A Tumour With a Name: Part I
Spoiler: Cabaret Nocturne - Blood WalkShow
“Darth Azhrael, where should I seek the enemies of the Sith Empire? How shall I identify a true heretic that would dilute the teachings of the Sith Code?”
“The enemies of the Empire are within and without. And though they must be destroyed, our struggle against them all keeps us strong, so long as we remain victorious. You could seek them anywhere, though our sphere in particular specializes in hunting down those within our own ranks. However, as Sith, we destroy the enemies of the Empire wherever we find them. Within or without.
“As for where you should seek them, it must depend on your particular skills and strengths. Once you have identified them then you may identify your weaknesses and overcome them. Only you can know what these are and, when you have found them, you must transform them. That is my answer to your first question.”
If he didn’t know what he knew, if he didn’t have the wisdom of his Masters to the degree he did, Sorevirian would have lost his temper at several decided opportunities the evening prior. But as it stood, he did not, still considering the shared wisdom of the Dark Lord Azhrael gathered in retrospection. He’d done so poorly in training that his lightsabers had been taken by his Master, Darth Anihrul, which he felt he’d suffered the personal disappointment of well. All of this on the precipice of a trial intended to remind Sorevirian ever of his subservience among the chain of Sith. It was his unique displeasure to be the butt of many a joke, the focus of both his superiors’ and subordinates’ quaint derision. He brought it on himself he knew, of course, pursuing relentlessly and without hint of social grace the path that would cut through any perceived heretical dilution of the Sith way, no matter the audience or consequence therein.
At what point Sorevirian lost his sense of self-preservation along the way of the Sith, he could easily point to. Sure, he had ample reasons in a myriad plurality, beyond his mere will to see the Sith Empire reach as far as it may before his ultimate demise, to continue to live—but he had already relinquished his grasp on this life by the time he found any reason to persist. What more could he lose if his soul was lost? All of what he had now could not replace what he’d stolen from himself.
Of course, he could never truly shake the sense of predation in his Anzati blood that told him he was ever ‘playing with his food’. The only solace for the Sith was in knowing that any indignities he bore, he did so thoroughly by choice. For the ever-starved humanoid, it was a matter of pride the level of self-control he exercised all this time, never attempting to devour any one of his colleagues or betters. He had more than enough sense left not to misstep so grossly as this. And he did so enjoy the consolation of being underestimated in any sense.
Even at 53 standard years, full grown Sorevirian stood at a mere 6’5” but he was as wide and thick as a door, mottled head to toe with scars from burns, blasts, stabbings, impalements, tuk’ata bites, blaster fire—the list went on. He loathed the medics as they never told him anything good. First of the complications of his mixed bloodline and now—he had a mass in his brain. Didn’t a Sith have enough to worry about without inoperable brain tumours? Now he was on a shuttle to Dromund Kaas with a bag of medications and appointments for proton beam treatments and cybernetic implants—he was having none of it in silence as he looked over the medical report once more.
Spoiler: Medical ReportShow
It infuriated him most to be some spectacle to his colleagues, their enjoyment and amusement doubly vexing. He understood the anger of every new acolyte as their instructors crushed them under their heels, smiling away at their misfortune—he too had been brutally carved from a docile, eager predator-unrealized into a guarded, distrustful ardent inquisitor for the great Sith Empire. There was nothing but the void of the Dark Side to whisper to him now; he had no heart, he had no soul. He had only his tiny infant daughter, Zyantha… She was the little secret he kept to himself in the galaxy, known only to his Master Anihrul whose skill in the Sith Arts alone preserved the child’s life. He told only one person so far—Jum’u’s former commanding officer. He had planned to kill her as per his Master’s orders, but, the woman was gone now, so what did it matter he wagered.
His tiny miracle child was a work of Sith Sorcery and alchemy, a gift of very un-Sithlike compassion he never expected… His gratitude was boundless, but Sorevirian knew how easily love could become a chain instead of a great source of power. It was easy now to maintain his distance emotionally, as she was a few meagre pounds of squirming still securing her incredibly premature hold on life from within incubators and Kolto pods. Losing her would crush him, but he had already lost his child once along with her mother… He was strong and it was the Sith Code alone he loved more than anything else…
Sorevirian drank away his shame at this fact, but he did not love easily and Jum’u had consumed all of his heart in her death at his hands. Still, in his hours not spent embarrassing himself in the arena before his Masters in training or seemingly arguing with his supposed superiors, Sorevirian was pouring over his young daughter as he expanded his powerbase, slowly but surely.
The stronghold on Dromund Kaas served as his own private drinking space beyond the secure location for his daughter’s constant medical care. He had yet to ever feel at home in any space, either a guest or a vagrant wherever he went. The apartment that once served his late mother was still purposefully empty, much to the growing annoyance of the domestic servants within who dwelled within. But tonight, he had orders not to be disturbed as he sought his own needed isolation.
The day had been one for the record books, he wagered as he set down nothing, bearing no lightsabers, upon entry of the barren office where a desk, a chair, and a modestly stocked bar stood. He poured a glass to the rim and stood there looking out at the nightscape of Kaas City, glowing eternally blue through his floor to ceiling windows. He exhaled slowly, producing a cigarra as he held it in his teeth, searching for his lighter. He sought a brief respite of comfort in the fact that Zyantha was prospering slowly but surely and the apprentices he’d claimed were doing quite well… At least not everything he touched turned to ash. In fact his first apprentice, the twi’lek Hagael, had been doing quite well and showed great promise. His newest apprentice Vexarios Noirfyre too showed great aptitude, his most recent Trial of History a resounding success. It was Sorevirian’s hope that, despite his own failings, he did not in turn fail those that answered to him or those who had invested in him. He considered again what Darth Azhrael had shared in his counsel.
“Darth Azhrael, what qualities are key in the best Sith Masters? –I mean this to imply no lack of observation of my own Master. I have observed the finest Sith. But I ask in an effort to be the most effective instructor to my own apprentices as possible.”
“Discretion above all. The wisdom to know when to act and how to do so. Whether or not something must become a disciplinary issue or when a specific lessons must be taught. Each apprentice has critical fractures in their being, formed through their experience and perceptions of those experiences.
“A Master must apply pressure on those fractures correctly so that the apprentice breaks without shattering, and the Master can then reconstruct them rightly. To think as Sith, and to act as Sith. It is from their identity that they create who they believe themselves to be. It is a Master’s responsibility to define that identity.”
Sorevirian let his focus be on how to improve himself as a Master to his apprentice, for the task of his own standing seemed to be a fruitless venture despite his best intentions. But he would relish as best he could whatever his Dark Lords deemed acceptable for the lessons they wished to teach him. Besides, he’d made it this far with a large mass in his brain apparently, what did it matter now?
To Be Continued…