Previous Next

Links to the Past, Part II

Posted on Thu Oct 17th, 2019 @ 2:27am by Zenarrah Sozo & Amare
Edited on on Thu Oct 17th, 2019 @ 3:27am

Chapter: Chapter V: Unbound
Location: Medical Bay, Red Raptor
Timeline: Night, Day 4

OLD:

Amare took a slow breath as they each followed Zen’s instructions. For a moment, Amare felt almost nothing beyond the mundane, but then something triggered starting with a mild tingle in her fingertips, followed by a rushing surge of heat running through her arms. Zen, likewise, felt very much the same. A brief few seconds later, their lips parted ever so slightly in tandem, a soft inhale of exhilaration breathed into their lungs as their head tendrils—all twenty-eight between the two of them—began to rise up in the air above them. As their sensory appendages rose up unnaturally, their very bodies started to feel light, and they began to levitate together several inches above the floor.

For the next five minutes of time, two minds had blended to become one. So deep was the intimacy of the link, that neither had fully realized in the midst of their hovering connection that their holding of hands had evolved to a loving embrace. The mother had finally, and truly, been reunited with her daughter.

NEW:

For Zenarrah, she heard Thane’s voice in her mind as clearly as if he stood directly in front of her, and she could feel his firm patrician hands on her shoulders…

“I want you to appreciate that this power we are both seeking, born more of the dark side, as it is called, will mark you apart from the Jedi and other Force users…”

For Amare, she smelled the horrid stench of burning flesh, and looked down on a charred Cathar man filled with deep regret in his heart…

“Please…tell my daughter…tell Rusasha…I’m proud of her. Tell her…it wasn’t her fault…about her mother...I feel your sadness…your guilt. It’s my time…please…let me go…

Zen saw everything since Amare had begun her journey towards destiny. She witnessed the great escape on Nar Shaddaa leading towards the Red Raptor, the harsh training on Irrikut, the nightmare of Vaa, the perils of Lorrd, the killing of the Rift Jedi pair, and the torments that followed. The darkness surrounding Amare attempted to ravage Zen’s lucid mind, and it quickly became clear that her daughter was carrying a colossal burden built up so much in such a short time. Somehow, through it all, Amare had found a way to widen the reservoir of available sanity in her fractured mind. Willpower was indeed her single greatest strength, the mark of a soul in tune with the mystical gifts of the Force. Amare, as in her namesake, clung fiercely to the hope of love as a dam to prevent the flood of insanity from annihilating her fragile inner self. The dam, however, was breaking. As Zen reached to heal the cracks, she heard Thane again…

“The things I would teach you will expose you to a power touched upon by only a scant few in millennia. You will not be a mere drop in the ocean, Zaracoda. You will be the tsunami.”

“A wave o'er a torrent sea...” Amare had whispered in satisfied recognition of the memory.

Feeling formless and ever-moving as water itself, Amare flowed through the last three years’ worth of Zen’s memories, absorbing, feeling, yet barely comprehending them until she found herself gazing at two young males in a spacious, yet spartan room, a Human and an Ithorian practicing with training lightsabers under the wise gaze of Masters Thurius and Sotah. It felt as if she was looking at them through a mask with an internal digital display showing what the micro-cameras in the eye slits could see. She saw images of magnificent meeting halls, beautifully kept gardens, masterfully sculpted statues, and a boundless library filled with an incredible repository of the most valuable knowledge in all the galaxy. It was magnanimously beautiful, calming…and feeling somehow stained with a subtle veneer of disingenuous political maneuvering. Thoughts of the place not feeling like a Jedi Temple came upon her, and rather than the holy place it was built to be had instead been filled with an air of guile and deception. It was as if little more than an extension of the Senate, of the influence of a maligned and corrupt democracy controlled by the few, and answerable to none.

In the background, she could hear what sounded like a recording of Bomoor Thort's voice...

“I no longer feel that it is you who should dictate my future. I am not a tool that the order can simply wield until blunted and broken. I value the opportunities that being a Jedi has granted me but I do not feel that gives you ownership of my being and you certainly do not hold the keys to universal truth, no matter how righteous it may seem.”

And then there was a fire, a terrible inferno, Zen holding Amare in her arms outside away from the blaze.

“I”ll never let anyone abuse you like that again,” Zen had promised. It was a promise that she knew she couldn't keep.

Amare drifted back a few moments earlier, felt the powerful sting of a shock whip, begging for it to stop.

“Please, Jett! I didn’t mean for it to happen. I wanted Shar to live!”

“LIAR!!” the older Nautolan man screamed in rage as he held the whip on high, its power setting tuned to maximum lethal output. “That was my child, curse you...MINE! You are no longer my wife. You are just a impudent slave, and I will kill you now as the slave you are. Do you hear me?! For this, YOU WILL DIE!”

Before the whip came down for the final blow, a cyan-hued lightsaber blade sprung up through the center of Jett’s torso. The backstab had instantly severed his spine and melted a hole through vital organs from which recovery was impossible. The blade disappeared as quickly as it appeared, and from behind where Jett had stood right before his fall, there was…

Mother…

When the bond had ended, both Zen and Amare had found themselves gazing upon each other through their own physical eyes, their feet planted firmly on the Raptor’s deck plating once more. Zen was careful to maintain her composure for her wounded daughter, steadying her to be seated on the edge of the medical bed, and she assumed her own seat next to her. Both Nautolan women were in tears, absolutely overwhelmed with emotional hell, both laboured in their breathing as they tried to center themselves again.

After a moment passed, Zen’s hand reached to take hold of Amare’s hand next to her, but instead of finding the younger set of lithe fingers, she instead felt something blunt and familiar pressed against her side. Zen’s heavy breathing immediately slowed to a near-standstill, and she looked down to find her own daughter had jabbed the business end of her shoto against Zen’s side where the gold armor plate hadn’t protected.

Zen looked up and was taken aback when she bore witness to the psychotic intensity in Amare’s eyes. The dark side was smashing against her daughter’s defenses again and was seeping through to empower her dark persona. She could see Amare was teetering on the verge of committing fully to the act of matricide. Zen, however, said nothing, and kept calm aside from slowly inhaling and exhaling, awaiting her only child’s decision. She gazed with deep understanding at Amare, her matronly eyes smiling almost as much as her lips. Among Nautolans, there was no need to speak one’s love when it was already apparent in the eyes. Non-verbal communication was the bedrock language of the Nautolan people, and it often made it very difficult for them to lie to one another. Truth and compassion were treasured more than all the rare-earth minerals in the galaxy, and Zen’s motherly love was no different for her justifiably angry daughter.

Amare’s breathing grew heavier, her hatred deepening as her otherwise oily black eyes took on an almost blood-red hue. She pressed the activation switch and watched as the chartreuse blade ended her mother’s life…but it was an act performed only in her mind. In reality, Amare’s thumb was still hovering over the switch, still contemplating murder beyond the darkness that spurred her to act upon her violent imagination.

With the bond still fresh between them, Zen could almost feel that imagined plasma blade running through her, an almost poetic end to a life of murder and betrayal. Her smile had quickly faded and there were only more tears as she mourned for what she saw as the passing of Zaracoda; she had been reincarnated as Amare. It was heartbreaking, but the Force had warned her from day one that change was coming to her child. As if granting her permission, Zen simply nodded once to her daughter, ready for the horribly dark thought to be acted upon. She could think of no one better to slay her than her own broken progeny; no better person to be the swift hand of justice.

With a burst of high-temperature emotion, Amare channeled a psychic banshee’s wail of pain directly into Zen’s mind and threw the shoto harmlessly to the other side of the room. She then roughly grabbed hold of Zen’s throat with both hands, thinking back to what Nala had done to her with the Force on Korriban. Amare began to squeeze, expecting and mentally daring her mother to fight back.

Fight me! Amare howled to her mother through the Force. Destroy your enemy! You are Jedi…I am Sith!

I am your mother, Zen gently countered through the link, allowing the strangle hold to persist without resistance. I will never give up on you. You are Sith…and…I…am yours. I shall serve you, and you shall serve…your lord.

Slowly, exhaustion from years of memories worth of guilt, dark deeds, and the incredible power of their bond weighed down hard on Amare. She found that not even the power of vengeance—the desire to destroy her mother for leaving her behind with a family she never truly belonged to, and to end up in a life of abuse and slavery—was enough for her to completely give in to her inner reaper. This was indeed her true mother, of which there was no denying, and that was enough to douse the roiling flames of her brutal desires. Her hands gradually slipped from her mother’s throat, and she let them fall to her mother’s waist, weeping uncontrollably as the side of her head pressed against Zen’s chest. Twenty years of emotion poured from Amare’s internal reservoir of sanity. Zen knew she could offer no absolution, nor could she change the past, but she did have her daughter in her warm embrace at long last once again. It was far greater a gift to her than any power or riches in all the universe. Even if she died in the next minute, or the next day, it didn’t matter; her life had been meant for this one loving moment. She hoped she could live long enough to prepare Amare for the trials yet to come. She whispered to the Force in that moment in Nautila a short prayer begging for it to be so.

Through the bond they formed, she had restored Amare’s memories, the ones Zen had taken from her to protect her from the pain of the night Jett Versetto of Corellia, the former husband of Zaracoda, was killed. Morever, she had restored the knowledge that for no more than twelve minutes, Zara had been a mother herself, having watched her newborn tadpole son, Shar, hatch only to die a slow death in the water due to Zara's own Force Drain power of which she had no knowledge or control over at the time. Zen and Amare's bond was permanently cemented with the knowledge that both had lost sons shortly after their eggs hatched. Having overcome the fear of that bottomless abyss of pain and loss together, Zen was certain her daughter was ready to truly swim into that unfathomable blackness at the ocean's bottom, the dangers and power of the dark side anticipating a new young avatar to seduce, consume, and unleash itself upon the galaxy once again.

As Zen held her child tight, the memories Amare shared with her began to settle and etch themselves into her brain. When they both had accepted each other as mother and daughter, they spent the next few hours discussing many of the things they saw from each other, including the knowledge that Thane was in possession of Darth Bane’s holocron.

“That is something that must be kept secret at all costs,” Zen had said after Amare explained her experience with the device. “Rynseh and the other Jedi would stop at nothing to pursue this ship and destroy it if they knew Bane’s direct influence was on board. This only adds to the urgency of you and your Human lord striving to be reborn as Sith. You will have to work and train harder in the days and months to come than you ever have your entire life thus far. If the holocron were lost, and you and Thane and Bomoor were to fail, the balance in the Force will be lost, and the corruption of the Jedi will only grow worse until it spreads across the galaxy like a cancer.”

“Will you train me, Zenarrah?” Amare asked.

“You don't wish to call me ‘mother’?” Zen asked, a little taken back being called by her name by own child.

“We’re not there just yet,” Amare replied, frowning, preferring the get back on topic.

“Okay, but please…just call me Zen,” she compromised with a hopeful smile. “Hearing my full name sometimes makes my skin crawl. Now, to answer your question, yes, but only to a certain extent. I will enlighten your mind with dietary knowledge and exercises to build your strength and stamina, and I will guide you in the ways of unarmed self-defense. It falls to Thane to train your martial prowess with a lightsaber, and I shall lend you mine to spar with him until you complete your skills by creating your own. He was one of the finest duelists in recent memory during his Jedi days. I suspect he will be hard on you, but never take any of it personally. That is the lesson you learned on Lorrd, and that is how you must view your Sith training. The dark side never operates in kind and gentle ways; it is practical, direct, demands commitment, and always expects favourable results. Thane is not your friend, nor can he ever be an object of affection. He is to be your master, nothing more. However, he’s a bit…well, young, and never achieved the rank of Jedi Master. I will help advance the cause of the new Sith by passing unto him some of the advanced techniques of the lightsaber he is not yet aware of. It will then be his choice to pass that knowledge to you.”

“But…why not show me later when I’m ready?” Amare wondered in mild confusion.

“You must master the basics first,” Zen said. “And I don’t mean simply be good in the first of the seven forms. I want you to work very hard and be a Shii-Cho master. Even as you learn the other forms from Thane, and perhaps even Bomoor if he is so inclined, you must strive to be the best at the basics. Know them better than any Jedi alive. It will grant you a powerful combat foundation that will protect you against all odds, especially when you are surrounded and outnumbered. Be the eye of the storm, my child. Let no prevailing wind or even the shifting tides of the universe itself break your power. Even if Thane neglects to teach you what I entrust to him, the first six forms are more than enough to defeat any foe, and beyond that, you are blessed with dark magicks. Do you know why I felt the name ‘Amare’ from the Force when you were born?”

Amare shook her head, deeply curious to hear about something so fundamental to her very identity.

“‘Amare’ is more a title and a state of existence than it is a name,” Zen explained. “It embodies the emotional domains of both love and bitterness. There is balance at its roots, but such feelings can give birth to great dark side power. Love can you remind you of a lover that betrayed you, such as with Jett, or when Thane nearly broke you on Yavin 4. From those painful memories, you can derive the essence of bitterness and use it as a limitless source of anger to call upon the Force and fuel its power through you and make you stronger than you could be otherwise. Look to your palms: in one hand, the Force gave you a shadowy red flame with which you absorb the life of others to empower your mind and body, and in the grasp of your other hand is the destruction of your wrath; fire and lightning. These are your core mystic gifts that shall staunchly protect and serve you once you learn how to master their true power. Thane was talented in the sixth form of lightsaber combat, known as Niman. You will discover it to be a versatile boon as you learn to combine your powers with your weapon. You may also seek to uncover the secrets of this azoth that now dwells inside you.”

“It does give me concern,” Amare confessed, “but, when I’m angry, it does something to me, and it feels very good. The bonding with it was a terrible nightmare, but…it was one of the greatest things I ever felt at the same time. I felt like I could do anything in that bubble that formed around me. My mind never felt clearer, and my body never felt lighter or freer. I wonder if I can control it and form the bubble…the chrysalis again. Maybe it could help me grow more powerful.”

“From what I’ve been feeling,” Zen said as she glanced at Useless’ deep scans on the medical monitor, “and from what you shared through our link to the past, I sensed only good could come of it if you approach its use with care. It has formed some kind of symbiosis in you, but I warn you to be cautious. Sith alchemy is potent beyond measure, and you must tread carefully while you seek to control its power. I have a feeling it’s causing some subtle transformation in you. Whether this would mean an enhancement of your Force power, or something less overt I cannot say for sure yet. This Darth Archonus you spoke of seemed obsessed with the idea of evolution, and not merely the Force-kind, but the scientific part of it too. The Sith valued power in all its forms, even when it came in the form of simple improvements of awareness, or wisdom that helped them gain the upper hand. If you ever feel the urge to explore what your azoth can do, find a quiet private space and meditate on it. If it tries to overwhelm your mind with strange or enticing feelings, resist it and assert your will over it. Approach it as a tool, and command it to obey your will. Other than their master, a wise wielder of the Force never gives in to anything, even their own inner power, lest they become consumed by it, and find themselves meeting a very unfortunate end.”

They talked further about Nala and the other cultists fought on Korriban, and Amare implored her mother to impart some guidance on how to approach future violent clashes.

“Conflict is the basis of life as a Sith,” Zen offered. “The same holds true of the Jedi given their duties to the Republic, but some of them have the option to never draw a lightsaber their entire lives. The dark side will deny you that option I’m afraid. Hear me child; if there is any advice you take away from what you’ve learned today, let it at least be these lessons:

“Do not enter battle for battle itself; always see it as the means to your desired end. Never relish murder; respect all life, even when it exists in the forms of that which you hate. Never give in to your fear, even when the odds are against you; fear is what makes or breaks you as a Force-user. You must control it, then, when it is mastered, you can redirect it to inspire fear in your foes, or even your allies if necessary. If you can win a battle with intimidation alone, do so; sometimes breaking the minds of your opponents can be more useful than breaking their bodies. And if to does come down to raw hand-to-hand fighting, avoid drawn-out fights, and never let your foes control the ground or lure you into a trap by playing on your ego. Remember: you have great power, perhaps more than either of us realize, but one lightsaber slash, or one well-placed blaster bolt could be all it takes to end your story. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, Zen,” Amare said with a bow of her head. “I will not fail you.”

“It is not me you must worry about failing,” Zen corrected her. “It is Amare above all else that you must not fail. At times, you will have small failures, ones that don’t cost you your life. Obsess over every detail of those losses, learn from them, and rise with the knowledge that you will never let them happen again. Survival is your priority above all things, even your loyalty to Thane and Bomoor, or even me. When you must make a life and death choice, choose yourself every time, but…if you should ever become a mother again someday, if you give yourself completely to the love of a Nautolan man…I beg you to not make the same mistakes as I have with you. Motherhood is the greatest gift of all, and it has the power to change your destiny, and your focus forever. Whether that is good or bad depends on you.”

Amare took a moment to think on all they had shared over the last few hours, felt the emotion pour from her eyes, and allowed her mother to gently wipe the tears from her face as she turned and said, “Mother…?”

“Yes, my beautiful child?”

“I’m sorry,” Amare said with a sigh, “for hurting you earlier.”

“I’m sorry too,” Zen said with a deep mix of joy and regret, trying to be strong when she still felt so very weak. She held Amare’s hand, and kissed her on the forehead. “For everything. But promise me this: Let that be the last time you ever apologize to anyone for anything, okay? No more girlish weakness. No more open displays of guilt. Your time as Zaracoda has ended. You are Amare now. Remember who you were, cherish what you’ve learned, and embrace the power of the Force as it transforms and grants you opportunities few will ever have. Control the dark side with wisdom and discipline, and find your rightful place as a Sith in this galaxy. Indulge and delight in your lessons from Thane with zeal, and respect Bomoor’s counsel when it is given. Restlessly work hard to make yourself unstoppable so that I never have to worry about your safety. Now, rest up, and get better, alright? You have a lot to do in the days ahead. Your journey has barely begun.”

END

 

Previous Next

labels_subscribe

Comments (1)

By Amare on Thu Oct 17th, 2019 @ 3:28am

Made a few small grammatical edits after posting.