Title: "A Time to Die"
Spoilers: Technically none, considering theses scenes never made it to the final game.
Summary: Atton, Mira, Mical and Visas confront Kreia in the Trayus Core in an effort to help the Exile
Author's Notes: As many out there know, a lot of material that was planned (and actually made) for TSL never made to the game that we all played. I'd sifted through several websites that contained scripts as well as audio files and one scene in particular involved your companions fighting Darth Traya (Kreia) before the Exile gets to her. Another involved Atton getting tortured and mortally wounded. So, I decided to put these two scenes together into this story and expand on it a little. Here's hoping KOTOR 3 (if there is one) gets more time to get done.
Thanks to Kelli, Candace and Alice for checking this out!
Atton Rand peered through his macrobinoculars for several long moments, his mind assessing the target on the other side of the crosshairs. Automatically, he thought through a whirlwind of possibilities and techniques on how to take down the Force user in his sights as quickly and as efficiently as possible. He blinked at his sudden train of thought and then mentally sighed.
How easily his old habits, honed from years as a Sith assassin, could come right back to him. Considering the number that had fallen before him, Revan herself had once considered Atton her best slayer of Jedi. Atton now idly wondered what Darth Revan would have thought if she'd known that he'd eventually use his training to try and take down her old Sith mentor.
He lowered his macrobinoculars and threw a question over his shoulder to the four people hovering over him.
"Okay...whose bright idea was this again?"
He, Mira, Visas Mar and the Disciple, Mical, all stood on the ledge of a cave overlooking the Trayus Core. Bao-Dur had originally decided to come with them, but had then decided to look for his remote, which had mysteriously ceased transmitting. Its mission was to reactivate the mass shadow generator and Bao-Dur had gone off to make sure the generator was ready.
Even from this far up, a lone, robed individual could be seen sitting in the very center of the Core, the four, encircling, talon-like towers rising high into the air.
"I believe," Visas ventured slowly, "we are all to blame for coming to the same conclusion: We all, in our own way, want to help the Exile."
"You got that right," Mira said, peering over the edge. "Has that witch done anything yet?"
"Nope," Atton said with a shake of his head. He raised the binoculars again to his eyes and snorted. "Kreia's just sitting there – meditating, I think."
"She must know we're here, especially those of us who are Jedi," Mical put in. "I am surprised we got here before the Exile."
"Probably because Kreia's got all her Sith goons going after Serena," Mira said with a shrug. "Maybe she's so focused, she doesn't notice us here." Mira checked her blaster and wrist-mounted rocket launcher, both fully armed. "I say we fire a rocket at her right now, and blow her screaming, burning body into the heart of the planet."
Atton couldn't suppress a grin at the very desirable mental image. He still wanted payback for what that bitch had done to him while they were imprisoned on Atris' secret academy on Telos. It still unnerved him at how easily Kreia had peeled away his mental defenses to get at his secrets. Due to such power, Atton knew enough that such a blunt approach would be useless. He stood up from the rocky ground and dusted himself off.
"It wouldn't work – if there were other distractions, maybe, if she wasn't telepathic, maybe. If you want to kill her like that, you need something else to occupy her attention; otherwise, you might just wound her. Then we'd all be in trouble."
"This battle will not be decided by weapons," Mical said.
The Miraluka's cowled head shook slightly. "You are wrong. Manipulation is Kreia's strength, not battle. We have a chance. We just have to figure out how to use it. Let us see what transpires...and plan our attack."
Atton glanced one more time down into the Core. "You all realize we may not survive this?"
They all exchanged knowing glances. None of them would have met had it not been for the Exile. None could deny that their lives would have been radically different if it had it not been for Serena Vos. Mical would have still languished away on Dantooine, cataloging dusty files and researching the history of the Jedi. Darth Nihilus would still have had an apprentice in Visas. Mira would still have mucked around in Nar Shadda going from one bounty to another.
As for Atton…He shook his head ruefully as he thought he'd probably still be stuck in that force cage back on Peragus. He and Mira had received some basic Force training from Serena, but not enough to be Jedi in their own right. Visas and Mical had good head start on them. The question was, would it be enough of an edge against Kreia? Visas was the first to speak up.
"My life for hers," was all she said, solemnly taking out her lightsaber.
The rest could say nothing else as they followed her towards the Core.
Yeah, Atton thought glumly, that about sums it up.
Kreia – now Darth Traya – sat quietly in the very center of the Trayus Core and meditated as she awaited the arrival of the Exile. Soon, very soon, all her efforts at finding a way to destroy the Force once and for all would come to fruition. She'd been so weary of all the destruction on both the Light and Dark sides these past few years, especially with the disastrous Jedi Civil War. Sith and Jedi always have, and always will, lose in any and all conflicts, but the Force would always be triumphant. Chaos would be forever sown across the galaxy. That was why Kreia loathed the Force: She abhorred the idea that the will of the Force manipulated all people into endless conflict simply to obtain 'balance.'
Her views had always been considered too 'fanatical' for either side. Misguided pawns would do their best to topple her. Sion and Nihilus had once defeated and cast her aside. A thrill of pure hatred ran through her being as she remembered the humiliations at the hands of her former apprentices. She shook it off. Nihilus was now dead and Sion had been bent to her will. How poetic.
As for those who fought on the side of the Light...
Kreia's cowl raised a fraction of an inch. A non-Jedi would not have heard the person slowly entering the Core, but the aura of the Force was unmistakable.
"We've come a long way, Kreia... don't bother getting up," a voice said behind her.
"Ah, the huntress," Kreia said in an indulgent tone. "To come alone... you are braver than I thought, Mira."
"She is not alone," Mical said to Kreia's left. "We stand with her. And with her, stand the Jedi." His blue lightsaber activated and he held it at a ready stance.
A new voice to her right now spoke: "You know you cannot win. The Force runs strong within you, Traya, but in the howling of a storm, it is difficult to hear the whisper of the blade." Visas' crimson saber pointed in her direction.
"And now I come in saying something suitably heroic," Atton Rand said, standing several feet away, directly in front of her, brandishing two blasters.
Lithely, Kreia stood up. "Children with lightsabers," she contemptuously said to both Visas and the Disciple. "But none of you are Jedi, yet." The Sith Lord slowly turned and faced each one of her opponents. "Come close, let me look upon you and see what the Exile's teaching has forged: An assassin…a blinded slave…a librarian playing soldier... and a fool. Which of you wishes to try yourselves against me?" She spread out her hands before her. "As you can see, I am unarmed."
"You have forever been the blind one," Visas said. "You were given a gift few are ever given, and yet you let your gift of sight warp you, tw – "
Kreia's hand suddenly shot out, incandescent lightning leaped forth and enveloped Atton, who writhed and screamed in agony.
Heedless of her own safety, Visas bounded towards the woman, her weapon arced to cleave Kreia in two. At the last moment, the old woman's other hand shot out and seized the Miraluka's wrist in a death grip. Atrophied eyes narrowing in wicked delight, Kreia twisted woman's wrist and, with astonishing strength, viciously rammed the saber into the younger woman's midsection.
Visas gasped more in surprise than in pain. Although blind, she could see in the Force her life energy spilling out from the grievous wound made by the saber. Dully, she looked up and could sense Kreia's eyes staring right at her.
Mical and Mira were both momentarily thunderstruck at the sheer quickness and ferocity of the attack. Mira yelled in fury as she raised her arm and took aim. The Disciple tried to envelop Kreia in a stasis field, but had it casually shrugged off by the older woman. Mical then whirled his lightsaber over his head and hurled it a half-second before Mira launched her rocket.
Sensing the impending attacks, Kreia tapped into the Force and time quickly slowed all around her. Ripping the crimson saber from the dying Miraluka, Kreia raised it just in time to parry Mical's thrown saber. Half a heartbeat later, she casually threw up her hand behind her. The explosive projectile flew to within a meter of her, stopped, turned, and raced back the way it came.
Mira gasped and threw herself to one side just as the rocket exploded. The concussive shockwave picked her bodily up and sent her flying over the edge of the Trayus platform.
Mical barely had time to listen to Mira's screams as she plummeted down into the stygian depths of the planet. His own lightsaber returned to his hand and he was dismayed to see that he was the only one still standing.
And only a few seconds had passed.
Kreia ceased her attack on Atton, who collapsed in a heap to the floor – smoking, but still alive. The body of Visas already lay at the Sith Lord's feet and the last echoes of Mira's shrieks had just faded. A thin tremor of dread went down the Disciple's back.
As if sensing the other's barely contained fright, Kreia smiled tightly. She did nothing for moments; the only sounds in the chamber those of a moaning Atton. She then raised her hand, the one holding Visas' lightsaber, palm up toward Mical. Without warning, it leapt from the hand and flew towards the man.
Mical raised his weapon to block the attack, but the saber suddenly reversed angles in mid-flight. He barely had time to adjust his own defense when the attacking saber drew back and made another assault…and then another…and then another. All he could do was block, parry and dodge the relentless attacks. Kreia's weapon acted as if it had a mind of its own. Sweat beaded on Mical's brow as he was pushed further back towards the edge of the platform. At the very edge, he lost his balance for a split second. The attacking lightsaber feinted…and then slashed down.
The Disciple screamed as something sizzling hot went through his wrist. He fell to his knees and caught sight of his lightsaber, his hand still holding it tightly, a few feet away. The floating red lightsaber pointed right at his head. Taking a shuddering breath, he closed his eyes. The weapon pulled back and came down.
Atton opened his eyes in time to see Mical's severed head and body fall over the side of the Core. He glanced desperately around. Visas lay dead right at Kreia's feet, and where Mira once stood, now a blackened scorch mark remained. He stretched out and grabbed his blasters, pointing them at Kreia, who did nothing but stare at him. Painfully, Atton got to his feet and slowly staggered out of the Core, one eye on the old woman.
Kreia simply watched him go, doing nothing to stop him. When he'd disappeared, she sensed another presence behind her.
"Dispose of that," she simply said, still staring at the doorway the fool had gone through.
Grey and cracked hands grabbed the dead Miraluka and took the body out of the Core.
Kreia shook her head once and sat back down.
"Fools," she said quietly, before returning to her meditations.
Atton ran down a corridor, panting and looking behind him every few steps. Besides the pain he still suffered from Kreia's attack, he felt flushed with shame at leaving the others.
Oh, and what could you have done? Challenge her to a game of Pazaak? a voice in his head chided him. Even you were never stupid enough to take down someone more powerful all by yourself. And Kreia took out all four of you. This way, you can at least try and find Serena and warn her.
Atton shook his head and looked around. He found he'd entered a large semi-darkened room with large stone pillars running right down the center. Before he could look around for an exit, the sound of boots started to echo behind him.
He whirled just as another of Kreia's little playthings entered the hall. He remembered this one back when he, Serena and Kreia had had to escape Peragus by going through a docked Republic cruiser. Kreia had taken on this Sith Lord and had somehow come back missing a hand. Atton idly wondered if history would repeat itself.
Darth Sion grabbed his lightsaber and ignited it. "And I get the fool," he said in that dry, dead, gravelly voice of his.
Atton screwed up his courage. "Funny, that's just what I was thinking." Instantly, both blasters whipped up and the immediate area filled with a fusillade of highly charged energy.
Sion's blade whipped and danced, deflecting every blaster bolt that came near. Atton then held down the triggers for a moment and aimed slightly lower. Two overloaded bolts flew and slammed into the stone ground right in front of Sion. Mortar and bits of blasted stone flew out and hit Sion, who staggered slightly from the unorthodox attack. Blackened blood oozed here and there from stone fragments embedded in his cracked and withered skin. Growling, he waved his hand.
Atton was about to let fly with another round when both blasters flew out of his hands. He tried reaching for them, but found his whole body immobile.
Sneering, Sion slowly walked over and sliced one of Atton's outstretched hands. Screaming and grunting in agony, the scoundrel collapsed to the floor. Atton pulled the blackened stump to his chest, shaking hard from the wound. Breathing hard, he looked over and was surprised to see Sion leaving the room. Serena had no chance if he met both Sion and Kreia at the same time.
"Running away?" he spat out weakly. "I'm not done with you yet."
Sion paused in his walk and deliberately turned around. "Nor I you." He raised his hand and Atton found himself levitated into the air. Sion continued, "I will remake you. So when I look upon you it shall be like a mirror. Then I shall let you die."
"There's... nothing worse you can do to me," Atton whispered. "Take your time." The longer he could occupy this son of a schutta, the more time Serena has to find him. He threw his head back and spit right in Sion's face.
The sound of a lightsaber igniting…as well as the subsequent screams and howls…resounded across the entire hall.
Minutes later, Atton collapsed into a bloody, smoking pile on the floor. His severed arm had been agony, but what Sion had done brought him right to the brink of death. The Sith Lord stood right over him, the hum of the lightsaber so close, Atton could smell the ozone.
He was about to use the last of his strength to taunt Sion to just finish him off when the back of his mind tingled with a familiar presence, outshining that of the creature standing right over him.
Sion must've sensed it as well since Atton felt and heard him abruptly walk away.
Breathing in short gasps, Atton opened his eyes and blearily looked across the hall to see Serena Vos squaring off with Sion. Even in the darkened room, he could see her golden lightsaber bathing her in shimmering light. Sion's red saber extended and crossed hers. Atton could only watch from where he lay as the two flew at each other, weapons flashing and crackling. Each hit of the sabers brought a false dawn to the entire area, framing the two combatants. Serena flew and ran here and there, the air crackling with energies thrown from one to the other. Force lighting, death fields, pushes and whirlwinds cracked and shattered the walls as well as the columns. Force screams set Atton's teeth on edge as dust and small debris fell from the ceiling. Even from where he lay, he could feel the floor tremble and quake from the amount of raw power released by the two opponents.
Atton tried to keep his eyes open, but found it very hard to breathe. Finally, his eyes fluttered shut as the titanic battle several yards away from him abruptly stopped.
Serena Vos breathed hard and clutched her side as she leaned against the cold, stone wall of the Trayus Academy.
Several feet away, Darth Sion, the Lord of Pain, had just collapsed to a heap on the floor, the last vestiges of his life fading away. It had taken all she had to fight the Sith Lord to a standstill. She'd known the battle could not have been won with force alone. While Sion had been weakened in the melee, Serena had been able to erode his will long enough to persuade him that Darth Traya really had no use for him. In the end, Sion had let go of the hatred and pain that had sustained him for so long.
She now needed to catch her breath and heal a little. The fight with the Sith Lord had completely drained her of so much strength that she couldn't Force heal herself. Rummaging through her pockets, she took out her last medpack. Plunging the syringe deep into the meat of her calf, she pressed the plunger. She sighed in relief as the concentrated kolto coursed through her veins. Breathing raggedly, Serena slid down the stone wall and sat down. For several moments she sat there as the pain in her side slowly faded away. As she rested, she stretched out with the Force, trying to see who or what would be next for her to confront. Slowly, she sensed more of Darth Traya's minions waiting for her beyond the room. She'd need to be in top form to face them all.
Serena frowned. Just at the edge of her awareness, she picked up the very faint signs of life from somewhere in the room. Her eyes widened and her hand went to the hilt of her lightsaber. For an insane moment, she wondered if Sion had played her for a fool and had only pretended to die. But no, the faint life came from a corner of the room. Standing up, she walked over.
Her frown grew as she perceived the large pool of blood forming around a crumpled form. The awful, sweet-smelling scent of seared meat wafted over. Her pace unconsciously quickened as she noticed the color hair of the person...the Corellian-style clothing...the ribbed vest...the familiar holster...
Serena ran over and gently pulled the man up until his head propped on her shoulder. She looked down in dismay at the sheer barbarity of the wounds all over the scoundrel's body: lightsaber burns, scorch marks, a stump that once held an arm...a jagged, charred hole right through the stomach.
With no more medpacks available and still very much drained to use the Force, the Exile could only curse as she felt Atton's life slowly bleeding away.
The man's eyes suddenly fluttered open. Serena's heart leapt as they blinked a little in dull astonishment.
"You're...alive," he said weakly. "Did I...save you, yet?"
Serena had to look away, covering her mouth.
Atton could see the horrified expression on the woman's face. "Your eyes...that bad, huh?" He glanced down at his shattered body. "Always was ugly...now the outside matches." His pale face spasmed from a wave of agony. "Was waiting for this, but…s'not fair…let you down…"
Serena shook her head in desperation, not even heeding the blood staining her clothes or running between her fingers. "No…oh no, Atton. You were there when I needed you. Please be still, you've lost a lot of blood."
Atton coughed and winced in pain. "…was supposed to save you. S'tired of living anyway…too many deaths…" His gaze wandered over the Exile's shoulder and his eyes widened slightly. He shook his head slightly in bemusement.
Filling almost his entire field of vision and staring right at him…was every single Jedi he'd ever murdered.
Serena frowned and followed his gaze, but could see nothing.
Atton looked back at each one of his victims in shocked dismay. Each face he looked upon was instantly recognizable — the memory of how each died by his hands startlingly fresh in his mind. If this was what awaited him in the afterlife, he would have fought Sion a little harder.
"Too many deaths," he murmured, looking back at Serena. "...never told you...lied to you..."
Serena blinked back tears. "It doesn't matter, Atton. All that was your past is forgiven. Please you have to be still."
A hoarse, feeble laugh was the scoundrel's response. His past might have been forgiven but, given the numerous sets of eyes on him, it could never be forgotten. Atton turned his face away from the one person who made him feel a modicum of shame for all he'd done in that past. It felt worse knowing that this was how she'd remember him after he was gone.
"I don't want you to see me like this...I don't want to die in front of you," he said in a pained voice. "Can't bear it."
He closed his eyes and the memory of the first time he'd laid eyes on the Exile came to him, unbidden. He could still see her, scantily clad in a form fitting med-suit, her body shimmering through the force cage that held him.
Are you an angel? he'd thought and had chided himself enough to not say such a corny line.
But since that moment on Peragus, he'd never been able to keep her out of his mind.
Do it, he told himself. Tell her how you feel, dammit, in the time you have left.
Atton glanced back and stared intently into Serena's eyes. "Loved you from the moment I first laid eyes on you...thought you were a dream...meant every word...tried to play it off as a joke...wasn't funny..."
Serena sniffled and tried to smile. "You never needed to tell me, Atton. I knew."
Atton chuckled dryly then winced as a stream of blood ran down his mouth. "Hurts when I laugh...hurts." With his last strength, he brought his remaining hand up and cupped Serena's cheek. "You...saved me...joke's on me..." He shuddered and shook his head, his smile tinged with blood.
"Hurts when I laugh...hurts..."
Atton's breath then let out and, like the dying embers of a warm fire, the light faded from his eyes. His face looked peaceful for the first time in many years. The hand at Serena's cheek slowly slid down to rest across his chest.
"Atton?" Serena quietly asked. Her lip quivered as she asked a second time...and then a third. With a quivering hand, she reached over and closed his eyes. With an anguished gasp, she gently kissed his brow and then placed her head on his. For long moments she stayed that way, rocking slightly.
Finally, taking a shuddering breath she pulled away. With utmost care, she laid Atton's body on the stone floor and put a hand to his chest. So much pain, misery and sorrow...all by Malachor's hand. Her face hardened as she stood and gripped her lightsaber.
Serena had one more obstacle: Kreia. Absolutely nothing on this Force-forsaken planet would stand in her way. One way or another, it ended today.
Throwing caution to the winds, Serena ignited her lightsaber and stalked out of her room.