Chapter Sixteen: Seers (Part Two)
Lord Omnus walked the streets of the Imperial capital with usual stoicism, hands behind his back as the raggedy alien carefully kept pace on his trail. The child’s gaze darted from side to side as he observed his surroundings, growing increasingly uncomfortable being out in the open. More and more eyes fell upon him. More and more whispers began to creep into his mind. Meanwhile his master continued his stroll unfazed.
“You feel it, don’t you?” Omnus’ words rang out in the alien’s head. “The attention. The burden. You’ve never stepped out into the light, have you? At least, not so far as you can remember. You can hear their thoughts. None of them positive. You are an alien. An animal. A scourge. Most Imperials believe you have no place in our superior society. I’ve no patience for excessive inclusion, but I do believe in talent above all else. Above social status. Above genealogy. Above tradition. As my apprentice, I will impart upon you the training necessary to harness your skills. If I am mistaken about your potential, I’ll not hesitate to cast you back into the shadows.”
The child’s attention focused on his master, ignoring the numerous stares offered by Imperial passersby. Looking upon the back of the Human’s head, the whispers slowly began to quiet as he regained control of his mental senses.
“The road that lays before you is long and hazardous. You’ll face just as many enemies within the Empire as you would outside its borders. They will try to beat you, keep you down, but the path of hardship leads toward the unlocking of your full potential. It will fuel your passion, which will give you strength. With strength comes power. With power comes victory. With victory comes freedom. But one can only earn as much by harnessing the power of the Force.”
Nestled deep within the Citadel rest a sanctum, tucked away from the offices and dwellings of Sith who felt the need for grandiose displays of their positions. Lord Omnus’ home within Dromund Kaas. A quaint accommodation, the area spoke of its owner. Lightly decorated, eschewing the typical lavishness exhibited by some of his peers. Six rooms: Entry hall, living area, dining area, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom. A place gifted to someone in good standing. A place earned by merit of its owner’s value.
Sitting at the head of the dining table, the alien sat patiently, waiting for his master’s return as he eyed the empty placemat in front of him. Soft noises emanated from kitchen, the clangs of metal containers and dishes. The boy was starving, but silently he endured, sitting in his tattered black clothes. Eventually his master would emerge, bearing a single bowl.
Lord Omnus placed the dish in front of his apprentices. The child’s eye began to water as the warm vapors of the contents wafted into his overlooking face. The bowl contained a simple allotment of cereal grain. White. Barely flavored. But it was food none the less.
The alien looked up to his master, who supplied a simple affirming nod. Immediately the child dug in, forgoing any utensils and instead shoveling the food into his mouth with his clawed digits. Lifting up the bowl, the boy intended to tilt the remaining contents directly into his mouth, when an unexpected hand took hold of the bowl. Slamming it down upon the table, Lord Omnus had placed his hand on the dish’s outer rim. The next moment, the alien found the bowl to be dragged toward the center of the table and out of his reach.
The boy gazed up to his master with a look of disheartened confusion as the Lord began to circle around to the other side of the table. Taking the seat across from his apprentice, the Human locked on to the child with his usual stoic gaze.
“You are hungry, correct?” Omnus calmly asked. The boy supplied a hurried nod. “You seek to sate that hunger?” Another nod. “Then you must learn to take what it is you desire, otherwise someone will take it from you.”
The boy’s visage contorted to one of anger. One of determination. Eagerly, he began to rise from his seat to reach further across the table. Suddenly, he felt an invisible force forcing him back into his chair.
“No,” Omnus stated, only slightly raising his voice. “Anyone can use their body to achieve their desires, even the lowliest of beasts and slaves. A Sith forces what he desires to come to him. Make the bowl come to you.”
The child stared vacantly at his master for a moment before focusing his attention on the bowl. His eyes sharpened as he focused his mind on the object. He concentrated, not entirely sure what he was concentrating on.
“It is only a bowl of rice. It has no mind. You need not know its intentions. You cannot trick it into coming to you. Your only option is the application of pure force. Hold out your hand. Feel the object in your mind. Encase it with an invisible tether and pull!”
The apprentice complied, following his master’s instructions in measured steps. His right hand extended until his elbow locked in place. His full attention fell upon the distant bowl of food. His eyes saw only the bowl. His mind saw only the bowl. Slowly his clawed fingers clenched toward a fist as he attempted to grip the item with the Force.
“Don’t focus on the problem. Focus on the solution. Remember why you want what you are trying to attain.”
The bowl began to shake. The child’s eyes sharpened and his nostrils flared as he struggled to take control over the simple dish. He could feel something inside. Something trying desperately to escape. Some unknown feeling. Some unknown energy. In a moment of clarity, he let go, releasing the Force from his body, but snatching it back with the deft motion of his hand.
The alien watched as the bowl was flung toward him, almost spilling its contents before he managed to catch it within his hands. His face displaying a genuine surprise, the child lightly set the received bowl upon the placemat in front of him. Looking to his master, he saw the Human bearing an approving smile upon his face. Lord Omnus followed it up with an affirming nod, granting the boy the permission to feast he so desperately wanted.
The Human watched with subtle admiration as the boy dug into what remained of the meal. “It is when we are at our weakest, that we manage to find strength. Remember that.”
It wasn’t long before the apprentice had finished the bowl, not yet full but decidedly satisfied. Wiping his mouth, he saw his master had not yet broken his continuous gaze.
“Would you care for more?” Omnus asked. The boy replied with a nod. “You will not get far with mere gestures. You will have to speak up. Now, would you care for more?”
With hesitation the child spoke up. “Yes,” he squeaked. The boy’s voice was juvenile but coarse, as if it had shriveled from disuse.
“Alright. I’ll make you some more then,” Omnus stated.
He quickly lifted himself from his seat and ventured back into the kitchen with the spent bowl in his hand. Hardly any time passed before he returned with a full bowl and set it in front of his apprentice. Glancing at the simple dish, the alien was once more greeted by the steam that rose from the warm rice. Raising his gaze, he once more waited for his master’s approval.
“Your previous life has trained you to be cautious. That will serve you well,” Omnus declared. “But you’ve endured enough for the day. No more tests. Enjoy.”
The boy offered a grateful nod as he partook in the gifted meal, tempering his pace this time around.
“Tell me, do you have a name, boy?” Omnus asked.
The child momentarily ceased his feast to offer a hesitant shake of his head. “No.”
“A Sith with no name, is no Sith,” Omnus declared. “And if you’ve nothing to call yourself, others will dictate your titles, and that is not a well-suited fate. I’ll give you a good Imperial name… Algo Syrosk.”
“What does it stand for?” the boy asked.
“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask one of my parents. I took on a new name the day I became a Sith Lord, so I’ve no use for that one,” Omnus explained. “Is that okay with you?”
“Yes,” Syrosk hesitantly admitted as he returned to his meal.
The next few days were spent getting Syrosk into a readied condition to begin his training proper. His tattered rags were tossed out and replaced with a true set of robes. The accumulated dirt and grime on his body had been washed away. A steady diet had replaced scrounging for bits of food. His body was being repaired, so that it could be broken over the course of training. And Syrosk was looking forward to it.
As the first week of their relationship was nearing its end, Lord Omnus and Syrosk walked the streets of Dromund Kaas. Gone was the paranoia in the alien’s visage and gait, in its stead a confident Sith who had not yet reached his teens. The two entered the Citadel where Lord Omnus had a meeting scheduled with one of his peers.
Omnus and Syrosk made their ways through the deeper halls of the Imperial bastion to reach their intended destination, the office of one Lord Leshai. Stepping inside, the pair saw the Lord sitting behind a simplistic desk, a young apprentice standing by his side. The sitting master was a Sith Pureblood a few years older than Omnus. The Human at his side appeared to be in his late teens.
Lord Omnus stood opposite the pair and offered a generous bow of his head. “Lord Leshai. Tash.”