I sat at the table, staring in disbelief at the Sith lord. Aiden’s brother! Saragus leaned back in his chair, a twinkle in his deep, dark eyes.
“Come now my darling, surely it is not so hard to fathom? Actually, I have always fancied that he favors me in looks at least a little; do you not think so?”
I did indeed see the resemblance. They looked very much alike in features, but Saragus had a much deeper, more refined appearance. I averted my gaze as I spoke, not liking how uncomfortable his stare made me feel.
“Yes, my lord, there is a striking resemblance.”
“And yet, that similarity does nothing to calm your nerves. You are afraid of me. Believe me child, I mean you no harm. If I wanted you dead, you would never have made it out of that cave.”
I took a bite of the meal placed before me. “I thought Aiden had no family. Why would he not mention you?”
“Would you mention me, my dear? How do you think the Jedi would treat him if they knew? I can say with all certainty that they would never trust him if they found out his true roots.”
I wondered exactly what he meant by “true roots”. Was Aiden once a Sith? I wanted to ask, but I sensed that now was not the time. Perhaps he would tell me later, or maybe he thought Aiden should be the one to explain.
“I guess that I can understand that, but he should have known that he can trust me.” I frowned over my glass of wine.
“It was more for your safety than his, that you remain oblivious, my dear.”
I guess I understood the reasoning behind it, but it still stung that Aiden had hidden something so important. It was something I would have to discuss with him one day, soon.
“How long will I be staying here?”
“Not long, I assure you. I have contacted my friend at the enclave on Dantooine and your friends will be here in a few days. Until then, I suggest that you get your rest and enjoy the slight reprieve; take in the view. It will also give us time to get to know one another better.”
“A friend, at the enclave? I don’t understand.”
Saragus smiled. “Not all Jedi think as the council does. Not all of them are narrow-minded. I can only hope that you will open your mind and embrace the friendship I offer.”
“You know, my Lord, the Jedi are expecting me to return. They will be searching for me.”
“Ah, yes, about that…” He pushed back his chair and rose, motioning for me to follow. I pushed my seat away from the table and walked slightly behind him, as he led me into a small sitting chamber and offered me a seat near the fire.
“Whether or not you knew this, you were followed to your task. The Jedi council sent a knight to observe you. It was his job to spy and then return to them with a report of your conduct. I am afraid that he saw you leave with my apprentice. By now, he will have informed the council and you will have been branded as an ally of the Sith.
I was dumbfounded! “What? You can’t be serious! Surely they could see that I was injured and that your companion took me without my consent.”
“Without your consent?” I turned as Nuala walked into the room, a slight frown on her delicate features. “That pompous Jedi was right there, in the cave with you when you fell and didn’t lift a finger to help you. Would you truly have rather stayed there with him? You would have been buried alive!” She stopped before me, placing her hands on her shapely hips, her emerald eyes narrowed.
“Fionnuala, calm yourself. Na’sha does not know our entire story and cannot be blamed for her ignorance. She only knows the poison that the Jedi spread.”
Saragus walked over and placed an arm, lovingly around the red haired Sith’s shoulder, in an attempt to quell her frustration. He looked at me for a moment.
“Na’sha, I sense that you can be trusted and if you are to help us, you must be told the full story. What is said here, in this room, must stay here. There would be dangerous consequences for us all, if what I am about to tell you is leaked. Can you keep a secret for me?”
I nodded. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to know this man better and yet there was something about him that drew me in; something that made me feel safe. I could tell that whatever he was about to say was true and important. I also knew that no matter my feelings, this was Aiden’s brother. Aiden had not betrayed him or his existence and neither would I.
Saragus stared at me for a moment, as if gauging my thoughts. “I don’t think you two have been properly introduced. Nuala, as you know, this is Na’sha; Na’sha, this is Fionnuala, affectionately known as Nuala. She is my older sister.”
Sister? Aiden has a sister too? I wiped a hand over my eyes. “I don’t understand. If she is your sister, why did she say her last name was O’Shae? Why hide it?”
“O’Shae was our mother’s maiden name. We use it occasionaly when we need to go under cover. Nuala is not my apprentice that too is a ruse. In reality, she is a high ranking Sith on the run. The ruling council of the Sith would love to know of her whereabouts, so we keep her hidden and she pretends to be my apprentice. She knows things and the other Sith would see her destroyed before they would let their secrets be revealed.”
Saragus smiled at Nuala and kissed her on the forehead. She is the Matriarch of our family and my only sister. I would move heaven and earth to keep her safe.”
I could see the sincerity in his eyes. This was a man who loved his family. In that moment, my views of the Sith began to change. He had shared his secret with me, without really knowing me. He put his trust in me. There were so many things I didn’t understand. I had questions. I didn’t know what was going to happen next and I had no clue what the future held for me, for Aiden or my mission, but one thing was for certain, somehow I was meant to be here. I could feel it.