MOTF Book II: Ascension Chapter 13

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MOTF Book II: Ascension Chapter 13

Post by Emperordmb on Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:02 am

Nighthawk held the crimson blade of his lightsaber in front of him with both hands, pressing it against that of his friend and opponent, Darth Umbravon. When they had first arrived on Korriban, Umbravon had stood a few inches taller than him. Now they were around the same height at 1.65 meters tall, Nighthawk staring into Umbravon’s sulfuric yellow eyes with his own brown ones. Umbravon’s eyes almost always glowed yellow now, while it only happened to Nighthawk or Ignus on rare occasion. Curiously enough, Sangara’s eyes sometimes turned red when she drew upon the Dark Side of the Force. The blade lock continued for a few more seconds as Nighthawk altered his grip and point of intersection on his blade for greater leverage, and both Sith Acolytes pressed harder with the passionate fury of the Dark Side.

Suddenly, Umbravon pulled his blade back and stepped back a step. Nighthawk jabbed the tip of his blade forward like a spear, but it met nothing but thin air as Umbravon twirled around, evading the strike entirely. Nighthawk raised his blade to meet the strike at the end of Umbravon’s twirl, catching his blade so they were both pointed upwards at opposite angles. Nighthawk and Umbravon both brought the point of intersection close to the hilts of their lightsabers, each hoping to gain an advantage through leverage. Inexplicably, Umbravon crouched and rotated his blade so it was held horizontaly. Nighthawk stood as straight as he could, pressing his blade down upon Umbravon’s, fueling his muscles with the power of his hatred. Nighthawk seemed to be winning this second blade lock at first, but then he felt a surge of power course through Umbravon. Nighthawk watched as Umbravon channeled the force through his entire body and pressed upward, extending his legs and arms as far as they could go. Nighthawk was unprepared and staggered backwards under the force pressing against his blade. Before he could recover, his friend fell upon him in a blur of motion, transitioning from the aggressive power attacks of Djem So, to the even more aggressive erratic sequences of Juyo. Nighthawk was forced to completely fall back on the instincts and reflexes he had developed over the past two years of training in lightsaber combat, barely deflecting each of Umbravon’s lightning fast strikes as he desperately gave ground.

Try as he might to generate an offense, Nighthawk was too pressured under Umbravon’s relentless assault to do so. The next step Nighthawk took back was more of a half step than a full step, allowing Umbravon’s blade to extend further towards him, which was exactly what Nighthawk wanted. Nighthawk caught the edge of his friend’s blade along his own and slid his blade forward while directing his opponent’s away from his body. Nighthawk’s follow up overhand blow was evaded as Umbravon took a step back, but he immediately followed it up with a series of two handed power blows, each coming within a couple feet of Umbravon’s abdomen before he blocked them with tight efficient movements, seamlessly transitioning from Juyo to Soresu at a moment’s notice. Umbravon was in a slow retreat, not giving ground as quickly or desperately as Nighthawk had been a few seconds ago however. Nighthawk reasoned that Umbravon’s retreat was more tactical than desperate, falling back to evaluate his opponent’s technique and formulate a strategy for getting around it. Nevertheless, it did feel like he was pressuring Umbravon to at least some extent.

Nighthawk couldn’t help but feel jealous of Darth Umbravon’s powers, and frustrated that he himself could not reach those same heights as quickly. He did recognize however that Umbravon didn’t get by on raw talent alone. He had seen his friend train for hours on end. He had seen Umbravon try so hard to be perfect, even before he became a Sith. He remembered back on Innamorta once, when he was Fernin and Darth Umbravon was still Dylan, they had gotten wasted together off of Innamortan 7X alcohol, and he told Dylan that he deserved everything he had and would achieve in life. Even though he had been drunk, he had still meant those words one hundred percent, and even as a Sith in a competitive environment, he realized he still meant them. Despite his envy, Darth Umbravon was still his friend, and Nighthawk truly believed that he deserved to be a Sith Lord, and he hoped he would get the mantle he had worked so hard to achieve. And of course he also hoped Umbravon didn’t die in his duel with Darth Solu, because that would be absolutely devastating for him, Ignus, and Sangara. He had already arranged the duel with Solu, with some help from his mysterious acquaintance Darth Vanquil. Since then, he, Ignus, and Sangara were all helping Darth Umbravon prepare for the duel tomorrow. First, it had been Sangara, helping him practice his skills in Force combat. The two had spent the entire morning applying offensive and defensive Force abilities against each other. Now he himself was practicing dueling with Umbravon. He, Ignus, and Sangara had been taking turns sparring with him, and at this point they were all rather tired. But Nighthawk pressed on, hoping to achieve some degree of success against his friend, and hoping it would help prepare his friend for the duel that was to come.

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Darth Umbravon whipped his blade left to right in tight defensive movements, redirecting Nighthawk’s blade before it reached him. On the outside, he looked completely in control of the situation, seemingly deflecting all of Nighthawk’s blows without much difficulty, if not casually. Though that would appear to be the case to an observer, Umbravon was actually far more pressured than he appeared to be. Though Umbravon was indisputably the most powerful Sith and the greatest warrior among he and his friends, his friends were still talented duelists and powerful force wielders in their own rights, and they could at least hold their own in a lightsaber duel with him, even if the outcome was almost always in Umbravon’s favor. This time however, Umbravon had been training fiercely and intently all day long, and it was starting to take its toll on him. His powerful muscles were beginning to groan with protest with each strike he made. His heart began to pick up pace to meet the needs of a body slowly being pushed past its limits, and his lungs began to expand and contract quicker, though Umbravon took care not to let his breathing become uneven. Defending against the powerful thrusts of Nighthawk’s deadly Djem So offensive in such a state was a serious challenge for Umbravon. As Umbravon intercepted an overhand strike with his own blade, he grinned. He liked challenges.

Amidst the difficulty he was having in an offensive role, Umbravon projected an outward appearance of control, something he had started doing in his duels recently. It made his opponent’s overestimate him, hid any sign of weakness they might attempt to exploit, and made him look more powerful. In the competitive environment of the Sith, it was important to project an appearance of power and control to intimidate one’s rivals. Umbravon figured he’d stand a better chance of surviving on Korriban if his enemies were too afraid to attack him. It was more than that however. Tomorrow, he was going to face one of the greatest Sith Lords yet to be a Master, not an opponent he could simply power through with the greatest fury he could muster. The Sith Council had accused him of lacking control, refinement, and mastery. To defeat an opponent as mighty as the one he faced tomorrow, he needed to utilize all three of these things alongside his immense power, and he needed to project that outward to all those observing. He needed to prove to the Sith Council that they were wrong, that he was not some berserk beast acting on animalistic impulse. He needed to show them just how much control over his power he truly possessed. In some ways, he needed to prove it to himself.

Darth Umbravon deflected another devastating sequence of power blows levied at him by Nighthawk, utilizing his talents in Soresu to keep his friend’s offensive at bay. He wasn’t sure how long he’d last in this state in a duel of attrition, so he needed to find an opening to reassert himself offensively and bring an end to this duel. After another series of power strikes, Umbravon saw his opening when Nighthawk held his blade a little too far to his right. Seizing the opportunity, Umbravon held his lightsaber in his right hand and quickly flicked his blade at Nighthawk’s left side as he halted his retreat. The power duelist slashed his blade as quickly as he could to the right, knocking Umbravon’s blade to the side with forceful impact. The distance between them now shortened, Nighthawk stabbed his blade at Umbravon’s unprotected shoulder, but Umbravon pivoted on his feet, twisting his body and narrowly evading the stab. As Nighthawk pulled his blade to his left, Umbravon took his lightsaber in both hands and swung it to his own left with all of his might, catching Nighthawk’s blade a couple of centimeters away from his chest with his own.

Now in a position of physical leverage, Umbravon called forth upon his fury and unleashed it through his body. He felt the Dark Side of the Force surge through his mind and his body, rushing through his limbs like an empowering river. With a hard shove, Umbravon drove Nighthawk’s blade away from his body. Not missing a beat, Umbravon lifted his blade above his head and twirled with the momentum. By the time he was once again facing his friend, his blade was already crashing down towards his head from above. Nighthawk barely brought his blade up to defend himself in time, deflecting the blade to the side as he took a step back. Darth Umbravon followed up with a Form VII sequence, driving his unbalanced opponent into a quick retreat with a frenzy of furious blade work. He struck in a staccato pattern, randomly stabbing and thrusting at various parts of Nighthawk’s body with almost a malignant grace. Every so often, Nighthawk would throw himself back and attempt at a counterattack, but every time Nighthawk struck at him, Umbravon met Nighthawk’s strength with his own, and sent him staggering backwards before resuming his Form VII offensive. In one final offensive flurry, Umbravon suddenly integrated a Djem So power strike into his Juyo sequences, slapping Nighthawk’s blade to the side before stepping forward and holding his blade a couple of inches away from his friend’s neck.

“Excellent duel!” Umbravon said as Nighthawk stepped back and deactivated his lightsaber. “I see I’m not the only one whose been improving.” He saw Nighthawk bent over and clutching his knees, breathing heavily. He too felt tired after that intense duel. Umbravon could feel how much energy that display of physical combat had taken out of him, but he wasn’t done yet. “Ignus! You’re next!” Umbravon knew exhaustion was quickly falling over him, but he needed all the practice he could get before his duel with Darth Solu tomorrow, a duel he wasn’t entirely sure he would survive.

As Nighthawk walked over to stand by Sangara, Ignus slowly approached Darth Umbravon, clutching the elongated handle of his double bladed lightsaber in his hands. Umbravon took deep breaths as he called upon the Force to help him recuperate however much he could in the next few seconds. “I’m ready whenever you are my droogie.” Darth Umbravon watched as the twin blades of Ignus’s saberstaff flared to life a few meters away from him. Umbravon stared into Ignus’s blue eyes, waiting for him to make his move. They stood silently for a few more seconds, the only sound in the room being the hum of their lightsabers, and then, Ignus charged.

The two friends clashed crimson blades as Ignus flew at Umbravon with the fury of Juyo, unleashing a vicious series of quick slashes. Umbravon responded with a tight application of Soresu, deflecting Ignus’s blows as they came at him from a variety of different angles. His attack pattern was seemingly unconnected and very unpredictable, so Umbravon trusted his instincts, using the Force to anticipate many of Ignus’s strikes so he could deflect them. He realized he was having more difficulty defending against Ignus’s strikes than he had against Nighthawk’s. Exhaustion was taking it’s toll more and more on him as the exertion of physical combat continued.

Juyo had a devastating offensive, but it left openings for counterattack. Many masters of the Form adapted to this shortcoming, either integrating moves of their own, or utilizing elements from other forms to supplement Juyo defensively. Ignus was a very talented duelist for his age, and he utilized the defensive maneuvers of Soresu and the evasive maneuvers of Ataru so supplement Juyo, but his integration of the forms together was not perfect. Realizing this, Umbravon transitioned from the purely defensive Soresu, into the blend of offensive and defensive technique that was Djem So. He parried each of Ignus’s strikes before counterattacking with a series of powerful stabs and thrusts, prodding at weak points in Ignus’s defenses.

In response, Ignus altered his attack from the ferocious seemingly unconnected sequences of Juyo, to the more graceful move sets of Ataru, the fourth form of lightsaber combat. Ignus twirled his blades in intricate patterns. As Umbravon unleashed a series of overhand chops upon his adversary, Ignus responded with his own sequence of quick lunges and slashes. Umbravon protected himself from Ignus’s strikes with the parries of Djem So, while his opponent protected himself by using Ataru’s acrobatic maneuvers to evade his strikes, leaping and twirling away from each of Umbravon’s power strikes. Umbravon felt his strength going to waste as Ignus danced away from his offensive with a series of twirls, dashes, and acrobatic maneuvers.

Realizing he couldn’t overcome Ignus with the overpowering fifth form of lightsaber combat, Umbravon abandoned it for another. His offense took on a whole new ferocity as he unleashed his fury through the staccato sequences of Juyo. His blade was a ruby blur against the crimson web of light Ignus wove through the air with his saberstaff. Speed fell upon speed, fury upon fury, and blade upon blade. Two similar but different fast paced offensives collided. One was linked, graceful, and elaborate, and the other was wild, erratic, and seemingly disjoint. Umbravon stayed relatively grounded for the most part, only advancing forward or backwards as the ebb and flow of battle decreed. Ignus on the other hand seemed to be bouncing on the balls of his feet. He leapt left and right, forward and backwards, with the occasional spin or twirl along an imaginary axis, his saberstaff whirling around in his hands as he did so. Umbravon could feel most of his muscles groaning and burning in protest, but he ignored the pain and continued to drive his body harder and harder, fueling it with anger, the energizing drug of the Dark Side. His strikes grew faster and more forceful until he was driving Ignus into a retreat.

Ignus responded by transitioning from Ataru to Soresu, twirling his blades in a defensive barrier as he fell back under Umbravon’s relentless assault. Darth Umbravon continued to press forward, the power of the Dark Side fueling his every move. After practicing force combat with Sangara for several hours, he had dueled with her first, and then fought Nighthawk. He had saved Ignus last for a reason. One of Ignus’s primary forms in lightsaber combat was Ataru, and from what he had gathered, Darth Solu was a Form VI combatant. Thus, he figured facing Ignus in a state of exhaustion would be most reminiscent of the fight he would receive tomorrow. With his implementation of Juyo, Umbravon had Ignus resorting to the defensive Form III. He knew from experience that Ignus was highly proficient with Soresu, but he also knew his own talent with Juyo was greater. It would only be a matter of time before he overwhelmed Ignus’s defenses, assuming his body lasted that long.

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Ignus kept the hilt of his saberstaff close to his body, twirling it in broad arcs meant to intercept Umbravon’s blows as quickly as possible. Though his skill in Soresu was not as great as his skill with Ataru or Juyo, it was the most appropriate form for the situation he currently found himself in. Even exhausted, Umbravon was putting up one hell of a fight. He always put up a fight. In some ways, Ignus resented Umbravon’s power in the Dark Side. Ignus remembered his childhood. No matter what he did, he could never live up to the expectations of his parents. His sister Veroclyn on the other hand, was perfect in their eyes. It had been made painfully obvious from the moment Ignus was old enough to speak that Veroclyn was the crown princess, the heir who would inherit the throne. He had spent the first thirteen years of his life living in her shadow, never measuring up to her in the eyes of his parents.

He had escaped that when he left Innamorta to become a Sith, but he could not help but feel that now he was on Korriban, he wasn’t quite measuring up to Umbravon, the perfect Sith Acolyte in so many ways. Still, despite his jealousy, Ignus loved Umbravon like a brother. He considered Umbravon the best friend he had ever had, and he was happy for Umbravon’s success. He knew Darth Umbravon deserved the rank of Lord. Hell, Ignus knew he’d be more than a match for many of the Lords in single combat. Still, the first and only thing many of the Lords and Masters saw when they looked at Ignus, Nighthawk, Shorya, and even Darth Umbravon, was their age.

Ignus knew Darth Umbravon deserved to be a lord, and he wanted him to be prepared for the duel tomorrow so he would win, and of course, not die. Him holding back would do Umbravon no favors here. Ignus didn’t enjoy being outperformed by his friend all the time, so as long as he was supposed to give Umbravon a challenge, he would try his absolute hardest to win. Ignus continued to give ground, but at a slow pace, continuing to twirl his blades in defensive patterns. Suddenly, Umbravon’s weary muscles betrayed him and he overextended himself during a strike. Ignus took full advantage of this, slapping his blade aside and driving his right foot hard into the Shadikill’s chest. As Umbravon staggered back, Ignus spun around and swept Umbravon’s feet out from under him with his left leg. Umbravon tumbled backwards onto the floor. Now is my chance! Ignus thought to himself.

Ignus charged at his friend as he attempted to scramble back up to his feet, unleashing a frenzy of Form VII slashes and stabs upon him, forcing him back onto the ground. Still on his back, Umbravon scrambled backwards as Ignus brought his blade on him in a ferocious assault. Ignus watched as Umbravon desperately parried with Form III as he tried to regain his footing. Ignus continued to press his offensive. Suddenly, Umbravon slid to the left as fast as he could, trying to jump back to his feet before Ignus’s next sequence began. In response, Ignus transitioned back to Ataru, and flipped over Umbravon’s head, coming down on the other side of him with a graceful flurry, culminating with a punch to Umbravon’s abdomen that sent him sprawling once more. Ignus continued this assault, flipping twirling and spinning around Umbravon as he rained series after series of blows upon him. Each time Umbravon tried to rise to his feet, Ignus did some elaborate acrobatic maneuver, positioning him in the right place just in time to block Umbravon from rising. Ignus had Umbravon in his grasp this time, and he was going to win.

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Umbravon flicked his blade left and right desperately, in an increasingly challenging attempt to block all of Ignus’s strikes. His heart was throbbing now, his joints screaming in protest, and he was now sweating profusely. Ignus had him scrambling on the floor like a beast, completely in control of the situation. Umbravon struggled desperately just to hold him off. If he allowed himself to get stuck in such a position tomorrow, it would be humiliating, and it would almost certainly get him killed. As it was now, he had been trying to impress Sangara, who was watching the entire duel, with his combative prowess. And there Ignus was, driving him into a desperate retreat on the floor. If he was trying to Umbravon could feel the pride rolling off of Ignus through the Force. It angered him. He slowly began to maneuver his prone body towards the intersection of two of the walls. As he continued to repel Ignus’s assault and scramble backwards, his body continued to erupt in pain. His insides burned. It felt like his body was being eaten from the inside. Finally, Umbravon made it within a few feet of the corner of the room.

Umbravon gathered his emotion for one last burst of energy. Normally, Umbravon would suppress all of the fear and desperation as he had been taught to do at the prime academy, but he did not have the time to do so here, instead sucking in the fear with the rest of his emotion. Fear of defeat, fury at his more than disadvantageous position, frustration at his own weakness, love for Sangara whom he was trying to impress, ambition for the power and position he was seeking to attain, and always, the never-ending hatred of Arthur swelled within him. It may have been over two years since he had last seen Arthur, Arthur might not have been relevant to this situation in any way at all, but Umbravon’s hatred of him was a constant presence. It was an emotional state etched onto his soul, woven into the very fibers of his being. Darth Umbravon knew that nothing could or would ever quell his hatred for Arthur, not time, not “healing,” not understanding, not even death itself. And so it was that his undying hatred of Arthur sat at the core of a vortex of various emotions swirling within him. A storm of passion coalesced within him, giving him strength, power, and purpose. It formed a link between himself and the inexorable unlimited power that was the Dark Side of the Force. Darth Umbravon drew upon this link with all of the willpower and passion he could muster, channeling the darkness through his body and mind in one final burst. His mind became sharper and more focused, his body filled with a reserve of dark power. He felt his senses expand through himself, his opponent, and the time and space between them, and then, he knew exactly what he had to do.

Without warning, Umbravon threw himself backwards towards the corner of the room. Simultaneously, he lashed out with his weapon arm and sent his lightsaber flying through the air at Ignus’s face. As Ignus twirled out of the way, Umbravon twisted on the ground and pressed both feet against one of the walls before pushing off with all of his might, sending him sliding several meters away from Ignus. The Force still fueling his body, Umbravon leapt back onto his feet just as Ignus recovered and closed the distance between them. Moving too quickly for the eye to see, Umbravon charged at Ignus in a lightning quick blur, wrapping both hands around Ignus’s hilt in an iron grip, placing his left leg behind Ignus’s right, and kneeing Ignus in the stomach, all at the same time. Ignus instantly toppled over, and Umbravon fell on top of him, pressing his knee into Ignus’s abdomen, and twisting the handle of Ignus’s saberstaff as he did so. One of Ignus’s twin blades was now but a couple of inches away from his throat, and Umbravon was the one holding it there. It had been five seconds since he had thrown himself at the corner of the room. As the surge of Dark Side energy that allowed him to overcome his opponent abandoned him, Umbravon suddenly felt incredibly sore, exhausted, and weak. As he and Ignus rose to their feet, it took all the willpower Umbravon had to remain standing, rather than toppling onto the ground and passing out. He had never been so exhausted in his entire life, but with that exhaustion, had come the sweet and invigorating feeling of victory. Through victory my chains are broken. Umbravon knew that once he recovered from his current exhaustion, he would be stronger, more powerful, and less limited in his connection to the Force. With each significant victory, he could feel his power growing. He could only imagine the power he would attain after besting Darth Solu, assuming he didn’t die trying…

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Sangara was sitting in the spectator area of the sandstone arena, the same arena Umbravon had faced Gingus in two years ago. She could feel the heat of the midday sun of Korriban pressing down upon her. She could sense the excitement in the air as several other Sith, including a few members of the Sith Council observed. Sangara knew she wasn’t really at an arena. She knew she was asleep in her own bed, dreaming. Still, the dream felt so vivid, so real. It somehow felt more purposeful than most of reality. She glanced into the arena as two figures dueled. One was Darth Umbravon, clothed in all black, his eyes blazing yellow with fury, and his crimson bladed lightsaber in hand. The other Sith was a blue blur, leaping twirling, spinning and flipping through the air around Umbravon, the occasional flicker of a short azure blade lashing out at Umbravon.

The duel continued for a while, until they both found themselves separated by several meters. Darth Umbravon extended an arm and unleashed a conflagration of blue lightning at his opponent, but the other Sith leapt into the air, flipping and twirling in place like a blue ball, his limbs near invisible blurs. As the Lightning struck the blue blur, it was redirected to the side, whether with a lightsaber or the force, Sangara could not tell. Suddenly, the spinning blue blur flew at Umbravon, striking him straight in the chest with two feet and sending him sliding across the floor of the arena. The blue blur itself stopped several meters beyond him and began to levitate into the air, for once in the entire dream not twirling or twisting or spinning. Now, she was able to make the Sith out from behind as a short blue Nautolan, his blue tendrils dangling on the back of his head. The Nautolan slowly rotated in the air, revealing a set of fierce golden eyes that seemed to glow with an inner fire. Unarmed, the Nautolan extended both arms towards Umbravon and…

Sangara’s eyelids flipped open. She was back in her own bed. She shared living quarters with Darth Umbravon, Nighthawk, and Ignus. She didn’t need to look around the room to sense that all three of them were in there, just like she didn’t need to look around to sense that not all of them were asleep. Rolling over, she glanced over at Umbravon’s bed a few feet away from her own. Unsurprisingly, it was empty. Climbing out of bed, Sangara made her way outside, where she spotted Darth Umbravon sitting on the ground, staring into the crimson blade of his lightsaber as he repeatedly activated and deactivated it a foot away from his face. “Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” Sangara asked. “Especially with such a big fight tomorrow?”

Darth Umbravon turned his head towards her, revealing a smile spread out across his face. “Probably,” he admitted. “But I didn’t really feel like it.” Sangara rolled her eyes. If there was one thing she learned from three years of being his friend, it was that he was one stubborn person. Sometimes she found it cute, other times irritating, and other times strangely bold. Umbravon had told her several times that he had inherited his stubbornness from his parents. Of course, he only ever talked about his parents when he was alone with her. There were a lot of things he discussed only with her.

Sangara felt he had saved her life too many times. She felt weak for needing to be saved too many times. She had saved his life several times as well on fighting the Lightor, and fighting the Galactic Federation Triumvirate, however the amount of times they had saved each other’s lives was disproportionate in his favor. She knew Ignus and Nighthawk underestimated her a bit because of this, but Umbravon didn’t. She knew that he held a great amount of respect for her powers and abilities, even if they were not devoted to physical combat. He saw her as being more than almost anyone else did, sometimes including herself. In an effort to repay the number of times he had saved her life, she always tried to be there for him emotionally. On the outside, he demonstrated such confidence, but from what he had confided in her, he had insecurities, emotional turmoil, conflict. And whenever he confided his emotions and feelings in her, she always did her best to be there for support. “Is something wrong?” Sangara asked, her concern evident in her voice.

“It’s just…” Umbravon paused a second before continuing. “I- I’m not entirely sure whether or not I’m about to walk to my death.”

“Don’t talk like that Umbravon,” Sangara replied. “You are a very powerful Sith!”

“So is he,” Umbravon replied, a tone of sadness in his voice. “I’ve heard the things others have said about him. They say he’s a one man army. They say he’s a master of martial arts and the Force. They say he’s unstoppable. I don’t know if I can defeat him.”

“I know you can contend with him,” Sangara responded. “I know you have the strength and power to hold your own against him in single combat.”

“You’re just saying that,” Umbravon replied.

“No I’m not!” Sangara hesitated. It probably wouldn’t do Umbravon’s mind well to complicate things by revealing the dream she had. “I can’t tell you how or why I know you can fight him, but you have to trust me.”

“I do, but…” Umbravon paused for another second. “I’m scared Sangara.”

Sangara stepped towards him and embraced him, wrapping both of her arms around him. “So am I,” she replied, realizing all too well how true that was. Ever since she had lost her squad on the Shadikill coast, he had always been there for her. Every time she thought he was dead, a great pain festered within her. Losing him would be nothing short of emotionally excruciating. “But let me tell you something,” she continued. “You have made it through innumerable seemingly impossible situations before, and I have sensed your power. You have the potential to become greater than any other Sith on Korriban. You have such immense power! People like you don’t just die like this, not when you are still meant to become so much more.”

“Thank you Sangara,” Umbravon replied as he hugged her back. When she stared into his face, she saw his fear replaced by happiness and confidence. As touching a moment as it was, Sangara knew it had to end.

“Alright,” Sangara said as she stood up and began to walk back inside. “You really need to get some sleep Umbravon.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right,” he said as he followed her inside.

After thinking for a second, Sangara said, “I know a technique that can help you fall asleep.”

“Really?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she replied. “I use it all the time. Just lie down and I’ll be over there in a second.” Sangara walked over to her own bed, and pulled something out of one of her drawers, before walking back over to where Umbravon was now lying down in his own bed. “The technique I’m going to teach you requires you to focus your mind on something.”

“What do you focus your mind on, if I may ask?” Umbravon inquired.

“This,” Sangara replied, holding out a red crystal in her hand. It was a crystal he had given her in the mines of Innamorta over two years ago. She had kept it with her when she was captured by the Lightor, she had escaped the Lightor base with it, she had brought it with her to Umbravon’s 13th birthday party, and she had brought it with her to korriban.

“You still have that?” Umbravon asked, beaming from ear to ear.

“As long as I can help it, I’ll always have it,” Sangara replied. “Now find something to focus on. Do you have something?”

“Yes,” Umbravon replied, a faraway look in his eyes and a smile on his face.

“Now relax. Take a deep breath, clear your mind. Now close your eyes and focus your mind on that one thing. Focus…” Sangara began, pouring the influence of the Force into her words so Umbravon could better follow what she was saying. “Now draw the Force in and out of yourself like a breath, holding that one thing at the forefront of your thoughts as you do so. Resonate that focus with your drawing in and out with the Force.” Sangara could feel Umbravon’s consciousness starting to slip away.

“Now draw the Force into your mind just as you do your body,” she instructed. “You have manipulated the minds of others with the Force, now manipulate your own. Call upon the Force’s power to control your own mind. Focus your thoughts on that one thing as you suppress all other thought to a subconscious level.” Again, she felt him slip further into the alluring embrace of sleep. She felt most of his conscious thoughts wink out as his mind began to relax, save for that one focus.

“Resonate and synchronize the feeling of your focus with that of the Force being drawn in and out of you,” Sangara continued. “Now let that thought slip into your dreams, and sleeeeeeep.” With that, she felt Umbravon fall completely asleep. She didn’t know what he was focusing on, but she could sense from his subconscious that he was happier and more relaxed than he almost ever was. And amidst that, there was an ever-present layer of passion.

Clutching the crystal in her right hand, Sangara went over to her own bed and lied down, about to do the same thing. First, she glanced over at Umbravon one last time, sleeping almost peacefully. She could feel the Force being drawn in and out of his body like a breath guided by his subconscious. His presence pulsed with the Force almost like a heartbeat. She knew the Force would rejuvenate his body and refresh his mind while he slept, as was the nature of this form of sleeping meditation. What she did not know however, was what Umbravon had been focusing on. In his conscious thought, and then his dreams, he had been focusing on... her.

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Emperordmb
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