The Changing of the Times

By Dora Furlong

Based Upon Role-Play By: Armand Banooni, Dora Furlong, Patrick
Furlong, Renee Gunn, Heather Melville, Dana Terry, and Ginna Wilcoxen

A hazy morning sun broke through the windows of the palace's main hall.
Several hundred representatives, guests, and courtiers assembled there now,
curious to the day's agenda. Silence fell across the room as the doors  near
the dais opened and the Shardakourian party entered. The Royal party
entered and took their places.

Tara Alderson, ruler of Shardkour stopped and remained standing in front
of her Chair. She looked around noting the presence of Daniella Elorie and
the Princess M'lissa. The queen found it ironic that Daniella's installment
as the Shardakourian Military Caerdon should be witnessed by one of those
whom the military woman had previously served.

With ingrained ease Tara gave the signal for everyone to take their
seats and spoke up once the rustle of fabric ceased, "We wish to
welcome the Princess M'lissa from nebula." She indicated the visiting
Princess and her party.

M'lissa bowed her head slightly in respect and look around at all
those attending.

"We have begun discussions through our prime minister on arranging
for Embassies on Nebula and one here for we have with
Valass." Tara continued.  "Lord Du'Cruet you and your party will come

Tara watched as the party of Telosian's approached and knelt. First
was Xanatos and Christine followed by their fosterling, Karon Zelek.
She smiled to herself upon seeing Alida resplendent in her formal red
dress trimmed with gold and black, her short hair swept up. The queen
hesitated before speaking, watching as the Jedi Knight Rory Ultan,
now dressed in formal doublet knelt along with the group.

"Rise." She nodded to the group, then focused her attention on
Xanatos. "Lord Du'Cruet Telos has come under a great deal of scrutiny
of late and suffered from a direct attack now as well as other
indirect attacks upon your holdings....this has caused much concern
among the other worlds...what do you have to say in regards to this?"

Xanatos and his small group rose. The Telosian ruler settled his gaze
on Tara. "We've had enemies who know of Telos' background and how to
slip through our security measures. The training for the guards has
been increased and Planetary security is working with them to make
sure the procedures are strict and enforced. We also know that one of
the groups targeting us is quite old. It is called POWER. We are
using our intel to find where they are getting their information as
well as how to recognize them."

Tara listened to Du'Cruet, then glanced at the others around her
noticing that the Prime Minister of Shardakour, Derek Ionsoch
frowned. Before she could speak up a representative from one of the
allied worlds stood, "And how soon do you expect to have all of this
under control? Can you keep it from affecting the rest of us? Drysani
and Arridor were dragged into the middle of this once....why
shouldn't we vote to send in troops and bring down martial law until
this is straightened out?"

"The people have pulled together to aid the military we have and have
been instrumental in the capture of many who were there that would
like to see Telos fail. To send in troops now would undermine the
stability of Telos.  Arridor was attacked because of an error my
representative made in communicating with the Jedi, and the rumor of
Jedi heading to Arridor is what attracted the Imperials, the people
who blew up the damn have been caught and the threat has been
removed.  Arridor city is rebuilding as well as the space port again
with strict security clearances."

"Exactly." The man retorted, "A mistake by one of your people...I do
not see how you can continue and run a security operation like this
when the past actions have exhibited such potential for disaster? Who
knows where else or what could happen to one of the rest of us in the
confederation...even the trade partners." he indicated M'lissa,
"Could be attacked or affected."

"Representative Vertan." The Derek stated softly.

"Yes minister?" The burly man turned his pale brown eyes on Lord

"Have you such little faith in the confederation then?"

"In the confederation? No." he blustered, shaking his head, "But this
man and his world pose a risk to the rest of us."

"You judge the worth of a man and of an entire
planet based upon one event?"

"Hardly the worth of one man or planet prime minister."
Representative Vertan retorted, placing his hands on the edges of
his formal coat, "I merely state his...inexperience at handling such
matters and the risk it represents to us...I am hardly suggesting we
toss him on his ear...but he poses a risk to us right now...there are
those who have attacked him merely because of his past and those who
seek revenge or control of telos....this trend appears to continue
and we have already seen the lengths to which these people...these
organizations are willing to go...right down to factions of the
empire what is to keep the empire from coming after us if he brings
their wrath down upon us?" Vertan glanced between Du'Cruet and
Ionsoch as he spoke.

"Representative Vertan," Xanatos interjected, "I admit I have made
mistakes and they have been dangerous ones. I cannot erase my past,
and my desire is not to harm the Confederation, Telos is stronger as
is her ability to overcome and face these dangers. But I do believe
if we shut Telos down, enforce martial law at this time, you will
bring the attention of my enemies as well as the Empire. That is
something I do not wish to see."

Amalie stood, "I have spent much time on telos and I can tell you if
we sent people en masse there it would also send those plotting
further underground and bring just as much potential danger to us as
if we did nothing."

M'lissa stood and claimed the floor once the Shardakourian Princess
finished speaking, "I am not extremely familiar with Lord Du'Cruet
nor Telos's current situation, however, I believe if you were to send
in armies and set martial law, you would only undermine the people's
belief in Lord Du'Cruet's competency as a ruler, and in the future he
would not be as effective as a ruler, and perhaps that is what his
enemies are looking to gain. So by sending in armies you would only
be giving them what they want."

"And perhaps removing him as a ruler is what is needed...bring him
here to shardakour or send him elsewhere where he can be more
effective." Vertan suggested outright.

The majority of the eyes in the room turned to Xanatos, including
those of his aide and the former Jedi Master Alida Reineach, she
glanced at Xanatos, wondering how he would answer such a thing.

Du'Cruet stood straight. "It may be true that another could rule
Telos better than I have since my return to this time, but to do so
would open Telos to civil war and cause difficulty for those you
would put in my place.  Yet if that is what the confederation
decides, I ..." Xanatos paused. "I will do what I can to help the
transition so that the people of not only Telos but those of this
Confederation are protected.

Tara smiled slightly as murmurs spread throughout the room then died down.

"There is hardly need to replace him..that is a bit extreme
Representative Vertan." Amalie replied coldly, a frown etched deeply in her

"Princess Amalie." The representative stated, speaking her name and title
with an obvious disrespect, "It is well known you will be marrying one
of his lieutenants and the heir to a domain here...perhaps your judgment
in this matter is clouded." Vertan replied.

Amalie's anger rose, "Hardly a need to throw such words Representative."
her words hard.

The assembly began to mutter and speak amongst themselves, but fell
quiet as Derek spoke up, "So your suggestions are whether to replace
Lord Du'Cruet or martial law Representative?"

"They are certainly possibilities." The representative nodded, "The
fact remains...there is a threat."

"So you seek assurances that there will be no threat of attack
in the future?"

"Hardly...we seek to mitigate this threat and find a solution as to
how best to handle any of us *should* be concerned with
Prime Minister." The representatives piercing eyes met and held the
prime minister's calm steady gaze.

"Representative Vertan," Derek continued, "I realize your frustration
in this matter, and your desire for a resolution to a potential
threat. I would however urge you to remember yourself."

Vertan went stiff, "Of course Prime Minister...but I urge you
to actually recognize the threat."

Once more the assemblage broke out in conversation. Some agreeing with the
Prime Minister and others with the Representative.

"You refer to the threat of being attacked?" Derek inquired, ignoring the
many side conversations now occurring.

"I do...and mostly because of one man...Xanatos Du'Cruet."

"If you have suggestions on how to improve on what we have
already done I am willing to listen representative. Perhaps we are too
close to the situation to see the fast solution you may see." Xanatos
stated calmly.

"I did not mean to imply there would be a fast solution Lord
Du'Cruet...and I thank you for your willingness to see and understand
these difficulties." Vertan replied equally calm, not willing to risk the
consequences of another insult.

Xanatos gave a slight incline of his head. "Telos has made great
strives, and accomplishments. The course is never easy for a planet
that is growing and learning to adapt to new situations. Yet the
technology is working for Telos, we have had the insight of many
advisors to show where the defenses can be strengthen. It has been a
slow process, but it is one that will last."

Tara smiled to herself, xani had been doing well his voice calm and
even throughout, "This is a mater that we will continue to discuss at
the end of our session today...  we have another whose voice will
matter and it can hold for now."

All eyes turned towards the now seated queen. She nodded  at Du'Cruet
giving him and his party permission to move off to the side. She noted the
Jedi Knight among them was only too happy to do so.

Tara watched them go then glanced around slowly at everyone assembled
in the room, "A formal wife has been selected for my son." She looked
over at Damien.

Damien offered Anna his arm and glanced at the Padawan Rensime, now
serving as his aide, then began to walk forward.

Tara glanced over at Rory, noting his reaction to her announcement, a
slight cough. She wondered if he was merely surprised, or if it was a
more disapproving cough. Unlikely though that she would ever know.

She rose as the group knelt, including the Jedi Padawan. The blue and
silver dress complimented the teenagers coloring and the maids had
framed her hair nicely with braids, all in an effort, Tara noted, to
conceal the Padawan braid.  "I hereby announce the formal engagement
of State between Our Son Damien Alderson and Anna be
formalized in five months."

Damien smiled back at Alida and Karon in spite of himself, ignoring the
concerned expression Rory wore.

"Rise...and take your place." Tara smiled at them ignoring the
murmurs amidst the representatives. The formal announcement meant now
the only hope of aligning a house with the crown of shardakour was to
petition for a genetic pairing to produce a child.

Damien rose and offered his official bride his arm, the pair smiling slightly
as they moved to stand off to the side of the King and Queen, their Jedi
Padawan calm and collected behind them.

"Daniella will come forward."

An older woman dressed in Shardakour Uniform stood and walked forward. Her
greying hair pulled back into a tight braid that trailed down her back.
Her face was set and stoney, she glanced neither right or left as she
approached the Queen.

Tara walked to the bottom of the dais. " Daniella Elorie,
I call upon you to swear allegiance and loyalty to Shardakour her Vassals
and her allies. Will you do so?"

"I will," she said without hesitation.

"Then kneel." Tara looks at the assemblage as Daniella knelt, "I ask all who are
assembled now to bear witness as these oaths are exchanged, if the
energy should fade and a falsehood be spoken this day or in the future
this oath proven false, I ask you now to bring justice the one who
failed in their duty."

Tara nodded to the force user off to the side and the blue
energy field she referred to appeared and stabilized in the room.

Tara looked down at the kneeling woman, "Daniella Elorie, Will you
swear allegiance to Shardakour and this Council, and pledge your life
to serve it? Will you swear to defend the honor of Shardakour in all
just causes, and to amend all wrongs done?"

"I will," she said again.  She wondered what M'lissa thought of this, she
had served Nebula faithfully for so many years, then they betrayed her.  Her
thoughts interrupted by the Queen.

"I charge you Daniella Elorie, with the responsibility to lead
our combing security forces of Shardakour and dedicate yourself to
the security of our people, the people of Shardkour, her Vassals, and
all of her allies." Tara looked at Daniella, "Do you accept this
charge Daniella Elorie?"  : Do you solemnly declare that to
your knowledge you are fit to assume this responsibility?"

"I do," she replied

Tara glanced around at the assemblage, "If there are those
who would object do so now."

Murmurs rose, but no objections were forthcoming. Tara continued
after the requisite pause in speech, "Daniella Elorie, know that I
Tara Liriel Alderson  do swear my own loyalty, that of the Crown of
Shardakour, of our Vassals and of our allies in return." She reaches
down to Daniella, taking the other woman's hands in her own, "Rise
now and be welcome."

Daniella stood, the barest hint of a smile touched her lips.  A new
chapter was starting today, but its words had not yet been written.

Tara turned Daniella to face the council of Representatives and
stepped back, "Be it known that we officially welcome Daniella Elorie
as a loyal citizen of Shardakour and do hereby bestow upon her the
title and office of The Caerdon...responsible for all of our military
forces...  and working with those of our vassals."

She looked over at Daniella, "Caerdon...tell me your thoughts on this
matter of Lord Du'Cruet." She turned and headed back up and sit

"Your majesty... I do not feel that replacing Lord Du'Cruet
would be prudent at this time," she was glad her voice didn't waver.
"All the intelligence indicates that to do so would cause a great deal of
unrest on Telos...such unrest adds a additional element to an
occupation, at this time it is best for us to offer extra support to
the Telosian forces"

"Then you will make this decision when you visit telos on your will be your first stop." She nodded to Daniella as the
newly installed Caerdon sat down.

"Yes your majesty," Daniella returned to her set keeping her expression
closed only by years of practice.

Vertan rose and spoke, before Daniella sat down, "Caerdon you realize
by this decision you take this responsibility and all of our safety
into your hands."

"If I understand my duties correctly I believe that was already implied,"
she said, her voice business like. "To send an occupying force would just
add one more threat to the list"

"Representative Vertan mind your place or you will be asked to
leave." Tara warned him sharply. "The Caerdon is aware of her duties
and responsibilities as evidenced by her oath just now."

The man paled, "Yes your majesty." he bowed and sat back

Tara nodded to Daniella, "Thank you..that will be all on this

Daniella nodded retook her seat. She let out a slight sigh, and relaxed
ever so slightly, for good or ill the die was now cast.

"Lord Du'Cruet." Tara called xani again.

Xanatos stepped forward.

"You have informed us of your intent to name your heirs?"

"Yes, your majesty."

"Good....this will assist in the stability of telos...when
will the official ceremony take place and whom do you intend to name?"

Xanatos looked at Christine.

Christine smiled at him reassuringly and stepped forward next to her
husband as he spoke, "The official ceremony is to take place in three
months on Telos."

"We will name our children, Rohana and Kennard and a regency
until they are of age and the appropriate one selected to rule over
telos." Christine stated evenly.

Tara nodded, "Very good will keep us informed of
this progress and I commend the plans for the future good of telos."

Christine curtsied deeply. "Yes your majesty."

Xanatos bowed.

Tara rose, "Then we are convened for issues
will be discussed tomorrow." She proceeded down the dais as the assemblage
rose. It had been a difficult enough morning for all of them.

Once the royal party had all retreated safely the main doors were opened
and the beings began discussing the events among themselves along with
other business each had at hand.

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