Pain Marks the Spot
“This is a serious task, Gate Warden,” Marick spoke K’tana’s title like a challenge and gave her a level glare, stressing the importance of the package he set on the table next to the door.”You have been gifted something from the Dark Council. Keep quiet and focused on this.”
“Yeah, totally. Oh! Can I be Chieftess?! K’tana abruptly interrupted him with a giggle. “Oooh! Or Inquisitoress? Chieftess-Mystic Gate Wardnesses, Shadesworn of Arcona and Inquisitoress Shadow!”
“No. No...and no.”
“Ooh! Or Shadowy Inquisitoress! EEEP!”
The way Marick looked at her, K’tana swore that either his face was about to burst or that he almost smirked at her before saying, “That makes no sense. Wardeness.”
“Ugh, you people! I swear! You’re, like, always ignoring the desires of your superior gend- HEY! Don’t walk away from me!” K’tana’s shrill voice carried after the dour looking male until the door closed behind him.
Once the former Consul was gone, the amethyst woman snickered, quite pleased with her ability to make the Shadicar disappear. With an excited gleam in her eyes, K’tana turned to look at the package Arcona’s Fang had placed on the table.
The unopened parcel bore a sealed note:
Gate Warden, K’tana:
We hereby congratulate you on proving your devotion to the Iron Throne and to the Brotherhood. Accept these items with the expectation of one day seeing rise to High Inquisitor.
The abruptly ended note had a strange series of mashed up letters, or some kind of signature scribbled across the bottom, but K’tana could not make it out - not that she tried. She rapidly lost interest in the sheet of parchment, but decided to follow her favorite rule: Anything written down can be found and used against you.
The Twi’lek gave a quick, silent prayer to Kika’lekki before sending a divine current of electricity to her fingertips and out through the note. She focused on the will of the Goddess and increased the intensity through the paper until it finally ignited. Once nothing but ash scattered around the package, K’tana grinned with excitement and pushed open the plasteel lid.
The first item she saw was a cylindrical, silvery case. Pulling it out of the box, K’tana realized it was a hilt. The Twi’lek’s emerald eyes sparked with intrigue as she thumbed a button on the side, holding the hilt away from her as a slender blade sprang forth. She squealed with excitement and pressed the button again, sending the blade back into the hilt.
The second item was a datapad. K’tana switched it on and saw two very strange things. One was a counter that gave her only a moment to see and memorize a time and place. Nothing else. No reason behind the rendezvous point or why it need be at that precise time. She instinctively logged the information away and tossed the datapad over her shoulder. The Shadow paid no attention to the sound of electronics fizzling and ignored the smell of burned materials after the counter timed out.
Her green eyes had already caught sight of the dark metal corset that had laid hidden under the datapad. K’tana lifted the shockingly light armor from the box and admired it with a grin. Setting the bodice aside, the Twi’lek immediately stood up and dropped her Queen’s robes to the floor. She turned the parcel over and realized that there were several pieces to this stunning outfit. The best part, other than the armored corset, was the lovely set of knee-high, heeled boots made of sturdy black material. It was hard enough to hold its form yet soft enough to stifle the sound of footsteps; but it was their appealing aesthetic that stole the former party-girl’s heart.
“Totes stylish! Way to bring sexy to the general populace!” Looking into the bottom of the container, she gave a quick pout to the last item of the outfit. “Ugh. I hate pants.”
“By the Goddess, this is karking beautiful.” K’tana sighed, admiring herself in a full length mirror once she was fully dressed with her hood pulled up and cowl tightened over her mouth.
“It is adequate. Even if it is... garish.” The Entar’s voice, for once, did not catch K’tana off-guard. His icy-blue eyes met her green gaze through the mirror as he stood in the doorway. The Shadow pulled down the hood of the battle-dress and dropped the cowl to the floor.
“Do you like it, Mastimeros? It’s a little...conservative, don’tya think?” She brought her hands up and adjusted the chest piece with a wily smirk. It was met with a slight twitch of Timeros’ brow and nothing else.
“The Summit should have come to a more discrete decision. You look like an assassin.”
“I am an assassin.”
“And I am the Grand Master.” Timeros’ rebuke was level and bore no inflection of humor, but K’tana still squealed out a giggle before she clutched at the Entar’s arm, grabbing only air.
“Ow! Mastimeros, that was mean!” she giggled again as he abruptly removed his arm from her path. One moment he was within reach of the small woman and the next he stood several feet away. Ignoring her wily smirk, Timeros released a miniscule amount of control on the shroud of dread he wore. A cold gust of fear washed over her, instantly wiping the smile from her face.
A mask of intensity replaced her jovial demeanor and she began fighting her impulses to run at him or flee. The Elder’s face was a placid lake. He stood stock still, his eyes cold and dark but unmoving. With every visible convulsion of her muscles Timeros pushed her resolve further, inch-by-inch, until it snapped and she took an abrupt step back.
A maniacal grin spread over her lips as her knees buckled, shaking from the strain, and her unspoken fears exploded into colorful thoughts of terror behind her mask. Where she once cried and cowered, she now stood her ground and, although always eventually retreating, she stoically stared the man down until fear overwhelmed and won.
Even still, she did not run weeping into the corner of the room in a pique. Timeros watched as the violet woman panted for heavy breaths, kneeling on the ground while her wild and frenzied green eyes flashed with rage and...something else.
Instead of acting on her intense emotions, K’tana stayed crouched, heaving and grinning madly at the Elder until she caught her breath and her legs could hold her aloft. She didn’t stumble when she stood and gave him a proud, if shaky, laugh.
“Fifteen heartbeats!” the violet woman squealed as she skipped a couple steps towards him, ignoring the unsteady feeling in her knees.
“It is better.” Timeros paused a moment as she displayed an expressive smile of appreciation before adding: “That is not to say I could not, still, remove you from a room.”
“You just like the fact that you get to chase me when I run.” As K’tana moved around him, her green eyes locking onto him like a predator on prey, when suddenly her legs were no longer beneath her.
With a simple, unseen motion of a single finger, a telekinetic blast knocked the Twi’lek flat on her rear. She glared daggers as the Entar appeared in front of her and leaned forward.
“I don’t need to chase you.”
K’tana grumbled something in Twi’lekki as she stood and made a scene of brushing off the back of her dress. With a huff of false indignation and her nose in the air, she spun towards the door and opened it.
“I have a mystery appointment.” she sighed, flicking her lekku over her shoulders. “I would like someone to watch...my back.”
K’tana quickly glanced over her shoulder at the stoick Human before walking out of her quarters. Timeros’ datapad appeared in his hands, his fingers rapidly dashing over the screen as he quietly followed behind.
“Apprentice, are you sure this is correct.”
“Yuuuup. I know my home, such as it is…” K’tana eyed up round building, noting how it was detached from the other grey hovels in the area. “This is the correct address.”
As she started for the door, Timeros appeared before her, a disapproving scowl etching across the corners of his mouth.
“K’tana,” his level voice intoned none of the disapproval his lips momentarily displayed, “you are forgetting something.”
“Oh, kark off,” she hissed, rolling her eyes at him and stepping to the side. “I’m not a journeyman. There are three people inside. Two with abilities. One without. The building to nearest side is empty.”
The Entar gave her a cold, steady look as she strut by him and pulled open the door.
Inside they were greeted by a familiar grin and a welcoming sensation tingled across K’tana’s skin. She gave a giggle as she sprang up to Atyriu and threw her arms around the other woman. As the two women in greeting, Timeros stood at the door, motionless as a well-chiseled statue.
“Mastimeros,” K’tana squeaked a mock angry call over her shoulder, “why didn’t you tell me it was our Lady Consul in here! I know you knew!”
“Sister,” Timeros spoke the appellation like an important title, gliding past and ignoring K’tana as he inclined his head at the Shadow Lady.
K’tana gleefully brushed off her Master’s disregard and gave him a quick, rude gesture as she walked towards a desk behind Atyiru. The surface was covered in sheets of paper bearing strange symbols combined with Aurebesh letters. The Mystic traced a finger across the lines of a rune and smiled at it’s simple, yet elegant design.
“That’s what you’re here for!” Atyiru grinned as she walked up behind K’tana, setting her arm over the violet woman’s shoulders and pulling her towards a large chair. Atyiru lay a few of the designed sheets in the Mystic’s lap and asked with a smile, “So, where do ya want it?”
K’tana cocked her head to the side and gave the Shadow Lady a curious smile. “Are you-?” she started, but was cut off by a chill dancing up her spine as she felt Timeros step behind her. He looked over her shoulder and then at Atyiru.
“Don’t worry, Timmles,” the blind See-er said with a wide grin, “I don’t expect you’ll be getting one.”
K’tana burst into giggles at the thought of the marble man getting a tattoo. She sat forward in the chair and began unlacing the metal corset. She dropped the heavy plate to the ground and pulled the straps of the dress from her shoulders. Sitting bare chested, K’tana leaned back in the chair. Atyiru’s smile grew substantially and Timeros averted his eyes, turning his back to his Apprentice as he began walking toward the exit.
With a vacant expression, K’tana waved her hand from her clavicle to just below her belly button.
“I want it here.” Her green gaze had locked on the back of the Elder’s head and she waited for him to glance behind him. When he did, he shook his head and looked at his sister.
“Leave her navel clear.”
“Oh course, brother-dear.” Arcona’s Consul suddenly seemed to inhale the shadows from the room as she walked around the chair and her fingers moved across K’tana’s bare flesh.
“Will it hurt?” The Twi’lek said, her green eyes flashing with excitement as a dark, flickering light danced over the Miraluka’s fingertips.
“More than you know, and K’tana...” Atyiru faced the other woman, her tone becoming serious, “you cannot move.”
As the Elder moved around the side of the chair, K’tana moved lightning fast and grabbed the sleeve of his robe.
“Please,” her eyes were washed in anxiety and she pleaded with him, “stay with me.”
Timeros simply removed his sleeve from her grasp and looked down at her, a touch of disdain flicking across his eyes.
“I am sure you will manage without me,” he rebuked, turning from her and walking out of the building.
K’tana felt the rage of rejection once again well up in her stomach and the Mystic looked at Atyriu, sadness and hate burning in her beryl eyes. Although the Consul could not see, she could sense the anguish and hurt emanating through the young woman.
“I’m ready,” she said, her voice barely a whisper.
Atyiru gave the Gatewarden a small smile of knowing and sucked in the darkness, forcing it out through her fingertips and over the Twi’lek’s skin. The pain hit K’tana immediately, searing away all her thoughts of self. As the Sith magic flayed her flesh she realized that she was, once again, alone with nothing but agony.