nexus - During KotoR LSF Revan and Carth
Disclaimer: All characters, etc. from the game Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic belong to BioWare and LucasArts.
A/N: I've tried to stay close to canon with this one, but obviously, there will be some deviations.
How long was he going to continue ignoring her? Did everything they'd talked about before they'd learned the truth mean absolutely nothing to him?
Maybe be was right to shun her. After all, she wasn't really who they'd thought she was. Who she'd thought she was. She was Revan. But she didn't want to be. And that's what really mattered, wasn't it?
Revan had done some terrible things. And she'd set into motion events that had affected Carth personally. His life had been changed forever.
Nimue blew her breath out in a big sigh, causing stray pieces of her red hair to stir against her forehead. She didn't have time to indulge in any more self pity, or to worry about Carth. There was too much to do, and so much at stake.
She stuck her arms into the sleeves of her jacket and stomped her feet into her boots. Then she stood, and headed for the Ebon Hawk's main hold.
Six pairs of eyes swung her way as she entered the largest room on the ship. They all seemed quite eager, anxious to get out and explore this strange new place. She looked at each of them in turn; giving Mission an encouraging smile. She looked up at Zalbaar, the Twi'Lek's hairy companion, then at Jolee, with his ornery old ways, then over to Canderous, her rock. He nodded at her and she continued on, looking at Juhani next. Her strange yellow eyes held a hint of hero worship, as well as a twinkle of something a bit more, which Nimue chose not to examine too closely. Finally, she reached Carth, with his handsome face and kind brown eyes. She didn't know what was stronger within herself as she looked at him now, the desire to weep, or the urge to slap him silly. His eyes met hers, then quickly darted away.
Clearing her mind, she spoke, addressing the group as a whole. "Alright, everyone, Bastila is here. Somewhere, and I'm making her our top priority. We have to find her. She means too much to the Republic. And to me. I don't even want to think about all the pain she's been subjected to at the hands of Malak and the Sith.
"As you might have noticed, the Hawk has been damaged, so we're going to need to find some replacement parts. I'm guessing that won't be too much of a problem, we'll most likely be able to salvage what we need from some of those downed ships that are scattered across these beaches.
"Even when the ship is space-worthy, we won't be able to leave unless we've found out what the deal is with that disruptor field we hit. We need to find the source and disable it, or we'll just crash again if we try to take off. Worse than that, that field could endanger the entire Republic fleet as they try to reinforce us at the Star Forge.
"T3, see what you can do to get the ship ready for lift off, aside from the parts we need.
"Mission, Zalbaar, and HK, see to the ship's provisions. If we need to take on more food and water, now would be a good time. But don't stray too far from the ship.
"Juhani and Jolee, I'd like for you two to try to meditate for me. Reach out and see what you can feel through the Force. Can you feel Bastila? And we don't really know anything about this planet yet, but it feels strange to me. Try to center yourselves and see what you can come up with. Feelings, impressions.. anything would be better than what we've got at this point."
She turned toward Carth and Canderous. "You two are with me." Her usual habit was to bring one close combat and one ranged fighter along, but at this point, she felt confident enough in her own lightsaber combat abilities that she felt things could run just as smoothly with two ranged fighters.
Canderous gave her a white-toothed grin but Carth barely reacted at all. If anything, his mouth just seemed to firm into an even sterner line.
"Alright, everyone. Let's move like we've got a purpose," she finished. The crew began to disperse, all intent on preforming there separate tasks.
"I'll be right back," Canderous told her, heading off in the direction of the ship's garage to fetch his repeating blaster.
Nimue looked down, seemingly to fiddle with the hilt of her double-bladed 'saber, which was clipped to her belt. As her head bent, she allowed her eyes to travel up so she could look at Carth without him noticing. He'd grasped one of his blasters and was looking closely at it. He was either deep in thought, or just really bent on inspecting the weapon's condition.
She wanted to say something. How had this happened? Where once they'd shared kindness and a blossoming friendship, now all that remained between them was an awkward silence. She wanted it all back. The teasing, the tender way he'd gaze at her when he thought she wasn't looking. All she could do now was cling to the memory of one of their most intimate conversations. Let me protect you...
Nimue wet her lips with the tip of her tongue, not quite sure what she was going to say. Please don't hate me came to mind.
"Carth..," she spoke his name, softly, allowing all of her emotions to enter her voice. The pain, the anger, the confusion, and the regret.
His head swung up, and his eyes met hers. She could see his own pain reflected there. He took a step in her direction.
"Ready!" Canderous's voice boomed as he marched back into the room, stepping between the two, and the moment was lost.
Carth looked back down at his blaster, his shoulders straightening. He placed it back into his holster and gave them a stiff nod.
Sighing, Nimue led the way, and the three left the ship.
She nearly lost her breath at the beautiful surroundings. It was like something out of a holovid. White sandy beaches surrounded by sparkling aqua marine water. The sky was clear, offering them a magnificent view of one of the planet's moons and the Star Forge itself.
Palm trees grew abundantly, as well as bright, emerald green grasses. Funny enough, but somehow not out of place, were the gizka that scampered here and there across the planet's surface. They'd probably been made native thanks to all the crashed ships in the area.
Their black boots sank into the sand as they stepped off of the Hawk's cargo ramp. Clearing her throat, Nimue spoke into the awed silence. "Let's head to that stone structure to the east. The ship systems picked up on a large power source emanating from there. I'm betting that's where we need to access this planet's disruptor field."
They began the hike up a well worn path that was surrounded on all sides by large rocks. It really was beautiful here. So warm, wild, and unspoiled. In a different time, Nimue could see herself vacationing here. Stretching out in the warm sand, bathing in the sun.
But things were much too grim for that now. This place was now in the middle of a power struggle between good and evil, light and dark. The outcome of today's events would reverberate through the galaxy for millenniums.
Her musings were broken by the appearance of five very strange, almost bug-like creatures. They were thin, with light ashy grey skin and minimal dark clothing. Their eyes stood out from their heads on horizontal eye stalks, glaring menacingly out at them as they approached.
Without a word they attacked, swinging viciously at Nimue's arms and legs with their vibroblades. Metal glinted in the sun as the blades clashed against the violet beam of Nimue's 'saber. She went on the defensive, desperately blocking each attack, deflecting each brutal thrust of their onslaught.
Carth immobilized two with a well thrown grenade, and the five creatures fell to the warm white sand in a matter of moments.
Breathing heavily, Nimue turned in time to see two Duros running toward them from out of the brush. Ready for anything now, she prepared for another attack.
The strange clicks of the Durese dialect assured her quickly that they meant no harm. "Thank you so much for saving us!"
One of them went on to explain that their mining survey vessel had hit the same energy field that the Ebon Hawk had. Unfortunately, while Carth had been able to land Nimue's ship safely here on the beach, the Duros' ship had plummeted into the sea. Most of the crew had died on impact, and of the few survivors that had managed to make it ashore, these two were the only ones left. The locals had attacked and killed everyone else. They were barbaric killers, attacking anyone they came across, then eating the flesh of the dead.
Nimue listened to all this with raised brows. It was the perfect trap. A technological dead zone, with no way to call for help. These men were miners, not soldiers. Many of the poor souls who'd been marooned here wouldn't stand a chance against these native creatures. Not for long, anyway. The only warriors that could really make a go here would be Mandalorians. She made a mental note to be extra careful. Her compulsion to have Canderous along had most likely been the Force warning her of this very thing, since he was the most familiar with Mandalorian tactics.
The Duros thanked her again, and Nimue promised to tell the Republic of those who were stranded here.
The three continued along the path until it ended abruptly at an overlook. It offered a spectacular view of the beach, the Ebon Hawk, and the calm turquoise ocean stretching out as far as the eye could see.
"It's beautiful here," Carth said, sounding sad, reflective. "Reminds me of Telos. Before..."
Nimue looked over at him and saw his chest expand in a deep sigh. Suddenly, she felt all of her anger toward him and the way he'd been treating her melt away. He's hurting, she thought. All this time, Carth had been so careful, so unwilling to let himself trust anyone. Nimue had patiently chipped away at the walls he'd encased his heart in until he'd slowly started to let her in. For the first time in years, he'd began to trust another person, her, and what had it gotten him? It was terrible, really, the trick that fate had played on them both. Nimue had been hoping that Carth would come to care for her. But now those hopes had all been dashed to pieces, and it seemed as if duty was all that kept him from leaving her.
She looked back out over the view, feeling her heart swell with pain in her chest. She had to keep going. She had a lot to make up for.
Squaring her shoulders, Nimue looked back along the path they'd taken and noticed a gizka that hopped off the trail and disappeared behind a rock. Curious, she followed and discovered a hidden path, completely grown over with grass. "Looks like I found the way," she said over her shoulder.
In the next area they found more blood thirsty natives along with some young rancors, of all things. How the beasts had come to be here, when they were native to Dathomir was a mystery.
Again, they were attacked on sight. Although not fully grown, the rancors were still able to inflict a lot of damage as they swiped at Nimue with sharp-clawed hands. Their uneven fangs dripped drool onto their chests as they charged, howling in rage.
The fighting was intense, but with the help of some stims and verpine shields, they were able to clear the area without too much difficulty.
When the dust settled, Nimue was free to gaze up at the walls of the massive stone structure that dominated the area's clearing. It was clearly a temple. The design was like nothing she'd ever seen, the architecture resembling what they'd glimpsed of the Star Forge.
There were dozens of stone pillars scattered across the area, and more around the upper levels of the Temple. All were in a crumbling state of disrepair, and a good number of the ones on the ground were overturned. They varied in size; some were not much taller than Canderous, but a few were much larger, looking as heavy as a small freighter.
The ramp up to the Temple's entrance was obstructed by one of these larger upturned pillers. Stepping around it, they found the way inside the Temple blocked by an energy shield. "Now, what?" Canderous grumbled.
Nimue studied the barrier. Like the Temple itself, it felt very strange to her, like it was being powered by an energy that she didn't quite understand. "I don't know. But there's got to be a way inside. Let's keep looking," she answered.
They started to retrace their steps, backtracking across the clearing toward the path they'd arrived here on. Along the way Nimue noticed an obelisk that stood out from all the pillars in the area. It was taller, for one, but most noticeable was the red rock it was constructed of. Approaching it, she saw that it was covered in ancient runes. She'd learned during her studies on Dantooine that many runes contained Force magic. Carefully moving closer, she traced two of the symbols with a tapered finger. She couldn't explain her ability to read them, but she could. She had to swallow hard to get past the lump that had sprung up in her throat. She felt her eyes begin to tear up so she blinked them away rapidly, taking a deep, calming breath.
"What is it?" Carth asked, stepping up next to her. She took comfort in his presence; he hadn't stood this close to her since the truth had come out.
"It says Know thyself," she whispered softly.
Canderous cleared his throat loudly. Taking a few steps back, he turned away from the pair, allowing them a small measure of privacy.
Carth looked down at her fingers as they lay against the cold stone. His hand lifted, as if he were going to touch her. "Look, Nimue, I..," he wasn't calling her 'Revan' anymore, which was a start, but before he could say more, he was cut off by the familiar sound of stealth field generators deactivating. Spinning around, they were just in time to see six Mandalorians appear all around them.
Canderous alone seemed to be outside of the circle they'd formed. Their neo-crusader armor shone brightly, reflecting the sun. One warrior wore gold, two red, and three blue.
They were completely surrounded, and Nimue felt a finger of fear slide down her back as the one in gold yelled viciously, "For Mandalore!"
Canderous yelled back just as loudly, "I don't think so!"
Before she even had time to react, Carth stepped in front of her, shielding her from an incoming CryoBan grenade. The 'nade sent freezing chemicals to the ground at Carth's feet, temporarily holding him in place. Undaunted, he began firing his blasters in all directions.
Nimue jumped into the fray, aiming for the men that wielded vibroblades first.
When the fighting was finally over Nimue had to sit down on the soft grass to recover. She used the force to heal every body's wounds.
What a bizarre place this was. So beautiful and yet so savage.
"Ha, ha!" Canderous's laugh boomed across the clearing as he held up some Mandalorian assault armor. Looting the dead was a necessary evil that paid off on rare occasions. Looked like this was one of them.
The large man dropped his weapon and began removing his armor. Seemed he was in a big hurry to try this new stuff out.
"You're worried," Carth said, low. Looking down, Nimue realized she'd been twisting blades of grass with her fingers. Forcing herself to stop, she pushed off the ground and stood up, stretching her legs.
"Yes, I am. About lots of things, I guess. I can't stop thinking about Bastila."
He was quiet a moment, as if he were searching for the right thing to say. "She's strong," he said. Looking up at him, Nimue couldn't get over how incredibly handsome he was. The breeze pushed those rogue hairs of his against his forehead.
"I know," she said, allowing the admiration she had for the younger woman to slip into her voice.
"She means a lot to you, doesn't she?" he asked.
"Yes. I... she does."
In fact, Bastila meant the world to her. Nimue could remember how stuffy Bastila seemed in the beginning. But really, she hadn't known any better. She'd been with the Jedi from a very tender age. She didn't even know how to tease. And she'd constantly berated Nimue for her less than pure thoughts toward their Republic Pilot.
Bastila had tried so hard to do everything right. She was still very young, and her importance to the Republic was a tough burden to bear.
Nimue knew her, better than anyone, and her absence threatened to overwhelm her. They had to get inside that temple.
"Alright, guys, let's move out."
Canderous was now completely decked out in his shiny blue armor. "Intimidating!" she said on a laugh. The helmet suited him somehow. As much as she'd miss his ruggedly handsome face, she hoped that he'd choose to wear these new duds exclusively from now on.
On the far side of the clearing, they were lucky enough to find a new path that led them further south. Again, this trail was completely overgrown, like it was rarely used.
They came upon another downed ship. The hull was covered in moss and vines, indicating that it had been there for a very long time.
"Hey!" Carth said excitedly, "I know this model. Ten to one says I find the parts we need in the wreckage." He loped toward the vessel but stopped short as a gizka exploded not a foot in front of him.
"Mines," Nimue said. "You two stay back while I disarm them."
She began walking softly toward the nearest glowing red bubble. She was brought up short as Carth placed a gentle hand on her arm.
"Let me," he said, meeting her eyes. His were such a soul-sucking shade of brown. Deep and commanding.
She wanted to protest. As nice as it was to have him worrying for her welfare, she was no damsel in distress. But then, his demolitions skill was twice what hers was.
"Alright," she conceded. "Thanks."
He returned after a few short moments proudly toting the Ebon Hawk's needed parts.
The path ran through a small canyon, with tall rock walls on either side. Two young rancors awaited them there, so they were forced to fight their way through.
On the other side, they found a large stretch of beach as well as a low, red stone building. Standing sentinel before the structure's doors was a pale blue hologram that resembled the natives they'd been fighting. He spoke at their approach. "What is your business here, offworlder?"
If only she had a credit for every time she'd been called that. "I seek the Star Forge," she replied firmly.
"You understood that nonsense?" Carth muttered beside her. "I guess you've been here before. With Malak, back when you were Revan."
Nimue winced a little at the reminder.
"You... you are Revan!" the hologram said. "The council wishes to speak to you. You may enter." He faded out, and they stepped through the building's large double doors.
Inside they were met by three Rakata, much different from the ones that kept attacking them here. They had rust-colored skin, and were well groomed, with fine clothing made of a golden fabric.
Their leader spoke, and Nimue learned that she had indeed been here before, three galactic standard years ago. She'd promised to help them, sworn that she would destroy the Star Forge, which the Rakata viewed as pure evil, created by their ancestors. They wouldn't be able to enter the Temple, which contained the means to disable the planet's disruptor shield, unless these Elders helped them to get past the power shield.
But they were reluctant to offer her aid. They didn't trust her, since she'd failed to hold up her end of the bargain last time.
"I am a servant of the light now. I want to make amends for the mistakes of my past." She could feel Carth's eyes upon her as she spoke.
"You say you are not who you once were, yet here you are, repeating the pattern of your last visit. Like the last time, you have crashed here. Like last time, you have come seeking our help. How have you changed, Revan?"
Nimue swallowed, allowing her answer to come from deep inside herself. "I cannot prove what is in my heart. I can only ask you to judge me by my actions."
To prove to them that Nimue was no longer the Revan she once was, the leader asked that she rescue one of their scouts from the One, the leader of a primitive, war-like tribe.
"Words are easy to say, it is actions that prove the true nature of your character." The Rakatan Elder explained. "Risking your own life to save another will show us that you are sincere about making amends for the past."
They were attacked immediately upon arrival at the north beach. Fighting their way past elite Rakatan warriors and trained rancors, they made their way inside the One's compound. The interior was remarkably similar to the Elders' settlement, and it was heavily guarded by fierce vibroblade-wielding soldiers.
The One himself actually resembled the Elders more than he did the Rakata, and he was very strong, but ultimately, he was no match for Nimue and her team.
When the final Rakatan soldier lay dead, they helped the injured Scout, and returned with him to the Elders.
"You have changed significantly since the last time you were here, Revan," the Leader said. "The Council has decided to trust you once more. We will preform the ancient ritual of our people, so that you may enter the Temple. For our sake, and that of the entire galaxy, we hope you truly mean to atone for your past evils."
He finished by warning her that in the tradition followed by the Rakatan ancestors for the past thousand generations, she must enter the Temple alone. There would be dark Jedi inside, but she could have no one there to aid her.
"I understand. I will meet you there shortly."
Stepping outside, she recounted everything that the Elders had said to Carth and Canderous. Canderous got very quiet. He stepped over to the water's edge, and stooping to pick up a big hand full of rocks, he began skipping stones.
Nimue watched him, feeling sad. They didn't want her to leave them behind. But why was that? Did they really care about her, or was it simply a lack of trust? Did they think she would fail?
She was jerked abruptly from her thoughts as Carth grasped her upper arm and led her further down the beach. Canderous, sensing that the two needed some space, stayed put.
"Look, before you go off alone, I think we should have a talk." He stopped when they were just out of earshot of the other man. They stood in the sand, letting the water lap at the dark leather of their boots.
"I'm sorry," Carth began. "I know this whole thing has been hard on you. Harder even than it's been on me.
"For so long, all I've lived for was revenge. I wanted to make those responsible pay. For my... for my wife, for Telos, for Dustil. Then I met you.
"You made me want more, a life, outside of revenge. And now I can't stop thinking about the promise I made to protect you.
"I've made mistakes of my own, done things I'm not proud of. You shouldn't have to prove yourself to me." He rubbed absently at his chest as he spoke, as if he were trying to ease the pain he felt there. "You're not Revan. Not anymore. But now that I know what the darkness once did to you, I'm afraid for you. If you're alone, the darkness could swallow you whole. I mean, is there room in there for me? Will you let me help you?"
Nimue's heart was pounding inside her chest like a herd of stampeding bantha. She looked out over the ocean, at all that pale blue water. "I don't want you hurt protecting me, Carth. You've been hurt enough."
Reaching out, he caught her hand in his, and forced her to face him. "I think I would be hurt worse if I didn't try."
She opened her mouth to speak, but he brushed the fingers of his left hand across her lips, silencing her.
"I don't know how, but I feel like something bad is coming. You're going to have to make a choice, and there won't be any turning back. When that time comes, I want you to make the right decision. I want to give you a reason to.
"You gave me a future. I want to give you a future, too. With me. I think I could love you if you give me the chance."
Nimue swallowed hard. Was this really happening? But what if things went bad? "Carth... I can't see into the future. I don't know how this is all going to turn out. All I can do is try my best, to do what I feel is right."
"I don't know what's going to happen, either," he said. "But does that really matter if we love each other?"
He sounded so sweet and vulnerable. She smiled, knowing in her heart, that if something were ever to feel right, then it was this. "No. No it doesn't," she said.
He smiled widely, pulling her to him in a hug. He was so big and warm against her. He felt perfect, and the moment was so sweet. Everything she could ever wish for was right here.
He pulled back from her a bit and she felt his warm breath fan her lips. "Let's face the future together then," he said.
Nimue didn't end up entering the Temple alone after all. During the ancient ritual to lower the shields covering the door, Juhani and Jolee arrived, insisting that they accompany her inside.
They'd shared a premonition. As Carth had said, a pivotal moment was approaching, the outcome of which could change the galaxy forever. And now Nimue understood exactly what this vision had been a warning them of.
Bastila met them on the Temple's summit. Only... she wasn't Bastila anymore.
She'd fallen. Under Malak's relentless torture, she'd been forced to acknowledge her anger and pain. He'd filled her head with Sith ideals, telling her that the Jedi Council was using them both, and holding her back from her true potential. He'd showed her how to use her emotions to fuel her powers.
She attacked them viciously, bent on proving her worth to her new Master by killing the three of them. It took the combined skills of all three to wound Bastila enough to call a stop to their fight.
"You are stronger than I would have thought possible, after what the Jedi Council has done to you. Seems that Malak was wrong. The power of the dark side is not lost to you after all, Revan."
"I draw my power from the light now, Bastila. It was you who showed me how."
"No. The light side is a lie. You can deny what you are, Revan, but you can't lie to me. I know the truth. I've felt the shadows inside you. You deserve to be the true Master of the Sith, not Malak. I can see that now. Together we can destroy him! Join with me and reclaim what is yours by right!"
Maybe Nimue wasn't the ideal Jedi. She felt too many emotions, much too deeply. Love, guilt, regret, loss. But in her mind, she glimpsed a terrible future. She saw the Star Forge spewing endless waves of Sith warships, ships that were made to destroy the Republic and everything it stood for. It was all her fault. She'd set everything into motion back while she was Revan.
She had to try. "Bastila, I can't. I won't. We can stop Malak. But not this way. I love you! I want you with me! Please come with us. Help us defeat Malak and destroy the Star Forge once and for all."
Bastila's beautiful face contorted in rage. "You are a pathetic fool, Revan! Together we could have defeated Malak and ruled over an Empire, but now I shall be at Lord Malak's side instead! You will be crushed along with the Republic and all the fools who've ever bowed down to the Jedi Council!" With that, she turned and fled, using a G-Type eight shuttle to make her escape.
When they returned to the beach, the entire crew was waiting for them outside the Ebon Hawk. Carth reached Nimue first. He grasped her by her upper arms, looking her over to make sure she wasn't injured. "You're back! But what happened?" he asked her.
Taking a deep breath, she explained to them all that they had, indeed, been successful shutting down the planet's disruptor field. Unfortunately, though, Bastila wouldn't be joining them. The reactions all around were nearly as disbelieving as they'd been when they'd all found out that Nimue used to be Revan.
"We will save her," Nimue explained. "She'll be waiting for me on the Star Forge. This will all be over soon."
Everyone began to board the ship. It was truly lovely here, but they were all eager to move on. Malak and the Star Forge awaited them.
She and Carth lagged behind, wishing for a moment alone. Jolee patted her on the back as he passed them by. "I must say that I'm glad you're still with us, my dear. I'm very proud of you for making the right decision," he said.
"What? What did you decide?" Carth asked.
"Oh, just that she was done with the dark side for good. Bastila tried to tempt her into reclaiming Revan's heritage, but Nimue turned her down." Heading up the ramp, Jolee turned and gave her a wink. When he entered the Hawk, Carth and Nimue were left alone on the beach.
"This... I think this was it! I can feel it!" Carth said excitedly. "This was the choice you had to make, the defining moment! Oh, and you did exactly what I'd hoped you would!" Pulling her into his arms, he crushed her against his chest. Moving so his lips could brush against the delicate shell of her ear, he whispered, "I knew that Revan wasn't a part of you anymore. I knew it."
She squeezed him back, feeling her cheeks turn pink at his words. She felt like a tremendous weight had been lifted from her shoulders. It was true. She wasn't Revan. She was Nimue. She didn't need to be afraid anymore.
Carth pulled back from her and looked into her pale blue eyes. "I love you. And I can't wait until all of this is over."
Pulling her back against him, he covered her mouth with his. His kiss was unlike anything she'd ever felt. Earth shattering. He was so warm, and the stubbleon his cheeks scratched her face. He shook as he held her, and Nimue felt her toes curl. Their tongues touched and caressed, and she breathed him in, savoring him and this moment.
Reluctantly, he leaned back, breathing heavily.
Looking up into his handsome face, Nimue had never felt more at peace. Smiling at him, she said, "I love you, too."