Things Are Not What They Seem
“So this is it? One final showdown to prove who is truly the master…you will not beat me apprentice.”
The Zabrak glared blaster bolts at the dark clad human. “I haven’t been your apprentice since you killed Master Gorah. But my mastery of the light will defeat you.”
“So optimistic.” Ralesh mocked as he snapped his crimson lightsaber to life. “I always did find that annoying.”
And without further prelude, the dark Jedi lunged forward at Carras. His own emerald blade appeared instantly in position to block the strike. The weapons clashed with hissing roars. For a moment Ralesh lingered there, pressing his weight against the blade as if he could force his will upon his opponent. But Carras felt no attacks from the Force. He whirled away, disengaging the lock up, and striking with a roundabout blow toward Ralesh’s side.
His blade sliced through his old master, but there was no effect. The green blade went through the man like he was nothing but a ghost, and then even that image disappeared.
A cackling string of laughter turned him around.
“You should see your face, Carras. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Ralesh stood five meters away with his head split in half by an enormous grin.
A doppleganger. Carras chided himself for being so easily tricked. The man must have created the illusion in that instant when Carras was swinging around for a reverse strike.
He settled into his guard and eyed the man. Old in years but a young hatred in his eyes. Ralesh was a human Carras couldn’t understand. How could a Jedi Master betray the Order like that after so many years? What could be worth such sacrifice and violence?
Tired of waiting, Ralesh swept in with a series of fast strikes. A quick swing at an unguarded shoulder, a chop at a thigh, a riposte to the stomach. All blocked and countered, the dance long choreographed through years of training and practice spars.
Ralesh jumped back to gain some space. “We know each other too well.” He said with a smile.
Carras returned the grin. He heard wariness in that voice. His old master was just that…old. This fight was already taking its toll.
This was not the time for words. Carras used the Force to close the distance and launched his own flurry of attacks. His style was much more flamboyant that his master. Whereas Ralesh had always preferred an economy of motion, precise strikes and minimum movement, Carras preferred to use his whole body to add momentum and strength to his blows. Whirling spins and half flips attacked the man from head to toe, front and back. The old dark sider struggled to keep up, his breath becoming more ragged as the onslaught continued.
I see the fear in your eyes, Ralesh. He pressed harder, speeding up his attacks, a veritable blur in the Force.
And then a blade bit flesh and time spun down into slow motion.
“Not like this.”
A clang ran through the air like a lonesome bell. A lightsaber hilt hit the floor and rolled away from the stench of death.
Carras stopped it with his foot and casually lifted it into his open hand without ever taking his eyes off Ralesh.
The wound looked grievous. A long slash across his abdomen. The man had both hands against the wound and Carras suspected he was holding in that which threatened to spill out. He felt pity for him.
“I will not prolong this.” Carras raised his green blade high for a swift downward strike, but Ralesh raised a hand with a feeble look in his eyes.
The begging stare of a dying man.
Carras could not strike the life out of those sad, gray eyes.
“Not…not yet.” There was a gurgling sound to his voice. “You should know why I left.”
“You left because you sought the teaching of the dark side, Ralesh. Now you see what happens when you ally yourself with the dark.”
Ralesh wore a long face as he rest on his knees, his life dripping slowly down, closer to the ground. Yet one eye defiantly looked up. “Is that what they say?” He tried a weak laugh but it was too painful to finish. “I challenged Master Pestallon because he slept with my wife.”
Carras stared disbelieving. “What?!”
“You’re not a master, Carras. They don’t talk about these things…to the knights.” There was pain in his voice, both current and remembered. “I had a wife, in secret. The Council knew and accepted it. Pestallon…he was jealous. He envied me…and so he had my wife. To this day I don’t know if he used the Force on her. I killed him before he could ever tell me.”
Things seemed rather surreal in that moment as Carras looked down at his dying ex-master. He wasn’t sure what to believe. Yet how could he doubt the Force? He could tell the man wasn’t lying. There wasn’t enough life left in him to hide the truth.
Ralesh looked down at the ground as he inched a little closer towards death. “I’m glad it was you.”
“Master...” Emotion swept over Carras as the truth finally sunk in.
How could he harbor hate against someone who gave into his emotions when it concerned the one they loved? Ralesh may have acted in haste, in selfishness, he may have struck down another Jedi, but it was not the one sided affair the Order had presented it to be. There was no black and white villain to blame.
No dark side boogey man to slay. And yet I slayed him.
“…I’m sorry.” The emotion inside him was too much and the words came out like the crumbling permecrete in a bursting dam. Tears welled up in his eyes as he watched his master slink ever closer towards the floor.
Ralesh stirred at the words from his old apprentice. Carras wanted to believe that he had found comfort. That maybe his master could forgive him for what he’d done.
The body fell to the floor without preamble.
Carras no longer felt the presence of his master in the Force.
Last edited by Darth Skuldren on Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:49 pm; edited 1 time in total