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Kai Tsintah

Inception

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Kai Tsintah    49

Kai did not remember how they got here. Idly, the Korun wondered whether she would be capable of making her way back to the settlement if the need arose. Her mind whirled, conflicting thoughts and emotions growing in scope and stature, as if somehow magnified by whatever surrounded her. Everything she felt here seemed stronger, Kai thought. The scout that guided her within said nothing throughout the entire journey to the Academy which suited her fine because Kai did not really feel like talking. Instead, she preferred to feed her senses with the aura emitted by her surroundings as the two travelers walked onward, keeping up an invariably brisk pace.

 

The young woman’s stamina notwithstanding, she wondered how many kilometers they had covered. Distracted by a myriad of thoughts mingling with budding excitement, Kai forgot to count her steps and lost track of time, given the burgeoning, dense cloud cover that painted foreboding shadow against the thick canopy of verdant green. Overwhelmed by the mystery of all that had befallen her that day, the Korun's initial curiosity about the appearance and identity of her shadowy companion all but faded away. For his part,  the scout simply stuck to his mission: leading Kai someplace she believed, would be a doorway to her new destiny. How much longer? This thought, pushing its way through a throng of many others, seemed to amplify the loudest. 

 

Just then, the rain forest enveloping the travelers seemed to thicken. Kai’s brows narrowed, her gaze sharpening as she clutched her walking staff ever tighter. And yet, her eyes were not deceiving her; the underbrush and forest engulfing them grew more dense with every passing step. Sensing danger at the last possible moment, Kai looked down, seeing a large flattened boulder just in front of her. And then another. And another. Stepping stones, she realized as her staff came down in front of her, hands twisting upon it. Her momentum ceased briefly, dual-colored gaze examining the obstacle in front of her. Man-carved steps. Ahead of Kai, the scout paused for a moment as if waiting for her to catch up. Odd. He did not turn. He simply. Just. Knew.

 

Alright, then!

 

Climbing the stairs, Kai ascended to the step just below her shadowy guide’s. The figure in front of her resumed forward momentum and the Korun simply followed with her gaze transfixed firmly ahead.  Curiosity growing by leaps and bounds, Kai felt as if she were jumping out of her skin, eager to reach the top of their steep ascent. Her footsteps halted in tandem with the guide and she stood beside the shadowy figure who seemed intensely focused upon the wall of green that blocked further entry. Expecting to see some sort of a building upon arrival, Kai hid her confusion under a mask of indifference. Patient to the last, she now waited to see what would happen next. As the two of them paused, Kai could feel a distinct shiver of cold -- no, dread -- ripple up and down her spine. Was this some kind of test?

 

Before she could voice the thought, Kai saw the vines and branches recede as if recognizing their visitors upon arrival. Whether through some magic, trickery or physical means, there was an entrance concealed beneath all the greenery and shadow, both of which had lifted away as if by some unheard command. Swallowing hard, Kai waited for the scout to step forward before she did. A current of cold air blasted through her as soon as she moved on, causing her to shiver uncontrollably. Somehow it had found a way through all the layers of clothing she wore, and Kai found the sensation quite unsettling. Distracting and unexpected, it made the Korun focus on it, rather than her new setting. Come to think of it, she did not even remember stepping through an entrance, or what it would have looked like. 

 

Kriff. Kriff. Kriff.

 

Noting now that she could see nothing except walls of darkness surrounding her in a large foyer that was the largest she had ever laid eyes upon, Kai faltered in her steps and waited for her eyes to adjust to the absence of light within. Remembering the light-stick in her pack, Kai swung it off her shoulder and dug out the rod, turning it on. The portable device was not overly powerful, but it was capable of illuminating a meter or so, all around her. Obsidian stone below her feet, above her and all around her, and not a sign of another living being present. Her guide had disappeared, or was that another illusion to test her? Increasingly frustrated and confused, the Korun took a small step forward and then another, hearing the echo of her own footfalls being the lone sound in an otherwise barren chamber.

 

“Hello? Is anyone out there?” Calling out into an empty twilight, Kai found herself shrinking inside in spite of wanting very much to ignore the feeling of uneasiness that sought out every inch of her body. For the time being, there was no response, save the echo of her own anxious voice.

 

She was alone.

Edited by Kai Tsintah
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Darth Verrin    2,130

The next sound in the great entryway was perhaps difficult to decipher - at first. The large, old, stone walls created echoes upon echoes, making voices carry beyond the norm, and altering their sound such that pinpointing origination was almost impossible.  That last task was made even more difficult by the darkness of the place, an almost tomb-like atmosphere that made one wonder whether they had walked into a cave... or a crypt.

 

It probably didn't help that the planet of Dathomir gave off a kind of Force-interference that imbued the entirety of it in a sense of dread or foreboding. The local tribespeople had been born to it, and so were immune. Those who migrated to Dathomir could shrug off the dark feelings given time and adjustment, if they didn't go mad first, or fall prey to the natural predators of the jungles.

 

Perhaps that was the sound that met the visitor's ears - the sound of predators. In truth, the noise-makers were a kind of predator - perhaps the worst kind: teenage boys. They had been playing around outside the Academy, and had seen the arrival of the visitor and her scout. They had rushed inside, and prepared their long-planned 'greeting' of the newcomers: they killed the lighting in the main foyer, and then hid in the far corner of the room, prepared to practice their telekinesis.

 

But then they heard the woman call, "Hello? Is anyone out there?"  And one of them snickered in adolescent anticipation.

 

The snicker echoed around the room, taking on an ethereal tone and bouncing here to there. Meanwhile, the other boy tried hard to manipulate a potted plant, sending it flying through the darkness towards the speaker. It passed into and out of the meager light offered by her stick, though whether she recognized it for what it was remained to be seen. It crashed in the darkness, sending a small shower of dirt flying in all directions from the point of impact. And the other boy snickered again, egging his fellow on.

 

That boy called out in his best ghostly tone, "Be-waaaAAAARRREEEEE!!!" The echoes made him sound much older and bigger. "Who invades my sacred tomb?!"

 

More snickers.

 

Just then, a portal on the opposite side of the chamber from whence the visitor entered slid open.  The sudden flash of bright light from beyond silhouetted a figure and cast its shadow far into the room, making it look gigantic. A wash of cold, treated air followed, and an older man's voice called out, "WHAT is going on HERE?!"

 

The snickering ceased immediately.

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Kai Tsintah    49

 

"Be-waaaAAAARRREEEEE!!!" Pause. "Who invades my sacred tomb?!"

 

Nope. Definitely alone no longer.

 

Kai stilled a shudder, feeling goosebumps rise. What on earth was this place and why was she led here only to be terrorized out by menacing sounds slightly warped by strange voices. The only comforting bit about the whole ordeal was that they spoke Basic, a language she could easily understand. Yet in as much as the voice did its best to sound its ominous warning, Kai resolved to stand her ground until whoever spoke revealed himself. Clutching her bo-like staff in thirds, she lifted it off the ground with her left arm extending downward as the right hand came up just above her head, to wield the stick at a forty-five degree angle.

 

If anyone or anything came at her now, at least she was capable of defending herself, Kai thought. Unfortunately, her reach would only expand by one or two feet with the power of each strike lessened by the lack of momentum she could have generated - if able to swing the weapon fully. Still, something had to be said for quick use of both sides of the staff in rapid succession and rhythm. Kai was quite willing to sacrifice power in return for agility and flexibility her stance now offered. With her feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, she was ready for the ‘voice’ to attack.

 

It seemed to do just that, sending something that resembled ...a POTTED PLANT, straight at her head. Kai ducked out of the way just in time, unfazed by the clash of clay against a wall of solid rock. She was growing angry now, realizing someone was having copious amounts of fun at her expense.

 

Snickers, huh? Ghosts do not snicker?! I’ll show you…

 

“Show yourself you, you little coward!”

 

Unfortunately, Kai’s challenge was cut short by a sudden flash of light illuminating a silhouette of a rather imposing figure, accompanied by a chilly draft and a rather imperious bellow.

 

"WHAT is going on HERE?!"

 

Silence.

 

Attempting to make out the features of the approaching figure, Kai quickly lowered her weapon. A figure of authority, no doubt. The pranksters certainly thought so and now, so did she. Unsure of how to greet the man, the young woman took a knee and lay the bo staff on the ground, head bowed.

 

“I am Kai Tsintah. I was brought here by a scout who promised I could learn great knowledge here. If you are one of the sensei of this place, then I submit to your guidance and wisdom.”

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Darth Verrin    2,130

Verrin could sense at least four people in the room, and as his eyes adjusted to the lack of light, he took note of a kneeling figure across the foyer, shown by a dimly lit stick that lay on the ground beside it.  A woman's voice came from that figure, "I am Kai Tsintah. I was brought here by a scout who promised I could learn great knowledge here. If you are one of the sensei of this place, then I submit to your guidance and wisdom."

 

Verrin cocked his head, wondering what he'd walked into. He answered back, "So was it you, Kai Tsintah, who turned off the lights in this area?"

 

That caused another eruption of snickering from two other figures, unseen within the darkened room. Verrin smirked. "No... not Kai," he thought to himself.

 

He didn't need to see to reach out with the Force - his efforts causing two sharp yelps as telekinetic energy grabbed the hidden boys and held them tight. Reaching out one arm, Verrin's silhouetted figure touched a panel next to the doorway he stood in, and quite suddenly, lights came on within the great room, followed by the relatively quiet hum of air ventilation systems.

 

The light revealed Verrin for who he was - and aged Zabrak of moderate height. His age was evidenced by his horned head - some of which were broken or blunted - and his somewhat leathery skin.  That skin was an odd hue for a Zabrak; it was a dusky violet color, and the rarity could only be compared to albinism in humans. What skin showed was further masked by a plethora of black tattoo work - some tribal, some more intricate. Close examination would show burns, scars, and more beneath the inkwork.

 

He was dressed conservatively - a black, hooded half-robe covered his upper torso and arms, and black pants protected his legs. Thick, heavy, black boots were on his feet, and appeared well-worn, like the person they covered. There was a rod of some sort, clipped at a belt, but otherwise there was no particularly striking feature in his clothing. The only piece of ornamentation was a single, very ornate earring in his right ear. And one could argue that his golden yellow eyes were equally as striking, belying any other apparent signs of age.

 

With the lights on, anyone in the room could see two teenage boys levitating across the room towards the zabrak. The struggled and winced, but otherwise appeared unable to move. When they levitated within arm's reach, the Zabrak spoke again, apparently addressing the boys.

 

"Do you have any idea how much effort went into piping controlled air into this place?  And lights? Why would you possibly think it a good idea to disable them?"

 

One of the boys protested, "We were just practicin'!"

 

Verrin couldn't help it - he rolled his eyes.

 

He then glanced around, noted the broken potted plant, and he sighed.

 

"Why is it, that the membership of this place wants to destroy all plant life that we bring into it?"  He asked them, though in truth, the question sounded rhetorical.  "There's an entire planet of plant life out there, and yet you find the need to break the few that we bring inside to spruce up the place and improve the air quality."

 

The scout that brought the kneeling women moved alongside her, also taking a knee. Verrin walked across the room, approaching them both. The two boys levitated along behind him, still unable to break the Zabrak's mental grip.

 

When he got within a few feet of her, he spoke again. "Kai Tsintah. If you seek knowledge, then you've come to the right place. If however, you seek to destroy my potted plants, we will have to have another discussion."

 

He didn't really think she wanted to destroy potted plants.

 

"But first, we have this small matter... or matters... to attend to."  He nodded, indicating the two floating figures behind him. "On one hand, I could look upon this situation and consider that you were trespassing, and that these boys - in the middle of a practice session - were defending this place from intruders. That would put them in the right, and you in the wrong.  On the other hand, I could say we do not treat visitors of any sort in such a way, and that these boys have wronged you, who only came seeking knowledge. You would be in the right, and they in the wrong. 

 

If you were in my position... how would you...

 

Ahhh, forgive me... you don't know me.  I am called Darth Verrin. I am the Overseer of this place, and Head Librarian. Pleased to meet you. Now then...

 

If you were in my position, how would you handle this situation between your self, and these boys?"  His golden eyes watched Kai like a hawk.

 

Force Powers used:

Force Sense, Telekinesis

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Kai Tsintah    49

"So was it you, Kai Tsintah, who turned off the lights in this area?"

 

Surprised by the question, Kai shook her head in confusion. Was this stranger mocking her? Was it a test of some sort? Finally, what reason would she have to do such a thing? Dual-colored eyes widened as she lifted her head, curious to get a better look at him. Maybe his body language would leave some telltale clues to help guide her response. In the meantime, her mind swirled with a myriad of questions that seemed to run in panicked circles.

 

Why would I--and how? I don’t even know where the light switch panel is.

 

She was about to answer when a sudden commotion could be heard and then the lights came back on. Now Kai could see a pair of boys ‘dangling’ in the air as they slowly levitated over to the Zabrak. Wait. Was it really a Zabrak? Kai tilted her head as if the gesture would somehow adjust her sight so she could see better. Nope. No change. He was still lavender with black tattoos. The man appeared to be well settled into his middle age, although Kai was still too awestruck by the dusky violet appearance of his skin, to take notice.

 

The Zabrak took a moment to admonish the two teenage troublemakers but as he turned to approach her, Kai once again lowered her gaze to the floor. Just then, another presence materialized beside her and took a knee next to the Korun. Sneaking a quick glance over to her left, Kai realized it was the scout that had led her to this place.

 

"Kai Tsintah. If you seek knowledge, then you've come to the right place. If however, you seek to destroy my potted plants, we will have to have another discussion."

 

“No, sensei - I would not raise a finger to your plants,” Kai answered in earnest. “On my world, they are so scarce that if one manages to survive in the high altitudes of the mountain slopes, we do all we can to protect it and help it strive.”

 

Thankfully, Darth Verrin did not seem to think she was a vandal. Instead, his attention turned to the two young hellions apparently unaware that their actions could earn them some truly unpleasant punishment. Or, that the same or worse discipline could be applied to her, as the Zabrak indicated.

 

What to do? What to say to all this?!

 

Realizing that her neck was beginning to develop a cramp, Kai’s head lifted slowly. Dual-hued eyes of blue and brown met with the startling gold of a stranger who had just introduced himself prior to asking her judgment as to what should be done regarding all that had just transpired between her and the two mischief-makers. Scratching her head, Kai thought for a moment before answering in a firm, resolute manner.


“Have the boys bring in two new plants to decorate the foyer so sensei’s displeasure burns less bright and the quality of air in the foyer is restored. Have Kai take the broken plant and find it good soil outside so she may make amends for not catching it earlier as she should have. One should not let base instinct control one’s foresight,” she admitted, still in the kneeling position. “As for my presence in this place, it can be confirmed by the scout who brought me here.” Kai paused for a moment, hesitating. “Sensei Darth Verrin.”

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Darth Verrin    2,130

Verrin's sharp eyes and ears considered the visitor.  "Polite, respectful, thoughtful, considerate..."

 

"... She MUST be a spy."  He suppressed a chuckle.

 

She didn't LOOK like much of a spy. Granted, a good spy didn't look like one, or else they wouldn't have a long career. But to also be fair, if the scout that brought her here hadn't vetted her to determine whether she was a spy or not, then his life was as much forfeit as hers.

 

No... she was simply an anomaly, at least among the Sith he'd met during his long and storied career. She wasn't unique - there had been others who help similar characteristics in one way or another. But few housed all of them at once. Fewer still sought out the Sith for education. This young woman's story was likely far deeper than any surface probing would reveal.

 

"So be it," he agreed. "You boys see to obtaining new plants for the foyer - the better you do, the more pleased I will be," as if that needed to be said.  "Check in with Maggie when you're done.  It might also be a useful exercise to practice your budding skills... levitating a plant all that way should be a good challenge in control and stamina. 

 

As for you..." he addressed Kai, "See to the displaced greenery as you suggested. When finished, come back here and meet with Maggie - she's a droid - and she'll bring you into the facility to be oriented. We'll talk after that. 

 

Oh... and Darth Verrin, or Lord Verrin is fine... I'm not sure I'm comfortable with this whole Sensei thing."

 

He smiled a little.  Nobody had ever called him that before.

 

But with that, he took his leave, sweeping out of the room as quickly as he entered.

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Kai Tsintah    49

 

Waiting for Darth Verrin to bid her rise, Kai remained absolutely still. The Zabrak said nothing for while, probably considering whether her babble held any merit. Any time now, she expected to experience a sudden loss of gravity and see herself floating above ground like the two boys, before her. But the anticipation failed to bear fruit when the man finally spoke. To her amazement, he was actually in agreement with her suggestions. It took all of the Korun’s willpower to keep her eyebrows from rising sharply in surprise. Listening closely, she bowed her head again, this time in acknowledgment of Darth Verrin’s command.

 

Yes, venerable sen--Lord Verrin,” she corrected herself quickly. “Apologies. I surmised you were a great teacher in this academy. I only meant to show respect.

 

The small smile he offered briefly put Kai a little more at ease, although she did not rise from the floor until the Zabrak left the room. Rubbing her knee absently, she moved to pick up the fallen plant, along with the scraps of what was once a terra cotta pot. Careful not to leave any fragments of clay behind, she went outside to see to their proper disposal. Eyeing the nearby tree line, Kai walked over there, stepping into the dense underbrush as her eyes fell on the ground, searching for a suitable spot to bury the broken clay pieces and carefully re-plant the flower. The soil seemed good here; it was moist and dark, and would foster the growth of its newest addition well. A few minutes later, Kai would venture back out and toward the entrance of the academy, where she would once again step inside the somewhat familiar foyer.

 

Almost immediately upon re-entry, her eyes sought out any presence within, hoping to find the droid Darth Verrin spoke of. Maggie, she remembered, was the robot’s name. What would she look like? The name came across as very feminine to Kai, as her curiosity about the artificial life form grew. The upcoming orientation, too, was an object of intense interest; so much so, that Kai very nearly forgot all about the feelings of dread and anxiety she had first experienced upon her arrival here.

 

Finally, she looked forward to meeting with the man in black, again. There was something in his sage demeanor that drew Kai’s attention, and made her wonder if the Zabrak was aware of the trust he engendered. In the Korun’s experience it was most remarkable, for someone she had only just met. Perhaps he too, would find Kai worthy of admission to the academy; or better yet, allow her to reap the benefits of his own wisdom and experience, in addition to whatever else she was meant to learn in this place.

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Darth Verrin    2,130

Within a moment or two of Kai's return to the foyer, she was greeted by the sound of footsteps on tile. 

 

click, clack, click, clack...

 

 

Those sounds heralded the arrival of an odd sight - a surprisingly feminine-looking droid that at a glance was neither 'standard issue', nor what most would consider 'normal' for a droid. The first overt sign was the droids curves - an unnecessary design in a non-living being, but one that was apparently thought-out and implemented. 'She' also had crude facial features.  Her audio receptors were accompanied by faux-ears, her optics had lids that blinked, and her lips were designed to be expressive, even though a vocoder didn't require them at all; most protocol droids didn't really have 'mouths' to speak of (or from). But perhaps the most unnecessary feature were the droid's feet.  They were designed to look like high-heeled shoes, which gave the droid a hip-swaying gait that mimicked a human very well, but again seemed completely out of place on a droid.

 

The droid sashayed across the floor, eventually stopping a few feet from Kai.  There, the optics blinked, the 'lips' turned up in a smile, and the droid executed a curtsy in greeting. It spoke in a husky, feminine tone, "Greetings, Miss Tsintah. I am advanced protocol droid MA-1Z, but please, call me Maggie.  My master, Darth Verrin, sent me to greet you and bring you into the facility.  If you will, follow me."

 

The droid proceeded to turn about, and then led the way to the portal that Darth Verrin had entered from earlier. The construction in the foyer and beyond was a mix of ancient and new - apparently there had been a temple of some sort on Dathomir, and that temple had long since been overgrown as the jungle attempted to take back what had belonged to it.  But the construction was strong, and the interior stonework had held up well over time, showing very little cracking or decay.

 

But that old world structure had been married to much newer additions.  Electricity had been piped into the place, providing both light and air handling systems - the results were a stark contrast to the wild, humid air outside the place. The interior was relatively comfortable, if a little claustrophobic.

 

The corridor Maggie led them down eventually opened into a wider area - a large central place that broke off into more corridors and rooms.  Some appeared to be mundane - places to eat, places to relieve oneself, even places to just sit and think. But others seemed more mysterious - corridors that led into dark hallways... Maggie took a moment or two to highlight a few of the locations to Kai, even allowing time for the Korun to use facilities if she required them. When all was settled, Maggie led her further in, down one of those darkened hallways into mystery, suggesting, "Please watch your step, Miss Tsintah.  The place is under renovation, and some areas are not as well prepared as others."

 

The hallway may have appeared mysterious at first, but it soon became lit by the electricity again, and Maggie's sure-footed steps brought them to a large door. She opened it, and if the air conditions between the foyer and outside were noticeably different, then this was just the same - the air within was even more controlled than elsewhere in the building.

 

The door revealed a huge room with much newer construction - black marble tiled floors, polished to near-mirror perfection formed the base for countless high, durasteel shelves that held all manner of books, scrolls, tablets, flimsi, and more. Interspersed among the shelving were wooden tables and chairs, lamps, some desks with terminals, and a few choice pieces of art.  Some were sculptures, but dominating the room were a series of paintings that were nearly twenty feet tall. They depicted both men and women, though none were titled.

 

Maggie click-clacked her way across the marble floor, through the shelving, and eventually to a door on the far wall from the one they entered. She opened that door, ushering Kai inside, and closed it behind them.

 

The black marble continued here, but the furnishings changed drastically. The fifty-foot square room was almost bereft of furniture and decoration. In the middle sat a massive hardwood desk, resting upon an ornate area rug. Two chairs were on one side, and one 'office style' chair sat on the opposite side. The desk was piled high with all manner of things - datapads, flimsi, books, papers, and trinkets. One might argue there was no rhyme or reason to the chaos on the desk, but that would have been untrue. A curio cabinet sat on the far side of the room, but its contents were not visible from the doorway. The only other key feature was a cart near the door.

 

Maggie bowed towards the desk, and called out, "My Lord, Miss Kai Tsintah."

 

Seated in the office chair, nearly hidden by the pile of things on the desk, was Darth Verrin.  At the announcement, he stood, making himself more visible, and gestured to the chairs opposite. "Thank you, Maggie. Miss Tsintah, please - have a seat. Would you like a beverage?"

 

Maggie was already moving towards the cart, which turned out to be a beverage cart.

 

 

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Kai Tsintah    49

"Greetings, Maggie. I am pleased to make your acquaintance."

 

Kai did not know what to make of 'Maggie', at first. The droid was voluptuous in shape, making the intent of her creator quite obvious. Initially, the Korun thought Maggie a mockery of the humanoid female, then thought better of it, realizing that Maggie's looks were not by her choice or design. Whoever made her, went into a lot of trouble to make her look pleasing to look at. Kai thought they had achieved that goal, in spades, although for the most part, she had always been apprehensive around artificial life forms, the way some children were, around clowns. As the two walked through the facility, Kai kept a respectable distance, paying attention to everything Maggie was saying and pointing out.

 

The building itself, with all of its intriguing dark halls and locked chambers fueled the young woman's curiosity. Her eyes danced from wall to wall, from painting to sculptuore, to some obscure reliefs. Even the floors seemed to ooze ancient, artistic allure; so much so, that Kai would often pause at this mosaic, or that tile arrangement, taking in the intricate designs of art that were as mysterious as they were fascinating.

 

But there was also a simplicity to the place. Certain sections of the academy seemed austere and uncomplicated as they were plain in their purpose: to pause and give meaning to one's thoughts. To reflect and contemplate. Kai was no stranger to either task, although in the past they were focused more on her very survival than processing arcane knowledge. As they left an extensive chamber which reminded Kai of some aged antheneums she had viewed on a data-film once, Kai's excitement hit an all-time high. If she could remain here as a student, perhaps in time she would gain access to that enormous repository of wisdom. The thought of spending an entire day perusing scrolls, flimsiplasts and holo-films caused goosebumps to break out across the exposed skin of her neck and hands. 

 

At long last, Maggie ushered her into a room on the far wall from the one they entered, then closed the door behind them. Kai's new setting had changed severely; from the complex, dense and decorated surroundings to an austere, business-like, spartan decor. Glancing to what was easily the most obvious piece of furniture in the room, the Korun stretched her neck to catch a glimpse of what hid behind the towers of datapads, books, papers, flimsiplasts and strange baubles.

 

Just then, Maggie's voice announced Kai's presence and the Korun sunk back onto her heels, head slightly bowed in deference to the name being spoken. 

 

"Thank you, Maggie. Miss Tsintah, please - have a seat. Would you like a beverage?"

 

Kai's head lifted although dual-colored eyes lit up in surprise at Darth Verrin's offer. She hoped for civility. She did not expect kindness. Taking a seat in the chair across from the Zabrak, she nodded gingerly. Her peripheral gaze registered Maggie moving toward a beverage cart which the Korun did not initially spy in the room, too focused on the distinct wisps of a familiar presence within.

 

"Gratitude. A glass of water, please."

Edited by Kai Tsintah
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Darth Verrin    2,130

While Maggie went about pouring a glass of water for the guest, Verrin began to try clearing a spot on his desk so that he could see her more clearly. This was in vain. Every time he tried to find a place to put something, he was met by another pile of correspondence, requisitions, or research.  After several seconds of moving papers from one pile to another, flimsi from point A to point B, and datapads from here to there, he finally gave up and instead came around the desk to take a seat in the chair beside Kai. He rotated it so it faced her more directly, and then sat down in a huff.

 

Maggie served the water to Kai, and then a steaming cup of something that smelled like coffee with a strong aroma of vanilla. Verrin accepted it, but not without addressing his droid.

 

"Before you say a word, I KNOW the desk is a mess, and needs to be cleaned up some.  And NO, you may not do it for me. Right now, I know where everything is, and don't need you mucking about in there - I'm liable to lose track of something important."  His voice took a tone that sounded like this conversation had happened before.

 

Maggie showed off some of her design, and emoted her fabricated feelings by raising an 'eyebrow' in a matronly manner.  To her credit, she didn't verbalize a snarky reply. After all, they had a guest.

 

Verrin then addressed the woman seated beside him. "Well then.  I spoke briefly with your guide, and he explained you not only showed some potential in the Force, but that you had an interest in the Sith in particular.  Is that correct?"

 

He paused only long enough to sip his coffee. "What exactly do you know of the Sith?  What made you seek us out rather than visiting with the Jedi of the galaxy?"

 

His tone sounded casual enough, and his posture appeared to be relaxed, as if he'd had this discussion with others before.

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Kai Tsintah    49

 

Kai sat quietly, sipping her water while half listening to the nearly one sided exchange between Darth Verrin and Maggie. Judging by what was being said, the Zabrak was quite set in his ways. He liked to have things arranged ‘just so’ and apparently Maggie did not always agree with her master’s peculiarities.

 

The Korun almost cracked a small smile when the artificial life form attempted to show off her own design to help make Verrin’s desk arrangement more efficient. To her amazement, the Zabrak did not rebuke the feisty droid but simply let the subject drop and turned his attention to her, Kai.

 

As Darth Verrin reiterated what he had learned from the scout, Kai nodded once, then lifted her gaze only high enough to see the bottom of the Zabrak’s coffee cup rise as he took a brief sip of his beverage.

 

The question that next fell from his lips made Kai pause. Her fingers gripped the glass tighter, dual-colored eyes becoming hazy as if abruptly clouded by an unwelcome thought. The change in demeanor was short, but anyone observing her body language would have noticed that the Korun seemed unsettled, if only for a few seconds. When she started speaking, her voice was quiet and uneasy, but strangely firm in purpose.

 

The spacers on Nar Shaddaa told me some really bizarre stories. They seemed hard to believe at first? Magical gifts. Formidable warriors. Power beyond imagining. Is any of that really true?

 

Pause. Remembering that she did not answer the question, Kai bit her lip and bowed her head.

 

Apologies, Lord Verrin. You asked why I came? What I know of the Sith? Very little, considering what I have already seen earlier and what I felt when I first stepped inside this building. I have never felt so small in my life. But what I do know, is that that here, I have the capacity to become bigger. Stronger. Faster. I can learn how to fight and how to defend myself against anything that comes at me. I can learn about strange worlds and wondrous species. I can be given the chance to amass untold power through knowledge and experience. And finally,when I am ready and worthy, then I can take my revenge on those that took my father’s life.

 

Kai’s fingers seemed to relax just then, as if a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders from her recent admission.  Dual-colored eyes calmly leveled with the Zabrak’s, reverent yet determined.

 

I do not believe the Jedi can give me what I seek.”   

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Darth Verrin    2,130

I do not believe the Jedi can give me what I seek,” the young woman concluded.

 

Verrin agreed, "No... they cannot.  Or more accurately, they will not."

 

He sipped coffee before going on. "The Jedi focus on suppressing emotion, and 'doing good' - whatever shape that good comes in.  They also contradict themselves, quite a bit. They strive for freedoms, but suppress freedom of thought and emotion in themselves. They struggle to be good, but they fight and kill as much as anyone in the galaxy... in the name of stamping out 'evil'. And they fight for an ideal known as peace, even if it's a lie. Finally, they almost never take on full-grown adult Force users, because they believe they can only control their people by obtaining them when they are young - and forcing them into some kind of mold based on outdated principles. It's sad, really. And yet, if you believe all the propaganda around them, they are our galaxy's saviors."

 

Verrin's tone remained fairly neutral throughout the description, likely another sign that peace was a lie.

 

"I won't say the Sith are perfect, because they aren't. They also aren't exactly prospering right now - I don't know if you follow galactic news at all, but they were allied with the Empire, which was defeated at Dromund Kaas this past year. Many of them perished in the Jedi's righteousness, and the Republics rebellion. Some of the fundamental philosophies of the Sith are singled out, taken out of context, and then emphasized to extreme. Should you pursue this path, you'll read quite a bit about it - Sith whose hubris got the better of them.  But a point to be made is that the reason for that hubris is power.  The Sith pursue power, for one reason or another. And when one obtains enough of it, one can often feel like a god among sentients. One can feel untouchable... unstoppable... omniscient... omnipotent.  But I assure you, and you would do well to remember this, that no matter how powerful one becomes, there is always more power to obtain, and someone looking up towards you... wanting to take your power for themselves.

 

Power can come from many places - political power, wealth, influence, charisma.  It can be raw strength, endurance, a connection to the Force, or an inexplicable combination of genetics that grant near-superhuman abilities. Evolutionally speaking, early mankind could look upon you, right this minute, and see you as a god - walking upright, speaking in words they don't understand, and performing feats they can't imagine - song, dance, even basic math.  That is how many of the current race look upon Force users - they see them as further along in evolution than they are. It sparks fear and awe... admiration... sometimes hatred."

 

He took a moment to drain a significant portion of his coffee. Then he apologized, "I've been told I talk too much, but try to bear with me for a few moments. I'm trying to summarize several years of information into a single cup of coffee."

 

"One thing we should get straight right off the bat, involves the Force. The Force is everywhere, in all things.  Scientifically speaking, it flows between the atoms in all matter, and thus is present in everyone to some degree. But only a few are able to tap into it - to manipulate the Force directly. You will also hear of the Light Side and Dark Side of the Force. The Jedi came up with those terms to describe how the Force is manipulated. If it's used for 'good' - protection, healing tissue, easing the mind, then it's 'Light'.  If it's destructive, aggressive, or otherwise harmful, they called it 'Dark'. While it would be a lie to say those differences do not exist, it would also be folly to call them 'good' or 'evil'. The galaxy at large saw the Empire as 'evil', for instance.  The Empire sought to bring law and order where there was chaos.  But part of having those things meant that some freedoms were sacrificed - chaos was not allowed to reign. Is that evil? I don't think so, but apparently many people did.  My point, I suppose, is that you will hear 'good' and 'evil' bandied about when the Force is described.  It is neither.  It merely is."

 

He broke long enough to drain his cup.

 

"As I mentioned, the Sith philosophy is based around power. A long, long time ago, before there was a recognized group known as the Sith, there was the Jedi. A number of them disagreed with the main group's philosophy on power, and how to use it, and the principles of what is 'good' or 'evil'. They splintered off and created their own group, and their own code. They also interbred with a species known as 'the Sith' - they are called 'purebloods' today.  Come to think of it, I only know one such pureblood at the moment, but I'm sure others exist. That race of Sith had a genetic marker that made them particularly sensitive to the Force, and the belief was that by breeding with them, those ex-Jedi could create a more powerful group of Force Sensitives.  They took on the name of the race - the Sith - and wrote their own doctrine and code. In the language of the Sith it is called, 'Qotsisajak', and was written by Sorzus Syn:

 

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.

 

You will do very well to learn those words, Miss Tsintah, and to contemplate on their meaning to you. If you intend to study the ways of the Sith, that code will guide you throughout.  Everything you seek can be funneled back into that basic mantra. The way of the galaxy - nay, the universe - is in that Code.

 

For example - you have heard that knowledge is power. If that is true, then through knowledge, you will acquire victory. If that's also true, then strength is found in learning - not just reading, but learning. What is learning? To some, it is done though reading, or watching holovids.  For others, it is learning a martial art, or a fencing technique. For others still, it is learning more proficiency in firing a weapon, or controlling the Force. You see - nearly everything in life can be brought back to the Code. It is a compilation of fundamental truths."

 

Maggie came by and collected her master's cup, but also offered to refill Kai's water, or treat her to some other beverage. Her master could talk quite a while, if allowed to, and Kai might get thirsty again.

 

Meanwhile, Verrin leaned forward in his seat, and gave Kai an intense look of concern. "I won't try to deny you your goal - your revenge. Many people go to the Sith to do just what you're after - acquire enough power to exact their revenge upon those who wronged them.  But I want to put a thought in the back of your mind - something to give perspective.

 

When you've acquired the power you need, and you've flown off to get your revenge... when you've slain all those who wronged you... what will you do then?  What are your goals beyond their deaths?"

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Kai Tsintah    49

 

"Yes, I have heard." Kai thought back to the tales she heard of the Jedi order. "Protectors of peace and justice in the Galaxy," her voice betrayed apparent disdain and sorrow.

 

Where were they? Where were the Jedi when my father fell?!

 

Darth Verrin was right. Everything he said about these people seemed to ring true in her heart. The Jedi came across as 'saintly' hypocrites in everything they did and professed to believe. The Sith on the other hand, they did not seem to struggle with their conscience as their light side brethren did. No, they basked in their irreverence, and their ultimate  acceptance of what had to be done in order to succeed, in order to win.

 

As the Zabrak talked, Kai marveled at the depth of knowledge the man possessed. He may have had no love for the Jedi, but he was also very impartial in the way he described them. He did not seem intent on winning Kai over to the dark side; he already knew that her presence alone, was testament to her purpose and personal choice. It was her will to become Sith, but she also knew it, alone, would not be enough.

 

Kai needed a powerful patron, or at least one that would see her through her initiate stage. That is if she were to be accepted, the Korun reflected silently, realizing that this fundamental step was yet to come.

 

When Verrin spoke of power, Kai felt as if she were looking on herself and the galaxy around her, with new eyes. Whatever special abilities she was prone to possess, the Korun never really thought of herself as higher or better than any other sentient being that had come across her path of life.

 

Taking a sip of his refreshment, the Zabrak paused for a moment before offering an apology for going on as he had. Kai did not understand why he felt it necessary to do so; he was the teacher and she, a hopeful disciple.

 

"I will bear however many moments you require of me, Lord Verrin. I am here at your pleasure. I am honored to receive your words of wisdom."

 

In truth, if he would feel inclined to speak for the next several hours, Kai would likely remain as she was, upright and attentive in the chair, listening intently to everything the Zabrak was willing to impart. Outside of her father, no one had really schooled Kai on the greater matters of the Galaxy and he was taken from her before Kai could even grasp the concept of being a Force-sensitive. It all happened so quickly, and always, it felt as if it were yesterday that her father had passed on. Her fingers arched, tempted to curl into fists but the young woman forced them prone. A soft exhale left her lips, Kai's gaze lifting from the barricade of Darth Verrin's scrolls, volumes and trinkets. Hopefully, he did not notice the obvious sign of weakness. Soon, Kai thought, she would have to rein in these unstable emotions. But how?

 

For Kai, the grief was still too near.

 

Thankfully, Darth Verrin did not seem to take much notice of her hands. He resumed his discourse by focusing on the subject that interested Kai the most: the Force. Nodding after each concept was more or less fleshed out, she  marveled at the duality of the Force and considered the possibility that bringing order to chaos was an obvious, natural choice. It was definitely Kai's way of things. There was no evil or good Force. It was the way in which it was used that resulted in either good or bad consequences. But the Force in itself was a neutral entity, she thought in silent agreement with the Zabrak.

 

"So the Jedi splintered, unable to stand strong and unified in purpose and belief. That is how the Sith came to be," she repeated quietly, watching Darth Verrin drain his cup. "And by interbreeding with a naturally Force-sensitive race known as the Sith, they became even stronger and saw it fit to take their name." In her mind, she was already repeating the words of the Sith Code, as the man across from her, spoke them. They would be etched in her mind for as long as her spirit would endure, Kai thought. They were fearless words; words of conviction and fortitude and power.

 

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.

Through passion, I gain strength.

Through strength, I gain power.

Through power, I gain victory.

Through victory, my chains are broken.

The Force shall free me.

 

Nodding again, Kai murmured acknowledgment as Darth Verrin instructed her to learn the words that were still echoing in her mind. They would become her mantra, her faith, her armor.

 

"Your will, my mind."

 

She would embark on a voyage of discovery and find out what her path of 'learning' was to be. The Korun had a feeling it would be a mixture of many things, some of them perhaps left unmentioned by Darth Verrin. While she contemplated all of this, the artificial life form returned and proceeded to collect the Zabrak's coffee cup. It was then that Kai noticed she had barely taken any sips of her water. So engrossed was she in the listening, that the refreshment remained untouched, for the most part.

 

"My thanks, Maggie, but I am fine." She looked to the droid almost apologetically. Taking up her glass of water, Kai noticed that the Zabrak was now leaning forward in his seat, projecting a rather severe look of curiosity. When he next spoke, the Korun found herself entirely unprepared for the question and covered her confusion by taking a long sip from her glass.

 

"I would like to become a scholar; a mystic, if I have the necessary discipline and patience to become one. I want to learn the mysteries of not only the Force, but of the Universe we are all a part of. I think the greatest disservice I can do myself, is to remain ignorant, inexperienced, and insensitive. I wish to hone my knowledge and experience so I can grow to obtain true enlightenment."

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Darth Verrin    2,130

"I will bear however many moments you require of me, Lord Verrin. I am here at your pleasure. I am honored to receive your words of wisdom."

 

"Your will, my mind."

 

The first sentence gave Verrin pause, wondering if he was being teased or duped. At the second sentence, he was almost positive that either Atrox or his apprentice, Holle, was going to jump out from some hidden location, pointing and laughing at him. By the third sentence, he started to wonder if someone from his past was going to just outright make fun of him. He wasn't used to such respect, or more accurately, such honor. It wasn't that his apprentices didn't appreciate absorbing what knowledge he could give them - it was more in how they reacted to him.  Vanessa used him to push herself, outright challenging him at most stages of her development. Holle, on the other hand, had her own agendas and pursuits, and while she took a knee for him, she seldom gave him the reverence he was receiving now. It was so strange, in fact, that he briefly toyed with the idea that this Kai was a Jedi spy after all.

 

But the Force told him otherwise.  It showed him the apparent sincerity of her words and gestures. She seemed honestly grateful, and purposefully respectful. It gave him a shred of hope for the youth of today. It also showed him her stress and strain when he touched upon the Jedi, and again when he was discussing the neutrality of the Force. Something ate at Kai's spirit, but whatever it was remained hidden from him for now. He would bet credits though, that any angst she had came from her desire for revenge - and that vengeance was likely due to the loss of a lover, or family. Verrin was fond of saying that if he had a credit for every orphan vengeance-seeker that came to the Sith, that he'd be a rich, rich man.

 

Upon hearing her answer to his question, he nodded at her and sat back once more. "Just keep in mind that no matter how much you learn about the Force - about anything, really - the more you'll realize you do not know.  This Library is full of things I know... and more questions than I can answer. Such is the pursuit of knowledge... and so too is the pursuit of power."

 

He assumed a more comfortable position, slouching slightly and crossing his ankles at the floor.

 

"Well - now we know your goals and aspirations.  Let's talk about what you already know.  Surely, you have some sense of the Force, do you not?  Can you control it at all - do anything with it? Have you ever trained formally - or otherwise - in the Force, or in combat, for that matter? I'm not suggesting you need to be an expert at martial arts, or even Huttball, but you may have heard of the competitiveness of the Sith.  Knowing some combat techniques is usually a good idea when dealing with peers... or sometimes when dealing with.... others.

 

What do you know already, Miss Tsintah?"

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Kai Tsintah    49

 

If there was puzzlement or suspicion on Darth Verrin’s face, Kai did not notice either. She was too focused on remaining absolutely still, as if unfazed by everything around her, even if the reality was quite the opposite. Having been brought up as she was by her father, the girl must have appeared quite socially awkward to the Sith Lord. At the very least, Kai realized grimly. If I am cast out, so be it. But if I am accepted--

 

The sound of Darth Verrin’s voice made her look up attentively. What he said seemed confusing at first, but upon closer examination of the words in her head, Kai silently agreed with the man.

 

The more I know, the more I crave to know. With all the new questions arising as the result of each recent learning, I realize that there is far more I am ignorant of, than that which I have an understanding of.

 

Nodding her acknowledgment, Kai’s gaze fell to the Zabrak’s feet. He appeared to be at ease, almost serene in his demeanor. Unusual, for someone she pictured for a Sith Lord. From what she was told, serenity and peace were domains of the Jedi. Were the Sith capable of reconciling themselves to moments of perfect tranquility even as their inner darkness raged within?

 

The perfect paradox, Kai thought. Dual-colored eyes flickered, ever vigilant of when someone else was about to speak, as the Zabrak regarded her carefully and spoke again.

 

"Well - now we know your goals and aspirations.  Let's talk about what you already know.  Surely, you have some sense of the Force, do you not?  Can you control it at all - do anything with it? Have you ever trained formally - or otherwise - in the Force, or in combat, for that matter? I'm not suggesting you need to be an expert at martial arts, or even Huttball, but you may have heard of the competitiveness of the Sith.  Knowing some combat techniques is usually a good idea when dealing with peers... or sometimes when dealing with.... others.

 

What do you know already, Miss Tsintah?"

 

Taken aback by Darth Verrin’s line of questioning, the Korun faltered momentarily before finally regaining her verbal footing.

 

I…. uhm…. That is to say, I’ve never….

 

Pause.

 

Focus. Steady heart, steady mind.

 

A wave of initial alarm had passed. Kai swallowed, briefly biting down on her lower lip, contemplating her answer.

 

I have some knowledge of the Force, or what I now know, is the Force. I am not much of a fighter, to be honest, but upon occasion I have been able to push people and objects out of my way without ever touching them. There were also times when I felt an innate sense of danger, warning me of something terrible about to happen. One such time occurred just as my father was attacked. I wasn’t near enough, to help him….

 

Her fingers curled, then straightened again, albeit with considerable effort.

 

Apologies, Lord Verrin. Some things are difficult to express for me, still.

 

Kai lowered her gaze, then exhaled slowly through her nose before continuing.

 

I can float simple, little things, sometimes. Like an apple, or a hydrospanner. Or one of your books, over there,” she glanced over Darth Verrin’s shoulder eyeing a pile of what appeared to be, literary works of some kind. “Also, when we lived on the Hutt world, I noticed that my ability to persuade others was far greater than I ever suspected. I’ve eaten a number of free meals and entered a few paid establishments on that account, which in turn helped pave the way for my father and I to get into some of the more posh clubs, where the stakes were considerably higher than those in the disgusting Undercity lounges. 

 

The admission brought a brief flush to Kai’s face, although it was barely visible in her dark skinned features. It was not guilt she felt, however, but a muted pride. Fooling a bunch of jerks who got rich off the misery of others was nothing she would ever feel shame over. Hopefully, Darth Verrin would think so, too, otherwise she could be walking out of here scorned and humiliated.

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Darth Verrin    2,130

"Don't fret.  If expressing how the Force feels when you first embrace it was easy, then everyone would know what it is.  Or I would have flunked out of the Academy in my early years.  The more you grow accustomed to it, the more you interact with it, the more it will make sense - you'll have experiences to compare new feelings to, and ways to express yourself and understand it.  I will do what I can to help you along the way." Verrin explained after hearing Kai's apology.

 

He purposely didn't say she was accepted to the Sith Academy or not. He had already made his decision about her when the scout brought her to the foyer. And he suspected she wanted to hear the formal acceptance, but he wasn't ready to let her off that hook yet. Better she wonder for a few minutes more. 

 

"You sound like you're further along in the Force than many who come here. You're certainly connected to it better than I was in my first days. Do you have any control over it - can you purposefully push this, levitate that, or influence others?  Or does it come accidentally, at times of great stress, or randomly? 

 

Take your water glass for example.  Can you lift it?  Push it?  Fling it from you - on purpose?"

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Kai Tsintah    49

If expressing how the Force feels when you first embrace it was easy, then everyone would know what it is.

 

The words resonated within Kai as Verrin continued to speak. It rang true, what he said, the Korun thought. What is it that her father used to say? Oh, yes.... 'Practice makes one perfect.' If Kai would apply herself to regularly exercise her Force abilities, she would (hopefully!) become proficient in it. Not only that, but as Darth Verrin suggested, she would learn new ways of expressing herself and putting her newly gained knowledge to future tasks.

 

 I will do what I can to help you along the way.

 

Was that a hint of some kind? Kai thought, nodding in acknowledgment to Darth Verrin's offer. Or is he laying some kind of clever trap for me, attempting to manipulate me and my feelings? No.... He knows I am no match for him, for I am no match for anyone here. Why, I can barely stand tall, overwhelmed by the dark aura -- the power emanating from this place.

 

The Zabrak continued talking, making observations about Kai's connection to the Force. With one sentence, he clearly complimented her; with the other, he would issue a direct challenge. It looked to Kai, as if was waiting for a 'demonstration' of her skill. Showing some control over the Force would validate her presence here and perhaps convince Darth Verrin that the Korun's talents in that regard were genuine. She took a moment to consider what she should do for this 'test', dual-colored eyes surreptitiously scouting the room before gazing down to the glass in her hand. 

 

Silently sliding her fingertips over the smooth, transparent walls, Kai looked to the calm of the Force. She closed her eyes on the glass and concentrated hard on the memory of it. Every line, every angle. Its texture. Its temperature. Its unique feel in her hand. She could feel the Force within and around her, a glowing matrix of innumerable lines, created by the intersection of all living things. She could feel Darth Verrin's line glowing brightly, far more so than her own. 

 

A guiding beacon of wisdom in my inner space.

 

Looking inward, Kai focused on the glass in her mind, made it weightless, and let it drift upward into the air. Calm settled on her, intense focus ebbing away from her previously taut features. Directing the flow of motion, she pushed the glass with her mind, across to the Zabrak, feeling the distance and the obstacles in its path. Having drifted over the desk, the glass was deftly lowered to its surface, settling down between two stacks of datapads. 

 

Kai opened her eyes, fixing them on the Zabrak Sith. The Korun could not read his expression, not even the look in his eyes, but her own face remained neutral while she held his gaze, as motionless as the glass before them.

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Darth Verrin    2,130

Verrin watched the young woman - both with his eyes, and with the Force itself. The way he perceived it, a serene sort of calm came over her, and as it did, she found herself able to focus her mental energies enough to lift the glass, levitate it towards him, and then direct it to his desk.  When she was done, she looked at him.  Whether she sought approval or not wasn't clear, but her eyes were so very... bright.

 

It wasn't that Kai's eyes were 'bright with tears', or that her expressions was 'bright with power'.  It was that her eyes were so clear, so pure.  In contrast, his own eyes were lit by the power of the Force, but his long and strong connection to the Dark Side had altered them, making them turn golden yellow, and shot through with lines of orange.  Kai's were... "two colors," Verrin realized.  He smiled a little.  If she ever turned that gaze on an unsuspecting person, then no wonder she found it easy to manipulate them. She almost didn't need the Force to do that! 

 

But she DID have the Force.  And some of the light in her eyes was that power. Verrin nodded, "I'm impressed you found a clear spot to set that glass down."

 

Maggie was less impressed, because her droid sensibilities and senses told her the exact dimensions of both the glass and the space. But her robotic features did take on the appearance of being impressed. It was part of her programming, after all.

 

"That was good - VERY good. Some students who make it here have learned that they can manipulate the Force, but they have yet to gain the ability to control it. You seem to be able to manage both, which will give you stronger footing to start. Did you learn all that on your own?  If so - I'm doubly impressed." Verrin commented.

 

But he added, "Those feelings you were using - the calm... the serenity - they enable you to control the Force.  Jedi practices would have you grow in your ability to remain calm longer, through more duress. By doing so, your focus would grow to the point where you could perform great feats.  The Jedi philosophy is what I find flawed - not their ability to use the Force.

 

The Sith, on the other hand, approach the Force differently. We embrace our emotions - the anger, the rage... pain... those are some of the easiest emotions to tap power from. But passion is another, excitement, even sadness. Where a Jedi tries to create a dam to control the flood of water, a Sith will attempt to flow freely with the water. We walk a fine line between letting it carry us away, and nudging it in a direction we wish for it to go.

 

As you read, and learn more of the history of Sith, you'll come across references where a Sith pushed themselves too far, too fast.  They believed they had the ability to control the raging river of Force, but ultimately, it washed them away. Part of your training would entail finding the precipice... that place where you and the Force are one, where you rely on it, and it relies on you.  And together, you'll be able to do great things.

 

Telekinetically speaking, you lifted the glass.  You should be able to lift that chair, or even the desk.  Can you? Will you draw on your serenity to control the Force to lift it?  Or will you let an emotion bind you to the energies around us, and thereby - together - will you be able to lift that desk.  I can tell you right now that it doesn't matter how heavy it is - I could barely lift one end of that desk physically if I wanted to. But in the Force, what matters is whether or not I can flow with the Force - with all of those particles floating between the molecules of wood fiber.  And with the Force and me acting together..."

 

The massive desk rose off of the area rug that it sat upon, levitating a couple of inches into the air. Verrin didn't turn his attention from his guest, nor did he stop talking to her.

 

"... there is almost nothing I cannot move. Granted, I currently cannot conceive of the amount of energy required to lift something as big as a star destroyer... but the principles hold. Theoretically, it should be possible."

 

He set the desk back down, almost silently. "If you really want to train as a Sith, your instructors will push you, trying to urge emotions out of you that you might have suppressed, or ones that you don't wish to have.  Nobody wants to be angry all of the time.  The energy it consumes can take a terrible toll on the body. Have you ever fallen asleep after a rage, or after a fit of crying?  Of lovemaking? That expenditure of emotion, the burning of adrenaline, takes a toll. We train to be able to stand it longer - to be angrier, to cry harder, to love more intensely. But by doing that, by making that sacrifice of our bodies and spirits... the things we can accomplish... you will amaze yourself."

 

Verrin stood up and smiled a little. It was always a treat to deal with new Sith, but more so when they were receptive to instruction, and not just busy lashing out at everyone and everything. "I believe you have the capacity to become a fine Sith - a powerful one, Miss Tsintah. You have the potential. Here's hoping you also have the drive to see it through."

 

He reached out to give her shoulder a gentle squeeze with one hand, and then moved back towards his desk.

 

"If you are committed, then I'll have Maggie escort you to the dormitories. I apologize for the somewhat simple accommodations, but we've been concentrating efforts on more fundamental issues, and less on luxuries. If you have some, you are welcome to bring them - luxuries, that is. And of course, you'll have immediate access to the Library.  Just a word of warning - there area  group of Sith known as the Guardians who are sworn to protect the Library and its contents. That includes you, while you're inside it.  So you'll find that study is common there, but practicing techniques is not.  There are other places to do that. We don't want lightsabers starting fires, and rivals spattering blood everywhere.

 

If you have questions, please - ask away."

 

Force Powers used: Telekinesis

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Kai Tsintah    49

The girl wanted to express her appreciation to Darth Verrin, but instead, ended up pondering his initial question. The Zabrak continued to talk and she listened to his words, attempting to commit the majority of them to memory.

 

"There is very little to do for a girl like me, with only a handful of basic social skills," Kai began, after Darth Verrin finished speaking. "The first time I thought something was different about me was when I was told that my mother had perished, torn to pieces by fierce predators on my home planet. I was no stranger to death; you see people and domestic animals pass on every now and then. But I underestimated the void I felt when I learned of my mother's dying. There was sadness, anguish and indescribable frustration, mostly because I knew there was no force in the Galaxy that could ever bring her back. After my father took his leave of me and I was alone in the hut, I cried bitter tears of hatred and longing. And there was no respite for me from all that I felt. No relief to ease the ache of my mother's passing. For what seemed like the longest time, I would just sit there, a heap of misery lingering on in darkness and doubt. And in that pathetic, forlorn state I waited for a miracle that would never come."

 

Kai sighed, the memories she spoke of flashing in her mind vividly, as if they had just taken place.

 

"But that was only the beginning. Once I finally dragged myself off the floor, I felt the frustration and frenzy rise inside me again. Without thinking, I picked up things and threw them about, wanting to shatter the place our family called home. That was when things first started to move about without me necessarily touching them. My rage woke something inside me that I did not know existed. It was confusing and frightening at first. When my father returned home and found the destruction I had caused, he could not believe a little girl could have done it. I was charged with cleaning up the mess, a task I dreaded very much given how much of it there was. And then the idea came to me, that the same talent that helped me unleash so much raw power, could perhaps be used to put everything back together. It took a lot of trying, venerable Lord. I had almost given up in frustration. That is when I discovered that only serenity could grant me a semblance of control needed to put things back."

 

She thought the story might bore him; it was probably something the Zabrak had heard (in various guises) dozens of times before. Still, he was the teacher and as a student, she would not leave a question unanswered. Watching the desk rise as he talked was a treat to see; the power of the Sith Lord was impressive to her even if to him it was likely a mere trifle. And when Darth Verrin rendered his judgment as to her future capabilities and potential, Kai felt a sense of pride rapidly soar inside her, causing dual-colored eyes to flash appreciation and pleasure at the Sith Lord's words.

 

"Gratitude, Lord Verrin," she murmured, rising from her seat to offer a deep bow to mirror her words. The Korun had no luxuries; in fact, she had very few possessions of any kind, other than tools designated for her survival. She assured him that his words would be followed and offered a little shy smile before casting a quick glance to the artifical life form. Suppose this Maggie was not so bad, if Darth Verrin found her useful. 

 

As to questions, Kai only had one.

 

"Venerable Lord, if it please you I would have Maggie show me to these other places you have mentioned. Also, and I hope you do not find the inquiry impertinent, but who is to be my teacher? I would like to get started right away."

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Darth Verrin    2,130

In a way, Kai's story was like many others for newfound Sith.  There was a trauma - an event that caused great sadness or anger in her life - and the Force, likely the Dark Side of it, hungrily sought to fill that void. It wasn't unlike his own story in that way. He felt a connection to her then - a shared experience.

 

Verrin rose from his seat, even though it had appeared he had settled in for a long haul of some kind of work. He stepped around his desk to stand before Kai once more, and he attempted to take both her shoulders in his hands.  Standing in such proximity, he looked her directly in the eyes - she was only a couple of inches shorter than he. And then he spoke in quiet tones.

 

"The Force was always there, inside of you. But only at the time when you needed it, did it try to reveal itself. You were receptive to it.  And it's that relationship - the Dark Side of the Force needing you, and you needing it - that made you evolve into what you are.  The loss of your beloved mother may be a difficult memory, but hold onto it. The sadness, the emptiness you felt was what brought the Force in.  It hungers for the raw energy of emotion. You will use it to feed the Force's need, and in turn... it will grant you power beyond your dreams. That is simple fact of circumstance, Miss Tsintah. What we will train you to do is to develop that relationship.  And as you desire more power, you will need to feed the Force more energy.  Embrace your emotions. They will make you strong enough to live your dreams."

 

On impulse, Verrin gave her a brief but strong hug, as if the physical demonstration of passion would help drive home his point.  "Welcome to the Sith," he said, as he broke the embrace.

 

He walked back behind his mountain of paperwork, and continued by answering her question. "There are a few instructors here - Overseers who make sure that students are moving along, running drills, answering questions, and so on. Sometimes, a notable Sith will interject, teaching a student a few things - Darth Tanit is notorious for popping in to push a student in a more martial education, and Apprentice Holle is fairly decent at instructing Force powers. However...

 

Given the Sith's most recent history, we are surprisingly short of both students and teachers.  If you're not up on galactic news, I'll bore you with the situation at length some time. But because of that, I find I have some time to instruct students myself.  So don't be surprised to find me checking in on you now and again.  For that matter, if you end up stuck, and in need of assistance, find Maggie and she will arrange a meeting in my schedule.

 

I'd be lying if I said I didn't derive a certain amount of enjoyment in helping students break through learning blocks."

 

That final statement had him picking up a datapad, and Maggie moved to guide Kai on a tour of the facility.  She led the young woman back through the Library and out into the former Temple, pointing out this area, or that, until they finally arrived in a residential section. Maggie brought Kai to a door that looked like so many others, and used a pad on the wall to open it for her.

 

The room beyond was fair sized, despite Verrin's description of it's simplicity, resembling a small studio apartment more than a 'room'. The main area had simple furnishings - a chair and sofa-like device, and an accompanying 'coffee' table and lamp.  Beyond, in the same space, was a tiny kitchenette.  There was a door that led to a small bedroom, and a refresher.  Again - the furnishings were simple, probably military issue - more function than fashion. The only question was whether all of the rooms were the same, or whether this one was larger or smaller than the rest.

 

Maggie spoke, "Miss Tsintah, if you'll place your palm here on the pad, I will key this door and room to you."

 

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