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04.01.2013 , 03:21 PM | #55
Quote: Originally Posted by Ventessel View Post
It's been a couple of days, Aurbere, I'm expecting the concluding chapter to be quite epic...
Well, after some major editing to include parts of the Epilogue, the final chapter is here. Enjoy!

Chapter 23

Csilla- Csaplar- Spaceport

Jaina Solo hoisted Kyle Katarn to his feet, using her body as leverage to keep as much pressure off of Kyle's wounded left knee as possible. "It doesn't seem too bad. Nothing a little bacta won't fix." She said optimistically, straining under Kyle's weight.

Kyle grunted as he draped his left arm over Jaina's shoulders. "Speak for yourself.” He said with his usual sarcastic wit.

Jaina was thankful that he hadn’t lost his humor. “There should be some medical supplies in that ship.” She said as she raised her left arm toward the vessel. She then carefully opened the boarding ramp with the Force.

She slowly escorted Kyle to the boarding ramp. Once they crossed the threshold into the Defender-class vessel, they found themselves in a large chamber. The walls were pristine white, with benches lining the floor against them. At the center of the chamber was a large holoterminal.

Jaina sat Kyle down on one of the benches. “Once we get patched up, I’ll go find The Master’s agent.” She said as she got up from the bench.

Kyle gripped his wounded knee with both hands. “You’re not going to leave me here, are you?” He asked rhetorically.

Jaina didn’t have a choice. He was not in fighting condition. All she had to do was patch up her right arm, and she would be fine. She didn’t know what The Master’s agent could do, but if the two assassins were indicative of anything, she was in for a difficult battle.

*** *** *** ***

The Herald of Death- Bridge

From the comfortable seat of his throne, The Master stared out into the void of space. The bright stars and the lights from the shipyard that The Master's flagship was docked at were the only lights to be found in this sector of space. The darkness didn't bother him.

The Master was surrounded by darkness at all times. The bridge was tainted by shadow that hung in the air, crackling with red lightning periodically. Purple mist had descended to the floor, obscuring the silver durasteel panels. The artificial lights of the bridge barely pierced the shadow, but the each burst of lightning briefly lit the bridge, and the purple mist exuded an unnatural light of its own.

Staring out into space, The Master watched as a fleet of ships emerged from hyperspace. It was the Chiss Ascendancy arriving with roughly twenty Chiss Star Destroyers. Each Star Destroyer resembled an Imperial Victory-class Star Destroyer, only slightly longer and possessing a needle-like appearance. At the head of the fleet was a much larger ship, an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer bearing red stripes on its outermost edges.

The Master's Voice leaned down close to The Master. "Master, the Defense Minister of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Force has arrived." He whispered. He slowly backed away.

The large Star Destroyer closed the distance between The Master's ship and the Chiss fleet.

The Master waved his Voice away. "Excellent. Bring our guest to me. We have much to discuss."

*** *** *** ***

Csilla- Csaplar- Spaceport

The Harbinger and Jadec entered the docking bay that held her father's shuttle. She noticed the boarding ramp of the shuttle lied open, light shining out from within. She pulled her lightsabers out of her cloak and raised her left arm, blocking Jadec's path.

"Wait." She whispered to him. She cautiously moved forward. She stopped when she heard footsteps echo from within the shuttle. A shadow cast its presence over the boarding ramp. At the top of the boarding ramp was a female Jedi. She was dressed in the standard brown tunic of the Jedi Order. Her brown hair draped over her shoulders. Her lightsaber was in hand.

The Jedi descended the ramp. "I am Jaina Solo, and I assume you are The Master's agent." She activated her blue lightsaber after stepping off of the ramp. "We've had difficulty tracking you down, thanks to your friends." She said motioning to the two Twi'lek bodies to her left.

The Harbinger activated her lightsabers, illuminating herself with a blue and green glow. "You killed them? My master will not be pleased. Allow me to spare you of his vengeance!" She said, flourishing her blades.

The Harbinger leapt toward Jaina Solo, bringing her lightsabers down in a heavy downward strike. Jaina stepped back, letting The Harbinger land in front of her. Jaina made a powerful horizontal slash. The Harbinger blocked the strike with both weapons. Jaina retracted her blade and made a quick sweeping slash aimed at the legs.

The Harbinger back-flipped away, landing several meters away. The Harbinger raised her hand and unleashed a torrent of yellow lightning. Jaina raised her lightsaber to defend, absorbing the tendrils of energy into her blade. The Harbinger followed with a powerful Force Push, sending Jaina careening into the Defender shuttle.

Jaina slowly stood up, her eyes blurring from the impact. Through the blurred vision, she saw The Harbinger closing in. Jaina shook her head to clear her vision. When The Harbinger came into melee range, Jaina feinted back, using a Force-fueled shoulder charge to catch her off guard. The force of the blow knocked The Harbinger back. Jaina promptly followed with a heavy downward two-handed strike. The Harbinger quickly crossed her blades together to catch Jaina's lightsaber.

The Harbinger grunted as she fought against Jaina's surprising strength. Jaina's blade slowly pushing down on her, the tip of the blade threatened to cut her face. The pressure from Jaina's blade began to wear down on her defense. She mustered her energy and broke the saber lock.

Jaina was quick on her feet, racing in once more. The Harbinger did not intend to be put on the defensive again. She let loose with a fast-paced offensive, bringing her lightsabers down in rapid succession at different angles. Her lightsaber became a blur as she used both of her lightsabers to attack from different angles.

Jaina couldn't block every attack. She felt like she was fighting five enemies, each moving at incredible speeds. She twisted and dodged, focusing her defense to her right, blocking The Harbinger's left blade and dodging the right blade.

She could feel The Harbinger feeding on her struggle, gaining strength with each defensive movement Jaina made. She couldn't continue fighting defensively, The Harbinger was a predator, feeding on the struggles of her opponent while she wore them down. She had to gain the advantage, somehow.

*** *** *** ***

The Herald of Death- Bridge

Defense Minister Thrawn entered the bridge, escorted by The Master's Voice. He was garbed in the standard military uniform of a Grand Admiral, given to him by The Master. He was dressed in white and adorned with the Imperial medals that his template was given for Imperial service.

Thrawn entered the bridge, studying The Master. He took note of the unnatural phenomena that was the black shadow in the air and purple mist on the ground. The mist shrouded his feet, making his black boots nigh invisible.

"Thrawn." The Master said his name. Alluring was his voice, commanding obedience from those around him. "Your mission was a success. You have served me well. Now we prepare for the next step in my plan."

Thrawn strode to The Master, stopping at the left side of his throne. "Forgive me, my lord, but where is the crew?" Thrawn had noticed that there was no one on the bridge except for the three of them.

The Master's throne turned so that the two may face each other. "It is of no concern. A crew is unnecessary. You will have full command of this ship."

Thrawn knew what The Master expected. The Master wanted him to be like his template, like Grand Admiral Thrawn. "Of course, my lord." The two locked eyes with one another. Thrawn could see nothing but blackness under the eyes of a normal human. It was rare for a Chiss to be made nervous simply by staring at another man, usually the Chiss made people nervous.

The Master broke eye contact to examine the Imperial medals on Thrawn's jacket. "My Voice will take you to your command chamber. You should feel pleased, my friend. You are now apart of the force for change. We will cleanse the galaxy, you and I."

Thrawn stepped back and bowed. "Yes, my lord." The change was already happening, he could feel it. Stnading in the presence of his master, he felt like nothing could stop them.

*** *** *** ***

Csilla- Csaplar- Spaceport

Jadec wanted to help, but he knew that he shouldn't interfere. How could he? They were moving so fast that he could barely see their lightsabers flash. But then he noticed something change.

The flow of the battle was turning. The tide was turning in Jaina's favor. The Harbinger had changed tactics after failing to break Jaina's defenses after several minutes, but those minutes felt like hours. The Harbinger began to use acrobatics, flipping around Jaina, trying to break the Jedi's defense.

But now The Harbinger was losing energy. Jaina continued to defend herself, blocking and dodging each strike with energy efficient parries. Eventually The Harbinger's attack slowed. She stopped her acrobatic assault. Jaina took advantage of the break and attacked, unleashing a flurry of blows. Her lightsaber creating a web of blue energy, attacking from all directions.

It was as if The Harbinger were fighting several enemies. In a desperate attempt to block the strikes, she raised her left lightsaber to block a strike that had already passed, leaving her open to attack. Jaina took advantage of the opening and batted The Harbinger's off-hand weapon aside, disrupting the flow of the battle. The Harbinger fell back, now with only one blade to defend herself.

Jaina pressed the attack once again. Her blade came down furiously in lightning quick motions. The Harbinger's defenses slowly fell apart under the attack. Jaina's blade struck from multiple angles at astonishing speeds. The Harbinger lashed out with the Force in desperation, firing a blast of pure Dark Side energy from her left hand. Jaina blocked most of the blast with the Force, but the residual energy caught her off-guard and knocked her back.

She quickly got up, the scent of burnt cloth filled her nostrils. She saw The Harbinger retrieve her second lightsaber with the Force.

"You cannot win!" The Harbinger declared. "I am more powerful than you can possibly imagine. My master has trained me to be the ultimate weapon." She raised her arms up. "Now feel my power." She unleashed a swirling storm of red lightning, the tendrils racing towards Jaina.

Jaina caught the red lightning with her lightsaber, but other tendrils touched her. She raised a hand to block the lightning, diffusing the energy with the Force. She pushed through the storm of lightning, inching closer and closer. In a risky move, she flicked her wrist and passed her lightsaber through The Harbinger's wrists, cutting off her hands and ending the lightning storm.

The Harbinger screamed in pain and fell to her knees, holding her handless arms in front of her.

"It's over!" Jaina declared.

Contrary to the expected response, The Harbinger chuckled. "You may kill me, but this is only the beginning. My master will crush you for this."

"Can't you see that this is wrong? Your master will kill countless innocents!"

Jaina heard footsteps approach. She turned left to see The Harbinger's companion race to her side.

"Listen." Jadec said, kneeling down beside his fallen comrade. "I don't know what's going on here, but just let her go. She's no longer a threat to you." The man pleaded.

Jaina considered it, but also knew that she was too dangerous to be let go. "I'll take her to the Jedi Temple. She then heard a lightsaber activated behind her. Her senses kicked in and she ducked under a decapitating stroke from a telekinetically controlled lightsaber. She quickly turned and cut the hilt of the blade.

Jaina turned back to her quarry. "I'm sorry." She knew now that The Harbinger was too dangerous to be left alive. She raised her lightsaber and plunged the blade into the girl's heart, killing her instantly. The Harbinger fell to the side.

Jadec stood up and backed away slowly. "She's dead. You killed her." Jaina saw a tear run down his cheek.

Jaina stepped toward him, but he turned away. "I'm sorry, but it had to be done."

Jadec wiped his eyes. "You should be afraid. Her father will not be happy."

Jaina recoiled in surpirse. "Father? Who?"

He waved her off. "Calls himself The Master, I guess." He walked toward the Defender shuttle.

Jaina didn't follow after him. She knew now that The Harbinger was referring to her father. She felt a chill run up her spine. She knew The Master was more powerful than they realized. She could sense the darkness waiting at the edge of her perceptions. She had always felt something, but now it grew. She now knew that the darkness- The Master- was growing stronger. He was preparing for war, a war that would be far greater than any war that she had seen.

It was close now. She could feel the darkness growing.

*** *** *** ***

The Herald of Death- Bridge

The Master clutched at his chest. He felt the pain of The Harbinger's death through their bond. A single tear rolled down his cheek, but anger quickly replaced his sadness. He knew who was responsible. Through their bond, The Master could feel what his daughter felt. In her final moments, after everything was done, The Harbinger felt peace. Something had happened. The Master knew she saw something, but whatever she saw was unknown to him.

But The Master knew that she was at peace at the end, but it wasn't enough for him. He desired revenge. He would make Jaina Solo pay for her transgressions.

The shadows that hung around him billowed furiously, and crackled with lightning. The time for preparations was over. It was now time for action.

Added Chapter 66 to The Shadows Fall
"Your only hope to survive is to give in to the rage boiling within you, to acknowledge the Dark Side you deny, and tap into it!"--Darth Tyranus