Thread: [Fic] LESSONS IN EXILE
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:41 PM   #2
MsFicwriter
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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LESSON TWO: PAIN

LOCATIONS: HARBINGER ION ENGINE AND THE EBON HAWK

“Tell me you’re joking. We are not crossing back into the Peragus facility via the fuel line. That’s insane!”

I want to shake the black-haired young man standing in front of me, his left eyebrow raised skeptically. Does he truly not know how serious our situation is, or is he just an idiot? “I know,” I tell him calmly, like a Jedi Master to a smart-aleck Youngling. “However, it’s the only way to reach the hangar bay where the Ebon Hawk is docked. Force fields are cutting it off otherwise, and this access line reaches around them.”

“All right, but I know I’ll regret this.” Atton Rand shakes his head, as if I’d given him a bunch of homework. Treading carefully, he and I make our way through the ion engine of the Harbinger toward its fuel hatch.

All of a sudden, my right hand fills with excruciating pain, saturating every single skin cell. I shriek aloud as I collapse to the cold metal scaffolding. It’s too agonizing to try and hold my hand to soothe it, so I grit my teeth instead. I can’t breathe, speak or think. The only thing I’m able to do is attempt not to scream again.

“What’s wrong?” Atton blurts out. “Damn it, hold on! It’s only a little bit farther!” In an instant, as abruptly as this wrenching torment came over me, it vanishes. I wipe a flood of tears from my eyes and find that I can stand again. “What happened to you?” My new companion sighs, holding me close to his sweaty frame.

“I…don’t know…but I think that Kreia was hurt badly.” This is the truth, for her image flashed in my mind.

“Huh? How is that even possible, if she’s still back with that Sith Lord who sleeps with vibroblades?”

“I…believe it was through the Force.” Again, this is no lie. I wouldn’t risk trying to talk yet, and having my tongue loll helplessly out of my mouth due to shock, if I were only kidding. “I felt her pain somehow.”

“Look, if that’s really what’s going on, then she’s buying us time we can’t afford to waste. Let’s go, before that mutilated monster gets tired of toying with her and decides to use us for target practice next!” He grabs my arm - my left one, the good one - and practically drags me through the hatch into the fuel line. When we finally reach the Ebon Hawk, after recovering my T3-M4 utility droid, we see that she’s survived.

“Kreia?” I blurt out, unable to hide my surprise. “How in space did you get away from that thing?”

“There is no time. We must leave.” As Sith assassins try to shoot us down, we launch and take flight.

After dodging dozens of fuel-filled asteroids which explode in raging infernos, one after another, we enter hyperspace. I finally have a chance to talk to Kreia, and try to comfort her about her missing right hand.

“Spare your pity. I am here to save you, and not vice-versa.” The frown lines around her mouth deepen.

“Right.” I take a deep breath, feeling slightly insulted. Kreia’s going to think I’m as demented as her recent attacker. “I know that this sounds crazy, but when you lost your hand…” Here goes nothing. “I felt it, too.”

“That does not surprise me, any more than our bolstering one another’s abilities back on Peragus. When one of us uses the Force, it seems the other is aided as well. A powerful technique, but potentially lethal.”

Indeed. “Atton and I were both afraid you’d die fighting that Sith Lord. How did you escape him?”

This time, her tight burgundy lips form a small smile. “Life always has lessons to teach, but some of them may only be learned from sacrifice. My torture earned you time - the time you required to reach the Hawk.”

“Thank you,” I tell her, swallowing hard, “but why did he let you live? I thought he wanted to kill all of us.”

“To his blinded mind, one victim is as good as another. Besides, he could not reach either of you. This Sith considers you a broken Jedi, one that he wants to slay, but I prevented it. He did not let me live; I fled.”

How do I say this next part without Kreia thinking I’m trying to pity her again? “I felt your fear as well as your agony."

“That’s regrettable, yet necessary. Pain is an inevitable part of life, but I should have shielded you from this kind. When I can, I will, because now I’ll be able to see it coming more clearly. Nevertheless, Vera Ftacna…”

“Yes?”

Kreia pauses for a long while, filling the port dormitory of the Ebon Hawk with an uncanny silence. Then:

“Some believe, and not only the Sith, that pain is the true purpose of existence. We live to suffer, and thus suffer because we are alive. Without it, our days and nights would be meaningless. We’d spend our time like utility droids, behaving according to our biological programming, not our emotions or intellect. The one who caused a massacre aboard the Harbinger thrives upon such incalculable agony. He seeks to spread his misery to the rest of the galaxy, not so that it might learn wisdom from pain, but hatred and wickedness.”

“I see. Let me guess: the people whom he wants to suffer the most are the Jedi.” Kreia nods. “Since we’re sensitive to the Force, we feel distress more acutely than others do. Also, the more pain he can cause us, the closer that we might come to the Dark Side. I wonder, though: Is it worth the possible price of defeat?”

She pauses again. “He cannot be defeated, only avoided. Torment resurrects him again and again.”

Did I hear you correctly? If that’s true, then how can we hope to save the galaxy? “Who is he?”

“A conqueror, monster, and Sith. His name is Darth Sion, and he has taken the title of the Lord of Pain upon himself. His goal is to make every living being feel his level of anguish. Misery loves company. There are more who cling to pain, but not for the same reasons he does. I am thinking of one in particular.”

“Whom?”

The small smile returns. “I shall speak of her later, but for now, do you have other questions for me?”
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