My Place in His Life
Diana DeRiggs

I have everything. I may pass through portals normally reserved for humans of the wealthiest classes. I have access to the family treasury, I have the trust. Without me, the planet's wealth and systems would fail. Such is my power. My name, Xaela, is known among the influential and prominent of the planet.

Yet the one thing I desire, the thing I would gladly trade all this wealth and power for, is well and forever beyond my grasp.

My master is a handsome human man. Tall, with blond hair and a long, lean build. Some would say he is arrogant, competitive, and abrasive. He has to be, for he is the heir to his family business, which gives work and meaning to over half the planet. He is a fair, smart, wise, and just man, raised for this purpose, the best manager and businessman money and tutors could produce. Someday, he will marry and produce an heir like him.

Everything he does is for the good of his people and his business. He believes in public service, in doing his part, and throwing your whole heart and soul into your conviction. In his youth, he joined the Alliance Military, so much did he believe in the overturn of the Empire. He saw action in every major conflict since Luke Skywalker became known as a Jedi: my master possesses citations for Hoth, Endor and Bakura. Now, he has been drafted to join Rogue Squadron - a heroic but dangerous plan, opposed by every person in the syndicate - because he understands that his position in that elite fighter group would ensure Thyferra's place, high in the New Republic. He had discussed it with me for many hours, going over the pros and cons, over and over. He asks me the hard questions, for he knows I will always tell him the truth.

Yet he never asks me the one question to which I long to provide my answer.

I hated for him to go. His time with the Alliance was the first and only time I have thus been separated from him. I had been raised alongside Bror, as his companion and playmate, yet always knowing he was my master, and that my fate was to serve him. Despite this, he has never, not even as a child, ordered me to do anything that was unusual or unnecessary or bad for me. He is a good master, and understands that his servants must be loyal to him. He could never really have friends - a man of his wealth, power and station will never have friends he can truly trust - but he can have lifelong servants who love him and can be trusted to protect him. He is devoted to us, as we are to him. It goes far beyond money - something that those not in our situation would ever understand.

Even when sent to boarding school, I was sent with him, along with maids and a driver, to look after his needs. None of us resented it - we freed him from the mundane day-to-day things people do to survive. We allowed Bror to study, to make money, to investigate ways to preserve the Zaltin corporation for the future, for all of us. He would be the next patriarch, and needed to be groomed for this most important of jobs.

He tells me he respects me, and often tells me he is sorry that he has to make my job so onerous and heavy with responsibility. He has told others that I am the only one he feels he can trust completely. Thus, when he asks, I do as he says and more, to make sure everything works according to plan.

An example: I, alone, knew he had not perished when his starfighter exploded in the atmosphere above us. I, alone, was entrusted with his plan and had made the arrangements for the freighter transport to meet him. I understood the plan and the danger, and programmed the shuttle and put together the detonation device for the snubfighter. I directed the crew when an Imperial ship showed up to kill him. When he at last arrived home, I met him and directed him to the secret quarters where he would hide until the Xucphra entity and the Imperial spies were convinced Bror was dead. Even members of the Zaltin corporation thought he was no more, so well had I done my job to conceal him.

He was with the Vratix terrorist Ashern, of course. While he was with the Rogues, making observations of the New Republic, I had been the one to transmit his reports to them until he was absolutely required to join their Planning Council in body. I knew everything.

We shared quarters while he was underground. I made sure he was clothed and fed to his liking, fetched and carried the comm devices he'd need to contact members of the Ashern and of the New Republic. He respects my analytical skills and my mind, and takes me into his confidence. We discussed how Qlaern Hirf should contact the New Republic, to offer his services to cure the Krytos virus on Coruscant, and I made the arrangements to carry him to Wedge Antilles on Mirax Terrik's Pulsar Skate. She and I had worked together many times, to drop off or pick up items she had procured for the family. She and her father, Booster, know me, and understand my relationship to the Jace family.

And though we were constantly together while in hiding, sometimes sleeping side by side, flesh to flesh, what I most fervently wished for would never be. I know his thoughts: he would never take advantage of a servant. It wasn't that it was beneath him, but it was part of the code he internalized. A good and conscientious master would never endanger a loyal servant, no matter what the cost. Being with me would endanger me; I know his mother would cast me out. By tradition, I am the property of the matriarch, should anything inappropriate arise toward the heir. I have been schooled to be a highly skilled accountant and manager, but without loyalty to my master, my education is worth little. I have no skills other than to look after the household of a man of Bror Jace's worth.

I know when to fade back. I was chosen among the many offspring of those already working for the Jaces because my skin color is not gaudy or rare, my mind is sharp and strong, and I am quiet in both appearance and manner. These are advantages: I can accompany Bror anywhere, and will not be sent away, even in highly confidential meetings. I can slip in and out of any situation, and remain invisible. But I think this ability to escape notice prevents him from seeing me as anything other than his loyal housekeeper.

We both know my place in his life; there will never be confusion about it.

I cannot count the hours I have lain awake, thinking of Bror Jace, the object of my desire and obsession. I think of him not as my master, but as a man, and weep silently.

I mourn this loss in my life. For I adore my master, marvel at his beauty, admire his mind, and suffer a jealous death every time I am told to make arrangements for a new nubile young lovely's weekend visit.

Once, I was naive enough to think that someday, when Mistress Jace is dead and Bror is patriarch, that I could be his lover, or even his spouse. But I know I was wrong. His passion is not for women or men. His passion is to preserve Zaltin, and to ensure the survival of Thyferra as a separate governing entity. Anything less is a distraction. His job is to build the family fortune and to preserve Thyferra, nothing less.

I cannot leave him. He needs me, and his gratitude and approval are addictions. With him, I have a rich life, filled with purpose and heroism. Doors open for me, I get respect and people treat me well. I meet and move with the highest layers of society. I have never asked to be sold or transferred. Without him, I am a pathetic being with no purpose or justification or desire to live.

My passion is him, and him alone. I belong to him in fact and in emotion. I cannot laugh at the irony of it: like a spouse, I will never leave him except in death. I will stay with him forever.

I mourn, because in his way, he loves me. And it is completely different from the way I love him.





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