SW: TOR: TRIALS OF A SITH THRALL: UNWORTHY
Part Two of an Old Republic Tale by MsFicwriter
KORRIBAN, OUTSKIRTS OF THE DRESHDAE SPACE PORT
Korriban is a desert, a barren, cruel world that is continually seared under its murderous sun. Its purpose is twofold: to test the strong and exterminate the weak. I understood this very well, having learned it at the Jedi Temple under the Masters' tutelage. However, knowing something intellectually and experiencing it are two far different things. I had never felt my flesh redden and blister so intensely, nor had I felt my mouth become so parched, until we arrived here. "Why must we find out so many things via holocrons and boring archival records?"
I had once asked as a Youngling. "Why can't we go out into the world and discover them ourselves? Surely that's a better way to learn something, and remember it more clearly!"
The Master who was instructing that day--had it been Yun? Most certainly not--had replied, "Because, little one, sometimes the danger's too great. In order to learn about stinging insects, would you rather be stung or listen to a lecture that reveals that kinrath can sting? In order to learn about war, would you rather fight or visit a Republic military base on a guided tour? Once you become a Jedi Knight, it will be your duty to place yourself in peril for the greater good. For right now, however, your duty is to be safe and learn so that you may become a Jedi Knight. That means you sit down and listen."
I had, although ever since then, whenever that Master taught class, I pictured a white stream of light circling in an endless, eerie loop in my mind.
"Qyzen," I whispered as he and I were herded out of the space vessel. "I wish I'd listened, to my own inner voice and the Force! What went wrong? What did either of us do to deserve this? How in space could the 'Jedi' Master Karos have betrayed--?!"
The Trandoshan quickly silenced me. Before I could answer him with a retort, however, I noticed that his one eye was darting toward our Sith captors. The ones nearest us were drawing their weapons. Bowing my head, I shut my eyes in case of an oncoming blow. When it did not come, I surreptitiously snuck my hand into Qyzen's. As for the warrior, Vadym, he marched second in our procession; we two brought up the rear. It wasn't long before we noticed several similar groups forming around us. Ragged lines of sentient beings--humans, and all manner of aliens--trudged in single file. Each group was being driven forward by Sith dressed in black uniforms.
They're slaves, just like Qyzen and me. Where are they taking us?
Onward we marched, and I noticed that we were beginning to walk uphill. The ascent became steeper and more dangerous the higher we climbed. An uneasy feeling began to creep into my stomach, and it increased with each step. Will our living quarters be at the top? I certainly hope so...
I feared heights, and was inwardly thankful that the ebony-clad guards in front of us were blocking my view of whatever vertiginous drop--?--lay ahead.
Oh, no. No. No...
They're going to throw us all off a cliff, like unwanted sacks of refuse!
It was then that I heard the distant sounds: feral growls, like those of predators.
"Slaves, one and all!" A voice carried on the sand-saturated wind. "Are you strong? Then you shall serve us. If not, then you shall die." This is what I could understand of his speech, since he spoke Basic tongue rather shabbily. "I am Pfon Urazhai, a pure-blooded Sith in training to become a Lord of my people and your ilk. When I decide who is worthy and who is not, my word is final. Not even your Overseers wield as much power as I, and they fear me."
I thought. Even your voice fills me with cold terror.
"Below, there are dozens of hungry tuk'ata waiting for you. Forward!"
One by one, each hapless slave was shoved forth. Pfon evaluated them:
"You are physically weak. Low muscle strength. Pathetic!"
Screams came next, and then the sickening crunching of bones and internal organs.
"You have not even learned the basics of your own native language. Not only that, but you cannot read, write, or execute simple mathematics. You would have some worth if you could work, but from the puny looks of your squeamish frame, you'd have trouble retaining your dinner!"
This blue Twi'lek met the same fate as the prisoner before him, and I tried not to hear the sounds of death and devouring. Were we all to be food for these beasts?
"Are you male or female? Disgusting!"
The tuk'ata howled with delight.
"You can haul rock, but not much else. The lowest work crew for you."
I breathed an audible sigh of relief, and my captors turned to glare at me. The more slaves that Pfon considered, the narrower his requirements became:
"What is your name? I can barely pronounce it. No need for that!"
"You're an average man, average worker, and thus an average meal."
he said to one human female, "but not to the proper degree. Your nose is flawed, marring your angular face. What of your chest? It is nonexistent; you have starved yourself too much, or else made too many visits to the cosmetic parlors. Thus, you are done." When she shrieked, it was as if I felt my own soul being taken away. I was far less lovely...
The line of slaves grew shorter. I was becoming dizzy from the heat. I hoped that I'd fall unconscious before my turn came, and the Sith would throw me down headfirst. That way the tuk'ata, snarling and snapping, would have the advantage of swallowing my head and crushing it before the rest of my body. If I plummeted feet first, my death would be quick but excruciating. When Pfon stared straight into my eyes, they were glazed over with dryness:
"Who are you?"
Out of my mouth came the rote answer I had learned from earliest childhood:
"Per'dra Yllari, Jedi Padawan, student of Master Yun Xiaolin."
Pfon Urazhai's lips curled into a sneer. "Not anymore." He glanced toward those with me. "The Trandoshan? Is he your 'friend', you alien apologist?"
I shut my eyes. "He is my ally, yes."
I almost jumped, because the pure-blooded Sith apprentice was now staring at one of my captors. "Do you favor this slave, or not?"
"Do I favor
her?" His eyes flashed. "I have chosen her to be my second."
"Then sacrifice her. If she endures the chains, she'll endure anything."
"I hardly think that one such as yourself would even have the stamina to--"
I heard the warrior choking suddenly. "Who kneels to whom, Marauder?"
After a few moments of silence, the Sith near me suddenly grabbed me. Vadym, as I discovered, was helpless to stop them, as he was being forced ever so slowly to his knees. My fate was less clear, and more ominous.
I was lowered to the side of the cliff and chained there to wait in silence. The tuk'ata beasts, spattered in blood and gore from innards, went their separate ways. Forming my lips into a tight line, I vowed to withstand whatever sort of brutal torture the Sith had in mind for me. Dangling from my wrists, in my soiled white Jedi tunic, I faced the sun and begged it to claim me first.