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07.28.2012 , 04:06 PM |
, Sorcerer/Sage Colran Niral, 1500 words, no plot spoilers.
14 BTC. Kaas City, Dromund Kaas.
"Brigs, what is this?"
Darth Ehran Niral was speaking to someone off the holo camera. Colran waited. Of course his father was going to play up the drama.
"My lord," said the someone, "when Colran called I - "
"Oh, it has a name, does it?"
Back when he was a Sith acolyte Colran would've felt ashamed, would've waited for permission to speak. Now, though: "Father. I'm coming to visit."
Ehran looked at his youngest son for one half-second of withering scorn. Then the holo image snapped off.
The Niral compound was some ways west of Dromund Kaas. Here, amidst his father and brothers, was where Colran would have to start his return to Sith society. The prospects of a Jedi padawan had been less than inspiring; from Dromund Kaas he could begin this crazy plan to start using his Sith influence for good. He could call the strange blue-eyed woman who had challenged him to try, let her know that at least one Sith was ready to help. But first he had to earn the right to reenter his own house.
He crested the ridge above the estate and saw a lot of guard activity around the gate. A welcoming party. He would just as soon skip butchering his own household guards. He parked his speeder and worked his way around the high wall to a back door. The right user could run a slick Force trick to access the catch in the gate and get in.
The estate was oddly quiet. Colran kept his hood up as he slipped into the house proper and started toward the heart of the building, the great Niral audience chamber.
When he first heard the crackle of Force lightning, he started running.
He rounded a corner of one hallway and saw several unmoving figures. Combat crashed someplace further in. Into the great hall's antechamber: people, fallen, everywhere. Guards in livery. Guards in unfamiliar armor. People in robes. He didn't have time to stop and examine, not with the sounds coming from the audience chamber.
He ran in and took quick stock. Four people lying unmoving on the floor. One crawling, lightsaber drawn in one hand, toward one of the still figures. No, not quite still. The wounded Sith with the saber was going for a killing blow on - the target lifted his head enough for Colran to see his face - none other than Darth Ehran Niral.
Colran didn't hesitate to reach forth and turn the crawling Sith's saber up into its bearer's face. A quick telekinetic push, a quick kill. Defense. Colran strode past the stranger and knelt next to his father.
Ehran was in bad shape. His aged face was livid, his expensive robes smelled scorched from the battle. He scowled fiercely at his son.
"You almost got something right," gasped Ehran. His first words to Colran in fifteen years. "Stripping my support, weakening my name in the city, getting the right people to turn a blind eye. I've been waiting for the blow. But you should've known better than to come yourself. Even wounded as I am, I can take a failure like you."
"I'm not here to fight you, father. What happened? Who are these people?"
"They're true Sith. I know why they're here. You, however, have no excuse to be in my house."
Colran scanned the room with his senses and picked up a poorly-masked ball of excitement nearby. He turned to a shadowy nook behind a pillar. "Come out. Who are you?"
A slim masked figure in either dense metallic armor or a mostly-cyborg body walked out into the light. "Colran the legendary Jedi,” it said in a feminine voice. “I wasn't expecting you. If you're not going to kill your father I'll have to ask you to step aside. I've worked too hard to get here."
"Darth Osetta," said Ehran.
"Ehran. I'm so sorry it took me so long to set up for this."
"After so many years of our little shadow dance, I thought you lacked the nerve."
"Not likely. Your eldest is dead at your gate, old man. Your second is dead in a pleasure house in Kaas City. Your third is dead in the antechamber here. Your youngest will fall soon. Then everything you have will be mine. Last I heard, you and the boy were on bad terms. Would you like to strike him down yourself?"
"I appreciate you leaving me that chance."
"Father, you don't mean that. If we band together we can - " Colran’s sentence ended in a grunt as Ehran shot one hand forward with a spear of lightning. It hit like fire and pain and...and life, somehow. Like something he had forgotten a long time ago, something bright and red and right.
Colran didn't strike at his father. Instead he backed off and pulled together the tremendous concentration to Force drag the strange woman into place squarely between Colran and Ehran. The old man's next lightning strike hit her, and she lashed back in kind. Good. Good. This Darth Osetta first, and then...then what had to happen would happen.
She absorbed Colran's initial attacks without so much as flinching, and she kept her attention and her unmerciful Force lightning stream on Ehran. Ehran fired back weakly, his Force demonstration spitting and nearly falling short.
Colran started throwing things. Decorations, the fallen useless blasters of the dead, anything that might damage her.
She put up a shield and sent a devastating, blinding burst of Force power at Ehran. Colran yelled wordlessly and, with a sudden strange ease, tore her shield aside to close crushing force around her mask and helmet. Enemy. Crush. Kill. This was the way.
He let Osetta fall and ran to kneel by Ehran’s side. His father’s Force aura was weak, getting weaker, with raw damage far beyond what mere blades could have dealt.
"Don't...touch me," said Ehran, before Colran could set a healing hand on him. "I don't know...why you returned...and...I don't care."
"Be quiet. I'll get you fixed up."
”Don't. touch. me.”
Stars strike me down,
if I ever treat my child as you’ve treated me.
He had expected he would have to play this by anger. He had been right. “I'm not here to beg your approval, father, I'm here because I finally have a use for this house's resources. I just didn't expect it all to leap into my lap when I arrived on planet. Anything useful you want to tell me before I remake House Niral?"
“It pains me...to die, knowing that...that I have only you to carry my name...
"I’ll enjoy undoing the horrors you’ve dedicated your life to, father. Goodbye." Colran laid his carefully practiced control over the running current of his anger, and he set his hand on his father's forehead and pressed rest there. Darth Ehran's wounds would kill him this night, but he wouldn't be suffering for it.
Then Colran reached to his father's side and claimed his lightsaber.
Eight years an apprentice, seven a padawan, and here is the first weapon I can call my own. Jedi build their own first sabers...but Sith take them.
Brigs crawled into the doorway. "My lord," he said weakly.
Colran wiped his eyes and ran to kneel beside his family's most faithful servant. "Brigs. You okay?"
A little blood was trickling down Brigs' temple. He was an average man of average build, tending into an average sort of middle age, but his determination and loyalty were unmatched. "She knocked me aside. Wasn't even allowed to fight. I'm sorry."
"You couldn't have stopped her." Colran firmly pushed Brigs to the ground and commenced the Force meditation to ease and heal his head wound. There would be no lasting damage, except to the man's pride. "How much can you tell me? Did you see who else came in?"
"Darth Osetta, five apprentices, some soldiers. I summoned the guard. Your brother Fyne fell at the gate. Took two apprentices with him. Your brother Lendlan stood with me, here. But Osetta came in with her three. They knocked me out. If you killed her people in there, then any remaining enemies on the grounds would be mere gunmen."
“I missed my brothers by less than an hour, then.” Not that their welcome would have been any warmer than Ehran’s.
“Seems that way. I’m sorry, my lord.” Brigs examined his face. “You’ve grown a bit since last I saw you. I don’t know what brought you back, but I’m glad to see you. This place needs a Niral.”
Colran sprang to his feet when he heard someone running down the hall. But the guard captain who appeared was in Niral livery. He looked uncertainly at Colran, waited until he saw Brigs' nod, then saluted smartly. "My lord. The grounds are secure. Is Darth Ehran...?"
"Darth Ehran has fallen, as have Lords Fyne and Lendlan. But the attacker is dead." Colran finally pulled his hood back. "I don't know if you remember me, captain, but I am Colran Niral. I'm in charge now."
My Warrior Ruth never knew her father’s family, and perhaps that’s just as well. They were evil. They got screwed in another standard Sith power play, another part of their membership in the Sith system. Eventually Colran and Ruth will get screwed for trying not to be part of the Sith system. In summary, being Sith is really depressing!
Darth Ehran would’ve approved of his granddaughter’s career rise and fiercely disapproved of how she insisted on being merciful and reasonable the first 90% of the way.
I just remembered that Ruth will inherit this house after Colran dies. I’d better figure out what she does with it. She could hang out there in her spare time. It really is prime brooding real estate: an old house half lost in darkly overgrown gardens under a perpetual twilit rainfall.
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