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Author Topic: Blue Lady Blues  (Read 59 times)

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Offline Joshmaul

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  • A Mind Without Purpose Will Walk in Dark Places
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Blue Lady Blues
« on: 12/16/17, 06:20:27 AM »
She felt more than a twinge of anger and bitterness in her heart as her speeder left the Dancer's Palace to return to Mezenti Spaceport. She knew it would be there, but after close to a decade, she had not expected it to still hurt this much. Oh, she had kept up a brave face in front of the others, including the loud drunk human who had been pounding his chest in her ear most of the night, and that opportunist Quarasha. If there was one thing she had learned after all this time, it was to hide her true feelings to avoid giving anyone an opening to use against her. Even in the more "progressive" Empire since Acina had taken power, a Sith was still a Sith.

But today, the memories came back hard. She remembered the days when she had been known as Kelt'hal'irisai, or Thali for short. She had been a young conscript in the Household Phalanx to House Torv, to which her family had been associated for more than a century and a half. Those days were long past. In a way, her old self had died that day she had arrived on Reydovan Prime, when that Cathar's cold gaze had fallen upon her.

Now, she was called Nemiya, Lord of the Sith.

Not a day went by, these past few years, where she didn't curse Varan for taking her with him from Csilla. She had felt her powers awaken when she was fifteen, and had taken great pains to hide them - from Varan, from his father Aristocra Valsar, and from society as a whole. She had seen what had happened to Veerak, Varan's younger brother. Though Varan had stood by him in the Empire, that didn't matter for much in the Ascendancy - and neither had Varan's war record.

After Varan had killed Valsar, ostensibly for his acts of treason against the Ascendancy in trying to break their alliance with the Empire, House Torv's Phalanx had experienced a schism, where Varan had taken part of the guard with him to serve as his elite force while he commanded the Imperial Reydovan Defense Force, the planet's militia. The remainder rallied under Varan's uncle and semi-namesake, General Verane, who had taken over as Aristocra and exiled Varan from the Ascendancy. Not too long afterward, he had offered clemency for anyone in Varan's guard who wanted to come home.

Thali, as she had been then, had considered it, in spite of the risk. Even at that young age, she had thought serving in the Empire seemed too cutthroat a business. But then she had met her Master...

----

"You possess gift, just as I did when I was gladiator." Lord Tethik Nadun spoke thickly accented and broken Basic, but the ice in his stare and the lightsaber at his belt made her wary of mocking him for his speech. So did the next four words he spoke, clearly and bluntly: "You feel the Force."

Thali's red eyes had widened in sudden terror. "You must be mistaken. I'm nobody. I'm just a conscript..."

"Nonsense," Tethik replied, waving a dismissive hand. "Force brings you with Varan, brings you to me. It is sign. Just as when Darth Cyanoculus find me on Korriban. Force wills it. Destiny. You are meant to be Sith. You are meant to be apprentice. My apprentice." He smiled, showing fangs. "I train you, as I trained."

Rather than being honored or excited, Thali looked equal parts terrified and sickened. "No, you don't understand. You can't."

"Can't?" The Cathar stared at her like she had grown another head. "You say I can't? Who are you to say?"

"You don't understand! I've kept this from my family, my commanders, even Varan - and he would know better than anyone about my impurity! I can't risk this getting out."

"Impurity?" Tethik looked genuinely confused. "Force is not impurity. Force is gift! Force is power!"

"The Force is an aberration, in the eyes of my people. They tolerate its use in the Empire, but it's rare among my people...and it's not allowed. Anyone who is shown to be able to use it is given a choice - surgery, or exile. Anyone who uses their powers in the Ascendancy is executed for it. Varan's brother, Veerak - they banished him, and he had no choice but to come here. That's why Varan is staying in the Empire now." Actually, word was the new Aristocra had banished Varan for killing his anti-Imperial father, but that was beside the point. "If you send me to Korriban, they'll know, and I'll never be able to go home!" Thali's expression was pleading. "You don't understand...."

"Not understand, no," Tethik agreed, his expression surprisingly sympathetic. "My family is dead. My home, Ord Mantell, barely remember. Before I was Sith, I was slave, gladiator to amuse Hutts. Then I was slave to stupid Imperial. Force freed me, brought me to Korriban. I never had choice in life...but you do." His expression had hardened, and that stare...how she wished she could avoid that stare. "Consider choice you have, Thali. Either return to Ascendancy, and be killed; refuse to go to Korriban, and be killed; or train on Korriban, and live, but never go home again." Again, a hint of sympathy. "Hard choice. But one you make."

"You're forcing me to choose under threat of death. How is that still my choice?"

Tethik gave a slight shrug. "It is choice we all make, every day. We choose life, or death. Death at own hands, or get killed in stupid charge - still choice, even if stupid choice. Darth Malagant was Veerak's Master. He say Veerak made choice. He chose to train, to use gift of Force. He also chose treason against Malagant, chose death - but he made choice."

Thali seemed to absorb this, and Tethik smiled again, showing fangs. "You make choice now, too. You have gift. With all you know of what Empire will do, of what Ascendancy will do, what say you? Use gift, or reject? Live...or die?"

----

She still thought fondly of her Master, even after all this time, even with this doubt she felt. She was about the same age now that Tethik had been when he had fallen on Nikaea...

After her training on Korriban under the direction of the aged Overseer Charva (who had also overseen Tethik's instruction when he was at the Academy), she had joined him in the field hunting for the traitor Darth Verulam and his ally, Jedi Master Merken Netalis, and had cleared out a "temple" - here on Nar Shaddaa, ironically enough - dedicated to Revan and his mad crusade. After Revan had fallen on Yavin 4, Malagant, Tethik, and Varan had led a force to Nikaea to finish off Verulam and his remaining loyalists. Tethik had taken a barrage of assault cannon fire intended for Malagant, and Malagant had responded by slaying the shooter - Republic soldier Melena Linavil - on the spot.

To honor her Master, Nemiya had gone from focusing solely on her bladework to following in the strengths he had encouraged in her - moving and attacking in the shadows, seeking knowledge (she had spent a lot of time in the Academy archives during her time on Korriban, so that came naturally to her), and protecting the Empire from its enemies both within and without. It had been a task she began to relish when Acina had taken power, becoming one of the new regime's shadowy enforcers - maintaining the peace imposed by Arcann, yet still hoping (and secretly helping to prepare) for the day when the Empire could rise up and overthrow the Zakuulan usurpers. She had begun to believe what Tethik had told her, that the Force was not an impurity, not a curse, but a gift.

Throughout the occupation, she had not thought about what had become of the Ascendancy. They had not cared about her, and so she was not entirely sure she had cared about them. But after Copero, the Ascendancy seemed to be back in the news - and the memories seemed to be back in her head. That purist fool in the Palace hadn't helped with that, either...nor had the strange connection of her mind on seeing the silly Life Day decorations, and remarking on the oddity of seeing snow indoors, that the only way you saw snow indoors on Csilla is if the roof caved in. It was days like this that made her doubt the "gift" she had been given.

As she stepped out of the speeder to make her way back to the ship, Nemiya's thoughts again drifted to Varan, cursing him again, and remembering how he had met his end in a Sith power play, a war of wills between Malagant and his twisted "creation", Darth Insomnius. Part of her had wished that she had been able to get her hands around Varan's neck and strangle the life from him for making her feel like a pariah amongst her own people. Yet there was a part of her mind that knew it was not his fault. Varan had merely brought her to the Empire, not knowing she was Force-sensitive...because she had not told him. And even when he had discovered it, just as he had done with Veerak, he had been supportive of it, clearly not of the same line of idiots as his father and uncle had been (and that his cousins, Verane's heirs, were now). It was the ruling elite in the Ascendancy, with their stubborn, narrow mindviews, that was the problem.

Damn them, she seethed. Damn them all.

As she made her way back to her ship, the Imperial troops guarding Mezenti Spaceport took one look at the scowl on her face, and made it a point to keep their distance. Hell hath no fury, as the old saying went - and it was even worse with Sith...
Circled tomb of a different age
Secret lines carved on ancient stone
Heroic kings laid down to rest
Forgotten is the race that no one knows