THE LORD OF HUNGER
Jezrin Hadrick looked to the sky above. It was a clear brisk blue, a hint of a breeze caressed his face and he smiled as he closed his eyes to bask in the tranquillity. Dantooine had an affinity in bringing the peacefulness out of even the most troubled of minds. That’s why Jezrin loved this place so much. That’s why he couldn’t picture himself anywhere else.
And that is why he was dreading the moment that was about to come…
“Jez?” came a voice over the plains.
Jezrin looked around and saw his friend, Alyssa Bermiah come strolling up towards him. Her long blonde hair softly swaying in the breeze and her golden bangs fall across her bright green eyes as she walked. She wore the typical garb of the Jedi; long brown, unassuming robes, and with it, a rather sly smile she wore whenever she would come face to face with Jez. He knew how she felt about him, and she knew how he felt about her, but the Code of the Jedi forbade any type of emotional attachment apart from a purely professional relationship.
Nevertheless, the bond they shared existed, and one day they might be allowed to be together.
But that was not this day…
“What’s wrong with you?” Alyssa asked when she came up to him. “You hardly talked at all during dinner in the Mess Hall, you hardly ate anything….
And you know I get worried when you don’t eat!”
Jez smiled and said, “everything is fine, Lys, I would tell you if it were otherwise.”
“No, you wouldn’t,” she replied. “I know you, remember?”
He placed a hand on her shoulder and looked deep into her eyes. “Lys,” he said. “No matter what happens in the future, always know that I will forever love you.”
A shadow of a frown came to her face as she nodded and said, “I know, Jez. I feel the same way.”
He smiled again and pulled her close.
He didn’t know how long they stood there; a minute, an hour – it could have been an eternity and he wouldn’t have realized. They pulled apart and he saw Alyssa had tears slowly trailing down her face, he softly wiped them away.
“Don’t cry,” he whispered. “One day we will be free of condemnation, and we can live our lives the way we were meant to: side by side.”
She smiled and nodded. Lys placed a warm palm on Jez’s cheek. “Jez,” she said. “I want you to know-“
But Jezrin didn’t hear the rest.
There was a thunderous sound, suddenly the sky was filled black clouds, lightning forked across the dark canvas and a tidal wind of power pushed them to the ground.
Jez searched for Lys when he opened his eyes but couldn’t find her anywhere. He put his hand to his mouth and coughed, pulling away he saw blood. He fell to his knees. “What’s… what’s happening?” he gasped. He tried to stand up, but all strength had left him.
“Lys…” he thought. “Where are you?”
He closed his eyes and tried to stand again.
Then all was black and the sound disappeared into nothing.
He fell into darkness…
There was a ringing in his ears as he opened his eyes.
He could feel the subtle vibrations of the ground, still trembling from the power of the weapon that was used against it. He looked around. Everything was still the same, yet it felt completely different. He could not pinpoint what it was, but as the strength returned to his limbs, he felt a rush of adrenaline as he remembered what had happened and looked down.
There was the Mandalorian corpse. Its skin weathered, stretched, as if it had been pulled at every pore whilst all physical form had been stripped from it, and then put back down so it infused with the corpses skeletal structure. It was a horrid sight to behold. And yet, as he looked down at what he had done, realizing that it was indeed him that stole this man’s essence to infuse with his own, so he was no longer at the point of starvation, Jez came to know the power in which he had been given.
The Mass Shadow Generator that was used on Malachor V almost destroyed the planet and everyone on it. Yet, he was still here. The earth was slowly crumbing, the sky was torn apart and screaming with thunder and lighting, yet he was still here. And as he found fellow survivor’s, shred the Life Essence from their bodies, they dissolved into nothing…. And yet, he was still here.
He had the feeling he would always be there.
But for how long….
His hunger grew every day. He needed more survivors but they were few and far between amongst the jagged peaks and rugged caves of the disastrous planet. Every day, he grew more desperate. He found one, maybe two, but as their screams died away, and his strength returned, he knew it would only be a matter of time before he felt weak again. He took to finding the native beasts, but they weren’t as pure as sentient beings. They only sufficed for a few hours, a day at most.
It wasn’t until he had travelled as far as he could, and dropped to his knees, that chance came glancing in his direction. As he was slowly but surely falling back into darkness, he heard an old fragile voice whisper in his ear.
“Sleep,” she said. “You grow weak; tomorrow you shall feast – for a large surviving company of Mandalorian soldiers are camped at a place that we need to go. You will sate your hunger, and you will learn all the answers to the questions you hold. Sleep, and tomorrow shall Awaken and begin anew.”
With that, Jez heard no more. His last thought on the blonde haired, green eyed girl he had been dreaming about all those weeks ago. He had forgotten her name, it seemed to him it was a lifetime ago. Someone with his face, but it was not him; that man had long disappeared. Someone knew had come to take his place. Someone who would make sure that that never happened to him again. It was the brief moment between consciousness and sleep that he remembered her name, and as all memory faded, he felt the memory brush against his lips as he whispered, “Alyssa…”
And as that happened, Jezrin Hadrick finally died...
... To be continued