SW: TOR: TRIALS OF A SITH THRALL: PACT
Part Eight of an Old Republic Tale by MsFicwriter
KORRIBAN, OUTSKIRTS OF DRESHDAE, FIVE DAYS LATER
In the silence of an hour's time, an exhausted warrior came to rest.
In the silence of a barren heart, only the sound of its valves moving was heard.
In the silence of a soulless world, two sentient reptilian eyes sought mine.
"So you're Sith now,"
Qyzen Fess murmured. "Are the rumors true?"
My eyes chafed against the desert sands that were blowing insistently into them. "It depends upon what you mean," I said dully. "Am I becoming stronger? Do I relish battle ever more intensely, second by second as well as day by day? Does my hatred of Pfon Urazhai, that sadistic pureblood, increase with each passing moment? Yes. In all of these characteristics, I am Sith." Shutting my eyelids against the onslaught of heat and wind, I continued:
"However, do I enjoy slaughtering the hopefuls that duel me and lose? Do I become ravenous at the thought of conquering remote planets with vast riches? Does the thought of others' suffering delight me, and make me wonder how to maximize and exploit it? No, and never. In those respects, I'm no Sith."
Qyzen nodded. "You are sssimply a warrior, like me. I can sense your deep anguish, and how it must tear you apart to claim kill after kill as your own. Such a thing means honor, glory, and praise from the Scorekeeper to me, but not you. You were a Jedi before you were captured, and Jedi seek peace. They do not even execute their prisoners, or ssso I've heard. A shame."
I wanted to open my eyes and counter the Trandoshan's argument, because what could truly be gained from killing the killers? How did so-called "lawful" executions differ from the atrocities that those condemned had committed, except for being quicker and more orderly? I wanted to snap at him, to drum the point into his head: "That is not the Jedi way, and even though you're not a member of the Order, you know it!"
However, I did not. Eons ago, when I still lived at the Temple and my heart was still at rest, I could have done it. I could have even swayed Qyzen's opinion to match my own, if my arguments for sparing prisoners' lives were strong enough. That was then, but at this moment I had no desire to teach or preach the way of the Light.
My desire for justice had not protected me from the Sith ambush on Tython.
My desire to lessen the adversity others faced had not given me the strength or courage to break the bonds of the Sith and free my fellow slaves. What of Tamara? What of Qyzen? What of the dozens that had been fed to tuk'ata?
My desire to protect the innocent had not saved any innocents from death. My "exchange" did not count, because Tamara had sought out the Sith freely. She had made the decision to embrace the Dark Side, and now paid for it.
Most of all, my dedication to honor had not been enough for me to win against the Sith and escape Korriban. I was a thrall, not a hero! It was time the Trandoshan knew the truth about me, my capabilities, and what I had failed to accomplish in this dark hour that we faced in our own way.
I grasped hold of Qyzen's shoulders, digging my fingernails into his scaly skin:
"I'm a failure, Qyzen Fess! Why do you still speak to me, after knowing that I've not been able to free you or anyone from this Force-forsaken world? I'm not a hero. I'm a slave! Heroes vanquish evil; what can I vanquish now? Yes, I want to kill Pfon. Yes, I loathe him. That might be all I have the courage to admit! You have been looking for salvation from the wrong source. I thought I could get us both out of this mess, and Tamara too, but she's lost. We've simply wound up as three more foolish flies caught in the Sith's web!"
Inadvertently, I had caused the Trandoshan to bleed. Rivulets of his life's essence trickled down his back. His stance remained defiant, his eyes cold.
"Do you know what lies at the heart of a true warrior--at its core?"
Sensing a lethal trap within his words, I shook my head, feeling deep despair.
"Beneath the honor that shields it, beneath the ferocity that coats that shield with bloody strength and rage to fight, and even beneath the brute yearning for survival that makes it beat, there lies something greater. Deeper."
He stared at me. "Why have you not recognized the true value of humility? That Tamara did not have it. She only used your aid to further her own goals, and extend her life by a few more years. THAT, Per'dra Yllari, is what separates you from the Sith! The Jedi are humble. The Sith are not. They believe they are warriors, but why don't they see that true strength comes from knowing that every moment in battle, you meet death's eyes?"
I suddenly collapsed at Qyzen's feet. "Help me," I said as I knelt. "What do I have to do so that all is not in vain? The Force is said to have a will, and so what is its purpose in having me captured and tortured by the Sith? To 'grow me up'? To have me mature? To break my will, so that the Force itself can impose its own volition within my empty heart? By the galaxy, I know not!"
"Forget the Force," the Trandoshan said, leaving me in my low position. "You have done all that you can do to stand against our enemies, at least for now. What I propose is this: together, with you dueling Urazhai and me taking a sniper's vantage point, we strike him down. Each day that he lives, he absorbs more of the energy of Korriban, and those he's gutted. Do you wish to take action? Do you wish to throw our masters into disarray? Let's give Pfon what he deserves, sister-in-arms. What say you? Are you ready?"
I looked up. "I certainly trust you more than Tamara. You have honor."
"That is what makes the difference in this world."
He helped me stand. "One more thing: in this pact, we will either win or die. Do you accept?"
"A Jedi and a hero I am not," I said, "but I'll accept if it's the last thing I do..."