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Birth of the Sorceress

Posted on Mon Jun 10th, 2019 @ 1:38am by Rynseh Lahan & Zenarrah Sozo & Amare

Chapter: Chapter V: Unbound
Location: Unknown Planet, Wild Space; the Descent
Timeline: 20 years ago; follows "Tightrope", shortly before "Their Watch Has Ended"
Tags: Opazia, Nightsisters, coterie, myst, chrysalis, Korriban

OLD

When Zen turned and left for the privacy of her quarters, she knew that was her edge over the superior might of the Cathar master of the Force. That naivete, that blind trust, the unwillingness to see the truth when it was staring right at him with wide coal black eyes…it was a bundled collection of ripe exploits where she held the dagger closest to. When the time was right, she would stab, drop the façade, and take great joy in twisting the blade.

NEW

Twenty years ago…

On a distant world at the edge of Wild Space, three newborn siblings swam together in an enchanted pool. Of the three, one appeared smaller and slower than the other two. For the first two days and nights, this meek and more diminutive female had tried her best to match the speed and vigour of her two larger and stronger brothers, but never could quite keep up tried as she did. Nevertheless, she was relentless, and her little tail flitted and left and right through the water in a hopeless quest to keep up and not feel left behind.

Their mother vigilantly watched her newborn tadpoles with loving care as she swam beside them, her maternal instincts keeping her awake and awaiting the day they grew large enough for her to begin nursing them. She was immensely proud of her sons, envisioning the day they would grow to become formidable and handsome examples of their kind, yet felt pity and, at times, fear for her daughter’s distinct lack of celerity. It was always worrisome for a freshly hatched Nautolan to struggle with swimming so early in life.

“(You must never give up, my little Zaracoda),” their mother, Zenarrah, or Zen, encouragingly said in her native Nautila tongue. The lyrical ebb and flow of the deep-sea language of one of the galaxy’s most famous amphibious species was tender and almost musical. It had a beat and rhythm to it such that you could play a steel drum alongside the seamlessly meshed words in perfect harmony. “(You must be there for Naju and So’Quon. Love your brothers. Care for them. Be a good aunt to their offspring. Be a good mother to your own. Your family will protect you when I cannot).”

Fate, however, was a fickle mistress, and so often it was her prerogative to ruin oaths and shatter promises made.

On the third night, something had changed between the flitting fledglings. Zen had felt a subtle, yet profoundly noticeable disturbance around her, startling her awake from her slumber at the bottom of the pool. When she pushed up to assess the state of her progeny, the two males had ceased moving while the smaller one was oblivious and swimming circles with great speed, almost excitedly. Zen could feel the single-minded sensation radiating from the lone survivor: bliss. Their mother carefully scooped the two motionless males betwixt her hands, cupping them and all the water her lithe blue hands could handle.

There was shock in her eyes as she sensed nothing from her sons. Zen’s face grew pale, her feet feeling heavy like cinder blocks as the weight of grief started to make it seem almost impossible to paddle in place and stay afloat.

“Naju…? So’Quon?” Zen spoke softly to her sons, her voice quaking with horror.

The change in their tiny lifeless aquatic bodies had been miniscule, but both boys had grown a touch smaller; their tails bent in a sharp, unnatural way; as if the cartilage in them had been snapped in half; and the texture of their still-developing skin appeared shriveled up like rotting fruit.

A light in the periphery of her vision slowly drew her attention away from her departed sons, and to her sole remaining heir. She witnessed Zaracoda emitting a scarlet red glow around the length of her little body that was only as long and thin as a pencil. As if drawn to the display of crimson light, there came from all around the pool eldritch waves of green and yellow energy flowing intensively to the radiating tadpole.

“She has been chosen by the Waters of Change,” said a voice nearby. Zen was unable see whom the voice belonged to, but there was no need to. The unmistakable husky sound of an elderly woman whose words echoed with both soprano and baritone voices interwoven with her own reminded Zen that it was Mother Opazia, the leader of the Coterie of Nightsisters. “The males were a necessary sacrifice.”

“Necessary?! What have you done to them?” Zen cried out with ferocity in Galactic Basic, holding her departed sons high above her head to illustrate the objects of her surging anger. She knew that Opazia held great magical power, and from that gave her a degree of omniscience that enabled her to see all and know all that happened in her domain, even when she wasn’t physically present. “What have you done to Zaracoda?”

“I have done nothing but observe, child,” Opazia replied. “Just as you have. The spirits were right to trust you and convince me to bring my clan to this distant world. Such power hasn’t been seen on Dathomir for centuries. The Force holds great sway here, Zenarrah Sozo. Rejoice, for you are the harbinger of a new age for our Sisterhood. Behold! Even without thought or awareness, she commands the flow. The myst is drawn to her, and she is one with it.”

The glowing energy cascading throughout the subterranean pool began to coil around Zaracoda forming a kind of semi-transparent bubble around her, and it slowly lifted her with it several feet above the surface of the water. The tadpole within twitched and swam in tight frantic circles within the confined space as strands of the greenish-yellow myst snaked and constricted up from the pool to merge with outer layer of the bubble.

Completely entranced by the magical happenings with her daughters, Zen felt a hot sting in her hands, surprising and forcing her to relinquish the remains of Naju and So’Quon. The instant the lifeless tadpoles struck the surface of the pool, they had been almost immediately dissolved down to their constituent atoms to be mixed with the myst. Their essence would forever become Zaracoda’s essence, and thus their bonding to her ignited an unholy red light from within the bubble. Zen’s mouth hung open in absolute shock and intense fear for Zaracoda’s life as the bubble appeared to be engulfed entirely in a flare of scarlet red fire.

“No!!” Zenarrah screamed. “Mother, please! I beg you! Make this stop!”

“It is beyond my power to intercede,” Opazia confessed. “She consumed the lives of her siblings. For that, she is in the hands of the dark side now.”

“I can feel her pain,” Zen remarked mournfully, the thought of her sons’ death eating away at her, her face crossed with indecision and confusion. “The power…it’s too much for her. It’s killing her!”

“It is not for us to intrude upon destiny,” Opazia sternly reminded her young Nautolan disciple. “If she is to perish here, then that is the will of the Force.”

“Damn the Force!” Zen shouted back defiantly. “All the power in the universe won’t stop me from protecting the blood of my blood! She is all I have left!”

She swam furiously to just beneath where Zaracoda hovered within her ball of hellfire and closed her eyes to focus. For the first time in her life, she allowed her fear to rage, and her rage to fuel her passion to protect the only remaining thing that kept her love alive. In so doing, her rage bled into anger, and thus, with heavy screaming and shouting in her mind, she commanded the Force to bend to her will; the dark side graciously obliged.

Zen levitated herself above the pool’s surface to reach the bubble entrapping her daughter. Despite appearances, there was no palpable heat coming from the blaze; rather, it was cold, as if holding one’s hands above a thick layer of dry ice. She cupped her hands below the burning orb and reached out with her mind to Zaracoda to comfort her.

“(Mother is here),” she said gently in Nautila. She could feel the cold-fire touching her hands, and in response, her hands began to glow dimly with a dull red aura in kind as an exchange of power flowed between mother and daughter. Zaracoda’s power began to feed voraciously on her mother’s essence, and Zen allowed it within limit akin to a mother nursing her newborn, but Zen instinctively discovered her natural affinity in that moment to drain back when too much was given, and thus a delicate balance of nourishment had been formed between them. With the power of the myst stabilizing, slowing its dangerous flow, Zen opened her eyes in time to observe her daughter growing within the bubble with unusual rapidity. The faintest hints of tiny head-tails began to form at the tadpole’s front bulb, and the body expanded and widened as the beginnings of arms and feet started to appear.

Zen, with the bubble within her gentle grasp and bringing it lovingly close to her chest, slowly levitated back down to the water as she began to hum an old Nautolan lullaby to her growing baby girl. The bubble and its flames slowly began to fade away as several months of development miraculously took shape within the span of a few short moments. When it was over, Zaracoda had completed her transition to full infancy. There was no crying, fear, or pain from the aquatic child. Zaracoda slowly opened her wide coal black eyes, blinked a few times at Zenarrah, and cooed happily and innocently with recongition, entirely oblivious that she had already committed two acts of fratricide so early in life. The little blue newborn clumsily reached with a tiny waving hand for her mother’s slender nose as they both sank into the depths together.

There was no refrain from Opazia, only silence. Her presence, however, could still be felt, even after all these years…




Zen…

Zenarrah…!


“Hmm? Wh-…what?” the Nautolan said with a mumbling voice as she snapped away from her deep sleep in the co-pilot’s seat of the Descent.

“We’re about to reach Korriban,” Jedi Master Rynseh Lahan informed her as he reached for the console control to disable the ship’s hyperdrive. “Look alive.”

“Right,” Zen acknowledged as she shook her head out of its foggy nostalgic reverie, getting to work on the ship’s short-range scanners. I can feel you, Zara, she thought, concealing the elation and relief she felt deep inside. I won’t leave you again. Not this time.

Rynseh pressed two fingers on the flat panel controls, each digit on the top of a long solid yellow column. He slid those fingers down the columns, and the yellow colour in them drained as the columns emptied with Ryn’s gesture down their length, and the hyperdrive deactivated. The Cathar preferred the old Corellian-style lever action, but young minds had fresh ideas, and so the technology finally advanced slightly after thousands of years of stagnation.

The swirling blue hyperfield vanished before the riders of the Descent, the stars streaked and quickly normalized into view, and there lain before them was a scene of absolute disaster. It only took seconds of assessment to realize what had happened.

“Stars…look at the station!” Zen noted with stunned surprise at the abhorrent situation. “Their comm system is down. Critical damage to secondary power core, and the command deck...it's all been spaced.”

“Engage stealth mode,” Ryn ordered the instant his keen feline eyes got a visual on the unknown ship that was docked with the severely damaged outpost. He also noticed the wide network of emergency comm relays surrounding Korriban; all clear signs of a hostile incursion conducted by murderers capable of defeating a potent group of highly trained Jedi Shadows, one of whom was an old friend. When his eyes switched back to the station, he caught sight of a lone escape pod firing directly towards the planet's surface. “Look over there!” he pointed in the direction of the object quickly breaching Korriban's atmosphere. “A pod just launched. Prepare for landing. We're going in.”

TBC

 

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