Star Wars: Aberrant Cause

Chapter 7

Anaos Zane descended into the lower levels of his establishment to meet the special shipment he was receiving from Nal Hutta. His business acquaintance Myutta had claimed she was the most beautiful Twi'lek dancer to part with Ryloth, but the human doubted such a claim. "You can always tell a Hutt is lying when their lips move," he said to himself as he finished the last steps into his own personal speeder dock, finding two thugs crouched near a lumpy sack. The man instinctively fingered the blaster at his side and approached casually, looking around for any other surprises that might await him. Like countless others on the moon, he was both friend and foe to anyone who did business with him. It made any late meeting reason for suspicion.

"An ambush is an acceptable business practice," he also muttered, echoing a common saying spoken on Nar Shaddaa.

Satisfied with the situation, Anaos approached the two thugs and flipped his hand through the air, gesturing for them to remove the sack. "I'm not buying Ithorian potatoes. Let's see this wonderful 'jewel' Myutta thinks I should buy," he said, smirking.

The sack was removed and an unconscious Aveyla was laid out before him. Anaos was genuinely shocked, for she was just as beautiful as Myutta had said, though she was younger than he imagined. Still, his customers came with all tastes, so that was not much of a concern.

Feeling his suspicions flare, the man pulled a bio-scanner from his pocket and aimed it at the sleeping girl. To part with such a precious slave so abruptly brought with it equal amounts excitement and concern, while risk resided somewhere in the balance. There were no devices implanted in her and no chemical agents on her skin. The deal seemed very much straight forward, which made him even more suspicious. However, he was a business man and this was a deal too good to pass up.

"Okay, bring her this way," he said and headed back up the stairs. The thugs obeyed and brought her along.

The new acquisition was put in a room with several droids designed to maintain the performers and slaves who Anaos used in his club. The man paid the thugs a fraction of what Fennri had paid for her and then sent them out to the floor where a fleet of gambling machines, dancers and prostitutes would hopefully retrieve some of the money back from them. Myutta would certainly kill them for using his money, but that was not the concern of Anaos.

Back to matter at hand, Anaos had a medical droid awaken the girl, who was disoriented and frightened at the loud, polluted place. He waited for her to get her bearings, staring down at her beautiful body and soft skin. He imagined there was much money to be made with her.

"Can you understand me? Do you understand Basic?" he asked her after she appeared more lucid. Still weary from the drugs, she felt sick and more likely to vomit than respond, but she managed to nod her head to him. That made him smile.

"Good, that makes things much easier. You are on Nar Shaddaa. I am Anaos and you belong to me now. Since you are young and pretty, you will dance for my customers. You will entertain my customers. You will do whatever they desire, as long as they pay for it. Now, I'm not a monster. I retain a healthy catalog of men and women to cater to any customer's carnal desires. I do not mix my dancers with my whores, but if you lose your appeal or the customer's no longer wish to see you dance, you will become an animal for them and they may do to you whatever they may wish. That is your fate, young one, and a terrible one at that. But since you are young and pretty, that fate may be many years away. So, be good, dance well and make me lots of money. Do you understand?" he explained, as he had thousands of times before.

Her response was to drop her head to him, rubbing her neck where the metal shackle had constantly made her neck bleed. Once again, her circumstances felt like a distant dream to her and she resigned herself to answer in the simplest manner, "Yes, master."

"Wonderful!" the man cheered, then moved his attention to the droids, "Get her cleaned up and out to the floor. These starving customers need to see her tonight!"

Thus began her life as a dancing slave on Nar Shaddaa. Due to her beauty and her grace, she became an excellent performer at Zane's club, bringing him vast amounts of money and repute. Her body matured and her beauty grew over the next year, making her more and more popular with those that came to see her.

Anaos mostly kept his word of utilizing her as a dancer, but some of his more exclusive clientele made regular requests for more personal encounters with the popular Twi'lek. There was a room upstairs in his club where these encounters were arranged, with Aveyla led in by an armed bouncer who also oversaw the conduct of the client. There she was subjected to the whims of the patron, submitting her young body to their desires and closing her heart more each time. On the threshold of adulthood, her world became one of physical use and emotional seclusion. She was barely afforded any time to despair at the terrible fate that had befallen her.

The nature of Nar Shaddaa had also drowned out the occurrences that had plagued both Fennri and Myutta. The voices she had once heard were muffled and the wayward emotions that would set upon her waned. Her ability to move things without touching them remained, but she hardly slept, so these instances were now rare.

They did still happen.

On one particularly dreadful night, while Aveyla was being subjected to the carnal desires of a regular patron to the club in the room upstairs, her powers projected themselves stronger than they ever had before. The man was rough, heavy with drink and complaining to her about a business deal gone sour. He had been touching her in the most sensitive places and the usually submissive Aveyla was overwhelmed by him, feeling a heat well up in her like she had never experienced. One of the more attentive bouncers was present in the room, making sure nothing happened to endanger one of Anaos's slaves, but the drunk man's actions became too much for the young girl and the entire building was rocked by a pulse of energy.

When Anaos managed to get up the room, he was horrified at what he found. The room was destroyed, with furniture everywhere and windows blown out to the busy city beyond. His bouncer was nowhere to be seen, being blasted from the windows and to his death on the streets several hundred kilometers below. The drunk client was piled in the corner, his pants still around his ankles and he was bloody from head to toe, severely injured from the blast.

Aveyla was lying in the center of the room, curled into a ball and breathing heavily. The room had blossomed around her, with all signs showing she was the cause of the explosion. Her eyes fluttering open, she looked to Anaos and whispered in a breathless whisper, "Master…"

Anaos surveyed the room and clenched his fists. Walking swiftly over to the girl, he sent a ruthless kick into her side, making her cry out in pain. She could not fathom why he was suddenly beating her. He continued his assault, pummeling her and wrenching her around by her lekku, all while cursing the damage to his club and to his reputation.

Soon, she was unconscious and bleeding amidst the debris. Anaos stood heaving over her, noticing that other patrons were peeking into the room. Quick to contain the situation, he called other bouncers in to guard the room, while one of them dragged the injured client over to the shattered windows and tossed him out to follow the same grisly fate as the attentive bouncer. It was the quick and easy way to clean up the mess on a brutal Nar Shaddaa.

Aveyla was taken to the lower levels and thrown in a room, then forgotten as the scene was resolved above. When she awoke several hours later, she groaned in pain and could barely move, her body racked with injury and her head throbbing. For several more hours she cried out in agony, calling for her master, Abe'ian and even her father. It was more like a dream than ever, but now was so physically painful that she could barely breathe. No matter how much she rolled or weakly tried to reach the door, there was no relief for her. For reasons she did not know, she was punished. Death, to her, was better than this and for the very first time, she felt lost to despair and she yearned for the end.

At sixteen years old, Aveyla Rom longed for her own death.

Aveyla spent a day in the secluded room, writhing in pain and groaning for help. No one came. During this time, the voices she had once heard and were drowned out by her hectic life on Nar Shaddaa somehow made it into her mind, slithering between her ears and hissing terrible things. It was maddening to her that she could hear someone whispering, yet they were blatantly ignoring her pleas for help.

Deep inside, she could feel darkness welling up.

Early in the morning, Anaos broke open the door and stepped inside, flanked by two of his best bouncers. His face was still twisted by anger, but he was able to control it now, especially after spending so many hours herding patrons and containing damage. Crouching next to her, he listened to her whispering painful apologies in some pale hope he would let the medical droid tend to her wounds.

His eyes were cruel and cold and he grabbed her harshly by her lekku. "Who was it? Bounty hunters? Imperials? Who set off a thermal detonator in my best VIP room?" he asked her. When she responded with whimpers, he threw her head down against the ground and scoffed, standing straight and wiping caked blood from his hands. It was obviously not a satisfying answer. "You'll stay here until you can remember. I can't have people causing problems in my club. It's bad for business," he sneered, turning around and leaving her in the room, despite her pleas to help her.

Tears welled up in her eyes and her sniffling caused even more pain to shoot through her chest. She honestly did not remember much of what happened, and what she could remember she wanted to forget. There was a residual feeling of incredible power and the room seemed to bend around her. Then there was darkness and pain.

For the rest of the day, she remained alone in the room and afraid, the pain slowly giving away to despair. Anaos was content with letting her suffer, despite her not knowing anything. A strange new feeling stirred within her between the gasping breaths and shooting pain.

Hate.

She had never known hate, not even towards those that put her in this life. There was always disgust and despair, but never true hatred. She hated Anaos. She did not exactly know why, for she had always been mistreated, but she hated him for the pain he was putting her through. If possible, she wanted to use her strange powers to hurt him, or kill him. It became a powerful suggestion in her mind and caused the building around them to shake. The door cracked and twisted slightly and windows all over shattered and broke. Screams from all around alluded to panic, from the streets to the dance floor above. All of it seemed focused on Aveyla's singular thought of hurting Anaos.

Then it all abruptly stopped. The young girl had lost consciousness, pressed beyond her threshold for pain. While no one nearby knew what caused the tremors, suspicion was growing inside the mind of Anaos. He was beginning to think his prize dancer was not worth the trouble she caused. As soon as time allowed, he retreated to his office and made a call to some very troublesome people.

After days of drifting in and out of consciousness and on the verge of death, Aveyla was awoken by a strange presence in the room with her. A figure was standing in the corner, covered in heavy robes and carrying themselves with a high degree of integrity. Her injuries stifled any voice she might have, but her eyes were very telling, sapping all energies from her withering body to try and focus on this mysterious figure.

The figure did not move. It stood ghostly still and continued to look upon her. When the room began to react to Aveyla's feelings of anxiety and tremors surged through the walls and ceiling, the figure moved like the wind and was instantly next to her, a soft hand from the robes to settle on the young girl's brow. It was a sensation Aveyla had not felt since being with Abe'ian and it instantly calmed her. There was a strange warmth in her mind. She could not see the figure's face, and not much of anything, but her presence was calming and it soothed the pains in her chest.

"Be still, child. You are safe. Find peace with the Force; let it flow through you," a serene, powerful voice said to her.

A strange sense of serenity came over her, pushing the dark thoughts from her mind. Never in her life had she felt so calm, despite the dire situation she was in. It was like being placed in a warm bath, or cradled in a warm blanket. The strange powers that had plagued her since she was young felt aligned, not reacting to the world around her. It was the peace she had been searching for, so much so that she thought death had fallen upon her.

A soft smile crept across the hooded figure's lips.

The door suddenly burst open and a heavily armed Aqualish thug raised a blaster to the back of the figure, howling something in its native language. While Aveyla was oblivious to this due to her delirious state, the robed figure slowly rose, keeping their back to the thug. It continued to howl unintelligible things, rolling its head around in a fit of anger. The figure did not move. Only when the thug fired a shot did the figure move, swooping around so fluidly that the blaster shot only pierced cloth. A blast of light and energy erupted from the flaying robes and with a swift slice, the arm of the thug came crashing to the ground, accompanied by a howl of pain. A second strike from the lightsaber took the thug's head from his shoulders and his body clumped to the ground. The movements had been so fluid that Aveyla could barely follow them, but she could see the brightly glowing lightsaber clutched tightly in the figure's hand. She could now see her savior, whose hood had fallen back in the movements.

She was Devathorian woman, with long, slender ears and covered with stunning white fur. With her tall, slender form poised to strike any who entered the room, her eyes were searching the doorway for any other pursuers. Her entire visage was beautiful to the young Twi'lek. It was as if some superior being had come down to rescue her, and not a moment too soon.

The woman slowly stood straight after finding no other enemies, then slowly looked back to the young girl. She had not expected to find a beaten Twi'lek girl at the source of such a Force disturbance, but accepted the times as being unorthodox. The glowing blade of her lightsaber pulled back into its hilt and it disappeared under her robes. Knowing time was of the essence, she moved back to the girl and picked her up in her arms, inwardly remarking how light she felt.

"You do not belong here, child. I will take you to a better place," she said in soft tones, and in an instant the room was empty.

Sometime later, Anaos came into the room with his best bouncers, his dark eyes looking over the scene. One of his thugs was dead, the room was now empty. One of his most lucrative dancers was missing and an alarm was blaring through the lower levels of his establishment.

He said very little.

"Boss! Boss!" yelled one of his thugs, running down the hall to meet them, "You have to come see the video! A Jedi! There was a Jedi here!"

Anaos did not stir. His thug was beheaded and there was little blood. A distinct burning smell lingered in the air and he was sure he would see one of the mythical lightsabers on the video. Everything fit together concerning the young dancer and her strange powers. He had acted just moments too late.

"You were right, Boss. The little brat was a Jedi and her Jedi friend must have come for her. What are you going to tell the Imperials?" one of his other bouncers said.

Anaos slowly turned from the scene and looked upon his brainless muscle. "What Jedi? What video? All I have here is some trash that needs to be disposed of. As for the Imperials," he said calmly, stepping over the dead corpse and back into the hallway, where smell was not so strong. "It must have been a prank call. Nothing more," he finished, then walked back towards his office, leaving his men to handle the situation. A new dancer would replace Aveyla and no one would know the difference. The biggest headache to his operation had conveniently disappeared, leaving only a small mess for him to clean up.

Today had been a good day for business after all.

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