Ruth means Compassion: A warrior’s tale
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08.11.2012 , 07:29 PM |
Line 3. Protection, 3
July, 28 ATC – 17 years after the confirmation of the Wrath
Lord Scourge stood in an emptiness apart from the physical world. He leaned into the lightless void of the Emperor’s presence, directing hate and will like twin blades against the ancient being’s spiritual form. Opposite him he finally felt Larr Gith joining them. She burned with a purpose he hadn’t sensed in her in years. For perhaps the first time she seemed to have it under control: a brilliant, fine control, as she took up her place and began to oppose the creeping darkness.
“He calculated that reveal to weaken you,” Scourge said.
“He calculated it for a teenager who never saw what devotion looks like. Mighta gotten me to melt down last time I faced him.” She flared brighter, and Lord Scourge sensed the Emperor’s pain and anger at the attack. “Not now. Let’s clean this up.”
“I am not convinced the two of us can. But if we can weaken him enough, the Rakatan trap may work.”
There were four guards pressing Ruth around Rylon and another one standing by, saber drawn, eager to go in. She had lost one saber. Six people trying to kill her, where Rylon by himself was very nearly her match, and she was losing both blood and power by the minute.
There was no way Quinn could clear the rest of the guards fast enough. He had to get them away from Ruth so she could go on to fight the Emperor, but no demonstration he could make would distract more than one or two. He had to get Rylon clear, too, if he could. Rylon. The guards had talked about preserving him. They valued him. Rylon was the center of these guards’ mission. The Emperor had plans for Rylon.
Ruth took another hit. One of the Sith slammed down against her guard and bore her to her knees. Another brought his saber down on her right arm. Rylon himself prepared for what was to be a finishing blow. No time left.
Quinn charged up the reserves of his blaster rifle, took careful aim, and shot his son in the back.
Once, twice, thrice. Rylon cried out in shock. Everyone in the melee looked over to where Quinn stood. Then several things happened at once: Rylon fell down, Lord Scourge roared “Ruth, NOW!” and several of the guards yelled things and Ruth herself, wounded, staggering, howled something he couldn’t make out. “Trust me,” he shouted, as loud as he could, but he didn’t know whether she could hear.
Ruth struggled, but she was holding. She would not break. The Force would guide her, and she would preserve what had to be preserved. Even through Rylon’s overpowering hit, the strike that burned feeling out of her good arm, she could hold on to something. She could manage.
Until Quinn shot her son.
The last shred of her discipline was consumed in turning to answer Lord Scourge’s desperate call. She forced herself to limp to join Larr Gith and Lord Scourge in surrounding the thick dark mostly man-shaped cloud. Her heart shrieked for blood.
She forgot her focused defenses, her mental shield. Those were useless. Quinn had turned on her, again, as she had always known he would. Straight past reason, straight past any assurance she could give herself about his motives, beyond argument or defense, she had known. Of course he would murder his son before jeopardizing the mission. Of course he would do it like that, a cowardly shot in the back. Trying to love him in spite of that inborn treachery only made her a fool.
She couldn’t even kill him yet, not until she had removed the reason that had forced that treachery back to the surface. The Emperor. He had taken Rylon; now she had only fury. She threw her awareness forward at the Emperor’s darkness. Absolute rage fueled her – rage for whatever manipulation he had done, for knowing exactly how to hurt her. Rage because maybe he hadn’t manipulated anything at all.
Light Side be damned. “Let us end this.” She wasn’t sure whether it was Lord Scourge or herself talking.
“Get the young Wrath to the medbay!” one of the red Sith was repeating. Ruth, too wounded to lift a saber, limped off toward Lord Scourge and the Emperor. Quinn aimed and gunned down the guard who followed her. The remaining four were clustered around Rylon, who was suddenly, furiously fighting them, struggling to get free of their restraining hands. “Let me go! Let me at her!”
“Kolto pack here, somebody, now,” yelled one of the guards. “He’s bleeding hard, he’ll kill himself at this rate.”
Not what Quinn had intended. The injury was meant to be alarming, yes, but something that wouldn’t kill Rylon outright. Just enough to grab attention and stop combat temporarily.
“Come with us, my lord,” said another guard. “He wants you alive and whole.”
“I’ll kill her,” yelled Rylon, twisting and kicking while they dragged him toward the far door.
Quinn could do no more good from back here. Ruth was covered by the dark film of the Emperor’s engagement; the red guard was about to carry off Rylon, he didn’t know where. It was possible the Emperor would be too distracted to pull additional people under his command. Quinn had to hope. He raised his rifle, shot one of the guards clinging to Rylon. The boy freed an arm, seized someone’s lightsaber, cut down a guard himself, practically foaming in his fury. “Let me go! I’ll kill her!”
Quinn kept walking. Two guards left, and Rylon was armed and furious. Wounded, not quite standing up straight, but armed and furious. Quinn shot another of Rylon’s opponents.
Rylon ran the last guard through and then smiled a bright brittle smile. “Father,” he said in a scratchy voice, “much obliged.” He turned, seemingly only a little inconvenienced by his gaping injuries, to pursue Ruth.
Quinn was faster. He took another few rapid steps, raised a dart gun at short range, delivered a shot of a sedative. Not much, but enough to temporarily inconvenience. Rylon kept on toward Ruth. Quinn grabbed his arm and hauled back. The boy seized his wrist and nearly snapped it forcing it away, but in a few more seconds he would be weak enough to work with. Quinn pulled Rylon’s saber from his hand, eased him to the ground, and brought out a kolto pack to tend to the blaster wounds.
“I’ll kill her,” Rylon said groggily.
“I can’t let you do that, son,” said Quinn. “Hold still.”
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