REVENGE OF THE SITH
Part VIII – Revenge of the Sith
It was time.
The preparations had been made, the creatures enforced, the magic pulsating and ready to go. The commanders of this army – the dead spirits – mapped out their attack and knew which planets would fall first.
Their spies within the Senate let them know the politicians of Coruscant – and the Republic as a whole – would do nothing against them. Their operatives made a convincing case as to whether the Republic should trust Revan again after his initial lie to them. As far as they were concerned, Revan was setting them up for something.
Which suited them fine.
They would plan, of course. So far, they had taken the worlds of Korriban and Yavin back into their folds, as well as the moon of Dxun of Onderon and that of Dathomir. Their servant did them justice, taking their planets back for them, leaving the Republic virtually in the middle of their emerging empire.
And now the time had come to begin the attack. Darth Trayun’s association with the Exchange led the true species to conquer those worlds as well. They had already set up a command center within the bowls of Nar Shaddaa, having the planet easily fall into their hands. And with their shadow assassins on Corelia…
But this mission…this was where they got rid of all their problems would be taken care. They had foreseen it — a betrayal and a battle that would launch their armies within the known Republic. And then, the galaxy would be theirs once more.
Revan wasn’t alarmed when he found himself within the bowels of what used to be the Traynus Core, nor was he surprised to see the woman he had summoned here. The area was aglow in red, with billowy smokes of white that glimmered at its edge and she sat in the middle of it. He walked over to her, standing over her, looking down on her with anger and pity.
“Do not pity me, Revan,” came her reply, as though she knew what thoughts went on in his head.
“Why?” he asked, a small trace of sadness in his voice. “I thought…”
“That you were my favorite?” she asked, callously. “While it is true I had affection for you, Revan, you know as I the Force is a blight on the galaxy.”
“So you felt the need to destroy not only it, but the galaxy in the process?” Revan huffed. “As well as the lives of those who use it?”
“I did not.” She murmured. “I only knew that I wanted an end to the Force, to the entity that had the Jedi Order under its grasp, and the pull which had destroyed so many lives…what destroyed me. And what destroyed you.”
This gave Revan pause. He had known that his master was teetering on the brink of darkness, but he had never understood her reasoning. “To say that the Force is the cause of all this…” he whispered.
“You and I both know the Force can do many things, Revan,” she replied. “The Force has power that some wish to yield and others hoped to destroy. I thought the Force to be a problem — I still do in fact — for the Order and the Sith to rely on it so heavily. I have no regrets on teaching you or Ellis how to go about using your minds and your thoughts instead of using the Force. It’s a crutch, an abomination.”
“For all your thoughts on the Force,” Revan commented. “It didn’t stop you from using it against the Jedi.”
“Or the Sith,” the old woman replied. She stood up and faced him, her eyes still the milky white they had been years earlier. “Despite my actions, my apprentice,” she continued. “I still hold to my ideals, though perhaps…not my methods.”
“You succeeded in destroying the Jedi Order and you crippled the Sith,” the young man said. “No one could seriously blame you if your apprentice chose to slip to the dark side.”
“Don’t think I can’t hear the tone in your voice,” she retorted. “If I remember correctly, you also managed to led your apprentice down the path to the dark side. Do not condemn me for actions you also took”
“I’m not proud of them.”
“Believe it or not, Revan, nor am I,” Kreia replied. “But as the state of the galaxy falls into peril, there is nothing to be done. I have seen it.”
“Do you have so little faith in me, Master?”
“I have all the faith in the galaxy placed with you, apprentice,” she countered. “It is the Republic and the Jedi that I hold no such hopes.”
They stood in silence for a time, neither saying anything or rather, they waited for the other to say something. “If you want to know what I see, all you need to do is ask.”
“Why?” came the retort. “When I too can see into future events.”
“Be careful with your confidence, Revan,” she replied. “Some may view it as arrogance.”
“In all truthfulness, I worry about the state of things,” he continued.
“I…may have given you an uphill battle to fight.”
Revan nodded. “Yes, you have,” he whispered. “And this time, I don’t know if there’s a way for me to stop this.”
“You will do things the way you have always done them, my pupil,” came the reply. “With determination and some luck.”
The young man grinned. “Luck of the Force, Master?”
“There is no luck, Revan.”
“Only the Force,” he concluded. “And we know how that will play out.”
“There is time, if you wish to know,” she said. “Time to…stop all that we have done.”
“I hope so.”
The plan was set in place.
The True Sith masters had given their next assignments to the three Sith Lords — both Brianna and Atton were off on reconnaissance missions to the planets of Rhen Var and Honoghr, respectively, while Ellis headed to the underground stronghold of Nar Shaddaa and to Vogga the Hutt.
Separating the three seemed to be a part of a bigger plan, though the lords and lady were not aware of this. The ultimate plan, of course, was to test these three individuals — too see which one of them would be at the front helm of the new empire.
The other two, if they failed, would be dealt with; hopefully by the fully trained Dark Lord.
Rhen Var was a cold and isolated planet, set not far from the former Jedi planet of Ossus, within the Tion Cluster. Rumors had it that after the Great Sith War – notably after the attack of Ossus by Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma – the remaining Jedi had fled here, burring some of their artifacts within the icy snow and glaciers that covered the entire planet. There were also rumors of a hidden civilization, but those could never be proven.
This was the planet that Brianna Yoly now found herself on, as a reconnaissance mission for the True Sith. She knew very little of the planet; the knowledge that Ellis had given her, that the once great Ulic had fled here in terror and cowardice and had died the death of a coward. Despite this, she was sent here to scan the planet, more importantly the resting place of Ulic.
The masters had told her that the former Jedi Knight and Sith Lord had wielded a great lightsaber and they wanted it, as well as word that he may also have some of Exar Kun’s belongings. So with a kiss goodbye to her husband, Brianna charted a light freighter with two Sith assassins accompanying her.
The planet was as described – cold, icy – covered in deep layers of snow. Putting on a heavy parka over her armor, Brianna led her company through the hash winds toward the coordinates of where they thought Ulic’s tomb to be.
Stopping only a few feet from their ship, Brianna advised the group to split up in order to cover more ground. “That may not be a good idea, Lady Salus,” replied one. “This climate is harsh and the planet has been known to have extreme blizzards.”
“That’s what we have the com-links for,” she said, haughtingly. “It does us no good to stay together when we don’t know for sure where the tomb may be. Besides, I think the masters have plans on turning Ulic back to the dark side. In fact, he would be a perfect addition.”
“No doubt, my lady,” said the other assassin. “But I have to agree with Mace; it’s far too dangerous for us to let you go alone.”
The young Echani rarely saw her anger rise, but in this case it did. Ever since her conversation with Atton, she had questioned what her exact role in all of this was. Primarily, it seemed to be keeping Ellis afloat and supporting him, but she could tell by the eyes of their crew and even Atton, that her presence was not wanted.
Could the others see in her what Atton could? That they thought her weak for her lack of malice or they saw her as meddlesome woman, who had stolen the heart of their leader? Again, the dark side that now swirled in her cried out in disgust. How dare they question her…her! She was their master and despite what they may think of her, she was a warrior and one that was on the dark side and knew the power there.
Extending her hand, Brianna sent bolts of Force Lightening into both of her ‘body guards’, knocking them to the icy ground. She listened to their screams of pain before she stopped, lowering her arm to her side. “I am your lady and master,” she said, her voice as harsh and cold as the wind around them.
“If you should ever question me again, I promise you will beg for death once I am through. Now I gave you orders to split up and so help me, if you disobey me again, I will kill you where you stand and leave your bodies on this forsaken planet.” With those words, Lady Salus walked towards the coordinates she held in front of her.
After she had walked for some time, assured that she was far from where she had left the assassins, Brianna stopped, taking deep breaths to calm herself. She had never been so angry and the dark side had fed into that. She squirmed, remembering how she relished in hearing those men scream out in pain, loving the feeling of having so much power at her fingertips.
She wrapped her arms around her body, shivering not because of the cold, but of her actions. The anger and glee she had felt frightened her, more so than usual. Up until then, she had never punished one of her minions; any misbehavior on their parts were quickly dealt with by Ellis and recently, by Atton.
Even though she knew of the brutality that the young marauder had caused when he had formerly been under Revan, she still couldn’t believe some of the hatred she could sense from him, as though it dripped from his body. And it truly did terrify her.
Shaking her head and taking another breath, the young woman continued her trek, keeping her head down in order to avoid the wind that hit her face. She didn’t know how long she had been walking, but she could see the sky darken above her. Looking around her, all she could see was the wind whipping about her and miles of snow covered ground. It was only on her second swept with her eyes, she was able to make out some sort of dwelling in the hills before her.
Breathing a sigh of relief for at least finding a shelter, she headed towards the mountain structure. It was an uphill climb that was difficult as it seemed the wind had picked up quite rapidly. The entrance was actually an ice cave and it took all Brianna had not to groan out loud. Of course she would find shelter within an ice cave. Upon entering it, of course, she could see it was anything but. It truly looked as though this was built out of rock, when the planet had been tropical and full of vegetation.
The structure of course had stalactites and large stalagmites rock around it, but it still seemed warm compared to what the outside beheld. Looking around her, Brianna slowly pulled down her hood, noticing that her feet walked upon hard ground and not that of crunch of snow and ice. She wondered if this was the remains of the ancient city, said to have been buried after the atmospheric cataclysm.
It seemed fairly large and she wondered how far this cavern went. She was reminded of the cave on Korriban when they had visited the planet. She remembered Ellis telling her of a secret tomb – the one belonging to Sith Lord Ludo Kresh – and how he had been rendered weak and could not enter. She had asked him, then how did he know the tomb had belonged to the ancient lord, and he had just stared at her.
“Because I’ve been through it.”
It had puzzled her only for a moment, before she realized that he was nearly lost to her. He explained that he had not been within the dark side and he had to wait, despite returning again near the end of their journey and still could not enter. He blamed his saving of Dantooine; how he should have let Azul take the planet, as it held nothing for him there.
But she had seen through his bitterness and his hate of his former life. She knew he was troubled and she wondered if their plans for the Republic were straining him. Only a few nights before their departure, she had woken up to his screams of terror and had to immediately calm him down.
Later, he told her he had relived something, but it was nothing he wanted to discuss. Sometimes she wondered if he still relieved his days during the Mandalorian War; his days under Revan.
The young woman reached for her com-link, however thinking back on her two ‘protectors’, she quickly put it away. If there was trouble, she felt she would be able to sense it and there fore, would be able to protect herself. She continued through the entrance, looking around her and guarding against anything unseen that could possibly attack her. She used the Force to sense any life that may be around and to her relief, found nothing suspicious.
Coming to a slight fork, she chose to go left, just on the feeling that she should. Going down this path, she could see that the cavern had gotten cooler and that while the ground was still mostly dirt, the walls seemed to get that icy glow. As she suspected, the further within the dwelling, the cooler it got, but not to the temperature that it must be outside. She blew out a sigh, watching as the cooler air drifted from her mouth. She nearly turned back around, but something caught her eye.
Straight ahead of her were what looked like two statues, both made of ice. The young warrior had never seen anything like this, so she couldn’t help but step towards them. They weren’t huge, but they were certainly taller than she.
They seemed very life like – two men standing proudly, each dressed within the traditional garb of the Jedi and both with lightsabers by their sides. Brianna didn’t know who the two were, but she couldn’t help but be enthralled by their features. Even in ice, these two beings seemed alive, full of vigor, despite being made of ice.
“Impressive, aren’t they?”
The voice so startled Brianna, she didn’t have time to think. With the quickness of a maralas, she spun around to face the mysterious voice, lightsaber out in front of her, and her stance in the position for defending herself, her mind already thinking of the dark sided powers she would use.
However, the sight she saw surprised her.
Before her stood a man, who wore the robes of a Jedi, and had brown hair that fell slightly into his eyes. He was smiling at her, perhaps at the mere notion that she was on the verge of attacking him; he found that rather amusing.
“You have nothing to fear, young one,” he replied, taking a few steps towards her. Brianna made no motion to move out of her defense, but she did let her eyes widen as the man came closer.
“I made these,” he whispered. “I and my young apprentice made these, to honor those before us. I wonder how many we could have made if we had not been disturbed here.” He looked at her, his head cocked to one side. “What is your name, child?”
The young woman went to open her mouth, prepared to give her title and rank among the Sith, but for some reason, she didn’t. “Brianna,” she said, slowly. “But I am no longer a child.”
The man again smiled, nodding in accord with her. “I apologize then, Brianna,” he replied. “Was it knowledge that brought you to my cave? To learn about the Jedi?”
“No,” she said. “I’m here to…” She stopped abruptly, taking a step away from him. “Why should I even tell you? You’ve yet to even tell me your name.”
“Must I?” he asked. He again tilted his head to look at her. “But you already know who I am, though I sense some confusion within you.”
“There is no confusion where I am concerned.”
“Indeed.” He walked around her once more before coming to stand between the two statues. “These are Arca Jeth and Andur Sunrider,” he said. “They were once great Jedi, Jedi who should be honored for their work. Master Jeth was my master.”
The man hung his head. “He died in my arms and from then, I had felt responsible for his death. I…made foolish choices, which led to foolish mistakes, which of course led to disastrous consequences.”
Brianna gulped, unsure as to why this man…this…form…was telling her this, but the way he looked at her frightened her. “Why tell me this?” she asked, trying her best to keep her voice level. “I have no need for Jedi philosophy. I don’t even care in the Jedi.”
“Really?” the man asked, a true look of puzzlement on his features. “That is surprising, seeing as you have a link to them; to us.” At her incredulous look, the man laughed, asking, “Do you think because I am dead I can not sense the Force about you?”
He raised an eyebrow at her, drawing his eyes to her abdomen and then back to her face. “And it is very strong…very strong indeed.” Brianna deactivated her lightsaber and stood normally. “And what were your plans, young Brianna?” he asked, his eyes borrowing into hers. “I sense the swirl of the dark side within you, though you still possess the light.”
“I’m supposed to temp you to the dark side again,” she said, shyly. “My…masters wish it.”
That seemed to open the floodgates for the young woman, as she began to tell the man everything, from her time with the second Ebon Hawk crew to the here and now, where she was the dark lady of the Sith.
The man stood, awed by the events that had taken place since he had been dead and terrified at what seemed to be happening now. He listened to her story, how the True Sith – the Sith he had once defeated and then joined – had once again reemerged from their exile. He had known about these True Sith; he had studied them while under the Kraths’, learning about their ancestors, as well as meeting Marka Ragnos, who had proclaimed him the apprentice to Exar Kun. But he hadn’t gotten through much of their history or their whereabouts after the defeat of Naga Sadow.
After listening, the man looked at the young woman in front of him. Her emotions swirled around her, both dark and light battling, but the light clearly having the advantage. He was reminded of himself, some time ago, when he had gone with the Kraths with the intention of good, only to be sucked into the dark side.
He felt that she could be; would be stronger than he was, but he could tell she was worried for this Darth Trayun, the man she called husband. “Do you want to be a Sith, Brianna?” he asked, quietly. “Do you feel the hatred and the malice that the Sith do? Does your heart ache to butcher the weak and to manipulate the powerful? If the answer is no to any of these, I suggest you leave before they become yes.”
“But how?” she asked. “Ellis…I worry for him. He’s…he’s falling harder and faster than I thought he could, than I thought anyone could.”
“These enemies you speak of,” he began. “I know they are your foes, but sometimes redemption lies within those you have once shunned.”
The young woman nodded. “Revan…” she whispered. “I’m not sure how I feel about him though. He murdered my father, as well as countless others. But yet…he was returned to the light. I…I don’t think he wants to hurt Ellis. I think he wants to help him.”
“Then perhaps he is the one you need to speak with.”
“But again, how?” she asked, starting to pace within their confines. “I know our followers question me, look upon me with contempt. I know Atton thinks I am weak because I can not pour all of my hate into my fighting. Even when around Ellis, I…I mirror him, though I may not want to cause harm.”
“Your man sounds…interesting,” the spirit murmured.
“He’s not bad, he’s not,” she whispered, intently. “He’s just…” She struggled to find the words to describe what exactly she thought Ellis was. No one could understand what she saw in him, she was sure. This spirit wouldn’t understand how she saw the man that was her husband.
That the Ellis, the Darth Trayun, he portrayed was different from the Ellis that she had fallen in love with and had married. That Ellis was the one who had been a Jedi Knight once, who had gone to do what the Jedi Council refused to do, who had saved people from the Mandalorians that had ravaged countless worlds…
“You need not explain it to me, Brianna,” the spirit said. “I understand. I was like this young man of yours; I was a Jedi Knight and I had saved those who needed it. Sometimes…traumatic things happen that force us one way or another. Perhaps it is the Force that guides our actions sometimes.
“However, I do not believe your young man is lost to the powers of the dark side, though it sounds as though his struggle back to the light will be difficult. You must find this Revan, Brianna; find him and tell him your suspicious and concerns. If he is, was a friend to your husband, he will know how to lead him through the darkness.”
He smiled at her.
“And you, young Brianna,” he stated. “You will be his greatest strength. I’m glad to see the Jedi have changed that rule.” Seeing her blush and turn away, he chuckled. “Ah, I see. You are not exactly Jedi, are you? But you, Brianna, are not a Sith either.”
“I could get caught,” she whispered.
“But would it be worth it?” he asked, solemnly. “Would you rather millions of people die instead of sending a call for help?”
Brianna swallowed deeply. She knew what she had to do, had known all along really, but was it too late? Was she too far in to really make a difference? And what about Revan? Would he still be willing to help, even after everything they had led him through? She was sure she knew of the outcome to what constituted in a betrayal – a betrayal of the Sith, of Ellis — but it was the chance she had to take.
Revan would know where of their hidden position and hopefully, he would have the Republic with him. She only hoped that the former dark lord could return her husband to the man she knew still existed. Nodding to herself, she made to leave, but then stopped and turned to face the spirit.
“You are far more powerful than I, Master Jedi,” she said, bowing slightly. “I’m glad to have this chat with you, despite my reasons for coming.”
“You don’t need to thank me, Brianna,” he said. “I am bonded here; this is where I died, but also where I was fully redeemed for my actions.” He looked at her, before saying, “The path you face is a hard, young one, know that. Sometimes things must get worse before they get better.
“However, I have seen the good in you and I believe that it will guide you through this time. It is imperative that the Sith do not control the Republic and that they must be stopped. You are the catalyst, Brianna. It is your choice on how you choose to go about it.”
Again, the young Echani nodded before heading out the way she came. She quickly sent word on her com-link, notifying her charges that she had found nothing and was going back to the ship.
She hoped to beat them both back and being able to hopefully send a message to Revan and the Ebon Hawk. Even if she had to track down members of her former crew, she would, if it meant to save the Republic from certain destruction.
In the dwelling on the side of an ice covered mountain, Ulic Qel-Droma watched a young woman rush out to her transport in hopes to warn those that the Sith were coming. He could sense the goodness in her, that he hadn’t lied about, but he didn’t reveal all he knew.
He knew the secret that she carried within her and knew, if only for that, she would do anything to protect herself and her loved ones. He had been surprised when she had told him that she wanted to turn him to the dark side; something that was incredibly bold by her masters. He wondered if they had gotten others to their cause.
That thought alone made him shiver.
He didn’t want to think of the resources that the Sith could have come up with.
He hadn’t told her he had seen the destruction that would come next, but he had at least told her what he could and should tell her. He hadn’t lied when he said that things would get worse before they would get better, but they would get better.
In time of course, but the future wasn’t set either.
He could sense the dark side growing within the galaxy and he hoped the young woman would be able to find the strength to endure.