Ven bowed low to the Supreme Commander.
"Of course, my master, I shall make haste to Naboo and back immediately."
Ven strode confidently to the Svelte-class and took his place among the members of the 41st. The take off was smooth and effortless, Ven noticed. Marix certainly kept his equipment in good condition, however big or small. Ven leaned back slightly in his seat, enough to be comfortable but short of becoming lax. He was the apprentice of the Supreme Commander and former apprentice of the Emperor, on a Military transport with members of one of the elite divisions of the Military, he could not afford to be lax, he had to be ready to spring into action at any time.
Immediately after breaking free of the Kuati atmosphere, the ship jumped into hyperspace. Ven would have preferred to make the journey to his home-planet in the Bás, his Nubian yacht, which would have been far more inconspicuous than showing up in a Star Destroyer accompanied by the Supreme Commander's bodyguards. But what had happened had happened, so Ven just stared at the ceiling and started counting the rivets as space and time themselves were warped around him.
A couple of hours later, or so it seemed to Ven, they left hyperspace to find themselves staring face to face with a Venator-class. The small shuttle docked in the massive Star Destroyer. Once on-board, Venedictos was directed to quarters set aside for him, consisting of a plain room, with a great degree of empty space and sparse furniture. Ven nodded admiringly. This was a true Military room. Suddenly becoming overcome with fatigue, Ven lay down on the very basic cot and slowly, but surely, drifted off into a light sleep.
The next day...
"Apprentice Appo, we have arrived."
It was one of the 41st. Ven rose swiftly and did his stretches. He put one hand behind his head and pulled it down with the other one, then swapped and repeated the motion several times. He stretched every muscle in his body as he had upon every awakening for several years.
"What time is it, Colonel?" asked Ven, assessing the man's rank based on his uniform.
The Colonel himself did not look mildly impressed, instead simply responding "18:00 Local Time."
Ven nodded to himself.
"Night is just falling. We shall go now. Our destination is Theed Cemetery, the Appo Mausoleum. Our objective is to claim the sceptre of Dioltas Appo."
The Colonel nodded and stepped to the side as Ven left the room. The two walked side by side to the hangar, where the Colonel quickly and gruffly addressed the platoon. A few minutes later, they were once again on the Svelte-class, on their way down to the planet's surface and Ven's homeplace, from whence he had been exiled so many years ago, Theed.
Ven and the 41st strode through the back alleys of Theed, avoiding the main streets. Ven did not think he would run into any members of his family but all families on Theed were connected one way or the other, and he did not want his return to be put on the grapevine back to his mother, to the Queen, or worse, to his grand-uncle, the Grand Mage. Ever since the incident in the Temple, Ven had given Aequitas a wide berth. He knew when someone did not warrant encountering, and Aequitas was such a person.
It took a number of minutes for Ven to get his bearings back but soon he had worked out a secretive route to the Cemetery that would have them arriving at 19:30 LT, half an hour after the gates were closed. The Cemetery was a surprisingly uncommon target for thieves, but it was generally accepted that the only criminals in Theed were its politicians.
When they arrived, Ven was pleased to see he had been correct. The gates of the Cemetery were closed. He nodded to the Colonel, confirming that he was going in. Ven burst into a run, and just as he reached the high fence, jumped, but it was more than a normal jump. This jump was augmented with the Force and carried Ven just clear of the long, metal spikes atop the fence, so elegant in the light, so threatening in the night. Ven landed hard, but bent his knees and rolled to reduce the shock.
He stood up immediately and burst off into another run. The Cemetery was vast and Ven had to get to the Mausoleum, take the sceptre and then leave in time to get back to Kuat. Ven had often gone on long walks through the Cemetery, identifying the graves, tombs and mausoleums of great Palace Guards, of Queens and Senators. The Appo Mausoleum was about one mile from his current destination. Ven kept a constant speed, knowing if he stopped for even a second, he would lose his momentum and weariness would rack his limbs.
A good deal of time later, Ven finally found the Appo Mausoleum. He had planned his next move carefully. He extracted his blaster from the breast holster of his robe and aimed a shot at the lock of the door. It was blasted clean off and Ven sent the door itself tumbling down with a flying kick. Once inside, Ven disabled the alarm using the code he had taken from his father's desk oh so many years ago.
Now calm, Ven quietly sneaked through the depths of the death house. Tombs of great Appos surrounded him on all sides and the Mausoleum was connected to a tunnel running deep into the ground. At the deepest point of the tunnel was the tomb of Brant Appo, a great Alchemist and scientist who had contributed a great deal of wealth and power to the Appos, as well as to the fields of Alchemy and cybernetics. Based on his father's few achievements, his wealth, his social status, his appearance and his gender, Ven placed him in between the fifth and eighth chambers.
Ven jogged down the tunnel but found no sign of his father's tomb where he had placed it. Then he remembered that his father had been martyred by him and that he would thus be resting in the eleventh chamber. Ven jogged down and, as expected, saw his father's white marble tomb in the centre of the chamber. He walked slowly over to it and brushed his fingers along the beautiful stone. Then he shattered it. Like, all stones, marble had weak-points and a simple, slight application of Force push, or even sheer physical strength, on one such point would shatter the whole rock. Corusca gems were particularly vulnerable to these so-called shatterpoints, despite their toughness.
Now covered in shards of rock and dust, Ven gazed on his father's form with hate. Dioltas had been buried not only with his sceptre, but his hunting knife and cloak. The considerable gap where his head had been was filled with a porcelain head, his death mask made from a previous bust, making him appear younger than he had been. Ven took the sceptre from his father's cold, lifeless hands and stowed it in his cloak. But he could not leave it like that. He took the hunting knife in his hands and stuck it in the hollow mouth of the effigy. He cut long wounds from the corners of his porcelain father's mouth to the ears. Then he took the knife to his own wrist and let a light dribble of blood seep out. He smeared the blood along the wounds before pinching the blood vessels with the Force. The wound would be healed before he returned to Kuat. Ven shoved the hunting knife into his father's very real heart and then left. He reappeared outside the Cemetery an hour later, looking no stranger than he had when he entered. He nodded to the Colonel and he and the 41st started making their way back to the Star Destroyer.
Ven did his morning stretches. He had arrived on Kuat with three hours to spare. He was not going to waste them however, first he would do his stretches and then he would report directly to the Supreme Commander.
Having gone through the motions, Ven made his way to the pool in the back of the mansion, where he had been informed the Supreme Commander was enjoying a rare swim. He saw the Kiffu Sith Lord in the clear, blue water and bowed deeply.
"I have returned, Master."
"You are greater than any I have ever trained. By killing me here—you have rewarded me more than you can possibly know." ~ Darth Traya