Our heroes find themselves held against their wills by a group of Nazren warriors deep within the bowels of a large mountain on the planet of Nizon…
Trissen casually retorted, “Well, you think you’d be thanking us. I mean, exactly how long have you been here?”
The Nazren chieftain grew angry at this and replied harshly, “Thank you? And for what?!”
“Do not speak directly to the chief, offworlder dogs! Speak only through me!”
The Nazren shaman shook his scorpion-tailed topped staff in righteous indignation at the Alderaanian resistance team. He approached the group decending from the throne dias upon which the feather head-dressed and adorned chieftain sat. The spindly-legged Nazren roughly half the size of the normally towering species addressed the team with condescension and disgust. Arrogantly apologizing on behalf of the newcomers, the blue and red face-painted advisor with a look dared the group to respond. B1-X made a comment about the odd nature of the people to the bewildered Trissen as he tried to explain, “You know, over the skies of Cloud City? Does the Shackles of Nizon mean anything to you?”
“Yeah, why are you guys getting angry at us?”, adds B1-X.
“If we are angry do you not think that we have the right to be so?! You are the invaders along with the men in white! This is our world and this is our home and you are the uninvited guests! Slavery was unknown to us until the offworlders arrived!” The shaman rattles his scorpion-tailed staff in rage leading a tumult of pounding of the cavern floor from the warrior group assembled in observance of the proceedings.
The Lady Mharrula then opened her mouth to silence the crowd as she addressed them as one who had authority. “You would judge us as belonging to those which are loyal to the Empire? We, too are against slavery and would seek to have you and your people freed from the tyranny of the Emperor!”
Trissen adds support, “Right! I mean it was us who made it possible for your ship to escape in the first place.”
The chieftain’s eyes go wide with this revelation, “Go on.”
Taking this as a sign of good will and hope for her friends, “My lord, it was indeed the work of my group which destroyed the Imperial starfighters which opened fire on the freighter known as the Shackles of Nizon thus securing the safety of your people, though in chains, residing therein.”
“Why should we believe you, offworlder! Your kind has shown itself to be a group of liars and thieves!” The shaman interposes himself between the Lady Mharrula and his chief taking on the role of the antagonist in this battle of wits.
“Indeed you have no reason to believe otherwise save for the evidence of our committment to peace.”
Enraged at the prospect of having his question answered with such ease and confidence, the shaman shouts with incredulity, “What is this evidence that you could provide which would speak in your defense?! You could be just as deceptive as those men in white who first came to us in peace offering things like free healthcare!”
“I agree with my shaman. Why should we believe that it was you that aided my people. Please provide us with this evidence.” The Nazren chief eases back into his throne comfortably, eager for any information that would provide hope for his people.
With her left hand, Mharrual the Shade reaches for an item pinned to her infiltrator’s uniform, “At the very least, I can provide you with proof of our shared struggle against the evil that is the Palpatine regime.” Removing the pin from her chest Mharrula produces the official insignia of the House Organa and places it firmly in the hand of the defiant shaman. “We are with the House Organa. We only wish to help you in this great struggle.”
“What is this?” The shaman gracefully climbs up the steps to Chief Tankar’s throne and presents the symbol. “This could be the sign of the evil one, my chief!”
“No!” A hush comes over the murmuring crowd of Nazren warriors. “It is a symbol I recognize from long ago and it is indeed a symbol of peace.” Without explanation the wise warrior king continues, “Excuse my good advisor. He has proven himself time and again with valuable information and insight, however, in this, that is the ways of the universe outside our planet, he is in want.” The shaman respectfully makes a bow before his king with humility.
“I have contacts spread thin throughout the core worlds as you would call them and I have indeed made an effort to learn of the benevolent ruler residing on the planet Alderaan. If you are from him, then you are to be called ‘friend’. Even so, ‘friend’ is a title that must be earned among my people. You must prove your friendship and therefore, I must know how you would help us. Among you now is but a small fraction of my people who were able to successfully resist this Empire but at great cost. Even now we would fight but not without support from those of us who yet remain in our capital city.”
The team converses privately with one another before responding for a few moments. Eventually, it would be up to Mharrula to negotiate with the leader of the cavern-dwelling Nazren. “My lord, if we were able to learn more of the Empire’s strength here on your planet, we may be able to form a proper plan to overthrow them.”
“That information we can certainly provide. If I may, please forgive my advisor’s reluctance to believe your story for you see, you have brought one of them with you.” The chief singles out the Trandoshan mercenary. “It is through his kind that we find ourselves given over to this emperor of whom you speak.”
“Darn your species’ bad habits!” Mharrula upbraids her companion who can only respond with a look of shock written across his green, leathery face.
“As I mentioned before, we await the signal of one within the city. A Nazren who goes by the name of Sartok. If you would be willing to locate this Sartok whom we had been in communication with until one week past and to help us to determine his reason or reasons for ceasing all such communications you would prove yourselves worthy to the Nazren people and earn that hallowed title of ‘friend’.”
“Not a problem! Where was this guy last seen?”, Trissen smiles broadly as the prospect of taking the fight to the Empire and becomes joyful at the positive turn of events with their host.
“Sartok was last seen within the capital city and I fear that perhaps he has been detained by the men in white with their walking machines, possibly residing within one of their accursed concentration camps. We would make our own investigation but we dare not step within one meter of the city lest we, too, might become enslaved as the majority of us are escaped prisoners. Further, our beloved scorpions fear the energy shield surrounding the city making it impossible to ride them into war. Our only hope is the sign of Sartok, that is a dropping of this external shield. Once done we will fight to the death if need be, mounted on our fearsome beasts with voices raised to our God! The prophecy of our God! Tell them of the prophecy, my dear shaman!”
The face-painted shaman weaves between each of the team members rattling his scorpion stinger staff as the Nazren chief intones,
“An enslaver becomes a liberator,
A pirate shall rob the tyrant,
He who is without spirit shall inspire,
And the fallen one shall rise again with a beam of light.”
Between each stanza, the shaman waves his staff and hands nearest to the suggested subject of each line, first the Trandoshan, then the Trianii, the battle droid and finally the Jedi Knight.
Softly, the prophecy is repeated by the warriors assembled in the cave creating an eerie atmosphere in the dimly lit cavern. A few uncomfortable moments pass and the chief speaks once more, “So. You would be willing to aid us in our struggle against the Empire?”
“Yes, of course”, replies the Lady Mharrula.
The chief rises from his throne eagerly and with a broad grin, “Excellent. Then let my warriors take you to the edge of the city riding on the backs of our gentle giants!”
To be continued…