Weeks earlier…

“Kellaro, I want to tell you something.” Brant took a deep breath. There was a glow in his eyes, but not the Sithly yellow glow that heralded danger. This was something softer, almost reverent.

“Go on…”

Brant took another deep breath. It seemed he had wanted to say this for a while, but had been waiting for the right timing – or the right words. “I have decided to bring someone into the family. More than one someone, actually… and if we are lucky, perhaps have our own.”

Kellaro stared at him. “…what?”

“A partner, Kellaro,” said Brant patiently, though he flushed. “A partner and her children. Perhaps better called foundlings.”

It should have felt amazing, but Kellaro instead only felt… sick. Why should he feel so? Shouldn’t it be a major miracle his brother, dragged under by Sith ways, could have found love?

Maybe that was the warning. Was it really love?

Brant’s self-pleased smile began to falter and darken when Kellaro still said nothing. “I am doing so whether or not you approve,” the Sith snarled.

“No, I–” said Kellaro quickly to cover the discomfort. He grinned painfully. “That’s great. Amazing, actually. I’m… really happy for you.”

But Brant didn’t smile again. Kellaro squeezed his eyes shut and carried on anyway, despite the deepening pit in his stomach. “So are you marrying officially? Will the foundlings come to live with us? …who is she, anyway?’

Misgiving, fear, poison. Brant’s expression had turned stoney, even a little nasty as he replied shortly, “No. And I insist you keep it a secret.”

Why? Kellaro wondered. He swallowed bile down and said, “Sure. Whatever you say, vod. You know me, I’ll always keep a secret for you…”

“I only wanted you to know,” Brant snapped. “Visitors aren’t permitted on Velmor without Lord Stybla’s approval, anyway.”

“Ah,” said Kellaro , trying to ignore the burning question of why Brant couldn’t secure clearance for his own brother, when he had a sudden gleam of recognition. “This was that Chiss, wasn’t it? The one we delivered your anoobas to.”

“Yes,” said Brant.

“Didn’t know she had kids,” said Kellaro, and he desperately wished his stomach would stop flipping. He remembered Aesdila from when he had offered her transportation on his ship. She had been nice, even kind, for a Sith. So why did the prospect of her becoming his sister-in-law fill Kellaro with dread?

Watching Brant’s suspicious eyes, the yellowed mirror to his own, gave him no answers. Until, for no reason at all, he thought of their mother…

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