This is part 4 of the mini-series of posts going live every Friday and based on the Star Wars Infinities campaign I ran for my players some years ago. Parts 1, 2 and 3 are accessible if you click on the links. What follows is a piece of fiction I wrote set in the alternate background to the galaxy covered in the last two posts. It tries to illustrate some of the happenings in the galaxy as the game began, and to cast familiar characters in a different light.
“No, he was not my father, we were actually not related. Reymus was a Prince from Alderaan, I’m from Corellia and Antilles is a pretty common surname there… I did meet him briefly before the Battle of Yavin, before the Tantive IV was captured over Tatooine. He told us how he was there at the beginning… No he did not join the crew of the Tantive IV until the Clone Wars had begun, but he was there before, when it really began, piloting a small 4 person transport on its way to a secret meeting in the Outer Rim.”
Wedge Antilles, Commander of the Rogue Squadron, talking about Reymus Antilles
“You must understand my lord the importance of your help… We beseech you, without your aid we may not be able to defend Metalorn and face the Hutt’s incursions,” pleaded the man in a whimpering voice. He is groveling, how he hates when they grovel. The human emissary from the Techno Union continued to speak while frozen in a florid and uncomfortable half bow, looking at the floor, his voice shrill, seemingly on the brink of tears. The Count of Velmor took a deep breath and allowed the Force to wash away his impatience. There is no passion, there is serenity, he silently repeated to himself, before replying. “Tell your Skakoan masters my previous decision stands, I will not involve my people in your petty fights.”
The emissary straightened up, a look of disappointment and surprise replacing the expression of worry in his face but moments ago. Speechless he simply smoothed out his deep blue robes, his aides sprang to action, but the large Trandoshan bodyguard did not seem to take the refusal well. He growled under his breath and their older host, trained in the ways of the Jedi orders, sensed his anger. The Count straightened his back and the black cape draped over his shoulders shifted ever so slightly, showing the curved lightsaber on his belt.
The Techno Union emissary gave his bodyguard a stern look, and the Trandoshan backed down. The older man smiled, he knows who holds the leash, and knows enough not to bite the hand of his master. The emissary stepped closer his hands stretched out, “Master Sifo-Dyas I beg of you!” This caused an immediate reaction, in short quick steps their host closed the distance between him and the emissary, standing very close, his fingers intertwined as he held his hands before his chest. He spoke calmly with stern authority, “You will not use that name, that is no longer who I am and you have no right to speak it. You will address me by my full and rightful title, Dooku Count of Velmor.”
The Techno Union mission gone, Dooku rested for a moment. The terrace where he sat was high on his palatial estate and overlooked the grounds, the lush woods covering the mountain peak where the castle rested. In the distance he could see the ocean change from a clear blue to yellow and a deep red as Velm, the planet’s sun, descended to the horizon. The ancient stone walls of the castle had seen many setting suns, and soon the moons would shine down upon its towers and parapets.
He could feel the servant approach before she entered the terrace. She is afraid; someone of something has scared her, the Force allowed him to detect this even before she spoke, her voice breaking. “Count your presence is… needed.” Dooku turned and stood up, towering over the anxious woman, “What is it Maineda?” She looked up into his brown eyes but her emotions swelled up, her eyes watered and she looked away. Count Dooku gently placed one hand upon her shoulder and soothed her, “Maineda there is nothing to fear, let us go together.” As he said the words he gently used the Force to calm her.
As they descended the great stairs that wound their way around the inner courtyard Dooku’s mind wandered away from whatever had affected Maineda so and again his thoughts drifted to his ancestral home. As they walked past the arches that ran down one side, the entire length of the stairs, and saw the rose bushes in the inner garden he remembered how much his mother had loved those flowers. Seeing the insectoid Velmoc groundskeeper tending to them brought a smile to his face, but it was short lived.
He also remembered the estate of decay the palace had been upon his return. His mother dead and buried in the very same gardens, grown wild and unkempt. His subjects hungry and afraid, how his family had squandered their riches, giving it all to their fable allies, their knight protectors, the Jedi, while he was gone to learn the ways of the Force, his parents had done everything they could to help his Order. After he left the Sar’Akar Sodality and joined the Leoco Actum he had been away from his familial holdings too long.
Following his foolish endeavor with Jorus C’baoth he simply stopped, he could not shoulder the burdens of the galaxy alone, and returned home. He rescued and repaired the estate, brought stability and security to his subjects. He ruled benevolently and eventually neighboring systems called upon him for help and defense. His protectorate grew to encompass the Aargonar, Garos and Velm systems. He was determined to have the peace that prevailed on his protectorate continue, and what the Techno Union requested would end this, bringing him in direct conflict with the Hutts.
His musings were interrupted as they reached the palace basements. Maineda opened the old, heavy wooden door and led him to a storage room. There huddled was a mass of people, clad in dark clothes and robes, some of the older women veiled. Dooku could feel their anxiety, their fear; he exhaled and rubbed his temples, Force Petitioners… “Heretics Count, the lot of them,” said Maineda. Her countenance had changed, hardened. Scanning the group the elder Jedi’s eyes lingered for a moment on a red headed boy, his unruly mop of hair standing out against the drabness.
“Not one of them with the gift”, she added looking at Dooku. “We can thank the Living Force for that,” he replied, No Force users; this certainly makes things easier. “But if they arrive,” he added, “that will certainly make things more difficult.” “What shall we do with these religious zealots Count?” Taken aback by her forthrightness Dooku stared at her for a moment. “These men and women have twisted my words and misinterpreted a message I tried to convey long ago.” How could we be so blind and not see that our attempts at enlightening the masses would become this… “While I cannot support them, they still are not animals.”
Somber the Count walked across the room, his hands folded behind him under his cape as he examined the Petitioners with seemingly clinical detachment. “Get them some food, they seem hungry. Then gather them up, the palace guard will hand them over to the authorities.” Satisfied Maineda nodded in acquiescence and left the room. The red headed boy began to sob silently.
Night had fallen on the palatial estate, Velmor’s seven moons were out and Dooku strolled through the rose gardens. In the holographic communicator he held in his hand the Count could see the cyan flickering image of his apprentice. Tall, dressed in dark clothes, his hair cropped short and his goatee impeccable. “The Force Petitioners will be taken to the spaceport and directly to the ship. Take particular care of the red headed boy, he is Maineda’s son. Make sure this Captain Braco can take them to the Outer Rim undisturbed. They will be safe there.” And we will be safe from any Leoco Actum interference he thought. The image of his apprentice bowed “So it will be done my master,” and with that he ended communication with Qui-Gon Jinn.
Count Dooku sighed and allowed himself to relax for a moment, his muscles were knotted.
It had been a long day. A light breeze blew across the garden and he inhaled deeply the flowers’ aroma awakened by the zephyr. They will be safe, and so would his people, he thought. That is what matters.
Closing remarks: Some of you may find it weird that despite having vilified the prequels in the very first post I went ahead and used some characters from those very same movies. The truth is that there were some bits and characters I did like from the movies, and I wanted to paint them on a different light, play with player’s preconceptions in a way. And I know according to cannon Sifo-Dyas is NOT Dooku, but what the heck if I’m making things up, why not that?
Next week: Another piece of fiction, this one about Tarkin! See you then…
And remember, Star Wars, all associated characters and images (well except the Liam Neeson one I think that one belongs to Warner Brothers!), are copyright of Lucasfilm and I use them here only as a fan creating an RPG campaign.