Blue and Red

Commander Auretal was surprisingly young.

When Lathril first met him, the Sith had been wearing a mask. Lathril had imagined an old man — or perhaps an alien species — barely holding together under the ravages of the Dark Side under that mask, but when Auretal took the bit of metal off to smooth his moustache, he was revealed to be a brown-skinned human barely into adulthood, with the only sign of his Sith status the yellowing of his eyes.

The yellowing of his eyes… and his chronic impatience. Lathril disliked him immediately.

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Floating Lost

He awoke to a vision of glass cracking like a spider’s web and the sound of screaming in his ears. The screaming he had heard before: it was his mother’s, when he had killed her.

Brant dragged himself up from where he’d fallen asleep lolled across his desk. For a second, he wasn’t even sure which desk it was. Navy, the Covenant? The one he hardly used at Velmor? They all started to look the same after a while. He pressed his face against the cool glass of the window, cognition slowly trickling back in. He was on a ship, without helmet or mask. That ruled out two desks, and as for the other… the sigil on the wall was wrong. So not Navy, but the ISS-Relentless. Close enough.

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Kellaro and his brother Brant were getting along better now. It had been touch and go for many months, with the two fighting as often as they spoke, but bit by bit, the aggression had died down. Brant tolerated Kellaro’s advances of friendship, and Kellaro swallowed his concerns to try to simply be there for the Sith when he was needed.

Yet there were times, when Brant’s eyes gleamed sulphur-yellow, and it seemed like someone, or something else entirely, was looking out of them. …nor could Kellaro forget what had happened to their parents.

Brant’s eyes had been unreadable then too, the day he had confessed what had happened. Not yellow, but flat and dead, as if the soul had retreated back beyond them instead of witness what had been done, what was being said. And in his brother’s soul, Kellaro sensed a kind of wildness, like the anoobas that had howled at night around his mother’s old Tatooine moisture farm. The sounds were hunting calls, or heralds of a death having taken place, where the hyena-like creatures would gather in large numbers to fight and to feast.

But every so often, just one anooba would howl long into the night with no answer, a lonely, desperate call for its missing family, and Kellaro could see that in Brant’s eyes sometimes too. And when Kellaro spoke to Brant, that was the anooba he tried to reach.

“I think he forgave before you even ignited your saber,” Kellaro told Brant, when not for the last time, the topic of their parents’ murder came up. “Father knew what the Sith were about, the lengths they’d go to break you. It was never your fault, Brant.”

And the eyes would become a little less wild.

They never talked about their mother, however. Kellaro didn’t know her part in the story in those dark catacombs, only assuming she, like their father, had sacrificed herself so that Brant could live. Yet Brant had grown up around her. It wouldn’t have been the quick stroke against a near-stranger as their father’s death had been. Her face, her cry: these would have been familial to Brant, a betrayal of the worst kind, beyond even dar’manda. Realizing that in full, Kellaro thought, would break him.

So no, they never talked about Mother.

“…But I Got It Back!”

The other bookend to “You Lost Our Ship?!”

Author’s Note

“Nine thousand ninety-eight…nine thousand ninety-nine… ninety-one hundred!” Kellaro exclaimed, slapping the credits into the Sullustan mechanic’s hands.

The wait was agonizing as the alien counted the money and then took one last look at the Dynamic-class Freighter Kellaro was trading in. Kellaro started bouncing impatiently on his heels, but finally, finally, the alien passed him the deed to his family’s old Mantis spaceship.

“Take a look at that, Brant!” he said a few minutes later, as they walked into the hangar and turned on the lights. The lamps took a few minutes to warm up, going from a dim orange to a brighter and brighter yellow. The effect it had on the ship was something like a smoky dawn, the empty cockpit casting a forlorn expression of long-suffering through the gloom, at least until the Mandalorian sigils for Clans Lok and Lok’kar as well as a series of handprints were illuminated across the ship’s bow, transforming the ship’s frown into a rictus grin.

Kellaro glanced over at Brant to see if he was as excited as Kellaro was, but Brant’s expression was almost as pained as the ship’s. He broke from Kellaro, crossing over to it and brushing his hand against the underside of the nose, around the housing for one of the ion cannons. His hand came to rest over one of the handprints in their row under the cockpit: a small one, no larger than a child’s. It was his own, made more than a decade ago.

Continue reading ““…But I Got It Back!””

Sun Eater

It had been the first real reprieve he’d had since the droid crisis began. Brant returned to his Dromund Kaas apartment late in the evening, still limping slightly on one leg. The medics told him to take it easy, but Brant paced the full length of the apartment anyway, the stabbing pain reminding him of how far he’d come — and how far yet he still had to go.

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Tale Out of Time (I.E. Version)

This is an updated version of “Tale Out of Time“, to bring it into Imperial Equinox canon.

Author’s note

“Mother! Mother! Look who it is! It’s Dad!”

“Oh, Kellaro. Not again…”

“I mean it this time! I really saw him! He was on the holo!”

The young teenager excitedly shoved the holocom into her hands, his fingers still pressing buttons as he passed the disc to her. It was an Eternal Empire broadcast; the Zakuul Knights were hunting for the pictured man, nicknamed the Assassin: a bounty hunter wanted for aiding the Alliance with hit-and-run tactics along the Outer Rim.

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The Crystal in the Egg

The cave tasted like rotten leaf litter. Brant couldn’t remember when or why he had ever tasted leaf litter — perhaps he’d fallen face-first into it while he had been an Acolyte — but when the solid wall of pungent putrefaction hit his nose, that was first impression that came to him.

He eased himself down into the tunnel, Dantooine’s warm sunlight snatched from his back and replaced with a stifling darkness. He blinked a few times to adjust his eyes to the light, then eventually lost patience and channeled the Force into his eyes until the features of the cave were limned in the gray of enhanced nightvision. There was no bare rock to speak of — that would explain the putrid smell — only grass roots sticking out from overhead like a carpet of fibrous hairs and moist earth under his boots. Brant tried not to think on whether the liquid squeezing out from under each footstep was mere moisture… or instead some bodily secretion of them.

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Brant’s need for balance had become more urgent.

Though his increased use of the Force had not yet made a mark on his skin, Brant could feel the Dark Side moldering inside him, like a furnace slowly blackening its roof with char and burning through the bottom. He became obsessed with trying everything he could think of to limit the punishing effects the Dark Side had on his body. He even laid aside, for the moment, all concern of heresies, thinking that staying hale and fit for longer was part of power, and gathering of power through any means necessary was sanctioned by the Sith Code.

Continue reading “Edgewalker”

“You Lost Our Ship?!”

Kellaro was floored, almost literally, as he opened the bill. He started gesticulatingat it wordlessly, as the Sullustan mechanic pulled off his oily gloves and then just looked at him with a raised brow.

“I can’t afford this,” Kellaro finally stuttered out.

“It’s an old and rare ship,” the mechanic answered. “You think those parts come cheap?”

“Well no, but…” Continue reading ““You Lost Our Ship?!””

The Hunt for Den Akaro

The engines went from rumbling to hissing as they powered down. Merce slapped the hatch controls and leapt down before the gangplank had fully extended. Another telekinetic slap and the gangplank went back up the other way with a groan of protest.

Merce had intentionally put down several miles from the old, glassed Shadow compound on Honoghr. The walk allowed him to think as well as conceal his trail from the Jedi he hunted — one Den Akaro, Knight of the Order of the Righteous Blade. Continue reading “The Hunt for Den Akaro”