(( OOC NOTE: This is an old story of an RP I did with the player of the character Belladonna ( ie Daydream ) will clean up formatting later ))
I looked around the dusty Cantina as I entered. Chalmun’s cantina was a little watering hole in the middle of the largest hive of scum and villainy in the outer rim, or so the stories told, from my experiences it was the heart of the hive where both hope and despair met and battled. I had met the beige and grey wookiee on several occasions and all of them were friendly. This time was different. I was different. I had lost my mate, my love, my heart and soul, Mallanik, in child birth. This was our third child; the Great Tree had blessed us again, this time with a female. I named the child after her mother, so that she may live a life as full of happiness and hope as Malla. I was not and am still not perfect. I knew that Malla was one with the Great Tree, one with the Living Force, but I still had a moment of weakness, a burr in my fur, I wanted to save her.
I still felt her loss that day in Chalmun’s. I spotted Bella shortly after I picked up her scent. She was conversing with the Souli. What they were talking about I cannot remember, nor can I remember what led up to me saying I had lost something and she immediately knew it had to be a person. She knows me well. I told both of them that who I lost would not be spoken of in Mos Eisely, too many Imperial and Doshan Slaver spies, despite my best efforts to wipe them out. I told her we could talk in the one place that was neutral ground for us – Timeus’s Cave, a place where darksiders and lightsiders can use words to fight but nothing more.
The flight to the Cave was quiet and lonely. Even the Sathog herself seemed aware of my loss and made none of her usual quirky sounds or in flight hiccups. I set her down in my usual landing spot in the mountains I had made from one of my previous crash spots. I retrieved my blades and put on my battle padding along with my satchel. The walk down the mountains of Dantooine was peaceful. I felt a familiar calming presence walking with me. She was there, walking along side me quietly as we did many times through the canopy. Her spirit kissed me one last time before I entered the cave. It had not changed in appearance or furnishing since I last had been there almost a year ago.
I went down to the lowest room in the cave, a small chamber with a padded table with a Krayt Dragon pearl adorned in the middle with soft pillows for sitting on around it. In this room you could hear the softened sound of the rushing water and roaring flames from the other chambers. It was peaceful and helped me center myself, to help remind myself – what I was, who I am.
I am Nagbecca. I am a slave to war, so that my brothers and sisters may be free from its terrible grasp. I am a warrior for the Great Tree, the embodiment of the Living Force. I am one with it during battle, I do not fear death or becoming it, I reflect the darkness within myself into light. My enemies aggression becomes their weakness and my strength. The Living Force Guides me – I let my happiness, joy, and life itself fill me. My love and benevolence for all living things empowers me to oneness. I am the calm in the storm. My focus and determination to protect Life makes me unstoppable. I am Nagbecca. I shall inspire hope and goodness in all, and heal the galaxy of the hurt and corruption.
Belladonna soon came to the cave herself.
Their argument fresh in his mind, Zechs pushes his BARC Speeder faster across the rolling hills of Dantooine. He makes a sharp left into on old riverbed, he could drive this route in his sleep. As expected he spots Bella, their home’s proximity making their crossing paths inevitable, but she was not going home. He banks left and decides to follow. After all, some things are better off not said in a cantina.
As she dismounts her swoop he arrives. She glances over to him with her usual look of annoyance, she does enjoy having the last word.
“I am glad you found me yourself this time instead of having one of your minions do it for you” Bella states as Zechs approaches her.
Expecting the continuance of their debate, the Souli responds in his usual cold and quiet tone “I had no way of knowing who was in control, and as much as I would like to be, I can not be in all places at all times.” He pauses for a long moment before continuing “I had to know if you were still a threat... or more of one than usual as it were.”
Without missing a beat, the sharp tongued Twi’lek retorts “And I suppose if I was, you would have one of your underlings kill me for you. That is what insults me.”
Knowing he would not quickly win this argument, and that eventually reason would win out in her mind over passion, Zechs responds simply with “You know I would not allow that.”
The pair walk towards the cave entrance. Zechs had been told of the place, but never entered himself. The rules were simple, no fighting, and nothing left can be removed.
As they approach he spots the imposing Wookiee standing in the entrance.
Something stops the Souli in his tracks. It is not fear, or a feeling that he is unwanted (though with the Wookiee’s sharp words back at Chalmun’s surely could have led him to believe so), but a feeling that he is unneeded. He holds respect for the Wookiee, a respect built on a singular mutual tie, and he knows no harm will befall the Twi’lek under Anishor’s watch.
He offers a respectful bow of his head, and returns to his speeder. As he quickly moves by he catches a glimpse of the two descending into the cave
Bella approached the cave in a foul temper . . . as usual. Having discovered that Lace's presence in Bestine was no coincidence, that the sly young lethan had been directed by Zechs to locate her on her return (and how cleverly done! It rankled just as much that she had not picked up on the minx's objective and loyalties sooner), she had found herself looking into the past, brooding on a similar occasion years ago: one that had culminated with a certain male sending his bumbling, drooling minion to locate her and remove whatever threat or insult he thought she posed, and left her sans her weapon, and very nearly her life.
Don't you send your hirelings after me, too, she reiterated silently, furiously. If you want whatever threat I pose eliminated, have the grace to attend to it yourself. Not that I wouldn't enjoy retribution here, as there, all the same . . .
Ghostly laughter echoed in her mind as her ire rose, and as she indulged in a memory of that retribution, other alien memories of ancient vengeance drifted to the surface. Not now, Bella swore to herself, and she bound anger and reminiscence tightly, buried them. Turning her attention away from the Souli, who had declined to follow, and from memory (where she had been dwelling far too often), she descended into the cave.
Anishor had seemed surprisingly snappish when they had encountered him on Tatooine; a taste of his surface emotions had read bleak emptiness rather than bright anger. The Wookiee has lost something, someone he cherished, she realized. He would not speak of it in Mos Eisley, but only here at Timeus' cave, on neutral ground? He must expect violence on my part -- or his. She wondered how far Anishor could be pushed, whether she might succeed here where her Master's poison and his Master's writings had not.
She found him in the Pearl Chamber on the lowest level. So, who did the mighty Protector -fail- to protect now? was the scornful and derisive question the Twi'lek burned to ask, but no, some things required a more subtle touch . . . Instead, Bella adopted a neutral tone, and learned that the Wookiee Mallanik, Anishor's mate, had recently died bearing their third child. Her attempts to flagellate the Wookiee into crippling grief over the failure to protect his mate were gently deflected. So were her efforts to incite his rage over the injustice of loss.
"I am surprised you do not mark your loss with blood and fury," she eventually pointed out. "What better grave-marker, what better honor by a warrior for one fallen than a field of sacrifice . . . How many lives was hers worth, hm?" The Twi'lek smiled grimly, suspecting Anishor was aware of the nearby hillside slaughter that had warped the terrain but also sated her own grief.
Anishor explained that he preferred to celebrate his mate's life rather than glorify her death. "Perhaps you did not care so much for your mate after all," she sneered.
Belladonna's sneer broadened to a smile when the Wookiee rose and loomed over her, growling.
I grew impatient with Bella’s constant attempts to be little my love for Malla, and how I reacted to her death. As much as I tried, I could not persuade her from misguided views for honoring a loved one’s passing. To her it meant creating a blood bath of pain, despair and death equal her lover’s worth. To me such an action is dishonorable and selfish. One creates such pain in others so they may have company in their misery.
She said to me “Perhaps you did not care so much for you mate after all”. I do not think she has ever said anything so hurtful, so purposefully malicious and deceitful. Her intention no doubt was to bring me to rage, to give into the dark side. I stood up and growled at her as a warning. Not that I was growing angry, but she her attempt had failed. I pointed out to her the differences in our reactions to the other’s banter over the years. She dismissed it, saying our reactions where the same. I laughed at such irony. Annoyance and anger are the two words that describe her reaction to my descriptions of the Living Force. My reaction to hers is patience and understanding – I understood full well why the Sith believe the way they do. I understood it because I was consumed by the darkside during my self-imposed exile, caused by her master’s poison.
I challenged her. I challenged her in a way her twisted scholarly logic could not refute. I had experienced both sides of the force and she had not. She lacked perspective. I challenged her by offering her that perspective. I offered to immerse her in the Living Force to feel Life.
I smelt a sense of shock from her; no sneering or biting words could defend her here. The truth had struck her imbetween the eyes. Turning down my offer now would make her a hypocrite. For all her deceptions, manipulations, and scheming she would not see herself a hypocrite, the only thing worse than being a hypocrite was a heretic. She did the only thing she could do. Counterattack.
“Alright, but only if you submit yourself to this.” She said, tossing a vial containing a red substance within. “It is a more potent and improved version of what Myrmidon subjected you to, take it and I will allow you to perform your act of heresy.” She had smug smirk on her face, which now had begun to show the signs of darkside corruption.
I agreed in principle to the proposal. We argued over who would go first, both of us excellent tacticians of words and diplomacy in our own right. I wanted her to experience the Living Force, because I knew full well that if I took that poison and then tried I would not even be able to feel the Great Tree’s presence let alone submerse her in it. She was genuinely afraid of what I would do to her under the effects of her poison. I nearly killed the three of them, Saevio, Myrmidon, and Belladonna, the first time in a rage caused by her master’s work, breaking chains that were not to be broken. Only the thought of protecting another steadied my hand then. But now, in this instance I knew that one was safe. She had become a great warrior and had abandoned her dark family and that path.
We came to an agreement. We would prepare places our places for the consequences of our actions. I would find a place deeply seated in Life. She would find a place with strong doors and chains. We would meet on Tatooine when we were both ready.
The Twi'lek sat in an alcove in the dusty cantina, her back to the wall, a glass of brandy untouched before her . . . listening to those present but hearing those past. She had lost count of the oafish louts who had swaggered up to her table and then departed just as quickly, dismissed with a pointed bluegreen stare and a peremptory wave. "Bitch," whined one of them as he slunk off. "Thinks she's too good for this place."
No. Just you, she smirked silently. This place . . . I like. She relished the hot, chaotic din of life that filled Chalmun's; the buzz of sentience provided a pleasant polyphonic melody to the emotions saturating the place. Sometimes it even drowned out the alien thoughts and memories which drifted into her waking mind.
Belladonna was rather surprised when Anishor appeared and sat down beside her, proposing that they depart to take care of the matter. She had not given much credence to the Wookiee's challenge on Dantooine, deciding it was only the desperate words of a grieving creature looking to make meaning of his life, and he could not actually expect her to dabble in what could only be the rankest heresy. But it seemed he did, and there would be a loss of face if she did not meet the challenge . . . besides, the opportunity to addict the Wookiee to her dreadful poison was too rich to discard. Still, she hedged, pointing out she had no facilities adequate to hold the Wookiee should her alchemical ecstasy prove his better. Anishor's suggestion that the Zabrak's sanctum surely had the means to secure a Wookiee berserker did not exactly set well with her.
Her hedging came to a quick end when the dreadful hum of a probe droid whined its way toward their table. She froze for an instant, and then just as quickly decided it was time to go.
"I'm only agreeing to follow you," she insisted to Anishor, trotting to keep up with the Wookiee's long strides as he made his way to the starport, "because of that hovering abomination. I had to get out of there." Anishor was perhaps amused by the little Twi'lek's wariness of droids (or maybe it was her wariness of devices employed by the Empire, considering her return via Bestine) but it was of little consequence to him. He directed her aboard his ship and she followed, settling with little grace to wait.
"We're in the Naboo system now," Anishor announced. Kun's breath, not Naboo, she grumbled to herself. At least it's not Rori.
Belladonna groaned audibly as the ship swung about to bring the misty green of Rori into view. "Why must it be Rori," she muttered acidly. She was certain Anishor knew of her reticence in coming to that particular moon, being that the place was a well-established home to various dark Force cults. The enclave she'd fled from had located its Temple there; Zech’s mentor had located a hall on the moon as well. It had also been where she had fled to, long before, when . . .
Anishor had landed the vessel and unsealed it, and the murky scent of Rori's mist curtailed her woolgathering. He is trying to keep me off guard in bringing me here, Bella decided. She followed the Wookiee out of his ship through the fen.
As I entered my bunker I instantly felt renewed with the power of the Living Force and once again connected to the Great Tree. Through a secret project of the Resistance we had been creating small sites across the galaxy to make nurseries for young Wroshyr Trees. It would be our defense in case the Empire once again decided to carpet bomb Kashyyyk and Alaris Prime. All Wroshyr Trees are all connected to each other, with the Great Tree, and thus all live - wookiees understood this, Nagbecca live to protect and love all life. We are aware and use this connection, or rather being aware lets the Living Force empower and guide us. Here amongst the young Wroshyrs I was as powerful as if I had been resting on one of the Great Tree’s branches. The air was fresh and new. It was like walking under the canopy back home. Peaceful, beautiful, and most important of all alive! Full of vibrant growing life!
I took Bella down to the second floor and into my reading room through the main foyer. The room was also adorned with the tools of my past. Bella found the weapons interesting, first starting at my first set of Blades, which she herself vaguely remembered. The spear and staff side by side only caught her attention for a moment, and my first bowcaster carbine seemed to be invisible to her. She did comment on the weapons of my father - his shield and longsword, but her attention was quickly drawn to a short sword, not more than a dagger in my hands, unlike any other weapons I had. The blade was of massassi origin. After learning its origins she asked, “Why do you keep something that is not yours?”
It was mine; I had earned it by right of victorious combat. It previous owner I had freed from the grasp of sith sorcery and slavery, given him peace and rest in death. I told her I kept it as a reminder of what Sith Lords do to their warriors so that none may have the chance to rise up against them. She responded with her usual snark. How well her mentors had her programmed. I chose not to tell her the story of gaining it. It would have made her aware I was fully capable of redeeming those that saw themselves as a failure if they fell from their path beyond redemption.
We entered the other half of the room. It was and is still dominated by a large fountain holding many young Wroshyr trees. I with a wookiee expert in hydroponics and Wroshyr Trees were seeing if we could adapt them to wetter climates and still retain their connection to the Great Tree and other Wroshyr Trees. A masterful success he had. But that is a story for another time. The other wall of that portion contained my shelves and the pile of books. Nearly twenty of the animal skin bound books lay on the floor in seeming disorganized faction. They contained knowledge ranging from creating force imbued weapons to dissertation on large unit tactics of mixed berserker and non soldier armies. The shelves had various objects but only one caught her attention.
It was one she had seen before. It was a sith holocron contained in a larger pyramidal object. The larger object was of Jedi origin. These objects were made to safely contain sith holocron’s whispers and darkside taint inside the field it created. The art of building these safes were lost after the Great Hyperspace War. I theorize still that it was lost because to build one, the creator would need to know or have known the darkside of the force personally in order to know how to trap it and ignore the seductive nature of the knowledge within those red crystalline pyramids. When her eyes fell upon it, I made my second offer. Give up the dark spirit within her and submit herself to the Living Force and I would give her the holocron. This holocron actually feared was made by the same spirit within her, I bluffed - claiming it contained all the combined knowledge of Sith Alchemy from the great Lords of the Golden Age.
She scoffed at the proposal. “Why would I need an object when I have the him to tap?”
“Because the spirit’s price is far greater than the one I offer for the same knowledge” I responded calmly.
She quickly changed the subject. Her scent was full of fear and doubt about whether she wanted to continue paying the tribute the spirit demanded for the knowledge she sought. She wanted to dissuade me from using the Living Force on her. Her fear of that was greater than ever I had ever smelt from her. Bella said since her words could not dissuade me, then her only choice was a demonstration. She slowly walked over to one of the young trees and began twisting off a leaf.
Something as inconsequential and insignificant as leaf would be the very thing would shake the foundations her being and the nearly break the grip of the darkside.
(( the next section I will post will be very moving, but will likely draw ire from those that do not understand the balance of the Force, or believe that epic, moving power only comes from the darkside. Think about force drain and corruption. What is the balance to that? You shall see. ))
[tags Bella, Zechs, Kallabeccani]
Descending into the Wookiee's bunker, into his sanctum, no... haven, Bella was put to mind of a descent Anishor had her make into the Kashyyykian canopy to retrieve something of value. Then, as now, she found verdant green clutching at her with living, leafy fingers, and then, as now, the experience was unsettling as it would be to any creature raised within sterile plasteel walls. The Twi'lek had doubts about whether she would come away with anything so valuable this time. The Wookiee seemed to think she should be delighted to meet his challenge; in fact, she expected it would be her end. Despite his insistence that he wouldn't destroy her, she knew Anishor had not forgotten her hand in his torment via her Master's Sith poison. Were their positions reversed, she would be sorely tempted to return the favor.
Those terrible light-imbued swords could have destroyed the onyx holocron if things had gone differently. There is no telling what they would do if he turned them upon us, even if we survived the wounds.
Ducking a grasping branch, the Twi'lek realized the bunker was actually a nursery for Wroshyr trees. What in Kun's name is he trying to do here, start his own personal Kashyyyk in his basement? Belladonna sensed how the Wookiee was invigorated by the very presence of the trees, but she could scarcely tolerate their dizzying, exuberant young life. Twisted and dark and you would be all the more lovely, she whispered silently to the trees. She had heard rumours of the plants being somehow connected, and she wondered if poisoning one could spread that taint to all such trees until they were one massive black grove of corruption. It was a curiously pleasant thought.
Belladonna broke from her reverie when Anishor led her into his reading room, and after a cursory examination of the leatherbound tomes sprawled across the floor, she fixed her stare on the weapons adorning the walls. A matched set of massive swords, there: I remember those. Anishor used to wear them... until he obtained those cursed things he wears now. A primitive shield and a longsword, which the Wookiee explained as having belonged to his father... quickly dismissed. An ornate dagger, one with intricately-carved runes upon the bone hilt, the blade's metal folded to create a wickedly wriggling pattern: Familiar, we know you. The Twi'lek reached up with nearly reverent fingers to stroke the runes.
Anishor gave her a curious look, noting her rapt attention.
"Massassi," he stated.
"Why do you keep it? It is not yours," she pointed out in a quiet, sullen rasp. A sort of angry, regal pride flared about her.
Anishor seemed to scent the air, as though he smelled another presence about the Twi'lek. He answered pointedly, "It's a reminder of what Sith Lords do to their warriors."
"Their warriors exist to serve them and die," she smirked absently, and turned to follow him into the next room. There an artifact stole her attention: one pyramid sealed inside another, a holocron of sorts, or... a trap. She'd been shown the relic before, and her apprentice had believed it to be a key to ancient, yet-undiscovered lore. Neither of them had puzzled it out yet. Anishor noted her stare and thought quickly.
"Relinquish the spirit," the Wookiee suggested. "You summoned it for its knowledge? This has what you seek: all the lost secrets of alchemy. It was crafted by the same entity you summoned, you do not need that spirit anymore if you possess this relic."
We would know if those origins were true. He's bluffing. "Whyever would I require an object? I have the source itself to draw upon." She tilted her chin up proudly, touching a crystalline pendant at her throat in a gesture which had become habit.
Anishor turned calmly to face Belladonna. "Because that spirit's price was far greater than the one I offer for the same knowledge."
You know nothing of my price, her mind shrieked. The Twi'lek thought back to the trade she'd made to seize an ounce of control over the thing... one end of that bargain now scribed into her very essence, as it were. She suddenly felt agitated, irrational, paranoid. Guilt washed about her, as though the Wookiee truly did know what she had done and why, and what had been lost... and fear followed quick on its heels, guilt and fear that Anishor or another would seek retribution and burn out the prize she had summoned to her, leaving her silent, empty and dead -- the Wookiee had the means, he had offered to do something similar before, to purge her of the Zabrak's ethereal influence when he learned that worthy still kept a malicious hand and watchful eye on what was his.
Bella swore silently; the Wookiee's nose was twitching, and she knew he could detect her emotions (are they my emotions, in fact? she wondered, or am I losing control?) if not her thoughts.
Deflect, reroute... She asked him about the books scattered across the floor.
He answered with a gentle demand, simply that she remove a glove and touch his paw.
She stammered a bit, pointing out that he could not possibly understand what effect his damned Force energies might have on her, that it could mean her demise, there were better ways to kill her.
He pressed her to feel this so-called 'Living Force,' now.
She tried to explain about the rite she'd undergone in words he might understand, about how the Force had been used to burn out flaws and corruption which would have felled her, and what had taken the place of those flaws, and then what had taken the place of that, and how if his application of this 'Living Force' meddled or worse yet removed --
-- He wasn't really listening.
Belladonna finally wrested a leaf from one of the young Wroshyr trees and held it up before Anishor, directing him to watch her actions via the Force, if he had the means. She summoned an insidious tendril of darkside energy to infect the tender stem. Corruption spread like cold black sap through the delicate leaf, and its edges flexed, curled in, twisted. Anishor groaned softly, and the Twi'lek answered with a grim smile. "Wait, and watch." With a hard expression, she chased her will through the tainted leaf, excising the corruption, delicately burning it away until only the fragile skeleton of a leaf, nothing but dry death framing emptiness, rested upon her gloved palm. "Do you see what you risk?" Bella whispered harshly, and her words blew the leaf to dust.
"Show me again," Anishor suggested slowly, motioning to the tree. And the Twi'lek seized another leaf from the Wroshyr tree and held it before Anishor, letting him watch the corruption twist vivid green to sickly black.
[Tag: Anishor, Kallabeccani, Zechs]
As she corrupted the first leaf my heart ached. My deep connection to the life around me meant I felt the pain not only as she twisted the leaf from the branch but as the tendrils of darkside as if they were on my own skin – crawling, biting, burning, corrupting! I can still feel that today, even though my fur is now grey, and it is my son who bears my blades now. Soon I shall finally rejoin the Great Tree, her faithful servant, the slave to war, he who brings death, shall finally sleep and become life itself.
She claimed I had no idea; she is the one that was ignorant of life. My heart threatened to sink farther when the first leaf was destroyed by her purge. What an appropriate word, purge , to remove without renewing, to destroy, I would show her restoration. Then right there in front of me was the heart of the lie, the knot at which her faith was built upon. Darkside could only be purged she thought, she nervously believed. The spirit within her must fear what I can do if he feeds this thought. I listened to the words come out of my mouth though they were not my own. The Great Tree was guiding me.
“Show me again, and I shall show you the lies of Sith, and the power of the Living Force. You destroyed the first leaf. You did not heal the corruption.” I said with an otherworldly voice. I felt the life swelling around me. Now was the time.
She responded with her own words and voice, responded after corrupting the second leaf, “You don’t understand, I am the first leaf, there is nothing to restore.”
“Put leaf in my hand and remove your glove if you wish to feel the truth of life, the power of love. Set your hand on top of the leaf, and I will open your eyes, your mind, and your soul.” I instructed calmly.
The skepticism on her face could not mask her increasing fear, but there was something that emboldened me even more - deep beneath her fear, her sarcasm, and her plotting, there was hope. I slipped off my battle padding and remaining bracer, leaving only the straps where my blades rested. I could feel the corruption of the leaf wanting to escape and consume me. I closed my eyes and placed my other paw on top of hers. I closed my eyes and opened myself up to the force.
As my breathing slowed my consciousness expanded. I felt the young Wroshyrs next to me, their life and power flowed through me, carrying my spirit in the force. I was no longer just Anishor; I was Anishor and all the life around me. Soon the Wroshyrs in the fountain expanded to all the Wroshyrs hidden in many sites on the swampy moon. I was carried beyond the moon toward my home. I felt the all the Wroshyr and all life in the galaxy being drawn into me and through me. Closer and closer I came to the Great Tree, until I sat at her roots, basking in all the glory and power of Life. I became one with the Living Force.
My aura now shown like a bright green light with no harshness. Aware of all life, I knew how to heal the leaf; I began to channel the life into it. The corruption was not purged but healed, the dead cells now full of light began trigger the leaf’s natural process of photosynthesis, the leaf rebuilt and healed itself. I looked down upon the floor where the dust of the first one lay but the life still remained, only the physical form had been destroyed. I poured all of my love, my life, and determination towards the dust. It came to life swirling in the air around us as I called it toward its brother. Until now I had shielded Bella’s hand from all of this, she only watched passively. The dust passed over her hand and began to retake its shape. The power of the Living force channeled through me, through Bella’s hand into the reforming Leaf. This power was not something harsh like Force light, but is the very essence of life itself: soft, warm, loving, and fulfilling. This was the ultimate power in the universe. Love creating Life.
I opened my eyes slowly withdrawing from oneness with the Living Force, no longer fully immersed in it. The connection still open as it always was, like standing half way in river. I removed my left paw to reveal to Bella what had happened, but she already knew. A tear glistened down her face.
Anishor's voice had taken on a curious resonance, and he was undaunted by Belladonna's skeptical, scornful expression. "I shall show you the lies of the Sith and the power of the Living Force. You destroyed the first leaf. You did not heal the corruption. Remove your glove, put the leaf in my hand, set your hand on top of the leaf . . . if you wish to feel the truth of life, the power of love. I will open your eyes, your mind, and your soul."
Stomping her foot impatiently, Belladonna snarled, “You do not understand! Like that first leaf, there would be nothing to restore --” She curtailed her outburst, unwilling to reveal too much to the Wookiee, and concluded in the dubious privacy of her own thoughts. -- if my being immersed in your damned 'Living Force' tampers with what is bound to me. Sum it up, Wookiee! You know who put me back together and what keeps me together now, if not how, and I know what you would do for revenge! I doubt anyone living could duplicate it if your energy unbound that feat, she thought desperately. I do not want to be an empty shell.
The Wookiee seemed to perceive something in the Twi'lek's storming glare that even she was not aware of. He simply offered his right paw, palm up, expectantly.
It seems we cannot get out of this challenge. Bella reluctantly dropped the darkened leaf into Anishor's waiting grasp, and he clamped his other paw over her hand, and closed his eyes. Filled with dread but curious all the same (what was that saying about curiousity and the jax...) she let her perception hover around the Wookiee. A jolt as he fended off the coiling tendrils of Darkside energy imbued in the leaf... his breath and heart rate slowing... his presence seeming to expand to fill the room, linked to those damnable trees.
He was in some sort of meditative trance?
Somehow, he had transmuted the darkness infecting the leaf and caused it to... restore itself?
Anishor reached further, encompassing Belladonna in his efforts that she would be a part of the brilliant green current swirling and drifting softly about the Wookiee. Dreamlike but determined, Anishor called like to like, and Bella sensed him pouring his radiance and will and all that he was into the leaf-dust which had coated the Twi'lek's hand and sifted to the floor. The current drifted up in a delicate spiral, hinting first at a ghostly leaf-shape from motes of light, then a verdant, glowing leaf-skeleton, energy stretching gently through xylem and phloem...
It was power warm and soothing, it was power spun gently from sweet, clear light. It was nothing like the searing blaze of the Force she knew and it was nothing like the Force to which she had dedicated herself.
Opening his eyes and his paws to reveal the pair of leaves whole and hale as they should have been, Anishor realized the Twi'lek was weeping silently.
"Doubt is creeping into your mind," he murmured calmly, "Your Masters lied to you about the Force... You look so sad, you can be whole, Bella."
She heard some murmur echoing from distant memory -- 'I don't want to see you empty, Bella. I refuse,' -- and shook her head in violent denial. Shut up, she told herself, backing away from the Wookiee, one hand moving to clutch at the heavy crystalline pendant at her throat, the other hovering at her belt. "I am whole," she growled.
Anishor's eyes were drawn to the amulet, and he seemed to understand the significance of her gesture, for a hoarse, wordless plea escaped him, and his hands hovered toward his swords.
It was at the moment her hand moved to the amulet around her neck I became aware of the third presence in the room. The dark spirit was not buried deep in her subconscious but floating near the top, and now fear, either hers or his, drove her hand toward the amulet and the other toward her weapon. I understood what would happen next.
I instantly began to open myself up to the Living Force, letting it flow into me as I prepared to enter my M’nuush, a combat stance so practiced and so ingrained into my being it was more of a battle trance than stance - I was both life and death, one with the Living Force, the Protector of the Great Tree and all her children. I knew that even with the aid of the spirit, from a martial standpoint, Bella could not defeat me, but her defeat was not my intent, no I wanted to save her.
I pleaded with her not to give into the spirit, to stay with me! Not give in to the darkness! I dashed to my shelf and picked up a small clear crystal while I drew one of my blades – Byce was its name. The crystal was a special object created by one of the Clan of the Wroshyr’s first sages of freedom, he had brought me to the village in Rori, and taken me back amongst my kind. The sage’s name was Malkbova, and he was more than just a sage of freedom, he was a powerful shaman, this crystal was a trap for dark spirits, capable of trapping the most powerful ones that decided to break the barrier of the netherworld and cross into the realm of the living in the Well of the Dead.
My cries fell upon deaf ears. Bella’s hand now so taut around dark amulet that her hand bled. I knew the amulet was the key; it was the anchor that kept the spirit attached to Bella. In my battle stance, one with the Living Force, I tried to remove the amulet from her neck and shock her back into control. My blade arched from my right to the left side of her neck, catching the chain right where it lifted from her skin, my blade no more than a breath’s distance from her vital life carrying blood vessels in her neck. The chain fell to the ground and shattered. An otherworldly shriek escaped Bella, and her eyes went cold and dark. He was in control.
I with the power of command in my voice spoke aloud: “I AM ANISHOR. I AM NAGBECCA. YOU SPIRIT, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.”
“You dare to stand up to me? Beast? I am Sith and this little sorceress is mine. She summoned and attempted control that was beyond her, therefore she is mine!” A hideous death rattling of a sound imitating a voice escaped Bella’s mouth in response.
“I am the protector of life, that includes her. Now have the strength to return to the netherworld or I shall return you to whichever hell you prefer.” I returned confidently. “You are in my place of power. You are the in the domain of Light, the domain of Life, prepare to be humbled.”
“This one’s body barely serves my purposes as a host, but perhaps you, beast, would be a worthy one, a body capable of power worthy of my presence, of my gifts…if not you, then I will discard you and the little sorceress both and take your offspring. That’s the best time to corrupt and seize them, when they’re too young to even struggle against me like this one has.”
Before such comments would have release my anger, but I was no longer bound by such a weak and predictable emotion. I would give him no such foothold on my neck.
I bull rushed the spirit, now controlling Bella’s body. I brought my left arm acting as the shield that would trample her down, whispering “Forgive me Bella.” But the action was only a feint. My blade struck out once again in lightening fast arch. All of my being, all of my love, determination, and life – indeed all life around me channeled into the blade in the form of force light. The blade struck her skin imbetween her middle and ring finger knuckles, rending the flesh until I hit the hot metal of the amulet. The instant I felt my blade connect with amulet, my connection with the Living Force grew from a gentle river into a raging torrent. I was the conduit for the Living Force’s will. Never had I felt such power flow through me that was not my own, but is was the Living Force itself willing what seemed like infinite amounts of pure light, pure life flow through me and into my blade with the intent of destroying the corruption that was amulet and the spirit it housed.
Bella had tried to bring up her lightsaber in time to defend the blow but it was too quick, her hilt dropped onto the floor as energy of life and light shattered amulet. Not even an ancient lord of the sith could have been prepared for the quickness and focused determination of purpose that was in my strike. A scream horror that was Bella’s voice returned echoed through the halls of the bunker. I met it with my own wookiee roar, not in anger, but in defiance of the spirit and in protection of Bella. She collapsed as the air left her lungs, slamming to the floor. An insidious cloud began to form around me. I dropped my crystal to the floor and the cloud was drawn into it, whispering curses and promises of eternal vengeance upon me.
Bella’s barely cognizant and bleeding body, in the fetal position, reached for the crystal. I kicked it out of her reach. In the last act before letting go of my connection to Living Force, I reached for Kallabeccani, a young wookiee Busahab. I was afraid she would be as incapable of communicating with me through the Living Force as all the other Lightsiders I had met, who were all too connected to unifying force, too connected with destiny and the future to hear my whispers in current of Life that is the Living Force.
His pleading had only served to enflame the rush of dark anger kindling in me, and of course the vile temper I have cultivated over the years served me well -- save when it came to controlling it. That tenuous control was key to dominating the spectre I had roused: indulging too freely seemed to taunt it to wrathful wakefulness, and I like being the one on top, at least in my own head. Anishor was oblivious to the too-subtle warning I had signalled when I grasped the pendant. Despite his pleas, the Wookiee was shifting into combat stance and had seized one of his blades. While I am counted extraordinarily agile at the very least, I knew it was unlikely that I could come out victorious. But there were other options to dealing with a Force-gifted brute twice my size.
The ancient entity I had summoned and seized reached hungrily through my waking thoughts, so I let anger swell to fury and crest over me, let that ancient sentience do what it would. Anishor's pleading, the sweet burning agony of the crystal amulet biting bloody into my hand, the bright bloodlust swirling around me dimmed, muted, grew distant and dreamlike. I... slept.
Anishor swept his sword toward the Twi'lek's neck, deftly snapping the chain apart so the pendant was clutched freely in her bloodied hand, and the aged links lay scattered on the floor "I AM NAGBECCA!" Anishor declared. "You, spirit, are not welcome here in my place of power, a domain of light and life! Return to your netherworld, or I shall return you!"
"Do not think to command me, Beast!" came the scornful words, shaped and delivered with a harsh, guttural resonance rather than Bella's usual quiet contralto. "You know who I am, and you bade me welcome even as you welcomed this foolish thing into your place of power... A pity control was beyond her!" The Twi'lek shivered with dreadful mirth. "That is, were I capable of pity. Perhaps I should discard this, it is frail, damaged, has served its purpose, and..."
The Twi'lek paused, black irises fixed upon the towering Wookiee. "...I see something more worthy before me. Ahhh, with such strength, and with this domain to rule from, and," the Twi'lek's eyes swept speculatively over the young trees, and a cruel smile twisted her lips, "with offspring, for even if you struggle, they would not --"
"Forgive me, Bella," whispered Anishor, who had chosen not to indulge in the anger or fear that would have pried open his psyche. He feinted left and rushed the Twi'lek, who had swept her now-ignited saber up, but the Wookiee had the reach his diminutive opponent did not. The point of Anishor's blade seemed to stretch into a beam of blinding Force Light, and its tip dove into the flesh of her hand, splitting tendon and bone and the amulet hidden in her grasp.
I heard a terrible scream and the vibrato of stressed, trembling glass threatening to shatter, and I felt the pendant burning and crumbling into what was left of my scorched, mangled hand, but that was the least of it. My nerves were on fire and I felt torn apart, sundered, like we were being flayed and dissected alive, little bits of us excised and cauterized away into nothing... and everything hurt, and not in a good way. The screaming wouldn't stop. From somewhere I seemed to hear Anishor's roar setting up a countermelody, and the whisper of promised curses and vengeance fading, fading into emptiness and loss.
I couldn't see.
I could barely move. I could scarcely touch the Force. I felt empty, drained. I reached blindly for where I felt the whispered curses to come from, feebly struggling to reclaim my salvation, my grace, my strength. I heard the sound of it clattering away.
I wrapped my arms about myself in despair and gave myself to merciful blackness as the Wookiee lifted me into his arms.
I wrapped the crystal into a small sack and set it aside. I knelt down beside Bella who’s hand was bleeding over my floor, I picked her up into my arms and cradled her like I would my pups, letting my love and energy wash over her, I took her away from the pain and loss that had occurred in my reading room and set her in my meditation corner in the command room. On the floor was a padded blanket made from the softest webreaver silk. Malla made it for me.
I went over to a small refrigeration unit and removed some jerky and fatty bantha milk. I needed to restore calories spent in the moments fighting the spirit and healing the leaves. Now I needed to heal Bella. Just as I knelt beside her again, I smelt Kalla enter, my heart jumped. Someone had finally been listening. Someone finally heard me.
[Tags: Kallabeccani, Belladonna, Zechs and thus Act 3 ends.]
I looked around the room I had been moving things into. The air seemed a bit rough tonight as if there was electricity in it. Glancing over towards my companion Kazzari a small sand panther who kept me company, but to see him lying silently by the door asleep. I shook my head and went back to unpacking the items that I had retrieved from my ship. Placing one of my father’s blades on the wall I stopped as once again an uncomfortable feeling came over me as if something had happened. Laying the blade gently down on the floor I went to the window and glanced out. The air was rough that was sure and I was not sure why but my curiosity was getting the better of me.
The door of my room which I had slept in was open and I made my way towards it. I had left my side pack in there along with the few bottles of the clear water I had left from Kashyyyk. There were some herbs there as well and I don’t know what made me pick them up but I placed them as well as the water into the pack. My hands guided me in that moment picking up a few things and discarding others to the side pack I wore.
Walking back into the living area I started pacing the floor. Deep in thought about what had just happened and the electricity in the air had some concerns. I had not felt this in awhile and was sure something was not right. My pacing the floor must have disturbed Kazzari for he woke up and looked at me sending out a question of thought. I had always been able to read Kazzari and him me and now he also seemed to feel the unease in the air as he stood up and came closer to me.
That was when it happened, I am not sure how to explain it but I felt someone calling to me. I know this feeling, it was familiar to me. I remembered feeling it once before when in Mos Eisley when I called out to the Great Tree when a Trandoshan had me slightly cornered. Someone needed her as she needed them that day. Someone had called to her.
“Come Kazz” Kalla said to the sand panther as she hurried out the door.
Kallabeccani walked out her door to stand outside. She turned slowly in all directions not knowing what to think. First looking with her eyes not seeing what she wanted she closed her eyes and focused on what was calling her. It was near somewhere in the village that she moved into. She stepped off in the direction she could feel the pull coming from and made her way across the village feeling the call get a bit stronger but weaker at the same time. Her eyes went wide in shock now knowing what she felt.
“Anishor…” She mumbled and took off in a sprint with Kazzari on her heels. She made it to his place and went into it feeling something was not right she followed her sences down to the room he had shown her not long before and there crumpled on the floor at his meditation table was a flesh toned Twi’lek. Slumped beside her but still on his knees was Anishor.
“Ani… what’s… going on…” She tried to piece things together.
“I could have saved her, I wanted to save her” I told Bella as my energy flowed into Bella’s body. I was pushing the limits of my reserves by healing her. But my healing technique was different, it was most certainly Nagbecca. I was merely a conduit of energy and knowledge. Instead of my energy healing her damage I gave her body the energy and knowledge it needed to heal itself. Allowing it to regenerate itself. Had I used a normal healing technique that Jedi would use, even if I was capable of it - which I am not, it could have seriously hurt Bella even further having been exposed to years of darkside power.
“How can you say you loved her, when you’re capable of such things? When you could have healed her?” Bella inquired her voice was so sad, my heart ached for her, and for memories of a fresh wound still open and bleeding of my mate’s death.
“The call of the Great Tree is not one any wookiee would ignore. It is to be one with Life, to us it is paradise, it is fulfillment of our life’s destiny. I loved my mate enough to let her go on, to be one with the Great Tree.” I answered quietly. “Believe me Bella, I wanted nothing more than to force her to stay with me. But that is selfish and weak. Why would she want to stay in this lesser existence? As much as it hurt to, I helped her to pass on peacefully.“ I felt the tears once again streaming down the fur on my face. I closed our connection as I felt the wound in her hand close itself. I could do more but Bella was not ready for that.
Time went by oddly as I opened myself up to the force to meditate. I was partially aware of what I was saying. I remember Kalla bringing us fruit. I remember us using the fruit to discuss life and sacrifice. Bella was less skeptical than normal but still in her heart refused it. I prepared a bed I had used for my cubs for Bella in the main hall of my bunker. I would have one of my droids bring her food while she slept. I locked the doors to protect all of us. A deep sleep found me easily that night.
The next day was busy, I had much to prepare for and strength to regain. Most of the morning I spent consuming fast amounts of meat and other proteins to restore the calories I burned in so opening myself up to the force and using my energy to heal Bella. Bella slept through most of the day, muttering things I could not hear or want to. Sharing the Living Force and healing her was likely a deeper and more intimate connection than she had shared with anyone being save one.
The evening came and after an uneventful meeting with the Jedi I returned to the bunker to find her looking of the objects at my meditation table.
“Why the doors locked? Am I your prisoner?” Bella asked quietly.
“There is a group of jedi meeting here, it is for protection” I answered.
“Mine or theirs?” She teasingly asked
“Both.” I answered with a smile . She asked about the small stone carvings on the table each having a small gem in them. “They were made by Malla. They reminded me of her, and our love” I responded.
“Who’s living the in past now?” Bella snidely remarked.
“No one is perfect Bella, and she passed less than two weeks ago, and I WAS NOT ABLE TO EVEN STAY FOR HER” I stopped myself mid sentence. My anger and pain nearly got the better of me. I recomposed myself. “because of several slavers and imperial patrols I was not able to stay for her burial Bella.” I looked deeply back at those shinning light teal-blue eyes. Pain and concern in mine.
I walked up to Bella, took her hands into my paw, and whispered. “I can heal you, I can make you whole.”
“I am not a Leaf, and I am already rebuilt, you know by whom” She said emotionally.
“You are no different from the leaf. I can help you be yourself. I can help you be that which you not even dared to dream of! I can make you as you should have been; not a clone doomed and flawed - to be damned to the darkness or destroy itself. I can show you the Living Force and the Living Force will guide you to remaking yourself without flaw or corruption, without his influence, without his pieces filling the holes left by your damned imperial creators. You will be as you should have been – reborn in Life, not made in darkness. I am merely the ferry that will take you to the wellspring of life, a conduit of power to be used so that YOU can decide what you should be.” I offered, I pleaded.
Zech’s was outside. He wanted to see Bella to ensure that she was not ‘tainted’ by my actions while she was vulnerable. After her wordless reply of tears and a sad headshake, I went to let him in.
I knew at the moment I had failed.
Write stories with friends. Open them up for anyone to participate, or for a set group of people. Either way everyone can enjoy the journey.
NOTE: All entries and replies are to be In Character. There is usually a comment thread in the Stories/Journal Comments forum for OOC comments and questions.
NOTE: All entries and replies are to be In Character. There is usually a comment thread in the Stories/Journal Comments forum for OOC comments and questions.
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