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The Countess and the Timepiece

Posted on Wednesday November 4th, 2020 @ 6:07am by Aldoh Damari

Mission: When a Hutt Laughs
Location: Zazarac IV
Timeline: Backpost

OOC NOTE: This post takes place sometime prior to Aldoh joining Grey Wing.

ON

Aldoh Damari had grown up in the harsh deserts of the planet Kintan. Rainfall was few and far between and torrential downpours almost unheard of. Certainly, when Aldoh first began to accompany his father off-world, he had not yet experienced one in his then short lifetime. When he experienced his first few serious rainstorms, he revelled in them. But that was four or five decades ago. Now, Aldoh took no pleasure in the sky trying to drown him.

Aldoh trudged through the streets of a backwater hamlet on a backwater world, his cortosis armor rustling and creaking just a bit as he walked. It was here in this backwater town on this backwater world that Countess Viriladria Pardivae of Alderaan was exiled by her husband for the crime of not being a dutiful wife. In this case, not being a "dutiful wife" meant not quietly suffering through a sexless marriage while her abusive husband the Count had sex with any woman he could seduce or, failing at that, coerce.

Count Pardivae had little use for his children, either, and shipped them off to live with their mother.

The joke, however, was on the Count. Less than a day after he'd exiled his wife, the Empire used Alderaan as a test target for its first Death Star, destroying the planet and killing everyone on it, including the count and the maid he was having his way with at the time. Probably a mercy. Said maid had recently contracted a nasty venereal disease from one of the butlers, who'd caught it from one of the footmen, who'd caught it from Lady Ambathoc, who had dragged the unsuspecting footman into the bushes and had her way with him while her husband was otherwise occupied. Had he survived, the Count would have been in for an unpleasant surprise, as would everyone he would have inevitably spread the disease to after contracting it and before he realized that he had it.

The point being that Countess Pardivae and her two children, a girl (Channi) and a boy (Nodrind), couldn’t have picked a better moment to be exiled. The estate here, once the Countess began properly managing it, became a financially viable concern, one that she intended to keep building on until she surpassed her late husband in wealth, influence, and power. In just the seven cycles since the destruction of Alderaan, she made huge strides towards these goals.

It was late into the night and very dark as Aldoh made his way to Pardivae Manor. People he encountered either ignored him, or if they saw Aldoh, they gave him a wide berth without being told to do so. A very few eyeballed Aldoh, until the Morgukai met their stares with one of his own, in which case they would scuttle off like the frightened rodents they clearly were.

Aldoh at last arrived at the back gate to Pardivae Manor. As he stood in the archway, Aldoh could tell he was being scanned.

“You are Master Aldoh Damari,” came the voice of what was apparently a security AI. “You are expected. Confirm.”

“I am Master Aldoh Damari,” Aldoh replied. “I am expected.”

“Please enter the property and proceed up the path to the house, Master Aldoh Damari,” the security AI said. “A-3PX, our protocol droid, will meet you at the back entrance to the house.”

“Understood,” Aldoh said, and then began heading up the path to the house. At the door he was met by a silver and black 3PX protocol droid.

“Greetings and salutations, Master Aldoh Damari!” the 3PX said, entirely too cheerful for Aldoh’s tastes. He didn’t feel that anyone should be that excited to see him. “I am A-3PX. You may call me Apex. Please remember to wipe your boots before you proceed any further into the house.” Two droids approached with blowers shooting out warm air. “My associates are going to dry you off a bit. Please to do not be alarmed and please do not interfere.”

Aldoh let the droids do their work.

“Ah,” Apex said. “Much better! Please, Master Damari, follow me! The Countess is awaiting you in her office!”

Aldoh followed the 3PX unit into what the Morgukai assumed was the Countesses office.

“Mistress!” Apex said. “May I present Master Aldoh Damari of the Morgukai Brotherhood. Master Damari, this is my mistress, Viriladria, Countess Pardivae!”

“Countess,” Aldoh said. He took in Viriladria’s appearance and scent. Though he was nikto, Aldoh was cosmopolitan enough to find people of other species and races attractive. By human standards, Viriladria was very attractive. According to Aldoh’s scent receptors, she smelled very nice.

“Master Morgukai,” Viriladria replied. “Thank you for coming so quickly. I realize we’re a bit off the beaten path.”

“You asked for specifically,” Aldoh said. “That suggests you require something specific, and that you’re willing to pay top dollar for it.”

The Countess smiled wanly. “Straight to the point,” she said. “I like that in anyone, in a man particularly. I’ll show you the same respect then. Someone close to me was killed. Someone very close. A man. He saw someone in trouble and tried to help and paid for his bravery and compassion with his life. He had with him an antique pocket timepiece. The one who killed him took it. A witnesses say they saw the killer take the timepiece. It was my lover’s most prized possession, having been passed down from generation to generation.” Viriladria locked eyes with Aldoh and placed her hands on her stomach. “I would see this family heirloom passed down to my lover’s next generation. Do you understand me, Master Morgukai?”

Aldoh nodded. “I do, Countess,” he said.

Viriladria visibly relaxed. She handed Aldoh a data device. “All of the information you’ll need is in there, including what I’m willing to pay you to accomplish this task. And, of course, anything else this piece of filth has in his possession is yours, as I presume that he will have no other use for any of his possessions after you retrieve this piece of my unborn child’s legacy. Do we have an understanding, Master Morgukai?”

Aldoh took a moment to check the amount of offered compensation, and then replied. “We do indeed. I will start immediately.”

“Nonsense,” Viriladria said. “It’s pouring and you already know how long a walk it is between here and where your ship is parked. Apex!”

“Yes, Mistress?” the protocol droid replied.

“See that Master Damari has a place to wash up and bed down for the night. Get him food and drink if he needs it. Tomorrow morning, feed him again, and then arrange a speeder ride for him out to his ship.”

“Gratitude, Countess,” Aldoh said.

“I always treat those in my employ well, Master Damari,” Viriladria said. “Always, and without fail.”

“I’ll remember that, Countess,” Aldoh said.

“See that you do,” Viriladria said. “Goodnight, Master Damari.”

“Goodnight, Countess,” Aldoh said.

The next morning, well-rested and well-fed, Aldoh set off in pursuit of a bounty hunter by the name of Indryn Scal.

OFF

 

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