This tale takes place during the Old Republic era and was written as homage to my Imperial character in SWTOR, a lethan Twi'lek named Tinian'Ral. This is her story.
I often come to sit along in the roof-top of the Academy now.
When the heat of the Korriban sun at noon begins to draw the stench of the planet’s filth, I like to nod drowsily upon the travertine bench, breathing the heady scent of ash from the surrounding volcanoes that abound this terrestrial yet seemingly forsaken, world. Sometimes, bending to take a random rock from the ground, I find an occasional carcass of a worm or insect crushed beneath, twisted and deformed almost beyond recognition by the heat that continues to consume this desolate planet with its merciless persistence.
I remember the almost-loving care I would lavish upon keeping the stone-cold seat free of debris and untouched by the ravages of time. Nearby, an abandoned transparisteel cage resembling a small, greenhouse nursery sits empty and speckled with soot… I remember how tenderly I had once nursed the plants I managed to sneak inside – the flowers that were never meant to survive in an infernal wasteland such as this. I recall with perfect clarity, how I would sometimes pause to caress a smooth, green leaf, as though I was silently willing it to grow. Over time, they would flourish into magnificent blooms beneath my guiding hand. This petite greenhouse and the white stone bench are all that I have to remind me of the time that altered the landscape of my life, forever…
Memories! Memories are like glow-flies darting across the surface of my mind, showing me here and there images so sharp and vivid that I catch my breath in wonder before the vignette disappears, sinking like a pebble into the quicksand of regret and recrimination. Perhaps they were right, those that spoke behind my back – as I knew they did! – that I had begun to lose my mind long before the tragedy that took my mother’s life. But I hope they are wrong. I would like to think that I was as sane as anyone else that day when I first decided to leave for Korriban; I would like my story to stand as the last will and testament of a woman sound in mind.
I remember quite clearly the dark stillness of the near-empty spaceport as I walked down the main hangar; I remember the aching heaviness in my heart as I brooded on the dream which had drawn me here, restless and disturbed, making me obey a silent command that I could not refuse. I was up early that day, long before dawn was in the sky. Stealing aboard a Corellian transport vessel was no challenge worthy of my guile, and I had made my trek to Korriban without raising suspicion – finally arriving planet-side without incident and stealing away like a thief in the night.
The day arrived proved to be an unremarkable morning, a day that promised to be like any other, and in the thick crimson light, heat had awakened the pungency of excavated earth, bringing the familiar scent of magma and tar to my nostrils.
I walked on, in full knowledge that I was trespassing. And I was not stopped in my tracks – not until I chose to halt the vigorous momentum that had driven me onward every step of my journey – and pause to ask for directions. I had no idea where I was heading or even why. All I knew of Korriban was that some of my ancestors had migrated here – though what drove them to this forsaken rock I could not readily fathom… Now that I was here, I thought to explore my new surroundings, starting with the most obvious – places of interest. Dawn was a time of inspiration, and so I would not waste it on idle speculations of this, one of the little known ‘crown jewels’ of Wild Space. It was certainly not renowned for its beauty, but for something else altogether. It was a prime source of stygium crystals – minerals which could be (and have been) used to create cloaking devices. It was also widely rumored that such crystals could be used to enhance one’s stealth and dexterity when used in a lightsaber. But what did I know? All I had was my mother’s weapon – certainly not one I created myself – and I barely knew how to power it on without hurting myself.
Still, I would not be dissuaded. Everything I needed and wanted, would come to me, eventually. All I needed, was time. Time and practice.
From the day I first stepped foot in the Academy, I could not remember a day in my life when an unfinished task had not been my reason for walking, eating … breathing. It was only when a directive was complete that I felt dissatisfaction creeping upon me, a sense of loss that was almost bereavement. I doubt if anyone, save my mother, could ever understand that. Mother understood things that most women – Jedi – Force users even – never glimpse; but right from the beginning the depth of her passion in wanting to see me trained in the ways of the Force, her dream to see me create and grow made me fear for her. In my mind, there was always the uneasy knowledge that one day there would inevitably come a time when I would undertake that one, glorious challenge to which I would give every ounce of my being and from which I could not bear to part or stop or cease… The beautiful, full-term child of my own imagination that most would kill to possess – and that would in turn, end up destroying the one person in my whole world that I held most dear.
In days to come, I would come to be known as a gentle, sensitive prodigy, but all those I came in contact with on personal basis would never deceive themselves upon one point. I had killed long before I had come to Korriban, that much was quite obvious at the very first meeting when I came in contact with the first sentient being posted at a remote access point to the revered Sith Academy. The unfortunate guard, or whoever he was… before we had exchanged a single word, my vibroknife was already drawn upon his throat …