STRESSFUL TIMES: CONTEMPLANYS HERMI

1, Uninvited Guest

At the corner of L'sidi Walkways and Ralgaro, in the area popularly known as the Artist District, stood the exclusive Nié Noir. A dismal looking structure, it had shedding walls and windows gone opaque with grime. To add to its sombreness, the management insisted that its patrons be clad entirely in black. A group of these sombre creatures approached the rusted steel doors of Nié Noir now, looking like a parody of a funeral. This peculiar dress code had probably been suggested by the patrons themselves who were mostly eccentric young artists from and around the neighbouring Art University. The combination of superficial repellents certainly served to maintain the exclusivity of Nié Noir and few outside the bohemian crowd ventured into its interior.

If they had, they would have had a pleasant surprise. The first sensation would be that of moving walls. Each wall in the cafe had been brightly and elaborately painted with murals depicting scenes from history and legend. There were images of water that looked real enough to rise up and drench one, images of fire that could almost burn of smoke that blurred your vision. And when you finally drew your eyes way from the walls, you could observe on the pieces of sculptured art scattered randomly in the small room, the poignant music drifting from the fingers of a clavis-player at the corner by the counter. If you looked down, you would see an abstract mural embedded into the concrete floor. Depending on your mood, you were either walking in air or sinking into foam. The sea of dark-cloud patrons only served to enhance the beauty of the interior.

It was into this idyllic retreat that Senator Garm Bel Iblis of Corellia stepped into that evening. His athletic body wrapped in long black robes, he moved as confidently and familiarly as any of the other patrons. He nodded to a few familiar faces and threw a wave at the black cloud Rodian behind the bar as he made his way to his usual table by the corner. He was rather disappointed to find someone there. He preferred to dine alone.

"Excuse me", he managed and made to pass over to the next table when the person spoke.

"You're late."

Garm turned.

"I didn't know we had an appointment", he replied calmly, looking down into Bail Organa's face.