A/N: This story features several OCs with major supporting roles. So if OCs aren't your thing, this might not be the story for you. Happy reading! :)
The Dark Fire Chronicles
Part One: Ember and Shade
He should have crawled from the pit.
In his most horrendous of nightmares, he saw himself sliding toward the molten lava, his body burning away into almost nothing. The terrifying revelation that he should have been nearly consumed, only to survive as a half man. His transformation should have been complete.
Then he would wake and remember that he had never fallen to the flames.
Javan Madai stared across the black table, his body perfectly still. I'm as much a diplomat as anyone in here. The young man fought the urge to tap his fingers on the smooth table, a nervous habit he'd acquired sometime in the past. With practiced patience, he allowed his gaze to travel around the table and analyze each of the twelve men seated. The members of Javan's delegation sat with an air of quiet anticipation, even fear. The bureaucrats opposite Javan were for the most part a group of pudgy, balding men. I'm more a diplomat than any of these hypocrites. Each of them had the look of someone confident in their ability to succeed simply because they considered themselves leaders. Javan scanned the Imperial delegates. His eyes stopped on the two members who contrasted with the rest of the group.
Make that eleven men and one woman.
A head shorter than the smallest man in the room, the girl across from Javan was barely nineteen. Her long chocolate hair was braided and laced with fine silver bands, her big brown eyes keenly perceptive of the atmosphere of the entire room. Her petite frame was clothed in an elegant blue dress made from the finest silks money could buy. She dripped with majesty and influence, a rare accomplishment for one so young. But maybe it wasn't so surprising considering who she was seated next to.
"Senator Organa, the Emperor knows of several Rebel cells operating on your planet." The Sith Lord on the girl's left side always knew how to get to the point. Javan had to give him that much credit.
Senator Bail Organa returned the Sith's stare. "Lord Vader, I wish I could be of more help, but I do not have contact with these supposed Rebel cells. If they exist, we on Alderaan have not experienced problems with any of them."
Darth Vader also differed in appearance from the rest of the Imperials. Clothed in black robes and a billowing cloak, he was an intimidating figure, unlike the pompous politicians accompanying him. For the past two decades, the Sith had hid his face beneath the voluminous hood of his famous dark cloak, but on rare occasions he let his face show. This meeting was one of those occasions. Vader's expression was colder than that of a lifeless stone statue. Javan imagined that it would be easier to face the Sith if he wore a mask of some kind or kept his face hooded. At least he wouldn't have to watch the handsome, cruel face grow darker with suppressed fury. Somehow a Sith's anger was much worse than anyone else's.
"Organa, I grow tired of your games. One day you'll be sorry that you housed these traitors." Vader's dark blue eyes flashed icily. "When that day comes, do not expect clemency. You will be shown none."
Javan twitched uncomfortably. He admired the senator for his courage in facing the Sith and his Imperials, but the young Alderaanian feared that even Bail was losing influence in the Senate.
Of course, no one had much influence in the Senate anymore. Not unless their name was Palpatine.
"I will always give help to those who ask for it," Senator Organa replied calmly. Javan could hear the unspoken words: "including Rebels." He guessed that Vader had picked up on the hint as well.
"Very well," the Sith growled. "We have no further business here." He motioned for the Imperial bureaucrats to rise. Extending one arm, he turned to the girl at his side. "Come, Leia." She glanced at Senator Organa, not without compassion, then took the Sith's arm and followed him out of the room, leaving the Alderaanians in cold silence.
Javan looked down at his hands, then turned to face Bail. "Cousin, I do not think—"
"Please, Javan," the senator interrupted gently. "What was said cannot be undone." He rested one hand on his young cousin's shoulder. "Let us return home."