The Long History of Zentaris Aeterna
5,585 ABY (Age 10) – Somewhere along the Hydian Way
Warning sirens are blaring across the entire ship, and the dim over head lights flicker on and off with each blast. The small passenger transports’ engines were crippled in the initial attack and the starship was now drifting out of control through space.
A young boy and a very tall woman were hurrying through the passageways of the ship. Both are dressed very well, and have an air of regality to them. They are trying to make their way to the escape pods. The woman is borderline panicking, and the boy has a mixed look of confusion and terror in his eyes.
“Momma, what is happening?” Said the young Pau’un boy.
“We are under attack, Zen. The Captain believes it to be a pirate raid. Your father has gone to help.” Said the woman, holding his hand as they continued down the corridor.
“Is Papa going to be okay?” The boy instinctively replied.
“Of course he is dear. Don’t you worry…” She said in a rather shaky voice.
“I can tell that you are lying again, Momma…” Replied the boy, as tears appeared in his eyes.
Another explosion rocks the ship, and then over the ship intercom they hear that the bridge has been destroyed just before the voice turns to static and then goes silent all together. The woman collapses in tears, and the small boys clings to his mother. A few moments later, they hear several loud bangs from the nearby air hatch. The mother grabs the small boy and stands up as the airlock is breached, and several aliens storm the ship, guns blazing.
The woman starts running away from the invaders but doesn’t make it very far. The boy senses his mother’s death almost before the blaster bolt sears its way through her forehead. The boy stairs down at his mother as she lies lifeless on the deck when he is suddenly grabbed from behind and lifted of his feet.
“You weren’t supposed to shoot the females, Graf’tik. The boss won’t be happy to hear you killed a potential slave….” Said the gruff Weequay, as he slung the boy over his shoulder.
“The boss doesn’t have to know about it, Klak. Besides, you look like you’ve got a lively one there anyways…” replied the Rodian callously.
The boy had started kicking and punching and clawing at the Weequay holding him. The boy finally managed to land a kick in the Weequay’s face, causing him to stumble and fall over. The boy landed and started running away as fast as he could from the two slavers. He looked back to see them start to chase after him when he ran smack into a very large human. The man was as broad as he was tall, no hair, black eyes, with several tattoos, and countless scars.
“I swear you two are worthless. Klak, pick yourself off the floor and get this boy back to the ship. Graf’tik, this is all I have to say to you….” The man draws his blaster pistol from its holster in the blink of eye and has it pointed straight as the Rodian’s chest.
“Boss, please. I’m sorry it won’t happen again, I prom…” His pleas were cut short by the small discharge of the pistol, and the Rodian’s torso nearly disappeared entirely.
The man started to put the disintegration pistol back in his holster, but stopped and looked up to see the Weequay again struggling with the boy. The boy was again trying to get free of his captors. The last thing he saw was the man walking up behind him, pistol raised, and then a searing pain in the back of his head before the darkness engulfed him.
5,649 ABY (Age 74) – Kor Jiramma – Bootana Hutta – Hutt Space
Zen was awoken the way he normally was, a hard kick in the chest from the Trandoshan guard. He was quickly herded out of his cage, and down the hall to begin his wha the thought was his normal daily tasks, which included cleaning the Masters’ pets’ chambers, loading and unloading supplies under the harsh and often taser happy slavemaster, cleaning and fetching anything the Master’s guests decided they wanted fetched. And most importantly was staying out of the way of Master Gurla. Gurla the Hutt was known for having slaves executed on the spot for mere entertainment purpose, much worse had happened to those that got in his, or his guests’, way…
But today was different. Instead of being sent to the pet nexu’s holding cage, he was sent immediately to the docking area, where dozens of crates of weapons were being unloaded, opened and distributed to various minions under Gurla. Once they had their weapons, they jumped into a transport and sped off and the space was quickly replaced by an empty transport. Zen was immediately put to work unloading crates and pulling supplies from the storage houses. This went on for at least four hours. Every now and then, he was able to get glimpses of the transports that were coming back to load up more fighters, and each time the transports looked worse and worse. Nearly all of them had blast marks on the hulls, and one had even arrived bellowing black smoke. They were also returning in fewer numbers and less often. Zen looked over at the young human male he knew by face only.
“Do you have any idea what is going on?” Zen said as he carried a crate close by the young man.
“One of the mercs said we were under attack. I think he said something about the Mandalorians…” The young man said, as he popped open another crate and started loading the weapons for next group of fighters.
The War with the Mandalorians had been going on for almost 70 years, and it was not going well for the Hutts. The Mandalorians had punch straight through Hutt space, and then they finally managed to find the Hutt’s throne worlds, one of which Zen was currently on.
“Bad news for us, if the Mandalorians are attacking here. Gurla will probably use us as living shields…” Zen said setting down another crate.
He took a moment to look around, and take in his current surroundings. He immediately noticed that there were only a few of Gurla’s thugs around. He then spotted an empty running transport, with no pilot, waiting for more soldiers at the docking bay. Lastly he noted the crate full of loaded blasters in his hands. It was then that he realized they would never get a better opportunity to escape then right now. Just escape out into the wilderness and hope he could make it through all the fighting… Or maybe he could find the Mandalorians and plead to get him off this rock. That was risky… The Mandalorians might just execute him on the spot. They weren’t known for being any nicer than the Hutts, but he could sense that he and the rest of the slaves would all die for sure if they stayed where they were much longer. It was then that he had an idea.
He took another look around. He noticed that there were only two guards left behind. The slave masters had long since left for battle, and these two idiots didn’t even have their weapons drawn. He grabbed one of the rifles, and spun on the spot laying out rapid gun fire in the closest guards’ direction. It was clear that Zen had never fired a gun before, but with the amount of fire coming out of the end of the barrel, the Trandoshan still fell. The other guard, a Rodian, quickly had his pistol out and was returning fire. But as Zen had guessed, these were not the best soldiers in Gurla’s army, by far. Zen ducked around a corner and waited for the return fire to stop. Zen didn’t know how, but he could sense exactly where the Rodian was and that the Rodian was as terrified as he was…
Instinctively, Zen leaned around the wall while pulling the trigger on the blaster rifle again. This time, he had more control and anticipated the recoil of the weapon. The Rodian dropped to the ground with several searing holes in center mass. The young human he had talked with earlier ran up beside him.
“What the krif are you doing!? Gurla is going to have us all fed to the nexu for this!” He said panicking.
“We are all dead anyway,” he responded, handing the young man the rifle in his hands and then grabbing another out of the crate. He then grabs a jumpsuit and some armor from another crate, puts it all on, and then turns to address the other slaves, all of them cowering in fear.
“We have to move out now. If we don’t, Gurla will kill us all. There are probably more guards on the way right now. We can all fit into that transport and escape. And then we can only hope that the Mandalorians will take us away from here. It’s your choice, but we have to leave now!” Zen shouted and then headed for the driver’s seat of the transport. A handful of slaves followed and jumped into the seating area, but many more simply stayed frozen where they were. Come on, Zen thought to himself. Get in the kriffing transport! The young man he had talked with jumped into the front passenger seat with Zen.
“My name is Kal. I know your name is Zen, now get us out of here,” The young man said.
Zen hit the accelerator and the transport zoomed forward, much faster than Zen had intended but he didn’t let off. They could see the effects of the battle off in the distance, and so Zen headed off to what looked like the edges of the battlefield, hoping to avoid any combat. Not five minutes out of the cargo bay, they see a bright light coming down out of the sky behind them, and then suddenly Gurla’s palace burst into flames.
“Orbital bombardment…” Kal said to him while staring back at the emerging mushroom cloud. “I wish more people had decided to come with us…”
“I do too…” Zen said quietly thinking to himself.
Twenty minutes later, they had reached the edges of where the battle had started, but had long since moved on. Zen slowed the pace of transport and started searching for a Mandalorian rear patrol unit or a medical unit or any not affiliated with the Hutt’s that might be able to help.
After a few minutes, he sees a Mandalorian speeder transport in the distance. Zen hits the accelerator again, and the transport lurches forward. Almost immediately, the Mandalorian speeder notices them and turns to intercept. As they get close, Zen notices that the Mandalorian hover craft approaching is not a speeder, but in fact a hover tank. He senses that they are about to be attacked and slams on the reverse thrusters and brings the transport to a stop as quickly as possible. The Mandalorian tank, having identified their vehicle as unarmed, pulls right up and four heavily armed and armored Mandalorian soldiers exit from the rear of the tank, weapons at the ready.
“Get your sheb’s out here, unarmed, with your arms straight in the air. Do anything stupid, and we will slot you where you stand!” Said a human male’s voice, it was hard to tell which one had spoken though, as they all had on full helmets, and were all standing an equal distance away from them.
“Kal, me and you get out, leave the blasters here. I’ll talk to them.” Zen said, slowly opening the door. Kal followed suit. After he had gotten out he put his hands straight up in the air. Kal again did likewise.
“Who is in charge here?” The unidentified voice said.
“I am. My name is Zentaris Aeterna. And I have come to make a deal with you.” Zen said as he took a step forward to show himself leader of the group.
“What deal? What could you have to offer us?” Scoffed the disembodied voice. Zen was starting to think the voice was actually coming from the tank. ‘Smart commander,’ Zen thought to himself.
“Information about the Hutt clans. For passage off this rock.” Zen said.
“We have all the information we need. And the Mandalorian Empire is not a taxi service!” The voice shouted back.
“I also have this transport and the slaves inside it…” Zen said and looked over at Kal.
Kal was glaring straight back at him, rage boiling across his face. And just as Zen had anticipated, Kal foolishly charged at him in anger, causing an instant reaction from the Mandalorians. Kal managed to take only a step before meeting a wall of blaster fire.
“Well, now there is one less slave, but hopefully, we can still work out a deal…” Zen said coldly.
Another Mando stepped out of the tank, and removed his helmet. He walked up to Zen and examined him, having to look up to look into Zen’s eyes.
“Let’s talk.” The Mando said, and escorted Zen towards the tank.
5,699 ABY (Age 124) – Theed Royal Palace – Naboo – Neutral Space
Zentaris was walking down one of the many ornate walkways that surrounded the Theed Royal Palace. He did not particularly care for the natural beauty of this planet, or how the native Naboo had taken care in construction of their capital in harmony with the natural landscape. He was more intent on the delegates in front of him, both from the Sith Dark Alliance and from the Mandalorian Empire.
Serving as an aide and ‘neutral’ delegate for the Mandalorian Empire was proving to be a challenging job. His well hidden ability to read other beings’ feelings and mindsets had proven very useful to the few members of the Mandalorian Empire Zen had trusted over the last fifty years, but Zen was having trouble here. Something about the Sith Alliance delegates prevented him from being able to read them like normal. It was almost like they had a personal defensive shield around each of them.
But not all of them had this protection however, the lower ranking aides Zen was able to read like open books, but they weren’t giving him any useful information on how the negations were going.
What worried Zen the most, however, was that he could most definitely still sense the Generals’ feelings, one of several ambassadors for the Mandalorian Empire, and he was getting frustrated with Zen’s current lack of usefulness.
“Zen, have you been able to glean any new information on our Sith associates today?” General Skirata asked him as soon as they were well out of ear shot of the Sith.
“No, General, I’m still unable to read them. I am still able to sense their aides, but they are cowardly and nervous even when they are not in the middle of negotiations… I’m am sorry, my General…” Zentaris said as he followed the heavily armored man back to the Mandalorian residency appointed to them for the duration of the negotiations.
“I had expected more, Zen, but I’m starting to get the feeling that these Sith Alliance Ambassador’s are in fact Sith Masters, and if so then they are using the Force to block both your natural abilities and our surveillance equipment.” The General replied.
“Sith Masters? I thought the only Master here was High Council Lord Tavyrn?” Zen responded slightly shocked, but knowing that he should have realized this earlier.
“Yes, and he has been in direct negotiations with Mandalore since we arrived. But neither side trusts each other… It appears the Sith have brought at least a handful or more of Sith Master’s disguised as their diplomats to the negotiations, similar to us bugging their rooms, and of course having you read their minds. If this treaty is ever signed, it will be a strained truce at best…” General Skirata said as they rounded another corner. It was now clear the General wanted to talk to Zen alone as the rest of his aides and soldiers had disappeared and they were walking through random gardens and courts now, Zen following dutifully wherever General Skirata went.
“What would you have me do then, General? You have made it perfectly clear that I should not try and meddle with High Council Lord Tavryn at all, but I have already made several attempts to read these other ‘Sith Masters’…” Zentaris was starting to worry that the Sith Masters knew what he was doing and were protecting themselves from what he was trying to do.
“I want you to try and break through their defenses, Zen. If what I suspect is true, doing so will help our cause on the negotiating floor. So tomorrow, when I meet with Delegate Leora, I want you to try your best to break through whatever mental defense she has put up. Do you understand, Zen?” General said in his normal cold tone of voice.
“Yes, General. I will do my best.” Zentaris replied. He saw the man walking in front of him with his eyes; cold, calm, calculating, and precise, but the man he sensed in front of him was tense, nervous, but also slight anxious as to what was to come.
The next day, Zentaris, with the rest of General Skirata’s entourage entered one of the many meeting halls of the Theed Royal Palace. There waiting for them already was Delegate Leora, with a dozen or so of her aides. As usual, Zen could read each of the aides, but got nothing of any interest or use, but when he stretched out to Leora’s mind, he was repelled.
General Skirata sat down across from Delegate Leora, and the negations on trade routes through the two empires recommenced. As they sat there discussing who would control which parts of the Hydian Way trade route, Zen began to more aggressively delve into Leora’s mind.
Zen closed his eyes, and focused on the things that he could not see with them. The room was pulsing with an ebb and flow of unseen energy. All of the Mandalorians gave off a similar feel of pride, arrogance, allegiance to the Mandalorian code, but each of them had slightly different intensities and shades. General Skirata’a aura was like the burning fire of the brightest sun Zen could remember ever coming across. He then moved his focus to the other side of the negotiating table.
In the middle, where he knew Delegate Leora should be, there was nothing but black void. And then there were small flickers of light that represented her aides. Zen started to focus more and more on the dark void, trying to find a place that he could peek beyond the veil, but was unable to find such a weak spot. He then started simply adding more force, to try and break through the veil. It was during his third attempt to simply use brute force, and he was at the point of almost totally focus, to break through, that Delegate Leora had had enough.
“Pardon the interruption, General Skirata, but I cannot focus on the matters at hand, at the moment.” Delegate Leora said interrupting the General in mid sentence and with her eyes closed.
“Is there a problem, Delegate?” Skirata responded, with a hint of knowing in his voice.
“Yes, I know that you are aware that I am Sith Master. And we know of the bugs you placed in our living quarters, which will be returned if these negations are successful. But both of these transgressions are irrelevant. The problem is that you have brought an untrained Force-user into these negotiations and have been using him to try and gain access to our minds.” Delegate Leora replied.
Zen froze. His eyes shot open and slowly looked down the table to where the General and the Delegate where sitting. They both looked down toward him.
“I see, and so this is a problem, Delegate? You don’t like having your minds read, while you freely read ours? I hardly see how that allows us to be on equal footing, Delegate.” Skirata replied with a heavily accusing tone to his voice.
“Of course it doesn’t. We each try to gain the upper hand in these meetings, but that is not the issue here. The Sith Alliance has long had a standing Kill Order on all Force-users that refuse to join to the Sith Alliance. When a young Force-user is discovered they are taken, by any means necessary, for Sith training at the Academy. Older beings are often more complicated. If they are not persuaded to join, then they are slain on the spot in order to ensure they are not recruited by the Jedi. You’re Pau’un aide, now faces this same decision.” Delegate Leora announced to entire room.
The tension in the room had grown almost palpable. If things turned ugly, this could destroy the treaty negotiations and start an all out war between the Mandalorian Empire and the Sith Alliance. Both factions, however, are still recovering from their previous wars, which is what prompted the treaty talks in the first place.
“Zentaris Aeterna, as you know, is currently under the employ of the Mandalorian Empire, and my personal protection, Delegate.” Skirata said testing the waters.
“I know this, which is why he was not killed on the first day. But his blatant attempts to break into my mind today have proven that he is indeed a force-user, and has the potential to be a threat to the Sith Alliance.” Leora said, clearly not backing down.
“Then how about this? If Zen agrees to join the Sith Alliance, we will allow him to do so, on the conditions that you concede on Point 4, Point 6A, Point 7C, and Point 9. I believe this would allow us to conclude our part of the treaty negotiations. The Sith Alliance would gain a new member; the Mandalorian Empire would gain an extra hyperspace route. We can then end our meeting without any aggressive negotiations, as well as being the first delegation committee to complete the treaty arbitration, which will of course increase both of our standings with our superiors, and may help push the other committees to complete their portions of Treaty.” Skirata explained slowly.
Zen now realized that Skirata had planned this out, and had used Zen to bring their negotiations to a head. He had been sitting there listening to them discuss his fate as if he wasn’t sitting right next to the both of them. First, the revelation that he is a Force-user, and then, the very fact that being a Force-user puts his life in danger. It seemed he was once again a slave, being offered as a trade or facing death.
Now how is it going to end, Zen wondered looking back at Delegate Leora.
“Negotiating with a Sith Master has rarely ever been successful in the history of the galaxy, General Skirata, but you are clearly not the average Mandalorian soldier. It seems this solution is the most beneficial for both of us, as long as Zen is willing to join our ranks.” Leora replied after several moments of silence. She looked over to Zen, as did the General, followed by every other set of eyes in the room.
“It would be an honor to join the Sith Alliance,” Zen said, and in the moment, he knew that it had always been his destiny to become a Sith, and now that destiny was to begin.
5,795 ABY (Age 220) – Sith Academy – Korriban – Sith Alliance Home Planet
Zen had pledged his loyalty to the Sith Alliance and spoken the oath almost 96 years ago, and still he has not been selected by a Sith Master for actual training. It seems being a Mandalorain throw away, bargaining tool was about as low as one could get in the eyes of the Sith. And so no Sith Master would ever choose him as their apprentice.
At least that is how it had started. None of the Sith Masters or Sith Lords would take the “Mando-dog” for their apprentice, and so he was passed over time and time again remaining an acolyte of the Academy. After about 50 years though, almost all of the Sith that had been around at the time of the treaty signing had died. But the stigmata of Zen being an “Undesirable Apprentice” had been firmly set in place, and so the tradition had continued for almost another 50 years. In fact, nearly everyone who was at the academy when Zen first arrived had already passed on. Even some of the younglings had already grown up, became masters and then died of old age, all while he waited to start his training.
During this entire time, Zen has been set about taking care of odd jobs around the Academy. He prepped the training facilities for the apprentices, checking and repairing the training droids, storing the various training devices, and cleaning up the wreckage after the apprentices got done. He also worked in the mess hall, preparing food, and cleaning up afterward. He had fallen back into the role of indentured servant again, this time for the Sith Alliance.
One thing, however, was different. When not assigned to a specific task, Zen was able to do as he pleased within the Academy. And he spent most of his free time in the Archives. During his century at the Academy, he had managed to pick up a few interesting techniques from the Senior Archivists who had passed through here. One was especially knowledgeable in the Krath arts of Illusion, another was not in the least bit shy of using Force Lightning whenever she got the chance, and the most recent one had even shown Zen how to use a lightsaber at a distance using only the Force. Zen was never really able to practice these techniques, but he paid close attention each time they were demonstrated in front of him, promising to master these techniques as soon as he had a Master to teach him.
Alongside the disappointment of never receiving official training, Zen also had to endure the constant ridicule of the other apprentices, who in their younger years always enjoyed taunting and teasing Zen about how old he was, and how he would never be trained as a true Sith. And with each generation, his age difference seemed to grow. The Mandalorian War with the Hutts was talked about like ancient history now. And seemingly no one else remembers the day that the Sith Alliance finally signed a truce with the Mandalorian Empire. And the other acolytes made sure they reminded Zen about his age and his constant rejection to the point he separated himself from them, disregarding and ignoring them completely, and eventually they began to shun him as well.
And so, Zentaris Aeterna, a man still in the early adult hood of his life but having lived over 200 years, would be grouped together with various teenaged sentient beings of different species to go through the preparations for the Ascending, when an acolyte is chosen by Master for training and achieve the rank of Apprentice.
Now, Zen stood before the Grand Masters yet again, with a dozen or so other acolytes, as the Masters looked them over and questioned them. Zen was, as usual, mostly ignored. And so the masters picked others to take on as their apprentices. Eventually only Zen and a human boy, who clearly looked to young and weak to be ready for Sith training, were left standing in the chamber.
“The Masters have chosen. Those of you who are left, have been deemed not yet worthy of becoming a Sith Apprentice. You shall thus return to the Academy as acolytes, and train to make yourselves more worthy. Leave.” Master Urelais commanded, in his typical arrogant voice. He was an elder Zabrak Master, who had been serving on the High Council for almost 40 years.
Zen had heard these words dozens of times over. He had even stood shoulder to shoulder with Urelais when he was an acolyte waiting to be chosen by a Master. Zen turned and headed back to the Academy as did the other boy not chosen. As they made their way back, the boy looked up, way up, at Zen.
“They aren’t going to kill me are they?” He asked Zen, terrified. It was clear now this boy was probably not even a teenager yet.
“No, they won’t kill you. You will probably have some intense training coming in the next few months though. To make you stronger, and worthy of a Master’s attention. Who told you they would kill you?” Zen replied to boy who looked somewhat relieved, but still apprehensive.
“One of the other acolytes. Grosvic, the big Trandoshan that was picked first in the Ascending. He said that, every year when the Ascending is over, the rejects get sent back to Academy to be used as lightsaber training dummies for the new apprentices.” The boy replied. “I knew that I wasn’t going to get selected, so I was worried the whole time.”
“That may have been one of the reasons you were not selected. The Master’s can sense your feelings and when they sensed your fear, they knew you were not ready for the training. The Master’s want strong and able apprentices’ so they don’t waste their time training someone who will simply get killed on their first mission out. Besides, I have been rejected 95 times. And I am still here. You need to work on training both your body and your mind and rid yourself of weakness, only then will you be selected.” Zen said sensing the boy’s confidence returning as they continued back toward the Academy entrance.
As they rounded a corner, Zen caught sight of three of the former acolytes, now Apprentices, seemingly milling around and waiting for something. As soon as the boy saw them, his fear immediately returned, and Zen noticed that one of the new apprentices was a brute of a Trandoshan boy, followed by a human boy, and a Rodian girl.
As Zen and the boy approached them, the Trandoshan, stood up to block their path.
“Where do you think you’re going, Dalvis? I told you the apprentices get to kill those who don’t get chosen. It’s your turn so get over here!” Grosvic growled, completely ignoring the fact that Zen was there and stood a good two feet taller than them.
“Here’s a chance for you to prove you’re not scared. Face him,” Zen whispered to the boy. The boy nodded and then took a step forward.
“You aren’t going to kill me. You’re a liar and a bully. I’m going to train harder than ever so that the next time we meet; I will beat you, Grosvic.” The boy shouted.
Grosvic didn’t like being humiliated in front of his friends. He drew his training saber and move to strike Dalvis, who was unarmed. Zen moved with the reflexes of his age and skill, and had his own training blade out and blocked Grosvic’s attack.
“What are you doing? I’m an apprentice now! I outrank you, you dusty old snigvold!” The stunned apprentice replied. He stumbled backwards but then regained his composure. “Alright guys, let’s teach this acolyte to respect his superiors!”
The Rodian and Human had both ignited their training sabers, which were designed to slightly burn but were design not to kill, and had surrounded Zen and Dalvis. Zen was not nearly skilled enough in lightsaber combat to fight three on one and knew that he was in trouble.
Grosvic launched the first attack and Zen was able to block it. The Rodian then tried her luck, and Zen was again able to block, but when the human moved in and attacked immediately after, Zen hasn’t able to get his blade around in time and felt the searing pain of the training saber scrape across his back. Zen was able to move around counter attacked the human, slicing a deep burn across his chest, but left himself open for an attack from the Rodian, searing his left shoulder. He was just able to block another attack from the human and Rodian, when Grosvic landed a blow to Zen’s midsection that would have cut Zen in half, if they had been using normal lightsabers.
The pain was beginning to engulf Zen, but instead of becoming consumed to by it, he began to channel it, and turning it into fiery, anger filled energy. First directing the energy from his wounds into his chest, and then down his arms and then out of his finger tips. Bolts of Sith Lighting erupted from his hands and into the terrified body of Grosvic. The lightning ended quickly but left Grosvic convulsing in pain. Zen then turned his attention to the other two. He grabbed both of them in the Force, picked them off their feet and then smashed their bodies into each other violently and then tossed them in opposite directions. The human landed hard on his head on the durasteel floor opening a large gash on his head. The Rodian was flung into a pillar and the sound of bones snapping could be heard as she fell to the floor. Both of them remained motionless.
Zen, still infuriated beyond control, looked back at Grosvic, who had gotten back up and was charging Zen with his lightsaber. Zen saw the lightsabers of both Grosvic’s allies lying right where they had fallen. Instinctively, he reached out to both of them in the Force, moving them into strike at Grosvic legs as he ran toward Zen causing him to lose his balance and fall. Zen stuck his lightsaber out just as Grosvic fell, the force of Zen’s jab met the large Trandoshan body falling, impaling him upon the training saber.
Zen sensed the life force leave Grosvic’s body. And instantly he snapped out of the rage he had entered. He felt the pain of his wounds again. He saw the small boy, barely remembering his name, staring at him in fear. And then he saw Master Slyfer at the entrance of the hallway, looking at the mayhem that had just taken place withing a few seconds time. Zen knew he would be in trouble now. He had killed a Sith Apprentice in the hallway of the Academy. Master Slyfer moved forward and assessed the situation.
“You, little one, go and fetch the medic immediately.” Slyfer said to the small boy who was still cowering in terror at the scene that had just played out before him. The Master’s words startled him out of his fear, and the boy took two small steps away from Zen and then sprinted down the hallway.
“So Acolyte Aeterna, one dead, two nearly so. What do you have to say for yourself?” asked the veteran Duros Master.
“They insulted and then attacked me. I defended myself and my honor.” Zen replied taking responsibility for what he had done.
“And so they have paid the price for underestimating you. Tell me, why haven’t you ever been chosen to be trained as a Sith?” Asked Master Slyfer.
It was hard to tell the expression on his face, as it often is with a Duros. Master Slyfer had always been one to question things, especially the High Council and had the scars to prove it, yet he was still alive. He was known for not taking High Council commands seriously and preferring to travel on his own fulfilling his own duties. The one time he had taken an apprentice he had defied the High Council and taken a former Jedi as his pupil.
“No Master will have me. It seems to be tradition that I not be chosen. I have been with the Sith Alliance longer than almost all the current Masters have been alive.” Zen responded with a trace of anger in his voice.
“Tradition, huh? I’ve never been much for tradition. I can see you becoming a powerful Sith if you can lose that complacent attitude of yours. Your long life of slavery has taught you to not want more. To be a Sith, you always need to be wanting more. But ambition is something that is relatively easy to be taught. Hmmm… Come, my young apprentice. We have much to do, including angering the High Council…”
“Yes, my Master,” Zen replied finally starting to understand what his new Master had meant about ambition. Now that he had finally achieved that which he had lost all hope of ever gaining, he wanted more. A lot more.