Favor the Road Less Traveled…

Disclaimer: The only parts of this that I own are the characters Araqueil, Serannis, Artecia and any other OC's that may pop up. The way events happen are just that, fan fiction... The planets, characters, organizations, OC's parts in the Star Wars Universe, etc., etc. all belong to George Lucas. Okay... first fic.. lets see how I do. O

Chapter 1: Kessel

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Where to start... Whomever finds this and picks it up off the ground of some derelict place a century from now, or... no... I see no other option as to how this will come to another's hands, seeing how far I've fallen. Enough of my woes though... I enter the story of my life into a datapad because it's something to do between sleep, murder, sex and sleep. Perhaps it would be prudent of me to remove sex from that, I've not indulged Revan in some time, and I only sleep next to her for any shred of comfort I can get. For the hope that maybe someone is able to love me, but I still believe the only reason she can is because her heart is as blackened as mine... because she's embraced the Dark Side as I did.

Aren't you excited? Whoever you are, you could become rich beyond your wildest dreams... Hand this datapad to a Sith or Jedi Archivist and they would pay you cargo vessels filled to the point of leaking with Republic Credits. But you must be sure that there is only one, that there are only Sith or Jedi, because this time I live in, is one of turmoil, of conflict, of death, of misery, of fear, of uncertainty... I am an assassin of the Sith Empire that is headed by Darth Revan. And I have taken too much to bear, I have finally broken, it's been a year since Artecia not only left me, but left the Sith Knighthood. I've become so apathetic of so many things, I kill with the mere gesture of Revans hand. A year ago, I would have balked at the thought of erasing a bloodline, now, without Artecia to remind me of my humanity, I've done it twice.

But let me introduce myself. My name is Araqueil Varimathras. I am a human of twenty-seven years. My eyes are yellow, my hair is white. Artecia would have said my eyes were "a beautiful and soothing topaz" and that my hair was a "brilliant and exotic silver". Pah, more lies from a woman who claims to care... How did I get here, you may ask, how can anyone be so negative? When I was only five years old, my parents were faced with a nightmare of a decision. There were six of them, filthy pig-men... Gamorreans. They were with the Exchange, and they wanted slaves for the spice mines of Kessel. In other words, myself and my sister. The lead one, fatter than the others and with a stench more rank and vulgar than the sewers of the Taris Undercity, held a vibro-axe, and the other five held some assortment of blaster pistols, rifles and maybe one had a carbine. The choices they presented my parents were simple. Everybody, my sister, myself and my parents, die, or, my sister and I are given up for slave labor in the Hell that is Kessel. My father made the decision I would have made, which was the right one, and he died for it.

"Take our children... so long as they live, that's all I and my wife need."

Twenty-two years later, I still remember my mother sobbing in his arms, my father holding back tears, the stink of the Taris Lower City, and that twisted excuse of a grin the Gamorrean flashed before decapitating him. My mother shrieked, the others fired, and the utter silence that lasted an eternity that was finally broken by the sound of her broken corpse slamming onto the ground still haunts me today. I remember my sister's warmth as she held me and kissed me on the forehead, trembling, she was only fifteen, and I was only five.

I would spend two years toiling in those hellishly hot spice mines. By the time I was merely seven, I had the body of an athlete. My sister and I were separated, but after our first year, she weaseled her way into the same mine I was in. And then, the Jedi came. Kessel, had been a problem to the Republic for years, and now the reports of child labor were simply too much for the senate to handle. There were so many of us, all children, crammed in the mines, Twi'lek, Grann, Trandoshann, even an Iridonian, of course I thought he was Human, his horns had not grown yet. The Senate, unbeknownst to us, sent a detachment of Republican Commandos, and three Jedi Knights. I later learned they were to "negotiate" with the Exchange to at least stop the child labor, it would have been impossible to stop the flow of illegal spices from Kessel. What actually happened, still gives me great satisfaction today. That was the first time I saw a lightsaber in use against a living being. The more closed minded called it "cruelty", I called it magnificent. The blade seared through flesh and melted bone as if it were mere plasteel. It was retribution in the purest and most beautiful form. I knew, at that moment, I wanted to be a Jedi Knight. As if my mind was read, the lead Knight, an Iridonian, strode to me with almost urgency. He drew a device from his robe and pressed it against my arm. It hurt, and drew blood, despite my cry, he looked at the device feverishly and back at me. It so happens that device was used to read midichlorians, the lifeblood of the Force. The Iridonian knelt before me and smiled at my childish transfixion to the horns on his head. He said the words that changed my life, for the time being.

"You, although older than one who would be accepted into the Order, have a decision to make."

Two decades later, I remember the smile, so warm and reassuring, the horns on his head, his lightsaber hanging from his belt, the bottom of his light brown robe piled on top of the filth of the mines... And I said yes. He didn't ask anything, but I said yes. And from there, I would meet Artecia, and I would meet Revan and Malak. You however, will have to wait, until I find more time to meditate on these ever so pleasant memories...