View Full Version : The Bittersweet Midnight Wake of Apolonia Rosario Patron

Dan the Man
Jun 2nd, 2004, 08:28:25 PM
<font size=-3>OOC: Continued from <a href=http://www.sw-fans.net/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=35649&perpage=20>here</a>.</font>


Originally posted by Dan the Man

Dan said with a grunt, as he eased himself back in his seat.

"...I do suppose I owe you more of an explanation."

"The Hammer of Martugg in itself is important, but it isn't the reason I came along with you. No, that's more personal. You see, it..."

Dan paused, reaching for his stim case.

"You don't mind if I smoke, do you?"

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 2nd, 2004, 08:34:02 PM
"No, feel free. I prefer cigarras, myself." In fact. . . Arya tapped the arm of her seat, and a compartment popped open, revealing two cigarras. She extracted one, bit off the end, and reached for her lighter as Dan lit up his stim.

The older man leaned forward, offering his light, and she accepted, drawing deeply to help it catch. Both settled again, Arya blew a smoke ring respectfully away from Dan's direction. "You were saying?"

Dan the Man
Jun 2nd, 2004, 08:46:16 PM
"Ah yes..."

Dan leaned back in his seat, exhaling smoke and arranging his thoughts.

"I've come to Tattooine to attend a wake and a funeral, for someone quite close to me. Apolonia Rosario Patron, the dearly beloved wife of my lifelong friend, Vittorio Patron, a quite wealthy vaporator plantation tycoon."

He paused again, as if savoring the flavor of the words he'd spoken moreso than the stim he clenched between his lips.

"When I was younger..."

Dan arched an eyebrow.

"...many years ago, Vittorio and I were like brothers. His family made their riches off the scarce water of Tattooine, not to mention gun-running for Jabba the Hutt. It was enough to provide themselves an oasis on that dusty dry planet.

Vittorio's father took me in when I was very small. I was his son. Vittorio's brother. In my many years, I have never felt a closer kinship with another person. Mind you, we both followed bent and unscrupulous ways, as was the wont of so many on Tattooine. But we made our choice, and we were never once apologetic for how we lived our lives."

Dan smiled wistfully, taking another pull from his stim.

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 2nd, 2004, 08:58:48 PM
Arya savored the flavor of her cigarra, and looked at him through half-lidded eyes. "So I'm a taxi, taking you to a wake while I do some good ol' snatch and grab?"

Dan the Man
Jun 2nd, 2004, 09:18:14 PM
"If it makes you feel any better, you'll be the highest paid taxi driver this side of Coruscant, so long as the job's done."

Flicking some ash to the floor, Dan continued his story.

"I'm not here to simply pay my respects. Not exactly. Perhaps in my own macabre way, I guess. I don't gather you'll understand, and that's fine."

He brushed a lock of grey hair out of his face, and towards the other locks that hung to the side of his head.

"All good things must come to an end, and my brotherhood with Vittorio was no different. It took fifteen years for it to happen, but that's time enough to sever ties, especially in the name of love.

You see, the same woman caught our eyes at the same instant. Her name was Apolonia Rosario, a Princess of Naboo."

Exhaling smoke slowly, Dan seemed to wander in his thoughts. He eventually returned to the task at hand.

"There was little I or Vittorio could do. We were instantly taken. And she, bored of her pampered existence, was delighted in being competed over by such dashing rogues. When she wasn't courting one of us, she courted the other. Vittorio and I gave everything we had to win her heart, including our own kinship.

She, well, she was the only other person in the world I gave a damn about, myself excluded. But as they say, two's company, three's a crowd.

I...was the crowd."

He glanced sidelong to Arya in a discomforting manner.

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 3rd, 2004, 12:41:32 AM
The little bout of storytelling had taken an uncomfortable turn, and Arya shifted a bit in her seat. With another smoke ring in the air, she put her boots up on the console in such a way that it seemed careless. The truth was that she'd been doing the same for years, and her feet just naturally found the spot on the console where they would do no damage to the instruments. There was even a slightly worn spot to prove it.

"Well. . . " Well, sorry about your long lost love. Now she's dead, isn't that great? Are you going to kill Vittorio? "Well." I hate stories.

Dan the Man
Jun 3rd, 2004, 08:58:16 AM

Dan shrugged a bit, relieving some of the previous tension.

"...wronged and betrayed though I might have been, I still loved Vittorio and Apolonia more than ever. The cruel irony is that I've killed my fair share of people. Buried them deep down in the cold ground I did, but this time I'd met my match. I couldn't kill love. I was truly and utterly ill prepared for the task. The one moment of bloodsport to crown them all, and I was incapable of delivering the coup de grace."

Exhaling smoke upwards, Dan leaned his head slightly so that Arya was now in eye contact again.

"I decided to leave the plantation, the night before they were wed. I wished them both well, but I couldn't stay. I'd be trapped between the inconsistencies of my life, and my greatest hipocrisy.

Before I left, however, I made a solemn promise. A heartless killer though I may be, Vittorio and Apolonia weren't meant to die that day. I knew from the moment I'd set eyes on Apolonia just how impervious love is to a thing like death. Bloody vengeance would deny them nothing, and the impropriety of my carnage would always remind me that I had taken life too early.

I stayed my hand, but like all contracts with the Devil, there are...stipulations. As long as they both loved each other, who was I to stake my claim on revenge that was not realized? No, I gave them my blessing for a long and fruitful marriage. It was the next best thing my broken heart could desire. But when the day that one passed into eternity came, I promised to return, and take what's due to me, according to the most ancient rules of revenge and broken hearts.

Apolonia stopped loving Vittorio today. He placed a wreath upon her door. Soon he'll carry her away. Then he'll stop loving her today."

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 3rd, 2004, 11:35:26 AM
"Hmm." Arya mused over the impending death of Vittorio, and pointed a finger to the ceiling to emphasize her point. "However, that is assuming that love is dependant on life. You believe that one cannot love a dead woman, or man?"

It was true she no longer was actively in love with Aaron, and he had been dead for over ten years. But she had not taken another lover, although there had been one or two men along the way that she'd taken in to her bed. No, her affection for Aaron lived on long after she'd been forced to abandon him to his death.


A shower of credits, like silvery chunks of confetti, erupted around him as he fell to the ground. "Go! Leave!" He ordered her away. And she went.

Arya blinked, a watery eye threatening her repose. She rubbed it, "Damn smoke." She activated the venting system, a whoosh of air sucking the stim and cigarra smoke from the cockpit.

Dan the Man
Jun 3rd, 2004, 11:47:40 AM
"It was a figurative expression, from an old sad song."

Glancing at Arya again, he flicked his ash.

"I didn't offer to explain the reasoning, or debate its wisdom. I gave you the truth, best I could. I owed you that much. Now, you know my personal stake in this little mission."

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 4th, 2004, 01:39:11 AM
"Well, if you don't want to be all philosophical about it," Arya grumped, and stubbed out her cigarra. Replacing it into the arm of the seat, she got to her feet.

"I think I'll sleep better, knowing that. Hey, speaking of sleep, I'll catch you later. Don't touch any buttons." Arya clumped out of the cockpit, her heavy boots making no apologies as they traveled over the deck plating. She eyed the couch, frowned, and stomped into her cabin and locked the door.

He didn't exactly creep her out, and she didn't feel that she was in danger from him. . . but that Dan character was a piece of work. Arya stripped off her jacket, threw it over a bolted down chair, and flopped onto the bunk to stare at the ceiling.

Dan the Man
Jun 4th, 2004, 12:21:13 PM
Dan nodded as Arya retired.

"Have a good one, Smuggler. We go to work in a few hours."

The old snake rose from his seat slowly, draping his black coat over the back as he made his way for the couch. Before laying down, he removed his holster and double blasters, and lastly, his black boots. That done, he stretched out to each end of the couch, and shut off the cabin's light.

<center>***Several hours later***</center>

Dan was up a good ten minutes before the hyperspace exit, and with great care, drew his garb together for another day. He returned to his original seat, and rolled the evening's first cigarette. On Tattooine, the suns should have just gone down.

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 4th, 2004, 07:11:10 PM
She heard him enter the cockpit behind her, but didn't turn her head as the jump ticker counted down. Threepio was still confined to the hold, where his complaining couldn't offend her new employer. Or, whoever he was.

Arya eyed him without turning her head as Dan rolled a cigarette. "So, before you go off and kill your foster brother, is there anything I need to know about my job? Like, where, guarded by what, and when?" The last thing I tried stealing, with s'Il, landed me in a fight to the death in a mud arena. Of course, no mud to be had here on Tattooine. But I'd rather not meet whatever that thing is they call the Sarlacc. She found herself wishing the robust Lupine was with her now, although Arya felt fairly certain that Lok s'Ilancy would never put up with Dan and his romantic blatherings.

And she didn't paticularly want her sometimes partner to find out what desperate times she'd fallen upon.

The ship reverted to realspace, and Tattooine glowed in front of them, the sunset creeping across the surface even as they watched. Arya put the Chevette into manual drive, and grasped the yoke, bringing the ship towards the planet.

Dan the Man
Jun 4th, 2004, 07:46:43 PM
"I won't know that till we arrive."

Dan replied in a puff of smoke.

"When the time and place are clear, I'll make sure to let you know. Till then, we're honored guests."

Glancing sidelong at Arya, Dan allowed a smile.

"I suppose its a bit late in asking, but you wouldn't happen to have your sunday bests stowed on board?"

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 5th, 2004, 02:20:19 AM
"You'll find I'm ready for all sorts of occasions." Arya sucked her bottom lip into her mouth as the Chevette broke atmo, the planet's sky seeming to envelope the viewport as they dipped towards the surface.

Twilight eased over the low buildings that made up Mos Espa, and she communicated with the space port momentarily. They were granted Landing Pad 204, and a few minutes later the freighter was settling down, venting steam and generally cooling off. Arya scratched her head, messing up her chin length black hair, and looked at Dan. "So, I'm going to the wake too?"

Dan the Man
Jun 5th, 2004, 11:00:40 AM
"I informed Vittorio that I had a guest. Should I tell him otherwise?"

Rising from his seat, Dan adjusted his jacket as he glanced toward her.

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 5th, 2004, 04:44:20 PM
She sighed mentally. "No, no, that's fine. The last party I went to was hijacked by terrorists, so going to a wake that finishes with a murder should be about par for the course." Arya smiled, trying to hide her impatience, and followed him out of the cockpit.

The smuggler leaned against the bulkhead as Dan sat on the couch in the living area, and raised an eyebrow. "What sort of timeline are we talking about? When do I need to be dressed, I mean."

Dan the Man
Jun 7th, 2004, 11:44:45 AM
"Now would be a good time. When we arrive, I'm sure Vittorio will be expecting us."

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 7th, 2004, 12:17:23 PM
Arya nodded, and turned to go down the passage to her cabin. When the door shut behind her she took off her boots and threw them at the bulkhead. "Frelling funerals."

It took five minutes for her to strip off her clothing and slip into something a little more appropriate for a wake. Black was easy, except that the one evening gown she had stowed was too fancy, but a pantsuit that was stuck in the back of a drawer was too wrinkled.

What was sunday anyway? Arya had never heard the term, but she'd deduced what Dan had meant from the context. She sighed, threw some water in her hair to straighten out the travel kinks, and slipped into the dress. It was a bit slinky, hugging her curves, and the black fabric was sprinkled with tiny sparkles that dipped down from the single strap over her right shoulder.

It was the work of a few more minutes to strap a vibroblade to the inside of her thigh (the dress was too clingy to try the holdout blaster), and dash on a bit of makeup around her eyes.

Arya walked out, and growled, "Good enough?"

Dan the Man
Jun 7th, 2004, 12:28:19 PM
A smile criss-crossed Dan's parched face.

"You look wonderful."

Donning a wide-brimmed hat over his greying locks, the shootist pulled the front end down slightly, and lowered the gangplank. At the bottom of the steps, a man in a black suit and two Gamorreans stood.

"You are Mr. Patron's chauffeur?"

The man bowed slightly.

"Yesse. Missa Patron hesse spect you comme shortly. Please."

He gestured to a long, black speeder, parked at the edge of the landing pad. Adjacent to it was a less aesthetic speedercraft with a tripod blaster mounted on the back.

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 7th, 2004, 12:50:33 PM
Arya smiled at the compliment, but narrowed her eyes at his back as he walked down the ramp and to the waiting chauffeur. As they spoke, she closed up the ship, locking it securely. Her eyes fell on her wrist, and she saw that she'd left her chrono on. Frelling luck. The beat up grey/black watch clashed horribly with her outfit.

The smuggler took it off as she turned around, and took Dan's proffered arm. Arya slipped the chrono into his hand with a look that explained the predicament, and they sat in the long black speeder. She took a moment to look out the window and get a good look at the tripod blaster bolted onto the other speeder. It looked like someone kept it in good condition.

She scooted over to give Dan room to sit, and carefully arranged her dress as she gingerly crossed her legs. The sheathed and inactive vibroblade pressed against her thighs as she tried to put a sufficiently vacant expression on her face.

Dan the Man
Jun 7th, 2004, 12:57:27 PM
The gun speeder was boarded by the two Gamorreans and fired up, accelerating across open desert as the sedan followed. A pair of headlights shone from behind as another gun speeder approached from behind, creating an armed caravan. The three vehicles rocked and sped across dunes and rock-strewn plains, with an open star-filled sky hanging above them.

Dan slid Arya's chrono into his jacket pocket, and checked his own chain-fastened timepiece as he did so. It was fast approaching 8 at night.

In the faint distance, he could see lights. As the caravan descended into a valley, he could see something truly alien to Tattooine.

Trees. Rows and rows of them.

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 7th, 2004, 01:01:33 PM
Arya squinted out the window as they flew through the desert, her skin pimpling as the cool night air wafted through the vents. The shapes visible in the lights they were approaching...

She looked sharply at Dan. "You weren't kidding when you said he was a vaporator plantation tycoon. I thought you were just using flowery speech."

Dan the Man
Jun 7th, 2004, 01:02:56 PM
He shrugged as they drove through the outskirts of the hacienda.

"I only kid when it suits me. Welcome to the garden spot of Tattooine."

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 23rd, 2004, 12:23:34 AM
She managed not to gape open-mouthed at the scenery as the speeder drove through the expansive grounds and pulled up to the house. As the speeder came to a halt, their door was opened, and Dan helped her out. Arya simply smiled, choosing to remain quiet until spoken to.

But she kept her eyes open, marking where the speeder was driven to be parked, how many security guards she could see, what other guests were present. . .

Vittorio Patron
Jun 26th, 2004, 01:05:19 AM
From a dimly-lit fourth floor window, Vittorio Patron watched his brother return home, and shed a tear in salutation.

"He hasse come to do murder to me, Arjanto."

The young attendant fetched his master's coat, holding his brandy and cigar as the older man put on his outer garment.

"He comes to mourn her, and to revenge hisse broken heart."

Through the glass's reflection, Vittorio could see his servant's fierce eyes light up in concern for Mr. Patron.

Missa Patron, turn thisse man away. Your beloved hasse died. Thisse house needs to heal.

Receiving his drink and cigar again, Patron shook his head slowly.

"You do not understand. Thisse man isse my brother. Thisse house will never heal until he does come back."

It was all very bittersweet. Vittorio took a deep drink from his brandy, then returned both it and the cigar to Arjanto.

"I will go to see Dan. You are to treat him asse family."

Arjanto wanted to protest, but respected his master's bizarre request. As Vittorio made his way to the front door of the hacienda, his servants prepared both for Dan's arrival, and Apolonia's wake.

It was to be a night best dressed in black.

Arya Ravenwing
Jun 26th, 2004, 01:14:09 AM
Arya rested her hand in the crook of Dan's arm, and he led her up the steps of the hacienda, a word that was unfamiliar to her but obviously meant...house. Servants bustled around, a seeming swarm of them inside the front door as it opened to greet them.

A tall, dark haired man with a full mustache and grey distinguishing his temples was there to meet them. Or rather, to meet Dan. Arya caught the faint whiff of a fine cigarra from his expensive black suit. She chose not to smile, waiting to see how this greeting would go.

Dan the Man
Jul 11th, 2004, 09:47:50 PM
Dan paused in front of his only true friend. The light from the house's interior reflected in his eyes, and he eased out of Arya's grasp, embracing Patron fully.

"Vittorio...Vittorio, I'm so sorry."

The plantation owner embraced Dan back, intensely, and whispered through tears he choked back.

"I loved her so much, Dan. So much."

Dan's embrace tightened, and his voice also wavered with grief. He tilted his head away from Vittorio's and stared into space beyond his shoulder with hard eyes.

"I know, Vittirio. We both did."

The pair embraced for a minute longer, and slowly parted to collect themselves and dry any tears that may have been shed.

Dan pulled his hair back over his shoulders, then gestured for Arya.

"Vittorio, I would like to introduce you to my colleague, Arya Ravenwing. She's come to support me in my mourning."

Arya Ravenwing
Jul 11th, 2004, 11:13:06 PM
She watched the dialogue in front of her, and stepped up at the appropriate moment, hand forward to be shaken. Vittorio's grasp was warm and leathery. "I am sorry for your loss. From what I've heard of your wife... she must have been a very special woman."

Tears glistened in Vittorio's eyes once more, but he managed to keep better composure when speaking to a complete stranger. "Thank you, Arya." Her name on his tongue sounded exotic. The smuggler smiled what she hoped was an appropriately sympathetic look, and stepped back to Dan's side.

She didn't take his arm again.

Vittorio Patron
Jul 28th, 2004, 10:45:08 PM
"Come, come in."

Vittorio gestured to both guests, stepping to the side so they could follow him into the hacienda atrium. At the far end of the room, an ornate casket rested on a raised platform, surrounded by a dozen well-wishers.

He looked at Dan, and his face took on a fleeting but grave expression. After a moment, he let it pass, and looked to Arya.

"Misse Ravenwing, would you care for a drink?"

It was a pleasant diversion. He knew well that Dan would need his own time.

Arya Ravenwing
Jul 29th, 2004, 12:42:57 AM
Her head came around from staring at the casket, and nodded at Vittorio's query. "Ah, if you're serving beer, I'll take the darkest you have."

The casket was ornamental, but nothing could dress up the fact that it held a dead body. She was more than willing to be distracted from the room, and from Dan's trip to view his lost love.

Dan the Man
Aug 16th, 2004, 10:21:25 PM
As Vittorio and Arya gave him space, Dan walked slowly to Apolonia's casket, his gait slowing. He slid to his knees as he reached the cool dais it rested on, and collapsed over the ornate mouth of the coffin. With a hand that now shook uncharacteristically, he caressed her ivory skin, tracing the contours of her regal face to her sepia tresses, arranged beautifully atop her head, and spilling down her shoulders.

Her skin was cold to the touch, but Dan didn't feel it. There was a warmth here unfeelable by any hand but his own and Vittorio's. Leaning forward, the killer ran a finger over her pink lips with infinite care.

This time, her eyes didn't open for him. They would never open for him again, and it was time to say goodbye. With all the love he had in his heart, he touched his lips to hers, and gave her the kiss he'd saved for her. If she'd only asked him.

And all at once, it was too much for his aching heart, and Dan slid to the floor, his back against the cold dais. His strength was gone.

Vittorio Patron
Aug 16th, 2004, 10:27:15 PM
Vittorio escorted Arya away at a brisk but cordial pace. He wanted only to give his brother that which he needed so much. Vittorio understood that Dan loved Apolonia every bit as much as he, and to deny him was too much for him to bear, now that she was gone from them both. He had already said his goodbye. Now it was Dan's time.

Reaching a room with dim lights and polished hardwoods, Vittorio pulled a stool away from the bar's counter, gesturing for Arya.

"Come and sit. I wish to know of my brother's friend."

Taking a seat of his own, Vittorio nodded to a servant behind the bar, who took to procuring his favorite tequila.

Arya Ravenwing
Aug 16th, 2004, 10:27:19 PM
Arya allowed herself to be escorted away, and sat on the bar stool with the ease of someone who'd done the same often. The dress did cramp her style a bit, however. Her eyes automatically marked the exits as they adjusted to the dim lights.

"Ah, well, I'm not sure that there's much to tell about me. I really haven't known Dan all that long, but he is certainly a ...singular man." Arya smiled mysteriously, as though to lend innuendo to the honest truth. The servant behind the bar turned to her. "I'd like a Guiness, if you have it."

Vittorio Patron
Aug 16th, 2004, 11:00:35 PM
Vittorio smiled.

"Well, I have known Dan for a long time, and I trust his choice of acquaintances implicitly. Be sure, he hasse a definite reason for everything he doesse. You have no doubt impressed him."

He poured himself up a shot of tequila, and a voice to Arya's side caught her attention.

"Will Norfree's do?"

The barman gestured to a bottle of dark draught similar to her request.

Arya Ravenwing
Aug 16th, 2004, 11:04:55 PM
Impressed him? Maybe. "Norfree's? I'm game to try it." She smiled at the barman, and turned to Vittorio.

"You say you trust his choice of acquaintances... Has he brought many people here in the past?"

Vittorio Patron
Aug 16th, 2004, 11:12:37 PM

Vittorio spoke emphatically, shaking his head as the bartender popped open Arya's drink, and set it atop a napkin.

"It isn't often. He's a very private person, but he isn't prone to flightse of fancy. With him, everything hasse a meaning."

Taking another shot, he continued.

"Its a very romantic kind of life he leadse. Very hard to understand, and harder to love."

Arya Ravenwing
Aug 16th, 2004, 11:26:06 PM
She tasted the beer, and nodded appreciatively to the bartender as she set it back down on the napkin. Vittorio seemed to be downing shots at a fairly fast pace, and she tried not to feel concerned for the older man.

Emotional distance from other people came easier than it once had. It came with the Job. The capital letter slid automatically into place.

"Then, if you don't mind my asking, why do you trust his judgement? He mentioned... a falling out you two had."

Vittorio Patron
Aug 26th, 2004, 12:43:30 AM
Vittorio nodded and laughed softly, understanding Arya's confusion.

"Love and rationality are strange bedfellows, yesse? If I did not love him like the brother he isse, then tonight would not be happening."

He raised another shot, and with his other hand, pressed a finger to his forehead.


then to his heart.

"and here"

Shaking his head, he took another shot.

"They are few and far between to agree. I do not ask if I am right. But I do make the choice. The only choice."

Arya Ravenwing
Aug 26th, 2004, 01:28:31 AM
Arya nodded as though she'd understood what the older man had been saying, and took a long swallow off her beer. He was definetely putting away his alchohol, but she had to remain alert, in case ...

...in case this turned into the bloodbath she was expecting it to. "You choose to love, although your rationality warns you against it? A noble, and honorable choice." She raised her glass to his fifth or sixth shot, and took another sip.

Vittorio Patron
Aug 30th, 2004, 06:09:59 PM
"You are worried about tonight, yesse?"

Vittorio cut through the pleasantries. The tension in the air was nobody's secret. Setting his bottle aside, he propped an elbow on the counter.

Arya Ravenwing
Aug 30th, 2004, 10:55:29 PM
"I wouldn't say I was worried." Arya half smiled. "It really isn't my business." She finished off her drink and waved off a refill. "However, should we check on Dan?"

Vittorio Patron
Aug 30th, 2004, 11:04:49 PM
Vittorio shook his head emphatically.

"Leave him be. When the time comesse, he will come back on hisse own."

The hacienda owner's eyes looked beyond Arya for a moment, staring off into space. He eventually returned his attention to her.

"Until then, I will be a most graciousse host."

He rose from his seat, unbuttoning his jacket.

"Do you dance, Misse Ravenwing? You look like a dancer."

Arya Ravenwing
Aug 30th, 2004, 11:10:20 PM
The smuggler was glad she'd finished her drink already, to save her from choking on it. "Dance? Ah... not especially."

She allowed Vittorio to draw her up off her barstool, however, and used her free hand to adjust her long black dress. "I really don't dance..." To her surprise she found herself blushing.

Vittorio Patron
Aug 30th, 2004, 11:15:12 PM
"Neither do I. Bad for you that I'm supposed to lead, I guesse."

Vittorio smiled knowingly, and took his position across from Arya as a small band played in the corner of the room. Other well-wishers in the room in turn stood to dance, and the room was soon buzzing with rhythmic energy. The dancers moved with the acousting stringbox, and the singer belted out a melodic song in a language Arya did not know.

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 3rd, 2004, 12:44:35 AM
Her dress looked like it was made for standing in, and perhaps walking, if one was careful. But Arya would never get herself trapped in a useless piece of fashion, and the skirt was actually fairly full, allowing a lot of movement should the need arise. The fabric was thin, and pleated carefully so that when it draped it seemed to hug her curves.

Now, however, she stood opposite a man she barely knew as dancers whirled around them, and wished there was a way to get out of it. She smiled at Vittorio, however, even as her eyes picked out the exits.

Dan the Man
Sep 7th, 2004, 09:15:15 PM
He'd walked away to get air.

His feet led the way by muscle memory; his mind was already a million lightyears away. With her.

Occasionally, he ran a hand across a tapestry, or a wooden stairwell. He set his life to rewind, and prepared to live again vicariously. The piano was in the far corner of the study. In thirty years, it hadn't moved. He made his way to its ebony contours with genuine familiarity, and took a seat on its ornate bench. His age-wrinkled fingers appeared deceptively decrepit, but the gunslinger was nimble across the ivory, working out a ballad he half-remembered. He paused, hitting a wrong note.

A woman's hand appeared next to his, righting his error.

"That was her favorite song." She said, from over Dan's shoulder.

"I know." He closed his eyes, resuming the notes softly.

The woman watched as he played. When he erred again, she did not correct him.

"She taught me that when I was little. My father would not play it for her."

Dan opened his eyes, and turned to look into hers.


He stopped playing, and placed his hands in his lap to steady them. She, in turn, took the seat adjacent to him, and resumed where he left off.

"It was always hard to hear a full story about you. My mother loved you and my father still does. They told me to call you Uncle. I can't bring myself to call you that, and I don't know why."

He nodded in understanding. "You can always call me Dan."

She met his eyes, and her music stopped. The old gunslinger saw Apolonia's smile on her daughter's face. He reached out to touch her cheek, and stopped himself.

"You look so much like your mother."

She smiled sweetly, but with a twinge of uncertainty. "Is that how you want to see me?"

He pondered her question for what seemed an eternity. When no answer came, he began to play again.

Vittorio Patron
Sep 7th, 2004, 09:32:46 PM
The dance was short, and pleasant. Vittorio was modest in his dancing appraisal, and he discovered Arya was as well.

Once the music ended, he kissed her hand in a genteel fashion, and led her back to her seat.

"Misse Ravenwing, you are too generous."

He nodded to her.

"I am indebted to you for the pleasant distraction. Isse there anything I can do to accomodate you? Perhaps a tour of the Hacienda?"

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 7th, 2004, 09:37:28 PM
The dancing was easy enough once she'd seen the steps, and she smiled almost happily as Vittorio Patron kissed her hand. "No, the pleasure was mine, Mr. Patron. But a tour of your lovely home sounds wonderful."

Inwardly she grimaced at the flowery words she was using, but the smile only faded a little as he led her back to the bar. "Certainly, Miss Ravenwing. Please, call me Vittorio." His smile was pleasant, but sad, as though he were remembering the wake, and his dead wife.

Arya slipped her hand into the crook of his arm, and smiled and nodded in the appropriate places as Vittorio showed her the dewback stables, with his creatures that had been bred for endurance and water retention, even here on the plantation where water seemed abundant. As he pointed out the attributes of his stud male, she let her mind focus on the reason she was here.

The Hammer of Martugg. Where was it? More importantly, how was she going to get the information out of the grief stricken Dan? Damn it I need to get paid!

Seeing all the opulence around her, there on Tattooine, of all places, was reminding her of all the ship repairs she needed, and the upgrade on the engines she was hoping for. Had to be able to outrun fightergrapplers, otherwise she was dead meat the next time she met up with a Cizerack battlegalleon. Arya stared a bit blankly at the gorgeous dining area she and her host had ended up in, and then blinked and smiled at Vittorio.

"Your home is indeed beautiful, Vittorio. Thank you for the tour." She nodded graciously, and then perked up a bit as she heard piano music in the next room, and the rasp of Dan's voice.

Dan the Man
Sep 7th, 2004, 09:57:55 PM
"Welcome back, Smuggler."

Dan rose from the piano's bench, and Rosa followed suit. He nodded to Vittorio.

"I guess you figured out the finer points of taking a prize Dewback out to stud? Vittorio's always kept a good herd."

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 7th, 2004, 10:05:27 PM
Arya released Patron's arm as Dan came up off the piano bench, a winsome girl of about nineteen smoothing her black skirts as she got to her feet as well. Her dark hair, thick lashes, tinted skin and good looks pointed to her being a Patron, most likely Vittorio and Apolonia's daughter.

"His stables were... informative." She allowed half of her lips to smile, a little wryly.

Dan the Man
Sep 7th, 2004, 10:11:46 PM
"They're a hell of a lot more than that. Be glad you didn't stick around to shovel manure."

Dan smiled at Vittorio, who laughed in return. He parted Rosa's side with a warm smile, which was returned. He then looked back to her father, and clapped a hand on his shoulder.

"If you'll excuse us, we've got some pressing matters to attend to."

Vittorio nodded in agreement, and escorted his daughter out of the study with him. When they were alone, Dan allowed the smile to die from his face.

He looked back to Arya.

"I suppose you're still wanting to get paid."

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 7th, 2004, 11:53:09 PM
She watched the way Vittorio put his arm around his daughter, and fleetingly wondered how her own father would have treated her. If only she'd ever been able to ask the right questions of her mother - somehow found out what planet they were from. Whichever one it was, Arya had yet to find it. Not that finding the place of her birth would bring her father back from the assassins who had killed him.

Arya focused back on Dan as he let the smile fade from his face. All business again. "I suppose you're still wanting to get paid."

She snorted. "Do dewbacks crap in the desert?"

Dan the Man
Sep 9th, 2004, 10:22:28 PM
He shot her a look.

"You want the technical answer?"

Letting the deadpan humor of his statement fade, he continued.

"I take it he showed you around quite a bit. What did you see?"

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 15th, 2004, 12:37:55 AM
"Just about everything. No Hammers, if that's what you're getting at."

Dan just looked at her. Arya sighed. "Okay, okay, I saw the stables, the bar in the back of the hacienda, the dining room, the kitchens, the informal dining room, the front entryway, the back doors (both of 'em), four bathrooms, the new model of vaporator that he unveiled last month, and the library. Everything but the bedrooms, and I think I recall seeing a guest one of those, actually." Her hands were on her hips as she recited. "I saw nearly everything."

Dan the Man
Sep 15th, 2004, 12:47:55 AM
Dan nodded, running the tip of his tongue lightly between his lips to moisten them.

"I'm going to tell you, because I'm not at all sure I'll be alive by tomorrow afternoon. If I'm not, I want you to steal it, and skip planet before I'm cold."

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 15th, 2004, 12:55:52 AM
And if you're not dead? "Wait, so if you kick the bucket, I just get the Hammer, but if you live, I get paid as well? Let me tell you, this is getting better and better all the time -"

Dan the Man
Sep 15th, 2004, 01:07:02 AM
Dan placed his index finger to his lips in a subtle suggestion for Arya's next course of action.

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 15th, 2004, 01:11:40 AM
She took the not-so-subtle hint, and closed her mouth in the middle of her sentance. Arya looked down for a moment, removed her hands from her hips, and then looked back at her employer.

Dan the Man
Sep 15th, 2004, 01:22:11 AM
"Don't worry about payment. Even if I'm dead, you'll get what's due you. My associates wouldn't trust me to stay dead long enough to reneg on a promise I made."

He stepped close to her, pressing a cloth into the soft flesh of her hand.

"The second marble column in the dining room. Read the kerchief and take it from there."

He stepped away.

"Only if I don't survive. Otherwise, we'll do the job the easy way."

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 15th, 2004, 01:25:01 AM
She inhaled slowly and tensed as he moved closer, but gamely closed her hand around the cloth he pressed into it. "Well, I'm all for the hard way, as you probably know, but if we must do it the easy way, then we must."

Arya raised the kerchief and discretely tucked it into the bosom of her dress. "Jokes aside, where are we staying tonight?"

Dan the Man
Sep 15th, 2004, 01:29:57 AM
"Together, in the white room."

He glanced just past her. He hadn't mentioned it, and he didn't doubt she wouldn't like the news.

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 15th, 2004, 01:35:37 AM
Arya took a firm step backwards, one eyebrow raised. Several comments came to mind, but she discarded them all. "Well, I get the floor then." She looked around the room. "Shall we find our host?"

Dan the Man
Sep 15th, 2004, 01:37:25 AM
Dan gave lip service to her question, but her previous comment was on his mind.

"Of course."

He walked at her side, putting whatever idle speculation he entertained on hold.

Vittorio Patron
Sep 15th, 2004, 08:07:13 PM
Vittorio and Rosa were in the main atrium, keeping a silent vigil at Apolonia's side. It was obvious that the sting of grief had passed them both. They were content to simply be in her presence. At the sound of footfalls, Vittorio turned his attention to Dan and Arya.

"I trust everything isse alright?"

Rosa looked from her father to Dan, and then to Arya. She remained silent, a living doppleganger of her eternally resting mother.

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 16th, 2004, 12:04:42 AM
They were just standing there, Rosa looking down at her dead mother's face. Arya suppressed her natural shudder, and nodded to their host. "Yes, everything is fine." She kept her hands at her sides, and then noticed that she was holding her right arm as though she were about to snatch a blaster out of her hip holster.

With her dress, there was obviously no weapon within reach, and the smuggler nonchalantly clasped her hands together, her arms resting against her hips.

Dan the Man
Sep 26th, 2004, 03:41:10 PM
The Killer, the Smuggler, the Liar, and his Daughter talked on through the night, and the hours passed. Dan and Vittorio reflected on Apolonia's life, and Rosa occasionally added her own words, seeming to be a living apparition as she spoke. Arya kept pace with it all uneasily, making best efforts to be social. This went on for some time, until at last, Dan rose from a table where they were all seated.

"It's getting late." He said somberly, looking to his counterpart.

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 26th, 2004, 03:55:50 PM
Arya was hiding a yawn behind her hand as Dan got to his feet. "Ah, yes, it is that." She pushed herself up as well, accepting Vittorio's kind hand to help her upright. "Thank you for the hospitality."

Vittorio thanked her warmly for her company, and she found herself blushing. He must have been quite a charmer when he was younger. Rosa was sweet, but melancholy, refraining from touching either of the rogues as she said her good-nights.

By the time they were shown to their room, her feet were killing her. Arya couldn't remember the last time she'd spent so much time in dress shoes. Combat boots were her usual fare, and her feet weren't used to being pinched for so long. She plopped down on the edge of the bed and started pulling her shoes off before she even looked around the room.

Dan the Man
Sep 26th, 2004, 08:55:05 PM
Dan turned his back to Arya, facing the large mirror at the foot of the bed. As she pulled her shoes off, he slid his jacket off his shoulders, which hit the floor with a muffled sound. Without anything to shroud them, his twin blasters gleamed in the dim lamplight of the bedroom.

The old gunslinger spent the next minute or so looking down at his hands, and back up to his reflection.

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 26th, 2004, 08:57:38 PM
She threw her shoes to the floor, glaring at them, and rubbed her foot a little with her right hand. "See anything interesting?" Arya nodded towards the mirror.

Dan the Man
Sep 26th, 2004, 09:02:52 PM
"Too much."

Dan reluctantly looked away, closing his fists tightly as he let his arms rest at his sides. He turned to look at Arya as she sat on the bed, and he took his mind off of pressing issues.

"Guess the pumps didn't agree with you?"

As he spoke to her, he worked the buttons of his shirt open, one by one. Nothing in his actions were provocative in any form. He was once again implacable.

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 26th, 2004, 09:06:14 PM
She grimaced, "The last time I wore those shoes, it was an in-and-out art heist. It went sour - uninvited terrorists... ah, well, ancient history."

Arya glanced at the floor where she'd be sleeping, and then at the dress she was wearing. "Uh... I need something to sleep in."

Dan the Man
Sep 26th, 2004, 09:12:16 PM
Dan looked at Arya appraisingly, drawing a hand through an errant strand of hair as he did so. After a moment, he resumed his work, and when his shirt was unbuttoned, he handed it to Arya.

"It's either this, or asking Vittorio from something from Apolonia's wardrobe."

Something in Dan's eyes pleaded with her to take the shirt.

Arya Ravenwing
Sep 26th, 2004, 11:16:26 PM
She shrugged, "Okay." Arya narrowed her eyes at the older man. "Although maybe she had a nice nightgown..." She grinned at the look on his face, "Oh I guess the shirt is fine." Arya tossed it on the bed.

The smuggler turned her back on her employer, and slipped the straps of her black dress of her shoulders. With a little wiggle, she pushed the dress down to the floor, and reached for the oversized shirt. Arya pulled it on, and started on the buttons, turning around to see where Dan had gotten to.

Dan the Man
Nov 8th, 2004, 10:37:28 PM
"You sure you don't want to take the bed?"

Dan asked, as he sat across from Arya, fluffing a pillow errantly with his right hand.

Arya Ravenwing
Nov 9th, 2004, 01:54:18 AM
She smiled sweetly. "Nah, but I'll take a pillow and a blanket." Arya eased the pillow he'd just patted out from under his hand, and tossed it on the rug next to the bed. "Wouldn't want you to put your back out, sleepin' on the floor."

After securing a blanket from the bedclothes, Arya expertly wrapped herself up in it, and snuggled up with the pillow. "Don't forget to turn off the light. I can sleep almost anywhere, but it has to be dark." It was warm on the floor, in spite of the climate control of the mansion, and she partially shrugged out of the blanket to keep cool enough. Her long legs were exposed, and she idly played with the edge of the bedskirt with her toes as she closed her eyes and prepared to sleep.

Dan the Man
Jan 21st, 2005, 08:21:42 PM
Dan rose to his feet, and padded over to the switch.

"Good night, smuggler. You'll need it."

With a click, he switched the light off, and returned to the bed. Drawing the sheets over him, he closed his eyes. Sleep came to him quickly, as it did to any man who learned to tune out a protesting concience...

He awoke a mere six hours later, and slipped out of bed as Arya slept. Retrieving a second shirt from a wardrobe down the hall, the gunslinger went down the stairs, to attend to business that could no longer be avoided.

Arya Ravenwing
Jan 21st, 2005, 08:48:56 PM
A floorboard creaked, and one of her blue eyes opened. Arya turned her head with the pretense of rearranging her long limbs while sleeping, and saw the door to their room close with a nearly silent click. Both eyes opened fully and she sat up, verifying with a glance that the bed was now empty.

Frell you, she got to her feet as quietly as she could, frelling leaving me with no pants. She wasn't about to get back into the dress, and a quick glance in a mirror told her that her shirttails more than covered the essentials. A few seconds work converted her vibroblade sheath that she'd worn on her thigh to one that fit snugly around her forearm.

She padded barefoot to the door, which she opened slowly and peeked around. A shadow moved by the stairwell at the end of the hall, and as her eyes adjusted to the deeper dark from the moonlight in the room she thought she saw someone going down the stairs. Then all was still again. Arya slipped around the door, distributing her weight as carefully as she could so as to avoid squeaking floorboards as she made her way down the hallway to the stairs.

Dan the Man
Jan 31st, 2005, 09:44:01 PM
"You're up early."

Dan spoke to the lone person sitting in the dining room, as he slowly walked down the stairs.

Vittorio Patron
Jan 31st, 2005, 09:49:02 PM
"I did not sleep."

Vittorio conceded, looking up at his brother.

"How could you?"

Arya Ravenwing
Feb 1st, 2005, 04:18:53 PM
Arya crept along the hallway silently, and stopped just shy of the stairs. She could hear Dan's voice, and settled down to eavesdrop on the conversation. The desert night was cold, and she carefully drew up her knees and hugged them to her chest for warmth.

Dan the Man
Feb 21st, 2005, 08:33:45 PM
"I suppose it takes practice."

He approached Vittorio's table slowly, sitting down opposite him.

"It's a part of who I am."

Vittorio Patron
Mar 1st, 2005, 11:12:55 PM
"Dan, I'm not one of those other people. I'm your brother!"

Vittorio raised his voice, his concern getting the better of him.

Arya Ravenwing
Mar 2nd, 2005, 09:24:10 PM
Satisfied that they would be talking for a while, Arya slipped back to the room and picked up her black heels. They strapped on fairly securely, but she didn't want to wear them. Reaching under the pillow on the floor, she pulled out the handkerchief that Dan had given her earlier and studied it. It seemed to be a cipher key. She tucked it into the breast pocket of Dan's shirt, she left the room as silently as she had arrived.

What she needed the most was a pair of pants. Heels clutched in one hand, her vibroblade in the other, Arya crept down the stairs. Across the expansive hallway was the dining room, but it had no columns. Dan and Vittorio were still located in it, their voices getting a bit louder. The smuggler made her way through the darkened hallway, avoiding being seen from the doorway, into the kitchens. Her bare feet made little to no sound on the floors.

There was one small light on in the kitchens, illuminating the huge iron range top. Everything was spotless, done in richly stained woods, blackened irons, and colorful tiles. She padded along the tiled floors, the tails of Dan's shirt brushing the backs of her thighs, and looked for another door. There was a door that opened up to an inside courtyard, complete with burbling fountain that made it hard to remember that they were on Tatooine. A second door led to a slightly smaller hallway and the servant's quarters, and a third led into a second dining room. It was larger, and more impressive than the one she'd seen earlier.

It's vaulted ceilings were held up by columns that framed a long polished table that was probably made from the trees grown on the plantation. Arya narrowed her eyes at the semi-dark room, and ducked back into the kitchen. First things first. Pants.

She headed towards the servant's quarters.

Arya Ravenwing
Apr 4th, 2005, 11:20:48 PM
A few restless moments in a butler's room, and Arya was belting on a pair of pants that were a tad too long and baggy in the waist. The borrowed belt didn't cinch up tight enough, but her vibroblade easily cut a small hole suitable for the buckle. The shirt she left untucked, and tied around her waist.

Padding through the kitchen back towards the vaulted dining area, Arya located the column that Dan had mentioned to her hours earlier. She ran her hands along the smooth stone, but found nothing unusual until she studied the base of the column. There she discovered that the moulding separated with just the right amount of pressure. Reaching inside she found a piece of flimsy scrawled in the same penmanship as the handkerchief.

A treasure hunt? Obviously Dan had known all along where the Hammer was, and for some reason thought it was amusing to string her along and make her risk her neck for it. She shook her head, Stop it Arya, you need the money. Can't afford to question right now. The cipher was simple enough for a stupid smuggler, and she tucked the flimsy back into it's hiding place. Now that she knew where it was, she didn't need it.

Now it was just a matter of getting there.

Dan the Man
Apr 13th, 2005, 05:47:50 PM
"Vittorio, I got a feeling we all got it coming, somehow or another."

Licking moisture onto his dry lips, he continued.

"When it wasn't me, I wanted you two to have everything I couldn't. Did you?"

Seeing that he couldn't plea-bargain his way out of this, Vittorio relented, and nodded.

Dan smiled.

"Thank you for that. Thank you, and thank her. It's a good consolation for me."