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Old 06-03-2007, 06:15 PM   #11
igyman
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Inner Darkness Chronicles

Hope




Darkness. My life is filled with it. Everything I see… filled with it. At moments I can’t help but think that there’s no hope. How could there be one, in a world so driven by lies? Or is life all about proving to oneself that darkness is the natural way of things? This is what I first suspected back when I decided to leave the Jedi Order and so far it seemed to be true. Darkness does seem to be the natural way of things. There are, of course, those gray areas, like the Middle City was, where light and dark meet and coexist. That’s the confusing part.

I used to be a Jedi, but now I’m more of a scholar, an observer. I look at the behavior of all creatures and study it. I compare what they say to what they do and all that to what’s in their hearts. Yes, thanks to my power the truth is never concealed from me. One look and I’ll know how trustworthy a person is.

I have to admit that I haven’t done much observing in a long time. Not since the encounter with my former Master. Not since I pushed him off the roof. Two months have passed since that day. Two months since I learned the truth of the Silver Jedi and about the origins of my unique ability. And for those two months I have been living, if it can be called that way, in the deepest and darkest caves beneath Coruscant. I couldn’t return to my dusty apartment, the Jedi knew where it was and they would probably have found me soon enough, if I decided to seek another abandoned apartment in the Lower City. This seemed to be the only option.

If there’s one thing I can say about these caves, it’s that they’re quiet and, surprisingly, not as dark as I first believed. There were crystals, some smaller and some larger, that appeared to grow out of the cave walls. They lit the tunnels with a soft blue light. I often pondered what made these crystals glow, for this property is seen in a very small number of crystals and most of those crystals are used for lightsabers. I sensed no Force in these crystals however.

There were darker tunnels too, with one or two glowing crystals every dozen meters, but these were usually not longer than a hundred meters or so. Strangely enough, the tunnels were empty. A worm, or an occasional rat now and then, but no larger beast has ever crossed my path. I wondered why this was so. I got my answer only a few days later.

I was walking, almost blindly, through one of those darker tunnels. This one was a bit longer than I expected, but I found no cause to be alarmed. I walked and walked and suddenly I saw a bright light just at the end of this section of the tunnel. It stood there for a second and then disappeared around the corner. Now this was indeed the most interesting thing I experienced in months and I decided I would not let it slip so easily. So I ran.

I tuned in all my senses and used all the skill in the Force I possessed in order not to end up colliding with a wall while chasing for the elusive light. It was quick. The light disappeared behind a few more dark corners and then I made an incredible discovery. The long lightless tunnel reached its end and lead into a huge underground chamber. This chamber was much more lit by the glowing crystals than any of the tunnels, or chambers I’ve been in so far. And the most interesting part – there were people there!

Yeah, from what I could see there were dozens of people living there. It appeared that most of them were humans, but I did recognize a few Zabraks, Twi’Leks and even Ithorians walking around. What was this place, I wondered, and what happened to that elusive light that lead me here?

I decided not to show myself to the local residence. I still had no idea who they were, or why were they living down here, but I made a few assumptions and I wished to verify them before I did anything else. Also, I still had no idea if the Silver Jedi, or the rest of the Order for that matter, were on to me and I had no intention of attracting attention. The most important thing was that I finally had someone to study.

As the days passed I learned more and more about this small community. From their conversations I discerned that they were outcasts. People too poor even for the Lower City and people too sick of the violence and dishonesty that ruled the surface. They appeared to have no material possessions, except for the rags they were wearing and the blankets they used to keep themselves warm while they slept. Occasionally they made small campfires to keep them warm when it proved too cold. They must have found an abundant source of wood, roots perhaps, obviously the consequence of that Yuuzhan Vong invasion that happened so long ago.

As interesting as all this sounded, there was something that especially intrigued me. In order to observe these people I took up residence about a hundred meters into that dark tunnel. In my opinion it was far enough to avoid detection. As it turned out I was wrong. Every morning, or at least I think it was morning, somewhere halfway to the underground settlement I found a small roasted animal. Probably the most luxurious meal in this place and it was left for me. Someone knew I was here and I was determined to find out who.

I was awake through what I expected was the night. You never can tell after you’ve spent so much time underground, not seeing the sky. This time I waited, as if in ambush, only ten meters away from the spot where I usually found my food. I was eager to see my benefactor. I waited and waited, my patience failing and then returning, more than once. It was worth the wait, for what I would see next would change me forever.

The elusive bright light appeared in the corridor. It approached slowly towards the spot, glowing stronger and stronger as it came closer to me. Suddenly, a shape started to form, a distinguishable silhouette. When it approached the designated spot I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a little human girl. In this dark tunnel she appeared to me as a bright benevolent specter, but I could see that she was far from supernatural.

The little brown haired girl put the roasted animal on the ground, turned away and slowly went back the way she came. I was speechless. This raised so many questions, shook so many of my beliefs. I needed time to realize what it all meant. I took the roasted rat and backed away.

The next ‘’morning’’ couldn’t come soon enough. I waited again at the same spot for the little girl. She came. Again at the same time as yesterday and again with a small roasted rat for me. She put it on the ground and turned around, but I just couldn’t let her leave like that. I wanted to know more.

‘’Who are you?’’ The words slipped out of my mouth, as if in reflex. The little girl turned back towards me again, not even a bit scared. It was more like happiness. It frightened me.

‘’Lillianna’’ The little girl said, ‘’but my friends call me Lills.’’ Her innocent squeaky voice echoing in my head, two words in particular – my friends.

‘’Why would you want to help me?’’ I started probing. My inquisitive nature slowly taking over.

‘’I just thought you might be hungry.’’ She said quickly. I couldn’t believe it was that simple.

‘’How do you know you can trust me?’’ I probed further. ‘’Aren’t you afraid I might do something… bad?’’

‘’You don’t seem bad to me.’’ She said. ‘’I’ve seen you in the far tunnels and you never did anything bad.’’

‘’I like to explore the caves’’, she added as if knowing what my next question would be. ‘’There’s not much else to do down here, so when I’m tired of playing with my friends I explore the caves.’’

‘’Alone? You’re not afraid some underground beast will attack you?’’

‘’There are no beasts here, silly.’’ She said, managing a small giggle. ‘’Only us.’’

‘’And who exactly are you?’’ I asked my final question.

‘’Outcasts.’’ She said, ‘’My daddy said so. He grew up here, you know. My mommy too.’’ She sounded so sad when mentioning her parents. I could only discern that they are no longer alive.

‘’They liked to explore too.’’ She added, obviously recognizing the expression on my face. ‘’They went to explore the tunnels on the other side and the cave fell on them.’’ The sadness returning.

I decided to stop asking questions for now. Lills turned around again, inviting me to follow her and I did. I was eager to learn more about this community, but I didn’t yet know why. She made two or three steps before a dark figure descended from the ceiling right in front of her. There was something familiar about the figure, I noticed as it grabbed the little girl and put a knife under her throat.

‘’I really hate when I have to hunt for the same person twice.’’ The figure said with a hissing voice and I recognized it then. The bounty hunter that captured me and brought me to my former Master. I honestly didn’t expect to see this individual again.

‘’What do you want?’’ I demanded, the bitterness in my voice revealing both the disappointment that the Order found me again and the anger that it happened now.

‘’Come peacefully and I’ll let the girl go.’’ The hissing voice replied coldly. ‘’Otherwise…’’ the bounty hunter didn’t finish the sentence, I knew the end when the grip around the knife tightened.

So many thoughts went through my mind in the next few seconds. Both important and unimportant ones. Who is this hunter? How can I see so well in the dark? When will the Silver Jedi stop hunting me? Why isn't my vision affected by the ysalamir? Soon one thought alone remained. I can’t let anything happen to Lills. The thought repeated itself in my head.

I considered my options. The bounty hunter still had the ysalamir on his shoulders, protecting him, or her from any direct Force attacks. There was no guarantee that he would let Lills go, if I surrendered, so that was out of the question. One option remained. One weakness I could exploit – overconfidence. The bounty hunter thinks he’s completely protected from Force attacks, but what he hopefully doesn’t realize is what I’ve already concluded and that is the fact that I can’t use the Force to attack him directly, but there is another way to get him. Something the ysalamir can’t prevent. I concentrate, my vision amplifies and I see my surroundings clearly, then I turn my attention to a single object on the ground. A fist-sized rock.

‘’Well, what’s it gonna be?’’ The hissing voice demanded and then, with the speed of a bullet the rock hit the bounty hunter straight in the back of the head. He never expected that. The slender figure fell to the floor, releasing Lills from his grip and losing consciousness. The ysalamir decided to leave his place on the hunter’s shoulders and walked away into the darkness of the tunnel.

I restrained the hunter’s hands and feet, using his own equipment and started to drag his unconscious body farther away from the outcast community. ‘’Don’t worry. I’ll be back.’’ I told Lills. ‘’I’m just taking him away to make sure he doesn’t find this place again.’’ In truth I didn’t want her to see me kill him. That’s when I realized what I’ve found here, deep under the surface. That’s when I knew why the girl glowed with a bright light in my vision. She was untainted. There was no small seed of darkness in her heart, waiting to sprout. Only light. I never encountered a person like her on the surface of Coruscant, or any other planet I visited in my Jedi days. I had to protect her and the community that raised her from any who would corrupt them. I had to preserve their… purity of heart. It is such a rare thing to find in the universe nowadays. I had to protect Lills because she gave me hope. Hope that one day there will be more people like her in this galaxy.

She slowly turned around and started back to the outcast settlement. Suddenly she turned around again and asked: ‘’What’s your name?’’

I dropped the unconscious bounty hunter at that instant. My name. My name? I haven’t heard it spoken in so long I almost forgot what it was. I grabbed the bounty hunter by the wrists again and said: ‘’Darren. Darren Syn.’’


Last edited by igyman; 06-04-2007 at 04:13 AM.
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