Fealladh entered the Sith temple and stopped to get her bearings. She had come from that room, and they had said the dormitories were on the opposite…
“Hey! Slave girl!”
…side, so one of the hallways on her left should be…
“I said, slave girl!”
…the one she wanted, but which one? Perhaps…
A rough hand grabbed her shoulder, and her training with Jackie kicked in without conscious thought. She grabbed the arm and spun, throwing her assailant over her hip and to the ground. She held onto the arm, now stretched at an awkward position up and behind the Sith male as he lay face down. Fealladh set her knee into his back, still holding the arm extended.
“it is impolite to sneak up on people.” She said the words without inflection, and kept her expression neutral as well.
The Sith twisted his head around as far as he could and glared at her. He appeared to be somewhere in the same age range as she. “Get your filthy slave hands off of me! You are dead!”
Fealladh blinked. “I am not a slave. I am an initiate here, just as you are.”
The Sith snarled. “Bantha crap! No mutated tentacle-headed slave species would ever be accepted as an initiate! When your master finds out you’re pretending…”
Fealladh jerked the arm to a less natural position, and the Sith’s words were cut off by a garbled cry.
“I’ll say this once again, and it will be the last time. I am not a slave. Do you understand?”
He cried out again as she increased the pressure on the joint, then nodded. “I understand! Let go of me!”
She held him for a moment longer before releasing his arm and standing. He climbed to his feet while rubbing his shoulder, his face burning like a dying sun. His yellow eyes danced with motes of hatred. “You will pay for that, Slave Girl. You are dead.”
“You may try to kill me now, if you’d like.” Fealladh shifted with subtle grace to a combat stance, but he just glared and turned away. She shrugged and went back to her search.
It turned out that both doorways led to the same large room. It held a triple row of narrow bunks, each with a thin blanket covering an almost equally thin mattress. She sighed and leaned her vibroblade against the wall and sat on the first bed she came to.
It wasn’t long before she heard footsteps carrying voices toward the room. The other initiates filtered in, one at a time or in small groups. Most of them were red-tinted Sith, but there were a few humans interspersed and some other species that Fealladh did not immediately recognize.
“Well, here she is!” The voice came from behind, and Fealladh sighed but stayed seated on the bed. The Sith boy was back. Four others stood with him – she could feel their anger and hatred pulsing at her back like tendrils of lava. “Slave Girl! See, I told you she thought a lot of herself!”
“I can’t believe it!” A different voice, also male. “They’re already watering down the Sith with these filthy outworlders, and now they’re bringing in slave races? This can’t be real. Must be some sort of test.”
Fealladh filtered them out, focusing on her breathing. She felt the potential force stir, coaxed it down the path of her body, let it move with each breath until her body hummed with it. She could feel them more closely now, the details of their bodies, their stances, their movements. The shape of their fear.
“You’re on my bed, Slave Girl!” The first loud mouth reached for her shoulder. Some people just didn’t learn. “Move!”
She did. She shifted her feet and sprang, pushing off the ground with the force, bending back as she went up, stretching out to guide her motion through the air. She landed in a crouch on the opposite side of the group, facing them. They were slow to react, heads still turning, eyes still focused away. She lashed out with her feet, taking out the legs of one, and then a second, then sprang forward as those two began to topple.
They moved so slowly, these children. She grabbed one by the throat and threw him backward, allowing the force to add thrust to the movement. She didn’t need to turn her head to see him slam against the far wall and collapse on someone’s bed.
Two fists in motion toward her, but so so very slowly, as if they were punching through molasses. She ducked under them, turned, grabbed the two remaining boys by their hair and brought their heads together.
She winced a little at the loudness of the resulting crack and hoped she hadn’t killed either of them. There hadn’t been many rules laid out, but not killing any of the other students was definitely on the short list.
She released her hold on the boys and let them slump to the ground. The two she had initially knocked over were back on their feet, but they were backpedaling with hands held out . Fealladh nudged her original tormentor with her toe. He groaned and peered up at her, holding a hand to his bleeding head.
“I told you already, I am not a slave. If you call me that again, I won’t be as gentle next time.”
She turned away, sat back down on the mattress, and tried her best to hide how hard she was breathing as the last of the kinetic force slipped into her stomach and pooled back into stillness. She didn’t look up as the boys gathered themselves and moved with low grumbles to the far side of the room.
A few heartbeats later, the room broke into the buzz of normal conversation, and Fealladh looked up in vague surprise. She had forgotten there were other people in the room. Now she realized that most, if not all, of the other initiates had witnessed her altercation. She could feel the askance glances, the mix of fear, wonder, surprise, and hatred that coalesced into an emotional brew that grated on her nerves and kept her awake far past the time when most of her new roommates had fallen asleep.