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BlackZodiac

NC-17 Chiaroscuro of the Old Republic [Closed]

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Xisha Samuul was a member of the jedi order. A Jedi Consular, who specifically handled assignments regarding political unrest. Her job was simple, locate the leaders who were having problems, find out what they each wanted, and resolve the situation without any need for violence. Xisha was very good at this job, she made relatively difficult tasks appear simple and easy. She had an 95% success rate in these sorts of situations. There were always the few incidents where one party just wanted to shed blood for the sake of evil and unjust natures, but normally if that was the case Xisha would call in a comrade. She had a very strong connection to the force that was displayed in her words, the sound of her voice was soothing and brought most men to solace. She had the ability to be a fierce combatant, but she never sought out training in light saber battle. Her abilities focused on healing in all aspects body and mind.

 

Xisha walked down the corridor of the Republic Heavy Cruiser. The jedi stood at about 5'4''. Most of her body was covered by a brown robe. While her hood was up the only part of her that you could see were her plush red lips and fleeting sights of flawless pale ivory skin. By the way she walked it was evident she was a woman. The robe was not too tight, but the saunter in her hips with each step gave her gender away. Xisha walked through the ship. She wasn't in a particular hurry, taking slow and steady strides towards the front. The ship was heading towards Taris, the jedi order had recently set up a small enclave there and she had been given reports about Mandalorian activity in the area getting restless. If nothing was done soon the order feared the Mandalorians would attempt a siege. This was exactly the type of work she did so well. After a few minutes she finally reached the main cock pit of the Cruiser.

 

Xisha made her way over to the Republic Officer incharge and inquired,"How much longer until we reach Taris Officer?"

 

The man wore a republic uniform with merits displaying his rank. He had slicked back black hair and sage colored eyes. He had been reading an output alert on the radar screen in front of him, so when he was roused out of this concentration by her, he was effectively surprised.

 

" Oh, umm..."

 

He hurriedly checked a different screen as to not keep her waiting too long for a reply. After a moment he looked back to Xisha.

 

"About four hours ma'am."

 

Xisha just nodded and gave a little, "Thank you." Before turning around.

 

Xisha planned to meditate until they landed. There was always time to focus on the force and her bond to it. The second you think you know everything is the moment you become a fool. That was what her Master had taught her. There is always room for improvement. 

 

Once inside her private quarters and the door was shut, she removed her robe. She didn't like for everyone to see her, it usually led to problems with men who had been away in space for far too long. Underneath her robe she wore a simple white tank top and a pair of tight tan pants which stopped halfway down her calf. Xisha sported an amazing body, large ample curves with a toned and athletic core. Her fiery medium length orange-red hair fell down around her shoulders as she undid her hair tie. She shook her hair out and ran her hands through the silken locks with a sigh of relief. Her body fell back onto her bed, pale skin blending in so well with the white sheets of her bed. Her face was turned upward. If she weren't a Miraluka, with her absent sockets instead of eyes, she would be staring up at the ceiling. There was a black lace cloth on her night stand that she lazily grabbed with her hand. Xisha took the cloth and wrapped it around where her eyes should be, properly covering this sensitive area. She couldn't 'see' her room in the traditional sense. Miraluka's perceived their surrounding through the force. She felt her own force energy spread from every inch of her body flowing over everything around her. It was as if she were made of water that endlessly flowed outward touching everything around her in the universe, continuing for eternity. It was amazing how she could feel things over vast distances. So many times, when one of her brethren or sister jedi fell light years away, she knew the instant it hapened. The shock of someone close to her being cut off from the force was a pain she could not hide from. Likewise, when new life connected to the force a joy over took her that she could not explain. 

 

Xisha simply laid in bed feeling all of this at once. She could feel the pulse of every member of the crew. As their hearts beat it sent ripples out that eventually hit her lightly, like gentle waves flowing over her. Xisha took a deep breath in and concentrated. Now everything quieted down, her sensitively grew dull, and eventually it all became silent. She focused on her own thoughts. It was in times like this that she was most vulnerable, but this was also how she made herself stronger. She chanted the jedi mantra over and over again, her voice a whisper in the wind that filled up the whole ship, a calming tone in the ear of every crew member. 

 

"There is no emotion, there is peace.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force."
 
It repeated over and over again for a couple hours until Xisha finally let go of her restraint and all the feeling of the force came back to her in one snap of conductivity. She took in a deep breath and sat back up in bed. A little trickle of sweat slid down the side of her face and she quickly wiped it away with her hand.
 
"I think that is enough meditation for today." She said to herself.
 
Sometimes her natural ability was overwhelming. There was so much life and death in the universe, combined with the vast cold expanse of space. So many mysteries and such a simple code to follow. 

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In the cold, darkness of space a large mass suddenly formed near the Republic Cruiser as a Harrower-class Imperial Dreadnought came out of hyperspace. a towering giant of Imperial might, second to no other dreadnought class starship. Fighters were already emerging from the dreadnought, swarming around the Republic Cruiser as the Dreadnought's crew prepared their boarding party. Meanwhile aboard the bridge of the vessel two men had entered who were not dressed in the standard uniform of an officer of the Sith Empire.

The first was a man dressed in durable Mandalorian armour. His helmet obscured his face whilst he looked out over the crew. At his left hand side was a man of average height with a lean, medium build. He was dressed in a pair of black boots with silver buckles and straps. He wore simple black trousers and a tight fitting tunic around his chest. Over this he wore a long black cloak, with the hood over his head, obscuring the top half of his face. His chin and mouth protruded from under the hood, showing a chalk white complexion. The man stood silent until the man in charge of the vessel, Moff Duraan, finally turned to address him.

"The plan has worked excellently my Lord" Moff Duraan said to his guests on the bridge as he turned to face them. He was a middle aged man with dark hair that was beginning to grey. He was dressed in the dark grey uniform that all agents of the Sith Empire wore. His gaze lingered on the man in the dark robes but only for a moment, before he shifted it awkwardly to look out into empty space. The dark robed figure nodded and held out his hand in a sweeping gesture towards his Mandalorian ally.

"You will find my Master to be most pleased with your service." The robed figure replied with a dry and cold voice. "You will be rewarded for your cooperation and for the men you have lost to this cause. Let it be known that Darth Lascerus rewards his allies greatly."

"You speak for Lascerus but you're just his pet" came the tinny reply from under the helmet of the Mandalorian. "What do you know of the hardships my people have suffered for his cause?"

"I know enough to speak on behalf of my Master..." the Sith replied, his tone growing slightly irritable. "Why don't you join your men at the drop ship? I will be with you presently." he added.

"You're coming?" The Mandalorian asked. "Lascerus is actually sending one of his own men for a change?"

"It was not his intention." the Sith corrected before stepping forward and gesturing for the Mandalorian to follow him. "This decision is my own. I am concerned that you might lose more men than necessary should I stay aboard this ship. The Jedi aboard that vessel would likely see to that."

"A Jedi?" The Mandalorian asked, "I've killed plenty of Jedi!"

"Indeed." The Sith agreed before turning his head around to look back at the stars outside the viewing window, focusing on the cruiser that was off in the distance. "But this Jedi is strong in ways that you're people might not understand. Not to mention, she is to be taken alive."

"Alive?" came the voice of Moff Duraan, "I wasn't told anything about taking a Jedi aboard this ship. With all due respect Lord Kuvae-"

"Did I request your input, Moff Duraan" the Sith interupted, "It matters not if the plan has changed. You will do as commanded."

"But...my Lord" Moff Duraan mumbled, "Grand Moff Kilran, he must be made aware of-" Suddenly Moff Duraan stopped what he was saying. Without warning he had risen a few feet off the ground, as the Sith held his arm out in the air, holding him by the throat with the power of the force, tightly gripping his windpipe and cutting off his air supply.

"Grand Moff Kilran answers to the Dark Council!" Kuvae snarled, his patience wearing away, "As such he answers to Darth Lascerus, Dark Lord of the Sith. I am Darth Lascerus' will. And so you shall answer to I, Djara Kuvae. Do I make myself clear?"

Suddenly Djara released his grip on the man and he fell to his knees on the ground, wheezing and gasping for life. Djara pulled the robe from himself, revealing his sleeveless, black tunic and chalk grey arms, as well as a bald, hairless head. His eyes were white and piercing, and his face sported a black stripe tattoo across his eyeline, and crescent shaped markings over his forehead. The Rattataki looked young, but his skin was showing the worn look that was the price of abusing the dark side of The Force. He dropped the rob on the steel floor of the bridge and addressed the Moff once more. "Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes..." Moff Duraan coughed, "Absolutely...my Lord."

"If you have any other reservations then don't hesitate to highlight them to Darth Lascerus on our return to Dromund Kaas" Djara sneered, "But I warn you, he is not quite so lenient as I." And with that Djara continued to walk with the Mandalorian, making his way from the bridge to the elevators. He descended down one flight and through several more corridors before they both found themself in on of the Dreadnoughts many hangar bays. Djara marched up the gantry of a shuttle that was already prepared to dispatch and as he entered the ship the gantry closed and the shuttle rose into the air, slowly pushing it's way out of the airlock. Inside the shuttle a vicious smirk escaped Djara's lips. He could feel the fear emanating from the Republic Cruiser. Good he thought to himself, Let them bask in the raw emotion that is fear.

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The alarm was ringing through the entire ship. A harsh clanging noise followed by red strobe lights and disorienting chaos. The republic personnel running around rampent frantically trying to figure out what to do as the fighters from the Imperial Dreadnought began to surround and attack. The evacuation pods were useless, anyone trying to run away in those would surly be killed. The defenses aboard the ship were minimal as well, the crew had not been expecting this kind of reception upon nearing Taris. In fact they had a second mission besides dropping off Xisha, they were in fact picking up military supplies in Taris. So this attack was very poor timing for the republic forces and very good timing on the sith's front. A lot of panic had ensued while Xisha had meditated. She simply stood in front of the large window inside her quarters. Her hand was pressed against the glass as her energy flowed over the space between the two vessels. Inside it might have been loud and chaotic, but in space there was only silence.

 

Deafening silence filled Xisha's mind. Her control over the force pushed out across the void. Slowly Xisha was beginning to feel Djara Kuvae. The force emanating off of him was extraordinary. It was as if a dark cloud filled with thunder and pain was stampeding towards her mind. She made sure that her own force could be felt, a sort of lingering curious presence that would ease into his mind. Now exploring this energy that was so dark, but even in the pitchest black, there was always still a flicker of light. However, Xisha was starting to realize the inevitability of the situation. The crew was in a panic because they too knew that most, if not all of them would not make it out of this conflict alive.

 

Xisha now pondered, Will I survive this?

 

Xisha had a very strong bond with the force, it came down to the very nature of her species and even among them she was noted as gifted. Why was the vessel transporting her the target of this attack? Besides her transport there was nothing of importance aboard, so what was the empire's goal in all of this. Was she the target? But why? Her control over the force could not keep at bay a seasoned warrior such as Djara Kuvae. No her words would be the only thing in her arsenal that might hold her salvation. 

 

She had never been this close to a sith before. Her assignments for the most part kept her out of trouble in this fashion. So for the first time in a very long while, Xisha found herself unsure of what action to take. She walked over to her bed and flung her robe around herself, properly covering her body and most of her face. She then exited her quarters. Outside her room the gravity of the situation collapsed on her. It was an all out mess as she tried to dodge the stammering crew. She extended her flow out over everyone and gave a simple command.

 

"Calm."

 

It was as if a master had instructed a pack of dogs to sit. The crew calmed immediately, thier fear surpresed by Xisha's power. They all stood lost in their minds as Xisha made her way to greet the boarding party. Fighting against them would be useless, as with her training in other situations she felt the best course was dialogue. She prepared herself to find out what exactly the Sith were after and then try and reasonably cooperate. If she could manage to convince them that this tribulation could be resolved one on one, with out the death of her crew, that would be the best way of going about everything.

 

Xisha calmly spoke to an officer, "Turn off the alarm."

 

The officer with no words nodded and went to his post to do as she asked. 

 

Soon the alarm was gone and looking around the ship you would have never been able to tell that there had been an outright ridiculous panic only moments before. Xisha now stood in front of the door waiting for the boarding party to disembark and make her acquaintance. She was nervous there was no denying that. To not be afraid now was pure ignorance, but she wouldn't show that emotion on her face. Those who accompanied the sith would see a Jedi, practical, bold. Only someone strongly connected to the force could feel her true emotions flowing beneath her cool demeanor. 

 

The door opened and as her lips parted her voice called out warm and welcoming, not a stutter in sight. 

 

"Welcome to the Republic Vessel known as The Deliverance. My name is Xisha Samuul, I am a member of the Jedi Order. How can I be of service to you?"

 

Her words were like butter, so smooth and pleasant sounding. A wave of serenity overwhelmed those who heard the sweet melody in her tone. Xisha wore a simple smile, her light saber was poised and ready to take action beneath her robe, though she hoped this was an unnecessary precaution. 

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The blast door of the Republic Cruiser opened with a mechanical hiss. Footsteps passed over the threshold, Mandalorian warriors and Imperial forces breached the door and advanced inside, training their weapons on the Republic troops and waiting patiently. The leader of the Mandalorians stepped out of the hangar, pulling his blaster from it's holster and training it directly ahead at the Jedi. His troops were armed and ready to advance, but like the Imperials they were stood waiting, showing restraint and very little will to fight. What is going on? The Mandalorian thought to himself. It's like something has panicked them. 

 

"What are you waiting for!?" The Mandalorian barked to his troops, "Don't tell me you're scared?"

 

Suddenly there was a thumping sound from within the hangar and a body flew through the air, flying just past the Mandalorian's shoulder and crashing on the metallic floor. The lifeless corpse of the Republic trooper was covered in scorch marks, smoke filtering out from underneath his armour. More footsteps came from the direction of the hangar and Djara emerged, his white eyes fixing a piercing stare on the Jedi who stood before him, his mouth fixed in a violent sneer. 

 

"Fear would only seek to drive them..." he growled, his tone accusing and fierce. "No. The Jedi has removed their will through the sweet lies of peace and calm. This is why I have come, Mandalorian. This ship will know dread again soon enough!"

 

Suddenly Djara advanced forward at a run, passing the Mandalorian who responded by letting out a spray of bullets, causing the Republic troops to respond in kind. The blaster bolts hurled past Djara as he made a bee-line for the Jedi. A small squad blocked his path, aiming their blaster rifles to open fire. Djara responded by opening his mouth agape, as if he were about to scream, but what escaped his mouth was more like a ghostly wail, the sound of a terrifying Force scream that sent dread and despair into the hearts of his enemies. Taking advantage of their momentary lack of concentration Djara thrust his hands outwards and the men were sent hurtling through the air by the sheer might of the Force. Djara advanced through their previous position and rounded on the Jedi, pulling his lightsaber to his right hand with the force and igniting it as he closed on her, bringing it down to her throat. 

 

Djara stopped just short of engaging the Jedi, the crimson beam of his lightsaber hovering just above her collar, humming intensely as if hungry for blood. Djara locked his eyes with the Miraluka, and a sinister grin spread across his face. She had not moved, not even an inch. She had sensed that he needed her alive. He was most impressed. 

 

"Your mind tricks may work on these lesser fools..." Djara snarled at her, "But you already knew that they were merely a distraction. The main event was always you and I, Jedi!"

 

"So then if I come with you there is no need to harm any of the crew aboard this ship?" She could feel the heat of the saber so close to her skin, but she still did not move. If she needed to her agility could move her with enough haste to avoid a deadly blow. "If you do not promise their safety I won't make this easy for you." She smirked, "unless your intention was that you wanted a fight." Djara's twisted smile only increased in size. 

 

"Surrender?" He replied, "Now that is disappointing...however,,," Djara withdrew his lightsaber, extinguishing it's blade and returning it to his side. He turned away from the Jedi and faced his men. As he did so Republic troopers had advanced on their company, stopping short of the Jedi and taking aim, but holding their fire. "So, Jedi..." Djara continued as he turned to face her again. "...Xisha Samuul, is it?" He needed to response. He knew of her name already. "Step towards my Mandalorian friend and allow him to bind your arms. If you truly wish to surrender I will honour your bargain and spare the lives aboard this vessel. Do we have an accord?"

 

Xisha nodded. "Yes." She stepped forward and presented her arms out, her pale wrists and hands now becoming viable beneath the brown sleeves. The Mandalorian turned her around quite roughly, binding her arms behind her back. He then patted her down, feeling for her lightsaber beneath her robes and removing it. After he was satisfied that she could not break free he nodded at Djara, who nodded back to him in response. The Imperials began to retreat, marching the incarcerated Jedi out with them as they headed back to their drop ship. Djara looked out at the Republic forces who stood with their weapons still trained. He could feel their anger, their burning hate. Each and every one of them was considering gunning down their enemies while their backs were turned. Djara smirked. They were fools bound by their precious morals. It would be their downfall. 

 

 


 

 

Djara once more stood upon the top viewing deck of the Dreadnought's bridge. He looked out at the Republic Cruiser as the remaining few drop ships and fighters made their return from the ship. Xisha was now safely locked up in the decks below. The Mandalorian leader had offered to freeze her in carbonite, but Djara refused. Instead he left her conscious and well in a chamber that was locked and coated with blast shields. Unarmed and caged, she was of no harm to any body. However Djara had one last injury to lay on to her. He had promised to restore dread the Republic Cruiser, and he always made good on his promises. He thrust his hands outwards. With his eyes closed he began to channel the dark energies of the force. He focused on his hatred, and his rage. He could feel the gripping darkness flowing out from within him, his aura increasing in mass. Suddenly he opened his eyes and his rage exploded outwards, hurtling through the stars towards the Republic Cruiser. 

 

Aboard the vessel the republic troopers were suddenly gripped with intense fear. Some fell to their knees in terror, while others began to shiver and sweat. As the feeling intensified the ship's inhabitants began to scream out in horror, the darkness converging around them, dragging them down into the depths of insanity. Even the ship's Captain wasn't immune, collapsing on the floor, shaking and convulsing in sheer terror. 

 

Djara motioned for Moff Duraan to pay attention to him. 

"M'lord" Duraan spoke as he sheepishly came to Djara's side. 

"Open fire on the Republic vessel." Djara commanded

"M'lord...they have surrendered-"

"Open fire!" Djara barked. Moff Duraan turned and gave the order to his crew. Within moments the ship's cannons were engaged. A hail of blaster fire rained down upon the Republic Cruiser, crashing into it's hull, causing it's generators to explode. Slowly the signs of life began to fade as the assault continued, the vessel showing no signs of retaliation. Within minutes the proud cruiser had become but a smoking, burning graveyard, floating lifelessly in space. Djara's gaze was fixed on the flames, his expression dark and menacing. 

"Set a course for Dromund Kaas" he said finally. 

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As Xisha was brought to her cell, she was beginning to think maybe this whole ordeal had been too easy. The idea that the Dreadnought would leave the Republic ship completely fine was a bit of a ridiculous notion. Xisha stood in her cell, hands still bound behind her back. Her brown robe had been removed leaving her in the white tank top and khaki pants she wore beneath. Her forehead pressed against the wall as she felt out through the force what was occurring back on her ship. Everything seemed fine at first which caused her to have a sense of relief, but she still had an unsettling feeling in the back of her mind.

 

She was questioning her decision when she felt the overwhelming fear hit her. The people on the Republic Cruiser were over whelmed with fear, maddening, mind boggleing fear. Xisha collapsed onto the floor, her hands still bound behind her back, she supported her weight on her knees and her forehead on the ground. The pain was overwhelming she though it would never stop. She could hear their screams echoing in her mind, pure terror. How could she have let this happen. They were her responsibility...

 

I failed them.

 

Were the words that kept repeating over and over again in her mind.

 

Xisha was under the false assumption that this could not get any worse, but without warning it was as if apart of her soul had been forcefully ripped out of her. Xisha felt like a blade had been thrusted through her and someone was slowly twisting it, tearing up her insides. She let out a deafening scream that spread throughout the whole ship. There was so much pain, sometimes being so heavily connected to the force was a major weakness. This pain was more harsh than if she were the one being killed. The walls of her cell, and for that matter, the whole ship were now being tested. The force emanating from her was like a gravity field pushing outwards with all her might, you could hear cracking in the walls. If she kept this up the whole ship could burst. She was able to regain control over herself though and pulled everything back inward. 

 

Sweat dripped down from her forehead through her red hair that covered the ground. She was clenching her teeth now, her breathing was labored. Her body fell onto her right side as she cowered in agony. If she could cry she would be, but without eyes there were no tears. As the ashes of their bodies and ship dispersed out into space the pain began to lessen. Xisha finally was able to catch her breath, steady her beating heart, and calm her mind. The torture was no over yet though, now came the silence. The still nothingness of where a crew had been. The empty void now left behind  by the absence of life was just as bad as the heart wrenching pain from before. The cold nothingness isolated her. She couldn't feel anything now. She was so numb now, it would be a while before she could feel anything. It was as if the Force had left her, weak and broken on the ground like a beaten child. 

 

What would become of her now, she didn't know why the sith wanted her. Shouldn't they have just killed her? Why was she a prisoner? The idea of simply stopping her own breathing and taking her life was a serious option to consider. It wouldn't be too hard and that way what ever they wanted her for would be ruined. She couldn't give them the satisfaction of killing everyone aboard her vessel and her capture. This was the right thing to do. 

 

Xisha held her breath. 

 

Time passed by and her senses began to go haywire, she tried with all her might no to give in. After a couple minutes her vision began to blur, she thought she would pass out soon. As soon as the lights began to fade though her body betrayed her and gasps of breath swelled inside her lungs. There was a sharp stabbing pain with every breath, her minds way of punishing her body for being to pathetic to carry out the simple task of suicide. This wasn't going to work, she might be a jedi, but her animal instinct to survive was too strong. Sounds of pain escaped her lips as she wrestled with her agony. 

 

"Just let me die..." Her voice as an echo rippled out.

 

What would become of her? There was nothing she could do now, but wait. 

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Kaas City. The Metropolis was the heart of the Sith Empire, its Capitol. Nestled within the dark and vicious jungles of Dromund Kaas, the city had grown quite expansive over the years since the Sith had made their glorious return. Dromund Kaas was constantly plunged in darkness by the near constant storms and dark clouds that blanketed the planet. Lightning crackled in the sky over Kaas city which was illuminated with dim, diffused lighting. The buildings were tall, towering over the jungles, stretching down into a deep crevasse, giving the impression that it's towers had shot up from out of the earth itself. In the centre of the Imperial's Capitol was a grand Citadel that stood high above the other towers. It was a bustling hub and was truly the home of the Sith Empire's most important leaders. It's dark metallic exterior was decorated with banner of bold crimson, sporting the black, hexagonal crest of the Sith Empire. 

 

Djara moved across the vast courtyard of the Citadel of the Sith, paying no mind to the Imperials who were moving around him, busying themselves with tasks that were none of his concern. His black cloak fanned out behind him, flaying in the storm, with the hood of it pulled over his head. Underneath he wore his striking black and silver boots, and black cargo trousers. Around his waste was a crimson sash, fixed and tied in place through a large silver hoop, with it's residual length falling down the front of his left leg. On his chest he wore a dark leather tunic, with long, fitted sleeves that hugged his lean, muscular frame. His cloak was tied around his shoulders, and fastened below his neck. At either side of him he carried a lightsaber clipped to his belt, his own on his left, and another on his right. This lightsaber had previously belonged to the Jedi, Xisha Samuul. 

 

He strode inside the Citadel, the guards greeting him with a salute, however he paid them no such respect in return. He passed through the entrance and out on to a large circular room that branched out into several corridors in every direction. with a large, complex looking machine in the centre, emitting a toxic green glow from it's top. Djara passed by the machine without a second glance, turning to the right and striding down another corridor. As the guards blocking the doors caught sight of him they moved immediately, allowing him to pass into the personal chambers of his Master, Darth Lascerus. 

 

As Djara entered the room he passed through the main lobby and into another, smaller chamber. The room was lit with crimson lights, and the back wall was lit up with a star-chart, a holographic map of the known galaxy. Stood in front of it was a tall and muscular man, with skin so red that it matched the banners outside of the citadel. The large man turned to face Djara. His eyes were yellow and glazed over him with a look that suggested her could see right through his apprentice. The Sith Pureblood was hairless, much like his apprentice, but his tentacle-like tendrils dangled from his chin and jawline. Where most people had eyebrows, the true Sith had only pronounced spikes above his eyes. He was not dressed in the same conventional means as others would describe. The top half of his body was metallic and cold, the various wires and cables connected into the back of his head. His entire upper torso was mostly machine, although Djara knew that some of his real organs still resided within the metallic shell. His master had made a number of modifications to his body throughout the years. Darth Lascerus' lower half was covered by a long, black robe skirt. 

 

"Finally you choose to grace me with your presence..." Lascerus sneered at his apprentice. Djara hung his head in a slight bow. 

"My apologies, Master" he responded, his voice apologetic but firm. "There was much to take care of after the attack. I have dealt with the Mandalorians as you requested of me. And I have delivered your orders to the Imperial Officers in charge of the matter."

"Good." Lascerus said with a nod. His voice was deep and commanding. "I have just received new from my spies on Coruscant. The Republic Council have identified their vessel and conducted a thorough investigation. They have not found any specific evidence of foul play that directly implicates the Empire. However, the Jedi Order are showing great concern and are pushing for the Council to investigate the incident further. It appears our sources were correct about this Jedi. She holds great significance within the political circles of the Republic."

 

"I trust that there have been no complications while I have been gone, Master?" Djara pressed. He had not actually seen Xisha since their brief exchange 2 days ago. Since then she had been transported to Dromund Kaas and had been under the care of Darth Lascerus. 

"The Inquisitors have had quite a time with her..." Lascerus explained, "They have put her through immense suffering and still her will remains. The Force is strong in that one. Strong...but her will can be broken."

"What do you suggest, Master?" Djara asked. 

"I am glad you have asked, my young apprentice." Lascerus replied. He moved for the table that stood in between them and activated the holo-recorder that sat on top of it. As it sprang to life a tiny, blue hologram of Xisha appeared before them. She was sat on the ground, calm and motionless. "Even now she communes with the force. Our inquisitors have thus far failed to sever her ties with it. I believe it is time that you showed me what you can do."

 

"Me?" Djara asked, surprised at his Master's suggestion. Djara was a warrior, an assassin. His skill in the force was honed in battle. He was no torturer, his wisdom did not stretch into that avenue. Still Lascerus seemed to have confidence in him. His Master smirked and nodded to affirm what he had said. 

"I have a very important task for you, Djara" Lascerus began as he slowly paced back and forth within the room. "I am leaving on very important business. I will be gone for a very long time, possibly months. In that time I am giving full authority over our prisoner to you. You will remain here on Dromund Kaas. I have already made the arrangements with the other members of the Dark Council. As of today you are officially no longer just my apprentice. Today you become a Lord of the Sith."

 

Djara bowed his head in disbelief. He was truly honored. It was not like Lascerus to hand out rewards, even when he did excel. He knew that there would be a catch. He would have a responsibility, of course. 

"Thank you, Master" Djara replied with another short bow. 

"Do not bother with gratitude, my apprentice." Lascerus responded, shaking his hand at Djara. "The true reward is yet to come, and it is within your grasp. During my long excursion from Dromund Kaas I will be searching for a new apprentice. While I am gone you have only one mission left as my apprentice. You will twist the mind of this Jedi, not through sorcery but through deception. Show her the invigorating feeling of the Dark Side! It has already been decided with the Dark Council. Bring Xisha Samuul to the Dark Side and you shall become a Darth."

 

Djara could not believe his ears. Today he had become a Sith Lord, and he was promised the title of Darth? It all seemed to simple. He could not understand why he would be given this opportunity. Or at least why now? He had out-performed his peers for years now. He deserved this, he had deserved it for a long time. But why now? The only thing that had changed the playing field was the Jedi, Xisha. 

"Why is she so important?" Djara asked, "The Jedi has no will to fight. I could sense no emotion within her, no anger, no hate. She lacks what is necessary to become Sith. You wish me to make her my apprentice, but what purpose does that serve? She would be better to us dead."

 

"There is much more at play here than you understand, Djara" Lascerus growled at him, his tone firm and warning. "You must trust in my decision and the decision of the Dark Council. Our actions are dictated by the Emperor himself. You have been given great responsibility Djara. Use it. If you do not...I would hate to think of the consequences."

 

Djara hated to think about them as well. He nodded affirmatively at Lascerus. "I will do as you command, Master" he said finally. 

"Good." Lascerus replied, "I will be leaving this evening. From now on my quarters, the men in this facility, and the equipment are all at your disposal. It is time for you to show me what all of these years have been working toward." A grin spread across Djara's face. He didn't know how he would do it, but he would find a way to twist Xisha's mind. He would make her his. 

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Xisha had been taken into Kaas City. It was only a couple hours after her arrival when she was placed in a cell at the bottom of the Sith Citadel. She sat on the ground feeling out her surroundings. This place was a beacon of hate and rage. The electricity in the air was tangible to her. Overwhelming emotions flooded her system, pain, anger, jealousy, lust. It was a lot for her to take in. Xisha was used to more subtle places. Even in grand cities there were a mix of people, some reserved, others extreme. Here everyone's emotions ran high and it was evident in the atmosphere. The cell she was in was clearly meant for high risk prisoners, the restraints of her captivity were of the highest quality, this was by far the most advanced facility she had ever been in. Her cell had strong metal barriers as well as laser barriers that extended outward to the exit.

 

Xisha was still clothed in her dirty garments, white tank top and khaki pants. Her shoes had been taken revealing her bare feet along with her eye coverings, which revealed the sunken void where her eyes should be. Her wrists were bound to the wall. She could probably use the force to free herself from this, but what was the point. She would likely be beaten for the inconvenience she caused her guards. There was one by the exit of her cell and she assumed more on the outside of the room. They said nothing to her, but then again she wasn't trying to converse with them anyways. She was simply waiting for this tenuous process to begin. Xisha still was unsure of why they had taken her prisoner.

 

The door swung open and a man walked in. He seemed too calm to not be evil in Xisha's mind, she could hear screams emitting from his mind, screams of others he had tortured. Chills ran through her body, this was a sith Inquisitor. The guard who had been stationed inside her cell was dismissed with a wave of this man's hand. He approached Xisha now. She examined him as he stood in front of her saying nothing. He was human, in his early thirties she thought, slicked back black hair and a grin that screamed serial killer. He wore a long black robe and hood all lined in red with intricate red detailing patterns on the shoulders. After what felt like almost 15 minutes of him just examining her he took something out of his robe with his left hand. It appeared to be a metallic verpine headband. He placed it over Xisha's head and pressed a button. 

 

Xisha heard a noise, buzzing and electric current, and then all was dark. She couldn't feel anything. After a few moments of confusion the Inquisitor's voice called out to her through the pitch black nothingness. 

 

"Do you like my little toy?" His voice was oily and cold. 

 

She had never felt this cut off from everything, not unless she was meditating anyways. She tried to search outward, but was met with a very strong electrical surge to her head. A yell escaped her lips and her head fell. Xisha felt her wrist restraints release and her body collapsed to the ground. She stayed there on all fours for a good while. There was no way for her to get any bearings. It was as if she were upside down with no gravity. This feeling was so disorienting it made her nauseous. Her breathing was heavy as she tried to exist without any feeling from the force. 

 

"How does it feel? Or should I say lack of feeling..." The voice was now right above her.  

 

The Inquisitor glared down at his prey with an evil grimace. He loved the way she suffered, soaking in the moment and mistaking her unease with fear. The only thing that gave her any sense of where she was, was his horrible voice. The torture would commence now. She felt a swift kick drive deep into her left side. just under her ribs. She hadn't expected it and with nothing to shield her from the blow she was as defenseless as a child. Xisha flew onto her side and slid across the ground like a puck. The Inquisitor did not wait long before continuing with another kick, though she had been expecting this one more than the last, it still hurt just the same and as she moved across the ground this time her back unexpectedly came in contact with the side wall. She could feel pain as her insides were smashed repeatedly. Blood trickled down out of the corners of her mouth. The hot sticky liquid flowing the more she was assaulted. She could endure the abuse though. The Inquisitor had yet to even ask her a question when he mockingly called down to her. 

 

"Are you even curious what I want to know?" There was a snicker after this and Xisha felt that it was time for her to try and stand. 

 

She moved onto all fours and then through sheer willpower forced her legs to stand. Even in this darkness and pain she was able to sense him and she faced the Inquisitor now. 

 

"It doesn't matter why." She said and her lips curled into a smile, "I wouldn't tell you anything anyways." Her voice had silenced his laughter. 

 

There was a clear notion that her attacker was aggravated by her stubbornness. 

 

"Then clearly I am not hitting hard enough..." he said and then Xisha felt his fist on the right side of her face. 

 

She flew into the wall to her left at an amazing speed, no rest was given to her as she felt her throat clench and she was lifted up by her neck. He wasn't using his hands though, the sith was choking her using the force. He now walked forward slowly hand extended glaring at her. 

 

"I don't need you to tell me anything you know...I just have to break your will." He let go of her and her body once again collapsed down to the ground. 

 

Her back was against the wall as she caught her breath. This was not how Xisha would leave things though. Until now she had not tried to struggle, not attempt to fight back, she stuck to the jedi code and kept herself calm, but at this notion of breaking her will there was a flame lit inside of her. The band around her head began to spark and the Inquisitor jumped back. He made a noise of surprise as Xisha slowly stood back up. The band began to go nuts as Xisha pressed her power through the pain. She ignored the jolts of electricity she felt, pain was only an illusion. She communed with the force and sent a wave of energy out. The band exploded and fell to the ground with a sudden crash. 

 

"B-but how?!" The sith gasped and took several paces back towards the door. 

 

The expression on his face was a mix of fear and confusion. He had never had this happen, how could a jedi break his force containing band? That was impossible. There must have been something wrong with it, it was broken, or it had malfunctioned. Either way this was a bad situation for him to be in. Without the help of his technology he was no match for Xisha. She could shred him in a matter of seconds if she wished to. Now without the restrictions of the band and her restraints gone Xisha stood fierce. A cocky smile came to her face as she could feel the fear off of the Inquisitor in waves. Why was she so happy he was scared? That was unlike her, but none the less she clearly felt happy reassurance. There was an aura about her body that healed her wounds as she spoke in a scarily calm tone to her torturer. 

 

"You are inferior to me, you could never break my will. No one can take the force away from me, NO ONE!"

 

As this fact was sprung forward from her booming voice an electric energy expanded through out the room. Like a field of electricity slowly pushing towards the Inquisitor. The current formed a blue wall of death. The field stopped inches from his face, the Inquisitor was now cornered against the wall, no way to run to the door without going through the electric field. The current singed his nose and there was a hot stink of burning human flesh before all of it miraculously and quickly flowed back into Xisha. The Inquisitor ran from the room as Xisha rounded on the hologram cameras in the top left corner of the cell. She could sense that she had an audience. Xisha took a couple paces towards the camera and looked up with a blank expression on her face. 

 

Darth Lascerus sat in a chair watching the blue hologram of Xisha's cell. This was becoming a very interesting sight. The hologram began to flicker and buzz as the equipment was being altered by Xisha's force powers. His focus was centered on Xisha as she began to speak. There was still a bit of rage circulating inside of her. Her emotions were unsatisfied without seeking vengeance on her torturer, but these feeling were wrong, she knew that. This city was getting to her and morphing her personality. The evil that resided here was seeping inside her unknowingly. Even so, she tried to suppress it all, but in her best attempt to conceal her feelings she spoke instead. 

 

"You will have to try better than that oh great and mighty lord of the Sith." 

 

She was goading him. A very un-jedi-like move. Daring him to throw his best at her. Xisha calmed herself down and let the rage subside. She sat in the middle of her cell now, meditating. That had gotten a bit out of hand. She had felt an overwhelming urge to end that man's life. Thankfully she pulled back at the last moment. She was a jedi after-all. A whisper from her mind came to Darth Lascerus as she meditated. 

 

I will be waiting here.

 

Xisha sat there for a whole day. No one came into her cell, but she assumed they had plenty of guards outside the door. When she searched outward she could feel at least five or six at all times. She didn't move though. She stayed still and silent hours upon hours. It was only when she felt the familiar prescience of a dark thundering cloud that her eyes swiped open. The man responsible for murdering her whole ship, the dishonorable sith warrior Djara Kuvae was here. She remained seated and closed her eyes again. She searched for him now, her focus staying on him and then she heard the words echo through her mind.

 

"Even now she communes with the force. Our inquisitors have thus far failed to sever her ties with it. I believe it is time that you showed me what you can do."

 

Xisha couldn't help the smile that formed on her face. So she would be able to confront him face to face after all. This would be interesting. 

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The evening had passed. Not that you could tell by looking out at the sky. Dromund Kaas was forever plunged in darkness due to the storms. Djara had not slept anyway. As Darth Lascerus had taken his leave Djara had assumed control of his assets on Dromund Kaas. He kept himself busy throughout the night, considering his options and devising a way to progress forward. Upon assuming command Djara had immediately arranged for Xisha's relocation to another section of the citadel. She was guarded in monitored overnight as Djara began to prepare himself for the approaching task. For him to succeed he would have to break her. 

 

After his preparation her made his way to Xisha's new home in the depths of the citadel. He passed through a series of corridors before finally reaching a blast door that shot up upon his arrival. As he passed through the door clanged shut behind him. He approached the guards and waved his hand as if he was swatting away a fly. "Leave us" he ordered sharply. The guards responded with a nod before leaving their posts. Djara unlocked the second blast door and entered the room, 

 

It was a large space, mostly empty but had a few basic furnishings, such as screens mounted on the wall, a few consoles around them, a small table and a metallic sofa on which his captive was sat. Djara said nothing to her. Instead he surveyed the room. His demeanor was not of the fierce warrior from before, but of a cold and calculating man, a man of authority and position. As he finally let his gaze fall upon her a thin smirk crossed his lips. One thing was for sure, she was an attractive woman, even in her dirty clothes. He was not so foolish as to consider even a fleeting feeling of love for the women. Like the Jedi, the Sith believed love to be a dangerous emotion. However their reasoning was different. Love lead to mercy, which was anathema to them. Finally Djara deigned the woman with his voice. 

 

"I hope you will find your new accommodation to your liking..." he sneered, watching her reaction. She did not respond. That was fine. It was his turn to speak. "Do not mistake it for a kindness, however." he continued, "This holding is necessary for what is to unfold. You are going to be here for a very long time, Jedi. I cannot promise that you will see the outside world ever again for that matter. However, if you are compliant, you may yet see your freedom."

 

Djara turned away from Xisha. He stared out into the blank room, allowing silence to fill it once more. He lingered a moment, in the hope that the silence would bait her to react. She, however, did not. He smirked again. She truly had an incredibly strong will. If swayed she would make an exceptional Sith. Finally he turned back to face her. He wanted her to look at him, but she did not. "Do you know the Code of the Sith, Jedi?" he asked.  

"Would you like me to recite it in English or Qotsisajak?" Xisha smirked. "You should know your enemies better than you know yourself in my opinion." Djara paid her no mind, cleared his throat and recited the code:

 

"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."
 
"Our code is a single, unifying philosophy. I know of your code all too well, and it is one full of half-truths and inadequacies." he said, "In the coming days I will show you our philosophy. I will show you how yours pales in comparison."
"You shouldn't throw stones in a glass house Djara. I know you must have conquered and defeated many enemies, but are your chains broken? Because it seems as though you still have a Master." Djara raised his brow, he did not find her tone amusing. 
"You had a Master once, did you not?" Djara responded, "There are always those who are stronger than us. We would be fools not to learn from them." Djara held out his hand, offering for Xisha to glance at a door to the right of the room. He wondered if she even needed to look. He wasn't entirely sure on how Miralukans saw the world. "That door" he explained, "Leads to a private room. Inside is a fresh set of clothes, a cover for your eyes, a bed, a desk and basic amenities. We will grant you access to it, as well as provide you with food and water, but you must work for it."
 
Djara motioned his hand at the main entrance, as if signalling someone watching on the other side. Suddenly a trap door swung open from the ceiling and a man in rags crashed to the ground, whimpering in pain. A sinister smile spread across Djara's face. He advanced on Xisha and leaned in, so his mouth was inches from her ear. "That man is a Republic Trooper. A Commander. It may surprise you to know that he is a traitor. He exchanged knowledge in order to spare his life, and the information he provided offered the Sith Empire a substantial military advantage. hundreds, if not thousands will die for his treachery. He does not deserve your mercy. He will remain here with you. If you wish to gain access to your quarters then you must accomplish one simple deed. Kill this man."
 
Djara did not wait for her response. He did not care. Instead he took his leave, striding across the room, passing the badly injured man, and passing through the blast door that opened when he neared it. Before he stepped out he lingered for a moment. "If you know our ways so well you will know we are not men of mercy. Nobody will take pity on you. Perform the deed or you will perish."

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He advanced on Xisha and leaned in, so his mouth was inches from her ear. "That man is a Republic Trooper. A Commander. It may surprise you to know that he is a traitor. He exchanged knowledge in order to spare his life, and the information he provided offered the Sith Empire a substantial military advantage. hundreds, if not thousands will die for his treachery. He does not deserve your mercy. He will remain here with you. If you wish to gain access to your quarters then you must accomplish one simple deed. Kill this man."

 

Xisha felt odd chills go through her as Djara spoke to her so close. There was a certain amount of respect that his presence demanded and she couldn't help feeling drawn to that. Xisha heard the words as he spoke and now for the first time realized what he was after. He wanted her to succeed in this task. They weren't going to torture her for information or make her suffer simply for the sake of it, they were trying to turn her to the dark side. 

 

"If you know our ways so well you will know we are not men of mercy. Nobody will take pity on you. Perform the deed or you will perish."

 

Then he was gone and Xisha sat in the room with the Republic Commander. She stood up and faced him now. She extended a hand out to the man who was cowering in the corner.

 

"It's alright...my name is Xisha Samuul. I am a Consular of the Jedi Order, I will not harm you."

 

The man stared at her in a confused fashion, "You know I heard him. I know you will die if you don't kill me."

He did not take her hand and he clearly did not trust her.

 

Xisha smiled and knelt down in front of him. 

"I am a Jedi, I can survive a very long time without food and water using the force to sustain my body. It won't last forever, but it will be long enough." 

 

This was true, Xisha could last much longer than a regular person without nourishment. This captive would die in about three days and then possibly Xisha would be given her amenities, or possibly, because she did not commit the act they would keep her here until she starved. What was certain to her however, was that she would not kill this man. The officer's face contorted as he went to push her violently. Xisha simply moved to the side and he fell forward past her. She seemed a bit confused as she stood up and took a couple paces away. 

 

"Is something wrong?" she asked him her hands up in a peaceful position, trying to calm him down. 

 

The Commander returned to his feet shakily. 

"Something wrong?! My options are I die! or, oh right, I die!" He quickly ran to the door and proceeded to bag on it with his fists. "Hey! Can anyone hear me!?" The man called out, "Somebody! I have a question!?" when there was no response he continued. "Does the same offer apply to me!? If I kill this bitch do I get food and water? Does that prove my worth if I can kill a jedi!?"

 

At this Xisha backed away as far as she could. "I was willing to forgive you for your treachery to the Republic, and offer you my word of safety, but this is absurd." She could feel the rage from before surfacing. 

 

The Republic Commander rounded on her. "You're a Jedi, your job is to save people! So let me kill you so I can be saved!"

 

If he were an innocent, or if she knew he would use his life to help others Xisha would have considered this proposal, however if she did in deed die for this man; firstly, they would still probably murder him, and secondly, he would simply continue to reck havoc and betray the republic. 

 

"I will not do that." Xisha finally decided and decreed. "As long as you stay to yourself I will not harm you, but if you try to attack me I will have to use force."

 

The man began to steadily walk towards her despite her warning. "All of my options end with my death, so I might as well try the one that could possibly get me out alive."

 

Xisha shook her head. "I assure you, you can not kill me."

Just as she said this the man stammered forward quickly and grabbed her. All he did was touch her and a gust of force knocked him backwards into the wall. He fell down hurt and glared over at her. Xisha shook her head.

 

"Just stay there." she said. He finally listened to her and remained still. 

 

They continued to exist separately in silence. The next 24 hours went fairly smooth. They kept to themselves and interacted very little. While Xisha was handling the deprivation as well as could be expected the man was starting to hallucinate food. Xisha kept up a barrier around herself incase he tried anything again. This also meant that she was not sleeping. The second day was tough, Xisha felt the Republic Commander's pain, she heard his cries, and yet she remained silent. It was on the third day, when he laid dying on the floor that Xisha couldn't take it any longer. She extended her force outside and located Djara. She sent her whispers to his mind... 

 

I won't kill him Djara. There must be some other way we could settle this.

 

Before she heard any response though there was a sudden last bust of life that entered the Republic Commander, as he stood. He seemed like a zombie making his way over to Xisha whom sat on the bed. He was now in front of her hands extended to her throat. He slowly clasped his hands on her neck and squeezed, this was not enough to really hurt her though. She had let her field down so that he could connect with her and now at his last attempt to kill her she simply placed her hand on the side of his face. 

 

"Rest..." Xisha whispered to him and all the air inside of him quickly exited as he dropped down into her lap, dead. 

 

Tears ran down Xisha's face. She knew it was not her fault, but she still felt awful that she could not have prevented his death. She gently placed his body on the ground and waited. Xisha laid down on the bed, and rested for the first time in days. She drifted off to sleep quickly, the last thought on her mind echoed out.

 

Let's talk.

 

Her dreams were disturbing, but not in the way you would think. Everything was pitch black, but Xisha was pretty used to that. Nothingness was her existence to some extent. The whispers started low and incresingly felt more clear and closer.However she could not decipher the language. Now she could feel hot breath on her neck and face, it was an uncomfortably enjoyable feeling for her. She still couldn't sense any of her surroundings, but strangely her hands felt as if they were running down a very muscular body. Xisha was a jedi and try as she might it was hard to suppress emotions and biological needs, these feelings often got the best of her in dreams. As she was enjoying her unconventional visions she was finally able to make out what the voice was whispering.

 

"Peace is a lie, there is only passion."
 
Now she was able to see through the force that the man before her was Djara. Her reaction would have been to push him away, but she immediately became awake, now back to reality, in her cell. She laid on the bed as sweat trickled down her face. Xisha quickly tried to rationalize her dream. She was on the verge of starvation and Djara was one of the only people she had seen in days, this was not a desire of hers it was just her mind running low on much of anything and the last few spurts of chemicals firing off in her mind. At least that was the story she was sticking with. Xisha now sat up quite flustered. Her cheeks were a shade of red that almost blended in with her hair. 
 
"It doesn't matter..." she could feel how weak her body was. "I will be dead soon anyways."
 
She had no idea how long she had been out for, but the end could not be far off.

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Djara sat on a chair at the desk in his Master's study. No. It was his study. The ghostly pale Sith was brooding over an object. As he gazed at it he lifted his hands in the air in front of him, the object following, guided in between his hands by the force. The object slowly spun around in front of him. The object was a crystal-lattice dodecahedron, light blue in colour, patterned with holographic patterns and shapes. Djara stared at it intently, as if it were some sort of mystery to him. He had procured it from the Sith archives, a chronicle of knowledge, a Holocron. 

 

This was, however, a Jedi Holocron. It had been procured by the Sith at some time after the re-taking of Korriban, when they had made their triumphant return to the Galaxy. Most likely it had been seized during the sacking of Coruscant, when the Sith had destroyed the Jedi Temple. Djara's mind drifted back to that fateful day, He had been among the 50 Sith warriors who had laid siege to the Jedi Temple under the leadership of Darth Malgus. He had personality slaughtered many Jedi on that day. Djara sighed, unsure of how to progress. He placed the Holocron back on the desk in front of him. It's mysteries were still unsolved, for no one had successfully opened this Holocron. Djara could not help but feel it was important. He had been toying with it for over a year, but with little success. 

 

He stood up from the desk and took the Holocron in his hand, pacing the length of the room. His thoughts wandered to Xisha. She had refused his request. It had now been several day since she had eaten. Several days since she had experienced any kind of contact with another being. He had felt her thoughts creeping into his mind, when she so desired, but he had ignored them. Xisha's opportunity to kill the man was long expired. Now he was just letting her suffer. He could feel her weakening day by day, hour by hour. Still she was more strong of will than most. She had shown no sign of complaint or pain in the face of such adversity. He could feel it though. She was suffering. Cracks were beginning to form and through them he could sense her emotions, that she had kept hidden so well, even from herself. What she hid underneath the surface was incredibly raw, incredibly powerful. However it was so very fragile. This was the trouble with suppressing your feelings. They would never disappear, and they would always remain powerful. Suppression often made the feelings more powerful. But they were so easy to tip and sway, so explosive and dangerous. Something that felt almost like concern was brewing inside Djara. He was wary of the damage he was doing to Xisha, and how dangerous that could be.

 

 


 

 

Djara walked through the blast doors and into Xisha's cell. The doors slammed shut behind him and he walked slowly across the room, looking at Xisha who was lying down, she looked to be asleep, or very near death. Djara extended his hand out and flexed the tips of his fingers. He pulled Xisha into the air with the force, standing her on her feet and forcing her head up to look at him. He glared at her with a look of disappointment.

 

"Peace is a lie, Jedi..." he began his lecture for the day, "There is only passion. Peace is a stagnant concept. It does not allow us to progress, to grow, to evolve. You stand before me a mere shadow of the woman who arrived on this planet. Your will is still there, I feel it, but it has grown weaker. Only through conflict can we grow stronger!" With another flick of his wrist Djara threw Xisha across the room, sending her into a heap on the floor. "The man I ordered you to kill is dead. Whether he died by your hand or not is irrelevant. All that has changed is that you are suffering ever still. Had you struck him down you would have gained strength, and nothing about that man's fate would be any different."

 

Finally Djara motioned at the door. It opened immediately and guards came in with small portions of water and food. Enough to sustain her. After leaving the food for her they promptly left again. Djara, however, remained. This was all part of his plan. He wandered over to a console and input a few commands. The door on the right of the room opened. Xisha now had access to clean clothes, a private bed, a place to bathe. He then strode towards her, lifting his arm up again to pick her up with the force. However as he neared her he took hold of her properly, taking her weight across his shoulders. With another motion he summoned a glass of water to his free hand. He brought it to her lips, helping her to drink from it.

 

"You and I..." Djara whispered to her, "...We are in conflict. I promise you Xisha, we will both grow stronger for going through it. You will fight me every step of the way, I already know that. But you will see sense. You will come to understand the freedom that comes from the Dark Side" 

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Xisha was in an internal conflict. She did not want to accept the generosity that Djara was showing her. She was suspicious of his reasoning, but as he held her and brought the water to her to drink she couldn't help the natural reaction of grasping to life. Her hands slowly came up to assist her in drinking, but she could barely hold anything. The glass was still mostly held by him. When she had her fill of water her eyes wearily looked from Djara to the room with fresh clothing and food. Now she thought on his words.

 

"...We are in conflict. I promise you Xisha, we will both grow stronger for going through it. You will fight me every step of the way, I already know that. But you will see sense. You will come to understand the freedom that comes from the Dark Side" 

 

He still held her up mostly, her feet only stabilizing herself now. She couldn't help but rest her head against him. Her breathing was slow yet steady and once she had some food, Xisha was sure she would be able to make a full recovery quickly. Already she felt a little better. Her body was so comfortable here, but she couldn't allow herself to feel that way. This man was not her friend, he was her enemy. However the more and more time she spent with him her mind was twisting to believe otherwise.

 

"Can't we just part ways and agree to disagree?" 

She knew that wasn't going to happen, but making light of the situation brought a smile to her face nonetheless. 

 

"You jest?" Djara smirked, raising his brow, "My dear, I find myself increasingly impressed by your strength. You would be an incredible asset to the Sith"

 

"What little choice do I have... I rather smile than cry. Just because I would be a great asset doesn't mean I ever will be though." She ran a hand down his face before trying to stand on her own. "You could be a beacon of light if you wanted. Regardless of your motives, thank you for this kindness."

 

"Do not think us beyond kindness, simply because we do not show it in the same way as you do." Djara responded, "We are a people of passion. But we are warriors. We admire strength. You are strong Xisha Samuul, food and water is simply fuel, but you will always be strong, even in spirit" Djara lingered for a moment, hesitating as he prepared his words. "You are more valuable to me in this mortal plane, however."

 

"Then that was a misconception I had I suppose."  

 

Xisha then used all of her might to prop herself up, pushing off of him and standing on her feet. She took a step towards the room, towards the food, but her knees gave out, buckling under her. Her world came crashing down slowly. Xisha was able to catch herself with the force, but all that did was slow her fall. She sat on her knees and the lightest laugh escaped her. She tilted her head back at Djara. 

 

"Proud of your handy work?" At times it was even difficult for her to talk. "Baby steps prove too difficult." 

 

Despite their situation, him being her captor, he was also the only person there, and when so close to death, people tend to reach out for comfort in the strangest of places. Xisha reached her hand out and the food flew from the room over to her. She grasped a roll in her hand letting an apple land next to her. Xisha then slowly rolled onto her back. She lay there on the ground her face tilted up at Djara as she took a couple bites of a roll. The cold ground some how pleasant to Xisha. She felt the room around her and her minds eye focused on the food. The taste buds in her mouth were firing off like crazy. Xisha finally spoke, she was wondering what would become of her.

 

"What now Djara? How does this all happen now? Are you going to talk about Sith philosophy and assume eventually I will agree?"She asked as she took a couple more bites. The roll was soon gone, a couple crumbs remain on her face and she merely wiped them away half heartedly. 

 

"You assume I asked for this undertaking?" Djara scoffed, "As you pointed out, I am sworn to my Master. I would sooner select a willing candidate on Korriban than attempt to break a Jedi. Regardless, you will never return to the Republic."

 

Xisha seemed alarmed. "...candidate on Korriban...you're not trying to just turn me, you're trying to break me to be an apprentice? Your apprentice?" She attempted to sit up now before continuing, but a pain shooting through her forced her to lie back down. 

"I don't know everything about Sith structure, but if you have an apprentice doesn't that consequentially mean you would be a higher rank?"

 

"You over step, Jedi..." Djara warned, his face growing cruel and accusing once more. "You are not yet worthy to be an apprentice of the Sith. Not by a long shot. You have wasted your potential for all of your years. Do not waste an opportunity to be great when it is handed to you."

 

"If Im not worthy why am I here then? You said it yourself, this was not your idea. So you were commanded to turn me...you weren't even given a choice in the matter. It's remarkable how much freedom I am truly missing." 

Xisha could tell this was probably not the best way of approaching the topic since he had just given her amenities. She quickly backtracked. 

 

"Both sides share ideological fallacies. I may never be able to fully embrace your ways, but I can make this process easier for you and less frustrating...just tell me what you want from me. I am in your debt for the moment." 

 

She had thought this was a way to appease him, but she was far from correct. In her weakened state she made little mistakes, this would never happen if she were at full strength, in true appeasing form. 

 

"You are in no debt!" Djara spat, "That is why you are not worthy in my eyes. You are compliant and agreeable. It does not matter what I want. When I want something I take it, as I am doing so now. You are mine, Jedi. Get used to it!" Djara clutched her windpipe, choking her with the force. "What do you want?" he asked her, "Show me what you want! Give in to your own desires and take them!"

 

Xisha felt the force emanate from him as he choked her. What did she want? Did he really want to know? Xisha felt an uncontrollable rage flow through her and without anywarning the force simply exploded from her with a power she hadn't even known she possessed. Djara was thrown away and pressed up against the wall across from her. Xisha was levitating as she now delicately landed toe by toe. There was a glowing aura around her of blue. She took a few simple steps towards Djara, now merely inches from his face she screamed at him. 

 

"You can not own someone, and especially not ME! You murdered everyone on my ship after you gave your word no harm would come to them! I want you to be dead!" 

 

Her rage subsided and she fell against him as the force slipped away and her aura retreated back into her. It felt nice to lean against him like this. Her head rested on his muscular chest and the desire to connect to a soul over took her. 

 

"...but I also don't want you to go. This is the most contact I have had with anyone. Djara giving into desires makes you weak, being strong is doing the hard thing, the right thing....

 

This was true, she never had so much as laid one hand on anyone before. There was sparing at the jedi academy and the hug of family, but nothing like this. Her hands ran up his body, as if taking it all in. The her left hand reached up and caressed his cheek, he had said to take what she wanted, so she might as well use his command against him. She pulled his face to hers and let her lips linger hardly any space between them and his. She could feel his breath and he hers. She knew this was a mistake, but once here she couldn't imagine having the strength to pull back. Instead she simply gave in and kissed him. There lips were only touching for a few seconds, but Xisha relished in the comfort. She thought about deepening the moment, but instead found that restraint she had been lacking before and pulled back. 

 

"See, that was a moment of weakness." 

 

The pulse of force energy had taken a lot out of her and she collapsed. Her knees completely gave out again. She fought desperately to simply stay awake. Djara caught Xisha in his arms. His eyes were wild and staring at her intently. His lips were twitching, unsure what expression to make. For what felt like hours he just stared at her. Why had she done that? He could not fathom it. More troublesome still, he had allowed her to do so. Finally he shook his head, as if physically throwing the thoughts from his mind. He snarled and dropped her, pushing her across the room with the force, giving them distance. He was shaking with fury. This was a new feeling to him though. 

 

His anger was not projected out to others, but it was towards himself. He felt foolish. "That was indeed a moment of weakness!" he yelled across the room to her, "A moment you will be best never to linger on again!"

 

All that came from Xisha was weak laughter. Her body was in agony, but she had somehow gained the upper hand despite her frail body. 

"You can't stop me from dwelling on it, just as you can not own me. I thought challenging your ideology was how to get under your skin, but apparently this is far worse for you? Is it the idea of being cared for or caring for someone else that frightens you most?" 

 

Xisha could feel the food she had consumed digesting fully now and her body was given a second wind. She pulled herself up and began to walk over to the room where her fresh clothes lay. Her back was to Djara now. Her hands ran down her sides and gripped onto the bottom of her tanktop. She pulled the clothing up and over her head. The shirt now fell from her hand to the floor. Her bare back now visible to Djara, she didn't stop though.

 

"Don't tell me its the physicality that scares you?…" 

 

She said in a mocking tone as she wiggled her way out of her pants and placed them in the pile with her shirt next to her. Her body was quite spectacular, nude form fully revealed to him. Her skin was ivory and flawless, she had the body of a seductress, but it was trapped with the mind of a jedi. 

 

"I mean that would be the alarming aspect to me…"

 

Xisha spoke to him over her shoulder, a blush now on her face. She was speaking honestly, all facades aside. Her bravery was quickly slipping away now though as she grabbed the clean undergarments and pulled them onto her body. A plain pair of white underwear and tank top that hugged her body well. She then secured a short black robe above that first layer. She continued to talk as she tied the sash around her waist. 

 

 "…but I'm a jedi, I assumed Sith were used to such things."

 

Xisha now turned around and shook out her red hair, She tied the black band in her hand around the fragile opening in her face. Now simply looking as if she were a blind human. Awaiting any response that might come from Djara.

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Djara slowly walked towards Xisha. He stopped at the door of her private quarters. He hesitated for a moment, choosing to simply gaze upon her. He examined her form. Sure enough she was toned and physically prime. He had noticed that much the first time they had met across the hangar of the Republic Cruiser. As a Warrior he was quick to assess the physical prowess of his opponents. But it was only now, as he stood on the threshold of her room, that he saw her feminine beauty. Her hourglass figure was exquisite. She truly was a rare jewel, one that all who met her should feel privileged to gaze upon. However Djara was no slave to his desires. The Sith were people of passion but they were also people of great focus. He would not let carnal urges sway him so easily. 

 

"You have much to learn of our ways, Xisha" Djara said finally. "Do not think that I can be tempted by your splendid form. Lust is a dangerous emotion, it is important to only follow it of your own accord, and not when it is coaxed by others. I commend you though. Manipulation is frowned upon with the Jedi. Even when forced they only make subtle suggestions through the Force. They do not know what it feels like to twist a man's mind. You are growing more accustomed to the Dark Side than you think."

"I am not. I am simply growing numb to the idea that I won't be leaving here... so why bother with fake facades and rhetoric." came the reply.

 

"Hopeless already?" Djara asked, a soft smirk growing on his face. "I promised that I would spare your people. It surprises me that you would still take my word as the absolute truth." Djara turned to step back into the large main room. "You may yet leave this place if you only will it, Xisha." He said as he walked away from her, "Through strength, I gain power. Find your strength and you may find victory over me. Rest assured, however, that you will only succeed if you strive for that power."

 

As Djara reached the main exit the blast door raised up. "Channel your rage, child" he mocked, "You will have to should you hope to defeat me, for I was born in fury." and with that he stepped through the blast door and it slammed shut behind him, once again leaving Xisha alone with her thoughts. 

 

 


 

 

Hours after their encounter, Djara found himself within his own chambers. His room was minimalist. The walls were crimson, and he did not have a bed. On the floor he simply had mats and cushions to rest on. He was sat cross legged, dressed only in a pair of black trousers. His chest was smooth, flawless, and chalk white like the rest of his body. However his back was the opposite. wide scars were etched along his back. They were the result of lashings, which he had suffered in the gladiatorial arenas of his homeworld, Rattatak. He felt no shame from them. His scars were wounds of war, an everlasting symbol that he had endured this far. After all, he was alive. He sat in meditation, focusing on the pain of his past, channeling his rage and hate. Reliving the horrors of his past was cathartic. By immersing himself in the darkness for so long he had found it welcoming. 

 

Yet it was not long before his mind had wandered to other things. Xisha's words and actions had haunted him. As he relived the life of a younger man than he, he remembered how little he cared for the rules of any man. He had as much disdain for the code of the Sith as he did any law. There was once even a time, early in his training, that he had taken interest in the ways of the Jedi. A fruitless endeavor, indeed. He had long since given up on such childish thoughts. However he began to wonder, when had it happened? When had he become the man who upheld the code? Perhaps he had become what he had always feared, simply a wild beast tethered to a leash by his Master. 

 

Before he could dwell on it further, he was interrupted by the irritating sound of an incoming holo-transmission. Djara got up from his spot on the floor and walked across his room to the small Holo-recorder on his desk. He activated it and a small hologram appeared. The man he was looking at was Lord Surien Krull, an academic who had been carrying out an expedition at the Dark Temple, an ancient ruin that had been erected by Lord Pharshol. It's mysteries were eluding the Empire, even now. The secrets it held were thousands of years old. 

 

"Lord Krull" Djara responded with a nod, "What do I owe this call?"

"Lord Kuvae" Krull responded, he was a thin and elderly man, his skin wrinkled and coated with liver spots. "I come seeking assistance I'm afraid. There has been a revelation at the Temple. I'm going to need you to come right away."

"Me?" Djara asked, "I have no knowledge of ancient temples, Krull"

"Indeed" Krull responded, "That is why I will need you to bring that Jedi you are holding captive. I have use for her."

"You jest!" Djara shook his head. "Even with all this time in captivity her connection to the Force rivals a Master Jedi. To allow her to walk freely is not an option"

"Then hold her by the throat with your own grip!" Krull barked, "This is important. Your Master would not be pleased that you are being disagreeable!"

 

Djara pondered for a moment. He didn't like the sound of this. Xisha was breaking, he could feel it. To allow her to set foot outside of this Citadel wuld be foolish. She would regain her resolve. She may even try to escape. If she was clever she might even succeed. However his seat of power was freshly manufactured. He could not risk causing discord. 

"Very well..." Djara replied, "I will fetch her immediately."

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Xisha had been very shocked when arrangements had begun to move her. At first she thought maybe she was simply switching cells, but this seemed to be far more serious then that. Two soldiers came in to prepare her for transfer. They seemed a bit weary to approach her now that she had made a full recovery, but she assured them she would not cause any trouble. The men bound her arms behind her back and placed another force containing visor around her head. Xisha had already broken one of these so she didn't show much concern about it. They then escorted her out of her cell where four other soldiers were waiting.

 

"You boys didn't really have to go through all this trouble just to give little ol' me a new room with a view."

 

One of the soldier's responded very dryly. "You're being taken to a transport ship heading to the Dark Temple."

 

Xisha looked confused, "You're kidding. I'm leaving Kaas City?" A grin spread across her face. 

 

This was a huge mistake on her captor's part, maybe they could have managed to do this when she was weak…but transporting her as a fully rejuvenated jedi was just not smart. However now that she thought more about it Djara was not this stupid, so there must be a really good reason she was being taken to the Dark Temple. Xisha decided not to break out until she knew the reason for her new location. She felt around her and could not sense Djara's presence. Was he even going with her? Or was this a request of someone above him? Xisha walked with the soldiers to the small transport ship. A Jedi walking through Kaas city with a large entourage of soldiers gathered many looks from the residents. Xisha felt the air hit her face and ruffling her black robe that was tied securely around her. Her red hair was pulled up into a ponytail and swayed with each step she took. As they finally made their way to the docking area now Xisha could sense Djara. So was he saying goodbye or accompanying her? As she was pushed forward onto the ship by a soldier behind her she still was not sure where Djara was. She was taken aboard and secured in a prisoner holding area. She was told to sit in a large metal seat and then three soldiers fastened metal restraints around her shoulders, waist, and ankles. Her arms were still tied behind her back which made it very uncomfortable to sit back. Xisha simply let her mind wander to escape the discomfort. It wasn't long before the ship took off.

 

Xisha felt the rush of the engines and then the sinking feeling backwards into the seat crushing her hands slightly as the ship took off. She had no idea what was in store for her, but she was a little excited about it. She had been cooped up in a cell for far too long, it was time to stretch her legs and flex her muscles and show these Sith the mistake they had made by taking her captive. The ship was fairly steady most of the trip, no problems that she could notice. She felt Djara's presence still so he was definitely aboard somewhere, was he avoiding her? She wasn't sure. About an hour later the ship landed. The soldiers around her waited for a command over their telecoms before they began to release Xisha from her restraints. Behind them a door opened and an elderly man walked onto the ship. Xisha picked up on him right away, the force emanating from him was powerful and dark. The old sith slowly made his way back to where Xisha was being released. He simply waved his hand and all the soldiers quickly exited the room. His voice then called over to her as with another flick of her hand her restraints were released. 

 

"My name is Lord Surien Krull. You have been brought here to assist me in my excavation of The Dark Temple."

 

Xisha examined him now, a short elderly man whose skin was all but falling off his withered bones. He was covered in sickness and the darkness around his eyes and fingertips showed much abuse of the darkside of the force. Xisha didn't say anything, she wouldn't until she understood his intentions with her more. Krull could sense this as he continued. 

 

"It appears that only a jedi can unlock a certain area of the temple. Come."

 

He motioned for her to follow and turned around, then as if he had just remembered something he looked back and waved his hand. The cuffs on her hands dropped to the floor and Xisha looked up at the old man with a look of confusion. Was he really this confident that he could take her if she tried to escape?

 

As if reading her mind he replied, "We won't be needing those… If you try something stupid, you will end up dead. I have no time for games."

 

Xisha took this warning whole heartedly and simply nodded. She then followed Krull out of the ship. They walked for a little ways out of the small hanger and then into what looked like endless dessert. There was a small building not too far away and it seemed that was where they would be heading. Xisha walked blocking her face from the sand which was being whipped around by the heavy winds. Krull however seemed unphased. He simply trudged forward at a slow and steady pace until they finally reached the small building. Once inside Xisha could tell this was a research lab, The first room they walked into was a large expansive library. Krull did not stop in here though he simply walked through expecting her to follow. Xisha could sense artifacts of significance to the force around her, the presence was overwhelming. She continued to follow Krull into now what was a lab, there were multiple sith personel running around conducting experiments, but as before they did not stop in here either. They continued through until they reached what looked like a glass cell. Krull motioned to the door as it opened in front of them. 

 

"I need to discuss the situation with my colleague. You will wait in here." Xisha thought this was a silly way to confine her, but she submitted to the request regardless. After she was inside a sith acolyte shut the door and pressed a couple buttons. Suddenly Xisha felt restrained, not physically but mentally. She took off the visor that was around her head because at first she thought that might be the cause. However, even when the device was removed she still felt this strange sensation. It didn't take long for her to realize that the room was one large force containing apparatus, the see through walls were also incredibly sound proof so even though Djara and Krull were standing directly outside, to Xisha the walls might as well have been solid black. Outside of her containment area Djara was being asked to hand over the jedi holocron in his possession. Krull did little to explain what was going on just informing him that he would now be in charge of Xisha's care and that he also needed the Holocron for something inside the temple. Djara would be able to come and observe, but that was all. This was obeyed, but there was clearly some animosity lingering between the two sith lords. 

 

Xisha sat in the room until the door was opened once again by Krull. Xisha's force sight came back to her instantly and she stood up ready to comply with his instructions. Krull motioned for her to follow him and she did. Now she found Djara standing next to them and she greeted him with a smile, but nothing else. Krull curiously looked from the expression on Xisha's face and then over to Djara, but he also said nothing. The three of them walked to the back of the building, Krull first, then Xisha, and Djara in the back. A blast door opened up in front of Krull which appeared to lead to an elevator hatch. The three of them piled inside the tight space, Xisha in the middle of the other two, and descended downward. The elevator door opened and they all stepped out into what appeared to be a cave. The air down here was much colder, and somehow felt fresher than the stale air of the building above. Krull wasted no time in  continuing further into the cave. The more they walked inside the colder it became until Xisha's skin was crawling with goosebumps. They stopped infront of a large statue, the man carved in stone, Xisha assumed, was a sith, his eyes glowed red and she could sense that the substance which formed them was none other than light saber crystals. There was a large opening to the left of the statue, Xisha could see inside to a main room which had drawings compiled not he walls and pedestals scattered around. There were three other large doors that went off from this room. Two were opened and had tape marked around them, clearly these passages had already been excavated, but the third on the left remained closed tight. 

 

Krull was looking up at the statue when he finally spoke,

"This is The Dark Temple, and you Xisha Samuul will help us unlock its secrets."

 

Xisha didn't like the sound of that, but she wasn't in a position to argue. Her face did not hide the distain she felt. The three of them continued forward and entered the large main room. Xisha could feel the force flowing through this place, it was as if a dark current was wrapping itself around her. Simply standing here was tweaking her emotions, she could feel rage, jealousy, lust, and desperation gripping her insides. It took most of her energy just to supress it. Krull on the other hand took a deep breath in as he was relishing the feeling of emotional discourse. He walked over to the left door and Xisha as she had before, followed like a good dog. However, when Djara motioned to follow Krull snapped around.

 

"No Djara, you will need to stay here." 

 

This was a command and despite what looked like an angry face erupting from him Xisha knew he would not disobey Krull. The elderly sith now turned to Xisha and extended the holocron to her. 

 

"This is a jedi holocron."

 

Xisha took the device in hand and examined it. "I know." She said with a tinge of attitude. 

 

Krull simply ignored her and continued. "It is the key to this room, not only to open it, but also the secrets hidden inside."

 

Xisha was waiting for further instruction, but none ever came. Krull was simply staring at her like a circus freak waiting for her to put on a show for him. Xisha frowned, but still moved forward to the door. When she was directly in front of the stone she placed her empty hand upon it and pushed the force out from her. She was searching when she began to hear a low hum. She looked back at Krull and Djara, but they seemed to not notice the sound. Xisha turned back to the door and continued. Her hand glided along, moving closer to the vibrations until she came across a bump in the wall. Upon examination she noticed this was in fact a nook, where the holocron would fit. She placed the device in the correctly shaped area. The holocron latched in, but nothing else happened. Once again Xisha pushed the force through her body, both hands around the holocron and focusing on this area. Green lights erupted from the nook and slithered up through the door like viens. There was a loud thumping noise and Xisha jumped back as the door began to open. A gust of dead air and old dirt rushed out from the other side hitting her full on. Xisha's arms instinctively came up to protect herself. When everything cleared the room was now open and revealed to them. It was magnificent. The writing on the walls were clearly by sith, but the overall presence in the room was of light not dark. The walls glowed green with writing and in the center stood four pillars, one completely made of green crystal, one of blue crystal, one of yellow crystal, and one of silver crystal. The beauty was not the only factor that made this room amazing though, the power coming form the pillars was breathtaking. Xisha without warning was pulled toward the Green pillar. 

 

A laugh broke Xisha's lips as she was realizing that the room must be able to sense she was a Jedi Consular. Her body hovered in front of the green pillar and she could feel the force using her as a beacon. A spiral came down from the ceiling and the jedi holocron she had used to enter the room fell down between her and the pillar. The holocron floated as she was lifted by the green aura. Xisha reached out her right hand and clasped the holocron. As she did so there was a blinding white light that emitted from the holocron, blinding everyone momentarily. Xisha felt her body fall and she was now back on the ground, jedi holocron in hand. Xisha was in awe of these events as a sharp voice behind her ruined the moment.

 

"That is enough!" Krull called as he was now right behind Xisha. "Open the holocron!" He demanded and hit her with a bit of force lightning.

 

Xisha had not been expecting the blow and the surge of dark energy caused her to falter, she lost her footing but regained it before completely hitting the ground. Xisha shook off the attack and glared at Krull as she stood back up. 

 

"I don't know how to yet." She spoke sternly as if talking to a child who wanted their parents to assemble a toy.

 

Xisha examined the green pillar and noticed there were markings carved into it. The green, blue, and yellow pillars had the symbol of the jedi order etched into it, but the silver pillar had a symbol Xisha had never seen before. It was an ancient sith and jedi order symbol combined. Xisha looked from the holocron in her hands to the symbol on the silver pillar. There was an area carved out in the center where the holocron would fit. Xisha inserted the holoron and it took. There was a little bit of noise as it attached to the pillar. Xisha stood back waiting for something to happen, but no fireworks or magic erupted. She stood confused and looked back over at the other pillars. Xisha walked around and back to the green pillar. She could now see writing going around in a circle. 

 

malevolence safeguards against those who would unlock their secrets

 

Xisha thought on this and pondered why in a sith temple there would be beacons which clearly drew jedi. She was then given an idea. She turned back to Krull quickly.

 

"If I am understanding this correctly, I need a knife."

 

With out saying a word Krull instead moved his hand and a large gash appeared going up Xisha's arm. She let out a quiet yell of pain and glared over at him. The blood began to flood down her arm and pool at her feet. 

 

"What are you waiting for?" Krull said, "Were you not going to cut yourself?"

 

Xisha looked upset, but she didn't reply. She merely turned back around and lifted her arm over the green pillar. Her blood seemed to almost be sucked down by the green aura which now once again came forth from the crystal pillar. The crystal now turned red along with its aura and the Holocron in the silver pillar began to turn. It was partially unlocked now. Xisha's eyes looked at the other two pillars; blue and yellow. She healed her arm slowly with the force and walked back and past Krull. 

 

"If you want to unlock the holocron, you'll need the blood of a Jedi Guardian and Jedi Sentinel."

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"A sacrifice?" Krull said as he pondered the intricacies of what they had just witnessed. He rubbed his chin with his hand and nodded. "Interesting...it appears whatever is beyond this door is incredibly important. To sacrifice a Sith, well that is of no great loss to us. But to sacrifice a Jedi? Much less...presumably three. To risk bringing such people to this world is a true sacrifice. And one we must make." Krull gestured for Xisha to follow him as he lead her out of the room and back to rejoin Djara. When he returned he found his fellow Sith was brooding in the corner, leant against a wall. When he saw them return he almost seemed to brighten, in his own way. 

 

"What's the verdict?" Djara asked, addressing Krull. He looked to Xisha and noticed the blood dripping from her wrist. "What happened?" he added accusingly. Krull eyed him suspiciously for a moment, but he confidently took his time to respond. 

"I am moving ever closer to reaching the information, Kuvae" he responded, "I will require that you release this Jedi to me. I have further need of her."

"Unacceptable!" Djara snapped in reply. He shook his head and pointed at Xisha. "She belongs to me. The only reason she yet lives is to aid my plans."

"You mean your Master's plans." Krull corrected. Djara scowled at him bitterly. Krull sneered at his expression. "Do not think that undeserved title brings you on to the same platform as one such as I" he added, "After all you were but a savage once upon a time were you not? You can hardly expect to rise so quickly through the ranks, regardless of what your Master expects."

 

"You would be wise not to use that tone when you speak of me Master" Djara warned. Krull, however, did not look worried. 

"Your Master is far from reach at this time." Krull explained, "I will happily explain the situation to him upon his return. For if this discovery holds what it promises, I will be addressing him from my own seat upon the Dark Council. And I will not let my endeavors be thwarted by a common savage!" he spat his lords words, his expression vicious and cruel. Djara's however, was only of bubbling anger. Where Krull showed anger and frustration, Djara showed the focused rage of a warrior. The two had stopped walking now. They were facing each other, slowly pacing around each other, waiting for the other to react. 

 

"Do you intend to challenge me?" Krull taunted Djara, who responded with only a silent stare. His attention was flitting between Krull and Xisha. Every fiber of his body wished to show this man what a 'savage' could do. However he could already sense the hesitation from Xisha. She was contemplating her escape. If an altercation ensued then she would most likely try to run. He could not afford that. So he quieted his rage. 

"I would sooner provide you with an offer" Djara replied finally. "I know that my Master's influence alone will not ascend me to greatness. However if another, a future Dark Lord of the Sith, were to speak of my praises. Well then I would owe that person a great service."

 

Krull seemed intrigued at the prospect. He raised his brow curiously. "Go on." he replied. 

"Well it's quite simple" Djara replied, "You are not a man of war, Krull. You are a man of knowledge. You may have leverage on Dromund Kaas, however I have connections you do not. I have fought alongside the Mandalorians. I have gained their trust in a way you never will. I have spilled blood in their name and brought them glory. They are hunters who respect only honour through battle. Give me time and I will bring you the Jedi you seek. Until then, however, Xisha Samuul stays with me. I will release her to you only when we have gathered what we need to proceed further. Do we have an accord?"

 

Krull lingered for a moment. He habitually rubbed his chin again as he pondered the bargain. Then with a crude smile he reached out and the two Sith shook hands. Djara's eyes shifted to Xisha. However his confident stare was not there on this occasion. He looked concerned, and bitter. 

 

 


 

 

Finally Djara ushered Xisha back into her quarters. As the blast door shut behind him he felt relief wash over him. Having her free to attempt escape had him on edge. Furthermore he was glad to be away from the presence of Lord Krull. Xisha had not spoken since she had returned. 

"Do you require a dressing for that wound?" Djara asked her as he walked over to her. He took her arm and examined it. The cut was not too deep, it would heal. Yet still he felt anger bubbling inside him. Krull had no right. He was a devious and ruthless man, and he could not be trusted. He did not let on to Xisha, but he had found himself in a difficult situation. He knew that Krull would attempt to betray him somewhere along the lines. He had to tread carefully. He looked up at Xisha's face and he tried to look calm, to show face. "It doesn't look that bad, your wound that is." he said to her. 

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"I am moving ever closer to reaching the information, Kuvae" he responded, "I will require that you release this Jedi to me. I have further need of her."


 


Xisha did not like the sound of that. She wasn't thrilled about being a prisoner, but at least her and Djara had some sort of respect for each other in their own strange ways. Krull would use Xisha as a tool, and when he was done she would most likely be disposed of. Treated as much less than a person, no that was not what she wanted at all. However she had not been expecting the explosive anger to come from Djara. 


 


"Unacceptable!" Djara snapped in reply. He shook his head and pointed at Xisha. "She belongs to me. The only reason she yet lives is to aid my plans."


 


At first she had this strange sensation that possibly he cared about her, but then it was back to him owning her and her once brightened face dropped with a frown. She rolled her eyes and leaned her back against the wall as the two Sith Lords duked out their testosterone battle. She was now looking around thinking about what the best escape plan might be. These two seemed to be getting riled up quickly and if there indeed was a fight that would make an opportune moment for her to flee. To Xisha's dismay Djara was sensible enough to calm down and choose a different route to fix the situation. With the skill of a true negotiator Djara bought them more time. Xisha doubted Krull would so easily stick to this plan, but it was decent appeasement none the less on Djara's part. Xisha's eyes met his and it was evident that Djara felt the same way. 


 


The ride back to her cell was quiet. Xisha was a bit upset that with all of that time she hadn't been able to escape, though she had not exactly tried very hard either. Why wasn't she resisting more? She was frustrated with herself more than anything, but she showed it by not speaking to anyone. Xisha pondered what the future now held. Djara had told Krull that they would secure the other two Jedi that they needed. This was a crazy idea. Xisha would not willingly capture another Jedi for him to toy with and if they intended to get the remains of ancient Jedi they would surely have to leave Dromund Kaas. Once again Djara probably would not want to do that. If Xisha had learned anything from this little field trip, it was that Djara clearly was uncomfortable when Xisha walked around outside of her cell. She couldn't blame him, it wouldn't be too hard for her to escape given the right circumstances. All Xisha had to do was wait. It was possible that they had other remains of Jedi, from previous prisoners and such, but to open up the secrets of the Dark Temple they specifically needed a Jedi Knight and a Jedi Sentinel.


 


When they were back at her cell Djara examined her wound. Xisha once again was falling under the false pretense that he possibly cared, but then remembered he had this idea of ownership over her. While he appeared to possibly care that she was wounded this was probably more so because someone else had harmed one of his belongings, not because he actually felt concern or remorse for her. Xisha pulled her arm back out of his grip a tad roughly. She wished she hadn't pulled so hard afterwards, but she wouldn't let that show in her face as she replied. 


 


"It will be fine Djara. Unlike a broken relic I heal quite quickly. I am a Jedi remember?" She walked away from him over to where her bed was. She fell down onto the hard surface and blankly faced up at the ceiling. "So you promised Krull we would gather the other Jedi, if you willingly expect me to trap or kill my kin you are far more ignorant than I originally thought." Her voice sounded bitter.


 


"Not to mention you are a fool if you think Krull will uphold his end of the bargain..." Xisha was feeling particularly frustrated so she added a little jab at the end. "I suppose that was your only option though, since you're so scared of him. You probably wouldn't last long in a fight with a Sith Lord like him." The more time she spent away from the Jedi, the more her emotions were truly manipulating the way she spoke. She turned onto her side allowing her back to face Djara. A blue glow shimmered from Xisha's wounded arm as she brought the force to her to help her heal. 


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Djara stood facing a man who had become a familiar face to him. He was stood in a hangar bay of the spaceport on Dromund Kaas. The man who had just exited his ship was hidden behind the armored mask of a Mandalorian. This man, however, was the Mandalorian who had served him well during the attack of the Republic cruiser near Taris. He was a mercenary by the name of Exal Turine, a man who commanded many men. As the two men met each other Exal nodded to the Djara and folded his arms. 

 

"And so I stand in the presence of a Sith Lord now." Exal said cockily, his voice metallic and raspy under his helmet. "It appears our past work has brought you honour as well."

"Indeed" Djara replied. He extended his hand to shake Exal's and the two stood in silence for a moment. Djara motioned for Exal to follow him and the pair walked across the hangar. "But I would seek the climb to greater heights" Djara continued. "Unfortunately other forces move against me. Forces that I am unfortunately burdened to entertain, for now."

"Sounds troublesome." Exal responded, "This wouldn't be to do with that Jedi we captured? The Republic have been keen to find her."

"She is of no concern." Djara responded. "The issue lies with another Sith Lord, named Krull. He is becoming a thorn in my side. Yet I must show him respect, at least to his face. He is a two-faced, old crone with little regard for anyone but himself."

"Sounds like a Sith to me" Exal said jokingly. Djara simply glared at him, not finding much comfort in his attempt at humor.

 

"I am afraid I must ask much of you." Djara continued. "I have two targets I wish for you to acquire. Both of them Jedi."

"With all due respect" Exal interrupted, "Isn't a Sith like yourself more suited to such a mission? The Jedi are not easy prey."

"They are not, and that is why I have hired the best." Djara went on. "I am unable to leave Dromund Kaas at the moment. Without my watchful eye Krull will swoop down and claim what he deems to be rightfully his. I shall not let his endeavors come to fruition. However for now I require these Jedi brought to Dromund Kaas immediately. Both of them alive."

"Alive?" Exal parroted. "That's going to drive the cost up."

"Money is of no concern to me at this point." Djara replied. 

 

"Now the two Jedi I need you to find are both in separate locations. The first is Kaleyn Sayun, a Watchman who has been in isolation from the Jedi Order for several years now. His location is unknown. Consider him to be extremely dangerous. He was pegged to become a Master Jedi, however, his attitude was not deemed appropriate, Little is known of the man now, but he was once a very promising Jedi Sentinel."

"Right." Exal replied, "And the other?"

"The other is perhaps easier. You must go to Coruscant. There you will go to the fallen Jedi Temple. You are to find and exhume the remains of Jedi Master Marinus Sha'ul. He was killed during the sacking of the temple. He was once a great Guardian of the Jedi. Bring his remains to me. Is that understood?"

"It is." Exal replied, "Is there anything else?" he added. Djara paused for a moment, hesitating. 

"Yes..." he said finally, "...there is something else you can do for me."

 

 


 

 

The blast door to Xisha's quarters opened suddenly. Djara entered the room, with a small group of guards following him, carrying crates and boxes. They placed them on the floor in the room and Djara motioned for them to leave. As they disappeared the blast door closed behind them and Djara was alone with Xisha once more. He had not came to see her for a few days now. 

"How are you feeling?" he asked her. 

Xisha chose not to face him as she walked around her cell. "I'm Fine, and what do I owe the privilege of your company to?"

 

"I have come to inform you that I currently have men targeting Jedi that we need. It may comfort you to know that they are only looking for the remains of one of them. The other is alive I'm afraid, however he left the Order many years ago." Djara explained. "His name is Kaleyn Sayun, do you know of him?"

 

"I can't say I recall the name. If he left the Order than I suppose there is a chance you could convince him to help willingly." came the response.

Djara shook his head. "Unfortunately I find that unlikely. While Sayun may not have agreed with the Order, he was certainly no advocate of the Sith. I believe he is what you might refer to as a 'Dark Jedi'" Djara replied. "Still I suppose I can admire your optimism. However I have also come bearing gifts." Xisha's interest was peaked. She now faced him and walked over with new interest.

"Gifts? You really know the way to a prisoner girl's heart?" Her tone was sarcastic, but none the less interested.

 

"I noticed you had taken an interest in some of the findings at the Dark Temple." Djara explained, "I've taken the liberty of having some data files and information brought to you. You should be able to access them via the consoles. There is a great deal of data on the architect of the temple, those who have contributed to the relics found inside, it's history and so on. I gather from your less than formidable combat ability that you are more of the scholarly type, yes?" Xisha was a bit taken aback. She wasn't actually expecting to receive something she would be interested in.

"T-thank you Djara... I would greatly enjoy reading through this..." She was still a but caught off guard and slightly lost for words.

 

"You gained my trust the other day." Djara said as he came closer to her. "You had opportunity to attempt escape. But you stood at my side." He continued as he leant closer, now so close that he was leaning over to whisper in her ear. "I apologise for claiming ownership of you. A person's will is not something you can own, even for the Sith. I would sooner you stood at my side willingly. Unfortunately this life that I lead is dangerous, and appearances must be kept. Do not mistake this gift as something to tempt you with, or sway your judgement towards me. I simply hope that you will learn from the data I've provided, and perhaps you will understand me more."

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Xisha was immobilized as Djara spoke to her. She had been so ready to be mad at him, but the way he was acting now prevented that emotion from surfacing anymore. As he whispered his breath on her ear caused Xisha to blush a lot despite all attempts by her mind to delay that physical reaction. Her mind was racing, it was as if this reality was skewed. When had Djara's feelings on all of these topics changed? Was it as simple as her not trying to escape that swayed his opinions? Xisha thought about replying, but for some reason she felt she might stutter and that was not something she would give him the satisfaction of hearing. She took a breath in and calmed herself down, she had simply bee caught off guard. Her composure came back and she sweetly smiled. She walked away from him to examine all the material that had been placed before her. She calmly walked even though at first she had the urge to nervously run away. Her hands traced over the crates and boxes. 

 

"I suppose I might learn something."

 

She raised her hand and the lid to the first box lifted up and flew to the side. Xisha chose to ignore Djara now, not because she was upset with him in any matter, but because she was trying very hard to concentrate on her gift and not so much on how he had just spoken to her. She began to rummage through the data and what she found was fscinating. Xisha wasn't sure when Djara had actually left her, she had been so enthralled in her studies that everything else was shut out.

 

History of the Dark Temple

 

The Dark Temple was built by the followers of the Sith Lord Pharshol during the Old Sith Empire. Sith Lords such as Aloysius Kallig and Ergast were buried in or near the structure, along with many other sith throughout history. The Temple fell into obscurity until after the Great Hyperspace War between the Empire and the Galactic Republic. The Sith Emperor who reconstituted the Empire on Dromund Kaas in 4,980 BBY took the Dark Temple as his own, ordering a massive expansion of the structure and using it as the site of his experiments into the dark side of the Force. The Emperor also entombed many of his enemies in the Dark Temple for several centuries before ordering the building to be sealed.

 

Recent Excavation Records

 

The building has contained the spirits of Pharshol, his rival Vacuus, and many others for thousands of years. Roused by the fury of Lord Kallig, the spirits of the Dark Temple took control of the explorers and archaeology teams sent into the Temple, and the Imperial Military and the Sith Order struggled to keep the threats posed by the building's secrets contained in the months following the Temple's opening. Currently Lord Krull has been named in charge of the site's exploration and upkeep, access is heavily restricted even to other sith. 

 

Though Xisha found everything about the temple fascinating she chose to focus on the chamber and three rooms she had been in.

 

The Right Chamber - Resting Place of Pharshol - Chamber of Dark

 

The first chamber to be excavated was also the one with the highest body count. In this room the spirits of the most powerful Sith remain sealed. Access in here is restricted to only Lord Krull. Most relics found in this room are partially or fully made out of the remains of centuries old sith lords. These items are securely locked away in a lab somewhere in Kass city as they are being tested. No results have come back with conclusive details on any of the relics since most researchers who study them come to untimely ends. 

 

The Center Chamber - Resting Place of Sith Enemies - Chamber of Light

 

In this room the Jedi holocron which unlocked the left chamber was found. This area was the burial area for Lord Pharshol's enemies. There was also mention of a jedi master burried here, Biel Ductavis. 

 

Xisha knew this name. Biel Ductavis was a member of the high Jedi council and at one point served as Grand Master. The Jedi for centuries had not know what had become of his remains or final resting place. This would be important information for them. Xisha couldn't do anything now, but she mentally noted that if she were to ever escape or find freedom she would relay this information back to the jedi. The holocron that opened the Left chamber must have been a possession of Biel Ductavis. Xisha put down the data for a moment and paced the room with only her thoughts. Why on earth would a powerful Jedi like that have been around during the construction of the Dark Temple? This was very confusing news. Xisha didn't know what to make of it. 

 

The Left Chamber - Secrets of Ancient Sith Philosophy - Chamber of Knowledge

 

There was little written about the area she had unlocked. What was known about this chamber was deciphered off of the writings found on the walls of the other two. It was loosely regarded to as the chamber of knowledge. Xisha read out loud to herself;

 

"Resting inside the chamber of knowledge is the key for eternal unyielding power over the galaxy. Hmm, no wonder they are so keen on opening it...The balance between dark and light is unveiled to those who are willing to risk the fabric of existence. Malevolence safeguards against those who would unlock their secrets. That's the phrase from the pillar... The middle road is brought to fruition, fear of the unknown will protect this truth from being released into the universe. For this knowledge brings the conclusion of struggle between jedi and sith..."

 

Krull's researchers have data written which translates the text to be talking about some sort of divine weapon of the force. With this weapon it is believed that the Sith could permanently wipe out the Jedi. However, the more Xisha read the more she began to realize this was something far more dangerous than a weapon. 

 

"I don't think this is a weapon... I think its a philosophy or an answer to the ultimate question of existence...Krull had it wrong, and when we figure this all out I do not believe he will be happy with what we find."

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And so the days became weeks. 

 

Djara found himself becoming incredibly busy. He spent his days training, honing his skills as a warrior. He had to stay sharp. Yet he spent a great deal of time battling the incessant demands of Lord Krull. The old sith was growing increasingly impatient, and ever more a thorn in Djara's side. He could not wait for the opportunity to be rid of the old fool, but he would have to be patient, which was not one of his stronger points. Yet he was able to find silver linings. In the 4 weeks that had passed by Djara had spent increasingly more time with Xisha. Whenever he had a free moment it was often spent in the confines of her quarters.

 

Together they discussed the data that she had began to study so passionately. They would spend hours at a time discussing the meaning behind some of the texts. She truly was the scholarly type, and next to her academic nature he found himself to be the student. Her insight and intuition was far above his own, and she masterfully began to shed light on topics he thought himself well versed on. He had embarked to teach her the ways of the Dark Side, to make her his willing apprentice. Yet as each day passed he had to continue fighting the gnawing feeling inside him. He did not feel himself to be her Master. In fact he continuously denied what he knew to be true, that there relationship had become a partnership of sorts. 

 

His musings of the past few weeks were halted. The jerk of the transport vessel landing brought Djara from his thoughts. As the blast door opened Djara got up and stepped down the gangway, on to the solid metallic floor of the Dromund Kaas Spaceport. He was in a hurry. News had reached him of the return of a Mandalorian vessel, carrying precious cargo for his eyes only. However he knew that the news would have already reached Krull by now, and he would not have that interfering fossil try to take control of his operation. 

 

He moved quickly through the spaceport, alone. He had not bothered with an entourage, he had always found the concept bothersome anyway. As if any of those Imperial troopers could match his might. If there was ever a force that could threaten him, then they would most certainly have no problem dealing with a small Imperial unit. Djara moved up another ramp and into an elevator. He interacted with the console and began to ascend to a separate hangar. On the ascent his thoughts once again moved to Xisha. He was not sure how she would feel about this. Finally the Mandalorians had returned with their bounty, but he imagined she would not be as happy about it as he was. After all, if all the cargo was in place, then it would mean one of her own held captive. 

 

Finally the elevator reached it's destination and the blast doors opened. Djara stepped out to find that the Imperial crew that were in charge of the Hangar were all stood on the control room. The only people on the Hangar floor were a small Mandalorian unit of about eight, with a cloaked figure stood in front of them. Djara swaggered on to the hangar floor, his hands hovering at his hips, sensing that something wasn't right. The man was dressed in the brown robes of a Jedi, with the hood up, hiding his face. It did not take long for Djara to notice he was not a captive, for he was not bound in any way. 

 

"What is the meaning of this?" Djara asked, "Why is this prisoner allowed to walk free?"

"Because I am not a prisoner" the Jedi replied, before lifting his head to reveal the face of a human male, in his early fifties by the looks of it. The man pulled the hood from his head to reveal dark brown hair that was tied back in a top-knot, however it looked messy and untamed, as was the man's face which had patches of graying stubble and several scars no doubt from battle. Djara did not know the face but he required no introduction. This man was Kaleyn Sayun, the Watchman he had targeted. Djara's fingers twitched and a lightsaber flew into each of his hands, the one in the right hand, his strong hand, ignited in crimson, while the other, which he had apprehended from Xisha, ignited green. 

 

Djara held strong in a dual-wielding stance, but did not advance on the Jedi. He instead waited for an explanation. 

"Perceptive." Kaleyn said with a sly smirk, "I almost thought you were going to try to rush at me for a moment. Maybe you Sith are smarter than I pegged you for."

"Spare me your thoughts." Djara replied coldly, "Instead you can inform me as to why you are so bold as to step on to this planet and hope to live?"

"Straight to the point, huh?" Kaleyn said as he folded his arms. The man seemed calm and a little cocky, but if the tales were true he was a formidable opponent. "Well here's the thing. These guys showed up a little while ago and tried to haul me in. Unfortunately I know quite a bit about Mandalorian culture. I challenged their Chieftain to a duel to the death. The wager was control of his unit. Naturally, I succeeded, and so now I am the leader of these mercenaries. I soon came to find that they had orders from the Sith to find me, and they'd already picked up the remains of some dead Jedi as well. I figured I would see what the fuss was about."

 

"Do not play games!" Djara spat angrily, "You have walked right into my hands. I have you exactly where I want you."

"So dramatic, just like the Jedi" Kaleyn said as he shook his head. "I'm not here for a fight, I'm here for the girl."

"The...girl?" Djara eyed him suspiciously. 

"Yeah...the girl." Kaleyn nodded. He eyed the green lightsaber Djara was holding. "Exal's mind often wandered to this girl. He felt he had betrayed her somewhat, through his actions she had suffered a terrible fate. It seems she has quite an effect on people, more so than I realised, now that I see you holding her lightsaber like some kind of trophy."

 

Djara's teeth clenched as he threw a look like daggers at Kaleyn. "Do not get involved in matters that are none of your concern, You are in no position to bargain!" he snarled. 

"I beg to differ." Kaleyn explained, "You wanted me alive. Now whatever it is you're planning, the other Jedi in this hangar is a corpse. So what makes me so special, hm? I may be a rogue Jedi but I wouldn't consider me an ally. But you obviously need me for something."

Djara hesitated. His plan was unraveling. It was true that he did require Kaleyn for another purpose. He had hoped that he could find a way to stage an escape, and allow Kaleyn to kill Lord Krull in the process. However this plan implied that Kaleyn would be captive in the first place. If he was strong enough to best a Mandalorian Chieftain single handed, and had the brass to come to the Sith Capitol on his own, then he truly was a Master Jedi in ability. 

 

"The politics involved..." Djara began, eyeing Kaleyn with loathing, "...Is complicated. Your only purpose to me is to kill a man I wish to be dead, one that cannot fall by my own hand."

"And why don't I just kill you instead, go save this girl from her captivity, and then get off this planet?" Kaleyn suggested, "I mean, it sounds a little too heroic for my liking. Don't get the wrong impression. My actions aren't exactly selfless, that Jedi has worth to me too."

"And yet you are missing many pieces of the puzzle." Djara explained, "For I am the one who stands between Xisha Samuul and a fate worse than what she has at the moment. Should I fall, she would be prey to a much more detestable man than I. He would destroy any spark within her that made her special, I assure you."

 

"Wow." Kaleyn replied, rolling his eyes, "Sounds like someone has a little crush. Isn't that forbidden with you guys too?"

"Do not test me, Jedi!" Djara barked, finally losing his temper and lunging forward. Suddenly Kaleyn was moving with grace, a pair of blue lightsabers igniting in his hands as the pair clashed. Sizzling and cracking filled the air as the Mandalorian unit fanned out, keeping their weapons at the ready. Djara and Kaleyn were locked in a ferocious battle, the pair weaving and dodging around each other with expert timing. Djara screamed, summoning the force and expelling it forwards, imbued with his rage. The Mandalorians fell to their knees, crippled by his fury, whilst Kaleyn stood strong, as if he felt nothing. He lunged towards Djara and the pair faced off again, caught in a flurry of coloured lights that hissed and crackled on impact. 

 

Finally Djara held out his hand, expelling a powerful force push that knocked Kaleyn off his feet and sent him crashing along the floor. Djara advanced on him, but as Kaleyn stood he held out his hand, and an arc of lightning corssed the room, connecting with Djara and rooting him to the spot as the lightning shocked his body in it's enitrety. Djara cried out as the pain engulfed him. His rage and fury could not be contained but he could not avoid the pain. Kaleyn had embraced both the light and the dark side, and as such he was using the force in a way Djara could not comprehend. There he remained rooted, the pain washing over him. He felt foolish. Would this be the end of his reign? As he felt himself beginning to become consumed in his own darkness, he heard two voices, fighting inside his mind. 

 

 

"There is no emotion, there is peace"

 

 

"Peace is a lie!"

 

 

"There is no passion, there is serenity"

 

 

"Through passion I gain strength, through strength I gain power!"

 

 

"There is no chaos, there is harmony"

 

 

"So many contradictions" he thought, "How can they even be connected?"

 

 

"There is no death, there is the Force"

 

 

"The Force shall free me"

 

 

"The Force?" he thought. "Yes. There is always the Force."

 

 

Suddenly Djara found himself revitalized. The pain became bearable. He opened his eyes, and with an effort of will, he thrust his hand forward, and summoned force lightning. The chains of lightning began to fight with one another, battling furiously as their masters pushed ever harder to overthrow one another. It appeared they were evenly matched, neither able to fend the other off. The stand off may have continued for hours, had there not been intervention. Blaster fire crashed around them, and suddenly a dark energy washed over the room. Djara felt confident at first, the dark sensation was familiar to him, however, as he realised who it belonged to he felt both confused, and fearful. Suddenly Kaleyn was forced against a wall effortlessly, being choked by the Force. Djara fell weakly to his knees, his body finally giving out, however, no sooner had he hit the floor than he found himself rising back up, the clutch of the force holding him up, crushing his windpipe. 

 

The source of this finally emerged. The Sith was more machine than man, but his crimson skin was that of a pureblood. Of all the Sith in the galaxy there were only twelve as strong as he. The man who held both of them hostage, was the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Lascerus. As he approached, Lascerus released his grip on the two men. Kaleyn collapsed to the floor, unconscious. Djara was on his knees, gasping for breath. He looked up at his Master, his eyes filled with anger and confusion. 

 

"It truly disappoints me to have to do this to such a promising warrior." Lascerus' voice was cold and full of loathing. "It is unfortunate but you have to understand that this goes far beyond your understanding, my apprentice." he continued, pacing around Djara. "You see while I have been gone, I always have eyes. Krull has been acting on my orders. All of this an elaborate ploy, I'm afraid. Xisha Samuul is much more important than you think she is, boy. Her very existence is a threat to the Emperor. But he has foreseen all of this. Although I must say, I commend your resourcefulness in finding the necessary components to opening the crypt."

 

Lascerus grabbed Djara under his chin and lifted him up so that he could look him in the eye. 

"You have done your Master a great service, Djara" Lascerus explained, "And for you to fall for the Jedi? Even I could not have predicted that. It only solidifies that this was meant to be. Krull is already collecting Xisha. We will proceed to the Dark Temple immediately. The knowledge we find inside is not to be seen by anyone. The Emperor has ordered me to destroy it, from the inside. But in order to do so we would need a willing Jedi to open the tomb. And unfortunately, you will be executed for playing your part in all of this. It's a cut throat world. Someone must pay for this crime."

 

"I..." Djara tried to speak, "...I served you willingly! I did everything you asked!"

"Indeed" Lascerus replied, "You were a very effective subordinate. But that is all you are. A true Sith has ambition far beyond their station. You should have struck me down long before now. You have outlived your usefulness. However...I think it fitting that you be present as Xisha opens the tomb. And then you can die together. There, see? Do not say that the Sith have no compassion, hm?" Lascerus taunted before chuckling to himself. Djara could feel his rage boiling, but he was tiring quickly. He felt something strike him in the back of the head, and suddenly his world became dark. 

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The moment Kaleyn had stepped foot on Dromund Kaas Xisha had felt it. The data she had been going over dropped from her hands as she felt the presence. 

 

"So Djara successfully brought the jedi here..." 

 

The words escaped her lips and she honestly didn't know how she felt. On one hand they could now unlock the secrets of the temple and despite the fact that this was a sith temple, Xisha now found herself curious and intrigued. The other problem was that if this Jedi sought to escape with Xisha's help she might be forced into a confrontation with Djara. Xisha knew she was still a prisoner, but to be honest she didn't view him as a captor anymore. Their relationship had evolved. She wasn't sure what it had evolved into, but she knew she wouldn't harm him. She was pondering all sorts of possibilities when she felt waves of energy crash over her. There must be a battle of great strengths raging. Xisha was knocked down to the ground. Her hand grasped her chest as she steadied her breathing. Something was wrong. Xisha pushed her energy out searching for Djara, but when she found him there was something dramatically different. 

 

"There is no death, there is the Force"

 

"The Force shall free me"

 

His energy had changed, it wasn't consumed by anger. There were equal parts light and dark swirling around in him. Xisha rapidly snapped back to herself. It was almost as if he had accepted both philosophies…more than accepting them, the duality had seemed to make him stronger. As quickly as the feeling had come to her though it was gone. Now all she felt was an extremely powerful dark presence. This type of aura could only belong to one person,  Darth Lascerus. Xisha felt frantic. She could hardly catch her breath as her fear and anger bubbled inside of her. The jedi in her knew she should calm herself, but her emotions were just too chaotic to control. She focused on the blast door to her cell. She pushed all the force she could contain through her and directed it at the door. When a large dent was made and the hinges of the walls started cracking, Xisha knew she could easily escape. She repeated the action and the blast door broke away like a tinker toy. She stepped through the opening a sort of enraged peace settling over her. Imperial troopers came rushing towards the commotion. There must have been over ten of them running towards her, blasters out. Xisha didn't flinch though. Her bare feet proceeded forward step by step. She couldn't even hear them calling for her to halt. Her ears were simply quiet and still. Xisha raised her hand and all of them were caught as if frozen. Then suddenly the group spilt, half flew to the right wall and half to the left. They proceeded to be lifted up the wall by their necks. All of the troopers were suffocating until finally they would each one by one pass out and drop down to the ground, not dead, but simply knocked out. Xisha turned a corner, she still wasn't sure where Djara was. She could feel the dark aura again though and she assumed her best bet at finding him would be to follow. Xisha made her way steadily towards the dark energy. She wasn't quite thinking straight, she had no strategy. She wasn't even sure what was wrong, all she knew was Djara needed her. 

 

Finally the icy chill of darkness cloaked her. She felt him, Krull, standing in front of her at the end of a long hallway. The first thing she heard was slow clapping. Xisha was not in the mood for games. 

 

"Where is Djara?" Her tone was murderous.

 

Krull's frail voice barked back, "Don't worry, you'll see him soon. Why don't you be a good little jedi and come with me willingly?" 

The evil grin that spread across his face said something different though, he clearly was hoping he could inflict some pain on her first. 

 

"No. I don't think so." she replied. 

 

"Ooo, what fun." Krull's voice rang as a wickedly powerful crack of force lightning rushed towards Xisha. The currant ran along the walls filling up the whole hallway until it was finally upon her. Pain flooded her system and to make things worse Krull also sent her flying back into the far wall. She was held there being constantly shocked with lightning, her body could not take much more of this. 

 

"Stupid girl! You dare to challenge me!? Lord Krull!" his voice rang so happy to be causing her harm, he enjoyed torturing. 

 

Xisha channeled the force inside her. She had to block out the pain, her death was immanent. Her mind centered on Djara, she had failed to get to him. She thought of the conflicting balance she had last seen in him, the light and dark she had felt before. She remembered words from the dark temple texts. 

 

The middle road is brought to fruition…the conclusion of struggle between jedi and sith. 

 

Something inside her reached a peak of enlightenment. A glow began to emanate from Xisha and she stood back up as if Krull's attack did nothing to her. The expression on Krull's face was of utter confusion. Xisha had finally realized that the great weapon, was the middle path. Only by embracing both the dark and the light could you control such amazing power that could rule and equally protect the galaxy. She slowly walked forward through the electric engulfed hallway. Krull looked confused as he poured all of his anger and hatred into his attacks. The more he pushed the more frustrated he became. 

 

"How are you still moving!?" He scowled and channeled the darkside through himself immeasurably. 

 

His body was aging at a rapid pace, his skin began to break and blister, dark lines covered the sides of his eyes. Xisha was now merely feet from him. It was not that she couldn't feel pain. This concentration was beyond difficult, but this new balance inside her was stronger than Krull's pure darkness. She raised her hand and Krull was knocked back. She used the force to throw gravity at him raising his body off the ground. It was as if he were being flattened. Xisha was now standing right in front of him. 

 

"I have something to tell you Krull." her voice was scary calm as she continued. "That weapon you hope to unlock inside of the Dark Temple…I am afraid it has already been unlocked, right now. In me…and unfortunately for you, I think you deserve to die."

 

It only took the swipe of her hand to completely crack and break Krull's neck. The old man than fell to the ground dead. Xisha had been so wrapped up with Krull that she had not even noticed the darker, more powerful presence behind her. She didn't even have to turn, she knew it was Darth Lascerus. He seemed very, very angry. Suddenly Xisha clung to her throat as she was choked down to her knees. The air escaped her and her world went dark. 

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Djara awoke to harsh synthetic lights, emitting a bright crimson glow. His thoughts were clouded, his vision blurred. He tried to move but when he did so he winced in pain. He could not fathom what was happening. He willed for his limbs to move, but they would not. He felt weightless. His eyes were beginning to regain focus. As they adjusted he sensed the dark energy of his master. He was close, extremely close. 

 

"And so you rise" Lascerus' cold sneer went through him like a dagger. His eyes adjusted and he looked at his master's smug face. He was in a large chamber. Lascerus' was looking up at him. It was then that he realised what the crimson light was. He was suspended in the air, his hands and legs bound by metal shackles. He was caught in a containment field. He went to move, and as he did several machines on platforms around him suddenly took life and electricity sparked forth, coursing through his body. Djara winced but he did not give Lascerus' the satisfaction of screaming. As it subsided he fixed his gaze once more on his master. 

 

"Why?" he spat, "Why do I yet live?" he glared at Lascerus with a deep hatred. Lascerus' returned his gesture with a cruel smirk. 

"Why indeed." he replied finally. "It has transpired that the young Jedi had no desire to come quietly. In doing so she murdered Lord Krull. I will not take any more risks. The two Jedi are on their way to the Dark Temple. Xisha will open that door. I will see to it. When I am through she will beg me for the release of death. You, however, will only have to endure life for a while longer. Someone must pay the price for this transgression. It is believed that you conditioned Xisha to fight against us, that you allowed her to regain her strength. Executioners are on their way now to ensure your death, and that you pay for your crimes. It is not how I had wished it. I would have at least allowed you to die in battle against me, with honor."

 

"You speak of honour!?" Djara roared. "You know nothing of it! You are a deceiver!" 

"Hmm" Lascerus' smile widened. He was enjoying this. "It has been a long time since I have seen those eyes. Full of fury and passion. Those were the eyes you showed me in the arena on Rattatak. When you were but a boy. I saw such potential in you. A shame that you could not live up to it. I am afraid this is farewell, my apprentice. You have shamed me, and you have shamed yourself." Lascerus gave Djara a final smirk, before he turned and left, disappearing down the platform and out of the chamber, the door slamming shut behind him.

 

Djara let out a horrific scream, his voice echoing around the chamber, distorted and twisted, fused with the dark side of the force. The raised platforms ignited once more and he felt familiar pain as lightning wracked his body. The physical pain was not what hurt him the most though. The true pain was coming from within. Everything he had ever worked for was now in ruins. He was drowning in the pointlessness of it all. He had nothing left in this world. No. He had her. However, soon, she too would be ripped from existence. His head sunk as he floated in the centre of the field, and as he hung there helplessly, he felt tears well up in his eyes. He had never cried, not since he was a small child. He was a warrior, his life was bathed in blood. And yet now he shed tears, after all this time. As he awaited his death, he found it easier to be honest with himself. He was in love. The word made him shudder, it was not an uplifting feeling. That word was the source of all of his pain, his grief. 

 

It was with that revelation that he gave in to himself. He let out another scream, no, a roar. All of his pain and sorrow channeled through him. The machines activated once more and began to shock him, but he could not feel it. In his final moments he was free to truly accept everything that he felt, his anger and passion which had always provided him strength, but also the great and dreadful feeling of love, that he had fought for so long. His loss and fear erupted in one, single burst of force energy. Sparks flew as the machines exploded, ripped from their platforms by the sheer might of his will. Explosions were erupting all around him. The bright lights began to dim and fade. Djara suddenly flexed, and the shackles that held him snapped. He fell forwards as the containment field lost power, and he landed with a clunk on to the metal floor, down on one knee, his head hanging. 

 

The blast doors to the chamber opened and 5 sith executioners walked through the door. red glows shone through the fire and smoke as their lightsabers ignited. Djara raised his head. His eyes, once a cold, icy white, were now a dark yellow. the area around his eyes was now completely black, with large dark veins cascading out over his face, a physical result of his use of the dark side. Djara stood up and shot a glance down the path that lead to his opponents. One of them advanced, sprinting up the platform to meet him. Djara lunged forward, bridging the gap between them, the sith swung his lightsaber in a wide arc, and Djara ducked, moving under it's reach and rising again, catching the Sith's throat in his awaiting grip and holding him aloft. He squeezed tighter, snapping the man's neck, before letting him drop to the ground. He flexed his fingers and the dead Sith's lightsaber rose up from the floor and into his hand. The crimson blade ignited as the four remaining Sith advanced to end his life. 

 

Djara clashed with the first, forcing him backwards as the second came at him with a flurry of strikes, he spun his lightsaber, expertly parrying the blows before using his free hand to push the attacker back using the force. Another attacker came and he dodged his blow before swiping with his own lightsaber, lopping the man's head off with a single swing. He advanced as one of the remaining three lunged at him, he leapt, spinning in the air, over the attacker, before landing with a soft tap and thrusting his saber behind him, into the Sith's back, before disengaging his lightsaber and allowing his opponent to collapse on the ground, dead. Finally Djara thrust out his hands, choking the two remaining Sith with the force, his rage overwhelming him as lightning shot from his hands, shocking his enemies. He relished in the moment briefly, before letting them drop to the floor to join their comrades. 

 

Djara's chest was beating rapidly as he struggled to control his breathing. He quieted his rage, but he did not let it subside. He would use it to fight through the forces that lay in wait for him. His actions had rippled across the planet. He had felt Lascerus' surge of rage as he had gained his freedom. His master knew that he was coming, but that was fine with him. He wanted him to know. Djara began to stride forwards. He would use his fury to free Xisha, and he would exact vengeance upon his former master. In the end, Lascerus was right, Djara was a fool not to strike him down years ago. That mistake would soon be remedied. 

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The first sensation Xisha felt was pounding pain coming from her head. Her memories quickly flooded back to her as she recalled her previous actions. She had escaped her captivity, she had killed Lord Krull, and most importantly to her current predicament; she had been captured by a very angry Darth Lascerus. Despite her ailments she tried to stretch out with the force. This attempt to observe her surroundings was quickly shut down by another stronger presence. 

 

“Ah... the sleeping Jedi awakes.â€

 

 The cold malicious voice of Darth Lascerus hit Xisha’s ears. This did little to settle her growing fears. Her mind quickly raced to think of any way to escape. These restraints were familiar to her, she was sitting in a large metal seat with fastened metal restraints around her shoulders, waist, and ankles. Her arms were bound behind her back which made it very uncomfortable. Ah, right, this was how she had been transported to the Dark Temple last time. Darth Lascerus must intend to finish what Lord Krull had started. This endeavor would be impossible without two other jedi though. Did Darth Lascerus not know this fact? Why was he only taking Xisha? Darth Lascerus was sensing all of her thoughts and took the liberty of answering her every curiosity. 

 

“I have all that I need to achieve my goals Consular. You and… these two.†

 

Xisha could now use her senses again and her force vision was regained. Next to Darth Lascerus was a bag of bones which undoubtably belonged to the deceased Jedi Master Marinus Sha’ul and next to the bag was the unconscious body of Kaleyn Sayun. As soon as this realization had hit, her force sight was ripped back from her again.

 

“That’s enough for now.†Darth Lascerus concluded and he turned to leave the prisoner compartment. Before he was out of ear shot Xisha’s first words left her lips. 

 

“Where is Djara?â€

 

She spoke to Darth Lascerus’s back. This had been the question continuously racing under her surface. There seemed to be a bit of rage building in the great and mighty sith, but it was hard to tell without her senses at full force. The sith lord didn’t even so much as glance back at her before responding, “He is dead.†and walking away. 

 

Xisha was sent into a state of shock. Darth Lascerus must have thought she would be easier to deal with this way, with out any hope or knowledge that Djara was coming for her. Maybe this was a tactic to break her will, but without the power to sense otherwise this was now Xisha’s reality. Her mind was fractured. It was as if her soul was made of glass and Darth Lascerus had just taken a sledge hammer to it. Her head sunk, unable to be lifted up, her will was drained. Quiet sobs echoed out of her.

 

The journey to the temple was somewhat of a blur, Xisha was made to walk in front of Darth Lascerus, with Kaleyn Sayun’s floating knocked out body between them. Xisha carried the remains of Master Marinus Sha’ul with bound hands. The endless dessert in front of her was nothing compared to her misery. They were soon inside the small building that led to the research lab. There was no time for chit chat as the group made their way to the elevator which led to the Dark Temple. The elevator door opened and they all stepped out into the entrance cave. The temperature greatly dropped and the familiar statue was visible in front of her. The great with looked down upon her with glittering red eyes made of light saber crystals. The three of them continued forward through the opening to the left of the statue, inside to a main room and finally towards the now open third door on the left. This was the area Xisha had unlocked last time she was here. The dark current engulfed her. Her feelings were much more vulnerable this time in her weakened emotional state. The room only heightened her already sorrowful mind. The walls still glowed green with writing and in the center stood the four pillars, one completely made of green crystal, one of blue crystal, one of yellow crystal, and one of silver crystal. In the middle of the silver pillar sat the jedi holocron. She reread the etching that had started all of this.

 

malevolence safeguards against those who would unlock their secrets

 

A sigh escaped her lips, the first time they had moved since the transport vessel. Upon entering the green pillar turned red, signifying that Xisha had already given her blood to unlock the Consular Pillar. Only yellow and blue were left. There were no words exchanged as Darth Lascerus made his way forward past Xisha, as he did this Kaleyn Sayun’s body fell to the ground and he appeared to wake up out of a deep sleep. The man grasped his head as he frantically looked around to understand what was happening. This only lasted a few moments before he was unexpectedly and violently grabbed around the neck by Darth Lascerus. Kaleyn Sayun’s head was lifted up and over the yellow pillar and within seconds his blood burst out of a large gash in his neck. The red sticky liquid flowed down over the stone in a waterfall of death. Xisha could hear the bubbling and gaging noises escape Kaleyn Sayun as his finally moments concluded. When he was mostly drained, Darth Lascerus tossed his body away behind him at Xisha’s feet. The crystal now turned red along with its aura and the jedi Holocron in the silver pillar began to turn as it had previously. There were churning noises coming from not only the pillar, but the walls of the room which caused Xisha to momentarily concentrate on something else besides Kaleyn Sayun’s dead body. While she was concentrating on the room's transformation Darth Lascerus took the remains of Jedi Master Marinus Sha’ul from Xisha with the force. The bag was ripped from her grasp and flew over atop the blue pillar. He turned his hand from an open palm into a fist concentrating only on the remains. The result was a fine power of ash and bone that fell forth onto the pillar. The blue crystal flickered and then turned red, the last of the three to be given it's sacrifice. The silver pillar erupted with light and strangle the etching on it transformed to read something new.

 

The middle road will be revealed to those who possess both the light and dark within their soul. Outstretch your hands and receive the key. 

 

Xisha without really thinking about it put her hands out in front of her as a confused Lascerus starred. All the light which was covering the room condensed in her hands rapidly. When it had subsided in her hands was a tiny silver crystal. Before she could clasp her hands around to hide the gem it was snatched from her. Lascerus waisted no time, he took a double sided lightsaber from his hilt and tossed it in the air. The pieces expanded out suspended in front of him. He replaced the red crystal at its core with the silver one and then the hilt reattached itself and fell down into his open hand. 

 

"Thank you my dear." 

 

The smile that spread across Lascerus's face was discomforting to her. Xisha took a few steps back as Lascerus ignited the saber. He had no use for her now. Just as she assumed her fate was sealed something strange happened to his ultimate weapon. The beam of silver light sort of went wonky as it curved and sputtered as if it was broken. Possibly he had reset the pieces back together incorrectly? However, that was doubtful that a Sith Lord would make a padawan's mistake. Lascerus looked strangely confused as the uncontrollable beam grassed his hand. He gritted his teeth and cursed as he dropped the hilt. The beam quickly went off and rolled between the two of them. Lascerus angrily scowled at Xisha. 

 

"What have you done!?" He hissed in a malicious tone. "Why won't it work?"

 

Xisha knew the answer. It was clear as day.

 

"...those who possess both the light and dark within their soul..." she whispered. 

 

There was something else ringing through her head as well as this revelation.  Darth Lascerus had been so absorbed in the goings on of the temple that he had unknowingly let his control over Xisha's mind flutter. In these brief moments Xisha was given light to a certain truth which would prove to be  Darth Lascerus's downfall. Xisha felt Djara. She wasn't sure how close, but he was defiantly alive. She immediately snapped back to herself and her eyes met  Darth Lascerus with an intense energy behind them.

 

"Djara's alive," was all she had to say to Darth Lascerus for him to quickly understand the troubling predicament. 

 

Before he could react the blade shot into Xisha's grasp and ignited. This time it was bright and controlled. Darth Lascerus likewise took out two sabers on his hilt. Both beams glowed bloody red. An aura surrounded Xisha giving her body a shimmering silver glow. Darth Lascerus could sense her control over the force increase to far more than he expected from her. However he wasn't worried, her power might be unpredictable, but Xisha was no soldier. He lunged first to try and catch her off guard, but she countered his attacks elegantly. Her form was pristine, but his strength still pushed her back. He continued to bombard her with rage fueled swings. It took all of her energy to stay on her feet and parry. She finally caught a flaw and swung what she thought would be a finishing blow. This attempt only managed to cause a minor wound to his left shoulder instead of straight through his chest as Xisha had intended. Darth Lascerus quickly flew back with a grunt and examined his shoulder at a glance. His eyes turned back to Xisha.

 

"Enough!" He commanded and extended his hand.

 

An overwhelming force pushed Xisha back slamming her into the wall. Lord Krull had been nothing compared to Lascerus. Even with the power from the crystal it would take a skilled fighter wielding the weapon to take down this monster. Xisha tried to regain her stance as she stood up from the wall. She lunged forward to close the distance between her and Lascerus, but as she attacked his appearance vanished from her sight. Xisha was confused for a second as she tried to find him. Lascerus's forearm wrapped around her neck from behind as he pulled her to his chest cutting off her air flow. Xisha had been completely caught off guard. She gasped as her hands quickly came up and scratched at his arm. In the mayhem she had dropped the saber. The light turned off and the hilt rolled far away to the entrance of the room. 

 

"You have already cost me enough precious time, this is over."

 

Xisha heard Lascerus's words, but all she could concentrate on was Djara's energy. If she was about to die she would at least let her mind in her final moments be on him. 

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