Star Wars: Darklight

by AB

Chapter 23

Tipping Point

Volun arrived in the training area, holding his lightsaber.

"Put that away, Volun." Katosh-Val sat on his knees with his palms on them, his back straight and his eyes looking forward and nowhere in particular. "You won't be needing here, today."

Volun placed the lightsaber on his belt and sat facing his new Master. He did not speak until he could not, not speak anymore.

"What will you train me in?"

"I would think it obvious." Katosh-Val's reply came a few moments later. "To forgive yourself."

"For what?" Volun stared at him.

"For your mother's death, your brother's betrayal and your boyfriend's death, even if he did come back from it."

"I…do not blame myself for those things." Volun denied Katosh-Val's claim.

"I guess we have more work to do than I previously thought." Katosh-Val answered Volun's denial. "And to answer what you were really asking about. Yes, I will teach you of the ways of the Force. If you are willing to learn." Volun nodded.

"Why do you think I blame myself for my mum's death?" Volun asked after a minute or two.

"Besides that you just asked rather than move on?" Katosh-Val chuckled kind-heartedly. "How dare you survive when she did not. Is that not what goes through your mind every time you wake up and when you go to sleep?" Volun lowered his head in reply, sadness plastered all over his features.

"It is normal of any sentient being, who has experienced what you have. Not only did your mother die and you did not but your own brother killed her." Katosh-Val commented. "It is weird you know, Tern. A child being correct about things like these. Ever since his return, if not before, he has shown wisdom and foresight I'd expect from a Jedi Master of nine hundred years of age."

"He is different, Master. Yes." Volun replied, his head rising again.

"As a Jedi I was taught emotions lead to suffering, suffering to anger, anger to hate and hate to the Dark Side…and here is a child who by all rights should be the very manifestation of the Dark Side and he is fighting to defeat the Sith and bring balance to the Force, end the Force-Wars that have plagued the galaxy for tens of thousands of years."

Katosh-Val shifted on his knees before continuing. "Perhaps it has been denying emotions that has led so many Jedi to fall to the Dark Side."

"Don't we all have Darkness inside us? Even the greatest of the Jedi Masters? Even Master Yoda? What if balancing the Dark and the Light inside each of us is what brings balance to us as individuals and to the Force as a whole?" Volun wondered out loud.

"Tern and I…talk…also." Volun explained seeing Katosh-Val raise an eyebrow at his reasoning, his cheeks acquiring a slight hue of pink.

"I see…yes perhaps he and you are correct and the Jedi have become too dogmatic over millennia of fighting. The Sith too."

"Is it normal for the Master to admit acquiring knowledge from the student?" Volun tried not to giggle.

Katosh-Val chuckled. "It is not as uncommon as you may think, even with the Jedi. When you have two people in any sort of relationship it is reasonable that both will learn something from the exchange of thoughts, knowledge and care." He saw Volun's face distort in a grimace. "There is love and care in all types of relationships. I will not care for you in the way that Tern does, but I will care for you as a teacher does for his student. Would I be able to transfer any kind of knowledge or wisdom to you if I did not care?"

Volun smiled with a nod. "I was…hesitant when Tern told me you'd be my Master, tutor in the ways of the Force but…I think he chose well. You are not what I'd expect from a Jedi."

Katosh-Val smiled back. "An uncommon tutor for uncommon times and we live in very interesting times I think. Time to start on your training then. Levitate me."

"I can't." Volun replied instinctively.

"You can. Do not let the possibility of failure scare you from trying. Yes, you will fail and the knowledge of that fact should only motivate you towards trying more until you succeed."

"I do not like failing…last one cost me…my mum."

"You did not fail. There was nothing you could have done even if you had awakened to the Force before then you'd not have enough training to defeat your brother. Case in point Tern did not and he had received Jedi training since after his…birth. Your mother did not and she had decades of Force-training. Failure should not scare you no matter the outcome. It should only serve as a lesson for next time." Volun nodded not completely sold on the idea but not totally negative to it either.

"Try then to levitate me. Size matters not…in this case." Katosh-Val winked at him making Volun's eyes grow in size almost popping out of their sockets with an almost involuntary giggle escaping him.

He closed his eyes, concentrating on trying to lift his new Master off the floor. He extended his hands out, palms up at stomach level. Ever so slowly he started raising his hands. Katosh-Val trembled and shook without rising from the floor.

Katosh-Val kept silent. He knew better than to talk now. Volun was as of yet largely untrained and his voice would disturb the boy. Later as the boy would gain experience, knowledge and skill this would change. Volun would learn to filter out external stimuli while concentrating on a Force-ability.

Volun broke the effort without opening his eyes. Pulling his hands back, bending them for a second he re-extended them with a renewed effort.

A few minutes and a third try later Katosh-Val levitated for a few centimeters from the floor before he fell back down to it abruptly.

"I suck at this." Volun stated disappointed.

"No, this is the start of your training not the end. You cannot suck at something you did for the first time. Now we should get going to the Hangar bay. The fleet is leaving for Dromund Kaas."

"How do you…" Volun was interrupted by an announcement for everyone to report to their posts as the fleet was departing for Dromund Kaas. "How…?" Katosh-Val just winked at him standing up.

An hour later they left in The Indomitable, for Dromund Kaas.

"I never thought I'd see one of the original Sith Worlds up close...such horrors have these planets unleashed upon the galaxy." Katosh-Val said.

"We should be there in a few hours. What is the plan?" Umaga asked. Everyone else except for Katosh-Val and Volun, were in the bridge of one of the cruisers.

"Tern has asked we wait in Hyperspace until he sends the signal. Umaga and the rest of you are to work together as one negating damage dealt to the fleet through battle-meditation." Volun continued laying out Tern's plan to the fleet.

Three hours later they arrived at the location in Hyperspace closest to Dromund Kaas. "Now we wait." Volun whispered.

They did not have to wait long as not fifteen minutes later Tern's voice boomed over the coms.

"T-Tern? Master?" Karek looked at his new Master.

"Board." Tern closed the rear hatch behind them. "Get us in high orbit around the planet." He ordered the pilot.

"Karek, I need you to watch the navigation panel…" Tern told his new apprentice. They had just entered orbit five minutes later.

Naïve as he still was, Karek stood up walking to the cockpit. The door to the rear of the shuttle closed behind him.

"M-master?" Karek tried through the coms.

"Soldier, transfer full control of the door to my side." The pilot did as Tern ordered him. "I want you to face the rear of the shuttle to the Life-Eradicator cruiser, shut down all systems except for the shields and life support and open the rear hatch."

"Master! The void of space will kill you!" Karek exclaimed, fear obvious in his voice.

"No, the shields will protect me from that. I need a clear line of sight to the cruiser. Do as I order you." Karek heard the various systems shut down as the soldier piloting the shuttle diverted power to the shields leaving only life support to full power.

"Open me a channel to the cruiser."

"You must be Tern Amargo. I am Darth Rancor here to kill you." A ghastly mask-covered voice came through the coms. Karek knew it all too well.

"Many have tried. You will not succeed either." Tern taunted him.

"I will succeed where Darth Solus failed. I will kill the Coalition and Darth Drakus' fleets in one fell swoop.

"I will destroy your cruiser Sith."

Darth Rancor laughed. "My cruiser has an upgraded core. Her shields will not fail when I fire her main weapon. Your fleets are powerless against me."

"Which is why I said "I" will." Tern switched channel so that Kaa'ara and the others could hear him.

"If I drop the cruiser's shields is there anyone to save from the machine's core?"

"No, they are too far gone, none are responding to my Force-shouts. Kill them it is the humane thing to do. Kill them and put them out of their misery." Kaa'ara replied grimly.

"Very well then." Tern switched back to Darth Rancor.

He closed his eyes for but a moment before opening them again, his hands in front of his torso holding an imaginary ball his fingers curved in his legs open slightly.

"What can one child possibly do against…agh." Darth Rancor's voice broke off. He found himself unable to speak.

"I am tired of your voice. Silence. I will drain you. Let the monster out, Darth Drakus' request I will fulfill." Tern whispered.

Darth Rancor shook his head, clutching for his vocal chords. Despair turned to anger and hatred. He Forced a Force-wave outwards from his body breaking Tern's Force-ability.

"You think you can fuck with me, kid?" Darth Rancor exasperated.

"Yes. Die now." Tern replied with a haunting calmness. "You cannot resist the monster inside me, nor can you fathom it. I am not powerful in the Dark Side of the Force. I am made from it." Tern Extended his right hand before pulling it in.

"What the fuck?" Volun mumbled. He could see a thin, barely visible black-red line extend from the cruiser to Tern's shuttle.

Darth Rancor screamed in agony. "M…my apprentice, help me!" His apprentice did not move a muscle to aid his dying Master. "Fire the main weapon of the ship, target the shuttle…after my Master is dead." He grinned an order to the officers in the cruiser's bridge.

A few minutes later Darth Rancor lay dead on the floor. "Fire." His apprentice ordered his army.

"Yes, fire away silly child. It screams, it wants release. Feed me, feed the darkness inside me." Tern grinned. Volun in The Indomitable could sense the disturbance in his lover's soul. The Dark Side of the Force pulsed from within him. "Tern…"

Tern squeezed his hands closer together. For seconds later, as the cruiser powered up its main weapon, nothing happened then the cruiser's hull and metal started creaking. Volun and the others could hear it through the coms

"Wh-what's happening?" The apprentice demanded of his subordinates.

"Sir, we do not know. The hull is sustaining damage sir, two percent and rising rapidly sir." One of the officers answered him.

"How…nothing can penetrate our shield?" He wondered almost to himself. Tern's voice through the coms and holo-projector cut him off.

"You have no idea how powerful I've become since my death. Feel the power of the Dark Side…and the Light." Tern squeezed his hands closer together, twisting and bending them. His voice pained.

"FIRE!!" The apprentice bellowed in panic. This child had provided him with a gift killing his Master, giving him an army and now he was removing this gift from his grasp.

"Sir, the weapon is only charged at fifty percent."

"I DON'T GIVE A FLYYING FUCK!!! FIRE!!" The apprentice screamed his lungs out. He nearly run the distance to the weapons control console smashing his hand up against the main weapon's controls.

The black Dark Side laser beam ejected from the cruiser heading straight for Tern's shuttle.

"TERN!" Volun roared.

Tern extended his hands spreading them out. He pulled them back as the laser impacted them.

Volun and the others could not believe their eyes as the laser distorted and twisted like a vortex in the sea until it was gone. What they could not see was Tern in the shuttle, his hands now in front of his torso all the laser's Dark Side energy trapped between his hands like a black, deathly orb.

He chuckled and squeezed the Dark-Side-energy-orb roughly between his hands.

The cruiser's titanium-carbon fiber alloy beams started bending and twisting.

"It demands food, it demands death. I must…I have to consume your life force. All of you." Tern muttered crashing his hands together.

Where before it had been one Dark-Red stream now Volun saw a torrent of them as the cruiser continued to bend and break. Fissures of atmospheric leaks appeared on the outer hull.

"I do not want this. I have passed the test. I return the energy to the Force from where I got it. I wish not to allow the Dark Side to consume me. I am free." Tern brought his hands apart aiming the Dark-Side-energy-orb to the opened rear hatch and the void. As he separated his hands the cruiser tore apart in several large chunks.

"We don't have enough time! Fleet jump to Tatooine! NOW! Before the reactor core goes critical." The fleet's ship commanders did not bother replying, instead one by one they jumped away.

The reactor core exploded in a flash of light brighter than the sun.

The pilot brought the systems back online, closing the rear hatch. He pressed Tatooine's coordinates into the Hyperdrive jumping away just as the shockwave reached their position.

Tern opened the door to the rear of the shuttle taking one of the seats. He felt exhausted.

"That was…I mean…how?" Karek stuttered taking a seat next to Tern.

"Size matters nothing when it comes to the Force. Even the largest of objects can be manipulated if you allow yourself to hear the song. It sings, the Force does." Tern replied him in a whisper.

"Will you teach me? How to do that?" Tern gave him a good look. There wasn't a look of greed or lust for power on Karek's visage yet Tern could see him.

"I suppose it is logical you have some thirst for power…so long as you do not allow it to consume you."

"I will never become like my previous Master. He was…lost. I wish to find myself, forgive me if I can."

Tern studied him for a few moments. "I will."

A few hours later they docked in the hangar bay in the orbital base around Tatooine.

They disembarked to find Volun and the others waiting for them, all with stunned looks on their faces. Darth Drakus was not with them.

"Everyone, Karek my new apprentice. Karek, Volun, Katosh-Val, Lavos, Karos, Ravela, Varog, Hara and my sister, Kaa'ara." Tern introduced them.

"H...hi." Karek said shyly.

Some of the others replied to him in words the rest nodded, apprehensive of Karek's past.

"What is our next move?" One of the Jedi who had joined them after Illum asked him. Tern noticed various other Force-Sensitives, officers and soldiers had gathered around.

"Next? Next we take Moraband."

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