A/N:I've written up a completely new chapter for Chapter 1 of this story, because as I was looking back and brushing up the entire story, I was quite unsatisfied with the opening chapter, and thought that it was overly smutty and threw a lot of people off. The fact that my other KOTOR story, "Torn" had garnered so much more reviews on a per-chapter basis, as well as far more overall favorites and alert subscriptions than this story despite being less than a fifth of this story's length had persuaded me to completely re-write this opening chapter. So here it is; hope you enjoy this more.
I'll be uploading the original Chapter 1 of this story as a separate oneshot titled "Choices", for those of you who want it to stick around.
With that said, please be sure to follow my other AU-KOTOR story "Torn", as well as my newest fic in the Walking Dead category, "A Twist of Fate". Every review is thoroughly appreciated. Please also support Renee Enderson by favoriting, following, and above all, reviewing her two KOTOR fics, "Second Chances" and "Revanchism". They are both outstanding fics, and I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed.
By the way, I'd also like to ask you to be sure to support THE-WRITING-GEEK's KOTOR fic, "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic". Both Renee Enderson and I like it very much for its originality, and you won't be disappointed. The title and description may be deceiving in that it can lead you to believe that it's just your average typical KOTOR recount story that re-uses the original plot down to the last plot element, but it's not. If you liked my other KOTOR story "Torn" for its deviation away from the strict canon that some writers seem to be fixated with, you'll most definitely like THE-WRITING-GEEK's story for the same reasons, so be sure to check it out. Favorite it, follow it, but above all, just like we writers like to see for any story of ours, review it. Same goes with Firebirdie's AU KOTOR fic, "Retrace". It gives the most unique insight into Revan's reprogramming out of any fic I've seen so far, in my opinion.
Disclaimer: Star Wars and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic are the property of LucasFilm Ltd and/or its affiliates and owners. This story is for non-profit entertainment purposes only.
Heart of a Padawan
Relishing the last words of yet another Jedi victim, the Dark Lady of the Sith pulled her crimson lightsaber out of her defeated enemy's stomach. Smirking as the Jedi crumpled lifelessly to the hangar floor before her, surrounded by the slain corpses of her Jedi and Republic commando strike team, the hooded and cloaked woman deactivated and put away her lightsaber as she returned with her personal guard to the command bridge where Revan remained awaiting her. The fact that the slain Jedi was once a dear childhood friend who had saved her life during a joint mission to Ord Mantell meant absolutely nothing to her; such was the extent of her fall, as was the case for all who followed Revan.
A badly damaged Republic troop transport vessel hurtled through the magnetic shield of the Murderess, Revan's flagship, but the Dark Lady ignored it as she continued to walk briskly to the bridge. The sound of roaring blaster fire from the hangar guards was accompanied by the cries of the doomed souls who had manned the transport, their screams of agony being music to her ears as the hangar entrance door slid shut behind her.
After she closed her eyes to indulge in the sounds of the surrounding chaos after arriving at the elevator which would lead her to the bridge, she felt an exuberant wave of satisfaction rush over her as she heard the powerful guns of the Murderess and its subordinate Interdictor-class cruisers tear apart at the hapless Republic capitol ships which could barely mount an effective resistance. The months that followed their return to Republic space from the grand Sith empire beyond bestowed upon them victory after victory, drawing them ever closer to achieving their goal of bringing the teetering Republic to heel.
And after all, given the grand, noble scheme behind all the horrors and terror they were forced to unleash to bring their plan to fruition, why should they feel a single ounce of shame for their actions?
The deaths of billions of people; of the thousands of ignorant and misguided Republic soldiers and Jedi who still opposed them; of every single individual in that worthless, corrupted band of misfits and tyrants called the Senate who would oppose their goals and ideals…
The ends justified the means, not only for Revan, but all of his followers.
And at the end of the day, it would all be worth it. Every single last drop of blood.
Walking through the opened doors of the elevator, she headed for the command bridge, where all personnel within were busy monitoring the progress of the battle which would soon be brought to an end. Every Sith soldier and officer she passed duly bowed to their future empress, both in awe and fear of her powers.
Arriving at the entrance of the command bridge at last, she smirked as she laid eye on the masked Revanchist himself. Sensing her captivating presence, he in turn averted his gaze from the holomap of the battle overhead to face her. The Dark Lady didn't need her eyes to tell her that beneath that mask, Revan was smiling darkly at her.
Leader, teacher, master, lover…Revan was all things to her, and as such, every fiber of her being yearned to protect and to stay with him. Despite having embraced the ways of the Sith herself, she admitted inwardly that she could never bring herself to take Revan's life in order to usurp his place.
After all, what is an empire without both an emperor and empress to rule it?
"You have returned," Revan spoke, moving forward to take his lover's hand in his own to lead her to the holomap so that she could join him in observing the battle.
"You expected less?" she smirked, pulling back her hood to reveal luscious blood-red hair, fiery orange eyes of passion and beautiful pale skin. "I thought we agreed before that you wouldn't assign me menial tasks that amount to little more than putting down rabid dogs."
"Oh, come now," the Dark Lord chuckled. "Did you not enjoy yourself in the slightest?"
"Why, that I did…You remember Misha, yes? I most thoroughly enjoyed gutting her, indeed."
Revan shook his head, laughing softly as he did so. "And just what did I tell you about wasting the lives of potentially formidable allies?"
She merely squeezed his hand. "I'd hardly gain any satisfaction from sparing any of them; of this you must know."
Her immensely strong Force bond with her lover enabled her to sense that he felt something was wrong. She remained still as Revan reached out with a hand and caressed her face, and she appreciated every moment of it, cooing at his touch.
After drawing his hand away, Revan observed the small trickles of red liquid which dripped from his fingertips down onto the floor. He was gladdened to see that it was not her blood, judging from the lack of any visible wound. "Overindulged yourself in the thick of battle again, I see?"
"Oh…," she clicked her tongue in shame. "Did I disappoint you?"
Revan chuckled. "A face as perfect as yours deserves to remain unstained with filth, does it not?"
Laughing darkly as she stood over the map of the constantly shifting battle, the woman stared on gleefully at the dwindling and dissipating blue arrows which represented the faltering Republic fleet, as opposed to the resolute and determined movements of the amassed thick red clouds which swarmed over them. She revelled in the destruction of every Republic vessel and life, such was her hatred and contempt for those who had abandoned her and Revan.
But even now, despite all their victories to date, she was still pained by the memory of the day three years ago when they almost lost everything they had fought for.
The events which took place over the hellhole of a jungle world known as Dxun were as clear in her mind, as if they only took place yesterday. Revan had committed his forces to storming the planet and decisively eliminating the Mandalorian stronghold, buoyed by the promise of two reinforcing fleets by Supreme Admiral Forn. The battle was long and bloody, the Republic forces losing what seemed to be ten men for each Mandalorian they slew, and yet they pushed on, driven by their dreams of the final victory and a lasting peace, as well as the additional fleets which would soon come to their aid.
But no help would come that day.
As their numbers dwindled and their ranks began to falter, the Republic ground forces led by General Meetra Surik cried out for help to their charismatic leader, who coldly stood on watching the battle from his command bridge. The western wing of the fleet, led by Alek, launched a furious and desperate spearhead assault against the flank of the Mandalorian fleet which threatened to devastate the capitol ships constituting Revan's center, which could hardly afford to turn about-face to respond to a two-pronged attack by the Mandalorians. But as patient a man as he was, Revan knew that something was amiss when the long-overdue Republic reinforcements never arrived to assist his ailing forces.
His suspicions were confirmed when a scratchy transmission was received from Supreme Admiral Forn's command ship, informing him that no vessels would be spared, for he had advanced too far and was encircled, with no direct route for Republic reinforcements to come to his aid. In desperation, Revan launched an amassed all-out assault on the center-left of the Mandalorian fleet, which had predictably spread its vessels in a wide, crescent-moon shaped formation in order to maximise the firepower which could be brought to pummel and bludgeon his forces.
Their forces too dispersed and facing the risk of inflicting friendly fire should their right wing attempt to fire upon the Republic ships which pierced through their centre-left, the Mandalorians were forced to realign themselves and rush to engage the Revanchists in toe-to-toe combat in chaotic disorder. However, it only served to leave them in a compact, circular column, which proved to be irresistible and easy prey for Revan's fleet which, having already broken through their center-left, was now left free to adopt a classic formation of crossing the T, extending along both wings to form a long, semi-circular line which enabled them to wreak havoc on the tightly-packed Mandalorian ships.
Unable to mount an effective resistance and being hammered by the merciless fire of the Republic fleet, the Mandalorians broke in disarray and scattered, many being utterly destroyed before they could make the jump to Hyperspace. With the Mandalorian fleet finally neutralized, Revan turned his attention to turning the tide of the ground battle below.
The Mandalorian positions being far too entrenched, with heavy cannon fire coming from well-concealed spots in shrubs and woodland, Revan was forced to order his fleet to descend lower into the atmosphere of the hellish jungle moon to provide air-support for the desperate divisions under Meetra's command. Soon, every hostile anti-air battery was neutralized, their crews blown into bloodied oblivion, leaving the Republic fleet free to support its ground forces which finally began to make noticeable progress to the Mandalorian headquarters.
After the bloodiest day of battle since the outbreak of the war came to a close, the wreckage of hundreds of Mandalorian ships were left floating aimlessly in the emptiness of space. Every last Mandalorian warrior who fought on the ground lay dead, many having committed suicide by throwing themselves at the Republic soldiers who attempted to subdue them, activating their thermal detonators as they did so. Such was the pride of the Mandalorian race, which saw surrender as nothing short of humiliation and utter shame.
But victory came at an even steeper price for the victorious Revanchists. The number of ships in their fleet diminished to less than a third of its original strength prior to the battle, and victory on the ground came at the cost of no less than 42,000 soldiers, many of whom were now nothing more than unidentifiable piles of flesh and bones after having been eviscerated by the minefields they had to traverse. The horrors faced that day forever left a deep scar in the mind of the bravest and most competent of all of Revan's generals, Meetra Surik, whose faith in Revan was deeply shaken, but would be utterly destroyed for good in the final battle that was yet to come.
Revan learned an important lesson that day, as did his lover and the rest of the surviving Revanchists: the Republic could no longer be trusted, and they would be forced to stand alone, and face glorious victory or smoldering defeat without so much as a single squad of reinforcements from the incompetent Republic high command.
And just as the Republic betrayed and abandoned them, the Revanchists had forsaken and denounced the Republic.
In a desperate effort to revitalize, replenish and bolster his fleet, Revan ordered his subordinate officers and fleet commanders to forcibly seize any and all battle-worthy ships that they could find from every Outer-Rim world they came across in their crusade to defeat the Mandalorians once and for all. Most, taken aback by Revan's charisma and oratory abilities, willfully volunteered their service in the case of privateers, and assented to their ships joining Revan's fleet in the case of the planetary authorities and military. As for those who refused, their services were bought either through bribery, coercion, blackmail or actual violence, with the most unwilling of resistors disposed of by the assassins under Revan's command, the most senior of which was none other than his lover.
And replenish his fleet Revan did, just in time to meet none other than Mandalore the Ultimate in a fateful final confrontation above the doomed world of Malachor V.
Months having passed since their glorious return to Republic space, the Dark Lady still fondly remembered the day when she had the pleasure of personally gutting one of the Jedi Masters who played a key role in influencing the Senate and the high command of the Republic fleet to ultimately deny Revan's request for reinforcements during the battle of Dxun. One stab of her lightsaber into the chest of that old, useless man whom she despised with passion was never enough to satiate the sheer hatred that festered in her; she plunged her lightsaber into his body again and again, then mercilessly finished him off with a brutal wave of Force Lightning, persisting even after the final breath escaped his lifeless lips. It was not until Revan took her by the arm that she stopped further mutilating the Jedi Master, joining her lover and leader in focusing on conquering the world of Iridonia.
And now, with the entire Republic in the palm of their hand to conquer at their whim, she thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the slaughter as a dark smile stretched across her lips.
"My lord and lady," a male Sith officer dressed in stark grey addressed them, standing sharply with his feet firmly joined at attention.
The woman's smirk immediately turned into a scornful glare as she looked upon the officer, mightily displeased that her pleasant thoughts were broken.
"What is it, colonel? I am a busy man," Revan grunted through his mask, letting his frustration be known.
"We have just received reports from Lord Malak's fleet. He has engaged a small Republic fleet which stands in the way between our forces and the strategically vital Corporate Sector. Despite their numerical superiority, our forces have so far been out-maneuvered by the Republic."
"Has that rabid dog gone mad? To hell with him! Let him enjoy his little meaningless exercise. He has the necessary numbers to regroup his forces and overcome his enemy," Revan fumed, incensed by Malak's stupidity. Whereas Revan was the kind to always take calculated risks and perform a cost-benefit analysis in every course of action he took, Malak was little more than a hungry cat chasing a mouse whenever he could find one.
"My lord, there is something else," the colonel spoke up once more, the nervousness clearly showing in his face.
"This better be worth my attention, colonel," Revan hissed threateningly underneath his mask. "You know I have little patience or mercy for time-wasting…"
"The reports state that among the Republic resistance is none other than Bastila Shan."
The ears of the Dark Lord twitched at the very sound of the name. His stiff and agitated demeanor cooled down, and he now gave the colonel his undivided attention.
"As you must know, my lord, Bastila Shan has been harassing our forces indeed with her Battle Medit—"
"I am very much aware of the young girl's capabilities, colonel," Revan quickly responded, "and I will not make such a foolish mistake of letting an opportunity as golden as this to pass."
"My love, what will you do?" the Dark Lady questioned him.
"Order fleets 22 and 13 to remain here and continue to engage this ragtag band of Republic ships. The Murderess and fleets 36 and 41 shall prepare to make the jump to Hyperspace to join Malak's position."
"Yes, milord," the colonel promptly saluted and disappeared to relay Revan's command.
Turning to face Revan after seeing the colonel leave, the woman spoke. "I grow tired of Malak's imbecilic mistakes. You should have cut off his head instead of his jaw. Be sure to make no mistake the next time that fool challenges you."
Revan couldn't help but laugh softly at that remark. "Even Dark Lords need their friends, my dear." He began to lead her up the stairs to the top of the bridge, from which they could observe the gradual annihilation of the Republic fleet.
She grimaced. "I thought HK-47 was your best friend?"
Revan smiled. "Indeed."
Even now, the Dark Lady couldn't possibly hope to understand just why Revan spared Malak instead of killing him. He knew that Malak would eventually rise to challenge him again, and that it would only be a matter of time. And yet, unlike any who came before him, Revan was a Sith in name only. Driven primarily by the teachings of his old master Kreia, he had learned to regard the Force as an instrument to be used, and did not care a great deal about the teachings of either Jedi nor Sith. Whereas the Sith viewed the aspiration of apprentices to want to murder and supplant their masters as being a natural course of events which would serve to ensure that their society was ruled by none other than the most powerful and cunning, Revan only viewed it with distaste: a waste of true potential and worthy Force-sensitives, all in the name of nothing more than self-aggrandizement.
"This…'Bastila', I believe I have seen her face once before. Twice, in fact," she admitted.
"Yes. I remember seeing that pretty little face of hers among the crowd on Coruscant, where Malak was in the process of delivering a speech rallying potential allies to our cause. Shame she did not join us that day. Before that, I recall seeing her once in the library on Dantooine. The bitch sure likes to ensure that her presentation and appearance are impeccable."
Revan smirked. "And you don't?"
"My dear Revan…," she grinned back, coiling her rich red hair in her fingers. "An empress needs to look her best at all times, does she not? Though I would have reason to begin to question your faithfulness to me should you start keeping such a pretty little brunette in your company."
"Such questions are unnecessary," Revan stated once they stopped at the center of the upper platform, averting their gaze to the battle ahead. He stood just behind his lover, placing his arms around her and taking pleasure at her warmth as she leaned back against his chest. "You are the woman of my dreams, with whom I shall soon share an entire empire with, to mold the galaxy as we see fit."
"'The galaxy as we see fit'," she whispered. "I hold you to that promise, Revan…"
The stars ahead stretching as the Murderess initiated the jump into Hyperspace, the Dark Lady gently closed her eyes, her mind filled with dreams of conquest and endless possibilities.
But when she opened her eyes again, she was surrounded by nothing but darkness and cold. The arms around her which brought her all the warmth she could ever hope for were no longer there, replaced by chilling icy winds which sent shivers down her spine. Thunder roared in the distance, accompanied by the crack of lightning which illuminated the fires in her eyes before flashing away, leaving her shrouded in miserable shadows once more.
She rose from her bed and walked over to the end of her chamber, looking longingly out the dark stained-glass window to the skies beyond that were filled with endless storms. Every night she would be afflicted with dreams which swelled her heart with desire before robbing her of all hope as she woke to the heartbreaking reality of her present, and every night she would stare longingly out her window, hoping that the man she loved so dearly would somehow return to her.
But she knew that such things couldn't be.
…Or could they?