Yes war does separate family. I figured I might as well show it since his family is the key to his survival. Something worth fighting for.
Chapter 16: Traps and Wheedling
The elevator stopped at the topmost level of the fortress. I didn’t have to read the indicator on the panels to know that I was going to a place that was virtually off limits to everyone except those summoned at the Blood King’s request. I just stared straight ahead keeping calm and playing pazaak in my head. It wasn’t Darius playing with me but it was Atton. Apparently he was using it to keep cool himself while waiting to come out of hyperspace. I almost smiled but I resisted. I could hear him in my mind, You’re really crazy you know. Why would you be playing the +3 card? Bring it on. Mental, definitely mental.
That cheered my spirits as I continued to play while maintaining my stoic face. The doors opened to reveal a darkened room, I think. It was difficult to tell because so little of the morning light came in the room and the crude structures of support looked like the craggy crevices of the barren mountains of the east. I was led up to a series of stairs as the Blood King turned from his watch post at the one of the few windows. He waited until I was up to the same level as he was before he said again in that sickly voice I had heard before, “Welcome young Kirabaros. As I have said before, I have been expecting you. You no longer need those.” With a slight movement of his fingers he undid the restraints and they fell to the ground.
My response was the same stoic look that I had when I entered the elevator. One addition was that I cocked my left brow. I guess that gave him some measure of confidence or gave him the impression that I was confused. I was in truth wary of what he did. I didn’t dismiss the option that he wanted a fair fight like we had the last time. He would want to rightfully earn his prestige as the one who killed Kirabaros. I just kept my brow cocked at him as he dismissed the three that brought me. I didn’t move but just stood there. He said, “I look forward to making you turn. In time you will call me ‘master.’”
“You’re gravely mistaken. You won’t turn me as you turned Tvark or Eómeros,” I replied rather solemn.
The Blood King seemed to chuckle as he approached in a slow, methodical manner. It was an attempt to intimidate me but it didn’t work. He responded, “Oh no. I believe you are the one mistaken about a great many things.” He then produced my lightsaber, the main one that I used. He continued, “Your lightsaber. A Jedi’s weapon. So like the ones that I have taken from those that I have killed. By now you must know that you can never escape the clutches of Sith and the absolute power of this place. Soon will be the end of you, the last defense.”
I then blurted out, “Your overconfidence is your weakness.”
“Your faith in your friends is yours,” and he sat in the seat that was at the center of the platform. He said, “You will come to know my ways soon enough.”
I gave a maddeningly calm smile. I replied, “You’re wrong, soon I will be dead as will you with me.”
The way he laughed at me confirmed what I had seen before I was summoned to him from my cell. The sadistic, rich and sultry laughter that was common among Argonons nearly chilled my spine as he used the Force to bring me forward to the viewing platform where he sat in a rather uncomfortable looking chair. He said, “You must be referring to the eminent attack of your pitiful fleet. You know your friends out there in the forests are walking into a trap as well as your insignificant fleet.”
I knew then that I had to play act. I thought for sure that he didn’t know about Bastila so I had to tread carefully. My face contorted into one of surprise mingled with alarm. I didn’t have to say anything. The expression on my face was enough.
Seeing the look on my face, the Blood King leaned forward and said, “It was I who allowed you to gain a general survey and know the location of the shield generator. Believe me an entire legion of those dogs you call Rashikians are out there right now waiting for them.”
The view in front of me melted away as I had another vision. I knew that they were going into a trap but this seemed to be a continuation of the previous vision. I kept up my game of pazaak to remain calm. I swore that I could smell the outdoors of the forest and the odors of the various creatures as the scenery came into focus.
Carth and everyone were being led out into the clearing near the opening of the base. Surrounding it were hundreds or maybe thousands of Rashikians along with various forms of weaponry waiting out there. There was a huge beastie that two of the Rashikians were riding and heading into the forest to patrol. It would have been an amazing sight if those weapons hadn’t been pointed at everyone.
My friends moved forward when ordered and stood in the center with their hands raised. All the Jedi had been stripped of their lightsabers and everyone else had their weapons confiscated. They were clearly at the mercy of the Rashikians. The general proceedings were interrupted when none other than HK-47 came out of the brush weaponless shouting, “Statement: Come and get me you smelly meatbags.”
A small squad was sent to where he was at with T3 where they were waiting. HK by then had picked up his rifle and had it pointed at them. The commander said, “Freeze or you’re scrap.”
HK cocked his rifle, “Ready!”
Then dozens of furry Shreyites came out of the brush and jumped on the group of Rashikians. It was rather comical as two small Shreyites took on a full grown sentient and if I were there I would be laughing. HK and T3 moved away to a better position as the horns were sounded. Out of the brush popped up thousands of Shreyites and they opened fire upon the Rashikians.
I made a small grin. Apparently the Blood King noticed it and frowned. I could sense that he was trying to wheedle his way into my thoughts. All he came across was my pazaak game with Atton. Amazing how a person could keep afloat of two things at once. He got slightly angry yet bemused. I thought he was going to strike me. He did release me from the grip he had on me from using the Force. He spoke harshly, “You think that this is all some giant pazaak game?”
I gave a slight smile. It was going to get hard if he kept trying to probe into my emotions. “I do what I must. Life has always dealt me a bad hand. This way I can improve on my luck.”
That made him mad that I made everything seem like a big joke to me. He remembered me as someone who would fight, not a person who cracked jokes. He gave me a hard backhand that sent me flying into a bunch of crates. I hit them like a ball hitting a few cans and they collapsed around me. I had no clue if I agitated Tvark or the Sith spirit inhabiting him by my wisecrack. He spoke in that sickly voice of his, “Your luck has run out in and out of the pazaak den my young Jedi. As has it with your faith in the lightside of the Force.”
I managed to get the crates off of me and get up in a standing position. I was sporting a cut on my wrist where it had struck the sharp corner of one of the crates. I replied, “I don’t think my luck has run out. In fact I may have been dealt a good hand this time around.” I gave a smile that would have made anyone mad.
The Blood King growled at me but sat back in his chair. He just sat there as I stood there pondering what he was thinking of. I just looked at him from where I had fallen. I noticed that he had placed my lightsaber on the armrest of his seat. I wondered if it was a ploy to get me to lash out in anger. I weighed the possibilities as I stood there and decided to wait for the opportune moment.
I must have let on to what I was thinking for the Blood King said, “You think you can outsmart me. Don’t you?”
“Possibly. I know I have an ounce more of intelligence than your father did. Did you ever know what he did to get himself thrown out of school?” Now it was time for my fair share of wheedling. I had begun to sense that the fleet was about to come out of hyperspace. I could tell because Atton had begun to switch tactics during his game and a new player entered, Darius.
The Blood King sneered at me. It was the Tvark showing through when he said, “Shut up or I’ll change my mind about keeping you alive.”
“He was nothing but a blery coward. He strung me up and I was a seven-year-old boy who couldn’t defend himself. In fact you want to know what the headmistress called him when she demanded to have me released?”
“I said SHUT UP!” and with a huge surge of anger, he sent a powerful Force Wave towards me.
It caught me full force in the chest and sent me into the bulkhead. I hit it on my back, the back of my head hitting it the hardest. I slid to the ground and shook my head to clear the daze in my eyes. I looked at the Blood King who appeared to be talking to himself. He seemed distracted and I noticed the first ships appear out of hyperspace, the Ebon Hawk in the lead. I turned my attention to the Blood King who was arguing with himself. The Tvark part of him was saying, “He insulted my family. He murdered my father and he will pay for what he has done.” The Sith or Naga Sadow part of him responded, “Shut up fool. He is no use to us dead. He will turn for his friends are doomed.”
I watched this scene before me unable to comprehend what was going on. I had an idea but it seemed so different. I guess my own trap and wheedling finally did him over the edge.