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As she stumbled back up the steps of the Sith Academy, the glaring sun almost blinding her, her parched mouth felt as dry as the sand which seemd to fix itself to every surface of Korriban. Her eyes took a few moments to adjust to the cool darkness inside the Academy. Once she felt like she could continue, she continued staggering through the halls. In her left hand she held the Sith Warblade but her right hand clung to the stone walls as though her mind was convinced they were about to give way.
Her bleeding had stopped, the blood quickly clotted by the heat but she knew it wasn’t a good impression she was giving out. Some newer Acolytes stared open-mouthed at battle-worn Twi’lek as though they wondered how she was still living. More experienced trainees just jeered, laughed and pointed.
Like I care…, she mused.
Just then a soothing voice appeared to encompass her and a finely dressed Overseer stepped out from around the corner.
“I hear congratualations are in order, Acolyte”, she said.
Talitha’koum held out the Sith Warblade weakly in front of her.
“Yes, m-m-my Lord”, she stammered, more from sheer exhaustion than nervousness.
A moment’s pause.
“You will be pleased to know, I have told Darth Tykrus to leave you alone for fourty-eight hours. A healer you might be, but you have taken quite the beating.”, her voice was almost sympathetic
The Twi’lek nodded. “It was either that or be killed, my Lord.”
“Indeed. These are the Sith Trials after all.”, the Overseer smiled tightly.
Talitha took a moment to examine the Overseer who spoke to her. She was dressed in a loose golden robe, the slightest hint of a white thread running throughout. She seemed to ooze a peace which was a rarity on the barren planet of Korriban. Her darker complexion almost radiated confidence and the Twi’lek thought she could detect something in the glint of her piercing blue eyes.
“Who are you?” she enquiried, an unintented familiarity with her superiors creeping out before she could check herself.
“Do not worry about your tone, young one. I am Lord Restita Vitae and I will be taking your Life Binding Classes. I am also going to speak with you in my office tomorrow.”, she stated.
Talitha frowned. Personal invitations in the Sith Academy were rarely things to look forward to.
“Of course, Lord Vitae,” she began, “but…”
“You need the Med Bay, a shower and a long sleep?”, the Sith Lord queried.
“I hope so, yes, but if you…” Talitha’s words just came out stumbling, the dehydration kicking in.
“No. No ‘buts’ Talitha. You need all those things. Now hurry before you fail to reach the Med Bay. No point in earning that,” she pointed to the War Blade, “if you die just out of reach of bacta. Now go!”, she said firmly but not harshly.
Talitha nodded and she stumbled her way to the Med unit, her vision blurring. She almost fell into the Medical Bay and a couple of Med Droids caught her and led her to a metal plate to lay on. She laid down, relieved for the cold metal against her Lekku and closed her eyes, her hand still gripping the War Blade.
I just have to survive…
She didn’t hear the droids instructing each other, attaching rehydrating probes into her arms and medi-taping bacta pads on her wounds. She didn’t feel the intricate stitches being woven into her cheek where her aggressor had nearly sliced off her head. She couldn’t smell the emergency food rations being prepared for her for the next day. She didn’t taste the thermometer thrust unceremoniously into her mouth as the terminals measured her temperature.
And she certainly didn’t see the strange Sith Lord, leant up against the door frame, her arms crossed and eyes shut, reaching out to the broken Twi’lek, helping the droids to speed up her healing.
The darkness had taken her and for once, her last thought that day was that she was grateful.