Notes: My first star wars fic. Yay. I beg kindness and constructive criticism. I, personally, enjoyed the chapter save for the fight scene. I have always had trouble with those. But any opinions given would be greatly appreciated.
Title: Cries of the Suffering
Battle 00: Battle of Will
Bastila couldn't help the gasp as the small Republic ship broke from hyperspace. Darth Revan's flagship, the Mizra, was massive. It was vaguely claw-like, a soft curve running down its length. It was easily the size of any Republic cruiser and half that again. Tremendous turbolasers lazed on both sides, ever ready to defend their master. And though it radiated life through the Force, it seemed as nothing moved. None of the sleek and agile fighters that caused the Republic so much ire were present outside of the ship. In fact, the Mizra drifted alone in space. Revan was alone with no allies in rage to save him.
An arrogant smirk played over her lips before she crushed it. Darth Revan may have been alone, but he was still capable of crushing legions with something akin to ease. She remembered the generous and kind knight before the Mandalorian Wars. At the age of twenty he was handsome and charming. His black hair shined with a light of its own as did his mischievous green eyes. He was small and rather unimpressive looking but had a dangerous strength and cunning to him. His skin was always pale no matter how much time he had spent in the sun. Malak was a constant after the age of fifteen when the two met on within an enclave in the remote regions of the galaxy.
Malak and Revan were polar opposites, personality wise. Revan had a natural talent for being social and charming. Malak, on the other hand, had a quiet charm about him. He would speak when spoke to, but rarely ventured information to those he didn't know. He was a well mannered boy, as Jedi were taught to be. Revan, his closest friend, was different. His manners bordered rudeness. It was when he was polite that you need fear him. But whether mischievous or quiet, both were honorable, kind and generous. They oft went out of their way to help those around them. So it wasn't truly surprising that the two rushed to the aid of the innocent during the beginning of the War. It was, however, a complete surprise when the two reappeared as ruthless and cruel Lords of the Sith.
The young padawan looked up as a hand rested on her shoulder. An'ya Kuro, a knight accompanying them, stood above her, blue eyes looking down.
"Padawan Shan," her cultured voice sounded in the quiet ship. "We are ready to begin when you are." She paused, looking thoughtful as she brushed white hair from her face. "We must hurry, however. Darth Revan will surely discover out presence in mere moments."
Bastila nodded, "Of course, Knight Kuro."
Her grey eyes slowly drifted closed. As her mind centered itself within her, it expanded outward. She could see everything; feel everything within the field of space before her. Jacen Korr, far from a fresh from the academy Republic officer, was terrified. He had been in many battles but few against enemies as dangerous, or as known to him as Revan. Having fought along side him, he knew precisely what Revan was capable of. Mogra Doroturo, a Sith officer aboard the Mizra was confident in her soldiers. A Jedi to her right she didn't know was confused and scared but fighting to gain control of his emotions.
And then it she felt …him. His presence was the nearly same it was before his self imposed exile. It was as blinding as a sun and had once been warm and welcoming. It had always been burned brightly and few Force sensitive beings were able to ignore it. It enveloped him like a protective cloak. How it was dark and swirled about him fiercely, as if a storm captured in one small space. Warmth that once flowed so freely had been replaced by an icy feel that caused her to shiver. And all at once it turned and was focused solely on her. It caused her to flinch but she was determined not to lose her focus.
Malak stared coolly at the flagship that held his Master. Former Master, he corrected himself. A dark and cruel smile would have touched his lips had he still possessed them. His calloused hand touched the cool metal that made up his artificial jaw. The Republic was had just dropped from hyperspace before him and was battling his forces. He mentally frowned, noting they were doing better than he had expected. Not surprising, they concentrated on Revan's ship. It infuriated him that they were so confident they could beat him with so little. He had crushed some of the Mandalorian's most powerful fleets without his Master's assistance. He would NOT be ignored!
"Admiral," His mechanical voice called evenly. "It is time we begin."
A uniformed officer bowed submissively, fearing the ire of the powerful Sith Lord. "Of course, my Lord," he turned to a console near him. "Target the Disra. Destroy it."
The weapons officer looked confused momentarily. Why should he target Lord Revan's ship? "Sir? Is that wise?"
Malak's mechanical voice answered. "There is to be a change in leadership. Revan's methods are petty and foolish. He seems content to lose our loyal men for a plot he refuses to share with his Lords. Many Lords are dissatisfied with this." He turned his cruel brown eyes to the weapons officer. "Now do as commanded; or I shall replace you."
"Of course, Lord Malak," the fearful voice answered.
From the bridge he could see his Master's ship rumble from the impacts of his turbolasers. Satisfaction flooded him as he felt the panic and confusion within the Disra. With the number of ships firing upon it, even ships produced by the Star Forge held little hope of survival. Soon he would hold control of both the Star Forge and the Sith empire. An emotionless chuckle sounded with electronic reverberation.
The Mizra's bridge was a contrast to the rest of the ship. Bastila had experienced resistance all the way to the single lift that lead to the bridge. She had expected the largest bulk of Revan's forces here. Seven officers worked silently as if nothing were happening. Revan stood, his back to them, staring out the window before him. Over his shoulder, she could she the massive ship easily fending off the seven Republic cruisers. A frown marred her face. They had to act quickly or the fleet would be lost.
Several hissing snaps sounded from behind Revan as he calmly stared out the wind. His cold eyes fell on the Jedi who had made it to his location. A cold satisfaction as he gazed at An'ya and Bastila. Perfect. Feeling no need to hurry, he kept his hands locked behind his back as he turned to observe them. Three Jedi and four soldiers stood at the lift while An'ya, Bastila, and Arasak Kolib, a crimson Twi'lek, stood not more than five feet from him.
"You cannot win, Revan!" Bastila's confident voice echoed as he stared at her.
"Can't I?" He questioned. "You are hopelessly outnumbered and have fallen much to far into the abyss to hope you can escape alive.."
Bastila faltered only a moment before her glare regained its intensity. He hands twisted around the golden saberstaff in her hand. "You are alone. These men can't match the Force."
"Maybe they can't, Bastila." Revan sounded much too confident as he moved towards them. "But neither have you forgotten my power." He raised his hand slowly and the four Republic officer's began choking, clutching at their throats.
Bastila flinched at the panic and fear consuming her allies as they slowly died. In an attempt to save them, she leapt forward. Her attack was sloppy and easily defended by Revan. Rather than drawing a weapon, he simply leaned away from the blade, grabbing her wrist. With a simple gesture she was sent to the ground hard. She noticed the pain for only a second before jumping to her feet. A single red lightsaber was now clutched loosely in his right hand.
Arasak's blue blade connected with red as he pressed forward, hoping to open an attack for An'ya. His free hand flung upward hastily, the third Jedi was thrown backwards before close enough to strike. Kuro grunted as she hit the ground, her yellow saber snapping off. It was only a momentary distraction; however, as she was up with it ignited once more in an instant. An'ya and Arasak moved forward again, as one, to attack the Dark Lord while Bastila attempted to throw him off balance with a lowly aimed Force Push. It succeeded partially as he stumbled and blocked the yellow saber and was grazed by the blue.
Revan hissed angrily as he threw a blue and white bolt of electricity at Asarak. He was struck instantly as Bastila and An'ya's eyes widened in horror. An'ya moved first, striking at the Sith to defend her former Jedi Master. Bastila seized the moment, attacking Revan from behind as he dealt with the Jedi knight and master. Focusing on Revan, she attempted to once again throw off his balance, this time with the Malacia force power. A victorious smile tugged at her lips as he stumbled but regain his balance in an instant. Cold eyes turned away from the Jedi on the floor of the bridge to her. With more force than she had even felt before, Bastila was thrown into the window behind her. Her vision flashed black as unimaginable pain shot through her back.
The Talravin padawan shook her head as she raised herself to her knees, glancing through her mussed brown haired. An'ya was pulling her Master to his feet as the Sith Lord stood between them. Shan couldn't help but be surprised when his lightsaber's blade died and he returned it to its place. His tainted yellow eyes moved away from Bastila to An'ya. Bastila knew she was in no condition to assist and was prepared to warn the unaware Jedi when Revan spoke, calling Kuro by name.
"I bore of this encounter." His voice was smooth and soft as always, but cold. "An'ya, kill him."
Both Bastila and Master Kolib's eyes widened as a yellow saber found its way through her Master's heart. His blue eyes turned to his padawan, flashing his shock and betrayal at her, though she seemed unfazed by it. Bastila was frozen in place with fear and anger. She had trained with An'ya Kuro on occasion and had considered the older woman a friend! How could she betray them like this! Gritting her teeth and attempting to ignore the pain in her spine, she slowly stood, watching An'ya nearly reveal in Master Kolib's suffering. She was nearly within reach when his glove hand was pointed in her direction, freezing her movements.
"My lord," An'ya whispered silkily as she knelt before him.
"Wonderful," Bastila could hear the sadistic smile in his voice. "You will be rewarded well, my friend."
"An'ya," Bastila whispered, "Don't do this! You must resist him! Thousands will suffer if he is not defeated!"
"It is done already, Padawan." The Sith Lord's hands sliding behind his back once more, his posture relaxed and confident. "She has been mine for many, many months. How else would I know of this Jedi ploy, poorly thought out as it was? Though I cannot deny my hand in its creation."
Bastila was momentarily confused. How could he have helped to create it? It didn't matter however. He had to be defeated at any cost. Even if it meant her life. "You always were too arrogant for your own good, Revan. You created this? Pah!"
"But I did dear padawan." He sounded amused. "I am not without … agents; Republic, Jedi, or Sith."
"Sith?" Bastila couldn't help her curiosity.
"Indeed. Malak has been far too influential within the teachings of the Sith. They are disloyal and power hungry. They care only for themselves. These are not the teachings I originally brought them." He smiled an unseen smile. "And recently, those he influenced most have become… displeased with me. They have a shaky alliance built on greed, and plan to overthrow me."
"That is the way of the Dark Side," Bastila recited as from a book. "It leads only to hatred and betrayal."
Revan chuckled, for once in a very long time truly amused. "Maybe that is true. But the same could be said of the light. " Bastila gave a look that told him she thought he had been hit by one to many blows to the head. He smiled unseen once more. "Darkness is a friend, an ally. Darkness allows us to understand others, to see what they value when they think no one is looking." He paused looking down at the shorter Talravin. "It allows us to be honest with ourselves, to express those values we would disavow in the light. The light blinds us. It is only in the dark that we see clearly."
Bastila frowned, "Pretty speeches and empty words, nothing more."
"And the teachings of the Jedi are not?" Revan asked. "Peace and serenity, no emotions, uphold the law and protect the weak and innocent; and yet they do nothing. They allowed millions to died, because of their own fear. It is only because of me, dear padawan, that you are not a whore to a Mandalorian."
"And you have become what you fought, Sith!" she spat. "You conquer and murder! You hold no mercy for any but yourself."
"There is so much you have left to learn, padawan. I seek only to create a new Republic. But in order to create the new, the old must be destroyed. That is the way of life, of the Force."
"If that is your view, then it is you who have much to learn. The Force cares for all of her creations. It would never approve of the wanton destruction you have unleashed."
"Of course I have much to learn, Shan. We only cease to learn when he perish." His mask slid off as he pushed his hood back. Bastila was surprised at how little he had changed. His already pale flesh had paled further, becoming nearly white. His once beautiful black hair that shined with its own life was dull; though still clean. His green eyes had lost their life and humor; the amber flecks that signified his fall ever present but not all consuming yet. The rest of his body was hid beneath the armored robes he wore.
"Do you truly believe that what I say is false, Shan?" His eyes seemed genuinely curious, but her master said deception came as easily to sith as breathing. "Sentient beings with any amount of intelligence have the same failing. They complicate things with too much thought. We need only look at nature. The weak are devoured by the strong so they might survive."
"But we aren't beasts, Revan!" She argued. "We have intelligence and…"
"… Emotions," he finished for her, smiling happily. "And you have found the first flaw in the Jedi code, padawan." He waved to an armored soldier. "Take her to a cell and ensure she is unharmed and unspoiled."
"My Lord," the guard bowed obediently.
"Has Malak's gift arrived?"
"Within seconds, My Lord."
A cruel smile spread across his features. "Good. Open communications with him."
Malak turned from the display to watch the battle before him. It was greatly pleasing to see the Disra's shields burning bright from all the blaster fire. Soon, very soon he would be the Lord of the Sith. The injustices he suffered would soon be righted and he would be the Master. It was Revan's own fault, he mused. Weakness does not belong within the glorious Sith. The galaxy's future leaders needed to be strong and willing to do whatever it took to ensure loyalty.
But it would seem the Force was conspiring against him this evening. From behind the republic lines, four new cruisers dropped from hyperspace. Blasted fools, they were like roaches and rats! Crush one and a dozen more replaced it. It was no matter, however. The Star Forge's ships were far more capable and durable than those clunky remnants.
"Lord Malak?" a frightened young soldier beckoned. "There is an incoming call on a sith frequency."
Malaks eyes narrowed. "From who?"
"Unknown, sir. The ships call numbers don't match any listed." Malak would have grinded his teeth nervously while he pondered but, again, was unable. At least the fool of a Jedi who had done it was dead. It was a valuable lesson of overconfidence he had learned.
In an instant, the blue ethereal form of Revan was projected from the holocams. "Good evening, my Apprentice."
Malak managed an electronic growl. "Lord Revan."
Revan's smile twitched ever so slightly. "I am not so blind as you think, Malak. This … betrayal… of yours, it is foolish and ill prepared."
"It may be very much so, Revan, but I had not expected to act so soon."
"No, I don't expect you would. The temptation of ending numerous Jedi as well as my own life is far too much for you to pass up however."
"A pity, Malak, that you never learned the lesson of patience." Revan frowned disappointedly at his apprentice as Malak glared hatefully at him. "Your excitement has blinded you."
"Lord Malak, the Disra's shields have failed."
Malak glanced over his shoulder to the officer and back at his Master. Revan was always calm under pressure, but this was eerily so. As if…
"Indeed, Malak. The Disra is occupied by the soldiers you selected while I am safe aboard my grandest creation."
"Cease fire!" Malak ordered hastily. Too little too late, he thought. Even if they did, the ship was still doomed. "You cower while I fight your battles. I was right to betray you. You have grown weak."
"No, not weak. Cautious. Remember, Malak, that I have eyes everywhere." Revan looked temporarily saddened as he gazed at Malak. "I will admit that I am greatly saddened I must end our relationship this way, Malak. You deserved to die, at the very least, by my own hand."
"I am… honored… you think so." Though an emotionless voice, the sarcasm was evident.
"Yes, but upon looking at the accomplishments of this day, the sacrifice of personality was worth it. I will leave you know, with my final gift."
"Yes, my gift. I am sure you noticed the Republic ships by now." Malak looked out. He had indeed noticed their arrival. "Pay close attention to them. If I could not end it in person, I felt these relics would be at least a decent apology. Goodbye, Malak." The vision of Revan faded to nothing as the battle Raged on.
Malak did, in fact, concentrate on those ships. It infuriated him to see them. His ship during the Mandalorian wars, the Defiance, was presently firing upon the Disra. He remaining ships were ones he knew well. The Essence, Revan's own ship. The Narcissus and the Juvenile Orion were of little notice. The two had been crewed with now loyal sith before the discovery of the Star Forge, but little other was special.
"Order all ships to cease fire and retreat immediately."
"Where should I have them report to, My Lord?"
Malak thought momentarily. Where could he hide and regroup? Where would Revan not tread? "For now, we will gather at Cerea."
"So deep in the core?"
"Mm…" Malak turned and began to leave the bridge. "Revan will not look for us there. And with rumors of our… defection… the Republic may seek our assistance if they find us. It could be… advantageous … to our victory in the end."
"Thank you, young Knight." Dorak sighed tiredly, age showing in full bloom. "You are dismissed.
Vandar pursed his small green lips. "We all knew this was a risk, and we all knew of its minimal chances of success. And alas, while I had hoped otherwise, it would seem we have failed.
"Bastila, An'ya, and Arasak were strong, indeed," Vrook grunted. "But did we truly believe they would match Revan?"
"Revan will fall to the same failings of all sith." Atris said dismissively. "He will be betrayed from within. It was our hope that with our actions, Malak would have pulled Revan's attention too far away from our team to properly defend."
"While I do not disagree with your sentiments, my friend, I feel I must caution you." Nomi Sunrider looked to the echani Jedi. "Revan is a brilliant young man. One of my… our… best students."
Atris narrowed her eyes. "You sound as if you respect the sithspawn, Nomi."
"As we all should. Revan may have fallen to the dark side, but his power is not to be looked at as dismissive in any means. As a Jedi Consular, Revan's talents like in his words and his command of the Force, but his physical prowess is nothing to scoff at." A sad light took to the blue eyed master. "Since his fall, he has only become more dangerous."
"We all know the dangers Revan presents, but let us not think of this now." Vandar interrupted. "We must find a way to defeat him. Callous and unforgiving as it may seem, given his brutal tactics; even Malak is preferred to Revan."
"True, Master Vandar, too very true." Kavar sighed. "But how do you fight one who is seemingly invincible? It is… disheartening … to see our efforts so easily turned against us."
"Every man has his weakness, Kavar, Even Revan." Master Lonna Vash sighed. "Though I see you're point. Bastila and her Battle Meditation was the key to the Republic effort."
"Bastila was strong, no doubt," Vrook admitted. "But there was much she could have learned. She was too proud. Too headstrong. She was ambitious, as well. I do not deny the girl's strength, but perhaps it was a mistake to send her? She could easily be turned against us." Vrook stared as his fellow Masters looked on with dread.
"The threat is ever present, my friend." Kavar sighed. "But I feel you underestimate Bastila's strength and dedication to her training."
"Kavar has his point, but as does Vrook. I fear you may underestimate Revan, Kavar. A mistake many have fallen pray to. Even Masters have been swayed by his words. Even I have seen glimmers of wisdom in Revan's madness. We can only hope you are right, for now, and move forward."
"A new plan of action is require, but how do we proceed from here?"
"As we expected, rumors suggest Malak attempted to steal Revan's title. It would seem however, Revan expected as much. We are unsure of how either survived and where the two have disappeared, but perhaps this could be of use." Zez-Kai Ell suggested.
"How do you mean?"
"Who would know Revan and his tactics better than his closest friend and apprentice?" Zez-Kai slowly pondered. "Malak was, despite his strength, always a follower. He followed Revan to war and eventually down the darkened path. Perhaps without Revan's influence he could be swayed to return to us."
"Perhaps," Atris agreed, "but unlikely. Malak was always a stubborn fool, too slow to admit his mistakes. As was Revan. Too stubborn for their own good."
"Mm," Kavar murmured. "Perhaps, but let us not dwell on times past. It helps none. Let us retire for now, meditate, enjoy the peace of Dantooine, and return tomorrow with clearer minds, hopefully. Force knows we can all use the rest after this… tragedy."