A young man slipped through the dark tunnels and halls of the ruins, his booted feet making slight, eerie echoes as they moved across the cold stone floor. He felt a shiver run up his spine as a tremor in the Force touched his mind. It had begun. He sped up. The spark had taken root. It was growing rapidly. He was the only one who could stop it.
The man flinched as another tremor, stronger than before, hit him. His hands tightened around his hot saber handles, and his palms started sweating, making the metal feel sticky yet slippery at the same time. The man closed his eyes, paused a moment, and took in a deep, long breath of the musty, dank air. He said inwardly, Calm yourself. There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion—
“Passion!” A harsh, beautiful laugh rang as the word echoed over and over again, fading.
The young man looked up, startled. No one was there. He swallowed hard and closed his eyes once more.
“Passion is why you’re here, Geric.”
Geric’s eyes jerked open again. No, he couldn’t listen. There is no emotion, there is pe—
“Peace is a lie, there is only passion!” the voice whispered again.
Geric broke into a run, trying to escape that beautiful voice.
“You’re coming to me, Ke’nati.”
Geric bit his tongue hard, trying to do anything to block it out. He ran around a corner and slammed straight into a man emerging from a side hall.
Geric stumbled back and exclaimed, “Master Ordan, what are you doing here?”
The grizzled old man growled, “I followed you. What are you doing here, Padawan?”
Geric hesitated. Ordan’s eyes narrowed, accenting the wrinkles around them. He said gruffly, “You’re going after Selor, aren’t you?”
Geric bit his lip and bowed his head.
“Yes, you’re going after her, all right.”
Geric locked eyes with him and replied desperately, “Master, I love her!”
“Master, other Jedi marry, many other Jedi! Why are you so prejudiced against Selor and me?”
“She doesn’t love you! She’s just leading you on—leading you like a gizka on a leash!”
“No, Master! We love each other!”
Ordan sniffed contemptuously. “Even now you’re chasing after her. What’s she come here for?”
Geric took a step closer. “Master, she’s discovered something. It’s poisoning her. I have to save her.”
Both of them looked down the hall as another ripple ran through the Force. Ordan exclaimed, “You felt that! She can’t be saved!”
“No!” Geric shouted. “I can save her! She’s not evil!”
Ordan turned back to him. “She’s going to unbalance the Force, at this rate!”
“I have to go to her!” Geric started running forward. Ordan threw out his hand and tripped him with the Force. The Jedi Master shook his head. “I’m not letting you go in there! She’ll destroy you!” He walked past the fallen padawan, positioning himself in the middle of the hall.
Geric winced as he got up, his head ringing from its impact the floor.
“Save me, Ke’nati. I need you,” the voice pleaded softly.
Geric leaped to his feet and started walking past Ordan. The master grabbed him by the front of his shirt and exclaimed firmly, “I’m not letting you pass!” He threw him back a few feet.
“Help me, Geric! Come to me!” the voice pleaded. “Ke’nati, I need you! Something’s happening, I need you, please! I need you to hold me close, to protect me!”
Geric’s eyes gleamed with determination. “Master, I’m going to help her with or without your permission!”
“She’ll destroy you! I won’t allow that, Padawan!” His lightsaber flew to his hand from under his cloak and ignited, its green blade casting its harsh glow over the dim walls.
Geric shook his head. “Master, I don’t want—“
“Geric! Hurry, hurry! Don’t let anything stand in your way!”
“Master, get out of my way!” Geric strode forward purposefully.
Ordan growled, “I’m not letting you go!”
A woman’s scream pierced Geric’s thoughts, as if she were in pain. The voice screamed in anguish, “Help me!”
“No!” Geric screamed. He ignited his lightsabers and attacked Ordan. The old man blocked him and shouted, “Remember the Jedi’s Oath!”
Geric attacked him furiously, beating him back. He yelled over the clashing blades, “I don’t care!”
Geric’s silver lightsabers flashed, darting in and out, trying to find an opening in his master’s defense. Ordan blocked him grimly, not attacking when there was an opening, never hitting his padawan. Suddenly, he Force Jumped away, trying to regain his breath. The Jedi Master gasped, “So—so you’re more loyal to that—that woman
—than you are to the one who trained you?”
Geric sprinted forward. His dual sabers were moving faster than ever, whirling, slashing, seeking! Suddenly, Ordan gave a cry of pain, and his lightsaber clattered to the ground. Geric drew back, aghast at what he’d just done. Master Ordan’s hand was gone!
The old man fell to his knees, clutching the stump of his wrist. He glared at Geric. “I’m not going to let you pass, boy! Now while I’m alive!” The master stumbled to his feet.
Geric hesitated walking forward.
“Ke’nati, you’ve almost reached me. You must help me. Just a little farther…” the voice coaxed.
Geric resumed his purposeful stride, and he leveled his lightsaber at the old man’s throat. “Let me by!”
“No!” Ordan threw him back with a Force Push from his remaining hand. Geric landed on his back. He supported himself on his elbow, and he threw out his hand. Ordan was thrown to the ground with a Force Push. His head made a resounding crack against the stone floor, and he lay still.
Geric stood and walked closer. He knelt beside his master and checked for a pulse. The young Jedi gave a sigh of relief. Master Ordan was still alive. Geric shook his head. “Master—I’m sorry, I had to. It was the only way. She’s not really evil. She’s calling me…she says something terrible is happening to her. I have to protect her. I’m sorry.” He stood and started walking down the hall.
“Come on, Geric, just a little farther…”
Geric started running as the Force trembled once more. He soon skidded to a halt in front of a large stone door covered with ancient engravings. A grating sound filled his ears, and the door slid open enough for him to slip through. He cautiously stepped through. The door slammed shut behind him, almost catching the edge of his cloak.
Geric glanced around. He was in the heart of the tomb. Fire burned in hundreds of brass lamps scattered around the edges of the massive room, lighting up corners hundreds of yards away. A woman dressed in Jedi robes stood over forty yards away, facing a glowing red holocron sitting on a tiny platform before her. Geric exclaimed, “Selor!” and ran towards her.
Selor ran to meet him, and she wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his chest. Geric returned her embrace. After a moment, she looked up at him and smiled.
“Geric, you came.”
Geric nodded and glanced around uneasily. “There’s something wrong with this place, Selor. We have to get out.”
Selor smirked and shook her head. “You’re just not used to it yet, Ke’nati.”
Geric pulled away from her. “I’m serious, Selor, we have to get out of here! We need to let the High Council investigate this place before we go poking around in it! We’re only padawan learners!”
Selor laughed again and flipped her long, dark brown hair over her shoulder. “Not anymore! I’ve learned more than even the wisest Jedi Master!”
“Selor, don’t let your pride cloud your judgment! We must report this place’s existence to the Council!”
“I don’t care!”
“We’re Jedi! We have to have a code to follow!”
Selor’s face relaxed into a smile. “We shouldn’t be fighting, Geric. I have something very important to tell you.”
Geric glanced over at the holocron. “What are you doing with that?”
“I’ve discovered things about the Force. I’m recording them.”
“But only members of the High Council are allowed to record holocrons!”
Selor lowered her voice, and her face took on an expression of slight fear, but her eyes shone with excitement. “Geric, I’ve—I’ve discovered something—something greater than the Jedi.”
“Then why don’t you tell the High Council about it?”
She slid closer to him. “Because you’re the only one who’ll understand, Ke’nati.”
Geric shook his head and replied firmly, “No. The Council is much wiser than I.” He added impatiently, “What’s going on here? You asked me to hurry, like something was wrong!”
“And you came, just like I knew you would.”
Geric shouted, “I had to severely wound Master Ordan! Tell me why!”
Selor spat angrily, “He wouldn’t understand! He refused to understand! Even as he felt it through the Force, he refused!”
Another tremor, far more violent than the previous ones, rippled through the Force. Geric winced and asked, “What’s going on?”
“I have many things to tell you, Geric.”
“Now would be a good time to start telling me!”
Selor wrapped her arms around his neck again. “I’ve found a great power, Geric, one far greater than the Jedi could ever wield.”
Geric shook his head and firmly removed her arms. “No. The Jedi are pure and good, and with that comes the power to help others. We must return to them.”
“Let me finish, Geric. To get this power, we must admit who we really are!”
“The Jedi do that!”
Selor gave an exasperated sigh. “Geric, stop blinding yourself to the truth! You know as well as I do that the Jedi serve only themselves! They just aren’t honest about it!”
“Enough of this talk, Selor!”
“The Force is far too powerful to be wasted on lies and indecision! It’s a weapon that we can use to our advantage!”
“No, the Force isn’t a weapon! We use it to help others!”
Selor laughed. “Don’t you know what this place is? This is the tomb of Edjik Nartal. Long ago, he was the leader of the High Council. He discovered many things about the Force that he couldn’t reveal to anyone else. They were too weak-minded to grasp it, and they would have simply called him a delusional old man and removed him from his place on the Council, had he told them. So, he came here to Korriban and built this place. When he was old, and he knew his days were numbered, he disappeared, came here, and recorded everything in this.” Selor took a step back and raised her hand towards the ceiling. A soft blue glow emanated from her palm, revealing a spherical holocron hanging from the ceiling. It was metal, and it was at least three feet in diameter. Selor smiled as the light was reflected back onto her face. “Just before his death, the Force gave him a vision, telling him that one day, a being with sufficient power and strength of mind would come here and learn everything
in that holocron.”
Geric stared at the sphere. “What does this have to do with you?”
Selor lowered her hand. “I’m the one in his vision.” She turned her head towards him, her chin tilted upwards arrogantly. “The Force guided me here, and I’ve fulfilled that prophecy! Edjik himself has appeared to me, and I now know everything in his holocron!”
Geric’s eyes widened in amazement. “Then we must
return to the Council! You need to report this to them!”
Selor’s violet eyes narrowed, and she replied, “The prophecy isn’t quite yet done.”
Geric asked uneasily, eyes widening, “What’s left?”
Suddenly, Selor threw her hand out towards him, and he flew back from a massive Force Push. He slammed into the door and fell to the ground. The Jedi looked back up at Selor, shocked.
“Selor, what are you doing!”
Selor lowered her hand and slowly stepped back to where she had been when he’d entered the room. “I’ve been charged with a task that the Jedi Masters would try to stop. I wanted you to see the beginning of this power, so you will understand it and join me.” Geric got to his feet as she finished, “Everything we know is about to change.” Her hands rose into the air towards the holocron.
Geric sprang towards her and shouted, “No, Selor, don—“
Lightning bolts shot from Selor’s fingers, striking the holocron. Geric was thrown to the ground, and he began screaming as every cell in his body twisted in agony! The lightning wrapped around the holocron, wreathing it in energy, which was splintered and thrown back down towards Selor, surrounding her, too, in a blinding light. She threw her head back, basking in the swirling light. Geric felt the very foundations of the tomb shake, and suddenly, the Force itself screamed and tore apart! The young Jedi screamed as if his every molecule were being ripped in two! Then, as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped. Selor fell to her knees.
Selor’s head bowed, and she drew in a long, slow breath in the silence. Geric watched her, trying to will his anguished muscles to move him towards her. She raised her head, and her eyes opened. Geric gave a gasp of surprise.
Her eyes were yellow.
The beautiful violet eyes Geric had loved so much were gone. The whites of her eyes now had a slight reddish glow about them, and her irises were a burning flame, making the soulless black pupils stand out. Selor smiled once more and stood. She said in the stillness, “It is done.”
Geric croaked, “W—what did you do!”
Selor exclaimed, “What Edjik told me to do! The Jedi were foolish enough to believe that the Force would continue forever, even with their apathetic view of it prevailing. They were wrong! The Force needs more than one side to continue forever! I have made that side; the Dark Side!” She held up her hands and let out more lightning over her head, lighting up the whole room. “And in return, I am the most powerful being in the galaxy!”
Geric could sense the strong emotions flowing from her. He rasped out, “Selor, no! Don’t do this!” The feeling began to return to his body as the lightning stopped.
Selor turned her yellowed eyes to him. “Why not? The Dark Side is stronger! Soon, the galaxy will be mine to control!” Her smile widened. “And you will be at my side, Ke’nati.”
Geric forced himself to stand, and he shook his head resolutely. “No! I’m not going to become part of your Dark Side! I’m a Jedi!”
Selor’s face darkened, and her smile was replaced with a scowl. She took the two curved lightsaber hilts from her belt and snapped, “So be it, Jedi!” Her two red lightsabers hissed to life. Geric felt the numbness slip from his muscles. He took out his own silver sabers and stood.
“Selor, don’t make me kill you.”
“Fool!” Selor yelled. “You can’t kill me!” She launched herself at him with a scream, her lightsabers cutting through the air at eye-blinding speed. Geric hurled himself to the side, slicing at her as she landed. He came up out of his shoulder roll just in time to block her. His mind was racing. He knew he needed to calm himself, or he would never win.
“There is no emotion; there is peace.”
Selor hissed back, “Peace is a lie, there is only passion!”
Geric shook his head and continued, “There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.”
“Through passion, I gain strength!” Selor gave an especially vicious slash, knocking one of his lightsabers out of the way.
Geric barely recovered in time to keep his head on his shoulders, and he continued reciting, “There is no passion; there is serenity.”
“Through strength, I gain power!” Selor did a back-flip and shot some lightning at him.
Geric blocked it with one of his sabers, struggling to keep focused. “There is no chaos; there is harmony.”
“Through power, I gain victory!” Selor shouted at the top of her lungs. She twisted one of her sabers under his and flicked her wrist, throwing both of his sabers several yards away. Her foot connected squarely with his jaw, sending him flying back. He landed on his back with a sharp exclamation of pain. Selor Force Jumped closer. The tip of her saber hovered barely three inches from his throat. She smiled grimly and continued, “Through victory, my chains are broken.”
Geric could feel the heat of the lightsaber. He closed his eyes and whispered, “There is no death; there is the Force.”
Selor shook her head. “You disappoint me, Geric. I thought you’d be a more formidable opponent. Instead, there you are, quoting that outdated code!”
Geric opened his eyes and stared into her yellow ones. “That code has sustained the Jedi for centuries.”
“Sustained! You call this
sustained? That sustainment is eating the Jedi from the inside out! Soon, they will fall!” She sniffed contemptuously. “And still you lie there, quoting it as if you were a Jedi.”
“I am a Jedi!”
Selor laughed scornfully. “You still fancy yourself a Jedi after what you did to you master? Fool! The Jedi won’t take you back if they ever find out that you cut off his hand! You disregarded their precious code when you attacked Ordan, and you still fancy yourself a servant of the Light!”
The truth of what she had just said hit him like a battering ram. He exclaimed desperately, “You tricked me into it! It’s not my fault!”
Selor smirked. “You attacked your master, and for what? The love of a woman!” Her eyes softened slightly. “I give you another chance, Ke’nati. Come with me. Become my apprentice, and we will rule this galaxy together! Before we begin our conquest, we can take a transport to Naboo and get married, just like we always wanted to.”
Geric shook his head bitterly. “I’ll never serve you.”
Selor’s eyes hardened, and she hissed, “Then you have sealed your fate!” She drew her saber back, preparing for the killing blow.
Suddenly, the door Geric had come through burst open, and Master Ordan ran in! His lightsaber was in his remaining hand, shining brilliantly in the dim light. Selor whirled and caught the green blade just in time. Ordan fought her back as hard as he could and shouted, “Run, Geric! Get out of here, I’ll hold her off!”
Geric leaped to his feet and drew his lightsabers to his hands. He turned to join the battle and saw Ordan stumble back, a glowing slash mark on his cheek. The young Jedi shouted, “No!” and ran towards his master. Ordan yelled in frustration, “Go, Geric! Tell the Council what’s happened! Now!”
Geric struck at Selor’s back, but she gracefully twirled out of the way and threw him back with a powerful Force Push. Ordan leaped between her and Geric and exclaimed, “This happened because of your foolishness! Obey me!”
Geric felt his heart wrench inside him, and he ran back towards the open door. Selor gave a cry of rage, kicked Ordan in the chest, and used the Force to close the heavy stone door. Geric leaped through the narrow opening barely in time. A hollow thud echoed in the hall as the door slammed shut.
Geric ran down the hall and around a few corners. A ripple wafted through the Force. Master Ordan was dead.
Geric felt a tear run down his cheek, and he continued on his way to complete his master’s last orders.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Master Ordan’s head rolled to the floor. Selor glared at it for a moment. The door opposite the one Geric had escaped through opened, and Jedi began walking in. Selor whirled to face them, then she turned off her sabers. Their eyes were all yellow. They surrounded her. Soon, they filled the room. All told, there were nearly a thousand of them. Once they were all there, they knelt as a body—all facing her.
Selor glanced around at them and shouted, “I know why you’re all here! The Force has led you here, and Edjik has told you what’s happened! You all have a choice, whether to serve the Light or the Darkness! What do you choose!”
They all replied in unison, “We serve only you.” Selor’s eyes swept over them all, and she smiled. Her sabers ignited, lighting her face blood-red. “Very well! With our combined strength, we will sweep over the planets! The Jedi will join us or die! Our power in the galaxy will be unrivaled and unending! Armies will flock to help us. Soon, all will be covered in darkness!”
Selor’s head swiftly turned towards the door the Dark Jedi had entered through. She ordered, “Come to me!”
Seven well-dressed, red-skinned aliens crept in, the two tentacles dangling from either side of their faces shaking as they trembled with fear. The Dark Jedi parted enough for them to walk to Selor, all in a row. They fell to their knees when they were within five feet of her.
Selor smiled dangerously as she felt the fear radiating from them. She asked haughtily, “Why are you here?”
One of them, seemingly the leader, replied brokenly, “Pardon, Great One. The Temple has been opened, and you have come from heaven and occupied it. You are our goddess; we and all our people serve you.”
Selor’s yellow eyes took on a crafty gleam, and she sheathed her lightsabers. She cooed, “And your people are?”
“The Sith, Great Lady.”
“The Sith.” Selor’s dark red lips curved into a smile. “You are their lords?”
“We lead them, Mightiness.”
Selor turned away from them for a moment. Her eyes scanned over the crowd until they lit on five Jedi slightly separate from the others; one master, four knights. She commanded them, “There is a Jedi in this temple named Geric. Bring him to me alive.” As they stood to obey, she crooned, “If he dies, all of you die.” They bowed and quickly left.
Selor’s head snapped back towards the seven abject humanoids. “As proof of your loyalty, give me the talismans of the rulers!”
All seven of them removed necklaces from their necks and held them out to her, their hands still trembling. She drew all seven pieces of jewelry to her hand and studied them for a moment. Selor turned her back on the seven leaders. “And now for your reward.”
The woman whirled, her lightsaber flashing. Moments later, all seven of the leaders were dead.
Selor held up the talismans and shouted, “Now I
am the Lord of the Sith!”