"Come on Jedi you can do better than this!" I had just planted my boot in her chest, knocking her back to the ground.
Xerrin did a backwards somersault to get to her feet, adjusted her grip on her lightsaber and with a fierce cry came at me again. She scored a point in our next sequence when her blade crossed my left arm, slicing through my armor to the skin beneath. I hissed in delight, welcoming the pain.
"You score no points for flesh wounds sister," I snarled at her engaging her again. I reveled in the dance, her skill, a truly worthy opponent that I would so enjoy killing for all she'd put me through. Our blades hissed and struck, an attack, a counter, the sweep of her foot, the block of a wrist, until I broke through her guard, delayed killing her for my own pleasure and cracked the back of my fist against her face. My strike split open her skin, drawing blood.
"How did it feel to kill him?" I asked her, allowing her to back up a step. "How did it feel to work a betrayal as well as any Sith, Jedi?"
She did not respond to my taunting. A warrior thru and thru she came at me again. But she was weakening and we both knew it. For a moment I thought her rapidly failing endurance odd, but the much stronger part of me delighted in her weakness. The next sequence was much shorter, and this time when I broke through her defenses I sliced the tip of my lightsaber across her face, the same way Kazrin had done to me.
"You're a much better warrior than our brother was," I observed, my tone mocking.
Suddenly her temper over came her and she surged at me with renewed strength. I laughed in delight, and once more our blades clashed violently together. It was bliss, my rage. My hatred. She broke our sequence backing up a step. A trooper tried to attack me but it took me seconds to kill him and shoving his dead body to the ground with a wild cry I leaped at my sister again.
She tried to shove her lightsaber into my gut, but I turned my wrist, my blade arcing downwards to deflect her's safely away from my insides and rammed my opposite fist into her mouth. Once. Twice. She stumbled backwards and shot up her hand to force push me away from her.
I scooted back mere inches then immediately charged giving her no reprieve. "Come on Sister! Where is your lightside now?!" My attacks were violent. Chaotic. There was no form just rage, just the violent battering of my blades against hers again and again and again until she dropped to one knee. I kicked the saber out of her hand and pointed my blades pointed at her throat.
I stared at her with such hatred on my face. "Why? WHY?!
" I roared at her.
She gave me silence. Silence.
I saw red. I stepped in closer, crossing my lightsabers against her throat. "In what galaxy did you think you could beat me. Jedi
I turned my head to see Vanceto, my Vanceto... alive
... and he proved it when he crashed into me, knocking me away from Xerrin. We tumbled a short distance and he maneuvered us so he caught our weight with a heavy grunt.
He smiled apologetically up at me. "Greetings mother. Aunt Xerrin is mind controlled by the Voss. They are responsible for this. In a moment, the Republic will call a retreat, you must halt your forces as well. We can explain."
My eye widened. Lancoro jumped on Xerrin, clocked her one good across the face to keep her down and gave Tana time to shoot a dart into her neck, knocking her out.
Mind controlled? My thoughts swam, spinning rapidly, all the while fighting against the urge to finish what I'd started. Slowly I reigned back my fury, but it was too great to be contained for long. I am certain the only reason it stayed passive was because I was staring at the faces of my very much alive children.
I heard someone shout, and turned my head to watch as the Republic troops began backing up. Gritting my teeth against the call of battle agitated bloodlust I activated my ear implant. "General Pierce, call our forces back."
"My Lord? But, they're retreating-"
I didn't have to repeat myself again, slowly each of my squad's began withdrawing as the republic forces did the same. I got to my feet and snapped my attention back to my son. I touched his cheek. When his familiar affectionate smile spread across his Sith face I hugged him so very, very tightly. He returned my embrace.
"We apologize for being captured in the first place," he whispered.
I pulled back to look at him. "Your father?"
Sadness crashed into Vanceto's eyes. "He saved my life."
I snapped my gaze to Xerrin and my fury began peaking again. My son's voice pulled me back into place. "She was not herself. The Voss..."
Vanceto explained as I walked quickly to Tana and Lancoro. I grabbed my daughter and Lancoro both, pulling them tightly to me. Neither of them said a word, but they didn't have too, just returned my tight grip. I kissed both their foreheads. "Where's your Aunt?"
"I'm coming, I'm coming..."
There was something wrong with her voice. I watched Andronikos Revel bring Reide over and my breath caught in my throat. Reide sagged against no one. Her blaster hand was shaking. I released my children and my brow creased as I walked to her side. I took her weight on myself and stared at Revel in silent question.
"Mystic got her. Knifed her with some poison," he said roughly.
"Fraking arsehole," Reide muttered. "But I found em," she whispered.
"Yes you did." I whispered back. I glanced at Revel again the question in my eyes clear. Was there nothing we could do?
His jaw tight, he shook his head and I felt the cold hand of despair punch another hole in my heart.
"Hey, I got married," Reide dropped her head onto my shoulder. "He's a..." she had to pause to suck in a wheezing breath. The very motion looked as if it pained her. "...good pick right?"
"He'll do," I murmured back to her, and was rewarded with her weak laughter.
"I don't... wanna go on my back, Laresa. Not from some... frakking poison," Reide said so very quietly. She forced her own head up so she could look at me. "You do it."
My jaw clenched. It took me a moment before I could speak without my voice shaking. "I love you, sister."
Reide smiled. I did not expect her to say it back and she didn't have too. She'd always proven it. "Finish it," she whispered. I nodded once.
I couldn't wait. If I gave myself time I would dishonor her because I wouldn't be able to do it. I did what I'd done a thousand times before; I released the blade on my saber with one smooth motion and drove it through my sisters heart. I kept my eye on hers the whole time.
I felt like I'd lost half myself when that fiery gray gaze went blank. My heart constricted, my anguish exploding, awakening my rage, my want to destroy. In the next breath my children swarmed me, hugging me tightly, anchoring me to my pain. Just my pain. And my love for them.
I knew I was lost when I realized it was no longer enough.
[To conclude December 20th, just in case the world does end on Friday