Chapter Five: Accommodations
Lorrik managed to make his way to the new residence. The Saarai suites were housed in a completely different wing of the Academy than the students had previously studied. In fact it was in a wing the acolytes were rarely permitted to enter. Built since the reclamation of Korriban and its Academy by the true Sith, it was all new architecture featuring the most innovation you could find on the planet outside of the large planetary defense systems installed outside the borders of the school. High ceilings and wide halls replaced cramped pathways.
Cool, dark metals replaced carved stone. Lights of red, purple, and white lined the surfaces that embraced the advent of electronics and technology. Beautiful tile, smooth as the most luxurious starship deck, replaced the lackluster rock that once graced the undersides of the acolytes’ boots.
The biggest difference lied in the area’s general occupants. Instead of droves of gray acolytes, actual Imperial officers on Academy business bustled across the halls. A cloaked figure would emerge from a shadow only to disappear once again in another. The traveling inquisitor actually saw an honest to goodness red energy field blocking a doorway. Dragging his locker full of possessions, taking in the sights, Lorrik finally realized that he had finally moved up. In status and in literal terms. He had to ascend a stairway to find his new quarters.
Lorrik’s journey ended in a hallway possessing doors to rooms that seemed separated by vast amounts of space. He did not even need to look at his datapad to see which room was his, as Jresh leaning against the wall near one of the doors was enough of a hint.
“Is this it?” Lorrik asked, his attention focused on the immense door rather than his patiently waiting companion.
“Correct, I wanted to wait until you were here before venturing in,” Jresh stated.
The inquisitor contemplated what possible reasons his partner could have had for the stay of entrance. The bigger question on his mind, however, dealt with Jresh’s lack of belongings. The only things in his possession were the robes on his back and the training saber at his side.
“Didn’t you pack your things?” Lorrik asked.
The warrior lightly shook his head. “This is the start of a new life. All of my belongings were those of a lowly acolyte, no longer needed. I gave away anything of significance and left everything else where it was.” Removing himself from the wall, Jresh took note the luggage Lorrik had been dragging. “What did you bring?”
“The datapad and info cards I use for recreational study,” Lorrik answered. “Tomes of knowledge. Techniques and practices of various Sith arts. Anything regarding Sith Sorcery that I was able to procure over the years. That and some spare robes to keep things from rattling around in there.”
Jresh offered a quick, singular nod. “Well, I will not fault you for keeping such things.”
Relieved that his partner approved of his belongings, Lorrik approached the door. Stopping just short of the apartment’s control panel, the inquisitor looked at the similar doors further down the hallway.
“These rooms. Do you know if any belong to the other students?” Lorrik asked.
Jresh offered another quick nod. “Yes, I saw the others enter their respective rooms a short while ago. It seems our master has provided us all with adjacent residences. One to our left, and two across from us.”
“Hmm. First thing I’m doing inside ours is checking for air vents,” Lorrik said as he read the door code from his new datapad. The immense door rose into its ceiling recess, revealing the splendorous dwelling that waited behind its boundaries.
The word lavish immediately came to mind. Ornately designed tile and wall panels adorned with fantastically woven rugs and draperies. The entrance opened into a large common room, containing a meditation area and a set of desks. To the left, a kitchen and dining area. To the right, two bedrooms. Lorrik rushed into the main room with excitement, setting his baggage beside one of the desks before storming into each of the rooms. Jresh sauntered into the living room, even he unable to repress his look of surprise.
“Can you believe it? Our own rooms! Within our own quarters! Restrooms that aren’t fifty meters away from the bed!” Lorrik cheered as he dashed from one of the bedrooms.
Maintaining his calm, the warrior patiently surveyed the room, passing his gaze over the various amenities. “We should find everything there is two of, and decide which belongs to whom.”
“Look! A kitchen!” Lorrik shouted, ignoring his partner’s recommendation.
Jresh watched as the inquisitor darted into the quaint kitchen area, an overjoyed expression upon the Human’s face. “Lorrik, please calm yourself.”
“I’m sorry, but we never saw anything like this back in the inquisitors’ hall,” Lorrik stated. His eyes now set towards discovering the chilled mysteries resting within the confines of the kitchen’s conservator, the inquisitor lost his grip on his short-term memory. As Lorrik eagerly clutched the tall icebox’s handle with his right hand, he let out an awful yelp.
“What was that about?” Jresh asked, recovering from the assault that just beset his ears.
Lorrik returned to the main room, clutching his injured hand with his slightly less injured hand. “Minor burns, nothing to worry about.”
Jresh’s eyes widened for a brief moment before settling back to their normal state. “You burned your hand on a conservator? Syrosk has laid quite the devious trap.”
“No. These were from earlier. Had a quick run in with a petty acolyte back in my old quarters. Took my training saber, so I had to use these,” Lorrik explained showing his palms. “Burnt one with the saber, burnt the other with a Force technique.”
“Defended yourself against an armed opponent whilst you yourself were unarmed, did you? Good work,” Jresh offered, the smallest touch of warmth shining through his stoicism. Lorrik could not help but crack a smile. “Now I can forestall the duel I had planned to gauge your abilities.”
Suddenly, Lorrik’s smile faded.
“Are you done shouting yet?” a female’s voice shout from beyond the residence’s walls. It was that of Arlia in the next suite over.
Staring toward the bedrooms, Lorrik began gently scratching his chin. “Walls must be pretty thin if we can hear each other from here. Oh well. At least those two are our neighbors instead of the Lizard and Horn-face.”
“Horn-face isn’t the Zabrak?” Jresh asked.
“No, the Nikto.” Lorrik answered.
The Pureblood offered a subtle arch of his brow. “Perhaps you should put a little more thought into your nicknames, then.”
“Whatever you say, Whiskers,” Lorrik warmly replied . Jresh offered only a vacant stare. “Now you. Think of one for me.”
“I don’t know…”
“It’s okay. I give you permission to make fun of my species.”
“No, I meant that we don’t really resort to calling Humans derogatory names. You’re usually so unremarkable that we just let you belittle yourselves via your actions,” Jresh stated with an eerily positive tone.
“Funny,” Lorrik said, deadpan. “Especially coming from someone whose probably got plenty of Human blood in his ancestry.”
The Pureblood offered a quick shrug. “I am not entirely without humor or humility.”
“Considering we are of the two species that make up the majority of the Imperial populace, a little humility wouldn’t hurt. Well, how about we divide up the amenities?” Lorrik asked, jutting his thumb toward the desks along the back wall. Picking his luggage up from the floor, the inquisitor set it atop the left desk, closest to the kitchen area. “I’ll take this one.”
“Fine by me,” Jresh stated.
“Left desk, so I guess I’ll take the left bedroom as well. Keeps things even,” Lorrik said, pointing to the room closest to the back wall.
As the inquisitor lowered his hand, something caught his eye on the wall between the two bedrooms. An unassuming, yet substantially large, trunk rested on the floor. Twitching his head toward the container, Lorrik beckoned his companion to take a look with him. Containing no lock, all it required was a simple lift of the lid.
And lifted the lid was. A barely audible squeak emanated from Lorrik as he recognized the prizes inside. Robes. New outfits relevant to a new status. The black garments were quickly retrieved and studied by the two acolytes.
For the warrior, black with red trim. For the inquisitor, black with purple trim. By all accounts, the two outfits appeared relatively the same. Tight fitting robes, not dissimilar from his previous uniform, covered the torso and legs. The material, however, was much more resilient, but no less flexible, and utterly capable of conforming to any humanoid shape the Academy would harbor in its students.
The gloves and boots accompanying the robes were a fine departure. Pulled over the underlying garb, the accessories possessed moderate armoring, with disjointed plates providing ample protection. To top it all off, a coat to accentuate the outer layer. It was no cloak, with its sleeves ending at the elbow and tail bottoming out at the knees, but its neck went straight into a familiar hood. The outfit was finished with a sash to serve as the belt, to be used to bind the coat closed if so desired. Every fold or edge of cloth usually came with an adornment of colored trim.
Lorrik laid his new attire out on the floor, lining up the various garments as they would appear in relation to each other. Jresh, meanwhile, simply moves the folded clothes and accessories from the trunk to beside his bedroom entrance. The inquisitor gawked at his laid out attire, mouth agape in astonishment. For the first time, truly speechless. It didn’t last, however.
“He can say we’re not his apprentices yet all he wants, but these are not the clothes of an acolyte,” Lorrik stated. “I’m going to go try them on.”
The inquisitor was about to bend down to collect his new clothes, but suddenly rose as if stuck by realization. Rushing over to his own footlocker, the inquisitor quickly punched in the code to unlock it. Rooting around his belongings, the Human returned a moment later holding a trinket in his hand. The light caught the red pyramid in a such a way to aggrandize its appearance.
“You have a holocron?” Jresh asked, showing the first hint of genuine surprise Lorrik had ever seen from him. The inquisitor was tempted to play a quick game with his companion, but decided it was a time for honesty.
“No, it’s actually just a souvenir I picked up,” Lorrik stated, tapping the trinket’s surface with his finger, eliciting an sharp clink. “But, hey, I was thinking. You remember the task Lord Syrosk gave us?”
“Are you saying that fake holocron is something you hold dear?” Jresh asked.
“Well, it may not be worth anything really, but to me it represents my quest for knowledge. It’s one of the few things I’ve got, so I figure it’d be the best,” Lorrik said, somewhat abashedly.
“I applaud you for picking the object with sentimental value over your properties that possess actual worth,” Jresh stated. “If those datacards contain the types of information I assume they do, don’t let someone take them away from you. Not me. Not anybody.”
“Well considering those are the only things I own, it wasn’t much of a choice,” Lorrik plainly said. The inquisitor tilted his head as a new thought entered it. “Wait a sec. If you left all your belongings behind, you don’t have anything to give me do you?”
The Pureblood remained rigid, stoic, as he gazed upon his inquisitive partner. “I guess not.”
“That was part of the reason you did it, right?” Lorrik asked, seeking to confirm his suspicions.
“Correct. While I have nothing physical to give you, I hope you realize you have my respect and trust for the time being,” Jresh stated. “As for the task, I have nothing to give you, so you will have nothing to present to our master, and that is how it will have to be.”
“Now that you think about it, Sith training and all, that’s probably the way to go about it,” Lorrik said, looking dearly at the holocron in his hand. After a deep breath, the inquisitor tossed the trinket to his partner. “Oh well. At least this way, one of us will be correct. If one half of the team must succeed, it may as well be you.”
As the room fell quiet, Lorrik gathered his belongings and relocated to his new bedroom. Jresh stood in silence for but a moment before retreated to his bedroom as well, new robes in tow. Passing though the automatic door, the warrior partially understood the excitement Lorrik possessed. The room was a thing of luxury, at least for anyone who had spent numerous years as a lowly acolyte. A full-sized bed, covered with ornately designed sheets, softer than anything the warrior had ever touched in his recent life.
To the left of the room’s entrance, a closet nearly stretching the entirety of the wall’s length. To the right, the chamber’s private bathroom, containing a tub, toilet, and additional standing-glass shower. The black tiles, wall panels, and equipment of the room further served the quarter’s darkened aesthetic. Placing his new set of robes in the proper recess, Jresh returned to the suite’s main room.
In the center of the common room, the open area between the wall near the entrance and the far wall occupied by desks, there rest a single circular rug. Magnificent in size and decoration, the dark mat bore countless Sith sigils and patterns in bright red. Standing in its center, Jresh couldn’t help but feel odd. It prompted equal parts peace and chaos. Provoked and invoked thought.
Now kneeling, the warrior unhooked the training saber from his belt and laid it in front of him. After a pause, he also placed the gifted holocron before him as well. On his knees, Jresh neatly folded his hands upon his lap and closed his eyes. Ignoring what sounded like a faucet from Lorrik’s room, the Pureblood became rapt in meditation. Time slowed in the meditator’s mind and his surroundings washed away. Alone, in an empty realm, Jresh was at peace.
After a quick shower, Lorrik felt the cleanest he had been in quite some time. Rejuvenated, the inquisitor promptly began dressing himself with his new robes. More complex that he had originally foreseen, the entire process proved to be rather time consuming, but Lorrik would not stop until his clothes were perfectly set.
The underlying robes felt awkward as the inquisitor adorned them using the same technique as his regular acolyte robes. Realizing different folds in different directions were needed, he eventually reached a point where they felt flawless. Next came the coat. No buttons or fasteners meant it had to be worn completely open, or secured by the provided sash. Coat on, hood up, and belt applied. The opening on the coat appeared as an upside-down teardrop, with the interior trim rounding around the wearer’s face and tapering toward a point behind the sash, beneath which the coat continued to the knees.
The gloves and boots possessed the most weight to them. The material was thick, but not thick enough to inherently limit the wearer’s dexterity. The back of the hand was protected by a black armored plate covering the area between the knuckles and the wrist. The glove continued close to the elbow, where belted fasteners on the forearm could secure the loose material, keeping the gloves from slipping off.
The boots slipped on easily enough, becoming snug only after the attached buckles were manipulated to remove the slack. More plates covered the boots’ toes and shins. The shin guards extended past the actual boot material, protecting the wearer’s knees. Suited up, the inquisitor moved awkwardly as he got used to the additional weight at the end of his limbs.
“What do you think?” Lorrik asked, emerging from his quarters. As the inquisitor awaited a response, he saw his kneeling companion take a deep breath. In front of the meditating Sith, a training sabre hovered completely vertical, with an upside down holocron balancing on the upper tip. Slowly opening his eyes, the warrior brought the floating objects to a rest on the ground before him.
When Jresh finally turned toward his companion, he could see him frozen in front of the doorway, striking a pose. The inquisitor was turned to his side, with hands raised like claws, mentally prepared to unleash a torrent of Force energy.
Jresh slowly looked up and down his partner’s posed figure. “’What do I think?’ You are definitely going to have to be more specific.”