Armand Isard (and a cameo by a young Ysanne Isard). Since as far
as I know, there's been no actor cast as Armand, I've taken to
imagining him being played by Rufus Sewell, in his "Fortinbras"
uniform from Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet since he has the right intensity
for the character- http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/SiduriArchanes/RSasFortinbras.jpg
to see what I mean.
Armand's point-of-view, domestic type scene; what happens beyond
closed doors (no, not THOSE doors. wink)
Prior to Episode III (NO SPOILERS)
(this is really tame stuff)
God-King Lucas and Michael Stackpole own Iceheart and her daddy-dear.
I'm just taking them out to play for a little while, filling in
the spaces with my own version of what canon doesn't cover.
I am a man
who believes in order and stability. This war has started to grate
on me and frankly, it irks me that we are unable to get our hands
on all the information needed to put an end to all this nonsense
started by Count Dooku. The Republic has stood firm for generations;
it cannot and will not fall apart for the sheer arrogance of a
I smile to
myself; I'm formulating rhetoric for my own self, it seems. I
can barely tell where Isard the strategist ends and Isard the
man begins. My own wants, needs, and desires have been channeled
into my work. I can barely recall a time where there was more
than the need for success and power...when there was a need for
love. Now my love is for the Republic, and yes, although I do
have a daughter, there are very few that I have allowed to know
of my personal life, of my past. I want to protect my Ysanne,
and those who would see harming her as a way of getting at me.
Yes, I know the game quite well; well enough to have employed
the very same tactics against the children of my enemies. I will
not have my own daughter drawn into this fold.
been too long since I've seen her, and I mean to rectify this.
I have traded my uniform for a rather nondescript black shirt
and pants, along with a black hooded cloak. The designs are so
plain that it is almost Jedi-like, but I've always been a man
who has favored simple, clean lines, and it is almost strange
being out of uniform. This is just another testament that I have
not lived for myself in quite some time.
I pull the
hood over my head and then slide a belt with a blaster inside
its holster around my waist. It's not my standard weapon, but
a more down-and-dirty model that has been modified for usage on
the streets of Coruscant. Although I am not a Jedi, I know how
not to be seen leaving the official center of the city for the
private chambers where my Ysanne resides. No, I do not live with
her; that would compromise her security. Instead, I see her as
often as I can, as often as my work will allow. One day she will
understand why I have made these sacrifices for her.
through the back alleys, mixing among the droids and servants
of those who rule the galaxy. None bother to give me more than
a first glance; they have work that must be done. Besides, a droid
can easily be reprogrammed and a servant have an accident. Those
who had tried to hinder me when my mind was set would not be treated
bike is where it is supposed to be: it's a non-military model
from a few year's back. There's carbon scoring on it, so I know
that it's gone through other hands before. None of this matters
as long as it works, and my subordinates know that when I ask
for something, it had better work.
the bike and power up its systems. Everything seems to be operational.
Ah, yes. The comlink. I reach into my pocket and turn it off;
it's best if I were not disturbed.
With a howl, the bike takes off, and I'm flying through the streets
of Coruscant, the cloak flying behind me like a dark shadow. I
fade into the masses of traffic; speeders and all sorts of craft
clogging up the lanes, with aliens from every corner of the galaxy
glaring and cussing at each other as one tries to get an inch
ahead of the others. I'm beginning to lose patience, so I dive,
dipping down several levels until I can find an open road, and
I cut across here. The architecture is considerably less ornate,
the people less affluent, and I, seem like I am one of them, instead
of one of the masters of the universe from the world above.
is not a long one, but there are many twists and turns, and as
Coruscant is a living, changing city, the landmarks are not necessarily
the same each time I make the trip.
I drop a few
more levels, just to alter my course so that it is never completely
static; I have no reason to suspect that I've been followed, but
patterns can be deadly and you can never be overly cautious. Especially
not in my line of work.
When I get
to the right location, I yank the bike back up, my hands gripping
the handlebars tightly as gravity works against me. Almost there....almost
there. Yes! Now! I punch the bike, leveling it out just one layer
below the one where I'd begun my journey, but I'm nowhere near
the Senate or the Jedi Temple for that matter. It's a residential
district in a comfortable neighborhood, not too refined where
my current appearance would demand attention, but hardly a taste
of the underworld, from which I'd just scraped the surface.
I leave the
speeder bike in my customary place: inside an enclosed area designed
for those who live in the complex to keep their vehicles. It's
a short walk to the entrance, which I gain access to by means
of a palm and a retina scan, for which I lower the hood of the
at the door by the droid that serves as the bellman. He offers
to take my cloak once I'm in the vestibule, but I decline and
sweep past him to enter the turbolift, taking it to the penthouse,
where the entire floor belongs to my Ysanne and her guardian.
When the turbolift
reaches the top, the doors slide open to reveal a hallway, antiseptic
and bare apart for the single door. There are security measures
in place here: lasers and forcefields that can be activated at
will, but these have been deactivated before I approach the door.
My hand touches
the lock and I can feel the familiar jolt of pain pass through
me. It's a sophisticated system that only permits entry to those
whose DNA coding matches its programming, else it sets off a number
of other alarms. But once the pain is gone, the door slides open
soundlessly, revealing my private retreat: the one place where
I am Director no longer, but a man.
are hardwood, imported from Kashyyyk, and the glow-globes cast
a soft light throughout the penthouse. But my daughter knows my
footsteps, that very particular sound of my boots against the
wood, and I can hear her shout, "Father!" before she
sees my black-clad form approaching her. She is still fairly young,
and I don't think she's been told exactly what I do for a living
yet. I will explain it all to her one day, when she is old enough
to understand that my lies and prolonged absence from her daily
life were for her protection.
I'm savoring the moment, pretending as if I were just any father,
and my daughter just any child. She runs into my outstretched
arms, and I marvel at how tall she is now. I hold her, and then
gently run my hands through her long black hair before they come
to rest on her cheeks. Her eyes are mis-matched, and have been
since birth, but they do not mar her angelic face, even now as
they are opened wide with wonder. Yes, she will bleed and become
a woman, and will have others seek her attention, her favor, one
day. But this is all years' away.
Ysanne," I say as I slowly release my hold on her, unfastening
and handing my cloak to her guardian, who has appeared quietly,
having come up from behind the girl. "I've missed you very
much, my dear."
she been well-behaved, Ch'antara?" I ask, cocking my head
to the side, speaking to my daughter's guardian: a human woman
appearing to be about 10-15 years my elder, with similar coloring
that one might have suspected that she was blood kin to us. She
is not, but she is fiercely loyal to me, as I would not have entrusted
my only child to anyone.
she has," Ch'antara replied, giving both Ysanne and myself
a smile before she went to hang my cloak. I respect this attention
to detail, for there are droids and servants aplenty, but Ch'antara
is essentially the "lady" of the house, and her word
is law in my absence. That Ch'antara has taken my outer garment
from me is still a sign that the hierarchy has not been toppled;
she knows that she holds her position because of me.
smiling brightly, and then grabbed my hand, tugging me toward
her own rooms. "Come, Father! She said excitedly. There's
so much to tell you..."
And I, I returned
the smile and allowed to let my daughter lead me. Yes, there was
much I would still need to teach her of the world, when she was
ready. Just a few more years, though, until she turned 13, when
I had decided that I would take the first steps to broadening
her education and bring her closer to me so that she might be
able to observe and learn. She would be a woman then, at least
in terms of her body beginning to mature, and so, her mind must
as well. I hoped that the war would be over then, as well, and
that the future would be a far more happy time for us all.
But for now,
I'd put aside the politics of the Senate, and the secret whisperings
of my spies across the galaxy. Today, none of this mattered, for
I was nothing more now than Armand the father, and today belonged
to my daughter.