REVENGE OF THE SITH
Part X – Return of the Jedi
Bastila had stood with Carth on the bridge of the Sojourn when Revan’s voice carried over on the comm. She let go of the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding when he called the entire crew’s attention. He confirmed that the apprentice to Darth Trayun was dead, as was the rest of the crew. They had found servants of the True Sith masters aboard and as Revan put it, had “taken care of them.” leaving no doubt as to what may have occured.
That had been nearly twenty minutes ago. She and Carth hadn’t left their positions, instead they watched as several shuttles carrying all the ground troops headed towards the floating ship known as the Necrosis. Bastila had never done this – stand and watched loved ones go to fight. She could feel the trepidation and fear from Carth, knowing that his son and lover would be on that ship and would be heading towards the fight that may not bring them back.
She too had that fear, the fear that she may never see Revan again and that their daughter may never know her father. She had felt this way before, they both had, after Revan had left and the new insurrange of Sith had come and swept the Jedi Order aside and destroyed them. They had both felt powerless then, helpless that they couldn’t fight in this battle that Revan waged by himself.
But things were different now. They weren’t powerless and they would fight. In fact, as soon as they felt the ship had entered the atmosphere of the planet, Bastila would do her thing. Despite Revan’s assurances, Bastila still felt wary at the feat she would be attempting. While she had never had issue with affecting so many people on such a large scale, she had never faced a race that were so efficient at causing mayhem and destruction by way of magic enhanced Force abilities. She never doubted that Revan had seen these beings, what she doubted were her own abilities at stopping them.
A hand on her arm caused her to look over at Carth, who had a worried look on his face. How strange that their friendship had taken them so far from their first meeting. She never would’ve made it through those hard years without him and certainly Revan held the admiral in the highest regards. The decision the couple made regarding Carth and their daughter’s wellbeing had been well deserved. She covered his hand with her own, giving him an assured smile.
“Don’t worry,” he whispered. “We’ll get through this, like we always have.”
“I know,” she nodded.
“Admiral,” the helmsman replied. “The Necrosis reports they’re in position.”
The Jedi Princess and the Admiral looked and smiled at each other. It was ironic that their lives would intertwine in this way, knowing that their intitial meeting had not been positive. But they had suffered together and had grown a little together, all by way of a man named Jayden Korr. She gave his hand a squeeze; he dropped a kiss on her temple.
With that, Bastila Shan turned and walked off the bridge, with every intention of heading to her quarters to meditate. She had a battle to configure.
The planet of Ziost was quiet.
The surface of the planet, steeped in ice, hadn’t had anything living on its surface for hundreds of years. Only with the immergence of the True Sith species did the northern side of the planet see any type of life or even activity. It had taken the minions of the Sith a number of years to build this secret cove that nested within a large boulder face mountain.
The true species had begun this cave once they had established a base on Thule and as the years had rolled by, the true species were able to delve back within their alchemy magic. When they had discovered the Republic in disarray due to the disbandment of the Jedi Order, their interests were of course peaked. They watched as Jedi after Jedi abandoned their sacred order and they waited for the one they believed to be their Sith’ari.
But the Sith don’t just sit back and watch; in order for their new plans to take hold, they needed to be sure that the ground work was laid out. While they had not anticipated Revan’s return to the light or his defeat of Darth Malak, they had anticipated a new rise of Sith. They had approached the former master Kreia through the holocrons that lay within the academy on Malachor V and they watched as she turned to the Sith for her answers, using her knowledge to train others and her apprentices.
For what ever reason, the true species were not content with this old woman as their leader. While she was certainly intelligent, there was a mistrust to her – one that the true masters could easily see. This was why they needed to speak to her apprentices only.
The true species had not expected for Sion to lead an assualt on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and they never in their dreams imagined the destruction that Nilihus would bring to not only the planet of Katarr, but to those on the planet, namely a large majority of Jedi. These Sith had been trained well by the true species, better than Darth Traya’s teachings.
It had been a mutual decission to rid themselves of her; she was weak and she had not shown the ways in which they could use the powers they had discovered. It was the True Sith that told the apprentices of the disturbance, of the immensely powerful disturbance of the Force, one that seemed to be directing their actions. And once the true species understood what was happening, they wanted the source of this disturbance.
How elated they were when the source of the disturbance turned out to be the asset the true species needed.
The ship known as the Necrosis hurled through the atmosphere towards the planet of Ziost. At its helm was the captain, Darth Trayun. He had taken the pilot’s chair, after some trepidation and on Revan’s insistence, even though sitting here reminded him of the pilot and friend that he had just lost. The two had waited until they were within range to contact the base that sat within the caves on Ziost before utilizing their captive. Veroba was of course rather…reluctant to turn over her masters, but some heavy persuasion from both Revan and Trayun caused her to do the deed.
That had been nearly twenty minutes ago, after the confirmation from the base below that Veroba had been correctly identified and that they would receive her ship once she returned. After that, Revan had escorted her off the bridge. Trayun didn’t know what would happen and he didn’t think he would even bother to ask.
Ellis Yoly, the man behind the darth persona, found that his mind seemed to be in a jumbled mix. While he clearly was aware of what his next objective was, the way things came about seemed so…conjunted. He’d been experiencing the most oddest moments lately, as though his mind wandered without his consent and usually the thoughts would go through his life, as though his mind knew something he may not. There were so many paths on this road and none of them, he knew, would lead to happiness.
Even if he managed to save Brianna, he would still need to contend with his betrayal to their masters and the Sith never took betrayal lightly, not in the least. And what if Revan actually managed to defeat the True Sith? There was no way the former Jedi would just let him go about his life with his wife and child. Revan had already demonstrated he tolerated Ellis only for the purposes of defeating the Sith. There was nothing to guarantee that Revan wouldn’t throw him to those Republic maralases.
Then there was the distinct possibility that Brianna was already dead, if what Revan said was true. After all, look what had happened to Atton. And if Brianna was dead…a deep sorrow seemed to settle in Ellis’ heart. He had never once thought about the consequences of his actions. He had been driven by the hatred of Revan and that of the Jedi Order; he’d been consumed with grief and rage that he had just wanted the galaxy to disappear, along with his feelings.
It was only when he had been separated from Atton and Brianna that his level of emotion seemed to heighten – his distress at where they could be, that his masters had turned on him, just like Kreia did, just as Revan did, just as the Order and the Council did. He knew those around him, the Republic soldiers and staff, thought he was losing his mind; hell, Ellis was beginning to think that himself.
He just reminded himself that things would get back on track once he found Brianna. Once he found Brianna alive and once he went with his plans on getting rid of Revan. This arrangement would have to benefit him as well. This was his plan! Once he found Brianna, he would turn over Revan to his masters and he could continue in his plans to rise in power. But somewhere deep inside, he wondered if this plan would really work now, after the betrayal had been not only discovered, but confirmed.
The young lord had to do everything in his power to keep the panic from overcoming him. He swallowed, putting on the face of calm determination as he heard the door to the bridge open. He didn’t need to see who had joined him, he knew it was Revan, knew the presence of the friend from the past. He knew he had just come from talking to all the ‘troops’ that had joined them onboard. It was a foolhardy plan, he thought, from the vaulted Revan; the famed tactician who led so many to their deaths.
Is that what Ellis had also led? His crew lay in puddles of blood, his apprentice dead, his wife…unknown.
But he would know!
Would he? Could he know? The dark side had shrouded him for the years and months he stayed on this journey; he remembered all the lectures about how the dark side corrupted the very essence of an individual. Had this happened to him? To Revan?
What the hell was happening to him?
“I feel your unrest, Ellis,” Reven murmured. “The path’s end is on the planet below and a definitive decision will be made on it.”
“What sort of decision?”
Revan looked down at the younger man. “That’s all up to you, isn’t it?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “Carth once told me that, about a decision I would make. And I asked, what if it would be the wrong one.”
“Let me guess,” Ellis replied, sarcastically. “He said he would save you from it. I don’t need saving, Revan, nor do I want to be saved.”
“I think you do,” Revan said. “Deep down in that tough, macho man attitude of yours. And whether you like it or not, your wife obviously sacrificed her life for you.”
“She’s not dead!”
“And if she is, Ellis?” asked Revan. “Have you even thought of that?”
The younger man only glared.
“I thought not,” he continued. “I, however, have thought of it and I have thought about what it may do to you. I’m fully aware you will turn on me and that I may actually die today. But I refuse to put your redemption first, when you are the reason we fight this threat at this moment.”
“You should talk, Darth Revan,” Ellis sneered. “You, who bowed down to my masters, and leveled the Republic for them.”
“Malak leveled the Republic!” Revan exclaimed. “I knew! Somewhere, somehow I knew what would happened, and I left the military infastructures intact. It was that power hungry best friend of mine that tore everything down to shreds. And you’ve only managed to destroy what was left.”
Ellis sneered at the elder man before turning back towards the outer screen. “Do not tempt to anger your pilot, Revan,” he muttered.
“As if you won’t try to turn me over to your masters,” Revan huffed.
“You’ll die before you succeed.”
“As will you.”
The men spoke no more.
Space, and all that was in it, was quiet.
And aboard the ships sent from the Republic, there was also silence. They had sent those who would fight on the ground towards the crippled Necrosis upon word from Revan. Now the only thing they could do would be to wait, to see if those on the planet below would send anything their way.
For some, the anxiety of it all was proving to be too much. There were some who were antsy to get going, to bring the fight to the Sith instead of waiting. Some others decided to try and relax, to wind down, confident that what ever would happen could be defused, thanks in part to Revan and Bastila Shan.
To the commanders of these vessels, the wait was hard for them as well, but they could not afford to let their guard down. This would be unlike any fight they had ever encountered and they had to be at the ready in case something happened. So many things could go wrong, especially knowing what the Sith had in their arsenal and the power they could wield. Time seemed to just stand still, never moving, inching moment by moment…just building more tension that those onboard didn’t think they needed more of.
The only thing that held their interest was watching the shuttles meet with the Necrosis. But once all were aboard, the ship started up and began to move towards the planet below, until it was no longer held by the eyes of the crew. It was then the silence started to become unbearable to most, uneasy to the rest. Statistics were called on everything aboard, just to give the crew something to do as they waited.
It was too much.
Just when it was thought to be another waste of time, something happened.
It was the Millenium that first saw it. The pilot noticed something that seemed small, nothing to report, but then it began to doing something odd. “Sir,” he called to the admiral, one Garrick Loast. “I think I see something.”
“Report!” the admiral commanded.
“It looks like a probe, but…” the lieutinent trailed off, his hands running over the controls, trying to track the object. “I can’t seem to find it any longer on the screen. It’s like…it disappeared.”
“How can that be?” asked the admiral. “Are you sure you saw something?”
“Yes sir,” the lieutinent confirmed. “It was small, I’ll admit, but I did see something, but now…”
The younger man wasn’t able to finish, as the ship was rocked from the left side. “What the hell?” exclaimed one crew member.
“Looks like we’ve been hit on the port side!”
“No kidding,” Adm. Loast commented. “I think we all realized that. I want a damage report!”
“Nothing serious,” replied another member. “Seems like something just swiped us.”
“I’m not taking any chances,” the admiral said. “Contact the Mercer and Sojourn. Tell them what happened.”
“That was not just a swipe,” Loast murmured. “Something’s going on, I know it.”
“Sir,” the pilot said. “Communication coming in from the Sojourn.”
“Put it through,” Loast replied. “Carth?”
“Garrick, is something going on?”
“We were just hit by something,” Loast said. “Not sure what. The crew’s telling me it was a swipe.”
“The XCalibar just informed Forn that they had been hit as well,” Carth reported. “Nothing over here, but I don’t take chances.”
“Nor do I,” Garrick replied. “I’m putting the crew on alert. Revan did say these Sith could be tricky.”
“I’ll send word to the Mercer and the Calibar about it. Sojourn out.”
“You heard me,” Loast commanded. “Get ready for whatever kind of fight they throw at us. I won’t let them take us by surprise.” The crew went about setting the ship for battle, while Garrick looked out into space. “Come on, you bastards. Let’s see what you’ve got.”
Within the confines of the Ziost base, the day went as it normally did. Those Sith troops who were not occupied on other worlds were working hard in taking care of the odd creatures that were within the hold, along with the ships and other vessels that would be used to attack the Republic proper. Most of the men and women who worked here were a bit confused on how they would be going through with an attack when they didn’t really have the resources. Oh, they knew the Republic was in much worse a state, as they had their Sith masters on their side, but how would they defend themselves?
There were only a hand full of ships that were kept within the facility, a much smaller number than that of the Republic for sure. And those beasts! Most of the Sith troops had never seen these types of…abominations were the only thing they could call them. They were strange creatures, ones that even the bravest soldier didn’t want to be near.
Along with these beasts were ones that the Sith could handle – rancors and terentateks – but even these beasts could be problematic. They had lost nearly a hundred men just trying to feed these creatures. The True Sith masters waved it off, chuckling that they could make more troops in the matter of seconds.
No one dared ask what that meant.
However strange the troops may have thought this, they were never the less loyal to their masters. There had been some that wondered if Lord Trayun could truly return to the peace loving ways of the Jedi, given the time he had been away along with the fact that he was in the presence of Revan and his whore Bastila Shan; but rumors had come down that a resistance was happening.
Lord Casus, one of the apprentices to Darth Trayun, had gone out to try and rescue their leader. Just a few of them went with the others, knowing that perhaps it was already too late. Trayun had been gone for several months now and unless he was as ruthless with Revan as he was with them, he might’ve had a chance. Again, the rumors held and they held the belief that the Sith would be moving regardless of whether or not Trayun was retrieved.
They would not be denied what was rightfully theirs and what they had been kept from.
Nothing would stop them.
Not even the attack they didn’t see coming.
No one thought it odd when Master Veroba Dee called in from the Necrosis, Lord Trayun’s flagship; after all, she too had been dispatched to the Necrosis, along with that crazy Wookie. It didn’t mean anything. If anything, it meant that their plans could now go forward, without the hinderance of those loyal to Trayun. Not that he hadn’t been a good dark lord, but his capture and subsequent rescue hindered progression. It had to be this way.
It was business as usual.
So while the crews on the lower level prepared the modest landing bay for the flagship, and while they waited to see the return of Veroba, they were completely surprised by the Republic, Onderanian, Mandalorian, and Wookie siege that burst forth from the landing hatch.
Those that managed to get an actual glance at what or who lead this attack, they weren’t surprised to see Revan, the prodigal knight; they were however surprised to see Darth Trayun with him, double-bladed lightsaber slicing through the men and women he called his troops. There were no words exchanged, no shouts of honor from the Mandalorians or loyalty from the Wookies…
And while the crews on the lower level were being beaten back, the True Sith masters were very aware that Revan was leading an attack, just as they were very aware that Darth Trayun was with them.
“Just as you forsaw,” Exar Kun murmured, turning his head to look at one of the remaining true species.
“And as you have planned for, Master Kun,” the ghost replied, giving the other spectre a grin. “Is the girl ready?”
Kun nodded his head towards the side, where Freedon Nadd lead Brianna Yoly from her force cage. The young woman stood tall, as she faced her capturers. She was quite round with child, that was obvious to all around, as was her attitude in this entire matter. Nadd prodded her to step before the remaining True Sith master, who at this point was the only True Sith master who sat on their council and the only one whom both Kun and Nadd actually trusted.
Kun snarled at her, a deadly gleam in his eye. The ghostly image looked at this woman, one that both Kun and Nadd had said was the key to completely controlling Darth Trayun. “Are you not frightened of us, child?” asked the spectre.
“I’m more terrified of what you plan on doing to this galaxy,” Brianna spat.
“And yet you went along with our plans,” Nadd replied.
Brianna wisely kept her comments to herself, not wanting to explain her motivation.
“Nothing to say, Mrs. Yoly,” Kun teased. “Perhaps you think we aren’t aware of your display on Rhen Var. Your guards thought you handled them well with your show of hatred. They almost seemed ashamed to turn you over as a traitor. I almost want to blame my old apprentice, Ulic, for this change of attitude. But that would be placing the blame in the wrong place, wouldn’t it, Lady Salus?”
“What do you mean?” the young woman asked.
“We’ve known of your betrayal for some time,” Nadd continued. “Did you truly think we wouldn’t discover what you had been up to? We’ve sensed your…affinity to the Jedi and their ideals. Master Kun and I thought perhaps your husband would remove those…feelings from you, but it’s plainly obvious he has not. But soon, child, you will see the true way.”
“I refuse to be the bait to lure my husband here.”
“My dear,” Kun said. “You don’t have a choice in the matter. Trayun and Revan are here as we speak.”
“No doubt looking for you,” Nadd added. “But while those Republic fools think they have surprised us, we will surprise them.”
Brianna looked at the masters before her, not sure she understood. “You mean aren’t planning to flee?” she asked, the hope within her starting to sink further as she looked at them and heard the coming commotion.
The masters laughed, with Kun and Nadd laughing the loudest. “Flee?” asked Kun. “Why would we flee when we have the upper hand?”
“I told you, I won’t…”
The woman’s sentence was stopped as her body went rigid. “Spirited young thing, isn’t she?” stated the True Sith. “Your plans, Master Nadd? Master Kun?”
“We will use her to lure Trayun here,” Nadd began. “As you have seen, that is already in phase.”
“Trayun and Revan will find their way to us,” Kun continued. “We have what Trayun wants and only Revan stands in his way. We will just appeal to him to see what the Sith can offer him and what the Republic and Revan can not.”
“And that will bring him back to us?”
Nadd chuckled. “There is much anger in this one,” he said. “Marka Ragnos thought he was every bit of evil that is needed to be Sith. That he harked back to the old ways, of the ancient ways of the Sith. But Ragnos was wrong; he said he forsaw another Sith’ari, but both Master Kun and I know that Trayun will lead the Sith to a greater glory than they’ve ever experienced. Look at all he’s done so far. No matter what Revan and his kath hounds may have told him, Trayun wants power. And only we can give it to him.”
“And when he takes his place back within our circle,” Kun added. “Then he will have his wife and the Sith will have a new legion that will be loyal to us.”
A battle waged on, within the depths of a mountain on the planet of Ziost.
While in the air, there seemed to be a battle of epic proportions.
The lone True Sith master that sat on the revamped Sith council may have been the only master that sat on the higher floor, he still had a small legion of True Sith troops and with them, the power to defeat the Republic. These troops, that numbered in the near thousand, gathered together and used their affinity to the Force and to their Sith magic and made hundreds of squads of ships that left the planet to engage the ships that hovered around their planet.
These troops had noticed their human counterparts seemed to shriek in terror as Mandalorian and Wookies came at them, easily striking them down. When the troops asked their master the reason for this cowardice, they were informed of Bastila Shan, the wife of Revan, and her gift of Battle Meditation.
It was then the troops understood. Their troops suffered, while the Republic and it’s allies were bolstered by it. They would need to attack the wench Shan.
A small half continued in their illusions against the ships in the air, while some others added their own to the mayhem that continued on the first level. They created more terenteks and made their Massassai warriors, making them target those that came with Revan and Trayun. Their master told them that the traitors were not to be stopped, that their path was to remain on course, as they found their way towards the master and his human counterparts.
So they used their illusions to attack the others; showing them deceased loved ones, who groaned and glared at them for their failures in life. The terenteks made quick work of the Republic and Onderonian soldiers, while the Massassai gave the Mandalorians and the Wookies a challenging fight.
In the atmosphere above the planet, the fleets of the Republic and Onderon were in the midst of their own battle. While at first, it seemed they were only dealing with a small probe, in the matter of minutes, they were besieged by thousands upon thousands of ships, each firing on them. They seemed to have gained the upper hand, if only for the first half, but somewhere in the fight, the will of the fleet to fight and win began to diminish.
It was then Adm. Carth Onasi demanded someone go check on Bastila Shan, as nothing should’ve stopped her Battle Meditation. The word came back that the woman was visibly shaken, but insisted that she was alright and that nothing would stop them. Soon after, there was a tug of war between who controlled the minds of the crew.
It was only hope that would allow Bastila to overcome the obstacle she faced.
In the depths of Ziost, Revan and Ellis made their way through the chaos and the mayhem in order to reach a nearby lift. “Where’re we headed?” Revan asked, looking at his companion.
“Veroba said the masters resided on the top floor,” Ellis mentioned. “We need to go there.”
“Do you honestly think they would just let us get there?” Revan asked. “That they wouldn’t have traps waiting for us?”
“For you maybe,” Ellis replied. “I doubt they would think I’d be with you.”
“You hold your masters in a higher regard than they do for you.”
Ellis stayed silent, letting the doors close around them, only looking forward to the outcome. Their journey was quiet, but quick as the doors opened to a secondary floor. The two men wasted no time, igniting their lightsabers as several Dark Jedi came at them as they exited the lift.
For some, it would have been impossible odds – several Sith soliders and elites vs. only two Jedi, who weren’t catagorically Jedi in the sense of the word. But these were not ordinary men – these were men who had once been the stars of the Jedi Order; who had succombed to the dark side and had risen to heights not known by the ancient species; these were two men who could lose everything.
From one side of the room to the other, Revan and Ellis took the lives of numerous men and women who answered to the Sith. They left none alive and as they made their way to a second lift, one that would lead them to the next level, where they would meet the masters. In their wake, they left piles of bodies on the floor.
“I’m sorry to have to kill your people, Ellis,” Revan spoke, as they entered the lift.
“I’ll send your regards to their families.”
“You could show a little more concern.”
“My only concern is for my wife,” the younger man sneered. “It’s her safety first, at any cost.”
Revan nodded, intaking a breath as the lift arrived at it’s destination. “I only hoped you’re prepared for what awaits us,” he whispered.
The doors slid open, revealing a brightly lit, circular room. There were three chairs that sat in the middle of the room, on top of a disc that emerged from the floor. The room was quiet and it appeared that no one was around. The two men stepped out, both of their senses searching for any type of danger that may present itself.
“Perhaps no one’s home,” murmured Revan, as the two continued to look around.
“Or perhaps our powers have dulled your senses,” replied a voice.
The former Jedi turned quickly, lightsabers ablaze and ready for an attack. Their focus was on the previously unoccupied chairs, which now held two ghostly images and one strange being.
“Greetings, Lord Revan,” said the being. “And to you, Lord Trayun. Welcome to our underground facility. I’m sorry we didn’t present you with a better welcome, but…your arrival seemed to caused a bit of a surprise within the lower levels.”
“Sorry about that,” Revan grinned. “We sent an invite, but it must’ve gotten lost in the mail.”
“Clever,” the being said, also grinning. “But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. I am Nost Grueous’t. Is my form familiar to you?”
“You’re a species of Sith,” Revan said. “A true species, that is. One who is descended from the past masters, like Marka Ragnos and Tulak Hord.”
Nost nodded his head in approval. “I have heard much about you, young Revan,” he stated. “Many have said you were a student of history and I see that you are not just knowledgable in Jedi history, but Sith as well.”
“Enough chit-chat,” Ellis growled. “Where’s my wife?”
“You dare speak after your tretchery?” Freedon Nadd boomed.
“Calm yourself, Lord Nadd,” the Sith soothed. “We will deal with these two in good time. I have never known of such persistent humans, I find them fascinating. Besides, it is my right as a true being to look upon the two men that were considered our most precious of titles – Sith’ari. You know as I that there are few of those that say they are Sith who are actually proclaimed to be our most reverant of leaders. You, Freedon Nadd, and you, Exar Kun, were the most promenent of human Sith. Your glorious reigns were cut short by the intervention of the Jedi and the turning of your apprentices.”
He looked at the two men in front of him.
“How ironic that those situations have brought us to these two that stand before us today?”
“This is all very lovely,” Ellis replied, sarcastically. Lightsaber still lit, he advanced on the members of the Sith council. “Now are you going to shut your drink hole and tell me where my wife is or do I permanently ensure the death of the last of the True Sith?”
“I told you,” Exar Kun whispered. “His anger is great; of that there is little doubt.”
“Forgive us, Great Trayun,” Nost said, bowing before the young man. “That is the entire reason you’re here, is it not? Master Nadd, be so kind as to retrieve our honored guest.” Nadd stalked off to an adjoining room. “Her husband and master awaits her presence.”
Neither Ellis or Revan shut off their lightsabers, each waiting for something that would trigger the fighter within them. Soon, Nadd returned, a defiant – abeit frightened – Brianna Yoly in front of him.
“Brianna!” Ellis cried, shutting his saber off and making a move towards her, only to be pushed back by a small wave of the Force.
“No, no, no,” Kun chuckled. “Naughty Trayun. You see her as we want you to see her.”
“Release her!” Revan demanded.
“You have no authority here, Lord Revan,” the Sith replied. “Trayun will decide the fates of those here.” Ellis turned his eyes from his wife to that of the three masters that stood before them. “You have shown a remarkable affinity to the Force, Lord Trayun,” Nost continued. “You will only grow within our ranks.”
“Ellis, don’t listen to him.” That sentence came from someone the young Sith lord didn’t expect – his own wife. “They are using us, using you,” she said. “They will only hurt us in the end.”
“You will keep your thoughts to yourself, Lady Salus,” Nadd replied, his arm outstretched and his hand curled. Brianna felt her airways constrict immediately.
Nost held up his hand, signalling Nadd to stop his attack, leaving the young woman gasping for breath. “Your emotions swirl within you, Trayun,” Nost began. “This is your final test, to prove your alliance to the Sith.”
Despite the protests that came from both Revan and Brianna, Ellis still asked, “What must I do?”
“You love this girl, yes?” Nost asked. “To insure her survival, you must kill the last obstacle in your way. Revan must die.”
Only breathing was heard in the room, each occupant awaiting the decision. “So be it,” came the whispered response, as Ellis turned to Revan.
“Don’t do this,” Revan whispered, backing away slowly from the approaching attack. “Don’t you see this is what they want? That this is an elaborate scam to get to you! Think!”
“I’m done thinking,” Ellis said. “I told you I would do whatever it took to get Brianna back. If your death is what’s needed, then I will take that path.”
With that, he stuck, aiming a blow at Revan’s midsection. The former smuggler dodged, bringing his right saber up to block another swing. The men fought once again, with Ellis taking his anger and frustration out through his attacks, while Revan did more blocking and parrying, trying to keep at one step ahead. The masters watched happily, waiting for the killing blow that would remove Revan from their midst.
“He is growing stronger,” Nost murmured. “And Revan is faltering. It won’t be long until he is defeated.”
“And the others?” Kun asked.
Nost closed his eyes before opening them again. “The Republic Fleet is also faltering,” he said, smiling. “My people are bombarding them with more and more ships. They are no match for us.”
“What about Bastila Shan?” asked Kun. “You remember what Trayun said about her abilities; that of her Battle Meditation.”
“I have personally taken care of Shan,” Nost replied. “Her mind is stronger, there is no doubt about that, but she will be distracted.”
The Sith being smiled once more, before closing his eyes again. He used the Force to search out the mind he was looking for. When he found it, he wasted no time in showing her the horrific death of her husband, embellishing the fight as much as possible, making his death as gruesome as he could.
When he felt her resolve weaken, he showed her an image of Revan’s head on a platter being served to Trayun and the others on the council. That was the final straw and her mind broke, breaking her concentration and her Battle Meditation.
“It is done,” Nost said, opening his eyes. “Our ships will destroy the fleet and when Revan is dead, we will take care of those in the hanger.”
Revan was losing his footing and his muscles were tiring. A misstep caused Ellis to catch him offguard, knocking his right lightsaber from his hand and leaving him with one. “You are growing weak,” Ellis murmured.
“And you are slipping further into danger,” Revan retorted. “Think about you’re doing, Ellis!”
Another wild swing nearly connected with his head. Revan took a chance, using the Force to assist in jumping over Ellis and landing near Brianna.
“Think!” He exclaimed. “Do you honestly think they will let her live?! She is a danger to you and they know that.”
“Get away from her,” Ellis growled, heading towards his intended victim.
Revan shook his head. “I don’t want to kill you, Ellis.”
“You wouldn’t!” Brianna cried. “You’re supposed to help him, not kill him!”
“I will not let him continue on this path,” Revan intoned. “My alligence is with the Republic.”
“I won’t let you hurt him.” Brianna stuck out her hand, unleasing a bolt of lightening that hit Revan in the back, pushing him to the floor and knocking his remaining lightsaber from his hand.
“Unexpected,” Nost said, clapping slightly. Looking at Ellis, he said, “Finish him! And take your final steps to greatness.”
The Sith lord stood over his victim, lightsaber prepared to stab him in the heart. “If you kill me,” Revan said. “They will never let you and Brianna be together. They will kill her first.”
“They will not touch her.”
“Ellis, please don’t,” Brianna pleaded. “Let us leave here and never be found!”
The masters laughed. “Do you think we would let you leave, child?” Nadd asked. “You belong to us and the Sith. This is where you’ll stay.”
“Is this the kind of home you want for your child, Ellis?” Revan asked.
“You don’t understand,” Ellis said, his hands shaking. “She is everything to me. I am nothing without her.”
“You are nothing in the Sith,” Revan pleaded. “I think you’re sick and you need help; you won’t get it here.”
“And in the Republic?” Ellis asked. “Where you’ll turn me over to the Senate and the Supreme Chancellor? Even there, I will never see my wife and child again. Here…here I at least have her, have a life with her.”
“You never have a life in the Sith,” whispered the former lord. “I know, Ellis. I have lived this life and it is a life not worth living.”
He hoped his words had gotten to his young friend. He watched the scarred face as the thoughts ran through Ellis’ mind. Revan knew Ellis wasn’t stupid – he hadn’t gotten this far in life by being so – but he had made many, many mistakes, ones that had proved detrimental to the Republic. Revan was serious; Ellis was sick. In what way, he wasn’t sure, but the younger man needed help and guidance.
Revan only knew that Ellis’ detachment from the Force and then his sudden reattachment to it was somehow involved. The former Jedi still had unresolved issues dealing with the Mandalorian War and his part in the what would be the Jedi Civil War, but he had friends, family that helped him and would help him overcome the violence he saw and dealt.
But Ellis didn’t have that. He didn’t know how close his apprenctices were, but from the heartbreak Ellis suffered at the death of Darth Casus and the turmoil he had faced trying to find his wife, the Sith would not be the source of help that he needed.
Ellis, for his part, tried to go through with killing Revan, but his inner turmoil again was brought to the surface. He felt…out of control, as though things were happening without his knowledge and his say so. If this confrontation had happened before, he wouldn’t have hesitated. But his masters had taken his wife hostage, had ordered the deaths of his friend and crew…would they ask him the impossible? Would they indeed ask him to kill Brianna?
But could he just turn away, as Brianna suggested? Hadn’t Revan turned away? No, he was betrayed by Malak and then betrayed by the Jedi Order and its council. But yet he still fought for the Republic, still held the ideals they had learned so long ago, with some major differences, he was sure. And wasn’t Revan happy? He had a wife and a baby on the way, just like Ellis and if not for his actions and this war, they would live out their lives…happy.
His thoughts were interrupted when they heard the whoosh of air and the strangled cry to their sides. Looking over, he and Revan watched as Nost, the last Sith master, looked down to see a large spear imbedded in his chest. The Sith being could only gasp before falling backwards to the ground. Revan had seen this before – on Khar Delba and the fight with the dark Jedi after he killed Jolee. That spear had been what killed the Sith. Revan hadn’t thought about where the spear came from, only that he wanted to kill Ellis.
But now, he understood, understood as the spear dematerialized. It wasn’t real; an illusion and a deadly one at that. For now, Revan watched as silence turned to action, as Exar Kun seized Brianna in a choke hold, rendering her unconscious. Ellis, at seeing his love being attacked, tried to make a move towards Kun, only to be struck by lightening that came from Freedon Nadd.
“This is how you will raise the Sith empire?” Revan asked, standing. “By killing your dark lord and his apprentice?”
“While the loss of our True Sith master is unfortunate,” Kun sneered. “We have no plans on killing Trayun or his lovely bride.”
“She will be our vessel for a new legion of Sith,” Nadd boasted.
“Never,” Ellis grunted. He was struggling to regain his footing, despite the pain he was in. “I will never let you touch her.”
“Perhaps you didn’t hear them before,” Revan commented. “You belong to the Sith now, Ellis. You do as they say.”
“It’s a shame you no longer wish to be powerful, Revan,” Kun said. “You would make a formitable Sith, just as before.”
“We can not lose you, Lord Trayun,” Nadd appealed. “The Jedi have forsaken you. They were aware of your power when they cast you out.”
“What power?” asked Revan.
“Stupid Jedi,” Kun spat. “Even while in your custody, you were too blind to see the true power that Trayun possesses. Do I need to explain things to you, Revan?”
“You’ve got some time before you die.”
Both Kun and Nadd chuckled at the expression. “You weak minded fool,” Nadd said. “When you sent Trayun back to the Jedi Council, they saw the power he could harness, the destruction he could cause and instead of utilizing that power, they dismissed him, sent him away like garbage. It was the Sith that took him and showed him how to harness his power.”
“What’re you talking about?” asked Ellis, who finally managed to right himself.
“You mean the lack of his Force powers,” Revan supplied.
“I regained my connection to the Force!”
Again, the two ghostly figures laughed. “That is what Kreia taught you to believe,” Kun said. “I knew when I saw you on Yavin that something was different. You reminded me of my old apprentice, Ulic, when he returned to the surface after my death. I remember I couldn’t sense him through the Force, nor did he seem to sense me. It wasn’t until I was with the ancient masters that I learned the truth. You never claimed a hold on the Force; that is why the Jedi council sent you away.”
“They were afraid of your power, Lord Trayun,” Nadd continued. “The council knew you could never feel the Force, but they never wanted to explore why. Isn’t that what angered you?”
“This is a lie,” Ellis said, shaking his head. “This is impossible. Of course, I can feel the Force! It was returned to me.”
“No Trayun,” Kun replied. “The Jedi Atris said as much as she fell deeper to the dark side. Our masters probed and sought the answers to regaining their status in the Republic. She told them of you, of an exile who was Force blind, but the council couldn’t feel anything within his body. It was only when the True Sith found you that they understood. You didn’t regain the use of the Force; you took the ability from those around you, those that were Force sensitive themselves. You’re master knew of this and yet she continued to teach you in the ways of the dark side. Don’t you wonder how she was so easily beaten?”
“You lie!” Ellis exclaimed, branishing his lightsaber. “I do feel the Force! And I’ve taught it to others! This is all a lie!”
“The Jedi have known about this since you were a padawan,” Nadd said. “They never wanted you to be a Jedi.”
“But we wanted you,” Kun replied. “We saw the potential within you. Nihilus had your power, but he was mindless. He didn’t care which planets he destroyed. But you, Trayun…you can use your power for so much more. You can destroy those Force planets that are in the Republic and turn them over to us.”
“But first,” Nadd smirked. “You will need to complete your assignment. Kill Revan.”
“Not if I kill you first.”
Revan removed the amulet, intent on destroying not only the true species, but the ghostly apparitions as well. Before he could utter than ancantation however, he was pushed back to the wall, dropping the jewelry to the ground.
Ellis needed to think. This was wrong, all wrong. He still didn’t have the Force? He had been…well…leeching it from those around him – Atton, Visas, Bao-Dur…Brianna – then it hit him. What did it matter if he no longer felt the Force?
His wife was dead!
Their child, dead!
This was too much, too much to take. He didn’t understand how this was happening. His head hurt, his heart hurt…looking to his side, he saw Brianna motionless body; ahead of him were Nadd and Kun, trying to talk to him, while Revan stood off to his left.
“We know you may be distraught at the death of your bride,” Kun was saying. “But she is just one girl. Once you return to us, you can have any girl you want.”
“One who will hopefully be more complacent than the last.”
“She was a spunky one though,” Kun leered. “It’s a shame I wasn’t able to utilize her while in our care. It has been too long since I’ve been with a woman.”
How dare they! How dare they speak of her, leer at her as though she was a piece of meat. She lay there, never knowing how much he truly missed her, how much he would die without her…he had nothing to lose. He just wanted her. Just her. He could feel the grief, the anger, the heartbreak engulfing his entire body; higher and higher it seemed to move until he felt a scream tear from his lips.
It was the most gutwrenching cry Revan ever heard, not since that fateful day above Malachor V did he hear Ellis scream like that. And it was powerful. He wasn’t just screaming; he was using the Force to amplify the hurt and anger he was feeling. The room, the whole building seemed like it shook from the force of cry, causing patches of the ceiling to fall.
This was it.
This was the moment that Revan was looking for and he needed to be quick, before Ellis brought the whole mountain down around them. Moving quickly, Revan found the amulet and began the cantation that would send both Kun and Nadd from the living world. It was a second too late as Kun realized that Revan had used the amulet, his body beginning to fade from the living realm. His and Nadd’s own cries mingled with Ellis’ as they disappeared from the room and hopefully from the galaxy at large.
The former Jedi made moment’s decision, falling to his knees and encasing both him and the stirring Brianna in a protective shield. It would only be in the aftermath that he would wonder where he had learned to do this, but at the moment he was just to avoid the debris that fell around them. Revan was afraid Ellis would never stop, but became even more alarmed when a large piece of rock fell, hitting the younger man on the head and knocking him to the ground.
Releasing the shields, Revan looked around, noticing that the ghosts of Exar Kun and Freedon Nadd indeed seemed to be gone from the area, while Nost, the last True Sith master, still lay dead on the floor. When he turned, he was slightly relieved to see that Brianna was no longer unconscious, but was now crying over Ellis who was laid out on the floor.
Another rumble of the mountain informed Revan there was no time to waste. While Ellis’ tantrum had bought him time to rid them of Kun and Nadd, his outburst had unfortunately shaken the cave they were housed in.
Rushing over to the two, he asked Brianna, “Are you alright?”
The teary eyed woman nodded. Turning his attention to Ellis, who seemed to have a large gash somewhere on his head that had stopped bleeding for the time.
“Can you walk?” he asked, receiving another nod from Brianna. “Come on,” he said, hoisting Ellis over his shoulder. “We must move quickly. I have a feeling his outburst has shaken the mountain and I don’t know how badly that cut is going to effect him.”
The two made their way quickly to the lift, taking it down to the first floor. As the doors slid open, the group could see the carnage that await them on this level. Revan tried not to notice the littered bodies of soldiers from the Republic and Onderon, Mandalorian, and Wookie alike. The only thing that could make those sacrifices worth it were the dead bodies of the Sith and their monstrous creatures that accompanied them on the ground.
“Revan!” Lynsel Belyn rushed over, looking surprised at those who came with the former Jedi. “We weren’t sure if you made it or not.”
“Fly by the seat of your pants, that’s what I always say,” Revan smirked. “How’s the situation down here?”
“As you can see, we’ve lost a lot of people,” she replied, solemnly. “I’m not sure about the Fleet. I was about to go to ship to ask, but I saw you and thought maybe you could use some help.”
Revan nodded, both of them hurrying to where the Necrosis sat. “I’ve destroyed the Sith,” he mentioned as they got onboard. “We need to get to one of the ships quickly. These two both need medical attention.”
“I’m fine,” Brianna replied. “It’s Ellis who needs the attention, not me.”
“You’ve been held captive by the Sith,” Revan reminded her. “And I’m sure they weren’t overly concerned that you were pregnant. Unless of course they were curteous enough to give you an examination.”
“I wouldn’t dare let them touch me.”
“I figured as much,” he continued. “That’s why we need to get you to a med bay.” Facing Lynsel, he said, “Keep an eye on both of them while I try to figure out how to fly this thing.”
The time it took for Revan to lift the ship seemed like no time at all, but it felt longer to those aboard. Once off the planet and the space that surrounded the planet, there was more devastation, as ship debris floated around in place. While militarily, the losses didn’t seem bad, Revan could feel the overwhelming losses of life.
The first ship they encountered was the Sojourn, communication coming extremely fast. The effort to get those that needed medical attention was also fast, but with so many injured or needing the attention, the decision was made to go to nearby Telos, where there was a much bigger facility to treat those injured.
Revan called a makeshift meeting with the captains and those that lead the mission, taking place aboard the ship. “We suffered heavy losses, Rev,” Carth replied, shaking his head sadly. “We’re not sure how many losses yet, but we’re obviously shorter on ships than we were previously.”
“We lost a lost of ships,” Loast responded. “I only think we’ve got about five hundred ships left. A lot of them haven’t responded to hails, so we’re unsure if they’re comms are down or if they’re gone from the galaxy.”
“And your men, Mandalore?” Revan asked.
“I haven’t done a count, if that’s what you mean,” Canderous replied, gruffly. “But I’m waiting for word from my men on Onderon for a complete total, though I can tell you it doesn’t look good.”
Revan nodded. “We’ll need to the injured to Telos quickly,” he said. “I want the Yolys to be looked at. I get the impression that while Brianna did all she could to watch over her unborn child, I highly doubt she let the Sith examine her for those months she was there. As for Ellis, I’ve yet to receive word that he’s awake and that worries me. I wish it didn’t, but it does. I had hoped it was merely a bump on the head, but his actions of late…he will need to watch and by the most seasoned of doctors and nurses. Force screams can be extremely dangerous, especially when backed by the dark side.”
“How dangerous can a scream be?” Loast asked, jokingly.
“Dangerous as psychosis or even death,” Revan replied. “And prolong use of it only makes it worse.” Turning to Carth, he said, “I’d like a neural specialist there, if possible. At least someone who might have an idea on how Ellis’ mind could be affected by this.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” the admiral said.
“We all deserve a little downtime,” Revan whispered. “Rest up. We should hit Telos in a few hours.”
The trip to Telos was quiet onboard all ships that travelled there. The Sojourn, which carried a majority of the injured, as well as several other ships headed to the little planet, while the rest of the fleet made the long trek back to the Core Worlds and that of Coruscant. Carth was able to contact Mical and Mission, who were still in talks with Chobat Hodo and Moza, about the medical situation.
After the second attack on the planet, the Telosian officials made the medical facility and its military a number one priority. While the medical facility was expanded into a larger hospital, the military situation was still a sticky subject, something that was met with resistance on the part of Czerka, who still seemed to run parts of the planet.
The med staff met the group coming in, which consisted of several patrons coming in on transport beds, including Ellis Yoly. Most of the injured were treated and either released or told to stay for a time’s duration. It was a small lobby that Revan sat in, awaiting word on Ellis’ condition. Brianna refused to checked until an update had been given on her husband.
Under the circumstances, Revan told the doctor and nurses to let her be until Ellis was alright. Despite his initial feelings, even Revan couldn’t help but be worried about the younger man. He didn’t lie earlier; he didn’t want to be worried, but he was. What had first seemed like a small bump on the head was turning out to be quite serious, as was Revan’s fear of what that Force scream may have done.
“You should eat something.”
For a brief moment, Revan smiled, looking up to see the face of the woman he loved. “I’ll eat later,” he whispered. Bastila raised a slim eyebrow, her thoughts on the subject quite clear. The smile on the man’s face didn’t disappear as he beckoned his wife over. “C’mere.”
Sitting next to him, she grabbed his hand and kissed it. “Are you alright?” she asked.
He chuckled. “Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” He repeated her gesture, kissing the top of her knuckles. “I’m so proud of you,” he whispered.
“Well,” she blushed. “There were some touch and go moments, but considering…I think I did okay.”
“You were brilliant,” he said, causing her to duck her head in embarassment. “My daughter’s gonna have your brains.”
“I hope not,” she giggled. “How else will I think? And then I won’t have such a brilliant mind for you to compliment.”
“Cheeky,” he said, pulling her closer. “I love you, darling. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy in my life.”
Bastila stroked a stubbled cheek. “I feel your fear,” she whispered. “You’re worried about the exile.”
Revan nodded. “I feel he’s in danger, Bas,” he said.
Before Bastila could respond, one of the doctors came over to them. “Master Revan!” he exclaimed. “It’s the young man you brought in. He’s having some sort of episode!”
The two didn’t wait to hear anymore. They both got up and rushed with the doctor to where Ellis was being kept. There were already a small team of human and droid medical personal there, while one nurse was struggling to keep Brianna from entering the room again.
Revan broke through the chaos, spotting Ellis immediately. The younger man was in a panic, his whole body tense with fear. He stood near the wall, looking around in terror and there was evidence that he had lashed out with the Force, striking at least two nurses.
“Ellis,” Revan whispered. The dark lord didn’t seem to hear him, even as Revan approached him. “Ellis!”
The young man gasped in surprise, his normally green eyes widen in horror. “Revan?”
“Yes,” Revan said, nodding slowly. “It’s alright, Ellis. You’re safe. You’re safe here.”
“There were bodies,” Ellis choked out. “There were so many. They were in so much pain and I could hear them. So many were dead.”
“I know,” the former Jedi gulped. “I know, Ellis, but it’s over. The war’s over. Understand? You’re in the medbay, Ellis. You’re going to be safe in here, okay?”
“It was so bad,” Ellis sobbed. “They wouldn’t stop dying!”
Revan waved his hand in front of the younger man. “Sleep, Ellis,” he intoned, watching as the dark lord stumbled back into the wall, sliding down it in an exhausted heap. “Sleep. You’re safe now. There’s no horror here.”
Revan, we have another problem.
He didn’t turn as he heard nurses scramble behind him. One doctor stood next to him, checking Ellis’ vital signs. The commotion behind him seemed to calm as he turned, confused when he didn’t see Bastila or anyone else in the doorway.
And where is here, exactly?
That other problem I told you about, remember? That’s where I am.
What was that problem?
It’s Brianna. She’s gone into labor.