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Arrival


Ilayas

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-Arrival-

 

http://media.tumblr.com/aea141c646c894b75928756f71387dc9/tumblr_inline_ncn7cxjGAZ1sp87nm.jpg

 

Dry air rushed in as the door hissed open. Outside even the sky was red. She wondered if it had always been that color. She wondered how long before someone would try to kill her. Mostly, she wondered how Aria had felt when she first saw this world.

 

Aria would have gazed upon the vermillion monoliths and seen a brave new world ripe for the taking. All Kalya saw was danger at every turn. From her fellow initiates to their Sith masters. She fought to keep her face free of the terror and dread that roiled inside of her.

 

“I don't expect greatness from you, only that you meet your end in a way befitting one of this family.”

 

It was such a pointless request. The dead were beyond caring about how they died and she refused to spend her last moments attempting to fulfill her father's demands. It was his fault she was here. Him and his stupid dreams of a Sith lord bearing his name.

 

Aria was everything he could have hoped for; beautiful, strong, powerful and adored by all those around her. Her aura had seemed to burn like a torch in a darkened room the day the Sith collected her. He proclaimed that one destined for greatness would be found that day. The dark lord's eyes had bore into Kalya as she desperately tried to mask her powers under a veil of mediocrity. Aria had distracted him. For that Kalya was forever grateful. It almost made up for the bruises and tears her parents had always chosen to ignore over the years.

 

None of that mattered now. Aria was dead, and Kalya made a poor replacement for her father's ambitions. Had she lived no one would have ever bothered to notice Kalya and her force sensitivity would have remained hidden. She wanted to hate Aria for that, but no amount of anger would change what was. Kalya did not know how she would succeed where Aria had failed, but wallowing in past injustices wasn't going to help her stay alive. Her attention turned to the other initiates.

 

The few humans in the group appeared to be former slaves. In the front was a tall human male. She couldn't see his face. Close cropped hair did little to hide the scars were a slave collar had once been. His stride was full of strength and easy confidence. He seemed to be the oldest and the strongest in the group.

 

Aria had been 16 when they took her away, but she looked much older. Kalya was 14, almost 15, skinny and short. None of the other initiates looked younger than her.

 

A rattataki's hands twitched always reaching for something at his side which was never there. His gaze moved continuously over the group. He wasn't as big or well toned as the human boy was but everything seemed tighter and harder. His arms were covered with scars. She would have to careful of that one.

 

Two twi'lek girls kept close to each other, almost touching. They appeared to be friends. Kalya could not tell if they already knew each other beforehand or if the bond was formed recently. The blue one was stunningly beautiful she moved effortlessly with the kind of grace Kalya could never dreamed of possessing. The human boy's glances her direction went unnoticed as she studied the ruins around them.

 

The red twi'lek might have had a pretty face once, before someone had broken it. Her noes was unnaturally wide and crooked. With lekku draped around her neck and shoulders Kalya could not see if she had ever worn a slave collar. Her lopsided face scowled whenever the human boy's eyes fell upon her blue companion.

 

Taking the time to study all of the initiates Kalya made note of the ones that appeared confident and the ones that did little to hide their fear. She would have to avoid the latter lest she appear weak. The weak ones were always picked off first.

 

They stopped in front of a large stone pyramid. It towered over the ruins ominously. An older human was waiting for them. He wore Sith robes with fraying edges; the blacks had long since faded to gray, yet he prowled haughty in front of them. His yellow eyes glowed slightly.

 

“Had you been freeborn or not of one of the lesser races they might have assigned the lot of you to a “proper” Sith lord. Instead they gave me the unenviable task of sorting through this pile of refuse to find something of worth.”

 

“Let us start with something simple shall we? Is there any among you that know the Sith code?”

 

The initiates responded with down cast eyes and silence. His mussels tensed in annoyance and his mouth curled into a snarl.

 

“You in the back, the human girl, do you, or any of you other mongrels, know even part of the Sith code?”

 

“No, I don't know any Sith or Jedi codes,” She replied with a heavy republic drawl.

 

“Did I ask you if you knew the Jedi code?”

 

“N-no.”

 

“No what?”

 

“No... you didn't ask if I knew the Jedi code?”

 

He glared at her pausing only a moment before lighting shot from his fingers and she fell twitching to the ground.

 

“No you did not ask if I knew the Jedi code, my LORD.” He turned to the rest of the group “I am a Sith lord and you will address all lords of the Sith in a manner befitting our station. Now you, the cathar boy, what can you tell me of the Sith Code?”

 

He continued questioning the instates all the while doling out both verbal and physical abuse seemingly at random. Kalya soon noticed that no initiates was called upon twice if this kept up it wouldn't be long before...

 

“You there the boy with the horns, what is your name?”

 

“K-kalya, my lord.”

 

“That's a girl's name,” He glanced at his data pad for confirmation. “You are a girl, why didn't you say so?”

 

“It's not my place to correc... I mean um to contradict you, my lord.”

 

“Oh? And just where is your place?”

 

“Where... Where ever y-you tell me it is.”

 

“Ha! Such obedience! If only that was a trait shared by all zabraks. Now then, Kalya, do you know any of the Sith code?”

 

“I um... don't um... I mean um Peace... is a lie, there is only passion.”

 

“Well there's a start, perhaps Kalya's revelation has jogged some of your memories. Is there any among you that know the rest of the code?”

 

The night before Aria was taken away she had spent hours in front of a mirror reciting the code. As if saying the words over and over would some how give her power. She relished each word and phrase chanting them until she finally nodded off. It had be impossible to block out the incessant noise. Kalya awoke the next day after a few scant hours of sleep groggy and exhausted.

 

“Kalya! What is the next line in the Sith code?”

 

“T-through passion, I gain strength.”

 

“Interesting... and the next line?”

 

“Through strength, I gain power.”

 

“Next line.”

 

“Through power, I gain victory.”

 

“Next”

 

“Through victory, my chains are broken.”

 

“And finally...”

 

“The Force shall free me.”

 

“Hum very interesting indeed. Would you care to recite that again from the beginning?”

 

“Peace is a lie, there is only passion.

Through passion, I gain strength.

Through strength, I gain power.

Through power, I gain victory.

Through victory, my chains are broken.

The Force shall free me...” She paused and then quickly added “My lord.”

 

“So you knew the Sith code in it's entirety all along is that correct?”

 

“Y-yes, my lord.”

 

“Then why, pray tell, did you not answer when I asked repeatedly if anyone knew the Sith code?”

 

“I um I d-don't know, my lord.”

 

He had moved through the crowd so that he was towering over her.

 

“You are lying.”

 

“I didn't want, you to... notice me, my lord”

 

“And why is that?”

 

“I don't um... I...”

 

“Are you so anxious to find out what will happen if you lie to me a second time?”

 

“I thought if you didn't notice me you wouldn't hurt me.”

 

“How unfortunate that you have my complete and undivided attention now.” His gaze never left her face as lighting exploded from his finger tips striking one initiate and then arcing to several more. “I don't need to notice you to hurt you,” he growled.

 

“All I wanted was someone, anyone one of you, to recite the Sith code. Once that was done you all were to be fed and shown to your quarters. But because Kalya choose to remain silent, choose to disobey me, this little exercise was drawn out long far longer then it should have been.”

 

She could feel herself shrinking under the glare of all her fellow instates.

 

“There is a lesson to be learned here, disobedience will be punished collectively. I wouldn't be too cross with our dear Kalya though, her failure was small so I am willing to forgive the lot of you, just this once. You will not often find me so merciful, most times this lesson ends with several dead bodies. Speaking of which, perhaps now would be a good time to discuss the rules of the Sith Academy here on Korriban.”

 

He had stressed the importance of not being caught murdering your fellow initiates. Their sleeping quarters were communal there was no way to hide anything. Even so, Kalya hardly slept that night, nor did sleep come any easier in nights that followed.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks for reading my fic! Any feedback is welcome. This is the first proper Star Wars fanfic (if you don't want to count my webcomic) I've ever written. I don't know if I will continue this story but I think there are a lot of interesting things I could do with this character. :)

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I read this on Tumblr last night and really liked it. Apart from including an Inquistor, a class I have a soft spot for, this is an interesting take on it. An inquisitor who wasn't a slave, and is actually from what appears to be a Sith family.

 

You also captured Harkun quite well without being cartoonish. I'd love to see more!

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I read this on Tumblr last night and really liked it. Apart from including an Inquistor, a class I have a soft spot for, this is an interesting take on it. An inquisitor who wasn't a slave, and is actually from what appears to be a Sith family.

 

You also captured Harkun quite well without being cartoonish. I'd love to see more!

 

I'm glad you like my fic! This isn't really meant to follow along any class story inquisitor or other wise and the lord isn't Harkun either. Though I did have him and the inquisitor opening in mind when writing this. There seem to be many groups of initiates on Korriban so I figured the academy would need more then just Harken to sort through them. I wanted to write something in the SWTOR universe but my own story with my own characters and I saw this as an opportunity to do so.

 

If I were to post another chapter of this is should I reply to this thread or should I make a new one?

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As a reader I find it easier to follow a story contained in one thread.

And I already hope there will be more than one chapter following :)

You did a good job of showing the impossible balancing act between being unobstrusive and not appearing weak on Korriban.

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  • 1 month later...

-Cohort-

 

http://media.tumblr.com/b56441be7c0d536e842459b7ce917d14/tumblr_inline_nd7j06Nqvo1sp87nm.jpg

 

There was a pause after Darren at roll call. His name would be spoke one last time in the evening before it was never heard again. No questions would be asked nor any eulogy spoken. Struck from the record and forgotten to all but Kalya. She did not forget.

 

The first had been a rodian boy named Raneesh. He did not last the first week. A nautolan girl named Halsa went missing next followed by human everyone called Fours. No one seemed surprised when the devaronian who couldn’t keep his mouth shut, other wise known as Drake, disappeared. It was impressive he lived long enough to arrive on Korriban given the amount of fights his witticism sparked. The rattataki with the twitchy hand spent the week sulking around Lesh, before she vanished.

 

No one knew the rattataki’s real name, he answered to Twitch or Twitchy if he answered to anything at all. He did not often speak but when he did there was no kindness in his words. Kalya could not understand why everyone else seemed content to ignore him. The momentary pause after Halsa’a name had been proceed by a week’s worth of him staring at her from the shadows.

 

Kalya also kept to the shadows. The Sith code incident was quickly forgotten. True to his word Lord Balin was not so merciful the next time. She hid in their disregard, remaining out of the sight and mind. It might have been a good strategy any other place, but on Korriban the stakes were higher and the rules mercurial.

 

In the free moments between instruction and tasks the initiates milled about congregating and dividing in ever changing allegiances. Those that remained alone grew fewer every day. She needed to start making friends, and fast.

 

It seemed unlikely any of the groups would seek her out for membership and it was unwise to approach them uninvited. Fours and taught her that. His was the first dead body she had ever seen; all bloody and beaten he was almost unrecognizable. Lord Balin demanded to know what happened. When no answers were forthcoming they scrubbed every inch of their sleeping quarters until their hands were raw and then he made them do it again. It wasn’t the murder they were being punished for but rather the blatant sloppiness of it. The lesson did not need to be taught twice, the Devaronian’s body went undiscovered as did everyone after his.

 

Kalya would have to find another loner, maybe several, to form her own alliance. She was not lacking in possibilities only in courage. Failure on the first attempt did not necessarily mean failure on the second or third she reminded herself stepping into the light.

 

“You’re doing that wrong.”

 

The cathar boy turned around and growled his training saber griped menacingly.

 

“Your feet, th-they are all wrong. You are standing like this,” she shifted her stance to mirror his “but they should be like this.”

 

His feet moved as they were instructed.

 

“Yea like that, but bring in your right foot a little bit. Ok yes good. And then when you turn you shift your weight to your left like this.”

 

It took several tries before they preformed the turn in unison. His eyes narrowed with suspicion.

 

“Why are you helping me?”

 

“Because no one likes you.”

 

He bristled at that comment.

 

“I mean um… no one likes me either, and I thought maybe… we could work together? Because it would be better that way; you know to have some one watching your back.” Internally she cringed. Why was she so bad at this? Why did everything sound so much better in her head then aloud?

 

“I’m stronger then you and I don’t NEED your help.”

 

He did need help though. His strength and speed where overwhelming in the beginning; but lately he left the practice yard with more bruises and less to show for them then the time before.

 

“Darren didn’t think he needed friends either. He was bigger, stronger and better with a saber then any of us. It’s been two days now and I don’t think he’s coming back. Do you?”

 

The call for meal time interrupted them. He moved away quickly leaving her behind. One look his direction made it clear that she was not welcome by his side. Cursing herself Kalya returned to the shadows to eat and contemplate her next move. Anything that didn’t kill her she could learn from. The next time would be better, yes it would have to be better sure assured herself.

 

Kalya took some small comfort in how badly the cathar was sparring. Opponents seemed to dance around him unscathed. Given how her own session was going though she did not have much room to gloat. Intent was written plainly in the movements of her attacker but not how to counter what was coming. Dodging was about all she could manage. Going on the offensive it just ended with another painful bruise, one that she almost always saw coming. “I am as skilled with saber as I am with my words,” she thought glumly.

 

Leaving practice yard Kalya could feel someone coming up behind her. Was it the rattataki? He hadn’t been paying attention to her. Did Halsa and Lesh notice they were being watched? Maybe he knew, and had come to ensure her silence. With a chest was tight with fear and saber in hand as she whirled around to face what was surely her doom.

 

“My ah… name is Vanar” She blinked surprised to see the cathar.

 

“I know, but you would rather be called Van. Your family are farmers, not slaves. You think farming is boring and tried to join the military but they didn’t want any ‘alien scum’ in their ranks. Becoming a Sith is more then you could have ever hoped for. So you are actually happy to be here.”

 

“You don’t want to be Sith?”

 

“I wanted to be a scientist, maybe a biologist. I always liked working with animals.”

 

“How did you know all that?”

 

“I’m better at listening then I am at talking.” She had lowered her saber but remained guarded.

 

“So um…”

 

“Kalya”

 

“Yea Kalya right. So there was some stuff we learned today that… I mean I don’t need help or anything, but I want to go over again. To make sure I get it right.”

 

“Oh of course! I would love to,” she smiled.

 

Van had all sorts of plans for after he became a Sith Lord. She listened to them with apparent interest during the next meal. They discussed what name he should take when he became a Darth. Darth Fang or Klaw (they both agreed it was better with a K), were strong possibilities. His lightsaber was going to have a yellow blade. After mastering single saber combat he would move on to double sabers. Van was convinced if one was good then two where even better, and there was little anyone could say to the contrary. That night she dragged her sleeping pallet next to his without objection.

 

Every free moment was spent with sabers in hand. Once Van learned something he immediately worked it into his repertoire. Adding it here or there trying to see where it fit and how it was effective. The whole process was incredibly enlightening for Kalya. Their saber skills grew in tandem one always complementing the other.

 

It wasn’t long before the other initiates started watching them practice. All the attention made Kalya nervous. Van loved it. Afterward he graciously extolled his wisdom to the gathered crowd, while Kalya melted away into the background. No one bothered seek her out, not after what happened to Colbin.

 

Van didn’t want her talking to other people. She didn’t mind. Colbin though, he just had some questions. Kalya was by herself when he approached. A step back was followed by two of his forward, it felt like he was herding her away. Even so, Colbin didn’t actually do anything and… well… Van had only over reacted to protect her. Kalya was grateful for his intervention. No one liked Colbin anyway. Now they left her alone and that was what she wanted.

 

Kalya could feel the heat radiating off of him in the cold night air. She watched him sleep wishing to be closer and suppressing the desire to run her fingers through his spotted fur. It was soft and reminded her of a Nekarr cat she once owned. Van didn’t like that, he was a warrior after all. Warriors didn’t curl up together to ward off the cold or let others touch them. Kalya didn’t mind. It was enough that he was her friend, it was enough that he protected her and wanted her around. She closed her eyes letting sleep take her away. Yes, it would have to be enough.

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I absolutely loved it and can't wait to find out what happens next.

 

You happen to be she who at last connected the dots and revealed the horrible atmosphere of being an acolyte on Korriban. I've rolled almost a dozen sith on different servers and everytime I'm bothered that it's a breeze to navigate the Academy's hostility - not only the quests, thus, but also and chiefly the Inner Sithy Blues ^^... You even get to be snorty with the overseers and all from day one and get away with it. Only one rival stands out. The rest of the acolytes are ok. W T F ?

 

You really worked it out very well. Since killing rivals and getting caught is not an option, it had to entail that to anyone not involved, people just start disappearing mysteriously, just like that, gone. The oppressive atmosphere! Brilliant!

 

Showing fear? Dangerous. Showing confidence? Dangerous. How do you work it out? It reminds me of the old RPG Paranoïa. Trust NO ONE.

 

Also, the fact that the protagonist is 15 gives this a feeling of Harry Potter's first day in a school run by Voldemort.

 

Lastly, I feel lots of players don't get, until THEY are on the receiving end, that evil is evil. So you make us more aware of how utterly horrible a sith academy would be...

 

Two thumbs up!

Edited by BenduKundalini
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Thanks I'm glad you like both my Fic and my Web comic! I am working on the next part but it's taking me awhile because I think I'm going to have to make it two parts. But hopefully I will get it written soon as there are lots of fun (i.e. horrible) things I have planed for Kalya.
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  • 1 month later...

-Sojourn-

 

tumblr_inline_nhhb39QTyZ1sp87nm.jpg

 

 

An entirely inappropriate giggle cut through the silence of the archives. Kalya looked up from her data pad glaring. Shani was becoming a problem.

 

She found them tucked away in a corner, Shani was draped over Van. Her finger tips running through the fur on his forearms as they both gazed stupidly into each others eyes.

 

“I finished your assignment.”

 

“Oh, ah thanks…” Van said as he halfheartedly detangled himself from Shani.

 

“We should go practice, there’s about 20 min before….”

 

“But Vanar, you promised we would spend that time together.”

 

“You could watch us.”

 

“That’s so boring. I had something far more interesting in mind,” She said mischievously.

 

Van shifted uncomfortably, he appeared to be blushing, “Well… um maybe some other time.”

 

“After supper then?”

 

“Yea sure, supper…” His eyes were on Shani, drawn in by the the flash of her smile.

 

Kalya turned in her own work before finding an unobtrusive spot with a view. Her attention skipped past a group gathered around two initiates sparing. The Rattataki was in his usual place scanning the room looking at no one in particular. Two more girls had gone missing. If anyone else had made the connection they, like Kalya, gave no indication.

 

Laughter heralded the approach of Shani and Van as her entourage encircled them. Kalya couldn’t understand why the human girl had gone through the trouble of stealing Van away. As a cathar, he looked out of place in surrounded by the humans. All former slaves and all none too fond of freeborn or aliens. Van was powerful, but not that powerful and he wouldn’t remain so if he kept skipping out on practice.

 

She glanced over to the Rattataki only to find him staring down Shani. Kalya frowned. It had been quite some time, longer than unseal, since one of the Rattataki’s fixations had gone missing. Was his interest in the human recent or had Kalya just not noticed until now? Had she let something so obvious escape her attention? If so, what other important signs was she missing…?

 

“You seem to be sulking in the corners more then usual my dear Kalya.”

 

She flinched. That was odd, Balin rarely attempted to sneak up on initiates. A peal of laughter sounded in the distance Kalya clenched her jaw in annoyance. If the Sith Lord noticed he gave no indication.

 

“My lord,” she said with a slight bow.

 

“It’s nice to see your manners have not gone the way of your work ethic.”

 

She wanted to scream that it was all Shani’s fault. It wasn’t fair, Van belonged to her not that human witch.

 

“Since you seem so keen to idle about as of late, I have decided to give you a special assignment.”

 

Balin had her full attention now, “special assignment” tending to be synonymous with “suicide mission”.

 

“What sort of assignment my lord?”

 

“One of the patrols discovered, what they believe to be, a new tomb. Sadly, none of the probes Imperial Reclamation Service sent in have returned. They approached me desperate for help, and I could think of no one better suited for this task than you.”

 

“So will I be accompanying…”

 

“Oh goodness no! It will just be you and some droids.”

 

“I see… um… I will need equipment and provisions in order to…”

 

“Of course you will, and that has all been arranged with the quarter master. Though you best see him before he closes for the day, as you will leave first thing in the morning.” He handed Kalya a data pad and smiled though his eyes remained cold as ever.

 

Korriban never warm but it was particularly unpleasant on the back of a speeder. The trooper piloting the bike blocked some of the wind but not enough. She was grateful when they finally stopped.

 

“The opening is up there” He pointed at a dark spot in the cliff face “We will be back around this way in about three days. If you miss us just get on the road and keep walking east that will bring you to the nearest outpost. They’ve been told to keep an eye out for you.”

 

“Thank-you Sargent you have been most helpful.” Kalya smiled.

 

“Best of luck to you my lord.”

 

“Oh I’m not a Sith lord, not yet, just an initiate.”

 

“Well um… good luck to you any way.”

 

She watched the patrol disappear before attempting to scale the debris field before her. Recent seismic activity had revealed the opening. A cloud of dust and tumbling stones marked her assent. She reached her destination with raw hands and robes damp with perspiration.

 

Ancient Sith writing cut deep into the stone adorned the opening. Droids, that had floated passively by her side as she climbed, began scanning the glyphs. She took a moment to rested and eat. Rays from the setting sun were swallowed up before they could reveal much beyond the entrance. Night was fast approaching. It will make little enough difference in there, she thought with the sun warming her back and her eyes trying to adjust to the darkness.

 

Prowling monsters made of light and shadow moved about her as the survey droid’s beams passed from one bazaar statue and carving to another. She shoved a hand through one of the snarling faces, breaking the illusion, feeling the cold lifeless stone hidden beneath. Only a shadow, she assured her self, they were nothing but shadows.

 

Monotony was beginning to set in, when a large circular room opened up before her. The feeble artificial light could only hint at the room’s magnificence. A large dark crystal mounted on a stone pedestal dominated it’s center. Light glinted across it’s smooth, almost liquid surface. Kayla felt drawn to it. Despite the surrounding opulence, nothing was nearly so entrancing…

 

She blinked.

 

The room’s shine was muted by layers of dirt and grime but not one speck of dust marred the crystal’s surface. She backed away, regarding it’s inky depths warily. Rummaging through her pack she came upon the hardest to procurer, and probably most expensive, item she had requested. With a fragrance that invoked time a long past and pages brittle with age the book seemed at home with her surroundings. Perhaps it wasn’t as old as it seemed and all books were like that regardless of age.

 

The pen glided awkwardly across the paper as she carefully tracing the holo image projected by one of the droids. It took several pages to map out the corridor she had entered through. Margins were filled notes denoting the statues, carvings and sealed doorways lining the walls. What lay beyond them Kalya could not say; but she was just here to map and servery. Once she was done, other Sith would be in charge of unlocking it’s mysteries. Provided she made it out alive.

 

Her hand began to cramp as she finished transcribing the crystal room in ink. It was hardly surprising no one used paper any more. Upon making her request, the quartermaster had grumpily assured her shielded cases for the back up memory cores would be enough. If she know the processes of recording information by hand would be this tedious she might have taken his word for it. Still… she had seen no sign of the previous droids and only added unease this place inspired.

 

She moved along the outside wall, giving the crystalline mystery a wide berth. Three openings lay opposite the entrance. Kalya made her way down the right side. Unsurprisingly, what she found was much the same as before: statues, carvings, sealed doorways and darkness. Some of the rooms were blocked off by hastily thrown up brick walls. Others had disturbingly precise brick work seemly constructed from the inside. Kalya did not like to think about the latter.

 

The day’s exertions were beginning to take their toll. Eyelids had grown heavy and foot falls where slowing. Yawning, she looked about for a good place to rest, just as one of the droids started to beep. Her eyes followed an explosion of stone and brick to the opening. She hesitated slightly before peering inside. The small room was empty. Any hints the it’s former contents or what had caused the wall to collapse were long gone and covered with dust.

 

It seemed as good a place as any to stop for the night. She gnawed on some imperial rations, lamenting that weren’t quite flavorless enough, as she copied data to the backup memory cores. By the time the book was updated, she was exhausted.

 

The darkness beyond the room remained eerily quiet. Eyes and ears searched the void for any indication of movement but found nothing beyond the pools of light the droids cast. With training saber griped in hand and nerves on edge weariness won out over paranoia as she drifted to sleep.

 

“You.”

 

“Me! And why not really?”

 

“You’re dead for a start.”

 

“It’s cute that you think you’ll last longer then I did.”

 

“I will, and when I do…”

 

“You’ll what? March back home and convince our parents that they were wrong? Then they, and everyone else that’s ever done you wrong, will beg for your forgiveness.”

 

“You don’t know me.”

 

Aria laughed, her gilded silhouette outlined features lost in shadow. “I know you always leave the tough choices to someone else because you are a coward. I know you make excuses for your failures rather then own up to them. Oh my parents never loved me, oh all the other kids were mean to me, oh this, oh that. It’s never your fault.”

 

“That’s not true.”

 

“Really? If you didn’t want to go to Korriban why not run away before they shipped you off? What about your little cathar Vannar? You were quite content to let him lead you around rather then think for your self.” She stepped aside to reveal Van slumped over a pool of blood spreading out beneath his badly beaten body.

 

“What did you do to him!?”

 

“What you should have done, when he dropped you for the first pretty girl to smile in his direction. It’s what you will do if you ever want to make it off this planet alive.”

 

“No. I would never… it wasn’t his fault Shani she…”

 

“There you go, assigning the blame again.”

 

“I… I don’t need your advice. I don’t have to become like…. like you in order to survive.”

 

She laughed, “Oh by all means stay the course; it’s clearly been worked out so well for you. After all I could use the company.”

 

Van’s body had been replaced with her own lifeless corpse staring blankly ahead as the blood began to congeal around her.

 

She awoke to the fading sound of Aria’s laughter ringing in her ears. Silence closed in around her as the pounding in her chest subsided. She loosed her grip on her training saber and began to pack up the make shift camp. There would be no more sleep tonight. Stepping carefully over the broken bricks Kalya continued on into the unknown.

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  • 2 months later...

-Descent-

 

 

The light had escaped her notice, at first. It's luminance grew each step until it dispelled the void surrounding her. Sunlight, she thought excitedly. Kalya fit easily through a jagged opening in the partially collapsed wall.

 

Pale red sand covered the floor mirroring the cloudless sky visible through the circular opening in the ceiling. She basked in the light and fresh air as the droids beeped and whirled about her scanning the carvings on the wall.

 

On the floor, beside the empty stone pedestal, lay another crystal; similar to the one she encountered before only smaller. Grains of sand dusted it's surface. Lifting it using the force would be difficult for her, but she could give it a try. Afterward maybe she could push over the rest of the wall blocking off the room and then …

 

Kalya stopped. If the crystal was restored to it's position and the wall removed light could travel unhindered to the large crystal. Which.... would likely release some ancient and mysterious force, determined to kill and or enslave whatever it encountered. Her whole life everyone was keen to stress how unimportant she was. Now was not the time to forget that. She was not unusually strong in the force, or clever enough to out think beings beyond comprehension, and she certainly wasn't some sort of chosen one. Delusions of grandeur would not save her.

 

The sunlight cooled and the fresh air turned sour. Kalya finished mapping the room and left without hesitation. She didn't need any more reminders of what she was not. Freed from the necessity of the slow ponderous pace of unexplored territory it was not long before she returned to the crystal room. “One down two more to go,” she thought as she passed through the opening across from her. It wouldn't be long before she would be done with this place... and right back where she had left things...

 

Shani's strength came from the influence she had over others, but alone Kalya would have the advantage. A training saber was no good, they weren't designed to kill. A knife perhaps? That could get messy and Kalya didn't have much experience with knives... or homicide for that matter.

 

“It's what you will do if you ever want to leave this planet alive” Those words rang in her ears. Eventually she would have to kill. It was an inevitability for a Sith. The thought of becoming like her sister or the Rattataki was disturbing. Did she want to wash away problems and sate desires with the blood of her enemies? Was it necessary to become a monstrosity in order to survive? She did not like that mental image any more then she liked tripping over the pile of bricks.

 

Anger followed the initial sock. Inattention would lead to far greater disasters then bruised shins if she kept this up. The droids worked over the remains of the fallen wall before entering the glittering room beyond. From the doorway, Kalya stared in wonderment at the shelves filled with artifacts. Aside from the holocrons and various weapons, most of the items Kalya didn't not recognize. Her hand ached at the prospect of cataloging everything.

 

The book would run out of pages before she finished drawing each item. Instead she merely tallied the contents of each shelf taking special note of the things she could identify. There were several lightsabers of designs she had never seen before. Still not daring to enter, she directed a droid over to one of them. It had the graceful simplicity of something designed to be functional yet elegant. There was nothing else that came close to tempting her.

 

Even if the saber wasn't haunted or cursed she doubted Balin would let her keep it. The thought of loosing something so precious was more painful than leaving it behind. She called the droid back and began recording every detail of the saber on a fresh sheet of paper, then she carefully tore the page out of the book leaving no trace of it behind. Glancing back at the room she assured her self that someday that saber would be hers and hers alone.

 

Shafts of light streaming through the cracks in the wall at the end of the passageway were almost painful to look at. Kalya suspected a crystal mounted on it's stone pedestal lay on the other side and resolved to leave that suspicion unconfirmed lest she be tempted a third time. With the book and the back up memory cores updated there was reason to linger. Two down one more to go, she thought.

 

The remaining entrance lay between the two previous explored passages. She took a deep breath and hoped whatever had disabled the droids wasn't equally as good at disabling initiates. Carefully descending the stairway, Kalya steadied herself against the smooth unadorned walls. Her foot falls echoed disturbingly in the cavernous space.

 

At the base of the stairs metallic bodies came into view. The lights blinked out as her own droids clattered to the floor.

 

“It comes to us, but it does not know of us.”

 

“It is tempted, but does not partake.”

 

“We wonder if it is a Jedi.”

 

“We remember the Jedi, always so cautious.”

 

“But it stands before us, and it is not a Jedi.”

 

Kalya tried to contain her rising panic as she fumbled blindly through her back pack. The voices pounded in her head as she frantically snapped a light sticks to life. The chemical reaction did little more then cast her hands in a feeble green light.

 

“We wonder what it is. We wonder what it is called.”

 

“I... don't think... I shouldn't be here, I think I will just go now... um sorry for disturbing you.”

 

“We do not mind. It has been so long.”

 

“We were worried we had been forgotten. We do not wish to be forgotten.”

 

“We should reward you.”

 

“Yes, it has been so long since we granted any boons.”

 

“They used to come all the time, begging for our favor.”

 

“We miss those days.”

 

“No! No, um I mean that's fine. You don't need to reward me. In fact I've taken up too much of your time already.”

 

“We have plenty of time to give.”

 

“So much time.”

 

“Um well.... I don't have that much time. Yes, I really should leave now.”

 

“No. It will ask us a boon, then it may leave.”

 

“Ok... um... I want you, all of you, to neither help me or hinder me in any way....”

 

“Such an odd thing it asks.”

 

“If we do not help it we would be hindering it.”

 

“If we do not hinder it we would be helping it.”

 

Hell, thought Kalya, why didn't I ask for something simple like a... sandwich or something. A nice safe uncomplicated sandwich. Choking was always a possibility, but eating a magical sandwich of questionable origin seemed like a bad idea even without the threat of obstructed airways. Slowly she started to back away rejoicing when her foot found the first step.

 

“Where is it going? It can not leave yet.”

 

“It did not get not get it's reward.”

 

“It can not leave.”

 

“But you said I had to ask for something and then I could leave. You didn't say I had to receive anything before leaving.”

 

“Yes... we did say that.”

 

“It asks something we can not give.”

 

“It must ask again.”

 

“Do... I have to ask now? You said that you have lots of time.”

 

“It does not have to ask now.”

 

“We have so much time.”

 

“Great! Then I will just leave and come back when I have thought up a really good um... boon.”

 

“Does it swear it will return to us?”

 

“It must swear it will return.”

 

“Yes it.... ah... swears it will return to you, whatever you are, if you let it leave.”

 

“Then it may go so that it might return when it is ready to ask again.”

 

Kalya scrambled up the stairs as fast as she could, and continued running until her lungs burned. She stopped to caught her breath and wondered why she ran in the first place. There was nothing chasing her and the walls did not appear to be falling down. She didn't notice the droids were missing until she saw daylight again. The sun was setting just as it had been when she entered. How long had she been in there?

 

Reading back over the book she decided the droids must have been lost somewhere in the middle hallway. She remembered everything else. There were stairs, Kalya recalled, but not what lay beyond them. She would be back here again that much was certain, though she could not say why. The night was fast approaching so she made camp just inside the entrance. The light of dawn broke her untroubled sleep.

 

Initiates milled about much as they had before she left. Van's acknowledgment of her return was cut short as Shani whisked him away. After all the questioning, prodding, veiled and not so veiled threats they eventually accepted her version of events. Despite, or perhaps because, the amnesia and the corrupted data cores. The book and it's contents fulfill her assignment and the mysteries hinted at elevated the ruins to something beyond the purview of initiates. What happened next wasn't for Kalya to know. Which was fine, there were more pressing matters at hand.

 

She had been too focused on Shani and Van to take in the big picture. There were more players in this game then she had initially thought. Far more then even Shani realized, and that would be her downfall. There was no reason to feel any guilt for what was to come. Shani would meet the same fate, that all his other victims had, even if Kalya did nothing. All she was doing was hastening the inevitable. Still, she felt a knot in her stomach as she waited for the right moment to present it's self.

 

Van and Shani had moved off from her ever present entourage for some privacy, The Rattataki's gaze followed them until they were out of sight. Shani's collection of moon-eyed followers sulked about with increasing amounts of agitation. Their desire for conflict growing with each moment. She had to get this right the first time.

 

The hours of practice spent ensuring sand and dust kicked up as she walked by look natural, were likely wasted on her intended target. The human scrambled up from the ground sputtering, his body tight aching for a fight.

 

“You should watch your self, girl.”

 

Kalya swallowed, the memorized words stuck in her throat.

 

“Hey alien trash I'm talking to you.”

 

“I... I don't take orders from your kind, slave.” She yelped turning to face him.

 

He didn't even bother to try and grab his training saber. A fist swung wide to deal, what would have been, a devastatingly powerful punch. Kalya ducked low and elbowed him in the stomach then kicked out his knee. She delivered one more blow with her heal after he hit the ground as she walked away. The air was filled with the sound of training sabers activating behind her. This is were things would get interesting.

 

As planned, she was out numbered. Kalya charged the group throwing them off balance. The pause was enough time to send another human yelping to the ground. The other initiates were beginning to take notice as they tried to surround her. Feigning a block then pivoting around her attacker she added to his forward momentum with a well placed kick. He collided with the human, that had been trying to flank her, sending them both to the ground.

 

“Kalya what the hell?”

 

“They started it!” She cringed, that wasn't what she had planned to say. Her far more articulate response was cut off as she blocked a incoming saber blow. It wasn't long before the human was unarmed and grasping at a blood nose. Van drew his own saber and stepped in front of her effectively ending any further attacks, but before he could speak again, Shani pushed through the gathered crowd.

 

“Vannar what are you doing!?”

 

“None of your business.”

 

“She, is not worth your time. Can't you see this is just some stupid stunt of hers to get you to pay attention to her.”

 

Van lowered his saber and started to move off.

 

“Hey VANNAARR tell me, what it's like being her little kitty cat? Does she even let you bare your claws any more?” She had definitely not planned to say that.

 

He growled and leaped at her the force of his swing was enough to make her hands sting as she blocked it. It would have been easy to loose herself in the familiar rhythm of combat, letting things play out until one bested the other or they both collapsed from exhaustion. Tempting as that thought was it was not apart of the plan. The initiates crowed around them eager to take in the violence.

 

For once, everyone (well almost everyone) was paying attention to her and not Shani. She caught a glimpse of the Rattataki moving swiftly towards his unaware target. Clearly intent on taking full advantage of the unexpected distraction she had provided him. Just as predicted.

 

“Your meal time ends in 15 minutes regardless if you eat it or not” The edge in Balin's voice cut though the cacophony. Even Kalya and Vannar paused. It was only a moment before the crowd broke apart shoving urgently shoving past one another. Reluctantly, Kalya allowed her self to get swallowed up in the rush and pulled away.

 

She didn't bother trying for any food. Willing herself to be ignored, she slipped away from the mess hall before anyone noticed. The Rattataki and Shani were missing, and remained consciously absent by lights out. The night was long and sleepless but in the morning there was a pause after Shani's name at role call. Kalya smiled.

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