Star Wars: Darklight
"You are of the Dark Side little one, you cannot escape your destiny." He heard in his mind a haunting voice. Sometimes he was standing in a large vaulted chamber with shadowy figures around him and sometimes he was in a room frozen with ice stalagmites. This was one of the frozen room ones and a voice belonging to a strange yet familiar voice was talking to him, taunting him, confusing him. He could feel hatred such as he had never felt before for that strange voice.
"Join me and together with the new Sith Conclave we can rule the galaxy." The figure in the dark green robes and face covered by a hood continued walking slowly towards him.
"I will never join the Dark Side or the Sith!" He could hear himself replying. He tried moving but felt himself restrained.
"You cannot escape what you are, feel the hatred within you, let it fuel you, power you. You can be more powerful than Darth Insidious will ever be, be my apprentice and the Conclave will bow before our combined might."
"Y…you killed her! I will kill you for this! I'd rather die than join you!" He responded. He could feel rage burning within him, wanting to unleash himself on the Shadow figure in front of him.
The Sith took a final step and grabbed his hair. "So be it." He felt the lightsaber's heat penetrate him just as he opened his eyes with a start, drenched in sweat and gasping for air.
"This is not working!" He declared to Cyra who sat opposite to him. "Every time I try to meditate and force-vision and every time I see a variation of this dream…how is this helping to train me?"
"You master the force by mastering your emotions." Cyra replied calmly.
"Yeah, that's what the Jedi believe as well and yet the Sith master the force by unleashing their emotions raw and unchallenged."
"Yes, and what is the result of this? Destruction, suffering and death, they suffer and they make everyone else suffer. Do you want to succumb to the Dark Side or do you want to improve?" He looked at her and sighed.
"You want me to control my vision but I cannot no matter how hard I try."
"Yes, because that's not what I told you to do. I told you to calm yourself and realise that this vision the force is giving you, or any other for that matter is not what will happen but what can or may happen. Visions are just that, visions. They cannot harm you, they cannot influence you or your actions unless you let them. By mastering your emotions and the visions you will master not only the force but yourself as well. Now try again."
"Shouldn't I be training in the lightsaber?" Tern exasperated.
"I am training you as best I know, in the lightsaber and the ways of the force but if you do not learn the emotional discipline required, the lightsaber will not be any more use to you than a wooden pitchfork. Now try again." Cyra told him unrelenting.
Tern closed his eyes muttering underneath his breath.
He saw himself standing in a huge Star-destroyer class cruiser. Outside there was a large space-battle ongoing, explosions of varying colours decorating the otherwise dark void. He could feel seething anger and hatred flow from within him. He turned around to see Volun kneeled before him along with a few others he did not recognise. Volun had a look of defiant terror in his eyes.
"Go on you monster get it over with." Volun told him and spat on the ground next to his boots.
Tern-in-the-dream powered up a double staff lightsaber. He felt terror, he was about to kill his friend, he could feel Volun mean more to him than a friend in the dream yet he could do nothing to stop what was coming.
"This is just a dream…look around." He told himself in an effort to take control of the vision.
Looking around he saw Sith warriors and the black-armoured troopers.
"Kill him, you killed Darth Solus, my apprentice, kill him and become my new apprentice, show me your hatred. I Darth Insidious Grand Master of the new Sith Conclave ordered you to kill Volun Antari, last of his line." A female voice came from behind him. Tern tried to power down the lightsaber but his finger would just not obey him. He tried to look behind him, to see the Sith Master behind all this but he could not. The vision slipped from his control and Darth Insidious blasted him with force-lightning. A few seconds later he felt himself raise his hand holding the saber and lower it on Volun's face.
He found himself standing, holding a lightsaber and ready to strike Cyra down. This was no vision. Coming to, he let the lightsaber fall to the floor, shocked and afraid.
"N…no…I will not turn to the Dark side, why are you making me do this?"
"Tern, snap out of it!" Cyra shook his shoulder seemingly unafraid of him having almost attacked her. "I am not making you do anything, the force is only giving you what you are feeding into it, you are afraid and anxious. Clear your mind these visions have no power over you.
"No! Enough…I need some air." Tern exited the room and walked out of the freighter. They had landed on a planet after a mission waiting for orders from their next client and Cyra and Alkon had taken the few hours available to try and continue Tern's training.
Tern walked outside on the clearing where they had just landed and walked about aimlessly. It was a sunny day with but a few clouds here and there dotting the blue.
"Tern wait up!" Volun yelled behind him.
"What? I can't do it and she won't train me to hold a lightsaber…how am I supposed to do this?" Tern asked without turning.
"Why not? Why do you have to give power to your darkest desires or fears? From what little I know the force will only show you what you feed it." Volun hugged him from behind.
This past two months had seen their friendship grow and at least on Volun's part had his feelings towards the other boy grow as well.
"I've been through…." Volun turned him round and stared deep into his cyan-red eyes. "Stop that. Yes, you have been through some intense shit, more than any twelve year old boy should ever have to, but that's in the past and you have to let it go or it'll ruin your life. I know what I'm talking about okay?" Volun held his friend by his shoulders.
Tern was a mixture of sadness, anger and love for his friend. "I was almost killed and raped, sold in…" Volun again cut him short.
"Almost. I lost my brother to the Sith and I have never met my father. Do you see me acting like a little whiny brat?" Volun's voice was not angry but he was being strict with his friend. He wasn't going to let him wallow in his past troubles forever.
"How?" Tern lowered his head, a conflict happening within him.
"Hmm? How what?"
"How do I get past it? I just feel those things scratching at my soul, eating at it." Tern whispered.
"No, those events are in the past, you are doing this, punishing yourself. Why?"
"Because…because…I was not strong enough I guess…I let these things happen to me, I…failed my brothers and sisters in Tython…I…" Tern tried turning away but Volun didn't let him.
"You what?" Volun asked him unrelenting.
"I am responsible okay? It is my fault Tython fell…" Tern snapped.
"I very much doubt that, why would you think this?"
"Because…you'll hate me if I tell you."
"No, I won't. Just tell me already, you've been carrying this long before I met you. Get it out of your system already." Volun raised Tern's chin with his fingers smiling encouragingly.
"I…there was this boy in the Jedi Academy in Tython…we had…we were the best of friends having been raised together since we were only five years old. Or at least that's as far back as I can remember. He had been begging me to try out some stuff with him for ages, he kept saying how we should find a private place for us to try a new game or something. Then the war started and we were ordered to not go outside the Academy's shields. The planet was not under siege yet but the Jedi Masters and Grandmaster were taking every precaution. Then one night Karek woke me up and asked me to go with him. I followed him down the corridors and rooms until we were at a side gate. I told him that we should not go outside, that the Masters had forbidden it but he insisted and he was so convincing. He lowered the shields and we went outside, found a place he had chosen. He…" Tern's voice trailed off.
"He what?" Volun knew where this was going and yet he felt anxious to hear the rest. He could feel himself jealous over this Karek boy even if he was probably dead.
"He showed me how to…" Tern fisted his palm and made the universal, even amongst Jedi Padawans, motion for jerking off. Volun couldn't help himself giggling.
"I don't know why, we had been close friends for so many years but even before I could stop myself I found me telling him how I really liked him and all…" Tern paused for a moment. "He just left, his face angry telling me that boys were not supposed to feel like this for other boys, that he only wanted to have some fun, jerk each other off and…" I was stunned. I returned to the Academy and a few hours later…"
Volun didn't speak for quite some time thoughts racing in his mind. "It is my fault, my…fault I am like this…why do I have to be like this?" Tern's voice kept fluctuating between self-pity and anger.
"I…like…prefer…find interesting…ugh…" Tern stammered making Volun giggle.
Volun grinned impishly and grabbed Tern by his collar and brought him in until their lips rubbed together, feeling their breaths on their noses and cheeks. Volun moved his head left and right ever so slightly and slowly rubbing their noses and lips. Tern breathed out ragged whimpering.
"S…shouldn't… *whimper* we…shouldn't…" Tern didn't get the chance to finish as Volun pressed their lips together firmly for a few seconds.
Tern could feel Volun caressing his cheek and pulling in on his waist. He could feel both their fleshsabers power up and grind together.
Volun pulled back blushing and grinning widely. "Did you like it?"
It took Tern a moment for things to clear up and his heart to stop racing at light-speed before he could reply with any degree of consistency.
"Uhm…yeaaahhh…but how?...how did you know?" Tern sounded dreamy yet worried.
"You like boys don't you?" Volun bit his lower lip to stop himself from giggling.
Tern lowered his head again nodding yes.
"Nothing to be ashamed about yeah? Now why do you think it's your fault? Attack on Tython I mean."
"We lowered the shields to get out and play around…I don't remember turning them back on after."
"Did it ever cross your mind that Karek might be the traitor? Or someone else? Even if it was because of you and Karek you had no idea this would happen, stop blaming yourself okay?" Volun beamed at him making Tern sigh and nod yes.
"Good…" Alkon interrupted him.
"Hey love birds Tern needs to get his ass kick…ehh I mean trained by me." Both boys blushed a deep crimson with Volun disengaging from Tern.
"So you think me…us…this, liking boys is okay?" Tern asked him hesitantly.
"Yes, it is who you are, who I am, kissing right now felt right as a glove no?" Volun question-replied him.
Tern nodded with a sly smile.
"That's how I know, something that feels so right and good can't be bad." Volun shrugged his shoulders.
"Killing people feels this good and right to the Sith…" Tern mumbled.
"Not the same is it…?" Volun stated rather than asked.
"No, I suppose not…" Volun nodded and started to walk towards Alkon.
"Cyra told me you wanted some hand to hand training?" Alkon grinned crossing his hands in front of his torso.
"I asked for lightsaber…" Alkon interrupted him.
"Yeah, that's what I said, now let's get you a bit more trained." Alkon grinned and Tern rolled his eyes.
"Y…you want me to use the lightsaber? What if I hit you with it?" Tern asked astounded when Alkon told him to use it instead of a training sword or stick.
Alkon laughed deeply, "You, won't. I am almost one hundred and fifty years old and I've been fighting for at least two thirds of that span."
They trained for close to three hours with Tern indeed not landing any blows on Alkon that he couldn't defend against with the electro-staff. A staff that produced a constant ray of electricity so that the lightsaber would not cut it in half.
"Okay love bird, final thing for today, you have to be unpredictable in fights, perform always the same moves or stances or way of fighting and eventually a foe will kill you. So I'll attack and you choose whether to defend or attack me. I've been studying you for a while now as we train over these past two months so be unpredictable if you can."
Tern grinned. Alkon attacked him, Tern powered up the lightsaber and aimed it at Alkon but instead of attacking or defending he force-pushed Alkon flat on his back and before the large Zabrak could stand up he had a lightsaber pointing at his throat.
"I have not used the force these two months when training with you. You die." Tern laughed victoriously. Not a moment after he was lying flat on his back.
"True, never let your guard down." Alkon held his lightsaber hand away from him and a dagger on his throat with his other hand. Volun could see him suppressing a smile.
"Boy! If this had been a real fight, I'd not have waited with the blade on your throat." Tern struggled in vain, half grinning half serious.
"If this was a real fight I'd not have waited for you to stand over me and point a blade at my throat but I'll give you this, you were unpredictable. Would you using the force be unpredictable in a fight against a Sith though?" Alkon asked him seriously.
"I guess not."
"So, think on this then, if using the force is predictable in such a fight, what isn't?" Alkon stood up and helped Tern up. "Go get cleaned."
The rest of the day went by without incident and night fell on them. Tern got ready to sleep in Volun's room and bed. Three was little room to go by to begin with, and while they were not in any way sexual Tern thought it was nice to have the warmth and company.
"Tern…" Volun whispered an unasked question.
"Yes?" Tern could feel Volun's awkwardness.
"I…like boys as well…" Volun let it hang in the air, still not asking the question. Tern had a pretty good idea what it probably was though.
"I know. I don't have to use the force to know that." Tern stated.
"You don't mind do you?" Volun seemed insecure, not usual of him.
"It'd be pretty hypocritical of me to mind when I seem to like boys as well…you are my friend, what you like in this regard doesn't change this." Tern whispered back looking at Volun's eyes through the dim light coming from the corridor.
"I…" There was a few seconds pause. "I like you." Volun squeezed his hand, Tern could see him biting his lower lip even through the almost darkness.
Tern sighed. "I…I don't want to hurt your feelings, I think I kind of like you as well, that kiss earlier…but I can't…my Jedi training forbids me from creating such attachments and any day now I may…we may find a Jedi and…I'll need to leave and continue my training. It wouldn't be fair…" There was a long silence. Tern knew he had made Volun sad but he could see no other path forward. Volun spoke first.
"I…understand, we can still be friends right?" It was obvious he was making a great deal of an effort to not sound hurt but his voice betrayed him.
"Yes, the closest of friends, that will not change no matter how many lightyears separate us." Tern vowed solemnly.
Volun turned round and closed his eyes. Tern wanted to hug him like they usually did but thought otherwise, not wanting to send the wrong message.
It was two weeks and a few missions later that they received a message from one of the Rebel factions.
"Cyra Antari this is Yogen Uelos from the Hatari federation. Cyra are you there?"
"We have a cargo for you to transport, a Jedi knight has been trapped in Tarilia system and needs supplies until he can repair his Jedi-Starfighter. He has a few rebel troopers but they are besieged from orbit by Sith cruisers and soldiers. They are in urgent need of help, can you?" A female voice spoke through the deep range communicator.
"Sure Yogen, head where for the supplies?" Cyra looked at the cockpit door and a very anxious Tern standing in there.
Tern's face lit up, Volun standing behind him was not as happy.
"Usual starport, docking station 45."
"We will be there in a day or two."
"Roger, Mission brief when you get here. Uelos out."
"Looks like we're heading to Hatari Prime, Garos, punch the coordinates in the Hyperspace Drive." Cyra told the pilot. "Looks like you'll be reunited with your brethren…if we can save him in time." She told Tern while looking at her son.
That night Tern had an uneasy sleep, his tension for the upcoming mission mixing with his fear of leaving his new-found friends.
He kept turning and twisting in his sleep with one tense-filled dream after another until a vision hit him.
He was in a large amphitheater-like structure with a dome ceiling and huge hooded, grey statues in full circle around him. There was barely any light in the room with dust particles floating everywhere. He looked around apprehensively. On the outer part of the spacious chamber, between each two statues there was a throne-like chair and on a niche above all the others a more elaborately crafted throne-like chair. Shadowy figures sat on each of the thrones. Some had hoods, some had masks, some had both, and some had neither. All in all there were twenty figures.
"I send you to capture a single boy and you slaughter the whole temple which I did not order. I ask you to create me a fleet not superweapons, and you create the ships above us. I ask you again and again for the simplest of tasks my apprentice and again and again you fail me…" The hooded figure sitting on the throne on the niche spoke softly, eerily even before sending force-lightning his way. He heard himself cry in pain and yet felt no pain.
"Okay Tern…this is not you, you are not being fried alive…focus." He told himself trying to steady his breathing.
"This new Sith Conclave orders you this Darth Solus, capture the new Sith'ari ALIVE, which you failed to do in the temple as he escaped, and then you are to join our forces in breaking the siege of Illum. Do not return if you fail. Use these two missions to train your apprentice."
The vision got really blurry as if moving forward then he was talking to one of the masked figures.
The mask had horn like structures going from the front of the head to the rear, red covers for the eyes and an elongated snout.
"Darth Solus, what do you want?" A muffled voice asked him. They were walking down a long corridor with blue iridescent torches providing light.
"Master Darth Drakus, I have a proposition for you." He could feel himself being very afraid.
Darth Drakus chuckled. "And what may that be young one?"
"I can help you finish your "Dark Assimilation" and you can help me overthrow Darth Insidious."
Darth Drakus laughed loudly. "You cannot defeat Darth Insidious."
"No, but you can, you with one or more of the Conclave members."
"What do I gain by this transaction?"
"You become Grand Master of the Sith Conclave and you finish your project. If my Master finds out about your project, you know you will end up dead."
"And what do you gain from this?"
"A seat in the Conclave, slaves of my own and a teaching position in the Sith Academy."
"What you propose is no easy feat, but it does merit…consideration." Darth Drakus chuckled. He could feel himself feeling very pleased with a sadistic hue.
He woke up with a start and jumped off the bed. Volun woke up looking around dazed from sleeping. "Wh…what's up…?" He asked a hurried Tern.
"Cyra…Cyra wake up!" Tern shook her awake.
"What is it? What's going on? Are we under attack?" Cyra asked worried almost jumping up from her bed with a gun in hand.
"No. The rule of two…the rule of two is no longer!" Tern spoke all jumbled up.
"Hmmm? The rule of two? You mean the Sith? That can't be it has stood for more than a dozen thousand years since the Sith'ari Bane defeated the Dark Brotherhood and changed things for the Sith."
Tern explained her his vision in all the detail he had seen and he could remember. Volun and the rest of the crew stood behind them, having heard the commotion and woken up.
"It wasn't a dream. I know it wasn't." Tern concluded.
"No, it was no dream indeed…Force visions are never clear though…they can be of the past, present or future. We only know of Darth Solus and his Master Darth Insidious, they are the two Sith we know of…and yet there are Sith Assassins that can't use the Force, and there have been reported sightings and deaths of Sith warriors since the start of this war. Everyone thought they were killing off the apprentice with the Master finding more but…" Cyra paused for a moment looking at no one in particular. "This changes everything. Not much we can do now but we need to get an organised Alliance sooner than we thought. For now, back to sleep."
Tern stood there as if expecting something to happen.
"We can't do anything more now Tern, go back to sleep." Cyra told him turning off the light.
Volun grabbed him by his wrist and almost dragged him back to their room giggling at his friend's impatience.
It was evening when they docked in Hatari Prime's docking station 45. A man dressed in a purple suit with a red cape along with ten armed soldiers waited for them.
"Master Uelos asked me to give you this brief, the robots will load the cargo into your freighter now." The man told them with Cyra taking the data-crystal.
"Everything you need to know is on the crystal." Cyra nodded.
"We'll be on our way then as soon as the supplies are loaded." The man nodded at Cyra and left with his guards.
Not twenty minutes later they were on their way. Cyra plugged the crystal in the ship's mainframe as they entered Hyperspace.
"Which Jedi Knight is it?" Tern asked.
A… Mathius Kuolor, male, human…" Cyra replied.
"Dunno him, he must be from one of the other temples." Tern sat on a metal bench next to the mainframe.
"What was his mission?" Volun inquired.
"Doesn't say. The Jedi council did not tell the Hatari Federation, only that he needs help." Cyra pressed some buttons and a hologram powered up.
A map blinked in and out before stabilising. Cyra zoomed it into a valley surrounded by mountains and a river going through it.
"Our target is here." Cyra pointed at the south end of the map where the river broke into three smaller rivers with a ravine. "Our targets are in the ravine. We must break the planetary blockade...' The map zoomed out showing a few ships around the planet. "Deliver the supplies and leave with the Jedi Knight and the soldiers." Tern looked at the glowing hologram before speaking.
"If we're leaving the supplies there…why are we taking the Jedi and the soldiers?"
"Doesn't say either, maybe for the planet's inhabitants?" Cyra replied shrugging her shoulders.
"Maybe…" Tern mumbled.
"Volun, Alkon and Ura, I need you three to man the turrets. The Sith ships orbiting the planet won't just let us pass because we ask them to." Volun and Alkon nodded and left. Ura was standing at the door with her hands in her pockets.
"I'm not the best shot out there…" She stated.
"No, but neither is Tern and I have another task for him."
"What about you?"
"I have another task for me as well. What's the problem? I thought you'd relish an opportunity to kill some Sith fighters?"
Ura left without replying.
"Tern…what do you know of battle meditation?"
"Battle-what -now?" Tern corked an eyebrow having absolutely no idea what Cyra was talking about.
"You know how you can deflect laser shots with your lightsaber?"
"Well you are untrained and you are young, but if a Jedi concentrates and knows how to use the force then he or she can use the force to alter larger things than the blasts from a pulse rifle…namely laser shots from a cross-tie Fighter…or a Capital ship…you get the idea."
"You are joking right? I can barely deflect pulse rifle shots with my lightsaber without getting hit…and you want me to try and deflect a Starfighter's shots with only meditation and the force?"
"What more do you need? Yes, that's what I want from you, at the very least I want you to try. There is nothing else for you to do until we land." Cyra left for the cockpit leaving Tern feeling intimidated and frustrated.
Volun sat on the gunner's seat on the rear turbolaser turret and turned on the targeting display. He, his mother and their small crew had been trading amongst the stars since before the latest force-war between the Sith and the Jedi broke out. He had been in some very hairy, very dangerous situations, first with his brother in the crew then without him. But this was the first time he was going up against a proper military blockade or a properly trained army, and it was making him squirm in his seat, clutching and unclutching the turret controls uneasily.
For Tern this would be his first real test against the forces of the Sith, and a chance to reunite with the Jedi.
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