Taking long strides, Jorhee Kryze rubbed her temples. The bright lighting of the hall way only compounded the pain in her head from grueling three days she had just faced. When Duke Ahmarov had warned the Mandalorian Mistress that her views would be highly unpopular, Jorhee never imagined this. Every channel she and her staff could conceive of was quickly pulled from under their feet by the intense disposition of her message. It was not all a loss however, at the moment there was one small victory that had kept her on her feet. Syndicated appearances were out of the question so she would do the next best thing, public campaigning. The idea of standing out in the open of Sundari's busiest public square was unnerving but what other choice did she have. Jorhee took a deep breath, relieved that at least for the moment, she didn't have to worry about it. Down the far end of the hall, a man lightly clad in blue ceremonial armor paced in her direction.
"Mistress Kryze," he greeted pleasantly with a nod.
"Lieutenant," she nodded back trying hard to force a smile. The Lieutenant halted his patrol and gave her an empathetic gaze.
"Ma'am, are you well?" he asked. Jorhee sighed, slouching her shoulders ever slightly. The tension in her face was suddenly gone, and her smile came naturally.
"It has been a long day," she answered in a heavy tone. Her eyes seemed to ease closed now that she felt a soothing calm.
"Then might I be so bold, Milady, to suggest that you go inside, your family is anxious to see you," the Lieutenant said with a bright smile of his own. In a very sophisticated manner, he bowed and indicated to her apartment's doors. Color blushed her pale fair face as she fought back a foolish grin.
"Thank you, Lieutenant Vyne," she said bowing back before stepping through the opened door. She walked inside, allowing the door to slide closed behind her. "Good day, Korkie," she whispered to herself.
From where she stood in the threshold of her home, all seemed quiet and empty. At the far end of the room were tall expansive windows. The late noon sky projected through the protection of Sundari's bio-sphere was orange, playing off of the teal, blue tones of the city. Jorhee walked down the short, wide hall but her tranquility was suddenly shattered. From around the corner, her butler droid appeared.
"Mistress Kryze, how good it is to see you home," the sleekly built droid greeted. "Mister Moze awaits you on my transmitter." Jorhee groaned slightly as she looked down at the holo.
"Thank you, BE2-1," she said. "Activate transmitter." The droid nodded and held out his hand. From the projector installed in his palm, a short blue hologram of her aide, Moze, stood impatiently in wait. "Yes, Moze?" she inquired impatiently. The dark skinned man sighed with an expression of relief.
"Madame, there is something that requires your immediate attention," he said. Jorhee saw the overwhelming desperation in his eyes.
"Moze, now is not a good time," Jorhee said firmly.
"This is about Griel, Madame." The young mistress' ears perked slightly as she looked down at the hologram.
"Nane?" she inquired. "I've not heard from for a while now."
"No one has, Madame. He's disappeared."
"Your saying he never returned from the Concordian Embassy?" she asked. "Have you tried contacting the embassy?"
"Yes we have," Moze answered. "He attended the conference as planned then returned to his suite. From there he vanished." Her aide struggled with the last word as if he was still trying to convince himself. Jorhee gazed about in horrified bewilderment.
"Has his family been notified?" she asked with a tone laden with grief.
"His wife has been contacting us frequently for updates," he replied. His own eyes dropped with a grief heavier than her own, he had been the one she would talk to, he heard her desperation and fear.
"I will speak to her personally," Jorhee said.
"There's more, Madame. Word has reached us of petitioning to ban your public address. We are being told by the authorities to cancel your appearances tomorrow."
"What!" Jorhee exclaimed. "That is illegal! They can't arrest me just because they don't want to hear what I have to say."
"Their saying you could incite rioting and violence among the citizens," Moze said timidly.
"This is preposterous, Gosha is behind this!" she hissed angrily. Suddenly a voice sounded from around the corner, deeper inside the apartment. It was like a beckoning call through the fog of her temper.
"Jorhee," it called again. The voice was masculine, yet gentle and calming as it always had been throughout her life. She looked away from the small hologram and saw a tall man standing down the end of the hall. A smile was on his face from behind the trimmed greying beard encircling his crisp mouth. Yaeger was always a stout Patriarch of the Kryze family and the banker never had to pick up blaster to prove it. He was always a gentle man and always won his battles through his fierce charm.
"Father," she said then redirected her focus back on the hologram waiting on the palm of her droid. "I will contact you again later, we're not done yet," she said strongly. Moze bowed and the blue figure suddenly fazed away. "Thank you, BE2-1, that will be all," she said to the droid.
"Madame," it said with a bow then spun on its heel and walked away. Jorhee felt like a child again, rushing into the awaiting arms of her father. Not all but most of her worries seemed to flush out of her mind and she felt right at home.
"Haven't seen you in a while, Punkin," he said.
"Its been busy," Jorhee replied. Stressing thoughts of work attempted to plant in her mind again but she fought it back, not yet wanting to leave the peace of this moment. "How's Mother?" she inquired. Her father smiled broadly.
"She's perfectly fine and getting stronger every day," he answered. "Come on," he beckoned as he let her go. With his large hands placed on his daughter's shoulders, he guided her into the living room. A wide, semi-circle sofa was situated along the back wall below the stained glass window. Warm colors shone and danced on a woman dressed in a flowing green robe. Her long ginger hair sat freely on her shoulders. Mona Kryze's shining smile beamed down at the bundle of white blankets cradled in her arms, her second daughter. Jorhee was speechless as she approached her mother on the sofa.
"Jorhee," Mona said softly, looking up at her with bright green eyes. "This is Satine." Jorhee's mouth hung open as she gazed at the infant in awe. "Say hi to your big sister," Mona whispered to the bundle with a smile. Slowly, she reached out, placing the baby in Jorhee's awaiting arms. She was beautiful, fair skinned with a short matte of bright blonde hair on her head. The baby was merely two days old with her eyes shut tight as she stirred in the swaddling of blankets.
Jorhee had awaited nine months to meet her first sister and the moment had finally come. Often at times when she could spare it, she had thought of this moment, yet it was nothing like how she felt now. A new life, innocent and pure lay in her arms, unaware of the world and its troubles. But inevitably, Satine will grow up and the world would no longer seem so innocent. If only the rest of Mandalore could see that what she saw now, a new life and feel the desire she felt to make the world as best for her as she could. Duke Ahmarov's words suddenly became clearer to her. Jorhee could make a difference, and she would do it for Satine, for Mandalore's future.