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The Academy: Acolyte Ascension


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Osetto
11.18.2012 , 12:09 AM | #81
Chapter Eleven: Expectations

Nar Shaddaa. A place of vices and the means to fulfill them. Tucked away, beneath the casinos and marketplaces that captured the attention of the usual tourists, was a particular shop known only to a few particular figures. Nondescript. No vibrant neon signs announcing its presence. No accompaniment of Hutt enforcers guarding its borders. Just a plain door that led to a small waiting room from the shadowed passageways of the seedy ecumenopolis exterior.

Within the quaint waiting room, a single figure sat. Young. Human. Male. Garbed in a vibrant red coat over a simplistic set of battle armor. Vai Thorel. Sitting. Waiting. Legs crossed, arms neatly folded upon his lap with a content smile across his face as his gaze politely panned across the empty room. His scanning ceased when a door deeper within the shop opened up and a woman stepped through. Dressed with an exotic regality, fine white clothes wrapped around and flowed from her body, an enticing amount of pink flesh remaining uncovered. The length of her deep purple hair was restrained in a well-kept braid, taking care not to hide a single portion of her soft, yet mature face whilst also giving her an overarching sense of decorum.

Thorel raised himself from his seat just to bow his head in respect to the Zeltron woman. “Matron. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

“The pleasure is mine,” the Matron warmly replied. “I must say, our Sith clientele are usually much older… and much less handsome.”

Thorel let a soft chuckle out of his growing smile. “That’s kind of you to say, though to be honest I am here on behalf of my master, who is much older… but only slightly less handsome.”

“Well, a pleasant face is always welcome here,” the Matron stated. “Now, did your master convey our policies to you?”

“I’m afraid I’ve only the barest of details, but there is something in particular he is looking for. Something quite specific.”

“I see. Well, let us see if we can satisfy his desire.” The Matron offered a dip of her head as she beckoned for the apprentice to follow her.

Passing the threshold of the door she had first entered in, the two walked amidst the tight halls of the shop's interior. The matron lead Thorel as they traversed the constricting corridor in a single-file line. On either side of the advancing duo, a series of doors led to unmarked rooms set an equal distance apart from one another. Judging by the gap between them, the apprentice surmised that behind each rest only a single, isolated chamber.

“It is important that you and your master know that we are in the business of, not products, but services,” the Matron explained as she walked and talked. “The companions have been conditioned to serve particular needs, but they must be returned in satisfactory condition. Stay within the guidelines of your contract and you will be afforded the chance for longer periods of use, greater sovereignty, multiple companions, up to five for trusted patrons. If they are lost or if they are broken, you will be subject to penalties and limitations upon subsequent visits. Are you following so far?”

“Yes, very much so,” Thorel stated. “However, my master is interested in a… permanent arrangement.”

“You must understand that we do not readily part with a companion under such circumstances,” the Matron declared.

“I understand,” Thorel replied. “But my master is not without resources. Credits and manpower. I’m sure that we can reach a mutually beneficial arrangement.”

“We may. What are some of the particulars your master is interested in. Boy? Girl?”

“Girl,” Thorel answered. “Twi’lek. Purple or violet skin tone. Around ten years old.”

“You weren’t kidding about wanting something specific,” the Matron joked. “I’m not sure we have a companion that could satisfy your specifications.”

“Really? No one?” Thorel asked, a seeming disappointment in his voice.

The Matron paused, slightly dipping her head. “Well, there is a girl… a new arrival. She’s not yet been raised to the standards we come to expect from our companions.”

“Then perhaps you’ll be more open to making a permanent arrangement,” Thorel offered. “Well pay full price, and take her off your hands.”

“More than credits, we value the integrity of our business,” the Matron explained. “We cannot allow word to propagate that we allowed an unsatisfactory arrangement to be made.”

“I understand. However, I think if I could meet her, I could make a proper judgment on behalf of my master.”

----------

Vai Thorel once more found himself sitting alone in a compact room, one even barer than the first. Unadorned floor, ceiling, and walls. Two chairs set upon opposite sides of a single table. The apprentice had expected multiple targets fitting the description Tash had given him, but it would seem there was only one. He hadn’t yet decided whether the current situation would prove to be an easier or more difficult recruitment.

After a few minutes of silence, the door opened across from him, revealing the Matron and a young Twi’lek girl standing in front of her. Softly, the woman guided the girl into the room by her shoulders until all three occupied the small area. The girl kept her head low, more out of submissiveness than discomfort.

“Hello, mister,” the girl softly muttered.

Thorel offered a comforting smile before raising his gaze toward the Matron. “Might we have a few moments alone, please?” The woman tried to hide her trepidation, but the slight tilt of her head revealed her hesitance. The apprentice raised both of his hands, flashing his empty palms. “Don’t worry. Just want a little chat.”

The matron offered a subtle nod of her head before vacating the room, shutting the door behind her. Now, only the Human and young Twi’lek remained. The child remained standing in place, unable to budge physically or mentally, adamant in her current position. Reaching his foot beneath the table, Thorel nudged the chair across from him slightly away.

“Please, have a seat,” Thorel directed, voice soft and inviting. The girl was hesitant, but eventually followed the directive, hopping into the seat across from the Human. The Twi’lek kept her head low whilst the apprentice continued to study her. The room was consumed by silence. Seconds passed, perhaps even minutes, with neither of the two figures uttering a word. The silence was only broken when the Sith reached below the table and returned with a lightsaber in his hand. Slowly, he placed it in the middle of the surface resting between the man and the girl.

“Do you know what that is?” Thorel asked. Silence, but the Twi’lek did lift her head to briefly gaze upon the metallic hilt. “That’s okay. You don’t have to answer, you can just listen. How is it, you suppose, that you came to be here? Not this room, mind you, but this place, with these people. What exactly, are you? Alien? Child? Slave? No, not a slave. That’s what you’ve told yourself, no? Slaves wear chains. Slaves are bought and sold to be gawked at by gluttonous crime lords. Slaves are powerless. But here, it’s almost as if you’re afforded some semblance of power. Of control. The Matron sets arrangements that even the most powerful figures fear to betray. She holds power over those with wants, desires, and needs. But she and she alone holds that power, doesn’t she? You don’t have to be a slave to be bound. You don’t have to wear chains to be shackled. True freedom only comes to those who take it. And the only people who are capable of taking it… are Sith.”

Looking upon the item placed between herself and the Human, the girl’s eyes widened as the lightsaber began to lift itself from the surface until it was hovering of its own accord. Raising her gaze, the Twi’lek saw the Sith effortlessly eyeing the floating weapon, controlling it with his mind.

“How familiar are you with your lineage?” Thorel asked, still focused on the lightsaber. “Does the name Jerok’arra mean anything to you? That is the name of your great grandfather. That is the name… of a powerful Sith. Many years ago, a young Twi’lek stumbled into Imperial space, long before we had revealed ourselves to the galaxy. He should have been killed, and yet he survived. Because he had something within him. A gift. A special power. He had turned his back on his past to train in the ways of the Sith. And despite being… accused of spying for the Republic, he would eventually rise to a place of prominence. He would understand true freedom. He could not, unfortunately, afford that understanding to his descendants. You may have fallen back into the chains imposed by lesser beings, but you have the potential to raise yourself to where Jerok’arra once stood. To surpass him, even. We, and we alone, know that within you rests the same power he had. But the first step toward uncovering that power, is to come with me, to an Academy where you can be trained in the ways of the Sith. Is that something you would want?”

The Twi’lek continued to stare at the lightsaber. She had never been asked that question. She had never thought to truly contemplate her own wants and desires. Slowly, she extended her hand, attempting to take hold of the hovering item. As she reached to grasp at the metallic cylinder, the apprentice released his control of it, allowing it to drop into her hands. She caressed the weapon, studying its every curve and contour. Admiring its magnificence.

“Someday you’ll hold in your hands one of your very own,” Thorel declared. “There is, of course, the matter of convincing the matron to release you into our custody. Though she is the one who controls you, she has inadvertently given you the tools to secure your own freedom. She has taught you the value of the facade. The face. That lightsaber, it is but only one means to accomplish a goal. The spoken word, when trusted, is the most powerful weapon of all. Now, are you ready to depart?”

The Twi’lek nodded, and politely handed the apprentice back his lightsaber. The two exited the room, one right after the other, into the presence of the Matron. Thorel was all smiles and seemed extremely satisfied with his conversation with the girl. The Twi’lek adopted a serene demeanor, one of utter dedication and duty. The apprentice offered his own set of terms for the release of the girl into his custody. The girl gave no impression of the knowledge she had gleaned from the Sith over the course of their conversation. The two, working in tandem, were able to secure the Twi’lek permanent release.

Thorel and the girl walked side by side amongst the higher levels of Nar Shaddaa. The Twi’lek gazed upon the lights and sign for one last time as she followed the apprentice back to his shuttle. Arlia was heading for the Academy.

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Osetto
11.20.2012 , 07:29 PM | #82
Chapter Twelve: Superiors

Dromund Kaas. The heart of the Sith Empire, with skies just as dark.

Black spires and towering buildings made up Kaas City, the capital and largest settlement to emerge amongst the unforgiving jungles and ravines that populated the dark world. The Great Galactic War was at its peak and only the most influential and most insignificant Sith could afford to remain within the city for an extended period of time. Everyone in between was spread out amongst the galaxy, fighting to ensure a victory for the Empire. Powerful dark lords of the Sith took shelter within the bastion of the Citadel, guiding their forces and calculating their various plots. At the opposite end of the spectrum, one Sith sought shelter within a different bastion.

Whereas outside, the lights and sounds of thunderous lighting permeated the area, the local cantina traded those for luminous fixtures and continuous music. Imperial officers lucky enough to have the smallest allotment of free time hoped to use it finding a brief escape from the hardships afforded to them by their place in society. A lone figure sitting at the bar wished for the same.

Zabrak. Male. Dark skinned. Crown of horns. Garbed in a thick set of black robes indicative of a Sith. The figure sat hunched over, his eye peering deeply into the depths of the drink resting in his hand. Slowly, he raised the glass of his lips, taking a swig before releasing a heavy sigh. Disconnected from the world around him, the Zabrak was content to drink in solitude. Such want would go unheeded, however, when another Sith casually strolled up to the bar and took a seat next to him.

The alien tore his gaze from his glass to take a quick glance at the peculiarly chipper figure that had chosen to sit in the adjacent seat. His face was soft, and his coat was a vibrant red. Nothing about him conveyed a sense of darkness. It was almost off-putting.

“So. Did you hear? Word is the Republic finally managed to kill the Dread Masters,” the Human said, his gaze planted straight ahead toward the distant bartender.

“Yeah, that’s the word,” the Zabrak hesitantly replied.

“The name’s Vai Thorel. And you… must be Ikton Odrek.”

“You know my name?” Ikton replied, utterly unfazed by the revelation as he returned to his drink.

“Oh, I know more than that,” Thorel admitted. “Ikton Odrek. Security chief for Lord Norrok. Now that’s curious. Of all the Sith I’ve come to meet, I don’t think I’ve ever met one with the title of Security Chief. I dunno. Just doesn’t seem very Sith.”

The Zabrak released a low grumble. “I’m well aware of my place in this world. There’s little left to be said by those intent on insulting ‘filth’ like me.”

Thorel adopted a wide smile. “I’m sorry, I forgot. When people talk with a pleasant cantor around here, it’s rarely genuine. Contrary to what you might think, I am actually here to help you.”

“Help me? And how do you suppose you’ll do that?” Ikton asked.

“I know you’re Sith. Well, maybe not in the traditional sense,” Thorel admitted. “You never graduated from any of the Academies. You were picked up and trained at a Sith Lord’s own personal expense, to be used to fulfill his own needs. You’ve power, but not enough to properly challenge a Sith of proper standing and worth. Instead, you are in charge of guarding the Lord’s estate. More a highly specialized security guard, than a proper warrior. I think, however, that we can change that.”

“Who’s we?”

“Me. And my master.”

“And who would that be?”

Thorel reached into the inside of his coat and retrieved a small holocommunicator and placed it on the bar. The small disk lit up, the shimmering blue form of Lord Tash eventually popping up from the device’s projector . The elder Human stood with his head held high, his posture utterly adamant.

“My name is Lord Tash,” the image spoke. “I take it my apprentice has extended my offer to you?”

“All he said is that you could somehow change my life.”

The image of Lord Tash offered a brief, silent glance toward his apprentice before focusing his attention back toward the Zabrak. “That is correct. In the immediate future, I intend to acquire a vast majority of Lord Norrok’s assets. His estate. His funds. His employees…”

“Me,” Ikton added.

“Correct,” Tash replied. “I would like to offer you the choice to join me. Lord Norrok sees you as nothing more than an animal to be kept on a short leash. I see the potential that rests within you.”

“You also see the fact that conquering his estate is much easier with his security chief on your side,” Ikton suggested.

The electronic figure’s lips curled into a smirk. “Quite the astute observation. Yes, it is true. I intend to exploit your position and knowledge for my own benefit, but such is the way of the Sith. I do not however, intend to throw you away after I am successful in my endeavors. I do not share the thoughts of my peers in regards to aliens. I believe in potential, pure and simple.”

“So, what, you’re offering me a place in your… what? Crew? Inner circle?”

“You would be my apprentice alongside Thorel there, that much I can offer you. But there is much more beyond that.”

“Like what?” Ikton asked.

“Like the fact that I know you have a son,” Tash plainly stated. “I know you have been training him yourself, in secret.”

The Zabrak began to swirl what little drink was left in his glass. “And?”

“I have much sway over who is permitted into the Korriban Academy,” Tash explained. “In fact, over the past few months, I have been gathering Force-sensitive children to fill a new series of openings. I can ensure your son has a place amongst them.”

“You… you can ensure my son gets into the Academy? Gets the chance to be a proper Sith?” Ikton asked, showing the first visible sign of genuine emotion.

“I can guarantee it,” Tash stated. “Of course, the nature of the Academy will forbid you from having any further contact with the boy…”

“That’s okay… that’s okay. If you can give my son the chance I never had… I’ll gladly join you.”

“Excellent,” Tash said with a nod. “Give Thorel the location of your son, then make your way to the Citadel. I will have an escort waiting for you at the entrance.”

The Zabrak offered an affirming nod as the holocommunicator shut off. Thorel returned the device to his pocket and offered a respecting shake of his hand to his fellow apprentice. While Ikton went to see his new Lord, the Human waded toward the outskirts of Kaas City, to an apartment complex that housed the alien’s son.

Thorel eventually made it to the designated housing, a small dwelling continually financed by Ikton. The Human knocked on the door and waited for a response. None came. He resorted to inputting the door code provided by the father. Entering the domicile, it appeared empty. By both persons and things. Little furniture occupied the small entry room. No extraneous decorations were present. It was the barest of living arrangements.

The boy had been living here on his own. Not leaving, making due with whatever his father could send his way. Thorel knew he was here, hiding. The apprentice closed his eyes, focused his mind. Before long, he had a fix on the child’s location. Thorel called out to him, said he was a friend. But a distrust of strangers had been firmly implanted into the boy’s mind via his father.

The apprentice eventually won him over, telling tales of the Academy and the future that awaited him. The young Zabrak emerged from his room, face stoic and chin held high. He walked out, ready to face whatever had come his way. Thorel offered a smile and a respectful nod of his head.

Together, the two exited the housing structure and made their way toward the nearby starport. Isorr was heading for the Academy.

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Osetto
11.22.2012 , 08:21 PM | #83
Chapter Thirteen: Hunters

Bowcaster. Highly modified. Detachable barrel extension. Specialized quarrel ammunitions. Secondary and tertiary firing mechanisms. Extended stock. Two-point sling. Variable telescopic mount.

Ryyk Kerarthorr blades. Two hand-forged weapons. A long curved edge the length of an arm, handle mounted at a ninety degree angle at the base giving it the image of an elongated sickle.

Goggles. Active data streaming. Toggled image intensification and infrared sights. Scope synchronization.

Battle harness. Crossing bandoliers stocked with abundant ammunition and a plethora of situational devices. Across the back, two sheaths and a holster for the bowcaster. No armor. Didn’t need armor.

----------

Trandosha. Birthplace of some of the finest and fiercest independent hunters, warriors, and mercenaries the galaxy. The planet’s details matched its denizens in diversity and intent. The unforgiving deserts lashed out at any foolish enough to cross them with sandstorms and heat. Treacherous peaks towered over lesser formations, adamant in their stature. But not all was dominance and savagery.

A golden savannah rested between the barren lands and the small village of Ssarik. A place where trackers tested their skill. Where sons followed in their fathers’ footsteps. Where a respect existed between hunters and their prey. The area was not fraught with intensely dangerous wildlife, but there none-the-less existed a chain of supremacy amongst the indigenous and imported fauna. A chain that any self-respecting Trandoshan sought to be on top of.

A small hunting party slinked through the high grass. Four adults. Four children. Each member of the reptilian group held a hunting rifle close to their chest as they stalked their prey. Their scales ranging from yellow to a sandy brown, they blended in perfectly with their surroundings.

Moving forward, the party leader followed a specific path through the grass until he reached a clearing. Halting his progress, he raised a claw signaling the group to do the same. Ahead rest a small pack of katarn. Small. Lean. The four legged reptomammals nested around a large tree that stood alone amidst the vast plains. A number rested at the tree’s base, whilst one clung to the side mid-climb, almost acting as a sentry.

The hunting party’s leader beckoned one of the children to move up next to him. The scales of the small Trandoshan that snuck forward matched those of the adult, signifying lineage. The father instructed the son to raise his weapon, before silently ordering the rest of the group to spread out laterally. The child nodded and steadied his weapon against his shoulder, taking careful aim at the katarn hanging from the tree’s side. However, before he could proceed, a loud bang rang out in the distance, prompting the group of animals to hurriedly scurry up the tree.

The hunters looked around for the source of the disturbance, only to see a rising pillar of smoke emanate from where their village should be. The pack leader snarled a command and the group began sprinting back toward their home. Their uncovered feet dug at the grass and dirt beneath their heels, kicking up dust as they rushed toward their burning village. They ran and ran, each minute the silhouette of their home growing clearer and more focused. But with clarity came dismay.

Every building was ablaze. The sounds of combat echoed toward the returning hunting party, but none could register anything above a muffled chaos. Explosions rang out. Structures toppled. The group was still so far away, and there was nothing they could do to prevent the utter destruction of their homes.

Suddenly, amidst the haze of fire and smoke, a mysterious object began to rise above the village. The hunters watched as the shadowed object began to float, basking in the rising ashes of their homes. The group took pause, ceasing their meaningless attempt to reach their destination. They instead continued to gaze upon the object as it emerged from the haze and began making its way towards them.

The black freighter’s engines howled as the ship flew toward the hunters. The blocky starship was utterly intimidating, as were the dual cannons mounted upon its front. As the ship zoomed ever closer, the Trandoshans dove to the ground, covering their heads as they expected a hail of laser fire. Instead, the freighter passed directly over them, shaken the very ground that sat beneath them. Looking up, the hunters saw the starship’s cargo bay door was open.

Emerging from the black freighter's hind end was a lone figure stationed upon a jettisoned platform. The small repulsorcraft fell from the sky, before coming to a soft halt as it hovering gently above the flowing grasslands. The platform was little more than a flat surface bolstered by engines with a control panel sticking up from it. Manning that control panel, however, was someone far from simple.

‘Direclaw’. The silver-haired Wookiee stood tall upon his platform, eyes hidden behind goggles, the lambent flames of destruction reflecting off the black lenses. The lone figure gazed upon the rising hunters below with an eternally stoic visage. As the Trandoshans raised their weapons, the Wookiee retrieved the one upon his back. A flurry of blaster bolts rang out toward the platform, impacting against the vehicle to little effect.

Amidst the chaos, Direclaw was the epitome of calm. In one smooth motion, he shouldered his bowcaster and launched a projectile toward one of the adults. The energy charged quarrel planted itself in the center of the yellow-scaled Trandoshan’s chest, killing him immediately. The leader of the hunting party snarled a command and directed the children to flee. The young ones complied, running back into the tall grass one by one.

Direclaw primed another quarrel and soon, another adult of the hunting party was put down. As the Wookiee scanned for his third target, the head Trandoshan rushed toward the platform and leapt at its heels. The vehicle dipped and swayed as the reptile clutched at the aggressor’s feet. The second Trandoshan remaining fired a careful bolt toward the distracted Wookiee, landing a messy shot against the target’s shoulder. Direclaw stumbled backward, before leaping from his platform.

The Wookiee landed on the grounds below with nary a bend in his knees, with the lead Trandoshan following soon after. As the reptile straightened his posture, he found the Wookiee already aiming his bowcaster at him. Ducking to the ground, the hunter managed to escape the launched quarrel, but his fellow behind him wasn’t so lucky.

Only two men remained. Two masters of the hunt. The Trandoshan rushed up to his knees, firing his rifle at the Wookiee. The silver-haired hunter was remarkably swift, darting to the side as the red bolts of energy flew past his head. The scaled hunter kept the target in his sights, but was unable to land a proper hit. He was used to hunting game. This was no game.

Direclaw closed in on the remaining Trandoshan. The gap between them closed to nothing in an instant. Instead of raising his bowcaster, the Wookiee merely released the weapon from his grasp, letting it fall to the soft grass. Reaching behind his back, Direclaw’s hands returned baring two hand-forged blades. The last thing the Trandoshan saw was the Wookiee’s face staring directly at his as the two blades crossed directly below his chin. A moment later, the Wookiee uncrossed them, sending the hunter’s head to the ground, the rest of his body following shortly after.

The Wookiee straightened his posture and returned his bloodied blades to their sheaths. Slowly, he dusted himself off and picked up his bowcaster. Touching a small device strapped to his left bandolier, the aerial platform lowered itself, allowing its rider to hop back on. With a tap of his claws against the control panel, the vehicle lifted itself and the Wookiee scanned the surrounding fields.

Lines of disturbed grass signaled the paths of the fleeing Trandoshan children. Ordering his platform forward, Direclaw ejected his bowcaster’s magazine and replaced it with another. It wasn’t long before he had the first child within his sights. Shouldering his weapon, he took careful aim and fired an unenergized quarrel. The metallic bolt planted itself in the child’s back, sticking out while its tip delivered a dose of nonlethal sedative deliberately measured for this particular prey.

Direclaw turned toward the next child as the first victim continued to run, eventually succumbing to a sluggish stupor and falling to the ground. One by one the young Trandoshans fell. When all four were dealt with, the Wookiee set his vehicle down.

The eyes of the hunt master’s son grew heavier and heavier as he lost control of his entire body. Paralyzed, but he could still feel the grass scratching at his cheek. Suddenly, an imposing figure stood over him, blotting out the sun as he laid prone in the Wookiee’s shadow. In his last moments of consciousness, the son witnessed the figure clamp an electrified collar around his neck and drag him toward where his fellows lay.

Direclaw pressed a button on his parked vehicle, signaling the automated pilot installed in his freighter to return. As the black starship descended, the Wookiee returned the platform to its bay, and placed the unconscious children in a series of cages.

----------

Pa’nek Station. An orbital space station situated on the fringes of Hutt space. A marketplace for all things illicit with none of the glitz of Nar Shaddaa. In one of the many hangar bays, worker droids unloaded the cargo of Direclaw’s freighter. The caged Trandoshans made their way to the market alongside other various crates and containers.

The sentient creatures were put on display alongside various rare fauna and beasts of burden. Very few in the galaxy had need or want for Trandoshan slaves, but the Wookiee took great pride in his work. As Direclaw waited for a potential sale, he was greeted with the sight of an approaching buyer. Young. Male. Human. Red coat. He was interested in one of the children, one in particular. A deal was struck, the Wookiee gave warning of what was to be expected, but he Human offered only a content smile and the nod of his head as he parted with his credits.

A group of attendants began to transport the caged Trandoshan toward the Human’s ship, when the child began thrashing about. His motions ceased when the electric collar around his neck activated, forcing the reptile into a defeated slump. The Wookiee handed over he collar’s control and offered a departing nod.

In the Human’s hangar, the transporters were about to load the Trandoshan’s container into the Fury-class interceptor when the owner dismissed them. Alone with his purchased item, the man unlocked the cage and asked the child to come out. The lizard hesitantly complied. The two figures faced one another, one refusing to look the other in the eye. Bending his knees, the Human reached around the child’s neck and unlatched the restraining collar.

The Trandoshan lifted his gaze, looking the Human in the eye for only a second before darting for the exit. The Human turned and watched the child make a run for it, letting out a brief sigh. Just as the alien was about to reach the entrance to the station’s interior, the Human reached out with his hand and offered the quick flick of his wrist. Suddenly, the Trandoshan was flung backward, tugged by an invisible force and dragged back to his master’s feet.

The alien offered a confused look as he gazed up at the smiling Human, who now offered a helping hand. There were words to be shared. Explanations to be had. The promise of hidden power. Of redeemed honor. Of countless battles and tests of might.

The Trandoshan no longer wished to run, but to walk, alongside the Human and onto his ship. Nesk was heading for the Academy.

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Osetto
11.27.2012 , 12:23 AM | #84
Chapter Fourteen: Warriors

“I’m worried about the boy. He hasn’t spoken a word since his father’s death. This is an integral point in his training, and without his father to train him, the tribe doesn’t know what should be done with him.”

“He can train with the group, but it is the duty of the father to tend to the son. He’ll have until the end of the next cycle to find a warrior willing to adopt him. If he can’t, he’ll be banished.

“I understand. I’ll inform the others.”

----------

Tatooine. Two suns. Sand. Lots of sand. And rocks. An all-around intolerable place to be.

At the base of a mountain ridge stood the mouth of a cave. And in front of that mouth stood a man. A man who looked onward with utter disappointment as his red coat wafted in the wind and the blowing sand nicked at his boots. The gentle whistle of the warm breeze against the caverns was momentarily drowned out by the Human’s deep sigh.

“I hate this place,” Thorel muttered to himself. Before delving into the dark corridors, the Sith retrieved the holocommunicator from his coat and powered it up, the image of his master appearing a moment later.

“My apprentice. Have you concluded your business on Tatooine?” Tash asked.

“I wish,” Thorel said, uncharacteristically grumpy. “I don’t understand how this hellish dust ball manages to remain relevant in the galaxy. It’s horrible here. And now you’re sending me after recruits in caves? I mean, the Rattataki and Trandoshans can be primitive, but they’re light years ahead of these Sand People.”

“Luckily for you, Syrosk says the child is a different type of alien. A Nikto,” Tash explained.

“What’s he doing hiding in a cave?”

“I don’t know. We only have the information afforded to us by Syrosk’s visions. As remarkable as they are, they are fairly limited in scope. And if it goes unheeded, it will linger in his mind. We nearing the necessary number of students, so we shan’t have to do deal with many more of these excursions. Secure the child and return to me.”

Thorel’s shoulders drooped. "Couldn't you have sent Odrek on this one?"

“He is currently occupied with separate affairs. In my latest series of appeasements, I offered his services to Darth Malgus, whose apparently heading some operation involving Alderaan,” Tash explained.

"Really. He gets Alderaan. I get stuck with Tatooine?”

“Your skills are better suited to your current task.”

“I’m afraid my charm and wit don’t exactly translate to appeasing tribals,” Thorel admitted.

“Might I remind you that you remain a Sith, apprentice. Return with the child. That is all.”

The holocommunicator shut off and Thorel was stuck eyeing the mouth of the cave. Peering in deeper, the apprentice saw the faint flicker and glow of golden light further in. With a hefty hesitation, the Sith eventually made his way into the cavern. Slowly he trekked deeper and deeper until he came across manmade fixtures lining the walls. Primitive, but the sign of a sentient’s dwelling. Electronic torches. Dim. Connected by thin wires and cables that stretched deeper into the cave.

The singular tunnel continued without branches, leading the Sith down the only possible path. Carefully he walked, trying to muffle the sounds of his boots against the hard rock below. Despite his usual aloofness, he hadn’t dropped his guard, scanning the winding path that laid before him. Studying his surroundings, the Sith didn’t know what to expect. The area only matched half of what he had learned of the planet’s indigenous Sand People. No paintings. No tapestries. No burning flames. Only the a faint clattering of metal resonating deeper within the cave.

Eventually the tunnel widened and opened entirely to a large cavern. The single domed chamber was immense, capable of housing a number of small families. Within its boundaries, a number of tents had been constructed. Beside them rest the tools of battle. Racks of weapons and armor. Training dummies. Combat arenas. Standing at the entrance to the populated chamber, the Sith realized his expectations were off.

“Morgukai,” Thorel muttered to himself.

The sound of clattering metal ceased. Eight warriors scattered about the chamber stopped their various training exercises and turned their heads toward the source of the disturbance. The Sith suddenly felt the burdening stares of eight Kajain'sa'Nikto, each armed and armored, beating down upon him. Trained Jedi killers, each and every one of them. Staffs and armor plating forged from cortosis. None of them looked too pleased by the Sith’s presence.

With a deep breath, Thorel spoke up. “I am looking for a child…”

“I don’t care what it is you seek,” one of the Morgukai snarled. He stood separate from the others. More lines than usual upon his face. A person of stature, socially and physically. The group’s chieftain. “I see your garb. Your weapon. Your presence. You are either Jedi… or Sith. We do not abide the company of either. Servants of the Force aren’t to be trusted, and when one stumbles upon our camp… their lives are forfeit.”

Simultaneously, the chieftain and his fellow warriors raised their weapons, hands firmly gripped upon the black staff as their tips began to arc with electricity. The Morgukai began to close in on the Sith, who remained adamant in his motionless stance.

“And what of the Force-sensitive currently residing within your camp?”

The warriors immediately took pause.

“What are you talking about?” the chieftain asked, sufficiently perturbed.

“What reason does a Sith have to come to this deserted wasteland, walk amongst the endless seas of sand, enter an utterly unremarkable cave, and ‘stumble’ across a small detachment of Jedi-slash-Sith killing death cultists? There is a child here, one of your own, that possesses the gift of Force-sensitivity. I’ve come to extend him an offer. A place to develop his talents. To train his body, mind, and spirit in ways far beyond the understanding of your group. To become a proper warrior.”

Suddenly, emerging from one of the tents was the head of a young boy intrigued by the words he had gathered eavesdropping. The child gazed upon the Sith with a cold visage, one afforded to him by his species’ biology coupled with a particularly harsh upbringing. The Sith offered the boy a nod as he emerged fully from his tent.

The Morgukai chieftain darted his gaze between the intruder and the child, never dropping his disgusted demeanor. “We’ll deal with the boy after you are disposed of.”

Whatever pleasantness had remained upon the Sith visage was all but wiped clean. In its place a stern glare levied at the Morgukai chief.

“Your training may have shielded your minds from me, but the boy’s thoughts are clear as day. All you lot care about is death. Your codes, your creeds, your skills, your interactions, your relationships… it all leads back to death. It’s the only language you’re fluent in. Very well.” The Sith reached to his belt and retrieved his lightsaber, igniting its crimson blade with a flick of his wrist. “Let’s converse.”

The closest Morgukai lunged to strike, bringing the head of his staff down upon the Sith in a mighty arc. With supreme speed, the Human sidestepped the blow unfazed. The warrior recovered quick enough to avoid colliding his weapon with the ground, but not quickly enough to avoid the tip of the Sith’s crimson blade puncturing his throat with one swift thrust. Retracting his blade just as quick, the first victim had not even reached the ground as the group closed in on Thorel.

A second approached the Sith, keeping his guard tight and his weapon close. Thorel’s lightsaber brushed against the length of the warrior’s staff, eliciting a shower of sparks as it refused to cut through. His grip tightened, the defending Nikto could not extend his reach as the Sith continued toward his flank. In one smooth, fluid motion, the apprentice plunged his saber into the warrior’s side, an area unprotected by armor plating.

A third lashed out at the Sith, the two fighters’ weapons making brief, but frequent contact as they traded a series of blows. The fourth Nikto moved to the Human’s rear, attempting to flank him. Opponents on opposite sides, the Sith was on the defensive, dividing his attention between the two foes. Darting back and forth between the two, Thorel eventually parried a blow, ducking and sending the tip of the third’s electrified staff into the fourth’s shoulder. The Sith raised his blade with a swift sweep, lopping off the third’s arms at the elbows before continuing to relieve the stunned fourth of his head.

The fifth charged the Sith. Thorel replied with the powerful swiping of his free hand. Suddenly, the charging Nikto lost his footing, as if a rug were instantly pulled out from under him. For a second, the warrior was floating, but in the next he was flying as the apprentice thrust both hand forward, furiously knocking the Nikto back and into the nearest rock face with a Force push. A loud thud resonated throughout the chamber as the warrior's head collided with the solid surface.

The sixth maintained his distance, but to little avail as the Sith released his grip on the lightsaber with a calculated toss. The saber swirled upon an arcing flight path toward the Nikto’s head. The seventh thought to capitalized on the Sith’s weaponless state. Just as the flung saber passed through the sixth’s neck, the seventh lunged his staff’s tip at the Human. The Sith sidestepped the thrust, batting the weapon away with one hand as the other collided with the warrior’s chest plate with an open palm. As soon as it made contact, a powerful Force push traveled through the armor, sternum, and lungs of the seventh Nikto. Reeling from the loss of his breath and his insides being rearranged, the Sith’s saber had finished its arc and was once more held within his hand. Thrusting the crimson blades tip forward, it managed to pierce the cracked chest plate and everything resting behind it.

The last of the Morgukai remained. The eighth. The chieftain. The two squared off, eyes intently locked. The two collided without another moment of hesitation, trading blows with a high degree of expertise. The Sith moved with a fluid grace, anticipating and deflecting any blows that came his way, making artful thrusts and jabs when the proper moment arrived. The apprentice nicked at the Nikto’s chest, blade bouncing off the cortosis-weave armor with little lasting effect. The chieftain put up a good fight, but his defenses were failing. With each subsequent lunge of his staff, the Sith would land a glancing blow on his unguarded limbs, leaving numerous burns and lashes upon the chieftain’s arms and legs.

The Nikto’s movements were slowing, his limbs suffering from damage and fatigue. One errant strike later, and the Sith was able to plunge the tip of his blade deep into the chieftain’s thigh, bringing the warrior to his knees. As he struggled to steady himself, resting the majority of his weight upon the staff, the Nikto gritted his teeth as he stared at the stilled Sith that now stood across from him.

“He’ll never… be a proper warrior…” the chieftain muttered.

“That not for you to decide,” Thorel replied. The Sith followed up with a quick slash of his blade, severing the head of the last Morgukai warrior. As all eight Nikto laid motionless upon the ground, Thorel calmly sheathed his saber and returned it to his belt. Looking up from the ground, he saw the child standing unfazed outside the boundaries of his tent. Slowly, the boy eyed each and every one of the fallen warriors before laying his eyes upon their killer. “Listen, there is much to…”

The child took a step from his previous frozen stature. Then another. And another. Until he finally stood in front of the Human himself. The Sith stood in silence, as the young Nikto simply offered a single dutiful nod and began to walk toward the exit of the cavern.

Thorel offered the slight tilt of his head before following the child. Together, they vacated the caves and made their way to the apprentice’s docked ship. Vurt was heading for the Academy.

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Arator
11.27.2012 , 01:39 AM | #85
This is awesome! Keep up the great work. Love reading it.
Ara'tor - 55 Powertech // Ariadne - 55 Juggernaught

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FlashDeShiro
11.28.2012 , 01:31 AM | #86
i love reading your work, i love the back stories on the characters, keep it up!!!

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Osetto
11.28.2012 , 09:56 PM | #87
Thanks for the comments and kind words everyone. Just two entries to go (since I think the last two characters to cover will require multiple chapters) until the third act. I'll have something of a heavy scholastic writings workload over the next few days as the semester's end draws near, so the first part of Syrosk's origin may be up by the middle to end of next week.



To throw some bonus content your way, here's some stats about this story and its writing so far.

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Osetto
12.06.2012 , 08:40 PM | #88
Chapter Fifteen: Seers (Part One)

56 BTC

The galaxy at large knew nothing of the Sith Empire that lurked in the shadows. It had not yet known the calamity and chaos of the Great Galactic War. The Republic persisted and acted in its usual manners, unaware of those plotting, planning its eventual downfall. And Dromund Kaas was the same as it ever was. Dark and gloomy skies at each hour of the day. Beneath them, the various machinations of Sith Lords and their lessers.

Within the hallowed halls of the Citadel, prestigious Lords made their dealings shielded from the prying eyes of even their peers. Within one office, two individuals were engaged in polite conversation. One, an elderly Sith Pureblood, sat behind a tremendous desk, basking in the regality that made up the room’s design. The other, a plain, unassuming Human.

Male. Garbed in the simplest of black robes, the only piece of note was the jeweled amulet that hung from his neck bearing a dark yellow stone enwrapped with silver. His short, dark hair was kept tidy and combed in a rather formal fashion. He gazed at the Sith who sat across from him, watching with an unwavering stoicism as the Pureblood’s eyes poured over a datapad.

“Impressive. Most impressive,” the Pureblood said. “You and your men have secured all these names?”

“No men, just me,” the Human replied.

“I see. And they’ve been verified?”

“I’ve visited with each of them. Though not all have shown proper manifestations, I am sure they all have the potential,” the Human explained. “I’ve also provided recommendations for institutions based on the children’s inherent talents and status. Ziost, Odacer-Faustin, the local Academy for the most gifted.”

“I must say, your work continues to surprise us,” the Pureblood admitted. “You do the Empire a great favor in finding the potential Sith that manage to evade our notice. Honestly, if all parents would just put their children through the suggested tests it would save us a lot of trouble.”

“If they had the slightest reason to believe their child might be Force-sensitive, most Imperials would readily submit them to the trials. However, power unexpected is power unfulfilled. I specialize in searching for those with dormant Force-sensitivity. Those who belong to families unaware of their lineages.”

The Pureblood scoffed. “Wouldn’t be a problem if everyone were tested, regardless of expectations. Even if they can’t use the Force, it would provide a welcome challenge in their lives. It’s almost as if the populace has forgotten what we’ve spent all these years preparing for.” Letting out a sigh, the Pureblood set the datapad upon the desk’s surface. “I’ll send for the recruiters momentarily. Until next time, Lord Omnus.”

The Human Lord lifted himself from his seat and offered a low bow of his head to the Pureblood before exiting the office. With a gentle pace, Omnus made his way through the Citadel halls, arms neatly folded behind his back as he walked with seemingly no destination in mind. His stoic gaze drifted from side to side, watching the various masters go about their business, apprentices firmly in tow. He, meanwhile, continued onwards alone.

Outside, the skies above offered little indication of the time, but the capital was bustling in its midday activities. The people moved with a purpose. Omnus on the other hand, was content to stroll. With a distinct lack of haste, the Lord made his way to the city’s markets by way of speeder. As he disembarked and continued on foot, the Human began to feel a strange tingling in the air. Surreptitiously scanning the nearby streets, nothing was amiss with the local pedestrians. And even the nearby Sith hadn’t noticed anything.

Omnus paused his advance, closed his eyes, and focused his mind. Not a moment later did his eyes snap open as he began to search the surrounding scene. His gaze was frantic, and yet it was guided by some intrinsic knowledge. The Lord’s eyes would eventually come to rest upon a dark alley nestled between two buildings. An enduring, concealing darkness lay beyond. As he regained his usual stoic visage, the Human calmly ventured forth into the alleyway.

With each step, the sights and sounds of the city disappeared from his senses. There was nothing back here. And yet there was something. Some thing. Life. Yet everything was still. The alley continued, branching and winding with narrower and narrower paths. Eventually, the Human had reached a point where there was no evidence of a city behind him.

Omnus stood, basking in the silent darkness. What appeared to be one of the city’s outer walls stretched in front of him. Stacks of unassuming crates rested on either side of the Lord. Shutting his eyes, the Human took a deep breath as he felt his surroundings within his mind. Slowly, he came to, took a few steps, and stopped in front of a single sizable crate. He looked it over with a slight tilt of his head, before delivering a swift kick of his boot to the container's side. As he retracted his foot, the crate began to shake even further.

There was movement inside, until finally one of the sides gave way and a child came tumbling out. Cloaked in rags and shadows, the young one scuttled along the ground trying to put some distance between himself and the invader. Just as he lifted himself up from the ground, the child found himself being lifted much higher than expected. His forward movement ceased as his entire body began to rise and hover a short distance from the ground. Struggling and writhing, the boy spun to see the Human reaching out with his arms, clutching the air with a determined gaze.

As he held the child up with the Force, Omnus managed to get a better look at the strange creature. Alien, the boy had two horns emanating from his cranium, curving forward so that their tips strayed beyond the covering of his ragged hood. Even as his position was locked, the child refused to cease his motions, swinging his arms and kicking his legs as the Sith Lord looked upon him with the simple arch of his brow.

“Boy, you’re going to have to try harder than that,” Omnus muttered. The alien took pause and limply floated as the Human rotated him until they faced one another. The two figures locked their gazes, face to face.

The child’s eyes sharpened and the Lord’s confusion had peaked. His stoicism and concentration faltered as he felt a sharp scratch cut across his mind. Omnus’ grip loosened and the alien was once more on the ground. Not a moment later, the boy tried to flee, darting down the alleyway. Recovering, the Lord reaffirmed his telekinetic grip and dragged the alien back to his position. Throughout all the struggles, the child never let out a single sound.

The boy’s heels scraped against the ground as he was slid back toward the Human. His wits firmly about him, Lord Omnus studied the creature. There was a peculiarity about him. Uncivilized, but intelligent. He had tried to escape, but made careful note not to draw any excess attention to himself. And most peculiar of all, he had lashed out with his mind.

Closing the remaining gap, the Sith Lord took ahold of the child’s shoulders with a firm grasp and stared deeply into his eyes. “Who are you? What are you?” Omnus inquired with a tone falling directly between comforting and demanding.

The child’s eyes began to sharpen once more, eliciting a gruff chuckle from the Human.

“I’m afraid that won’t work a second time,” Omnus declared. The alien relaxed his gaze as he remained trapped by the adult’s grip. The Lord tilted his head with a curious intrigue as he felt an unknown force nipping at the back of his head. “Oh… you truly are something else. What is it you hope to find rattling about in my head? Information? Motivation?”

The Sith Lord’s lips stopped moving, but his words continued to reach the boy’s senses.

“You’re not the only one with a talent,” Omnus’ words bombarded the child’s mind. The alien winced as he felt an intruding presence claw its way through his mind. When the presence retracted, the child opened his eyes to see the Human's calm gaze placed upon him. “You’ve either the most well-guarded mind in the entire Empire, or you know as little about yourself as I do.”

The Lord relinquished his grip on the child, who took a calculated step away, his back against a high stack of crates. The Human straightened his posture and looked upon the child as he folded his hands behind his back.

“An amnesiac telepathic alien on Dromund Kaas,” Omnus said. “The word ‘peculiar’ doesn’t begin to describe your situation. I assume you’ve made your home among these back alleys, picking up scraps of food for however long you’ve been here, avoiding confrontation with your… skills. Sensing minds when they draw near, or perhaps…”

Stealthily, Lord Omnus unfolded one of the hand behind his back. Reaching out with the Force, the Human quietly lifted the small crate on the top of the stack behind the boy. Carefully he positioned it above the child’s head, guarding his thoughts from any possible intrusions. Suddenly, just before he released his grip, the alien darted to the side to avoid the soon to be falling object.

“Limited precognitive abilities… very interesting. I’d say these talents could be afforded to your species but I… sense something special inside you. You possess the gift of the Force.”

The boy’s expression changed little. He obviously understood the word, having read it upon the minds of countless nearby citizens, but held no measure of its meaning or worth. Slowly, Lord Omnus began to kneel upon the ground, hands placed upon his lap and eyes lightly closed.

“No explanation I could give would prove sufficient, so I offer my mind to you with no restrictions,” Omnus declared. “Allow me to shed some light on what rests inside you.”

The child took a cautious step forward. He knew the Human was in little position to prevent his escape. But he also knew the man possessed the same skills he did, to a far greater degree. They had touched each other’s minds. Each knew of the other’s presence, and could seek them out at their discretion. The alien stayed, gazing upon the meditative Human. Reaching out with his mind, the child searched for answers, and found many.

Visions began to swarm the alien’s mind. Flashing images of deadly and battle-hardened warriors brandishing swords of light against one another, energies surrounding and flowing from them. Those who basked in the radiance shunned and cast out their dark brethren. The exiles drifted across the vastness of space, until they settled upon a barren world of crimson men and their shadowed hearts. Blood mixed. Rites and knowledge converged. Those who persisted would call themselves Sith.

The child watched as countless years of history were condensed into mere moments. The rise and fall of the Sith peoples. Their wants, their creeds. The Republic’s attempts to utterly extinguish their order more than a thousand years ago. He saw an Empire hiding in the shadows, its citizens forged in the fires of combat. Their limits tested. Their potential unlocked. Bodies, minds, and spirits all driven toward perfection. Those most worthy ascending to power from nothing, ready to lead their followers to victory.

The alien broke his connection with the Sith, taking a step back as he tried to recover from the overwhelming feeling stirring within him.

“I am Lord Omnus,” the Human declared, rising to his feet. “How would you like to be my apprentice?”

The child raised his head, firmly locking his gaze with the Human’s and offering a firm nod of his head.

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Osetto
12.09.2012 , 12:36 AM | #89
Chapter Sixteen: Seers (Part Two)

Lord Omnus walked the streets of the Imperial capital with usual stoicism, hands behind his back as the raggedy alien carefully kept pace on his trail. The child’s gaze darted from side to side as he observed his surroundings, growing increasingly uncomfortable being out in the open. More and more eyes fell upon him. More and more whispers began to creep into his mind. Meanwhile his master continued his stroll unfazed.

“You feel it, don’t you?” Omnus’ words rang out in the alien’s head. “The attention. The burden. You’ve never stepped out into the light, have you? At least, not so far as you can remember. You can hear their thoughts. None of them positive. You are an alien. An animal. A scourge. Most Imperials believe you have no place in our superior society. I’ve no patience for excessive inclusion, but I do believe in talent above all else. Above social status. Above genealogy. Above tradition. As my apprentice, I will impart upon you the training necessary to harness your skills. If I am mistaken about your potential, I’ll not hesitate to cast you back into the shadows.”

The child’s attention focused on his master, ignoring the numerous stares offered by Imperial passersby. Looking upon the back of the Human’s head, the whispers slowly began to quiet as he regained control of his mental senses.

“The road that lays before you is long and hazardous. You’ll face just as many enemies within the Empire as you would outside its borders. They will try to beat you, keep you down, but the path of hardship leads toward the unlocking of your full potential. It will fuel your passion, which will give you strength. With strength comes power. With power comes victory. With victory comes freedom. But one can only earn as much by harnessing the power of the Force.”

----------

Nestled deep within the Citadel rest a sanctum, tucked away from the offices and dwellings of Sith who felt the need for grandiose displays of their positions. Lord Omnus’ home within Dromund Kaas. A quaint accommodation, the area spoke of its owner. Lightly decorated, eschewing the typical lavishness exhibited by some of his peers. Six rooms: Entry hall, living area, dining area, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom. A place gifted to someone in good standing. A place earned by merit of its owner’s value.

Sitting at the head of the dining table, the alien sat patiently, waiting for his master’s return as he eyed the empty placemat in front of him. Soft noises emanated from kitchen, the clangs of metal containers and dishes. The boy was starving, but silently he endured, sitting in his tattered black clothes. Eventually his master would emerge, bearing a single bowl.

Lord Omnus placed the dish in front of his apprentices. The child’s eye began to water as the warm vapors of the contents wafted into his overlooking face. The bowl contained a simple allotment of cereal grain. White. Barely flavored. But it was food none the less.

The alien looked up to his master, who supplied a simple affirming nod. Immediately the child dug in, forgoing any utensils and instead shoveling the food into his mouth with his clawed digits. Lifting up the bowl, the boy intended to tilt the remaining contents directly into his mouth, when an unexpected hand took hold of the bowl. Slamming it down upon the table, Lord Omnus had placed his hand on the dish’s outer rim. The next moment, the alien found the bowl to be dragged toward the center of the table and out of his reach.

The boy gazed up to his master with a look of disheartened confusion as the Lord began to circle around to the other side of the table. Taking the seat across from his apprentice, the Human locked on to the child with his usual stoic gaze.

“You are hungry, correct?” Omnus calmly asked. The boy supplied a hurried nod. “You seek to sate that hunger?” Another nod. “Then you must learn to take what it is you desire, otherwise someone will take it from you.”

The boy’s visage contorted to one of anger. One of determination. Eagerly, he began to rise from his seat to reach further across the table. Suddenly, he felt an invisible force forcing him back into his chair.

“No,” Omnus stated, only slightly raising his voice. “Anyone can use their body to achieve their desires, even the lowliest of beasts and slaves. A Sith forces what he desires to come to him. Make the bowl come to you.”

The child stared vacantly at his master for a moment before focusing his attention on the bowl. His eyes sharpened as he focused his mind on the object. He concentrated, not entirely sure what he was concentrating on.

“It is only a bowl of rice. It has no mind. You need not know its intentions. You cannot trick it into coming to you. Your only option is the application of pure force. Hold out your hand. Feel the object in your mind. Encase it with an invisible tether and pull!”

The apprentice complied, following his master’s instructions in measured steps. His right hand extended until his elbow locked in place. His full attention fell upon the distant bowl of food. His eyes saw only the bowl. His mind saw only the bowl. Slowly his clawed fingers clenched toward a fist as he attempted to grip the item with the Force.

“Don’t focus on the problem. Focus on the solution. Remember why you want what you are trying to attain.”

The bowl began to shake. The child’s eyes sharpened and his nostrils flared as he struggled to take control over the simple dish. He could feel something inside. Something trying desperately to escape. Some unknown feeling. Some unknown energy. In a moment of clarity, he let go, releasing the Force from his body, but snatching it back with the deft motion of his hand.

The alien watched as the bowl was flung toward him, almost spilling its contents before he managed to catch it within his hands. His face displaying a genuine surprise, the child lightly set the received bowl upon the placemat in front of him. Looking to his master, he saw the Human bearing an approving smile upon his face. Lord Omnus followed it up with an affirming nod, granting the boy the permission to feast he so desperately wanted.

The Human watched with subtle admiration as the boy dug into what remained of the meal. “It is when we are at our weakest, that we manage to find strength. Remember that.”

It wasn’t long before the apprentice had finished the bowl, not yet full but decidedly satisfied. Wiping his mouth, he saw his master had not yet broken his continuous gaze.

“Would you care for more?” Omnus asked. The boy replied with a nod. “You will not get far with mere gestures. You will have to speak up. Now, would you care for more?”

With hesitation the child spoke up. “Yes,” he squeaked. The boy’s voice was juvenile but coarse, as if it had shriveled from disuse.

“Alright. I’ll make you some more then,” Omnus stated.

He quickly lifted himself from his seat and ventured back into the kitchen with the spent bowl in his hand. Hardly any time passed before he returned with a full bowl and set it in front of his apprentice. Glancing at the simple dish, the alien was once more greeted by the steam that rose from the warm rice. Raising his gaze, he once more waited for his master’s approval.

“Your previous life has trained you to be cautious. That will serve you well,” Omnus declared. “But you’ve endured enough for the day. No more tests. Enjoy.”

The boy offered a grateful nod as he partook in the gifted meal, tempering his pace this time around.

“Tell me, do you have a name, boy?” Omnus asked.

The child momentarily ceased his feast to offer a hesitant shake of his head. “No.”

“A Sith with no name, is no Sith,” Omnus declared. “And if you’ve nothing to call yourself, others will dictate your titles, and that is not a well-suited fate. I’ll give you a good Imperial name… Algo Syrosk.”

“What does it stand for?” the boy asked.

“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask one of my parents. I took on a new name the day I became a Sith Lord, so I’ve no use for that one,” Omnus explained. “Is that okay with you?”

“Yes,” Syrosk hesitantly admitted as he returned to his meal.

The next few days were spent getting Syrosk into a readied condition to begin his training proper. His tattered rags were tossed out and replaced with a true set of robes. The accumulated dirt and grime on his body had been washed away. A steady diet had replaced scrounging for bits of food. His body was being repaired, so that it could be broken over the course of training. And Syrosk was looking forward to it.

As the first week of their relationship was nearing its end, Lord Omnus and Syrosk walked the streets of Dromund Kaas. Gone was the paranoia in the alien’s visage and gait, in its stead a confident Sith who had not yet reached his teens. The two entered the Citadel where Lord Omnus had a meeting scheduled with one of his peers.

Omnus and Syrosk made their ways through the deeper halls of the Imperial bastion to reach their intended destination, the office of one Lord Leshai. Stepping inside, the pair saw the Lord sitting behind a simplistic desk, a young apprentice standing by his side. The sitting master was a Sith Pureblood a few years older than Omnus. The Human at his side appeared to be in his late teens.

Lord Omnus stood opposite the pair and offered a generous bow of his head. “Lord Leshai. Tash.”

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FlashDeShiro
12.09.2012 , 12:31 PM | #90
i love hearing all the backstories this thread is so awesome keep it up!!!