[Super busy weekend so a short installment. I will have a very lengthy one for you guys on Friday
"Xerrin stop, you are not yourself!" My double edged blade clashed violently against Xerrin's singular one. Whatever the Voss had done to her had made her stronger, much stronger.
"You are a traitor to the Jedi order," she said in a flat tone.
Damn. She would need healing and a great deal of it. I broke away from her attack, taking a quick step backwards to put some distance between. Our blades hummed in the silence of the cave. I doubted I could use any of my force abilities here; there was a void, a cold sucking energy that acted like a shield against the force. I would have to defeat her with my martial skill alone.
Xerrin was a patient fighter. She gave me reprieve long enough to remove my Jedi robe. No sooner had it touched the ground and I'd adjusted my grip on the hilt of my saber then her quick footwork brought her back into my space. I danced back, deflecting her blade, spinning mine to try to take her hand. I detested purposefully trying to harm her but I had no choice. Nothing I attempted couldn't be repaired and I knew when her mind returned she'd thank me for it.
Of course, my attack didn't work. Her blade was like the spokes of a wheel in its quick circular attacks, the perfect stance to defend and exploit the movement of my double edge blade. Once more she got in too close for comfort, but before I could dance out of the way her first caught my face. I stumbled at the incredible impact of her strike, heard her blade hiss towards my neck and went with my own momentum to somersault across the floor away from her. I came to my feet and she was there, barely getting my saber up in time to stop hers from punching a hole through my chest.
"Don't let them use you this way Xerrin," I gasped. The air was thick and heavy in this cavern. It did not bode well for a prolonged match of endurance. Sweat threatened to block my vision as I arched my body away from her swinging point at my mid section. I backed up another step, breathing hard.
"Fight it," I implored her. "You're stronger than this."
I might as well have been talking to the Emperor. She didn't stop, in fact her motions became faster and I had no choice but to engage. It was a deadly if not elegant dance as my footwork took me one step in, another out, the constant hum of our blades a mantra that was interrupted every time they collided. She had me entirely on the defensive something I knew I had to change quickly if I wanted to survive. But whereas I was tiring, the blocking of the force seeming to drain my energy with every parry, she moved like she was a machine. The breaks in our rhythm came from me, and she'd only give me a second before she attacked again.
She held her saber one handed, slamming it in one perfect back and forth arc against my own. Her next strike slid off my blade, the point of her saber honing in on my shoulder. I quickly spun around, twirling my blade around me to protect me from the vulnerable position such a move left me in. But as soon as I rounded to face her again, her foot caught me in the stomach, her saber arched high to drive right into my head anticipating I would double over. Instead I took the hit, ignoring the pain, the loss of breath, snapped my blade up to deflect her strike and sent the opposite point across her thigh. She blanched, stumbling. Instead of pressing the attack I was forced to break and gasp in a breath.
She recovered far too quickly. What had they done to her, I silently questioned as our blades collided again. My concern for her mind was a luxury at the moment I couldn't hang onto though. She moved like she had no injury, whereas my muscles ached and strained to keep up with the pace of our deadly dance.
Her next strike sliced my saber in half. In the next heartbeat I felt the hot burning sensation of my right hand being severed. Ironic that she would complete a move I'd tried moments ago. My harsh sound of pain ripped free as I dropped to one knee. Grim determination on her face, Xerrin towered over me.
I stared up at her. "Don't do this. You know what it will do Laresa. What it will do you. You've got to fight it."
Voss magic is powerful. Too powerful. My words were a fool's errand. But, I felt no sense of defeat. My children had escaped and that had been my primary purpose for coming here. I felt confident they would find a way off this planet and get back to Laresa. Hopefully in enough time to stop any more bloodshed.
I closed my eyes and prepared for the inevitable. I would have liked to reach out to Nadia, Laresa too but I doubted they could feel it. Still, I tired regardless, in the hope that my love for them would be strong enough.
"I'm sorry, Elliah," Xerrin said quietly.
Her words had barely died on the cavern air when her saber pierced my heart.
Fury Class Imperial Interceptor
The Crystal Vanguard
The image of Elliah is what brought me awake. When my eye snapped open though it was not his face I saw but Reide's.
"Welcome back," she said and I could hear the relief in her tone. I shared her sentiment, it was a great weight off my heart she was all right.
Quickly, the events that had transpired before my injury had robbed me of consciousness came flooding back. I sat up with a slight a wince. My injury was still sore, but it was nothing a few more kolto injections wouldn't heal.
"Update?" I asked, swinging out of the med bay bed I was currently in.
"The same dead ******es we found on your ship attacked Lancoro at a Cantina on Coruscant. They killed Mako and took him. Vette's here, apparently the same happened on Vanceto's ship."
This news did not bode well for my temperament. I felt my anger quickly surge, covering a mothers fear. With great control I tempered it back. "Veltana?"`
"We don't know. I haven't been able to get **** information from Drummond Kaas."
I nodded. That was information I could gather after I'd spoken to Vette about what had transpired on Vanceto's ship. "Elliah?" I asked as I slid on my Sith robe.
"Nadia sent me a message that he went to meet with Gaden-Ko. That was about twelve hours ago though. She hasn't heard from him since."
"The Voss?" I frowned and Reide nodded. "Do we know why he contacted Elliah?"
"Nadia claims he didn't say," Reide said.
Before we could discuss anything further Vette appeared in Med Bay. She looked like she'd just come from battle, and I could feel the fear and worry that emanated from her.
"We've got an incoming transmission," Vette said.
Nodding, I quickly followed her out of med bay. I had noticed that both Jaesa and Pierce were in Kolto tanks but I would inquire about their status later. Reide behind me, I followed Vette into the main hold of my ship and stood in front of my holo-terminal. I quickly pressed the button to receive the incoming transmission.
I wish I hadn't.
The first thing that played was a recorded video and my fury mounted with each passing second I watched Elliah fight Xerrin. And then I watched him die. A violent hiss parted my lips, my hands bunching to fists at my sides. The video stopped and Xerrin's image appeared.
"Your children have shared Elliah's fate. Out of respect, I will not make you watch their deaths," Xerrin said.
I couldn't feel them. I couldn't feel them
. There was nothing where they should be which meant she was telling the truth. The next sound that left my mouth was one of pure anguish. I didn't even know I had fallen to one knee. Reide moved in front of me, shielding me, blocking me from Xerrin's gaze.
"Why Xerrin?" I heard her ask.
"The Sith Empire is a disease on the galaxy. Your oppression cannot be continued."
"Who the frak do you think you're talking to? Since when are we the Sith Empire?" Reide all but shouted.
"You share it's ideals. You have no love of law, democracy or peace."
Xerrin had killed them. After everything I'd done to atone for my sins, after sharing the battlefield with me against the Emperor, she'd betrayed me as well as any Sith. Better in fact. And my children, oh gods my children
, those precious, precious lives had suffer the consequence. As the reality of it all came crashing down on me, my heart simply shattered. I have never felt the darkside of the force as strongly as I did in those moments; my agony channeled so very quickly into hate.
I surged to my feet, violently shoving Reide out of the way and slammed my hands on the terminal. "Then I will solve your problem," I hissed. "I will burn every city, every planet that swears allegiance to your Jedi, your Republic," I spat, the names a venom on my tongue. "And you Jedi will suffer greatly before I allow you to die."
"Then you leave me no choice," Xerrin said.
"No," I snarled. "You had a choice. Now every second you live is a gift." I killed the connection with the lightening that suddenly burst from my fingers. Never had I been able to conjure its power before. But I felt so much different now.
Reide backed up a step, not scared, shocked. "Laresa-"
"Laresa..." She came closer to me and I held out my hand to stop her. Except she wasn't afraid of me, even though now she should be. Regardless, she wrapped her arms around me tightly. For just a second I sunk into her. I let her hold my weight and let something inside of me quietly die.
There was no trace of weakness in my tone when I said, "Enough."
Reide pulled away, and nodded once at me. She was my only blood family. All that I had left. And I realized with a cold bitterness that if I had listened to her in the beginning, if I'd given up my foolish quest to earn back the affection of a Jedi - Elliah, my children, perhaps even Quinn, none of them would be dead. It didn't matter what I'd done, Xerrin saw me as nothing but a Sith.
I had embraced the darkside and yet I'd still fought it. No more. It was time I became what I truly was. Reide deserved to know I was worthy to lead what was left of my family and my children would have vengeance.
I whirled to lock my gaze on Vette. "If you are not prepared to serve a Sith Lord get off my ship."
I could feel Vette's volatile emotions. She was by turns devastated and furious. She took a step forward, meeting my gaze evenly. "I loved him," she said quietly. "He knew but... he deserved to hear it from me."
Once I had shielded Vette from the darker nature of revenge. Now, I wanted her to embrace it. "Stand with me. We will avenge him together. I will not let her get away with this."
"I know you won't," Vette said sincerely. She stepped next to me. Ready. I nodded once, pleased.
"Reide, find Gaden-Ko. I wish to know what he told Elliah. Vette, take us to Drummond Kaas. It is time the Wrath took her rightful place as head of the Empire."