| Who's scruffy lookin'?!|
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- "Death? Why this fuss about death. Use your imagination, try to visualize a world without death! ... Death is the essential condition of life, not an evil."
I was too young to understand what the death of my parents would mean for me, for my future. I don't remember the events leading up to their death; be it the age at which it happened, or a lapse of memory to block out the gratuitous violence and horror that even the most battle hardened often have trouble forgetting. My father was, as told by what one could assume to be credible sources, a Dark Jedi. Passed through the generations, the Force has always been a part of my genealogy. Following the ways of the dark side, many have risen to great power; not my father. He was weak. He lacked strength of mind and body.
They were killed. Not by the jedi, not with any sense of honor or chivalry. They were returning to Thyferra when it happened. They were picking me up from my annual visit with my uncle, the COO of Xucphra, a bacta manufacturing company that had been placed on planet by the Empire in a last attempt to control the bacta distribution. They had taken the flight many times, though when the Yacht burst into flames as it entered the planets atmosphere there was little that could be done. Their charred corpses were found near the crash site. They had not died during the crash but had suffered, burned to death as they struggled to crawl from the wreckage. After the proper memorial events, it only seemed natural for me to move in with my uncle. Much like my father, he was gifted with the Force. The main difference between the two was his drive to succeed, his drive for power.
It became increasingly difficult to cope with the extreme changes. Anger became the only driving force in my life, and with such I receded further and further into the depths of a hell that I had created for myself; punishment for what had happened to my family, to everything that I had known and loved that had come crashing down on top of me in a matter of seconds. I was hurt, vulnerable, grieving in the only way that I knew how. In this time of need my uncle took me in, not only in home and daily life, but as a confidant. I was open with him, trusting that my best interests would come first, too trusting. I was blind to his deception then, and in many ways I still am.
I completed my schooling on Thyferra. I had planned, earlier on in my life, to further my education at the university on Corellia, though with heavier weighing influences my path was diverted. I immediately took an entry level job at Xucphra, packing bacta and saving credits. It was at least a year before my uncle expressed interest in my potential with the Force. It was, after all, part of my blood. There were no ifs or buts, it just was.
I continued to live with my uncle for the three following years. Starting with the basics, he began to teach me the skills of wielding a blade. Using a standard sword, I became skilled in feints and lunges, as well as the ability to defend from hostile strikes. My ability to sense danger before actions were taken began to develop, drastically increasing my already growing abilities. I was beginning to crave my daily routine, an insatiable hunger for more power causing nothing but anger and frustration. It was this that continued to push me through my lessons, which eventually led to my first experience with his lightsaber. The mystery and power contained within the cylindrical weapon alone called out to me. Wielding it, at first, proved to be a difficult task, though through continued practice I was effectively fighting. While the physical conditioning was vigorous, the mental conditioning often left me completely drained. He told me that my mind was filled with hate, calling me to the darkness, to the power that I so longed to possess. Our relationship of uncle and nephew quickly turning into one of master and apprentice.
It was now time to prove my worth, to validate the years of training. With this task I would earn the respect of my master, or so I had thought.
Faust, a man that I knew very little about, a man that had once meant a great deal to my uncle. The two, earlier on in their lives had been great friends. Betrayal, death. The details had never fully surfaced during the long conversations leading up to this day. Maybe in my childhood the lack of detail would worry me, but I had grown, I had learned. The past is what makes up who we are, the future is what comprises who we will be. I did not care why Faust was to die, just that with his death I would benefit.
A black cloak is quickly pulled from the hotel closet as the hours narrow down. There would only be a window of two or three minutes and I had not even begun to head to the landing pad yet. Thoughts raced through my head; the speeder trip to the outskirts of town seeming nearly instantaneous. I parked within the trees, where I sat for several minutes. I had never killed a man.
I had been tracking him for nearly a month now, receiving the initial information of his craft and last known location from a civilian on Roon, the planet that my uncle had directed me towards. I carried a lightsaber, the clothes on my back, and credits which I had used to obtain information, force filling in when wealth was not enough. The steady humming of another speeder sounds in the near distance, ripping me from thought and replacing all doubt with adrenaline. My heart pounded, a bead of sweat slowly ran the length of my temple, despite the modest temperature, testament in itself to the anxiety welling within.
I waited for Faust to approach his ship, crouched in the shadows of the surrounding foliage. My hand raised slightly, an unnatural wind blowing against the cool breeze. It only took a moment for the dirt to lift from the ground, forming a wall which moved with my body as I sprinted to the ship. I had utilized the teachings of my master, I would surely be rewarded. My uncle had not told me everything, though, and I realized this as an invisible hand grasped at my body, pushing it to the ground with extreme force, the wall of dust falling as quickly as it had been invoked. Had I been set up? Was this a test that would determine not only my future, but whether or not I would live beyond this moment in time?
Pushing myself from the ground I grasp at my side, fingers wrapping around the cylindrical weapon that I had become accustomed to. I eagerly flip the switch, a crimson blade spitting forth with a low snap, a hissing following shortly after.
- "Your attempts are in vain, why make this more painful that it has to be."
I had, until this point found bliss in ignorance, following the path set before me like a pawn in holochess.
He sneers, his own lightsaber igniting as he strides towards me, "You must be another of Valynth's."
Another? My uncle had attempted the assassination before? It had clearly been unsuccessful, so why would he risk the life of his nephew... family. It didn't matter, not now. I had already confronted the target, one of them would not walk away from this. I sprang towards him with all of my might, the crimson blade swinging down upon him.
"Please lay still," the monotoned medical droid stated as I thrashed in waking. I was having trouble adjusting to the lighting of the room, my eyes squeezing tightly shut at the pain of bright light dangling directly overhead. Another voice sounds, though from a different area in the room.
- "Go back to sleep, you need to heal. We will discuss things later..."
Several days later I woke up to find myself in a makeshift bed in some sort of cargo hold. The ship was small, perhaps a converted shuttle of some sort, and while I was surprised to be alive, I was even more surprised at the pilot. Faust had spared my life, leaving only a saber wound to my right shoulder. I spent most of the flight keeping to myself in the cargo hold, tending to my wound with a fresh bacta patch. It wasn't until the destination was reached that we first exchanged words. At first they were hostile, though after a while we began to have a civil conversation. What he told me would change my life, again. I was incapable of believing as the words flowed from his mouth. Many years before, after the feud between the two, my uncle had tried to kill him. This wasn't what hit me, but the detail in which he described the exploding ship, the people in the shuttle had died the same way as my parents.
It took me several days to come to grips with the fact that my parents death had been arranged by my uncle. I still don't know how, but it was becoming clear that I had been nothing but a tool to the only man that I thought was truly there to help. Had I just been another of his creations, someone to complete his less than desirables? While most would flow through the cycle of sadness, then anger, I was immediately filled with rage, first towards my uncle, then myself for not seeing it sooner. He was exactly the type of man that I wanted to be, and I trusted him, mistake number one. During this time, I confided in Faust. I was not aware of it, but he did whatever he could to increase the anger that I had for my uncle. The more angry I became, the more trusting I became of him. Mistake number two.
From here, I began my training once again, this time under Faust. He was much stronger than my uncle could ever dream of becoming; it was as if I was starting from square one. I trained every waking moment, making up for lost time. As I continued to learn feats of the physical nature, my mind was developing the most. Faust taught me to shield my mind from others, with which I became staggeringly proficient. With this, my mischievous nature could run its course, allowing me to sneak away during the nights, experiencing life away from my master and the fine turning of my social skills. With the philosophy of my master, the assimilation of the force progressed, a slow seduction to the darkness that I knew would consume me, the crave for power ever growing. The dark side is my life, my oasis. As time passed I moved several more times to a variety of different planets. In this time period, I learned more than I ever had training from my uncle. I have made an enemy that I have never met. I know her looks, I know her name, and one day I will know the feeling of striking her down, looking into her eyes as she breathes her last. Only then will Ai'kani understand, and my training be complete. Until then, it is through Faust's teachings that I shape my life and actions, his words that I follow.
- "One does not love, they lust. There is no compromise, you see what you want and you take it. Through anger you gain strength. Use this strength to to empower."