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A Time Displaced Sith


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OfficerDonNZ
08.19.2017 , 08:55 PM | #11
Chapter 6 -- To save a Queen

_________________

As the three Force-users and one inept, clumsy, accident-prone and wholly annoying Gungan creep their way through the occupied city of Theed in search of the Queen of Naboo, Nathrrya wondered just how the Gungan species had survived for so long. Was Jar Jar the exception rather than the rule? One thing the Sith did know was that she wasn’t going to forget going through the planets core in that dammed sub anytime soon. She was also sure she was going to have nightmares for weeks about the oversized fish she’d seen. No wonder Jar Jar had been scared witless at the prospect of travelling through Naboo’s core.

“There’s the Queen and her retinue.” Nathrrya whispered pointing down to the courtyard below them. From their vantage point on the covered balcony that surrounded the courtyard the rescue party could see Queen Amidala, four of her handmaidens, five of her security and one of her advisers being escorted by ten battle droids. The Sith couldn’t believe how lazy the Trade were being as there hadn’t been a single battle droid on the upper levels. Nathrrya knew if she had been leading the droid army, this was one of the first places she’d have sent troops. The woman supposed it was her wartime experience colouring her thinking.

There was a narrow passage that lead out of the courtyard between two buildings with a covered balcony connecting them, not unlike the one they were on. Obi-Wan pointed it out to his master.

“Look there, the perfect ambush point.”

Qui-Gon noticed and agreed with his Padawan. He beckoned them to follow as they started to make their way around the upper level to rescue the Queen.

________________________

The first the battle droids were aware of the attack when one of them broke Jar Jar’s fall. It had crumpled under the Gungan’s weight.

At least he’s useful for something, Nathrrya thought as she jumped down with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan as they began to dispatch the remaining droids with their lightsabres. The last remaining battle droid - a sergeant - tried to run for help but Nathrrya stopped him cold as she reached out and made a fist. The droid exploded in a shower of sparks as the pieces tumbled to the ground.

“Yousa guys bombad!” Jar Jar cried pumping his arms in the air. He was getting used to these humans and their strange powers but he was still weary of the woman. There was something about her that he found unsettling.

Queen Amidala and her retinue just stared in amazement; they couldn’t quite believe what had happened. Captain Panaka was the first to get his wits back and ordered his men to grab the weapons left by the destroyed droids while he picked up a blaster rifle.

Nathrrya had noticed that several of the trashed droids had been carrying heavy blaster pistols so she called one to her and hid it within her robes when no one was looking. Why she picked up the weapon she didn’t quite know but she had the feeling it might come in handy soon. The Sith may have preferred her lightsabre but she was also proficient with blaster pistols. Quinn had seen to that even if it had been a rather weak ploy on his part to spend some alone time with her. Not that Nathrrya had minded though in truth she had already known the basics. Both her parents had often carried blasters so she’d grow up being familiar with them. Before she’d left for Korriban her father had told her he’d regretted never taking the time to teach his only child how to properly handle a blaster.

Qui-Gon ushered the Queen and her retinue between the two buildings out of sight. “Your Highness, we are the Ambassadors for the Supreme Chancellor.” He said with a slight bow.

“Your negotiations seem to have failed, Ambassador.” Sio Bibble, the Queen’s head councillor, pointed out.

Qui-Gon hardly acknowledged the man. “The negotiations never took place. Your Highness, we must contact the Republic.”

Captain Panaka stepped forward shaking his head. “That’s easier said than done. They've knocked out all our planetary communications. It was the first thing they did when they invaded.”

The Jedi Master frowned at the unwelcome complication. “Do you have transports?” he asked at last.

The Security Captain smiled and pointed the way with his rifle. “Yes, in the main hanger. This way.”

As the large group disappeared down an alleyway they could hear alarms begin to wail.

______________

Captain Panaka slowly slid open a side door to the main hanger. Within were several Naboo spacecraft, including the Queen’s private cruiser, as well as some pilots and ground crew being guarded by about a platoon’s worth of battle droids.

Panaka turned to the Jedi Master looking grim. “There’s too many of them.”

“That won't be a problem.” Qui-Gon replied as he faced the Queen. “Your Highness, under the circumstances, I suggest you come to Coruscant with us.”

“Thank you, Ambassador, but my place is here with my people.” Queen Amidala replied firmly.

“They will kill you if you stay.” Qui-Gon said bluntly.

“They wouldn't dare.” Bibble shot back.

“They need her to sign a treaty to make this invasion of theirs legal. They can't afford to kill her.” Captain Panaka explained.

Nathrrya couldn’t keep her mouth shut any longer; so far, she had been content to let the Jedi Master do all the talking. At least with her Imperial accent people took notice.

“Listen, the situation here is not what it appears to be. There is something else behind all this, Your Highness. There is no logic in the Federation's move here. The Force is telling me that if you remain here they will destroy you.”

She spoke to the Queen gently but firmly and had also slipped a Force suggestion behind her words to prod the Naboo into taking action. She hated being idle when there were enemy forces within shooting distance. Idleness could get you killed.

Bibble turned to his queen and began to plead with her. “Please, Your Highness, reconsider. Our only hope is for the Senate to side with us... Senator Palpatine will need your help.”

“Getting past their blockade is impossible, Your Highness. Any attempt to escape will be dangerous.” The Security Captain pointed out.

“Your Highness, I will stay here and do what I can...They will have to retain the Council of Governors in order to maintain control. But you must leave...” Bibble begged.

The Queen listened to both sides and turned to face two of her handmaidens. “Either choice presents a great risk to all of us," she said. Nathrrya viewed this as a very odd exchange for a queen to address her handmaidens like that rather than the advisor and the captain. She narrowed her eyes as her mind tried to make sense of it.

“We are brave, Your Highness.” Padme replied. The queen nodded at her handmaiden's response.

That was the clincher. It finally hit her like a bolt of Force lightning - the queen was a decoy and the true queen was the maiden that responded. Nathrrya had to hand it to her that she was a very clever girl, but she blew her cover when she spoke. It was almost tactless how it occurred and when the Sith looked around at the present company no one showed signs that she caught the same thing she had. Unless the Jedi also caught this and didn't betray the ruse. Either way, she pitied the girl.

“If you are to leave, Your Highness, it must be now.” Qui-Gon urged seemingly none the wiser for the decoy Queen’s misstep. The Sith caught this but remained silent.

“Then, I will plead our case before the Senate.” The Queen said as she turned to Bibble. “Be careful, Governor.”

“Wait here - I’ll deal with the droids and free the pilots.” Nathrrya said before anyone could enter the main hanger.

Qui-Gon turned his attention to the Sith with a concerned look on his face. “Are you certain?” he asked.
Nathrrya turned and gave him a slight smile. “Of course, I doubt I’ll even break a sweat.”

There was a brief pause but the Jedi Master only nodded. "Very well. Obi-Wan and I will be here if you need us." To say any more than that or to argue would be pointless. Nathrrya nodded and walked into the hanger activating her lightsabre as she did so.

Captain Panaka wasn't very thrilled seeing a woman going out there. Intimidating lightsabre or not, he was still a gentleman as well as a soldier. He turned to the Jedi Master. "Is it really wise to let her go in there alone? She's out numbered."

Qui-Gon shared a quick glance with his Padawan. Based on what they both saw her do on the Trade flagship they both felt that she was the Sith equivalent to a Jedi Master - a Darth. Qui-Gon had no doubt that Nathrrya would be perfectly capable of handling a few droids.

"There is no need for concern," he finally said. "She is very capable and those droids won't be problematic."

_______________________________

When Nathrrya entered the hangar most of the battle droids started to approach her except the ones that were guarding the pilots and ground crew. The Sith raised her left arm, palm open, and then suddenly made a fist and brought her arm straight down. Most of the droids froze for a second before exploding in a shower of sparks, their component parts tumbling to the hangar floor.

The remaining six acted immediately and opened fire on their assailant, which Nathrrya easily deflected using the energy field of her activated lightsabre, and doing it one handed because she hadn’t gotten to show off since being released from her carbonite prison. She was feeling dramatic - she produced the blaster pistol she took earlier and shot the remaining droids point-blank in the centre of their mechanical heads between the eye receptors. Once the last droid had fallen she deactivated her sabre and returned it and the pistol to her utility belt. With a flick of her wrist and a gesture she had freed the Naboo pilots.

Nathrrya turned to face the door through which she had entered. The rest of the group was now filling into the hangar while the freed captives started to prepare the cruiser for takeoff.

“Your Highness, it’s time we left - your transport awaits.” Nathrrya made a slight bow.

_______________________

“That was impressive wasn’t it Master.” Obi-Wan said through their training bond as he and Qui-Gon walked alongside the Queen and her handmaidens.

“Indeed, it was my Padawan.” Qui-Gon replied “I think we are right in thinking that Nathrrya is a Darth and I hadn’t even realised she’d picked up a blaster pistol.” That had been a surprise. He looked at Obi-Wan. He smirked with some amusement. “I wouldn’t let Siri see you with that expression, my Padawan.”

“What expression, Master?” Obi-Wan asked as he schooled his features into neutrality.

Qui-Gon’s smirk turned into a smile. “There is no shame in being appreciative. However, Siri may misinterpret it for something that it is not.”

Obi-Wan was becoming very uncomfortable. He wasn’t pleased about where the conversation was heading. “Whatever do you mean Master?”

The Jedi Master gave his Padawan a very droll look. “You know perfectly well what I mean Obi-Wan.”

He finally let the matter rest as they followed the final members of the group onto the cruiser. Qui-Gon could hardly reprimand his Padawan when he was in a similar predicament regarding Master Tahl. Perhaps Nathrrya had been right about the no-attachment rule being outdated.

____________________

The Royal Cruiser sped away from the Trade Federation blockade but not without damage. Its shield generator had been brought down but if it hadn’t been for the efforts of the cruisers compliment of Astromechs, things may have been very different even if most of the little service droids had been destroyed in the process.

Ric Olie turned his pilots chair to face the others on the flight deck and considering how small it was, the flight deck was crowded with Captain Panaka and the three Jedi. The female Jedi made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and as for what he’d seen her do to those battle droids back in the hanger... Ric didn’t know what to think.

“There's not enough power to get us to Coruscant...the hyperdrive has been damaged.” The pilot said.

“We'll have to land somewhere to refuel and repair the ship.” Qui-Gon replied with a sigh.

“Here, Master,” Obi-Wan said. He was looking at the star chart and found a planet nearby, which he pointed out. “Tatooine... It's small, out of the way, poor... The Trade Federation has no presence there.”

Nathrrya peered over the Padawan’s shoulder and raised her brows in recognition. “Haven’t been on that dust ball in a long time. It’s probably still the armpit of the galaxy and possessing the largest hive of scum and villainy you’re likely to find.”

“And how long ago was that?” Obi-Wan asked innocently.

“Not long enough.” The Sith shot back with a grin.

Captain Panaka gave the woman a concerned look before he turned to Qui-Gon. “How can you be so sure?” he asked.

“It's controlled by the Hutts...” The Jedi Master revealed.

Nathrrya muttered several choice curses under her breath. The Sith detested the oversized slugs with a passion and had never liked the Empire’s alliance with the creatures and as for the detachable that was Makeb the less said about that the better. Too think the Hutts now controlled Tatooine. It made her ill just thinking about the sheer amount of resources that both the Empire and Republic had put into that Force-forsaken dust ball so long ago.

“The Hutts?” Panaka was not liking the idea at all.

“It's risky... but there's no alternative.” Obi-Wan said.

“You can't take Her Royal Highness there!” The Security Captain shuddered thinking about the possible failure if they landed the cruiser on that planet. “The Hutts are gangsters... If they discovered her...”

“It would be no different than if we landed in a system controlled by the Federation... except the Hutts aren't looking for her, which gives us an advantage.” Qui-Gon said.

Captain Panaka sighed in frustration. “Very well, Master Jedi. You and I will go and tell Her Highness the good news.” The man completely failed to hide his sarcasm.

____________

In a conference room aboard the Saak'ak, ironically the same one that the Jedi had been in not even a day earlier, sat Nute Gunray and Rune Haako. Before them was a hologram of Darth Sidious.

“We control all the cities in the North and are searching for any other settlements...” Nute informed the Dark Lord.

Sidious smiled evilly. “Destroy all high-ranking officials, Viceroy... slowly... quietly. And Queen Amidala, has she signed the treaty?”

“She has disappeared, my Lord,” Nute said shaking his head. “One Naboo cruiser got past the blockade.”

“Viceroy, find her!” Sidious bellowed without doing so. “I want that treaty signed.”

“My Lord, it's impossible to locate the ship. It's out of our sensor range.” Nute replied.

Sidious narrowed his eyes. “Not for a Sith...” His apprentice appeared behind him. “...Viceroy, this is my apprentice. Darth Maul. He will find your lost ship.”

“Yes, my Lord.” The hologram faded from view. “This is getting out of hand...now there are two of them.” Gunray said to his second in command.

“We should not have made this bargain. What will happen when the Jedi become aware of these Sith Lords?” Rune asked.

______________________

Nathrrya and Obi-Wan had escaped to the royal cruiser’s galley since there was no real need for them to be present while Master Jinn and the security captain informed the Queen of their current predicament. Both were seated comfortably having some caf.

“Nathrrya, how do you perceive the Light Side of the Force?” Obi-Wan had been having thoughts about their new Sith companion and he was still very interested in learning about her. He had been thinking about this thing for some time. For Obi-Wan saw the Dark Side as a rolling mass of shifting reds of various shades and black and as each Jedi perceived the Force differently, the question begged to be asked.

The Sith rolled the question around in her head for a moment. “I’m aware of it, to me it’s like the blue sky on a crystal-clear day but much more intense.” she said. “I can see it but if I look at it for too long it can become almost blinding. It’s also something of a comfort to know it’s there… like, if I can see the Light Side then I know I haven’t gone too deeply into the Dark that I can’t find my way back.” When she looked up she smiled when she saw the surprised expression on the Padawan’s face. “Not quite the answer you were expecting, now was it Obi-Wan?”

“No, it wasn’t,” he admitted. He looked down at the mug he held for a second, considering the liquid remaining within in. “It explains why you seemed so... content in the Jedi Temple. But how did no one detect you?”

Nathrrya looked thoughtful as she considered the best way to answer the padawan’s question. “Why did I go undetected? That I can only guess at. I was concealing the origins of my training and your master likely picked up on that but I wasn’t actively drawing on the Dark Side for anything. The Force is out of balance, so that too may have helped to cloud my own darkness.” She looked Obi-Wan in the eyes. “However, I don’t think I completely fooled the Council.”

Obi-Wan nodded his understanding. Now that Nathrrya didn’t need to hide her origins from them he could clearly see the darkness the woman possessed. It surrounded her like a form fitting body suit that he could just make the outline of. “Yes, it was clear they were... unsure of what to make of you. But I thought all Sith immersed themselves in the Dark Side.”

Nathrrya shook her head. “Not all, no. Oh some do, however. This Darth Sidious, as an example... he’s so immersed in the Dark Side that he couldn’t find his way back to the Light even if he wanted to.” Just like Darth Nox, she thought bitterly remembering the assassin’s spiral downwards. Even Nox’s mother, Darth Occulas hadn’t been able to reach her in the end. “The Dark Side gives great power but it asks for a great deal in return. You’re familiar with the concept of Dark Side corruption?” Obi-Wan just nodded and she continued. “There are ways to counter it, but the easiest and simplest is to not draw on the Dark Side too often or too deeply - something that is easier said than done. That’s why I keep the Light in view: If I do that then I know I won’t lose myself completely to the darkness.”

A silence fell between the two Force-users as they drank their caf, listening to the buzzing people within the ship. Nathrrya was slightly aware of the fluctuations of the Force between them. It could be likened to a current of air on a gentle spring day.

Unbeknownst to the two of them, Qui-Gon had witnessed the entirety of their conversation. He had elected to remain unnoticed by the pair to see what would transpire. The Jedi Master was impressed by his Padawan’s question and the resulting discussion. Nathrrya was truly unlike any Sith he had read about. Obi-Wan was right; this mission would not be boring and would if anything, prove most enlightening.
"Korriban’s a rock, mind the Sith." -Jolee Bindo.

MayhemofChaonus's Avatar


MayhemofChaonus
08.23.2017 , 10:04 PM | #12
Quote:
This Darth Sidious, as an example... he’s so immersed in the Dark Side that he couldn’t find his way back to the Light even if he wanted to.” Just like Darth Nox, she thought bitterly remembering the assassin’s spiral downwards.
Was the Darth Nox of this universe as wonderfully insidious as mine? XD
"The weak will always be victims. That is the way of the universe. The strong take what they want, and the weak suffer at their hands. That is their fate; it is inevitable. Only the strong survive, because only the strong deserve to" - Darth Bane
May the Force forsake you

OfficerDonNZ's Avatar


OfficerDonNZ
08.23.2017 , 10:26 PM | #13
Quote: Originally Posted by MayhemofChaonus View Post
Was the Darth Nox of this universe as wonderfully insidious as mine? XD
From what I've been told, yes she was.
"Korriban’s a rock, mind the Sith." -Jolee Bindo.

OfficerDonNZ's Avatar


OfficerDonNZ
09.02.2017 , 06:06 PM | #14
Chapter 7 -- Meeting Anakin Skywalker


_________________

“That has to be the worst idea I have ever heard,” Nathrrya stated, shaking her head. “Are you out of your bloody mind?”

“It will help us to blend in if I take Jar Jar with me.” Qui-Gon replied. He saw no reason for this to be a bad thing.

“With us, you mean, Jedi,” she replied, becoming annoyed. “I’m coming with you whether you approve of it or not. If you bring Jar Jar I’m sure I’ll accidentally end up Force choking him and it won’t be my fault if I do.” She raised her hand, rubbing her temples, trying to alleviate an oncoming headache due to the sheer stupidity of having Jar Jar tag along. “Enlighten me, Master Jinn, but how can you possibly think that having Jar Jar with us will assist us in blending in? He’s a Gungan, a swamp-dwelling...thing… and we’re on a Force-forsaken desert planet. He will attract more attention rather than deflect it.”

“Master, Nathrrya does make a relative point,” Obi-Wan offered, attempting to calm things down between the two. They had been arguing for at least ten minutes by this time and he was impressed that the Sith hadn’t lost her temper as he thought she would. But her tense shoulders, the frown on her features and the general feel of the Force around her indicated that it wouldn’t be too long before she did. “You have to admit… the Gungan is rather accident-prone.”

Qui-Gon considered his Padawan and looked to the Sith again before he eventually sighed in defeat. “Very well - perhaps it’s best that Jar Jar stays here on the ship.” After the statement, there was a not-so-muted sound of “yippee!” heard in the background followed closely by more than a few groans of dismay. “And we all felt the disturbance in the Force.”

Nathrrya snorted and dropped her arm, her hand slapping her side as she did so. “Is that what you call it? A ‘disturbance’? To me if felt a lot more like a herd of stampeding Bantha. You-know-who is most likely looking for us as well as the queen. Trust me, you’ll want me around if his apprentice shows up and pays us a visit.”

Just at that moment, the astromech droid R2-D2 rolled into the room and made a series of beeps and whistles. Nathrrya’s mood seemed to calm some when he announced the good news. She reached down and patted the little droid on his dome appreciatively. “That’s great to hear, Artoo. And with the list of parts we need, we can get this hunk of junk off this planet.” She raised her voice slightly. “And we know that half of the crew is standing in the hallway. They forget we’re Jedi and can sense them.”

The droid rolled out of the room and the Sith followed. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were left alone. The Padawan crossed his arms and grinned at his master. “Looks like she outmanoeuvred you again, Master.”

Qui-Gon frowned. “It would seem so. One would think she’d taken over control of this mission.”

“Would that be a bad thing, considering what it is we may face?”

“Perhaps not,” he replied, considering Obi-Wan’s question. “But it’s quite awkward to have my authority challenged in such a fashion.”

His Padawan nodded in agreement. “I understand, Master. But she is a master in her own right, if what we believe about her to be true, I can see that the two of you won’t always see eye to eye.”

“You’re correct in your assessment, Obi-Wan.” He nodded, indicating that the conversation was over. He put his hand on his Padawan’s shoulder briefly. “Remember, don’t let them send any transmissions. The Trade will attempt to locate the Queen if they do so.”

“I understand, Master. May the Force be with you.”

_____________________

“And how is that keeping a low profile?” Master Jinn asked when Nathrrya walked up to him. She was wearing the same outfit as the day they met outside Jedi Temple. “And how do you still have that outfit?” He asked realizing the only addition was the blaster pistol in the holster on her utility belt.

“You’d be surprised what people don’t take notice of. I could pass as a mercenary or a bounty hunter. I’ve always worn this style to distract my targets; succeeding each time.” She grinned, shielding her eyes from the bright sunlight. The dust was already beginning to tickle her nose and she hated it. “As for how I still have this outfit, I just put the Jedi robes on over the top.”

Qui-Gon nodded. “Where is your lightsabre?” he asked.

She pointed to a place in the duster that she wore. “It’s right here, out of sight but within easy reach if I need it.”

“Wait!”

Captain Panaka had called to them as he was coming down from the ramp of the cruiser. Both the Jedi and the Sith turned to see him rushing towards them with one of the Queen’s handmaidens in tow. Both Naboo natives seemed to falter when they saw Nathrrya’s choice of clothing, very different from the Jedi robes she had been wearing up to this point. When she noticed the peasants garb Padme was wearing, she had to use a significant amount of effort to keep herself from facepalming.

You’ve got to be kidding me, she thought to herself. If taking Jar Jar was a bad idea, this had to be a completely different level of stupid and it happened to be another crate of monkey-lizards that she didn’t want to open. She just prayed that nothing else happened. Maybe an asteroid or a meteor would strike the planet with them on it.

Nathrrya looked up at the sky for good measure.

“Her Highness commands you to take her handmaiden with you,” Panaka said. “She wishes for her to observe the local...”

Qui-Gon shook his head. “No more commands from Her Highness today, Captain. This spaceport is not going to be pleasant.”

“The Queen wishes it; she is curious about this planet.” The Captain replied.

Nathrrya saw the look of consideration on Jinn’s face. “For the love of the Living Force, please don’t tell me you’re actually considering this insane request?”

“I’ve been trained in defence. I can take care of myself.” Padme had spoken up for the first time.

“Don’t make us go back and tell the Queen you refused.” Panaka almost begged.

“Neither of you should because she’s right here,” Nathrrya said. She turned to Padme with a glare. “Isn’t that right, Your Highness?”

“How did you know?” Padme was obviously surprised. Captain Panaka also wanted to know how it was discovered as well. Even the Jedi Master was intrigued.

The Sith rolled her eyes. Did she really have to explain this? “In the hangar on Naboo, your decoy made the tactless mistake of turning towards you when she spoke of the risk. You made the equally tactless blunder of responding. I found the exchange to be odd.”

Padme looked to deflate in her confidence. She noticeably slumped and even her tone didn’t have as much bite to it as it had a moment ago, “So, I guess this means I’m not going with you to Mos Espa?”

“Damn right you’re not, Your Highness,” she said. It was harsh but she honestly cared about her safety. “Look, the spaceport is going to be filled with slavers, smugglers, criminals…” To make her point she ticked off each thing on her fingers. “And, let’s not forget this Force-forsaken dust-ball is also controlled by the Hutts, so in addition to all of that, you also have prostitution, gambling and the trafficking of every illicit substance you can think of, ten times over.”

Padme was young, but she wasn’t an idiot and Nathrrya communicated in such a way to address her more intelligent side. She saw that Padme was slowly understanding the true danger the planet possessed. Nathrrya turned to Panaka.

“Captain, I implore you to do your job and safeguard your monarch. Your post is head of security, so please… for the love of the galaxy… secure her!”

Panaka noted the sharpness of her command, indicating that she was very much in charge now. He snapped a salute to her with a “Yes Sir!” before escorting a grumbling Padme back to the safety of the cruiser.

___________

The Sith, the Jedi and the astromech, R2-D2, made their way through Mos Espa to locate some of the smaller junk dealers. While the three of them made their way through the streets it was obvious that most of the male population, alien or human, were ogling the woman rather openly. The stares, mutters and the occasional cat-call didn’t bother her in the slightest. However, one of the street thugs decided to be bold and attempted to frisk her, to which he was promptly knocked to the ground before he could really touch her and had the barrel of the woman’s blaster flush against his manhood. Nathrrya’s cold, hard stare and evil smile terrified him. Seeing her display, the other men decided to give them all a very wide berth.

Once her dominance was established on the streets they managed to find a suitable junk dealer shop. As they entered a flying alien insect creature came out from the back and grumbled in Huttese.

“What do you want?” Watto asked.

Qui-Gon nodded his head in greeting. “I need parts for a J-type 327 Nubian.”

**** - could this become any more difficult? Nathrrya was becoming sour. Toydarians were immune to Force suggestion and mind tricks. She had never dealt with them but she had heard things. Again, she looked out of the nearest window towards the sky just to be sure her meteor theory hadn’t turned into a reality.

“Ah yes, ah yes. Nubian. We have lots of that. What kinda junk?” Watto turned towards the back of the shop slightly. “Boy, get in here! Now!”

“My droid here has a readout of what I need.” Qui-Gon said as R2 beeped a conformation.

Nathrrya’s attention was taken by the arrival of a rather dishevelled, scruffy looking, blonde haired boy who she’d guess to be about eight or nine years of age. Her Force senses threatened to overwhelm her as the boy was awash in the Force. His power was vast, untapped and untrained and if his Force signature was much brighter she would have to wear eye protection just to look at him. What Nathrrya found strange was that he had no Darkness in him at all - not a speck. Considering where the boy lived that was hard to believe.

She glanced over at Qui-Gon to see if he had noticed it as well and it was his stoic demeanour that made her promise never to play cards against him. If the Jedi Master had picked up on what she felt, then he was showing no outward sign that it was the case.

“What took you so long?” Watto asked raising an arm as if to strike the boy.

“I was cleaning the bin like you...” Anakin replied trying not to flinch.

“Never mind!” Watto waved away the excuse. “Watch the store I've got some selling to do here.” He turned to Qui-Gon. “So, let me take you out back. You'll find what you need.”

As the Jedi and the astromech left with Watto, Nathrrya found herself a comfortable spot on the wall to lean against until Qui-Gon returned. The boy had hopped up onto a counter and was trying to look busy by, apparently, cleaning some random parts. He was carefully and sneakily studying the woman he was left with.

The boy, Anakin Skywalker, was able to read people. He didn’t know how he could do this and he didn’t know why, but he just could. It came in handy at times, this mysterious ability. It was telling him this woman, innocently leaning against the wall, could be extremely dangerous even though he felt completely safe around her. Though if he were to explain it to someone, they would think he was strange.

“Are you an angel?” Anakin asked thoughtfully.

Nathrrya raised an eyebrow at the question. “No, I don’t believe so. Though I’ve been called many names in my life, young man, most of which were not very complementary.” The Sith considered the boy for a moment. “Tell me about these angels?”

“I've heard the deep space pilots talk about them,” he answered. “They live on the Moons of Iego, I think. They are the most beautiful creatures in the universe. They are good, kind and so pretty they make even the most hardened space pirate cry.”

“Hmm, can’t say I’ve ever met one of these angels…” she said, thoughtfully. “Then again, maybe I have now that I think about it, or perhaps know of someone who could be one and doesn’t know it.”

In Nathrrya’s opinion, the boy had described Padme well. The young monarch was beautiful, or would be given a few more years, and she was good and kind even if she were a little naive. Nathrrya just wished the Force would stop prodding her so damned hard. “Would you like to meet an angel?”

Anakin’s eyes went wide. “Do you mean that?”

“Well I can’t promise anything but I’ll do my best to arrange something.” Nathrrya said honestly. “Tell me young man how long have you lived here?”

“Since I was very little - three, I think - my Mom and I were sold to Gardulla the Hutt, but she lost us betting on the Pod races to Watto, who's a lot better master than Gardulla, I think.” Anakin replied.

“Hutts and slavery, that doesn’t surprise me.” Nathrrya said darkly wishing she could Force choke the lowlife that had sold a mother and child into servitude on this pit of a world... and probably several other sentients while she was at it.

“You don’t like slavery, do you?” Anakin observed.

“No, I don’t. I utterly detest the practice.” It was one reason she had removed Vette’s shock collar as soon as she could. Her blue skinned Twi'lek thief had become a surrogate sister in time. Just thinking about her brought a pang of loneliness to the Sith’s mind, but she pushed it aside when Qui-Gon re-entered the shop followed closely by R2-D2. The astromech was making a series of disgruntled beeps and whirs.

“We’re leaving.” The Jedi Master said as he passed Nathrrya.

The Sith rolled her eyes knowing exactly what had happened. “Well it was nice meeting you...”

“Anakin,” The boy replied “Anakin Skywalker.”

“Call me Nathrrya.” She said before going after Qui-Gon. She had to jog to catch up with him and soon fell into step beside the man.

“You tried a Force suggestion, didn’t you?”

“Yes.” Qui-Gon said clearly grumpy.

“Watto is a Toydarian,” she pointed out with an amused tone. “They so happen to be immune to them.”

“So, I’ve discovered.” Qui-Gon replied “Why didn’t you say something?”

“You never asked.” Nathrrya said in a smug tone.

_____________________

Watto entered his shop, shaking his head “Outlanders! They think because we live so far from the centre, we don't know nothing.” He grumbled. “Thinking he’s Jedi ha!”

“They seemed nice to me.” Anakin replied. “Jedi?”

“Yeah, the male thought he was Jedi. Tried to mind trick me. If he really were Jedi he’d know that don’t work on my kind.” Watto said. “Clean the racks, then you can go home.”

As Anakin jumped down off the counter he had a thoughtful expression on his face. Was it possible? A Jedi here on Tatooine? And now that he thought of it, there had been something about the woman, Nathrrya. Was she a Jedi too? The boy shrugged and ran out the back to finish his work for the day.

________________________________

“Obi-Wan, you're sure there isn't anything of value left on board?” Qui-Gon asked his padawan via commlink.

“A few containers of supplies, the Queen's wardrobe, maybe. Not enough for you to barter with. Not in the amounts you're talking about.”

“The Queen’s wardrobe, really? Obi-Wan I can’t see her allowing that even if it were a possibility. So, we’ve got nothing to barter with, fantastic.” Nathrrya said sourly.

“Alright. Another solution will present itself. I'll check back.” Qui-Gon said before he put his commlink away.

“Let’s kriffing hope so.” Nathrrya shot back as she looked off to the east and contained herself enough to keep from kicking the sand like a disgruntled child. “Oh, how lovely! A sandstorm is on its way.” She pointed off in the distance at the hulking, swirling mass of tan and brown coloured sand. She hit herself in the head, thinking that if Qui-Gon had eyes he would have seen it without her having to present it like an award.

“We’ll head back to the ship then.” Qui-Gon replied. His companion shook her head.

“No way will we make it back there before that gets to us. Tatooine sandstorms are deadly. There haven’t been any survivors. We’ll have to hole up somewhere and ride it out.” She felt a wave of Force energy tickle her senses and she turned just in time to see the boy from the junk shop. She called out to him and he looked up, seeing her and her friend. He smiled.

“Hi Nathrrya! What do you need?”

She pointed to the large obvious, ominous cloud of dust. “Sandstorm! We won’t make it back to the ship before it hits us. Do you know where we can take some shelter until it passes over?”

As she spoke to the boy Qui-Gon had adjusted his robes. In doing so his lightsabre was briefly revealed and Anakin got a quick glimpse of it, which he took note of. He then thought for a moment and had an idea. “Well, better come home with me and stay there for now. Mom shouldn't mind.”

___________________

“Mom! Mom! I'm home.” Anakin called as he, Qui-Gon, Nathrrya and R2-D2 entered the slave hovel Anakin called home.

“I’ve seen worse.” The Sith said as she looked around the compact space.

Anakin's mother, Shmi, came into the main room from her work area and was clearly startled to see the room full of people.

“Oh, my!! Ani, what's this?” Shmi asked placing a hand over her chest.

“These are my friends, Mom. This is Nathrrya, and... gee, I don't know any of your names.” Anakin said.

“I'm Qui-Gon Jinn,” the Jedi Master said with a slight bow. “And this is our droid, Artoo-Deetoo.”

“Anakin why are they here?” Shmi asked a little concerned about her son’s actions.

“A sandstorm has hit Mos Espa,” Nathrrya explained, her voice gentle and friendly. “As we would have never made it back to our ship, your son was hospitable enough to offer shelter until it passes.”

“Come on! Let me show you Threepio!” Anakin tugged at Nathrrya’s sleeve.

The woman just shrugged and followed the eager young boy into another room and R2-D2 rolled behind them, beeping all the way.

“Don’t you think she’s a bit old for my son?” Shmi asked amused by the whole thing. Qui-Gon, admittedly, didn’t know how to respond to that.

_____________________

Anakin showed off his partly completed droid to Nathrrya, which was lying across his workbench. The Sith eyed the… thing. There was only one eye receptor on the head and pretty much the entire body of the droid had no outer casings.

“Isn't he great?!” Anakin asked, enthused by his creation. “He's not finished yet.”

“I can see that,” the Sith replied, amusement in her voice and a smirk on her lips. “You’ve got some very impressive mechanical skills to build him from nothing.”

“You really like him?” Anakin asked. Nathrrya just nodded. “He's a protocol droid...to help Mom. Watch!”

Anakin activated the droid. As soon as it sat up Anakin saw the missing eye receptor and ran over to the other side of the room to retrieve it and quickly pressed it into the empty socket. The light lit up and the droid slowly swung his incomplete legs over the side of the bench and stood up, though wobbly.

“How do you do?” it said. “I am C-3PO, Human Cyborg Relations. How might I serve you?”

“Oh Force! You’ve recreated 2V-R8!” Nathrrya groaned when she heard the voice. The look on her face was rather dismayed. “I honestly don’t know if I should be impressed or terrified…”

Anakin gave the woman a very confused look, one which didn’t go unnoticed by the Sith. She calmed herself and rubbed the back of her neck. “Many years ago, I had a ship that came with a protocol droid called 2V-R8. He sounded almost exactly like your C-3PO.”

That clarified things, but Anakin was still a very excited young boy and, of course, the topic changed. “When the storm’s over I’ll show you the racer I have. I’m building a Pod racer!”

The Sith looked thoughtful upon hearing this. Pod racing might just be the answer to their little problem and she certainly was going to remember this. During her musings, R2-D2 let out a whirl of beeps and whistles towards the protocol droid.

“I beg your pardon... what do you mean I'm naked?” it asked. R2-D2 beeped again.

“My parts are showing? Oh, my goodness. How embarrassing!”

Nathrrya couldn’t help herself as she burst out into a fit of very girlish giggles which then turned into full blown laughter.

________________________________

Qui-Gon had taken five small capsules from his utility belt and handed them to Shmi. “I have enough food for a meal.”

“Oh, thank you!” Shmi replied, taking them. “Thank you so much. I'm sorry if I was abrupt. I'll never get used to Anakin's surprises.”

“He's a very special boy.” The Jedi master said thoughtfully. The woman smiled and nodded.

“Yes, I know.”

Qui-Gon’s communicator went off and he turned away. “What is it, Obi-Wan?”

“We’ve received a transmission from Naboo,” he said. “Conditions there are not good. If it’s to be believed, then the people are dying. The Queen is upset... but absolutely no reply was sent.”

“It sounds like bait to establish a connection trace.” Qui-Gon said.

“We suspected they would try such a thing,” the Padawan agreed. “What if it’s true and the people are dying?” he asked.

“Either way, we're running out of time.” The Jedi master said grimly.

___________________________

It was night time on Coruscant and two cloaked figures were walking along a balcony overlooking the city.

“Tatooine is sparsely populated. If the trace was correct, I will find them quickly, Master.” Darth Maul said as he walked several paces behind his master.

“Move against the Jedi first... you will then have no difficulty taking the Queen back to Naboo, where she will sign the treaty.” Darth Sidious instructed.

“At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge.” A sinister smile crossed the Zabrak’s face.

“You have been well trained, my young apprentice. They will be no match for you. It is too late for them to stop us now. Everything is going as planned. The Republic will soon be at my command.”

_____________________

“Have you ever seen a Pod race, Nathrrya?” Anakin asked as they ate dinner.

The Sith shook her head noticing the worried look on Shmi’s face as she did so. “I’ve heard of them but I’ve never had the chance to experience one.”

“They have Pod racing on Malastare.” Qui-Gon said. “Very fast, very dangerous.”

“I'm the only human who can do it.” Anakin said with some pride. He then noticed the look his mother was giving him. “Mom, what? I'm not bragging. It's true. Watto says he's never heard of a human doing it.”

“You must have Jedi reflexes if you race Pods.” Qui-Gon said. Or a Sith’s. He thought looking over at Nathrrya, who just smiled.

“I... I was wondering... something...” Anakin asked unsure.

“What?” The Jedi Master prompted.

“Well, ahhh... you're a Jedi Knight, aren't you?” the boy asked.

“What makes you think that?” Qui-Gon said raising an eyebrow.

“I saw your laser sword. Only Jedi carry that kind of weapon.” Anakin said.

Qui-Gon leaned back and slowly smiled. No Anakin, Jedi are not the only ones to carry such a weapon. He thought glancing at the Sith sitting across from him. And I fear you’ll learn that all too soon. “Perhaps I killed a Jedi and stole it from him.” Nathrrya almost snorted in her drink but managed to contain herself.

Anakin shook his head “I don't think so... No one can kill a Jedi Knight.”

“I wish that were so...” Qui-Gon said sadly.

“I had a dream I was a Jedi. I came back here and freed all the slaves... have you come to free us?” Anakin asked hopefully. Nathrrya glanced between the boy and the Jedi Master as she drank.

“No, I'm afraid not...” Qui-Gon replied

“I think you have... why else would you be here?”

Qui-Gon looked thoughtful for a moment and made eye contact with Nathrrya, who gave a slight nod and an encouraging smile. Anakin didn’t notice the exchange but Shmi had and it made her wonder just who the red-haired woman was if a Jedi Knight was conferring with her.

“I can see there's no fooling you...” Qui-Gon said as he leaned forward. “You mustn't let anyone know about us... we're on our way to Coruscant - the central system in the Republic - on a very important mission, and it must be kept secret.”

“Coruscant... wow... how did you end up here in the outer rim?” the boy asked.

“Our ship was damaged, and we're stranded here until we can repair it.” Nathrrya explained.

“I can help! I can fix anything!” Anakin cried. The boy’s eyes brightened at the idea of working on a ship.

“I believe you can, but our first job is to acquire the parts we need.” Qui-Gon said.

“But we have nothing to barter with.” Nathrrya reminded the master. It was all she could do to keep her annoyance down. “The junk dealers have a weakness, don’t they?” she asked, turning to Shmi.

“Gambling,” she admitted. “Everything here revolves around betting on those awful races.”

“Pod racing... Greed can be a powerful ally... if it's used properly.” Qui-Gon noted.

“You almost sounded like a Sith when you said that, Qui-Gon.” Nathrrya said telepathically, clearly amused by the thought. She grinned at him over the forkful of food she put to her lips. The Jedi Master gave the Sith a dirty look in response - once again overlooked by the boy but not his mother.

“I've built a racer! It's the fastest ever... There's a big race tomorrow, on Boonta Eve. You could enter my pod. It's all but finished...” Anakin said becoming excited.

“Anakin, settle down…” his mother chided, her expression worried. “Watto won't let you.”

“Watto doesn't know I've built it!” Anakin said as he turned to Qui-Gon. “You could make him think it's yours, and you could get him to let me pilot it for you.”

Both the Sith and the Jedi could feel Shmi’s anxiety, she clearly didn’t like her boy racing pods. “I don't want you to race, Ani... It's awful. I die every time Watto makes you do it.”

“But Mom, I love it... and they need help... they're in trouble.” He turned to his mother and pleaded, as he sought her approval. “The prize money would more than pay for the parts they need.”

“Your mother's right,” Qui-Gon said, siding with Shmi.

For the love of the Living Force, Nathrrya sighed inwardly. Qui-Gon, make up your mind on who’s side you’re on.

“Is there anyone friendly to the Republic who might be able to help us?” Qui-Gon asked, looking at Anakin’s mother.

Shmi shook her head. “No, the Republic doesn’t exist out here.”

“We have to help them, Mom...you said that the biggest problem in the universe is no one helps each other...”

“I'm sure Qui-Gon doesn't want to put your son in danger,” Nathrrya spoke up. “We will find another way...” She knew full well that the only other way would be to outright steal the parts they needed. She didn’t have any trouble with that course of action, but her Jedi companion most certainly would.

Or would he?

“No,” Shmi said, shaking her head. “Ani's right, there is no other way... I may not like it, but he can help you... he was meant to help you.”

“Is that a yes?” the boy asked, enthusiastically. His eyes brightened and he all but jumped out of his chair. “That is a yes!”
"Korriban’s a rock, mind the Sith." -Jolee Bindo.

OfficerDonNZ's Avatar


OfficerDonNZ
09.09.2017 , 10:15 PM | #15
Chapter 8 -- The Chosen One


____________

Nathrrya and Qui-Gon walked side by side as they made their way through the spaceport towards Watto’s shop. The Sith was uneasy.

“I don’t like this,” she said. “The plan could easily backfire on us.”

“You don’t think that Anakin can win the race?” Qui-Gon asked, perturbed that the Sith was uneasy. He frowned as the sun glistened on the beads of sweat on his brow.

“No, not at all,” she replied. “He’ll most certainly win - this I have no doubt about. I’m bothered by Watto. If he becomes too much of a problem… well, I can think of a few ways of making him see our side of things.”

“You’re talking about the Dark Side,” Qui-Gon stated with a disapproving look.

Nathrrya shook her head. “You’d think so, but I don’t believe I’d need to resort to that with Watto. Fear is a powerful tool and it has nothing to do with the Dark Side. Make him fear us and as long as he believes it’s in his best interest, he’ll do what we want.” She patted her blaster to make her point.

_________________

Watto flew over to the two Force users when Nathrrya and Qui-Gon walked into his shop. Anakin walked behind his master.

“The boy tells me you wanta sponsor him insa race. You can't afford parts. How can you do this? Not on Republic credits, I think.” Watto laughed.

“My ship will be the entry fee.” Qui-Gon said as he produced a small holo of the ship to show the junk dealer.

“Not bad... not bad... a Nubian.” Watto said thoughtfully rubbing his chin.

“It's in good order, except for the parts we need.”

“But what would the boy ride?” Watto asked. “He smashed up my Pod in the last race. It will take some time to fix it.”

Qui-Gon smiled “I have... acquired a Pod in a game of chance. ‘The fastest ever built’.”

“I hope you didn't kill anyone I know for it.” Watto laughed at his own bad joke. “So, you supply the Pod and the entry fee; I supply the boy. We split the winnings fifty-fifty, I think.”

“Fifty-fifty!?” Qui-Gon asked not at all pleased. “If it's going to be fifty-fifty, I suggest you front the credits for the entry. If we win, you keep the winnings, minus the cost of the parts I need... If we lose, you keep my ship.” Watto seemed to be considering the offer. Qui-Gon opened his arms gesturing to the deal. “Either way, you win.”

“Deal!” Watto exclaimed, agreeing to the terms. Qui-Gon reached out his hand to shake and Watto slapped the Force user’s palm in agreement to the deal. He turned to Anakin then. “Your friend is a foolish one, me thinks.”

Nathrrya caught the comment and smirked. “Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?” She grinned at the shop owner before following Master Jinn out of the door.

______________

Nathrrya and Qui-Gon were standing on the back porch of the Skywalker hovel. Below them in the courtyard they could see Anakin tinkering with his Pod along with Artoo and some of his friends.

“What if this plan fails, Master? We could be stuck here for a long time.” Obi-Wan’s voice came through Qui-Gon’s commlink and there was an obvious note of concern when listening to the Padawan.

“A ship without a power supply will get us nowhere,” the master said. “And there is something about this boy...”

Obi-Wan groaned “Please tell me you’re not bringing back another pathetic life form, Master. We already have one of those.”

Nathrrya chuckled at Obi-Wan’s referral to the Gungan. “We may well be Obi-Wan. However, there is something unusual about the boy.”

“We have to go my Padawan, Anakin’s mother is coming.” Qui-Gon closed the connection and had just put the commlink away as Shmi came onto the porch.

“You should be proud of your son. He gives without any thought of reward.” The Jedi Master remarked looking down at the boy.

Shmi smiled. “He knows nothing of greed. He has...”

“He has special powers.” Qui-Gon finished.

“Yes...”

Qui-Gon nodded. “He can see things before they happen. That's why he appears to have such quick reflexes. It’s a Jedi trait.”

Nathrrya had been leaning against the wall of the hovel when she picked up on what Qui-Gon was saying to Shmi. She glanced over to him and raised her eyebrow. Qui-Gon… what are you doing? she thought to herself.

“He deserves better than a slave's life,” Shmi said sadly as she looked down at her son.

“The Force is unusually strong with him, that much is clear. Who was his father?” Qui-Gon asked.

“There was no father that I know of... I carried him, I gave him birth... I can't explain what happened. Can you help him?” Shmi asked though it was clear the subject was an awkward one.

That you know of? Nathrrya inwardly snorted. Lady, you either did it with someone or you didn’t. She rolled her eyes but remained quiet.

“I'm afraid not. Had he been born in the Republic, we would have identified him early, and he would have become Jedi, no doubt...he has the way. But it's too late for him now, he's too old.” Qui-Gon replied.

The Sith ground her teeth but held her tongue despite having a few choice words for the Jedi Master. She waited until they finished their conversation and Shmi had disappeared back inside the hovel and out of earshot. She glared at the Jedi and he looked back at her, the expression on his face clearly asking what her problem had to be now.

“Are you saying that your Order still has that laser-brained idea of kidnapping younglings from their families?” She couldn’t believe the idea of it, her question betrayed her annoyance and disbelief of the concept.

“It’s not kidnapping,” Qui-Gon defended. “The Jedi just recruit at a young age, that’s all.”

Nathrrya rolled her eyes at the man and kicked herself off the wall to face him, her arms crossed over her chest. “Right… sure. But no matter how you dissect it, it’s still kidnapping, Master Jedi.” The fury was building. “And what happens to them when they… what was it? When they turn thirteen and a master or a Knight hasn’t chosen them? Huh? What happens, Qui-Gon? They get shipped off to some agro world and have their dreams crushed? I’m sorry, but I’m surprised that there aren’t more fallen Jedi or Jedi-turned-Sith around here if the Order treats their recruits like that, especially if they’re so precious to you.”

Qui-Gon responded with a thunderous expression, his own fury going through his eyes. Nathrrya felt the wave in the Force around the man but she was defiant and held her ground. “Don’t you dare mock the Jedi Order for the Jedi way of life, Sith.”

She only smirked and took a good grip on the vibro-knife she had inserted into the man’s pride. She was going to twist it and then pull it out in a flourish. “Anakin is the perfect age to start Sith training. Now that I think about it, it’s been far too long since I’ve taken an apprentice. He might even go for it when he finds out from the Jedi council that he’s ‘too old’, don’t you think?” She smirked and then it turned into an evil grin. She let a little bit of the Dark Side flutter around her and it touched the Jedi, startling him just a little bit.

“You wouldn’t dare…” Nathrrya’s tactics had worked, she was now officially under the Jedi Master’s skin. Luckily enough for him she had no intention of taking the boy as her apprentice. She certainly had no intent to train the kid, either, though she was enjoying the sudden discomfort displayed by the Jedi Master.

“Oh, wouldn’t I?” she asked sweetly. “I’m Sith. I’d be a daft fool if I passed Anakin by. But if I were you, Master Jedi, I would be far more worried if Sidious discovered him… or his apprentice.”

That last thing was a sobering statement. It paused the Jedi and made him consider the truth in her words. “Yes… Darth Sidious is the real enemy.”

“Yes, he is.” She calmed herself and her demeanour changed. “I’m sorry - I may have poked a little further than I had meant to but it was damn good fun to see your reactions.”

Qui-Gon raised an eyebrow at that. “What do you mean, Nathrrya?”

The Sith shrugged her shoulders. “I was trying to get you to see just how flawed the Jedi way is in training their apprentices. I don’t see it being totally wrong, just flawed. And before you say anything, yes, I’m aware of how flawed the Sith way of doing things is as well. I went through it… and I managed to keep my sanity in the end.” She paused, her mind running over that whole period she spent in the tombs on Korriban and her first missions as her master’s apprentice on the Sith capital of Dromund Kaas. “There shouldn’t have to be an age limit for starting Force training,” she added. “I didn’t get to the Sith Academy until I was thirty-five.”

“You didn’t?” Qui-Gon asked truly surprised.

“I can thank my parents for that. My force abilities didn’t manifest until I was fifteen.” she said, smiling. “They didn’t want to see their baby girl turned into a monster… and their fear was not without foundation. While they were both Force sensitive they weren’t strong in it. They both came from families that were known to have Force-strong children. I just happened to be the unlucky one and got the full brunt of the power from both families. I was born in Imperial Space, so I was destined for the Sith Academy sooner or later.” What she said was mostly true; it had been her Sith grandparents that were responsible for her late entry to Korriban. Not that she had any intention if telling the Jedi about that facet of her family history anytime soon.

“Are you saying you come from a line of Sith?” the Jedi Master asked with a frown.

Nathrrya shook her head, a slight smile on her face. She did, thanks to her mother but she was keeping that to herself. “No, just the opposite in fact. As far as I’m aware I’m the only Sith... the black Nerf of the family.” There was a hint of pride in her voice. Nathrrya becoming Sith may have been a case of cosmic bad luck, or the will of the Force. She wore the dubious honour with pride... so she could stick to the more traditional members of her Jedi family. Her cousin, Force bless him, had never been like that and considering who he’d ended up with, it was just as well.

“You’re descended from Jedi?” he asked, shocked to the core.

The smile Nathrrya gave the Jedi Master could be considered evil, for the Sith was enjoying herself far, far too much. “Not only descended from but also related to - my cousin was a notable Jedi Knight. I’m not sure if your archives go that far back, but if they do they might even have archives of him and the Padawan he helped to train. He had the title of Hero of Tython and the honour of being the Slayer of the Sith Emperor.”

The pride and admiration she held for her cousin was very evident in her voice and this was surprising to the Jedi Master. But then her demeanour changed suddenly. It wasn’t as happy or carefree the way she was about her relative. “If the Sith had ever discovered my Jedi lineage, they would have executed me without a second thought.” She sighed, again it was mostly true as if enemies of her Sith family had ever discovered the truth it would not have ended well. She looked down at Anakin and saw him still tinkering with his Pod racer. “Shall we go and see if that mobile death-trap of his actually works?”

_____________

In the Jedi Temple on Coruscant Cin Drallig, Battlemaster of the Jedi Order sat with a thoughtful expression on his face as he ate lunch in one of the temple dining halls. The past several days had seen him go over the short conversation he’d had with the mysterious Jedi, Nathrrya. The more that Cin had gone over what the woman had said and how she had said it, he had concluded that Nathrrya was no Jedi but if she wasn’t a member of the Order then what was she?

Cin look up as he heard someone sit opposite him. “Mace, what can you tell me about Nathrrya?” he asked.

“Not as much as I would like.” The Council master admitted “What makes you ask?”

“I’ve been going over the conversation I had with her when she repaired her lightsabre and it was more how she spoke about the Jedi Order that makes me think she isn’t a Jedi.” Cin explained “There’s more, she’s seen real combat not just sparing matches. When she ran through some katas, her movements were always the most economical to preserve her strength and stamina. I do teach such things but she did it without thinking about it.”

Mace nodded slowly “A battle reflex?”

“That’d be my guess.” The Battlemaster agreed “Perhaps the most concerning thing of all was when Nathrrya threw her lightsabre at one of the training dummies. She took its head clean off. It was a deliberate kill move. Her throw did what she intended it to do.”

“That is... disturbing.” Mace said with a frown. “So, if you believe Nathrrya isn’t a Jedi then...?”

Cin shrugged. “That’s the one thing I haven’t been able to come up with a satisfactory answer to. The obvious and horribly cliché answer is to say Sith...” he shook his head “but that doesn’t feel right.”

Mace rubbed his chin thoughtfully “What colour was her lightsabre?”

Cin grinned. “Violet, same as yours.”

______________

Anakin was sitting on the balcony rail of the hovel he called home as Qui-Gon tended to a cut on his arm. As it was evening and Anakin had leaned back to look at the vast blanket of stars in the sky - something he was prone to do when he had the chance.

“Sit still, Ani. Let me clean this cut.” The Jedi master admonished lightly.

“There are so many!” Anakin said looking up at the field of stars. “Do they all have a system of planets?”

“Most of them.” Nathrrya’s voice floated gently from the far corner of the balcony.

Both males startled slightly as they had forgotten she was there. The Sith was good at going unnoticed when she wished to.

“Has anyone been to them all?” Anakin asked after a few moments, looking back up at them.

“Not likely.” Qui-Gon said with a chuckle.

“I want to be the first one to see them all.” Anakin said wishfully.

“There, good as new.” Qui-Gon said with a smile as he finished tending to the boy’s injury. He had also taken a small sample of blood without Anakin’s notice but from her corner, the Sith had seen the sleight of hand. Nathrrya frowned wondering what the Jedi Master was up to. “One day you may get your wish. Do you remember the dream you had about being a Jedi?”

Anakin nodded. “Yeah, but it’s just a dream.”

“Sometimes dreams can be a glimpse into the future but only those who can touch the Force are able to achieve such things Anakin.” Qui-Gon explained. “I believe it was no ordinary dream but an indication of what your life could be.”

The boy frowned. “The Force?”

Qui-Gon was unsure as to how to explain it in a way that Anakin would understand.

“The Force is what gives a Jedi their power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” Nathrrya spoke up. “At least that’s how it was once explained to me.”

“And I, have it?” Anakin asked.

“You have the raw ability to use the Force. You already do to some degree that is why you can race pods.” Qui-Gon said.

The boy nodded slowly his gaze turning to the dark corner of the balcony where he knew Nathrrya was leaning against the wall. “You can use the Force too.”

There was an intake of breath as Nathrrya moved into the light from the open doorway. “What makes you say that Anakin?” she asked curiously.

The boy shrugged. “I’ve always had this inner voice. When we were alone at Watto’s it told me while you could be extremely dangerous that I needn’t worry as I was safe with you.”

“Ani, bedtime!” Shmi called from inside the hovel.

“But there’s more when I look at Qui-Gon it looks as if he’s surrounded by light.” Anakin explained “You’re surrounded by light too but it’s much darker, not in a bad way, just darker.”

“Ani! I'm not going to tell you again!” Shmi called for a second time.

“Go on, you have a big day tomorrow.” Qui-Gon urged. “Goodnight.” the boy hurried inside.

Both the Jedi and the Sith stood side by side as they watched the door close behind Anakin. They looked at each other contemplating what had just occurred. It shouldn’t have been possible for the boy to do what he just had. Anakin had been able to read their Force signatures. Unless...

“You think Anakin is the Chosen One of Jedi prophecy, don’t you?” Nathrrya asked bluntly.

Qui-Gon was going to ask how she knew such a thing but the question died before he even asked. Her cousin who had been a Jedi so he was the likely source of her knowledge. The Jedi Master nodded as he took the blood sample and inserted it into his commlink, then he called Obi-Wan.

“Obi-Wan...” said Qui-Gon waiting for his Padawan to answer.

“Yes, Master?”

“Make an analysis of this blood sample I'm sending you.” Qui-Gon noticed Nathrrya had a question in her eyes. “I need a midi-chlorian count.”

The Sith looked totally baffled by this. “What in the Living Force does a midi-chlorian blood test have to do with Anakin’s strength in the Force?” she asked clearly confused. What kind of messed up galaxy have I woken up in?

“Midi-chlorians are a microscopic life form that resides within all living cells. Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force.” Obi-Wan replied through the commlink.

The Sith blinked, once, twice then she facepalmed. “Living Force, you Jedi have clearly lost the knowledge of what Midi-chlorians are!” she cried in utter disbelief. “As that’s the biggest load of Bantha poo-doo I’ve ever heard! Whoever the kriff came up with that needs a blaster put to their head.” She snorted “Midi-chlorians are indeed bacteria and they are only attracted to those with the Force but that’s all they are. Also, some species have a body chemistry that’s toxic to Midi-chlorians and while they can have Force sensitivity they’ll have almost no Midi-chlorians. Hell, I knew a human Sith, Darth Nox was her name and she had a well below average Midi-chlorian count but weak in the Force she most certainly was not.”

Both Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were stunned into silence as their view of Midi-chlorians and by extension the Force had just been turned upside down and inside out by a woman who openly admitted to being Sith but who also should not be alive. The most perplexing thing for the Jedi Master was that he sensed no deception in Nathrrya’s words. Her baffled reaction to the blood test and Obi-Wan’s expiation were genuine and she truly believed what she’d told them.

“This is one debate I’m ill equipped for.” Obi-Wan said at last. “Goodnight, Master, Nathrrya.” The commlink fell silent.

“I can’t believe I’m even suggesting this but do you want me to test Anakin?” Nathrrya asked “There’s a Force technique called the Ritual of Force Potential and as the name suggests it’s used to gauge the Force Potential of someone who is being considered for training. Both the Sith and the Jedi used it, it was as common as the lightsabre.”

“I will consider the possibility.” Qui-Gon said as he regarded the woman before him. Once they returned to the Jedi Temple he would have to speak to Master Yoda about what Nathrrya had said in regards to Midi-chlorians. “It’s said that the Chosen One will bring balance to the Force and destroy the Sith.”

The Sith in question snorted. “If you’re trying to scare me, Jedi, you’re doing a poor job of it. The prophecy I’m familiar with only says that the Chosen One will bring balance to the Force. It’s never clear how it would be done or what it actually meant.” Nathrrya eyed the Jedi Master for a moment, regarding him as he did her. “The part about destroying the Sith must have been added after my time. The thing that bothers me most about the boy is the fact his Force signature is so pure - there’s not one speck of darkness to be found in him. Given where and how he lives, I’d have expected some.”

“You’re worried he’s pure light?” Qui-Gon asked, surprised.

Nathrrya shook her head, her brow furrowed. “Not really. Everyone who is Force-sensitive has the Dark within them; Sith, Jedi… even you. I can see it and I can sense it because I can see it within myself. Hell, even my cousin had a bit of the Dark Side as well. Neither the Dark Side nor the Light Side can exist without the other. But the boy… there is no Dark.”

“Qui-Gon, can you imagine what would happen if Sidious gets his hands on the child? The damage that can be wrought?” Nathrrya shuddered. It wasn’t for dramatic performance but the through truly worried her beyond all reasonable doubt.

“I can.” Qui-Gon replied grimly. “But what do we do?”

“What can we do?” Nathrrya asked sadly. “The boy’s a slave.”
"Korriban’s a rock, mind the Sith." -Jolee Bindo.

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MayhemofChaonus
09.23.2017 , 11:42 AM | #16
When are you going to update bro? I'm impatiently waiting! :P
"The weak will always be victims. That is the way of the universe. The strong take what they want, and the weak suffer at their hands. That is their fate; it is inevitable. Only the strong survive, because only the strong deserve to" - Darth Bane
May the Force forsake you

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OfficerDonNZ
09.23.2017 , 12:15 PM | #17
Quote: Originally Posted by MayhemofChaonus View Post
When are you going to update bro? I'm impatiently waiting! :P
Funny you should ask As I've just got back chapter 9 from my beta so shall post it in a little while.
"Korriban’s a rock, mind the Sith." -Jolee Bindo.

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OfficerDonNZ
09.23.2017 , 12:50 PM | #18
Chapter 9 -- The Pod Race


____________

Nathrrya and Qui-Gon walked through Mos Espa towards where the pods were being prepared for the big race. As they walked, the Sith felt no need to hide her displeasure or disgust at the blatant use of slavery on this pit of a world. She could feel the Dark Side pulse around her in anticipation of the destruction she might bring if provoked at the right moment.

The Jedi Master eyed the woman at his side. He was surprised at the expression that had settled on her features once they had entered the slave quarter of the spaceport. She went from grinding to flat out anger as she glanced around them. He could feel her agitation and it was not pleasant.

“I thought the Sith practiced slavery,” he queried.

“They did,” she said, coming to a slow stop and turning to face the man. She was sure he was paying her back for yesterday. “However, I always found the practice barbaric and abhorrent. I had to keep that idea to myself, especially when I was given a slave of my own.”

She found herself smiling as she remembered the blue-skinned twi’lek. “Her spirit hadn’t been broken and she remained optimistic about everything. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than to see someone without a spirit. You look around this dump and you can see it manifest everywhere if you look hard enough.”

“You speak fondly of this presumed slave you acquired,” the Jedi noted. Nathrrya only nodded.

“Her name was Vette… at least that’s what she told me her name was. She has a Twi’lek name that I could never remember. When we were at the Imperial Spaceport on our way to Dromund Kaas, she very boldly asked me to take the shock collar off her. I had no trouble with the request. Her help during my trials on Korriban were proof enough of her loyalty and I think she was surprised that I took her collar and the remote and turned them into scrap. One of my main goals was to have her willingly give me her loyalty rather than forcing her into it.”

“We became like sisters over time and that got us into several misadventures together, though most of it was me aiding and abetting in her crazy schemes.” She narrowed her eyes, hardening her look at Qui-Gon. “But you attempting to free Anakin is laser-brained and a disaster waiting to happen. Even Vette would be skeptical.”

Qui-Gon frowned as he thought it was a sound plan given the circumstances. “I don’t see you offering up an alternative,” he told her, crossing his arms over his chest.

Nathrrya could have sworn he was pouting. She snorted in response. “Oh, believe me, I have a plan,” she affirmed. “However, not many people would survive its implementation. It also requires liberal use of the Dark Side and there would be very little left of this hive of scum and villainy other than a smoking ruin.” Nathrrya eyed the Jedi Master as he narrowed his own, scrutinizing her. “Remember what Anakin said about freeing the slaves? That’s pretty much my plan, except I’d see to it that no one involved with the slave trade survived. I’d take great delight in clearing Jabba the Hutt’s palace and cutting that oversized slug open. Believe me, Master Jedi, I am more than capable of levelling this cesspit if someone were foolish enough to provoke me into doing so.” The Sith woman held Qui-Gon’s gaze - he was struggling to keep from reacting badly. Nathrrya shrugged and smiled a very evil smile. “So, let’s hope no one does.”

She turned and stalked down the road and it took the Jedi Master several moments to regain his composure. It unnerved Qui-Gon how easily Nathrrya had talked about razing an entire settlement. Admittedly she had some deeply held beliefs as to why she would do such a thing and it was clear that passion drove the Sith in her ways. If anything, the Jedi Master had just been granted a rare insight into those very passions that drove the woman.

It was not what he was expecting at all.

____________

Nathrrya hadn’t even walked ten meters before she stopped suddenly in the middle of her stride, the colour draining from her face. Qui-Gon almost walked into her but stopped with a puzzled look in his eyes. The Dark Side flared around the woman and her eyes quickly followed the pattern of blue all the way to red in quick succession. Qui-Gon shivered from a severe temperature drop despite the hot Tattooine afternoon. Following the woman's gaze, he found what it was that had so thoroughly captured Nathrrya's attention, and in such a violent manner. Off down the road and to the side he spotted a blue skinned Twi'lek girl, rather young and very clearly a slave.

The Jedi master's brows converged in quick understanding. The slave girl must have looked too much like the woman's former Twi'lek companion. If that had been the reason for the sudden reaction from the woman, then it made sense she would feel such a strong emotion. It could be the only plausible explanation.

As for the Sith woman, she was at the point of literally seeing red. Nathrrya rarely drew upon the Dark Side so deeply for anything, keeping mostly to her own code about the use of such power. But seeing how close that girl looked like Vette was just too damn much for her. The girl had the same skin hue, the same circular markings on her lekku and very similar features to Vette; perhaps the only things that were different were her eyes - Vette's had been brown and this one's were green - and the fact that the poor slave was slumped whereas Vette stodd tall and proud.

It took everything Nathrrya had to maintain her self control. She very badly wanted to snap necks and limbs now. She vowed that once she had the time she was going to set that girl free even if it meant purchasing her. Nathrrya would do it.

"Are you alright?" Qui-Gon asked carefully. He already knew.

"No." Came the short answer. He waited for her to say more but she didn't. There was a lot she wanted to say but she wasn't in the mood. She was ready to kill things and when she did she wanted it to be as slow and painful as possible. While it wouldn't do a damn bit of good, it would make her feel better.

She sighed and called on her own inner will to release the built up Dark Side energy within her into the Force. Had it not been for the skill her cousin taught her all those years ago, the street would have resembled a killing ground. She’d never let herself be controlled by the Dark Side or the Light and she was not about to start now. The Force was her ally, not her master. It gave her guidance and had served her well.

Qui-Gon looked at her with a bewildered expression, as her eyes returned to their normal pale blue. “Did you just...?”

She glanced at him from the corner of her eye, her face expressionless. "Yes. Watto’s expecting us. We best not keep the bug-man waiting.”

____________

“I want to see your spaceship the moment the race is over.” Watto said almost as soon as Qui-Gon and Nathrrya had entered the large Pod hanger.

The Sith was still in an utterly foul mood and didn’t want to deal with the Toydarian’s cockiness due to her conversation with Qui-Gon and her run in with the Vette look-a-alike. Her blaster was drawn and levelled before Watto had even finished speaking. “Pick your words with care, Toydarian. I’ve seen people with your cockiness crash and burn. You are heading for a fall and when you do, it will hurt.” Nathrrya’s voice was colder than an ice storm on Hoth.

Watto filched slightly on seeing the barrel of the woman’s blaster pressed lightly against his nose. He’s seen people quick on the draw before but he’d swear he never saw the woman move her arm.

“Patience, my blue friend,” Qui-Gon said, interceding. “You'll have your winnings before the suns set and we'll be far away from here.” He tried to keep Watto calm but even he was perturbed by the speed in which Nathrrya had drawn her blaster.

“Not if your ship belongs to me, I think... I warn you, no funny business.” Watto had gone to smile but instantly regretted it when he felt the press of durasteel against his nose.

“What did I just say Watto?” the Sith said, a hint of anger creeping into her voice. “You will not have our ship - I can promise you that Toydarian. And if I were you, I would make certain you don’t try anything funny. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry, Watto. No one likes me when I’m angry.” To prove her point Nathrrya flared the Dark Side just enough to make the Toydarian uneasy.

It worked perfectly as Watto flew off a short distance. He cast a glance at the pair of off-worlders. But his glance lingered a fraction of a millisecond more on the woman. He now understood her role in whatever they were up to. She was the muscle and if the Toydarian were honest with himself he was terrified of her. Watto had heard about what had happened in the streets of Mos Espa to the unlucky thug who had tried to frisk her. Whoever she was she had incredibly quick reflexes. Watto might even think she were a Jedi if he believed in such things.

Qui-Gon and Nathrrya followed the Toydarian. “You don't think Anakin will win?” The Sith had now returned her blaster to her utility belt feeling that, for now, her point had been made.

Watto had stopped before an orange pod racer and had turned back towards them. “Don't getta me wrongo. I have greata faith ina da boy. He's a credit to your race, but Sebulba there is gonna to win, I think.” The Toydarian nodded towards the pod’s pilot.

“Why?” Nathrrya asked suspiciously as she studied the Dug. Her Sith mind began to think of all sorts of creative and devious ways to remove Sebulba from the field and ensure an easy victory or Anakin.

“He always wins.” Watto replied with a laugh his tone making it clear why he thought the Dug always won. “I'm betting heavily on Sebulba.”

Does he now? Nathrrya thought, scowling. So, you’re telling me Sebulba is nothing more than a thug and a cheat? You will regret your choice before the day is out, Toydarian. I promise you that.

It would be all too easy for the Sith to eliminate Sebulba as a competitor - the easiest and most direct way would be to simply kill him but that would cause far too many problems even on this pit of a world. No... Nathrrya would have to be far subtler and not here out in the open with so many people watching.

Qui-Gon had been watching the Sith carefully and he had no doubt that she was busy thinking up all manner of nefarious schemes to deal with Sebulba and thus ensure Anakin’s victory in the race. If the Jedi were honest with himself, he didn’t mind that the Sith was doing what came naturally to her; manipulating events to ensure that Anakin would win. It gave him a measure of confidence for what he was about to do. “I'll take that bet.”

Watto suddenly stopped, laughing as he faced the two outlanders “What??!! What do you mean?” he asked incredulous.

“I'll wager my new racing pod against... say... the boy and his mother.” The Jedi said his smile as reassuring as possible.

Watto shook his head, infuriated. “No pod isa wortha two slaves! Perhaps one of dem… the mother, maybe...the boy isn't for sale.”

Nathrrya’s right hand slowly began to drift towards her blaster. She just knew she was going to need it to put the fear of the Sith in Watto.

“The boy is small, he can't be worth much.” Qui-Gon countered. The Toydarian just shook his head. “What? Not even or the fastest Pod ever built?”

“Do you think I’m stupid?” Watto countered.

“Both, or no bet.” Qui-Gon said with finality.

“No pod isa worth two slaves…” he repeated, annoyed. “Not by a long shot... one slave or nothing.” The Toydarian was getting angry and activity in the pits had come to a halt at the scene that was being created.

“Very well. The boy, then.” Qui-Gon said simply.

Watto smiled as he pulled out a small cube from his pocket. “We'll letta fate decide. Blue it's the boy... red his mother.” Watto tossed the cube into the air but as it arced a single blaster bolt turned it into dust.

“No fate cube Toydarian, no tricks. We want both the mother and the boy. No excuses.”

Watto now knew true fear for he was looking down the barrel of the woman’s still smoking blaster and it was aimed directly between his eyes. The Toydarian would later swear he saw the woman’s eyes change colour briefly from blue to yellow and back.

The woman’s voice was as about as comforting as hard vacuum. “Before you protest, consider your words carefully for they might be your last. I have no qualms about ending the likes of you.” The threat was clear.

Watto wisely backed off and flew away muttering in Huttesee the entire time.

Anakin had been quietly working on his pod while Qui-Gon and Nathrrya had been talking to Watto. And despite the redhead’s aggressiveness towards the Toydarian, Anakin’s mysterious inner voice told him he was completely safe with her for her aggression was directed towards Watto and people like him; slave owners and traders.

Anakin suddenly felt dizzy for a moment and in his mind’s eye he could see what might happen if someone upset Nathrrya enough. The hanger they were in was ablaze, smoke and screams everywhere. There were also plenty of bodies but none were slaves as far as Anakin could tell but it was what he saw in the middle of the hanger that startled the boy.

Nathrrya… with blaster in one hand and a violet coloured laser sword in the other. But her eyes unsettled Anakin the most for they were a bright, unnatural yellow. Anakin shook himself and the vision or whatever it was passed. He’d puzzle over it later but for now he had to finish prepping his pod and had a race to win.

_____________

“I am forever glad to be out of there!” Nathrrya said as she and the Jedi Master left the hangar where the pods were being prepared for the race.

“You were close, weren’t you?” Qui-Gon asked concern evident in his voice.

The woman was silent for a long moment, her facial features almost painfully stoic. “Nothing says angry Sith like a burned-out shell of a building with a body count to match.” She shook her head.

“I see. I hope you’re not planning anything too... drastic.”

“Don’t worry, no one’s going to suddenly drop dead. Even on this backwards dust ball, that would draw too much attention.” The Sith and Jedi Master walked beside one another towards the stands where the race would be viewed. “What I have in mind is turning Anakin’s probability of winning to a certainty.” Her eyes sparkled as she glanced at Qui-Gon. “I’m going to play the locals at their own game... but I have something they do not: The Force as my ally.”

Qui-Gon nodded in understanding. “The Force can indeed be a powerful ally.”

__________

Nathrrya had found a suitable spot in the stands as the pods and their pilots were brought out on the starting grid. She scanned all the contestants and while many were competent the only real threat to Anakin was the Dug, Sebulba, and that had to do with the fact he cheated, than because of any real ability he had.

She sat herself in the stands and locked her attention on the Dug and concentrated her mind on the Force. She carefully traced it to the alien and searched for any kind of weakness that she could use against him. Luckily for her it was like child’s play since the disgusting creature was practically a ticking time bomb. There was a lot in Sebulba’s lifestyle that was neither clean nor healthy. With just the right amount of suggestion….

Nathrrya smiled evilly.

Anakin had jumped into his speeder and was a little disgruntled after a verbal confrontation with the Dug. Because Sebulba was worked up and excited about his future victory he wasn’t aware that the years of built up and collected toxins in his body were flowing through his veins. Should something happen to cause the sudden release of the toxins into his blood could render the alien unfit to race. Nathrrya knew this was going to be too easy. She sat back, wrapped her mind around Sebulba’s body and squeezed through the Force. She felt a small pop, like an electrical pulse zapping in the air. It was subtle enough that she sensed it and no one was the wiser.

The effect hadn’t taken long. Sebulba went down screaming in agony and it soon became apparent that the Dug would not be taking part in the race. The announcers were making comments about the scene down below as the Dug was being carted off to what apparently passed as the medical bay on the dustbowl. With a satisfied look on her face, Nathrrya turned her head enough to look towards Watto’s private viewing booth to see the Toydarian in a physical state of malcontent and utter mental agony. He had just lost a lot of money and the race hadn’t even started yet.

Anakin was watching as the medical droids pulled the ailing Dug off the track. Just like everyone else he had a very confused and puzzled look on his face. The Sith woman sat up and made a telepathic connection with Anakin.

“Anakin,” she said. “Don’t be startled. I’ll explain this later - just listen. I am sure I saw Sebulba do something to your pod just before he confronted you. Check it before getting settled, there might be sabotage.”

The boy nodded to himself and checked around the vehicle. Sure enough, there was a turned lever that would have broken off during the intense vibrations of the pod and the speed it would be going at. It took him just a few moments to repair the damage Sebulba did before the final call was made for the racers to take their marks. Anakin jumped into the cockpit of the pod and put on his helmet and powered up the vehicle.

Seeing that Anakin made the necessary repairs, Nathrrya sat back in the seat and took a breath. She did all she could and now it was up to the boy and the Force to make the final show a good one.

____________

“You! The two of you swindled me!”

Nathrrya and Qui-Gon stopped and turned towards the very agitated Toydarian as he flew up to them, a nasty scowl on his face. He was practically screaming. “You knew the boy was going to win! Somehow you knew it! I lost everything.”

The Jedi Master simply smiled knowingly while Nathrrya’s smile could be called evil by comparison. She was enjoying the flyer’s misery a little too much for the Jedi’s taste.

“Whenever you gamble, my friend, eventually you'll lose.” Qui-Gon said. He tried to sound apologetic but Nathrrya caught a hint of an ‘I told you so’ attitude which tickled her sadistic side. Qui-Gon wasn’t sorry at all for the Toydarian’s misfortune. “Bring the parts to the main hanger. We'll come by your shop later so you can release the boy and his mother.”

“You can't have them! It wasn't a fair bet!” Watto yelled before he found himself having trouble breathing. He fell out of the air and wrapped his hands around his neck as he struggled to breathe.

“You’ve been getting on my nerves since we arrived on this dust ball,” Nathrrya growled. She had her hand raised and pointed at him. She slowly closed her hand and the Toydarian gasped and began to struggle a little bit from the pressure closing around his windpipe. “I don’t think I have to voice how tired I am of your games and yet, here we are, in this predicament, and I’m quite tempted to end you.”

Watto tried to speak but he couldn’t. His eyes were wide in fear as he looked up at the woman who, quite literally, had his life in her hand. His fear emanated from him and his thoughts rang clearly in Nathrrya’s mind. It was certain that Qui-Gon could have sensed the fearful question he had.

“No, Watto,” she said coldly. “I am something far, far worse than a Jedi. I am a nightmare made manifest - passion and power, rage, fear and hatred bundled cosily together…”

She took a step towards him and he tried to back away but he couldn’t move. Nathrrya’s eyes flashed yellow with the Dark Side and the sensation sent shivers up Qui-Gon’s arms. He wasn’t going to interfere until he absolutely had to, knowing and somewhat trusting the woman to know her own limits.

“I am Sith,” Nathrrya hissed to the Toydarian. “You will release both Shmi and Anakin and put them in our custody if you want to keep breathing the putrid air on this planet. And they better be ready within the hour when I come by to collect their slave papers and deactivation codes for their implants. If they aren’t, then I will squash you like the bug you are and I’ll make sure you feel it.”

She suddenly released him and Watto gasped for the air that was now able to flow freely into his lungs. He coughed and sputtered a few times as he struggled to get up. Nathrrya stomped her foot towards him and the action kick-started the Toydarian into the air in fear. “Get out of here, you pathetic excuse for a life form!”

The Toydarian didn’t need to be told twice as he flew off as fast as he could.
Qui-Gon watched Watto leave, staying silent for a moment. He looked towards the woman standing beside him. Her chest was heaving and gently, little by little he could practically hear her heartbeat slowing down. “You showed great restraint.” he commented.

The woman opened her eyes and they were back to normal, but her facial expression was hard, stoic and still not that of a happy person. Deep down she was still pissed off and seething with hatred at what was happening around her. She would have to meditate off the feeling to regain her control and composure. But she nodded at Qui-Gon’s words. “I just put the fear of the Force in him, nothing more... But it wasn’t idle. I will squash him if those papers aren’t ready in time.”

Qui-Gon had no doubt but kept the thought to himself. He’d been around the woman long enough to know when she was serious and when she was bluffing. The bluffs were few and far between. He only nodded and led her away - there was still much to do.
"Korriban’s a rock, mind the Sith." -Jolee Bindo.

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OfficerDonNZ
10.07.2017 , 09:51 PM | #19
Chapter 10 -- Tatooine Departure

___________________________

“Mom, they sold the Pod!” Anakin cried out in delight as he burst through the door of their little hovel. Qui-Gon and Nathrrya were behind him and looked almost smug but were being quiet about it. Anakin showed his mother what he had in his hands. “Look at all the money we have!”

Shmi smiled but her eyes were stunned as she took the bag of coins from her son and looked through it. “Oh my goodness, that’s wonderful, Ani!”

“Both of you have also been freed of your slavery,” Nathrrya said as she and the Jedi Master entered behind the excited child. “Neither of you are slaves any longer. I have the codes to deactivate your implants.” She pulled out the slave papers and handled them over to Shmi as she dug around for the codes for deactivation. She found the little remote device and both Shmi and Anakin realized this wasn’t a joke, since the remote had belonged to Watto.

Using the device, she deactivated the implants. Nathrrya knew they would be correct and that they would work since she went back to Watto and questioned him at length on the matter. Knowing that the Toydarian was immune to Force suggestions, she also knew that he wasn’t immune to the practice of mind searching. She forced her way into his head and dug around for the information she wanted. It was an uncomfortable action at best and that’s only when the one doing it knew what they were doing. The truth of the matter was Nathrrya just didn’t trust the bug-man to tell them the truth and give them the correct codes. She found out he never intended to give the right ones to the Force users. She enjoyed making him suffer.

Anakin looked at Nathrrya in shock, wondering if what he heard was correct. “What? Did you hear that, Mom?” He looked over at Qui-Gon. “Was that part of the prize or something?”

The Jedi Master only smiled contently. “Let’s just say that Watto has learned an important life lesson about gambling.”

Shmi was thrilled at the turn of events. She watched her son in his excitement and couldn’t help but feel excited herself. She’d been a slave for as long as she could remember and her son was born into it - it wasn’t a life she wanted for him and it seemed her prayers had finally been answered. She would have given anything for her son to be free and to do his own thing, but now she was free as well. She’d be able to experience his adventures with him. Anakin rushed to his mother and wrapped his arms around her waist, tightly hugging her. She knelt and hugged her son in return. “Now we can make our dreams come true, Ani. We’re free!” She looked up at Qui-Gon. “Will you take him with you? Is he to become a Jedi?”

“Our meeting was not a coincidence. Nothing happens by accident.” Nathrrya rolled her eyes behind the Jedi Master as he addressed the boy. “You are strong with the Force, but you may not be accepted by the Council.”

The Sith ground her teeth and couldn’t stay silent. “Oh please! Qui-Gon, we both know your High Council is going to reject him out of hand because of his age. That’s regardless of whether he is what we believe him to be. You know damn well that the Order needs to change and I know you can see it.”

The Jedi Master sighed and rubbed his temples. She had been making that same argument for a long time, practically since meeting her, and little by little he was wondering if what she was saying was true. “Yes… I will have to agree with you, Master Nathrrya. In the short time, I’ve been around you I have been reconsidering many aspects of the Jedi Order.”

Nathrrya looked at him in shock. It wasn’t easy to do that to her. “...excuse me?”

Qui-Gon smiled at seeing her reaction. “I’m calling you ‘Master’ because that’s what you are. And considering what you say is true and the Council does, indeed, reject Anakin, what would you suggest is done?”

The two former slaves had given up trying to follow the conversation. Neither of them were making any sense of what was being said and Anakin had a sneaking suspicion that something was going to happen and it involved him. Since he was being mentioned numerous times between the two other adults he could only assume but it was nowhere near to an educated guess. The only thing that could be deduced by Anakin and Shmi was that it involved Anakin’s future.

Nathrrya finally took a breath and ran a hand through her hair and rubbed at her neck. “Okay… so if the Jedi Council is really as short-sighted as I believe them to be - and trust me, they are - then I’ll apprentice the boy and see him trained.”

Qui-Gon was about to raise a protest but was cut off from speaking when she raised her hand to quiet him. She narrowed her eyes at the Jedi but glanced over at the mother and son. She reached for Qui-Gon’s arm and pulled him to the side and lowered her voice. “Let me make it perfectly clear to you: I’m talking about discipline and control. We both can feel his potential right now at, what… eight? Ten? Just imagine that power when he’s an actual adult… another eight or ten years from now. Please consider that and tell me you understand my concern.”

He did see the concern and it did make sense. The amount of power in that boy and what he’d seen the kid do in the pod race along with the experiences he’d been told by his mother… it all made sense to him why Nathrrya would have such a strong stance on this. He raised his hand and stroked his beard in thought before looking into the Sith’s eyes. They held her concern and he nodded his agreement with her. “So, you will not teach him your path?”

Hell yes, she thought. But that was selfish… and dangerous. She shook her head. “Not unless he asked, and even then, I would wait until he was old enough to really understand what that path means. The Dark Side is not for everyone, Master Jedi.” She paused a moment and considered her words. She slid her tongue over her teeth thoughtfully as she did so.

“Look,” she said. “Have you ever seen a mind completely and utterly crushed by the Force? I have and it’s not a spectacle that you want to see over and over. Hell, you don’t want to see it once. I wouldn’t wish that on even the worst bastards.” A long-forgotten thought surfaced in her mind but she shook her head and looked into Qui-Gon’s eyes. Her trip into the tomb of Marka Ragnos was not a pleasant memory not only did she fight a Terentatek but she got to see firsthand what the long dead Sith Lord was capable of doing to trespassers. “No. You have my word that I will not teach him the ways of my path.”

Even though they were being relatively quiet, a mother has ears that are to be reckoned with. “Nathrrya are you a Jedi?” she asked.

Nathrrya and Qui-Gon turned to the two. “No, I’m no Jedi. I won’t claim to be something I’m not, but I can use the Force much the same way a Jedi can even though my training was very different.”

“Do you have a laser sword too?” Anakin asked, his voice full of enthusiasm. Shmi had the boy by his shoulders and she gave him a firm grip. Anakin didn’t seem to notice.

Nathrrya chuckled. “Yes, I do Anakin, and it’s called a lightsabre. Would you like to see it?”

The boy nodded with bright eyes and watched as the woman retrieved her lightsabre from its hiding place. He admired the highly polished ebony black durasteel hilt. It was about twenty-five centimetres in length by the boy’s estimation. The end where the blade would come out was about three and half centimetres in width and tapered to about two thirds of that diameter at the opposite end of the hilt. Both ends were encased in intricate silver and gold gilt mounts. Some of the gilt line work ran the full length of the hilt while others only ran about half the length. It really was a work of art.

Anakin looked up at Nathrrya. She caught the flicker of reserve in his eyes and the question he had made his brow furrow. “Is the blade a violet colour?”

The Sith cocked her head, her interest piqued by his question. “Yes…” she said warily. “How did you know? I’ve never had to use it around you, or at all, really.”

Anakin frowned and his head drooped. He hesitated to answer and his lips wriggled from side to side as he thought about how to say what was on his mind. He knew what he wanted to say, just not how to really say it.

“Back when we were in the pod hangar I had… I don’t know… a vision, I guess. I saw it clearly but it was all destroyed and you were there with your blaster in one hand and your lightsabre in the other. That’s when I saw the colour.”

Nathrrya and Qui-Gon shared a look that went unnoticed by Anakin and very much seen by Shmi. Things just became a whole lot more complicated and the Force users knew this and Shmi, as a concerned mother, picked up on the feeling but didn’t know exactly how complicated this had just become. She remained reserved and allowed Anakin and the other two, to converse.

Anakin looked up at that moment, almost urgently, and looked at the woman. “And I remember your eyes the most,” he continued. “They were yellow. Why would your eyes be yellow?”

Nathrrya sighed and clicked her teeth together a few times before she leaned against the nearest wall. She folded her arms over her chest and lowered her chin in thought. She had to be careful of what she said and she thought about her response as quickly as she could. But she didn’t want to short-change the boy of information that would make him run amok.

“You had a vision, Ani,” she said, raising her head to look at him. “A series of moments in time that have not yet come to pass but that are always in motion and changing. As for my eyes, they turn yellow because of the way I was trained in the Force. That’s all you need to know about that right now.”

Anakin seemed content with the answers he got from the female Force user. Qui-Gon was impressed by her answer and how she managed to deflect a relatively complex situation with Anakin’s curiosity. However, it was only a matter of time before her true identity came to the surface and they would have to explain that to him and possibly his mother. It was time to change the subject.

“Shall we help you pack?” he asked. “The distance to the Queen’s cruiser is long and there isn’t much time left before sundown.”

---------------

The two Force users walked along the paths of Mos Espa with Shmi, Anakin and a partially completed C-3PO in tow. The usual business was buzzing around them and they all went unnoticed for the most part. As they continued on their way, both Force users were keeping their attention out for anything strange.

Qui-Gon was the first to notice it. As they turned a corner he managed to catch something out the corner of his eyes. He grabbed his lightsabre and took one swift turn and lunged at the unsuspecting droid, swiftly cutting it in half. It clanked down to the dusty ground at their feet and he knelt to inspect it. The remainder of the party gathered around to look as well.

“What is it?” Anakin asked, his eyes glancing over the sparking droid.

“Probe droid,” the Jedi said. “Very unusual too… not like anything I’ve ever seen before.”

“I have,” Nathrrya confirmed. She glared at the sparking remains and frowned. “That is an Imperial Probe droid. I can’t believe they haven’t changed that much in all these years.” She crouched down beside the Jedi and picked up a piece of the outer shell and inspected it further. She sighed. “A more apt description of it would be a Sith Probe droid.”

Shmi and Anakin tried not to dwell on what the two were talking about. Both knew that they would learn in time only what they needed to know. The two Force users obviously had their own communications and their own situations to deal with that only they were privy to.

Nathrrya got up and dropped the shell casing into the now smoking heap. “Damn. That apprentice is looking for us and he knows we’re here. That means we need to book it back to the ship right the hell now because your padawan and Captain Panaka and his men will not be enough to protect the queen.”

---------------

The group was nearing the location of the Naboo cruiser and had just made it to the edge of the clearing when both Force users became extremely agitated and on edge. They both felt the waves in the Force and they both knew that it meant danger was close. As a result, Nathrrya had even pulled out her lightsabre from its hiding spot within her duster.

Qui-Gon and Nathrrya both turned around as one to face the opposite direction. Off in the distance from where they had come they could both make out a quickly approaching figure in a black robe on a speeder. He was aimed right at Shmi and Anakin and intended to run them down.

“Anakin, Shmi, drop!”

As Qui-Gon warned the two, Nathrrya had activated her lightsabre and used the Force around her to throw the weapon towards their assailant. She knew that at the angle they were in, the blade would never connect with the apprentice’s neck but she wasn’t expecting it to. Just as she predicted, he pulled the speeder up to block the attack and the front half of the vehicle took the brunt of the damage. He leaped from the seat and flipped, pulling out his own lightsabre as his speeder crashed into a heap in the sand.

Nathrrya Force leaped the distance between her and the other Sith to quickly engage him, not giving him a chance to go after Shmi and Anakin. She used the Force to call her lightsabre back to her hand and she deflected the attacks the other Sith put down on her. He was strong, but she was better. The two of them going back and forth in the desert caused a small dust cloud to kick up around them, effectively blocking the two from sight but not for the glow of their weapons or the sound of them, as they fought on in their deadly dance.

Qui-Gon rushed over to where Shmi, her son and the droid were and helped them to their feet. He ushered them to the cruiser and hurried them on board. The three followed Captain Panaka as he came to escort them aboard. Once safely aboard, the Jedi Master turned and ran back towards where the two Sith were battling it out in the sand. He had his saber in his hand and activated it, the light shining a brilliant green against the red dust of the sand.

He neared them and slowed. He heard something and stopped to listen. Nathrrya could sense him coming to help but she reached out into the Force to speak to him. He felt the sensation tickle into his mind and form words. He was clearly able to hear her.

Get them to safety and get the ship in the air, he heard her say. I’ll keep him busy until you come to pick me up. Just don’t fly off without me!

The Jedi Master understood what was being asked and he turned and headed towards the cruiser. He rushed through the opening and went to the cockpit where Captain Panaka was with Obi-Wan and the pilot.

“Everything is in working order, Master,” Obi-Wan confirmed seeing Qui-Gon enter. “Setting a course for Coruscant…” -he looked around- “...where’s Nathrrya?”

Qui-Gon went to the pilot and pointed out through the cockpit window towards a small dust cloud. Those present saw the dancing red and violet lightsabres through the dust. “Over there, fly low.”

The pilot nodded and took off. They hovered for a moment and he guided the ship towards the duel.
"Korriban’s a rock, mind the Sith." -Jolee Bindo.

OfficerDonNZ's Avatar


OfficerDonNZ
10.28.2017 , 01:33 PM | #20
Chapter 11 -- Nathrrya's Secret

_____________

Darth Maul was becoming increasingly annoyed at the unknown woman he was duelling against. Not only did she effectively cut him off from getting to the Jedi and the ship with the Naboo Queen, but this Force user wasn’t even attacking him. Each manoeuvre she made was in defence as she blocked, parried and pushed against him to trip him in his stance. It was infuriating - she was mocking him with her moves and the feeling he got from her Force signature was a complete sense of I-know-best and I’m-better-than-you. But the thing that annoyed him the most was the woman hadn’t spoken one word since they starting fighting.

He continued his forward attacks, hoping to tire the woman out. Surely, she wasn’t invincible and had a limit to her stamina. He pulled from the Dark Side and increased the power behind his thrusts and arches, using the momentum of his swing and speed to drive his opponent back.

Nathrrya frowned when she felt the surge of Dark Side energy come from the other Sith. She added an extra step and a hop in her foot movements to continue her evasive manoeuvres just enough to keep him busy until Qui-Gon brought the cruiser over to her to pick her up. This Sith was certainly skilled but he was also a loose cannon - his skill in the Dark Side was good but not at master level and she could tell that the energy he used was going to cost him later.

Darth Maul could tell this woman had Dark Side energy within her. It floated around her like a mist and he could sense it and it was very tightly controlled - that much was evident based on her skill. But she fought against him, not with him, and he briefly wondered if she were some sort of fallen Jedi. If this was the case, how was it that she was aiding her former Order? Even if she were to be entirely Sith it would mean that someone somewhere had broken the Rule of Two. Regardless, his master would want to know this. Perhaps she could be recruited and serve as a useful tool...

Maul’s thoughts as he continued to slash away at his opponent were headed down a decidedly lecherous route as he considered what kind of fun he could have with such a tool if his master were so clever to attain her trust. Seeing the woman’s disgusted expression on her face made him grin. It seemed like his thoughts were a little too loud.

Nathrrya called on her powers and unleashed a strong Force push towards the Zabrak. Her opponent wasn't expecting the attack and he was propelled into the air, flying backwards nearly a hundred feet and landed on a sand dune, destroying it. The wind was knocked from his lungs and the force of the attack caused him to become dazed and disoriented. Just as she thought about applying a little more hurt on the other Sith, Nathrrya heard the hum of the cruiser’s engines behind her.

Maul shook the dazed feeling from his head in time to look up. The woman gave him one last glaring look before she deactivated her sabre and stowed it, all while she turned in a flourish and leapt up to land on the open door of the departing cruiser. He watched her walk inside, the hatch closed, and she was gone, along with the Queen. Darth Maul was left on his back on Tatooine… his first mission failure.

---------------

Nathrrya slammed her hand down on the control panel for the door of the cruiser and wasn’t nice about it. She was scowling and her teeth were bared like a ferocious animal. Her head buzzed with the mental images that the Zabrak Sith had so lovingly put there for her to gnaw on.

“It’s going to take weeks of meditation to rid myself of those sexually depraved images,” she muttered to herself. “I knew Quinn and I could get kinky, but kriffing Force!”

She took a moment to at least calm herself down before she went towards where the throne room was. She was certain everyone had to be gathered there since no one else was around.

She stopped suddenly just before the door to the audience chamber. Turning back towards the way she came, it dawned on her that he was very well trained but she could push him back regardless of his skill level. A frown crept on her face since that was an indicator his master was holding the Zabrak back.

There was something else to consider: She had spent the better part of six years fighting a galactic war and she had become quite battle savvy and acquired damn good reflexes from it. She saw that in that time she never really relaxed or knew how to outside of the alone time she spent with Quinn. Other than that, she was always on the move and never really stopped for anything or anyone. That’s probably why she found the Zabrak so underwhelming. A plan began to form in her head. Maybe she could defeat the Sith master after all.

But therein lay another problem, to stand a chance of defeating Sidious she’d need her own power base, something she currently lacked. Her one-time master Darth Baras, may have taken the phrase ‘paranoid Sith’ to the extreme but he had known how to build a network of informants and spies; something that undoubtedly Sidious would have had years to do. Nathrrya doubted she had the luxury of time to be subtle about building her power base. Subtlety wasn’t really her thing. She turned back to the audience chamber. The Queen of Naboo was mixed up in this mess and she would be the key. As much as Nathrrya disliked the idea of dragging the young woman even deeper into the machinations between rival Sith she never the less smiled at the very bold idea that came into her mind. It would be a risk but the potential payoff would more than make up for it.

Nathrrya entered the audience chamber and all heads turned to her as she came in. Her lightsabre was now clearly in view of everyone present. Quickly she surveyed the room and smiled to herself when she saw Padme and Anakin talking quietly to one another, though the boy seemed to be doing most of it. It seemed she wouldn’t need to do anything concerning those two for the time being. She wondered what he would think of his crush if he found out she was the elected monarch of an entire planet.

She approached the decoy Queen and bowed slightly. “Your Highness, the situation is much graver than the Jedi and I have suspected. The assailant I fought against had a lightsabre. He used a red blade and I could feel his power through the Force. He’s a Sith apprentice.” One I could have easily killed. Let’s hope Sidious is smart enough to pick up on my challenge.

“Are you certain?” Qui-Gon asked coming to stand alongside Nathrrya.

“Very, Master Jinn. During our duel, his thoughts were unguarded. His metal shielding was not that good. There’s also the old saying, it takes one to know one.” The Jedi master nodded thoughtfully if somewhat concerned by her choice of words. She turned back to the decoy Queen. “The apprentice had very specific orders concerning you, your highness which gives credence to my theory that the Sith are somehow involved with the plot by the Trade Federation to take control of Naboo.”

“Sith?” Captain Panaka asked, puzzled and very concerned given what Nathrrya had said to the Jedi master. “They were all wiped out over a thousand years ago. Are you sure? And excuse my ignorance but how does the colour of a lightsabre determine if he’s really Sith or not?”

“Sadly, that’s not quite true Captain.” Qui-Gon spoke up. “While the end of the Ruusan Wars did see the deaths of what at the time the Jedi believed were all the renaming Sith. Many years later the Order would learn that some Sith did survive and formed a new Sith Order that fallowed the Rule of Two, no more than one master and one apprentice at any time. One to embody the power of the Dark Side, the other to crave it. They have almost always remained hidden. Until now it would seem.”

“This is most disturbing news Master Jedi.” The decoy Queen said looking extremely worried.

Nathrrya frowned. Well, that explains why Sidious is so strong in the Dark Side. She thought. He’ll have his robes in a bunch when he learns he isn’t the only Sith Lord in the galaxy. “Lightsabres use a combination of Force energy and powerful crystals to create the sabre beam, thousands of years ago only natural crystals were used and none of them were red. The Sith, always looking for more power and more strength, created synthetic red crystals which were ultimately stronger than the natural ones and were reported to break those used by the Jedi. Of course, as the years continued and engineering progressed, the Jedi were able to farm stronger natural crystals for their own weapons which were more on par with those of the Sith's manufactured kind.”

“You know a lot of Sith culture and history,” the decoy Queen commented. “It proves that you’re a valuable ally to have against this new foe.”

That’s my hope. Nathrrya thought as she looked around her at all of those gathered. Her eyes landed on Anakin for a moment before she looked back at the decoy. “Regardless of my knowledge of Sith culture, I know this because I know what the Force signature of a Sith is...” she took a breath glancing at Qui-Gon as she did so. In his eyes, she saw realisation and uncertainty appear. Turning back to face the decoy, Nathrrya uttered six words that would forever change the galaxy. “I just happen to be one.”

The flurry of emotions and deafening silence surrounding her almost made her sway. She put up her mental barriers to protect her mind from the onslaught of shock and surprise. The biggest one was of confusion, which came from the young boy.

The maiden pretending to be Padme looked over at the two Jedi. “Is this true, Master Jedi? Have we had a Sith in our midst this entire time and you just saw it unwise to communicate this piece of important information?”

Qui-Gon nodded and crossed his arms over his chest, a motion Nathrrya had begun to associate with him. “Yes, your highness, but would you have believed me if I had told you? It turned out to be much simpler for you to think she was just another Jedi.”

“How can we believe you now?” Captain Panaka challenged. “We all saw it. She has a violet lightsabre. If her spiel about colour crystals was true, wouldn’t she have a red saber as well?”

“Violet colour,” Nathrrya said smugly, crossing her own arms over her chest indignantly. “The Sith could choose whatever colour crystal they wanted, though red is usually the signature and is the colour of their first acquired lightsabre. However, I built this sabre myself when I was twenty years old.” She said indicating the weapon that hung from her belt. “It took me months to find just the right crystal. I was walking through one of the markets on my home world when I felt the call of the crystal, as I drew closer to it, it began to glow it has been with me ever since.” She smiled fondly remembering the day she found her colour crystal. “Where I came from, some warriors who dual-wielded had two different crystals, one for each sabre. Some Sith even designed their own crystals to create different colour combinations.”

The decoy Queen nodded slowly a frown on her face. “If what Master Jinn said about there being only two Sith at any one time is true then just how is it that you are here? Why reveal yourself? You could have said nothing and I would have been none the wiser.”

Nathrrya looked thoughtful for a few moments then after getting her musings in order began her tale “For you to understand why I’m here I have to start on a day that took place over three and half millennia ago. On that day, I faced a man who was more Force entity than mortal being and things did not go as anyone thought they would. Least of all me for I was freed from my carbonite prison less than a month ago.” She paused to let the idea sink in. “I soon learned that the galaxy I knew, the people I loved and cared about were gone. It is a very unsettling feeling to realise you are truly alone. Why I am still alive after so long is as much a mystery to me as it is to the Jedi.” This of course was a blatant lie for she knew why but no one else needed to know that.

“The people who freed me thought I was a Jedi and as I was suffering very badly from hibernation sickness. I was in no physical shape to contradict them even if I had wanted to. But it’s what happened while I recovered that has lead me to be standing before you now. I saw visions in the Force of a peaceful world being blockaded and a young queen in danger. I know now that world was Naboo and that queen is you, your highness.”

“But that’s not all the Force wished to show me for I saw the eventual fall of the Republic and the total destruction of the Jedi Order. That was enough for me once I was well enough to travel to come to Coruscant and seek out the Jedi High Council. I had to warn them about what I had seen and the danger the Jedi were in. For as strange as it may sound the Jedi Order is the only thing that is even remotely familiar to me. Somehow I ended up accompanying Master Jinn and Padawan Kenobi on their mission to Naboo and here I am.”

Captain Panaka looked concerned not because he didn’t fully understand what Nathrrya had said he doubted anyone but the two Jedi would fully understand. “If the tales and legends we’ve heard about the Sith are even remotely true isn’t one of their main goals to destroy the Jedi and conquer the galaxy?” he asked clearly confused.

The Sith woman nodded her head. “That’s a fair assessment Captain and I have no doubt the rival Sith Lord I face intends exactly that. However, I will do all I can to stop him but therein lies the problem. He’ll have a vast network of spies and informants as well as vast resources at his disposal for his nefarious schemes. I have nothing.” Nathrrya now turned her attention back to the decoy queen “You asked why I chose to revel myself. The answer is this, your highness, whether you like it or not you and your people are caught in the machinations of a Sith Lord and I’m the only person the in galaxy who has a chance of stopping him. To do that I need you to trust me and the best way to gain that trust is to be honest about who and what I am.” She paused looking around the room. “I would appreciate it if my true identity didn’t leave this ship. For the foreseeable future, I must appear to be a member of the Jedi Order.”

This really confused Panaka “It’s clear that Master Jinn and his padawan are aware of your origins.”

“True and they are currently the only Jedi that know what I truly am. The rest of the Order have no idea and I’d like it to keep it that way for as long as I can. It’s simply safer for me.” Nathrrya explained. “However, there will come a time when I’ll have to reveal what I am to the Jedi Order.”

The decoy queen nodded slowly as she processed the information “Something tells me it will not be that easy.”

“No, it will not be your highness.” Nathrrya admitted. “I think it best we discuss this more in private along with Captain Panaka and Master Jinn.”

The captain found himself deep in thought at the new information that was being provided about Nathrrya’s true identity. When he looked over at his sovereign he had to hold back a grimace. To him, Padme was more like a daughter than his Queen. He had been watching over her for some time and he knew her mind and how she worked… most of the time. Granted, no one could really put a leash on that girl and her power to move forward into a new adventure or idea. That’s what made her a great monarch for Naboo. But seeing that they’ve now gone through an invasion they narrowly escaped, then landing on a desert planet, facing off against a Sith before escaping again, and then learning that there was a Sith on the ship the whole time? Panaka just prayed to the stars that Padme knew what she was doing.

The queen considered the Sith’s words. “That was quite the tale…” She looked over at Qui-Gon for a moment. “Is what she said true?”

Nathrrya had to keep her tongue under control. Now was not the time to get defensive about whether or not she was telling the truth. She stated it out loud that she was in a different world and there was nothing to change that. She wasn’t playing by her rules anymore… she was in a whole different game and she needed to learn them fast or she wasn’t going to last much longer, spiritually, mentally or physically. Of course, that didn’t mean that having her integrity questioned didn’t hurt or sting. By the Force, it really did.

“There is no deception in her words, Highness,” Qui-Gon confirmed gently. He glanced at the Sith beside him. “Only sadness and melancholy. Given what she has said, it wasn’t easy for her to say these things about her her past.”

“Distant past…” Nathrrya corrected. It was true.

Obi-Wan struggled to keep his own emotions under control. He wasn’t sure how he would handle this kind of situation of waking up in a world not your own and seeing something so different than what you remember. He found himself wondering how she had been frozen all those years in the first place. Sensing her Force signature told him that to ask or even attempt to bring it up would cause the woman pain and mental agony, he decided he needed to let Nathrrya work through it.

Anakin had sat quietly absorbing the new information about his friend Nathrrya. He now understood why her light seemed darker than that of the two Jedi but even so it didn’t seem evil or wrong, just different. It made him think back to events just before the pod race.

“That’s how you made Sebulba fall ill and how you could warn me about his sabotage of my pod?”

Obi-Wan had forgotten that the boy was still in the room. Nathrrya turned her attention to Anakin and his questions. “Yes, Sebulba’s lifestyle was not a healthy or clean one and I took advantage of that to remove him from the race.” She said, “And telepathic communication is a skill many force users learn.”

The boy nodded his understanding. “And that’s why your eyes are yellow sometimes?”

“Yes, Anakin. As a Sith I use something called the ‘Dark Side’ of the Force. When I do, my eyes turn yellow. Some other Sith, if they go too deep, will have red eyes. Some… lose their eyes altogether though it’s very rare.”

Anakin’s face furrowed as he looked at Nathrrya. To make a small point she closed her eyes and opened them again. They were yellow. “I’m told it’s disconcerting. I’ve met some Sith that I was wary of when they had eyes like this.”

The entire group had to agree with the uneasy feeling that settled upon them. Even Obi-Wan shifted uncomfortably where he was standing even though he had seen her eyes like that. It was the Dark Side energy that made him uneasy until she pulled the power back and her eyes returned to normal. Qui-Gon wasn’t affected at all and Anakin wasn’t bothered by the colour of her eyes since he saw them in his vision. Everyone relaxed when her eyes returned to the blue they were all familiar with.

“And you don’t like red?” It was a simple child’s question but Anakin wasn’t much of a child when it came to his inquiries.

“A lightsabre is as unique as the one who wields it,” Nathrrya said. “I had managed to collect a variety of colour crystals over my time as a warrior and they ranged from deep purple to violet to pink. In fact, Captain Quinn was absolutely mortified when he discovered that I had officially named my Fury the Violet Rose. He wouldn’t stop whimpering about it for a month.”

Anakin heard the chuckle in her voice but there was no hiding the deep sadness in her eyes. He instantly felt bad. “I didn’t mean to upset you…”

Catching what the boy had said, Nathrrya acted and took several large strides towards the boy and dropped to her knees in a flourish. She threw her arms around the child and brought him to her in a reassuring hug.

“You didn’t upset me,” she said, quiet enough to keep it personal. “They may be gone, but I have my memories, and they’re all good memories that I will never forget.”

No one saw the small tear that escaped the corner of her eye closest to the boy’s face. Anakin slowly put his arms around her neck and hugged her back.

_______

An hour later Padme and Captain Panaka along with Qui-Gon and Nathrrya were all in a room that served as Padme’s office aboard the royal cruiser.

“I have to say that you handled the young boy’s questions very well, Nathrrya.” Panaka admitted “He did throw something pretty unexpected your way.”

“Thank you, Captain. His questions weren’t too hard to answer. He had seen what colour my eyes can become in a vision he had, which surprised both myself and Master Jinn but in retrospect it shouldn’t have.” Nathrrya replied.

“A vision?” So, he’s force sensitive then?” Padme asked.

“Yes, very much so.” Qui-Gon answered.

“That explains why you’d bring him with you. But isn’t he a little old for Jedi training?” Panaka queried.

“Yes, but Anakin is a special case.” Qui-Gon said “Convincing the Jedi Council of that will be... difficult.”

The Sith snorted in amusement. “Try damn near impossible.”

Qui-Gon frowned as he looked at the woman. “You have no faith in the Jedi Council, do you?”

Nathrrya smirked. “Oh, I have faith in the Jedi Council, faith that they’ll be so utterly clueless that they won’t know what to do about Anakin and that I’ll have to step in and train the boy.” Her smirk turned into a grin. “I’m really looking forward to their reaction to that.”

“I’m sure you are.” The Jedi Master said dryly. “So why did you want to talk to us in private?”

Before Nathrrya could reply Padme spoke. “I heard what you said to my decoy. I understand that you want me to trust you and that’s why you’ve chosen to reveal yourself as a Sith now. But what I don’t fully understand was the part about having a network of informants and even resources. I don’t see how Naboo could help you there.”

Nathrrya bowed her head slightly as she crossed her arms tapping the fingers of her right hand on her left arm as she thought of what she wanted to say to best explain what she needed. After a few moments, she looked up at the other three people. “Once I had significant standing in the Sith Empire. Only the Emperor or the Dark Council could tell me what to do. Even then I didn’t always listen. Now all I have are the clothes I wear and my lightsabre.”

“And the blaster you... acquired curtsey of the Trade Federation.” Qui-Gon pointed out amused. It was clear to the Jedi Master that Nathrrya was used to having a blaster. He wondered how the Council would react to a ‘Jedi’ carrying such a weapon so openly.

The Sith grinned “And my blaster.” Her grin faded “No doubt the credits I have stored are worthless in this time." She said tapping one of the pouches on her utility belt. “The same could be said for the investments I made.” It was quite depressing to think about.

“Investments?” Panaka asked curious wondering just what a Sith would invest in.

Nathrrya nodded “I often had more credits than I needed so I invested the surplus in spaceship production companies and other such industries. Came in handy when I started modifying the Rose.” She smiled “I’m also a fully qualified spaceship designer and engineer... though I suspect my certification is long out of date.”

“How is that even possible?” Padme asked confused.

“I was about your age, Your Highness when my force abilities began to manifest. Up until then my life had been fairly normal, well what passed for normal in Imperial space and I had been thinking about what I was going to do with the rest of my life. In between my force training I studied spaceship design and engineering and eventually gained all my certifications.” Nathrrya smiled at an old memory “I was once asked by two members of the Dark Council, Darths Marr and Vowrawn to oversee the upgrade and refurbishment of their personal ships. As they were both allies of mine it was something of an honour.”

Qui-Gon stroked his beard thoughtfully the more he learned about Nathrrya the more intriguing she became. “You had a Darth title did you not?”

Nathrrya smiled. “I did, technically still do I suppose. Not that it means anything now. I’m happy to be known as Nathrrya Therin as I was her long before I was given my Darth title.”

The Jedi Master nodded in understanding still it did confirm what he had long suspected about Nathrrya. If she ever lost control or simply decided to cut lose then the Jedi would be hard pressed to stop her as Qui-Gon knew that there were few in the Order who could face a full Sith Lord and win. That reminded him he wanted to ask Nathrrya about her use of that Jedi technique.

“Nathrrya can I speak to you in private?” Qui-Gon asked.

The woman raised her eyebrows in question. “I think I know what this is about.” She turned to Padme. “We still have much to discuss but it can wait until after the Trade Federation have been... removed from Naboo.” With that, the two force users left the queen with her security chief.

“What do you suppose that was about?” Padme asked.

Panaka shrugged “Jedi business would be my guess.” He replied eyeing his monarch. “You’re thinking of helping Nathrrya in some way, aren’t you?”

The young queen looked slightly guilty “Am I really that obvious?”

The security captain smiled slightly. “Only to someone who’s known you for so long, Your Highness. I can see why you would want to help her but please be careful. There is still much we don’t know about her.”

Padme nodded thinking before she looked up at her chief protector “Do you trust Nathrrya, Captain?”

The question took Panaka by surprise and he frowned as he thought over his answer. “Yes, I would say that I do. She took one hell of a risk revealing her identity to us even if I still don’t fully understand what it all means.” He paused a moment “If things aren’t resolved with the senate then I suspect Nathrrya will be our best chance to win back Naboo’s freedom by force of arms.”

As much as Padme didn’t want to agree she had to admit that the chances of getting the Trade Federation off Naboo peacefully were slim at best.

_____

Qui-Gon ushered Nathrrya into his room, here they could talk freely. The Jedi master suspected the coming conversation would prove to be most enlightening.

“You want to ask me about what I did on Tatooine, don’t you?’ Nathrrya asked as she folded her arms over her chest and leaned against a wall.

“Yes. It took me quite by surprise.” Qui-Gon admitted. “How did a Sith come by Jedi knowledge like that? Did your Jedi cousin have something to do with teaching it to you?”

Nathrrya grinned. “You’re right, it was Cas who taught me. And I’m thankful he did. As you’ve seen my temper can be a little unpredictable. Knowing a few Jedi calming techniques helps to keep me grounded.”

The Jedi master could see the wisdom in that. “This may sound outlandish but have you ever used the Light Side? Do you believe that you even could?”

Nathrrya frowned thoughtfully, just what was Jinn’s game? “No, I don’t believe I ever have. Jedi calming techniques are of use no matter what side of the force you use. As for whether I ever could I honestly don’t know. I suppose it’s possible. Why do you ask?”

Qui-Gon took a few moments to consider his response “In the time we’ve spent together and after observing your actions I feel you are more grey than dark.”

The Sith chuckled, nodding as she did so. “I can see why you’d think that. I was born in Imperial space and looking back I can say I was raised to be Sith without really knowing it.” She regarded the Jedi master. “I am a master of the Dark Side and as such I’ve learned several important things about it. It is seductive and for raw power it is stronger than the Light but the Dark has one significant weakness that few Force-users realise, be they Sith or Jedi. It is by its very nature inherently destructive. Keep this in mind: The Dark Side is a powerful ally but failing to remember that, know that it will destroy you.”
"Korriban’s a rock, mind the Sith." -Jolee Bindo.