"You have no rights....you are no longer even a person....
Squatting down in the darkened room, Mrysti adjusted the wrap around her waist as she scrapped at the bowl of food left for her. Her Taskmaster always waited till she was sleeping to leave the food, so happily every time she woke she was fed. As she scrapped she looked up at the heavy door barring her exit. A slight beam of sunlight was just cresting the corner of the tiny window on the top center and she quickly glanced to the marks she had made on the wall to measure the time by sunlight. The beam was approaching the second to last mark on the wall, it was almost time. She wondered what sickness the Taskmaster had in mind for her this time.
As the beam slowly moved closer to the mark she scrapped quickly at the durasteel bowl discarding it in the corner of the room and standing adjusting her waist and breast wrap to wait. The lock on the door nosily started to rattle and she instinctively looked behind her at the beam of sunlight, right on time. The slight Taskmaster was nothing if not prompt like clockwork. Doing her do diligence she did as she always did, bowing her head and closing her eyes. She was never allowed to look at her Taskmaster. Although she didn’t need to in order to know a little about him, he had beaten and tortured her enough. And in those moments she always caught glimpses of her Master.
A slight man, he was much shorter than Mrysti, who towered over most males anyway. Not that she had seen any other people; she was never allowed any contact with anyone but her torturous Master. Short, balding…a terrifying squeaky voice that always seemed to penetrate her soul as he screamed at her. As she stood silently the door made a loud squeal as it opened and she heard the sound of the Master’s shuffling feet. She could hear his heavy breathing as he drew near and could sense the excitement of anticipation in him. Slowly she heard him pace a circle around her, she felt his arousal at looking her over, something he did so very often.
“Open your eyes…keep them to the floor, but look at what I am handing to you!” Mrysti opened her eyes, seeing a gloved hand holding something embroidered in gold and metal. It was slight and she kept just her gaze on it, not venturing to move. “Take it!” Mrysti took it in her hands, but did not look at it only letting it fall in her hand to the side. “You will remove your clothing and put that on! NOW!” Raising her hand this time to actually look at the slight thing she held she turned the two pieces over in her hand, it was a finely crafted Dancer’s Outfit, keeping her head low she stood a moment too long unmoving. Reaching out he slapped her across her face. “Put it on!” With her head low she took a slight step back, using her hands to shimmy the waist wrap down off her hips and onto the floor.
Again Myrsti felt his arousal through the Force as his breathing slightly increased. She heard the Taskmaster lean back against the doorframe, just to take her all in. Smiling wickedly, Mrysti took her time putting the finely crafted Dancer’s Bottoms on, slowly moving them up her legs and twisting her hips slightly as she brought them up and over, tying the side at last. The Taskmaster almost seemed to stop breathing as he watched her, finally speaking after she had finished tying. “N-now…the top.” Still smiling wickedly, Mrysti kept her eyes closed as she reached behind her back releasing the clasp for her chest wrap, but allowing an answer to part her ample crimson lips.
“As you wish….Master.” Being a little too quick for his taste in putting on the Dancer’s top, he reached over slapping her again, but saying nothing. She slowed down allowing him a full view of her front before slowly pulling it down and tying it in the back, the whole time keeping her eyes tightly shut. She placed her head back in a low bow, finally opening her eyes to cast them at the floor.
“Now. Take this…put this on over it.” Again his gloved hand came into view, this time he held a set of heavy robes. This confused Mrysti, it was not unusual for her Master to make her wear slight clothing or nothing at all for that matter. To hand her robes, she was taken aback. Slowly grabbing them the Taskmaster moved to the door closing it. For him the real show was over. As he locked the door he stood on his tiptoes to look at her through the porthole. “Be dressed when I return…” Quickly she started donning the robes having a little trouble. She had never worn robes before, as far as she could remember.....
Moving through the darkened corridor, Mrysti only watched her Master’s feet, following him close as he led her down the all too familiar path. Many times she had traversed this path in chains or rope of some kind. To be walking freely was a new experience for her. It was the direction to his Inner Sanctum or as he liked to refer to it, his “Play Room”. This time upon entering, Mrysti did not immediately recognize the furnishings. The rack he typically kept in the center of the room for tying her to and beating her on had been moved to the side. As had his shelving system that was always near-by, which contained his endless assortment of torture devices. All of it had been moved to the corner of the Dias it sat on. In it’s place on the upper level another pedestal had been placed on the already elevated area. The Taskmaster turned putting a hand on the top of her head, stopping her.
“Watch my finger…” He sharply jutted a finger below her downcast eyes pointing a direction. “Get on the Dias and then on the upper pedestal.” Mrysti bowed slightly, lifting her long brown robes to step over the Dias and up the slight surrounding stairs to stand on it. Then lifting her robes higher she got on the pedestal. Allowing her hands to rest against her sides she bowed her head lower, careful to make it appear she was not looking around, although she had already surveyed the room in an instant and now knew where everything in it was.
She sensed anger in him as he looked her over, a long silence ensuing after she climbed the pedestal. If Mrysti didn’t have the Force as her ally she almost would have thought he left the room. She heard the sound of paper finally, several sheaves of it. Jutting it forcefully under her downcast eyes he shook it several times. “Take it….and when I tell you, you will put it up to your face. Keep your face behind it, do not look at me!” Listening she heard his feet shuffle across the floor and a chair get scraped across it. Soon she heard his slight frame make the chair squeak slightly as he sat. “Now…look at the paper. Careful, you are not to look at me!” Mrysti brought her head up slowly, raising the papers at the same time to look at them and cover her face. Around the edges she saw the outside of the room and yet something else new. In the corner near the new resting place of her Master’s torture rack, a pit surrounded by rocks with a fire burned. Large rods of metal were inserted into the flames, the ends burning brightly. “The words….you will sing them. You will sing them to me.” Mrysti looked at the words on the paper, her face contorting in confusion. She had never attempted to sing in her life. Why he wanted her to do this now was beyond her, but she knew better than to voice her concern. Clearing her throat she hummed at first, beginning the first lines on the paper.
“Flying away…in my harmony….flying away…in my harmony soooon to be set free…”
10 Years prior – Coruscant – The Jedi Temple
Hamner chased her around the statue eventually catching her and tossing her playfully to the ground. Mrysti fought back only half-heartedly as her brother grabbed her legs wrestling her down. It was always a challenge for Hamner to get his Sister down, she was after all the second largest of the bunch. Of all the Alpha’s only Marstel was larger. For a woman, Mrysti was unusually tall and quite muscular. She shared most of her traits with her Sister Karolin, her looks, her red eyes…her passion for things, but there was also the seriousness of both her and her Sister. The seriousness they both carried could melt a glacier, but so could their passions. For all of Mrysti’s tall, muscularness, she was a gentle giant. As they quit the wrestling around, both her and Hamner sat on the front garden area in front of the Temple, their hands behind them propping them up in the grass. Mrysti smiled moving some of her Red hair out of her eyes as she looked at Hamner lovingly through the locks.
“You wanted to talk…so talk!” Mrysti playfully elbowed her Brother. His demeanor turning serious as he remembered why he had called his Sister out of their daily meditations in the first place. Hamner looked away swallowing hard before turning his head to give her a weak smile. She instantly lost her beautiful smile, “What?”
“I have to leave.” Hamner took her hand sitting up and crossing his legs facing her, “But…I want you and Karolin to come with me. We don’t belong here Mrysti…we don’t!” Mrysti pulled her hand out her brother’s slowly. She had remembered his conversations with her about leaving the Temple and joining the Empire. There was something calling him to the Dark Side and his powers as well as his lessons were showing it.
When Hamner approached Karolin about leaving, she flatly refused to talk to him about leaving telling him, “The Force has a plan for us…you have to meditate on it and hope you get led the right direction.” That was the Jedi answer. The “Karolin” answer was, “You’re an idiot Hamner…we were placed here for a reason. Besides RT will kick your ass if you leave. No Alpha has ever left the Republic and no Alpha ever will.”
“How do you know? Hamner…I-I…I can’t leave. My life is here….our lives are here.” Hamner got up roughly looking down at his Sister.
“I just know…in fact I have proof. We are supposed to leave, we are destined to do it.” Mrysti looked down allowing her hands to flop in her lap. Finally as she sighed she looked at him.
“Ok…how? How do you know?” Hamner squatted down getting uncomfortably close.
“Karolin, you…even me. We have been engineered to be predisposed to use the Dark Side.” He looked up at the sky, still speaking to her closing his eyes to his surroundings. “Can’t you feel it? The pull….the call of it. We were meant for something more than this! Not to be sitting around here ‘meditating’ all day…” Hamner huffed getting up to pace away. Getting up to follow him, she had to admit what she had been hiding for so long. Placing a hand on his shoulder she spoke softly.
“Yes….I HAVE felt it….I have felt it too….”
Years Later...Undisclosed Location, Korriban
As Mrysti sang, she could feel her Master’s anger rising through and behind the paper. She clutched the sides tightly continuing. Her voice cracking slightly, some from not ever having sang before, but mostly from the rising fury to her front.
“Flying gently….the Force will guide me….flying gently…the Force is my hope and my salvation.”
Noisily the chair scrapped across the duracrete floor as her Master flung it backward, “Jedi Bitch! You’re not going anywhere….you will never get free!...” Leaping up to the platform beside her, the Taskmaster grabbed Mrysti by her neck bending her down and pulling her off the higher pedestal. “Time to give you the lesson again…” Mrysti grinned wickedly, feinting her shock at having been ripped from the platform and drug by her neck down the circular surrounding stairs.
Hours of solitude, locked in her room it was attention she craved. Any kind of interaction. This was the part she most enjoyed, the attention her Master showed her. Not having any memory of it having ever been any other way, she was used to his tirades. Angrily he led her next to the fire tossing her by her neck up and over the side of the torture rack. Her legs still touched the floor, her upper body bent over the top of it. Still grinning wickedly, she always hid her pleasure at having him shower her like this. Forcefully he ripped the robes off her upper body allowing them to hang by her firmly planted legs. Hazarding a glance behind her she heard the uncoiling of the whip, the tip scraping across the ground as she purred to herself. Before he even said another word, he cracked it twice bringing it up and across her back finally. She arched her back, her head going up in joyous, shocking pain.
“You Jedi will never learn…but, you especially…you need to be reminded every day. Don’t you?” He brought the whip down again across her back, screaming this time, “DON’T YOU?!?!” She let out a small pleasurable whimper of pain, being careful not to let on how much she truly enjoyed it. Putting a little fright behind her voice she responded.
“Oh yes Master…e-everyday. I have to be shown everyday…”
Space – 25 Parsecs outside of Imperial Space, years earlier...
“I am only going to say this once…Hamner! Throttle back your engines and lower your shields…it’s over!” Hamner moved his hands deftly over the controls glancing over at his Sister who also deftly worked the co-pilot's station. RT’s voice echoed over the internal speaker. “Hamner! Stop now!” Laying his hands on the control yoke, Hamner juked the control upward putting his ship in a spin and steep climb. Behind them RT kept close in his own ship. “You have no idea what your doing do you!” Hamner had no idea what he was doing it was true. The flight from Coruscant, the escape from the Temple and the subsequent pursuit by their Brother RT was all unexpected. Looking at his scanner he saw RT break off pursuit moving his ship sharply to the right and away from them. Hamner looked over at Mrysti smiling.
“I guess he got the message. I knew he wouldn’t follow us in Imperial Territo—“ All at once the large asteroid collided with the ship. RT saw it coming and had no time to warn them, or maybe he did and they just didn’t hear. The tiny ship crumpled under the asteroid as Mrysti’s side took the brunt of the impact. Both Hamner and his Sister being ripped from their seats and thrown violently into the rear bulkhead. Time seemed to slow for Mrysti as she sailed through the Bridge, her head violently striking the support beam above the separation hatch. Hamner looked up from the floor, his consciousness slowly coming and going. The last vision, was one of only his Sister’s legs lying on the floor. She struck the wall and fell between the Bridge and the Cargo Hold, lying halfway between both. Her life now half-way between the present and the afterlife.
Years Later....Undisclosed Location, Korriban
Breathing heavy, the Taskmaster dropped the whip speaking between labored breaths. He had given her at least a good 50 lashes with his whip and physically he was tiring out. “You…still…haven’t…learned…have…you?” Mrysti shook her head, her face still turned away. Laying a hand on her rear the Taskmaster propped himself up, looking at her back now stripped once again of the callused skin that grew back after each beating. Blood dripped off her sides and down onto the floor under her as he continued to breath heavy. “This…time. I will burn it into you. You will remember this time…”
Pushing off of Mrysti forcefully, the Taskmaster stumbled from exhaustion toward the fire picking up one of the metal rods out of it. He held it up to his face allowing its glow to light his face as he smiled through slightly rotten teeth. On the end of the rod a metal rune glowed brightly with the heat from the fire. The rune, Sith in origin had significant meaning to the Taskmaster as he brought the rod close to Mrysti’s face showing her. Terrifying her.
She feinted terror again, but in her mind burned curiosity. This was an odd play for her Master. He had never before resorted to fire or burning her. “See this…this makes you my Jedi Bitch forever…” Moving back down the length of her long muscular body he stopped to look at her back, still holding the rod slightly at arms length to admire his handiwork with the whip. With deliberate and precise motion he pressed the end with the glowing hot rune into the small of her back. The smell of burning skin and blood mixing with the air around them as Mrysti pushed up from the torture rack almost standing up, but holding herself up with her arms as she screamed in pain. It was a white hot, lightning sensation to her body. She had never been burned before let alone branded.
Holding it in place the Taskmaster pressed it harder into her skin one last time before pulling it off with a jerk. Mrysti almost cried. Not at the pain of having been branded, but at the fact that he had stopped burning her. Suddenly the lack of pain was like an old friend had left her. She whimpered as the Taskmaster tossed the rod angrily back into the fire, quite pleased that he had made her cry. Slowly, she ventured a whisper…for the first time she talked back to her Taskmaster. A whisper at first, that grew into a hiss.
Korriban Station – Imperial Space, years prior to the events of Mrysti's captivity...
Waking to a grey, white ceiling Hamner looked up at the overhead lights that slowly came into focus. As he began to regain consciousness, he heard the clatter of armor from the side of the room and turned his head slowly to see a Sith Warrior rise from a seat flanked by two Imperial Soldiers.
“That was quite an accident, Jedi. Never in all my time on this Station have I seen anything quite like it. Were you deliberately trying to kill yourself and your lady friend?” The Sith smiled wickedly as he looked Hamner over. Attempting to sit up, the Sith pressed Hamner back to the bed. “No…your not going anywhere. You’re in no condition…besides we need some answers.” Hamner began to recollect the Sith’s words as his mind began to gain clarity. Mrysti, where was she?
“M-my Sister? Where is she…is she alright?” The Sith’s eyes went up slightly at the revelation. A Zabrak and a Miralian claiming to be Brother and Sister? His face twisted in confusion, then suddenly sadness.
“She’s suffered a severe head trauma. We tried everything at our disposal…unfortunately, she’s brain dead. Not likely to survive.” Hamner laid back down forcefully, his hand slapping down on the pillow. He had come all this way only to kill his Sister in the attempt. Holo-comms chimed in the room as the Sith moved off to a corner to answer the message. He turned back slowly toward Hamner after murmuring a few words. “That was the trauma ward. I’m afraid she has expired. Sorry, friend…now about those questions…”
Slowly, the Taskmaster ran his finger up the naked leg of the green woman. She was tall, muscular and so very beautiful, even after the medical droids had put her head and face back together. He could only imagine what she must have looked like before the accident. Scars ran the length of her face and over her scalp from the repair droid's work, metal showed in places where prosthesis were used to replace shattered bone and cartledge. It was pity that she was dead. His mind raced at the many pleasures and deplorable acts he could commit on her. Laying his hand on her forehead, he spoke softly.
“It was not meant to be my love…perhaps in the next life…” The Force reached out to him like a snake biting a hand that had been forced down its hole. At once he felt her power, he felt her fighting to survive. It was intriguing, this woman…a Force user. The power that bit him was pure light, she was a Jedi and all but dead still fighting to get out.
Making a quick decision, the Taskmaster covered her face with the sheet from the bed and began pushing her from the room. He had to have her, had to have her power, her beauty…all of it could be his. The greatness of it, she would never be missed. Turning with the bed toward the Cargo Bay, no one gave the Taskmaster a second glance. Just another Sith pushing cargo of some sort. As he made the Bay area, he started formulating plans, where he would hide her. How would he be able to control her? To him it didn’t matter, just the fact that he now his very own Jedi slave was all he thought about. Getting the bed up on the ramp and pushing it into this own Cargo Hold, he locked it in place. Hopefully she wouldn’t come to before he had constructed everything. There would have to be a new torture chamber constructed and a ‘quarters’ for his prize. Shrugging, he moved to the bridge of his ship. It was all small matters, he already had all of the things he needed, only minor adjustments needed to be made.
Years Later...Undisclosed Location, Korriban
With eyes as round as saucers, the Taskmaster bent around the rack to look at Mrysti. “You dare speak to me? You dare to utter a word, in my presence?’ Gesturing, he motioned for her to stand. “Keep your back to me and remove what’s left of that….robe.” His words were disdainful as he referred to the Jedi garment. Mrysti did as she was instructed, slowly untying the front of the robe and allowing it to drop around her. Blood began running down her back and over the new burn she now prominently displayed in the center of the small of it. Taking a moment to just look at her, the Taskmaster smiled reaching out to touch the mark he so proudly burned into her. Blood caking his fingers as he did so. Bringing the finger back to his lips, he licked the gore from it releasing a pleasurable sound. “Oh…you are so sweet. As always, you taste delicious to me.” Pushing on her slightly, he gestured with his other hand.
Once again slowly, Mrysti knew what she was supposed to do, another wicked smile crossing her lips as she climbed onto the rack. Laying her legs in the proper position already worn where she had so many times been spread onto the wood, she reached up placing her hands in the other position. With her face pointed down, she looked at the pool under her, still smiling at all of the attention and the burn having been given her. Feeling her Master tie her ankles, she felt his movement as he moved toward her face. Instinctively she turned her head away from him as he very violently tied her hands to the wood. Moving off to the side the Taskmaster kicked the lever control, pulling her appendages further apart, but leaving her in a position resembling an ‘X’…she started her own heavy breathing.
This was the part she always looked forward to. It was unfortunate that she never got enough of what her Master tried to give her. Far too often he tired or simply couldn’t finish. On several occasions, he tired himself to the point of just simply falling asleep on her. It was those times that she really wished she would have had a free hand to kill her Master for failing to please her. Her hunger was endless, this man had no idea how much she craved or needed to be satisfied. So far…he had never reached her limit. Mrysti bit into her bottom lip as the room went silent. Try as she might, even with the Force she could never tell what he was doing. Violently, her dancer’s bottoms were ripped from her body. She stopped breathing a moment, allowing for her own anticipation to build.
The Master had gotten her worked up…now he would have to work for this. Mrysti’s power was growing, her hunger growing…there was never enough pleasure or pain for her. Little did the tiny Taskmaster know, he was creating a storm in her he could not control and sooner rather than later the dam would burst, consuming him. For the moment, Mrysti merely waited in anticipation as she heard the clap-clap of metal on metal. The Master was playing with his toys again. As the metallic sound got closer, Mrysti hung her head low through the opening on the rack looking down, the evil grin growing on her face. It was going to be a long night…one she absolutely looked forward to. Hopefully, he wouldn’t disappoint this time.
It was another day…Mrysti had stopped marking her wall. As she looked around the room there were dark streaks all around her, countless days she had spent in this cell. Some days she was free to roam around it, other days the Taskmaster kept her chained like a dog to the wall. Even with her superior strength she could not break free. Most days she didn’t have the will even if she wanted too.
Several things had changed, the Taskmaster now liked to hear her speak on occasion and he even ventured so far as to train her in the use of a vibrosword. On those rare occasions he would take her from the cell to his ‘play room’ he would clear the decks and spar with her. Almost every time she overcame him, it was like a goal for her now. If she overcame him, she got to be tied to the rack and then he would pleasure her. In his selfishness he always thought he was pleasuring himself, but that was never the case. On one occasion it got particularly violent, Mrysti had fallen asleep, simply bored by his attempts to get any response from her she inadvertently drifted off. The result was more than she could possibly have asked for, the pain exquisite, but all for naught as the Taskmaster eventually tired out and simply left her there. She slept in the rack overnight waking the next morning to the sounds of machinery nearby. The Master was busy building something, but she had no idea what it was. He would never tell her.
As she sat in the cell watching the tiny beam of sunlight near the mark on the wall that would signal his arrival, she stood straightening herself as usual. The beam passed the mark and then went to a further point down the wall. It was the first time in memory that he had missed an appointment to come and release her from the cell. She looked around curiously, finally going to the window in the door and looking out. She pressed her face against the iron bars to catch a glimpse of anything, seeing nothing but the corridor she backed up, curious again. After a moment, she pressed her face against the bars again this time calling out.
“Master!....Master, where are you?” There was no sound at first, then she heard a shuffling and the closing of an adjacent door she knew nothing about. Dusty and grimy from working on something the Master walked up to the thick door holding his prize, smacking the bars angrily with the wood he was carrying.
“Who told you to speak? And why are you pressed against that door? Can’t you see I’m busy?!?!” Mrysti backed up straightening, she was ready to come out, but the Master did not jingle the keys. He did not unlock the door. She stood for a long moment wondering what was going on. An evil smile coming to her lips she realized it must be a game. Pressing herself against the door again, she called out to him in the most seductive sultry voice she could muster. Purring his title, she licked her lips.
“Maaaaasssster. You’re not growing tired of me are you? I’m waiting for yooooooou.” The shuffling sound began again as the Taskmaster scooted around the corner peering at her. He was fully aware now of the Monster he’d created. Mrysti was insatiable, it was the reason he had to get his ‘project’ finished as soon as he could. Pouring water over his head from the container he held, he squinted through it to look at her.
“Yes…yes. I hear you!!! We are not going to play today! I am busy….now quiet down or I will not feed you!” Mrysti stepped back in a huff folding her arms across her chest. She poked her lips out sadly. She didn’t want food, she wanted to play. Slowly her anger began to build, but she decided on one more subtle attempt to try and lure her Master in. Pressing against the door again, she cooed at him softly.
“It’s been lonely without you…I have been thinking about you all night…can’t you please unlock the door so we can play?” The Taskmaster threw the container on the ground spilling its contents. Angrily he went to the door, standing up on tip toes to peer at her.
“NO!!! I am working on something!!! I don’t have time for you today!!! Why I ever allowed you to begin speech…is BEYOND ME!!!” He stepped back from the door as Mrysti did the same, her rage welling up inside her she clenched her fist, screaming at the top of her lungs. The Force inadvertently added emphasis to her scream as the door began to rattle on it’s hinges.
“YOU MAKE TIME, YOU MISERABLE KRIFFER!!! YOU MAKE TIME FOR ME!!!!” She hurled her body against the door, again it rattled so badly it threatened to come off the frame. The Taskmaster stepped back in fear at seeing the solid door nearly come apart so violently. Shaking his head, he knew he had to get control of her quickly or all was lost for him. She hurled herself against the door again and again, until he finally raised his voice over the noise.
“Alright!!! You Miserable Bitch!!! You want to play? I’ll play….step back from the door!” Mrysti bit her bottom lip as she smiled brightly, almost giddy with excitement. Hearing the jingle of the keys she nearly wet herself, but she took a deep breath and gained her control. She was half tempted to hurl herself at him, but that was not his way. Never had she willingly given herself to him. The door flung open with more of a creak than usual as the Taskmaster's shadow loomed down over her. She kneeled submissively as an apology for making such a ruckus. Reaching down he snatched her by her hair turning her face up toward him. “You wanna play??? Huh? Do you?!?!” She smiled wickedly, he never pulled her head back without having something to put in her mouth and she could only surmise what was coming next. As she suspected he tipped the container of vinegar up and over her face to pour down her mouth as she gasped for air. “Drink it!!! Drink it, you Bitch….” The sensation of almost drowning from such a vile liquid set her heart aflame as she now primed herself for the rest of the entertainment. Still holding her hair he pulled her from the tiny cell dragging her down the corridor.
As she pretended to struggle, she touched his hand on her head and felt something, it was like a dark spot on her soul. It made her pull her hands away. Was that…regret? Did he actually feel regret for what he was about to do? And fatigue? Her face twisted angrily, he was forcing himself to do this? He pulled her up to the rack in the center of the room, only half-heartedly putting her up there. She faced away from him as she always did, but she could feel it. He wasn’t into this, he was faking simply to placate her. As he pulled the whip down from his torture rack of different implements, for the first time she turned on him, to face him.
“What are you doing Master? Do I not please you anymore…why are you acting this way?” He turned as she stood, dropping the whip the look of shock on his face more than she could stand. And she reveled in it, his fear. Taking a step forward, she moved toward him, the fear blinding her, feeding her. “What’s wrong Master? Don’t you want me anymore…” Gritting her teeth as she spoke she reached down to pick up the whip, snapping it on the stone floor. The Taskmaster raised his hands defensively.
“Don’t!!! Stay Back!! I’m warning you…” Mrysti snapped the whip again harshly on the stone.
“Warning me of what….Master? You’ll do what??...” She continued to approach, the Taskmaster looking around quickly for something, anything. Mrysti continued to stalk him as he slid, stumbled and fell across the room. She was drunk on power, the power that he’d given her. All at once it came out as he grabbed a club, the nearest weapon he could find to hold out against her.
“S-stay back…” Mrysti gestured at the club with her free hand, the implement snatching itself away from his hand as she grabbed him by the front of his dusty tunic. Lifting him in the Force she brought his face to hers, her voice becoming harsh and low.
“So many times….you failed to please me. So many times…I wanted nothing more than to be pleasured by you and you fail…time and time again.” Lifting him up she slapped him down on the rack, the bindings moving on their own as Mrysti tied his limbs in the Force, “Now….you miserable wretch, it’s my turn. You WILL pleasure me now…until you die and then you will pleasure me some more.”
With the Force of 1000 angry wills Mrysti brought the whip down across his body. He screamed in pain, she realized the clothing was blocking too much as she gestured again, ripping the garments from his body. Time seemed to stop for her as she whipped and beat her Master ferociously, until his cries of pain simply stopped. Shaking her head to break the trance she had gone into, her vision cleared of the red mists that surrounded it. She placed her hand on his throat feeling his pulse, it was faint…he had passed out. Smiling wickedly, she dropped the whip moving to the torture rack holding his various devices. He turned his head slightly.
“P-p-p..uuuulleeasssse.” Mrysti removed a particularly nasty cylindrical device off the wall, she activated it’s mechanism, spikes jutted from hidden ports on the surface, it’s smooth surface hiding another neat trick. She caressed it against her lips looking at her prey.
“I was always particularly fond of this one…not the spikes, but the electricity…” She pushed the hidden button on it as lightning arched up its length, the spikes jutting in and out on their own. Jumping toward him she grabbed his face with the other hand, “NO!!! You don’t get to pass out on me!!! You don’t get to go to SLEEP!!!” That same hand she used to place on his chest sending a shockwave through his body that made him jump, she did it again taking the hand off to look at it. “That was a neat trick….I will save that for later…” The light seemed to go out for the Taskmaster as he slowly went in and out of consciousness. Mrysti busied herself with the torture device finding new ways to use it on her helpless Master. He gurgled again, barely able to speak.
-- As the Sun began to rise once again, the helpless man lay limp on the rack, Mrysti pulled the chair from the corner sitting herself down harshly in it to look at him. Every device on the holding rack lay scattered around him, she had used literally everything at her disposal, including her own power to keep him alive and awake. In the end…it wasn’t enough, she still hungered and now annoyed she grew tired of her plaything.
“Pathetic!!! Weak!!! Useless!!!” She stood from the chair flinging it backwards into the wall. “You are the absolute worst plaything I have ever had!!!” Her voice lowered to a whisper as she rocked back and forth, “No fun at all.” Slowly the smile grew to her lips, the full crimson of her full lips cresting her teeth. “There is nothing left to do then….SIMPLY DIE!!!”
Swiftly she brought the large blade above her head leaping onto the limp form to bring it home again, again and again. The blood from the carcass cascaded around her, on her, through her. She thought she heard herself screaming, but she couldn’t be sure as she ripped him apart, fiercely. It seemed to last forever, her blood lust satiated for the moment she stepped down off of his body, just to look at the gore she had created. Dropping the knife, she touched his skin running her finger along it to put it in her mouth. Her mouth was already full of her Taskmaster’s blood, but she needed to taste it in her own way.
“Just like always…you taste so sweet to me, Baby…” Moving her hand over his eyes, she closed them for the last time. “You rest now. You did well…I have never been more satisfied than I am now.” There was no coming back from that, she started laughing as she thought about the many times she had brought him back from the brink of death in the last…how long had it been? How long had she been there?
Looking up at the sky, she realized she had no idea how long she had been there. In fact she didn’t know where she was, she had never been consciously outside this area. Still covered in her Master’s blood she began to look around, for a door an exit, anything. Opening one door, she realized she had found his private quarters. Mrysti began rummaging through his things as a sliver object on a pedestal caught her eye. Stopping suddenly she stared at it mesmerized. Almost drunkenly she picked up the shaft holding it in her hand, was it a torture device? Something he had planned to use, but never did? It had buttons, she began pushing them as the blade suddenly came to life. The awesome Orange-burnt color of the blade hypnotized her as she moved it back and forth.
The flash was painful…..
Mrysti fell to the floor, still holding the blade, what the hell had just happened? Her mind flashed an image at her. She forced whatever it was back as she turned her attention back to the blade, moving it sideways and over head listening to the sound of it.
Again the flash, put her down….
This time she closed her eyes on her hands and knees, tightly she struggled against whatever pain it was.
“Stop, stop it!!! I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care…whatever it is you want to show me, I don’t care…”
Mrysti stood back up this time she only looked at the blade, moving it seemed to trigger something inside her. Looking for the switch to turn it off, she moved it once again.
The sledgehammer came down….
Lying on her back, Mrysti looked up at the ceiling of the spacecraft. She started shaking her head.
“No No No No No…Im not here Im not here Im not here Im not here Im not here….”
Cupping her hand over her head and ears tightly she began chanting to herself. She had no idea where this was coming from but she didn’t like it, she didn’t like the silence of it and hated even worse not being in control. Slowly she opened her eyes, the rough ceiling of the Master’s personal chambers greeted her as well as the hum of the Lightsaber she had allowed to fall out of her hand. It rolled toward a tapestry in the corner of the room and as she gained her senses she realized the room had caught fire and it was spreading. Picking the lightsaber up and with a fluid motion she flipped it in her hand, twisting it and turning it off simultaneously as she tucked it into her waist wrap. Smiling wickedly again, she arched an eyebrow.
“Now some memories I can live with….I guess I may have held one of those a time or two.”
The smoke began to cascade out of the room headed for the rest of the complex, she opened one door and then another, finally opening into a courtyard and what her Master had been constructing. She smirked as she looked at it.
“You poor, stupid, bastard…”
The tiny house was almost finished and Mrysti knew that he was building it for her. She had felt it, when she touched him as he drug her toward the torture rack. She felt it the first time she laid the whip across him. And she felt it the moment the last of his life’s blood cascaded onto her half-naked body with the stroke of her knife. As the fire plumbed around behind her, she walked up to the shaky structure, kicking the side of it lightly. It wasn’t well built, but it was the thought that counted. Shaking her head again she laughed out loud, looking up toward the smoke filled sky.
“YOU POOR STUPID BASTARD!!!! YOU FELL IN LOVE!!!!.....”
Noise from the arena above drown out the Agent who was talking to his Gladiator in the pit below. Light peeked through the bars covering the Arena floor from above casting strange shadows in the pit, most of the ghastly shadows adding to the already evil visage that sat only a few meters away from the Gladiator. Only half listening, he was busy trying to peer through the veil of darkness at his opponent, the first round was over in less than a minute, he never saw…her, it…whatever it was coming. Still looking intently, the Gladiator could almost make out an outline, the IT was a SHE and SHE was larger than a normal woman. Not that it mattered, no Woman could best him, not many Men either for that matter. A slap to the face brought him back to the voice who was still prattling on.
“Rutgher? Are you listenin ta me!!!??? Think about what ya doin lad…ya can’t lose this fight, if ya do you go down in rank and we got no leg ta stand on!!!” Rutgher, an overly large Human male waved off the series of Pit droids that busied themselves stitching up the nasty gash to his face and wiping the blood from his harness. Finally he looked at the Chagrin who was his Agent inclining his head in the direction of his mysterious opponent.
“Who is she? Waddaya know?” The Chagrin frowned.
“Not much. She’s new. Unsponsored…independent. Ya kno these types, they don’t last long without a sponsor….or an Agent for that matter. If the Arena doesn’t get her, the Cartel will….” The Chagrin grabbed Rutgher by the jaw pulling his face to looking into his eyes. “Hugh jus focus!!! Don let her get tha betta of ya…we got too much at stake here.” As Rutgher struggled to look at his Agent, the visage across from him, who until that moment merely sat back in their chair…hands on the armrests staring in Rutgher’s direction, sat up slowly. White teeth were the first thing he noticed, a predators smile and crimson lips that surrounded the white jaws. If the smile weren’t so evil, he may have winked in her direction. Rutgher turned his eyes in her direction, his jaw still being held tightly. The accent was Imperial, slightly muttled, but clearly Imperial in origin. The light from above flashed quickly across her green scarred face as Rutgher realized she was a Mirialan.
“You want to know about me? Your about to learn what I consider important enough to teach anyone….” Mrysti got up to go stand on the lift next to her. The lift that would raise her back to the Arena floor. As Rutgher watched, she glanced back down at Gladiator and Agent impassively, “…your about to learn what it feels like to lose….at life.” The lift began to ascend, Mrysti never let her eyes leave Rutgher until her head was above the floor and she was forced to break her deathly stare. Rutgher visibly shivered. All his life his size had intimidated, he used that. When he could no longer rely on just his size, he trained what became natural, using his attributes to enhance his ability to break bone and inflict pain. That became his weapon. Never before had he looked back, never before had he doubted. As he slowly got on the ramp to ascend to the floor, for the first time…Rutgher was scared. And not just of losing, everyone loses at one time or another, perhaps it was just his time. As the lift crested him enough to look at the green monster standing impassively across from him, Rutgher was scared for his life.
It wasn’t boredom that struck Mrysti and made her stand so non-chalantly in front of her opponent, it was how easily she was able to break his will with just a look and few words. And it was more than just the fact of her being a Woman and him being a Man, in fact Mrysti never even factored that into it. That should have played in her Male opponent’s favor. Men are genetically larger than Women and instinctively have an ingrained program that instills them with a sense of protection toward members of the opposite sex. Most Men are hesitant to hit a Woman, any Woman. The fact that Mrysti was overly tall and muscular, much larger than the average petite female was irrelevant. She raised an eyebrow curiously as she eyed her opponent. No, it wasn’t genetics that was making him hesitant…. Then all at once the sweet taste of fear tapped her Force aura. It flowed over her like a warm blanket, the Man’s fear smothering her, fueling her. Again she smiled wickedly as she reveled in it. It heightened her awareness as she glanced around at the thousands gathered in the seats all cheering, jeering, cursing at the both of them. She could sense curious desire in some of the crowd as they looked at her, she felt distain and hatred from the other parts. She smirked to herself, those last thoughts obviously coming from the Women in the crowd. Licking her lips at the deliciousness in front of her, she drew the Durasteel blade off of her back crouching into a ready position to await the horn.
As it sounded Rutgher charged toward Mrysti only to be slowed by the fact that she did not attack with blinding speed this time, instead choosing to walk to the center. It confused the Barbarian just enough that as he got within striking distance, he over-estimated the distance to land the first and hopefully only blow slashing wildly at her mid-section. Mrysti poked her lip out at the huge man looking up at him as the wicked smile slowly grew.
“Awwww….did the big bad man get frustrated by the ‘wittle-bitty’ girl?”
Fear can make a creature do strange things, in Rutgher’s case it made him go into ‘fight or flight’ mode. Locked into a circular Arena with no clear escape, for him it was fight. Mrysti made the fight look silly. Having thrown no blows at the flailing Gladiator, she merely parried his weapon or slowly deliberately moved past each one of his swings at the last second. On one occasion she even let the man think he had struck her. Raising his Broadsword overhead, he slashed down vertically in an attempt to split her in half the same way. Mrysti was sensing each one of his attacks in the Force and moved just enough to the side to allow the sword to pass her. The man looked up breathing heavily a broad smile on his face as the sword buried itself in the dirt. Mrysti standing off to the side as she saw several strands of cloth from her slave wraps float harmlessly in front of her. She snapped her head in the direction of the man quickly, the wicked smile giving way to a disdainful look. Backhanding him in the mouth, she flipped into the air landing behind him, using his shoulder to stabilized her acrobatic like grace. Deeply she sank her blade into the Gladiator’s back, the point jutting firmly through his heart on the other side. Blood sprayed in a fountain as the organ that fueled his body burst. Rutgher fell to his knees, a look of disbelief on his face, Mrysti standing behind him she kept her gaze on the dying man. The cat and mouse game was over, the predator was tired of playing with her food and simply wanted to eat. Rutgher’s dying was too slow as she leaned forward into his ear, sharply removing her own blade form the man’s body.
“Don’t think for one second this was business…..this was personal. I take great pleasure in watching you die.”
Mrysti’s other hand was on the man’s shoulder as she removed the blade with the other hand. It glowed slightly, Mrysti sending a burst of painful energy through her victim. The remainder of his organs exploded on the inside as he quickly let out a last gasp of air falling in a heap face down. Turning around she did not acknowledge the jubilant cheers of the crowd stalking back to the holding area.
In the crowd, Gardurrga the Hutt smiled cheerfully from his private pavilion. He smacked his translator droid sharply on the chest as he turned his head slightly to his guest pointing to Mrysti’s death blow striking through the other warrior’s chest.
“ROW GAH!!! DO GAH-DAH RENGGEN DEH SOLLDA!!” The dark lord who was disdainfully watching the competition gave a distasteful gaze to the Hutt who was pointing at the Arena. Darth Malvox, a former leading Scholar in the Sith Academy had since been put on ‘administrative’ leave following a dispute with another Instructor. The other Instructor had better political connections and within days Malvox found herself assigned to the Diplomatic Corps as a ‘temporary’ assignment. It was only a matter of time before the Sith Order made an attempt to eliminate her. The teachings she was advocating going against the current administrations agenda. This trip to Hutta was her final act for a Government that didn’t want her. It was fortuitous that the trip called for her going to Hutta. As much as she despised dealing with the Hutts and any other filthy nefarious underworld types it had become necessary to do so at that point. This Hutt as well some of her other less than reputable contacts, were going to help her drop out of sight for a while. Keeping the disdainful look on her face she glanced at the dying man as he fell to his knees.
“Gardurrga…use Common speech, please. We are alone up here and I know you can speak it.” Gardurrga frowned as much as a Hutt could looking back to the Arena.
“As well as I know you can speak Huttese, Darth Malvox…I was saying, can you believe the audacity of this Woman!!! Killing her opponent in a first blood match! I don’t know who she is…but I want her!!!”
Malvox moved to the edge of the pavilion to look down, the roar of the crowd coursing through her. Even as much as she disliked the needless death of an Arena, the angry, lustful cries of the crowd fueled her Dark Spirit. She closed her eyes slightly allowing the anger and lust to pour through her, she almost let out a pleasurable sigh, but held her composure turning back to Gardurrga.
“Technically, the Mirialan did not violate the rules…it was First Blood. Her death blow being the first and only strike landed. And it did indeed draw blood….all of her opponents, but first blood nonetheless.” Malvox had to smile at her logic. Gardurrga watched as Mrysti leaned down to remove her sword, placing her other hand on the man’s shoulder. The Hutt pointed frustratingly at the Arena.
“She always does this!!! What is she saying to them?!?! After she strikes the final blow she always speaks in their ear!!! I want to know…I want to know what she says!!!” Malvox smiled and was just about to say that she most likely said some kind of prayer to the ‘Dying Warrior’ bit….the call form Dark Side hit Malvox like a truck, she physically stumbled grabbing a table as she turned around slowly to look back at the Arena. The wicked smile crossing her face unconsciously. The Mirialan was a Force user, a Dark Sider at that. Malvox moved quickly back to the edge of the pavilion to lean over it. As Rutgher’s organs burst, his carcass falling in a heap on his face; Malvox watched Mrysti stalk off, the Dark Side of the Force rolling off of her like a tidal wave. Whispering as if to Mrysti, she continued her bright wicked smile.
“So raw….so unfocused. My, my….where have you been all my life….” Gardurrga growled at his servants as Mrysti disappeared under them, her gaze never leaving her destination.
“She acknowledges no one!!! Disrespectful!!!” Grabbing his translator, he pulled him close to his slimy face, “I want her!!! Tonight!!!....The Palace should have some entertainment, it will be amusing for others to watch as I explain our rules to her!!! Go!!! Get her!!” Malvox moved slowly next to Gardurrga, her next suggestion not so much a show of support for her current benefactor as it was to herself.
“Perhaps you would allow me to accompany them. She is dangerous, yes? She has won how many matches so far?” Gardurrga waved a slimy arm as he slithered toward the exit ramp.
“Only six…she is new!! But she kills like a cat playing with a mouse. Whatever strikes her fancy!! No matter the match, she makes up her own rules!!! And the Fans are starting to like it, they like anyone who would spit in the face of authority these days!!! She must learn or it is a slap to the face of the Hutts!!!” Malvox allowed Gardurrga to slither a little further away, before he realized the Dark Lord was no longer beside him, he turned looking down. “If it pleases you Darth Malvox, I would be honored if you would secure this…upstart!!!” Malvox bowed slightly turning to walk the opposite way, she had no intention of confronting the larger Woman….at least not yet. But, it would be interesting to observe her.
Sitting again in her dark corner, Mrysti’s wooden chair creaked under her weight. She made no move to clean her weapon or her person of the blood that covered her. The splattering adding to the dark stained color of the slaves wrapping she still wore. Once a light brown, the slave wrappings were now a dark brown, dyed in the blood of her Master and since that day getting darker. The sword leaned on the arm of the chair, her eyes closed she focused on the kill reliving every moment of it, if only to hold on to that feeling for a moment. But, as always, her pleasure was fleeting. She moved her hands to run them over her dirty powerful legs, the blood smearing into her skin as she slowly massaged them. It had been several months since she had escaped Korriban, in that time she had only found pleasure in killing, she had yet to find available prey to satisfy any of her other desires. A dull pain began to emanate in her abdomen, it coursed its way down to her loins, throbbing and demanding attention. She quickly closer her legs keeping her hands on her knees, cursing to herself.
“Alright!!! I will find someone!!! I will DO something!!!” Sensing the individuals approaching with intent directed toward her, she slowly allowed one of her hands to drift back to the hilt of the sword, her fingers slowly curling around the handle. The group spread out in a semi-circle in front of her and at first were unsure how to approach the strange woman. From a distance, Darth Malvox peered around a corner, allowing just her face to crest the next room, watching the darkness that surrounded the Mirialan, both literally and figuratively. The lead Hutt Thug stepped out from the group centering himself on the woman.
“You there! Gardurrga wants to see you…let’s go. NOW!!!” Mrysti was no longer used to being ordered around, she killed the last person who dare do that. With the dull pain in her loins buzzing in her mind, her tolerance level was lower than normal, but he could sense the slight fear in the thugs and decided to draw out the confrontation just a bit longer, if only to give her loins a distraction. Jerking the sword from the side of the chair she very noisily jabbed it on the stone floor in front of her now holding it in both hands. It made a metallic ‘ching’ as it embedded itself in the stone, the thugs all visibly jumping back from the quick movement. Putting on her best seductive voice, she spoke to them in sultry tones allowing each word to roll off her tongue.
“What’s the matter, boys…don’t know how to ask a Woman nicely? I don’t like to be ordered about.” The lead thug drew his blaster as fast as Mrysti had moved her sword pointing it at her. She smiled wickedly sitting back in her darkness. Their nervousness and fear was growing and she could feel the heat of it radiate through her body.
“I’m not going to ask again…your comin with us. Either under your own power or with us draggin you there.”
Only one thing stopped her from simply leaping out of the seat and slaying all of them, the lead thug being her primary target which she kept a keen eye on. The mysterious figure that radiated the Force hidden behind one of the wooden columns behind the thugs. And it wasn’t just an type of Force, it was the Dark Side and it seemed to flow in waves off the mysterious figure. Mrysti stood up suddenly steeping down off the raised platform and out of her wooden seat, all of the thugs jumping at her movement.
“Fine. Take me to your Master…I will speak with him.”
Architecture is not a Hutt strong suit as Mrysti made her way up the entrance ramp which led to the Cantina foyer. All Hutt palaces were designed the same, only the individual tastes of the Hutt who occupied the palace changed the interiors. Mrysti frowned glancing left and right at the Hutt thugs who were flanking her. Only the mysterious Force User who lurked behind several yards back kept Mrysti from simply grabbing up the thugs, cracking all their skulls into one another and walking out. It was becoming imperative now, Mrysti had to find out what being this was who lurked behind, who held such sway over the Dark Side. It was pure power, but not raw like her own. This power simmered like oil in a pan with a veneer of control over it. Control she very much longed for.
In the months since her flight from Korriban, Mrysti wandered aimlessly. What she thought she sought was combat, using her genetically enhanced abilities to best any conflict she stumbled upon. But years of captivity caused all of her forgotten Force abilities to re-emerge, this time with a pure taint of evil within them. Her long-term memories however had not recovered. She had no idea why she was held for so long in captivity. Although she surmised that it had something to do with being a Jedi, her old Master had such a hatred for them and called her 'Jedi Bitch' often. Faces and names often popped into her head...Hamner, RT, Karolin, Marstel; all various races all connected to her somehow. But, what she sought was control as the Force began to take over her natural attributes, forcing her further and further down the Dark Path. Years of torture and abuse changed her into a predator, always hungry, always looking for chaos. The Force was driving that hunger, Mrysti had yet to realize that until she felt the pull from the Dark Mysterious stranger. It held her at bay, kept her from merely slaying those around her to escape. More importantly, it quelled her hunger, replacing it with curiosity.
As they passed the Cantina heading for the main palace chamber, Mrysti glanced at the slave girls. Their chains rattled as they danced on raised platforms. She felt no regret for them. In her mind she freed herself and these slave girls could do the same. All it took was Durasteel will. If she had the time she would have stopped and beaten that will into all of them as she continued to move to the rear of the palace toward the Hutt throne room. Her entourage slowed at approach dropping back to allow her solo entrance to the darkened chamber. She glanced around slightly, the huge room that would encompass and host hundreds was empty. A voice speaking Huttese broke through the darkness, the intonation that of a Hutt.
"Ola' golodo mera Champion des Galla to." What followed was the mechanical speech of the translator droid as Mrysti moved to the center folding her arms over her chest. A large spotlight snapped on overhead further obscuring her view in the darkness, but highlighting her tall muscular green physique. Mrysti almost heard the large pleasurable gasp from the Hutt as the light went on.
< "My Master Gardurrga the Hutt welcomes the newest Champion of the arena and requests you hear his proposal for future business relationships..">
Mrysti stood stark still staring into the darkness from under the bright light, unmoving. A sneer of defiance forming on her lips. She felt the mysterious stranger and her Force Aura move from behind to her front near the Hutt. Finally, Mrysti pointed into the darkness.
"I fight for no one! I seek challenge, the arena offers that. You stay out of my way, I will refrain from destroying you!"
The laughter from the Hutt filled the massive space as well as a lengthy speech in Huttese. The droid soon chimed in as the speech stopped.
< "My Master wishes to inform you that the Arena you speak of belongs to him, therefore you fight at his pleasure and not your own. Furthermore, should you not accept his terms it is you who will be destroyed. We have seen your kind before and we shall see them again, only you will not be here to realize that.">
Mrysti resisted the urge to simply leap forward. Almost as if Gardurrga anticipated the move a ray shield cascaded instantly from the overhead light surrounding her. She stepped back, smirking.
"You can't keep me in here forever. And once I'm free, you are dead." Mrysti stated, almost non-chalantly. The Hutt began a rant in Huttese which the droid immediately began translating as the Hutt continued to speak.
< "You would choose destruction to a life of pleasure and opulence? This makes my Master sad. Our arrangement could be one that makes you both rich and happy...you need only submit to the will of my Master and all will be well.">
Gardurrga had no idea that the word 'submit' would get the response he witnessed. Furiously, Mrysti began slamming her body against the ray shield, each time a high voltage shock arching through Mrysti's body. He did not want his prize damaged as he began another quick series of phrases in Huttese meant to calm her down.
< "Please cease that activity. You will not breach the shield....please stop you are only going to injure yourself...">
As Mrysti began to lose consciousness she smiled wickedly into the darkness. Still, she slammed her body against the shield.
"I....submit....to....no one!....you....will not...have me. Not like that....not ever again!" Soon after Mrysti collapsed, her hands still crackling from contact with the shield as the room fell silent. Darth Malvox peeked out from the darkness to look at the collapsed woman, turning her head to Gardurrga slowly.
"Tis a dangerous game you play with this one Gardurrga. She is clearly deranged. Deranged to the point where her very presence is lethal..."
Gardurrga slithered off the raised platform and toward the fallen woman. As he gazed down gesturing for the shield to be deactivated, he looked at his Sith guest, doing what was the equivalent of a shrug. He spoke in basic as he knew his guest preferred it.
"It's her presence I am most concerned with. Her defiance inspires others...if I am to break her, I must hazard her presence..." The Hutt began to slither from the room, looking behind him slightly. "....besides, I am not used to being told 'no'. She will make an excellent slave, even if she doesn't realize that she is one. Excess and greed is what makes Hutt culture. I want her...therefore, I shall have her."
As Gardurrga exited the room Malvix bent down laying a hand to Mrysti's forehead. Even unconscious Mrysti's thoughts were all rage and it boiled off of her like a torrential river flow. Malvox stood watching several Hutt mercenaries drag Mrysti's limp form away.
'Yes, she is worthy. What she lacks I can give her....and in return she will give me the 'Hammer' I require' Malvox thought as she withdrew from the room.
Awakening groggy, Mrysti instinctively pulled on the wrist restraints. For a moment she thought that her new found freedom and life was a dream and that she was back in her old masters grasp once again. Looking down at the floor, suspended in a ray shield she realized her folly. Her arms and legs were splayed out from her torso and she looked like a floating letter 'X' in the common tongue. At least her head wasn't bound which was the common practice of her former Master, but this was too advanced a device for him to use. She remembered being in the Hutt main audience chamber and then darkness. It was dark in the room, except for the light that emanated from the pads containing the ray shield which sat above and below her. Closing her eyes she called on the Force to free her, but it didn't answer. The binders to her wrists and ankles deadening her connection to the Force. As she briefly fought against her restraints, the sound of laughter permeated the darkness. Mrysti lowered her head with a sneer, Hutt laughter was unmistakable.
"Laugh all you want you miserable slug..." Mrysti spoke in a low gravelly tone, "...when I get free, you will wish you'd killed me!"
The laughter continued for a moment followed by a barrage of language Mrysti recognized as Huttese. She had picked up a few words, but still couldn't make out what was being said. The cheery voice of an adjacent protocol droid soon filled in the gaps.
Mrysti looked at her clothing as she kept her head low. The Hutt had stripped her of her armor, she was wearing the skimpy clothing of a Hutt slave. She jerked her head upright at the droid's words, the smirking sneer still blanketing her face.
"What secret! I have no secrets...release me at once! You have no idea the amount of pain I will bring to—“
The droid interrupted her rant as it simultaneously translated the Hutt's speech as it ranted back at her.
< ”My Master says you will be....Silent! You have no status in the Sith Order. You have illegally participated in the games, perpetrating yourself as a legitimate competitor. The use of the Force in the Arena is prohibited, unless authorized by the Hutts and then only with the consent of the Gladiator's owners. Because you have no owner or a sponsor. You have no standing to lay claim or make a grievance against my Master in punishing you for violating the rules of the Arena.”>
Laying her head back slightly, Mrysti closed her eyes and released a bout of mad laughter. This was definitely a different tone in the conversation from earlier, her memory starting to recall her rage from the throne room earlier.
"What's the matter? Was I winning too much? Defeating some of your prized stock?...." Her eyes opened sharply as she fixed her gaze into the darkness, in the direction of the two voices, "I assure you. I did not cheat, nor did I use the Force in ANY of my matches! All of my victories I claim on my own, with my own power! Release me! And I will show you firsthand what I am truly capable of!"
There was a moment of silence before the droid chimed up again. This time the Hutt spoke in a low tone for only the droid to hear. Mrysti peered hard into the dark finally making out a third figure standing close-by. It was apparent that the Hutt was speaking to both the droid and the mysterious stranger.
< ”My Master doubts your words are true. However, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, he will allow you to prove it. For a price.”>
Mrysti returned to her wicked smirk as she yelled in their direction.
"Of course. There is always a price!" Losing the wicked smile, Mrysti's face matched her tone, deadly serious, "What do you want?"
Translating again for her Master, the droid responded immediately. Mrysti hated being predictable, the Hutt's response obviously already having been given to the droid due to the speed at which it answered.
< ”My Master requires two things...Firstly, if you survive his challenge and prove that you did not use the Force in your prior victories, my Master insists that you fight for him, in his name, representing his interests in the Arena...>" Mrysti snorted as the droid continued, "<...Secondly, once the challenge is complete you will serve my Master in the Arena as well in any capacity he sees fit. Before your next match you will dine with my Master to discuss terms of your subjugation.”>
She wanted to cry out in Rage, 'subjugation'? The Hutt couldn't be serious. Mrysti was sure the first thing she was going to do was kill this Hutt at her earliest opportunity. She grimaced visibly, but subdued her anger to merely question the terms in an even, flat tone.
"And if I refuse? What then?"
The Droid again answered immediately, her response again also being completely anticipated.
< ”My Master will order your immediate termination. As you have no status with the Sith Empire this move will not be retaliated against. Your termination will cause no ripples in Sith/Hutt relations”>
It was a well thought out plan, this Hutt had obviously done his homework. Had Mrysti been a member of the Sith Empire then the Hutt would never have dared to threaten or even attempt these moves without someone in the Empires approval. Pursing her lips, Mrysti merely nodded her head once, she did not want to grace the Hutt with the privilege of hearing her acquiesce.
Immediately the Ray Shield deactivated and Mrysti dropped unceremoniously to the floor. The shadows of the Hutt and his protocol droid slimmed away, a doorway sliding closed behind them. That left only the mysterious stranger and Mrysti in the room. As the obvious feminine form entered the light still left by the Ray Shield's pads, Mrysti raised an eyebrow. She recognized this being. The form was a Sith, a very powerful Sith. She was present when the Hutt sent it's guards to come collect her and she was present shortly before Mrysti lost consciousness in the audience chamber. As the form approached, she waved a hand slightly, the wrist and ankle restraints falling away from Mrysti's limbs.
"You won't be needing those any longer. I am Darth Malvox and I have been watching you....it's time we actually spoke. There is much to do if we are to help you escape...."
Mrysti slowly stood to her full height looking down at the smaller woman. Her chest heaved in anger, but she held her rage in check in the presence of the Dark Lord.
Fire shot from the jet adjacent to the large elevated wooden pole burning the top of it. Mrysti had only a moment before planted a hand on that very same top somersaulting off into a flip and landing on the next platform on her feet. She glanced behind her; the fire was following as she quickly jumped three more times finally turning back to face the flame jet. With a sneer on her face she leapt toward the jet pushing off with her legs to leap high over the top landing back on the scorched pole. The test of agility was well underway by the time both Gardurrga and Darth Malvox took their positions in the darkness high above the test Arena. Gardurrga watched impassively as he signaled for both the flame jets to increase speed and something else, something Malvox could already sense, but did not turn around. Malvox closed her eyes, a sneer crossing her face as she let out a resigned sigh.
“I didn’t know you had invited an additional guest, Gardurrga?” Malvox turned her head slightly over her shoulder as Gardurrga watched the door open behind him. Master Caleb Goss walked in rubbing his wrist. No longer in his smuggler’s outfit, Master Goss looked around curiously. No doubt his own Force senses feeling Darth Malvox’s presence as well. His face looked disappointed as he took a position opposite Malvox at the edge of the viewing box. He glanced over slightly, but said nothing. Gardurrga laughed slightly, speaking in basic for them both.
“It was time you two met. Your pupil, Darth Malvox is about to best the second challenge and I thought Master Goss would like a view of what he’s up against.” Malvox also non-chalantly looked over, her interest suddenly piqued. Goss continued to rub his wrist.
“Luring me here under false pretense gains you nothing Gardurrga. I will participate in nothing.” Goss spoke softly as he voiced his protest. That did make Darth Malvox look at the Jedi fully as she smiled wickedly; all of the parts starting to fall into place. Mrysti continued to jump and leap in the foreground as both Force users in the box turned to look at Gardurrga curiously. Gardurrga gestured at Master Goss.
“No one told you to come to Hutta, Master Goss. You came of your own accord. The fact that it was not genuine ‘Republic’ business is not my concern, you should have your intelligence agencies verify the veracity of it’s information…” Goss raised an eyebrow at Gardurrga.
“Then why am I a prisoner?” Goss continued to rub his wrist as he questioned, he once again eyed the individual he knew only as a Sith standing to his side. Gardurrga gestured to Darth Malvox.
“You are not a prisoner. In fact I accord you the same privilege as I do my Sith guest. Master Caleb Goss…this is Darth Malvox. No doubt you surmised that as you walked in.” Goss’ face twisted in distain as he nodded slightly.
“I know of Darth Malvox from reputation alone. I have never met her…why am I here then, Gardurrga?” Darth Malvox turned back to watching Mrysti, still saying nothing. Thoough she had no idea of Gardurrga’s plan she had begun to put what he had in mind together. Gardurrga laughed heartily as he pointed to the jumping and spinning Mrysti out in the quad.
“Look at her, magnificent, isn’t she. You are here for a…test, Master Goss. Consider it a respite from the War. Jedi facing Sith, what better way to represent your Republic.” Goss turned slowly finally taking a full look at the jumping and spinning Mrysti. At first it was an impassive glance. Mrysti propelled herself off the wall flying almost vertically through the air as the fire hit her previous position. Landing on the center pole of the Arena, she took a second to look at the three individuals above her. The glance was a hungry predatory gaze and for the briefest of moments Mrysti locked eyes with Caleb. His face grew slack as the memories flooded back. He seemed to pale slightly as he leaned forward gazing at the wicked smile. He could sense the change in her immediately, the scars that now decorated her entire body changed her appearance, but it was her. Caleb’s mouth fell open as he let the words rollout.
“No…it..can’t be. She’s…Mrysti?”
Jedi Temple, Coruscant. One Month prior to Hamner and Mrysti’s escape….
Trying her best to look like she was in a meditative pose, Mrysti folded her hands inside her robe, her head bowed slightly. As she walked behind Karolin, Mrysti could sense her sister’s excitement, though she had no idea where they were going. Karolin sped up slightly as Mrysti continued her pace walking behind her.
“Why don’t you just run to him, Karolin? If you are still trying to keep it a secret, you are doing a poor job of it.” Karolin cast a disdainful glance at Mrysti. For the most part Karolin often used her smaller charge, Porchia, as a cover when she went to meet Markus. Since Porchia was indisposed with her studies, she had no choice but to ask her Sister to come along. She waved dismissively at Mrysti.
“Oh stop. Markus brought a friend too, it wouldn’t be prudent to bring our Niece along on this particular day.” They rounded the hall exiting the Meditation chamber, Markus coming into view standing next to another seeming to be in a deep discussion. As they entered the garden, Markus and the other Jedi turned around. The smile on Markus’ face infectious as Karolin nearly leapt into his arms. Mrysti stood off to the side smiling with her head down. Markus pushed Karolin away playfully gesturing to his companion, laughing.
“Mrysti…this is Caleb. One of my many protégés. Caleb…Mrysti Alpha, Karolin’s sister.” Caleb Goss smiled warmly at the rather shy larger woman dipping his head down to look up into her hood.
“Hi” Caleb extended his hand as Mrysti raised her own head brushing a stray lock of red hair out of eye. She seemed to turn greener in embarrassment. Mrysti took the hand and seemed to instantly get an electrical charge with the touch. Caleb felt it too. She said nothing just shaking the hand as Karolin and Markus wandered away to be alone in another part of the garden. The two stood together for an awkward few moments before Caleb stated the obvious. “You are tall, Mrysti…” She looked up instantly, the shy smile melting away from her face as she looked at Caleb. He continued to smile warmly at her as he finished.
“…but even more beautiful than your Sister.”
Gardurrga’s Test Arena.
Mrysti did not react to the instantaneous exchange of looks between herself and Caleb instantly jumping up and into the air in a flip, her foot coming down on the top of the flame jet mechanism. Angling her foot perfectly the boot met the exit port crimping the point where the flame exited. Hands landed on the adjacent wall as she pushed herself off sinning backwards to land back at the center pole, just as the flame jet mechanism exploded, safely out of distance from her. Breathing heavily, she gazed up at the viewing box and angrily thumped her chest before seemingly falling off the elevated poles to land on solid ground. As she walked away, Caleb’s gaze never left her, his mind lost in thought and disbelief. He turned angrily to Gardurrga.
“What treachery is this?!?! You have a reportedly dead Jedi in captivity for your personal amusement?!?!” Before Master Goss could continue, Darth Malvox spoke up for the first time. The look on her face was pure amusement as she looked between Gardurrga and Master Goss.
“So. You know her then Jedi…how very interesting.” Master Goss head snapped toward the Sith, Malvox could see a fire unlike a normal Jedi light behind his eyes. Emotion, something the Jedi worked very hard to suppress. Malvox reveled in it.
“Not that it is any business of yours, Sith. But yes…I do know her.” Malvox continued the wicked smile as she bowed deeply toward Gardurrga before withdrawing from the box.
“Well played Gardurrga. You have my admiration, I did not foresee this coming…”
The Force binders clanked noisily as Mrysti rubbed the Kolto salve on her skin. Not being completely unscathed by the fire, the large burn marks on her legs were being covered by the Kolto solution as Malvox walked silently into the foyer. It was everything Malvox could do to contain her excitement at the newest revelation. Not wanting to broach the subject with Mrysti too quickly she bent down to look at the burns, she hands clasped firmly behind her back.
“You did well Mrysti. Only one challenge remains and I foresee no difficulty in completing it just as easily.” Mrysti looked up a curious expression on her face, behind the gaze her rage smoldered. Still breathing slightly heavy, she stood walking to the cabinet to put the Kolto away, speaking over her shoulder. It seemed that Malvox would not have to broach the topic with her after all.
“Who was the man in the box next to you?” Malvox nearly laughed outloud, but held her composure.
“Why? Did you recognize him?” Malvox questioned as she circled in an almost predatory nature. Mrysti turned, her face still a mask of rage. The bloodlust not entirely drained from her.
“No. Should I have?” Malvox again was surprised into curiousness. Though she had been working with Mrysti to regain some of her memories, Malvox knew it could take years to regain what was lost. Still it was a unique play by Gardurrga to find someone that Mrysti was acquainted with to face her in the final challenge. At some point Malvox had resolved to find out just how vast and extensive the Hutt intelligence base was, if they both didn’t kill Gardurrga first. She gave Mrysti a wicked smile.
“The ‘man’ was a Jedi master. And no…I don’t suppose you would know him. Your contact with Jedi has been limited up to this point, has it not?” The question was not so much meant as a point to be made to Mrysti as much as it was to try and spur some memory in her. She didn’t bite, merely twisting her face in anger. It appears she too had already begun putting the pieces together.
“Gardurrga means to have me face him in the final challenge?” Malvox nodded, saying nothing. It was another tactic to try and get Mrysti thinking and speaking about long lost memory. Again she didn’t bite moving to an adjacent wardrobe to begin moving her clothing. Malvox watched her curiously as Mrysti began to disrobe. Malvox had seen most of the scars, looking at her completely naked was a new experience. The tracks of scars left the small of her back and began traversing themselves down the back of her legs ending just above the back of her knee.
She eyed the raised skin of the Sith rune warily that marked the small of her back, it's meaning was not lost on her, but why someone would burn the symbol for 'love' into Mrysti was beyond her. Malvox sucked in a breath of air quickly, not out of sympathy, but out of astonishment. Such pain, such torment inflicted on one so powerful both physically and in the Force. It was sweet to reach out and taste, Malvox sucking in the aura around her. The muscles rippled down her entire body, sweat still staining the skin as Mrysti turned to look at Malvox over her shoulder. Mrysti was anything but modest. Malvox’s eyes came back up almost instantly, but it was too late Mrysti smiled almost reading the Dark Lord’s thoughts.
“Patience Darth Malvox, I will be yours in time…but first we’ve a Jedi to kill…”
Caleb walked the small latticework bridge which stretched over the Hutt garden. Now free to walk the grounds he leaned over the side looking out among the various exotic plants and waterways. It was quite expensive to maintain he had surmised as he lowered his head clasping his hand together over the side. All of his attempts to meditate had gone for naught, Caleb was troubled by what he’d seen. Mrysti Alpha, alive and in captivity; although she didn’t seem to be in any duress. The brief moment he gazed at her his attempt to reach out to her met with a darkness he could not fathom. It was like putting his hand in a fire and quickly he retreated from that darkness as soon as he touched it. What had happened to her? Why was she here? At any rate he had to decide what he was going to do, his mind was a pool of confusion about it. As he stood looking down in the water he felt her presence round the corner of the hall and stop in the doorway looking over at him. He looked up almost immediately directly at her as she quickly turned with a glare at him to walk the opposite direction. He quickly pushed himself off the bridge extending a hand out to her.
Caleb moved quickly toward her as she stopped turning slowly toward him, her face a mess of anger and confusion. She placed her hands on her hips and continued to glare. What Caleb felt as he approached was raw Dark Power and a confidence he had never quite felt from her. He slowed his approach stopping several paces away from her. It was Mrysti who raised a hand to stop his approach.
“Stop there Jedi! I have no wish to consort with you before our final confrontation in the Arena.” Caleb stopped and looked down. Deciding to play it cool, he smiled as he looked up.
“No wish to know your prey before you destroy it? Is that it?” It was his attempt to try and bring some levity to the situation. Mrysti saw it as yet another challenge. After all it was Darth Malvox who has summoned her to the garden for what was most likely another lesson. Perhaps this WAS the lesson. Mrysti took a step forward, looking at Caleb.
“Fine, Jedi. Have it your way. Know this, no matter what you say, it will not alter my plans to annihilate you.” She walked past him to the bridge, her hands on her hips looking out over the garden. Her chest heaved as she breathed heavily. Always, Mrysti seemed to be on fire and that fire burned her to the point of near exhaustion in almost every waking moment. That was not lost on Caleb as he turned to join her on the bridge, he looked the large woman up and down. Not entirely sure what to say he decided to probe around the question he really wanted to ask. Finally, Caleb gestured toward the plants.
“Exotic. Beautiful in their simplicity…I have always found the garden as an excellent place to reflect on things.” Mrysti scoffed not bothering to look at Caleb.
“Flowers are useless. An organism that serves no purpose…air can be manufactured. They now serve no purpose at all.” Caleb leaned on the bridge railing folding his arms smiling as he looked at Mrysti.
“Oh I don’t know. There is something to be said for an organism that instills calm in those around them.” He reached down plucking one of the non-invasive flowers from a bush nearby holding it up and looking at it, “Take this one for example. I once knew someone who had a penchant for Alderannian wildflowers. This one in particular.” Mrysti hazarded a glance over, but kept her hands on her hips. She looked at the violet and red petals as Caleb twisted the stem in his hand, “This one was her favorite. And there are many similar plants in the gardens at the Jedi Temple. I often go there to reflect and…to think of her.” Mrysti took a second look, this time staring at the flower.
Alderaan, One week prior to Hamner and Mrysti’s escape
It had been a whirlwind since their first meeting, the shy girl was no longer shy in his presence and he reveled in her change at their every meeting. Lying on her back in the field, Mrysti looked up at the clear sky as Caleb’s face came into view to overlay her view. She squinted in the sun as his head began to block out some of the sunlight, raising a hand to shield her eyes. Caleb smiled broadly at her, his arms propped beside her to hold himself over the top of her view. She smiled.
“I was looking at the sky, what makes you think your face is better?” Caleb gave a fake, hurt expression as he allowed himself to fall down next to her. Turning his head he looked over at her.
“Fine. You want to wound me, you’ve done it. And here I thought that my face was just as pleasing as this field and that clear blue sky…” Mrysti elbowed him harshly as she rolled over to her side to look at him.
“I didn’t say it ‘wasn’t’ better, I just asked what makes YOU think it’s better?” Caleb rolled onto his side as well reaching up to touch her face.
“This does…everytime I see you and you get that look on your face when our eyes meet. That says everything.” He leaned in to kiss her, but Mrysti turned away quickly sitting up. Something was bothering her and it wasn’t their diplomatic mission they had both been sent on. Caleb sat up next to her watching her intently. Carefully, Mrysti plucked a violet and red wildflower from the field putting it to her nose. She seemed to hold it there for an eternity before Caleb asked.
“Ok, what's going on? You have been distant since before we left the Temple. Is it what happened the other night? I mean….I have thought about that and nothing else. I know it’s wrong, you know it’s wrong, but if it’s so wrong I have no idea why this feels so right! Mrysti I want nothing more than—“ She cut him off by putting a finger to his lips with a sad smile.
“It wasn’t the other night. I have been thinking about that a lot and I have no regrets about that. It wasn’t just you, I wanted it to happen as much as you did, if not more. This is….something else.” Mrysti lowered her head slightly as Caleb closed his mouth. There was so much he wanted to say, but this was truly important. Something big was about to happen and Caleb could feel the tension that surrounded Mrysti. He waited patiently for her to continue, “Caleb…I don’t know how to say this, so I am just going to and please just let me finish. I…have to go, I am leaving the Temple…” Caleb let his jaw fall open as she spoke in disbelief. Speaking quickly he wanted to know more, he wanted nothing more than to talk her out of it. His greed taking over, he wanted nothing more than to keep what had just begun between them.
“Go?!?! Go where?!?! You can’t go…you can’t leave, what about us? You can’t just up and charge off, what will you do? Where? Where are you going?” Caleb’s questions were fast and furious as every thought he had seemed to come spilling out of his mouth. Mrysti dipped her head lower between her legs, she spoke softly not knowing what question to answer first.
“I can’t tell you that. I can’t tell you anything…just know it has nothing to do with us. This has been the greatest month…it’s just something I have to do. In fact the only reason I would even consider staying…” She reached up to touch his confused face, “…is because of you.” Caleb jerked from her touch standing up to pace around. He was not prone to rash decision. Caleb Goss was a calculated tactician, nothing the man ever did was rash or not well thought out. Finally coming to rest he glared down at Mrysti as she slowly met his gaze. For the first time in his life, Caleb was about to make the most rash decision he had ever made.
“Then I’m coming with you! You are not leaving me! Not here, not ever! You have no idea where this will go and neither do I, but I am not about to let this just slip away between us.” Mrysti stood up slowly her towering form overshadowing the smaller man. She gave him a sweet smile again touching his face.
“And that…is what makes this so hard. The fact that you would give everything up for me, but I can’t let you. I must walk my own path and Caleb…you are not in it.” Releasing the flower in her hand it slowly drifted down to the field, laying among it’s still planted brethren. Mrysti slowly turned to walk back up the hill, Caleb just watching her. He knew he couldn’t change her mind, just in the way she spoke. Reaching down he picked up the flower she dropped putting it to his nose briefly before watching her crest the hill and slowly methodically began to crush it in his hand, his eyes never leaving her.
Taking the flower from Master Goss’ hand Mrysti gazed at it for a long moment and Caleb almost thought he saw a pang of recognition in her as she looked at it. All at once she crushed it in her hand discarding the parts in the bridge at her feet with a flick of her hand. She turned her head back forward looking back over the garden and away from Caleb, the evil placative look still on her face. Caleb pushed himself off the railing to stand up next to her. She seemed taller than he remembered. Mrysti was definitely broader than he remembered. She had almost been reforged into something that made Caleb think of a Republic main battle tank. Hard, broad and almost indestructible. He let his head fall slightly as Mrysti turned abruptly to walk away, her time in the presence of the Jedi at an end. Whatever lesson Darth Malvox had in mind, she believed she had given enough of her time to. As she walked away, Caleb watched her finally calling out to her as she reached the opposite archway from wince she came.
“Mrysti! What happened to you?!?!” Caleb wanted to say more, wanted to ask every question that had been rolling around his head for the past 24 hours, but those were the only words that came out. Her response left him even more confused as she answered. He was unsure if she remembered him or was merely answering in a way to throw him off for their final confrontation. She turned looking at him with a half-annoyed expression and one of bemusement.
“Strength and Power happened to me…it is only through pain and sacrifice that we truly know who we are. And through that pain we discover our true potential. Soon…you will see it too, at the edge of my sword.” She turned leaving abruptly as Malvox watched the entire confrontation from a hidden corner. Mrysti’s ominous answer also left her wondering if she did indeed remember this Jedi. And that was something she would have to find out before the two of them were to meet.
With only 24 hours left Master Caleb Goss was starting to feel like a rat trapped in a maze, with no clear way out. At every turn he saw his destruction and as he held his head in his hand rubbing back the brownish-red locks of his hair, he glanced at the Holo-screen once again. Gardurrga the Hutt had granted him information access to all of the Hutt archives, just no outside communications array. A medically diagramed picture of a large Mirialan woman spun in the ions in front of him. Even without the detailed picture, he knew every inch of her, every curve, every crevice of her skin. At least he thought he did, that one night both Mrysti and Caleb gave into emotion taught him much about her physically. The picture in the mists in front of him painted another story entirely. As he once again went over the number of scars and implants that now covered her once flawless body, he averted his eyes sighing heavily. There was simply no way to win for him. The voice that caused him to sit up also caused him to unconsciously sneer. The sound of Darth Malvox's feet sliding across the floor accompanying it.
"That's a sight I could never get tired of…A Jedi worried and dare I say…'perplexed'…", The imperial accent to Malvox' voice only added additional distain to the words as Caleb sat up, immediately deactivating the Holoterminal to stare defiantly at her. She purred her response to him."Oh don't mind me 'Master'…I was just passing through, but you don't have to possess the Force to hear your mind screaming from the next room….and yes, your right. You can't win."
Her evil smile, infectuous as she watched him get up attempting to flee the room. He finally turned to face her, a look of frustration, pointing a finger in Malvox direction.
"You Sith make me sick…you take something as beautiful and pure as Mrysti and you destroy it…what ever part your playing in this you will…."
Malvox face twisted into an evil visage as she laughed waving her hands to interrupt the Jedi Master.
"Whoa…let's clear the air here. Whatever happened to her, happened long before her and I met…." Malvox eyes flashed wickedly as she winked at Caleb, "….one could almost say that the tendency toward the dark side was always there, right Master?" Caleb started to speak as Malvox continued stopping him "No need to explain, Master…you have a past with her. I wouldn't count on that saving you…you see those facial and cranial implants? Those are holding her head together! She has no memory of you, Caleb! You were brought here to die…" Malvox crossed the floor to the door on the other side, turning and stretching at Caleb. Caleb remained silent casting his eyes to the floor once again, "As for my part….what good is having the use of all the Force in the galaxy if you can only control 10% of it? And make no mistake…even with only 10%, she will destroy you and your passing will push her over the threshold…." As she started to leave, Malvox gave a slight giggle her voice carrying down the far hallway. "….I am curious however, I guarantee she is not the girl you remember. I wonder…what was she like before all this happened."
Strategic Operations, Jedi Temple, Coruscant; Shortly after Hamner and Mrysti's escape….
Caleb Goss paced around outside the large vaulted door waiting for the meeting inside to break up. He watched the Captain and Mrysti's sister go in, as well as his friend and mentor, Markus Chase. Glancing at his chrono he realized he had been pacing close to 3 hours. It was a high level meeting and Caleb wasn't invited. It annoyed him slightly, in a way he felt he should have been. In some ways he was closer to Mrysti than anyone else. Those ways would have likely ended up getting him ousted from the Jedi Order should they become public knowledge, but Caleb was beginning to feel like he didn't care. He wanted to know, he wanted to find her.
Caleb glanced at his Chrono again and physically shook his head to try and get rid of irrational thought, his impatience and worry was getting the better of him. Sitting down on an adjacent bench, he closed his eyes to try and quiet his mind. Thoughts of her began invading his thoughts almost immediately. "Why? You told me you were leaving…but not even a last goodbye? No warning? Didn't I deserve that? Did you think I would try and stop you? You owed me more than that."
The questions rummaging around in his head caused him to push himself up off the bench in frustration, half tempted to use the Force to open the door to the Command Center. All at once it opened, Captain RT, Karolin and Markus the first ones out. And RT was not happy. Caleb wanted to approach, but it was clear RT had an agenda as the three of them immediately headed for a near-by corner. Caleb turned away, but stood just within earshot as RT placed his hands on his hips to look at his sister and Markus.
"You can tell the Grandmaster whatever you want Karolin, you had some idea that Hamner and Mrysti were leaving! They must have said something." Both Markus and Karolin looked at each other, Karolin continuing to give her normal sweet 'innocent' look. Markus started to speak, but a glare from RT silenced him quickly. "And you. Don't think I don't know what's going on between you and my sister." He switched his glare to both of the Jedi. "You both must think the Greandmaster is a fool, you think she doesn't know?!?! Do you have any idea the line you both are walking??? And, I bet my last paycheck this whole 'thing' with you two had something to do with the both of them leaving!" Karolin had enough as she stepped forward poking her brother's armored chest.
"That's none of your business RT!!! What I do in my personal life has nothing to with---" RT started an almost sinister laugh as the conversation started to get a little louder.
"Personal life???!! Seriously?!?! You think you have a life??? You both are Jedi and that IS your life…both of you need to grow the Kriff up!!! This isn't a game! You swore an oath and with the threat looming---" Caleb moved quickly toward the group laying a hand on each man's shoulder, giving the three of them a cautious smile.
"Greetings friends…perhaps this is a conversation best held elsewhere…" Caleb glanced over his shoulder back toward the entrance to the Command Center, where the Grandmaster and several council members were just emerging. The Grandmaster shot them all a very concerned look. RT swiped his hand off his hip, cursing under his breath.
"I'm done here anyway…" As he started to stalk off, Caleb smiled at his friend and Karolin who still looked embarrassed and guilty as charged, before breaking to follow RT.
"Captain. Captain???….A moment of your time, if I may???…"
Annoyed as he was, RT still knew his place and the place in which he stood. Though the Jedi were considered 'guests' by some in the Republic establishment, this was their Temple. And RT had more than just a passing connection to the Order. It was RT's burden to be the Republic liaison for all things Project Alpha related, reporting to the Grandmaster herself. RT doubted that even Karolin knew that bit of information. As he turned to face the Jedi following him, he noticed the man's disheveled appearance and the red rings under the eyes. Dealing with people, RT was an excellent judge of a persons demeanor by appearance and he put on the fake smile both out of annoyance at being stopped and to hide that fact.
"Yes Master Jedi…..how may I further serve the Order today….?" There was an endless amount of sarcasm attached to the statement as Caleb looked at his feet suddenly embarrassed. RT studied the Jedi intently, "Thank you for intervening back there…my sister and I tend to get heated when matters are 'family' related…" RT continued to watch him, he could tell this Jedi was troubled. "Is there something I can assist you with…do you know my sister?" RT was obviously referring to the embarrassed one he was just talking to, but Caleb jumped at the chance; his head coming up sharply.
"Yes. Yes!!! I knew her…I knew her well, please…is there any word on her whereabouts? Any news at all?" RT frowned, shifting out of his more formal, rigid military demeanor.
"You too??? I saw it the moment you stopped me. You were waiting in the hall when I went in the meeting…." RT stepped forward grasping the man's shoulder tightly, walking him toward the outside window. He stood for a moment not speaking, his head down slightly. The red rimmed eyes, the appearance of the Jedi…worry flowed off of this man in waves. It wasn't the kind of worry one has for a colleague or a comrade In arms. RT had seen it, though he had NEVER experienced it personally; he just wasn't programmed for it. This was the kind of worry one shares for someone they love.
"I don't know you…but I know Jedi and I want you to listen to me and listen hard. Whatever you think you feel, you don't….you can't and be ready for what's coming. Bury it deep Son and keep pressing onward." Caleb slapped RT's hand off his shoulder to glare at him.
"No!!! I can't!!….I won't." RT let the aggressive move pass without a word, he knew emotions were especially tough on the Jedi. After a moment, he straightened himself staring out the window as he spoke, no emotion in his own voice.
"She's gone Son. I pursued them…they crashed into an asteroid that nearly got me as well. Intelligence reports they both survived and are in Imperial custody, though Mrysti is not expected to recover…." The look of utter shock blanketed Caleb's face as RT finally hazarded a glance half expecting to see the man's spirit dying. RT snatched Caleb's arm up pulling him toward the window. What he saw was resolve beginning to form in the young Jedi. "Don't even think about it!" Though Caleb refrained from using the Force, he still snatched his arm out of RT's grasp with significant strength to send him back a few steps.
"You don't tell me what to do 'Captain', if she's alive, I'm going after her! You should be ashamed that you're not!"
A short distance away, the Grandmaster stood watching. It was no accident. She was in fact hoping to catch RT before he left the Temple, but watching the interaction between him and one of her Jedi she realized there were other serious issues at stake in that moment. Biding her time, she waited till the right moment to interject. And though her words were meant for RT, after witnessing the two men's conversation, her gaze was fixed on Caleb.
"I'm afraid that will no longer be an option for you, Jedi Goss…" Both men tensed up as the Grandmaster stepped between them, Caleb bowing deeply at the waist. "Jedi Knight Alpha has joined with the Force. Our latest intelligence confirms her death this morning…." The Grandmaster took her gaze off of Caleb to look at RT, her expression becoming more compassionate, "…Your brother is being moved to Dromand Kaas….I'm sorry Captain." Caleb slumped against the wall as RT moved the Grandmaster to the side to speak quietly. Only pain echoed in Caleb's mind and he wondered how he did not feel Mrysti's passing.
Gardurrga the Hutt's Palace, Hutta
As Caleb pondered his fate, holding his forehead in both his hands and thinking of the past; he murmured to himself.
"How could I have known…how could I have known that you weren't…"
The voice that finished his out loud thought brought a chill of excitement and cold fear as he sat up immediately, his eyes transfixed on the massive form that was filling his doorway. It seemed to burn, even without the vision afforded to Consulars, who could actually see a persons Force Aura, Caleb could almost see….and definitely feel her fury.
"….dead? You didn't know I was dead?!?!"
Mrysti pulled a chair from a nearby desk without invitation, flipping it around to sit on it backwards; massive legs spread, straddling the backrest. She folded her arms on the top of the backrest and glared at the Jedi.
"Then tell me something I don't know….give me a reason to let you live…" Her smile was genuine as if she did indeed recognize her lover. Genuine and deadly.
20 Parsecs Outside of Korriban Station….6 Months after the Fall of the Jedi Temple
It was a small mining facility singularly repurposed now as a depot for smugglers and pirates. It was also as close as anyone could get to the New Sith Empire without drawing unwanted attention. Those who ventured there had various interest, most having something to do with the Sith. As Caleb rounded the corner, the lift bringing him down from the zero gravity landing platform, pressurized air shot from the side walls normalizing the atmosphere. The majority of the facility existed underground. Mostly due to the mining facility existing on this small planet sized asteroid, the rest to hide prying eyes from what was going on inside. Caleb wrinkled his nose slightly at the stale air, the fumes of hydro fluid, smoke from various substances; some not entirely legal and sweat causing him to pull up his hood on the darkened cloak he wore. Out of habit he touched the lightsaber on his belt. It was well hidden as was the Jedi battle armor he wore. Still, he looked out of place among the Mandalorians, smugglers, pirates and more nefarious types lurking the halls.
It was war, everyone was nervous; still Caleb was a bit shocked he hadn’t been challenged as he landed. This close to the border, the Sith were undoubtedly looking for probes into their new territory. Or perhaps, concerning this facility they simply didn’t care. Moving through the passageway, it opened up into a large storage area that now teemed with beings going about making various deals and conversing, some violently. He dodged a humanoid who had been struck by another, the man falling flat on his back as his attacker leapt over the table to continue his attack. His natural Jedi instincts to help, suppressed he moved past them toward the makeshift cantina; an open air establishment set in an alcove of the storage bay. The voice that beckoned him causing him to turn back slowly.
“Dangerous move coming here….Jedi.”
Caleb did not allow his face to be seen as he took on a similarly cloaked figure. Seated, the figure fumbled with a vibroknife; the distinct grin emanating from the bottom of the hood. Caleb moved toward the seat across from the figure, it could only be addressing him as Caleb could sense no other force users in his vicinity.
“You don’t sense them because they are not here, well not here to be sensed that is…the Sith are uncanny in their ability to hide themselves.”
Caleb kept his hand on his lightsaber as he sat, the beings ability to almost sense his thoughts causing him to feel uneasy. The figure continued to fiddle with the Vibroblade as it looked up at him slightly. He tried to get a feeling from the figure, but all he could sense was like looking into a deep, dark well and it was bottomless.
“You can try, but you won’t sense anything…’I’ Sense though, that is not why you’re here. You are looking for something, perhaps I can help.”
That caused Caleb to laugh slightly, “Why would you help me? You don’t even know me or why I’m here.”
The figure put the knife down gently sitting back in its seat, the smile from the huge grin never wavering.
“No, you’re right about that. I don’t know why you’re here. However, I do know that no one comes here without reason. I also know that in order to find this place, one must seek it out. Additionally, most who venture out this close to Sith space want something from them and 9 out of 10 times it has to do with Korriban.”
The accent from the figure was pure imperial in origin, with a slight tinge on the exotic. There was high brow way the figure talked, like it was above the denizens of the place, even though it was dressed to blend with them and carried itself in a way that spoke otherwise. Caleb relaxed his grip on the lightsaber bringing both hands to the table and folding them into each other. Letting out a deep breath, he smiled back at the figure slightly.
“I guess it was that obvious…yes, I am seeking something on Korriban. Something that I caught a ‘feeling’ about several weeks ago.” Caleb spoke softly in an attempt to waylay an suspicions on his part. The figure looked up even more, dark red eyes joined the everlasting grin; it caused Caleb to shutter slightly, though he tried to hide it.
“Then, perhaps it was fated that we meet. For I am seeking something on that planet as well, something that was taken from me. And was waiting here for just the right person to go and retrieve it.”
Gardurrga The Hutts Palace…
For a brief moment Caleb thought he saw a pang of recognition in Mrysti as she turned that chair around and sat down. Though her actions were very unlike the woman he knew, she did have that same look of brilliant curiosity, of wondering, that he had come accustomed to. As she glared at him he realized it was more like a predator eyeing their prey before dinner. Something had happened to her, something thick and evil. But the time for finding out had passed.
“You want me to tell you something that will allow you to consider letting me live? Mrysti, you have already made your mind up…why come here now?” Caleb started to get up from the edge of the bed to move away from her. The frustration he felt was unbearable, how could he convince her that they knew each other. Mrysti’s face contorted in anger at having him turn his back on her and at having used her name.
“Sit down! I haven’t finished with you yet!”
Turning slightly, Caleb glanced back down at her. Her eyes lit with a fury at having been slighted by someone she already judged as beneath her. Slapping his hands on his thighs, he very gently and deliberately took his seat again on the edge of the bed, a sarcastic placative look on his face.
“Fine. Please let me know when you have. I don’t think there is anything I can say. As I stated, you have already made up your mind up about me.”
Mrysti shifted slightly, she didn’t expect him to sit back down so quickly. They were enemies after all. Caleb could see her caught off guard and swallow a little as she tried to regain her footing. For that moment again he saw a look of the lover he once knew. She actually looked away moving a bit of her red hair out of her eye. Caleb smiled to himself, seeing her brush her hair from her eye like she had done in his presence so many times before. It was an opportunity, one he couldn’t afford to lose and pressed his attack.
“I did go…I went to Korriban in an attempt to find you or at least what was left of you.”
“Korriban Station…6 months after the Fall of the Jedi Temple”
This was a bold move and a dangerous one. Caleb sat next to his generous benefactor looking at the space station through the forward viewport in the cockpit still trying to contemplate why they were going to the station instead of just straight to Korriban. His benefactor now had her hood down, he could see her slight features as he ventured a look over at her. She was pale as one could get, almost sickly looking. From all accounts she was human, but the eyes kept throwing him off. From what he knew of Sith, only the Dark Side of the Force could change ones eye color, but he still couldn’t get a good read on her. On the trip from the mining facility, they had spoke on all manner of things, nothing that pertained to what she actually wanted in going to Korriban. In fact, he really didn’t want to know. Though Caleb was always a cautious Jedi, for some reason he just didn’t want to look this particular benefactor in the mouth. Caleb was desperate to find what he was looking for on Korriban.
“Tell me again why exactly we are going to the space station instead of just going to the planet’s surface?” Caleb raised an eyebrow at the woman, who by now he knew only as Muriel. She glanced over at him quickly before turning her attention back to the controls.
“As I told you before, Jedi…we have to pass inspection in order to be given permission to land. Then, there are also those…”
Muriel pointed out the forward viewport. It appeared the Sith had made some changes to the Korriban Station since their untimely conquest of it. Riveted, bolted and laser welded to the stations surface were a series of very serious and very deadly looking long-range anti-assault cannons. Very likely of capital ship class capable of defending the station against an assault by a large force of much larger ships than the little cruiser they flew in at the moment. Looking around the cabin, Caleb was suddenly glad they had left his own ship back in the mining facility and took hers on this little adventure. They were almost in range, Caleb continued to look at the station looming ever closer. Muriel looked over at Caleb smiling slightly. He sat up in a rigid almost formal way in the seat. She giggled to herself.
“See, that will get us both killed. You really need to lose some of that Jedi formality or we are never going to get permission to land. Sith do not carry themselves that way…you need to act like one or we will never survive this.”
That brought up a series of questions. Questions that Caleb in his haste to just get to Korriban had neglected to or rather just didn’t want to ask.
“What do you know of the Sith? For that matter, I have no idea why I agreed to this…the Empire undoubtedly had agents on that mining facility, no doubt to catch Jedi infiltrators and capture them. What the hell am I doing?!?!” He put his head in his hand, if it was a trap he was already caught so what did it matter.
Muriel backed off the forward thrust putting the ship in station keeping mode, turning in her seat. They were not yet at the outer marker, the Station had not deemed them as a threat.
“Four hours…it took you four hours to actually come clean and ask the questions you have been dying to know. And now, I have to stop us to school you on the finer points of being a Sith….” She laughed slightly, sudden realization coming to her face, “…It’s a woman, it has to be. I don’t have to be Force Sensitive to see it rolling off of you in waves. Why else would you throw yourself in the Gundark’s den if not for a woman…” Caleb had slumped slightly in his seat, but now sat straight up looking at Muriel angrily.
“I beg your pardon! My reasons for wanting to go to this Sith forsaken place is none of your concern!”
Muriel lost the smile getting up from the piloting station to lean on the rear bulkhead. She glared at Caleb, the loss of composure in her allowing him to sense her for the first time. Caleb got up quickly moving toward the viewport away from her. The look of disgust clearly blanketing his features. She pushed off the bulkhead taking a step forward.
“Yes. I am a Sith…why does that frighten you so?”, Caleb was speechless, but in his heart he knew from the moment their eyes met; the unnatural redness of them. He knew and he chose to ignore it. Muriel took another step forward. “Caleb, just because we are diametrically opposed as to the use and philosophy of the Force doesn’t mean we can’t work together.” Her wicked smile returned as she looked him up and down.
“I am a fool. I saw it and I chose not to truly see. Sith….you, your kind…all you care for is yourselves. You care nothing for the greater good. You do nothing without serving some greater self interest.” That actually brought a round of uncontrollable laughter from Muriel as she stepped back leaning on the bulkhead again.
“And you don’t?!?! Caleb, you crossed over into my world the second you got on that ship to come find the mining facility, the second you sat down at my table, the second you got on my ship…and right now in this very moment, the only thing that’s stopping you from trying to destroy me is YOUR OWN SELF-INTEREST…” She gestured at the seat he vacated, “Sit down Caleb, you are obviously committed to doing this as I am…” She sat back down moving the ship a little further away from the Station, he raised an eyebrow. “And just for the record, I knew approaching the station would illicit those Jedi feelings about all of this, it was my plan all along. And no, I am not an imperial agent, nor do I plan on turning you over to them. I need you as much as you need me in this moment.” She ventured a look over at him, his curiosity still eating at him, “No…I don’t want to know why you’ve come to find this woman, don’t bother denying it…we both know that’s why you’re out here. It has nothing to do with the Jedi or the Sith. Men in general are fools when it comes to love…”
Gardurrga the Hutts Palace
She knew exactly what he was doing and she didn’t like it, flinging the chair out from under her and standing. Caleb arched both eyes at her as she raised to her full 6 foot 9 height. He made no aggressive moves as she raged glaring at him almost willing him to do something to further anger her. It was interesting, even though Caleb could feel how badly she wanted to kill him his thoughts went elsewhere. All he could think was how terribly vicious she must be in bed. How most likely making love was no longer an act for her, but most likely a sport. Her face contorted in confusion as she stopped raging to look down at him, she undoubtedly felt his change in demeanor. A twisted look creased her scarred features. She cocked a hip to one side, putting one of her hands on it. Caleb smiled, that was a typical Mrysti move arching her own eyebrow at him.
“Seriously??” It dripped with sarcasm, speaking while she looked down on him sitting placidly on the bed. “You know I want to kill you and your sitting there thinking of bedding me?” Caleb grew red in the face, looking down shyly.
“It’s that obvious?”
Though she was not truly Sith and not completely still a Jedi, Mrysti was a creature that had functioned for years on her emotions. It was all she had. Locked in her cell, void of memory all she had were feelings, the feelings that her former Master worked hard to cultivate and nourish. Her times on the torture rack, the blissful pain of being forced to do things, terrible things to herself and to her Master. Nights on end of longing and looking forward to the next time she would get another dose of feeling, something new to ponder, think on and savor until the next time and then the next. It was passion, it was hate, it was every feeling she could imagine that she had lost memory to associate with.
It was this moment, she knew it was inevitable. But, Caleb was not going to find the ‘girl’ he’d made love to years ago on Coruscant, when it was forbidden, when it was something they both were ashamed of. What Caleb was about to learn was there was no shame in her, there was only lust. She wanted something, she took it. It was just that simple.
With a quickness that could only be enhanced by the Force, she leapt at him simultaneously ripping the tunic from this torso as she forced his back down on the bed; straddling him between her thighs. Balling the reminder of the cloth in her hand she flung it over her shoulder as she looked down at him, eyes flashing a brilliant red. Caleb actually was taken aback slightly, but he didn’t resist looking worriedly up at her.
“This changes nothing Jedi Master Caleb Goss…in the morning, I WILL kill you….” She bent forward at the waist nibbling his upper lip before moving her cheek across his face to place her lips at his earlobe, “….unless of course you die during….”
Caleb stretched his arm across the bed slowly, it hurt to move yet he still let the smile slowly come to his face. The side he felt with his hand was cold and barren, much like his companion who had undoubtedly gotten up to leave before he woke. Getting what she needed to satiate herself she had no further use for him. Bringing his arm back under himself Caleb slowly opened his eyes, propping himself up on his elbow to look around.
The room could be declared a disaster zone, as Mrysti literally used everything at her disposal including the room itself to attempt 'Kriffing' Caleb to death. Caleb stretched his arms out to his side using a little of the Force to ease the soreness that plagued his entire body. His former lover had tried more than Caleb expected to break him the previous night. He felt he gave as good as he got from her, including at several points during the evening pinning the large woman and letting his own passions take over; getting from her exactly what he wanted. It seemed to fuel her more when he took control.
It was a fact finding mission as well as a night of uncontrollable sex. Mrysti had indeed changed, she was as wild in bed as she looked and a far cry from the 'girl' he once knew. Caleb looked down at the empty bed with that thought. There was no way she would have allowed herself to wake snuggled in his arms, not like before. But, there was something else, as Caleb looked down at the bed he knew that as they looked in each other's eyes Mrysti was also looking for something that previous night. Even behind her passion, her rage to just consume him, she was looking for a little recognition during their night together. Caleb knew she had found none.
Korriban….6 month after the Fall of the Jedi Temple.
This was something that needed to be reported. Had Caleb been on a sanctioned mission from the Republic he would be indeed taking note of the large amount of activity in the Valley of the Dark Lords. As the Sith had already signed peace with the Republic, all of this activity spoke otherwise. The forces arrayed before him told him the Empire was preparing for War. Hundreds of troop transports, thousands of Soldiers moving around them. Supplies stacked in bundles in various locations. Caleb sighed to himself stepping off the shuttle behind Muriel. She handed the flight officer a datapad as he glanced past her to look at Caleb who was still watching all of the activity. They had managed to pass security on the station. Muriel giving the flight officer the same excuse she gave security earlier on the station.
"Disregard my 'Apprentice' it's his first visit to Korriban…." She leaned down to the officer to whisper harshly gesturing at Caleb, "…he was trained in the Academy on Ziost." The flight officer made a face at Caleb nodding at Muriel in affirmation. It was disgraceful to not have at least visited the Academy on Korriban for recertification after its capture. She moved past the officer looking back at Caleb, "Come Apprentice, the Academy awaits." When they were out of earshot Caleb moved up next to Muriel instead of following behind as a dutiful Apprentice should.
"So is this the part where you tell me what you need my help with? We are not actually going INTO the Academy are we?" Muriel smiled under her hood.
"Just remember what we talked about. You're doing good Jedi." Caleb stopped walking to look at Muriel.
"No. It won't hold going in there. The Academy is a nexus of the Dark Side. The Dark Council is in there. Any light that enters will immediately be detected…" Muriel stopped, looking behind and over her shoulder.
"We are not going to the Dark Council chambers, so…relax." Caleb didn't move glaring at Muriel.
"No! Not until I know what it is I am doing."
She was so close to her goal, Muriel bit her lip moving swiftly back toward Caleb, grabbing his arm like a disrespected Master would do to a wayward Apprentice. On Korriban, you never knew who was watching.
"My Master was killed during the recapture of Korriban from the Republic. In fact, I think it was my Master's OTHER Apprentice that killed him." Muriel started moving them both back toward the Academy as she spoke, "My Master's Holocron was placed in the archive by that other Apprentice, who happened to actually be a Darth as well. But…there was a lock placed on the Holocron that the other 'Apprentice' didn't know about." Caleb stopped moving as Muriel stopped at the base of the Academy steps to explain. "Darth Malgus couldn't access our Master's Holocron because it can only be unlocked by a Sith and Jedi working together to unlock it at the same time. My Master knew Malgus couldn't be trusted. He told me about the lock, but did not inform Malgus. That….is why I need you and why we are here."
Caleb swallowed hard, every Jedi knew about Malgus. Who didn't know about the Dark Lord who led the attack on the Jedi Temple personally. Caleb looked down at the red dusty ground of Korriban. He really didn't want to do this. No one should be helping someone so close to the "Sacker" of Coruscant, but he was desperate to find Mrysti. Muriel didn't speak as Caleb considered, she already knew she had him even after revealing everything. Still she knew his Jedi sensibilities would inevitably ask the question, the question she was already prepared for.
"What's on the Holocron that you looking for?"
"Proof that my Master didn't trust Malgus. Proof that he could have killed my Master and had me ostracized from the Sith Order…." Muriel watched Caleb as he considered her words in that Jedi mind of his. It wasn't totally false, she did indeed want that proof against Malgus, but she conveniently left out the part about the knowledge of not only her Master contained within the Holocron, but the knowledge of her Master's Master and his Master before him. The knowledge of 1000 years of the Dark Arts, power infinite if she could get it. She smiled sweetly, it was time to push Caleb over the edge.
"You help me with this….And I swear to you Caleb, I will not only help you find this woman you're looking for, but if we find her, we WILL get her out of here!"
Gardurrga the Hutts Palace….
The flooring was cold as Caleb finally set his feet down upon it, standing up off the bed. He still hurt in places, especially the places where there were wounds, bites from her or scratches. The Force had gotten rid of much of the bruises and fatiguing pain, but he would have to take time to do a healing meditation before he….Caleb stopped his thoughts not wanting to think of it; Of fighting Mrysti later that day. He moved shards of something broken out of the way stepping over some more rubble as he moved closer to the entryway, the sound of grunting and slashing now just getting into earshot as he approached. Caleb grabbed his robe from off the floor next to the now broken chair that it formerly rested on, tightening it around his waist as he stepped over the threshold.
Rustic brown cloth around her waist moved in unison with Mrysti's red hair as she slashed across the target at it's midsection with lightning speed. The target slowly coming apart at the cut from the precise slash and falling apart horizontally, she was already in the air having jumped into a smashing power move toward the next target, the sword held in both hands between her legs as she came down upon it. The metal split the wooden target cleanly; vertically this time, the precision of the smashing cut causing not only the target to shake almost out of the ground in the force of her landing, but quickly parting it in half to fall to the floor to both sides of her.
She stopped for a moment breathing heavily turning her head slight to the left and toward Caleb, but not making eye contact. The sword she held in her hand was made of a metal Caleb couldn't identify, but it was the length of the broadsword that caught his attention. Mrysti had to be using her strength in the Force to even wield it. It was nearly as long as a man was tall and broad enough to cook a bantha steak on if held over a fire. She wasted no time flinging her sword wielding hand and the empty hand away from her sending the two halves of the wooden target into adjacent walls, shattering them into sharp fragments. Seeming to know what Caleb was thinking, she turned with her arms still raised to show she had no problem wielding the heavy blade. And that she was doing it under her own power.
It wasn't the fact that Mrysti was ONLY wearing the strange rustic colored waist wrap and that her fully ample chest was bare that made Caleb raise an eyebrow. It was seeing her sweat at holding that impossibly heavy sword out to her side and that she was doing it with her own genetically enhanced strength. Caleb of course knew all about Mrysti's association with Project Alpha, all of her generically enhanced 'siblings' all of which served the Republic in some form or fashion. Well, not all of them…not anymore. Though Caleb knew about the Project and that each member of Mrysti's family were 'special' he did not know the specific gifts each one had. At this moment, he could only surmise that one of Mrysti's gifts was incredible strength. He watched as a crooked scarred smile started to crease her face as she glared at him holding the sword out to her side. Caleb started his own sly smile right back at her leaning on the door frame to look at his lost love. It was opportunity knocking.
Yes, Mrysti had indeed changed. So much so that Caleb might have just realized a way to survive. He stealthfully reached out to Mrysti in the Force as she stood there looking at him, straining against the weight of the sword. What Caleb discovered confirmed his suspicions. When Mrysti left the Jedi and before her accident, she was a Consular; one who shaped and walked strong in the Force. What Caleb sensed in that brief touch of the Force was contrary. Mrysti had lost almost all of her ability with the use of the Living Force. She was using it now to only augment her own genetically enhanced strength. Caleb had discovered an advantage and as he turned his back on her to walk away, much to her confusion as she finally lowered the sword watching him; he had to ask himself 'Would he use it?'
Korriban….6 months after the Fall of the Jedi Temple
Muriel had begun to realize; Jedi Knight Caleb Goss was much more keenly aware of his surroundings and what was going on than she'd first surmised. Whether intentionally or not, Caleb had foiled the remainder of her plan. The part of the plan that included his death or capture once they had secured the Holocron. It was twice actually, once as Muriel very nearly was trapped in a Ray shield security device as Caleb used the Force to pull the Holocron from the pedestal into his palm and Muriel avoided the activation pads on the floor. And only seconds before that moment as Muriel plotted to jab a spike into the back of his skull and toss him from the cliff they now traversed. Two things stopped her, first that she had to weaken herself in the Force to use her power in cloaking her intent and second, as Caleb was busy reminding her as they walked; the Holocron was in HIS possession. Even if she did manage to get it from him, she still had to have a Jedi to help her defeat the Dark side/Light side Force Lock. It was with much grumbling that Muriel now followed behind him as Caleb let the Force guide him. The former "Master and Apprentice" both changing their roles.
Caleb knew exactly what he was doing and smiled to himself at the grimace and obvious change in demeanor of his companion as they climbed the series of rocks crossing the Valley quickly. Forever grumbling was what accompanied the climb as Caleb was sure Muriel did not like the fact the Holocron was holding her at bay. Also, Muriel wasn't sure she could 'take' him in single combat, lest she would have tried. He was keenly aware she would very likely kill him the first chance she got in order to get the Holocron.
"I sense nothing!!! How can you be sure we are even going the right direction???!!!"
The change in Muriel's tone made Caleb smile again, no more of the sweetly veiled voice that had beseeched him to go to Korriban with her. At last there was deadly truth between them, her voice had a mean, deadly edge to it at last. He stood straight up closing his eyes to open his sense to the Force, he felt Muriel looking at him, but also felt the pull again pointing ahead and over the next ridge. He quickly started moving letting the Force enhance his speed.
"There! I can sense her over that ridge!!!"
Muriel followed close behind, using her own Force enhanced speed to follow closely. Over the ridge it opened up into a rounded recess followed down by a depressed round valley. Caleb could make out a structure built into the mountainside, with open air rooms in different spots. The one who constructed this place utilizing all of the mountains natural architecture to build an impressive stronghold both inside and outside the mountain. The depressed area seemed to be the centerpiece of the builder's home having been built into a sort of stage with a raised dais in the center. Caleb glanced over his shoulder as Muriel knelt down next to him looking down into the recess. Caleb took a small pair of macrobinoculars from his belt to get a closer look. For the moment his senses were stretched between 'watching' Muriel and now the inside of the recess. As he panned around he saw various racks of tools set against the mountains natural walls. A rack of some kind displayed prominently at the center of the dias. Movement from one side of the recess caused him to jerk the binos toward it. He nearly dropped them at the image. There she was. Muriel sensed the change in Caleb.
"What! What do you see?"
Muriel squinted, trying to use the Force to enhance her sight and see what he was looking at. A red and purple robed figure led a much larger green figure into the recess by a chain around it's neck. Straining further, Muriel could now see the green figure was a woman due to her nakedness and she was hunched down, eyes cast to the floor as she was led into the room. The robed figure led Mrysti up to the rack, dropped the chain and was obviously instructing her in some way. They both watched as Mrysti climbed slowly onto the rack and pronated herself across it, planting her legs and arms in the holds located at each ankle and at each wrist. Caleb slumped down as the robed figure pulled the restraints around Mrysti's appendages and began methodically beating her across her back with a whip it produced from a nearby storage rack. Caleb started moving down the recess, but what he heard from below stopped him.
"…And you will scream!!! You will tell me how badly you want this!!! How badly you need to be punished and enjoy it!!!!"
"Y-yes!!! Oh yes, Master!!!"
Again Caleb slumped again, falling down into a lazy squat on the ground. His arms falling limp to his side, the binos rolling out of his hand. Muriel smiled wickedly, taking her lightsaber from her belt as she stepped over the Rocky surface toward him. With Caleb compromised emotionally, the time to reclaim her Holocron had arrived.
"Not quite the woman you remember, Jedi?…." Muriel ignited her saber, the crimson blade held down at a guard to her side. "I will be merciful, Caleb. I like you. That's why this death will be swift and painless."
Caleb kept his eyes focused on the violence going on down in the recess. He could feel her, every bit of pleasure she felt at each vicious hit of the whip. It made him flinch. In his head he could hear Mrysti's pleasurable screams echo off and up the recess walls, they mixed with his own pleasurable memories of her. The sounds of her that night, the feel of her so close to him. Muriel's threat overlapped the voices in his head. He heard Muriel, but didn't really comprehend turning his head slowly to look up at her, tears streamed out of his eyes. Muriel brought the sword up to her other hand, holding it in a slashing guard.
"Goodbye, Jedi. Thank you for helping me reclaim my power."
The Jedi wall shattered. Caleb leapt up with Force speed grabbing Muriel's wrist as she began her slash toward his head. Only now he was standing and as they struggled, the lit crimson of the saber only a fraction of an inch from each other's face, Caleb clenched down on the Sith's wrist. Muriel looked in his eyes, her spittle sizzling off the plasma of the blade.
"Give me my Holocron, Jedi!!!"
Caleb's eyes were not on Muriel's, but rather on the saber hilt they both struggled to get control of. All of his love, his hate, his worry, his doubt and his fear penetrated that hilt as Caleb saw through the mechanics of the hilt like an x-Ray machine. Though they struggled, Caleb found the synthetic red color Crystal that focused the plasma of Muriel's lightsaber. He closed his eyes tightly when he knew he had it, shattering the Crystal as the blade abruptly cut off. In surprise, Muriel loosened her grip on her now deactivated saber. Caleb was consumed, his grief over what he'd seen did not even allow Muriel to finish speaking.
"Wha---how did yo--"
They spun around toward the Cliffside, Caleb wrenching the hilt from her grip as he thrust the other hand out to his front, hitting Muriel in the midsection and sending her tumbling toward the edge and over the side of the cliff. She didn't make a sound as she fell to her death, the power of the blast in the Force from Caleb either killing her or rendering her unconscious before the fall.
For a long moment, Caleb looked out over the cliff he had used to send Muriel to her death. Finally, turning back to take one last look down into the recess where he'd witnessed the end of all that he loved. He watched the robed figure drop his own clothing to position himself to further torment his captive. Caleb closed his eyes at the sound, knowing that it was over. Mrysti had found a new Master, she had crossed over. No one as powerful as his love would ever allow themselves to be unwillingly put through this. He walked away toward the direction of the Academy, he had to now find a way off Korriban. But he was Jedi, nothing was impossible in the Force. Echoes of the consensual pleasure being wrought in the recess seemed to follow him longer than it should have.
Senate Building, Galactic City, Coruscant….7 months after the Fall of the Jedi Temple
"You're service and dedication are a credit to the Republic….and the Jedi Order, Jedi Goss…."
The overinflated Republic officer droned on, Caleb wasn't really listening. In fact, Caleb wasn't really there, he was still on Korriban looking down into that recess. After stealing a shuttle, avoiding half of the Korriban planetary defense force, Caleb managed to coast into Coruscant airspace with literally hydrospace sealant holding what was left of his ship together. And he wasn't really present for any of that either. Just operating on reflex, just Jedi intuition of what needed to be done to complete a certain action. He wasn't even using any foresight, in a way the moment he left that recess and the sound of his former love behind, he was hoping he would be killed. It was the only way he could see ending the way he felt, any feeling for that matter; he just wanted it all to stop. Had it not been for the condition of his ship and the fact that the Jedi were trying to locate him, he most likely would have been killed in that dilapidated Imperial shuttle he coasted in on. Not that he cared. This was supposed to be a 'heroes' welcome; not that he cared about that either.
"…Its simply astounding! Do the Sith really think we wouldn't find out? That we wouldn't also prepare for them…."
Caleb nodded pleasantly as the officer continued to jabber on. He wasn't paying attention. His mind was elsewhere, his thoughts, the eyes on him from the other Jedi in the room. One particular set of eyes intrigued him. This was supposed to be the reception honoring him for the 'very daring' mission he undertook, on his own accord to find out what was going on in Sith space. The truth however was different, he didn't lie when asked. Those asking were simply not asking the right questions as to why he went to Korriban. So far. Or maybe no one really wanted to know the truth. His recovery of a very valuable Holocron, the death of a very dangerous Sith and the intelligence gathered far outweighed any reason he could have REALLY been on Korriban, at least as far as everyone else was concerned. Everyone but that set of familiar red eyes that had been gazing at him the entire time. They were so familiar, yet so newly distant. A distance that he was busy creating in his mind.
Karolin slithered her way through the crowd, blending in nicely with the other Republic 'fatcat' officers, she was supposed to be making ready for a new assignment. As her tunic prominently displayed the newness of the rank given to her, 'General'; she made her way finally close to Caleb. He nearly jumped out of his boots as her sultry voice enveloped him. It was so much like 'hers', besides the size difference the two sisters; Karolin and Mrysti were virtually identical.
"My, my Caleb….recovering a Holocron and not just any, but a Holocron from one of the architects of the 'Sacking of Coruscant'….." Caleb initially looked up as he turned around half expecting Mrysti to be standing behind, looming over him. Karolin's voice was so, similar to her sister's. He had to quickly adjust his gaze just below his eye level, as Karolin stood an average woman's height, slightly shorter than he. "….Did I surprise you? Were you expecting someone else?"
The coy smile Karolin gave suggested she already knew the answer to that question, as she swayed back and forth slightly, the fluted glass playing gently on her lower lip. Caleb was always in defense mode even with those who knew him outside of his normal role in the Order. He quickly deflected the question.
"Expecting? No one, not at all…should I have been?"
Karolin scooted closer, looping an arm through one of Caleb's to draw him closer. She smiled sweetly up at him, letting his reflection play in her dark red eyes. The closeness, her scent, so like her sister's was intoxicating and it made him dizzy. Once again he seemed to stammer as he gazed down at her, quickly clearing his throat to break the spell she was casting on him. Karolin knew she had him, she just needed to close the box.
"For someone who's being honored for all their good deeds, you certainly pay little attention to your OWN reception." Caleb broke his arm away from Karolin quickly stammering away.
"Y-yes….I mean, No…I mean, pardon me, Master. I must…I need a moment." Caleb sat his glass down on the window ledge quickly moving away from the crowd in the Senate Corridor. Karolin sat her own glass next to his quickly on his heels, catching him only a moment later. She waited till he had turned the corner, entering a mostly deserted maintenance corridor. She laid a hand on Caleb's shoulder, spinning him around.
"Caleb! Caleb! Wait….talk to me!"
As she spun him around, she saw the pain in his eyes and the water already welling up inside them. He put a clenched fist in his mouth biting one of the fingers once they locked eyes. Karolin put a hand gently to the side of his head. She already had her suspicions about the reasons for Caleb's sudden departure and return, his reason,for leaving Tython was more than just "meditation" leave. Now she was convinced all was not what it seemed. Caleb continued to bite his hand not wanting to speak, until she laid her all too familiar hand on his head, only it was Karolin's sister's hand he longed for. He was ready to confess before she even asked.
"I saw her Karolin, I know where she is and what…." His voice cracked and he faded, putting the hand back in his mouth unable to continue. Karolin frowned sympathetically, rubbing his face.
"Shhhh….Caleb, you don't have to tell me. Just relax, let me see…."
Moving the other hand to the other side of Caleb's face she continued to 'shush' him as she applied her power in the Force, her power of sight as a Consular to see Caleb's thoughts, his memories. At first her expression was placid as she searched his mind. She learned about his initial plan to leave Tython, of finding the out of the way Mining Facility. Karolin saw Muriel, learned of their chance encounter; of what Muriel needed Caleb for. Her sight allowed Karolin to see Caleb recover the Holocron before Muriel could, that he planned it all along to force Muriel to help him find and rescue Mrysti. It was a mixture of Caleb's memory and a narrative of Caleb's feelings on the events as they happened. And Caleb was so very full of emotion. Karolin's face grew pale as they reached the recess, saw what Mrysti did, what she was allowing to be done to her. Karolin felt every crushing moment of that event with Caleb. Tears rolled down his face as he began to breath heavily. Roughly, Karolin snatched her hands from Caleb's face severing the connection, she too was now drenched in sweat and very, very angry. With so many thoughts racing through her head of what she perceived as Mrysti's conscious betrayal, Karolin could not voice her thoughts properly.
"How could she!!! That she would not only turn…that she would allow…willingly?!?!"
From his knees Caleb was holding his face in his hands, nodding softly murmuring something incoherent. It didn't take long for Karolin to decide what to do as she looked at him, her anger subsiding slightly. She ran her fingers through his hair pulling him into her waist. Caleb hugged her not bothering to get up. They were friends, Karolin's Marcus loved Caleb, loved him like a brother. Therefore, Karolin loved Caleb the same way. It was Caleb that led her out the day the Sith destroyed their home. Even if that was the only reason she would have loved him enough to do what she was about to do. There was more, Caleb loved Mrysti, loved her more than his own life, had risked his life and his future for her. And now, it had destroyed him. What she was doing on Korriban, what she was willingly becoming was more than Caleb would be able to bare. It would eventually drive him mad. In Karolin's mind there was only one option. And it was because Karolin believed her sister was lost and that she was willingly turning to evil. She was not completely wrong Mrysti was turning, just not willingly.
Gently, Karolin pried Caleb away from her waist. She looked down in his red-rimmed eyes, holding his face again in both her hands. They began to glow under her palms, the light spilling out In between her fingers. It was so much power, Caleb could only hear her voice in his mind, even though she spoke out loud. The light starting to blind him physically and mentally.
"Caleb, listen to me. You will not remember me seeing you tonight, you will not remember showing me anything…."
Caleb's body started to shake slightly as Karolin bore into his mind even harder, her grip on his face tightening as she moved the fingers around to the front of his face.
"Caleb, you never found Mrysti on Korriban. The Sith you destroyed showed you evidence of her demise….Mrysti is DEAD."
Gardurrga the Hutts Palace….1 hour till final test.
This was to take place before the Hutta Sun hit afternoon. Mrysti had one leg propped up on the dressing stool, she slapped the closures on her leg armor hard locking them into place. Darth Malvox stood off in the corner, brooding for several reasons. The Darth was always a small to big problem conversationalist, bringing up what was bothering her the least first and building up to the rest of it. Mrysti was becoming used to her new Master's way of communicating. It was slightly annoying, almost as if Malvox constantly wanted one to drag the information out of her. Perhaps she did it for dramatic affect, Mrysti didn't know as she sighed heavily putting the leg down and placing the other one on the stool to apply the lower armor plate.
"This is dangerous, just because Gardurrga says this armor has Cortosis properties, it may delay the burn or slice of a lightsaber, but it will not fully protect you…" Malvox moved into Mrysti's sight, looking down at her, "…you are Sith now! You should wear the armor of one!!!" Mrysti curled her lip in a smirk looking up at her Master, slapping the latches on the sides of the armor loudly and on purpose to lock it in place.
"If you have a suit of Sithari armor hiding under that cloak, I'd love to have it. This armor has served me well in Arena, it will suffice." The smirk faded as Mrysti moved on to more pressing matters. "That's not what you're brooding over Master. You have something else bothering you."
Malvox leaned on a weapons rack, folding her arms over her tiny frame, "Yes, actually….and I think you already know what that is." She fixed a steely gaze on her new apprentice as Mrysti brought her foot down hard off the stool, standing to her full height. She was silent returning the gaze her Master was giving. It annoyed Malvox to no end, "Was it on purpose? Help me understand what you were thinking? There is No way you did it to curry favor with him and hope for mercy in the Arena. You hardly require that."
Nor was it surprising that Malvox knew Mrysti had slept with Caleb. Or even watched the whole thing standing right next to Gardurrga. The room was no doubt wired with all manner of hidden cameras and sound devices. That made Mrysti give the entire room a quick glance before returning to adjusting her armor. As if the thought has been spoken aloud, Malvox as usual addressed Mrysti's suspicions.
"…and NO, I did not watch you. Though I am fairly certain that Gardurrga did."
Sneering Mrysti reached the point of not caring a week prior, speaking to Malvox loudly so the hidden recording devices would hear.
"Good. I hope his high exalted 'snailness' enjoyed it. It will be the last enjoyment of that type he gets the pleasure of watching! After I'm finished with this Jedi, I am going to end him!"
As Mrysti turned to walk toward the Arena grounds, Malvox stopped her with a light touch to her arm, a wicked smile across her features.
"End the Jedi? So…your night with him did not change your feelings on this matter?"
Mrysti's eyes seemed to look up and to the right for a split second before she stabbed her Master with the expressionlessness of the look. Shrugging in unison to her words, she laid her hand on the hilt of her sword turning to walk again back toward the Arena.
Painstakingly, Gardurrga the Hutt crafted this moment. Either way, he came out the winner. Odds that the Hutt's as a species always liked to be in. Rarely did a Hutt wager or enter a deal where the odds were NOT in their favor. Sheer arrogance more times than not were the smasher of many a Hutt dream. Especially when either a Jedi or a Sith was involved in the deal.
The Force by its very nature added a chaotic variable that the Hutts just couldn't account for in assessing risk. You would have thought that after so many a deal had been soured by users of the Force that the Hutts would cease dealing and wagering where Jedi or Sith were concerned. Arrogance led to vanity in the Hutt's case. Vanity was the downfall of many who could not humble themselves to see the bigger picture. As Gardurrga slithered into the viewing box, none of this crossed his mind. Why should it? In his estimation there was simply no way to lose. The Jedi elimination of Mrysti meant one less Sith in, the galaxy and the elimination of a competitor in the Arena that threatened to sour the Hutts monopoly of the sport. If Mrysti prevailed, the Gardurrga gains another champion, a champion he looked forward to breaking in order to do his bidding. It didn't hurt that Mrysti was attractive to him, but that was simply a bonus.
Mrysti stood behind the bars of the portcullis, the light from the arena floor parting the bars in odd angles. It looked as if only parts of her were there, Caleb saw parts of green flesh and rustic looking cloth as he looked across. He pressed his body close to his own set of bars, a stern look on his face staring directly at her. Almost reaching across the arena floor to her his blue eyes met the one red he could see of Mrysti's. She looked away gritting her teeth, murmuring under her breath.
"Hold it together Bitch…he's just a Jedi, just any Jedi….nothing there…."
Caleb closed his eyes keeping his forehead pressed to the bars sending Mrysti his thoughts, hoping she would hear, '….I will not fight you. I love you…that love is unconditional…'
Mrysti shook her head to try and sling those thoughts out as Gardurrga began speaking through his translator droid.
<"…Gentlebeings, welcome to the last and final test of one of the Arena's newest Champions! She calls herself Mrysti…her opponents have known her for the briefest of moments before their untimely demises as Death Incarnate!!!….">
Mrysti bristled slightly as the Hutt's translator spoke, finally getting her intensity going, she focused on the rage, the desire to feel suffering; Caleb's suffering. Across from her, Caleb could feel that Mrysti had severed the connection. He could feel her anger at him for invading her thoughts and detracting her from her personal mission. The translator droned on as the bars blocking the huge entrance started moving slowly upward.
<"…what the few personally invited will witness is a battle waged for millennia across the galaxy, Jedi vs. Sith. It will truly be of epic proportions, even I do not know how this will turn out…">
She chose steel against her Master's better judgment, the loud 'sheng' the blade made as it came out of the scabbard on her hip clearly audible to everyone in the Arena. Caleb stepped out past the bars still rising looking directly across at Mrysti. It was a little surprising to him that she was holding a blade instead of a saber and the blade was a normal broadsword length only slightly larger than a standard lightsaber. As Mrysti walked slowly toward him, closing the distance he could see her tightening her grip on the hilt, one handedly testing its weight as she moved it in time with her steps. It wasn't an expression of anger he felt from her, it was conflict despite her facial sneer. Getting closer the Hutt's translated words stopped Caleb cold, he didn't see Mrysti stop as well nearly dropping her sword in similar shock.
<"….but not just any battle between mortal enemies. A battle of star crossed lovers. This Jedi, who left everything behind to rescue his lost love from the clutches of the Sith, only to find that she had willingly joined forces with them…">
Her head snapped toward Caleb, who's mouth was still agape looking up toward the darkened review stand.
"What's the meaning of this Jedi?!?! Are you working with Gardurrga to try and distract me!!!" She screamed in rage swinging toward Caleb, a blow that would have cut him in half had he not quickly leapt backwards.
"Whoa. Wait a minute! This is just as much a shock to you as it is--" He activated his saber in time to block the next downward slash toward him, half expecting the sword to melt In half on his silver-blue blade. The sparks showered as Mrysti pressed into the plasma.
"Stop lying!!! Die with some dignity Jedi!" Caleb slid his foot back putting two hands on the saber and angled Mrysti into a kickback, hitting her with his shoulder to push her off. She immediately rolled with the push spinning the rest of the way around, the sword leading the charge. It caught the front of Caleb's tunic slicing cleanly through and grazing the skin. Blood started to ebb onto Caleb's light brown undertunic. "Its all been one big lie! All you've done is try to play on my sympathy, make me think we we’re in love!"
As the battle commenced, Darth Malvox moved in next to Gardurrga, anger rolled off of her as the Hutt glanced down at her, "Pouting? That's not very Sith-like…." Malvox typically returned such a comment with a false smile and snarky comment, but not this time. She never took eyes off the two fighting for their lives down below as she spoke in a gravely tone.
"I had this completely under control. That is…until you decided to give her yet another reason to question our motives here. There is no reason to cloud her judgment any further…" The stare matched her words as the look cast Gardurrga into stone, "…and I'm fully aware you wish her to lose, for profits sake; you're not sure you can tame her should she win. Prudent."
Gardurrga gave a jiggly belly laugh as he stuffed one of the creatures from his nearby food tank into his mouth, licking his lips. "As I said before Darth Malvox, I always win. I'm not a gambling Hutt otherwise…"
Mrysti could hear the laughter echo from above and it set her off. The Hutt had been manipulating events from the start and Mrysti knew it. Caleb was still fighting defensively as Mrysti landed several more slight glancing blows, only one other than the one to Caleb's chest drawing slight blood. Purposefully, she drew back stepping on her rear leg and spinning to give Caleb some breathing room. Predicting correctly, Caleb threw out his offhand to push Mrysti back with the Force. Predictable on his part, he didn't want to fight her wanting to create more space between them. she spun over the top of the blast tossing her sword into the Force wave. Hand outstretched as she landed, sending the wave and her sword toward the darkness of the box Gardurrga occupied.
Sickening, the slicing of Hutt flesh echoed in the upper deck. The blast sending the sword straight to the heart of the darkness and straight into the upper chest area of the enormous slug. Gardurrga didn't even get a scream out as the sword struck any vocal cords and breathing tubes located in that area. Only the spasmodic grabbing of the sword existed as Gardurrga's last moment was spend glaring at Malvox, who ran to the edge of the box to peer at her apprentice who was turning to face her opponent slowly, palms up and now completely unarmed.
"Wha-Mrysti…what are you doing?" Caleb still stood in a guard stance, his lightsaber held rigidly in two hands to his side. A strange wicked smile ebbed its way onto Mrysti's face as she stopped turning to stare at him.
"I simply hated him more in that moment than I hated you…" Mrysti didn't move and neither did Caleb, "…go ahead Jedi, strike me down. It’s the only way you will leave this Arena alive."
Busily Caleb's mind worked considering all the factors at the surprising development. In the end it was the Jedi in him that prevailed. Not just the Jedi, Caleb could not and would not kill the only thing that had actually allowed him to experience ‘Love’. Emotions were alien to the Jedi, Caleb had been given a taste and now when faced with its end, desperately wanted to taste that again. Caleb dropped the guard stance slightly deactivating the lightsaber, tossing it away.
"No, I won't do it. You may be evil, but you were once a Jedi, Mrysti. It is not my destiny or yours to end in this place. Who you once were should know this." Caleb slowly turned, he said most of what he wanted to say. He said what a Jedi would say, leaving out the part that a man desperately in Love, rediscovering that Love, and what he should have said. As Caleb turned to walk away confident he had said his most of his piece, Malvox screamed from the sky box.
"No!!! Do not let him live apprentice!! Kill him, kill him now!!!"
Mrysti was well past those words, her mind not even registering the order from her Master. She had already started to charge at Caleb, her right hand outstretched to call his lightsaber to her hand.
"You!!! Don't you turn your back on me!!!"
The saber activated against Caleb's abdomen as he turned back in time to face her at the scream. He turned more to say what he left out, his mind already wracked with the missed opportunity. Caleb didn’t hear the blade come to life, didn’t hear the movement of the large Mirialan toward him. Caleb simply turned. It reached her hand as she placed it against his chest activating it simultaneously. Mrysti seemed to engulf him, her other hand moving viciously to cradle the back of his head as she pushed it after activation deeper into Caleb's chest. He smiled back at her.
"I-I could have been wrong a-about that d-destiny…."
As Mrysti killed love and that love died in her arms it subconsciously struck her to the very core of her soul. Though she couldn't feel the loss, not like the passing of someone she knew and had fond memories of, her Force Aura would not let it be. As if seeing something so frightening, so terrifying in that instant; Mrysti's hair turned to a bright shade of white as all color bled out of it and out of her soul.
She loosened the grip on the saber, deactivating it and allowing it to slip from her hand. The grip on his neck loosened as she allowed him to begin to fall in her grasp, cradling him like a Mother would cradle her child. His head fell forward slightly and Mrysti had to shift her weight to continue to hold him, their heads touching at the crown just for a moment….
…..Karolin grasped Caleb's face gently entering his mind, the view of the recess could be seen from someone's point of view, as the image spun to show Caleb looking over that recess, Mrysti could tell she was watching it through Karolin's eyes. Karolin? She looks like me….but, smaller. Who?
Mrysti saw herself, it was early into her capture, before she knew enough to resist….or that she needed to. For years she was so dependent on that contact, any contact that she didn't know any better….
The scream of ecstasy that made Caleb flinch made her tighten her grip on Caleb slightly. She left her head on his for a moment before lowering him to the ground, he was gone; one with the Force…
….the image swelled into light. It was the last moment, Caleb knew what he had to do, but he didn't want to. He glanced over his shoulder, the brightest smile. The pull was more addictive than even his love for her, he had to go.
Mrysti looked on bewildered, so much she had lost, so many memories. And now she longed to want more. To remember everything. Caleb didn't lie. He did come for her and he thought….
She sobered instantly, looking up fighting back pain even worse than anything physical that could be inflicted.
"You thought I betrayed you…you though I gave myself freely to…", Mrysti’s words trailed off at the image burning itself into her mind. The image of Caleb, standing on that recess, looking down at her being taken. The image of Caleb’s world ending in that moment. A pain worse than any for a man who was so very in Love.
Caleb walked toward that light, still looking back.
"It’s ok, I Will see you again…" Caleb walked toward the Light in Mrysti’s mind, she saw him and standing in the Arena, lifted her hand slightly. She wanted to tell him not to go, but had no reason not to. There were so many pieces missing. Mrysti stood to her full height. There was no confusion, just a piece of something a fragment to a larger puzzle that made no sense. She turned her back to Caleb's body walking toward the exit.
Dressed in the Uniform of her new organization, Mrysti stood off to the side. Never had she been so surrounded by power in the Empire. She ran her hands down the stark white tunic, white being the color of high officers assigned to the Imperial fleet. Mrysti’s new commander, a Sith and friends with Darth Malvox, insisted that all personnel; including the lesser Sith Lords assigned to him wear the uniform. The Commander came from Imperial aristocracy, even before his Force prowess was recognized; some of that rigid military training bleeding through in his treatment of his subordinates. As people passed her, some of them Sith Lords, they all tossed her an amused glance. She would simply nod at them as they passed saying nothing. There was a big joke going on and she simply didn’t get it. As she made her way toward the counter taking the stark white cap off her head, her now bleached white hair fell to her shoulders, it blended nicely with the white of her uniform. The hair, a gift from her final match in the Arena against the man she was sure now, she once loved. That white, a stark reminder and penance for killing the one thing in the galaxy that loved her, not that it affected her in any way, she was still putting her pieces together, trying to recover a life that was lost.
The smaller, lithe framed Twi’lek moved in next to her at the counter casting a sideways glance at the large Mirialan, who seemd to be drawing amused glances from all the Lords and Imperial personnel around her. Mrysti seemed immune, it intrigued the Twi’lek as she stood waiting to draw the tender droids attention.
“Corellian Brandy…neat.” Mrysti’s rich voice echoes off the back wall, as the Twi’lek turned slightly finally gazing directly at Mrysti. Mrysti ignored the stare, lifting the drink to her lips. It annoyed Darth Isilith that she had not been acknowledged, her anger rising, but she could sense in the larger woman an ignorance to protocol, a newness that she had only experienced when visiting the Academy on Ziost or Korriban. Isilith sought to break the ice and get a stronger feeling about the green behemoth of a woman.
“It is you that is drawing their laughter, you do realize that…do you not?” Mrysti truned her head slowly, looking down at the smaller woman, then glancing out past herself to the snickers and odd looks of the assembled patrons. She looked back to the small Twi’lek shrugging her shoulders.
“Must be an excellent joke, pity…I have no sense of humor.”
Isilith seethed at the rebuke, but held her Rage at bay. As Mrysti looked at her, the wave of raw Rage and energy hit her like entering a wind tunnel. It poured off of Mrysti in wave after wave. Such power, such raw unfocused energy. Isilith crooked a bow.
“Who is your Master, young one…I would have words with him.” Isilith folded her hands neatly on the counter glaring up at the larger woman, her eyes slightly wider.
At the words, Mrysti tilted her head slightly going back to the drink. She said nothing at first merely sipping the little piece of memory she had ordered for herself. Corellian Brandy, she didn’t know why she liked it, she just did. In fact, she knew she had always liked it. Isilith waited a moment longer, growing impatient and when Mrysti could feel the level of intensity rise she looked back over at the slight Twi’lek.
“That depends on who’s asking.”
Isilith gritted her teeth, her face remaining unchanged. On any other day she would have simply dragged an insolent Sith off to a dark corner and beat them senseless, but it was not an ordinary day. There was something there. Something elusive that the Force was trying to impart to Isilith that she couldn’t quite place a finger on. Isilith, extremely potent in the ways of the Dark Side of the Force, knew the subtleties that most Dark Lords missed. It was always speaking, always telling. Most Darths never listened. Isilith rose to prominence listening to those voices, following the leads the Force had given her and using it to increase her power. With a twist of her wrist, she could easily humble this large, green woman, but now was not that moment. Forcing a smile, Isilith nodded her head slightly.
“I am…Darth Isilith…Sphere of Imperial Diplomacy…” She left off the rest, expecting a response immediately. She got none as Mrysti shifted slightly. This was her lot in life and she was already unhappy. Months in the Arena had taught Mrysti many valuable lessons, when Death comes to you, it comes. This encounter was no different. Isilith could sense no fear in the woman, not a trace and it excited her. Typically the mere mention of a title or the path to power was enough to make someone literally lose control of their bowels. It had happened on more than one occasion. It only helped matters that as the two woman stood facing each other, both of their waves of rage and hatred were locked in a Death struggle, each trying to gain the upper hand. Mrysti finally nodded slightly.
“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Darth…” Mrysti purposefully acted as if she had forgotten the Darth’s name. Isilith smiled finishing it for her. It was time to press this upstart.
“Isilith…my name, Darth Isilith. You know, it is shameful what they are doing to you. Tall, broad woman such as yourself, made to wear the uniform of our underlings. That’s what they are laughing at you know…they are all laughing at you. Do you see any other Sith here wearing the Imperial uniform?”
Mrysti turned slightly looking at the crowd then turned back shrugging slightly.
“It is my current assignment. We all have our parts to play I guess…” As Mrysti took another sip of the glass turning to look away she heard the other woman scoff at her annoyingly.
“Then you are less than the lowest slime that crawls on the decks of a starship latrine and unworthy to be among creatures of power. Why not kill yourself…save the rest of us the trouble.” The hair on the back of Mrysti’s neck stood up, that comment angered her. She was no ones lackey, no ones fool. Her days of being a slave were over. As she turned to face the smaller woman, her Rage growing Isilith smiled wickedly, taking a step back.
“Yes…that’s it. The slime has teeth. Perhaps you should show me.” Isilith made no to her save for the step back as Mrysti took an angry step forward, the other patrons parting away. Even without her lightsaber, Mrysti was confident that she could crush this smaller woman with only her genetically enhanced strength. The hate in her eyes said as much as she struck out a fist at Isilith with blinding speed. Mrysti was shocked to find herself frozen as Isilith lifted a finger. The battle of their Force auras already having been won by Isilith before it even started. Mrysti looked out the corner of her eye as Isilith folded her hands behind her back walking to stand next to the now immobile Mrysti. She closed her eyes and seemed to inhale Mrysti’s rage.
“Such power…such raw and innocent rage, unfocused, ready to be unleashed on anyone and anything….” Isilith moved the finger again and Mrysti sailed toward the stairwell landing hard against the floor support beam. Isilith moved toward her slowly bending down. Mrysti lay stunned a moment, looking up at the tiny Darth, murder in her eyes. She was about to get up, Death or not, Mrysti wanted to kill Isilith and it excited the Dark Lord. But she did not want Mrysti’s death. “Before you rise to try your luck again, perhaps you should ask yourself…is it me you are truly angry at? Or is it yourself? Or is it the idiot who put you in that place to wear that uniform, no self respecting Sith would wear one…” It dawned on her, Isilith smiled wickedly as she reached Mrysti, touching her head, “Oh…my child, you are NOT a Sith, not yet…” Isilith’s face was one of pained sympathy. As she touched Mrysti looking into her fevered brain so briefly, she touched a fragmented mind and quickly drew her hand back as if it touched fire.
Mrysti bowed her head slightly, no longer wanting to rise. Reaching up under Mrysti’s arm, Isilith helped the large woman up with what seemed like impossible ease for her tiny size. She smiled sympathetically. Yes, Isilith had to have her. She must have her. The decision was made the moment she walked up to that bar counter.
“I-I am sorry My Lord…I have been told w-what I am expected to do in the presence of my betters. I chose to ignore it. I have no excuse.”
The words angered Isilith as she slapped the large woman across the face, before instantly getting the smile back.
“You will never say ‘I’m sorry’ ever again…do you understand, MY apprentice….”
Mrysti looked up slowly, her eyes meeting the orange orbs of the tiny Twi’lek, the wicked smile slowly forming across her scarred visage.
“Yes, My Master….”
Isilith smiled warmly in her conquest. Mrysti would be hers, she would bow to her whims and in return Isilith gained a powerful weapon. A Hammer, to use against her enemies. Mrysti would love her, she would die for her. It was already foreseen in the moment Isilith touched the larger woman’s brow. She bent down to her new Apprentice’s level, placing a finger under her chin.
“Now…I will ask you again, my Apprentice…who is your FORMER Master. Tell me his name so that I may go and destroy him for allowing you to lay dormant and in such a state for so long. Those responsible for your mistreatment must be punished, my dear…such is the way of the Sith. Such will be our way, to bring retribution for a life of suffering.”
Mrysti nodded slightly, gazing deep into Isilith’s eyes. A life of suffering, retribution all of it sounded excellent and so very close to home for her. She gazed into those eyes, all the pain and loss she suffered and such a path of pain left to travel to regain what she had lost. Isilith could give that to her, Mrysti could feel it. More than anything, she was ready to walk that road…..
Mrysti Alpha; Darth Retuvisa…’The Hammer of the Empire’ did regain her memories. But, only after she endured a curse that she acquired unfortunately during her Ascension exercise under the watchful gaze of her Master, Darth Isilith. During Mrysti’s four year apprenticeship under Darth Isilith, Mrysti established a reputation of solving the Empire’s problems as a blunt instrument. Much in keeping with her character, which was a stark contrast to her Master’s more delicate maneuvering and subtle approach. Isilith had a strong connection to the Living Force, something Mrysti was never able to re-acquire after her fall to the Dark Side; instead increasing her personal power through the use of brute force.
Appointed to lead many charges for the Empire, Darth Retuvisa’s personal claim to fame was the quelling of the Exchange uprising on Tatooine. An uprising that almost cost her; her own life. During her recovery Mrysti did connect to the Living Force in a tremendous way; it was only temporary, but it allowed her to regain the rest of her lost memory and let go of the one person she regretted killing her entire life, Caleb. When she awoke from her unconsciousness, her hair once again regained its lustrous red color as well as her heart and soul, repaired from a lifetime of regret. Touched by the Force, her appearance has always been that of a monster, covered in literal kilometers of scars from a life of hardship. Emerging from her sleep, she had a new addition to her appearance in the form of one ‘Blue’ eye.
Though Mrysti never regained the power of the Light that enabled her to see into the Force, she was able to control the curse given to her, which allowed her to only see the last minutes of a person’s life. Through her sister, Karolin Alpha they were able to restore the bond they once had and combined their power of foresight to enable them to see the coming Darkness that was the Zakuul. Unfortunately, they were late in convincing others to join them and were not able to stop the juggernaut as it rolled through the galaxy.
Now, once again the leader of ‘The Coalition’, an organization she formed to combat the advancing Zakuul, she has rallied her family around her Command and takes the fight to them whenever possible. Things have changed for the former Darth, who once shunned Love and Connection. The addition of a Daughter and a new Love in her life have brought her new hope for a brighter destiny. Mrysti Alpha is once again a valued member of her family and a leader of one of the strongest resistance forces in the Galaxy.
"Our actions define us....let my saber speak for me...."