An Awakening: A Prelude to Judgement Day
“This is the only way I can keep you and Scarlett safe.”
She could only watch helplessly as Draven backed towards the shrinking fiery portal. All she could glimpse of the room behind him was that it was well lit. And though she couldn’t see him, she knew who was waiting for her husband on the other side.
As Draven took another step back, the light in the room through the portal flickered and a warning bell rang in the back of her mind. “Draven?” she asked, her tone held a note of warning, though her voice sounded muffled to her own ears.
“Keep our daughter safe,” was his reply, each step he took brought him closer to the darkening portal.
“Draven!” she yelled. She tried to run after him, but it felt like she was running through quicksand. She realized she wasn’t going to reach him in time.
With a smile, he stepped through the portal and the dark, wrong room. The portal closed and his last words were the only thing left of him. They echoed in the empty room.
“Keep our daughter safe.”
“Draven!” Arach yelled, jolting awake. She was sitting upright in bed, her eyes wide and straining to see through the darkness of her bedroom to identify the threat. In her head, she knew she wasn’t in danger, yet she was still tensed to ward off an attack.
She growled in frustration while swinging her legs off the side of the bed. She sat with the palms of her hands pressed into her eyes, and took deep breaths in an attempt to calm herself.
She had been having the same nightmare off and on for two weeks, ever since she and Draven last spoke. She knew that it was her anxieties playing out in her dreams and she also knew that Draven was ok. She would have felt it if he wasn’t.
She knew she wouldn’t be able to return to sleep. With a sigh, Arach stood and began to dress in leggings and a sleeveless tunic. She brushed her black hair out and quickly pulled it back in a braid. Once she was dressed, she called her lightsaber to her hand and grabbed her dagger before padding barefoot out of her bedroom and down the corridor. She stopped briefly to get a couple of spare towels, then continued on her way.
When she reached the training room, Arach tossed the towels to the side and activated the droids. She settled into a defensive stance and activated her lightsaber.
For a while, the assassin managed to keep her mind clear as she batted bolts of energy away and dodged attacks from the remotes and sparring droids. Soon, however, echoes from her dream wouldn’t be ignored any longer. Arach gritted her teeth. She knew the dream was merely her own misgivings and concerns. She didn’t like that Draven was facing the threat he mentioned on his own. He won’t be alone, a voice whispered in her mind. Kain will be there.
Arach scoffed as she leapt, then twisted in the air to avoid a couple bolts. She landed behind the remotes and used the Force to shove them away from her. That’s a good example of a double- edged blade, she answered. He has the power to protect Draven, but will he? And if he does, what’s to stop Kain from turning on him when he has no more use for him?
There was no answer.
Arach’s anger began to grow. This shouldn’t be happening! We should both be here to begin our daughter’s training! We should be telling her of her lineage, not be split up!
A bolt flew past her defense and slammed into her right shoulder. “Dank ferrik!” Arach hissed, pressing her left hand to the minor burn.
“That’s enough!” She swatted a few more bolts away, then tapped into her growing anger and frustration.
The assassin passed her blade to her left hand, then raised her right. Arcs of electricity shot from her fingertips and jumped from machine to machine. A scream tore from her throat as she vented her anger and frustration.
In the sudden silence of her outburst, Arach stood in the center of the room, panting from her exertion. Her anger still simmered under the surface, but she drew in a deep breath, then slowly released it.
The assassin thumbed the activation switch on her lightsaber and in a split second the blood- orange blade disappeared.
At the sound of the small voice, Arach jolted and crouched into a defensive stance. She immediately relaxed when she saw Scarlett standing in the doorway, staring at her with wide crimson eyes.
“Scarlett,” Arach breathed in relief. She watched her daughter’s expression as the child’s eyes flitted around the room. She saw curiosity and wonder as Scarlett took in the room. There was something else as crimson eyes flickered occasionally to Arach before returning to her surroundings. The assassin’s heart sank as she recognized what it was. Fear.
Arach slowly and cautiously sat on the floor, placing her lightsaber hilt next to her, out of Scarlett’s sight. She crossed her legs in front of her, hoping to minimize the feeling of a threat. “What are you doing awake, Letti?” she asked, softly. She also hoped that the use of her childhood nickname would ease Scarlett’s misgivings.
Scarlett’s eyes flickered to her mother. “I- I was having trouble sleeping,” she began, a little hesitantly. “I w- wanted to get some milk to help me sleep, but I s- saw…” she trailed off.
Arach immediately held her arms open in front of her. “It’s ok, sweetheart,” she said, smiling reassuringly.
After a moment of hesitation, Scarlett stepped toward her mother and took hold of her hand. The child sat next to her and Arach wrapped her arm around her, pulling her a little closer to the assassin’s side. She rested her cheek on top of Scarlett’s head, aware of the tumultuous thoughts that must have been chasing each other around the child’s mind. “I know you have questions, Scarlett. Ask them.”
Scarlett remained quiet for a while, uncertain on how to pose her questions. She had just witnessed her mother shoot lightning from her fingertips while holding a weapon, all in a room she had never seen before. It had been amazing, yet a terrifying and confusing image to process.
She took a deep breath to settle herself. The image of her mother holding the glowing weapon ran through her mind. Why did it look so familiar? she wondered.
Scarlett furrowed her brow in concentration as she searched her memory. It didn’t take long before it suddenly clicked. Not too long ago, her history lesson had touched briefly on the very recent True Sith War. She had seen a holo of a group of aliens and humans frozen in battle. What had stood out to her was the same glowing weapons that her mother had held. The child’s crimson eyes traveled to where she saw her mom hide the weapon. No, the lightsaber.
The Jedi had lightsabers and they were known for being protectors. Is mommy a Jedi? The image of her mother destroying the droids with lightning flashed again in her memory and her heart sank. She felt that that wasn’t something a Jedi would do. “Mom?” she started, hesitantly. “Why do you have a lightsaber?”
Arach started to run her hand over her daughter’s jet black hair to help comfort Scarlett, aware of her tumultuous feelings. Was the child ready to know the truth, or should she be kept in the dark for a little longer? Arach already began to form a quick lie, but it evaporated when she looked into her daughter’s eyes. It was time she knew the truth. “Because I am a Sith,” she responded. “Albeit, I haven’t had much to do with the Order after the war.”
Scarlett shot upright. Mother calmly watched daughter’s eyes widen with shock and growing horror.
“Sith?” the child asked, her tone hinting at her fear. “Is everything they say true? You’re evil and you were the ones who started the war?” Scarlett’s voice grew increasingly alarmed with each question.
Though Arach became saddened by her daughter’s tone, she kept her expression calm and comforting. “No. We didn't start the war and not all of us are evil. Your father and I included.” She watched her daughter’s expression change slightly to accommodate her shock and disbelief. “Yes, your father was a Sith, too. We met at the beginning of the war. We saw the Betrayer, the Taral, and the Rot- God with their armies.” Arach fell silent as she watched Scarlett’s face fill with horror and recognition.
“The stories you were telling me are true?” Scarlett asked, her voice quiet.
Arach’s expression softened to one of empathy. Yes, the stories she had told her daughter were modified to make them more palatable. However, even disguised, Venomis, Dreadwar, and Cruor were enough to frighten the young child. “The basis of the stories are true.”
“Why? Why did you have to tell me any of this?” Scarlett’s voice was desperate and angry. She glared at her mother as her anger grew. In response, she stood up and balled her fists at her side.
She was afraid and angry. She felt like something was being taken away from her. Something important, something she wasn’t ready to give up. She hated what was happening.
Arach swallowed against a knot in her throat and she, too, stood. She lifted her hand in a placating gesture. “There are events happening even now that might bring another war. I began telling you these stories to help prepare you. There might soon come a time where your father and I can’t protect you. If that time comes, you need to be able to know how to protect yourself.”
“You’re planning to leave me? Again? Like daddy?” Scarlett’s voice trembled, barely containing the emotions roiling through her.
“Your father is doing what he believes is right. He’s fighting for you. To give you a chance to grow up,” Arach slowly lowered her hand and her gaze. “And, yes, there is a chance that I will be called away soon, as well. How-“
Arach interrupted herself when she felt a warning tingle in the back of her mind. She barely managed to raise her defenses right before Scarlett screamed and unleashed a strong telekinetic blast. The force of impact to Arach’s chest caused the assassin to stumble back a few steps.
When the attack faded, Arach raised wide golden eyes to meet her daughter’s equally shocked, though still angry, crimson gaze. The assassin straightened from her defensive stance and couldn’t help the shocked laughter that bubbled up her throat. “The daughter of Voidwalker and Arach shows her potential,” she breathlessly chuckled. Arach’s pride, however, slowly faded and she became more somber.
Scarlett felt no such glee. She looked down at her hands in shock. What happened? How did I do that? The child had felt her anger burn bright and felt it snap. Next thing she knew, her mother was being shoved back a foot without being touched. She stared at her mother in horror of what happened and became even more shocked at the sound of her laughter and the distinct glitter of pride in her eyes. Her brow lowered in confusion at her mother’s soft words and again sudden change of expression.
Her mind then snagged on the strange names. One sounding familiar. The last time she had heard it was before her father had left.
Arach breathed out a soft sigh before walking over to her daughter. She embraced Scarlett and began stroking the child’s jet- black hair, once more. “It’ll be ok, Letti. I know all of this is a lot to take in.”
Scarlett leaned into her mother’s embrace, her head spinning. She was still angry and hurt that her parents lied to her about who they really were. She remembered the feeling of releasing her anger on her mother and feeling something there for a split second under her anger. She had relished in the brief power she had displayed. A part of her was scared of that feeling, realizing that she could have hurt her mother, but another part was excited at the prospect of learning more. “Can you teach me more?”
Arach leaned back just enough from Scarlett to smile softly, tucking a strand of hair behind the child’s ear. “Of course. We can start tonight,”