Nothing lasts forever
Sith Warrior Brent Ligur Victae
House Caliburnus – Pin# 7589
“General on deck!” shouted a rather green-looking Second Lieutenant, as the large dark figure strode past him. The Second Lieutenant swallowed visibly, his Adam’s apple revealing his nervousness. The dark figure smiled, and turned to the man.
“First action, son?” the dark man said, his voice quiet and calm, but full of a commanding tone that would make the most cowardly of troopers charge headlong at the enemy. He was still smiling, his pearl-white teeth glistening in the subdued lighting of the command centre.
The Second Lieutenant’s eyes opened wide as he stared up at the figure before him. He finally realized his impoliteness and snapped to attention, and replied with a quivering voice “Sir, yes, Sir”
The dark figure looked around the room, and nodded “I can tell you, son, that every single one of the men and women in this room is afraid, so do not be embarrassed by yours. Use it to your advantage. A scared mind is a fast and acute mind”. The man patted the lieutenant on the shoulder, as the near-tangible tension in the air dissipated. With a nod, the man strode towards the viewport at the front of the command centre.
Standing well over two metres tall, he was an imposing figure to all but the tallest of humanoids. His hair was tied back in a single tail, a simple combat style. A strong chin and quiet features made up his face, except for two obvious parts. Three vertical scars ran down his face, one over each eye and cheek, the other in between over his nose and lips. These scars are what remain of an attack from a Yuuzhan Vong shaper many years ago. The other obvious feature was his eyes. They were a pale white, without iris or pupil. Though it was rare for anyone to see them, for they were almost always covered by a black velvet cloth tied around his head. Blindness had never given him any pause for concern.
“Ah, Brent, welcome” a lithe voice said a bare few feet from him as he looked out the viewport at the no-man’s land before him, “Nice little speech there. I can feel their fear subsiding”
“Thank you, Deputy Grand Master” he said, bowing his head to the shadow which reformed slowly into the body of a woman of striking beauty and a rather deadly disposition. She purred with an animalistic grace as he stepped towards him and smiled
“Now, now, Brent, no need for positions. You may call me by my name”
“Yes, ma’am... I mean Darth Raven” he nodded, with a small shy smile for his mistress. She had always been a very strong individual and had taught Brent well.
“Now, Brent, Darth Exsequor has given your Clan the responsibility to hold the line here. Can you do it?”
“Clan Scholae Palatinae will not allow one step back. We will hold or die trying.”
“I’m glad we chose you as the clan’s Consul, Brent. Good to see a strong man in charge of my clan again.”
“Thank you, Raven” he said, bowing his head again with respect. The line his mistress had mentioned as the battle line that the Grand Master of the Dark Brotherhood, Darth Exsequor, had ‘created’ as the final defensive position on this planet. Clan Scholae Palatinae had been given a massive stretch of the line to protect and hold. As the Consul, Brent was determined to keep it that way.
“Very well, Dark Jedi Master, I leave this post to you. Do not let the Brotherhood down” Raven said, loudly so that the entire command centre could hear. She gave him a quick encouraging smile before striding confidently from the concourse. Brent smiled and looked to all the faces which had turned to look at him.
“Well, what are you waiting for!? Get to work!” he shouted, allowing himself a maniacal grin.
Darkness surrounded him. It was like an army of soldiers, intent on his destruction. Flashes of colour flared up around him in random patterns of crimson and viridian. He had no weapons, he was naked. He stood alone before the darkness. A woman’s scream echoing around him.
“General! Line breach”
His eyes were open before the call had run out of the room. A coat of cold sweat dampened his body. He climbed out of his bunk, and pulled his boots and cloak on quickly.
“On my way, Command”
He pulled his cloak around him tight as he strode quickly from his quarters, which was virtually adjacent to the command centre. He pushed the security guards aside before they had time to move, before giving the doors a similar treatment. The shock and tension in the officers around him was quite evident.
“Where is the breach?” he said impatiently to the commander of the centre, Colonel Jarin La. The grey-haired human turned to him and saluted, before looking to his datapad.
“Sector Aleph-Ka, out by the dune ridges” he said hastily.
“Who is the Jedi assigned to that sector?”
“Sith Battlelord Erianna Victae, my lord”
Brent felt his eyes widen without him allowing them too, the shock was so great. His wife was the commander of the sector which was breaching. He had to get there, now.
“Colonel, I will lead the flying company myself. You are in command of this centre for now.”
The Colonel nodded, and saluted again, “Yes, sir. Good luck, sir”
“Thank you. May the Force be with you and your troops”
“And with you, my lord”
Dressed in full battle garb and armed with his traditional Ironwood staff and pair of lightsabers, Brent strode out into the dull moonlight of the night towards the flying company’s embarkation platform. Not much more than a small raised area, it served as the loading and off-loading platform for the company of Special Forces used to plug any gaps in the line.
“Ten-hut!” shouted a sergeant through the comm-system used by the company. The men immediately stood to attention, and saluted as Brent made his way through the ranks to their commander, Major Kar Remius.
“Major, are your men ready?”
“Ready for when you are, my lord”
“Load up; I want that breach filled as soon as possible”
“You heard the man! Get your rudding rear’s into those assault shuttles this kriffing second!” shouted the Major needlessly through the commlink. Brent followed into the lead shuttle, but was stopped short by a familiar shape.
“Lord Shikyo. I didn’t know you were on planet.”
“Taking a stroll in the moonlight, Brent, and I thought I might stop in and see how you’re doing. I seem to have come at a bad time.”
“I’m afraid I’m going to be busy for a little while...”
“Something the matter?”
“Rayne’s in trouble” he said quietly before climbing into the shuttle quickly. Shikyo was quick to follow.
“Oh, look at that, a free seat. Perhaps I’ll go for an evening cruise instead of a stroll”
Brent could only give his old comrade a tense smile
“Squad Eta-Ka! Forward!” she shouted, her lightsabers flashing in the darkness, parrying blaster bolts and weapons alike. She was a whirl of practiced finesse, carving a swath of destruction through the enemy assault troops. But she was getting tired, and fatigue was the last thing a warrior needed. She had been drawing on the Force for the better part of an hour now just to keep her body moving.
“Commander!” shouted a nameless captain as he raced towards her. He didn’t manage to continue his message before being hit several times in the side by blaster bolts. Rayne swore under her breath. Then a sudden feeling invaded her presence, like a pair of fingers caressing her cheek. She closed her eyes at the feeling, letting her body do the work of defending itself.
“Incoming Assault Shuttle squadron, Commander” said her communications technician, ducking down in a foxhole behind her, “Lords Archangel and Shikyo in command”
Rayne smiled, and opened her eyes, whispering almost to herself “I know”.
“Go, go, go!” shouted the sergeants in their respective shuttles, spurring the already mobile troopers into the frail, their own legs propelling them forward. The Special Forces teams spread out amongst the regular troops, making the most of their better training and experience. Shikyo, with his lightsabers lit and ready, charged off into the smoke, a grin plastered on his face. Brent, on the other hand, searched for Rayne.
He found her shouting at her communications technician for being a coward, and was almost caught by one of her blades as he approached.
“Hello sweetheart. Nice to see you alive and kicking”
“Nice to see you finally getting your hands dirty, Mr. Consul” she replied, before embracing her husband affectionately. Their embrace broke moments later, but their loving smiles remained.
“What is the situation, Battlelord?” Brent said, his tone more official than he would’ve liked to have used when addressing Rayne.
“No more than 50% strength, some areas are desperately in need of reinforcement. I was about to call in a bombardment when you lot showed up. I have reports of a massive armoured troop movement towards this area.”
“Well, the flying company will remain here until regular troops can be brought in...” Brent began before the cowering technician interrupted.
“Commander, General! Enemy armour and walkers approaching this sector. We can’t hold that size of a force off, not even with the flying company”
“We’ll be the judge of that, technician” Brent replied, before looking to his wife, “Battlelord, get your men in two groups either side, and have Major Remius do the same. I want fire from both sides on anything coming through. Shikyo will command the left column, and you will command the right”
“And what will you be doing?”
“I’ll thin their numbers”
“I don’t like the sound of that, Brent...” she said, narrowing her eyes at him. He cowered in mock-fear, before embracing her again.
“Don’t worry, my love. I’ll be alright”
“Contact! Three AT-ATs, 12 O’clock. Repeat. Three AT-ATs, 12 O’clock.”
“All batteries hold fire. Assault Shuttles be ready. Troopers watch for skimmers”
The commanders replied with affirmations and conveyed their orders quickly. They were holding their own, but barely. Far too many times had Brent had to run into a hail of blaster fire to rescue a swamped position. He had even dispatched a pair of AT-STs with a well-propelled hunk of debris. But these new enemies would undo all he had done. He pulled out his commlink from his tattered cloak and dialled it to Shikyo’s frequency.
“Shik... get Rayne out of here... now, and the troops. I will take care of the AT-ATs.”
“You can’t be serious! That’s suicide!” Shikyo shouted over the blasterfire around him.
“Just... do it... damn you!” he shut off the device, and dropped it to the floor, crushing it under foot as he sprinted forward into no-man’s land.
“He’s doing what!?” she screamed, her rage and sorrow mixing in the Force like a gully of rapids spiriling out of control. She wrenched her arm from Shikyo’s hand, and glared fiercely at him.
“The troops can go, but I will stay. I will stay until this is finished”
“Listen to me, Rayne. I know what he’s going to do. He is set on it and nothing will change his mind. Not even you. Hell, you’re the reason he’s doing it. As long as you are safe, he won’t have done this for nothing. So please... come with me now.”
Rayne felt all the hours of fighting and the sudden shock of the realization of what might occur soon drain all the energy from her body. She crumbled into Shikyo’s arms, crying forcefully. She slammed her fists weakly against his chest, as he carried her away to the waiting assault shuttle. The troops pulled back, away from the front lines. The only defender left would stand alone, a lightsaber in each hand.
The AT-AT or All-Terrain Assault Transport was a mean vehicle to deal with on its own. This trio, however, was an army all by itself. Brent watched them labouring through the crated pitted battlefield, small clouds of dusts being kicked up every time they stepped.
Brent was still running. He hadn’t stopped, and doubted he would need to. His mind was a flurry of thoughts and memories. His mind didn’t flash before his eyes as many people have mentioned to him; just a surreal tapestry of ideas and thoughts cascading before him. He leaped over a burnt out speeder, its crew long dead.
He felt the Force build up inside his muscles and organs. The Dark Side flooded him with carnal energies, his eyes and finger tips crackling with small bolts of Force energy. He charged on.
The AT-ATs seemed to slow for a moment, almost unsure of this lone maniac running towards them. But only for a moment. After this lapse, they opened fire, all guns blazing at the approaching man. He seemed to blur every time a turbolaser bolt sliced through the area near him. He seemed unstoppable.
Not long now, he thought. They were almost close enough. He needed to get all three in one shot. His thoughts were not on the task at hand. They were on his wife, the love of his life. He reached out to her and touched her mind softly. He could feel her anguish, her fear, her anger. He tried to soothe her, and let her know that everything would be alright. He smiled for her, as he leaped up towards the ‘head’ of the middle AT-AT, and allowed the built up Force energy to explode.
Rayne felt the touch from Brent, her crying redoubled as he tried to soothe her. She felt as if his lips were pressed against hers for a fleeting moment before the connection was cut. She gasped with despair.
A blinding flash filled the crew area of the assault shuttle. The blue-white ball of light consumed all three AT-ATs with furious anger, ripping metal from metal, skin from bone, soul from body. Arcs of Force Lightning sliced through the moonlight sky, striking fleeing men and vehicles alike. Slowly the torrent subsided, leaving behind nothing more than a blackened crater, an Ironwood spear standing tall at its very centre.