A young gallant stood outside of Rogue Squadron Headquarters, an anxious wanderer filled with dreams of justice and honor. A few months ago, such a sight would not stir interest. Dozens of young men would hover near the doors, hoping that one of their ranks would be given a chance to join the legendary group of fighters.
But now, his presence was more oddity than familiarity. The great hall that had housed the Rogues had been silenced. The transparasteel windows boarded up. Its proud walls defaced by graffiti and filth. Deserted after Cardinal Palatine had all but disbanded the Rogues, setting the 181st on the loyal bodyguards like rabid hounds.
One by one, the noble warriors were murdered or driven off-planet, leaving Princess Organa alone in a sea of enemies. It was rumored that a few of the Rogues remained, hidden so well that even Captain Isardís spies could not find them. But it seemed likely that this story was wrought to give comfort to the besieged Heir.
He reluctantly pulled his attention away from Rogue Headquarters, scanning the crowed that rushed past the foot of the tattered steps. Few people noted his presence. The few that did he watched carefully. It was impossible to be unobserved in a city housing billions. All he could hope for was that the 181st did not notice him. He knew it was futile to hope that the Cardinalís spies were not busy telling their master of the rough-worn traveler that was so fascinated with the Rogues abandoned base.
A few did take vague interest in the shabby warrior who seemed so intent on Rogue Headquarters. He was a curiosity to the beings of this oppressed world. A strange mix of contradictions that drew the eye but did not draw undue attention.
The battered haversack slung over his shoulder marked him as a humble, weary traveler. The white shirt he wore was of fine the finest quality, but had been fashionable years ago. A brown leather vest defined a set of broad shoulders that tapered down to a narrow waist. His trousers were of heavy cloth that had been woven for utility not elegance. His worn, run down at the heel boots were a visible reminder of kilometers hard traveled, battles hard won. The blaster riding his right hip was worn for a cross draw, giving the man a rakish appearance that was emphasized by long black hair pulled back with a dark green ribbon that matched his watchful eyes.
A handsome young man, a poor caviler who had traveled to Coruscant to find his glory. Just like the thousands that poured into the city-planet each week. Unremarkable, forgettable, if not for the weapon he carried.
The sword he wore proudly, defiantly, marked him as a gentleman of a quality rarely seen on Coruscant since Cardinal Palpatineís rise to power.
If he had come of age ten years ago, the weapon on his belt would have been a lightsaber, not a blade of metal. But while Darth Vader had been destroying the last of the Jedi, his abilities had been kept hidden. Keeping a frightened boy safe so he could grow to become an honorable man.
Now his Jedi heritage was all but forgotten. The use of the Force seen more as a weakness than a strength. After all, the Jedi had been slaughtered because of those abilities. Why bring such a fate upon himself when he could use more mundane skills and get the same results?
Finally at ease with the mad rush of beings that
flowed past the foot of the steps like floodwaters,
the caviler pushed the doors and entered hall of
To be continued...
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