Twin metal doors slid open with a quiet hiss. A figure draped in pristine black militant garb strode inside with a purposeful presence. His eyes glowed red in the darkened room before a series of incandescent globes filled the hallway with bright light. His polished black shoes cackled against the metallic flooring. Each step seemed to grow louder as each stride struck its mark. Upon reaching the end of the hallway, a second set of tempered durasteel doors remained firmly closed, showing no signs of allowing the figure entrance.
“Authorization code 55-764-Shayara-82.” The figure spoke with a short and precise staccato, each syllable seeming to effortlessly roll off the tongue.
Breaking the newfound silence in the hallway, an androgynous voice filled the room with artificial words.
”Authorization code confirmed. Initiating security clearance parameters.”
Three slots in a nearby wall opened up. One revealed an optic scanner, the device seemed the correct height for the standing humanoid. The second uncovered a square panel made of a bluish gelatinous substance. Finally the third was a small hole, which a short metal needle pushed out from.
“Security sequence activate.”
”Sequence now active”
The red eyed man stared into the optic sensor while a blue light scanned his ruby retinas. The blue light switched to green with a slight hum as the panel closed. He placed his right hand on the gelatinous substance, pressing his palm and digits to form a mold around his hand. Finally, he held his left hand up to the needle and pressed a finger on the tip, breaking the skin, and allowing the needle to syphon off a small amount of red blood.
”Optic scan: Cleared. Fingerprint recognition: Cleared. DNA matching: Cleared. Security clearance: Confirmed. Welcome back Master Rhylance.
As the doors opened, the reflective surface caught his image. His blue skin, his Taldryan Military uniform, and his cold expression stared back at him before the doorway cleared. Rhylance had returned from a long excursion within his Clan, and he survived the fatalistic assault on the planet Karufr. He, a non-Force wielding Science Medical Officer, had managed to find himself as Consul of a Dark Brotherhood Clan. The realization of where he was, from where he had been, made the hardened Chiss actually smile for the first time in many years.
Memories began to flourish through his mind. Memories of a life he long ago, left behind. Of an existence that he detested more than the abominations he found himself surrounded by on a daily basis. And as he remembered these things, these reprehensible experiences that plagued his studied mind, a coldness washed over his being.
He had forgotten the cold. Forgotten the solitude he felt as a youngling, surrounded by less than desirable idiots. He forgot the isolation he felt when his superior intellect was faced with little to no challenge from his “peers”. The only solace he remembered was from his books, his stories of worlds far grander than his begotten “Home”.
Beneath the frozen tundra’s of the ice planet Csilla, the grand Capital city of Csaplar reigned supreme amongst the Chiss population. Amongst the rampant streets, and bustling marketplaces, few in the High End Community cared about the insignificance of what had just occurred. In their eyes, a child like any other had just been brought into the Galaxy. A child born of a weak man and his stone-hearted wife.
The babe seemed to be of a weaker build than his three older siblings, most likely from lack of time gestating in his mother’s womb. Perhaps, and most likely, it was due to his carrier’s dependence on the spice that so richly destroyed many a life due to its chemically charged effects. Regardless of the reason, his birth under a Red Dawn sky, from a blood red water, imbued those around him with a sense of dread. This child would not be their salvation. He would be their undoing. They were sure that no success would come from this abomination of theirs. Against their better judgment, they could not bring themselves to leave him above ground in the ice chilled winds of the rock above.
The father was a broken man, a laborer named Amondose (Docam’onos’ehause) who, with his frail body, was hard pressed to fully provide for his own. The Mother, a manipulative shrew named Sadiri (Varsa’dir’ivelt), was born of a regal wealth before she squandered herself into familial exile amongst the ragged peasants of Chiss society. It was only due to her familial name that her child would be born in the Capital instead of their callused abode in the discarded village of Ame’niec.
While Sadiri’s parentage had no will to keep their estranged daughter in their fine home, they had been eager to offer payment in an effort to keep their grandchildren afloat, and in good health at their side. Disgusted at her progenitor’s offering, Sadiri spat in their faces before turning tail and leaving the city soon after the birth. She couldn’t believe the nerve of her disowners. She often protested their decision to leave her to the rats, on her very own, but their decision would not be swayed. Their daughter, a once beloved possession, had turned her back upon their good will far too often for them to forgive her reprehensible actions. For her transgressions, she lay at the bottom of social obscurity, and forevermore she would hold a grudge, dripping of hatred and vile disgust over her parent’s image.
“Sadiri, maybe it would have been better to leave him with them. We barely have food for our other children.”
“Amonose, grow a spine, would you. I swear you are more easily broken than twig from a perished tree,”
“I meant no disrespect to you, my love. I only thought that this boy of ours would prove to be a detriment to his elder siblings.”
“The strong of our young will grow to be stronger, the weak will die off when their time has come.” Sadiri looked down upon her newborn son with a slight sneer. “If Docrh’ylanc’ehouse wants to live, then he will be strong enough to do so.”
Turning their back on the babe while they rode on forward, Rhylance opened his gleaming red eyes and took one of his first looks into the harsh world of Csilla.
Doc’hause family home
On a rocky stretch near a broken down house, a small white creature lay dead upon the ground. Next to it a small Chiss child, a feeble build supporting his frame, sat staring at the still form. From out of his patched pants, he pulled a dulled knife that he had attempted to sharpen. Bringing the blade closer, the Chiss child cut, albeit not cleanly, into the body. Opening the carcass, he was intrigued to see various organs, bone, and muscle structure of the dead creature. Feeling a bead of sweat drip down his face, the boy wiped it away, leaving a slight streak of blood in its place.
“What are you doing?!” A familiar voice screeched behind him. “Rhylance, what is wrong with you?!”
The boy, Rhylance, slowly turned to see his elder sister; a 13-year-old Chiss by the name of Helenore (Doche’lenor’ehouse), standing behind him. Rage and disgust graced her fair visage. Her well-kempt hair was pulled back into a ponytail, with a strand framing either side of her silver-blue face. Her red eyes seemed to burn into him with her gaze. He knew that nothing good would come from this interaction.
“Helenore, what are you doing out here?”
“Mother told me to find you. She thought you’d be out here doing something wrong, and she was so right. You are disgusting!”
Rhylance looked back to the creature’s body. He couldn’t understand what she was so upset about. This was a miracle of nature, and he was learning about the creature. He was enthralled by what he could see, feel, and smell.
“I don’t understand. Why are you upset?”
“You killed that poor creature you little freak!”
“No, I didn’t. It was already dead. Here come and see this. I can’t explain it but…it’s fascinating.” The young boy couldn’t help but be enraptured in his discovery. He only wished that his sister could see it for what it truly was. A beautiful work of art that nature had bestowed upon the world.
“You are messed up in the head! That is pure madness, absolutely disgusting!”
“Helenore. This is a work of genius. Look, everything is connected! Each part of this creature worked in unison…I just want to know how…”
A loud crack filled the air, and Rhylance fell back as a stinging pain flared across his cheek. As his slightly blurred vision came back into focus he could see the sneering image of his mother lording over him. Her hand was open and red from the hard slap she sent across his face. Behind her, Helenore stood with a conceited grin. She raised her eyebrows as if to say “This is what you deserve”.
“What in the blazes are you doing?!”
Rhylance slowly stood back up before speaking to his mother. Experience told him that it would make no difference, but part of him still hoped that she would listen, that she would simply understand.
“I just wanted to learn. Maybe if I knew more about it, I could have saved it.”
Sadiri’s expression went from anger and disgust to one of absolute disbelief.
“You actually think that you, a little spec of dirt on this here road, could possibly save anything? That you could do anything other than destroy?”
“Yes,” he answered with a slight whimper. He just wanted her acceptance, and it became more and more obvious that it was one thing he may never get from her.
“Now you listen here you little brat. You are going to go inside, wipe that crap off of your face, and get ready to head to the mines with your father. Now go!”
Rhylance’s head fell slightly as he headed to the house. A question grew inside his mind as he walked, and against his better judgement, he turned back to his mom to ask.
“Excuse me?” Sadiri responded in near shock.
“Why do I have to work in the mines? Helenore and my brothers never had to. They never any work like this, so why do I have too?”
“Your brothers and sister are gifted that’s why. They have a power that you could never understand with that deranged mind of yours. They will actually go places in their life, you…you will just be in the same place that your good-for-nothing father is. Now I’ve already told you what you are to do, so do it! And I never want to hear any talk from you about these nasty habits of yours, do you understand me?”
“Good. You are nothing but a waste of precious space. Never forget that.”
As Rhylance watched his mother walk away with Helenore, he heard her speak in a hushed tone.
“I wish I had just left him above ground. Then he wouldn’t have this effect on you and your brothers.”
As Rhylance made his way inside, thoughts of his restrictions washed over him. He knew that he would never receive his mother’s love or respect. But that didn’t stop him from wanting or wishing for it. It had always been bad, but recently everything had gotten so much worse. His eldest brother Diyerkie (Docdi’yerki’ehause) had grown to show a strength in the fantastic power known as the Force. His other two siblings, Helenore, and Vardisie (Docva’rydisi’ehause) has also shown a strong aptitude for the Force, but Diyerkie had been approached by an organization known as the Dark Jedi Brotherhood and their Iron Legion. Sadiri had been so undeniable excited at her son’s good fortune that once he left, she began to prepare her other two eldest children to meet a similar fate in the years to come. She thought that her luck would finally show through the wretchedness of her life. And the only thing that threatened her happiness, was Rhylance.
The boy walked into the dirty facilities to wash off his face. Staring at his reflection he made a promise to himself. A promise that would transcend his current status.
“I will escape this place, and I will be more that my mother believes me capable. I promise that I will prove her wrong.”
Midday, the sun shone widely across the icy planet surface. The light easily pierced its way into the frozen mountains and the tundra shown with a glaring brightness, which if looked into directly could cause permanent damage to the eyes. Because of this, the group of workers who walked across the icy terrain wore goggles created specifically to keep out the sun’s great light. Among these young, near teenage, workers was a twelve-year-old Rhylance. For five years he has worked the labor intensive job as a miner. His physical build, while somewhat more muscle toned, still showed signs of malnutrition from the poor treatment he received at home.
The workers kept a steady pace as they neared their next target destination. An opening in the side of an icy mountain would be their next work area. As the group of boys wandered inside of the mountainside, the light that hit the ice refracted into a slew of colors painting the walls with their unique sheen. It was truly a beautiful sight unless it was one you’d seen time and time again. Rhylance pulled out his mining equipment and got right to work. The pay was dreadful, but it kept his mother happy, and his brother, Vardisie, off of his back for the most part.
After several intensive hours of hard labor, the boys took a chance to eat their lunches. Due to the cold nature of the planet, their food was normally kept in heated containers, so they could have a decent meal. Rhylance simply pulled out a small plastic-wrapped packet of powder and added it to some water. The chemical reaction caused the powder to solidify into a bread-like substance. The Chiss ate his meal and pulled out a book that he had purchased on his last venture to Csaplar. The book was written about the anatomic structures of several living species across the galaxy. Rhylance greatly enjoyed learning about anatomy and biology. He experimented when possible on dead bodies. The experiences gave him valuable insight into how the bodies of various lifeforms work either similarly or vastly different.
As he read, and ate his food, a pair of his coworkers walked up behind him. This wasn’t anything new, and frankly, the bravado of these unstudied delinquents was growing quite vexing to him. He didn’t understand the issue they had with his wanting to learn, and not be illiterate or unknowledgeable about the world around him.
“Well lookie here boys, the freak is “Reading” one his great books again. What’s it about now? Some weird fungus that you will never lay your eyes on?”
The boy, an imbecile name Trank, laughed at what he perceived to be a funny joke. Rhylance’s face remained unperturbed by Trank’s attempted hazing. The other workers gathered around, hoping to see the Chiss who thought he was better than everyone else get what was coming to him.
“This book is nothing that your uneducated mind could hope to understand so why don’t you scurry off and leave me to my reading.”
“I don’t get you Rhy. You sit here, working a job that pays you, and instead of putting your all into your work, you hang around with these preposterous stories.”
Rhylance closed his book before placing it back into his backpack. Then looked over to see Trank staring at him as if he could bore a hole through Rhylance’s head with his eyes.
“I wouldn’t expect you to get it, Trank. I like to learn. I enjoy reading and finding out things that I have never heard of. It is fascinating to behold.”
“And why wouldn’t I get it? Huh, freak boy?”
Rhylance knew where this conversation would go so he simply stepped away from the situation. Trank, not wanting this to end, followed closely behind.
“Hey, I wasn’t finished talking with you yet.”
Rhylance merely ignored the conversation. He wanted to complete his job, so that he could go home, and do there as he wished. He picked up his mining equipment and went back to work. As he drilled in his designated area, Trank came up behind him and shoved him forward, causing him to drop the drill, and the machine sputtered to a halt.
“I am going to have to give you a lesson here in respect. When I speak to you, you listen, got me?”
Without giving him a chance to answer, the group of workers began to beat Rhylance as he laid upon the ground. The showed little mercy as he bled upon the icy ground before stopping to continue their work. Trank walked away, a big smile adorning his face.
Rhylance stayed upon the ground, trying to fight through the pain. He suffered from bruised ribs and mostly bruised up skin. He detested these barbarians, but in a way he could almost see them as right. It had been five years since he made that promise to himself, and he never faltered…until now. His determination to show his Mother and family his worth was coming closer and closer to be a waste of energy and resources. Part of him even wondered if all this learning was even worth it.
“Just remember this bud. You’re not better than any of us. You are worth nothing. Absolutely nothing to us when it comes to this job. So stay out of our way. And leave those pathetic books of yours at home. There’s no use for them here. Not while you still work here.”
After the debacle ended, the group finished out their work, and they all headed home. Any hope Rhylance had for a better future was quickly coming to an end. It seemed that he would always just be, the other guy.
Doc’hause family home
In a whirl of extraneous movement Sadiri wove through the barely fixed up house of hers. Two years ago her husband Amondose died in a mining accident, forcing Rhylance, their now 15 year-old-son, to keep working the mines, in an even harsher environment, to make ends meet at the house. Rhylance hated the work, but even he needed the money to survive at this point. Learning quickly from his mother, by watching her for so many years, he began to pick up her subtle forms of manipulation and subterfuge. Several times he was even about to hide portions of his wages from the woman, allowing his to run his own diet, and obsession with knowledge. For years, he had found having conversations with those around him to be less than interesting as his intellect grew, and theirs remained stagnant.
Sadiri was excited today, as it was the day a member of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood would return to take her final Force Sensitive son, Vardisie, and mold him into a member of their organization. Her eldest two children had already been integrated, albeit their careers have been less than amazing, which really upset their once proud mother. This was her last chance to have a success amongst her failure of a gene pool.
Vardisie was only Rhylance’s elder brother by one and a half years, though if you asked the larger built brother then he would claim to be the superior in all ways that matter. Rhylance had found himself of the opposite end of his brothers Force abilities many a time. Every time, Vardisie would merely use his telekinetic abilities to screw with his brothers books, his belongings, and whatever else her decided for the day.
As the family sat and waited, Rhylance had his newest book, dealing with physics, silently to himself not wanting to disturb the others around him with his excessive learning habits. As if by que, a knock started at the door, and Sadiri ran to the door front looking to us to stand, especially Vardisie. Both boys stood from their seats to be at least somewhat respectful to the representative of the Dark Brotherhood. Opening the door, Sadiri bowed low for the man.
“Welcome to my humble home, good Master. I hope your visit is to your liking.”
“Where is the boy?” The robed man asked focusing on Vardisie, his voice dripping with clear disdain for the current situation.
“Ah yes, right here Master. This is my wonderfully powerful son, Vardisie.”
Continuing to look at the boy, Warlord Morse Valdeo found himself questioning whether or not it was advisable to take another child of this woman. They already had two of them in their forces, and neither was well known for their aptitude, or vigilance with the Force. Still he had been under orders. If only at the bare necessity, the siblings would be a useful cannon fodder. As he looked around “Morse’s eyes fell on Rhylance. As he stared at the slightly younger boy, he could see pain, suffering, and anger in him. He could feel the fire burning beneath Rhylance’s eyes.
Morse walked around, noticing several advanced volumes that he couldn’t believe he would see in a home like this. Looking at the family before him, he deduced that the one silent member was the only one who seemed somewhat intelligent. If that was the case then the boy could be a decent addition to the Iron Legion’s forces. Rhylance watched as the Master’s eyes kept flickering towards his, and this intrigued the fifteen year old greatly. Finally Morse began to speak again.
“Yes Master…that’s my name.”
“I have been given the objective to report back to the Iron Legion with you son Vardisie. If this sounds like a favorable situation for yourself, then head out to my vessel.”
Vardisie quickly leapt to his feet and moved himself out onto Morse’s vessel, and awaited lift off. Sadiri looked so happy that her third child was also on his way to become a full-fledged member of the Dark Brotherhood that she could barely contain herself.
“Thank you Master Morse so much. I know that Vardisie will be one of the best you’ve ever trained! If there is anything for you that I can do…just name it.” She purged the words from the mouth so fast they were almost incoherent.
“Actually I do have one question for you.”
“And what would that be?”
“Your other son here. Do you not want him to have the same opportunities that his siblings did?”
Rhylance and Morse both watched as Sadiri’s eyes darkened at the mere mention of her fourth child. Morse nearly smirked at the sudden shift it the woman’s demeanor. He understood at once that he probably wasn’t gonna like the incoming answer.
“Trust me, Master, when I say that you don’t want this one anywhere near the Brotherhood. He is a horrible child, who deserves his current fate.“
“I see. Well, you may want to go say goodbye to your other son then. Who knows when the next time you can see him will be.”
Eyes wide, Sadiri nearly ran out the door to bid her Vardisie a fond farewell. As she did this Morse approached Rhylance.
“I can see the power you possess in your eyes boy. You seek to leave this place don’t you?”
Rhylance was nearly at a loss for words. Out of a sheer force of will, he spoke to the Dark Jedi.
“More than anything sir. I cannot stay in this forsaken place any longer.”
Morse simply smiled.
“That’s what I wanted to hear. Take this, boy,” He said as he handed a form to Rhylance. The Chiss accepted it easily. “That form is to be giving to the head Docent at a testing center located in the Capital City of Csaplar in one week’s’ time. Pass the test and you will be accepted to the Shadow Academy to be trained as a member of the Dark Brotherhood’s Loyalist forces. Welcome to the Iron Legion boy.”
Rhylance was brought back from his thoughts about his childhood. So many things have changed since those day spent mining in the crystalline caves. He had never one missed them, and he for sure would never want to return to Csilla. Rhylance had never kept up on what happened to his mother, but his sibling…that was another story entirely.
“Are you ok." the androgynous voice rang out once more.
“Yes Morse. I am just fine. Glad to be home is all.”