Growing in the Garden (early July 2003)

Ginna Wilcoxen and Dana Terry

The palace gardens were quiet as Alida entered them, taking a moment to breathe in deeply of the scented, humid air.

Rensime looked up. "Lady Reineach, morning."

Alida smiled. "Good morning, Padawan Rensime. How does this day find you?"

"A little warm, the weather here is a bit different."

"Yes, Shardakour is warm, even in comparison to Yavin." Alida found a seat. "How are you enjoying your stay?"

"It is interesting, just making sure to follow the rules."

Alida chuckled. "Yes, that is something to keep in mind. How is it interesting?" she asked, curious about the younger woman's viewpoint.

"Everyone's reactions and how they differ from what I'm used to seeing."

"Tell me how they differ," Alida said. She patted the seat next to her. "Here, sit and talk."

Rensime took a seat. "It's just that everyone is more ... careful, cautious."

"And for good reason. You've noted how important one's word is, I'm sure."

Rensime nodded. "Yes, more so than I've noticed on Yavin. This is the cause for such tension and caution?"

"Tension?" Alida frowned.

"I sense it from some, others are very well shielded."

Alida looked at her. "You know some of the pressures and threats facing them."

"Only of those facing the ones on Telos." Rensime answered. "I know that Lord Alderson is quite pleased he gets to remarry his wife."

Alida smiled. "Yes, I'm sure he is quite happy about that." She looked at Rensime, gauging the Padawan's emotions. "You feel uncertain of something?"

"He explained why, but I still do not understand. Does everyone here have more than one mate?"

"No," Alida answered, "but it is not unusual."

"I would think one would be quite enough."

Alida laughed, amused at the Padawan's declaration. "Perhaps."

"You do not agree?"

"I wonder what you would base that on."

"You said perhaps, would that not lead one to believe you agree with having more than one mate?"

"If the situation calls for it."

Rensime looked at her. "So you would take another husband or allow your husband to take another wife if the situation called for it?" She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Just how far had this former Jedi Master fallen?

"If it was necessary, yes." Alida's voice was even.

Rensime shook her head. "I don't understand. Why would one agree or want to." She shook her head. "I am glad that I do not have to worry about relationships, they seem to be complicated."

"They are," Alida readily agreed, "but they're worth it."

"Perhaps for you Lady Reineach, but the Jedi is where I belong and those emotions are a distraction and serve to draw you away from the will of the Force."

"So I once believed as well," she said. "But I'm finding that things can be perceived quite differently."

"I am glad you are happy, Lady Reineach."

"Are you?" she asked. "Do you even understand?"

"I do not understand it, no. I serve and will follow the Force. I am glad you appear to like your new life."

"Yes, I do," Alida said, her features serene. "The Jedi way is not the only way to serve the Force."

Rensime looked at her for a moment then nodded. "Perhaps, yet it is the way I know and what I am trained to and will train to be."

"I will not try to convince you otherwise." Alida looked beyond Rensime, across the garden. "Just remain open."

Rensime followed her gaze. "I am trying to be open, Lady Reineach. That is why my Master sent me here."

"I was pleased to see your Master had suggested such a thing."

She nodded. "I don't fully understand why Lady C'rman had two escorts. I regret that I will not have the opportunity to speak with her."

"Perhaps in the future."

Rensime nodded. "Yes, one can hope. I see Captain Fer'rer is allowed out of medical," she stated, rising to her feet. "I will leave you so you can speak with him."

"You are leaving?"

"I do not wish to intrude."

"I see," Alida said. "And how is greeting the captain and Ms. Adyna intruding?"

Rensime looked at her. "You count them as your friends. I did not wish to intrude upon your time with them," she explained very calmly.

"It is up to you," Alida said.

Before Rensime could answer Juan approached them. "Lady Reineach, Ms. Rensime," he greeted

Alida bowed. "Good morning, Lord Fer'rer. Ms. Adyna."

Drysi gave them a short bow. "Good morning."

"Good morning. It's good to see you out and moving, Captain," Rensime answered.

Juan grinned. "I had good advice that it was a wonderful day to visit the garden."

Alida chuckled. "Yes, very good advice." She looked at Drysi, who nodded.

"It's too nice to stay inside," Drysi said.

"I agree, the weather is very nice." Rensime agreed.

Drysi gave a good-natured shrug. "I'm learning how to be pushy."

Alida grinned at that. "I cannot imagine where you would pick up such behavior, Ms. Adyna."

Juan laughed. "I think between myself and Lady C'rman she's learning all the bad habits," he teased.

"Here, that's not such a bad habit," Alida said good-naturedly.

Juan laughed. "As long as we do not cross lines. What do you think, Ms. Adyna?"

"I think I'll be careful of what lines I cross," she said with a rueful smile.

"Your back will be most grateful." Juan smiled as he gave Rensime a sideways look.

Alida shook her head at them as Drysi chuckled. "I bet it will be," Drysi said.

Juan laughed "You are not concerned for your hide, Alida?" he asked jokingly.

"I am cautious," Alida said, smiling. "Usually."

"You can joke about being beaten?" Rensime asked curiously.

Juan looked at her. "You are too young to be so serious, young lady. You Need to learn to joke and lighten up," Juan said seriously.

Drysi looked at Rensime. "Jedi are allowed to laugh, aren't they?"

"We ... I choose to remain focused. I do not see the humor in joking about having one's back lashed," she stated simply.

Juan shook his head. "One needs to learn to joke about certain things, young Rensime, elsewise they become depressed or overly concerned about the slightest thing and in doing so make mistakes," he explained. "I have given as well as received the lash and still find a way to joke about it. You will miss much by being so serious. Don't you agree, Lady Reineach?" "Wholeheartedly, Lord Fer'rer," Alida answered. "Padawan Rensime, tell me what would be achieved by not discussing the subject lightly now? Yes, to be taken to task is indeed a serious occurrence, but none here is in that situation at the moment."

"I did not say nothing would or would not be achieved, Lady Reineach, I was merely stating I did not see the humor in it. It does appear you three do."

Juan shook his head. "No wonder the Jedi don't date and very few marry."

Alida looked at him. "Now you have me confused, Lord Fer'rer. How does this relate to marriage?"

"You have to be willing to understand and accept things that you are not used to," he explained. "It's called growing to accept the little quirks of your husband or wife. Just ask mine, she has put up with quite a bit."

She smiled. "Ah, that is something I am beginning to understand."

Juan nodded. "You understand, but our young Miss will never understand such things if she remains so closed minded. In fact I'm sure her attitude will stop many from asking her to dance."

"That is an activity I'm not too sure of," Rensime answered. "It seems like a waste of time and energy."

Alida turned to her. "At the very least, you could view it as exercise, Padawan."

"Everything I do while here I view as an exercise, Lady Reineach," Rensime answered evenly.

"Then how can it be a waste of time, young one?" Alida asked, dropping into a long familiar role. "Think a moment and then tell me in what ways the dances can be viewed as an exercise."

Rensime looked at her. "In coordination with someone else."

"Please elaborate and give me other examples of how this can be viewed as an exercise. Think even beyond the physical, Padawan Rensime."

"I don't understand, Lady Reineach. Beyond physical?"

"You are limiting yourself," Alida said. She sat down and looked up at Rensime. "What about interactions with those around you? The dances are a cultural happening, you can learn much about the culture, about the people and how they act, react and interact."

"One can observe a culture from the sidelines, Lady Reineach. I observe how couples interact with one another without looking for a relationship."

But can you say you truly understand it, Padawan Rensime?" Alida questioned. "I can explain the Force and how we use it to a non-Force sensitive being, but unless they could actually feel and experience what we do, can they ever truly understand?"

"That is something totally different. You are stating that one has to experience everything to understand it?"

Juan glanced up at Drysi with a wide grin.

Drysi blinked at him. "What?"

Alida shook her head. "You're being too literal, Padawan. However, yes, to fully comprehend something, you must be more than just passingly familiar with it."

Juan motioned to the two talking, his grin widening.

"Perhaps, but I have no desire to fully comprehend everything that yourmasters stand for."

"My masters and what they stand for?" Alida questioned evenly. She allowed one eyebrow to rise into an arch as she eyed the younger woman. "Please elaborate for me, child."

Drysi shook her head and leaned in close to Juan. "I don't get it."

"Two different points of views, a former Jedi teacher and a current Jedi student." Juan chuckled.

"Oh." Drysi nodded, watching the two women. She lowered her voice to a near whisper. "Who's right?"

"I merely state I will not fully experience everything that is of this culture," Rensime told Alida. "There are limits."

"Yes, there are," Alida said, "and I am not advocating that you go beyond those limits. My question to you was simple... in what way can you view the dances as an exercise."

Rensime took a calming breath. "It is an exercise in meeting people and seeing how they react."

"It is also an exercise in learning about the culture and the people in a very natural setting, Padawan."

Juan motioned Drysi to come a bit closer. "My credits are on Alida, she will make the young one so frustrated she'll be tempted to leave."

"I understand that, Master, and I never said I would not join in the dance, only it was ... just not needed for me to observe."

"Then how did you plan to observe?" Alida asked, eyeing Rensime. "From a distance?"

"No." Rensime answered.

"Then how did you plan on 'observing'?"

Juan grinned. "She will either answer or leave or both," he whispered to Drysi.

"I will be there, and if asked will partake of this dance. You should know there are many ways to observe, Lady Reineach, it does not have to be up close."

Alida smiled serenely. "Yes, I know that quite well, Padawan Rensime. Keep one question in mind, however. . . do you wish to observe or do you wish to understand?"

Drysi made a face. "Are all Jedi so. . . well, like her?" she asked Juan, her voice matching his as she indicated Rensime.

"Lady Reineach was formal, but not so ... closed minded, I don't think. The young one is ... too unbendable."

Drysi nodded. "She is," she agreed.

"I will think on this as well as your statements, Captain Fer'rer. If you will excuse me." Rensime bowed

Alida gave Rensime a bow. "Oh, young one. . . please do try to remember ... I have not been a Master for many months now." She smiled at Rensime.

"Forgive my slip, Lady Reineach, for a moment it was easy to forget you were no longer a Master."

Alida chuckled quietly. "I see."

Rensime bowed then turned and left. Juan couldn't hold his laughter in any longer. "I would have made a fortune. She did well in holding her place but you did pin her many times, Lady Reineach."

Alida looked at him. "She's well-trained, Lord Fer'rer. Do you truly believe she is unbendable?"

Juan smiled. "Yes, I do. She is too young to be acting so old. The girl needs to loosen up."

Alida nodded in agreement. "Yet, that is who she is and how she was trained. She is less rigid than her Master. And the other with her. . . Knight Ultan? He seems rather laid back. Perhaps he will be an influence on her."

"And I have never lost my temper," Juan joked. "No, that girl will be an image of her master by the time he's done with her." His voice held a hint of sadness.

"Possibly, but she's been given an opportunity to see another side of Force use, Lord Fer'rer," Alida said. "Don't discount just what influence her being here might have."

Juan nodded. "Let's hope. Maybe she'll find someone who interests her."

"You mean romantically?"   Alida chuckled.  "That is something I have a hard time envisioning."

"Lady Reineach, the girl needs something before she dies of old age." Juan winked at Drysi, "She is simply too young to be so old maid-ish."

"She is a Jedi, Lord Fer'rer," Alida said.  "I should think you'd be familiar with the Jedi ways by now."  She gave him a smile.

"Yes, but while she is here she is a young girl."

"No, she's not," Alida argued mildly. "She is still a Jedi, regardless of whether or not you call her Ms. Rensime or Padawan. It is what and who she is."

"I will do nothing to offend her beliefs or her position, but I still see her as a young girl."

"I know," Alida said. "But she's not. For a Jedi raised in the manner she was, youth is not a factor. She is a Jedi."

Juan nodded. "Yes, she is and she is very good at what she does."

Drysi sighed. "I don't get it. Jedi are just people, aren't they?"

Alida shook her head. "No, Ms. Adyna. A Jedi is one who dedicates their life to serving the galaxy through service to the Force. Padawan Rensime was trained in the old ways, as someone for whom there is little room for negotiation when it comes to ideas and ideals."

"So she will never know love, not the way we do, and she will never see anything than the simple black and white of any situation. You heard her and Lady Reineach," Juan elaborated.

"But I didn't exactly understand it," Drysi said.

Alida shook her head. "She's willing to observe, but not partake. It will, most likely, lead to an incomplete understanding." She looked at Juan. "You may be correct, few may ask her to dance. Hopefully, she will be asked. It will be an experience for her, I'm sure."

"I bet a three day furlough that she refuses any who ask her."

"Initially," Alida said. "But do you see her being permitted to refuse?"

Juan smiled. "Not with Lord Alderson around, and I do not wish to think how the queen would react."

"Oh, my," Alida said. "Nor do I."

Drysi frowned. "What does the queen have to do with it?"

Juan looked at her. "All our actions reflect on us, those we represent and as Lord Alderson's aide it will reflect on him and his mother, the queen."

"And turning down a dance would reflect badly on them?" Drysi wrinkled her nose. "I think I'm staying home."

"Oh, no, you're not. You have nothing to worry about, unlike our reluctant teenage Jedi. You are more relaxed. Besides I need someone to talk to while everyone dances."

Drysi sighed. "As long as I don't have to dance."

Alida shook her head. "I only hope the child behaves herself at the dance, Lord Fer'rer."

"She will or I will see how well I can deliver the lash from this chair," Juan said, very serious.

"Force willing, that won't be necessary," Alida said, as serious as he was. "She has much to learn and to see and very little time to do it in."

"Yes, she has very little time just as our own do. Yet I believe Lady C'rman will be more ... open minded, given time. She has more experience with life and the effects."

"She should fare well there," Alida said.

"If I know my Nyssa as well as I think I do. Yes, she will do quite well and make us all proud of her." Juan grinned

"Your Nyssa?" Alida asked, smiling. "Rather possessive, Lord Fer'rer, is it not?" Her voice was light.

"Slightly, but I am protective of her."

Drysi chuckled. "You do that a lot, don't you?"

He nodded. "Yes, and I have been known to get into disagreements over it as well." He grinned.

Drysi's smile dropped. "That's not at all funny, Captain Fer'rer."

"Of course it is." He reached for Drysi's hand. "If I cannot laugh about my stubbornness, who can?"

She tensed slightly, then relaxed as he took her hand. "I'm sure you'd find a couple people."

Alida looked from one to the other, sure she had missed something. "Stubbornness seems to be a common trait around here, Lord Fer'rer."

"Of course, why do you think you fit in so well, Alida?"

She laughed openly. "Are you accusing me of being stubborn, Lord Fer'rer?"

Juan faked a look of innocence. "I would never insult a Lady such as yourself."

She held a hand to her chest. "You must have me confused with someone else, sir."

"Yes, it must be my ... medication." Juan laughed hard. "Now if we could only get young Padawan Rensime to laugh."

"Your medication.  Of course."  Alida smiled.  "As for the Padawan... it might be possible."

"What do you think, Drysi, can we crack the Padawan's straight face?" Juan asked.

Drysi shook her head.  "Not a chance.  She's too... sour."

"I agree, yet we have a little over four weeks to add a little sweetness ..." he paused. ".. to the girl."

"A little sweetness?"  Alida chuckled.  "And just how does one go about adding sweetness to a Jedi Padawan who will be returning to Yavin?"

Juan chuckled. "By exposing her to it. It may be a difficult task, but I have hopes."

She looked at him.  "What does this task entail?" she asked cautiously.

"I have no idea. I'm making this up as I go along."

"You seem to be very good at getting to someone," Alida said.

"I do try, though I admit I am not always successful." Juan stated, looking at her.

Alida looked back at him.  "You haven't?"

"No, not everyone. I have failed a few times, though I am grateful I succeeded with Ms. Adyna."

Drysi ducked her head.  "So'm I."

"Padawan Rensime may learn to enjoy herself.  We shall see," Alida noted.

"Yes we will see and it will be interesting." Juan looked at Drysi. "Care to take up my bet?"

"Sure," Drysi said.  "What're we betting?"

"That the Padawan will be as unsociable as possible at the dances and will have a stern talking to by Lord Alderson."

Alida shook her head.  "That's almost a given, Lord Fer'rer.  Certainly not a fair bet."

Juan laughed. "Alright.... agreed. I will wait and see how things develop."

Drysi grinned.  "I know... we can bet on how many she'll turn down before Lord Alderson gets onto her."

"There you go." Juan smiled. "Care to pick a number, Lady Reineach?"

"Do I strike you as a gambling woman, Lord Fer'rer?"  Alida asked archly.

"No, but no time to start like the present," he declared. "I say three."

"Two," Drysi countered.  "Come on, Lady Reineach.  Pick a number."

Alida sighed.  "Very well.  I do not believe more than one will be turned down before Lord Alderson intervenes."

"You think only one?" Juan asked.

Alida nodded.  "He's very observant."

"Yes, he is, though he may give her the benefit of doubt of a couple before he sees a pattern."

She nodded.  "It depends on how she turns them down."

"Very politely, I hope." Juan laughed.

Drysi grinned.  "Or she could toss them across the room."

"That would be very bad and she would be handled by the Queen then." Juan stated. "No, tossing is not allowed."

"I'm just kidding," Drysi said.  "I don't think even she would do something like that."

Juan laughed. "No, she is a Jedi after all and one of them would never do something like that."

"Nor, apparently, does she believe she will dance."  Alida smiled.  "Perhaps it would do to remind her that Alidar danced while he was on Telos."

Juan nodded. "Yes, but I'm sure she will have an answer. The Jedi always do ... no offense, Lady Reineach."

"None taken," she replied. "It is how we train, Lord Fer'rer."

"I know and I mean no offense, but you were not so ... stiff."

Alida smiled.   "Some would disagree, Lord Fer'rer.  There were even those on Yavin who competed to see who could make me 'crack a smile'."

Juan laughed. "I lost."

"You lost?" Alida asked, confused.

Juan winked at Alida. "I bet there was no way you'd ever break your stoic air.  You not only smiled, my dear Lady Reineach, you're now married and expecting a child. I didn't think it possible."

Alida chuckled.  "Then perhaps all is not lost for the young Padawan, Lord Fer'rer.  You may get her to laugh before she returns home to Yavin."

"I think I will have better luck getting Lady C'rman married first."

"Why do you want her to get married?" Drysi asked.

"It's her duty, Drysi," he replied soberly. "We value children and Lady C'rman has... unique qualities we would hate to lose. If not marriage she should bear a child soon there are many possibilities."

Drysi frowned.  "Like what?  I know she's unique and all that, but why should she have to have a child?"

"It's so her genetics will not be lost and they can be added to our people. She can chose from Lord Du'Cruet, my son Sean, even Lord Alderson or a suitable match can be found for her," he explained.

"But what about her wishes, don't they matter?  What if she doesn't want to have a child?"

Juan glanced at Alida, then looked at Drysi. "Lady C'rman comes from a minor house, her parents were in charge as overseers of a world. She has a duty to perform and as such sometimes personal feelings have to be laid aside."

"So, she has no say what happens with her body?"  Drysi crossed her arms, looking unhappy with the idea

Juan took in a breath. "Yes, Drysi, she does, but she knows what is also expected from her from all of us. Myself included."

"From everyone?" she asked, shaking her head.

"Perhaps Lady C'rman's views will change," Alida said.

"It's the way we are, and Lord Du'Cruet has adopted that part as well. Don't worry Drysi, you will not be forced into anything, even Lady Reineach was not forced."

Drysi looked relieved.  "You weren't?" she asked Alida.

Alida's smile was gentle as she thought of Everard.  "No, Ms. Adyna, I wasn't at all forced.  I love my husband and am looking forward to the birth of our child."

"See, but like Lady Reineach states perhaps Lady C'rman will be ... more open-minded."

"Open minded to what Lord Fer'rer?" Anna asked, joining them.

"About her duty and, one day, marriage," Juan answered.

Anna burst out laughing. "You are joking? Nyssa marry?" Anna shook her head. "She would be a wonderful wife and mother, I've seen her with her nephew and with Lady Kyrsk's daughter, but she will never marry until she gets over her ... crush."

"Her crush?" Drysi questioned, looking at Juan and Anna. 

Juan smiled. "Yes, she believes she is in love with a gentleman but it is ..." he looked up at Anna and Alida. " ... misplaced affection?"

"She is young, Lord Fer'rer," Alida said.  "Perhaps the time on Yavin will temper such feelings and leave her more open minded."

Juan nodded. "Yes, that is all I hope Yavin does."

"What else do you think it will do?" Alida asked

"Sean believes she is thinking of returning, if not staying," Juan answered.

Anna looked at him. "You've heard from him?"

"Yes, his last transmission was one of concern.  She has calmed down, he stated, though he believes this Knight Maruko is having a very strong influence on her."

"She's ... she's just fitting in and not causing trouble," Anna stated. "She'll be back ... won't she? I mean you wouldn't let her stay ... or the queen?"

Alida tilted her head, regarding Anna curiously.  "That prospect worries you, doesn't it?"

Drysi frowned.  "Why would she want to stay with the Jedi?  If they're all like Rensime..."

"Yes it worries me." Anna admitted. "Her place is here, she is one of us." Anna turned to Drysi. "I don't know why would want to stay, Ms. Adyna, she is not one to be as cold as our guest."

"Not all Jedi are cold, Lady Anna," Alida countered.  "But those trained in the old manner do tend to be more reserved."

Juan fell silent in thought. "We have given her the right to choose. We can only hope she chooses wisely."

"You won't forbid it?" Anna asked.

"I will give her my opinion, Lady Anna, but forbid?" Juan shook his head. "She is not a child."

"Lady C'rman is too free-spirited for the Jedi, even as they are now," Alida said.  "I believe she would find herself feeling restricted or repressed."

"I hope you are right, Lady Reineach. If you will excuse me, I have an appointment with Medical. It is good to see you up and moving ,Captain." Anna bent down and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"Thank you, Lady Anna." Juan said softly.

"Is everything okay?" Drysi asked Anna.

Anna smiled. "Yes, Ms. Adyna. I am just making sure I can have a child."

"Oh.  Seems to be the thing to do," Drysi said.

Anna smiled. "The Prince has to have an heir." She looked at her. "And children are quite precious, don't you think?"

"If you say so," Drysi said. 

Anna smiled. "I will leave you to your visit." She placed a hand on Drysi's shoulder and gave it a slight squeeze. "Care to work out later?"

Drysi looked up at her.  "Sure."

Alida smiled.  "I hope all is well, Lady Anna."

Anna nodded. "I'm sure it will be. Just never thought there were so many tests."

"For the Aldersons, all precautions must be taken, especially with their children," Juan stated softly.

Alida thought to Tara and Christine during the birth of Xanatos' children.  "And for those giving birth," she noted.

Anna nodded. "Yes, I will see you all at dinner. Enjoy the day and don't let our Captain overtax himself."

"We won't," Drysi promised. 

"Ah, dinner.  Senator Va'Chon will be attending tonight, won't he?" Alida asked.

"Yes, and I hope our two guests behave themselves. I don't know much of this Senator."

"I know very little of him personally," Alida said.  "He was installed on the Alliance High Council shortly before I left Yavin."

"Then he's here to see what he can find out for them probably. I mean, why Shardakour? We aren't exactly on the tourist map, and if Lord Du'Cruet wishes to protect his children, he will do the same for Telos."

"Close Telos off, you mean?" Alida asked.

"Yes, or at least make it more secure. He's starting with the papers and the questions. Yet many see Telos as an opportunity to make fast money."

I'm not sure I see how Telos is an opportunity to make fast money."  Alida frowned. "You think it's normal to have so many kidnapping attempts, and assassination attempts?" Juan questioned. "Granted not many like Lord Du'Cruet, but ..."

Alida grimaced.  "Of course not.  I was thinking in the traditional sense."

"Ah, I'm thinking of bounty hunters, assassins and the others." Juan shook his head.  "It is his decision, but besides the springs there isn't much for people to come and see unless it's the dances."

"Perhaps that would be for the best, but I cannot help but wonder how that will be viewed by the rest of the galaxy," Alida said thoughtfully.

Juan nodded. "I think that is why he won't do it totally. Telos is very opposite Shardakour technology-wise. And totally closing it off may bring more attention than he wants."

"Both the Alliance and the Empire would have their curiosity piqued by such a thing," Alida agreed.

Juan nodded. "Yes, and for now Telos needs to blend into the background of the galaxy. Though with my son's upcoming wedding. I don't see that happening."

"No, that will be an event that will cause quite a bit of a stir."

"Just a little." Juan leaned back. "But Sean is in love and he will handle himself well."

"I'm sure he will," Alida said.  "I was thinking more along the lines of media attention the couple and their planets will have to endure."

Juan groaned.  "Things we have to endure." He looked up at Drysi. "You will see how much of a circus Telos can be."

"It gets worse?" Drysi asked.

Juan laughed. "Yes, very much so."

"Maybe Shardakour's not such a bad place to stay," she said.

"I'm hurt, Ms. Adyna." Juan joked. "Besides the wedding is here on Shardakour, and we will all be present."

She laughed.  "Oh, well, that's different."

Juan shook his head "Now that it's on Shardakour, its okay. There will be so many people present. I will need to start helping Kerri get used to the idea of being called Lady Connors while she's here."

"But not while she's on Telos?  What makes her a Lady now?" Drysi asked.

"Her status will change even on Telos once Sean marries," Juan stated. "She's like me, we don't stand on formality much. On Telos most people refer to me as Captain, here it's Lord."

"So it's all about who you marry?"  She glanced at Alida and then back to Juan.  "And you're a Lord because you've got domains here?"

"Yes, I have domains and at one time I was the Master of Arms here, as my father before me."

"Aren't you still?" Drysi asked.

Juan shook his head. "They have a new Master at Arms, I believe."

"Oh?" Alida questioned. 

"You have to remember," he said, "for a long time they thought me dead."

Alida nodded.  "Of course.  That would preclude you continuing with those duties, I'm sure."

"Just a little," Juan chuckled.

"So, let me see if I've got this right," Drysi said, leaning against Juan's repulsor chair.  "You're a Lord, but not a Master, and you're a Captain, too. Mrs. Connors is going to be Lady Connors because her son is marrying Lady Amalie.  Ms. D'med is a Lady now because she got married.  And everyone is expected to get married and have babies.  How's that?"

Juan broke out laughing. "Then explain Lady C'rman. She's not married, but still a lady."

I know this one," Drysi said.  "She's from a minor family.  You said her parents were overseers of a world.  See, I do pay attention now and then."

Juan wiped a tear from his eye from laughter. "So you do."

Alida smiled as the captain laughed and Drysi rolled her eyes.  It was good to see Juan in such good humor after everything that had happened. 

"You are a very good student and you catch on better than some would think." he took in a breath. "Though I think I should return to my room and rest, I'm sure the doctors think I've run off by now."

"And you're not supposed to overtax yourself," Drysi said.

Alida gave him a bow.  "It is good to see you doing so much better, Lord Fer'rer."

"Thank you, Lady Reineach. How can I over tax myself? I'm in a chair not moving, not doing anything but laughing."

"You're definitely giving your stomach muscles a workout, sir," Alida said dryly.

Juan nodded. "Yes, and they ache from so much laughter."

"Will you allow me to assist with that in some small way?" Alida asked.

Juan looked at her and nodded. "If you can."

Alida knelt next to him. "I'm not a skilled Healer, but I can at least help ease your aches." She focused on him, pulling the Force around him to help ease and soothe the sore muscles.

He leaned back as the ache subsided. "Thank you, but I should return and rest."

She pulled back and stood, nodding. "Yes, you should."

"Thank you for the conversation, Alida." Juan looked up at Drysi. "Will you see me back to my room?"

Drysi nodded. "My pleasure, Captain Fer'rer."

Alida bowed to the pair. "Good day to you both." She watched them as they started back inside before she turned to find some where to begin her own exercises.

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