"Bring the captive forward." Emperor Flat's deep, cold voice intoned.
From the shadowy edges of the spacious room, two dark clad guards stepped forward with a smaller female shackled between them. The captive's feet dragged on the floor as they carried her forward. It was obvious that she was heavily sedated.
Precautions. Emperor Flat reminded himself. One can never be too safe.
Finally the guards held the prisoner before him. She was vaguely attractive he supposed, as far as human standards went. Small of stature. When she wasn't drugged, she was smart lipped, conniving, and dangerous. But there was no one in the galaxy who posed a danger to Emperor Flat.
Dangers were made dead.
"It has come to my attention Princess Fel that you are not what you appear to be."
The drugged captive struggled to shift her attention up at him. He let his impressive height loom down at her from his lofty throne.
"You have pretended to be princess long enough. I know the truth now. Your step-sister, the real Princess Fel, is not dead." He paused so he could embellish a smile and savor his victory.
There was enough light in Riina's eyes that there was no mistaking her acknowledgement of his words.
"Princess Leia Fel is alive. I assume this was her clever ruse to prolong her life, one you quite willingly went along with since you would get to inherit all the fame and power of that position. No doubt Leia is behind all those Imperial Knight guerrilla activities in my Empire." He pressed his finger tips together in thought. "I would use you as a bargaining chip, but I'm afraid you have no value as a hostage. There is no love between you and your step-sister. And there is certainly no use for you in my kingdom. You know too much."
He flicked his hands at his guards, gesturing them to step away. Riina Fel dropped to the floor with a painful smack. Her drugged muscles could not support her weight.
Emperor Flat rose from his throne with the dignity, power, and grace one expected of royalty. He commanded an entire empire. Fleets of war machines awaited his bidding. The lives of worlds were in his grasp.
Looking down at the crumpled form of life, he simply sent one quick, violent exertion of his will and snapped her neck. A foul smell permeated the air. No life remained in the shell before him.
"Dispose of it." He commanded.
Dutifully his guards stepped forward, grabbed the body, and walked away.
Sadly the smell remained.
Emperor Flat was not one to talk to himself, otherwise he would have commented on how unsatisfactory this situation was. Yet he was enjoying his privacy today and did not feel like summoning any help to do away with the mess. He wasn't about to clean it up himself, so he simply excused himself from his throne room and retired to one of his many suites.
His long strides carried him away through the well lit halls, a stark contrast from the gloom of the previous chamber. Darkness made his concealment spells easier, Sith alchemy always worked better in the dark, but the Force would work perfectly well to keep his charade intact.
All who looked upon him saw a graceful looking human, tall, and handsome. Not even his apprentices knew what he really looked like. Flat couldn't even remember the last time he looked at his Muun features in the mirror. It really didn't matter. The matter of importance was that he appeared to be a human. As far as the Empire had come, it was still home to s significant number of beings who held a strong anti-alien bias. It was for that reason he chose them to be his instrument.
Like he had once done before, he manipulate this vast society to his will. They would do as he commanded. But this time he would do it right. The Empire would go forth, wage war, and would die upon the blades of their enemies. He would sacrifice their prejudice in the violent gears of war, and as the machine slowed down, choked on the blood of dead Imperials, he would strive forward and destroy the entire machination.
He had envisioned all of this. He knew it would be true. A war so violent that all parties are destroyed in its deadly embrace.
It was like a sweet, wonderful dream.
His attention returned to the here and now as he entered one of his suites. The room was lavishly furnished. Several droids were stationed at his beck and call.
"Dim lights, call a service droid to the main throne room, it needs cleaning."
One of the droids sprang to life as its photorecptors brightened with a sapphire glow. "Milord, would you like to hear your messages?"
He hesitated. "Are there any from Rav or Atra?"
"Yes, milord. There is one message from Rav."
"Very well." Flat slipped into delightfully comfortable chair. "Download the message from Rav to the room's holoprojector, then leave the room. Both of you."
The other droid activated and they quickly left the room. Once the doors slid shut, the holoprojector sprung to life.
One of the nice things about his wealth and power was that he did not have to worry about security. The devices and protocols he used were so effective that they were self-sufficient. No need for extra security sweeps. Here in the Empire things worked like a fine crafted artisan chrono.
"Milord," The full colored holoprojection began, "I bring ill news. Atratus has been slain by the Jedi. Knowing milord's mind, I shall be in Imperial space shortly to await your command. Your humble apprentice."
The transmission ended.
Emperor Flat soaked in the information from Grae aka Darth Ravus. If Atratus was dead, then either the Jedi had found out that Gaven Rothe was a secret Sith or they'd gotten extremely lucky by accident. Perhaps he'd become a casualty of the war.
Regardless Ravus was coming here for new orders, which was very thoughtful of his apprentice. Depending on the details of Atratus' demise, he would most certainly have new instructions for his apprentice to carry out.
Most importantly of which will be your further use to me.
Gregor Flat had never intended to make long term use of Grae. The man was powerful, but he was nothing more than a useful tool. Turning him was more of a game for Flat. One more painful jab at the Jedi Order. One more step in his quest for an all engulfing war.
Atratus on the other hand had potential. With his death, Flat would simply have to accelerate his back up plan. He had another potential candidate who would make a fine apprentice. With Grae's arrival, he could test the true strength of his new student.
Kill Grae and I shall make you my new apprentice. Die, and I'll shall carry on with Grae until I found someone better.
His lips withdrew into the corners of his face. The cadaverous grin would have chilled any being to their very soul.
Do you have a soul, Grae? He almost laughed. I sincerely doubt it.