The Sith Empress
by AJ Marks
Jessica and Tyi made their way out of the city and towards the ancient tombs which were outside. An ancient relic of power of some Sith Lords of long ago. Few people ventured out that way due to the danger, and most were explored so nothing of value was there, but she was headed beyond them, a place where there was a rumor of power.
The tall monuments of the Sith Lords almost appeared gaudy to her. All this work for something which meant nothing in the long run. Broken down monuments which had no power inside, giving testimony to fallen and broken Sith Lords. Some had statues at least twenty feet tall as they moved on though before reaching a small underused tomb.
Stopping she felt out feeling the power from inside, it was almost calling her. This was the right tomb, the place she needed to be. The wind whipped up a bit more as she looked on. She looked at the other tomb but had felt nothing from them.
“Are you sure this is the one?” Jessica asked.
“Yes,” he replied nervously. “I’ll be honest, I feel very uneasy just standing here.”
“Wait a bit further to the entrance of the valley,” she said to him.
She was amused to see him run away even as she turned back to the entrance. Even as she looked on two others approached her.
“You going in there, I wouldn’t,” the man said, elderly with white hair.
“Why not?” she asked.
“That tomb, it messes with your mind, if you come out you’ll never be the same,” he replied to her.
“Yeah, well that’s why I’m here,” she said with a smile watching as they both backed off a bit considering her to be crazy.
Without waiting for any reply to them she moved into the tomb and going down a few corridors. The stench of death hung heavily in the air, a testament of those who failed to return and died in the tomb. Taking a light out of her pocket she used it to illuminate the corridor as she moved further in. She noticed a body, his face frozen in fear of some unknown torment.
One skeleton appeared to have been beheaded even as she moved forward ready for any danger which might threaten her. Stretching out with the Force she patiently moved into the tomb. She made no sound as she walked forward, her senses on alert.
She turned sensing something up ahead and paused, waiting to see what it might be. Rounding the corner was a droid, stopping upon seeing her there. Fired off a couple of shots quickly even as she activated her lightsaber and dodged the first shot and deflected the second. The next two shots were deflected back at the droid which stumbled slightly but did not go down. Instead it charged her drawing forth an old bladed weapon.
Jessica noticed the vibroblade which would allow it to fight against someone with a lightsaber. After a few parries she realized the droid was good, but she was better than that. With a Force push she battered it against the wall.
“A guard droid for Darth Zarius, interesting,” she said to herself waiting for the droid to stand, which did not.
Warily she moved on away from the droid wondering what might happen next. The droid didn’t appear damaged to the point of non-operating, but she moved on further into the tomb. Strangely she thought she felt air currents blowing around her despite being in an enclosed area.
Making her way further into the tomb she finally reached the inner sanctum without encountering anymore droids. She looked around the tomb for any sign of why she might have come here. The room itself wasn’t very impressive at all, no treasures or anything else, just a stone tomb with a casket in the middle and torches on the wall and one entrance she could see.
The torches sprang to life illuminating the room causing her to spin and look around when an apparition appeared in the middle of the room. It was dressed in dark clothes and she realized it looked familiar to the one she saw at the Valley of Jedi.
“Welcome,” it said with a smile.
Fie-Tel looked up to see his padawan, Gaia standing at the entrance to Luke’s office. She seemed hesitant as she pushed a lock of hair behind an ear and waited. Fie-Tel tapped Lue on the shoulder to gain his attention from the screen. He looked up to see Gaia standing there as well.
“Welcome padawan, come in,” Luke said to her, watching as she entered and walked over to where they were. “Fie-Tel was bringing me up to date with your progress and I feel you’re ready for the next part of your training.”
“I await your wisdom,” she replied to them.
“We feel that you would do better in the next phase of your training. Your lightsaber skills are very good, despite some problems, though your next phase of training is more mental than physical. You will be meditating on the Force most of the time,” Fie-Tel said watching her reaction to the statement. He had an impression she was glad to be done with lightsaber training.
“If you feel I’m ready master, I’ll do my best,” she said to them.
“Good, you’ll start today,” Fie-Tel said leading her off to another room where students did such training.
They walked to one of the meditation rooms where they trained the padawans. Fie-Tel waited until Gaia got herself comfortable before instructing her on how to concentrate on the Force, open her mind to it. He realized she seemed to almost enjoy this part of the training as it allowed one to follow their heart.
He made his way back to Luke’s office seeing that the Jedi Master was still there. Gaia was comfortable and seemed eager to learn the secrets of meditation and Fie-Tel wondered if somehow she was suited more for this than fighting. Not every Jedi was a fighter even in the Old Republic.
“Master Skywalker, I do not fully understand why you are taking this path with Gaia,” Fie-Tel asked once they were alone. They needed Jedi who could fight.
“Fie-Tel, I have felt a disturbance in the Force and I do not think the others have yet felt it. Before the Jedi Purge I read a few texts from Master Yoda. He stated there were too few who looked beyond the here and now. It’s a lesson I think we should learn from and it’s a job Gaia might be suited for,” Luke said to him. “I think we’ll need someone like her.”
Fie-Tel thought about what Luke said to him formulating a reply. “You said you felt a disturbance in the Force? Do you have any idea what is causing it?” he asked a bit curious about what his master might have felt.
“Not sure, only that it appears to come from the Dark Side of the Force. Whoever it is, they are strong yet subtle in nature,” Luke replied back to him.
“Gaia isn’t that strong in the force master,” Fie-Tel replied wondering if this path wasn’t the best either for his student.
“We both know the Force works in mysterious ways, and we must also remember there are other forces in the universe as well,” Luke said to him.
Their conversation was cut short by a young padawan who came running into the room.
“Master Skywalker, come quickly there is something wrong with Gaia,” the young boy said in a breathless voice.
Fie-Tel ran behind Luke as they made their way to the meditation room to see a sight of everyone standing around Gaia. She appeared to be awake, her eyes were open as was her mouth but she didn’t not appear to notice anything which was going on around her. He also noticed she was shaking slightly as well.
“Gaia, can you hear me?” Fie-Tel said, crouching down beside her as they tried to figure out what was going on. He grew more concerned the longer she said nothing to him. “Master Skywalker, is there anything you can do for her?” he asked turning to Luke as nothing came to his mind.
Luke looked on before shaking his head no as well. As they considered what they might do next she closed her eyes and slumped forward. Fie-Tel quickly caught her before she fell to the ground and waited a few seconds as she opened her eyes and glanced around to see where she was.
“Are you all right?” he asked her after a few seconds and she managed to get her bearings.
“I’m not sure,” she replied with a shaky voice still looking confused.
“What happened?” Luke asked stepping forward before crouching down and looking at Gaia hoping she had an answer which they could deal with.
“I don’t know, I was doing my meditations as you and Master Fie-Tel instructed when I had a strong feeling I’ve never encountered before. It was extremely strong and overpowering,” Gaia replied back to them, obviously unsure of what she had felt.
Fie-Tel looked on unsure what had happened and looked over at Luke who appeared thoughtful. She had been acting strangely recently. What happened in the training grounds, where she froze, and then during the battle, she had seen a strange Shadowtrooper leave the battle and now. What did it all mean? He turned his attention back to Gaia who continued on.
“I was caught in a sort of swirling mist, or fog, something which blocked my vision but I could make out the presence of an overwhelming sense of evil,” she said to them. “Then the mist pated and I saw a person, tall with dark hair. I think she was female, but her clothing made it difficult to see for sure, but there was something else in the area which I could only feel. I tried to call out but she didn’t answer.”
Fie-Tel watched as Luke sat down and pondered what Gaia said.
“I have a feeling we are dealing with a new Sith Lord, one chosen by the ancient Sith Lords themselves,” Luke said to them.
“But what about the dark Jedi, they have an academy as well,” Fie-Tel said.
“This new Sith Lord is powerful, might be as powerful as the Emperor or my father. We might have another Naga Sado, Freedon Nadd or Darth Raven,” Luke said to them. “We must be prepared for this one.”
Fie-Tel knew about the names listed as some of the biggest in history of Sith Lords. If they had a Sith Lord like that then things were in serious trouble.
“We’ve defeated ones like Desann and the Emperor twice,” Fie-Tel replied with some hope.
“Yes, and we knew what to expect from them due to history. This person is much more powerful than Desann, or any other Dark Jedi,” Luke said. “I have a feeling this disturbance in the Force is connected to this Sith Lord.”
“This woman,” Gaia said.
“Woman,” Luke repeated looking at Gaia. “However, I can’t go to the Republic Council without some sort of proof about what I feel. They won’t listen, but perhaps I can warn those who would listen.”
They watched as Luke got up and walked out of the room. There was something about it which disturbed them all, especially if there was a powerful Sith Lord out there. He looked back at Gaia who seemed thoughtful about something and a sense of determination in her eyes.
“Master, may I be dismissed?” she asked.
“Yes, stop by the med lab to make sure everything is all right,” he told her.
“Yes master,” she replied.
He watched her walk out of the room making him wonder what might happen next. Everything appeared to be going way to fast for him to keep up with what had happened lately. The idea of a new Sith Lord didn’t settle well with him at all. He also had a feeling that somehow Gaia was connected to all of this. He had no idea how she might be involved.
He only hoped she survived it all when everything came out into the open.
End part 5