Opening Remarks: After much deliberation, editing, and frustration, I'm finally posting this. It's primarily a Sith Warrior story, so expect spoilers for that storyline throughout. Chapters in which other class stories are mentioned will be spoiler tagged, although I'm trying to avoid major spoilers for other classes as much as possible.
"Afterimages" officially begins six months after the conclusion of Chapter Three. Dates are noted at the beginning of each chapter, as we will be doing some flashing back.
Okay, enough notes. Here's the story. Please be warned that the prologue contains some rather messed up behavior by a Sith.
Dhakar Estate, Dromund Kaas
Nine-year-old K’hera Dhakar held the training saber carefully in her left hand. Her golden eyes narrowed as she held the blade still for a moment, studying its length, as though imagining that it were a real lightsaber. Then she launched into a complex series of movements, her small face a mask of concentration.
As she finished the pattern, she looked up to see her mother standing in the doorway of the practice room. Safiel Dhakar regarded her with a critical eye.
“Passable,” the older Pureblood said dismissively. “I hope you’ve practiced with your right hand, as well.”
“Of course,” K’hera said indignantly.
Obediently, K’hera switched the training saber to her other hand and performed another pattern. Despite her best efforts, the movements were noticeably less elegant.
“Not good enough,” her mother snapped. She walked towards her daughter, glowering. “Give me your hand,” she demanded.
K’hera warily held out her left hand.
Safiel took hold of her wrist and gave a sharp twist. There was an audible cracking sound as the bones snapped.
K’hera gasped in pain, dropping the training saber. It took all of her concentration to keep tears from welling up in her eyes—she would not give her mother the satisfaction of seeing her cry.
“There,” Safiel said with a small, cruel smile. She nodded towards the training saber. “Pick that up, and keep practicing until you’re just as good with your off hand.” She exited the room, robes swirling around her.
K’hera watched her go, pain and hatred surging within her.
Rage gives me power, she thought.
Her face settled into an expression of determination, and the training saber lifted off the floor and flew into her hand.
19 years later
Aboard the Fury-class starship Alecto
A’tro looked at her left hand, cautiously flexing her wrist. Thankfully, it wasn’t broken this time, just sprained. She did not have time to wait for a break to heal, and she fought far more effectively with two lightsabers than with one. A few kolto injections had set her well on the way to recovery, although her wrist was still a bit stiff.
She had left K’hera Dhakar behind two years ago—only two years, but it felt like a lifetime. There was no escaping the past entirely, however, as her injury could testify. She clearly remembered the first time she had broken that particular bone. Had her mother truly believed that she was doing her a favor, or was she simply being cruel to her least favorite daughter?
After that first break, and the injuries that followed, the end result was a left hand that was weaker than the right. It was almost funny.
A’tro remembered telling the story almost a year ago, back when Jaesa had first joined the crew. She remembered her audience’s reactions: Vette was horrified; Jaesa was uncertain, as always, tentative to offer an opinion; Quinn was elsewhere, silent. But he was watching, always watching.
A’tro scowled at her wrist. After two days of kolto it was mostly healed, but it still hurt. She was starting to regret her decision to forgo any pain medication.
Maybe it’s all in my mind, she thought grumpily. Either way, I deserve it. That’s what I get for being a fool.
A’tro looked up to see Jaesa hovering anxiously at the door to the medbay. The young woman could probably sense A’tro’s bad mood. Normally, the Sith was good at keeping her temper in check, but today she thought she just might snap if anyone dared push her.
“Yes, Jaesa?” A’tro said quietly.
“Quinn says we’ll be on Corellia in six hours, master. I thought you might want to know.”
“Thank you.” A’tro headed for the door. “I’ll be in my quarters until then. Don’t disturb me.”
“Yes, Master,” Jaesa said. She frowned. “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but…are you all right? You don’t seem like yourself. Did something happen—“
“Everything’s fine,” A’tro snapped, cutting her off. She brushed past her apprentice and headed for her room. Once there, she locked the door behind her and sat down heavily on the bed, resting her head in her good hand.
“I’m a fool,” she whispered. “A damned sentimental fool.”
This is all my fault, she thought. I tried, but in the end I was too weak. Why couldn’t I just finish it?
With a flick of the Force, she turned off the lights, and sat staring bleakly into the darkness.
Rage gives me power. But I wasn’t strong enough to do what needed to be done.
Closing Remarks: Hope you enjoyed. Future chapters are longer. Updates will be sporadic, but I'll try to keep it going. Also, I may change the title once I come up with one that makes more sense. We'll see. I'm bad with titles.
Made me tear up. What a way to treat a nine year old. Anyway good stuff!