Dromond Kaas, Present day:
Her hand ached.
It always did, when it rained – it was something she had nearly forgotten over the last few years, living in the red dust of Korriban. It drove her to pace the room, up one side and back again, the ache feeding her irritability, the irritability feeding that glowing, hot core that kept her from sleeping and made her sabers sing.
Here, it always rained. In those brief spaces when it somehow managed to not rain, everything dripped. Water rushed and roared and fell. She was surrounded by it, and she felt as though she were drowning in it. Her fur never dried, her clothing was always heavy. Even now, in loincloth and little else, she felt weighed down by moisture, heavy and sluggish and slow.
The little discomforts irritated her yet more.
So she paced, awake, padding on silent feet along the room and back again, sparing an occasional glance at the blue twi’lek sleeping nearby. Outside, the rain came down, a Mandalorian snored in the tiny cell next door, and the world seemed to sleep at her, in spite. She rubbed at her hand, remembering the agonizer – the fat human and his pleased face, giddy at her hurting, and she growled, low and quiet.
The hours ticked by.
She found herself, more and more, watching the slave, not knowing why. It was a pathetic thing, afraid and unfocused, and yet there was a connection. She felt it, as surely as she felt the odd beat of this world, or the heady power from the nearby Sanctum. It was not in her nature to question, and yet her mind picked at it, worried at it, and left her without answers. She had bought her with a certainty that was not in her now – and she felt foolish for it. What did she know of owning things? Of keeping things? She muddled through, but the slave gave her looks, and she knew that whatever she was doing, it wasn’t right.
She despaired of understanding. The sabers were simpler. They sang, she fought, the world was starkly divided into herself, and those who would kill her. It was a place she comprehended in her bones – but this. /people/. Sentients. The nuance baffled her. It was why, she knew, no Lord chose her, that her patrons at the Academy forsook her. They complimented her brutality, even as they distanced themselves from it.
As dawn approached, after one more night without sleep, the Cathar dressed, quietly. Adjustments were made to gauntlets, to armored boots, to her coat. She raked claws through her hair, trying to make it presentable – and then she sank to her knees on the floor, focusing on that irritation, on the rage that always existed, just below the surface. She drew it close, used it to push away tiredness, to soothe minor pains, at least temporarily. She chose to live in instinct, as her first trainer had taught her, in those days before the academy – she wrapped herself in her anger, she let it flow through her, she reveled in it.
But, her hand still ached.
Some years ago…
“Caur, she nearly took your arm off – with her teeth. Why do you insist on keeping her?”
The human grunted, looking at the woman in her armor, irritated she would even talk to him. He was paying her to stand there and look tough, not question him, and he almost spat the words at her: “Because nobody else has one like her. She’ll tame.”
“Yeah. Sure she will. The question is – will you have any parts left by the time she does.”
“I’m paying you. As long as the paycheck shows up, what do you care?” The kolto injections made his arm itch. He scratched, furiously.
“You’re paying me to keep you alive. If you keep going into that thing’s kennel, you won’t be. Ergo, you’re making my job hard.”
The kennel master left the mewling mass behind, unnerved. The pliers still dripped blood, and the four fangs in the small bowl were already on their way up to the Master, as proof. He shuddered as he looked back, afraid – he’d told the man to kill her. Three times now, he’d pointed out how the monetary loss didn’t matter, how she was .. changing the other slaves.
She never stopped fighting. The shock collar was on high, and she kept trying, when she could. She bit the pliers, she clawed. She spit. Nothing was working, and he could feel the hate. He knew, somehow, that she would kill him. He wondered who he feared more – the cathar, or the Master?
It worried him that he wasn’t sure.