Star Wars: Darklight

by AB

Chapter 4

Mortal Peril from the Jedi Order

"THIS IS INSANE! THEY JUST KEEP COMING!" Volun yelled at the top of his voice while shooting at yet another wave of cross-ties.

"YOU'RE COMPLAINING? THIS IS MY FIRST SPACE BATTLE! AND IT'S RAINING LAZER SHOTS!!" Tern shouted back at him from across the freighter.

"YES! THIS IS FUN!" Volun quipped making Tern roll his eyes. Two more cross-ties gave them chase as they approached the planet's atmosphere. Alkon shot one of them right at the wing making it explode.

"FUN? YOU CALL THIS FUN!?" Tern laughed shooting at the other cross-tie which evaded before returning at their tail shooting at them. Tern had abandoned trying to concentrate enough for what Cyra had asked him, to battle meditate, and had mounted a turret instead.

"YES! THINGS GOING BOOM IS ALWAYS FUN!" Volun and Alkon shouted together.

"It'd be nice if for once we had some support…" The pilot's voice came through the ship's intercom.

"Now, what would be the fun in that?" Alkon replied chuckling.

"Not dying." The shields were aflame as they entered the atmosphere.

"What are you talking about? Still alive, kicking and laser shooting arse here." Alkon laughed.

"Will you all shut it?" Cyra yelled at them through the intercom. "Liam Serth are you there? We are ETA five minutes to your location, what is your situation?" Cyra repeated twice before there was a response through the communicator.

"Good you are finally here. We are cornered in the ravine just west of your position with Sith warriors and troopers. My battalion is almost entirely dead. How many support ships are with you?" A human voice came through the communicator with a hologram of a man in his thirties dressed in lilac and blue robes.

"We have none, it's us with the supplies." Cyra replied back. Garos was doing some pretty impressive flying avoiding the cross-ties' laser shots and long range ballistic shots from the blockading cruisers in orbit.

"Great, then I need you to destroy the enemy's western and southern embankments so that my men can load the supplies into our ship and complete our mission." Liam responded.

"I guess we have some gun placements to destroy then, nice…" Tern could practically feel sarcasm drip from Cyra's words.

"Garo make a pass from west to south and turn the freighter sideways, more firepower. Everyone who is not sitting in a turret hold on to something." Cyra held on to the pilot's chair while Ura buckled down in one of the emergency seats.

Minutes later Garos pulled the flight sticks to the counter clockwise and pitched to the left making the freighter turn almost vertical to the ground below them.

"Blast them!" Cyra's voice boomed through the intercom. Without needing a second invitation Volun, Tern and Alkon started firing at the enemy's positions below them.

Screams, explosions and debris filled the surrounding air as the Pilgrim's turrets kept firing for three more passes.

"Master Jedi, make your move now, we'll land next to your ship and provide what cover we can while your men transfer the supplies."

"Thank you but these supplies are not for us."

"Oh great, more details we have not been told." Cyra commented as the Pilgrim landed next to the Jedi's spaceship.

"Volun, Alkon provide cover. Tern help them move the cargo. I'm guessing you'll be going with them after? Back to the Jedi order?" Cyra asked the boy through the coms.

"Yes, I suppose so…" Tern answered back hesitantly. Cyra found it interesting but there was no time to press for answers.

The Pilgrim touched ground with the engines still powered up.

"Ura, Tern help out the troopers carry out the cargo. I'll talk with the Jedi Knight." Cyra told them as the rear hatch opened.

Four white armoured and helmed troopers stormed in. "Cargo's over there." Cyra showed them the crates.

"On the double men! Get those crates into the shuttle." The troopers hurried up. Tern tried to help them out but one of the soldiers told him to "stand aside child."

"Where is the source of the disturbance in the force?" Tern turned around to the direction of the voice. "Did the council send you a Jedi Master to assist?" He asked Cyra.

"No, but I have a youngling of yours." Cyra pointed at Tern who was fiddling nervously with his fingers.

"Youngling?" Liam's eyes raised his eyebrow looking at Tern.

"Yes, me…" Tern's voice trailed.

'No time now. Why are you not in one of the temples?" Liam moved out of the freighter powering up his lightsaber. Well come on then we don't have time to lose, they're coming." Tern moved out as well, removed Cyra's oldest son's lightsaber and powered it up.

"Who is coming? Sith warriors?"

"Yes, now let us see what you have learned. We have to keep them occupied while what's left of my men load the cargo into our blockade runner."

Three enemy soldiers came running in firing their blasters, Liam and Tern deflected their shots. Tern deflected a shot back into the soldier that had fired it hitting him square in the head. He dropped dead.

"Not bad young one, not bad. The temple taught you well." Liam praised him with Tern rolling over on the floor and powering up the lightsaber again and swinging upwards cutting off the arm of another soldier. Liam kept deflecting laser shots and killing those soldiers who came closer.

"Cyra has taught me much more than the temple and the Knights there ever did." Tern replied after killing the soldier whose arm he had severed.

"Sir we're done, give us five minutes to repair the engines and we're off." One of Liam's soldiers gave a shout.

"Hurry up Captain, I can feel them coming closer."

"Who is coming…" Tern started saying when two hooded figures jumped up from the river bed below, all dressed in black and powered up their red-bladed lightsabers.

"Are you that desperate Jedi that you bring a child into a battle? Give us the children!" One of the two black-hooded men told Liam with a sneer on his lips.

"You want the children? Come and get them then." Tern had no idea what Liam was talking about but it was not the moment to ask now.

"Apprentice, take the Jedi, time for you to learn, I'll handle the youngling." The Sith that had spoken to Liam told the other man.

"You are naught but an apprentice yourself, 'Master'." The man attacked Liam force-pushing him back. The Sith's apprentice leaped into action landing only meters away from Tern who brought the lightsaber in front of his head taking a defensive stance.

"I've never killed a Jedi before…this will be fun!" The guy sneered and crossed blades with Tern aiming for his thigh. Tern lowered his blade, removing his leg from the way, pushing the Sith's blade back he aimed for his foe's neck. The Sith Warrior pirouetted around taking aim for Tern's torso with multiple blows.

Meanwhile Liam and his Sith Warrior fought each other with the force, pushing each other back, the Sith trying to choke Liam, Liam trying to pull or influence the Sith long enough to allow him to run him through with his lightsaber.

"General, we're ready to leave!" The Captain's voice echoed through the battlefield but was largely ignored by Liam and Tern.

A few minutes later the Sith Warrior apprentice managed to graze Tern's thigh, Tern rolled back grasping at the burned wound. Anger filled his mind and overcame him as in one swift move he powered down the lightsaber, raised the Sith off his feet choking him and then pulled him in powering his lightsaber up. The Sith was caught completely off guard and had no time to react. Tern heard a grunt and smelled burned flesh. He force-pushed the Sith back dropping him dead on the ground behind his Master. Liam grinned and begun an unrelenting charge at the Sith Warrior with blow after blow after blow. He wasn't aiming at any specific body part, he was just pushing his foe back until the Sith gasped tripping onto his dead apprentice's body and fell backwards.

Liam knew this alone would not be enough to defeat a Sith Warrior, so taking full advantage on his foe's loss of balance he force-pushed him back and leaped off the ground landing right on top of the Sith. With a flick of his wrist the Sith's lightsaber flew from his hand and at the same time he lowered his lightsaber right at the center of the Sith's neck.

"Let's go! Apprentice and Master are both dead! The war can end now." Liam told Tern grabbing him by his elbow and running to the two ships.

"Those two were not Darth Typhus and Darth Insidious. These two were just warriors, or do you really think that a Dark Lord capable of committing open war against the Republic, the Jedi and his apprentice would lose so easily to a youngling and a mere Jedi Knight?" Tern rebutted the Jedi Knight.

"The rule of two states that there can only be two Sith at any time. A master and an apprentice, no more no less." Liam continued stubbornly.

"The rule of two is broken. I saw it in a vision of the present and this verifies it." Tern carried on.

"What is this rule of two?" Volun asked coming out of the Pilgrim.

"No time to discuss this now. Cyra these are the coordinates for the final leg of our mission, meet us there?"

"What is your mission?" Cyra pressed.

"The Jedi Council learned a few months ago that the Sith have been abducting force-sensitive children. We do not know why, but the council has been trying to locate them and bring them to our temples for safety. These were going to be sent to Tython but I have been unable to make contact with the Academy there. I asked the council for the supplies so we can leave the children in protected space in the Aleron system. It's only an hour by Hyperdrive but the Jaksa Faction is strong in there and the Sith do not go close…yet."

"Fine, we better leave before reinforcements arrive." Cyra said and entered the Pilgrim.

"Tern better ride in our spaceship, he'll be coming with us after to Illum." Liam replied and climbed onboard the blockade runner's rear hatch.

They took off under fire from the ground.

The one-hour trip to Aleron was a quiet one. Liam tried to start a conversation with Tern but Tern was feeling too uncomfortable and just stayed quiet.

They reached their destination and off loaded the children and the supplies to Jaksa authorities.

"They should be safe here until one of our academy planets is released from siege and can accept them. Master Vogar will take good care of the young ones." Liam told Tern standing next to him. Just The Pilgrim landed. "Padawan I'll be heading to Tython after, if…" Tern cut him off.

"You won't be, Tython's academy fell three months ago and the planet is under planetary siege by the Sith. I was there and I barely escaped,. Most everyone else if not everyone else was slaughtered by Sith Warriors and troopers." Liam looked at him as if he had spoken in a completely alien language.

"That cannot be…we have heard no news of this. Illum, Lothal and Vrogas Vas are under siege but we have heard nothing…what is going on here? Why are you here? Your mission ended." Liam turned his attention to Volun and Cyra approaching them.

"I had a…hunch. I'll accompany you to wherever the Council is, when I make sure that Tern is safe we'll take our leave," Cyra replied crossing her hands in front of her chest.

"Look I was there. I saw Tython Academy fall with my own eyes. I was able to escape only because the Sith thought me dead and I was able to take one of the spaceships in the Masters' hangar. I saw the cruisers blockading the planet as I left. I do not know if the rest of the planet has fallen or not but if you are receiving no news from the Jedi station it is probably because every signal in and out of the planet is being jammed." Tern told Liam.

"There is something about you, I sense…the force is very strong with you. Why would the Sith sneak attack one of our academies and not just take over the whole planet while they had the element of surprise?"

"I…I think I know. I saw a vision a day or so ago…let me show you?" Tern extended a hand and Liam took hold of it.

Tern opened his mind to the force and to Liam. It was as if an electric shock penetrated him as Liam's back arched backwards and his eyes shot open, his iris widening.

He saw the vision had seen and he saw more. He saw some Tern's past and multiple different versions of Tern's future. He saw Tern as a champion of the Light side and as a Destroyer of the Dark side. He saw Tern chant the Sith code and bring ruin unto the Jedi, and he saw Tern killing every Jedi Master, every Jedi Knight and every youngling. He saw Tern assuming his place as Grand Master of the Conclave of the Sith and rule over a thousand different worlds. He saw Tern as immortal energy, part of the living force and annihilator of the Force and all living things.

Removing his hand from Tern's he gasped for breath. "You…you…are our doom…you are an abomination. I will not allow another Anakin in our midst." Driven mad from the intensity of the vision Liam force-pushed everyone flat on their backs and powered up his lightsaber.

"What the fuck are you doing? I am on your side!" Tern voiced powering up his lightsaber and deflecting Liam's blade.

"No, you are the new Sith'ari. You are the new Anakin, he was never the chosen one, he brought ruin to our order and I will not allow you to do the same!"

Tern kept dodging and deflecting shots from Liam's soldiers as well as Liam's lightsaber. "I have never felt so much dark power before touching your hand boy, you are a threat and you cannot continue to exist." Liam levitated him using the force and then pounded him on the floor. Tern moaned trying to get up on his feet. The lightsaber was a few meters away and he could taste blood, his nose probably turned bloody from the impact.

Liam jumped at him, lightsaber extended over his head, a grimace of anger etched on his face.

Tern used the force to pull the lightsaber back to him. The two lightsabers clashed with Liam pressing in on Tern trying to break past his defense.

Just then explosions sounded behind them as someone stuck a blaster at Liam's head.

"Get off him now before I open new holes in your head. I do not know what you think this boy has done but it is not up to you to be his judge and executioner. If he has committed a crime against your Order the council can judge him for it." Cyra told Liam holding the blaster rifle. Tern looked behind them at the soldiers hiding behind crates and dock structures to avoid Alkon's turret fire.

"You do not know what you're doing, he will be the end of us all…I can remove you, you know." Liam tried to intimidate his way out of the stalemate.

"Yes, you can and if Tern doesn't kill you Alkon or my son will. Not even you have enough training to deflect fully charged turbolaser shots. Power down your lightsaber and let us go to which ever planet the Jedi council is. Your mission is done, the children are safe so we can depart."

"Fine, but Tern is coming aboard my ship." Liam replied still not powering down his weapon.

"Fat chance, you can kill him, blast us out of the sky with your military vessel's turrets and leave. If he comes aboard your vessel you come aboard mine. If I hurt you Tern is more than capable of killing everyone on board your blockade runner, and if your men so much as hurt a single hair out of his head I kill you."

"I am a Jedi Knight. you really think you can hurt me?"

"Maybe, maybe not, it matters not if anything happens to me, my son or my crew there's hell to pay on your ship. Those are the terms, accept them or let me know to kill you and be done with it."

Liam studied Cyra's face before nodding and powering down his lightsaber.

Liam boarded The Pilgrim and Tern boarded the blockade runner.

"Where to?" Cyra asked when they had cleared the planet's atmosphere.

"The Council is at the Temple of Eedit in Devaron." Liam told Garos who punched in the coordinates. Both ships jumped to hyperspace.

Two hours later Tern's communicator started beeping. He turned it on and Volun's hologram appeared.

"Hey, how are you?" Worry was painted in Volun's facial features.

"I'm okay I suppose. Everyone's giving me glares but no one is trying to hurt me."

"Want to talk for a while?"

"Sure…I guess I am stressed…why would Liam react this way? What could he have possibly seen to make him think I would kill the Jedi order as Anakin did all those millennia ago? I don't even…I…" Tern took a deep breath.

Volun decided to change the subject since he really had no ideas, and could not think of anything to tell his friend. "You mentioned the rule of two what is that?"

"Oh…right you do not know, although your mother seemed to know. Tens of thousands of years ago before the fall of the old republic the Sith had a different way of organising themselves. They had a Dark Council and a leader like the Jedi have the Council and the Grand Master of the Order. Apprentices or Acolytes would join the Sith Academy in Korriban and be assigned to a Warrior or a Master of the Sith Order. Sith Warriors and Masters battled and schemed against each other almost as much as they battled the Jedi Order, with back stabbings and assassinations amongst Apprentices and Masters, Apprentices killing their Masters to ascend to their position in the Sith Order, Masters killing each other for higher status and wealth, Masters killing Apprentices for more powerful Apprentices and so on. After the old republic fell and the Jedi Order was pushed to the brink of extinction, the Sith were left without a strong opposition to fight against and so they turned against each other with a vengeance in what has come to be known as the Sith Civil War. Out of the Civil War several different factions emerged, some powerful some weak. Eventually one faction became the dominant one. The Dark Brotherhood of Darkness.

Tern took a breath and paused for a second. "I do not know how but Darth Bane joined the Dark Brotherhood of Darkness and rose swiftly in their ranks. The Jedi as they always do, grew back and demolished the Dark Brotherhood slaughtering every single Sith. Everyone except Darth Bane the sole survivor who took it upon himself to reform the Sith Order."

Tern made yet another momentary pause before resuming his voice trying to imitate an older, darker person's voice. "The Sith killed each other, victims of their own greed. But from the ashes of destruction, I was the last survivor. The Brotherhood must be purged. The Sith must be destroyed and rebuilt."

"So Darth Bane said. He had no order to abolish as the Jedi had killed everyone else. but reform the order he did and instituted the rule of two. A master to be the embodiment of power and an apprentice to crave it. Ever since then the Sith have followed this structure. A Master and an apprentice no more no less…ever since until now it would seem. Darth Bane is hailed amongst the Sith as the Sith'ari, their equivalent to the chosen one of the Jedi. The one who embodies the Order's perfection, the one who will embody perfection in the eyes of the Dark side of the Force. He is the Sith's Anakin if Anakin was to be the Chosen one. Was he? He did kill all the Jedi of his era except for Master Obi Wan Kenobi, Master Yoda and whoever other Jedi was not in the Temple of Coruscant or near a clone trooper when order sixty-six was issued."

"I see…Why would this Bane guy do this though?"

"Power is its own purpose. To share it is to dilute it. The Brotherhood must be purged. The Sith must be destroyed and rebuilt. I think Darth Bane believed that the Sith had lost to the Jedi because they were more interested in killing each other and sharing or claiming each other's power of the Dark side than battling the Jedi. I don't know to be honest, we were not really taught all of this in Tython."

"Then how do you know of this?" Volun inquired.

"I am curious and so I searched in the archives, I am resourceful so I found a way past the Masters' blocks to the knowledge I wanted." Tern shrugged his shoulders as if talking about the weather.

"The dark side interests you?" Volun's voice changed ever so slightly. Not exactly worry or concern but not neutral either.

"Yes, how else are we to defeat our enemies if we do not know them? If we do not understand their thoughts? I do not wish to join the Dark Side but I want to understand what motivates them, or at least I wanted that back in Tython."

"And now?"

"Now…they have hurt me, have hurt those I cared about back in Tython. I want them dead."

"Do you hate them?"

"Yes…no…I do not know. I do feel angry though at all the hurt and suffering they have caused."

"The Jedi believe that fear leads to anger and anger to hatred and…" Tern interrupted him.

"I know. I do not fear this. The Dark side holds no seduction over me and even if I snap like I did against the inn keeper all those months ago or the captain who tried to sell me into slavery, it does not mean I'll fall into the Dark Side and become a Sith afterwards.

"I trust you because I know you. The Jedi Council does not know you so you have to convince them."

"But why? All I want more than anything else in the worlds is to become a Jedi Knight." Tern's eyes turned sad.

"The Jedi Knight saw something…when he touched your hand. Did you see what force visions he saw?"

"No, I did not but force visions can be of the past, the present or any number of possible futures."

"Perhaps something he saw scared him and that fear caused him to behave irrationally….by attacking you."

"No, you did not see the gleam in his eyes, he was mad, almost insane…anyways I better go to sleep, tomorrow we arrive in Devaron where my fate will be judged…will you be with me? I fear they may order my execution…" Tern's voice trailed as his eyes watered up.

"Of course I will be there. You don't even have to ask. There is nothing, no power in this galaxy that would stop me from being there when you need me." Volun shook his head to emphasise the validity of what he was saying making Tern smile ever so faintly.

"Thank you." They turned off the communicators. Tomorrow his fate would be judged, what if he could not convince the Council of his sincerity and eagerness to become a Jedi Knight? What if they ordered his execution? He had no intention of dying tomorrow and yet he did not want to have to kill anyone in order for him to escape, if he could even manage to kill the Knights that would be there, much less one of the Masters in the Council.

He fell into an uneasy sleep full of dreams, visions and nightmares.

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