Title: Exile's Fall
Game: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Pairing: Female!Exile/Darth Sion
Disclaimer: Kotor II + all characters are © to Obsidian + LucasArts
But Aishi is © to me!
“Well, isn’t this great? We’re stranded on a moon that’s covered in jungle! And even better, said jungle is filled with ferocious beasts that would just love to tear us limb from limb and devour our flesh!” Aishi threw her arms into the air and began to pace back and forth, muttering something unintelligible under her breath. Atton stood a few paces away and watched in amusement. “You need to calm down, General.”
“Calm down? Calm down?! I blew up a mining facility, went to jail and crashed a shuttle twice on the same planet! And now I’ve crashed yet again, this time on some kriffing moon orbiting the planet that I need to get to, but can’t! Don’t you tell me to calm down, Bao-Dur!”
“Technically, I did the crashing. And you need to watch your language there, sweetie,” Atton tutted in a sarcastic tone.
She shot him an icy glare and he smirked.
Exile! All of a sudden, she clapped her hands over her ears and squeezed her eyes shut. “Don’t be so loud!”
I apologize for startling you, but you need to calm down. “Look, I already told Bao…”
I am aware of this, and for once the alien is right.
Atton and Bao-Dur exchanged confused glances. Who was she talking to?
“Fine! I’ll try to calm down! I’ve just been feeling so stressed lately…” her voice trailed off and she removed her hands from her ears.
Use the Force; let it flow freely through you.
“Would you kindly get out of my head?”
Aishi turned to face a very confused Bao and an amused Atton. She smiled. “Atton, you’ve got work to do, so get on with it. Bao, you come with me and we’ll explore the jungle. Move out!” As she began marching, Atton leant in to whisper something to Bao. “I think our ‘fearless leader’ has started on the path to madness.”
The Zabrak frowned, unsure of what to say.
“Just sayin’,” Atton shrugged and slipped away into the ship.
Aishi’s enthusiasm had soon died down and she was in a sour mood again. Trekking through the jungle in the pouring rain can do that to people. She let out a sigh, her breath forming a white cloud in the cold air. Bao-Dur tagged along behind and continuously fought off all kinds of insects that just loved to tear at his flesh with their tiny fangs. The Exile, completely unaware of this, remained unfazed by the miniscule war going on behind her. A low growl from the bushes warned her of an incoming attack and she snapped to attention. A maalraas leapt out at her, its merciless red eyes flashing. She dove out of the way, barely managing to escape unscathed.
Her reaction time was considerably slower without the Force.
The beast slammed into a tree and fell with a thud to the wet jungle floor. It remained unmoving for a few tense moments, then snarled and sprang to its feet, ready to attack again. She jumped back as it slashed at her with its extremely sharp claws, narrowly escaping, but not without a scratch. She bit her tongue to hold back a cry of pain and grabbed her injured arm.
The maalraas, angry that it had not yet killed its prey; whipped at her legs with its powerful tail, unbalancing her and knocking her to the ground. During the fall, her blaster had flown out of her reach, so she was now defenceless against the mighty beast.
Everything had happened so fast, that Bao had had no chance to do something, until now. He launched into a dive, tackling the maalraas into the mud and punched it repeatedly with his cybernetic arm, breaking its ribs with ease. The body went limp. Bao stood and wiped the blood from his face. “Are you alright, General?” Before she could respond, another maalraas jumped at her, successfully pinning her to the ground. It scratched her across the stomach, immediately drawing blood. She had fallen near her blaster and now picked it up and shot it in the head repeatedly, the bolts ripping through its skull. The now mangled body fell sideways and splashed into the mud. She would’ve kept at it, but Bao grabbed her arm and pulled her to her feet. Shaken, but not defeated, she limped away from the battle scene, clutching at her wound.
Later, Kreia entered the Exile’s mind, but this time with subtlety.
Exile… her voice was a ghostly whisper.
Aishi did not respond for a moment, then sighed and said, “What do you want?”
For someone currently so weak, your tone is strong and defiant.
“You didn’t come creeping into my head for a friendly conversation, Kreia. I ask again, what do you want?”If you had listened to what the Force was telling you, you would not be injured as you are now. Tell me, why do you ignore it so?
“I don’t need you to lecture me. I don’t want the Force, not again. All it brings is suffering and painful memories.”Ah, so it is fear that drives you to block it out? It was more of a statement than a question.“Go away.”She continued on in silence, every step causing an explosion of pain. She refused to use the Force; she would get through this without it.
Eventually, the two arrived at a deserted camp, the fire long extinguished. Some scattered medical supplies caught her attention and she bent over to pick up a medpac. Again, she was greeted by the familiar feeling known as pain, but she gritted her teeth and ignored it. “This place is so… eerie,” Bao-Dur pointed out, breaking the silence. Aishi crouched down and opened up the medpac, taking out a kolto patch and a cloth, setting aside the rest. It wasn’t long before the cloth was wet and she was able to use it to clean her wound. She started with the small one on her arm, removing all the blood and applying a kolto patch was all she needed. Before she could move on to her stomach wound, the sound of deactivating stealth-field generators filled her ears. She looked up to see about a dozen Mandalorians clad in armour of varying colours surrounding her and Bao in a tight circle. “Our leader wishes to speak with you,” one said in a heavily-accented version of Galactic Basic.
“Can’t you see that she’s hurt?” Bao protested.
“She can have her wounds treated at our camp. Now come before I have to force you.”
After a quick chat with Mandalore the Preserver, the Exile was escorted to the medbay and was left standing in the doorway alone. Apparently she was expected to treat her wounds on her own. She stood motionless for some time, until a Mandalorian wearing blue armour emerged from a small room connected to the bay. When he saw a tall woman with long white hair stained red, and blood seeping through her fingers as she clutched at a rather serious wound, he immediately rushed to her aid. “Are you alright?” he asked as he sat her down on one of the beds. She shook her head groggily. “What happened to you?”
“I… was attacked… by a – a maalraas. Two actually.”
He rummaged through the contents of a footlocker until he found what he was looking for. He gently pushed her down and examined the scratch marks. “Ouch. Do you need something for the pain?”
She managed a small nod. He injected a stim-shot into her side to help ease the pain. He then threw the now empty stim into a chute labelled “garbage compactor”. He pulled up her torn shirt a bit so he could access the wound. As softly as he could, he dabbed at the blood until it was as clean as he could get it. Aishi winced slightly, but was otherwise unhurt by his treatment. “Almost done,” he reassured her as he finished off binding the wound with spray-bandages. “Thank you… um-”
“-Zuka. You’re different from the others; none of them offered to help.”
“There’s a refresher in the back,” he said, gesturing at the room he had come out of. “When you feel ready, you can wash up, but don’t shower just yet. Also, you’re going to need a new shirt.” He opened a large locker and pulled out a black shirt with long sleeves. “It’s probably too big, but we don’t have any clothes meant for females.” He shrugged. “It’s only temporary, anyway. You can return to your ship and change when you’re feeling up to it.”
She smiled sleepily. “If you need anything, I’ll be outside, working on some repairs. This damn jungle is taking over everything.”
“Thanks again.” She yawned and closed her eyes, quickly drifting off to sleep.
Meanwhile, back on the Ebon Hawk, Atton had busted yet another hydro spanner whilst attempting to repair the damaged hyperdrive. He cursed under his breath and threw the useless tool over his shoulder. A loud clanking sound followed by irritated beeps suggested that it had hit T3-M4, the little astromech droid they’d picked up on Peragus. “Shut up,” Atton growled. He was in no mood for hearing complaints. “You shouldn’t have been in the way.”
T3 rolled away, still beeping irritably. He clicked on the comlink and asked Bao how he was going with finding the parts.
“I’m pretty sure I’ve got what I need. I’ll be down shortly,” he responded.
“Finally! Some good news! These repairs are getting nowhere!”
He abandoned the hyperdrive and decided to try his luck at fixing the damaged hull instead. He cradled the toolbox under his arm, opened the loading ramp and walked out into the open air. “Damn Dxun and its permanently gloomy weather.”
Atton placed the toolbox onto the grass and slipped back into the ship to grab a ladder. T3 beeped, causing him to turn quickly and accidentally hit him with the ladder. The little droid went flying and hit a wall. “What is with you and getting in my way?!” he growled. When he received no response he tried again. “Hello?”
Still no response.
He sighed and dropped the ladder, not meaning for it to land on his toe. “Ouch!” he exclaimed, instinctively grabbing his foot and jumping to stay balanced. “Can anything else go wrong?” He dropped his foot to the floor and walked over to inspect T3. “Are you okay?” he asked, waving his hand in front of the droid’s “eye”. He noticed for the first time that the blue light had dimmed and he could no longer hear the whir of the droid’s gears working. “Uh-oh…”
As she slept, Aishi dreamt of the dark presence that had been lingering in the back of her mind ever since she’d woken up on Peragus. It called to her. She could almost feel it, but it always seemed to be just out of her reach; teasing her, mocking her. Beckoning for her to follow.
She’d been having the same dream for some time, and it always ended the same way. With her, struggling against the dark shadow, before succumbing to its power.
But this time it was different.
This time, she heard a voice; cracked and mystifying. “Exile…” it said.
“Who are you?” Though her lips were moving, the words were not her own.
“I am darkness; I am pain. I am your nightmare and your dream. Come to me…”
“Where can I find you?” There was a slight longing in her voice, a longing for power. It was foreign to her.
“Korriban,” the voice whispered, seemingly coming from all directions.
“Korriban…” she repeated. She could feel the power, and she wanted it. She craved it.
When she finally woke, it was the morning of the next day. Bao sat by her bed and looked up when he heard her stir. “Good to see you up, General. I’m sorry that I couldn’t stay yesterday, Atton called me on the comlink, he said it was urgent. Apparently the hyperdrive is busted.”
She groaned inwardly.
“But don’t worry; I’m sure I can find the parts I need here.”
She forced herself to sit up and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. “Alright, you go scavenge for some parts, and don’t forget to ask first. We don’t want any trouble with these Mandalorians.”
“Understood, General.” He left the medbay.
Aishi cast the sheets aside and staggered unsteadily to her feet. She was still feeling slightly disorientated. Slowly, using the wall for support, she made her way into the refresher and closed the door behind her. She splashed cold water onto her face and scrubbed away the blood and dirt as best as she could. She then proceeded to dip her head under the running water to wet her hair. Once that was done, she tied her hair into a rough bun and grabbed the long-sleeved shirt that Zuka had given her. As gently as she could, she lifted her torn and blood-stained shirt over her head and hung it on a spare metal hook beside the basin. Next, she pulled on the black shirt and rolled up the sleeves so they didn’t hang over her hands. Now that she was clean and feeling better, she grabbed her shirt and opened the refresher door.
She stepped out into the rain and sighed. She had to prove herself to Mandalore before she was able to take the shuttle to Onderon; and now that she was injured, she was unable to do most things. “I’m sure I’ll find something to do that doesn’t require too much physical strain,” she muttered.
Somewhere in a dark chamber, a mysterious figure sat cross-legged, in a meditative trance.
He could feel the Exile’s emotions.
He could feel her pain.
And he drew power from that pain; that suffering. It made him feel whole when he was broken.
As he reached further into her mind, he found that same longing that he had. Though it was faint, weak. He somehow knew, that soon the time would come where that longing came alive, and she would follow his call to her destruction. He smiled in anticipation, his twisted soul finding pleasure in that knowledge.
When she came… he would be ready.
The Exile wandered aimlessly for a while, until she overheard a rather interesting conversation going on between two Mandalorians clad in blue armour. They both held rifles, but they were pointed downwards hinting that they were either off-duty, or slacking. They spoke in hushed whispers, so she moved a little closer to hear them better. “Have you heard?” one asked, his tone grave.
“Heard what?” the other answered with a question.
“Several Mandalorian patrols have been going missing of late. No one knows why.”
“That’s spooky,” the second said.
“Very. Especially since the disappearances have been happening in the vicinity of an old tomb. At least, that’s what the reports say.”
“You don’t think…”
“No,” the first interrupted. “The likeliness of the dead coming back to life and kidnapping Mandalorian patrols is extremely low.”
“But I’ve heard stories-”
“And you believe them? Come on... they’re nothing but a bunch of nonsense put together to scare children.” The first shook his head and sighed.
Aishi coughed politely to gain their attention. The two Mandalorians snapped to attention, but upon seeing who she was, relaxed immediately. “Excuse me, gentlemen… but would you be so kind as to show me where this tomb is located?”
After persuading the two Mandalorians to lead her to the tomb, the Exile set out, keeping a few paces behind. Both were still reluctant to actually set foot into the small clearing where the tomb was located, so when they reached it, she continued on alone. “Hey, wait!” one called out. She turned around just in time to catch a Mandalorian comlink as it flew toward her. “Contact us if you run into any trouble,” he said.
“Okay. And if I’m not back in an hour, return to camp and assume that something has gone wrong. Send a team, if you feel the need to. If Bao comes looking for me, tell him that I’m out with a Mandalorian patrol. I don’t want him worrying about me.”
“Affirmative,” the two said simultaneously. Satisfied, she turned back and ventured into the darkness of the tomb.
The first few minutes of exploring the tomb were uneventful; all she found was a few broken pots, some old and decaying Sith statues and some kind of sacrificial dagger. She left the dagger on its stand, in case removing it triggered a trap. As she moved through a dark corridor, her ears twitched slightly. Her sharp eyes scanned the surrounding walls, but found nothing. Still, she had that unnerving sense of foreboding lingering at the edge of her conscious thoughts. Without the Force, she couldn’t be sure if it was genuine or merely her mind playing tricks on her. “If you are unsure, always assume that you are being followed,” she muttered to herself. So, she proceeded with extreme caution, stopping every now and then to investigate sounds and movement she noticed. Eventually, she came to a fork in the path. “Hmm, which way should I go?”
Before she had a chance to react, an object dropped from the ceiling, releasing gas on impact. Tears sprung from her eyes and all of a sudden, she found it difficult to breathe. Her throat closed over and she choked on the noxious fumes. She collapsed to the stone floor, her body shaking violently.
She struggled against the darkness pulling her down, but failed to stop herself from losing consciousness.
Title: Exile's Fall