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.

Continue reading “Blue and Red”

The Power of Speed

When Lathril met with his subordinates assembled in the hangar, Lathril thought he understood why Sarak assigned him to this particular squad. They stood carefully separated from each other, giving each other suspicious side-eyes just as much as they did to him. The one woman stood with her arms crossed; the oldest seemed to have a permanent frown etched onto his face, and the other two men shifted and leered as if they had a background of backroom dealing on a Hutt world somewhere. When Lathril stepped before them and cleared his throat to get their attention, they haphazardly came to a salute, then went back to staring at him.

“Sloppy,” said Lathril. “Let’s try that again, in unison. Atten… HUT!”

This time the salute was more in sync. Lathril studied the bunch a second time as they came back to a rest. They were reluctant, frightened, staring at his cybernetic and then at the vibroblade sheathed on his waist, likely making up stories in their head of how this Sith had lost his eye, Lathril thought. He bit back an internal sigh.

Continue reading “The Power of Speed”

Lathril (Character Sheet)

Birth Name: Lathril Sunwalker
Acquired Names: Ja’eel
Race: Human
Sex: Male
Age: 28
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 175 lb.
Physical Features: Pale-skinned, blonde haired. The left side of his face bears a deep scar, with a blank metal plate covering his left eye socket. Scaffolding and an integrity meter for the plate are wired to the other side of his forehead.
Personality Traits: Generally calm and amiable, though standoffish.
Place of Birth: Dantooine

Continue reading “Lathril (Character Sheet)”

Sketches of Lightsabers

Two shorts regarding the mismatched lightsabers of Brant and Lathril. The first short takes place shortly after “The Mirages of Tatooine”, while the latter occurs sometime after “A Jedi’s Failing”.

Author’s Note

The lightsaber sang as he cut through the air with it. It had been the property of a Jedi’s, and like most such lightsabers, he picked it up expecting it to scream in agony, until it either cracked or submitted to his will, like his red lightsaber had done those years ago on Dromund Kaas. He was putting the weapon through its paces now, testing its fortitude now that it had been through one battle in his hands already. Merce wasn’t sure what to think of the results so far; the blade remained stubbornly blue.

Some lightsabers like this remained defiant for years, Merce knew, their cries of a harsh pitch, ping-ponging around in his head like a childhood ditty he couldn’t forget. Like all things conquered by the Sith, though, eventually they would crack and bleed, red staining the blade and attuning the kyber crystal inside them forever to the Dark Side.

This lightsaber, though, truly sang with joy in his hands. It loved to move, cutting arcs and dodging in and out of his legs and arms like a dancer, moving with a grace all its own that he didn’t have to force. When Merce ignited both ends, he could almost make an entire world for himself, spinning the double-bladed weapon in figures about his head or to either side in a classic defensive stance; it created a curtain of song, that he could use to cut out the harshness of the world around him.

Though he had been expecting a battle of wills, it had become almost meditative as he spun through his exercises. He could sense their energies merging, like any properly broken-in lightsaber should do with its wielder, but unlike his old lightsaber, this was not a subjugating of the kyber, but almost a freeing. It was like the music he had once heard on Vette’s little hijacked holocom: full of Sith-like passion, but also something greater and grander, like the dance of planets around a star or the stars around the center of the galaxy. He had no name for it, but he recognized it even so, like an old grandmother he had only met once as a child, and he could sense the lightsaber waving back at him, coy and smug in his recollection.

He could not hide his pleasure from Vette as he finally shut off the lightsaber and joined her by the fire, but at least she seemed to know better than to ask questions about it. Their relationship had improved markedly since their crossing of the Dune Sea and his recovery from the terrible Tusken poison. Merce didn’t want to think about why, because in thinking about why, he also remembered how, and that spiked him with fear and shame that he had been so disarmed up front of her.

No, he preferred the dance of the lightsaber, because even while it pulled him into dangerous mental territory, where no Sith was ever meant to go, it was also unquestionably deadly.

Battle Over Odessen

This one I didn’t give a whole lot of thought to before finalizing as a post (I’m not sure what set Brant off in the beginning, for instance), and after a few days, I realized I wrote myself into a corner. Brant still has more to explore with his family relationships before his big reveal with the Emperor, and the betrayal he pulls here puts him too far down the path of no return than I wanted. I’ll still post this story up though, as I do like the timing and the interplay of the different scenes and moods. I can probably adapt a lot of it after spending more time with Brant’s homecoming in other shorts. We’ll see.

SPOILER information: this part of the story revolves around a pivotal moment in the Chapters plot of SWTOR, however, I gave it my own twist and very little is like how it is in the original.

Author’s Note

The flash of the lightsaber came too quickly for Keel’ath to react. It sliced out at him, sliced through him, and he felt oddly lighter as something thudded to the ground.

He looked down and saw his severed arm at his feet. It spat sparks instead of blood, and the fingers were twitching slightly as the electrical equipment went haywire from too much energy coursing along its circuits. His stump wasn’t hurting at least, Keel’ath thought with odd detachment. He supposed the wires had been cut so swiftly they hadn’t been able to send any pain signals to his core.

He then looked up at Brant. Where the man’s face had first been purple with rage, now it was near white, pale under his natural melanin. The lightsaber retracted with a zip, and then the Sith was fleeing, using a burst of Force speed to get around the angry generals clustering in his path, knocking one small woman to the floor.

Keel’ath said nothing as the Alliance compound alerted to the attack. He said nothing to the officers turning his way, asking if he was okay; he even ignored one leaning to get a better speculative eye on his mechanical arm. Somebody quickly got up on the screen a map of the compound, with a little lighted blip tracking Brant’s progress as he fled. Keel’ath noted he seemed to be avoiding any more fights, and only then did he break his silence and stillness to press the intercom button. Continue reading “Battle Over Odessen”

Coming By It Honestly

Some other bits and pieces from Lathril’s adventures in SWTOR. Kira is based on an NPC of the same name from the Jedi Knight class story. The way Lathril meets her, and her personality, is a little different from how it is in the game.

Author’s Note

“That is reckless,” Lathril said sternly. He said it quietly, for the Imperials were patrolling just outside the blast door. The two Jedi were crouched in a Balmora bunker, their breathing loud in their ears, the green of the indicator lights above the door bathing their faces in a pallid hue. Still, he could make out Kira’s scowl.

“It’s not a sound idea, Padawan,” he continued. “The Jedi Code teaches us to –”

“Hang the Jedi Code!” Kira hissed. “If we did this your way, we won’t make it to the engine room in time. Isn’t it important the SIS get that tech ASAP?”

The pair glared at each other.

“As I am the higher rank, I’m making the decision,” said Lathril finally.

Kira scoffed. “Oh, rank…”

“Your own Master gave me leadership. Do you not trust her judgement?”

Kira backed down. “Fine. We’ll do this your way: the slow, coward’s way.”

“At least a coward can become brave another day,” Lathril returned. “A reckless hero is simply dead.”

“My Master said you were in charge, not that you could give me lectures. So where to now, O Knight?”

“…this way, as I said.” Continue reading “Coming By It Honestly”

A Jedi’s Failing

This was difficult to edit into an entertaining short, as some of the important context is missing. Lathril is a Jedi Knight character who follows that class’s story arc before coming to the Eternal Alliance, and Darth Merce is, well, a Darth, and son of Kyolath. This might’ve been a poor choice of posting order, but I had this polished up while Lathril and Darth Merce’s earlier adventures are still in exposition form only.

Also of note: though in the (ultra) fan fiction version, Keelath is from Azeroth (World of Warcraft), I decided not to take so many liberties with other settings and used Talmenor instead here. His past life remains basically the same.

Author’s Note

Lathril kept his hands folded in his sleeves and his head bowed as the lift brought them away from the Enclave. When the lift docked and the door slid open, Kyolath didn’t immediately exit. He stood staring silently out across the Odessen compound.

Lathril felt he had better say something. “I’m… sorry for the disruption, sir. It won’t happen again.”

Kyolath glared at him, or so Lathril guessed; it was impossible to tell behind that Mandalorian helm. “You knew there would be Sith here and that you would be expected to work with them. Why did you come if you only intended to start fights?”

“With all due respect, sir, he started the fight with me–”

“And you had to answer in kind, like a child?”

The remark left Lathril speechless, and Kyolath stormed from the lift, or so it seemed to Lathril with his heavy, clomping boots. The Commander was hard to read, always steeped in a calm that felt unnatural… almost droid-like. Yet Lathril knew the old bounty hunter was capable of great violence, so he tread carefully, quietly following after Kyolath.

“True strength is knowing your limits,” growled Kyolath. “Knowing your limits is knowing your weaknesses, with true humility. I don’t expect Darth Merce to have learned this lesson yet, but you are a Jedi. It is practically part of your code. What is your excuse?”

Lathril blinked hard. He wanted to protest, argue that Darth Merce was the one who had overstepped, but he also thought Kyolath was right.

No, felt he was right, through the pit in his stomach: the burning ember of shame Merce had reawakened there.

Continue reading “A Jedi’s Failing”