Anne drew her cutlass and grabbed hold of a rope. In one move she swung over to The Damnation while urging her crew to follow. As soon as she landed on the deck of her enemy, her crew also began boarding the ship. She was immediately attacked by several of Harrington’s men. Fending them off she looked around for Harrington, but couldn’t see him. Was he skulking below decks? She signaled to Stryker to lead the assault while she looked for Harrington. Stryker nodded back at her as she went below deck.
She went down a narrow passageway that led to his cabin, but found he wasn’t there. She came to a door that was locked. Breaking the lock she opened the door to find, to her surprise, a young woman with long dark hair who looked terrified. She was chained to the bed, while on a table sat Anne’s jewelry box along with other treasures. Anne stood there wordlessly while the sound of fighting above got louder. They stared at each other in confusion.
“You looking for me girl?” said a familiar rough voice behind Anne. She spun round and parried Harrington’s blow.
“Harrington!” she spat out. “Interesting company you keep. I didn’t realise you had a guest staying.”
“You’re welcome to join her.” Harrington replied as he swung his cutlass at her again. She parried it and drove forwards forcing him into the passageway. Anne then swung her blade at him, which he dodged.
“I’d rather set her free.” Anne told him as she launched another attack. This time he parried her attack. He grinned at her with his rotting teeth.
“No girl can be a pirate.” He stated as he sliced at her with his cutlass. She dodged out of the way while grimly smiling at him.
“But a woman can.” She replied as she swung at him again, this time cutting him across the forehead when he failed to get out of the way. Blinded by the blood streaming into his eyes his next attack was a wild swing that Anne easily dodged. She then smacked him in the head with her blade and he collapsed onto the floor. Finding some rope, she tied him up. She went back into the cabin. The young woman there still looked terrified. Anne sheathed her cutlass.
“Who are you?” the woman asked.
“My name is Anne. I’m captain of The Red Arrow. I’m here to free you.” Anne said. The woman looked at her uncertainly.
“My name is Katherine, though everyone calls me Kate. That man attacked the ship I was on. I’m the only survivor. He’s kept me in here for days. I don’t know how long. He kept bringing jewels every time he came in here…” Her voice trailed off. She looked away while tears began to fall. Anne understood.
“Don’t worry, he’ll never bother you again.” Anne told her. Stryker, her First Mate, appeared.
“His crew has mostly surrendered. Their morale was rather low.” He informed her.
They freed Kate and took what gold and jewels they could find. Several of Harrington’s men joined her crew, while the others were put into her ships brig to be released later. Anne and a few others deliberately scuttled The Damnation. They all watched the black ship sink below the water.
“Davy Jones can have that cursed ship.” Anne stated once the ship had fully disappeared under the waves. “How’s our ship First Mate?”
“We are quite damaged Captain, but I reckon we can make it back to Port Royal. We can always do some repairs on the way.” Stryker replied. Kate had joined them on the forecastle and had watched The Damnation sink with quiet satisfaction.
“Have you anything left of your own belongings?” Anne asked Kate.
“No. Most of my things were left aboard the ship when Harrington sank it.” Kate replied. Anne brought out her jewelry box and, after taking a couple of things out of it, gave it to Kate.
“Well this is a start.” Anne told her. Kate accepted it with gratitude.
“Is he truly gone?” Kate asked.
“Yes Harrington is with Davy Jones now, along with the remains of his ship.” Anne replied. She smiled darkly at the water. “You’re welcome to join us you know.”
“I’m not sure if I’m a pirate, but thanks for saving me.” Kate said. Anne nodded.
A few days ago I added the Articles page to Joanne the Geek. Over the last week I then added all the remaining articles, poems, flash fiction, and longer fiction to their relevant pages that hadn’t yet been added. I’m a bit crap at drawing straight lines with a mouse, so I apologise for the squiggly lines. Aside from a couple of articles and short stories which I haven’t included due to quality issues, all my blog posts are now accessible via these pages, aside from the serial fiction narratives of My Life in Darkness and The Sky-Pirates of Durn which have now been compiled and edited into novels. I’m still not sure what to do with either of these serialisations on the blog. I might delete them, keep them up for people to find, or add a Serialised Fiction page and add these posts to it. If you still want them to be available on this blog let me know.
It was nice to read some of my older flash fiction posts that were written almost four years ago now. I haven’t seen many of them for some time, but if I ever have the opportunity I sure would like to get the chance to edit a few of them…
It was a late summer evening. Jess and Cindy sat out on their porch watching the sunset while drinking beers. All their fields were full of tall cornstalks. It had been a cruel summer, but thankfully their crops had survived the heat.
“It’s still over a month until the harvest.” Jess stated.
“I know, but we should do well this year. It looks to be a good crop, despite everything.” Cindy replied.
“Don’t bank on it until we are finally harvesting it. Though the money will be welcome. Our finances are getting rather low now.”
“Shame none of your side projects have yielded much so far.”
“I still think we should give alpacas a go.” Jess suggested. Cindy screwed up her nose.
‘We grow corn. What do we know about raising alpacas? Raising animals can bring a whole host of problems we know nothing about.”
“I still think we should give it a go. We’ve got that small field we don’t use for anything. We could fence it off and try raising a small number of them and see how that goes. At least we’ll just be farming them for their fleece and not killing them for meat or anything.” Jess answered. Cindy shrugged her shoulders. “You’ve been quiet that last few days. Is there something troubling you?”
“I’m thinking about going to Faerie and seeing the Queen.” Cindy admitted. Jess raised her eyebrows.
“Babradon told me if I wanted to get pregnant again I should see the Queen.”
“Okay.” Jess replied not understanding.
“She’ll help with ensuring the baby is carried to term.” Cindy explained. Jess began gently rubbing Cindy’s back.
“Are you sure you’re ready for that? The miscarriage devastated you. I don’t want to see you go through that again.” Jess told her.
“Well apparently the Queen can help with that. Babradon told me she helped my grandmother do the same. It’s due to my family having some fay blood, which is why I can walk through portals and see fay folk when others can’t.” Cindy told her. Jess slowly nodded her head.
“Maybe I should go with you.” Jess offered. Cindy smiled.
“Thanks. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m not sure if you’d be welcome. As far as we know your bloodline is totally mortal. I should only be away a couple of days.”
“Gee thanks. A couple of days our time, or theirs? A couple of days in Faerie could end up being far longer here.” Jess warned.
“I know. I’ll try to be as quick as I can.” Jess sighed deeply.
“Okay if you really want to do this, but what about the impregnation part? Unless the Queen is going to take care of that as well, IVF is really expensive.” Jess asked. Cindy laughed briefly.
“I guess we could try the turkey baster method, but we don’t need to worry about any of that until I get back.” Cindy replied.
“Artificial insemination? Just like they do with cows?” Cindy hit Jess in the face with a cushion.
“Thanks for comparing me to a cow!” They both laughed and stared out into the darkening sky.
“When do you think you’ll go?” Jess asked.
“Not sure yet. maybe I might wait until after the harvest.” Cindy answered.
“Whenever you decide to go it’ll be okay.” Jess told her. Cindy nodded. They both sat there and watched the stars slowly fill the sky.
“So what do we know?” the Emperor asked. He was seated at the head of a long table. Immediately to his left was the Arch-Wizard, and to his right was the new Chancellor. Further down the table were various governors, advisors, and military commanders. Opposite him at the other end of the table was the Seer who was wrapped in black robes.
“To the east of my province the land has blackened, and it seems to be spreading. Several towns and villages have been engulfed by this blackness. We’ve also had reports of garns attacking towns.” the Governor of Antearl reported.
“Garns? Aren’t they the foot-soldiers of the Shadow Lord?” the Chancellor asked.
“Yes they are.” the Emperor confirmed.
“I’ve heard reports the same thing is happening in the south. The kingdoms below Yastell are being overwhelmed by garn armies and other creatures. There have also been rumours of large swathes of land also succumbing to this blackening, as though the land itself is rotting away.” the Commander of the Empire’s Southern Armies added. The Emperor looked directly at the Seer.
“Can you enlighten us at all with what seems to be happening?” the Emperor asked her.
“The Shadow World is trying to consume ours, and it’s speed is increasing.” the Seer replied.
“Can anything be done?” the Arch-Wizard asked.
“Possibly.” the Seer answered.
“Is there anyone that can help us?” the Emperor asked her. The Seer smiled.
“There is one, but she’s probably the last person you would want to see.” she replied cryptically. The Emperor sighed and sat back in his seat with a wry smile on his face.
“Ask her to come.” the Emperor commanded. Everyone at the table looked at him in surprise, except the Seer.
to be continued…
About time I began my sequel to the Sky-Pirates of Durn…
It’s Pride Month! Why not support a queer writer – Ko-fi 🏳️🌈
The next morning I awoke feeling quite excited about seeing my first patients. My housekeeper Mrs Stewart brought up some breakfast and I got quickly dressed and ready to face the day. That first morning I saw only two patients. A woman had a sprained wrist, and a man in his sixties had a bad cough. I suspected he had had that cough for quite a while. As soon as he left my surgery, I saw through the window he immediately lit up a cigarette and walked off. I had told him to cut down on smoking. I also recommended he go to the mainland for some further tests. He shrugged that idea off. I was then about to have lunch when a man burst through my door. He smelt strongly of fish, so I reckoned he was a fisherman, but many of the men that lived here were.
“Doctor, you’re needed on the beach!” he exclaimed. I grabbed my bag and followed him out to the beach. A fishing boat was there with a large group of people assembling in front of it. I ran up to them and they parted to let me through. There on the ground lay a man. He was very pale and completely wet. I kneeled in front of him and found there were no life signs.
“He fell off the boat into the sea. He suddenly thrashed about. When we brought him back onboard he seemed to be dead.” One of the fisherman told me. I nodded at his words. When I moved his head, I was rather taken aback: the left side of his face had deep claw marks down it. It was something I had never seen before.
“Was there something in the water? Was he attacked?” I asked hurriedly.
“No, the claw marks were there when we brought back onboard. We didn’t see anything else in the sea.”
“Have you ever seen anything like this before?” All the fishermen shook their heads.
“No. I have no idea what caused that.” Another fisherman said. I stood up.
“Can anyone help me take his body back to my surgery?” I asked. Thankfully plenty of them volunteered to help, and we quickly got his body back to my rooms. I had them lay the body on a table.
“Is he dead Doctor?” One of them asked. I nodded gravely.
“What’s his name?” I asked.
“Was he married?” They all nodded. “Can someone fetch his wife, so she identify him?” Not much later Catriona, the man’s wife, was brought in. She looked down at his body rather sadly, but did not say a word. When I asked if it was her husband, she nodded silently. After that she left without saying a word, which struck me as odd, but I was new to all this.
The rest of the afternoon I examined Leslie Scott’s body. The claw marks went down the left side of his face and down his neck. As ghastly as they were, I knew these claw marks hadn’t killed him. When he had been brought ashore there was water in his lungs. He had drowned, but whatever creature had clawed him could have possibly held him down in the water long enough to drown him. It was hard to know.
It was getting towards the evening when I had a visitor. It was a tall thin man wearing a long black gown. He had short dark hair and wore glasses. He smiled at me.
“Forgive me, I was going to introduce myself a wee bit later, but since we’ve had a tragedy I thought I should come around to see you now. My name is the Reverend Ewan Cameron. I’m the minister here.” He held out his hand. I shook it, but found his hand was cold and clammy.
“I am Doctor James MacMann.” I replied.
“Aye I know.” He replied smiling. “So how soon will you release Leslie Scott’s body to his family?” I was rather taken aback by the suddenness of the question.
“Well, I want to have the marks on his body looked at. There are deep claw marks on the left side of his face. I would like to have his body sent to the mainland to be examined.” I told him. He frowned at me.
“Surely there’s no need for that Doctor. The marks were probably from his face being dragged across the side of the boat.” Revered Cameron assured me. I shook my head.
“To me they look like claw marks.” I insisted.
“And what could make marks like that?” He asked.
“I have no idea.”
“Then you don’t know what they are. I have been here for a while now, and sometimes things aren’t what they seem.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Just what I said.” He replied. I noticed a flicker of anger in his voice. “Are these claw marks what killed him?”
“No he drowned.” I admitted. His eyes looked heavenwards.
“Then if those marks had no bearing on his death, surely they don’t really matter.” He pointed out.
“But something may have held him down.”
“I see. You think some sea monster clawed him and dragged him down to this death?” He asked sarcastically.
“That’s not what I said.”
“Do I have to get the Laird to force you to release the body?” He threatened.
“You can try, but he’s away at the moment.” Just as I said that, another tall man walked into the surgery. He had greying short hair and a beard. He was wearing a tweed jacket and a kilt. He held out his hand.
“Hello Doctor, I am Alasdair Ferguson. The Laird of this island.” He had a deep voice.
“Your son, Jamie, told me you were away.” I replied feeling rather surprised. I shook his hand.
“I just got back today. Sorry I wasn’t here to greet you when you arrived.” The Laird told me. I knew of no boat arriving today. I felt mystified.
“Perhaps you can help me. The Doctor will not release the body of Leslie Scott.” Reverend Cameron stated to the Laird. The Laird smiled and looked at me.
“There are strange claw marks on his body. I want the body sent to the mainland to be examined.” I told the Laird.
“Are these claw marks the reason he was killed?” The Laird asked.
“No he drowned.” The Reverend shot in. The Laird looked at me.
“That’s not certain. Whatever made the claw marks could also be responsible for his death.” I explained.
“Yes some sea monster killed him apparently, or so the Doctor thinks.” The Reverend responded.
“I never said that.” I replied.
“Surely if he drowned, it would be better to release the body now to his family, so they can bury him.” The Laird suggested.
“I would rather not until I can be sure of what killed him.” I replied. The Laird looked displeased at my reply.
“You have only just started here Doctor. Do you really want to start off on the wrong foot with both myself and the Reverend here? On your first day? You may end up having a shorter stay on this island than you expected.” The Laird threatened.
“Fine. I will release the body.” I relented. The Laird smiled.
“Be sure to put drowning as the cause of death on the Death Certificate. Please don’t mention the claw marks.” The Laird advised. “You must come for dinner sometime Doctor.” With that he left.
I wasn’t happy about giving in, but I’d rather not have gone against the Laird the first time we met. As he advised I put drowning as the cause of death on the Death Certificate and nothing else. The body was taken away and the Reverend looked at me with a smug look. I would certainly never forget that look, nor would I ever forgive it.
My name is Doctor James MacMann . I received my education and training at the University of Glasgow School of Medicine. Not long after I had received my qualifications, a position for a doctor became available in the island of Roake in the Hebrides. Roake is a small island yet with a large enough population to warrant the need for a doctor. As I was young and keen to carve out a place for myself in the world, I decided to take the position. I initially only planned to be there for a year or so, as I was used to city life and thought I would find being on an island far away from anywhere else too dull and quiet for my tastes, but I could always decide to stay there longer if I so desired.
So it was in the late summer of 1930, that I found myself traveling by boat to Roake. It was an unpleasant journey for me. I was not used to being on boats and that journey was made while a storm passed over us. I found myself heaving over the side of the boat frequently due to the savage pitching the boat made in the swirling seawater. Maybe I should have taken that journey as a warning. Maybe I should I have realised this post was not for me and should have immediately got the boat to turn back to the mainland. However, I failed to heed this warning and instead endured the jeers from the sailors who laughed at my inconvenience. “Do you need something to settle your stomach Doc?” one of the sailors asked before he broke into uncontrollable laughter.
By the time we arrived at Roake, the wind and the sea had died down, and I had regained my composure. When I set foot on the wharf at Roake, I was so pleased to be back on the terra firma I found renewed joy and excitement in my new post. The township we had come to was small. There were a couple of stores, a church, a few old houses and other buildings. I assumed my new surgery was in one of the these buildings. At the end of the wharf was a young man in his early twenties I guessed. He was wearing a tweed jacket and a kilt and had dark brown hair and pale skin. I walked up to him carrying some of my bags.
“Are you Doctor MacMann?” he asked as I got nearer.
“Aye.” I replied. He smiled and held out his hand.
“My name is Jamie Ferguson. I am the son of the Laird. My father sends his apologies, but he is away at the moment and is sorry he cannot meet your arrival. He sent me in his place.” He informed me. I shook hands with him. “You’re younger than I was expecting.”
“Aye, I’m only just starting out as a doctor, but I can assure you I am fully trained to deal with any ailment that may arise here.” I assured him. He nodded and smiled.
“I’ll show you to your surgery and your accommodation.” Jamie offered.
“Please lead the way.” I told him. He led me through the town until we came to an old stone house. On the way various locals took a long look at me, as if they were already making judgements about my abilities from the way I looked. My lodgings were above my offices. Though it was still summer, inside the building felt cold. I wondered what it would be like in winter. “So what happened to the previous doctor?”
“He retired and headed back to Edinburgh, I think. He was here for many years. It was a great relief to all the islanders that the vacant position was filled so quickly. We were all worried it might be sometime before we got a new doctor.” Jamie told me. For better or worse I was here now. It was after 9pm and the sun was finally setting. I decided to retire early as I was tired and feeling drained from my travels. I intended set up the practice tomorrow morning and see if there were any patients needing my assistance. For now, I collapsed onto my bed and slept the rest of the night away wondering what the morning would bring.
A month had passed since Sadeya had agreed to work for Will Letgar. Everyday she helped with loading and unloading stock, as well as accompanying him on supply runs occasionally. She also made friends with his daughter Losa, who often worked alongside her. It felt strange to have a regular place to sleep and eat without having to constantly to keep an eye on others around her. Gradually she let down her guard.
One afternoon, after loading Will’s light freighter, Losa and her climbed up to a roof to sit in the sunlight and have some food. Losa was around the same age as Sadeya, and had long brown hair and rather pale skin. She sat cross-legged while she ate and watched Sadeya.
“So how old were you when you became a Jedi?’ Losa asked.
“Well I was very young when I was taken to the Jedi Temple. I don’t exactly remember when. That’s when my training began. Technically I never became a Jedi. At least not a knight. I was still a padawan when the Purge happened.” Sadeya answered.
“So what happened in the Purge?”
“My master and I were with some clone troopers on the planet Ivol. There were Separatists there. We were in the middle of a battle when our troopers suddenly turned on us with no warning. They shot Master Ordol in the back. Terrified, I just ran away as fast as I could while our own troops shot at me. I was lucky to escape. I was so confused. I didn’t know why they had suddenly turned on us. Later on I found it had happened to all the Jedi.” Sadeya explained.
“The Emperor says the Jedi tried to kill him and take over the galaxy.” Losa stated. Sadeya gave her a brief uncertain look.
“I find that hard to believe.”
“My father doesn’t particularly like the Empire and he always told me to be wary of what anyone from the Empire says.”
“Wise words.” Sadeya remarked.
“Do you have a laser sword?”
“Yes I have a lightsaber, but I try not to use it.”
“Can I see it sometime?” Losa asked.
“What else can you do?” Losa asked. Sadeya smiled. Using the Force, she picked up the metal food container that sat by Losa and moved it over to her own side. Losa smiled. Without warning, an Imperial Shuttle passed directly overhead. Sadeya’s feeling of calm suddenly gave way to panic. She quickly stood up looking terrified. Losa saw her swift change of mood.
‘What’s the matter?” Losa asked.
“An Imperial shuttle!” Sadeya shouted out.
“They come to this spaceport sometimes. Don’t worry about it.” Losa replied. Sadeya quickly packed up her things and jumped down.from the roof. Losa quickly followed her looking confused. “You really don’t need to worry about this.” But her words were unheeded. Sadeya ran to their house. Once inside, she went to her room and started packing her things up. She had stayed here too long, and now they had found her. She could feel the Sith presence aboard that shuttle.
“What are you doing?” Will asked her, when he found her packing up.
“I need to run. The Empire is here.” she replied.
“Relax. It’s all in your head.” Will told her. Sadeya turned around with her bag packed. Both Will and Losa stood before her in the doorway.
“I really need to go now. I’m putting you both in danger by being here.” she informed them.
“Please stay.” Losa pleaded. There was a sudden loud banging on the front door.
The three Star Destroyers dropped out of hyperspace. Before the small fleet was the medium-sized green planet, known as Kangen. Taran looked out at the planet from the bridge of the Resolve, the command ship of the fleet. It was a beautiful looking world reminding her of her own homeworld that lay on the other side of the galaxy. She thought about the test she was about to face. This was her first assignment as an Imperial Inquisitor. The Emperor had great faith in her, but this mission was to test her and she didn’t want to disappoint him. She wanted to be a good and faithful servant to him. His teachings had filled the gaping black hole in her.
“According to our sources the Jedi you are hunting was last seen on this planet.” Captain Renlar informed her. She nodded.
“Thank you Captain.” She acknowledged. “What else do we know about this planet?”
“Well according to the intercepted transmissions, there seems to be a small rebel base operating from here. The base is probably giving refuge to the fugitive Jedi.” The Captain informed her. She noticed when he said the word “Jedi” there was a slight sound of disgust in his voice. She had been trained to notice these things.
“What else is on this planet?” She asked looking out into the black void through the bridge windows.
“There are a few cities, though this planet has only grudgingly helped the Empire. Their sympathies might be more with the Rebellion, which is probably why they’ve allowed a Rebel Base to operate there.” Taran nodded again at his words.
“And for that they will pay dearly. Tell the Captain’s of the other Star Destroyers to start orbital bombardment immediately.” She ordered.
“Even the cities?” Renlar asked with a look of distaste.
“Yes, even the cities. They have allowed both the Jedi and the Rebels to be on their planet. They are all guilty of treason.” Taran confirmed. The Captain briefly bowed his head and resumed his duties. “And ready my shuttle!” Taran looked out at Cangen as the two Star Destroyers began to position themselves above the planet’s atmosphere. Without warning the turbolasers opened fire falling onto the surface below in a continuous stream. Violent explosions covered the surface of the planet. It was glorious.
Taran reached out with the Force. She could feel the waves of terror coming from the planet’s terrified inhabitants, but that wasn’t what she was searching for. She continued reaching out in her mind, searching… until she found it. There was another force user on the planet and she felt them. She now knew exactly where they were. She spun round.
“I have found the Jedi. I require a squad of stormtroopers to come with me.” She informed the Captain.
“Shall we cease bombardment?” He asked. She looked at him like he was a fool.
“No. Continue with it until I give the order.” She then left the bridge with her black cloak billowing behind her. Renlar nodded and watched her leave. He was glad she was leaving the Resolve. Though he hated the Jedi, he hated the Sith and their followers even more.
Taran was a young child when the Clone Wars began. She grew up on the small planet Cuxhil which lay near the Outer Rim. For most of the war the planet was left untouched having little strategic value to either side. However towards the end of the war, the planet was unexpectedly invaded by the Separatists for a quick grab of resources desperately needed for their battles against the Republic.
Taran’s home village was in the direct path of the invasion and was virtually wiped of the map. Taran survived by hiding in the ruins and wondering what had happened to her parents. The Republic took some time to respond to this attack as their forces had been tied up in many other conflicts. When the Jedi and Clone Troopers finally arrived, the Separatist forces were quickly defeated and driven off the planet. The Republic helped rebuild and repair what they could. Taran came out of hiding to find her parents, and virtually everyone else she knew, were dead. The Jedi there discovered she was Force-sensitive and arranged to have her sent to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant for training, however by the time she got there the Jedi had been destroyed and The Republic had now become The Empire.
The Emperor had the remaining Force-sensitive children taken to another planet near the Galaxy’s Inner Core and trained in the Dark Side. Taran quickly emerged as a talented Force-user.
The Lambda-class Imperial Shuttle sped towards the planet. Taran focused on the presence of the Jedi. They were in the northern hemisphere. Possibly hiding out in some natural caves in a mountainous area of the planet, maybe even the Rebels were there with them.
The shuttle landed near some rocky outcrops. The ramp slowly dropped and Taran and a squad of stormtroopers walked down onto the planet’s surface. Not far from them were a group of hills that consisted of mostly bare rock. Taran’s black cloak swayed in the hot breeze. She looked to the south and saw the entire horizon engulfed in fire from the turbolasers launched from the Star Destroyers. Seeing the complete devastation at ground level was frightening, even to her.
Turning to the hills she saw no evidence of a Rebel base, but she could still feel the presence of the Jedi. They were very close. Leaving the stormtroopers to guard the Shuttle, she walked forward into the hot wind focusing on the Jedi. She walked up a hill and followed a path that seemed to wind around it which led to a series of caves. Reaching out she could feel the Jedi was in the left one. She cautiously walked into it and soon found herself striding down a smooth tunnel. Inside there were a number of rooms that were obviously a living space for someone. When she came to the last one, there in the middle of the floor was a women in brown robes sitting cross-legged on the floor. She seemed to be meditating. She had long brown hair that was turning grey and was probably slightly taller than Taran. She looked to be in her mid-forties.
“Olen Layfar?” Taran asked with a commanding tone. The woman opened her eyes and looked directly at her.
“I could feel you coming. As soon as you arrived in this system, I knew you were here. I didn’t see the point in running.” The Jedi said. Taran looked down at her with hate.
“You will regret that!” Taran answered. Olen looked at her with a bemused expression.
“I’m surprised they sent one so young as you to find me.” She said sizing up Taran. “Is all that devastation out there for me?”
“For you and the Rebels.” Taran answered while gripping her lightsaber.
“Rebels? There are no Rebels here. They’ve never been on this planet as far as I’m aware.” Olen informed her.
“Our intelligence said there is Rebel activity on this planet.” Taran replied.
“Maybe your intelligence was giving you false information to manipulate you in committing the atrocity you’ve now done. All those people killed for what? To punish them for something that wasn’t their fault?” Taran felt nothing but hatred and contempt for her.
“More Jedi lies!” Taran answered her. Olen just shook her head sadly.
“I see there’s no point in using reason with you.” Olen stated. Taran ignited her lightsaber. The red blade hummed above the seated figure of Olen.
“Either you surrender to me now or meet your destruction.” Taran told her.
“I will not surrender to you, and you will have to destroy me.” Olen said defiantly.
“If that is your destiny.” Taran replied. Taran quickly swung the lightsaber down onto the Jedi, but she dodged it with surprising grace and then ignited her own lightsaber while standing up. It had a bright green blade.
So it would be a fight to the death, then.
The lightsabers clashed. Taran tried to strike down her opponent, but Olen was too good at deflecting her blows. Olen narrowed her eyes.
“You are full of hate and anger. How can one so young be so full of hate?” Olen asked as she withstood more attacks from Taran’s lightsaber. Taran didn’t respond, but instead redoubled her efforts to overcome Olen’s defences. Olen began to apply more power to her blocking, forcing Taran back into the corridor. As Olen followed her, she began to counter Taran’s attacks with her own. Whenever Taran tried to stand her ground, she was forced back by the strength of Olen’s attacks.
“You are outclassed here, but I don’t want to kill you. Maybe you should consider leaving.” Olen advised her.
“You don’t know the power of the Dark Side.” Taran responded trying to hold her ground.
“Are all you followers of the Dark Side programmed to say that?” Olen asked her. Taran just grunted back. One more thrust from Olen led them both outside of the cave. In the distance Olen could see the Star Destroyers in the upper atmosphere raining down destruction onto the planet’s surface only a few miles away. The hot wind was rising.
“You brought all this destruction here just to find me?” She asked critically.
“It allowed me to locate you.” Taran admitted as the lightsaber hummed in her hands.
“Whatever the cost?” Olen asked pointedly.
“All methods to locate and destroy the last remaining Jedi will be used.” Taran informed her. Olen just shook her head sadly and then made another attack at Taran.
“You know what’s unfortunate? Underneath all that hate in you, there is still a good person in there. I can feel it.” Olen said after Taran parried her blow.
“I must obey my master!” Taran stated.
“If you let go of all that hate. I could train you.” Taran spat at Olen when she suggested this.
“A Jedi train me?” Taran looked at her incredulously while striking her lightsaber in anger. “You Jedi are the reason why I serve the Emperor! He has shown strength, while all the Jedi have only shown weakness!”
“Your mind has been poisoned by him.” Olen replied as she parried a thrust from Taran.
“If it wasn’t for the Jedi, my parents would be alive!” Taran screamed at her. Olen frowned.
“What do you mean?” she asked her.
“The Jedi couldn’t stop my planet from being invaded by the Separatists. The Jedi did nothing. It was days before they showed up, and by then my parents and everyone I knew were dead. So you and your Order are to blame!” Taran informed her as she struck angrily and Olen deflected her blows.
“It was a galaxy-wide war. We never had enough resources to protect everyone. We couldn’t be everywhere. I’m sorry your planet got invaded by the Separatists, but there were many tragedies like this through the war, and you can’t blame the Jedi for this.” Olen explained. As they got further away from the caves, Olen noticed the fire and destruction from the Star Destroyers was getting closer.
“Then who is to blame Jedi?” Taran taunted her.
“If you’re looking for someone to blame, you should blame your master, the Emperor. He was playing both sides to gain more power. The Clone Wars wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for his machinations. Those Separatists that invaded your world were ultimately taking orders from him.” Olen informed her. Taran looked enraged at her. She launched a violent flurry of blows onto Olen with such force that it caught Olen by surprise, and she found herself backing away.
“You lie!” Taran cried vehemently. “The Emperor ended the conflict and brought peace to the galaxy!”
“Yes he brought “peace, once the galaxy was his to control after destroying the Jedi and all serious opposition to him.” Olen said while backing away from Taran’s relentless blows. “It was his fault, and he has turned you into his own instrument of evil doing acts of destruction in his name, when it was his own hunger for power that resulted in the death of your parents, and many others on both sides.” Olen was able to strike back. She saw a moment of hesitation and indecision in Taran’s movements and tried to force her back again, but then Taran renewed her attack.
“No I don’t believe you!” Taran cried. Olen saw the Star Destroyers getting even closer. The heat from the blasts was rising. Taran’s long dark hair was blown around her head like a dark halo.
“Are you aware your forces are getting closer? Are they coming for you too? Has your master betrayed even you?” Olen asked her. Taran looked to her side. Olen suddenly saw the concern in Taran’s eyes.
“They weren’t meant to come this far north!” She turned to face Olen. “I should kill you quickly then.” She launched another violent onslaught at Olen that she parried. Taran held out one hand and Olen found herself abruptly pushed back towards the caves. Taran advanced on her.
“You know my words are true. Your master is not on your side. He has manipulated into becoming this monster and he will dispense with you when you’re no longer needed.” Olen warned her. Again she saw the indecision on Taran’s face. “Come away with me! I will train you. I will help you get rid of all that hate you carry in your heart. It is eating away at you.” Taran looked at her and then with a look of resolve, she renewed her attacks. The Jedi was stripping away the layers inside her. She could feel the old hurts, and the gaping black emptiness inside her. It was making her feel naked. She had to make it stop.
“There is no saving me.” she said as spun around catching Olen by surprise. Taran’s red blade plunged straight into Olen’s chest. Olen dropped to the ground with a look of surprise on her face. Her lightsaber fell to the ground. Taran then dropped to her knees beside the dead figure seeing the gaping hole left in her chest. For the first time since she was that small frightened child living in the ruins of her home tears ran down her face. She started to cry as the world around her exploded. She cried for her lost childhood, her dead parents, and the evil she had done in their name. Taran continued crying out as the turbolaser blasts got ever closer.
She had followed her orders: the Jedi was dead, but she hadn’t passed the test.
I originally wrote and published this story on my blog in three parts in late 2018. I’ve damaged my lower back again, so I thought I would re-edit this story rather than write anything new at the moment, as the pain is making it hard to think.
I love Star Destroyers by the way…
Please support this blog (you know you want to) – Ko-fi 🙂
Bronwyn and her group of fellow adventurers had come to this small town to find employment. Their funds were running low and they needed supplies. Unfortunately for them, there seemed to be few well-stocked dungeons around these parts for them to explore, or more precisely, plunder. When they first arrived, a town official had employed them to take care of the town’s “rat problem”, which seemed like overkill for them until they found out that the “rat problem” turned out to be large bipedal intelligent rats that lived in some tunnels under the town. It turned out the problem the town official had with these rats was that were very good thieves, rather than the spreaders of pathogens everyone had assumed they would be. In the end Bronwyn’s party begrudgingly slaughtered them all, but it was one of those jobs that raised more questions than answers and which left a bad taste in all their mouths. Still a job is a job, and they got well paid for it.
Upon receiving payment, the first thing Bronwyn did was to find some new armour. She went to the town’s only blacksmith only to find him trying to sell her the skimpiest set of chain-mail she had ever seen. It came in two pieces. The top part just barely covered her breasts, while the lower part also revealed far too much for her liking. Even her underwear provided better coverage than this mail. The blacksmith insisted it provided the same armour bonus as any other suit of armour he had, but Bronwyn was still unimpressed. Dungeons on the whole tended to be damp, cold, and draughty and wearing armour like this seemed terribly unsuitable for it. The blacksmith also insisted, as he leered at her, she could show off her “attributes” as well get full protection from the armour. The last place Bronwyn wanted to show her “attributes” was a cold draughty dungeon full of monsters, thank you very much. To his lasting disappointment, Bronwyn instead opted for a set of full plate-mail, and also got an even larger sword.
Now it was the evening and they were all in a bar looking for some more employment, and wondering how long it would be until the nightly bar room brawl would break out. Bronwyn sat there in her new gleaming armour watching out for dark hooded strangers lurking in the corners of the room. Across from her was Fingers the Halfling. He had bought a set of new knives and was busily cutting up the table in front of him. No one was sure how he had acquired his name. Beside Bronwyn was Rachel with her long dark hair and dressed in black leather armour. She was the youngest in the party and was originally Bronwyn’s ward. Bronwyn did her best to keep her on the right path, but Rachel just couldn’t stop pilfering things, usually things she didn’t need. Bronwyn didn’t even notice her doing it most of the time. On the other side of her was Aalen, an elven ranger. Aalen considered all other races to be “sub-elven”, and all her senses were incredibly sharp. There wasn’t anything she couldn’t see or hear in her general vicinity. The last member of the party was over at the bar chatting up some random stranger. Her name was Zana, and she was a dark elf wizard. Though on the face of it she seemed nice, Bronwyn reckoned she was at least as evil as Fingers, maybe even a lot more. Bronwyn sighed. How did she end up being with these people?
“Ahem.” Said a voice beside her. “Perchance are you looking for some employment?” Bronwyn looked around to see a tall man wearing robes and a long pointed hat. Obviously a wizard. Bronwyn sighed again.
“Yes we are.” She confirmed.
“Do you mind if I sit with you?” He asked.
“Yes, but I’m sure that won’t stop you.” Bronwyn replied. The man sat down beside Rachel. A little too close to Bronwyn’s liking. If that wizard wasn’t careful, Rachel would pilfer everything he had.
“I have a job for you.” He stated. Fingers grinned at him with his yellowed teeth.
“We cuts them up. We cuts them alls up.” Fingers said in his menacing soft voice. He then padded off to the bar. The wizard grimaced.
“What an odious little man. I take it he’s your thief?” The wizard asked. Bronwyn sighed again.
“No.” She replied. “He’s our cleric.” The wizard’s mouth sprung open in surprise. Yes Fingers was their cleric. She didn’t know what dark gods he actually worshiped, but at least he helped patch up the rest of the party when it was needed, along with her, and his turning of undead seemed more like making friends with them and convincing them not to attack the rest of the party, but it all seemed to work at some level, and at least he hadn’t killed the rest of them in their sleep yet.
“And I guess you’re a fighter of some sort?” The wizard asked her.
“No, I’m a paladin.” She informed him.
“I see. Well my name is Morgon the Only, and I require a group of adventurers to go to a local dungeon not far from here to acquire an artifact for me.” He stated. The three others left at the table nodded amongst themselves.
“Why can’t you do it? You look like a powerful wizard.” Rachel asked him. Morgon began clearing his throat.
“I can’t actually. The dangers I would face there might be too powerful for me to handle on my own.” He explained. Rachel pouted her lips.
“And yet you want a group of less powerful adventurers to go in there?” She asked pointedly.
“For you it will be different. If you go in there you will face creatures at your own power level. At most you might face a beholder maybe? But if I go in, there will be more powerful creatures there that I will encounter on my own.” He explained to her. Rachel sat up looking interested.
“You mean to say that depending on who goes in there they will have different encounters?”
“Yes.” Morgon confirmed.
“How does that work?”
“It’s just the way it is.” Morgon told her in a resigned way.
“But is there some weird god stocking dungeons full of monsters just before you go in?” Rachel asked disbelievingly.
“In a way, yes.” Morgon replied. Bronwyn sighed again. She would have to join in. There were obviously things Rachel didn’t understand.
“Imagine all your skills and attributes are numbers.” Bronwyn said. Morgon nodded, while Rachel screwed up her nose in incomprehension.
“Imagine beyond this world there is a sheet of paper with your name on it. On it is listed all your skills and how intelligent or strong you are, for example. All of these will have a numerical value with them. As you adventure more, some of these numerical values will increase, and you will get more of them. Now along with all these pieces of paper there is something that decides what we will encounter, depending on how powerful we all are and where we go. And that is how it all works.” Bronwyn informed her. Rachel just shook her head in disbelief.
“That’s just crazy.” Rachel replied. “Next you’ll say we’re all holograms.” The rest of them all laughed.
“Now that would be crazy.” Bronwyn agreed.
“I’ll see you again shortly.” Morgon said enigmatically as he handed Bronwyn a map with a set of instructions. He then wandered off and disappeared amongst the throng.
“Goodbye human.” the usually silent Aalen said. Bronwyn turned to Rachel only to see a large purse brimming full of gold coins in her hands.
“Where did you get that?” Bronwyn asked her in an authoritative tone.
“I found it.” Rachel lied.
“I really find that unlikely.” Bronwyn replied. She was about to say more when someone across the room smashed a tankard of ale over the head of another and then fighting ensued. The nightly bar room brawl had begun. Already Zana and Fingers were running into the melee. Bronwyn sighed again and picked up something to use as a weapon before she too ran towards the fight.
Tomorrow they would be leaving, so tonight they could have some fun.
I originally wrote and published this story here around four years ago. I thought it would be good to repost and update it. I had written it for a short story competition, but didn’t complete it in time due to technology issues I was having. Most of the names were from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign I was in at the time.
“Jedi? I’m not a Jedi.” Sadeya lied. Will raised his eyebrows at her words.
“You were using the Force to lift those containers into the ship. I saw you doing it. There is no way you could have lifted them by yourself. The stormtroopers were looking for a Jedi, just after you appeared seeking passage to escape the authorities. You’re going to tell me that was all a coincidence?” Will asked her. Sadeya looked down on the ground.
“Maybe it was.” she replied. Will laughed.
“You’re safe here. I’m not going to turn you in to the Empire. I just want to talk. Is that okay?”
“Fine.” Sadeya answered.
“Is Frifac your real name?” Will asked.
“No, my name is Sadeya Tatvea. I’m sorry for the deception. I don’t know who to trust.” Sadeya told him.
“That’s okay. You’re a particularly bad liar, if that helps. I’m guessing you would have been a padawan when the purge happened.” Sadeya looked up at him when he said this.
“Yes, my master was killed when our clone troopers suddenly attacked us. It happened with no warning. I ran as fast as I could and manged to evade their shots. They spent days searching for me. I hid in a small cave until I reckoned it was safe. I then stowed away in a transport and managed to blend into the crowds after landing at a spaceport.”
“Have you killed many others since you ran?”
“No only the one I killed recently. They attacked me and tried to steal what things I had left. I just suddenly felt angry and cut them down with my lightsaber. It’s never happened before.”
“So you’ve been on the run since the Republic became the Empire?”
“Yes I’ve been in hiding since then, waiting for the remaining Jedi to regroup and restore the Republic.” Sadeya replied. Will gasped.
“It’s been six years since the Purge. You’ve been on the run all that time? I would guess you’d be one of the last remaining Jedi, but maybe there are others out there. I think if they were going to restore the Republic, they probably would have done so by now.” Will informed her. Sadeya’s head was swimming. Had it really been that long?
“I guess I’ve lost track of time.” she admitted.
“I have a home at the next spaceport and a daughter who is around the same age as you. You’re welcome to stay there as long as you need. There will be a soft bed, food and shelter. You can even help me with my trade runs if you want. You could be useful. You’re still young, maybe you should think about creating a new life for yourself, rather than staying on the run forever, because eventually they will find you.” Will offered.
“Thanks.” Sadeya replied. Will nodded his head and headed back to the ship’s cockpit. At least she now had somewhere to stay for a while. That was the best prospects she had had for such a long time…