Kalin/Ayanna: The Talzin Apocalypse
Two voices came to him in a vision, a dichotomy of confusion as he meditated....
Kalin could not explain the vision that permeated his meditations.
It was Wise Master Yoda, warning him of the dangers of the Dark Side. But it also burnt of the Darkness, the very frightening image of Darth Bane, a Sith of Legend. Bane tempted him with secrets of power and a chance to overthrow all who stood in Bane's way.
Kalin, who had secretly sided with Dooku, felt the Dark side pouring through his heart, though he kept up a deception with the Jedi.
He traveled in his ship, a small craft that he used comfortably. His ship was currently in orbit around Alpheridies, home of the Miraluka.
He assured the Jedi he was on a recon mission to look out for Separatist scouts, but he was really there at the bidding of Count Dooku.
In that moment around orbit, he had gone into a meditative stance, assaulted by the visions. He had seen many possible futures, many that hinted at a darkness that could swallow his very being, but one possible path presented a joy that sparked his heart with what he could only calculate as hope.
He had seen a future with the woman who haunted every step of his journey in this terrible war. Ayanna.
Kalin snapped out of his trance and monitored he controls. He also examined all data concerning activity in and around Alpheridies.
He felt a disturbance that seemed to come closer to the planet, though he could not explain the dark feeling that filled him up.
Mother Talzin, meanwhile, had prepared the words of power in her most diabolical scheme to fight Dooku and the Republic.
She looked up into the sky as an eclipse blocked out the Sun. She felt her magic grow in its strongest waxing level as she uttered the words.
"Anael nathrakh, urth vas bethud, dokhjel djenve!!"
The sisters of the Coven, even Asajj Ventress, went into hiding. So great was Talzin's scheme it sent fear into even her staunchest supporters. For today, Mother Talzin would summon one of the greatest Sith Lords back from the dead to do her bidding.
"I call upon the powers of the Galaxy to complete my revenge upon Count Dooku, and all who would oppose the will of Talzin!"
She looked up into the sky, alone, and made the very air chill, the sky darken even in the darkness of the eclipse.
She aligned her chant with the orbit of Dathomir, summoning with great will the return of Bane and a black fleet of Death Hulks from beyond.
"BANE!! Hear my call! I use the words of power to bring you back from the void! BACK FROM DEATH ITSELF!!!"
Talzin cackled as a storm swept through the skies of Dathomir.
From the blackness of the eclipse, the shadowy hole that blocked away the sun appeared a fleet. The blackest fleet. And on the grand bridge of the great battleship leading the fleet stood the imposing wraith like figure of a long dead past.
Bane was real but not real. A shadow with thoughts and sentience, but no life. Not life as known by other living beings. He looked out among the stars and felt the call, felt the tremble of the Force rupture all of space and time to bring him back.
"Who dares to summon me from the eternal nothing!? Who dares to control me!?" he bent his horrible voice into a deep cacophony of evil. The minions who controlled his fleet mindlessly watched and controlled their duties with deathly silence. They were worse than droids. Worse than dead. They were just automatons. An army of the damned that simply existed without living.
The Wraith existed there, in between worlds. His existence was the only thing that kept the black fleet in reality, thank to the words that spoke an energy allowing his existence of damnation to continue.
Bane did not hear a name or know who the summoner was, only that he heard the ancient witch words pulling him into existence, and he felt not only the power of new life flow through him, but a desire to conquer all life in the galaxy.
"Anael nathrakh, urth vas bethud, dokhjel djenve!!"
The words created in him a deep jealousy of natural life, for he realized he was a negative force in the galaxy now, an unnatural presence. And the more he heard the words, the greater his jealousy!
"You would have me strike out as a tool of revenge!? HA!!" Bane's negative existence broke free of Talzin's power.
Mother Talzin realized too late that though she controlled the words of power with her mighty will, she could not control the unnatural force she unleashed from death.
Bane turned his fleet upon Dathomir and would make her pay for her arrogance.
"Fire all weapons upon Dathomir, and let them know that Bane lives for no one's amusement or petty revenge! I live now to be the shaper of destiny and the destroyer of worlds!!"
Bane launched a brief assault on the surface of the planet.
Talzin, realizing she had made a terrible error, joined her sisters in hiding.
The planet burned a little, with much destruction in many parts of the landscape, but Bane ceased his attack, showing perhaps either a twisted sense of gratitude, or a dominant God like display of casual mercy. He quickly turned his fleet outward to wreak more destruction upon both the
Separatists and the Republic.
Kalin, feeling a dark tremble in the Force, did not have time to interpret it. Dooku sent a signal for him, and relished in giving his dark follower a new mission.
"Kalin, I have need of you to create chaos with the stubborn Miralukins! Their Representative leaders will be holding a summit in the capital city of Sintra. It is a small settlement, and should not pose any difficulties for you to enter and eliminate the opposition."
Kalin bowed to Dooku's image. "They will learn to fear your name, Master!"
"Good!" Dooku cracked a slight smile "Disrupt the proceedings, then send a signal to our forces. Alpheridies falls to the Sith, and they will know torment for their obstinance!"
Dooku's image exited the com link. Kalin activated his controls and swooped down into the atmosphere, ready to crush the Miralukan leaders.
Landing outside of Sintra, he walked through ancient sites, sacred and full of history. Old monasteries and buildings that housed libraries and other institutions of learning from ages past.
Following his senses, he could feel the gathering nearby in an underground tower, a waterless well that housed a staircase swirling down into a bright enclave where the Representatives of the Miralukan Oligarchy were meeting.
Kalin prepared at the top of the spiral staircase to dispatch the leaders, but felt another presence there.
"Strange...." He whispered to himself. It felt familiar. He walked down the stairs and watched the meeting from the shadows.
23 Members of the Government sat in bright red chairs in a half circle, all focused on a young female in a heavy robe.
She was explaining a peril that was coming to Alpheridies, and she also explained the solution that could save all of them.
Kalin squinted as he watched the female talking. He recognized the voice, and let out a small gasp as she pulled back her hood.
"Gentleman of the council, you have sensed an evil presence approach Alpheridies, and you are well to fear it. For a great disturbance has brought a Death Hulk fleet from oblivion to destroy everything in its path!"
He recognized the woman as the Zabrak, Ayanna. She turned to the stair case and smiled.
"Darth Bane will start his galactic crusade of terror here, and he will leave none alive if he succeeds. Fortunately, there is a Man who can possibly defeat him. For the only one who can destroy a Sith such as Bane....is another Sith!"
Ayanna looked at Kalin and smiled "Welcome, my love...."
Kalin was silent as he stared at her, knowing that the council stood up in shocked unison.
"This is a trap! A trick by Count Dooku!" One of the blindfolded elders blurted out. "You would entrap us with deception!"
Bane's Death fleet had exited the swirling nebula of gases nearby, catching much of the planet by complete surprise. Bane prepped his ships to start a light skirmish that would soon become a massacre of cannon fire and bombings upon the planet.
But all of the war and death was blocked out by Kalin.
"Ayanna!? What are you doing here!?" His mix of joyful feelings and confusion held back the irritation of thinking Ayanna was playing some sort of twisted game between him and the Miralukans.
"I sensed what you have sensed, Kalin. Something is wrong in the fabric of the Force."
"But....you are working with the Miralukans?"
"There is a danger that concerns us all." She bluntly halted the panicked chatter from all of them "We must join in an alliance to stop the black fleet and the madness of Bane!"
Kalin walked over to Ayanna to talk more intimately and urgently.
"If there is a Sith fleet attacking, how can you expect me to stop it? Darth Bane? That is a name from Legends, a name that cannot harm anyone. Bane is dead!"
Ayanna took Kalin's hands in hers and concentrated. "No" she replied softly "He has been brought back, and he will seek to become powerful and immortal. He will sense us soon, and Bane will fall into the trap!"
"TRAP??" Kalin was no apprehensive at the risky scheme Ayanna was concocting, and even the council members were too horrified to contemplate her agenda. But they had no choice. The Sith fleet was wreaking havoc upon various parts of the world. The bombardment was slowly becoming more intense.
It started as a sprinkle of cannon fire, but as the minutes wasted away, it would become a thunderstorm!
"Kalin, you must concentrate with me. Let Bane feel our presence, so he will come to us. He will be tempted by your Sith powers and will want to consume you, but we are stronger than his current incorporeal form."
"How do you even KNOW any of this!?" Kalin could not quite keep up with her rapid explanations.
"I have received a message from Mother Talzin-"
"-TALZIN!! Why are you joining forces with the Witch!? She is a trouble maker and Dooku will not tolerate your connection to her!"
"Talzin contacted me through her magic, warning me that she had lost control of the summoning of Bane! Kalin, there is not much time, and his fleets guns will decimate all of us if we do not try to lure Bane into our clutches. If we defeat him, we win the gratitude of the people of Alphariedies AND the lost Sith powers of Bane himself! It is a complete winning scenario!"
"It could also destroy our very souls, Ayanna!" Kalin did not survive the shaky trail into darkness by discarding precaution, and Ayanna's ideas fell far from Kalin's carefully planned path.
Ayanna, throwing such caution to the wind, summoned a beacon from within, so that Bane would sense the presence of another who walked in the shadows of the Dark Side.
Bane smiled as he felt the Dark Side in the two mortals on the surface.
"You would challenge me, would you? Attempt to trap me? Your ambition will be your undoing!"
Bane oblidged Ayanna's beacon, taking his form from the ship and traveling down to her.
Bane used Ayanna as a landing pad of sorts, and controlled the beacon of Darkness from within.
Bane now possessed Ayanna, and her less experienced skill could not hold up against his incredible will and connection to the Force.
Ayanna/Bane stared at Kalin and smiled.
"Ayanna! AYANNA!" Kalin, having a sense of what just happened, was shocked at the expression she had. He knew she was no longer in control.
"This girl has foolishly attempted to subdue me. You have some idea of the power I possess. I sense your hesitation-"
"I am not hesitating, I am merely trying to figure you out!" Kalin responded fast with a hot stare at the being who spoke with Ayanna's voice. Though it was her voice, it had a sense of corruption within it.
Kalin had to pull a tactic. Stall Bane, make him give away a weakness, find a way to tricvk him into releasing her from his grip.
Bane gently knocked Kalin back with a blast of the Force and laughed.
"I will absorb both of you. That way, you can join your lady in the same oblivion that has taken me! Together forever!"
The Council members watched in horror as Bane seemed to hold the Fate of their world in his hands.
Kalin readied himself, though he did not know if Bane would engage with light sabers, some trickery of the Dark Side, or just simply possess him with ease. He started to feel a sensation within, and wondered if Bane wasn't simply so powerful that even the modern day Lords of the Sith were helpless against his power.
But then the sensation within him became a voice. Not Bane's, but Mother Talzin's.
"Young Kalin, I call out to you with the words of power! I must speak with utmost urgency!"
Kalin looked at Bane as he listened. Talzin spoke in a zone of the mind where time was faster, and Kalin could hear her while the world around him moved at a different pace.
"You must challenge Bane to save the girl, and the planet! You must stop his murderous fleet before he leaves a path of complete destruction in the galaxy!"
"But how? I am no match for the Lord of the Sith!" Kalin thought, in responding to the disembodied voice in his head. How Mother Talzin found him and reached his mind, Kalin could not explain. The ways of the witches of Dathomir and the words of power were beyond his understanding.
"You must trust me now, servant of the Sith! Only our combined efforts can stop this menace! We must challenge Bane and defeat him in a battle of wits!"
"Bane doesn't have to do anything! Besides, why should I trust that you want to help?"
"Because you are doomed without my help, young Kalin!" Talzin made it clear that he really was without a choice.
Bane looked at him in the seconds he had conversed with Talzin. Kalin sighed inwardly and tried Talzin's plan. Find a way to stall the Sith lord, maybe find a weakness. It was a long shot. Bane could feel Mother Talzin's presence, and grew very uncomfortable. Facing down Bane was apprehensive enough without the unusual sensation of having an alien element permeating through him. A conscious presence filled him, as if he had been drinking too much of a liquid. It was a weight on him, making him wear down a bit until he could adjust to Talzin's essence within him.
Bane laughed as he drew Ayanna's weapon. "Would you strike down this girl? She might kill you!"
"Release her, Bane! If you are so powerful, you will defeat me with your own abilities!" Kalin challenged, though a part of him could not tell if he was doing the talking or if it was Mother Talzin. The magic of possession left a fuzzy discomfort in him, but he manned up for Ayanna's sake. The was more in the balance than just the planet and its people for him. Ayanna's life and soul were in a precarious jar of circumstance.
Bane met his challenge. "I will use all weapons at my disposal to vanquish you, boy! I find it pleasing that you must make careful choices, since you are....fond of this girl. And she is most certainly fond of you!"
"Kalin, look out!!" Ayanna had broke through Bane's control for a very brief second. Her body trembled as Bane re-established his will over it and attacked Kalin.
Kalin drew out his saber to defend against hers, and he stayed careful.
"Let me take over!" Talzin whispered in his mind "I can vanquish Bane with the words of power as you strike her down!"
"What??!! NO!!" Kalin tried resisting. The struggle within him made defense difficult. Bane was not holding back as he forced Ayanna to lunge forward. He intended to kill the boy who tried hard not to hurt Ayanna.
"You cannot bring yourself to do it, can you!? WEAK!!! PATHETIC!! YOU ARE NO SITH!!" Bane pushed him back, becoming more of a blur with each physical and verbal attack on Kalin.
"I am not going to let you hurt Ayanna!" Kalin struggled against the will of Talzin. He attempted to push Bane, but the Sith Lord of ancient days was just too powerful. Bane laughed through her, and Kalin's heart sank knowing that she had placed him in a no win scenario.
"If you do not give me control, Bane will kill you both, then unleash his armies and armada upon the entire galaxy!! YOU HAVE TO KILL HER, KALIN!! If you won't, then I WILL!!"
"NO!!!" Kalin shouted. He struggled with Talzin's essence. He could sense that her motives were more about power and less about saving any world. He felt her dark hunger for power and revenge against him and Count Dooku.
It was his moment of weakness, and Bane knew it. Bane threw him against the wall and laughed. Noises from up above roared about.
"Do you hear that, boy? Those are my troops...." Bane looked around the room at everyone "My troops are landing! And they will scorch this world and all its people to oblivion!
A rumble shook the ground, a vast rhythm of marching. Kalin felt a grip of terror as Bane's army marched en masse to the city.
"You and your witch have failed! I wil drain this planet of life, and I will scorch a path of devastation across the galaxy the likes of which has never been seen!! And when I get done with Coruscant...." Bane walked up to Kalin, almost intimately "...I will destroy every life but one, which I will keep as a pet. Perhaps I will keep this body. I think it is suitable. One vessel as good as another, don't you think?"
Kalin sighed. He struggled too much with Talzin, and Bane got the upper hand. But Bane released him.
"Continue the fight!" Bane demanded as the marching rumble grew louder "I want you to die fighting. I will show you what it is to die a Sith. It's the least I will do for you...."
Kalin raised his saber and stared into Ayanna's eyes
"Strike her down!" Talzin demanded "Killing the body will cast out the demon, and he will be vanquished.
"Kalin...." Ayanna was able to exit from her own mouth abruptly. Kalin could tell the difference between her and Bane, and Ayanna used what little strength she had left to escape a message "Kill me."
Bane laughed and charged. Kalin raised his blade.....then lowered it.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!?" Talzin shrieked as Bane thrust forward her weapon.
Kalin did not say anything, but stood there with open arms and let the beast Bane impale him in the shoulder.
"So easy....too easy...." Bane studied him for a moment, curious.
Kalin simply looked at Ayanna, and spoke to her. "I cannot fight you. I cannot save the galaxy."
Talzin listened with horror. Bane listened with contempt. But Ayanna, trapped in the depths of herself, heard him.
"My love for you destroyed me long ago. This pain, this defeat, this conquest.....it is nothing compared to your conquest, Ayanna. I cannot stop what is about to happen, but at least....I get to tell you one last time....I love you."
Kalin closed his eyes and waited for the killing blow. There was nothing else to do but wait. Letting Ayanna live was all he had the power to choose in this large chess game.
Ayanna heard him, and as Bane raised the saber once more to strike down Kalin, Ayanna's grief became overwhelming. Because she loved him as well. More than anything in the galaxy. And the thought of his death made her grief and love magnify. She saw him await death and realized she could not exist without him.
"KALIN!!!" She burst through Bane's control and shrieked, her agony echoing through the waterless well. Bane's control was disrupted. Not briefly or weakly. Ayanna forced him to drop the light saber.
"Kalin" She whispeerd and took his sweetened face into her hands "If we cannot find happiness here, then we shall find it in the next world. Together."
She kissed him in one last desperate gesture of defiance to the malevolence that resided in her.
Their hearts raced and beat a power that defied even the will of the Dark and the Light. Kalin embraced her with his good arm and kissed with equal energy. Together, they generated an electricity of passion that repelled Bane's unnatural existence from her.
Bane could not comprehend it because he had never truly known its power. It was a power greater than any wielded by a Sith. The secret to its potential was now being unlocked in the final moments of what would have been a destruction, an apocalypse manipulated by heartless beings who fancied themselves Gods. But Bane and even Talzin were awed and humbled by the power unleashed between two who cherished each other more than wealth, vanity and power.
Talzin wisely exited Kalin as the power of his love for Ayanna burned brightly within him. Bane, with his arrogance, could not comprehend that he was far weaker than the fire that exploded from Ayanna's soul. Her love for Kalin purged him to ashes.
Bane was disintegrated, no more. And with him died his hate, and his armada. His dream of apocalypse vaporized with him in an instant, banished back into the void. Talzin's wicked plan of revenge died as she returned her essence to Dathomir. She would remember this upheaval, but for now was powerless against it.
Kalin and Ayanna held each other silently. They had been waiting for the worst death of all, but then looked into each other's eyes. Something had happened, something wonderful. They were not entirely certain how they won, but they were free of their controllers.
They did not speak, but smiled and then kissed again. No words were needed after such a conflict. Anger and hate nearly destroyed the galaxy, but all was saved by a simple act of two people who desired each other's happiness.
The Miralukans cautiously approached "The fleet has vanished. The invasion has been wiped out!" One counselor exclaimed. Others surrounded the couple.
Kalin and Ayanna looked at the bewildered council members. The moment was a triumph, yet they were all awkward to speak.
"Is there anything we can do? Your actions have saved our world!"
Kalin looked into Ayanna's again, with liberated eyes. She sensed his heart pick up with a flurry, sensed a question in his eyes. She smiled and gave an approving look, as if answering a silent thought.
"Can you perform a wedding ceremony? We wish to be married." Kalin held her closer as she stifled a laugh of excitement.
The council, steeped in nothing but ceremony in the sacred waterless well of Sintra, looked at each other. They were confused for a second, amazed that two powerful people of Sith orientation would not threaten or blackmail, but desire only each other. They all smiled and together spoke their own words of power.
Unlike Talzin's apocalyptic words of power that almost destroyed many worlds, the words spoken by the free people of Alpheridies represented life and hope.
Kalin could feel the power in their words.
He was energized by their Hope.
With Ayanna, he discovered the true secret to immortality.