SW: TOR: TRIALS OF A SITH THRALL: A RIVAL RETURNS
Part Four of an Old Republic Tale by MsFicwriter
[AUTHOR'S NOTE: I haven't forgotten about a certain "frenemy" of Per'dra's, introduced in CONFESSIANS OF A JEDI CONSULAR. That's why this chapter is centered primarily around her. Also, I have decided to keep a particular pure-blooded Sith around for at least a few more chapters. Originally, I intended to use him as a (stereo)typically cruel Sith pawn, quickly "sacrificed", until I realized what he actually is in literary terms.
Far more than Vadym, Pfon Urazhai is my main character's Sith "foil". In literature, this means that Pfon acts as a mirror to Per'dra's personality. Vadym complements her; he is a Sith, but not a sadistic one, as Pfon pointed out. In contrast, Pfon embodies what Per'dra hates, and what she fears to see within herself. Thus, the "cruel pawn" is very useful, as you'll see:
Okay, enough blah-blah from behind the fourth wall. On with the story!]
KORRIBAN, DRESHDAE SPACE PORT, INFIRMARY
The first pair of eyes that met mine as soon as I regained consciousness was the last
pair of eyes that I ever wanted to see again. Check that--they didn't belong to Pfon Urazhai, or even the traitorous Jedi Master Karos...
Take it easy, and lie back down! It's me, all right, and you're not going to like what I have to say." When I tensed and began to sit up on my hard infirmary cot, the former Padawan of Master Karos lay a hand on my shoulder. "Relax. I'm not going to kill you. If I was, I would have done it while you were suspended from the side of that cliff, helpless and near death already! Come to think of it, I might have done you a favor if I'd cut you down before I took you down..." She squinted her eyes shut and shook her head violently, ridding herself of the thought. "Never mind! I need you to stay quiet and listen, Per'dra, because I'm not supposed to be talking to you anyway."
I obeyed, resting my head upon the unyielding pillow once more. She said:
"As you might have guessed, I was exiled from the Jedi Order. Karos and the other Masters sentenced me to banishment, and I was so angry that I almost attacked them. After one mistake--our duel--compounded by the fury the contaminated focus crystal in my lightsaber gave me, this
is my fate? I thought the Jedi were forgiving, but none of the members of the Council were in the mood to have mercy on me. Karos herself said that I was too aggressive to have ever been trained in the ways of the Jedi! However, that's her opinion, and meanwhile I've run into bigger problems. I've joined the Sith as one of their hopefuls--at least, that's what they think. I'm in dire straits."
"Wait a minute," I cried, feeling my face flush hot. "Why didn't they imprison you? Surely someone on the Council must have figured you might do just that." Did she know that Master Karos was a spy for the Sith?
"Half of them thought that shoving me in a Force cage for the rest of my life would be more fitting than kicking me out. Tainted Force crystal or no crystal, I had tried to murder you! Ultimately, it came down to Master Karos' decision because she was the swing vote. Karos said that she had originally agreed, but then changed her mind at the very last minute. She said that exile would give me a chance at redemption. What could I do to atone for our little fracas if I was trapped behind a field that causes mild electrical burns?" She smiled and giggled, but I didn't find her joke funny.
"So why did you immediately flee to the Sith? That's not a redemptive path."
"I know, but I've come to infiltrate their Order and defeat them, not to join them. That might not be the Jedi way of righting one's past wrongs, but it's my
way. I've had to face the Sith Trials just like you, and my final one is tomorrow. You'd think that I'd be exhilarated on a day like this, but I'm not." She took a deep breath. "My fate is going to be worse than yours if I fail."
"Hah!" Despite myself, I scoffed. What could be worse than what I'd endured?
"I originally thought that my turn on the cliffside would come next," she replied, "but that's not the case. I was sent to reclaim you, dead or not, by a pure-blooded Sith named Pfon Urazhai." I shuddered involuntarily at the sound of that name, and Tamara seemed to understand. "When that scum found out you were barely alive, he ordered me to take you here to the infirmary and clean you up. You'd wet yourself, and so I can't say I was pleased to do that." She smirked, and an inner revulsion crept up within me. Oh, no!
"Anyway, while I was soaping you all over with cleansing fluid, I found that I was in range of a medical droid. Humiliating! Why couldn't that mute little bucket of bolts have done that?" Tamara's nostrils flared. "However, the droid unintentionally proved very useful. Besides tending wounds, it also serves as some sort of relay monitor between the infirmary and some other room here in the Dreshdae space port. I overheard Pfon talking to a fellow Sith Inquisitor."
My blood curdled. "What did he say?"
Tamara leaned over me. "First, I must say I thought it odd that he would have a slave sent here and given medical treatment instead of slain outright. After all, the Sith can always acquire more rock haulers and drudges. I soon learned the answer to this mystery through our little friend. Pfon is saving you for something else. Some kind of experiment. That's all he mentioned about you, Per'dra. Of me, he said something quite different: 'That whelp Tamara is certainly resilient, but she shall be drawn if she doesn't pass her third trial'."
"Disemboweled. Gutted. I won't let that happen! The thing is, I don't know what my third trial will be. If you can lie here and listen to the medical droid for a few more hours, I'll come to you in the middle of the night and see if you've found out anything." Her eyes were wet. "I suspect that you don't want to help me, because we're both trying to prove ourselves to the Sith."
"You're wrong." My voice was firm but quiet. "I'm still a Jedi in my heart. That's what I'm trying to prove. Beasts and slaves, if they're strong, can survive. It takes a different kind of sentient being altogether to aid a rival in his or her darkest hour." I raised an eyebrow. "You won't betray me?"
Tamara sighed. "I never thought I'd say this, but as long as I live, I will not! If we actually work together, we can bring the Sith down together. Agreed?"
I took her hand and shook it lightly. "Agreed."
"I'll come back at 0300 hours." She looked around. "Apparently, our metallic friend is nowhere to be found, and this infirmary is otherwise empty. Thank the Force for automated medical facilities, especially here on Korriban..."