Tea and Sympathy

by Janice Mergenhagen and Mary Orwig

Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2001 8:12 PM

OOC - This story takes place right after The Emperor and Empress' argument 
aboard the ISD EMPRESS on August 14th, during the Empress Cruise.

Azarra knocked on Illy’s door which opened with the Grand Duchess saying, 
“Azarra, I realize that being Empress may -- Mother Isk!  Are you. . .what 
happened?”   She had noticed Azarra’s tear-stained face, her crumpled gown, 
the bruises appearing on her upper arms and a white piece of paper clutched 
in her hand.

“I’m sorry to impose on you, Illy.  If my staying here will be a problem, I 
will go to one of the empty staff rooms...We...had...an argument...”

Illy steered Azarra towards a comfortable chair, and said tight-lipped,   “I 
don’t have a problem, but sit DOWN, woman, before you fall down or I drop 
you.”  As she rang for the steward, she murmured,  ‘Someone else is going to 
HAVE a problem. . .”

“No, Illy, please, no one else needs to see me like this.  It’s not as bad as 
it looks.  I need to get out of these things and have some tea and I’ll be 

“They don’t have to, dear, the steward always rings twice...”  The door 
chimed.  “Well, there you are then.  I’ll have him fetch some tea while you 
change,” she waved toward the inner suite.  “You should have let me shoot 
him, Azarra.”

Azarra went into the other room and when she emerged a short time later, she 
had washed her face and put on comfortable sleeping attire.  Joining Illy in 
the chairs where the tea has been poured, Azarra quietly sipped it.


“Yes, thank you.  I don’t think shooting him is the answer.  We’d never get 
away with       it,” she chuckled.

Grinning wickedly, Illy said,  “Wanna bet?  I know a man with a fast ship. . 

Lost in thought, Azarra seemed not to have heard the remark.  “We’ve argued 
before, but I have never seen him so angry... and he had nothing to be angry 
about.  The flowers - it was all about the flowers.”


Azarra explained, “When I came on board, my suite was filled with the first 
cutting of a newly developed Empress rose.  I transmitted a thank you to the 
Emperor; since there was no card, I assumed he had sent them.”

“Ah.  And apparently, he hadn’t.  And he thought. . .?”

Azarra nodded.

“Oh, dear.”

“That Trinian had sent them.  He accused me of arranging this ‘love’ cruise 
to secretly meet Trin, so he came aboard looking for him.  When he didn’t 
find him, the Emperor demanded to know where his son was.”

Illy muttered an Iskandaari swear word under her breath,  “Which is only the 
question you can’t answer. . .unless?”  She shook her head and discarded that 
train of thought.  “ARE you all right, Azarra?  Uncle Ghastly didn’t  try any 
of his little tricks on you?”

“The Emperor grabbed my face to truth read me and...oh Illy, I couldn’t 
control this power, so I pulled away from him, but not before I drew some of 
the Force from him.  Then, he grabbed my arms and it started again, so I 
pushed him away and that’s when I hit the floor.”  She was beginning to sob 

“Drew some Force...?”  Illy shuddered.  ‘Gods, Azarra...That’s...” and she 
stopped, remembering old horrors -- that was so close to what happened when 
she had been interrogated by Lord Vader years ago - - could this be a family 

“I did it to Rikon during training; he was ‘paralyzed”  while I had hold of 
him, but when I let go...”

“He’s all right?  Rikon, I mean.”

“Rikon’s fine; there don’t seem to be any after-effects if the contact is 
brief.  I didn’t want the Emperor to know about this until I could control 
it, but there hasn’t been time to work on that since I left Varelttas.  In 
any event, it’s too late to worry about it now.  I can claim ignorance if he 
questions me on it.”

Illy was trying to think through the horror.  “You pulled the Force out of 
him.  If you hadn’t stopped, the Emperor...you could have crippled him, 
Azarra.  Maybe even...”

“Yes, I know.  The irony is as I fell to the floor, someone brought a piece 
of paper they had found and it explained that the flowers were sent by 
FloraTech, the developers.  They  wanted me to have the first Empress rose 
cuttings.  So, the Emperor had no cause for his jealousy.  When he heard 
this, he turned his back on me and I just left.”  Azarra sipped some more tea 
and sat back with a sigh.

Illy grimaced as she sipped her cold tea and went to the elegant  service to 
pour herself some more, offering to warm up Azarra’s cup.

Azarra handed her the cup and continued, “I never thought of Trinian when I 
was planning this cruise.  It was to be a time for the Emperor and me to work 
through some of our problems and now it has just created more.  I’m sorry to 
lay all this on you.  We haven’t had any time to visit since you came on 

Illy sighed.  “I know.  It’s all right, Azarra, it’s -- I have to confess, I 
haven’t  been very social myself...”

“We haven’t spoken since the night the Emperor sent the Guards to take me to 
the Eclipse.  Rikon told me you had been inured.”

Playing down the seriousness of her injuries, Illy replied,“I was... out of 
action for a while; it takes us non-Forceful people a little longer to get 
back on our feet.  But...I was avoiding you, even then.  Stupid, really.  You 
see, I knew you were Vader’s daughter; Rikon told me years ago, but it hadn’t 
really hit me until then.  And if I’d been doing my job properly that night. 
. . “


Illy nodded.  You could cut the silence with a knife and it was quite some 
time before Azarra spoke again.

“No one can blame you for that night.  Red Guards, Imperial Stormtroopers, 
the middle of the night; it was perfectly executed.  I’m just sorry that so 
many people resisted and were killed.  If only the Emperor had given me a 
chance to voluntarily meet him on the Eclipse, I could have prevented all 
that bloodshed.”

“Azarra, please...I don’t blame you...  Maybe.  That sounds like something 
Trin would say, you know.  He tends to see himself as the champion of the 
people.”  She paused, looking if possible more embarassed, then went on,  
“Azarra, do you know?  Where he is?”

“I was just going to ask you if you know where he was or had a message for 

“I know where he isn’t, at least as of last week.”

“What do you mean?  There are no listening devices in here; I’ve had it 
scanned,  And I know you aren’t one of the spies the Emperor has on board.”

“I should hope not, dear.  He’s not on Port Lansing; he’s not on 
Iskandar...Flynn is convinced that he WILL come home. . .but can’t - or won’t 
- say when.”

“I thought for sure that he would return to Iskandar.  Has no one heard from 
him?  The last I knew the Alliance had him.”

Illy snickered,  “Yes, I’d heard that...Apparently there was some discussion 
on whether or not they should keep him...I also heard that he’d been injured 
- badly.”

“I begged Luke to rescue him...for me.  Luke attacked as Trin was being taken 
off station and took him to the Rebel base, but then one of Lady Darana’s 
household captured him, brought him back to the Imperial base where he was 
stabbed by Colonel Logan, an Imperial.  I had to stand by and DO NOTHING!!”  
Tears well up in Azarra’s eyes, a Illy leaned over to hug her.  “Do you know 
if he is all right?”

“That’s the worst, isn’t it?  When there isn’t anything you can do to stop 
it?  I know...” she hesitated, “My sources suggested that...physically, 
Trinian is healing.”

“I did convince them that the Emperor did not want to see his son brought 
back to the Imperial base, hoping they would treat him and keep him safely 
there.  On my way to the Alliance base to negotiate for the Emperor’s 
release, we ‘ran into’ each other, but after that, I don’t know.  You know he 
is alive and getting better.  Did he know about this cruise and that you were 
coming?  I thought maybe he would have sent me a message.”

“Azarra, I have not seen Trin since the night he walked out of the palace 
because he thought you were going to die.  And he thought he might be able to 
prevent it.”

“You know, it’s funny, but when I walked into my suite and saw all the roses 
there, he WAS the first person I thought of.  But, I knew he wouldn’t have 
risked such a blatant message.  I had hoped, when I knew you were coming, 
that he would have gotten some kind of message to you for me.”

“I hear things, Mikh hears things, Flynn... talks to the night and comes in 
the next morning looking tired and hopeful.  Some of her... former business 
associates...have contacts.  But, no, Azarra...I’m sorry.”

“I  told Trinian not to give up hope, that we WOULD be together someday, but 
I am finding it hard to be hopeful about that.  I don’t think the Emperor 
will ever let me go.  Illy, you WOULD tell me if Trin were badly injured...or 
if he had sent me a message, wouldn’t you?”

Fiercely, Illy said,   “Don’t you give up, either.  I certainly haven’t.”

“Sometimes, it all seems so hopeless.  And the whole mess is my fault.”

“Azarra, I don’t KNOW, I only suspect.  He still needs healing.  That’s what 
Di...my sources say.  No, Azarra.  Don’t.  Not your fault, not my fault, not 
even my idiot cousin’s fault.  If you have to lay blame, lay it right where 
it belongs...”

“And where is that?”

“Where else?  On the Emperor.  And may the weight of it squash him into a 
greasy spot on the deck plates!”

Azarra chuckled at the thought of that.  “It is getting very late and I have 
another day of shopping tomorrow, possibly with the Emperor, although after 
tonight, maybe he will just go back to Coruscant.  I think we could both 
benefit from some sleep.  Thank you for listening and for your advice.”
“What are friends for?  I think this couch folds out...or do you want to 
double up?”

“I’ll take the couch.  After all, you paid for this suite.  Thank you, again. 
 I only wish...Good night, Illy.”

“So do I, dear.  Sleep well.”

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