all set up in the compartment. Roman had never seen such a thing.
”I’m on duty” he protested, quite unsure. He had a few years experience as a squire, but nothing like this. “I should focus on protecting you”. It was his purpose after all, and his purpose meant a lot to him. But it did not make it any easier to ignore the drinks and snacks in front of him.
Xylan nodded, understanding the reasons for Roman’s refusal. “You are a good professional. I also don’t drink when working, only water. Of course, if my work requires that I have diner or lunch, I follow the protocol.” there was nothing worse than someone appearing at a meeting after having drunk an entire bottle of Corellian whiskey. He had to deal with some of the executives of his family company that did exactly that, only because they thought that the Tionese was too young at the time to complain.
Zanah had dealt with accordingly and such incidents never happened again.
“You asked me how long I was a Senator. As I said, it was only some months since I was appointed, but I did some interesting things since it happened.” he continued talking, seeking to maintain a conversation rather than allowing an uncomfortable silence to rise between them.
“Recently, I visited the refugee camps in Entralla. There are so many people that suffered in Coruscant and are now trying to rebuild their lives in Imperial worlds.” he turned away from Roman, a shadow of sadness appearing on his face. “This time there made me think that there are so many others that are still suffering out here, fleeing from wars, without anything to eat and living in total poverty.”
“So, I decided to help them! I have plans to talk with the Imperial Senate about the creation of a program that will help them more effectively.” the Senator looked back at Roman, but paused. “Sorry, I’m filling you with this sad story and political talk.” he gave the squire an apologetical smile, but wondering what the other would think of his idea. This would be a perfect marketing play to show to the rest of the Galaxy that the Empire was good.
“Changing topics, how long have you been a squire, Roman?” he thought for a moment, before speaking again. “Do you mind if I call you Roman? I noticed that you aren’t comfortable calling me Xylan, so I’ll give you the exception of being the only other person besides Zanah that can call me sir.” he smiled playfully, not wanting to make the other uncomfortable.
A lot was coming at him in the rather snug rear compartment and Roman had to think fast. He tried to listen intently to Xylan's words, while still keeping one eye on the landscape whipping by. He wanted to seem both interested confidante and diligent bodyguard, but the two did not necessarily fit together well.
"Poverty is hard to see up close" Roman acknowledged, well acquainted with it from his own youth "and harder to live if you haven't known it before. Many of these people you mention won't survive it without a help back up".
He was still undecided how genuine Xylan or his welfare program might be. The Senator had already surprised the squire by being both young and friendly. Could he really have benevolent motives too? Roman was too much of a cynic to believe it just yet. "I don't mind the political talk" he offered. Xylan actually made it sound interesting and he seemed almost relatable.
"Sure, that's fine" Roman replied, seeing no issue with Xylan calling him by his name. He was not even knighted yet after all. "I've been squiring nearly three years" he explained "bit of a late starter but hopefully not late to finish". He smiled awkwardly, only half concealing his anxiety about the subject. He had less than a year to make Knight, or he would likely be dismissed. It was a hard and fast rule.
"So where are we headed now?" he asked Xylan, looking back at the eclectic snacks. If they were not likely to be offered refreshment there, maybe he should have a bite or two now after all.
Xylan nodded, agreeing with what Roman was saying. It was obvious that the Squire understood about it perfectly. The Tionese had read his files before arriving on Telos. He was very aware of the fact that the young man next to him was born in poverty. The Politician had told the other man his plans not only because he wanted his opinion, but also because he wanted to win his trust.
“I don’t understand what it is to live in poverty, but I’m trying to help them.” he paused, giving the other a weak smile. “I really hope that my efforts are going to save as many lives as possible.” the more people he helped, the better it would be for his image. “I also hope that the other Imperial Senators would also see how it's necessary and join my efforts."
“Well, I believe that is only a matter of time until you become a Knight.” he said, being supportive for Roman’s future. He decided that if this mission ended as a success, the Tionese would write to the responsibles for promoting the Knights and say how the Squire was helpful during this mission. Perhaps it would help in his Knighthood.
“We are going to meet with the Governor of Telos, an old man called Arkon Primus.” Xylan explained, frowning at the thought of needing to talk with that individual. “He rules the planet for a long time and is known for being rude and arrogant.” the Tionese already expected the long diplomatic talk that was going to happen. “There are also rumors…” he trailed off, looking at Roman’s eyes.
“There are rumors that he is a sympathizer of the Sith.” he waited for Roman’s reaction, wondering how the other man would react to this revelation.
Roman reached for snack to give him some thinking time. There were some seafood canapes, but he generally avoided fish as it reminded him too much of his previous life. The squire found himself trying to nibble politely at some seasoned meat on a cocktail stick.
Xylan was still keeping up the whole benevolent thing. It could be true, but Roman had met very few people who were truly selfless. Service before self was the core of the Empire, but most people had some personal ambition. The Senator was also very complimentary, to say he had never met Roman or seen him in action.
"Thank you sir" he smiled, trying not to talk with his mouth full. The food was actually incredible, but he held off taking any more. "Do you think they're true?" Roman asked, considering the rumours himself. Everything he had been taught told him the Sith were a broken, diminished force, and he had rarely seen one himself. Would any serious leader cling to them these days?
He wondered what Xylan made of it, slightly impressed how much the young Senator had to know, and how on top of it he seemed.
Xylan watched with hidden satisfaction to Roman finally succumb to the food that surrounded them. The Politician was right in believing that the Squire wasn’t so restrained as he thought. He wondered how long it would take for the other man to also feel interested in tasting the drinks.
To not risk the Squire feeling uncomfortable for being the only one eating, Xylan decided to pick a ham and bread canape, with some type of sauce. While he munched it, the Senator couldn’t avoid thinking that it wasn’t the worst thing he ever ate, but it was very subpar compared to what his personal chef could do.
Before answering the Squire’s question, Xylan grabbed a napkin and used it to clean his mouth. “I’m not sure. Primus indeed had some connections with Sith Champions during the time of the Sith Empire. I don’t know if he maintained them.” even with his resources, the Politician couldn’t find anything beyond some rumors and gossip.
Suddenly, the speeder stopped. The door next to Xylan opened, revealing Zanah. “We arrived.” she said, before giving space for the Senator to exit the vehicle. He gestured to Roman to follow him. Outside, they would be able to see the Telosian Gubernatorial Center, a large building that would be exactly what someone would expect of the administrative center. In front of it, a male Twi’lek waited for them.
“Hello! I’m Urdin, aide of governor Primus.” he said, while smiling at them. “Welcome to Telos! The governor waits for you.”
So Xylan didn’t know everything then. In a way, it was reassuring. He already seemed far too knowledgeable for someone his age. Roman was not about to forget the possibility of Sith ties here though. They were the sworn enemy of the Empire and arguably the most dangerous enemies they could face. He shrugged as if it mattered not, but deep down hoped he was up to the task.
They arrived at their destination and Roman followed the Senator out of the speeder and to the meeting outside the big shiny building.
He straightened, remembering his training. Chin up, chest out, look proud. Knight-Captain Hogarth had been a harsh drill master, but his basic tenets never left you. Roman let his crimson armour speak for him, projecting the image of a Knight when only a few would know he was but a squire.
He stayed close enough to Xylan to leap to his aid, but kept a respectful distance. He was not quite sure how the guy had managed it, but he’d interested Roman enough for the squire to want to listen in on his dealings.
As the Twi’lek greeted the Senator, Roman leant over almost imperceptibly towards Zanah. “You know how to fight?” he asked. It might be a naive question, she certainly looked like she could handle herself, but he had to know if he could rely on her if anything kicked off.
While Xylan was distracted greeting Urdin, he didn’t pay attention to the conversation between Roman and Zanah. If it could be considered one, because the Morellian answered the Squire’s question with a simple nod of her head. Unfortunately, the Senator had forgotten to warn the young man that she wasn’t a very talkative individual.
After Xylan made the appropriate presentations, pointing that Roman was an Imperial Squire and Zanah his personal bodyguard, Urdin waved at them. “It’s a pleasure to meet you all! Come, the governor waits.” he said, before gesturing for them to follow him. The Tionese went after him, with Zanah following him like a shadow and expecting that the Squire would do the same.
While they followed the Twi’lek, they crossed a hall full of members of the administration of Telos. These workers stopped what they were doing to look at them with a mix of surprise and fear. Xylan faked having ignored it, but the stares made him uncomfortable. Something wasn’t right. He imagined that Zanah also noticed it and hoped that Roman would have done it too.
The group entered a large elevator, which only stopped when reaching the last floor of the building. After leaving it, they found themselves in front of a large door with two guards on each side. Then, Urdin turned to them. “I’m sorry, but Governor Primus only wants to talk with the Senator.”
If Xylan was already uncomfortable, now his mind was screaming danger. “My personal bodyguard can stay outside, but Squire Kallo will enter with me.” he said, making Urdin prepare to argue. However, the Senator cut him immediately. “He is also an Imperial representative and is going to participate in the discussion. His opinion is important to me. I don't think that the Governor wants to cause a diplomatic conflict with the Empire.” this veiled threat made the Twi’lek node and opened the door for them.
Inside the two would see the most tacky officer that Xylan ever saw. There was so much richness here that made the place look stupid. Behind a table was a fat and old man, the perfect stereotype of a corrupt politician.
It turned out Zanah was as much fun to talk to as a brick wall. A nod was all Roman got, though for some reason he believed it. She just looked too composed to be simple PA.
They followed the Twi’lek guy through to where the meeting was really happening. The squire found himself wondering briefly if he was no better than the tail-headed lackey; a pawn in other people’s games.
He jerked suddenly. Where did a thought like that come from? He was a loyal Imperial, training to be a Knight. Fulfilling orders was his purpose. His being. Besides, he was worth a lot more than some penpusher.
A slight chill ran down Roman’s neck as they passed through the working space where a dozen or more eyes followed them. It felt unusual. Wrong. The squire knew enough to trust his instincts and he didn’t like what they were telling him at all.
Roman was ready to object to being left behind, before Xylan raised it first. Did he have to tell them he was a squire?! But he had to work to stop his mouth falling open when the Senator expounded about how Roman really needed to be involved. To participate.
Xylan and Roman went ahead alone, leaving Zanah behind. Roman marked the two guards outside, but he didn’t see any more in the room itself. Not yet at least. It was hard to see anything much, the sheer amount of trinkets, ornaments and finery made it hard to see past the glamour. The jerk they had come to see - Primus - was everything Roman had expected Xylan to be; big, fat and rolling in luxury.
“This is highly unusual, Governor” Roman said, with all the authority he could muster “separating a Senator from his staff”. He didn’t dare say much more, but he needed to put his two cents in to feel he was not totally useless here.
The reaction of the two politicians to what Roman had said were very different. Xylan approved the young man's initiative, thinking that someone of his position in a similar situation would probably remain silent. He wondered if this initiative could be polished into something greater. Perhaps with the right training, the Squire could find a new path for him, away from the Imperial Knights.
He would study this possibility.
Meanwhile, Primus simply laughed. It was a mix of contempt and sarcasm that made Xylan feel furious. How did this whale dared to act this way in front of two representatives of the Empire? “I’m sorry, but I’ll not explain my decisions to a street dog.” the Governor said, making the Tionese think that this diplomatic talk was going to be worse than he expected.
His feeling got worse when he felt latches coming out from the seat and immobilized him and Roman. “Primus, what are you doing?” Xylan said, panic was very real in his voice. “Did you go mad?” the Governor ignored him, continuing to talk with the Squire.
“This shiny armor of yours can’t hide what you really are, boy. I can see from your tattooed face that you are one of those pieces of scum that lived in the streets. I don’t talk with scum. And you…” he turned to look at the Senator. “You are a parasite that betrayed the great Sith Order! If the planets had more courage and faith in them, the Order would have never been exiled.” this speech confirmed that Primus was indeed loyal to these Force users. Xylan would have argued with the other, but he was having a panic attack due to being held in his place by the latches.
“Now, away with you!” Primus screamed, before pressing a button and making his seat disappear in a trapdoor. The door and windows of the room got locked with durasteel plates. Locked, a gas would come from several hidden fissures and the two would be knocked out. Once it happened, their seats would also disappear in trapdoors.
Roman had been stupid. Even as the latches closed around his arms and legs, binding him to the chair, he felt the Force flare in warning.
He should never have accepted the toad’s invitation to sit in the plush chair. Now he was bound too tightly to reach his saber, or flex barely a muscle. His face flushed at Primus’ insults, his anger burning white hot. He had imagined half a dozen ways he would make the man pay before the gas filled the room and he lost consciousness.
The squire awoke slowly, a sharp pain at his wrists jolting him here and there. Looking around, they seemed to have been locked in an old disused mailroom, with long outdated machinery all around and squat narrow windows at ceiling level. Roman felt like they were in the basement, perhaps of the very same building they had entered.
He was sat awkwardly on the floor, his hands chained behind him to the steel leg of a huge old printing press. Roman realised with a moan that he had been stripped of his armour and saber, lashed to the steel leg in just his tank top and trousers.
He looked across, finding Xylan tied to another leg several meters away. “Senator” he whispered “Xylan!”. He flexed his muscled shoulders to gently chink the chains against the metal. More of his tattoos were on show now, some permanent and others temporary, but modesty was the least of his worries. “You awake? We need to get out here”.
Primus might not have had an actual brig or dungeon handy to put them in, but Roman could still guess his plans for them. The Sith were probably on their way; the two of them would be handed over like merchandise if they did not find a way to escape.
Xylan woke up with the sound of Roman’s voice. He groaned, trying to move, but his hands were immobilized. Opening his eyes, the Politician saw that he was in some type of abandoned room, full of old machines. Looking up, the Tionese saw that he had handcuffs around his wrists.
“I’m awake. Are you fine?” he said, before turning to look at Roman. The Squire was across the room in front of him, also immobilized by handcuffs. They had removed the young man’s armor, allowed Xylan to see more of his body, and the Tionese needed to say that he liked what he was seeing. Beyond his pretty face, the other man also had a good looking body with nice muscles.
The tattoos suited him, and the Politician wondered if there were others hidden under his shirt.
He would think about it later, because now they needed to find a way of leaving this place. For Xylan’s relief, their captors had left his rings at his fingers. With some effort, the Tionese was able to hit the ring of his right index finger against the metal of the machine where he was chained. Immediately after hitting the metal, a faint blip sounded and the red gemstone started to flash red. If Zanah was still out here, she would know that something bad happened and that he would need help.
“Can you release us with the Force?” Xylan still believed that the Force was some useless ability that was cultivated by religious philosophers that thought that they were better than everyone else. If Roman showed that it could be useful to help them at this moment, maybe the Tionese would start to rethink his beliefs.
Meanwhile, Zanah was still waiting outside Primus’ room. It had been some time since they entered and the Morellian was already suspecting that something wasn’t right. When her wristwatch started to flash red, she had the confirmation that Xylan was in danger. In a flash, the guards at the door found their throats slit by the woman, who was now holding a blade. During all this time, the weapon was hidden under her sleeve.
She didn’t wait to see if the guards were dead, because Zanah immediately rushed through the corridor toward the stairs. With the fury of a rancor, the Morellian would kill and knock anyone that appeared in her path. She would follow Xylan’s signal and protect him, the woman would never allow what happened with his father to happen with him.
The Senator slowly came to, which Roman was glad about. They stood a better chance of escape together.
Xylan looked over and their eyes met for a moment. The squire noticed the politician giving him an appraising look, almost like the look you gave someone when…Roman looked away. He was crazy. They were trapped in a crappy basement and ready to be served up to Sith. He could not lose his head.
The Senator seemed to be doing something out of view, but didn’t work any miracles with his own restraints. “Maybe” Roman said, wary of making promises he couldn’t keep. He was willing to try, but he knew of no obvious way to use the Force to cut metal. But Xylan was looking at him and some combination of pride and embarrassment made him need to find a way.
If only he had his saber. It occurred to him that while his obvious weapons had been taken, they may not have searched him forensically. He twisted, slipping a shackled hand into his back pocket and was overjoyed to find his cigarra lighter. Pulling it out, he delicately turned it around to aim the flicked flame towards the metal chains.
Giving Xylan a reassuring look, he closed his eyes and tried to concentrate, reaching inside himself for that reservoir of fear that was always there. The fear of never measuring up. The fear, right now, of failing and falling into Sith hands. Channeling the Dark Side, he saw the tiny flame in his mind and willed it to turn brighter. The tongue of fire surged, burning brighter and hotter, concentrated like a blow torch.
The chains snapped and Roman was pulling himself free. Part of him didn’t quire believe it, but he managed to find his usual exterior confidence. “Easy enough” he joked “guess your Primus isn’t as smart as he thinks he is”. The oaf had called him a street dog. Again, Roman vowed to himself he would make him pay.
He repeated the act to free Xylan and offered a hand to help the Senator to his feet. “We should get out of here and back to your ship” he suggested. “I can’t protect you without my saber, my armor and I don’t know where they are”. He suddenly realised he might never get them back. “We can’t stay here, surely?”.
Xylan waited with great expectation to see what Roman would do to release them. The Tionese were still skeptical, doubting that the Force could break their chains and allow them to walk out of this room. If it was really that powerful, perhaps he could even ask the Squire to materialize a cup of caff. He wanted to laugh with this thought.
The Politician saw the Squire move his hand to his pocket and retrieve something out of it. When a small flame appeared, Xylan understood that it was some type of lighter. He raised an eyebrow, still not giving much faith to what Roman was planning. What could he do with this flame? Turn into a flamethrower.
He widened his eyes when he saw that the flame of the lighter really became like a flamethrower, melting Roman’s shackles as if they were nothing. Xylan couldn’t find any explanation to what he had seen. It was impossible for something so small to be capable of producing so much fire.
If it was the Force, then the Tionese should start to rethink his opinion about it. He thought that it was a great display of power, even if he knew nothing about Force sensitives.
After getting released, Xylan accepted Roman’s hand and got up from the floor. While doing it, the Senator looked at the Squire with gratitude and admiration, this time these were sincere feelings. “Thank you." he smiled at the Squire, hold the other man's hand for some moments, before noticing what he was doing and remembering that it wasn't the place for it "While we could return to the ship, I believe that we should wait a little bit.” he said, while showing his ring to the young man. The blip was starting to become louder. “Help is coming.” as he said it, an explosion was heard in the distance, with screams coming shortly after.
Zanah was near, and Primus would regret having crossed his path with Xylan Shrialla.
It was weird helping Xylan up and free of his binds. They had started the day feeling worlds apart to Roman, but here in this dusty room they were just two escaping prisoners on a level. They did not seem so different, standing there briefly holding hands. Xylan could have been any of his fellow knights back on Raxus, or any of the dockhands back on Vaynai. He was kind of more interesting than both.
Roman was about to protest at the suggestion they stay put, until Xylan held up the ring. A beeping ring? How was that going to save them?
There was something like an explosion nearby and a short while later a shout and the sound of something man-sized being thrown against the door.
Roman anxiously looked around for anything to fight with, picking up the length of metal chain in one hand and balling the Dark Side in the other. He encouraged Xylan back, putting himself between the Senator and the door. If the Sith were coming, they were going to get it.
Zanah kicked the doors open suddenly with unnatural speed. Roman flinched in surprise. “You?! Wow lady, you weren’t lying”. He could see the body of a guard on the floor behind her and a sharp blade seemed to gleam in her hand.
“Do you have a plan?” he asked her, looking uncertainly from Zanah to Xylan. He was reluctant to say anything but thank you, but his training told him not to blindly follow her out of here until he had some idea what lay ahead.
Differently from Roman, the explosions and screams that were approaching them had a calming effect on Xylan. He knew very well that it was Zanah who was coming for them. The blip of his ring becoming so loud signaled her approach. Without any doubt a similar effect could be observed on her wristwatch.
When the Tionese was going to explain to the Squire that he didn’t need to be nervous, Roman had already armed himself to protect the Senator, even gesturing for the Politician to stay behind him. Xylan smiled, before placing his hand at the young man’s arm. “Relax. You’ll be surprised with who is behind it.”
The doors burst open, revealing Zanah. Her clothes were still perfectly aligned, giving the impression that she had simply walked here. The only thing that gave the Morellian away was the knife in her hand. “Are you fine?” she asked, her voice full of concern. It was one of the few times that she showed some feelings.
“We are fine. Roman was very clever and used the Force to release us.” he said, only now noticing that his hand was still holding the Squire’s biceps. Xylan let go of it immediately, but remained close to the other. He was starting to feel safe being around him. When the Force user asked if Zanah had a plan, the Morellian and the Tionese looked at each other. He would let her answer this one.
“First we should leave this place, Primus has mobilized all his personnel to stop me. Once they discover that you two are free, they’ll hunt us.” Xylan nodded with this revelation, bringing Telos to the Empire became impossible by this point. “I believe that we should hide in the city, while making our way to the spaceport and flee from here.”