The Story of Arakon, Keeper of Lost Souls
It was a day like every other day in Jabba's Palace. Only people who frequent this place alot could maybe tell a slight difference. The music was as loud and horrible as always, but no dancers seem around. Jabba was awaiting a new shipment of Twi'lek dancers, but this shipment had been delayed. Unfortunately Jabba already had taken care of the ancient dancers who had bored him too much and so he was quite in a bad mood as there were no dancers to amuse him around anymore. So people could understand the great excitement as the Neimoidian merchant arrived, being followed by a bunch of beautiful Twi'lek dancing-girls. But there was a little Twi'lek boy about four years old between them. Jabba didn't really have any use for this child, but in his excitement about the new dancers he agreed to take the boy, who had never known his father and was about to lose his mother in a few weeks to a Rancor as well. It was Bib Fortuna who convinced Jabba that there might be a use for him and so the child took care of the several easy tasks no one wanted to do. The name Arakon was given to him, not a real Twi'lek name, but who at Jabba's Palace did care.
As Arakon grew older he became quite adept in repairing various stuff and was in charge to keep the few technical devices at the palace in order. But in his spare time he loved it to be among the various visitors, the merchants, bounty hunters and criminals and to hear their stories. From time to time he made a few credits, quick fixing a defect blaster or helping to repair the ship of a merchant. But he was quite impulsive and his uncontrolled emotions finally angered Jabba the Hutt so much that one day during a trip with his sail barge he left the young Twi'lek who was around eleven years old in the open desert...
Lost in the sand, trying to reach one of the distant villages, Arakon struggled against the wind and the burning sun and finally after hours of walk his strength left him and he felt into the sand, expecting his death. But there was something in the sand, his hand touched a cold piece of stone. He grabbed it and it turned out to be a talisman made of obsidian forming a hand, in its center holding an emerald-eye. As he held this talisman a ghostly image looking like a mirrage appeared before him. It was the image of a medium sized humanoid with black hair, who was floating over the ground. He looked down at the Twi'lek with a white-blue glow in his eyes and sneered mockingly:
"So, you are going to die, young Arakon...?" The Twi'lek didn't know what to say, he looked up at the appearance and found himself nodding at the ghostly image who continued: "It seems that you have already accepted your fate, my friend... and you are right! Nothing lasts forever, time will bring all of us to our deaths."
As already dead looking man spoke, the once so unbearable heat of the desert seemed to vanish and was replaced by an unbelievable cold radiating from the appearance.
"Still, maybe you are not yet supposed to die, it all depends on yourself... escaping the desert, impossible? People look at something and say it is impossible before they even try it. Doing this, they limit themselves. Limiting themselves, they become less powerful..."
The ghostly man grinned at the Twi'lek lying still on the ground, shuddering in the cold.
"You will go to the Deneba system. There you will learn from Freedon Nadd, the sith master who will take care of your training..."
Arakon felt the heat of the desert coming back as the image disappeared, leaving him with alot of questions alone in the sand again. But somehow some strength has rebuilt inside of him, he felt ready to continue his journey through the desert.
Still, the way was long and soon his strength left him and Arakon was just about to give up again, as he heard a voice from inside to talk to him: "If you die now, no one will avenge your mothers death!"
An immense sadness overcame him, but with this sadness he realized as well some strength coming back and so he was able to continue his path. The voice came up in his mind again and again, whenever Arakon thought he couldn't go any further.
"Jabba has betrayed you, so you are going to die and letting him go away with this?" the voice sneered. "Your father didn't care of you, maybe he was right... maybe you weren't worth it...".
Finally Arakon arrived at Mos Eisley and he didn't feel exhausted at all anymore, just an immense urge to pay all those back who betrayed him had built up inside of him...
As the twin-suns set and night came over Tatooine a little Twi'lek boy walked through the streets of Mos Eisley, searching for a place to rest. Most streets were empty and the howling of the now cold desert-wind was the only noise one could hear. But then, the boy noticed loud music coming from a near building. He approached it and saw a crowd of people of various races in front of it. The music resembled the one played for Jabba and Arakon realized that he was indeed standing before the famous Cantina, who had been mentioned so often in the tales of the various guests at Jabba's Palace. Being very thirsty from his long travel through the desert he entered it, trying to move throught the crowd right to the counter. But he didn't find a friendly welcome. Looking up the counter he stared right into the face of a tough looking bartender, who laughed at the little boy:
"We don't serve kids here, at least not the ones who look like they can't even pay!"
The bartender didn't pay any more attention to the young Twi'lek who made his way back through the crowd and left the cantina full of disappoinment and anger. Walking again through the streets, the boy found himself standing before a shabby building who catched his interest. The posters of various humans and aliens alike were hanging at the walls, each one having a certain sum of money printed on it. Having a good memory, Arakon quickly thought about the people he had seen at the Cantina and found out something very interesting: They were worth a total of 5403 credits. Well enough for a drink, a meal and a trip to Korriban...
As the sound of a few blaster-shots screamed through the cantina, the music stopped abruptly for about two seconds. No one really cared as the Gotal staggered and felt to the ground. No one beside this Weequay, who quickly draw his gun as well to finish up with this crazy Twi'lek boy who had just killed his friend. Another blaster shot could be heard, but it wasn't the Twi'lek who died. The dead Weequay dropped to the floor. Arakon noticed a Rodian right in front of him, his hand at the shaft of a blaster as well:
"They are rarely alone, at least not when they are worth 3800 credits... but let us get out of here, I still could need some help on my ship."
Many month the young Twi'lek followed his new acquaintance Kaleedo around on his travels. He learnt about the various tactics to capture or kill those who were worth a handful credits, but he couldn't convince the Rodian to bring him to Korriban, the only known planet in the Deneba system. Maybe because of the fact that the bounty hunter didn't expect any wanted individuals on a planet with nothing more than a few ruins, maybe because the Rodian believed the rumors he had heard about this planet. But one day Arakon should get a chance to fullfill his destiny. The two bounty hunters were on theire way back to Rodia from the Kwenn Space Station. Arakon had learnt enough to assist in the hyperspace calculations, so Kaleedo who was still exhausted from the last acquisition could relax a bit. He couldn't await it to meet his Rodian friends again, to tell them proudly how successful he has been lately in his hunts. Those things count alot on Rodia and Kaleedo was sure he would earn alot of respect. What he didn't know was that he would never see his homeworld again.
Kaleedo pressed the little button to activate the hyperspace sequence. Arakon had calculated the coordinates well and a few moments later the small freighter jumped into the Yavin system. From here it was just one more jump to Rodia. Kaleedo smiled at Arakon, "Rodia is a wonderful planet with a great history...", he looked at a little console and sighed, "Unfortunately we have barely enough fuel for another hyperspace jump... to be safe, we should better land here on Yavin before we proceed."
Arakon nodded at the Rodian absently. Something had happened, something Arakon hadn't felt for so long. He noticed the presence of his talisman again. Kaleedo set course to Yavin IV and they started to approach the planet. The talisman Arakon was wearing had never encumbered him at all, but now as they came nearer and nearer to the planet it became heavier and heavier. It seemed to the young Twi'lek as if two forces were fighting for control. Arakon sensed not only a presence of overhelming power on the planet but as well a strong aura of transquility. His feelings were somehow involved in this struggle as he enjoyed the transquility for one moment but just an instant later couldn't stand it anymore and felt more tempted by the promising presence of power. For some time his emotions went back and forth, switching from one side to the opposite, then finally Arakon made a decision. He coudn't stand this struggle anymore as it became stronger and stronger with every moment they approached the planet. Arakon knew without doubt that he was not yet supposed to face those forces. Rather than giving up to the control of the forces on Yavin he had to find his destiny on Korriban. Only there he was so sure could he learn about those powers without giving up his own will. He was so wrong.
"You said we have barely enough fuel for a jump to your homeworld?", Arakon asked the Rodian but didn't even await his response, "I think we can make it to Rodia. We just have to fly cautiously and the little bit of fuel what remains after the jump will enable us to land safely on your homeworld."
Kaleedo remained quiet and looked at the little boy who smiled at him.
"You have told me so many great things about Rodia, I really can't await to be there.", Arakon added then shrugged his shoulders, "Well your choice of course, just thought it might be in your interest as well not to waste so much time. Imagine the welcome you will enjoy after all those hunts you have done."
Kaleedo hesitated and the Twi'lek remained quiet, calculating a new hyperspace jump. As he was finished he nodded at Kaleedo encouragingly, "Everything set. Just initiate the hyperspace sequence and we will be at home."
Kaleedo already seemed more relaxed after he had pressed the little button and saw the ship entering hyperspace. Just a few moments later he knew he would be at... Deneba.
Your calculations were right, after the jump we had enough fuel left to land," the Rodian said sarcastically to the little boy who remained quiet and just returned his gaze innocently. "An emergency call, not quite something what will bring me respect on Rodia," he added quite angered.
The young Twi'lek nodded then answered, "I am so sorry, it was my fault... I feel so bad about my miscalculations. You have saved my life, you have taken care of a little homeless kid and tought me so much and now I just failed you."
Kaleedo sighed, "It is okay," he turned back to the console and prepared the distress call.
As he was nearly finished Arakon interrupted him, "It is a dock at all. Maybe I can find some residents to refuel our ship. No one on Rodia would ever know about this and you can still come home as a hero."
With this words he made his way to the exit and opened the hatch a worried Rodian following him. "Don't worry, I will not fail you again... just wait for me to return." Arakon said as he stepped out of the ship.
He found himself on the top of a huge ziggurat rising above the ruins of an ancient civilization. Arakon didn't expect to find anyone here to refuel the ship, it wasn't even his intention. Since his vision in the desert of Tatooine he had just one goal, to find the one who promised him so much, Freedon Nadd. Stepping down the ziggurat Arakon started to realize that it was his talisman again who drew him in a certain direction. Last time he repelled him from Yavin and this time he would lead him directly to the one he seeked. Still Arakon was afraid and the fear became stronger and stronger with every step he made into the unknown. And of course there was something to worry about, Arakon felt watched. Well hidden in the shadows lurked some creatures of pure evil. Only his talisman protected him from theire greed to end another life.
After a long travel Arakon finally arrived at an old temple and entered it. As the talisman released his grip and no longer drew him in any direction Arakon knew that he had finally arrived at the place where he should meet the one he seeked. Still there was no one there, Arakon was all alone. Even the creatures of the shadows who had followed him all the time had left. The Twi'lek mustered the room carefully and soon his attention fell on a huge statue showing a human who resembled the one in his vision alot. Arakon kneeled before the statue and began to speak,
"I came here as you demanded me.", he held his talisman tightly, "Freedon Nadd, I am here to learn from you...", he hesitated a few seconds but nothing happened. Finally he stated in a insecure and weak voice, "I am here to serve you, my Lord."
Just after he had said this last phrase he heard a voice speaking to him, "I have never been a Sith Lord, but your service is well appreciated."
If Arakon had not been so obsessed he could have noticed that there was quite alot of disappointment in the voice he heard, disappointment about the fact that the one who spoke to him indeed never ever has been a Sith Lord. But Arakon was too excited to notice this, he just asked,
"So what is your wish, my master?".
After a while the voice responded, "You have let me wait a long time before you came... now you have to wait as well.", the voice continued, "You will have to wait just as long as your friend can wait before he will search for you. The moment he will be mauled by the denizens of this planet you shall be my apprentice."
Arakon wanted to object, it wasn't right to sacrifice the one who has saved his life and who was just about to take so many dangers to safe it again. Before Arakon could respond his new master answered already, "How can you dare to call me master when you put your friendship to this worthless Rodian above me? He has saved your life? Well, I have saved your life as well, in the desert. But the past doesn't matter, the future does. Now ask yourself, what can this Rodian teach you and what can -I- teach you?"
A few hours later as Arakon was still kneeling in the temple Freedon Nadd appeared to him. It was the same appearance Arakon had seen in the desert of Tatooine but this time it seemed much more real. Still it was only an appearance and Arakon wondered if he would ever meet his master for real.
"My apprentice...", Nadd started. Now the Twi'lek knew that his friend was dead. "My apprentice... you wonder why I do not meet you physically.", Nadd chuckled, "Because I am already dead. I died without having been Sith Lord for once in my life like I would have merited it."
The appearance smiled at Arakon encouragingly, "You have showed me your loyality and you are strong in the force. If it is too late for me to become a Sith Lord, you as my apprentice shall become one."
Arakon didn't actually knew what exactly a Sith Lord was but he was pleased with the idea to become one. He didn't know that Freedon Nadd had not yet given up his plans to become a Sith Lord on his own and that he needed a powerful vessel to once again be among the living...
Arakon stayed a long time on Korriban and learnt much about the dark side. Freedon Nadd explained him that there can be only one Sith Lord at a given time and that this position has already been taken by the Emperor personally. The Twi'lek had never liked the Empire a lot and often ignored its laws but now as he heard that he had to actually dethrone the Emperor to become a Sith Lord he felt quite hopeless. But Nadd tought the young boy how to turn this feelings into new strengths. He explained him that every so called negative emotion has its good sides if used correctly and soon Arakon was driven again by the strong urge for power. He wasn't a helpless kid anymore, he had learnt to channel his own pain into an enemy and now he just needed to learn how to use a lightsaber, the weapon of the Sith.
"There is a boy on Bespin, he is as old as you are," explained Nadd as Arakon had refueled the ship and was ready to launch. "He has a present for you, your first lightsaber." Arakon nodded at the appearance. "Once you have learnt to fight well with it you shall join the ranks of the empire. Only if you know your enemy well you will be able to defeat him." There was no hesitation in Arakon at all anymore, he was just driven by his new goal to become a Sith Lord. "There you shall find a new 'master'. The Emperor would be suspicious if he knew who your real master is. Once you have completed your training you shall come back to me so I can finish it." With these words Freedon Nadd disappeared.
Arakon did as it was told to him. The boy in white robes who was lying on the ground somewhere in Cloud City whinced in pain as Arakon took his 'present' and struck him down with it. For a few years he trained on his own, then he finally asked the powerful Darth Caine to become his student. As he was sixteen years old he officially joined the ranks of the Empire. Many battles he fought with them, knewing that one day he would try to dethrone the Emperor to become the new Sith Lord. He felt comfortable with the thought that his real master Freedon Nadd was already dead, no one he should be afraid of...
The ritual was prepared. So many years had he waited for this opportunity. Soon he should be a Sith Lord, but first he had to come back among the living. The ghost of Freedon Nadd hovered nervously over the temple floor. When would his apprentice come back, when could he take control over this promising body? Arakon was a Dark Knight now. He has always been strong in the force and full of emotions. That's why Nadd had actually choosen him. Now the Twi'lek should be ready for the ritual. He was well trained in the powers of the dark side and he had earned the trust of the Emperor. It was Nadd who had corrupted Arakon's soul from the beginning on and now he could finally force it out of the body and take control.
Arakon stood in the entrance of the temple. Nadd hadn't sensed his arrival and was quite surprised, yet he smiled at the Dark Knight, "Darth Caine has tought you well... the cloak hides you from those who might expect treachery, but you do not have to hide from me." He beckoned Arakon to come nearer, "It is good that you came back in time, now I can finish your training and then nothing can stop you anymore to dethrone the emperor and to become a Sith Lord." Arakon approached his master slowly and bowed before him. "Show me your saber, my friend...", Nadd continued, "... I am sure you have found a worthy saber from an unworthy enemy." The Twil'lek got a lightsaber-handle out of his dark cloak and ignited it. The room took a cyan glow. Now he could see that his master had a cyan saber as well. Freedon Nadd nodded at the young man, "Every apprentice has to face his master sometimes... only then he can obtain true power."
The two were fighting for a while, sometimes it seemed that Arakon got the upper hand sometimes Nadd nearly defeated him. Arakon had to use all his energy to stand a chance against the old Nadd. He didn't know that Nadd, whose only goal was it to exhaust the young knight, was not even fighting with his full potential. Now the struggle continued on a bridge, a deep abyss below them. Lightnings discharged everywhere as both combatants used them to weaken the enemy.
It was Arakon who was exhausted first, he nodded at his master, "I am not yet strong enough, but soon I will be... to face the Emperor."
Nadd laughed at the young Twi'lek, "I always told you that together we can dethrone the Emperor... unfortunately I do not need your free will for that... all I need is your body," he reached out to touch the talisman around Arakon's neck. "Since you found this talisman it has corrupted your soul and now it will consume it," Nadd grinned at the young man, "And once it has consumed your soul there is place for mine!"
The laughter of Freedon Nadd echoed through the abyss below them, but it should soon die down. Arakon no longer cloaked his true self and now Nadd could sense everything about the young man who just shook his head sadly and stated in a weak voice, "So, the emperor was right."
Freedon Nadd frowned, now that he could sense Arakon's soul. "Fool! You gave your soul to the emperor." An enourmous anger built up inside of him. Were all his plans for nothing? "You did the only thing what could prevent me to take control over you... you gave away your soul...", he screamed at the Twi'lek, "You delayed my rise to power, but it will help you nothing... as you will die now."
No one knows how Arakon escaped the planet, but one could think it was because the Emperor didn't want to lose the newly acquired servant. Or maybe it was Darth Caine who rescued his apprentice?
"Nothing did I promise you fool, nothing at all," the Emperor sneered mockingly at the sullen form before him. "The Force is a well that never runs dry, but you will find that it is a well of your own blood. Power? Indeed, you have the power you want, the power to govern the weak... the power of total control over them. But no power over yourself, none whatsoever." The Emperor grinned as the Twi'lek started to object but stifle a choked gasp. Following a greater force, he nodded helplessly at the old man. "See, my young friend, you know it well and you will know it well over the years,"
The Emperor quoted a line from the book of darkness: "The weak serve the strong, because that is the way. The strong govern the weak, because that is the way."
"You agreed to that, and now you have to agree that I am stronger than you, my friend." The Emperor stopped abruptly and eyed the wasted Twi'lek, leaving him all alone with his thoughts. The wording of hundreds of teachings had the Twi'lek learned while studying the dark arts.
He croaked in defiance, "It matters not, I embrace the darkness and feed upon the livelihood of others."
The Emperor flashed a ghastly smile at the young man and said in a warm voice ... "I see you have found truth in your current situation. I will be lenient just once. I will give you control back, your very soul... If you bring me one million souls of the weak!"
This was young Arakon's beginning, and every day he awakened to a sudden illness. As the years went by, he grew stronger in the dark arts. The task was daunting but souls were trapped and ripped from flesh one by one. Jedi Knights, generals, and criminals all fell and wasted away under the harsh glow of the saber and the melody of the Force-driven word. But the wielder still realized, he could not do this task alone. To the end of freeing his soul, he hired others. They were a diverse lot- rogues, criminals, soldiers of fortune, murderers and vigilantes. But they all had one thing in common: the burning desire to further themselves. He offered them rewards and even a few souls in return. The sect they formed was called the Order of the Lost Souls and the toll it took on its enemies was terrible. The order identified its members through a small soul-storing device shaped like a hand and crafted out of obsidian. Stolen souls or minds coerced by the Dark Side were quickly ferreted away to a little known planet. Every soul taken is rumored to be transferred to the Obsidian Hand where the Order resides. The artifact was based on the Orb of Darkness, shaped like a gigantic hand and dangerous to lay eyes on. Not many know about the organization, but those who have contact with them know them as the Order of the Lost Souls. They can avenge your long fallen friend and free his soul, and they can torture the soul of your worst enemy into oblivion.
"Darth Vader, you might wonder why I gave young Arakon the chance to get his own will back?", stated the Emperor.
"Yes, my master... I was thinking about this.", the man in the black armor replied.
The emperor frowned, "Because I never had total control over him... I needed to occupy him somehow, until I can claim him as my servant.". The old man hesitated a second then continued, "The ghost of Freedon Nadd is still among us. His plans to rise again and to dethrone me have failed for now, but he still holds a strong grip on Arakon. As long as his spirit hasn't been banned I won't be able to make young Arakon my servant."
Darth Vader was still kneeling as he spoke to the emperor, "If it is your wish, I shall hunt down Freedon Nadd and end his existance forever, my master."
"This won't be as easy as you think, my apprentice. Freedon Nadd might not be a Sith Lord, but he is a powerful master of the dark side. For such a long time he prevented his destruction. Only with our combined effords can finish what needs to be done." In a soft voice he continued, "Unfortunately this needs my full attention, something I cannot afford in the current situation. The structures of the Empire are starting to work in a direction I had never intended. Not only aliens, but Jedi are among the higher ranking officers, waiting to take control over the empire I have created. This problem has to be solved and total loyalty has to be restored. Only then we can concentrate on Freedon Nadd."
"My Lord, if you allow I will take care of this problem," Vader answered the old man, who just nodded at him.
"Yes you will, but we cannot fight those imperials from within. The empire is unfailable. Admitting that there are traitors in high ranking positions would just cause our structures to break down, helping exactly those we are trying to fight.". The emperor paused a second then grinned, "Make it known that the officer Arakon is a traitor. He is no longer a part of the Empire. Order those treacherous elements we want to take care of, to bring him down. I trust in his abilities to take care of our enemies..."
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