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Trouble, Destiny, and Other Complications - AU: Caught

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
Trouble, Destiny, and Other Complications - AU: Caught

Kitar's Avatar

05.04.2018 , 09:26 PM | #121
So I apologuise, I had every intention of commenting earlier. I'm sorry.

Eagerly waiting for more.

Hope you had a happy May the 4th!

frauzet's Avatar

07.29.2018 , 05:44 PM | #122
I never imagined it would take me so long to get this story written. And I also didn't imagine it would receive more than 8000 views. You all bearing with me is the biggest motivation to not give up. Thank you for that!
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I stumble over a stone once or twice and the damned sand keeps sucking at my feet with every step I make, but we reach the Academy’s main entrance without any noteworthy incidents. We draw the eyes of the Imperials we pass, yet they don’t interfere with us. I can only guess at what I look like right now, however most of them give Ciner an approving nod, so “bad” probably doesn’t even begin to cover it.

A black-robed Sith intercepts us to tell Ciner this Baras guy is already waiting for him. Ciner straightens his shoulders and picks up his pace. Apparently Baras doesn’t like to be waiting, or at least everybody assumes so. We hurry through the entrance hall.

“Walk three steps behind me to the left!” Ciner growls under his breath.

I may no longer be able to lift my feet properly, but my hearing still works; I recognize an order when I get one. In this case I can even guess at its purpose. I get cranky when I am tired, though.
“Why?” The hum of the lightsaber beside my ear jolts me awake in an instant.

Some people are born as natural leaders. You follow their orders because it seems the right thing to do, and often they are as astonished at your obedience as you are. If you’re lucky you will meet one of them. Then there are those born with a distinct privilege. They expect you to follow their orders, and most people simply will do so, because that’s the way things are. Those are astonished if you fail to obey. If you’re lucky you won’t have to deal with those kind of people too often in your life. Maybe Ciner could have been one of the first if he didn’t happen to be one of the second kind. I was only ever lucky when it came to finding trouble. Then again, I survived so far.

“I am right-handed, and I am in possession of a lightsaber. So, if you want to keep your head in case someone is foolish enough to attack me…” With a flick of his wrist Ciner deactivates the weapon and clips it back to his belt. “These walls accommodate some dark passageways. Any other questions?”

I scratch at the back of my head in thought. “If you feed sugar to a nerf, does its milk taste sweet?”

He blinks. “Not much longer and we will be rid of each other. Do us both a favor. Do as I tell you and keep your mouth shut.”

I refrain from telling him those are two favors. “Why not leave me in my cell?” I have a bad feeling about meeting his boss. At least with Knash I know what to expect.

“After the meeting. One does not keep a Darth waiting!”

We continue our small procession, walking in the middle of the hallways, him in the front, me three steps behind to his left. Wouldn’t want to risk my good looks to a lightsaber slash across my face. Ciner’s shoulders tense ever so slightly at each corner we approach. Not long and an army of ants is crawling along my own spine despite the lightsaber clipped to Ciner’s belt drawing the onlookers’ attention away from me. Reactions vary from indifference, over approving nods, to open scowls. Success always adds some more enemies to your list. Violence begets violence, mom used to say. Can’t argue with that. So far life has proven her right.

As we climb the stairs traffic thins and the air thickens somehow, like stepping out of a cantina on Tatooine during double-high if you exchange the heat for creepiness. Breathing leaves an oily slickness at the back of my tongue, tasteless yet still worse than a room full of decomposing bodies. Before we reach the elevator I already fight to keep the bile down. I most certainly don’t want to go further up. I hate the mix of contempt and pity on Ciner’s face. Chin up, chest out. I concentrate on shallow breaths through my nose. There aren’t that many of my muscles left to need more oxygen than that. Ciner’s lips curl upwards and the temptation to hit him wakes me out of my misery.

“That is the spirit!” he approves grinning.

Maybe I should just vomit onto his boots. We step onto the elevator and I realize I wouldn’t be able to stop once I started. The unnatural stillness of the air makes my skin crawl. Invisible tendrils slither across my body probing my every pore for entry. The pressure grows with the rise of the elevator. At the stop of its ascent I’m barely able to step out of it.

“You are wearing a suit of armor!” Ciner whispers.

“What?” The tattered remains of my clothes consist of holes kept together by some pieces of thread.

“Just imagine it,” he urges. “Concentrate! A full suit protects your body. The helmet filters the air. You are safe inside. Every attack glances off its surface.”

I wore armor when I was on Ord. It wasn’t close to the best the Republic military had to offer, but it was certainly much better than what I’m wearing now. I recall the weight of the breastplate, the softness of the padding underneath. I flex my fingers like I used to do to adjust the fit of the gauntlets. They connect to the black body suit, and the tendrils can no longer touch my skin. The air filters in my helmet never worked properly. I focus, and after a few more breaths a slightly moldy and stale odor replaces the rotten not-stink. My tongue still feels like it grew a pelt, but the urge to vomit lessens.

Ciner gives me a reassuring nod. “You are doing great!” His eyes show some red sparks, but otherwise he seems to be unaffected.

I scoff while trying to keep my imaginary armor in place.

“No really. Several high ranking Sith reside here today. They all project their auras.”

“So this is some kind of dick-measuring contest?”

He grins. “An apposite comparison!”

“Opposite comparison?”

“Apposite,” he repeats emphasizing the a. “It means fitting.”

He should say fitting if he means fitting, but what do I know. Once more I square my shoulders. “Let’s get this over with. I’m starting to miss Knash.”

A short trip down the corridor takes us to Darth Baras’ office. The doors beyond hint at even more important people, yet Ciner focuses all his concern on the bulky masked man greeting him as we enter the room. Gray dominates the interior as well as the man’s clothes. A huge desk instead of cells takes up most of the space behind the Darth. Otherwise a first glance at the office reveals not much more to set it apart from the jail I spent the last weeks in. Ciner bows and I do my best to imitate him. My pretended armor shrinks a size in the presence of the high ranking Sith. Maintaining it requires most of my attention. I keep my mouth shut and my gaze locked upon the ground. Self preservation compels me to remain as unremarkable as possible.

Exhaustion lets my thoughts get lost wandering the grain of the floor tiles. Only bits and pieces of the conversation drift through to my brain; praise for Ciner and the completion of his trials, his appointment to being Darth Baras’ apprentice, orders to travel to Dromund Kaas, the younger Sith kissing the older one’s @ss. None of this concerns me. I sigh when with a last bow from Ciner the audience comes to an end. This went better than anticipated. Darth Baras waves a hand and the door leading back to the corridor opens behind me.

I already reached the corridor when Baras’ voice calls Ciner to a stop. “Take the slave as my gift,” the Darth adds as an afterthought. “Do with him as you wish. If he’ll be of use, by all means, take him with you to Dromund Kaas.”

“Thank you my lord. You are most generous!” Ciner bows again before he hurries me back to the elevator.

Once we stepped inside I grin. My fatigue faded away. “This is great. You don’t even have to send me to some other planet. You can just let me go now.”

Ciner shirks from my look. His fist meets the wall of the elevator with a crack and I can’t help a flinch. He takes a deep breath and finally meets my eyes. “I can’t do that,” he states.

“But…” I clear my throat with a cough. “But he said you could do with me as you wished.”

“And what is it I wish?” he asks softly. “To act against the law? To throw away the first gift given to me by my new Master?” He shakes his head. “Do you not see that this is but a new test? I cannot let you go.”

I let his words sink in for a moment. The urge to hit something — or someone — threatens to overwhelm me. I blink back tears of helpless anger. “You gave me your word,” I croak.

As he glares at me his eyes turn red. “I know exactly what I agreed to.” His voice has turned to a quiet calmness which shouts of danger lying beyond. “I remember your words. ‘If you’ll get me off this planet!’ you said. And that I will do. I will take you with me to Dromund Kaas, just as Darth Baras suggested.”

“But that’s not what I had in mind when we made our deal, and neither did you!”

The frown wrinkles on his forehead deepen. “You are right. It was not my intention to be responsible for you. I have more important things to do than to babysit a murderer.”

“I am not a murderer,” I yell.

An unseen fist slams me back into the wall. “It is not your place to raise your voice against me. You have been convicted. I am neither interested in a confession nor your remorse. But you might want to avoid to get on my bad side. Gratuitous gifts are known to break on accident now and then.”

I clench my jaws and I clench my fists to keep them from shaking. I stare at Ciner and realize he hates the situation as much as I do. That realization keeps me from doing something pea-brained. I don’t want to die just yet.
Author of "Trouble, Destiny and Other Complications" and the AU "Caught"
Participant of the "Short Fic Weekly Challlenge Thread!"
All my stories from TDaOC and SFWC in chronological order

MishaCantu's Avatar

07.31.2018 , 06:39 AM | #123
Gosh, I love these guys. Their banter is remarkable and you've outdone yourself with this one.

Loved the part about the types of leaders, very profound observation by Thorns.

Every single back and forth from the nerf-milk to the dick-measuring and oh, the last part was pure gold.

Pea-brained indeed and so much for best-laid plans. Oh boy.

Off to DK and well maybe Thorns will get a bath, some food, and decent clothes? One can only hope he gets something decent from this ill-fated arrangement.

Lunafox's Avatar

07.31.2018 , 01:55 PM | #124
These two always brighten my day. I love the way you described their audience with Baras, and Thorns feelings about it. I loved that Ciner directed him to imagine armor and that it worked. It's a great trick for faking self-confidence.

I look forward to see what trouble they get into on Dromund Kaas.

Kitar's Avatar

08.01.2018 , 09:43 AM | #125
Sorry for my tardy reply, I wanted to have the time to sit down and write you a proper one.
And now I have the time with my morning cup o caf i hand so I don't need to get up.