Star Wars: Aberrant Cause

Chapter 12

Master Xerros found Aveyla barely conscious on the floor of his library, with dark side energies seeping out of her like a plague. The tremor in the Force had brought him quickly towards the enclave, with his suspicions already in full bloom as to what would have caused such an outburst. With her current condition, his greatest fear was realized. "Youngling! What have you done?" cried the translator, echoing the melodic tones spurting from his tentacle jaws.

Aveyla was barely moving and looked up to him, the toll of the dark side heavily upon her. "Master…" she said, being the only word she could muster.

Xerros looked frantically back to the room that held the holocron, sensing residual tremors still filling the area. He had studied the object for years and was never able to learn its secrets, yet an untrained child had been able to unlock its power. It made his blood boil in anger. "What did you see? What did you learn? Who is the Sith Lord who created it?" his pendant cried as he knelt next to her, grabbing her shoulders roughly and pulling her up to him.

"He…Malgus," she said weakly, not noticing the rage in his eyes.

"Darth Malgus," he repeated, letting his eyes wander to the artifact. It spurred his desire to know the contents of the holocron even more, despite the expectation that a Jedi Master was not tempted by such things. Despite expectations, Xerros had a dark secret. He had been tainted by the dark side in his isolation and was trying to unlock the mysteries of the Sith in a bid to appeal to an Emperor that had already perished. His desire to preserve the Jedi way through artifacts had been perverted in his exile, becoming a hoarding desire to devour anything that came near him. Bathed in the dark side culled from his relics, he would use them as a dowry to buy his safety with the Sith. This had been his most recent plan, until Sheon had brought the youngling to his sanctuary and threatened it all.

Renewed by the name, Xerros handled her even more roughly, his eyes becoming frantic. "Tell me what secrets you have learned! What has the Dark Lord revealed to you?" wailed his translator.

"Master, you're hurting me," Aveyla cried, the pain caused by his hands making her mind clearer.

The plea made him hesitate, for he had never really given in to his dark urges before and had still retained some of his dignity as a Jedi Master, however his jostling of her had loosened her robes and her bared skin fueled a new dark urge within him, one that caused him to begin molesting her in a much different way. His isolation had degraded him in much more carnal ways than his alignment to the Force.

Aveyla was suddenly thrust back into her time on Nar Shaddaa and his furious touch on her body made her cry out even more, pleading for him to stop. There was no logic in a Jedi Master acting such a way and she tried as she might to resist him, but his strength was too great and his madness to potent.

"Give yourself to me, youngling. Give me your body and your mind, and we shall oppose the Sith in a new manner, standing on equal ground as a true master and apprentice," buzzed his pendant and his eyes were wild with darkness. No matter how much she resisted him, he continued to tear her robes from her, groping her body and violating her mind. Already weakened and more fearful than ever, Aveyla desperately wished Sheon would appear and save her from this fallen Jedi Master, but there was no one on the entirety of Ruusan that knew they were there, nor did a single heartfelt being know to come and save the young woman.

Her pleas ringing loudly in her own ears and her heart on the edge of destruction, Aveyla felt a power surge within her, though it was not of her own accord. Her eyes soaked red with energy, a powerful burst of Force energy whipped from her body and threw Xerros back against a stone wall, his eyes wild with shock. The young woman was floating above the ground, her posture cruel and terrifying, and her crimson eyes were locked on him, unyielding and malicious. An unseen force seized the Jedi Master by the throat with such force that the pendant around his neck shattered, leaving only his gasping breaths escaping from his tentacle jaws. Relics and stones were violently circling her, thrashing and destroying everything in sight. The very walls and ceiling were crumbling, shattered by the fury of the woman.

The potent Force Maelstrom had all but destroyed the sanctuary of Xerros, and it was a wild and terrible thing. With the Jedi Master gargling and struggling, the whirlwind of stone and tome consumed him, crushing him and burying him in the very dowry he had wished to buy his freedom with. The death of the Master signaled a reduction of the storm's fury, with the destroyed sanctuary nothing more than a catacomb of lost knowledge and denied salvation.

In the middle of the chaos, Aveyla floated back to the ground and her red eyes started at the bloody hand of Xerros sticking from the rubble, her face scowling in utter disgust. "Foolish Jedi," said a voice tainted by malice and hate, resonating with tones from beyond.

In an instant, the aura of darkness that had seized her dispersed and Aveyla fell to her knees, coughing and staring downwards at the only unobstructed patch of floor left in the sanctuary. Her last memory was of Xerros and his frightening assault, but upon looking up, she found his hand and gasped. A part of her realized she was to blame, but she had no memory of what happened.

Struck by fear and hysterical, she fled from the sanctuary as quickly as she could, running back to her room. Her tattered robes felt dirty and smelled of the man, so she stripped herself of them and fell upon herself in the corner of her room, weeping wildly. Once again with nothing, she thought of Sheon and what she would say. Murdering a Jedi Master was no small offense, even in such terrible times, but she convinced herself that the Jedi Knight would understand her and help her with this terrible influence that had taken residence in her heart. Without the salvation of Sheon, she would have been consumed by her guilt.

Taking little with her, she claimed Xerros's shuttle and made ready to flee the planet. He had taught her its basic operation, in case of an emergency, and she managed to get the ship into space and away from the site where terror had taken her. Not knowing where to go to even look for Sheon, she found herself trying to plot a course to Nar Shaddaa, the only place she knew the Jedi had been. Deep inside, she did not want to return, but she was willing to risk it just to find her beloved mentor.

The chance would not come. Before she could even figure out the hyperdrive, a ship came from the other side of the planet and quickly caught up the shuttle. With her pilot inexperienced and afraid, the shuttle was quickly overwhelmed and disabled, then brought into the much larger cruiser like a beast swallowing its prey. There were no markings and no indication why the ship had been in the area. Without hesitation, the cruiser disappeared into hyperspace, its captive safely inside.

With her lightsaber in hand, Aveyla shakily walked out into the bay of the cruiser. She was exhausted and did not know who had suddenly abducted her. The belly of the cruiser was empty and silent, except for the hum of the engines. The silence terrified her.

"Who's there? What do you want?" she cried weakly, trying to handle her weapon as her masters had taught her. She felt clumsy with it, and imagined it would do her little good in a fight. A small part of her was hoping that the same terrible force that had killed Xerros would save her from any danger that might be waiting in the dark, but she was also deathly afraid of it. She felt as much as a victim of the power as Xerros.

A whisper of sound had clued her into the presence of another, but it came a moment too late. A burst of energy ripped through her body and she collapsed, her lightsaber falling uselessly to the floor. From the shadows of the bay, two figures approached her, one holding a staff that was still pulsing with the energy that had stunned her.

With her capture completed, the two figures loomed over her, pleased with their success. "Do you see what I see? Is this a Jedi? This trip wasn't such a waste after all," said the first, returning the staff back to their side.

"Not much resistance for a Jedi. Maybe just a foolish kid who found a stash of ancient relics. Ruusan is known for that, you know," suggested the other, reaching down and picking up the lightsaber.

"In either case, she's quite the prize. I'll bet the Captain will reward us handsomely for her. He'll just eat this young thing up," replied the first, grinning with rotten teeth, "Throw her in the containment cell and instruct the crew to steer clear of her. If she is a Jedi, we don't need any accidents until we get a penalty collar on her."

Aveyla was dragged to an isolated part of the ship and locked up, unaware of her new fate. The cruiser was taking her to a volatile part of space, heavy with smuggling and slavery, not associated with any system or body of government. Although her heart was longing to find Sheon, her body had once again fallen in the company of the cruel and her freedom had been revoked.

She was being taken to the leader of their group, who resided in the heart of the volatile region on his powerful warship, the Affluent.

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