Though Jurys Juryth was only the one hundred and seventh richest sentient creature on Nar Shadda, excluding the Hutts themselves, it was generally agreed his tower-manse-- won from a rival smuggler-lord in a high stakes game of Hidden Knaves-- was among the grandest, and best fortified, on the entire face of that infamous city-moon. What Juryth lacked in liquid assets he more than made up for in real estate and in the quality of his mercenary protectors.
So it was naturally with great surprise that he entered his private library in order to admire the newest addition to his extensive archeological collection-- the lightsaber of the warrior-poet Aryon Vos, some thousand years now returned to the Force-- only to find his inner sanctum occupied by a complete stranger, smiling at him, the dead bodies of two Juryth House Guards at the man's feet.
A snifter of spicewine fell from Juryth's fat-fingered hand and shattered on the marble floor as the library door slid shut behind him. His mouth fell open.
"Who-" he began, but the smiling stranger put a finger to his lips, then pointed to the broken glass at Juryth's feet.
Dazed, Juryth watched the glass move- as though of its own volition- spinning up from the floor and knitting itself back together as the spilled liquor pooled and poured itself back into the re-forged snifter, which levitated upwards, waiting in mid-air for Juryth to take it back up.
"You had to know we would come for this," said the stranger, holding up the hilt of Aryon Vos' ancient weapon. His voice fluttered, almost girlish, "You have the reputation of a cautious man, Jurys, but this purchase was... injudicious."
He was a pale, sallow man in a simple black tunic. Black hair fringed with grey, going bald on top. His sunken cheeks were pockmarked, his nose cleft by an old and unsightly scar across the bridge. He wore a black cloth tied around his head, covering his eyes. The teeth in his smiling mouth were yellowed, the gums almost black.
Juryth's gaze fell from the man's face to the curved hilt of the lightsaber at his hip.
"I'm not interested in killing you," said the stranger, stepping gingerly over the dead guards to approach the other man, "You can even keep the lightsaber. The Emperor, I am told, never cared much for Vos' inane philosophies."
"What do you want, then?" asked Jurys, taking a half-step back and bumping into the closed door behind him.
"The End," said the stranger, "You will tell me how to get to the Bitter End."
Adamantius Xen was studying his cuticles, apparently bored, as Commander Gothren rattled on about the Rebellion's latest reverses, the Empire's latest victories, and Mon Mothma's directive that Rebel cells lay low and regroup for the time being, as the Alliance assessed its strategic situation.
Xen took a drink. "Does the illustrious Alliance to Restore the Republic have any good news to share with this humble footsoldier?"
"No," said Gothren primly, "Though intelligence has asked me to share that-"
Xen held up a beringed hand, "I know. Jurys Juryth is dead."
Gothren said nothing.
"Don't worry," said Xen, "No one in rebel intel is leaking to old Adamantius, that inveterate Confederate. I have my own sources on Nar Shadda. I haven't lived this long without keeping tabs on buyers of the, uh, more high profile
items sold in the auction houses here."
"My superiors," said Gothren, "again wish to express their concern about-"
"...how business is conducted at the Bitter End, yes, yes, well you can tell your superiors that a rebellion needs money, and they don't seem to mind when I send them a chest full of credits, only complain about how I make 'em."
"It's not an ethical question," said Gothren, "It's rather more about security. The Inquisition is now looking for the End."
"I know," said Xen placidly.
Gothren looked puzzled a moment, but Xen shook his head, "I appreciate the concern for my welfare, thank your superiors. That's all Gothren."
The Commander didn't move. "You are not the only one with an interest in the End's survival."
Xen laughed and took a long drink, "Don't I know it."
"I must tell you, we will take steps if you-"
"Don't ever threaten me," said Xen, looking over the top of his glass at the Rebel officer, "or I might lose my temper."
The battledroids--which hitherto had been standing stock still along the walls of the Admiral's chambers--now buzzed audibly to life.
Gothren's mouth narrowed, impatient, but he did give the B2's a sidelong glance.
"Empire's been looking to put me down since before it called itself an Empire," said Xen, "I can take care of a little Inquisitorial attention."
Gothren saluted, spun on his heel and strode quickly from the room. Xen poured himself another drink, and drank, his expression sour as he looked out the great window behind his desk. The asteroid field that was his main shield against the Emperor's fleets whirled madly in the chill light.
"Sir," buzzed the intercom on his desk, "Syn Damurr here to see you."
"Send him in."
"My lord he
"You have seen him?"
"Ah. Say no more....You are sure?"
"Clever boy, isn't he? And driven
to still be hunting me. Let us hope he is as receptive to our overtures as you expect him to be."
"I know him, he'll join us."
"People can change, Ashuvehe. You did."