"Bedtime, Kieren." A young woman with short dark hair had joined them. "I know this is a big day for you, but its over now."
"Already. But, Alana, we just started."
Like Berta, Alana showed no sign of the Force. But unlike Berta she did not seem afraid of the world.
"Yes, Kieren, bedtime already." Alana replied.
Kieren turned to Darien. "This is Alana, she's our governess, and Lin's mother."
"Hello, Alana." Darien replied.
Kieren followed Alana back to the house.
After Kieren departed Darien sat in the garden for about five minutes thinking about all that had happened today. Then he noticed the music. It sounded classical. He listened for another five minutes. Then he decided to find the source.
Darien followed the sound to another part of the garden. Twice while he walked it seemed like the player changed instruments.
The musician was a young woman in halter and shorts who was playing a keyboard. She had her back to him. Open cases containing a flute and a violin lay beside her. As he approached she stopped playing and made a note on the computer next to her. Her aura was clearly dark.
"I see the street musician has come up in the world," he said when she was finished.
"Hello, Darien," she replied. "I see you've recovered from your trip." She turned around. "I'm sorry you had to sleep through it."
"Yes," he answered. "I've recovered."
He thought for a moment . "I assume from all this that your are related to Kieren."
"Yes, this is my brother's house. I'm Kieren's aunt."
"I don't recognise the piece," he commented.
"I'm still writing it," she answered. "I'm trying to capture the essence of the Force in a symphony. The first movement will be Light, the second Dark and the third balanced. I finished Dark in three days. Light is giving me far more trouble. Its my dissertation."
He walked over to stand infront of her keyboard, she turned around and resumed playing.
"Will you answer some questions for me." Darien asked.
"I might. What kind of questions?"
"Questions like where is my lightsaber?"
"Top left hand drawer in the dresser in your room." She answered. "Do you like this," She played a couple of bars, "or this." She played a variation.
"The first I think. What is this place?"
"This is our private home. Where we can escape from Sithness."
"Now for the big question." He continued. "Just who are you people? My knowledge of Imperial politics is not extensive, but you must be very high up. You evidently have the power to kidnap a Jedi, from deep in Alliance territorry, for what appear to be private reasons. I'm here. So you must also believe that you can keep my presence a secret from Imperial Security, or you wouldn't bring me to your home. And Cassandra seemed to think her first name was all the ID she needed."
"She usually does."
"So who are you?"
"I'm Lady Talasa Steele." She began. "We are House Mathem. Sandy is Lady Cassandra Mathem-Steele. My brother is Lord Taras Steele." "The Lord Chaimberlain?"
"What happened to Tarna?" He asked.
"She's still here." Talasa laughed. "Tarna is my real first name."
"What do you plan to do if Imperial Security discovers me?"
"If they do they will be told that you are none of their business. We don't need to keep you a secret from Security, we have, but we don't need to."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. There are only two people in this sector who might have the authority to question Sandy's actions, and she's married to one of them. The other is her father."
She paused for a moment. "Look around you."
"Now look up."
"We own everything you see, including those stars you can see with the naked eye." She looked at Darien. "Uncle Ross, Lord Koross Mathem that is, answers to His Majesty, and only to His Majesty. We are above Security."
Darien stopped to consider the implications of that. "And you feel you can safly defy Imperial policies here?"
"Yes." Talasa stopped playing for a moment. "In this sector we make Imperial policy. His majesty expects a peaceful sector that makes its contribution to the Imperial economy. He does not care how we acheive that."
"But all that isn't relevant. This conserns the Force. That makes it Sith bussiness, not Imperial." We will ask his forgivness if necessary." She laughed. "Besides he expects us to have a few private plots going on most of the time. Perversely this will reassure him of our Darkness. You Jedi are far pickier about the rules than we are." "But don't worry." Tal resumed playing. "I promise, if I decide to seduce you it will be Tarna the music grad student, not Talasa the Sith." She assured him.
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