Master of the Sword

"Dramatis Persona"

Leader of the Sith:
Tulak Hord - Dark Lord of the Sith, master of the sword and lightsaber

The Sith Council: formed by ten Sith Lords under command of the Dark Lord, each rules over a dozen inhabited worlds
Nasas Abim - a sound commander and leader, he is good friends with Sabah.
Husani Adina - one of Hord's generals, a thin and short tempered psychopath.
Sabah Daku - a tough and competent ruler of some of the unruliest Sith planets.
Gilga Erathipa - a large, indulgent man of many appetites, renowned for his good cheer.
Eees Illuka - one of Hord's nephews and husband to seven wives.
Benalla Luzige - one of Hord's cousins, a great thinker and inventor, a skilled Sith alchemist.
Khalos Nechos - ruler of the Sith's most significant industrial worlds, a staunch opponent of Hord.
Losi Pitaka - a Lady of the Sith known for her "Sith Giants" guard, she has a taste for precious stones and controls much of the Sith's mining worlds.
Daen Ottah - the beast master, he supplies the empire with their war beasts: the mighty behemoths, hydras, rhinos, and warbirds.
Mazul Serq - one of Hord's generals and Hord's right hand man, very capable and loyal, perhaps Hord's only true friend.

Part I
Chapter One

It is said that of all the masters of the lightsaber, there is but one who stands out above them all. One who mastered it in all its forms, perfecting its use into an art. One who achieved a level of skill and understanding of the blade such that no one could ever surpass him…
His name was Tulak Hord.

Ziost, Capital of the Sith Empire:

A cold wind blows over the vast evergreen forests of Ziost. Snow laden mountains stand in the distance, caped by low-lying clouds. The red skinned Sith go about their daily business among the vast city of stone and brick. At the heart of the capital lies a giant fortress dominated by its towering steeples. Within the inner sanctum of the palace, Tulak Hord sits in meditation upon his throne.

"Milord, one of your subjects wishes to speak with you. He has brought a gift." Spoke the humble attendant as he knelt before the Dark Lord of the Sith.

The Dark Lord noted that his servant did not look at him while in his presence. This one knows his place.

"Very well, show him in." Tulak Hord's voice boomed in the massive chamber.

As was his right, he sat comfortably on a massive golden throne, high above the floor. Anyone who approached him was forced to look up. Those who dared saw not the face of a man but the black snarled image of a demon. It instilled fear into his subjects and even some of the Sith Lords. No one ever saw the face behind the mask, at least no one still alive.

In the distance, the large chamber doors opened. Walking past the griffon sentry statues flanking the door was the attendant and a small man. As they neared, Hord could see that the man was not a Sith, but an Arkanian. His long white hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Long, flowing orange robes dragged along the ground as he walked. Cradled in his arms was a narrow box.

The Arkanian was in awe of the throne room. Giant sculptured reliefs adorned the walls depicting battles between the Jedi and Sith. Great columns stretched up into the high ceiling. It was plastered with precious jewels. As he continued to gaze up he noticed that the stones were in the patterns of various star systems. But all the beautiful trappings of art failed to achieve the splendor of the sight before him. Even at a distance, you could feel the power emanating from that towering throne.

As he continued to walk closer, following the elaborately dressed attendant, he began to think to himself. If I had but a fraction of such riches, I could be a king. Perhaps the lord will be so pleased with my gift that he will reward me with a portion of his fortunes. I'll be set for life. Spending nights with beautiful women, living in huge estates. I might even become the governor of some small province. From here on out I'll never have another worry again.

Finally the two servants reached the base of the throne. Tulak Hord motioned his attendant to introduce the subject.

"Milord, this is Casigh Haltgarr, an inventor from Arkania. He wishes to present you with a gift in the hopes that it might please you, milord." The attendant bowed and retreated several steps, thus leaving Haltgarr before the supremacy of the Dark Lord.

"You may speak servant. What is this gift you have brought?" The Dark Lord's tone was deep and commanding.

Haltgarr placed the engraved metal box on the floor and knelt before the throne. He looked up and saw the figure sitting upon the golden chair, high above. The man wore thick, dark armor encrusted with shiny trim work and sparkling gemstones. A magical Sith sword rested in his lap, gleaming in the light. His sandaled feet revealed a set of red toes. It was the only part of his body that Haltgarr could see. And atop it all was a scowling black mask, devoid of life. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't quite see the Dark Lord's eyes.

"Your majesty, I have brought you a weapon crafted by mine own hands." Gently he opened the box. Inside the padded lining, he revealed a strange device. "It is a lightsaber milord." Haltgarr held the weapon out with both hands, letting in rest in his open palms.

"Your gift is worthless. I have several such laser swords. They are clumsy and ineffective. With but one stroke you can sever the power cord and the weapon becomes useless." Tulak Hord's tone was full of contempt. He made another gesture and the attendant stepped forward.

"But…but…milord, this is not like any other lightsaber. This one is cordless…look." Carelessly Haltgarr ignited the lightsaber and its red-orange beam hummed in the silence.

Quickly the attendant drew a dagger and lunged toward the Arkanian but was stopped mid stride. Tulak Hord didn't move, yet he held the attendant frozen in the Force. Haltgarr, still holding the glowing lightsaber, trembled in fear.

The Dark Lord's voice echoed out into the chamber, "Let him be."

Rising from his seat, Hord descended the steps of his throne. Sheathing his Sith sword, he approached the quivering Arkanian and held out his hand. "Give me this lightsaber."

Without hesitation, Haltgarr handed the ignited lightsaber to Hord. A black gauntleted hand took the weapon. The Dark Lord studied the long metallic cylinder.

In his time, lightsabers consumed vast amounts of power. To keep the weapon energized, the user had to wear a separate power pack, usually worn on a belt. A power cord then connected the two. In close combat, against heavily armored foes, the weapon was very effective. It could cut clean through the opponent without resistance. Yet it was useless if the cord was severed and it was extremely difficult to guard against such an attack.

Suddenly the red-orange beam slashed through the air, splitting the attendant from left shoulder to right hip, cleaving him in two. He died without a scream. The cauterized halves smoldered on the polished floor. Curls of smoke rose into the air and mixed with the stench of charred flesh.

"Magnificent." Spoke the Dark Lord, his black mask fixated on the glowing blade.

"You see milord, it is not restricted in…its freedom of movement, the power pack is all internal." Fear filled his quivering white eyes. His face was pallid.

"Your gift pleases me servant." Hord's rich voice reverberated in his fearsome mask.

Haltgarr's fear was again replaced with the visions of riches. His invention was a success. Now all his dreams could come true.

"You may go." Spoke the Dark Lord.

You may go. No riches. No reward. Just his life. Completely shattered, the little Arkanian turned away defeated. All his work for nothing. Staring at the floor, he began to leave.

"A question before you go. Have you made any others?" Asked Hord, a curious hint in his voice.

With a small glimmer of hope, Haltgarr turned around and replied, "No milord, but I could make more…many more…enough to supply your Sith Lords and marauders."

"And no one else knows of this weapon's construction?" Asked Hord.

Haltgarr hesitated. "No milord, I built it myself."

"You had no assistants, no helpers, you did not tell your wife, your children…" Inquired the Dark Lord.

"No one milord." Haltgarr's hands shook uncontrollably at his sides.

"Good." And with one clean stroke, he lopped off the Arkanian's head.

With a hollow smack it hit the floor. A burning ponytail followed it down. The body collapsed to the side.

Turning back towards his throne, the Dark Lord extinguished the humming blade. Slowly he ascended the steps and retook his seat. Oblivious to the carnage before him, he continued to marvel at the ingenious weapon. Thoughts spilled into his mind. What wondrous possibilities. An unstoppable sword. A symbol of my might and terror. All will tremble before me, even my Sith Lords. And I shall be the only one to possess its might.