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01.25.2013 , 01:31 PM | #1

A SWTOR:FF by Caernos

10 ATC

Leo sat on top of the pile of wood and metal and rubble and watched everyone bustling at work. Two days ago, his parents had been making plans for his birthday. Yesterday, the tornado hit without warning. And today the empire arrived.

To help clean up.

Leo sat on top of his throne of debris unsure of what he should do. He didn’t know where his parents were. He was sure they were fine, but he hadn’t seen them since the storm hit. They were probably helping the neighbors; a lot of good people got trapped when their homes collapsed.

It was hard to tell whose house was whose. They all looked alike, just piles and pieces of junk, broken and shattered and spread all over the town. The empire had actually stopped their tanks outside of town, the debris being so bad that it actually made the road impassable.

People whispered how they had never seen a twister like it. No one had ever heard of a twister that leveled an entire town.

Late at night, people whispered about the evil of the Empire and the cowardice of the republic. They spoke behind closed doors about the occupation and how they were going to free Balmorra from the Empire’s control. Leo would pretend to be a sleep, but he would always be listening to every story, to hear about the brave deeds of the resistance fighting the empire.

And here was the Empire, bringing in men and equipment to help rebuild the town. Leo could see mistrust in the townsfolk’s eyes. And a lingering guilt as no one turned away the Empire’s help.

From atop his throne, Leo’s eyes affixed on three individuals. They were robed in black, bits of armor shining under their cloacks and metallic hilts hanging from their belts. One was a zabrak, a fierce looking red skinned man with horns growing out of his bald head and spidery black lines covering his face. Another was a young woman, but her skin was ghostly pale and her hair and eyes were solid white with her hands ending in clawed fingers. The last was a man, older than the other two with short dark hair and stubble. Perhaps what was made him stand out was the eyepatch that partially covered a rather large and vicious looking scar over his left eye.

Leo knew they were sith.

The man with the eyepatch turned and locked eyes with the boy on the throne of debris. Quickly, Leo looked away. The resistance spoke of the sith as butchers, people who slaughtered others for fun.

Boots crunched on glass shards and knocked over splintered boards. Then the man with the eyepatch was squating before Leo, his two colleagues standing behind him a little bit aways. Leo found his gaze drawn to the blazing fiery eye of the man, and even though the sith smiled, the boy shivered with dread. “Hello there,” said the man. “Come closer my little friend.”

Leo shook his head adamantly, refusing to move from his seat. His parents wouldn’t like him talking to strangers, especially sith.

The man chuckled, a warm and friendly sound that did nothing to displace the evil color in his eye. “Don’t worry, I mean you no harm. You must be hungry.” He reached down to his belt and pulled out what looked like a candy bar. Grinning he tossed it towards the boy. It landed right in Leo’s lap, but the boy refused to touch it. Raising an eyebrow the sith shrugged and took another bar from his belt. He opened the wrapper and bit into it, taking a large mouthful of the delectable chocolate and sugar treat. Smiling, he chewed for show.

Finally he swallowed his snack. “What’s your name, young one?” he asked. Leo shook his head, and the man laughed. “I am Darth Tonitrus, these are my apprentices, Jahangir and Fraija,” he said, pointing to the zabrak and the white woman respectively.

Leo leaned forward, defiant. “I know what you are. You’re sith!”

Tonitrus nodded his head. “You’re very smart. Your parents must be very proud of you.”

“They are.”

“Where are they? I would very much like to meet the parents of such a smart boy.”

Leo glanced around at all the people working. He could see soldiers lifting heavy stones that townsfolk could not, working side by side with them. He saw his neighbors holding each other close and reveling in their survival. People all around ran back and forth, but Leo couldn’t see his parents. “They’re helping the others,” he said, his voice quavering a little bit. Since he couldn’t see them they had to have gone to the other side of town.

He wished they would have told him where they went though. “I shouldn’t be talking to you,” Leo said to the one eyed man.

Tonitrus raised an eyebrow and leaned back slightly. There was a look of great pain and hurt on his face. It seemed the boy’s words cut sharper than any knife. “Why not?” the sith asked, “We’re here to help.”

Leo shook his head. He knew what the resistance said about the sith. He had heard the stories. “The empire is evil. You take whatever you want and hurt people for fun.”

Tonitrus chuckled at that. Then he made a sweep of the town with his arm, taking in all of the imperials working to help the town. “Surely you can see that’s not true. If we were so bad, would we be helping rescue survivors?”

Leo shifted uncomfortably. He wasn’t sure how to answer the sith. Everything the imperials were doing flew in the face of what he knew about them. “Well…maybe you’re not so bad,” he conceded.

Tonitrus smiled. “Am I a bad guy?”

Leo frowned and after a moment slowly shook his head. “I guess not.” His voice was filled with uncertainty.

The one eyed sith stood up, still smiling. “Tell you what, young man. I’ll prove it. I’ll go find your parents and bring them back here to show that you’re okay. Will you be my friend if I do that?”

Leo did really want to see his parents. He was getting hungry, and he was sure his parents would want to check on him shortly. Slowly, he nodded his head again. “Yeah, if you find my parents we can be friends I guess.”

Tonitrus smiled and took a few steps back. “Good, cause I want you to tell me everything you can about your town and your friends. You’re a very smart boy, I think you’ll go far.” And with that, he turned and walked away.

Leo watched the one eyed man walk away. He didn’t seem to fit all the stories that the resistance told about sith. But then Leo remembered that blazing yellow eye and his whole body quaked for some unknown reason.

* * * * * *

“The boy is in shock. He saw his parents die and he’s blocking the memory,” said Fraija as the three sith walked away from the boy on the debris throne.

Jahangir growled. “So certain are you,” he challenged.

Fraija made a terse nod of her head. “Yes. I pulled the memory from the boys mind. The mother is buried under that pile of rubble he was sitting on. His father was picked up and blown away. He saw it all and is blocking it out.”

Jahangir frowned but made a slow nod. “Should we not just tell the boy his parents’ fate then?”

“No,” said Tonitrus coolly. “We will make a pretense of searching for the parents, as it will give us a chance to survey our handiwork.” The one eyed sith lord paused as he saw a pair of soldiers struggling with a pile of debris. Stretching out his hand, the sith lord used the force to raise the bits of wood and steel into the air. The soldiers did not question how it was happening or where the help was coming from. Instead they rushed under the floating debris and began pulling a family of five out, pushing them to safety.

Only once everyone was clear did Tonitrus allow the debris to fall back into the pile. Then he turned to his apprentices. “Once we have appropriately surveyed the damage our conjured twister caused, then we will return to the boy and break the news to him. But we will do it gently, revealing that we could not find his parents, not that they are dead.”

The two apprentices frowned, not understanding the reasons of their master’s plan. They knew it was tied with the ritual they had performed to summon the storm, but they did not know how.

Tonitrus waited a moment to see if clarity would dawn on the two. Then with a disgruntled shake of his head, he resumed his walk of the town remains. “Compassion, my apprentices, compassion and mercy are far more powerful weapons than fear or terror are.”

Jahangir spoke, his deep voice reverberating with his confusion. “But master, compassion and mercy are for the weak.”

Tonitrus chuckled and shook his head. “Nonetheless, they are our weapons here.” He paused and gestured towards a makeshift hospital that had been set up. “Tell me, what do you see?”

The two apprentices looked. In the tent they could see Imperial medics rushing back and forth, treating many townsfolk for any kind of injury. People screamed in pain and called for help. Others tried to resist the imperial help, struggling weakly against the medics. Fraija turned her white eyes back to her master. “I see a hospital,” she admitted, shaking her head in confusion.

Tonitrus smiled ruefully and shook his head. “With my one eye I see far more than either of you.” He then raised his hand and pointed to a doctor, not dressed in an imperial uniform. “That is the town doctor. See how our medics take orders from him or call him for assistance. Our medics are working side by side with him, and he is beginning to realize that perhaps we imperials are not the monsters we are made out to be.”

Tonitrus took a few steps away and made a grand sweeping gesture of the town, the town that had been leveled by the force storm. “Compassion and mercy, my apprentices. By aiding these peoples we will bind them to us. Eventually, they will no longer look on the resistance as heroes, but as rabble rousers and traitors. They will see them as the terrorists they are.”

Darth Tonitrus smiled at his apprentices, and both of them shivered under the baleful gaze of his fiery yellow eye. “Compassion and mercy will be the weapons that conquer Balmorra, and brings it into the fold of the Empire.”

Cynfor Cinderheart and the Cinderheart Legacy: The Ebon Hawk
The FanFic Works of Caernos:
Red Invitation, Parents,
Beskar Bonds and Cinder Hearts