-- Chapter 7: Conflicts of death --
"Ha! And then she jumped up on the table and started dancing in the middle of the room, with a bunch of officers and the rest of the girls joined her! You should have seen the Admirals' faces!"
The exhilarant gang of workers were walking back to the barracks, some of them slightly tipsy. Nick grinned at Sarina who had a slightly foolish look of pride on her face as she stumbled into is waiting arms. "Oh, Nick!" She breathed; "it was so outrageous! The old fogies didn't even know what hit them!"
Nick laughed and grinned at Sarina, "well one look at your body and I'd—Oomph!"
"I may be drunk, Nick but not that drunk!" Sarina slugged him in the gut and ended up sprawling when her supporting escort fell also.
Sam laughed at the entangled pair; "I think we'll leave you two love birds to get home safely. Sally here's barely walking."
Nick nodded, his mind on other things like the beautiful woman in front of him, smiling coyly at him. "Yeah go ahead Sam; I've got some stuff I need to talk over with Sarina."
Sarina waited until the other two had gone before she smiled at Nick, "I want to hear about these plans of yours, Nick."
Nick looked a little surprised but excited nevertheless; "really? Well I'm sure we can work something out, Sarina…"
They leaned into each other, kissing deeply as they locked into an embrace somehow managing to find their way back to Sarina's quarters and to her bed.
Sarina fumbled with the door-lock on her bed stand as Nick removed her top and she grasped his belt with one hand, letting his pants drop to the floor.
"I love you Sarina," Nick breathed hoarsely as he stared into her eyes hungrily.
"I love you too…" She breathed and that was her last coherent thought as they fell onto her bed.
"Kreia… Or should I call you master?" There was a pause and a teasing, taunting smile; "For old times sake?"
"I believe you surpassed me long ago, Revan." Kreia did not turn around as she spoke out loud to the presence who had suddenly revealed herself both physically and through the Force, letting her aura be felt.
"I've grown stronger yes. And more wise, powerful, all those things you could or might call me, I have become them and more."
Kreia smiled at the statement from the refuge of her cloak; "that you have, Revan… indeed. Interesting that you should take it upon yourself too visit an old decrypt woman such as I."
Revan laughed shortly, the humour hard in her laughter, "decrypt and old? Well I'll give you the oldness," Revan said as she swung her lightsaber, its black crystal casting an eerie shade of light, "but I won't give you decrypted, old master!"
Kreia turned and met Revan's attack with her own lightsaber, its red blade meeting the black blade.
"You lose your touch, Master …Kreia." Revan smiled, but it did not reach her eyes as she pulled out another lightsaber and had it at Kreia's throat before the old woman could react.
Kreia's eyes narrowed as she flung out a hand calling several lightsabers lying around the room, activating them as she controlled them with the Force but Revan was not surprised as she hissed in the old Sith language, calling on her own defence of the Force to protect herself.
Revan shouted and power blazed from her eyes and her body in full, black and blue lightening striking every lightsaber and fusing the internal controls within them.
Revan whirled and jumped into the air coming down behind Kreia, her lightsabers criss-crossed in the shape of an 'X' and a third double-bladed lightsaber point at her throat.
"I think is where you surrender, old woman." Revan hissed in Kreia's ear and was rewarded with a raspy nervous chuckle.
"I think so, Revan. I yield to your power and you."
Revan deactivated her lightsabers and clipped the two single lightsabers back to her belt and called the third floating lightsaber to her hand, but did not clip it to her belt, merely deactivating the cyan blade.
Kreia inspected her ruined lightsabers and arched an eyebrow at Revan, "that was the Old Sith language you used. The purest form of the language… even I did not understand what you said."
Revan shook her head in answer to the unasked question. "No, I'm not teaching you. You have already fallen far enough and learning that would not help you at all."
"Then what are you here for, Revan? What can I possibly give you now or have you come to kill me?" Kreia asked bitterly, her feelings quite clear too Revan.
Revan smiled and this time it was genuine. "Now that's part of my old Master who I remember, Kreia." She paused and looked off into the distance as memories of Kreia ran through her mind when she was a child and Revan looked hard at the old woman who stood before her now.
She was by all rights a Sith Lord. Revan should kill her now and end any more possible suffering before it could happen. "No," Revan said at some length. "I will not kill you but your husband will die before the night is over; that I can guarantee for certain, Kreia. That I can…"
Kreia laughed harshly, "You came here to tell me that you are finally going to kill that fool of my husband, Jonas? Please then, kill him and be done with it."
"I want you to teach again, Kreia." Revan continued ignoring the sudden silence of the woman. "I believe you know of Sarina Torneth, exiled during the Mandalorian Wars?"
"I know of the Exile yes," Kreia answered slowly, "and what would you have me do with the Exile? Kill her?"
"Teach her as you taught me, Kreia." Revan answered, fully aware of Kreia's bloodlust to kill. "I have need of Sarina in the future and I have foreseen events that even I can not stop."
"If you can not stop these events, then we should all be afraid, Revan." Kreia was suddenly very calm and truthful for once as she removed her hood to look at Revan with her milky blind eyes.
"Train Sarina and we should have less to fear, if all succeeds as planned, Kreia."
Revan was cold and the darkness seemed to gravitate to her now as she stared down the Sith Lord, "this time, it's more than just a war of cultures. It's the life of every one and yours, the galaxy at stake and I intend to stop it from happening."
"Then I will train this Exile, Revan. But now we should meet my husband and his friend he has brought." Kreia smiled, "you do know this friend of his do you not?"
Revan stared at Kettrag and Jonas coldly. "I knew him a long time ago as a child, the man and machine I see before now are two different beings."
Jonas smiled, "Niece, I fear it has been a long time since my weapon has fed on your blood."
Revan's face turned feral, "do not worry Uncle. Your blades will no longer thirst for me, after I am finished with you."
Revan and Jonas meet in the middle of the cavern, their lightsabers striking blow after blow, neither drawing blood, or letting their guard down as the hours wore on. Finally Revan struck with sudden speed, whirling from side to side and suddenly disappearing within the Force and the cavern around them as Jonas stared around him in fear.
"Kreia help me find the Jedi bitch!" He shouted at his wife who shrugged.
"You are a Sith Lord, Jonas… kill your niece or die; you are of no concern to me. Deal with Revan or kill yourself - weakling."
Sarina sat up suddenly in her sleep, wide awake and breathing hard. She was panting and she had no idea why as she glanced around her room looking for the source of dread that had woken her up, it was hours after Nick had left her room for his shift.
"Hey, Sarina! You okay in there?" Someone was hammering on her door and yelling her name. She shook her head in confusion slightly, trying to clear it.
"Sam get the torch, we're going to have cut our way in. And HURRY!"
Sarina tried to climb out of her bed, but the world lurched beneath her and she ended up falling out of bed and onto the cold hard surface.
She cried out instinctively as she bashed her head on the durasteel bed-table besides the bed and slipped to the floor, blood trickling from the small cut on her forehead.
"Sarina!" Nick was through the door before the Sam had even cooled the edges off and at her side in an instant. He cradled her in his arms as he called for a medic.
But this was all very distant to Sarina. She was floating in a sense of something greater than what she had imagined for ages. Almost like she was connected with the Force again…
She turned her head to the insistent shouting voice and the body holding her up. "Oh Nick," She smiled as he stopped shouting and looked at her with fear in his eyes.
"Sarina, listen to me, don't close your eyes, you can't fall asleep, okay?" Nick was beside himself in worry as she started to grow fainter and fainter.
She smiled haltingly at him and whispered words so soft and quiet he could barely hear them. "It's so beautiful, Nick… so beautiful…"
Revan walked up behind Jonas as he screamed threats and curses at her and raised her black blade and held its pommel to his back. "Uncle…" She whispered suddenly uncloaking herself from the Force, "I wish you dead."
Jonas swung his lightsaber over his shoulder to kill Revan, but she swung away from him and jumped landing in front of him, the other lightsaber flying into her left hand as she brought her right hand up landing in a crouch.
Her left hand swept upwards and met with her right blade as it passed down slicing the man in front of her under his left arm and through his head shattering his upper blow with the single doubled blow.
"Well met, Uncle." Revan whispered, "Well met." She turned to Kettrag who was staring at her with awe, fear and loathing. She clipped her lightsabers back to her belt, seemingly defenceless before the one she had once called friend as a child.
"So who are you now?" Revan called out in a clear voice as Kettrag advanced on her, her expression calm and at peace.
"I am who I was always an, Kettrag nothing more, nothing less… Revan Coven.
"Really?" Revan's eyes seem to dance in amusement as she laughed shortly, "well I remember, a little boy who was much like you differently in so many ways, his name was Kett." She glanced sharply at Kettrag, "now isn't that a very familiar name?"
Kettrag shuddered as something passes through him; "Stop your lies, you whoring Jedi bitch! I will hear none of it!"
Revan shook her head as she came within a hairsbreadth of him, "No, no more games, you're not Kettrag, not Trag… you're that little boy I knew as a child, Kett and maybe the years robbed you of that, but I know and you know deep down inside of you that the boy still lives."
"I am not Kett. I am Kettrag and I have always been…" Kettrag suddenly found he couldn't say the name anymore. His name, he could suddenly not speak now, as he stared at Revan, a low growl rising in his throat.
"What have you done to me?" He asked, more demanded at length as she simply stared at him, her glance curious.
"I'm remembering Kett as I knew him; what are you remembering?" She asked quietly as she stared into his eyes with tears brimming in them.
Kettrag thought back over the years, as he was a child; taught in the Mandalorian encampment, tortured by Jonas and then refitted with droid parts, giving him new abilities, but allowing Jonas to control him.
Trag was loyal to Jonas. Kett was loyal to no one expect his friends and family. His family was dead, his friend from the past of his childhood memories stood before him now, never demanding nor begging. Merely asking him what he was thinking.
What did this all mean? What was he suppose to do now? Don the mantle of an apprentice seeking revenge for his slain master or become a freed slave and leave?
While he was thinking about all of this, Trag decided too come alive and seize control. Kett was suddenly angry; Trag and he had co-existed peacefully for years, ever since they were meshed together, working as one to comply with Jonas' wishes.
"You are not my master!"
"You will kill her if you want to live, Kett."
"I will never kill Revan for you! I loved her as a sister, I won't do it!"
"I will do it, Master. I will kill this Revan that you speak of. Kett is merely afraid, but I can kill her.
"Well done Trag. Do that and I shall work on a way to rid you of Kett's fear and make you the one in charge of him, giving you more power than you could wish for."
"Thank you Master. I will succeed." The left eye glowed red as Trag grinned in pleasure, the left side of his face smiled, the right unmoving.
Memories flooded into Kett's mind as he screamed and Trag attacked control, attacking Revan with all his power and Kett's as well. Where Kett could control the force, Trag controlled his body and used his droid strength to wear Revan down.
But she was not fighting them, she believed in Kett. That the child she knew wasn't dead; that he would rise up and help her.
Kett couldn't destroy Trag without killing himself, and Revan was weakening. She had fought many battles before this, both through sheer physical effort and mentally, she was starting to wan before his eyes.
Revan wasn't invincible. She wasn't an outlet that the Force could use forever and she was going to die.
Suddenly Kett saw through her with the Force, she was with child and she was trying to save him!
"No…" Kett suddenly spoke, realizing what would happen. "You can't die, Revan," he said as he approached the woman who tripped onto the ground lying stunned at his feet.
He looked at her, and sadness from his right side of his face spoke to her. And suddenly she realized what her Uncle had done to Kett. Kett was trained as a Mandalorian and a Jedi. Her Uncle had then broken him through torture and pain, meshing him with parts of a droid.
The part that was Trag was so fully intergraded with Kett that he was the life-core of this being.
She couldn't destroy one or the other. It was both who would die.
"Do it, Revan." Kett whispered, as Trag picked her up life a rag doll to throw her over the edge of the abyss that travelled on and on.
"You must kill me!" Kett screamed as Trag shook Revan harder.
"DO IT NOW!"
Revan nodded, tears running down her face as she called Jonas' lightsaber from his corpse the blade flying into Kettrag's back, slicing upwards through the brain.
Revan dropped to the ground and rolled away from Kett and Trag quickly. She lay on the ground panting for a moment before she regained her composition and stood up, limping over to Kett's side.
The blade has unwittingly sliced through the left side of Kett's face and back, destroying the droid meshed into Kett. He smiled brokenly up at her, his right side moving the left dead and lifeless; "thank you, Revi."
"No…" Revan whispered, "you must live, Kett, you must live for me."
"Can't you silly duckling, I'm going to go and play in the Force now."
Revan smiled at Kett's childish statement as tears dripped onto his face. "Youwherealwaysthefool, Kett."
"I love you clan-sister…" Kett whispered back as he disappeared into the Force.
"And I love you clan-brother." She replied in the formal reply of the Mandalorians.
Revan stayed on her knees, her head bent, the black cloak pooling around her like blood. Her grief was sent into the Force, spreading across the galaxy as she cried in denial of her lost friend.
Revan worked deftly, controlling her feelings, but not before one woman in the entire galaxy called out to her.
"Revan! Don't do this, let me… us help you!" Bastila Shan Ordo's voice floated to Revan as she reached for the bond that connected her and Bastila together.
"I've lost so much already, I won't destroy a family I have now. Stay strong and keep safe, teach the new Jedi what you know… you'll need it one day." And then Revan closed the bond that connected them, ignoring Bastila's cry and stood up and looked at Kreia.
"The Ebon Hawk and droids' in it are yours, old woman. Thy will help you as long as you help the Exile. Deviate form that course and you shall find your life is not worth living."
"As you wish, Master." Kreia answered and bowed her head as Revan past her but stopped at the entrance of the cave and spoke softly.
"I know you will betray the Exile and corrupt many before you are done, Kreia. I will not interfere or try to stop you. The price you pay is more than enough when it will come time to bear it."
Revan left the cave as Kreia walked towards the distinctive shape of the Ebon Hawk. She found one droid, T3-M4 waiting for her and the other droid was no where to be found, but Kreia knew that Revan's trusted red assassination droid was on the ship.
Miles away, Sarina was being loaded onto the Harbinger for better medical care. Nick watched her go, his sadness a weight on his chest.
Now he would probably never see her again, that she was being transported way for better medical care. A small tear slid down his face, he had loved her… marry her even, but not that would not happen.
"Goodbye… Sarina." He whispered, "I love you."
It was the last thing he ever whispered as a grey droid appeared out of nowhere and raised its rifle, sighting alongside down its barrel.
There was a single short burst of fire and then Nick dropped to the deck, dead as he could ever be.
"Enjoyment: Sweet dreams, grieving meatbag." The HK-50 stepped around the body, stepping on the hand that had once been alive, only several minutes ago, back to the ship; it would not do to be stuck on this worthless base now that the Exile was coming back into known space.
The word was whispered throughout the galaxy. A Jedi was returning to known space. The bounty on the Exile rose, she was coming back to known space. Fresh game for the kill and hunt; the bounty hunters sharped thier tools and weapons. After all, what was one Jedi to them?
She'd go down like the rest of the Jedi.
Revan smiled in the darkness of her modified shuttle, "soon Sarina, we'll meet in sometime, soon and then destroy this darkness."
Finally, Following the Footsteps is finished! Thank you to all of the readers and reviewers who looked over at this story. Here's to hoping you enjoyed it, even if I did take a long time to finish it.