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Beyond - Legends Convor's Song (Darth Maladi, Darth Krayt, OC | Celtic Song Challenge) - COMPLETE

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Ewok Poet, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Title: Convor's Song
    Author: Ewok Poet
    Genre: Horror/Action/Suspense
    Characters: Darth Maladi/Malincha, Darth Krayt/A'Sharad Het, Ka Shiya (OC). Mentions of Ku Vrat.
    Timeframe: All over the place - the Batorine interlude happens well before 127 ABY, the second segment during the Second Galactic Civil War, Darth Krayt's flashbacks span his entire life, as well as some things he never witnessed himself.
    Rating: PG-13 (for gore and slightly disturbing imagery)
    Length: Two parts - total of about 3-4K words. LOL, four parts. LOL, three parts.
    Summary: Darth Maladi is tasked with a mission she does not want to undertake, for she believes her powers are of better use elsewhere. She then recalls her final quest before she became a Sith Lady and her reluctance perishes, and so does a remote civilisation.

    A/N: This story was written for the Celtic Song Challenge. I have been thinking about convorees' symbolism throughout the newer installments of the SW and I thought about subverting that beyond all possible beyondness - no pun intended.

    The song I got was The Twa Corbies, the lyrics can be read here. I wanted to get this one, I guess I was lucky in karrde. ;)

    I've had Legacy plot tumblebunnies roaming around for nearly two years now and I always knew that an eventual story will revolve either around Darth Maladi or Antares Draco. He's the lawful good, she is the chaotic evil. And though I'm not big on villains, I find her extremely interesting. She is the GFFA's Lucrezia Borgia, minus the femme fatale bit.

    Many thanks to Raissa Baiard and Findswoman for beta-reading and feedback. :)

    [​IMG]

    Without further ado...




    Chapter 01

    “Life is pain. Death is pain. We remain between the two.”
    – Darth Maladi to Cade Skywalker (Legacy: Monster, 2/4)

    The female astromech droid chirped like a distressed avian once Annaj disappeared and everything else transformed to white lines. Darth Maladi let an angry sigh and used the Force to kick her across the cockpit of Bloodangel. The chirps went quiet and the sphere-headed underling used one of its numerous appendages to get up again and connect to the navicomputer. The Monsua Nebula, known for its high radiation, was not exactly a blue milk run and this was not the time for binary melodrama, or anything even remotely resembling feelings.

    This was not the kind of the task the Devaronian Sith Lady expected when she left the strangely comfortable stench of her laboratory behind and eagerly accepted to try something new. She was not a Hand, she was not the one for action, unless it was absolutely necessary. But with Darth Talon playing hide-and-seek with Cade Skywalker all around the Galaxy, the Master had no other choice but to send her to get this done instead.

    The tranquility of hyperspace travel gave way to what once used to be a lush, green, world. But Sev-Ersk in the Outer Moddell Sector, in the mists of the notorious Monsua Nebula, was nothing like its atmosphere would have suggested. Behind the green, radiotrophic algae-infested layers of ozone lay a wasteland of grim, bare trees, plains covered in blackgrass and crude stone structures visible in the distance. The planet’s star, UR-1060 looked like one of its neighbouring brown dwarves, as the once protective layer covering the planet was almost completely black from its surface.

    “Some celestial bodies never become stars.” Maladi thought. A gas giant grabbing too much to itself during the birth of a star system was destined to fail and leave a trail of nothing but death behind. This was pretty much the case with everything that sucked up its surroundings, every creature that overate and every individual who overestimated his or her abilities.

    But not One Sith. The order she belonged to was built on gaining more and more, through fear and pain. And she was the one responsible for planting the seeds of pain in order to reap the poisonous fruits of fear.

    Bloodangel landed next to a fallen tree. Everything was moist, the soil was damp and the presence of puddles all around the clearing made it impossible to land her starship without piloting straight into one of the numerous nearby mudflats.

    “D-weep, boop-boo!” the droid went again.

    “I can see that myself, Thirteen. You’re getting out first and cleaning this up.”

    “B-gwap!”

    “And don’t talk back!” Maladi raised her hand again, but this time, R-13 obliged.

    “Trrr-gawd!”- less than a minute later, she was done with the clean-up.

    Maladi nodded and made her way out of Bloodangel. She took a deep breath and looked around. Sev-Ersk was closest to an offspring that she would ever have – one of her first major assignments. And this was the first time that she had a chance to see how it was coming along, ten standard years after her little experiment began. She pulled her hood up and attached her breathing mask.

    Minutes later, she was walking down a path of blackgrass, her right hand on her hip, ready to draw her lightsaber. R-13 lit the way before her. The road led through silverthorn-covered shrubbery, seemingly in the direction of the smudged shape in the dark sky. Yes, a dark star walked with a Sith Lady and her soulless companion. How convenient.

    “Thirteen, coordinates?” Maladi addressed the droid again.

    A couple of cheerful chirps, a stark contrast to the surroundings, came to assure the Sith that the little stone hut that served as her laboratory back when the experiment took place was not far away. And there it was, indeed, just around the curve, covered by one of her and Zenoc Quah’s creations - the psychotropic, predatory mutation of the Trindellan Oak. A couple of corpses of local peasants hung from the branches – perhaps the carnivorous trees needed more nutrients. Why weren’t any of the corpses fresh? They were almost skeletal at this point. Still, for a moment, Maladi was more than pleased.

    “You see, Thirteen…” she turned to R-13 again. “…they experienced the worst of pain for the first couple of weeks or so, when the oaks would drill holes in their limbic system and start feeding on them. And they could do nothing else but blame themselves for the passionate urge they had to climb these deadly trees. But they were not given the power to resist.”

    “G-worp!”

    “No, you won’t rot from this rain. You bear the same markings as I do, it would be a shame for the rust to dot them.”

    “Kweeerkch!”

    “You’re smart, Thirteen, but the rust from the rain falling on this planet would not be orange.”

    The little droid went silent again and unlocked the blast doors to the well-disguised bunker. The trees’ dense branches closed behind Maladi as she followed the robot inside. As she expected, everything was intact – no mere mortal could get past her deadly trees. She wiped the dust off the screen of the modified portable laboratory unit and leaned over it.

    “Time elapsed: 616 days. Percentage of the planet contaminated: 99.7%. Sentients still alive: 9. Seven males, two females, one of whom is a child. One of the males leads the group and has…has begun a decontamination process in the planet’s only village!”

    She hissed and shook her head. So, that was what the Master actually wanted from her? It was not a trust test, it was a puzzle to solve. Remains of a race to exterminate completely. A skilled bioengineer who could be of further use. This was a hyperlane junction and one of the lanes led to more power.

    Still…

    This couldn't have been a job for her.

    This should not have been a job for her.

    The Master must have lost his mind from all those healing-stasis-sessions.

    This was a job for a Hand. Darth Talon would have known what to do with this kind of a man, the leader of the surviving Skitees. Sex was her weapon of choice. But she, Darth Maladi, was not swinging that way. Carnal desires were an unnecessary distraction and she knew that even if she was to copulate, she would have ended up poisoning her lover anyway. Sex existed solely to gain power, so why bother with the formalities?

    This was a job for a Diplomat. Darth Kruhl would have known whom to exterminate in order to make this leader stop the operation and be recruited to work for Intelligence on Coruscant or one of the remote bioengineering facilities, such as Wayland. He would have picked the most obedient ones to be used as subjects of further experiments, too.

    She could, of course, choose the third path, the one seldom travelled by those other than the Sith: kill the promising one and his entourage and never make it known that somebody could have, perhaps, outranked her. That was the trap of fear that Darth Ruyn evaded, taking pride in his apprentice. That was one of the reasons she never wanted an apprentice.

    *I see you, Malincha.*

    Doubt was something she had long been a stranger to. The last time she doubted herself was when she left her past behind and took on the title of the Dark Lady of the Sith. Why was that happening right now? The first time on Sev-Ersk, she had been sure of herself.

    *I see you, Malincha.*

    That name. She had not heard it since Darth Krayt killed her Jedi father on Devaron, then grabbed her out of her mother’s arms, leaving the one who gave birth to her to die from a different kind of an embrace – a Force choke.

    *I see you, Malincha.*

    That voice. It belonged to the fallen Jedi that planted the seed that eventually became her. How ironic, that a seed of love gave birth to one seeding fear to sow hate.

    She thought this had been cleared long ago. She was her parents’ weakness and the weak ones had to die. Attachments were to be formed through passion for gaining power, not through unconditional love.

    *I see you, Malincha.*

    And there, it flashed before her eyes. The terrified face of her father, which was the very last grimace to grace his skull before decomposition, the very last spasm before rigor mortis set in. That was the only real memory she had prior to her training on Batorine.

    Batorine…




    Footnotes:

    Annaj is the capital of the Moddell Sector, otherwise known for the Forest Moon of Endor.

    Bloodangel was made up on spot. And do not google "blood angel", unless you can stomach it. I thought it would be a fitting name for a Sith Lady's personal shuttle.

    The system created for this story is in the Monsua Nebula and therefore also a part of Outer Moddell Systems.

    The name Sev-Ersk was inspired by Soviet and nowadays Russian closed cities, Seversk in the Tomsk Oblast in particular. What Dath Maladi does to it is far more similar to the Windscale Fire and the Kyshtym Disaster.

    Blackgrass, however, is yet another reference to a different, bigger disaster, that I need to leave in every single story I write. I might or might not end up giving the plant the Biblical symbolism of its RL equivalent, Artemisia absinthium.

    UR-1060 is indeed a star in the Monsua Nebula. I took the liberty of placing Sev-Ersk in its orbit.

    I am not sure about radiotropic algae, but there is such a thing as radiotropic fungi, so why not?

    R-13 droids were a fun idea, as the last generation that was mentioned in Legends continuity was R-9 and that was about one hundred years before the timeframe of the Legacy comics.

    Zenoc Quah is a Yuuzhan Vong shaper who did not surrender with the others and went into exile on Wayland. He and Darth Maladi worked on sabotaging the Ossus Project.

    Trindellan Oak is a species of a tree endemic to the moon of Trindello in the same sector. In this case, these trees were bioengineered to kill and feed on intruders.

    Darth Krayt's constant need for healing stases, how he got a hold of Darth Maladi, hints of how Darth Ruyn died (at the hand of Darth Talon) and references to how Darth Kruhl and Darth Talon handle their business = all canon.

    Skitees are an original species made up for this story.

    Silverthorn is fanon, some sort of the planet's own parasite species that feeds on dying shrubs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  2. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Wow. Seriously creepy stuff. I've always liked the Legends comics and this is a wonderful complement to them.

    [face_skull][face_skull][face_skull]


    :D
     
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  3. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Like divapilot, I am impressively creeped out by the carnivorous trees engineered as a kind of self-maintaining gallows. This planet and its keepers do not mess around. :eek:

    Thanks for introducing me to a creature that I had overlooked -- I must have seen the convorees in Rebels, but don't remember it. How neat! I'm really curious how you're going to use them in relation to that symbolism you mentioned. Given the song that this is based on, well...

    Very interesting that Maladi is having such strong recollections of the past as she heads into this mission. Something is up and I wonder what her master had arranged here. [face_thinking]
     
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  4. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh, but this is fascinating! You definitely have a knack for creating a chilling atmosphere - I have to be the third one to echo: those trees. [face_worried] Yikes, but that was a monstrous creation, but something perfectly fitting Darth Maladi - the same goes for the world of Sev-ersk. That was a excellent stroke of world-building - no pun intended ;) - and atmospheric development. The introspection felt spot-on, as well. It's interesting to read about a character with such a deep footing in the Sith ways, with a scientific tilt. She's just so . . . cold, and clinical, but she has an almost wry sense of humor, and those memories - I'm most curious as to their coming up now. I too wonder what more is going on here. [face_thinking]

    But this is a fascinating tribute to your song. You have me hooked, and I'm looking forward to reading more of this! =D=
     
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  5. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Once again, I must open a comment by admitting to my unfamiliarity with the source material--I haven't read the Legacy comics, and while I have picked up some knowledge of them from my time on the boards, I don't think I have ever heard of Darth Maladi before. So with that said: the mutated, peasant-eating trees may be creepy, but their creator is far creepier still. You referred to Darth Maladi as "chaotic evil"--though while she is a nasty piece of work, I wouldn't say she is chaotic. Her evil is controlled and objective and cold. Her "soulless companion," the droid, has more of a soul than she does.

    There must be some purpose behind the experiment she has done with this world--which entailed destroying the environment, and killing the inhabitants--but other than the usual Sith power-related motives, I can't really tell what it might be. It seems almost like the large-scale equivalent of pulling wings off flies, which reminds me of a certain quote from King Lear. I'm going to make an educated guess from the summary that Darth Maladi will now pick the third path and finish the remaining nine Skitees off, definitely including the child--thus putting the final touches on her work.

    I had to look up convorees on the wookieepedia (as I'm also not at all familiar with Rebels)--where I noticed that apparently, they will pair up to turn on predators. You write in your author's note that you plan to considerably subvert their symbolism, so I'm now curious to see what that will mean.

    Thank you for writing this for the challenge!
     
  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Wow, this is immensely creepy-cool, and I hope I won't regret reading this and starting this comment before bedtime! ;) Just kidding, of course, I never regret reading and commenting on your stories. @};-

    Though I too don't know much about the Legacy characters and their background, I'm getting from both the story and your notes that Maladi has been engaging in some kind of extreme, gruesome terraforming-cum-genocide, and that the creepy, people-eating trees were at once a result and an instrument of that. Killing the locals by feeding on their limbic system and filling them with the mad desire to climb them? Now that... just... all by itself in a class of evil twistedness. :eek: And such a contrast to the benevloent, life-giving nature that trees have in your other stories—leitmotifs gone warped! Indeed, Maladi's observations about celestial bodies that never become stars, the dark star hanging over her as she walks with 13 toward the hut, and the chthonian nature of Sev-Ersk (yes, I did take a look at your fanon post ;) ) are instances of the same thing. Stars are usually the emblems of universal love in your stories, but all the ones in this story are imperfect, malformed, dim, etc.—and that says something.

    I have to second everything everyone has said about how intensely creepy Maladi herself is—but this chapter also asks the question: who creeps out the creepers? It's her dad, of course (and I am guessing we'll find out more in the coming chapter about who he was)—and that alone is enough to strike fear in a heart that has not known fear or doubt for decades. I guess when one has gotten as twisted as Maladi has, voices that should have instilled love and contentment end up instilling fear and doubt instead. If that makes any kind of sense.

    Really looking forward to seeing how this continues—like others have said, I'm curious to see how "everybody" will fit in, and what role the convorees will play (and I'm prepared for the fact that they may or may not be analogous to the corbies of the song). :cool:
     
  7. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I am glad that I read this one in plain day light. Otherwise I would have had trouble to fall sleep.

    Well, met answer to the challenge.

    It seems like Morigan spread her wings and set destructive shadows loose. @};-
     
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  8. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    :eek: Wow! I will join the other posters and say this is a seriously creepy story. You've done an outstanding job creating the foreboding atmosphere of the planet: its caustic rain, crumbling structures and lethal plant life. Those Trindellan Oaks sound like the Whomping Willows from Harry Potter, on evil steroids.

    I am not sure what I think of Darth Maladi. I can't say that I really like her; she's twisted in just about every way possible...sowing fear, delighting in pain, using sex as a weapon. She can not even think of her parents with any fondness, simply deriding them as weak and unworthy Her terrified little droid is far more sympathetic than she is. Is there any spark of kindness left inside her? I would like to think that her visions will lead her to some sort of realization about the strength of love and its power to triumph over hate...but it seems that Maladi has gone far down the path of the Dark Side.

    I'm very curious about the remaining skitee. Will we meet him during this story? Will he be able to stand up to Maladi somehow and save the rest of his people? My fingers are crossed for you, nameless bioengineer!

    I will second what Findswoman said about the brilliance of reversing your usual motif of the stars embodying love. Here the star is a brown dwarf, a dead star consuming itself. Could this be a metaphor for the Sith, especially Maladi, starved of true love and real feeling?

    Bravo for another fantastically detailed story. Your world building is second to none, and I'm in awe of your versatility as an author--from crack!fic to horror, is there anything you can't do? ^:)^
     
  9. Winama Shiraya

    Winama Shiraya Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Wowwowwoo...and whoa. I don't even know where to begin with this fic, because there is just SOOOO much here to take in.

    I read the Legacy comics a few years back (my brother has all of them and told me they were great). I was impressed by how creepy Darth Maladi was even then, and you've got her down perfectly. She's been indoctrinated so deeply that she isn't...alive, I guess? She's filled deeply with the Dark Side, a master manipulator of the environment, but she's imbued with the energy of death, and all she can do is destroy. A reader can find her intriguing, but not sympathetic. That's not your intention in telling her story, of course. Your intent is to demonstrate a character that is a pure embodiment of Darkness, and you've done this VERRY well.

    I'm in absolute freaking envy and adoration of your writing style. [face_hypnotized] You are definitely an inspiration to a fledgling writer. :D
     
  10. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Thanks for the comments. :) And I'm sorry that it was scary. I wanted to try something different and Lady Maladi is the kind of a character one has to be impressed with, yet absolutely despise - if that even makes sense - so I somehow always knew that she would have been the first villain I'd ever give a featured story.

    Yup - Legacy is such a detour from most of SW stuff - an anti-hero world where everybody has issues, but ain't it wonderful at the same time? :D


    I was inspired by the leitmotif with staked protocol droid heads, present throughout the comic series.

    Maladi herself did that - not sure if it was clear.

    Yup. It's not going to be nice. And I have watched only seven episodes of Rebels as of right now, so I have not seen them yet, but from what I understand, they appear in some...specific cases.


    You're on the right track. ;)

    Even her name brings associations to very sick stuff in very sick places, so I thought I'd make use of it. It takes a monster to turn a harmless species into an abomination and the Legacy comics arc centered on Cade Skywalker meeting Maladi on Wayland IS called Monster, after all.

    More is coming as soon as my betas can make sense of it. Just kidding, they're hunting for my issues with tenses, most of the time. :D

    (And yeah, this was where I stopped and ended up responding to others three days later, when it was actually done...)


    There are so many darth-this and darth-that folk in Legacy, that one can't just catch them all. We need an app for that. :D

    She is chaotic in the sense of being really, really unpredictable if her plans don't work out the way she intended.

    And yes, the "soulless companion" was deliberately depicted like that, to provoke that exact reaction. ;) Because IT'S TRUE.

    The Sith motives are clear, but the WAY she does it needs to be all about making a statement, in a way. And remaining undercover. And outwitting somebody.

    Partly what you just hinted, partly something else, partly...some third thing. You will see...

    It was a pleasure. Thanks for coming up with it! :)

    That's because none of them were 100% toilet humour yet. But if it happens one day, you WILL know ahead. [face_whistling]

    [face_whistling]

    That is precisely what happened, yes. I saw the bizareness of her creations on Wayland in the Monster arc and thought that it could probably be worse than that. So, well, I came up with worse. Nightmare stuff.

    My good spirits and the watchful eyes from the sky were twisted here in a way that is kind of a self-parody...I'm such an idealistic writer and all, or so I appear. I wanted to see what happens when the two most beautiful things and most common leitmotifs turn into something absolutely vile.

    And yes - imperfect stars are a threat, but in a way other than, say, a dying star about to go nova/supernova - you can't even predict what will develop in their dim light and, even if it makes through, if it was meant to live at all.

    Rest will be elaborated on in response to Raissa below.

    It makes perfect sense. That is precisely what it was supposed to be like, exactly the idea I had! =D=


    Partly yes, partly no, re: the convorees.

    As far as "everybody" goes, that [hl=black]might not happen before part 4/4[/hl].

    I would have not wanted to give you - or anybody else - a bad dream. [face_blush]

    [face_skull][face_skull][face_skull]

    I was confused about the Morigan comment at first, because I am not that familiar with Celtic mythology, plus there is a character called Morrigan Corde in Legacy; but Findswoman explained me everything and I think your observation here is great. Plus, I learned something new. :) Thanks!

    They're otherwise pretty boring on Trindello. :p This is where everything becomes weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeird.

    Whomping Willow was one of the inspirations here. Since my first name is an archaic word for "willow" in some languages, too; I've always wanted to turn willows into something unexpected. They look so tame, harmless and kind of sad. But here...LOLNOPE.

    The sex as a weapon is not her thing, but Darth Talon's.

    This piece of fan art is slightly exaggerated (guess what was made bigger on Talon...pffft...men!), but you'll get the idea.
    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c4/c3/d9/c4c3d9b69fe09fb14f929aa7e6b175a2.jpg

    She has gone so far that it may seem to her that Light is...temptation.

    But once again...is it? ;)

    I can't respond to this bit, obviously.

    You mean white dwarves, that were once stars. Those would be a better fit for Maladi's Master, Darth Krayt.

    Brown dwarves, on the other hand, never become stars. Since Maladi is not a fallen Jedi, she was taken as a child before any formal training took place, these would fit her.

    But still, the last sentence is spot-on and continues so well onto what Findswoman noticed above.


    Hmmm...pornography? Torture-filled bloodbaths? Saccharine mush? :p

    [face_blush][face_blush][face_blush]

    The sentence I bolded is pretty much how I feel about her. From the little of the Legends universe I have caught up with so far, I found her more interesting than most other villains. Her Master is interesting, too; but she is a female villain with brains (as you say, a master manipulator of the environment), not a femme fatale type or a cunning politician. I liked the idea of that and how Jan Duursema wanted her to be less "attractive" than Talon, looking kind of more sophisticated, mysterious. A great character and, since she survived Legacy, I wonder what would've happened to her later on. One of the things I regret about the EU reboot might be precisely that.

    There are better writers than me here - I am not even a native speaker; but thanks. I can't wait to read your challenge responses. :)

    An update coming in a bit - in the meantime, the two-part story turned into a four-part one. Doncha hate it when that 'appens?
     
  11. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Chapter 02

    “I'll send you to dwell in the Bloodwoods first.”
    – Ku Vrat to Sint Yoru (Legacy: Tatooine, 2/4)

    Batorine…

    Back on Batorine, nearly fifteen years ago. She was still fresh from her abduction on Devaron, where she had pledged loyalty to the One Sith. An idea of an alternate future where she was to be a Jedi Padawan, her father’s apprentice, and a force of good, as opposed to evil, was still lingering in the back of her head. While she was not quite sure what her mission had been about – the one that had taught her, after months of exhausting training, to embrace pain instead of peace – she sensed that there had to have been something more to it."

    She was given some clues. A starmap leading to this very planet, a bright light in the murky wasteland known as the Negs and the word “Jedi” written on a piece of plasmagreen flimsi. Was her first killing supposed to involve a fugitive Jedi on Batorine? A Jedi that had betrayed their Order and that was a possible recruit for One Sith?

    The navicomputer in her simple, outdated shuttle did not provide her with much information on Batorine, other than that a large portion of the planet had been covered in endless forests of Blood Trees and that some of the forests were inhabited by Blood Carvers. She quite liked these names. There was something painful about them, something scratching the surface and digging through to the very core.

    Still, that was everything she had managed to learn about this place. She needed more guidance.

    She reached into the Force and soon, the voice of her Master, Darth Krayt, echoed in her mind.

    “I see you, Malincha. I see you in the tempting beauty of your own uncertainty. You think you know everything because there is nothing in the Archives that you have not read and there is no toxin that an aspiring scientist like you won’t be able to make. But there is more than that. There are so many things that you don’t know about the dark side of the Force, and they are essential for completing your training today. So, how does it feel when you don’t know something?”

    Malincha swallowed a lump. Was her Master putting her down for not having been born on the the Sith homeworld? Again? He had implied more than once that she and Darth Nihl, formerly a Nagai warlord, were different from the younglings raised on Korriban, those that had been nursed with the black milk of unkindness. Was this supposed to motivate her to prove to him that she was as capable as them, or, to put it that way, perhaps even more dangerous?

    She walked through the Blood Trees for hours, almost disappointed to find that they did not bleed at all. But an idea of a tree that could bleed or cause others to bleed was something she wanted to file away for later, to the very back of her mind. The colour of the trees themselves was indeed red, and some of them bore strange markings. The further she went, the more these markings started looking like drawings or symbols and not some accidental patterns in the blood-red wood.

    At some point, these drawings were clearly telling stories. Was she closer to what she was searching for?

    The forest broke into a meadow, where a single Blood Carver sat in front of a makeshift firepit, meditating. She wore a long, patched cloak and had a couple of tattoos that looked like tiny trees on her cheeks.

    “Their species’ tradition…” Malincha said, more or less to herself. That much she knew. “Related to their beliefs…”

    The Blood Carver opened her eyes and raised her beak, which immediately turned from golden to orange. Malincha felt a ripple run through her insides. This being could indeed sense one’s presence in the Force.

    The Jedi of Batorine. There was indeed a Jedi on Batorine. Malincha hid behind the nearest tree to observe this extraordinary creature that, at the first glimpse, seemed enchanted by the inferior powers of the Light side of the Force. The Blood Carver got up, her beak now red, and reached for what was clearly a blue-bladed lightsaber.

    And just then, she heard her Master’s voice again.

    “Do you see her, Malincha? Her name is Ka Shiya. She is an outcast. She does not believe in the Art of Dying, which is the religion these peasants practice. Is she better or worse than them for that? It’s up to you to decide. Their skin might be golden, but is their belief worth anything?”

    “She has a lightsaber, my Master.” The teenage Devaronian clutched her fists. “She was clearly trained...”

    Malincha went silent, mid-sentence. She changed her mind and decided to observe Ka Shiya. The Blood Carver had, by then, approached the closest tree.

    “Peace is where I find it. Peace is what I am,” she said, in a raspy voice. “Seeking acceptance. Redemption. Acceptance. Redemption.”

    Something did not seem quite right with the mantra Malincha remembered from her Father’s meditations. The next thing she knew, Ka Shiya stabbed the drawing on the tree with her lightsaber. A small hole formed, prompting her to kneel down in her hiding place.

    “Stop bothering me! I do not seek art beyond dying! There is no death! There will never be death!”

    That did not sound like the Jedi Code, either. Malincha had waited long enough. She lit up her lightsaber and jumped from her hiding place.

    “Who dares disturb a Jedi?” Ka Shiya extended her free hand towards the Devaronian and the next thing Malincha knew, she was Force-pushed against a tree.

    “I sense fear in you, Malincha. Good. Good!” Her Master’s voice had an excited note to it, or so she thought. “By the way, Ka Shiya is on her own. Her brother, Ku Vrat, is a bounty hunter. Ironically – or perhaps, not – he believes in the Art of Dying.”

    Malincha was not sure why this would have been relevant. She got up and delivered a modest bolt of Force Lightning Blood Carver’s way. But Ka Shiya blocked it with her blade and she could only watch the lightsaber absorb the remaining sparks.

    “You Jedi, too?” The insect-like being asked in broken Basic. “Me sorry. Want train with me? Help me redeem me? Remove me tattoo? I outcast!”

    “What do you mean?”

    “The tribe left me. Brother bounty hunter, I have the Force. I be a Jedi. Help me get to Crosscurrent!”

    “Coruscant?” Malincha thought to herself. “That’s a…strange name for it.”

    Just then, she could hear another voice. Not Ka Shiya’s. Not Darth Krayt’s.

    "There is no passion, there is only peace, daughter. You must control your emotions, Malincha. Your fear."

    That was her father. A rare Devaronian Jedi whom she watched die and did not attempt to stop it from happening. She put her lightsaber back on her belt and walked towards Ka Shiya, who proceeded to do the same.

    “D…do you think she needs me?” Malincha asked, in a voice much softer than usual.

    “Yes. You can bring this confused young soul back to light. You can bring yourself back to light.”

    And just then, when she was about to offer a hand to the Blood Carver, her Master’s voice overpowered her father’s again.

    “Malincha, you are on the way to failing me. You are showing mercy. For a Sith there is only pain, rage, and fear. Gain control of your enemies through fear!"

    “What do you want me to do, my Master?” she asked.

    “Kill Ka Shiya.”

    “Why?”

    “Search your thoughts and you will know why.”

    She did not have much time to think. Ka Shiya was strong in the Force, and whatever she believed in could have been twisted and shaped into becoming yet another mind absorbed in the One Sith hive, but was this poor creature really fit for killing?

    Ka Shiya was now on her knees. “Help remove tattoo please. I drew it a picture on tree, slam lightsaber into tree, meditate, slam it again. Not help! I no longer Art of Dying, I Jedi!”

    “Malincha, show mercy! You…” Her father’s voice went silent.

    “Master?” she whispered through the Force, hoping that she had not failed Darth Krayt.

    “You are looking to gain your tattoos. Ka Shiya is looking to get rid of her own, even if that means having herself blood-carved as a sculpture. She thinks she is following the ways of the Jedi, but she clearly is misguided. I misguided her deliberately. So give her what she wants!”

    The One Sith mastermind paused for a moment.

    “I misguided you, too.”

    “W-what?”

    “At this point, Malincha, you need to know. I had been directing both of you, urging you to fight each other. I traffic in lies. I exploit passion. And, at some point, I decided which one of you was going to be of more use to me.”

    “Are you saying that you raised us independently, to play us off against each other one day?” She said fearfully and then, her tone changed to raspier than Ka Shiya’s. “That’s wonderful!”

    Darth Krayt continued. “She tried, Ka Shiya did. She tried a lot. She managed to learn Galactic Basic, which is notoriously hard for a native speaker of Batorese. She was more than dedicated. Perhaps a bit too much.”

    Malincha was now sure. Only one of the two young women could walk away from this battle. And while she did not have the strength that the Blood Carver had, yet, she had a stronger mind and from the moment she had switched from light to dark, she knew the true colour of fear.

    It was blood red. Like the trees surrounding them.

    “It’s all right, Ka Shiya.” She said, softly. “Just sit there and I will use the Force to remove your tattoos…” She raised her father’s lightsaber. “…AND YOUR LIMBS! AND YOUR HEAD!”

    With her eyes closed, yelling in a voice that almost did not sound like her own, she kept on cutting through the Blood Carver’s golden skin and flesh with her lightsaber. Her fear was so intense and her rage was burning so bright that the misguided being did not even manage to take one last breath.

    It took a couple of minutes for her heart to stop beating fast and, from that moment on, still breathing heavily, she was sure that she no longer had it. And the Master did not even have to say so. She knew it.

    And just then, he appeared right before her. He had been shadowing his presence in the Force, observing the death match from a safe distance.

    “Come to me.” Darth Krayt ordered.

    She kneeled before him. A small part of her being, still burning like fire, knew that, in such a vulnerable position, she could suffer the same fate as the pile of golden flesh and flowing red blood to her left.

    “I have broken the spine of the Galaxy and whoever is to serve me is destined to break spines, too.” He began. “I traffic in lies. You too shall traffic in lies. And pain. I have seeded a lot of pain all over your path up to this very moment. You needed to feel the pain in order to be able to become what I have planned for you. I was being generous, Malincha.”

    “Yes, my Master.”

    “I name you Darth Maladi and you will be leading the branch of One Sith that will be murdering billions with a shake of a single bottle.”

    She got up. Her eyes flashed golden yellow. Much like the corpse of the Blood Carver she had slayed. Much like the heart that she had left behind.

    Malincha.

    Darth Maladi.

    Malincha.

    Darth Maladi.

    Malincha.

    Darth Maladi.

    DARTH MALADI.




    Footnotes:
    Blood Carver is a species of humanoid insects from the planet Batorine, in the Negs.

    Art Beyond Dying is Blood Carvers' belief. There is nothing about it anywhere, including Rogue Planet, so I came up with some ideas of my own.

    Ka Shiya is an OC, but Ku Vrat is not. He appears in Legacy and since the word “vrat” means “neck” in my native language and so does “šija”, I created him a sister whose name is basically the same thing.
     
  12. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    I've only read the first chapter so far, and I'll certainly be back to read the others when I find a bit of time. First off, let me geek out a bit over the late Legacy era being used and especially the inclusion of Darth Maladi as the main character. The descriptions of the ruined planet are hellish in a good way, as are the mutated oak trees and their horrible way of feeding. I also liked Maladi's comparisons of herself to the other Sith of her Order.

    Great work, Ewok Poet!
     
  13. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Ewok Poet: Sorry about the confusion with the mentioning of the Morgian. I am fully into Celtic and Scandinavian mythology for more than thirty years by now.



    And how nice of Findswoman to explain you about her special connection to warfare and ravens.

    Anyway, know we know how Darth Maladi came into existence. It was a dark journey for us, the readers, but you lightened it up with beautiful descriptions such as "tempting beauty of your own uncertainty" or "those that had been nursed with the black milk of unkindness". You use a very powerful pictorial language to show us the transformation of a young woman into an evil being.

    With her eyes closed, yelling in a voice that almost did not sound like her own, she kept on cutting through the Blood Carver’s golden skin and flesh with her lightsaber. Her fear was so intense and her rage was burning so bright that the misguided being did not even manage to take one last breath.

    As for nightmares, I never get those from reading fan fics that fascinate me for many reasons.
     
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  14. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Intense scene with the slaughter of Ka Shiya and the emergence of Darth Maladi! So this is the task that Maladi performs to convince her master of her devotion to chaos and passion, darkness and coldness.

    What really intrigues me is the depth of creativity you have here. Your forests are like something out of a nightmare from the Brothers Grimm. There is this folktale quality to them; the dark, dead places where evil lurks and the good cannot survive, where the redness permeates all. Fascinating update. You tell us just enough to let us imagine the rest, which is how you make it even scarier.
     
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  15. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2008
    @EwokPoet: Sorry I'm late to this party - because it, like all the rest of your work, is remarkable. =D=

    Horror is not an easy genre to write well, I've found. There's a lot of traps to fall into - gore-fests, over-intellectual psychodramas that get too self-involved, cheap jump scares, and other tropes which wear horror's skin but are just [face_sigh]-inducing.

    This is none of those. This - this is the destruction that's left behind after a monster twists an innocent soul, and said fallen innocent commits their own atrocities.

    (A quick aside - you write Darth Krayt as being truly VILLAINOUS, in ways that make him a sincerely menacing character. Not that he wasn't in Legacy, but his evil always seemed more remote for some reason. Here, he brings the full tool kit of twistiness, and it's spine-chilling. [face_worried])

    Maladi's seriously kriffed-up, and she embraces her lessons in a terrifying manner ... the trees!! :eek:[face_skull]

    And the last, few desperate hopeful natives, holding on ... until the monster comes out of the shadows to end them. :_|

    Excellent work, as always. :)
     
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  16. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    This post opens with yet another creepy forest--and the bloodwoods of Batorine are a fitting place for Malincha to undergo her trial to become Darth Maladi, the person she is in the opening post. I gather, having read the very brief wookieepedia entry on bloodtrees, that the carvings and symbols on them are your own fanon, and I do have to wonder what story it is that is sprawled across their trunks. I don't wonder, though, what sort of inspiration Malincha finds in them--she approves of the names, and if these trees let her down by not literally living up to their names, well: Malincha will obviously go on to make that a reality. We've already seen what she can do with trees.

    Then there is Darth Krayt. I have to admit here that--not having read Legacy, and therefore only really knowing Darth Krayt as the name of an EU villian--there is probably a lot that I'm missing out on. But what is clear to me is that he is pulling the strings in this situation: he sends Malincha to a world she has found only a few facts on because he knows what one of her main weaknesses is; as he tells her "How does it feel when you don't know something?"

    Then there's the "death match" (in scare quotes because there wasn't an actual fight--Ka Shiya is not without skills, but once she knelt down, she never had a chance). It goes precisely as Darth Krayt wanted it to--and if he had decided it was Ka Shiya who was of more use to him, it would have been Malincha who was reduced to a mutilated corpse. There was but one factor that didn't go according to his plan.

    Malincha's father--the rare Devaronian Jedi, who (as Findswoman points out) is the one thing that creeps out the creepy. He speaks to her from beyond the grave in this pivotal moment, and she almost, almost listens to him before her master takes back control of the situation. When she kills Ka Shiya, and takes on her Sith name, one might think that would finish off her father's voice. Except--years later, on the hellscape she made of another planet--she hears him speak to her again, and that is the thread that ties these two different scenes together.

    But it has now been years since Malincha, the teenager who still had memories of the light, ceased to be. I'm more certain than ever that she will kill off the Skitees--in the most proper, power-achieving fashion, of course--and that they will go down as easily as Ka Shiya did. I am curious to see how "everybody else" listed in the summary will come into play, as well as the convors, but I shall just read on to find that out.
     
  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    "I see you, Malincha. I see you in the tempting beauty of your own uncertainty."

    WOW! OK, first of all, that sentence is just... stunning for so many reasons. Well, this whole scene is, really. I had to read it a couple times through to make sure I understood all the creepy details of this pivotal moment in Malincha's turn to the dark side. Her mind and spirit are in such a vulnerable state, with her uncertainty starting to get the better of her... and Darth Krayt is not letting her forget that, and urges her to channel that uncertainty into violent action in order to prove herself—in true Sith fashion.

    There are some intriguing parallels between Malincha and Ka Shiya here. Both are misfits of one sort or another: Ka Shiya for not following the religion of her people, Malincha for her origins away from Korriban and the fact that she, unlike those Korribanian youths, wasn't "nursed on the black milk of unkindness" (another stunning turn of phrase, as has been pointed out). Both stand on the thresholds of choosing their identities, or at least of effacing one identity and embracing the other. Malincha, of course, is being tested for worthiness to become a full-fledged Sith, to see whether she can fully reject her Jedi training and adherence to the Light; Ka Shiya is desperately striving to break her ties to the Art of Dying (which I of course am now very curious about) and fully embrace her Jedihood, though her fractured version of the Jedi Code suggests that she might still have a little ways to go.

    And then, of course, they are pitted against each other. It doesn't seem like an accident that Malincha's father's voice comes in just as Ka Shiya starts speaking directly to Malincha. And indeed his pleas to his daughter do play on the commonality between her and Ka Shiya: "You can bring this confused young soul back to light. You can bring yourself back to light." He's asking her, in a way, to put herself in the other woman's shoes (which of course is another notable EP theme that's being turned on its side here).

    And Malincha comes close to showing mercy—until Krayt speaks again, cluing her in to what is possibly one of the creepiest things in this chapter: he (Krayt) seems to have specifically groomed this Ka Shiya to be a sort of straw-woman opponent in Malincha's descent to Sithdom. Who knows what lies and flattery Krayt must have fed to Ka Shiya in the time leading up to now (since I'm guessing his spirit must have talked to Ka Shiya too somewhere along the line); "trafficking in lies" doesn't even begin to describe it. But what's more, Malincha just LOVES THE IDEA of the specially groomed opponent—and the fact that she LOVES THAT IDEA is the ultimate catalyst for the violent murder she commits, and thus for her fall.

    Seems very significant too that when Malincha does commit the act, she does it by first pretending she's going to show mercy—so that the deed turns into a twisted parody of the mercy her father's voice urged her to show. Absolute goosebumps! But, as has been pointed out, she's now hearing that voice again after all these years—which means she no doubt will soon will be face to face once again with the "tempting beauty of her own uncertainty," though in a much different way. We readers had better hold on tight, hadn't we! :eek:

    Keep the "tempting beauty" of this compelling story coming! @};-
     
  18. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Well, this is as superbly twisted as the last update. [face_worried] :p

    You really picked a fascinating moment in Darth Maladi's life to explore, that said. I liked the parallels you included in your prose - her earning her place as a Sith Lady, where once she would have gone through trials to become a Jedi in her father's footsteps; the whole twisted shadow-opponent that was Ka Shiya being created for her; the trees now compared to the trees in the future - all strung together with that constant thread of her still hearing her father's voice. You've really hit the mark with your thematic structuring, and your character study of Maladi is just equally morbid and complex. I am thoroughly creeped out and fully absorbed, all at the same time - which can be a hard ground to find when tackling the horror genre! That's not an easy thing to do. =D=

    Now I am all the more intrigued to see how you include the rest of your cast. And the convors, too. [face_thinking] In the meantime, please keep up the fantastic work! =D=
     
  19. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Wow, wow, wow! :eek: Another supremely creepy and atmospheric entry in this story!

    Your imagery is so vivid, and I love your use of colors that repeat throughout the chapter and the story: black--the "milk of unkindness (a fabulous subversion of "the milk of human kindness"); red--blood and the bark of the blood trees' and gold--Ka Shiya's flesh, Malincha's eyes once she becomes Sith, and the heart she claims she no longer has. Interesting how the blood trees here link back to the twisted oak of the first chapter, and how you've twisted the usual nature of trees as peaceful and beautiful into bloody, evil monsters.

    It's significant that Malincha uses her father's lightsaber to kill Ka Shiya, offering as Findswoman notes, a parody of the mercy his voice urges her to show. And it's ironic that the Blood Carver is herself carved into a bloody offering to Darth Krayt. Like Satan, he is the "father of lies," and it's hard not to feel a little sorry for Malincha when she has been raised into this monstrous culture, "misguided" from the beginning, and played like a pawn in Krayt's evil game. I wonder, though, if her heart has been extinguished as thoroughly as she believes, given that she still hears her father's voice years later.

    Looking forward to the continuation of this dark but fascinating character study =D=
     
  20. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I apologise for having taken nearly eight months to post the last part of the story. To those who don't know what happened: I spent a period of time medicated for an illness I didn't have with something that could probably sedate an elephant (and I believe I used the exact same phrasing elsewhere, LOL, I'm repeating myself) and I was barely able to do anything. I believe that I had written this last chapter in March or April, most likely the earlier.

    Also, I have changed the original four-chapter concept, because [hl='black']it was supposed to show Maladi using Memory Walk on her master and she is too faithful to him to do that. Therefore, there won't be flashbacks involving Obi-Wan and the others, either.[/hl] I might incorporate something like that in a different story.






    I'm deffo looking forward to your comments on the two remaining chapters, then. And I'm glad that you, the Legends geek, are also into Legacy. Never thought it was going that far on the timeline for you. :) So, when you mention that comparison, I feel humbled, because you know what you're talking about. :D

    Learned something new, again. Thanks. :)

    Glad you didn't get nightmares from this after all. :)

    And thanks for liking some of my favourite descriptions in the story. Glad you noticed them!

    Yup. Since she and Darth Nihil were not born on Korriban, I figured out that they would have had different rites of passage. The other One Sith members' rite of passage was killing their masters.

    I'm glad that I didn't cross the line. Some people told me that the prologue of The Other Moon was close to crossing the line, so I was careful here.

    Folktale as opposed to bloodbath is better...I think.

    And any comparison with the Brothers Grimm flatters me. [face_blush]

    [face_blush] [face_blush][face_blush]

    I find out that most over-intellectual psychodramas that get too self-involved are BORING, this goes for mainstream fiction, too. The only one example that I can think of being good would be the 2009 film After.Life.

    I feel that in most of Legacy except for the last couple of issues, he didn't get a chance to shine and his flashbacks were never directly connected to what he was doing during the comics themselves. One could...even feel pity for him. I wanted to change that!

    Thanks. :)

    And yes, you're close...

    Basically, Blood Carvers make sculptures out of blood trees. Since Ka Shiya is a bit unhinged, she's just carving in the tree bark.

    And Malincha likes that, indeed. Perhaps those trees served as an inspiration to her carnivorous trees on Sev-ersk? ;)

    He's the master puppeteer, next to being the ruler of One Sith. And Maladi eventually learns to control everybody else as the most trusted of his minions. She's learning from the best, but the baptism of fire had to be brutal.

    Precisely. He had both of them in mind, no bias involved. Once one gained control of the other, he made his decision and opted for the one that had it all together...seemingly.

    But...[hl='black']was that really him, the second time around[/hl]?

    Read the spoiler at the beginning re: "everybody else".

    As for the rest... [face_whistling]

    Precisely. He's hitting where she's the weakest and he's using it to manipulate her. It will help her become the master manipulator herself, but what is the price of that?

    I made a mistake there. D'oh. It's actually Art Beyond Dying. I'll go back and fix it. And since it's a blank page on Wook, I guess it's waiting to be written. Might do it, might do it...Blood Carvers are such an intriguing species.

    The whole concept of testing which of these two will break her loyalty to previous dogma is sick, sick, sick. But you see it already. ;)

    Hey, I even used that theme for a challenge. :D You're reading me like a book!

    Light and dark would be another thing I like to explore, yup-yup-yup! [face_dancing]

    His decision was not planned until he realised which of the two girls will break from her dogma more easily and which one of them has the potential of becoming truly evil, yet faithful. Ka Shiya was highly delusional and she left her tribe. That was not a problem until the extent of her madness overpowered the extent of her potential.

    Keep the "tempting beauty" of this compelling story coming! @};-[/quote]

    That was the exact moment she turned evil - the mercy.

    And yes, hold on tight!

    Shhhhh, Ka Shiya's ghost is under your bed! [face_skull]

    As I said to Onderon1, horror genre is so easy to mess up - one wrong step and things will end like in some 1980s movie. A comical bloodbath, screaming teenagers and whatever cheesy trope you can imagine. I thought that a character's stream of thought speaks much more than unnecessary gore.

    Read the spoiler at the beginning re: rest of my cast. And the convorees? They will be in the last chapter. :)

    [face_whistling] T.D.O.E.I.T. [face_whistling]

    Glad that you noticed this. :D I wanted to subvert that idiom and I wanted all the colours to shine. Funny enough, all three are the colours of power.

    And I love trees more than anything in the world. Writing them as evil was a challenge to this Ewok.

    Darth Krayt even looks like Satan, a bit.

    [​IMG]


    And, when you think about it, Anakin too used his Jedi lightsaber to slaughter innocent children.

    As for the rest...you will see.

    Here it comes. :D
     
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  21. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Chapter 03
    "No one is neutral."
    - Darth Wyyrlok

    DARTH MALADI!!!

    "What am I doing?" the Sith Lady asked herself. She dropped the datapad, but Thirteen reached out and grabbed it. “And you, get out of my sight!” She narrowly missed the droid.

    Thirteen obeyed and withdrew to the back room. Darth Maladi took a couple of minutes - or maybe it had taken much longer than she thought, to reflect on what had just happened. Those were her memories. The last thing that had happened to her before she was baptised by blood, before she killed a clearly innocent, criminally insane creature and became a true Sith. And nobody else knew that she had had minor doubts back then, half a life ago. She did not even share her story with Darth Nihl, despite their vitriolic, sadistic friendship, or whatever thing resembling it they had as the only offworlders on Korriban.

    And then she remembered one particular holocron from her vast library. She kicked her right foot against the floor, ripping through hardened clay with Force Lightning.

    Her Master had managed to take control of her mind by means of that notorious Memory Walk technique, also known as torture by chagrin. He walked through the most dubious of her memories and showed her that one time she had made the right choice. But, at the same time, he shamed her into showing her that old, vulnerable, still somewhat naïve self that she had long discarded.

    It was now clear to her. Memories were eternal. And they were the fuel she had to add to the fire of fear and doubt, whenever the wind would blow too strong. Something had to uncover more pain, for the lies that there was none that had been spread by the Jedi for millennia had long become stale.

    So, yes, Memory Walk. Memory Walk for victory. Power!

    There had been talks around Korriban that such a notorious Force power existed, but that only a rare few could master it. Not even the most powerful Sith such as Darth Malak, Bane, Sidious or Vader had been capable of it. Was her Master really the most powerful Force wielder that had ever lived, or did he just want the One Sith, and the entire Galaxy, to believe that?

    Perhaps she could too attempt to master it?

    Oh, the things she could do with it!

    For one, scare that coward, Vul Isen, into submission. She had long feared abd doubted him – why was that weakling of a Givin still serving the Order when he had no talent for combat? Was he plotting against her? Was he going to give her Master the cure that she had not been able to make in her main laboratory and in her torture chambers on Coruscant? And was he going to corrupt her mind by insisting that scientists had to question their own actions and negotiate their way to personal safety by means other than combat?

    And how about finding where Cade Skywalker’s weakness lay? He had managed to fool the Sith once, he could walk the thin line between Light and Dark as if it were a form of art in its own right. There had to be a way to blind him to the light, for good. And then, if he were really able to rid the Master of the Vongspawn virus, she could learn more about his notorious healing secrets and then get rid of him.

    Yes, the things she could do with the Memory Walk Force power.

    But right now, her priority were the ’Skitees. And there was only one thing she could do. Release the virus. The fact that one of these males could have been a hero to manipulate into joining the Sith did not matter much to her, for she could have been beaten by him, much as it had been with Ka Shiya back in the days.

    She was going to show her Master how Memory Walk worked – by extracting his own memories of being A’sharad Hett, the son of Sharad Hett, his battle with the legendary Obi-Wan Kenobi, his alliance with the Vong and his eventual arrival to Korriban. She could bring out his fears of succumbing to the Vongspawn virus and that would too be good - because pain is good, life is pain, death is pain and we remain between the two.

    And she would still have been his most trusted member of One Sith. For she knew how to keep him alive. That was the only thing he needed Cade Skywalker for, after all. She did not dare think what would have happened if he had managed to capture the last living member of the well-known Force-wielding family. Would he still need her, or would she be sentenced to doom, offered as prey to a teenage acolyte?

    She let her hair down, changed her black corset dress to a bunch of rags and, having told the droid to keep quiet, marched to the nearby village. What happened next was a blur: she claimed, no, she swore that she had come in peace. Then there was somebody who recognised her, the older of two men, and she had to call Thirteen, who fetched her the red-bladed lightsaber. Five heads fell down, the last couple of members of the tribe got to experience the newest “baby” from her orphanage of despair – the toxin that had made the ’Skitees’ skin turn bright red and cause their blood vessels would start growing until they crushed their own lungs and heart. She loved it.

    “I shall call it…Omega Red!” She nodded to herself, pleased. “Reworking Alpha Red was a great idea. Vul Isen has nothing on me!”

    The last of the ’Skitees grabbed himself by the throat and fell down. Two convorees on the branch above chirped. Maladi could see that they too were the fruits of her work, not common birds that fed on worms. One of them, the larger one, flew to the nearest corpse and started pecking its opened eyes.

    The smaller convor remained behind, screeching. After a couple more bites, its mother started rolling over. Apparently, the neurotoxin was stronger than Maladi had thought – it was capable of killing anything that tried to feed on ’Skitees.

    “Now, imagine if this could be used somewhere interesting.” Maladi said to herself, after changing back into her black attire and putting her hair back into a high equine-tail. “Somewhere like…Coruscant.”

    She did not feel sorry for the bird that remained behind, nor for the collateral damage that she had caused. After all, surviving would not have done her good. For once she threw the second batch of Omega Red from a safe distance in orbit, Sev-Ersk was in for a “natural” disaster that would have been referred to as a work of art by that Chiss warlord of more than a century ago.

    Almost absent-mindedly, she extended two clenched fingers towards the convor chick.

    THE END
     
  22. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Ogosh, is this intense. Maladi goes beyond all her previous creepiness here, in spades. Looks like in a way her work is now complete, and in another way it is just beginning. The destruction she's reaping in the village is only the first step; she's also clearly planning to inflict an unspeakable doom on her master by way of the Memory Walk technique (though in a way it couldn't happen to a nicer fellow... :p ). And ohmigosh, the devastation that both Sev-Ersk and maybe Coruscant are now in for at the hands of Omega Red (aptly named, as its purpose is clearly to bring about what Pandora once called "the end of all things") makes Starkiller Base look downright tame. :eek:

    And here are the convorees of the title! I think now I at least partly see now what you mean by subverting their symbolism. In my observations, they usually serve a foreshadowing function—particularly foreshadowing something dire about to happen—but here they seem like the afterthought or aftermath; they (and their fate) are results of Maladi's work that she didn't expect. It’s established that they eat carrion, of course, but in this case the carrion in question is so diseased and poisoned that it basically eats one of them right back. Now, this baby convor seems to be wise to the fact that something has, well, happened to its mother… I wonder of course what Maladi is planning to do with it, given that the story so tantalizingly cuts off right at that point. Kill it? Use it as a tool or vector of some kind for spreading her destruction? Keep it as a sort of familiar? Or maybe we’re left guessing about this on purpose? ;)

    Another little observation: it looks almost like the type of destruction wrought by the Omega Red virus is kind of the physical analogue of the mental destruction that wrought by Memory Walk—kind of, sort of? The former causes the blood vessels to grow so big that they smother all the other organs; the latter extracts and magnifies the victim’s worst memories so that they overwhelm them and drive them mad. So in both cases it looks like sources of life are being used against the victim, if one considers that memories are by way of our mental lifeblood. Yep, there’s a certain artistry there, for sure, and one that would definitely not be lost on that certain Chiss warlord from so long ago! :eek:

    Thanks for sharing this with us—it’s a true GFFA horror masterpiece, and even though I know that’s not a genre you work in often, it does go to show just how far-reaching your authorial versatility is. Bravissima! =D=
     
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  23. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Another fabulously creepy installment to this story =D=

    So Maladi’s visions and memories were the result of her master using the Memory Walk Force power on her? I have to confess that, sentimental softie that I am, I hoped that her father’s presence was there with her, and that she would heed his voice now as she did not during the trial with Ka Shiya. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good redemption story, and Star Wars is all about redemption, after all. But I guess that doesn’t really fit with the source material; Celtic ballads end messily, unhappily and often bloodily, and Maladi fulfills all of those requirements. And in true Sith fashion, she resolves to use her master’s technique to destroy him. She’s learned her lesson, though perhaps not the one Krayt intended to teach her.

    Before she does, though she fulfills her mission, and unleashes her horrific virus on Sev-Ersk, destroying the few remaining Skitees. I was hoping that somehow that clever bioengineer would have a chance to confront, that he would, like a noble knight against a dragon, at least be able to go down fighting. Instead, he only gets an impersonal, ignoble death; he doesn’t even rise to the level of “opponent” to Maladi—he’s just an obstacle. In a way, it ties in with one of the themes of the “Two Ravens”, or at least some versions of it, that messy mortality comes to the noble and just, too, and everyone is food for the convors in the end. In some versions, the ravens gloat as they feast on the fallen knight, but here the convors succumb to the same horrible fate as the Skitees. Maladi’s virus spares nothing and no one.

    It’s a mark of how far gone Maladi is that she experiences only pleasure at the devastation she’s unleashed, and more pleasure at the thought of bringing it Coruscant and killing trillions of innocent beings. She believes that the “Chiss warlord” of long ago would have thought this a work of art, but honestly, I think even Thrawn would have drawn the line here. He, too, could be impersonally ruthless, but never without reason (at least what he considered a reason) and never for the sheer joy of it. Maladi is far more evil than he ever was. She glories in suffering and devastation.

    Very powerful entry to the challenge and great use of the ballad. =D=
     
  24. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    It was now clear to her. Memories were eternal. And they were the fuel she had to add to the fire of fear and doubt, whenever the wind would blow too strong. Something had to uncover more pain, for the lies that there was none that had been spread by the Jedi for millennia had long become stale.

    So, yes, Memory Walk. Memory Walk for victory. Power!

    Memories make us who we are. It gives me the shivers to see what Maladi has turned into due to memories/ dealing with memories.
     
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  25. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Fantastically creepy ending, and just in time for Halloween too! [face_pumpkin]

    As others have said, the ambiguous reasoning of her calling the convor chick makes for a great close. I can't decide what I think happens there, just that it's definitely going to be something Not Good for the bird and/or everyone else! [face_skull]

    And it's really a very Sith way of thinking that she has about the Memory Walk and what it brought up for her. She's willing to accept the paradox of needing to remember her former self in order to further fuel her current reign of terror. But at the same time, she doesn't like that she has that past of alternate possibilities. Acknowledging it introduces the mere possibility (not even the reality) of doubt. But then the doubt is fuel... and it goes around and around like a Moebius strip of motivation and aversion.
     
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