Jedi Destiny I: Hate of the Jedi

Chapter 18

Darth Pravus howled with rage as the impudent Jedi trollop fell away out of sight and dropped down into the hangar bay below.

Immediately, he picked his lightsaber up from the deck beside him and flicked the blade back to life. Then he dashed over to the hole and dropped down, catching the deck with the fingers of his free hand and ignoring the pops of his knuckles as his body swung under the lip. The toes of his boots made contact with the underside of the deck and he used the brief contact as leverage and launched himself, not straight down where Kylia waited for him with her own weapon ready, but angled away so that he would land several meters from her.

He landed swiftly, but without the Force to slow his fall, he hit the deck on a knee and grunted at the spike of pain that shot up his already injured leg and along his spine.

He whirled around, his cloak flapping with the movement, and glared at the Jedi standing a few feet away, waiting patiently.

The impudent smile upon her lips made him wish he could kill her now, but he needed a few moments to recover from the fall, and the earlier strike against his leg. He fed on the pain, channelled it through every muscle through sheer force of will, rather than the power of the Force. He allowed his anger and his physical pain to make him stronger. He was master of his emotions, not the other way around. That was what made the Sith strong.

Admittedly, without the Force to funnel that pain into strength, it was more difficult than he anticipated.

He stood up straight, holding his lightsaber out in front of him to show the Jedi that whatever pain he was in was nothing to him. They began to circle each other slowly, both waiting for the other to make the next move.

Pravus made the first move.

With his back to the blast doors, he coiled the muscles in his legs and launched himself into a backward somersault until he landed on the deck raised above the door.

There were stairs on either side of the upper deck leading onto it from the shuttle deck below, but he knew Kylia enough to know that she would not choose either of those. He knew, that she knew, that the journey up the stairs would buy him enough time to rush to her and begin his attack anew.

And what was one of the first things Skywalker had drilled into them all those years ago? “Always make sure you can take advantage of the high ground.”

“Come to me, Jedi,” Pravus hissed, “if you have the courage to muster.”

It seemed as though she did.

She ran forward a few steps and jumped, catching the edge with the fingers of her left hand while holding her lightsaber away from her with her right.

Pravus prepared himself to slash down to sever them, but caught himself when she flung herself up into an elegant somersault over his head. Her feet connected again with his chest—both feet this time—with the same power they had on the upper deck, and sent him sprawling away from her as she pulled herself up and reactivated her lightsaber.

When he recovered enough to whirl around to face her again, he saw that she had changed her entire form into that of a great, hulking, dark-haired Wookiee; the Imperial uniform hung from her, stretched and torn.

“I’ll grant you this;” Pravus said, “you are quite the gymnast.” Then he lurched forward, bringing his lightsaber around to cleave her in half at the waist.

Wookiee-Kylia batted his blade away and launched into a three stroke attack of her own, at his legs, his midsection, and at his head. He deflected the first two, ducked under the third, and then spun on the spot and kicked out at her leg.

His foot connected with hairy knee and the Jedi stumbled backwards to recover. But he wasn’t done with her. He pressed on, pushing forward and stepping around her before jabbing backwards with his lightsaber. He felt no resistance, and when he turned to face her, saw that she had dashed forward to escape him.

He cursed, watching as the Wookiee jumped back down to the lower deck, landed with a hard thud, and ducked around behind the craft sitting there.

“You cannot hide forever, Kylia,” he called out to her, taking the time to walk ahead to the steps.

He took them two at a time, pausing for a second after each step to glance around and assess the situation. “You are on my terms here. There is nothing the Force can do for you. You may only claim victory from me by proving your superiority with the blade, and we both know that that is not likely to happen.”

He heard the snap-hiss of a lightsaber flicking back to life as he touched down on the main deck again.

“That’s much be—” And then he heard the repeat sound of plasma eating through steel again and swore. “Oh no you don’t, you Jedi filth!”

He dashed around the ship and saw that Kylia had reverted to her normal form and had her lightsaber half-buried in the deck, and she was carving a large arc around her feet. She was only half done when he descended upon her and she had to stop herself in order to defend from his renewed attacks.

“Stop vandalising my station!” he snarled in her face when they had managed to lock themselves together, their lightsabers pushing harder against each other for supremacy.

Pravus shoved her away with a hand to the chest and she turned and dashed across the deck. He followed her until she stopped and spun around, and then renewed his attack again.

She swung wide to block him each time, and on her third swing her lightsaber passed through the power conduits lining the wall.

“No!” Pravus gasped.

Though it hadn’t been his intention, that one word proved to be just the distraction he needed.

Kylia Okras half-turned to see what it was that she had done, and, though he hesitated for but an instant, Pravus took the opportunity that had suddenly presented itself. He plunged his lightsaber deep into her lower abdomen without a second’s hesitation, driving it up through her chest cavity until it stuck out from behind her shoulder.

She gasped in pain, in surprise, and tried to bring her lightsaber around for her own finishing strike, but it lacked strength and purpose, and Pravus grabbed her wrist in his free hand and held it immobile. Sliding his hand up into hers, he snatched her lightsaber from her grasp and plunged it straight through her chest before withdrawing it.

“Sith … Lord …” she breathed, barely able to say the words as her life drained away from her.

Pravus smiled, victorious in both mind and body. He had won, had beaten a Jedi Master. He was exhausted, and pain flooded him from his chest, the lower half of his face, and from his damaged leg, but he forced himself to remain standing, forced himself to lean close to the Jedi and whisper five words to her.

Her eyes shot wide in realisation, and then fluttered and closed as the last of life bled from her.

Pravus had won.

But his victory did not last long. The power conduits on the wall hissed and erupted and the ray shield keeping the bay pressurised flickered as it was deprived of its power source.

Pravus turned and ran, deactivating both lightsabers and clipping them to his belt before he reached the nearest shuttle.

He pressed on the comm. clipped to the collar of his tunic. “Control! Seal off observation lounge three and the hangar just below it!” he ordered.

He didn’t wait for a reply, merely slapped the controls when he reached the top of the loading ramp, retracting it and sealing him inside.

Then he heard the loud whooshing of rushing air as the ray shield’s life failed completely. Atmosphere and oxygen flooded into space from the hangar, sucking every loose object—or ship—out with it.

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