"I could be more," Tema said pointedly, even though she was well aware that sitting on a picnic blanket doing embroidery while her infant son gurgled at the small wildlife of Clakdor 7 did not present an obvious strategic advantage.
"Could you, now?" Rugess Nome, Darth Tenebrous, murmured, not looking up from his sketch.
"Well, you could train me further," she said, and instantly regretted the phrasing. If she was not careful, she would come off as jealous of her infant son's destiny.
"Hmm," he grunted and stared at Hego, thinking thoughts not discernable by Tema.
They went something like this: even if Bane had been accurately transmitted through the generations, did (for Tema had simply and genteelly committed to words the population pressures of a fungus native to Mygeeto, and as she had said there) 'anecdotal survival imply optimization?' It seemed unlikely. He should be a Sith before anything else but--it had not so thoroughly absorbed him that he forwent all other pursuits. Dogmaticism...was in Rugess Nome's nature but could be a disadvantage, and other influences (including Master Scuro, his predecessor dead in a fashion, mere accident, which did not guarantee him the successor) prompted him learn as well from Tema's experiences, if opportunity presented itself.
What if Tema's training would serve as an unlikely insurance policy, against Tenebrous not completing her child's training, against Hego dying very prematurely (which unfortunately seemed to run in the Damask line), against any other eventuality he should by rights foresee, but might not?
He had already presumed that he would train his own offspring, one beginning to leave the confines of its hatchery pod, near ready to come home and showing promise, and one he was less sure of, gestation just complete and installed in its hatchery pod, for it seemingly bore a physical defect that might prohibit saber fighting.
So it was that after some time of silence except for the soft sounds of silk running through fabric, the soft pop of a needle in linen, and the hushed whisper of stylus against input surface that he finally said "Very well, Lady Decima."
"For?" she asked, in a startled whisper.
"For fate. And for destruction." He stroked a finger across the sigil motif on the linen, in shining red silk.
Tema would debate whether she, even though she had been given the full set of training, ought to train an apprentice, and yet she did. Ullé, her, well, almost step-daughter, was also sensitive to the Force. "Darth Alea," Decima titled Ullé Damask, curious and sharp and philosophical, using her newfound abilities to dance near the edge of the abyss, and then retreat. Caar's first wife confronted them as they returned from that very training session, wanting to know what they were doing, and (with instinct and trying to suss out the Will of the Force by feel) Tema responds, catalyzing the Sith Code's becoming a message, a motto. Regarding the strictures of high society as much as literal chains, not that the three genteel Muuns had ever before encountered cold metal restraints.
"I can believe it," Sina Damask, first wife of Caar, says of the notion that there are secret enemies of the Jedi: she has studied as a hobby histories of oppressive regimes which popped up across the Galaxy, no matter what the republic would claim, and she treats the message with solemnity. Tema waits to grant the woman she once would have considered a rival a title.
But then Sina is arrested by the Muunilinst Civil Corps for protesting the passing of a more draconian drug policy and Caar being off on business on Coruscant, Tema dispatched to secure her release. Ullé is off studying rocks and tectonic activity with her betrothed, but Decima's second apprentice laces her arguments with the guard, with the magistrate who may let her go, with as much Force as persuasion. "You've...galvanized me into action," she says, "They have chains enough." Limbs half-trembling with electricity, as if she is an object being galvanized, Tema decides on a fateful title.
For Sina's passions in history and language, for this sea change from all focus on the long and callous game: Nevozvratya (-ratA Sina corrects, but Tema only fixes a stare on her), of no return, as in such a point.
And so it is that while Tenebrous tells young Plagueis, and the next day Venamis, that they are to be inured to death and destruction, Darth Alea crosses a hellish river on her research trip and tells neglected farmers they have every right to question the will of the Jedi and Republic in their galaxy, that there are other, shadier heroes and they must help each other; and Darth Nevozvratya stands before a planetary council meeting, wielding images of mourning families and corpses, and stands firm that medicine that heals overdose victims cannot be banned. As for Decima, she now begins researching the contributions Muunilinst has made, both monetary and in stolen children, to the Jedi Order, and begins building a case that Muunilinst has given far more to the Jedi than they, even combined with their galactic neighborhood, have ever received. Mothers who needed counseling, families torn apart when their sole prized child was demanded under the thinly veiled excuse of protecting the galaxy, protection funds that were little more than paying off a mob, and one that considered it well within its right to set up sting operations and bring diplomatic messes wherever they pleased, without cleaning them up. The Jedi were diplomats? The Muuns had far better ones, homegrown, ones that understood Muuns and might actually try to understand other species.
And if she had spawned a new, diplomatic variety of Sith? So much the better, that an alternative could be demonstrated to the public.
(Scuro (dies) + Tenebrous + Plagueis + Venamis + (other child) + Decima + Alea + Nevozvratya)