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Master and Apprentice: Secrets of the Sith

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Master and Apprentice: Secrets of the Sith

Darth_Slaine's Avatar

12.30.2011 , 06:12 PM | #11
Chapter V:
The Unreachable Summit

Simplicio and his master lay hidden with a handful of brigands in the woods overlooking the road. Below them, a scattered line of peasants hurried as fast as their children's feet would take them. Upon the refugees' backs, packs containing all their worldly possessions jangled and shifted.
Simplicio yawned.

"Master, it has been said that war is the pinnacle of all sentient endeavors -- that it is the purest of the arts and the surest way to rise above the common."
"I have heard that, as well."
Simplicio waited until he felt the silence had reached an awkward length.
"Do you agree, Master?"

The Sith rolled over on his back and watched the moonlight fall in shafts through the branches of the trees.
"War, Simplicio, is a complicated exercise, but it means very little. It is just a race between opposing forces to see who can expend the greatest amount of resources before crippling themselves. There is very little 'art' to it that matters."
"But, Master! We are Warriors. Isn't it our purpose? To fight and overcome? To be victorious?!"

"Victory in a war is of little value. After a battle one side has a temporary advantage; after a war, one system imposes itself on another. Fortifications are raised. Fortifications are destroyed. The language of the conquerors mingles with the language of the subjugated. Kingdoms fall. Order descends into chaos. Complexity emerges from chaos -- to value war is to value one of the waves crashing against the beach because it was taller than the rest. There is a single wave and there is no wave.
"War is a fleeting pastime, Simplicio. Do not mistake it for anything more. Certainly, like combat, it can be a useful tool for focusing the mind and will -- when faced with a life-and-death choice, the extraneous is forgotten. Yet, in the hands of a master, all things have such focus. Do you see the farmers below?"

Simplicio looked down at the peasants stumbling along with makeshift lights.
"Yes, Master."
"For them, war is a moment's distraction. Soon they will come to a place and they will begin to cultivate the land again. Generations will farm long after this war is forgotten. We are just a stone tossed into a river. How I envy them."
"Yes, Simplicio. Those pitiful excuses for life are closer to true understanding of the Force than the greatest general. They mold the land to their will and produce, while we bend the Force to our will and can only destroy."
"Master, you do not mean these things."
"My young friend, you have grown in age and ability to a point where you can question your master, but there is more for you to see. The only victory is to know yourself and to know the Force. The path of Will leads us to that enlightenment. War is an exercise in Will, so it can be a necessary diversion."

"What about the judgment of History?"
"History is a genealogy of errors. Nothing more."

The road was now empty. The farmers had moved on. The song of a nightbird was answered by a breeze.

"Master, you are in a mood tonight."
"Perhaps, Simplicio. You are a far cry from the sniveling boy whom I took as a student years ago. Forgive my nostalgia."
"It has been a long journey, Master."

"Do you remember soon after I took you from the temple, one night when we were eating you asked me, "Sir, are we evil?"
The Sith laughed quietly and shook his head. In the darkness, Simplicio smiled.
"I think I was more confused after your answer than I had been before." Simplicio closed his eyes and recited from memory, "'Child, Good and Evil are arbitrary concepts. Certainly within the larger cultural sphere of the galaxy what we do is evil. However, the terms are only reflection of current social mores. A dog is good when it guards you, evil when it bites you, and missed when it is dead.'"

"Yes, that does sound like something I would say."
"But something else is troubling you, Master."
"I am getting the feeling that we may have miscalculated, Simplicio."

The brigands tensed. They could make out the sound of engines not far in the distance.

"But, Master, we have been successful so far."
"Indeed, we may have been too successful. Our little jaunts may have brought us more attention than will be comfortable. I think our enemy has decided to end this little vexation once and for all."
"How do you know, Master?"
"I have heard it in the wind, and read it in the moonlight. This time our prey is not as defenseless as it seems."
"Shall we retreat?"
"No. This could not have continued indefinitely anyway. Let us see what they have in store for us. When I give the signal to disengage, I want you to go to the spot we chose. Wait for me there. If I do not arrive by morning… continue on."
Simplicio looked closely at the tired face of his master and nodded. On the road, search lights heralded the arrival of the convoy.

"You will fight well, Simplicio. I have seen it."
"I will trust in the Force, Master."
Simplicio stood and removed his cloak.
The Sith laid a hand on his apprentice's arm.
"Trust in yourself, my friend."

The Sith sent up the first flare and the brigands' mortar transformed the lead transport truck into a fireball. Screams went up from the men inside as they crawled, burning, from the wreckage. The remaining trucks came to a screeching halt. Some tried to reverse but they quickly found themselves under fire from the rear.
Simplicio led his men down into the fighting.

Igniting his lightsaber at the last second, The Sith cut a transport guard in two. He paused as three figures scattered throughout the defenders drew their own weapons -- lightsabers. Green. Yellow. Blue.
Simplicio saw them and slowed. His master's words had convinced him that there would be a Jedi somewhere amongst the enemy tonight. Three seemed a little excessive.

The transport guards dropped into firing positions. A brigand beside Simplicio fell, clutching his face, as a bolt of plasma tore away half his skull. The green and yellow lightsabers moved towards the Sith's lone red blade. Blue lightsaber stayed with the bulk of the defense, batting away blaster bolts as if they were flies. Simplico drew the Force around him like a cloak, and, without activating his own weapon, moved forward.

Simplicio watched as the green and yellow blades met the red, and then he focused on his own task.

Blue only noticed something seemed wrong with the brigand when it was too late. The Jedi stepped back as the crimson lightsaber burned through the air before him. The two blades met and Blue smiled. It was only a boy.

Simplicio grew concerned. Blue did not wear a Padawan's braid as he had hoped. This was a Knight.
His enemy's lightsaber tore through his own defenses and quickly sent him stumbling backwards. Simplicio felt a wave of emotions wash over him: Fear, Anger, Regret, but he could not hold onto any of them. His mind struggled to keep up with the flurry of attacks. He knew that if he could not control himself, if he could not move beyond conscious thought, he would be doomed… But the Dark Side would not come to him.
Simplicio leapt back, putting some space between himself and the Jedi.
To his left he saw one of his own men raising his blaster carbine to finish off a prone guardsman. The Jedi saw it too.

The Jedi raised his hand and a blast of the Force sent Simplicio tumbling to the ground, then, Blue threw his lightsaber spiraling through the air at the brigand, slicing his blaster in two.

And Simplicio understood what had happened and what had to be done.

The Jedi had made a grave error. He had been faced with a choice between preserving his own life or the life of the guardsman. He had decided he would save both and he had overreached himself.

The Force had seemed just out of reach to Simplicio during the fight but now, like a man plunging his hand into a pit of vipers, he reached out with an act of pure willpower and seized it. With a terrible roar, Simplicio launched his own weapon into the Jedi's chest.

Blue felt his own lightsaber return to his hand, and then a horrible pain exploded in his body as Simplcio's blade impaled him. The Jedi dropped to his knees and Simplicio withdrew the blade from his enemy's body, sending it to the ground.

Simplicio was ecstatic. He had triumphed over a full Jedi Knight. Who was the student now?! He felt the Dark Side ripple out around him like the blooming tendrils of some tropical flower.
He gazed down upon the Jedi. Blue's eyes were open. His mouth opened and closed as his lungs struggled for air.
Simplicio knelt and smiled. He grabbed Blue's hair and pulled his face up so that he could better see his vanquisher. He wanted the Jedi to understand how he had failed. To feel the fear of impending death. To know that Simplicio had been the one to send him back to the Force.

Suddenly, Simplicio felt pain in his arm as the guardsman's vibroblade slid into his flesh just below the shoulder. In one fluid move the boy's ligthsaber decapitated Blue and then split the armor of the guardsman, disemboweling him at the same time.

Staggering back, Simplicio pulled the knife from his arm and tossed it to the ground. He had lost himself in his victory and had almost paid the ultimate price because of it. He was ashamed and wondered if his master had seen.

Looking across the smoldering battlefield, Simplicio could make out the three lightsabers. Yellow seemed to have stopped moving, and Green and the Sith had moved away. Suddenly the second signal flare shot up high into the sky. The remaining brigands turned to run, laying down some cover fire as they disappeared into the woods.

Simplicio extinguished his own lightsaber but stood torn for a moment as he watched his master fight in the distance.

Rain began to fall.

After a second's hesitation, the boy turned and fled into the darkness.

* * *

It rained all night. Simplicio waited at the rendezvous spot, cloaked by the Dark Side, but his master never came.
At dawn, he stretched and walked away.

nicehunter's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 03:13 PM | #12
I have really enjoyed this story. I am wondering what was the purpose of attacking the convoy? Personally I cannot see why The Master did that.

The Master is a very interesting character and if possible can we see him return?

Darth_Slaine's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 05:01 PM | #13
Quote: Originally Posted by nicehunter View Post
I have really enjoyed this story. I am wondering what was the purpose of attacking the convoy? Personally I cannot see why The Master did that.

The Master is a very interesting character and if possible can we see him return?
I'm glad you are enjoying the story so far. I suspect the attack on the convoy was part of a larger sequence of operations on the part of Simplicio's master. It looks as if he was engaged in a loose sort of guerilla campaign against Jedi-aided forces on that planet. It is impossible to tell what the overall goal was -- it is just a snapshot of one of many missions they happened to be on.

The Sith may well return some day. Only time will tell.

Wynternight's Avatar

01.17.2012 , 09:58 PM | #14
I certainly hope you intend on continuing this excellent story.
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Darth_Slaine's Avatar

01.24.2012 , 10:54 PM | #15

Chapter VI:
The Last Word

The Commander walked down the corridor at an even pace, a Jedi by his side.

"I hope this isn't too inconvenient for you," said the Jedi.
"Not at all, but I won't be able to spend much time. I have a briefing with the intelligence committee this morning."
"Oh, we will try to wrap it up quickly. We've been using all our interrogation methods for days and he said nothing -- I mean absolutely nothing. And then today, he asks to speak to 'someone in charge' and he wanted breakfast!" The Jedi shrugged at the madness of the world.

They stopped at the door of Interrogation Room-5 and returned the salutes of the guards.
"One last thing, it's in the report, but we think he may be going blind. The Medi-Droid says there is quite a bit of degeneration in the eyes."
The Commander nodded and signaled for the door to be opened.

Inside the room, the Sith sat in a restraining chair.
"Are you in charge here?" he asked.
"As much as anyone," answered the Commander.
The Sith nodded.
"Worked your way up the ladder?"
"I suppose. I've always thought that after a few years they just get accustomed to you and start promoting you."

The Jedi grimaced, but as the Commander had not seemed to take offense at the Sith's questions, he said nothing.
The Commander began to lower himself into his seat behind the desk. As he did so, his medals collided with a faint tink.
The Sith smiled. "Do you actually have medals?" The red-rimmed eyes struggled to get a better look at the Commander.
"Yes. The first," he pointed to his medal for Bravery Under Fire, "was for Stupidity. The second," he touched the Medal for Leadership and Sacrifice, "was for Bureacracy."
"And the third?"
The Commander looked at the medal he had received for rescuing two wounded Jedi Knights.
"That one? Well, you wouldn't believe me if I told you."

Both men laughed. The Jedi fidgeted.

The Sith sighed. "Ask your questions."

The Jedi took up his datapad. "What is your name?"
"A name is an illusion."
"Not 'what is a name'. What is your name?"
"I suppose it would be my illusion. Many religions and magical systems believe that to know a thing's name is to have power over it. We are looking at two different understandings of name. In common usage, name is an arbitrary classification applied to something by an observer to facilitate discussion of a thing. The bith-hound hurt his paw. Which bith-hound? Rex."

The Jedi cleared his throat and was about to interrupt but the Commander gestured with his hand for silence.
"What is the other meaning of 'name'?" asked the Commander.
"It is what is sometimes referred to as a 'true name'. It is not a name thought up by an external observer, but rather is the name that is the equivalent of the essence of the thing. A true name captures the nature of a thing. For instance, I am bound to a chair. We call it chair because it has certain qualities we associate with our concept of chairy-ness. That is the first type of name. The true name of the chair would simultaneously tell us what about the chair made it a chair, and also how it was unique amongst chairs."

The Jedi could no longer restrain himself.
"What then, is your 'true name'?"
"I am a Sith. What else do you need to know?"

The Commander pointed to his wrist-chronometer. Getting the hint, the Jedi moved along.
"Are you the Sith who five years ago slew Masters Tulon and Plough, and Master Plough's Padawan, in an ambush on the ridge road?"
"Five years? Has it been that long?"
"Yes. It was you then, I take it?"
The Sith nodded. "I killed them… with assistance."
"The survivors reported a second Sith with you. Who was he and do you have any idea of his present location?"
"He was my apprentice. He died not long after that from a wound he suffered during the battle. It became infected."
The Jedi added the information to the data pad.

"Five years? Really?"
The Commander nodded.
"It has been a long war."
"All my adult life and more, I have fought the Jedi. As a Sith, my goal is to the walk the path to self-empowerment. I wish to perfect my understanding of the Force, but I cannot be free while the Jedi still live. I am in opposition to them -- through no conscious choice. Perhaps that is a part of my nature too."
"Wouldn't it be easier to avoid them?"
"Yes, but it is impossible. I do not believe in Destiny per se, but it seems to me that the Universe has certain paths which we are intended to walk. When you act outside your nature it is like swimming upstream in a powerful river. The Jedi killed my own master, you know."
"I did not."
"Yes. I was still an apprentice. He was doing something foolish. I can't even remember what now. Probably stealing candy from a baby -- something truly sinister. Then, out walk two Jedi and before you can say, 'There is no peace' his head was off."
"But you escaped."
"Yes. I escaped. I considered trying to find my way back to a temple… but I was already a loner. I continued my education on my own. I grew greater in power than my teacher ever was, but that is the way it should be. It was difficult not having the defining moment of killing my master myself, though. For me, apprenticeship just flowed into a new kind of apprenticeship. There was never a clear moment when I could say, I am no longer a student. I suppose that is why I have approached my journeys as a student, even when I was a master."
"Would you have killed him?"
"Oh, yes. I think it is a good 'coming of age' moment. I'm a bit of a traditionalist in that respect. I would want my own student to kill me."

The Jedi grew more and more agitated as the Sith and the Commander strayed farther from his question list. He coughed to get their attention.
The Commander ignored him.

"Why were you captured?"
"It was time."
"Time?!" scoffed the Jedi. "Your luck ran out! You aren't quite as clever nor half as powerful as you think, my friend!"
"If you say so," said the Sith with a smile.
The Jedi gritted his teeth.

"What do you mean by 'time'?" asked the Commander.
"Given half the chance I would launch into a discourse on the meaning of 'time' that would have your tame Jedi pulling out his hair. However, as I am sure you are a busy man, I will get to the point -- I am dying."

The Commander thought about this for a second and then said, "Please, go on."
"My body is failing me. I have put too great a strain on it through my studies. It can no longer keep up. I am preparing to move into the incorporeal stage of the quest for enlightenment. But before I do that I wanted to give you a message."
"What message, Sith?" growled the Jedi.

"I wanted you to know that I have been watching you. I have observed you from a distance though you have not known it. Even in the darkness when you thought you were alone, I was there."
"Is that supposed to intimidate us?!"
"My legacy is assured. I have seen it in the Force. What I have set into motion will continue and it cannot be stopped. Though I will be dead when it happens, I am proud to know that I had a hand in the destruction of these Jedi. I am pleased."

The Jedi's datapad clattered on the table. Suddenly a blue lightsaber snapped into life by his side. The room seemed very small now.
"You are at my mercy, Sith. Do not presume to threaten me with your fantastic tales of destruction!"
The Sith laughed and the Jedi struck him across the face.

The Commander stood.
"Jedi." His voice was cool and low. "Remember yourself. He is using the Dark Side to fill you with hate."
The Jedi stared at the Commander for a moment, and then his face lost its anger and shame replaced it.
"What have I done?"
"You have been tricked. It is not your fault. It has shown us the true threat of this Sith. He is too dangerous to be allowed to live."
"But, Sir, he… we haven't learned anything from him."
"Oh, my friend, I have learned a great deal. I have seen enough. He cannot be allowed to use his powers on another -- perhaps one not as strong as yourself. He must die. I take full responsibility for this."

The Commander slid his blaster pistol from his holster and walked toward the bound prisoner.
The Sith's head hung limply, still weak from the force of the Jedi's blow.
"You will help me answer something I have always wondered about." Blood dripped from the Sith's lip onto the floor as he spoke.
"What is that?" asked the Commander as he stepped behind the restraining chair.
"I have always wondered if the Force is the true dreamer…"
The Commander raised the barrel of his pistol to the base of the Sith's skull.
"And we are merely… the dream."

The Commander pulled the trigger and the Sith's body jolted in the chair and then sagged lifelessly into itself. The Jedi turned away.

A few minutes later, the Commander stood waiting in the hall for a turbolift. The Jedi ran to catch up with him.
"Commander, I… I am sorry."
The Commander looked the Jedi in the eyes.
"There is nothing to be sorry for. It had to be done. I'm just glad I was the one to do it."
The turbolift arrived and the Commander stepped in.
"I will go and meditate on this. I feel so much conflict in myself."
"Conflict is our nature, my friend. I must go. Contact me if you have anything you wish to talk about."
The Jedi nodded.
"May the Force be with you, Commander Simplicio."

"May it be with us both," said the Sith.

The End.

Karakkan's Avatar

01.25.2012 , 08:43 AM | #16
That ending still gives me goosebumps every time I read it.
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MarcKlein's Avatar

01.25.2012 , 02:56 PM | #17
You should turn this into an E Book

Darth_Slaine's Avatar

01.27.2012 , 01:29 AM | #18
I wanted to thank everyone who just read this story for the first time and to apologize to anyone who read it more than once. Since I posted it the first time there has been talk of a sequel or prequel but right now I don't think it would add anything new to the story.

I hope you liked it and I am very grateful for all the support and positive response from the community and Bioware too!

Quote: Originally Posted by Karakkan View Post
That ending still gives me goosebumps every time I read it.
I read it again as I was reposting these. I'm still happy with it for now. Maybe one day I will go all GL and edit some Gungans into it.

Simplicio shot first.

Quote: Originally Posted by MarcKlein View Post
You should turn this into an E Book
That is very kind of you but I'd rather just leave it up here for bored TOR players to read between patches. I will leave the E-books to Gestahlt.

MarcKlein's Avatar

01.30.2012 , 09:26 AM | #19
Quote: Originally Posted by Darth_Slaine View Post
I wanted to thank everyone who just read this story for the first time and to apologize to anyone who read it more than once. Since I posted it the first time there has been talk of a sequel or prequel but right now I don't think it would add anything new to the story.

I hope you liked it and I am very grateful for all the support and positive response from the community and Bioware too!

I read it again as I was reposting these. I'm still happy with it for now. Maybe one day I will go all GL and edit some Gungans into it.

Simplicio shot first.

That is very kind of you but I'd rather just leave it up here for bored TOR players to read between patches. I will leave the E-books to Gestahlt.
Who or what is Gestahlt?

Kharnis's Avatar

01.30.2012 , 01:10 PM | #20
Quote: Originally Posted by MarcKlein View Post
Who or what is Gestahlt?
I believe you've just poked the bear. And I don't mean the sexy poke, either.
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