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Old 11-10-2006, 03:12 PM   #3
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Chapter 2

"Kevannis," a voice called. Jast turned. It was a stranger, a Sith Hunter, Jast assumed by the small patch on his cloak. It had a white 'S' curled around a white 'H' on a black background.

"What is it?" Jast asked the stranger.

"Our leader wishes to speak with you," the man said.

"Lead the way," Jast agreed, nodding. The man turned and led Jast out of the Jedi Temple to a waiting speeder. Reibé was seated inside. The other Sith Hunter bowed to her and stepped aside, letting Jast into the speeder.

"Take a ride with me, Kevannis," Reibé said after nodding to the other Hunter. Jast observed that the man was not getting into the speeder with them. This would be between Jast and the leader of the Sith Hunters alone. Slowly, Reibé pulled the speeder into traffic. Just when Jast was settling in, Reibé forced the speeder into a dive.

"My blackened stars!" Jast exclaimed, gripping at the side of the speeder and planting his feet firmly on the floor to prevent himself from falling forward and out of the speeder.

"The stars are not yours," Reibé commented, "nor are they blackened... though I suspect Tanith Vessa wouldn't mind much if they were."

"You know then..." Jast murmured, turning to stare at her. She nodded.

"I know," she agreed. "All of us Hunters felt her return."

The speeder straightened out and skimmed along the street. Then, abruptly, Reibé stopped it and hopped out, falling lightly forty feet to the ground. Jast Stared at her for a moment before following.

"Your fall was a little choppy," Reibé told him as he landed in a crouch next to her. "Try to refine it a little next time."

"Where are we?" Jast asked, choosing to ignore her words.

"In troubled times, the Sith Hunters gather on Coruscant," Reibé answered. Then, she looked over at him. "These are troubled times, Kevannis."

She led him through a door nearby and he glanced back in time to see three other speeders glide down to hover by theirs and three humans dropped out of them and followed Jast and Reibé.

"There were once ten of us," Reibé told Jast. "Two were killed as we escaped from the Sith for the first time. One was killed when the Sith discovered a way to use our genetic alterations against us. One was captured, tortured, and killed by Tanith Vessa."

"And that leaves..." Jast began.

"There are six of us remaining," a new voice said. Reibé opened a door and allowed Jast to enter. She came in behind him and closed the door.

"Jast Kevannis," she said, "I want you to meet my two closest friends. The one who spoke is called Craig. The other is Jokemaster."

"Code names," Jast pointed out.

"Strider Flamehart," the taller, black haired man said. He had blue eyes and stood at around six feet tall. The shorter one also had blue eyes and black hair, but his face was a bit friendlier than Flamehart's.

"I'm Jokemaster," he said, grinning slightly. Reibé looked at him reproachfully.

"Alright!" he exclaimed, throwing his hands up in surrender. "Jack Bauer."

"Just entering, we have Aysana Veila, Cannus Bensch, and Biral Corvan," Reibé said. Jast turned to greet the newcomers and Reibé told him, "We are all aware of you."

"Let the council begin," Flamehart said solemnly. Reibé nodded and took a seat, gesturing for Jast to do the same.

"We have invited Jast Kevannis to this council because he is the one that killed Tanith Vessa the first time," Reibé said.

"Agreed," the other Sith Hunters said in unison.

"Kevannis," Reibé said, turning to Jast. "Tell us your story."

Jast nodded and leaned back in his chair. "My encounter with Tanith Vessa was one of tragedy..."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
One week earlier...

My former master and I were sent on a mission to investigate theft on a border world, or rather, how common it was. We were sent there with another Master, Kalara Teer and my best friend, Tarika Tayblin.

"You seem distracted, Jast," Tarika observed quietly. Jast nodded.

"Something doesn't feel right about this mission," he told her. She brushed her curly reddish-gold hair out of her face and stared at him with her pale green eyes. Slowly, she blinked and nodded.

"You feel this is more than just the locals stealing from one another," she said.

"The Dark Side is here, Tarika," Jast said boldly. "Can you not feel it?"

"We all do, Jast," Master Vanzin interrupted. "It's why the Council sent two teams instead of one."

"The Sith are behind this, aren't they?" Jast asked quietly.

"We saw a Sith raider leaving just a few minutes ago," Kalara Teer agreed.

"I put a tracer on it," Vanzin said. "But we ought to split up. Jast, you and Tarika should stay together. Master Teer and I will split up. We'll have three groups looking everywhere. If Tanith Vessa shows up, we ought to face her together. Understood?"

"We'll keep our eyes open, Master," Jast agreed. "Let's go, Tarika."

We spent three hours searching the city and then Master Teer called for assistance. Tarika and I arrived just in time to see Tanith Vessa thrust her lightsaber through Kalara's chest. Tarika screamed and Vessa turned to us.

"Well, well," she said. "Jedi children? I was hoping for another Master, but..." She shrugged as if to suggest there wasn't much she could do about it.

"There is no emotion," Tarika murmured, seething with anger at seeing her master cut down so easily.

"There is peace," Jast completed, putting a hand on her shoulder. "You don't have to give in, Tarika."

"I already have, Jast," Tarika answered quietly. She looked up at him.

"Please," Jast pleaded, knowing that his words would be ignored, even if he admitted, "I.. I love you, Tarika. Come with me."

"Peace is a lie!" Vessa shouted. "There is only passion!"

"Sith lies," Tarika snapped. "I've had enough!"

"Tarika! Don't!" Jast shouted, but Tarika had already leapt forward, drawing her harsh yellow lightsaber while calling her master's blue saber to her other hand. Vessa's single dark blue blade deflected both of Tarika's and, faster than Tarika could gasp, the dark blue blade was driven through her stomach.

"Oh, how I love stomach wounds," Tanith remarked as Tarika tried weakly to remain standing, one hand draped over Tanith's shoulder. Tanith took a step back and Tarika groaned, falling to the ground.

"What now, boy?" Tanith asked, switching her lightsaber from hand to hand. "Are you going to try stopping me too? Or will you just let me go?"

"Letting you go's not an option," Jast seethed. Tanith laughed and used the Force to seal off the entrance to the building, closing them in.

"You'll have to catch me first," she taunted. Then, she vanished, but Jast heard her laughter and footsteps rushing up the stairs.

I took my own lightsaber, and the lightsabers of Tarika and Master Teer and chased Tanith Vessa all over that building and then up to the roof. She continued taunting me, calling me a failed Jedi for having loved and now for attacking her in anger. I fought back... I was the only one of the three of us who'd managed to give her a run for her money, but I was getting tired. Methodically, she rid me of my own lightsaber and that of Master Teer, which left me using Tarika's.

"Anger is all I have left," Jast snapped. "You took everything else!"

"I wonder what your master thinks of being considered nothing," Tanith retorted. Jast said nothing, but redoubled his efforts to strike her down. They sparred in silence for another moment longer. Then, Tanith said, "Goodbye, Jedi."

She drove her lightsaber down hard on his and they locked. Suddenly, Tarika's blade shattered and Jast went tumbling backward, the hilt skittering away across the floor.

"Didn't see that coming, did you?" Tanith taunted as Jast struggled to his knees. Suddenly, everything hurt.

"Can't give up," he murmured.

"You've already failed," Tanith pointed out, coming to stand directly in front of him. "You may as well give up."

Summoning the last bit of strength and anger he had in him, Jast drove his head into Tanith's stomach, propelling her backward. Startled, she lost her balance. Jast ripped her lightsaber from her hands and, as she hit the ground, he pounced, driving her own lightsaber through her stomach. She choked and gasped as the blade burned through her.

"What?" Jast growled. "Don't you like stomach wounds?"

Coughing slightly, she gave him a weak smile. "Would've... looked better... on... you..."

Jast stared at her, suddenly realizing why he'd beaten her. Before he had much time to consider it, her eyes closed slowly and the Dark Side of the Force reclaimed its loyal servant. Her body disintegrated and scattered and a powerful wave of the Force washed over Jast.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"It pulled me into reality," Jast told the Sith Hunters. "I had nearly fallen to the Dark Side. It's what Vessa wanted."

A heavy silence filled the room. Then, Reibé shifted.

"We will take a recess," she said quietly. "Come back in half an hour."

Mom tells me I need brain food... but if writing ain't that, I don't know what is!

My work in progress:
Hidden Histories: The Galaxy Hacker

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