I pace the confines of the cell. The whispering stopped when they took my lightsaber, but the echoes still ricochet around in my head. My path is set. I’ll not be deterred.
It had been a rocky start. Turns out simply walking into the bastion of Sith knowledge and power on their own home world is not recommended. They had grabbed me. Asked my name.
That had been a conundrum. Sian’li had been my slave name. I hadn’t particularly cared for it. I had liked when they called me Shadown, but now I knew that that name meant even less. I’m certain I looked the fool as I stood and gaped and couldn’t come up with the answer to the simplest question in the galaxy. Finally, I thought of the Mandalorian language that I had been studying and a word came to me. I spoke it.
“Fealladh.” Betrayal, it means in the Universal tongue. The meaning only went as far as my own mind, of course, but it was something, a pillar to stand by, to remember the past and solidify the future.
The Sith who put me in the cell steps into the room and confers with the guards, then comes toward me. I stop and wait. He is, I notice as he plants his feet and gazes down at me, holding my saber. He holds it up.
“Where did you get this?”
As Sloan had often said, the truth is always the best course. It just doesn’t always have to be the complete truth. “I killed the guy who had it before and took it.”
The man raises his eyebrows. I get the impression that he is trying to raise only one of them, but does not have that ability. In my imagination, this is something that has always bothered him. I picture him practicing in front of a mirror, perhaps holding one brow down with his fingers as if he could train them. The thought makes me smile. This seems to take him aback.
“What ‘guy’ was that?”
I frown and play the fool. “What was his name? Darth Copernicus? Something like that.”
“You killed Darth Capricious?”
“That’s it! I knew it was something like that!”
He has turned a pale pink color. It is a pretty hue.
“That’s not possible.”
A pause, then, as he studies me. “You said you came here to ‘learn to be a Sith.’ Is that correct?”
He studies me a moment more, then sighs. “Normally a trespasser like you would be summarily executed but you are in luck, it seems. Someone has taken an interest in you and has decided to be your benefactor. Do you know what that means?”
I blink. “It means I represent him and his interests.”
“That, yes. It also means you get to live.” He presses a button and the force field shuts off. I step out of the cell. “For now. Sith training is rough. Few survive it. I do not believe for a moment that you were able to kill Darth Capricious, at least by yourself. I also do not believe you will survive longer than a week. But for now, you have been accepted as a student. You are a week behind the other students – what is left of them – so you will have to work extra hard if you wish to stay alive. Do you understand?”
“Very well. Turn right when you leave here and enter the third room on your left. You will find your instructor there.”
And that is it. He turns away, still carrying my saber – not that I expected it back. All the students I have seen carry vibroblades – and I walk out of the room and into my new life.