Fiction #1: “Pazaak”
Iron Navy Command Ship
Dracaryis stepped out of the refresher of the captain’s quarters with a towel wrapped around his waist and a pair of soft slippers. He had done some serious thinking in the shower, but he could not figure out a solution to one of the recurring thorns in the side of his plans.
“How do I reach these kids?” he murmured to himself.
The Fist of the Brotherhood was lean and muscular, but without his tailored robes looked like any other man. He dabbed at his wet hair with a second dry towel before discarding it haphazardly onto the floor. He had people that would clean it up for him later. Sometimes, he purposely left things a mess just to get the satisfaction of knowing that when he returned to his quarters later, everything would be reset and perfect. He sighed contently as he walked into the lounge area but froze in place at what was waiting for him.
The table had been set only moments before his arrival. The smell of fresh baked pastries was nearly intoxicating—both inviting and tantalizing at the same time. It was almost too perfect, though. Vibrant fruits touching each gradient of a rainbow were arrayed around shiny silver platters. Among the sea of color, a single tray seemed to draw the spotlight of the room’s overhead luminescence. Carved pieces of fluffy, crisp quick bread were stacked like a symmetrical pyramid bound for the heavens. The circular tray was littered with flakes that could only come from delicate dough baked to perfection. They looked like biscuits, but the shape was different.
Scones. Beautiful, perfect, scones.
It’s a trap.
Dracaryis, Fist of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood, head commander of the Iron Legion and Iron Navy, pushed the voices in the back of his head aside.
Definitely a trap. You should listen to us more often, unless you want to end up stranded on Jakku again with that blind—
“Shut up,” Dracaryis growled quietly to no one in particular. Fortunately no one was around to notice. “I need to focus.” His stomach grumbled, but he reached out to the Force in hopes of helping keep himself calm and steady. He stretched out his senses, but found no immediate danger. He stepped over to the pile of scones and went to pick up up the topmost one.
—Definitely not that one.
“I said shut up—” Dracaryis cut himself off as a warning klaxon flared in the back of his mind and prompted him to start moving.
The dart cut through the air with a faint swish, missing the Fist of the Brotherhood’s neck by a hairsbreadth. Dracaryis spun and tried to pinpoint his attacker. A lithe figure materialized out of the shadows wearing an all-black bodysuit and matching headwrap that only exposed the eyes.
“Ninjas? Seriously? Are those even cano—”
Dracaryis was forced to duck as a second attacker appeared from the shadows at the other end of the room and hurled a flurry of throwing knives at him. One hand on his towel, Dracaryis awkwardly rolled under the table, upending it to form a makeshift barrier and, consequently, sending the entire array of foodstuffs to their untimely deaths.
~Oh no, the scones!~
“Not now!” Drac growled as he frantically looked around for his lightsaber. It was nowhere to be found.
The second attacker looked like a clone of the first. Judging by the curves of their athletic figures, they had to be women. They both drew what looked to be katanas from sheaths on their backs and moved around each side of the upturned table to flank his fortification.
Twins, Drac! Twins!
Dracaryis didn’t even bother to cut the voices off, his survival instincts kicking his adrenaline into high gear. Reaching out with the Force, he grabbed a discarded metallic plate and called it his hand. The first attacker—Ninja One— rounded the corner and swung her sword for his neck. Dracaryis brought his platter up like a shield, deflecting the blade away from his body. He followed the parry with an augmented punch, but Ninja One deftly sidestepped and struck out hard with the knife-like edge of her palm in a quick trio of precision blows to the inside of his over-extended arm.
The Fist fell forward but managed to grab onto Ninja One’s waist. With a twist, he tried to drag her down with him. She managed to spin away from the grapple, but the sinuous motion landed her awkwardly between Dracaryis and her partner—Ninja Two.
Coming up on one knee, Dracaryis hurled his platter like a discus at the two ninjas. They both flipped away from the projectile, fanning out to reposition.
“Like hell,” Dracryis growled as electricity began to spark in the palm of his hand. With a defiant shout he hurled a bolt of lightning at Ninja Two. She started to strafe away, but the blue-white light crackled angry and bit into her side, sending shockwaves through her body and bringing her leap to a crashing halt. She landed hard enough that he heard something snap, her body twitching as the lightning ran its course.
Drac readied a second bolt for Ninja One, but she was ready and moved too quickly for him to draw a bead. Her kick hit him square in the jaw, sending the Fist tumbling backwards.
“Not good,” Drac groaned as he looked around for something he could use to fend off his attacker. And then he saw it. The irony almost made him groan, and he was sure the voices in his head would never let him hear the end of it.
The Pazaak deck had been a gift from the Regent. While the game usually gave the Fist headaches, it could just be his way out. Fanning out the top of the deck, he began to flick the cards at Ninja One like tiny projectiles. With every flick, he willed the Force to accelerate the momentum of the cards.
A flurry of laminated, hard-edged cards assaulted Ninja One like a swarm of space-wasps. The cards cut into her outfit, and while she was able to nimbly weave through more than a few of them, it was enough of a distraction to throw her off balance.
With his deck of cards depleted, Dracaryis rose to his feet and reached out with his free hand towards Ninja One’s neck. She stopped abruptly in her tracks, her lithe body lifting up into the air as she grabbed helplessly at her throat. Her feet kicked wildly against the air in resistance as painful rasps choked out from behind her cowled lips. The dark side surged through Dracaryis as his anger flared and he tightened his grip, sneering as he watched the life slowly drain from his attacker’s eyes. He tossed her aside like a used ragdoll, her limp figure thumping into her partner’s.
“That was for the scones,” Dracaryis growled as he adjusted his towel, which had somehow managed to stay with him throughout the whole encounter.
You really need to do something about this “Royal Guard” you like to talk about a lot.
~Twins, Drac. Twins!~