His summons came in the form of a simple holorecording from his Aedile, stating to promptly arrive at the Citadel on Selen. For what reason, he did not know, but the tone Prelate Uji used was to the point. Having caught one of the frequent shuttles through Dajorra space, Nashiro found himself wandering brightly-lit halls of the Citadel, as further information on where to arrive, exactly, had not included in his orders.
After what felt like the twentieth corner, the thin-faced, plain man slid to a halt as two IG-100 Magna Guards stepped into his path. They crossed their electrostaves before him warningly.
How droids were intelligent enough to be wary of him, he did not know, but the action caused a small, sharp expression that was no smile at all to curl his lips.
“Hunter Kakos. Follow,” one of them stated in its cold robotic voice.
Curious at his summoning and unwilling to jeopardize his training by destroying the droids just yet, Nashiro nodded and followed the two, a dark expression falling across his blue-eyed face. As he followed, he noticed they were backtracking along his previously aimless path before taking turns he had bypassed. They soon came to a halt before two massive doors that he knew of but had never entered before. Two guards in dark cloaks and white masks stood on either side of them. The two Magna droids positioned themselves behind Nashiro, one of them pushing him forward, causing the doors to shift open.
Before him, Nashiro beheld a long chamber, lined by immense, flower-strewn pillars and gold braziers affixed to the walls. At the far end of the room was a raised dias capped in lavender flames, a monochromatic, serpent-twined throne atop it. The Jedi Hunter noticed his immediate superiors standing at its base, as well as the Consul of Arcona, Atyiru, sitting in the throne, but no sign of his Master.
“Nashiro Kakos!” called the Consul, raising her voice warmly. She sounded odd, but he’d only heard her speak a few times, over comms or shouting to crowds. “Come, come!”
Rage boiled his blood, burning under his skin, and he struggled to quickly suppress it as he strode forward. The Jedi-loving alien woman stood from her throne and descended the steps, bright cloak and pale hair billowing slightly behind her. She smiled a bit at him when he stopped a respectable distance before her, and his gullet clenched to stare back at her eyeless, masked face.
Aware of the eyes of his other superiors on him, Nashiro gave a stiff nod and greeted, “My Lord Consul. Why am I here? Where is my Master?”
“Arcy will be along shortly, dear, worry not!” Atyiru raised a hand, and the others around her, including the guards, took a few steps back. “As for why you’re here…”
Too fast for him to even see, Atyiru moved. One moment she was there, the next, not, and then a phantom materialized and a fist connected against his jaw with all the sharp, hard power of a raging rancor’s charge.
If he had been ready and braced, Nashiro would have kept his feet. The hit would have merely hurt…a lot. As it was, he found himself flat on his back, shoulders stinging while his right ear rang, and a very solid, heeled boot planted itself against his jugular. One of his hands was pinned under his back, but the other reached for the vibroknife in his boot, fury making his movements quick. Another heel, however, stomped mercilessly on his questing fingers, the pressure just shy of cracking his knucklebones open, splitting skin.
Nashiro nearly felt his bones bending under the weight of the anger that raged within him, body welling with it as he thrashed, glaring up at the woman who stood over him, features cold and blank.
“Enough!” came a shout, another woman’s voice, familiar, and then the world around Nashiro…just snapped. Like blinking past a bright light or wiping water from his eyes, suddenly everything was different.
It was his Master that stood over him, her expression coolly sneering as always aside from the harsh look in her gray-green eyes. His other superiors crowded closer now that the spectacle was over, their gazes calculating or amused. Atyiru — the real one? — swept into view, placing a hand on Arcia’s shoulder and drawing her back.
The moment her weight was removed, Nashiro scrambled to his feet, moving again for his weapons before the very pointed shifting of several hands to lightsabers on several bodies around him gave him pause.
Two footsteps padded softly closer, and a darkly tanned hand touched his arm. The Jedi Hunter jerked back from the Consul’s touch, sneering even as he felt a cool whisper brushing through his mind, so like the whispers that had once taunted and inflamed his hate, that had shaped him, buried below the earth. This whisper, however, was like water poured over hot coals, tamping down on it.
“You are so full of fury,” remarked the Miraluka with some sadness, tone insistent. “Let it out of you. Not to let it run free and consume you, but to let it out. Let go. Breathe it out and listen closely before you breathe it in again.”
Despite himself, Nashiro listened to her, to the receding press of the Force on his mind, lowering his arms. He clenched his hands, nails splitting his skin, and trembled slightly with the rage he contained, a rage that defined him.
His Master stepped forward as the Consul stepped back, the two women in sync. Her gaze was icy as she spoke. “Kakos. You are weak and narrow-minded. You will remain this way until you realize that your path is only a destructive one. Without precision, patience and discipline, you will ultimately fail. I easily persuaded you that I was this…evil thing that simply punished and took,” she took a breath. “Just now, I fooled you into thinking I was someone else entirely, and as if it were not easy enough because of your complete lack of mental defense, you make it all the easier by allowing your perceptions and hatred to blind you. You are a child stumbling in the dark.”
“Oh no, how horrible,” muttered Atyiru, though a quick, glacial glare from Arcia silenced her with an eep.
His Master stepped closer still, placing her face inches from his. “You must learn. Open your mind and your eyes or you will die very quickly — and I have no patience for those that cannot make themselves useful.” Her arm moved, and Nashiro’s body coiled to fight, but instead he saw that she held out a deactivated, plain saber.
A slight thrill racing up his spine, Nashiro took it, fingers curling around the weapon. He flicked blue eyes up to his Master’s face and saw its blank expression, her features smooth, not demonic at all as he so often recalled them.
“You have potential, Knight Kakos,” she said, turning away. “If you try, you just might succeed in something other than wasting it.”