Crimson Fallen – Chapter 3 – Haven of the Dead

Hey guys. Chapter three, finally, sorry for the massive wait. I haven't written anything in a really long time, and have been feeling a little guilty about it. So, I decided to get a chapter of something done.

Apologies for the massive wait. :/

Read on…

I left the bandit camp, having acquired my new shield and the directions to New Haven. The unlucky source of my information had taken off in the opposite direction once he could breathe properly, and I hadn't waited around to see what kind of reinforcements he could scrounge up. I was making my way down the road carefully, sticking to the sides and moving quietly. I didn't want to have to wait for one of those trigger happy jerkbags to finally decide he is dead only when he has a cauterised aorta.

It was a pity all my sneaking was for nothing. I hadn't noticed anything strange around me, but out of nowhere, this weird, orange thing leapt at me. I swore and, dropped down under it, letting it sail over me. I got to my feet, and drew my sabers. The unknown adversary had landed a few metres behind me, implying a speed greater than I had anticipated. It was a rather disturbing creature. Long mandibles stretched out in front of its head, and it had no other appendages I could see, other than similarly shaped spikes on its stubby tail. I assumed it was a type of slug or worm, but one that would be no fun to keep in your garden.

I faced it, my sabers held at the ready, as it reared up and gave a very annoying, high pitched screech. I gritted my teeth. The sound scratched at your ears, making it frustratingly difficult to focus on anything else. I guessed that was the whole point of the sound in the first place.

Of course I was wrong. Only a few seconds after the screech, at least half a dozen more of the little slugs rose from the ground around me. I would have to deal with these things quickly, before more turned up and made this an even less enjoyable situation. I backed up against the mound of trash, keeping the slugs in my area of vision. I held my sabers underhanded, ready to defend myself as they leapt at me.

That is, if they didn't all launch at the same time. As their little, wiggling forms were flying at me, I concentrated, and let my sabers go as they flew from my hands. I let the force flow through me as I guided my activated blades of death in a spinning whirlwind around me. The unfortunate little slugs were cut into multiple pieces as they hit the swirling barrier. When the last piece hit the ground, I relaxed and let the sabers drop to the ground. My vision was fading slightly as I tried to maintain the energy to stay conscious.

Most force users have a certain amount of control over the force. I am not most force users. I am able to complete much more difficult acts, ones that would never be accomplishable by even the most powerful Sith or Jedi. Problem was that it drained me of what I can only describe as my 'life energy'. It was a dark side technique I had discovered when searching through the Jedi holocrons. It had taken me a while to perfect it, but each time I used it I lost less energy.

I remember the first time I had needed it. It was not long after I had escaped the temple, and was landing on Naboo, hoping I would get a little while to get my affairs in order. Unfortunately, a particularly persistent Sith assassin had followed me. I had been walking down my ships boarding ramp when he landed on the other side of the clearing. This guy was powerful enough that he would have defeated me as I was then, so I did what I had too. I used the technique to grip his ship, rip the engines out, and throw it off into the wilderness somewhere. He was easily forty, maybe fifty kilometres away. As soon as I released his ship, fatigue hit me like a collapsing cliff, and I passed out for a full half hour. Luckily enough, all the assassin's equipment had been destroyed in the crash, and he had had to run the distance on a damaged knee to get to my clearing. I was long gone by then.

Now as I regained my breath and continued on my way down the road toward New Haven, my fatigue began to take its toll. It had been too long since I had slept properly. Sure, the darkside had its benefits, limitless power for example, but the nightmares were something I wish I could go without. I began to remember things. Things I had hoped to bury in a quiet, undisturbed corner of my brain. Unfortunately, those memories had other plans…

I lifted the crate off the ground as my Master watched from beside me. I could feel his penetrating gaze following every little move I made. It was like being a rabbit far from the safety of his warren, under the watchful gaze of a hawk. Only this hawk wasn't going to kill me, just make all my dreams and hopes fade to dust if I made the slightest mistake.

Distracted by the creepiness of my Master, I lost my concentration on the crate, and it fell to the ground with a sharp smack on the tiled floor. I winced, knowing it was going to cost me dearly. 'Here comes a week of meditation and studying some boring old politics from a thousand years ago…' I thought wearily.

"Alyssa, what was that?" He asked in his quiet, disturbingly smooth voice. It was as if it was made of pure emotionless gibberish. The same gibberish that seemed to be everywhere in this infernal place.

The Jedi code is pointless. No matter how hard someone tries, there will always be emotion in them, altering their choices. No matter how small the alteration, that emotion is always there. Why not accept it rather than supress it? But I couldn't entertain those thoughts at that moment. I had the more pressing experience of trying to explain away my mistake.

"Well, I don't know, I just, lost my concentration I guess. Maybe I could do it on my own? If I was alone, I might be able to focus a bit more…" I hoped to whatever gods still existed that he would listen to me at least this once.

"No. I give you the same answer now as I always have, my padawan. In the real world there will be distractions aplenty. You must learn to deal with them. I know you have a strong connection to the force. I can feel it shift every time an emotion flows through you. Right now you are annoyed; the feeling ripples out from you like the waves of a great ocean. You must learn to control that."

In my head, I was stabbing him and running out the door, but I simply said, "Yes Master," in the most humble voice I could muster at that point. Even I could tell it wasn't convincing, probably due to the way I sighed as I said it.

He looked at me as I stood in the middle of the room, as one would look at an unwelcome insect. Then he simply turned and left, without a word more.

With a shudder, I forced my attention back to the present. Ever since I had left the Academy, things had seemed darker and more dangerous than they had before. I felt as if I couldn't trust anyone, let alone strangers.

I could see the tops of buildings not far ahead, and began to hear the hum of machinery. As I rounded a mound of trash, I saw a wall with a gate wide enough for a large vehicle to pass through, and a small droid waiting near the control panel.

It seemed I had arrived in New Haven.

I apologise again for how long this took. I even realised I had said I would follow this one through to the end in my first chapter, and it made me feel even worse. I promise I will do my best to keep that promise… What an ironic sentence.

I'll update when I can, so be sure to follow and review if you liked it.