THE CRIMSON BLIGHT
Episode 0: Prologues
Eight years before the treaty of Coruscant.
KORRIBAN: SITH ACADEMY
In the dead of night, on the savage red world of Korriban, a young sith acolyte was suddenly yanked from her sleep by an intensive jolt of pain. She instantly sat up in her bed, dripping with sweat as she tried to make sense of the pain she felt. She tried to control her breath while clearly feeling the adrenaline racing through her body. As she managing to calm herself and wiped the sweat from her horn protruding forehead, the zabrak's bright green eyes were discernable in nearly black room, in contrast to the tattooed red skinned face and maroon hair. She was tall for her seventeen years, muscular and hardened by countless hours of intensive training, which she had spent with the goal of becoming a sith warrior in the imperial forces.
"Was it just a dream? A nightmare! No... not a nightmare" as Briza thought this to herself, she suddenly felt a second jolt of pain. But it wasn't her pain... it was her brother's "TERROW!" she shouted inside herself, with the realization. She quickly blazed out of her room, and sprinted down the dimly lit corridor. She ren as fast as she could while trying to make as little noise as possible - a balancing feat few acolytes on the planet could compete with.
On a torture bench meant for prisoners, located on the first floor of the academy, an orange skinned twelve year old zabrak found himself strap tightly down. A blond haired thin looking human leaned over and whispered maliciously into the bound zabrak's ear. "Swear you will be my slave, or do you really wish for further suffering?!"
"I will never be your slave!". Terrow retorted angrily, despite knowing full well, that he was completely at the mercy of this sadistic mad acolyte.
"You are not making it easy for yourself" the blond human uttered with a fake sad expression. A sinister smile slid over his face, as he shocked the strapped zabrak with bursts of force lightning.
Terrow's screams from the unbearable pain reverberated between the sterile walls. He spasmed violently, as he was shocked over and over. The flashes of lightning lit the otherwise dark and gloomy torture chamber and revealed the congealed stains of blood sowed across the floor.
The human relented for a moment, and uttered a cruel remark with glee in his voice "I will continue to torture you until you accept my claim over you"
At this point, Terrow knew he would most likely die. But of all the acolytes on the academy, this human freak was last living being he would give-in to. "Never... to you" he stated and resigned himself to his fate.
The blond human was becoming livid. Frustrated over his failure to force the zabrak to submit to his will, he spat out in rage"VERY WELL! Then you will die". As he was about to end the life before him, an invisible hand suddenly grabbed him around his throat and forced him up in the air. Fear overwhelmed him as he desperately tried to get free of the mental iron grip.
"No one hurts my BROTHER!" Briza snarled with venom dripping from her voice, as she tightened her grip.
The blond human was smashed into a metal cage and slammed down onto the tool table he had recently used himself. With some of the torture equipment now burrowed in his flesh and rest scattered around him, he would have screamed if it was not for the complete lack of air in his lungs. Now lying helplessly in a pull of acid spreading on the ground, he resembled a doll without any strings to hold him op.
Briza wanted so dearly to kill the wretched human and paint him all over the walls of the academy to show what happens when morons tries to threaten her family, but this one was chosen by a high lord for reasons unknown to her. "If you ever come near my brother again! I will kill you!" she exclaimed, her voice dripping with hate.
The human barely managed to find the strength to nod in acknowledgement.
Briza turned to her younger brother and with a quick wave of her hand the locking mechanism in the torture bench sprang open. She lifted the barely living sibling up in her arms, "Come Terrow, let's get you fixed up" she muttered in a soft voice, with the smell of freshly burned flesh still in her nostrils, she carried him gently to the infirmary.
CORUSCANT: JEDI TEMPLE
In the training chambers of the temple, a little thirteen year old beige zabrak girl, with light brown hair and emerald green eyes, was practising her saber sequences.
The doors slid open as a silver plated protocol droid entered the chamber. The droid began speaking to her in its usual polite synthetic voice "I am sorry to disturb you mistress Tikala, but Master Buz would like to speak with you as soon as possible. He is waiting for you in the gardens of remembrance."
"Thank you J-three, I will go talk to him at once" Tikala replied in a soft but serious tone as she turned her training saber off. Placing it on the weaponsstand, she ventured out to the gardens where her summoner was waiting.
The gardens of remembrance were an Atrium with an elongated field of grass surrounded by lush trees and bushes. Over by the rock formation that made up the artificial waterfall, sat a Kel Dorian Jedi Master cross legged on the soft green grass meditate next to a number of status commemorating the great jedi's of old. He rose when he sensed the initiate's arrival.
"You wanted to see me master?" Tikala asked politely, when she was within hearing distance.
The Kel Dorian master smiled as he turned to look at the youngling behind him "Initiate Tikala, thank you for seeing me, I hope your training is going well"
Tikala nodded with a smile of her own "I'm practicing everyday. I'm learning how to absorb small amounts kinetic energy"
"Good, very good. You are showing promising, young jedi" Buz commended. In reality, those words were an understatement. She was several years ahead of most of the other Initiates. With speed she took the various techniques to heart. She was force attuned as had never been seen before in such a young Jedi. It was never a question of if she would be chosen by a jedi master... but rather who.
Tikala smiled at the compliment. Then she felt something else, something more important, on his mind "Master... I sense you did not send for me to speak about my training"
"Indeed, you are right young one" Buz confirmed with a complimenting look. He continued in a more serious tone "It's about your brother"
"My brother?" Tikala echoed in surprise. She knew she had a brother, but she only had a faint memories of her sibling.
"The council have decided to train your older brother as a jedi" Buz informed in a deep and serious tone.
Tikala didn't know how to feel or think, she thought the master's words over before uttering "Why? Why was he not trained alongside me?"
Buz was not completely sure how much he should reveal, but the truth seemed the wiser choice "In the past, we deemed your brother too impulsive and headstrong to train," Buz paused before continuing, "But the war with the sith have necessitated a change in perspective and the council feels that if he is able to learn the ways of the force half as quickly as you, it would be worth the risk"
Tikala was still a bit perplexed by it all. A part of her really wanted to meet this brother of hers, but the other... Everyone in the jedi temple was family and she didn't want to think of one as more special than the others.
"I felt you should know that he will be joining us in a couple of weeks, to learn and train among us" Buz explained and crossed his legged as he sat down upon the grass. With a wave of his hand, he invited the Initiate to sit beside him.
Tikala accepted the invitation. For a long moment they both meditated, surrounded by the cascading sounds of the artificial waterfall gently splashing against the rocks below. Tikala opened her eyes a little to look upon a small area of beautiful yellow flowers. They had a powerful, but pleasant smell, "it is so peaceful here, you can almost forget that we are at war with a brutal empire" she thought to herself as she closed her eyes again to reenter the calming meditation.
KORRIBAN: SITH ACADEMY
Terrow woke to find a bright light shining sharply down from the operation lamp above him. At first his vision seemed to fail him, but after a short while, he regained enough to notice his surrounding. They were all too familiar. He lay on a bed in the medical bay, with tubes and equipment hanging on the wall for ease of use.
He had been critically wounded so many times it was becoming the norm for him. In the last month alone; his legs had been crushed in an exercise, the week before he had been buried alive out in Korriban's desert, with only his head above the sand and no water. Three days went by before his older sister found him.
It was because of his accursed lack of force talent while still being a force sensitive. He had been forced into the academy to be trained as a sith acolyte. But he was weak, and because he was weak... he was a target for everyone who was not as weak as him. He was the plaything, the punching bag, the one everyone could test their dark powers on.
Had it not been for his older sister, who unlike him was strong and gifted in the ways of the force, stubbornly protecting him, he would have been tortured and killed in so many unfathomable ways, he did not dare to think of the horrors he would have faced.
He was alive thanks to Briza. Ever since he arrived on this nightmare planet, she had been there to make sure he was as safe as possible. Even some of his sister's 'allies' had been somewhat protective of him or rather not refraining from using him as a toy. Thereby making others think he was worth taking note of.
But when she was not around, he had to hide. He had been cunning enough to stay out of sight for the most part, but when he was forced to attend their daily lessons, it was a different story. They were the single most vulnerable times of the day and the penalty for not showing up could be very painful. Being late, either meant hard manual labor or being the one to feel, on his own body, what they had been taught the same day.
But lately, some of the more attuned acolytes had had fun in tracking him down. Last night, they had changed from simple bullies, to sadistic tyrants.
He had been wandered through the gloomy corridors of the academy. As he was nearing some of the training chambers, he had gotten the distinct feeling that someone was following him. Terrow had turned his head slightly to look behind him. Someone was indeed following him, and something told him, they intended himharm. He began to walk faster and faster, adrenalin rushed through him, readying himself as shadowy figures surrounded him. "What! Are they really so many around me or are they using mind infusing technics!?"
To say that Terrow was afraid, was an understatement, he was terrified. But suddenly they all disappeared. He noticed a single hooded figure disappearing out of sight down the hallway. The reason revealed itself a moment later, when his Sister stepped out of the shadows.
"Good to see you have recovered" Briza smiled as she walked toward him.
Terrow's relief threatened to overwhelming him. He tried to force a smile of his own "Briza… I" he took a deep breath before continuing "I need your help"
A bit later inside Briza's quarters. Briza had unfolded two foldable chairs, with a small table in between them.
It was Terrow who broke the silence "Last night... I was on the verge of breaking... I can't protect myself... I could never become a sith lord... I doubt the force will ever be unlocked in me. What small talent I possess is not enough" he shuttered in an ominous voice. "I know there isn't long before you will fight in the tournament. You will likely be chosen and leave the academy for good" his eyes became teary as he spoke "I beg you sister, help me escape!"
Her gaze turned hard as stone and when she spoke her words was as cold and sharp as ice "That's treason! You would be killed if you tried to leave! And if you somehow managed to get off planet, they will hunt you until you are dead!"
"I am a dead man if I stay here!" Terrow replied with dread in his voice "My talents are not related to the force. I know I could better serve our empire elsewhere"
Briza didn't like where this was going,. She had always hoped his potential would surface one day, but when? And if at all? No matter what... time was running out.
"You can't protect me indefinitely. Even if you failed in the tournament on purpose, you would likely be questioned by your teachers for your poor performance" Terrow muttered in a low voice, hoping the wisdom of his words would resonate with his sister .
Some time went by, where none of them uttered a word. Briza sighed as she came to the same conclusion. "...What do you need brother?"
CORUSCANT: JEDI TEMPLE
A rendaran-class shuttle had just a moment earlier entered the atmosphere over the sprawling planetary wide city of coruscant and were in the process of landing on one of the many landing platforms in front of its destination. From the ship's viewport, the new arrivals were met by the golden pillars of the jedi temple shining in the light of the midday sun.
The shuttle's ramp lowered and two young tattooed male students, one a green eyed beige skinned zabrak with small horns protruding from his short brown hair. The other, a green skinned mirialan with middle length dark brown hair in pageboy style and a, according to his friends, stupid looking braid, descended from the ship. "Phwep! So this is the Jedi temple" the zabrak whistled mostly to himself, "This is going to be awesome! I can't wait until I have a lightsaber in hand... and beating a sith with it!" he exclaimed in excitement. "How about you Urr'Tar! Ready for some action?!"
"This place... is weird... everyone is flying around" Urr'Tar spoke in a stoned and very sluggish tone.
"Are you going to throw up?!" Mathorn asked, ready to move out of the way if the green guy should vomiting at any giving time.
"...maybe..." Urr'Tar replied unsure of what was going on in his mind.
A female rattataki jedi knight with orange eyes, no hair and Grayish-silver skin, moved to greet them, "Welcome to the jedi temple, My name is Reniuz Linzan, I hope you both had a pleasant voyage" she introduced herself in a soft and pleasant voice.
Mathorn looked up at the tall rattataki "Hi jedi lady, can I borrow your lightsaber for minute?"
"No my eager friend, but I can show you our training facilities. There you will be given a training saber for practising your skills." Reniuz admonished the youngling.
"Darn, worth a try tho" Mathorn cursed inside himself, "can I choose the color?" he asked on a whim.
"I'm hungry, what's for dinner?" Urr'Tar asked, still in the same drowsy tone.
"Well dinner is in two hours" Reniuz replied politely, "I don't remember the menu, tho" she quickly added seeing Urr'Tar's confused face, then turned to Mathorn again "most of our training sabers are yellow, but we have a few that are green or orange"
Mathorn shrugged, "Well, I choose orange"
"Please follow me, I will be your guide and show you around in our centuries old temple, your new home" Reniuz said with reverence.
The two newcomers followed the jedi inside the enormous temple.
In contrast to how new students usually behaved when they entered the magnificent temple, these two asked next to no questions on the tour. The zabrak seemed a bit impatient, something she hoped they could get rid off before long. The mirialan seemed... not to be there at all, even with her jedi sense, he just seemed to follow in the flesh, while his mind seemed elsewhere, like it didn't belonged on this plane of existence.
Reniuz stopped in front of an ornate wooden double door and turned to look at the newcomers "behind these doors is where you will study the force in all its aspects. Your fellow students are in the middle of their training session, would you like to meet them now?"
"Well... let's get it over with" Mathorn replied indifferently, like it didn't really matter one way or the other.
Urr'Tar looked up two seconds later, as if his reaction time was unbelievably slow "Okay" he just replied in that drowsy tone of his.
Reniuz smiled as she opened the doors to reveal the training chamber bathed in light flooding in from the three large windows in the far end of the room. Reniuz began introducing them to the crowd of students.
One of the first things Mathorn took note of was that all his fellow students was younger than him. They were different age groups, spanning from small children, to early teens.
A young human male came over and extended a hand to Mathorn "Welcome to the jedi temple, my name is Jonathan Baliss, what is your name?" he asked in a polite and civilised fashion.
Mathorn just ignored the outstretched hand and instead asked, just for the fun of it "Are you good at fighting?"
Jonathan didn't expect that reply to his question, so Reniuz replied instead, "Jonathan is one of the best jedi initiates in the class"
"Awesome! That means you are my rival!" stated Mathorn enthusiastically and patted the confused Jonathan on the shoulder. Looking back up at the jedi Rattataki he said "So where is my saber? I want too see how good the pipsqueak is!"
"I'm hungry, who are these people again?" Urr'Tar asked as the realization sank in.
Reniuz sighed heavily and thought to herself "I don't know what to do with these two. They are so... not of this place" on the surface however, she was calm and her voice was soft when she spoke "Patience, you will be giving one before the end of the day," she turned to Urr'Tar "And to answer your question, dinner will be served in one hour, but before that happens let me first show you to your new quarters" she suggested, and showed them out of the door.
Jonathan was still a bit perplexed, this zabrak was unlike anyone he had meet before. He felt so completely out of his element that he even forgot to say hello to the mirialan.
Reniuz showed them around the remainder of the temple and finished the tour by showing them their rooms.
At first Mathorn found it to be a step up from his previous home, right up until he jumped head first into his new bed, as he used to do, but while his old bed was soft, this one was not, "Och! What kind of a bed is this?!" he complained, and added further "how are people supposed to sleep on this... thing".
Reniuz had to suppress a laughter "The beds are built specifically for jedi. It makes sure you don't lose muscle mass while sleeping"
Urr'Tar lay down on the bed, "This is good bed... I sleep now"
"Firstly. Really! I don't think I could ever sleep on this. Secondly, weren't you hungry just a moment ago? And thirdly, go sleep in your own blasted bed!" Mathorn demanded as he started to push the sleepy mirialan out of the bed.
But Reniuz, using the force, caught Urr'Tar and slowly lifted him away from the bed "You may sleep in your own room if you wish, but I suggest you atleast have dinner first" she suggested in a soft but clear voice.
"I'm in the air, why am I in the air?" Urr'Tar questioned the logic of his being, "And now I'm not flying anymore" he mumbled, as he was sat down on his feet.
Mathorn grabbed a hold on the mirialan's shirt "Come on sleepy head! let's get something to eat. I'm starving" as he dragged him with him. They were stopped by Reinuz who stood in front of the door blocking the exit.
"Release him! If he wants to go, he can do so himself" she commanded with a firm and hard tone of voice.
"Yes-yes, whatever you say lady jedi" Mathorn muttered irritated and released his hold on the mirialan.
Reniuz satisfied continued, "Good. Now follow me to the cafeteria"
"Oh yes... fooood" Urr'Tar mumbled barely audible, as he followed suite.
The cafeteria was a large spacious room with high ceiling. In the middle was placed three very long green tables, which students of various race and age were gathered around. Others were waiting in line to receive their meal. Reniuz led Mathorn and Urr'Tar to the line's end, but let them enter before herself.
After a few minutes standing in line, Mathorn was given a tray. On it was a bowl of blue soup, some red wholegrain bread and some spiky looking green fruits. He sat down near some of the older students, as he looked around to better get a sense of the people surrounding him. He barely noticed Urr'Tar sitting right next to him.
Urr'Tar, who despite having spoken about being hungry, was not hungry after all when he looked into bowl of blue soup.
"May I sit opposite you?" a very young female zabrak asked Mathorn carefully.
"Suit yourself" Mathorn replied indifferently, but after a second glance, he noticed that the little zabrak girl looked oddly familiar.
"I... I don't know if you have been told" Tikala spook with an anxious voice. When he looked blankly at her, she gathered the necessary courage to finish the sentence "I'm your... sister"
Mathorn sat completely frozen for a moment as he stared directly into her eyes. They had similar emerald green eyes that was for sure. Then his facial expression darkened. He had previously learned that he had a little sister, who was chosen by the jedi at a very young age, while he was not! A part of him wanted nothing more than to get angry and tell her to get lost. But another part came to the conclusion that she after all was his little baby sister. He couldn't treat her like dirt, that would damage his image, besides she looked too cute to make fun off "well... hi sis. Long time... never seen before"
Tikala chuckled a bit, somewhat surprised by his humorous remark "hi brother, my name is Tikala Xastra"
"Mathorn is the name... well... add your own last name and it fits" he introduced in turn "Hey Urr'Tar, Say hi to my sister" he more or less demanded.
"Hi... you are not very tall" Urr'Tar stated mumbling in his usual drowsy tone.
"She is my little sister! Of course she not very tall" Mathorn replied with his usual sense of logic.
Tikala didn't really know how to respond at first, but simple truth seemed the easiest choice"...I will get taller ...eventually" she replied as a matter of fact.
"Yes... you'll be a big girl one day" Mathorn smiled. He would have patted her on the head, if he were able to reach across the wide table. Instead he turned toward Urr'Tar "Isn't my sister just the cutest?!"
"She looks clean enough" Urr'Tar mumbled, but this time with a smile of agreement painted on his face.
Tikala couldn't help but make a smile of her own. She was being flattened in a way she couldn't remember ever having tried before.
Then, out of the blue, Urr'Tar's head sank down and into the bowl with the remainder of his soup while snoring just loud enough, that everyone nearby looked over to see what just happened.
Mathorn cracked. He could barely sit up straight, when breathing became a serious problem. All while Tikala quickly force jumped over the table and helped the poor mirialan out of his warm soup. When Mathorn had finished laughing and Tikala, with the help of some of the other students, had cleaned the mirialan's face of the hot blue soup, Reniuz took over and carried Urr'Tar back to his new chambers and placed him on his bed.