Prologue – 476ABY

It's always been the same, decades after decades, months after months, centuries after centuries… And still, Vieux found no rest. Sleep would not come to him that night, for reasons unknown. He had learned to sleep in any condition, whether it be in a dark sewer, in a conduit panel just barely big enough for his body, or through a large hurricane on the mountains of Paleeda.

It was in his quarters that he could not sleep. He had slept in the same bed for over four-and-a-half centuries, falling asleep as peacefully as a small yaleen on his home planet. Something, though, was keeping him from sleeping. Some strange feeling in the pit of his stomach that told him to stay awake.

So he sat on his bed, arms interlaced behind his head and his legs in a comfortable criss-cross shape, meditating in usual Kalanese manner. Ever since he was born, he had been in touch with the Force, letting it guide his mind and actions. He knew he had a path, and had decided to walk it. Vieux wasn't a small animal to be taunted with. In fact, Vieux was huge, a solid seven-foot monster, which made covert operations… difficult.

Stretching out through the Force, he could feel his fellow Council member approaching his room. The old man was uncharacteristically nervous, and Vieux knew this would be no regular assignment. What ever could make Old Macrin sweat like a nekk battle dog?

He would find out soon enough. Old Macrin stopped at his door and knocked three times. Before the second knock even came, though, Vieux was on his feet and at the door in half-a-second. He opened the abnormally large door and felt the gentle brush of Macrin's fist against his stomach as he continued his second and third knock. Upon realizing that the surface he was knocking against was not a carefully carved wooden door, and a hard reptilian ribcage, Vieux felt his embarrassment.

[My apologies, Vieux said. [I did not intend to startle you, Macrin. Now standing in the dim light of the corridors instead of the complete darkness of his room, Vieux looked impressive. His scales, black as night, dully glistened in the nightlight. His long, pointed ears twitched in acknowledgment, while his purple eyes gazed down at the old man before him. What made Vieux scary was not his unfamiliar form, but the lack of mouth or a visible nose. A very accomplished telepath, he used this in every conversation he had, as did his own people on his homeworld.

"Ah, I apologize, Vieux," Macrin said in his clipped, Coruscanti accent. He sported a grey beard and wrinkles big enough to classify him as a decaying human. Even his skin was white, and the brown spots on his bald head and face stood out considerably. This hundred-year-old man looked tired. So, immensely tired… "May I come in, old chap? I've got a few things to discuss for your ears alone, if you will."

[My quarters are always open to the Head Chief, Vieux replied. [Please. He gestured with one, long, muscular arm towards the darkness of his room. He found the light switch and turned it on, sending the room into a harsh purple light was very clear to Vieux's ultraviolet sight, though he could switch to normal and back in the blink of an eye. [Would you prefer the regular light?

"What? Oh no, thank you," Macrin said. He walked into the room by himself, using his cane for much-needed help. "Ah, that chair looks comfortable." He continued to move foreword.

He would have sat down there if Vieux had not chipped in and told him that was a cage containing his pet snake, a long, scary-looking python. Helping his long-time friend to a seat on his bed, Vieux took a chair next to him. With a flick of his mind, the door closed, leaving them in the harsh purple light. Macrin cleared his throat hesitantly. "I am dying," he said softly. "And before I go, I must impart this knowledge to you. Do you understand, Vieux?"

[I understand, he replied. [The circle of life continues as it is. I have known this day would happen for a long time. I am sorry you must depart, old friend.

"Yes, well…" Macrin cleared his throat once more. He didn't look Vieux in the eye, and stared out into space. "I knew I could count on you. You are my closest friend, and I trust nobody except you with this secret…"

"Tell me Vieux," Macrin paused to catch his breath, "do you know of Lorana and Jacoby? Yes, I thought so… Well. These two apprentices are linked in a way that you must understand. Their destinies are tied, twisted into a knot so fine even I can not read it."

[They are two separate students, who have only set eyes on each other in classes. To the best of my knowledge, I know that they are not friends.

"But they don't hate each other. Vieux, listen… As a boy, were you ever told the story of Darth Krayt?"

[Yes. He was a monster, and a former Jedi. A'Sharad Hett was his name. A boy of fine art and the heart of a vornskr. Raised by Tuskans, also. It added a creative touch.

"The boy was real, Vieux." Macrin sighed. "Now… on to the hard part. Do you know we have been sheltering the descendants of Cade Skywalker and Jade Solo?"