A Distant Cousin
By Izzy

Dormé was not nearly so emotional as Versé, so her keeping a stiff upper lip all through the break with the Republic, and therefore with Palpatine, who chose his position over his planet, was not exactly a surprise. But when Padmé considered the reaction of the Excenil family to the abandoning of the Republic, or more specifically, of its leader, she did find it surprising that none of them had heard so much of a peep out of Dormé’s family. It was the Costil name, after all, that Palpatine had grown up bearing.

“How closely are you related to him anyway?” she asked her handmaiden when their ship was in hyperspace, and the two of them sat with Cordé, Versé, and Jar Jar.

“Who?” asked Dormé.

“Palpatine. I remember he said something about you being a distant cousin of his.”

“Sometimes I think that’s the case for all Costils, even if they're siblings. We’re that kind of political family. Did you know Sabé’s husband is a member of the family too, on his mother’s side? I bet you didn’t; I doubt he cared to mention it. Though in our case it’s actually true; he’s my third cousin twice removed.”

“So the Costils, unlike the Excenils, don’t really care if one of their own is stranded?” Cordé asked.

“But how much has he helped them?” pointed out Versé. “I think the real reason my family’s in such a snit is because this is going to cost them most of their power.”

“But Rabé no liking politics,” Jar Jar pointed out. “So why sheesa sayin bye-bye?”

“I don’t know,” said Padmé softly. She’d been wondering that herself. Had Rabé simply given into her relatives’ pressure?

“I doubt Palpatine’s helped the Costils much,” said Dormé. “His part of the family has been even more distant since his grandmother married a bit too low.”

“Low?” repeated Cordé, and Jar Jar looked confused too. But Versé obviously understood, and Padmé too had spent long enough amoung members of the political clans of Naboo to understand as well.

“Well, it’s not such a big deal now, because things have changed over the past century, but at the time of the marriage, someone like Supé Costil, as she was called, had to marry someone either rich or high-ranking, and preferably both. But first she waited until she was over 25 to marry, and then she ran off with a peasant boy. I don’t remember his name-Rorerrie, or something like that. The scandal was so bad he turned up murdered two months later.”

“I take it the murderer was never found,” Versé commented dryly. Cordé look horrified.

“Of course not. That kind of thing was all too common then. And I wish I could say it no longer goes on at all.”

“There has to be less of it now, though,” Padmé protested. “It’s not as easy as it once was.”

“No, but still...”

There was silence for a moment, but then Versé broke it with, "Keep going, Dormé. I'm finding this story very interesting, as you can guess."

Dormé continued, “Anyway, it turned out the family, when you consider what their hopes were, had pretty much acted too late; Supé was already pregnant with Palpatine’s father, who did redeem himself with a strong political career, and of course marriage to a woman of the Excenil family. In fact, all might have been well if the second murder hadn’t happened.”

“Second murder? Who?” demanded Padmé.

“Supé Costil, of course. Though it’s a bit odd, how that happened.”

“How?” demanded Cordé and Jar Jar together.

“It happened when Palpatine was twenty, and he was visiting her at the time. They went walked together just outside Theed one evening, and the next morning she was found dead with a knife in her chest and he was found unconscious next to her. He accused his father’s cousin of the murder-that she'd never remarried hadn't pleased the family either.”

“But surely if he was intending to kill her he would have done so long ago,” said Versé.

“Not only that, but he had an alibi supported by more than enough people that he was acquitted. I think he must have been innocent; after seeing his grandmother murdered, it should be hardly surprising that Palpatine’s memory might play tricks on him; I think his accounts of the murder were contradictory too. He may well truly believe Amro Costil killed her to this day. Especially since his parents were eventually murdered too.”

“I heard about that,” said Cordé. “It happened right after the invasion, didn’t it?”

Padmé nodded, and Versé said, “I watched my own family deal with that; I might not have been very old but I was old enough to pay attention. Obviously some members of the Costil family came under suspicion, but there wasn’t any true evidence against any of them. Or anyone else. And it was thoroughly investigated, so if the Costils killed them, I think we would know. We still don’t know what happened.”

“Poor man,” Padmé mused, and Jar Jar made a noise in agreement. “To lose that many family members in that way. I suppose that’s why he chose to stay on Coruscant now. He may still love Naboo, but he has to stay away from a few too many of its inhabitants.”

“Wow,” said Cordé. “Well, after hearing all this, I’m glad I come from an innocent bourgeoisie family. Oh dear, Padmé, what kind of life have you doomed your two nieces to?”