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One Light in the Darkness


Lesaberisa's Avatar


Lesaberisa
06.20.2013 , 10:53 PM | #1
My long delayed story of Veresia Martell, younger sister of Ayrs She was presumed dead after the attack on their home world of Ithaca, but actually survived and was enslaved by the Empire. The title is a reference to the Yogg-Saron fight from WoW (which is where I got my MMO start), as well as a general description of how Veresia views herself.

Disclaimers/notes:
Spoiler


Veresia in-game (tags for size)



Several background/intro posts from the Short Fic thread to start with (I switched from 3rd person to 1st for the rest of this topic, my apologies for any confusion).

(1) Veresia's talents with the Force are discovered by the Sith

Spoiler


(2) Veresia's reflections during the trip to Korriban

Spoiler


(3) Veresia arrives at Korriban

Spoiler
Finest mediocre fanfic this side of the Outer Rim:Trooper / Inquisitor

Lesaberisa's Avatar


Lesaberisa
06.20.2013 , 10:57 PM | #2
I smiled inwardly as I reviewed the data Acolyte Alif had provided; his entire story had been confirmed The murder had been the doing of Esorr Kayin, and Alif was being set up to be nothing more than the convenient scapegoat for the crime. This is not right. No doubt, Harkun assumed I would feel compelled to kill Alif for his disobedience, and that doing so would somehow break my spirit. How wrong he was, and how delightful his frustration would be.

“The man was speaking the truth about the murder, he is to be released and taken somewhere safe.”

The torturer seemed shocked by my decision, his mouth so wide open I was surprised not to see drool coming out. I suppose it must be surprising, though. Justice and mercy are not common traits in a resident of Korriban.

“I shall do as you command, my lady. I will deliver my report immediately and ensure he is safely off-planet on the first available shuttle, as well.”

I nodded and turned, leaving the two men behind and trying my best to gather my thoughts.

The boy had suffered through years of oppression as a slave and another terrible year at the academy and lived only because he had me as his judge and not one of the dozens that would have killed him without a second thought. To them, his entire existence is merely an inconvenience or an opportunity to outdo the viciousness of their rivals.

I shuddered at that thought; life was too precious to be thrown away so haphazardly. The utter disregard the Sith had for the lowliest on Korriban was made obvious to even the newest arrivals – like those on my shuttle. We had been provided basic accommodations; a bedroom shared with another apprentice, simple clothes that looked more like rags, and terrible food. It was as if they had Ayrs cooking for them. Remembering my brother made me smile and feel like crying at the same time.

From the Sith point of view, I suppose that all made sense – given the low survival rate of the average apprentice, there was little reason to waste resources until numbers had dwindled. A cold and cold an efficient policy. A very Sith policy. They destroyed every part of you until all that was left was hate and anger and pain, and all you wanted to do was make others feel the same way. I knew I would have to guard against that, lest I become the monster I wished to destroy.

They removed Linus’ charred corpse from the dormitory yesterday; he had been found murdered and today was already forgotten and unmourned. Today it was Gerr’s body that was taken outside the academy, barely held together after how violently Ffon had ended his life. The pureblood had not shown even the slightest hint of remorse, and Harkun had done nothing but encourage the spectacle.

The Sith claimed this place was one of learning and personal growth; the reality was that it was nothing more than a murderous factory for all of the worst that sentient beings can offer. There was no room for the positive emotions, camaraderie or hope for the majority of those attending. There was nothing but a grim drive for survival, even as people that had once been friends turned against them.

Perhaps it was for the best that most students died before they ever realized the depths of the hell they had been thrust into.

The door slid open to reveal my room that was already darkened. I saw Kory already covered by the blankets and made my way to my side of the room as quietly as possible. Maker knows she could use all the rest she can get. I shook off the harsh robes they had presented us with upon arrival, and changed into an old tank top and shorts that I had brought with me. I caught my reflection in the mirror as I turned towards the bed and saw a stranger. My face and features were still the same, save for the scar above my right eye from the cut that had refused to heal. Something was…missing…though, something intangible but whose absence felt all too real.

I sat down, sighed and glanced over my shoulder to check on Kory. Her already thin frame had been looking increasingly and worryingly gaunt since the training began, and I worried for her well-being. She was a sweet girl who had thought she was ready for what lay ahead but seemed to be learning. I could see it in the defeated expression on her face she only revealed when she returned to our room, in her dull and lifeless eyes that had once glowed with a fervor for life. As I watched the blankets rise and fall with her shallow breaths, I reached out to her with the Force and felt nothing but a dull ache, almost as if she was only alive because she did not know how to die.

It pained me to see her this way.

She had been different while we were still en route to Korriban; lively, funny, a reminder that even with all I had lost there were still people in the galaxy that could mean something to me. She had helped me protect myself from the likes of Vular and – more importantly – reminded me not to lose myself to my own rage and despair. I remembered father’s lessons about the dark side well, but they weren’t enough, not any more. No amount of Jedi self-control would bring my friends and family back to life, no platitudes would bring those responsible to justice. It is easy to fall back on the Jedi code when you speak in a time of peace and without loss in your life. Or, so I told myself. The dark side was a dangerous temptress, and if I gave in to it I would become the kind of monster I sought to destroy.

I looked back at Kory, gently brushing away some hair that had fallen over her face. Today it had been Gerr, when would it be her turn? Kory might have made a future for herself with the Jedi; she was not untalented with the Force, and she had a keen mind for analyzing the world around her. She also was a gentle soul and lacked the capacity for making the hard choices that were sometimes required in life, even for someone who was not Sith. The galaxy was cruel to have had her born in the Empire and sent here. Perhaps there was still a chance for something better, but life had taught me that it was foolish to pin your hopes on chance; you needed to be willing to seize what you needed, not just hope it would be brought to you.

Once I reached the courtyard, the darkness didn’t seem quite so threatening any more. I had noticed that few of the other students ever took the time to visit this place. Perhaps they felt it demonstrated a weakness; a longing for the galaxy they should be dreaming of controlling. Perhaps they had nowhere or no one to think of as they gazed into the night sky. I might never know, but I also did not particularly care. The field of stars was a reminder that there was a life for me outside this place, if I could just find a way to make it there. It would no longer be a comfortable and boring life on Ithaca, it almost certainly would not be somewhere in the Core like I had foolishly dreamed of all those years ago. It might be as limited as bringing down those that had destroyed my old life, but it was still something.

I would never escape that day; never outgrow it, never forget it, never move past it. Whenever I closed my eyes at night, I never had the naïve, pleasant, dreams that Kory did; I could only see the same thing, the same people, the same horrors. It had all begun like any other day would have; Dio and I off to school while our mother went through the usual routine of getting Ally ready. Everything had happened like it always did, every moment transpired like I had known it would; everything until I was on my way home from Claire’s house.

The first hint of trouble had been the loud whines of speeders moving along Arundel Highway to my west; it might have been the major thoroughfare in the area, but that wouldn’t explain that much traffic. I still wished I could have stopped there, found some hiding place in the forest and never left; that way I would have never seen what they did to our friends, never seen them mocking my mother’s corpse, never heard Ally’s screams.

They found me cowering in fear behind the Tyndalls’ barn, a scared little girl who had lost everything but didn’t know it yet. They had assumed I would be another easy victim, but they had been wrong. I was not some meek, defenseless child; my father had taught me the ways of the Force, my mother had taught me how to fight. When it was over, both of their corpses were smoldering; my father had always cautioned against using the Force aggressively, but I didn’t care. They were bad men, evil men, and I had no regrets.


I clenched my teeth and felt hands ball up into fists. I had killed three other men before the others overwhelmed me, led by the gray-haired man who smiled and laughed even as I choked back tears and inhaled the strange-smelling smoke. He had even laughed when they showed him the corpses of the men I had killed.

I will find that man. Whatever it takes, I will hunt him down and I will end him. No more smiling, no more laughing. No more joy at other peoples’ pain. No more Ithacas.

I wondered what my father would have thought of me, of what I had become. He had died years before the girl that had been me did, but his stories and instruction were still with me. And his love. I tried to push that thought out of my head, tried to pretend it was just a distraction I couldn’t afford. Mostly, I just realized he would have felt betrayed by what I was willing to do. He had been a Jedi, after all.

The Jedi say that emotion is dangerous, that one must learn to control one’s emotions and not give in to them in order to remain free from the dark side’s influence, no matter how tempting or hard it might be to maintain that detachment. Perhaps I was merely too weak to adhere to such a high standard, but the years of captivity had weaned me from my blind faith in the Jedi. I understood full well the dangers of the dark side, but detachment was fraught with its own perils.

The Jedi had not been there to protect Ithaca, Tomaasi or Irrol or any of the other Outer Rim worlds that had been attacked; they had taken no action to bring those responsible to justice afterwards, either. I had no illusions about the danger I was putting myself in, but I could not – would not – accept complacency in the face of injustice.

The Jedi might condemn the attack on Ithaca as a gross violation of everything good and right, but their inaction was damning, and something I could not understand. How could the guardian of the Republic stand by and allow such actions for philosophical reasons? In their rush to contain the potential risks of emotional decisions and actions, it seemed the Jedi had also lost some of their ability to remember the human cost. In their drive to remain squarely within the light, they unwittingly left countless innocents to suffer in the dark.

Righteousness is a potent weapon, when wielded by the right hand. The Jedi fear it, though, and subvert it for use as a crutch, an excuse for inaction.

But, even if the Jedi were too afraid or unwilling to act, it did not mean that the suffering could not be fought. The darkness of Sith and Imperial oppression can obliterate lives and worlds, but it is not impenetrable, and the Sith and Imperials are not invincible. The Republic holds against the Empire. A lighthouse guides the lonely ship through the night. A lone candle can drive back the darkness in an entire room.

I will be that light in the darkness, the righteous flame that drives back the night. I am willing to make the sacrifices I must, to suffer whatever fate is required. I have already lost everything, but I will do everything within my power to keep others from doing the same. To keep what happened on Ithaca nothing more than an awful memory.

They say there is no justice among the Sith, that Justice herself is blind in the Empire.

They are wrong.

Justice is not blind, for I am her eyes.
Finest mediocre fanfic this side of the Outer Rim:Trooper / Inquisitor

Lesaberisa's Avatar


Lesaberisa
06.25.2013 , 08:44 PM | #3
Notes:
Spoiler


Our group of students continued to dwindle rapidly.

Two of the younger ones had been assigned to Ffon Althe when he had been tasked with recovering a relic from a nearby tomb. The Sith, already favored by Overseer Harkun, returned with the ancient trinket; the others did not. Althe also was responsible for the death of Namara, a female Zabrak that had been finding inner strength in resisting the corruption of Korriban, even coming close to becoming another friend to Kory and me. That personal growth did her no good, nor did the established rules that were meant to prohibit one student from murdering another, even with the telltale wound from Althe’s blade in her chest.

I worried for Kory more than ever. Her condition had been deteriorating for some time, but things were only getting worse and worse as time went on. She spent long periods of time just staring blankly into the small mirror we had in our room, and no longer came with me during my evening walks along the perimeter of the academy. Her presence in the Force was just as worrisome; faint, flickering, uncertain. I wanted to ask if she had already given up, but was too afraid of the answer to do so. I have to bring her back, whatever it takes. I can’t do this alone.

The academy was quiet and dark at night, yet was still less sinister to travel through than during the day. Not so surprising, the building is not the frightening thing, the people within it are. It also reminded me of how lost and alone I was, and how unsure I was about what lay ahead tomorrow, let alone far in the future. I had told myself that I would act like a parasite; drain the Sith of the knowledge and skills I needed and then strike back at them from within, the silent killer that would strike when least expected.

What a stupid girl I had been.

I was learning, yes, both about the Force and the people around it. But I was also failing at everything else; Kory was fading, the other students were dying, and I…I could hear the whispers in my mind, always there unless I made the effort to ignore them or drown them out. My father had warned me about the temptations of the Dark Side; it was easier to turn to, easier to utilize to the fullest extent….easiest to be turned by. Every day had become a struggle for me; it would not be enough to strike back for my family, my friends and Ithaca, I had to take care not to damn myself in the process.

That was easier said than done. The smug faces of the lowliest of Sith at the academy seared the hole in my heart. The joy they took at every misdeed, every minor act of inhumanity and cruelty…each time felt like a slap across the face, so much so that my cheeks felt like they were burning in response. There was nothing more I wanted in the world than to retaliate, to have those monsters experience even a fraction of the pain they caused. A casual flick of the wrist to snap their neck, a slash of the vibroblade into a vital organ, an imperceptible push with the Force to send them flying from a great height.

No. I cannot lower myself to their level. I cannot become a brutal, callous, monster like them…like the people who…

I shook my head, trying to clear my head and focus. In my distracted state, I nearly ran into a woman wearing the deep blue robes of Sith Intelligence. I grit my teeth and bowed my head subserviently.

“My apologies, my lady.”

Strangely, she seemed as distracted as I was. “No matter.” She dusted the front of her robes off as she spoke, then cast a suspicious glance in my direction. “Ah, I recognize you. And I have use for you.” That worried me. “Tell me, what do you know of the Jedi?”

I bit my lip to avoid saying anything that would create trouble. “I know they are weak – unwilling to use the gifts the Force has presented them with. I know they are cowardly – refusing to fight unless presented with no other option.

I also know they are sworn to destroy us, all of us.”

She seemed satisfied enough with my answer. “I am Inquisitor Urinth, of Sith Intelligence. We captured a Jedi shadow who was attempting to infiltrate the academy here. The fool. He was brought to my interrogation chamber for further…study. Do you believe you could assist us with our work?”

I nodded, not knowing what else I could do or say.

“After deliberation, we have decided to allow this Jedi to ‘escape’ from Korriban and return to the Jedi Order. Not truly escape – of course – but with a carefully manufactured understanding of what he witnessed and accomplished while here courtesy of our treatments. You are of a similar age to him, and attractive enough to further distract him from any sense of unease. Speak to him, gain his trust, and help him in whatever ways are required to convince him you are assisting in his escape.”

I raised an eyebrow in response. My throat was too dry to respond and I felt distinctly uneasy about the entire situation. Is this some sort of trap set to determine my loyalties? Have they discovered who my father was?

“I am slightly confused – you said I am to help him escape. Won’t I get in trouble for assisting a Jedi in escaping?

I do not wish to be punished if you’ve led me astray.”
She shook her head furiously. “ No, this is an officially sanctioned operation, you need not worry. The hour is getting late, however, so if you plan on assisting I recommend you move quickly. The Jedi’s name is Quorian Dorjis. Good luck.”

Well, this is new.

I made my way towards the interrogation rooms. I had previously made a point of avoiding them at all times – not because I ever feared becoming one of their victims; it was just…the sounds that came from them were horrific even to my ears. I did not want to imagine what went on there, because every time I even thought of what took place it felt like some little part of me died and was replaced by someone I did not want to be. I wondered how badly they had treated Quorian Dorjis, and what would be left of him for me to talk to. Let alone what I will say.

My fears proved unfounded.

He was sitting cross-legged In his cell, apparently unperturbed by his predicament. Close-cropped hair, finely-chiseled features. Well-built too, for a Jedi. I felt like slapping myself. He is a shadow, not some Jedi historian who has never seen the world outside a temple. I stood outside his cell, somewhat awkwardly, deciding how best to get his attention. Fortunately, he solved the problem for me.

“You…Sith?” His eyes looked somewhat glazed over and his voice was unsteady. No doubt they were feeding him all sorts of drugs, possibly enhanced by Sith alchemy. I felt a pang of sympathy for the man as he struggled to bring himself to his feet. A proud man, and not as defeated as Urinth must think. He’s definitely not at his best, though. “What…what do you want?”

I frowned, not having thought that far ahead. “I’m here to help you. To get you out of here.”

His eyes were still foggy, but he seemed to be seeing me more clearly now. “Help…me? I don’t understand. You’re a Sith.” He said the last word as if damning me with it. To be fair, you would use the same tone of voice.

“I am not a Sith.” I grimaced slightly, realizing how combative I must sound to him. I softened my voice. “I’m not one of them, I swear to you. I feel the same about them that you do.”

He gazed into my eyes with an intensity that would have been either unnerving or flirtatious in any other context. “I sense…you are right. But…my mind is unclear, my connection to the Force is weak. And my equipment was taken from me. I can’t leave without it, without the information on my datapad. You need to get it for me.”

I grit my teeth. Not just a Jedi, a by-the-book Jedi. I balled my hands into fists and placed them at my hips. “I’m trying to free you. You seem awfully eager to disrupt the attempt.”

He surprised me, giving me a slight smile. His right eye closed, then re-opened quickly. Did he just wink at me? “Rest assured, that isn’t my goal. I simply don’t want to go home empty handed, and I doubt you’ll come back with me.” His smile grew after I flushed slightly. “The interrogator from Sith Intelligence mentioned having it. A Urinth, if I remember correctly.”

“You’re lucky killing you doesn’t suit my purposes.” Or Urinth’s, as far as she goes. “Where is your equipment, I will gather it for you while you prepare yourself. Try not to get distracted.”

His smile had been dying, but my last comment revived it in full. What an infuriating man. “You’re a good person, even if you don’t believe it yourself. I don’t need the Force to tell me that. Even if you weren’t getting out of here, I would never betray you.”

I found myself at a loss for words. Rather than embarrass myself in front of the Jedi, I turned and escaped into the hallway, making my way back to Urinth. She had an expression that mixed disgust and impatience as she show me approach.

“Inquisitor, I have secured his confidence. However, he refuses to leave without his equipment. He claims it has essential data on it.” I hoped I wasn’t being too presumptuous, or else I might bear the brunt of her anger. Instead, she nodded.

“That is acceptable. We have altered the data he obtained to better server our purposes. Also, I applaud your ability to secure his cooperation so quickly. No doubt, you can be very convincing when you need to be.” Her voice took on a salacious tone with that last bit, which sent a spasm of anger through my body. Of course a Sith would be gleeful over twisting and using another person like that.

We walked in silence towards her office, nodding slightly at the few guards still patrolling. The Sith were fearsome enough most of the time, but they could be as sloppy as any other organization. I had noted their lax approach to security when the higher-ranking Sith weren’t around A weakness, however small. Something to expose and exploit. Urinth quickly grabbed a satchel from her desk and presented it to me before moving back in the direction we came from. I lengthened my gait to catch up with her.

“Any further instructions, my lady?”

She smiled slightly at that, but shook her head. I expected her to remain where I had found her, but she followed me towards the interrogation room. I began to sweat slightly, beads of it forming on my neck and around my forehead. How can I warn him about the implanted memories if she is around? My mind raced furiously.

“My lady, if you walk in with me, will he not suspect something is wrong?”

She frowned at that, but my impulsive analysis came through. “You’re quite right. I will monitor things from the hallway until you have him moving.”

I stepped into the room, taking a large breath to clear my thoughts and try to regain control of my beating heart. One bluff down, one to go. I strode towards the energy cell’s control panels, punching in the code to deactivate it. The Jedi sprung to his feet, surprising me with his physical recuperation from his treatment. Perhaps the thought of freedom, of escape. I handed him the satchel containing his equipment.

He regarded me with slightly suspicious eyes. “Not that I’m one to look a gift bantha in the mouth, but you never did explain why you're doing this.”

And so we come to it. How to let him know what games Urinth is playing without overplaying my hand? How to reveal the truth of my heart without having it known by anyone else?

I took another deep breath, seeing no other way.

Then I gripped his robes with both of my hands, pulling him towards me and kissing him fiercely, like I hadn’t kissed anyone in years. He surprised me yet again by not questioning, not pulling away. Some part of me didn't want to let go, I didn't know why. When I finally did move back a half-step, his expression had curiosity in place of suspicion, and his fast breathing revealed as much about him as anything else he had said. I had a strange feeling in my chest, but I pushed that aside. Now is not the time.

“Listen to me. The data in your pad, the memories in your mind. They’re a Sith set-up. I’m sorry, you won’t bring any information home. But at least you will be there.” I gave him a slight smile. “Now, hold my hand. Our cover will be that we are two young Sith lovers, embracing their passion.” I winked at him, even though I really had no idea why, didn't know what I was doing. I trusted in the Force.

He nodded, any doubts he still had vanishing into the night. Perhaps he is just easily turned by a pretty face. I decided to allow myself a little vanity.

Urinth was nowhere in sight as we entered the main hall, hands held like I had held Aaron's hand back on Ithaca. We passed a couple of guards on our way out of the main entrance, both of whom seemed amused by the sight of Quorian and I going for what was ostensibly a romantic walk in the Korriban night. This is not a world for romance. His grip was reassuring, though I could not quite say why.

At last, we reached the shuttle pad Urinth had indicated to me in her instructions.

He swiveled to face me, his eyes searching my face for something. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry you were born in the Empire and made to come here.” His voice sounded sad, almost as sad as mine did.

“I wasn’t born in the Empire, though I was made to come here after the Imperials and their dogs killed the life I had lived. They killed my family, they killed my friends, they destroyed everything I had ever cared about.” I paused, wondering if I could bring up Ayrs. My brother was out in this Jedi’s Republic. The fantasy died a moment later. No point in nursing such foolish hopes. “I’m sorry about that too.”

He flinched at that, and I felt a pang of guilt. He meant well, he couldn’t have known. As my thoughts meandered through my head, he fixed his eyes on mine.

“I’m sorry about that too. You would have been a great Jedi. You might still be some day.” Quorian leaned in, too quickly for me to react, and kissed my cheek gently. “If I could get my hand back, though?” His voice was gentle, almost apologetic.

I glanced down and realized that I was still gripping his hand tightly in my own, like a child holds on to their parents’ hand when they’re scared. I blushed and released it, glad it was a dark night so my reaction was known only to me.

A flash of movement and a twirl of his cloak and he was gone into the night and out of my life, leaving me alone again, alone with tears I could not shed and regrets I could not escape.

I tried to remember my father’s words and teachings.

I am not alone. The Force is with me.

Somehow, that just wasn’t enough.
Finest mediocre fanfic this side of the Outer Rim:Trooper / Inquisitor

Adwynyth's Avatar


Adwynyth
06.26.2013 , 01:06 PM | #4
SQUEE

(Curse this stupid auto-lowercaser thing. Had to edit twice to fix it.)
Horrendously bad fan fiction: Sith in a Pretty Dress

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bright_ephemera
06.26.2013 , 06:31 PM | #5
Another vivid headspace to live the thoroughly enlivened storyline through. Subscribing.
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 2000+ stories. New prompts weekly!
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Forever Shenanigans!
Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.

Lesaberisa's Avatar


Lesaberisa
06.28.2013 , 12:01 PM | #6
Glad you guys are liking it so far Poor Veresia has a much tougher road than Ayrs though.

Lengthy italicized bits are flashbacks/memories
---------------------------

”Keep your guard up. Keep your guard up!” His blade crashed against mine with enough force to drive me back. “Focus on what your opponent and what their body and form reveal, not just what you feel through the Force.” He stabbed forward with his sword, but this time I was ready and parried it to the side. “Good”

We circled around the training area, each of us trying to figure out the other’s intentions. I feinted to his right, then landed a hit on the left side of this stomach. He stopped, breathing heavily a bit, then smiled broadly at me. “Nice job, you had me fooled. Guess I’m getting slow in my old age.”

I giggled. “You’re not that old, Dad. Plus, if I could use the Force, I would throw your lightsaber away and beat you.” I cheered at the thought of my own superior tactical mind.

He smiled slightly at that. “Yes, but not all of us can be prodigies with the Force like you, Verbear. And you know why you have to practice without it, right?”

For a moment, I scowled at the sound of my hated pet-name, but that passed quickly enough. I nodded. “I need to train myself so I can fight both with the Force and without it.”

“And?” I hated that question.

“And if I draw too much attention to myself, the Jedi Order might take me away to a temple.”

A shadow crossed over my father’s face. He almost never had a bad thing to say about his time as a Jedi but he was determined to keep me from becoming one and I didn’t know why. I hoped he would tell me one day.. “Right. Now, let’s get back to the house. I’m sure your mother is wondering where we’ve been.”

Mom was indeed waiting for us when we got back to the house, arms crossed in front of her chest and an unhappy look on her face. I knew it was trouble because she wasn’t just pretending; all of us knew what she looked like when she was pretending. Especially Ayrs, since he got in trouble so much.

“Everything okay, Val?” Dad noticed it too.

Mom shifted on her feet, and turned back into the house, responding over her shoulder. “Two Jedi are in the living room with a mission for you. An important one, apparently.” I had never seen her so upset, Dad must have done something really bad, but I didn’t understand what. The Jedi were heroes and so was Dad, so maybe they had to save someone.

I went up to my room, and spent the next three hours doing some homework. I hated math, but Ayrs said it would be good practice for when I helped him launder money. I didn’t understand what math had to do with laundry but I didn’t want to admit that to him. I heard the front door open and close, I heard Mom and Dad yelling at each other about something. Then it got quiet for a bit, but after a while they started yelling again, about the Jedi and other stuff I didn’t recognize.

Ayrs called me into his room, so I made my way down the hall. He had Dio doing his science homework at the desk and had arranged Ally’s stuffed animals around his bed. I think he and Ally were having a tea party with them.

He looked at me a little funny. “We’re just going to hang out here, ok Ver?”

I nodded, and sat down next to Ally’s stuffed wampa, Wampaboo. He smelled kind of funny, but Ally was really attached to him, and also her stuffed nerf, Nerfyboo. I thought she needed better names for her stuffed animals, but whenever I brought it up she just got mad. We had a good time, though, even when Banthaboo and Ayrs got in an argument over who had eaten the last cookie.

Later on Mom called us downstairs to the living room. Her face was bright red, and I think she might have been crying. Dad’s eyes were clearer but he looked sad anyway as he knelt before us.

“I have to go away for a little while, to help some of my friends. I’ll be back soon, though. I promise.”

I promise.

I promise.


My eyes opened.

Something was amiss, I could feel palpable tension in the Force from the hallway outside. I reached over next to me and felt nothing but air. Kory’s side of the bed was cool as well, too cool for her to have just gotten up. My stomach lurched as I wakened more fully and checked the time on the chronometer. Still an hour until our breakfast of gruel and what tastes like broken glass. I shook my head and slid out of bed, making sure my vibro-blade was at the ready before making my way to the door.

I was halfway across the room when it slid open on its own. A red hand shoved Kory into the room. She stumbled, tried and failed to regain her balance, and then fell. I noticed cuts and bruises on her where-ever her robe was not. My nostrils flared as I recognized the smug look of satisfaction, and the face that wore it. Ffon Althe.

“Hello, worm. I found your pet scurrying around the academy and decided to return her to you. No doubt you would find yourself unable to function without her. Not that that says much, as you are an inferior being yourself and unable to comprehend the true intricacies of the Force. You are a blot, a waste of carbon-based life matter. I look forward to your end. Your pet’s end, too.”

I gave him a mocking round of slow applause before curling the end of my lip into a sneer. “Good to see you Ffon, I feared you might not remember how to find your way around the academy with all the time you spend writing your memoirs. What chapter are you on now, the one where you describe your heroic butchering of mere children? Or the one where you describe, in the most loving of terms, how you’ve managed to progress so far while needing only daily help and support from Harkun.?”

If he had been another race, his face would have been as red as it was now. As it was, I could be satisfied with the reaction I felt through the Force.

“You, you…worthless worm.” I sighed as he waved a shaking finger at my face. “You trifle with powers beyond your own, you challenge your betters. What do you know of the Force? Of my power?” His eyes took on an almost desperate look and I noticed some spittle forming in his mouth. “You are but a slave, a proud slave perhaps, but nothing more. If you are lucky, I will take you to be a member of my harem when I am anointed a true Sith and take my place on the Dark Council.”

I snorted, trying to hold back my laughter for the moment.

“You are nothing, Ffon. You are a scrambling, scrabbling rat. You owe your successes, such as they are, to the fact that Harkun cannot bear the thought of you failing. Your mastery of the Force is barely that of an untrained child. And your dreams of being on the Dark Council? How shall I put this, I have seen more realistic stories in soap operas.” His neck was tensing, I was getting to him. “I must confess, I do admire something about you, though. Namely, that you manage to remember how to breathe ever morning and haven’t ended your life in the ignominious way I will.”

The finger was back in my face, furiously waving. “You have no right to speak to me that way.” His voice was deliciously petulant. “You can’t threaten me like that. I am a Sith!”

I laughed in his face, I needed to give no other response to express my contempt.

He reacted by grabbing Kory around the neck, and placing “Do you want your pet to die? If so, please continue your insults.” He gave me a sneer, no doubt assuming I would be intimidated by his childish bullying.

“Unhand her or, by the Force, I will un-man you.” I pointed my blade towards my target and was rewarded with a sudden flicker of fear across his face and in his Force presence, which intensified as Force Lightning crackled in my free hand. “Now, be a good boy and run back to Harkun like the dog you are. Hurry, before I get angry.”

For a moment I thought he might develop a backbone, might refuse my demand, but only for a moment. Ffon was like any childhood bully; not only was his bark much worse than his bite, he was also a coward through and through. Unwilling to challenge or fight those that could stand against him, unable to function without the backing of Harkun and the other overseers that worked under him. He turned, eyes open in unadulterated fear, and exited hastily.

I felt a slight twinge of pity for the Sith, but it did not last long. He might have been brought to this state by a system well beyond anything he had control over, he might well have proven to be a better person if he had had the opportunity.

None of that mattered, though. The Ffon Althe that might have been didn’t exist; all the world had was the Ffon Althe that was. And I will have to end him, before he does any more damage, before he harmed anyone else.

With Ffon gone, I moved to where Kory sat shuddering on the floor and sat down next to her. She leaned against me, using my shoulder for support and wrapping her arms around me. “He showed me things in my mind, through the Force...” Her voice trailed off and she shuddered again. I slipped an arm around her waist and rested my head on top of hers.

“It’s okay, Kory, he’s gone now. I won’t let him do that to you again. I won’t let him do that to anyone. I promise.”

Ally and I were almost done washing Wampaboo when I heard the ringer on the front door buzz. I peeked downstairs and saw Mom letting two men in brown robes with funny looking hair inside. It looked like she was shaking, but I didn’t understand why. It was a nice day.

I felt Ayrs grab my arm. “Get in your room, take Ally with you. Stay inside until I get back.” His voice was angry and that kind of scared me, but I nodded and did like he said. Ayrs moved past us and went downstairs to sit with Mom and the two men. He always got to do things like that since he was the oldest.

After a while I heard a strange wailing sound from downstairs and then some shouting. Something crashed against the floor, it sounded like glass being broken. Ally looked at me.

“What’s that?”

I listened carefully, but couldn’t hear anything more. Then I remembered that the men in brown robes were the same ones that had visited a few weeks before, when Mom and Dad had fought and then Dad had said he had to go somewhere for a little while. I snuck outside into the hallway and saw Mom and Ayrs hugging each other tightly, it looked like they were crying, and I knew. I knew.

I snuck back my room.

“I think it’s about Daddy. I think something bad happened, Ally.” I wasn’t sure what else to say.

“He pwomised he’d come back, he pwomised!” She started to cry. So did I.

I had no answer, so I just held her.


I had promised myself I wouldn't be like my father. I promised myself now that it wouldn’t be for Kory like it was for me. I figured that if I kept telling myself that, I might believe it.
Finest mediocre fanfic this side of the Outer Rim:Trooper / Inquisitor

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Lesaberisa
07.02.2013 , 01:38 AM | #7
I was the last one to enter Harkun’s chamber for the morning recital of how worthless we were when compared to the gloriousness that was Ffon Althe. I glanced over to my right to take in the Sith acolyte, who was acting somewhat more subdued than was normal. Apparently our little talk had had some effect on him. Not enough to save him, but he damned himself long before he ever set foot on Korriban.

There were only five of us left now; beyond Ffon, Kory and myself there were a pair of hulking human twins, Balek and Wydr. They had displayed no particular talent for the Force, but Harkun had allowed them to live nonetheless. I suspected they might be little more than tools for whatever agenda he had, but without proof to present or an ally in authority to present it to, there was not much I could do to confront them without risking my own position.

Behind Harkun, almost hidden in the shadows, I noticed an older woman; blonde, serious, composed and very much in control of proceedings, even if Harkun was the one doing the talking.

“So good of you to join us, slave.” He turned his normal sneer on me as he caught sight of my entrance. His behavior was so predictable that Harkun might have been almost humorous…were it not for the matters of life and death that hung in the balance with his every word. “No doubt, you were busy preening in front of the mirror in the hopes you might distract others from your lack of talent with your looks.”

Almost sounds like he’s admiring them. I had to struggle a great deal to refrain from smiling, so I decided to focus on the woman behind him. Striking features, more handsome than beautiful, but something was wrong with her, as if the face she had was merely a mask for something terrible beneath. Not uncommon for a Sith, but there is something strange about her.

Harkun was still prattling on, so I attempted to pay attention.

“Your task, shameful as it is that I lower myself to speak to you, is to enter the tomb of Ajunta Pall and seek out the hermit Spindrall. He will test you, in what way I cannot say. Should you survive the ordeal, you are to return here for further instruction.” We all turned to leave the room when I felt his presence in the Force focus on me with the intensity he normally saved for his ranting. “Except you, slave. Lord Zash has a different task in mind for you.”

I stepped forward, somewhat uncertainly, and clutched my robes around me a little tighter.

“For reasons I cannot hope to ever understand, Lord Zash wishes you to enter the tomb of Marka Ragnos to acquire a holocron that has been buried there for centuries. Naturally, there are many dangers in the tomb and it is almost certain that…” Zash cut him off with a loud cough, and I was not one to let such an opportunity slide.

“Yes, yes. This is where you send me into another ancient tomb full of traps and horrors, fully expecting and hoping to have it result in my mangled corpse being discovered in a few months.” I arched an eyebrow and noticed Zash had a slightly amused expression on her face. “Naturally, I will dash your hopes and return both intact and with my prize held proudly before me. What a sad little life you lead, Harkun.”

I favored him with a broad smile, which provoked him to ball his fists in rage and sputter before he managed to spit out the words. “Get out, slave. No one is amused by your antics, and they merely hasten your death. Your painful death.” With what little dignity he had left, he made a broad sweeping gesture to encourage me to exit the room.

Traveling through the academy reminded me of why I had to walk the path I had chosen; the young acolytes that might yet be saved from deaths that would be terrible or lives that would be even worse. Sith, both young and old, that devoted themselves to studies and actions that damned their souls and ruined lives across the galaxy. Korriban was an ugly place, the home of the darkness that threatened to engulf all before it, and I was uniquely positioned to do something about it.

If you don’t go mad yourself, first.

They said that everyone goes a little mad once they spend more than a few hours on the surface. I had laughed off the reports at first, but I was not so sure any more. This place was haunted, by ghosts, memories, the Dark Side, or some combination of things I could not comprehend. I could feel it every night, in the crushing weight upon my chest, could hear it in the voices that haunted my dreams, could sense it in every waking moment. I wanted to be sure of what I was doing, needed to be sure, but my concerns grew as time passed.

I did my best to focus only on what lay ahead as I made my way to the tomb of Marka Ragnos, another ancient Sith Lord that was remembered with fear and trepidation by the normal people of the galaxy but was worshipped among the Sith. To say the Sith have crossed a moral event horizon would be an understatement without peer across recorded history. They breached that horizon from the moment they first acted on their dark impulses.

The tomb of Marka Ragnos was unremarkable; more dust and ruins that might have impressed at some point years ago but was as pathetic as the Sith inside were frightening. There were teams of archaeologists streaming in and out of the halls and rooms, but the crowds thinned out noticeably the further in I went. The darkness scares them. The evil is palpable. By the time I reached the antechamber that housed the device containing the holocron, it had been several minutes since I had last seen someone. The air was rank, and the tingle up and down my spine was only the most noticeable sign that there were about a million other places I would rather be.

I took a deep breath, trying to collect my thoughts. The device was almost indistinguishable from the other obelisks that littered the tomb’s grounds, except for the eerie glow emanating from the top. It had a strange presence in the Force, as well, something sinister. I shuddered, and realized I was losing focus; something I desperately needed if I was going to uncover the device’s mysteries and return with the holocron.

There were no distinguishing marks anywhere on the device, no crevices, nothing that gave even a hint of being useful. As moments turned into minutes and those minutes dragged on, I grew ever more frustrated. I tried reciting the Sith Code to see if that would accomplish anything, but the stone proved as poor a discussion partner as most of the other acolytes at the academy. I sat, cross-legged, on the floor and attempted to puzzle it out, but got nowhere.

Finally, with my temper flaring, I finally gave in to the impulse that had been niggling at me from the start. Purple lightning arced from my hands and into the obelisk with greater and greater intensity. There was a loud crack, and the top of the obelisk slid up and out, revealing the holocron inside. For a moment, I wondered how it could have remained hidden for so long, until I realized that any Sith that had attempted this before must have been so caught up in how to make their success as brilliant and impressive as possible that they forgot that succeeding at all was more important.

As I re-entered Harkun’s chamber back at the academy, I did not even attempt to hide my satisfied expression, particularly after I noticed how annoyed it made him. The twins were oblivious, and Kory was looking on with a slightly bemused look. Ffon, much to my delight, looked as apoplectic as his master. I noticed Zash was again monitoring the situation, but paid that no attention.

Harkun waved me forward and motioned for me to place the holocron on his desk, which I did, before returning to my previous position in line with the other acolytes. He remained silent the entire time, although I did note that his annoyance had dissipated somewhat, replaced by a self-assured smile. He motioned Kory forward.

“Acolyte, you managed to survive the perilous journey through the Tomb of Ajunta Pall to speak with Spindrall. You accomplished the task he set before you, but revealed your pathetic weakness while doing so. Your childish attachment to your other slaves, your inability to grasp the machinations required to be a Sith.” He paused long enough for my heart to leap into my throat. Kory was shifting slightly on her feet, but she seemed to not know what was coming. Some part of me did, all too well. “There is only appropriate response.”

Harkun glanced back over his shoulder at Zash, who gave a slight nod. Then, his mouth transforming into a leer, he fired thick purple lightning at my friend, his tongue caressing his lips like a feral animal.

Kory screamed as she died. So did I.
Finest mediocre fanfic this side of the Outer Rim:Trooper / Inquisitor

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Lesaberisa
07.03.2013 , 10:49 PM | #8
Spoiler


No matter how hard I tried, I could not sleep. I tossed and turned, finding only emptiness where Kory should have been, in the Force and in my heart. The oppressive heat did not help either, especially when the image of Ffon Althe flashed in my mind, his smirk etched forever in my memory. I took a deep breath, trying to think of something, anything, to relieve the pressure I was feeling.

I pushed myself out of bed, trying my best to ignore the ring of sweat that had soaked through the thin tank top I slept in. The Sith were not one for wasting high fashion on lowly acolytes, but even still I would have hoped for something more than rough fabric that left a rash...and little to the imagination for leering acolytes and Sith alike.

My thoughts returned to Harkun’s chamber, the crackle of the lightning, the smell of burning flesh. I shuddered. All because she didn’t give the appropriately inhumane answers to Spindrall. I felt my anger turn to rage, felt it bubbling under the surface of my skin, just aching for release. I struggled against it, struggled to remember everything my father had taught me.

There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is no knowledge. There is no passion, there is serenity… I grit my teeth. It wasn’t working. There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no emotion…

It was a pleasant lie, but a lie nonetheless. Anyone who divorced themselves from their emotions was as dangerous as a Sith. The love I had for my family and friends only gave me strength and helped me move forward. Being connected to those around you was a strength, not a weakness. I could never be at peace with a code that expected me to feel nothing as my friend died.

Unbidden, and for reasons I did not understand, I felt Quorian Dorjis’ arms around me again, his lips pressed against mine. He was warm and his presence was comforting. Now I know I am going mad. Completely mad. I shook my head, willing the memory away even though some part of me did not want to. I needed air.

The door snapped open with a flourish and I made my way down the darkened halls, taking in the short respite that my nocturnal meanderings gave me from the pain of the academy. The whispers in my head were quieter, my connection to the Force more harmonious. I ignored the stares of the few guards still on duty and headed out the front entrance. I had more important matters to be concerned with.

Spindrall lived in the Tomb of Ajunta Pall, and it would be his tomb as well. I had done some research on him in the archives during my free time; he had long been a gatekeeper for the academy, the arbiter of life and death that could make or break a career in the Sith. Or could snuff out a life without a second thought. I tried desperately not to think of Kory.

As I entered his lair, I was nearly overwhelmed by the stench. Something was rotting in there, and when I first laid eyes on Spindrall I knew it was him. Not just his flesh, which had turned dark and mottled from the corruption of the Dark Side that dominated him; his body was still in one piece, but I could sense that his soul had been shattered years ago.

He sensed my presence.

“Slave, why are you here at so late an hour?” He paused, and I could feel the tendrils of his Force presence reaching out to me. I denied him entry to my mind and being, sparking a look of annoyance on his face. “Acolytes come here to be judged, in an attempt to return to their master with some mark of favor. But…I sense that is not why you are here.” He reached out in the Force again, and I rebuffed him, more forcefully this time.

I stood facing him, saying nothing.

“Well, I imagine you have not come to listen to the prattling of an old man, a reclusive hermit that has lost his grip on reality.” He eyed me closely, clearly realizing that I was actively resisting his attempts to read my intent, yet unable to determine how or why. “Have you come for some discreet instruction on the Code of the Sith, then?”

I remained silent, and I could feel his frustration grow, palpable in the force and visible on his face. I wanted to believe I did not know why I was here, but some part of me knew, that shadowy place where your deepest desires and darkest fears reside, always lurking for the opportunity to seize control. I think Spindrall knew too, at least subconsciously.

“You do know the Code of the Sith, yes? Or must I force it out of you.”

I nodded slightly. “Nwûl tash. Dzwol shâsotkun. Shâsotjontû châtsatul nu tyûk. Tyûkjontû châtsatul nu midwan. Midwanjontû châtsatul nu asha. Ashajontû kotswinot itsu nuyak. Wonoksh Qyâsik nun.” I gave him a knowing glance and was rewarded with widening eyes filled with shock.

“How…how does a mere acolyte know the words of the Sith language?”

I smiled, but not a happy one. It was an ugly smile, the kind a predator

“My father taught me that you have to understand your enemy in order to fight them. You have to understand their language, their viewpoint, their tactics, and use them to your advantage. It is almost a Sith viewpoint, ironically, but tempered by humanity and love. Those are things no Sith can truly understand.”

He was slowly slinking back towards his lightsaber. I made no move to stop him. It was too late to matter.

“What do you know of studying an enemy? What could you truly know of the Sith? You are but an up-jumped slave who has forgotten her place. I should break you where you stand.” He was practically quivering with rage, but beneath his anger was growing fear. I enjoyed finding it, probing it but that enjoyment frightened me in return. No, I must maintain control. I can’t become like him. Like them. My concentration slipped, and he detected a hint of what I had been hiding.

“Ahhhh. So your true nature reveals itself. I can feel your fear, your anger….it threatens to consume you at all times. You try to fight it but deep within you, there is the realization that you want to embrace it. My, my. You will be a marvelous Sith indeed, once you stop denying yourself your true potential.”

“No!” I reached out with the Force, levitated a large boulder from the ground, and hurled it at his head. He dodged, just barely. “I am no slave. I am no Sith. I am your end.” He fashioned a slight smile in response, perhaps because of what I had said, perhaps because he had finally reached his lightsaber. “Do you remember a girl named Kory? Red hair, warm smile?”

He activated his blade, the red glow harsh in the gloomy darkness. “A foolish girl, too weak to be a Sith. What of her?”

I moved towards him, my blade still turned off to lull him into a false sense of security. “You killed her. You murdered her as much as Harkun. She was more than a foolish girl. She was a person with hopes and dreams. She was a good person, she deserved better from life. And she was my friend. You will answer for her.”

“Foolish child, you cannot possibly comprehend the power of the Dark Side.” He practically spat the words out.

I laughed.

“I have lived in the dark for years now. I am not afraid of it. I am not afraid of you.” I collected myself, I had to maintain control of myself, my emotions. “But you…you are afraid of me.” The small, involuntary, flinch told me all I needed to know. I activated my vibro-sword and stepped forward purposefully to make an end of it.

He fired a burst of lightning that I easily dodged, and then a pair more that I absorbed with my blade. Twenty feet. He cursed me in the Sith tongue, something I did not quite understand, but I knew it could only be something foul. His desperation was palpable. Ten. Another burst of lightning was caught on my blade, at which point he raised his saber to defend himself.

“Prepare to die, slave.” I don’t think even he believed it as he said it.

Our blades clashed. Yellow against red. Light against dark.

He parried my first blow, but only narrowly avoided my second. My third took his arm clean off at the elbow. He shrieked in pain. I kicked the saber he had dropped away, far out of reach by the Force, let alone his remaining hand.

“This is for all the lives the Sith have stolen, the crimes they have perpetuated. The murders, the rapes, the pillaging, all of the crimes of your order. The souls corrupted, the families broken, the worlds left scarred” I lowered my blade and reached out with the Force to apply pressure on one of the Sith statues in the room. “I am Veresia Martell. I will be the voice for the victims you have silenced. I will be the justice they have been denied. You should be proud; you are the first. You will not be the last.”

Spindrall was too focused on the stump he had in place of his arm to respond. No matter. I flicked my wrist delicately, ripping the statue from the floor and sailing it through the air towards Spindrall. He barely had time to scream.

I stepped gingerly over his corpse and made my way back towards the academy, breathing heavily and quickly glancing over myself to ensure I left no incriminating sign of my involvement. No doubt, the blame would fall on some hated instructor, some jealous official, and more blood would be spilled in the name of Sith politics. Once, perhaps, the prospect of causing still more death might have troubled me, but that had changed. I had changed.

I could no longer be the person that I had been, but I could be something else. Something more. I hoped my father, wherever he was, would understand.
Finest mediocre fanfic this side of the Outer Rim:Trooper / Inquisitor

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Lesaberisa
07.09.2013 , 04:42 PM | #9
Realllllllllly sorry about the long time between posting. I ended up moving a few things around and editing stuff, then felt like I hit a brick wall. Anyway, back to Veresia's time on Korriban:
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The academy had reacted to Spindrall’s death just as I had expected it to; in-fighting, bickering and plenty of mutual recriminations among the Sith. After all, who but a Sith would have even thought to kill an old man with little to offer but insight into the Dark Side? Certainly not an acolyte that had once been a slave, known more for her acid tongue than a propensity for violence. Though I tried to hide it, my pleasure slipped past the façade I used as armor; knowing glances when Spindrall was referenced, a sly smile when I was sure I was not being watched.

Some part of me knew that what I had done had placed me on the precipice. It wasn’t just justice for Kory that I had been seeking, I wanted Spindrall to hurt, I wanted to cause the Sith pain. I want them to pay for everything they’ve done to me. To everyone. I had thought I could do that without risking who I was in the name of vengeance, but as every day passed in the heart of Sith cruelty, I couldn’t help but realize it would be a small price to pay. I couldn’t accept breaking more of my promises, not after Ally and Kory.

As I entered Harkun’s chamber, I noticed that we had the room to ourselves. Ffon was probably off in the torture chambers pulling the wings off Genosians, but I had no clue as to where Balek and Wydr might be; neither had Harkun’s favor, and I could still feel them through the Force, however tenuously, so they hadn’t been added to the pile of bodies quite yet. No doubt, Harkun has something planned for them too.

The overseer eyed me sourly as I sauntered in, taking as much time as possible to draw out his annoyance. He waved me forward impatiently, but that simply encouraged me to slow down, languidly stretch my arms, and enjoy the ambiance of the academy.

“Good morning, Overseer. Quite the lovely day for a scenic tour of the torture chambers and murder pits, is it not?”

The vein above his right eye looked about ready to burst. “Silence, slave. I did not give you leave to speak.”

I smiled innocently. “And yet, I spoke. The wonders of the Force never cease to amaze.”

He looked about ready to strike me, but he restrained himself. Whether it was because he had been ordered to do so, out of self-control he had developed in his years as an instructor, or perhaps some small shred of decency, I did not know. “I have had enough of your games and childish behavior, slave. Somehow, you have managed to survive your trials so far.” He paused, his vein pulsing slightly, which amused me. “No doubt that will all change soon enough. The Force will not allow such a worthless piece of filth to attain the rank of a Sith.”

I let out a small giggle to set him up. “Hmmm. You know, Harkun, it occurs to me that the Force saw it fit to allow you to reach the rank of Overseer, so perhaps its standards aren’t quite what you think they are.” His face reddened noticeably. “No doubt that ugly Sith grandmother of yours would have been so proud of your progress.” I smiled broadly at him.

This time, he did hit me. Hard, right across the mouth. I cringed as I bit deep into my lower lip. I tasted blood, but mixed with that sourness was the sweet taste of victory.

“Enough, slave!” He was practically shaking with rage. “I have no more patience within me, and I will not hesitate to end your pathetic life if you continue these games.” I blinked at him, innocent as a babe. That only seemed to aggravate him further. “You are to report to the training room for instructions on how to properly use a blade in combat. It is quite clear that you lack the necessary experience with a weapon.”

As I exited the room, I casually looked back at him over my shoulder. “Overseer, do you have experience with your, *ahem* weapon? You must get quite a lot of practice.”

I did not hear his response, though it sounded quite angry, especially when it was punctuated by a large crash against the door as it closed behind me. Oh Harkun, so easy to wind up. I looked forward to the day I could drive my saber through what remained of his shriveled heart.

Fortunately, my trip to the training rooms was uneventful, largely due to the combination of the continued investigation into Spindrall’s death, but also because I chose to whistle the Imperial anthem horribly off-key as I walked, drawing a few curious looks, but no interference.

The room was deserted when I entered it, triggering alarm bells in my head; it should have been filled with acolytes and apprentices alike, all honing their ability to kill. It was never this empty even at the oddest hour of night; there were always plenty of students scrambling desperately for every little edge that might help them survive their experience on Korriban. I moved past a pair of training dummies and glanced around the observation room, which was also empty. I could feel the goose bumps on my skin.

When I returned to the main training area, there were two shadows bracketing the ones cast by the dummies, and felt even dark presences behind them. Ah, so that’s what this is.

“Hello Wydr, Balek.” I nodded to the twins in turn. “I assume you aren’t here for some friendly sparring.” I kept my tone light, but slid my hand underneath my robe to get the hilt of my blade within reach.

“Um, no we aren’t.” Balek. I could only tell them apart because his brother was the one trying futilely to grow a moustache, a beard, any kind of facial hair. “Sorry, but you aren’t going to like this.”

I gave my shoulders a half-shrug to loosen my robes, then put a distinctly mock-innocent intonation in my voice. “Are you sure, boys? How do you know I won’t like it?”

Balek rubbed the back of his head uneasily, while his brother stared holes into the ground in front of him. “Look, it isn’t like that at all. We like you, we really do. Hell, Wydr’s had a crush on you since the moment he saw you on the shuttle.”

I flushed slightly at the news, but recognized a potential opportunity. “If that’s true, we don’t need to do this. We can find a way around whatever Harkun has put you up to.”

For a moment, a brief moment, a ray of hope shone on Balek’s face. It died quickly. “We can’t do that. He said he’d get us off Korriban if we took care of you. Ffon will kill us if we don’t, him or Harkun. I don’t want to die here. Neither of us does.” He looked ready to cry.

“I will kill Ffon, and I don’t want or need to kill you.” I hoped he recognized the sincerity in my voice. Balek and Wydr were victims, not villains, not my enemies.

He mulled that over for a second. “Maybe you could. We can’t take that risk, though, we have to get out of here. Neither of us are going to survive Ffon or Harkun. Neither of us will make it off Korriban.”

No, you aren’t I thought sadly as they drew their vibro-blades and activated them, bathing the darkened room in unnatural red and orange light.

“I’m sorry.” It was the last thing either of them would ever say.

Balek feinted at me from my right, while Wydr charged in hard. His heart wasn’t into it, though, so I casually sidestepped him and kicked out at the back of his leg, sending him sprawling. Balek came at me, screaming like a wild animal, but leaving his guard wide open as he swung wildly for where my head had been.

“I’m sorry,” I told him as I cut into his stomach.

He mouthed something silently as he dropped his sword, clutching at his stomach in a futile attempt to hold everything in. I forced myself to look away, and wrinkled my nose pungent odor filled the air. This isn’t how it’s supposed to happen. I sighed and turned back to Balek, who had pushed himself off the floor and was facing me, sword at the ready.

Balek wasn’t moving though, and his eyes were focused intently on his brother’s corpse. “Make it quick. Please. Quick and painless.” His eyes moved from Wydr to mine, the plea they had for me even weightier. “Not like him.”

I shook my head vigorously. “I can get you off Korriban, I’ve helped people escape. You don’t have to die. Neither of you did.” Even as my voice trailed off, I could sense what was coming. The Force did not lie to me, even when I wanted it to.

He answered by swinging his blade towards me, then adjusting quickly as I pirouetted out of the way. His slashes became faster, more wild, and it wouldn’t be long before he scored a lucky hit. Harkun was not a complete fool – I was no duelist. Time to make an end of it.

It came faster than either of us expected; he stabbed forcefully for my stomach, but I parried the blow and followed my inertia towards his body. He sank onto my blade, spitting out blood.

He looked at me sadly. “Can I go home now?” I couldn’t trust myself to speak, so I nodded as I lay his body down on the ground, closing his eyelids with my hand. I shivered, and crawled over to where his brother lay in a growing pool of blood.

I had not known Wydr, I couldn’t even remember having spoken to him, but I knew he had deserved better. I kissed his forehead gently, and sat in silence for moments that felt like an eternity.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

More blood on my hands. More lives to be weighed on the scale.
Finest mediocre fanfic this side of the Outer Rim:Trooper / Inquisitor

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Lesaberisa
07.12.2013 , 01:27 PM | #10
Spoiler


I slowly picked myself off the floor and made my way over to where I had dropped my robe. My mind a cacophony of scattered thoughts and painful memories, I reached down and picked it up, lay it over my right arm as I left the room. I wondered if I should report the incident to someone, try to ensure that Balek and Wydr’s bodies were treated with at least a modicum of respect. What would the point be, though? No one’ cared about them when they were alive, no one will care about them now that they are dead. They were simply more fodder for the Sith machine.

The academy was still fairly quiet as I returned to Harkun’s chamber, though the bloodstains on my hands and clothes attracted some attention from several passers-by. Only the acolytes, I noticed; the experienced Sith cared not a whit that a woman stained in blood was wandering through their school. Then again, they were probably used to the sight.

Zash had joined Harkun in his office while I was away, and they were having a heated discussion about something as I entered the room and they came into view. I cleared my throat to attract their attention. Zash looked slightly annoyed – whether at me or Harkun, I did not know – while Harkun looked about ready to burst that blood vessel over his eye. Normally that sight would have been a welcome one, but I was in no mood for games.

I slipped my mask back on, hoping neither had noticed.

“Good morning, Lord Zash.” I paused, giving Harkun a knowing glance and winking at him. “And you too, Overseer Harkun. I am ready for my next test.”

Zash raised an eyebrow and looked over at the man seated next to her. “Overseer, surely you did not send Acolyte Althe on the task without giving this student the same opportunity for success, did you?” Her tone was light, but with a faint undertone of menace.

“Of, of course not, my lord.” I had never seen Harkun this nervous before. “I simply had another task for her this morning, some physical training with the two other members of my group.”

“Indeed. I look forward to hearing about it.” There was a small flash of anger in her eyes as they shifted back to me, glancing up and down as if judging me. Well, you’ve got blood soaking through your top and pants, it’s not as if she doesn’t have a reason. “Such a shame, then, that you sent off the other of your acolyte without allowing me to give them vital information for completing the task.” I enjoyed the note of humor in her voice. Perhaps Zash will make for an ally against Harkun for as long as I need one.

Harkun gulped nervously. “Of course Lord Zash. Feel free to inform this acolyte as you wish.”

Her steely eyes took him in; he quailed. “I shall. Perhaps it would be best if you attended to other matters, while we wait for the results of this exercise.” He nodded briskly, then beat a hasty retreat, exiting the door I had entered through.

Zash turned to me.

“I am seeking the contents of a chamber within the tomb of Naga Sadow. At present time, I am unaware of exactly what is inside the chamber, but I know that you will need to activate four keystones to even enter it, let alone deal with any further complications inside.” I remained silent during her brief pause for breath. “During my research, I did manage to acquire information on these keystones and how they are activated, information I brought to this meeting to provide to the acolytes who would be taking part. Ffon Althe has already left, thanks to Harkun’s interferences. It seems Balek and Wydr will not be attending, either.”

I remained silent.

“I shall take your silence for understanding. Good.” She unfurled a large parchment with four locations designated with marks. A map of the tomb, I gathered. “These are the keystones. They must be activated with the ritual words I have provided on this data pad. Since you are the only remaining acolyte to receive them, I present them to you. Good luck.”

She gave me a smile that might have been sincere if it had come from a normal person.

I bowed and accepted the datapad. “I thank you, Lord Zash. Rest assured, I will return successfully.” I paused, and allowed the mask to drop for a moment. “Thanks to Harkun, I have a good deal of experience navigating deadly Sith tombs full of deathtraps and unspeakable horrors.”

She smiled slightly and waved me away.

After I washed myself and changed into a robe not covered in blood, I made my way towards the tomb. The trip was a short one, slowed only by encountering Sentry Yashia outside. Yashia was one of the few at the academy that treated the acolytes like people rather than cannon fodder, and she had done her best to curb the abuses of her peers. It was the least I could do to hear her out when I saw how upset she was..

“Veres- err, Acolyte!”

I smiled gently. “You may call me Veresia if you wish, we are friends of a sort, no? Or perhaps you already bet on Ffon Althe to win our competition?”

"No, nothing like that Aco- Veresia." She blushed slightly, making me feel slightly uneasy. She almost reminded me of Kory at times “There was another, um, acolyte, who entered the tomb. I haven’t seen him for hours, and I am quite concerned. I was wondering if, um, perhaps you could see if he’s all right. He’s a nice boy and I would just like to be sure. ”

”A nice boy”. Of course. I winced slightly; there was almost no chance anyone Yashia thought was nice would have survived being in a tomb for that long.

“That won’t be a problem at all, I will search for him.” Her face lit up, giving me hope that this might not end up being another terrible day of death and pain. “If I find anything out, I will inform you as soon as possible.” She smiled slightly and saluted. She always saluted, I never understood why.

I ventured into the tomb, passing small clusters of acolytes and apprentices congregated around various relics and objects. They talked in hushed whispers, as if afraid to be overheard, when what they should have been afraid of was the people they were talking to. I found Yashia’s friend about a quarter of the way into the tomb, torn apart by one of Korriban’s seemingly endless species of fanged and clawed predators.

As I leaned over him to pick up his identity card, he stirred slightly. He reached out and gripped the sleeve of my robe weakly. “Yashia?” His voice was faint. He didn’t have much time.

“No, not her,” I said apologetically. “But she sent me to find you. She was always thinking of you”

He managed a slmall smile before what little will he had left gave out. He let out a weak, hacking, cough out and then lay still. I grit my teeth and forced myself to move on; I didn’t need to dwell on another death.

The first keystone was only a room further into the tomb, an unimpressive green stone with Sith markings around it. I recited the words Zash had written down. Almost imperceptibly, the stone shifted slightly in its socket and faced a different direction. I suppose that’s that for this one. I repeated the procedure for the second and third stones. The task was proving almost tedious, all things considered.

That feeling died when I encountered Ffon Althe in front of the last. He drew his vibro-sword instantly, and his face twisted into an almost-parody of a raging Sith. “You! Worm! How dare you intrude in this place!”

“I’m only sightseeing, Ffon, I had no idea you were interested in cultural anthropology as well.” I favored him with an innocent smile. “Though, I must say, you look awfully overworked for a tourist. Breathing heavily, sweating profusely….perhaps you ought to be more concerned about your diet?”

His nostrils flared. “I have had enough of your insolence. Soon, you’ll be as dead as your friend.”

“You seem upset, Ffon. Tut, tut. Your emotions only give you strength if you maintain control, otherwise you are nothing more than a mindless beast.” I gave him a long, deliberate, look up and down. “Perhaps that is what you enjoy being, though. Harkun’s little lapdog barking at his every command.”

Ffon charged forward with a primal scream, blade raised above his head. He never made it.

I gripped him around the throat with the Force, lifting him off the ground. He dropped his blade, and reached for his throat, for as little good as it would do him. His legs dangled helplessly as I closed the distance between us…and closed my grip around his throat.

“You are a murderer, a monster, a blight upon the galaxy. Not just you, but all of your kind as well. You view other beings as nothing more than trophies to be mounted on your wall and stepping stones for your own personal gain.” His eyes, panicked now, met mine. “You are the epitome of why the Sith are a threat, why they are evil, and why they must be stopped.”

He made a supreme effort and managed a few words. “Please, mercy. I know you are not a true Sith.”

“You’re right, I’m not.” His eyes followed me as I circled him. “My father would have spared you, but he was a Jedi, and a man who had trained and lived as a servant of the Force. I am no Jedi, just what’s left of a girl whose life was destroyed by your masters and their servants. Any mercy I might have had for you died with her.”

“P-please.”

“No.”

I flicked my wrist to the side and sent a wave of Force energy towards him. He thrashed for a moment before I hurled him against the far wall. The collision shattered an ancient statue that must have been created eons ago, and broke Ffon’s neck with a satisfying crack. I felt his presence in the Force fade away.

“I shall give my condolences to Harkun. You two did make such a lovely couple.”

For once, Ffon had no pithy comment in response; I liked him better already.

Once the initial rush wore off, though, I sank back and rested against a wall. I could feel my blood rushing even as my anger subsided; part of it felt so good that I didn’t want to let go of the feeling…but I had to. Spindrall and Ffon had deserved death but I had to maintain control. I am no Jedi, but if I simply kill all that anger me, I *will* be a Sith. I took several long breaths to get myself back under control, then made my way to the fourth keystone to finish the ritual.

After completing the fourth incantation, I backtracked several rooms to return to the intersection of several of the major corridors. According to Zash’s map, the chamber containing whatever the artifact was would now be possible to enter. I moved forward, cloaking my presence in the Force as best I could to avoid detection. Ffon Althe was not the only danger to me, and certainly not the greatest.

The entrance was far more obvious than I could have guessed, and the chamber itself proved to be guarded by little more than a skeleton group of ancient battle droids. Some deranged mind had decided to have a large chasm make up much of the central area of the room, so it was simple enough to hurl the droids to their demise in whatever lay at the bottom below. The most interesting part of the chamber was the ‘artifact’. Not some relic or statue or weapon; it was a creature, towering over me as it floated in suspended animation.

I activated the controls on the machine holding the creature, and began the process of reanimating it. I looked over it – scarred gray skin pockmarked with what looked like battle wounds, fearsome-looking face. A Sith beast, no doubt. I moved back and waited for it to recover from waking up; after some time, it straightened itself and stared at me.

The creature spoke, an ancient language that I somehow still managed to understand. It must be through the Force, somehow

<I am Khem Val, and I am a servant of the true Lord of the Sith, Tulak Hord.>

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it yet.

“Yes, that sounds quite nice, but we’ve got an appointment at the Sith Academy and I make it a habit to be on time. You wouldn't believe the amount of work that goes into getting an appointment at the hair customization kiosk.”

It stared at me, eyes unblinking. Then it roared with almost enough force to knock me off my feet.

This should prove interesting.

I drew my weapon and waited.
Finest mediocre fanfic this side of the Outer Rim:Trooper / Inquisitor