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[Night-Thorn’s Apprentices] Journey to the Darkness


The Pyramid

Central Courtyard

Yridia III

Solas Night-Thorn stood in the central courtyard of the Nekros Syndicate’s base. His two apprentices knelt before him. One willing to embrace the darkness. The other a defiant resister of the dark.

“Today we begin your true training. I must commend each of you. Tahiri, you have taken to my teachings like a horse takes to to water. And you Blackhawk, you have resisted my torture, my abuse. All to stay to your principals. But now each of you will be forced to make a choice, embrace the power I offer you, or die. Those are your only options. Are you ready?”


“Yes, Master. I am ready to receive your teachings.” Looking admiringly up at him and watching his every move.


“Ready? The only way one can be ready, is to know completely what is coming.” Blackhawk said. “Seeing as we know so little of your plans, I’d say neither of us are ready, just willing to face whatever trials you have in mind”


Solas lashed out with a blast of lightning, shocking the clawdite.

“You will be told all that you need to know! Do not question your master!”


The shock hurt. It always did. The recovery for him didn’t even take long anymore. He was used to the abuse of a master. But this, he never questioned his master, never would he be foolish enough. Something inside him snapped. “You dare to imply that I’m foolish enough to question a master!” Blavkhawk shouted lashing out with his own burst of lightning. Even as it happened, he realized his mistake, but holding back or backing down now would only make it worse. “You never cared though, foolish or not, I’m just another training dummy for you aren’t I !?” It wasn’t going to end here. Bkackhawk new that his pushing back would end badly for him, but he couldn’t help it. He let up now keeping his hand near his lightsaber, ready for anything.


The Sith Knight began laughing as he easily deflected the Acolyte’s attack.

“Good, very good. I was beginning to think I would actually have to hurt you before you would harness your anger. Now use that anger, use the pain. Feel the power it gives you.”

Solas launched another blast of lightning at his apprentice.


Quickly dodging the blast, Blackhawk ignited his saber. “You seem to think I’m not going to expect that.” Blackhawk replied, using force blackness to blind his master and throwing a flash grenade to delay Tahiri from possibly entering the fight. With the blinding done, Blackhawk now lunged forward at his master, unleashing lightning from one hand, and bringing his saber back to strike with the other.


The moment Blackhawk entered the blackened area he was hit with what felt like an invisible hammer that through him to the ground. He had little time to recover as he was set upon by his sister student.
“You should know better Blackhawk, unless you I don’t need my eyes to ‘see’ you.” The togruta smiled and twirled her lightsaber.
"Very good, both of you. Now Tahiri, finish this little sparring session. "


Rolling put of range of the saber, Blackhawk laughed. “Think for a second Tahiri, he’s using you instead of finishing this himself.” he tells the apprentice. Another grenade was thrown, this time a concussion grenade. “And you, Solas, thinking I didn’t see this coming, foolish” Blackhawk taunted his master. With that he let a stream of lightning escape both his hand at both master and apprentice.


Tahiri leapt away from the concussion grenade, and then dodged just enough to the right to not get the full brunt of the blast. The longest tendrils licking her left side, as she deflected the rest of them with her saber. “I take the challenges set before me,” replied Tahiri, after catching her breath from the sting of the lightning. “Blackhawk, you are not foolish. Now stop this, and listen. Don’t make me hurt you.” She posed ready for anything.


Two on one wasn’t going to work for him, bit Blackhawk had one final card up his sleeve. Leaping at his master, Blackhawk centered blackness on himself again, shapeshifting into Solas once it took effect. Tackling his master to the ground, he rolled away. “Well now apprentice, you attempt to deceive, bit let’s see of it works” Blackhawk said, trying to male the deception more convincing.


Solas began laughing.
“Oh this is adorable. But tell me Blackhawk, can you imitate power?” With a twisted grin, the Epicanthix slammed a ball of energy into the Clawdite’s chest. Sending him flying into a nearby pillar.


Tahiri watched as the blackness faded, and stared in astonishment as before her stood two of her Master. Great, now what? I can’t take on both. How do I figure out who is who?, she thought as thought about how to take care of this mess. Thinking, she figured that her true Masters’ unique style and ruthlessness would show soon enough, though she had a back up plan just in case. She didn’t have to wait long as the one Solas sent the other flying into the pillar. She felt that the standing Solas was her true Master, but just to be on the safe side, she sent out a piercing mental attack with her Force telepathy toward both of them.


From one of the Solas’s she felt fear, pain. The other she felt only an empty void, a wall of impenetrable blackness.


Slamming into the pillar, Blackhawk reverted to his true form. “I am beaten” he admitted. Feeling the mental attack he turned red to Tahiti, “But that dosent mean I’ll allow you to keep this up!” the clawdite shouted.


Seeing Blackhawk revert to his true form, Tahiri stopped the mental attack. “Well, I would o’t of had to do that, if you hadn’t gone and done did what you did,” she replied angrily, pointing her saber at him. Still posed for anything, she extinguished her saber and walked over to him. Reaching out, she offered her hand to help him up, as an apology and as a sign of no more attacks.


Picking himself up, Blackhawk glared at his master. “One of these days” he said, allowing the thought to jamg in the air. He’d win a fight eventually, but for now, he had to wait. Now was not the time. Whatever trials Solad had in mind, Blackhawk would have to face them.


Solas clapped slowly.

“Well done, both of you. Blackhawk, you have promise, but you rely too much on you blackness technique. and Tahiri, you have access to a wellspring of power. Use your connection to the darkside, use your anger, your pain. Now, strike him with your power.”


Knowimg that Tahiri would be to loyal to Night-Thorn not to try, Blackhawk immediately grabbed her arm and twisted it around behind the togruta’s back, and allowed a burst of lightning to flow from his hand, then letting her go, feeling a little sorry at having to do that. “Will you never get to the point?” he asked Solas “Will you continue to waste time ?”


“Allow me to answer your question with one of my own. When will you stop fearing your own power? When will you shed the mantle of a coward and take you place as a true Force user?”


"Fear? You think I’m afraid? " Blackhawk questioned. “Wouldn’t that the be the point of whatever trials you have in mind? Or is there something else? Would a coward attack his master, continue to fight one that he knows he can not defeat? Why would a ‘coward’ keep on, despite being ruthlessly beaten?”


“You keep going because that’s what your misguided middle of the road ideology tells you that’s what you should do. But it’s that ideology that prevents you from standing toe to toe with me, or even Tahiri. We have embraced the darkness.” As the Sith spoke the air around him began to darken and twist around him.


“No! Its my ‘middle of the road ideology’ my refusal to subscribe to your ideology, or the jedi ideology, that makes me stronger, what allows me to go toe to toe with both of you, what allows me to train under you, without breaking, without questioning myself, with true dedication. Its the middle of the road that allows me to truly learn!” the clawdite countered his master. “Its that freedom, that power, that let’s me live, and work, and win. Yes, the force shall set me free, but not through the strict philosophy of the dark side, or the restrictions, the hesitation inherent in the lightside.”


Tahiri looked at Solas for a moment and that was all it took for Blackhawk to have the upper hand, though he only held her for a moment, it was long enough for her to feel slightly embarrassed. She gasped with pain as she felt the lightning course through her body, making her fall to her knees. Looking back at Blackhawk angrily, she slowly got up. Pulling upon the Force, slowly building it up within her. She faced him while he and Solas were talking, building the energy up, devising a way and when to release it. As the air around their master darkened, she spoke in dark voice which surprised both men. “Enough! There will always be pain, fear, and darkness in the world. There will also always be hope, love, and light in the world. We all feel it, it will always be there. I have embraced the darkness for my own reasons, embrace it for yours Blawkhawk.” She released just enough of her pepped up energy through telepathy to render Blackhawk senseless.


“Well done my apprentice. I think you are ready to take part in the ritual and join me in the darkness completely. In the words of Lord Bane, ‘Two there should be; no more, no less. One to embody power, the other to crave it.’ and while we have moved beyond the rule and there are more than two Sith. The statement about power still rings true.” Solas turned from the pair. “Now Tahiri, take Blackhawk to the infirmary. And join me in the sanctum tonight.”


He felt the buildup right before it hit. Turning quickly, he let loose a quick telekinetic blast, but not fast enough. The attack hit him hard. As he began to recover, he heard his masters voice, and a single word before passing out. When he awoke, he found himself restrained. “Release me” he ordered the attendant. “I’ve been ordered to keep you restrained until he returns.” the human replayed. “Let me go or die” the clawdite threatened. “Not likely” came the reply. Telekineticly undoing the lock, he gave the attendant one more chance. His refusal got him stabbed by his own knife. Hiding the body, Blackhawk took the form of the attendant and left. Making his way to the armoury for his gear, one of the guards stopped him. “What are you doing here ?” he inquired. Moving quickly, Blackhawk grabbed the guards blaster and shoved him away.“Don’t kill me” the guard begged. “Give me your uniform.” the clawdite ordered the guard. He complied. “If anyone finds out about this, you die” he informed the guard. Taking the guards form, he donned the uniform and continued on his way. Running into no further trouble, Blackhawk soon had his own gear, and had abandoned his disguise. Before long, he had made his way to the sanctum, the only thing he could figure from his last memory. Now, all he had to do was wait.


“Yes Master,” replied Tahiri. She walked over to Blackhawk and grasping his arm, slung him half way over her shoulder and carried him to the infirmary. She set him on a bed, and told the attendant to take good care of him. As she was about to leave, when she heard the attendant take a call on the comm from the Supreme Commander. She wondered what her master would be calling about. Unless he needs me. No, he would have called me on my personal comm if he did. What is going on? she thought as she listened in. She couldn’t hear what all was said, but she had caught a few words from the attandant, “Yes Supreme Commander…restraints Sir?.. Yes sir, right away Sir.” Restraints? Who is he wanting restrained? And why? She waited by Blackhawks’ bedside for a moment when the attendant came back in. “Oh, I did not realize you were still here.” “What? Am I not allowed to stay as long as I wish?” Tahiri said angrily. “No, no Sir. I just was wondering if you needed any medical attention yourself?” the attendant replied quickly, taking a step back. Tahiri stared at him for a moment and then, “No. I have no need. Just make sure you take care of my brother apprentice. Or else you will be the one needing medical attention.” “Don’t worry Sir. He will be well taken care of,” he replied. Looking one last time at Blackhawk, she left the infirmary. Though she had a feeling that tonight was going to be a very interesting night.
Later that night she headed to the sanctum.


Solas sat on his throne within the inner sanctum of The Pyramid. He awaited the arrival of his apprentice. As he sat in the still darkness the room he mused over his own indoctrination into the Sith Order. He was deemed Sith before he had even left the Shadow Academy.

He was brought out of his thoughts by the sound of the lift opening.

“Apprentice, welcome. Tonight you join me as Sith.” Turning to the togruta he gestured to space in front of him. “Kneel apprentice.” With a nod the young female knelt before her master.

“When you came to me, you were acquainted with the darkside, but not one with it. Tonight that changes.”

“I am ready master. What must I do?”

“We will speak the Code of the Sith together. Ready?” The togruta nodded. “Then let us begin. Peace is a Lie,”


“There is only passion,” Tahiri continued.


Through Passion,


“I gain strength.”


Through Strength,


“I gain power.”


Through Power,


Placing his hand on the door, Blackhawk sensed dark power eminating from the room. “Impossible” he thought. Remembering from his studies, he realized that this must have a ritual importance. He wouldn’t interfere with the ritual, but there was something else he could do, a unique opportunity that may never present itself again. Moving away from the sanctum, Blackhawk took the form of his master and found a computer terminal. Bypassing the biometric login, Blackhawk downloaded a schematic of the castle. Soon enough he had memorized what he needed. He couldn’t mess with Tarentum military, but he could do other things. He started with the quarters. His plan was to loom through his master’s room and plant some items in some other poor souls room. As soon as he opened it he struck a jackpot. Upon the shelf were multiple holocrons, all of which would contain vital knowledge. These he kept. In the chest, he took some credits, a blaster, and some oddly placed glop in a jar. Exiting the quarters, he went into a soldier’s quarters, still in his masters form. Leaving all the things he took aside from the holocrons under the bed, he then accessed the cleaning supplies and spred them all over the burglarized room. His work complete he left to his own quarters and locked the door telekineticly. It was time to see what he could glean from the holocrons.


“I gain victory.”


Through Victory,


“My chains are broken.”


“The Force Shall Set Me Free.”


"The Force Shall Set Me Free."


As the pair recited the Sith Code both could feel the dark energy welling around them.

“Good. Very good. By my authority as your master I name you Sith. Rise now Tahiri Drakon Night-Thorn.” The togruta rose to her feet and opened her eyes, revealing the effects of the darkside. Her irises are a sickeningly sulfuric yellow, and her sclera is a deep black.


As the ritual was completed, Blackhawk sensed a surge of dark power. Even as he attempted to learn from the holocrons, the surge was sickening, and at the same time… enticing? He wasn’t sure why, but it seemed to draw him towards the source, towards darkness. But that did not matter. He had already decided what he was going to do. He had to open the holocrons. He needed to know what they contained. And with the surge of power, Blackhawk was able to get one of them open.


Tahiri could feel the dark energy surging through her. Her every sense heightened ten fold. She could feel everything around her, from every curve and sharp edge of her masters’ throne, to the the contours of and even extending to outside of the room. Feeling the power welling up within her, she felt a little bit afraid. Afraid of what the power would do to her, she could feel it changing her, little by little. But then memories of her family, her clan, dying, of them being murdered before her eyes. The fear instantly vanished, replaced by the determination and resolve to avenge their deaths. To find the ones who did it and exact her revenge. I’m ready to finish what was started so long ago, she thought as she stood and straightened before her Master, “I am ready to finish my training, Master.”


“Good, good. Now you will head into the jungle and find a ancient Sith altar. Collect the holocron held there and return to me.” The Knight extended his hand. “The only rule, you must leave your weapons here.”


Tahiri looked at her Master, and relinquished her weapons, handing him her saber, the three vibro swords, the large vibro dagger from hip, and the two smaller daggers strapped to her leg. She understood what he was doing, she had to prove herself. It is just like those hunting trips with father and mother. When they had me hunt with no weapons, so that I would know how to truly hunt, she reminisced as she finished handing her weapons to her master. Solas looked at her and said with a slight smirk, “All of them, the hidden ones as well.” She gave a small sigh, and then pulled out two smaller daggers, one from inside each of her boots, and the tiny arrow-shaped dagger tucked within her bosom. She also pulled out four more small throwing knives from behind her back. Her master looked at her slightly amused and bewildered as she handed the daggers to him. She then bowed to him, saying, "I will leave right away master.’ He dismissed her with slight wave of his hand. She left with determination and the singular focus of completing the mission her master had given her.


Blackhawk felt what must be Tahiri moving away from the base. “Strange” Blackhawk thought, “What could Solas be sender her for?” Curious, Blackhawk headed towards the archives to do some research. His study of the holocrons could wait.


Solas watched as the young togruta left the sanctum.

‘She will go far with that kind of determination. But this test will determine if she has the will to do what is necessary to succeed.’

The Sith mused to himself as he felt the dark energies of the ritual subside. Then to his surprise he felt a strange imbalance in the Force flowing through the Pyramid. Nothing too concerning but still slightly worrisome, as if something small had changed.

He exited the Sanctum and entered his personal quarters and found that someone had cleaned it recently. He knew the cleaning schedule by heart and his quarters were in the morning not late at night.

‘Who was in here? They certainly did a poor job covering their tracks… unless that was intentional.’

While the epicanthix began investigating, the true culprit was sitting at a desk in the Necromantic Library. He was startled as the holocron he had been trying to open suddenly sprang to life on the desk and opened. As it did an ethereal voice spoke to the clawdite.

“Who has awoken me, Freedon Nadd?”


As she made her through the jungle, her senses were on high alert. It was dusk when she left, but there really was no way of telling by looking around. The Pyramid and the dense forest surrounding it were already shrouded in darkness. Making her way through the dense jungle forest, she focused the energy of the Force to seek out her target, the ancient Sith alter. She stopped for a moment and jumped up into the branches of a tree so as to get a vantage point. She crouched on the thick branch over grown with vines, closed her eyes and let the Force radiate from her, searching for the alter. Searching for a similar dark energy source. She felt every Dark Jedi and Sith back in the Pyramid, but nothing in forest. She reached out farther, and then felt a tiny sensation of the dark energy she was looking for.
Opening her eyes she sprang from the tree, rolled as she landed on forest floor and took off to her right, making for that sensation she had felt. She didn’t know why or how, but she knew deep down that it was the alter she was looking for. As she zigged and zagged through the forest, she could sense the giant creatures stirring around her, some awaking for a night of feasting, and others bedding down from a full day of foraging. A few times she had to skirt around the edge of some herds of giant humped back herbivores, and had to avoid a pack of the big cat-like predators, who were hunting a herd.
After about three hours or so of searching, she had felt the dark energy growing slowly stronger. Breaking through the dense brush, she was suddenly standing in a thickly overgrown grove. There in middle, was a large stone alter, the Sith alter. She approached the alter cautiously, she reached out with the Force to sense any booby-traps or threatening creatures, feeling none for the moment, she climbed the the small steps up to the top of the alter. There on the was triangle shape carved into the center of the surface, with three circles at each side of the triangle. Within these circles were slots of where possibly handles had once been. It could be a sort of mechanism, and the holocron could be in the center of the alter! she realized. Quickly she scoured the ground around the alter for a stick to serve as a handle, she found a branch just the right size and broke a piece off. Fitting it into the slot, she began to clank it, the center of the triangle slowly began to open, and then stopped. She couldn’t clank it any farther open, so she moved to the next circle, but as she did the triangle closed back up and the circle reversed itself. Hmm, maybe they all have to be clanked together to open the alter. She grabbed the branch again and broke off two more pieces, and then fit them into the slots. When finished she stood at the head of the alter and concentrated hard, using the Force to clank the circles around. It was slow at first, for one circle moved in the opposite direction of the other two, but she slowly got it to open up. As triangle pieces of slab rose up and slid down into the alter, a pedestal emerged and atop it was the holocron. Losing none of her concentration, she reached out and plucked the holocron from its perch. Then she closed the alter back up, and sat down with a sigh of relief. However, while she been concentrating on getting the holocron she didn’t realize that she was being watched.


Nadd. Why, of all the beings in the universe, within the Force, did it have to be Nadd? What should he do? This could be his chance to get some of the knowledge he wished, but Blackhawk figured that it could just as easily be his undoing.
“Great Nadd, I am known simply as Blackhawk, a Grey Force user, simply seeking greater knowledge in the Force.” the Clawdite said.


“Child, I sense much potential within you. Do you serve the Sith?”


“Yes and no.” Blackhawk replied. “I am training under a Sith, however I myself am not a Sith.” he continued. “I prefer to use the Force as I choose without being bound by one particular ideology”


The voice within the holocron chuckled. “You touch the light and the dark but do not take hold of either. How do you stand against your enemies?”


“I fight until the enemy dies it is otherwise incapacitated, using any methods at my disposal. Afterwords, I knock them unconscious and take them prisoner of they don’t die, then abandon them in some prison or other. Generally, they are killed in the Sith run prison.”


As she stood up with the holocron in hand to head back to the pyramid, that’s when she sensed something. She had been so engrossed in her task, she hadn’t realized that there was a creature behind her. She leapt forward up onto the alter, and turned around ready for the creature. She sensed something familiar, but didn’t see it at first, then reaching out with her mind, searching for it. Then she felt it and hopped down from the alter smiling. Come on out Solan, I am alone she coaxed the creature telepathically,and then from out of the shadows stepped a huge red-orange furred male Akul. She raised her hand and the beast immediately came to her, with what sounded like a low growl like purr as he pushed up against her hand, wanting the attention. “I know that I haven’t been around to hunt with you lately Solan,” she petted his bright fur. His pelt was soft and harsh all at the same time. He pushed harder against her side, almost throwing her off balance. “No Sol, I can’t stay. I must get back right away.” The Akul turned in the direction of the Pyramid, bounded to the edge of the clearing and stopped, as if he understood what she had said. Looking back, he gave a small growl, as is saying ‘Well then, lets go!’. Smiling at Solan, she nodded to him and gripping the holocron tighter, both of them raced each other back to the Pyramid.
It didn’t take very long to get there, as they both strode up to the very gates. She turned and petted Solan, and then he took off back into the jungle. She looked longingly after him and then straightening her shoulders, turned and headed into the pyramid. To seek her Master and bring what she had been sent to seek.


Solas sat behind his desk watching two monitors. On one the security feed for the hallway outside his personal quarters. The other played a live feed from the drone that was following his apprentice Tahiri as she attempted her final trial. So far she had made it to the altar and recovered the holocron. She had even made a friend, so it seemed like a good time to turn up the heat. Solas pressed the button on his desk-comm.

“Come in Ashe.” After a moment a female voice replied.

“I read you Supreme Commander Sir.”

“Good, engage operation one-zero-zenith.”

“Understood Sir.” As Solas released the button on his comm a familiar pain wracked his body. Centered in his chest the man was soon doubled over. Pressing another button on his comm the Sith spoke frantically.

“Quee, summon Jensen, the med staff and quartermaster to the temple. It is time to put on the armor.”

“Yes sir.”


Deep in the jungle of Yridia III a squad of Nekros troopers, lead by Acolyte Ashe, crouched in the foliage surrounding one of the Sith altars that dotted the planet. They just received the order to execute the Sith Apprentice Tahiri. While some of the troopers were hesitant, having served under the togruta, they kept their feelings to themselves for fear of the Supreme Commander’s wrath.

“Alright, team one attack from the trees. I’ll take team two and strike from the brush. Move.” The two teams of troopers moved into position and awaited the arrival of the Sith.


Before reaching the Pyramid

She raced through the jungle, with her Akul companion Solan by her side, heading back towards the Pyramid. She finally had some time to think. The whole ritual had brought back a flood of memories, from her childhood, to her clans own rituals of passage. Even memories from when she joined the Brotherhood, to meeting, and being accepted, by her new clan, to being chosen, along with Blackhawk by the tall foreboding figure of their Epicanthix Master. If Blackhawk was with her, they probably would have been having a friendly spat about who could get back first. All along the way just for fun, and to farther each others training, would probably be trading back and forth some dirty tricks to try and get ahead of each other. Though laughing with each other all the way.

She still contemplated the fact that Blackhawk and Solas still could, no, would not get along. Since the first moment she and Blackhawk had met, they had gotten along, though maybe not always seeing eye to eye on certain things, mainly the Sith teachings. She would listen to their Master, but she would always keep an open ear for her brother apprentice to vent and talk. One thing my parents ingrained in me, which has come in quite handy, though it has not resolved any of the conflict between those two. For to her, Blackhawk and their Master Solas had become very close family, as had the clan, in a way, become an extended family.

She stopped running. Then she growled and punched the great tree next to her, with her right hand, punching not only with all of her might, but with the might of the Force as well. Why couldn’t they just deal with each other! her mind screamed. In my clan, when there was a dispute, it would be dealt with accordingly. In single combat, no weapons, just strength. And yet neither of them want to even settle conflicts that way. And then the sake of all that is damned, they manage to pull me into the fray, willing or not. She was frustrated with both of them.

Solan gave a half whine growl. He had sensed that she had stopped, so he had come back to see if she was alright. She looked at him as he stared curiously at her, and then looked up as he heard the cracking and creaking of branches. Looking back at the tree, she realized that her fist had made a large wound in the trees trunk. It looked as if someone had rammed a speeder bike straight into the tree. In the center of the dent there was the almost perfect indent of her small fist, tiny and feeble looking compared to the damaged she had just inflicted. WHOA! The dark energy of the ritual must have enhanced my strength.
Solan nudged her arm a little bit, looking pleased and amused at her handy work, she petted and scratched him behind the ear, which she could tell he enjoyed it as he tilted his head towards her.

Both their heads snapped up, as a swarm of birds burst of trees, squawking, flying high and away from their canopy roosts. Something had spooked them. Instinctively she dropped into a low crouch, clutching the holocron in her left hand. Slinking forward, she drew upon the Force, gathering it within her, then allowed it to flow through the forest, permitting her to see the danger ahead. Solan was right beside her crouched, snuffing and licking the air, finding the threat in his own way.

She sensed a group of men, troops of some sort, they felt familiar somehow. She also sensed another dark energy, it felt like another Sith alter. Letting the sensation subside, she knelt down in front of the Akul. Telepathically, she told Solan to circle around, but to not attack unless she was in danger. He huffed, as if a sign he understood, and then turning, soundlessly bounded off into the underbrush under the great trees. Watching him go and then stealing herself, she quietly made her way forward. Springing agilely through the underbrush between the trees for a few yards, and then jumping deftly into the boughs overhead she continued on her way.

I don’t understand what troops are doing out here. Unless of course it is a squad from the Pyramid, but still what would they be doing out here at this time of night? I thought that weren’t any night training maneuvers scheduled for tonight?

Stopping on an overhanging branch of a small clearing, surrounding another Sith alter, she didn’t see anything or anyone. Reaching out with the Force as she had done before, she only found a few men hiding below her and across on the other side clearing.

She felt it coming, before the bolt was to meet her chest, as blaster fire erupted from the trees across the clearing. She ducked behind the tree, and then had to jump across to another tree as the men below her also opened fire. She cursed under her breath as she leapt again to the next tree, the plasma bolts only just missing her body. She stopped and her hand automatically went to the place on her belt where her saber normally hung, but felt nothing. Damn! that’s right, Master took all my weapons. Sensing them getting closer to her tree, she leapt into the bough of another tree and then cloaked herself with the Force. She watched them as they circled the tree, wondering to herself, How did they see or sense that I was here? I was quieter than them, that’s for certain.

She felt a searing pain run up her leg, as a lightning bolt hit just in front of her on the branch she was on, missed her by inches. She could taste her own blood, as she backpedaled into the trunk of the tree, trying to keep her balance and keep from falling, while her leg went slightly numb. She realized that she had bit her lip to keep from crying out that would give away her position, but it was too late for that. Her concentration had been broken and she was fully visible, and lights from the rifles of the soldiers illuminated where she knelt on the branch. She was sure that this was going to be it, Do or die time. she thought as she prepared herself. Then a female voice ordered, “Stand down.” She looked down at the red skinned figure striding into light. “Ashe,” she growled under her breath. So that’s how!


The Zelton’s true name was L’Umara, but most everyone just called her by her code name. The Zelton had become a thorn in her side, ever since her first day in the Syndicate. The first day Tahiri had arrived from the academy, Ashe and her had become fast friends. But then that all change a few days after, when she found out that the Supreme Commander himself had taken Tahiri as an apprentice. Ever since then, friendship turned to jealousy. Tahiri had finally managed to ask her why their friendship had faded so, and L’Umaras’ response was a challenge to a dual. The outcome of the dual ended with Tahiri beating her soundly, and had done nothing advanced their friendship, it only created a bigger rift between the two. L’Umara had worked so hard to get where she was as an Acolyte, and here was Tahiri, seemingly breezing through every test and fight that was set before her, already her equal and just about ready for another promotion, to Hunter. She couldn’t believe it, and was angry with Tahiri for being the Supreme Commanders’ apprentice. For L’Umara believed that her swift elevation in rank was due the influence of, or rather over, her Master. Tahiri tried to convince L’Umara that it has certainly been no picnic being his apprentice, that if it wasn’t for the fact of the skills that she had already possessed, she would probably have been dead by now. Instead the other Acolyte remained firm that she only got to where is by other means than hard work.


Blackhawk needed some air. Being in the Pyramid was fine, but he needed to get out for awhile. And besides, he had an airspeeder to test. Flying g through the air, he saw a flash of light that seemed… unnatural. Landing the speeder nearby, he approached the place where he had seen the light. Before they could see him, Blackhawk was in the trees. Nobody could see he was there.

Who… Blackhawk didn’t even finish the thought. He saw what was going on.

Whoo else? He knew that their master would have some kind of final trial in mind. But this. This was an assassination, and a poorly done one at that. Unbeknownst to anyone, Blackhawk had built a new lightsaber since his official promotion. She needs it more than I do. With that, his black as night vibrosword came unsheathed. It wasn’t hard to deal with most of the enemies in the trees. A wave of his hand darkened the ground and the vision of those that were on it. With that done, he drew his old lightsaber, and tossed it over, using the Force to guide it into a small opening in the tree… right where Tahiri was standing.


Solas strode onto the deck of his ship. The intendant of the Pyramid Quee and Tebbo Jensen the Kingpin walked behind him. The Sith warrior grunted and held his chest, while his black hawk cried. The Sith soothed his pet.

“I do not know how long this journey will take. But if I do not go, I fear that I will die. In my absence Jensen will have command. And Battlemaster Romanae is to be consulted on any matters pertaining to the Force.” He hung his cloak on a hook and turned to the pair.

“No one is to know where I have gone.” He moved to dismiss the pair, before drawing a datachip from inside his robes. “Give this to my apprentice Tahiri when she returns.” He handed the chip to Quee before dismissing the pair. Once they were off the ship the Sith stepped onto the lift. Stepping off the lift onto the command deck he sat in the cockpit and swiftly took off.


No wonder they knew exactly where I was, and how I couldn’t tell who they were. She concealed some of their Force signature, but she had to focus more on herself. I couldn’t feel her. Though that means that she hasn’t been working on it that much. But I wonder what other of her Force abilities have weakened due to inefficient training/practice?

Ashe laughed, sneering with pleasure at Tahiri, like a cat about to play with a cornered mouse. “You have nowhere to hide, nowhere to run, ‘apprentice Tahiri.’ Your step up in life ends here,” sneered Ashe, as she ignited her red saber. Tahiri knew that there was only going to be one of them walking out of this grove alive.

Tahiri knew what was going to come, but unbeknownst to Ashe, she had slowly been gathering the Force, healing her body. She prepared and amplified every muscle for the challenge ahead of her. The one thing she could counted on was for the Zelton to gloat about any advantage she had over anyone, especially Tahiri. Sizing up the squad of eight, four in the trees across from her, and four on the ground with the Acolyte as she gloated, and then glancing over to where she felt her brother apprentice was hiding, she made her move just as the darkness spread. Before Ashe or the squad could react to what was happening, she sprang down, using the anger of her and Ashes’ failed friendship and this final attempt to kill her, as fuel for this final battle between them. Landing on top of the closest trooper, she wrapped her arm around his neck and caught his chin in her hand. Twisting, she heard the satisfying crack as his neck snapped. “Kill her!!” Ashe shouted. She sensed the trooper nearby, as he tried to turn his weapon on her, at least where he thought she was, but she grabbed the weapon and with a twist pulled his whole arm behind his back, making him shoot himself in the back of the head. As the others reacted to hearing the shot and began to shoot wildly in her direction, she used the second trooper as a shield, while backing up to a gap between the trees. Though she could not see the troopers with her eyes, she could sense where they were. She stopped, planted her foot, and then with the Force, threw the body at the rest of the squad.

She caught her brother’s lightsaber as it came through the gap towards her, then ducked behind the tree beyond the reach of the darkness. She knew Blackhawk couldn’t keep up the blackness for long, so she acted quickly. Running to the base of the closest tree, where one of the troopers were stationed in, she leapt up into the tree, igniting her brothers’ saber and with a wicked upward slash, cut the trooper from hip to shoulder. She paused for a moment on the branch, and watched Blackhawk take down the two troopers closest to where he had been hiding, cleaving the one troopers left arm off and then thrusting his black vibrosword through the mans’ heart. Blackhawk ducked as a bolt whizzed right by his head, he reached out and grabbed the trooper with the Force, immobilizing him, and then pulled the terrified trooper forward until his torso met the red stained night blade.

The third seeing them both, and even though he had been ordered to kill only her, he instead turned his weapon on the other assailant. Though as he brought his weapon up to shoot at Blackhawk, she sprang at him and slicing the muzzle of his blaster off. As she stabbed him upward through the chest, she felt Blackhawk beside her. Looking at him and then down at where she could feel his arm against hers, seeing the blade of his vibrosword deep within the man’s chest right next to the blade of the lightsaber. Both pulled their blades out at the same time, and then with the Force, she flung the body down onto the ground.

She sensed the lightning just before it hit. “Look out!” she shouted, pushing Blackhawk away from her as a large bolt zapped its way right between them. She backflipped down into the blackness that still covered the ground, but as she landed in a crouch, the blackness vanished. She turned as she heard a scream and thud off to her left. A bolt had caught Blackhawk off guard, stunning and making him loose his concentration as the electricity run through his nervous system.

Another branch of lightning arched toward Blackhawk, hitting him again. Following the tendril back to where it had come from, she saw Ashe, smiling as she watched Blackhawk spasm and contort. Feeling her blood get hotter, she let the red glare seep into her vision. Using the new anger, she pulled the Force into her, letting it seep into her muscles. Igniting the saber Blackhawk had given her, gathering herself, and then sprinted forward, screaming as she leapt the last five yards between them. Ashe was taken by surprise and almost wasn’t able to ignite and get her own blade up in time, before Tahiris’ blade would have sliced Ashe in half.

As their blades clashed, Tahiri made Ashe back up, and didn’t allow her an inch of rest, as Tahiri spun and twisted around her. She drove the Zelton back until she was nearly against the trunk of a tree, her fierce thrusting and slashing met with hurried parries by her opponent. As Ashe’s back hit the tree trunk, her concentration slipped, and Tahiri was able to expertly insert her blade between Ashes’ blade and her leg, creating a large gash on the Zeltons’ calf. Ashe manage to thrust Tahiri a few steps back, allowing her step forward and make a play. Tahiri dodged a brutal downward slash from Ashe and then, with a little Force augmentation, leapt gracefully over the Zelton as she tried to take Tahiri’s legs out from under her. As she sailed over the taller woman, the red plasma blade met flesh as Tahiri swiped while twisting around in mid-air, Ashes’ blade missing her by centimeters. The Zelton screamed and lurched forward, her left hand hugging her right shoulder as her saber fell to the ground.

Tahiri landed with her back to the Zelton. Turning around, she slowly stalked towards the Zelton as she limped over to one of the dead troopers. Tahiri watched her pick up a rifle, the woman turned to fire, but with smooth motion of her left hand, Tahiri grabbed the rifle with the Force, wrenched it from Ashes’ hand, and left it hovering just out of reach in front of the injured woman.

“Tahiri, I have my orders and so do you. Let us be reasonable here,” as Ashe fell to one knee, trying to persuade Tahiri. “Listen I’ll let you go, and you don’t kill me. Yes?”

Tahiri could see the fear in the Zelton’s deep green eyes, and she could sense the pheromones the Zelton was producing. Probably to try and lull me into a false sense of security. She turned and went over to the groaning figure of her brother apprentice, Blackhawk. Tahiri let him lean on her as he regained his legs and bearings. Looking around he saw the Zelton as she knelt there watching them. Tahiri handed him his vibrosword, which he dropped when he fell out of the tree. Taking it he growled to her, “I’m going to kill that woman.”

Tahiri looked at him and then at Ashe. As Blackhawk started to advance towards the Zelton, Tahiri barred his way, saying flatly, “No.”

He stared at her in disbelief and anger, “No?! Why Tahiri? Why spare the woman who has been ordered to kill you, probably by our Master no doubt? Huh why?” He placed a hand on her shoulder to gently push her out of his way. “If you won’t do it, well, I’m certainly not going to let her live for what she was going to do to you.”

She grabbed the hand he had place on her shoulder, and held it there, replying a low tone, “No Brother, you will not be the one to kill her.”

“Then who, if not me? Master certainly will, for just the fact that she failed to do carry out his order,” his face contorted with a mixture of emotions, pain, anger, confusion, as he asked her.

“Because,” looking down and cocking her head as she gently took his hand off her shoulder and held it for a moment. “I’m going to kill her,” she replied in a low menacing tone, as she looked up at him. She could see the understanding spread quickly across his face. Tahiri turned around to her prey, igniting her saber and slowly stalking towards Ashe.

Ashe saw the fire burning within Tahiri’s sulfur yellow eyes, and watched in horror as she crushed the weapon, letting the now unless weapon dropped at her feet. Ashe tried to get up and back away from the advancing Togruta woman she had tormented just moments ago, instead she ended up tripping over herself due to her injuries. Frantically, she desperately tried to push herself away from Tahiri.


The Zeltron scrambled to her knees frantically trying to figure a way out of the situation. Then like a bolt of lightning it hit her. She threw up her hands and shouted.

“Wait, don’t kill me. I could be useful.” Her words intrigued the pair. Seeing that she had bought herself some time she slowly removed her hood and face-mask. “Look I know the way of the Sith, neither of you will be able to advance fully so long as your master lives. Spare me and I will serve you, help you bring him down. Now is the perfect time to lay the groundwork. For you see, your master has left the system.” This earned her some curious glances from her captors.

“He’s gone on some personal quest and left the Kingpin in command. Not everyone here is truly loyal to the Supreme Commander. Many would follow either of you two or the Kingpin over him. Let me live and I can rally my fellow acolytes and their squads to your banner. Together we could overthrow that lunatic and make this organization something great. So what do you say? Do we have a deal?” She looked up at the pair with expectation in her eyes.


Tahiri paused and cocked her head, processing what Ashe had just said. Glancing back at Blackhawk to see his reaction, he looked halfway between interested and confused. It interested her as well, the momentary thought was intriguing; overthrow Solas, take his place at the head of the Syndicate, while Hawk becomes head of the Grey Wolves as he hoped to do. She knew that Blackhawk may, and most likely would take, Ashe up on her proposal. However, there was a nagging feeling in the back of her head, How was she and Blackhawk with a handful of acolytes and over operatives supposed to overthrow a seasoned warrior, who had been through many more battles then any and possibly all of them together. Solas Night-Thorn had survived against all odds, quite literally. Though with another glance back at him, she could see that Blackhawk had his doubts as well.

“Why would you even suggest such a thing, and how would all, if not at least most, of us survive to even have a Syndicate to run?” asked Tahiri lowering her blade. “Our Master, Solas Night-Thorn has survived much more than any of us. So, let me ask you this,” raising an eyebrow. “How are we supposed to overthrow one the most powerful Sith, and Necromancer, on this planet?"

“Yes,” Blackhawk stepped forward beside Tahiri. “How would you propose that we do that?”

“You could take over the Syndicate now and when he returns, you both would have enough power behind you to overwhelm him,” she reasoned anxiously.

“Even with the full force of the Syndicate behind us, it still wouldn’t be enough,” replied Tahiri shaking her head.

“What do you mean Tahiri?” asked Blackhawk. “This could be our chance to be rid of this monster. Don’t tell me you’re actually going to defend HIM?!”

“Yes, and no,” she said with a sigh, looking at Blackhawk with a weary look on her face. “You know I hate it when he hurts you, for you are like family to me, like my brother. However, Master also feels like family…” she looked back at Ashe as she whispered under her breath, “even more than that.”
Blackhawk could barely make out that last part, he was about to ask what she had meant by that, but decided against it. He understood her unwillingness to not betray their Master.

“Oh, come on, there is no such thing as family to a Sith,” Ashe exclaimed looking between Tahiri and Blackhawk. “You can’t actually believe that the all mighty Supreme Leader cares anything about family, do you?”

Tahiri’s face turned hard as the fire within her eyes reignited. “How dare you say that,” she shouted, her fist tightening around her sabers hilt and standing straighter. “He knows and certainly cares more about family then you do!! His own daughter, whom he knew nothing about, showed up out of the vastness of space, and what did he do? Huh? He didn’t turn her away, he took her in!! Both of you,” she glanced at Blackhawk. “Can’t tell me that he is a man who doesn’t care about family.”

Sighing, Blackhawk nodded in agreement. “Also, I just realized that we would probably have to take down Dox, as well as our Master, to gain control of the Syndicate, and we certainly would not survive an encounter with him.” A very visible shudder ran through all of them, as they remembered one time or another when each of them had seen what happened to someone who displeased the Dashade.

“Well then?” asked Tahiri, as she looked at Blackhawk for an answer. Even though she already knew his answer since his revelation.

“Well, I guess,” he replied with a grimace and a nod. “You know my answer Tahiri. As I believe I know yours. May as well get on with it.” He sheathed his black vibrosword, turned and walked over to lean against the side of a tree, not too far away, to watch while he recuperated a bit.

Realizing her plan to stay alive failed miserably, Ashe looked around, and seeing a fallen trooper behind her, she looked back as Tahiri started to advance once more. Tahiri watched with no emotion as the woman struggled to escape. The Zelton managed to crawl her way to another of the dead troopers, searching anxiously for a weapon. She strained to get a pistol from its holster, but it was too late. Ashe suddenly felt a tightening feeling around her neck, before she fully realized it though, she was wrenched from the ground and found herself dangling.

Tahiri cocked her head, watching the woman kick and struggle without avail against the cold grasp of the Force. Continuing to advance up to Ashe until she stopped about three feet away, just out of range of getting kicked.

“You really think we’d be stupid enough to fall for something so… so ludicrous?” she smirked, as Ashe began to turn redder than her skin, and her eyes bulged slightly from the pressure being exerted on her larynx.

“Did you believe that I would betray my Master in that way?” her smirk turned into an evil looking grin, as she let up only slightly on her hold around her neck to let her answer. Grasping Ashe hung there for a moment staring at Tahiri, unable to think of anything to say.

“Well then, since you really don’t know anything about my Master, my brother or myself,” she said, as she looked the woman straight in the eye. “Then you don’t know the Sith.”

Ashe stopped struggling for a moment, Tahiri’s eyes held hers, even though she wished to look away, as the fire within them slowly smoldered. The Togruta took a step forward closer now, holding the saber close to the woman’s right knee. Ashes’ gut twisted in horror as she watched the sinister smile make its way across Tahiri’s face. She didn’t notice until it was too late, for there was no emotion or sign in Tahiri’s face of what she was going to do, as she felt the searing pain of the lightsaber on her leg.

The scream that managed to escape Ashes lips, was one that would have curdled the blood of any normal person. However, it didn’t effect Tahiri one bit, except as a bemusement of her own. In one fluid motion of her wrist and arm, she had separated both of Ashes’ legs right at the kneecap. Looking down, she watched as blood dripped from parts of the stumps where the saber hadn’t cauterized. The woman, maddened by pain, tried to kick her in the head, not realizing yet that both of her legs were gone. The only thing to hit Tahiri was drops of crimson blood, which splashed across the front of her clothing, her arms and her face. She watched as Ashe stopped kicking for a moment in shock, the confusion in her eyes as to why she hadn’t been able to kick Tahiri away. Tahiri extinguished her saber and then slowly lifted her right hand to her face and wiped a little of the blood off her cheek with the back of it. Looking at her hand, then up back up at Ashe, she smiled as she licked the blood off.

With no warning, Tahiri threw Ashe to the side, as if angry, saying sarcastically as she did, “Now look at what you’ve done, you’ve gone and made a mess of yourself.” Laughing as the Zelton coughed, and then angrily tried to pick herself up, falling back onto her forearms. When she finally turned on her side and saw what was left of her legs, she screamed again.

Blackhawk took a stood back in revulsion. “Oh my… Tahiri what are you doing?” he asked with shock and disgust.

“I’m giving her what she deserves,” growled Tahiri, annoyed with her brother for trying to rune her fun.

“Tahiri just kill her and be done with it,” he said as he began to step forward, then stopped.

“What, and miss out on the fun of finally getting to torment her?” asked Tahiri turning to face him.

“Ummm…” Blackhawks’ eyes grew wide, as he slowly drew his vibrosword. “Tahiri, come towards me… now… slowly.”


Confused Tahiri was about to ask what he was staring at, then turned back to Ashe hearing a different pitch in her scream. Standing behind the Zelton, was a huge orange cat-like creature, ears back, back fur raised up, looking between the three of them as if choosing which one to attack first.

“Ah Solan, I wondered where you had stalked off to during all this?” laughing Tahiri, opening her arms. “Come here boy!” With that, the creature perked up, and bounded over the Zelton right into Tahiri’s arms.

To Blackhawks horror and bewilderment, the beast tackled Tahiri to the ground and then preceded to lick her face, as she laughed and squealed with pleasure, before long ordering him off, which the creature amazingly obeyed instantly. He took a hesitant step toward Tahiri, asking “Ummm Tahiri, what is tha…” He jumped back a bit as the creature suddenly turned its attention to him. It stepped in between him and Tahiri, crouching and growling, warning him to stay back.

“Oh right, duh,” Tahiri smiled slapping her forehead with her palm. “You two haven’t met yet. Well now as best a time as any. Hawk, this is Solan. He’s an Akul, from my home world of Shili.” She walked around Solan, petting him as she did, “And Solan this is Blackhawk. He’s a friend. You don’t hurt or eat him, okay?” She waged a finger at the Akul and then pointed at Blackhawk, “You got that? He’s not a chew toy, or something to play with or hunt. I will be a very mad at you if you hurt him, alright?” She had made her way in between the giant creature and Blackhawk. The creature sat laid down, a deep rumbling sprang from deep within its chest. Turning to Blackhawk, with her left hand still on Solans’ head, motioned for him to come over. “It’s alright, come on over. Solan’s just a big push over once you get to know him,” she said smiling as she urged Blackhawk to join her. . “You may want to sheath you blade though.”

“Are you sure he’s safe?” asked Blackhawk as he took a tentative step forward, doing as she said and sheathing his sword. He trusted her more than anyone, but this was uncomfortably testing its limits by a lot.

“Oh no, Solan’s the total opposite of safe, in fact Akuls usually hunt my species. But he is loyal, and protective. Now come here,” she said nonchalantly.

“That really doesn’t fill me with confidence,” replied Blackhawk as he walked forward, only to stop just within arm’s length of Tahiri, as Solan started to growl again.

“No!” said Tahiri sternly. “He’s a friend, not an enemy.” She reached out and pulled Blackhawk, protesting, beside her. “Solan sniff,” she ordered, still holding Blackhawks’ arm, she took her hand off of the Akul’s head.

“Tahiri, what are you, crazy?” cried Blackhawk, as Solan circled them, sniffing him.

“You know better than to ask that brother,” she replied with a smirk. “Don’t worry, once he gets to know you, everything will be good between you two.”

“Ha ha,” he laughed nervously, as Solan stopped in front, sat down, and stared straight at him. After what seemed like an eternity, Solan got up and slowly stepped forward, while Blackhawk stiffened beside Tahiri as the Akul gently nudged his free hand.

Smiling Tahiri said, “Go ahead Hawk, he wants you to pet him.”

Looking down at her and then back at the Akul, he slowly put his hand on Solans’ head and began to rub it. Solan looked at him for a moment, and then closed his eyes and sat down again, this time in front of Blackhawk.

Tahiri let go of him and backed away slowly, watching in amusement as Hawk and Solan bonded. Without warning Solan flopped over and lay on his back. Blackhawk froze, confused.

“He wants you to rub his belly,” she said snickering. “He really likes you.”

Blackhawk looked at her, and then with a boyish grin, knelt down and began to scratch Solans’ stomach. Tahiri watched them for a moment with pleasure, before sighing and then turning her attention back to Ashe.


Ashe had been frozen in place for what seemed to her for hours. She watched the events happening in front of her, with a mixture of dismay and bewilderment. Then she turned her attention to dealing with the shock of both her legs missing. She could barely bring herself to look at the stumps without vomit involuntarily filling her mouth.

She was trying to slowly and quietly crawl her way over of the nearby bodies. She could barely see through the river of tears, though every time she tried to wipe them away, blood, dirt and other foreign particles obstructed her vision even further. Before she got to the body, she started to feel a cold darkness closing around her, Oh no…

Tahiri decided that Blackhawk was right and she should finish Ashe off. But I’m going to do it in my own way. I don’t care about what his ideology is, she is getting what she deserves. She reached with the Force, grabbing the woman, and pulled her up and closer to where she was standing. Ashe screamed as she was yanked off the ground, Tahiri held her aloft, but had pulled her a little too close. Ashe swung at her, though it wasn’t a punch. All Tahiri felt was a stinging sensation above her right eye and on her right cheek.

“Why are you making me suffer?” The hate dripping from her voice, she looked Tahiri in the eye. “If I live through this you will suffer a thousand times more than what you have just done to me.”

Tahiri let a small chuckle escape and smiling coyly, she replied, “That’s the thing, you’re not going to live. Unless you can survive in pieces?” With that Tahiri clinched her fists. A look of confusion spread across the Zeltons’ blood smeared face. Her expression turned to horror as she felt something pulling her in two directions.

Sounds of the wet crunching and tearing of bones, sinew and muscle filled the clearing, accompanied by the jarring screams. These screams that echoed through the jungle would have scared off even the bravest soul. Even as soon as they had begun, they were suddenly cut off, as if they had just been a horrible nightmare.

Silence filled the clearing as the two halves of what once was a Zelton, thudded to the ground in two almost distinguishable parts. Blackhawk was staring in awe and at the same time revulsion, as Solan crouched beside him cautiously sniffing the air. He ran over to Tahiri as she fell to her hands and knees. Kneeing beside her, he asked, “Are you alright?” He started as she looked up. Her entire front was covered in blood and gore, including her montrals and lekku, he couldn’t tell the difference between her skin and the blood.

“Yeah, I’m alright,” she reassured him. “I’ve just become a little tired, is all. Why are you looking at me that way?” she asked confused by his reaction.

“Uummm… Well, Tahiri,” Blackhawk gently helped her up. “We should get you cleaned up a little, you really should see yourself.”

“A uh a,” she said suddenly, wagging a finger at Solan as he was sniffing and started to lick one of the halves. Then looking down, she stopped as saw how much her clothes were soaked in blood. “Oh, I see what you mean Hawk,” laughing a little as she gave him a slightly embarrassed smile. She stood there and shook her arms a little, trying to get at least a little of the blood off. She only now noticed the slight warmth of the blood covering her skin, though it was quickly growing cold and had begun to congeal and harden.

“How about I go get my air-speeder, and get you back to the Pyramid? So’s you can clean up,” he asked looking around. He walked and bent over one of trooper’s bodies, and ripped a patch of cloth off to help her wipe some of the gore off her face.

“No, it’s alright Blackhawk,” she said, taking the cloth and wiping down her face, hands, lekku and as much of her montrals as possible. “I think that I had better get to the Pyramid on my own. Besides, I just realized that I must have dropped the holocron somewhere around here, and I need to find it for Master.”

“What?! Really? I don’t believe this. You were just about killed, you killed several troopers, and you just ripped a Syndicate Acolyte in half with the Force!!” exclaimed Blackhawk, throwing his arms up in exasperation. “Not to mention you’re exhausted and covered in blood.”

Crossing her arms, Tahiri replied indignantly, “Yeah? So?”

“So? So you’re telling me that after all of this, you’re worried about a stupid holocron for our Master?” he reasoned with her.

“Hawk, listen I know that you don’t fully understand Masters’ way of doing things, but I kind of knew that this was some sort of trial. Which means he’s probably watching, or has someone watching me to see how well I do’” sighing, she placed her hand up on his shoulder. Smiling she continued, “I know you want to protect me, but this trial I must finish myself. It is for the best. For you and me. You should head back to the Pyramid now, and I will be there soon enough. I know of a stream nearby that I can wash up in before I get there, and don’t worry I’ll have Solan with me. Okay?”

Blackhawk looked like he was going to try and argue, but Tahiri wasn’t going to have it. “Hawk, I love you like a brother. You are family to me, Master will not be happy with you helping me as it is. Let me find the holocron and get to the Pyramid in my own time, so that you don’t get into more trouble with him,” with that she called his lightsaber from where she had dropped it when Solan had pounced on her. Placing it in his hands, she finished with “Thank you for your help. Now go. Get back to Pyramid before someone starts wondering where you went.”

Blackhawk just stared at her for a moment. Though seeing that she wasn’t going to change her mind about anything, he sighed and shook his head, “I suppose you’re right. Just be careful, okay?”

Nodding, “I will.” She flashed him a smile before turning around, and walked over to the tree she had been cornered in earlier. She began searching in the brush around its base for the holocron.

Shaking his head again, Blackhawk turned and headed towards where he had parked the air-speeder. Reaching the edge of the clearing, he heard a high squeal. Looking back over his shoulder, he saw her holding the Sith holocron. Smiling as she bounced a bit in place, he called over, “Don’t forget to clean yourself up!”

“I won’t. Now get going,” she called half sarcastically, laughing. Solan was beside her, sniffing and trying to clean her off in his own way. She kept pushing his nose away, giggling every time his rough tongue scraped across her skin.

I will never understand how she can have so much happiness, and yet be a Sith, with that thought he got to the speeder and took off back toward the Pyramid. He was a relieved that she was okay, but still worried about what was going to happen when she got back. If he threatens or punishes her, I’m going to be pissed.

Tahiri heard the slight hum of Blackhawks’ air-speeder as he left. She looked at Solan and then patting her leg, said, “Come on boy, let’s go get myself cleaned up.” With that, she took off, with Solan padding along beside her, to the small hidden pool that was only a few leagues away from the Pyramid.

Two Hours Later

Tahiri stepped out of the jungle, breathing in deeply as she felt the warmth of the early morning sun, what rays that managed to make its way through the thick canopy. She had told Solan to head back into the jungle, and that she would see him later. As she walked up the steps leading to one of the above ground entrances, she steeled herself, ready for whatever her Master had prepared for her return.