Chapter 9: Krautha
Out in the backyard among an environment of alchemical tools and structures, Krautha began the process of weapon enchantment. There was little she could do with lightsabers other than using the Force to infuse crystals with darkside energies. However, now she considered Vorune's dagger-fitted lightsaber hilts. To her, the daggers were like the talons of a predatory bird, highly effective in tearing flesh without the use of technology. However, she figured that they should be able to do much more than that.
Already she began waving her hands over the daggers while they rested upon a podium. She called upon the darkside of the Force, initiating the spell for enchantment, and the daggers began to float in mid air. Already, darkside energy began coalescing around them, imbuing them with power. A small cauldron sat nearby, filled with grotesquely green and yellow fluid that bubbled. By her command, portions of that fluid began to rise up into the air and coat the daggers.
By now Krautha's eyes were purely red showing no irises or pupils. Her claw-like hands continued to circle through the air, manipulating darkside forces and she performed the incantation. When she finished, her eyes returned to normal and those daggers drifted back down gently onto the podium. She ceased performing the spell, now examining the daggers and admiring her handiwork. The blade of these dagger-fitted lightsaber hilts, still appeared black, but with added interweaving patterns of yellow-green, almost as though they had been spattered with paint. The yellow-green glowed with a pulsating effect, signifying that the enchantment worked.
She took the lightsabers and walked away, heading back into the house.
"Back at the ruined ship, when you attacked me," Vorune began, finding the nerve to talk to Keyliah again. "What Forms did you use?"
She smiled. "So you're talking to me again?"
"Fair enough," she sighed. "So far I have only taught you Shii Cho, Soresu, Makashi, and Ataru. There's more."
Vorune appeared interested despite everything that happened between him and Keyliah. She sensed that, even saw the expression on his face, so she decided to continue.
"Those are the four Forms shared between Jedi and Sith during my people's time with the Dark Jedi Exiles. However, we Sith developed our own Forms to advance our fighting styles, all in order to better combat the Ancient Jedi Order."
"Will you teach me those?"
She smiled at him. "In due time."
He nodded, listening.
"Anyway. Upon exiting the temporal anomaly, we began wandering the galaxy for a little more than half a decade. During that time, we sought to learn modern ways of life and began seeking out artifacts belonging to the Sith. We realized that the Sith we left behind on our homeworld had continued on through the course of history. All the while they assaulted the Jedi Order. However, as we discovered, there were many artifacts left behind by both Jedi and Sith, and we began discovering how to track them down and gain possession of them. Sometimes we would have to raid old and abandoned Jedi and Sith temples and other ruins. Sometimes we raided places where the Jedi were still active, and we slaughtered them all before acquiring their knowledge and technology."
"But that came to an end when the Republic Armada came to attack your ship."
"Yes. Many of us died. Only a few survived." She looked at him and said with a taste of anger. "I hate to say it, but... it was my mother that made the call. She gave the order to jump blindly into hyperspace. That alone ruined us, set us back, and all that we have done throughout those years of wandering the galaxy was all for nothing."
"Are you having second thoughts about your mother and the Sith Order?"
"Then why don't we just run off together and do our own thing? Forget the Sith Order and the Jedi Order. Let them fight their own battles."
"Easier said than done."
"We do have a child to raise, you know. At least we will after a few more months."
Keyliah stroked her belly, listening to his words. Her abdomen was already swelling with the growth of their baby. Sith training would have to be done through consultation, and Mother would be the one to engage Vorune physically. Keyliah only hoped that the crazy witch would not purposely kill him in the process.
"There's several more Sith Forms to learn, though we've also learned the Jedi Forms to give us an advantage when fighting the Jedi Order."
"I've noticed from the holocrons and ship databanks," said Vorune. "I'm familiar with them. I just need a trainer."
"Then it would be in your best interest to get on my mother's better side and win her respect and favor."
"I believe I can do that."
"Then when your training is complete, we can finally elope. I won't leave my mother to run off with you if you can't adequately defend myself and the baby."
Outside in the wilderness not too far away from the house, Krautha and Vorune were together. She had his weapons with her, and after a long walk through the jungle to find a suitable training area, she finally handed him his lightsabers.
"Your lightsabers," she said, holding them out for him to take. She held them in a reverse grip with the blades protruding from the outside of her fists. She watched quietly as the boy approached her to get them. He grabbed them from her hands, now standing before her and looking as if he had two daggers in hand instead of lightsabers.
"I am impressed with the craftsmanship invested in those weapons," she said. "It was a clever idea to add daggers to your lightsaber hilts. Very deceptive. I took the liberty of enchanting them with darkside energies. The result is a magical poison that can only be effective through the use of the Force. Since those lightsabers are attuned to you, that should not be a problem. The process should be nearly automatic. Anyone cut by those blades, even if only nicked by then, will eventually begin to feel the full effects of the poison. With that said, I suggest you use them wisely."
"Yes, my lord."
"Your lightsabers, from where I am standing, appear as regular daggers. With your hands wrapped around the handles, I doubt an enemy will notice that they are lightsabers until it is too late. Knowing that, I suggest that you use those lightsabers as daggers initially in every fight. You want to have the element of surprise every time."
"That means you will need to master the reverse-grip style of fighting. I checked and I already see that your lightsabers have a short blade. That is smart. The fighting Form I teach you will help you master this way of combat, granting you a fair amount of defensive advantage. When you need more flexibility, just simply twirl the lightsabers so that the daggers are in reverse-grip style. That way you can use the lightsaber blades and also lengthen the blades to get more range in combat."
"Right," he said. "That was my plan."
"Then keep in mind the effects of that poison. It is very possible to accidentally poison yourself. I suggest you use these gloves to help you." She handed it to him and he took them, putting them on immediately. "The armor in those gloves should help. They are lightweight and will not hinder mobility."
"You are welcome," she nodded. "Now, do you still have that training lightsaber my daughter made for you?"
"Use it. Right now you will not be using the daggers."
"Alright," he said, attaching the daggers to his belt. After not being in his hands, the poison effect ceased. This was temporary. If he held them again, the poison effect would start again. Vorune, taking hold of the training lightsaber, activated it and got into a battle stance. That was when he realized that the woman had no lightsaber and was not going to use one.
"What about your lightsaber?"
"I won't need one."
"Then how will we spar?"
She raised her hands, showing the young man her armored gauntlets. They were also gloves, made with overlapping plates of armor that flexed like a actual glove over her fingers. The fingertips were armored claws, ones that formed miniature lightsaber blades.
"Courtesy of modern-day technology," she grinned.
Vorune looked shocked, at first, but then his martial intelligence kicked in and made him say, "That doesn't make much sense, being that your hands have no protection against a lightsaber blade."
"Sure they do. These gauntlets are fortified with arcane power. They are virtually indestructible against lightsabers. I'm a sorceress. Magic protects me." she explained. "However, just in case I need a lightsaber, I can use this." She grabbed a belt-like item that seemed to be part of her sash. In fact it was a whip, one that unwound itself from around her body and snaked through the air as she showed off her skill in using this crimson-glowing lightwhip.
"A lightsaber would be able to cut through that," said Vorune. "The whip cord is technological, unlike a lightsaber blade that is formed form pure light and plasma energy."
"You forget, young one. I am a mastery of sorcery. The cords are also virtually indestructible against lightsabers."
She laughed. "My claws are made the same way, metal blades surrounded by the same kind of energy that forms your lightsaber blade. There is no destroying these, even if the technological aspect shorts out."
"That's... clever. And also spooky."
She laughed again, enjoying his humor and company. Getting into a battle stance, she said ominously, "Shall we begin?"