I wrote this story for the 'Darkness Descends' competition. I got a Crescent with Emerald Star, but I only reached second place (over two partecipants). I would appreciate it if you guys could tell me how I could have improved it.
Details of the competition can be found here: http://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/dbjedi/...inished&ID=2380
On my home planet of Utapau, every child is told, as a bedtime story, the tale of the Forsaken Sinkhole.
Once upon a time, there was a peaceful and prosperous sinkhole. It was ruled by its own people, and it thrived on its own resources; remaining segregated from the rest of Utapau. The Pau’ans and Utapauns lived in harmony, each race essential to the other, each individual fulfilling their role in the society. There were no laws, because there was no need for them. Each and every citizen knew right from wrong, and each individual acted for the good of the sinkhole.
Of course, this was only possible because off the sinkhole’s isolation. It was very rare, even for a city on Utapau, for a stranger to visit the sinkhole. This event would break the congruous social order of the sinkhole; tipping the already precarious balance. Unfortunately for the Jedi, this unsteady utopia could not last.
It all stared when a strange, alien ship appeared above the sinkhole. Naturally, the sinkhole immediately started the arrangements to greet the newcomers, as a guest is always treated with the maximum respect. The mysterious ship approached the landing platform, sending no signature or communication. When the ramp lowered, two hooded figures walked out of the steam. One was tall, standing straight, but its face hidden by the hood. The other was shorter, slightly stooping, his hood so low on his face it was a wonder he could see where he stepped. The two figures strode through the smiling greeting party of Pau’ans and Utapauns as if they didn’t exist. They went to the lower levels and disappeared in the network of caves at the bottom of the sinkhole.
Days passed, but there was no trace of the strangers, apart from their untouched ship. Instead of slowly being forgotten, the strangers caused more and more concern among the Pau’ans and Utapauns. They worried that something could have happened to them, and after a short debate, they decided to send a scouting party in the caves. However, with unnatural timing, the strangers re-materialised just as the scouting party was being prepared. The sinkhole’s citizens were so relieved that they prepared a feast in their honour. As the feast was being prepared, the stooped figure told the cooks to serve raw meat, for the Pau’ans, at the top of the table, while they had to serve the Utapaun food at the bottom of the table. As the jubilant citizens sat down, no one noticed that the Pau’ans and Utapauns were sitting separated for the first time.
After the feast, the tired sinkhole set off to sleep. However, just before the Pau’ans could make their way back to their sleeping quarters, which were intermingled with the Utapaun’s rooms, the taller figure stopped them. He convinced them, with the excuse of being nearer to the surface, to move their quarters to the top tiers of the sinkhole. This was not noticed at first by the Utapauns, as they were sitting around the stooped figure, sharing jokes about the Pau’ans.
In the weeks that passed, the hooded creatures continued their job, slowly but steadily placing seeds of dissent and mistrust. The tall figure always stayed with the Pau’ans, whispering inspiring tales of power and authority in their ears, convincing them that they were the superior race, the rightful rulers of the sinkhole. This happened in parallel to the stooped figure’s insinuations about the Pau’ans. He sat among the Utapauns and told tales of cities made up of just one race, which answered to no one. Slowly, the Utapauns came to see the Pau’ans as arrogant bullies, bossing the Utapauns around as if they were the masters.
The two dark figures continued to spread their seeds among the once harmonious citizens of the sinkhole. The tension increased, causing the two races to quarrel over the smallest things. As time passed, the clashes became more and more violent, until one day, the first murder in the sinkhole’s history was committed. For a full day, the whole sinkhole was silent, its residents trying to grasp the idea of a citizen dying because someone else wanted him to die. Despite this, the seeds had already been planted too deep. The next day, the hooded figures gave the two races a new word…war!
The two races begun an arms race, using the techniques taught by the hooded figures. It did not take long for the first full scale battles to begin, their only purpose to cause death and suffering. Soon after the first battles, a large group of white and brown robed humans came out of the cave networks. They stepped in the middle of the bloody fray and brought out strange metal cylinders. They tried to separate the battling races by using words, but the hooded figures had done their work too well. Suddenly, all of the humans’ cylinders gave birth to rays of coloured lights, with hues of blue, green, yellow and other bright tones. The humans announced that they were Jedi, and they were here to stop this pointless war.
This is what the hooded figures had been waiting for. Unnoticed, they scuttled into their ship. Not much time passed before the sky above the sinkhole was completely darkened by landing shuttles. The Jedi were too shocked and confused to react as the landing shuttles belched out black robed figures. They activated their weapons, identical to the Jedi’s, but every one of them redder than the blood spilt that day. The small group of Jedi fought valiantly till the end, but none of them survived. The Sith had finally completed their mission. By creating large amounts of suffering and strife, the foolish Jedi would surely come out of their hiding holes, so that they could be purged from Utapau.
Here ends the children’s bedtime story. The next part of the tale is not told to the young. It tells of how the Sith efficiently enslaved the whole population. The whole sinkhole became a laboratory for the Sith alchemists, with the Pau’ans and Utapauns being the lab-rats. It is told that the screams and pleas of pain travelled through the cave networks to all of the other sinkholes on that continent.
Now, a dark sinkhole can be found in the northern regions of Utapau, its walls still echoing with the dying screams of its citizens.