Before - Legends Backlash - Repost

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Djuva, Mar 16, 2003.

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  1. Djuva Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2000
    star 4

    Title: Backlash
    Author(s): Djuva
    Timeframe: Ancient history
    Characters: Roj Kell, Exar Kun, Darth Bane, Hagen Dycos, Kane Jinn, Qui-Gon Jinn
    Genre:
    Keywords: Sith
    Summary: This story begins three thousand years before The Phantom Menace and will end a few years before. What it deals with? The Sith, mainly.
    Notes: repost
    _________________________________________


    Sinking to his knees, his eyes dancing with a mad fire and a slightly dazed smile slashed across his face, Exar Kun felt like laughing, even though at the same time his body was shaking with fatigue. They had payed dearly, as he had known they would. But still, he would not have expected the experience to be so dizzingly awe-inspriring. His mind had felt as if on fire and the destruction that had spread from it had seemed distant, yet so satisfying at the same time. Why had he ever refused to surrender to this power? He shook his head in anger. Of course he knew why. He remembered the torture at Freedon Nadd's spectral hands all too vividly. There was someone else he would show that noone played games with Exar Kun. No way. He would have his revenge, and sooner than later.

    A sudden movement brought his head up to see someone standing tall on the stairs leading up to the sacrificial dais. The flagtiles at his feet were splattered with blood and gore, but the stranger did not seem to be fazed by that. He was staring straight at the man kneeling there amidst the carnage. What struck Kun first about the newcomer were his stately features. His pale face was all edges and angles, handsome, and yet distant and cold. But that coldness could not compete with the ice in his pale green eyes. In fact, Kun realized, the man looked much like himself, with his long, pitch-black hair and pale complexion. Still, there was a difference, apart from the eyes. Where Kun was a barely constrained roaring fire this stranger did not even register in the Force.

    "Ketru nate?" the man asked suddenly, a frown marring his forehead.

    "What?"

    "Ketru nate," the other repeated patiently and started walking towards Kun. He bore a long wooden staff in his left hand, the weapon almost completely coated in metal, safe for the two-hand grip in the middle. Apart from the staff he had two knifes tucked behind his broad belt, and all in all his appearance had something barbaric, not to say primitive. Wearing a long leather coat whose upturned collar protected his neck, he was dressed in simple tunic and pants, practical clothes, and the only other part of his attire that caught Kun's attention was the black armor made of thick leather covering his forearms.

    The former Jedi struggled to his feet, hefting his hold on his own weapon. For a second the glorious fire of the battle returned to him and he imagined the double-blades of his lightsaber slicing through this intruder just as easily as they had dispatched of the Massassi warriors. But the slight narrowing of the other's eyes brought his full attention to the present. The man was mocking him, no doubt about that. Well, he would show him that he had come across Kun at a very trying time. Igniting the twin laser beams he waited for the newcomer's reaction.

    "Se'ha njera cade?" The man's voice had taken on a more arrogant tone than before, there was no politeness or questioning here anymore. And suddenly Exar Kun realized that he had understood part of what the other had just told him. Previously he had seen the ancient Sith scripture only written down, never heard someone speak that dead language. And this sounded like a somewhat strange accent of it too. But he had understood. Throwing his opponent a tight smile he advanced and nodded sharply.

    "You want to fight? Go ahead then."

    The staff moved so fast that his eyes barely could keep track of it. Whirling around the stranger's left arm it reversed and bounced off the armor at Kun, who brought his lightsaber up to parry the blow just as the staff withdrew and hit him squarely in the chest, the blunt point hurting more than a sharp blade would have. Stumb
  2. Sara_Kenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2000
    star 7
    Great! I get to read it from the start. I'm very happy you decided to do a repost Djuva. :)
  3. Djuva Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2000
    star 4

    Hehe, yeah, a read-through of three thousand years. Poor Sara! :) I'm happy you're reading!
    _____________________________________________




    When he woke again Exar Kun found himself lying on the cool floor of the Great Temple's main hall. How had that damn barbarian managed to overcome him anyway? He had been placed inside a wide circle drawn in blood. His own blood, he realized, when he propped himself up on his elbows. Kell was sitting cross-legged opposite from him, outside the circle, his staff lying across his knees easily, and his eyes closed. He was muttering something unintelligible to himself repeatedly and Kun took the opportunity to study him more closely. Kell had painted his face with blood too, but the symbols were nothing the former Jedi had ever seen. They made their wearer look slightly alien, predatory even, and when he opened his eyes again to look at him, Exar Kun almost shied back from the ice in their depths. But then he noticed the shapes hovering at the edges of the shadows, spectral images of different species, their dead gazes locked in curious interest on the two men occupying the center of the floor. Kun thought he saw Naga Sadow somewhere in the crowd. Suddenly Kell started chanting and his voice gained in intensity, yet remained a low caress that wrapped the chamber in a warm light. He rose gracefully, his eyes never leaving Kun, and the words took on form and shape, filling the room with their magical melody and colorful dance.

    Exar Kun tried to stand up, but found the air around him as heavy as lead, dragging him down again. His mind felt drowsy, leaving him seething with anger and frustration. The worst thing was that he did not feel what the man did, that he could not see how he did it. That he could not free himself of the spell. Suddenly the chanted words stabbed into his head, ripping his brain apart brutally and he screamed in agony, disbelieving. His anger aroused he tried to fight them. It was a fierce battle against an invisible enemy and the low laughter filling his ears did nothing to sharpen his concentration. He was too humiliated, too confused for that. Striking blindly at anything that was in close vicinity of the circle Kun found his chest aching horribly in response, the pain driving him to his knees once more.

    "Si hecha," *Don't fight* Roj Kell told him softly. "De roudo nati poluj." *This is a circle of magic*

    "I never would have guessed," Kun muttered and rubbed his chest in vain. Suddenly he realized that the bruise was throbbing violently and he understood that somehow Kell had left a mark on him, one that allowed him to control his victim through whatever power he seemed to command. He pulled off his robe and shirt to confirm that the angry red wound was indeed pulsing under his touch like a living thing. Growling in disgust he looked back up to meet Kell's icy eyes. "Bastard."

    The other man laughed lightly. "Poluj si tana gi ketru hecha." *Magic does not hurt when you don't fight it.*

    "Why are you doing this at all?"

    "Seten'deran."

    "Whatever. That is a word I have never heard before, you see?"

    "Sh thedo." *I know*

    "Great. And what does it mean?"

    Another amused chuckle: "Jedi nates si kuatha?" *Are Jedi not curious?* Kell started stalking around the circle pensively, obviously trying to find a better way to explain what he meant. "Gi jes'te ejhaj..." *When you learn something...*

    "Knowledge. You mean knowledge?"

    "Oy ge," Kell shrugged. *Perhaps.*

    "And what is it you see here?"

    "Uvrasa, leo'to." *Anger, hatred* Leaning closer the magician smiled at him coolly. "Pe'sud." *Fear*

    Exar Kun swallowed hard. It was true, he was afraid. This whole incident was too strange for him not to feel some measure of uncertainty. Wherever Kell had come from, and whatever he was, it was clear that he had a great deal of experience in his trade. Anger and hatred had been with him ever since the Massassi had tried to sacrifice him when he had refused to serve Freedon Nadd for the second time. He froze. That damn Nadd wo
  4. Djuva Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2000
    star 4
    He must have lost consiousness, for when he woke again Roj Kell had freed himself of his bonds and was wandering around the ship curiously. He had shed his coat and was busy studying the food supplies when Exar joined him in the galley. "Hungry?" he asked, trying to appear less shaken than he really felt. Kell simply nodded and smiled at him. "You have a remarkable voice, you know?" Again a nod. Obviously his companion did not want to put him off by sending him into oblivion once more. Very polite. And annoying. It was frustrating that this barbarian had a more powerful magic than he did, and for a splitsecond Kun considered cutting Kell's tongue out. When the younger man opened his mouth to speak the Sith flinched inwardly and, in a helpless effort to shield himself, raised his mental barriers again.

    "It is worse for you if you try to fight the influence. I told you so before. Don't fight, don't control. Just be."

    "Maybe I just don't want you to put that sort of spell on me."

    "It won't affect you if you relax. Promise." The smile Kell gave him was too close to a sneer for Exar to let it pass. Lashing out with the Force he flung Kell against the wall and the young man winced painfully, but his eyes never changed.



    Roj Kell met the Sith's gray eyes calmly. But if he had not wanted to learn more about that power he would have fought back quite viciously. Unfortunately that would not get him closer to his goal, even though he could see in Kun's eyes that he was just waiting for an excuse to beat him up. Undoubtedly the man was still a bit on edge around him. Which meant that he would have to soothe him a bit and act more cooperatively. Breaking eye contact he looked toward the cockpit, waiting for the other man to release him. As it was, Kun had other plans. Backhanding him across the face he sent him to the floor and kicked him again.

    "You say you want to learn," he hissed. "Then let us clarify a few things first. Whatever you may be among your people, here you are just a beginner, a nobody. You will call me master and you will do as I say, speak only when you are told to and keep a low profile in general."

    Kell suppressed a sigh and nodded obediently. He would have to get used to this. At least for a time. But the fact that Kun thought their contract sealed did not mean that they understood the same thing under the heading. To Kell this was not the beginning of an apprenticeship, but a mere getting to know of different methods. If Kun saw him as his servant and student it was all good and well, but in Kell's mind it was no more than an alliance.

    "What was that?"

    "Yes, master," Kell answered smoothly.

    "Good. Now answer my questions. Why were you on Yavin 4?"

    "It is part of the Jer'fra, the Journey, to wander for a while far from home and gain knowledge."

    "I have never met someone like you before. So I suppose this is a journey only select individuals have to make?"

    "Yes."

    "And? What is it that makes you special?"

    "I will be Cor'dan once the journey is over."

    "The Heart of Darkness?"

    "Yes."

    "And what does it mean?"

    "It is the title of a High Priest and first grade magician."

    "Don't think I haven't noticed that you are forcing me to ask more questions than necessary. When I ask you will answer precisely and to the best of your knowledge. Not just 'yes' and 'no'. Understood?"

    "Yes. Master."

    "Je tana," he hissed and Exar wanted to crawl back into the wall to escape the pain. He dropped to the floor writhing in agony. "Je herasa ni set," Kell added viciously and Kun lost his consciousness.


    When he awoke he almost screamed at the sight. Wherever he was, it was not his ship. Roj Kell had donned his coat again and he held the staff in his hands. The repaired staff. All around shadows were dancing in the corners of a barren room with no door. And then the voice began chanting again, making Kun dizzy and sending sparks flying behind his eyes. He was floating, his mind so far away, and it was impossible to touch the Force.

    "What are you d
  5. Djuva Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2000
    star 4

    Exar Kun shook his head as he rose to walk toward the cockpit. His companion was even stranger than he had thought at the beginning. And yet his somewhat innocent use of the Force was endearing, in a way. But on the other hand the fallen Jedi had seen for himself that his magic was not as harmless as it might seem at first glance. There was something eerie about the way Roj Kell spoke of the Force, as if it were a living entity that had replaced part of his self. Of course Kun knew from his master's teachings that the Force was an energy field made up of all life, but there was a difference between that scientific explanation and Kell's blind worship. Or maybe not so blind. Dropping into the pilot's chair he tapped his lower lip pensively, trying to understand the way this creature thought. And he was more creature than sentient too. A highly intelligent predator maybe, with no regard for morals or ethics. He barked a sharp, mirthless laugh. Naga Sadow or Freedon Nadd would have been overjoyed to get this one in their grasp, he was so easy to corrupt. All he wanted was to learn, like a beast getting aquainted with its new territory, only that in Kell's case that territory encompassed the whole galaxy. Well, maybe the little barbarian could still prove useful. And if not, he would perish anyway.

    "Master?" The timid call broke through his broodings easily and the sound of Kell's beautiful voice made his heart leap higher.

    "What?"

    "Where are we going?"

    Exar Kun's brow furrowed slightly at the remembrance of the events on Yavin 4. He owuld have to return there eventually. The knowledge buried there was far too important to be dismissed easily. But first he would make sure that Freedon Nad and his damn followers would pay for their betrayal. Suddenly a thought came to him. Looking at Roj Kell he smiled coolly: "Tell me, my apprentice, is there a rite that can call the ghosts of the dead into the present?"

    When an hour later the young magician had finished his preparations Kell felt slightly uncomfortable. He scolded himself for being afraid of the Sith magic, after all, he knew for certain that in theory he was far more powerful than Kell. But on the other hand he did not understand anything of what the man did and that ignorance made him vulnerable, as had been proven already. Well, he could sense to deceit in Kell and so he should be all right. Of course, he could not feel anything in the man. Roj Kell waited patiently until he gave his permission to proceed before he started the rite. It was a simple chant, or so Kun believed, mixed with a few encantations and many grand gestures that described hypnotising patterns in the air. The fallen Jedi had to work very hard to keep his control over his mind, and Roj Kell seemed almost apologetic at the discomfort he was causing his master. Or maybe he was just interpreting too much into the magician's demeanor.

    Finally though the spirit of Freedon Nadd appeared in front of Kell. Exar Kun practically jumped at him with ill-concealed malicious glee. Finally! He did not give any of the other two time to prepare themselves. Gathering the Dark Side around himself, reliving all the agonising, humiliating hours the ancient spirit had submitted him to both on Korriban and Yavin 4, Kun channeled his anger and hatred into the specter mercilessly. The dark power filled him with a sudden rush of immense feeling and raw force, something he could not really control, just guide a bit. He did not care though for as long as it did the job. Letting go was so much harder when the ghost ceased its futile struggles in the end and Freedon Nadd died his well-deserved second death. Exar Kun was still dizzy with adrenalin when he slumped back against the bulkhead wearily, his eyes shining dangerously. Addictive. That was how he would describe the Dark Side, and yet it was worth everything. Everything.



    Roj Kell was trying hard not to let the dark feelings get to him, but they could hardly be ignored in this concentrated maelstream of dark energy that filled the whole ship t
  6. Djuva Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2000
    star 4
    And on we go. This is a thousand years later.
    _____________________________________________


    It is 1000 years after the Sith War led by Exar Kun and Ulic Quel-Droma and the war still rages on. But now the Jedi have the chance to make a difference. If they can learn of their enemies' plans beforehand they can deliver a devastating blow to the Sith armies. The key to success in a lonely traveller who has ventured much too far into hostile territory and now the chase is on....

    For three months he had been on the run, moving constantly to avoid capture, drawing his hunters in circles until they though that they had him trapped. It was, in a way, quite flattering that they went to such an effort to hunt down a single Sith. They had been tracking him for half a year in total, but now he had decided to end this game. They met him on Dantooine. Six of them, three masters plus their respective apprentices. It seemed unfair, but still, Roj Kell was a bit disappointed at the small numbers opposing him. On the other hand they had managed to keep at him for the past months. But they had made a big mistake when they had decided not to wait for reinforcements. Kell suspected that they had alerted the other teams before confronting him, but too late.

    In the gentle rolling hills at the edge of the plains he was waiting for them. They approached cautiously, their lightsabers already ignited. Roj Kell smiled down at them contemptuously before he made his way toward them, his steps long and measured. He relished in the expression on the leader's face as he watched him advance on them ever so slightly, subtly drawing them to the right and thereby forcing them to break up their defensive line. Their formation had seemed logical, considering the circumstances, with the masters facing him and the apprentices right behind them. But that left an apprentice at each end of the line, making the formation vulnerable to his attack. The team leader had seen that too now and waved the apprentice back while that one's master took his place. But he had made a mistake. And Roj Kell had realized that just one false move would shift the balance in the impending battle.

    "The chase is over," the Jedi Master told him gravely, earning himself a small smile from the Sith.

    "Indeed."

    "I guess that you will not consider to surrender to us?"

    "I would not know why I should."

    "Exactly what I thought."

    "Then why don't we get this over with?"

    "Because we need to know more."

    "Do you now." Roj Kell shook his head, sending his black mane flying. "You will have to defeat me first before you can ask any questions."

    "Very well."

    Knowing the Jedi Code Kell took a step back, daring them to make the first move. The team leader glowered at him, seeing through his move immediately. "Attack," he ordered coldly and lunged at the Sith Lord.





    A master had to be the first to die at his hand, Roj Kell knew and he did his best to put his plan into action. Indeed, as he ducked underneath the team leader's stroke and evaded an apprentice's blade he came up to face the second master. They exchanged a few jabs and blows before Kell kicked his boot into the other's head, or tried to. Still, he had managed to get the man off-balance and, whirling around, drew the Jedi Master into the lunge of his companion. The two Jedi were good, really good, and none did injure the other, but Kell used that one split-second of uncertainty to drive his lightsaber into the first master's belly. Without breaking stride he brought his blade up to behead the shocked apprentice who had frozen in his tracks when he saw his master fall. The Sith Lord dropped to his knees, over-balanced, but rolled around in time to block another stroke. The Jedi's lightsaber caressed his belly, making him wince in pain as the laser beam cut through his clothes and burned his flesh. But that did not distract him for long. Retreating a bit he let them advance again.

    "You are no fighter," the leader commented, apparently truly astounded.

    "There are other ways than that of the
  7. Djuva Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2000
    star 4
    The first raindrops started falling from the sky as he rose unsteadily. Picking up the Jedi medallions from the Masters' bodies he held them in his left hand, while his right gripped his lightsaber handle. His shoulder was aching horribly and he would need some time to recover. Time he did not have. Walking slowly he pondered the fate of the Sith and his own role in the scheme. The Jedi had fought the Sith over centuries now, diminishing each others numbers constantly. It was a waste of energy. Roj Kell had revealed his identity on purpose, sensing the mood of the times. The Jedi needed another victory to justify themselves in the eyes of the public and of each other. And Roj Kell remembered the Sith War vividly, remembered the ferocity with which the Jedi had fought then. And yet, only the betrayal of Ulic Quel-Droma had led to Exar Kun's defeat. Kell had learned from that move and he intended to use it on the Jedi now.

    Cresting a small hill he stopped short, a frown on his pale face. His ship had been joined by three more and he counted ten Jedi waiting for him. Growling softly he took a step forward, making it very clear that despite the previous battle he would not give up just yet. They turned to face him fully and he could feel their wariness. Maybe he should rattle them a bit more. Stopping again he threw the three medaillons on the ground between them with a contemptuous flick of his hand. Only then did he ignite his lightsaber. It was a clear provocation and they responded nicely. As they charged at him his smile deepened. They had to run uphill, giving him an advantage they obviously thought to balance with their numbers.

    But Roj Kell never gave his enemies any chance if he could help it. Striding into the advandcing Jedi he kept a cool head, using his lightsaber methodically and certainly with less grace than the warriors opposing him. Fancy swordplay was not his specialty.

    Blocking a wide slash he took a step back and flicked out his hand, snapping the neck of the Jedi who had just attacked him. Kell had observed it often that they were very loath to use the Force actively in battle. Instead they employed it passively, to guide their lightsabers. A foolish use of their power, the Sith Lord found. Ducking underneath another jab he stumbled when one of the warriors kicked against his left shin hard. Suddenly he felt the weakness from the previous battle sink into his mind like the black clouds overhead. Annoyingly enough the Jedi seemed to pick up his mood and the attacks became harder. He had a hard time fending off all the blows and very soon they would break through his defense. Additionally the wounds in his shoulder and across his belly had started throbbing violently, distracting him even more. Well, maybe it was time to get this over with.

    Roj Kell evaded another close stroke, deliberately turning his back on two Jedi, who could not believe their luck. One struck at the Sith Lord's left, forcing him to turn around the same moment as the other kicked his lightsaber out of his hand. Growling softly Kell dropped into a crouch, ready to lunge at his adversaries. But he should not have bothered. He could feel the Jedi behind him jump even before he felt the impact and the man's hands close around his neck, pressing his face into the suddenly wet ground. Someone held his arms and legs down, but Roj Kell did not struggle anymore. He knew when he was beaten. They forced his hands on his back, binding them. But they had not killed him. Yet. When the Jedi still sitting on his back grabbed his long hair and drew his head up Kell gasped dramatically, drawing in the cool air. Damn, he was tired.

    "We want him alive," a woman said coldly.

    Almost immediately he could feel someone try to slam her way into his mind. Fending off the attack was easy and his eyes locked with the woman's cool gaze. She raised her eyebrows slightly. Roj Kell blinked away the rainwater pouring into his eyes.

    "And here I thought that you were not allowed to use the Force in that manner," the Sith wheezed, shaking his he
  8. Djuva Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2000
    star 4

    Roj Kell could still feel the blade's heat against his neck and his shoulder had started throbbing again. His mind was tumbling, but he kept it safe behind unbreakable walls of sheer will power. He was bone weary, but he could sense the two Jedi left with him stalk his presence constantly, just waiting for him to reveal any weakness. Well, they would have to rest at some point. Once again he had to remind himself that his goal was not to die aboard this ship or even escape. Not at all. But it was against his nature to give up so easily. And the girl had been such a tempting prey. He smiled a bit, increasing the guards' wariness by a thousandfold. Amusing, wasn't it, how frightened they were, how nervous. Undoubtedly such legends as that of Exar Kun were still haunting the halls of the Jedi headquarters. And the man had deserved that too. Mostly.

    It was a few hours later that the woman Jedi Master returned with the girl. She nodded at the guards, who bowed deeply:

    "How is he?"

    "Weak, but holding firm."

    "I will need your help then."

    Steeling himself for a renewed attack on his defenses Kell decided to change his tactics. When they started on him again he gave ground ever so slightly, ensnaring them ever deeper in his mind as they advanced just as cautiously. He started to breathe faster and made his eyes widen with an effort he did not really feel. But as concentrated as they were on breaking his shields they did not realize that he was playing them false. Easy, it was so damn easy. But just before they could do real damage to his shields he pushed again, as if in a desperate attempt to fend them off.

    "I think this is quite enough," the Jedi Master gasped. "Give him two hours to recover." Nodding at the apprentice she turned to leave and to Kell's surprise the guards left with her. What was this about? Then he remembered the promise of a lesson and understood that this was supposed to be a test for the girl. He had noticed her eyes lingering on him during the previous struggle and shortly after the others had disappeared he decided to move on her.

    "What is your name?" he asked quietly.

    She frowned at him, a hint of fear in her eyes: "I am not supposed to talk to you."

    Roj Kell wanted to laugh at the girl's foolishness. "It would seem you have just broken that order," he told her.

    The girl smiled fleetingly. "I am Tarla, " she said finally, her voice shaking.

    "Tarla," he repeated, as if memorizing the name.

    "What is your name then?" He merely smiled at her. But the apprentice was not quite finished. "You killed six Jedi. That is quite impressive."

    Really, he wanted to say. I have killed far more on a battle-field. Aloud he said:

    "Seven, including your master." He watched her flinch, but she remained remarkably calm. "Tell me, why were you tracking me at all? I found it quite astounding that you would invest so many troops in hunting down a single Sith when there are so many more who are just waiting to lay an ambush for you."

    "Master Jen had a vision. She said that you are important somehow in defeating the Sith."

    "Jen? So that is her name."

    "It is indeed." Striding into the room the older woman gave the apprentice a cold look before turning toward the prisoner.

    "Master Jen," Roj Kell greeted her cordially. "Welcome to my humble abode."

    "Tarla, out," the woman ordered sharply and crossed her arms in front of her chest. The young apprentice threw Kell an annoyed glance, but vanished quickly, leaving the two of them alone.

    "It would seem that your troops do not respect you."

    "The girl is foolish sometimes, but she is controlling her fear and her anger better than you. Now. I know neither your rank nor title-"

    "I have none."

    Her eyes narrowed dangerously: "No? But you do have a name, don't you?"

    "That could well be so."

    "It would only be fair if you told me. You know mine now, after all." He shook his head. "It doesn't matter," she said dismissively. "You had a question for Tarla, I believe. Well, I have one of my own. No Sith would be so foolish t
  9. Djuva Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2000
    star 4


    Sitting in the cockpit next to Gyro she watched the huge temple complex loom into view, the serene layout of the perfectly proportioned structures soothing her jittery nerves instantly. The Jedi Temple itself dominated the facility and it was there that Gyro was taking the ship. They had obtained clearance for the highest priority landing pad up at the top of the spire, and undoubtedly the Council would want to question her prisoner immediately. In a way Belana felt relieved. The voyage had demanded much of them, much nore than the battle itself. She and her team had barely slept, constantly on guard, and the atmosphere on board had been charged with violence. The Sith had not attacked them again, fortunately, but sometimes Belana had been close to killing him herself, out of sheer desperation over his arrogant demeanor. He had kept on teasing Tarla over her master's death and had evaded each and every question the Jedi Master had asked. Apart from that she had noticed with great annoyance that he did not act like any Sith she had ever met before. Granted, those had always been battle-field encounters, but she remembered the ferocity and brute force with which they had fought her. And she had suspected that they all were the same. But this one had been pursuing a purely defensive tactic so far.

    And it had served him well. Too well, in fact, and Belana hoped sincerely that now, with more ressources to call upon, she could finally start working on him with more success. They had to find out who he was, what he was, and, above all, what information they could gain from him.

    It had been a year ago that she had had a somewhat disturbing vision about a man such as this one: a wanderer who held the key to destroying the Sith. At first she had not payed much heed to that vision, but when six months ago two Jedi Masters had been killed by a lone Sith warrior Belana had known that she had found the right man. He was travelling alone and the fact that he had managed to evade her teams told the Jedi Master first that he had great skills at deception and second that he knew his hunters well. He made for the perfect scout, even though he had been forced to reveal himself. But the Jedi Council was convinced that the two Masters that had been killed had been no random prey to this Sith. Apparently those two had come too close to him. Still, the battle on Dantooine seemed to contradict Belana's suspicion. He had destroyed the first team easily, but when he had confronted the rest of them he had ceased his struggles far too quickly. Undoubtedly he had known that the Jedi would try to capture him alive and he must also have known that they would not rest until they had uncovered his secrets. Any real scout would rather have died than let his knowledge fall into enemy hands.

    In total what she had seen and heard of him so far conjured the image of a loner, an outcast, maybe, for reasons she did not even want to think about. He had no liking for the Jedi, but he was no common Sith either. But she did not know if that was just for show, either. What she did know was that there was something eerie about his everlasting smile and the deviousness lurking in his pale eyes. Would he cooperate or would he fight them? He seemed unpredictable, unstable even, and Belana was not much looking forward to the work ahead. She just wanted to get over with it quickly. As the ship touched down she immediately went aft, leaving it to the apprentice to power down the engines. Entering the hold she shot a quick glance at the two guards before her eyes came to rest on the prisoner. He looked at her wearily, his dry lips parted slightly, and she could see that he was hurting. But then, it was his own fault that he had not accepted neither any medical assistance nor food and drink. Not that she would have granted him the latter after he had killed Master Kulur. But he had not asked again for anything. If that was a good sign Belana could not be sure.

    "We are here," she told him at last.

    He kept silent and struggled to his feet with a sigh. Turni
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