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There is no death, there is only Wrath

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
There is no death, there is only Wrath

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bright_ephemera
06.08.2012 , 05:07 AM | #11
Part 7. In which ghost experts pay a visit (I/II)

This entry contains spoilers for the Sith Inquisitor's endgame title.

Spoiler


Nalenne touched down on Korriban just in time to hear Niselle’s incoming signal. She met her sister at the door. Her sister had two men in tow, Andronikos and…

"Who's this?" demanded Nalenne.

"Lord Draven, Wrath. It's an honor." The human youth made an extravagant bow. Killer baritone voice. It seemed that Niselle was out of the "distract Lenny with something different" phase and back to “play to Lenny’s taste”: Draven was tall, slender, dark-haired, very neat. Unlike Quinn, the newcomer had stylish dark robes and awfully nice brown eyes.

"What is he doing here?" Nalenne asked Andronikos.

"We thought he might, uh," said the pirate, looking to his wife.

"Lord Draven is an expert in localized hauntings," said Niselle smoothly. "And he's single."

Nalenne placed a hand on her lightsaber's hilt. "How nice. Draven, how did you dispose of the last 'localized haunting' you had to deal with?" Cue the stammering from another random handsome guy they probably kidnapped off the street on the way here.

“A combination of research and Force rituals on the haunting site identified the malevolent force, at which point I summoned the ancient Sith by name, we fought a bit, had a long talk about who he was and why he was killing everyone who stepped over the threshold, and ultimately he agreed to stick around the dwelling and protect it on the current owner’s behalf, as an alternative to me annihilating him.”

Niselle gave her twin a "Ha-ha, weren't expecting that, were you?" look.

“Hmph. Fine. Come in.”

Pierce nodded to Nalenne and her guests on his way out the door. He had perimeter duty. Niselle had a habit of bringing in apprentices as surprise backup during her attacks.

Nalenne led her visitors into the holo room and yelled. “Quinn?”

Obligingly, Quinn strode through the wall from the direction of the bridge. Nalenne watched her sister's eyes: surprise, amusement, curiosity, excitement, calculation, hunger.

Quinn was right. Nis is going to devour him on the spot.

Since nobody was talking, Nalenne stepped in. “So. Everyone. This is my ex-husband Quinn. He’s supposed to be dead, but he’s bad at it. Quinn, you know my sister Darth Niselle of the Dark Council, her husband Andronikos, and this is one Lord Draven, who I’m hoping will know how to exorcise you.”

Draven eyed Quinn up and down. “That’s your haunting?” he said uncertainly.

“In the fle- um, in the…yes.”

“But there’s no Force presence whatsoever. He may as well be empty air.” Draven leaned forward to pass a hand through Quinn’s face. “Is this a trick? A hologram?” Quinn scowled at him.

"If I were to pick out a hologram roommate, it wouldn’t be him," said Nalenne. Quinn scowled at her.

"I feel nothing. What have you done?" said Draven.

"Killed him, months ago, half a galaxy away."

"That doesn't explain this. There’s nothing here but...what you see. This is impossible."

“I’m sorry to hear you say that, my lord,” said Quinn. Draven started, but didn’t say anything in reply.

“Don’t tell me,” drawled Niselle, “that your keen senses can’t distinguish anything? I was told you were the best.”

Draven’s upper lip twitched. “And I was told there was something more than some projection trick.”

Niselle, harpy that she was, pressed on. “Really? Nothing? Your expertise yields ‘there’s obviously no ghost here apart from the one standing there watching us’?”

“I could sense a true spiritual presence a hundred meters away,” he snapped. “I don't know what you're playing at, but that's not a ghost - " he pointed to Quinn while glaring at Nalenne - "and she's one wedding ring up from ‘single’!" - he pointed to Nalenne while glaring at Niselle. "There's nothing for me to do here!" The handsome Sith Lord stormed out.

Nalenne stared after him, mouth hanging open.

"Honestly," said Niselle, "do you have to keep wearing that stupid ring?"

"Shut up, Nis."

"Get a life, Lenny. You know, I am just about done with you. Come on, Andronikos, showtime."

And that could only mean one thing. Niselle had circled around to Nalenne's back; Andronikos was still standing in front of her. He drew his blasters and shrugged. "Sorry."

Nalenne slapped his weapons from his hands with one hard Force wave. "It's okay. I appreciate you looking out for her, you know?"

"Yeah." And just then a sparking force stung her back and froze her in place. Fast as thought, Andronikos grabbed a small sharp object from his belt and whipped it toward her eyes.

to be continued
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Ayanka
06.08.2012 , 05:32 AM | #12
That's a horrible moment for a break... Pretty cruel to make me (and others) wait for the next part^^
Wer in der Nacht in den verstaubten Winkeln seines Geistes träumt,
erwacht am Tag und findet nichts als Leere;
aber die Träumer des Tages sind gefährliche Menschen,
denn sie können ihren Traum mit offenen Augen spielen und ihn möglich machen.

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Ashlian
06.08.2012 , 05:47 AM | #13
Quote: Originally Posted by Ayanka View Post
That's a horrible moment for a break... Pretty cruel to make me (and others) wait for the next part^^
Yes! On the other hand, definitely sod your schedule....post at will

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bright_ephemera
06.08.2012 , 06:18 AM | #14
Quote: Originally Posted by Ayanka View Post
That's a horrible moment for a break... Pretty cruel to make me (and others) wait for the next part^^
Ah, well, see, Andronikos kills Nalenne in the first sentence of the next post. After that the whole series is about Niselle taking all of Nalenne's stuff and laughing.

(...that was a lie. Though it would be interesting to see a series in which a Sith Inquisitor devours a powerful representative of each of the other three Force classes and has to run around listening to the contradictory knowledge and opinions of three other very vocal player characters...)
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bright_ephemera
06.08.2012 , 09:05 AM | #15
8. In which betrayal surprises no one, but something else surprises several (II/II)

"BROONMARK!" Nalenne screamed. She would have dodged the incoming projectile, but she couldn’t move for the crackling energy grip on her back. Niselle. Lightning-thingy. Damn. She squeezed her eyes shut and tensed what muscles she could control to move aside the second Niselle's stun broke.

Which it did, almost before that thought could finish. You’re losing your touch, sister. Nalenne lurched to one side. Andronikos' blade stung her temple and fell away. Nalenne drew her saber and flowed into an attack. The pirate was fast, but he was disarmed and she was angry. One solid hilt blow to the head took him out of the fight.

The next strike of Niselle's lightning was less arresting. The twerp only had so many tricks. Nalenne activated her saber and shoved the blade into the flashing Force arc, pushing towards her sister.

Broonmark finally saw fit to show up. Even at a sprint he was close to silent. Niselle actually yelped when his fist took her neck.

"Don't kill," warned Nalenne, and hurried to shove Niselle to the ground and kick her in the head. "Let's be nice about this." She kicked her sister again. "You realize, Nis, I still have no interest in harming you."

Nis managed to look arrogant while lying flat on her back with a fresh head injury. "You might not have had before I started trying to kill you, but now you've got self-defense to claim. Everyone knows what you did to Baras."

"Baras wasn't my sister!"

"Good thing, too. If you managed to look that bad with my genes I shudder to think how being related to him would've worked out for you."

"The girl who bleached and blackened her way from red skin to Rattataki impression in a single Dark Side binge wants to tell me I’m ugly? I could kill you right now. Brat."

"You won't. Sissy."

"I could kill your stupid pirate."

"You wouldn't."

"Worried that time, eh?" Nalenne chuckled maliciously. "So what stopped you from holding me in place while your man put a needle in my eye?"

"I was interrupted. Your man punched me in the face.” Niselle jerked her head towards Quinn.

Nalenne goggled. “Get out. Really?”

Quinn himself was standing by the wall, watching the two of them. "My lord. You know I cannot physically affect anything, but I surmised that reflex may not distinguish between solid objects and solid-looking objects coming at the eyes. I was able to break her concentration long enough for you to escape.” He looked down to where the pale lord of the Dark Council was sulking on the floor. “Please understand, my lord, I hold the utmost respect for your position. But my duty lies with the Wrath.”

“Stow it,” snapped Niselle.

“Quinn, you’re a genius. Only you would say ‘I have no body, Force powers, or tech, guess I’d better go turn the tide of battle anyway.’ I love how you- ” Nalenne checked herself. “I’m still mad at you. Just…wow. You hit my sister.” Her delight bubbled into laughter.

Niselle was checking her chronometer. “It looks like my combat support isn’t coming,” she said in a tone of supreme irritation, “so I’m done for the day.”

“Combat support. More apprentices? Pierce probably took care of ‘em.”

Niselle struggled to her feet. “He probably did,” she said sourly. “You should teach your pets to respect Sith.”

“You should teach your Sith to be even vaguely worthy of respect. My captain punched you in the face.” Nalenne started giggling again.

Niselle slung Andronikos’ arm over her shoulder, gave Nalenne one last dirty look, and left.
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bright_ephemera
06.08.2012 , 04:48 PM | #16
9. In which Vette and Jaesa get home

A Twi’lek of devious mind
Can do well, for a slave of her kind.
A bribe and a nudge
May help even a drudge
If it makes her lord kindly inclined.



Vette clattered up the gangplank and into the holo room with shopping bags lining both arms and several bright scarves wrapped around her lekku. “NALENNE. You would not believe what I got.”

“I’ll see whatever you’re carrying and raise you a bigger surprise. You first.”

Vette tittered – she actually tittered – as she disentangled herself from her bags, spreading them out on the holo room floor. Jaesa struggled into the room with another load, most of which was probably also Vette’s. The Twi’lek knelt over one shabby plastifiber bag and pulled out a brown paper package. “I was chatting up this guy at the festival, right, and we started with some fascinating common ground about whiskey opinions, so we talked some more, and he had this incredibly cute brother….”

Jaesa interrupted. “What Vette means to say is, the boy’s brother was trying to sell some things to get the money to go offworld, and…”

“And he had. I kid you not. I had it checked and everything. Two out of the three issues from the o-ri-gin-al print run of Dark Son.”

“No. Eighty percent of all its hard copies were destroyed in the Sacking of Coruscant.” The reimagining of Ultraguy as a stalwart Imperial was an artistic tour de force that had been wildly popular at publication, back in the previous war…until the Republic cut off exports of the “subversive” story, launched one of its only successful SIS missions ever to destroy stray hard copies in Imperial space, and rounded up most of the print run back on Coruscant for “safekeeping.” Barbarians.

Vette handed her the package. “Read ‘em and weep. Or cheer, or whatever.”

With the swift trembling care of a collector Nalenne opened the package. There was the cover she had seen pictures of, and as she took stock of the two paperbacks she noted that they were both near mint. Beautiful. This was history made tangible, art made satisfyingly real. No holoscan distortions, no nothing, and she was the first of her friends to get her hands on one. “Vette, you’re amazing. Thank you. Thank you. I swear if I ever find the remote control for your collar I’ll take it right off you.”

“That’s what I thought,” beamed Vette. “I charged his asking price plus his bar tab and the entire cost of our vacation to your account. So you said you had a surprise?”

“Oh. Yeah. My dead husband’s back, ghost or something, he’s hanging out on the bridge. Would you look at this, Darth Marr is going to flip his lid when he finds out about these….”

What?” said Jaesa.

“Are you still here? Shoo,” said Nalenne.
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bright_ephemera
06.08.2012 , 10:17 PM | #17
10. In which Jaesa gets a word in edgewise

A padawan, Jaesa by name,
Sought a virtuous master to claim.
But what snagged her instead
Was a wacked-in-the-head
Once-Light Sith going bad without shame.



Quinn walked in from the bridge before Vette and Jaesa could go to investigate.

“Huh. Cool trick,” said Vette.

Jaesa smiled a terribly sweet puppyish smile. “Captain Quinn, but…how?”

“That is still uncertain, Jaesa. All we know is that I am here, I am limited to staying near the ship, and apart from the ability to speak I am entirely unable to interact with the physical world.”

“Look at this,” said Nalenne. “Look at this. Perfect. He must’ve had it in shrink plastiform.”

“Could be worse,” said Vette. “You could be stuck with only being able to knock people’s hats off, or only being able to feel your nose but not scratch it.”

“Yes, thank you for that insight,” Quinn said flatly.

“Happy to help.” Vette started gathering her shopping bags to bring them to her quarters. “Have fun now.”

“Why did it happen?” said Jaesa. “Were you some kind of latent Force user, or was there some ritual laid on you, or….”

Nalenne squealed. “And they have the tear-out dataslips for ordering other series! I’d forgotten Coruscant Comics still does that! Crazy Republic….”

“I’m glad you’re back,” said Jaesa. “But I hope it’s not unpleasant for you.”

“I trust we’ll find a solution soon.”

“I’ve never even heard of something this…this amazing. If there’s anything I can do to help…”

“There’s no need for concern, Jaesa.”

“I am trying to be compassionate here.”

“Has that ever had the slightest effect on me?”

“I’m having these framed,” said Nalenne. “They’ll go up in my room. This is gorgeous.”

“I’m just…this is astonishing.” Jaesa paused, radiating gentle concern. Quinn stoicked*. Jaesa sighed. “I’ll just go to my quarters, then. And meditate on the mysteries of the Force.”

“Yes, please do.”

Nalenne hugged the paperbacks to her chest and yelled down the hallway. “I’ll find your collar remote, Vette. I will. And set you free. Wow. Thank you so much.”

Vette leaned out from her quarters. “If you really want to thank me, re-dump the boyfriend.”

Nalenne started. “Hey. He is not my boyfriend.”

Jaesa looked stricken. “He’s not?”

Nalenne rolled her eyes. “You noticed the homicide, right, Jaesa?”

“But…he’s back. It’s going to be okay.”

“It’ll be okay because as soon as we figure out how to get rid of him, he’s gone.”

“Good call,” yelled Vette.

“But master, that’s terrible,” said Jaesa. “I know how much you mis-“

“Jaesa, you are ruining the moment. I just got the collector’s catch of a lifetime, and all you want to talk about is - is irrelevant, that’s what it is. Quinn bad. We can talk about that later, okay? Go meditate or something.”

Jaesa looked uncertainly at Quinn. Quinn held her gaze and tilted his head back in Nalenne’s direction with a “Listen to her” expression. The Jedi sighed and went to her room.

“Where have you been all my life, beautiful,” sang Nalenne softly as she sashayed off to her own quarters, holding the Dark Son close. Quinn watched her go with a very odd look on his face. Eventually he shook himself out of thought and returned to the bridge.


*Stoic (v) (past tense stoicked): To stand stoically. And refuse to respond in a normal human manner to anything. See also “being Malavai Quinn.” (etymology: this is not a real verb)
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Earthmama
06.09.2012 , 05:32 AM | #18
Quote: Originally Posted by bright_ephemera View Post


*Stoic (v) (past tense stoicked): To stand stoically. And refuse to respond in a normal human manner to anything. See also “being Malavai Quinn.” (etymology: this is not a real verb)

ROFL!!! I honestly laughed out loud at that one.

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bright_ephemera
06.09.2012 , 06:51 AM | #19
11. In which Nalenne tests Quinn’s limits

A rare Alderaanian flower
Pops and closes in less than an hour.
The fact that
santaal
Reproduces at all
Is a proof of life's limitless power.



"Quinn. With me."

The Helicarrier had left the major war zones for the time being and was presently settled in a remote alpine meadow on Alderaan. The crew was doing nothing in particular, except for Broonmark, who was out nerf-hunting with his bare claws.

Ghost-Quinn, who had spent the last several days being ignored by everyone on board, hurried to fall in step while Nalenne debarked and set out through the tall grasses. A cool breeze blew down from the nearest snowy mountain peak. The sun rode high in the cloudless azure sky, its brilliance reflected by a thousand alpine flowers. The riot of blossoms and delicate curling vines formed, with the accidental elegance of the wild, an exquisite arabesque roadblock. Nalenne drew her saber and started cutting a path.

"If I may ask, my lord," said Quinn, slowing his steps to match the person who actually had to interact with matter, "what are we doing?"

"Determining whether you're tethered to the ship or to me. What did you do between waking up and showing yourself, anyway? You said you were aware while Baras was alive."

"Yes. The immediate...urges...were to defend you and kill you, so I thought it prudent to stay just outside the ship's hull until one of these requirements resolved."

"That was considerate."

"I was not eager to repeat an assassination attempt just then."

“You’ve still got a noticeable post-Baras gap to account for.”

“I was trying to be dead. I was unsuccessful.”

“Failure after failure. You’re really on a roll.” On a whim she stopped hacking at the vegetation and turned to hack at Quinn instead. The saber passed through him, of course, which struck her as terribly funny. Quinn stood patiently while she ran through a wild series of slashes and jabs. Eventually she got bored and pressed on, continuing her straight line away from the ship.

"I have a thought," she said. "Suppose, just for a moment, that I don't want to destroy you. Or that I can't. I need to figure out a use for you. What have you been up to ‘til now, anyway?"

"I can't use a console, so I have been practicing other things. If I concentrate very hard while I'm standing in your comic books I can pick out one page at a time to read."

"See? Scarlet Nexu came in handy."

"My lord! I was in the cargo hold with Captain Kaas most of the time. Broonmark can corroborate."

"It's nothing to be ashamed of. You're allowed to enjoy a little over-the-top fan service."

"There's nothing to enjoy in that tripe. The physical improbability alone...you realize that with a bust like that she would break her own nose just on the upbounce during those gymnastics."

"So you did look at some!"

"Broonmark drove me out of the cargo hold and back to my quarters - and your Nexu collection. He threatened to...do things...if I didn't get out of his fur."

"'Do things'?"

"I don't want to talk about it, my lord."

"I could just drop some Captain Kaas in your quarters."

"It would be appreciated.”

"Anyway. I can't use you in combat except as a distraction, but you can still do your analysis and planning thing, right?"

"Given the relevant information, certainly."

"I'll assign 2V as your aide."

"Must you?"

"The alternative is solitary confinement with my comic books."

"2V will suffice, my lord."

"He'll handle consoles and things for you. But he won’t help you act against me. You have to behave this time.”

“I will. You have my complete allegiance.”

“Hmph. Heard that one before.”

“My lord, I still assume that I’m here because of an unpaid obligation. I can only fulfill that by serving you, as I promised to.”

“Uh-huh,” she said skeptically.

“If I pay off my debt, I’m hoping for an easy release.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Especially if the alternative is getting killed by you again. The first such experience was extraordinarily unpleasant. You weren’t gentle about it.”

“Yeah, well. I was upset.”

There was a long, awkward silence.

In time Quinn slowed and stopped, looking everywhere but at Nalenne. "I've never gotten this far from the ship without snapping back."

“Okay, so you can anchor on me or the ship. That gives a bit of flexibility – hey, can you teleport back at will?”

“No.”

That answer came too quickly. “Have you tried?”

Quinn’s gaze flicked left and right in that way he had when he thought she was being unreasonable. “I, er, yes. Yes, I’m trying just now. It seems I am unsuccessful, my lord.”

Nalenne helpfully brought out her saber and jabbed through his torso.

“Is that supposed to help, my lord?”

“If you’re trying to be elsewhere? It might. Universal principle of nature: things try to avoid lightsabers. You’re failing. Again.”

“I’m beginning to suspect you just enjoy stabbing me.”

“Oh, tell me I’m unjustified there, droid-boy. I dare you.” She deactivated and sheathed her saber. “Come on, let’s go home.”
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bright_ephemera
06.09.2012 , 09:50 AM | #20
12. In which Vette and the crew check the couch cushions

A collar, for Imps, can suffice
To show social status precise.
From an officer’s black
To a Sith’s weird hoop rack
To a slave’s cold controlling device.



“Hey. My lord. Wakeup time.”

Nalenne lay flat on her back and cursed her sudden alertness. Then she cursed Vette. “Are you joking?”

“Nope. It’s couch-tossing day.”

“It was couch-tossing day last week. We’re not up for another three.”

“Really?” said Vette. “I’m bad with time. Guess we should do an out-of-cycle one, since you’re already awake.”

“If your slave collar remote were in the furniture, we’d have found it by now.”

Vette jumped onto the foot of Nalenne’s bed. “Go.”

Nalenne sat up fast, pillow in hand, to hit the Twi’lek’s shoulder. “Fine.”

They started in the cargo bay. They always did. Jaesa and Broonmark started in the crew quarters. Pierce ran secondary checks/cleanup. Every box, every case, every databank with a loose chassis, every seat cushion, every couch frame: opened, turned, searched.

“What would you do if you were free, anyway?” asked Nalenne as the two of them fished around in the depths of the reading-nook couch.

“Leave forever,” chirped Vette cheerfully. “See what the old gang on Nar Shaddaa is up to.”

“But you visit them every few weeks anyway.”

“The collar kinda dampens the fun. It gets old, having everyone who sees this slave-without-a-master checking my collar registry and calling you to inform you I’ve ‘escaped.’”

Nalenne moved on to the first of three armchairs. “I feel I should remind you that the slave collar wasn’t my idea.”

“Seems like keeping track of your stuff wasn’t an idea of yours, either.”

“Hmph. Anyway, I’m struggling to envision you holding down a job as a free woman.”

“I have skills. I can sneak, rob, kill. Act as secretary and reality buffer to disorganized overgrown children.”

“I would miss you.”

“I could go a whole week without being party to any deranged killing sprees. No more up-close views of Force chokings or wild abuse of authority or that cringeworthy evil laugh.”

“’Cringeworthy’?”

“Yeah. The cackle’s kind of awful.”

“She’s right, milord,” said Pierce from across the room.

Nalenne sniffed. “Well then, maybe you really would be happier elsewhere, Miss Judgy.”

“Hey,” called Jaesa from where she knelt by the holoprojector. “No remote, but I think I’ve got a new contender for record-size dust bunny.”

Pierce whistled at the sight of the dust-fur-hair monstrosity Jaesa held aloft. “Nice. That’ll definitely make top three in the hall of fame.”

“I’m glad there’s an upside to my suffering,” sighed Vette.

“Hey,” said Nalenne, “don’t be like that. I’ll make it up to you. I’ll buy back one of your Twi’lek artifacts from whatever thieving conqueror has it so your friends can do their cultural thing with it, okay? Plus one shopping spree for you. And you don’t have to come with me on my next enforcement run.”

Vette smiled graciously, not to say triumphantly. “Suffering slightly lessened. For now.”
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