The “Imperial Palace” on Nar Shaddaa was something of a misnomer, what with the Emperor having been dead for five years and the Galactic Empire itself torn asunder for four. It wasn't exactly a palace, at least one one of the size and splendor of the Hutts who dominated the Smuggler’s Moon. And it most certainly wasn't the residence of an Emperor, as no self-respecting Imperial worthy of the title, one of the elite from the Core Worlds, would be caught dead living in this filthy, decrepit, crime-ridden excuse for a city-world stuck in the center of Hutt Space in the uncivilized Outer Rim.
But it was an excellent place for a former Imperial radar technician who was forced to rise through the ranks far more quickly than he should have to hide out on once the Empire had started to collapse with the Emperor’s death. Upon hearing the news of the death of Palpatine, Commander Alaric Feldeon had fled to this backwater world with a cadre of men from the unit he had commanded, and spent the last five years building up his own fledgling criminal enterprise, because that was just what you did on this stinking shitpile of a planet. Not even the Hutts were willing to mess with a man with a whole contingent of Stormtroopers and Imperial weaponry… so long as he didn't step on their tails first.
“The Commander”, as he was still known to his loyal men, sat at a round table with a set of playing cards in his hand. His face was impassive, and his light blue eyes moved from the cards in his hands to his opponent: A large, imposing alien with four arms-- a Besalisk. Bolzano Derruk was a famed smuggler and bounty hunter, known for charging exorbitantly high prices for his services… and then earning them with his skills. Having four arms certainly helped in that regard.
“Heh, heheh-heheh…” the Besalisk chuckled. “You're out of luck, Imperial. You're out of creds now, too. Got anything to trade? Maybe the girl?”
Feldeon turned in his seat to look back at the figure Bolzano referred to: A tall, slender, and frankly gorgeous young human woman with fair skin and long red hair, clad in a slinky, elegant dress, sitting upon the edge of a nearby table.
“What do you think, my dear?” the Commander asked, and the redhead set herself down on the ground, her high-heels clacking softly against the hard floor, and sauntered over to Feldeon. Leaning against him in a sultry manner, she brought her lips close to his ear as she looked at Bolzano with half-lidded eyes.
“I think he's bluffing… So sure. I'll let myself be put up as collateral,” she said in a low tone, and the Commander grinned happily. The Besalisk did, too.
“Heheh… Prepare to lose your prized trophy girl, Feldeon… Sabacc!” Bolzano declared, putting down his cards and causing gasps and murmurs from the ring of onlookers around them. Feldeon didn't react except to look at Bolzano, who was already gathering up the large pot of gambling chips in his arms. “I’ll be taking the creds… and your girl!” the alien crowed.
“Not so fast, my four-armed friend. It seems that I have an Idiot’s Array!” Feldeon declared in turn, revealing a hand of cards that was the only one higher than a straight 23. The crowd gasped, some cheered while others cursed. Bolzano, however, took this worst of all.
“BASTARD!” he cried, standing and literally flipping the table. Several onlookers scurried away, while others drew weapons and aimed them at the huge alien. Feldeon, however, didn't so much as flinch.
“Alanna, my love, it seems our friend needs a talking-to.”
The redhead smiled, stepping up the angry Besalisk calmly and giving a subtle wave of her hand before placing it on his scaly arm in the same motion.
“You're going to calm down, and talk to the Commander like a mature adult,” she said softly, calmly, and Bolzano grunted was his eyes became briefly unfocused.
“I'm gonna calm down, and talk to the Commander like a mature adult,” he replied, taking a deep breath, and looking to the ground. “I'm sorry for the mess. Don't know what came over me… I’m out,” he said. Feldeon raised his arms magnanimously.
“Don't worry about it, friend. I'm glad we could discuss this like adults,” the Commander said as Alanna sashayed back over to him and sat in his lap, just like he liked. He also liked it when she put her legs and feet in his lap as well for him to massage-- which she enjoyed much more than she was willing to admit, in turn-- but she never did so in public.
“Thank you, dear,” he said, giving her a kiss on the cheek. “You should go get ready, your number is coming up.”
“You aren't going to watch?” Alanna asked, and she seemed to pout. Feldeon grinned.
“Always. Now go.”
“Yes, Master,” Alanna replied, and she moved away to another part of the Palace. As she turned a corner and fell away from prying eyes, the smile on her face quickly melted into one of relief.
Force, at least that's done with… she thought, steeling herself for what was to come.
* * *
Though she had never often showed it, Alanna was quite a graceful dancer. It came with the territory of being trained in the most graceful form of lightsaber combat, that which looked liked fluid dancing in itself with its focus on footwork and leverage. But in the weeks since being enslaved by the Commander, Alanna had been the main attraction amongst the ex-Imperial’s slave girls; his favorite, and who received the most attention from his patrons in turn, which allowed her to show this off-- as well as a rather nice singing voice.
To be honest, it wasn't so bad… He didn't keep her leashed to a chain like a Hutt would, which gave her that much more freedom to move around during her set, as she was now, stepping gracefully, swinging her hips, and singing a slow, sultry song, the guest band behind her utilizing a low bass drum and string instruments to allow for simple notes and hooks that reverberated through the bar. Sparkle-bop, Alanna had been told the genre was, that had only been created after she had been frozen in carbonite and recently gained popularity. She had decided she liked it, and so long as she was stuck here, she might as well utilize it.
“When the stars come out at night,
And your body’s close to mine,
Honey, I just can't help myself,
‘Cause baby, baby, you're so fine…”
The only thing that Alanna didn't like about her gig was her outfit: A simple top that exposed her cleavage, a thin, flimsy veil skirt that only barely protected her modesty. The high-heeled sandals on her feet she liked, though, as stereotypical as it might be for a glamorous young woman to love shoes. And even then, she was realizing that a part of her liked strutting around on stage with a gentle spotlight on her, the skimpy outfit she wore that matched the color of her lightsaber blade-- currently hidden within an astromech serving drinks whom she trusted with her life-- glittering beautifully in the light as copious amounts of her body were exposed for others to appreciate… and lust over.
It went against everything her Jedi training had taught her about modesty, but she enjoyed it despite-- possibly even because of-- that. She had always known she was beautiful, but had never really acted on it. Now, she was presenting herself at the behest of her slave master. A master who was far kinder to her than he had any right to be, being an Imperial and a slaver. But Alanna hadn't seen those things when he had first gotten her alone. She had seen a socially-awkward man tripping over himself in apology and insisting that he wasn't ever going to hurt her.
And so far, Feldeon hadn't laid a finger on her, nor has any of his men or associates. In fact he had proven himself to be a surprisingly thoughtful and considerate man to her above his other slaves, and Alanna had used this to her advantage to get her hooks into him to give her more and more comforts. To get more and more influence over him, so that she could eventually convince him to free her and she could get the Hell out of here.
The problem, she reflected as her song came to an end and the audience cheered and applauded, including Feldeon himself, was that the longer she stayed here, the more attention he paid to her and the more comforts she was given, things she had never really been able to appreciate or indeed receive as a Jedi fighting a war and then as a rebel against the Empire… the more she wanted to stay here. Stay, and dance, and sing, and perhaps even spend time with Feldeon in his private chambers for more than light kissing and massages. And that scared her. Terrified her.
She had to find a way out of here. She had to get away from this environment, this electrum-gilded cage, before she decided it wasn't a cage anymore but a home… a home where the man in charge was lonely and in sore need of a loving wife.
Ah, Nar Shaddaa. Most saw it as a stinking cesspool of crime, corruption, and greed. Erik on the other hand...well he still saw it as a cesspool, but it was his home, and he knew how to stay alive and enjoy it as much as he could. One such method of survival was staying out of other people's business. See, most people's reaction to a big angry four-armed alien overturning a table would be either to run or reach for a weapon and join in. Erik, however, knew that until it escalated to a full on brawl or firefight, the best course was just to quietly continue to enjoy your drink and keep watch on the situation from the corner of your eye. So when the pretty redhead waved her hand and seemed to magically get the big guy to calm down, Erik was aware of it, and took some interest in it. That seemed suspiciously easy, too easy to have happened on words alone. There was something special about that one, no wonder the bigwig in charge of this place had such an interest in her.
Tucking that info away in his mind, Erik finished his drink and ordered himself another. Then another. He was halfway through that one when something happened that made him forget all about drinking, and nearly breathing for that matter. The pretty redhead from earlier was out on stage, in an outfit that stirred up several interesting feelings within him. As if her gorgeous looks weren't enough, she began to move around the stage and sing, thoroughly entrancing most of the male patrons, Erik included. Smiling happily, Erik leaned back against the bar and enjoyed the show.
However, as she finished the sparkle-bop number, an odd feeling settled over him, different from the more amorous ones he'd felt watching her strut around. It was more a gut feeling, like something didn't feel right. He wasn't sure what exactly caused it, maybe it was some minute shift in expression or posture, or perhaps there was a moment where he'd noticed her smiling hadn't quite reached her eyes. Regardless of what set it off, Erik suddenly had a desire to help this girl. Even if the supposed signs he'd seen didn't actually mean anything, she was a very pretty girl in a very shitty situation that anyone would want to be free of. But of course he couldn't just walk her out of here, the Imperial goons guarding the door likely would shoot him before that happened. He'd need a plan, and plans needed information.
Turning round to face the barkeep, he waved them over "Hey, what's the redhead's story?"
The man simply shrugged, "Who, her? She's just one of the Commander's girls, story's not that special..." Erik slid a few credit chits across the counter to him. "...but maybe it is...She's not just any slave girl, she's his favorite. Came through here a while ago looking for work, and the Commander said yes at first, but then she revealed she's a Jedi, or at least that's what she said. Next thing any of us know, boss has her led off at gunpoint and now she's working here."
Erik nodded, "I see..Thanks for the help friend." Leaving another couple chits on the counter, Erik stood and began making his way through the crowd towards where he'd seen Alaric earlier. Approaching the man carefully, he waited for any conversations he might be having to hit a break, then stepped forward with a charming, easy-going smile, "My compliments to you and your choice in girls, Commander. The redhead that was just up on stage especially. She wouldn't happen to be for sale, would she?"
The Commander grinned as Alanna sauntered off the stage and back to him, setting herself onto the arm of his throne and leaning into him in an alluring manner. Putting his arm around her waist, his smile remained even as a patron came up and spoke to him in a grandiose manner.
Alanna shifted her position to face the newcomer, slowly crossing one endless leg over the other in a naturally-tantalizing manner, dangling her glittering heels off her toes, and looked to him curiously as Feldeon laughed.
“Well, right to the point, aren't you?” he asked. “And who exactly are you?”
On Feldeon’s other side, a grizzled human male with an eyepatch over a scarred eye leaned in and whispered to him. The Commander listened, nodding slowly.
“My majordomo here tells me you're Erik Silver. A smuggler, who’s had some… trouble with the Hutts in the past. I'm flattered you think so highly of Alanna here, but she's not for sale. Not to you, not to anyone.”
“But I'm pleased you like my routine,” Alanna said, giving Erik a smile that struck most men stupid-- including Feldeon himself whenever she hit him with it. She put her head on Feldeon’s shoulder, but her eyes met Erik’s-- and he’d feel that weird, insistent sensation in the back of his mind again. The feeling that she was important somehow and that he needed to do something to help her.
As he stood there and listned to Alaric's reply, Erik admittedly had his focus on the stunning form of Alanna more than the crimelord. But as he heard his name spoken, he smiled again and nodded in confirmation.
"Yup, that's me alright. Though I assure you that trouble is long past and has been dealt with."
The denial of Alanna being for sale made his smile falter a second while he quickly considered what to do. Normal people would take the response at face value and leave it at that. Unfortunately for everyone involved in this, Erik was both three drinks deep into this wonderous night off he was enjoying, and a brief bit of eye contact with Alanna had reignited that nagging feeling that she needed help. So, turning the charm back up, he went settled on the bold option as he leveled his smile back at Alaric.
"Are you sure you aren't taking any offers on her? I know it doesn't look like it, but I do have quite a bit of currency to throw around. And besides, you should consider yourself lucky someone is trying to do business with you at all..." The charm and sincerity that had kept his smile warm and friendly suddenly melted away, having been been replaced by disdainful derision and an almost mocking look in his eyes. "...considering how much of a double-crossing and cowardly sleemo you apparently are when making deals."
If there was one thing Erik hated more than bullies and loudmouths, it was people that went back on their word. And it was this hatred that was the driven force behind his verbal jab, though only time would tell how it was gonna pan out for him.
Judging by the looks he was getting, it wouldn't be a long wait.
The moment Erik began to insult the Commander, Feldeon’s smile vanished, and soon after, the smiles of everyone in the bar vanished as well as they realized one by one that something bad was going down.
And then the clicking of blaster rifles being primed and aimed filled the air, as ten stormtroopers formed a loose circle around Erik and trained their weapons on him.
“Ya plum done gone dadgum did it now, son,” said one of the troopers through his helmet, speaking with a heavy drawl.
“Oh, don't mind him; that's Deryl, he likes to spout odd witticisms when looking at a dead man,” Feldeon said, his tone going from flippant to angry at the end. Alanna, however, quickly put a hand on the Commander’s chest.
“Wait a moment, Alaric… You don't need to kill him over such a petty slight,” she said smoothly, running a hand along his cheek as she met his eyes. “Be merciful… Keep him alive as a show for what happens to loudmouths,” she continued, before looking to Erik with an expression that said “Don’t make this any worse for yourself”.
Granted, Erik was already three drinks in, so taking proper nonverbal cues was probably not on his list of priorities.
Annnnd right on cue, Alaric's goons stepped up to try and intimidate him, complete with the usual bluster and threats from the man himself. Erik just simply smirked, Alanna's look either not registering in his mind or simply being misinterpreted as interest.
"Oooh, stuck a nerve, did I? Well excuuuse me! Can't say I'm entirely surprised by your reaction though, hiding behind your plastic toy soldiers and their guns does seem to be what you're best at after all."
While outwardly he was full of bravado and snark, internally Erik was freaking out. He hadn't been in this level of poodoo since he first earned his nickname, and he was on the edge of well and truly panicking when the beginnings of a plan formed in his mind. It was a long shot, but it just might work, provided he chose his words right. Locking eyes with Alaric, he sneered at the ex-Imperial and continued.
"I mean, seriously, what kind of man hides behind his goons everytime there's a problem? I'd heard the Imperial Officer Corps was filled with a bunch of spoiled and impotent whiners, but I didn't expect to have it proven so thoroughly. Girl you like doesn't want to play nice, and what do you do? Break your word like a spineless weasel and sicc your squad of white jackboots on her. At least the Hutts have the excuse of actually being too fat and lazy to get properly involved, but look at you! An ex-Imperial officer in his prime too scared to get his hands dirty."
He took a breath to steady himself, then went for his final point, all or nothing. "So what'll be, Commander? You gonna prove me right and stay up there on your little high chair and have your men deal with little old me? Or are you gonna come down here and shut me up personally like a real man?"
The entire bar was silent, people staring in awe at this pleb of a dude who openly challenged the Commander himself. The body language of the stormtroopers indicated increased anger. Feldeon’s majordomo gave a concerned look, meeting Alanna’s gaze.
Feldeon didn't look at any of them, his gaze entirely on Erik, fury in his eyes. Putting his arms around Alanna, the Commander stood, carrying his favorite girl bridal-style with an incredible ease before gently setting her down on his throne, then slowly stepping down the steps to look Erik in the eyes, nose to nose.
Except that Feldeon had nearly half a foot in height on Erik, now that both were standing up straight.
“I’m hearing quite a lot of shit coming out of your mouth, boy,” Feldeon said, looking down at the semi-drunk smuggler. “I know you're winding me up. I know I should just let my men stun you and be done with it. But I'll play it your way. If you win, I’ll give you Alanna if you're so desperate. If I win, I'm gonna toss you in a cell and let you rot before pulling out your tongue so I don't have to listen to your lip. Now, I'm a sporting sort… So I'll let you take the first punch.”
“Hush, love. This boy’s gonna wish he'd never walked into my palace. Unless he's a coward whose bark is worse than his bite…”
Well, it would appear his plan was working so far. He'd baited Alaric into coming down and dealing with him personally, ever getting the bastard to wager Alanna on the impending fight. What Erik hadn't accounted for, however, was Alaric's height. From the bottom of the throne steps, Erik had assumed they were about the same size, but hadn't accounted for posture. Now that he was nose to nose with him, Erik found his confidence waivering juuust slightly. But only just.
"Alright, let's do this then."
The moment the words left his mouth, Erik swung low and hard, aiming a strong jab straight into Alaric's groin. Assuming he bent over like most human males did after such a strike, Erik would follow up with a knee to the jaw or chest, then back off a couple steps.
Unlike Erik Silver, Alaric Feldeon had the benefit of several decades’ worth of Imperial hand-to-hand combat training. The punch to his groin surprised him, and he did indeed keel over a bit, but when Erik tried to get in a second shot, Feldeon reacted on pure reflex, stopping Erik’s knee before contact and glaring at the younger man.
“I said… You get one free shot, boy. Now it's my turn…”
A moment later, and Feldeon had a hand around Erik’s throat, before he gripped the smuggler’s shirt and tossed him to the side like a rag doll, causing Erik to smash headfirst into a table.
The Commander stood, and stretched a bit, before he took a step or two toward Erik.
“Give up yet, boy? I hope not. Pick yourself up, it's been too long since I've had a good brawl…”
A few whispers were heard amongst the latest band up on the Palace’s stage, and Alanna glanced over to see them quickly start to play a thumping, heavy beat and singing in what sounded like an odd Huttese dialect, with patrons quickly catching on and thumping on their tables or stomping their feet in time to the beat. Even Alanna had to admit that this song had a rhythm that seemed designed to get the blood pumping a bit.
Turning a beating into a little spectacle… she sighed internally, watching Erik’s movements. He likely was going to get his arse kicked here, but something kept her from intervening. Perhaps it was the Force telling her that now wasn't the right time to get involved...
Erik had to admit, this guy had more resiliency than he'd given him credit for. Most guys he knew would hardly be able to stay on their feet after such a hit, let alone still have the strength and coordination to stop a knee strike cold. The surprise over this had scarcely finished processing when Erik first registered the hand at his throat and collar, then the fact that he was airborne. The smuggler managed to get his arms up in front of his face before impact, letting them take a good chunk of the force away before he smashed through the table to the ground. Letting out a hiss of pain, Erik pushed himself to his feet, smirking at Alaric and spitting the blood from his now split lip at the man's boots.
"You call that a hit? I've seen way worse from lesser beings than you, shitheel. Try harder."
Erik raised his hands into something of a boxer's stance, bouncing lightly of the balls of his feet as he began circling to Alaric's left. The Imp lapdog might have size on his side, but that meant he'd be slower and easier to outmaneuver. That was the hope, anyways. Stepping forward, Erik shifted his weight, cocked his left arm back, and threw a punch at Alaric's side. Only it never connected, having been a feint to distract from his right fist lashing out to strike Alaric in the jaw.
This time, Feldeon was fully focused and prepared, not reacting to Erik’s feint and smoothly catching the smuggler’s punch in his hand with a firm grip.
“Amateur… Who the hell trained you, scum?” he asked, before pulling Erik closer, sweeping his leg to trip Erik onto his back, and delivering a swift kick to Erik's face to bloody his nose. He stepped back, swiping a glass from a patron and downing its contents in one gulp before giving the glass back.
“Get up, boy! These people want a show before I rip your tongue out! Best not disappoint them!”
Alanna frowned, looking between the two in concern and sitting up straight in Feldeon’s throne. She glanced to one of the astromech droids acting as a server, and the droid whistled and tootled, rolling over to Erik before grasping one of its glasses of ice-cold water and dumping it on Erik’s face in an attempt to make him more alert, causing some of the crowd to laugh.
Okay, perhaps this was going to be a problem. Erik rolled away from the Imperial, corretly assuming he'd try to kick him, only he wasn't quite fast enough, taking the toe of the jackboot straight to the nose. He laid still a moment, taking a second to let his head stop ringing. A bit of curious tootling was the only warning he got before the astro droid gave him a damp wake-up call. Sputtering and now very uch alert, he leapt to his feet. Glancing at the droid, he smiled and patted its dome.
"Good droid...might I borrow another one of these?"
Not waiting for a response, Erik took another glass of water and took a large gulp, then in one smooth motion, he turned and threw the glass straight for Alaric's head. He charged forward, reaching his opponent just after the cup would, and launched a flying kick at his chest. Letting his momentum hopefiully carry him past, Erik threw an elbow at the side of Alaric's head before stumbling to a stop behind him.
The glass shattered against Feldeon's head after being thrown, causing him to cry out in pain and the crowd to cry foul; after all, he hadn't resorted to such a cheap tactic! But this was what allowed Erik to finally get the upper hand, managing to hit that flying kick and elbow that sent Feldeon sprawling to the ground… and made him seethe with rage.
Alanna’s eyes widened, and she looked to Deryl, the stormtrooper who had spoken up before. Making a frantic motion with her hands, Alanna gestured to Erik, and the stormtrooper nodded, communicating with his teammates before they all raised their rifles and hit Erik with a barrage of stun bolts, enough to keep him down for several hours. Relaxing back in her seat as Feldeon stumbled to his feet to see his opponent sprawled on the ground, Alanna gave the Commander a shrug.
* * *
When Erik next awoke, he'd find himself in a dark cell with little lighting to speak of, with his head aching due to the trauma inflicted on it.
“Hey, you. You're finally awake,” called a prisoner across from his cell. “You were trying to fight the Commander, right? Walked right into an arse-kicking, same as me, and that thief over there.”
“Shut up! Someone’s coming!” another prisoner said as footsteps were able to be heard, one set with pronounced clacks to their steps. After a few moments, Alanna appeared outside Erik’s cell, still dressed in that gloriously skimpy outfit, and frowned as she looked at him, flanked on either side by stormtroopers. The cell door opened, and Alanna sauntered inside without an ounce of fear, closing the door behind her before she sat down on a small bench on the cell’s other side.
“Consider yourself lucky to still be alive. And I convinced Alaric to let you keep your tongue, you’ll be happy to know,” she said to the smuggler, crossing both her legs and her arms as she watched him. “You're a brave one. Stupid, certainly, but… brave.”
The post Imperial World was like a fever-dream to Saera, even five years from the death of the galaxy's malevolent former-emperor. The Galaxy, in broad strokes, was no different than it'd been half-a-decade prior. The people's attitudes, habits, and vices all remained largely the same. The same mega-corporations remained, and most planets that had been prestigious during the Empire remained so—at least those that hadn't suffered destructive orbital bombardments, or in the case of Alderaan, annihilation. Still, things were different. The New Republic's detractors could list a dozen ways they were insufficient, or overstepping their bounds, but there weren't frighteningly-sterile Stormtroopers at every corner, nor was their a staunch, threatening voice asking for her papers or identification at every starport and landing pad. The Empire had shattered, and though the galactic government still had its faults, she could see the metaphorical green grass of hope growing in its cracks.
The galactic changes she'd witnessed made the sight of armored Stormtroopers in the satirical Imperial Palace so much more alarming. Saera had come here to investigate what she'd heard of this man, Feldeon, having a 'pet Jedi'. She'd expected perhaps a hapless padawan trapped in a cage, dangling above patrons. Or perhaps a Jedi Knight forced to do parlor tricks for a cheering crowd. What she was presented was a woman far too familiar, forced to saunter the room dressed in something less dignifying than even Hutts gave their slaves. Though it had been two decades since she'd seen the woman, her appearance was exactly as Saera remembered. While she watched her one-time teacher saunter in the outfit, her cheeks grew more flushed and her attention even more captivated. She wondered if Alanna had had tapped into some secret of the Force that allowed her to age so gracefully, or perhaps this wasn't her old-mentor, and just another captured Jedi.
When the Stormtroopers followed the woman's wordless instructions to fire on the drunken rambunctious Imperial, Saera felt her anxieties rise—and she had to focus on the Force to center herself and keep that from seeping into the Force. They weren't in charge here anywhere, like they weren't incharge anywhere. Still, Seara chose not to openly wear her Jedi robes here. Instead had worn her gray vest, white tunic shirt, and arm wrappings that had become casual attire for her. As the fight was ending, and the captured Jedi's attention was freed from it, Saera chose to have some fun. She twitched a finger nonchalantly, sending her glass tumbling off her table as Alanna passed.
Saera pursed her lips, and did her best to seem unfamiliar, this wasn't the time or place to approach her old friend, if it was her. Instead, she chose to just be a patron for the night, and looked over to the girl, "Could you pick that up please?" As the Jedi would be forced to bend down, Saera's eyes did an uncouth scan across her particularly exposed body, lingering long enough to let Alanna catch a glimpse of it, though Saera's neutral facade never wavered.
When the next morning came, Saera chose to keep her distance and just observe. She'd seen the Jedi woman, on the move yet again, and this time with a squadron of Stormtroopers. She kept close, but chose to stay outside on one of the walkways, continuing to keep tabs on the situation with the Force. She didn't try to hide her probing, nor her overbearing presence.
Mildly surprised that it had worked, Erik couldn't help but smirk, ignoring the crowd's jeers as he kicked Alaric in the ribs. If these idiots wanted a fair fight, they should've crawled their worthless asses back to whatever Imperial shithole slid out of.
"So much for that Imperial training, eh? All talk, just like I thought."
He'd hauled back for another kick when the click of several E-11s priming reached his ears. Erik had just enough time to curse before the bolts sent hkm off into a nice long nap.
When he finally awoke, Erik let out a soft groan of pain and sat up. His cell neighbor simply got an odd look, before the clack of heels pulled his attention elsewhere. Much to his surprise, it was Alanna herself, whom he offered a soft smile to as she entered and seated herself.
"There's the gorgeous face this whole shindig started over...come to see the failed hero up close, huh? He weakly chuckled before continuing. "I doubt that coward would've had the balls to follow through, but thank you for the help regardless. Guess I'm gonna be stuck in here a while, aren't I?"
As Erik spoke, Alanna detected the interloper who was hanging around near the entrance to the dungeon-- the figure’s Force signature in particular, which was oddly familiar. Pushing that to the side for a moment, she focused on Erik, her full lips frowning thoughtfully as she looked at him.
“I need to make something very clear to you, Mister Silver,” she said, leaning forward just enough for him to notice. “The only reason you are alive to talk to me right now is because I was the one who ordered the stormtroopers to shoot you. If I hadn't, Alaric would have beaten you to death after you threw that glass at him and cut him open, and it would not have been quick. He's done it before, though I never stayed long enough to watch. And with that in mind, what in the Galaxy convinced you that trying to challenge an Imperial veteran openly was a good idea?”
Erik simply listened to her speak in silence, frowning slightly at her words. So she was the reason he took a barrage of bolts to the face, not Alaric bitching out like he'd thought. Interesting. As she asked her question, he shrugged and leaned back against the wall with arms crossed.
"Well, firstly, I suppose I do owe you thanks for cutting that mess short, no telling which way it would've gone. As for why I did it, well the main reason was you. Even with as much sway as you apparently have around here, I can't imagine you're enjoying living as a slave. Secondly, I wanted to teach that bully a lesson in manners and underworld business. Anyone who knows what's good for them should know you don't double cross people on deals. Good way to end up dead, and the fact that he did so to you after you came to him for help just made my blood boil for some reason. And I'm not one to sit on my haunches and do nothing if something is bothering me."