A few days later, he had begun to slightly figure out where he was. In the Kingdom of Tawg, ruled by the Great King Wedge the First. First Knight was a man they feared by name. They referred to him as the man of ice. He had come from a land far away, in the great northern world. However, it had been destroyed due to a great glacier flood, and now his homeland was of no more.
Gabriella came to visit often, and he was slowly, yet steadily learning to like this place. He had been notified that Face (Who he'd been traveling back to Coruscant with) was taken in trade to a distant land under the watchful care of a woman known as the Dodgy Queen Claire.
After everyone had realized that he was an important guest from a far-off land, he had been given a room in the Duchessa's castle.
The lady of the Castle was a beautiful one, with dark hair and honey eyes and plentiful curves. Her laughter seemed to float through the castle, her good moods always contagious.
She was engaged to a knight named Sir Gavin, of the house of Darklit. Hobbie supposed that was the man who snuck into the castle each night and usually left at dawn. When he'd menchoned it to Gabriella, she'd blushed and explained that Sir Gavin and Duchessa Katrielle liked to spend the nights alone together, even though it was customary for them to wait until their proper wedding.
It was dismissed simply because the wedding would be in three weeks and everyone knew that King Wedge had had a similar habit with Queen Elizabeth. Gabriella had informed him that everyone who was anyone would be there, and that he would be attending as an honored guest.
But first, he had to be trained in the ways of the knights. It was a customary signal of honor if one was challenged by a knight, so he had to learn the sports of the Knights, "just in case," Gabriella said.
It stared, of course, with the uniform.
He was outfitted by the young boy who'd been the guard of his cell. He was a page for Sir Gavin, but he was already living at the Duchessa's home. His name was Arthur, and he certainly was a scrawny thing.
The uniform for the knights, which just looked uncomfortable, felt even worse when he was in it. His movement-among other things-was restricted, and the helment made him feel somewhat goofy.
The Duchessa and Gabriella had taken the day to help with his training, and both of them had to hold back giggles as he insisted that he would not ride a horse.
"I won't do it! I had to deal with freaking Taun-Tauns at Hoth, but, I mean, this is crazy. I'm not doing it. No way."
The page snerked. "You mean the big, bad pilot-who supposedly flies up with the stars is scared to ride old Magellan?"
Old Magellan was a somewhat sway-backed gray-white horse, who stood off to the side, looking somewhat bored. He snorted at the page's remark, clearly showing that he thought Hobbie was a bit of a chicken as well.
The page stared at Hobbie. Hobbie stared back at the page. The Duchessa watched both of them, amused. "Hobbie!" She called out to him. "If you ride dear old Magellan, how about I allow Gabriella to take the day off tomorrow and spend it with you?"
Gabriella looked at him hopefully, her hazel eyes shining. Finally, he sighed and agreed.
He stepped up to Magellan, who now looked somewhat dissapointed that he hadn't chickened out. Hobbie's sword hung heavily at his side.
Hobbie grabbed the reins gently and put his foot in the stirrup. All of a sudden, there was a loud trumpet horn and a thundering of hoofbeats coming ever closer. The excited Magellan set off at a gallop, pulling Hobbie along with him. Hobbie somehow managed to stay in the saddle, but just barely. The novice rider tugged at the reins hard, begging the horse mentally and verbally to stop, whoa, anything.
Meanwhile, Katrielle and Gabriella were snickering lightly over his progress.
"He doesn't have much talent for riding." Gabriella remarked gently.
Kat laughed. "Perhaps his talents lie in....other forms of riding." she said with a wink at Gabriella.
She blushed, and mumbled "My lady! That was...unexpected. Are you implying something?"
"Why, yes I am, my dear. That Hobbie man certainly is a strange one, but I sense that he'd be quite a match for you."
"What about Count Corran's request for my hand?"
"Oh, forget that lousy, rangy mutt. He should be plenty satisfied with poor Countess Mira, who suffers day and night for agreeing to be his wife. No reason why he should even consider you. Anyhow, I'm sure King Wedge will disaprove of it and if not him, than Good Queen Elizabeth. She considers the Count a revulsive piece of trash."
"Oh, but that he is!" The two women laughed, then glanced up as the horses approached.
The lead rider rode foward, a slightly silly grin upon his face. He dismounted, then pulled off his helment. He bowed at Duchessa Katrielle's feet and kissed her hand. She, recognizing him, allowed him to pull her into a hug."Sir Wes! How wonderful it is you could come and visit us!"
He pulled back from her, and shook his head with a smile. "Ah, but the Knights of Wraith would never miss your wedding! Especially not an avid partyer like myself." he added with a twinkle in his blue eyes.
Just then, a dignified looking carriage appeared and Wes raced (Well, ran as fast as he could in that armor) to the side and helped a stunning woman out of it. Gabriella immediately knew who she was, then.
The woman was the Fair Maiden Antigone, a woman whose beauty was well-known throughout the lands of Tawg. Her shining hair and pretty smile seemed to capture the view of all in attendance. Sir Wes gracefully pulled her down from the carriage and into his arms. He kissed her soundly, then set her down gently beside him.
"Duchessa, you know Maiden Antigone?"
"But of course! We've met several times before. And how are you doing, maiden?"
"Well, thank you Kat. And who is this young lady?" she asked, gesturing to Gabriella.
"Ah, yes. This is one of my dearest friends, Gabrielle Treton, of the house of Jasson. Wes, I believe she's related to you, actually."
Wes' smile lit up in recognition. "Oh! Little cousin Gabby?" She blushed at her old nickname. "Well, look at you. All grown up, a Lady now. How are your parents?"
"They're well. They are very happy that I agreed to live here, with the Duchessa. Look, Duchessa! I believe our guest Hobbie has decided to come back."
Indeed, Hobbie was back with Magellan, still pulling madly on the reins, his faceplate covering his eyes, and his horse mud-soaked. Magellan spotted the crowd and immediately halted, throwing Hobbie into a puddle of mud at Sir Wes' feet.
Sir Wes wiped a bit of mud off his face, and smirked as Hobbie struggled to sit up. He pulled the faceplate up, and glanced at the crowd. Everyone went silent. His face was mournful, when he finally said
The crowd began to laugh gently, and Wes pulled Hobbie up, and offered his hand. They shook, and Hobbie had a weird feeling of Deja-Vu as the Knight spoke to him. He shrugged it off, however, reminding himself that it was probably nothing.
There was much feasting, now that the Knights of Wraith were here. They were teaching Hobbie many of the great skills he would need to face a Knight of King Wedge, and he was quickly becoming friends with all of them.
He and Gabriella had become good friends, as well. She was charming and witty, with a smile that could turn Hobbie's insides to mush in seconds.
With the arrival of the Knights of Wraith, the Duchessa had to postpone Gabriella's day off until the next day. They had gone on another horse, this one named Ferdinand, to a quiet spot by a nearby creek.
So, they sat and talked as they ate. He told her all about his life-the Evil Empire, how advanced everything was compared to here, where their technology was limited.
Oh, wow. That was an understatement.
And she told him all about the history of this place. How the evil tribes of the North often had to be battled by the Knights of Tawg, and how the evil witches of their tribes had once ruled over all the lands. However, brave Wizard Luke defeated them, and helped King Wedge drive them back. It was fascinating to Hobbie how their lives were so different, yet had so many parallels.
"So, how do you plan to get home?"
It was a question that he hadn't really thought about. This place was so neat, he'd kind of forgotten that he needed to go back.
"I don't know. You think maybe Wizard Luke could help me?"
"Oh, maybe. I mean, I guess he could. He is a very powerful Wizard, after all."
"But the thing is..." he started, and trailed off, looking into her eyes.
"But I'm not sure I really want to leave."
She smiled then, and squeezed his hand, which he hadn't even realized held hers. She kissed his cheek gently, almost unsure. Then, he cupped her face in his hands and kissed her on the lips, and felt her resistance disapear as he gently traced her lips with his tounge. Gabriella sighed against him and he pulled her closer.
Suddenly, the soft beat of a horse's hooves forced them apart. She looked back into his eyes a little uncertainly, and he brushed a hand over her cheek. Gabriella smiled, then looked back at the approaching horse.
The horse was tall and black, a beautiful sight against a majestic sunset. Had it really gotten that late already?
The horse stepped foward quietly, its two riders now visible. The Duchessa sat in front, and a man with a blonde beard sat behind her, holding her close. She smiled up at him, and then looked back at the couple.
"Are we needed back at the castle?" Gabriella asked gently. Katrielle nodded, then glanced at Hobbie.
"Be careful. And hurry back. I feel as if I'm being a terrible host, leaving like this. But dinner has already been served, and many inquiring minds would like to know where our guest and my lady-in-waiting have slipped off to."
"Will you be back later tonight?" Gabriella asked gently.
"Perhaps," Katrielle said with a smile. She looked back at Sir Gavin for a moment. "It all depends. Good night." she grinned over at Gabriella, winked, and rode off at a gallop towards a nearby woods.
Hobbie stood up, and offered a hand to Gabby, as he'd begun to call her. His lips met hers in a gentle kiss, and they mounted back up onto Ferdinand and rode off into the sunset back towards the castle.
Over the next week, Hobbie was trained extensively in the art of Knighthood. He'd finally gotten used to riding horses, and had even learned how to swordfight pretty well. He would have preferred a blaster, but he thought fencing was a bit more intriguing than just firing off shots.
And, of course, he and Gabrielle became very close. Hobbie wanted her, and he knew she had similar feelings for him, but he just didn't want to just yet. It didn't...feel right, for some reason. It wasn't like he'd waited in the past--
But this time, everything just felt different this time. And he didn't want to mess it up, either. For some reason, she'd become very, very special to him. Being with her was something he looked foward to every day. Unlike his jousting practice.
"You mean I have to hit the other guy with a long stick?"
"Yeah. Basically. Unless you want to use your other stick...." Wes said, grinning. The rest of the knights in attendance laughed with him.
Hobbie sighed and shook his head, laughing. Katrielle and Gabriella were sitting on a balcony, watching his progress below. He threw Gabby a wink and cantered off to get ready for his first lessons in Jousting.
He'd gone up against a dummy a few times, and, sad to say, he'd lost. Several times. But he was getting better, always trying his best at it, at least. He'd ended up having to be treated by Tonamus, the local medicine man on quite a few occasions.
This time, he was up against Kell. The two men nodded at each other, then galloped foward. They collided hard, both of them knocked off their horses. They pulled out their swords and began to duel. Kell was quite good at swordfighting, but Hobbie had the added incentive of having 'his lady' watch. Kell almost hit him once, but only managed to knock on his armor soundly. Then, a trumpet was heard, along with the sounds of a large party approaching.
He and Kell stopped fighting and looked up to see two young riders galloping towards them. They stopped at about twenty paces. One of them tooted his horn loudly, while the other announced,
"Greetings. The Great King of Tawg- King Wedge, Good Queen Elizabeth and their royal court have come to visit the Duchessa De Welayon. All Hail King Wedge! Tawg save Good Queen Elizabeth!"
With that, they dismounted and knelt as the King and his party approached.
King Wedge certainly looked noble. His crown wasn't flashy, and he didn't strut or flaunt his power in his movements. He looked simple, yet powerful. His armor gleamed in the early sunlight, and he smiled as he spotted Katrielle and Gabriella running to greet him.
Hobbie watched as every single knight bowed down, looks of great respect upon all their faces. He, too, knelt with them, and then Sir Wes stood up to greet the King.
Katrielle and Gabriella were smiling and discussing something with him, and Wedge laughed gently. Then, he dismounted and walked over to the royal carriage. Behind him, a blonde knight with shining blue eyes dismounted and spoke to Katrielle for a moment.
Queen Elizabeth appeared dignified and beautiful when she stepped out. Her purple gown billowed around her gently, and she took Wedge's hand with a small, shared smile.
Lord Tycho, also First Knight, followed Wedge and helped his own lady out. Lady An' appeared radiant and goregous as she carefully set foot on the slightly wet ground. Tycho kissed her cheek, then led her over to where the Duchessa, Gavin, Wedge, and Elizabeth were all standing.
"So, you've been sneaking off here at night. I was wondering why he left so mournful and came back looking so very satisfied in the morning." Wedge said with a chuckle.
"But Wedge, we used to do that too, remember? And An', didn't you and Tycho get, ah, close before the wedding?"
An' nodded and smiled, then rubbed her slightly swollen belly gently. Lord Tycho was extremely protective of her, even when she assured him that she could take care of herself. But she enjoyed how close he stayed to her, and she squeezed their joined hands gently.
Gavin and Katrielle looked so happy together, Hobbie mused. The tiny glances exchanged spoke a thousand words, and his arm around her showed everyone that she was, indeed, his.
Gabriella walked over to Hobbie, and told him that the King had requested to meet him. He supposed that he should be somewhat fearful, to be meeting such a powerful man, but strangely enough, he wasn't. Wedge and the others greeted him with a firm handshake. Out of nowhere, air began to twinkle strangely beside Wedge. He didn't look at all alarmed, just glanced to his right as a figure materialized.
"Hobbie," Wedge began, "let me introduce you to a great friend-the Wizard Luke Starkiller." Hobbie shook hands with the blonde man, wondering how in the world he'd done it.
"Magic," Luke said as if he could read his mind. "Never underestimate the powers of true magic."
Finally, the rest of the court arrived, except Count Corran and Countess Mira, and everyone was settled into rooms at the castle.
The royal court was a big, interesting group, Hobbie noticed. Some of them were snobby, yes, but many of them were just men and women with titles. Some of the more notable ones included Lady Iliana, Diana of the house of De Riggs, and the Sorceress of Tawg, a woman simply known as Glim.
Lady Iliana was a kind person, with a soft voice and caring personality. Diana of the house of De Riggs was a lot of fun. Most of her conversations had everyone laughing and blushing at the things she said. Never a dull moment when she was around. The Sorceress Glim was close to the Wizard Luke, and Hobbie had the idea that they were most likely involved. Gabriella had told him while the Wizard was always careful with his magic, the Sorceress was more carefree and used it much more often.
The Knights, he also noted, were either close to women they were attached to, or womanizing some of the younger debutantes who had been invited to stay for the ceremony.
Supper in the enormous dining hall was filled with wonderful food and wine, as well as small talk, serious conversations, and shrill laughter.
From what he observed, he could tell that Sir Wes was a jokester, King Wedge was the watchful eyes over the group, and Tycho was his second-in-command who had a sharp wit about him. An'Arie was thoughtful and intelligent, Elizabeth was somewhat serious but liked to laugh, and Fair Maiden Antigone was lovely and had several good jokes herself.
The conversations ranged from all sorts of things: how the bride and groom to be had met, the latest news of exploration to the north, and a few hushed words about the Tribes of the North. Festive music was playing and many were dancing in the adjoining ballroom. Sir Gavin and Katrielle looked happy to be together, and Gabriella stayed back with the Queen and spoke to her for some time. Hobbie himself was seated to Gabriella's right, and her hand was linked casually, yet affectionately, with his.
"Mr. Klivian," inquired the queen thoughtfully, "Where exactly do you hail from?"
"The New Republic," he answered simply. "Coruscant is my current residence."
"Coruscant." Queen Elizabeth mused over it gently. "Is it a large estate?"
Laughingly, he shook his head. "Oh, no. I room with one of my squadronmates, named--"
But the strangest thing was, he couldn't remember his roomie's name. In fact, he couldn't remember anybody from his old world, except a man named Face, who he had landed with...
"Hobbie," Gabriella said gently. "Are you alright?"
He nodded gently, trying to clear his head, regain his thoughts.
"So, when are you planning on heading back to this New Republic, Mr. Klivian?"
Hobbie felt Gabriella nearly freeze in her seat. She wasn't ready for him to leave, wasn't even planning on it. He knew she felt strongly for him-he felt a similar connection to her. And leaving her was the last thing he wanted to do. He mused it over for a moment, then finally decided on a simple and true answer.
"I don't know."
The party ended some time later, when the Knights of Wraith were mostly drunk, the Knights of Tawg were retiring for the evening, and the King and Queen also leaving somewhat early to their quarters.
Hobbie and Gabriella were walking down the hall, their hands clasped together gently. Hobbie could tell that she was somewhat worried about what he'd said, yet showed no real outward emotions about it.
They had danced and the look in her eyes had simply told him all that he'd needed to know.
And now they were at her door, and neither of them really was sure about what to do now. Finally, she spoke up.
"Stay with me tonight." Gabriella looked at him hopefully as they stood at her door.
"Gabriella, I just don't know if that's a good idea or not right now. I--"
She kissed him gently, and looped her arms around his neck. His arms gripped her waist gently, and he could see that her eyes were already dark with passion. They finally pulled apart a moment later, when they heard footsteps and loud voices coming down the hall.
"Quick!" She whispered, and pulled him insider her chambers. Even through the thick wooden door, Hobbie could hear the partying spirits (Most likely including Sir Wes) moving down the hall. Once the noises had passed, he glanced around her chambers.
The furnishings were of a modest sort for the time period, with a large bedchamber, complete with a bed with beautiful wood carvings along the head and footboards. In an ajoining room, a small den was set up with small couch-like furniture. It wasn't exactly thrilling, but it was somewhat...cozy, at least.
She was looking at him again, her palm resting gently against his chest. He looked down at her slightly shorter figure, surprised by the look in her eyes. Gabriella kissed him again, this time with more force, and Hobbie responded in kind. She pulled back, testing and wanting, and closed her eyes as he kissed her again. His lips were soft and hard at the same time, gentle yet forceful. Gabrielle ran her hand down his chest, stopping just below his heart. He pulled her to him tightly as he began to thrust his tongue gently into her mouth. She held back a groan, but finally released it when he picked her up and carried her to the bed.
He laid her down gently, and then brushed tendrils of hair from around her face. Stars, she was beautiful, with her eyes so warm, yet slightly fearful. Her breathing was already somewhat shallow as she ran a hand through his hair, her other hand tracing the path of his jaw. As she reached his chin, he kissed her again; it was another slightly demanding kiss, one Hobbie stopped, rather reluctantly. He pulled back gently, sitting up beside her.
Her breathing still shallow, she asked, "Why did you stop? Do you just not want to do this?"
Hobbie sighed gently. "Oh, no, Gabby. That's not it at all. I just want to be completely sure that this is what you want. Do you want this?"
Gabriella sat up then, and clutched his hands, squeezing them gently. "Of course I do! I'm the one who suggested it...wasn't I?"
Hobbie nodded. "But I don't want us to do something that you might regret having done later."
"Why in the kingdom of Tawg do you think I'd regret being with you, Hobbie? You're wonderful and so...different from all the other men here, and..."
"But why do you want to do this? Tonight?"
Her face fell slightly at this. "Hobbie, I was scared by the possiblity of your leaving. And I just...wanted to do this now, so you couldn't leave me without us being together at least once."
Hobbie's hands gripped hers more tightly. "Gabby, there is no possiblity that I'll be able to leave this place. My ship is completely broken. I have nothing to fix it with, none of the right tools or the exact expertise. I might never leave, Gabby. You just felt insecure when the Queen asked that because you realized that I may not be here forever."
It was then he saw the single tear trickle down her cheek, and he pulled her close. He kissed the top of her forehead, then nudged her chin to get her to look up at him.
"Gabby," he began, "When we both, together, decide that we want to do this, we will. It shouldn't be forced or anything. Now just...doesn't feel right." She sniffled, then nodded gently. He kissed her lips gently then undid the covers to tuck her in tight.
"Hobbie?" she asked gently.
"Why don't you stay with me? I promise to be on my best behavior." she said with a small grin.
He chuckled, then nodded and cuddled under the covers with her. They stayed like that the whole night.
Continued in Part Three