The Twi’lek was hunched over some manuscripts in the Academy’s library. Her brow was furrowed as she tried to make sense of some of the potions and salves she needed to create as part of her Life-binding lessons. Coupled with the added complication of using the Dark Side of the Force to make a person whole again, it made for a challenging situation.
The trainee Healer transferred some of the ingredients she would need to find onto her datapad and sat back in her chair. She had managed to survive her first year as a Sith Acolyte, mastering the art of survival against most onslaughts of her fellow students. Closing her eyes, Talitha allowed the Force in its neutral state to surround her. It had been her only comfort in the last few months. Getting used to its presence, without giving away her Light Side tendencies had been her greatest achievement, but also her greatest challenge.
As the Force enveloped her she felt her brow unfurrow and her shoulders gradually relax. It was then she felt the presence of one of her fellow Acolytes enter the library and make her way over to where the Twi’lek was sat. Opening her eyes she smiled and pulled the chair back to allow her companion to sit down beside her.
A human, strongly built, deep orange eyes and with a shock of white hair, the trainee Warrior was a fierce sight to behold.
“How’s it going Tal?”, she asked.
Pushing the scrolls back, she put her head in her hands and rested her elbows on the rough-edged stone surface.
“Not easy. I need to pass my next healing class, but most of these ingredients cannot grow here on Korriban. Do the Overseers have a store somewhere?”, she asked
“I doubt it, but rumour has it we should be getting some off-world experience soon. Maybe that’s your way through?”, she suggested.
Off World. Two words Talitha thought she would never hear. They offered a degree of freedom and, with some of the ingredients she needed, a chance to experience the living Force in nature.
“It’d be nice to get off this rock occasionally. Even if we had strict oversight.”, Talitha commented.
The girl, Rala-Khan, nodded.
“I’m tired of being tethered here, I need to be let loose on the Galaxy.”, she growled.
It was then that both of their Holo-Communicators beeped. The Twi’lek rummaged through her bag and activated hers. An image of a standard Imperial-class Assassin droid appeared and began its announcement:
“All Acolytes finishing their first year are to report to the landing zone immediately, or face the consequences.”
And with that the image faded.
“This should be good,” Rala-Khan grinned sardonically.
Talitha flung her belongings into her bag and ran to return the scrolls to the Overseer.
Choosing The Source
They weren’t quite the last ones to arrive at the landing zone, which was a relief to the both of them. The masked and imposing figure of Darth Tykrus was stood on an incline with his hands behind his back. Checking the position of the sun so that he knew which latecomers to punish he glanced over the group of Acolytes.
“It is time to find out which of you will become Sith and which of you will be forgotten. You will create your first Lightsaber, or you will die. Personally I do not care which of those situations you face. The first stage is to find, or create your Lightsaber crystal.”
Talitha put her hands in her pockets to prevent her from fidgeting. The dark aura of this particular Sith always made her skin crawl. Not as bad as her potential master, but still, uncomfortable enough. The Darth continued.
“Either you can create your crystal from synthetic materials and your mastery of the Force. This will make the traditional red blade of the Sith. Your success will be determined by combat against your fellows. Stand to my left if this is what you want. The alternative is to travel to a remote world and retrieve a naturally-occurring crystal. Success will be determined by your ability to survive the harshest climate and some of the fiercest beasts to retrieve it. Stand to my right if you want this option.”
The students looked among enough other.
“Hurry up Acolytes, I have better things to do that watch you gawking!”, the Darth yelled.
Most of the group, drawn by the Red Crystals and proving themselves in combat shifted to Tykrus’ left. Talitha and Rala-Khan moved to his right, where a servant droid passed them a miniature holo-projector of the Galaxy with a few worlds highlighted. The Twi’lek felt herself drawn to one particular world, but not wanting to be alone, she glanced at Rala to see her reactions.
The human looked up at her, an evil glint in her eye.
“Looks like we’ll get trial by combat after all, my friend. Only we get to kill Jedi.”
Talitha nodded, her heart not really in it. They were both to pack for the remote ice world of Ilum. The weapon of the healer would be a Lightsaber. This trial would not be easy.
Before you leave, come and speak with me, a voice whispered into her mind.
“We leave at dawn tomorrow. Anyone arriving late will have to survive another year here as an Acolyte before being allowed to re-attempt this trial. Dismissed!”, Tykrus bellowed before turning on his heels and marching back to the Academy.
“See you tomorrow then, Rala.”, Talitha said.
Rala-Khan grinned, the prospect of facing Jedi fuelling her passion. With that, she ran back to her own quarters to pack. Waiting for her fellow-students to depart first, she took her time. And she had a detour to make first.