CHAPTER TWO

  

        All was silent, save for the sound of her footsteps.  The putrid smell of death caught Liz off guard.  She stumbled back, nearly tripping over her own feet.  “Oh my god,” Liz said aloud, covering her nose.  She could feel the hate, the anger, lingering, still strong.

Her eyes adjusted to the lack of light, and she could slowly see the room starting to take shape.  Far in the corner, there was a table with plates on it.  It looked as if the plates were left with meals half finished, but you couldn’t tell whether that was food or not.  A few rats scurried off the table as Elizabeth walked over to it.

A light saber rested on the tabletop.  Liz picked it up, blowing off the dust.  She pushed down the button, and the saber emitted a glowing red blade.  The saber was elegant.  Golden pieces and fine jewels were crafted into this Sith saber.  It must have belonged to a Sith lord of great importance.  Elizabeth pocketed the saber and continued down the hall on the far side of the room.

There was a big red door on the left side of the hallway, and there were three smaller doors on the right.  Liz squinted to read the lettering on top of the red door, but could not, for it had gotten to dark in the hallway.  She frowned, searching through the pockets of her robe.  “Damn,” she said, “forgot my portable light.”  On the wall she found a large panel, and pushed on the round button.

Sparks flew from light fixtures above, but one bulb remained.  The red door was labeled ‘Main Chamber’.  “Well I guess there isn’t any harm in going to explore.”  Liz thought aloud.  As she pressed her hand to the door panel, the LCD flashed the words “KEY REQUIRED”. 

“I’ve got your key,” Elizabeth scowled at the machine, pulling out her saber.  As the blue blade of the saber extended, she thrust it into the panel.  The whole panel fell to the floor, melted, and the door gave way.  Liz clipped her saber to her belt and continued on into the main chamber.

There was a foul air about as the essence of death became more present.  It was pitch black.  Her soft footsteps echoed in the silence.  All at once the torches on the wall blazed to life.  Skeletons were everywhere.  Liz looked down, to see herself standing on a sunken in floor panel.  There were book-laden tables along the walls, and an odd assortment of devices.  There were light sabers lying next to the bodies. 

Elizabeth headed for the other end of the room, when something stopped her.  She felt an odd presence; It filled the room, closing in on her.  Elizabeth turned, glancing back to where she came from.  Something about those skeletons just didn’t feel right at all.  She continued on anyway, shrugging it off.  As the door opened, the fluorescent bulbs on the ceiling illuminated the hallway.

All along the wall were encased bodies in tubes, of what Liz assume to be important Sith lords that had passed on.  Down the hallway she could see another door; she headed toward it.  She noticed something as she was walking by.  There was an empty tube.  The date had faded, but one word was as clear as day: Vader.  Liz looked close and found a light saber and an urn at the bottom of the tube.  “Wonder what happened to this guy,” Liz smirked and walked on. 

As she neared the door, she walked into an invisible force field.  Elizabeth fell flat on her back, and she reached up to rub her nose.  “Damn that hurt!” she said aloud.  She searched the wall to find a paper-thin slit where the force field was coming from.  Elizabeth pulled her saber, igniting the blade.  As she swung at the invisible shield, her saber bounced away, flying back down the hallway.  She sat down, crossing her legs, thinking of a way around the shield.

 

 

“What have you done to the Ambassador’s ship?”  Mathis held his saber towards the captain’s neck. 

“W - We overthrew it.  Daeken left with the Ambassador, all aboard were killed, and the three escape pods are being searched for.”  The captain mumbled on, but Mathis had all the info he needed.  A swift kick to the head violently forced the captain into a long sleep.

He disabled all of the tracking and communication devices, and then rocketed the ship towards Corinth.  The flight would be short, but the search long.  With the rotation of the planet, it would be a difficult mission finding the crash sight.  Mathis locked the remaining crewmembers up, and began his search.

As the ship glided down through the atmosphere, Mathis scanned the area, looking for the wreckage of the escape pod.  To his surprise the computer picked up the ship on its sensors after only a few minutes.  Somehow he knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as it looked.

 

Elizabeth stood, after about 20 minutes of pondering, and pulled out the gemmed saber.  The magnificent jewels that were embedded in it started to glow.  A closer look revealed a button on the bottom of the handle.  With a simple click, the field was gone.  Even though the electric hum had subsided, she still felt the need to test her hand against it. 

As she walked to the door, It slowly slid open.  And as soon as she sensed the eminent danger ahead, something snatched the saber from her hand.  As it disappeared into the darkness, the force field trapped her in the room.  With no options left, she decided to enter the room.

A deep laughter filled the room; it seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once.  The door closed, leaving her in complete darkness.  A raspy voice called out to her from the infinite shadow:  “Why have you come here?”  She could not move, could not breath, and could not reach her weapon.

A glowing red beam extended seemingly from nothing, and the nothing was getting closer.  With every step the nothing took, the shadow of fear took more of her mind.  With all of her will, she reached down and grabbed her saber.  With the flip of a switch, she slung it’s blew blade forward, colliding with the red beam of light.  As the sabers slid against each other, flickers of light illuminated the face of what was once nothing.           

A horrid image flickered before her, distorted beyond the point of racial identification.  It grinned back at her, and with the flick of its finger, she was thrown against the wall.  The torches around the wall came to life, bringing shape to the room they were in.  Red stones formed the walls, and a black carpet extended to a throne.  Aside from the blocked passage behind her, there were two other exits.

A feeling of helplessness washed over her; Thoughts of her father and Mathis filled her mind.  “I don’t want to die,” She began to cry. 

“You are not ready,” The distorted figure scowled at her.  He lowered his saber, extinguishing the red blade of death.  With this she leapt to action, raising her blade toward him.  As he raised his arm she was lifted into the air.  She threw her hand out, but could not force push him.  His mind was a metal door that could not be breached. 

“Much potential you posses.  I can teach you to use it.”  He threw her down, breaking her leg.  A blood-curdling scream filled the air as the pain rushed over her. 

“Never!”  The words managed to escape her clenched jaw.  Another force push sent her into a corner.

He walked over to her, igniting his saber.  “I shall, convince you, before the night is through.”  He held the saber against her arm, searing her soft flesh to a horrid, shriveled crisp.  She recoiled, with a yelp, and rolled into a ball.  With a raised hand, he sent waives of lightning surging through her body.  Liz called out in pain, reaching a shaking hand out to her light saber that lay in the middle of the room.

As it rocketed toward her, he spun around, slicing her only hope into two dead pieces of metal.  “You will learn the ways of the dark side, or be destroyed!”  His slanted eyes burned into her soul, destroying her mind.  She could not think; only lay sobbing on the floor.  He reached his bony hand out to her.  “Come, let us end this nonsense.  I can make you invincible.”

“No.” She shivered uncontrollably, her words barely a whisper through her quivering lips.  “I can’t,” she whimpered.  “I can’t betray Mathis.”  With a chuckle, he shut off the saber again and began pacing the room.  Elizabeth struggled to her feet. 

 

 

As the ship neared the crash site, six talon wings came into view.  “Oh shit!”  Mathis realized the danger he was in.  If he saw them they must have picked him up on radar already.  Sure enough, the state-of-the-art fighter ships lifted from the crash site and rocketed toward him.  Mathis’s fingers flew across the control panel, concentrating all power to the front shields.  As soon as the computer confirmed the command, the fighters broke formation and started circling the ship.

Mathis switched the com on just in time to hear the commander of the group: “FA rider, please acknowledge.  We will be forced to open fire under order of Lord Daeken.”  Mathis had to think quickly.

“This is the commanding officer. I came to oversee the search mission.”  Mathis shrugged to himself. 

“Please identify yourself.”  The commander replied. 

Mathis, out of options, launched three torpedoes and headed for the escape pod.  The ships returned fire, immobilizing Mathis's vessel.  As the dead FA rocketed toward the ground, Mathis went to the cargo bay.

Pulling down the lever, Mathis opened the cargo door quickly searched for a good place to jump out.  He leapt, falling into a small lake.  He surfaced, just in time to see the talons rip through the FA like tissue paper.  Mathis could feel the heat of the explosion as he swam to the shoreline.

        He crawled up under a small bush, waiting for the Talons to leave.  Then he headed toward the temple.  His heart raced; fear for Liz, and for himself.  He did not know if he would find her, but he had to hope she had left the pod.  As he sprinted toward the downed escape pod, the talons caught site of him and laced the ground around him with laser blasts.  He had to keep moving; they wouldn’t hit him, not if he willed it.

He leapt, with amazing distance, into the beaten-up pod, searching the rubble to find no Liz.  All of a sudden, the pod was hit and sent spinning toward the temple.  Dizzy, and a little sick from the ride, Mathis tumbled from the pod.  He fell through the temple doors, looking back to see the talons setting down at the base of the steps.

He pulled his saber, igniting the blade, and charged them.  He swung around, deflecting blaster shots left and right.  He jumped down the stairway, kicking a man in the head.  As another one fired; he ducked, slicing through the attacker at the waist.  Then a disturbing sound caught Mathis’s ear.  Another light saber had ignited.  He swung around in time to block the red beam of light that was angling toward his neck. 

A shot hit his shoulder.  A buzzing feeling came over him as his body went limp.  He was paralyzed.  The wielder of the other light saber came into view, a grin on her face.  “You are coming with me.”  One of the men hoisted Mathis over his shoulder and she collected the fallen saber.  They headed into the temple. 

 

 

Another shot of lightning hit her body, and then another, and another.  She screamed out in pain--pain and fear.  “See, there are worse things than death,” he hissed at her

She lay motionless on the floor, moaning in pain, exhausted.  “You will join me.  It is your only option.”  He began pacing.  “Too long has it been since this glorious temple has produced a Master Sith.  But I feel our time rising again.  You will be my first apprentice.”  He stopped, turning to her, “I can offer you greatness.” 

He reached out his hand to her, as the doorway to the left swung open.  Ten men piled in, and the one carrying Mathis laid him on the ground.  The apprentice kneeled before Targon, greeting the Sith master.  “My lord, we have obtained a padawan.” 

“Good work, Brainna.  Good work.”  He smiled, turning to Liz.  Elizabeth looked up to see her love unconscious on the floor.  All of her pain diminished, replaced by rage. 

“I’ll kill you,” she growled, with a wicked scowl on her face.  Targon placed his light saber at Liz’s feet.  She grabbed it, consumed in anger, and flung herself toward the dark Jedi. 

The apprentice’s saber extended in time to meet Liz with a swift block.  Liz swung around, sweeping her saber at Brianna's feet.  Brianna back-flipped over the saber, but Liz quickly angled her swing up, searing a line up Brianna’s back.  As the young apprentice fell to the ground, Liz slammed the saber down, cutting her arm off.  “Finish her!”  Targon shouted. 

Mathis’s eyes fluttered open, and he looked around, taking in his surroundings.  Liz breathed heavily, as she raised the saber.  Her hands were shaking.  She turned the saber upside down and skewered the fallen enemy.  Brianna’s screams echoed in the throne room, and then her life was no more.  Liz’s eyes gleamed down, her muscles bulged, and she beheaded Brianna’s corpse. 

“Feel the strength, the energy, the infinite power of the dark side.”  Targon reached forward, holding his hand open towards Liz.  Mathis watched intently as Elizabeth turned toward Targon.  She stood for a long moment, gripping the saber tightly.  Confusion and frustration filled her eyes.  She reached out, placing the saber in his hand.  “Good.”  The raspy word seemed to stretch out forever.

He put a hand on her shoulder, leading her to the doorway.  A feeling of loss and despair washed over Mathis.  “How could she?” he wondered.  He finally fell unconscious again.

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