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Saga - Legends "Pavor nocturnus", Vader & Cassie one-shot (Ny´s Springtime Medow challenge)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by AzureAngel2, Mar 31, 2021.

  1. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Title:Pavor nocturnus”, a Vader & Cassie one-shot

    Author: AzureAngel2

    Co-editor and muse: @DarthUncle

    Main beta editor: @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    Length: one-shot with a Death Trooper, Vaneé, Darth Vader and Cassandra

    Summary: Night time in Vader's fortress on the lava planet of Mustafar. Surely one needs to be brave to survive it unharmed. Or it's just a question of being lucky. An impressive dose of silliness, mixed with sweetness and strong language, might also be helpful. Plus knowledge of ancient Sith lore.

    For this fan fic I used the prompt “Silver lining” from Springtime Meadow of Wildflowers & Berries!, the latest challenge of @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha.

    Time frame: 0 ABY

    Places of choice: Mustafar

    Reader warning: Please excuse my weird English! I am German. English is only my Second language!

    Disclaimer: SW is owned by George Lucas, Lucas Ltd. and now The Walt Disney Company



    I'm going under and this time I fear there's no one to save me
    This all or nothing really got a way of driving me crazy
    I need somebody to heal
    Somebody to know
    Somebody to have
    Somebody to hold
    It's easy to say
    But it's never the same
    I guess I kinda liked the way you numbed all the pain


    Now the day bleeds
    Into nightfall
    And you're not here
    To get me through it all
    I let my guard down
    And then you pulled the rug
    I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved


    I'm going under and this time I fear there's no one to turn to
    This all or nothing way of loving got me sleeping without you
    Now, I need somebody to know
    Somebody to heal
    Somebody to have
    Just to know how it feels
    It's easy to say but it's never the same
    I guess I kinda liked the way you helped me…




    Fortress Vader. There were grisly rumours about this place. About ghosts walking around. About brave soldiers losing it and killing themselves. About biological weapons being used on the unaware. About Jedi being brought here and tortured to death. About natives attacking occasionally.

    But DK177 stood his ground.

    Usually, the tall Death Trooper was not afraid of anybody. Since his training on Scarif he was not even a normal human being any more. But Lord Vader's steward with his vulture eyes spooked him out since he had arrived here on Mustafar. This bony skeleton was completely bonkers. The entire Imperial garrison knew.

    “Hey, you!” the old man barked and came closer. “I need you in the library.”

    “Roger, sir!”

    Until now the DK177 had not even been aware that this fortress had a library. Lord Vader did not seem the type of guy to sit around lazily and read. But than again, nobody did really know the Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet very well. He was shrouded in mystery.

    Awkwardly, the Death Trooper followed Vaneé. The corridors that they went through seemed endless.

    Finally, they stopped in front of huge wing doors that showed several masked warriors with flaming swords in their hands.

    “Are these Jedi?” DK177 asked incredulously and pointed at the figures.

    “Imbecile!” The old man rolled his eyes dramatically. “To compare the great Revan or the magnificent Malgus with such vermin! Unbelievable!”

    Enraged, Vaneé opened the left wing and disappeared into an airy chamber, that did not seem to fit with the rest of the castle.

    The Death Trooper blinked, remembering fragments of his childhood on Alderaan. Such as standing underneath the proud trees of the Isatabith rain forest, holding his father's hand. Or being inside the Great Library with his mother.

    Inside his helmet, his deformed mouth dropped open.

    Countless shelves and staircases, made of highly polished wood, formed a forest of paper books and scrolls.

    But there was more to wonder about.

    In the middle of the library lay a human body, completely motionless. DK177 scanned it quickly, trying to analyse the situation.

    The person was a young woman, barely out of her teens. A redhead with freckles and a light tan. The dress she wore was black with strange red signs on it. Her eyes were closed and she was holding on to a book. It said in plain Aurebesh: Naboo fairy tales.

    “She dead?” the Death Trooper inquired. “Want me to get rid of the body?”

    The vulture eyes almost popped out of the old man's sockets, yet he kept his voice surprisingly low. “Next time I ask a lava flee to bring Her Ladyship to her chambers. I bet those beasts show more sense than you, soldier.”

    That led DK177 to the next question, that was nagging at him. “She his wife?”

    “As if! The master is widowed. Nobody could ever replace Lady Vader,” Vaneé whispered angrily. “Anyway, pick her up carefully. And by all means, do not wake her up!”

    ********************************************************************

    Darkness was all around her, like a warm, comforting blanket. Therefore she was not afraid. It was like an old friend, coming around for a visit once in a while. A long time ago she had learned to navigate in its depths, even went so far to accept it as a part of her. For darkness was more than just the absence of light.

    There was this pleasant voice, it spoke right into her head. Teasing her and soothing her at the same time.

    From the womb of the krayt, be blessed with rebirth. You are her killer and her child—a greater dragon than she! Pull from her belly your prize… and her apology.”

    Then a mighty roar filled air.

    ********************************************************************

    It was the usual homecoming. Several volcanoes in the area were active, even in the dead of night. The effusive eruptions produced lava flows, while the more explosive ones spit out ash and pyroclastic density currents. But the ST 321 shuttle was too far away from the ongoing activities to be in any kind of danger.

    Darth Vader knew the route and had insisted he fly it all by himself. One of the few pleasures left in his life since blue milk custard and Naboo blossom wine were forever out of question.

    The young sergeant beside him was close to a faint.

    Seeing lava up-close-and-personal was an experience that only a few people ever forgot. Darth Vader always would remember his.

    Without a word he left the flight cabin and strode out of his Lambda-class T-4a shuttle.

    “Milord,” Vaneé called out, while hurrying towards him with flying robes. “We did not expect you back from Coruscant so soon. Her Ladyship is already asleep.”

    Strange that his assistant would call Cassandra thus, but than again she was the one in charge of the household when he was not around. And it made him glad that they obviously had used the last weeks to come to peaceful terms without getting him involved as an enforcer. He hated being the bad guy 24/7, clearly.

    “Then we better not wake her up,” the Dark Lord considered, crossing his arms behind his back.

    “No, we should not!” The old man looked genuinely horrified. “Especially not after Her Ladyship has worked herself into a frenzy cataloguing the inventory, no.”

    “Really?” he probed.

    The shuttle took off again.

    “Poor thing,” Vaneé stated.

    That seemed to be some kind of praise. “Why?”

    “Her Ladyship would not stop until she got everything in order between Darth Andeddu and Darth Maul.”

    “Maul. In my library?” the Dark Lord said somewhat sourly, all of a sudden not so sure he should have given Cassandra a free hand with his collected treasures.

    “Her Ladyship said life's greatest lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. Darth Maul would be essential for you.”

    There was an ache in his muscles now. He reminded himself that was very sithly, but would prefer it go away.

    Today had been an extremely bad day, ending a rough week. “Lots to learn,” he thought.

    “Perhaps it is time for Bacta immersion,” he let his assistant know, who had trouble keeping up with him.

    “Of course,” Vaneé yelped. “I will prepare everything.”

    “Good. Make it happen.”

    The old man rushed away.

    Officially, Lord Vader was not yet scheduled for this medical procedure. Therefore no Imperial Guards would be around to protect the tank tonight. He was okay with that. Once in a while he needed some comfort instead of drugs in his system.

    He strode on.

    The fortress was almost empty at this time of night, apart from some Death troopers on duty. He had his own guard unit. They were hand-picked and cybernetically altered to fit his wishes.

    Then there was also the nearby Imperial garrison. After the Mustafarians had stopped their raids, that garrison had been supplemented to battalion-level.

    He rushed into his abode, a dark shape in the shadows. His heavy footsteps sounded through poorly lit corridors. But there were other sounds. The loudest one was that of the mask, when it changed pressures to bring fresh air in and took the wasted one out. Yet the softest sound was that of his black cape as it swished and flapped, swirling up dust here and there.

    Of course, there were MSE-6-series repair droids on the market, referred to as mouse droids. They were perfect for maintenance tasks, but Darth Vader had no use for them. Since they were no living beings, he was not able to feel them in the Force. And with his view radius being limited, he ran danger of tripping over them.

    Ruefully, he recalled the few occasions when he had taken an actual fall. The physical damages had been minor. He had survived worse. But his pride and reputation were a different type of matter. Having slaughtered many Jedi knights who had managed to escape Order 66 Being the one who brought a lot of star systems to heel. To end up on his hands and knees, due to of overlooking a tiny tin box, was unacceptable. He cursed his master.

    And so the Dark Lord had decided to ban the MSE-6-series, especially the much smaller precursor MSE-4 from the Clone Wars, from his household altogether. After all, this castle was an abode of gloominess and eeriness. Fluffs just added to the image. And he was its only ruler.

    No,” the Dark Lord corrected himself and could help smiling underneath his helmet. “There is another…”

    Abruptly, he walked into a different wing of his castle.

    Once, he had reserved those chambers for somebody else. But bringing Padmé back from the Dead had proved impossible.

    Someone else's spirit had come back from the Netherworld of the Force instead. Not voluntary. And certainly not by his doing.

    The Force works in mysterious ways,” he smirked, suddenly realizing that he had spoken those lines aloud.

    Of late, the Dark Lord had to admit to himself, he was becoming rather strange. Perhaps it was the gas on these premises, stretching his mind. Or too many drugs in his system to keep him going. But whatever the exact cause, it was very much his master's doing. The Emperor never gave him a rest from vicious plots and assassination attempts. Moments of lucidity and peace were scarce.

    The Rule of Two would be his master's inspiration to make his life a living hell Cassandra as had insisted.

    He remembered well their last conversation. “He will always try to manipulate you, keep you in the dark like a frightened boy,” she had insisted. “Unless you are better informed than him. Knowledge is the key here. I allow you to get back to him about it.”

    So far the girl had been an extraordinary teacher on the subject of the Sith, much kinder and more forgiving than his master. Blessed with an abundance of patience, she had sat him down on countless occasions.

    Her lessons had replaced the aching emptiness inside him. Clarity and certainty had kicked in. All his sufferings and personal sacrifices had been worthwhile. He would prevail and start ruling with Luke by his side.

    Since the boy was not around, yet, he would simply check out on Cassandra. She was family, too, always would be. For the better or the worse.

    ********************************************************************

    Ever so slowly, for there was no point being hasty in the midst of danger, she turned towards the source of the sound.

    The dragon was beautiful to behold. It was slender creature, lean and sinewy. Elegant horns protrude from the sides of the enormous skull. The most fascinating thing about it was the shimmer of its scales. They had the colour of black onyx.

    ********************************************************************

    Vaneé was not surprised to see his master coming out of Lady Cassandra's chambers. “Everything is prepared,” he mumbled, barely looking up.

    “At least she was reasonable enough to go to bed,” Lord Vader boomed after closing the door, sounding relieved. “Last time, I found her asleep in the library, clutched to one of the books.”

    The steward kept his eyes on the floor and his knowledge to himself.

    DK177 would not be missed much.

    The lava flee in the neighbourhood would not go hungry tonight.

    Besides, troopers of every kind went missing in this castle. It had always been thus. There was no true inquiry about their whereabouts. Not since the Imperial Inspector had been around a couple of years ago.

    Vaneé smiled.

    Yes, ever since his life was perfect.

    ********************************************************************

    She twitched her nose slightly. For the black dragon smelled of rotting vegetation and foul water.

    Oh hello, my beauty!” she wheezed and stepped closer.

    The golden pupils, being surrounded by a ring of red fire, glanced at her in blank surprise.

    Who are you?” the dragon spoke into her mind.

    A fan,” she smiled.


    The reproach came directly. “My kind does not have a fan base.”

    That is because you never checked.”

    He showed his teeth. The meat of his latest victim was still stuck between them. “Why should a mere human girl fall for somebody like me?”

    Oh, you are so not my type,” she confessed. “But we are kin.”


    They were nose to nose all of a sudden.

    This is not possible.”

    She started stroking the large nostrils, that were surprisingly soft. “Search your feelings, you know it to be true. My family has brought gate keepers forth throughout the ages.”


    He inhaled so deeply, that her hand almost got sucked in. “You smell of dark magic. A necromancer has meddled with you. This body is not your own.”

    I am a bearer of light,” she insisted.

    The dragon had a mocking smile for her. “On the occasion of Diwali, the Naboo pray to be led from darkness to light.”

    Tamaso mā jyotir gamaya,” she freely translated without faltering. “I know.”

    I serve the darkness.”

    Now it was her turn to produce a grin. “You will find that it is you who are mistaken. About a great many things.”

    Startled, the dragon tried to back away, but she dealt with it like she would with an eopie. With both hands, she reached deep into each nostril and pulled hard. “You will go nowhere. Not until I am finished here.”

    He shook her off with all might and she feel unto her hands and knees. This is when he spat his acid breath on her.

    ********************************************************************

    Sergeant Aarush Hesketh kept his eyes focused on the flight controls. His goal was to head back towards the Devastator as quickly as possible, now that he had delivered Vader home. He hated playing space taxi for his supreme commander. Each mission that involved Mustafar, terrorized him to the bone.

    Hailing from Naboo, the young man missed rich green pastures and rolling plains, dappled with lakes.

    He sniffed.

    The Festival of Light was coming up soon and there was no way that he would get leave for the occasion.

    As dusk turned into darkness on that particular day, most Naboo homes would be illuminated with tiny earthen oil lamps. Those would be arranged in symmetrical rows and artistic patterns. Children would enjoy the freedom to playfully rearrange everything.

    He opened a channel to the immense star destroyer as he came in close range.

    “Command station, this is ST-321. Code clearance blue. I am starting my approach.”

    A familiar voice came through, surprising him.

    “Has, old house. It's me, Tuckerton.”

    Of course his old bunk mate from academy days messed around with the security protocol. This was not a wise thing to do. Since a group of rebels had crash-landed on Mustafar some years ago, everybody was on their toes.

    Wild rumours made their rounds from cantina table to cantina table, from shower unit to shower unit, from locker to locker.

    A daring last-minute-escape with one of the rebels that was left behind.

    Well, one thing was for certain, Vader was not very fond of visitors. Why else should he have settled down on such a piece of coal?

    ********************************************************************

    She screamed and screamed, while the acid ate through her skin and bones in rapid speed.

    “You underestimate the power of the Dark Side,” the black dragon stated regally. “If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny.”

    Soon, all that she was, all that she had ever been, was gone.

    ********************************************************************

    Cassandra woke up with a fright. For some daft reason she was not on her favourite library rug any more. Someone had stuffed her into her own bed. And that impertinent person had taken her fairy tale book from her.

    “Vaneé!” she complained at the pitch of her voice and jumped out of bed.

    Looking up and down her body she noted that she at least was still dressed in her self-made Sith scholar robes.

    Using her wild beating heart as a compass, she trampled through the castle in a not very ladylike manner. She simply could not be bothered.

    After a little eternity, she reached the doors that led to her cousin's sanctum. This time no Red Guards were standing around. No Death Trooper in plain sight either.

    She pressed a hand to her chest to calm herself.

    Counting down to ten, she activated the door mechanism.

    Her surprise could not have been any greater.

    Like a silver lining the Dark Lord was floating in a bacta tank. Well, she had never seen such a tank, but something inside her knew it was. Her gut feeling, as she referred to it. Others might have called it the Force.

    He also must have felt her, because he frowned into her direction. His eyes blue and large. “I did not invite you, cousin!” he spoke into her head and it took her a while to recognize his voice, for it sounded much younger and healthier.

    Aware that he would not be able to hear her very well without his helmet, she shot right back via telepathy. “Then put up a sign next time you do not want to get disturbed during bath time!”

    “Does this look like a bath to you?” he challenged her. “And do you believe that I am having the time of my life in here?”

    “You might as well enjoy it, you know.”

    “Joy would be to wipe that smile of your face, Cassandra.”


    She walked up straight to the tank and pressed her nose against the glass, trying not to stare at the sad human remains inside. That Obi-Wan really had done a nasty job there and had left it to the lava to destroy the rest, only a bit too hasty to succeed.

    “I am so glad that you cannot shoot any Force lightning at me with your fingertips.”

    He raised an eyebrow at her mockery, his mouth hidden underneath his medical breathing mask. “I can think of more fun ways to disintegrate you.”

    Cassandra blew him a raspberry, even though this way not a very grown-up thing to do. “If you do, I won't be able to tell you about… Darth Cognus.”

    His pale face seemed to be made out of stone. It also did not help that the lower half was covered up. “Sometimes I believe you just come up with all those Sith legends to gaslight me.”

    She recognised the sarcasm in his words and refused to answer.

    “What? No attempt to bribe me?”
    He sounded smug. “Orson Krennic's only child is finally at the end of her wits?”

    For a fleeting moment she seemed to waver. Then she turned her back on him.

    “Are you sulking?”


    Taking a deep breath, Cassandra started walking away from the tank.

    “Don't you dare to leave me like this!” he ranted. “I am not finished with you, yet!”

    She would like to scratch out his eyes now. “But I am so done with you!” she informed him coldly, just about on the brink to mention his mother. That would be a hard blow for him.

    A mop and a bucket came flying out of nowhere, barring her way.

    This was too much to bear.

    In her anger, she flung the objects right back at him. They clattered against the tank and fell down unceremoniously.

    First he was startled, then he convulsed in the bacta.

    In panic she rushed towards the tank. “Are you okay?”

    He did not answer, but shook even more.

    It was only then, that she realized that silent laughter shook the Dark Lord.

    “Nerfherder!” she screamed aloud and banged her fists against the glass.

    “Impressive, most impressive!”

    He made a little gesture with his fingers and she was risen in the air. Her brow came to rest against the tank, he made an effort to lean in with his own head.

    Instead of fighting her cousin directly, she said crisply, “I could fry you like a fish finger now.”

    Thoughtfully, he nodded. “Oh, I have no doubt about it, Cassandra! I bet there is more where all this comes from. The malice, the Force skills… a true Palpatine.”

    There was not only sorrow in his blue eyes, but real physical pain. Pain that she had caused him. Due to her Darth had been forced to break out of his usual routine, make movements that he did not do while being in the Bacta.

    Guilty tears ran down her face. She was such a horrible and selfish girl! To treat a poor invalid that way! A man who had been betrayed by everybody important in his life. She was not worthy to live under this roof.

    Unblinking, he starred at her. After a while, he said, “Pity is the last thing that I need and want, Cassandra.”

    She was devastated.

    “Better start telling me the promised story!”

    “Legend!”
    She pouted. “Take your own Sith religion seriously, would you now! Or I will force you to give back your title!”


    Sources:
    The song “Someone you loved” by Lewis Capaldi (2019)
    An ancient Tusken invocation
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
    Kahara likes this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    LOL always happy to read about the unusual dynamic between Cassie and Vader :p
     
    Kahara and AzureAngel2 like this.
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Cassie and Vader a dynamic duo on that volcanic hell
     
  4. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha & @earlybird-obi-wan: I am always glad about your feedback, girls. It´s very, very much appreciated in such dire and dark times.

    With rising Covid-19 cases again, we are even discouraged to go outside for a walk. Well, DarthUncle burned his left foot anyway with hot soup. He hardly can walk and I was just glad, we had some emergency stuff at home, since it´s a holiday and just a few selected pharmacies are open. I am too sick to leave the house and my voice is leaving me again.

    (Did to much talking and shouting last night, due to being unhappy about a Yellow Musk Creeper my brother-in-law had installed in our "D & D" adventure. That thing nearly killed me off, when I came to the rescue of a certain warlock who was admiring the damned pretty flower. Argh! Well, my dwarf character made it in the end, but in RL my voice capacity when from almost okay-ish back to almost none existent.)

    Well, take all good care! [:D][face_good_luck] (And do not get upset about the games that you play! [face_shame_on_you])
     
    Kahara and WarmNyota_SweetAyesha like this.
  5. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Cassie and Vader have such an entertaining dynamic here -- getting on each other's last nerve and yet they also have a kind of trust there too. It's like and yet unlike how Nagina regarded Palpatine (no doubt all parties would be appalled to hear that :p ), and very fun to read! The way she goes more on the attack due to feeling a bit guilty is just so very Cassie. Vaneé creeps me out more every time he shows up, yikes. :eek: