Thread: Aviditas
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01.22.2013 , 01:49 PM | #2

The tell-tale hum and brilliant red glow of Sith Lord Pavel Rukath’s lightsaber had both died away before the snivelling alien woman’s body had even hit the ground. Several feet behind her, her child, a boy of no more than ten or twelve years, had stumbled backwards and fallen onto his rump when his mother had thrown herself in front of him; his cry of anguish had come a heartbeat after Pavel had thrust his lightsaber home in a clean, efficient kill.

As one would expect, from a Force-sensitive, the Sith observed. He knew the moment she died. It had been the boy’s connection to the Force that had drawn him here into the under-levels of Coruscant to begin with. They were hunting down every Jedi and apprentice they could find, and not just to execute them—although with the adult Jedi, there was sometimes little choice. The apprentices, though, the young ones, could potentially be broken... and reforged as Sith, if they had the strength.

Even the aliens. Pavel was in the distinct minority among the Sith who believed that power was power, and that Force users of any species could be of service to the Empire. It made his task today more complicated than if he’d chosen to slaughter every alien Force user he’d come across, and the Imperial Marines who accompanied him had grumbled at having to take prisoners, but this was an excellent opportunity to potentially bolster their own strength while weakening Coruscant and the Jedi, in terms of both manpower and morale.

And on the subject of prisoners... Impatiently, he gestured for one of the Marines to collect the boy, who was now bent over the crumpled form of his mother. The soldier next to him jumped, as if he expected a shock of Sith lightning to accompany the non-verbal order, and trotted forward—

—only to be thrown back into two of his squadmates by a sudden wave of Force power. Quickly, Pavel held up a closed fist to prevent the Marines from firing on the boy. Unfocused, perhaps even unintentional... but there is strength there!

Before the child could gather himself again for another attack—assuming he could even duplicate the feat—Pavel strode forward and hauled him to his feet by the front of his shirt. “Stop that pathetic mewling, you little wretch.” Here, within arms’ reach, the Sith Lord could easily shut the boy down if he started to fight in earnest.

Surprisingly, the boy coughed and sniffled, but managed to suppress his sobbing after a moment. Pavel noticed that no tears fell from behind the cloth mask the child wore. Of course—the Miraluka were eyeless; it would make sense for them to no longer have the tear ducts that humans did.

Completely blind, but inextricably tied to the Force because of that. The Miraluka were members of the Republic, and their powerful Force users sometimes joined the Jedi, but history showed that some had served the Sith, as well. If this boy could be properly trained, he had the potential to be of real use.

But did he have any training at all so far? If he was with his mother on this day, rather than among the Jedi, it seemed that he was not an apprentice; both Jedi and Sith tended to isolate their students from their families and the world at large. It seemed odd for someone with such obvious power to still be untaught at his age, but perhaps the Miraluka had other paths besides the Jedi’s, or perhaps the boy’s strength had only manifested in this day of wrath. Terror, rage, despair: all were catalysts for the Force, and embracing them was the way of the Sith.

Pavel looked appraisingly at the boy standing in front of him, back stiffened by fear and fists clenched in hate. The child was virtually defenseless, and he knew it, but he was ready to face death head-on if it came for him. A suitable disposition, if he could keep it up.

“Do you have any training in the Force, boy?” the Sith Lord asked, his voice harsh.

The child made no reply; judging by the angle of his head, he might have been glaring at his captor, if he’d had eyes. Without those telltale markers of intent, it was hard to guess at his state of mind.

Whatever he might have been thinking, however, his silence was disrespectful and needed to be corrected. Without any needless display of emotion, Pavel simply cuffed the boy on the side of the head. “I asked you a question.”

Since he’d been expecting it this entire time, he felt the sudden surge of hate through the Force, and before the child could manifest it as an attack, Pavel drove his gloved fist into the boy’s gut, with precisely enough power behind it to knock the wind out of him.

Indeed, the Miraluka staggered backwards several steps, defensively hunched over, before he fell to the ground again, gasping desperately for air that wouldn’t come. Pavel watched him dispassionately; if the boy gave up now, that would be the end of him.

But the child didn’t disappoint him. As soon as he was able to suck in a few breaths, he climbed to his knees—and made an unexpected Force-boosted leap at the Sith Lord. Surprised, but not caught entirely off guard, Pavel fended the boy off with a raised arm, blocking his attack and throwing him back to the ground.

“What do you mean to do with your bare hands?” the Sith asked in a contemptuous tone. “Claw my face off?”

Again, the boy made no reply, but sat on the ground, silently seething. After a long moment, he finally said, “Is this how a great Sith wins glory? Murdering a woman and beating up a kid?”

Pavel felt a brief surge of anger at the implied insult, but even as his hand instinctively went to his lightsaber hilt, he stopped himself and laughed shortly. “Are you so eager to join your mother in death?” That might very well have been the child’s intention, throwing himself at an armed Sith. He was clearly too stubborn to curl up and die like a weakling, but perhaps also too afraid to let himself be captured—his mother had died trying to prevent exactly that, after all. Provoking Pavel into killing him as quickly as he’d killed his mother would have been a way out.

But the Sith Lord would not be so accommodating. “I can feel your rage, boy. It feeds your strength, doesn’t it?” There was no reply, but he got a sense of the Miraluka’s shield of anger wavering uncertainly for a moment before solidifying even more firmly than before. “Your mother was weak.” Within the Force, he felt a sudden peak of fury that vanished as quickly as it erupted, like a fire being hastily smothered. “She could do nothing to save you, just as the Jedi could do nothing to protect this planet from our might.”

The boy seemed to be listening, though his clenched fists still trembled in frustration. “You, though...” Pavel continued, speaking half to himself, “you already understand one of the core principles of the Sith: Through passion, I gain strength. You can feel it, can’t you?” Still no reply, but the silence was noteworthy. “You can reach for the power that is there for the taking, if you dare. We can show you the way, and hone you into a warrior without peer, if you have the strength and the wits to succeed.” Many didn’t, of course. But then, many would-be acolytes simply had the misfortune of being Force-sensitives taken to the Academies by force. Pavel had a feeling this boy would not falter so easily—if he could be brought around to the right state of mind.

“What if I only get stronger to kill you?” the boy asked, almost under his breath, as if he didn’t quite dare declare his intentions at a normal volume.

Pavel had to laugh. And I thought I’d have to coax him along. His heart is Sith already. “If you become strong enough to challenge me, boy, I’ll welcome the fight. That is the way of the Sith: the strong survive, the weak fall, and so the Empire constantly moves forward, instead of standing in one place and rotting away.” He gestured at the dark, derelict structures around them; the lower levels of Coruscant were like something one would find growing under a log. “This place has nothing for you. If you wish to learn to embrace your full power, ours is the only path open to you.”

The silence stretched for over a minute as the boy refused to offer a reply. What does he hope to gain by this obstinance? He must know this can only end in two possible ways: compliance, or death. Finally, ending the verbal impasse, the Sith signaled for the Marines to take the child. This time, he offered no resistance as two of the soldiers pulled him to his feet and fitted him with a slave’s shock collar.

When the squad’s sergeant reached for his comm to call for a pick-up, as they’d done for all of the previous prisoners, Pavel waved him off. “No, bring him with us. He’s under control, and I want him to see precisely how pathetic and useless the Jedi are.” The Sith Lord had no doubt that if they came across any Jedi, or even older apprentices, most of the fools would try to free the boy; that was simply how their minds worked. But they would fail, and the child would see for himself the weakness and hypocrisy of the Jedi. It would be quite an educational experience.

“Yes, m’Lord.” The sergeant was clearly dubious, but Pavel let it slide, for now. There were much bigger things afoot.

In case it isn't clear, this occurs during the Sacking of Coruscant.
Ebon Hawk * The Thirteenth Legion * RP/Social/Casual
Kjara | Avidior | Mizret | Ysmena
Forging Fortune * Aviditas