The Shadow Runner came to rest on the the landing pad, resting just above the sprawling dump of dump of an inner city. Coruscant's level 1313. Lowering the ramp of his scout ship, Sin Windrider descended. Dressed in utilitarians clothing his blaster pistol at his hip, saber hilt hidden at his back. Under the poncho. His connection to the dark side also concealed in an effort to blend in.
He did not expect to find practitioners of the light or even another of his ilk, but he enjoyed the ritual. The practice of the art. To blend into the norm and suss out his objective. Which this time was merely to contact and information broker. A rodian who Sin used frequently. He walked down the ramp and into the turbo lift that would lower him into the heart of the city.
Bills. Bills bills bills. Why did everything have to cost money?! Such a stupid system! Such a broken, corrupt, greed filled, slime ridden trash heep. Where was she going with this? Oh yeah! Money makes the world go around. And Jez Winters had none of it. Her world had spun rapidly out of control since she left her homeworld and traveled Inward to the Core planets. Jez was young, and foolish it seemed. She had savings kept away but they ran out fast living in a place like Coruscant. Now, it seemed the runaway needed to find a job.
But what menial task would befit such a beauty? These were her own words and thoughts. Jez grew up in a homestead that praised her for her accomplishments, her beauty was no exception. She'd never had to work a day in her life save for learning her studies and training with her powers. Degrading herself to any sort of labor would be an insult to herself, her family, and most of all her kin. The Sith were no work force. They were fighters. They were disciples. They were leaders.
So what could she do? Only one thing seemed to interest the girl. And this, wasn't even something she meant to stumble onto. She was at a random dance club one evening when some sleeze bag approached her and pushed the idea on her that Jez should do modeling work. Safe to say the man was not any sort of legitimate business, but it did spur an interest for her. Modeling. It was better than what a fair portion of girls did in the lower levels, but hey....credits were credits right?
Jez was dressed in a gray peasant top that exposed her shoulders. Under the top she had a simple long sleeve tank top that matched the style of the main tunic so the shoulders would be bare. Over the tunic she wore a darker colored under bust which fell over a riffled skirt and leggings. Her long black hair she left down and parted over her left eye so some of the bangs would hang over her face. Around her neck was a simple black outfit with a silver pendant dangling in the center.
To the average person she looked just like any other girl walking down the streets, but this woman was no push over. Jez had been trained in the ways of the Force; specifically, the Dark side. She had a cold aura about her as she walked to make sure no one bothered her as she made her way to her destination. While it wasn't abruptly using the Dark side, it would be obvious enough to any other Dark siders in the surrounding area that one of their own was near. Jez did not fear any sort of attack, but she did pack just in case. Inside the back of her boot she kept her red bladed snap saber, a dangerous and powerful tool used only by the Sith and their light-sided brethren: the Jedi.
"Now where was this place again?" the girl asked herself as she looked down toward a busy intersection of level 1313.
The Echani cultist exited the lift, starting to walk down the street of the lower city. Careful not to release the cloak of his aura, Sin releases his senses. Allowing them him to feel those around him. Mostly normal folk. Those not blessed by the dark side. Those who went through life. Trudging in the mire that was average existence.
Suddenly then a force of nature peak his senses. It was another tainted by the dark side as he was. Only flaunting her their power without reservation. Female. Almost challenging someone to find her. Sin found this surprising. Nearly all other members of their cult preferred to remain under the radar from most other in the galaxy.
Curious, Sin reached out further with his senses. Then followed after the aura. An easy task, as the girl never wavered. Continuing to flaunt her connection. And Sin continued to follow it like a blood hound. Finally reaching her, or who he thought was her. A raven hair beauty, clad in black. The foolish young woman was even flaunting a weapon holstered in her boot.
The Echani decided it was time to make himself known then. Prying into the mind of the woman, "Not wise to flaunt yourself on a core world."
Like someone had placed ice down her back, Jez felt a cold snap run down her spine. A voice struck out in her mind, taunting her about her flaunting herself. Jez stopped mid step and froze. She closed her eyes and tried to search the person out, following the connection back to him. But all she saw was a black cloud. Turning around Jez's head went on a swivel to scan her immediate surroundings. This too wielded no results. Whoever this voice belonged to, he wasn't near her.
Taking the bait, she replied back to the voice, "What I do with my body is my business. And that business is none of yours."
Jez was under the impression he thought she was selling herself for some sort of illegal work. She didn't think he meant her sharing her Force nature with the world. As such, she still did not try to cut herself off from it. She'd never had to do something like that before. All her life she was around other Dark side users so she'd never had to pretend to be something different. Was it luck, or fate that brought her ignorance to another Sith, rather than a Jedi?
So, rather than cut herself off from the Force, Jez instead sought it's advise. She opened her mind to the cold aura and trusted it to lead her to the building where she was supposed to be meeting. Sure looking up the address would have been safer, but that meant being on the streets even more. Jez didn't want to take the risk of this other Sith finding her. She'd risked everything to get away from her family and she wasn't about to have some other religious zealot take her back!
Only, the Dark side would betray her. Turning down the exact opposite street she found herself leaving the more populated areas and found herself in a shady looking train yard. "Kriff!" she'd think to herself. Turning around she decided to turn back the other way when there behind her was the very man she was trying to avoid. Jez wasn't about to stay here looking like a surprised animal; she turned on her heels and booked it into the mess of hovering box cars.
His eyes caught her raven hair and he could suddenly smell her scent. Sweet, pleasant. But not nearly as strong to his senses as the feeling of her aura. The connection wild and unfettered. She seemed careless to the trouble she might bring with her recklessness. When she stopped, he slid behind a food vendor in a street cart. His force cloak concealed him well enough, fogging up the force around him and those near him. While her eyes would find nothing but a moving crowd.
"Your mistaken." He replied. "Your body is hardly your own. Pretty as it might be. But I speak for the darkness within you. "
What was supposed to be a casual "hey there", was turning into something far different. Something more akin to a lesson in control. If this girl was trained it was not by any who training the Echani assassin. Sin was raised in the dark side, more so then trained. Make to understand it, control it, and conceal it from the galaxy when needed.
When the woman moved again, Sin followed. Keeping his distance at first and observe her. It did not appear she discovered him. In fact she seemed lost. Conflicted perhaps. He understood then that his little hello had pushed her over the edge. He was suddenly amused, unable to conceal his smile. One that grew wider as he followed her into an abandon train yard.
Seeing as they were now out of the public eye, and he could sense no one else but them. Sin revealed himself, both in the force an to the young woman. When she apparently realized he was cornered, the girl turned. Nearly running into him. To Sin's surprise, she turned again. Running for the freight cars.
"Where are you going ?" He asked. Seeming to be amused by her reaction. Casually he walked after her. Then used the force to augment his body. Leaping around her, from one car to another.
Another wave of panic came over her. Her body was not her own? So he was trying to bring her home. Someone from her family was trying to return her to Moraband so she could continue worshipping the old gods. And the fact this man was after the darkness within her proved that. The darkness was not her own. She'd be raised and tailored to hone that power. But it was not hers to keep.
Fear was becoming her. It felt like it rose up out of nowhere but now that it was there she couldn't make it go away. There were very few times Jez ever felt afraid. She usually got over it. She enjoyed a good scare. But this was different. She was actually afraid for her life right then. Not that she expected this man to kill her; she was afraid her life she tried to start for herself would be over.
In her mind she heard his voice again. It was dark, greedy, hungry. That fear grew even more. She tried her best to flee but the man was fast. Calling on the Force she too would augment her body to move faster. She jumped between a line of cars and turned down another isle but he was right there still. With a groan of protest she launched herself up to the top car so they were on the same level, then kept on running. She lept from line to line hoping to put some distance between her and the man.
No such luck. Everytime she looked behind her he was there. She wouldn't escape him. She had to confront him. Jez had no intention of fighting, but maybe she could reason with him. She came to a stop and turned to face him, having a determined look on her face to hide the fact she was shaking in her boots.
"Why are you following me?!" she demanded out of him. " Whatever my parents are paying you, I'll double it. I can get you the money. Just please forget you ever found me."
As she spoke, she'd raise her left arm defensively toward him as if to block his punch. It was also to defend against a Force blast, or perhaps ready one of her own. Her other arm reached behind her and she turned slightly so her right foot was behind her. Using the Force she called her snap saber to her hand and gripped the hilt firmly. From this angle, he wouldn't be able to see the type of saber she was using. He could probably assume she'd grabbed her weapon, but the longer she kept the actual design a secret the better advantage she'd have.
The Echani assassin continued to keep up with her, leaping from box car to box car. As this little cat and mouse game continued he could feel a shift in her aura. Fear was taking hold over her. She was panicking. Something that puzzled him. How someone who was flaunting their connection to the dark size was not running, rather then standing to fight.
Confusing as it was, it was also amusing. He was enjoying this. He could feel her fear, her panic, and it drew his hunger for her. Or rather her aura, her connection. It was a strange but welcome feeling. It pushed him onward. Until she abruptly stopped, turning to face him. The raven haired female then raised a hand as if she was intending to use the force, while her other went for her weapon.
Speaking aloud now. "Truth, for kicks." he answered, "What are you babbling about? Parents? Kriff, how young are you? You foolish little girl, no one sent me, no family cares enough about to send a hunter after you."
Sin rolled his eyes. No longer amused by her. This entire chance, the game, and she was little more then a youngster scared of mommy and daddy. How pathetic. He noticed then that she happened to be standing atop a hatch that opened inward, perhaps to normally load spice or some other.
Concealing the movement of his left hand with the cover of his poncho, Sin would focus on the latch of the hatch. Slowly sliding it open. As the hatch started to fall open he used his other hand to suddenly unleash a powerful wave of energy to push her over and into the now open box car. Even if she blocked it, she would likely trip trying to correct her stance and fall in either way.
Then he would shut it, locked it with the latch, and walk until he himself was just over the hatch. "For someone who casual about their gifts with the dark side. You sure are a piss poor example of our order." He spoke into her mind. Then stood, turned, and started to walk away.
Now it was Jez's turn to be confused.
For kicks? He was chasing her for kicks? What did that even mean? He then went on to say he had no ties her parents, or anyone else who might be looking for her. She was so lost in his answer that she nearly didn't have time to block his concussive blast.
Tucking her left arm back she shielded herself from his Force blast with a quick shield of her own. She expected it to be strong , and to push her back a little. But she didn't expect the floor to be gone behind her. With a shriek she fell down the whole and crashed into the dark train car. The latch then closed and she was alone and trapped.
Or so Sin thought. By the time he got over to her car she was reorienting herself to stand. She brought her saber up and ignited one of the hilts to light her way. Jez wouldn't take the time to figure out how to find the door. There were quicker ways. Turning the handle around she'd drop to her knees and cut a whole into the floor. She was quick about it too; the blade cutting through the metal like butter. The circle she cut out would drop and she'd extinguish her blade.
Jez wouldn't wait for the man to figure out she wasn't as trapped as he thought. She dropped to the floor and dashed out from under the cart to hopefully escape his prying eyes.
His sense could feel as much as hear the distinctive snap hiss of her weapon. His hand then moved to his own hilt, pulling it from his belt. The Echani turned, expecting to see sparks fly and an angry cultist before him. Soon slashing at his. But nothing. Sin cautiously approached the car again. Hearing the metal of he car it the metal of the floor before.
Quickly then, he jumped down. In time to see her run off down the hover track. How did this girl make it this long, he thought. Seeing the metal circle on the ground. Sin reached out, took the metal in the grip of the force, and flung it toward the girl. With her distracted, he would then leap round. Moved ahead of her to cut her off from her exit.
"You are by far the weakest excuse of a dark sider I think I have ever seen. Wait, are you a jedi ?" He taunted. Activating his blade. Twirling the weapon in his hand a couple of timed before taking a more serious stance.
Kriff! He noticed her. As Jez started to flee she felt that nagging prick in her mind telling her to dodge. She felt it just as much as she saw it. Her instincts kicked in and she jumped into the air as she turned, rotated, and flipped all in one motion. At the same time, she flicked both of her sabers on and snapped the blade into the pole position. Using a quick twist of the blade she cut into the circular hole that Sin had thrown back at her.
The dodge was excellently carried out. She might not have the attitude of a Sith, but she definitely fought like one. That double blade suited her. Landing on her feet and facing him she spun the blade again to feel the weight and humm of the blade in her hands. She then collapsed the pole to it's resting position so it now looked like she was carrying a saber with two blades.
"I was raised as a loyal follower of the Dark Eternal on Moraband! My name is Jez Winters! You can talk poodoo all you want about me, but do not go disgracing my heritage."
He watched as the girl finally did something of note other than run. Somehow irritated that it took this long for it. The entire point of the thing now lost on him. But they had come this far, why hold back now. As the metal shards crashed to the ground and slid away, Sin stepped forward. Not impressed at all.
"Do not preach to me of loyalty. You are a brat, careless, wreckless, and frightened by your own shadow. I do not care of your home, or your name little girl. I have no need to disgrace your heritage. You're doing a fine job of that by your thoughtless actions followed close by your cowardice."
He switched off his blade then. Done with this game suddenly. He turned to leave careful to leave his guard up in case the girl found her spine suddenly.
Now he was insulting her? Baiting her? A vein started to pop out of her forehead as the anger rose to the surface. He called her weak. He called her afraid. And mostly, he called her a coward. The Dark side reacted to her fury and she felt it's power flow through her. With her left hand she'd pick up the broken shards of the boxcar bottom. Then, with a grunt of effort she threw her hand forward and the pieces launched themselves at Sin.
How had it come to this. He wasn't even here for her. Yet the strange interaction bought about feelings of hate and discussed. This girl was a woeful excuse for one of his fellows. The masters of his training would of culled her from the heard long before she managed to wield a weapon. Sin had seen it early in his youngling years.
The Echani's incite into his past would be suddenly interrupted. He could feel the hate and anger. The dark side trembled, drawing toward the girl. Sin turned. Reaching out with both hands, one still holding his saber hilt, and caught the debris with his own force talents. The large shards halted and then were thrown to either side of him.
A half smile suddenly appearing on his face. The dark side now coursing through him. Sin launched the the raven haired young woman, igniting his weapon. Sin leaped and suddenly slashed downward to try and cut her in half.
And the battle was on. Sin rushed for her and ignited his red beam to show he meant business. Showing no signs of backing down herself, Jez would stand her ground. His bladework was fast, but she was not as weak as he thought. She used the back end of her saber to block his strike while shifting on her feet to then swing the front end to cut his torso. Whichever way he'd dodge she'd follow to bring the other end right back to strike.
Having multiple blades was always an advantage. Sin would have to be able to block in multiple places back and back. What was an easy adjustment to her would be a full arm swing for him. Any slight gap in his swordsmanship and she'd have him. But Jez was angry. She wasn't just sparring with a partner. She wanted blood. This man attacked her, insulted her, then tried to kill her. There was no stopping Jez now.
Using every trick she had available the girl would jump and dodge with her saber only to get right back into the action so that she was always on the offensive. When she finally looked like she had nothing else to give, she suddenly switched everything up. Jez would abruptly collapse her staff giving it a quicker arc as she rotated. Sin would likely be so focused on seeing two steps ahead that he'd imagine her blade aiming for his legs. But instead, it would come up to slice his head off.
The most logical way to block would be to turn the blade to the side to catch the incoming blade as it swung inward. But this would leave him vulnerable to the other blade he was currently holding off from beheading him on the other side. Would Sin see this coming? Or fall to the weakling girl he underestimated?
The echani's blade came down. The girl, apparently right handed, swung to block with the left first. Catching his own. She then countered with the right blade. Sin pulled he blade close and low. Holding it low to guard the swing, then shifted his weight to push her blade back. There was no need to swing, as she continued to push Sin would be forced to block and counter.
Her mistaken then was to jump at that moment, instead of in surprise like he did before. Sin reaching out with the force to snatch the girl's leg. Yanking her back down. Attempting to slam her into the ground. Even if it didn't, she was now off balance. Before she could lash at him with her blade to take his head, the echani focused his hate and discussed at the woman into a powerful blast of dark side energy. Intending on throwing her into the ground or perhaps a near by train car.
The two attacks would put a little distance between them. Allowing him to breath and regain some of his self. Rallied, he then continued to press the attack. Reaching out with the dark side to close and invisible hand around her neck.
His quick connections to the Force were his specialty it seemed. Sin would grab her leg and pull her down, forcing Jez to one knee. She tried correcting the error in her jump but at least she wasn't on the ground. She had to catch her blade though, grabbing the handle with her spare hand to make sure she didnt accidentally cut something of hers off. This left her vulnerable.
Sin would strike again, hitting her with a concussive blast she had no way of defending. She flew through the air and hit the side of another train car. The wind escaped her lungs as the impact shook her. But she wasn't done yet. She fell again to her knees. Coughing she regained her breathe only to lose it again as he grabbed her windpipe.
Jez had had training in fighting Force sensitives. She knew what to do when they had a hold on her: disrupt the concentration. In practice it was a good plan. But against someone who was actually trying to kill her? Much harder . Jez reached up with her left hand instinctively but would find no way to pull the nonexistent hand away. She had to stop him another way.
Using all the energy she could muster she leaned back and launched her saber toward Sin. It spun accurately and dangerously in his direction. But she couldn't throw it fast enough as he'd easily be able to block it or simply move out of the way. The saber would go spinning off course and come crashing into the ground behind Sin. He might notice -if he cared to look behind him- that her saber did not deactivate. Unlike most saber hilts that had an activation button that needed held down, hers was a switch. The beams would not shut off until someone manually did it. This helped her to spin her blade and throw it without worrying about where her hands were placed. However, it was also a dangerous scenario should the blade be taken it of her hands.
Her vision was already going black. She could see a blurry black curtain sweeping out from the edges of her vision like a vinette on a picture frame. Bright burning spots were appearing in her line of sight, like people saying they saw stars. Now she understood what that meant. Again her hand reached up out of subconscious need to save herself. But there was nothing physical actually holding her neck.
She had to stop him. She had to break the link or he'd win. Jez closed her eyes for she couldn't see anything at this point anyway. With her right hand now free she pushed a powerful wave of Force energy in Sin's direction. Or so she thought. Her aim was off and it would too far to his right. The choke didn't stop. Jez fell over grabbing her throat desperately for salvation. Her forehead rested against the ground as she tried and tried to force air into her lungs; her gorgeous raven hair pooled out around her and dirtied itself in the ground .
His combination of attacks were not exceptional. In fact they were simple in practice, but truly effective beyond his wildest expectations in this moment. As he had hoped. The leg pull had brought her down. Focused on her weapon she didn't see his force past until it was to late. The combination was enough to make her defenseless against the choke.
With her now in his grip he deactivated his blade, but kept the hilt in hand. Concentrating on his prey. However she was not done trying to fight him. Her saber still in hand, she attempted to toss it toward him like a buzzsaw. But his choke force choke was already working. Her concentration was waning. She saber slowed and went high, allowing Sin to simply lean back. Her blade then stuck the ground not far behind.
Next she fired off a wild force blast of her own. This time not even in his direction. It smashed a box car. Dissipating it's energy before it could knock the car over.
So he continued to use the force. Closing tighter, pulling her to him now. Allowing her to kneel before him in a heap. Before her lights went out. This was the fight she picked and she lost. But he would not kill her. There were lessons to be taught in defeat, this he would soon teach her.
Jez was terrified. So much more than before. Her life was literally ending and her body was doing everything it could to ty and survive. Adrenaline pumped through her veins making the moment last longer than it should have. She felt him pull her across the ground, scraping her arms against the rough gravel. Her hair would be trampled and pulled out as she slid. She would have screamed if she had anything left to give.
Sin moved her into position so she was on her knees before him. She craned her neck around to look up at him. He'd be the last thing she'd see before the darkness finally closed her eyes. Her body fell to her side and her head hit the ground but by then she was already unconscious.