more. Please forgive the tumult.

Baras stared at the male Sith for a time, then at the female. It is well that the disagreement did not lead to bloodshed. We are, after all, here to discuss peace.

He seemed almost about to burst out laughing. Am-ris whirled on him. Satele grabbed the Senators cloak, as she might a leash, to keep him from getting too close to Baras.

Peace! This entire proceeding was a farce

Senator, Darnala said, and took Am-ris by the arm. But Am-ris would have none of it. His voice gained volume as he gave vent to his anger.

You did not come here to discuss peace! You came here to mask a sneak attack against Coruscant. You are dishonorable liars, worthy of

Senator! Darnala said, and her tone must have reached Am-ris, for he fell silent, his breath coming fast and hard.

Lord Baras appeared untroubled by Am-riss outburst. You are mistaken, Senator. The Empire is here to discuss peace. We simply wished to ensure that the Republic would be more amenable to our terms. Should I understand your outburst to mean that the Republic is no longer interested in negotiating?

While Am-ris reddened and sputtered, Darnala broke in.

Negotiations will continue, Lord Baras.

You are ever the voice of wisdom, Darnala, Baras said. The Empire will expect a return to the negotiation table at this time tomorrow. If not, matters will go poorly for the people of Coruscant.

Darnalas skin darkened further but her voice remained placid. Our delegation will discuss matters and contact you tomorrow.

I shall look forward to that. Rest well.

Am-ris cursed Baras in Cerean and Baras pretended not to hear.

As the Republic entourage picked its way among the rubble in the hall, among the rubble in their hearts, Aryn

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