Welcome to Byss
Welcome to Byss
Summary: Dr. Toal and Erah'lien are reunited after over a year of being apart. Both of them have changed some.
Date: 11 Feb 2011
Related Logs: None
Anathema Toal 
Landing Bay 1912 <Emperor's City> - Byss
Shuttles and freighters and stuff
Current (~21 ABY)

Stepping off of a cargo freighter, one of dozens that no doubt comes through this spaceport every day and manned mostly by droids, is a single passenger. Olive green-yellow skin, with tell-tale blue tattooing on his face and the backs of his hands, mark him as a Mirialan. The scarring on the left side of his face is also tell-tale, reminiscent of a certain Zhao-employed doctor from nearly a year ago.

After 'the accident', Toal decided it would be best if he cashed out on the Zhao and spent some time soul-searching on Miral. It's been months, and finally a single communique, addressed to Erah'lien sent broad-band. "I'm coming. -Sholian". And, it seems, here he is, completely unaware as to what has transpired these months.

The missive had been received, but no response had really arrived before the doctor had made it to the formerly-Imperial world. But that doesn't mean that Erah'lien was unaware of his arrival. Word had been sent to her when the freighter had entered orbit, and the planetary Regent is waiting on the landing pad as the freighter unloads. People are giving her space, of course, and it wouldn't be hard to pick her out among the crowd.

What might be different now is her appearance. She's incredibly well-dressed, looking every bit the role of the planetary Regent that she is. Her violet skin is still familiar, as are her facial features. She won't be unrecognizable. Seeing the man she seeks, the woman now known as Anathema moves forward to intercept the Mirialan.

Upon spotting a familiar purple Twi'lek, Sholian sets his synthetic fabric travel bag down on the ground, but holds fast onto his familiar leather satchel - no doubt still filled with his strange holistic medicines. He affects a small smile, although it's thin and forced - they didn't exactly leave on good terms. Pulling his leather longcoat straight, he waits for her to be in conversational distance without raising his voice more than necessary.

"My lady," he says in way of greeting. "My, but what a year has done for you. You almost look like you enjoy wearing those fancy clothes." Toal has seldom been provocative with his language in the past; perhaps he's testing her patience, and her temper?

"Sholian," the Twi'lek greets, a smile rising to her lips as she arrives before him, inclining her head politely to him. "Welcome to Byss." She looks down at her clothing as he draws attention to it, fingers lifting to lightly tap her upper garment. "Believe it or not, this is armor." And she's wearing a SKIRT with the rest of it! Gasp! A wink is given in his direction and one hand lifts to the guards that never stand too terribly far away. "It's been some time. I am glad to see you."

"Your language is different," Sholian says with a growing smirk. "The words are the same, but I hear refinement. I hear control. Where has the anger gone?" He gives a casual glance around, eyes mainly focusing on the armed guards that stand nearby. "This is certainly different than Zhao Systems."

"Controlled. Used to its potential," Anathema tells him, fingers gesturing to his bags that have been set down for the guards to carry. The Twi'lek herself comes to stand beside him, hand lifting to press against his lower back and guide him out of the spaceport and towards the city proper. "Zhao was failing. Its leader was losing stability."

Toal doesn't shy at the touch, instead easily falling in step beside the woman. "They didn't fail in paying their promised fees," he states. "In fact, Isharn went out of her way to make sure that my last payments found me on Miral. It was interesting trying to explain to old colleagues and authorities where my funds came from, not being able to practice medicine legally there."

Citadel Gardens <Emperor's Citadel> - Byss

The Twi'lek woman guides him through the city, fingertips lightly resting against his back as she moves. The guards fall into step a few feet back, carrying the bags that Toal had brought with him. "Funds don't make everything, Sholian. They'll certainly provide you with some of the things your heart desires, but not everything. There is some information that money won't get you. Not to mention companionship. Real companionship, that is. Sex? That's easy enough to find."

"Sex." He lets out a quiet, short chuckle. "I thought we had an understanding, based on our last encounter, that we should never, ever discuss that topic again. With our words, or our hands," Sholian says, strolling quietly into the garden. If he's afraid of her, he makes no indication of it. "I'm quite well funded, even after a year. In fact, I could probably buy myself a luxurious home and retire. So, the question is," he pauses, turning to look at her. He takes her all in, regarding her from lekku to toes. "Why am I here?"

Anathema leans over to murmur in his ear, fingers lightly patting his back as she speaks softly. "Things have changed, in case you hadn't noticed," she tells him before leaning back and continuing through the garden with her new guest. She hums softly as she listens to him speak, nodding slowly. "Indeed. Why are you here? I suppose that's a valid question. One that has any number of answers." The guards are gestured forward towards the Citadel that rises before him while the Twi'lek woman guides Toal through the garden, down a side path. "One possbility is that lack of companionship. You know me. You know that I'm not inclined to rob you. If anything, I'm going to empower you. Perhaps you seek familiarity. Perhaps you seek knowledge. You don't want to retire, Sholian. You're too restless."

"And maybe it's more simple than that," Sholian responds. "Maybe, it's because I was worried about you. When we… parted. You were on the verge of something horrific, that I couldn't understand. I don't dare try, either." There's a short pause - a few beats - where he's simply strolling, gathering his thoughts. Then, a nervous, soft chuckle. "I once told you I'm a craven coward. I meant it. I also meant what I said after, which was that I can find my conviction when people are suffering. When they need help." He glances her way, still with a cautious, wary air about him. "You needed my help then, but you extinguished my concern for you. Fear won out."

Anathema blinks slowly a few times, her footsteps drawing to a pause so she can move to stand in front of him, looking at him for a moment. "You were afraid of me," she says quietly, seeming to just have the realization dawn on her as her eyebrows arch on her features. "Are you still afraid? Do I still cause you to want to run and hide?" There doesn't appear to be any rage or anger in her features, her golden eyes blinking slowly as she studies him.

Toal nods slightly, his hands going into his pockets. Naturally, he has no weapons, and it's simply a gesture of putting a virtual distance between him and the Dark Jedi in front of him. "Yes, but it's a different kind of fear," he admits quietly. "I'm not afraid of dying, or pain, or anything that you and your kind can do to me. I'm sure you have ways of inflicting that kind of fear; after all, I've studied Force traditions throughout the galaxy. No, I'm not afraid for myself." His brow creases slightly, hoping she'll infer his meaning without having to spell it out.

A single eyebrow lifts on her features as she listens to him, not interrupting. Her hand lifts from her side, fingertips lifting to brush lightly against his cheek. "I've grown, Sholian. I've learned quite a bit. I have no interest in inflicting pain on you or anyone you care for," Anathema tells him, her hand returning to her side. "Nor am I lost. I am who I am. I am at peace with this. I have a lot of things that I never could have gotten, regardless of how much money Zhao gave me." Her lips curve into a light smile, hands clasping in front of her. "So what else would you like to know?"

Sholian does not repond to the touch, nor does he seem to warm up to the smile. "I want to know why you're here. What your plans are. Other than complete galactic domination, of course." That last bit said with a trace of his usual disarming sarcasm. "And I need to know that the woman that I… cared for…" - not loved? Clearly he's holding back. "What /have/ you become? And not just your training… your metamorphasis. What is all this?"

"Why I'm… here?" Anathema squints at him, seeming a bit confused. "Byss was once an Imperial world. My master is Maleficus. He was once known as Maelstrom, the Emperor. When he faked his death, he put plans in place to take this planet as his own when he returned. This is our home now. Galactic domination is not on our immediate to-do list, contrary to popular belief." Lekku shift slightly against her back as he speaks, lips pursing briefly as she tries to understand his questions. "You're reading far too much into this, Sholian. One of the things that separates me from the Jedi is my willingness to use emotion to empower myself. That emotion, when one is learning, can be explosive and dangerous. Once properly harnessed and controlled, it's a valuable tool."

"It still doesn't explain why you're entangled in all of this. The Erah'lien I knew didn't care about Emperors or politics," Sholian says, coming to a halt, and facing her. Hands slip out of his pockets, grasping at his sides - resisting reaching out for her, perhaps. "I'm so insignificant in this world of yours. I was insignificant before - just a freelance scientist who happened to stumble across your path. Now, it's even worse - I cannot comprehend you. You are the flame, and I am the moth. I am drawn to you, and I know this will ultimately kill me." Regardless of the bodyguards, it's Sholian that finally breaks her personal space, both hands reaching up to cup the sides of her face. "Why am I here? I have no other choice," he murmurs.

The guards stand fast as personal space is breeched. There is no sense of alarm on the Regent's features. In fact, she lifts one hand to wave them off, dismissing them to leave her alone so she can speak with her guest in private. "If you were insignificant, if you were nothing, then I would not have given you the offer," Anathema tells him softly in response, her fingers lifting to rest at his waist. "I cannot abide stupidity. You are not stupid. You are incredibly intelligent, and much braver than you give yourself credit for. When you have to be. You know when it matters." Her skin is warm and soft to the touch, perhaps a bit softer than when he last saw her. Money does amazing things for one's skin. "If you need time to think and consider your presence here, I can ensure that you are left to your own thoughts."

"I severed my ties with Zhao when the last credits came in," Sholian explains, left hand gently curling under her chin, the other hand reaching up to trace the gentle ridge of where skull meets lekku. He's healed them before; he knows Twi'lek physiology, and neurology. And he knows what feels good. "I've done nothing but travel and visit Miral. That's it. I've done nothing, seen nothing, been a part of nothing. Zhao was my first glimpse into a larger world, and even then I was shielded from the crime that was happening." He cracks a faint smirk. "You have your fingers on the pulse of the galaxy, here. Despite what every craven cell in my body is screaming to me," he chuckles lightly. "I would want to help you. To heal you, again, if it is necessary." A pause. "To know you, again, like I thought I knew you then… what anger took away from us."

Her eyes close briefly as his fingers brush against her skin, that particular area of her head typically left untouched. And it feels nice. Golden eyes open to look at him after a few moments, giving some outward sign that she's listening. "Byss is safe. It's a neutral world. All are welcome here. You will be able to learn a lot." Her head tilts slightly into his touch, seeming to enjoy it. "There is no underhanded crime family here. Your role as a doctor and scientist won't have dual-meanings. You still sound afraid. I can hear it in your voice. I can't give you any answers now. There are things that you'll simply have to learn and come to understand in your own time."

Toal nods slightly, his hands falling away from her face and coming to rest on hers, at his waist. He takes them up, bringing them together, and giving them a warm squeeze. "Then, I will take some time here, and decide if my destiny indeed has me here, with you." And that signifies the extent of the physical contact he's either willing or able to deliver; at that point he lets her hands go, taking a step back. "I am at your disposal, Regent."

Anathema's fingers curl around his, squeezing gently in return before she finds her hands released. She breathes deeply, shoulders rolling slowly as she looks at him silently for a few moments. Her gaze is calm and passive, perhaps showing a carefully hidden hint of sadness as she studies him. "Where would you like to rest? Where would you feel safe? The building behind me is the Citadel. This is where I live, and where I rule. You may find yourself spending a great deal of time here. There is a hotel out within the city. Estates make take some time to create if that is what you desire."

"Where you rule," Sholian breathes, repeating. Clearly, that's part of her changes that he's going to have to come to terms with. "I'd be wherever I can aid you the easiest, my lady. If there is a medical facility there, then that's where I should stay. I'm not one for estates; remember, luxury is something that doesn't appeal to me for luxury's sake." He smiles slightly. "It's good to have, and I certainly won't say no. But my aim, here, is to help you along whatever path you're on. You and your people, at the very least, but I suppose by extension, everything here /is/ you. And… your master." He glances off towards the cityline, briefly contemplating. "Whatever happened to that Abbot fellow?" On the topic of masters.

"Abb… ohhh." The initial look of confusion melts away quickly into understanding and she can't help but laugh quietly. "Ahh… Sebastian Abbot was a cover for Maelstrom when he faked his death. But he didn't want to abandon me, or leave me helpless. So he made Abbot. Maleficus is… not that unstable. I learned his true identity shortly before I left Zhao. I truly didn't know who he was for a long time." She looks over towards the Citadel before her eyes flit back to the Mirialan. "Do you wish to stay in my chambers for the time being, then? If that would make you feel the safest, they are available to you."

Toal blinks. "So, waitaminute. Abbot. That crazy nutcase of an unstable Jedi was… the /Emperor?!/" Sholian can't help but laugh at this bit. "The mighty Maelstrom, reduced to a raving madman, even if he was just wearing his clothes."

He does anotuer doubletake at the mention of her chambers. "Er, the last I recall, my lady, Mr. Abbot was none too pleased with my presence. Jealousy, I think. And now that I know his true identity, I am not going to provoke /anything/ that could result in this newfound self-control of yours, and his?… turning against me."

"It was an act, Sholian," Anathema tells him with an amused grin. "He didn't want people to know who he was, so what better way than to behave as he did. No one suspected it." She folds her hands in front of her, rocking slightly on her feet and perking an eyebrow at his reaction to the offer. "Jealousy? He was never my lover, Sholian. Never. He still isn't. He will not harm you. Those that I wish to speak with, spend time with, or whatever else I do with them… he leaves them alone." She seems quite certain of this, gaze focused on him.

"I see." Sholian does not sound wholly convinced, but he's at least willing to concede the point to her. After all, if the leader of a planet says something, in public, you kowtow to it. "Although it may seem presumptuous for me to assume we would pick up right where we left off - without the light-saber, of course, your chamber does sound… inviting. I'll have to think about it. I hope the offer will remain open."

"If you would like to speak in a more private and quiet setting, you're welcome to join me for the evening, and retire when you feel the need for rest," Anathema tells him, gesturing back towards the massive tower behind her. "At the very least, I can show you where it is that I reside. And sharing my chambers does not necessarily equate to sharing my bed if you do not wish it. I have more than one available." She grins at him, one hand lifting to rest against his cheek unless he pulls away. "I have missed you."

"It's not that I don't wish it, my lady," Sholian responds quietly, allowing the touch. "It's just that I am wondering if this moth will survive your torch." He mimics the gesture, cupping the side of her face again, with a slight tension in his hand that suggests he could close the distance between them. But he's not that brave. Not yet. "This is precisely why I don't have a license to practice medicine. That whole, you-shouldn't-get-involved-with-your-paitents nonsense." Quirking a grin, he motions gently with his other hand. "If you would, my lady."

"Just because you don't have a license doesn't make you a bad doctor. I've seen what you can do," Anathema tells him, head tilting slightly into his touch. "I believe in actions, and you've proven yourself to me." Her thumb brushes lightly against his cheek, her eyes simply studying him for a few moments before she moves her hand to his shoulder to guide him towards the building. "Come. I will ensure you're given a safe place to sleep."