Chapter Seventeen: Seers (Part Three)
Lord Omnus took a seat across from his peer, his apprentice standing closely by his side. Lord Leshai offered an emotionless nod to his primary guest before casting a stern glance toward the young alien.
“This is… unexpected,” Leshai muttered with a coarse tenor.
“The fact that I’ve taken an apprentice?” Omnus suggested.
“That fact that you’re willing to parade such a creature through the Imperial capital,” Leshai corrected. “I’m not even familiar with this species.”
“Neither am I,” Omnus admitted. “But we’ve never cared about such things.”
“Maybe not, but there are thousands of Imperials who do. Many of them in positions of power. I’d not waste my time with an apprentice shackled with so many limitations,” Leshai declared.
“Neither would I. I have ambitious plans for the both of us.”
“Which, I assume, prompted this meeting.”
“Correct. I’ve finished my latest recruiting drive for the Academies, so I’ve time for my own pursuits. But I lack the facilities and resources to properly train an apprentice.”
“And you’d like to use mine,” Leshai suggested. The other Lord offered a simple nod. “I’d rather not jeopardize my sphere of influence so that you might pursue some petty pet project.”
“I assure you, my interests in my apprentice are anything but petty,” Omnus declared. Looking to Syrosk, the Lord placed a hand on his shoulder and offered a confident nod. Syrosk gave one of his own as he looked across the table, focusing on the young Human by Leshai’s side.
“His apprentice is wondering why his master is wasting time with us,” Syrosk explained. “Before that he was trying to figure out what I am, suggesting Twee-lek and Chag-ree-un. Now it seems he’s getting defensive…”
“I think that’s enough of a demonstration,” Omnus said as he patted his apprentice’s shoulder. Tash meanwhile subtly squirmed where he stood, blinking and furrowing his brow.
“Suddenly things become much… clearer,” Leshai softly stated, hand rubbing the fleshy tendrils that hung from his chin. “Tash, Lord Omnus and I have some private business to discuss. Why don’t you give the young apprentice a tour of the study.”
“Right away… master,” Tash dutifully replied as he slowly circled around the desk. The Human apprentice stood face to face, or rather, waist to face with the child. Exchanging no words, Tash directed the alien toward a nearby door with the subtle wave of his hand. Syrosk remained still as he gazed toward his master who offered an affirming nod.
Together, Tash and Syrosk ventured from the meeting area, granting their masters their privacy. The two apprentices delved deeper into Lord Leshai’s sanctum in silence. Side by side, they eventually came to stand in front of a rather unassuming door. Such was the overarching décor of the dwelling. Dark. Imposing. But never lavish. Never loud. Anything worth talking about spoke for itself. Such was evident when Tash opened the door at the end of the hallway.
Syrosk stared in wonder as Tash guided him into Lord Leshai’s study. A circular room, robust in size and stock. Databanks lined the walls, and the areas unburdened with technological records held shelves packed with mystical artifacts. Holocron, arms, armor, and trinkets of olden Lords.
“This is the embodiment of my master’s work,” Tash explained. “The physical manifestations of knowledge, and the power to be acquired from them. All of this acquired within a few short years. Given enough time, we believe Lord Leshai might assume the seat of Ancient Knowledge upon the Dark Council. It is to my understanding, however, that Lord Omnus isn’t much of a collector.”
“His home is pretty empty,” Syrosk admitted as he panned his gaze up and down the assorted treasures. “Does your master let you use any of this stuff?”
Tash let out a soft chuckle, his unease in the presence of the alien lessening. “My master isn’t one for… ‘letting’. He is a… calculating… individual. Stern. Dedicated to the tenets of the Sith. Gives absolutely nothing freely. Thinks everything… and I mean everything, ought to be earned.”
“And you enjoy this?”
“It isn’t about enjoyment. It’s about becoming better. Something that is done through challenges. Many of which I have endured. My childhood. My trials at the Academy. My master’s tutelage. It has been a series of harsh events and circumstances, but because of them, I will be strong. And I will keep getting stronger until I am capable of killing the man.”
“You plan to kill your master?” Syrosk asked, more confused than outright shocked.
“I guess I was right in assuming you don’t know much about what it means to be a Sith,” Tash stated. “It is expected for an apprentice to eventually succeed their master. The nature of their upbringing perpetuates the likelihood that it is achieved through one’s death. And I guess you could say it is explicitly expected of me. You are not the only one capable of reading minds.”
“Your master can read minds too?”
“My master. Your master. It is but one of their talents. They are Seers. It is in their nature to possess and acquire information that ought not rest in the hands of lesser beings. They reads minds. See the future. Control and manipulate others. The nature of their talents depend on the individual, however. Omnus is a more accomplished precog, while my master… no thoughts are safe from Lord Leshai. At this very moment he is aware of the conversation we are having as he no doubt is working an agreement with your master that heavily benefits him for allowing you to continue your training.”
“Are you a Seer?” Syrosk asked.
Tash remained silent for a moment as he gazed upon no particular piece in his master’s collection. “No. I lack the inherent skills for mentalism. Always been more of a… hands- on kind of Sith. Instead, I’ve been trying to perfect my mental defenses, but alas I’ve not yet discovered a way to keep Leshai out. Probably never will. But that which goes unchallenged grows weak.”
“I don’t want to be weak,” Syrosk muttered.
“Then you might make it as a Sith after all,” Tash offered. “I don’t know enough about you, or your master, to tell you how things might go in the future. But from what I’ve seen of Lord Omnus in the past, this is decidedly out of character for him. He is very self-contained. No masters. No apprentices. No subjects. No power structure of any sort. His only accolades and standings come from his work with the Academies.”
“What are you saying?”
“That you’re not alone in being… unusual,” Tash declared. “Whether that’s good or bad… only time will tell.”
“Are giving me advice, or a warning?” Syrosk asked.
“All I’m giving you is information,” Tash explained. “It holds no motive. No intent. No personal factors. It’s just information.”
“Information you’ve chosen to give, though. You could have kept it to yourself. So, for that, I thank you.”
“I don’t need your thanks. And if you truly desired that information you could have taken it yourself.”
“Maybe. But I wouldn’t want to,” Syrosk admitted. “I know now that it bothers you whenever someone tries to read your mind.”
“You’ll never make it as a Sith if you remain so concerned for others’ well-being.”
“I don’t think progression has to be at someone else’s expense,” Syrosk admitted
“Your personal beliefs has no influence on the matter. It is something beyond your control,” Tash explained.
The two apprentices’ conversation became sparse as time passed and silence began to fill the robust archives. Before long, the door behind them opened and Lord Omnus calmly stepped in, his negotiations with Lord Leshai finished.
“Syrosk, it’s time to go,” Omnus stoically directed.
“Syrosk?” Tash whispered to himself.
The young alien gave his fellow apprentice a departing nod before joining his master. Omnus offered his own appreciative dip of his head to the teenage Human as the two exited the study. Passing through the entrance hall, Syrosk saw Lord Leshai confidently leaning back in his chair, his eyes intently following as the pair exited the sanctum.
“I’ve secured us access to Leshai’s facilities for the purpose of your training,” Omnus explained.
“Does that include access to his artifacts?” Syrosk asked.
“Impressed by his collection were you? We’ll have access to historical recordings and the like, but nothing of the treasured sort. Though I don’t suppose you saw his most prized possession. One he keeps concealed and close to his heart. A talisman.”
“Like yours?” Syrosk asked.
Omnus reached to hold his amulet within his fingers, looking deeply into the golden stone. “Quite. It is a common trait of those in our circle. People like us usually possess some trinket that allows us to focus particular powers.”
“People like you… you mean Seers?” Syrosk suggested.
“Your talk with Tash proved enlightening did it?” Omnus said, releasing his grip on the amulet. The apprentice offered a silent nod. “He is a… strong and wise individual, even at his young age. However, if he proves to be anything like his master, I’d be careful of interactions with him.”
“You’re not friends with Lord Leshai?”
“Friends are a curious thing amongst Sith, of that I’m sure you’ll come to understand over the course of your training. Training which will begin when we return home,” Omnus detailed. Syrosk eagerly followed his master as they continued their return to their own sanctum.
Within the confined halls of Omnus’ dwelling, the master and apprentice sat across from one another in the entrance hall. In their respective meditative stances, the pair kneeled in patient silence. The silence finally broken by Lord Omnus.
“When dealing with the mind, the first thing a Sith should understand is that there are five layers…”