Star Wars: The Rise of Darkness

Chapter 4

Age old conflict

“Are you sure this is a wise idea Master?” Kish asked as she peaked around the corner deeper into the mining facility, “I mean don’t you find it odd that we haven’t seen a single guard, worker, or anything yet?”

Scion shrugged in contemplation and he stepped out plainly into the hall, “Not so much odd as it is revealing I’d say.”

Kish’s eyes opened considerably wide as she watched such brashness, “Master?! What are you doing?” She hissed and chanced another glance down the way.

Scion turned a quizzical look to his apprentice, “What? Its rather obvious that they know we are here, thats why we haven’t seen anyone. I imagine that a trap has been set up for us,” The Jedi master stated and motioned down the hall with his outstretched hand.

“And you suggest that we walk headlong into it?” Kish asked exasperated, but she stepped out into the hall beside her master despite her apprehension.

“We wouldn’t want to disappoint our host now would we?” Scion said and continued along the hallway at a leisurely pace.

Although Kish kept stride with her Master, her posture was no where near as nonchalant. She was like a coiled spring ready to explode at the slightest warning. At the moment she was seriously questioning his reasoning, Did he know something she didn’t? The hallway came to a four way intersection and the Jedi stopped at it. Each of the hallways ended in a closed door.

“Should we split up Master?” Kish asked as she searched for some hint as to where to go. The cold gray walls where totally barren of any sign or directions. She reached out with the Force attempting to probe the surrounding area in search for anything that could guide them, but to no avail the halls seemed somehow dark and oppressive. It was like searching for something in a light less room.

Scion simply stood motionless his arms folded across his chest, “I have a feeling that will not be necessary.” As if on queue the door that had been directly before them slid open with a distant hiss. Scion smiled pleasantly, “Ah see, have faith my young Padawan.”

A chill ran up Kish’s spine as she stared down the hall at the darkened open door. With each step they took toward the portal, weight collected in her stomach until it felt like she was going to be sick. It felt so much like she was standing over a great precipice slowly losing her footing.

Beyond the door they could see what looked to be a control room of some kind , luminous screens of computer monitors flickered and a deep red tint hung in the air around the room. On the opposite side of the door they where about to enter, the Jedi could see a balcony that overlooked the massive pit that had been dug into the surface of the planet. There on the balcony a man in black robes stood his hands clasped behind his back.

Scion leaned over to Kish and whispered, “Be mindful my apprentice and follow my lead,” He pulled his lightsaber from his belt and moved forward into the chamber. Kish did as she was told. Feeling the familiar handle in her grasp was reassuring at least as she approached along side Scion. How many times has this played out before, she thought absently.

They stopped at the doorway to the balcony which was a mere four meters away from the figure. The man turned around and bowed his head, “Master Jedi, I have been expecting you.”

Kish felt the tension rising, building like the energy before an electrical storm. Her thumb rubbed the ignition switch of her weapon wanting dearly to turn it on.

Scion got right to business, “We are here for the smugglers, Callous, and their cargo.” He stated, his tone suggesting that he was in no mood for discussion, “Give them up.”

Kish narrowed her eyes, realization coming in a sudden wave. He did know something that she didn’t. It wasn’t just that he had called the Sith by name, but it was the way he said the word cargo. There was a distinct amount of reverence to it which to her meant that he knew what the cargo was, and its value. Why would Scion value something that the Sith did. It made no sense to her.

This fact didn’t escape the Sith either and he raised a single curious eyebrow, “You know that I cannot do that,” Callous said, not bothering to follow up on said curiosity, “That cargo, is the key to ending the conflict between our chosen sides. Believe it or not what I intend to do is for the greater good.”

So many thoughts and conjectures ran through Kish’s mind on the current situation. She was growing tired of all this mysterious intrigue and longed for things to be settled out in the open as was the old way. Or at least she had heard that it was the old way. If not how did anything get accomplished. Scions compliment that he had given her back in the ship came to mind. Perhaps she was to straight forward for a life as a Jedi Sentinel.

“Those words have been spoken by your kind too many times Callous,” Scion retorted, “And every time its been a lie.”

Callous chuckled, “My kind?” he asked, laying the condescension on as thick as he could, “Am I not a sentient being such as yourself? I thought the Jedi way taught that we are all equal in regards to the Force?”

“It doesn’t matter what our order teaches. I cannot allow you to complete your task,” Scion said, “Even if it was for the greater good. Evil deeds are evil deeds no matter the cause behind them.”

“Very well. I was hoping you would want to do things the hard way,” Callous moved his hands from behind his back and with a dexterous flip of his fingers produced his lightsaber. A meter of growling crimson energy sprang from its hilt.

“It is the only way,” Scion commented cryptically, thumbing his own saber to life and took a defensive posture.

A surge of adrenaline filled Kish as she followed suit and poised her weapon above her head in the high guard.

“Shall we?” Callous said, a grin spreading across his features.

And so the ancient dance of Sith and Jedi began.

So fast was the initial thrust from Callouses weapon that Kish barely had time to strike the blow down. She did so with every ounce of strength she possessed, attempting to drive the point of his weapon into the metal beneath their feet. This would stall his weapon for a precious moment, allowing Scion to strike.

With a brilliant flash sabers clashed and as Callouses blade sparked against the floor Scion moved to slash at the Sith.

Callous must have been expecting such, as he yanked up with Force augmented strength and used Kish’s weapon to deflect the incoming blow.

The three blades where suddenly incredibly close to the Jedi apprentices countenance, and she spun away orbiting her lightsaber around her body to gain some momentum for a horizontal attack aimed at Callouses middrift.

With ease he swatted the strike away with plenty of time to divert a thrust from Scion. This sent the Iktotchi stumbling between the two momentarily cutting off Kish from the fight.

She watched as the pair fell into a flurry of moves. Callous primarily the aggressor and Scion employing a steady movement forward using his opponents strikes to fuel his counter attacks. Kish leapt to the left to flank the Sith but his lightsaber darted out with lightning speed and deflected her attack.

Skillfully and with use of the Force Callous flipped clear over Kish and landed nimbly behind her. She had no time to turn and parried blindly behind her with a reversed spin of her blade than stepped forward into the empty void that Callous had left. Vaguely she was aware of his saber licking at her spine as she spun around and executed another parry in the knick of time. Now with her back to the railing of the balcony, she reeled off balance. Sensing her weakness, Scion again engaged Callous, drawing the attention of the exceptionally skilled swordsman with a series of long reaching downward attacks.

Despite the experience of the older Jedi, Callous was fast and not so easily taken advantage of. He raised his blade and blocked the second downward strike with an unyielding cross check than delivered a savage kick. His booted foot drove into Scions stomach effectively emptying his lungs with a rush of air.

Scion fell back against the railing, one hand grasping it to steady himself, his opposite hand still worked his lightsaber deflecting elusive thrusts and cuts from Callous.

Kish felt panic flutter through her as she steadied her self and surged into battle in defense of her Master. Her first attack was amplified by the Force and as Callous moved to defend he found his saber driven down far enough that the apprentices blade singed his tunic.

With a snarl he languidly stepped to the side and allowed Kish’s attack to flow past him. Again she was nearly thrown off balance, this time by her own impetuousness, but she threw a leg out and caught her self before taking a header into the floor. The solid defense she had struck and attempted to power through had suddenly turned to water.

Now with her body nearly perpendicular to the floor, held there by her one leg, she pinwheeled her body up and over. Mid cartwheel she attempted to crack Callous across the jaw with her right foot but failed.

The Sith lord growled and stepped back a few feet giving her and Scion some much needed breathing room, “Master are you ok?”

“Just dandy thanks,” Scion huffed, “Be with you in a moment.”

Like a mother Acklay, Kish stood her ground before Callous and centered herself, weapon raised before her. Attacking was momentarily out of the question, she had to defend Scion so she changed her stance to newer variation of the Soresu form.

“Nice try,” Callous said, stalking forward, “But you must know by now that you can’t win.”

“We shall see,” Kish said defiantly.

Like thunder rolling, their blades smashed together. In volatile flurries Callous assaulted, attempting to snake by the young Jedi, but she held strong against his siege. Three times Kish attempted to counter attack but was foiled.

“NOW!” Scion shouted from behind her and she side stepped allowing her Master to slip into the battle yet again, emerald blade flashing. It was than that the pair seemed to turn the tide of the conflict and the drove the Sith backward towards the door to the control room.

Kish kept up the forward momentum, her youthful exuberance able to match Callous for energy while Scion stayed on his flank cutting off the rest of the balcony with strategical striking discipline.

As the fight neared the edge of the door Kish could see that the Siths anger was escalating and he was growing tired of being on the defense. If something didn’t change soon he would yet again take the upper hand.

Though Scion had not told Kish his plan she felt what he was going to do. It was more than prevalent that they where not going to win this conflict, so they had to buy themselves time and make for the Hangar.

Just a few more feet, she thought to her self. Lunging she threw a risky thrust low at Callouses legs at the same time that Scion diverted the Siths blade upward. This forced him to shuffle backward in front of the opening to the control room.

Scion raised his hand to deliver a Force push that drove Callous sideways into the chamber. The Siths lightsaber flung out in a last ditch effort to strike at the Jedi, it hissed like an alien serpent than refracted off of Scions blade.

Kish was already fulfilling her part. Callous had fallen back in front of the door allowing Kish to post up next to the control panel. As Scion blasted him through it she had hit the panel to close the door and the moment it had shut completely she lanced it with her weapon. The magnetic lock slammed closed

“Lets hope that works,” Kish said and turned to gaze out across the facility. Down below she spied a catwalk that ran parallel to the facility and led to a large warehouse like building with the words Hangar stenciled onto it. Kish pointed unable to keep the excitement from her voice. “There Master we can make it if we jump.”

“Good,” Scion said between his heavy breaths, his age must be finally catching up to him. The sound of a lightsaber carving into the door reached them and the door began to glow, “Lets go.”

The pair leapt from the balcony and controlled their decent with the Force. Kish landed lightly on her feet, but Scion hit rather fast and tumbled from his feet. The fight must have truly drained him. Kish moved to help him to his feet.

“Come on now Master, you can gr-” She stared as she looped his arm around her neck and instantly her nostrils where stung by the smell of scorched flesh.

Oh no, she thought, “Master your wounded!” Kish said fear and worry gushing forth from her.

“Very observant of you my Padawan. Now lets go we don’t have much time,” Scion rasped his off hand clenching a gash in his abdomen. It was deep and just under his rib cage.

As Kish helped her Master along the catwalk she tried to staunch the tears that threatened to poor forth.

She failed.

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