Big surprise in this chapter!
The black fortress known as The Iron Citadel sat in a wasteland, surrounded by ruins. Past wars had destroyed the surrounding city, and the dominating presence of the Citadel, or the presence of its master, prevented any attempts to rebuild. In ancient times, the Iron Citadel served as the center of the Krath cult, from which the Keto family ruled, and within the Citadel the ancient Sith Lord Exar Kun dueled with Ulic Qel-Droma before the two were declared Dark Lords of the Sith by Marka Ragnos himself. During the Great War that followed, the Citadel was heavily fortified with thick durasteel walls and powerful gun turrets. Now the Citadel lacks any defensive properties, only large spikes dominate its walls and towers.
Before the large fortress stood Luke Skywalker, the Jedi Order and Galactic Alliance rallied behind him.
The massive iron doors of the Citadel opened inward. No light escaped the Citadel, and no natrual light permeated the darkness that lingered in the ancient fortress. From the darkness came a single man carrying a lightstave. His robes were black, his helm sloped downward, on the face was a black downward crescent. The uniform reminded Luke of Emperor Palpatine's Shadow Guard... until the man closed distance. The helm was open from the mouth to the chin... Luke wished it wasn't. The man had spent too much time in the presence of his Dark Master. The Dark Side had twisted the man's features, leaving his skin pale, purple veins visible running from his lips and disappearing into the folds of his cloak and robes. The man's lips were horribly disgusting, for they were cut at several points and caked with blood.
Those who stood behind Luke recoiled in disgust. The man laughed, if one could consider the cough-like noise a laugh.
The man surveyed those who stood behind Luke. "My master greets you." His voice was low and rumbled and had an air of dread. "I speak with The Master's voice."
More soldiers recoiled as the man spoke, their faces contorted in disgust. Another laugh from the man. "Is there any among you with authority to negotiate with me?"
"We do not come to negotiate with your master. Tell him that he is to surrender and release Master Katarn." Luke's voice drew the attention of the man, who otherwise ignored him.
The man laughed again. "Ah. Son of The Chosen One. My master wished for you to have this." With his left hand, the man reached into his robes and produced the silver hilt of Kyle Katarn's lightsaber.
Jedi Jaden Korr spoke now. "That's Master Katarn's lightsaber!"
The man twitched his head to look at the young man. "The Jedi was dear to you?" He sneered. "You should know that he suffered greatly at the hands of The Master."
Jaden reached for his lightsaber, but was stopped by Luke, who took Kyle's lightsaber from the dark man. "Return to your master! If he will not surrender... then we will be forced to take action."
The man sneered again, and turned back to the fortress. "Prepare yourselves." Was his last words as the shadow of the Iron Citadel.
*** *** *** ***
Within the deepest, darkest vault of the Citadel, The Harbinger knelt before The Master. Her silver hair fell in front of her eyes, obscuring her vision of The Master. She never understood why he had left her down here when she could have been fighting by his side.
During her time in the darkness she studied the many Holocrons The Lore-master had collected for The Master. She learned from Jedi like Vodo Baas, Odan-Urr, and Arca Jeth. Perhaps that was The Master's reason? Perhaps her training was not complete? She intended to find out.
"Why did you leave me here?" She said as she knelt. "Am I not ready?"
The Master motioned for her to rise. "No. You are not ready. I have a plan, and you being here is apart of that plan."
She rose to stand face to face with him. She was seventeen years old when The Master had recruited her. Now she was eighteen years old. She felt she was ready... she knew she was ready. "But now the Galactic Alliance is here! The Enemy is on your doorstep!"
The Master put a hand on her shoulder, the touch alleviated her of her worries. "I have a plan. Trust me."
She lowered her head, letting The Master's energy calm her spirits. "I trust you, Master." She raised her head to look him in the eyes. She raised a hand and traced the still healing cut on The Master's face.
The Master began to back away. "Good. Stay here and wait." He turned to exit the dark chamber. "Keep an eye on my Holocron." He exited the room via a winding staircase.
The Harbinger lowered her head again. "Yes... Father."