Genre: Star Wars I 'The Phantom Menace' fan fiction, speculating on how Maul obtained his unique colouration.
Disclaimer: Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, and the Star Wars universe belong to George Lucas. I only borrowed them, without intent to harm or profit or to otherwise misuse them. The cover art is by Nicky Barkla, and is used with his permission. His excellent art may be found on DeviantArt under "Nicky Barkla" and on Facebook under "NickyBarklaArt" . 'Metamorphosis' contains violence and the suggestion of adult situations, so read it only if these things won't offend you! – Ya Nefer Ma'at
by Ya Nefer Ma'at
"Client for you, Sir."
Kail looked up, a ghost of annoyance on her face. Selkur stood stiffly before her desk. Kail was about to berate her assistant: "Body by Design" handled its myriad customers without any of them bothering her; after all, that's why she employed a large staff.
As she drew a preparatory breath, her new client stepped forward, standing silently and looking down at her from the depth of his deep cowl. Kail abandoned her string of recriminations, her anger lost in the dark power of her client's gaze. She stared into those eyes, dimly aware of her surroundings, consumed in swirling arctic winds that somehow originated from the cowled man. A worm of icy power slithered through her when he gestured, studying her empty face with clinical detachment. Looking dumbly at him, Kail concentrated, eventually forcing her slack jaw to obey her and close. When her new client summarily dismissed Selkur, Kail tried to protest, but both her words and her quick flash of fury were swept away in the howling arctic storm that the other radiated.
As Selkur left, the man stood calmly, a slight smile easing the hard line of his handsome lips. Kail blinked, shaking her head as the crippling cold eased. She straightened to look carefully at her guest, fearing that a Jedi had finally found her carefully hidden, mostly illegal, business.
"Welcome and peace, Sir." Kail heard her words as if from a distance, her gaze cautiously tracking his expression. "What may I do for you?"
"You are the owner?"
Kail wanted to lie, but something about the way he was smiling warned her not to. "I-I am." She scowled, swallowing. "Eshva Kail, at your service. Will you be seated, Sir?"
He inclined his head in return, dropping his hood and smoothly swinging his full black cloak from his shoulders. The man revealed was powerfully built, lithe and agile in his movements. He boldly exposed a long light sabre when he shed his shroud, confirming Kail's fear that a Jedi stood before her. Dropping his cloak on a chair, the man settled opposite Kail. Through-out, he maintained intense eye contact with her, his dark eyes drilling into hers as if to have her soul.
His black garments rustled in the tense silence as he produced a holo-emitter from the folds of his tunic. Extending his black gloved hand to Kail, he activated the device. A holographic man sprang to life before her, rotating slowly to show intricate full body tattoos. Kail studied the image, then raised her gaze once more to face his searing stare.
"You wish to be decorated with these markings?"
She was unable to keep the edge out of her voice, believing that he was toying with her. Surely he would strike her down, standing as judge and executioner to her as a Jedi had to her mentor, condemning and killing him as she watched. Only her quick anger had stopped her from being scared off by that Jedi bastard. Defiant, she had taken up the reins of her mentor's business, to prevent his death from being his defeat. She owed her mentor that much, for his tutelage and his love.
Her guest nodded, oddly tense. "And I wish to have horns."
Horns, Kail thought, eyebrows momentarily jumping. Could he be serious? A closer look at the image revealed a crown of short horns on the skull of the prototype.
"Can you do this?"
Kail leaned back, trying not to laugh. He was serious! What kind of crazy Jedi was he, wanting to be painted like a demon? Well, not that it mattered... she was certainly not one to judge the bizarre looks her clients desired, not in her business. She took the holo-projector from his palm to study the image more carefully. "We can colour you, certainly–"
"Not 'we': you, and you alone."
Again her eyebrows quirked. "–while engineering horns will require more effort. Are you using any particular race for your pattern?"
"I am not."
Kail glanced at his thick head of hair. "And your hair?"
Kail placed the image on the desk between them. She studied him in silence, seeking the sanctimonious duplicity that she believed to characterize the Jedi. At length, her fingers beat a restive rhythm, and she stirred, turning to the computer beside her. Aware of how his eyes tracked her, Kail accessed her gene bank. She turned her head slightly, deliberately skimming her gaze off the black abyss of his eyes. Glancing between the holo-image and the man, she mentally transformed him, imagining that the tableau playing out behind her eyes was mirrored in the black pools of his stare. As she mentally painted him, her fingers drifted over the computer controls, showing images in quick succession.
"This one." Kail spoke decisively, turning to the monitor and enlarging the image. A head was displayed, adorned with a crown of thorn-like horns. It was very similar to the holo-image displayed between them. Her guest leaned forward, allowing a slight smile to stretch his handsome lips.
"Yes." he purred, his gaze jumping from horn to horn as the image rotated. The result would be even better than he had envisioned. Frowning slightly, he circled around to stand behind Kail. He reached over her and froze the image as the head rotated to face him. At once, he knew that he must have the striking red and yellow eyes as well. From the description accompanying the image, he learned that he was to gain Sovaar horns and iris colouration, using genes from a race found on the outer rim planet of Byss. When he looked down at Kail, the smile had returned.
She was staring up at him with a frown, her head tilted. "I can transform you as you wish, Sir. Should you opt for cosmetic colouration, you'll find that the colouring process is a bit uncomfortable, but the tenderness will disappear within a week. Cosmetic colouration will fade slightly over the first few weeks. Usually the colour is then good for years, though it will dull over the course of your life. I–"
He leaned down, bringing his handsome face closer to hers, violating her personal space to stare unblinking into her wide eyes.
"I don't want temporary colour. I want you to modify my skin genetically, so that the pattern will always be fresh. Find the genes in your computer, woman."
His words fell over her like a swarm of ice shards, catching her focus in a vortex of howling wind and ripping it from her. Before she knew what she was doing, she found herself searching her gene bank. It was easy to find a species with the vibrant red and velvet-black needed for his design. With her compliance, she felt the deep icy presence of his power within her pulling back.
"Yes..." he purred again, his lips pulled into a slight smile as he gazed at the image. "I will have those genes as well."
Kail struggled to escape the deadening cold, seeking heat in her anger at his bloody, sneaky Jedi mind tricks. Vespra dragon and Sovaar genes? Good. Adding two genes to his genome would double her ability to make the gene products poisonous to him. She would see to it that he would die screaming. The thought made her smile.
His soft laugh erased that smile. He flashed forward. Kail gasped when he wound one gloved hand through her hair and pulled her to him. Nose to nose, he held her, slowly increasing the ferocity of his stance. He was intrigued to see that she was more angry than frightened, and felt a quick excitement that she showed spirit. Feistiness had always attracted him.
"You will control the genes, woman, so that they are harmless within me." She gasped, her eyes growing wide, as he twisted his gloved hand in her hair. "If you dare to disobey me, I will know, and I will punish you." He let his words linger, leaving her to imagine what her punishment would entail. From the corner of his eye, he watched her hand slide over to her communication board.
"Selkur, this is Kail. I do not wish to be disturbed. Cancel our appointments and send everyone home. Secure the building. Do it now, Selkur! Understood?" Kail force herself to keep her anger tightly in check as her guest maintained his painful grip on her hair and his proximity, his smile a chilling celebration of her submission.
"Good girl.", he breathed, tilting his head slightly while keeping hers in his iron hold. She twitched when he forced his mouth over hers, taking a kiss in a way that left no doubt about his claim of dominion. He ran his gloved fingers along the line of her jaw, then lifted a thick strand of her hair to his lips. Her scent was very distracting. Kail tracked the emotions running over his face, holding her breath. A long moment held them uncertain, before his dark eyes hardened, and he pulled Kail out from behind her desk.
"Time for metamorphosis."