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(L,F&E 31) Sharlina's Story

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06.21.2012 , 03:45 AM | #1
((This is the backstory of one of my favorite characters It will explain some of what she is and why. And before anyone says she is godmode, YOU spend twenty years training to be a weapon and THEN almost twenty years fighting all kinds of people and see how many people can stand against you in hand combat. Inigo Montoya has NOTHING on a Masterblade of the Bladeborn.))

<Korriban, the past>

“But, Master, please…” The red headed woman, she might have been 20 standard years old, was on the verge of tears, but the small brown skinned alien standing in front of her kneeling form was unmoved. On the outside anyway.

“No buts, Sharlina, your path and ours diverge here. I am sorry child, but from here you have to go your own way.” Sharlina stared at the being she loved. She knew that love was abhorrent for Sith, and she had heard that love was also frowned on for Jedi, but…

This was her life he was talking about. She forced her shoulders back by sheer force of will and stared the being she respected more than any other in the eyes. With her on her knees in a formal pose and him standing their eyes were at the same level. She cocked her head.

“May… May I ask a question?” Master Trugoy snorted and just for a moment she smiled. The barest hint. “Another…”

“Yes you may.” His voice was quiet, calm and serene. She tried to emulate him.

“I fell, but I got better, you all helped me to get better. Did I fail in something? How did I fail? I know I failed somehow, but how…? The mission was a success…” It had been a hard mission. A Dark Jedi seeking to ally with ancient Dark Side Force spirits. It had taken three of the Order and two of them were still hospitalized from the injuries they had received. Her master sighed and sat in front of her.

“You didn’t fail. But that is just it girl. You have never failed anyone except yourself.” She stared at him. He shook his head. “We have taught you all we can. You have soaked up our teachings like a sponge creature from Manaan. You fight better than anyone here except myself, but…” He raised a hand at her automatic denial. She always doubted her own abilities. “Sharlina, you have to learn more. We can’t teach you what you need to learn; only life can.” She shook her head, not understanding. Master Trugoy sighed. “We cannot help you, Sharlina. We tried, but we cannot. You know you are a danger to us, despite the Code. What happened with Idjit was just a symptom, not the cause." Sharlina winced, she had nearly killed her lover when he had released her while she had been raging.

"I..." Sharlina hugged herself tight. Even now the pain of losing a tiny life that had sprouted within her unbeknownst to her hurt worse than any cut. "I don't want to self destruct Master... I don't... But I also don't want to hurt those i love. I... I will obey..."

"I know. I should should have sent you out long ago. I couldn’t let you go, that is my fault.” Sharlina shook her head, but Trugoy wasn’t done.

“From this day forth, you must walk your own path. We may encounter one another again, we may not. Know that you will always have a place in my heart, Sharlina of the Bladeborn.” His words trailed off and when she looked up, he was gone. She looked around, but there was no sign of him. She gathered up her meager possessions, her lightsabers and her knife mainly, and started off towards the closest settlement.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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06.21.2012 , 03:47 AM | #2
<Onderon, 7 years later>

Sharlina blinked and tried to figure out what was wrong with this situation. Her mind wasn’t working quite right. She thought back. She had been posted to this invasion, and it had turned out to be a lot more than the Sith had bargained for. Onderon was not a heavily populated world, but its cities were fortified and its inhabitants hardy, tough folk. It had been a good fight, she remembered landing, facing a team of Onderon soldiers who while good, really hadn’t had much chance against her. She had taken a few nicks, but… She shook her head, wondering at the wooden feeling in it. A voice came to her and she looked up into the cold eyes of a Sith medic.

“Bladeborn Sharlina. Your injuries have been treated, you will be happy to note that the explosion that caught you did no permanent damage…” Sharlina thought back, she had been advancing under cover and… yes, they had heard artillery and taken cover. Then she had woken up here. The Sith generally didn’t care to treat injuries. Either a soldier lived or they died. The strong survived and took from the weak. She nodded to the medic and sank back into the bunk. It must have been a captured one, because Sith bunks were almost always far less comfortable as a rule. She must have slept because when she opened her eyes, the light from out side had vanished and her body ached. She tried to move and she couldn’t. She saw an IV hanging and surmised that the painkillers were beginning to wear off. She touched the bandages on her abdomen and leg. Pain erupted, but she sternly forced it back down. But when she raised her head to look around she became dizzy. A bad sign. Concussion at the very least. She wondered where the medic had gone, then froze as a shadow moved through the doorway. A shadow wearing Republic Special Forces combat armor. She couldn’t do anything except watch as the shadow raised its blaster. She braced herself for death, but then, an odd thing happened. It spoke.

“Unlike you Sith, I don’t kill the helpless.” She bristled at the insult, but…She blinked. He was gone. She shook her head. That made no sense. None. For a Republic soldier to spare her? She hated the Republic, but as an abstract. Until she had landed here, she had never encountered any Republic Forces. As a loyal servant of the Sith Empire, she wanted vengeance on the Republic that had cast her ancestors out so many centuries before, and then driven them back again in the Great Hyperspace War. And again in the Mandalorian Wars. She snorted softly. The Sith Empire and the Republic seemed destined to be locked in bitter struggle throughout eternity. As she mused that, she fell asleep. At the edge of her consciousness she was sure she heard something, but whatever it was it vanished as slumber claimed her.

When she woke again, the officer she reported to -she refused to call him her superior- was waiting for her. He inclined his head; he didn’t like her any more than she liked him.

“Bladeborn Sharlina, you are lucky to be alive, there was a commando raid here last night.” She looked at him and made a gesture for him to continue.

“Two ammo dumps and a motor pool were destroyed, and then the commando apparently came here. Several of the staff were killed before he was driven off.” Sharlina raised an eyebrow but didn’t comment. The figure she had seen exuded confidence and formidable skill. If he had left, it was because he wanted to, not because he had to. What she had seen of the rear area guards had not impressed her, the lieutenant snorted and Sharlina looked at him.

“I agree. He did what he set out to do. He made a lot of noise and while we were redeploying, several Republic troop transports escaped the system. He was buying time for them to get away.” She looked at him, did he sound admiring? He snorted again.

“I don’t like you Bladeborn, but… You shielded most of the team from that blast. Most Sith wouldn’t have bothered. We are there to soak up casualties, nothing more” She shook her head, she didn’t remember. The LT nodded.

“That’s normal. Close range blast trauma can mess with memory.” He sighed. “We got off to a bad start. I thought you were here to kill me and take over.” She goggled at him.

“I’m not…” Her voice was soft. He nodded. But then she spoke again. “I may be out of line, but… do you admire the man who attacked this place?” The LT looked at her, when he spoke it was quiet.

“What I am about to tell you is not… put forward… by high command. Yes I admire him, and yes I am scared to death of him. If it were a choice to face you or face him, I would probably choose him, it would hurt less…” Sharlina actually laughed at the Lt’s dry tone and he laughed a bit as well. “He is a sniper and a scout. No one I know of has ever counted how many confirmed kills he has. We do know that men of my rank are his preferred targets. His name is Will Kalenath, and he is a member of the Republic Special Forces…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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06.21.2012 , 03:51 AM | #3
<Coruscant, during the Sacking>

Sharlina walked. It had been more than a decade since her first exposure to true war on Onderon and she had seen a lot. Too much. She was sickened by this. It was just… She didn’t mind the fighting, the screaming, the utter carnage… but… Something about this just was not her. When the Sith High Command had declared Coruscant the next target, she had rejoiced. Finally a chance to attack; to hurt the Republic. But… She had landed in the third wave of troops and had immediately been drawn into fights. The residents of the planet’s overwhelming cities fought hard, and in some cases well, but… They were overwhelmed. The few organized troops that were stationed on the planet put up a heck of a fight, but she was nowhere near any of those. And now, she could hear the screaming, the laughter, the… She shook her head. The conscripts had taken the sector, now they were…indulging themselves. This was no place for her.

Her musing cut off as a loud roar came and her eyes brightened as a huge furred form burst out of the shadows of an alley. She let the Wookiee come. The warblade swished down and she was… gone. Dancing to the side she drew one of her sabers and cut, but her strike was blocked and she was on the defensive.

Now this is more like it!

Back and forth they fought, first Sharlina had the advantage, and then the Wookiee did. But… after a few passes, the Wookiee missed a block, and her blade scored deep into his hide. His blade fell from nerveless fingers and he slumped to ground. Sharlina looked at him, and then froze as an odd sound came from the shadows. Another Wookiee? She drew her second blade, but… this one was unarmed and… She was carrying…!

She stared at the female Wookiee holding the two cubs and slumped. She deactivated her sabers and turned back towards the wounded one. She bowed formally to the stricken Wookiee, then turned and quickly walked away. A faint sound came to her, she didn’t understand much Shirwook, but she understood the question. She turned back.

“I am Bladeborn. I may be Sith, but I do not kill the those who cannot fight back, there is no honor in it. Hide, and flee if you can.” Then she turned and left, leaving the Wookiee and his mate standing, staring after her struck speechless. She walked away quickly, hoping that the troopers who were flooding into the area would miss that small family. She shook her head… Why had she done that? If he survived, that Wookiee could just as easily come after her for hurting him, but… somehow deep down she didn’t think so. He had a family to protect. Family… For just a moment, she was sure she heard a song, a soft voice calling, but… She shook her head, nothing. She sighed as she walked aimlessly. Then she stopped.

Something was out of place. She was in a dark alley, deep beneath surface of Coruscant. No danger, no life of any kind anywhere close, so what…? She examined the walls of the alley, then her eyes narrowed as she saw the glint of metal under a large piece of platiglass that was leaning against the wall. She reached up and with the force, threw the barrier aside and lo and behold there was a brand spanking new military blast door.

Now who puts a blast door in a place like this? She ignited her sabers and cut into the door. Then she stared bemused as her sabers short circuited. Cortosis lined doors… She nodded to herself and applied the sabers to the wall where the mechanism would likely be. It was rare that anyone thought to armor those with cortosis. In moments the door fell open. She stepped past it and was immediately assailed by noise as alarms started sounding. She saw the unmistakable forms of assault droids appear in the corridor in front of her and she felt the Force twitch. She dove aside as streams of fire from a pair of turrets that had popped out of the wall bisected the space she had just been in. She threw lightning at the turrets and was not surprised to see it had no effect.

“Fine…” She smiled and her eyes went reddish yellow. “I like the hard way…”

<An hour later>

Sharlina sighed as she deactivated her sabers. It had been fun. For almost half the way into the base, it had seemed that every corridor was trapped or had droids stationed in it, but now, she hadn’t found any for ten minutes. She looked around. It was a standard Republic military compound. She had been in her share, usually fighting, but once as an envoy. She accessed one of the terminals and was not surprised to see the computer come up with a blank page. Someone had wiped the system, probably when she had entered the base. She looked around, more from boredom than…She froze.

The little boy could not have been more than seven or eight. He was cowering in what was obviously a cell. She cut the door open and he flinched back as she approached. She stared at him and he stared at her. He had brown hair and green eyes. Something… She shook her head, and the boy recoiled, but… he fell and she knelt down beside him. His breathing was labored and she could tell he was dying. The strong took from the weak, that was the way of the Sith, but… His eyes caught hers and he croaked a sound that was unintelligible, but she touched his hand and spoke, quietly, gently.

“I won’t hurt you.”

He looked at her, and then sighed. He reached out and touched her jaw gently, and then slumped and she didn’t need the Force to tell her that he was dead. His sightless eyes stared at nothing. She gently closed them, and then stood. She shook herself. This was wrong. This boy, he may have been weak, he may not have been. He had been left behind as useless. This was wrong! She strode out of the cell, getting angrier and angrier as she stalked through the facility. She saw the surgical suites, the restraints on the tables, the marks on the floors and walls where blood and other fluids had spilled. She finally found something in a desk, obviously forgotten in the occupants haste to flee. A stack on unencrypted datapads. Journals. She sat and calmed slightly as she read them. Halfway through the second pad, she froze. A name jumped out at her. Kalenath.

It can’t be… She looked over the pad and screamed aloud as she read what it contained.

She shook herself, and then gathered up the datapads. She stood and started to make her way out of the base.

This is wrong, he is a foe, but an honorable one, for the Republic to do this to his family… I am a loyal subject of the Sith Empire, but there are limits, even to me…
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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06.21.2012 , 03:56 AM | #4
<Drumond Kaas>

Sharlina stood and waited. She was nervous. A casual onlooker could have been excused for not noticing, the only real sign of how she felt was the tap of her finger against her belt buckle. It was slow and unhurried, but… anyone who knew Sharlina would tell instantly that she was worried. Her hands, wrapped around the belt at the buckle, were not far at all from her swords. For all the good they would do her. A uniformed guard approached and nodded to her and she followed the soldier through darkened corridors. She could feel the palpable pull of the Dark Side here and part of her relished the feelings of power that washed over her. Her face showed none of it however. Now was not the time to lose herself in the feelings of power and ecstasy that came when she surrendered to the pull. Now she had to focus. The guard stopped at a door and waved her in, she nodded politely and entered. The door hissed closed behind her and she blinked in the sudden darkness. But she did not move. She knew, even without the Force, that any wrong move on her part here would mean a quick and agonizing or very slow death. A spot of white appeared on the floor ahead of her and she nodded and made her way to it. She knelt on the floor at that spot and bowed her head. A voice came.

“Sharlina of the Bladeborn.” Even with all of her years of training, all of her experience and all of her will, she still flinched a bit as the voice washed over her. She remained silent, protocol was the only thing keeping her alive at this moment. “You asked for an audience. You know how difficult it is to reach this level of communication. Yet you persisted.” The voice laughed. A cold, dark laugh. Then it continued.

“You carved your way here through fourteen layers of bureaucracy. Well done. You may very well be the most homicidal and bloodthirsty woman I have ever encountered. But bloodthirstiness cannot solve everything as you well know. Your loyalty is unquestioned. What is questioned is why you have done what you did. Speak young one.” Sharlina swallowed and spoke, carefully, aware that every word she spoke would be recorded and if she stepped out of line she was dead.

“My Emperor, I have shown the information. I wish to act on it.” She kept her voice even as she spoke to the ultimate power in the Sith Empire. Sharlina felt tendrils of alien thought, dark and cold, start insinuating themselves into her mind and through sheer force of will did not fight them. But when the voice spoke, it was thoughtful.

“This man is an enemy, Bladeborn. He has slain many, of many ranks. And you wish to aid him? Explain.” A hiss and a lightsaber ignited behind her. She felt the heat of the blade close to the back of her neck but she didn’t move. She didn’t even flinch. When she spoke it was calm, cool, and calculating.

“He is a soldier, My Emperor. He served the Republic until they betrayed him.” She managed to keep her outrage out of her voice but she was sure that it was felt. “He has fought us, yes, well and hard. But if we show him the truth, perhaps the Empire will lose an enemy. It is doubtful he could be persuaded to turn on the Republic, but if he stopped fighting the Empire…” She broke off as a hiss came from the unseen speaker.

“Yes… I see…Others wish to capture him, turn him.” The voice was very thoughtful now. “What do you believe Bladeborn? Can it be done?” She thought hard for a moment then shook her head, ignoring the heat right behind her neck. “Explain.”

Sharlina took a moment to think before she spoke.

“This man lives by his code. He has fought the Empire most of his life. All he has seen of us, is treachery, deceit and death. Is it possible to turn him? I don’t believe so. Killing him would be far easier. I do know his code is similar to the code I hold to. And every attempt to turn Bladeborn from the service of the Empire has failed.” The lightsaber behind her withdrew a bit.

“Indeed, Bladeborn. The loyalty of your Order in these… trying times is most… unusual. Some have said that it is merely a waiting game until they cam seize more power at once.” Sharlina did not react, although she had heard that rumor, and worse. The voice became sharper. “Leave us.”

Sharlina froze as she felt presences around her waver and vanish. She didn’t move, she barely breathed. Something brushed against the back of her head and she controlled a flinch.

“You believe you can do this?” The voice was softer now, gentler, but at the same time darker… She nodded, unable to speak. “Speak child, your life is in my hands. And you know it.” She felt something cold touch her on the head and she couldn’t move! She couldn’t hold back a small sound of fear. She gasped out.

“If my life or... death…will serve... the Empire…you have but…to command it. My Emperor.” The power, whatever it was, released her and she slumped, drained just from that brief contact. “I can find his family.” The presence that she barely felt withdrew a bit, taking the seeping cold with it.

“I feel your sincerity. But there is more… You feel for this being, this enemy. Bladeborn, so... unbending... You feel rage that an honorable foe has been treated so badly by his own people. And you feel you owe him…” For several long minutes silence reigned. Then the Emperor spoke again.

“If you can turn him from an enemy… That aids the Empire. Even if you cannot turn him to an ally, it would aid the Empire. I also believe as you do that this man would never betray his oaths. Even if they betray him.”

For just a moment, Sharlina thought she felt something, odd… Like… No, why would the Sith EMPEROR feel sympathy for an enemy? No, it wasn't his thought, they were distinct. It had come from somewhere else. But where? Before she could focus on it, the idea wafted out of her head. It had to have come from her somehow. “You have my leave to go where you must and do what you must. You will be granted a ship, an old ship. But a proven design. And you will bring back the information on how this was done so the Empire can be prepared to counter these weapons.” Sharlina bowed low, and then realized that she was the only being in the room. The lights came on and the door hissed open. She let out the first full breath she had taken since the audience had started and stood on shaky legs to do as commanded. To help an enemy.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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06.21.2012 , 03:58 AM | #5
<Telos, one year later>

Sharlina swam back to consciousness slowly. She shook her head. What had…She froze as a hand touched her arm. A voice came to her. Female, and… kind?

“Do not move. I hit you hard. And I apologize.” Sharlina looked up into the eyes of the Kel Dor she had been fighting. She shook her head and instantly regretted it. Her eyes widened as she saw the woman had HER lightsabers attached to her belt. She thought back, horrified now.

She had landed on this planet to search for a hidden base. The Republic scum she was hunting never did anything out in the open. And no wonder. What they did to their…subjects…was horrific enough to turn Sharlina’s stomach. A woman who had literally walked through a battlefield carving apart enemies like so many nerfs and had literally been knee deep in gore before that battle had been done. Even she lost her lunch on occasion on finding the remnants some of the bases. Some of the survivors were worse in their own way. They were broken. Hurting in ways the doctor she had hired couldn’t help. And… it hurt when they passed. They trusted her. Of all the people in the galaxy, the survivors of the Republic experiments trusted HER. It baffled her, but it didn’t feel wrong. Even if she had no idea how to respond sometimes. Empathy had never been part of her training.

She had struck the facility like a tornado. The inhabitants hadn’t had a chance. Some escaped, as always, by fleeing as the soldiers, droids and turrets delayed her. She hadn’t found any survivors in this facility, just the broken bodies of test subjects. But as she was leaving, dejected, a brown cloaked figure had accosted her…

<Earlier that day>

Sharlina studied the form in front of her. Female Kel Dor. The Bladeborn couldn’t have said how old, she wasn’t up on Kel Dor biology. The lightsaber in hand and the robes said Jedi. Sharlina had faced Jedi before and had not been impressed. Yes, some had been good with their sabers, but they died just like any other. But something about this Jedi was different. Sharlina put her hands on her saber hilts but did not draw them. The Kel Dor nodded.

“Good day to you.” Sharlina nodded. “May I ask your name? Mine is Jie.” Sharlina scoffed.

“Should I care?” The Jedi smiled, just a bit, and Sharlina realized she had allowed her enemy to set the pace. Enough of that. Sharlina ignited her sabers. They both glowed red in the setting sun. Almost as red as her eyes.

“Maybe.” The Jedi ignited her saber and it glowed a fierce green. Sharlina stared at that. Green was the color of consular Jedi. Jedi who fought more with the Force than with sabers. She sniffed loudly. This wouldn’t be much of a fight. She charged and the Jedi danced back, assuming a Soresu stance. Sharlina, realizing she couldn’t just pound through the ultra defensive style, changed tactics. Something… She shook her head, and then focused on what she knew.

The Jedi was skilled, no question. Every attack Sharlina made with either saber was blocked. Her Niman form wasn’t working so she switched to Ataru. The Jedi jumped, landing on a slight rise and still managed to deflect all of Sharlina’s attacks. This was getting tiresome. Sharlina tried several other forms but the Jedi’s mastery of Soresu was impressive. Finally the Jedi slipped and Sharlina pounced. Then she woke with the Jedi peering down at her.

<The present>

Sharlina just lay there, trying to figure out what had happened. She had been attacking almost nonstop, but something had hit her. It hadn’t been a push, it hadn’t been physical. She looked up into the goggles of the Kel Dor and snarled.

“What are you waiting for? Oh yeah, right, Jedi don’t kill.” The scorn in Sharlina’s words could have cut steel, but if the Jedi felt anything it was unapparent. The woman stared at her then shook her head.

“I received a panicked call that a facility was under attack by Sith. I didn’t know.” Sharlina stared at the woman then blinked as the Jedi dropped her lightsabers on the ground near Sharlina. “I am sorry I delayed you Bladeborn Sharlina. When you find them make it hurt. I was too late at another facility on Nal Hutta. And I have been ordered to stop my own hunt. I will have to account for my actions. Here.” The Jedi dropped a datapad near the lightsabers. Then she was gone. Sharlina stared at the spot she had been in, then around. But there was no sign, no nothing.

Sharlina winced as she rose. Her head felt like two Barabels had used it for punching practice. But the Force answered her and her sabers flew to her hands. Then she summoned the datapad to her hand and looked at it as she walked towards the small village where her shuttle waited. She shook her head. Helpful Jedi… Now that she hadn’t expected.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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06.21.2012 , 04:02 AM | #6
<Imperial Starship Rancor's Bite, flag cabin>

Sharlina sat at her desk and tried not to curse. Of all the things she had expected o taking command of the Imperial Starship Rancor’s Bite, this was not one of them. Not that she WAS truly in command. The human who ran the ship while she ran everything else was… well, he was competent. But that was all. She was absolutely sure that he was there simply to keep an eye on her. The listening devices she kept finding in her quarters attested to at least three different spies aboard the ship. Even the Jedi had known who she was. No wonder the scum she was hunting kept giving her the slip. Her door chimed and she spoke.

“Enter.” She stiffened as a new figure appeared in the door. He wasn’t a member of her crew and she sternly controlled herself as she recognized him.

“Bladeborn Sharlina, I am glad to finally make your acquaintance.” Sharlina didn’t rise from her chair. She didn’t acknowledge the man who stood before her for a long minute. Then she stood, but didn’t move from her spot.

“Admiral Horn.” Her voice was neutral. It took all of her control not to charge across her cabin and tear the man into very small pieces. When the Sith invaded then-Captain Horn had been in command of a Republic cruiser. Which he had surrendered without a fight. He had switched sides as quickly as he could. Which in and of itself would have infuriated her. The fact that he seemed to enjoy serving the Sith, simply for the feelings of power he got over others, just added to the insults. And to have him come onto her ship, without so much as a by your leave… He had allies. He had the ears of several close acquaintances of the Emperor, although having met the Emperor –in a way anyway- Sharlina couldn’t imagine that this spineless toad would have done anything in an audience except wet himself. The admiral smiled at her. She could feel the sneer he hid.

“I understand you have prisoners. You ship lacks facilities to handle them. I will take them off your hands.” Sharlina didn’t move, but her eyes narrowed and two guards filled the door. Their weapons pointed at her and she smiled slightly. That seemed to unnerve them. She crossed her arms and sat back down.

“No.” She said simply. The admiral looked at her, puzzled. When he spoke there seemed to be honest confusion in his words.

“I do not believe you understand. This ship does not have the facilities to hold prisoners.” Her eyes went cold as he stated something that only she was supposed to know. But nothing showed in her voice.

“Your spies are misinformed. If they had simply asked, I would have explained and saved you the effort of finding, catching and boarding this ship.” Her calm acknowledgement that he had informers on the ship didn’t seem to faze him in the slightest. Of course he had informers aboard. The Captain reported to him… Sharlina froze. Then she stood. The admiral flinched back, but she just brushed past him as if he and his guards didn’t exist. She ignored his half formed protest as she started off.

<Medical bay on the Rancor’s Bite>

No! You are not the Mistress! I won’t go with you!” The little boy who cried out darted from the grasp of the troopers trying to hold him and found sanctuary momentarily in a space between two large pieces of equipment. The Captain cursed as the other patients were being manacled.

“Stun the brat and get him out of here so we…” He broke off and jumped. Having a lightsaber ignited right behind you will do that to you. She turned, slowly. Then he blanched on seeing Sharlina standing there with her sabers in hand. “Bladeborn…I…”

Sharlina didn’t speak. She just thrust out with both blades. He was dead before he hit the ground. The troopers, some of hers, some Horn’s, froze on seeing her expression. Er… her non-expression. When she spoke it was cold and precise and utterly devoid of emotion.

“If you value your lives you will release the patients of this medical bay now.” No scream could have been more final that her cold words. All of her troopers froze whatever they were doing. Some, it seemed had been trying to delay the captain and the others. She didn’t acknowledge them in any way. Her focus was on the strange ones. Horn’s voice came.

“Bladeborn, I protest…” He broke off as he entered the room after her, and then spoke loudly. “What have you done?

She turned her gaze to him and part of her rejoiced on seeing a stain appear on the leg of his tailored pants. Her voice was still cold.

“Your informant…” She kicked the almost bisected corpse at her feet. “…was mistaken on several counts. First and foremost, these are not prisoners. These are my guests. And they are under my protection.” Horn blanched at that. The Bladeborn might be strange, but everyone in the Empire knew what happened when anyone threatened people under their protection. She continued in that same dead voice.

“Second, you have are under a misapprehension. This ship is not under your command. I am not under your command. I operate on the orders of the Emperor himself. I do not answer to you.” The admiral actually gibbered a bit, and Sharlina relaxed, just a bit.

“Now, if you have a problem with my actions, my choices or my objectives, feel free to complain to the Emperor. Please do, I want to watch.” Horn stared at her and she sighed, dramatically. “If you do not have the courage to do that, then please stop wasting my time. I have a great deal of space to cover today.” The admiral glared at her but nodded. He waved to his troopers and they all filed out.

“This isn’t over Bladeborn.” Sharlina didn’t respond, just followed him silently until he had boarded his shuttle and left the ship. The ship’s XO, who had warned her via an earbug when the troopers had tried to cart off her ‘guests’ stood beside her.

“That human is dangerous Bladeborn.” Sharlina nodded to the Rodain, and then spoke quietly.

“How would you suggest we handle this, Captain G’nack?” The Rodian froze.

“Bladeborn…I… The Emperor must make me a captain, I thank you, but…” Sharlina smiled slightly and pulled something out of a pocket. It turned out to be a datapad. G’nack looked at it and froze. It was a commission for her for captain and it was dated a week previous. “What…? How…? I…” Sharlina grinned and relaxed fully.

“I knew the captain was reporting to someone else, I just didn’t know who. I reported him to my overseer and that came back. I did not suggest it. I know nothing of naval operations or protocol. I will rely on you to steer me away from trouble in that regard, so I ask again. How do you suggest we handle this, Captain?” Captain G’nack stared at her, and then nodded.

“This never happened.” The Rodian replied evenly. Sharlina nodded and they both started back for the bridge.

“I believe this is the start of a beautiful friendship…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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06.21.2012 , 04:04 AM | #7
<Three years later>

Sharlina was crying. All this time, so many deaths and for what? She had failed. She held the broken body of Samuel, Will Kalenath's father. in her arms and screamed her frustration, rage and pain for the universe to hear. Of course the universe didn’t care. But…

“Hiya Shar.” Sharlina was on her feet with her lightsabers in hand and ignited before the words had finished coming. But the figure that stood a good distance away didn’t move. For just a moment, she stood in incredulous shock. Then her lightsabers were at her belt and she was hugging her friend. Strange for Sith to have friends. But the Bladeborn were not really Sith. Not totally. And the man who returned her fierce hug was not normal even for the Bladeborn. But he had a role to play so he winced theatrically. “Oof. Shar watch the ribs…”

Sharlina let him go and then took three steps back. She loved this man, yes. But she couldn’t forget. She had forgiven, but… The newcomer bowed his head and spoke quietly. She stared at him, wishing he had eyes to gauge his mood by. He was very hard to see in the Force, all flowing shades of dark and grey. But then, Idjit had never done anything easy, none of her kin had. When he spoke his voice, while detached, still held the taste of affection.

“I am here on official business, Sharlina. You have been out in the cold a long time. Who…” He froze as he sensed the surrounding area clearly through the Force. He slumped. He shook his head and spoke quietly. “Samuel?”

When Sharlina spoke it was cold, precise and full of anger. At herself for being slow and at the Republic scum who had killed the father of her ultimate target.

“Yes. I was too late, again…” She shook her head. She had been catching up to the scum. Ever since she had dropped off the radar so to speak, maintaining com silence, only briefly appearing to report to her overseer her progress, or lack of it. She had wondered at times if her kin would send someone to check up on her, but she had never expected Idjit to come. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that. The childish infatuation both had felt for each other at first was gone. But in its place was a deeper, stronger, hotter thing. It had vanished when she had been forced by her master to leave the comfortable life she had known. And now after years of separation, Sharlina felt something kindle to life again. But she ignored it. She had her duty. Idjit turned his head, seeing much through the Force.

“You could not have missed them by much here. The power supplies are still have charge even when unhooked.” Sharlina nodded, knowing that his Force sense would tell him that she had, even without eyes.

“Maybe eight hours. Probably less. I have a full report ready to go on the ship. But I am not going to just leave him here…” She broke off as Idjit nodded.

“No, you couldn’t.” His voice took on a slightly teasing note. “Not that you haven’t wrecked this area thoroughly… And here I thought you never used the Force, just your blades…”

Sharlina glanced around at the devastation around her and shook her head. She hadn’t been aware of the dark side energy pouring off of her. And it… well… it was impressive. All around the cell she had been crouching in a circle of melted walls and burned and blasted equipment stood testament to her rage. When she spoke, her voice was tired and sad.

“Help me build a pyre?” He nodded and they started out of the hellish facility. She carried the body of the man she had hoped to rescue in her arms. It didn’t take long for the two of them to build a good sized bonfire from the few Telosian trees that were scattered around the area. Lightsabers made cutting wood simplicity in itself. Yes, Bladeborn generally carried steel or vibro swords, but lightsabers were just too useful to be ignored. Finally the pyre was set and Sharlina laid the still body on it. She shook her head.

“I… I don’t know what to say.” Sharlina admitted sadly. Idjit nodded.

“Then don’t say anything. Let your heart and soul speak for you, sister.” Sharlina looked at her brother, and then bowed her head. When she raised it an eerie cry came from her lips. It was unlike any noise that had graced the Telos countryside. It combined rage, pain, horror, loss as well as hope, fear and love. Without a word she lit a torch and applied it to the pyre. In moments it was blazing merrily. Sharlina started as a warm arm encircled her shoulder and just for a moment, she leaned into Idjit’s embrace. What would come, would come. For now, a battle brother and battle sister just watched as the corpse of the father of a brave man was consigned to the soil in the ancient way of warriors honoring the noble dead.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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06.21.2012 , 04:07 AM | #8
<Five years later>

Sharlina was tired. A bone deep ache that never really went away. So many years. She hadn’t expected her task to be easy. But this… This was ridiculous. Every single time she managed to get close, her quarry would slip away. And now, she was reduced to buying information from sources she wouldn’t have touched with a ten meter long spear ten years before. A bounty hunter had seen someone matching the description of one of the scientists on this godsforsaken ice ball. What he had been doing here, she hadn’t asked. The Republic and Empire had both set up shop on the other side of the planet to salvage from down ships and were running into opposition from a well organized pirate gang. The old Sharlina would have. She stalked through the snow. He had warned her of vicious native creatures but all the live things she had seen were harmless. Tauntauns she thought he had called them. The major obstacle here was the weather. The cold was so intense that even the Dark Side wasn’t enough to keep her warm. So she was wearing armor. She didn’t like wearing armor. It slowed her down, made her movements…

Sharlina blinked. How had she gotten on the ground? Something was wrong and she froze as she felt presences near her.

“That her?” The shout came across the wild torn landscape. Another voice answered.

“Must be. Who else would be out here? Make sure and let’s go get warm!”

She waited until two dark forms loomed out of the wind driven snow and then drew her sabers. They didn’t even have time to scream before she was on them. After they were dead, she examined herself. A dent showed in the torso of her armor and she shook her head. A quick examination of the bodies showed one had a slugthrower rifle. And examining the bullets she realized they had been cast of cortosis. Not very effective against armor, but against a lightsaber…? This had been a trap. For her or another lightsaber wielder. She shook her head, and then realized something. The men who ambushed her hadn’t bothered to hide their tracks. She grinned feral under her helmet as she started off.

<An hour later>

This time it was different. They were evacuating as she attacked. The Rancor’s Bite would attempt to intercept any ships leaving the surface. They would do their best. Her crew, smaller now than it had been, were very competent. Captain G’nack was hard, but fair. And she trained her people well.

Sharlina focused on the fight. Her movements were not the normal swift and sure supple grace, but none the less deadly for all that. A squad of Republic Special Forces had been waiting for her when she entered the facility. She wondered idly if they knew what they were protecting, then cast the thought aside. It wasn’t important. It took longer than usual for her to finish these troops off; they were not rookies or rent-a-goons. They fought well and bravely, but in the end were overmatched. She sighed as she realized the scientists had fled. Her hunt continued. Maybe there would be information in this base since they hadn’t had time to…

Sharlina froze as she looked into the first cell. Human female. Age about 60. Greying black hair. Green eyes watching the viewslit on the door. Sharlina trembled as she cut the door off its hinges. They were always locked and often trapped, but for some reason no one ever defended hinges. The door fell outward and she deactivated her sabers. The older woman stared at her as she entered the cell. Sharlina stopped just inside the door. Her voice was soft and hesitant when she spoke.

“Maria?” The woman flinched but met Sharlina’s eyes. When Maria spoke, her voice was low and full of pain. But still strong and Sharlina had to admire that. Had to admire the steely resolve that still burned behind the green eyes after years of abuse and experimentation.

“Sith.” The single word was a curse and Sharlina knew that if Maria could have managed it she would have spit. But she was too weak. Sharlina bowed, deeply, respectfully.

“I am, but today I am not your enemy Maria Kalenath.” She keyed her comlink. “Rancor’s Bite, I need the medical team at these coordinates. Have a tech team come as well, we have a lot of work to do here.” She sat down beside the bunk.

“We will take care of you Maria. I swear it.” The woman flinched back from her gentle touch and Sharlina shook her head, and then moved off into the rest of the facility. In a cold room she found a still body and surprised herself with tears. She had thought herself beyond them, but Jie’s still corpse awakened her compassion. The Jedi hadn’t been a friend. Only one of a handful who had ever beaten Sharlina in saber combat. An honorable enemy. The small hole in the Kel Dor’s chest showed what had killed her and just for a moment, she wished she hadn’t killed the ambushers so quickly. She heard the bustle of troops and medics behind her and moved to guide them where they needed to go. A lot of work was ahead of them. But they were closer to their goal now. And to vengeance for an honorable enemy. And the sooner they could get off this benighted world the better. And what kind of person named a system Hoth?
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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06.21.2012 , 04:12 AM | #9
<Aboard the Rancor’s Bite, two days later>

“Mistress, she is asking for you.”

Sharlina stared at the Mon Calamari doctor she had hired. Crota had come highly recommended. A specialist in brain damage, her skills had saved many of the beings who had come into Sharlina’s care over the years. Sometimes the Bladeborn had tried to put some of them off the ship, but they had always insisted on staying and helping. And truth be told, they did. The Rancor’s Bite was not an incredibly large ship, but the crew wasn’t large either. So there were always things that needed doing. And the crew was always working on something. The… guests…. were not all technically trained but they were eager to help. And they learned fast. Sharlina winced. She dreaded entering the Medical area. She was always overcome with emotion seeing the people who had been so mistreated trying to be what she wanted. All she wanted them to do was live. And many of them would not. She had gotten used to losing them. But it never got easy. She slumped, and then stood.

“How is she?” Sharlina asked quietly as she walked with the doctor. She made the doctor very nervous, she knew that. She also tried hard not to project her normal self around the doctor or her ‘guests’. It wouldn’t help matters. It had gotten so that sometimes she wondered what her true self was. But Crota was speaking.

“She is showing some minor improvement." Crota's voice held little hope for recovery though. "But whatever they did to her is somewhat different. She… She is speaking in her sleep.” Sharlina glanced sharply at her.

“What does she say?” The Bladeborn asked softly as they continued on. Crota shook her head, baffled.

“A name." The Mon calamri shook her head, she was kind, gentle even in this horrific situation. "Sara. But it isn’t in any of the records as being in her family. Another prisoner perhaps? A friend in the same situation? The stresses of being imprisoned for so long…” Sharlina cut her off gently.

“Have only honed that woman. She isn’t broken. At least… not completely.” Crota nodded. Then they were in Medical and Sharlina tried not to wince on seeing all the various beings scattered around. Humans, a Devonarian, a Cathar, even a young Wookiee. All stood as she entered and she waved them back to what they were doing. The Wookiee… Sharlina stared then ran to the slumping form. She held the furry figure as Lorrinoo hacked and coughed. Her breath came labored. Sharlina called.

“Doctor!” Crota came running with her med techs. Sharlina eased the convulsing form to the ground and stood back as Crota began her work. But she froze as a furred hand caught hers. She didn’t understand Shirwook, but and it didn’t matter. Lorrinoo’s voicebox had been amputated by her captors. And that wasn’t all that had happened to her… not but along shot. Sharlina felt the Wookiee’s gratitude. That she had not died a prisoner, in a cell. But among people who cared about her. The Wookiee stared deeply into her eyes, smiled… then died. Sharlina stood back as Crota tried to revive Lorrinoo, but she knew it was no use.

Sharlina turned, she had to… she couldn’t…. A small hand touched her on the leg and her eyes burned as she fought the dark side back. She stared into blue eyes. The youngest of the survivors, Mijel was only ten. But his heart was larger than everyone’s on the ship put together. He… She looked at him and smiled sadly, and the Dark Side vanished from her, for just a moment. He didn’t speak, just handed her a datapad, bowed and retreated. She stared at it, and then turned back to where Crota was admitting defeat. It had Lorrinoo's last wishes. She liked the Mon Calamari, although she was loath to admit it. Crota spoke her mind.

“It was her time Crota, and she died free…” Sharlina’s words cut through the quiet and everyone in medical nodded. Crota snarled, a wordless cry of sadness and loss before she spoke.

“No, it wasn’t her time! She was only forty, she had her whole life ahead of her… I…” Sharlina took the Mon Calamari’s shoulders in gentle hands and squeezed, gently. She was getting better at this empathy thing.

“You are right. Come on, let’s talk to Maria.” She led Crota away from where the med techs were preparing the body for what Lorrinoo had asked for when she died. Cremation was not a normal funerary practice for Wookiees, but Sharlina understood. Lorrinoo hadn’t wanted anyone to experiment on her body after she was dead. She led Crota to another room.

Inside, in the somewhat dubious privacy that they could grant in a medical bay, Maria lay on her bed surrounded by medical gear. She was awake and stared at the Sith as Sharlina entered. Sharlina waited, allowing Maria to speak first. When the older woman did it was low, tired and full of pain.

“Why?” Maria asked softly. Sharlina looked at Maria and realized something. The woman could see out the door and had probably seen everything that had just happened. Sharlina slumped, and then shook her head. Maria cursed quietly, and then shook her own head. “No, I think I know why you helped Lorrinoo, but… why help any of us? The others have told me… You killed a man who wanted to take them away… Why?” Sharlina sighed and sat beside the bed.

“The Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic are enemies, and will probably always be enemies Maria Kalenath. But… I am not a Sith. I am Bladeborn. We are…different in many ways. Not the least of which is our code.” Sharlina glanced over her shoulder and Crota found something else to do.

“I…” Maria’s voice was softer now and Sharlina laid a gentle hand on her. Maria flinched, then relaxed. “I don’t understand. The scientists, the soldiers who held me… They are scared to death of you. They call you the Dark Woman. When you appear they die, in large numbers. But… Why help us? You serve the Empire?” Maria’s voice was thin and very confused now. Sharlina shook her head.

“Maria, don’t strain. It… From what we have been able to determine, strong emotion accelerates whatever they did. You hold your emotions well. That has helped you through your ordeals. And I can’t answer you. I don't know... I owe your son my life. He didn’t take it when he had the chance.” Maria stared at her in shock, but Sharlina wasn’t finished. “I… I don’t know what I am now. I serve the Empire, yes, but mainly I am the Dark Woman who swore an oath to save your family.”

Maria gasped, then she slumped.

“I believe you. I don’t know why, but I do…” She was visibly falling asleep and Sharlina had to strain to her words. “Please save my daughter… Sara…” Then she was asleep.

Sharlina sat back in absolute dumbfounded shock. Maria had no daughters. Not…before she had been taken… She darted out of the room, heading for her training area. She made it in time. Her roar would have done a Krayt dragon proud.

((For the continuation of that, see the Battle of Kuat and Allegiences))
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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06.21.2012 , 04:26 AM | #10
((After the events of Allegiances))

<A cell, somewhere in the Korriban system>

Sharlina swam back to consciousness and focused herself. She stared blearily around the small cell she was confined in. She didn’t regret it. It had been the right thing to do. If the Empire had gotten that information, they would have recreated the horror that the Republic had done, and on a much larger scale. And it wouldn’t have worked any better. Most Sith would have said that the end justified the means, that a temporary advantage, no matter how horrific, was worth the price. But Sharlina had seen the broken remnants, the bodies, the children. Those still hit her the hardest. The thought of seeing someone like Mijel strapped into one of the droids that were described in the journals turned her stomach to this day. She didn’t regret handing all of the information over to the Stormhawk. They would use it and/or destroy it. They wouldn’t replicate it. She most certainly didn’t regret killing Horn.

The stupid fool had assumed that simply because she had been outnumbered eight to one that she wouldn’t fight. And that had been his last mistake. She remembered the captain ordering ramming speed. And then nothing. She had no idea at all how she survived. How any of the crew survived. What little she had gleaned from overhearing the guards when they came for her, her ship had rammed Horn’s flagship, destroying both. She had been unconscious, and when she had woken, she had been in a force cage. And then they had put her here, wherever here was. She froze as the sounds came again. Boots on duracrete floor. She steeled herself and didn’t flinch as the door of her cell was flung open and the sadistic pig of a warden leered at her. His voice oozed fake sympathy.

“Bladeborn, you are looking a bit wretched this morning.” The guards came in and she didn’t resist. The one time she had, the guards had beaten her bloody, then tied her to a table and forced her to watch as members of her crew were executed. Between the drugs, the stun cuffs and something that was blocking her from the Force, she was not capable of fighting six guards and the warden at once. If she still had her lightsabers… But no… the very first day she had been coherent, the warden had smashed those. She hadn’t reacted at all; she was determined not to give him the satisfaction. She tried to ignore his words as the guards manhandled her up and carried her between them. She could hurt them, sure, but the others had blasters out, and she wanted the pig dead at her feet, not just guards. “What have you done to your clothes? We will have to get you more.”

Since her clothes consisted of stun cuffs and a slave collar, she ignored his barbed words. They had tried a number of ways to break her. She couldn’t understand why they hadn’t just killed her. The only thing she could imagine was that they wanted a confession for something, and that would probably hurt her kin, so she remained silent. But he was talking again.

“We have something ‘special’ planned for you today.” The guards strapped her down to the table she had become very familiar with, and then strapped her head down so that it faced the vidscreen. She didn’t flinch as it came alive, but inside, something died as she saw Captain G’nack tied to a post with wood piled around her feet. The warden spoke again.

“You can save the good captain. You have my word that she will live out her life in my care.” Sharlina didn’t reply. The warden snorted. “Maybe the Captain can make you see reason…” The sound of a switch and the warden spoke again.

“Captain G’nack, you are a traitor to the Empire and your fate is sealed. How you meet your fate is all that matters now.” Sharlina almost grinned. This guy didn’t know the Captain. But her heart fell as she saw… On the vidscreen Captain G’nack looked straight at the camera and spit. Her face was lined with burns, bruises and signs of other torture, but her voice was strong.

“Bladeborn! Die well!” Sharlina could not stifle a sob as a torch landed in the pyre and it went up. It was not quick. It was not easy to watch, but Sharlina couldn’t close her eyes, she wanted to remember. To hate. Finally it was done and the warden turned off the vidscreen.

“Well, that is that. that’s all the traitors except for you. Reekia wanted you to hurt.” At the mention of Sharlina’s battle sister, Sharlina froze. But she didn’t speak. “She was most upset with you for betraying the Empire. So… you are still stubborn. Good.” Sharlina arced as pain flared across her body. But now… now she was angry. She would not give this scum the satisfaction of seeing her scream.

An eternity later, the pain stopped and Sharlina slumped back on the table. Her head was unstrapped and her legs as well…

“Just you and me now, Bladeborn.” The touch on her cheek told Sharlina everything she needed to know about what the scum intended. And she waited. He climbed on top of her and with a quick twist, kicked at him. Since her legs felt like jelly, she only threw him off balance. He cursed and slapped her, but then he was off balance and vulnerable. Her head darted up and her jaw found its mark. His throat. She bit down and didn’t let go. She held, using every bit of her hate, her pain her rage, her sorrow to end this miserable excuse for a human. Finally, he slumped and fell off of her. The Dark Side called to her and she used her limited telekinesis to activate the key to the restraints on the table. When she stood, her legs gave out under her, but she grasped the warden’s weapon from where he had laid it aside to have his fun. She swung it, feeling the power of the Dark side coursing through her. And she smiled. An empty death’s head smile.

<An hour later>

It was done. She was done. Vengeance was hers; she had killed ever single guard she could find. She had found a set of robes that fit her reasonably well and now… Now she wasn’t sure what to do. A map showed she was on a planetoid in the Korriban system. But… she was no pilot. There were ships here, fighters and shuttles, but… She shook her head. One thing at a time. She climbed into a fighter and shook her head. Control stick, check… throttle, check… Uh…power… power… power… She found a switch and click it and a voice came to her.

“Please refer to manual page 14c for power up procedures.” Sharlina raised an eyebrow, but shook her head and opened the manual. She sighed as she saw it was three hundred pages thick, then sat back and started learning how to fly.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here