Ten-Minute Tales #3

Star Wars: Lost Light

An Old Republic Tale

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Star Wars, the Jedi, or the Sith. I only own the characters portrayed within this tale.

A scream ripped its way out of Asori Tal's throat as Force lightning ripped through her body, setting every nerve on fire and every muscle to spasming uncontrollably. It seemed to last for an eternity, but it was only a few minutes. When the electrical tendrils of dark side Force energy cut off, the twi'lek Jedi collapsed within the restraints that held her to the circular torture rack within the large throne room. A low groan escaped her cracked and bleeding lips, blood dripping down her chin to mingle with the purplish blood still winding its way down her ripped and torn clothes to join the puddle already on the chamber's floor.

"Poor little Jedi," said a voice to her right. "Screaming so soon? You were tougher than this a few days ago aboard my cruiser." A low, sultry chuckle followed. Then a tan, clawed finger reached out and stroked her face, the claw-like fingernail cutting into Asori's bruised and bloodied cheek. "You've been forgotten, you know," Darth Valia went on, stepping into the harsh white light centered upon the torture rack. "Your Jedi friends, those people you foolishly saved. Even the Republic you so loyally served. No one is coming for you."

"You're . . . wrong," Asori moaned. "My . . . . master . . ."

"Isn't here," the zabrak Sith said gently, almost lovingly. "Your faith in him and your fellow Jedi is admirable, but misplaced. What has it gotten you? What has it done for you?"

"Not . . . about . . . me . . ." she managed to to say, trying to hold on to consciousness in spite of the exhaustion, pain, and bloodloss. "About . . . the . . . . people."

"How admirable," Valia said mockingly, a smirk on her tribal-tattooed face. "Nobility." A chuckle left her throat, then became a full-on laugh. A laugh that contiued when the torture rack sent a series of powerful electrical surges through its shackles and into the bound Jedi they held.

"This is all that would help?" Jedi Master Erron Shorv said, dismayed, as he stared at the seven Jedi before him.

"I'm sorry, Master," replied Shek Ta'hii, her fur flattening with shame. "These are the only ones who were . . . . available."

"She means that we're the only ones who don't think you're suffering from grief-induced insanity," put in Bo Tyr, a devaronian Jedi with a reputation for supporting lost causes.

"You and Asori were close, which means you have a special connection through the Force," agreed Tosh'kay Vosh, a both Jedi best known for his impressive negotiating skills. Erron took a deep breath and let it out, running a hand through his gray-streaked brown hair as he did.

"Alright," he said. "This'll have to be enough. It'll have to be a swift, precision strike. Not that it would have been anything else." He looked at his strike team. "You all realize that this could easily be a one-way trip, yes?" He smiled when everyone nodded. Then he looked at his old friend.

"Did you find us a ship, Shek?" he asked. Her fangs bared in the togorian version of a huge grin.

"You could say that," she replied.

"Well, it could be worse," Erron said with a wide smile. Crouching in the hanger before him was a sleek, highly aerodynamic starship. A starship whose angular lines and unique design said it could only be a Sith vessel.

"You asked for a ship," Shek replied. "You didn't say what it had to be."

"True. Alright, everyone," he said, raising his voice. "Let's get onboard and go rescue Asori Tal from amongst the heart of darkness."

The door to the throne room burst open under the impact of four Force pushes. The shattered door was quickly followed by Erron Shorv, Shek Ta'hii, Bo Tyr, and Tosh'kay Vosh. Waiting for them in the chamber was a circular torture rack centered in a beam of light. And Asori Tal, bloodied and torn, was in the rack's embrace.

"Asori!" Erron cried out, shocked at his former padawan's current state. The four Jedi moved to her as quickly as caution allowed; though no one else seemed to be in the chamber, the Jedi had yet to encounter the Sith lord Darth Valia. Erron moved to release Asori as the others moved around to provide cover and warning.

Slashing his lightsaber at the wheel, he cut it in three places and took out its power source. Asori fell out at the same time the wheel's repulsors died. Erron deactivated his lightsaber and caught her in his arms. Probing her with the Force, he was even more shocked at the extent of the damage she'd suffered; she was, thankfully, still alive.

"Oh, Asori," he whispered, pulling her closer to him. "I feared I would be too late."

"You are, Master," she murmured. He had only a second to realize the full impact of her words before the snap-hiss of an activating lightsaber heralded a searing pain that began in his abdomen and terminated between his shoulder blades. No one moved; they were too in shock to do more than stare. Asori pulled back and straightened up to a kneeling stance, an evil, bone-chilling smile on her face.

"Wh-Why?" Erron asked, blood coming out of his mouth now as life swiftly left him.

"Self-preservation," she replied softly. "And because I wanted to." She pulled her blood-red lightsaber out of her former master and face the three remaining Jedi who had come to rescue her.

A relatively short time later, Asori deactivated her lightsaber as her new master entered the throne room. Darth Valia moved around her new apprentice and wrapped an arm around the twi'lek woman's shoulders.

"Well done, my new apprentice," she said seductively.