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Embers Burn Long (Star Wars)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by ina_meishou, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. While the originals are being left up for reference, this story is in the process of being edited/rewritten. The updated version begins here.

    O0O

    Waking up is rarely pleasant in my experience, but that first day in this mess certainly stands out as one of the worst.

    The first thing I noticed was the bed, or rather the lack of one. I wouldn't generally praise the mattress I had back before, but it was certainly better than trying to sleep on solid stone. The thick layer of dust didn't help either, and in less than a minute I could feel my sinuses close down and mucus start to pour down my face. It took a bit to move beyond that, especially with swelling eyelids, and so it was perhaps ten minutes after I awoke before I took notice of the remainder of the room.

    I had never seen it before. The floor was stone, as was the high peaked ceiling. The walls were stone as well, though I could see the decaying remains of tapestries or embroideries or something like scattered around where the walls weren't carved into recessed shelving filled with oddly intact books and cylinders that might contain scrolls. There was one doorway, though it was filled with what appeared to be narrow stone blocks fitted together in odd patterns. The light was dim and had a faint red tinge, and trickled almost like fluid from a series of cup like sconces set high on the walls. It cast the intricate carvings that covered everything in strange shadows, making every surface seem possessed of impossible depth.

    In the center of the room was a short pedestal, an unadorned block in the same reddish stone as the rest of the room. On the pedestal was a book.

    At about the same time I noticed the book, I noticed that I wasn't wearing the clothes I'd gone to sleep in. I had nothing but a set of thin, loose trousers secured by a drawstring.

    Standing up brought another sensation, and I felt something cold and angular bob against my chest. It was heavy in my hands when I lifted it to see, a central gem of deep red surrounded by six narrow wedges of rune carved metal that looked like copper. The gem seemed to burn with light, though it shed none. There was something familiar about it, about all of this, but I was still muzzy from sleep and could not bring the thought forward.

    I dropped the amulet and focused on the book. It was central, the focal point of all the room's lines. My steps raised clouds of dust as I shuffled forward to lean heavily on the pedestal and examine the thing more closely. It was bound in red leather, the spine worn from use, the embossed black lines that covered it faded in places. The markings on the front were gibberish to me, though as I looked they seemed to waver and twist, and I felt I could almost make some sense of them.

    The feeling passed and I opened the book. It was thick, the pages worn and ragged. I flicked randomly through, finding a half a dozen sections, each in a different hand, on different materials. The first and last sections seemed the least worn, the writing was inhumanly regular, typed most likely, on straight cut pieces of some stiff material I was unfamiliar with. Other sections varied, from a thin, pinched looking hand on the same material to tall, angular glyphs on something that felt delicate as tissue, to one section written on crude parchment of some sort, barely scraped and still with bits of mummified flesh along the edges.

    I could not read a single one of them, though all of the various writing forms seemed maddeningly familiar.

    Annoyed, I stopped paging, looking at a section in the early part of the text. It was the most delicate section, the tall, thin glyphs. Two sections of text were offset from the rest and I focused on the latter one. I could feel my head pounding as I looked at it. It was so familiar, I was certain I knew what it said if I could only think. It was like an obsession rolled through me, a mad, absolute focus on the pounding in my head that drowned out the ache of joints and the misery of allergies. I felt a rushing sensation with every breath, as if I stood inside the chest of some great animal, every breath sending air rushing through lungs and blood surging through a thumping heart. The amulet around my neck pulsed in time with my heart and my breath and my head. My vision blurred, and suddenly there was a wrenching sensation in my mind, as if a switch had been flicked, and I saw.

    Suddenly, the glyphs did make sense. I could understand every character, every diacritical mark, even idiom and tricks of writing were open to me. I could understand the writing as if it was my own, as if I'd been born to it. I looked at the offset section again, and this time I understood. As I read, my lips moved along, the words of a language I had never spoken pouring from my mouth as easily as my native tongue ever had. The harsh, rhythmic sounds echoed around the room, and as every word burned through the air the lamps seemed to pulse and flare, the dim light growing. The roaring feel of a giant's breath and hammering heart soared alongside them until everything seemed to thrum with power.

    The text read thus:

    Nwûl tash.
    Dzwol shâsotkun.
    Shâsotjontû châtsatul nu tyûk.
    Tyûkjontû châtsatul nu midwan.
    Midwanjontû châtsatul nu asha.
    Ashajontû kotswinot itsu nuyak.
    Wonoksh Qyâsik nun.


    I felt my legs waver, then crash out from under me, leaving me sitting at the foot of the pillar like a limp child. A pillar that was suddenly shifting, sections of smooth stone sliding apart and down into the floor, leaving only corner posts to support the surface upon which the book rested. I felt raw with shock...and fear. As I saw what had lain within the pillar, a small four sided pyramid of metal, copper and silver and brass or things which looked like them. The sides were covered in red lit traceries, runes and strange, angular pictographs. The whole capped by a pulsing red gem at the crown.

    “Oh...” I heard my own voice as if from far away, quavering and faint against the roar of power that filled the room and the spikes of pain that still drove through my head, “oh....shit.”

    O0O

    This isn't (strictly speaking) an SI, since that story would end fairly quickly in a Tu'kata's belly. Or some other painful and ignoble way to die in horrible agony. Thus, while the narrative is first person, the character is not 'me' as such.

    Index is here. Or here. Props to Kclcmdr. Please note that the 'redacted' links are to the current version. The others link to the previous version.

    As always, criticism/comment/critique is appreciated.
     
  2. That guy has bad luck. Have fun getting out of a Sith Lords crypt and of Korriban, that planet is a damn deathtrap.
     
  3. Eh, if the fic is using SW: TOR as a baseline Korriban is a starter planet. Unless of course (s)he can't bullshit his/her way to the spaceport because he cons red to the Academy guards.

    Lot more dangerous if the SW verse he found himself in is based on Kotor or the EU.
     
  4. It took an embarrassingly long time to pull myself into some semblance of order. I won't bore you with the details of that particular wait. Once I finished shivering and managed to stand again the first thing I did was try and get the stone coverings around the holocron back up, nothing worked. Poking at the now recessed stones did nothing, nor did backing as far away as I could in hope of a proximity sensor. I tried telling it to close in both English and Sith with equal results.

    Eventually, I stopped wasting time on that and started going over the structure I had been dropped in. The doorway opened when I traced one of the runes on it's perimeter to reveal a second room of approximately the same size, but completely empty and mercifully lacking quite the overwhelming presence of the force. There were three other doors, one in each wall, and the same carvings covering the walls and ceiling, but no shelving, nor anything that looked like it might once have been furniture. With nothing better to do I checked the doors. The one on the left opened into a tiny room in which, incongruously, there was a pair of metal contraptions. Further examination showed one to be some sort of absurdly advanced chemical toilet. I didn't know how it worked and frankly was in no hurry to find out. Fiddling with the other resulted in a set of wands popping out and rattling the fillings nearly out of my teeth, also conveniently leaving the dust I'd had coating me in a pile at my feet, a sonic shower.

    The opposite door to the revealed bathroom was a pantry, jammed full of boxes of foil wrapped bricks of something exceedingly unappetizing, apparently thirty thousand years of technologically advanced interstellar civilization does not equate to having tasty preserved foodstuffs. Like the bathroom, or fresher I supposed I'd need to get used to calling it, the food was clearly put here long after the place was built, probably about the same time I was jammed in that death trap of a sith hoard.

    Someone was playing a very annoying game.

    I opened the last door for all of half a second before frantically mashing the rune again and diving to the side to avoid a spray of some sort of neon yellow mucus that spattered thickly across the floor before dissolving into acrid smoke. Right, I thought, annoying isn't even the damn word for it. I spent the rest of that day and all of the next going over the walls hoping to find some sort of secret exit or other escape route, since the main door was very definitely off limits with that....whatever it was outside.

    It was the morning of the third before I admitted to myself that there were only three ways I was getting out of these rooms.

    I could open the main door and hope the insane magical monster thing killed me relatively painlessly, and that it wasn't one of the ones that leeched out your soul to spend eternity in agony fueling the beast or something. I could wait and hope that whatever had put me here had an attack of conscience and put me back before the food ran out. Or I could go back into the sith horde and hope I managed to learn enough magic to survive getting out before getting hit with some horrific curse of ten thousand agonies, or whatever other absurd defenses the lord who had set this place up used to guard their legacy. Certain violent death, almost assured death by starvation, or learn powerful magic...

    Well, put that way it was no choice at all.

    Recovering the big book from the pedestal, the only book I'd already opened and thus the only one I wanted near me until I had some better ideas on avoiding curses, was somewhat anticlimactic. I half expected the tomes cluttering the shelves to animate and leap out for me, or the spirit of some ancient megalomaniac to start booming pronouncements of doom.

    Nothing happened.

    I walked carefully to the pillar, trying to ignore the way the force seemed to wash away all my troubles, picked up the book and backed out of the room. The door slid shut and I slumped to the ground, absurdly more exhausted than walking a few feet should have left me. And holding a compilation of not one but five separate texts on black magic, along with the writings of the man who had managed to conquer a galaxy and be hailed a hero for it. I flipped the book open and paged through it, careful to avoid tearing the more delicate pages. It took another half a dozen painful incidents from the Abattar hanging around my neck before I could understand everything I saw, but then I was able to see that it was even more than just the text. Scrawled in the margins were notes from the same people as the imitation copy I'd had before arriving here, and just as the text itself had been expanded, so too had the notes. This book collected not only the teachings of various obscenely powerful mages, they were full of rebuttals and counterpoints and analysis from other mages of equally absurd ability. This book was a priceless resource.

    Carefully, I turned back to the beginning, and read.

    O0O

    As ever, comment and criticism is appreciated.
     
  5. kclcmdr

    kclcmdr Kai The Kmpire! Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    Intriguing so far.

    TOC
    Ina_Meishou..Table of Contents Index

    Image..MAPS - Galactic Maps


    Ina_Meishou..CH_01a - Wakeup, StoneRm, PedestalBook, Amulut, Glyphs, Power
    Ina_Meishou..CH_02a - Recovery, Structure, SonicShower, Pantry, SithHoard, Pillar, BookofKnowledge
    Ina_Meishou..CH_03a - Book, HighTierMusings, HoloGem, SorzusSyn, AbidingEmber, SeekingKnowledge
    Ina_Meishou..CH_04a - Holocron, Education, Korriban, Sith, SynTomb, BarRats, Lightning, Price, Telek, Boredom
    Ina_Meishou..CH_05a - ValeDarkLords, Holocron, PackGoods, SynTombExit, Plans
    Ina_Meishou..CH_06a - UniverseForceAlive, Korriban, Gamorean, ForceUsage, Info, SynSmirks, Screwed
    Ina_Meishou..CH_07a - KreshdaeDarkSide, ImperialGarrison, StreetSmart, CantinasRm, Loot, StillStuck
    Ina_Meishou..CH_08a - Seasons, Force, Leap&Land, Korban&Ember, LatePayment, ForceJump
    Ina_Meishou..CH_09a - MnGarran, Payday, Bouncer&Hunter, SynAnnoyed, Bane&Palpy, Force, PassionPowerPurpose
    Ina_Meishou..CH_10a - WeeksNotice, MnGarranGruff, Purchase, RodianCapt, Ember&Tilli, Enslaved, ForceSensitive
    Ina_Meishou..CH_11a - ForceTrance, Datapad, WordsOfWisdom, Blaster4Tilli, GreatPower&Soul, Acceptance
    Ina_Meishou..CH_12a - BlasterTraining, Nar Shadda, GutterSty, Fidgitts, Pheormones&Swoops, Clothier
    Ina_Meishou..CH_13a - Shopping, Thugs&LightSabre, Anchorhead, Tatooine, BlasterForcePull, Jedi?
    Ina_Meishou..CH_13a - TilliFustrated, ForceUsage, RawPowerOverusage, Healing, Warnings&Berating, Patience
    Ina_Meishou..CH_14a - TilliInjuries, Droid, 3DK-N40, Sims, BARC, Traveling, Jedi-General Obi-Wan Kenobi
    Ina_Meishou..CH_15a - MeetWarily, Jedi&Sith, Ember&Obi-wan, ZonomaSekot, Far Outsiders, StudentHurt
    Ina_Meishou..CH_16a - RideBack, General&Ember, ForceBurns, Tilli, ForceHeal, YuuzhanVongInvaders, Chiss&Empire
    Ina_Meishou..CH_17a - LightSabreTraining, Tilli&Luke, ObiFumes, EmberSmirks, AdolescentDislikes
    Ina_Meishou..CH_18a - MosEisley, Obi-Opinions, Bike&B4-RD, Jawas, RelaxBard
    Ina_Meishou..CH_19a - RussanReformation; Package, InfusionCash&GamblingHouse, Jackpot&RichIdjit, Sabacc&Cheater, Plop&Goons
    Ina_Meishou..CH_20a - BlurryWakeUp, Ouchie, Twi'lek, MasterOfferApologies, DevaronianShifter, FingerCybernetics
    Ina_Meishou..CH_21a - ThroneRm; HuttJeladorn, Weaponary, LayingItThick, OfferCantRefused
    Ina_Meishou..CH_22a - Bridge, DerForce, WhirlingMemories, SilverTowers, MindsEyes,
    Ina_Meishou..CH_23a - JeladornRival, SneakyRival, Dex, CasingTheJoint, DarkSideForce, RearrangeBrain
    Ina_Meishou..CH_24a - MindZapped, JeladornSelfie, Funds&Starship, B4-RD, ChitChat
    Ina_Meishou..CH_25a - Dreams, Sands, TuskenTracker, Ben&Ember, Tilli&Luke, KraytDragonPearls
    Ina_Meishou..CH_26a - Slammed, Ember&Dragon, BoltLightning, Claws&Spines, BrainedSabred, BrokenBody
    Ina_Meishou..CH_27a - MoanMoanGrowlMoan, GizzardPearls, JeladornCuts, Healing, Ben, ForceHeal
    Ina_Meishou..CH_28a - LightSabres, ForceSensitives, Handicraft, Crystal, KnifeBlood, Spells, Gem
    Ina_Meishou..CH_29a - SandPeopleCamp, Ember, MoanMoanGrowlMoan, Fight, Gaderiffi, Broken
    Ina_Meishou..CH_30a - Painheadache, SynSmokesSpirit, Tilili, Apprentice, Ember, Ambitions
    Ina_Meishou..CH_31a - Ember, E-9 Transport, Simulators, Tilili, Bard, Hutts, NarShadaa
    Ina_Meishou..CH_32a - Pizza, ChefDroid, Y'ToubSys, Syn&Ember, SenseForce, Jedi?
    Ina_Meishou..CH_33a - InfoBroker, Togruta, Adept, Tano&Ember, Tilili&Sith, Lightning
    Ina_Meishou..CH_34a - BanthaBurger, BothanData, ThurraChiss, KnowledgeIsPower, Ember&Tilili
    Ina_Meishou..CH_35a 01a - REDACTED-Noonday&Ravine, Advices, Time, Force&Syn, Shade
    Ina_Meishou..CH_36a 02a - REDACTED-SynShadeMutterings, Dreshdae, Sleeping&Terror, SynAnnoyed, Credits&Korriban
    Ina_Meishou..CH_37a 03a - REDACTED- MnGarran, MuscleJob, SparringTest
    Ina_Meishou..CH_38a 04a - REDACTED- Dreshdae, Amulet, Korban&Dzwol, SynAnnoy, Time
    Ina_Meishou..CH_39a 05a - REDACTED- CommonArea&Pods, Shi-ChoStances, Syn
    Ina_Meishou..CH_40a 06a - REDACTED- NarShaddaa, Tlili, Fidgitts, BARC
    Ina_Meishou..CH_41a 07a - REDACTED- Clothier, Tlili, ReClothed, Haggling
    Ina_Meishou..CH_42a 08a - REDACTED- RodianCapt., Tlili, Tatooine, Imperials, Inn
    Ina_Meishou..CH_43a 09a - REDACTED- Anchorhead; Ember&Tlili, Fear, Choices, TheForce, Scream
    Ina_Meishou..CH_44a 10a - REDACTED- TheScream, TheForce, RU Jedi, No, Power
    Ina_Meishou..CH_45a 11a - REDACTED- 1stPrinciple, PeaceFalsehood, EmotionTruth, Ember&Tlili, ForceLightning, Ouchie
    Ina_Meishou..CH_46a 12a - REDACTED- Light&DarkHealers, Ember&Tlili, Scarred, Muttering
    Ina_Meishou..CH_47a 13a - REDACTED- TliliHurts, B4-RD, Obi-Wan, Ember, JediHealing, YuuzhanVong, Chiss
    Ina_Meishou..CH_48a 14a - REDACTED- TliliScarred, Focus, Ember, GeneralObi, Luke, TruthsHurts
    Ina_Meishou..CH_49a 15a - REDACTED- SabrePractice, Luke&Tlili, Ben&Ember
    Ina_Meishou..CH_50a 16a - REDACTED- Tatooine, Mos Eisley, B4-RD Bard, Inn, Ember, RichKid, GamblingFight
    Ina_Meishou..CH_51a 17a - REDACTED- Awaken&Injuries, HandReplaced, Jeladorn&Ember, HuttDeal
    Ina_Meishou..CH_52a 18a - REDACTED- FutureDreams, Zeltron&Ember, JeladornBusiness, JaxerDex
    Ina_Meishou..CH_53a 19a - REDACTED- Jeladorn, HuttWupiupi, SlaveMarket, Twi'lekGal, Travel
    Ina_Meishou..CH_54a 20a - REDACTED- MosEisley, PartyTime, Ember, B4-RD, Book, Bound2Will, Memory, SynSpells
    Ina_Meishou..CH_55a 21a - REDACTED- Ember&B4RD, GrousingSerfCadet, Tlili
    Ina_Meishou..CH_56a 22a - REDACTED- MoanMoanGrowlMoan; Ben&Ember, KraytDragon
    Ina_Meishou..CH_57a 23a - REDACTED- Ember&Dragon, Dust&Dunes, PoisonedSpines, EyesLights
    Ina_Meishou..CH_58a 24a - REDACTED- Pain&Agony, DarkStrength, AxeHugeDragon, MoanMoanMocks, Ben&Tlili, Luke, Crystals
    Ina_Meishou..CH_59a 25a - REDACTED- Awaken, Ben&Ember, FilthBane, RussanJediCivilWar, 28,000Yrs, Jee'dai, RestoreHonour
    Ina_Meishou..CH_60a 26a - REDACTED- B4-RD, KraytRiches, Tlili, Crystal, Ben&Ember, Question, StygianCaldera








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    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
    megamiaouh likes this.
  6. The book was useless.

    Oh not to everyone, even I could tell that every one of the texts it contained was a trove of unmatched lore. The excerpts from Plaguies journals alone had detailed instructions on how to completely halt aging, not to mention time travel, teleportation, and other high level arts. Unfortunately, Plaguies work also demonstrated why the book was useless to someone like me. It read like a combination of a post doctorate level book on the relationship between biology, quantum physics, and greek philosophy. Even after the abattar forced the words into my head, I couldn't make heads or tails of it.

    The book was a collection of high level texts, meant for high level readers. And in this particular field I was the equivalent of a preschooler. Oh I'd heard the lectures from the movies and read many of the books, but in terms of actually knowing how to channel and use the force....I had nothing.

    I tried to distract myself for a while by re-examining the rooms. Further digging in the pantry room revealed a datapad, and fiddling with that showed that it was either empty or my fiddling had managed to delete the contents before it could display them. It did tell me the date though, 30:01:04. I assumed (correctly as it turned out) that this was using the Great ReSynchronization system, which meant that I had been dumped in the timeline about five years before the battle of Yavin. Not that the information was very useful of course, I had no idea who or what was on Korriban in that time period other than monsters and dust, and there wasn't any way to contact anyone even assuming I was sitting less than a mile from a corporate base or something. I still needed way to get out of the tomb, time enough to worry about more than that later.

    Which is why, despite knowing it was a very stupid idea, I found myself back in what I'd started calling the library again, standing in front of the holocron and trying to not think about how many ways this could fuck up. Carefully not thinking about whether this thing would eat my soul and stuff the ghost of a sith lord in my body, I reached out rested my hand against the central rune on one of the faces. Then, focusing hard on the roar of the force around me since I couldn't actually tap it yet, I asked it to open.

    I would have tried commanding it, but somehow I doubted a sith lord would set any part of themselves, even a fragment, to respond well to orders from an unknown petitioner.

    The gem pulsed rapidly, pouring more light into the traceries along the sides. That light evaporated into misty smoke that swirled over the surface before pouring up into the space that the book had occupied and coalescing into a figure. It looked human, or close to it. A solid seeming woman in worn seeming robes and a heavy cowl from which tufts of short, wispy hair poked. Beneath that cowl amber eyes burned out at me, set into a face like a stone hatchet. The image reminded me of one of the faded illustrations carefully painted in the early, ancient sections of the book. I knew who this was...and trembled. But at least that knowledge kept me from losing it when the apparition spoke.

    “What is your name, who would learn the secrets of Sorzus Syn?”

    When she spoke, the Force trembled. This was one of the Dark Jedi, who had rebelled against the order in a hundred year war, and then even in exile and defeat taken control over an entire empire of interestelar black magicians. This was a woman who had created armies of monsters that rolled across worlds like a tide, tearing the souls from their enemies and consuming them as they tore through armor plate as if it was tissue. I found it very hard to avoid telling her my name, and all my nicknames, and everything anyone had ever called me in passing. If this was the power of even a fragment of her spirit, meeting her in her prime would probably have left me catatonic. As it was, I managed to resist, barely. I had no idea if this universe had some sort of name magic, but I was not interested in finding out the easy way by spreading my name around until it was used against me.

    “Dzwolchwûq,” I told her. When I listened to it with english speaking ears it sounded vaguely ridiculous, even in sith it was a bit of a kludge. It also failed to be nearly as imposing and dramatic as most sith would probably like, but I figured that I would have to confront the spirit with my complete lack of interest in making a massive spectacle of myself and getting my head chopped off by a jedi at some point, might as well be now. My mouth was rapidly filling with saliva, and I fought down the urge to swallow. Showing weakness would probably be bad.

    “Abiding Ember, what an odd title to claim.” The spirit seemed curious, interested. Her writings had lead me to suspect as much, so far my luck was holding. “Tell me supplicant, what meaning do you attach to those words?”

    I decided that swallowing would be better than slobbering my way through the conversation and replied. “Fires burn bright, and then they die. They burn their fuel or they get out of hand and someone snuffs them out.” I swallowed again. “I have no interest at all in dying.”

    Her face twisted into a cruel smirk, which looked utterly terrifying. “I see. And what would you learn from me then, who was a Dark Lord of the Sith, master of armies and holder of planets? Why share my wisdom with one who seeks only to cower in the ashes?”

    Shit. I bit my lip to hide a wince and swallowed again, this time blood. I breathed, a long slow breath, and when I replied at least my voice quavered only a little. “I am alive. I am still alive six thousand years after your death, four thousand years after the sith empire was shattered, a thousand years since the remnant sith order was decimated at Russan and left a husk of itself. I am still alive, and seeking your knowledge.” Forcing myself to meet the eyes of that dead shade was among the hardest things I have done, even now. I had nothing, no power, no options, nothing but the bluff that I was her only chance to pass on her wisdom and legacy. And amazingly, it worked.

    I would spend much of the next year wishing it had not.

    O0O

    Comments and criticism are appreciated, as ever.
     
  7. kashim2

    kashim2 Mandolorian Clonetrooper

    Comments and criticisms are not needed are ask is for MORE!!!!
     
  8. My education at the hands of the holocron was not myopic, indeed the spirit seemed affronted that I would presume to direct the course of study to any sort of narrow focus. Thus my instructions in the force were scattered among instructions on everything from history to politics to art, all with a distinctly grotesque edge. The history of course was the records of civilizations gone cold and dead for millennia. Often fascinating, I had always found history an interesting field, but functionally of very limited use in my current situation. The politics of course focused heavily on the ways of sith rule, in which the lanvarok or the alchemical axe was the final, ultimate argument of dispute. The art....well, once you forced your stomach to stop churning, the technical skill of some of the ancient sith masters was impressive.

    But more usefully, I learned about Korriban, and the strange ecology it had developed in the wake of the sith study of lifecodes. Syn's tomb, or rather the relatively small hidden facility I'd been shoved in, was located well away from the more famous edifices carved into the desert sands. Like other sith lords, she had of course had a grand tomb built in the traditional desert valleys. Unlike them she didn't bother putting anything in it other than ten times the usual traps. The smaller tomb I'd found myself in was far from there, on a different continent in fact. Carved into the base of a broad plateau that formed the edge of a wide rolling steppe on which herds of warbeasts roamed, the lines long since gone feral and wild.

    The point being of course, that once I learned enough to get out of the tomb (and discovered in the process that lightning cooked tu'kata is even more unappetizing than GAR ration bars), I was confronted with an abundance of feral behemoth herds which had never been hunted in generations. And I quickly discovered that behemoth steak is the food of the gods.

    I'd made that discovery nearly six months after the Move, as I took to calling it, and it remains one of my fondest memories simply for the raw pleasure of being able to taste something good for the first time in what felt like forever. I had no mirror of course, but I can easily imagine that I looked quite insane, sitting in the pool of blood surrounding the mammoth sized carcass in nothing but ragged trousers cut off at the knee. Hair and beard grown ragged and caked in blood, ripping bits of lightning seared meat off the bones with my fingers and shoving them between my teeth.

    After five months of ration bars, I was more than a bit...eager to taste something else--anything else.

    I also remember afterward, once I'd let the sonic render me somewhat more presentable, spending a long time staring at the bindings around my left arm. Using the lightning always brought my mind to it. It still does, to be honest. It had been amazingly difficult to actually rip up the trousers, apparently the absurd durability of Star Wars materials science extends to their textiles, but I'd been desperate for something to cover the most obvious sign of my early....overreach with the force. It was understandable perhaps, after all using the Force, especially the way the holocron taught was...intoxicating. It ran through you like a high grade stimulant, made you feel amazing and potent and able to do anything. Only unlike those pharmaceuticals, the Force actually could, provided you had the knowledge and the will to use it well, give you such power. If you didn't, you wound up like I had, two months into my education and writing on the floor in agony with fat tears running down my face as I curled pitifully around the steaming wreck that had been a perfectly functional arm less than a minute before.

    Force lightning, as it turns out, is very, very difficult to control.

    Fortunately, the force is able to heal as well as harm. Within a month the hand was working as well as it ever had...but still looked like a ruin, covered in writhing patterns of hypertrophic growth over flesh stripped of any fat or softness. Even heavily wrapped with cloth torn from my trousers, it still remained noticeably thinner than my right arm. Nothing is ever free, but I like to think that lesson was worth the cost. After that, I was much, much more cautious in my studies.

    The shade remarked favorably on my reaffirmed caution. To distill the essence of a series of dramatic and needlessly obscure lectures, she told me that there were an abundance of fools in the galaxy who thought themselves careful enough to deal with the Dark Side. All of them quickly forgot themselves when they began to actually study, most of them were not lucky enough to survive the inevitable reminder.

    I managed to resist the urge to play with fire again by asking what form her reminder had taken.

    But eventually, I managed to actually work my way up to controlling the lightning and telekinesis and the reading of intent through the force which the holocron deemed the basics of survival. Syn expressed something approximating mild disdain at teaching such limited uses of power when her passion was of course alchemy. But she grudgingly admitted that the immediate goal of securing the larger building was important enough to warrant a focus on 'trivial' abilities.

    The second time I opened the main door of my 'apartment' I again dove to the side to avoid the spray of mucus. Faster in fact than I had before, both from the enhancement of the Force and the knowledge Syn had given me about what exactly the monstrosity hulking outside the doors was. Getting so much as a drop of that filth on my skin would be bad beyond any words. Fortunately, it was perfectly vulnerable to lightning, and so once the stream trailed off and I heard the ripping cough I'd been told to wait for I inched two fingertips around the door frame and put every erg of power I could safely channel into a bolt of searing plasma that roasted the creature inside it's own skin. It worked quite well, though cleaning the remains out of the corridor was extremely messy and time consuming.

    It proved a slow slog to cleanse the rest of the complex, carefully tracking down the strange creatures Syn had bound to the place and destroying them. Without the holocron to guide me, explaining what each of the things could do and how they could be killed I would have died a dozen times over, but the shade was eager enough for her knowledge to pass on to help me stay alive. The unfortunate downside of my eventual happy reunion with the concept of skies and fresh air, of course, was that Syn immediately refused to offer any further instruction on combat magic, flatly informing me that my studies of the force would now focus on alchemy almost exclusively.

    Thus, the next few months of my initial instruction involved hunting down the strangest and most inane things at the holocron's direction, scraps of bark, the hide of various animals, pebbles in various shapes, only to stare at them in frustration as the completely failed to turn into anything else no matter how I raged at them. Adding in the necessity of hunting and my ongoing attempts to cobble together some sort of clothing that didn't smell of raw skin to ward off the chill of the high steppe and I was constantly exhausted. My collapse each night onto my uncomfortable pile of sonic cleansed hides was closer to unconsciousness than true sleep. By year's end, I had still barely made any progress on alchemy, my crowning achievement was altering the form of a scrap of leaf to appear green instead of red.

    I was also going mad with boredom. The datapad was, by that point, far from empty. The journal entries I recorded then make for embarrassing listening now, but at the time they served as a welcome forum for the growing frustration I felt with an existence of such total solitude. I had never cared much for socialization, at least not in person. But the total absence of any interaction outside the madwoman's ghost was...unpleasant. Somehow, I needed to get off of Korriban and somewhere with people.

    There were, of course, obstacles to that goal.
     
  9. Duquette7

    Duquette7 I am Fire, and I am Rain. Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    I lack the eloquence to describe how much I am enjoying this tale, thank you so much for taking the time to share it with us.
     
  10. The first obstacle to my plan was that so far as I knew, the only space launch facility on the planet in the Valley of the Dark Lords itself. This was a two fold problem. For one that put my road off planet on an entirely different continent, at least a several month journey on foot, even enhanced with the force and in the best shape of my life. The second issue I faced was that the only activity I remembered occurring on planet in this period involved the Emperor building a tomb for Vader, and my math was more than capable of giving me a rough estimate of my odds if confronted with either, starting somewhere around nonexistent on the low end and impossible at the high end.

    Or in short, I had no fucking idea how I was going to sneak off-world.

    But I had to try. Syn was actually fairly easy to convince, once I assured her that I would be bringing the holocron with me. It was about that time that I began to wonder exactly how much of herself the witch had bound into the thing, it was entirely to lifelike for comfort.

    The library remained a great temptation, so much potential knowledge I might never get the chance to see again. But Syn had refused to show me how to resist or identify curses, and so I was reluctant to even touch the records. Carrying them out with me was out of the question, of course. I would probably be able to lift the collection, using telekinesis, but I wouldn't have any focus left for anything else.

    So instead I carefully packed away the portable fresher utilities, both of which collapsed into far smaller units than seemed possible, my datapad, and the thick, relatively safe Book of Sith into a rough pack of behemoth hide. With them went my wardrobe, such as it was, rough trousers and moccasins and vests of the same material rendered into various colors and patterns from my pathetic attempts at alchemy. And of course Syn's holocron, carefully concealed at the bottom next to the book, and still active as it had been since I first spoke to it. The shade itself manifested in tendrils of smoke that seeped out of the rough seams of the pack to float along beside me as I moved.

    The Hssiss hide coat I had fashioned from one of the basking lizards I wore, along with the one set of clothing I’d kept out. The Korriban steppe was cold in daylight, glacial in the darkness, and full of crawling things with razor fangs.

    From the outside, Syn's true tomb looked utterly unremarkable, a small crack in the wall of a cliff-side. All the force focusing geometries were laid out in alchemical metals burned into the living rock, invisible beneath the raw stone of the surface. I marked the location in my datapad, recording it against the surface map that Syn had forced me to painstakingly copy into it with a stylus, and then sealed the entrance with a mess of telekinetically shifted rubble.

    Then it was just a long, long journey to the tomb citadels and the imperial outpost I would somehow have to infiltrate.

    I never made it that far.

    O0O
     
  11. NPC

    NPC

    Please may I have some more Sir?

    Seriously now, its really good and appears well though out hope to see more A.S.A.P.
     
  12. According to the books in my old universe every sensitive perceives the force differently, and Syn had acknowledged early on in my apprenticeship that on that point, if nothing else, I could trust their information. Syn described her own perception as a biological system, when she reached out into the world she saw it in the same way she perceived the cells and organs of the creatures she shaped. The whole universe as one gigantic being.

    By those last few weeks on Korriban, my own perception had grown into a solid, usable ability, though still weak and muddled compared to the clarity I was told to seek. Laying in an alley in Dreshdae, a city that I had never heard of before the Move and which looked nothing like Syn's descriptions of the old capitol, I reached out and felt the world as a webwork of cause/effect trees.

    The Gamorean wallowing towards me from the end of the alley in what he probably thought was a stealthy fashion, for example I saw as a series of connections, from the murderous intent he broadcast to the hunger gnawing at his guts to the day spent trying and failing to find someone to give him food on credit. If I stretched, I could detect more connections, more causes stretching onwards, but they were dim and wavering. Besides, it wasn't necessary, in fact using the force perception at all was unnecessary. Somehow, despite the fact that there were at least a half-dozen public freshers with entry mounted within twenty minutes walk the creature reeked of alcohol and other, less palatable scents.

    My attempt at playing the sleeping victim wasn't very good, looking back, but I rather doubt the idiotic alien would have noticed if I'd been sitting up reading a book.

    I waited anyway, practice was always useful. It wasn't exactly uncomfortable, no more so than sitting outside in the Korriban night in the first place was anyway, but I began to grow increasingly restless as the alien dithered over his plan to kill me and loot my pack. I could feel the frustration mesh and power the tightly held anger I was using to connect to the Force, the emotions feeding off and against each other in a self reinforcing cycle that made it increasingly difficult to refrain from moving too soon. One thing I couldn't tell in the force was how the Gamorean was armed, and I didn't have anything to retaliate with if he managed to pull a blaster from beyond my range.

    Mostly, I spent the wait trying to figure out what the point of this city could possibly be. It was fairly large, a sprawl of prefab looking buildings scattered over the ruins of what Syn had described as the old capitol. It had actually been fairly amusing to listen to her spew increasingly imaginative invectives about the populace for their effrontery in occupying the city she had once wished to rule.

    There hadn't been any sort of farms surrounding the place, it was set in one of the more barren regions of the planet, on and in and around a broad stone outcroping and utterly devoid of outlying satelite settlements or anything resembling food production. It had to be supported by imports, but what could they possibly be exporting from this dead world other than sith artifacts, which trying would probably bring Inquisitorious attention faster than lightning.

    The answer didn't come to me, in fact I still have no idea what the corporate groups wanted with the place. But regardless, my attention did finally refocus on the Gamorean. Eventually, I felt his intentions gel into certainty, and he shuffled the last few steps to where my body was huddled into a corner, pulling as he did so a weapon of some sort from his coat. He raised the thing over his head, obviously intending a heavy and unnecessary chop, and I acted.

    A thrust of will sent my body upwards at the shoulders, pivoting as my feet remained on the ground until I was standing face to snout with the pig like alien. One hand locked around the upraised arm, force strength turning the grip into steel rods that ground it's bones together and drew a shrill squeal from it's throat.

    The other hand clamped over the rolls of fat that served as a neck, telekinetic force allowing me to exert pressure over a far larger area than my flesh alone would allow. The squeal cut off abruptly and the smell of the thing multiplied, it had apparently relieved itself.

    I was still deep in connection to the Force, could still feel the burning anger at this thing, trying to kill me with no provocation but that I was there. The anger built like a rising tide; this creature, this filth, had wanted to kill me. It was beyond pathetic, beyond words to describe the disgust it roused. It deserved...

    The meaty popping sound pulled me out of the cycle, and I realized that my hand and clenched into a fist, and with it had closed the telekinetic grip on the alien's throat. It's head was sitting on the ground, the thick neck crushed to a ruin as blood ran freely down from the severed neck. I relaxed my hand and let the corpse slump to the ground. That...had not been the plan, when I'd set myself in this alley to bait the local criminal element. I'd wanted resources, information. A reverse mugging and interrogation yes, not a murder.

    The shade manifested itself beside me, amber eyes bright with malice as her lips twisted into a smirk.

    “Well done, apprentice. I had begun to think you were too squeamish to go very far, but it seems that judgment was premature.” It swept its eyes over the corpse and the alleyway, pointless theatrics, it's perceptions were force based and centered on the holocron, not the interface. It was just one more of the unsettling lifelike idiosyncrasies of the device.

    I focused on that, using the mental training Syn had put me through to direct my thoughts in the manner of my choosing instead of following their natural flow. I focused on the holocron, on the goal. Time enough to worry about this lapse when I wasn't standing over a stinking corpse in the seediest section of an already seedy city.

    I crouched, careful to avoid the blood as best I could, and searched through the alien's clothing. There wasn't much there, a few devices, a small booklet full of flimsi documents in a language I didn't have the time or the patience to let the abattar translate right now. A few odd looking knives and the hatchet rounded out the useful goods.

    I tucked the loot into my pack and carefully tied the straps across my chest, then headed for the alley entrance. It would probably have been a better idea to leave over the rooftops, to avoid as much connection with this alley as possible on the off chance that the alien had some sort of connections.

    But I didn't feel comfortable touching the force just then.

    A thought came to me, and I froze in raw, utter terror for an instant before forcing my legs to run.

    I'd just earlier been thinking of the Inquisitorious and now I'd used the force, tapped fairly deeply in fact, in a city which probably had at least a token presence from that organization in residence.

    I was so utterly fucked.

    O0O
     
  13. As it turned out, my worries were rather premature. Syn certainly spent long enough explaining what an idiot I was when I got around to explaining why I hadn't stopped moving for the next day. Korriban was, after all, a force nexus, a natural high point for the energy field that permeated the galaxy. And Dreshdae, the old sith capitol, had been build on a force wellspring, a high point even on this force strong planet. Trying to track a dark side user here, where their aura would naturally fade into the overpowering background field of power, would be incredibly difficult.

    A jedi or other light side user would be easy, of course. The way they channeled power apparently left an impression Syn described as 'an unnatural abomination' that stood out like a bonfire against the natural flows of the force.

    I still spent the next week in hiding, trying to gauge any official reaction to the killing and the force use. There wasn't any that I could detect. The local garrison seemed to consist of a shockingly slack unit of the Imperial Army. There didn't seem to be any stormtroopers at all, only green uniformed infantry who spent most of their time in the cantinas and brothels that surrounded their barracks.

    If there was an Inquisitorius presence in the city, I couldn't find it. And by dint of me not being strapped to a table, filled with drugs, and screaming in agony, they couldn't find me. Assuming they were there at all.

    Of course, staying on the streets for so long was practically an invitation to more confrontations from the local criminal element. Now armed with a collection of vibroshivs and the vibroaxe, I managed to minimize my reliance on the Dark Side to end them, and also managed to avoid killing more than twice more. It was surprisingly difficult to hold back from making the final blow, and somewhat disturbing how....undisturbing the killing was.

    By the end of the week I'd found a cheap, small, utterly filthy, room in the back of one of the ubiquitous cantinas. I was fairly certain that it was usually used by the dancers and servers, who I was absolutely sure also doubled as prostitutes given the lack of clothing and the shock my attempt to rent by the day brought. But for all that it was a squalid hole it had a desk, a working jack for my datapad, and a solid physical lock that could be set from the inside. After an initial check of the room for any obvious threats, I quickly laid out my resources and took stock.

    My clothing remained the same, apart from a pair of boots I'd lifted from a somewhat less impoverished mugger the night before. The things clashed horribly with the rough hides I was wearing, but all the other clothes I'd had the opportunity to loot were almost too filthy for me to stand touching, much less wearing.

    My weapons collection had grown larger, even with the way I'd been dumping most of my take on local shopkeeps. The axe from my first night I'd kept, along with a half dozen vibroshivs and a blaster pistol I later found was a cut down DC-15s. The blaster had come with a holster and a belt with plenty of loops and rings for attaching miscellaneous gadgets. Until I pulled it off the human who'd attacked me I'd almost completely forgotten about that particular bit of Star Wars fashion.

    I'd also picked up a stack of credits, in both chip, paper and coin form. The amount was frankly a little absurd. Given the prices I'd encountered so far, and the prevalence of haggling, most of the people mugging me could easily have spent a week eating and sleeping as well as I was now just on what was in their pockets.

    The confirmation that they were apparently career criminals wasn't especially surprising, but it made me feel better.

    Most everything else I'd sold, other and a scattering of miscellaneous gadgetry clipped to my new belt. Reels of wire, tiny grappling hooks, a small monocular, power cells for the blaster. Walking down the street with most of this stuff in my old world would have gotten funny looks, at the least. Here though, I seemed to rate far less attention armed and kitted out for some sort of wilderness trek than I did without.

    It was only after I'd double checked the lock and rolled into the bed alcove, after spreading a hide over the stained mess of sheet of course, that I realized my next problem.

    Here on Korriban, I faded into the background of the force...here...on Korriban...

    Damnit.
     
  14. NPC

    NPC

    So just to check, does this character have meta game knowledge or not?
     
  15. The protagonist has seen the films and read/played/watched some of the EU. He's also gone on a few wiki walks and the like. My rule of thumb for his meta knowledge is 'if I knew it off hand before I started writing this without having to check wookiepedia'. On the other hand, he also misremembers things, has no knowledge of huge swaths of the information out there, and in some cases the version of SW he wound up in is just flat out different than the fiction we have in our universe.
     
    green and Necron_Lord like this.
  16. NPC

    NPC

    OK thanks for the clarification.

     
  17. MrEmperor

    MrEmperor Librarian

    Huh, interesting.
     
  18. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Uncle of Luna and Celestia

    Watching.
     
  19. Sweetness. Just don't go too far with the Darkside-ness. After all, there is a spectrum of "flavors" according to different sources. Like teleportation of objects.
     
  20. Well, keep in mind that at this point, the options as far as learning force powers come in two flavors. Sith or nothing. And having force sensitivity without any training just makes you a target.
     
  21. Forgot the date you gave, 30 ABY or thereabouts? Or was it BBY?
     
  22. The guy woke up the morning of 30:01:01, or the first day of the first month of the 30th year of the Great ReSynchronization calendar.

    That would be about 5 BBY, by the timeline system most fans are familiar with. As of the last posted segment, he's been in the SW universe for about a year, so now it's 4 BBY
     
  23. High summer on Korriban's arid surface was unpleasantly cold for humans. Midwinter was hellish. It would have been worse of course if I was still out on the plains wearing skins, but even with the temperature regulating synthetics I'd picked up during my year in Dreshdae the wind was biting.

    Part of that was probably because I was standing on a roof four stories up, completely exposed to the wind. The cold was manageable though, and the view of the city was excellent as such things went. Dreshdae was a hole to be sure, especially the seedier districts I tended to keep to given my lack of official papers. Still, to eyes raised on earth it was something to see. Even the crude hovels and tenements were impressive looking. The cart-pullers who slept in alleyways under their vehicles dragged rickshaws that floated above the ground. Even outside the slave district where the nonhumans were allowed to settle there was a bustle of wildly divergent species going about their tasks.

    It reminded me of my first look at the place, back when I'd been intent on finding the Valley of the Dark Lords. I'd taken a detour to see what the odd feeling in the Force was and crested a ridge to see the city spread out beneath me.

    While I let my eyes wander over the view, my focus was in the Force. Part of my concentration was wrapped up in maintaining what amounted to an sep field. The name Syn had given it translated as something like 'bewildering cloak of ten thousand shadow's tendrils' or something, Sith was a pretty good language for pointlessly ornate phrasing. That single spell was generally enough to keep me entirely anonymous outside the local garrison and other 'official' areas. Security holocams were not common outside Imperial facilities for some reason.

    Most of my attention centered on filtering through the force presence of the crowd below. The man I was looking for was known to frequent this intersection. Matching the presence to the actual person walking below me was tricky, but doable once I found it, and I was finally ready to start earning my pay for the evening.

    I grinned, the next bit was easily the best part, then stepped off the roof.

    Gravity sent me hurtling down toward the street, wind whipping my hssiss leather coat back behind me until a wrench of the force and a flex of the knees saw me safely standing on the street corner, not a hair out of place. None of the passers by so much as blinked, though a few absentmindedly shifted to avoid me without noticing.

    The grin remained. Out of all the spells I'd ever learned from Syn and the book and my own experimentation, the thrill of being able to leap and run was and still is my favorite. There is simply something amazingly satisfying about sailing through the world as if everyone else is standing still that never fails to send sheer joy coursing through me.

    My target that night was a weaselly little man named Korban. He worked as some sort of menial in the spaceport when he wasn't running packages as a small time courier and spent most of his leisure hours nursing drinks at MnGaran's and making eyes at one of the Twi'lek dancers.

    And of course, not paying his tab, which made MnGaran somewhat annoyed.

    “Hello Korban,” I said with faux cheer as I clamped a hand on his shoulder and began leading him towards a convenient alley. I didn't bother using force strength to secure my grip. Korban wasn't exactly a weakling, but of the two of us he wasn't the one who had a job chucking people out windows. “Good to see you,” I went on, extending the sep field around him as we turned the corner into the shadows, “MnGaran was beginning to think you had forgotten his cantina.”

    Korban tried to stutter an excuse, but I cut him off by spinning him around and hoisting him off his feet with one arm. A bit of telekinesis made that easy enough, and kept enough of his weight off the fingers around his neck that he could still breath. Frankly, it wasn't really necessary with someone like Korban, but it contributed to the reputation I'd built up over the past year. Fortunately, he managed not to wet himself. That was good, the mess really was the worst part of this job.

    “Korban, look, this is the second time we've had to have this talk,” I said casually while my other hand flipped a vibroshiv out of my sleeve and drove it into the wall by his head with a whine of metal on metal, “you're not a bad guy. You don't start fights, you don't gamble with credits you don't have, Chia'vrean says you're even polite when you take her to the backrooms.” All of which was true. Everyone in this section of the city seemed to be some sort of petty criminal, but for that sort Korban was a reasonably upstanding sort of guy. He just had an irritating habit of forgetting to actually save enough credits to make his payments on time.

    “Hey, hey, Ember, no need for all this right?” The man managed to get it out without stuttering, which was better than last time. It seemed he was getting used to this sort of thing, not the best sign. “I've got the credits on me right now, was just on my way to pay right? So you can let me down n...” I thumped him against the wall, just enough to shut him up, and gave his pockets a quick search. There was a roll of credit notes in the inside pocket to his vest. Enough to cover the payment on his tab that was due and the usual extra MnGaran had me collect for being late.

    Barely.

    I tucked the roll into my own coat and retrieved my shiv. “I can let you down,” I confirmed, making no move to actually do so, “this time.” I let him down far enough that I could look him in the eye. “You know the rules man, screw up again and it won't matter that you're an alright guy, get it?”

    At his frantic nod I dropped him, waited until he'd turned onto his belly to start crawling away, then leaped for the rooftops with a burst of the Force. I glanced back over the rooftops, watching Korban reach the end of the alley and do a double take when he glanced over his shoulder and realized I'd vanished. Then I headed home.
     
  24. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Uncle of Luna and Celestia

    Your updating as fast as Hiver, I'm surprised your not better known.
     
  25. Duquette7

    Duquette7 I am Fire, and I am Rain. Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    True genius is never appreciated in its own lifetime, so plz, plz, remain a unknown struggling author scrambling desperately for our attention, because if you die and become famous we wont get anymore of this Fic.
     

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