Act IV
By Izzy

A week and a half of no events, of performances which noone of importance came to, and of going to sleep alone each night and even falling asleep after only an hour or so of tossing and turning, had, by the last night of the week and a half, lured Padmé into complacency. On the last day, the failure of her period to come might have counted as an event, but that was a busy day, and so she had no time to contemplate the possible significance of that before it happened.

She slept for hours and hours, perhaps the Force telling her body to rest when it could and it obeying. She woke up with her mind clear of thoughts. By force of will, she kept it blissfully empty while she showered and dressed, then walked into her living area and screamed at the sight of the cloaked and hooded figure standing in the middle of the room.

“You need not panic,” said the figure, and the voice was not Vader’s. It was much deeper, and very elegant, like that of an aged bard. The envoy removed his hood, and she saw a face to match the voice, despite his golden eyes. “I will not hurt you if you answer a few questions.”

“Who are you?” she asked warily. She stared downwards, at his belt, where lay his lightsaber; Vader had carried to same weapon.

“My name is Darth Tyranus, if you wish to know it. The rest, I believe, should be obvious.”

“Questions. Why do you need to ask me anything? How could I possibly be of concern to you?”

His features drew together, angered. “Do not play games, Miss Padmé. This business between you and Darth Vader must be cleared up. Did you know him at all before we came to the performance of your theater company?”

“No,” answered Padmé truthfully, hoping she wasn’t doing Vader any harm. Especially because she’d heard that it was impossible to lie to one of the Emperor’s envoys.

“When did you receive his summons?”

“That night.”

“What hour?” he demanded, impatient.

“I don’t know...the play had to be over by the tenth, it was maybe half an hour after that, maybe less, maybe more....oh the swamp take it, I don’t know!”

“Did he admit to any such liaisons in the past? He has no history of behavior of this sort, but it may simply have escaped our notice. Did he strike you as experienced, Miss Padmé?”

“He was a virgin,” Padmé answered. She saw no surprise on Tyranus’ face.

“What did he inform you about the Emperor’s policy on sexual relations?”

“That they weren’t encouraged. If they were forbidden-”

“He spoke truthfully. All too much. Did he speak of love?”

“Oh yes, he did! And of fate and the Force and I would still swear that he meant it!”

Still no surprise, but she thought she saw his eyes darken. “Then he had indeed betrayed us in his heart from the beginning,” he said, more to himself than to her. Fear for Vader gripped Padmé’s heart. What have I just done? “Did he mention at this time any intention of leaving the Emperor’s service?”

“No...” If he had, she might not have run so hastily.

“There is no summons on record for the following day. Is the record faulty?”

Padmé tried not to answer this, suddenly afraid, but he glared at her, and she just shook her head. “Yet he came to you.” She nodded, determined to give him no more information than he demanded. Soon, though, they would likely come to her opinions of the Emperor. The wild thought came to her head that if she could provoke him into killing her, she could give away no more information, and perhaps Vader could be saved punishment that way. But was it already too late for that? Would he now face death? She knew the Emperor often killed his minions when they displeased him.

“I assume in this meeting he informed you of his intention to desert, since he had not already done so.”

“What?” There was no hiding her shock. “He...he didn’t...but surely far as I know he had no such intention.” Surely it would had to have been her words that had spurred this. “What have you done to him?” What have I done to him? “It wasn’t him, it was me, I...”

“Miss Padmé,” he cut her off with a sharp gesture of the arm. As he did, as cylindrical object fell from his robes and rolled onto the floor near Padmé’s feet. “Stop now before you incriminate yourself. If you intend to somehow make things easier for him, it was too late for that even before this interview started.”

Padmé’s eyes were locked on the lightsaber; that was what it was. She knelt down and scooped it up. “This is his. I recognize it,” she said feebly. “You killed him, didn’t you?”

“He had turned his back on his Master,” said Darth Tyranus coldly. “I had no choice.”