Author's Note: I do not own KOTOR or any of its affiliates...not yet, at least. I don't even own the title rights to Remnants, but it was such a cool title that I had to steal it. And to my numerous beta-readers out there ― thanks!
The dark stain covered the worn vibroblade, its unsightly crimson marring the weapon's elegant silver surface. Zaalbar had tried many times to wash it off, but the obstinate stain refused to go away, acting to the Wookiee as a constant reminder of the ugly truth.
Mission Vao was dead.
It had been several years ago when the young Twi'lek had given the blade to Zaalbar ― before the adventure, before the conflict, before the destruction of Taris. "This is for you, Big Z," Mission had said with a cheerful smile. "Keep it as a reminder that we'll always be friends." How ironic then, Zaalbar thought as he glanced down at the tainted blade, that this had been the weapon to kill her.
Why had he done it? Zaalbar's despondent mind struggled to answer the question. Mission had been his only friend, and he had killed her. Had it been an act of rage? Wookiees were prone to violent outbreaks, but that didn't near justify his action. Had he attacked the wrong person? Clearing his mind of his emotions, the Wookiee struggled to remember. Of course, it had been the life-debt, Zaalbar realized, and his heart sank. He had kept his honor, but lost his friend.
It wasn't as if he hadn't broken Wookiee customs before, though ― if he hadn't attacked his brother with his claws, he would never have been banished from Rwookrrorro, ended up on Taris, met Mission, or ended up in this whole mess. But why couldn't he bring himself to act against tradition, especially in so desperate of a situation?
Zaalbar hissed as he recalled that name ― the name that belonged to the man he had once so respected, but now detested with every ounce of hate he could muster. He had once been happy to owe this man a life-debt, but now the debt was a curse, lurking over his shoulder for the rest of his days. Because of this man, he had lost Mission. Because of this man, he had lost his soul.
With a terrible roar of fury, Zaalbar picked up the battle-weary weapon and dashed it against the wall of the Ebon Hawk with all his might. There was a sharp twang, and the blade shattered into a dozen pieces, landing on the ground with several resounding clangs. The Wookiee stood silently for a few seconds longer before scooping the fragments into his arms, almost tenderly. Tears obscured his vision as he glanced down at the broken weapon, the last remains of his beloved friend.
For the first and last time in his life, Zaalbar cried.