by Max Barry

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Region: The Warden World

Hellasreich wrote:"You answered your own question woman.", he'd respond, leaning over with his head and upper body coming closer to the earth, his scale was massive... beyond anything.
"I am beyond time and space. Do what I order and I give you the greatest power anyone can have... history. The present, the past and the future can be yours for I have seen it all. Not just here mind you, but everywhere... including your minuscule native realm of existence.. I even know how you'll answer.", it'd answer.

Julma felt the pressure of its encroaching presence, her every instinct telling her to flee, surrender to madness, or fall comotose in this nightmarish analogue to a job interview, but something within her being urged her otherwise. An old memory, before she even took the vow of the Sith...

Nar Shaddaa was the crown jewel of the crime empire of the Hutts, a moon orbiting their home planet of Nal Hutta. Julma and her father, Hendrice, had eked out a living as handymen and minor technicians within the heart of the criminal underworld. Before Julma could even remember her mother's face, Kresstha had perished, as one of her odd maintenance jobs had gotten her killed by an escaped exotic beast being hauled by passing smugglers. No compensation or justice was given, and Julma never could even see the faces of those who had left her and her father alone in the cruel moon. Nevertheless, they toiled and worked themselves to near-death, hoping against hope that their efforts would earn them a ticket off this accursed place. Others around them suffered similar tragedies, for second-class citizenry and near-slavery was far from the worst thing that Hutts could offer, and yet the loss of so many friends, either callously killed, sold, or abducted as fodder for crime wars or complete slavery left Hendrice and his daughter with a distrust of outsiders, and a fear of joining any of the so-called enterprises around them. They did what they could to stay out of the criminal underworld's politics, but their goal of paying for their escape never seemed to come closer.

A different blessing came to answer their unspoken prayers, or so it seemed. A Jedi Knight on an unrevealed mission had entered Nar Shaddaa, her apprentice in tow. Knight Kieta was a Duros, her personal background making her well-suited to the location of her mission, for Duros were often associated with travelling traders and mercenaries, meaning a simple change in clothing and a few days without bathing would make her fit right in, especially given her Force-augmented persuasive skills and knack for diverting suspicion onto others. Her apprentice, however, was anything else. Ulitar Bei-Fensk was a brash, impatient young male Torguta, who preferred to pursue his objective without discretion or care for the safety of others or what they thought, which were only magnified by the hormones in his blood thanks to his transitory age.

Hendrice had been hired by Kieta to refuel and maintain their ship discreetly, as well as buy groceries and provide housing for the duo, knowing that the handyman's status as an unaffiliated worker meant he had few friends to gossip to regarding his new guests. The act of him purchasing extra food for him and his child had been discreetly accepted and dismissed, and soon him and Julma began to view Kieta as akin to an undercover foreign noble, especially when Kieta had relented in a young Julma's requests for stories, her Duros culture demanding she weave a few fantastic tales from her Jedi adventures. In retrospect, Julma bitterly suspected Kieta had such attention to her because Julma was Force-sensitive, being the ideal age for an apprentice, with a useful familiarity and background in lawless areas like Nar Shaddaa.

Bei-Fensk, in contrast, was impatient, saying little to his hosts, insisting that he accompany Hendrice for protection and to further the investigation, often against Kieta's orders. In several cases, Julma witnessed the pair returning home only for the door to be kicked or hacked open by cartel members and other locals who Fensk had earned the suspicion or ire of. Her father would struggle to send them off, being forced to resort to paying them for their troubles, unless Kieta managed to return early.

One morning, Kieta announced that she and her apprentice had found what they were looking for, and would set off for the evening together, returning to collect Julma and her father to provide them passage to the Core Worlds and a better life, revealing to Julma that the little girl was, in fact, Force-sensitive. With the promise of a swift return, the Jedi Knight and her apprentice set off into the shadows of the moon's underworld. Hendrice and Julma packed themselves, ran diagnostics on the Jedi duo's ship, and waited with anticipation at what the morning would bring.

The dawn brought a cacophony of screams, blaster fire, and the scents and screeches of lightsaber on flesh and leather. Bei-Fensk stumpled into their abode one last time with a pack on his back, several blaster marks on his robes, and an ultimatum: go with him now, and travel light, or else he would leave them here. Behind him, the remains of several personal security droids, bounty hunters, and attack beasts had been carved through with the elegant tool of the Jedi. Kieta lay in a corner, barely breathing, her midriff scorched with several blaster wounds, the deep, charcoal-like texture suggesting they had scorched the layers of blood vessels, organs, and muscles below the skin, but she still held consciousness.

Julma remembered the horror of that night. Doing her best to help her father carry Kieta, the team hid and scrambled through the corridors and small s hops between them and the hangar, dodging heavily-armed patrols of mercenaries and local security. By a twist of luck, they managed to reach the hangar unharmed, and it was there that luck abandoned them. An open space, a watched ship, a running firefight, the ingredients for certain disaster lay before them. Kieta and her apprentice did their best to block and reflect the blaster fire that headed their way, but an opportunity presented itself when the Jedi Knight stumbled and her defense wavered at the ramp of their ship. Hendrice, who had been giving covering fire for the Jedi behind them, was hit in the throat, the thin skin providing little resistance as the blaster bolt robbed his body of its life. Julma was too shocked to understand what had happened amid the torrent of blaster fire, being unceremoniously pulled into the ship as the Jedi made their escape.

The memory gave her a moment of clarity and strength, even she fell to one knee beneath the encroaching presence. Her mind processed the implications, of changing time, of saving her father, herself, even her late mother. To hold such power, to change who others are or how they live, even with unknown limitations, was everything Julma could want as an orphan.

To bend fate, however vaguely, to possess knowledge, and thus power, to right wrongs, enact retribution, to carve a bloody swathe through the scum of the universe and any who would have done what had been done to her... it was magnitudes beyond what she had hoped to achieve as a Sith. To deny such power, to fear its cost or limitations and believe herself unable to overcome them, was to deny herself as a Sith.

"I... I will... for those I've lost, I accept." she said, gaining confidence.
"I will do as you ask, in return for this power. I will serve, but not praise. I work toward my own gain, and this foray into your service will be a step towards my true potential." she stated, her very mind shivering at the forces at play.
"So long as I do not destroy those I covet, I will do your bidding. Slay any foe, raise any army, perform any ritual. Peer into me, and know that if you seek to deceive and discard me as a simple tool, my master will protect me. I serve invaluably."